Fawcett's Wake


Steve Kemper


Intro by Ben Hammott.

In the years following Fawcett's disappearance in 1925, many have entered the jungle to try and find any new information about Fawcett that could shed light on what happened to him, his son Jack Fawcett and Raleigh Rimmell.

But as the years passed these dwindled, but they haven't stopped completely.

Many of us who have become interested in the Colonel Fawcett story and his missing 1925 expedition into the Amazon jungle, have no doubt thought, however briefly, about traveling to Brazil to either follow in his footsteps, or to attempt to find out what fate befell them. But for most of us thinking about it is as far as it goes. Although flying to Brazil and then travelling on to the Mato Grosso region is far easier now than experienced by Fawcett, the logistics of putting a team and equipment together for a serious investigation is a daunting as well as expensive undertaking.

David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z: A legendary British explorer’s deadly quest to uncover the secrets of the Amazon, did travel to the Amazon to try and find Fawcett's Lost City of Z, but he didn't go the distance, not in mileage but in the thoroughness that a serious expedition would need to. But hat's off to Grann, at least he tried and he did reach the Xingu region.

In 1995 Steve Kemper, armed with lines drawn on a map showing the route Fawcett is thought to have taken while searching for his Lost City of Z, decides to see if he can shed any light on the mystery. His very interesting article, partly reproduced here with his permission, gives us armchair explorers a very good insight on some of the difficulties that would be encountered on such an expedition. Read on, you won't be disappointed.



Steve Kemper has been a freelance journalist for more than 25 years and has written for Smithsonian, National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Wall Street Journal, Yankee, National Wildlife, The Ecologist, Plenty, BBC Wildlife, and many other magazines and newspapers.



Fawcett's Wake by Steve Kemper

COLONEL PERCY H. FAWCETT slipped into my life as a jokey footnote in my readings about exploration, but the joke mutated into a virus that colonized more and more of my attention. Casual inquiry turned into research and then tilted into esoterica. I found myself in used bookstores saying, "I'm looking for an obscure book called Mysteries of Ancient South America by Harold T. Wilkins, who also wrote Flying Saucers Uncensored.” The virus eventually evolved into an urge to trace Fawcett's last footsteps in Brazil's Mato Grosso, which is how I ended up on a painted stump in a thatch hut wearing a necklace made from armadillo bones. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Fawcett disappeared 70 years ago among the headwaters of the Xingu River. He is one of the strangest characters in the strange annals of South American exploration.

"He's the bane of my life," said Paula Lucas, exasperated archivist of London's Royal Geographical Society. Fawcett was a Founder's Medalist of the Society and sometimes lectured there about his forays into remote areas of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. After listening to one such lecture, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle reportedly conceived his South American fantasy, The Lost World.

"There are people," continued Lucas, "—and I don't know if you're one of them, but if you are and I insult you, I'm sorry—people interested in him because of the occult. They feel they have been receiving messages from him." Fawcett believed in telepathy and consulted clairvoyants. "And then there are the straight treasure hunters. And quite frankly," she added briskly, "I think they're mad. These people are completely obsessed by him." Suddenly I felt less alone.

Follow this link to read the full fascinating article - Fawcett's Wake by Steve Kemper

Fawcett's Wake ©Steve Kemper. All rights reserved. Cannot be reproduced without consent of the author.

Related Links:

Benedict Allen talks about Colonel Fawcett

Colonel Percy Fawcett is Alive

 Mysteries of Ancient South America by Harold T. Wilkins

Last words from the legendary British explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett - includes expedition map

Very Large Maps of Colonel Fawcett's Amazon Jungle Expeditions

English translation of Manuscript 512

Colonel Fawcett's 1925 Expedition to search for the Lost City of Z

Manhunt in the Jungle by George M. Dyott

The Lost City of Z by David Grann Book Review

Amazon explorers uncover signs of a real El Dorado


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