Inca Gold
- Chapter 6 - A Fortune in Emeralds

 Inca Gold - Chapter 6 - A Fortune in Emeralds

Inca Gold - Chapter

6 - A Fortune in Emeralds

Chapter 6 - A Fortune in Emeralds

A Fortune in Emeralds

The history of emeralds is one of romance, intrigue, violence, and greed. For untold centuries, these precious green gems have been considered the most treasured and coveted of all jewels and they have always played an important role in the lives of history’s most fascinating women.

Hundreds of years before the seductive Cleopatra cast her voluptuous shadow across the Nile, the first emeralds were found in Upper Egypt not far from the coast of the Red Sea. As a young princess she quickly learned that the pagan green fire of these brilliant gems had a way of bringing out her most devilish attributes. Armed with this knowledge, once she became Queen of Egypt, she lost no time in taking over the mines and the available supply of emeralds for her own personal use.

Since there were no court photographers to reproduce Cleopatra’s fatal beauty for the edification and adoration of her legion of male admirers, she hired skilled artisans to engrave her portrait on the surface of the jewels and gave them as gifts to those who struck her royal fancy. At the height of his romance with the lovely Cleo, Mark Antony is said to have strolled openly on the streets, wearing her treasured emerald on his forefinger, a sign to all who knew the secret of the jewel that Mark was a man who had been places and done things.

Unlike diamonds and rubies, there is no abundance of emeralds, and that is probably the reason why these mystical pagan green gems are more expensive than any other jewel. One of the largest and finest emeralds known once belonged to the Duke of Devonshire. It was a natural crystal of the form characteristic of emeralds, namely, a hexagonal prism with a basal plane. This one weighed 1,350 carats and came from the Muzo mine in Colombia.

Flawless emeralds of large size are exceedingly rare, and because of this, very expensive. The great majority of these jewels are crossed and bisected by tiny shadows or flaws known as “gardens”, and this is one of the ways in which jewelers are able to distinguish authentic emeralds from those manufactured synthetically.

Up until recently, it was believed that true emeralds were first introduced into Europe at the end of the sixteenth century and that they came from South America. But this is not a fact. Emeralds have been found not only in the caskets of Egyptian mummies, but among the ruins of two Roman cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii. Undoubtedly, these early emeralds came from either Egypt or the Ural Mountains of Russia, where they are still found.

At the time of the Spanish Conquest of South America, the Conquistadores stole hundreds, if not thousands of these precious gems from the Incas. The jewels were used to adorn the golden idols in the temples and palaces of the Incan aristocracy. One of the largest, found in the forehead of their Goddess of Creation, Illa-Tica, at the Temple of the Sun in Quito, Ecuador, was as big as an ostrich egg, dark-green in color, and semi-polished. Although it has been said that this stone came from a mine located in the heart of the Ecuadorian jungle, it was never found by the Spaniards.

In Colombia, the Conquistadores were more fortunate. The Spaniards first learned of the existence of Colombian emeralds on 3rd March, 1537, when a gift of these precious stones was offered to the Spaniards by the Indians who, at the same time, pointed out the source from which these gems were derived. The Conquistadores attempted to work the mine with Indian labor but there were so many uprisings and attacks that the mine had to be abandoned.

About a hundred miles distant from the original mine a second was discovered, now known as the Muzo mine, which today still produces about ninety per cent of the world’s finest emeralds. But here, too, the Spaniards encountered unforeseen difficulties as the result of attacks from the wild Muzo Indians who, for years, successfully resisted the Spanish attempts at conquest. Even today these same Indians are a source of continual irritation and have, on several occasions, attacked the mine, forcing government officials to abandon the area

At the present time, there are four emerald deposits in Colombia which are being worked by the government, but only at the Muzo mine can one find the dark-green to black stones which bring the best prices on the world market. Some crystals have the peculiarity of failing to pieces, after being taken from the mine, from no apparent cause. Methods are now being employed to correct this disastrous situation by placing the stones, when first uncovered, in a closed box, thus protecting them from the action of light and allowing them to dry slowly for a few weeks.

The world-famous Muzo mine is located approximately four hours by car, but with an additional three hours by mule-back, from Bogota, the capital of Colombia. The mine, itself, is surrounded by verdant green jungle hills covered with orchids and other exotic tropical flowers. Its sheer perpendicular cliff; about a thousand feet high and nearly a quarter of a mile wide, is easily identified by the color of the soil, a blue-black crumbly slate flecked with pieces of white quartz.

Each morning at daybreak, under the watchful eyes of heavily-armed soldiers, and a dozen or more vigilantes, the workers are lowered by ropes to the side of the cliff and, using picks, cut away small sections of the emerald-bearing soil which cascades to the bottom of the valley. At no time are workers allowed to touch the soil with their hands. Later, when mounds of earth have fallen, the workers are pulled up to the peak of the mountain and sent back to camp for the rest of the day. The vigilantes, pistol-bearing civilians, then proceed carefully to search through the fallen deposits of slate but always under the watchful eyes of the heavily-armed soldiers.

Whenever an emerald is located, the vigilante turns the precious jewel over to his armed guard who, in turn, hands it to the ever-present superintendent of the mine. Once a week, the gems are sent to the government Banco de la Republica in Bogota. Later, the gems are cut and polished before finding their way into jewelry stores around the world.

No one knows exactly how many emeralds still remain in this fabulous old mine which has been in operation for hundreds of years, but the fact remains that even with the antiquated mining methods still in practice, many precious gems are still being taken from the crumbly black soil. In many instances, the most beautiful stones are found attached to pieces of white quartz.

A Beautiful Specimen

A Beautiful Specimen

But there were still other sources of these precious stones, particularly in Ecuador that, try as they might, the Conquistadores were never able to locate.

Within the past few years, one of these lost emerald mines of the Incas was actually rediscovered by an intrepid young American explorer, by the name of Stewart Connelly.

The story of Connelly’s harrowing adventure and of his initial success may be found today in the archives of the Director of Mines in Quito, Ecuador. The only known record of his almost unbelievable exploit, it consists of a few yellowed and partially destroyed pages on which Connelly scrawled his personal journal, and represents the key to one of the richest lost treasures on record. For within those few short pages, Connelly described, to the best of his ability, the exact location of the mine.

Since his mysterious disappearance in 1924, several men had attempted to backtrack along the route Connelly laid out, always without success. Their failure though cannot be attributed to any deliberate intention of Connelly to mask his trail. For one thing - and as he admits in the journal - Connelly was never able to do more than estimate the distance traveled, and on the return trip, having given away his compass, he could only guess his direction For another, his state of mind at the time of the journal’s writing accounts for certain lapses, confusions, and ambiguities. Over-wrought by the discovery of one of the world’s richest treasures, and crazed by a nightmarish trip through the Amazon jungle, Connelly could hardly have been expected to submit an orderly and comprehensive report.

For all the unexplained aspects of Connelly’s story, two things are indisputable: that he did stumble on to an immense emerald mine some two hundred and ninety miles from Quito, and that he returned from the jungle with a dozen of the most perfect emeralds ever seen. The journal, despite its feverish quality, spells out in enough detail the location of the mine, its approaches and surrounding terrain, to leave no doubt concerning Connelly’s having been there.

A careful reading of the journal reveals something of Connelly’s background and the determination which led him on a one-man expedition into the green hell of the Amazon.

Stewart Connelly was born on 9th December, 1899, in a small town in southern Illinois. He enlisted in the Army upon graduation from high school and served in an infantry unit during World War I. After the war, he secured an overseas discharge and spent the next few years wandering through Europe, finally settling in Madrid.

With time on his hands, Connelly began spending his days in the Biblioteca Nacional, delving into the many volumes on Pizarro’s conquest of the Incas. Fascinated by the exploits of Pizarro and by the immense treasures he and his Conquistadores had shipped back to Spain, Connelly pored over every available book on the subject. After some weeks, and quite by accident, he found one that changed the entire course of his life. A small volume, written by the monk, Sanchez, one of the friars who accompanied Pizarro’s expedition, it told of seven huge emeralds, given as a token of friendship by Atahualpa, last Emperor of the Incas, to the Conquistador, shortly after he had disembarked from his ship in a small Pacific port in Northern Ecuador.

It was the first time that Connelly had come across any mention of Inca emeralds and the subject of these scintillating gems intrigued him. The padre’s book described how Pizarro had learned of the existence of the jewels on that sunny morning when Atahualpa sent his emissaries to welcome the Conquistadores and present Pizarro with the seven large emeralds.

Pizarro, the monk wrote, had turned to him after the delegation had left, saying: “These I will send to our King as a gift of my undying esteem, but to you, padre, falls the task of learning the source of these magnificent stones. I want not seven, but seven hundred - yes, seven thousand - because in these,” he said as he tapped the stones with his forefinger, “is the real treasure of the Incas. Give me their emeralds, padre, and you can have their gold!”

Although Sanchez tried desperately to learn the secret of the hidden mines, he failed miserably. As the months passed, the Incas were put to torture, quartered, boiled in oil and massacred, but none ever divulged the exact location of the mountain of green gold. All that Sanchez could learn was that the mine lay deep within the impene¬trable Jungles of Ecuador, north by east of Quito, near what is now the Colombian-Ecuadorian border.

This was enough for Connelly. The monk’s story and the dream of green treasure began to obsess him and he read the padre’s book not once, but a dozen times. He had practically memorized it when he decided to try what no other white man had ever succeeded in doing - find the lost emerald mine of the Incas.

With limited funds, Connelly worked his way to Guaya¬quil, Ecuador’s major seaport, and then traveled to Quito by train. Living in an adobe hut on the outskirts of the city, he spent the next few weeks poring over the old maps in various government offices.

Then, with his last remaining sucres, he made a purchase which, to any reasonable man, could only seem a sign of insanity, but which was part and parcel of a plan that had been forming in his mind. It was a stab in the dark, he knew, but that bamboo flute could be the key that would open the door to the world’s most fabulous lost treasure.

Night after night, long after his Indian neighbors had retired, Connelly sat on the dirt floor of his hut and practiced blowing weird, outlandish notes on the flute. Only after several weeks of experimentation, when he was completely satisfied that he had mastered the instrument, did he forsake Quito and travel eastward by mule, through the high snow-capped Andes towards the im¬penetrable jungle Oriente—and, he hoped, emeralds!

As months passed, and no word filtered back from the gangling gringo, Stewart Connelly was completely forgotten.

But early one morning, nine months after his strange disappearance, two Spanish padres, at their missionary outpost at Ahuana, on the Rio Napo, rubbed their eyes in disbelief as they saw a bearded, completely naked white man desperately swimming across the turbulent river. He reached the bank and collapsed, and the two monks hurried to his side and carried him to the safety of their mission.

Connelly remained unconscious for several days and during his delirium, talked in a strange Indian dialect; one not even the padres could understand. When he finally regained consciousness, he obsessively clutched a small leather bag knotted around his neck. And never, in all the weeks of his recuperation, were the monks able to get a word from him on what happened during his jungle trek.

On the morning of his departure for Quito, however, he opened the leather bag and shook out a beautiful dark green emerald of magnificent lustre and color, weighing some fifty carats. Placing the precious gem carefully in the palm of the mission’s rector, Connelly told him quietly that it was a gift to the mission for having saved his life. Then, without another word, he turned and disappeared along a narrow trail which followed the river in the direction of Quito.

At this point, Stewart Connelly’s wildest dreams had come to fruition. In the little leather bag around his neck were a dozen emeralds with a total value of several thousand dollars. It was to be some weeks, though, before the world heard the news of his fantastic find. This occurred in the early part of 1925 when he made a sudden and unexpected appearance at the office of the Director of Mines in Quito, and asked for permission to file his claim But before the Ecuadorian government could pronounce his claim valid, a proper legal description of the location of the mine had to be furnished This proved a stumbling block for Stewart Connelly He carefully explained that while he knew the approximate location and the general area of the emerald mine, it was impossible for him to describe accurately the exact site, for the simple reason that the region was still unexplored and had never been surveyed. Nor did he know the names of the various rivers which he had traveled while seeking his goal.

It was finally agreed, however, that if Connely, to the best of his ability, would write a detailed description covering his exploits from the time he left Quito to his miraculous return to the small mission at Ahuana, the Ecuadorian Government would grant him a temporary concession to be finalized later by a more concise topographical description when that became possible.

“From my studies in Spain,” the report begins, “I had learned that for a White man to enter the forbidden territory of certain savage Indian tribes where, according to Spanish historians, the lost emerald mine of the Incas was presumed to exist, was not only impractical, but in all known instances, fatal. I, therefore, decided to enter the jungle in such a manner as to make the Indians believe I was demented. For some strange reason, jungle savages have in the past befriended and at times revered crazy men, and I hoped that the little bamboo flute I carried would serve to set me apart from normal people. No sooner had I crossed the Rio Napo and entered the deep jungle than I began blowing the flute, sending crazy staccato notes through the stillness of the green wilder¬ness. I blindly followed a dozen or more trails, but using my compass, always walked in a north-easterly direction.

For several days, Connelly kept on his predetermined course, covering an average of two miles an hour. As he worked his way deeper into the interior, he saw thousands of monkeys playing and chattering in the tree tops; exotic plumaged birds crossed his path, and occasionally, he picked up the trail of a jaguar. But there were no human beings. He was utterly alone in the vast wilderness, a solitary figure fighting for survival against the forces of nature.

It was towards noon of the ninth day that he saw his first human creatures. Evil-looking, pygmy-like in appearance, with long black hair streaming down over their shoulders and wearing only narrow loin-cloths made from animal skins, they surrounded him, their deadly blow-guns aimed menacingly in his direction. Comely realized that the critical moment - the moment for which he had so long rehearsed and prepared - had finally arrived. Putting the bamboo flute to his lips, he blew a series of shrill, discordant notes, occasionally uttering shrieks of demented laughter and trying his best to look mad. The Indians’ eyes grew wide in amazement, and finally, they lowered their blowguns. For the moment, Connelly was safe. They hustled him down a narrow trail, but all the while, Stewart kept on blowing his flute, stopping now and then to break into another wild shriek. Two hours later, they arrived at the village, which consisted of a dozen or more palm-thatched pono-wood huts. Stewart was immediately surrounded by the serious-faced men and women of the tribe, who watched his antics with unconcealed fear.

While the men were small and ugly, the women of the tribes were extraordinary beautiful, with long, black hair worn in page-boy style, wide brown eyes, and sensuous lips. Their bosoms were bared, their breasts pert and full. After a long conference between the witch doctor and several of the warriors, Connelly was escorted with dignity into one of the huts, and moments later, three beautiful Indian girls served him food - papayas, oranges, and a freshly fried fish. When he had finished eating, they handed him a coconut shell containing a vile alcoholic brew, which he downed without flinching.

Stewart’s theory of faking insanity among these savages had proved correct, and he became a demi-god to the Indians whom he later learned were the Corinahuas, a nomadic tribe who roamed across the vast reaches of the Amazon in their eternal quest for food. Soon, Connelly shed his garments of civilization, adopted their manner of dress, and became, in the months that followed, one of their best hunters.

Like many other South American Indian tribes, the Corinahuas practised polygamy and since Connelly was considered as one set apart, he was offered his choice of any of their women. He chose only three - Shirma, a sloe-eyed, raven-haired beauty whose conical-shaped breasts particularly intrigued him; Dayuma, a long-limbed sultry charmer whose pouting lips were made for kissing; and Tumwa, a fifteen-year-old wench whose sexual hunger was insatiable. The women literally threw themselves at Stewart, possibly because of his height and strength, and because of their curious desire to make love to a white man, especially one they thought “holy”.

Comely could have remained with the Corinahuas for the rest of his life, but through all the tempestuous weeks that followed, he never for one moment forgot the green, sparkling emeralds he hoped one day to find - those emeralds which would make him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.

Altogether, Connelly lived with the Corinahuas for three months. He learned their native dialect, and his proficiency with the blowgun was phenomenal. During his many discourses with the witch doctor and other warriors, he discovered that far to the north-east lived a particularly savage tribe of Indians known as the Orijones - so ferocious indeed that none of the Corinahuas ever ventured into their territory. They were deadly enemies and fought to the death upon sight.

The Orijones practiced acts of unparalleled cruelty and Connelly was almost tempted to back-track to civilization and abandon his quest for the green, shimmering stones. But a compelling force drove him on. And so, early one morning, using the pretext of a hunting expedition, he left the village and set out to the north-east where either sudden death or green gold awaited him

On the afternoon of the fifth day, Comely discovered footprints on the wet trail and followed them cautiously Somewhere in the immediate vicinity, Connelly knew he would find a village and that within the next few hours, his fate would be decided. Carefully concealing his blow¬gun and quiver of poisoned darts in some nearby bushes, he inched his way forward through the dense underbrush. Moments later, he came to a small clearing. Dead ahead was a narrow river, its rushing waters brown with sedi¬ment. On the wide, grey banks were dozens of ferocious black crocodiles, gigantic monsters that lay quiet as death.

Just beyond the river was an Indian village consisting of dozens of crude, palm-thatched shacks scattered around a clearing Stewart lay on his belly at the edge of the jungle and studied the scene carefully. Fifty or more squat, completely nude men, women, and children were milling around the huts. They more closely resembled anthropoid apes than humans. Their arms were long and hung almost to their knees, their massive heads were bullet-shaped and their torsos thick and ugly

In the centre of the village, a group of women clustered about a smouldering fire, into which one of them had thrust a large, feathered canari, or jungle turkey. She turned it over until the carcass became black and most of the feathers had been eaten away by the flames. Then suddenly they began tearing the raw bird apart, biting off huge chunks of bloody flesh, consuming it ravenously, and pausing now and then to wipe their bloody hands across their dirty brown bodies. It was a revolting spec-tacle, but now it was easy to understand why this barbaric tribe was prone to torture its enemies and inflict upon them inhuman and sadistic deaths. But one thought kept running through Connelly’s mind - the more savage the human beast, the more susceptible to superstition and magic. Stewart clutched his bamboo flute and silently prayed that it would do its job a second time.

Scurrying about on his hands and knees, Connelly quickly located a barbasco bush, the juice of which, he had learned from the Corinahuas, was particularly obnoxious to crocodiles. Pulling gently at the plant, he unearthed its roots, and carefully wiped his body with the juice. Then silently, he crawled on his belly across the broad, clay bank and disappeared under the murky waters of the stream. Several times he touched the cold, slimy bodies of half-submerged crocs, and expected momentarily to be attacked and devoured. But the odor of the barbasco turned them away. Reaching the bank nearest the village, he arose slowly, water dripping off his long hair and beard, and then, putting the flute to his lips, blew a series of weird, shrill notes that quickly brought every Indian to his feet. Like Poseidon, mythical Greek god of the sea, he emerged slowly from the water, alternately shouting at the top of his voice, and then blowing his flute. Their reaction was everything he had hoped for. Some of the Indians scattered and ran into the jungle, while others prostrated themselves before him. Later, after winning their confidence, Comely announced that he was “God of the Crocodiles”, and warned that those who disobeyed his orders would be tossed into the water where his scaly “brothers” were waiting. For the moment, at least, Connelly was in command, worshipped by the entire tribe.

For all his apparent success, he lived constantly on the edge of danger. A lesser man would have succumbed instantly to any of a dozen terrifying situations that Connelly faced and ultimately overcame. To illustrate one of the most extreme of these incidents Connelly wrote in his journal:

“Life with this primitive, savage tribe drove me nearly to the brink of insanity. I had to keep up my masquerade as the wielder of supernatural powers and could never forget for a moment that I had to live and act as one demented. I soon learned, however, that I had one enemy - Uajai, the witch doctor and the most powerful man in the village. He was a shrewd, cold, calculating individual and knew that he would have to kill me or lose his high position. There was but one thing left to do - challenge him to a fight to the death, to take place in the river.

“Early one morning I quickly disappeared into the jungle and again rubbed the juice of the deadly barbasco root over my face and body Whether or not Uajai knew the same trick was questionable, but judging from the low mentality of the tribe, I doubted it After all, this particular tribe of Orijones was on the bottom rung of the ladder of civilization and had not as yet learned how to make or use blowguns, or even simple bows and¬ arrows They relied solely upon crudely-made lances for all of their hunting and warfare”

As the sun came up over the outer rim of the jungle, Uajai and Connelly, followed silently by the Indians of the village, walked to the edge of the river and dived beneath the swirling waters. Connelly had counted on his superior strength and height for quick victory, but Uajai, slippery as an eel, circumvented his direct approach and Connelly quickly found himself encompassed in the witch doctor’s powerful arms. With his breath slowly being squeezed out of his body, and on the verge of unconsciousness, Connelly saw a flash of grey rise from the river’s bottom, and Uajai’s hold upon him was broken. Connelly struggled weakly to the surface as the Indians, watching on the bank, shrieked. For, at that moment, the legs of their witch doctor broke the surface of the water, and fastened to his thigh was the long, ugly snout of a giant crocodile! An instant later, both croc and man disappeared as pools of blood spread over the water. The battle was over, and from that day on, Stewart Connelly became tribal chief of the Orijones.

Now that his position was secure, Comely took to roaming the countryside in hope of finding some evidence of the emerald mine, but always without success.

Just before the rainy season, the Orijone warriors were accustomed to going on a protracted hunt for game - deer, bear, tapir and other edible animals, which were smoked and set aside to be used when the rivers rose and hunting and fishing became impossible. Generally, the men hunted in pairs, and on this occasion, Comely took as his companion Katuku, a young warrior who was well acquainted with the Rain Forest.

It was the luckiest move Connely could have made for Katuku, indirectly, was to lead him to his long-sought destination.

Regarding the discovery and exact location of the emerald mine, Comely said in his diary:

“As the crow flies, it was my impression that I was about one hundred air miles from Puerto Napo, the small village on the banks of the Napo river, which had been my starting point. By following trails, however, I gauged the distance to be exceedingly more, and guessed that I had covered probably two or three hundred land miles. The village of the Orijones lay on a bend of a river which they called the “Numba”, meaning in their dialect “River of Blood”. The terrain in the immediate vicinity was hilly, and farther to the east were huge black cliffs, while in the distance lay a series of irregularly-shaped snow-capped peaks.

“For two days, Katuku and I traveled eastward where, according to him, the best hunting grounds were to be found. On the morning of the third day, we came into the black, barren hills and, following a rock-strewn valley, suddenly were confronted by a tremendous precipice of black, crumbly slate flecked with large pieces of white quartz. We stopped momentarily at the foot of the cliff, and as I carelessly scanned the ground, I knew that I had reached the end of my search, for there, scattered among the white stones, were dozens - yes, hundreds - of green, sparkling gems - emeralds!”

 A Handful of Green

A Handful of Green

Katuku was quite indifferent to the fortune which lay at their feet. Casually, Connelly picked up a few gems of the deepest green color and placed them in a small fibre shoulder-bag used by the Indians for carrying food while hunting. Through a kindly fate, Stewart Connelly had discovered one of the richest treasures in the world.

Two days later, they returned to the village bringing with them a 200-pound tapir. That night, as they gorged themselves on broiled tapir steaks and chicha, a native brew, Connelly committed his first and almost-fatal error. Half-drunk and feeling tremendously elated over his secret, he gave his small hand-compass to Katuku, who had admired it for weeks. Its quivering needle, pointing always to the north, would make Katuku an important man in the tribe.

For Connelly there was now but one thing to do - he must take his green treasures back to civilization, convert part of them into cash, and return again with pack mules and enough proper equipment to strike it really rich.

Two hours before sunrise, he left the hut and crawled out into the darkness. Moments later, he disappeared into the midnight black of the jungle. By noon of the following day he realized, to his horror, that he was hopelessly lost. For weeks he wandered aimlessly through the wilderness trying to fix his course by the path of the sun. He was reduced to eating roots, herbs, anything to fill the gnawing hunger of his empty stomach. It was only by a miracle that he finally emerged at the banks of the Rio Napo and far across the river, saw the tiny wooden church of the missionary fathers.

Although kept secret by the Director of Mines, news of the emerald strike soon leaked out and Connelly was besieged by an army of treasure hunters and mercenaries, all of whom wanted to accompany him on his journey back to the lost mine.

Disposing of a few of his emeralds for a fabulous price, Stewart spent a part of the proceeds in outfitting a carefully selected band of do-or-die adventurers for his return trip to the emerald mine. Forgotten was the bamboo flute. After all, he was still the witch doctor, and anticipated no trouble. His followers, however, were of a different opinion. Refusing to go into the jungle without protection, they fortified their bravery with shotguns, pistols, even antique muzzle-loaders - almost every type of weapon available.

With six pack mules and enough food and ammunition to last several months, Connelly and his desperate band of followers left Quito, and headed eastward over the Andes in the direction of Puerto Napo. They reached that small pueblo ten days later, and after a short rest, moved out into the deep interior. Days and weeks turned into months, and months into years, but Stewart Connelly and his private army were never seen again. The hungry jungle had swallowed them up, and to this day, their fate remains one of the great mysteries of Amazonian jungle lore.

Ten years after their disappearance, with Connelly and his followers presumed dead, his report was made public. However, all but the hardiest of adventurers have refrained from searching for Connelly’s lost emerald mine. Although many years have passed, the inscrutable jungle still holds the same dangers and terrors - savage Indians even today threaten strangers who enter their territory - the rivers and streams still abound in ugly crocodiles, and vast areas remain unexplored and unknown to the white man.

With a little bamboo flute, and great ingenuity, Stewart Connelly unlocked the secret of one of the world’s greatest treasures, only to falter as greed overcame wisdom and force replaced cunning.

Inca Gold - Chapter 6 - A Fortune in Emeralds

Inca Gold - Chapter 12 - Gold From the Files