For twenty years I have been puzzling out the reason for two things, why the first and largest city in America fell into abandonment by 1300 AD, and why to this very day thousands upon thousands of people drive by the ruins outside of St. Louis every day on a highway that passes by the third largest pyramid in the world by volume without paying any attention. I have the answer, and I write about that answer here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom. But my arrival to that answer took a long time so naturally the information here is extensive. It will take a while to read and watch all the material on this article, but its worth it to understand the complexity, and context of the claims. The result of my investigation was chronicled in a screenplay I wrote, which won a few awards but was not desired by Wilshire Blvd agents for the radical violence, heart pounding action sequences, and dire political revelations it contained. That screenplay was called The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia and was about two college anthropology students who are given a scholarship task of writing a thesis on the demise of the lost city of Cahokia—America’s first city, and was at one time larger than London which is to this day hidden in plain sight just a few miles east of downtown St. Louis.
The hero of my story was Cameron Loveless, a mixed martial arts fighter who was paying her way through college by cage fighting. Her rival was named Tina Lane, a young “progressive” beauty who decided to sleep her way to the top of the anthropology field instead of doing the hard work of digging. The story was based on my experiences at the time in college, my work with the Joseph Campbell Foundation—particularly my experiences in Washington D.C., and the many adventures I had been on in a particular region of the world with a good friend who sometimes shows up here as The Oracle. The point of the story was to explain my theory for why the ancient city evaporated from the earth as a region of immense political power to just a collection of abandoned earth mounds that developers wanted to build East St. Louis upon. The plot of the story would take Cameron Loveless and her friends to the deepest hells of earth, through dank caves flooded with cold rising water, dangerous insects, and many other perilous natural disasters as she puzzled out why the city of Cahokia had failed. But there was no danger that she or her friends encountered which would prepare her for the ultimate horror, the Lost Cannibals of Cahokia which were deformed descendents of the ancient city who needed to consume human flesh to abate their illness. At this point in the story, I took some creative liberty with the facts so to create a metaphorical analysis of the real evil which destroys our world then and today.
The story is a favorite of many who have read it, and it did bounce around Hollywood for a few years. The general opinion from the Hollywood community was the story needed to figure out what it was. Was the story a high adventure action story? Was it a horror story? Or was it a political drama? Ironically the number one problem that agents had with The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia was that Cameron Loveless was “too strong” of a character, and that she got along “too” well with her fiancé Shane. Several agents told me that I needed to re-write the story with an emphasis on one of those themes, and that Cameron needed to have more “conflict” with her relationship to Shane.
I couldn’t endure to do such a thing as make the story weaker to make it relatable to a general audience, so I shelved the story for some later time. My oldest daughter and my son-in-law love the story so much that they want me to turn the screenplay into a novelized version. After all it was my experiences with that screenplay that turned me to writing novels instead of movies as a passion. With a novel, there are no Brand Blvd parties to attend, and if people don’t like the book, they don’t buy it. Writing a novel is one of the most solitary things a person can do, which is why it is so appealing to me. Screenplays are much more collaborative, which I quickly lost interest in. But as to turning Cannibals of Cahokia into a novel, I had already passed my point of interest on that particular story. I wrote it in essence during my late 20’s and I have moved on. At the time it was freshly learned by me what ended the city of Cahokia that many scholars still debate. But where I succeeded and they failed, and still fail, are they ignore one key ingredient of what all societies that fizzle out have in common–a sense of “collective sacrifice.” A city like Cahokia during its growth phase embodied many of the attributes that would be considered “philosophic capitalism” at the time—an idea of growth, of individual profit, and a yearning to become better. The cycle usually takes 200 to 300 years, but eventually once the growth is done and the adventurers who establish such cities die off or move away, a parasitic political class is emerges in the wake, and these entities use religion to control the masses not with profitability, but a sense of sacrifice.
In Cahokia’s case, human sacrifice was as common as it was among the Aztec, Mayans, or any Mesopotamian culture. Once sacrifice becomes part of any community, the destiny of the society is in the hands of “the gods” and not the individuals who build pyramids, city walls, or perform warfare against their neighbors to gain new territory. While some of those activities might be destructive, they do involve thought—which is the lifeblood of any culture. But when a culture stops thinking, and starts sacrificing to the “Gods” they turn off their minds and return to the state of a typical primitive. Ayn Rand in her great little book Anthem described this process effectively, and it is the missing element in explaining why societies fail.
Modern scientists and political engineers wish to believe societies like Cahokia didn’t even exist, because it does not fit their version of what the American Indian was. When the lawyer and amateur historian Henry Brackenridge found the massive site of Cahokia in 1811 he tried to get his friend Thomas Jefferson to get the word out about the wonder he had discovered in the middle of the North American continent, a city that rivaled the Egyptian pyramids. But newspapers paid little attention to Jefferson’s wild ideas. After all, America was in the middle of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and could not afford to think about the North American Indian being sophisticated and capable of building cities larger than any in Europe. Indians were to be considered savages. The result is to this very day, the evidence is right in front of millions, but nobody wishes to see it—because the evidence does not fit the anticipated reality.
In my story Cameron wanted to prove that Cahokia didn’t fail by lack of rain, or crop failure like many modern anthropologists suggest. Cahokia ended because its political structure collapsed on itself in the same way that modern-day Detroit is failing. The result of social sacrifice 100% of the time leads mankind back to the state of the primitive, not the sophisticate. Her rival Tina simply slept with her college professor, adopted the theory of those giving out the foundation grant she wanted, and played along like so many modern-day scientists who wish to have funding for their projects, surrendering their thinking to the politics of their institutions no matter what the facts indicate. Cameron wanted to prove otherwise, and did so with overwhelming evidence. To get a taste of my screenplay what follows are three scenes from it taken from ACT I, ACT II and ACT III. Scene changes are indicated below with terms such as “DISSOLVE TO:” and when characters are speaking, they are centered on the page and shown in all capital letters. It takes some getting used to, but is worth the effort. To make it even easier, I put all the character names in red so that the reader knows they can ignore that text as it is intended to be read by the actors only. All the action and crazy cannibal stuff is left out, featuring instead only the parts of the Cahokia story that are known to be true as they are relevant to the case at hand.
The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia
Current Revisions by
Rich Hoffman 4/15/2006
EXT. UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI – DAY
College students rush across the lawn to get to their classes under a splendid afternoon sun.
INT. ANTHROPOLOGY CLASSROOM – DAY
PROFESSOR TIPPIT is a tall, 55 year-old bald man dressed in a blazer that covers a t-shirt. He wears jeans and some dirty hiking boots. He’s poised confidently in front of a class of about thirty students pointing to drawings on the chalk board.
Many of the 120 mounds at the
Cahokia site have been wiped out
by farming or modern construction.
On the sheet you have in front of
you, which I have drawn on the
chalk board, is a replica of the
site as we now know it.
We see all the students fumbling though their papers, looking for their diagram. Next to the window along the east wall we see Cameron sitting calmly in her chair studying her copy of the diagram, rubbing the fresh bruises on her face. She is clean and looks very well-groomed. Her hair is in a pony tail just like Jose who is sitting next to her looking pretty much the same as she did the last time we saw her.
Only 92 mounds appear on this
diagram. The original shape of 47
of them are no longer
Tippit points to a group of object drawn on the chalk board.
The remaining 45 fall into four
classes. Single platforms, double
platform, mounds marking the north-south,
east-west axis, and conical
Josie nudges Cameron’s arm.
The “blond wonder” is checking you
Cameron looks to her right on the far side of the room and notices TINA LANE gazing right at her. Tina is a woman about their age with dyed white/blond hair. She’s wearing black eye shadow and wears several earrings on her right ear. Her nose and lip are pierced. Her cloths sport the “grunge” look to a tee. Tina blows her a kiss.
Now we need to address the issue
Cameron and Josie give each other an anticipated look. Tippit points to a spot on the diagram to the west of the large square in the middle. Over the large square is labeled “Monks Mound.” the spot he points to is a circle. Above the circle he writes with ABRASIVE FRICTION, “Woodhenge.”
Those of you that went on last
summer’s dig at Cahokia, know that
during the spring equinox you can
stand at this spot–
(pointing to a spot
in the middle of the
And witness the sun appear to rise
out of Monks Mound. This
astronomical observation device
was rebuilt several times over the
centuries and ended up over 400
feet wide, resembling an
elliptical shape. The Cahokians
used red ceder posts 15 to 20
inches in diameter and they stood
20 feet tall.
We can see that everyone in the class seems to be bored except for Cameron, Josie and Tina. One guy in front is asleep.
I think it’s safe to say that the
current belief is that the
Cahokian leaders used this site to
prove they had mastery over the
sun to their people. They could
point to the horizon on a given
day and show which key post the
sun would rise on, and which one it would set.
The sleeping guy comes alive and rubs the drool from his mouth.
A gentle RUMBLE OF LAUGHTER moves throughout the classroom.
It’s really quite amazing. We
have a culture here in the
Mississippi valley dating 700 a.d.
To 1400 a.d. That is very similar
to early Mesopotamian culture of
3000 years earlier.
So what? I really don’t
understand why that’s important?
Every primitive culture seems to
If you hadn’t been sleeping, you
may see the significance.
The class LAUGHS, this time louder. Tippit scores a point.
Can anyone explain to our sleeping
friend here the significance of
this observation…keep in mind,
(he turns and draws
more images on the
Those of you that didn’t go to
last summer’s extravaganza to the
sight wouldn’t know this, because
we haven’t covered it yet, but
when Mound 72 was excavated they
found an apparently important man
in his 40’s buried on a bed of
about 20,000 shell ornaments, and
about 800 unused arrows. With him
were buried four men, we think
they represent the four cardinal
directions of the compass. These
men were buried with their heads
and hands cut off indicating human
The classroom gives a disgusted reaction to this news. The sudden shift in talk from numbers to human sacrifice has woken everyone up. Tippit senses this and runs with it. Cameron and Josie get a laugh out of the sudden shift in attention, a satire on the human condition.
Also buried with this apparent
king was 53 women between the ages
of 15 to 25 years old. So imagine
this. You are living in Cahokia,
and your leader dies. You are
The whole class BREAKS OUT LAUGHING at the impossibility that any girl in the classroom in that age group could possibly be a virgin. Cameron and Josie again laugh to themselves, it’s a private joke between them. Another satire on the human condition.
You are virgins and you have been
summoned. You must escort your
king into the next life. So what
do you do?
A guy that looks like a mop sitting in the back of the room raises his hand.
Why would anybody willingly follow
some old dude into death? I still
don’t understand this whole mass
As we’ve studied, it’s common in
all planting cultures. Human
sacrifice, whether cannibalism
mass graves or both, is a dominant
We are European descendants, and
we didn’t do that kind of thing.
We planted sit and stuff just like
Sure we do. Only our culture does
it symbolically. In the Roman
Catholic sacrificial mass, you
break bread symbolizing the body
of Christ, and drink wine, symbolizing the blood of Christ.
That’s not the same, man.
Sure it is. The Roman Catholic
Church realized what these mass
grave cultures overlooked, that
religion requires subjects, and
the Catholics figured out that if
everyone died, nobody would be
left to go to their church and
give them money.
The class ERUPTS IN LAUGHTER.
Back to the mass graves. In
Mesopotamia we have the Royal
Tombs of Ur, during 2500 to 2350
B.C. Here we have hundreds of
people going to death for their
kind and queen. They even buried
chariots, and horses, and courts
of musicians. So here in Cahokia
we have mass burials just the
same, right here in our own back
yard, just under a thousand years
ago. So again, imagine you’re a
young woman, the same age as most
of you now, and you look upon life
for the last time. You are
prepared with ornaments and then
strangled, most likely, ’till you
die. You do this so you can
accompany this great king, who
lived like a God atop Monks Mound.
Would anybody like to explain why
this is significant, and what can
we learn from this?
Cameron and Tina’s hands shoot up. Tippit isn’t surprised. He looks a little disappointed that the rest of the class is sitting on their hands.
Funny, the only two students in
this class, the same two students
competing for the verbal
presentation on Cahokia’s demise.
By the way–
(looking from Tina to
After class I have information that will be useful to the two of
you in your research. So see me
(he looks at Tina)
All right, give us the
significance in the Woodhenge
construction for sleepy here.
(putting his hand on
the sleepy guy’s
Well, first, by showing that the
Cahokian leadership could predict
the movement of the sun, they
could prove to the citizens that
they were significant, and had a
special relationship with the
(looking at the rest
of the class, then
Good. But why is that important?
It’s important to study the
primordial effects of dependency
upon the human psyche. By showing
their dominance, they justified
their existence and their desire
to abuse power at the hand of
their infantile ego systems. They
do this by using the public to
serve their needs, much like
modern-day politicians. They
created a sense of urgency and
then volunteered themselves to
fill that need.
Tina is looking angry as competitive aggression oozes from her eyes.
I’d like to add that by placing
the spring equinox at rising out
of the kings home, atop Monks
Mound, the people by default
identified the king as a heavenly
figure. This is why they
willingly subjected themselves to
the mass suicides.
Cameron and Josie look at each other shaking their heads at Tina’s need to outdo her.
This is all very interesting,
but we have cultures like this
already in Mexico. The Maya and
the Aztecs practiced the same type
This is true, but Cahokia is
isolated from them. It seems to
have developed totally on its own.
The strongest argument made for
the rise of the Maya and later the
Aztecs is that they moved across
the Pacific from Mesopotamia, and
after a couple thousand years of
parallel settlement, established
themselves in Mexico. Most of
what we know of the Native
American Indian tribes of North
America would indicate diffusion
across the Bearing Straight,
coming from China, Siberia,
Alaska, Canada, then spreading out
into tribes into the rest of North
America. The Maya were on their
way out by 700 a.d. 200 years
before the slightest hint of
activity at Cahokia. The Aztecs
didn’t rise to power until early
1300 a.d. Cahokia is a mystery
totally self-contained, not
following the logic of its
The class stares open-mouthed at Cameron. Josie is laughing to herself as she stares out the window. It doesn’t matter if she’s in a boxing ring, or in a classroom debate, we see that Cameron Loveless will fight with everything she’s got. Tippit looks proud. But his proud look quickly dissolves as he turns around and writes “Spinden’s Correlation” on the chalk board. He turns around and smiles at Cameron. Cameron understands immediately and covers her face from mild embarrassment.
You are forgetting Ms. Loveless,
that the Mayan dates when
translated to our own calender
gave us false dates. The common
practice is to use the Thomas-
Goodman correlation. When doing
so, add about 260 years. That being the case,
we can look at the fall of the Maya to be around 900
to 950 a.d.
The bell RINGS and the class jumps out of their seats wasting no time. Tina is smiling as she makes her way to the professor’s desk. Josie is already there, but Cameron is still sitting. After the last of the students leaves the room, Shane walks in looking secure. He is dressed in black swat team type pants and a t-shirt covered with cartoon characters. He makes eye contact with Cameron and that brings a smile from her. It’s a soft smile that we haven’t seen yet. She does the same for him. She gets up and meets Tippit at his desk where he is sitting down.
Sorry Cameron, I was just keeping
you on your toes.
That’s ok. I ran right into that
(staring at the
bruises on Cameron’s
Looks like that’s not all you ran
Why don’t you back off for a
Ladies! Ladies, let’s not fight
again. Chill out.
Shane steps up behind Cameron and puts his arms around her stomach giving her a gentle hug. Josie and Tina eye each other than give their attention to Tippit.
Cameron. Tina. I have some bad
news, and some good news. I
waited ’till after class to tell
you because it really only affects
the two of you.
What is it?
Well, remember Paul P. Jacobs from
last summer’s dig at Cahokia?
Well, this may be tough. You two
are the only ones from this
University to take part in his
scholarship opportunity for post
Yeah, two years of paid tuition
for my masters. I’m depending on
So am I. If I don’t get that
money I’m sunk.
Well, this will make things harder
for you two girls than they
already are. I know you both need
that money, and only one can get
it. I wish I could change it, but
What about Jacobs?
Well, you girls knew he’s been
missing since the fall.
I didn’t know that.
Cameron gives Tina a look of pathetic disgust.
Yes, he’s been missing for about
six months. Well, he turned up
last week. At least part of him.
Part of him?
A fisherman found his head in
a lake in Tennessee.
There is an uncomfortable silence among them.
He was down there doing some
research for Cahokia.
(trying to lighten up
Did his head still have skin on it?
Cameron pushes Josie in a playful attempt to silence her.
Why would he be doing work for
Cahokia down there?
Before I answer that I have to
give you the rest of the news.
the Paul P. Jacobs foundation has
decided to have a funeral to give
closure to his family.
I hope it won’t be an open casket?
Shane can’t help but laugh, and Cameron fights back a smile.
Tina is horrified.
I should think not. But I’m
afraid that something has happened
that will affect the scholarship
Cameron and Tina’s faces drop to an expression of gloom.
This weekend is the spring equinox
and the Foundation is gathering
there to pay tribute to his life’s
work at Cahokia. They’ve already
cremated his remain and they plan
to spread them over Monks Mound.
That’ll be a real small vase.
How’s this affect the scholarship?
Next Friday, one week from today,
the Foundation is going to award
the scholarship to one of you.
But we haven’t turned in our
They don’t want just an essay.
They are going to release some
unpublished work of Dr. Jacobs and
they are holding a special
ceremony to award the scholarship.
So what do we have to do?
They are asking that you give a
verbal explanation on the demise
of Cahokia based on the incomplete
evidence of Dr. Jacobs’ latest
They will judge your presentation
and the winner will get all of
your post-graduate studies paid in
full for two years and your
presentation will be published in
the book their planning to release
in tribute to Paul.
(looking at her
friends, then at
That’s not enough time.
(then leaning against
the desk, her fists
I can’t afford to blow this.
Don’t panic. You both know
Cahokia very well. Probably
better than the Foundation people.
Just do your best.
I do have some information that
Dr. Jacobs E-mail me right before
he disappeared. I could forward
it to the two of you if you wish.
You may find it useful.
Why? What’s in it?
Well, Paul was studying possible
trade routes from North Carolina.
You know, mica origins. He
stopped by a little store in some
tiny little town on the border of
Kentucky and Tennessee, close to
where he was found. Anyway, he
bought some jewelry.
Jewelry? So what?
Sea shells…sea shell jewelry
mixed with mica figures dangling
from the shells. Very elaborate.
For once I agree with Josie. So
They are very similar to the kind
of ornamentation found in Mound
72. He believed they were
connected in some way.
In the middle of Tennessee!
Like I said. He was looking for
trade routes, and he thought he
found one. These ornament were
far too elaborate, and primitive
to be made by the locals. At
least that’s what he thought. He
never was able to get a carbon-14
on them. Maybe if one of you
could get an age on those
ornaments, and put them at around
the time of Cahokia’s height of
power and influence, it could help
prove something, or make a
connection to your theories.
My theory can’t be proven like
Well the information is there if
you want it. I’ll E-mail it to you both. Also, I’ll be going to
St. Louis this weekend to meet the
foundation members. They want to
spread the ashes tomorrow, so
you’re both welcome to come along
and meet them. It might give you
some idea as to what they’re
I know this is short notice, but
you’ll both have to make the best
of it. I know you were going to
have all summer to put together a
theory, but this is the way things
work. Make it work to your
If you don’t mind, I’d like to go
with you Professor. I’m not about
to waste valuable time hunting
down sea shells.
Cameron looks up at Shane who stares back nervously.
Surely there’s some way to delay
I’m caught between a rock and a
hard place here. Both of you need
the money. Both of you expect to
win. All I can do is tell you the
rules. I’m not the one holding
the money. All I can say is there
are two possible options here.
You two can meet the people who
will judge you. You can get to
know hem, learn what they like. or
you can see if Paul was onto
anything new in this Tennessee
(picking up his books)
But I have to go right now. I’m
late for an appointment. I’ll Email
the Dr. Jacobs message to
both of you as soon as I get home.
I’ll be leaving for St. Louis
around 3 P.M. If either of you
want to go, meet me here around
2:30 with whatever you’re taking
Professor Tippit leaves in a rush. The atmosphere is tense.
Please tell my you’re not planning
on going with me.
I’ll go where you don’t.
(getting closer to
I’d rather work than kiss ass.
Good. Then I won’t have to
compete for attention.
No, you can just take off your
clothes and dance for them, like
you do everyone else.
(to Josie then to
You guys are just in denial.
You’re mad because he money has
come easy for me, and you have to
Look at you. You actually think
your way is better.
I sleep better.
You haven’t been over to see me
sleep lately, now have you.
No, but everyone else has.
Tina gives Shane a piercing gaze but quickly retreats when
she realizes it doesn’t affect him.
(storming out of the
Good luck. You’ll need it.
(from out in the hall)
I’ll be sure to guarantee my luck.
(looking at Cameron)
I just had to throw that in.
Man, is she a slut. You know what
she’s going to do don’t you?
(chews on her cut lip)
I’m not going to mingle with a
bunch of fruitcakes. That’s her
way. She bullshits. I dig.
that’s what anthropologists are
supposed to do.
Shane rubs the side of Cameron’s face. She yields to it. The tough talker suddenly melts like butter. She falls into his strong arms.
INT. JEEP – NIGHT
It is dark outside the confines of the jeep. The only light is a soft glow given off by the laptop. Cameron’s face is excited, lit with a blue hue from the screen.
So what’s our objective? I know
you have to prove how Cahokia fell
from power but how are we going to
Well, the theory I’ve been working
on deals with competition from
other settlements along with
Mississippi as being the primary
cause of Cahokia’s fall between
1200 a.d. And 1300 a.d.
(shaking her head)
Tina believes that a small global
cooling trend around 1250 caused
the fall by damaging the growing
Is there any validity to her
Sure there is. But Cameron’s idea
is far more practical.
Are you just saying that because
she’s your friend?
No, see even if the crops failed
around that time, we had buffalo
migrating across the Mississippi
in this same century. So that
should have made up for the poor
Tina only clings to that theory
because Tippit suggested it last
summer. Mr. Jacobs on the other
handmade much more sense.
She’s got a crush on Tippit.
She’s got a crush on anything that
moves. That’s why she’s so
disgusting. She’s like water.
She’ll take on the shape of
whatever you put her in. That’s
how she gets her way.
Is there anything in those notes
about where we’re headed?
Well, Dr. Jacobs says that he went
to a little gas station just south
of the Tennessee border and found
elaborated Cahokian style
ornaments on sale at a tourist
trap bait shop.
Tennessee has a long border.
South of what. Give me a
Looks like Monticello, Kentucky.
That’s the only major town he
Are we going to stop and eat
someplace? I’m starving. I
haven’t eaten since this morning.
Monticello is probably the last
reliable place to eat, so we’ll
stop there. Everything south of
that at that time of night will
probably be closed. It’s the
Josie opens a map.
You’re right. There’s like
nothing south of Monticello.
Definitely hick land.
So what’s the back-up plan if this
turns out to be a dud.
We don’t have one. All I can say
is that this better work. I was
planning on working on this all
summer. Now we’re supposed to
come up with something out of the
blue. I need that money.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
Six days later, it’s the same hotel the Foundation had been staying at for the funeral ceremony. They are all seated at a long banquet table situated in front of a single podium. They sit there like judges, determining the fate of the speaker at the podium. Tippit and Tina are sitting off to the side along the partition wall. Tina looks happy as she holds Tippet’s hand. Shane and Josie are sitting at the opposite wall, watching Tippit and Tina, shaking their heads. A sad example of the effects kissing ass can have on a lonely man’s heart. Alone, confident, and poised for greatness, Cameron gives her presentation at the podium. Behind her are drawings, pictures taken from the video tape they made, and enlarged copies of the pictographs she and Josie had discovered. Hanging on the front of the podium was a picture of Birdman lying on the bed of shells. With all the visual aids and the revelation of new discoveries about Cahokia’s demise, Cameron is a sure win for the scholarship.
But Tina seems too confident. The scene begins where the explanation left off at the cave. Cameron has already told the story we already heard in the burial chamber.
…and so we can say with
certainty, with all the given
evidence that I have provided,
that our friend here, Birdman, a
dissident of Cahokia’s rigid
political system, went south and
encouraged other settlements to
rebel against this great trade
center. We know this because he
traveled Cahokia’s trade routes
where he eventually settled into
this underground chamber to leave
his story behind…to us. And
than God he did.
The members don’t look impressed. Cameron notices this and gives an uneasy glance at her friends, then to Tina. Tina just closes her eyes smiling. Her look says “got ya.”
I think Dr. Jacobs would be happy
to know that his search and his
sacrifice in the name of
anthropology led to a great
discovery that will change what we
know of the fate of Cahokia.
Cameron expects an applause of some kind. What she gets is the cold shoulder, big time.
Cameron, Shane and Josie all have the same perplexed look.
Yes, very interesting theories.
Yet I’m not totally convinced.
I’m inclined to believe in my
husband’s earlier work. It’s a
little more proven. It still seems
more probable that a climate
change affected the farming.
Cameron’s mouth is hanging open. After all she went though, it comes to this. Shane is shaking his head in disgust. Josie jumps to her feet.
When Tina spoke, she had no visual aids and
a five-minute speech.
Are you trying to say that all the evidence Cameron has given
you has failed to make you question that original theory?
Young lady. I don’t mean to sound
rude but…but this doesn’t
Josie’s nostrils flair. Shane has to grab her before she takes off after the man. Cameron looks defeated, then perks up. She’s never been a quitter and she’s not about to start now.
With all due respect…sir…but
you’d have to understand what we
went through to bring you this
information. I don’t mean to
sound like a poor sport or
anything like that but…
But what? You expect us to
believe in these wild theories?
You know, we not only uncovered a
completely unknown burial chamber
out in the middle of nowhere, and
found writing as reliable as the
Rosetta Stone telling us what
happened at Cahokia…which is
what this whole scholarship was
supposed to be about…but we also
found evidence of cannibalism
still practiced in the area as a
result of this Birdman, from tis
period, the Morrehead Phase…the
fall of Cahokia, between 1200 to
So you expect us to believe that
cannibalism is still practiced.
As I’ve told you, as indicated by
the drawings and witnessed by me
and my friends, there are terrible deformities
among the people surrounding this burial chamber.
You’re saying that my husband was
a victim of this cannibalism?
These people have ceremonies every
fall and spring. Because of their
deformities they haven’t migrated
away from the area, and still
practice the same rituals as was
practiced in Cahokia.
And they cut off people’s heads in
the fall and eat them in the
Yes. Frazer in his book “The
Golden Bough” deals with this kind
of behavior by explaining “the
savage commonly believes that by
eating the flesh of an animal or
a man that he acquires not only
the physical, but even the moral
and intellectual qualities of that
So they killed Dr. Jacobs so they
could gain intelligence?
No! They wanted his body, to keep
the deformities from getting
worse. They cast away the head
hoping it would spring forth and
grow into new life.
The Foundation members all give each other impossible glances. Even Tina and Tippit participate. Tina feels her grip on the Foundation weakening.
Why this isolated little place in
the middle of nowhere?
(motioning to Josie
but addressing Tina)
This wasn’t. Cannibalism was
practiced in the area up to 1600 a.d.
The Foundation members are really rocked now. This is all new to them. Josie hands Cameron a picture. It’s a color photo of a circular object pale white in color. It’s a painted man, it looks like an archeological relic from mexico in design. In his right hand is a severed head. Cameron holds up the picture so everyone can see.
This is an engraved shell gorget.
this was uncovered from a mound at
Catlian Springs, in Sumner County,
Tennessee. It dates back to
around 1200 to 1600 a.d. The sand
I didn’t know that.
That’s the point. There are a lot
of things we don’t know. we get
so wrapped up in trivial things.
Like copying off a great man’s
work word for word because we are
not think for ourselves.
(to the Foundation)
We can get stuck by saying that
Cahokia, as a great city, failed
because of some crop damage. But
as the evidence suggests, that
would be the easy way out.
So what’s this picture prove in
relation to your argument?
(amazed at Larry’s
Isn’t it obvious? In the next
period of the Mississippian
cultures, after Cahokia, we have
ceremonies similar to the city’s,
even off the main Mississippi
river way. This relic was
uncovered only fifty or so miles
west of this cave burial. This
goes along with Birdman’s cave
painting. He was a principal
advocate in leading other
Mississippi river cultures into
creating their own independent
societies, cutting out Cahokia,
weakening the ruler. It’s a
There is confusion and tension among the Foundation members. Cameron reads it and addresses it like she does everything, directly.
You know…it doesn’t take a
genius to figure out what’s going
(pointing to Tina)
You’ve made buddies with her, and
you have made a conscious, or
subconscious decision to award her
We haven’t made our decision final.
(holding up her hand)
It’s ok. I’ve worried about this
damn thing nearly all this school
year. I thought that by doing an
exceptional job, I’d surely get
it. But I’ve learned some real
lessons on this expedition…all
of these cities we’ve studied in
my four years of college have
something in common. They’re not
around any more. Most cities only
have a couple hundred years of
She has everyone’s complete attention.
To me…this is why we study the
past…so that we can learn where
they failed and how we can
succeed. But there isn’t any
hope. Even in something as small
as us in this little room, in this
little hotel, we have political
upheavals and dysfunction.
Let me finish! I bring you
overwhelming evidence of a great
number of key issues that not only
personally affect your supposed
goals, but also the issues that
greatly affect anthropology in
North America…and what do you
say? You attack me…hoping I’m
wrong so you can award your stupid
little scholarship to your new
Tina and Tippit look distressed.
I understand how the world works,
maybe all too well. I know deals
are made over important issues
that greatly affect our lives
every day over cups of coffee, and
a trip to an NBA basketball game.
And if you don’t participate in
those social activities, you’re
cast out. That’s how it works,
and I accept that.
The room is silent.
Just remember something. Remember
that if you give her this
scholarship based on how much you
like her, and not on the merit of
the work, you are participating in
an evil system that is tearing
apart the very world we live in.
If you want any evidence in that,
have a look at our political
system. Try to tell me we aren’t
falling right into our ancestor’s
Go visit the White House, or
Capital Hill, and tell me they
aren’t different from this mound
at Cahokia…constructed to
impress, but serves nothing else
as a social function. Constructed
to manipulate a gullible public.
A tear rolls down Mary’s cheek. She is reminded of all the reasons she and her husband got involved in anthropology to begin with. How did she stray away from the path? How had they become so lost in a wilderness of lies and false smiles It takes a lecture from a young, idealistic woman…someone they’d all like to be, and were at one time…to remind them.
Just look where all the societies
that came before us ended up.
Then ask yourself if you want to
continue in their social
Cameron stands like a God above them on the podium and stares without fear. Then she turns around and RIPS down all her drawings and pictures. She KICKS over the podium. It falls with a HOLLOW THUD.
I’m outta here.
Shane puts his arm around her and leads her toward the back of the room. Josie gives the Foundation a death look as she passes them. Tippit looks distressed. He abruptly stands up.
Cameron stops at the back of the room by the door. It’s obvious that she’s been heartbroken and still clings to the hope that something positive will happen.
(continuing; to Mary)
I think what’s happened here is
we’ve created a competition that
has brought out the worst result.
It’s obvious that Cameron did
superior work on this project. I
think I have a solution where we
Cameron is interested, but totally confused.
I was not satisfied that Cahokia’s demise was the standard until my wife and I visited the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula. We had visited the Cahokia site before and I wanted to compare the ancient city with one of the closest neighbors to the south, the Chichen complex with its iconic stone pyramids all built with astrological recognition, just like at Cahokia.
See clips from that trip here:
At Chichen Itza human sacrifice was the norm and the site was magnificent as it had been abandoned by 1204 AD from a once thriving metropolis, rivaling any city anywhere in the world. Obviously, there was trading going on between Chichen Itza and the Mississippi Culture of North America that was quite sophisticated. Both societies rose and fell around the same time within 100 years of one another. In Cahokia the people there worshiped “Bird Man” and in Chichen Itza they worshiped Kukulkan the featherd serpent – otherwise, another “birdman.” Chichen Itza rose to power just as its large neighbor to the north Teotihaucan fell from grace. Teotihuacan (pronounced /ˈtɛɔˌtiwɑˈkɑn/), also written Teotihuacán, was a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city located in the Basin of Mexico, 30 miles (48 km) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, which is today known as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Apart from the pyramids, Teotihuacan is also anthropologically significant for its complex, multi-family residential compounds, the Avenue of the Dead, and the small portion of its vibrant murals that have been exceptionally well-preserved. Additionally, Teotihuacan produced a thin orange pottery style that spread through Mesoamerica.
The city is thought to have been established around 100 BC and continued to be built until about 250 AD. The city may have lasted until sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries AD. At its zenith, perhaps in the first half of the 1st millennium AD, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population of perhaps 125,000 or more, placing it among the largest cities of the world in this period. Teotihuacan began as a new religious center in the Mexican Highland around the first century AD. This city came to be the largest and most populated center in the New World. Teotihuacan was even home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate this large population. The civilization and cultural complex associated with the site is also referred to as Teotihuacan or Teotihuacano. Oh, and guess what, the consensus among scholars is that the primary deity of Teotihuacan was the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan. Politics were based on the state religion; and the religious leaders were the political leaders.
Teotihuacanos practiced human sacrifice: human bodies and animal sacrifices have been found during excavations of the pyramids at Teotihuacan. Scholars believe that the people offered human sacrifices as part of a dedication when buildings were expanded or constructed. The victims were probably enemy warriors captured in battle and brought to the city for ritual sacrifice to ensure the city could prosper. Some men were decapitated, some had their hearts removed, others were killed by being hit several times over the head, and some were buried alive. Animals that were considered sacred and represented mythical powers and military were also buried alive, imprisoned in cages: cougars, a wolf, eagles, a falcon, an owl, and even venomous snakes.
After our visit to Chichen Itza my wife and I had a very elegant dinner that night but I didn’t taste a morsel of food. From our seat the Caribbean Sea was brilliantly captured by nighttime broken clouds outlined by a full moon. My wife was wearing a very elegant dress that blew about carelessly in the constant breeze, yet I ate the food without tasting any of it as my mind was thousands of miles away on Cahokia. I told my wife after our visit to Chichen Itza that my theories about the demise of Cahokia were 100% correct and society did not have the courage to look itself in the eye and admit the truth—that sacrifice is the key to all social decline. The sense of giving things up is the sign that soon, mankind will resort back to spears and grass skirts as opposed to elegant food, silk dresses, perfumed bodies and the gusts of wind from the Caribbean Sea carrying the aroma a well-prepared food across open air elegant restaurants.
Without question when Cahokia, Chichen Itza and Teotihaucan were being built, the people had a sense of purpose. There was need for innovation, creativity, and much thought. But once the cities were built, the second-handlers came into play, the politicians, the religious leaders and the bureaucrats took over and attempted to claim the good work of the creators with mystic dedication and sacrifice to Gods only they could see, for devices only they could understand. Thus, the receipt for disaster is present whenever sacrifice is utilized in any society as the highest attribute. Social decline is a foregone conclusion.
Many times over the years out of need for money I considered making Cannibals of Cahokia into strictly a “horror” script. I thought about dumbing it down so the bar-hopping socialites in Santa Monica could get their minds around the story and accept it. I thought of doing all the things they suggested, but ultimately shelved it instead. By changing the story, I would be surrendering to the kind of evil that destroys society. I would be yielding to the kind of villains that Cameron was fighting at the end of The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia—and I couldn’t do it.
When I talk about the failure of education in modern society, or the villainy of communism, socialism, and all degrees of statism, it is not out of modern propaganda, but in a knowledge of history that has resulted from personal experience that took two decades to learn. I essentially made Cameron Loveless a female version of myself, and I couldn’t betray her for the same reasons I can’t betray myself.
I read in the January 2011 edition of National Geographic where writer Glenn Hodges provided a discouraged report of his trip to Cahokia by stating, “I’m standing at the center of what was once the greatest civilization between the deserts of Mexico and the North American Arctic — America’s first city and arguably American Indians’ finest achievement — and I just can’t get past the four lane gash that cuts through this historic site. Instead of imagining the thousands of people who once teemed on the grand plaza here, I keep returning to the fact that Cahokia Mounds in Illinois is one of only eight cultural World Heritage sites in the United States, and it’s got a billboard for Joe’s Carpet King smack in the middle of it.” Hodges is essentially dealing with a pain that I dealt with at the start of writing The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia.
I thought that by writing the screenplay and having it made into a movie, that I could bring awareness to Cahokia, and help Americans learn an important part of their heritage that had long been forgotten — and even ignored. But soon I realized that the ending of my screenplay reflected too accurately the reality of modern politics, which is persistent in virtually every human endeavor. And that reality wants to ignore Cahokia, not remember it. After all, there is nothing like a giant 100 foot pyramid sitting next to one of the busiest highway systems in world to tell everyone that it’s there. Yet people do not see it — they don’t want to see it — because they are inclined to make the same mistakes as the Cahokians did with a dedicated life to sacrifice instead of thinking creativity. Therefore, America as it stands now is in the declining epoch of its cycle, approaching 300 years of life, and failing because its philosophy of self-reliance and freedom has abated to the soothsaying mystics of Europe and their persistent desire to rule the world through regulations, paper, and legislation they control to the Gods only they wish to see. This is why when Europeans first came to America they saw the American Indian not in a state of peace with nature, but in a degraded state of primitive re-invention. This is also why Europe was cast into the Dark Ages after Rome fell to the barbarian hoards. The cycle repeats over and over and over again, because human beings never learn, and have no desire to even look at the evidence that is so obvious. The reason is that the information is inconvenient, and requires courage in thought, the kind of courage that made Cameron Loveless such a heroic character who lives in an age when she is hated for her goodness, and ability to see what is really there.