I HAVE BEEN IN THE CAVES
by Margaret Rogers

From: AMAZING STORIES Magazine
January, 1947 issue

(BRANTON'S NOTE: This story-article appeared in AMAZING STORIES magazine in the mid-1940's. AMAZING STORIES was well-known for it's dealings with the writings of Richard Shaver {often referred to as the "Shaver Mystery"}. Some may wonder just how much fiction Richard Shaver put into his writngs, but at least he opened the door for discussions or many other "underground world" articles and letters that appeared in Ray Palmer's magazine AMAZING STORIES after Richard Shaver's first story, "I Remember Lemuria" appeared. Such articles, letters, and stories also appeared later in Palmer's SEARCH magazine, and still later in FATE magazine... The following story is allegedly a true account of one woman's visit to a subterranean kingdom beneath the region near Itaccihuatl, Meico... which is on the road leading between Mexico City and Cuernavaca. Without any further explanation, her is the story as given right from the pen of Margeret Rogers in the mid-1940's... - BRuce AlaN walTON --- "BRANTON")

[[[NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR --- Being devoid, I believe, of literary talent, I shall only endeavor to set down the facts just as they occured. THEY have given me permission to tell my story to the world. It can harm no one, quite the contrary, it may help those who believe in good and not wholly in evil. There are many who will recognize the places and people of whom I speak. Also, this is in public recognition of the kindness which those of the caves have shown me.]]]

[[[NOTE FROM THE EDITOR OF AMAZING STORIES --- About a year ago we got a letter from Mrs. Rogers telling us Shaver was wrong about the cave people being mostly dero---that those she had lived with in the caves were tero, or good. The letter was anonymous. We tried for a year to locate her, and we finally succeeded. Here is her story, given just as she wrote it for us (Note: Mrs. Rogers later went on to write an expanded book-sized version of her story, titled "BEGINNING" - Branton). We leave its truth to your judgement, but do not judge it until you have finished reading it, together with our pertinant footnotes which indicate why WE believe it. -- Ed.]]]

She called for help, and the cave people heard and answered. She was taken down and given new health

WHEN a norther hits Mexico City, all who have lived there for at least ten years shiver in their boots. Your blood is thin by then, and the wind cuts through you like a knife. Thus it was that I drew the faded ankle-length cape closer around my emaciated body, and wondered dully how long I would have to stand there before I could amass four pesos---three for a gram of heroin, and maybe one for a room. I already owed two poses on my room at the small hotel, so going back there again was out. At the worst I could go to a girl friend out in the suburbs and stay all night. As for eating---well, a drug addict doesn't need much food, and with ten cents I would get a sweet bun and a cup of coffee.

As usual, I had taken my stand near the America Club, on Bolivar Street.

I'd been there five hours since one o'clock in the afternoon and my pocket was still empty. Hopeles and resigned, yes, but I still could and did pray. Here I stood, an outcast, thirty-nine years old, a slave of the drug, pitted by smallpo, ugly, ragged, and an object of pity and scorn to my countrymen, a reciever of alms. MY COUNTRY? I couldn't recall it ecept dimly, the houses made of lumber, something one never god to see in Meico. The yards with flowers growing in them; here it was patios. Oh Lord, if only I could go there freed from the drug's enslavement. Yet, to whom could I go, where and how? I still remembered the names of my brothers and sisters, but how could I hope to locate them among all the millions of people living in the U.S.A.?

I sighed wearily, and unthinkingly spoke aloud, "God, I've pleaded fifty times a day for a chance to be cured, or to start life over. That promise of yours, 'Ask and ye shall recieve,' hasn't been fulfilled so far as I am concerned. What shall I do?"

I'd been so deep in my misery I hadn't heard anyone approach, then at a hand on my arm I looked up and saw Doc Kelmer, of the Electro-therapy Institute. A kindly man of about fifty years; he had never passed me by. He know, as everyone else did, what became of the money he gave me, but he saw eye to eye with the Reverend A. T. Wallis, a Presbyterian minister who always said, "Maggie is ill, I disapprove of the dope habit, but only she with divine help can rid herself of it, so I cast no stones. I give her money, sometimes I feed her, and NEVER refuse her."

Now Doc just stood there watching me. I'd never noticed his eyes before---those strange gray eyes---they were almost hypnotic.

"You are ill, Maggie?"

I nodded, "Yes, Doc."

"The dope?"

"Yes, I need it now, badly, I haven't had a shot. I took the last one hours ago. I can't go to Tepito to get any more. I haven't got a dime."

He leaned against the doorway.

"Maggie," he said slowly, "I wonder when you are going to remember? Think hard, Ban Dalij. The day you speak a certain word, then and then only can I really help you, not with a few dollars, but permenantly."

I dodn't know what he was talking about or what I should reply, I felt a five-peso gold piece pressed in my oalm and he turned to go, but came back again and now those strange eyes were smiling.

"It has just been told me, Maggie, that before twenty-four hours have passed, you WILL call. Take the package given you, and for now take this, bathe and clothe yourself, get your hair cut, get food and rest. This will suffice, I think." His hand came out of his pocket and when I saw the twenty-peso gold piece, I nearly passed out. I was stunned. But I asked bitterly,

""How can you trust me not to spend it on dope?"

"You won't," he said confidentaly, and then he was gone...

-------

I TURNED to go, too, just as Joe, the negro porter came out of the American Club. Always courteous and respectful, even to me, he stopped me.

"Just a minute, Miss Maggie, ah've got a package heah fo' yo'. Just wait, ah'll get it." When he returned and gave me the bundle , I asked curiously,

"Who left it, and what is it?"

"Well, I was told not to tell, but the lady who left it said you-all was goin' to need it."

I had meant to go straight to Tepito, but I just had to see what that paper contained, so I stopped at a small hotel, got a room, and opened the gift. I had plenty of time---it was only seven---and the dope seller never showed up until eight-thirty. I was struck dumb when I saw what was in that package, an expensive new bacl dress---my size, too---low-heeled black slippers, silk undies, sheer stockings, and last but not least, a lovely white silk dressing gown. How I wanted to wear those things! Impossible, though; for with those clothes on, no one would ever give me a cent. I couldn't work, even if I wanted to. I'd tried to get a job, but no one would hire a dope fiend, but at least I could and did try them on.

I defina0tely kept the shoes on, but the rest of the things I wrapped up and put under the matress. I guessed it must now be eight o'clock, so locking the door, I hurried to to the zocalo and caught a jitney to Tepito. I got the drug, all right, but took the precaution to slip the paper containing it under a lock of hair and secured it with my side comb, catching a jitney bound for town. I felt as though things were turning out all right after all.

As I sat there two men boarded the jitnay. Oh, I knew them. Yes, indeed, they were narcotic agents. So when they motioned me to get off at the net corner, I obeyed without protest. (I'd been arrested many times before.)

I follwed them meekly into a small grocery store, one of them flashed his badge at the proprietor and led me into a back storeroom where they began to frisk me. I was, as you can imagine, desperate. If they should find that packet, off to jail I would go again and this time they would probably send me to the Islas Marias---Meico's prison islands.

Hopelessly I prayed, "Help me, please, God." Then the queerest words came unbidden to my lips, "MACA SIN TAMIL." It was then and there that the odd happenings began. The seeming effect those words had on those two men was astonishing. Both of them turned as if they had forgotten I was there, and walked away. One of them actually had his hand on that packet of mine and by all the rights should have found it. They had searched my purse, and hadn't taken the money I had there; that was a miracle in itself, for these agents seldom if ever fail to line their pockets at the epense of the drug addicts.

Somehow I felt as if I, the poor snow bird, had recieved divine help and that feeling persisted during the hours that followed. Net day, I ate, bathed, and rested. Night came, and again I went to Tepito, only to find that the police had been there and were still hanging around somewhere.

As a result, all the vendors had gone "underground" and we all knew they they would hide out for at least two days. By that time I would be in Hades, for there is no hell like the one an addict goes through when she needs her dope. Death indeed is preferable...

-------

BACK I came to town, but when ten o'clock came I was in a bad way. That is a date that will always remain in my memory. Ninth day of January, 1930. Shivering and nausiated, what good was the money I had in my pocket if I couldn't get the life-giving medicine I needed? What was it Doc had said? As though someone had told me I muttered, "KAYU STAYA MA, IL TAMIL," and then wondered what the heck I said and why.

I wasn't surprised when I saw Doc Kelmer. It was as though I had expected him to appear. His car was at the curb; I guess I just hadn't seen him drive up. He looked at me steadily for an instant.

"Are you ready?"

I nodded and got in the back seat of the car. It was as simple as that. .

He didn't speak until we were at the city limits on the road leading to Cuernavaca. When he asked, "Are you sick?", I answered by being disgustingly sick, leaning my head out the car window. That was enough answer, and he offered me a small vial.

"Drink it all," he ordered, "then lie down and go to sleep."

I emptied the vial. Lord, it was bitter, but if it had been poison I'd have taken it with pleasure. I was too sick to care whether I died or not.

It must have hit me like a thousand bricks for I fell asleep immediately. The absence of motion awakened me. I sat up and noticed how brightly the moon was shining, and that we were in mountainous country. In fact, the car was almost touching a mass of greenery growing at the foot of a tall mass of rock.

The thought came to me that we were near Itaccihuatl. Doc was standing still as a statue, touching the foliage. I almost fell out of the car and promptly proceeded to have another nausea. When I, at last, straightened up and wiped the tears and perspiration from my face, he came up to me and putting his arm around my shoulders, said,

"You called, Ban Dalij, and I came. You had faith in what you are not sure of. Do you wish the mercy you have asked for?"

"If I die, I will do whatever you say, Doc."

With a nod of satisfaction, he turned back to the greenery. Raising both arms above his head, he wailed rather than spoke, a few words.

As in a dream, I saw the whole mass of greenery slide to one side, to reveal a large opening. By now, it seemedthat anything could happen, but for some reason, I had no fear. He might have been leading me to my death in some sadistic rite, yet I followed him boldly in.

The door closed. For a split second darkness reigned, then the cave was filled with a sreange bluish light. I walked as through I were ordered to do so, to a large block of black marble along one wall of the cave, and lay down upon it....

-------

I FLOATED above cool green waters; looking down I watched the strange colored denizens, playing and frolicking about. But, although with all my might I tried to descend and eamine them more closely, I found it impossible to do so for quite some time. Then all at once I was able to submerge; the cool water closed over my head. But I had no sensation of drowning. Then oblivion, broken once or twice by my seeing as in a dream, a vast room. I dreamed (or did I?) that many giant figures were all about me. That a soft lavander light was shining down on me, but I felt such heavenly relief from pain that I had had for so long, that I floated away again.

Again I seemed to realize that I was on a table, that I was entirely unclothed, and one of those giant figures was bending over me. When at last I really and truly awakened, I looked around me in wonder, unable to understand where I was and how I came there. For a moment I was sure I had died; that room was so large and all the furnature in it had been made for a giant to use.

Odder still, furniture and walls alike all seemed to be made of silvery metal, even the bed upon which I lay was of metal. I say bed, but it was I found out later, fifteen feet long and nine wide, covered with a soft white fur.

As for me, O felt heavenly clean, weak, but as if I had never known what pain was. Whoever had cared for me had dressed me in that beautiful robe the unknown lady had given Joe for me. There were soft sandals on my feet. Also an empty feeling in my inner woman, which I finally diagnosed as hunger, a feeling I had not known for twentu years.

I was so ravenous that I decided to do something about it. Rolling over and over I reached the side of the bed, and the large cabinet resembling a large radio caught my eye. It couldn't be a radio, for on its flat top there were at least three hundred push buttons. I found out later there were three hundred and fifty. Timidly putting forth a tentative finger, I pushed one of the buttons. If my heart had been weak, I'd have died then and there. A section of wall slid back and in walked the largest woman I had ever seen. Then I was sure I was somewhere out of this world. From beneath her golden helmet with the tiny wings fell a cascade of coal black curls. Her short-skirted garment was sleeveless and seemed to be made of little golden links.

I've seen purses made out of mesh gold just like her dress. Leather sandals laced to the knee were on her feet, and her face---she was all the beautiful women I had ever seen rolled into one. In her hand was a flat shiney disk and as I shrank back from her she smiled, raised that disk to her mouth, and of all things sopke to me in Spanish (EDITOR'S NOTE: The reader will note the similarity to Shaver's telaug, which translates all thought into the particular language used. Or into any other language, if so desired. - Raymond A. Palmer). Her voice was no louder than an ordinary human's, so that reassured me.

"My name is Mira (pronounced Meera). I know you are afraid, but do not be, as our brother sent you here. Sagi has made you well again. You are hungry, no?"

I told here I was hungry, yes, but, I asked curiously, "Why do you put that disk to my lips?"

With a broad smile she lowered the disk, and so help me, I thought some one had turned a radio on full blast. I clapped both hands to my tortured ears and grimaced with pain. Replacing the disk, she spoke again and now her voice was normal.

"You see, little one? Your ears are not made for voices like ours." Touching one of the push buttons she resumed, "First of all, you must eat, then I shall tell you all you want to know."

-------

GEE, that was service! Again, a section of wall slid back, a table came sliding over the floor to my bed. On it were fruits of every description, bananas, mangos, chirimoyas. These were familiar to me. Not so the small purplish pear-shaped fruit. There were small cakes made of what I took to be dates, and a metal container filled to the brim with a pale green, foamy liquid. The latter I survered with distrust, I'd rather have had a good cup of Uruapam coffee, but Mira pointed to the container and smacking her lips, rubbed her tummy and said, "MUY SABROSO" (very tasty). To be frank, I was afraid I'd offend her if I refused, so I called on all my nerve and tasted the concoction. I fully believe that is what the gods on Olympus called "nector of the gods." It was a sweet drink, made of fruit and tasting more like an ice cream soda than anything else.

I emptied the container and put it down. It promptly filled to the brim again. I sat frozen, google-eyed, unable to speak, which brought a gale of laughter from that giant of a woman. She enjoyed my amazement and proceeded to dumbfound me still more by showing me the wonder of that radio. I shall call it that, for want of a better name.

When one button was pushed, it began to play, of all things, a popular Meican song "LA NEGRA NOCHE." Another button brought a program in English, and so on. Some of the languages I did not understand. Maybe it was a phonograph. She said no, that it was an invention which surpassed the radio, because it needed none of the things a radio has to have. For eample, it brought a play from a New York theater, a family quarrel, a mother crooning a lulluby to her baby. It could bring sounds from not only all the outer world, but from all the underworld. When the novelty of the thing had partly died down, I asked what day it was.

I was told it was the fifteenth day of January. This made me open my eyes. Where had I been all those days? Taking the cure. What time was it now? That amused her, and she explained to me that she and her people worked twenty-four hours. Where did the bluish light come from? That was put there many centuries ago by the scientists of their race. I was told that when I wanted to get up she and Arsi would show me around.

Who was Arsi, I asked? That question of mine brought a blush to her lovely face, and she tried to evade my question by telling me she had been appointed my guide and mentor.

"You," she said, "will be taught all you should know by our wise men. I shall show you all you are allowed to see. There is a reason for this, which you will learn later."

I determined not to be sidetracked. "I want to know who this Arsi is that you speak of, is this person a man?"

I wanted to know ALL about Arsi and I guess she finally decided she would have to tell me if I were going to give her any peace. Arsi, she explained, shyly, was her intended husband. In a short while she would be of age and they would be wed.

"To be able to wed a girl must be, according to our way of reckoning time, eighteen years of age." She eneded our conversation the nby bowing and leaving the room.

I, having noticed the button she pushed to get music, promptly began to eperiment with the radio. By the way, I heard one program from New York. They sang a song I will never forget. It was, "That's My Weakness Now." I hummed it for days after.

I tried to do as Mira had told me, to sleep and rest, but that was impossible. In sheer desperation, I pressed the button she had indicated as hers and in she came, so quickly I guessed she must have been outside waiting for me to call.

-------

THIS time she was not alone. No, indeed. With her was the handsomest giant I have ever seen. I had thought she was huge, but he topped her head and shoulders. Like Mira, he wore a gold mesh garment, but it was a two-piece affair. His helmet had an ornament representing the sun, and the sandals on her feet also were laced to the knee. But he was as blonde as she was brunette. His eyes were green. He stode up to me, smilingly he placed a disk like the one she used to his lips.

It wouldn't have startled me near so much if he had spoken in Spanish, but there was an unmistakable Yankee twang to his words.

"I presume you are Miss Maggie?"

I couldn't speak, and he resumed, "I am Arsi; we are happy to welcome you."

"You, you speak English," I stammered. "Yet you are one of these people. Now maybe I can get a clear, sane answer to all the questions I want to ask."

"What do you want to know?"

"First," I said, "I want to know where the dickens I am at. How I came here, who these people are, and how it is you speak English?"

"Rather greedy, aren't you?" he smiled. "But I don't blame you. I shall give you all the answers, but I do not expect you to believe me. At least not now.

"Here you have it, believe it or not: I was, before my disappearance from the world and my renewall here in this world, in succession, scholar, lawyer and judge. I was a surface man, but I had always been fully aware of my kinship with these people, whose name by the way, is the Nephli. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This matter of "disappearance" is one of the things Shaver stresses. 132,000 people are listed as missing every year in this country. A recent [August 13, 1945] report on missing young girls in Chicago in the first seven months of 1946 is 145, all unsolved. Where DO they go? Is this the answer? And this business of "renewal." Is it the same as Shaver's "nutrient rays"? The word "nephli." What is the meaning of it? Your editor has not yet traced it down, but perhaps some of our readers can give us the information---which seems to us to indicate, in some way, death. Do these missing persons die, and are revived in the caves? Is this how Shaver's "slaves" are "kidnapped"; by the use of rays that actually transport matter, by dissolving it to energy, then re-forming it---"death" and "renewal"? - Raymond A. Palmer)

"HERE is a world far underground, a world whom no one knows of, ecept those who have blood kinship with them. But on with my story. The day I reached sixty years of age, I was eligible for renewal. I had learned how cruel and greedy humans were, so I simply vanished."

Up to now, I had listened with an open mind, but the statement of his about being sity years old, was the last straw. Why, the man couldn't be more than twenty-five years old. Renewal?

That would mean that he had lost at least thirty-five years. Bosh! I didn't say so, but I thought it, and he read my mind. Silently he turned to that blank wall and stood as though in deep thought. Suddenly the room became dark, and a section of the wall lighted up. Just like a moving picture, a scened\ was shown of a street teeming with people, and great tall buildings. From one of these latter stepped a man.

Seemingly, he was walking toward us, and as he came near I could see his face plainly. He looked as I imagined Arsi's father might have looked. That face was lined with care and suffering, and I think disillusionment. The camera taking the picture seemded to be recede before him, and so finally he came to a fine, large house, then we were in the salon. He stood for a moment, face looking down, his hands made a signal. Then he was gone. That scene, too, faded, and another took its place; now we were on Bolivar Street, in Meico City, and there I was, standing in the doorway.

Doc Kelmer stood beside me. The whole scene was reenacted just as I have narrated it here. I went to Tepito. There were the agents walking away from me; but now I could stand no more. A feeling of awe, of reverence and gratitude came to me and I began to cry. I seemed to me that many things I hadn't understood before wereclear to me now.

"What have I done good in my life to deserve such help?"

-------

ARSI gave a wave of his hands and the scene faded. The bluish light came on again. There was a moment's silence. I think they were embarassed at the emotion I was displaying. I was drowned in tears.

Then Arsi said gently, "Go on, cry all you like; those tears are washing away all the bitterness," and as I stopped crying, "There, that's better. First, you were saved because you were unfortunate. You are fundamentally good. By heritage you are Nephli blood. You were weak, yes, but that weakness comes from the strain of human blood in you. Human? How silly. We are all human, though those of the surface would not call us so. The Nephli civilization was far advanced when we went underground. Those of the surface strayed from our teachings, scorned help from the Mother race; and see to what they have come. Now they are a proud, arrogant people who would have had more to be proud of if they had followed the teachings of their ancestors. Remember all of this when you return."

When I returned? "You mean I have to go back," I asked.

"Yes, you are not yet ready to be one of us. You will go back, freed from the drug. You will have to pay a pennance, and it will be paid in hard work, decency, denial, helping others, with kindness shown to others less fortunate than yourself. Before the time is up you will be notified. Then when the time has arried you will say the word that will bring you back to us. Rest now, and later we will take you to Harji, he who knows all hat is past and all that is to come. JELIS SUR TAMIL (God bless you)." (EDITOR'S NOTE: JELIS SUR TAMIL. What language is this? Do any of our readers recognize it? Please note other examples of the language in this manuscript. Enlightenment would be very helpful to your editor.---Ed.)

With this, he left and Mira and I were alone. I was taken up like a baby and taken to a magnificent bathroom. That bath sunken in the floor was large enough to accomodate five people my size. No fitures were visible, but the moment I was laid down in it the water began to rise all around me. I wonder if that water had some sort of sooting qualities about it? I know Mira was bathing me and I must have fallen asleep, for when I opened my eyes again, Mira was standing by my bed, and said, "Your breakfast, little one."

There (were) fruits, half a melon, something like a cantalope, an egg, but what an egg! An ostrich must have laid it, I thought. It was as large as a small cantalope and must have weighed nearly two pounds, yet it tasted just like a hen egg. After breakfast, I was told to dress, given a contraption something like telephone operators use, which was placed on my head and over my ears. Mira picked me up as though I were a baby, and the wall slid back and we were out in the cooridor. I should say street, for that was what it was like. I was placed gently in a kind of car that stood as if it were waiting for us. This vehicle had no motor, no wheels, but reminded me of the pictures I had seen of a torpedo, a torpedo with two seats.

-------

SHE had no sooner taken her seat then we were off. That was a ride! Other cars passed us in a blur of speed, and I said ti myself, here goes nothing. How in the name of all the saints was she going to stop that thing if she just sat with her arms crossed and did nothing? When the car finally slowed down a little I could see that on the level where we were there were no openings in the wall, but high above our heads---I should say about 25 feet high---was a lighted strip. To my question, I was told this as a walk; in other words this was a street, along these streets were the apartments, living quarters of the Nephli.

There was no time to ask more for the car shot into a vast courtyardand stopped in front of a door. Lifting me out, Mira carried me to the door which opened, as if by "open seseme," and we entered another huge room, the sight of which to me was vaguely familiar.

The great table, the dozen or so huge figures moving around us. Then it dawned on me. I hadn't been dreaming after all. This was the place and the people I had seen when I saw the light which soothed me so. These were the surgeons. One whom I now know was the master surgeon, came forward, took me from the arms of my mentor, and sat me on a table. Just as any earthly doctor would do, he took my pulse, raised the lids of my eyes, looked at me carefully, then held his fingertips close to my body somewhat as a magician does when he is going to hypnotize you. But a stream of light flowed out from those fingertips, and I FELT it penetrate my body. I would say it was some sort of an X-ray for after moving that light over every part of my body, he nodded as if highly gratified, and the light went out. He took a step back, and bowed, actually bowed, to ME.

"Maggie, tell him you are well, now; he understands you."

"Thank you, sir," I stammered, "I am well, now."

To my surprise, he said something I thought no living person knew. He said, "Mark this well. When your accident with the auto happened on Republica de Argentina St., you recovered your memory, didn't you?"

Then, "Do you know how you came to lose it---why you were a victim of amnesia?"

Mutely, I shook my head. I only knew, according to the family who raised me, that my father, who was a friend of theirs, had brought me to them one day. He had told them my mother was deadand that he could not take care of me. I had a deep cut above my right eyebrow and apparantly was dazed. Later I sank into a coma from which I aroused days later, but with no recollection of my past life. As far as I have been able to ascertain, I knew no Spanish, yet when my foster parents spoke to me in their language, I answered in kind, and fluently.

The accident he referred to happened when a car struck me and I again lay in a stupor for five days. When I came to I remembered details of my childhood, the names of kinfolk, but nothing of how I came to Meico, nor how I was hurt.

This man seemed to know, but he evidentally did not want to tell me. When I asked he only smiled and said something to Mira. She answered in the same tongue and picking me up, carried me out to the car again, and back to my room.

-------

I SHALL, from here on, touch only on the highlights of my stay. I met many of the people, and they were all so kind to me. Many times, two or three of them would come and take me to different parts of the cave world. I visited the library where all the written works are kept, books in every language, and on every subject. Even newspapers. One funny little newspaper I laughed at a great deal was a tiny paper no larger than our present day magazines in size, and only two pages. It was dated way back in the '80's. That and another little paper. One was called "The Surprise" and the other "The Grasshopper." I took a copy of each, and I still have them after 17 years. On the corners of a book bound in sheepskin there were ornaments of some metal resembling gold, made in the shape of a maple leaf. One of them came loose and I asked if I could have it. (EDIOR'S NOTE: Since the publication of Mrs. Rogers' letter, many of our readers have visited her, and, although your editor has not seen these articles for himself, he understands Mrs. Rogers has them. Now, are they significant? Or is the book corner just a surface book corner; and are the two little papers just papers published in the '80's on the surface? Perhaos some our readers could tell us if this last is so. If it were so, it would prove nothing; but if it were provable that no such papers were ever printed on the surface, it WOULD prove something. - Raymond A. Palmer)

The custodian gave it to me willingly, later I strung it on a chain and I still have it. While there I saw many articles of surface manufacture. According to Mira many of the Nephli lived on the surface, many were scientists, doctors, lawyers, judges and even higher in the government. But how could that be, I asked, when because of their huge size they would be marked? That last struck her as very funny and when she recovered from her mirth, she eplained that the Nephli were masters of a reducing ray as well as an enlarging ray. These men are sent tp the surface to search for those who have even a small strain of Nephli blood in their veins, to aquaint them of their heratige and aid them.

"Your grandfather was a pure blood Nephli," she stated. "Looking through the screen one day he saw a surface woman with whom he fell in love. He asked for and got permission to be reduced and ascend to the surface. The Rejii gave him their consent and blessing. He left us and sought out your grandmother to be and married her. After she died he came back to live with us and to await the time when she would be "changed." (EDITOR'S NOTE: It would seem here that Mrs. Rogers believes you must "die" to get into the caves. Many of our more mystic-minded readers have "eplained" the whole mystery by this means. If we were to accept this, then how account for the fact that Mrs. Rogers is ALIVE today [provided of course, her story of being in the caves is true]? - Raymond A. Palmer)

"Where is he now," I asked.

Her reply left me breathless, but by now I couldn't disbelieve anything these unbelievable people said.

"He is on the Mother Planet."

I had learned not to ask questions when she turned away like she did now. Lazy days passed, and days when I wished I had something to do. Then one day, she and Arsi arrived with a group of young people, laughing and gay. We were to go on a trip, to the gardens, she informed me.

I was placed in one of those infernal buttets and away we went. Arsi told me afterward we had gone about two thousand miles in less then two hours, but I know it wasn't any fun going fast , you could see nothing but a blur. They could see alright for they made comments about the scenery.

Suddenly, we shot out of that long tunnel into sunlight, not that it was bright "sun," but the light was fintly lavander. One could see the sun plainly was not blue, but a grayish color. I truly believe that was the most perfect scene I've ever scene. We traveled over perfectly smooth roads, past fields, green wish grain and vegetables, (then there) came a stretch of forest where the trees were five times taller than any surface trees, and with leaves as large as my head, then another green stretch of fields. A lake of lovely blue water. In the distance I could see mountains, then the car slowed. As it stopped I could see a tall cylindrical object, as tall or taller than the tallest trees. From that smokestack---as I mentally called it---came a sound of cathedral bells.

I looked inquiringly at Arsi, but he only smiled, until we came closer to the cylinder and the sound of bells became louder, with more of a warning tone to them. Instead of going on the way we were headed, the car turned to the left. The country back of the mountains must have been afire, for a red glow lighted their tops and was reflected on the "sky" which I learned was really the roof of the immense cavern where this simulated outdoors was situated. I learned later that those mountains were in a huge ring, that those cathedral bells were some kinbd of a warning signal, but never did I find out WHAT was outside that obviously fiery ring. I was given very definately to understand that it was forbidden territory. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Here is one of the most significant "proofs" your editor has, which supports Mr. Shaver's cavern world. From other sources, we have recieved a "report" of this same "ring of flame," except that this information describes it from WITHOUT rather than WITHIN the ring, as does Mrs. Rogers. Also, her every statement, although she does not know what the flame is, is entirely consistent with the other report. No one but your editor knows of this other report, not even Mr. Shaver. It is a policy of ours to keep significant items secret, so that if a confirming report comes in, we know that it is valid. If we were to report in the pages of AMAZING STORIES the details of such information, then subsequent letters giving the same information from people who could not possibly be associated with the first letter-writer, would be worthless, beind merely imitation of what we'd published. That is why we "keep secrets," as some of our readers decry. But when we have assembled a mass of proof that cannot be eplained away, we intend to publish a book outlining all of it. Your editor knows what the flame ring is, why it is maintained, what the warning is that Mrs. Rogers hints at, but cannot understand. - Raymond A. Palmer)

WE RETURNED by a different route passing small stone dwellings, and this time we saw many Nephli in the gardens and fields. These were the farmers. Near one of the giant trees we stopped and ate our lunch, consisting of fruits strange to me, cooked flesh of fowl, resembling chicken, and that frothy green drink called PACHI. It was then that Arsi began to give me an eplanation of many things which were puzzling me.

"Just so you won't have a headache trying to puzzle things out," he said, "I will tell you a few things about our life here. We are now in what is known as a garden, one of many, belonging to my people. You see, we have no winter or summer here, so, we always have fresh grain, fruit and vegetables. The lake gives us fish; that chicken you ate is from one of our poultry farms. Only it isn't chicken, it is a fowl as large as an ostrich. The "sun" is a ball of pure energy which was placed there by the first of our race to inhabit the caves. This was done many thousands of years ago. Of that you will learn later. Here we do not need money. Each one has a trade system. Say you need a garment, and you are a shoemaker. You trade a pair os sandals for a robe. The gardens are run the same way, I mean by that they are a community project. One family groups plants, another reaps, another brings in the crops. Those people that live in the stone houses tend the crops."

While he talked I wished from the bottom of my heart I had had a chance to get a real education, to study the things that he had studoed and understood so well. What of the bells, I asked. His face became grave and the only answer I got was this.

"Sometime when you are fully one of us, fully Nephli, then you will be told what they mean. This much I can tell you. They are a warning as well as a tolling for those who must pay."

It was useless to ask more. That was evident in the way he changed the subject.

"You want to know how the cars we drive can run without wheels or motor. That too would be impossible for you to understand now, but in a word they are driven by thought. You doubt this? Very well. Get in the car. Think very hard. Concentrate on the thought that you want it to go. When you wish it to turn or to slow down and stop, it will do so. Now," and he picked me up placing me in the car, we'll see how powerful your thought impulse it."

I have never been accused of being a coward. I'd always try anything once. So I thought very hard, "Move car, move."

The result nearly frightened me out of my wits. The darn thing came alive, and nearly jerked my head off. To save me life I couldn't think.

But clearly into my mind came a voice, as I hurtled along. "PARDA, PARDA." Then "ESPAC DI MANI." (Turn car and return)."

Desperately I repeated the words and the car turned around and in a few seconds we were back. The car stopped in front of our party, and Arsi and Mira were laughing at me. As for me, never again did I try to manage one of those things.

-------

DURING the days that followed, I visited, perched on Arsi's or Mira's arm, the home of the Nephli. Large blocks of marble spread with soft furs served them as beds. Their tables were made of stone, as were their rooms. Those who had more than one child had eight and ten rooms. Children did I say? I saw babies as large as a ten-year-old. At that age an earth child would be crawling. Ten year olds were about my height, five-feet-five.

One day I visited the school of that section. They were taught by a man who had lived on earth and passed his renewal when he became sixty. I was stunned, after they had introduced me to him, to hear him say, "Hi lady. I hope you'll like it here. By the way how does little old New York look now?"

I still had enough breath left to tell him I had never been to New York.

"You know," je cinfided. "I'd give anything if I could see my daughter's face, if she could see me now."

I asked him where his daughter lived and what her name was.

"Mary Landrum. She was a very lucky girl, she married a rich man and she thought I was crazy because I told her we belonged to the Nephli. You see, I knew, but she declared school-teaching had driven me mad. Why she even planned to have me sent to a madhourse. I knew what she was planning to do though, and so I retired to my room one evening and called on my people for help. I've often wondered what happened when she found out I was missing, although I suspect she was secretly relieved. It wouldn't have looked nice for her to have people know her daddy was in an asylum." (EDITOR'S NOTE: If this statement if true, it ought to be checked with the missing persons bureau of New York. If there is a Mary Landrum, and her father did vanish and was never seen again, it would actually prove nothing regarding the truth of Mrs. Rogers' manuscript, but it would be interesting and contributory material. We are writing the missing persons bureau and will report. However, Mrs. Rogers mentioned in a letter we have that she has substituted names for the persons actually mentioned in her story. If so, the Mary Landrum lead will account to nothing. - Raymond A. Palmer)

He taught English to the small fry of the underworld. As for the higher educational departments, this surface brain of mine will never be intelligent enough to understand all they taught. You see, I never went beyond the third grade in school. All that I write here is not mine. My hand is guided, for in writing a letter I cannot spell at all correctly.

One day Arsi said some things I did not understand. He pointed out a huge bearded man to me.

"This man," he said, "comes from the planet Venus."

My bewilderment showed on my face, for he elaborated.

"He came on the last space ship."

"Space ship? You mean ships like aeroships can go to other worlds?"

"That's right," he answered. "We have colonies all over the known and unknown universes. That is, unknown to surface astronomers. Soon another ship will be leaving and if you reming me of my promise I will take you to see it off."

I had to be content with that promise and the next day I started to school, a moving picture school, and through it I learned more than I ever dreamed of. I went to bed each sleep period reliving the scenes I had witnessed. Mira went with me sometimes, but more often it was Arsi. As he put it, "I never get tired of seeing the beginning of the one hundred."

-------

THE first scenes were of a beautiful world. Sometimes the light came from a green sun and other times from a faintly lavander sun. I believe the green sun was their night time, for at that time I would see very few people stirring about. We seemed to float over city after city. Then the City Beautiful. Words cannot describe it. It is what you imagine heaven would look like. Tall buildings, tinted of delicate colors, apparently of marble, towered into the sky. The people? Well, I thought the Nephli were giants, but these were twice as tall.

The "film" showed a public square. There was a temple. We entered. Giants in pale blue robes lay prostrate on the floor, worshipping. Suddenly one of these arose, bowed low to someone or something I could not see, and actually floated down the floor of the temple, out of it, and stood for a moment as if recieving instructions, down a broad hall, then into a waiting car just like the ones we used under the ground. Through great avenues, to an elevated platform.

Suddenly the car arose from the ground. Straight up it flew, and came to rest on that platform. Up we went with it, And I became aware only then that that platform was large enough to hold a city twice as large as Meico City. There lay a fleet of great torpedoes shining as if they were made of silver. (Arsi explained that these were space ships). The being we were watching went in through the side of one of these, the largest of all. Then the scene faded. I was taken back to my room.

The next day I eagerly awaited the hour to go to the "pictures." The wall lighted up again, and there was the City. Until now no sound had accompanied the pictures, but now we were in the temple again and there was a vast throng of people there. That same great figure of a being was talking to them in a language unintelligible to me. He must have been choosing certain couples from among them, for from one side of the hall a being would step forward, from the other side another, etc. Whoever was showing the film must have moved it forward for I could distinguish the faces of the beings. Some were black, some were olive-skinned, others were brown, and still others were white, like the beings I had seen inhabiting the city.

Arsi began to explain. "These are the different races from different planets who were the chosen to inhabit this world of ours. Ten couples of each race, and then four races. Then twenty Nephli, ten couples."

The scene faded for a moment, came again, and to my surprise we were now aboard that great ship.

"They are now in space, bound for this system. Thay have been in space a year and are now approaching Earth. Now watch this next scene. This is the landing."

I asked, "Why did we see no beings moving about on the ship?"

"Suspended animation, my dear." (I learned afterward what suspended anomation meant.)

Now the ship was coming to life. We were in a great chamber, and all but twenty of the people were no larger than myself.

Those twenty you see are the rulers, or guides, of the others, to teach them and start them in their new life. But," he added sadly, "these people strayed from the teachings of their friends and rulers, the Nephli."

-------

THE scene shifted. Now we were in another place. A couple were left there. Another and another departed the ship until only the Twenty were left.

Now the scene shifts to a time where the Nephli have completed their cities. Their cities were perfect, their science was perfect. They knew how to prolong life even then. How to become larger or smaller in size. Some day you will know and see many of these marvelous things, but we will escape all the sorded scenes by my telling you that these children of the original eighty subjects rebelled against the Nephli. The Nephli could have crushed them as easily as one kills a fly, but they are a godly people who do not kill. Instead, they went underground. How you ask? It was easy. Especially after the priest of Tamil asked Divine help. A vision was shown him on the wall of a large cave. He was instructed to eplore deeper, and where the way was too narrow, to use the fire-blower (translated from their language) to widen the way. (The fire-blower was shown me. About the size of an Austin car, it shoots out a bluish fire which consumes everything with which it comes in contact. Whatever it touches is obliterated.) They took their machines, their records and their tools. With the vast caves open to them their scientists manufactured a sun, beneath the rays of which grew trees, flowers and vegetables. Some of the seeds they had brought to earth from the mother planet. At first they were few, and depended on robots to do a share of the work. These are still used to some extent.

-------

In their observatory---I will call it that---they do not use telescopes, but have the vision screen. What an improvement it is over the telescope. All they have to do is touch a button and the heavens pass in review even to their own system. That was my delight to look at the stars and listen to the chief astronomer. You are told by your astronomers one thing today and another thing tommorrow. One day they say Mars cannot have life. Net day they say it has. I say to you that it is written that very soon you will see for yourselves that all the stars and planets as large as Earth or larger have life, beings like ourselves. None of this four-legged, green-colored stuff. Their animals are more varied, yes. I saw moving views of them. Let me also say that if you could possibly see the home world of the Nephli you would only see what appeared to be an overgrown edition of our moon, even to the craters. But their science has found a way to cover their world with a shield which makes it look like a barren world. When it was first shown me on the vision screen I thought of pictures I had seen of the moon. Then Sogni Mir did something and it was as though we were looking at a world through a veil. As the misty veil faded we were able to see I same beautiful city I saw in the record screen. Now if they are able to veil their world in this way, why would it be impossible for other worlds to do the same thing?

-------

ANOTHER curious tale was told me...

Once there was a man of the Nephli, named Jas Whal who was also a great scientist. In an effort to persuade the humans who inhabited Earth to turn from the flase gods they worshipped, at the command of Tamil he was sent to the surface to teach of the true God and to give Man of the science he knew. That was why he left the world under us---the Tamion knew him no more. He was reduced to the stature of an ordinary man and came up to the surface in order to carry out the work assigned to him.

He taught these ungrateful people. He proved his divinity (divinely guided nature) to them by what to them were miracles, but to him was pure science, know-how. Their eyes were too blind to see, only a few could understand or wanted to. They tortured him, and he who could have merely vanished from their sight, allowed even that in an effort to prove to them that he would die for them. He apparently died and was placed in a cave that was an entrance to the underworld. His people came and revived him. They took him back home, but he had to show those who believed in him that he was above death, so he appeared to those friends again and then vanished...

Jas Whal, as the Nephli knew him, was a giant of a man by our standards. At least six and a half feet tall, short-haired. His hair and eyes were dark, but very white skin...

By the way, I was never allowed to see the Rejii (Ruler), but I know he saw me many times, for I recieved thought impressions from him and still recieve them. My requests to Tamil are relayed through him. I also have the assurance that some day soon I shall see him with their eyes, as they see him.

-------

TIME passed peacefully and pleasantly in the caves. Then came the day of Arsi's and Mira's wedding. I, as an initiate to be was allowed to be present at that wedding. In the Temple the lights were on full. Those two walked down to the altar. Behind the altar were thick, silvery drapes. They knelt there for about ten minutes, their heads bowed. Suddenly those drapes became misty, unreal, and they were gone, and the whole space behind where the drapes had been was filled witht the loveliest yet most inspiring light I ever epect to see. In the heart of that light was something of unearthly colors, in shape vaguely like a hand, a gigantic hand. Two fingers of radiance shot out from the hand. One touched the head of Arsi, and the other the head of Mora, lingered for an instant and was away, and was gone. The core of the light seemed to receed farther and farther away to unheard of distances, and was gone. The drapes appeared again, and the two newlyweds arose to their feet, and on their faces were the glories of those who have seen God. No human wedding, with priest or preacher, could have been as beautiful as that.

-------

DAYS later Mira and I were in the GAJOYA (room of machines). She was telling me what the different machines were for, when a shrill whistling arose. Her eyes were bright as she turned to me.

"HAI, another human arrives. Shall we go and see?"

I assented and we got in the torpedo, as I have named the car.

We arrived at the number one room just in time to see two of the Neph guardians of the door helping a man from the car. He was a nice looking fellow, I could see at a glance either American or English, and he was in a coma. Gori, one of the guards who spoke Spanish, but no English, beckoned me over.

"Little one, you speak the Earth-man's language, no? Then come with us."

I went willingly, for I could see the man was badly hurt, but he came to as I looked at him.

"Hello mister, you are an American, aren't you?" I asked.

"Thank God you can talk English. Why you are an American youself."

His eyes strayed around the room and came to rest on the Neph guards, and if ever I saw a man sick with fear this was he. He must have thought he was any place but heaven, or else crazy.

"Who ... who ... are these people?" he asked.

First," I said, "I would like to know how you found this place?"

"I don't know. I was exploring the CAVE DE LOS VIENTOS. I suddenly stepped off into nothingness, and the net think I knew I was here. My name is Prindle. I ..." He had fainted again.

I told Gori eactly what the man had told me, and they immediately took him to the laboratory. We were not invited to come in, but that man came out of the lab two hours later walking as though he had never been hurt. I didn't understand what a miracle had been wrought until Prindle himself told me that he had been an iron worker in the States and fifteen years before had gotten a steel sliver in his eye which had blinded him permenantly. Now his sight was restored in that eye as if he had never had an injury.

Hours later he was given the test. A metal cap was on his head, and a light was shown on the top of that cap. Obviously he was asleep or hypnotised. Harji stoo over him and spoke to him in a language I did not know. Prindle mumbled something. Then as the light grew stronger, spoke in the same tongue. Finally the light faded and Harji turning to the guards, gave a command. Prindle was carried out and I thought that was the last I had seen of him, but I believe I saw him in San Antonio, after I came up here.

I asked Mira what they had done with him, and she said, "He has been put to sleep; they have carried him to the surface and to about two miles distance from the entrance to the cave. All memory of his accidental fall into the cave and his experience while here are erased from his mind. When he awakes he will not recall finding the cave and will only have a burning desire to go back to his own country."

. I thought no more of the incident nor did I have any reason to doubt her word, for the Nephli DO NOT LIE.

-------

IT WAS several days later that Arsi, Mira and I were on our way to the bathing canal, a stream of water crystal clear which runs through one of the corridors and which is designed for bathing only, when we came to the great elevator shaft, closed with great iron doors which I had seen many times before, but had never known the use of. Just then the ground trembled. There was a swishing noise as if a roman candle magnified a millian times had gone off. Arsi, as usual, was carrying me, and I grabbed him with a death grip at that terrible sound. I have never seen him so amused. When he could control his mirth, "Don't be afraid, Maggie. That was only the yearly space ship leaving."

Then my bewildered expression, "that is the energy-drive ship that surface men will some day use to go to the stars." He added sadly, "Up and up he will go, not alone to the stars, but to the other sciences as well, until his arrogance and pride lead him to believe he can reach to Tamil, himself. Then; Maggie, Tamil in his wrath that man should try to assume the attributes of the supreme being, will destroy him and all his works and of the surface people leave only those who are humble and clean hearted. Shall I tell you what will happen then? The Nephli will come back to the surface , to their rightful heritage, and bring all their marvelous science to make the world a peaceful place to live in, a world of beauty where wars are no more. Then and only then will Tamil be fully revealed to us."

"But how," I asked, "can they get through the earth crust without being seen?"

"Many have seen the light of a departing ship," he said, "and some have guessed what it might be, but none have been able, not will they be able, to know from whence it leaves the underground."

Time passed rapidly, TOO RAPIDLY for me, and the day came when my mentors told me that I would soon depart. Would I remember nothing of my stay with them?

Harji answered that query. "You," he said, "will remember everything. You will say nothing until the time is ripe. Then you will tell just what we tell you to say. The truth. From that truth you will tell you will find five of the undiluted blood of the Nephli, many who have a strain of Nephli mied with surface who will eventually remember or who will dream and in dreams will be shown their heritage. Tommorrow you will be taken to the Tamion and be present at the renewal of three of such things. That and the enlargement of these same beings will be the last of the marvels you will be shown before you go back."

-------

THE net morning, or I should say, the end of sleep time, myfriends took me to the room called Tamion. There I saw the three new, soon-to-be residents of Nephli land. There were two women and one man. The man looked like a German, the two women like Mexicans. I couldn't speak to them, for I had been cautioned not to. But judging from the expressions on their faces, they were very happy about the whole thing. We only stayed for a moment inside, long enough to see them lie down in front of a tall stone. At first glance the stone seemed to be a shaft of granite, but then I could see that a soft rosy glow made it nearly transparent.

Sixteen hours later we went back, and those three who had entered old, wrinkled, gray, and worn, came forth young, beautiful, strong. They were forthwith taken to another room, the enlarging room. I would say it was two hours they stayed there, and although I am not by nature a curious person, I was all agog with excitement, for I wished to be assured it was true that I would some time be able to do the same. It was true all right. When they came out they were as large as Arsi and Mira. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Many of our readers object to [the idea of] giants because they say that their lung surface would not be sufficient to supply their huge bodies with oygen to live, nor would their bones support their weight. They all neglect to consider that their DENSITY might be less. As a rather unreal analogy, let's assume that you and your editor were suddenly only one-hundredth as dense as we are---say we were composed of "gases." Now, to us a chair also composed of "gases" would seem as solid as we, and we would be unable to say that we were not as "solid" as we were originally, nor that the chair was as solid. And yet, we would not be violating the "law" of physics which says these things about lungs and bones. Do we KNOW that matter is always exactly as we have defined it in our present degree of "scientific enlightenment"? Perhaps this "enlarging" process means only in size, not in MASS. - Raymond A. Palmer)

I was sure, now, and my doubts were dissipated.

Hours later they came for me, Mira openly wept and even Arsi wore a sad epression. A brand new suitcase was placed in the torpedo. Mira, seeing my look, grinned.

"Surface clothes, Maggie. You didn't epect to go back in that robe did you?"

She handed me the black dress I had worn there. I disrobbed and doned the dress amd the slippers. I sure missed those soft sandals I had been wearing for so long.

As I was lifted into the torpedo, Harji came up, shook my hand and put a small package in it. "This little gift to you can be sold. The sum of money it will bring will be enough to keep you until you find a way of making your living. You will be poor many times, but unseen we will guard you. Nothing can happen to you, of ill. Your course is mapped out for you, and twenty surface years from now you will return to us."

-------

SOON we were at the same entrance where I had entered with Doc Kelmer. At a command from Arsi the door swung open. I passed through and turned around as Mira said, "Walk to that CASITA you see in the distance. Stay there two days, when one of ours will come for you. Adios and good luck."

Through tear-misted eyes I saw the door close. Then there was nothing to see but a clump of greenery. I walked as directed to the CASITA and was met by the Indian woman. She asked no questions, for she must have recieved instructions from Them. I stayed there till the evening of the second day, and I don't believe we exchanged a dozen words during that time and for some reason I didn't feel like talking either. Late that second evening a fine car drew up in front of the CASITA. I grabbed my suitcase and got in. The driver didn't believe in talking either, for even when I asked him if he knew where I was to be taken he only grunted. We arrived in Mexico City by daybreak and the car stopped on San Juan de Letran Street. Somehow I did not worry. I went directly to a friend of mine who had been very good to me and she nearly fainted when she saw me.

"Mag! Where in Heaven's name have you been? Prison I suppose, but if you were it did you good, for you look twenty years younger."

"Never mind," I replied. "I want to know how much you will give me for this."

When I showed her the little gold begemmed bo she threw a fit.

"Where did you get this?" Then as if she thought I had stolen it, "Maggie, you couldn't have...."

"Stolen it?" I grinned. "No, it is true I can't be believed, but take my word for it. It is strictly honest."

She finally became convinced and gave me nine hundred and fifty pesos for it, although I know it was worth much more. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The bo was sold to Alma Lewis, wife of an eecutive of the CIA LUZ Y FUERZA [Mexican Light and Power Company]. Recent letters are unanswered, and there is a report that Alma Lewis has returned to England with her husband. Does anybody know of her whereabouts? We would like to see this bo, or send a representative to see it. - Raymond A. Palmer)

The echange at that time was two for one, so I did nicely after I got here and at last started to work. Tamil has indeed watched me in more ways than oneand taken care of me. I have been cajoled, tempted, even threatened, in an effort to make me tell what I know. It is futile. Now I shall look, as I have been doing for seventeen years, for the ones who have that trace of Neph blood in them. I have found the five. I have found a few of the mied blood. I have a great many more to find, both of Neph blood and of surface who are worthy to be among those who will survive.

This is my story, a vindication of my friends, the Nephli, and a tribute to TAMIL.

T