Something that I have found to be mainly overlooked by most historians and researchers, is that the elongated skull phenomenon is not something that popped up when Ancient Aliens TV shows became popular, or when that theory was recently born. It’s been reported since 1585 AD or earlier.
One of the first eighteenth century scientists to explore South American and report on the enlarged skulls found there was Charles Marie de La Condamine. This French explorer, geographer, and mathematician spent ten years in the area of present-day Ecuador, and prepared the first map of the Amazon region based upon astronomical observations. He became a member of the French Academy of Sciences and was appointed Assistant Chemist at the Academy in 1730.
He first arrived in South America in 1735, and after completing his mission, a lack of funds prevented him from returning to France directly, and so he chose to return by way of the Amazon River, and thus take a shorter trip across the Atlantic. His was the first scientific exploration of the Amazon, and he later reported on his observations of astronomical and topographical interests, and made botanical studies of rubber trees. He published the results of his travels in the History of the Academy of Sciences, under the title “Memoir on some ancient monuments of Peru, at the time of the Incas.”
In his book he informs us that the native custom of elongating their skulls prevailed in South America, that it was known to the Peruvians, and that it became so popular that in 1585 the Catholic Synod of Lima, Peru, had prohibited the custom under the pain of ecclesiastical punishments. He also records that the practice had fallen into near disuse since the arrival of the Spaniards in that country.
I thought it would be both interesting and helpful to research the Synod of 1585, in order to learn more about their prohibition, and I’m glad that I took the time. A Synod is an assembly of Bishops in the Roman Catholic Church, and the council of Lima controlled most of the territory of South America at that time.
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a German physician, naturalist, physiologist and anthropologist, published the information about this Synod in his book, written in Latin in 1795, titled “De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa,” or “On the Natural Variety of Mankind.” His co-author was Joseph Banks of London, who is listed as a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), so it is possible that Blumenbach was as well, although I have not been able to directly confirm this. In any event, he had access to very early Catholic publications, which helped me to locate the early reference.
In the footnotes of Blumenbach’s work I found the notice from Joseph Saenz de Aguirre, a Catholic Cardinal of the Benedictine order. He was concillor and secretary of the Holy Office and president of its congregation in the province of Spain. The cardinal was completing a list of all of the various orders that had been issued by members of the Church, and he authored “A Collection of the Greatest of All the Councils of Spain and the New World” in 1694. His report on the Synod of Lima is very important to our story, and we shall examine it carefully.
“Where in the history of the Third Diocesan Synod from 1585 in Lima, dated the 17th of July of that year, it was decreed, in regard to the Indians in their present condition:” “We, wishing to completely root out and eradicate the abuse and superstition, that the Indians do to the heads and forms when they make an impression upon their infants, which they themselves call ‘Caito Oma Opalta,’ Establish and Order the following; that is to say that upon these delinquents, any woman found guilty, various punishments are to be applied; and so establish that from the morning until the evening, they attend the teaching of the ten days, by means of continuous instruction, for the first offense; and for the second fault, the teaching of twenty days continuous instruction.”
We will pull this ruling apart and examine all of the juicy bits in this chapter, but for now I would like to discuss the actual footnote. When Blumenbach included this footnote he added his own comments below it. In those remarks he explains that the bands and materials used to enlarge the skulls are the same type as those used by the Caribaei Indians, and which are outlined in the 1791 edition of the book “Journal de Physique.” His “Caribaei” designation refers to the Carib tribes from the Windward islands and the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.
The Caribs are also known as the kalinago, and they probably descended from the Mainland kalina of South America. They first settled in the Caribbean islands about 1200 A.D., and by the time Christopher Columbus had arrived in their archipelago in 1492, they had mostly displaced the Tainos who lived there previously, by warfare extermination and assimilation. So Columbus probably met the kalinago, or Caribs, and not the native Tainos, as we are taught in our History texts. They were said to be cannibalistic, and the word “cannibal” derives from a corruption of their name.
I had some members of the Tainos tribe contact me a few years ago, and after offering them the evidence that their ancestors were not part of the Caribs, they have stayed in touch over the years, even after their recent move to the Canadian Arctic. In fact, they emailed me and advised that the recently fast-changing position of the true North Pole location has been hindering their ability to navigate in heavy snow storms.
In the tenth plate from his book, Blumenbach includes an image of the head of a male Carib, in which his depressed forehead, surprisingly large optical orbits and extremely enlarged skull are very evident. Examples of female heads are shown on additional plates. All seem to be enlarged, but many of them were probably created by artificial means. He also tells us “that nothing might be wanting to this part of the proof, the very bandages employed by the Caribs have been brought into Europe, and a description and sketches of them may be seen in the Journal de Physique.”
My point in furnishing these details about the Caribs is that, obviously, they were not a highly refined culture, and produced none of the monuments that we have come to expect from the natives of Peru and other parts of South America. And yet they too used artificial means to elongate their skulls, beginning with their children at an early age. I believe that this may have been a tradition that they carried with them when they migrated from South America.
Therefore we’ve now pushed back the dates for the discovery of Paracas type enlarged skulls to the year 1795, when examples were brought to Europe for examination, and written proof of the knowledge of them as far back as 1585, when the Catholic Bishops of Peru created a prohibition against this process.
As we learned from Cardinal Aguirre, this skull enlarging process was called “Caito Oma Opalta,” by the natives, which is an interesting phrase. Mr. de La Condamine informs us that the appellation Oma, or Omaguas, in the language of the Peruvians, refers to the tribes that are also known as the Cambebas, and they occupy the Amazonian region near Northern Brazil. He also informs us that the Portuguese of Brazil referred to them as the “flat-heads,” due to their strange custom of pressing the forehead of their newly-born children between two plates, in order to give them a shape that resembled the “full moon.” This rounder form is somewhat different from the longer shape preferred by the Peruvians, but no less remarkable.
The fact that the Amazonian natives preferred to copy the extremely large and round shapes of their “sky gods” is important, because it tells us that there may very well have been two separate groups of extraterrestrial visitors in that region; one for the Peruvians and another, with a completely different appearance, for the Amazonians. Later we will see how a modern discovery directly ties this Amazonian shape into an archaeological site that is currently being examined, as well as an ancient city or complex that was only recently uncovered in the jungles of that area.
And, by the way, when the record speaks of ten days of “instruction,” for the first offense, followed by twenty days for the second, we really need to understand what the Catholics that controlled Lima, Peru meant by that term.
With the exception of Brazil and part of the Northeast coast of South America, the remainder of the continent, along with Central America and Mexico, was part of the Spanish colonial empire from the landing of Columbus in 1492, until the late 1820s. The establishment of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Spain, in 1478, was followed in 1569 by a similar program in the New World. One of its strongholds in the South American continent was the city of Lima, Peru, and the Inquisition lasted there until about 1820, or far longer than it did in Europe.
An Inquisition is actually an ecclesiastical (Catholic) tribunal that was established by the Popes of Rome for the suppression of heresy. Later the Papal Inquisition was re-established and enlarged in order to combat Protestantism, and eventually it became an organ of the papal government. Its full title was “El tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisicion,” or the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, with the published understanding that the Pope and his Bishops and appointed officials had the right to “inquire” into the faith of Church members. However their method of inquiring quickly became synonymous with acts of torture.
Given their power by the authorities of the Catholic Church, the Inquisitors were able to administer capital punishment to heretics, and to excommunicate when necessary, all under an act of public penance called an auto-de-fe, or act of faith. The most popular punishment arising from an auto-de-fe was burning at the stake, but there were several other lesser tortures also available for them to apply.
Nearly anything that might be conceived to be against the Catholic Church was considered an heretical offense. And there would be no escaping this merely by renouncing your Catholicism, since the Church had taken the position that “once a Catholic, always a Catholic,” and members of the faith were forbidden to leave the fold. The natives of Peru were informed that they had been accepted into the Holy Catholic Church almost immediately after the Conquistador army had finished defeating and destroying their leadership.
One of the offenses of these “obstinate backsliders and idolaters,” as outlined by an Inquisitor named Median, was the concealment of ‘malquis’, or mummified bodies of the dead. Whenever the Inquisition team visited your area, the first task for them was to destroy any written records, statues, artworks, and they expected the villagers to turn over all of the mummified bodies of their ancestors, so that they might be beaten into dust and burned by fire. After the ashes had settled, the Inquisitors placed a large cross, in memory, which was to remain until their next visit. So I guess it is lucky that the examples of enlarged skulls that we now study were not uncovered until more recent times, otherwise we might never have learned of them.
Natural landmarks were not immune to this scorched-earth policy either; one report tells us that there was an old and beautiful tree that produced brightly colored flowers, and was admired by the locals. The Inquisition had the villagers pull up the tree and destroy its roots, while they searched the area for enclosures or underground spaces that might conceal ancestral remains. Luckily, the natives received a large white cross in place of the tree.
I read the “HISTORIAL DEL TRIBUNAL DEL SANTO OFICIO DE LA INQUISICION DE LIMA”, (the History of the Court of the Holy Office of the Inquisition of Lima, Peru), by J. T. Medina, published in 1887, in order to research the type of punishment that “ten days of instruction” might have meant to a native of Peru in 1585. I quickly translated this from the Spanish language as I read along, and the description of the actual physical tortures was so gruesome that I had to quit reading after a short period of time.
One report by witnesses speaks of 200 lashes of the whip, for a man who said that he did not actually believe in God, but this was a fairly light punishment. Perhaps because his confession of his “sins” and his explanation that he was actually crazy in the head, and not capable of understanding what he was saying, allowed him to escape being burned alive.
Native women received exactly the same harsh treatment as their men. I read of one “defendant” of the Holy Court, named Mary Morales, who was twenty three years old and complained of severe stomach pains. Apparently the pain was keeping her from regularly attending Church services. The “confessor” placed his hand upon her stomach, where the pain originated, after first removing her clothing, and by pushing downward strongly he enabled her to focus on the completion of her “confession,” in between her screams. Her confessors helped her to complete a series of rote prayers, after which she was removed to the authorized chamber for further torture.
The favored machine for “lite” torture was called a “Potro,” which has it’s origin in a Colloquial term meaning “pony,” but we know it better by the English name of “the rack.” It’s used to stretch your body in order to enable the Holier words to come out, and the truth to be known. But according to what I have read, the specific torture for mothers who tried to artificially enlarge the heads of their children was a bit different.
The “ten days of instruction” was actually a period of ten days, from dawn to dusk, in which the woman would have metal or leather bands applied over both thighs, so that movement was nearly impossible, and bleeding often resulted, along with a similar band across the mouth, thus keeping their impure words from escaping. This was part of a process where no food or drink would be given, and the “sinful” woman was kept on the floor while nuns or other assistance shouted Biblical verses to the group. Of course, this was a first offense, with twenty days for the second.
My purpose was not to slam the Church, but rather to express the extreme measure of torture that was applied to native Peruvian mothers who attempted to artificially enlarge the skulls of their children. The question that we naturally have to ask, is why? Why go to these lengths? Having enlarged skulls would not keep the children from working the fields or attending church. But perhaps there was a deeper reason.
The Inquisitors felt that the question of why the natives desired to enlarge the skulls of certain of their members, beginning in childhood, was an unknown, and thus it represented a dangerous monster. It was a monstrous challenge to the authority of the Holy Church, and that monster had to be destroyed. It interfered with their plans to implant upon the native Peruvians a strong belief in the God of the Holy Bible.
And so the Inquisition leaders in Peru decided upon a program that they called “the Exterpiation of Idolatry.” Exterpiation is an interesting word, whose definition speaks of “exterminate, to remove or destroy totally,” and to “pull up by the roots, to root out.” Perhaps the Inquisitors truly did not understand why the natives chose to enlarge their children’s heads, but I believe that some of the Church hierarchy did indeed understand the reasons that the natives chose to do this, and it frightened them.
Well obviously there is more to the story, but this is a good start for a topic.