In 1605 two Spaniards searched the secluded canyons of Arizona for a lost treasure; their only lead, an Apache witch. In the days that followed they learned that things aren’t always as they appeared, and not every treasure can be stolen.
The Cave Where the Water Always Drips – article by The Telegraph, Hudson, N.H.
The Cave Where the Water Always Drips, combines legends of treasures and forgotten gold mines with local creation myths. The inspiration for the book stemmed from the folklore surrounding Montezuma’s Well, a flooded sink hole located in Rimrock. “When we first moved to Arizona from Alaska we lived next to the site,” said DeMayo. “I often went there during the full moon and sat on the Well’s rim, listening to the night.”
The Yavapai/Apache creation legend begins there, when someone did something wrongand it flooded, causing everyone to die except ayoung woman named Kamala. The legend states that while the water rose the village united in sealing Kamala in a hollow log so she alone would live.
“There was something very spiritual about that place, and maybe a little dark,” said DeMayo. “Looking down at the moon reflecting in the still water, one naturally asks; what could someone have done that would make their god angry enough to kill all but one? Or what could have been so special about Kamala that they all worked together to save her life—while everyone around them drowned? This story offers a suggestion as to what might have happened to the young girl who had to live alone after everyone died—I believe in every story there is a kernel of truth, and I wanted to explore it.”
DeMayo’s book is based on fictional characters, including the heroine, Jules Collins. Jules lives near modern day Sedona, and has her own reasons for finding “truth” in the creation legend. So does Marcos DeNiza, a manic, Hispanic archaeologist with an interesting map. “I’ve always been obsessed with stories of lost cities and forgotten treasure. While I guided in Sedona I learned most of the local tales and decided to use what I could to help visitors image what might have been here before there was even a town.”
The book contains legends of Spaniards, a lost treasure, and a local gold mine that no one has found in modern times, “A pioneer from Tucson supposedly rediscovered it, but then got shot. And then in 1910 one of Sedona’s first pioneers, Bear Howard, came across it, but couldn’t find it again. The reason it was so illusive was it was in a box canyon with a hidden entrance—a theme which is a common with a lot of the local legends.”
DeMayo added, “The Spanish were in the area long before the pioneers, and people still come across Spanish suits of armor, helmets and other treasures. In nearby Sycamore Canyon, a man found a large bell made of solid silver—which was mysteriously gone when he returned. And there are plenty of stories of old time residents who paid for everything with gold, but never talked. If you look closely, those connections are everywhere. I work with a man named Richard Perez, who is co-owner of Trailhorse Adventures. His ancestor came into this area as the cartographer of the Espejo Expedition in 1582.
Essentially, DeMayo has been researching this book, one way or another, throughout his adult life. “We are all searching for something. For answers that are clear and easy to read. I left home at twenty and for a year and a half traveled through Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Far East. I crawled through any ruin I could find, and made my way to wilderness areas and National Parks everywhere like a magnet. The entire time my head was filled with questions.”
“Does the cave really exist?” said DeMayo. “I don’t know. I also don’t know if someone could get pregnant from a drop of water hitting their forehead. For that matter, could someone turn water into wine, or raise people from the dead? You’ve got to decide for yourself, and latch onto whatever plausible explanation works for you. But as far as Kamala is concerned, I believe something happened or they wouldn’t be still retelling the legend.”