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Volcano, CA

Volcano, CA Image courtesy of WesternMiningHistory.com

This past Saturday the 18th was my inaugural event at Black Chasm Caverns National Natural Landmark in Volcano, California. Volcano is a small ghost town with about 200 residents. At one time it was the most populous town in California, when at the height of the gold rush of the 1840’s, there was over 5,000 residents. The town of Volcano lies in the heart of Amador county which was considered to be the heart of the gold rush.

During the gold rush, some miners stumbled across a small opening in an out cropping of exposed rocks. What they found by candle light was the first small chamber of a much larger vertical caves system complete with multiple rooms, passageways and levels. What they did not know was that beneath them in the black depths below them was a series of underground lakes that when lit up many decades later would expose stunning blue marble and crystal clear waters. Among the many wonders such as incredible stalactites and stalagmites, one finds stunning flow stones and rare crystal formations.

Black Chasm Cavern

After visiting the caves with family, the idea to hold a group reading in the cave was hatched and soon after I had the location reserved and had stories about the upcoming event run in the local paper as well as being a guest of the local radio and television stations. With the event sold out and several private readings booked for after the group we finalized our menu with the caterers and booked the caves for a second event to take place on March 24th.

One of the factors driving a desire to work in the caves, was the unique properties of the environment. For example, there is no cell phone reception, so no interruptions from phones ringing. So far every group reading I have done in the past year has always had at least one phone interruption. Due to the depth underground, there is no ambient noise such as traffic, sirens or planes to distract. Since crystals and water work as amplifiers and conductors of energy, the location is wonderful for making contact with spirits.

The day of the event the forecast was for cool weather with a possibility of light showers and possible snow showers at the higher elevations. Just before leaving a cloud enveloped us and as we departed for the cave it lifted briefly. Once at the cave the check in process began as I greeted the guests and connected with my on site contact. nearly everyone made it, we had one or two no shows, but given the weather and the dense fog it was nice to see that everyone else made it.

There are no chairs in the Landmark room, and so the guests had brought pillows to sit on. I was still trying to figure out where I was going to sit during the event and as people cued up to head outside to the staging area, I had yet decided on the logistics and figured I would figure it out once down there.

A frequent question I am asked is regarding my nerves before going in front of an audience to facilitate a group reading. The funny thing is that I am never nervous about my “performance” I know that I have the ability to do what I do and to me communicating with animals and the deceased is as natural as carrying on a conversation with a person standing in front of me. So, I never worry about being able to channel the messages that come through. My concerns are far more ordinary such as, does my hair look alright, are my teeth clean, do I have dog hair on my coat, does the camera really add 10 pounds? and so forth. I also am concerned that everyone will have the person or animal come through that they want to connect with and are the lighting, audio, seating and other needs covered? I worry about the event starting on time and avoiding going over time. When focused on the minutia of details leading up to a successful event, one does not have time to worry about anything else.

Perhaps worry is not the best way to put it, rather it is more like since my energy is focused on ensuring the logistics are covered, I don’t have time or room in my mind to concern myself with any other details regarding the material brought forth during the event. In the hour or so leading up to going “on stage” I like to have some quiet time by myself. It is during this time that I thank those who have brought me so far and I give thanks for what is about to take place. I feel extremely blessed and privileged to be able to facilitate such peace, happiness and closure as I do and hope that I will never take it for granted.

Entrance to Black Chasm Cavern

After the last regular tour group of the day had exited the cave, our group headed out to the outdoor staging area for a briefing on cave etiquette. We then descended the stairs to the entrance of the cave and after learning a bit more about the caves composition and passing around a chunk of calcite crystal from the cave, we began a short tour of the cave as led by the onsite manager. The cave did not disappoint and before too long we found ourselves in the Landmark room. I took a few pictures while everyone was checking out some rare crystal formations. While walking along the last section of walkway I realized that for everyone to see me that I had to stand up across the room and elevated about 4 feet up on a landing near where the stairs entered the room.

Black Chasm Cavern, the Landmark Room

After everyone was in position, I began the group reading by focusing on those who showed up on their own accord, and not simply because they had been sought out by name. The first connection I recall involved a dog who came through to apologize for having killed another dog that had lived in the home. The dog who came through was still living and at the persons home during the reading. After I described the dog that was connecting with us, I later found out that someone in the audience had overheard the person asking another family member, “what about the dog that she killed” and that’s when I saw a second dog coming through and I then brought them forward.

Landmark Room, Black Chasm Cavern
Checking out crystal formations in the Landmark room. Those in attendance sat on pillows on the walkway the photo was taken from. Charles stood against the railing on the upper left.

Another early connection was the image of a young native Miwok brave. I saw him with arrows stick out of his torso, he was struggling to cross a creek that was about 3-4 feet deep and about 50-80 feet wide. He was in obvious pain and shock. I felt a strong sense of sadness and anguish when connecting with him. The time period was roughly the 1850s to 1870s. Later on that evening the connection was discovered as being the ghost who was responsible for the haunting of the home of one of the audience members, they had a house about 150 feet or so from the general vicinity of where this took place. This particular case will be worked on further, with the goal of crossing over the brave.

More beauty from the Landmark room in Black Chasm Cavern

More beauty from the Landmark room in Black Chasm Cavern

There was a connection with a gentleman who flew top secret experimental military aircraft and there was the comment from someones aunt about how they had a man in there sights at one time and then they took a different path. The gentleman being referenced was described using his birth date and additional supporting details such as his home environment. One really cool re-union involved a couple who came through, they had both taught dance and that was among the details brought forward.

Dragon like crystal formation at Black Chasm in the Landmark room.

Dragon like crystal formation at Black Chasm in the Landmark room.

Towards the middle of the group reading, after I had switched to calling upon individuals to give me the name of those that they wish to connect with, I saw a young gentleman coming through who had died in a car crash, he described how he was the driver and then he brought forward some personal messages and advice, it was very touching and very heavily emotionally charged.

One of the coolest formations in the Landmark room at Black Chasm Caves.

One of the coolest formations in the Landmark room at Black Chasm Caves.

I think that the final connection was with a dog who had been “put to sleep” due to cancer. The dog was very good at communicating and after describing themselves, providing their age and what they were suffering from, proceeded to rely a few touching messages for their people, providing some much needed closure. After the final connection, we headed out of the cave and after arranging to meet everyone back at our home, we caravan’d back home and proceeded to treat everyone to wonderful food and the opportunity to connect with similar like minded individuals.

Crystal tree from the after party.

Crystal tree made for the after party.

I was unable to attend the after party upstairs as I spent the entire time providing private readings in my office downstairs. I do understand however that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the group reading and after party turned out to be a great success and I am very much looking forward to the next one on March 24th. We went all out with having a diverse menu, decorations and even had a chocolate waterfall. Everything was cave themed for the most part. I was very excited to be able to include my Mother’s birthday into the party and she was presented a cake and all the guests sang happy birthday to her … I was in the office doing a private reading, otherwise I might have photos to share from her blowing out the cake.

Menu from the after party.

Menu from the after party.

Two guests traveled from Santa Cruz, over 3 hours away, and I already have guests for the next event who are coming from Pacifica, if you would like to attend the next group reading at Black Chasm, let me know if you need a place to stay as we have secured special rates for our out of town guest at a wonderful lodge that is about a 10 minute drive from Black Chasm.

To learn more about Charles Peden, psychic medium and animal communicator, visit www.charlespeden.com.

To secure reservations for the next event at Black Chasm  or to book a reading for yourself visit the web site and send in an email or call 925-360-7469.

Black Chasm Group Reading March 24th 2012

Black Chasm Group Reading March 24th 2012

Curious about Black Chasm National Natural Landmark and you want to learn more, visit www.blackchasmcavern.com.

Black Chasm was the inspiration for the underground world of Zion in the Matrix movies, initially there was a desire to film in the caves, however due to logistical obstacles associated with shooting in such a fragile and cramped environment they instead created a set modeled after elements found within the cave.

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Sign outside de Young Museum advertising the King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit

Sign outside de Young Museum advertising the King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit

Recently my eldest daughters charter school embarked on a field trip to the de Young Art Museum to view the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit. Having at various points in my life had an interest in ancient Egypt, I was looking forward to viewing some of the best known artifacts from that time period. It has been thirty years since the last time the exhibit came to San Francisco and though Tutankhamun’s death mask was no longer traveling outside of Egypt, this show promised to be bigger than the last time around. I missed the first one, partly because I was only five at the time and we lived in Oregon, no where near San Francisco.

The last time that I really had an interest in ancient Egypt, was when I read an article about ancient Egypt in National Geographic and in the article they mentioned Queen Hatshepsut. Later … about six weeks after reading the article I was visited by a spirit who claimed to be a mummy, a female at that. When she visited I felt like a tooth had been removed from my jaw. Later the same week that she had stopped by, I found an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the discovery of a box bearing Queen Hatshepsut’s cartouche and how Queen Hatshepsut’s mummy was positively identified through the locating of a tooth that was in a box bearing her cartouche. The tooth fit a hole in the jaw of a mummy that was found in one of the tombs and led researchers to believe that the mummy in question was not a “wet” nurse, but rather a queen, Queen Hatshepsut.

de Young Museum

de Young Museum

Now with the opportunity to view some of the artifacts found within the tombs which were over 3,000 years old, I felt much anticipation. The morning of our trip we left for San Francisco much earlier than we normally would. Traffic due to the new “S” section of the Bay Bridge being installed recently was backed up nearly twice as far as normal. Fortunately we were able to use the carpool lanes and we sped by a several mile long parking lot.

After crossing into San Francisco we drove up Fell St. and entered Golden Gate Park. We drove over to the de Young Museum and after dropping off the family at the entrance, I continued on to John F. Kennedy drive and located on street parking. As I was walking towards the de Young Museum I saw glass on the curb where several vehicles in a row had been vandalized and most likely robbed. For a second I worried about returning to our vehicle to find our windows bashed out, then realized that the threat, for the time being … was gone.

The morning was foggy and somewhat cool, yet short sleeves were in order. We met up with our field trip group and picked up our tickets at 10:00 AM. Now we had our tickets which were for the 12:00 viewing time. As we were in the city and at the de Young Museum with two hours to kill until we could cue up for the Tut Exhibit, there was only one thing to do, view the other exhibits.

de Young Museum art

de Young Museum art

Our tickets granted us entrance into the other exhibits and we began on the upper floors where we found paintings, African art, head hunter trophies, yes real human skulls, creepy but not as scary as one would think. There were several interesting exhibits and I really enjoyed some of the glass art on the first floor as well as a model cathedral made from guns and bullets.

Cathedral made from guns and bullets

Cathedral made from guns and bullets

We cued up for the Tut Exhibit and regrettably noticed that though we had been allowed to take photos though out the rest of the museum, that this exhibit was off limits to photography, in fact we could not even sketch a 90 second image of any of the artifacts if we wanted to, it was off limits. As we lined up we bumped into other groups of individuals who were either here on their own or with a tour group. It was a very jovial and friendly atmosphere in the cue and behind us on a flat screen TV on the wall was a video playing footage of King Tut’s mummy. They showed several different views and discussed images found in x-rays and CAT scans of the mummy.

Close-up of cathedral made of bullets and guns.

Close-up of cathedral made of bullets and guns.

Up until this point I had not picked up much on a psychic level regarding our reason for being here. Once we were cued up downstairs where the video showing Tut’s mummy was playing, things began to shift for me. Earlier I had told Heidi, (my wife) that I was concerned that the spirits of the dead who were interned in the tombs that these artifacts came from may not be too happy about being “disturbed”. I really did not know what to expect and while waiting in line I felt several spirits hanging around but did not pursue it further as they seemed to be waiting until the right moment to connect with me.

Then it was time to enter the exhibit … well kind of, we entered a darkened room where another video was played for us. In front of us and below the flat screen TV on the wall was a set of double wooden doors. They had “mood” lighting with “black” lights on the ceiling and little “torch” lighting on the walls. As the crowd entered the room and everyone became quiet, a docent informed us to turn off our cell phones and reminded us that we could not take photos or sketch anything. The lights were dimmed and the video played. It was about Howard Carters discovery of the undisturbed tomb of King Tut.

As I stood there in the near dark … so close to all of the artifacts that had sat in a tomb for over 3,000 years it began. I felt a rush of energy and a jolt went through me. I picked up on a tremendous amount of angst in connection with the exhibition. It seemed that the spirit I was connected to was jealous with King Tut and that he was unhappy with him. The spirit felt that King Tut was not deserving of all of the attention and adoration he was receiving. He felt as though he was being shortchanged and that King Tut had not earned his present fame and that people should be honoring him and not Tut. Who could this spirit be? It was none other than King Tut’s father, Amenhotep.

Amenhotep had changed the way that ancient Egyptians worshiped. He attempted to make it so that Amun, the sun god, was the most important of all gods. He moved the capitol city of Egypt to reflect the religious changes that he had made. Then he made other change, he decided that Amun was not important and that Aten was the only true god. He then changed his name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten to reflect the changes in religion. By moving the capitol of Egypt, he disrupted the trade routes and that caused economic chaos. Overall Akhenaten was not very well liked, in fact there are several reasons why he could be upset with his son who would become King Tut.

After the death of Akhenaten, his son who was only nine years old at the time became king. After Tutankhamun became king, he set about undoing all the work that his father had done. He re-established the old religions with the multiple gods, he restored the capitol city to it’s original location and made made every effort to erase the record of his father from the land. Akhenaten was so disliked that he was not given a “proper” burial and much of the gold and goods that had been set aside for him was never buried with him.

When King Tutankhamun died at age eighteen, it was unexpected and sudden. His arrangements for the afterlife had not yet been readied properly. His passing also left a power vacuum at the helm of Egypt which was a problem unto itself. Since King Tut had no sons, there was no heir apparent to the thrown. His wife asked the ruler of a neighboring land whom they were at war with to offer her a son in marriage and that would serve to build an alliance between the two warring countries, the foreign ruler however was not interested in her offer.

There were two other individuals who had a shot at the crown, one was the leader of the armies, he was of course away … leading the armies into battle. That left one adviser back at home with a fretful Queen who was reaching out to their enemy for help. This story has all the trappings of a soap opera… So, from what I understand, King Tut was not mummified properly.

When King Tut’s mummy was examined, it was discovered that it had an unusually high amount of decay for a mummy from the 18th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. Though well wrapped, the preservation of the body itself appeared to be rushed. There was also an unusually large cut to the abdomen which was not traditional. The bones of the mummy have been damaged postmortem with rough handling yet is can be noted that he had injured a leg. This is supported by the number of walking sticks he had in his collection as well as from some images showing him with a staff.

I believe that King Tut was injured while on a hunting excursion and that he had an infection set in which killed him, I kept getting a sense of gangrene with high fever and blood poisoning. This would perhaps have killed him fairly quickly and would have resulted in his body already “going bad” before embalming had started, especially if they were a distance from a location where proper embalming could take place when he died.

Regardless, the possible successor to the thrown who was at home, had a short window to bury him and to take on the role of king himself. He had to bury him before the leader of the military came back since he had a bit more of a claim to the title than himself. Whatever the reasons, it is clear upon examining many of the artifacts that were buried with King Tut, that they were never intended for him. It seems that much of the gold and artifacts were actually intended for his father, while others were obviously made for King Tut. Essentially King Tuts successor attempted to remove nearly all references to King Tut and his father … in part to close that chapter of history and to secure his own claim to the thrown.

Pharaohs who followed Tutankhamun did not even bother to record or list his fathers time on the thrown. Tuts father was so despised that it was not until some of his artifacts came to light thousands of years after his death, that historians and archeologists even became aware of his existence. So … as I was walking through the exhibit I could feel Akhenaten’s anger and jealously. Even after all these years, he was still unhappy about how everything went down. And now to add insult to injury, his son who destroyed everything that he had worked for, was the one being honored, along with many of the artifacts that were originally intended for him … ouch.

Back to the exhibit, as I went through the exhibit I was struck by how little respect there was for the deceased. Granted, they no longer need the body or the artifacts, but … they were buried in good faith, and then had their graves plundered. There eviscerated bodies are unwrapped, photographed, filmed and subject to various x-rays and CAT scans with the results being displayed for all to see. (Their medical records are not private.)

During the pharaohs lifetime, their own people viewed them as vibrant flesh and blood humans with “god like” qualities. They were honored and respected, granted there were grave robbers though out the centuries, but at least they did not “pimp out” the remains as we have done. Now the pharaohs are being viewed by a whole new generation of people and when we envision them in our minds, we frequently flash on the images of their mummies and not what they looked like in flesh and blood. When we think of someone, we send them energy, and when we think of them as a dried out husk of a human body … like a mummy, they in turn see that as being who they are to us. This is not pleasant, think of all the money we spend on wrinkle cream alone in this day and age to stave off the effects of age upon our delicate skin. Now imagine everyone remembering you as a mummy … get the picture.

In my humble opinion, if we had to disturb them, the least we could have done, is not paraded around their eviscerated bodies and put them on display to the public. Imagine if after three years she passed, I went and dug up your grandmother. Then took the keepsakes you interned with her and set up a traveling display where I charged the public to view her remains … or even just photos of her remains as well as displaying all the objects you had put into her coffin with her. I am sure that I would be arrested for something and that most would be repulsed. However … add a few thousand years and, what! now it’s okay? Where do you draw the line? 10 years, 25, 100, 400? you get the idea. Remember that time is a physical construct and does not apply as we know it to those who have passed. So the mummies are not happy about being disturbed.

Wondering the exhibit I came to a stop in front of a gold gilded coffin. This coffin belonged to a female who came prior to King Tut. As my youngest daughter and I gazed at it, it suddenly came to me. I began to feel and see as well as smell another time and place. I could hear workers toiling away and suddenly it dawned on me, the craftsmen who had created these wonderful works of art were proud of their work. Over three thousand years ago when the tombs were sealed, they felt sorrow that their works of art and expert craftsmanship would be forever lost to the world, yet here they were on display. I think that when it comes right down to it, they got the best end of the deal, no old soap operas brought to light and rehashed. No images of them as mummies and though they may have lived in relative obscurity and continue to do so, there is a special calm and charm to that as well. In the end, the common man has prevailed.

In my opinion, it would be best to return the mummies to their tombs, as has been done with many of them and they should be resealed with a guard presence maintained to dissuade looters and vandals. The artifacts … well “Pandoras Box” has been open, so you are not going to be able to remove them entirely from public view … but at the very least they could be kept in Egypt on display so as to increase tourism and to restore some of Egyptian peoples treasures to their rightful place, Egypt. But, since it is on tour and here in San Francisco through March 20th of 2010 at the de Young Museum, you might as well go, but don’t expect to see King Tut’s death mask, coffins, sarcophagus or mummy.

Click here to learn more about Charles Peden psychic medium and animal communicator.

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