Near the top of a mountain in the Peruvian Andes is a small lake named Laguna McIntyre. This is the source of the Amazon River, so named for the National Geographic photographer, writer, and prolific explorer who made the discovery. “Amazing is the word heard most often at National Geographic headquarters to describe Loren McIntyre, who surmounts all obstacles with ease,” read a 1987 editor’s note marking his 70th birthday.
But there was one adventure McIntyre rarely spoke about. In the late 1960s, he went to Brazil in search of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon rain forest called the Mayoruna. McIntyre was dropped off on a riverbank, and followed the tribe into the forest. Before long he was unable to find his way back and ended up missing his return flight. McIntyre lived with the tribe for two months. Although they shared no common language, he discovered he could communicate with the chief via telepathy, in a manner he began to call “beaming.” This skill, he later learned, was known to the tribe as the “other language,” a way of communicating possessed only by the elders.