Mountains have always enthralled and inspired awe in mankind since time unremembered. We have lived in their shadows, worshipped at their feet, spun epic legends around them, feared them, revered them, and sacrificed to them. They have been the muse for countless artists, writers, and philosophers for thousands of years and inspired adventurers to push past their limits to ascend them. Mountains have also long drawn to them countless inexplicable mysteries and myths that gravitate around their craggy, cloud covered peaks and taunt those of us who would try and understand them. Although there are many deeply mysterious mountains in the world, one that surely stands out as exceptional is Northern California’s Mt. Shasta, a mountain which seems to know no end to the depths of bizarreness. Ancient lost civilizations, UFOs, Bigfoot, strange creatures, anomalous people, and numerous other unexplained phenomena, Mt. Shasta is just dripping with high strangeness. Let us explore the weird, wonderful, and indeed often surreal world of this mystical mountain realm.
There can be no doubt that Mt. Shasta casts a rather startling, imposing presence for those who first lay eyes upon it. Lying within the southern end of the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California, Mt. Shasta is a now dormant volcano which soars 14,179 feet (4,322 m) over the surrounding forested valley, making it the second highest peak of the Cascade Range and the fifth highest mountain in all of California. Since Mt. Shasta is not connected to any other surrounding nearby mountains, it stands alone, bursting abruptly and steeply from the ground like some mystical solitary giant to loom over the majestic valleys of green around it and completely dominate the landscape of Northern California. It is said that the massive, rather intimidating lone mountain can be seen from up to 140 miles (230km) away on a clear day, making it a striking natural monolith which has captured the admiration and imagination of mankind for centuries. The naturalist John Muir famously said of the spectacular mountain upon first seeing it in 1874:
I was fifty miles away, afoot, alone and weary, yet all of my blood turned to wine and I have not been weary since.
Considering its solitary, dominating presence, appearance out of seemingly nowhere, and steep, almost pyramid-like shape which often attracts an ethereal whirling crown of frequently oddly shaped clouds, it is perhaps no surprise that Mt. Shasta has long been the origin of numerous fantastic tales, myths, and legends since the very first Native American tribes who inhabited the region. The Modoc, Wintu, Achumawi, and Atsuwegi tribes all have once inhabited the area within the shadow of Mt. Shasta and all considered the looming mountain to be a deeply scared place which was considered too powerful for humans to actually live on and which spawned various legends from each tribe. The Native Modocs for instance believed the mountain was inhabited by the Great Spirit Skell, who was the Spirit of the Above-World and had created the mountain as a stepping stone from heaven, where he dwelled at the summit overlooking his domain far below. Skell was said to have frequent epic battles with his enemy, Llao, the Spirit of the Below-World and Darkness, who inhabited Mt. Mazama in Oregon. It was said that Skell would hurl intensely hot boulders and fiery lava at his nemesis in a fury, and that this ultimately led to the eruption of Mt. Mazama which subsequently formed the volcanic basin of Crater Lake, a place that became known to the tribes as the domain of all evil while Mt. Shasta was revered as a land of blessings. The mountain is also the source of countless other Native tales and legends, many of which were chronicled by the writer Joaquin Miller, who spent some time living amongst these people, in his 1873 opus Life Amongst the Modocs: Unwritten History.
Other Natives legends swirled around the mountain for generations. It was once believed that to go up the mountain past the tree-line was to invite doom, as therein was the realm of the dead, the shaman, the damned, and a mystical race of evil dwarves feared by the Wintu tribe. Mt. Shasta was also said to be prowled by numerous spirits and magical beings, not all of them particularly benevolent, and was also the purported location of portals to other realms of existence. Curiously, many of the tribes here have stories which speak of encountering a tribe of people they called the Shasta people, who were described as being shorter and darker than the Native Americans and who had inhabited the region since long before their arrival. The legends say that these Shasta people were ruled by a great king who had brought a small group of his people from a mysterious land that existed far out over the western ocean, and that they had chosen this locale because the mountain’s snowy peak reminded them of their home. When the Native American tribes came, it is said that the Shasta people were eventually driven out and went off to try and seek out their original homeland, which they lamented had been submerged by the sea. This is one theory as to where the name Mt. Shasta came from, although there are others, and the mountain has been known by many names over its history of human habitation including “Yet” by the Achumawi and Atsugewi, “Behem Puyok” by the Wintu, and “Melaikshi” by the Modoc. By the time the Gold Rush came around it was known by various names such as Shasty, Shaste, Sasty, Saste, Sasty, Shaste, Shasty, Shatasla, Sastise, Castice, and Sistise, with the modern day spelling of "Shasta" coming about in 1850 when it was chosen as the name of the county by the California State Legislature.
Legends, myths, and strange tales of the unknown permeating Mt. Shasta are certainly not confined to the old Native American lore, and right up into the modern day the majestic peak has been steeped in stories of all manner of high strangeness, so much so that it is hard to decide where to even begin. Perhaps the most enduring, well-known, and indeed most bizarre of these is that the mountain harbors an ancient, secret city inhabited by the descendants of the Lemurians, which are the supposedly highly technologically advanced people who are said to have been the first humans on Earth and lived on a lost sunken continent known as Lemuria. The name Lemuria was coined in the mid-19th century to denote a hypothetical sunken continent that once bridged the Indian Ocean and was so named because it was speculated that it was through this mysterious continent that lemurs had migrated from Madagascar to India. The story goes that as their continent sank due to some unspecified cataclysmic event, which some circles say was the very same that sunk the more well-known Atlantis, and their civilization lay in ruin, a number of Lemurians escaped to Mt. Shasta to establish the city of Telos somewhere under the mountain, where they recreated their once great society and purportedly continue to live to this day.
The Lemurians are typically described as being graceful, thin, ethereal beings who are very tall, up to seven feet in height, with fair skin, long luxurious hair, and abnormally long necks which they are said to decorate with collars made of beads, gold, or precious stones. The strange beings are usually clad in flowing white robes and sandals, although they are sometimes said to wear tunics or even walk about nude. They are said to have mastered various advanced technologies, such as atomic energy, magnetism, electronics, and some say even the ability to alter space-time itself thousands of years ago, and they are believed to possess great levitating airships which they use for transport. It is even claimed that they illuminate their subterranean realm with an artificial miniature sun powered by some unknown powerful energy source. The Lemurians are also purported to have a walnut sized organ of some sort which protrudes from their foreheads and supposedly imbues them with vast psychic powers such as ESP, telekinesis, telepathy, the ability to appear and disappear at will, and the power to influence the minds of others.
The theory of Lemurians living within Mt. Shasta has a history almost as odd as the purported beings themselves. The whole tale can probably best trace its beginnings back to a book called A Dweller on Two Planets, which was written by a Frederick S. Oliver in 1899. In the summer of 1883, a teenaged Oliver had been helping his family mark the boundaries of their mining claim, which entailed driving wooden stakes into the ground and then marking their location in a notebook. Allegedly, at some point during this arduous task, Oliver’s hand began to shake and convulse uncontrollably, and started to write down things seemingly of its own volition. The boy ran home in a panic, his hand continuing to act of its own accord, writing feverishly the entire way, and as soon as he arrived his mother gave him more paper to write on. The initial seizure stopped shortly after, revealing the beginnings of a text. Over the next three years, Oliver’s hand would occasionally be overcome by this mysterious force, writing several pages here and there until finally in 1895 he had completed an entire book which chronicled and described the existence of the secret Lemurian city and their history. Oliver would go on to claim that he had been chosen by the Lemurians as their secretary of sorts and that the whole book had been telepathically channeled through him and onto the paper via automatic writing.
Oliver further even went so far as to claim that he had been taken astrally to the city itself and had seen it with his own eyes, describing it as being deep within the mountain and comprised of vast warrens of tunnels with secret automatic doors, elegant architecture, and apartments plated with gold and carpeted with a luxurious fleecy substance. Indeed, the entire city was said by Oliver to be generously decked out in crystals, gold, silver, bronze and precious stones, the whole of which was powered by crystal energies, brightly illuminated, and was inaccessible to outsiders without the expressed invitation of the Lemurians themselves. High technology was said to abound in this fantastical city, with numerous mentions of various incredible gadgets and vehicles employed by the city’s residents, including large cigar-shaped airships which hovered overhead. The book was quite groundbreaking and ahead of its time when it was released, making detailed mention of such high concept notions as quantum mechanics, antigravity, mass transit, and zero-point energy, which he called “dark-side energy,” all of which were extremely unique concepts at the time.
Although Oliver died in 1899 at the age of 33, his bizarre book was finally published in 1905 by his mother, Mary Elizabeth Manley-Oliver. At the time of the publication of Oliver’s book became an instant occult classic and an openly acknowledged source for many New Age belief systems, sects, and cults. It would even spawn a sequel entitled An Earth Dweller's Return, but it would certainly not be the last literary mention of the strange lost city of the Lemurians on Mt. Shasta. In fact, in 1931, Harvey Spencer Lewis, using the pseudonym Wisar Spenle Cerve, also wrote a whole book on the phenomenon which further launched the popularity of the idea of lost cities and societies lurking within the depths of the mountain. From here the accounts of this strange race of powerful beings and their highly sophisticated city of Telos really took off.
Many more accounts concerning the purported Lemurian civilization of Mt. Shasta would surface over the years. In the May 22, 1932 edition of The Los Angeles Times there appears the odd account of a Mr. Edward Lanser, who had been passing Mt. Shasta in a train when he claimed to have seen the whole southern side of the mountain blaze to life with a brilliant, almost blinding strange reddish-green illumination. When he asked the train conductor what it was he had seen he was assured that it had been the work of the Lemurians. The perplexed Lanser later went to investigate the strange light further and purportedly asked locals from the area's towns about what he had seen, to which they replied that there was a mysterious community of people living within the mountain who were known to perform rituals in the early morning and the evening, which made use of strange sources of brilliant light that could have explained his sighting. This ceremony was allegedly known as the “Ceremony of Adoration to Guatama,” with “Guatama” being the Lemurian word for “America,” and the ceremony celebrating their ancestors’ arrival on the continent after their own had tragically been swallowed beneath the waves. It was explained that these ceremonies used extremely bright sources of mysterious light which were known to light up the whole side of the mountain.
The locals also said that the Lemurians were known to come down from their secretive mountain realm into town from time to time, towering, odd looking folk clad in their white robes and barefoot, who would buy huge amounts of sulphur, salt, and lard, which they would always pay for in gold nuggets that far exceeded the value of the merchandise. When Lanser made known his intentions to go up the mountain and find these Lemurians and the source of light he had seen, Lanser lamented that the local officials and ranchers “freely ridiculed my avowed trek into the sacred precincts assuring me that an entrance was as difficult and forbidden as an entrance into Tibet.” His hopes of ever finding the city dashed, Lanser seemingly gave up on his quest and it is unknown what exactly became to him or whether he finally found what he was searching for or merely faded into obscurity.
In the June 27, 1940 edition of the Mount Shasta Herald, William Bridge Cooke wrote of a Professor Edward L. Larkin of the Mt. Lowe Observatory, who claimed to have observed the mystical city at great length through his telescope on several occasions. Larkin had allegedly discovered the city by accident as he was calibrating his telescope and spied something shining anomalously on the mountain. Finding this to be peculiar, he then focused on the object and found it to be an enormous “oriental style” temple which he described as “a marvellous work of carved marble and onyx rivalling in architectural splendour the magnificence of the temples of Yucatan.” Larkin would go on to claim to have seen other temples on the mountainside as well, including ones in an apparent Greek style, with magnificent shining white marble columns.
In addition to mentioning the opulent architecture, Larkin also claimed that the vicinity of the temples would often be beset by mysterious bright lights in the evening hours, and claimed that the temples and lights were from the descendants of the Lemurian people. He said of these lights, “… their display of light far excels our modern electrical achievements, and I am, for one, consumed with curiosity to know how these people can produce such amazing light effects…” In an odd twist, Larkin then apparently became sidetracked by other work and was never able to locate the temples he had seen again. Cooke for his part then proceeds to spend most of the rest of the article trying to actively debunk the claim through the standpoint that it would have been physically impossible for Larkin to have seen what he claimed from his particular vantage point, but it is still a curious account nevertheless.
The Lemurians were also claimed to be able to influence their environment and to exhibit extraordinary architectural know-how. A 1962 edition of the Australian Flying Saucer Review mentions in an article by Andrew Tomas the curious case of a forest fire in 1931 which ravaged much of the mountain yet was kept from advancing by the appearance of a mysterious fog which halted the blaze in its tracks. In the aftermath of the fire it was reportedly discovered that there was a perfectly clear and curved demarcation zone remaining between the charred earth and undamaged areas. It was said by locals that this was the work of the Lemurians protecting their domain through some unknown technological wizardry. Likewise, it is said that their city and structures are impervious to the effects of the many earthquakes that ravage the region such is their architectural skill and perhaps even due to their alleged ability to control the earth itself.
These Lemurian people and their strange devices have long been seen in the area right up to the present, with sightings and accounts too numerous to list here. Typically they are seen walking along roads or even city streets of towns on Mt. Shasta only to suddenly disappear as if they were never there at all, presumably due to their psychic abilities and uncanny expert knack for blending into their surroundings. Often they are only glimpsed from the periphery of vision and elude any efforts to spot them straight on. They are sometimes known to appear to help farmers who have fallen on hard times, using some sort of advanced agricultural techniques that revive the soil as if by magic. One account tells of a Lemurian woman who emerged from the forest in full view of a group of people and proceeded to lie down in the frigid water of Panther Springs for a full 5 minutes before silently getting back up and walking back into the wilderness from whence she’d come, all the while dripping wet from the freezing water. There are also numerous sightings of a strange boat which is said to sail as far as the Aleutian Islands and will approach shore only to suddenly hover in the air and make its way to Mt. Shasta. One old account even mentions a visit to San Francisco by a white robed patriarch said to represent the Lemurian community, who was joined by an entourage of younger men and actually supposedly met with city officials to bring a message of greetings and goodwill during World War I.
Tales of people actually entering the wondrous, bejeweled Lemurian city abound as well. A Dr. M. Doreal claimed that he had penetrated into the mountain lair of the Lemurians and saw what he described as an enormous cavern that was an astounding 20 miles long, 15 miles wide, and 2 miles high, which was illuminated by a gigantic, blazing artificial sun right in its center. Yet another account mentions a man who fell asleep on the mountain only to be awakened by a Lemurian who then brought him to a magnificent city paved with gold. One of the strangest stories of finding an underground city within Mt. Shasta comes from a 1904 account which first appeared in the 1934 edition of the Stockton Record concerning a JC Brown, a British prospector who had come to the mountain with The Lord Cowdray Mining Company to prospect for gold. During this expedition, Brown allegedly stumbled across a tunnel in the hillside which led down into the darkness below the mountain.
The prospector decided to venture into the opening and found that it stretched several miles into the murk and ended in a complex of rooms full of ornate statues, crystals, shields, and gold and copper plates. There was also purportedly an enigmatic and extravagantly decorated burial chamber containing at least 27 mummies that were described as being between 6’6” to 10 feet in height, several of which were wrapped in some sort of ornamental robes. The discovery was touted by Brown as being one of the most exciting archeological finds of the century and eventually an expedition led by John C. Root and comprised of 80 members was brought together to further explore the tunnel based on these claims. However, on June 19, 1934, the day the exploration was set to set out from Stockton, California, JC Brown did not show up and in fact he was never seen again. It is a remarkable story to be sure, but seems highly suspicious since the find was made allegedly in 1904, yet the story was not made public until 1934. What happened in the intervening three decades? Although more modern explorers have from time to time claimed to have found JC Brown’s mysterious underground complex, its location, indeed whether it ever even really existed at all, remain a total mystery.
Who are these alleged Lemurians? Survivors of a long lost continent? Aliens? Interdimensional beings? A bunch of hippies camped out in the wilderness? Nothing at all? Is there any truth whatsoever to these accounts? The mention of underground caves and caverns certainly seems to fit in with Native American legends which tell of many vast complexes of hidden tunnels and bottomless pits scattered throughout the mountain. Indeed the area is quite known for its caves and tunnels, so this could have had something to do with the start of these stories. However, it is unknown if Lemurians, or any other people for that matter, have ever actually gone down and inhabited them.
Although the Lemurians of Mt. Shasta are generally seen to be benevolent and non-violent, the same cannot be said of the truly outlandish tale of what were known as the “deros,” short for “degenerate robots,” which were said to be Lemurian robots which had gone insane and become malevolent machines bent on murder, mayhem and destruction. The deros tale was popularized in the 1940s by a Richard Shaver, who believed them to be the source of all of mankind’s woes. As completely absurd as this may all sound, there was an interesting story related by researcher and author David Paulides about a young child who went missing while on a camping trip with his parents on the mountain in 2011. The boy apparently suddenly disappeared without a trace and was not found for five hours, after which the shaken child came back with an extremely weird story to tell. According to him, he had been abducted by an evil robot that had looked and sounded just like his grandmother and taken to a huge underground cave populated by other human looking robots as well as giant spiders because why not? The real grandmother later claimed to have woken up face down on the ground feeling violently ill and with a small puncture wound on the back of her neck, presumably so that the robot could steal the genetic information it needed to duplicate her.
As far out as this may all sound, Shaver’s bizarre theories actually gained quite a bit of traction in their day and were used by Hollow Earth theorists and UFOlogists extensively at the time. Although these theories eventually fell out of favor partially due to their complete off-the-wall oddness, one interesting piece of the story was Shaver’s claim that he had deciphered the language of the Lemurians, which he insisted all Earth languages derived from. This strange claim is made even stranger by the fact that the complex language and writing system presented by Shaver, as well as the cipher itself, are actually considered to be enormously detailed, meticulous, and quite linguistically accurate. Was this just the ramblings of a madman with an obsessive, slavish devotion to even the most minor details or is there something more to it, whatever that may be? Who knows?
Many would probably consider Shaver to be a crackpot, and he most certainly likely was, but he was not the only one who might be categorized as such. Indeed Mt. Shasta seems to be a haven for such mysterious, indeed some could say slightly off-kilter people. In 1930, an American mining engineer by the name of Guy Warren Ballard came to Mt. Shasta and while out hiking one day claimed he came across a man in the woods who identified himself as none other than Comte de Saint Germain, a European courtier and mystic from the early 18th century who some have theorized was actually immortal. Ballard went on to report having several encounters with Saint Germain, who told him that he was an “Ascended Master,” or a spiritually enlightened being who is immortal, free of the cycles of "re-embodiment" and karma, and endowed with vast magical powers. These Ascended Masters considered Jesus Christ among their ranks and many were said to live reclusively around the Cascades.
During these encounters, Ballard claimed that Saint Germain had taken him to various caves and magical places upon the mountain to teach him the way towards enlightenment. Ballard would later go on to write extensively of his alleged meetings with this mysterious figure in a series of books called Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence under the pen name Godfré Ray King, and he went on to give lectures on these mystical experiences. This would all become the foundation upon which Ballard would build a spiritual movement called the "I AM Activity", which described itself as an apolitical, spiritual and educational organization, espoused a list of teachings showing the path to enlightenment called the “Ascended Master Teachings,” and which is still active in the area to this day.
Adding to the list of enigmatic people who have found some kind of revelation here is a man who in 2011 went missing on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Mt. Shasta wilderness for several weeks. When he suddenly returned as mysteriously as he had vanished, he claimed that while hiking he had heard the sound of a woman singing and had gone off the trail to follow its source. He soon had become lost and was then abducted and taken to a cave where he was stripped of all his clothing. After that, he reportedly was approached by a tall and beautiful woman with unnaturally piercing blue eyes who gave him some sort of secret information which he would not divulge the nature of when asked. After this ordeal, the man went on to change his name to Lord Kalki’ and insisted that he was an incarnation of a messianic Hindu god.
Lemurians, mystical Ascended Masters, and mysterious blue eyed ladies are not the only purported weird inhabitants of Mt. Shasta. The area has long been a hotspot for Bigfoot activity as well. One of the most famous sightings was first reported in a 1976 edition of the Mt. Shasta Herald. Virgil Larson, 47, a logger working south of Cascade Gulch on the lower slopes of Mt. Shasta, reported having an encounter with an enormous, hairy, and foul smelling creature near a helicopter logging operation at around 8:30 AM. Larson alleged that he had been with his partner, Pat Conway, in a pick-up truck which they parked at the top of the hill before hiking down a steep slope. The two got separated but could still hear each other and this is when Larson claimed he had heard someone else approaching his position from the opposite direction, who he assumed at first to be someone from the Forest Service. When he could make out the shadow of who he thought was a man approaching, Larson called out to him, but whoever it was merely turned its head and kept walking, silently rounding a large bush about 20 yards away, almost as if to hide behind it. When the logger called out a second time, the figure reared up over the bush and it became very clear that this was no human being. The creature was described as being covered with black, gnarled, matted hair, which was longer at the top of its head and seemed to be swept straight back from its eyebrows. Larson also mentioned that it had an overpowering stench like “a half rotten bear hide.” Terrified, Larson then ran off to tell his partner what he had seen. They returned to the area 30 minutes later and it was reportedly still permeated by the odd, rotten stench. When they took a good look at the bush and held a hard hat up on a stick, they came to the estimation that the beast had been about 7 to 7-1/2 feet tall.
Bigfoot have been regularly sighted all over the mountain for years, but one odd twist to many of these accounts that makes them a little different from the norm and really turn up the weird factor is the amount of them that mention a decidedly eerie paranormal angle. Mt. Shasta Bigfoot have been variously described as materializing out of thin air and vanishing just as suddenly, levitating, passing through solid objects, and even entering and exiting spacecraft, making these reports a little more head-scratching than the more traditional Bigfoot sightings which seem to typically describe flesh and blood animals. Are these phantoms, ghosts, interdimensional travelers, aliens, or just figments of the imagination? It’s hard to say, but there certainly are a lot of people who claim to have seen them in the Mt. Shasta area.
Another phenomenon of Mt. Shasta is the intense UFO activity reported on the mountain. Dancing lights, mysterious flashes, orbs, metallic craft, glowing objects, luminous cigar shaped objects, jellyfish-like craft, silent silver airships, and fleets of lights making amazing maneuvers have all been reported from here since long before electricity was even a thing. Some people have put forth the theory that these UFOs have some connection to the Lemurian civilization purported to live within the mountain, a claim somewhat supported by sightings of UFOs disappearing into the clouds that often shroud Mt. Shasta’s summit or even right into the mountain itself. One interesting such sighting was made in 1956 by a resident named David Williamson, who observed a formation of 14 mysterious lights near the mountain for some time before one of the lights suddenly broke off and headed towards the mountain itself, descending straight down right onto the summit where it vanished, presumably down some portal or opening. Whether these are craft used by the alleged Lemurians, some force within Mt. Shasta is drawing visitors from beyond our world here, there is something coming through the numerous interdimensional portals claimed to dot the mountain, or this is all merely some natural phenomena we have yet to understand, the fact is that something weird is going on and UFO reports continue to pour in from the area all of the time.
The list of high strangeness at Mt. Shasta goes on. The water here is believed to have certain revitalizing and healing effects, so much so that many come from far and wide with bottles and jugs to collect it. In addition to Bigfoot, the forests of the mountain are also said to be inhabited by a strange race of dwarves, as wells as fairies. There are also a mysterious group of people called the Yaktavians who are said to use sound waves to manipulate and shape reality. There are supposedly top secret military installations operating deep underground in the bowels of the earth for some inscrutable and quite possibly sinister purpose. People claim that they are drawn to the mountain by some irresistible force and often arrive without really knowing why they came in the first place. Others have found themselves to be somehow hopelessly enthralled, mesmerized, or otherwise held “emotionally captive” by the mountain. The whole mountain is said to be the location of numerous portals to other dimensions and locations that allow one to shift to the “5th dimension” or transcend time and space. When it comes to the bizarre, you name it and Mt. Shasta has probably got it.
One enduring belief about the mountain is that it serves as an extremely potent and powerful energy vortex and is crisscrossed with ley lines which are intersecting paths of energy similar to what is said about Stonehenge. All of this mysterious energy purportedly has a variety of astounding effects, such as revitalizing the spirit, enabling deep meditation, creating feelings of euphoria, causing vision quests, healing the body, bestowing profound spiritual guidance, allowing interdimensional travel or passage into the metaphysical realm, enhancing one’s ability to astrally project or to channel spirits, and inspiring creativity, among others.
Is any of this real or is it just a bunch of hippety-dippety Hippie mumbo jumbo and nonsense? Well, no matter what your opinion of these phenomena might be, enough people do believe them that these supposed energy vortices have made Mt. Shasta a mecca for New Agers, spiritualists, wiccans, cults, and all manner of those seeking some sort of spiritual revelation, who have flocked to Mt. Shasta in droves. In fact, the mountain’s main town, with a population of only 3,300, boasts around 100 spiritualist sects and no fewer than 30 New Age businesses, with 25% of the tourists who pass through coming for spiritual reasons or to reap some benefit from the energy vortex. In town, such visitors can enjoy spiritual healings, vision quests or shamanic awakenings, take spiritual attunement workshops, purchase crystals purportedly imbued with a variety of powers, or even take spiritual tours of the mountain, it’s vortices, and even the lost Lemurian city of Telos itself, if you believe the people peddling these services. Of course, with so many New Age businesses on offer and so many people travelling to this spiritual retreat, it is an attractive destination for con-artists looking to cash in on peoples’ willingness to believe.
What is it about Mt. Shasta that inspires so much awe and wonder in people? What is it about this lonely mountain that draws to it so much of the inexplicable and insane? Why do so many come here to seek something more than what our reality as we know it shows us? The mountain certainly has the ability to conjure up deep, reflective ponderings in people. The author Joaquin Miller once magnificently described Mt. Shasta thus:
Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests of Northern California.
Is that what is at work here, the sheer splendor of this mountain working away on our imagination, with the breathtaking sight of this lone colossus stirring up something deep within our psyche to create these feelings of grandiosity, natural splendor, and perhaps in the case of the bizarreness reported here the conviction that such a place could never be confined the mundane world of a mere mountain composed of craggy rock and earth and must therefore be something more? Are these sentiments of unbridled awe that Mt. Shasta seems to be able to evoke within us simply creating grand legends, myths, and a legacy of aching desire for there to be something from beyond our world at work here, that have all just sort of spiraled out of control and then come crashing together to congeal into the web of Mt. Shasta mysteries? Or is there truly some unknown force at work here beyond our current ability to explain? Although we may never have the answers we seek or see through these impenetrable enigmas, we have plenty of time to search, as Mt. Shasta will continue to remain as it always has, a forlorn, lonely god surveying its vast domain, perhaps until the end of time itself.