The Past is Prologue

In Fact, It is Not Even Past

Welcome to Past Shadows. A site for mystery, wonderment, archaeological discovery and more.

This web site is devoted to the research and writings of local historian and anthropologist Richard L. Carrico. I think that through careful consideration of oral traditions, along with archaeological and historical information, we can come to a better understanding of the past. And it is a long past, extending back more than 13,000 years in Southern California. 

Richard is a retired  instructor in the Department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University and an instructor through Oasis and Osher programs. He is the author of five books, the author of chapters in four other books, and has published articles in more than ten academic journals.

Richard's special interests are precontact indigenous cultures of San Diego County and northern Baja California, the Spanish colonial period in the same region, and land tenure in San Diego County.



Upcoming Lectures, Tours, and Events. NEW BOOK, MONSTERS ON THE LOOSE BOOK SIGNINGS!!!

In addition to the in-person presentations and book signings listed below, Richard is heard on the DarkRadio podcast and on the famous True Murder podcasts. Tune in via your favorite pod cast network.

His newly released true crime book, Monsters on the Loose, is climbing up the charts on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you cannot make one of the signings listed below--go online. Think of your true crime friends and what a splendid gift this book would be! 


And in breaking news, Monsters on the Loose was just awarded 2nd place in a national book competiion. 


June 21, 2024: Book signing at SDSU Osher Extended Learning from 10:00-12:00 sponsored by Osher and Aztec Shops.


September 27, 2024: Book signing and lecture at the San Carlos Public Library, San Diego. 2:00-3:00















Places to Go and to Experience. Andale!

Come up to Warner Springs. The Resort is not open but you can take an exhilarating hike to Eagle Rock or walk a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail or taste some great wine at Sierra Roble, Hawk Watch, and Shadow Mountain wineries, and tour (on weekends) the historic Warner-Carrillo Ranch House, or check in at the gate and hike through the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation to the highest peak in San Diego County. Visit the "Mission " Santa Ysabel, actually an outpost of Mission San Diego and the scene of a lot of back-country history.

What to do in Ramona? A topic for the near future. But the Ramona Pioneer Society has re-opened the remodeled Guy B. Woodward Museum and grounds. And, of course, there are lots of wineries in the area-especially try one of the wineries in the Highland Valley area.


Just before noon, on Sunday April 19, 1931, twenty-nine-year-old Antonio Espinoza Martinez of Lemon Grove pulled off of Mission Gorge Road and parked his automobile in a flat area at the base of Black Mountain within what is now Mission Trails Regional Park. Martinez was a day laborer born in Mexicali and lived in a neighborhood described as having a “Mexican population with no paved streets or addresses.” 

During the day, the wooded area was a local picnic spot for families and the nearby canyons were often hiked by Boy Scouts and urban hikers known as the Sunset Hikers. In the evenings, however, it hosted a different clientele—a younger party crowd toasting with illegal liquor. A few years before then San Diego State College began the ritual of marking the upper hillside with a large white S. Initially formed by clearing brush and applying lime and whitewash to the ground, the S became more permanent when a local paint store donated gallons of white paint. Large rocks were collected and placed in the form of an S and for decades, the controversial symbol became a landmark. Some years the glowing light from road flares held by college fraternity boys illuminated at night the S. Over time, Black Mountain, also known as Cowles Mountain, also came to be known as S Mountain.

Mr. Martinez, his wife Margaret and their two young boys walked towards a favorite picnic spot and the shade of old oaks. If Martinez carried a newspaper with him, the investigation of the murder of Virginia Brooks was still news. It was a cool morning with the daytime high expected to reach around 68 degrees. 

But before Mr. Martinez could unload the wicker picnic basket from his vehicle, he made a gruesome discovery, one that he later said he never forgot. Amongst the gnarled oak trees and low brush on the canyon floor, was a nearly nude young woman hanging from a tree limb with the shoes on her feet barely scraping the ground. Hurrying his family away from the scene, Martinez drove to the nearest pay phone and contacted the La Mesa Chief of Police, C. H. Mercer who called Chester Gunn, the San Diego County Coroner. The sad saga of the death of seventeen-year-old Louise Teuber had begun.


The March 15, 2023 San Diego Reader carries a longer version of this chapter from Monsters on the Loose. Go to this website link for the published excerpt.

Stories of our People: Our Past

Frederick Grand's Wine Cellar in Arkansas Canyon

You can read about the history of San Diego County wines in Richard Carrico's book A History of Wines and Wine Making in San Diego County. Second Edition and newly revised with more illustrations and text.

Monsters on the Loose

In 1931 the nearly nude body of 17 year old Louise Teuber was found hanging from an oak tree in Mission Trails Regional Park. Read about her mysterious unsolved death and those of two other young women that same year in Richard's award winning true crime book. The book was released late in 2023 and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere. He may have solved one of the murders.

A History of the Native Americans in San Diego County

Now in its fourth printing Strangers in a Stolen Land is a vivid and well documented history of the indigenous people of our area. This text is used in several university level classes and should be of interest to those who want to know more about the First People of our region.

Did you know?

San Diego County Has the most American Indian Reservations of Any County in the U. S.?

Or That the Current Mission San Diego is Not the Original nor is it on the Original Location of Alta California's First Mission?

Many of Our Local Placenames are Derived From Kumeyaay Words, Such as Jamul, Cuyamaca, Guatay, and Many, Many Others.

Hot Springs Mountain (pictured with snow in the previous section) is the Tallest Mountain in San Diego County (by 8 feet).

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Address: PO Box 387 Warner Springs, CA 92087

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