Thursday, July 18, 2002

Woman arrested while praying at ancient Indian mound

By The Associated Press

        NEWARK, Ohio - A woman who says she must “touch the earth” while praying has pleaded innocent to charges she trespassed at an ancient Indian mound.

        Barbara Crandell, 73, who is of Cherokee ancestry, was arrested June 26 at the Octagon Earthworks, built about 1,650 years ago by the Hopewell Indians.

        The complex is owned by the Ohio Historical Society and leased to the private Moundbuilders Country Club.

        Visitors are supposed to view the site from a wooden stand near the parking lot or from a short trail that borders one side of the course.

        Ms. Crandell of Thornville was praying on a mound near the 10th fairway.

        The country club says the restrictions are because of safety concerns.

        Ms. Crandell wasn't impressed by the efforts at compromise.

        ““When I go there to pray, I need to touch the earth,” she said.

        She pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Licking County Municipal Court to charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

        “The Octagon Mounds continue to exist because of the golf course,” said James Strider, a historical society spokesman. “It has saved the taxpayers millions of dollars.”


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