Imagine that you’re at a dance doing your thing, but suddenly get a weird feeling that something has changed in the room.
The mood has gone quiet.
You look around and spot a mysterious woman walking slowly, and she is absolutely turning everyone’s heads.
There are whispers and stares as she passes. Even though it’s the last song of the night, nobody seems to have seen her before now.
She is incredibly beautiful, with long black hair and deep brown eyes that have a flash of wildness to them.
Her long dress sways effortlessly as she dance steps across the floor, towards a young man on the sidelines. He can’t believe his eyes but it’s true, this gorgeous woman has stretched out her arms towards him with upturned palms, inviting him to dance with her.
He is the lucky one. All the other men in the room are frozen in jealousy as the two dance in time to the music.
The whole room is staring in a hypnotized state.
But then a scream cuts through the crowd. It’s from a young boy who has a look of terror on his face. He is pointing to the mysterious woman, or more specifically the bottom of her dress.
“She has no feet!” he yells, and suddenly all eyes in the room are scanning for her feet. But none are there.Instead, beneath the hem of her dress are the hooves of a deer.
The woman has stopped dancing, in fact she has frozen in place, except for her eyes darting here and there.
“DEER WOMAN!” comes a shout from the back of the crowd.
“It’s Deer Woman! It’s Her!” comes another shout.
Slowly the crowd closes in on the woman, not daring to make any quick moves and hardly believing what they are seeing anyway.
Her eyes continue to dart around until –BANG– she makes a run for the double doors under the glowing exit sign. Those who saw it say that she seemed to bound up and down instead of truly running.
After feeling stunned for a moment a few of the men in the group start chasing after her. But when they cross the double doors they find that she has disappeared without a trace.
The young man she had chosen for the dance is still standing in the middle of the dance floor.
Yes, ever since he was a child he’d heard the story of Deer Woman told by the elders in his family. But he never thought any of it could be true, and never heeded any of the lessons.
Now he sees how close he came to losing his mind. It was Deer Woman, and if he had followed her home he might have even lost his soul.
TALE OF THE DEER WOMAN
I first heard the story of Deer Woman while listening to an audiobook of old stories from the Lakota Native American Tribe.
It is called The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons For Living by Joseph M. Marshall III. I highly recommend it especially the audiobook version as it’s read by the author himself with real feeling.
I had my headphones in and I heard the Deer Woman story while I was falling asleep, drifting in and out of reality.
Some of the scenes from the story were so vivid in my mind that they seemed absolutely real, even though the weren’t.
And that is how the Deer Woman is, she blurs the line between what is real and what is only illusion, and uses that strategy to steal the soul of men.
Tales of Deer Woman have been told by many different Native American tribes for as long as anyone can remember.
Different tribes have different versions of the story, but generally it goes that Deer Woman appears to hunters who are out alone, especially when a hunter is tired or things are not going well.
Her lodge will mysteriously show up nearby. She will walk out of the lodge and the hunter will see that she is the most beautiful woman there ever was. Then she will smile understandingly and invite the hunter inside the lodge to warm up by the fire and drink tea.
If the hunter stays the night at Deer Woman’s lodge he will never be the same.
When he wakes up he will be lying alone in the field, no trace of the lodge or Deer Woman to be found.
But he is changed, his mind is now obsessed with Deer Woman and his whole being is bent on finding her again. He forgets his family, he forgets his friends, he even forgets himself.
In the words of Joseph M. Marshall III:
“Such a man goes looking for her, he tells himself that he must find her.
But what he is really looking for is his spirit, because she has taken it from him.“
He is forever restless.
If a man can see Deer Woman and turn away from her though, he will gain new strength and good luck, he will be different than his peers and rise above them.
DEER WOMAN STORIES OF TODAY
But what about Deer Woman stories modern day times?
Most men don’t go hunting anymore, so you would expect Deer Woman stories to have died off. And yes it’s true that they are not as common as they used to be.
But Deer Woman stories are still going despite the changing times.
Instead of a mysterious lodge appearing in hunting grounds, Deer Woman will be a hitchhiker on the side of the road, or sitting in a corner at the bar, or a gorgeous stranger at a pow-wow.She will be incredibly, hypnotically beautiful. The only way to tell that it is her is to look closely at her feet.
Below the hem of her skirt instead of human feet she will have the hooves of a deer, thus giving away her true nature.
For the man who follows her home he will wake up alone, and just like in the old stories he will have lost his mind. And spend his life wasting away while looking for Deer Woman.
I think Deer Woman is an interesting character, especially since stories of her have survived since old times and are evolving into modern day.
I will be collecting Deer Woman stories from now on so if you’ve heard of any Deer Woman stories email me or post in the comments below!
Thank you, happy you liked the story!
Love it! I had never heard of this specific legend before, just some of the more modern variants.
Nice to hear from you and glad you liked the story. Modern variants…I want to hear them! I think Deer Woman is a fascinating character.
There’s a lot of different portrayals of her depending on different traditions and cultures.
The stories range from showing her as a completely evil predator all the way to her being a victim who simply wants justice. Though the version of her shown in this story seems to be the most widely accepted one.
Another interesting part of Deer Woman stories is the “check the feet” aspect of them.
I have heard some stories from different parts of the world where you are supposed to check the feet of someone (which people usually do too late) to see if a person is actually a certain evil character.
If I remember right there is a particularly eerie one from India where a ghost or creature masquerading as a person will have backwards feet, which nobody notices unless they are specifically checking. Eek!
Like Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption…
“I mean, really, how often do you look at a man’s shoes?”
Wow! I’ve actually only heard bits and pieces of Deer Woman, but I’ve never read anything like this. I’ve mainly heard about the modern variants, and how she takes men’s souls, and they feel like they are to never fall in love again. But this was truly awesome to learn all about the past and how it came to be. Thank you Anita!
Thanks ForestBorn! I’m happy that you liked the Deer Woman story.
I want to look into this modern variant that you are talking about. It’s interesting to me that the end result is that the men never fall in love again, rather than like in the traditional story where they abandon all responsibilities or lose their minds.
If only I didn’t have to sleep then I could read all the stories and do all the research I want LOL.
There is a mention of Deer Woman in the Doors song, “The Soft Parade.”
“Deer Woman in a silk dress.
Girls with beads around their necks
kiss the hunter in the green vest.”
Jim Morrison was famously obsessed with Native Americans. As a big Doors fan, I always wondered who Deer Woman was. Now I know. Thanks for the great story!
Hi L.A. Woman,
Thank you for sharing that, I had no idea Deer Woman was in a Doors song! That is so cool.
Looking at the lyrics it made me wonder if Jim Morrison was writing that from the ‘inside’ of the experience or as an outside observer of “Deer Woman” with a “hunter” in the green vest.
After some quick research it seems like a lot of the imagery he wrote in the song The Soft Parade was inspired by the interesting characters he saw walking on Sunset Boulevard.
So it sounds like he saw that the Deer Woman experience was alive and well in his surroundings.
Beth!! Great to hear from you, how have you been?