If you don’t believe in the supernatural I challenge you to spend a night in the shadow of Mt. Shasta.
Then get back to me. Don’t wimp out and stay in Redding. Park your fanny at the Crystal Mountain B&B (which has no website) or the McCloud Hotel. Both are filled with Victorian charm and offer incomparable views of the mountain. More to the point, both are haunts of the blue men who protect the mountain.
Mt. Shasta is located in far northern California in the newly formed state of Jefferson. It’s an ancient volcano surrounded by a redwood forest. The area economy was dependent on the lumber industry but now the mills are abandoned and the locals, pissed, which is one reason why they want to secede from California. After secession they intend to grow and smoke all the pot they want and reopen the mills. Of course, being proud libertarians, there won’t be safety regulations or mandatory health care so… good old Governor Moonbeam Brown’d better expect an army of stoned amputees to migrate south if Jefferson secedes.
Despite the abundance of game in the area, Indians avoided the shadow of Shasta:
"Mount Shasta, so far as I have seen, has never been the home of Indians, not even their hunting ground to any great extent, above the lower slopes of the base. They are said to be afraid of fire-mountains and geyser-basins as being the dwelling places of dangerously powerful and unmanageable gods." Chapter 10 of Picturesque California 1888 by John Muir
Not so modern day adventurers. According to new age websites, Shasta is a gigantic crystal guarded by the ascended masters of the Lemurian City of Light. Lemuria was the Atlantis that sunk somewhere in the Pacific. Before it sank, the ascended masters migrated to Shasta (don’t ask me how) where they are seen from time to time by hunters, hikers, and seekers of the light. However there’s some disagreement about what these masters look like. They’re either:
- four feet tall and speak English with a slight British accent,
- very shy Lizard people
- or tall, thin blue men who dress in robes and speak only in Sanskrit
On our way back from Portland, we opted to spend the night at the Crystal Mountain B&B primarily because it had no website and I was in the mood for adventure. I was told by Ed, the proprietor, that our GPS would be useless in the shadow of the mountain thus he gave us a set of directions which I scribbled on a the back of an envelope as we neared the exit to the tiny town of Shasta.
Stay west/ highway, turn at fish hatcheries, Lake = bad!! Turn back.
The sun was starting to set; the back country roads dark and quiet. We got lost. Once, well maybe twice. Never found the fish hatcheries but stumbled upon the lake. (Lake=bad!) Finally, after slowly re-tracing our route, we found the turnoff to the Crystal Mountain B&B and followed a dirt road up the hill past aging apple trees dotted with bright red Mackintoshs. Apple orchards in the fall always have such a delicious smell. I know its the small of death and decay, still, when mingled with eau de pine tree and whiff de chimney smoke the sensation of wonder always overcomes me.
While hubby figured out where to park, I climbed the stairs to the ranch house (really a three story mansion with a spectacular veranda!) where I encountered a man and woman sitting on rocking chairs gazing silently east. They gave me nary a glance or howdy, so I turned to see what had them in such a trance. It was the mountain.
“Hello?” said I, opening the heavy front door and wandering inside the mansion.
“Hello!” returned a cheerful, high-pitched though melodic voice.
The entryway was empty as were the cozy parlor to the right and the cheery dining room to the left.
“Hello?” I said again
“Hello.” The voice returned.
After a few more rounds of hello I found my greeter. A large macaw watching the sunset from a Victorian bird cage in the dining room.
“There you are,” I said.
“Hello,” she replied, cocking her head just a smidgen in my direction.
A few moments later a human greeter and hubby arrived on scene. She (human greeter) had a rough name, one you’d expect on a ranch hand and not the pleasant young women who offered us homemade blackberry wine and showed us to our spacious room on the second floor. Below our window a young dog howled piteously. The lighting was dim. The decor early nineteenth century cathouse.
We’d had lunch only a hour before so we decided to stay in, have a martini (hubby always travels with martini fixings) and take in the sight of the mountain from our window. The mansion was quiet save the dog. Then it’s owners arrived, tenants of a lower floor apartment, and all was peaceful.
An hour passed. Then the bird began to whistle. Unlike its pleasant “hello” the whistling was annoying. “Someone is teasing the bird,” hubby said. If there’s one thing that will send hubby over the edge, it’s an animal being mistreated.
The whistling stopped as someone began to play the piano.
The myth of the blue men isn’t unique to Shasta. Short blue men were also said to guard the Lehman Caves on the border of Nevada and Utah. Other blue men legends include the Taureg tribes of the northern Sahara, the Ainus of Japan, the fir gorum of Scotland and probably many more that haven’t been documented and researched.
In the case of the Taureg, they use an indigo dye on their robes which eventually bleeds into their skin and even their blood. The Ainus have a thing about handlebar mustaches. Even on women.
The fir gorum (blue men of Scotland) were actually Africans, so black they seemed blue.
Then there are The Blue Men of the Minch (also known as storm kelpies), who occupy the stretch of water off mainland Scotland, looking for sailors to drown and stricken boats to sink.
But how about the blue men of Shasta? What were they? We were about to find out.
To be continued…