Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part I – The Legend of J.C. Brown
Many of Mount Shasta’s strangest tales have yet to be told. Ancient Native American legends speak of a fallen race of prehistoric giants who once inhabited the Pacific Coast of North America. According to the legend, their civilization was destroyed in a Great Flood. In the early twentieth century, a treasure-hunter prospecting in the Mount Shasta region claimed to have found evidence suggesting that the offspring of the Annunaki–also known as the Watchers and Nephilim–may have reached the shores of North America in a remote, prehistoric era. But before he could reveal the location of their “lost civilization”, he mysteriously vanished.
Could the legend be true?
Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016
All over the world, there are first-hand tales of how treasure-hunters and grave-robbers come to ruin by the consequences of their actions. There are many witnesses and victims of curses, which invariably follow the disturbance of hallowed places—especially the breaking of sacred ground, and the stirring up of local, in-dwelling spirits.
But this has never stopped treasure-hunters from the tearing down of anything that stands in the path of their dream of finding lost riches, and secrets hidden away beneath the mantel of the Earth's crust.
Photograph “Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona” © Doulas Kerr Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Many people are familiar with the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, a cursed treasure believed to be hidden in Arizona’s Superstition mountains. Fortune hunters have never ceased trying to find it.
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A mysterious set of engraved stone tablets, known as the Peralta Stones, are believed to contain the secrets of unraveling the mystery of mine's location.
Peralta Stones – Latin Heart Reader (CC BY-SA 3.0)
But to this day nobody has found the Dutchman's lost gold, though many have lost their lives trying.
Mount Shasta has a very similar legend which has captured the imagination of would-be treasure-hunters for decades. The legend centers around the accidental discovery of a subterranean reliquary, purporting to contain the treasures and skeletal remains of a lost civilization of prehistoric giants.
Photograph © Dustin Naef “Abode of the Devil – Part One”
The Legend of J.C. Brown
In 1904, a geologist and treasure-hunter who went by the name of J.C. Brown was hired by a mining syndicate to prospect for gold somewhere in the Cascades of northern California.
During Brown’s explorations of the wilderness, he claimed to come across a rock-fall at the base of a cliff. He suspected that something may be buried underneath it, and set about clearing the away the rubble.
Hidden beneath the rock-fall, Brown described unearthing a mysterious tunnel of unusual dimensions. A passage 10 feet high and seven feet (three by seven meters) wide curved downwards into the interior of the Earth.
Deep underground, Brown described encountering a weird array of primitive machinery which he attributed to a subterranean mining operation; and also, an unusual cache of gold treasures and relics belonging to an unknown people who inhabited California in ancient times.
Among the treasures Brown claimed to have found, he described as golden tablets and plates, all neatly inscribed with strange hieroglyphics and cuneiform writings. Unusual tempered-copper spears fashioned out of a memory-metal alloy which remembered its “shape”, so that the spear could be bent, to the point where the head of the weapon touched the base of the shaft, whereupon it would morph back into its original state.
Annunaki – “Some of the relics and iconography Brown described is suggestive of a Mediterranean link.”
Brown also described a “worship room” containing statues that eerily glowed in the dark, and iconography depicting solar symbols, and unconventional crosses not of the modern type, suggestive of a Mediterranean origin.
In another chamber he counted 27 giant skeletons laid out at angles to the walls, the smallest of which was six feet, six inches (two meters), and the tallest more then 10 feet (3 meters) in height. In another chamber lay the bodies of a man and a woman, dressed in royal robes, apparently embalmed and mummified by some secret process. Brown believed them to be the king and queen of a lost race of prehistoric giants.
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After re-emerging to the surface, Brown reburied the tunnel and the next decades of his life are still shrouded in mystery. He is believed to have returned to the site periodically over the years, but became increasingly paranoid and secretive. He claimed close family members and friends he shared his secret with attempted to betray him, and all of them succumbed to a deadly curse, and died in freak accidents and unnatural deaths.
James Churchward (1851-1936) Author of the Lost Continent of Mu. (Public Domain)
During the following years, Brown became obsessed with James Churchward’s books on the lost continent of Mu (c. 1926-1935), and was fascinated with the theories about Lemuria which were beginning to gain a foothold in California and the Mount Shasta region—fueled by an intense public fascination with spirituality and occultism promoted by the Theosophical Society.
Brown became assured that he had discovered evidence of a lost race of prehistoric giants who inhabited California in ancient times, who were destroyed in a catastrophic Flood. He believed that he had found a lost link in the story of civilization.
At the age of 79, in 1934, J.C. Brown turned up in Stockton, California, to raise a party of explorers to return with him to the site of the giant’s tunnel and catalog the treasure-trove of fabulous relics. The size of his party quickly grew to 80 in number, but on the night before they were to depart on the expedition, J.C. Brown mysteriously vanished.
Stockton Record News – Public domain newpaper article, 1934.
Members of Brown’s expedition suspected foul play and feared that their leader may have been kidnapped; the police were called in to investigate, but could find no cause or reason for Brown’s weird disappearance being a hoax–he never accepted any money from any members of his party.
J.C. Brown appeared to be the last person to succumb to the treasure’s deadly curse. Ever since he discovered the giant’s tunnel, the whole ordeal brought him nothing but trouble.
Nobody ever saw or heard from J.C. Brown ever again . . .
View the first installment of a three part video series exploring some of the legends and prehistoric lore of the Mount Shasta region, based on the book “Mount Shasta's Forgotten History & Legends”.
Top Image: Mount Shasta Sunset - Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016
By Dustin Naef
Naef, Dustin, 2016. Mount Shasta’s Forgotten History & Legends (2016)
Stockton Record Newspaper, June, 1934. “80 Stocktonians Left Behind in Search for 'Lost Continent'”.