Thomas Doty – Storyteller


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Turtle Old Man

Jaime de Angulo, in his masterpiece Indian Tales, based the character of Turtle Old Man on his friend William Benson, Pomo basket maker and storyteller.

Jaime wrote about Benson: "A remarkable fellow who is just as interested in glottal catches as I am. We spend hours looking into each other's throats with mirrors and analyzing words and the rest of the cosmos just simply drops out ... he has invented a theory of having two souls, one that keeps the body alive and dies with the body, and the other, that never dies, but goes-a-wandering where you have lived, just as it does during sleep. And he proves it by arguments derived from the velocity of light!"

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The photo shows William Benson in 1936.