Louis L'Amour-Noted Western Author
Cover by Cliff Brycelea
When I read a book that I really enjoy. I often wonder about the Author. What was he/she like. What peaked their interest that made them want to write this story. I read books by Louis L’Amour quite often. I really enjoy his writing style, especially once he settled into writing Westerns. One of my long standing favorite books written by Mr. L’Amour is The Haunted Mesa.
The Haunted Mesa
The Haunted Mesa was written in 1987 by Louis L’Amour. He dedicated the book to Gilbert and Charlotte Wenger. This is where I was introduced to the idea that kivas were where and how the Anasazi Indians came into this world from another world.
The main character of this book is Mike Ragland. Mike is an international celebrity. He uncovers the history of strange events, studies phenomena ignored by science and although an acknowledged skeptic, he closes his mind to nothing.
He gets this letter from a friend Erik Hokart. In the letter Erik sounds badly frightened and there was no man he had ever known who was more cool, concise and self-sufficient than Erik. The letter is hastily scrawled and contains a desperate plea for help. Erik has bought this mesa. It is called No Man’s Mesa. He is going to building a house on it. It is a mesa in the Navajo Mountains. It was almost ten miles long and some two thousand feet high, the last three hundred to five hundred feet are sheer rock.
Mike goes to meet Erik only to find that Erik and his dog, Chief, are missing.
This is the letter he received.
“For God’s sake, come at one!
I need you. Mike, if ever I need anyone. If it’s money. I’ll pay,
but come! And be careful. Trust no one. No one at all.
Meet me on the Canyon road, you know the one. If I am not
there, for God’s sake, find me!
If anyone can handle this it will be you. I am sending the
record as far as it goes. Get us out of this. Mike, and
I’ll be forever indebted.”
Check your local library
Mike meets some very interesting people and takes a chilling trip in his search to find Erik and Chief. Does Mike find Erik and Chief? And what does his life work have to do with his friend Erik? Check the book; The Haunted Mesa, out from your local library.
Vintage Postcard of Mesa Verde
I was first introduced to the Anasazi Indians in The Haunted Mesa. Later, on a trip to five canyons for a physical science trip I learned more about the Anasazi‘s and Mesa Verde. Was it the connection between the Mesa Verde and the Anasazi Indians that drew Louis L’Amour to write The Haunted Mesa?
Education of a Wandering Man
I was given this next book at a convention by a fellow reader. It is called Education of a Wandering Man, a memoir by Louis L’Amour. Louis L’Amour is a storyteller. He has been a hobo, a cattle skinner, a merchant seaman, and an itinerant bare-knuckled prize fighter. He has had a lifelong love affair with learning from books, experience, wandering, and people. They have shaped him into a storyteller and a man. He took that love of learning, the talent of storytelling and became an awe inspiring writer.
Education of a Wandering Man was written by Louis L‘Amour, but not published until 1989 a year after his death.
Louis L’Amour uses quotes like this one by Will Durant to express his love for books. “A book is a friend that will do what no friend does - be silent when we wish to think.”
Portrayal of the Old West
In hopes of an honest portrayal of the Old West Mr. L’Amour would ride his horse, later his four wheel and hike around the countryside of the area in which he was writing. He would state “that he walked the land his characters walk.” He would study maps and read as many as thirty books a year on the Old West and the areas. He would study the plants for if one of his characters should get wounded he wanted him to treat his wounds with what was available. He would crawl into crevasses and around ruins in a wish to check out as many things as possible.
The twain shall meet
It appears from the book Education of a Wandering Man that Mr. L’Amour was fascinated with Mesa Verde and the Anasazi’s. The following is some paragraphs regarding the book; The Haunted Mesa found in Education of a Wandering Man.
Education of a Wandering Man
Quote from Education of a Wandering Man
“In Colorado we visited Mesa Verde and its Anasazi ruins again and again, learning a little more each time. At least twice we were present at Illuminaria, where the rooms of Cliff Palace were lighted at night by candles.
We arrived shortly before dark and were in place before the candles were lighted. We had with us our friends Charlie Daniels, the country-western singer, and Cliff Brycelea, the Navajo artist whose painting is featured on the cover of my book The Haunted Mesa. Cliff commented that what we were seeing must have been much what it was like when inhabited. From down the canyon came eerie music - bagpipes, I believe - but far enough away to provide a sense of added weirdness to the scene.
As the candles burned down, those of us who had brought flashlights helped to guide others through the narrow trails and up the steep stairways. I believe if the ghosts of the Anasazi linger among those dwellings, they would have been pleased to see them lighted once again. It was a hauntingly beautiful sight that remains with me still.”
Later, Louis and his wife Kathy had the privilege to sleeping in one of the kivas on the cliffs. He said that he did not sleep, but regretted the coming of daylight although ready for breakfast.
Book Lovers Be Aware
His interest in Mesa Verde and the Anasazi Indians is only a part of the story The Haunted Mesa, but his love for the their story is strong. His storytelling abilities reached me. If you are a historical fiction lover or even a biographical lover you will enjoy both of these books. They are vintage books with a timeless message.
Chapin Mesa Headquarter, Mesa Verde National Park
The Chapin Mesa Headquarters in Mesa Verde National Park has an Annual Holiday Open House where there are luminarias, musical entertainment and refreshments. The open house is free. The number is 970-529-4608. It usually takes place in December and you are asked to dress warmly and bring a flashlight.