Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part 4 – Investigating the Castle Crags Petroglyphs
In the previous articles about Mount Shasta's J.C. Brown mystery, we explored the prehistoric lore of the area, which at face-value could suggest that Brown's claim of discovering a cave containing the skeletons of prehistoric giants and antiquated relics could in some sense be based on an actual discovery.
As is the case with any enduring legend, details are embellished and exaggerated. But there are cases of historical legends which have been later validated by unexpected discoveries.
Brown's story is in some detail substantiated by Native American legends of a giant race who allegedly lived and traveled in underground tunnels throughout the Castle Crags region; the giant's civilization was said to have been destroyed in a catastrophic Flood, which is believed to have occurred around the end of the last Ice Age.
During my years of researching the legend, one of the clues I found that I believe may tie into the mystery is a mysterious set of petroglyphs carved into granite boulders along a creekside in a very remote section of the Castle Crags wilderness, a region which lies outside of the public trails, and is usually only explored by backcountry hikers and rock climbers.
“Location of the petroglyph site hidden in a secluded are of the Castle Crags wilderness.” Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016
AN UNUSUAL DISCOVERY IN THE CASTLE CRAGS WILDERNESS BELIEVED TO SUPPORT THEORIES THAT MOUNT SHASTA WAS ONCE PART OF THE LOST CONTINENT OF LEMURIA
Sometime in the 1940s, two high school boys from Dunsmuir were hiking along the creek when they made an unusual discovery. They found a series of mystic carvings chiseled into large granite boulders scattered along the creekside. Some of the carvings were painted over with handprints, using some kind of reddish pigment which has long since faded away.
The boys related their discovery to a man named Frank Bascom, who dabbled in geology and archeology, and who was associated with the U.S. Forest Service. The boys led Bascom back up to the site and more strange petroglyphs were discovered.
- Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part I – The Legend of J.C. Brown
- Legends of Mount Shasta: The Abode of the Devil Part 2 – Castle Crags: Fortress of Giants
- Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part 3 – Prehistoric Traditions of Giants and Mysterious Beings, Part One
Bascom was certain that they had stumbled across an important archeological site, and reported the find to the Forest Service, which sent a group of personnel to investigate the petroglyphs. A short time later Bascom wrote about his experiences, stating that he believed the carvings showed a higher degree of artisan skill than anything else he had ever seen.
“This is a large boulder I call the Temple Stone carved with unusual symbols including a Maltese Cross.” Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016
Following news of the discovery of the Crag's petroglyphs came various interpretations and theories.
Bascom was deeply convinced that the carvings were made in the prehistoric era; he pointed out that a number of the same symbols were also noted in James Churchward's books on the Lost Continent of Mu , and believed that the petroglyphs supported theories that Mount Shasta was part of the last remaining fragments of the continent of Lemuria , which broke apart and sunk into the Pacific Ocean.
Most of the details about the Castle Crag's petroglyphs come from old newspaper articles, reprinted in a 1997 book about local legends.
Since their discovery the Castle Crag's petroglyphs have remained a fascinating local mystery.
“A large triangular-shaped boulder features many esoteric symbols which also appear in James Churchward's books on the Lost Continet of Mu.” Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016
ARE THE CASTLE CRAGS PETROGLYPHS REALLY TREASURE SYMBOLS?
When I began investigating the Crags' petroglyph site in 2013 it seemed clear to me that the symbols could not be prehistoric. Even today, a few decades since their discovery, many of them are so faded and worn that it's becoming difficult to discern them at all. The effects of weathering is already eroding them from the surface of the granite boulders.
“The Ankh Stone.” Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016
Since the petroglyphs were discovered in the 1940s they could not have been made by modern spiritualists in the post-hippie era. And while it's true that as far back as the early 1930s Lemurian hoaxes were being perpetuated in Mount Shasta by charlatans, if somebody carved the petroglyphs as some kind of hoax, they never sought to exploit the hoax publicly, or attempted to profit off of it.