The mysterious curse continued in the next decades when the Japanese controlled the island prior to the outbreak of World War II. They reportedly hauled away platinum caskets from a mirror location called the "House of the Dead" under the sea. The divers discovered huge coffins underwater, broke them apart, and hauled up pieces of platinum. Suddenly the main exports of Pohnpei to Japan—vanilla, copra, sago, and mother of pearl—were supplanted by the valuable white metal platinum. One day two members of the blasphemous mission to the House of the Dead vanished. Archaeologists digging on Nan Madol these days are met with slim pickings of artifacts to study, and even then, face the possibility of a curse said to be cast upon anyone who violate the property of the ancients.
A Megalithic Enigma
One big mystery I've often pondered is why the builders would go to all the trouble in creating islands, rather than just building on dry land? Constructed of long basalt slabs weighing 18,140 to 45,350 kilograms, Nan Madol is a series of precisely stacked-rock structures along the tidal flats of a shallow coral reef. The immense megalithic stone city, 28 square kilometers in size, resides above and below the ocean's surface. Nearby on the southeast corner of Pohnpei is Madolinihmw Harbor where the Japanese divers recovered the platinum coffins. The harbor is known to contain underwater columns in a straight row and assorted sunken ruins, including a so-called "castle," 60 meters down in murky water.
How the site was built creates the biggest enigma. Most of the above water ruins lie upon the 90 or so artificial islets in "Nan Madol central," an area of approximately 2.5 square kilometers bisected by canals and underwater tunnels. The ruins on the artificial islands are mostly square or rectangular in shape, each created out of stacked basalt slabs in the style of "Lincoln Logs," with the largest reported at weighing up to an amazing 45,350 kilograms. Such incredible weight would have crushed any wooden log rolling system as suggested by conventional historians. The idea of moving such heavy rocks using ropes, rollers and rafts is just as preposterous as the alternative ideas of how it was constructed. After all, every attempt to recreate the primitive moving technique has utterly failed.
Another theory as to how the rocks were transported, and the theory I proposed on Ancient Aliens, is that the slabs were moved to the location and stacked by the use of auditive or acoustic levitation. Part of my comment on the show was by "matching the sound frequency of matter" huge boulders can be rendered weightless. In my book Future Esoteric: The Unseen Realms I have illustrations and testimony of Westerners witnessing the Tibetans use this technique in the 1930s. However these days no such technology exists. Something appears to be lost in translation.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that the site contains hundreds of rocks weighing 5 to 50 tons and somehow were moved to this remote location, which features no freshwater springs or evidence of farming. Some of the giant rock slabs are set together in walls up to 10 meters in height, and over 5 meters thick. So not only was the incredible weight of the rocks a challenge getting them to the site, but also putting them so precisely in place and so high up. Interestingly, none of the native people on Pohnpei have ever built in stone—today they all live in grass huts or prefabricated buildings, suggesting a regression of culture has taken place.
The Mystery Deepens
The largest building of Nan Madol is called Nan Dawas, a massive open-air complex with an inner sanctum. Its 7.5 meter high walls surround a central square enclosure. Underground tunnels are said to connect Nan Dowas to several of the larger buildings outside the complex. It is believed that some of these tunnels go beneath the reef and exit underwater to caves near Madolinihmw Harbor, which can be seen while scuba diving, but are too clogged for a person to swim through. The walls of Nan Dowas are an impressive 311 meters in diameter, and can be seen in satellite images.
Nan Dowas and its inner section are constructed of huge stones expertly stacked on an artificial island. Some of the rocks are basalt logs five meters long in a hexagonal shape, formed naturally through volcanic crystallization and quarried on Pohnpei island. Other stones are huge slabs, roughly cut and dressed. What makes all the rocks so interesting, beyond their massive size, is the content of the stone. Contained within the rock basalt are large crystals, which are highly magnetized. Compasses spin out of control when held near the walls. Just Nan Dowas alone was a massive construction effort, let alone the 90 other smaller structures which are also part of the larger complex.
The reports of Governor Berg and the native people saying they have seen glowing orbs in the middle of the night also deepens the mystery of Nan Madol. The locals will tell you the spheres are thought to be restless spirits of long deceased island kings. These kings were believed to practice powerful magic and their spirits are thought to protect the watery ruins against outsiders, hence the accidents which have befallen those who dare tamper with the structures or artifacts.
Among the many mysteries here are the strange mineral findings and the reports of giant bones. As mentioned, during the Japanese occupation preceding World War II, Japanese divers discovered platinum coffins near the underwater site called the "City of the Gods." Among the recorded Japanese exports of Pohnpei included platinum, yet the rock on Pohnpei Island and surrounding islands contains no trace of platinum. The Japanese divers reported very large human-like bones. Even today, every so often a person will come across a massive leg bone in the jungle surrounding the site.
What could this mean? Giant people of a highly advanced civilization found near magnetized basalt chambers surrounded by waterways? Could this be evidence of a very old, sunken continent in the Pacific? The questions attempting to resolve the origins of Nan Madol may never be known. But what is known is someone or something went to a great effort to move many hundred metric tons of stone across the island to create a grand city in a very remote location, both above and below the surface of the water. And still today the locals will tell you there is a reason why this part of the island has been left uninhabited.
Getting to Nan Madol
Should you wish to go, Nan Madol is located on the southeast side of Pohnpei island, where it practically connects to Temwen. Pohnpei lies about 16,000 km (9,920 miles) northeast of New Guinea, or 4,025 km (2,500 miles) southwest of Hawaii. Pohnpei is the capital of the independent Federated States of Micronesia, and flights arrive daily from the U.S. territory of Guam and other Pacific Rim countries. Pohnpei is part of the Caroline Island chain, and the other nearest island with a sizable population is Guam. The Federated States of Micronesia incorporates the Caroline Islands, and additional minor island groups.
Brad Olsen is the author of nine books and operates CCC Publishing, which has released 14 travel titles. He is a regular contributor to several magazines and media outlets. See more at www.bradolsen.com and www.cccpublishing.com. Brad Olsen's 9th book Modern Esoteric: Beyond Our Senses has additional information on Nan Madol and will be released this month. The companion to this book is Future Esoteric: The Unseen Realms, released by CCC Publishing January, 2013.
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and Google Earth
The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England by Brad Olsen
Discovering Forbidden Archaeology by Brad Olsen
Sedona: Is the Whole Town Built on a Hoax? by Laurie Gough
Modern Day Druids at the Hill of Tara in Ireland by Ian Middleton
See other South Pacific travel stories from the archives
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