The Evolving Legacy of Colonel Fawcett

Way back in 2001, I had an article on the mysterious Colonel Fawcett, who vanished into the jungles of Brazil in 1925, published in the Unspeakable Oath magazine for use in the Call of Cthulhu game.  Since then, there’s been a profusion of material out there on the explorer.  My first stop was this  Forteana blog regarding his posting on the front during World War I, during which

the only counter-battery shots which he would allow were those against targets clearly visible from British lines – or those he had personally detected on his ouija board.

Of course, the real question was whether Ouija-enhanced bombardments did any good overall.  I’m guessing not, but it’d be nice to know, right?

That led me to this Observer article describing how Fawcett’s private papers had finally come to light, revealing the real reason for his final trip to the Amazon:

According to previously hidden private papers, it appears that Fawcett had no intention of ever returning to Britain and, perhaps lured by a native she-god or spirit guide whose beautiful image haunts the family archive, he planned instead to set up a commune in the jungle, based on a bizarre cult.

Great!  I can’t believe the Fawcett estate would sit on information that gamers and occultists everywhere would want.  No, wait –  I do believe it.

The discoverer of this material, Misha Williams, doesn’t seem to have done much more than write a play with lengthy preface on the topic.  It’s got some fascinating material in the introduction on Fawcett’s interest in Theosophy and the “Hidden Masters” said to watch over the world and dispense great wisdom to the worthy.  This explains Fawcett’s reasons for taking his son Jack along on the expedition when more experienced men were available:

A chilling fact that emerges from the Secret Papers is that not only was Jack to be handed over to the Earth Guardians as an initiate but also to be transformed mentally. His physical body was to be “taken over” by one of the ancient brothers who would then be able to live even longer within Jack’s healthy young physical frame.

Yes, Lovecraft fans – it sounds a lot like “The Thing on the Doorstep,”right?  I don’t think it’s linked – Lovecraft didn’t get very far into Theosophy, and that was late in his career – but it’s a fascinating parallel.

These papers were kept secret by Fawcett’s other son, Brian.  Oddly enough, this was not because he had unresolved feelings about his brother’s status as the receptacle for an immensely wise ultrahuman force.  Rather, he received instructions from a spirit named “M” that manifested as a woman to keep these matters secret, even to create complete cover stories denying his father’s real destination and motivations.  That’s a situation with considerable imaginative potential…

Finally, we have this abstract of a New Yorker article written by a man who claims to have found what might be the remains of Fawcett’s city “Z”.  I haven’t read the article itself yet, so I won’t go any further than that.

Published in: on January 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Fawcett Yet Again Feeding my low-grade but never-ending fascination with Colonel Percy Fawcett, the explorer who vanished into the Amazon nearly eighty-five years ago […]

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