Virtual Time Travel


It’s a murky picture, because the men in the photo are actually throwing their spears at the picture-taker…and they’re not actors.

This is North Sentinal Island, a remote island in the Bay of Bengal off India.  The residents of the island live a completely isolated hunter-gatherer lifestyle and have done so for what an estimated 60,000 years.

There have been repeated attempts to contact the tribes on the island by anthropological groups and the United Nations.  All attempts have been met with violence.  The last accidental landing on the island ended in tragedy when a father and son fishing team were murdered on the beach, twelve years ago.

No other attempts to contact the people on the island has been made since.  Indians are prohibited from landing on the island.

The North Sentinalese appear to be perfectly happy to let the modern world progress without them.  Due to isolation, their language has veered off from its original roots and now is understood only by the island population.

If you had the guts (death wish?) to step onto the island, you would be instantly transported back to a world of thousands of years ago.  The violence was par for the course back then, too, so even the North Sentinaleses’ objection to visitors is in keeping with the “time” they live in.

Guess what is even more freaky about this time-travel location?

It’s not the only one on the globe.

In the Victorian era, there were a rash of novels about stalwart explorers and adventurers stumbling across isolated and very strange civilizations.  Tarzan was raised by sentient apes in the jungle, Journey to the Centre of the Earth featured strange people.  King Kong ruled a secret civilization, too.  Even later than the 19th century, writers were still imagining isolated wonders:  The Secret People by John Wyndham is one I’m personally familiar with.  There’s Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, and many others.

But there haven’t been stories about hidden worlds in remote locations on Earth for a long time–I think we’ve all got used to the idea that the globe has been thoroughly scanned and mapped and there are no hidden pockets left.

Only, there are.

The North Sentinalese I wrote about, above, are one of an estimated 100 tribes and groups living in total isolation, right here on Earth.

Let your mind boggle that for a while.

Meanwhile, my writer brain is twitching…

2 thoughts on “Virtual Time Travel”

  1. They made a movie concerning something like this. If I remember correctly they all die in the end.

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