2007 --- registered



All photography in this book is science not art.

Offering:   The road to the Starbright mine




I have discovered a secret underground American Indian religion out in the California Desert that nobody knows about but me.

Religious offering:  Indian trust land, Pine Nut Mtns. Nevada






I have this original idea but lack the talent to write professionally

Pit offerings, broken and burned:  Red Mtn. head frame site






So I must tell you in pictures.

Offering:  Sarcobatus flat.  Sarcobatus is a plant.  Don't ask me how to pronounce it.



Riding a dirt bike out on an old army bombing range back in the sixties I stumbled upon one of the major religions of the world that nobody ever dreamed was there.


Offering:  Scossa Mill.  A mining site in Nevada








Ever heard of the old woman meteorite?

Offering:  Typical.  Hodge road house ruins.





Some years ago an old prospector found a huge meteorite about half the size of a Volkswagon beetle jammed down between two rocks out in the Old Woman Mountains down near Needles.

Offering:  The road to the Silver Lake mine








He sent unanswered letters to eight different geology departments before one professor felt the discovery worthy of his time

Offerings:  Welcome mat and nails for the old ones;  The Jesus lives site.








My discovery is something like that meteorite --- big and blatant --- cooking out in the desert sun yet missed by all.  It's big.  It's real.  It's spectacular, yet the professors don't want to hear about it.

Offering:  Chubbuck.  Abnd. railroad siding.








I have stumbled across an incredible discovery out in the California desert

Offerings:   The Martin ranch.








If I tell you in words they will run through your head like shit through a tin horn

Ruins with offerings and hearth:  Chubbuck, An abandoned old mine.







So I must tell you in pictures

Offering:  The road to ilver lake.








I have discovered an unknown, underground prehistoric religion that still practices spectacularly and openly on public lands with nobody the wiser

Ruins with offerings:  The road to Highrock.










Offering:  Saline Valley







Offering:  Funeral Mtns.











Ruins with offerings:   Siberia: (Abnd. railroad siding)











Ruins with offerings:   The Viking mine.










Offering:  Black Magic mine







In this religion the religious objects are the objects of everyday use

Offerings:  Deadman well.  (I found a suicide here).








In one connotation everyday objects are viewed as objects of everyday use

Offering:  Typical;  Pine Nut Mountains.






In a second, later connotation, the very same objects are viewed as holy religious objects

Offerings:  Kelbecker road and old US 66







It's almost impossible for the mind to accept driving out to an old abandoned mine, seeing the piles of broken bottles, rusty cans, old car wrecks, the burned mattresses, chairs and couches and accept them as religious monuments equal in meaning and scope to the ancient megaliths of Stonehenge, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or the cave paintings of Lascaux, but that's exactly what they are.

Offerings all:  El Mirage Valley.







Why don't I tell an archaeologist?

Offering:  The road to the Santa Rosa Mines









Why don't I tell a sailor standing out on a street corner?

Offering:  The road to Highrock.











Why don't I tell my maiden Aunt who is 93 and still driving out on icy Wisconsin roads?

Ruins with offerings:  Cuddyback mill.






Because no Goddam archaeologist wants to hear anything from a Goddam amateur


Offering:  Road to the AGA mine.






That's why I'm telling you!!!

Offering:  Bar stool - Cuddyback Lake













Offering:  The road to the Duckwater reservation








In the 1930s a complete list of the material goods of everyday prehistoric Shoshonean living was published

 Ruins with offerings: Ralston flat







Included in the list were such things as stone tools, skirts, baskets, pottery, bone needles etc.

Offering:  Rice:   (an abandoned railroad siding.)





Those would be the kinds items used in prehistoric religious behavior.

Offering:  New York mill.








Today's offerings consist of such everyday items as cans, bottles, wash machines, dryers, freezers, furniture, toilets and particularly, automobiles.

Offerings:  The Martin Ranch.




Offering: religiously killed with a BB shot to the brain. Photographed as found. (Hair styled by rain water--- lighting by God.) The keep your ass off my property site.







Offerings:  Typical;  The Danite mine,  Indian trust land,  Pine Nut Mtns.





The couches provide rest for the old ones when they come up out the underworld to travel the highways and byways of the upper world (ours)

Wating for the old ones;  Hector, abandoned railroad siding






This once great and mighty religion was nearly completely destroyed by the coming of the white man except in remote places in the California desert where to this day it is still practiced with perfect faithfulness and secrecy by desert Indians who have never been seriously proselytized nor forcibly moved from their ancient homelands.

Offerings:  Toilet, rug, pan, table, water bottles;  Offerings all.  The Viking mine.








Imagine a Martian anthropologist landing on Earth, embarking upon a definitive study of the human race and then returning to her planet without discovering the existence of the Jews, Christians or Muslims.

Offering:  Alkalai Lake









That's exactly the magnitude of the mistake UC Anthro. made out in the California desert.

Offering:  Television at isolated ranch that never saw television in its life time










It seems impossible to imagine that something so common and ordinary as bits and pieces of broken coke bottle or a crunched Bud Light can be the icons of a great religion but that's exactly the way it is. 

Offering;  No name mill immigrant Pass.








Offering:  Urinal fragment;  The road to the B&H mine.











Offering:  Scossa (historic site)








To prove this to professionals I began to photograph all the cars I could find around as many abandoned mines I could get to.

Offering:  The conquest mine







Fortunately these Shoshonean religious practices are carried out at mines that have relatively easy road access with most of these shown on AAA road maps and I have a large collection of the older maps going back to 1962.

Offerings:  Rice (site) ca. 1996:  Offerings all









Originally, I devised a plan to visit every mine shown on the San Bernardino County AAA map.  San Bernardino being one of he largest counties in the US showed plenty of mines.

Offering:  The road to the big four mine.







San Bernardino county had far too many mines to complete a total study in a reasonable time so I switched to the smaller Inyo County map (essentially the Death Valley AAA map) showing fewer overall mines.

Offering:  Old Pete mine








All I knew at the time was that the Shoshoneans were religiously killing automobiles and I was consistently finding them on and around the tailings of old abandoned mines.

Offering;  No name mine Cuprite hills










At the time, it never occurred to me that the most meaningful Shoshonean religious artifacts might be found -inside - rather than outside the mines.

Offering:  The road to Hinkley;  Note Jose Cuervo bottle at arm of couch.  Typical.






I had always felt that going into an old mine was something like taunting a rattlesnake when you're half tanked up  but I decided one particular mine would be the first mine I would enter in my life.

Offering:  The road to the blue bell mine







I was not to be disappointed.

Offerings all:  The Martin ranch.







Upon entering I could see 25 or 30 cans and bottles that just didn't make sense.  There were just too many of them and they weren't all beer and soda cans.  There were mayonnaise and pickle jars and plastic food wrappers and many other kinds of things that have no place in an old, long abandoned mine.  Many were hidden in nooks and crannies.

Offering:  The road to the Thompson mine







All that and other oddities convinced me that those cans and bottles were directly related to the cars and hearths outside the mine.

Ruins with offerings:  Big Smoky Valley






Inside the tunnels I consistently found a bread crumb trail of offerings consisting of all manner of empty food and beverage containers, mostly beer and soda pop cans and bottles but also such inexplicable empty container types as Tide detergent boxes, Arm & Hammer soda boxes, sauerkraut and dog food cans, ivory soap wrappers, Calvin Klein shorts, ladies sanitary supplies and improbable plastic cups of all kinds.

Ruins with offerings:  Abandoned railroad siding;  Arizona and California RR.






In short, I found an endless array of the most improbable objects you would ever expect to find littering the floor of old, long abandoned mines.

Offering:  Miller spring.










Directly outside the tunnels (almost always) the first thing one encounters is a religious hearth (usually with an unburned bottle fragment or two) and beyond that (usually) one encounters (but not always) several more religious hearths and the broken and burned autos, mattresses, chairs, stoves, refrigerators, beds, cans, bottles, toilets, cartridges and miscellaneous else.

Ruins with offering out on old pole line road:  Note mismatch of fenders







Inside the tunnel the cartridges, shot gun shells, cans and bottles are usually arranged in a distinct bread crumb trail strung out throughout the tunnel.

Offering:  Incongruity;  In case the old ones run out of gas out on old route 66 .









Often this bread crumb trail of offerings will extend out the mine tunnel to an old dirt mining road.  Then along improved dirt roads.  Then along state and federal highways right up to the on ramps of busy interstates themselves.

Offering:  The road to Cuddyback.







I think that when the old ones come up out of the underworld through the mine tunnels they hop into the cars and drive down the old mining roads to the highways and byways of California and Nevada.

Offering:  Sarcobatus flat;  Sarcobatus is a plant.  Don't ask me how to pronounce it.









Highways like the fabled old US route 66 and the dangerous old US 395 then on to the interstates like I-15, I-40, I-10 where more offerings will often be found.

Offerings:  Shoe tree;  Note toilet.  Abandoned WW2 airfield.








The cars are sometimes moved around like musical chairs.

Offering:  Jasper Queen mine







In some cases I have photographed a virgin car arriving at a mine and then watching the car go through an entire 'killing' process over a period of months or years.

Ruins with offerings:  Cadiz summit; old US 66.







Sometimes just fragments of cars are moved from site to site.

Offering:  Toilet; Typical.  Goldhammer mine.









Carl and Ed trying to figure it out.  I can tell them and tell them but they just don't get it.

Offering:  El Mirage.






One of the first things California archaeologists noticed when they started studying the desert were piles of broken pottery fragments clearly placed alongside many prehistoric desert foot trails.

Offering:  Toilet fragments; Typical.  The Martin ranch.







They immediately recognized these pottery fragment piles as religious in nature and started calling them 'trailside shrines'

Offering:  Ibex Spring







Basically my discovery is that the Indians have never stopped making the old trailside shrines only now, instead of leaving out little piles of pottery alongside old desert foot trails the old shrine making behavior has morphed into leaving modern beer and soda pop cans alongside today's roads, highways, railroads and interstates.

Offering off old hwy 50:  Note mismatch of fenders --- common behavior.








The religion hasn't changed, only the times and technologies have. 

Offering:  No name working mine , Silver Lake area






The Indians still make the old trailside shrines only using modern artifacts but UC anthro has never been able to figure that out.


Offering:  No name mine near Halloran Springs.







In prehistoric times Indian foot trails ran all through Death Valley.  The Indians left small bits of broken pottery and stone tool flakes along side the trails.   

Offering:  Plush chair.  Typical.  Ruins off hwy. 395









                        Some of these prehistoric offerings remain in place for years

Offering:  Reveille mill







With the coming of the white man the old Death Valley foot trails morphed quickly into wagon roads.

Offering:  New car at Virginia Dale.








Years ago, riding an old motorcycle out in the Death Valley backcountry I found an exceptional number of broken 1800s wine bottle fragments strung out alongside an old, long forgotten, remote wagon road.

Offering:  Abandoned railroad crossing;  Tidewater and Tonopah RR.







I quickly associated these old Death Valley 1800s wine bottle fragments to the bits of pottery fragments the Indians left as religious offerings alongside old prehistoric foot trails.

The futon stayed on that well head for over 10 years until the BLM filled it with concrete








Along one old wagon road I found things like 1800s type cans and bottles, pack equipment with old and fashioned square nails and other pre-1900 articles. 

Offering:  The road to the Eagle's nest mine.







I soon realized that I was looking at the 1800s version of the earlier prehistoric pottery offerings

Offering:  The road to the bugman petroglyph site.






Then with the 20th century along came the automobile.

Offering:  Santa Rosa flat cabin.






Old wagon trails morphed into graded dirt roads, then into highways and ultimately into interstates and the old religion never missed a beat as it just kept adjusting to technological advances as they came and went all the while retaining the ancient behaviors, faithfully but secretly.

Ruins with offerings - The keep your ass off my property site

I-phone shot raw - clouds are real -






Prayers are left with the offerings for the ancestors to carry back to God in the underworld - don't ask me how I know - I just know

Ruins with offerings:  The Hess ranch.









Offerings:  Shoes, Abandoned RR siding Ariz. & Calif. RR







The monument is the broken, abandoned buildings, the wells, mines, cars, bottles, beds, reefers, toys and just about anything else man made --- all broken and burned and mistaken by the whites for common trash --- all of it connected together like a Hansel and Gretel bread crumb trail coming out of the mines and wells and strung out along every Goddam road, highway, interstate and crapped out old mining road out there.

Offering:  The road to Goldstone





All the modern roads of California.  The old crapped out mining roads, the highways, the interstates and railroads --- even the historic, long abandoned T&T railroad are all direct analogs to the very mysterious prehistoric roads of Chaco Canyon.

Offering:  Keohn Lake ranch ruins







Offering:  Bullfrog Hills roadside dynamite kill.







The BLM and Forest Service, the railroads and highway departments, mistaking the stuff for common trash keep picking up the pieces but the Indians keep coming back and putting it all back together again.

Roadside offering:  The road to the Eagle's Nest mine.






 It's never finished

Typical mine offerings.  Lee Mines.








Eddie was a dirt bike racer I knew back in the 70s.

We both had a love of the desert and he, a Sioux Indian, and I an Irish Catholic both had a love of the bottle.  We both, after a divorce, turned to the desert for healing.  Eddie had remarried.  I had not.  I had stopped boozing.  Eddie had not.

Someone told me I took up desert dirt bike racing because I was going through a divorce.  That's crap.  I had always wanted to take up desert dirt bike racing but with a family and all those bills I couldn't afford it until I was single.

Eddie told me when I first got started racing, "You have to race for about a year or so until you learn how to read the desert."  He turned out to be right.

That's why I found all this archaeological stuff and the Ph.D. ladies out at UC anthro. didn't.  I had learned to read the desert and they didn't.


Roadside offering.  Incongruity.  Camper toilet.  No-name mine.  Sheep Hole Pass.




No photoshop tricks.  The only thing I do to set up my photographs is toss aside any cow shit in the field of view.  I hate cow shit in my photographs and believe that God too hates cow shit in my photographs

Offering:  Somewhere out in Nevada