Pinellas Point Mound

August 31, 2019 – St. Petersburg

Case information:  Sylvanius Walker was an amateur archaeologist who discovered this mound in the 1870s. The site originally held a 25 foot tall platform mound which, when used byu the tribe, would have served as a center for cultural life. There was a 30-foot-long shell and sand ramp that went from the mound to the bay as well. 

The site was designated a local landmark in 2003. To preserve the area, the Greater Pinellas Point Civic Association worked to study, secure, and protect the site with a management plan started in 2010.

The mound is approximately 1,000 years old was occupied by the Tocobagan tribe until the area was disrupted by contact with Spanish explorers. The most significant story for Florida dates to 1528, when a sailor by the name of Juan Ortiz, part of a search party for the missing Narváez expedition, was shipwrecked in the area. His three companions were killed on sight by the angry natives, but Ortiz pleaded for his life. He was at the mercy of the tribal leader who was upset with the bloody tactics of Narváez. The sailor was saved from death by a beautiful Tocobaga princess, the chief’s daughter, Hirrihigua. Ortiz learned their ways, language, and dress. When Hernando de Soto landed in the area in May 1539, Ortiz was taken back by the Spanish to tell his tale. De Soto used Ortiz to mediate a truce so that the Spanish could pass through the area,. 

According to legend, Walker found various artifacts and some Native American burials there. There are claims of human remains removed from the mound in the 1880s; however, a recent archaeological expedition did not find evidence to support this.  Instead, the mound appears to be a trash mound, created from the discarded shells of mollusks that were the primary food supply for Natives in this reason. The mound may have also contained a temple at the top. 

The SPIRITS did an investigation of the mound in the early 2000s.   During the investigation, at least one woman reported sensing a Native American spirit in the area, which she believed wandered from the midden and into her home, which is located near the site.  When the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg went out to investigate, we did get some low level EMF from the mound, but no spiritual activity was forthcoming. 

One native of the area recalled hearing stories from the houses surrounding the midden site.  Her friends, then children and  teenagers, said that strange things happened at home.  One specific site was pointed out during the 2019 mound investigation and was approximately 2 houses away from the mound. 

Prior to the investigation, another woman reported sensing a female spirit as well as children spirits playing in the area. 

INVESTIGATION August 31, 2019

Notes from the investigation: 

The mound has significantly changed since one member was there in the early 2000s.  Another person remembered the mound in the same way:  more of a hill with grass, a single path leading from one side of the mound and a steep incline on the other side.  Two others remembered the mound as it is at present from a visit they made a year ago.  The biggest difference was the addition of a path and the removal of a large banyan tree from the base of the mound.

Reports of a female presence meeting one of our members at the entrance.

Multiple reports of chills.  When we first arrived at the site, the temperature was reading 82 – 83.  By the time we left (1 hour later) it was reading 88 – 90 degrees.

One member of the group walked through an area that was cold “as if someone was standing there with a freezer door open”.  

One member reported feeling an intense calming feeling on the top of the mound.  This feeling diminished as we walked around the bottom of the mound. 

We did have EMF spikes at the top of the mound when we brought up the names of Hirrihigua and Ortiz.  We tested these names again and got spikes.  A second and third session attempting to test for spikes corresponding with these names produced no results.  

At the bottom of the mound, two members described a prior visit where they had powerful interactions with a shaman spirit near a spot where a banyan tree was (now removed).  The area with the tree they thought corresponded to a fire pit and a shamanic area, plus a work area for women with clay pots.  The shamanic energy was angry that things had been changed.

We attempted two EVP sessions.  When I asked if there was a message to pass on, one member heard “peace”.  It was likely “peace with the land”.

When we asked if the entity/ies remembered any of us (all but one had been to the mound before) the EMF meter spiked on the name “Steve” (one of the people present).  

An attempt was made to ask questions in Spanish in case it was Ortiz or any of the Spanish explorers that were in the area.  

Articles from local resources:

Pinellas Point Temple Mound by Clio

St. Petersburg Native American Indian Mounds by Northeast Journal

Pinellas Point Mound by Wikipedia

City Planning to $750,000 to preserve Indian mounds by St. Petersburg Times

Pinellas Point Temple Mound by Explore Southern History

The History of Princess Hirrihigua by Historical Marker Database

A Well Preserved Florida Shell Mound in St. Petersburg by Mother Earth News

History of St. Petersburg Pink Streets

Google Books, page 58 History of Pinellas Peninsula

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