Welcome newcomers to the Malone Society, an organization founded in the aftermath of the first World War and named in honor of the deceased Edward Malone, who perished on the battlefield. The Malone Society’s founders were the survivors of the Challenger expedition and the Caprona incident. Our objective is to discover, study, and protect isolated populations of living fossils, or “lost worlds” where supposedly extinct species are cut off from the rest of the world and continue to flourish while they have perished elsewhere.
An uncharted island in the South Pacific, west of Sumatra, that remained unexplored and virtually unheard of until the 21st century. Yet rumors of it persisted through history, if you knew where to look. Spanish explorers called it Isla de Craneo. Skull Island. There were also writings referring to as “the island where God did not finish creation”. It’s notorious for the number of ships and planes that have gone missing in the area.
It is believed that Skull Island was once part of the vast and ancient continent of Gondwana in prehistoric times. What came to be Skull Island was a stretch near the coast of the great Tethys Sea, rich in life. When this landmass broke away, many prehistoric ancestors of the island’s modern inhabitants rode with it, guaranteeing their survival. Others joined later by rafting, swimming, or flying to the island sanctuary. Land bridges came and went, bringing new fauna, adding to the diversity of the island.
Dotting the island are the ruins of an ancient society, the legacy of an older, far more advanced civilization long gone. Studies of these remains told of a culture three thousand years old. It is theorized that ancient colonists brought with them an established culture, as evidenced by the great carved statues and shards of magnificent pottery left behind. They were a devoted culture who revered the giant apes that abounded throughout their art. Some have speculated the apes may have arrived with the colonists, alluding to a symbiosis between the people and the ancestors of Kong. The exact nature of the extinction that befell these people remains a mystery to this very day. At least a thousand years ago they were wiped out, leaving little behind but stowaway rats and the stone skeletons of their city on a doomed island, as the jungle swept in to reclaim the land, leaving only monuments to the lost civilization of Skull Island such as the mighty wall greeting explorers. Some have proposed a connection between Atlantis and Skull Island, though there is little evidence supporting this claim. Not to say that such a theory is completely impossible, of course.
There are rumors of other islands in the area having Kongs and creatures similar to the ones found on Skull Island, such as Vapour Island, Faro Island, and Mondo Island. These rumors are being investigated.
1605 - Fernando De Quieres was blown south from Temotang. He wrote in his log of “the piercing of the white veil and landing on the beach of the skull, where he heard the roar of the greatest beast”. The remainder of that particular log entry was suppressed by the holy office in Rome.
1749 - A waterlogged lifeboat was found in the same area. It was empty, but drawn in blood on the port was a likeness of a strange, slouchy humanoid creature and this warning: “from thy wedding with the creature who touches heaven, lady, God preserve thee”.
Early 1800s - Pirates seeking to plunder the island for its alleged riches visited and got a bit off more than they could chew.
1927 - A Norwegian barque picked up a castaway who had been drifting for days. His ship had run aground on an uncharted island, way west of Sumatra. An island hidden in fog. He spoke of a huge wall, built by a long forgotten civilization. A wall a hundred foot high, as strong today as it was, ages ago. The castaway spoke of a creature, neither beast nor man, but something monstrous, living behind that wall. Of the thirty crewmen who made it ashore, he was the only one who looked into the eyes of the Beast and survived. Next morning he was found with a knife stuck through his heart.
1931 - A canoe with natives was blown out to sea. When they were picked up, there was only one alive. He died before they reached port, but not before the captain had pierced together a description of the island and got a fairly good idea of where it lied. The captain gave it to Carl Denham in Singapore, knowing that he’d be interested. The canoe found its way to the British Museum after the captain sold it and became a very rich man. The canoe was filled with paintings and carvings showing a huge humanoid creature.
1933 - The Denham expedition, which was accompanied by Ann, daughter of famed British anthropologist Lord Linwood Darrow. While excavating some ancient Hindu ruins in Sumata, a statue of a giant ape is uncovered and is recognized by Lord Darrow as Kong, a legendary Kong that was once the focus of a fearsome cult that was widespread in the East Indies. The cult was eventually stamped out by the Hindus, though there were rumors that a remnant still remained active on an uncharted island. Local Hindu authorities destroyed the statue and tried to close down Lord Darrow’s big to eliminated all traces of Kong. The stress of the situation caused Lord Darrow to experience a fatal heart attack, but his daughter went with Denham hoping to prove her father’s theories. During Denham’s exploration of Skull Island, thirty-six of his party meet horrible deaths. Kong was captured and brought back to New York as a stage show attraction. However, during the journey the ship was damaged off an island in the Malay Archipelago. As the crew worked to repair the ship, the sailors were attacked by a series of strange and monstrous creatures. In order to protect themselves, they released Kong from his chains. Kong battled the creatures and the crew had to recapture him. Later, after returning to civilization, Kong’s infamous New York rampage ended with a fall from the Empire State building.
1935 - Kong was just the beginning. In the wake of the island’s unveiling, universities and private organizations across the planet fumbled to dispatch teams to investigate and catalogue its wonders. Rival expeditions fought for exclusivity and justification, each asserting its own legal standing to be first on the island. Only a handful of the two dozen expeditions successfully made landfall, and - of those - half were woefully unprepared for the terrors that awaited them. After a year of disastrous excursions and tragic loss of life, a properly prepared, jointly managed and financed effort was finally organized by the three biggest interested concerns. Lead by Carl Denham after he settled his lawsuits by shifting blame on the company that made the chains Kong was put it, this three-month expedition set out to systematically explore and document the island. Project Legacy - as it was called - was expanded to a long-term study until halted by the outbreak of World War II. It was believed at this time that Kong was the last of his kind.
1943 - Carl Denham, Jack Driscoll, and Ann Driscoll, now involved with the US government, return to Skull Island during the Second World War, responding to Nazi expeditions sent to the island to procure specimens of the island’s more dangerous animals. The friendly albino “son of Kong”, affectionately nicknamed Kiko by Denham’s party, was discovered.
1944 - In the midst of World War II two fighter pilots, American Hank Marlow and Japanese Gunpei Ikari, parachuted onto Skull Island after a dogfight and engaged in close combat, but the fight was interrupted by a behemoth ape. Marlow and Ikari would become friends, but Ikari was later killed by a reptilian underground monster dubbed a “Skullcrawler”.
1948 - A post-war expedition reported the apparent demise of the island of prehistoric wonders due to geological instability. Much like Atlantis or Lemuria, Skull Island supposedly vanished beneath the waves. These reports and rumors were false, likely spread to prevent any further loss of life and preserve the island from any future damage done by human exploitation.
1963 - Thirty years after King Kong fell to his death from the top of the Empire State Building, Carl Denham was on his deathbed. Before he died, he gave his son Jack the map to Skull Island. After his father’s death, Jack decided to go to Skull Island. The villagers encountered by previous expeditions were absent, which caused Jack to theorize that they had abandoned the island. In reality, they had moved farther inland. A new Kong was discovered and captured, confirming that the Kong killed in 1933 was not the last of his kind. Kong was shown in San Francisco, displayed side by side with a monster created by a descendant of the infamous Baron Victor Von Frankenstein in a big stadium. The two escaped and engaged in a fierce fight in which a large part of the city is destroyed, the clash ending on the Golden Gate Bridge with both plummeting below and disappearing. It is possible that they both survived.
1967 - A United Nations submarine surfaced to make some emergency repairs and got a warm reception from the island’s local predators.
1973 - A small, off-book research team established to engage in the systematic study of “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms” (MUTOs), MONARCH, mounted an expedition to Skull Island with Landsat and a military escort, a Vietnam War helicopter squadron called the Sky Devils. They encountered a new god-like Kong and soon discovered that mankind did not belong there. Marlow, the American pilot who was trapped there twenty-nine years ago, was found and returned home, reuniting with his wife and meeting his son for the first time.
1976 - Petrox Oil docked and sent fifteen men to scout for secret underhanded oil drilling locations. Three returned.
1995 - MONARCH security officer Aaron Brooks defied his father Houston Brooks and lead an off-the-books mission to Skull Island, to determine what had become of the new Kong since the 1973 expedition.
Currently, the island lies in restricted waters, blockaded by the U.S. Navy. Those entering the waters were told to turn back or be charged with treason. Amd so Skull Island has remained undisturbed by the outside world, for now…
NOTE: This is the beginning of a series that will pay tribute to dinosaur fiction and its many lost worlds, including the Jurassic Park franchise. More will come out eventually, each new part covering a different subject. I take questions, comments, and suggestions.