Hidden beneath the Yucatán Peninsula in southern Mexico you’ll find Calcehtok Cave, a complicated series of tunnels and caverns. The cave is not only home to incredible natural formations and ancient artifacts, it’s also the location where sacrificial rituals were performed. The remains of both animals and humans have been discovered here.
The Mayans believed that the door to the Underworld could be found somewhere within the claustrophobia-inducing, maze-like passages.
In 1840, the Cuy family unearthed the Calcehtok Cave, and since that day each generation have been acting as guides to those who wish to explore the complicated series of tunnels. Without a guide, people would certainly get lost. In addition, the guides make it clear that absolutely nothing should be removed from the sacred site.
Tragically, when filmmaker Daniel Northcott visited the burial ground in April 2007, he couldn’t resist taking a bone back home with him. It was a mistake that could have led to his death. Upon finding the remains, he instantly felt connected to it. And there was nothing that was going to stop him from removing it as a keepsake.
Throughout his world travels, which included journeying across 42 countries in a span of eight years, he always collected something. Whether it be a rock, shells, or a piece of driftwood, he took these items as a reminder of where he’d been. But the bones located in Calcehtok Cave had negative vibes associated with them and have been known to cause illness and misfortune to everyone who took them.
Just months after returning from his trip to the sacrificial burial cave, he was diagnosed with leukemia, a bone marrow cancer, and was given 3-6 months to live.
After realizing that his sickness was caused by taking the cursed bone, he decided that he wanted to return it. Regrettably, when he went to look for it, the bone was nowhere to be found. It was as if it vanished into thin air.
It wasn’t until after the 29-year-old passed away and his family was going through his belongings that it reappeared.
This story reminds us of tourists who’ve taken rocks or sand from the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park and in return suffer the wrath of Goddess Pele. Apparently, those who have removed these items become cursed. Their pets die. They lose their jobs. They develop life-threatening diseases. Their marriages fall apart.
And the only way to undo their streaks of bad luck is to return the items from where they came.
As part of Northcott’s dying wish, and “out of respect for the Mayan people,” his sister, Erin, settled on returning the bone to the cave. In his will, he left her with over 1,000 hours of footage from his travels hoping she would complete his legacy.
Erin and her family, along with Elevate Studios, hope to one day complete the film he began working on in 2000.