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Tomoka’s Carnivorous Pink Cloud in the Woods

Between 1955 and 1966, several people reported encountering a strange pink cloud that hung low to the ground in the woods along the Tomoka River west of Daytona. For years, local kids had told about a strange globe of light that would chase cars on Tomoka Road, but this light doesn’t seem related to the cloud. Usually the cloud was seen in the cooler months by hunters and on at least one occasion by a fisherman on the Tomoka River. It seems plausible that fog would hug the ground in cooler weather and with the right sunlight might reflect a pinkish tinge. The first explanation that comes to mind is that this was chemical pollution of some kind, except in those days this was a rural area without any industrial activity. Sightings of the strange phenomenon developed into a local folk tale that claimed the cloud was carnivorous.

It was blamed for the disappearance of at least a dozen people, although no one can recall their names. This phenomenon occurred in the area of the last Timucuan stronghold as recorded in 1605 by Spanish explorer Alvaro Mexia. One folk story suggests a connection between the pink cloud and an Indian legend about Chief Tomkie who violated local religious practices by seizing a golden cup and drinking from a sacred spring that was said to have healing powers. Was this the Fountain of Youth? Anyway, this offense caused the surrounding tribes to attack Tomkie’s band. However Chief Tomkie was unhurt in the battle. Then a beautiful Indian maiden named Oleeta, drew her bow on the great Tomkie and put an arrow into his heart. She rushed forward and grabbed the golden cup from the Chief’s hand only to be struck down with a poisoned arrow. She was still clutching the sacred cup when she died. Legend has it that the golden cup is still in the possession of Florida Indians at the present time. Allegedly Chief Tomokie’s spirit was compelled to forever wander in the mists of the Tomoka River. I don’t know if the Pink Cloud has anything to do with this legend, but an unusual monument topped with a figure of Chief Tomokie can be seen at the Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach.

Only Their Bones Were Found
I remember two things from growing up in Samsula just south of Tomoka Farms Road. We used to go out that road at night to see the Tomoka light. We’d go at night and sit there for a while watching and then here it would come down the road. It was a glowing red ball of white light. There were also stories of a pink cloud in the woods that would eat the meat off human bodies. Several people disappeared in the woods and only their bones were found. I don’t know how true that is, but I recall seeing the Tomoka light many times as a teenager in the sixties. –Bob

It Would Eat the Flesh Off Your Bones
There’s a lawyer I know that could fill you in more on the Pink Cloud. What it was nobody knows, except it was like a thick pink fog that covered a wide area of the Tomoka forest. Now there are claims that many people vanished in that area and only their bones were found. The pink cloud was blamed for the disappearances and people said it would actually eat the flesh off your bones. –NSB

No One Knows What It Was
The only thing I can tell you about the Tomoka pink cloud is that it would devour your body if you got too close to it. It was not always there but many deer hunters came upon it during deer season. No one knows what it was. Some said it was swamp gas and some said it was old Chief Tomokie protecting his happy hunting grounds. I don’t think anyone has seen it since about 1965. That whole area is now built up with new homes. –Jimbo

They Called it the Cannibal Cloud
They called it the cannibal cloud when I was in school and it was supposed to be pink and would eat the meat off anybody that came in contact with it. It wasn’t swamp gas; it was more like a fog that really didn’t cover but a small area in a low spot. If you go into the woods called the Tiger Bay preserve right near the Tomoka River you might be able to see it. I don’t think you can see it all the time, just certain times of the year when we get a lot of fog. I don’t think there is anything to the cannibal stuff or people disappearing, I think it is just fog that reflects a pinkish color in that area. Most of these newcomers who have moved in don’t know anything about it; you have to talk with people who were around in the sixties to hear about it. –welder2

Weird Florida

 

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