Mysteries in the Mountains

A real-life Twilight Zone may exist in Southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.

Deep in the mountains close to the Mexican border, a mysterious place exists where time is altered at random.

A joke? Not according to Ron Quinn.

Quinn first submitted his stories to The Weekly's former editor, Michael Parnell, in November 2002. Upon his departure in January, Parnell passed them on to current Weekly Editor Jimmy Boegle.

The Weekly staff decided to publish them; after all, they are quite compelling. Plus, Quinn's got some credibility; a life-long treasure hunter, Ron Quinn's stories have been appeared in Arizona Highways, Treasure Magazine and Fate.

The Weekly does not know the location of the site Mr. Quinn speaks of, nor could we verify the events mentioned. Therefore, we present his anecdotes as interesting stories--nothing more.

--Irene Messina

This fascinating journey into the unknown began in early 1956 and still remains an unsolved mystery today.

It all began during a two-year adventure into Southern Arizona in search of lost mines and hidden Spanish treasures. High among the rugged terrain bordering Mexico, my brother Chuck and I discovered a location where time itself is altered. This natural freak of nature lies deep within a region seldom visited by modern man.

The reason I'm bringing this tale to light after all this time is because something in the works might effect this interesting place. Tucson Electric Power Company plans on building a 345,000-watt high-voltage transmission line from Tucson to Nogales. The line could come quite close to this site.

When this line becomes active, what, if anything, will this enormous voltage do to this delicate location? Enhance the natural energy already lurking within it, or nothing? Only time will tell.

The following stories all took place around this mysterious location.

Lights in the Sky

This all began after my release from the military. My brother Chuck asked if I'd be interested in taking an extended trip to Arizona to search for several of the legendary lost treasures allegedly hidden during the Spanish occupation. This ignited my adventurous spirit, so plans were made. We saved enough capital, with the help of our parents, for two years. I was 23; Chuck was 26.

We left Tacoma, Wash., on March 20, 1956. Our final destination was Arivaca, Ariz., a small desert hamlet of perhaps 70 residents. This old adobe village was located squarely in the center of the country harboring some of these well-known hidden treasures.

About three weeks into this treasure game, Chuck and I were relaxing at camp one evening. Towards the south, the craggy peaks of the Tumacacori Mountains were silhouetted against the darkening sky.

Our attention was directed toward two large balls of blue-green lights slowly descending behind the mountains several miles away. They were not flares, as no sound of aircraft broke the silence of the night. Both vanished within minutes.

The following night at precisely the same time, 8:05 p.m., the lights appeared once again near the identical location. These also disappeared behind the peaks.

Several days later, Louie Romero, a local cowboy who rode for the Arivaca Ranch, stopped by. Over several weeks, we became friends and learned a great deal of the history about the area from him. While in Arivaca, we heard from the locals that if Louie tells you something, you can bet your life it's the truth.

During one of his weekly visits, Louie told us many stories centering around the nearby mountains. Several bordered on the paranormal. After describing the odd lights we had seen, he smiled, saying he and others have spotted them since 1939 in the same location. Over the months, we saw them several more times.

Doorway to the Gods

One day, as we were returning to Arivaca, we spotted an old truck parked beside the road with a flat tire. Not having a spare, the gentleman stood beside his vehicle trying to hitch a ride to the nearest service station. We picked him up and soon arrived at the Kinsley Ranch and gas station.

After having the tire repaired, we returned John, an Indian, to his truck where we mounted the tire for him. John couldn't thank us enough, as not many white men had shown him such kindness.

A month or so later at camp, we spotted a rider approaching--and were surprised to see it was John. He told us he was working temporarily for a local ranch, checking the fence lines.

While talking in general about the surrounding country, Chuck mentioned we were treasure hunting. As a boy, John said he heard many of the tales of lost mission gold and silver. He also believed some of the tales were true, as treasure was found in 1907 near Nogales.

Later, John told us about a mysterious stone archway. Roy told him we came across such a formation south of camp. John's first words were, "Did you walk through its opening?"

Walt answered, "No. We noticed it while descending a slope, but paid little attention to the oddity."

John told us around the 1800s, three Indians were hunting and upon returning to their village, discovered a stone archway. Being in a jubilant mood, they began chasing one another through the opening in a playful manner.

Moments later, one jumped through but never emerged from the opposite side. Fearing they had entered some sacred ground of the gods, the remaining two fled the scene. Arriving at the village, they told the medicine man how their friend had vanished before their eyes.

As the story spread, others journeyed to the high plateau to gaze upon the stone structure. Rocks and other items were tossed through, but nothing occurred--until an elderly woman approached. Tossing in a live rabbit, it suddenly vanished. The Indians backed off in fear and spread the story of this "Doorway to the Gods," as it came to be known.

John himself has been to the site on many occasions. The only time he witnessed anything strange was around 1948. A big storm had blown in, and the sky was filled with dark clouds in all directions. As he rode past the archway, he noticed the sky through its opening was blue--no clouds were visible. Dismounting, he walked cautiously toward the formation and peered through. The mountains on the other side hadn't changed, but the sky was clear. Looking around the corner of the structure, the sky was once again covered with dark clouds. Fear gripped him and he rode off.

Some believe John was looking into another time period through the portal. We asked John: If the story was indeed true, why hadn't it been investigated? He replied that only his people knew of the story, as it had never been mentioned outside the tribe. The only reason he told us was because we had shown him kindness while stranded beside the highway.

Curious, we decided to make another trip to the remote site with Roy Purdie and Walter Fisher--two fellow treasure hunters who were camping with us. It's a rugged climb, and the torturous, craggy mountains play no favorites. Enter their domain, make an error, and you'll be added to the list of the injured and missing.

This mysterious area is covered with windswept rock formations that dot the landscape. Searching further, we discovered an enormous deposit of geodes. The ground was littered with them. Some had broken open, revealing their crystal-lined interiors.

As we approached the archway, the structure took on a menacing appearance. It stood beside a rocky slope, and was perhaps 7 feet high by 5 feet in width. Its columns measured approximately 15 inches in diameter and were made of andesite.

Chuck jokingly tossed several rocks through, but nothing happened. Next, I placed my arm in. Roy, the superstitious member of our foursome, said I was flirting with danger if the story was true. Knowing his nature towards the unknown, I decided to play a joke. I suddenly yelled, like something was pulling me through. Jumping back, I began laughing as Roy cussed me out. By now, we were all close friends, so no offense was taken.

After several hours we departed this interesting location, carrying a number of geodes. I remember glancing back at this lonely part of the world, wondering if there was truly something within the area that could alter time at random. Was it just the archway itself, or were other unknown natural forces at play?

We would definitely discover the answer--at least to the time-altering question.

Horses From Beyond

It was roundup time on the Arivaca Ranch. That evening, Louie and several others were camping beside the corral just north of the mountains to get an early start the following morning.

As they sat around having coffee and making small talk, Louie noticed how still the night was. Most evenings, one could hear the night sounds of the desert. But this time it was unusually quiet, and the livestock seemed restless.

As they were about to bed down, they suddenly heard the rumbling of approaching horses. As the sound grew closer, one could hear the clattering of hoofs among the rocks accompanied by the whinnying of many horses. As the sound increased, the boys dove for cover, expecting to see a herd of horses stampeding through camp. But as the rumbling reached the opposite side of a nearby canyon, it abruptly ended.

The following morning, they searched, but found no evidence of horses. Louie mentioned wild horses once roamed the country around the turn of the century. Were Louie and the others caught on the outer edge of some time change?

It turns out they were near our mysterious archway.

(Before continuing, I'd like to set forth a theory told to us by a party well-versed in the field of the strange and paranormal: Perhaps an enormous deposit of geodes beneath the surface might be effecting time in some mysterious manner. When all the natural elements --the vibration of the crystals, the electricity in the atmosphere and the magnetic fields in the earth--come together at the precise moment, laws of nature are turned topsy-turvy, and things occur beyond our understanding. It could be like dropping a stone into a pool of calm water--the archway being the stone and the waves expanding outward could be the natural forces. These might reach anywhere from several yards to a mile. Depending upon the activation, everything within this radiating circle could be thrown into a different period of time. When it fades, things return to normal.)

Ghostly Padre

This story was told by a reliable rancher and also took place within the shadows of the puzzling archway. It involves the appearance of a Spanish padre long since dead: a ghost--or perhaps not.

Several hundred years earlier, a Jesuit priest, whose name has long since been forgotten, built a small mission east of Arivaca. The residents gave their most treasured possessions to him for safe-keeping, as they feared robbery. These were hidden somewhere near the church grounds.

One morning, a Mexican woodchopper found the elderly padre dead. After he was put to rest, the villagers suddenly realized he was the only one who knew the location of their valuables. They searched, but nothing was ever found.

Over the years, many cowboys and others have reported seeing a dark-robed figure walking near the site of the old mission, which has long since crumbled back into the dry earth. The description given resembles that of a Spanish padre. One rancher told us quite frankly, "Nobody will ever convince me otherwise. I know what I saw that afternoon. The figure wasn't any ghost. It walked across a wash disturbing the gravel and casting a long shadow."

The figure slowly became transparent, shimmered several times then vanished.

Again, was the witness caught in another trick of time produced by the site? Or was he himself back in the 18th century, watching the padre going about his daily rounds? Too bad our rancher didn't see the mission. That would be hard evidence he wasn't in his own time.

Spanish Soldiers

Another mind-boggling story involves two cowboys out searching for a sick bull. Both separated and rode off in different directions. One rider paused atop a hill searching the country below with his binoculars. Suddenly, he felt a stone bounce off his hat. Turning, he expected to find his companion had tossed it jokingly, but nobody was there. Another stone hit his arm, but once again nothing was seen.

While scanning the terrain again, he spotted his friend several hundred yards below. In the distance, he saw the bull. Waving, he shouted to his partner signaling to him which direction to go.

While descending the hill, he spotted a group of six riders traveling eastward. They rode in single file and were about half a mile off.

Stopping, he looked through his field glasses--and was amazed at what he saw. His description of the horsemen resembled pictures he had seen of Spanish soldiers with tunics, lances and helmets. He followed their movements until the scene "shimmered" and faded.

Once again, this occurred near the archway's realm. A column of soldiers traveling east? The only fort in that direction was the presidio located at Tubac during the Spanish occupation.

Indian Revisited

During the mid-1940s, Louie and another ranch hand came upon the skeletal remains of what appeared to be that of an ancient Indian. Beside the body was a rotted bow. The Indian's clothing was of animal skins, and a leather moccasin clung to one foot. The skull and one leg were missing.

Could this have been the Indian who vanished so long ago? The body was discovered less than a mile south of our strange location. They buried the remains nearby, marking the grave with several large rocks. Louie noted that the body didn't resemble 200-year-old remains.

Before hearing the above tale, I often wondered what became of the Indian allegedly swallowed by the archway. If the portal was visible from the opposite side, why didn't he come back through? He might have never noticed a change and, to him, his friends had disappeared. Not finding them, he eventually returned to his village and perhaps also found it missing. Perhaps he was somehow transported forward in time, and for some unknown reason, died on that lonely hillside, only to be found by Louie years later.

The Shimmer

One day, Walt and Roy had their own weird experience near the stone portal. They returned there because Walt wanted to collect some geodes for friends in Tucson.

Looking toward the archway, both saw it appear to shimmer. According to Walt, this lasted several minutes before it slowly faded. During this period, both felt a strange pressure within their ears.

Roy said, "That's it Walt. I'm outta here." After gathering a number of geodes, both left with Roy leading the way--rather fast.

During the summer months, temperatures can reach 110 degrees. The heat waves dancing off a flat surface can make objects appear to shimmer while looking through them. But this was mid-January and the temperature was around 60 or so.

Old Roy would never again return to the site, no matter how we tried to persuade him.

Was the shimmering and ear sensation the beginning of some activation that never reached its full potential? Seeing the expression on Roy's face after he returned to camp--take my word, it happened.

Ghost Camp

A number of individuals have disappeared from the unfriendly rugged hills over the years. Did some make the unfortunate mistake of entering the portal at the wrong time? The following suggests that possibility.

While the four of us were checking out an old silver workings, we came upon a deserted miners camp that Louie had told us about weeks earlier. Everything was left behind--rotted clothing, tools, drill steel, old blankets and cooking utensils. Everything was there to maintain a functional camp. By the looks of several items, I'd say the site was active during the 1930s.

It looked as though somebody just walked away and never returned--or couldn't. The camp was almost a mile from the bizarre site high above. Did this party fall victim to it, or did he become discouraged with mining and abandon camp? I find this highly unlikely.

We also heard a story about a lone prospector who arrived each October and remained until spring. This continued for several years. One day, he vanished, leaving his horse, wagon and camp behind. It was located near a saddle in the mountains--just north of you know what. A body was never found.

We visited this site and found a deep shaft nearby with numerous open cuts on a hill. Was he prospecting or treasure hunting? It was rumored that some bandit's loot--two bags of gold coins--was buried within this area.

Stories like this keep people like us searching.

Stones From the Heavens

Another close encounter occurred about 14 months into our treasure game, a game that seemed to be going nowhere.

While in Arivaca picking up needed supplies, we met three other treasure hunters. They were in the area for a month seeking the famous "Lost Treasure of Carreta Canyon" hidden by the fleeing padres from the Tumacacori Mission during the great Pima uprising of 1751.

We invited them to stop by camp and gave them directions. Several weeks later, they arrived and had an interesting story to tell. By chance, while traveling overland, they camped near the mouth of the canyon leading to the strange area. We discovered this when one pointed to their campsite on his map.

While relaxing one evening after a long, tiring search for this elusive treasure, they heard a sound like rain hitting the tent. Stepping outside, they saw the sky was clear. All at once a shower of hundreds of small stones came cascading down around them. Most were the size of a large pea, were reddish brown and resembled hematite, an iron ore.

Picking several up, they noticed they were quite warm to the touch. Their camp wasn't located near any high cliffs where the stones could have originated. George, a member of the group, jokingly said: "Perhaps we're camping on some ancient Indian burial ground and the spirits want us to leave." He had read an article about an incident similar to this occurring on a burial ground somewhere in the Midwest.

By now, one has to admit something quite out of the ordinary encircles this strange site. I won't definitely say their encounter with the warm stones had anything to do with our odd out-of-time region. Indian spirits or not, something weird occurred while they sat relaxing in their tent.

My Encounter

After our two-year adventure ended without finding buried gold or lost mines, we returned to Washington State for almost a year. We then moved to Arizona, making Tucson our home.

Most of our adult lives have been one long adventure after the other. If Roy and Walt arrived at our door with some wild treasure lead, we'd be off with them the next day. To live such a lifestyle, we all remained single. We were one big happy family of devil-may-care adventurers.

The strange experience I had occurred on Oct. 14, 1973. During one of our two-week adventures, I found myself near the canyon that leads towards that oddball site. Not having been there in almost four years, I decided to pay it a visit. The canyon was just as rugged as ever. After climbing and slipping among the boulders, I finally arrived at the steep hill leading to the site above.

It's a long, weary climb, so I paused for a breather half way up. I sat on the slope facing north. Too my left (west), the steep hill followed the canyon perhaps a mile, but something was definitely wrong. Below to my left was a canyon--where none had existed. Curious, I made my way down, entering it from the eastside, so I thought.

I soon discovered I was in the same canyon that led toward the hill I had just scaled. I was more than 250 yards back down the canyon on a different slope and now I was facing south--I had mysteriously been transported to the new location. Thinking I was looking west, I was really looking east seeing the canyon I had just hiked.

There was no way on earth I could have reached this other slope while climbing the original hill. Knowing where I was, suddenly I knew why this had happened. Any skepticism I had about this crazy site vanished.

I was apprehensive about continuing and should have departed the area immediately. But curiosity led me on. I made the grueling climb once again, passing the spot where minutes before I had been resting.

I realized that if something within this site caused my teleportation, I might not even be in my own time. What a frightening thought that was. I felt somewhat alarmed over the incident that occurred.

Soon, I arrived at the site and looked around. Everything appeared normal. No shimmering effects, lights or other odd observations were observed. However, I noticed how silent it was--not a breeze, a birdcall, nothing. Looking down, I saw the hairs on my arms standing straight up like being near static electricity. I began feeling uneasy and decided to leave.

It seemed each time we visited this twilight zone, we'd discover another geological oddity, and this time was no different. While descending the hill, I found an outcropping of thunder eggs--a cryo-crystalline variety of quartz found in egg-shaped nodules. We had searched this area before, and I couldn't understand how we missed seeing them. After gathering several, I continued on.

If what happened was caused by this tricky mysterious region, I didn't want to perhaps get zapped a second time and wind up God knows where. I was quite relieved when I climbed from the canyon and found my Jeep where I had left it three hours earlier.

Glancing skyward, I spotted a jet passing over. I sure was happy it wasn't some prehistoric bird. I joke now, but something serious could have occurred while in the presence of that weird, upside-down area.

That evening at camp, I tried to arrive at some satisfactory answer to what may have happened. Some force could have been released from the area, but being well below the site, I didn't receive its full impact. Anyway, something moved me within a micro second without ever realizing something occurred. This wasn't my imagination.

I have kept the location secret all these years, as I do not want the area turning into some circus sideshow. Only five living friends of mine know its location. The others--Roy, Walt and Louie--have gone on to that Big Desert in the sky, where all of us will meet again. It is not some UFO landing site or mythical place to communicate with spirits from the beyond, but it is capable of altering time at random.

On my last visit to this wondrous place, I discovered the top portion of the archway had collapsed. All that remains are the two columns. Will this damage interfere with its ability to change time? The following story answers that question.

New Visitors

During 2001, my friend Bill Riley and his wife, Mary, wanted to visit the area after hearing the remarkable stories surrounding it. Both had to promise not to reveal its location to others. After showing them the rugged route on a map, it still took them several attempts to find it.

During their first attempt to reach this forbidden zone, Bill injured his knee but managed to continue. I had to remind them how unfriendly this region can be while prowling its harsh domain.

On their second trip, they missed the right hill. However, they did discover a portion of the geode bed, and were amazed by its expense. That evening, while camping within the canyon, both claimed a slight vibration came from the nearby geodes when placing their hands upon them. Mary later mentioned it was a spooky place and she felt uneasy throughout the night.

The following morning while exploring, Bill discovered a hollow geode large enough to sit in. It's odd we didn't find this large geode while exploring, as I've been there perhaps 10 times.

Like I've mentioned, it's a real odd place. You see something one time and it's gone the next. Could these large geodes be the main source that activates the natural energy within the area, or just more wild unfounded speculation?

On their final trip into this never-never land of mystery, Bill and Mary found the correct hill. After an exhausting climb, they arrived at the site. Bill found most of what I told him to search for, but the archway eluded them.

While searching, Bill and Mary spotted what resembled the two columns off in the distance. Upon arriving where they should have been, both columns had vanished. Was this their imagination, or were the strange forces within the area playing with their minds?

After spending the day searching and not witnessing any strange activities except for the vanishing columns, they left arriving at their truck after dark. While preparing to leave and follow their tracks out to the ranch road, Bill glanced toward the canyon. In the sky above the site, a circular transparent donut-shaped glow was seen resembling the Aurora Borealis. From the inside rim, tiny sparkling particles were observed cascading downward. Taking his digita1 camera, Bill took a picture of the odd display before it vanished.

Later, only the black sky and the moon appeared in the photo. Using a magnifying glass something else could be seen, but it was too faint to make out.

Mary refuses to go there anymore.

Fact or Fiction?

What we have out there is a natural phenomena created accidentally by nature. It alters time, and there's no way to predict when this might occur. The majority of these tricks of time seem to occur during the summer and winter storm season when lots of energy is about. But others happen during the stillness of the night or on sunny days.

Undoubtedly, there will be the skeptics and believers. This is definitely not a hoax or a figment of this writer's imagination. Such a place exists high on a plateau near the Mexican border. Odd things do occur at random within its mysterious boundaries.

Can this site alter time? I believe so until proven wrong.

Strange activities no doubt still occur near this bewildering location but go unnoticed by human eyes due to its remote proximity to civilization. I'll no doubt return there again someday.

Will this uncanny mystery ever be solved? Only time will tell. I believe there's ample evidence to support the claim that something quite unnatural happens at random within this locale.

How does that saying go? Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.