Defunct 8: Somers Mtn Museum of Natural History and Primitive Technology

The Drumbeat of Death

RIP, 2000? (Last site update 1999)

d8b.jpgAs CTMQ readers are acutely aware, I love museums. And I hate when they close – most often due to lack of funding, awareness, and visitations. However, this particular museum may have “had” to go by the wayside. Somehow, “Somers Mountain Museum of Natural History and Primitive Technology” doesn’t really have too much name cache. Yes, the name was their first mistake. Their second was using their spirit guides to somehow make me look fat in this picture.

But there is a part of me that really isn’t too upset at the demise of this place. How can I say that while admittedly not even really knowing what this place was all about? Well, those of you who know me, know that I abhor all types of mysticism, woo-wooism, nonsense, superstition and those who promote such nonsense really bug me. And, it appears, the Somers Mountain Museum of Natural History and Primitive Technology did just that. So the fact that they are no longer in this line of work is not really a huge loss. In fact, it’s a gain in my rational book.


To wit, back in 1999 (the last time this place offered such things), they presented a class called “Shamanic Journeying.” Just what is such a thing? “Shamanic Journeying has long been known as a vehicle for performing healing work and for sojourning and counseling with power animals and spirit guides. We will guide you on a journey to meet your power animal or spirit guide and experience the healing effects of drumming.”

da.jpgOh really. So in three hours one could become adept a “healing” through their “power animal,” “spirit guide,” and some drumming? Riiiight. Oh sure, this stuff is embedded into Native American lore and history… but that hardly makes it viable. It’s cute and quaint and interesting to learn about, but it’s also silly and childish. I’ll give five bucks to anyone who can get through this drivel about the healing power of drums. (My son is sick with strep as I write this, with a 103.7 degree temp. Maybe I should give him a wooden spoon and a pot?)

Oh great, Google has brought me to this place – Where they confuse Reiki (silly non-touching fake healing) with spirit drumming. For the low, low price of 300 bucks, you too can learn the technique! Sigh.

d8c.jpgAnyway, back to our defunct museum. They also offered other – what were I’m sure pretty cool – classes in things like bow-making, edible plant identification, arrow making, and primitive pottery. It also appears they had some Native American displays and interpretive centers. I hope they gave their good/real stuff to other nearby Native American museums… but calls and emails to the former proprietors (made by the local Somers Historical Society a mile away – CTMQ Visit here) have gone unanswered.

All that remains (outside) today is the skeleton of a primitive hut of some sort and a For Sale sign. Oh… and a bunch of people with useless drums banging away. I wonder if they promote drum-banging to cure headache? Ha.


Links of Interest

Their primitive website, with tons of dead links
Wow. Insanity. (From Googling “Drumbeat of Death”)

8 responses to “Defunct 8: Somers Mtn Museum of Natural History and Primitive Technology”

  1. Lise says:

    Reiki and paranormal, silly? My we will have lots to discuss over a good ale later this month, my friend : )
    Perhaps the ghost that comes to our home often, will be around to greet you and as for the reiki.. it does something good. Maybe not physical healing, but ask hospice folks that have received reiki in their last months & days of life. Perhaps its human contact, maybe sharing of energy- who knows. Something is happening for certain. Soothing a soul, maybe.

    But to be able to provide someone in their precious last days with something that calms, soothes and puts a smile on a dying persons face cant be all that “fake”. Just my opinion!

  2. Lizzeee says:

    I grew up in Enfield and I remember this place. Back in the 70′s it housed the collection of Native tools and artifacts of some really old guy who admired the ways of the Native Americans.

  3. Kerri says:

    Okay, I just saw this and find it upsetting. Growing up, I went here many times, but it was called something totally different and just featured Native American artifacts. I was wondering if it still existed and am disappointed that it both went in the woo-wooism direction, and then closed altogether. Dang. I still have a ring I bought from there way back in the day. Now, I am wondering when it switched from plain old museum to this other incarnation.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I grew up in Somers and I remember the Indian Museum run by Jimmy King, filled with Native American artifacts. Mr. King was very old in the 1960′s (or I was very young…) and he had a wealth of information and long, long stories. I recognize the house–the one in the photo with you in it. It Was a fun place to go. Sorry you missed it.

  5. Taryn says:

    I visited the Somers Indian Museum as a kid, probably 1972-is. I wonder what happened to their collection? There’s a great Native Indian museum in Warner, NH called the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum which reminds me of the Somers Indian Museum, only the MKIM is much bigger and more impressive.

  6. Judy says:

    I find this posting to be very sad. With Native American roots, I found this place interesting as a child of the 60′s. I took both if my children there growing up & Barbara was very informative & gave me direction to learning more about my ancestry. My children slept in the teepee over nite after listening to Native American folk lore which housed great memories; my oldest, now 26, actually asked me how to get there to bring her children – she will saddened to find they’re closed. As for you’re comments on natural healing whether herbal or spiritual, drums have been used for 1000′s of years by the Tibetan for healing & have been proven to help (they practice this a couple times a week locally in the Enfield area). It seems your a skeptic who is closed minded & need to focus your energy somewhere else!

  7. Steve says:


    I am always curious when people use “skeptic” as though it’s a negative thing. I am a proud skeptic! Of course, lumping “closed minded [sic]” with “skeptic” is a unfair to me and that hurts MY feelings. A skeptic would simply ask for peer-reviewed evidence for the efficacy of drum therapy. Nothing more, nothing less.

    “Used for 1000′s of years” means nothing to me. Anecdotal stories of drumming in Enfield means nothing.

    Aha! So I just searched around for “peer reviewed evidence for drum therapy efficacy” and lo and behold, there seems to be some “complementary” therapeutic qualities of banging on drums all day, especially as it pertains to alcoholics and drug addicts in Native American and Inuit populations!

    More study is needed, but yes, the hypnotic qualities of repetitive drumming probably does have some therapeutic positive effect – as long as those involved believe it does. Which is tenuous evidence at best.

    So there you are! That’s how skepticism works. But as for most of the links above… Nope. Still woo-woo. They go far beyond the evidence and make wild claims with no evidence to back them up.

  8. Michael Keropian says:

    What a way to find out about the demise of an “indian museum” that touched so many young people. The article would have been better if you could have done a little research on the place. I can’t say what happened after the original owner turned it over to “Somers Mountain Museum of Natural History and Primitive Technology,” but my annual trips as a teenager were very rewarding. I grew up in Manchester and my friend Ken and I would venture over there in the 1970s. We were doing the usual stuff teens did back then and we stumbled upon it one day and went in. We would speak to the old man there and usually buy some moccasins. He was a very nice man and would always try and have a conversation with us reluctant teens about the native people. Sometimes he, (I believe it was James F. King) was dressed in native regalia (usually western plains style). There were a number of exhibits and for the size of the place it was and in some ways still a better indian museum than the one in Foxwoods or the one in NY City, due to the real artifacts this man had collected from around Northeast CT. There are very few if any museums that can boast artifacts from the Native Americans who lived in the Northeast. I think Foxwoods has a rotted dugout canoe from a lake in southern CT. So for the size of the Somers Indian Museum it was pretty nice. I went off to college and some years went by when I didn’t visit. At some point in the early 80′s Ken and I made the time and we went for a visit. James was covered with bandages. He told us some hoodlums came in likely looking for money and roughed him up. This really ticked me off because this man was such a giving individual, he certainly didn’t deserve this. Sad to hear the new owners or managers messed it up.
    Lastly, I believe everyone has the potential to heal another person, in the very least the ability to say a kind word.

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