Originally Posted by UndergroundEmpire
"So collecting a light camping outfit, together with a
couple of tents to sleep in, we started out on what we expected
to be a three- or four-day jaunt up the mountain.
"I guess we covered about ten or twelve miles on the third
day and it was fast approaching time to begin to look for a place
to spend the night and the thought was not very amusing as it had
turned a little colder and we were well over 7,000 feet above sea
"We soon found a sheltered place beneath a large outcrop of
rock and set about making a camp. As I was always the cook and
Joe the chore boy, I began getting things ready to fix us some
grub and Joe began digging around for some dead scrub brush to
burn. I had things all ready and looked around for Joe and his
firewood. But I could see no signs of him. I began calling for
him and he soon came into sight from around the very rock where
we were making our camp. And I knew he was laboring under some
great excitement and his face was lit up like a Christmas tree.
"He had found a cave. The entrance was on the other side of
that very rock. He was all for exploration right away. But I
argued that we had better wait till morning. But he argued that
in a cave it was always night and we would have to use
flashlights anyway, so what would be the difference? Well, we
finally decided that we would give it at least a once-over after
we had a bite to eat.
"It wasn't much to call a cave at first as it had a very
small entrance, but back about 20 feet it widened out to about 10
feet wide and around eight feet high. And it did reach back a
considerable distance as we would see at least 100 yards and it
appeared to bend off to the left. The floor sloped slightly
"We followed to the bend and again we could see a long way
ahead and down.
"At this point we became a little afraid as we were some way into the mountain. The idea of being inside so far seemed to make us a little afraid. But we reasoned that inasmuch as there
were no branches or connecting caves we could not get lost and
therefore had nothing to be afraid of. So we went on.
"We found no sign of anything that we could imagine to be
our much sought guano nor signs of any animals being inside the
"I don't know how far we went, but it must have been a mile
or two, as we kept on walking and the cave never changed it's
contour or size. Noticing this I mentioned it to Joe. And we
discovered an amazing thing. The floor seemed to be worn smooth
as though it had been used for a long time as a path or road.
The walls and ceiling of the cave seemed to be cut like a tunnel.
It was solid rock and we knew that no one would cut a tunnel
there out of rock as there had been no sign of mining operations
(tailings). And the rock in the walls and ceiling was run
together like it had been melted. Or fused from a great heat.
"While we were busy examining the cave in general, Joe swore
he saw a light way down in the cave. We started down the cave
once more and found a light. Or should I say the light found us
as it was suddenly flashed into our faces. We stood there
blinded by it for a minute until I flashed my light at it's
source and saw we were confronted by three men.
"These men looked to be about 50 or a little younger. They
were dressed in ordinary clothing such as is worn by most working
men in the locality. Levi type pants and flannel shirts and wool
coats. They wore no hats. But THEIR SHOES LOOKED STRANGE AS
THEIR SOLES WERE SO THICK that they gave the impression of being
made of wood.
"We just stood there for a minute or two and looked at them.
We had no idea there was anybody within miles of us and there
stood three men looking at us in a cave a mile or so in the
depths of old Mount Lassen.
"I was scared. We were unarmed. And we knew nothing about
these men. One of them spoke to us. He asked what we were
looking for. I told him, but I could see he didn't believe it.
We both tried to convince him, but he just smiled. We had a
little argument with him, but fearing they might be some criminal
gang in hiding, we came to the conclusion that we had better
retreat. Turning to go we were confronted by two more of them.
"I can't find any words to express the fear and utter
helplessness I felt in finding our retreat cut off. I do
remember having remarked to Joe, 'Well, it looks like we are
behind the well-known eight-ball.' I sure didn't feel as jovial
as I spoke either. One of the strangers told us, 'I think maybe
you had better come with us.'
"We were in no position to argue, though we both would have
liked to do a little of that right there, but we had no way of
enforcing our arguments. Where could a hero gain any credit in a
place like that? So we permitted the five to escort us deeper
into the depths of old Lassen.
"They had led us farther down and I guess we had gone a
couple more miles when we came to the first thing that really
"We came to a place where the cavern widened out a little
and we saw some kind of machine, if it can be called that.
Though I had no chance to examine it closely at the time, I did
later and it was a very strange contrivance. It had a very flat
bottom, but the front was curved upward something like a
toboggan. The bottom plate was about eight inches thick and it
was the color of pure copper. But it was very hard tempered.
Although I have had a lot of experience in metals and alloys, I
had no opportunity to examine it closely enough to determine just
what it was. I doubt very much if I could. It had a seat in the
front directly behind a heavy dashboard affair and there was a
dial shaped in a semi-circle with figures or markings on it. I
had not the slightest idea what they stood for, but they were
very simple to remember. If there was a motor, it was in the
rear. All I could see was two horseshoe or magnet-shaped objects
that faced each other with the round parts to the outside. When
this thing was in operation, a brilliant green arc seemed to leap
between the two and to continue to glow as it was in operation.
The only sound it gave off was a hum or buzz that sounded like a
battery charger in operation.
"The seat in the front was very wide. The only method of
operation was a black tear-shaped object which hung from the
panel by a chain. One of these men sitting in the middle took
this thing and touched the sharp end to the first figure on the
left side of the dial.
"When he touched the first figure, the contraption seemed to
move almost out from under us. But it was the smoothest and
quietest take-off I ever experienced. We seemed to float. Not
the slightest sound or vibration. And after we had traveled for
a minute he touched the next figure on the dial and our speed
increased at an alarming rate. But when he had advanced the
black object over past the center of the dial, our speed
increased until I could hardly breathe. I can't begin to
estimate the distance we had traveled or our speed, but it was
terrific. The two horseshoe objects in the rear created a green
light that somehow shone far ahead of us, lighting up the cavern
for a long way. I soon noticed a black line running down the
center of the cavern and our inner-mountain taxi seemed to follow
"I don't know how long we continued our mad ride, but it was
long enough for us to become used to the terrific speed and we
had just about overcome our fear of some kind of wreck when we
were thrown into another spasm of fear.
"Another machine of the same type was approaching us head
on. I could see that our captors were very nervous, but our
speed continued. As the other machine became closer our speed
slowed down very fast and we came to a smooth stop about two feet
from the front of the other machine.
"Our machine had no sooner stopped than our captors leaped
from the machine and started to dash away. A fine blue light
leaped from the other machine in a fine pencil beam and it's
sweep caught them and they fell to the cavern and lay still.
"The figures dismounted from the other machine and came
close to us. Then I noticed they carried a strange object in
their hands. It resembled a fountain pen flashlight with a
large, round, bulb-like affair on the back end and a grip
something like a German luger. They pointed them at us.
"After seeing what had happened to our erstwhile captors I
thought that our turn was next, whatever it was. But one spoke
"'Are you surface people?'
"'I guess we are, as this is where we came from very
"'Where did the horlocks find you?'
"'If you mean those guys there,' I pointed to the five
motionless figures, 'back there a few hundred miles.' I pointed
toward the way we had come in our wild ride.
"'You are very fortunate that we came this way,' he told us.
'You would have also become horlocks and then we would have had
to kill you also.' That was the first time I had realized that
the others were dead.
"They put their strange weapons away and seemed friendly
enough, so I ventured to ask them the who and why and everything
we had run into. I told them of our search for guano and how we
had encountered the five horlocks - as he called them. And also
asked him about the machines and their operation and could we get
out again? He smiled and told us.
"'I could not tell you too much as you would not understand.
There are so many things to explain and you could not grasp
enough of what I could myself tell you. The people on the
surface are not ready to have the things that the ancients have
left. Neither I nor any one in any of the caverns know why these
things work, but we do know how to operate some of them.
However, there are a great many evil people here who create many
unpleasant things for both us and the surface people. They are
safe because no one on the surface believes us or them. That is
why I am telling you this. No one would believe that we exist.
We would not care, but there are many things here that the outer
world must not have until they are ready to receive them, as they
would completely destroy themselves, so we must be sure that they
do not find them. As for the machine, I don't know how it works.
But I know some of the principles of it. It works simply by
gravity. And it is capable of reverse. The bottom plate of it
always is raised about four inches from the surface of the floor.
That is why there is no friction and has such a smooth operation.
This object suspended from this chain is pure carbon. It is the
key to the entire operation. As I told you before, I cannot
explain why it runs, but it does. We want you two to return to
where you came and forget about us. We will show you how to
operate the sled and we want you never again to enter the cave.
If you do and you do not encounter the horlocks, we will have to
do something about you ourselves so it would not be advisable to
try to return at all events. One thing I can tell you. We
never could permit you to leave another time.'