William Doonan

I write books and stories.

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Nine

with 3 comments

June 17, 2011

Seville, Spain

Hanson       http://www.historyismine.blogspace9.ex

Sorry to hear about your unrequited crush, Kim.  I’m crying on the inside.  But remember, you’ll always have Leon!

It’s been a busy day here at the Archive of the Indies.  I’ve been going over those documents that you guys found, and I have to say that this is an extraordinary trove of information

May the Inca gods bless the arid sands of coastal Perufor this remarkable preservation!  Think about it, guys, we’re reading bits of a diary that’s more than four hundred and thirty years old.  And seeing how you just dug it up, we’re the first people to read it in four hundred and thirty years.  Let’s hope we can make something of it. 

Piecing things together, our dear ordained friend, Father Sebastiano Gota, if that is indeed his name, seems to have written several letters in addition to his diary.  But we’d have to assume that none of the letters were sent, since they’re still there.  So either he couldn’t find a stamp (joke) or he just never mailed them.  Maybe he was afraid to.

So far you’ve excavated seventeen letter fragments plus a thirty-four page diary with only three legible sections.  Not a huge corpus, right?  But there are FIVE references to our pyramid:

1) ….piramide de fantasmas… – ghost pyramid

2) ….en esta estructura demonico… – in that demonic structure

3) …los del piramide ya no tienen almas… – those of the pyramid now have no souls

4) …a los indios en mi cargo, quienes numeraron treinta y un indios… (OK, I’m just going to go with the translations here because the spell checker is giving me grief)… – to the indians under my care, who number thirty-one males and fifty-three females with their children, who belong, it seems to me, belong to the pyramid, where they claim their dead still walk

5) …pase otra noche encima del piramide mientras comunicaban… – I spent another night on top of the pyramid while they communicated… 

To sum up what we now know: in 1580, a young Franciscan priest named Sebastiano Gota arrived in Peru and was sent to Magdalena de Paz, a small, remote indian village of about a hundred residents.  He was not the first priest to be sent there, we know that because the church was founded in 1578.  What became of that first priest, after just two short years, we don’t yet know.

Like all priests in the new world, Sebastiano is charged with converting the indians.  But he’s afraid.  There’s something in the pyramid that’s scaring him — and I don’t blame him, it scares me too.  But instead of leaving, or locking himself in the church at night, he goes out and climbs the pyramid.  Doesn’t make any sense. 

I didn’t know where to go next, so I started reading some general ecclesiastical letters written by the Archbishop of Lima to Pope Gregory XIII.  At one point, he notes that the Peruvians treat their ancestral mummies as if they were still living.  And nothing could disabuse them of this belief. 

Now, we know that the Inca emperors considered themselves immortal, and were mummified after their death so that they could live forever.  Plenty of other cultures did the same.  But what if it was more than the emperors?  What if that was a more common funerary practice than we had imagined?  What if everyone was doing it?

That could be what Sebastiano was writing about: his indians, who he was trying to convert, kept their mummies in the pyramid, and would go there to talk with them.  Anyway, it’s something to think about.  Maybe that’s what’s keeping you all up at night; all the mummies arising to walk with the living!!!

I spent the rest of the day working on the scans of the diary, and I’m now not sure it’s a diary.  I think it’s a manual.  The word ‘maleus’ on the cover doesn’t mean anything in any language I can find.  But there are a couple of instances where I’ve found Sebastiano’s spelling to be sub-par.  Maybe he meant to write ‘malleus.’

In 1486, the Catholic church published Malleus Malefacicarum – hammer of the witches, or hammer against the witches.  It’s now commonly referred to as Malleus, and it spells out the church’s belief about witches – women who engaged in orgiastic behavior, ecstatic intercourse, and shape changing, all of which my sweet Laney has been known to partake of from time to time.

Here are some passages from the Malleus: “women are naturally more impressionable than men, and more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit….they have slippery tongues…they are feebler in mind and body…they are intellectually like children.”

That being said, I think we’re dealing with something different.  Malleus Malefacicarum was responsible for fanning the withcraze in Europe, but much of that had burned out, especially inSpain, within a few decades.  So if our good Friar Sebastiano is walking aroundPeru a hundred years later, I find it hard to believe he was afraid of witches. 

There weren’t five Spanish women in Peru back then, and chances are, no more than three would have been witches.  As for local witches, well maybe.  But I can’t see a priest writing his own Malleus.  I spent much of the afternoon trying to follow this up, but I didn’t get any further.  Finally, I went back to the main search directory, and just for shits and giggles, entered “Fra. Sebastiano Malleus Magdalena piramide.”  And guess what?  I got a hit.  A document referenced as ‘TruxilloArchivoGioti-privato-doc.corr. LLX16705409.’ 

That’s not a standard index reference, so when I tried to request the document using my investigator’s license, it just spit it back out.  I asked the reading room administrator, and she said she would contact the director to see what could be discovered.  But for now, I’m at a standstill, and it’s nearly five.  I might just call it a day.  It looks like I’m the last one here anyway.  All my buds are gone.  They invited me to tapas but I’m shy.

Hey guys, I’m noticing something strange.  I just started packing up my things, getting ready to leave, and there are no guards here in the reading room.  Actually, I’m the only one here right now, which never happens.  There are still at least half a dozen original documents sitting out on the tables waiting to be brought down to the vault and re-shelved.  And I’m alone in the room with them, which is not allowed.  I’m not sure what’s going on here.  I’m going to go see what’s up downstairs.  If I don’t come back, avenge my death.

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Written by williamdoonan

December 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Great red herring with that Maleus/Malleus bit.

    William T. Rozell

    December 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    • Interesting indeed! And what an adventure it can lead to don’t you think? Amazing how different cultures took care of thier deceased in various periods of history. Some more elaborate than others.

      Leslie

      December 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      • It is amazing. I’ve spent many years working on archaeological excavations, and I’m always amazed.

        Bill

        williamdoonan

        December 27, 2011 at 4:04 am


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