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No. 89: Sep-Oct 1993

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California's maze stones

Humans have been carving and drawing mazes and building labyrinths from prehistoric times. Primitive peoples laboriously carved cup-and-ring designs; newspapers today print puzzle mazes in the Sunday editions. There is something fascinating, even mystical, about mazes. They are "signs that snare men's minds."

We will never know why the Indians of southern California lavished so much labor etching mazes on hard rock surfaces, D.F. McCarthy, a University of California archeologist, has been studying these California maze stones for over 20 years. He has found over 50 of them so far. Some are over 3,000 years old, he thinks. Most are carved on rocks and boulders. They are just like our modern Sunday-paper mazes, with rectangular passageways, some blind, but always with a devious route leading to the center. Could they symbolize human life, full of potentially wrong turns, but with a Way to enlightenment?

(Hillinger, Charles; "Ancient Carvings of Indians Remain Enigma to Expert," Richmond News Leader, November 11, 1991. Cr. H.C. Nottebart.)

From Science Frontiers #89, SEP-OCT 1993. 1993-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987