For those of you who enjoy finding interesting facts mixed into the fiction of a novel, you might like to know how Chaco Canyon and Pueblo Indian ancestors helped inspire my paranormal thriller STRUCK. I'll offer one instance as today's blog.
First, a clarification: My novels are not meant to inform or provide historical accuracy. I write paranormal fiction to entertain readers who want to leave the real world to enter the ones I create.
But there is fact in my fiction. A fascinating detail that needed no "bending" to fit into the fictional world of STRUCK is the sun dagger high up on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon.
A thousand years ago, Ancestral Puebloans (often referred to as Anasazi) created the sun dagger. It was re-discovered in the late seventies, and it reveals the detailed knowledge this ancient civilization possessed regarding solar and lunar cycles.
There are two petroglyph spirals, a major one and a minor one, pecked into the rock on Fajada Butte. Three stone slabs allow slivers of sunlight to fall on the spirals and precisely mark seasons. On the summer solstice, a dagger of light bisects the main spiral. On the winter solstice, two sun daggers flank the outer spiral. On the equinoxes--spring and fall--a sun dagger bisects the minor spiral. Moonlight also passes between the pillars to mark lunar cycles, including an 18 1/2 year lunar cycle that I daresay many people today aren't aware of.
modified public domain sketch
In my thrillers, as in many thrillers, there's a "ticking clock," something that makes the characters (please pardon the upcoming cliché) race against time to save the day. In STRUCK, the ticking clock is an ancient sundial on Fajada Butte.
A sad fact not mentioned in the novel is that the interest in the sun dagger since its rediscovery resulted in much traffic up Fajada Butte. The traffic caused erosion and led to minor settling of the stone slabs. Minor settling was all it took to destroy the precision of this ancient and fascinating timepiece.
If interested, find out more here: http://www.exploratorium.edu/chaco/HTML/fajada.html