A Road Trip to Ancient Sites
By Brent Raynes
Shortly after 10 a.m. Friday morning, March 23rd, Doctors Greg and Lora Little pulled up in our driveway. Our bags were already packed and everyone was eager to get started. We had planned this trip a few weeks earlier, but had to cancel that original road trip due to tornadoes passing through the Southeast. This time only some possible rain was in the projected meteorological forecast, and as we headed out it was a warm and sunshiny day. In fact, we were blessed with good weather throughout our three day journey.
Where were we going? What were we up to? Scheduled to be co-leaders of an Indian Mounds Tour sponsored by the A.R.E. (Association for Research and Enlightenment) May 2-6, we were going to travel to the various sites on the scheduled tour and do some logistics work and planning in advance of the real event itself so that everything would run as smoothly as possible for our participants. Greg and Lora have traversed untold thousands upon thousands of miles since the early 1980s, visiting every major ancient Native American site there is out there (plus hundreds of lesser known ones) from sea to shining sea. They’re also prolific writers – Greg the author of the comprehensive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks (2009), People of the Web (1990) and Grand Illusions (1994), and both Greg and Lora are co-authors of Mound Builders (2001), Secrets of the Ancient World (2003), and Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis (2006). They certainly know their way around these places and so Joan and I kicked back and relaxed as Greg, a very competent pilot above the ground as well as on the ground, headed down the numerous highways and bi-ways ahead as Lora, certainly an accomplished navigator, sat in the seat beside him with maps and directions, always with critical information readily available, often anticipating what Greg needed before he had to ask.
I confess I felt a little guilty as our responsibility was pretty much simply to enjoy the scenery and chat with Greg and Lora about our many mutual interests – which was again very enjoyable and no hardship whatsoever. Before the day was over, we would visit Russell Cave, a site inhabited as early as 7,000 B.C., located in northeastern Alabama, near the town of Bridgeport, searching there for a couple of mounds that park officials themselves had pretty much forgotten about and which were now overgrown with vegetation, as well as hike up Fort Mountain near Chatsworth, Georgia. Greg pointed out various features that admittedly cinched it for me about the mountain site – it has a massive stone wall that extends for over 900 feet, little doubt intended for fortification by ancient people who lived at the top of this 2750 foot mountain. It fit very convincingly for me! The site was dated to around 400 AD.
The next day, Saturday the 24th, after a good nights rest in Gainesville, Georgia, we headed across state to view the enigmatic and modern Georgia Guidestones, known also as the “American Stonehenge.” The big mystery here is who exactly had them constructed and why. Composed of four almost 20 foot tall outer granite slabs inscribed with ten guides for living engraved in eight different languages (English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Russian), it is said to have been erected back in 1979, possibly by Rosicrucians. The messages concern such things as urging massive depopulation, suggests adopting a single world government, and presents an introduction to an alternative type of nature-based spirituality. The site also has various solar and stellar alignments built into it.
We next headed to Scull Shoals in the Oconee National Forest, to a real honest-to-goodness “ghost town” that began as a frontier settlement back in 1782 (today only a few ruins remain of what once was a community with flourishing mills, boarding houses, stores, a large warehouse and store combination, a distillery, a toll bridge and other businesses) and searched for a couple overgrown mounds nearby that dated back to the Mississippian era. The early white settlers had suffered raids from the Creek Indians.
Next we headed down around Eatonton to view the incredible Rock Eagle Effigy Mound. Composed of milky quartz stone it has a 120 foot wingspan and is 102 feet from head to tail. (See picture I took from a nearby tower) Speculated to date back to the Woodland era, it is believed to have been a ceremonial center, and British author and historian Andrew Collins, after visiting the site in 2006 (with Greg and Lora) felt that at one time the head of this bird (which he felt was a turkey vulture, “an obvious symbol of death”) may have faced the constellation of Cygnus, which as some of you already know, Andrew has written a fascinating book on describing how worldwide there are numerous site alignments and legends connecting bird symbols with Cygnus.
That Saturday we spent the night in the Macon area, but before retiring to our hotel rooms we headed over to the over 1000-acre Ocmulgee National Monument. A short distance from the museum is a restored earthlodge, which from a distance appears to be just a typical conical Indian Mound. But, alas, it’s anything but typical! I learned that at one time there had been several earthlodges at Ocmulgee, a word that Greg notes meant “where they sat down” in the Muscogean language. The floor of the earthlodge is the original clay floor and is said to be about 1,000 years old, with one source dating it to about 900 AD. As you enter through a low narrow tunnel perhaps 15 feet in length, where you’re nearly on all fours (the original structure is believed to have probably been lower) you enter into a semi-subterranean circular room which is about 42 feet in diameter. Directly ahead, in the center of the floor, is a large open firepit, and straight ahead beyond it and coming out from the wall opposite you is a raised “eagle” or thunderbird effigy platform (very similar to the Rock Eagle Effigy Mound), with three seats on it, all made of clay. Interestingly enough, on two dates, February 22nd and October 22nd, at sunrise the light will shine in and illuminate the three seats on the bird effigy platform! Around the entire outer circle are similar “seats,” 50 total (including the three on the platform), with 47 small ellipsoid “basins” in the front of each of the lower seats, believed to have been used to vomit during a ceremony using what was called the “Black Drink”(a tea that it was believed could cause hallucinatory effects). This practice was witnessed by early European explorers to this region.
Though other impressive mounds were nearby, it was closing time and we knew we’d be taking it all in the next day.
That night I slept well, but for some reason I woke up at one point and I remember looking at the luminous numbers on the digital clock by my bed and seeing that it was around 5 a.m. I couldn’t help but think of the intriguing earthlodge, how Greg said it was similar to a sweat lodge or a kiva. I thought about my sweat lodge experiences and what I had been told to me about the meaning of the sweat lodge. I thought about how we’d crawl into the lodge on all fours. Then, suddenly, I was in a dream state, and inside and to the left a man was standing there. In the modern restored lodge, there is a small area where a small group can view the clay floor of the lodge with viewing windows separating you from the interior. But in my dream, there was no barrier that I recall, and then next the man wasn’t there that I could tell, but instead, toward the back, and again on the left side, there stood upright what looked like many green corn stalks. I was surprised to see this inside the lodge and wondered what it could have meant!
Sunday morning we arrived soon after the park had opened. We first went inside the museum and soon Greg and Lora had engaged a park guide named Jim Branan in conversation about the site. Eventually, at a break in their conversations, I asked about the earthlodge and had corn ever been found there. No, it had not, but it turned out that another nearby mound did have a significant corn connection!
Here’s what I copied off a nearby sign:
“A Cornfield Mound and Prehistoric Trenches.
During the excavation of the Cornfield Mound, archeologists discovered charred corncobs and a layer of rolling topsoil under the mound. The parallel rows indicated a cultivated field used by the Mississippians who were master farmers growing corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and tobacco. The cornfield may have been used for ceremonial purposes because crops were usually grown near the river. Archeologists believe that the location was used for a field and later covered to create a mound. During the excavation trenches were found near the Cornfield Mound. The trenches formed two parallel interconnected depressions measuring 3 to 9 feet in depth and 15 to 25 feet wide. The trenches were found to be prehistoric but their use is unknown. Archeologists believe that the trenches could have been used as a defensive barrier or borrowing pits for mound building. After the excavation the trenches were only partially backfilled. Today the trenches remain in sections of oval depressions and semi-circular bands.”
Of this site, Greg wrote in his Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks: “Ocmulgee also shows strong ties to ancient Mexican cultures as evidenced by corn, a specific type of tobacco, clothing depicted on statue figures, and legends of the Muscogean tribes (later called the Creeks). Some archaeologists speculate that when the Teotihuacan culture near Mexico City collapsed sometime after A.D. 600, northerly migrations into Louisiana and Texas took place and brought what we call the Mississippian culture into America.”
An international team of astronomers, led by Xavier Bonfils of France’s Observatory of Science and the Universe, has concluded that life in our Milky Way galaxy may actually be quite common! Using a HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-meter telescope at ESO’s (1) La Silla Observatory in Chile, it was speculated that as many as 100 planets within less than 30 light years of us may contain life!
“Our new observations with HARPS mean that about 40 percent of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet,” Bonfils was quoted as saying. “Because red dwarfs are so common – there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way – this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone.”
It was pointed out that 80 percent of the stars in our Milky Way are red dwarf stars. Nonetheless, another recent study reportedly suggested that every star in our night sky may have at least one planet circling it and that our galaxy may in fact be teeming with habitable worlds out there!
Egads! This certainly puts a different spin on what I thought most astronomers had been telling us for years!
Note: (1) European Southern Observatory.
One alternative to the ever popular “nuts and bolts” theories of mainstream ufology is the controversial idea that many UFOs may actually be plasma energy forms, often traversing in what are invisible sections of the electromagnetic spectrum. While some researchers like noted neuroscientist Michael Persinger perceive these as natural phenomena, others like our co-editor/psychologist friend and colleague Dr. Greg Little see many “plasma” UFOs as “guided by intelligence.” British author Antony Milne, in his book Fireballs, Skyquakes and Hums (2011) describes how scientists Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart have speculated about how some alien life forms might prove to be “plasmoid” in nature. Noted British historian and author Andrew Collins has also speculated that UFO close encounters and contacts could be events connected with “plasma-based life forms.” (The New Circlemakers, 2009) Ghost hunters are even arriving at the same ideas about the entities they pursue. Joshua P. Warren, in his book How To Hunt Ghosts (2003), states that “based upon our current evidence and theories, it seems ghosts often materialize in a state of plasma.” Some have even associated the shape-shifting Jinn of Muslim tradition (like UFO authors Gordon Creighton, Ann Druffel and Phil Imbrogno) with our modern alien abducting “greys” and plasma energy. “Their bodies are reportedly made of neither light nor clay, but of a substance variously translated from the Arabic as ‘essential fire,’ ‘essential flame,’ ‘smokeless fire,’ or ‘smokeless flame,’” Druffel noted in her book How To Defend Yourself Against Alien Abduction (1998). She also described how Creighton was surprised when a leading scientist in Iraq, a Dr. Adil Mosa Al-Nahas, wrote to him about Creigton’s published theories regarding the Jinn. Druffel wrote that the scientist “hypothesized that the ‘smokeless fire’ described in Arabic sources was some sort of plasma, an energy that has not as yet been discovered by earth scientists.”
The so-called “ufonauts” often have much in common with apparitional phenomena. I well recall how in correspondence years ago (1971 to be precise) with noted UFO researcher and journalist John Keel that he strongly urged me to study such subject matter and compare it to the UFO contactee syndrome. Indeed I came across many “ufonauts” in my investigations through the years that had these apparitional characteristics. For example, Ohio contactee Madeline Teagle described how her humanoid contact would literally materialize in her presence . “When he appears there is generally a brilliant white tube of light first,” she stated. “Then he just seems to ‘form’ within it. When I have touched him in the process of deforming something like a sharp electrical shock runs through the area of my own body that is touching him.”
Madeline, like many people reporting UFO/entity close encounters and “contacts” often find themselves deeply obsessed and immersed in reading everything that they can seemingly get their hands on regarding metaphysical and spiritual matters. Madeline had also drifted into shamanic areas (not uncommon either), was one of the first people to mention to me about the Peruvian Whistling Vessels (a subject that has come to hold much significance in my life), and introduced me to a Native American medicine man she had worked with. “I pray on mounds and commune with the Great Spirit and the Spirit of Mother Earth,” this shaman revealed to me. “We can communicate with powers, forces, spirits and elementals. ….Often they manifest to us in physical form. Sometimes only a voice.” He described having had his own UFO contact encounters with beings he called the “Yuh-dush-gwa,” ancient “protectors” of his people since prehistoric times. He told me that UFOs were both interplanetary and spirit, “materializing to whom they will.”
“UFO sightings seem too often to be similar to the mind-created worlds that shamans encounter during their journeys through the subtler dimensions,” author Antony Milne noted. He even made reference to the “apparitional nature of UFOs” wherein anomalies like entities walking through walls, people levitating, and the “way UFOs materialize from nowhere” are often reported. He also pointed out how it was interesting how beings who were “too human-like” emerged from these UFOs and, breathing our same air, possessed emotions similar to ours and are even able to speak with us at ease. In reading through Anthony Peake’s The Out-Of-Body Experience (2011), as he described the various elements of what a “shamanic traveler” typically sees and experiences, I couldn’t help but take note of a number of details that could pretty well square off with a UFO contactee/abductee account as well. He relates how initially this “traveler” will generally find themselves in the so-called “Middle World,” which “may seem identical to our normal world but it is not.” It seems that one of the first tell-tale signs that you’re no longer in Kansas anymore, so to speak, is a sensation of being able to defy gravity. One friend of Peake’s, who is trained in shamanism, told him that a typical test to see if you’re there yet is to jump up and down. “In middle world the traveler may find that they continue to rise up in the air without coming back down to Earth,” Peake wrote.
Upon realizing that a “shamanic traveler” is in the “middle world” they will typically seek out a “guide,” which could be either in the form of an animal or a humanoid being, which he explained is often called “the teacher.” “The teacher will manifest in the image of an archetype specific to the traveler,” Peake writes. “This may be a character from fiction or film.” He cites how one might draw from such modern archetypes as Star Trek’s Spock or Obi Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars movies.
Peake next explains how the “guide” or “teacher” will direct the “traveler” to “the portal,” some sort of gate, door, or an entrance of some sort that will take that person up or down, to the so-called “upper world” or “lower world” of shamanic tradition.
See how well this fits with another Ohio contactee who told me how he was sitting in his house one day when a vertical shaft of light appeared to the right of his chair. Instinctively he reached for it as if it was “a matter of life and death,” stood up and then walked into the beam, accompanied by two tall large headed robed humanoid beings. He said he was then transported UP the beam into an “enormous green, translucent sphere.” The earth, he said, was “like a dot behind us in a few seconds.” Soon he was deposited on surface of an alien world, where he found the inhabitants living in stone buildings. He was shown how they could cut stone with a red sphere of light. “That is god energy,” the entities supposedly told him.
At the time of his experience, he was involved in trying to make contact with the ufonauts (since he had had a sighting previously, he was a strong believer already) using mental telepathy as his method.
A lot of what this man described would probably have fascinated the late Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung as classic examples of what he viewed as archetypal phenomena. But would that be the total explanation? Peake added that “in my discussions with my shaman contacts, it became clear that what is encountered is a series of worlds full of archetypes pulled up from the deepest areas of the subconscious mind. However, what is of significance is that these beings seem to have motivations of their own, as if they have an existence independent of the shamanic traveler. This implied to me that although these worlds may be a creation of the mind, they also have a reality that challenges our present materialistic model of how the universe functions.”
Back in 1975, I briefly entered a realm that in hindsight may have been this “middle world.” I had just gone to bed when I found myself moving towards the open door (portal?) leading to the hallway when something from behind me (I felt there was a presence there) was seemingly holding me back, but instead of being afraid or looking back (as I believe I normally would have done) I instead “stood” there in the middle of my room with my full attention focused on the door! Suddenly, these hundreds of tiny pulsating translucent white spheres of light (marble sized) began swarming around out in the hallway. They materialized from out of nowhere and soon descended to the floor area and began coming together as what I thought resembled a small four legged animal form, but before that form fully gelled I was next laying on my back in bed suddenly pondering what the heck had just happened!
Soon after this I was investigating an alien “abduction” case involving two young men that contained a wild variety of paranormal and poltergeist effects, and strange visionary states (wherein they were again seemingly in this world but saw and experienced things quite different about this realm, like features of the landscape, and their car seemed to levitate). Their visions consisted of such things as black cubes and spheres flying over a pond that looked quite different than it normally did; one of the young men, later inside a trailer “saw” a black cube and things resembling golden wires near a TV set; another saw a red face like outline in the area of the pond, etc. Later, I met with a UFO researcher in the same state (Maine) whom I had corresponded with since 1970. I knew she had experienced herself several UFO sightings, occasionally with paranormal twists, but I was quite surprised when she let me review her personal journal to discover that since October 26, 1975 she had begun having strange “visions.” Those “visions” were intriguingly near identical to those of the two young men I had been investigating, and their encounter had initially occurred on October 27, 1975, the day after her first “vision” was recorded! And then here I was, a UFO researcher, who shortly before this investigation had his own ‘vision’ of hundreds of tiny pulsating balls of light in my home! (Visions were not normal for me either, much less with archetypal displays of light balls!)
What was going on? Though I wrote about the “abduction” case in England’s Flying Saucer Review, which later appeared as a chapter in Dr. Berthold Schwarz’s UFO Dynamics, for years I only talked privately among close friends in the UFO field about my experience and that of the other ufologist. I know that at times a co-investigator working on the “abduction” case openly expressed confusion over my intense interest in the visionary elements of that account, while she preferred to pass over those and focus strictly on the so-called “physical” details of the “sightings” and what regression hypnosis was revealing had happened.