What secrets perchance are about us? We do not know as we lie there, our bodies resting, our souls filled with peace, nor do we know until many years are passed out through the back door of time that that tall basalt cliff conceals a doorway. We do not suspect this, nor that a long tunnel stretches away, far into the interior of majestic Shasta. Wholly unthought is it that there lie at the tunnel’s far end vast apartments, the home of a mystic brotherhood, whose occult arts hollowed that tunnel and mysterious dwelling: “Sach” the name is. Are you incredulous as to these things? Go there, or suffer yourself to be taken as I was, once! See, as I saw, not with the vision of flesh, the walls, polished as by jewelers, though excavated as by giants; floors carpeted with long, fleecy gray fabric that looked like fur, but was a mineral product; ledges intersected by the builders, and in their wonderful polish exhibiting veinings of gold, of silver, of green copper ores, and maculations of precious stones. Verily, a mystic temple, made afar from the madding crowd, a refuge whereof those who, “Seeing, see not,” can truly say:
Dweller on Two Planets inspired the Lemurian Fellowship, a New Age group that provided David Childress with the fringe and paranormal material that launched his career in the 1980s.
It was all made-up nonsense, directly inspired by Helena Blavatsky’s claims that there was a secret tunnel system under Peru associated with the Nephilim giants of old. But from this fantasy, later writers have expanded the claims to move from Atlantis to aliens and from secret “apartments” to hangars for flying saucers. Every new claim simply larded fantasy on top of fantasy, and now here we are.
Giorgio Tsoukalos, David Childress, and William Henry sit around the Ancient Aliens conference table to discuss Mt. Shasta. Childress claims that more “weird” books have been written about it than any other mountain. I think Mt. Hermon would give it a run for its money, but if we define these books as being paranormal nonsense, then, sure. They discuss in nonspecific ways the general idea that Mt. Shasta had been sacred to various Native tribes and therefore must be associated with otherworldly beings. As is usual, the show asserts that any deities associated with Mt. Shasta must be extraterrestrials mistaken for gods. Tsoukalos claims that there are “ancient” UFO reports from Mt. Shasta, but he does not share any. Instead, we cut to a taped segment telling us that many people have seen UFOs around Mt. Shasta. These sightings go back a century or more, but most sightings occurred in the last ten years—all the more amazing since no one captured any indisputable alien craft on video or in a clear photo, despite nearly everyone having a smartphone.
Running out of steam before the end of the first segment, the show transitions to claims that a lost race of prehistoric giants inhabited Mt. Shasta, which Hugh Newman and the other talking heads link to Bigfoot, on the grounds that Bigfoot also lives in “northern California.”
The second segment, already repeating earlier material from this same episode, claims that the part of the mountain above the tree line is sacred. Thus, they attempt to suggest that traveling there can incur the wrath of a supernatural power. This segment covers “unusual disappearances,” mostly hikers who vanished while climbing the mountain. It’s not very interesting to me, particularly since every area has its share of unusual disappearances.
Robert Schoch tied to claim Mt. Shasta is filled with geological energy, and Childress claims that geomagnetic forces create frequent portals to other dimensions in and around the mountain. Despite this, Childress and the Ancient Aliens team have never conducted sustained observations there to find one of these portals (an afternoon filming for TV doesn’t count), despite its discovery offering an instant path to prove them right. I noticed around this point that this episode is painfully light in content, stringing out threadbare assertions to absurd lengths in an attempt to fill time.
The fourth segment shows us video of William Henry’s recent (so they say—it was almost a year ago) field trip to Mt. Shasta. He meets with local author Dustin Naef and they talk about Mu and Lemuria—two separate fictitious lost continents that the show conflates into one, based on twentieth century speculation, which moved Lemuria from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. The description given here is taken directly from Dweller on Two Planets’ discussion of Atlanteans under Mt. Shasta, with Atlantis swapped out for Lemuria to reorient the stories for a Pacific perspective. The segment discusses J. C. Brown, allegedly a British prospector from the early 1900s who found a cave full of giant mummies and treasure under Mt. Shasta.
The fifth segment sends Naef and Henry to the caves of Mt. Shasta in search of the prehistoric city of Telos, home to people they call the Lemurians. They attribute the city and its Lemurian inhabitants to Dweller on Two Planets, which is interesting because, while the book does mention Lemuria a couple of times, it focuses on Atlantis. However, in 1931 the Rosicrucians published a book by Harvey Spencer Lewis that had recycled the Dweller story with Lemurians as the protagonists. Wikipedia picked up the story from there, and Ancient Aliens follows the version given on Wikipedia’s page about Mt. Shasta supernatural claims. Claims about meeting luminous “ascended masters” from Theosophy inside the mountain are rehearsed, and we return to the claim that there is some kind of portal in the mountain. Henry spends an hour or two looking for it, and as Henry indifferently takes some kind of “reading,” we cut to commercial to make the audience stick around past 10 PM for the big reveal to help goose ratings for the next hour as the show runs three minutes over time.
The reading finds nothing unusual. They also repeat some claims from earlier that they had already repeated a few times before. They repeat a lot. The show finishes with the talking heads insisting that Mt. Shasta is important because it is American “not in Peru” or some other foreign place. Tsoukalos ends by saying that while they can draw no conclusions, the ancient astronaut theory is “all about” the “investigation,” tacitly conceding that the whole ancient aliens idea is about wonder and mystery, not science and truth.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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