The following is part of an edited version of a rambling tale of Zora Machamer and her rescue by her future husband, George Clark.I am a desecendant of the Clarks of Nippenose Valley, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania and wonder who is this George Clark?The article make reference to George and Zora's descendants.Who were their children?
HOW ZORA MANCHAMER ELUDED THE VAMPIRE OF RAUCH’S GAP
by Henry Shoemaker
The"Indians’ white adopted daughter Zora Machamer. The Indians’ story of the girl’s past sounded "fishy" to say the least. Her mother, on her way to North Carolina had taken sick and been brought to the Cherokees’ camp by her husband, where she had died.
The husband and father anxious to push on and join his party of explorers, gave Zora to the chief’s squaw as "payment in full for services rendered;" however, she had most likely been kidnapped in an Indian raid. The child grew up among her adopted family, dainty beautiful, small and dark, with clear-cut features, and dark eyes. She was shy and retiring, but on the "pleasant side." Yet, she showed no desire to take up with any of the Clark, Shaw, Rauch, and Metzger boys who occasionally visited the camp and shot mark with the other Indians. The rumor was that she was promised as a wife to a great chief, the nuptials to be celebrated near Pittsburgh on her eighteenth birthday.
It was nothing but a bad case of superstition and witchcraft fright, caused by the story of the vampire or cannibal ghosts so long a part of the folklore of the tribe that frighted the Indians of the area. Such doomed spirits crept into the lodges and the cabins at night and during sleep sucked the blood and ate the flesh of the victims. Yet they remain invisible except in daytime they too the form of ravens. The Indians felt that Zora was apparently suffering from attacks from these creatures and they became afraid to remain in the house, for fear others might be attacked. They felt they must abandon the girl to her fate, as once the foul enemy tasted her blood, and liked the quality of it, would follow her to the ends of the earth, and when she was sucked dry, select a fresh victim for his terrible appetite. Or there might be several vampires that would select others of the group to for their torturing.
Recently the ravens had been putting on some flying circuses in the air, indicating that the sable birds were up to something. They were performing high dives while flying aloft by holding one wing close to the body. As the birds fell to a lower level , they turned a somersault in the descent, probably done for amusement, but to the superstitious Indians and others, it was a sign of coming malevolent activity.
As Zora became weaker, and her natural white face pastier, the Indians made signs to one another. While she slept one evening, they pulled out and made away in the direction of the south, traveling as far as they could the first days by the Karoondinah, thence to the Frankstown Path, to put as great a distance as possible between them and the unhappy vampire victim. Zora awoke the next morning to an empty house, no playful song of children, or baking of Lenni-chums or Indian dogs. Soon she realized she was alone; perhaps all had gone for hunt, but why were the papooses absent? She was too shaky to rise and investigate. Her voice crying for help soon failed her. Thirsty and weak, all she could do was wait. Day passed into night, and a second day followed. The third morning three young fox hunters interested in the stillness of the place knocked at the door. They were George Clark, Joe Green, and Jess Raunch. She said ‘please come in’ in a weak voice, but they heard her, and in the dim light beheld a living skeleton, once the beautiful Zora Manchmer lying among a mussed-up covering of buffalo hides. She was able to tell them that she had been left alone for at least two or three days and nights, had been too weak to get even a drink of water. She had grown weaker and would have soon died if they had not come. George Clark unslung his flask of appplejack and poured it down her shriveled throat; some color immediately came into her cheeks. They started a fire and warmed some water to make mountain tea, and to wash her. After she had the warming beverage, and a few pieces of deer meat with corn pudding, they washed her4 face and hands, and somehow she felt relieved. The boys picked her up and carried her to the Metzger home at Rauchtown, where, with the tireless care of the women of the town, she gradually became herself. The girl’s peaked bloodless face indicated there must be something in the brukelak, or vampire theory, about the Ravenmockers.
Dr. Fullerton, of Jersey Shore, found her body covered with a tick and flea bites innumerable. Some festering sores made it seem to him as if she had accidentally sat on a thorn bush, but he still had the opinion that the "raven" had pecked those holes in her soft, smooth flesh; or some other invisible blood-suckers had done the damage. Zora, however, could recollect nothing. All had been done while she slept, she was sure. The three moutain boys who brought her from the living death in the cabin were assiduous in their attentions. She preferred George Clark, the first of the three she saw at the door, and by spring, they were married and went to live with his parents at the old posting house on White Deer Mountain.
It said their blood still exists in the beautiful Valley of Nippenose. The log cabin where this adventure occurred stood until the WPA reconditioned Ravensburge Park about 1933, when they tore it down, and even cut down the gum tree that hung over the door, and gnarled, twisted, old black-topped white pine which stood in the garden.
An old squaw on her death bed, trembling admitted that she had fallen in love with Zora, and to keep herself sound and supple, night after night put a goose quill into the girls flesh and sucked her blood as she slept, until tribual fears made the Cherokees move on, and her sustenence withdraw, could find no other "blood bank" she quickly relapsed into an aged, shriveled old woman again. When she died, the self-exiled tribesmen left her un-buried in a desert place for the wolves and vultures to feed on. Long were their regrets that it was too late to return to Rauch’s Gap, but the ravens were vindicated at long last, despite the evil ways of some of them.