January 27, 1999
Imagine this! You are sound asleep less than twenty feet from the jungle and suddenly you are awakened by a LOUD roaring sound...
"GRRRROOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH!" What would you do?
I was sleeping at the Maya Bel campsite on four Hefty garbage bags less than 20 feet from the jungle (not too comfortable!). Suddenly, out of nowhere I heard a long, haunting sound echoing from the selva (jungle). I immediately sat up to see if anyone else was awake and hearing this strange sound--no luck. Abeja, Klaus, and Kavitha were quietly sleeping like caterpillars in a cocoon hanging from their hammocks.
My first question was, "What the heck is making this sound and how far away is it?" I wanted to know in case I had to jet! Maybe this was a dream or perhaps it was Klaus talking in his sleep...WRONG! Scared to death, I woke up Monica, who was lying next to me practically comatose. "Monica, listen," I said in a whisper, "I hear the jungle breathing!" With her eyes bugged out she listened to the freaky sound. I attempted to wake up Kavitha--no luck, she was also knocked out. Abeja heard my voice and said, "It's the Spirit of the Mayan Mummies calling from the jungle. Sometimes it gets louder when the children are screaming," and fell back to sleep. Paralyzed with fear, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack! Abeja had been to this campsite before, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. Monica, bundled up in her sleeping bag, asked, "What did she say it was?" I was almost too afraid to tell her. "Abeja said that the Mayan Mummies are calling." We both lay there scared to death. My heart was racing. Neither of us said a word. I tried to figure out why I had been awakened by these spirits. Were they upset with me because I visited the Temple of Inscriptions at the ruins of Palenque? Had I done something to offend them? Were they coming to get me? For more than an hour I waited in fear. Suddenly, there was sheer silence. The screaming had come to an end. I figured that whatever it was, it had finished tormenting me for the night.
The next morning I woke up talking about the screaming sounds from the night. "The sounds of the mummies really freaked me out!" With a puzzled look on her face Abeja said, "Mummies, what mummies?" I replied, "You know, the mummies that were calling from the jungle last night". Abeja burst into laughter. "No, I said the MONKEYS were screaming. They call out at night from the jungle." Monica looked like she wanted to knock me out! "You mean I stayed awake for nearly three hours because of the MONKEYS?" Okay, okay so my hearing isn't all that great. I thought I heard "mummy". Everyone laughed. I had totally forgotten that the monkeys come out at night in the jungle. Something inside of me was not convinced. For the rest of the day I second-guessed if it was the monkeys that were making the sounds. Maybe it really was the Mayan spirits calling, sending me a message of a sign of their power. It is said that the Mayan civilization holds many mysteries, maybe this is just one of the many that I will never figure out...
Klaus - Climbing in the City of the Gods
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