“Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung a sign to show that there He makes men.” – Daniel Webster (1782-1852), American politician.
According to ancient Chinese tradition, the Gods of heaven had a corresponding representation on Earth. Large rocks, mountains or capricious terrain reliefs were part the Gods’ circulation cycle, through which they lived and fed. Therefore, every time one of those images collapsed, it meant that the corresponding God’s survival cycle was over.
This might have been why, when the “Old Man of the Mountain” – a series of five granite cliff ledges in the White Mountains of the Franconia Notch State Park in the United States – collapsed in a dawn of 2003, a God’s fate might have been sealed forever.
Be it myths or truths about the fate of the universe, the wonders with which Mother Nature enraptures the occasional mind of an insignificant human, populate every corner of our planet. They are so majestic that they have often become an obligatory tourist stop in tours made especially for nature lovers.
The Badlands Guardian
Located in southeastern Alberta, Canada, this geomorphological feature can only be viewed from the air. Its “humanoid” details are shocking if one considers that this masterpiece of engineering was not modeled by human hands.
The feature has been said to resemble a human head wearing an Aboriginal headdress, and additional man-made structures have been said to resemble a pair of earphones worn by the figure. The head is a drainage feature created through erosion of soft, clay-rich soil by the action of wind and water.
The apparent earphone cables are formed by a dirt road, and the speakers in the headphones are an oil well in which this path end, and are expected to disappear once the project is abandoned.
In fact, these details – molded by human hands – are completely unnecessary to give this figure an identity, and it actually adds a “modern” touch that clashes with its original style. Other possible names for the “Guardian” that were voted through a local contest were “Supergranny,” “Cliff,” “Hickox’s Head,” “In Plains View,” “The Listening Rock,” and “Napi.”
The Old Man of the Mountain
From its chin to its forehead, it is estimated that the Old Man’s profile was about 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide.
It is believed that glaciers and a succession of geological phenomena started sculpting this natural masterpiece almost 200 million years. Through freezing and thawing of water in cracks of the granite bedrock, this formation, admired throughout the years by countless tourists, became one of New Hampshire’s unmistakable symbols.
Although ancient Native American legends talked about a mountain with a stone face that could be reached following the course of the river Merrimack, the formation was first noted on written records in 1805.
Many devices were used to prevent the granite monument’s collapse, including of fast-drying cement, plastic covering, and steel rods and turnbuckles. Nevertheless, due to strong winds, combined with freezing and thawing, the formation collapsed to the ground between midnight and 2 a.m., May 3, 2003.
In regards to the fateful occurrence, local park ranger Mike Pelchat commented: “We always thought it was the hand of God holding him up, and let go.”
On Earth as well as on Mars
Beyond the world-renowned “The Old Man of the Mountain” and “Supergranny,” suggestive natural formations can be found in many desolated corners of Earth. “The Seven Sisters,” “The Praying Monk” or “the Sphinx” in Romania, are just some examples of the numerous nature-sculpted monoliths that can be found in every country in the world. Many, for sure, are still waiting to be discovered.
But it is not only Earth that expresses itself in capricious forms. The Cydonia Mensae – a region on the planet Mars that has attracted both scientific and popular interest – will go down in history and everyone’s collective mind for its peculiar natural formation. These formations’ outstanding shapes have caused quite the stir by giving validation to the fantasies of thousands of minds who were hopeful that this could be a sign that the red planet could be inhabited by sentient and intelligent beings.
“The Face on Mars” – the most prominent formation in the Cydonia region – was the main argument in a theory that wished to connect this natural creation to those that build the Egyptian Sphinx on Earth.
Even though new high definition satellite images disqualified “The Face on Mars” as a work of alien engineering in 2006, Earth’s rock formations are sure to provide support to a multitude of different Gods who will probably, sooner or later, be forced to feel how their images collapse.