What if there was a vast city left behind by an ancient civilization built inside a subterranean vault underneath Death Valley in California? According to some accounts, there is just such a place. Not only that, and adding to the mysteriousness of the tales recounted in a YouTube video, but the underground edifices contain treasure and, according to two separate sources, mummies.
The blog, Tales From Out There, which covers paranormal topics, passed along an intriguing video August 6 that recounts two tales of men finding evidence of an ancient civilization underneath the lowest geographical spot in North America, Death Valley. In both accounts, the adventurers find subterranean rooms. They also find mummies. But each tale is somewhat different. And although there are likenesses in the tales, the most condemning is that neither could be independently verified. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that the tales are false or hoaxes, but that without independent corroboration, it is difficult to verify the validity of the stories.
The video, which was uploaded by UFOMania – The truth is out there on July 11, is narrated by a computer-generated voice, something that might add eeriness to the information proffered but does no justice to the pronunciation of certain words, especially proper nouns. Be that as it may, the 1930 book Death Valley Men by Bourke Lee relates, after discussing old Paiute Native American legends, a dismissed tale of two men, dubbed “Jack and Bill,” who had inadvertently came across an underground city when one of the men fell through the bottom of a mineshaft near Wingate Pass.
The two men claimed to have subsequently trekked some 20 miles through a natural cavern inside the Panamint Mountains, which border Death Valley to the west. They also claim to have come across a massive cavern with an perfectly preserved underground city nestled inside. In one of the buildings, they found mummies holding gold spears; a large, polished roundtable that could have been used for meetings, huge perfectly balanced stone doors, and rooms filled with giant gold statues, gold bars, and gemstones; and an ingenious lighting system that operated off of natural gases. The men said they walked further up passageways that led to huge portals that overlooked Death Valley, speculating that the portals were docks for a time when the valley was a vast sea.
The video goes on to recount the story of a man, a self-described physician named F. Bruce Russell, who in 1946 told a similar story to that of Jack and Bill. He claimed to have found the ruins of an underground ancient civilization beneath Death Valley in 1931. He claimed to have come upon a room wherein was housed three mummies, all of which were over eight feet tall and surrounded by artifacts the appeared to be a combination of Egyptian and Native American design.
Both stories end as many legends do — with the disappearance of the adventurers. Bourke Lee recalled that Jack and Bill mounted an expedition to go off to find their lost city. As it turned out, when the two had brought out evidence of the ancient civilization under Death Valley, they had convinced scientists and experts, including members of the Smithsonian Institute, to look into their findings. However, when the time came to see the underground city, the men couldn’t find the entrance, noting that a recent cloudburst had altered the terrain and their treasure “evidence” had been stolen by a friend. Regardless, after being dismissed by experts, they were determined to go back and rediscover the subterranean city. Bourke Lee never heard from the men again.
As for Russell, he convinced people to invest in the release of the information and artifacts but when it came time to unveil his discovery, the physician had disappeared. Although his vehicle and a suitcase were later found in the Death Valley desert, he was never heard from again.
To add to the strangeness surrounding Death Valley, which is now a National Park, Weird California has noted that the serial killing mastermind, Charles Manson, also believed that there was an underground world beneath Death Valley and was hoping, prior to his arrest and conviction for involvement in various murder conspiracies, to wait out the apocalypse he was certain was imminent.
It is uncertain, but it is believed Manson learned of the underground “world” legend from a man named Tom Wilson, a Cahroc Native American that worked as a guide in Death Valley in the 1920s. Wilson told a tale similar to that of Lee’s Jack and Bill, except his ancient city was still inhabited by fair-skinned people. Wilson claimed that his grandfather had found the underground caverns and lived with a strange people, who spoke a strange foreign language and wore a leather-like substance for clothing. They also illuminated their dwellings “with a pale greenish-yellow light of unknown origin.”
Although his own people were skeptical, Tom Wilson had believed his grandfather and spent the rest of his life searching for the entrance to the underground world. At one point, he even teamed up with a prospector named White, who also claimed that he had found an underground dwellings of an ancient civilization beneath Death Valley.
White’s claim included exploring a mineshaft near Wingate Pass and coming across the subterranean passages. “The rooms were filled with leather-clad human mummies,” Weird California relates. “Gold bars and other fabulous treasures were stacked in piles around them.”
It seems that Jack and Bill’s story may either be further corroboration of Wilson’s grandfather and White’s stories — or it could simply be a conflation of the two. Since there has been no independent discovery or evidence gathering to suggest otherwise, the tales will remain a part of the legend and folklore surrounding Death Valley.
But for those who think that underground caverns large enough to house an ancient city are far-fetched, it should be noted that just a few hundred miles east of Death Valley are the world famous Carlsbad Caverns, an extensive underground maze of caverns that stretch for over 73 square miles. The largest of the caverns, called “The Big Room,” is 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) long, 625 feet (191 meters) wide, and 255 feet (78 meters) high at the highest point.
So, it is at least plausible that that an ancient civilization constructed a city in some underground caverns beneath Death Valley.
[Image via Shutterstock]