Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 17, 2010

Sleeping With The Dead


I have taken some time off from writing my stories simply because I have had to face a moral dilemma.

As I have eluded to in previous posts, I have a fairly substantial knowledge of the seedy underbelly of society. I have been places, seen things, and done things that I am not proud of.  If I only had myself to worry over, many of my experiences would be much easier to write about. I do not wish to embarrass my family or friends, or worse put those I love (or even those I dislike) in danger, because I wrote a story.

Certain previous associates of mine put no statute of limitations on betrayal. As I have stated previously, I change the names in my posts to protect the innocent and the guilty; in this instance I will not do that.

In fact I will use no names at all.

The first time I slept with the dead was unintentional. I was traveling in the mountain provinces of northern Luzon in the Philippines. The Ifugao tribes people of these provinces did not bury their dead. Instead, they put the bodies in a coffin, raise the coffin high up on the wall of a cavern, and leave it hanging until it falls apart. These burial grounds have become somewhat of a tourist attraction due to these unique non burial-burials.

I happened to be traveling in the area of these tribes and decided that I would visit one of these burial grounds. It also happened to be the end of the monsoon season. When I reached the site, to be very honest, I was not impressed. It was largely a mess of broken decayed coffins and human bones. What seemed missing to me was the history. Who was the person in this coffin or that coffin? When were these peopled interred? Were they male or female? Mother or father? So many unanswered questions.

What did impress me was how it was that they got these coffins high up on these limestone walls. The climber in me took over and I looked for hand holds, but no matter how I looked, there was still no answer to my question of how they got up there. My best guess, now that I think of it, is that they built large bamboo scaffolds to raise the dead high up onto the walls… but this is just my guess. I am quite certain scholars or anthropologists could tell me for certain. I do not think this practice continues on a large scale, but I do believe that in rare instances it probably does still happen.

Back to my story. While in this cave, a huge rain storm moved in. If you have ever been in a south east Asian monsoon, then you know you do not travel if you don’t have to. If I had been in the lowlands, far from rivers that could flash flood, I probably would have left. Unfortunately, I was in the mountains where flash floods and land slides are far too common. So I waited. It was getting dark and this particular cave had been difficult enough to find in daylight, so I tried to sleep. Notice I said tried to sleep.

I am not particularly frightened by ghosts and goblins or spirits and things that go bump in the night, but that does not mean sleeping with the dead is something I look forward to doing. In other words… I didn’t sleep at all.

Maybe it was the fear of a cobra thinking it might be nice to crawl up my shorts, or maybe the thunder was too loud, or even a very legitimate fear of a coffin suddenly breaking open and dropping the bones of some long lost human on my head. No matter what the reason, sleep was not in the cards that night.

When dawn broke, the storm had passed and I, being grateful for my survival in the cave of the dead, made haste and quite rapidly descended.

I don’t like to think that I am a truly sick and twisted individual, but if possible… maybe this traveler may some day return just to face my fears or the memory of my fears from that night.

The aforementioned story of sleeping (or trying to sleep) with the dead is not embarrassing or dangerous. However, my next experience of sleeping with the dead is both. I have told only parts of this story to a couple of people.

Several decades ago, I met some gentlemen. They were greedy men who enticed me with their tales of… shall we say… treasure. These were men who had need of my particular skills, particularly climbing and a willingness to enter into a venture for the promise of adventure and wealth.

This particular tale takes place over four continents, and though I won’t tell you exactly where it happened, I will say that war brings out the best and the worst in people, and it continues to bring these things out long after the conflict is over.

There are those that always try to profit from war, and I am not speaking specifically of the weapons manufacturers or oil companies. I am speaking of those who steal from the dead, those who pillage the national and personal treasuries of all whom they conquer. And I am speaking of those that steal from the thieves– even though the thieves are long dead.

These gentlemen who interested me in this endeavor had been “treasure hunting” over four continents for over a quarter of a century when I met them. They had it down. And they had become very wealthy. They would find treasure on one continent and transport it to another, where they would launder it.

In the case of gold treasures, they would transport it to a third-world country with a gold mining history. They would melt down their treasure and mix it with gold from the laundering country. The reason is because gold can be traced; even twenty-four karat gold has trace minerals from where it was originally mined. The object was to mix gold from several sites with newly mined gold in a manner that would make it totally untraceable. Then they would move it to another country and sell it on the gold market.

Did you know that over time and in certain common conditions gold oxidizes and turns black? Just a trivia question.

I rationalized my part in this by saying to myself that I had just found “lost” treasure. Treasure that had been lost by thieves that had stolen it from other thieves who had killed its original owners.

My part of this plan was to climb some mountains or a mountain and locate the exact position of this treasure. I would then establish a system for removal of said treasure and thus deliver it to these gentlemen. I actually did not have to search hard because their information was very precise. The physical act of reaching this spot was, however, very dangerous and if conditions had been slightly better or worse weather-wise, it probably could not have been done.

This little adventure took me through north America, Europe, Asia and South America, all of which have high snow-covered mountains.

I spent two days climbing solo to the site we were searching for. Upon reaching this site, I was amazed that first of all, I had survived thus far, and secondly, that my associates were correct. What I found was the wreckage of an old WWII-era plane. The plane had military markings, but I won’t say from what country these markings identified.

The plane was mostly encased in ice. The only reason it had not been swept off of the mountain by avalanches was that in crashing, it had somehow happened to come to rest under a rather substantial, overhanging cliff. I was able to enter a cockpit window that had become accessible due to melt water erosion. The interior of the plane did have snow and ice in it but not near as much as one would think it would have, considering the time it had spent on this mountain. As near as I could tell it had a crew, still on board, of nine men. Some of these men were in military uniforms others were in street clothes… suits, ties and over coats. Time and weather, freezing and thawing, then freezing and thawing again and again had taken its toll on these men. They were not mummified, but were not fully decomposed either.

Having reached the site in the dark, I spent the night in the plane and again tried to sleep, unsuccessfully. In the morning, I began removing some of the treasures, through a series of fixed ropes I had set on the mountain. These treasures were worth many millions of dollars. My head was spinning with the ideas of what to do with my new-found wealth.

At one time, I wanted to bring word of the finding of these bodies to those they had left behind, if possible. But due to national borders, language differences, time passed, etc., this would probably have been an impossible task. Also this treasure had a blood trail that spanned generations of greedy persons, these dead men were in fact themselves greedy and they died with their greed.

I am not pure in this, I was greedy also.

There were four of us at the fore of this tale.

Maybe, just maybe, greed has a way of destroying its possessor. The money made of this treasure was safely deposited.

Co-conspirator #1 was kidnapped while searching for treasure in a third world country, and is presumed to have been executed.

Co-conspirator #2 was assassinated.

Co-conspirator #3 left a message for me to not try to access “my” portion.  I think he may still be alive as I saw him once after this, and upon his seeing me, he quickly melted like a ghost into the crowd.

There is still treasure out there, both at this site as well as other sites that my associates and I were working on.

But it will have to be found by another; these treasures are stained with far too much blood for my conscience.

There was nothing illegal about these activities, hell we had government permits and soldier guards, which come to think of it, doesn’t necessarily mean it was legal but we were following the law.

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Responses

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian

    • Thank you for the words of encouragement Christian. It is nice to know that people are not only reading my blog but enjoying it.


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