Posts Tagged ‘Death Valley’

Once you enter Death Valley California, you have your choice of various places to visit. One of the most obvious being the Ubehebe volcanic crater at the north end of the valley, and then there are the extensive lava beds around the area, and the Joshua Trees have their fans as well….

But for the truly adventurous, keep an eye out, as you start the short loop that leads to the volcano, and you will see a track receding to the southwest, with an unassuming sign post that reads “The Racetrack – 27”. Follow that road and after 27 miles of slow driving over washboard gravel, you will be rewarded by entry into “The Rock Racing” area, and the Grandstand, which is the uplifted bedrock that stretches to the base of the bare mountains that surround it.

When you step onto the dry lake bed, first you may notice the countless fingers of tiny cracks, stretching to the horizon. Then you will begin to notice a beige smear, here and there, across the dry sand. But this is a prelude to the main event, follow the Park Services signs, walking for about ten minutes to find the Grandstand, a 100 by 500 foot natural outcropping, left behind when the lake receded, leaving this island high and dry.

Now, make the three mile walk southeast to the beginning of the racetrack, and you will find the main attraction. As you get further across the lake bed, you will find hundreds of very scattered rocks.

Among the rocks, you will see smears in the sand. They run straight, jagged and even cross over one another or turn back on their own path, and most of those smears lead to a rock.  A racing rock.

Since the rocks seem to move at a glacial pace, there have been no confirmed reports of any one actually having seen them move. Since camping is not allowed in the park, it may never be possible for a human to actually witness the racing first hand. But if you would like to be a witness of the strange rock race in Death Valley, please remember that moving rocks is unfair and spoils the fun, and is also a heavily fined breach of decorum with the Rangers.

Geology.com has pictures and some well-based scientific theories on what is happening here. But as even the authors of the article agree, “Perhaps this story will remain more interesting if the real answer is never discovered!”


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This hit the MSN news today. There’s a team of forensic experts doing field work at the Barker Ranch, in Death Valley, California. This location is where Los Angeles Sheriffs arrested Charles Manson in 1969. Manson was found hiding in a bathroom cabinet.

Using a machine that detects fluorinated hydrocarbon compounds, infrared spectroscopy,  Ground Penetrating Radar and a magnetometer, an archaeologist from Cal State Long Beach, two senior researchers from Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a police investigator with a cadaver-seeking dog, two potential burials have been located.

Debra Tate, one of Sharon Tate’s surviving relatives was on hand for the preliminary survey. The forensic researchers are asking that the California Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s office clear a dig on the property.

There has always been some confusion concerning where Charles Manson his “Family” spent their time between murder sprees. At least four locations were used as hide outs during the group’s reign of terror. The most crucial of the two, being the Barker Ranch and the Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth, California.

The Barker Ranch appears to be where Charles Manson set up to begin attracting his followers. Manson accumulated hitchhikers, runaways and the disenfranchised to join his “Family” and began indoctrinating them into his plan for world domination, based on the theory of “Helter Skelter”, his vision of the coming race wars that would lead to a civil apocalypse.

Many people have mistaken the Barker Ranch as the place where The Manson Family hid out after the 1969 string of murders. On July 31, Manson and his followers murdered Gary Hinman. On August 9, The Manson Family murdered Tate, Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent. Then on August 10, The Family murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

After this string of killings, The Family repaired to the Spahn Ranch for a few days, before LA County Sheriff’s raided the location on August 16, looking for a car theft ring. Even though 26 members of the Family were arrested and detained in that raid, they had to be released, because a mis-date in the warrant led to their release on a technicality.

The Spahn Ranch is located at 1200 Santa Susana Pass Road, in the Santa Susana Mountains. This was the home of George Spahn, who purchased the property in 1948, and turned it into a dairy farm. In 1968, Manson and his ‘Family” moved in with Spahn, and Manson set up Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme to act as Spahn’s lover and do housekeeping to afford ‘The Family” to live with Spahn rent free.

Charlie Manson and his followers fled to the Barker Ranch in Death Valley, which is where he was finally taken into custody for his involvement in the 1969 killing spree.

These recent forensic researches are following up on statements made by Manson followers, that at least three other people were killed by The Family along with the most notorious murders in 1969. Even though there will most likely be no additional charges filed against Manson of his Family for these murders, even if bodies are found in these new suspected graves, Debra Tate sees it as paramount to finally find out what other deaths the Barker Ranch property might be concealing. “If there are bodies here,” she said at the ranch, “we need to find them and send them home.”

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