“The Fawcett Scripts”
While Geraldine seems to have accepted the Scripts of Cleophas and the ‘Myers’ communications as genuine discarnate disclosures, it was otherwise in regard to a series that began in 1935 and were continued and concluded between 1948 and 1951, which purported to describe the activities and eventual fate of the explorer, Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, after he and his two companions had vanished in the jungles of central South America in 1925.
Her opinion, given in the preface to the book in which they were eventually published, was as follows:
As to the actual communications, written by me automatically without the intervention of my conscious mind, I have come to the conclusion that they are probably the product of my subliminal mind and a capacity for extra-sensory perception.
The whole process of such supernormal communication is too mysterious for me to think of making any definite claim that these scripts were actually communicated by Colonel Fawcett.
On the other hand, Miss Gibbes was quite convinced that the narrative was communicated by him and she was satisfied that she obtained sufficient corroboration to justify her view. I wish to emphasise that I make no such claim, and that I prefer that the reader should form his own conclusions as to the authenticity or falseness of the record.
Fawcett, like many other explorers, was a man who could not rest from travel. The unknown regions of central South America obsessed him. A glance at a world-atlas of the twenties shows that there were many unexplored areas here, with dotted lines indicating the presumed courses of rivers.
He had begun his career as an explorer during 1906, and during the next fifteen years he made seven expeditions, four in Bolivia and three in Brazil, as well as serving with distinction in France in the First World War, when he gained the D.S.O. In his book, Exploration Fawcett, written immediately before he set off on his final adventure, and published after his disappearance, he records that during twenty-four years of married life he had only spent ten with his family. Between 1921 and 1924, after returning from his seventh journey, he was continually uneasy and on edge, waiting for funds to flow in so that he might set out once more, this time to explore the upper basin of the Xingu, one of the chief tributaries of the Amazon, and search for relics of ancient cities built long before the time of the Incas, of which he had heard rumours when he had previously approached that area.
Eventually the money materialised, and at the end of 1924 he set out, accompanied by his eldest son Jack and a close friend of the latter, Raleigh Rimell. As the ship he was on neared Rio de Janeiro he wrote to his younger son, Brian, who was then working as a railway engineer in Peru:
Here we are . . . approaching Rio ... on the way to Matto Grosso, and with at least forty million people already aware of our objective. We shall leave for Matto Grosso in about a week, and Cuyaba [the last Portuguese settlement on their planned route] about April 2nd. Thereafter we shall disappear from civilisation until the end of next year. Imagine us somewhere about a thousand miles east of you, in forests so far untrodden by civilised man.
Other letters followed describing in detail the journey into the interior by train and river-steamer, with living conditions becoming more and more primitive as they proceeded, and mosquitoes and other insects more and more of a pest. At Cuyaba they obtained horses and mules, and went into the unknown, accompanied for a while by native servants as far as the latter dared to go into a region of which they had a great superstitious fear. On May 29th 1925, the last letters were written from a point on the bank of the river Kuluene, one of the head-tributaries of the Xingu. They expressed eager optimism. Fawcett had heard more about the remains of old cities and was anxious to see them. He had been told that they lay to the north-east, and that before they were reached they would come across a high tower which the local tribes dared not approach because they believed it to be haunted, and after that a great waterfall.
No further word ever came about their subsequent movements, and for a long while no one expected any.
However, as 1927 wore on concern began to be felt. A search party went out but no trace of them. Then fantastic tales began to filter through, about Fawcett having actually been encountered by other travellers, about his son having married a native woman and having fathered a white-skinned, blue-eyed child; then, much later, a report that the whole party had been killed by arrows, according to the confession of an Indian chief who, somewhat later, when on his deathbed, changed his story and said that they had been clubbed to death. This chiefs successor pointed out where Fawcett had allegedly been buried. The bones were exhumed and sent back to England, but expert examination showed that they could not have been his at all. This was late in 1951. On that inconclusive note the story ends, so far as it can be ascertained through the usual methods of enquiry.
Much interest was taken in Fawcett’s fate, and Beatrice Gibbes was among those who thought that mediumship might be able to supply information where human investigation had failed. She seems to have urged Geraldine to make enquires more forcefully than the latter found welcome.
Geraldine had a rooted dislike of Brazil which, she averred, caused her deliberately to avoid reading anything about it, since four of her kinsfolk had lost their lives in visits to that country. For Miss Gibbes, on the other hand, it was a land of mystery that fired her imagination, and she regretted that she was herself now too old to go and rummage in its jungles.
Eventually Geraldine consented to attempt a contact and the first sittings took place in December 1935. By now, though she may not have been aware of them, there had been five separate reports that Fawcett had been sighted, the last one suggesting that he and his two companions had been living for some years with a particular Indian tribe. It is a pity that we do not know how much or how little Geraldine heard of these sightings. Her own reluctance to concern herself with anything relating to Brazil would not have prevented her from noticing references in newspapers, and she might very well have absorbed and then consciously forgotten what she had accidentally seen.
Four automatic writing sessions produced a certain amount of information purporting to originate from Fawcett himself. At first it was not clear, either to the control, Astor, or (strange as it may seem) to the communicator, whether Fawcett was physically dead or still in his earthly body. Later it appeared that the latter was the case and that he was in a confused and dream-like state. The account he gave was that he and his two companions had been intercepted by a native tribe who, while not wishing to harm them, were determined not to let them go free. The tribal chief had given Fawcett the choice of their being immediately speared to death or of promising solemnly never to return to their people. Having opted to stay and remain alive, he, his son and Rimell were permitted a limited degree of freedom to explore their surroundings. The chief, who claimed descent from a white man, wanted Fawcett to marry his sister and become the father of a son who would combine the skills of the white races with the peaceable disposition of the native, and so be a suitable successor for the chieftainship. Fawcett had not found the notion attractive and had declined, but said that his son Jack had married a woman of the tribe and had had by her a daughter who had died and a son who had survived.
He further said that he had indeed found the remains of an ancient city, and that at the time when contact was made with him he was alternating between mental states in which sometimes his existing surroundings, and at other times the former life of the ruined city he had discovered, had been his environment. When in the latter state he was aware that he was living in the past, moving among people to whom he could not speak and who appeared quite unaware of his presence. He spoke of it as being another Egypt, an ‘Alexandria of the West’. Here a Pharaoh sat on his throne and gave audience to petitioners while in the streets traders cried their wares and beggars asked for alms. At the next session he corrected the impression that it had anything to do with Egypt, asserting instead that the city was a colony of the fabled Atlantis, whose inhabitants had discovered the secret of what we should now call atomic energy, but which he referred to as ‘blast electricity’. (It should be noted here that Rutherford did not succeed in splitting the atom until two years later, so it is unlikely that the notion of atomic energy being liberated had entered Geraldine’s mind from outside, and equally unlikely that it was a product of her own fancy, since she had never studied Science.) In the third and fourth sessions he had much to say about the Atlantean civilisation, which had given rise to an empire of consciously superior human beings whose pride eventually led to their downfall and the destruction of their whole civilisation through the misuse of the ‘blast electricity’ which they had discovered. (A warning here for our own time, perhaps, but scarcely for the thirties of this century.)
The last two paragraphs summarise the material obtained during 1935. Whether or not it was simply the outpouring of a fiction writer’s subliminal mind one cannot know. Beatrice Gibbes, however, thought she had obtained a certain amount of collateral corroboration. Between the third and fourth sessions she had attended a séance at which a medium of some repute unexpectedly produced confirmation of what Geraldine had written. The control announced that he wished to correct what had been stated on a former occasion. Fawcett was not dead but still living ‘among a native tribe. He cannot get away. They make him amulet.
They treat him well. He is with an Indian tribe.’ But this of course could be explained (as Miss Gibbes must have realised) as the consequence of telepathy from the sitter.
During the fourth session, first Astor, and then the supposed Fawcett had more to say about the latter’s peculiar awareness of a former ancient civilisation. He had been developing a psychic ability which enabled him to have direct knowledge of events of the past. First, Astor:
His body lies within the hut, but for the most part his soul, in its etheric shape, wanders within the courts and temples of Atlantis . . . Yet in rare moments, when within his earthly body, he remembers his wife, his sister’s home, and he tries to signal to them across space - but, if it reaches her, the message is only briefly expressed ... He will soon break wholly from his body and, once released . . . will rise into the etheric world of the departed.4
Afterwards Fawcett contributed a few words:
I can’t tell you whether I am alive or dead ... I am having a tremendously exciting time as layer upon layer of the ancient world is revealed to me ... I don’t want to be discovered, as I take it that I can still be drawn back to the daily round of life if some adventurous chap starts out on another search. I don’t want to be discovered and drawn back. I am far too absorbed and thrilled by this exploration of mine. It is the biggest thing I have ever been on. Later, when I have exhausted its possibilities, it will be time for me to look up London and the twentieth century. But when I am on a job I like to give my whole attention to it. I am slipping now - Fawcett.
Thirteen years elapsed and another World War went by before Geraldine, again urged by her friend, made another attempt to contact Fawcett. Meanwhile other information had come to hand, some possibly genuine, from other South American travellers, and some through paranormal channels. To take the latter first: Maurice Barbanell, a noted Spiritualist, disclosed in a book that during sittings with Mrs Estelle Roberts one of her communicators unexpectedly spoke of Fawcett, saying he was a prisoner, alive and mentally well but physically in a bad state, that his son was dead and that he himself had become an ‘advanced psychic’.
This sequence of sittings had been held in 1933, over two years earlier than Geraldine’s first apparent contacts, but neither she nor Beatrice Gibbes had known anything about them until Barbanell published his book in 1940. At another of these sittings Mrs Roberts first said that Fawcett was dead, but later corrected this to a statement that he had been using his psychic ability to travel astrally, and that the medium had wrongly supposed he was dead. Somewhat later Barbanell was told that Fawcett had now died. All this (except for the latter statement) tallied with what later came through Geraldine’s hand in December 1935. The question was, whether the latter might have already learned it, perhaps in conversation with someone who had been present at these sittings, and that it had sunk into her mind and been forgotten.
A further intriguing thread in the paranormal fabric was a statement by an author, H. T. Wilkins, who in a book entitled Mysteries of Ancient South America, published in 1945, mentioned that the explorer’s wife, Mrs Nina Fawcett, believed that she had received telepathic messages from her husband which indicated that, in 1934, he was still alive but in captivity. This would harmonise with what Astor had told Geraldine, that Fawcett remembered from time to time to ‘signal across space’.
In December 1948 the second series of writing sessions began, which lasted, on and off, until November 1951. In a sequence of twenty scripts ’ Fawcett’, now by his own admission discarnate, described his captivity up to the time of his death. After he himself, his son and Rimell had been captured they remained on good terms with the Indians for a while, and he had been able to investigate the ruins of more than one ‘Atlantean’ city, partly through excavation and partly through the psychic insights he had developed. His son had married a young Indian woman and they had had two children, a daughter who died and a son who survived.
His son and Rimell had eventually been put to death by the Indians, not out of ill-will but out of mercy to save them from torture and death at the hands of a cannibalistic tribe into whose territory they had insisted on going. He himself remained as a captive, treated with great respect. However, the fever-ridden jungle began to take its toll and he became very ill. When he appeared to have recovered the chief began to press him very insistently to marry his sister and produce a son. Sensing that the sister hated the prospect of such a union, though prepared to obey her brother whose command had the force of law, Fawcett decided to make an end of himself and died from a self-inflicted stab wound.
There are elements in Geraldine’s automatically-written account which are possibly evidential if one supposes that she had done no reading or study about Fawcett, as she denied ever having done - and the writer is content to accept her word about this. The rumours and tales that filtered through between 1927 and 1951 are broadly in agreement with his having survived for ten more years, and the narrative reads very much like what he might have written, in its style and phrasing. However, if one accepts the possibility of telepathy one has to ask how much of the material might have been transferred from Beatrice Gibbes’ mind to Geraldine’s, there to be woven subliminally into a romantic tale which some film producer could have converted into a real box-office success. The lost cities, the forgotten civilisation, the noble savage chief with white blood in his veins, the friendly Indians, the honourable Englishman whose word was his bond, the notion of founding a dynasty from a union of white man’s craft and native innocence - here were all the ingredients for a cinema film which could out-Tarzan Tarzan of the Apes. As it stands it makes good reading, and one disbelieves it, if disbelieve one must, with regret. It seems worth quoting from the final script, which came across only a few weeks before Beatrice Gibbes herself died.
I have been thinking over the request that was made to me when last I paid you a call. [It had been a request for the names of persons and places associated with Fawcett’s captivity.] The answer is in the negative. I feel I must keep my pledge made many years ago when I was with the Chief. I promised then not to bring ‘White man scourge’ upon him and the Indians by revealing the identity of tribes, etc., to any Western race, or indeed to any individual white man. I cannot therefore give you the names of particular Indians or the names of the various tribes.
Here is my final message. For God’s sake leave these Indians alone and let my bones rot in their grave. My head has been preserved, oh yes, but no explorer will ever find it. In the future, as in the past, Indians will only tell white lies about my end, if interrogated. They are under orders to do so, and they dare not tell the historical truth. For then they believe that the curse will fall on them - life after death passed in the Indian hell. . . White men deserve only to be told lies, in view of the past record of the whites’ cruelty or corrupting influence in regard to the native population of South America.
“The Fawcett Scripts” is an extract from Geraldine Cummins: An Appreciation by Charles Fryer
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published January 2013
Size: 229 x 152 mm