The Mystical Mysteries of Mt. Shasta

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……

The Mysterious Exorcism of Robbie Mannheim

What lurks behind the thin veneer of what we know as reality? Are there powerful entities that harbor the potent desire to inhabit our bodies and our minds? Throughout history there have been those terrifying occasions when exorcisms have been deemed necessary. Whether these incidents are the result of genuine demon infestation or of mental problems exhibited on a grand scale, it is certain that in some cases there has been an urgent perceived need to purge the entities that inhabit some poor soul from their physical form. One of the most terrifying “real exorcisms” there is revolves around a young boy, and went on to transcend a mere exorcism, to influence the whole public consciousness of exorcisms in general and serve as a direct inspiration for what has been often exalted as one of the scariest movies ever put to film. This is the real case behind the film The Exorcist.

The story begins in 1948 in in Cottage City, Maryland, where a 13 year-old boy known only by his pseudonym “Robbie Mannheim” lived as an only child with his German Lutheran family. Robbie was a studious boy, but also quiet, shy and withdrawn, with no friends, and so his playmates were mostly his family members, in particular his aunt, Harriet. His aunt was a spiritualist, and as such had various occult objects in her possession, including a Ouija board. One day, Robbie expressed an interest in the board, and his Aunt Harriet was all too willing to show him how to use it. It was probably all innocent enough, and the two would spend summer days playing with the Ouija board, with which Robbie allegedly became more and more obsessed until his aunt suddenly died one day in January of 1949 due to what has only ever been cryptically described as “natural causes.” After the devastating death of his only real friend, Robbie took to desperately trying to contact Harriet through the Ouija board that they had spent so much time playing with together. It is largely considered to be at this point when the story takes a turn for the bizarre…..

The Mystery of the Lost Ark in Japan

Lost Biblical treasures have long held a certain mystique and an air of impenetrable mystery. They provide a somewhat irresistible combination of the allure of lost, ancient artifacts, mixed with a healthy dose of curiosity, romantic notions of faraway exotic lands, and the mystery of whether these relics ever even existed at all. Among such treasures, certainly one that has proven to be one of the most well-known and highly sought after is the fabled Lost Ark of the Covenant. For centuries the quest for this enigmatic artifact has drawn adventurous souls to far flung locales, so far to no avail, but what if the Ark at some point ended up in a land vastly removed from its origins in the Middle East and with virtually no connections to the Christian and Jewish religions that its history is so heavily imbued with? What if it ended up in the far-east country of Japan? As we shall see, sometimes the place where these artifacts end up could possibly be the last place anyone would imagine.

The fabled Ark of the Covenant is perhaps best known to most as the Nazi face melting MacGuffin from the popular film Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it is an actual artifact with a long tradition of mystery. The Ark itself was an ornate, gold gilded chest that held the stone tablets onto which had been written the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God. The Ark was said to be built around 3,000 years ago based on plans that were revealed in a vision from God Himself that Moses had while Israel was camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The Book of Exodus says that after the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, Moses was called to the top of Mt. Sinai by God and was given two tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, after which he later received his vision outlining the design of the Ark in order to transport the tablets. The Ark is said to be made up of intricately gold plated acacia wood, and to be adorned with a crown of pure molded gold and two large, golden angels. The Bible describes its dimensions as approximately 131×79×79 cm or 52×31×31 inches. The Ark was carried with the use of two poles that were put through four rings arranged at its four feet…..

Treating Aliens, Cryptids and Different Beings With Respect

In late January, oil palm plantation workers from the village of Sibu in Borneo spotted what they called a “strange” creature. According to one of the workers, here’s how they reacted.

We were shocked. None of us has ever seen such thing. One of us then hit the animal until it appeared to have passed out … When it regained consciousness, we forced it to go back into the jungle.

They did not report the incident to authorities but instead took a video and posted it on the Internet.

Have you ever thought about how you would react in a similar situation? What’s the first thing you would do if you encountered a strange being or creature ? What if it was an alien? A Bigfoot? A chupacabra? Something cute? Something with a strange appearance?

How would you react if you were alone? Do you think you would act differently if you with a few people? How about a crowd?

What would you do if you were carrying a stick? A rake? How about a gun? How long would you take to decide if the creature was friendly or harmful before you responded to it?

If the being appeared hurt, would you help it? What if the being was hurt because of something you did?

Would you report your encounter to authorities? Would it depend on whether you had a video or other witnesses?

After being notified of the video on the Internet, the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), which works for the Borneo government, dispatched a Swift Wildlife Action Team (SWAT) to investigate. After hunting for two months, they finally rescued the creature, which they identified as an endangered sun bear that had lost its fur and its strength due to an unknown cause. Speculation ran from parasites to pesticide poisoning to torture by humans. A spokesperson for the SFC gave an update:

The bear is in a good and safe place. She has eaten the food and drank the water we gave. But she still is hairless and sick, and we need to find out what the sickness is.


The Mysterious Reincarnation of Omm Sety

What happens to us after death? Since time unremembered, mankind has sought the elusive answer to this profound question. There are as many ideas and philosophies on what becomes of us after our inevitable demise as there are cultures that ponder it. Is there another realm awaiting us in some afterlife? Are we whisked away to join loved ones who have long passed away? Is there nothing but blackness and oblivion? Or is there something else? One idea that is mostly embraced by many religions throughout the world is that of reincarnation; that our soul, spirit, whatever one wants to call it, is reborn upon our death into a new body to live through life again. There have been many stories of those who have allegedly been reincarnated into new bodies, often expressing some vague, vestigial memories of their previous lives, but one in particular stands out as particularly convincing and apt to make one reflect upon the possibilities. It is a strange case that fuses reincarnation with faraway lands, ancient treasures,  and long lost eras.

Born in 1904 in the London suburb of Blackheath, Dorothy Louise Eady had a rather normal early childhood until one day that would change her life forever. At the age of 3, Dorothy slipped and tumbled down a flight of stairs. This was no minor spill, as the girl was found to be not breathing and when the panicked parents called the family doctor, their worst fears were confirmed. 3 year-old Dorothy Eady was pronounced dead at the scene, after which she was placed in her bed. The distraught doctor went to fetch a nurse to help him prepare the body for removal. In most cases, this might be the end of the story, but when the doctor returned with the nurse, Dorothy was found to be miraculously sitting up in bed, wide awake and playing as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Not long after this frightening and bizarre ordeal, little Dorothy began to exhibit unusual and uncharacteristic behavior. She became excessively nervous, jumpy, and withdrawn. She would often hide under or behind furniture and was easily startled by even the most mundane things. She also started saying increasingly bizarre things. On many occasions, she demanded that her parents “take her home,” even when they were at home. She showed a certain sense of wonder and bewilderment at certain everyday items that she had never shown any particular interest in before, and her demeanor became generally more detached and morose. She often awoke from vivid dreams in which she claimed to see ancient buildings with sweeping columns. One day when she was looking at a children’s picture book, she came upon a picture of ancient Egypt and became transfixed by it, staring at it for long periods of time and saying that it was her “other home,” which baffled her worried parents……

Russian Scientist Photographs Human Soul?

Many of you are aware that one of my on-going pet research projects concerns the issue of whether or not the soul exists.  I keep track of and review the work of others who’ve come before me; the philosophies, the studies and experiments, related technology, the players, and the hoaxes.  Call it a hobby, if you will, to stay abreast of the leading edge on this topic.

That last category there is one that troubles me.  There is a lot of misinformation flooding the internet, and people’s belief systems, which has come directly from or has been the result of some deliberate hoaxes.   I’m not talking about fake ghost pictures, though there are certainly enough of them around.  I’m not even talking about the hype and greed of network TV paranormal investigators.  What I’m talking about is the hyperbolic, and often completely fabricated “scientific evidence” for the existence of the soul that you’ll see repeated, copied, and shared endlessly on social media.  Bearing in mind my little habit, as outlined above, I can tell you with confidence that there is no such scientific evidence, no matter how convincing The Mind Unleashed’s Facebook page is on the subject.

This problem isn’t a new one either, but our reliance on the rigorous level of fact-checking abilities (or actually, the lack thereof) of our Friend’s list is, to say the least, not helping.

Some time ago I briefly discussed the hoax that rests at the center of most internet stories involving the weight of the soul.  In that post I described the incredible results of secret German experiments in 1988 – on disadvantaged medical patients – which sought to determine how much a human soul weighs.  As the story goes, after weighing the bodies of some 400 patients before death and then immediately following death, they found that the soul weighs roughly 1/3000th of an ounce, or 0.01 grams.  Impressive, no?

It turns out though, the researchers in that case, Becker Mertens and Elkie Ficher, don’t exist and have never existed, and the experiments they supposedly conducted never happened…..

The Amazing Miracle of Philadelphia

Do miracles really exist in this world? I’m not talking about somehow defeating the numerical odds or slipping through the cracks of statistics, like winning the lottery twice in a row, scoring a perfect hole in one on a difficult shot, or coming out unscathed from an accident that perhaps should have killed you. I mean real, honest to God miracles; feats of impossibility perpetuated by some unknown force or higher power. Do we live in a world where forces beyond our understanding can swoop in and alter our reality in such a way as to beat impossible, insurmountable odds, miraculously cure incurable sicknesses, or make the most unbelievable things occur? Is there some benevolent power that occasionally watches over us, guides us, and in some cases reverses the inevitable approach of misfortune and death? The answer to that question largely depends on who you ask, but one person who is sure to have an interesting answer is a boy who in the early 1980s stood at death’s door, beaten by sickness and incapacitated beyond all hope, only to merge from the dark void of oblivion unscathed, perhaps even aided by mysterious powers that we currently cannot even begin to comprehend.

It was December, 1982, three weeks before Christmas in a residential area of Philadelphia. This was a time of holiday cheer and good tidings for most, with Christmas lights strung up, people wishing each other happy holidays, and children eagerly anticipating the trove of gifts they hoped to surely receive from Santa, whether they were good boys and girls or not. It was one night during this typically jovial season that little 7-year-old Chucky McGivern came home from school sick with the chicken pox, probably not what he had had in mind for a Christmas gift. His caring mother, Nancy McGivern, put him straight to bed and hoped for the best. Over the next several days, Chucky’s condition deteriorated dramatically, his health on a downward slide as he became a pale husk of the jovial child he had been until one day he simply lost consciousness and refused to wake up despite his panicked mother’s best efforts. Only then would Nancy become keenly aware that whatever her son had, it was not a simple case of chicken pox…..

The Mushroom Death Suit is Ready to Consume Your Body

We have seen the future of funerals and it is fungus. The makers of the Mushroom Death Suit say their eco-friendly burial garment is ready to consume its first human body. Oh, and they’d prefer if you called it the Infinity Burial Suit.

The suit is the brainchild of Jae Rhim Lee and Mike Ma, who became friends at Stanford University and are the co-founders of Coeio, the company that will make and sell the product. They came up with the idea for the suit after Ma attended some family funerals and Lee began thinking about the 200 or more toxins in the human body – both when living and especially after embalming – that eventually end up in the earth.

Lee’s idea was to have the body be “eaten” or aided in decomposition by mushrooms that would also remove the toxins and render them harmless. She tested her idea by feeding her own hair, fingernails and dead skin to various mushrooms and chose the ones that seemed to enjoy this unusual buffet. Spores were taken from the best eaters and placed in threads that were then woven into a shroud that became the Mushroom Death Suit.

At a TED talk in 2011, Lee described how the recently-deceased would be placed in the Mushroom Death Suit, covered with an Alternative Embalming Fluid (slurry of spores) and some Decompiculture Makeup (dried spores) and buried within 24 hours of death. The spores would be activated by the decomposition and begin to dine, thus removing pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins from the body…..

The Clapham Wood Mystery

The world has a long history of forests with apparently supernatural qualities, from the legendary Black Forest of southwestern Germany, where every manner of creature, from werewolves to sorcerers, are said to originate.  To England’s haunted Wychwood Forest, possibly the most haunted forest in Britain.  To Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees, where more than 500 suicides have been reported since the 1950’s.

There’s something vaguely romantic about a mysterious wood, like Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood fame, which was known as a haven for everything evil.  The idea that a forest holds wicked truths and supernatural power seems to speak to us in a primal way.  Ancient stories perpetuate the myths of such haunted places, and the anonymity of a ghost story involving such a vast area seems to give license to more than a few urban legends.

One such instance of high-strangeness is Clapham Wood, where the aptly named Clapham Wood Mystery has been confounding paranormal researchers for decades.  Located in West Sussex, England, Clapham Wood stands to the north of the small village of Clapham.  Historically, Clapham has been an archetypal English village, one that’s been around, likely, since Saxon times.  Over the last 300 years, it has remained largely hidden from the outside world, except, that is, for the last four decades…..

Dead Crows In Ohio Have Many Fearing Bad News

Dead birds are never a good sign. Dead crows are worse – at least according to many religions and cultures that look upon them as omens. So residents of Youngstown, Ohio, are understandably nervous about a large number of dead crows found on a major thoroughfare this past weekend. Is it a sign of disease, pollutants or just the end of the world?

The carcasses of dozens of dead crows were spotted on February 20th just south of downtown Youngstown by drivers on Interstate 680. The birds were apparently found already dead on the ground and not seen dropping from the sky. Officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources collected samples from the carcasses and are testing them for the various avian diseases known to be present in that area, including avian flu, West Nile virus and conjunctivitis. As of this writing, a cause for the crow deaths has not been determined.

This isn’t the first time crows have caused concern in this area. In 2002, tens of thousands of crows invaded Boardman, a suburb of Youngstown. No explanation was ever found for the surprise arrival of the crows, the mysterious deaths of many of them nor their sudden departure. Migration would be one reason for the appearances of both the 2002 birds and 2016 ones, but things are always suspicious when the birds are crows…..