MOUNT SHASTA’S LEMURIA
“Have you ever seen a Lemurian?”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question since I’ve lived in Mount Shasta, and the answer is always the same: regrettably, no. The stubborn fact is that “Lemuria” and the “Lemurians” do not exist in any real historical, objective sense - and never have.
The concept of Lemuria originated in 1864 by a zoologist Philip Sclater, who wrote an article called “The Mammals of Madagascar” which was published in the Quarterly Journal of Science. Sclater was studying a species of small primates called ‘Lemurs’, and he was puzzled by the presence of their fossils in both Madagascar and India, but not in Africa or the Middle East. So Sclater proposed that Madagascar and India must have once been part of a larger continent which he named “Lemur[ia]”.
After gaining some acceptance within the scientific community, the concept of Lemuria began to appear in the works of other scholars. Some scientists placed the origin of the human species on this supposedly “lost” continent, and claimed the fossil record could not be found because it sunk beneath the sea.
The Lemuria theory disappeared completely from conventional scientific consideration after the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift were accepted by the larger scientific community.
From that point on, Lemuria entered the realm of mysticism and the occult through the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), founder of the Theosophical Society, who played a major role in the dissemination of esoteric literature throughout the western world in the early nineteenth century. Most modern New Age-oriented beliefs can be traced back to the mystical writings of Blavatsky and her contemporaries.
Blavatsky claimed to have been shown an ancient, pre-Atlantean history, the Book of Dyzan, by the “Mahatmas”—a secretive, highly evolved group of mystical adepts involved in overseeing the spiritual growth of individuals, and guiding the development of civilizations. Blavatsky was one of the earliest mediumistic figures in modern times to claim contact with a secretive group of “Ascended Masters,” whom she claimed to communicate with through letters which magically materialized out of thin air.
Borrowing from numerous other Theosophists, occult writers adopted many of her ideas and began to build their own theories, and over time the mythical people of Lemuria became popularized as highly evolved beings who once inhabited an Eden-like paradise, who’s location changed over the years to include much of the Pacific Ocean.
The first book that linked Mount Shasta to the lost civilization of Lemuria was called A Dweller on Two Planets, written between the years of 1883–1886 by Frederick Spencer Oliver, a rural teenager living in Yreka, California, during the gold-rush era.
Frederick S. Oliver was the “amanuensis” (or channel) for a Lemurian spirit who called itself “Phylos the Thibetan”. Dweller stands out as the single most influential source of Mount Shasta’s New Age oriented beliefs, and is still in print today. Oliver’s book contains the first published references linking Mount Shasta to a mystical brotherhood of “spiritual adepts”; a tunnel entrance to a secret city beneath Mount Shasta; Lemuria; the concept of “I AM”; and the “channeling” of disincarnate spirits.
Oliver’s Lemuria, however, was a much different place than the New Age version of Lemuria promoted today. He only makes a passing reference to it, but it’s a doozy, and reads more like something out of Conan the Barbarian…
Back in the time of Zalim we gazed upon a scene on the great continent of Lemuria or Lemorous…Gloom overspread all faces, the gloom of blood…The captive was a fair girl, sister to the youth, it seemed. Her beauty was delicate, but voluptuous…The fierce, cruel eyes, gleaming like live coals from under the shaggy brows of the master of the house, lighted with admiration as he saw the girl. His heavy-set figure, his coarse jaw, thick neck, and round, shaven head, all fitted him to be master of the brutish crowd around him…This man extended his hand as if to touch the captive maiden… She shrank away, and drew her figure erect in a queenly scorn…He nodded to the chief slave, who threw the captive boy on a sort of altar beside him. He bound him. But the victim said firmly: ‘Sister, yield not; die first.’…Her eyes shone with an awful light of horror… ‘Stop his voice,’ exclaimed the master; and the slave, nothing loath, cut out the poor boy’s tongue! …’Beast!’ hissed the girl to the master… ‘Ha!’ he replied, ‘I will prove that true,’ and he struck the bared breast of the tongueless lad with his own dagger, and tearing out the heart, threw it at the sister’s feet…A goblet of the blood was caught and the master’s mother, a priestess, who stood by the block, took it and gazed into it. Then she said: ‘The gods say that the girl also must die.’ (F.S. Oliver, Dweller, 1866)
Such was life in Oliver’s Old Testament version of Lemuria.
Following Dwellers publication, the Rosicrucians’ embellished and cashed in on the Lemurian legend for a number of years, publishing a book about it in 1931 which placed its location in Mount Shasta, California; however in May of 1936, they dashed a letter off to the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce to…
disavow any real factual basis to the Lemurian legend and to disclaim any responsibility for some Lemurian tours to Mount Shasta which proved to be hoaxes.
The Rosicrucians also stated that they were:
…amused by the rumors that we originated these tales about Lemurians or merely accepted them as facts . . . We are no more responsible for the facts than is the publisher who publishes Anderson’s Fairy Tales or the Arabian Nights. (Scott, John P. The Mystery of Mount Shasta, 1936)
The letter was evidently composed in response to certain unnamed fraudulent mystics who claimed to have discovered Lemurian temples and encountered Lemurians up on Mount Shasta, and set up a profitable business of swindling tourists by taking them on phony expeditions to discover the lost civilization, and meet up with Ascended Masters who dwelled beneath the mountain.
The Rosicrucians further stated:
There are no Lemurian temples or ruins on the mountain . . . These ancient people are not on the physical plane, nor are their temples . . . Many earthbound spirits from the old civilization which once existed in this locality are still here, held closely by their materialistic ideas . . . Mount Shasta seems to be a ‘sensitive spot’ where it is easier to contact those on other planes than most other places . . . Now only people who are sensitive can experience Lemurians. (Scott, John P. 1936)
Note the following, the Rosicrucian’s final word on the matter:
Rosicruician Digest–San Jose, California, August, 1935. Vol. 13. p. 267: We were amused recently at the attempt on the part of an individual to commercialize an incident in our book about Lemuria. He went through California claiming that he had found the secret temple of the mystics that are claimed to be living in or around Mt. Shasta, as referred to in our book, and he finally succeeded in getting a party of twenty or thirty men and women to go live with him in a camp at the foot of Mt. Shasta and receive from him preparation in such mystical laws as would enable them to be accepted into the great secret temple. We advised those who wrote to us to look upon the thing as the most laughable and inane mystical proposition that this poor country has had to face in the last fifty years—and we all know that America has been the happy hunting ground of every form of fraudulent mystical appeal and psychology scheme that the human mind can invent. But now we find that after spending twenty or more days, at great expense for instruction and food and personal advice and preparation, they have seen nothing and heard nothing that would indicate that they were one foot nearer to the mystic temple than they were when they were in their own home towns and that they are leaving the place in bitter disappointment. We need not feel pity or sympathy for these persons. They are simply foolish and must have a peculiar streak in their nature that will allow them to be taken away from their homes with such pretenses.
After the Rosicrucians devastating rebuff of Lemuria in 1936, the town of Mount Shasta must have suffered a debilitating loss of business from Lemurian tourism, and published the following appeal:
LEMURIANS ARE NOT LEAVING – Mount Shasta Herald, October 29th, 1936. The Lemurians are not leaving Mt. Shasta by train, stage, automobile, thumbing or dirgible, contrary to the announcement made in the Rosicrucian Digest for September. This is vouched for by the citizens of this community, many of whom have been brought to realize that there is something more than the “myth” to the Lemurian lore of Mt. Shasta. There are non-believers in all lines of thought, belief or practice, but when people keep preaching and practicing and in other ways evidencing that there is some soundness to their theory—then the non-believer becomes open minded and at least listens with an attentive ear—and this is what the people of Mount Shasta are doing today. During the past several years, hundreds of people from all walks of life from all sectors of the nation have visited the Mt. Shasta region in search of Lemurians, Lemurian legends and of knowledge of the Mystery Mountain. And from these people’s faith and knowledge of the “White Mountain” our citizens have started to wonder if there is not something that they have been overlooking—something a little too close at home to be seen . . . and what was once ridicule has turned into “uncertainty”. Teachers, lecurers, students—learned and well-read people, have visited our community this summer and spent days on the mountain, studying the mystery caves, and freaks of nature, all of which bear some evidence of that for which they are in search. Tales of mystery have been told and repeated by the oldest mountaineer who has spent his life of the mountain . . . and these are being connected by what now appears a race of believers. There are, without a note of fiction, developing, or may we say, being discovered, new mysteries and freaks on Mt. Shasta each summer—the lost river, the new and ever-changing ice and lava caves, the boiling springs, the airless canyons, the under ground thunder and the unexplainable glacial changes, all are known, yet unexplained by the most ardent skeptic. Whatever may be the fiction to the world-wide publicized tale of the “Mystic Tribe of Lemurians” on Shasta, there are certain mysteries known to exist and the demand for information has become so great that local people have begun a study of what the mountain affords, and are now giving inquirers honest and sincere answers to their questions, so far as their knowledge will permit. The offices of the Shasta National forest have made a special Lemurian file containing the best available information. The chamber of commerce has now refrained from treating the inquiries lightly and is lending every effort to assist people who visit the city to explore the mountain of mystery. People are reminded that there are now several books available in the city library dealing with the Lemurians.
Officially, this is where Lemuria stands today.
[To Be Continued...]