In reading the excerpt of the diary, it is important to keep in mind that we are only getting a faint view or second hand retelling of what may have been happening among the Cherokee.
March 8, 1812: . . . because there was another earthquake shock last night, Mother Vann [mother-in-law of Peggy Vann] talked with us another time about this occurrence; . . . she told us that new lies are being broadcast among the Nation. Namely, that it has been revealed to one Indian by God that there would be an intense darkness and that it would last three days; during which all the white people would be snatched away as well as all Indians who had any clothing or household articles of the white man’s kind, together with all their cattle.
Therefore, they should put aside everything that is similar to the white people and that which they had learned from them, so that in the darkness God might not mistake them and snatch them away with the former. He who does not believe this will die at once together with all his stock. This had already hap¬pened to one Indian. Mother Vann added that in fact many are already doing away with their household articles and clothing, but she had offered to buy one item or another from them just to show them that she did not pay any attention to the lies. We see only too clearly for what this evil enemy is aiming: this cunning spirit does not mean in any way the outward garb of the poor heathen but their change of heart. He wants to warn them against the teaching of the white people of Jesus, the crucified, their only rightful Lord and Master, in order that he might keep them securely fettered in his chains. We find for that reason much need to plead very urgently to our good Lord that He might destroy very soon this new strategem of the Devil and in general his work in this land. In addition, the false prophets pretend to have seen ugly and terrifying appearances of God. Johnston [a pupil at the mission school] said that in his neighborhood there was also the talk that a new earth would come into being in the Spring, but he did not pay attention to their absurd talking and was glad that he had heard the truth here and knew now what to believe.