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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:15 pm 
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Location: Digging around in the dusty archives, uncovering Uru history.
In the process of working on a new project regarding Uru history, I came across some interesting notes I'd made about four years ago. RAWA had presented us with a challenge to discover why Cyan choose New Mexico as the location for the Cleft in his post here in the Myst Reader vs. URU: Where is the cleft? thread in the Spoiler-free Discussion section. (Bolding and underlining is mine, as well as enlarging the font on the footnote.)

RAWA wrote:
The Cleft was already known to be in New Mexico when I started working here at Cyan in 1992, and I was first learning D'ni history from Rand. It's important for it to be there for back-story reasons. Just one simple example: Rand and Robyn lived in New Mexico growing up; they never lived anywhere near the Middle East. Other reasons for the Cleft in New Mexico are out there, but still have not been discovered, so I'll leave it at that.*

* No, I won't give any hints. The rock-cutter is patient. I waited seven years for the connection between the D'ni letters and numbers to be discovered by the fans. Other "seeds" have been planted that may never be discovered. I'm ok with that. :)

I took note, copied the post and link, did a bit of initial research and saved those links, but then set it aside as other things took priority. Now, I’d like to just post what I have here and see if anyone else would like to pursue the idea. I'll post my collection of links and misc facts in the second post.

Please Note: This project is not the same as Ainia’s IC topic: Cleft location project. That is an IC project attempting to track down the specific location of the Cleft; this is an OOC project to speculate about Cyan’s motive behind choosing New Mexico for the Cleft’s location. Although different in purpose, there is enough similarity and connection that there may be information in that thread that could be useful in this project (and maybe even vice-versa) – or at least inspire idea leads to begin tracking, so it's worth a read.

So, let the speculation begin. Why do you think Cyan choose New Mexico as the site for the Cleft and the D’ni cavern?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:16 pm 
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Theories About Why Cyan Set The Cleft In New Mexico

It could have been something as simple as the fact that the Miller brothers grew up there and the idea that you should write about what you know best, but RAWA leads us to believe that there's much more to it than that. There's something about New Mexico in general and Eddy County specifically that made it the perfect setting for The Cleft and the D'ni Cavern.

For Eddy County, it was probably the existence of several extensive cavern systems including the famous Carlsbad Cavern, but also so many more that it leaves open the possibility that the D'ni cavern could have easily gone undiscovered or at least undocumented.
[Reveal] Spoiler: Eddy County Caves & Caverns
Desert USA: Caves and Caving Part 2: Spelunking by A.R. Royo lists
[Reveal] Spoiler: 11 caves in Eddy County, NM
Coffee Cave
Deep Cave
Dry (Pot) Cave
Endless Cave
Hells Below Cave
Lechuguilla Cave
McKittrick Cave
Sand Cave
Slaughter Canyon Cave (New Cave)
Spider Cave
Three Fingers Cave

[Reveal] Spoiler: List of caverns in Eddy County, NM

Pleistocene Vertebrates from Southeastern New Mexico, on pages 8-11, lists
[Reveal] Spoiler: 10 Eddy County caves
Burnet Cave
Hermit’s Cave
Omega Cave
Algerita Blossom Cave
Big Manhole Cave
Carlsbad Cavern
Dark Canyon Cave
Lechuguilla Cave (deepest in North America)
Muskox Cave
Slaughter Canyon Cave (aka New Cave)

Carlsbad Caverns National Park CAVE History Update Newsletter - In the section on Discovery of the Cavern, various sources are cited in an attempt to determine who first discovered the cavern and
[Reveal] Spoiler: this interesting tidbit appears on page 4:
Brad McGraw, Park Guide wrote:
Source: Personal Interview
Person interviewed: Mrs. R.E. Miller of Hammond, Indiana
Interviewed by: Brad McGraw, Park Guide
Date: July 27, 1946
On July 25, 1946, Mr. & Mrs. R. E. Miller of Hammond Indiana went through the caverns. During that trip it was discovered that Mrs. Miller’s aunt, Miss Chloe Williamson, Route #3, Valparaiso, Indiana, visited Carlsbad Caverns, and took a trip through them, when she was a girl of 16, in the year 1901... The trip to the cave was made from a nearby ranch, on burros.

Maybe there's something useful to be found in the The Official Eddy County, New Mexico About Us Page or the Wiki page for Eddy County, New Mexico.
[Reveal] Spoiler: Interesting side note
Myst and Uru are mentioned in the Wiki page for Eddy County, New Mexico under Eddy County in popular culture: Within the Myst and Uru series of computer games, Eddy County is the fictional location of The Cleft, a fissure near a dormant volcano leading down to the large D'ni Cavern. This is most likely a reference to the aforementioned Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

I don’t know where in New Mexico the Millers lived, but in 1895, there was a town of Miller in Eddy County.

But, there seems to be more about New Mexico in general that inspired and/or lends itself to the story of the D'ni.

Did the real life Zandi affect the choice of location? We know that the real Jeff Zandi was a friend of the Miller brothers and that they played Dungeons & Dragons together. So, did Zandi grow up in New Mexico and is there a family history there?
[Reveal] Spoiler: Zandi links
date unknown: DRC site forum post by Morningstar: Jeff Zandi plays card games? with links to other sites about the real Jeff Zandi.
Unfortunately, this link is temporarily (*crossfingers*) unavailable while the DRC site is down.

Was Elias Zandi's keen interest in Native American artifacts meant to imply a link between the D'ni and the local tribes?

Is it because of the large Native American population (22 tribes) and that their culture, history, stories and myths could be used to explain and reinforce much of the D'ni story?

"When the world was new, the ancient people and the ancient creatures did not live on the top of the earth. They lived under it. All was darkness, all was blackness, above the earth as well as below it." - How the Hopi Indians Reached Their World

"Native Americans followed the movements of the celestial markers - much as we do today. They called it Star Knowledge. Beyond the land where they lived, was the sky, and that beyond were dimensional portals or sky holes." - Hopi - Crystalinks

All of the cloth/Bahro/portal symbols seem to be based on native american glyphs which represent constellations.
See the shell (path of the shell symbol) in the sky.

[Reveal] Spoiler: The Hopi legend of the Ant People could be the basis for the Bahro.
Ancient Origins: The Ant People of the Hopi
The Anthills of Orion: Ancient Star Beings of the Hopi by Gary A. David
"Were the kiva-like caves in which the Hopi found refuge really the anthills of ancient star beings?" - The Anthills of Orion: Ancient Star Beings of the Hopi
Knowledge Gives Power: 31 Days of October: Ant People
How the Hopi Indians Reached Their World
Four Corners Clamor Seven: The Ant People - includes an interesting story about the discover of a vast underground cavern nearly a mile below the surface.

The Navajo are known as the "Diné" meaning “The People” or “Children of the Holy People,” but this appears to be a coincidence since we know the origins of the word, "D'ni" came from "Dunny" in a story written by Robyn Miller before Myst was created.
[Reveal] Spoiler: Robyn Miller tells the story of the word, "Dunny"
on his blog Tinselman (scroll down a bit) and in a Reddit AMA: I am Robyn Miller cocreator of Myst and Riven. AMA!
Robin Miller wrote:
I had partially written an earlier novel with a lot of concepts that made their way into the book. For example, it was about a young boy, living in a desolate local with his grandfather, in a shack. He discovers an entrance to a cave, beneath the shack and he (and his grandfather) begin to travel downward. The boy discovers "Dunny"... an underground kingdom, though in this story, the kingdom is still thriving.
But, maybe Cyan decided that was a nice coincidence to bolster the story of the D'ni leaving the cavern.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Another interesting coincidence.
DRC site post, date unknown:
Morningstar wrote:
At the D'ni Guild Forums, Sir Charles has posted some interesting things about a real John Loftin who studies Hopi culture.
It's interesting how "the tribe originated from a world below the surface of the Earth. Apparently they lived in this underground world, after they had lived in another world that became uninhabitable. They moved into the world beneath the southwest, and after a time part of them climbed out of the caverns and into the surface world."
Sorry if this is old news for some of you. :)

http://www.cyanworlds.com/cgi-bin/ubb-c ... 085#000003
- unfortunately, the link is broken, but I found Religion & Hopi Life by John D. Loftin and some of the book text.

Is there any relation to the Clovis culture (named for a site near Clovis, NM), believed to be America's first human population and ancestors of later native Americans?
[Reveal] Spoiler: Clovis Culture & the Burnet Cave in Eddy County, NM
"Available genetic data shows that the Clovis people are the direct ancestors of roughly 80% of all living Native American populations, with the remainder having entered afterwards." - Clovis Culture Wiki article.

"The first Clovis point found in the modern era was excavated in situ at Burnet Cave, NM five feet, seven inches below ground surface on the edge of a hearth with burnt bison and musk-ox bones in August 1931."

"Burnet Cave (also known as Rocky Arroyo Cave of Wetmore) is an important archaeological and paleontological site located in Eddy County, New Mexico." - Burnet Cave Wiki Article


Other Possible Sources of Information

New Mexico Digital Collections

Guild of Researchers Investigating D'ni (G.R.I.D.) Research page (Original site on Angelfire with annoying ads) (Wayback Machine version)

Mar 20 2004 DPWR forum discussion: "The Cleft... where is it?, Uru vs. BoA/BoT"

June 21, 2006 - Bob Hoff's Carlsbad Caverns History Blog: Who Discovered Carlsbad Caverns? by CACA Park Naturalist Neal Bullington, May 1968

Jul 19, 2009 - MOUL forum thread: Ancestral Pueblo and D'ni

February 23, 2008 - The Puzzlers gave a presentation in the cavern, "We the D'ni" which proved it was possible that "the called" were descendants of the D'ni. They utilized the D'ni - Earth Timeline for many of the points.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:21 pm 
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This whole topic is interesting to look through and ponder..TY Tai'lahr for sharing these links :-)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:55 am 
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Thanks Tai'lahr, great stuff! :D I find the John Loftin connection most remarkable!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:55 am 
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Great stuff, indeed, Erik, and invaluable information for all explorers old and new, which might not be easily retrieved, if at all, in such a comprehensive and compact format ... :P

Thank you, Tai'lahr, for digging into one of your immeasurable treasure chests and sharing the gems with all of us and thus preserving them for posterity ... :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:28 am 
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Very interesting Tai'lahr! Very.... Wanna write an article about it for the The Cavern Post?

We have a (local) proverb, "dig where you stand". That meaning, do your research close at hand
and you will find your "own" history. Or understand where you came from...

I'm no expert in native (indian) cultures but my guess, as why New Mexico that there is so much
and so vast cultural heritage to get inspired by. Legends, myths, art and such. So easy access
(or relative easy) could be one reason. The Carlsbad Caves another good reason. The geologic
structure of the area is another.

(And... as this is no Sillywood Movie, URU was, at least in my mind, very meticulously researched
and drafted so the different basic elements of the history or back story, geologic settings, scenarios
and such are very much believable!)

When I did my 3 part series for TCP I did find some image on the "real" Jeff Zandi (looking very
much the same!). But I can't remember where. But I don't think "John Loftin" is a coincidence.
A bit like "James Bond" for Ian Fleming. The man fitted the bill, and was apparently there, all
over the place for ages.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:06 am 
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Thank you, Tai'lahr, for this. This is a very fascinating post.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:09 pm 
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Awww, thanks, everyone. Glad you enjoyed it. I hope it will inspire others to do a little research on their own.

Re: the John Loftin connection: Sorry to disappoint everyone, but IIRC, it's been discounted as being anything more than just a coincidence. (There are actually many coincidences at Cyan, most notably the phenomenon of Cyan employees having the same name.) But, if it's true that one of the reasons for the Cleft being in New Mexico is the Hopi legends, then there's a good chance someone at Cyan saw the name while doing research and it got lodged in their subconscious and resurfaced when naming the character who discovered the cavern.

@Janaba: Is my OCD evident? :wink: Yes, it surfaced and forced me to clean out part of the "treasure chest" (bookmarks & notes) so it wouldn't interfere with a current project.

@Max: I'm flattered, but my intention was simply to unload the information I'd collected to get it out of the way of my current project and hope others might pursue it. You are more than welcome to use any or all of the collection to write something yourself. Here's your opening line, "Tai'lahr recently posed a challenge to the community..." and Copy & Paste and edit to tidy up a bit. :wink:

Max, if there's any way you can track down the links you had to Jeff Zandi, I think it would be a very nice addition to the above collection. (It's very frustrating to not have access to the DRC site right now.) It might be helpful to know when he met the Miller brothers and if he ever lived in New Mexico himself.

I believe a major key would be to find out the time period that the Millers lived in Albuquerque. What ages they were and how long they lived there. There's a good chance they learned about the Native American culture in school and/or developed an interest in it on their own while living there.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:29 pm 
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@Tai'lahr... Can't remember where I found the references, but it might been on MYSTlore
(now deleted?) but a simple Google search on "jeff zandi" gave for example this >>

I think this is the right one (for inspiration). A gamer, and as it seems, a genuinely nice chap.
(not sure he's ever worn the Hawaii-shirt though)

How and when he knew the Millers, you should forward that question to the Mysterium Crew
as they will have Rand & Robyn for a Q&A on next Saturday.

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