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The coup-stick was one of two mystical items wielded by the super-villain known as Black Bison. It was constructed some time in the late 1800s by the grandfather of Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky – a Native American shaman responsible for the creation of the inter-tribal Black Bison Cult. The shaman infused the coup-stick with mystical properties relating to nature. The coup-stick was passed down to his son, who in turn passed it down to his own son, Red-Desert-And-Night-Wind. During the course of the 20th century, the coup-stick switched hands several times and eventually came to rest in the private collection of New York's senator Walter Reilly. Reilly held onto the item for several years, never realizing the mystical power that it harnessed. He donated the staff along with several other Cult-related artifacts to the New York Museum of Natural History.
One day, Bradley High School teacher, John Ravenhair, took his students to the museum on a class trip. While instructing them on the history of the Black Bison Cult, the spirit of his great-grandfather, Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky took possession of his body. John shattered the glass on the display case and claimed the right to the Bison Cult headdress as well as the shaman coup-stick. Calling himself Black Bison, Ravenhair used the magic properties of the coup-stick to wreak havoc against those whom he felt had tarnished the heritage of the Bison Cult tradition. From this point, Black Bison became a regular foe of the super-hero known as Firestorm.
- The mystical power of the coup-stick works in tandem with the power of the Bison Cult talisman. Through these tools, Black Bison can animate material objects and in so doing, command these objects to do his bidding. This power cannot affect living biological material, but can affect non-living organic tissue. Black Bison once used the coup-stick to re-animate the stuffed remains of a white stallion (as well as other animals). Black Bison can also use the coup-stick to control the weather, such as summoning a strong wind to deflect attackers.
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