#31 – Then the Associates Cause Problems – 1985-91

Written by Russell Burrows:

One of the many problems in an operation like this is keeping the secret. That’s not easy, here in Southern Illinois. Just about everyone and his brother is a “pot hunter,” or at the very least an Indian artifact hunter. If word got out about the cave, I would have to be very careful.

Thanks to my two associates in Vincennes, word of the cave got out and I mean it got out in a big hurry. It seems that the two of them would go for their meals to one of the most popular restaurants in Vincennes and while there they’d hold lectures on the cave for everyone who would listen.

Now I was not against word getting to the proper authorities or to known and honest people who could be trusted with that kind of information, but not to the general public. There were just too many bad things that could happen if we got that kind of publicity before we were ready. But Ward and Cullen were telling everyone who would listen about this cave found in Illinois. They were really bragging it up about how they were in control of the project and the recovery program.

Ward, who was selling his book about diffusion and how those ancient world travelers had settled in the Wabash Valley, was in hog heaven. After all, my cave would prove that he was right, and was in fact a great scholar who had reached his conclusions long before the cave was even discovered, just by his observations of other finds in the area. Well, that was the feeling that I got whenever I would take a meal with him.

He would set himself down in the middle of “Charlie’s,” that’s the name of the restaurant, and proceed to give his history lesson to the entire gathering. As I said, he was in hog heaven.

Cullen was worse. I found out that he was carrying some of the very best small artifacts around in his pocket. That’s right, you heard me, in his pocket along with all the change and whatever else he had. When he had a chance, he would whip out those artifacts and pass them around for all to handle.

Then he would say something like, “Jack Ward is the smartest man who ever lived.”

I’m not kidding, he would really say that.

Then he would say, “Jack has deciphered this, and it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people were here. Jack knows more about deciphering than Barry Fell and all those academic eggheads.”

His favorite term for describing scholars was “intelligentsia.” Another of his bastard terms that one had to put up with was “Hoover’s War” and “Roosevelt’s War.” One can see why I drifted a little away from these associates as far as cooperation was concerned.

I had no idea how to cope with this difficult situation. After all, Jack Ward was in his late seventies and Norman Cullen in his late eighties, and both were in good health. Now before you go calling me bad names for snookering these two old men, let me tell you that neither of those fellows were stupid. In fact they were both very, very sharp.