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Part III
From Lost Trails, Lost Cities (1953)

This story is very similar to the lure that led to the disappearance ofCol. Percy Harrison Fawcett Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett , last of the great explorers, along with his son Jack and their companion Raleigh Rimell in the still-unexplored jungles of Brazil in 1925 while searching for a lost city Fawcett call “Z”. Was The lost city of Z actually an underground city?

Lost Trails, Lost Cities (1953) is a collection of Col. Fawcett's manuscripts, letters and other records selected and arranged by his son, Brian Fawcett. Col. Fawcett wrote: the story begins in 1743, when a native of Minas Geradis, whose name has not been preserved, decided to make a search for the lost mines of Muribeca. (Page 5).

Just as in the story told by Mr. Wilkins, a group of treasure hunters go through living hell until they come upon a mysterious abandoned city of colossal stone hidden away in the steaming jungle. Col. Faucett tells how the group entered the silent city: Huddled together like a flock of frightened sheep, the men proceeded down the street and came to a vast square. Here in the center was a huge column of black stone, and upon it the effigy of a man in perfect preservation, with one hand on his hip and the other pointing north (Page 9).

It's obvious that Col. Fawcett and Mr. Wilkins are reporting on the same city from the same manuscript. However it should be noted that Col. Fawcett in telling of another “lost city” stated: It too was distinguished by the remains of a statue of a great black pedestal in the middle of a square. (Page 13). You can't help but wonder -- was this statue also pointing towards the north?
As Col. Fawcett continues his narration, his group is also following a river: fifty miles down (river) they came to a mighty waterfall, and in an adjoining cliff face were found distinct signs of mine workings. (Page11). Investigation proved the suspected mind shafts to be holes they had no means of exploring, but at the mouths lay scattered about a quality of rich silver ore. (Page12). This information leads one to the conclusion that it's obvious these 'holes', so deep that the witnesses “were never able to plumb their depths” was not the source of the rich silver oar found “scattered about.” No one would work a mine that you couldn't even walk into. But, I believe there is a simple, practical explanation. Historians tell us that even though the Spanish and others plundered many shiploads of gold, silver and other treasures from the peoples of the Americas, the thieves actually pilfered very little compared with what was hidden from the invaders. 
On pages 145-155 of Mysteries of Ancient South America Mr. Wilkins writes:
Where do whispered native Quiche (direct descendents of the Inca Peruvians) traditions say these Lost Inca hoards lie? In sealed caves to which mystic hieroglyphs, whose key is possessed only by one descendent of the Inca at a time in each generation -- and in strange underground “Subterraneans”, thousands of years old which may have been made by a mysterious and highly civilized vanished race of South America in a day when ancient Peruvians themselves, were a mere wandering tribe of barbarians, if not savages, roaming the corilleras and the high passes.
Were Col. Faucett and his party on the trail of one of these “subterranean” of the vanished civilization when he disappeared into the unknown?

Trade Routes of the Ancients?

On page 167 Wilkins relates the story from about 1844, when a Catholic priest was called to the deathbed of an old Quiche Indian. The dying man told a story about “the closing of the amazing tunnel-labyrinths, by the high priest of the sun temple of old Cuzco, and the magicians, under the eye of the Imperial consort of the late Emperor Atahualpha.”
One of the approaches to the great tunnels lay, and still lies, near old Cuzco, but it is masked beyond discovery. This hidden approach leads directly into an immense “subterranean,” which runs from Cuzco to Lima, as the crow flies, a distance of 389 miles! Then turning southwards, the great tunnel extends into what until about 1868 was modern Bolivia, about 900 miles!
[Emphasis by Mr. Wilkins].
He continues to tell of other connecting tunnels like the former Bolivian corridor (today located in Chili) runs southwards, passing through Yarapacca and Cobijo, which are in modern Chili. It must then turn eastwards, passing through or under the corillera and skirting the mysterious Atacama desert of Northern Chili. . . . The southern end of the tunnel is, thus, lost somewhere in this mysterious salt desert of Atacama (Pages 169-170).

Naturally the establishment “experts” shrugged Mr. Wilkins findings off as myths and legends. Then in his 1972 bestseller, The Gold of the Gods world famous author/adventurer Eric von Daniken tells the story of the discovery of a secret entrance to these subterranean passages which proves Mr. Wilkins to be right. Von Daniken begins: To me this is the most incredible, fantastic story of the century. It could easily have come straight from the realms of science fiction if I had not seen and photographed the incredible truth in person -- A gigantic system of tunnels, thousands of miles in length and built by unknown constructors at some unknown date, lies hidden deep below the South American continent. Hundreds of miles of underground passages have already been explored and measured in Ecuador and Peru. This is only the beginning, yet the world knows nothing about it.(Page 1).
He tells us about the find by Juan Moricz who stumbled on the underground passages in June 1965, during his research work, in which he was ably assisted by Peruvian Indians, who acted as skilled intermediaries between him and their tricky fellow tribesmen. Being cautious by nature and skeptical as befitting a scholar, he kept silent for three years. Not until he had covered many miles of underground passages and found all kinds of remarkable objects did he tell anyone. (Page 4)

Juan Moricz escorted Eric von Daniken and Franz Seiner, Mr. von Daniken's traveling companion, on a trip into the subterranean. Mr. von Daniken describes the adventure: This entrance, cut in the rock and wide as a barn door, is situated in the Province of Morona-Santiago, in the triangle formed by Gualaquiza-San Antonio-Yaupi, a region inhabited by hostile Indians. Suddenly, from one step to another, broad daylight changed to pitch-blackness. Birds fluttered past our heads. We felt the draught they created and shrank back. We switched on our torches and the lamps on our helmets, and there in front of us was the gaping hole which led into the depths. We slid down a rope to the first platform 250 feet below the surface. From there we made two further descents of 250 feet. Then our visit to the age-old underworld of a strange unknown race really began. The passages all form right angles. Sometimes they were narrow, sometimes wide. The walls are smooth and often seem to be polished. The ceilings are flat and at times look as if they were covered with a kind of glaze. . . . Obviously these passages did not originate from natural causes they look more like contemporary air-raid shelters! (Pages 5-6).

Eric von Daniken continues: As I was feeling and examining ceilings and walls I burst out laughing and the sound echoed through the tunnels. Moricz shone his torch in my face: . . .what's wrong? Have you gone crazy? I'd like to see the archaeologist with the nerve to tell me this work was done with hand-axes! My doubts about the existence of the underground tunnels vanished as if by magic and I felt tremendously happy. Moricz said that passages like those through which we were going extended for hundreds of miles under the soil of Ecuador and Peru. (Pages5-7) [Update: The Quest for the Metal Library .] Now that we have proof that these ancient intelligently constructed tunnels do, in fact, exist we should return to Harold T. Wilkins and one last story from Mysteries of Ancient South America. Fuentes, who lived about AD 1689, and wrote an unpublished manuscript history of Guatemala speaks of the amazingly large and ancient towns (inhabited by an unknown and long vanished race) found there by the conquistadors. He said: The marvelous structure of the tunnels (subterranea) of the Pueblo of Puchuta, being of the most firm and solid of cement, runs and continues through the interior of the land for the prolonged distance of nine leagues to the pueblo of Tecpan, Guatemala. . . . He gave no hint of the uses to which these amazing tunnels, more than thirty miles long, but on the basis of the old Castilian league, were put here by these ancient races of old America. (Page 176).

Once again the possibility overlooked is the obvious one. These tunnels are probably ancient trade routes between the under-people and their surface co-Planetarians. They were in use in the ancient times when there was trade and communications between the Outer World and the Inner World.

Fuentes continues with what may be the answer to another mystery. It may be too, that the great tunnel of the Incas had a branch, underground, leading into the forests, eastwards of Cuzco, and in that direction taken by Inca Tupac Amatu, his army, and his host of camp-following refugees, in the late sixteenth century. Maybe, the fleeing Peruvians vanished into these mysterious tunnels, and left only the whispering leaves of the trees of the dense green forests, as mute witness of their secret exits. (Page176).

Fuentes might just be right. As history has shown, the Inca people disappeared with much of their treasure without a trace. Is it possible they, did in fact, seek the safety of the ancient passages and then continued downward into the lands at the center of the earth, never to appear on the surface of the earth again? Did Col. Faucett and his party, in following the trail of the lost city and “Subterraneans” end up following the lost Inca civilization into the underworld?

UPDATE:  Eric von Daniken has published a new book continuing the story of the underground tuunnels (2009): History is Wrong. And David Grann has published a great study of Fawcett's obsession with locating the lost city in his 2010 bestseller, The Lost City of Z.   I have read, and highly recommend both books. Our research continues . . .

Bonus Video
PRI's The World: David Grann and The Lost City of Z


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