Thursday, August 17, 2023

HGB Ep. 500 - Mystic Mountains

Moment in Oddity - Skin Furniture (Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers)

When shopping for furniture many people choose a variety of fabrics for items like couches or lounge chairs. Leather is a popular choice as it is easy to clean and tends to be long lasting. In 2014 there was a furniture designer that took a very unusual spin to creating a new style of furniture. Her name is Gigi Barker and her creations set her apart from any other designer of her time. Her exploration into a unique project was titled, 'A Body of Skin' where she explored how consumers would react to furniture created with the smell and feel of human skin. Barker is a British designer and founder of design studio 9191 and during this pursuit she made furniture that smelled like and felt like human skin using pheramone impregnated silicone to create a collection of chairs and footstools. The pieces were modeled after the Rubenesque folds of a man's stomach. Her belief was that the pieces made out of the unusual material would help the furnitures owners create a unique bond with a physical connection to the pieces and to examine their own relation to their skin and the skin of other people. The furniture pieces were also said to match a humans body temperature which is "perfect for soothing a crying baby". Although it is unclear if these pieces are still able to be purchased these days, the original price for a chair and foot stool was over $4,000 back at the launch in 2014. Furniture styles and consumers tastes can run the gamut but pricey furniture that feels and smells like human skin, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Betty Boop Makes Her Debut

In the month of August, on the 9th, in 1930, Betty Boop made her grand debut. That first cartoon was called Dizzy Dishes and she was just a side character. The cartoon begins with some singing cats and then moves on to a character named Chef Bimbo who is taking the order of a gorilla. He goes into the kitchen to make the food and as he brings it out, he sees Betty Boop performing on stage and falls immediately in love. He drops the food and heads to the stage where he dances with a duck. The gorilla is angry that he didn't get his food and chases the chef, who escapes on a train. It's hard to believe, but Betty Boop started out as a dog with floppy ears. Fleischer Studios, who created the character, soon reimagined her into a female human. Her initial costume was a flapper dress and she was drawn sexy. Threats of cancellation forced the studio to censor the character and tone down her curves and lengthen her dress. Fleischer Studios retired her in 1939 because they were tired of censoring the character. She had a resurgence in 1955 when Paramount sold some of its pre-1950s shorts that starred Betty. Today, she is still going strong and even has her own social media accounts.

Mystic Mountains

Vast areas of the oceans have never been explored, but there are also places on the earth that have been left untouched. Particularly the mountains. Some are so high, men can only dream of scaling them. Others are so thick with vegetation, it is impossible to penetrate deeply. Fathomless mysteries are hidden within them. Several of these mountains have legends connected to them, making them mystical. The irony of many of these mystical peaks is that although they rise high above the horizon, their roots go deep, many ushering an entrance to the underworld. Join us as we share some of the world's mystic mountains!

Mountains have always held a sacred place for indigenous people. Part of the reason why is that they seem to connect the heavens to the Earth. The term often used for this concept is axis mundi, which is a mythological concept that there is a connection between Heaven and Earth or higher and lower realms. This term is also used to refer to the axis of the Earth. Mountains can be anchors as well. The Navajo believe that their land was anchored by four sacred peaks put into place by The Holy People. The Navajo spiritual beliefs have two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Earth People are us humans while the Holy People were spiritual beings and they taught the Earth People. The four sacred mountains they installed were Mt. Hesperus to the north, San Francisco Peak to the west, Mt. Taylor to the south and Mt. Blanca to the east. Indigenous cultures look to the mountains as a source of water, fertility and healing. All dimensions intersect at these sacred mountains.


Haleakala National Park is in Maui, Hawaii and covers over 30,000 acres and is named for the volcano there. Haleakala means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian and here is the legend that it is connected with. Maui is a demigod and in this myth his mother is a woman named Hina. Hina was working on a special cloth made from tree bark called kapa one day. This is a bark that needs to dry thoroughly in the sun. La was the sun god and he started making the days too short for the bark to dry. Hina complained to Maui and he went to do something about it. He laid in wait during the dark of night on top of Haleakala. When La appeared, Maui lassoed him with a strong rope woven from coconut fiber. He tied La to a tree and after a while La begged to be released. Maui said that he would release him if he would let there be more light during the day. A deal was struck and the islands had more light. This made Haleakala a sacred place of the gods and now people travel to the top of the volcano to watch the sun rise.  

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is located in Japan and considered a central religious site. Many in Japan have worshipped Fuji-San as a god and made pilgrimages to it, specifically from the Shintoist and Buddhist traditions. They start at Sengenjinja shrines at the foot of the mountain and climb to the summit where the Shinto deity Asama no Okami lives. The mountain is a gathering place for the spirits of deceased ancestors as well.

Windjana Gorge

Windjana Gorge is sacred to the Bunuba Aboriginal People of Australia. The gorge is located in Kimberley and had once been an ancient coral reef. This was a spiritual place for the Bunuba who believe powerful Wandjina creation spirits live here. Dreamtime stories claim that the Wandjina created not only the earth, but also the humans and animals. They would usher out punishment in the form of lightning, floods and cyclones. For years, the indigenous people have painted images of these spirits on the rocks or repainted the pictures. In their culture, the Wandjina would pick the spot where they would die and paint their image on a cave wall. They would then dive into a waterhole and be gone.


Schiehallion rises as a cone-shaped mountain in the Scottish highlands. The Scottish Gaelic name is Sith Chailleann, which means "fairy hill of Caledonia." This peak is said to be the one most mystical mountains in Scotland. As we've covered in a previous episode, faeries are not all like those presented in fairytales or Disney movies. Some of these supernatural beings have a dislike for humans and Schiehallion is one of the places where they drag intruders to the underworld. A blue hag named Cailleach Bheur lives here and she is the personification of winter in Irish and Scottish legends. She freezes the landscape and kills unsuspecting travelers. She is reborn on Samhain every year and stays until Beltane. When Beltane arrives, she turns into a gray standing stone or sometimes a beautiful maiden. Flowers are brought by young girls to a fairy well on the mountain  on May Day. Another legend has to do with the caves of the mountain. There are a series that go straight through the mountain, but it is said that hikers are easily lost in them because once they go a little ways into the cave, they find a door and once they go through it, it closes and keeps then from returning the way they came. Some of these caves are said to have been sacred to the Templars and they hid there. One of the caves has been nicknamed Tom a Mhorair or Giant's Cave and this has an entrance that is four yards wide. As a person travels through the passageway, it begins to narrow and it gets darker and darker and this is because it is a portal into the underworld.

Mount Kailash

Kailash, meaning crystal, is a mountain found in Tibet that has never been climbed and has been deemed "utterly unclimable." The north face is a wall that rises 6,000 feet high. The southern slopes are more gentle, but no one has braved this side although many teams have been invited to do so. And perhaps that is because this is not only a mountain that is held sacred in four ancient religions, but this is said to be the home of Shiva. In the Hindu religion, Shiva is called the Destroyer. Kinda sends a shiver down one's spine when one hears that a statue of Shiva sits outside of CERN in Switzerland and this is where the Large Haldron Collider is located. Ravana is a multi-headed demon that attempted to uproot Mount Kailash to get revenge on Shiva. It didn't work as Shiva pressed his right big toe onto the mountain and trapped Ravana there. The summit of the mountain is thought to be a gateway to Heaven. A Tibetan religion that predates Buddhism is called Bön and in this belief, the mountain is the seat of all spiritual power. Devotees to these religions will make the 32 mile trek around the mountain, many while prostrating themselves at every step. Four of the longest rivers in Asia are fed from Kailash.

Mount Prisank

Mount Prisank is located in Slovenia and is also known as Prisojnik. This is one of those mountains that bears a resemblance to a human. The countenance of the "Heathen Maiden" appears on this formation. A local legend claims that a giantess prophesied that a boy would be born that would grow up and kill a golden-horned chamois. He would then become rich. She told this to a bunch of pagan women and for some reason they were really mad about it and decided to punish her, so they turned her into stone.


The Untersberg Mountain is the northernmost peak of the Berchtesgaden Alps between Germany and Austria. You can picture this mountain in your mind if you think about the opening of "The Sound of Music." Julie Andrews sings "The Hills Are Alive" as she dances across the top of the Untersberg. There is a legend that the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa is asleep inside this mountain and that some day he will be resurrected. The Emperor has a beard that has continued to grow as he sleeps and it is said to have grown around a round table two times. When that growth extends to three times around the table, the world will end. The story continues that when the Emperor leaves the mountain, the last battle of mankind will be fought on a pasture near Wals, west of Salzburg. Another version of the legend claims that rather than Emperor Frederick, Charlemagne is the one waiting inside the mountain and that he is being taken care of by the Untersberger Mandln, small dwarf-like creatures. He wakes up every 100 years and if he sees ravens flying - which he always does - he goes back to sleep for another 100 years. There is a cave system below the mountain as well. And perhaps it is from here that all the strange beasts reportedly seen here come from. Many have felt a dark presence here.

Chief Mountain

Chief Mountain is located on the eastern border of Glacier National Park and the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in the state of Montana. This uniquely shaped mountain is rather steep, angular and reef-like. The Blackfoot call the mountain Ninaistako and it is sacred to them, serving as home to a primordial deity they call Ksiistsikomm. This translates to "Thunder." For the Blackfeet, deities could exist simultaneously in both the visible and invisible world, so they are not completely spirits. They are something in between or something that can be both physical and spiritual. Chief Mountain is considered a liminal space, which is a space between two realms. The word 'liminal" comes from the word "limen," which means, "threshold or doorway." Sounds kinda like a stargate or portal to us.

Mount Graham

Mount Graham is the highest peak in the Pinaleno Mountain range in Arizona. This has been a sacred mountain for the Apache who not only used it for its natural resources, but this was a holy place of prayer and home to the mountain spirits they called gaan. The Apache land was in New Mexico and Arizona and in 1870, the US government gave the tribe a small portion as a reservation. The Apache remained tied to Mount Graham, but it was no longer part of their territory. The gaan are said to still live in the caves of the mountain and when called upon they bring healing. There were special ceremonies for rites of passage and celebration and the Apache would wear masks and dance. The masks symbolized the masks that the gaan were believed to wear and after ceremonies were done, the Apache would offer the masks to sacred sites inside the mountain. Mount Graham is associated with thunder, lightning, rain and the springs there are an important source of power for the Apaches. That power is so strong at times that only medicine men are able to harness it.

The Mount Graham International Observatory was built in 1989 and is used by several organizations. These include the research arm of the Department of Astronomy of the University of Arizona and the Arizona Radio Observatory. But the one we find the most fascinating is the Vatican Observatory. Why would the Vatican even have a large telescope and why did they pick Mount Graham for its location? And even more intriguing is why they named their telescope Lucifer. Okay, so technically the name started out as Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Spectroscopic Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research, but if one takes most of the first letters, you get Lucifer. This telescope wasn't owned by the Vatican, it just is part of the same observatory. But the Vatican got enough inquiries about it that the name was changed to LUCI in 2012. Is that Luci in the sky? This also isn't exactly a telescope. It's a near-infrared instrument that attaches to a telescope. But we still wonder why the Vatican chose Mount Graham for its telescope. Could it be that the indigenous people thought that Mount Graham was a star gate as well? A star gate can take people to other dimensions.

Mount Shasta

Some people think that Mount Shasta is the most paranormal place on the entire earth and they just may be right. Everything from UFOs, strange disappearances, weird creatures, ghosts, underground bases and the list goes on. The mountain stands nearly alone as the second-highest peak at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Northern California. This is the fifth highest peak in the state. Indigenous people consider it sacred with some believing that this is the center of the world and others thinking this was the birth place of all life. All native tales warn about going above the treeline. This is the domain of the Sky People. One of these spirits is Skell who came down onto the summit of Mount Shasta. Skell had come from the Above-World to fight with the Llao, the Spirit of Below-World. Skell used hot rocks and lava. The tribes also believed that there were races of giants who lived in the mountain. The Native Americans claimed that these giants prospered for many years, but were wiped out in a great flood. The Modoc called their version of giants Matah-Kagmi and they were the keeper of the woods. This term could be translated to be Bigfoot. Giants being here aren't just legends though. Giant skeletons were found and reported in the newspaper.

Some people claim that residents of the lost continent of Lemuria sought refuge in Mount Shasta. Lemuria was a mythical continent in the same vein as Atlantis. As a matter of fact, legends claim that the two were in opposition to each other. Atlantis wanted to control the world and Lemuria just wanted to be left alone. The two fought, possibly destroying each other's continents and they had to move to new locations. Mount Shasta is where the Lemurians were said to have fled to and their hidden city there was called Telos. This was known as the "City of Light." Seven-foot-tall creatures with long flowing hair that have reportedly been seen here are thought to be Lemurian offspring. Many cults have based some of their own beliefs and teachings on the myths about this hidden city. Some stories claim that it isn't Lemurians who live here, but rather Lizard People or reptilian humanoids.

The story of a civilization being in the mountain was backed up by a British prospector named J.C. Brown who was searching for gold there for the Lord Cowdray Mining Company of England. He claimed to have found a lost underground city in 1904. What happened is that he found the entrance to a cave after removing some rubble and he hiked the length of the tunnel, which was eleven miles long. He found abandoned machinery that could have been used for mining, statues of gold and weapons. There was a tomb with 27 giant skeletons, ranging in height from seven feet to over ten feet tall. The story claims that Brown covered over the entrance and told no one what he had found. Then thirty years later, he told a man named John C. Root about the discovery and Root gathered together a team of 80 people to go explore Mount Shasta. On the day they were set to head out, Brown was supposed to come and lead the team, but he never showed up and was never heard from again. 

Mount Shasta is ranked number 13 out of the 300 hotspots in the world to have UFO activity. And the UFO activity has been picking up in more recent years. Sightings range from light formations moving together over the peak to chrome objects to a giant glowing jellyfish hovering over the mountain. That last one was reported in 2008 by a number of people who lived in the area. It made no noise and looked like a fire was raging inside of it. And a passenger on a plane in 2021 captured a video of a white object that changed shapes several times over the mountain. Many times it is reported that these UFOs fly into the side of the mountain and just disappear. 

New Age Believers think that Mount Shasta is a power center and in Hindu, this volcano is the root chakra with Mount Kailash being the crown chakra. There are people who claim that the mountain contains an energy vortex and that this allows UFOs or people to travel to another dimension. There have been a number of strange disappearances reported in the area. In 2011, a young couple was hiking with their little boy when they looked away for a moment and he had disappeared. A massive search was put together by Butte County and it went on for five hours before the boy was found unharmed. Later, the boy told his grandmother that he liked her better than the other grandmother who had found him in the woods. This other grandmother had taken him to a cave in the woods. Then she asked him to defecate on a piece of paper. He was then lead out to the place where he was found. Such a strange story, but one that seems typical for Mount Shasta.

Mount Hermon

Mount Hermon straddles the border of Syria and Lebanon and rises to 9,232 feet. The top is nearly snowpeaked year-round and the runoff of this snow flows down through the rocks at the base of Mount Hermon and at one time created the headwaters to the River Jordan. The river flows down into the Sea of Galilee and then on to the Dead Sea. The Jordan helped to keep things fertile that were near it and while trees can be rare in Palestine, the Jordan Valley has many trees. This is an important river as it has always been the main water source for Israel. It would later take on significance as this became the place where Jesus was baptized. Mount Hermon has three distinct summits. There is no vegetation above the snow line of Mount Hermon and there is almost a complete absence of soil. Wolves, bears and leopards live here.  Below the snowline is very fertile with pines, oaks, poplars and vineyards. Mount Hermon has been considered sacred for all of recorded history and is a part of several religious legends. 

It is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh and Ugaritic texts and has many temples built upon it by Pagan religions. The god El was the supreme deity of the Canaanite religion and it was at the top of Mount Hermon that it was said he made his domain. He had his 70 sons there with him. The mountain is a key location in the Bible and in apocryphal texts, specifically the Book of Enoch. This is where a group of fallen angels known as the Watchers made their descent, not only from the heavenly realm, but a descent into sin that would land them in chains in Tartarus. Enoch 6 relates this story as the passage reads, "1. And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. 2. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.' 3. And Semjâzâ, who was their leader, said unto them: 'I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.' 4. And they all answered him and said: 'Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.' 5. Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. 6. And they were in all two hundred; who descended ⌈in the days⌉ of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. 7. And these are the names of their leaders: Sêmîazâz, their leader, Arâkîba, Râmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmîêl, Râmîêl, Dânêl, Êzêqêêl, Barâqîjâl, Asâêl, Armârôs, Batârêl, Anânêl, Zaqîêl, Samsâpêêl, Satarêl, Tûrêl, Jômjâêl, Sariêl. 8. These are their chiefs of tens."

The group did indeed do what they set out to do and their offspring are known as the Nephilim. The first mention in the Bible of Mount Hermon comes when Israel is battling King Og of Bashan, whose kingdom included the mountain and this was not surprising considering that Og was the last of the Rephaim. He was a Nephilim. Deuteronomy 3:8-10 reads, "8 So we took the land at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon 9 (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, while the Amorites call it Senir), 10 all the cities of the tableland and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan." So Mount Hermon made up the northern boundary of the Amorite kingdom. The Amorites were a Nephilim clan.
Diane has an old book titled "The Bible as History" written by Werner Keller and published in 1956. This is a great book describing the archaeological discoveries of the time and how they affirm the Biblical stories. She found this great passage about Mount Hermon on page 75, "Some days later W.F. Lynch stood on the slopes of snowcapped Hermon. Among remains of broken columns and gateways lies the little village of Baniya. Local Arabs led him through a thick clump of oleanders to a cave half-choked with rubble on the steep limestone flank of Hermon. Out of its darkness gushed a stream of pure water. This is one of the sources of the Jordan. The Arabs call the Jordan Sheri at el Kebire, the 'Great River.' This was the site of Panium where Herod built a temple to Pan in honor of Augustus. Shell-shaped niches are hewn out of the rock beside the Jordan cave. 'Priest of Pan' is still clearly legible in Greek characters. In the time of Jesus the Greek pastoral god was worshipped at the source of the Jordan. There the goat-footed Pan raised his flute to his tune." It grabs our attention when we hear terms like "ridge of limestone," "limestone cave" and in the passage “steep limestone flank.” We tried to find the geology of the other mountain peaks in the area like Mount Sinai and Mount Nebo and Hermon seems to be the only one full of limestone. And perhaps that is what made it special to the fallen ones because it had a supernatural power supply within it.

The god Pan is connected with the headwaters of the Jordan River and the area at the base of Mount Hermon, from where the head waters used to run until geology caused them to move, is known as the Grotto of Pan. Pan is a very interesting god. He at first seems to be some kind of weird wood nymph that is half-man/half-goat that runs around playing a pan flute and just looking for a good time with a phallis that expresses that...uh...interest. But he is far darker than that and seems to be what Satanic images have been modeled after. Satan is usually depicted as half-man/half beast with cloven hooves, a tail and horns. Pretty much the image of Pan. In Greek mythology, Pan was the offspring of Hermes and a wood nymph or Apollo and Penelope. And there are also other stories like Penelope sleeping with 108 suitors when Odysseus was away and she gave birth to Pan. There is no clear geneology. It is believed that he pre-dated the Olympians. One of the myths told about him is how he came to play his pan flute.

*Rabbit Hole: Pan desired a wood nymph named Syrinx who was the daughter of Ladon, the river-god. She wanted nothing to do with Pan, so she ran away from him. He pursued her and was gaining when she came upon her sisters and begged them to hide her. They changed her into a reed that was among many reeds. Pan eventually got to where the reeds were located, but he couldn't tell which one was Syrinx. He took some of the reeds and cut them down and placed them together to form a pan flute. He was never without it after that and felt that his beloved Syrinx was with him. The word panic comes from pan as does pandemic and Peter Pan’s name is a tip to him. Pan is the only god that has reputedly died as reflected in the declaration, “Great Pan is dead!” Banias is the Arabic pronunciation of the pagan cult city known as Panias as named for Pan. The Romans called this Caesarea Philippi. The limestone cave here was considered a gate to the underworld. Fertility gods were said to spend the winter inside the cave. Orgies were held at the cave to entice Pan to return, particularly in the Spring.*

The Canaanite god El, was believed to have set his temple up on Mount Hermon and he lived there with his seventy sons. El is also the god Kronos who was the leader of the Titans that would later be overthrown by the Olympians. El is also Anu, the ancestor of the Annunaki whom the TV show “Ancient Aliens” loves to talk about. And also Enlil of the Mesopotamians and Kumarbi of the Hittites and Hurrians. If you are having trouble keeping all these gods straight, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The key to keep in mind is that we are talking about many different cultures, but very possibly the same god and how he or she was interpreted by a given culture. There are scholars who connect the god Dagan with El. Dagan was not only a fish-like god, but referred to as “lord of the dead.” This is interesting considering that the Canaanites considered this the entrance to the underworld. Literally speaking, Mount Hermon is believed to be the entrance to Hell. The punishment for the Watchers was to be thrown into Tartarus, which was below Hades and Hell. So this wouldn’t have been a long trip for them.

The only temples that still stand on Mount Hermon are of Roman design. There are around thirty of them. George F. Taylor provided a pictorial guide to the temples in the 1960s and he maintained that they were built by the hand of a single master builder. An interesting concept. Of most interest to me though is why these shrines would have been built up on a mountain that spends much of its time covered in snow. They were worshipping something here. Qasr Antar was said to have been the highest temple of the ancient world and it sits near the summit of Mount Hermon. Sir Charles Warren visited it in 1869 and took a limestone slab from the site that reads, "According to the command of the greatest and Holy God, those who take an oath proceed from here." The man who translated this, George Nuckelsburg, connected this inscription with the oath taken by the Watchers that bound them together in their rebellion. So the god referred to here is thought to be Ba'al. 

Clearly many gods were worshipped here at Mount Hermon.  And according to Christian tradition, this spot was important as well. Some scholars believe that this is the Mount of Transfiguration. The Transfiguration is described in Matthew 17:1-8, "And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.' 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only." 

We hear lots of myths about the entrance to Hell or the underworld, but if there is such a place that we can access from here, Mount Hermon gets our vote for a couple of reasons. One is the saying "crossing over Jordan." You've all heard people say that a deceased person has crossed over the Jordan. That's the Jordan River being referenced. The Jordan River had flowed from Mount Hermon until geology shifted it a bit. Why would people choose the River Jordan unless it had some kind of connection to dying and passing across the Veil? Here is Matthew 16:13-20, "13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 15 He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' 16 Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 17 And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" 

Now many Catholics claim that Peter was the rock Jesus was referencing. They say the church is built on him and this gives him primacy over all the other disciples and that is why the Pope is above all. There is actually a huge boulder or rock at the entrance to the Grotto and we kinda think Jesus was being literal and pointed at the rock and saying that the gates of hell that were right there would not prevail. Imagine standing outside of Hell and lobbing a big ole statement like that! So that's another reason why we think this could be an entrance to the underworld. Why else would Jesus go out of his way to come to this specific spot?

Each of these mountains is unique, but all of them are considered sacred and mystical. Clearly, mountains have been considered to be abodes for the gods since the beginning of human history. And many are thought to be portals. Those beliefs cross all different types of cultures, religious beliefs and parts of the world. And when that happens, it is safe to assume there is some truth to the myths. Are these mystic mountains paranormal in nature? That is for you to decide!

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