The Place Where Fact Meets Fiction Part II

By Scott Corrales
Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic UFOlogy
UFO Digest Latin America Correspondent

The Realms Below: Where Fact Meets Fiction – Part II
By Scott Corrales

If you missed it read Part I here:

Have these elusive subterranean “divinities” ever been sighted? During the religious apparitions in the vicinity of Garabandal (1961-70), some children had seen dwarves “that filled them with terror” within a cave on a mountainside. The town’s foremost shepherd disappeared under mysterious circumstances close to the cave as well. We are reminded of the ancient footprints of people or beings entering Ojo Guareña on what was ostensibly a one-way trip.

Many explorers, even seasoned speleologists, have lost their lives in caves, but complete and utter disappearances can lead one to believe that other forces may be at work. In April 1956, PFC Gerrard Dunnington of the US Army disappeared while exploring the underground galleries at Tavannes, a 17th century underground fortification built by French military engineers. When Dunnington had not returned by nightfall from the maze of undeground passages, the French police and the US Army were notified, setting off a five hundred-man rescue effort. Obstructed ventilation shafts were cleared, centuries-old rubble was removed from passageways, and all the galleries were explored, but Dunnington was never found.

In 1928, work stopped for an entire week in Northumberland’s Bedlington Colliery while miners tried to make sense of a perplexing disappearance. A miner on his way to relieve a fellow worker disappeared at some point after having reached the bottom of the shaft and began walking the half mile of road that separated him from the work group. The road was boarded by heavy wooden palisades and locked doors, separating the current mine from ancient galleries, abandoned mine workings, and water-filled pits.

There were no signs that the missing miner had attempted a climb of the palisades to reach these abandoned works, which were thoroughly combed by rescue crews for good measure. The miner remains a missing person. Believers in Robert Shaver’s underground “deros” would quickly lay the blame upon these degenerate remnants of a forgotten elder race.

The folklore of a number of cultures has given us the names and habits of a number of nonhuman subsurface-dwelling beings, such as the German kobolds, an apellation from which the mineral “cobalt” was derived. Some of them were either friendly or neutral toward humans, but others, like the kobolds, were outright hostile. The djogaos of Native American tradition also belonged to this order of elusive subsurface dwellers. Margaret Mead suggested that contact with these beings persisted well into modern times and that witchcraft was their ancient religion.

In 1914, Col. P.H. Fawcett, the indefatigable explorer of the Brazilian interior whose disappearance would catapult him into legendary status, wrote in his diary of the existence of a number of diminutive semi-human “ape-people” who lived in holes in the ground, were covered with black hair and who received the Portuguese apellation of morcegos (“bats”) and tatus (“armadilloes”). Ivan T. Sanderson suggested, in the case of these small beings, that they could well be descended from Australopithecines or Pithecantropines–very early hominids.

In any case, none of these “little people” appear to be the architects of the underground passageways, having taken up residence in them much as medieval peasants settled among the colossal ruins of Diocletian’ abandoned palace at Split, on the Dalmatian coast.

Accounts that point toward the “identity” of the engineers of the “underworld” do not come from a distant location, but from the American West itself. In 1904, J.C. Brown, a gold prospector, claimed to have discovered a tunnel in the Cascade Mountains of California which led him to a subterranean room filled with human skeletons, gold shields, and hieroglyphs that the prospector was unable to identify. Thirty years later, Brown outfitted an expedition to recover the lost treasure, but disappeared mysteriously before the expedition set out.

Another story which has been retold many times is the discovery of a massive city beneath the Amargosa Mountains of Death Valley by the grandfather of an Indian guide named Tom Wilson. The account states that the elder Wilson wandered underground for many miles before encountering “a strange underground country where the inhabitants…spoke a queer language, ate queer food, and wore clothes made of leather.” A contemporary anecdote chronicles the experiences of a prospector named White, who fell through a crevasse in a Death Valley mine floor only to find himself in a tunnel leading to a chamber filled with leather-clad mummies. Gold and precious jewels were there for the taking. White and a friend, Fred Thomason, made several visits to the underground city, which featured treasure vaults, a royal palace, and council chambers. The two prospectors were unable to find their way into the tunnels when the time came to lead a team of researchers to the hidden city, causing some to deride their claims as hoaxes.

If any credence can be lent to these testimonies, a race that could well be that of the builders of the underground tunnels that honeycomb the world might have still existed as to the beginning of the 20th century. Whether they still exist is the purest speculation. The extensive subterranean nuclear tests undertaken by the U.S. military in neighboring Frenchman Flat must surely have caused havoc to any underground population.

Nowhere can the suggestion of an underground civilization be felt more strongly than in Asia, cradle of the legends of Agartha and Shamballah. Ferdinand Ossendowski, author of Beasts, Gods and Men, observed that Mongolian dignataries believed in certain amazing things, such as the broad powers of these subterranean elders, who could dry up oceans, transform continents into seas and cause mountains to sprout amid the desert. His fellow Russian, the mystic Nicholas Roerich, traveled extensively throughout Central Asia, where his porters identified what we would term UFOs as “the sign of Shamballah”. Roerich’s illustrations of stark mountains and the odd structures upon them were a source of inspiration to H.P. Lovecraft, who mentioned them repeatedly in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and At the Mountains of Madness.

German playwright Theodore Illion, author of the fascinating Darkness Over Tibet, visited a secret underground city and was informed that the “King of the World”, who ruled Agartha, had agents throughout the surface world, constantly apprising him of the state of affairs among surface dwellers. Could a pair of these agents have turned up in Miami, Florida?

In 1967 or 68, two men turned up at a Miami hotel, where they befriended a chambermaid, telling her that they were from “the north of the contintent”, taking great care in specifying that they did not mean the lands north of the United States, i.e. Canada. In a letter written to investigator Salvador Freixedo, the chambermaid and her husband detailed their experiences: one of the men was tall, blond and amazingly knowledgeable, with a command of many languages and a mind-reader, to boot. His companion was short, Asian-looking and wearing an orange uniform; his general demeanor was that of a bodyguard to the tall blond. According to the chambermaid, the blond produced what appeared to be a ball and stuck it to the wall in defiance of gravity. He then asked the woman to address it, which she did, noticing swirling waves of light within the device, which would follow her in the air every time she made a move. 

The chambermaid and her husband were able to see the tall blond and his companion on the beach during stormy weather, pointing what appeared to be cameras and other devices at the rough seas. While cleaning their rooms (the pair refused to leave their rooms while she cleaned), the chambermaid was able to see a suitcase filled with “billiard balls” pulsating with light, as if filled with electricity. The two strangers disappeared as suddenly as they had come. Freixedo points out a similar case in the city of Puebla, Mexico, where exactly the same circumstances were repeated but with a destructive outcome: a house was almost entirely demolished as if by a battle so fierce that even the power conduits were torn out of the walls.

What did the strangers mean by “the north of the continent”? Due to the curvature of the Earth, is it reasonable to assume that they might have meant the lands to the north of the Americas–the polar icepack and Asia? Freixedo supports the view that references to the “Hollow Earth” and subterranean kingdoms to mean other-dimensional planes of existence accessible through certain underground mat-demat points.

Subterranean cities built by “Atlanteans”, “Lemurians” and other “lost” races belong squarely in the realm of the metaphysical, as their existence has been suggested by esoterics. This view is espoused by Argentine occultist and author Guillermo Terrera, who recounts the hidden lore surrounding the city of Erks, beneath the Andes, in his book El Valle de los Espiritus. We are given the entire history of this magical metropolis which boasts ownership of “the three sacred mirrors”, through which the high priests and ascended masters of Erks can contact other subterranean cities and saucer-riding aliens from space. Terrera even provides us the names of the leaders of the High Council of Erks and those of the masters of the “Primordial School.” Despite the Blavatskyesque implications, many scholars believe in Erks and have placed its location somewhere at the root of Mt. Uritorco in Argentina’s Mendoza province.

Terrera goes on to say that the mechanical noises that can be heard at night in the vicinity of Mts. Uritorco and Pajarito, and which appear to emanate from under ground, are the sounds being picked up by the “sacred mirrors”, which act as radiotelescope dishes. These sounds have allegedly been captured on audio tape: one is similar to an air hammer, another closely resembles that of a large set of gears being moved, and still another has been compared to the droning of a piece of factory equipment. Erks obtains light and free energy from “nuclear explosions produced by the liquid mass or magma at the earth’s core.” All knowledge concerning Erks has allegedly been gleaned through clairvoyants, psychometrists and parasensitives.

While metaphysical subterranean kingdoms can be dismissed as products of a strong urge to believe in exotic locales accessible only to the “chosen”, or to those who believe themselves to be made from a loftier mold than their fellow humans, the tunnels, galleries and cities found in all continents are real archaeological mysteries.

These could have been the dwelling places of the “Heliolithic” civilization that erected the megaliths of Carnac and Galicia, the massive stoneworks of Chile’s El Enladrillado, and a large number of locales. It has also been suggested that they could have been built on account of the Ice Age, when living underground presented a viable alternative to the brutal conditions above.

The existence of verifiable and inexplicable underground structures has certainly provided the kindling for the occult beliefs, providing a tangible springboard for humanity’s restless imagination.

(This article originally appeared in STRANGE MAGAZINE, Issue 14)

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