Legend Says Ancient Native American Blessing Has Protected Florida City From Hurricanes For Over 100 Years

There's a myth claiming Native American burial grounds have been blessing the Tampa Bay area for over a hundred years.

hurricane ian over florida and tampa sign Ryan haft via Unsplash / lavizzara via Shutterstock / OzricsCartoons via Canva

As Hurricane Idalia approaches Florida's Gulf coast, citizens from the Tampa Bay area watch closely as meteorologists do their best to predict the storm’s path into the Sunshine State.

Despite early predictions suggesting the storm would make landfall in Tampa, everyone in the area is confident that their city is safe from the storm thanks to a Native American blessing that's protected the city from hurricanes for over 100 years.


Legend has it that Native American burial mounds are the reason that the area hasn’t been hit by a hurricane since 1921.

According to the legend, the Native American tribe Tocobaga built burial mounds all across the Tampa Bay area, the largest one resting in what is now known as Safety Harbor in Florida, just 30 minutes from Tampa.



While Florida's Gulf Coast has seen its fair share of hurricanes over the last hundred years, the Tampa Bay area has largely been spared.


tampa hurricane paths from the past 100 yearsPhoto: AccuWeather

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Though there have been recent close calls, with a weakened Hurricane Irma putting the legend to the test in 2017, according to AccuWeather's Chief Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, it wasn't technically a direct hit. "The Tampa International Airport is 25 miles [from where Irma's center was]," Kottlowski has explained, but in order to be considered a direct hit, "passes to within a distance equal to the cyclone's radius of maximum wind," which was 23 miles for Irma, sparing Tampa from a direct hit by just two miles.


Despite all the warnings, Tampa locals are convinced Hurricane Idalia won’t come near them.

Early forecasts predicted Idalia's path would take her directly through Tampa.

early forecast for hurricane idalia pathPhoto: WFTV

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However, many residents scoffed at the idea. In a TikTok video, a man named David explained the genuine sentiment among the locals in the area and why they’re so confident that any storm that comes near them will simply veer off course.

“If you're from the Tampa Bay area, you already understand what I'm about to tell everyone, so you can keep on scrolling,” he starts his video. “There have been ancient spirits that have blessed this land, and the hurricanes will always veer north or south of us, never hit us right on.”



His prediction was that the storm would veer north and make landfall around the panhandle, but made sure to say in the comments that everyone should still make preparations. “It’s all in good fun, anyone who takes these myths ‘seriously’ and doesn’t prepare is making a huge mistake,” he says. “Stay safe!”


But if David wasn’t enough to convince you, AccuWeather interviewed the executive director of the St. Petersburg Museum of History, Rui Farias, who said pretty much the same thing. “That has been our story for nearly a hundred years now. That the hurricanes are heading right for us and just veer off course.”

Whether or not he actually believes it is a different story, but the credibility surrounding the myth continued to grow as the years passed by. “A lot of people say it's the Indian mounds,” Farias replied. “But I don't know.” He added, “I like to believe those things are true, I love that story.”

Though conditions are volatile as with all storms, it appears the legend will continue on another day as Idalia veers north.

In fact, as the storm makes its way closer to the U.S., at the time of writing this, USA Today’s Hurricane Idalia tracker has the storm making landfall in the Big Bend area of Flordia, far north of Tampa toward the panhandle.


However, a hurricane warning has been issued to cities all across the Gulf Coast.

“Everybody on the Gulf Coast from Tampa Bay to northwest Florida must be vigilant,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said. “You're going to see some nasty weather.” Approximately 22 of Florida’s 67 counties have evacuation orders in place.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.