House of the devil

An article by karen angel

September 21, 2022

Karen Anjo is the niece of Jimmie Anjo and President of the Jimmie Anjo projeto histórico (JAHP). O JAHP’s mission is to provide accurate information about Jimmie Anjo. She published a photo biography titled “Angel’s Flight – The Life of Jimmie Angel – American Aviator-Explorer – Discoverer of Angel Falls” em 2019.

Angel Falls em Venezuela’svast Parque Nacional Canaima may have been known to the indigenous Pemón people of the southeastern Gran Sabana region. But due to its location on the House of the Devil, perhaps even the Pemón did not know of the waterfall’s existence because they avoided the mysterious Devil’s Canyon within the table mountain’s interior where Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall, cascatas 3,212 pés (979 metros).

Born in Missouri near St. Louis em 1899, Anjo was obsessed with Auyantepui; uma 435 square mile heart shaped tabletop mountain in the southeastern Gran Sabana region of Os primeiros exploradores. Auyán means devil and tepui means house in the Pemón language, hence the Devil’s House. Anjo believed that it was the home of a lost river of gold that he claimed to have been taken to years before by a mining geologist he called McCracken. 

Anjo was working as an aviator-guide in the Gran Sabana para o Santa Ana Mining Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma, no outono de 1933 with his Mexican co-pilot and mechanic Jose Cardona and mining official D. H. Curry. While on a solo flight Novembro 16, 1933, Anjo flew a Travel Air S-6000B, powered by a three hundred-horsepower Wright J-6-9 engine, registration number NC-431W into Canyon do Diabo and saw for the first time what was to become known to the world as Angel Falls. Devido às fortes chuvas incessantes, Curry e Cardona quit the area without seeing what Anjo referred to as his “mile high waterfall.”

The name Angel Falls first came about during a Caracas reunion in 1937 with Anjo and his friends, American petroleum geologist I. F. “Shorty” Martin e Venezuelan civil engineer and expert outdoorsman and mountaineer Gustavo (Cabuya: “String”) Heny. They were talking about the waterfall and when they did not have a name for it, Heny suggested the name Angel Falls; using Jimmie’s last name because he had made it known to the world.

Jimmie Anjo e Angel Falls became better known to the world as the result of his Outubro 9, 1937landing of his Flamingo airplane Rio Caroni, onAuyantepui in search of McCracken’s lost river of gold.

Jimmie’s expeditions companions were his wife Marie, Gustavo Heny, Heny’s gardener and jungle companion Miguel Angel Delgado, and Spanish botanist Captain Felix Cardona Puig.

Anjo had scouted a landing spot on Auyantepui from the air.

Heny e Cardona, who was born in Barcelona, Espanha, had explored for a foot route from their camp at Guayaraca on Auyántepui’s south flank, para o local de pouso proposta que foi no lado norte do planalto. Sua pesquisa foi apenas parcialmente bem sucedido. A disgruntled Cardona returned to camp after a few days while Heny continued to pursue a northern route. He was able to establish a route across much of the plateau but was turned back from reaching the planned landing site because of the tepui’s great interior wall. Durante seus quinze dias de reconhecimento, Anjo dropped supplies attached to small parachutes that had been fashioned by Heny’s sister Carmen.

© Gustavo Heny Photograph, JAHP Archive in association with Enrique Lucca Collection.

Marie Angel e Gustavo Heny preparing for the Outubro 9, 1937, landing on Auyantepui.

Na manhã do voo, Cardona stayed in camp to maintain radio contact with the landing party that included Jimmie e Marie Angel, Heny, e Delgado who was known for his ability with rope and machete. Marie Angel wrote in her unpublished manuscript that they were well prepared for potential problems; fornecimentos incluído tendas, cobertores, lanternas, câmeras, corda, machetes, e comida suficiente para durar um mês.

© Gustavo Heny Photograph, JAHP Archive in association with Enrique Lucca Collection.

Rio Caroni came to rest with its nose and landing fear buried in mud. Marie sits with Jimmie standing nearby as Delgado attempts to free the airplane from mud.

No início, Angel’s Auyántepui landing seemed to be perfect, mas as rodas quebrou o sod e afundou na lama colocar o avião em uma parada abrupta com uma linha de combustível quebrada e nariz do avião enterrado na lama.

Anjo had expected pilots to come to their assistance, but the search was delayed due to their loss of radio contact with Cardona. Cardona was able to send a message to Heny’s friend William H. Phelps Sr. em Caracas. Phelps sent an airplane to look for them, but the pilot could not see through the dense clouds covering the mountain.

Depois de alguns dias, o Anjo party was presumed hopelessly lost … or dead.

On October 11th, when it became clear that there was no gold to be found and that Rio Caroni was hopelessly mired in her muddy landing spot the landing party started the long march from the mountain to the village of Kamarata in the valley below.

As planned, should the aerial part of the expedition for gold encounter trouble, the capable Heny e Delgado led the Angels down from Auyantepui to their camp at Guayaraca and on to Kamarata in an arduous march for survival that took eleven days. According to Heny’s sister Carmen, “Jimmie was a great pilot, mas ele não era muito bom no chão. He didn’t like to walk.”

@Carlos A. Freeman Archive/JAHP Archive.

Angel Falls.

O Venezuelan government officially designated the waterfall Salto Angel in a Dezembro 1939 document entitled “Exploración del la Gran Sabana," Journal of Development, Não. 19. The work contained the Gran Sabana Expedition’s findings with photographs and maps of their explorations and surveys. The first official photographs of the waterfall in its entirety were taken from Angel’s airplane Maio 1, 1939 by mining engineer Carlos A. Freeman, who was one of the co-leaders of the expedition.

Ten years later, American photojournalist Ruth Robertson led the first successful expedition to the base of Angel Falls who measured it and made it officially the world’s tallest waterfall. Seu artigo, “Jungle Journey to the World’s Highest Waterfall," published in the Novembro 1949 edition of National Geographic is a splendid account of an extraordinary journey.

©Karen Anjo photograph, 2012.

Rio Caroni displayed at Ciudad Bolívar’s General Tomas de Heres Airport, Estado de Bolívar, Os primeiros exploradores.

Avião de Jimmie Anjo Rio Caroni remained on Auyantepui por 33 anos. Seu futuro foi mudado em 1964 when the government of Os primeiros exploradores declared it a national monument. Em 1970, it was removed in sections by Venezuelan Air Force helicopters and taken to the Aviation Museum em Maracay for restoration. It was later moved to the airport at Ciudad Bolívar where it remains displayed on the green in front of the passenger terminal.

The federal government represented by the Venezuelan Air Force would like to return Rio Caroni to the Museum of Aviation em Maracay so that it can be properly conserved under controlled museum conditions. Although the airplane has suffered severe damage several times from automobiles and a falling tree, o Estado de Bolívar refuses to return the airplane to Maracay.

The airplane currently on display is constructed of components that are not original to Rio Caroni. Por exemplo, the wings and the tail are not the airplane’s original components which both displayed the airplane’s registration number NC 9487 and the airplane’s engine housing originally had Rio Caroni painted on it.

Anjo, who died in Gorgas Hospital in the Canal Zone em 1956, nunca sonhei que seu avião iria se tornar um monumento nacional ou que o seu cuidado e localização seria questão controversa. Muitos anos antes, when asked by his friend American pilot Patricia Grant if he wanted his plane taken off Auyantepui Jimmie replied, “No, enquanto ele permanece lá em cima, it will be a memory of me.”

All photos displayed with the permission of Karen Anjo, © JAHP Archive Copyright © 2002. todos os direitos reservados.

Except by Karen Anjo, no part of this article may be revised, reproduced, or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mecânico, fotocopiadora, gravação ou qualquer outro, ou armazenada em um sistema de recuperação, sem o prévio consentimento por escrito.

Jimmie Anjo projeto histórico, 931 Hill Street, Suíte 1, Eureka, Califórnia 95501, United States of America.www.jimmieangel.org, Archive@jimmieangel.org.