Along With the Hornblower Series

…one of my favorite summer treats has always been a re-reading of this:

Louis L’Amour’s Haunted Mesa. It’s just the right mix of mysticism, fantasy, detective story and old time Western.

The Navajo called them the Anasazi, the “ancient enemy,” and their abandoned cities haunt the canyons and plateaus of the Southwest. For centuries the sudden disappearance of these people baffled historians. Summoned to a dark desert plateau by a desperate letter from an old friend, renowned investigator Mike Raglan is drawn into a world of mystery, violence, and explosive revelations. Crossing a border beyond the laws of man and nature, he will learn of the astonishing world of the Anasazi and discover the most extraordinary frontier ever encountered.

Many of the plot devices were drawn from Mayan mythology ~ the portals between worlds, the underworld itself. I’m not sure you can imagine my absolute delight (and the source of a shreiking “holy CRAP!!!” email to ebola) when I came across this MSNBC article, but I was stoked.

Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found
Archaeologists discovered maze of stone temples in underground caves
Mexican archeologists have discovered a maze of stone temples in underground caves, some submerged in water and containing human bones, which ancient Mayans believed was a portal where dead souls entered the underworld.
Clad in scuba gear and edging through narrow tunnels, researchers discovered the stone ruins of eleven sacred temples and what could be the remains of human sacrifices at the site in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Archeologists say Mayans believed the underground complex of water-filled caves leading into dry chambers — including an underground road stretching some 330 feet — was the path to a mythical underworld, known as Xibalba.

Part of the reason the book spoke to me was personal. I’ve spent weeks climbing over stones and up pyramids in places like Tikal, Chichen Itza and Uxmal, as well as using a candle for light in the excavation tunnels under Kaminal Juyú, visiting just unearthed sacrificial remains (nothing like confronting a Spielberg-ish silent, screaming skull with skeleton illuminated suddenly out of the dark, 20 feet underground). You hear voices in the jungle in those places, if you’re any kind of spook at all, and I am a reluctant but consummate one. (In fact, Tikal translates to “place of voices” and I swear they’re still there.)
Oh, man, I so enjoyed my time in the past.
And now Xibalba is real. DAMN.
That’s cooler than shit.

3 Responses to “Along With the Hornblower Series”

  1. nightfly says:

    Wasn’t Chichen Itza a Mayan fast-food joint?

  2. Ebola says:

    No, that was the Slaughtered Man. =P

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