I just finished reading The Lost City of Z by David Grann. (It was also made into a movie, but I haven’t seen it.) It’s basically about the insanity surrounding people’s desire to know what became of Percy Fawcett, an explorer who mounted the last of several of his expeditions into the Amazon in 1925 and was never seen again.
There are many theories about Fawcett’s disappearance, ranging from the plausible to the absurd. I tend to think he either starved to death, died of disease, or was killed by some of the indigenous people he encountered. Others think he “went native” and chose to remain there in seclusion for the rest of his days. I find that hard to believe because he was obsessed with finding the lost city of Z, and all the recognition that would bring him.
But the most outlandish theory is that he descended into a subterranean city that gives one the gift of immortality. Apparently, several cults have been created in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, worshiping Fawcett as some sort of God. They believe that Z exists, but not as an actual city. They claim it’s more of a portal to another reality.
The book briefly mentions one such cult, called the Magical Nucleus, which was led by a man named Udo Luckner, who called himself the High Priest of the Roncador. Luckner insisted that his followers be vegetarian and not wear jewelry. He thought the world would end in 1982. He wandered about wearing white robes and a tall hat sporting the Star of David. He said his followers would descend into the hollow earth, just as Fawcett had. That would guarantee their survival.
As much as I adore learning about the lunatic fringe, I was kind of shocked that I had never heard of this character before. I tried to do some research, but most of the available information is, of course, in Portuguese.
From what I can glean, it seems that many Brazilians believe that this area, and the Roncador Mountains in general, experiences a lot of UFO activity. And mystics are drawn to this place. They say that thousands of people have disappeared into the underground city, never to return. Some claim it’s the gateway to Atlantis, and believe that Fawcett and Luckner both live there still.
What amuses me most is that this is apparently a big deal in Brazil, but seems not to be well known anywhere else on earth. (It makes one wonder how many people outside of the United States have heard of Roswell, New Mexico or Area 51.) But I’m here to tell you that if a place actually caused thousands of people to disappear, the rest of the world would have heard about it.
Apparently the immortal High Priest of Roncador is playing his cards very close to the vest.
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