Who Was The English Jungle Explorer, Percy Fawcett?

Percy Fawcett
The fictional film character, Indian Jones, may have been modeled after a real-life adventurer (and seeker after lost cultures) named Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, an English jungle explorer. It is a known fact that British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, based his 1912 science fiction adventure novel the Lost World on narratives of Fawcett's travels in Brazil. This ardent geographer is reported to have disappeared in the Amazon forest in the year 1925. But how did he come to be there, and what was he after?

Born in 1867 in Devonshire, Fawcett was greatly influenced by his father, who was born in India and became a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. While serving in the Royal Artillery in Ceylon, Percy Fawcett is said to have come across a stone covered with ancient symbols in a forgotten language. This discovery stimulated his imagination and curiosity about mystical matters, mythical cultures and lost civilizations. Fawcett himself joined the Royal Society in 1901, where he learned more about surveying and mapmaking. He was sent to map the border between Argentina and Brazil in 1906, beginning the contact with South America which would last the rest of his life. By 1914, this jungle explorer began to piece together native stories and local legends which mentioned lost cities in Brazil.

After serving in the artillery again during World War I, the English geographer returned to Brazil to conduct archaeological investigations. In this country's National Library, he came across the report of one of the original bandeirantes (called flag-bearers, they explored the interior of the continent in the 17th and 18th centuries, claiming lands for Portugal). This document, written in 1753 but published by the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute in 1865, mentioned a hidden city in the Amazon jungle.

But what really caught Fawcett's attention was that the report also contained drawings of symbols found in the lost city, which resembled the markings on the stone he had found in Ceylon years before. He came to believe that both locations were in fact remnants of a still older culture, which he identified with legendary Atlantis. In order to prove this theory, Percy Fawcett began looking for the location mentioned in this story.

Another clue related to the ancient civilization was a small statue Fawcett received from the famous English author, H. Rider Haggard, whose fictional English jungle explorer heroes in books like She and the Allan Quartermain series resemble somewhat the real-life Fawcett. The sculpture was said to have been found in Brazil by the Britannic Consul O'Sullivan Bear in 1913, and to have come from a mysterious forgotten people. Like his brother Edward (another adventure novelist of a century ago), Percy believed in occult phenomena, and took the statue to several clairvoyants, who identified the idol as having come from Atlantis.

Some sources declared the sculpture to have originated from the ancient Phoenician culture, an idea which supports other unconventional theories of past contact between Mediterranean and South America. Fawcett agreed with writers such as Domingos Magarinos, author of a book whose Portuguese title translates as Long Before 1500 (referring to the year when the Portuguese discovered Brazil), who developed the theory that the Brazilian natives are descendents of a superior and older culture, such as Atlantis. He did not believe that the famous lost continent was located in Brazil, as some theorists have speculated, but that the ancient occupants of this nation were members of Atlantean colonies or subject cultures.

In 1920, Percy Fawcett sent a card to his son Brian mentioning native accounts of cities made of stone houses and Indians who wore clothes and worship the sun, very different from what these natives were familiar with in their own cultures. He set out on his final expedition in 1925 with his son Jack, entering the Xingu River basin from Cuib in the state of Mato Grosso. Fawcett was last heard of in a card to his wife, sent back to the city by native messenger, telling her that nothing could go wrong (famous last words).

There are several dubious stories of Fawcett's having survived this journey. In 1955, the Aquarian Press in London published a book called The Fate of Colonel Fawcett. This book contained information from Irish medium Geraldine Cummins of psychic contacts she had experienced with Fawcett beginning in 1936, and lasting until 1948, when she said he had died. Other spiritualists have claimed similar contacts, some giving slightly different information. Brazilian author Jos Trigeirinho Neto, in an article on passageways between dimensions, referred to the fact that Percy Fawcett had encountered one of these portals and had entered a civilization located on another plane.

The Ramatis Study Group also published messages supposedly received from him, stating that he was still alive in the 1990s and working from the astral plane, in a subterranean city beneath the Roncador mountains of Brazil. Whatever the fate of this legendary English jungle explorer, it is certain that Percy Fawcett lived an exciting and unusual life, chasing dreams that most modern people would laugh at. There may come a time when someone will present palpable proof that the stories he investigated were more than just dreams.

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

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