The Blythe Intaglios are a group of gigantic earth figures found on the ground near Blythe, CA. These intaglios are east of the Big Maria Mountains, about 15 miles north of Blythe - just west of Highway 95 near the Colorado River. The intaglios are best viewed from the air, and that is exactly how they were discovered. In 1932, local pilot George Palmer was flying over the Colorado River into Blythe when he accidentally spotted the formations below him.
Intaglios are gigantic human, animal and geometric figures on the ground surface. There are over 300 intaglios in the American Southwest and adjacent Mexico. The best known of these mysterious figures are the Blythe Intaglios. The ground drawings are situated on two low mesas or terraces. There are several figures in three locations. The figures include two large humans, a feline and a concentric circle and a spiral. The largest human figure measures 171 feet from head to toe.
They were created by scraping a design in the dark colored rocks called desert pavement. By moving the desert pavement, the lighter color soil is exposed. The fine particles have been washed and blown away over the centuries, leaving larger stones or pebbles on the surface. Any mark made on the desert pavement will be visible for centuries. Intaglios are very susceptible to damage. If you visit an intaglio remember that even footsteps can damage the figures. The Blythe Intaglios have been fenced to prevent further damage.
The dates of origin remain a mystery but the figures are believed to between 450 to 2000 years old. According to the Native Americans of the lower Colorado River area, their oral histories believe the human figures represent the creator of all life. The animal figures may represent one of two mountain lions who helped in the creation. Sacred ceremonial dances were held in the area in ancient times to honor the creation.
I have recently read several articles about the Blythe Intaglios and found many of the theories interesting. Some speculate that primitive man was once visited by highly intelligent beings from outer space and the giant desert figures are tributes to these visitors. I am definitely not what some call an 'armchair paranormal investigator'. When a historical mystery comes along, I want to know more about the phenomena, and somehow I will find a way to investigate it.
So this past weekend I was out in the Blythe area. I talked Kenton into taking a little side trip up to the Intaglios. Once we turned west off US 95, we found a graded dirt road that wound its way up to the top of the mesa and two fenced areas containing the Giant Drawings. We parked in the designated parking areas along the road and walk a few hundred yards to the fenced in areas.
I was amazed at the size of the drawings since I had only seen smaller versions etched on painted rocks. I marveled at the detail of fingers, size of legs, shape of head and the spirals that were artistically draw. It sort of leaves you with a highly mystically feeling knowing the area was a place of ritual and ceremony. It made me wonder if ghostly Native American spirits were watching us and protecting the giant desert figures. I felt privileged to view a part of history that still remains etched in the desert floor forever.
Only recently the Blythe Intaglios, a favorite visiting spot for winter visitors and travelers on US 95, have been named to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington D.C., after a lengthy qualification process which began in 1978. They're one of the few unsolved mysteries of modern archeology.