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Mount Shasta Herald

Lights on Mt. Shasta

By William Bridge Cooke
June 27, 1940
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During the past winter I spent considerable time in the reading rooms of the Public Library of Cincinnati.  When it was learned that I lived on Mount Shasta during part of the year I was asked by attendants if I knew anything about the LeMurians.  Naturally I was surprised to learn that people in this section of the country were interested in these phenomena.

Upon looking further into the matter I found that the Public Library had a rather complete file of AMORC Rosicrucian, and other Rosicrucian literature, as well as at least four volumes of the Saint Germain series issued by the Ballardites.  Incidentally a rather large “I AM Sanctuary” is maintained in Cincinnati.  To get into it one must have read and passed an examination on the first three Ballard books.  Thus these volumes of which the library has several copies each, are in constant demand.

The AMORC book in which I was most interested is one by Cerve entitled “LeMuria”.  This was published in about 1932.  Cerve, whose style sounds suspiciously like that of Spencer Lewis, dreamed up a fantastic tale of the origin and fall of the lost continent of LeMuria, or Mu, part of which is based on fact, and apparently part of which is based on secret documents.

In a final chapter of the book the author deals with recent facts and myths which tend to show to him, at least, the presence of LeMurians, or the Great White Brotherhood, vulgarly known as “White Indians”, in California, a remnant of Mu.

One of these stories demands our attention.  Cerve reports that a Dr. Edgar Lucin Larkin of the Mt. Lowe Observatory saw a strange phenomenon with his telescope.  He was searching for an object on the earth, the distance from which was known, by which to calibrate his instrument.  In looking through the telescope, supposedly placed parallel to the earth’s surface, he finally brought Mount Shasta into range.  Around the foothills of the mountain and at about 30 miles from the mountain Dr. Larkin reported seeing a shining metal object, which, on focussing, turned out to be a massive oriental temple.  At a later date, in order to check these observations, Dr. Larkin saw a number of shining white marble temples in Greek style.  At night he could see lights in the vicinity.

I have not quoted the story by have only taken parts of it—enough of it so that my readers my know the source of the tale, repeated by Brisbane several years ago, concerning the seeing of a light “somewhere, sometime and by someone” on the mountain—proof of the local existence of these “Masters”.

For those of my readers who are interested, I shall now try to debunk this story.  Mt. Lowe, back of Los Angeles, is approximately 800 miles, as the crow flies, south of Mount Shasta.  The earth’s surface curves as one would expect if one recognized the earth as a nearly spherical object.  The latest list of observatories and astronomers in the world does not mention the existence of a Mt. Lowe Observatory, or of a Dr. Edgar Lucin Larkin, and it does mention some very inconspicuous persons and institutions.  Mount Shasta is 14,161 feet above sea level at the summit.  Mt. Lowe is about one mile, not more than 5500 feet, above sea level.

During the last 10 years, in an issue of the Mazama, journal of the Mazamas of Portland, Oregon, there was published an article in which it was demonstrated mathematically that a person standing on top Mt. Hood, 11,250 feet, could not see the top of Mount Shasta, 400 miles south and 14,161 feet above the sea.  Thus I knew some mathematical formula existed by which this story could be disproved.

I corresponded with Dr. Hans Lewy, Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of California, who climbed Mt. Shasta last summer; and I consulted a book on surveying and a newspaper article.  The results are as follows:

Dr. Lewy found, by good geometrical procedure, that one could see 125 miles (approximately) from the summit of Mount Shasta to the horizon.  From the summit of a mountain a mile high one could see the horizon at a distance of 89 miles away.  Thus Mt. Lowe would have to be 214 miles from Mt. Shasta in order for a person standing on the summit of either to see even the top of the other—and Mt. Lowe is 800 miles away.

In the book on Geodesy, or surveying, a correction table was found for the earth’s curvature and refraction.  Together with formulas of geometrical nature it was discovered that a person would be able to see the horizon 156 miles. from the summit of Mount Shasta.  And that in order to see Mount Shasta from Mount Lowe, even the highest tip on a clear day, one would have to build a town on Mount Lowe which would reach more than 40 miles into the air.  This sounds too fantastic to believe until one draws a scale map and sees how much curvature there is in 800 miles of earth’s surface.

In commenting on a new popular priced aeroplane recently put on sale, a formula was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer for March 24, 1940 which gives a method of finding out how far away the horizon is from different altitudes.  In this formula one takes the square root of the altitude in feet and multiply by 1.44 miles.  Using this system it will be discovered that the horizon is about 179 miles from the summit of Mount Shasta.

It is obvious that the facts of clear weath, atmosphere, and intervening mountian ranges play a large part in determining how much of these miles a person can actually see, as anyone who has tried to see the ocean on a clear day from the Summit well knows.

Using the last set of figures, the farthest Mt. Lowe could be, in a straight line, from Mt. Shasta would be 240 miles in order that the summit of one could be seen from the summit of the other.  Nothing has yet been said about the foothills, which would be covered up by intervening hills from the observer’s view even should the earth be proved flat.  However, we leave to the judgment of the reader conclusions as to the validity of this story which sounds to us more like an opium dream.


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