The Disappearance Of Percy Fawcett And Crew

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The Disappearance Of Percy Fawcett And Crew
Photo. Colonel Percy Fawcett. Source.

Born in England in 1867, Percy Fawcett was born into a family that probably solidified his career path.

The son of a member of the Royal Geographical Society — and with a mountain climbing occultist for a brother — he was kind of on a set path.

And, this guy did everything.

He was a mapmaker and explorer. He worked for the British Secret Service. And, notably, he was also friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — you know, the inventor of Sherlock Holmes — who, just for the record, Percy Fawcett is aesthetically identical to.

Some even believe that he inspired some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels.


The Famous Lost City of Z

Fawcett charting the border between Brazil and Bolivia in 1908. Source.

After several incredible expeditions with interesting notes and remarkable sights, Fawcett fully committed to one of his lifelong beliefs, the idea that there was a lost city, which he referred to as Z, tucked away in the Amazon.

Committed to discovering this magical and undiscovered place — and hopefully having a plan for how to interact with the locals — Fawcett and his small team went back to Brazil.

To find Z, they committed to entering territory that was, at the time, considered to be completely unexplored.


The Expedition

They walked into that forest, but to the horror of those around them, they never walked out.

So, obviously, everyone wants to know what happened there, right?

Well, let’s explore some of the theories surrounding this disappearance.

The first theory is that the group, despite previously facing off against the jungle with success, ran into some natural troubles.

The theories range from drowning in rivers to being dragged up into trees by jaguars. It’s all pretty terrifying stuff.

There are countless things that can kill you in the Amazon, and at that point in time, a lot of them were still undiscovered.

Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

Unfortunately, we don’t have any proof that something got them.


The Failed Searches

After several searches where an estimated 100 people died while hoping to prove their own worth as adventurers, no signs of the trio were found.

Sadly enough, Fawcett actually formally requested that no one look for them if they disappear because of just how dangerous the area was.

Moving past the obvious fact that literally every living creature in the Amazon is designed to kill you, there was the theory that someone actually killed them.


The Murder Theory

Some believe that it could have been rival explorers, but most people seem to think it is more likely that they did find natives in the area and ended up being murdered by them.

Again, there is no evidence of this, but it seems fairly likely.

As much as we love the movie idea that adventurers bond with natives, that isn’t always the case.

To the people of this city, Fawcett and his team were intruders, and I don’t think anyone could blame them if they reacted with force.

This theory was actually supported later when a local Chief claimed that they played a role in killing the men.

There wasn’t any notable confirmation on this, but it does seem fairly likely.

Of course, there are the boring theories, like the idea that they died of starvation or exposure to the elements. Certainly possible, but not the most thrilling.

The Philadelphia Record, Sunday, April 3, 1932. Source.

A Grand Escape

One theory, however, states that the three of them just went on to happily live in the jungle.

By most standards, it is believed that they had the tools and knowledge to survive in nature. Maybe they ventured out and got lost, ultimately deciding to make peace with their fate and live in the jungle.

As adventurers, I have to assume that this wouldn’t be the worst outcome for them, and it might even have been planned.

There is some speculation about Fawcett giving fake locations to friends and family, and the idea that they didn’t want anyone to look for them for a reason.

Percy Fawcett with Raleigh Rimell and one of their guides during the 1925 expedition. Source.

Seems like a pretty rude thing to do to their friends and family, but who knows? Once you have had a taste of adventure, maybe society just isn’t enough for you anymore. If these three men did manage to live in the Amazon, we have to assume that something special made it possible.

These men went out to find a hidden city, and maybe they did.

Maybe they did make a connection with the people, and maybe they decided to stay rather than hack their way back through the jungle.

That is the sad beauty of this case.

We have absolutely no idea what happened out there, whether they thrived or just didn’t make it.

The odds were against them, but they were probably some of the most qualified people at the time to handle this kind of adventure.

They might very well have been killed out there, but there is also the chance that they really did live out the ultimate adventure for the rest of their lives.