When residents in Los Angeles opened the front pages of the L.A. Times on the morning of January 29, 1934, some of them might have spilled their coffee out of shock at seeing the headlines. It was strange, exciting, and there was also an error. It read “Lizard Peolpe’s Catacomb City Hunted.” Legends about the lizard people had always been there, but it must have been the first time that print media featured a story on the topic.
Jean Bosquet, an L.A. Times reporter, wrote the story on the claims of G. Warren Shufelt, a mining engineer. According to Shufelt, he had created a machine, “Radio X-Ray,” and mapped the area, which displayed amazing things.
Shufelt said the X-ray showed a massive network of tunnels beneath Los Angeles covering a vast area. Supposedly, these tunnels weren’t built by our ancestors but by another race called the “Lizard People.” He also said that several locations in the tunnels contained treasures.
The Newspaper Report That Aroused The Curiosity
So, did Lizard People exist and inhabit the undergrounds of modern L.A.? Or were they just rumors or folk tales of the past? We may never know, but it’s an exciting theory. But many people like Shufelt believed it. Here is a quote from the Jean Bosquet story dated January 29, 1934.
“Busy Los Angeles, although little realizing it in the hustle and bustle of modern existence, stands above a lost city of catacombs filled with incalculable treasure and imperishable records of a race of humans further advanced intellectually and scientifically than even the highest type of present-day peoples, in the belief of G. Warren Shufelt, geophysical mining engineer now engaged in an attempt to wrest from the lost city deep in the earth below Fort Moore Hill the secrets of the Lizard People of legendary fame in the medicine lodges of the American Indian.”
The reporter must have been over-excited because he hardly takes a breath to give the reader this exciting and weird information. The article continues and mentions that Shufelt and his assistants truly believed that there were indeed tunnels and treasures under Los Angeles. So they had already started digging and inserted a shaft 250 feet inside the earth. The entrance of the shaft was on North Hill Street.
Shufelt trusted his device entirely, and therefore, he wanted to continue inserting the shaft below until it reached a thousand feet. He and his aides planned to stop after that if the venture yielded no positive result. The dig didn’t produce the desired outcome, so Shufelt and his aides abandoned the project by December of that year.
Along with the story, the newspaper also printed a map created by Shufelt according to his findings with the help of the X-ray machine. Readers can understand the structure of the tunnels by looking at the image printed on page 5 of the paper.
The image showed an artist’s imagination of the Lizard People working on the top right-hand side. On the left-hand side, it showed Shufelt and his assistants at the entrance of the shaft and below the engineer working with his device. The series of tunnels occupied the center of the image/map.
The tunnels were basically under the areas of Fort Moore Place, North Broadway, and North Hill Street. The article indicates that Shufelt and his aides believed that the Lizard People had a “Key Room” located under Broadway and 2nd Street. The “Key Room” was supposedly a place where the ancient race made plans and stored all their treasures and important information written on gold tablets.
Investigations into people’s hunt for treasure by a Times reporter indicated that some enthusiasts dug but didn’t find any significant amount of gold. The reporter also discovered that a Times report from around May 1934 said that an old-time prospector requested to dig on the hill, but the authorities denied permission. It was because the county made a deal with Shufelt and his assistants to share 50-50 of any profit obtained from the dig.
Lizard People: Fact Or Fantasy
What made G. Warren Shufelt so convinced that the Lizard People really existed in the past and that they left behind a vast series of tunnels and gold underneath Los Angeles? After Shufelt’s machine showed the results, which he believed to be an extensive tunnel system, he met a Hopi Native American in Arizona who told him the legend about the “Lizard People.”
As per the story that appeared in the L.A. Times, The Hopi chief told Shufelt that around five thousand years back, a massive inferno burned down the whole area of present Los Angeles. The inferno is said to have been caused by a meteorite. Therefore, the “Lizard People” built at least three cities beneath the spot where L.A. stands today. It’s believed that the tunnel system is so vast that it reaches up to the sea coast.
The term “Lizard People” bestowed on the ancient race isn’t because they were reptilian in nature, as some conspiracy theories suggest today, or the kind shown in movies. Instead, they considered the lizard as a vital being, and it symbolized long life. This race built the underground cities in the shape of the lizard, according to Shufelt’s narration.
One of the cities shaped like a lizard below Los Angeles had its head under the Dodger Stadium. The site beneath downtown Central Library was the location of the tail.
The curiosity regarding the “Lizard People” increased even more when the “Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research” received a letter from a woman on September 26, 1934, who made some weird and shocking claims.
The woman mentioned in the letter that she had a vision one evening on December 22, 1933, when she was with some friends. According to reports, her friends also confirmed the clairvoyant moment which the lady had.
She described that in her vision, she saw two civilizations at different times. One was a more recent one that had excelled in art and architecture and surpassed whatever is present today. The other vision was about an older civilization that consisted of cities underground with giant tunnels, some extending to the oceans.
She thought that this older civilization built underground tunnels to prevent attacks from other people and also to safeguard their society. Her friends said that Miss Edith had the vision before there was any mention of the Lizard People by the local media.
An Alternate Theory
While many people got curious about the Lizard People, the tunnels, and the buried treasure, others had different views regarding the story in the L.A. Times. Several individuals have said that the mining engineer’s “discovery” was nothing but an attempt to gain attention, and his claims were “tall tales.”
The report said that G. Warren Shufelt spread the rumor so that he would get a chance to dig and look for the so-called treasure. This theory emerged after being compared to another rumor suggesting Protestant graveyards in the 1930s held significant treasures.
It was a kind of “get rich quick scheme” with great promises but which delivered nothing. It seemed like that because digs and hunts didn’t yield anything that Shufelt initially claimed.
Whether it was a hoax or not, Shufelt’s story about the network of underground tunnels and the Lizard People has become an urban legend. Locals and visitors are still curious, and indeed, Shufelt’s machine was right about one thing. There are tunnels beneath Los Angeles.
Rumors abound that people used these tunnels to transport alcohol during the prohibition era. These tunnels are enormous, and some areas have huge hall-like spaces, but these are considered natural formations and not artificial.
Though the story says that the Lizard People were superior humans who revered lizards, there is another theory regarding them. According to this theory, they are called lizard people because they’re reptilians who can shift shape at will.
The assumption is that this race has a serpent/lizard head and a human body and has already infiltrated humankind and taken over the world. But that is a story for another time.
Though the project was discontinued, Shufelt disappeared from public view, and the stories stopped in the papers; people’s imagination didn’t. If anyone asks a resident about the Lizard People, they’ll hear the most amazing stories.
Rumor, hoax, legend, or whatever people call it, there is something to ponder. Most legends have some truth to it. So, who knows? Maybe there existed a race who were superior to modern humans and built the underground tunnels and cities.
While there isn’t any evidence yet, experts may someday develop highly sophisticated devices that can capture images hundreds and thousands of feet beneath the ground. Then only will the answers be found, and everyone will know whether there indeed are the famous tunnels and treasure trove.
Until then, enthusiasts can read stories, ask old-timers about it, and examine the map on various platforms. They can come up with their opinions regarding the legendary superior humans because, whether real or not, no law prohibits people from fantasizing about anything.