Siskiyou County, California

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  • Sawyers Bar

      Topographic Map of Lost Treasure and Ghost Town Locations

50 miles southwest of Etna

Sawyers Bar, like many "ghost towns," is more of an almost ghost town. It has a church...a very old Catholic Church...built in 1855. Beside the old church is a graveyard. Many of the graves date from the late 1850s to modern times.


On a motorcycle ride through the Siskiyou Mountains, we road up Salmon Creek Road and came to Sawyers Bar, saw the old church, and decided to stop and look around. It's located just off the road and up a small hill. We began checking the names and dates of some of the headstones and monuments. I took a broadside picture of the church. You can tell the church is very old from the look and texture of the wood used to construct it. I also took a few pictures of some of the monuments enclosed in grave fencing. The fencing is wrought iron, with paint chipping off and beginning to rust.


I decided to take a look inside the church. I noticed that the middle window was open about an inch. I looked in the window and saw the church had a full compliment of pews facing the back of the church. A large alter was at the back. I wanted to get a picture, but felt I might get a better picture from the back window (farthest right in the picture. But, each pane (except for one) of that window had white frost or paint with a cross "fingered" in the paint. It also looked like the back area of the church was a closed off area, or at least separated from the main congregation area. A good picture was a no-go from there.


I moved back to the center window. I held up the digital camera to a window pane. To get the pews and the alter, I would have to angle the camera on the window. Doing so caused a reflection, such that the picture would be spoiled. I thought I might be able to take the picture through the opening at the bottom of the window, but wasn't sure. So, I leaned down and looked through the window opening to see what would be in the picture.


As I peered thru the opening at the bottom of the window, I suddenly saw a solid, dark-dark brown (almost black, but not quite) mass in the shape of a head and shoulders glide from left to right and block the light from the window directly opposite me.  It glided from that point towards the back of the church (towards the ater). I immediately straightened up and stepped back from the window. I wasn't sure what I saw, so I looked thru the opening again. It was still there...plain as day! It was about 6 feet tall, and it's "head" covered half of the windows on the opposite wall of the church. To describe it more in detail, its head and shouilders were rounded, and the "body" flared out to a heavy mist-like fog at the bottom. No arms or legs. It was not was gliding. As it reached the alter, it moved slower and I noticed a doorway to the left of the alter I hadn't noticed before. It stopped halfway thru that doorway, as though it couldn't decide to "hide" or not. I stepped back from the window in disbelief.


I wanted to think logically, and surmised that a local resident was walking past the far window, maybe upset that we were in the graveyard and around the church. I waited for the person to round the corner, but no one came. I walked to the back corner of the church expecting to meet the person. But, there was no person. I looked at the back of the church, and there was no back door. There was a solid wall. I thought that maybe the person turned around and was coming around the front of the church. So, I walked to the front and rounded the corner. But again, no person was there. I walked past the front door and looked on the other side of the church. No person was there. But, I also noticed that due to the lay of the land, the foundation on that side of the church was much taller. In fact, the bottom of the windows were higher than my head, and I'm over six feet tall. A person would have to be 10 feet tall to have their head reach the elevation that this black mass had covered the window.


I ran the scenario that happened through my mind again and again, and realized that not only did this dark mass pass in front of the window, but that it had continued towards the back of the church after it past the window. I then realized that what I had seen was not a person. It was a solid dark mass...a ghost! I didn't get a picture. I had the camera in my hand, but I wasn't even thinking of pictures...just watching this thing. The event happened too quickly and, frankly, startled me pretty good. I thought for a moment about going back to the window to get a photo, but I felt almost like I was intruding. And...I really didn't want to peek in that window and see a face looking back at me! So, I decided to take a picture in a "three-quarter" view, getting the side with the window I had looked in.


Later, I downloaded the pictures into my computer. The first was the "broadside" picture of the church. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. the far right window clearly had the paint or frosting in the windows with the crosses "fingered" into the paint. The middle window (the one I looked through) was open at the bottom by about an inch or so. And, the far left window was empty and plain. Next were the pictures of a couple of the graves and monuments. then came the three-quarter view of the church.



When I enlarged the three-quarter picture, I saw nothing in the middle window. But the far left window was different. I saw a face in the left pane on the second to the bottom row. It looks like the face of a young girl. In addition, there seems to be a strange "green hand" in the next pane. The hand seems to be coming from the inside, and if enlarged, you can see what looks to be the end of a sleeve from a white shirt. The fingers of the hand are deformed. Other green masses are in some of the other panes, but I couldn't discern any other faces or figures. I thought that maybe the green was tree branches reflecting off the windows, but looking closely at the distance from the church to the trees and the angle from which the picture was taken to the reflected light, and there are no branches nearby for that window to reflect. The last thing I noticed was some letters drawn into the bottom four panes. "D O N _" (I can't make out the last letter and the words you could make really don't seem to have any significance.


If you look closely at the front door, you'll see that the front door is padlocked. There is no back door, no side doors, and no way for someone to walk past the far side of the church windows. I saw movement inside, and the form was black, solid, shaped like a head and shoulders, and "glided" past the window and continued towards the back of the church. The floors are wood, of course, but I heard no footsteps, even though I was looking through the opening of the window and no other noise was around to drown out any noise from inside.


So, I leave this story for you to enjoy and ponder. If you happen to be around the church, treat it with respect. It is the residence of some former parish member who most likely received great comfort there and has decided to remain. Oh, and the face of the little girl in the window? There was a grave of a little girl in the graveyard.

-Mark Prewitt

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