Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Sentinels of Black Star Canyon (Halloween 2013)

 (GPS: N33 47.865 W117 39.350)
The Sinister Secrets of Black Star Canyon #5

Happy Halloween!

I started this series of blogs with a tweet I made on the night of Halloween last year. I think it is time to do that again...
I held my breath and have not told anyone anything other than that since then. In the previous four blogs of this series, I chronicled a series of hikes and meetings with the person I have given the name “the Old Man” (for the sake of privacy) regarding the history and places in the region of the notorious Black Star Canyon. The Old Man was very knowledgeable about the history of Black Star. Yet, he started to see I was a little too obsessed, and maybe started to think I was not in the best mental health after our conversations and my hikes. I started to think that myself. I promised him I would not return to Black Star Canyon. I intended to keep that promise. A promise I believe I have kept.

After the last meeting with the Old Man I went on with life as usual. Friends, work, movies, sports, games, and another hike or two went on. I felt great. The fall came which is my favorite time of the year, and then the month of October. I was all set to show my video about Point Dume in Malibu on October 31, 2012. That evening while waiting for the knocks at the door from kids begging for candy I started checking my cameras and camcorder to prepare for something I was going to do on the following weekend.

I was shocked to see pictures and videos taken in Black Star Canyon. The style was definitely mine. Yet, I know I did not go there. At least not intentionally.

But, maybe I did. Not consciously. Somehow I was there. Let me show what I have and try to put the pieces together the best I can. The video I edited together from the clips on the camcorder, but other than the music, everything is as I found the clips:

The video pretty much covered the standard route from the gate which I have shown on here a few times. It is here where our concern is:

The cliffs in view.

This is where the big drop off appears.

One wrong step here and one’s body might never be found. This troubles me. Yes, I've been to the top of High Sierra mountains, but dropping here would have been just as bad, especially when does not have memories of it. The curious pictures are the following rock structures:

Obviously, the Sentinels…

From what I can tell, there are a minimum off three Sentinels here, but probably more. As the Old Man said, you can see their faces in the rocks.

Finally, a composite picture I put together taken from the Indian village looking toward the cross.

Although I cannot explain it. I believe my will was overcome by forces in that canyon. As if my soul was ripped out and sent there. I don’t know how I escaped and ended up at the Indian village. The cross was seen from there as the Old Man said needed to be done to escape. Needless to say, I am glad to be alive and, more importantly from what I can tell, have my free-will back.

Unfortunately, November 1, 2012 was a Thursday, meaning the schedule the Old Man kept meant I could not talk to him until the following week in November. When I arrived I did not see him. It had been over a month since I had seen him, but he did not indicate any change of plans. I asked the owner of the shop if he had seen him. He told me that up until over a week ago he had always kept a strict schedule and been there the days he always had been. He did not know where he was. None of the other patrons knew either.

Where could my old friend have gone? I started to calculate the possibilities. Maybe his health went bad? It’s possible because he was getting up there in age, but he did maintain a healthy lifestyle and always made doctor visits a priority. Maybe he was the one who saved me in Black Star Canyon much the same way his uncle saved him? Possible, but I have no evidence for that. The third possibility, and the one I choose to believe, is that he went back east to live with his daughter. It makes the most sense to me, and I would not be surprised to see him again someday.

As for Black Star Canyon, enough is enough. I have no intention of going back there. Looking back at all I did last year seems so long ago and dreamlike. Geological temples, the Old Ones, and ancient alien sentinels that influence the area seemed so far fetched. Yet, when it comes down to it, why is it that it seems like every person that goes in and out of that region comes back with a crazy story?

The End

The following music pieces from were used in the video: The Dread, Distant Tension, and Ghost Story. I also sampled a demo of the main riff from an old Sabbath tune called, Zero the Hero which always reminds me of Black Star Canyon; that riff is a reoccurring theme with me and that canyon. I've used it before with videos there.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Investigating The Sinks (Halloween 2013)

(GPS: N33 43.095 W117 40.290)
The Sinister Secrets of Black Star Canyon #4

Not too long after I visited the Old Man I started getting nauseated almost everyday after eating breakfast. It was affecting me in such a way that I had a hard time looking at computer screens. My digestive system was not pleasant. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. I felt something was really wrong with me since I was not recovering. The doctor was of little help in this area. He gave me some advice on what to do that I already really knew. I tried to explain that I have been healthy most of my life, and this is something unique I was not recovering from. I thought I would at least get prescribed something. Thanks for taking my time and money. The whole thing was really insulting because it was like I was being told it was all in my head.

One thing I knew I could do was put my mind on other things and that would help me. When I had time I did some quick searches on Google for The Sinks. Sure enough I found them right away. They are famous as “The Grand Canyon of Orange County” on a smaller scale. As far as science is concerned, they were formed 65-24 million years ago.

I had hoped I would get over my illness before doing this hike. So, I decided to put it hold. Then the dreams starting coming back. I started seeing The Sinks in my dreams. I had never been there, but it was like I was having premonitions of myself there observing them. An idea came to me. Maybe my illness would end if I visited this geological temple known as The Sinks.

The time finally came for my visit. I set out for Limestone Canyon which is south of Black Star Canyon. The weather conditions were very gloomy with gray overcast clouds all over. Kind of spooky for what would be a long hike.

I started on the Shoestring Trail which was rather pleasant. It runs parallel with the main road. Lots of cars and bikers past by as I was walking along. Eventually, I saw Irvine Lake by my side which is a nice landmark to make connections with.

Eventually, I turned left into a big meadow. It was here everything opened up and a gradual climb started.
After another mile or two I connected with the West Loma Trail and then the East Loma Trail.

Somewhere along here I looked to my left to the north and zoomed in on Black Star Canyon:

There came a point where the trail went into two directions. I didn’t know where to go. So, I decided to take the Box Springs Trail.

Not too long after that it appeared before me...

The Sinks!

One can see why it is called the Grand Canyon of Orange County.

On the way back I looped around Limestone Ridge. Again, I looked toward Black Star Canyon.

All in all, I would say it was a 14 mile loop to get back to where I parked.

During the next few days my illness completely went away. In fact, I have not been as sick as that since then. However, what I traded in the physical sickness for was something a little different mentally.

About two weeks went by. I started to become a little more obsessive about things. The notion of the Sentinels that the Old Man mentioned were constantly on my mind. I had to know more.

Something I failed to mention in the last blog is that in my last conversation with the Old Man I wanted to know more about where the Sentinels are that are located in Black Star Canyon. He told me he did not know. I suspected that was not the case, but I let it go.

Over the next week I started watching my old videos, looking at pictures, and maps in Black Star Canyon. There had to be something. Nothing.

Another few days went by. One night I did not get any sleep looking over old notes and maps. Then the next day while looking at Google Earth something clicked.

On Google Earth I had left place marks over the recent hikes I had done in the area all these months before. Coincidentally, the four place marks were almost the same as a certain symbol I had seen months ago. This one:

That’s right. The Old Man’s tattoo lined up pretty well. I was excited, but slightly irritated too. Because I knew someone knew more than he was telling me.

I started doing calculations. Trying to figure out the precise spot. About 30 minutes later I was pretty sure I had found the spot I was looking for. While I had not been there before, I should have known.

I knew the Old Man’s schedule, so I had to wait until the next week for me to confront him. When I did he was actually happy to see me. Turns out the situation with his daughter had improved slightly, but she would still be leaving soon. They had worked out a plan that she would be able to visit or he visit her new home back east. Some other things were mentioned too, but…

“I know where they are,” I said with a stern voice.

“Who?” he replied.

“I know the location of where the Sentinels are.”

He frowned. “Silence, if that is true, you should not go there.”

At this point I told him how I visited the Sinks and how it actually cured my illness. I had a theory that if I visited the place of the Sentinels I would be in even better shape than ever. I must go there.

“No, you must not. Have none of my stories gotten through to you? They are beings much more powerful than us. They influence humans for their own purposes. You are being delusional. It is probably true that you were healed by the influence of their temples. Yet, it seems like a trick to encourage you to visit their unholy lair!” the Old Man said pleading with me.

“The tattoo. I noticed it the first time we met. It is the key to finding all these areas. Isn’t it?” I said.

He sighed. “It is now that I am truly sorry I told you everything I have. You seemed like a nice and adventurous person when we met, but now you are pressuring me to tell you about things I should not…okay… I hope I don‘t regret this.”

When the Old Man was a teenager he went off into Black Star Canyon one day with two friends, a guy and a girl, to do some drinking. He had been there many times in this secluded area. This time was different. In the evening, way back in the canyon, someone or something was watching them. He told me that whatever they saw did not appear to look human. One friend, the guy, got back on the road, headed down, and ran all the way out.

“I could have taken off really quickly with him, but I wasn’t going to leave her there alone,” he said.

The Old Man and the girl were trapped and could not leave. The way he said is, as if, they were stuck and could not get loose. This did not make sense to me, but I let him continue his story.

Eventually she was able to break free, but slipped and fell down a cliff to her death. The Old Man stayed up there until after dark unable to leave. It seemed liked hours had gone by when finally he heard someone coming. It was his uncle that had been told why they had not returned home by the friend that took off.

His uncle broke him free and started to take him to the road. The Old Man said he heard many ungodly sounds, but he felt he was going delirious. He blacked out.

The next morning he woke up at the Black Star Canyon Indian Village to the chants of his uncle. His uncle had brought him there for healing. As he observed the cross in the distance he felt great, and they walked out with no problems. When he met with his family he told them what had happened. The girl’s body was recovered, but the “official story” was that she was trying to get down to the waterfall from above and that caused the death. The Old Man said that was a half-truth. That evening when he took off his clothes he discovered that the tattoo was on his arm. He asked his uncle about it, but was told to never talk about it. The Old Man said he thought you could find other locations branching off of it, but did not go into detail. He knew I had understood what the symbol was indicating.

“Silence, I beg you. Don’t go there,” he said quite sincerely.

“I can see this has caused you much pain. I regret bringing any of this up with you. I have enjoyed your company from the beginning, and this was all fun until…”

“Promise me you will not go!” he said.

“I promise. My own safety as well as yours is at stake here. I see that now,” I said.

We both said nothing for about a minute. I guess we both were not too confident at this point that I could keep my promise no matter how good intentioned I was in saying it. I decided it was time to wrap this up.

“Until we meet again!” I said.

We shook hands, and I walked away. As I walked away I heard this:

“After seeing the earthly forms of the ancient sentinels, the only way to escape death and heal oneself of their wrath is to view the cross from the sacred Indian village,” the Old Man said.

I drove home. Yet, something in Black Star Canyon always kept calling to me no matter how far away I was from it. As I went to bed that night I told myself that it was time to move on. With that I had a great night sleep and woke up ready to move on to other things.

Investigating the Sinks (Youtube Version)

Investigating the Sinks (Vimeo Version)

The music used for this video is called Unrelenting, Chase Pulse, and Trepidation from Incompetech.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Absentia Tunnel (Halloween 2013)

(GPS: N34° 09.320 W118° 16.005)

It’s time for a movie spot and sort of an unpaid advertisement for an independent movie I think you should see. This is a short interlude from my BSC series which I'll be finishing up soon. As I have said before, the reason I like doing western movie locations is because they are usually the ones that have taken full advantage of the real world outdoor scenery out there. Horror movies tend to be done more indoors on sets and/or at night. Sometimes there are passing shots of something outdoors, but the scenes are really not that significant. For example, some of the old black and white horror movies have Vasquez Rocks in them briefly if you don’t blink, but it is nothing I would care to do on here since the scenes were so quick and not significant enough to do.

Around the end of March of this year I was able to view a dvd of an independent movie called Absentia that I knew I had to search out the location for this time of the year because it is a good creepy one. While watching the movie I knew they used the city of Glendale near Griffith Park as the main shooting location. I believe in the director’s commentary they mentioned the freeway that runs over the tunnel. It was then just a matter of looking for the tunnels that run under that freeway in Glendale. Since this was done in the city, these days just using Google Maps made it take less than a few minutes to figure out. In fact, very easy to figure out, but going there and taking pictures and video at the right spots was a different story.

Early on in the movie, one of our beautiful protagonists (Katie Parker) jogs through the tunnel. One thing that is kind of nice and/or funny about this is the same cars parked on this street in the movie were there at the time I did this.

Looking back to where I was just standing.
The telephone pole with the “missing” picture that, if I remember correctly, one sees stapled into the pole earlier in the movie. Of course, the entrance to the mysterious tunnel before me.
I hope to have a better picture than this done sometime in the future inside the tunnel, but for the time being this will have to do. On the way back from jogging, Katie mysteriously runs across Doug Jones on the ground in the middle of the tunnel.
Keep in mind this tunnel is rather long, not to mention a tad creepy (which what is cool about it). The idea I had, like many movie locations I search out, was just to find something close and not worry about getting the exact spot. I figured it would be dark with very little lighting. While watching the movie, I was thinking I should count the lights in the tunnel from each end to determine this spot or refer to the graffiti. Btw, the city has cleaned out a lot of the graffiti since they shot the movie. Oddly enough, there is something that happens in this tunnel that showed me I was very close to the right spot. I was surprised to see this while I was there because I didn’t expect it. See the leakage on the ground that seeps through? Yeah, that appears to be a permanent thing in the tunnel. There are also two smaller patches of water right behind it. So, Doug Jones was lying just in front of the leakage.

The following picture is much further down on the end from the other side looking back. A lot of the pictures I took were not that good from this direction so I am just using this.
I had a similar issue in taking the video here. There is one video shot that I used down here because I didn’t like the footage I had closer to where the scene took place. Actually, I had a lot of difficult issues taking video in the tunnel. I did a lot different takes for the whole video.

I had a certain idea prior to going how I wanted to shoot the video with me walking from one end of the tunnel to the other. Oh boy, was that not realistic. Why? Because everyone in the city uses this tunnel. I got there that morning thinking that hardly anyone would be around, but that is not the case here. Lots of people traversed that tunnel almost non-stop while I was there. I started out on the street walking down and as I was about to enter the tunnel someone would be entering it on the other side. Stop, go back, wait a while, now, try again, etc. a bunch of times. I got a little discouraged because it took so long. Then, I was hoping no one was watching me since I was in a neighborhood I really knew nothing about. I finally got something I thought was okay so I went to the nearby L.A. Zoo.

I looked at the footage in the parking lot. Some of it was okay, but other clips were just awful. So, after visiting the animals for a few hours I went back. In the afternoon it worked out a little better. The final video came out pretty close to what I envisioned.

I haven’t said too much about the movie itself because I think you should see it if you are into these types of movies. It’s nothing gory because it not that type of movie. It’s more about what you don’t see than what you do see. The fear of the unknown. I liked it because the actors were a lot more sympathetic than a lot of the stereotypical nonsense out there. Of course, as one might expect from what I have said in the past, I just liked the overall atmosphere of the movie. So, see it with the knowledge it is a low budget independent movie, and you might like it. Oh, btw, I believe Mono Lake is in it at the end. Don’t blink or you will miss it. I actually was thinking of finding that one too for this, but decided not to. In any case, you should be able to find the movie on dvd, Netflix, etc.

The Absentia Tunnel (Youtube Version)

The Absentia Tunnel (Vimeo Version)

Yeah, I was really hoping to put the smack down on the “troll” and meet Katie Parker in the middle of that tunnel. Aww, well. ;)

Absentia (Wikipedia)

The background music used in this video is called Gloom Horizon and Long Note Four by Incompetech.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Death in Orchard Hills (Halloween 2013)

(GPS: N33 45.195 W117 44.210)
The Sinister Secrets of Black Star Canyon #3

Another month or so went by after my last conversation with the Old Man. While life got in the way of immediately doing anything more connected with Black Star Canyon I was able to sign up for the docent led hike in Orchard Hills. It’s located a little to the southwest of Black Star.

Prior to this hike, off and on over the previous few weeks I had an issue sleeping. I would wake up after having dreams about Black Star Canyon, the Old Man, and the imagery in his conversations. Some dreams I would consider nightmares, but others were not. I really didn’t think too much of it at the time other than it being really annoying, but I was not getting enough sleep on those nights. As a result, right before this hike I got sick!

It wasn’t like they were offering this hike every few weeks. I didn’t want to cancel either. What a terrible coincidence. You cannot access this area without a docent. So I had to suck it up and do it. I got to the Orchard Hills parking area early and have to admit I was a bit anti-social through the whole thing because of the sickness. A bunch of people showed up, and we were on our way.

On a normal day I would not really consider this strenuous, but due to the sickness I had a lot more problems with it than I should have. I started off with a jacket and then had to take it off after the first ten minutes.
I could see immediately why this was called Orchard Hills. We passed a lot of them as we went along.
The long ascent. This is where the 1800 ft. total elevation gain started to get to me. We did not have to go over that peak you see. After ascending we went around that little notch you see on the upper left and then went behind the peak. Then we went along the ridge you see on the right side of the picture to the first destination.

Somewhere in here near the end of the uphill one of the docents asked if I was okay. I said I was fine, but I was really breathing heavily and not doing very well. It was kind of embarrassing since I knew I had done much worse hikes then this.
We got to the top of our ascent and the docents let us rest up. I was fine from here on out. We started heading to our first site. In the picture above, straight ahead and then turn to the right along that ridge leads to the following:
We reached the first location on Loma Ridge. In the distance on the ground you should be able to see the strip where aircraft could lift off. During the Vietnam War era a Boeing C-135 crashed here. On June 25, 1965 at 1:46am soldiers were being transported from El Toro Marine Base with a few stops on their way to Vietnam. They never got there because the aircraft collided with Loma Ridge. This killed all 80+ members of the flight.
Loma Ridge is about 4 ½ miles away from the El Toro Marine Base strip. Normally, any aircraft would be required to make a left turn 2 miles away in order to avoid Loma Ridge. This was standard procedure. The problem was that night it was extremely foggy where the pilot was not be able to see just looking out the window. The mystery is why the experienced pilot did not make the left turn. A few ideas have been proposed, but it will always be a mystery.

I was slightly disappointed about not seeing much aircraft remains of what I thought I read we would see before coming here. We were warned not to take anything, but I did not see anything that could be taken. Of course, I have been to places where the aircraft after a crash is not completely destroyed so a lot is left. So, I think my expectations were a little high. I have been told that there are remains there, but we would have had to continue over to the ridge more.

As an aside, my brother knows a man that was stationed at El Toro during this event. He was one of the men sent to clean up the mess and recover the bodies. He said it was just an awful situation in having to do that.   
From this point we went back a ways and headed on a trail to the north side. We reached the high point and stopped. I tried to pan around with the camcorder, but it was difficult because of all the people around. One can see Black Star Canyon and Irvine Lake from here so I knew why the Old Man wanted me to see this. It was connected after all.

We then dropped down a few hundred feet to a plaque with a gate around it. There was a field around and a few trees. GPS for the hang site: N33 45.790 W117 44.035.
This is where a hanging took place. See the branch running parallel with the ground? That is supposed to be the tree.

I’m going to gloss over this really quickly to get to the point since whole books have been written on the background here. Juan Flores, a Californio bandit, was pursued by a sheriff Barton for a murder he had committed. On January 23, 1857 Juan Flores and his gang got into a shootout with Barton and three of his deputies. Barton and the deputies were killed.

This caused an uproar with posses formed in pursuit of the outlaws. Flores and some of the gang were spotted at what is now Flores Peak. I have pointed out that peak when I did the Harding Canyon Falls hike a few years ago. Flores and gang were captured, but he was able to escape captivity later that night.

It was at this point that General Andres Pico, brother of the last Californio Governor Pio Pico, hanged Francisco Ardillero and Juan Catabo. This tree is said to be the hanging tree.

“At midnight Flores and his compadres slipped out of their bonds and fled into the darkness. The guards awoke and fired a volley of shots after them but the fugitives escaped. At daybreak a dejected Gentry sent a rider back up Santiago Canyon to give Andres Pico the bad news. The rider met Pico near the present day location of Irvine Lake. Pico and his company were coming down the canyon with Juan Silvas and Francisco Ardillero, the two bandits who refused to climb down the rope, in custody. The general became enraged at the news and declared that there were two bandidos who would not escape. He ordered his men to ride to a small grove of sycamore trees, which are still standing in a side canyon one quarter mile southwest of Irvine Lake. Ropes were looped over the branches and in moments Silvas and Ardillero were hanging in midair. When they were dead Pico instructed one of his men to cut off their ears. Pico’s act harkened back to the old days under Mexican rule when soldiers who tracked down and killed Indian horse thieves traditionally removed their ears as proof of a successful manhunt." (Boessenecker, John. Gold Dust and Gunsmoke: Tales of Gold Rush Outlaws, Gunfighters, Lawmen, and Vigilantes. New York: John Wiley, 2000, p. 126)

Flores was later captured and hanged in Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 1857.

After viewing the plaque and tree we made our way back up and then back down the way we came. I enjoyed it, but since I was sick I was just glad to get home and get some liquids into me. I rested up, and in about a week I felt a little better.

Another two weeks went by. I then decided to see my old friend on a Saturday. I remembered his every other Saturday schedule at being at the coffee shop. Sure enough he was there.

The Old Man was not as excited to see me this time around. I could tell something was deeply disturbing him. I assumed the worst. Maybe he found out from the doctors he was terminal. What could be bothering him? His health was fine.

After engaging in some small talk he finally admitted that his daughter was probably being forced to move from San Diego to somewhere back east. Turns out her company was being relocated, and to keep her job she would have to go with it.

I asked, “When will this happen?”

“Sometime in the fall,” he replied.

Over the past few months I reasoned the Old Man was somewhat of a lonely person and had outlived a bunch of his friends. He seemed like the person that needed the company of others. and that was one of the reasons he enjoyed having me around. However, I knew I could not give him what he really longed for. Having his daughter leave was probably another thing that seemed that life was taking from him.

“Enough about me, did you ever visit Orchard Hills?” he asked.

“Oh good grief. Yes, I did. I was sick as I could get, but still pulled it off. I took a lot of mental notes. You were right. Both of those events that took place there were rather dark. When I got home I did a lot of reading on the internet about those events. Obviously, the two hanged one can argue that justice was really served even though it was a lynching, but the air crash was just awful to read about. So many innocent people killed, so much grief from friends and family left behind.”

“Did you see Black Star Canyon in the distance?” he asked.

“Yes. It was definitely in range and I made the connection you were telling me.”

At this point the Old Man proceeded to drop the bomb on me. He again mentioned the Sentinels and the Old Ones. The Sentinels are like the priests of the Old Ones. They guard the canyon and influence those who are nearby. Some people can handle their influence better than others. Some go mad, some make simple mistakes, others use poor judgment in situations they know better, others make quick and severe judgments they might not normally make. But, in all this, the purpose of the Sentinels is fulfilled in attempting to get the attention and please the Old Ones.

“This sounds like something I would hear on Coast to Coast AM,” I replied.

“Can you explain the madness of the people and stories you have heard around here?” he said.

He was right about one thing. This is the point he had been hinting at the entire time I knew him. Many people who have gone in and out of Black Star Canyon do have some strange stories come out of them. I can’t say that for any other place I have been to in my life, and I have been to some strange places. The history of the canyon verifies that.

Then he told me something that was deeply troubling…

“Some of the geological places around this area are like temples the Sentinels oversee. Places like Red Rock Cliffs and the Sinks are temples to the Old Ones. Much blood has come about by their influence and dedication to their gods.”

Geological temples, extra-dimensional beings, and ancient alien sentinels were just too much. Yet, I felt the need to inquire:

“What do these beings look like?”

“I cannot tell you what the Old Ones look like. I can tell you something about the sentinels. When they take earthly form their faces can be seen in rocks. Sometimes they have humanoid like features, some with bird like faces, but otherwise human. Others have an amphibian look, but are humanoid. Some have other geometrical features for faces. They can be very big compared to humans or any other life on earth. They might not move at all if you were in their presence, but they can at any moment. The most dangerous ones that influence the area overlook Black Star Canyon,” he said.

Trying to be funny I said, “Your physical descriptions sounds like you are describing the Transformers.”

He wasn’t up on robotic pop culture so I had to fill him in. I think he understood my sense of humor and was not hurt by my apparent sarcasm there. I was listening to what he had to say, but then realized I had already used my quota of sarcastic humor on him earlier so I decided to get more serious.

“Okay boss! What you have said sounds interesting and does explain some of what I have encountered. Where do you think I should visit next?

“No! I have told you all that I know, and this is where this should end. I think I have answered your questions about this region. There is no other area I think you should visit,” he said.

A bit shocked, but realizing his daughter’s news was upsetting him I just let it go. I wished him well, but told him I would get back to him in month or so to see how he was doing.

Driving home I went over the conversation in my mind again. I knew there had to be more than he was telling me. What he said was incredible, but I had this urge to know more.

Then I realized there was something he said in the conversation about the geological temples of these beings. There was one he referred to as the Sinks! I decided I would find out what I could about this one and go there!

For the following video on this one I think I should note that I made this video in the same style I typically do with a certain mood the music portrays. It's a downer and not supposed to be very happy. While I doubt many people will care about the two hanged, I should note we still live in a time that a lot of friends and family are still alive that lost loved ones back then with the airplane crash. So, there is some sensitivity involved here which I did not take lightly while doing this. Personally, I think it would be a lot more dishonorable if I had some "happy go lucky" type of music playing during this video, but that's just me. Of course, one can always mute or turn the sound off...

Death in Orchard Hills (Youtube Version)

Death in Orchard Hills (Vimeo Version: PLEASE NOTE, I had to compress this one)

The music used for the video is called Paranoia taken from Purple Planet.

A few articles about the crash:

Los Angeles Times (2007)


OCWeekly (This article was dealing with a political issue in the area during the year 2000, but it talks about some of the history)

A few articles on the hanging:

OCWeekly (2009)

Los Angeles Times (2009)

Irvine Conservancy

Juan Flores (Wikipedia)

Two books I have found useful over the past few years on this:

Gold Dust and Gunsmoke: Tales of Gold Rush Outlaws, Gunfighters, Lawmen, and Vigilantes by John Boessenecker has the section quoted above and more.

If you really have interest in this then one book that is useful for the historical context is Bandido: The Life and Times of Tiburcio Vasquez by John Boessenecker. Although the book is a biography for Vasquez it does give a lot of the background for what happened in California at the time. Again, not a book about Juan Flores, but his name does come up a few times.

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Red Rock Cliffs of Black Star Canyon (Halloween 2013)

(GPS: N33° 45.514 W117° 40.816)
The Sinister Secrets of Black Star Canyon #2

In the last blog I mentioned how I made a new friend that I am affectionately calling, “the Old Man“. He was really knowledgeable about the history of Black Star Canyon. Before we parted he told me I should visit Red Rock Canyon. Of course, there are a lot of Red Rock Canyons out there. Those that follow this blog know of the one I refer to as Red Rock Canyon is just north of Lancaster and Mojave off the 14. The one he was referring to can be seen at the Black Star Canyon entrance gate. Just look off to the west (left) of the gate and one can see it. For the sake of clarification, I am going to refer to it as the Red Rock Cliffs of Black Star Canyon.

However, one can only access it with docents. So, I signed up for it and waited about a month for the day to come. I didn't know what to expect until I got there. It turns out it is not a major hike. Really no uphill at all, and a very short distance.

The gate that I had to drive through was about a half-mile from the Black Star gate parking area. I was greeted by one of the docents and drove through. There were a lot more people that I expected which ended up being a good thing. People of all ages were there.

The only issue that I knew would be troubling even before I got there is it was a windy morning. I was slightly annoyed by that since the days before had nothing like this, and it can always be trouble to my cameras and camcorder with this type of weather condition. I was not sure how much narration I would get from my docents on this for video especially on a windy day, but I told myself not to worry about it. This is one of those obsessive compulsive issues that I have acquired since trying to make videos the public can see, and another one of the reasons I stopped blogging as much.

 After some brief history and introductions we were off. The docents pointed out the types of plants and animals that we saw along the dirt road. These were mostly birds. I remember that one bird was out of place here because it was mostly seen near Newport Beach.

Not too far along the dirt road our main docent pointed over a hundred and fifty years ago had we come through here we would have seen Tongva Indians with their teepee homes all through this area. When this was mentioned I became a little more alert than I had been. I knew of the Indian village in Black Star Canyon and that they didn‘t always live there throughout the year.

We continued onto our destination. They pointed out the types of trees and anything else about the natural history we were seeing. We finally got to our main destination with the Red Rocks.
They really reminded me of both the Vasquez rocks and the rocks at Red Rock north of Mojave. Our docents described the geology of how they were made. I would try to explain it, but I always feel that geological explanations take a few million years to describe. The common geological themes of fault lines, uplift, etc. were mentioned. The bottom line, I just enjoyed looking at them.
Panning to my left.

 We were told that there were some bald eagles that used to live here. A nest that is still around was on one of the cliffs. Had the eagles still have been there the docent led hikes probably would not be taking place. I do know that some bald eagles live not too far from Irvine Lake just over the cliffside from where we were.

 Zooming in to see the nest.
We kept walking into a much more narrow part of this area where the trees were right next to us. At this point the docents tried to be a little spooky telling us some of the local folklore about the haunted history of the area. They told us the usual La Llorona or weeping woman story about the woman searching for her children. Some of this was connected to the area. I wasn’t really that impressed with this since that’s a very typical tale in Latino culture. They did go on to talk about the massacre related to the Black Star Canyon Indian Village. Just after this we turned around and headed out.

Since it was still before noon I decided to see if my friend was at the coffee shop to let him know what I had seen, but unfortunately I was told that I had missed him by about an hour. Ah well, some other time.

A few weeks past. One day I was driving through nearby Silverado and decided I should try to see if I could find him again. Right before I entered the door I heard a voice say, “Silence!”

He was somewhat surprised to see me. That so much time had passed by he thought I had gone on to do other things. I told him that was not my personality. It takes me some time to do things, but eventually I do what I say I will.

We had caught up on a few things that are not really relevant. Some personal health issues, his daughter, some local politics were of concern to him. Eventually, the conversation got back to my experience at Red Rock Canyon.

“It did remind me of Vasquez Rocks and Red Rock Canyon I knew of north of Mojave. They did explain some of the history that I knew of. Yes, they did talk about some of the ghost stories, but it didn’t really change my opinion of the area,” I said.

“The local Tongva that lived there had a love/hate relationship with those rocks and Black Star Canyon. The redness in the rocks to them represented great sadness and blood! There was always a concern they would encounter grizzly bears in the Santa Ana Mountain range. Which did happen and some tragedies did occur because of that. As if those animals were possessed they would say,” he explained.

We then both talked about what we knew of the Black Star Canyon massacre. I told him what I knew, but this is where things started to get a little strange even for me.

“Have you heard of the story of the white men dropping the natives to their deaths?” he asked.


“There are dangerous cliffs in Black Star Canyon that if you fall over you will die. Some of these white men of that group took some of the natives, men, women, and children to these cliffs and dropped them over to their deaths. According to the story my uncle told me, the white men were chanting as if offering a sacrifice to the Sentinels and the Old Ones,” the old man explained very seriously.

“I’ve never heard that story before!?!? I knew the local white men were concerned about some issue regarding stolen cattle as is often heard in these types of stories,” I said.

“That’s the white man version. You probably wouldn’t hear what I am telling you from their history books.”

I have to admit what got me was the shocking part of hearing the barbaric style of death and not hearing about “the Sentinels” or “Old Ones“. My emphasis was on the former and not the latter. He was trying to tell me something about the latter, but I just wasn’t really hearing it.

Since he mentioned his uncle he tried to explain to me the background on that. To be honest, I am probably mixing some of this up, but I will try to do my best in explaining it as I remember the conversation. The Old Man told me he was not actually Tongva Indian. He said that his tribal background was in Arizona. I believe he said the tribe was Havusupai, Yampai, or Yavapai, some sort of “pai”. I can’t remember exactly. He said his family was forced to move out of Arizona when he was a little kid. Some government issue with the Grand Canyon land, and his family pretty much said, “enough is enough” and left.

His uncle and other relatives lived out here. The uncle was actually Tongva or at least connected with them in some way. I didn’t quite understand how this all this all worked out because it sounded like there was some mixed blood going on from a genetic perspective. I was just being polite and agreeable to what he said. I got the idea that this was a distant relative the family knew that had some connections with the area. In any case, part of the history I was getting from the Old Man came from his uncle who lived out here.

“Much blood has come out of this region. My uncle’s people knew of it, my uncle knew of it, and I know of it. You don‘t always hear about it. Bodies get lost or go missing. Some things go unreported. Let me give you another quest about some well known dark history that is agreed upon by even the white man. Have you ever been to Orchard Hills?”

“No. I have heard of it, but nothing other than that. I think I have an old classmate that lives nearby,” I said trying to remember anything I knew of it.

“There is a strenuous hike you can go on, but it shouldn’t be a problem for a mountain hiker like you. It’s another one you have to sign up for. The dark history covers two events separated by over a hundred years. You will see that even though it was not in Black Star Canyon it was close enough that the old spirits of Black Star still were able to influence others in this area,” the Old Man said.

I agreed to do this, and told him I would be back to see him after this next dark adventure. We shook hands. At this point I noticed something I had not seen previously. He had a small tattoo on the inside of his right arm. Almost looked like a branding to me. I didn’t bother asking since I have seen a lot of things like that on people. I did burn the symbol into my memory when I saw it. This is my drawing I made of it and replicated in photoshop:
As I was walking back to my car I was thinking of what he said about Black Star connecting with other places. Ghost stories I had a hard time with, but on the other hand it is true many unexplained bad things have happened in this region over the years. All of this gave me a new focus and purpose. I could feel the excitement in my blood. As if something powerful was drawing me back to this area.
The Red Rocks of Black Star Canyon (Vimeo Version) 

The music used from Incompetech is called Arid Foothills.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Cross of Black Star Canyon (Halloween 2013)

(GPS: N33° 46.160 W117° 40.295)
The Sinister Secrets of Black Star Canyon #1
On Halloween 2012 I posted this tweet:
I remember the late afternoon and evening very well that day. I even remember posting a blog about Point Dume in Malibu. I awoke from sleep that afternoon after not feeling all that well. It is true that I had not been feeling well off and on going back into early 2012. This was different.

Late that afternoon I remember going over my camera and camcorder to prepare for something I was going to do over the following weekend. Things like checking the batteries and charging them, cleaning the filters, and then making sure I had room on my media cards and internal memory. The eerie thing was I saw all these pictures and videos that I did not recall taking! All the dates and times shown were earlier that day in the morning.

I know no one else had my cameras. The style of the pictures and videos were exactly the way I would take them. There is no mistake I had taken them.

The scarier thing is they were done at Black Star Canyon: the most notorious place of evil in all of Orange County. While I have covered Black Star Canyon before I have never been to this area that I saw in the pictures. Also in the past I have shot down stories that I have considered irrational, anti-scientific, and bad history about Black Star Canyon. I have now changed my attitude toward this place.

What happened to me? Why don’t I remember going to Black Star on October 31, 2013? What made me change my attitude? Unless something happens to me, my story will be coming out all this month. Let me start my story where it began. The beginning of 2012…

After giving up blogging on a regular basis I decided I wanted to do some new hikes that I did not have to worry about writing up every week. Something simple and different. It was partly to stay in shape for Sierra hikes, but just to get out and relax. I did not want to have the need to constantly have to worry about taking pictures and video for others.
I noticed the Silmod trail connected with Black Star Canyon had opened up on special days of the year one must sign up for to do. After waiting weeks to do it the day came and I arrived, signed in, got a special badge, and off I went.
It is actually not that difficult to do. There are some volunteers that keep people on the trail as well as markers to show you where to go.
I reached a high point and saw Irvine Lake in the distance. I then looked over in the other direction toward the main hiking area of Black Star Canyon. I noticed the cross in the distance. I immediately remembered some of my old adventures in Black Star Canyon years before. I have always wondered about that cross? So, isolated from everyone, but why is it there? Yeah, why would someone put that there?
Well, after thinking about this I could see a group of about fifteen people coming up from behind me so I immediately started walking again. Not to be anti-social, but just to make sure they didn’t pass me because then I would never get past them.
The Silmod trail ends on the paved road I was used to going on while hiking in Black Star Canyon. It’s before the first right turn where you actually enter the canyon. I then walked in the other direction to the main gate. After this I actually did another hike just south of this one, but for our purposes it is not relevant to include it here.

After doing both trails I took off and decided to refresh myself at a local coffee shop not too far away. Surprisingly, there were not many people inside which I was glad for since I figured I would get served very quickly. The person who I believe is the owner of the establishment took my order. To be honest, sometimes after a hike I am a little too tired and sweaty so I might not have looked or smelled all that great at the time. After my order was taken I was asked, “So, where did you go this morning?” I replied that I was at the wilderness day in Black Star Canyon. “Oh, that place? If I had a dime for every teenage kid that comes into this place asking about Black Star I would be a rich man!” Yeah, I agreed the amount of nonsense those who live nearby must have to put up around here with all the kids that go there for thrills of ghosts. We both laughed, but then I noticed a man in the corner watching our conversation. The owner must have noticed this to and said, “If you want to know what needs to be known about Black Star you must talk to him!”

The owner knew the man rather well as one of his regular patrons. He was introduced to me as the man who knows Black Star. No names were given at this point since I thought this was all going to be small talk and he would be on his way. He then asked if it was okay to come and sit with me. I agreed.

“You’ve been to Black Star Canyon a few times? I can just sense it by looking at you.” He said.

“Yeah, I have been as far as Beek’s Place. I’ve gone to the waterfall. I’ve been to the Indian Village.” I replied.

He got really excited about this. He told me that when he was a kid he used to go back in there a lot. Many decades had gone by since then. He said he remembered when one could actually drive through the whole canyon by vehicle. Times have changed since then.

I agreed. He then proceeded to tell me much of the history he knew. Lots of people, some mining history, and events that I already knew about Black Star, but some of which I had never heard before. Then I remembered where I had just come from, and what I had mentioned that had always puzzled me. Since he seemed to be really knowledgeable of the local lore I thought I had to ask him…

“Say, every time I am in Black Star Canyon I look up at the cross on the high point on the hillside. Do you know why that was put there?”

He paused and looked at me a little more seriously than he had been. He had been really easy going until this point. I was worried I had said the wrong thing, or brought up something I shouldn’t have.
The answer I got put me on the defensive because it was not an answer…

“Why do people normally put crosses up anywhere?” I was asked.

What do I say to that? I went with my religious knowledge of the subject…
“Well, in the days of Rome they were used for executions. So, there was a sense of shame involved for those that were killed on one. Although, in Christianity the idea is that although Jesus was shamed and killed on a cross, God overturned the judicial ruling by having him rise from the dead three days later. That’s why Christians use the symbol of the cross. There are some redeeming ideas and irony…”

“Then that’s your answer,” The man replied.

“That’s it?” I answered incredulously.

“Death, protection, warding off evil spirits, healing. It’s all connected to what you just said. There is a lot of strange things that have gone on in them hills.”

I knew he was referring to the ghost stories. I told him I understood why the place was spooky being isolated like it is, how the wind can roar, strange noises, but I did not believe all the ghostly stuff reported.

At this point, my food came so I started eating. He was drinking his coffee, but he felt the need to respond to what I had just said.

“While it is true many lies and strange stories have come out about that place. I am telling you that evil beings do live in that canyon,” he said.

At this point, he came off a little nutty to me and I wasn’t sure he was being too serious with me. So, I replied with a laugh and said, “Oh you mean the people that live in the canyon back there.”

“No, but that is part of it. Don’t you find it strange that the people that live back there always seem a little crazy to people in the outside world?”

I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I think my response was they suffered from cabin fever and isolation. Not to mention the people that mess around and destroy their property.

At this point he told me that he had to leave. Something about seeing his daughter that was visiting from San Diego, but before he left he mentioned a couple of things.

He shook my hand and told me his name and then his real name. It turns out he had Native American blood in him. For the sake of privacy I am just going to refer to him as the Old Man from here on out.

Having a bit of fun with him since he mentioned his Indian name, I told him that I was the Great Silence, Location Hunter Extraordinaire. You know, a living legend on the internet for all my award winning blog entries.

He got a laugh out of that, but then became serious again. He told me that I should go visit the Red Rock Cliffs outside Black Star. There is a group tour that I can sign up for. He then told me when I had done that to come back here so we can talk about it. He then told me that he was usually at this coffee shop every other Saturday and then Monday thru Wednesday mornings during the week. Thursday and Friday he reserves for doctor appointments and family business.

My parting words to him were with a smile, “I think you have just started my next quest for adventure.” I could already feel the enthusiasm in my blood.

Unfortunately, for my health and my soul this was not a good thing. It was a terrible mistake.

The Cross of Black Star Canyon (Youtube Version)

The Cross of Black Star Canyon (Vimeo Version)

The music and sounds used from Incompetech are Zombie Hoodoo and Very Low Note.