Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part 4 – Investigating the Castle Crags Petroglyphs

Ancient Origins – By Dustin Naef – 26 October, 2016 – Re-posted Dec 26, 2017

Photo: “Location of the petroglyph site hidden in a secluded are of the Castle Crags wilderness.” Photograph © Dustin Naef 2016.


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.

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.

Photo: “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.

Photo: “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.


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.

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.

Whoever made these petroglyphs had done so secretly, in a remote and little-traveled area of the Castle Crags wilderness.

There was only one other possibility that I could think of that might explain the provenance of the symbols, and that was that they might be what are known as “treasure signs and symbols” in treasure-hunting lore.

In lieu of leaving behind any maps or written directions, treasure-hoarders would often mark the secret locations of their hidden mines or buried treasure with cryptic symbols, which were intelligible only to those who knew how to decipher their meanings.

There are many different examples of this kind of subterfuge at play in modern treasure-hunting lore.

The Oak Island Mystery, the Lost Dutchman’s mine in Arizona’s Superstition mountains, and the heretical mysteries of Renne’s Le Chateau are all examples of locations riddled with enigmatic rock carvings and mysterious symbols, which many people believe were created to obfuscate and conceal the location of some fabled lost treasure.

J.C. Brown was known to be a treasure-hunter who chased after these kinds of tales in the days before he claimed to discover the giant skeletons and lost relics, which he believed was evidence that James Churchward’s theories about the lost continent of Mu were true, and ostensibly linked to California’s mysterious, prehistoric past.

It’s my belief that the Castle Crags petroglyphs were created by J.C. Brown himself, sometime between the years 1904 and 1934, to secretly mark the whereabouts of the giant’s tunnel he claimed to discover during a mining expedition he undertook in the Mount Shasta region.

If there’s any truth to the local legend, based on my own interpretations and understanding of the known facts, the Castle Crags wilderness is the mostly logical place that such a discovery would have been made.

Since J.C. Brown mysteriously vanished in 1934, on the night before he was going to lead an expedition up to his clandestine site to reveal the location of the treasures hidden in a tunnel at the base of a cliff, we will probably never know the actual truth—but perhaps these petroglyphs make up part of the framework of Brown’s mysterious tale, and may represent one of the only tangible clues he left behind.

Read entire article here

Posted by Teri Perticone


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