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Shocktober: Lost Lair of the Lizard People

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In the summer and fall of 1933, a Los Angeles mining engineer named G.Warren Shufelt was surveying the LA area for deposits of oil, gold and other valuable materials using his new invention, called a radio X-ray. Shufelt claimed he was able to locate gold and other precious resources at great depths using his invention, which operated based on a principle involving electrical similarities between matter, and was said to have worked even at a distance of many miles.

One day, while taking readings near downtown Los Angeles, Shufelt's instruments revealed what seemed to be a pattern of tunnels leading from what is now the Public Library in the heart of downtown to the top of Mount Washington, and then to Pasadena in the north. What he had stumbled upon appeared to be a well-planned underground labyrinth which fed into large rooms located at various points with deposits of gold in the chambers and passages. Some of the tunnels ran west for 20 miles under the Santa Monica Bay, which he believed were used for ventilation.

Shufelt began to research the history of the area; during the course of his investigation, he met a Hopi chief named Little Green Leaf, who told him about the legend of an ancient race of "Lizard People." The legends said that about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, an enormous meteor shower fell on the western coast covering an area hundreds of miles wide. Thousands of people were killed, their crops wiped out, dwellings destroyed and the forests set on fire. Survivors met and began plans for a safe area, to be used as refuge in the event of another catastrophe. The subterranean complex Shufelt had discovered was an emergency shelter, designed to accommodate 5,000 people or less. Valuable personal belongings, utensils and food were stored in the complex, along with historical records and gold treasures. When disaster threatened again, the Lizard People were forced to go underground to save themselves; they survived the meteor shower but were killed by natural gas leaking into their bunkers.

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As a result of the information he recieved from Chief Little Green Leaf, Shufelt believed that the underground complex he had discovered was one of 13 built all over the Southwest. Shufelt's deduction was based on the part of the legend which claimed one of the underground cities was located under a hill, surrounded by a curving ridge of mountains like the middle of a horse's hoof—much like the area that is now the Board of Education, which is built over the ruins of the Willis Estate on Fort Moore Hill.