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Volume 1522

Wieroo by Jusko
by Rick Johnson


Caproni is a large island or small continent that exists within the iceberg range of the Southern Pacific Ocean.  Its first description was by the Italian Navigator Caproni who followed Cook but whose writings have since been destroyed due to political complications with the ruling classes of Italy at that time.  Thus it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to read the navigator's personal logs.

What is known is that Caproni had rounded the southern tip of South America and sailed north to warmer climes only to discover after long days of sailing under overcast skies, that he had been sailing west, not north.    His compass had been attracted to the island he named Caproni which had confused the navigator and altered his desired course.

Caproni described the island as very large and surrounded by unclimbable cliffs with no beach or bottom.  The cliffs attracted his compass no matter where he sailed around the island.

The seas surrounding Caproni were cold and an occasional iceburg was sighted and the skies overcast, thus making it impossible to determine the true location of the island.  Current mappings of the ocean bottom and descriptions place the island in this general area.

Amazing: February 1927 - Land That Time ForgotThe next known visit was by the Tyler expedition of 1917-18 (Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs) which consisted of a number of American, British and Germans in a submarine called the U-33.  This expedition managed to discover an underground river near the southwest cliffs which they used to enter the island in search of fresh water.

Although half the crew died within the island and Tyler was marooned there, he managed to write his descriptions of the island and toss them into the ocean where they were discovered some years later.  Tyler's assistant, Billings, then undertook an expedition to Caproni to rescue his friend and employer (People that Time Forgot and Out of Times Abyss by Edgar Rice Burroughs and The land that Darwin Forgot).

There have been two more suspected expeditions but both are unverified.  One, in the mid 1990s came to light in 1997 and describes John Greystoke, a former RAF Colonel, who was hired by the US Navy to visit Caproni to rescue a downed flier.  Although information for his expedition was leaked to the public in 1997 (Survivor), the US government continues to deny that such an incident ever happened.

The next expedition came to light in 2005 when three women from California claimed that they had been teleported to Caproni to witness an alien military action to rescue a number of captive cave-women.  Further, they claim that Caproni was created by another alien race as an experiment in evolutionary biology.  This has been termed the Obrien expedition after the supposed leader of the aliens.  Their story (Weir-Lu of Caspak) remains unsubstantiated though a British couple sailing the Caribbean discovered in the military library of the island of SummerIsle records to support the claims of the three women.  Again, SummerIsle has been unwilling to confirm or deny this report.

All that we do know for certain comes from the records of the Tyler and Billings expedition, both of which were more concerned with survival than scientific exploration.  What has been leaked from the Greystoke and Obrien expeditions is, currently, unsubstantiated and all scientific records from these two has either been sealed or destroyed, if they did exist.  Attempts to find the truth via the Freedom of Information Act has been ignored by the US Homeland Security and the British Official Secrets Act has been equally terse in their denials of the Greystoke expedition.

Thus with an absence of DNA or Fossil Record or even photographic evidence save one photograph of the Cliffs of Caproni, we are forced to explore the island through second and third hand reports.

Cliffs of Caproni


The current theory of Caproni is that it is the remains of a super-volcano whose magma continues to warm the interior, provide an eternal overcast condition that hides the island, and boils sea-water to steam, which cools as it is forced to the surface to provide fresh water to the inside of the caldera.

Click for larger map image
Both Tyler and Billings agreed that this recently colorized map is accurate as to the internal structure of the island.  As you can see, the cliffs contain the inner fresh water lake and this lake is surrounded by a lowland area which is inhabited by various life-forms that are extinct elsewhere.  It is these surviving dinosaurs and the inability of modern science to re-locate the island that gives one to question the veracity of the reports.

The inner lake contains two islands, the northern is inhabited by a form of winged human called Weir-lu or Wieroo.  The southern island is rumored to be inhabited by sentient amphibians but this is currently unverified.

The surrounding land trapped between the lake and cliffs is host to a large selection of plants and animals, the lower, hotter southern region being host to dinosaurs and primitive hominids.  As you travel north, the land becomes higher and colder and the biota become more modern until at the most northern point, modern Homo Sapiens and modern animals appear.  There are legends and stories that explain this but as these are currently unsubstantiated, I will leave it to the reader to pursue the literature and decide for yourself.

Sectional map of the island along a north-south axis.  Note how the ground level rises to give distance between the warm underground magma and reduce the distance to the cold antartic air thus producing a colder climate in the north and a warmer in the south.

Here we see a profile of Caproni at the northern end.  Note the height above sea-level. It is this height that supposedly prevents the dinosaurs from moving north.  Note also that this is conjecture by Tyler and Billings as current studies show dinosaurs to have been furred and warm-blooded and so well able to migrate north if they so desire.

Here is a profile of Caspak at the southern end showing the thinner layer of ground to the warming magma and the high cliffs that insulate the southern end form the outer cold.

Thus the lower, hotter southern end of the island is infested with more primitive life-forms which gradually evolve to modern forms as the ground level rises and grows colder.

It is in this northern area where the Wieroo live.  It should also be noted that modern convention is to refer to the island itself as Caproni but the inhabited inner areas as Caspak.


At this point I will concentrate on the sociology of the Wieroo race of Oh-oh due to the lack of fossil or DNA evidence which would support or refute the Valdron hypothesis referred to in the Reference section below.

Much of what we know of this race comes from the diary of Bradley and his Caspak Ga-lu (Homo Sapiens) wife, Co-Tan, as they were imprisoned on this island.  However, Co-Tan's comments were based on oral legends of a race that they considered to be almost supernatural and Bradley's time among the Wieroo was limited to a very few days.  Thus the information given is limited and suspect as are all legends, myths and religions.

However, we can make a number of suppositions that may or may not be accurate but are supported by the observed facts.

Legend shows that the Wieroo (Weir-lu? As the suffix 'lu' means 'man' so Wieroo may be a corruption of the proper Weir-lu) and Ga-lu races evolved at the same time and under similar conditions.  The Weir-lu race, however, possessed rudimentary wings which gave them a monumental ego as well as a goal in life.    This is disputed by the Valdron theory which states that there are no six-limbed mammals anywhere in the fossil record, therefore the descriptions are wrong or the Wieroo are an imported species from another world.  Until DNA or anatomical evidence is released, we cannot argue one idea over the other.

However, by kidnapping Ga-lu women as breeding stock and by killing their own children who were born with smaller wings, the Wieroo race quickly controlled their own evolution and became a truly avian race.   Their physical appearance eventually changed into one of hideous visage being hairless with flat ears, claws instead of nails and large wings and eyes.

Wieroo prefer to travel at night, possibly because of their eyes, which are night-adapted and therefore sensitive to daylight.

It is believed that all Wieroo are male, thus forcing them to mate with human women.  Why this is so is unknown.  It may be that Wieroo females do exist but the sexual dimorphism is so slight as to cause them to be unnoticed by the males.  Female Wieroo, if they exist, may be sterile and hide to avoid imprisonment or murder by the males.  Another theory is that Wieroo DNA produces the gender specific markers found in all mammals but that in the Wieroo, these markers are stronger, thus forcing all Wieroo young to become phenotypical males despite their genotype.

Click for larger map image
The Wieroo mentality is that of advancement by murder, a philosophy that they attempted to export to the Ga-lu with no success and so were driven to the island of Oo-oh where they managed to develop a civilization of some advanced technology, the most obvious being the smelting of iron ore into sabers and the weaving of cloth, neither of which are possessed by the stone-age Ga-lu.  Despite this technical advantage and their vast numbers, the Wieroo have been unable to conquer the less-technical and ground-bound humans.

It is believed that most Wieroo are cowards who prefer to murder their victims by blind attacks from behind. This could explain how they were unable to conquer their more aggressive and less-technical 'cousins' on the main-lands.  Those few Wieroo who do possess the rudiments of courage tend to kidnap human women and predate upon their own fellows.

Currently Wieroo are denied weapons until they secretly murder sufficient numbers of their own to enable them to wear a red slash across their white robes.  As the numbers of their victims increases, so does the colour of their robes, eventually earning them the right to bear arms, after which murder becomes easier and advancement quicker.

The ultimate murderer will eventually become the king of the island.

Lacking women of their own, the Wieroo steal women from the neighboring Ga-lu tribes, bringing them to their island where they are hidden away and forced into a lifetime of servitude as breeding stock.  Until the Obrien expedition of the 21st century, the Wieroo were considered to be invulnerable and none of their captives (save Bradley and Co-Tan some 80 years earlier) had ever escaped.  One question that remains unanswered is why the U-33 submarine which brought Tyler and his party into Caspak was not used to shell the Wieroo city and rescue the Ga-lu captives.  Since all members of that expedition have been dead for decades, we may never know the answer.

It is believed that as the number of female Ga-lu prisoners cannot possibly meet the needs of the Wieroo nation, that the majority of the Wieroo are unarmed celebates who are forced to live on the outskirts of their cities as virtual slaves. These continue in their drab lives until they manage to murder their way up the social and political ladder and also inward to the center of the city.

Those who are successful in capturing a Ga-lu woman must keep her in secret and as she bears him children (for fear of her being taken by more powerful Wieroo), he then drives these sons away as they reach puberty.  These abandoned children migrate to the slums of the city outskirts until they are able to murder their way back to the center of the city.  When a Wieroo murders another, he searches the home of his victim for wealth, skulls which are trophies of his kill and, of course, the hidden rooms in which his victims and women are secreted.  The successful murderer then kills the children of his victim and takes their captive mother for his own use.

The growth of the city is as interesting as the political climb of the citizens.

Each Wieroo city, of which there are three, is built upon a river that provides drinking water, a sewer and a means of disposing of their murdered victims.  The city starts as a series of regular buildings that line the river.  As the population increases, roads are built and more homes are constructed along a set grid pattern with bridges to cross the river.  Up to this point, the construction is normal and predictable.  However, at a certain point, the society breaks down for unknown reasons.

One theory is that those who regulate the city plans are murdered, thus allowing unplanned construction to take place but this is unproven. Another theory is that as the planners become more and more obsessed with seeking victims to murder in order to advance themselves, they begin to ignore their duties, thus condemning the city to anarchy.

Regardless of the reason, the inhabitants begin to construct more buildings at random.  One can imagine an up-and-coming star on the political scene abandoning his hovel on the outskirts and moving inward as he murders his way up the social scale.  Seeing a street with two buildings on either side, he decides to take advantage of this and rather than build four walls and a roof, he builds two walls that cross the street and connect the two original buildings.  He then roofs his new home at a considerable savings in cost, materials and labour.  The fact that the road is now blocked by his new home is irrelevant as the Wieroo can easily stop walking and fly over the obstacle.

Eventually another Wieroo will build his home is a similar manner until the city is a maze of houses with short dead-end streets.  Then another Wieroo will lay a floor over the roof of an existing building and construct his house on top of another, often covering the roof-top door.  The new inhabitant will then seek to murder the tenant of the now hidden dwelling and turn the lower building into a prison for his own captured females.

The first city built, and the oldest, was constructed on the western end of the island and contains the Blue Palace of Seven Skulls in which lives He Who Speaks for Luada, the King and most successful murderer.

When that city became over-crowded, a second city was built in the center of the island, again on a river.  And when that city became over-crowded, the third, youngest and final city was built in the eastern end of the city.

Although it is unknown how long this process has been going on, it is apparent that it has existed long enough to produce adequate victims to pave the city streets and walls with skulls.

At this point it becomes necessary to convince the US and British governments to de-classify their information on Caproni and to send further scientific expeditions to study this fascinating place.

Rick Johnson

J. Allen St. John: Land That Time Forgot - 4 interior sepia plates


Original Edgar Rice Burroughs References

Land that Time Forgot
The original Tyler story from 1918

People that Time Forgot
The Billings report from that same time

Out of Times Abyss
The continued reports of the Billings and Tyler expedition

The Land That Time Forgot
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R Online Bibliography Entry

Fan Fiction References

The Land that Darwin Forgot
Another report from the Billings expedition

The 1997 Greystoke expediton

Weir-Lu of Caspak
The 2004 alien rescue expedition

ERBzine Guide to ERB's Mars

Den Valdron Articles in ERBzine

ERBzine 1490: The Mystery of Caspak

ERBzine 1489: Wieroos of Caspak by Den Valdron


ERBzine Refs
Rick Johnson Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine

Worlds of ERB
ERBzine 1645: Johnson: ERB Fan Profile
ERBzine 1522: Sociology of the Wieroo
ERBzine 1527: Maltheusian Decimation in Pal-Ul-Don
ERBzine 1547: Opar
ERBzine 1710: Conflict!
ERBzine 1965: Rescue In Pellucidar
ERBzine 1974: Anatomy of an Alien

ERBzine 2304: Prelude to Weir-Lu of Caspak

ERBzine 2388: Bright-Eyed Flower of Pal-ul-don

ERBzine 2394: Dinosaur Survival On Earth

ERBzine 1578: Barsoom Questions
ERBzine 1370: Mapping Barsoom I: Can It Be Done?
ERBzine 1562: Mapping Barsoom II: Compromises
ERBzine 1565: Mapping Barsoom III: The Past
ERBzine 1633: Valley Dor
ERBzine 1634: Swords On Mars
ERBzine 1711: A Panthan of Mars
ERBzine 1712: Spy: Arrival On Mars
ERBzine 2165: Battle at U-Gor
ERBzine 2166: Lost On Barsoom
ERBzine 2167: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. I
ERBzine 2168: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. II
ERBzine 2169: North to Barsoom
ERBzine 2196: Jahar
ERBzine 2303: Return to Barsoom I: Letters
The ERBzine Guide to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars is located at:
ERBzine 1351

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