Mythology Of Mt. St. Helens--Part 4A Picture



--To the superstitious residents around the suddenly active volcano, the rumblings were a matter of mythology. There was a common feeling that ‘The Lady’ had had enough of the logging, camping, mining, hiking, and everything else connected with the white man’s adventures around Mount St. Helens since the volcano erupted 123 years earlier.

—Alan Guggenheim

Strange Drum Beat Under Mount St. Helens

--NPR, 2006

Mount St. Helens, the volcano in Washington State that so energetically blew its top in 1980, is still erupting. It's not like a big explosive eruption, more like a steady pulsing. Scientists have been keeping an eye on it…and an ear…and they've discovered that the volcano is making a sort of rhythmic drumbeat.

NPR's Christopher Joyce has more on what scientists are think that is causing these subterranean sounds.

“They've ruled out giants or trolls drumming in some subterranean cavern.” says Christopher Joyce, of NPR. “No, this is all about magma and dome building. Richard Iverson is a geoscientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Vancouver, Washington. He says what he's been hearing is odd and puzzling.”

“These are small earthquakes that typically have occurred about once a minute and have done so repetitively for more than a year and there have been more than a million of these to date. And it's truly remarkable for earthquakes to occur in such a repetitive fashion like this.” says Dr. Iverson of the USGS.

“Iverson and a team of earth scientists recorded the sounds of these quakes. These are actually very low frequency sounds that are difficult to hear, so the scientists have made them 60 times faster so they can analyze them.”

“What we're hearing is a record of ground vibrations just a few hundred meters from the vent where rock has been extruded from Mount St. Helens.”

“Molten rock is rising up the volcano's central conduit trying to get out. As it nears the vent at the top, it solidifies into a solid rock. In fact, a huge plug of rock some 600 feet across and half a mile high. That's twice as tall as the Empire State Building.” says Joyce.

“That solid rock in turn slides against, and grinds against the adjacent rock forming the walls of the volcanic conduit.” explains Dr. Iverson. “And what we believe we're recording with these seismometers is the ground vibration that's produced every time there's a little pulse of this sliding type motion. It's not unlike a squeaky piece of machinery. And in a sense, each one of these earthquakes represents a squeak.”

“Iverson published this hypothesis in the journal Nature this week. He says the pulsing is not something scientists have encountered before.”

“In the first few months, none of us would have predicted that it would still be going now after two years. And I think at this point, none of us are really willing to predict when it might end because it's been so stable and long lived up to the present.” concludes Dr. Iverson.

The Indian Of The South Side


One friend described an experience she had while driving over old logging roads south of Mt. St. Helens. A friend of hers took her on a trip up to the top of a high hill. As they drove up to the summit, she felt a strong presence around her. She felt that she was not welcome.

When they stopped the car at the top of the hill, her friend asked her how she felt. When she told him, he replied that he always felt the same himself when coming there. He re-counted something he had experienced before. He had been hiking up the road; as he had done many times before. This time he saw an old Indian man, in sitting at the base of a tree near the summit. He said hello and went to look at the view. From the hilltop he could see the major peaks of Loo-Wit Lat-Kla (Mt. St Helens), Wi-East (Mt. Hood); and Pa-Toe (Mt. Adams).

When he turned to leave, the old Indian man spoke and asked him, "Why do you come here?" He seemed to know that the hiker came there often. The hiker replied that he liked to walk in the mountains and that this was a special place. The hiker said good-bye, and started walking down the trail. Before he went down slope, he turned for one last look. The old man had vanished.

Campers Guide To Surviving Spirit Lake

--Excerpt from Alan Guggenheim’s ‘A New World For Francis’

It would be three full days of travel before Francis would see Spirit Lake. The name conjured up visions of terrified Cowlitz Indians frozen in fear on the banks of a cold lake, aghast at the sight of evil serpents swimming over the surface, snorting steam spouts.

Legend also had it that ancient Douglas Firs, flooded by St. Helens’ snowmelt to form Spirit Lake hundreds of years earlier; would sometimes mysteriously shed their roots anchoring them to the lake bottom. The trees would explode through the surface of the placid waters beneath icy Mount St. Helens. Francis edged closer to the boys talking about this faraway place called Spirit Lake.

And there was, of course, Bigfoot. What danger lurked in the densely forested reaches of the Toutle River and its tributaries? How would he react to the sight of three-inch-deep footprints of a hairy caveman who survived as his ancestors did in the isolation of Mount St. Helens? How would Bigfoot react to the intrusion of an 11-year-old camper with only a pocketknife to defend himself?

Orbs Of Light On The Southside

--Excerpt From: Grinder

They are not planes or helicopters and behave very similar. I'm a business owner and known honest person. I have taken 3 people up there 2 are ex-military, and one is an active member of a local church. My 2 military buddies are familiar with aircraft and are adamant that it is not conventional aircraft. The “Orbs” appear just after sunset at about 9:30 or so. We have tried to take pictures but have been unsuccessful, due to the low light and small point and shoot digital cameras. I have seen them with witnesses on 3 separate occasions. Stone cold sober.

We camp in the area of Pumice Butte in the pocket of the hill up a bit too it's base to offer wind protection, there are a few logs as to which to sit and make dinner and a small fire ring. Looking in the direction of the Ape Canyon parking lot so I would say it is south-southwest. They appear just above the horizon of what we can see, we thought at first it was a planet but it fluctuated in colors from orange and red and moved slowly from side to side and up and down. It would just appear into sight then disappear. 2 white orbs would interact with it then change to a glowing red color. The light show lasted on and off for a few hours. We do see planes on occasion and these are quickly and easily identified as such.

I have no idea what they are and was just looking to see if anyone here had seen anything similar while on the Mountain, that is all.

The only thing I can say is go up there yourself, spend the night, observe the sky and look in that direction after dusk and see what you can see.

Missing Gold Mine Of Mount St. Helens

--Legends Of America

For more than a century, rumors have abounded that there is a rich mine hidden in the Cascade Mountains. Said to have been located near the headwaters of the Lewis River somewhere in the wilderness between Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams, the mine was worked by an old Spaniard in the 1880’s.

The miner often journeyed south to The Dalles, Oregon, to bank his gold at the French & Company Bank. On a number of occasions, other prospectors would attempt to follow him as he returned to the mine, but the old Spaniard was clever and always eluded them, using a number of tricks including putting the shoes on his mule backwards. Suddenly the old Spaniard stopped appearing to bank his gold and local miners began to wonder what had happened to him.

About a year later, numerous Yakama Indians began showing in a number of stores in Washington, paying for goods with gold nuggets. When asked where they had obtained the gold, the Indians refused to answer. Soon, rumors began to circulate that the Indians had found the Spaniard's mine.

Later, a skeleton of a man and a mule was discovered near Spirit Lake by Mt. St. Helens. It was thought to have been the old Spaniard who had been killed by the Indians. The mine, that some say is hidden behind a waterfall in a cavern, has never been found.

The Visitors

In 1973 I met two very tall persons, about 8 to 12 feet tall; a man and woman on the side of Mt St Helens. I went there as a prep trip to go canoeing on the, not there now, Spirit Lake. Since it was March, I found the lake under snow drifts so I went up to the top of the mountain to climb it. As I got out of my VW Super Beetle I was overcome with fear. Terror gripped me. Try as I might I could not force myself to cross the parking lot to the beginning of the trail where a family were beginning their ascent. I could not move because the fear within me petrified my body.

I then saw in my mind's eye, through my third eye, the mountain blowing up right underneath me. I saw the mountain and the rocks and the trees below me and all around me being superheated and exploding into shreds. I shouted to the family to get out of there because the mountain was about to blow. They looked at me like I was some nut probably on drugs. I did have long hair in those days.

The day was a beautiful, clear day, and I quickly realized that the sensation I was receiving was only a premonition of an event to come. I fell back into my car and got outta there. On the way down I stopped at the Lodge where I bought some beer from the owner, Harry Truman, who made a snide comment to me when I stopped to debate getting a bag of chips after buying some beer. I almost, with knowing, said to him that someday he would die up there with his mountain; I didn't, and I left. Farther down the mountain top as I turned a sharp corner I passed by two persons who were dressed in white robes. At first glance I thought that they were Hari Krishna's out for a hike, and being twenty miles from Toledo, WA I pulled over and got out to offer them a ride to town. Immediately, two things happened.

First, as I walked up to them I realized that I had to look up at them like I was looking at the top of a basketball net. That realization freaked me out, but I love an adventure. As I walked up to them, I offered to give them a lift to town. The woman then turned to the man and said quietly, “I thought we were supposed to meet someone here.” The man who also had long hair only slightly raised his right hand in my direction to indicate that I was the contactee they were waiting for.

This point was not lost on me. Next, a car pulled up and asked me if I was alright. Again my senses told me all was not all. I ‘knew’ the man and car load of four persons, perhaps a man and his wife in the front seat with his daughter and son in the back seat could not see the tall persons towering over me. I said that I was simply overtaken by the beauty of the scenery and just had to get out and look at it. Slowly, very slowly, they drove away. I had covered for what to then seem like me talking to imaginary persons.

But they were real, very real.

The woman again turned to the man and said, “He can see us.”

To which he replied, “He's in an altered state of consciousness.” Then the man turned to me and said, “You deceived them?” Thinking that I had done them a favor by covering for them, I did not have a ready reply. I then asked them if they wanted a ride to town. I was torn at this point between what I know about my reality on this dimension and what really knew I knew who were standing before me were beings that were not from this dimension. Yet, I could not wholly accept that fact.

The man turned to the woman and said with a sweeping gesture toward the car “Shall we?”

So they walked to the car. I wanted to tell them about what had just happened on top of Mt. St. Helens. As they approached my Super Beetle I knew that they were very-very tall; not normally tall but way tall and would not fit in my car. I said, “Maybe it's not such a good idea.”

The man replied, “We'll fit fine.” Before my eyes those two beings began to shrink. The man got into the back seat along with the lady, which in our culture the man would usually get into the front, right? After they got in the man turned to the woman and said, “Are you okay?”

She replied, “I'm fine.”

I needed a beer. I opened a Bud (this was rural backwoods Washington State and 1973) and offered them a beer too. I took in my now normal sized guest in the backseat of my souped up Super Beetle. Their robes were somewhat soiled, and had dirt marks and signs of wear like they had been hiking through the woods. I did not expect this from what I had come to accept as aliens or some kind of angels. They really looked real. The guy had very long fingers and that's when I saw that, to my surprise, that he had six fingers on his hands! Since I was driving at the time the man said in a polite but commanding voice, “Turn around and watch the road!”

I replied as any young-twenty-year-old who had already totaled three cars doing stunts, “I'm good man. I can drive and talk at the same time.”

“What are you drinking?” He said,

“It's a Bud,” I said.

“What is that,” he said.

“Beer, you know…alcohol.”

That's when he said, “Alcohol? That's poison.” My guest hesitated for a few seconds before he spoke again, “Alcohol is going to cause you a lot of problems in your lifetime.” He was right about that.

I turned around again to scope out these two hitchhikers. The young woman smiled. They both looked to be in their early thirties. She had long brown hair. His hair was as long as hers which was at least shoulder length. I said, “Toledo's twenty miles away. That would have been a long walk,” I said.

“What were you doing on the mountain?” he asked. My mind was fighting with the thought now of that I just may have two aliens who just shape shifted in size in the back of my car, and who just chewed me out for drinking. I was beginning to question my rationality, and what if they wanted to eat me or something. I told them all about my experience on the mountain and the feeling and the vision I had just had. That's when he began to give me specific details about the date, the time eruption of Mount St Helen. He even told me how many people were going to die up there. “About 60 to 70 people will die on that mountain when it erupts,” he said. Sixty eight died on it that May 18th in 1980.

Seven years later I would find myself working for Lewis County as a transporter for Senior Services. I had something to do with the red zone being established, but that's another story. I had told so many predictions about the mountain that came true before the eruption that one grandma, just after it erupted, said “You did it! You made that mountain blow up!”

The alien, or whatever, said something that triggered a repressed memory I had. He said it would happen because of the flood that we had prevented that year. Then I began to feel real strange about this encounter. I was sure that he could not have known about the topographical map I had drawn in my cabin last year, and how I had highlighted in blue everything in the state of Washington under 3,000 feet and wrote a short story about me and my family living on Mt St Helen Island after the flood, or could he?

“Who are you,” I asked.

The woman leaned over to him and quietly with her easy smile asked him, “Should we tell him who we are?”

“No,” he said. Then he said to me, “We're Watchers,” he said.

Right about then I knew I had stepped into a forest I did not know the way through. “I mean, what are your names?”

He said his name was, “My name is Geruisyumain.”

I said I would not be able to remember his name, and I didn't for thirty three years. Then in a dream I heard his name as he had spoken it.

“And my name is Isyu. It's real easy to remember. Just think about it this way. Say ‘Is you,’ and you will remember it.” I did remember it. Also I read something unique about the name IS You and a significance about that name...but again, I can't place what that importance is.

Of all the wonderful questions I could have asked them I failed to do so. I still beat myself up for letting a great opportunity slip through my fingers out of primal fear of the unknown. We were about ten miles out of Toledo, Washington by then and Geruisyumain said “Pull over, here and when we get out don't look back.” So I pulled over, and let them out. And of course as I pulled away I looked back to see them grow back to their ten-ish or so feet height and then vanish.

Later, the next year in a total accident, I was pinned inside my Super Beetle on a bridge over a river. With no way out and not knowing how to swim, I was lifted out of the window and flown out over the river. I was set down in front of a car and the driver took me to the hospital. “Who are you?” she asked.

“I'm just a man,” I replied. It's all that any of us can be.

The Sacrifice Of Robert Landsburg…

Just after 8:30am, photographer Robert Landsburg and thousands of others in Washington State were jolted by a modest earthquake. Sightseers and photographers who had come to document the recent volcanic activity at Mount St. Helens immediately set their eyes on the smoldering mountain. Trees crackled and the slopes of Mount St. Helens appeared to ripple as thousands of tiny rock slides cascaded down its slopes. Then, not long after the shaking had stopped, the entire north side of the mountain gave way. The largest landslide in human history plummeted downward in apparent slow-motion to the spectators standing miles away. The rockfall exposed the compressed magma built up within the volcano, and moments later a massive cloud of ash exploded towards the north at a pace that approached the speed of sound. A loud roar was heard hundreds of miles away and yet the explosion shot silently above people in the inundation zone.

Landsburg, who had set up camp about seven miles to the west, photographed the pyroclastic cloud as it hugged the forest floor and thundered towards him. Aware of his fate, Landsburg placed his camera and wallet in a bag to protect its contents. He lay face down on top of it right before the wall of burning ash swept over him.

Landsburg was killed, but his last efforts prevented his final pictures from being incinerated. The film roll was damaged, but nevertheless survived to tell the story of Landsburg’s final moments.

The West Flank Light

--Darryl Luscombe / USFS

The Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam unexpectedly captured a bright light on the west flank of the volcano on two successive evenings, May 03-04, and again on May 04-05, 2005.

The above image is an annotated composite image. It was created by veteran VolcanoCam watcher Darryl Luscombe of Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. Darryl creates nighttime movies from the VolcanoCam images so we can see the nightly glow from the incandescence of hot lava from the new dome. Darryl was kind enough to show us how to make nighttime movies back in October, 2004, which are available in our Movies Archive.

From the first night's observations we determined the bright light was probably caused by a pixel glitch within the VolcanoCam itself. (The USGS and the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network confirm the bright light is not caused by volcanic activity.).

Whether this glitch is only temporary, intermittent or permanent remains to be seen; we do not know if this glitch will increase over time so as to crash the camera.

Link To: Mythology Of Mount St. Helens -- 4B (Meanings & Work Cited)

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