So recognizable was the figure of the snake, that some early visitors “knew instantly” that they could explain exactly what the Serpent Mound was about, conforming it to their own specific cultural traditions. Dr. Brad Lepper offers a prime example:

The epitome of that is the Reverend Landen West, who right around 1900, saw the serpent, this magnificent serpent, with what he thought was something in the serpent’s jaws, and he said, “This isn’t just any serpent. This is the serpent of the Garden of Eden with the apple in its mouth, and this was built by God to mark the location of Eden.” Now Adams County is a beautiful, beautiful natural environment, but I think the notion that it’s the Garden of Eden is telling us a lot more of what was on the Reverend West’s mind, than what was in the mind of the people who built it originally.

Serpent Mound



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