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Curse of the Three Sisters—Northern Virginia
Another tale of the Algonquian tribes is about a curse by three Algonquin women that apparently seems to still work today. This curse concerns three large granite rocks that rise out of the water between Virginia’s shoreline and Washington D.C. The story takes place a hundred years before Jamestown had been settled by the white man.
Though the land was rich with farmland and game and everyone did well, peace did not reign here. To the north were the Iroquois and Susquehannocks and they would raid the Algonquin tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy in the Virginia area, the battles fierce and bloody.
After a long siege, one Powhatan chief felt it was safe enough for his warriors and him to hunt for food. He forbidden though, three of his young sons to go with them, feeling they were not old enough to defend themselves if trouble came.
The young men decided to show their father how well they could go out and bring enough fresh fish to feed the women, children, and old men in the village. They did this after the hunting party left.
Now the greatest abundance of fish lived in the waters near the northern shore where the Susquehannocks warriors might still be. Using a canoe, they pushed it into the river and struck out. Not long after, a Susquehannock scouting party captured them and they were brought before the village, tortured, and killed. Of the villagers, three young daughters of the village shaman who were in loved with the young men watched with horror and growing anger.
They devised among themselves that they would cross the river to the village of the Susquehannocks to demand the warriors that killed the men they loved. They would take them back to their village to beguile them with their beauty and their fathers’ medicine. But afterwards, they would kill them by a long, agonizing death.
The sisters lashed several logs into a raft and pushed it from shore. But the current from the river proved too strong and fast and soon, they found themselves racing downstream. Still angry over the senseless deaths of the men they loved, the sisters cursed the river and said if they couldn’t cross it, no one would ever be able to do so.
The raft broke up and they sank to their deaths. The curse became true as one flash from a lightening struck the spot where they went down. That night the storm continued and the river’s waters went crazy. The following morning all grew calm as the sun rose into the sky. But three boulders had rose out of the spot where the sisters drowned, boulders that hadn’t been there before.
From that time on, the rocks take their toll on those who dare to try and cross the river there. A growing list of those victims who died is added to a growing list by local law enforcements—many fishermen, swimmers, and boaters. Old-timers claim that you can hear moaning over the Potomac during a storm, warning of another impending drowning.
In 1972, when they tried to construct a bridge to span the river, it became interrupted by one of the worse storms ever. Whitecaps surged on the water and lightening struck the spot where the bridge supports were starting to be built. The water surged and swept away the construction framework. Funny thing, the bridge was to be called “Three Sisters Bridge.”
Next time you feel you want to test an Indian curse work, try swimming in the Potomac where three sisters had died.