Ancient Wisconsin
Aztalan -
Underwater Pyramids and Sea Serpents

Salvage diver, Adventurer, MIT grad and Milwaukee native Max Gene Nohl invented the first
self contained underwater breathing apparatus(SCUBA). In the winter of 1937, he tested the
suit and pioneered a helium/oxygen breathing mixture in a record breaking 420 foot dive to
the bottom of Lake Michigan. The helium/oxygen mixture idea was co-developed with fellow
Milwaukeean Dr. Edgar End of the Marquette School of Medicine. In one bold move, the
diving world took a quantum leap forward and Milwaukee was it's ground zero. "The Deepest
Dive" made international news and it's young diver was a sudden celebrity. Nohl
immediately announced plans to dive the wreck of the Lusitania and film the entire
adventure as a feature documentary.
This was not the first dive using his new equipment. The previous summer had brought the
veteran salvage diver to the pyramids of Rock Lake in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.
For years, fishermen and pleasure boaters had reported seeing unusual underwater
structures. They were well known in Indian lore as a Necropolis(city of the dead) left behind
by "Foriegner Kings"-a people who had inhabited the area 5,000 years before . The
structures were first described as "pyramidal" in newspaper articles in 1900 during a wave
of pyramid mania that swept the Badger State. Max Nohl could'nt resist. He made a series of
dives in the late summer. Underwater conditions were difficult -at times murky, then
suddenly clear, then very dark and almost black with silt. Toward the end of his last dive, he
came across a tall pyramidal structuremade of densely fitted small rocks. To the eye of the
trained engineer, it was clearly man made. Max wanted to return to the lake and dive more
extensively, but it wasn't to be. Many years later, before he could return, he and his wife died
in a tragic car accident that also took the life of soul singer, Jesse Belvin. The undersea
structures of Rock Lake remain a mystery and are the subject of ongoing research.
Lake Mills is a lovely town set in an ancient area. The great ruins of the Cahokian City of
Aztalan is two miles east.

Compiled by Mary Sutherland
The sightings began in Rock Lake (located in Lake Mills in Jefferson County). This is the
same Rock Lake that contains mysterious burial structures that are believed by some to be
an underwater Necropolis left behind by an ancient, forgotten people. The area has a rich
and ancient heritage. It's filled with burial and effigy mounds and the ruins of the Cahokian
outpost city of Aztalan lie a few miles to the east.
In 1869 a large serpent-like creature was first seen to be lurking along the shallows of Rock
Lake. It was described as agressive, frequently hissing at onlookers. Sightings were a
common occurence. A Lake Mills resident named Fred Seaver claimed to have hooked it
with a fishing line. "The creature grabbed the bait and towed him a half mile before breaking
his line". It soon had a name, "The Rock Lake Terror." In the summer of 1882, two men from
Lake Mills, Ed McKenzie and a Mr. Seybert were in rowboats, racing each other across the
lake. Half way across, they saw an object that "looked like a submerged sandbar" almost
directly in their path. The sandbar suddenly came to life, raised it's "snake like head" out of
the water, opened its jaws and then dove under the lake surface. Within seconds, it rose out
of the water again, this time right next to McKenzie's boat. McKenzie yelled out repeatedly,
"Bring a gun! Bring a gun! Bring a gun!”
Men on shore saw what was happening, quickly commandeered a boat and rowed out to
the two threatened boatmen. The serpent dove a second time and made no more
appearances that day.
A few miles from Rock Lake is Red Cedar Lake. In 1891, a sea serpent went on a week
long rampage along its shores. It seized animals from surrounding farms, carrying them
still alive into the water. Later, their partially devoured remains were found lying in the
muddy shallows. An area wide panic followed. In nearby Lake Ripley, a growing resort area,
summer cabin dwellers fled and business dried up. (At the time, it was thought that the two
lakes were connected by an underground river.) Then, after three decades of continual
sightings and encounters, the monsters gradually, and quietly, went away.
Indian legends tell of a time when the Ho Chunk were camped on the shores of the Rock
River, not far from Rock Lake, Lake Ripley and Red Cedar Lake.
"In this stream lived a huge and terrible monster. The older people of the tribe say this
creature had a large head, awesome jaws, and body likened to a serpent. It is said to have
ranged the whole length of the stream, preying on both animals and men, as to which he
most preferred no one knows. Hapless creatures that went to the water to drink were
frequently seized and swallowed. At all of the fording places this demon found hunting
good. Indians crossing at these places were promptly dragged beneath the water and
never seen or heard of again. Some Indians believed that there were several of these
monsters living in the waters of the Rock River and made many offerings of tobacco and
other desirable things to appease the wrath of the monsters."

The state record largemouth bass was caught on Lake Ripley in 1940, weighing 11
pounds, 3 ounces and Ole Evinrude, inventor of the outboard motor and long time resident
of Jefferson County, tested some of his early motors on the lake.

Compiled by Mary Sutherland
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The Mormons believe that the
Burlington Area is the
'Promised Land' - The place
that Jesus Christ will return to
during the End Days. It is one
of the sacred places their
people are to gather  during
these times.
Manitou Stone
Cup Stone pointing to ancient
battlefield and effigy mounds
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Photo shows one group
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Bottomless Lakes
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The Burlington Mounds

"...A race that long has passed
away built them.
A disciplined and populous
race heaped, with long toil, the
The red man came—
The roaming hunter tribes,
warlike and fierce, and the
mound builders vanished from
the earth.
The gopher now mines the
ground where stood the
swarming cities.
All is gone...All—save the piles
of earth that hold their bones
and the platforms where they
worshipped their unknown
Burlington Wisconsin is alive in
the occult, built on 27 ancient
burial mounds and ancient
home to the 'Followers of Horus"
Photos of Frank Joseph giving
an outdoor workshop at the  
Adena Rock Mounds of
Investigating ancient
underwater structures in Rock
Lake  with Frank Joseph
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