Where Shamans Play

Urraca_Mesa_Cliff_Philmont(1)

Urraca Mesa: A Gateway to the Demon Realm

Written by Jen Wolfe on October 12, 2011 in Haunted Southwest

Located on the property of Philmont Scout Ranch in Northeast New Mexico is a place called Urraca Mesa. It is known for the highest number of lightning strikes per year in the whole state of New Mexico. In addition, compasses don’t work correctly there — scientists believe it is due to the high content of iron or lodestone in the cap of the mesa. As seen from above, the mesa takes on an ominous shape — the western edge has the aspect of a skull with a slight indent where the eye would be. Even the word urraca has terrible connotations in the Anasazi and Apache language. It means magpie, a mid-size black bird that is a member of the crow family. The Mapgie was a portent of evil. If the Magpie called your name, you were doomed to an ill fate. In short, the Native Americans believe the mesa to be a truly evil place and the gateway to the demon realm.

Long before European settlers ever arrived in the area, an ancient people called the Anasazi settled there. For generation upon generation, they lived and died in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain country, in the canyons and along the banks of the Cimarron River. Then, about 900 years ago, they suddenly vanished. Archeologists have discovered hints that their demise was sudden and extremely violent. Some evidence suggests that many people were tortured.

Were the Anasazi attacked by a rival tribe? Did they turn on each other? Or can their death be attributed to supernatural forces?

The Navajo, who settled the area long after the Anasazi disappeared, began to sense evil spirits among the rocks, rivers and trees. Slowly, they tracked the spirits to Urraca Mesa, where they believe a gateway to the demon world exists. They believe that the eye in the skull area is a portal to the fifth dimension (the Native American version of Hell). Navajo Medicine Men have studied the petroglyphs and lore of the area and have come to the conclusion that a huge battle was fought atop the mesa between the Anasazi and the forces of darkness. The entire tribe entered the gateway to force back the evil spirits, while the most powerful shaman sealed the gateway with four (or six) powerful cat totems. The cats are said to scare away the Magpies who can open the portal. It is said that when the last of the cat totems fall or vanish, the gateway will reopen and hell on earth will be unleashed. Today, only two of the cat totems remain standing – the others have disappeared.

Visitors to this unhappy place have had some unusual experiences … creatures following them, strange voices and sounds the echo out of the night, and an eerie sensation of being watched or followed. Many people have seen a large blue ball of light floating over the mesa. When the ball of light is approached, many claim to see the figure of a Native American shaman within. One hiker, crossing the mesa at night, saw a hairless, humanoid-shaped creature, and short while later, a human figure limed in blue light. Native Americans claim the spirit of the shaman who closed the portal, guards it still, bathed in a blue nimbus.

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