The ruins of a lost civilization are overlooked by hikers on a daily basis in the mountains above Malibu…at least that is what Robert Stanley claims.
My mission last week was to explore part of the Santa Monica Mountains and see what, if anything, I could find that supports Stanley’s notion that a lost civilization of Lemurians once inhabited this area…something ripped from the pages of a Thomas Pynchon novel.
One of the difficulties in conducting this expedition lay in the sketchiness of the details. Stanley hasn’t posted much on the subject. Under the title Megalithic Monuments of Mu, Stanley noted that he found ancient ruins in the hills above Malibu. He also notes that he found “megalithic monuments” in the area. There are a half dozen pictures posted in his article but he doesn’t explain the pictures or how they relate to the monuments he found. A caption states “the Sphinx face overlooks the Mu.”
The implication is that an early civilization carved a monumental face in the sandstone somewhere in the Santa Monica mountains. But Stanley never actually says this. The authors of Weird California hedge on the claim by saying “There was also a huge rock outcropping that resembled the outline of a human face staring out to the Pacific, which Stanley dubbed the Sphinx.”
Enter the park from the north and view the area from Conejo Peak. This should be the area where the ruins are located, according to a newsgroup posting that located them about one mile north of Cracked Roch (Split Rock).
It turns out that the trail to the top of Conejo Peak is pretty steep – over 1,000 feet climb in under two miles. A bit much for this early in the season. One very cool feature of the hike is the mountain lion capture area along the connector trail between Danielson and Staber roads. A series of three traps, appearing to be in disrepair, along with the bones from the trap bait (deer carcasses) are placed along the trail. A creepy sight, it made me feel like I had stumbled into the Lost Elephant Graveyard from the Lion King.
From Conejo Peak you can clearly see Robert Stanley’s Sphinx (pictured above) well to the south. I thought it would be more difficult to find, seeing that Stanley quotes an archeologist who had explored the area on several occasions but was never able to find this feature.
(It should be noted that the Sphinx, and presumably the remainder of the ruins, is west of Split Rock, not north as a newsgroup poster claimed.)
It don’t know the area well enough to identify the outcropping, but I believe it is called Boney Bluff, due west of Sandstone Peak. It looks like an interesting area to explore and seems to be a favorite with climbers. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe there is an actual face carved into this mountain. More likely it is a mimetolith…a rock that has a shape resembling something else.
Further exploration is necessary!