#1 The Discovery – 1982

Written by Fred Rydholm

Russell Burrows stood up from his seat on a rock ledge. The date was April 2nd of 1982 and the place was a remote valley in southern Illinois. Burrows was a “caver,” a solitary cave-explorer, and he had decided that there was nothing to find in this valley.

Within a few strides he stepped upon the edge of a normal-looking slab of rock and whooosh – he found himself dropped downwards into a pit in the ground. It was a death-trap made by human hands, and a person of lesser luck and reflex would surely have disappeared forever, trapped in a deep stone bottle.

But Col. Burrows had been through a lot of dangers in his lifetime. He had served and was discharged honorably from the armed forces, and over the years had met many precarious situations.

As he fell, Burrows turned and spread his elbows, and his movements slightly dislodged the heavy stone cover of the pit. It did not flop back down over him, as it should have; a gap was left in the opening, and he was able to shove and clamber free.

He carefully examined the malicious structure that had almost caught him. The innocent-looking slab of stone was quite heavy (he later deter- mined that it weighs 227 pounds), and was balanced like a teeter-totter. If a person stood on one side of it, it would pivot and flip down, dropping the victim into a smooth stone bottle, about 12 feet deep’. The cover would flop back tightly into its place, and the victim would be trapped.

The underside of the stone cover had strange carvings and lettering on it. In the pit was more carved stone. On one wall of the chamber was a huge face. It was broad, with heavy lips and squinting eyes which seemed to be fixed on a stoned-in doorway on the opposite side.

Thus began an adventure that could change history.