Around 10 years ago, a 60-foot hole mysteriously appeared in the side of Mount Shasta. Even with its incredible size, the hole seemed to be dug by hand at night using a simple pulley system to remove the dirt. It left many people with a lot of questions. Who dug the hole? And why? The hole is another story on a mountain surrounded by legends and mystery.
The hole, which was dug in secret on National Forest property in 2009, was deemed illegal and immediately filled by Forest Service, citing it caused a safety hazard. The hole was approximately 15 feet wide and 60 feet deep and it included a wire above it that was connected to two trees and had a pulley mechanism on it. It was also noted that some nearby trees had been marked with paint, although that faded over time.
At the time of the occurrence US Forest Service law enforcement officer Carmen Kinch said she knew who was responsible for the hole, and that she assumed they were looking for “valuable minerals.” Nothing came of Kinch’s lead.
There are different theories surrounding the hole, whose only clues include materials the diggers left behind – a ladder, some buckets and a plastic bottle of “SmartWater.” Each theory to the hole’s purpose represents one segment of the eclectic population of Mount Shasta.
“All the different competing theories mirrored everybody’s different beliefs around here,” said Elijah Sullivan to KQED. Sullivan, a Mount Shasta local, is currently in the process of creating a documentary film on the mysterious hole, aptly named “The Hole Story.”
The reason behind the hole may never be known, but the theories of its origin tell a story of the mountain and the small town that calls it home. Here are three of the most prominent theories surrounding the hole:
The Lost Continent of Lemuria
Oddly enough, this seems to be the most prominent theory. There are many people who believe a lost continent called Lemuria sits underneath Mount Shasta where its captital, Telos, houses 1.5 million highly evolved spiritual beings, called Lemurians, inside the mountain. The theory has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with many people flocking to Mt. Shasta each year in search for Lemurians and spiritual enlightenment.
Of course, many alleged sightings and sensational books have fueled these theories. So was the hole an attempt for some Lemurian believers to reach the Lost City of Telos? Or perhaps, it was a Lemurian trying to emerge from the mountain?
For more information on the theory behind the lost continent of Lemuria, read What’s a Lemurian and Why Do People Believe They Live in Mount Shasta?
Native American Artifacts
The Winnemem Wintu tribe has called Mount Shasta their home for thousands of years, making the area a smorgasbord of ancient Native American history. Although highly illegal, looting their artifacts can be quite profitable, with some selling for thousands of dollars.
The hole was similar to that of a looting operation, since most looters hit their targets at night and remove dirt from their sites for processing. Although the area is sacred ground for Native Americans, meaning it would be somewhat unusual for them to purposely leave tools and ceremonial items at the location.
Forest Service officials have largely disregarded this theory, as they have their own theory of what the diggers were looking for…
Some Good Ole Fashioned Gold
Forest Service officials are pretty sure the diggers were performing a gold mining operation, with hopes of striking it rich on the mountainside. There has been a history of finding gold in the general vicinity during the Gold Rush, but that particular area probably wouldn’t have any due to its volcanic history.
For some, this theory doesn’t hold any water. Why would someone perform a large gold mining expedition on a place that probably wouldn’t have any gold?
Well, it is Mount Shasta, and weirder things have happened.
No matter what you think happened that fateful night on the side of the mountain, the 60-foot hole brings all of the “weirdness” surrounding Mount Shasta to one specific location. The diversity of the town is its draw and sitting at the bottom of the hole could have been any object that represents any of the mountain’s mysteries. Unfortunately, the origins of the hole will probably never be known, just like the many unanswered questions forever surrounding Mount Shasta.