James T. McCafferty is a lawyer and award-winning writer who grew up in the Mississippi Delta
Mississippi governor James K. Vardaman received in 1907 a most unusual letter. Its author, described by one newspaper account as “Professor Clinton McMickle,” was seeking a map of “the Delta country.”
Quite a tale lay behind his request.
Blending ancient Greek myths with the Genesis creation narratives and modern geography, “Professor” McMickle theorized that Poseidon, the Greek sea god, was identical with Adam, the biblical progenitor of the human race, and that the Mississippi Delta was both the biblical Eden and the Atlantis of Plato’s writings. Atlantis and the Delta were the same size, he believed, and both were islands. The Delta, after all, was surrounded by waters – rivers to the east and west, and the Yazoo Pass to the north. The Pass, in McMickle’s hypothesis, was an ancient canal cut by Adam’s son, Seth.
Within this greater Delta “Eden” – specifically, in Yazoo County – lay the smaller Garden of Eden. No doubt Willie Morris would have agreed with that characterization of his childhood haunts. The Lake George Indian Mound Group – visible today from Mississippi Highway 433 between Satartia and Holly Bluff –marked the Garden’s approximate location. McMickle was confident that below those mounds, far beneath geologic debris left by Noah’s flood, lay the ancient City of Poseidon, including a golden temple. Noah had built his ark in the Delta, too, according to McMickle, the biblical “gopher wood” of which he constructed the vessel being none other than the Delta’s ubiquitous bald cypress!
McMickle hoped “to organize a stock company for the purpose of making extensive excavations” to find the lost City of Poseidon, but the investors never came forward. McMickle, it turned out, was no professor at all, but an informally educated farmer with an active imagination who lived in a log cabin near Chetopah, Kansas. McMickle died in 1931, never having received a map from Gov. Vardaman and never having excavated the Lost City of Poseidon. If McMickle was correct, the buried City with its temple of gold remains to this day beneath the surface of Yazoo County awaiting someone with the vision dig it up.
James T. McCafferty is a lawyer and award-winning writer who grew up in the Mississippi Delta and now resides in McComb. He is the author of many magazine and newspaper articles, two children’s books about Delta bear hunter Holt Collier, and the full-length The Bear Hunter: The Life and Times of Robert Eager Bobo in the Canebrakes of the Old South. For more information see his website: www.canebrakes.com.
copyright 2017 James T. McCafferty