History of the Search for Percy H. Fawcett Part 3

About the history of the search for British explorer and surveyor Percy H. Fawcett who disappeared in South America.


The Search

Compounding the difficulty of searching for the Fawcett party were Fawcett's secretiveness concerning their specific route and his claim that they would be unable to get word to the outside for at least two years.

It was not until 1928 that the North American Newspaper Alliance sent a search party led by George Dyott into the Mato Grosso. In the hut of the chief of the Nafaquas, Aloique, who was wearing European pants (Fawcett's?), Dyott spotted a metal uniform case and heard the story of three white men who, Aloique said, had been taken to a Kalapalo village on the Kuluene, then had headed east. Smoke from their fires was seen for five days, then no more. Dyott reached the conclusion that perhaps Aloique had killed the group.

In 1930 Albert de Winton, a journalist, disappeared on a search for Fawcett, somewhere near the Kalapalo village.

Irish writer and paranormal practitioner Geraldine Cummins supposedly heard from Fawcett through automatic writing in 1935. He was, he wrote, in the jungle, where he had found Egyptian-looking pyramids and taken a drug-induced trip back in time.

In 1951 the chief of the Kalapalos confessed on his deathbed that he had clubbed the three men to death because father and son had fornicated with one of his wives and because Fawcett had slapped him for refusing to lend carriers and canoes. This story did not jibe with Fawcett's attitude toward Indians or Jack's pristine attitude toward sex. A later chief took a search party to the alleged Fawcett grave; the bones were exhumed and sent to England, where they were proven to be of a small man, probably not European.

In 1952 and 1955 Fawcett's other son, Brian, led aerial searches over the Mato Grosso to look for the party. Results: zero. Other searchers have proved that the legendary city is nothing but peculiar rock formations.


For some reason--illness, a spectacular find, Indian trouble--the party probably headed back toward civilization by a river route that took them to the Nafaqua village. Sometime after that, it is very likely that they died of fever or were killed by Indians. Still, it is pleasant to entertain the thought that they found Z after all and were so entranced by its cultured inhabitants that they decided to stay forever.

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