Research Notes: Separating Fact from Fiction

Curse of Cortes’ is based on a short story I wrote for my son in 1989, entitled ‘Paolo and the Shark’.  Paulo was an orphan on Roatan who stumbles onto haunted caves, and discovers the bones of a marooned Spaniard. It's a story of boyhood discovery of courage. Curse of Cortes’ extends Paolo’s legacy 350 years to current day.  

While the story of Paulo and the entire Martinez family is fictional, the remarkable history of Roatan, the story of Morgan, the story of Mitchell Hedges, and geologic evidence of impact from the 12,900 BPE asteroid on Canada are largely true.  In addition, the backstory segments on Codex of Cortes are based on actual Inquisition characters, events and horrors. 

In the sections below I clarify between fact versus fiction.  I'll let you judge what to believe.  Ask yourself these questions.

  • Where can you hide or lose three ships, 30 tons and 400 souls without leaving a trace?

  • What could have caused Morgan to abandon a billion dollar plunder? 

  • Why would he burn his log books before his death to hide the truth? 

Premise: An Ice Age Civilization in Meso-America created the calendar and myths
  1. Fact: The extraordinary long duration of 5,125 years is much longer than any known Meso-American cultures lasted. An agricultural society had no cultural need of such a long duration view, except in explaining the distant past.

  2. Fact: The high predictive accuracy of the long count across (solar, lunar, celestial and preocession) could not have been created without at least one set of recorded observations.

  3. Fact: The long count calendar includes elements of procession, the 25,800 year wobble of the earth with amazing .001% accuracy.

  4. Fact: Widespread variations by the Olmec, Xinca, Toltec, Aztec and Maya and others, indicating the original calendar system predates them all.

  5. Fact: The Aztec confirmed that there had been three epochs before the epoch the Spanish arrived, which began August 21, 5132 BPE. That suggest the first long counted started 20,428 BPE, a date most scholars say would be impossible.

  6. Fact: The mythology of the Pulpul Vuh has been found in carvings at El Mirador, dated to 5,000 BPE indicating a mature myth at that age.

  7. Fact: The builders use a writing we can only read maybe 5%, versus 85% of Mayan.With less than 2% of El Mirador basin excavated to date, and over 61,400 unexplored structures in the El Mirador basin alone, the date could be much older.

  8. Fact: The Polpul Vuh speaks to three cycles of creation, and specifically refers to destruction by fire and flood.To claim this extraordinary event required a witness who could hand the story down until it became myth.In the case of Troy, once considered a myth, this process took roughly 3,000 years.

  9. Fact: The story of Naia are true. Human remains have been found in underwater cenotes and sink holes that date back to 13,000 BPE.  The Sac Actun water cave discoveries are also true.

  10. Fact: Other bones and artifacts found in Brazil and Peru date as early as 15,000 BCE.

  11. Fact: Some scientists including Dr. Robert Schoch, Harvard Phd. speculates an early date to the ruins of Teotaoucan in Bolivia to at least 10,500 BCE, in large part due to alignment to solstice alignment.

  12. Fact: Since the start of the Younger Dryas the ocean levels have risen roughly 400 feet. The eastern coastline of present day Honduras extended eastward hundreds of miles toward Jamaica in fertile wetlands. Rising oceans covered millions of square miles in Central America.  

  13. Fact: Prior to 12,900 Roatan and Bay Islands were above ocean levels, accessible by land.

  14. Fact: Prior to a 1531 Spanish massacre, tribes from all over Meso-America made an ocean pilgrimage to visit the cays east of Roatan.   No one knows why.

  15. Fact: What appear to be roads have been found offshore of Belize and Roatan.

  16. Fiction:  There is no known temple or ruins under the island.

  17. Fiction:  While the concept of the Pictun Tae is real, and based on a 2013 Iraq discovery, there has been no proven knowledge dating back to the period.

  18. Fact: Iridium and nano-diamonds are directly associated with the plasma hot heat waves of an asteroid or meteor impact event.  Iridium and nano-diamonds associated with the event of 12,800 BPE have been found as far south as Brazil and as far-east as Turkey.

  19. Fact: A thick layer of black mat covers all of North America and northern third of South America. Below the black mat scientist find the bones of mammoths, giant sloths, saber tooth and 50 other species along with flint (and other non-burnable) artifacts of the Clovis people in North America,  and unknown people in South America. Above the black mat layer is nothing for at least a thousand years, as he landscape and devastated populations rebuild.

  20. Fiction:  The story of the destruction of Xi by heat wave and tsunami is totally my imagination, but the event was real.

  21. Fact: The other terrors of Xibalba included puss, blood, bones, cannibals and spirits.   Except for spirits, all of these attributes would be the result of a major natural disaster on a populated people, especially if trapped.

  22. Fact: The caves of Altun Ha, in lowland mountains of southern Belize have contained some of the earliest known artifacts of civilization and said to be a memorial to Xibalba, later inclusive to mean Xibalba.

Premise: The remains of Morgan's Plunder is Buried Near Roatan Island
  1. Fact: In the summer of 1671 Morgan amassed nearly 2000 men and 36 ships to raid the wealthiest city in the new world, the city of Panama. Unable to attack directly from the sea, Morgan and his men battled 10 days for Castillo San Lorenzo, at the mouth of the Charges River. During the battle Morgan lost 5 of his ships, including his lead ship, Satisfaction.

  2. Fact: Those sunk ships have been found and are now being excavated by a real life archaeological team led by Fritz Hanselmann, an underwater archaeologist from the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University. The ships are located on the Los Rojas reef at the mouth of the Charges River beneath Castillo de Lorenzo.

  3. Fiction: There is no known 6th mystery ship at the site which contains idols of a lost temple on Cozumel. The Isabella del Oro ship wreck, crew and Cortes are my imagination.

  4. Fact: Eye witness statements testify to the escape of the 400-ton Spanish galleon named La Santisima de Trinidad, as the city burned. Commanded by Captain Francisco de Peralta.

  5. Fact: Biographer Alexander Exquemelin claims Morgan loaded 175 mules (200+ lbs each) and 600 slaves for ransom or sale. He included 750,000 gold coins, 14 tons of silver bars, several tons of porcelain, bronzes, gems and silks, tusks from the orient, Ming porcelain and bronze.  He also confirms that Morgan cheated his men with 200 pieces of gold pay off.

  6. Fact: Morgan cheated his men and disappeared with three ships, 30 tons of plunder and 400 souls.  Except for a single, battered ship and skeleton crew - none were ever seen again.  Morgan was arrested and sent to London, where he was considered a hero. After 3 years, he was knighted by King Charles II and sent back to Jamaica as Lt. Governor with a duty to rid the Caribbean of pirates.

  7. Fact: The Cagway, captained by Robert Searles never returned to Port Royale with the rest of Morgan’s fleet after the raid. When Morgan returned from London, his soldiers hunted and shot Robert Searles in Honduras, not far from Roatan.  Morgan chased no other pirates.

  8. Fiction: The story of the log book of Simon Le Sieur is my invention.  Simon was a real pirate who served with Morgan, but to my knowledge never served on the Cagway. 

  9. Fact: The Spanish Fort Augusta on Roatan Island was conquered by Edward Morgan, Henry's uncle in 1641.  The island was a huge pirate base until after the sack of Panama. 

  10. Fiction: While there are reportedly haunted caverns in east Roatan and Isla Santa Elena, there are no known caverns on Isla Barbareta.

  11. Fact: The After his return to Jamaica, the men of Morgan's final voyage all died.  He never tried to retrieve his $ billion plunder.  Morgan retreated to his plantation in drunken, depressed debauchery.  He burned his log books before his death.  

  12. Fact: All stories of Roatan history, geology and folklore are accurate, including rumors of haunted caverns and Morgan's treasure somewhere.

  13. Folklore: The story of a pilgrimage to Roatan before the Spanish has been sourced in several stories, but I cannot confirm the story.  There is also an unconfirmed story of a pre-Mayan stone steale on Isla Barbareta, but again I cannot confirm.  I place this as folklore.

  14. Folklore: The story of Mitchell Hedges consists largely of folklore, but accurate as given.  Hedges excavated Isla Santa ELena, de Morat for years with help of locals. He found thousands of artifacts and claimed to discover Atlantis. 

  15. Folklore: Hedges claimed to discover gold by searching on the beach for the ruins of Ft. Augusta when his compass went wild.  When he and an unnamed local dug in the sand they found gold.  Except gold is not magnetic. Hedges wrote his memoir 'Danger my Ally' but never spoke of how he found the gold on Roatan. 

  16. Fiction: It is my imagination to turn the locals on Roatan into the Martinez family and connect Hedges find of gold to an unknown cavern where a compass malfunction makes sense.  

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© 2018 by Guy Morris Books.