Friday, May 21, 2010

Dungeon, American Style: City Lost, Canyon Grand

"The latest news of the progress of the explorations of what is now regarded by scientists as not only the oldest archaeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in the Gazette, was brought to the city yesterday by G. E. Kinkaid, the explorer who found the great underground citadel of the Grand Canyon during a trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the Colorado, in a wooden boat, to Yuma, several months ago."
-- "Explorations in Grand Canyon," Phoenix Arizona Gazette (April 5, 1909)

So begins an article that describes the discovery of a "great underground citadel" with its entrance in the Grand Canyon--a real American dungeon.

Ok, maybe not real--despite what you might read on the internet about sinister Smithsonian cover-ups. But it is a American, and has the makings of a great dungeon.

The byline-less article tells the story of G.E. Kinkaid (or Kincaid, in works of a more recent vintage) who's thumbnailed as "a explorer and hunter all his life" and said to have worked for the "Smithsonian Institute" for thirty years. Kinkaid was travelling from Green River, Wyoming, to Yuma, New Mexico, down the Colorado in a wooden boat. In the Grand Canyon, in what is thought by subsequent researchers to be Marble Canyon, Kinkaid discovered the entrance to a cavern "1,486 feet down the sheer canyon wall." This cavern "hewn in solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to Ramses."

An expedition under the "S.A. Jordan" (another figure whose existence is difficult to verify) started mapping the cavern in good adventurer-style. Highlights include two large chambers, radiating passages, assorted idols, mummies wrapped in bark, mysterious hieroglyphics, and a "grey metal" that baffled scientists, but resembles that most valauble of D&D coinage metals, platinum. And one other intriguing random treasure: "Strewn promiscuously over the floor everywhere are what people call "cats eyes', a yellow stone of no great value. Each one is engraved with the head of the Malay type." The whole 1909 article is helpfully provided here, rich with cool detail.

Even better, Jack Andrews, a researcher on the topic, offers a map in the article on his website:

Admittedly, The layout's a little plain as dungeons go, but a location that can only be reached by climbing nearly 1500 feet down the wall of a deep gorge, or up from a fast moving river, is actually the sort of place adventurers ought to be going. Probably there'd be some nonhuman inhabitants in a fantasy game, but cranky mummies or even rival treasure-hunters would work in a pulp setting or wild west.

I wonder what those "cat's eyes" stones will appraise for?


Unknown said...

Wow. Just wow. Where do you turn up these things? Absolutely amazing.

netherwerks said...

Also alledged to be somewhere out in the Grand Canyon are ruins that are claimed to belong to a 'lost' Roman legion. Ancient Americas magazine is a lot of fun for this sort of thing, so are the older back-issues of FATE from the Seventies when Curtis Fuller ran the zine. Fun stuff!

Trey said...

@Risus - Thanks. Esoteric reading habits, and strong google-fu, I guess. I first heard about this particular story in one of Hite's Suppressed Transmission articles in Pyramid Magazine back in 2007. The rest I found with internet searches.

@Netherworks - I dan't heard the Roman Legion one, but I had also heard of Roman era Jewish artifacts. The Grand Canyon Canyon just captures peoples imaginations, I guess. Yeah, Ancient Americas is good stuff. I havne't read much FATE but an awful lot of Forteana published in book form today is rehashed FATE articles.

Brutorz Bill said...

Really cool.

Trey said...

Glad you like it. :)

Fran Terminiello said...

amazing. makes you wonder what else is out there