August 8, 422: Maya King Casper is born, according to some sources. Eventually, he rules over Palenque, Mexico.
For the resemblance to the "friendly ghost," and because his real name could not be read, the second ruler of Palenque was given the nickname "Casper" by Floyd Lounsbury at the First Palenque Round Table. There is still controversy about the reading, so the undignified nickname remains. In his catalog of Maya hieroglyphics, Eric Thompson called this main sign "Xipe", for its resemblance to the flayed human skin associated with the Aztec deity Xipe Totec. Alfonso Morales Cleveland and Merle Greene Robertson have suggested a resemblance to a manatee. The prefix to the left of the main sign is clearly ch'a, but the main sign itself will never be read until a phonetic substitution is found (where the logogram is spelled syllabically). Casper has also been referred to as 11 Rabbit (by David Kelley, because his birth date, 11 Lamat, correlates with the day "rabbit" of Highland Mexican calendars).
Vast, mysterious and enchanting, the ruined city of Palenque is considered to be the most beautifully conceived of the Mayan city-states and one of the loveliest archaeological sites in the world. Its geographic setting is splendid beyond words. Nestled amidst steep and thickly forested hills, the ruins are frequently shrouded in lacy mists. A rushing brook meanders through the city center and from the temple summits there are stupendous views over an immense coastal plain. Here and there, piercing the dark green forests, soar great pyramids, towers and sprawling temple complexes. In its period of cultural florescence however, Palenque was even more beautiful, for then its limestone buildings were coated with white plaster and painted in a rainbow of pastel hues. These fabulous ruins were so hidden in the jungles that their existence was unknown until 1773. Even then, Palenque was discovered and lost several times until 1841 when the explorers Stephens and Catherwood arrived and described it in detail. Scattered pottery shards show that the site was occupied from as early as 300 BC, but most of the buildings were constructed between the 7th and 10th centuries AD. Then, mysteriously, the great city was abandoned and reclaimed by the inexorable claws of the jungle. Even the Mayan name of the city was lost, and the ruins received their current name from the nearby village of Santo Domingo de Palenque. While the ruins have received some of the most extensive excavation and reconstruction efforts of any of the Mayan sites, only 34 structures have been opened of an estimated 500 that are scattered around the area. As one wanders through the ruins or gazes from atop the tall buildings, small hills are seen everywhere about the site. These are not hills however, but Mayan structures long overgrown with jungle. ... the so-called Temple of the Inscriptions, erected in 692 AD, was originally an eight storey platform later converted into a three-tier pyramid. In 1952 an amazing discovery was made inside this pyramid. Beneath the slab floor of an inner room was found a stairway leading down to a funerary crypt 80 feet (24 m) below. The crypt contained a coffin with a skeleton covered with jade ornaments and other precious jewels. Inscriptions reveal the burial to have been of the great priest/king Pacal Votan who ruled the city from 615-683 AD. It is interesting to note that since the coffin is too large to maneuver down the staircase, the crypt must have been constructed prior to the pyramid that now covers it. This fascinating structure, both temple and tomb, was the primary sacred site in Palenque and one of the most visited pilgrimage shrines in the vast Mayan territories.