The Cisco Grove Encounter, The Golden Bough,The World Tree & Shamanism

Over at the Magonia Blog I'm reading Peter Rogerson's review of Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte's Aliens in the Forest: The Cisco Grove UFO.

Rogerson gives the INTCAT summary on which I base the following:

While hunting in the Cisco Grove mountains 28 year old factory worker Don Shrum gets isolated from his chums, finds his way back to camp blocked by a canyon, hears violent thrashing sounds coming which might be a bear making its way through the greenery and scurries up the nearest tree for safety.

Things go quiet and he comes back down to build three fires as distress beacons before noticing what he takes to be a lantern coming up from below the horizon only for the 'lantern' to dart so quickly up and over a tree he decides it must be a helicopter.

Except as it gets closer it dawns on him it isn't making any sound so he scurries about 11ft back up his favourite 26ft tall tree whereupon the 'lantern' becomes a white light which now starts circling the tree closely enough for him to decide its about 8 to 10 inches in diameter and accompanied by 2 maybe four other objects still coming in the distance.

Tthere's a sudden flash, a dark object drops to the ground and he notices a dome about 1300ft in the distance at which point he starts hearing sounds again and two silvery clad humanoid figures emerge out the greenery spellbound by the sound of a hooting owl followed by a clumsy noisy dark metallic figure with red flickering eyes and a weird rectangular shaped opening for a mouth.

When one of the humanoids' attempts to hoist the other up the tree fails the red eyed metallic looking critter somehow emits gas from itself at our hero causing him to momentarily black out then come to retching at which point the three arrows he now hits the metallic critter with produce sparks and he switches to launching strips of his own burning clothing at them, his bow, his water canteen and finally some silver coins.

This goes on the whole night until dawn starts breaking at which point a second metallic critter shows up, stands facing the first critter in such a way sparks fly between them then a huge cloud of gas fills the area and our hero loses consciousness.

Most people who've read The Golden Bough'll be aware a grove can be a temenos, a sacred space set aside from mundane reality.

They'll also know its key account of the sword wielding guardian of the grove who must protect the bough against all comers until someone can slaughter and replace him even as he slaughtered and replace his predecessor.

What I'm go'n'o suggest here though is the Bough story is merely an analogue descendant of a far more ancient scenario that of the shaman as master of the World Tree.

In Germano-Scandinavian mythology the archetype of this role is Heimdall aka Ygg aka Ing (or Eng as in England) aka Agni.

An avatar of the perfect symbol of the spectral nature of all existence the rainbow itself Heimdall's said to be the gatekeeper who precides over access between the hierarchy of worlds.

In the Alvissmal there're said to be 6 such worlds each characterised by the noises their winds make: the Vanir call their wind Neigher for instance, the Jotnar Shrieker, the Alfar Whistler and the denizens of Hel Squaller.

And throughout his experience Don Shrum was subjected to periods of eerie silence interspersed with inexplicable but highly disturbing sounds.

Furthermore most people're aware of the shamanic ASCENT of the World Tree but few're aware of the DESCENT component which's why the greatest of the shamans much to Mircea Eliade's surprise weren't the WHITE shamans (as opposed to the BLACK shamans) but the BLACK & WHITE shamans ie those who'd been as far DOWN as they've been UP.

And in most if not all the mythologies of the world much play is made of the denizens of the underworlds as being not just tricky to the point of evil but also masters of metal manipulation viz the kobold.

Even that sword wielded by the guardian of the Golden Bough'd've had a supernatural origin in the underworld.

And what do we know about the humanoids archetypally opposing Don Shrum's 'spiritual' ascent? The light which seems to signal their advent comes from below the horizon. They wear metallic garments. They're uninterested in metal arrow heads or coins but fascinated by something presumably unknown to them water canteens, not to mention the sound of owl hoots something denizens of the underworld're unlikely to be too familiar with. They also seem to find climbing trees problematic while Don himself seems to shin up and down his tree like it's secretly equipped with a hidden escalator.

Then there's their companion which seems made of metal like a latterday Talos and for a possible denizen of the underworld has suitably volcanic red glowing eyes not to mention emits the same sort of volcano-like subterranean puffs of gas said to be used by the Oracle at Delphi to commune with Apollo.

And that's before you factor in all those metal against metal sparks it emits all over the place like a walking blacksmith's anvil!

Even if you take the view Don Shrum had his mentation altered by an earthlight there're still a HEL(L) of lot of coincidences there to explain away.

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red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
10 hours 42 min

I remember reading about this case in Vallee's Confrontations. He included this story because it was very reminiscent of the Chupa attacks suffered by hunters in Brazil. The hunters too were perched on a tree at night, waiting for game when they were stricken by the rays of the refrigerator-like Chupas.

Initially to me these stories had a somewhat Conservationist undertone. The hunters becoming the hunted, although obviously these poor people were doing it to support their families, not for sport.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
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Inannawhimsey's picture
Member since:
14 April 2009
Last activity:
51 weeks 4 days

Great riff, m'dear :3

Whenever I hear of these people having these freaky experiences out in the wilderness part of me goes "Well OF COURSE, THEY IS ASKIN FOR IT" ;3 I can totally freak myself out by being in a thicket at night in suburbia :3

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All that lives is holy, life delights in life.

--William Blake