Sprawled out across a portion of the northern Mojave Desert of California, in the United States, is the magnificent yet forbidding moonscape that is Death Valley.
This is one of the hottest, most inhospitable places on the planet, boasting the highest ground temperature ever recorded on earth at 201 °F (93.9 °C), and in general a sun-scorched wasteland, devoid of water and pounded by relentless sun and heat. It is so inhospitable that it might as well be the surface of some remote, lifeless planet, and it is not called Death Valley for nothing. Yet, for how totally uninhabitable it may seem there have long been Native tribes living in this extreme land for thousands of years, and it some reports are to be believed there is even a mysterious lost civilization that lived under it all.The tribe most associated with the Death Valley region is the Paiute, who like many other tribes throughout the world have their particular legends and myths about the land they inhabit. For the Paiute one of the most intriguing is that of a great underground city they call Shin-au-av, meaning “God’s Land” or “Ghost Land.” According to the lore, there was once a great chief who lost his wife to the clutches of death. Unable to cope without her, this chief took a journey to the land of spirits, during which he found himself in a vast subterranean world. In this land he was attacked by horrific monsters, which he barely managed to fend off as he retreated, finally crossing a rock bridge and coming to a peaceful land ruled by a chief called Shin-au-av.
This was apparently a land of lush green meadows, sweeping valleys, and dancing, happy people, and the chief who had stumbled across this magical place realized that is was a land of spirits, possibly even harboring his dead wife. He even asked if his wife was there, and one of his guides said that she indeed was, and that she would be presented to him with the caveat that he whisk her away as soon as possible without looking back. The chief was elated, but after waiting several days she did not materialize. He was about to give up but then she appeared and he did as promised, taking her by the hand and leading her across that stone bridge back to the land of the living, but he broke his pact by looking once more onto that sumptuous realm of green and his wife subsequently faded away once again. The heartbroken chief made his way back to his village, but he was never the same again, and his tale of that amazing underground domain became the stuff of legends.
Whether this fantastic fable is based in any way in reality or not, there have actually been explorers and adventurers who seem to have stumbled across this seemingly mythical place buried under the harsh hellscape of the Death Valley above, and whether connected to this legend or not there have been many who have claimed to have found something quite odd there under the parched earth. One of the earliest such accounts comes from the early 1900s, when two men named White and Thomason were said to have been hiking through Death Valley and one of them allegedly fell through the ground into an old mine shaft at a place called Wingate Pass.
It turned out that there underground was a gigantic cavern that they claim to have followed for 20 miles beneath the earth, where it penetrated out under the Panamint Mountains. According to them, this meandering, expansive cavern emptied out into a vast and ancient subterranean city, which had long since been abandoned but which still held much evidence of its past residents. White and Thomason said that they found perfectly preserved mummies wearing leather clothing and gold jewelry down there in the dank depths, as well as gold spears, a polished stone round table of some sort, golden statues, and just generally gold lying all over the place, as well as countless gemstones. Throughout all of it was an intricate lighting system that they speculated harnessed natural gases, and immense stone doors that seemed to have once been operated with elaborate mechanical systems.
The men claimed to have taken some of the treasure and relics out of there so that they could be studied, but that they had been subsequently stolen by an associate. They captured the attention of the Smithsonian Institute, and promised that they could show them where the entrance to this bizarre underground world was, but the men were unable to locate it again. Considering there is absolutely no evidence of these men’s claims, we are left to merely speculate as to how much truth any of it has.
In the 1920s there was another interesting account when a Native Guide named Tom Wilson came forward to claim that his prospector grandfather had also found some sort of underground city under Death Valley. Wilson said that his grandfather had followed a cave down into the earth, where he had come across a city of fair-skinned people living there underground, who spoke a language he could not understand and were decked out in leather clothing of some sort. This strange race had horses down there, and the whole city was lit up by some sort of lighting system he could not comprehend. Interestingly, Wilson would hear the earlier account of the explorer White and would go on to spend the rest of his life obsessively looking for the lost city without success until he passed away in 1968.
In 1947 the mysterious lost city of Death Valley captured the public imagination when a man named Howard E. Hill came forward with a rather bizarre tale of his own, which was circulated in the newspaper The San Diego Union. Hill told of a man named Dr. F. Bruce Russell and his colleague, an archeologist named Dr. Daniel S. Bovee. In 1931, Russell was claimed to have discovered a complex network of subterranean caves, which were stumbled across completely by accident while sinking for a mine shaft to make a claim on. The two men went on to explore these uncharted tunnels and found a series of spectacular caverns and catacombs down there in the gloom, which revealed some rather startling discoveries indeed.
According to the report, Russell and Bovee came across the mummified remains of three actual giants in the darkness, each measuring a purported 9 feet tall and wearing clothing that appeared to be jackets and knee length trousers made of some sort of unknown animal skin. The chamber that the giants were found in was allegedly full of relics that seemed to be some sort of mix of Egyptian and Native American design, and there were apparently hieroglyphics etched into the walls and ceiling. The men also found some sort of hall that they believed had been used for mysterious rituals, and within this hall were the remains of numerous animals presumably used for sacrifices, including both known and unknown animals, as well as the bones of extinct animals such as mammoths and even actual dinosaurs, as weird as that may seem.
Russell supposedly claimed that the remains were dated to be at least 80,000 years old, and that the whole complex meandered out into the unexplored dark for miles, with no telling what else lie within the unexplored murk. Although the two tried to get interest from the scientific community they were perhaps not surprisingly looked at with quite a bit of skepticism, with all of this talk of giant bones and dinosaur skeletons in an underground city. Yet they were apparently adamant that it was all real and that it was the discovery of the century. The two were finally able to draw some interest, but when they tried to find the entrance again they of course could not. Rather bizarrely, not long after this Dr. Russell and Bovee just suddenly vanished, and Russell’s car would supposedly be found abandoned in the desert of Death Valley several months later with no sign of its occupant.
There have been sporadic reports since of finding anomalous caverns and ruins down there in the earth below Death Valley, and we are left to wonder what it all means. Was there ever an ancient underground city here or is this all just myths and folklore? What of the findings of these explorers who have claimed to have been there? What is the significance of the mummies or the bones? It is a hard case to really get a bead on, and for now we are left to merely wonder if down in the depths below the unforgiving remote desert of Death Valley there is some ancient mysterious city lost to time.
About The Author
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He’s written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.
Although the gigantic Giza structures are a famed tourist trap, with anyone making their way to Cairo by all means dropping by to see the towering granite and limestone structures, little is known about the logistics behind the construction work as well as exactly which ingredients were used in the concrete mixture to bring together the stones.
Whatever the intrigue around the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which has been shrouded in mystery for virtually all the 4,000 years that the colossal structure has existed, it has now been revealed how a series of intact scrolls could shed a bit of light on it.
Channel 4’s documentary titled “Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence” focuses on remarkable findings by archaeologist Pierre Tallet, who luckily stumbled upon a number of ancient papyrus scrolls in a cave in Wadi al-Jarf, later dubbing the discovery “the oldest and completely preserved papyrus ever found in the world”.
According to Dr Tallet, who spent almost four painstaking years trying to decipher the papyrus inscriptions, the unearthed document provides “very precious information about the way the workers were able to build such big constructions”.
“It reveals, in detail, how sailors worked on the pyramid’s construction”, the narrator in the series remarked, specifying even the name of the person who had allegedly authored the scrolls – Merer, who was “an overseer in charge of a cargo boat and a team of 40 elite workmen”. The latter, as it was revealed in the “only first-hand account” of those days, were performing “a daunting job of transporting the pyramid’s precious white casing stones along the River Nile”, with boatmen making two to three round trips along the Nile every ten days “from July to November”.
“Inspector” Merer’s diary is believed to date back to the 26th year of the reign of Pharaoh Khufu, who was buried inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids of the landmark architectural complex, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The chronicle depicts several months of work involving the transportation of limestone from Tura to Giza, however, without specifying the place where the material was used. Yet, given that the document dates back to what is considered by historians to be the finishing years of Pharaoh Khufu’s reign, Dr Tallet believes the tonnes of transported limestone were used for cladding the exterior of the legendary pyramid.
They find in Utah a Spanish coin minted 200 years before the arrival of Columbus to the New World
The American naturalist and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson coined the term OOPArt , which means artifact out of place (out of place artifact in English). These are objects of historical, archaeological or paleontological interest that have been found in a very unusual place, considered too advanced for their time or that demonstrate the presence of humans before it was known that they existed. The acronym is rarely used by historians or scientists and is limited mainly to the terminology of cryptozoologists, defenders of the theories of ancient astronauts and travel in time.
Detractors argue that some experts use questionable methods to interpret these surprising findings. They believe that most OOPArts are simply misinterpretations or the assumption that a particular culture could not have created an artifact or technology due to its lack of knowledge. But even then hundreds of OOPArts have been discovered around the world that continue without explanation. That said, if Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, then how did a Spanish coin minted 200 years before his arrival end up in Utah?
That is the question that National Park Service (NPS) officials are trying to answer after the recent discovery of two mysterious coins near Lake Powell.
The strange coins
As reported by the US media KSL, last September a hiker was walking near Halls Crossing Marina when he found two circular metal objects that he thought were garbage, one the size of “25 cents” and the other smaller than a coin of “10 cents” . But when he looked more closely at them later, I note with astonishment that they were really two Spanish coins from hundreds of years ago.
The hiker began to search for coins online and discovered that the largest coincided with the Spanish coins minted in Madrid in the 1660s, while the smallest one seems to date back to the 1290s.
Controversy with timelines
It seems that the smallest coin is the one that has created mystery to the discovery since it predates the arrival of Columbus to the New World. It is also curious how Spanish coins have ended up in Utah since subsequent exploration trips through the American West are not close to the area where the coin was found. According to historians, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was the first to travel near Utah in his search for the mythical “Seven Golden Cities” in the early 1540s. But the closest he came was to the Hopi villages in northern Arizona, more than 160 kilometers to the south.
The hiker handed the coins to the National Park Service after the discovery, and officials are now looking for experts to help them figure out if the coins are real and, if so, how they ended up in the park.
Brian Harmon, the archaeologist with the National Park Service, told Business Insider that there are some different possibilities that are being investigated. Those possibilities include scenarios in which the coins are real and were brought to the area by the first Spanish explorers or settlers, and ended up in Utah after being exchanged. Another option is for them to be real, but they were accidentally lost in the lake, perhaps by a treasure hunt. Finally, there is a possibility that the coins are false or reproductions. While Harmon admits that he is not a currency expert, he believes they are true and that they ended up in Utah because of a former Spanish settler or explorer, since it would mean that there was a Spanish presence in the area much earlier than initially thought.
Park officials kept the discovery secret until recently, and have not wanted to reveal the exact location where the coins were discovered. They also warn that the use of metal detectors in national parks is illegal. The American archaeologist said he is thinking of traveling to the place where the coins were found to look for clues about how the coins arrived.
And this has provoked a heated debate in social networks about the true origin of the moneadas. It is true that many agree with Brian Harmon’s theory, but it is also true that others point out that the coins are OOPArts, out of place and time artifacts. Also, remember that the find in Utah is similar to the mysterious coin found in a work in Mexico in 2018. In this case what caught his attention most was the inscriptions he had engraved on it: 2039, the symbol of the Nazi Party, the eagle and the swastika, as well as some words written in Spanish that said “New Germany”.
What do you think about the currencies of Utah? Is it about OOPArts? A test of time travelers? Or is there a logical and rational explanation?
Most of the world’s islands are well-explored, their secrets learned long ago, but a few remain mysterious. Islands shown on maps for centuries suddenly appear to vanish. Dangerous, top secret facilities on remote islands are abandoned or destroyed. Sometimes, islands behave in ways seemingly inexplicable to those who discover or study them. An island seems to appear as if by magic, leaving experts to wonder what created it and how.
Islands all but completely cut off from the rest of the world produce flora that are not only unique but also look as though they could grow only on an alien world. Other islands are mysterious because of their inhabitants’ origin or fate. All of these ten strange and mysterious islands are truly amazing for these reasons and more.
On maps dating as far back as the 1700s, Isla Bermeja was shown off the Yucatan Peninsula’s coast, at a greater distance than any other island claimed by Mexico. The island was just what the country needed to extend its claim on offshore oil and stop the United States’ encroachment on Mexico’s interests in that department. There was just one problem: A 2009 National Autonomous University of Mexico study concluded the island doesn’t exist—at least not where it’s supposed to be. The search team, using underwater sensing devices and aerial reconnaissance assets, couldn’t find the island anywhere in the area in which maps indicated it should be.
The island is supposed to lie 55 nautical miles farther than Mexico’s 200-nautical-mile territorial limit. By claiming it, Mexico would extend its oil claims into the middle of the Gulf. Although the lost island wasn’t found, Elias Cardenas, the head of Mexico’s congressional Maritime Committee, planned to continue his country’s search for it, hoping it might turn up elsewhere. Perhaps the island had sunk or submerged, he said.
Mexican conspiracy theorists had their own ideas about what happened to Isla Bermeja. Maybe the US bombed it, or it could have been a victim of global warming or an earthquake. Cardenas is certain that bombing didn’t account for the mysterious island’s disappearance. “That would have been [ . . . ] very noticeable,” he said.
The elusive island was first reported missing in 1997, when a Navy fishing expedition was unable to find it. Until it disappeared, Isla Bermeja, which supposedly measured 80 square kilometers (31 mi2), had been the point from which Mexico’s 200 nautical-mile limit started. Currently, the Alacranes islands have determined the end of the country’s territorial limits. As a result, Mexico’s “economic zone” has been “sharply reduced.”
During the 1920s, Soviet Union officials were seeking a location with specific attributes. It had to be isolated, it had to be surrounded by desert, and it had to be within the borders of the Soviet empire. Two islands fit the bill. The Soviets chose Vozrozhdeniya, situated in the Aral Sea. There, a top secret biological weapons laboratory was constructed, where the plague, anthrax, smallpox, brucellosis, tularemia, botulinum, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis pathogens were genetically modified to resist medical treatment.
Gennadi Lepyoshkin, physician, microbiologist, and Soviet Army colonel, spent 18 years of his career on the island, where, in a year’s time, he said as many as 300 monkeys would be caged on a range, next to instruments that measured the concentrations of pathogens in the air. Following the monkeys’ exposure to the germs, they’d be taken to labs, where their bloodwas tested, and the progression of the diseases in their bodies would be monitored. “They would die within weeks, and we would perform autopsies,” Lepyoshkin said. The 1,500 people involved in the project not only worked on the island but lived there as well in the only town, Kantubek, which provided “a social club, a stadium, a couple of schools and shops,” Lepyoshkin said. It was a “beautiful” place, where workers could swim in the Aral Sea or sunbathe on its shore.
As the Aral Sea dried up, the island simply became part of the surrounding desert, and today, Kantubek lies in ruins, having been looted after it was abandoned by the Soviet Union. Scientists don’t believe the biological weapons laboratory poses much of a threat anymore. All the pathogens except anthrax, which can survive for centuries, have been destroyed by the area’s high temperatures and harsh conditions.
When they left, the Soviets buried the laboratory’s anthrax spores to conceal the project’s violation of the 1972 treaty banning biological weapons. In the 21st century, US and Uzbek officials visited the site, burning warehouses that contained “remains of the previous experiments.” US Defense Department officials believe the anthrax spores have been destroyed, although no one can know for certain that such is the case.
Bannerman Island, in the Hudson River, is a half-hour boat ride from New York City. There’s no other way to get there. Visitors to the mysterious island are likely to wonder why there’s a castle on it. The edifice was built by Frank Bannerman VI, who made a fortune by reselling surplus military equipment he bought at government auctions at the end of the US Civil War.
He was in need of a place to store the huge quantities of black powder he’d purchased, along with other surplus items, when his son, David, mentioned Pollopel Island. Bannerman bought it in 1900, built a large arsenal there the next spring, and constructed a small castle atop the island, next to the arsenal, as his home, renaming the island after himself.
When Bannerman died in 1918, construction ceased. The ferryboat was destroyed in a storm in 1950, and the island was abandoned. On August 8, 1969, a fire gutted the arsenal, and New York state, which had bought Bannerman Island and its buildings in 1967, declared the island off-limits. It reopened in 2017, and tour guides now recount the island’s mysterious history to curious visitors.
The powerful earthquake that killed 39 people and toppled homes in Pakistan in September 2013 also created an island. According to Pakistan’s chief meteorologist, Mohammed Riaz, it was magnitude 7.7, while the US Geological Survey in Colorado claimed it was magnitude 7.8.
The island didn’t exist before the earthquake, but after the event, the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s director general, Arif Mahmood, said locals reported witnessing the creation of the tiny island, measuring 100 meters (330 ft) in length and 9 meters (30 ft) high, near the port of Gwadar. Pakistani officials said it was possible that the earthquake buckled land under the sea, creating the island, but further investigation would be conducted to determine the cause.
Astronomers spied a mysterious anomaly while analyzing data from NASA’sCassini probe photographing Saturn and its moons. Comparing older photos to the most current ones to see whether there were any changes, Jason Hofgartner, a planetary scientist at Cornell University, and his colleagues spotted what they dubbed a “magic island,” in one of Titan’s seas. The island was approximately 20 kilometers (12 mi) by 10 kilometers (6 mi).
While it’s possible that the “island” is nothing more than waves caused by winds that have strengthened enough to produce such effects or bubbles from gases rising from the seafloor, it’s also possible that the apparent mass actually is an island of sorts: It could be “solids becoming buoyant with the onset of warmer temperatures and floating on the surface, or solids that are neither sunken nor floating, but rather suspended in the sea like silt in a delta on Earth,” according to Hofgartner. To determine for sure what’s going on, NASA plans to “put a boat or raft on Titan’s seas” to better study the moon and its seas.
Located in the Parana Delta, between the cities of Campana and Zarate in Buenos Aires Province in Argentina, is an island shaped like a nearly perfect circle with a diameter of 120 meters (390 ft). It is surrounded by a channel that also forms a nearly perfect circle. Thanks to the presence of the round land mass inside it, the channel looks much like a crescent moon. Together, the island and channel resemble an eye, an appearance that suggested the island’s nickname. “The Eye” floats; it also rotates on its own axis, film director director Sergio Neuspiller said. The filmmaker discovered the Eye in 2016, while he was scouting locations for a science fiction movie.
Having made the astonishing discovery of the mysterious island, Neuspiller and his crew, including Richard Petroni, a hydraulic and civil engineer from New York who’s become involved in the project, decided to make a crowd-funded documentary about the Eye, instead of filming the science fiction movie Neuspiller had originally intended to make.
Socotra Island, off the coast of Yemen, looks for all the world like an alien planet. Its endangered flora is unique due to the remote location’s isolation, temperature extremes, and arid conditions. A third of its plant life can be found nowhere else on Earth. Fortunately, 70 percent of the island has been set aside as a national park.
Some of the plants look like turnips planted upside down. The branches of another, the crimson sap of which has earned it the name Dragon’s Blood Tree, are devoid of leaves, except at their tips, which makes it look as though the branches are the tree’s roots and the tree is growing upside down. The strange tree is used for its supposed medicinal value, to produce fabric dye, to make incense, and to stain wood. The island’s bottle tree, adapted to store water in a dry climate, has a thick trunk, and its few limbs, thick near the trunk, give rise to clusters of much thinner branches ending in thick clumps of green leaves.
Surrounded by turquoise water, the island features huge limestone caves, homes to bats, the only mammal native to Socotra. Messages in a variety of languages have been carved into the caves’ walls. Researchers attribute them to sailors who stayed on the island between AD 1 and 6. The residents of the mysterious island are also unique: They all have a DNA haplogroup possessed by no other people on Earth, and some contend that the Garden of Eden was originally located on Socotra. In 2008, the UNESCO named Socotra a World Heritage Site.
The vaguely U-shaped, 44-square-kilometer (17 mi2) atoll in the Indian Ocean known as Diego Garcia has thick, tropical jungles and white sand beaches. It was home to 2,000 native Chagossians, until the British government forcibly relocated them between 1968 and 1973 so that the US could build a naval base there in exchange for Britain’s agreement to lease the island, which is of strategic importance because it’s located between East Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, allowing the US to strike locations in both Asia and the Middle East.
Diego Garcia was used to stage air support operations during the 1991 Gulf War, the 2001 Afghanistan war, and the 2003 Iraq war. The remote, restricted island, some contend, is also the site of a secret US prison camp, although American authorities deny the truth of such speculations.
Canada’s Partridge Island, located off the coast of Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick, became a quarantine station in 1830. Immigrants stayed there, upon their arrival in Canada, to ensure that they didn’t spread shipboard diseases to Canadian citizens. Thousands of immigrants came to Canada during 1847’s Great Famine, and 2,500 Irish immigrants were quarantined on Partridge Island.
The diseases against which the quarantine guarded from spreading included cholera, typhus, smallpox, scarlet fever, yellow fever, and measles. Newly arrived immigrants were subjected to kerosene showers followed by showers in hot water. Many were sick, and Partridge Island couldn’t handle the huge numbers who came to Canada during the peak of the Irish Potato Famine. The influx of thousands of Irish earned the island the nickname “Canada’s Emerald Isle.”
Quarantined immigrants who died of disease were buried on the island, on one occasion in a mass grave, the grass over which was rumored to be of a more intense green than the surrounding lawn because the bones of the dead had nourished it. Closed in 1941, Partridge Island became a mysterious place “visited” only through photographs.
Hoping Easter Island would give up its answer to their question as to how islanders had once lived there, farming thousands of miles from any continent, a team of researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz used paleogenomic research to determine the genetic history of the Rapa Nui, as Easter Island’s lost people are known.
It was believed the Rapa Nui interbred with South Americans well before Europeans arrived on Easter Island in 1772, but to the surprise of the UC Santa Cruz team, the materials from museums they tested indicated no contact between the Rapa Nui and South Americans before the arrival of Europeans, which earlier studies had, making the team’s finding somewhat controversial. If the results of their research prove to be correct, it’s clear that the Rapa Nui didn’t have help from South Americans in creating and moving the island’s heavy moai. Unaided, the Rapa Nui carved and moved them themselves.
Raiders who kidnapped Rapa Nui to sell as slaves reduced their population from thousands to barely more than 100, and infighting and disease wiped out the rest, leaving their origin and, until recently, the creation of their statues, secrets as mysterious as the island itself.