Investigation of an Anomalous Stone Structure

near Hazleton, Pennsylvania

by

Michael A. Frizzell [1]

In collaboration with Full Circle Researchers and the Center for Exploration & Documentation of Anomaly Reports

 

Since prehistory humankind has engaged in building, shaping, or arranging stone as tribute to important people, places, and things.

Stone works abound on this planet and range from mysterious, ancient wonders like the Sphinx, Stonehenge, and the Baalbek Ruins to more contemporary marvels like Mount Rushmore and the Washington Monument [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] . Stone represents an immutable, nearly eternal artistic medium that continues to express our feelings long after we have gone. And it is the immortality of stone that compels us to repeat this type of construction regardless of the epoch.

Few discoveries elicit more mystique than those of old stone works of unknown origin. To those who will listen, such petrologic riddles silently speak. Within their mute testimony is the challenge, “I am a mystery for all to see. Decipher me.”

In fact, the above scenario played out recently for Full Circle Researchers [7] , Earl and Pat Dundore. The Lebanon County couple had been told by research contact, Brandon Trovitch that an unexplained stone structure was in a wooded area near Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Trovitch, a resident of Hazleton, knew that Pat and Earl had an interest in stone and earthworks.

The Dundores’ interest stemmed from having spent several years seeking and documenting such unusual structures [8] . In 2003, they performed joint research with the Enigma Project on the mysterious stone chambers of New York’s Hudson Valley [9] (see Figures 1 - 4).

Figure 1- Rt. 301 Chamber “A” Kent Cliffs, NY. Photo credit M.A. Frizzell

 

Of the nearly 400 chambers that have been cataloged throughout New England and New York [10] , scientific opinion remains divided on their origin [11] [12] . While some authorities contend that they are simply root cellars built by early American colonists, others argue that they are much older constructs--possibly of pre-Columbian origin [13] . Already steeped in controversy, the Hudson Valley chambers also have paranormal claims associated with them. Some of these odd structures have allegedly been sources of a variety of unexplained phenomena [14] .

 

Figure 2- Rt. 301 Chamber “B” Kent Cliffs, NY. Photo credit M.A. Frizzell

Figure 3- Ludingtonville Rd. Chamber, Ludingtonville, NY. Photo Credit-Earl & Pat Dundore

Figure 4- The “Kings Chamber” Putnam Valley, NY. Photo credit Bruce & Tami Haines.

Given their previous experience with the stone anomalies of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, upon hearing of the Hazleton structure, the Dundores wasted little time getting together with research colleague, Kurt Strouse and contact Trovitch for an excursion to the site. A brief hike through the woods, revealed the solitary edifice (see Figure 5). The general vicinity around the object yielded no obvious clues as to its origin or purpose. The stones, of which it was composed, were unmistakably hewn by some unknown craftsman. They also appeared to be of the same composition of the many large rocks and boulders found throughout the immediate forest area (see Figure 6). The team excitedly measured the roughly square structure and found it to have a base dimension of 7 feet 6 inches that gradually tapered to 6 feet 6 inches at the top where its maximum height was 8 feet. No petroglyphs, inscriptions, or anything recognizable as language was seen on or around the structure.

Figure 5- Anomalous Stone Structure near Hazleton, PA. Photo credit Earl & Pat Dundore.

The group observed that in general appearance the object was old. In fact, there appeared to be a kind of chinking or mortar between some of the stones and it was decomposing and falling out. A sizable portion of the structure on one side, near the top, was damaged as several large stones had fallen out of place and now lay on the forest floor. Despite its stoic and imposing form, it was obvious that the strange stone arrangement was slowly yielding to the ravages of time.

The researchers could find no obvious explanation for the odd formation. Nonetheless, despite the anonymity it shared with other such petrologic mysteries, it patiently waited for its history to be revealed.

After being out of touch with the Dundores for several years, this writer was delighted to reunite with Earl and Pat at a recent conference near Pittsburgh. At that time, Earl explained that he recently examined a mysterious stone structure near Hazleton, Pennsylvania and would email me photos of it. On receiving those photos (example at left), I was surprised at the sight of the object. I had never seen anything quite like it. Could it be a tomb, we wondered, or perhaps the marker for some ancient sacred place? Without a doubt, the structure had fastened an inescapable grip of intrigue on all of us.

 

Figure 6- Boulders abound in forest adjacent to structure near Hazleton, PA. Photo: M.A. Frizzell

With the permission of Full Circle Researchers, I began a cursory investigation to determine the stone oddity’s identity. After sifting through many hours of internet articles and historical news items related to Hazleton, and consulting books on ancient artifacts in my own library, I found absolutely no reference to the structure. My next approach was to contact the Hazleton campus of the Pennsylvania State University in the hope that some faculty member there might be of help.

By chance, while looking through a library newsletter for the PSU Hazleton Campus, I saw mention of one Joseph Michel, a local mining historian. Mr. Michel had recently given a campus presentation on the history of coal mining in Hazleton. Since the newsletter praised the depth and passion of Michel’s historical knowledge, I reasoned that he would be a likely person of whom I should make an inquiry.

Once I located his mailing address, I sent Mr. Michel a photograph of the puzzling structure accompanied by a letter asking if he had any knowledge of it. Much to my surprise, several days later I received a phone call from the Pennsylvania historian.

The clear, broadcast–quality voice on the other end of the phone explained that he was a retired, 78 year old professional engineer and surveyor who spent decades studying the technology and history of Hazleton’s once bustling, mining industry (see Figure 6).

Figure 6- Joseph Michel examines a rare mining map in his Document Room.  Photo M.A. Frizzell

As he delivered all the enthusiasm and command of a university lecturer, Joseph Michel’s introduction intrigued me. He said that he was calling to comment on the photograph that I sent to him. With flowing, encyclopedic detail he went on to explain that the stone structure that had kept us so captivated was, in fact, a mining survey monument that had been built by a Hazleton mining company and put in place in 1891. The purpose of the stone monument (originally one of several in the area) was to designate “Line T2 for the Jeddo Drainage Tunnel A” that coursed through the earth about 700 feet directly beneath it. Michel said that the tunnel, considered an engineering marvel at the time, was dug by a crew of 700 men from 1891 to 1895 and was 15,100 feet long and 8 feet square (see Figure 7). Its purpose was to divert water away from mining operations and to drain and reclaim previously flooded mines [15] .

 

Figure 7- Jeddo Drainage Tunnel. Photo credit Joseph Michel.

 

 

Subsequent to my phone conversation with him, Mr. Michel extended an invitation to this writer and the Full Circle Researchers to visit him at his private museum in Hazelton. We eagerly accepted his offer and recently made that trip.

We discovered that Joseph’s museum is housed in a medium-sized, one-story office building in Hazleton. It is an amazing collection of mining documents, books, maps, technical hardware and a wide range of memorabilia that he has amassed over several decades (see Figures 8 & 9).

In what is undeniably a labor of love, Mr. Michel has succeeded in preserving the soul of Hazleton’s mining history.

Figure 8- Collections of antique Surveyors Transits and Plumb-bobs. Photo: M.A. Frizzell.

Figure 9- Mining helmets, carbide lamps, and other devices. Photo: M.A. Frizzell.

 

How rare it is to find complete explanations for the mysteries that we explore. Thanks to Joseph Michel, in the case of Hazleton’s stone structure, mystique and questions have now been replaced with facts and surprising historical knowledge.

SECRETUMI  CESSUM  SCIENTIA

(Mysteries Yield Knowledge)

--End--



[1] The Enigma Project, researcher director (www.enigmaproject.org )

[7] Full Circle Researchers, Earl & Pat Dundore, co-directors (www.fullcircleresearchers.com )

[10] Imbrogno, Philip and Marianne Horrigan. Celtic Mysteries in New England, Llewellyn Publications: MN, 2000, p. 19.

[11] New York Times, “Stone Chambers Silent on Their Makers,” by Michael Pollak, July 16, 1995.

[12] Trento, Salvatore M. Field Guide to Mysterious Places of Eastern North America, Henry Holt Publishers: NY, 1997, pp. 212-213.

[13] Imbrogno, Philip and Marianne Horrigan. Celtic Mysteries in New England, Llewellyn Publications: MN, 2000, pp. 63-64.

[14] Ibid, pp. 116-124.

[15] Korson, George. Black Rock, Mining Folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch, Johns Hopkins Press:Baltimore, 1960, pp. 68-70.


© 2008 M.A. Frizzell, All Rights Reserved.