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The Curious Case of the Explorer Who Met a 1,000-Year-Old Mayan Priest Inside a Cave

The century-old hermit rescued the lost man from the dark, unexplored depths.

A small point of light rose from a huge pile of rocks…

Source: Travelblog

The light was followed by a person’s form.

As the form came closer, Stacy-Judd saw it was a very old man in a white robe wrapped around him like a tunic. The back of the robe was brought up between his legs and tucked into a girdle.

The old man had wisps of grey hair escaping from his gourd skull cap.

He was thin with lose hanging skin, but appeared strong, healthy and mentally alert. In his hand he held an oil lamp fashioned out of a double gourd.

Based on his accounts, Stacy-Judd wrote:

“I shouted to my nearest guide to follow me – and started forward. My amazement increased. For there arose from the sold rocks, apparently – a human head. Just a head – and it appeared to be saved. Then, inch by inch, the body emerged into view. I was speechless with wonder when finally there stood before me in the arc of my flashlight, a very old man.

But his dark, wrinkled face showed absolutely no expression of surprise at my presence. He stood still, with a peculiar tilt to his figure as I approached him, an uncanny light gleamed from his deep-sunken eyes, a half smile twisted his lips. He had a scraggly gray mustache, but was beardless, by which feature I knew him to a full-blood Maya.

What I had first supposed was a shaved head, proved to be a thin half-gourd that he wrote as an improvised skullcap, from beneath the edges of which flared a thatch of course, iron-gray hair. Heavy white eyebrows stood out beneath the gourd. He wore a clean, white shapeless garment that was secured about his spare figure by a twisted vine, with the back of it gathered up loosely between his legs and fastened into the belt of vines.

His bare, shrunken legs had a series of heavy wrinkles beneath the bony knees, and the claw-like hands, gnarled and heavily veined, hung loosely at his sides. he wore sandals with thongs laced criss-cross around his legs, exactly as pictured by the ancient Mayas on the bas reliefs on the walls of ruined buildings.”

Stacy-Judd wrote that it was the “weirdest experience” of his life. He couldn’t understand how a very old person could live in the furthest reaches of a cave in the middle of an uninhabitable jungle.

Later, he learned neither government officials nor his guides knew of anyone living nearer than the nearest civilian outpost, Hacienda Tabi.

In the midst of their unearthly surroundings, his guides began to whisper amongst themselves in a frightened manner as if they had seen a ghost.

The old man began to speak, and Stacy-Judd’s guides translated.

The hermit claimed he was an ancient Maya Hol-Pop, a thousand-year-old Mayan priest who served as a guard to the Mayan’s ancient treasures and sacred relics. After hundreds of years without light, he’d lost his eyesight and was nearly totally blind.

He even felt Stacy-Judd’s face with his hands to “see” how he “looked.”

The old man said he lived in the deepest recesses of the cave’s many caverns, and subsisted on wild nuts, berries, herbs and fruit from the forest.

Five hours after Stacy-Judd and his guides had gotten lost in the Loltun cave, the hermit guided them back to the cave entrance.

Stacy-Judd wrote:

The explorer took a picture of the old man, and even offered the ancient one some silver coins in thanks.

Stacy-Judd’s account as featured in the Modesto News-Herald.

However, the old man was never seen again and the story of their strange encounter will live on in the annals of weird history.

Watch this video to learn more about the 1,000-year-old Hermit of Loltun:

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Sources: The Hermit of Loltun, Wikipedia


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