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.