Letter, Exhibit B, transcription

Mister Carter,

Your letter of April 10th, 1856, is well received and it pleases me, sir, to make your acquaintance in word if not form.

I confess, in my many years of service as a historian at St. Vincent’s Seminary, I have long been absent the pleasure of youthful exuberance and intellectual curiosity. Thus it is with immense gladness in my heart I entertain your question.

Let me first address your uneasy insomnia, which you mentioned in passing. Our Seminary herbologist as agreed to include with this missive no less than 14 drams of Phlegmatic draught as antidote to your nightmares. We Intellectuals typically suffer such phantasms after engaging the ancient world through its remnant artifacts and dead languages. As with you, it was the Cahokians who initially made me uneasy. Whilst their civilization once rivaled that of the Mayans, they were nonetheless a brutal species. Their history easily savages our modern, erudite Psyches with the indelible stain of horror. In this regard, the Cahokians more closely resemble the Aztecs and thus the nightmares are of natural and little consequence.

Now, let us then turn to your original query.

The charcoal rubbings are indeed Cahokian glyphs. As yet, we few Cahokiologists have only ever unearthed 36 glyphs to date. You must understand that the Cahokian people were quite unaccustomed to writing, and the few words they did inscribe in stone or upon leather generally possess meanings that are unavoidably mundane. (Seasons, farming, hunting, and so on — nothing quite so dramatic as the old Sumerian glyphs, I assure you!)

The simulacrums that you sent do bear some remarkable attributes. They were clearly etched with obsidian tools, judging from the crisp edges of the inscriptions. This being so, one can rightfully assume they were carved by the hand of a holy man. Amongst the Cahokians, obsidian was reserved solely for the priestly caste as it was an exotic and rare import from the southern nations. And what is the province of holy men? Gods.

As a Mississippi Plains culture, the Cahokians possessed just a handful of gods, all which were (more or less) benign. However, these new glyphs may actually be related to a heretofore undiscovered deity. In fact, the third glyph in particular bears a passing similarity to the Comanche glyph ‘thoa’, which is the phonemic root of ‘Hathoala’, a god often commended by Comanche shamans for his prowess at healing warriors in battle.

I shall endeavor to study this matter further. In the meantime, perhaps you can locate more of these profound new glyphs? You seem to have a singular talent for succeeding where several of us old hands (such as myself!) have failed.

Without further ado,– adieu!
Br. John Paul Hahn, O.F.M.