600 Year-Old Mysteries in Caves in Laos. Any POW Evidence?
Above Photo: Some of the limestone mountains around Tha Khaek in Khammouane Province, Laos.
No-one has any idea what the millions of caves honeycombing Laos’ karst mountains might contain, but I’m certain, in the future, people will find evidence that American POWs were held in some of them, perhaps long after the war ended.
That, in part, is what my novel BACK explores, and recently I visited some items that had been hidden in a cave in Laos for a lot longer than forty years.
It was only in 2006, that a man near Tha Khaek in Laos climbed 15 metres up a vertical 400 metre cliff face using jungle vines that trailed down the mountain. He’d seen bats coming out of a cave and planned to catch a few for dinner.
When he squeezed through the small cave mouth, he discovered an amazing cavern in the limestone, with stalactites and stalagmites cascading in fountain and waterfall-like structures in a fairy grotto setting.
And in amongst them were 229 bronze Buddha images, up to one metre in height, sitting staring at him. They’d been there for six hundred years. Who put them there, and why, nobody knows, but for them to have only been discovered in 2006 is remarkable.
Visiting this cave again made me wonder what other, war-related secrets might be lying in Laotian caves, waiting to be discovered by the adventurous.
I also wonder whether the US have ever, overtly or covertly, sent teams into the caves in Laos where it is reasonably believed US POWs were held during and after the war, to see if any of them left messages or signs that they’d been there, such as names and markings scratched into walls.
I can think of one particular cave of interest in the search for evidence of incarcerated POWs. It’s in northern Laos and I may visit and see for myself, next year.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
And for POWs left behind in Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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