Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta : Few places in America are so thoroughly saturated with the paranormal as Mount Shasta in northern California, 60 miles from the Oregon border. The volcano and its surrounding area are home to Ghosts, gods, Bigfoot, aliens, ascended masters, Lemurians, hidden cities, Fairies, and mysterious creatures. Mount Shasta cuts an impressive figure, rising 14,162 feet high in a stunning setting of wilderness beauty: rugged mountains, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and caves. It is the most massive mountain in America and has seven glaciers.

The volcano last erupted in 1786, but is still classed as active. Its peak is frequently capped by cloud formations. Mount Shasta has a brooding feel to it, as though it harbors great secrets. It’s conducive to expectations that doorways to other realms are hidden in its terrain.

Indian Myths

Mount Shasta was revered as a supernatural site long before the first white settlers pushed into northern California. One Shasta Indian legend says that before people were on Earth, the Chief of the Great Sky Spirits became tired of his cold home in the Above World. He made a hole in the sky by turning a stone and pushed snow and ice through it.

The mound became Mount Shasta. When the god stepped down onto the mound, he decided to create trees. Everywhere he stepped, snow melted and became rivers. When leaves fell from the trees, the god blew them and they became birds. Shasta became the lodge for the family of the Chief of the Great Sky Spirits. The god made a fire in the middle of the mountain and a hole in its top for smoke and sparks. Whenever he threw a big log onto the fire, the earth would tremble and the mountain would spew sparks.

Another and more whimsical legend explains why the mountain erupted. Coyote lived near Shasta and was fond of salmon. His village had little fish and no salmon, but the nearby Shasta Indians always had plenty. Coyote befriended the Indians, who invited him to fish with them. Coyote obtained many fish, but Yellow Jackets came and stole the fish. Coyote fished over and over again, and Yellow Jackets always snatched his catch. One day Coyote and the Indians hid in wait for the marauding Yellow Jackets. Grandfather Turtle came by to watch.

When Yellow Jackets appeared and stole the fish, Coyote and the Indians took off in hot pursuit of them. So did Grandfather Turtle, who plodded way behind. The Yellow Jackets could fly faster than Coyote and the Indians could run and eventually the pursuers had to give up. But Grandfather Turtle kept going. He knew where Yellow Jackets hid—inside Mount Shasta. When he reached the mountain, he showed Coyote and the Indians the hiding place. They closed up the big hole and all the small smoke holes and then Grandfather Turtle sat on top of the big hole. Coyote smugly awaited the death of Yellow Jackets.

But the mountain began to shake and rumble. Alarmed, Grandfather Turtle moved from his seat. Suddenly smoke, fire, and gravel rocketed out of the big hole. The mountain spewed forth all the salmon that Yellow Jackets had stolen, cooked and was ready to eat. Coyote and the Indians enjoyed a salmon feast. That is why Mount Shasta erupts.

Origins of the Name

No one knows for certain how Shasta got its name. One explanation holds that it is of Russian origin. Russian settlers at Bodega on the California coast—who could see the summit of the mountain—called it “Tchastal,” which means “white” or “pure.” This eventually transformed into Shasta. Another explanation holds that one of the tribes of the indigenous Indians known as the Shasts-ti-ka called the great snowy mountain Wai-i-ka.

Yet another explanation contends that Shasts-ti-ka or Susti-ka was the personal name of a respected Indian who lived in what is now the Shasta valley. Mount Shasta Today Mount Shasta attracts skiers, hikers, fishers, spelunkers, and many others who pursue wilderness activities. The city of Mount Shasta has become a mecca for New Agers who wish to spend time or live in the “vibration” of the mountain.

There are numerous spas, retreat centers, a Buddhist monastery, and New Age counselors, teachers, and ambassadors to the aliens and ascended masters. The influx of people actually decreases the likelihood that one will have a truly extraordinary experience on the mountain. As paranormal researchers know, the most bizarre experiences often happen unexpectedly and when one is away from people. Hikers tramping up and down trails disturb the energy of place and send otherworldly things into hiding. Nonetheless, enough strange phenomena occur to feed the mystery of the place.

Ghosts and Powers

In the lore of the Shasta Indians, the terms for “ghost,” “soul,” and “life” are nearly synonymous. Ghosts, seen as fl ickering lights especially near graves, are greatly feared, for seeing them is to invite bad luck or even death. After death, the soul travels west, rises into the sky, and takes the Milky Way to the world of the Afterlife. Funeral songs help it on its way.

According to Shasta Indian lore, the entire region is haunted with Axe’ki (“pains”), spiritual powers who appear in the forms of short humans and animals who live in the rocks, lakes, mountain summits, and the rapids and eddies of streams. The Axe’ki are the cause of all diseases, misfortunes, and deaths, and they “shoot” themselves into their victims. Only a shaman can exorcize them.

In more recent and more conventional ghost lore, stretches of the I-5 Interstate Highway that runs alongside the mountain reportedly are haunted by various anonymous ghosts, perhaps the victims of accidents or the ThoughtformS of URBAN LEGENDS. The 19th-century ruins of Old Shasta Town south of Mount Shasta and west of Redding, once the county seat, offer a few ghosts, most notably in the old courthouse, where the sounds of criminal trials can still be heard, and in the Gallows Park at the back, where the guilty were executed and still protest today. A pioneer baby’s grave on old Highway 99, formerly the stagecoach road, is said to be haunted by a malevolent presence.

Lemurians and Secret Cities

More exotic stories center on the Indian legends that Mount Shasta is inhabited by mysterious races of beings, among them little people, the Lizard People, and evil giants called the Shupchets, said to live at Flume Creek and travel in lava tunnels to the top of the mountain. White settlers associated the tunnel-traveling giants with stories of LemuriaNS. Lemuria initially had benign origins as a hypothetical continent in the Indian Ocean, conceived by paleontologists to explain the migration of lemurs from Madagascar to India. But occultists wrote of it as the lost continent of an advanced race, the Lemurians, the supposed ancestors of the legendary Atlanteans.

The Lemurians were said to be large beings bearing an organ for extrasensory perception on their foreheads. The association of Lemurians with Mount Shasta comes primarily from an occult work, A Dweller on Two Planets, or the Dividing of the Way, written in the 1880s by Frederick Spencer Oliver. Oliver said that a secret, bejewelled city existed inside Mt. Shasta, and he made passing connections between it and Lemuria. The idea was picked up and repeated in other articles and books.

The Great White Brotherhood

There are stories of a secret society living in a secret city inside the mountain. The Great White Brotherhood—a fraternity of spiritually advanced beings or ascended masters— make Mount Shasta one of their gathering points. The inside of the mountain is tunneled in gold and had temples made of jewels and crystals.

In 1930, a Chicago occultist, Guy W. Ballard, traveled to Mount Shasta to investigate reports from occultist William Pelley that a group of Divine Men called “the Brotherhood of Mt. Shasta” had been sighted walking in the mountains. Ballard and his wife Edna were intensely interested in finding proof of ascended masters.

One day, Ballard went out hiking, and at midday stopped to rest at a spring in the McCloud River valley. A strange young man suddenly appeared and offered him a creamy liquid, which the stranger said came from the Universal Supply. The liquid had an electrical, vivifying effect on Ballard. The stranger then revealed his true identity: the Ascended Master Saint Germain, a godlike figure in a white, jeweled robe. While Ballard stared in amazement, he was suddenly confronted by a panther. Ballard successfully fought down his own fear, and the panther turned into a playful, kittenish creature.

Saint Germain told him he had passed the test of courage and gave him four little brown cakes. Eating them sent a quickening through Ballard, which evidently prepared him to understand the master’s teachings. Saint Germain said he had been seeking a person in Europe and America worthy to receive the instructions of the Great Laws of Life. Guy, Edna, and their son Donald would be his Accredited Messengers.

Through a series of meetings, Ballard channeled Saint Germain’s wisdom and plans for implementing the Seventh Golden Age: the “I AM” age of earthly perfection. Ballard also witnessed his own past lives, learning that he had been George Washington. Ballard returned to Chicago in 1931 to begin implementing Saint Germain’s designs. In 1932, Guy and Edna founded the “I AM” Religious Activity, the Saint Germain Press, and the Saint Germain Foundation. Ballard wrote under the pseudonym Godfrey Ray King.

By 1936, he and Edna had produced several books, collections of affirmations, songs, and a magazine. Huge crowds came to listen to them channel Saint Germain. Reading rooms and schools were opened. By 1938, the movement had nearly 3 million members. Critics charged that the movement was nothing but a rehash of old occult practices. Guy died in 1939. Although Edna said he ascended in 1940, many followers did not believe her and quit, disillusioned with Guy’s ordinary exit from the world.

A scandal over alleged mail fraud ensued, but the I AM movement eventually recovered. The I AM reading room in town offers Ballard’s channeled writings, ascended master and I AM art, and I AM musical recordings that are supposed to alter consciousness in spiritual ways. The music has an ethereal, warbling quality that many believe enhances Clairvoyance and astral travel. Ballard’s 1930 encounter may have inspired other stories of encounters with mysterious people.

In 1932, a man named Edward Lasner said he knew of white-robed people who possessed hoards of gold and lived at the 11,000-foot level, and in 1934, one Abraham Mansfield claimed to meet a whole tribe of Lemurians, who revealed their extensive network of tunnels. Two decades later, spiritual guru Earlyne Chaney received initiation in a secret temple.

Prior to her life as a spiritual teacher, Chaney had been an actress in Hollywood— which may explain her penchant for pageantry and costumes that she instilled in her New Age church and mystery school, Astara, which she founded in 1951. Her book Secrets from Mount Shasta tells that in 1952, Chaney and her husband were given spiritual instructions to go to Mount Shasta.

They camped at Panther Meadow—located on the south side at about 7,385 feet— and climbed farther up the mountain. They were met by a young man who seemed to know all about them and gave them teachings. They were taken into a secret Cave of the Mystic Circle. Various adepts, including Ascended Master Kuthumi, taught them. Their instruction culminated in an initiation in which Chaney beheld the inner Great Temple at the peak of the mountain, surmounted by a great Astral Cathedral lit from above by a glorious star.

These sights are only revealed to the initiated and remain invisible to lesser mortals. As for Chaney, she also claimed to be initiated in a ceremony inside the Great Pyramid of Egypt, making her one of a very few select souls on this planet. Some New Agers believe that Saint Germain and other adepts still haunt the mountain, especially in the region of Panther Meadow.

The earth is hollow and contains numerous secret, subterranean cities, among them Telos (for Telepathic Communication from Earth’s Interior), populated by descendants of Lemuria and governed by the Ascended Master High Priest Adama.

Mystery Lights

Mysterious lights have been seen on the mountain since the arrival of settlers, and probably before that. The lights appear most notably at dawn, dusk, and around midnight. Indians may have considered the lights to be ghosts, but whites liked the idea that they were the lights of ceremonies of the Lemurians or the Great White Brotherhood. The lights became so famous that they attracted curiosity seekers.

According to old news reports of the early 20th century, passengers on trains that passed by the mountain would crowd the windows on one side at the appointed times in hopes of glimpsing the lights. Mystery lights continue to be reported today. Many people associate them with UFO activity. Web cameras trained on the peak 24 hours a day offer live viewing of the mountain.

Pluto Cave: Hell or ET Sanctuary?
Pluto Cave: Hell or ET Sanctuary?
Thousands of lava tube caves exist around Mount Shasta. The spookiest is Pluto Cave, formed by a basaltic lava flow about 190,000 years ago. The cave was sacred to Native American Indians and was “discovered” by whites in 1863. Dark and foreboding, it was named after the Roman god of the underworld. It is called Pluto Cave, Pluto’s Cave, and Pluto Caves. Pluto Cave has acquired a reputation in certain circles as a place to meet aliens or various spirit beings that live in its deep recesses.

Small fire sites and ritual objects left behind attest to all-night ceremonies and vigils for paranormal or spiritual purposes. Stories circulate of people going mad after spending the night there and being confronted by some unspeakable paranormal horror—but they have the suspicious sound of urban legends, happening to friends of friends of friends. Nonetheless most visitors find the cave creepy.

Fairy Falls

Near Mount Shasta is the beautiful 200-foot-wide Burney Falls that plunges 129 feet into Burney Creek in the McArthur-Burney Falls State Memorial Park. Theodore Roosevelt once enthused that these popular falls were the “eighth wonder of the world.” Legends claim that fairies may show themselves in the mist, or in the peripheral vision of visitors who sit looking out over the falls. These fairies may be the “little people” described in Native American Indian tales. They are said to reveal themselves to those who honestly seek to know them and who are not out for thrill.

The Burney Falls are located six miles north of the junction of highways 299 and 89, along 229. Fairies are also said to haunt the area around McCloud Falls, a set of three spectacular falls on the McCloud River. The upper and lower falls can be reached by car, and the middle falls is accessible by a hike. The middle falls is reputed to be the best of the three for sighting fairies. The McCloud Falls are six miles east of the town of McCloud, off highway 89.

UFOs and ETs

Mount Shasta is one of North America’s UFO hot spots. According to many ET experiencers, Shasta is a major beacon for aliens, and strange lights are reported hovering around the area at night and zipping inside the mountain. Another UFO hot spot is Castle Crags State Park south of Dunsmuir, along Interstate 5. The trail takes ones high Mount Shasta 329 into an eerie landscape of giant, jutting rocks, a suitable atmosphere for encountering mysterious lights or beings—as well as the occasional and all-too-real bear.


Northern California is rife with Bigfoot sightings, but Bigfoot seems to be a more modern, white settler addition to Shasta lore. Huge three-toed footprints found in 1955 at the 11,000-foot level were associated with both Bigfoot and Lemurians. In 1962, a woman claimed to watch a female Bigfoot give birth on the mountain. Loggers and hikers have reported sightings of huge, hairy, smelly creatures.



The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley  – September 1, 2007