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“The Shaver Mystery: The Most Sensational True Story Ever Told.” “Formula from the Underworld” is fiction, Palmer tells readers at the beginning of the issue, but it is based on truth. The events were invented by Shaver, but the settings and context are real. There really is an underground world filled with strange technology and evil forces. Shaver has been there, has seen it in person. It is real.
Palmer was quick to transition to the new reality. His new magazine, Fate, was devoted not to science fiction, but to “true tales” of the strange and paranormal. In the early issues, Palmer collaborated with Kenneth Arnold in the investigation of the Maury Island saucer sighting over Puget Sound. In the midst of the heyday of the flying-saucermovement, Palmer published the writings of self-described contactee Orfeo Angelluci. Shaver, on the other hand, continued to look down. He became convinced that he could discern images in rocks that had been preserved from the time of an ancient lost civilization. Whether the images came from the distant past or from Shaver’s own mind, it is clear from his elaborate paintings that he really saw something in the stones he found on his farm.
In August, 1970, an expedition climbed to the top of the eastern-most of the two craters. When they arrived, instead of the crater they saw a round hole one thousand feet wide and five hundred feet deep, filled with snow and ice. In the white mass they found three large holes sloping downward from the inner wall of the crater. The holes sloped downward at an angle of between thirty-five and forty degrees.
The descent was difficult and dangerous. Deep in the crater there were corridors in the ice, some of them as much as thirty feet wide and almost fifteen feet in height. The members of the expedition took the danger in stride and continued to descend. The adventure led them into a cave of large and small corridors, some of which branched off and then met again at some other point. It was less like a maze than a system of tunnels. Some corridors led directly to the center of the crater; other dark passages led to dead ends. At a certain depth the explorers found a broad “highway” which sometimes widened into a hall and which followed the circumference of the crater wall. This “highway” alone was over a half-mile in length. For the most part, the floor of the passages was damp, muddy, and strewn with broken rock.