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Hanging Rock

Wabash County Legends and Folklore
The Legend of Hanging Rock

Silurian seas covered the area more than 400 million years ago and marine reefs were formed in the Midwest. Reef remnants, known as Klintar, can be seen as hills and mounds in the valley between Huntington County and Miami County. More spectacular are the exposed Silurian limestone formations of "Hanging Rock" near Lagro, and the "Big Four" cut at Wabash, both in Wabash County.

"Hanging Rock" is a huge out-cropping of limestone, one hundred feet in height, overhanging the Wabash River near the mouth of the Salamonie River near Lagro. The top is somewhat rounded by erosion, and part of one side has been torn away by the river. At the summit is a flat a space some twenty feet square which commands a broad outlook over the river and valley below. Many young people now climb the same pathway to the top which Miami Indian braves and maidens climbed many years before them.

Wy-nu-sa was a beautiful Miami Indian maiden who thought she was in love with two handsome, strong, and stalwart Indian braves. Both of the young men were deeply in love with the beautiful maiden. However, Wy-nu-sa wasn't able to decide which Indian brave she wanted to marry, so to the two young suitors she said, "You two young men will have to fight a duel at the top of Hanging Rock at a certain time which I will set. The brave which wins the fight may marry me, but the brave which loses the duel will be plunged to his death in the swirling waters of the river below the rock." The two young men agreed to the plan and a moonlit night was scheduled for the duel. On the appointed night the two young Indians climbed to the top of Hanging Rock to fight for the love of the Indian maiden, Wy-nu-sa. The Indian maiden climbed to the top also and stood in the background to watch the fight. Secretly she loved one of the Indian braves more that the other, but she wouldn't admit this fact to anyone, not even to herself. The battle raged on until finally one brave fell over the edge of the rock and plunged to his death below. In Indian brave who was the victor came over to Wy-nu-sa to claim her as his bride. When she saw the brave she screamed, "I do not love you! You have killed my own true love. I cannot live without him!" With this exclamation the Indian maiden ran to the edge of the rock and jumped off into the water.

The Miami Indians believe she is now with her true lover in The Happy Hunting Grounds. The tragic story of Hanging Rock has also been put in the form of a ballad by Stormy Sellers, which gives a somewhat different version.

The Ballad of Hanging Rock
~by Stormy Sellers
Come all you romance lovers, come listen while I tell
The fate of poor Wy-nu-sa, a fair young Indian belle

Way down in Indiana, where Wabash waters glide
There stands a lonely boulder high on the river side

There lived an Indian maiden Wy-nu-sa was her name
A lovely woodland flower with cheeks of wild rose flame

She had a fond young lover, a warrior true and bold
A gay and dashing hunter who loved this maid of old

One night as late they lingered in love dreams there alone
The lovers' moon was shining down on the hanging stone

A jealous hearted rival stole down the river side
There slew Wy-nu-sa's lover and hurled him in the tide

With cries of bitter anguish, in her wild grief and woe
The brokenhearted maiden leaped in the stream below

There with her own true lover in tender love and pride
In all her youthful beauty the fair Wy-nu-sa died

For many years no lovers would venture there alone
For since Wy-nu-sa perished there it is a haunted stone

They say when skies are dreary, and Wabash waters sigh
When the lovers' moon smiles wanly, they hear her mournful cries

When fireflies light the waters, and ghostly shadows glow
They see a phantom maiden leap in the stream below

So! Come you romance lovers, my story now is told
You've heard the Indian legend of this fair maid of old

If on some lonesome evening, you venture there alone
You may see the Indian maiden leap from the hanging stone

The above information is from "Miami Indian Stories" by Chief Clarence Godfroy.