First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life & Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Web Pages in Archive
Volume 3902
Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.
3 Hikers on Treasure Hunt in Superstitions Feared Dead:

“The lure of the legendary Dutchman Mine has likely claimed three more lives.

Lost Dutchman Park Curtis Merworth, Malcolm Meeks and Ardean Charles left Salt Lake City on July 6 in search of the fabled lode of gold hidden in the Superstition Mountains east of Apache Junction. Their vehicle was found at a trailhead July 11, but an exhaustive search for the men has, so far, turned up empty.

“It was the third time Merworth had come to the Superstitions looking for treasure. Searchers rescued him from the terrain in May 2009, but the harrowing experience didn’t deter him from what family members say had become an obsession.

“Merworth, 48, was ‘gold crazy,’ his mother, Carol, said this week from her Salt Lake City home.

“‘He was certain he was going to find this mine,’ she said.

“The pursuit of the Dutchman’s mine has been going on for more than century in ‘some of the most rugged wilderness areas of the U.S. Forest Service,’ said George E. Johnston, president emeritus of the Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction.

“‘It’s hard to separate the legend and the lore from the lies and the BS and everything else about it,’ he said. ‘But there’s enough to it to encourage people that have been interested in it to go after that gold. For almost 120 years now, they’ve been looking for it.’

“The story goes that during the mid-1880's, the Peralta family of Mexico operated several mining claims, including a fabulously rich gold mine in the Superstitions. An expedition returning gold ore to Mexico City was attacked by Apaches.

“Only one member of the Peralta expedition survived the attack. Decades later, he revealed the location of the richest of the family’s mines to Jacob Waltz, who has come to be immortalized as the Dutchman.

“The story is based on some nuggets of truth. Jacob Waltz was born in 1808 in Germany, and he came to the United States in 1846. He worked as a miner in North Carolina and Georgia and later in Arizona Territory. In 1868, he homesteaded 160 acres near the Salt River in what is now the East Valley. Waltz died a pauper in 1891.

“Legend has it that, on his deathbed, Waltz told three caretakers about the mine he discovered in the Superstitions and where they could find it. The mine, he said, had enough gold to make millionaires out of 20 men. Beneath his bed was a wooden candle box with pieces of rich gold ore.

“The trio spent the rest of their lives searching for the gold based on Waltz’s clues. One of the caretakers, Julia Thomas, made a living off drawing and selling maps to the treasure, Johnston said.

“The lure of the gold, the greed, he said, continues to draw treasure seekers from all over the world to the Superstitions. Weekly, he fields questions by phone and from visitors who want to know where they can find the bounty....”

– Lindsey Collum, The Arizona Republic, July 17, 2010

At the time ERB began his writing career in 1911 most of his readers were as familiar with the story of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine as we are today with modern urban legends. Even many modern fans of ERB might not have realized that the opening chapter of A Princess of Mars, is driven by this legend. In fact, the genius of ERB was to realize that he didn’t have to mention it to his readers at all – that it had so infiltrated the imaginations of the readers of the time, that they would have immediately understood that Captain John Carter of Virginia, and his ex-Confederate cavalry officer friend, Captain James K. Powell, had indeed discovered the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. By the way, Waltz, even though a German, was called the Dutchman by his associates because of his accent, ignorantly mistaken for Dutch.

This historical fact is the logical answer to the question: Is a readers’ companion to the Barsoomian Mythos necessary? Yes, it is. It is necessary to give the modern reader the full experience a normal reader would have had at the time. The reader of the time would have recognized that John Carter is a divine being, like Hercules, a classical hero transported to a foreign planet by means of Native American sorcery. Even his initials, JC, would have reminded the reader of his divine origins if they were too dense to have gotten the hint in the original opening lines of the book’s opening chapter, titled, “On the Arizona Hills”:

“I am a very old man; how old I do not know. Possibly I am a hundred, possibly more; but I cannot tell because I have never aged as other men, nor do I remember any childhood. So far as I can recollect I have always been a man, a man of about thirty. I appear today as I did forty years and more ago, and yet I feel that I cannot go on living forever; that some day I shall die the real death from which there is no resurrection. I do not know why I should fear death, I who have died twice and am still alive; but yet I have the same horror of it as you who have never died, and it is because of this terror of death, that I am so convinced of my own mortality.” (PM/1.)
ERB was criticized by many for ripping off other pulp authors for ideas and plots, but ERB always claimed that the source for his many stories was ancient mythology. After all, even Hercules, died in the end. In fact, ERB’s writing style reflects his many years studying the classics in their ancient languages. ERB always said that he was terrible at English grammar because he spent too much time studying Latin and Greek grammar as a student.

A note on the references to the Mythos. “PM/1" stands for A Princess of Mars, Chapter One. There are no page references to the text because there are so many printed versions of the Mythos that it is impractical to name one text as the main text. To aid the reader, I will now list every book in the Mythos with their shorthand notations, as well as references to ERBzine, where
their publishing histories are documented:

1. A Princess of Mars: PM (ERBzine # 0421.)
2. The Gods of Mars: GM (ERBzine # 0423.)
3. The Warlord of Mars: WM (ERBzine # 0424.)
4. Thuvia, Main of Mars: TMM (ERBzine # 0425.)
5. The Chessmen of Mars: CM (ERBzine # 0426.)
6. The Master Mind of Mars: MMM (ERBzine # 0427.)
7. A Fighting Man of Mars: FMM (ERBzine # 0735.)
8. Swords of Mars: SM (ERBzine # 0736.)
9. Synthetic Men of Mars: SMM (ERBzine # 0737.)
10. Llana of Gathol: LG (ERBzine # 0738.)
11. John Carter of Mars: JCM (ERBzine # 0740 & # 0739.)

The references to Llana of Gathol are further complicated by the fact that the novel is divided into four separate stories, each with their own chapters. Thus, each part is given a Roman numeral, and each chapter of each section is given a regular number. For example, a quote reference to Book One, “The Ancient Dead,” Chapter Three, would be noted as “LG/I-3".

The same is true for the two Apocryphal stories of John Carter of Mars. (See, “The Martian Apocrypha,” ERBzine #3912 .)

Back to our origins. Carter is transported to Mars where everyone is naked as the day they were hatched. A readers’ companion helps the modern reader, jaded by today’s modern media, realize that ERB was also an aficionado of the Peep Show. In essense, as far as the censorship of the time would permit, ERB wrote soft pornography. I believe absolutely that A Princess of Mars provided much male bathroom reading in 1912. (See, e.g., “Nakedness on Mars,” ERBzine # 3177.)

His near-rape scenes would have had the same erotic effect upon the reader of 1912 as the graphic sex scenes in George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” have upon the modern reader. 

The same is true for my screenplay biography experiment, ERB, the Screenplay Thesis, ( ), where I have graphically altered the near-rape scenes in the Mythos to reflect today’s modern standards of censorship.

The unifying theme of this readers’ companion are the Seven Wonders of Mars and their Runners-Up. As literate travelers of the ancient world mapped out the Seven Wonders on Earth, I thought this would be a good way to deal with the entire Mythos, for I feel that only in such a manner can the full scope of the corpus be easily grasped as an entire Mythos. The history of how this readers’ companion was conceived and evolved can be found in the Preface to “Ghek’s Manatorian Mind Games,” ERBzine #3903.)

Hopefully, with the release of Disney’s movie, John Carter, there will be a renewed interest in the written Mythos. If so, then the modern reader will have to deal with major changes made in the major characters, as well as the plot – for, because of unknown reasons, the movie took many liberties with the original story. For example, John Carter is no longer a divine being in the movie – he’s just an average deflated Southerner with a normal wife and child, who tragically die due to the brutality of Northern soldiers.

His confederate friend is no longer a fellow Southerner, but in the movie, he is an Union cavalry officer in the Kevin Costner “Dances with Wolves” mold. Helium and Zodanga are no longer exotic cities like I imagined them in the books (the exotic cities in the HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” are much like the Martian cities I had in mind), but are depicted in the movie as
strange futuristic cities that remind me of illustrations of sci-fi artists from the Fifties. Plus, absurdly – when I think about what these CGI effects must have cost, I cringe – the city of Zodanga moves. This is one of the lamest things I have ever seen on film.

I also thought the depictions of Sola and Tars Tarkas were unforgiveable. I will point out two scenes that I loved that were accurate to the original and then I will be done. The first was the breathtaking long shot of Carter and the Tharks riding into Korad, the ancient dead sea-bed city. What wonderful detail. I almost missed our heroes at the bottom of the screen I was so
mesmerized. I saw it on opening day in IMAX 3-D with about twenty other people. They gave the movie a standing ovation at the end.

The other scene is when Carter was fighting the Warhoons and was overwhelmed. That’s exactly how I imagined the scene when I read it. To tell you the truth, when I see the kind of accuracy to Tolkien’s main plot carried out in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, I cannot see why Disney felt the need to tamper so much with the Mythos for the movie version. The original story is timeless.

Furthermore, I have no opinion why the movie was such a blockbuster everywhere else in the world except in the United States, where, even having made its money back, it is considered the biggest flop in history. Perhaps some of the animus that occurred between ERB and Hollywood in the late 30's still survives today. Some Hollywood grudges never die.

So, here is the Mythos in all of its original glory. Enjoy.

7 WONDERS: Intro | I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII

RUNNERS UP: I.a | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII.2.2b.3a.3b | IX | X.2.3.4
.XI. |.XII.2.| XIII.|.XIV.|.XV.| XVI.| XVII..2.3.4 .| XVIII | Appendix


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