By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
Skip didn't want to pour cold water on Carl's enthusiasm, but he did want to teach him an important lesson he had learned during his own long career in academia: Grand unifying theories are usually illusory. By pursuing mushrooms as a universal key that unlocked a world of hidden meanings in Mayan artifacts, Carl might be chasing a ghost.
"There's a guy who thinks that pretty much everything in Mayan iconography can be decoded with the patterns on the back of a rattlesnake," Skip says. "There's another guy who thinks the key to this whole thing is this particular spider.
"So there's a long line of overly reductionist interpretations."
SITTING IN HIS south Minneapolis home on a recent morning, Carl says the critics don't see the pattern because they don't want to see it. For those with an open mind, the evidence is undeniable.
He gestures toward the rubbing of a Mayan frieze given to his father by a colleague half a century ago, now framed and hung on his dining room wall. The contours are rough, but it clearly shows stylized figures adorned in robes and jewelry.
"Look at the earplugs," Carl says urgently. "Mushrooms."
On his laptop, Carl cycles through some of his latest discoveries of mushroom imagery on funeral vases. He returns once again to the dancing monkey.
"Armageddon has already happened," Carl says. "We missed it. The world didn't end—it just started a new cycle."