30 January 2009

Hidden Treasures of Carbon Canyon, Part Two

The Freeway Complex Fire from November burned thousands of acres in and around Carbon Canyon and has yielded some surprises, including the intriguing structure shown in the photo above.

Provided courtesy of Canyon resident Duane Thompson, the image shows a hollowed-out section within a berm and faced with this arched stone entrance and facade. Evidently, this was a playhouse of sorts built for the children of a family that lived on the property many years ago. Another Canyon resident has stated that: "I have been inside of it and it appears it may be what I call a root cellar, used in the 30ties and 40ties to keep food cool."

Being, however, a dedicated conspiracy theorist and fueled by paranoia, mistrust of all forms of authority, dark suspicions, and other assorted symptoms of a healthy cynicism (or not), I've decided to simply cast aside this perfectly reasonable explanation and offer the following secret history for the use of this hidden treasure of Carbon Canyon:

  1. In 509 A.D., the Tongva/Gabrieliño Indians were visited by extraterrestrials who (which?) showed them how to build a sweat lodge out of stones brought from out of the area. But, the space aliens for some reason decided to erase the knowledge from the minds of their subjects before leaving, so the Tongva forgot the technology (the circle at the lower left could well be a mark left by the aliens when they visited.)
  2. 1200+ years later, in 1777, the Franciscan priests who established the California missions found and fortified the structure to conduct secret religious rituals and were ordered by the Vatican to abandon its use when Mexico secularized the missions in 1833.
  3. In an October 1852 visit to the Los Angeles area, bandido Joaquin Murieta found this and used it to hide his loot. After Murieta was captured and killed the next year, the loot was removed by the remnants of his gang.
  4. In 1858, just weeks before his death, rancher Bernardo Yorba, who made bundles of money selling cattle in the gold fields, found the site and buried his hard-earned gold pieces in it.
  5. Bandit Tiburcio Vasquez learned of its existence while on a visit to the Los Angeles area in spring 1874. After robbing a rancher in today's Monterey Park, Vasquez hid his ill-gotten gains here, but was shortly thereafter captued and executed. A member of his posse returned to extract the booty.
  6. After almost fifty years of inactivity, the structure was rediscovered in the 1920s and the era of Prohibition by bootleggers working in the canyon to hide their stills and other contraband there.
  7. For thirty years, the structure was abandoned, although in 1942 overheated citrus growers searched it for suspected Japanese-American loyalists to the Emperor.
  8. In 1954, after Vice-President Nixon remembered playing in the structure as a boy in Yorba Linda, the site was appropriated by the Department of Defense as part of a top-secret military installation, related to the Nike missile silos placed in local hills during the height of the Cold War.
  9. When the missile silos were decommissioned, hippies invading the Canyon in 1967's Summer of Love secreted their marijuana, magic mushrooms, and LSD in the structure.
  10. In 1974, New Age devotees used this as a shrine over what they thought was a magnetic field that they claimed was an opening into a higher realm of consciousness. After a weekend of waiting to be transported to this realm they called Xenex, the group of seven men and five women gave up and went back home to Garden Grove.
  11. Frances Klug, founder of St. Joseph's Hill of Hope compound appropriated the site in 1978 and used it to store the sacred texts she was compiling. After eight years, the texts were moved to a bullet-proof glass shrine at the compound and this structure vacated.
  12. Horace MacKenna, ex-CHP officer and then wealthy strip club owner, who was killed in his Carbon Canyon hilltop home's driveway, used this in 1988 to hide drugs and money from his business, but partner Michael Woods, who ordered the hit on "Big Mac" found the hideout and took everything with him.
  13. In 1993, Orange County Treasurer Robert Citron hid boxes of papers here detailing his use of public funds to invest in repurchase agreements (repos) and floating rate notes. When his scheme was discovered, Citron arrested, and the county thrown into bankruptcy the following year, the papers were seized by the authorities.
  14. In 1995, as Aerojet Corporation began planning to sell some of their explosives testing land in Chino Hills for real estate development, they transported some of their most dangerous chemicals to this structure and then removed them after two years for "proper disposal."
  15. In 2003, ex-Orange County Sheriff/"America's Sheriff" Mike Carona secreted some of the many thousands of dollars given to him by "Assistant Sheriff" Don Haidl in this structure, but had his mistress Debra Hoffman remove it shortly after his arrest. Ms. Hoffman did, however, leave Corona's ethics, integrity, and morals behind.

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