Saturday, November 23, 2013

Origins of Manson's Devil's Hole Beliefs

An adherent of a variety of occult doctrines, Manson somehow believed that Devil's Hole, a deep, water-filled cavern on Death Valley's Nevada side, was the portal to an underground world where he and his followers could wait out the apocalypse, re-emerging as leaders of a purified world. But he was arrested before he could figure out how to get his band through several hundred feet of hot, salty water that had drowned two skin divers just a few years earlier.

Manson may have learned of the underground world from the story of Tom Wilson, a Cahroc Indian who was a Death Valley guide in the 1920s. Wilson said that when he was a boy, his grandfather told him that he had found a tunnel that extended for miles beneath the valley. Walking its length, the man ended up in an underground chamber where a race of fair-skinned people dwelt.

Welcomed by these subterranean humanoids, Wilson's grandfather lived with them for a while. The people spoke a strange foreign language, wore clothes made of a leather-like substance, and illuminated their home with a pale greenish-yellow light of unknown origin.

The Indian eventually resurfaced and returned to his people, who were understandably skeptical about his adventure. But Tom Wilson believed that the old man hadn't lied, and he spent the rest of his life searching for the entry to this underground world, convinced until his death in 1968 that it actually existed somewhere underneath Death Valley.

At one point Wilson teamed up with a prospector named White, who claimed that he too had found strange underground dwellings in Death Valley. White had been exploring an abandoned mine in Wingate Pass when he fell into a hidden tunnel that led to a series of rooms.

The rooms were filled with leather-clad human mummies. Gold bars and other fabulous treasures were stacked in piles around them. There was a passageway leading beyond the rooms as well, lit by an eerie greenish-yellow light. But White dared not explore any further, fearful of what might lie beyond.

White visited the rooms three more times, once with his wife and once with another prospector. But he was unable to locate the cavern later when accompanied by Wilson and a group of archeologists, although they did find a curious dead-end tunnel into the solid rock. The area around Wingate Pass was eventually absorbed into the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, and is now closed to the public.

Taken from


Doc Sierra said...

I'm somewhat skeptical that Manson really believed that he could take his people to an underground place with chocolate rivers and fruit trees. I think that he had a bunch of gullible followers out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to keep them occupied. I think that he, like all good sociopathic cult leaders filled their heads with stories to keep them busy, paranoid, happy, whatever, to keep them dependent on his leadership. I have the same theory for his belief or non belief in helter skelter.....

orwhut said...

Your theory sounds good to me, Doc.

Sun King said...

+1 or 2 Doc

I think you are spot on.

Those must have been some long days out there in Death Valley, no phone, computers, TV or other distractions. It also almost makes sense that when they came across the earth mover out there they decided to "have some fun" and torch it. A summer camp in hell lol!

beauders said...

Wow now I want to go to Death Valley and go hole hunting.

ElComadreja777 said...

I also find it hard to swallow. I don't think Charlie believed that load of BS for one minute although some of his "followers" seem to have been far gone enough to accept it.

Panamint Patty said...

There are definitely underground rivers in and around Death Valley. One comes out between Darwin and Panamint Springs: three beautiful waterfalls, if you can believe it. Also, the Amargosa Valley flood plain almost always has water under it. Devils Hole may be a part of that system. All of these places were likely part of the oral history of the natives that became part of the legends that we hear today. Not that Patty believes in the Willy Wonka stuff because that would be silly. LOL

Sun King said...

Lol @ the Willy Wonka reference. Those miners can have their gold, just find me that candy and chocolate cave!

Dooger said...

These fair-skinned underground dwellers were all "leather-clad."

This makes me think of Manson in his buckskin outfit. THink this is why he was so intent on wearing leather for Death Valley?