Joseph Frank - The lost civilization of Lemuria

Author : Joseph Frank
Title : The lost civilization of Lemuria
Year : 2006

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Introduction. Terra Incognita. We are tempted to inquire how far the fact that some of those beliefs and legends have so many features in common is due to chance, and whether the similarity between them may not point to the existence of an ancient, totally unknown and unsuspected civilization of which all other traces have disappeared. PROFESSOR FREDERICK SODDY, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER, 1910 The menacing silhouette of a stranger rushed out of the dark. As I raised my fists to defend myself, two accomplices seized me from behind, one on either side. Someone grabbed me forcibly around my neck, and in moments I sank, choking, to the paved street. It took a long time for consciousness to flow slowly back into my oxygen-starved brain. I was alone in the night. The attack seemed distant, vague, unreal, and dreamlike as I gazed up serenely at the night sky sparkling with that celestial necklace we call the Milky Way. For some moments, I lay there peacefully on my back, as though among the serene prairies of my Illinois boyhood. In fact, I was sprawled in the middle of a cobblestone side street in Cuzco, the ancient capital of Peru. Hardly more than an alleyway, it connected the city’s postconquest cathedral with the Coricancha, the Inca’s preeminent temple, known as the Enclosure of Gold. I had been assaulted, as it were, between worlds. Cuzco was the Navel of the World, the sacred center of eternal rebirth. Staggering to my feet, I was grateful to be alive and unscarred by the daggers traditionally carried by muggers in this part of the world, where theft in all its manifestations is a national industry. But my throat was raw, and I could not swallow without pain. Worse, I had been stripped of all money and identification—traveler’s checks, credit card, passport. I was without any visible means of support or identity in a very strange land, not a condition to be recommended. Even in the blurred aftermath of my violent encounter, I could not help but think of the last Inca emperor, Atahualpa, strangled to death by the Spanish five centuries before. I knew now what it was like to be murdered. It wasn’t so bad. It was living that was painful. You know you’re alive when you’re in pain. Still, I felt something of a bond with old Atahualpa. Despite this misadventure, I pushed on via rickety railways through the Andes to the sky-city of the Inca. At midnight, alone with the surrounding mountaintops, I saw a fog bank slowly part like a ghostly curtain to reveal Machu Picchu shimmering in eerie moonlight. From there, I explored Lake Titicaca, our planet’s highest lake, and the nearby ruins of Tiahuanaco, the inexplicable capital of an impossible empire. In a Lima back street, at the Herrera Museum, I had found the blond and red-haired mummies of a pre-Inca people, obviously not Indian, who long ago ruled the Pacific Coast. ...

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