It was said that the end came without warning...
Once, long ago, as the people slept, the sun came out at night. It shot a flaming arrow across the heavens which burst into thousands of fragments, which then fell to the earth. The people were startled out of their sleep by a rumbling and quaking of the earth. The skies above them were on fire. The waters of the lakes and oceans rose. Soon the waves became mountains of water that rose against the shores. The sun was blotted out and darkness covered the great green land and water.
Terrified, the people ran to the hills to get away from the pounding water. For days the earth rumbled and quaked. Torrents of rain began coming down so fiercely that water sprouted up out of the ground everywhere, overflowing the creeks and rivers. The people who knew where there was a cave high up on the mountain fled to it and saved themselves; all of those who stayed behind were drowned.
It rained for a long, long time until all the valleys and low-lands became one churning sea. Only the tops of the highest mountains remained uncovered, where the people stood huddled together listening to the wails below as countless bodies were tossed upon the angry waves, and then sank to their graves in the unknown depths.
Then a rain of ashes began to fall…
Most people have heard about the fabled lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria.
From the earlier century, alternative-history writers have been busy following a puzzling trail of historical and archeological curiosities which suggest the existence of a high civilization that was wiped out by some kind of prehistoric cataclysm, and virtually erased from human memory.
The opening passage sounds like one of the countless descriptions chronicling the fall of Atlantis or Lemuria in a deluge; but this is, in fact, a description of a cataclysm which devastated the Pacific Northwest during prehistoric times, and was recorded in the lore and oral traditions of northwestern Native Americans.
Exploring the edges of a lost and forgotten land is an exciting dream and journey.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the visionary concepts of the “lost civilizations” of Atlantis and Lemuria. But my own interrogations into the mysteries of the past did not lead me to wander as far afield as other researchers have strayed.
When I began researching historical mysteries and lost continents over a decade ago, I didn’t have the faintest idea that I was living amidst one of the oldest, most mysterious, and most stunningly scenic places on the face of the planet.
Looking back, I realize now that I no longer have to dream of exploring fabled lost lands somewhere far away across the world’s oceans. North America has its own lost and forgotten continent, whose mysterious legends, history and great monuments stand out in their own right; this is a land which belongs uniquely to itself – it’s not necessary to evoke visions of Atlantis or Lemuria in order to define its grandeur or reality, or make it into something it never was.
Here in the western hemisphere there exists a vast, dark green mountainous wilderness of deep mystery and astonishing beauty, which stretches along the Pacific Coast for more than a thousand miles.
Although the land has been arbitrarily carved up into six states, those who have lived in this region since time immemorial know that it is really one great, green land.
The “Pacific Northwest” is a label coined to describe a piece of real estate rather than a real place, it was imposed on this land by the U.S. Congress and railroad companies, during an ad-campaign to promote the region as an attractive place to industrialize and live.
In an effort to dissolve imaginary national boundaries, writers and activists began referring to the Pacific Northwest as “Cascadia” as far back the early ‘80s.
At that time few people besides geologists had ever heard of the term.
But today a growing number of people are learning and speaking about the Cascadia region, calling it the “Land of Falling Waters”. Some people are even beginning to call themselves ‘Cascadians’.
Every land has a story to tell. And the ancient history and legends of Cascadia are as captivating as those of any other place in the world— real or imagined.
As the plunge of tumbling and falling waters collectively make up the voice of Cascadia’s wilderness, the element of water is where some of the earliest prehistoric legends of Cascadia begin.
The twenty-first century is turning out to be a bad time for people who want certainty about our past human origins and history. All of the solid information we thought we possessed concerning human civilization and antiquity has dissolved into uncertainties, and we are entering into an era of informed imagination and speculation as old paradigms have been broken, and new ones have not yet been fully examined enough to supplant them.
In the past, legends and myths were maligned by some critics as poor sources for historical research, and often wrongly judged to have no scholarly value. But in light of today's ongoing re-evaluation of human history, I believe ancient legends and myths do contain accurate reminisces of historical events from the past, and can steer us in the right direction.
Ancient cultures expressed nearly everything in the language of their own mythology. The trick is trying to guess or interpret what they might have been saying without straying into fantasy and delusion, or simply dismissing it out of hand.
Cascadia’s legends typically incorporate some element of historical and cultural information. Native American traditions delegated the tribe’s history to the storyteller, which was a very important role. Descriptions of the landscape and abstract mythological beings often call up references to actual geological features, and historical events which were witnessed during prehistoric times—such as Mount Mazama’s eruption being mythologized into a Klamath Indian tale about an explosive battle between Skell and Llao, that formed Crater Lake and altered the features of the landscape.
When [the Chief of the Below World] came up from his lodge below [the mountain], his tall form towered above the snow-capped peaks.
Red-hot rocks as large as the hills hurtled through the skies. Burning ashes fell like rain...Like an ocean of flame it devoured the forests on the mountains and in the valleys...until it reached the home of the people. Fleeing in terror before it, the people found refuge in the waters of Klamath Lake.
Once more the mountain shook...the Chief of the Below World was driven into his home, and the top of the mountain fell upon him...the high mountain was gone.
For many years rain fell in torrents and filled the great hole that was made when the mountain fell upon the Chief of the Below World.
The descriptive details of the cosmological battle between Skell and Llao remarkably parallel geologists account of the eruption of Mount Mazama. The legend of Crater Lake must have been first told well over 7,000 years ago by those who witnessed it, and the legend stands out as evidence that oral traditions can be accurately preserved and passed down for thousands of years, without becoming so distorted that they lose their original meaning.
Many legends are believed to transmit some kind of objective historical meaning, and contain truths, which the legend preserves, through a kind of story-telling code as they’re passed down to future generations.
The Flood myths described in part one of this article are referenced from a number of different indigenous oral traditions, originating from the Cascadia region. They suggest that ancient people here witnessed and survived some kind of devastating, cataclysmic event in prehistory whose impact radically altered the environment, and was also recorded by other cultures all over the world.
Some scientists today believe that they’ve discovered evidence of a prehistoric cataclysm, possibly caused by either a comet impact, or a massive solar outburst. The cosmic impact scenario closely resembles details preserved in legends found throughout many different cultures, including countless flood myths from the Cascadia region.
The above graphic illustrates where impact traces of fragments from a giant comet have been found around the world. Some of these fragments were estimated to be nearly two miles in diameter when they bombarded the Earth around 12,800 years ago. This cosmic impact scenario is believed to have altered the planet’s climate, bringing an end to the last Ice Age; and also causing a mass extinction of human and animal life throughout the Cascadia region, on a scale unheard of since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs tens-of-millions of years ago.
In the past, Native American oral traditions were unfairly judged to be imaginary stories which had no historical value, simply told to entertain people. However, it’s becoming clear today that these legends and myths do accurately preserve information about historical events which were recorded during prehistoric times.
There are many interesting legends written about Atlantis and Lemuria which reference the Cascadia region, and Mount Shasta in particular. But these legends were largely made up over the past hundred years by mystics and occultists; they were created by people who were never here. Their ancestors were never here either, and left no discernible trace of themselves in the archeological or historical record.
The true legacy and story of Mount Shasta—and to a greater extent, Cascadia—has never yet been fully told in modern times.
Dustin Naef is author of “Mount Shasta's Forgotten History & Legends” Available on Amazon and other major online Booksellers September 30, 2016. See more at: http://www.mountshastasmysteries.com/
Dustin Naef. Mount Shasta's Forgotten History & Legends, 2016.
E.E. Clark, Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest (Berkely: University of California Press, 1953)
University of South Carolina. (2012, September 18). Comet may have exploded over Canada 12,900 years ago after all. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918111320.htm