Mysterious Mt Shasta: High Strangeness on California's Lone Mountain

Mysterious Mt Shasta: High Strangeness on California’s Lone Mountain


When you first catch sight of Mt. Shasta, you feel there is a great medicine centered there, as though God put it in the middle of the dark plains of Northern California just to relieve the sight of deep green forests with a crystal peak of blazing white.  It stands alone, rising high above the surrounding hills, collecting clouds out of nowhere which circle around its peak like a lonley tribe dancing around a fire.  All the strenuous heights of the surrounding ranges look like little ant mounds from the upper slops of this behemoth.  The sight of the full moon dancing with dramatic, phantasmogoric clouds as it casts a great halo over the misty hillsides below, helps you believe that perhaps you really are standing on the axis mundi–the place where heaven and earth meet…  Until you get kicked out for drinking wine in a spiritual healing circle.  (But I’m Irish!  How else do I heal my spirit!)

Half of those who believe the mountain is holy are making a dollar at it, exploiting its global reputation as a spiritual retreat with outrageously priced “vortex tours” and “spiritual attunement workshops.”  The other half are poor as pigeons, living in the forests in little tents or shrub huts even through the snow-heavy winter and the sun-blasted summer, striving for the upper branches of human consciousness in the place where “earth ends and heaven begins.”

Who dwells here but bearded yokels, skinny-dipping hippies, and crystal-gazing con artists?


Legends dwell here.  And plenty of them!

The mountain was a cornerstone for the Shasta, Modoc, Ajumawi, and Wintu peoples—a steeple where their traditional territories intersected.  There was a strict taboo against going up the mountain above the treeline—that was the realm of the shaman, the dead, and the “little people” of Wintu lore.

“They believed that the Great Spirit first created the mountain, by pushing down ice and snow through a hole from heaven, then using the mountain to step onto the earth. He created trees and called upon the sun to melt snow to provide rivers and streams. He breathed on the leaves of the trees and created birds to nest in their branches. He broke up small twigs and cast them into streams, where they became fish; branches cast into the forest became animals.”  You can still see branches littering the forest today.  You still see sticks cast into streams (although the salmon don’t run like they used to, God help the Northwest).

The spirit chief’s name was Skell.  You might remember the Modoc myth of his battle with Lao, the spirit of darkness and the underworld, which climaxed with the eruption of Mt. Mazuma—leaving the volcanic basin of Crater Lake behind.  Just as Crater Lake is considered by them the domain of all evil, so is Shasta considered the domain of blessings, beauty, and life force.  Creepy Crater Lake’s sister mountain is equally strange and mysterious, and the tales that come from there are not all daisies.

Today Shasta is a popular little town for hippies, mystics, and the normal people who hate them.  New Agers consider the mountain the root chakra of the earth (whatever that means), and its “energy vortexes” (whatever those are) make it the scene of all the usual suspects—UFOs, Bigfoot, and giant glowing jellyfish included.  But it also hosts a soiree of less expected anomalies, the likes of which are unprecedented in the mockingbird mind of the hoaxer, the New Ager, and the transfixed paranoiac.

St. Germain, Richard Shaver, J.C. Brown, Guy Ballard—who has ever heard of them?  What are they doing in the enduring chronicles of mysterious Mt. Shasta?

They all have one thing in common—Lemuria

BLOG lemuria mapThe whole side of the mountain was lit up, as though by a field of blazing pines, or a memory of dawn.  But it was neither, or so a train conductor told Edward Lenser:

Gazing upon its splendor, I suddenly perceived that the whole southern side of the mountain was ablaze with a strange reddish-green light – a flame that grew faint, then flared up with renewed brilliance. My first conjecture was a forest fire, but the absence of smoke discounted that theory. The light resembled the glow of Roman candles… The thing intrigued me, and when I met my travelling companion at breakfast, he asked me if I had seen the forest fire on Mt. Shasta.

“Did you see smoke?” was my question.

“No,” he replied. “Just a red glow.”

Convinced that I had not been the victim of a mirage, I later asked the conductor about the mysterious pyrotechnics. His answer was short but enticing:

“Lemurians,” he said. “They hold ceremonials up there.”

The existence of the Lemurians was long held as a fact in Mt. Shasta’s local lore—as it is today among the town’s more eccentric inhabitants.  When the priests and scholars of their continent discovered that it was doomed to sink into the ocean, they retreated to Shasta to build a stronghold in which their culture could survive.  They used their adavanced energy technologies to burrow into the mountain, smoothing away lava tubes and hollowing out a grand chamber at the center of Shasta, the center of which is illuminated by a perfectly stable miniature sun.  The hallways of this grand cellar of the mountain, which the Lemurians named Telos, are said to be decked with crystals and gold.  Telos is rumored to be powered, of course, by crystal energies, which should ring bells with an Atlantis buffs.  Entrance to the city was considered, “as difficult and forbidden as is an entrance into Tibet,” according to Lenser.  Another writer named Selvius lent further heft to the Lemurian legend when he described the hidden civilization in great detail in his 1925 article.

The last descendants of the ancient Lemurians, the first inhabitants of this earth, find seclusion protection and peace, in this unique village of their own creation.

It seems hardly possible that there could be in America, and in California, a place, a village, a community of homes and industries, so secluded, so guarded and so difficult to locate, that in a hundred or more years only four for five strangers have passed within the sacred confines of the Armaiti, or invisible protective boundary of the village.

For fifty years or more the natives of Northern California, and tourists, explorers and government officials have contributed facts, and some fancies, to the accumulating mass of evidence proving the existence of the “mystic village” (a name used by common agreement) and supplying the most astounding facts ever attributed to human beings.

Tradition and the romantic tales of romantic California alone, will not account for the stories told by persons who witness strange sights in the vicinity of Mt. Shasta. Looking at the reports from an investigator’s point of view, the accumulating evidence is convincing. It proved to be so to the present writer, and had it not been so, the facts revealed here for the first time might have remained concealed for many more years…

An interesting fact of the investigation is, that the closer one gets to the vicinity of Mt. Shasta, the less one will learn about the facts. Not that the persons living in the many thriving villages near Shasta know nothing, but they have a fear, based upon reasonable grounds, of revealing too much or admitting that they have ever tried to penetrate the sacred precincts…

Has no one ever seen any of the inhabitants? Indeed, yes, and in some instances, under notable circumstances. At one time a very old and exceedingly venerable delegate from the community made an official journey, by foot, to the city of San Francisco. His visit was heralded by many strange methods and he was met by a Committee at the Ferry Building and ushered up Market Street to the Mayor’s office where the Key to the City was given to him in typical San Francisco style, much to the embarrassment of the simple soul who came to bring greetings on the anniversary of the establishment of their community in California. Never has San Francisco seen such a being of nobility, humility and majestic bearing in one expression…

Various members of the community, garbed, as was their official representative, in pure white, gray-haired, barefoot and very tall, have been seen on the highways and in the streets of the villages near Shasta…

Occasionally, they have purchased goods of an unusual kind in the stores, always offering in payment a bag of gold nuggets of far greater value than the articles purchased. They have no need of money and manufactures; they produce and grow within their own village all that the four or five hundred men, women and children require.

You must have some foot in this reality to hand over a sachet of gold (unless it turns to lint soon after), but the mystical denizens of Telos are not purely flesh and flood.  They only appear for the beat of a hummingbird’s wing, out of the corner of your eye as you walk alone far from any road or trail, “for they possess the secret knowledge of the Tibetan masters,” it is said.  And yet, San Francisco once received a Lemurian at City Hall after he sojourned there by foot (on the ground, we may presume).  The documents of this encounter are… somewhere.

Around the same time, Professor Edward L. Larkin of the Mt. Lowe Observatory viewed the mystic village through his telescope, describing a scene that brings to mind the Great Moon Hoax of the 1800s.  “What he saw, he reported, was a great temple in the heart of the mystic village, a marvellous work of carved marble and onyx, rivaling the magnificence of the temples of Yucatan. He saw a village of 600 to 1000 people; they appeared to be engaged in in the manufacture of various articles and in farming the sunny slopes and glens with miraculous results.”  They were content, he concluded, to live humbly as their Lemurian ancestors did—when they were the lone and original inhabitants of our mother Earth.

Though many have tried to penetrate the magical veil of the mystic village, few have succeeded.  Then again, a few have succeeded!  J. C. Brown’s story is a favorite in this vein.  He was prospecting for precious metals in the region at the dawn of the 20th century when he found a crag in the hillside which opened up into a tunnel.

After excavating the opening, Brown entered the tunnel, following it for a couple of miles and eventually finding rooms full of gold and copper plates, as well as ornate statues. He also found a burial chamber that contained 27 skeletons that ranged from 6-foot-6 to 10 feet in length, two of which were shrouded in mysterious robes. According to the legend, Brown continued his explorations, yet little is know of what happened between 1904, when the cave was first discovered, and 1934, when the story first appeared in the Stockton Record newspaper. It was shortly after the newspaper story that Brown mysteriously disappeared. He was in the process of preparing an expedition party to fully excavate and explore his discovery, but the boat headed north never left the Stockton Harbor. Nobody ever heard from JC Brown after June 19, 1934.

This discovery has many of the highlights of the old Egyptian mummies found in the Grand Canyon yarn—however, in an era notorious for yellow journalism, I have to hold onto my suspicions.  None the less, a quirky modern day researcher with a funny accent claims to have relocated the cave, and is taking pains to get permission from the land owners to excavate it.  Further alleged evidence for an ancient civilization was found in the Castle Crag Petroglyphs, which don’t seem to belong to any Native tribe in the area.  There are also anomalous stone walls trimming hillsides in the area, which have just begun to raise eyebrows.

If there is any truth to the J.C. Brown legend, he should have considered himself lucky to have emerged from the subterranean realm alive.  If there’s any link between all the mysterious disappearances around Mt. Shasta and the world of the Lemurians, we can assume that some have never returned to tell their stories.

One young boy was lucky in a more recent event.  David Paulides relates a story on Coast to Coast about a youngster who disappeared from his family’s campground beside a river.  He showed up a good long worry-filled while later, and had a strange story to tell.  He said he was taken to a cave by his grandmother—or something that looked and sounded just like his grandmother, only it wasn’t.  It was a robot.  The cave was filled with humanoid robots, or rather robots mimicking humans.  The grandmother in question had camped at the same site a few weeks before.  She woke up to a prick on her neck—her hubby noticed a dab of blood.  Apparently that’s all the “deros” needed to mimic everything about her (except her famous cookies, we may presume).

An illustration of the "deros"

An illustration of the “deros”

What are deros?  If you travelled back to the 1940s (and remained a UFO buff) you wouldn’t have any trouble finding out.  They once were the reigning theory on UFO phenomena.  Richard Shaver claimed that under the earth existed a vast network of malevolent robots which he nicknamed deros—short for “detrimental robots.”  He discovered this, of course, using his astounding telepathic attunement.  These deros were the twisted offspring of the highly civilized race of Lemurians which left planet Earth eons ago to settle a new home across the galaxy.  Too bad for us, they left their psychotic pet robots behind.  (Sounds kinda like another tall tale I heard.)  The deros—according to Shaver—are the source of all of humanity’s troubles.  They are always trying to come up with new and horrid ways to torment people, their favorite trick being to capture and devour unsuspecting victims.

Kenneth Arnold’s infamous sighting of flying discs near Mt. Ranier, which helped marked the beginning of the modern UFO craze, seemed to validify Shaver’s ramblings (at least according to his publisher).  His theories gained popularity during the timely wave of sightings, but were obsolete by the ’60s when more tenable theories came to light.  Shaver’s writings have also been used as evidence for the whole hollow earth theory, something about as out of date as the flat earth theory.  My favorite part of the Shaver story is that he claimed to have psychically deciphered the Lemurians’ proto-language from which all other tongues on earth multiplied.  The Kaballah-reminiscent cipher of symbolic letters and sounds is said to be highly accurate, and whether fact or fantasy it’s pretty fun to tinker with if you’ve got an active imagination.

All said and done, it’s more likely that Shaver was a lucky cook who hit on some timely archetypes, but that hasn’t stopped people from staying fascinated with his stories.  Perhaps what Shaver was “channeling” wasn’t his past life as a Lemurian, but a fanciful interpritation of something stirring in the collective unconscious.

coverGuy Ballard is another intriguing character of Shasta’s mystic legacy.  While taking survey notes in the Mt. Shasta wilderness in the early 20th century, his hand began to scribble uncontrollably, pouring out words which Ballard hadn’t any intention of writing.  He ran home terrified, but the automatic writing would not cease.  By and by, he compiled a book of esoteric philosophy which he said was channeled from a Lemurian spirit.  This text, titled Unveiled Mysteries, became the spine of the “I AM” Movement, a New Age philosophy which today has an international following.  It was channeled, wrote Ballard, “in the embrace of the majestic, towering presence of Mt. Shasta, whose apex is robed forever in that pure, glistening White, the symbol of the ‘Light of Eternity.’”  Here is Ballard’s own account of his discovery of the ascended masters of Mt. Shasta, a group of enlightened, trans-dimensional beings which he calls “The Brotherhood.”  He details two encounters with the most renowned spiritual master of Shasta, St. Germain—a mysterious figure regularly glimpsed walking the mountain’s wooded slopes.

I had been sent on Government business to a little town situated at the foot of the mountain [Shasta], and while thus engaged, occupied my leisure time trying to unravel this rumor concerning The Brotherhood…

Long hikes on the trail had become my habit, whenever I wanted to think things out alone or make decisions of serious import. Here, on this great Giant of Nature, I found recreation, inspiration, and peace that soothed my soul and invigorated mind and body…

The morning in question… I looked around, and directly behind me stood a young man who, at first glance, seemed to be someone on a hike like myself. I looked more closely, and realized immediately that he was no ordinary person. As this thought passed through my mind, he smiled and addressed me saying:

“My Brother, if you will hand me your cup, I will give you a much more refreshing drink than spring water.” I obeyed, and instantly the cup was filled with a creamy liquid. Handing it back to me he said: “Drink it.”

I did so, and must have looked my astonishment. While the taste was delicious, the electrical vivifying effect in my mind and body made me gasp with surprise. I did not see him put anything into the cup, and I wondered what was happening.

“That which you drank,” he explained, “comes directly from the Universal Supply, pure and vivifying as Life Itself, in fact it is Life-Omnipresent Life-for it exists everywhere about us. It is subject to our conscious control and direction, willingly obedient, when we Love enough, because all the Universe obeys the behest of Love. Whatsoever I desire manifests itself, when I command in Love. I held out the cup, and that which I desired for you appeared, See! I have but to hold out my hand and, if I wish to use gold – gold is here.” Instantly, there lay in his palm a disc about the size of a ten dollar gold piece. Again he continued:…

“Sit still a few moments – watch me closely – and I will reveal my identity to you.”

I did as he requested and in perhaps a full minute, I saw his face, body, and clothing become the living, breathing, tangible ‘Presence’ of the Master, Saint Germain, smiling at my astonishment and enjoying my surprise…

As I contemplated the wonderful privilege and blessing that had come to me, I heard a twig crack and looked around expecting to see him. Imagine my, surprise, when not fifty feet away, I saw a panther -slowing approaching. My hair must have stood on end. I wanted to run, to scream – anything – so frantic was the feeling of fear within me. It would have been useless to move, for one spring from the panther would have been fatal to me…

[Then] A feeling of Love swept over me, and went out like a Ray of Light directly to the panther and with it went my fear. The stealthy tread ceased and I moved slowly toward it, feeling that God’s Love filled us both. The Vicious glare in the eyes softened, the animal straightened up, and came slowly to me, rubbing its shoulder against my leg. I reached down and stroked the soft head. It looked up into my eyes for a moment and then, lay down and rolled over like a playful kitten. The fur was a beautiful dark, reddish brown: the body long, supple and of great strength. I continued to play with it and when I suddenly looked up, Saint Germain stood beside me.

“My Son,” he said, “I saw the great strength within you or I would not have permitted so great a test. You have conquered fear. My congratulations! Had you not conquered the outer-self, I would not have allowed the panther to harm you, but our association would have ceased for a time.”

True?  Fantasized?  Utter balderdash?  I’ll let you decide, but after spending some time around Mt. Shasta I have to say I wouldn’t be surprised.

On Mt. Shasta you may wake up in the morning at a popular (and now defunct) swimming hole in its expansive national forests, with a beer can mysteriously ripped open and crushed, as though by a powerful clawed hand.  An old man may tell you that it was Sasquatch, pointing out the signs, explaining the portals between dimensions, and reminding you of the footsteps the night before that came and vanished as though a winged bear had touched down for only a few paces, and then taken off again.

But no one has ever reported seeing a winged bear around Mt. Shasta.

They have seen luminous orbs emerging from Shaman’s Rock, only to later come across a metal craft touching down in Panther Meadows.  They have seen vortexes and dancing lights, and imagined Griffins dwelling in the towering clouds above the mountain’s peak.  They have seen Bigfoot walk out of landed spaceships, when the wildman is not busy materializing out of nowhere or vanishing at its whimsy.  These are only a few of the far-out stories I’ve collected from the locals.  A writer named Brian Wallenstein is actually making a book out of strange sightings and encounters from the star-gazing residents of Mt. Shasta.  All the classics are covered—UFOs, Bigfoot, you name it—and the results are impressive.  Be sure to catch this interview with him, to delve deeper into the mysteries of this mystic mountain of the West.


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