Monday, 31 January 2011


Macrame - Ancient art dates to primitive people

The Hickory News, NC. Thursday, January 6, 1977 Section 3B. Digitized by Doug Frizzle, January 2011.

Paul W. Schaibly first took up macrame as a means of making extra money while serving in the U. S. Marine Corps shortly after World War. I. He recently renewed his interest after retiring from a construction engineering career. He now teaches the craft at various local craft shops.

Macrame is for all. It has been said that anyone who can tie his shoe laces can do macrame.

Macrame consists of very few kinds of knots and much can be accomplished with just one or two types, the square knot and the half hitch. Adults and children have learned to tie these in one or two hours and been well on the way toward making a flower pot hanger, a belt, a pocket book, or what ever they selected before an evening was over.

There are many books at craft shops to guide one in selecting a project and most craft shops have someone to help you.

If one has absolutely no knowledge of the art at all it is best to find some help. I recommend learning the knots first.

With these two knots it is possible to make a large variety of useful articles by varying the spacing between the knots with the use of cardboard gauges and by the addition of rings and beads.

There are, of course, other knots which are helpful in making the article more decorative. A few of these are: Chinese crown, larks head, Josephine, and monkey fist. These take more time and concentration to learn but are not necessary for the beginner, it would be best not to worry about these until the square knot and the double half hitch are mastered.

The time required to complete any project varies according to the individual. But it is not uncommon for a beginner to complete a 3-ft. flower pot hanger in two to three hours.

The wonderful part about macrame is that it requires a minimum amount of equipment and the material can be the most common type of cord.

Macrame is really a very ancient craft. Knots have played a very important part in the lives of primitive people, being used in fishing, hunting and trapping of wild animals and in the harnessing of tame ones; for securing the rafts, canoes, huts and also for dress. The knotting together of vines and grasses and sinews was no doubt the earliest forms of craft; then forms of weaving. Today housewives, nurses, doctors, sailors, butchers, and fishermen depend on knots of various forms to complete their tasks.

Macrame probably originated in the Middle East. The Arab world used macrame to a great extent and then it spread north into Europe during the time of the Crusades. The word macrame didn't come into use until the middle of the nineteenth century and appears to come from the Turkish word, Makrama, meaning a fringed napkin or kerchief. The word later came to be applied to any work of this kind.

Today, macrame is being rediscovered. Due to the simplicity of the fundamental essentials of knowledge and the meager amount of tools and space required it has become very popular. This has put a great demand on the jute and various cord industries to the point that prices of these items have increased rapidly. Also beads, metal rings, frames and publications related to macrame are in great demand.


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Missing Works of A. H. Verrill

A.H. Verrill

This work is a placeholder for notes about AHV and missing works. There is so much material that it is hard to keep track of all the details of my searches. Here by chapter and page, we can keep some notes on each topic so that I don’t have to retrace each path when I renew my searches for Verrill documentation. And I don’t recross paths that have already been explored.

1 - Missing and wanted Books

Among the Wild Tribes of British Guiana

Down the West Coast of South America

2 – “The Ghostly Vengance” in Strange Stories magazine October 1939

3 – “Fifty-Two Degrees South” in Tropical Adventures magazine August 1928

4 - Red Peter and Sea Stories magazine

5 – “Jaunt through Central Chile” from the Living Age 1925 unknown issue

6 – “Coconuts and Cannibals” from Far East Adventure Stories magazine December 1931

7 – “The Living Death” from Action Stories Magazine August 1922

8 – “Trailing the Gun Runners” - Part 1 from Secret Service Stories magazine August 1928

If you know where these stories can be located please contact us.

The Oak Island Treasure

Lost Treasure – True Tales of Hidden Hoards

A narration on various treasures in the Americas

By A. Hyatt Verrill

Published 1930. Digitized by Doug Frizzle Jan 2011


The Mysterious Treasure of Oak Island

PROSPECTORS have a saying that "gold is where you find it" and the same is equally true of treasure-trove. It turns up in the most unexpected localities and under the most unexpected conditions. Of course the treasures of fiction call for deserted beaches, caves on lonely isles or caches on wave-lashed keys, with waving palms, with dark, mysterious, evil-looking villains and all the other accessories of any self-respecting treasure-trove. But in real life, as one might say, treasures have a most perverse habit of being most unconventional, and comparatively few authentic lost treasures are where the fiction writers would have them. Of course, when we come to think of it, this is quite to be expected, for sand beaches, caves and small islets are about the very worst places in which to hide treasure if the hider ever expects to return and find his treasure intact. Winds, waves and storms play havoc with sand beaches and sand dunes. Caves are easily discovered and are still more readily searched, and the smaller the area of land whereon a treasure is hidden the more easily it may be searched and the greater are the chances of some one coming upon the cache. And those who hide or rather have hidden treasures have or had no intentions of making it easy for some one else to benefit by their hoards.

While it is quite natural that the greater number of known treasures should be hidden in tropical and semitropical portions of America, the haunts of the men and people who possessed the most treasures and had the most reason for hiding them, yet many a treasure, real and imaginary, has been located far from the haunts of freebooters and conquerors, far out of the track of plate ships and galleons and, as I stated above, in the most unlikely and most un-romantic spots.

Oftentimes there is a very good reason for treasures being hidden or lost in some such locality—on the New England coast, on bleak shores in the Antarctic or elsewhere. Very often their history is well known and there is nothing mysterious nor puzzling about their presence. But now and then the reverse is the case and most fascinating conjectures may be formed as to the origin and reason for treasure hoards located where, as far as known, there never was any treasure nor any one to hide it.

This is the case with the famous Oak Island treasure, perhaps the most bafflingly mysterious treasure in the entire world, a treasure which, although known to exist, has never been recovered despite hundreds of thousands of dollars and many years having been spent in efforts to secure it; regarding which there is no plausible theory to account for its presence and which, to cap all, is undoubtedly the most remarkably concealed treasure ever known. Finally this mysterious, strange, inexplicable treasure—that might well be guarded by a Djin did we believe in such spirits—is not situated in some palm-fringed tropic land nor amid picturesque and romantic surroundings and associations, but in matter-of-fact Nova Scotia!

The history of the Oak Island treasure, as far as it is known, goes back to 1795 when three young men named Vaughan, MacGinnis and Smith—far from romantic names—started out for a day's holiday on Oak Island. In those days much of the island was uninhabited, wooded and wild, an ideal spot for three young fellows to hunt, explore and have a jolly good time by themselves. Landing in a sheltered cove in deep and calm Mahone Bay, the three started into the oak forests searching for game and adventure.

Presently, as they wandered about, they came to a spot that showed evidences of having been cleared at some time in the past. The big trees had been replaced by second growth, the earth was overgrown with weeds, shrubs and briars, and the three youths decided that it must have been the site of an Indian village. Then they noticed that near the center of the clearing there was a single gigantic oak tree standing like a sentinel above the smaller saplings, and upon approaching this patriarchal tree they discovered that its bark showed scars of ax marks that, to their imaginative eyes, appeared like numerals or marks with some meaning. Also, they found that one of the lower branches of the tree had been sawed off a few feet from the trunk and upon this was a deeply furrowed scar as if a rope or chain had been attached to it.

By now the boys were not only deeply interested in their chance discovery, but were feeling a bit uneasy and nervous. That stout, outjutting branch with the chafed marks upon its bark hinted of a gallows-tree, and in their imaginative brains they could picture a ghastly corpse swing back and forth from the sawed-off limb. It was a rather creepy, disquieting thought, there in the silent deserted forest, and the three stepped hastily back and glanced apprehensively about. And then they made another discovery. Almost directly under the lopped-off branch was a circular depression in the earth perhaps ten feet in diameter. They withdrew a bit farther, for might not that hollow mark the grave of the man who had been hanged? But Vaughan, perhaps less imaginative or more matter-of-fact than his companions, read in the gallows-like limb and the hollow in the earth a very different story. “Treasure!” he exclaimed. "Buried treasure! That's what 'tis. Maybe Captain Kidd buried his treasure here." (Vaughan, like others, associated all treasure with poor, persecuted Kidd who had never been near Nova Scotia in his life.) "See," he continued, "they used a block and tackle on the limb to hoist their treasure-chests into the hole. That's what 'tis; buried treasure."

Instantly the gallows theory was cast to the winds and the three became wildly excited. They had stumbled upon a cache of treasure they were sure, and forgetting their contemplated holiday they hurried to their boat with the idea of returning to their homes, securing picks and shovels and returning to unearth the treasure they felt sure was theirs for the digging. During their explorations, the tide had fallen, and as the three approached their boat they made another discovery. Exposed by the unusually low tide were an immense rusty iron ringbolt in a seaweed-coated rock, a ringbolt of old-fashioned design and large enough to serve as a mooring to a good-sized ship. Here was further proof of pirates' treasures, and as they searched about the three made two even more thrilling finds. One was a copper coin dated 1713, the other an old-fashioned boatswain's silver whistle. There was no longer any doubt in their minds. A vessel had been in Mahone Bay over eighty years before, a treasure had been buried under the solitary oak, and all they had to do was to come back and dig it up.

Equipped with picks and shovels, the three youths returned to their secret, spot the following day and fell lustily to work. Within a few minutes they found they were excavating in an old, clearly outlined circular shaft with walls of solid undisturbed earth in which the marks of picks and shovels could clearly be seen. Excited, now certain that they were close to riches, the three dug madly, and Smith shouted triumphantly when, ten feet below the surface, his shovel struck resonant oak boards. But when, with feverish excitement, they had uncovered the heavy planks and by their united efforts they had dragged the timbers from the earth, their faces fell. Instead of the pile of gold and silver they had expected to see disclosed, there was nothing but the same loose earth.

Still, as Vaughan pointed out, the presence of the old oak timbers proved something must be buried there and again they fell to at their labors. Five, eight, ten feet further they dug and again their picks struck wood. Once more with pounding hearts they pried the boards loose and once again found only the barren earth below.

Still they were not discouraged for, they reasoned, the treasure must be vast to have been buried so deeply and to have been so carefully protected. But when, at a depth of thirty feet, the three weary and sweating young men came upon a third oak bulkhead with nothing but earth beneath it they gave up in despair. Not that they had lost faith in the treasure, but for the simple reason that they had excavated to their unaided limit. To go deeper would require more men, blocks and tackles, winches and buckets.

They hated to tell others of their discovery, but they were by now convinced that the treasure was great enough to make a dozen men rich, and it would be far better to have a share of the treasure than none of it. But when they returned to the village and told their tale they found that the inhabitants showed no desire to join them in their treasure hunt. In fact, they did everything possible to discourage the three, and told them hair-raising tales of ghostly apparitions, mysterious, unearthly flickering lights and fearsome cries that for many years had been seen and heard in the vicinity of the sentinel oak. Not a man would consent to aid the three in their search, and at last, unable to secure reinforcements, they abandoned their idea of recovering the mysterious treasure.

For nearly ten years no one visited the spot; the three youths had almost forgotten their treasure search, when Dr. Lynds from Truro arrived at Oak Island. Somehow rumors of the trio's discovery had filtered through to Truro and Dr. Lynds, being a rather romantic soul and fond of adventure, had hurried off to the island to have a talk with Smith, Vaughan and MacGinnis. Eagerly they told him of their find and work ten years before and in company with Dr. Lynds they visited the scene of their abandoned labors.

The physician was almost as excited and interested as the three had been. He was thoroughly convinced that an immense treasure was hidden under the oak tree, and hurrying back to Truro he at once organized a company for the recovery of the treasure. Many prominent men bought shares, among them Colonel Robert Archibald, Captain David Archibald and Sheriff Harris. With the funds thus obtained a complete excavatory equipment was purchased, a gang of laborers hired, a camp established at the island, and dirt began to fly in earnest.

As the husky men dug deeper and deeper the same oak boards or other partitions were encountered at regular intervals of ten feet. One layer was of coconut-fiber matting covered with charcoal, another was of putty spread over sailcloth, and at ninety feet below the surface the laborers came to a flat slab of quarried stone three feet in length by sixteen inches in width bearing an inscription chiseled into one surface.

Unfortunately, when this had been removed and the elusive treasure was not disclosed, the slab was cast aside. Had it been preserved with care it might, undoubtedly would, have solved the baffling mystery of the treasure. To be sure, a few local people attempted to decipher the carving, but with no great success, and although one Halifax solon declared that it read "Ten feet below, two million pounds lie buried," he couldn't explain how he thus interpreted it, and his statement was regarded as largely guesswork or imagination. At all events the stone was cast aside, and one of the three original discoverers, the man Smith, took possession of it and used it as a hearthstone for the fireplace of his new house. Later it was taken to Halifax, where it still remains, and was used by a book-binder for beating leather until the inscription was entirely obliterated.

But to return to the laborers digging into the bowels of the island. At ninety-five feet they came upon still another wooden platform and then, overnight, the shaft, hitherto dry, was flooded with water to within twenty-five feet of the top. Every effort to bail out the shaft proved fruitless, and at last, convinced that such a task was hopeless, the shaft that had cost so much time and labor was abandoned and another was commenced nearby, the idea being that the water in their first pit could be drained into the second by connecting them with a tunnel, a scheme that proved that the treasure-seekers were far from competent engineers for, quite obviously, the result would have been to flood both shafts equally. This of course was precisely what happened and, moreover, the water flowed with such a rush into the new shaft that the men barely escaped with their lives. Once more the treasure hunt was abandoned. All the company's funds had been exhausted and the treasure still remained as mysterious and as safe as in the beginning.

Forty years passed by. Smith and MacGinnis had grown old and had passed away, but Dr. Lynds and Vaughan still lived, and to wondering grandchildren they related the narrative of their vain search for the mysterious treasure in their youth. The tale had become almost a legend when another company was formed, and once more the vicinity of the "Money Pit," as it was called, was alive with activity. By pumps and more modern methods than had been possible forty years earlier, the original shaft was cleared of water to a depth of eighty-six feet and all were elated when, with a rush, the water came back and put an effectual end to the work.

Then an entirely new scheme was devised. This was to bore for the treasure, to prospect for it exactly as if it had been a vein of coal or other mineral. Accordingly a strong platform was erected over the old shaft and a huge augur-drill was rigged and started on its exploratory descent. At ninety-eight feet the platform found by Dr. Lynds' diggers was again struck. Rapidly the drill penetrated the five inches of spruce timbers of which it was built, and then dropped suddenly for a foot. Then up came borings of oak, and for four inches the drill bit slowly through this. Then it slowed down and for twenty-two inches worked its way through loose metal none of which was brought up with the exception of three small gold links of a chain. Then again it penetrated eight inches of oak, then went through twenty-two inches of loose metal as before; then four inches of oak, six inches of spruce and at last into bed clay for seven feet.

Though no treasure had been obtained, every one was elated. Unquestionably the loose metal was the treasure—two great chests of it, each twenty-two inches in depth; for it was reasoned that the four inches of oak above and below the loose metal and the eight inches that separated the two lots were the tops and bottoms of oaken chests.

Moving the drill slightly to one side, a second boring was made. Once again the spruce platform was struck at ninety-eight feet. Passing through this the augur dropped about eighteen inches, and, moving with an irregular, jerky motion indicating that it was bearing against the side of some hard object, it brought up oak splinters from a cask, together with fragments of coconut-matting. For six feet this continued when the final or lowest platform was struck. Evidently, the people reasoned, there was a cask of treasure beside the chests, but as far as getting it was concerned, the treasure-seekers were no nearer success than before. Ninety odd feet of water separated them from the mysterious hoard at the bottom of the shaft.

Still, the fact that there were now tangible evidences of treasure in the pit was sufficiently encouraging to induce the company to continue work the next summer, when a third shaft was sunk to the west of the original pit. But this also was filled with water, which was salt and rose and fell with the tide. This was a discovery that elated rather than discouraged the treasure-seekers. If, they reasoned, the seepage was natural, then the men who had originally buried the treasure would have been unable to do the work. Hence it was obvious that the pirates, or whoever they were, must have arranged some entrance or tunnel from the sea for the purpose of flooding the treasure and safeguarding it. And, so the searchers reasoned, the original owners must have arranged some means for drawing off or stopping the water, for otherwise they never could have recovered the treasure themselves.

Careful search was made along the shore, and close to the spot where the ringbolt was secured in the rock, a bed of brown fiber—probably coconut-matting—was uncovered, and under this a mass of small rocks unlike the surrounding gravel. This, it was decided, was the hidden mouth of the tunnel that led the water to the pit and this supposition was borne out when, upon removing the rocks, a series of drains of carefully cut and laid stone were uncovered. It was then decided to build a coffer-dam about the spot, but before this was completed there was an abnormally high tide and the dam collapsed. Still undismayed, the tenacious treasure-seekers commenced a third shaft, intending to cut into the drains and thus dam the inlet from the shore. But the guardian spirit of the mysterious hoard was not to be so easily conquered. One disaster after another beset the workmen; shafts caved in or were filled with water, and at last the final funds were expended in purchasing a powerful pump and engine. But the more water pumped out the more came in, and in the end all work was abandoned and the treasure was left undisturbed.

Another forty years passed by. Earth and debris had almost filled the shafts, and grass and weeds grow over the piles of excavated material. All those who had tried their hands at the former treasure hunts had died; but there were records on file, and in 1896 Oak Island again echoed to the sounds of pick, shovel, hammer and anvil, the clank of pumps and (lie hubbub of a mining camp. Once more the mysterious treasure had lured men to put money into a new venture, and as all were confident that modern methods and machinery could succeed where all others had failed, there was no lack of funds forthcoming, and shares in the new company were in great demand.

This time up-to-date methods were to be used; competent engineers were employed, all the latest mechanical devices were installed, and work was begun in earnest. Almost twenty shafts were sunk in a circle about the now historic Money Pit, and a network of tunnels were driven between them, the idea being to intercept the underground inlet from the sea and also to drain the original shaft. Thousands of feet of planking and timber were used, hundreds of pounds of dynamite were employed, for the new shafts and tunnels were constructed like those of a real mine. But modern devices, engineering skill, up-to-date machinery, all failed to disclose the secret of the strange hiding place devised and carried out by some unknown, mysterious humans of bygone days. The company's funds were exhausted, and the guardian spirits must have chortled with demoniacal glee as they watched the disappointed and bankrupt treasure-seekers depart.

But their work had not been entirely barren of results. At a depth of one hundred and twenty-six feet the drill had passed through oak and had brought up chips, only to strike solid metal upon which the drill made no impression. A smaller drill was started at one side, and at one hundred and fifty-three feet below the surface it passed through a seven-inch layer of cement or mortar covering an oak platform beneath which was soft, loose metal. None of this, supposedly gold coins, was brought up, but the drill did bring up a fragment of parchment bearing illegible words in writing, only a single syllable of which, a "VI" or "WI" could be deciphered. Moreover, these borings had located seven chests or casks containing loose metal. Yet in all this time, during the entire century of treasure-seeking and the expenditure of over one hundred thousand dollars, not a single dollar's worth of treasure (if we except the three links of a watch chain) had been recovered from this incredibly mysterious treasure.

From time to time, efforts were continued to recover the hoard, and for all I know there may be men working to-day at the Money Pit on Oak Island. Even if the spot is deserted the visitor can find plenty of evidences of the work that has been carried on in the past. Everywhere are the mounds of excavated dirt and gravel, the dark, water-filled pits, the caved-in tunnels and shafts, the abandoned rusty tools and machines, the weather-beaten timbers and boards and, more than one hundred and fifty feet below the surface of the scarred and pitted ground, lip the chests and casks of the mysterious, inexplicable treasure.

Who could have buried the hoard in that out-of-the-way northern spot? Who could have had the lime, the men, the patience and the skill to have devised such a strange, efficacious and remarkable hiding place! Who could have dug a shaft for a depth of more than one hundred and fifty feet, connected it by a subterranean tunnel with the sea and have gone to such prodigious labor as to protect the treasure by more than a dozen layers of planks, limbers, cement, iron and other materials?

No one can offer a suggestion, no one can form a theory or an hypothesis that is tenable. If pirates buried the treasure, who were they, what were they doing in Nova Scotia, and why should they have buried the treasure in such a way that it would have been a tremendous, an almost impossible task to recover it? Yet who but pirates could have possessed such treasure in such a place? Some wild theories have been suggested. The treasure of Oak Island has been linked with the famous Cocos Island treasure, the treasure of Lima, but it is a far cry from the Pacific to Nova Scotia and with many a better hiding-place en route why should those who made off with the Lima treasure have taken the trouble to sail to the shores of Canada and there secrete their loot by such elaborate means? Moreover, the Oak Island treasure had been known and sought for years before the Lima treasure was taken to sea.

Others have linked the Oak Island treasure with the almost legendary though historically authentic eleven millions which the Jesuits had when they were expelled from Peru. But the Jesuits did not take their treasure with them; they did not visit Nova Scotia, and the date of the coin found on the Oak Island beach—although perhaps having no connection with the treasure—would place the date as later than 1715.

I doubt if there is a pirate or buccaneer of note whose name has not been suggested as the owner of this baffling treasure hoard; and yet there is not the slightest reason for suspecting that any of them had any connection with it. Neither Morgan, Montbars, nor any of the famous old buccaneers ever cruised or sailed within a thousand miles of Nova Scotia. None of the later pirates, who at times frequented the north Atlantic and the New England coast, had either the money, the time, the men or the ability to place such a hoard in such a place. They were mere pikers of pirates, little more than ocean-going pickpockets—Fly, Gibbs, Wamsley, Morley and their ilk, and their careers were brief, hectic and not one of them ever secured enough loot to be worth hiding.

Moreover, it is obvious that whoever placed the treasure at the bottom of that deep pit on Oak Island, and deliberately flooded the shaft, had no intentions ever of recovering it. Whoever buried it there buried it for all time, to be utterly beyond reach, and so far their efforts have met with entire success.

No doubt, with modern caissons and machinery, with the expenditure of a good-sized sum, and with competent engineers in charge, the Oak Island treasure could be recovered in a short time. As an engineering feat it is a simple matter. For a caisson to go down one hundred and fifty feet is nothing; but would the treasure thus recovered pay for the expenses? Who can say? Perhaps there are millions in gold, silver and gems in those oaken chests and casks at the bottom of the shafts—surely no one would have gone to such trouble to have concealed anything short of millions! Even if the monetary reward fell short of expectations, it would be a fascinating undertaking, a romantic and thrilling adventure to solve the mystery of the Oak Island treasure, for, undoubtedly, somewhere in those deeply buried chests and casks are the keys to the mystery of this most mysterious of all treasures.

Friday, 21 January 2011

How to Publish a Book (early draft)

How to Publish a Book

Digitizing and Publishing Printed Media


For a number of years, as a hobby, I have scanned and converted to text, over two hundred documents from the 1900’s. These articles were originally in the form of books, magazine articles, newspapers and pamphlets. I thought that these articles should become available to the modern public and eventually that is what I did.

This little treatise is a discussion on techniques and modern products, websites and formats, with perhaps a little philosophy on copyright. At this time I have no conclusions, that being one motive of documenting these thoughts.

Feel free to skip over any section that is not of interest to you. This treatise is about many things in the publication sequence, some of these may not apply to your situation.

With each section I intend on mentioning features that could or should be engineered a little better.

Finally, I am retired, but for philosophical reasons I always value my own time at twenty dollars an hour. In that way it is certainly not a burden to consider creating and buying a custom book for maybe twenty dollars, delivered to my door. Including shipping, that is the typical cost of any of the, now, fifteen books that I have created. Also note, I am not a writer; these books are reprints of rare stories.


How to digitally Capture a book.

  1. Scan, using picture (.jpg) use 300dpi and millions of colours.

  2. Scan using HP Director and ‘Document’ the story pages so that PDF is output, Scan document, text as image 200 dpi, black and white, probably the HP scanning default settings for document scans. Try to scan 20 pages or less. Continuous – as one document. That is a balance, sometimes scanning problems, failures come along and recovery is time consuming if more pages are used. The continuous document helps organize the next step.

  3. With each scan, preview provides with tabs to minimize the scanned area, use these wisely to minimize the area and the file size, to what you want.

  4. OCR – optical character recognition is provided via AABBYY ‘Transformer’, a Russian built software. I normally convert only the text not the images (done later). Sometimes it is necessary to use the frames and pages so that illustrations do not get confused with text.

  5. Filenaming – I usually use the full title of the story for folders and files. If a scan or rectified WORD file is being created append with the final included page for better continuity. Example “Death from the Skies 597.pdf”.

(this is old, HP upgraded their scanning software about two years ago. Now it is practically useless and I have bought a cheap Canon printer for scanning—HP is crap.)

PDF and it’s mysteries

Although I have been working with and creating PDF files for over twenty years, I still do not understand much about the format. It is an intrigue that this format has zip and jpg format aspects, that it’s a picture and has text recognition in one file, and the next one seems to have no smarts at all. Somebody should have a website “PDF for Dummies”.

Text Recognition

Early in my processes I recognized that I had to obtain an optical recognition software. With advice, I went to ABBYY and I have been happy. Initially I had a manuscript—I wanted a digital (WORD) file.

With ABBYY, you simply input your PDF file and the output is a WORD file.

WORD on Table of Contents and Index

Ahh, Microsoft and WORD, on a good day I could rant for hours. I have had formal training in Word, long ago before I retired. The product has a number of nuances that you only uncover when you least need a problem.

One example would be that you copy a story and paste it into your blog on Blogspot.Com, then you ‘publish’ the file only to find that it is full of unintended hidden html scripting. I ma sure there is a way to remove the offending html, but there is only so much this brain can remember, two months down the path of life, I have to do the process again and…same story.

Formatting for the ‘Table of Contents’ is a similar problem. After a month, you can never recall all of the steps.

Previewing pages—two up. It must be possible to have the even pages on the left, like a book spread. But how?

After a little research on the web, it seems not worthwhile to build an index for a book…if you value your time.

Possible Products

Web Pages, Google Documents, PDF’s and books.

Multiple Products

Most of my research work ends up as both a regular web page and a written story.

How to Publish a Book for Under $17 in Three Hours using Lulu

First I should say I use Lulu but I have one major issue. There is no one that you can get to resolve any problem. This is a major concern which has never been addressed. Other than that I cannot complain…

  1. In Canada, you can register your prospective book for free and obtain the new ISBN number. (see links)

  2. Generate ISBN number as a bar code – output as PDF or eps file. (see links) Save the file.

  3. Get an account with

  4. Decide on the format, binding, paper of the book. (I use 6”x9”, perfect binding, construction paper???)

  5. Download the WORD template and properly store. (

  6. Open a new document with format, take your word file, your book, and paste it into the new document.

  7. Check over the new doc—save it as mynewdoc6x9.doc.

  8. At the Lulu site open a new project—mynewdoc, select format, binding, paper.

  9. Upload mynewdoc.doc to Lulu

  10. Reformat to PDF, save a copy on your computer, it’s free.

  11. Check this document.

  12. Cover page is next. I do the old style full cover, (front, back and binding edge) in Photoshop. Lulu details the exact size and resolution (which includes trim edges). Paste the ISBN on the back cover. Save the cover as .jpg.

  13. Upload this cover.

  14. Review and order your book! Have another beer. My latest book of 300 pages was delivered to my door within 8 days for under $17.

Books, Book Sizes, Colour, and Options

F’ing Software and it’s Problems


Your Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS) Account has been approved. This site will create an ISBN bar code for your book

The Pompeii of Ancient America

The Pompeii of Ancient America

A Vast Settlement Destroyed Centuries Before Christ


From The World’s Work, January 1927. Digitized by Doug Frizzle, January 2011.

Note: The National Museum of Natural History archives contains a few of the original Verrill drawings which are pictured in black and white images in this story. They have kindly given me permission to reproduce them.

We believe that this article stands unique among accounts of modern archaeological discoveries. It is the story of an American city which flourished and probably was destroyed by a volcano centuries before Pompeii existed. We are finding that America is not so young, after all. Moreover, the veteran explorer for the Museum of the American Indian who discovered this ancient city and who writes this article believes that he has made another most interesting discoverythat steel implements were used in America centuries agoa theory which was scoffed at until iron was found in King Tut-Ankh-Amon's tomb in Egypt, dating back to about 1350 B. C.

ALTHOUGH the prehistoric graves or guacas of Panama have been known since the time of the Spanish Conquest, and have yielded countless thousands of pieces of pottery and stone artifacts and innumer­able gold ornaments, yet, strange as it may seem, no scientific investigation of these archaeological remains has ever been undertaken until the last year. The results of the first six months' work, carried on by the author in the interests of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, of New York, have proved absolutely astounding, wholly unexpected, and of such scientific value and interest that, as one of our foremost authorities phrased it, the discoveries have "written a new history of Central American archaeology."

An entirely new and hitherto undreamed of culture has been revealed, and although a vast amount of research, study, and comparative investigation must be made, and intensive field work carried on for several years before definite conclusions can be established regarding the archaeological status and relationship of this new culture, yet, from the material already obtained, it is possible to establish many facts which are almost as fascinatingly interesting to the layman as to the scientist.

Like many another important discovery, the existence of these remains was revealed by accident. In 1924, while I was collecting ethnological specimens among the Coclé Indians, a few pieces of prehistoric pottery were brought to me by the natives. These were strikingly different from anything ever found before in Panama. Every object was absolutely unique and indicated the existence of a wholly unknown and unsuspected culture in the district. But even then, neither Mr. Heye, Professor Saville, nor myself had the slightest conception of the truly remarkable results, or the vast extent of the remains, which my investigations of the past year were destined to reveal.

The district where investigations have been conducted is a level alluvial plain or llano lying between the Pacific Coast and the Cordillera, a district cut by many streams and several good-sized rivers, broken by occasional small hills or knolls, and, with the exception of the river bottom lands, almost sterile and wholly unfit for agriculture. It is, therefore, rather remarkable that a teeming, vast population should have occupied this territory, especially as the prehistoric denizens of the area were evidently preeminently agricultural. the only explanation is that in the days when the prehistoric people dwelt here conditions were very different from the present. During the rainy months the district is transformed into a veritable swamp, the rivers overflowing their banks and flooding the llanos, while during the dry months the plains become baked, the streams disappear or dwindle to mere rills and mud holes, the vegetation dies, and the district is transformed into a parched, almost desert country, so that excavatory work is practicable only during a few months of the year.

Standing boldly from the inland edge of the llanos towers the volcano of Guacamayo. The broken-down crater contains vast sulphur deposits and the mountain still rumbles and emits steam and hot water from its fumaroles. There is every evidence that, at no very distant date, Guacamayo was in violent eruption and covered what had hitherto been a fertile land with ashes and mud which have not yet had time to decompose thoroughly and form arable soil.

My statement that the area supported a vast and teeming population is based on several obvious facts. First, the immense number of burials, ceremonial monuments, village sites, and mounds. Second, the incredible number of potsherds, stone artifacts, and other manufactured articles scattered over an immense area. Third, the enormous size and great number of stone stelai, monuments, etc., which could have been moved and erected only by thousands of hands. The remains of this newly discovered culture have already been found over an area approximately fifty miles in length and ten to twelve miles in width, or roughly about five hundred square miles. By this I do not mean that every square mile of the immense area is covered with remains, but over this entire area, remains of the same prehistoric race occur, sometimes widely separated, at other times thickly covering hundreds of acres. Among the remains are kitchen middens, village sites, burials, ceremonial or temple sites, and mounds. In places, along some of the rivers, village sites, marked by potsherds and stone artifacts, extend for miles. In other places burials are so numerous that it is practically impossible to dig anywhere over an area of several acres without disclosing a grave.

Ceremonial monuments of stone are numerous and there are hundreds of low, rounded mounds where excavations yield innumerable potsherds and stone implements. But by far the most interesting and extensive remains, the spot which so far has yielded the finest and most surprising results, and the nucleus of the whole culture is a huge temple or ceremonial site which may well be called the "Temple of a Thousand Idols." Lying between the Rio Grande and the Rio Carlo, the remains of this great prehistoric place of worship cover a level plain of more than one hundred acres, although only a small portion—about ten acres—has been cleared of jungle and partly excavated. This portion, however, appears to be the most interesting and important part of the whole, the central and probably most sacred portion.

Despite the jungle, my first visit to the temple site revealed enough to convince me that the place was a veritable treasure trove of archaeology. Scattered here and there were immense squared monoliths, some prone and half-buried in the soil, others erect and projecting several feet above the earth, and still others sagging drunkenly to one side. Clearing of a portion of the area revealed rows of immense stone phallic columns arranged in the form of an almost geometrically perfect quadrangle, with rows of monoliths running due east and west and north and south. At the northern edge of the cleared area stood a row of thirty-one phallic columns of basaltic rock spaced from eight to twelve feet apart and extend­ing due east and west. One hundred feet east of these and one hundred feel south were two immense basaltic columns, both of which had broken off at the surface of the earth and had fallen to one side. One hundred and fifty feet south of these, and running due north and south, was a row of twenty-seven phallic monuments, many of which had fallen, while others had sagged to one side. Two hundred and fifty feet south of these, and directly in line with them, were two more immense columns nearly three feet square, and both of which had broken off and fallen. Three hundred feet west of these was a semicircular row of small columns twenty-five in number. Three hundred feet north of these and three hundred and fifty feet from the first row of thirty-one columns was a row of twenty-one columns running north and south, two of which were sculptured.

Thus the three rows of phallic monuments, with the two corner groups, formed a quadrangle approximately three hundred by seven hundred feet in area. This in itself was a surprising discovery and spoke eloquently of the herculean labor of the people who had erected the huge stone columns. At that time, however, only fractional portions of the monoliths were visible, and as work progressed and new wonders and surprising discoveries were brought to light I became more and more impressed by the immensity of the work the prehistoric race had undertaken.

Many of the columns were from fifteen to eighteen feet in length and from fifteen to thirty inches square. With few exceptions all had been hand-tooled to oval, rectangular, pentagonal, or octagonal section, and many had been worked to cylindrical forms almost as true and perfect as if turned on a lathe. No stone of the same character existed near the site, and later investigations revealed the quarry on a basaltic hill several miles distant, on the farther side of a large river. To have quarried and cut these huge stone columns—even though in the rough they were merely natural cleavages of basalt—to have transported them overland for miles, to have ferried them across the river seemed an almost superhuman feat.

To accomplish the same results with modern devices and equipment would be no mean undertaking and would require months of labor, and yet the primitive men who cut and dragged the columns to this long-buried place of worship must have been limited to hand labor, to ropes and perhaps rollers, to the crudest of tools. Even though thousands toiled and labored, years, decades, perhaps centuries, must have been required to transport the hundreds of great monoliths from the distant quarry to the temple, and one marvels at the sublime faith, the sincerity, the belief in their gods that led these ancient people to this task; that kept them at it month after month, year after year, until their temple was complete.

At times, too, their task must have seemed almost hopeless. Many of the columns were cracked or broken in transit and still lie where they were discarded by the wayside. But even after the great stones were safely brought to their destination the work was only begun. Even the smaller columns are so heavy that eight or ten husky peons found it difficult to lift or move them, and we can scarcely conceive how or by what means the forgotten builders of the temple raised the immense monoliths to a perpendicular position and secured them firmly in place to form the straight rows of monuments that still stand.

But even more remarkable, more interesting, and necessitating even more in­explicable labor, were the innumerable stone idols which the excavations brought to light. These, like the columns, were arranged in regular rows running north and south, and, in every case, with the faces toward the east. To the east of the group of twenty-seven columns were two rows of these images. Six feet west of the same row of columns was a second line of idols mainly of animal forms. Six feet west of these was a row of idols of human forms. Thirty feet west of these and twelve feet from the sculptured columns was another line of human figures, and six feet west of these, and equidistant from the sculptured columns, was still another row of animal forms.

Originally, it was evident, these idols had been fairly evenly spaced, about six feet apart, but through countless centuries many had fallen and were out of line, others had sagged far to one side, many were broken and their various fragments scattered, while all which had been exposed above the surface of the earth had been broken off or destroyed. Buried under many feet of soil in the very center of the area, and midway between the inner rows of idols was a great stone column more than fifteen feet in length and two feet square, and carefully cut and tooled. The lower portion still stood firmly perpendicular, but the upper portion had been broken in three places, and the three sections were widely separated.

Standing at this central column, at whose base were four idols—one a man, another a woman and child, another a jaguar, and the fourth a bird—one quickly grasped the ground plan of the entire site, for the idols and columns had been so placed and spaced as to form radiating lines with the central column as a nucleus, probably symbolizing the sun. At the base of this central column, and at the base of every other column and idol, were large stones or river boulders of quartz or jasper, in nearly every case artificially smoothed and flattened on the upper side, and which evidently served the dual purpose of sacrificial altars and supports to the columns or idols. At the extreme northern end of one row of idols the stone at the base was of huge size and, in addition to being cut and smoothed on the faces, was elaborately sculptured with human figures and conventional designs about the circumference. In the same position on the neighboring row of images was a still larger stone slightly hollowed out on one surface and with the raised edge beautifully carved to represent an alligator or lizard.

Americans Worshipped Here Before the Trojan War

From four to twelve feet of soil have accumulated during the years since the temple was in use, an accumulation that bespeaks an enormous period of time, for while we may have no definite data as to the rate of deposit in the locality we can form some idea of the ages that must have passed since the prehistoric race first worshipped and offered sacrifices at this spot. We know that the temple has not been in use since the arrival of Europeans, and hence the thin layer of mold that covers the last or uppermost potsherds must represent the debris of at least four hundred years. Of course fires have destroyed much of the decaying vegetation which accumulated on the surface, but even if we allow for 50 per cent, destroyed annually in this way the accumu­lation would not have exceeded two or three inches in a century. At this rate it would require four hundred years to deposit a foot of soil, and an accumulation of ten feet would mean that some four thousand years have passed since the first monuments and idols were erected. I say "since the first monuments," for it is evident that the temple was not built in a year or in a century, but in all probability was formed little by little through perhaps thousands of years. It has been stated that the Mayas erected a stele every twenty years, and if the denizens of Coclé followed the same system, then their temple must have been in use for at least two thousand years. Of course, this is merely theory, but there is undeniable proof that this site was in use for a very long period.

Finally, we have the quality and workmanship displayed on stone work and potsherds as corroborative evidence. The more recent idols are wonderful examples of sculpture, often cut from the hardest rock, beautifully finished, true in form, and of large size—one or two human figures being nearly life size and with the pedestals more than seven feet in length. But in certain places where the idols are the most deeply buried they are of the crudest, most primitive workmanship, and of archaic type, and are so badly decomposed as to be almost unrecognizable. The same evolution or transition is shown in the ceramic ware. That in the lower stratas and about the archaic figures is, with few exceptions, of a coarse, plain or rudely decorated character with painted designs, incised designs, or designs in poorly exe­cuted appliquéd relief. But by far the greater portion of the potsherds and vessels, and those in the upper strata, are marvelous in form, design, coloring, and decorations.

Indeed, the beauty and unique characters of this pottery are perhaps the most surprising and interesting features of the discoveries. One has only to glance at the specimens to realize to what a high degree of perfection the ceramic art had been carried by these ancient people of Coclé. Many pieces might well have come from Mexico, others are remarkably similar to specimens from Ecuador and Peru, while by far the greater portion are wholly distinct from anything hitherto known, and represent a culture peculiar to the locality. Many of the forms represent conventionalized birds, animals, or human beings; others are unquestionably portrait vessels similar to those so common in Peru, and many are figurines of birds, quadrupeds, and human beings. Occasionally square or rectangular forms occur, while plates, bowls, saucers, and plaques are very numerous.

Several teapot-like jars with spout and handle have been secured, graceful vases and incense burners have been found, some with aromatic gum still within them; while among the most unusual pieces are many strange, flat, frying-pan-like utensils with three short legs and a fish-tail-shaped handle, perhaps used for baking tortillas. By far the greater number of pieces are graceful urn, jar, and carafe-shaped vessels so evenly and perfectly turned that it seems impossible that they could have been produced without the aid of a potter's wheel. Another peculiarity of the Coclé pottery is the large percentage of vessels with annu­lar bases, but by far the most strik­ing features of the ceramics of the district are the coloring and decorative designs. The most typical form of decoration is the scroll, which is used in endless forms and combinations, and is frequently cleverly wrought into easily recognized animal, insect, bird, and human forms.

Ornaments are very scarce. The few obtained are clay ear plugs, a nose-ring, labrets of some black material, and beads of earthenware and stone. Perhaps, however, the clay figurines and miniature stone effigies might be classed as ornaments. Many of the clay figurines are made on a sand mold and are hollow with a thin shell. Oddly enough, no gold or copper objects have been found, although the race was evidently familiar with gold and were experts at working the metal, for a nose-ring of bloodstone beautifully cut and polished is capped at the extremities with wonderfully wrought and fitted gold tips.

Comparing the wonderful pottery and the splendid stone carving with the crude, almost unrecognizable stone implements and weapons, one finds it hard to be­lieve that both could have been produced by the same people. The stone tools and weapons are almost wholly of a most primitive, almost Chellan, type, often merely chunks of stone slightly chipped or ham­mered into rude form. Apparently, however, the race was improving in the art of making stone implements, for now and then axes, chisels, celts, etc., are found which are fairly well shaped and have been rubbed to a smooth surface, still fewer have been secured which were really beautifully made, and several bodkin and chisel-like implements are truly remarkable examples of workmanship. But not a single really fine spear or arrow head has been found. This may be explained on the supposition that the race was peaceful and agricultural and was not given to warfare or the chase, but this would not account for the poor quality of the majority of the stone implements.

It seems almost preposterous to believe that a race which had developed stone sculpture to such a high degree should not have equally developed stone implements if, according to the generally accepted theory, the prehistoric artisans depended upon stone tools. To have cut out and sculptured a huge stone block into the form of a human figure of the character found at the temple site would have required a lifetime. In order to determine what could be done by the use of stone implements, I selected several dozen of the best and, marking a simple design on one of the softer stone columns, instructed three of the native laborers to chip out the pattern with the stone tools. Although they worked industriously for several days, and wore out most of the tools, they made scarcely any impression on the column. When they had finished no one ignorant of their labor would have dreamed that there had been any attempt made to sculpture the stone.

I am thoroughly convinced that these people, as well as many other prehistoric races, possessed iron or steel tools, and I do not know of a single argument or fact to disprove this. The fact that no iron or steel tools have ever been found proves nothing. Iron is the most perishable of metals, and, except under most unusual or peculiar conditions, all traces of small iron or steel tools would disappear completely in a few centuries. No doubt archaeologists will scoff at this theory and pooh-pooh the idea, but scientists as well as laymen have a habit of scoffing at every theory until proof is forthcoming to place them in the wrong.

The discovery of a steel or tempered iron dagger in King Tut-Ankh-Amon's coffin is a case in point. Despite hundreds, thousands, of ancient Egyptian mummies which have been disinterred, this was the first iron weapon found. We must now admit that the Egyptians of King Tut's time used hardened iron or steel and yet until definite proof of this was forthcoming archaeologists would not have admitted the possibility. If, in a country like Egypt, where even flowers are perfectly preserved in burials thousands of years old, only one iron implement has been discovered, what chances of finding iron tools would we have in a tropical land, where burials were in the earth?

Indeed, less than two years ago, I was scoffed at for suggesting that an entirely new and unknown culture of great antiquity had existed in Panama, but we now have undeniable proofs of the fact. Moreover, at a depth of five and one half feet below the surface, at the temple site, among broken pottery and embedded in charcoal, I found a steel or hardened iron implement. The greater portion is almost completely destroyed by corrosion, but the chisel-shaped end is in good condition. It is so hard that it is scarcely touched by a file and will scratch glass, and with such an implement it would be a simple manner to cut and carve the hardest stone.

No doubt many will discredit this, or will claim that the implement is modern and found its way beneath the surface via some hole or crevice, or will claim that some junk-collecting snake or centipede carried the object to its resting place in a compact mass of semi-fossilized carbon packed in the midst of broken prehistoric pottery. But how can they explain the evidence of tool marks on much of the stone work? Not the irregular indentations which might, and very likely were, made by pecking with a stone hammer, but clearly cut delicate lines and chisel marks. However, we shall leave this for the archae­ological experts to decide, for, to the average man, the stonework and idols are far more interesting than the question of how they were made.

Among the idols or images are both human and animal forms, as I have before mentioned, and while the sculptured animals vary greatly in treatment and other details the human figures bear a striking similarity. Some, to be sure, are better made than others; some are better proportioned and more evidently portrait figures; but in all, the features, the headdresses, and the general type are almost identical. One figure shows an amulet or charm suspended by a cord about the neck; another represents a man with hand stroking or holding a rectangular object below the chin which is strikingly like the beard so typical of Assyrian sculptures but which might be intended for a flute, and while some figures are seated others are squatting or standing erect.

As a rule the erect figures are shown with one hand on the breast and the other on the abdomen, but in others the hands are at the sides or rest on the knees. They vary from practically life size to miniatures a few inches in length, but in no case is there any indication of a single scrap of clothing. Not even a G string or breech cloth is shown, which would seem to indicate that these people wore no gar­ments, although the presence of clay spindle weights proves that they used cotton, if not as cloth at least as thread or twine.

Among the female figures is one representing a mother with child on her back; one figure is seated on a throne-like chair supported by human figures; another is seated upon a coiled serpent, and another surmounts a crocodile and dancing human figures. The crocodile appears frequently, as does the owl, and was perhaps considered sacred, but it is no commoner than the jaguar, which is shown by itself, with a human being in its mouth and with one paw resting on a prone human being. Armadillos and anteaters are represented, as well as birds, turtles, lizards, and monkeys, and one very fine piece shows a kinkajou poised on the top of a tree and licking up honey with its tongue.

But perhaps the most interesting and remarkable find of all was a large sculptured stone figure thoroughly elephantine in form and detail. Hitherto the so-called "elephants" found in prehistoric (and modern) American ceramics and stone work have been generally accepted as conventionalized ant bears or tapirs with exaggerated snouts. But in this case it is scarcely possible to account for the creature on this hypothesis. Not only is the body elephantine, but the large leaf-like ears could belong to no other known creature, while the hind knees bend forward, a character peculiar to the elephant. It is difficult to believe that any man unfamiliar with the elephant could have conventionalized a tapir or ant bear to the extent of adding broad fan-shaped ears and legs bending forward, while, as a final touch, the creature is represented carrying a load or burden upon its back!

Why, it may be asked, did the denizens of these villages and the worshippers of the temple disappear? What destroyed the teeming population so completely that no descendants have been left, that no traditions nor records have remained to tell us who they were or whence they came?

The answer, I think, is simple. Only by the theory of a severe, a most destructive series of earthquakes and an accompany­ing volcanic eruption can we account for the condition of the ruins and remains. Nothing but an earthquake could have tossed the great stone columns and idols about. By no other means could these have been broken and the pieces thrown in various directions for many feet. In many cases the largest stone columns are broken squarely off, the bases remaining firmly fixed and perpendicular, while the upper portions are thrown to one side. In many cases, too, the largest idols are found turned end for end, with the base of the pedestral uppermost and, in the case of the central column at the temple, the apex close to the base, while the portions between have been thrown or moved bodily for from twenty to forty feet to either side. Moreover, in many places a thin layer of volcanic ash covers the potsherds at the village sites and the burials, and in one spot I obtained some entire vessels and many potsherds from under a layer of ash more than nine feet thick, which had evidently been hot when deposited, as it is burned or cemented firmly to the pottery.

To my mind, it is evident that these prehistoric people were driven out and largely annihilated by an eruption of Guacamayo volcano. Such an eruption would most certainly have been accom­panied by terrific earthquakes, and we can imagine the terror-stricken people, those who escaped the scalding mud and red hot ashes of the eruption, rushing madly from their homes to their temple. We can picture them striving to placate their gods by sacrifices, by the wholesale destruction of their possessions about the stone monuments and the stone idols. And we can visualize their utter despair as the awful tremors shook the very earth and the ground rose and fell and the sacred idols and great stone columns were broken and thrown down.

Perchance every human being in the district was destroyed by the blasting heat, the blinding dust, and the noxious gasses emitted by the volcano barely six miles distant. Or again, perhaps the survivors, finding that even their gods were powerless to aid them and were being destroyed, sought refuge in flight, and in canoes and afoot rushed from the accursed spot, and, scattered far and wide, reverted to primitive savages or, mingling with other races, lost their identity while yet influencing the culture of their neighbors by the arts they had acquired in Coclé.

But whatever the ultimate fate of the people, there can be little doubt that the frowning volcano at the edge of the plain was the cause of the destruction of a vast population whose only records are the truly remarkable ceramics and stone work that have endured through countless centuries.

For colour images of some of these pictures go here.

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.