Mount Diablo, Ca.

Somebodyisfromhere.com was surprised to learn a place existed called Mount Diablo because, well, because:

Arthur Mijares from the neighboring town of Oakley, petitioned the federal government to change the name of the mountain, claiming it offended his Christian beliefs.

Not surprising given the politically correct culture that exists. Mijares doubled down on the logic, though:

Additionally, he claimed that Diablo is a living person, and so is banned under federal law.

Mijares has been unsuccessful to date and according to Wiki it appears unlikely that he will ever be. The United States Board of Geographic Names has sited “historical significance” as a reason to stick with the status quo.

Since, we have to get used to it we might as well learn what it means. It’s somewhat more mysterious than some of the guesses you might have for a part of the country with so many religiously Spanish town names.

The peak derives its name from the 1805 escape of several Chupcan Native Americans from the Spanish in a nearby willow thicket. The natives seemed to disappear, and the Spanish soldiers thus gave the area the name “Monte del Diablo”, meaning “thicket of the devil.”

Of course, “Monte was later misinterpreted by English speakers as mount or mountain.

So the name is pretty sweet. That doesn’t mean the locals haven’t made attempts to reverse justify it.

One attribute that makes the name Mount Diablo appropriate is that the mountain glows red at sunset.

The name appears to be somewhat ironic, because not only is the area not evil, but according to legend, the opposite. It is the spot of creation.

Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology and Ohlone mythology, it was the point of creation. Prior to European entry, the creation narrative varied among surrounding local groups. In one surviving narrative fragment, Mount Diablo and Reed’s Peak (Mount Tamalpais) were surrounded by water; from these two islands the creator Coyote and his assistant Eagle-man made Indian people and the world. In another, Molok the Condor brought forth his grandson Wek-Wek the Falcon Hero, from within the mountain.

Mount Diablo is a state park of about 20,000 acres with two peaks and is visible from most of San Francisco Bay. It costs $10 for a vehicle to enter for the day.

Today, some folklore has helped fill in the blanks that forgotten history has left.

Mount Diablo has long been the site of numerous reports pertaining to cryptozoology, hauntings, mysterious lights, and various other Fortean phenomena (it is rumored that the name “Mount Diablo” is derived from the propensity for such weird events to be alleged at, or in the immediate vicinity, of the mountain). Phantom black “panthers” are seen with unusual frequency on the slopes of the mountain, as well as at the “Devil’s Hole” region of the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness. As early as 1806, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo reported an encounter with a flying, spectral apparition, while engaged in military operations against the Bolgones band of the Bay Miwok tribe. In 1873, a live frog was said to be found within a slab of limestone at a mine on Mount Diablo.

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