"For instance, there are Cloud Shamans who turn into clouds, into mist. I have never seen this happen, but I knew a Cloud Shaman. I never saw him disappearing or turning into mist in front of my eyes, but I chased him once, and he simply vanished in an area where there was no place for him to hide. Although I didn't see him turning into a cloud, he disappeared. I couldn't explain where he went. There were no rocks or vegetation around the place where he ended up. I was there half a minute after he was, but the Shaman was gone." (see)
In his last published book, The Active Side of Infinity, Carlos Castaneda writes that sometime before the eventual meeting between the Yaqui sorcerer Don Juan Matus and himself, an anthropologist colleague, quoted above and sometimes called Bill and sometimes left unnamed, told him what he knew about Cloud Shamans.
Several months before the colleague ever told him anything about Cloud Shamans, Castaneda had a similar experience in the desert between himself and the mysterious bio-searcher called the informant. At the time of THAT experience Castaneda had never heard of a Cloud Shaman, hence there was no connection between the experience and the phenomenon. Regarding the incident, the following is presented in The Informant and Carlos Castaneda:
"Only a few weeks earlier, the informant, cloaked by shimmering desert heat waves, simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace, leaving Castaneda without a source."
Later, while Castandea was waiting in the infamous Greyhound bus depot in Nogales, Arizona, on the day he reportedly met Don Juan Matus for the first time, Bill, the colleague he just returned from the Road Trip with and who told him about Cloud Shamans in the first place was with him. Looking out across the depot Bill noticed an old man he recognized sitting on the other side of the room. The following is what Castaneda writes his colleague Bill said about him:
"I think that old man sitting on the bench by the corner over there is the man I told you about, I am not quite sure because I've had him in front of me, face-to-face, only once."
"What man is that? What did you tell me about him?" Castaneda asked.
"When we were talking about Shamans and Shamans' transformations, I told you that I had once met a Cloud Shaman."
"Yes, yes, I remember that," Castaneda said. "Is that man the Cloud Shaman?"
"No," the colleague said emphatically to Castaneda. "But I think HE is a companion OR a teacher of the Cloud Shaman. I saw BOTH of them together in the distance various times, many years ago."
It is quite clear by the contents of the above conversation that Castaneda and his colleague had, at one time, prior to being at the bus station, discussed Cloud Shamans --- most likely, if not the specific conversation cited in the opening paragraph at the very top of this page, at least a similar one or ones left unrecorded. The two had traveled weeks together throughout Arizona and New Mexico visiting "all the places where he (the colleague) had done work in the past." Apparently, even though Castaneda met the informant somewhere or someplace along the way during those travels with the colleague Bill, at the time of the conversation in the bus station it seems the colleague was unaware of the incident in the desert when Castaneda and the informant were bio-searching Sacred Datura and he, the informant, "simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace." It appears as well that same incident, the disappearance of the informant, occurred sometime BEFORE any conversation came up regarding Cloud Shamans because Castandea comes across as being quite oblivious to the whole thing. He is not amazed, he is not surprised, he does not report it. It is as though Castaneda's opinion of the incident, knowing nothing of Cloud Shamans or their capabilities at the time, had not thought of the incident in a "Cloud Shaman" type context, the phenomenon being more or less explainable somehow on the conventional level.
In connection with the above, the colleague, Bill, in reminding Castaneda about Cloud Shamans, is drawing an inference about their conversation regarding Cloud Shamans from the discussion recorded in the top of this section --- NOT relating it to any connection with the desert incident where the informant just disappeared in front of Castaneda eyes (because Bill didn't know about the incident in the desert). What he seems to be trying to impart is, when he says:
"I think he (that is, the old man in the bus station, whether it is Don Juan Matus or not) is a companion or a teacher of the Cloud Shaman" and that he saw "both of them together in the distance various times, many years ago"
is that the Cloud Shaman AND Castaneda's bio-searching informant are one and the same person. He is also saying that the Cloud Shaman-come-informant and the "old man," Don Juan Matus, know each other, that is, they are friends or companions --- only at the time of his conversation with his colleague at the bus station Castaneda is NOT putting all the concepts, the incident in the desert, the existence of Cloud Shamans, and the informant together. However, the colleague IS. Having caught up with the informant in the field while traveling with Castaneda on their Road Trip throughout Arizona and New Mexico, then seeing the "old man" in the bus station --- an old man that until the exact moment he saw him sitting there on the bench, regardless of his abilities, doesn't seem like someone the colleague was overtly concerned about one way or the other in a very long time, and surely a person he never thought of on the Road Trip --- he suddenly remembers seeing "both of them together in the distance various times, many years ago" and realizes that the Cloud Shaman he saw with the "old man" AND the bio-searcher, that is the informant, are one and the same person. At that moment in time however, and for years to come, it doesn't really matter as the "old man" is not yet known by any of the players as being anybody that will become somebody of any stature in their lives, most of all Castaneda. Interestingly enough, a FULL thirty-one years later, in The Active Side of Infinity, the eleventh and last in the series of Don Juan books, Castaneda finally brings up Cloud Shamans and, without necessarily implying any lack of understanding pertaining to any of the situation as outlined above, writes:
"The relationship of the old man to the Cloud Shaman was never voiced by my friend, but obviously it was foremost in his mind, to the point where he believed that he had told me about him."
The plain fact is, Castaneda's colleague Bill, the friend Castaneda is refering to in the above sentence, knew the bio-searcher, that is the informant, long before he ever met Castaneda, their continually overlapping, intermingled, and interwoven backgrounds being covered fairly well in The Pothunter as well as in an article exploring the Omen like aspect to it all. When the colleague told Castaneda he intended to go to "all the places where he had done work in the past, renewing in this fashion his relationships with the people who had been his anthropological informants," the informant was one of the people he had in mind to meet up with.
The desert southwest is a huge, vast and sometimes magical and mysterious place. However, as large of a place as it is, it is not unusual with those of similar or like pursuits such as the bio-searcher and Castaneda's archaeologist colleague to have found themselves in similar or like areas here and there at the sametime in relation to their pursuits. For example, Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon is an area that could easily attract the two of them to be in the same place at the same time. Fajada Butte is thought by the indigenous population to have special powers when it comes to various medicinal plants that grow in and around and on the butte. The expansive canyon area contains many charted and uncharted ruins and petrographs as does the butte itself, which is known for the astrological Sun Dagger. The butte has various rooms along the upper edges thought to be associated with the dagger, many filled with chards and other ancient artifacts. Taken together all things that would be an attraction for either of the two men. As a freelance archaeologist in the field Bill went to where the action was, and where the action was it was not unusual to find the informant.
The two originally met at Meteor Crater in Arizona just after World War II. Bill was doing work of an unknown nature in the Canyon Diablo scatter field surrounding the impact site for Dr. H.H. Nininger the founder of the American Meteorite Museum, the first meteorite museum in the world. Around that same time the bio-searcher was doing minor archaeological work related to the ruins associated with the little known ancient Native American pit houses thought to be of ceremonial nature located along the the southwest rim of the crater. A few years later the two of them crossed paths a second time at the infamous fused glass debris field associated with the Roswell UFO, an object of unknown origin that came down near Roswell, New Mexico, in July of 1947. At the time of that meeting --- and well before the Cloud Shaman circumstance between Castaneda and the informant --- a very cloud shaman-like event, which was witnessed by Bill, transpired between the informant and some military personnel at the site AND may very well have been the same incident cited at the top of the page wherein Bill says:
"I chased him once, and he simply vanished in an area where there was no place for him to hide. Although I didn't see him turning into a cloud, he disappeared. I couldn't explain where he went. There were no rocks or vegetation around the place where he ended up. I was there half a minute after he was, but the Shaman was gone."
Although basically unhearlded now, at the time of the suspected crash a ripple effect was created that flowed throughout the whole loosly knit underground and fringe elements of the archaeological and anthropological community that had arisen in the desert southwest shortly after World War II. Initially, almost anybody with any sort of intellectual moxie or curiosity in the area showed up on the scene in one fashion or the other to see what they could find out. Some of those same people that had been wending their way toward the desert environs of Arizona and New Mexico had been in the Los Angeles region participating in the war effort, either in a civilian capacity or for the military. Some had either witnessed first hand the giant airborne object of an unknown nature that came to be known as the UFO Over Los Angeles early in the war or knew somebody who had, so something like the incident in Roswell would do nothing but pique their interest to such a point they had to go.
According to Roswell Incident Updated, because of the bio-searcher's intimate knowledge of indigenious plants of the desert southwest he was called in to assist the noted scientist and meteorite hunter Dr. Lincoln La Paz in the investigation of the downed object. One of the military investigators, also assigned, apparently didn't like the bio-searcher's unorthodox methods and because of a disagreement over some debris found at the site, had him taken, under guard, to the vehicle he arrived in and told to stay there. When the military investigator returned to the truck he found the bio-searcher gone, and the guard assigned to watch him having no clue where he went or what happened to him. A search of the area showed no sign of the bio-searcher in the vicinity, as though he simply disappeared or vanished, the desert and the surrounding environment somehow swallowing him up without a trace. (source)
See also Footnote  at the bottom of The Informant and Carlos Castaneda as well as Footnote .
POWER OF THE SHAMAN: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM, HOW DOES IT WORK?
METEOR CRATER RIM
SHAMANS AND SHAMANISM
The Wanderling's Journey