Quite in addition to what this Puerto Rican Mineralogical Expedition provided by way of sheer adventure, Ron’s passage across the island would further prove quite significant in terms of his greater journey. In particular, he would speak of his stay among the classically rustic hillmen or jibaro. Generally scattered along the Puerto Rican interior, the jibaro are said to represent all that is both pure and mysterious within Caribbean people. Their faith is an exotic blend of Catholicism and indigenous animism described as espiritismo, and involving a cosmology of many thousand natural spirits. The classic LRH tale of primeval haunting, Fear, was partially inspired by what he witnessed among these people, as was much subsequent ethnological research. But in either case, as he elsewhere wrote, “there’s something here to know.”
From the heart of this curious interior comes the deeply reflective letter to a friend from December 9, 1932. Precisely what prompted the letter is unclear, but the questions he poses would prove important, and his sense of life as all too brief says much about what drove him to live several lives through the next dozen years. Also significant is the underlying sense of futility at this sobering juncture when, as he later put it, “I fell off the cliff” of known knowledge relating to the human condition.
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