The Black Book

The ‘Black Book’ is one of the books found in the Library of the museum.


This book is a translation of the Ixupi legend. It is a black book, with an imprint of the snail symbol on the front cover. The translation was done by Siegfeid Schwartz prior to 1954, and the book was apparently published by Edwin Rasmussen. The date of publication is unknown, but had to have been prior to 1977.

Contents of the bookEdit

Page 2
The following manuscript is translated from stone tablets originally found by looters in Moche Valley. These tablets were found among the possessions of Siegfeid Schwartz, who translated the glyphs. Our thanks to Professor Edwin Rasmussen of Pennsylvania University, who has added comments and footnotes to the original text.
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I, Yakten, scribe to Motcambo, do keep the record of the Ixupi. Upon the instruction of Motcambo, I write these words, that ye might not wither and die.
Thirty-two years, four months, thirteen days after his joyous birth, Motcambo crowned himself King of Zapana. To celebrate his ascension to the throne, he decreed that there would be no bloodletting that year. *
(* Footnote: This probably means human sacrifice)
Five days after the second moon ended, a hideous evil swept through the land of Zapana. Many people were mysteriously murdered as the slept. There was great lamenting.
Motcambo called a gathering of his priests, who offered up sacrifices unto the gods. They reported that the gods were angry with Motcambo, for he had not offered up sacrifices when he as crowned. They allowed Xibalba, guardian of the portal to the underworld, to unleash the Snake God’s Children. The Snake God’s children, called Ixupi, were evil spirit creatures who hated the people of Zapana for their beautiful skin and healthy bodies. At night they crept into the people’s beds, slowly sucking the “ka” out of their sleeping bodies, leaving each one a shriveled corpse.
The priests of Motcambo prayed and offered up sacrifices for several days, but nothing could stop the Ixupi from stealing the “ka” for the sleeping people. (Footnote: Schwartz seems to prefer the Egyptian word for life essence or soul over the Zapana word ‘xipan’)
Matcambo offered himself as a sacrifice to the gods *, hoping to save his people. (* Footnote: It seems doubtful that Motcambo seriously intended to sacrifice himself but rather intended this as a publicity gesture.) The Moon Goddess, Ixchel, took pity on Motcambo. She gave him special vessels and talismans of magic, that he might entrap the Ixupi. He gathered elements from the Earth: stone, water, wood, jade, wax, linen, fire, crystal and more one for each vessel. He placed one element in each vessel, as instructed by Ixchel, and offered up incantations.
Fifteen days after the sixth moon ended, Motcambo waited for the Ixupi to come. Creeping silently on spirit wings, the Ixupi again entered the rooms of the sleeping Zapana. But the elements in each vessel called out irresistibly to the Snake God’s children. Slipping into the vessels to answer the call of the elements, the Ixupi were trapped as Motcambo and his priests quickly sealed each vessel with its talisman.
In gratitude to Ixchel, the people began to sing praises and offer up sacrifices to her. Listening to their songs, the Snake God knew Motcambo had imprisoned the Ixupi. Unable to free his children from the powerful spells that now confined them, the Snake God instead blessed the Ixupi with a horrible new power so that if ever released, each Ixupi would have the ability to assume the element that called it to its vessel.
Fearful that somehow the seals could be broken and the Ixupi released to again terrorize the people of Zapana, Motcambo hid the vessels deep in a tomb, deep within the earth. He concealed the tomb under layers of heavy dirt and boulders to keep the Ixupi securely hidden from the world, hoping they would never be discovered or released. He ordered that these events be recorded and buried with the vessels.
Therefore I, Yakten, end this record with the words of Motcambo. You are already in danger as you read these tablets. Heed the warning of Motcambo, break not the seals that holds fast the Ixupi lest you lose your life’s “ka”.
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The translation of Siegfeld Schwartz ends here. Following are a few comments added by Professor Rasmussen:
For an amateur, Siegfeld Schwartz was an extremely gifted translator who made few outright errors. However, he did miss some minor nuances. The stone tablet goes into much more detail about the vessels themselves and how they were used. Apparently, it was very important that each animal or human shaped talisman and vessel match each other exactly. The markings on each vessel were meant to indicate the element that was placed inside. There was this added warning: if any Ixupi is freed, it cannot stray far from the vessel that had imprisoned it until it finds a replacement entity to take its place - presumably, some unfortunate human.

Behind the scenesEdit

This book is, by far, one of the most important books located in the museum. It gives the back story of the Ixupi, as well as the information that instructs on capturing the Ixupi. It also tells how the Ixupi behave the way they do, and why all did not flee the museum. This book, in conjunction with South American Pictographs, are key in capturing and defeating the Ixupi.

The book suggests that the Zapana had a written language, although in reality no South American civilization was known to use a form of writing; only Mesoamerican civilizations did. However the depictions of the Zapana in the game do seem to have Mesoamerican (e.g. Mayan) influences; one of them is the name Xibalba for a Zapana goddess mentioned in the Black Book, which is actually a term of Mayan mythology.

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