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Shrunken Head of Captain Harrison Forsythe
Shrunken Head of Captain Harrison Forsythe

Lost and presumed dead for over 10 years, Captain Forsythe was last heard from in May of 1898, when he left the Bacairi Outpost deep in the jungles of the Mato Grosso, in search of the lost city of Zed.

In 1911, Dutch missionary Fraz van Lith discovered an abandoned Maricoxi village in the jungle, west of the Araguaia River. The Maricoxi are known as cannibals and headhunters, and his Indian guides refused to enter the city because of the "bad magics" that filled that place. Van Lith found the village deserted save for a handful of unburied skeletons. He spent the day searching and found a ruined compass marked "HF," a broken briar pipe, some rusted guns, Forsythe's journal wrapped in oilcloth, and this shrunken head.

It is unusual for headhunters to shrink the head of a white man. The practice of preparing shrunken heads has religious significance; shrinking the head of an enemy was believed to harness the spirit of that enemy and compel him to serve the shrinker.

Although the tanning process has darkened his skin and caused mandibular prognathism and facial distortion, those who knew him have confirmed that this is indeed Captain Forsythe. For years, Forsythe's head graced the Map Room of the Royal Geographic Society in London.

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