Mystery Lost Temple Found
This is an amazing story about a pre-Columbian structure here in the Americas which dates back to the Phoenicians. The story first appeared in Lost Treasure Magazine over 20 years ago. Captain Carl Fismer has been part of this exciting expedition since the beginning and now has included Captain Bradley Williamson in this ongoing expedition.
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Lost Mystery Temple Found
by Capt. Carl Fismer, as retold by the C.E.O - Capt. Bradley Williamson
It all started with a phone call. A phone call that so piqued my curiosity that I immediately rearranged my schedule to make myself available within the suggested ten days.
|At the 40 foot level diggers in the pre-Columbian temple found this Roman coin minted around 412 A.D.|
The first part of the conversation was a request for me to evaluate three old shipwrecks about which the caller had received information while doing business down in Latin America. Since retiring from a successful business in Washington, D.C., he has been traveling the world as a consultant and is always on the alert for a "good lead" since he has frequently been an investor in my salvage firm, Spanish Main Treasure Company. However, apart from the three shipwrecks, he also mentioned he had another lead - so fantastic that he did not want to discuss it over the phone and had taken the liberty of making plane reservations for us to leave Miami Airport in ten days' time. I have faith in his judgment: whatever it was he couldn't tell me about on the phone really had me wondering.
Putting my current plans on hold, I proceeded to pack a shipping
container with a 14-foot rubber boat and outboard motor, air tank-filling
compressor, and a large assortment of other gear. I always travel with two
metal detectors when leaving the country (Murphy's Law!), and since I was
not sure as to the extent of this assignment, my selection included an
amphibious model that would give me good service both in and out of the
Putting my current plans on hold, I proceeded to pack a shipping container with a 14-foot rubber boat and outboard motor, air tank-filling compressor, and a large assortment of other gear. I always travel with two metal detectors when leaving the country (Murphy's Law!), and since I was not sure as to the extent of this assignment, my selection included an amphibious model that would give me good service both in and out of the water.
I met his flight in Miami, and with passports in hand we headed south
to Latin America on this new adventure. Naturally, my fist question was;
What was so important that it could not be mentioned on the phone?
I met his flight in Miami, and with passports in hand we headed south to Latin America on this new adventure. Naturally, my fist question was; What was so important that it could not be mentioned on the phone?
|Photo of Gold Idol from the Temple|
It transpired that, through his connections, he had been introduced to some people with a project so unprecedented that it could be the most important discovery of the century. For twelve years, the man (now 30) and his grandfather had been digging in a mine as well as other places on their land.
At the forty-foot level in the mine they found a Roman bronze coin
circa 412 A.D., and nearby was a gold alloy figure about eight and a half
inches high and weighing one and a half pounds. (No pictures were taken of
the statue., unfortunately, and they had sold it to buy materials to
continue their work.) About ten feet further, walls had begun to show; they
were worked stone and very tightly joined together. Since these continued
down to about 500 feet below the surface - the level they had reached at the
time of our visit - the diggers felt they had located an ancient legendary
temple. While the majority of my work involves shipwrecks and diving, this
was certainly something I had to see for myself!
At the forty-foot level in the mine they found a Roman bronze coin circa 412 A.D., and nearby was a gold alloy figure about eight and a half inches high and weighing one and a half pounds. (No pictures were taken of the statue., unfortunately, and they had sold it to buy materials to continue their work.) About ten feet further, walls had begun to show; they were worked stone and very tightly joined together. Since these continued down to about 500 feet below the surface - the level they had reached at the time of our visit - the diggers felt they had located an ancient legendary temple. While the majority of my work involves shipwrecks and diving, this was certainly something I had to see for myself!
"We can go there," said my friend, "but the mother of this family is
very religious and also psychic. Before any new person is allowed on the
property she must go in and pray; if she feels that you are a good person,
you will be permitted to enter - otherwise you will be turned away."
"We can go there," said my friend, "but the mother of this family is very religious and also psychic. Before any new person is allowed on the property she must go in and pray; if she feels that you are a good person, you will be permitted to enter - otherwise you will be turned away."
He then told me of his own initial encounter with her. He was visiting a business associate when a man arrived at the associate's office to seek advice and help for some friends, and had brought the mother with him. My friend was sitting in a corner of the office when these unexpected visitors arrived. When the lady entered the room, she immediately walked over to my friend and told him that he was the one who had "been sent" to help - that she recognized him from a dream she had! He had never seen her before in his life and knew nothing about her, or her family, at the time.
|The lower levels had walls formed of huge stone blocks that were worked and joined together.|
During my trip, as some corroboration of this, I did meet an Indian princess who had studied and obtained her Ph.D. in History in the United States and who described how the people of her tribe were known for their longevity. Her grandmother is 146 years old, and still in good health. However, their calendar is based on a 53 week year, so in fact she is really a few years older than that by our standards. The Princess, herself, was 43 and could easily pass for mid-twenties. She knew of the legend of the stone on the altar and told me that most of the stories did have basis in fact. (However, she did not know the exact location - and I did not tell here about the diggers' discovery.)
The princess also told me that when the Spanish came to this part of the world, some 300 years after the temple was buried, this stone became the basis for the legend of the Fountain of Youth, which Ponce de Leon had sought in Florida. The Indians, in order to get the Spanish to leave the area, would tell them only what they wanted to hear - except it was always a long way off: "There is no gold here, but there is lots of it to the north, with many days travel."
I am getting ahead of myself, though. When we arrived at our destination, we knew we had a few days to wait before the dive gear arrived by ship, so we decided to go and meet these mountain people and discover for ourselves just what they had found after twelve years of digging. It was about a two hours drive; starting on paved road to neglected-paved, to dirt, to a trail through the woods, and then to walking. On our arrival, just as my friend had described the mother prayed for me and I was admitted.
|Highlighted for clarity, these petroglyphs were found at the second level. Some experts say they look Phoenician, perhaps because of their resemblance to Arabic writing.|
I have been scared before, but looking down into the dark void of their shaft make me wonder if I really was crazy, as other people have claimed after some of my adventures. The battery form our rental car with a light wired to it made me fell a little more confident, and when we stared to descend, it became a case of "too late now to turn back' - which combined with an overwhelming sense of wanting to see for myself what I had heard about.
The first level, about thirty feet down, contained a boardwalk across a large hole: the next was deeper and held a room with petroglyphs which my friend had described to me. We could not be sure of the origin, but some experts have said they look Phoenician. To reach this particular area we had to squat down and squeeze through a long, narrow opening about 12 feet long - only to find that the room was full of bats! Our approach startled them, so there I was a hundred feet underground in the dark, in a tight place, in a foreign country - with bats flying in my face! It was sheer horror. One of them crashed into my ear. I knocked it to the ground and listened to it shriek. The rest were better navigators, and only brushed me with their wings. (Upon my return to the States, I was somewhat horrified to learn of the risks we were taking. i was told of a number of people who have been sick, some fatally, due to the atmosphere being contaminated by their excrement. We will be arranging appropriate shots before our next visit!)
|Walls made of worked stone and tightly joined together, began to show at the 50-foot level and continued down 500 feet.|
When the realization of the "special purpose" aspect came to me, I knew that all I really wanted to do was to help these people. Their sincerity, honesty and sheer dedication to the excavation of this temple (twelve years of careful digging!) had made such an impression upon me and my friend that all we could think of was to make their job, almost a life-work, a little easier. The mother only wants good to come out of it; they need only what will speed things up now they have uncovered so much. Their aim is to restore this holy place - where people can come to meditate and hopefully partake of the healing water.
My friend has since been able to arrange delivery of a diesel generator, which will not only supply the mine but their home as well, with some power left over. Delivery of a winch is planned. We also gave the family a handful of American dollars, which amounted to a small fortune to them. They spent it on new shovels, new wood to replace the old ladders and a hundred-pound sack each of beans and rice.
They are presently working full time, and I understand that other relatives are now helping them. The walls they have so far uncovered are, they believe, leading to the "roof" of the temple. Reaching the roof, they must then make a hole to lower someone inside, for legend has it that the place is booby-trapped if the conventional entrance is used. They said they will let us know when they are ready. I definitely plan to be there and have even volunteered to go in by rope, not because I'm so daring but because I really believe in them. I may never be given such an opportunity again.
At the time we were unable to go all the way to the final level because of safety reasons (hence, the
|Another of the Gold Idols|
Later, my friend and I had a long talk about pre-Columbian laws, which seem to give everything to the government and leave nothing for the people. He has had many encounters and dealings with bureaucrats, and in fact we later spoke with several officials there. One of them who, thank goodness is fairly high up is very interested in doing what is right for his fellow countrymen. This particular gentleman accompanied us to a museum where we viewed the pre-Columbian pieces on display. There are literally thousands of them, and we were told by the museum director that their was an equal number not on display - for lack of space. Their laws, however, are very strict regarding possession, disposal, and smuggling of these artifacts. Even so, just two days before I left someone offered to sell me 30 gold pieces form a burial mound; I declined. I may not necessarily agree with another country's law, but it is still the law, and I have no desire to spend time in any jail. I believe some people from Germany ended up buying the pieces. (I hope they reached home safely.)
Obviously, the laws are not effective. in fact, I discussed that very aspect with the official who took us to the museum. I pointed out that many of the pieces, when found by local people, were likely to be either smuggled out of the country or melted down and sold as scrap gold. Either way the country, or government, "lost." I suggested; "To prevent smuggling and/or melting, why not offer a reward of two times the spot value of gold for these items? This will almost certainly stop all melting and probably most of the smuggling. Apart form the historical value, your people will make something, and the country will be ultimately better off having the gold pieces and figurines."
I later discussed this aspect with another, higher - ranking official of that country, whose reply was "that our country is poor and we cannot afford this." My answer to that was "How many do you need? You have thousands on display now; why not keep the best and sell the rest for many times their spot value to collectors and museums all over the world who would like to have them in their collections?" He has since asked me to prepare a formal proposal explaining this, so he can present it to his associates, and added that "the mountain people" will be treated fairly.
|The author examines one of the gold pieces the diggers discovered.|
As usual, when I returned home, I discussed the entire situation with one of the main men in treasure today - Jack Haskins. I did wonder if he would laugh in my face this time! Instead, he told me that for years stories have abounded about Roman and Phoenician people being over here long before Columbus. The coin may have come with them.
As to the wrecks, we went to investigate, it looks like we have something good, and I have been offered the lease to work them. This is very encouraging, particularly in a year that has seen our government pass the new law which may completely ban shipwreck diving in the United States, despite protest against it being a thousand to one.
In later issues I hope to have more about how both the shipwrecks and the temple work out. It looks like hard work ahead but exciting nonetheless.
NOTE: This story is a reprint from the initial press release regarding this pre-Columbian temple of possibly either Roman or Phoenician origin. Since the initial press release Captain's Carl Fismer and Bradley Williamson have resumed this exciting expedition and adventure.
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