#11 – Real Adventure – 1982

(Fred Rydholm):

Russell Burrows liked to explore places that had been untouched for a long time. He knew of an area where rumor held there had once been a number of old homesteads. It was common knowledge in that region. There was also a legend connected with the homesteads; it had to do with a cave. Russell was vaguely familiar with it in various forms, though he’d never paid it much attention. But that legend may have nudged him to explore this particular place.

Burrows was headed into quite a large area, open but wooded, with a rather rugged terrain. Besides a lunch he carried a metal detector, with which he hoped to locate relics of a century and more past: parts of old stoves, lamps, wedges, axe heads and other tools – things naturally left or lost by early settlers and homesteaders.

This was his hobby, and though pleasant and recreational in its way, he had became quite serious in this pursuit and worked hard and long at it. He was very tired at the end of a day. And although he returned day after day, there always seemed to be a lot of ground left to cover.

Over the course of a few weeks Russell had become familiar with a certain valley that had some distinct features. Once or twice when he was lost or turned around in his directions he would wander into this familiar spot, and would know exactly where he was.

When first telling me this story Russell mentioned the fact that he often returned to this valley and sat on the edge of a bluff, where he ate his lunch. When leaving this spot he would naturally step on a bare flat stone in his path; the rock had its edges concealed and it looked as if it belonged there. He had taken no special note of this stone up to this time.

It was in April of 1982 that this sequence of events took place. It was a good time to do this kind of looking, because plants hadn’t started to

blossom out yet to the point of covering a lot of things that would be completely hidden a month or two later in the spring.

After about two weeks of no luck, Russ had taken his seat on the bluff which overlooks the valley. He was very tired and a little discouraged. It was a long walk out, and as he contemplated the situation he felt he was on a wild-goose chase. He decided to give up and go home.

He stood up and stepped on the edge of the flat rock, while turning. This he apparently had not done before. His weight on the side of this round rock flipped it down as if on a pivot, and Russell found himself falling into a pit below the rock.

(Russell Burrows resumes):

I found myself falling into a pit which had been secreted beneath large oval stone which, as I later discovered, was fitted into the pit opening and designed to flip or turn over when stepped on. The unfortunate victim would fall to the bottom of the pit, the stone would swing back in place and the victim would be trapped. I was fortunate: when I stepped on that stone, I was in the act of turning and the stone, instead of flipping over, slid off to one side and left the pit open.

I do not actually remember hitting bottom; my next recollection is of hanging on to the lip of the pit by my elbows, in great alarm.

I admit that I have a great fear of holes that I’m not ready for, because of snakes. But I found none. When I had freed myself and regained my composure, I began to examine the pit and have a look at what was to be the beginning of the greatest adventure of my life.

The hole in the ground was about thirty inches across at the top, less than six feet wide at the bottom, and twelve feet deep. Once the stone lid was removed, it was not too difficult to get down inside, and arrangements could be made to get out safely.

At the bottom of the pit I found a very large face carved into the wall. There were also many other figures cut into the wall as well as strange symbols. I noticed the face was done in such a way that it was watching or looking across the pit at a sealed-up portal or doorway. I seemed to detect a dreadful aura about that portal and decided that I wanted nothing to do with it. It is still just as I found it and just as I left it.

I sat down to calm my nerves, catch my breath and give the situation some thought. I did not have to be a genius to figure out that I had stumbled into something that just should not be in Illinois. I have hunted for and found many artifacts of the American Indians and there are many of their sites in my part of the state, but I knew then that this was not American Indian. The face I had been nose to nose with was different from anything I had ever seen. The nose was flat, the eyes were wide-set and the lips were thick. Then, of course, there were all those strange symbols to consider.

About this time I began to take a good hard look at the valley I was in, and I began to realize that this was a strange sort of place. With my new knowledge it took on a whole new perspective and looked quite different than it had before.

I decided to forget the homestead and have a good look around. Maybe, I thought, I might find some other strange things. Someone had obviously done a great deal of work there, many many years ago. If I could have foreseen the future and what lay ahead of me, I probably would have gotten out of that valley and kept my mouth shut about what I had seen. But we have little power to look into the future and of course I wanted to find out more.

Thus began the search of the valley which has resulted in the controversy to end all controversies. Is this stuff real and genuine, or is it all a hoax? I am still unable to answer that question, but I am relating the facts as they occurred, as best my memory allows.

The sights which I am about to describe were actually seen by me. As for what they are, I can only say that I am not qualified to determine what all of these things are or what they mean. I know that they do not fit in with history as we have been taught. We must rely on scholars for that determination, and if this site proves to be genuine, are the scholars big enough to admit it and change their ideas accordingly, or will they spend the ensuing years trying to discredit me and what I have found?