Three friends sat around a crackling fire on the night of June 20th, 2014, after a two hour drive into the forest and a seven mile hike up hill, this campground was as remote as they could get.
Around 10 p.m., the sun fully set. Finally, the men got what they'd come for, a crystal clear presentation of the galaxies, constellations they took in the natural wonder when something caught their eye, an unusually large star emitting a blinding light low on the horizon.
It took them a few seconds to realize that the ball of energy was moving. At first they wrote it off as a plane, but its erratic movements resembled nothing of the sort. It descended and descended in the blink of an eye. It danced, hovered and then zoomed closer to their campsite.
The man quickly shut off their lights and killed their radio so they wouldn't attract attention before they knew it. The craft was a stone's throw away from their fire. They held their breaths as the objects seemed to observe them. The men tried to move, but a powerful, unseen energy kept them locked in place after what felt like an eternity. The craft descended back toward the stars with a burst of energy. It shot across the sky, leaving a vibrant turquoise stream in its wake.
The men looked at each other in disbelief. There was no question they'd just seen a UFO and it wasn't alone. The campers spotted three other discs dancing around the Black Hills Valley that evening, each of them just acres away from the illustrious Mount Rushmore. Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a podcast original every Monday and Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth. I'm Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg.
And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious. Don't get us wrong.
Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not. You can find episodes of conspiracy theories and all other precast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream conspiracy theories for free on Spotify, just open the app and type conspiracy theories in the search bar. This is our second episode on Mount Rushmore, the national landmark, which took 14 years to complete, is still a popular tourist destination in South Dakota's Black Hills Forest. Last episode, we talked about the sordid history of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills mountains, where the monument stands.
The government illegally confiscated the South Dakota land from the Sioux tribes at the end of the 19th century. Then the state helped pay sculptor and Ku Klux Klan member Gutzon Borglum to build the landmark. This episode, we'll explore a few conspiracy theories involving the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, like the possibility that the Black Hills Forest is a hotbed for paranormal activity and that there may be a doomsday bunker behind the presidential faces. Some even say the chamber is a time capsule for future civilizations.
We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. Each year, more than three million people venture to the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota.
The sprawling park is 110 miles long and has far more to offer than Mount Rushmore, like the Crazy Horse memorial dedication to the famous Lakota warrior that's nearly 30 feet taller than Rushmore or the geological wonder known as the Devil's Tower.
Not to mention the centuries of Native American history that are ingrained into the landscape.
These features don't just attract national tourists to the Black Hills Forest. According to legend, the park appeals to intergalactic visitors as well. Which brings us to conspiracy theory. Number one, the Black Hills mountains are a hotbed for UFOs and other supernatural activity.
In twenty twenty alone, there have been over a dozen alien sightings near Mount Rushmore, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
These accounts describe a variety of shapes and sizes disc ziga, triangular Eigg, teardrop, sometimes multi crafts, flying in formation, changing colors or speeding off like a fireball.
It's easy to dismiss the testimony from a few tipsy campers or a spooked set of teenagers driving through the forest at night. But it's a lot harder to deny those claims when they come from an official military source.
The Ellsworth Air Force Base is about 15 miles from Black Hills National Forest. Today, it's still home to almost 8000 uniformed men and women.
In July 1952, one of the Ellsworth airmen was on a date at a drive in movie. Halfway through their popcorn and soda, he noticed a strange orange light descending from the night sky.
He pointed the curious object out to his date. Then he realized it wasn't just one strange craft. It was several. They were moving 10 times the speed of any jet fighter, which can fly at 1500 miles per hour.
That evening, the craft descended toward the Black Hills National Forest, home to Mount Rushmore.
The sight rattled the airmen, who couldn't sleep a wink that night. Unable to keep his experience a secret, he went directly to an Air Force intelligence officer the next morning.
Except he wasn't the only one who'd reported the mysterious UFO.
Forty five other civilians and military personnel witnessed the same exact thing. The government could ignore one or two claims by dozens meant they had to officially look into it.
According to paranormal investigator Laurence H. Larson, something called White Project one zero zero seven three immediately took over the investigation. Today, White Project one zero zero seven three is better known as Project Blue Book.
Project Blue Book was a series of studies done by the Air Force into unidentified flying objects. Ironically, the program had just been established earlier that year in 1952, except they closed the Ellsworth investigation just days after it opened.
The agents claimed they already had an explanation for what they classified as the Rapid City Outdoor Theater incident. They simply said reports similar to this have turned out to be ducks.
That's right. Ducks, a government organization specializing in UFOs, told trained airmen that the crafts were a flock of aquatic birds. Never mind the fact that these ducks had to be flying close to 15000 miles per hour on.
The more likely scenario was that the organization was trying to cover up the case and avoid additional panic. UFO sightings aren't the only paranormal activity in the hills around Mount Rushmore. There have also been sightings of a large, hairy beast, better known as Bigfoot. In November 2006, a man drove down Mount Rushmore Road just four miles from the National Monument. It was about five twenty two p.m. when he passed a large, reddish brown mammal.
It was hunched over about three feet from the road and appeared to be peacefully pecking at the grass.
The man checked his rearview mirror and watched as the beast stood on two feet. It was the same height as a nearby no passing sign about eight feet tall. The witness then realized this was no ordinary animal.
When he returned the next day to investigate, the man found no footprints or trace of the creature. But he reportedly did discover an overgrown trail leading from Mount Rushmore Road into a denser part of the forest.
Reports like this are eerily common. In February 2008, an elderly couple living on the outskirts of the Black Hills claimed to hear howls echoing from the forest. The family, full of avid hunters and outdoorsmen, said they could identify the sounds of almost every creature in those hills mountain lions, coyotes, elk, even bears. But these owls were unlike anything they'd heard before.
The couple captured the disturbing screams on tape and sent the recording to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, a community of scientists and specialists who investigated Sasquatch sightings. After analyzing those tapes, the organization agreed these howls were uncharacteristic for any animal in the national park in 2019. That same bone chilling cry disturbed a man visiting his family in the Black Hills. They were sitting outside, enjoying an evening on their farm when a guttural scream came ringing from the forest.
Every turkey, goat, llama and horse on the property froze in their tracks.
This witness claimed he'd never heard a whale like it before, despite having grown up in the area.
These kinds of stories inspired a man named David Petti, lead investigator for the Bigfoot Field Researchers organization he set out to examine the hills around Mount Rushmore.
Petit reportedly met with multiple witnesses that he deemed credible, including park personnel and Native Americans. Each one verified these strange sightings and said they had similar experiences. Even Petit himself claimed he had an almost certain sighting of my own. Unfortunately, he didn't provide more details.
Petit claimed that the Black Hills Forest provided a suitable habitat for a Bigfoot creature. These beasts are believed to require an untouched ecosystem, one that offers a buffet of fruits, berries, roots, fish, poultry, deer and the occasional roadkill. But the problem is, none of these accounts mention a face to face encounter with the alleged monster, at least not a live one.
In August 2006, rumors of a large, hairy bee swirled around Pine Ridge Reservation just a few miles southeast of the Black Hills National Forest and home to the Lakota tribe. One of the residents allegedly shot and killed a Bigfoot after it wandered onto the property after dark.
The police and several Lakota medicine men examined the body, according to a blog post on Krypto Zoome News, an anonymous source claimed the native smudged the creature's corpse was sage and cedar, a ceremonial process. And to cleanse the beast soul, then they offered the Bigfoot a few prayers. Hours later, the police bagged a big foot and took it to the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. According to the Sioux City Journal, the university had 14 million dollars dedicated to scientific research, some of which was confidential for all we know.
The university has answers to the paranormal secrets plaguing the Black Hills. Coming up, NASA offers their explanation. Before we get back to the show, I want to introduce a new Spotify original from cast called Incredible Feats. It's a short daily podcast hosted by comedian Dan Cumins every weekday. Dan explores an account of physical strength, mental focus or bizarre behavior that's sure to leave at least some of you in pure disbelief. But there's no question these unbelievable stories are all true, like the 350 mile nonstop run of Dean Parnassus back in 2005 and Jose Salvador Alvarenga.
Extraordinary tale of survival at sea. And let's not forget Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. Incredible feats covers people and events that pushed boundaries, broke records and revealed new sources of all its offbeat entertainment that will send your mind reeling. So don't miss out. Follow incredible feats free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the story. South Dakota locals, Native Americans, even military personnel have reported UFO and Bigfoot sightings around the Black Hills for decades.
The strange howls before sunset, orange lights descending into the forest and brilliant crafts dancing in the valleys are just the beginning.
So is the Black Hills National Forest attracting this phenomena or is there another explanation? It may seem like UFOs and Bigfoot are completely separate entities, but popular Bigfoot hunter Bill Brock points out that sightings of these beasts often come on the heels of UFO reports. And in 2012, NASA released a statement explaining why.
According to NASA funded physicist and researcher Jack Scudder, there are hidden portals in Earth's magnetic field. Scudder calls them electron diffusion regions, or IDers. Essentially, they are like little wormholes that open and close multiple times a day. He says that most of these gateways only stay open for a few minutes, but there are a few that lock in place for long periods of time. Bigfoot Hunter Broch believes these otherworldly doorways allow multidimensional beings like aliens or bigfoots to temporarily occupy our universe.
And it's possible that the Black Hills National Forest is one of these long term entry points.
Scudder agrees, and he also believes that those portals are tied to the colorful lights often reported in conjunction with UFOs, although he thinks those are due to interdimensional particles heating up the Earth's atmosphere.
This would be the same solar phenomenon that creates the northern lights.
He claims this activity could cause geological storms and aura's that are typically mistaken for UFOs. Scudder also admits we have no way of pinpointing the locations of these portals, so there's no way to prove that they're connected to the Black Hills.
Strange sightings. We also need to consider that UFOs and Bigfoot are a large part of the Native American culture that surrounds the Black Hills region, which means people in this area are more likely to believe they exist.
In a 2009 interview, an unnamed female Lakota discussed the legends of the star people, aliens or God, who watch over them. These star people are said to have visited Earth long before human life existed, and spiritual elders have reportedly been communicating with them for centuries, primarily through ceremonies and offerings.
As far as we can tell, there's never been any proof of contact between the Lakota people and supernatural beings. Willmar Mestas, one of the Lakota elders who allegedly blessed the deceased Sasquatch, told the Sioux City Journal that the Bigfoot story was, quote, a bunch of baloney. I think someone is playing a practical joke.
The School of Mines and Technology Laboratory admitted that they may have a few research projects underway, but none relating to cryptozoology or UFOs, nor did they ever receive a Bigfoot cadaver.
Well, there may have been a few rare sightings of a strange beast in the area. The only thing that's been captured on film are the odd sounds hardly enough to prove there's a Sasquatch roaming the hills below Mt. Rushmore on a scale of one to 10 with 10 as the definitive truth.
I give this theory a two, but we can't rule out the idea of extraterrestrial life visiting Earth. As of this recording, the Pentagon has declassified some of their UFO reports for public inspection, and they plan to release more in January 2020 alone. The National UFO Reporting Center collected more than 500 extraterrestrial accounts. And this is a huge jump from 2019 when 300 reports were recorded. Except these sightings came from all over the country.
Only three of those 500 accounts were from South Dakota, which means UFOs don't appear to have any special connection to the Black Hills Forest. Aside from the Native American folklore, which is why I'm giving this theory a three out of 10, the Black Hills certainly has its mysteries.
But the controversial landmark inside the park may hold a more nefarious trove of secrets. For example, some conspiracy theorists think Mt. Rushmore is the perfect place to hunker down during a nuclear fallout. In the late 1930s, sculptor Gutzon Borglum was only midway through carving Mount Rushmore, but he had additional plans for the monument that never came to fruition.
For example, he wanted to carve the chests and hands of the four presidents.
He also imagined carving a large tablet that gave the country's history.
Borglum also forged a 74 tunnel behind Lincoln's head, one that was meant to lead to a top secret chamber.
According to the official story, that chamber was never completed. However, an anonymous airman from Ellsworth Air Force Base suggested otherwise. He said that the cavern was completed after Borglum passing and that it's outfitted for a nuclear disaster.
Which brings us to conspiracy theory number two, Mount Rushmore holds a doomsday shelter for the U.S. president and other high ranking officials.
A decade after the government pulled the funding on Mount Rushmore, the Cold War began. It sparked national paranoia in civilians and politicians alike. Many feared that the Soviet Union was planning a nuclear attack on American soil and schoolchildren practiced duck and cover drills beneath their desks.
The White House made several continuity of government preparations.
They needed a place where politicians could continue their work in the event of a disaster. Some of those arrangements included the construction of multiple doomsday bunkers, which the government hid in plain sight.
In 1958, the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, claimed they were adding a new conference room that doubled as an art exhibit. The project seemed suspicious to employees and locals in the area. They rolled their eyes as massive shipments of materials and supplies arrived for what was allegedly one additional room.
Even the construction workers felt it didn't add up. One man told reporters they'd received 110 urinals for the room. He wondered, What in the hell are you going to exhibit?
Turns out the government was building a 120000 square foot bunker underneath the resort. That's twice the size of a football field. It had a 25 ton blast door, decontamination chambers, its own power plant and 25000 gallon water tanks.
The shelter also had 18 dorm rooms that slept more than 1000 people and all the amenities to keep residents safe and healthy, like a dentist's office, hospital and a 400 seat cafeteria. It had a television studio and recording booth so they could broadcast news from the bunker, even built official meeting rooms for the House and Senate.
As you might expect, that bunker was never actually occupied, but it was operated as an active facility for over 30 years just in case the nuclear apocalypse should arise.
A small crew of government employees maintained every aspect of the shelter, ensuring that everything was always up to date. Their job was to change filters, update the pharmaceutical department and get rid of expired food.
Most of the resort's employees never even knew the bunker was there, and it probably would have stayed that way had The Washington Post not exposed it in a 1992 article.
Once the press and public got wind of the bunker, Congress put the kibosh on the entire location. In 1995, the government ended their lease with the Greenbrier resort and decommissioned the bunker entirely.
But the Greenbrier wasn't the only doomsday hideout. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy requested his own shelter. It only took two weeks for a few Navy seamen to put the chamber together on Peanut Island, just outside of Palm Beach, Florida, this bunker was even more compact than Greenbrier.
They could only house 30 people for a total of 30 days. Ideally, it was meant to be a stopover point until the president could relocate to a safer destination.
They camouflaged the shelter behind trees and brush. Meanwhile, authorities told Florida residents that the location was a small munitions depot. But inside there were shells full of army rations, gas masks and drinking water. There's even a presidential seal in front of JFK's desk eerily resembling the Oval Office.
Again, locals caught on to the presidential chamber and exposed the location. Well, the government didn't officially admit to the bunker's existence. Until 1974, when it was finally abandoned, the state restored it into a museum in 1999.
If there's one recurring theme here, it's that these bunkers needed to stay under wraps. The government clearly wanted a location that no ordinary citizen would expect, probably because they had limited resources and wanted to protect government officials from any looters or doomsday survivors. A place that was just out of sight and out of reach, like the chamber inside of Mount Rushmore, was an ideal location for an apocalyptic bunker. In fact, the tunnel on Lincoln's head may be connected to an entire colony of shelters on the outskirts of the Black Hills Forest.
Driving south from Mount Rushmore and out of the Black Hills forest, you're likely to spot a smattering of earth covered domes just off of Highway 471. The hundreds of concrete bubbles once belonged to Ford Igloo, a U.S. Army barracks that closed back in 1967.
In 2016, California businessman Robert Fazzino acquired that 18 mile plot of land for his survival shelter company, Vivos. The Enterprise renamed the location Vivus XPoint and is currently working on the largest doomsday compound in the world.
Previously, there were enough bunkers to house five hundred and seventy five families. The property already had a school, a variety of shops, a theater, even a bowling alley, a swimming pool and bar.
Currently, Vivos is redeveloping the property, making it more amenable for the long term.
Each bunker is being restructured to comfortably house 10 to 20 people. They will be protected by a steel blast door, a ventilation shaft and ceiling escape hatches on site.
Security operates 24/7, with military guards, camera systems and electrical fencing. A state of the art water system ensures that no home ever runs dry. Vivos also plans to resurrect igloos, former onsite amenities with additions like a chapel, a horse stable and a few restaurants as well as gyms and spoors.
As of this recording, those bunkers are up for rent, but there's a wait list with a twenty five thousand dollar down payment and a 99 year lease agreement at one thousand dollars a year.
Many people have decided to pay the price for peace of mind.
Vivos says they were attracted to the site because it's one of the safest places in North America. Its high altitude and dry climate means the weather is rather mild. It's far enough inland from large bodies of water. So there's no concerns of flooding or tsunamis. And it's more than 100 miles from the closest nuclear military targets like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other major cities.
It's possible Vivos also chose this location, knowing Mount Rushmore was home to a presidential bunker. If the nation were to start over in the wake of a disaster, a leader should be in close proximity to other survivors. And while the two shelters are over an hour's drive from one another, they may be geographically connected by a network of underground caverns.
South west of Mount Rushmore is the Jewel Cave National Monument. It happens to be the third longest cave system in the world. According to the Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association, the cavern has over 200 miles of passageways and it's only 72 miles away from Vivos Wind Cave.
National Park, also south of Mount Rushmore, is another network with 150 miles worth of winding caverns, many of which are off limits to tourists. Rushmore Cave is the closest cavern and runs directly underneath the monument, meaning it could form a direct path between the presidential bunker and Vivus itself.
Problem is, no one has officially mapped out where these caves lead to, and there's no indication that they connect Vivos XPoint to Mount Rushmore directly. Right now, it's pure speculation, but not impossible.
It's also important to point out the durability of the Mt. Rushmore monument itself. Geologists say that it will naturally erode only one inch every 10000 years, every fall. The National Park Service spends a month sealing any cracks and fissures to the monument. They aren't using superglue. They're sealing it with Kevlar. The same material used to make bulletproof vests and armor. Those same geologists insist that this is to keep snow and ice from damaging the presidential carvings, not to keep it sealed from nuclear warfare.
But we already know the government's been building and maintaining doomsday bunkers for decades, and they only confirm their existence after they've been exposed by the media. So maybe the time just hasn't come yet for Mount Rushmore.
The biggest problem with this nuclear bunker theory is Mount Rushmore is proximity to D.C. or lack thereof.
It would be incredibly challenging for elected officials to make it to South Dakota on short notice. It would make more sense to build something below the Pentagon or inside of some other historical monument like the Lincoln Memorial. And as far as we can tell, no one's reported suspicious construction at the landmark. No one sign for a urinal delivery to Abraham Lincoln had not to mention this rumor began with one anonymous airman and no one has corroborated it since. Ultimately, I have to give this theory a two out of 10.
I'd have to agree with you on that rating, mainly because there have been a few people who've seen the interior of Mount Rushmore and they haven't reported a doomsday bunker.
But their claims do suggest Berglund's vision came to fruition after all. Coming up, the truth behind Mount Rushmore secret chamber. Now back to the story. Around 1938, Gutzon Borglum carved a 70 foot tunnel in the cliff behind Lincoln's head on Mount Rushmore. The government insisted Borglum finish the faces before he made any more progress on this secret chamber. But Congress pulled the funding before he could finish. The space became the source of conspiracy theories, including the possibility of a doomsday shelter.
But the truth is the room may have fulfilled its intended purpose. This brings us to conspiracy theory number three, Mount Rushmore, as Chamber holds the nation's greatest treasures and was intended to be a time capsule for future generations.
For those who work closely with Borglum, the term Hall of records probably came up in conversation often. Turns out Borglum had much bigger ideas for the monument beyond what the eye could see.
BoardGames vision for this hall included an 800 foot granite stairway that would ascend up the back side of Mount Rushmore. This would bring guests to a giant glass doorway that stood 20 feet high. He wanted a bronze eagle with a 15 foot wingspan to greet visitors upon entry. It would even hold a banner that read America marches on. Beyond those doors, Borglum imagined a great rotunda with gold and blue walls.
It would be home to the bronze busts of other prominent U.S. figures, also sculpted by Borglum, as well as in-depth biographies of each president.
But most importantly, Borglum wanted the Hall of Records to be the permanent home to America's priceless treasures. He envisioned Mount Rushmore as the final resting place for documents like the original Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Borglum wanted to improve on ancient works like the pyramids and Stonehenge. He felt their biggest flaws were that they lacked ingrained context or backstory, meaning they literally didn't have their history engraved upon them since Borglum believed Mount Rushmore would live well beyond humanity's understanding of it.
He didn't want his monument to suffer that same fate.
Borglum voiced his fear, saying You might as well drop a letter into the world's postal service without an address or a signature as to send that carved mountain into history without identification in John Tolliver's book, Great White Fathers.
He says that Borglum wanted it so that thousands of years into the future, people would not just see these heads, but have the manual and all the pieces to reassemble the American civilization. The ideas, the words, the blueprint.
While the sculptor never saw the Hall of Records come to fruition. His daughter, Mary Ellis Borglum, wanted to fulfill his legacy. In 1998, she urged the Mount Rushmore Society to complete her father's vision.
The nonprofit, which oversees the preservation and enhancement of Rushmore, raised two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for this renovation. Ironically, this was the same amount Borglum received to construct the landmark under President Coolidge.
In the summer of 1998, the society ordered 16 porcelain panels, each engraved with the text of the country's most important documents the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, to name a few.
The team stored each Slaid in its own teakwood box and placed them inside a new titanium vault. Then they sealed the site under 100 pounds of granite Capstone, hoping to preserve the plates for thousands of years.
Today, this Hall of records is closed to the public, so we can't confirm whether or not those porcelain slates are the only thing underneath that titanium vault. There's also a 24 hour security team surrounding the monument, which makes you wonder if there's something more secretive beneath those doors.
Still, park officials insist that this security team is solely there to protect the visitors.
There's not even a staircase leading up to the faces or the chamber, but many have tried to get closer to the monument the only way they know how by scaling the mountain in July. Twenty eighteen, a Michigan teenager was arrested after he tried to climb the landmark.
Oddly, the stunt happens at least once a year in July 2019. A woman claimed Rushmore barefooted and without a rope. She got 15 feet from the top before authorities finally caught her. Each perpetrator paid a 1000 dollar fine for the offense.
Unfortunately, neither of those trespassers got a look inside that chamber.
But there are employees at Mount Rushmore who say they have. In 2018, journalist Rebecca Wilton's got the monuments caretakers to reveal an additional keepsake boxes upon boxes of fireworks.
For years, the park held an annual Fourth of July celebration at the landmark. It was said to be one of the most impressive displays of fireworks in the country.
But the state stopped hosting the display back in 2009 when they feared the forest was too dry, running the risk of wildfires. But on July 4th, 2020, the show returned.
The 350000 dollar display of pyrotechnics came directly out of South Dakota taxpayer's pockets.
Aside from a storage space for fireworks, no one's reported anything unusual coming or going from Mount Rushmore.
Currently, the monument is under the jurisdiction of the Black Hills National Forest Park rangers. If the government was hiding something more clandestine, security might be a bit tighter. The military would probably guard the landmark, but they don't.
Meaning conspiracy theory number three appears to be true. After all, Mt. Rushmore does hold some of the nation's treasures, although they're far from the original documents. And Gutzon Borglum did intend on leaving that information for future generations. Whether or not a distant civilization will be able to unlock that titanium vault is another question, but I feel confident giving this theory a nine out of 10.
I agree this is one theory I can get on board with. But this doesn't mean Mt. Rushmore is design is set in stone forever. As of this recording, the national landmark is still undergoing new changes.
In July 2020, the National Park Service began a massive overhaul of Mt. Rushmore. The project received eight million dollars in federal funding to take care of several deferred maintenance projects to improve accessibility and safety for guests. A majority of the work will be done on the visitor center, replacing the roofs and building new stairwells, elevators and cooling systems. The project won't be done by government contractors, but instead by local workers in the Rapid City area. So we can expect that any new additions will be benign and the presidents themselves won't undergo any changes.
There have been inquiries about whether or not an additional face can be added to the monument. Maureen Magee Ballenger, Mount Rushmore chief of interpretation and education, claims dozens of people have made proposals to add a fifth figure over the years.
In 1937, while Borglum was still constructing Mount Rushmore, a bill was pitched to Congress suggesting women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony be commemorated on the structure. Unfortunately, Congress didn't agree.
Decades later, in November 1963, it was suggested that John F. Kennedy be added to the monument after his assassination. That idea was also rejected.
But even if they do agree on a new face, McGee Bellinger says the additions would be impossible. Gutzon Borglum used up all the rock that was once suitable for carving.
As we discussed last episode, Jefferson's face was initially placed to the left of Washington's. But after hitting faulty rock, the entire project needed to be shifted to the right. A rock engineering firm called Respec has since looked into the possibility of adding a new face somewhere else on the mountain after closer to. Examination, they agreed that the granite was too unstable and could damage the existing sculptures.
Ultimately, the National Park Service and the U.S. government are adamant that Gutzon Borglum. S work is complete. They have no intention of spoiling the integrity or vision of his creation. As for the native people who once owned the Black Hills Forest, they're still rightfully bitter about the monument and they continue to fight with Congress in hopes of one day reclaiming the land that's rightfully theirs.
Chase Iron Eyes is the lead councilman for the Lakota People's Law Project, an organization dedicated to amplifying native voices and protecting their rights.
Ionised hopes the government will return the land to fulfill a native prophecy, one that's necessary for humanity's evolution, he said. When you place indigenous lands back in indigenous hands, the world will begin to heal.
Maybe there's a way for the native prophecy and Berglund's vision to fit together. Perhaps Mt. Rushmore will come to be an American Stonehenge over time. Once the world heals and humanity has evolved to a higher plane of existence, it may lead to a new civilization, one that will stumble upon Borglum Hall of records like he hoped, meaning perhaps Mt..
Rushmore is the best way to immortalize American history.
After all, the only problem is they're not going to get the entire story.
Thanks for tuning into conspiracy theories, we'll be back Monday with an all new episode.
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Conspiracy theories was created by Max Cutler and is a perkier studio's original. It is executive produced by Max Cutler, Sound Design by Russell Nash with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Bruce Kaktovik. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Lori Gottlieb with writing assistants by Ali Whicker and stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy.
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