In the desert of southwest Utah in the United States of America is a remarkable place known as Bryce Canyon which many, many bizarre and colorful rock formations. The canyon is named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer who settled in the area in 1874. However, the Native American Paiute people of the region who were there long before the arrival of pioneers called it Angka-ku-wass-a-wits or red painted faces.
Bryce Canyon must surely be one of the most extraordinary natural places on earth. It is a place where strange rock formations of yellow, orange and reddish brown that change hue as the light changes and fill the mind with many fantastical shapes and forms that appear grotesquely humanoid.
In geological terms, these columns are called hoodoos a term also used in witchcraft and the supernatural. The Paiute people tell a very different story to the geologists but both explanations are really very extraordinary. Presented first is a brief and simplified version of the geological explanation. This is followed by a version of the traditional explanation given by the Paiute people who believed the columns were created when a mythical race called the Legend people were punished by their divine entity Coyote.