The isolation and lack of regulation only add to the draw. “His life was about looking for something bigger,” Frey says. In his hand he clutched his flute-staff. (Photo: @adventuresofjustin/Instagram). The lure of high mountains and high meaning is too strong. It just means one has to be extra carefull. Justin Alexander is missing while traveling between Mantalai Lake and Kheerganga. (Photo: @adventuresofjustin/Instagram), Still, the American man visited Rawat’s hut often. Recently he was on a bike trip around india on a royal enfield motorcycle. What are you doing here?’” Even long after Alexander disappeared, Lee still saw a window of possibility that the American still might reappear. But he assures me that he is the real thing.”. Never to be found. In his endless search, this presented a unique opportunity for learning. But this time was different. He also worked at an alternative school in Palo Alto, California, while fronting a Bay Area–based band called Punchface, which toured as far as Japan. “I think he wanted to push himself even beyond his own norm, and it probably snowballed into doing things that were more and more risky,” McElroy says. His smartphone didn’t disgust him; it enabled him to tell his story. He submitted himself to all sorts of extreme situations, seemingly carefree, always looking for… what? He wrote that he was “feeling the need for some alone time with mother Himalaya.” When he arrived in the valley, he messaged Christofer Lee, a French traveler Alexander had connected with online a year earlier. He was an holly man. Now Alexander was embarking on a three-day trek to a holy site called Mantalai Lake, where he would camp under the stars with few supplies. Before leaving for Mantalai Lake with Rawat, he joked to Gapon, “If I die, write something nice about me on Facebook.” Alexander mentioned that one day it would be nice if there was a website where peoples' digital trails could serve as a eulogy to their lives. “I was fighting for them to consider that he was really missing.”. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! On August 22, the Russian man walked his new friend through the orchards in Kalga to the trailhead above the river, gave him a red butane lighter, and said goodbye. In 2008, Arizona woman Jodi Arias drove to her former boyfriend’s home and murdered him in cold blood, leaving behind overwhelming pieces of evidence. To criminal intent. He believed he was chasing the Truth. Of Justin’s shadow in my mind. Puffing on his chillum (hash pipe), giving its best to look holly and ethereal, he impressed Justin with his contortion-like so-called yoga asanas. When Lee and several other friends confronted him, the sadhu became angry, saying, “Justin is crazy.” Rawat claimed the American had left him after they met some trekkers near Mantalai Lake and that Alexander headed higher up the valley with them. Be United Missing Persons Starting again By Tee M... Iman Harrell- missing since 10/16/2019; Justice Kay Sherwood- missing since 10/15/2019; Rosemary Salazar Rodriguez- missing since 10/6/2019; Mengqi Ji Elledge- missing since 10/8/2019; Daphne Westbrook- missing since 10/6/2019 “There was a smile,” says Gapon, referring to the winking emoji Alexander used as punctuation at the end of his final blog post. Was it the Baba? But according to one person close to the search, the district police were “unequipped and unmotivated” to fully investigate and only made an effort to appease the family and the U.S. embassy. Alexander established a reputation for being fearless. “Over the next two weeks we became friends,” Alexander wrote on his blog. Did Justin lay down a gorge somewhere along the trail? “Initially, my notion was that he had taken some drugs and gotten lost,” says additional superintendent Nishchint Singh Negi, who has dealt with many of the cases in his green-walled office in Kullu. Through their investigation, the police who oversee the Parvati Valley favored explanations that didn’t point to another murder of a foreigner in their district. He’s a world traveller and does lots of adventures. Warning tales of travelers’ death and disappearance are constantly brought to us by the media. Forever. But the glitz of the job didn’t impress Alexander for long. In the rest of the country, hotel and guesthouse owners are required by law to log their patrons into an online database, but in the Parvati, the vast majority travel in and out without record. Gapon offered to go with him, but Alexander said it was a journey he wanted to do with a sadhu, a Hindu holy man who renounces possessions in a search for enlightenment. “I’ve been living in some caves in the Indian Himalayas for the last couple weeks,” Alexander posted online on August 13. Didn’t his intuition alert him? This was Sept. 3rd. Over the course of his 35 years of age he searched everywhere for a higher meaning. Learn how your comment data is processed. Those Westerners who look for spiritual experiences wherever they can find them, either in a hash pipe or by emulating the sadhus who take them as pupils and promise them the wonders of Heaven. Awhile ago, HE published several articles by my friend Justin Alexander. Nearly a year has gone by, since the American trekker Justin Alexander Shetler went missing in the Himachal Pradesh, North India. I’m going to put my heart into it and see what happens... Maybe Baba Life will be good for me.” In his gray daypack, Alexander packed a kilogram of rice, some oats, nuts, raisins, tea, sugar, and flour. Read all the posts on his blog and many entries on Instagram. According to the accounts of the hikers (whom he knew and met on the trail) he had not eaten in 2 days and was severely underweight & physically depleted. Ultimately, it was probably what lured him to the company of the Baba and his last trip. Every summer, the valley hosts a Rainbow Gathering, a counterculture congregation that promotes anti-consumerism and utopianism. When I was apprised of the situation, I began advising family and … Distraught loved ones post stories of the missing on social media, online message boards, and travel forums with scattered details and few clues. “It is not beyond the realms of possibility that... for some reason my son got attacked and is lying on the bottom of a gorge,” Mogford’s father told the Telegraph. He left with a local holy man on or about the 24th of August, leaving most of his belongings in Kasol. The Frenchman hiked three hours to Khir Ganga to find the one person he knew was with Alexander last. He got the signs. While in Parvati, Justin lived in a cave for about a month, in solitude, suffering from cold-exposure, sub nutrition and the overall hard living conditions he submitted himself to. Gapon was impressed. Please support Outside Online today. About the Self. And his path appeared to be one not of disassociation but of action, as if he were the protagonist in his own epic novel. They can bless or curse. Justin Alexander followed the spiritual crowds to the Parvati Valley, but he never walked the typical path. And read his last post. Beneath Alexander’s glamorous tales was a person searching for higher meaning, sometimes at the expense of sensibility. His large green backpack, containing most of his belongings, was collected at Om Shanti Guest House in Kalga, where he’d stored it before his trip with the sadhu. But beneath Alexander’s glamorous tales was a person searching for higher meaning, sometimes at the expense of sensibility. Skeels and McElroy thought it was a strange coincidence the sadhu had supposedly killed himself days before his remand was set to expire, in a valley where the police make an effort to avoid drawing attention to the mysterious disappearances of tourists in their jurisdiction. Missing in California- brothers Orrin and Orson West; 2020- Jane & John Does that got their names back; Alexander Pisch set up an easel to paint and then vanished *Body Found* Amelia Rose Brooks, 22, missing from Billings, Montana; Bernadette Walker (17) reported missing in … With conditions ripe for vanishing without trace, a question arises: Did all of these travelers get lost or murdered in the wild, or did some not want to be found? He’s a world traveller and does lots of adventures. “Maybe he was a great person, but there was something that was very hard and very aggressive with this spirit.” He warned Alexander to be careful. Naïf people, desperate people, lost people. Telling his last story. Recently he was on a bike trip around india on a royal enfield motorcycle. Tourists return as well, despite the valley’s dark history. Thank you, Aaron. Lee didn’t believe it, so he immediately filed a police report at the small station nearby. Rawat divulged that a third person, a porter he’d hired, had accompanied them to Mantalai. Not only in the Parvati Valley, but all around us, as we go through life, trekking our own paths of Search. his mom & i begun the search. Justin left with the Baba around the 24th of August 2016. It didn’t. But Alexander’s next step materialized quickly. “The only time I’ve been freaked out and anxious was when he was in India,” she remembers. http://drivenbythemonsoon.com/en_US/hidden-danger-remembering-justin-shetler/#ZW5fVVMucG5n, http://drivenbythemonsoon.com/en_US/hidden-danger-remembering-justin-shetler/#cHRfUFQucG5n, http://drivenbythemonsoon.com/en_US/hidden-danger-remembering-justin-shetler/#MTUwMDY5MTNfMTQ, Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), A day in Cobh and my new Asian-Irish haircut, Cobh: Titanic, Lusitania and other sad stories of this picturesque town in the south of Ireland, Lisbon Restaurants – Part 1: Ethnic Restaurants. Staring down at some of Alexander’s unmistakable belongings—just 11 miles from where hundreds of backpackers gathered and reveled in tents at Khir Ganga—was a crushing moment. On Monday morning, deputies said Justin Alexander Carter was safe. Maybe Alexander’s realization wasn’t about himself but about the man he trusted to guide him—that he came to see the holy man as a fraud, unable to offer what he sought. However Alexander’s journey ended, something happened at Mantalai Lake. The sadhu was short and slim, wore a saffron dhoti (a wrap around his waist), and had long, matted dreadlocks characteristic of Hindu ascetics. Some arrive with an emotional or psychological issue in their life and succumb to a heady mix of culture shock, overwhelming unfamiliarity, alluring exoticism, and, in most cases, drugs. It was likely the first foreigner he’d met who had been living in the country long-term. Still waiting for someone to find him. Check out our entire suite of free newsletters here. The final line read, “I should return mid September or so. Unfortunately the Parvati Valley is also known for hashish consumption, mostly among the hippie foreigners who go there in search of new-age-drug-induced enlightenment, and dance to the sound of trance music till they drop. “You couldn’t help but think that he was going to wander around the corner, all skinny and emaciated, and say, ‘Tom! plz contact me, i would like to speak to you. He was clearly in a hurry to get to his belongings as soon as possible. thank you for this. Either by playing an active part in his disappearance or simply by deceiving him into believing he was a holly man who could show him the things Justin spent all his life looking for. Only the man survived. Some of the missing are presumed murdered; in 2000, a British man, his fiancée, and her teenage son were brutally attacked while camping above the Parvati Valley. He hoped (maybe against all odds) that it would turn out just fine. At around 4 p.m., Kunwar reached the cliff-edge section of trail above a 100-plus-foot, near-vertical rock slide down to boulders and churning waters. All I’ve assumed about him was based on his writings and on other travelers’ opinions and interviews. “For India speaks to the unconscious: it provokes it, makes it boil and sometimes overflow. The eerie series of clips opens with him sitting on a rock, draped in a gray shawl like a monk, surrounded by silhouettes of pine trees fading into the fog. thanks for sharing your story. Santorini: the stereotype or the ultimate Mediterranean getaway. He shared and gave back to the community, wherever he went. With wonder. 11.1k Followers, 553 Following, 439 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Justin Alexander (@adventuresofjustin) Maybe a more primeval way of living, one that upheld higher social and spiritual values and devalued material ones. One foreign traveler Mittal treated had been found wandering near the Taj Majal, disoriented and confused. His friend reported his disappearance to the police on October 3. He left with a local holy man on or about the 24th of August. Many visitors come to venerate Shiva, husband of Parvati and one of the most exalted and popular gods in the Hindu pantheon. featured missing adults If you think you know the whereabouts of any person, BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION, please contact the law enforcement agency listed in the record, or the California Department of Justice using the toll-free hotline: 1-800-222-FIND (1-800-222-3463) or contact us by email . The technique is to grab and release branches to gradually slow your fall, but Alexander missed some, rag-dolled the last 20 feet, and slammed into the ground, narrowly avoiding cracking his skull on nearby rocks. But it’s no longer sustainable for us to give it away for free. “I’ve heard stories about the magical powers of these Babas,” he wrote on Instagram on August 15. I hadn’t thought about the holly man being predatory before, yet now that I read this I wonder what happened up there alone with the guru meditating for 10 days. Then, in a dramatic twist of events, he hung himself in jail, with his loincloth. And here are my assumptions (as fallible as they are): Justin was searching for something. Alexander was confident about his journey, but something was weighing on him as well. Sitting six feet from one of the last people to see Alexander alive, Reeb struggled to keep her composure. And he resumed his search. “I think he was on a spiritual quest,” she says. But Alexander was also adept in the more contemplative forms of awareness, including Brown’s practice of returning to a single square foot in the wild, a “sit spot,” to listen and notice slight changes in the environment. Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today. Some sort of enlightenment? What's become of Justin Alexander Shetler? His mother, on the other side of the world in Portland, Oregon, started to become concerned. “Some babas are very charming and outgoing, but this baba was rough and crude,” he says. Police won't arrest them; even for murder, which happens I'm told." On the surface, Alexander embodied the “I quit my job to travel” trope, and he amassed a horde of followers—more than 11,000 on his Instagram account alone. The video fades to black. The valley’s hillside hamlets and postcard mountain vistas attract tens of thousands of tourists every year, but those who come here are different from those who speed through the Taj Majal on a Golden Triangle tour or backpack from vibrant temple to sparkling beach as the mainstay of India’s tourism. Even though it has been told by so many people before, all of whom better writers and journalists than me. This longing for the Truth seemed to be what motivated Justin Alexander Shetler. A 26-year-old man reported missing over the weekend has been found safe. “If there’s one guy who could jump through that window, it would be him,” he says. The Parvati runs fast near its source, especially here, where the valley forces it together into a narrow pinch, and especially in summer. It did. I followed Ariel’s link and viewed the blog “Adventures of Justin”. After receiving a message from a concerned mutual friend, Gapon, who had returned to Russia earlier in the month, messaged Lee, who was still in Kalga. Shadow, his black Royal Enfield, was found parked just below Kalga. So, was this Baba shady and predatory? Skeels had briefly crossed paths with Alexander over the July 4, 2015, weekend in Big Sur, California, and had remained in touch with him. It is a phenomenon known as India syndrome, not a clinical diagnosis but a spectrum of behavioral changes that range from the benign (disorientation and anxiety) to the extreme (a total detachment from reality). As if Justin’s ghost was haunting me, but without scaring me. But he chose to ignore them. The space was cramped, but Gapon remembers Alexander was keeping it “forest clean.” He had collected wood to keep his pit fire rolling each night and had candles to read by in the evenings. “I was fighting for my son’s life,” Reeb says. "I've heard stories about the magical powers of these Babas," Justin Alexander posted on Instagram about Sat Narayan Rawat, the sadhu. The nature-based educational program near Seattle, Washington, was co-founded by Jon Young, a protégé of Tom Brown Jr. who established the internationally acclaimed New Jersey–based Tracker School. He was born in Sarasota, Florida, as Justin Alexander Shetler, but later in life began using his middle name as his surname, and moved around the West after his parents divorced. In the September 3 photograph taken by the hikers, Alexander is wrapped in his gray shawl. Awhile ago, HE published several articles by my friend Justin Alexander. Many see the Parvati Valley as a stage or even the culmination of their quest for enlightenment. A man who had allegedly mutilated himself in the name of his devotion. In fact, he disappeared barely one year ago and he already became just another name on a list. Looking down the rock slope, he noticed what might have been an impact site near the riverbank, suggesting a fall. All in the name of his Search. “It’s something I’ve been called to do for years now. He once said that his life was about “walking that razor’s edge” between living in modern society and a free existence. Either accidental or pushed by a third-party. Skeels and Kunwar scrambled down the scree and slippery rock to the riverbank. The baba is/was suspected to have knowledge on the fate of Justin. If I get into trouble or begin to starve, I can hike down to a village and get help or eat. Police won’t arrest them; even for murder, which happens I’m told.” Alexander felt a growing fascination with what sadhus represented and how they lived their lives—solitary and untethered—and he had come to trust Rawat. Regardless of the body count. It brings forth the buried, from the deep layers of our psyche.”. “I felt we lost the last thread of hope of finding Justin and finding out what truly happened.”. A Nepali man, arrested by Kullu police in connection with the disappearance of US national Justin Alexander Shetler in the Parvati Valley, allegedly committed suicide on Saturday. Following her friend online, Tracy Frey had noticed a shift in the tone of Alexander’s photos and writing. Justin Alexander Flores Samaro, is a Missing Person / Runaway Juvenile who was last seen in the 1300 blk of Major Hill Rd., Snow Camp, N.C., at 9:45 a.m., Friday September 4, 2020. He was homeless for some time. “I mean, he ended up in a cave in India.”. And he invited Justin to join him on a pilgrimage to the remote Mantalai lake, to meditate. McElroy thought of his friend’s legendary survival skills. Nearly a year has gone by, since the American trekker Justin Alexander Shetler went missing in the Himachal Pradesh, North India. Most of these local Babas are allegedly shady, predatory characters. Few countries on earth draw spiritual tourists in such zealous droves as India. The 35-year-old US national was last seen on September 3 trekking through the Parvati valley in Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh, and reported missing … He followed in hope of learning the secrets of the holy man, his magic ways. In his own words: “I’ve been cold, damp, and hungry a lot recently, and feeling a bit malnourished and weak already.”. All in the name of that elusive feeling of oneness with the Universe. He followed him up the challenging path of enlightenment. Justin was tired, cold and hungry when he followed the Baba up those mountains. 11.1k Followers, 553 Following, 439 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Justin Alexander (@adventuresofjustin) “He says most babas are fake, that they enjoy money, women, and posing for tourist photos for cash; basically fake-holy-man bums. He had solved the Great Mystery. He dropped out of school. In 1996, Ian Mogford of the UK disappeared in the Parvati Valley after reportedly telling his father over the phone that he had befriended a sadhu. He was simply too fascinated, mesmerized by this strange, unfathomable man, he wanted to KNOW. I also couldn’t help admiring him. Alexander didn’t have a stove or cooking fuel, so Gapon pressed something into his hand, a fitting parting gift to someone who valued both practicality and minimalism: a red windproof butane lighter. In her FIR, Reeb has said she suspects that the baba and his men may have kidnapped Justin. In her eyes, Rawat at best knew more than he was saying and at worst might have taken her son’s life. Justin Alexander Shetler was the latest of a long list of foreigners who have mysteriously disappeared since the 1990s. Searching for the ever-elusive Truth about life. He was questioned during 8 days. Justin Alexander Shetler is missing. Then he got immensely rich and had a taste of luxury. As Skeels searched the valley by helicopter and foot, he couldn’t help but imagine his friend calmly stepping out of the mountains, safe and just a little late. Life Missing trekkers have cast a shadow on Himachal Pradesh's booming tourism business. Reeb was devastated. In Justin's own words, "If I’m not back by then, don’t look for me " Later, the hero returns as a newly made “master of two worlds,” spiritual and material. No other details were released. Justin’s mother is not aware of any friends or family that Justin would go see other than … When a body does turn up, it is often pulled from the torrential churn of the Parvati River, which during the monsoon summer is capable of carrying a person downstream or consuming one in its undertow in a blink. The day after he drove into the Parvati Valley, he posted on Facebook his plan to hike into the upper valley and live for weeks in a cave, emulating the lifestyle of the sadhus. He looked at the Baba with admiration. An extremely alluring and appealing part of the Valley’s trekking experience. He was looking for liberation. The one where he describes the man who enticed him to tag along. All the gruesome details of the affair pointed to foul play. 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