Thursday, March 2, 2017

Shocking Headline - Lizard People's Catacomb City Hunted

True story, on January 29th, 1934, the LA Times ran a front page feature about a search for a 5,000 year old city said to be built under the very streets of Los Angeles, that had been inhabited by Lizard People. For the people of Los Angeles in the early 30's, this story seemed scientifically plausible. Of course today, we know that no such underground city, or even Lizard People for that matter, exist.. Or do we?

This news story by itself leads to possible adventures in modern-day campaigns, or even the far future. With suitable tweaks, it can be run in most any era of gaming, even in a high-fantasy setting. Here at Portcullis, my editor suggested that I present the details in a straight forward manner so that individual Game Masters can decide how to use the adventure plot in their own campaigns.

The Story As Reported

G. Warren Shufelt, a geological mining engineer, with the aid of a mysterious radio-directed apparatus, discovers and maps out what he believes to be a series of tunnels and chambers, located under the streets of Los Angeles. A man calling himself, Chief Little Green Leaf of the Hopi Indians, relates an ancient tale to Shufelt, about a lost civilization of Lizard People (or Snake Brothers) that dug shelters underground to escape a terrible cataclysm. Shufelt then theorizes that he has in fact discovered the lost catacomb city of this ancient race, and seeks to uncover the labyrinth of tunnels to discover what treasures they may contain.

Shufelt, with the backing of some "associates", Rex McCreary and Ray Martin, then petitions the County Board of Supervisors for permission to dig on 518 North Hill street “overlooking Sunset, Spring and North Broadway”, over what they believe to be the largest chamber discovered. He makes a deal with the County, to split 50/50 whatever treasures he finds below. Soon several shafts are dropped, one reaching as far down as 250 feet, but digging becomes hampered my mud below the water table, and heavy boulders.

Several months later, both money and interest for the digs dries up, and Shufelt's mysterious, "Radio X-Ray Device", disappears. The city shuts down the operation and fills in the holes. Nothing is ever reported found, or turned over to the County.

Story Elements

Much of the story hangs on both the mysterious directed-radio apparatus that Shufelt invents, and the native stories of a lost civilization. Shufelt never discloses the mechanisms within his apparatus, but gives a theatrical story of its operations. The stories surrounding the Lizard People (or Snake Brothers) appear to be a mixture of several myths and legends, from the Hopi Indians and possibly the Mayans.

G. Warren Shufelt, a "geophysical mining engineer" (or other campaign appropriate profession), builds and tests a mysterious radio-directed apparatus, in an effort to find oil, gold, and other precious materials, deep underground. It is unknown if Shufelt's device is genuine or not, or if he believes the claims he later makes concerning the discovery of a series of tunnels, with large open rooms, and gold deposits, under the city's streets.

A man by the name of, L. Macklin, calling himself Chief Little Green Leaf, and claiming to be a chieftain among the Hopi Indians, relates a tale of ancient Lizard People, that had dug underground shelters to escape a, "Tongue of Flame, coming from the South-West, that destroyed everything in its path which stretched for hundreds of miles." This tale leads some to believe this may have been a swarm of meteors in the distant past. It is unknown if, L. Macklin, is even a Native American or a conman with an elaborate backstory.

Eventually, Shufelt, publically theorizes that the current city is built atop the subterranean remains of a more ancient civilization. It is his belief that this civilization was far more advanced both intellectually and scientifically than the current human civilization. He also believes that these advanced Lizard People, dug the tunnels with the aid of powerful chemicals, and not physical digging equipment. He also claims that the gold deposits are actually "records" of the origin of mankind and the advanced knowledge of the lost Lizard People civilization.

No clear information is ever revealed as to who, Rex McCreary and Ray Martin, are or the details of their association with G.Warren Shufelt.

Several stories begin to circulate that the detected gold deposits may actually be Spanish treasure, buried beneath the streets during Colonial times. Where these rumors come from are unknown.

Several cold winter months later, the money and interest for the digs dries up, and Shufelt's mysterious Radio X-Ray Device disappears without a trace. The city shuts down the operation and fills in the holes.

Story Particulars

The Directed-Radio Apparatus (aka Radio X-Ray Device) - This device appeared to consist of a large pendulum suspended in a cylindrical glass case which was housed in a black box with compasses on it. This device is said to operate on a newly discovered principle involving electrical similarities of matter which have the same chemical, physical and vibrational characteristics.

Apparently, the pendulum would trace a line directly from a piece of ore broken from a vein to the vein it was originally taken from. Hair taken from a test subject would lead investigators to the person who had donated the hair sample. It was said to have worked even at a distance of many miles.

Although he would not tell exactly what was in the box, Shufelt claimed that by tuning into the individual frequency of a particular material, he could locate similar matter. He believed that the emanations and gravitational factors of matter influenced the pendulum and that, in principle, no two separate things were exactly alike.

The Lizard People (aka Snake Brothers) - This lost civilization was claimed to be highly advanced, with knowledge of the origins of Man, and incredible scientific knowledge. While they have been called Lizard People, or Snake Brothers, they do not appear to be anything more than a separate advanced human civilization.

The Golden Tablets - Shufelt claimed that the "gold deposits" he was detecting were actually golden tablets. These gold tablets were described as slabs of gold, 4 feet long and 14 inches wide, and believed to contain the records of the origins of the human race, the history of modern man in the Americas, and details regarding the history of the mysterious Mayan people.

Shufelt's Map - Shufelt, diagrammed and plotted a series of tunnels and chambers with the "aid" of his mysterious device.

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  1. That's pretty interesting stuff! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're very welcome, and congratulations on being the first commenter on on our blog!

  2. Nice plot ideas. I love pulp adventures like this. What will they findm