When I told him of my suspicions regarding the true identity of "Frank Joseph," our conversations took on the pretensions of immediacy and justice, and research and truth.We were two guys trying to figure out something together.I also began speaking with Russ Burrows on a regular basis.
Gordon assumed I’d perhaps investigated the claims.
Though I was familiar with the name, having read brief mentions describing debate about a fantastic cave allegedly containing skeletons, gold, and thousands of mysterious inscribed stones, I’d decided not to waste my time on tall tales (Bailey 1988; Buchanan 1989a, 1989b, 1990, 1991; Burrows 1989a, 1989b, 1990b, 1991a; Dexter 1988; Fell 1987, 1990a, 1990b; Gordon 1991; Hunt 1989, 1992, 1993; Mosely 1993a, 1993b, 1993c; Payn 1990; Skupin 1991a, 1991b, 1992). Gordon seemed almost relieved with my indifference and it was several months before we discussed Burrows' Cave again.
Manners and decorum work well in most cases, but not when it comes time to deal with a sicko.
Rudersdorf, the LMS Newsletter editor, sent me some money to attend the upcoming conference in Wisconsin with Burrows.
When I fell into Burrows' 'cave' I had no idea how long it would take to climb out.
At the Field Museum I was told investigating the claims about Burrows Cave was a waste of time and the mysterious inscribed stones were laughable attempts at depicting antiquities. However he put me in touch with a former state archaeologist who allowed the possibility of some 19th century secret society, The Knights of the Golden Circle, making the inscribed stones for either ceremonial or fund-raising purposes.
I rejected the guess of a 19th century origin as improbable, as many of the inscribed stones have examples and combinations of ancient alphabets not well known or popularized until after the publication of America B. by Barry Fell (Fell 1976), which suggested the presence of various Old World scripts in the New World before Columbus.
Within a month of Gordon and Rudersdorf's inquiries, I’d spoken with a few professionals, a dozen or so amateurs, and even the source of the claims, Russ Burrows.
Less than a week later Bill Rudersdorf, the editor of The Louisiana Mounds Society Newsletter (Burrows 1994; Covey 1991; Skupin 1994), made a similar inquiry.
I reasoned that with my residence in Illinois, access to Chicago’s renowned Field Museum of Natural History and willingness to deal with the State Archaeologist, I could probably put together a comprehensive feature article with little effort.
I was skeptical about many diffusionist claims, but interested in the debate, and had a couple of favorite enigmas which fascinated me.