Shaverian Sidelights

Vincent H. Gaddis

Some interesting notes on the Shaver legend by a noted research authority

HUNDREDS of world-wide traditions agree that man, long ago, emerged from great caves below the surface of the earth after a colossal catastrophe had laid waste the earlier world he had known. Faintly, across the hoary millenniums, we catch a glimpse in these legends of a strange and astonishing yesterday that has vanished forever in remote antiquity. "The cavern," writes Brinton, in his Myths of the New World, "dimly fingered in the memories of nations."

During the centuries since enigmatic men have appeared from inexplicable points of origin, performed feats that cannot be explained in terms of our knowledge, and vanished. The Navy Department would like to know what happened to John Andrews who disappeared after he successfully used water as a fuel for motors. And there was Kaspar Hauser who grew up in a realm of darkness, arrived in our world of light with the ability to see stars at midday, and was mysteriously murdered. What was the secret of the baffling box that was buried below a road in Germany by strangers to stop recurring accidents at this spot? From where have these individuals arrived who speak languages unknown to earth?

We are faced with two great problems — first, the nature of an ancient culture that could engrave coins by use of an acid unknown to us today (found at a depth of 114 feet in Illinois), and build ships of a design unknown to recorded history (found under a hill in Peru) — and, second, the bewildering events of today that are occurring behind an iron curtain of conventional theory and current fashions in accepted, dogmatic belief. Perhaps, as Mr. Shaver suggests, there is a connection between these two riddles as amazing as are the data.

Cave Legends

IGNATIUS Donnelly was a strange man who wrote strange books. In his work entitled Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, written in 1882 and devoted to the conception that the so-called glacial deposits of the earth were actually left by a comet that struck and ravaged our planet, he has collected from earlier writers numerous legends of prehistoric cave life that are as widespread as they are suggestive. It seems certain that after a period of fiery devastation man came up out of the earth to remake a world.

Of special interest in the light of the great tunnels beneath their land, is the legend of the ancient Peruvians that their ancestors emerged from the primeval cave known as the Pacarin-Tampu, or Lodgings of the Dawn, the entrance to which, in days long ago, was located five leagues distant from Cuzco, and was surrounded by a sacred grove containing temples of great antiquity. And the Toltecs and Aztecs traced their origin back to "the seven sacred caves."

In reference to the Peruvian cave, Balboa, in his Histoire du Perou, writes: "From its hallowed recesses the mythical civilizers of Peru, the first of men, emerged, and in it, returning during the time of the flood, the remnants of the race escaped the fury of the great waves." Thus, again, we have a striking confirmation of the Apache legend uncovered by L. Taylor Hansen.

Also of interest is the report given by Bancroft in his Native Races (3-90) regarding the legend of Mt. Shasta possessed by the Indians of Northern California. The story states that the Great Spirit made Mt. Shasta first, and the Creator, after making trees, birds and animals, "hollowed out the mountain as a wigwam for himself where he might reside while on earth in the most perfect security and comfort. So the smoke was soon to be seen curling up from the mountain where the Great Spirit and his family lived, and still live, though their hearth-fire is alive no longer, now that the white man is in the land."

Donnelly's comment at this point is interesting. He writes: "Here the superior race seeks shelter in a cave on Mt. Shasta, and their camp-fire is associated with the smoke which once went forth out of the volcano, while an inferior race dwells in the plains at the foot of the mountain."

Bancroft's account continues: All this happened thousands of snows ago, then later came a great storm from the sea which shook the huge lodge (Mt. Shasta) to its base. The Great Spirit sent his daughter to still the wind, but she was blown down the mountain side by the wind where she was found by a family of grizzly bears who walked upright, talked, and carried clubs. Angered, the Great Spirit punished the bears by making them true animals. Obviously, Donnelly observes, the child of the Great Spirit (the superior race) intermarried with the bears (the inferior race), and from this union came the race of men (the Indians).

Bancroft, in his exhaustive collection of Indian lore, gives us other remarkable legends. The story of the Navajos was that once all nations, including white people, lived together underground in the heart of a mountain near the river San Juan. Their food was meat since all kinds of animals were closed up with them in their cave. After a great flood all the people came up, requiring several days, and then they separated. The whites went toward the rising sun and disappeared. The Navajos also make references to the "Old Men" — a god-like civilized race that named the stars, and add that when all races lived underground they had but one language, but when separation came on the surface of the earth many languages came into existence.

The tribes of the Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Natchez, once united in a confederacy according to their common traditions, all placed their point of origin and earliest ancestry near an artificial eminence or mound in the Valley of the Big Black River in the Natchez country. This curious mound is still in existence and is located near Jonesville, Louisiana. It consists of an elevation of earth about half a mile square and from fifteen to twenty feet high; from its northeast comer a wall of the same height extends for half a mile to high land. The legend states that in the mound's center was a cave, the home of the Master of Breath, and at this spot they were formed of the earth and given the breath of life at a time when waters covered most of the world.

It is significant that the Choctaws, in their far-western home, remembered this mound, and that the Six Nations of the Northeast had a similar legend which gave their common point of cave origin beside a mountain near the falls of the Oswego River in the state of New York.

There is the legend of the Oraibi that they came up a ladder from a lower world. And in Frost and Fire (2-190) we read: "The inhabitants of central Europe and the Teutonic races who came late to England place their mythical heroes underground in caves, in vaults beneath enchanted castles, or in mounds which rise up and open, and show their buried inhabitants alive and busy about the avocations of earthly men. . . . In Morayshire the buried race are supposed to be under the sandhills, as they are in some parts of Brittany."

The most ancient of hill tribes in India state that their ancestors came out of a cave in the earth under the leadership of a chief named Tlandrophah, and Donnelly suggests that the cave-temples of India, the oldest temples existing today, are a reminiscence of this long-gone but dimly-remembered cave life.

Ancient America

JUST its widespread as the traditions of a cave life are the legends of an ancient super-race of god-like beings who possessed great powers, but either fell from their high estate of culture, were destroyed in a catastrophe, or abandoned the earth. From time to time various objects are found which are probably relics of this remote era when the sun shone on continents now lost beneath the waves of our seas.

Fray Pedro Simon, in the seventeenth century, told of a discovery made by some miners in Peru who were running an adit into a hill near Callao. Below the hill, long buried, they found a ship "which had on top of it the great mass of the hill, and did not agree in its make or appearance with our ships." It is of interest to note that Callao is the port city of Lima, which, according to the existing charts, marks the northern junction point of the network of prehistoric tunnels that lie beneath Peru's archaic soil.

James Churchward, in his Children of Mu, calls our attention to ancient records, found in both India and China and dating back some 15,000 to 20,000 years, that refer to flying machines. The prose-poem of Rama and Sita, written by Valmiki, the Hindu Herodotus, from earlier temple histories found at Ayhodia, contains a remarkable description of a flying ship of a rocket type. Other old manuscripts and tablets make similar references.

One states that Rawan, an ancient king, flew over an enemy army in a "celestial car" and dropped "fire" that caused many casualties. Rawan was shot down with a weapon that made thunder and spit fire, and his machine was taken by the Hindu leader Ram Chandra to his capital city of Adjudhia in Northern India. In another record, the Maha Bharata, a reference is made to a gift of a flying machine by one king to another.

Churchward refers to one detailed record found in an Indian temple "which is a drawing and instructions for the construction of an airship and her machinery, power and engine. The power is taken from the atmosphere in a very simple inexpensive manner. The engine is somewhat like our present-day turbine in that it works from one chamber to another until finally exhausted. When the engine is once started it never stops until turned off; it will continue on if allowed to do so until its bearings are worn out."

These prehistoric machines were independent of all fuel, and apparently the power was limited only to what the vessel could stand. They were self-propelling since they generated their own power as they flew along, and the ships could keep circling the earth without landing until the machinery was worn out. Flights of to 3000 miles are referred to in the records.

Returning, however, to America, it is to be regretted that discoveries made in the past were simply treated as oddities and never fully investigated. An example is the finding of a pavement and cisterns or shafts of brick seventy feet below the surface near Memphis, Tenn., in September, 1882. A few curious comments, a brief article in Harper's Magazine sixty years ago, and the matter was forgotten.

Due to the thoughtful study of Prof. Alex. Winchell (see his book Sparks From a Geologist's Hammer), however, we have more information about the coin found 114 feet below the surface during an artesian well boring at Lawnridge, Ill., north of Peoria, in December, 1871. This coin, made of copper, was of the thickness and size of a quarter, of uniform thickness, and round with its edges apparently cut. Most remarkable is the fact that its designs were not stamped with a die or engraved, but etched in some manner with an acid.

On one side was a human figure with one hand holding a child, and the other arm raised as if in defense. The figure wore a headdress made of quills. Around the border of the coin were undecipherable hieroglyphics. On the opposite side was the bust of another human figure with a hand upraised, a headdress with two long tufts, and beside it the faint outline of a quadruped and another circle of hieroglyphics.

The coin was exhibited at the Geological Section of the American Association convention at Buffalo in 1876. "No one could offer any explanation of the object or the circumstances of its discovery. . . . But by what means were they (the figures) etched? And by what means was the uniform thickness of the copper produced?" (Winchell).

Sent to the Smithsonian Institution, the coin was examined by William Dubois who presented a report on it to the American Philosophical Society. He felt sure, he said, that "the object had passed through a rolling-mill, and that the cut edges gave further [evidence of the machine shop . . . yet the tooth of time is plainly visible." And earlier, in 1851, it was noted that a large copper ring and an iron object that was compared to a boat-hook had been found 120 feet below the surface in Whiteside County, Ill., fifty miles north-west from Peoria County.

What other objects lie hidden below our feet that tell a story of a long-vanished day when a great civilization flourished beneath our aeon-aged sun?

Men of Mystery

A STUDENT of history is often astonished and puzzled by the personalities that flash like meteors across the pages of the past, men of destiny who changed the course of empires, inventors who proved their powers but refused to surrender their secrets, and others who simply had strange abilities that made them outstanding characters. Invariably their origins were obscure or untraceable, and many of them vanished after playing their brief but incredible role in the drama of mankind's affairs.

There was Genghis Khan, a barbarian who could not write his name, but who outgeneraled the military leaders of three empires, drew up law codes for fifty peoples, planned cities, and conquered half the known world; historians term his enigmatic career "an inexplicable fact." And there was Cagliostro, Merlin, Tamerlane, Attila, the Princess Caraboo, Paracelsus, Count St. Germain, Kaspar Hauser, and others so mysterious that they remain anonymous.

Kaspar Hauser, for example, suddenly appeared, bewildered and outlandishly dressed, in the village square of Nuremberg, Germany, in May, 1828. Peasants who noticed the confused manner and queer walk of the youth, about seventeen years of age, found him speechless, but holding a letter addressed to the captain of a cavalry regiment stationed in the city. He was taken to the captain and questioned, but the only words he could speak: "I want to be a soldier like my father was!" were obviously without meaning to him and had been memorized. Evidently he had traveled a distance as his feet were swollen. He had no conception of time, sex or the relative distance of objects. And he could write his name in a clear, legible hand, but nothing more.

Town officials took an interest in this boy who apparently "had dropped from the sky." It was found that he could stomach nothing but black bread and water, had no knowledge of the most common articles, and could see in the dark and observe stars in daylight. He was in full possession of his mental faculties, but as undeveloped as an infant. Slowly, by means of signs over a period of months, he was taught to speak, and it was found that he had previously existed as far back as he could remember in a dark cell, apparently underground, where day and night were meaningless.

He had a guardian, but, curiously, could not remember the man's face. He had lived on bread and water, never heard any noise, and finally was taught by his strange keeper to walk, to write his name, and repeat the only sentence he could speak when found. Then he was taken to the outside world where the shock of new knowledge and fresh air caused him to faint. His memory of his trip to Nuremberg was vague and bewildered.

Kaspar Hauser's fame spread all over Europe, but not a clue to his mysterious past was ever brought to light. He always spoke with what is described as a very odd accent. A year after his appearance he was attacked by an unknown assailant who escaped after inflicting a minor stab wound on the boy's forehead. Then, four years later, came his murder.

It happened in a park where Kaspar was out walking over new-fallen snow. He had staggered from the park after being stabbed in the side by an assassin that be identified as his previous assailant. Taken to his adopted home, he died a few hours later. But there were no other footprints but the boy's in the snow-covered park, and it was the testimony of physicians that Kaspar could not have made the wound himself due to its position. The death of the "Mystery Boy of Europe" was as mysterious as his origin.

It was in Germany, too, a century later, that another puzzling incident occurred. About the year 1928 the Bremen correspondent for the Hearst newspaper chain reported that there was a mysterious spot on the main road north of the city where vehicles of every type, from trucks to bicycles, were thrown into the ditch when the unpredictable and baffling vortex-like force was in effect. Large warning signs Were erected, and police authorities enforced a three-mile speed limit through the area at all times. Scientists were brought to the scene, but they were unable to detect the nature or origin of the force.

Then, one day, two strange men appeared and offered to stop the force and recurring accidents. They arrived at the spot with a spade and a small copper box, and while they dug a hole beside the road they permitted the curious officials present to look inside the box. The interior contained two multi-pointed stars riveted together in the center, with the points bent outward from the plane. Refusing to explain, the men then closed the box, buried it in the hole, and disappeared without trace. The force was no longer effective, but nearby residents, who up to this time had enjoyed good radio reception, were troubled there-after with severe static. As far as is known this box still lies somewhere beside this Bremen road.

U. S. Navy officials are currently seeking to rediscover the secret of changing water into a fuel for internal combustion engines, once offered them by John Andrews, but baffled engineers can offer the experimenters little encouragement. Nevertheless, early in 1917, Andrews, a Portuguese who had been living near Pittsburgh, Pa., drove to New York City in an automobile using water and a few drops of a greenish fluid for fuel. He appeared before Captain E. P. Jessop, senior engineering officer at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and offered to operate any engine there with his watery mixture.

There is no doubt about Andrews' ability. He proved it before naval experts that included Dr. Miller Hutchinson, assistant to Navy Secretary Edison. With either plain or salt water and his mysterious fluid engines ran at 75 percent of maximum efficiency, without odor or steam, and with the exhaust clear and colorless. At the final test he was locked in a bare room, without a water drain, yet he was successful.

Taken to Washington, D. C., before the Bureau of Engineering, Andrews was asked how much he wanted for his secret. He demanded two million dollars. The navy agreed, but insisted the money be placed in escrow with a bank until the inventor had taught ten naval officers the formula. Andrews refused, then disappeared. It was later found that he went to England where he made several demonstrations before British naval officers and English auto clubs. Again there was a delay in coming to terms, and again Andrews vanished. And here the story ends in obscurity.


BUT mysterious characters are not limited to inventors. There was the "Princess Caraboo" who appeared at the door of a cottage near Bristol, England, on an evening in 1817, and in an unknown language asked for food. Later she came to America and gave demonstrations of her strange writing in Philadelphia. In 1851 a mysterious stranger was found wandering in confusion near Frankfort, Germany, who gave his place of origin as Laxaria or Sakria. And in 1905 a young man was picked up by police in Paris as a vagrant who spoke in an unknown language and said he was from Lisbian. There are a number of such cases, all alike in possessing not only a bewildered knowledge of their origin, but in speaking in languages scholars cannot identify.

Many of these characters appear nude, and can offer no information at all about themselves. Often there are a series of such appearances which imply a common appearing-point. Five naked so-called "wild men" and one girl appeared in Connecticut in January, 1888. Between the years 1920-23 six such persons were found near the village of Romford in England. Early on the evening of January 6, 1914, in weather bitterly cold, a naked man appeared in Chatham; and six years later the nude body of another man, with death due to exposure, was found in a field in Hampshire, England. Despite wide publicity and the display of photographs in these cases, the individuals were never identified. Additional details will be found in The Books of Charles Fort.

Now comes the most amazing case of all. During the winter of 1904-5 the most incredible out-break of mass mania, extensive slaughter of sheep, and astonishing phenomena in general, all co-occurring, that is recorded in history took place in England and Wales. Against the background of these widespread, puzzling sheep-killings and human emotional panics, there were numerous reports of mysterious lights in the sky that often followed groups of persons, weird death and suicides, the "spontaneous combustion" of human bodies, phantoms, fires of untraceable origin, strange trance states, and the unexplainable transportation of objects.

Nothing like this bewildering and crowded display of enigmatic events is known; it stands unique in the long story of man's existence. And during these winter months ten "wild men" of unknown origin appeared in England. One of them spoke in an unknown language, and had in his possession a book with writing that Scotland Yard could not decipher. Sent to experts at Oxford University, it could not be read in any language known to earth past or present.

From what dim realm beyond our ken did these mystifying forces emerge? And what is the baffling origin of these characters who so suddenly and strangely appear?



  1. Brinton, Daniel G. The Myths of the New World: a Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America. Leypoldt & Holt: New York, 1868. Print. <> [Digital: <>]
  2. Donnelly, Ignatius. Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1883. Print. <> [Digital: <>]
  3. Balboa, Miguel Cabello de. Histoire Du Pérou. Paris: A. Bertrand, 1840. Print. [Digital: <>]
  4. Bancroft, Hubert H., Henry L. Oak, T. A. Harcourt, Albert Goldschmidt, Walter M. Fisher, and William Nemos. The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America. New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1874. Print. <> [Digital: <>]
  5. Campbell, J F. Frost and Fire: Natural Engines, Tool-Marks and Chips: with Sketches Taken at Home and Abroad by a Traveller. Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas, 1865. Print. [Digital: <>]
  6. Churchward, James. The Lost Continent of Mu. New York: I. Washburn, 1931. Print. <>
  7. Winchell, Alexander. Sparks from a Geologist's Hammer. Chicago: S.C. Griggs and Co, 1881. Print. <> [Digital: <>]
  8. Fort, Charles, and Tiffany Thayer. The Books of Charles Fort. New York: Pub. for the Fortean Society by H. Holt and Co., 1941. Print. <>

As presented in Amazing Stories, January 1949.

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