Do you believe in curses? At first, novelist Douglas Preston didn’t but after contracting a rare disease from his latest expedition, he might be rethinking his disbelief.
Douglass and his crew of explorers and archaeologists planned for 3 years to visit an ancient lost city. They set out to adventure to the ruins of Ciudad Blanca, also known as the ‘City of the Monkey God’ nestled deeply in the jungle of Mosquitia in Honduras and Nicaragua. The ruins have been dated between 1,000 and 1,500 AD, and were thought to be filled with exciting ancient artefacts.
The city’s possible existence has tempted adventure seekers since the 1500s to go search for the ruins, including Douglas’s partner in the journey, Steve Elkins.
The adventure was made a lot easier with an expensive laser mapping technological device called LIDAR which was funded for the adventure by documentary filmmaker Bill Benenson. LIDAR was capable of scanning hundreds of square miles of dense jungle in a matter of days.
LIDAR found them the ancient lost city.
While seeing many artefacts of the deserted city, the team concluded that the site could not be excavated at that time, and waited for intervention by the Honduran government.
Months after leaving the jungle Douglass noticed a bite from a sand fly that just was not properly healing, so did another member of the team.
After going to get it medically looked at, Douglass found that he had contracted a virulent strain of Leishmaniasis, parasitic disease that migrates to the mucous membranes of your mouth and your nose, and eats them away.
Over the next few months, about half the team came down with the early symptoms, and had to undergo treatment.
The documentary about the adventure is now in its final edit before release and Douglass wrote a book on the adventures titled “The Lost City of the Monkey God”.
Although only a fraction of the site was excavated, Douglass and his team aren’t sure they’re ready to go back. They are aware on just how dangerous the ancient ruins can be. And maybe there is the belief that the curse is real.
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. It is classified as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD). Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies.