ADAMS COUNTY, Ohio - Armed with metal detectors and delicate tools, a team of historians and archaeologists spread out across the sprawling Serpent Mound of Adams County.
"Serpent Mound is the largest effigy mound in the world," said Brad Lepper, curator of archaeology for the Ohio Historical Society. "In terms of a cultural treasure to the United States, it's comparable to the pyramids of Eygpt are to Eygpt."
The importance of this site is why his team is so intent on finding anything that doesn't belong here. They were alerted to possible contamination of the 1,000-year-old mound by a video allegedly posted by a group called "Ashtar Command."
That video, which has since been removed, apparently mentions many — possibly hundreds — of artifacts called "Orgonites," or "Orgone generators" being placed across the mound.
That has infuriated the historical society's Jane Mason.
"We will not tolerate the desecration of these sacred, spiritual sites in Ohio," she said.
Thomas Johnson runs a fossil shop down the road from the mound, and was interviewed for that video. He says the artifacts supposedly channel healing energies.
Johnson thinks posting their activities on the Internet was a bad move.
"It's just unusual to have somebody do what they did," he said. "I think that's very unusual."
Mason says if they catch who has planted these items, they will be aggressively prosecuted.
Detectives with the Adams County Sheriff's Department say that might be easier said than done. Lt. Jim Heitkemper said so far, the prosecutor hasn't seen anything from Serpent Mound that rises to the level of a crime.
Even if it did, vandalism is only a misdemeanor.
Many of the members of Ashtar Command appear to be from out of state.
Authorities don't expect to extradite anyone to Ohio for misdemeanor.
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