abandoned mine: a film set?

“If I were a college film student,” A. said. “This is where I’d shoot a horror film.”

We were at an abandoned mine deep in the Indian Wells Valley, and A. was downstairs in a cabin in the woods looking at debris and rusted springs from a bed from nearly a century ago.


On a tip from two dirt-bikers at the brewery the day prior, we went in search of the Nadeau-Magnolia gold mine, driving narrow dirt roads past hundreds of Joshua trees — some charred from a recent fire. When we arrived, there was a sign lying on the ground, so faded it’s hard to read: “Caution: Mining Area” and “1937.”

On one of the walls in the cabin hangs photos of Siebert family — but A. and I didn’t get a close look because we didn’t trust the wooden boards to hold our weight.


Wandering around, seeing mining equipment from the early 1900s, I felt like a kid who had walked straight into a storybook. I imagined miners calling to each other, faces covered in dirt, and the Siebert family sitting around the stove in the cabin, looking out the same window I peered out.


A. and I had stepped into history, and it was all ours to explore. We decided it’s our best discovery yet since moving to Ridgecrest, Calif. The next weekend, we tried to take A.’s parents, but there were about six people huddled near the camping area — including a tall, lanky guy holding a shotgun — and a pitbull that came charging toward our car. We turned around so fast, it’s a wonder we didn’t skid off the dirt road.

We didn’t make it up to the actual mine, about a 1/2 mile hike, but we plan to go back. (And I’d like to find out more about its history — but a quick Google search doesn’t bring anything up.) Maybe we’ll take video cameras and shoot our own horror film like the Blair Witch Project. I’m certain that with little effort — especially after dark — we can scare the bejeesus out of each other.







Filed under desert, travel, Uncategorized

8 responses to “abandoned mine: a film set?

  1. Unusual and fun adventure!

    • DW

      Just went up to the mine today at 1:30 p.m. with my husband and 3 year old son. We drove our FJ up the 1/2 mile to the opening of the mine which is a tight spot to turn around yet we did before getting out to check out the mine. We went up to the opening where there is a danger sign and were looking in at the cave and noticed a mining shaft “hole” on the left side of the entrance. We threw some of the rocks in to check the depth and then I took my son to sit in the car while my husband went to the far side to look over the ledge to view Siebert’s cabins. The driver’s door facing the entrance of the mine was wide open and both windows were down when the EERIEST haunting howl that lasted for about 15 seconds came from the direction of the cave. Living in this desert most of our lives we know this was not a sound that you would hear from any animal in this desert. This was not something we can explain however when you have that fight or flight moment we definitely were spooked enough to choose flight… I asked my husband as soon as the howl had ended what the **** was that-it was so freaky to have the door wide open with the cave just a few feet away while my husband walked around to get into the fj and start it up so we could quickly get out of there. We have been up to Siebert’s mine numerous times and frequently explore the mojave desert. We have never experienced anything creepy-and we grew up in the desert. Not a couple to believe in ghosts and have tried to rationalize this and we cant. Go check it out for yourself but maybe drive in case you want to leave a little quicker than what it would take to walk… We plan to take some friends (and a firearm) next time we go back. Keep in mind the turnaround spot is too small for a truck-must have a jeep or fj.

      Had to come straight home to google if Siebert’s mine was haunted!

      • Wow! That is intense! I haven’t been back to the mine since we took some friends last spring (and now that I’m quite pregnant, I’m not sure I’ll go for a while). I do love driving into Indian Wells Canyon, though, and A. likes hiking Owens Peak. Thanks for the info, we’ll keep an ear out the next time we go! E.

      • Joel

        I was there earlier today, we found it on accident while exploring the valley. We didn’t hear anything other than a few birds and a breeze, but I also didn’t throw anything down the mine. I was able to go up there in my suburban and turn around just fine. It might have been a 17 point turn, but it was a turn nevertheless lol. A truck can make it, just make aure the tires on whatever vehicle are good and that you have 4×4. Had to use it several times today when the back tires started spinning.

  2. Donovan price

    What you heard was probably an owl.They can make some pretty terrifying sounds and sound almost human.

  3. Terri Eidem

    The Siebert family were my in-laws. Ralph was married to my Aunt. The land lease for the mine was originally obtained by Ralph’s father and I only remember him as Pa. The other brother, Paul (Bud) and Ralph spent every weekend at the mines from the 40’s (if not earlier) through 1990 when Ralph passed away (at the mines). The only weekend they didn’t go to the mines was Thanksgiving weekend and if Christmas or New Year’s fell on a weekend. When I was much younger (in the 50’s), the cabin was still in great shape. They built the block building around the upper cabin with the kitchen/living space down below. There was an opening from the upper to the lower where they had a ladder and intended on adding stairs but never got round to it. There were several mine shafts on both sides of the mountain. Paul (Bud) passed away in July and my Aunt passed away in August.

    • Wow, Terri, that is so neat! Thank you for sharing! I had no idea that your family was still spending so much time there in the 1990s. I’m sorry to hear that Paul and your aunt passed away so recently. Do you still go visit the mine? All the best to you, Erin

      • Terri Eidem

        The last time I visited was about 4 years ago. Drove up with my cousin when he was visiting from Chicago. With Bud gone (he lived in a motor home between the Homestead and the Brewery), I don’t think about going there anymore.

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