The Thousand-Headed Man – Ost

Readers get a real treat in July 1934 when Doc and his crew visit the city of the Thousand-Headed Man cult in the steamy jungles of Indo-China.  The entire situation is a complete mystery to the man of bronze until he captures Sen Gat. While still in London, after injecting the gang leader with truth serum, Doc slowly extracts information from the oriental mastermind.  Sen Gat reveals the existence of a lost city hidden deep in the jungle. The citizens prospered until something terrible came out of the jungle and into their city.  So terrifying was this menace that the entire population fled and completely abandoned the city, never to return.

Now, let us move forward in time and space to August 1937, to the island of New Guinea some 2,500 miles distant, and a story titled “Ost.” Doc Savage and his men make their way through the jungle and finally reach the lost city of the Ost.  Stranded explorer Martin Space explains much of the mystery away.

The Ostians are the remnants of a race that once populated a city in what is now Indo-China.  Space reveals that the people fled from a plague, making their way to New Guinea by boat.  Doc recognizes their language as a tribal dialect of Indo-China.

Is it possible that the Ostians are the same people who fled from the lost city in “The Thousand-Headed Man?” Was the frightful pestilence they fled from really the dreadful plague of the Thousand-Headed Man cult?

One of the things Sen Gat revealed to Doc Savage under questioning was that the city’s former inhabitants “were very learned.” That could also be said about the Ostians as their leaders have spent centuries in intellectual pursuits.

The one glitch in the story deals with the time.  Sen Gat describes the period the city was abandoned as several hundred years ago.  Martin Space explains that the Ostians arrived about two thousand years ago.  There’s a big difference between a centuries and millennia.  But then again, Sen Gat is simply repeating local legend.  He might be wrong. Johnny examines the Pagoda of the Hands and judges it to be seven or eight thousand years old.  The place has been abandoned for what is described as “ages.”  That could be two thousand years.  It sure seems to be more than a few centuries.

So there you have it, two big coincidences.  There’s the Indo-China connection and the fact that both groups were “learned.”  That’s probably all it really is, just a coincidence, but it’s nice to dream.