Paid Stories Badge Paid Story
There are 6 more free parts

Prologue: The Excavation of Hausman Hill

210 15 15

Excerpt from Giles Willington's "Lost and Missing People of the 20th Century"

Edwin Mercy was an amateur archaeologist from Missouri who spent his time researching and excavating burial mounds in the southeastern United States. Modern archaeologists and even his contemporaries agree that Edwin did more damage than discovery. He pushed hard that the structures weren't built by Native Americas, but rather another group of people ("The Lost Tribe of Israel" being a favorite choice) who since died at the hands of the Natives. Despite dedicating his life to their ancestor's creations, he felt little for the Amerindians.

To sum up, Edwin Mercy was a racist long on ambition and short on intelligence that born a few decades later could have been president.

In 1921 he relocated to Texas and began investigating the claim that Hausman Hill in Nobility was not a natural formation, but a burial mound. Far west of the Mississippian cultures and of a size that rivaled Monk's Mound in Illinois, few bought the claim that this was anything other than a hill.

In the early spring of 1938, he joined the husband and wife team of Joseph and Carrie King, who preferred a more modern and meticulous approach to archaeology. With funds from the WPA, they arrived on the evening of March 14th. By May, the site was found to be abandoned, barely any excavation work done on the supposed mound, which is now privately owned and off limits to the public, despite being adjacent to the Hausman Preserve.

Neither the Kings or Mercy were ever found. Only their tools, a shredded tent, and a water-damaged journal hidden inside of a sleeping bag were recovered.

March 5, 1938

They have finally listened. I only wish it were to me. No, the great Joseph and Carrie King, fresh off another stint in the Midwest, scraping an inch at a time at some small mound. No bones, no treasure, just pages, just volumes of notes on dirt and seeds and refuse.

They are the darlings at the moment, even my fellows at the Austin City College clap them on the back and offer cheers. The woman in pants pretending to be an archaeologist and her dimwitted spouse.

Should I be more grateful? I would have dropped to my knees to beg for the funds to excavate Mound 42, or as the locals call it, Hausman Hill. As I know I will discover, this hill is a burial mound, one on an unprecedented scale. Far from the other moundbuilder structures, and I believe, far more recent. The last stand of these great people, before the savages finished them off with whoops and arrows.

The Kings say these same savages somehow built these mounds, all of them. I think not. Indeed, I think Mound 42 will show the true identity of these great people, the multitude lost to history.

March 13,1938

We meet at the Hilton in Dallas, though our accommodations after this will be limited to canvas tents. There was a man with a film camera, documenting the city for next year's World's Fair. Maybe I'll see myself in the crowd should I attend. They say we need to take animals. They say the terrain would jostle a truck to pieces. However, I find the damned animal they sat me on seems intent on jostling me to pieces. It will be a wonder if I'll be able to steady my hand long enough to move dirt or take notes. I heard them behind me, laughing, no doubt at my expense. Or maybe they enjoy this. Maybe they imagine themselves in the Cameroons or some other grand adventure. We will need to bivouac tonight, arriving tomorrow afternoon. I hope the sun is still up when we have camp complete. I want to look at my notes.

Joseph King admitted he was sure Mound 42 was a natural structure. His wife simply said they wanted to end the debate. She then inquired about the other 41 burial mounds, since none have been able to decipher why Douglas Reems gave the structure its obscure moniker. Even with his notes, I don't have a satisfactory answer.

High StrangenessRead this story for FREE!