Cheryl and Orville Murphy were living at the base of Mount Shasta in Northern California, but they were looking for somewhere new to move to and retire. Located in the Cascade Range, Mount Shasta is one of the largest and highest of the Cascade volcanoes, a compound stratovolcano near the southern end of the range. It is also believed to be a ‘spiritual vortex’ that can channel high-frequency energy, and there are no less than six businesses in town that deal in crystals.

Despite the paranormal nature of Mount Shasta that so many find irresistible, living between desert and prairie is not for everyone. Indeed, it was not for Cheryl and Orville Murphy. Longing to stay in the mountains but not wanting to deal with treacherous amounts of snow, something unexplainable drew them to the Ouachita Mountains in west-central Arkansas.

Crystals in Arkansas

The Ouachita Mountains are distinguished by their unique feature of running east to west, whereas the Appalachian and Rockies run north to south. The mountains lie almost entirely within the Ouachita National Forest: 1.8 million acres of natural beauty. This is the backdrop that lured in Cheryl and Orville, and they settled upon a remote plot of land that would become their new home.

Much like Jed Clampett of Beverly Hillbillies lore, a poor mountaineer who accidentally discovered bubbling crude on his property, Orville Murphy was bulldozing a road for their wild new piece of land near Board Camp, Arkansas, when he too discovered something remarkable. Upon hearing cracking sounds underneath and glancing back to see shimmering shards on the ground, Orville thought he had broken up some long-forgotten buried glass. However, upon closer inspection, Orville had his Jed Clampett moment: instead of broken-up glass, he had discovered the tip of a vast crystal deposit, and a short time later Board Camp Crystal Mine was opened to the public.

Local native people

According to Mary Beth Trubitt, Ph.D., the Ouachita region was home to many native peoples during the last 13,500 years. Their history has been passed down through oral traditions, written accounts left by explorers, and archeological discoveries. Traces of their modern-day descendants remain as well, and upon learning of Cheryl and Orville’s crystal discovery, they began to visit the Murphys. It seems Board Camp Crystal Mine had a lot in common with Mount Shasta. Just as Mount Shasta was a spiritual vortex of energies channeled by crystals, Board Camp Crystal Mine was just the same, and it was a place of great value and meaning to the descendants of the region’s native peoples. In addition to teaching the Murphys how to respect and care for their new home, they also taught them about the others who lived there too.

Forest people

Yes, much to the Murphy’s great surprise, they were not the only ones who called Board Camp Crystal Mine home. There were also the Forest People: primordial guardians of the crystal-laced Ouachita Mountain land. Some know them as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. In nearby Miller County, Arkansas, the folks of Fouke have the Fouke Monster, also known as the Boggy Creek Monster and the Swamp Stalker. That creature even has its own cult classic motion picture: The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972). These Keepers of the Forest protect the land and its inhabitants from the abuse of others.

Star people

The native peoples also told the Murphys that their ancestors not only travelled to the crystal-rich land to commune with the Forest People but also the Star People. These Star People arrived on the property in what we now call UFOs or UAPs. The Star People are what we know as aliens or extraterrestrials. According to some legends, the Forest People themselves were sometimes the passengers of these crafts, and they navigated their way to Board Camp to tap into its tremendous crystal energies.

It is said the Star and Forest People have the power to slip between dimensions, that they can levitate and teleport objects such as crystals, and that they can harness the powers of gravity and magnetism. To this day, visitors at Board Camp Crystal Mine experience the discovery of crystals that materialize out of thin air. Sometimes these gifts from the others plonk onto the roofs on the property, as if the sky opened in a deluge of mystical healing. Sometimes the crystal gifts are in guests’ chairs waiting on them when they return to sit.

The encounter

For Cheryl and Orville, their encounters with the others would come to a head in February 2017. That unusually warm winter night, their adult son was paying a visit. Walking around the property and gazing up at the endless night sky, they were stunned when the horizon was lit up by a brilliant white light. Suddenly, they were shocked by three huge beams of pure white light shooting hundreds of feet into the air from the nearest hillside. Each of the lights culminated in a flat top, as if a craft was harvesting the crystal mine’s energy. Upon closer inspection the following day, the Murphys discovered remarkable physical evidence. All the metal objects had been affected by the encounter, with fenceposts all leaning and a huge metal sign toppled over. Hand tools were strewn around, no longer in their pile. A renowned Bigfoot researcher led a search of the property and discovered mysterious tree arches that he believed were related to the encounter. The Murphys began to discover inexplicable stacks of rocks, some of them much too large for humans to arrange. The encounter was so astonishing that the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) came to Board Camp Crystal Mine to investigate, as well as Josh Gates with the Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown: Hunt For Extraterrestrials. Not only did MUFON verify the physical evidence of the encounter, but they left the Murphys with startling theories to ponder. Josh Gates and his crew even had their own UFO encounter while doing a night investigation at Board Camp Crystal Mine!


You might be wondering how you can visit Cheryl and Orville at Board Camp Crystal Mine. They are open seasonally from the last weekend in February through the end of October (they close each winter to let the Earth rest and heal). They are located 10 miles East of Mena on Highway 8E in the town of Board Camp, Arkansas. You can give them a call at 479-243-0771. Not only can you book a time to dig for crystals, but you can also stay all night for one of their amazing UnXplained Tours! Here, you will find out more about the paranormal happenings at Board Camp, you will tour the MUFON investigation site, and see where Josh Gates filmed Expedition Unknown: Hunt for Extraterrestrials. The Murphys report that approximately 90% of UnXplained Tour guests have mysterious encounters of their own!

I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting Cheryl and Orville Murphy. They are genuine, kind, salt-of-the-earth people who believe in preserving special places for future generations. Their messages are positive and full of love. It is my sincere hope that I can visit Board Camp in 2023. You should too. Humans were meant for exploration, discovery, and adventure. Go for the crystals. Stay for the UFOs and Bigfoots. Whoo-oop!