Omaha Indian Reservation
The rise that is known as Blackbird Hill has long been visited by those who are interested in both history and the unknown. This site is the burial place of the Omaha Indian Chief, Blackbird, who was buried here sitting upright on his favorite horse. But is is not his ghost that people come here to encounter.... but that of a woman's scream that can be heard on one particular night every year!
The story of the ghost of Blackbird Hill begins in
1849. A band of Omaha Indians were hunting along the Missouri afternoon one day when they
came across a lost and starving white man. He was emaciated, his feet bare and bleeding
and what little remained of his clothing had been turned into rags. He was completely
delirious and was unable to speak.
The Indians carried the man back to their village and summoned their healer. The man eventually recovered and stayed with the Indians until he was able to travel. He told them a strange story about how he had come to be found the way that he had.
He told them that he had been born and raised in the
east. He had traveled widely after his schooling and had been in a shipwreck on his way
home. It had taken him five years to get back to America. When he returned, he discovered
that his mother had died and his fiancée, who had promised to wait for him, had married
He set out to find the girl. He hoped that if he could find the couple, he could persuade the man to release his wife. He was sure that she had only married the other man because he had believed him to be dead. He joined a wagon train headed for California and although he searched for some time, he never found her.
Heartbroken, he decided to return home. He traveled by way of the Missouri River and landed one evening at the foot of Blackbird Hill. A path left the river and wound to a small cabin where, incredibly, the man discovered his lost sweetheart. She was overjoyed to see him and confessed that she had never stopped loving him. When he had not returned from his journey, she had believed him dead and mistakenly married another. She told him that when her husband got home, she would ask to be released and they would leave together in the morning.
When the husband returned, the young man hid in the nearby woods. His wife explained the situation to him and he begged her to stay. When she refused, he became enraged and attacked her with his hunting knife. She screamed as he stabbed her and then she fell to the floor. The husband dropped the knife, gathered up his bleeding wife and ran to the cliff at the top of the hill. Without a pause, he jumped off, with her still in his arms, and plunged to the river below. The woman's final scream of agony hung in the air.
The young man, who had been hiding, raced in pursuit of the couple and arrived on the hill just in time to see them jump off. He collapsed in grief, lapsing in and out of consciousness, and wandered aimlessly until he was found ragged and starved by his Indian friends.
The young man left the Omaha and returned to the east, although he never forgot what had happened on the hill. Blackbird Hill itself has also never forgotten... it has been marked forever with the horror that took place here. The grass stopped growing along the path from the cabin to the edge of the cliff and people come here each year to witness the haunting.
According to the story, each year on October 17, a woman's chilling scream can be heard at the top of the hill. This residual effect of the murder-suicide had been witnessed by dozens of people over the years and while a few years have gone by with no report, it is not every often that the people who gather here go away disappointed.
The Omaha Indian Reservation is located in northeastern Nebraska, just west of Highway 75. It is eight miles north of Decatur along the Missouri River.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor, All Rights Reserved
Return to the Main Page