Posted by Dezdan on June 16, 2002 at 11:52:08:
In Reply to: Has anyone ever ? posted by Jerry on June 16, 2002 at 10:31:24:
There are several versions of the stories about the Panamint Mountain Tunnel System (PMTS). Here is another one that starts the same but continues on. The following was taken from http://www.subversiveelement.com/Branton2.html
BTW-I think this story is on like 5 other websites....
Bourke Lee, in his book 'DEATH VALLEY MEN' (MacMillan Co.,N.Y. 1932), chapter: "Old Gold", describes a conversation which he had several years ago with a small group of Death valley residents. The conversation had eventually turned to the subject of Paihute Indian legends. At one point two of the men, Jack and Bill, described their experience with an 'underground city' which they claimed to have discovered after one of them had fallen through the bottom of an old mine shaft near Wingate Pass. They found themselves in a natural underground cavern which they claimed to have followed about 20 miles north into the heart of the Panamint Mountains. To their amazement, they allegedly found themselves in an huge, ancient, underground cavern city. They claimed that they discovered within the city several perfectly preserved 'mummies', which wore thick arm bands, wielded gold spears, etc. The city had apparently been abandoned for ages, except for the mummies, and the entire underground system looked very ancient. It was formerly lit, they found out by accident, by an ingenious system of lights fed by subterranean gases. They claimed to have seen a large, polished "round table" which looked as if it may have been part of an ancient council chamber, giant statues of solid gold, stone vaults and "drawers" full of gold bars and gemstones of all kinds, heavy stone "wheelbarrows" which were perfectly balanced and scientifically-constructed so that a child could use them, huge stone doors which were almost perfectly balanced by counter-weights, and other incredible sights.
They also claimed to have followed the caverns upwards to a higher level which ultimately opened out onto the face of the Panamints, about half-way up the eastern slope, in the form of a few ancient tunnel-like quays. They realized that the valley below was once under water and they eventually came to the conclusion that the arched openings were ancient 'docks' for sea vessels. They could allegedly see Furnace Creek Ranch and Wash far below them. They told Bourke Lee that they had brought some of the treasure out of the caverns and tried to set up a deal with certain people, including scientists associated with the Smithsonian Institute, in order to gain help to explore and publicize the city as one of the 'wonders of the world'. These efforts ended in disappointment however when a 'friend' of theirs stole the treasure (which was also the evidence) and they were scoffed at and rejected by the scientists when they went to show them the 'mine' entrance and could not find it. A recent cloud-burst, they claimed, had altered and rearranged the entire countryside and the landscape did not look like it had been before. When Lee last heard from the two men, Bill and Jack, they were preparing to climb the east face of the anamints to locate the ancient tunnel openings or quays high up the side of the steep slope. Bourke Lee never did see or hear from his friends ever again.
During the lengthy conversation wherein they first revealed the secret of the underground city to Lee and others, the discussion turned to the topic of a Paihute Indian legend that they had heard which was remarkably similar to an ancient Grecian myth. The Paihute legend concerned a tribal chief whose wife had died, and who according to the tradition took a spiritual journey to the underworld to find her, and upon returning with her he 'looked back' and as this was forbidden he was not allowed to bring his wife back with him from the dead. This would not be the same as the more tangible story related in an earlier file, as told by the Navaho Oga-Make, concerning a Paihute chief who was allegedly PHYSICALLY taken into the underground cities of the Hav-musuvs deep below the Panamints. After this legend was referred to, the conversation turned to a discussion of an alleged subterranean race, who were believed to inhabit very deep caverns far below the Death Valley area. Paihute legends of the "Hav-musuvs" indicate that these ancient dwellers of the Panamints abandoned the ancient city within the mountain itself and migrated to deeper and larger caverns below. Could the following story tie-in with the Paihute legends of the Hav-musuvs? We will enter the conversation with the following discourse from Bourke Lee:
"...The professor and Jack and Bill sat in the little canvas house in Emigrant Canyon and heard the legend all the way through. The professor said, 'That story, in its essentials, is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.'
"'Yes,' I said. 'It's also a Paiute legend. Some Indians told that legend to John Wesley Powell in the sixties.'
"'That's very interesting,' said the professor. 'It's so close a parallel to Orpheus and Eurydice that the story might well have been lifted bodily from the Greeks.'
"Jack said, 'I wouldn't be surprised. I knew a Greek. I forgot his name, but he ran a restaurant in almost every mining town I ever was in. He was an extensive wanderer. The Greeks are great travelers.'
"Bill said, 'They don't mean restaurant Greeks. The Greeks they're talken about have been dead for thousands of years.'
"'What of it?' asked Jack, 'maybe the early Greeks was great travelers, too.'
"The professor said, 'It's very interesting.'
"'Now! About that tunnel,' said Bill, with his forehead wrapped in a frown. 'You said this Indian went through a tunnel into a strange country, didn't you?'
"'Yes,' I said. 'I think I called it a cave or a cavern, but I suppose a miner would call it a tunnel. Why?'
"'Here's a funny thing,' said Bill. 'This Indian trapper livin right across the canyon has a story about a tunnel, an it's not a thousand years old either. Tom Wilson told me that his grandfather went through this tunnel and disappeared. He was gone three years, an when he came back he said he'd been in a strange country livin among strange people. That tunnel is supposed to be somewhere in the Panamints not awful far from where we're sitten. Now! What do you make of that?'
"Jack said, 'I think Tom's grandfather was an awful liar.'
"I said, 'Tom's grandfather lived when the Paiutes were keeping their tribal lore alive. He probably knew the old legend. Powell heard it in Nevada only sixty-five years ago.'
"'It's very interesting,' said the professor.
"'I got an idea about it,' said Bill, thoughtfully. 'Tom's grandfather might have wandered into some tunnel all goofy from chewen jimson weed and then home out an found some early whites an stayed with them. Tom told me that the people spoke a queer language and ate food that was new to his grandfather an wore leather clothes. They had horses and they had gold. It might have been a party in Panamint Valley, or even early explorers or early settlers in Owens Valley. How about that?'
"Jack said, 'Yeah. The Spaniards was in here, too. So it might have been Spaniards or the early Greeks. And, where is this tunnel? And why did Tom's grandfather have trouble speaking the language? This is an entirely different story than the one Buck told. We are arriving at no place at all with these Indians and Greeks... To return for a moment to our discussion of geology, professor; have you been in Nevada much?'
"From here the conversation took off in an entirely new direction...