My first two years of high school I had a job running errands a couple of days a week for a badly burned, heavily scared, barely able to move ex-merchant marine. During World War II the merchant ship he was serving on was forming up into a convoy and was positioned amongst the other ships in the rear corner on the starboard side that he called "coffin corner," said by experienced hands to be the most easy picking location for submarines in a convoy. Just as the convoy got underway members of a U-boat wolfpack began striking at the edges of the convoy and my friend's ship torpedoed. In order to save himself he had no choice but to jump overboard, landing in an area with oil burning along the surface of the water, the fire scorching his skin as he plunged through and returned for air. He spent months in recovery and rehabilitation.
He had always been an avid reader and his months of recovery only contributed to an increased interest. He had lots and lots of books on Atlantis by Edgar Cayce, Ignatius Donnelly, and L. Sprague de Camp as well as a complete set of the Lost Continent of Mu books by James Churchwood. He told me when he was around my age he had become driven, actually obsessed with Atlantis and Mu. He began traveling the world to find or substantiate both places. But, the more and more ancient places he visited and more and more educated he became the more and more he became convinced neither place ever existed. In his quest, both pro and con, besides all the Atlantis and Mu books in his library, he had collected reams and reams of books, material, research and explanations that debunked nearly every single aspect of either continent or their civilizations that anybody could ever pose, except possibly one.
Replicating almost down to the letter an ancient Egyptian legend titled The Shipwrecked Sailor, a long ago tale that was transcribed on papyrus 40 centuries ago by Ameni-amenaa of the XII Dynasty (circa 1991-1805 BCE) was his own experience. The ex-merchant marine was found weeks, possibly months after his ship had been torpedoed somewhere in the Atlantic strapped by heavy ropes to a piece of debris floating all alone out in the middle of the ocean, and except for being unconscious and heavily scared from the burn marks, which had seemingly healed, he was in pretty good shape. Everybody said it was a miracle, that his burns must had healed by the salt water. How he had made it in the open ocean without food or water nobody knew. Most people speculated he had been picked up by a U-boat and ejected at a convenient time so he would be found, although no record has ever shown up to substantiate such an event, nor did he recall ever being on a submarine, German or otherwise.
So thus follows The Shipwrecked Sailor of Egyptian legend:
"I was on my way to the mines of Pharaoh in a great ship rowed by a hundred and fifty sailors who had seen heaven and earth and whose hearts were stronger than lions. We rowed and sailed for many days down the Red Sea and out into the ocean beyond.
"The captain and the steersman swore that they knew the signs of the weather and that the wind would not be strong but would waft us gently on our way. Nevertheless before long a tempest arose suddenly and drove us towards the land. As we drew near the shore the waves were eight cubits in height and they broke over the ship and dashed it upon the rocks. I seized a piece of wood and flung myself into the sea just as the ship ran aground: a moment later it was smashed to pieces and every man perished.
"But a great wave raised the board to which I clung high over the sharp rocks and cast me far up the shore, on level sand, and I was able to crawl into the shelter of the trees out of reach of the cruel, angry sea.
"When day dawned the tempest passed away and the warm sun shone out. I rose up to see where I was, giving thanks to the gods for my delivery when all the rest had perished. I was on an island with no other human being to be a companion to me. But such an island as no man has seen! The broad leaves of the thicket where I lay formed a roof over my head to shield me from the burning midday sun. When I grew hungry and looked about for food, I found all ready for me within easy reach: figs and grapes, all manner of good herbs, berries and grain, melons of all kinds, fishes and birds for the taking.
"At first I satisfied my hunger on the fruits around me. And on the third day I dug a pit and kindled a fire in it on which I made first of all a burnt offering to the gods, and then cooked meat and fish for myself.
"As I sat there comfortably after an excellent meal I suddenly heard a noise like thunder. Nearly beside myself with terror, I flung myself on the ground, thinking that it was some great tidal wave come to engulf the island: for the trees were lashing as if at the breath of the tempest and the earth shook beneath me.
"But no wave came, and at last I cautiously raised my head and looked about me. Never shall I forget the horror of that moment. Moving towards me I saw a serpent thirty cubits long with a beard of more than two cubits. Its body was covered with golden scales and the scales round its eyes shaded off into blue as pure as lapis lazuli.
"The serpent coiled up its whole length in front of where I lay with my face on the ground, reared its head high above me, and said: 'What has brought you, what has brought you here, little one? Say, what has brought you to my island? If you do not tell me at once I will show you what it is to be burnt with fire, what is it to be burnt utterly to nothing and become a thing invisible. Speak quickly, I am waiting to hear what I have not heard before, some new thing!'
"Then the serpent took me in his huge jaws and carried me away to his cave, and put me down there without hurting me. Yes, though he had held me in his sharp teeth he had not bitten me at all; I was still whole.
"Then he said again, 'What has, brought you, what has brought you here, little one? Say what has brought you to this island in the midst of the sea with the waves breaking on all sides of it?'
"At this I managed to speak, crouching before him and bowing my face to the ground as if before Pharaoh himself.
" 'I sailed by command of Amen-em-het, Pharaoh of Egypt, in a great ship one hundred and fifty cubits in length to bring treasure from the mines of the south. But a great tempest broke upon us and dashed the ship upon the rocks so that all who sailed in her perished except for myself. As for me, I seized a piece of wood and was lifted on it over the rocks and cast upon this island by a mighty wave, and I have been here for three days. So behold me, your suppliant, brought hither by a wave of the sea.'
"Then the serpent said to me, 'Fear not, fear not, little one, nor let your face show sadness. Since you have come to my island in this way, when all your companions perished, it is because some god has preserved and sent you. For surely Amon-Re has set you thus upon this island of the blessed where nothing is lacking, which is filled with all good things. And now I will tell you of the future: here in this isle shall you remain while one month adds itself to another until four months have passed. Then a ship shall come, a ship of Egypt, and it shall carry you home in safety, and at length you shall die in your own city and be laid to rest in the tomb which you have prepared.
" 'And now I will tell you of this island. For it is pleasant to hear strange things after fear has been taken away from you—and you will indeed have a tale to tell when you return home and kneel before Pharaoh, your lord and master. Know then that I dwell here with my brethren and my children about me; we are seventy-five serpents in all, children and kindred. And but one stranger has ever come amongst us: a lovely girl who appeared strangely and on whom the fire of heaven fell and who was turned into ashes. As for you, I do not think that heaven holds any thunderbolts for one who has lived through such dangers. It is revealed to me that, if you dwell here in patience, you shall return in the fullness of time and hold your wife and children in your arms once more.'
"Then I bowed before him, thanking him for his words of comfort, and said, 'All that I have told you is true, and if what you have said to me happens indeed, I shall come before Pharaoh and tell him about you, and speak to him of your greatness. And I will bring as offerings to you sacred oils and perfumes, and such incense as is offered to the gods in their temples. Moreover I shall tell him of all the wonders of this isle, and I shall sacrifice asses to you, and Pharaoh shall send out a ship filled with the riches of Egypt as presents to your majesty.'
" 'The king serpent laughed at my words, saying, 'Truly you are not rich in perfumes—for here in this island I have more than in all the land of Punt. Only the sacred oil which you promise me is scarce here—yet you will never bring it, for when you are gone this island will vanish away and you shall never more see it. Yet doubtless the gods will reveal it in time to come to some other wanderer.'
"So I dwelt happily in that enchanted island, and the four months seemed all too short. When they drew to a close I saw a ship sailing over the smooth sea towards me, and I climbed into a high tree to see better what manner of men sailed in it.
"And when I perceived that they were men of Egypt, I hastened to the home of the serpent king and told him. But he knew already more than I did myself, and said to me, 'Farewell, brave wanderer. Return in safety to your home and may my blessing go with you.'
"Then I bowed before him and thanked him, and he gave me gifts of precious perfumes—of cassia and sweet woods, of kohl and cypress, of incense, of ivory and of other precious things. And when I had set these upon the ship and the sailors would have landed, the island seemed to move away from them, floating on the sea. Then night fell suddenly, and when the moon shone out there was no island in sight but only the open waves.
The day my Merchant Marine Friend told me the story about being found on the open sea he showed me a delicate gold necklace that had what looked like a small Chinese character dangling from it. He said one day in the hospital while being given a sponge bath he was looking in a hand mirror at his burn marks when he noticed he had the necklace around his neck. He never had a gold necklace in his life. When he asked the nurse where it came from she said as far as she knew he came in with it as it was found amongst the few personal effects he had with him. She said typically they would not put any jewelry on a patient but some of the staff thought that since he was so scared by the burns that he might like a little beauty in his life so someone put it around his neck. He told me he had no clue where it came from or how it came into his possession, but for sure he didn't have it on before he was torpedoed. He said everybody always admired it and it appeared to be very ancient.
Several years later found me in a red-darkened strobe light lit bar sitting around with a handful of para-military types and close Army buddies in the Cholon district of Saigon gulping down a large amount of a seemingly never ending supply of of alcoholic beverages. From out of the smoky milieu of mostly horny and inebriated GIs, unsolicited, a tea girl attempted to sit on my lap and tried to put something around my neck. Pushing back I could see she held what appeared to be a gold necklace stretched between her hands. Hanging midway along the necklace was a small Chinese character. Basically grabbing the necklace from her hands I asked where it came from and how she got it. She turned facing a general group of barely discernible figures sitting and drinking toward the back of the barroom in the shadows along the darkened wall, telling me that one of the men, a burnt man, had paid her to put it on me. When I asked what she meant by a burnt man, using her hands in a swirling motion in front of her face combined with a snearing facial expression to indicate scars while gasping for air as if the man had a tough time breathing, said in broken english, "burnt man, burnt man." In just the few seconds it took me to work my way through the crowd to the back wall pulling the tea girl with me the burnt man, if there ever was a burnt man, was gone. Nor could anybody at any of the tables remember seeing or talking to a heavily scared man, burnt or otherwise, sitting at any of the tables --- although some of the GIs were fully able to recall the girl.
The necklace, which I still have and continue to wear to this day, from what I could remember, looked exactly like the one my merchant marine friend showed me and said to be mysteriously wearing out of nowhere the day he was found floating in the sea after his ship was torpedoed. The only problem is, by the time the incident in the Saigon bar occurred my friend had already been dead some ten years, having passed away during the summer between my sophmore and junior years in high school. At his memorial service I was told by family members, following a death bed request on his part, that in an effort to rejoin his fellow seamen he wanted to be cremated and his ashes tossed at sea near where his ship was torpedoed and, along with the ashes, the necklace returned to the sea as well. As far as I know those wishes had been complied with.
WORLD WAR II COMES TO REDONDO
GERMAN SUBMARINE ATTACK ON HOOVER DAM
THE ULTIMATE IN SHIPWRECKED SAILORS:
VIKINGS OF THE DESERT SOUTHWEST: THE LOST VIKING SHIP
THE BRITISH MOTOR MERCHANT TULAGI
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
As mentioned, in his youth the merchant marine had an obsession with Atlantis and the lost continent of Mu. In one of our extended conversations I remember him telling me about the Azores, a group of islands in the mid-Atlantic well off the coast of Portugal and Africa and how they related to the torpedo attack and Atlantis. Over a period of days during my regular daily visits my merchant marine friend had me get down a bunch of books and maps, spreading the maps all over the desk and all excited, explaining to me the early importance of the Azores in the myth of Atlantis. In several of the books he pointed out how Ignatius Donnelly, author of Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882), had first proposed that the Azores were the remnant remains of an Atlantean island continent --- and he told me how he always wanted to go to the islands because of it. He thought the convoy he was on was going to end up there. In those early months of the war a highly secret plan was being put into place for an invasion of North Africa. How that invasion was going to work, during the time of the convoy, had not been finalized. One school of thought felt that staging an invasion from the Azores and Canary Islands would be a good idea. The other school of thought felt a direct invasion would be the best as taking over both islands first then building up men and materials would be a dead giveaway of a potential North African invasion. The convoy he was on was doing top secret pre-staging staging of equipment, material, and ships in Puerto Rico for a quick jump either to the Azores and Canaries or directly to North Africa. His ship was sunk before it ever reached Puerto Rico. For more please go to:
MY MERCHANT MARINE FRIEND
That necklace saved my life more than once, most notably as found in the following at the source so cited:
"Within the members of the relatively small search team, Chinese all, was a Buddhist or Zen Buddhist. When they came across me, not knowing if I was the one they were searching for or not, the Buddhist amongst them noticed the small Chinese symbol hanging around my neck. The team was just going to abandon me, but the Buddhist, after seeing what I had around my neck told them I was under protection of the Lord Buddha and to leave me in such a state and in such surroundings would be bad Karma --- that nothing but bad fortune and and bad luck would follow them if they did not take me with them." (source)