Unearthing Mt. Shasta’s legends
By Charlie Unkefer
Mount Shasta Area Newspapers
Researcher, author and filmmaker Stephen Sindoni landed in Mt. Shasta determined to unveil one of the great mysteries of the mountain: the myth of Lemuria.
As he was casting about for ideas for a screenplay in his New York home, Sindoni came across the longstanding Mt. Shasta legend of JC Brown, a geologist who, in 1904, is said to have found a tunnel that leads eleven miles underground to the lost civilization of Lemuria.
Intrigued by the tale, Sinsion began to research the known details, wondering if there could be any factual basis for the story.
His journey from some basic research in a New York City public library to a cross-country journey to Mt. Shasta has led to some findings that add a new dimension to the story.
The Legend of JC Brown
There are many accounts of the legend, one of the most common sources is Emile Frank’s book “Mt. Shasta: California’s Mystic Mountain.” Sindoni noted that access to the legends were readily available, but the accounts he heard left a lot to speculation. Had anyone, he wondered, attempted to follow up on any of alleged facts?
The original story goes something like this: JC Brown, a geologist for the Lord Cowdray Mining company of London, was prospecting for precious metals in the Mt. Shasta area when he came across an interesting geological feature which, upon further investigation, turned out to be a tunnel.
After excavating the opening, Brown entered the tunnel, following it for a couple of miles and eventually finding rooms full of gold and copper plates, as well as ornate statues. He also found a burial chamber that contained 27 skeletons that ranged from 6-foot-6 to 10 feet in length, two of which were shrouded in mysterious robes.
According to the legend, Brown continued his explorations, yet little is know of what happened between 1904, when the cave was first discovered, and 1934, when the story first appeared in the Stockton Record newspaper.
It was shortly after the newspaper story that Brown mysteriously disappeared. He was in the process of preparing an expedition party to fully excavate and explore his discovery, but the boat headed north never left the Stockton Harbor. Nobody ever heard from JC Brown after June 19, 1934.
For Sindoni, there were too many holes in the story and too many possible leads that, as he saw it, could be pursued.
He noted, in particular, that a big part of what drew him to this subject in the first place is that there appeared to be enough factual evidence to provide the basis for a good research project.
“When I take on a project, I want to deal with hard evidence,” he said.
Working with the rough framework of the story, Sindoni set out to verify what he could.
He said he began by tracing the records of the Lord Cowdray Mining Company. In doing so, he discovered that there was no record of a JC Brown, but he did find that a geologist by the name of JB Body had been employed by the company. Records indicated that Body had travelled to Mt. Shasta in 1904 along with Lord Cowdray himself, Sindoni said.
Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Sindoni soon became convinced that “JC Brown” was the alias for the real life JB Body.
After further research, Sindoni said he found out that the Cowdray Mining Company had been prospecting for oil in Mexico and, by 1904, had unearthed vast reserves under the name of the Mexican Aguilar Oil Company. Body was employed as one of the geologist who worked with Lord Cowdray, and the two together became very wealthy. Sindoni claims to have traced the roots of this company to today’s Shell Oil, and he notes that at his death in 1927, Cowdray was one of the wealthiest men in the country, and that at the time of his disappearance, Body was worth an estimated $45 million.
Sindoni’s research eventually led him to believe that Cowdray and Body were originally in Mt. Shasta to visit the then famous Shasta Springs Resort, located along the Upper Sacramento River just north of Dunsmuir. (At that time, the resort was a popular destination for the San Francisco elite, who came to enjoy the region’s healing waters and stunning vistas.)
As Sindoni sees it, the reason for their visit was most likely recreational, as the two may have been celebrating some recent oil discoveries.
Checking border crossing records, Sindoni says he was able to locate proof that a JB Body and a Weetman Pearson (the birth name of Lord Cowdray) did indeed cross into the US at Laredo, Texas in 1904. He noted that border crossing information is public record and that he was also able to trace some of the records of the Lord Cowdray Mining company.
Sindoni also verified that the two later returned in 1907, crossing into the US at the same place. Travelling with them this time were three more geologists, also under the employ of the Lord Cowdray Mining Company.
Gaps in the record
What happened between 1907 and 1934 when the man calling himself JC Brown eventually told his story to the Stockton Record remains unclear.
Sindoni says that his research reveals that JB Body crossed in and out of Mexico 13 times between 1905 and 1912, but after that there is little evidence as to his whereabouts.
The research shows that Body continued to be actively involved in the affairs of the Mexican Aguilar Oil Company, earning a large fortune in the process, according to Sindoni. (Both Body and Cowdray were reported to regulary associate with high ranking Mexican officials, including president Porfirio Diaz, until the Mexican revolution shifted the political landscape and the oil fields were overthrown.)
What happened between the last reported border crossing in 1915 and 1934 when Body showed up as JC Brown in the Stockton Record office in 1934?
This question leads to a lot of speculation. At this point, Sindoni’s trail of evidence dissipates somewhat, though he did indicate that there was an indication that Body may have travelled between his England home to the US on a handful of occasions.
In Sindoni’s opinion, JB Body developed the alias JC Brown because he lived in fear.
According to Sindoni, Body claimed that several attempts were made on both his life and the lives of his family members. This, explained Sindoni, is most likely why he took on the alias and why there is very little evidence of his whereabouts.
According to Sindoni, when Body travelled as JC Brown, he would stay in public housing facilities, leading to the impression that he was essentially penniless.
After he reported his story to the newspaper and began to gather his team of 80 explorers and all of the necessary supplies, he disappeared.
What, wondered Sindoni, would lead to such a disappearance?
Newspaper records indicate that none of the expedition’s members lost any money, which helped assuage allegations that “JC Brown” was a swindler.
Though the legend indicates that he was never heard from again, Sindoni’s research evidence in a registry of civil engineers that JB Body died at home in England in 1938.
While on the brink of unearthing his great discovery, he went back underground. What was the reason?
Like the legend of JC Brown, Sindoni’s tale of exploring the legend has its own elements of drama and mystery.
Upon his arrival in Mt. Shasta last fall, Sindoni came across the story of an alleged 2008 Lemurian sighting in an area just north of Dunsmuir.
Armed with this bit of recent local lore and the knowledge that Body and Cowdray had been in that general area during their initial 1904 visit, Sindoni began exploring on foot.
To his own amazement, he claims to have found the entrance to a cave that he believes is the same one that Body himself had discovered in 1904. He claims that its physical description and general location appear to be similar.
There are, however, a few issues that keep this case from being completely “solved,” the first being that the site is located on private property and is therefore inaccessible. (Sindoni did note that he received permission to hike on the property during his initial forays). He said that because of this, he is unable to reveal the exact location.
Sindoni explained that the opening has been sealed over with cement and that there are hieroglyphic-like markings that surround it.
On a website dedicated largely to the JC Brown legend, Sindoni has posted several You Tube videos, as well as photos and narrative. Several show him standing in front of the entrance to a cave.
Also on his website are videos and narratives about other Mt. Shasta legends and lore that he says he is beginning to explore.
The web address is stephensindoni.webs.com.
Sindoni says his findings have the potential to refute the prevailing theory that North American civilizations date back only 12,000 years. “If this is true, it could mean that the Lemurians are the descendants of the true Native Americans,” he said, noting that several Native American mythologies refer to an advanced civilization known as “the tall ones,” who were said to roam the earth up to 40,000 years ago.
Like JB Body himself, Sindoni says that some unusual things have happened to him since he has begun looking into this legend.
He claims, among other things, that he is the target of a surveillance program and that, in his opinion, there are “forces” conspiring to keep this story under wraps.
Despite this, Sindoni asserts that, in the end, the truth will prevail. “There are two sides to every story and then there is the truth,” Sindoni said, acknowledging that his findings will be treated with a high degree of skepticism, but he feels he has brought enough “hard evidence” to the case to at least arouse some curiosity.
“I tell the truth, and I fear no man,” he proclaimed.
Asked if he believes that his findings indicate that a “lost civilization” really does exist beneath the mountain, Sindoni replied, “As of four weeks ago, I have become convinced that it does.”
Currently, Sindoni is wrapping up this project and beginning to explore some of the other legends that exist in the area.
He regularly posts videos on You Tube about his various projets. Among other things, they include “”Stephen Sindoni Discovers Secret Hidden Messages in Microsoft Software,” “Sindoni Says: Egyptians reveal 911 Was An Inside Job,” and “Inside Hollow Earth.”
Speaking of the time he has spent in Mt. Shasta, he said, “I’m loving it. I’m where I need to be, and the mountain has given me validation.”
In addition to his research, writing and hiking around for clues, he does some web design and elder care work.
Sindoni was recently interviewed on BBS radio and has appeared on “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory. He has also appeared locally on community access channel MVTV15 and at the Stage Door in Mt. Shasta.
For more information about Stephen Sindoni and to see some of his several videos, visit stephensindoni.webs.com.