Lives of the Desert Shamans
By Nicholas Clapp
"Tribes roaming the deserts of the far West heeded their shamans; their old magic could conjure rains, bring luck to a hunt, doctor illnesses." Read more about this book below. (Soft Cover 232 pages 7" X 9")
For a thousand generations, desert shamans of the far West sought order in the stars and in the mysteries and wonder of their grand, if unforgiving landscape. When summoned, they doctored the stricken, be they stoic elders or frightened little children. They conjured rains. Taking leave of reality, they rode whirlwinds and soared in magical flight. They epitomized a Native American ability “to relate to the land in ways beyond a Western way of thinking.”
They’re gone now. But there remain telling accounts of how, day-to-day, they lived: how omens foretold a shaman’s destiny, how he learned his craft, how he could exercise his power for both
good and evil. How a shaman could travel to the land of the dead and (hopefully) return.
Drawing on the lore of a dozen tribes, Old Magic conjures the year-to-year life of a shaman – a life of service to his people, a life fraught with torment and danger, a life often taking a man or woman to the edge of madness.
About the Author
Documentary filmmaker and author Nicholas Clapp has studied and filmed the deserts of the world. With a master’s degree in cinema from the University of Southern California, his first professional break came when he produced and directed The Great Mojave Desert, a one-hour special for CBS and the National Geographic Society. Two more American desert documentaries followed, The Haunted West and The Animals Nobody Loved. Over the years he has worked for David L. Wolper, the Walt Disney Company, Columbia Pictures, and all three networks and PBS – always finding the knack for winding up in deserts, from Tierra del Fuego to the High Arctic of Ellesmere Island, which though a deep freeze, meets a desert’s climatological criteria. He roamed the Sahara and the Rub’ al-Khali, Arabia’s “Empty Quarter.” It was while there filming endangered oryx for the World Wildlife Fund, that he heard of Ubar, a lost city of the sands, which led to an expedition that discovered the ancient site, until then believed to be mythical. Writing a book about this discovery prompted a shift from filmmaking to archaeology.
He spent later years excavating at Petra in Jordan, months in Israel, Syria, Ethiopia and Yemen researching his second book on the myth and reality of the biblical Queen of Sheba. It was this same queen that led him to the Death Valley area to find out more about the Queen of Sheba Mine. That led to his last book, a look into one of the characters of the Last Frontier and his mysterious death, Who Killed Chester Pray?
Months of scouring libraries while he searched for information about Chester Pray led to the discovery of how many rare photographs actually existed about the Last Frontier of America. With the detailed eye of a cinematographer, Clapp has noted the most exacting details in each of the photographs selected for this book and a last look at life on this Last Frontier.
More Books by Clapp
Western Death Valley
Western Death Valley
Panamint, Saline, and Eureka Valleys by Michel Digonnet
Mojave National Preserve
Hiking the Mojave Desert Natural and Cultural Heritage of Mojave National Preserve
Mojave Road Guide
New Revised 4th Edition