Nabta Playa Megalithic Stone

Nabta Playa located approximately 800 kilometers south of modern day Cairo or about 100 kilometers west of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt, internally drained basin, which during the early Holocene (ca. 11,000 - 5500 calibrated radiocarbon years ago) was a large and important ceremonial centre for prehistoric people. It was intermittently and seasonally filled with water, which encouraged people to come there, and today it contains dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of archaeological sites. Today we know that the great megaliths of Nabta Playa are anything but random stones. Long ago, someone relocated them from a still unknown quarry–––but for what purpose? By the 5th millennium BC these ancient peoples had fashioned one of the world's earliest known archeoastronomical devices (roughly contemporary to the Goseck circle in Germany and the Mnajdra megalithic temple complex in Malta), about 1000 years older comparable to Stonehenge. Research suggests that it may have been a prehistoric calendar which accurately marks the summer solstice.

In 1973 a team of archaeologists made such a discovery while traveling through a remote region in southern Egypt. They were navigating by compass through a trackless waste known as the Nabta Playa and had halted for a water break, when they noticed potsherds at their feet. Fragments of old pottery frequently are an indicator of archaeological potential, and the team returned later to investigate. After several seasons of digging they eventually realized that Nabta Playa was not just another neolithic site. The breakthrough came when they discovered that what had looked like rock outcroppings were in fact standing megalithic stones.

In March 1998, a team led by Southern University Methodist Anthropology Prof. Fred Wendorf announced that they had found the megalithic site. The site consists of a stone circle, a series of flat, stone structures and five lines of standing and toppled megaliths. Fred Wendorf, one of the discoverers and a much traveled archaeologist, turned up an abundance of cultural artifacts, which were radiocarbon dated. The ages ranged from 10,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C., with most of the dates clustered around 6,000 B.C., when the climate was much wetter than now. The Nabta Playa is a basin and during this epoch it filled with seasonal lakes. Excavations through the 8—12 feet of sediments laid down during this period showed that some of the megaliths had been buried intentionally. The team also found strange carvings in the bedrock under the sediments–––evidence of great antiquity. The archaeologists mapped the area and used global positioning technology (GPS) to plot the locations of 25 individual megaliths. Many others remain to be plotted. Fortunately, the site’s remoteness protected it from most human disturbance. Though the mapping data hinted at astronomical significance, Wendorf’s team searched in vain for the key to unlock the site.

In 2001 they presented their research in a book edited by Wendorf, Holocene Settlement of the Egyptian Sahara. The two-volume study makes for interesting reading. But its authors had few answers. In 2002, a former NASA physicist named Thomas Brophy was quietly pursuing his own astronomical study of Nabta Playa. Brophy presented his findings in The Origin Map. Because the available astronomy software was inadequate Brophy had to custom-engineer his own. Thus armed, he was able to track star movements at Nabta Playa over thousands of years, and succeeded in decoding the stone circle and nearby megaliths.

The Calendar Circle has a built-in meridian-line and a sight-line–––both conspicuous–––which indicated to Brophy that the circle was a userfriendly star-viewing platform. Its design was so simple that even a novice could have used it. A night viewer between 6400—4900 B.C. stood at the north end of the meridian axis and allowed himself to be guided by three stones at his feet to the constellation Orion overhead. The correspondence between ground and sky would have been self-evident: The three stones within the outer circle are laid out in the precise pattern of the stars of Orion’s famous belt, before summer solstice as indicated by the Calendar Circle itself. Once the pattern becomes familiar it is unmistakable. So, what do the Nabta megaliths tell us after thousands of years of silence? Their designers placed them in straight lines that radiate out from a central point. The arrangement employed a simple star-coordinate system that assigned two stones per star. One aligned with the star itself and marked its vernal equinox heliacal (i.e., rising together with the sun on the first day of spring) position on the horizon. The other aligned with a reference star, in this case Vega, thus fixing the first star’s rising at a specific date in history. In archaeoastronomy single megalithic alignments with stars are considered dubious because at any given time several stars will rise at or within a few degrees of the point on the horizon denoted by a lone marker.

Over long periods of time many different stars will rise over this position. The creators of Nabta Playa eliminated uncertainty with the Vega alignment and the specificity of vernal equinox heliacal rising, which occurs only once every 26,000 years for a given star. This fixed the star’s rising date. Vega was a logical choice because it is the fifth brightest star in the heavens and dominated the northern sky in this early period. Brophy found that six of the megaliths corresponded with the six important stars in Orion (Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, and Meissa), also confirming his analysis of the nearby circle. Their placement marked the vernal heliacal rising of these stars, which occurred around 6,300 B.C., within about twenty years. The second set of reference stones were keyed to the heliacal rising of Vega, which occurred at the autumnal equinox.

In the seventh millennium B.C. the Nabta plain was a busy place. The heliacal rising of a star occurs when it rises above the horizon with the morning sun. A vernal heliacal rising describes the same event on the day of the spring equinox, which is much rarer. Using a conservative statistical protocol, Brophy calculated the probability that the megalithic alignments at Nabta were random at less than two chances in a million, which, as he writes “is more than a thousand times as certain as the usual three standard deviations requirement for accepting a scientific hypothesis as valid.” The only reasonable conclusion is that the star alignments at Nabta Playa were carefully planned–––no accident. Students of the Giza plateau have often remarked that no detail of the famous pyramids was left to chance. Every angle, every relationship, every aspect, had a definite purpose. Brophy merely guessed that the same might hold at Nabta Playa.

Brophy believes information about the relative velocities of stars, and their masses, may also be encoded in the placements. And he thinks that smaller companion stones lying near the base of some of the large megaliths probably represent companion stars, or even planetary systems. Unfortunately, this cannot be tested at present because astronomy is not yet able to observe earth-sized planets across the reaches of space. Rapid strides are being made, however. A number of Jupiter-sized giants have already been detected and resolving power continues to improve. The location of the star map’s central point initially drew the attention of Wendorf’s team because a complex structure of megaliths had been placed there. One large stone stood squarely at the central point, surrounded by others. Numerous other stone complexes had also been placed in the vicinity. These appeared to be burial mounds and when the archaeologists excavated two of them the team expected to uncover mortuary remains. Instead, they dug through 12 feet of Holocene sediments to bedrock and found bizarre carved sculptures, which they never did explain.

Brophy realized that whoever created Nabta Playa might have been in possession of advanced knowledge about our Milky Way galaxy. The bedrock sculpture appears to be a made-to-scale map of the Milky Way as viewed from the outside, i.e., from the perspective of the north galactic pole. The map correctly indicates the position, scale, and orientation of our sun, and the placements of the spiral arms, the galactic center, even the associated Sagittarius dwarf galaxy that was only discovered in 1994. Brophy was able to determine from Wendorf’s accurate diagrams/ maps that the central point was directly above–––and surely represented–––the correct position of our sun on the galaxy map. Brophy then made another key discovery: One of the megalithic sight lines stood in relation to the galactic center. Its alignment marked the galactic center’s vernal heliacal rising circa 17,700 B.C.. Amazingly, the orientation of the galactic plane in the sculpture also jibed with this date. Brophy concluded that the stone sculpture was a map of the Milky Way as seen from the standpoint of the northern galactic pole.

(Sources :; Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol.56 : “The Astronomers of Nabta Playa” by Mark H. Gaffney; and Wikipedia)

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07:14 | 1 komentar

Black Dahlia Murder Case

Elizabeth Short was born on July 29, 1924 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts to parents Cleo and Phoebe Short. She acquired the nickname Black Dahlia after moving to California. The body of Elizabeth Short was found on January 15, 1947, in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, severely mutilated, cut in two, and drained of blood. Her face was slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears, and she was posed with her hands over her head and her elbows bent at right angles. The autopsy indicated she was 5′ 5″ and 115 pounds, with badly decayed teeth, light blue eyes and brown hair. The murder, which remains unsolved, has been the source of widespread speculation as well as several books and film adaptations. The case remains one of Hollywood's long-running mysteries and one of the most gruesome of the 1940s. On January 15, 1947 Elizabeth Short was found murdered, her body left in a vacant lot on South Norton Avenue between 39th Street and Coliseum.

Homemaker Betty Bersinger was running an errand with her three-year-old daughter when she realized that what she was looking at was not a mannequin but an actual body in the lot along the street where she was walking. She went to a nearby house, made an anonymous call to police, and reported the body.

When police arrived on the scene, they found the body of a young woman who had been bisected, displayed face-up on the ground with her arms over her head and her lower half placed a foot away from her torso. Her legs were wide open in a vulgar position and her mouth had three-inch slashes on each side. Rope burns were found on her wrists and ankles. Her head face and body was bruised and cut. There was little blood at the scene, indicating whoever left her, washed the body before bringing it in the lot. The crime scene quickly filled with police, bystanders and reporters. It was later described as being out of control, with people trampling on any evidence investigators hoped to find. Through fingerprints, the body was soon identified as 22-year-old Elizabeth Short or as the press called her, "The Black Dahlia."

A massive investigation into finding her murderer was launched. Because of the brutality of the murder and Elizabeth's sometimes sketchy lifestyle, rumors and speculation was rampant, often being incorrectly reported as fact in newspapers. According to newspaper reports shortly after the murder, Elizabeth Short received the nickname "Black Dahlia" at a Long Beach drugstore in the summer of 1946, as a word play on the then-current movie The Blue Dahlia. However, Los Angeles County district attorney investigators' reports state the nickname was invented by newspaper reporters covering the murder. In either case, Short was not known as the "Black Dahlia" during her lifetime.

A number of people, none of whom knew Short, contacted police and the newspapers, claiming to have seen her during her so-called "missing week" between the time of her disappearance January 9 and the time her body was found on January 15. Police and district attorney investigators ruled out each of these alleged sightings, sometimes identifying other women that witnesses had mistaken for Short. Many "true crime" books claim that Short lived in or visited Los Angeles at various times in the mid-1940s; these claims have never been substantiated, and are refuted by the findings of law enforcement officers who investigated the case.

A document in the Los Angeles County district attorney's files titled "Movements of Elizabeth Short Prior to June 1, 1946" states that Short was in Florida and Massachusetts from September 1943 through the early months of 1946, and gives a detailed account of her living and working arrangements during this period. Although popular belief as well as many true crime books portrayed Short as a call girl, a report by the district attorney's grand jury states there is no existing evidence that she was ever a prostitute. Another widely circulated rumor holds that Short was unable to have sexual intercourse because of some genetic defect that left her with "infantile genitalia." Los Angeles County district attorney's files state the investigators had questioned three men with whom Short had sex, including a Chicago police officer who was a suspect in the case. The FBI files on the case also contain a statement from one of Short's alleged lovers.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department's summary of the case, in the district attorney's files, the autopsy describes Short's reproductive organs as anatomically normal. The autopsy also states that Short was not and had never been pregnant, contrary to what is sometimes claimed. The Black Dahlia murder investigation by the LAPD was the largest since the murder of Marion Parker in 1927, and involved hundreds of officers borrowed from other law enforcement agencies. Because of the complexity of the case, the original investigators treated every person who knew Short as a suspect who had to be eliminated.

Hundreds of people were considered suspects and thousands were interviewed by police. Sensational and sometimes inaccurate press coverage, as well as the nature of the crime, focused intense public attention on the case. About 60 people confessed to the murder, mostly men, as well as a few women. As the case continues to command public attention, many more people have been proposed as Short's killer.

(Sources : and Wikipedia)

(Pic source :
07:39 | 10 komentar


Radioesthesia is a scientific name for dowsing, is the interaction of the mind of the dowser and the energy of the object of interest. Most dowsing is used to find water and minerals. It has been used to find lost objects, even people. The ability to find people, artifacts, or substances by use of maps, pictures, or physically being in a place are currently the most popular applications of dowsing. Over the centuries, dowsers have made many appearances in mankind’s traditions. It is said that cave drawings in Spain and Iraq show dowsers working in prehistoric times, and woodcuts from ancient China and Britain support the long heritage of dowsing. During the Middle Ages, dowsers were vilified as witches or devil worshippers; Martin Luther even claimed that dowsing was ‘the work of the devil’.

Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals. As early as 1518 Martin Luther listed dowsing for metals as an act that broke the first commandment (i.e., as occultism). The 1550 edition of Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia contains a woodcut of a dowser with forked rod in hand walking over a cutaway image of a mining operation. The rod is labelled "Virgula Divina – Glück rüt" (Latin: divine rod; German: fortunate rod or stick), but there is no text accompanying the woodcut. By 1556 Georgius Agricola's treatment of mining and smelting of ore, De Re Metallica, included a detailed description of dowsing for metal ore. In 1662 dowsing was declared to be "superstitious, or rather satanic" by a Jesuit, Gaspar Schott, though he later noted that he wasn't sure that the devil was always responsible for the movement of the rod.

However, history also shows that many official groups have placed their trust in dowsers. German dowsers were apparently invited to assist British miners during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and it is claimed that modern military organisations actively employ them. General Patton was said to have used dowsers to find water to replace the wells destroyed by German forces during the Second World War, Similarly, the US Marine Corps apparently used dowsers to find mines laid during the Vietnam War, and the British Army followed suit in the Falklands War.

The method of dowsers seldom varies. They grasp the ends of a forked twig (peach, apple, maple traditionally work best, though some modernists say a bent metal coat hanger works just as well) with palms upward. Another way of dowsing is to use a piece of string with a crystal on the end. The pendulum gently swings and the dowser is subtly guided to what they are looking for. The most impressive display is when dowsers are not even in the area to be searched, and simply use their dowsing technique over a map to locate an object or substance. There are a number of theories as to why the rods move. Some believe it is electromagnetic power or other earth forces. As they begin their search for water, they carry the butt of the stick pointed upward. When they near water, they can feel the pull as the butt end begins to dip downward. When the dowsers are over the water, the twig has been bent straight down, having turned through an arc of 180 degrees. A stick of brittle wood will break under the grip of a dowser as the butt moves downward. Pliable twigs will twist themselves downward despite an effort to hold them straight. However, the most likely explanation is involuntary nerve signals sent to the dowser’s palms.

It is generally accepted that dowsing is not controlled by physical or chemical influences, but more by the psychic ability of the dowser. It is suggested that, over time and with practise, the dowser can improve their talents and success rate. There have been some quite striking results from experienced dowsers. Few manifestations of so-called psychic ability have been more hotly debated than that of dowsing. On the one hand is the pronouncement of the scientific community which declares that locating water by means of a forked stick is utter nonsense, and on the other side of the argument are those men and women who go ahead and locate water with their forked maple twigs, completely impervious to the ridicule visited upon them by the skeptics. They could not care less whether or not a laboratory technician believes that water cannot be found in such a manner. All they know is that it works and that they have been finding water in just that way for years.

Novelist Kenneth Roberts stated in his book, Henry Gross and His Dowsing Rod (1951): “Not all the derision of all the geologists in the world can in any way alter the unfailing accuracy of the dowsing rod in Henry Gross’s hands. Not all the cries of ‘hokum,’ ‘fanciful delusion,’ ‘hoax,’ ‘pseudoscience’ can destroy or even lessen the value of Henry’s dowsing.…” In 1953, UNESCO sponsored a committee of prominent European scientists in their study of radioesthiesa. Their carefully considered consensus was that “there can be no doubt that it is a fact.” The Academie des Sciences of Paris has commented that “it is impossible to deny the existence of the power, although its nature cannot be determined.” Five Nobel Prize winners have endorsed dowsing, and so has the Institute of Technical Physics of the Dutch National Research Council.

In Germany in 1987 and 1988, more than 500 dowsers participated in more than 10,000 double-blind tests conducted by physicists in a barn near Munich. The researchers who held the so-called “Barn” experiments claimed that they had empirically proved that dowsing was a real phenomenon. However, subsequent analysis of the data by other scientists raise the argument that the results could reasonably be attributed to chance, rather than any kind of unknown psychic ability to find water or hidden objects.

In a 1995 report by Hans-Dieter Betz, a physicist at the University of Munich, it was claimed that some dowsers achieved a 96% success rate in 691 drilling attempts to find water in Sri Lanka. The German government has since sponsored 100 dowsers to find water in arid areas of southern India.

The conventional scientific view is, however, that dowsing achieves no better results than pure guesswork. Some dowsers do still use their skills to earn a healthy living – a select few act as advisors to mining and drilling companies searching for minerals. However, the fact is that scientists are always sceptical about phenomena that they cannot explain.

(Sources : 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy; Encyclopedia of Unusual & Unexplained Things; and Wikipedia)

(Pic source : 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy page 132)
05:50 | 2 komentar

The Sleeping Prophet

Born in Kentucky 1877, Edgar Cayce was known as “the Sleeping Prophet,” because he uttered predictions and medical cures while in a deep trance. Until his death in Virginia, 68 years later, Cayce dictated thousands of “life-readings” he allegedly obtained from a kind of spiritual record he claimed to be able to read while experiencing an altered state of consciousness. Until his 47th year, he never uttered a word about Atlantis. But in 1922, he suddenly began recalling life in a place with which he was otherwise allegedly unfamiliar. Cayce said that his trance statements should be taken into account only to the extent that they led to a better life for the recipient. Moreover, he invited his audience to test his suggestions rather than accept them on faith. Other abilities that have been attributed to Cayce include astral projection, prophesying, mediumship, viewing the Akashic Records or "Book of Life", and seeing auras. Cayce said he became interested in learning more about these subjects after he was informed about the content of his readings, which he reported that he never actually heard himself.

Cayce’s descriptions of the doomed civilization are sometimes remarkable for their uncanny credibility. For example, his portrayal of the migration of Atlanteans into the Nile Valley following the destruction of their Empire is entirely convincing. Many otherwise obscure names of persons and places he associates with the Atlantis experience likewise seem to reflect real events. His son, Hugh Lynn Cayce, knew his father “did not read material on Atlantis, and that he, so far as we know, had absolutely no knowledge of the subject.” The evocative, often verifiable detail of his readings in which Atlantis was described is all the more astounding when we realize he knew little about the vanished culture in his waking hours. As his son wrote: They are the most fantastic, the most bizarre, the most impossible information in the Edgar Cayce files. If his unconscious fabricated this material or wove it together from existing legends and writings, we believe that it is the most amazing example of a telepathic-clairvoyant scanning of existing legends and stories in print or of the minds of persons dealing with the Atlantis theory.

Edgar Cayce’s conscious ignorance of the sunken civilization is not surprising. His formal education was meager, and his points of reference were more spiritual than historical or academic. His grasp of the past was often biblical, rather than scholastic. It seems clear then, that the subject was outside the purview of both his background and essentially Christian view of the world. But his readings are selfevidently plausible, because they often contain information that made little or no sense at the time they were uttered, but have been since confirmed by subsequent verification.

Perhaps most impressive of all is that obscure, even fleeting, references he made to Atlantis during the early 1920s were occasionally repeated only once, but within an exact same frame of reference, after more than two decades. Persuasive as these give even skeptics pause, and encourage many investigators, regardless of their spiritual beliefs, to reconsider everything he had to say about Atlantis. His prediction of finding its first physical remains not far from the United States was a case in point described in the “Bimini” entry. Until Cayce spoke of Bimini, and even long after some of his “life-readings” were published, no researchers bothered to consider that small island as a possible remnant of Atlantean Civilization. But how did the massive stone structure come to lie at the bottom of the sea? According to Cayce’s “life-readings,” the Atlantean lands underwent three major periods of inundation. They did not disappear altogether in a single cataclysm. The natural disaster described by Plato represented only the final destruction of Atlantis.

A typical reading exemplifying these various epochs of upheaval took place in 1933, when Cayce told a client that he once dwelt “in the Atlantean land before the third destruction.” The first seismic unrest dropped much of its territory beneath sea-level, followed several millennia later by renewed geologic violence which sank the remaining dry land, save for the tops of its tallest mountains. These volcanic peaks became known in historic times as Madeira, the Azore and Canary Islands, together with Atlas, on which the city of Atlantis arose. The ultimate destruction took place when Mount Atlas detonated, scoured and hollowed itself out with ferocious eruptions, then collapsed into the sea. Present interpretation of this evidence confirms the accuracy of Cayce’s clairvoyant view of the Atlantean catastrophe. As he said, “the destruction of this continent and the peoples was far beyond any of that as has been kept as an absolute record, that record in the rocks still remains.”

For someone of no formal education, Cayce’s grasp of archaeology and geology was extraordinary, even prophetic. When he said in the 1930s that the Nile River flowed across the Sahara Desert to the ocean in early Atlantean times, no scientist in the world would have considered such an apparently outlandish possibility. Yet, in 1994, nearly half a century after his death, a satellite survey of North Africa discovered traces of a former tributary of the Nile that connected Egypt with the Atlantic Ocean at Morocco in prehistory. Persuasive elements of Cayce’s “life-readings” encourage many investigators to reconsider his documented statements about Atlantis. But they are troubled by his characterization of the Atlanteans as the builders of a technology superior to 20th-century accomplishments. Because Cayce has been verified in at least some important details, other researchers believe he was telling the whole truth, however difficult it may be for some to grasp, about the sunken civilization.

Regardless of the response he elicits, an important part of Edgar Cayce’s legacy is the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) he founded and which continues to prosper in his home at Virginia Beach. In 1931, the A.R.E. was chartered in the state of Virginia as a nonprofit organization to conduct scientific and psychical research based on the Cayce readings. In 1947, two years after his death, the Edgar Cayce Foundation was established. The original A.R.E. has become the membership arm of the Cayce programs. The foundation is the custodian of the original Cayce readings, and the memorabilia of the great contemporary seer’s life and career. Both are headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and there are more than 1,500 A.R.E. study groups around the world. It contains the largest library of its kind in the world, featuring not only all of his “life-readings,” but many hundreds of books, papers, feature articles, and reference materials about Atlantis.

The A.R.E. is also deeply involved in scientific investigation and study on behalf of the lost realm, including lectures and expeditions to various parts of the world, particularly at Andros and Bimini. The A.R.E. maintains an extensive library of information concerning the entire field of psychical research and metaphysics, as well as the Cayce materials. It also sponsors regular seminars, publishes a journal, and established Atlantic University as an environment in which various psychic attributes can be examined and developed.

Since the establishment of the A.R.E., thousands of people from every corner of the nation, as well as from around the world, have journeyed to Virginia Beach to attend lectures and conferences and to investigate the information in the Cayce readings. Among these have been Jess Stern, author of Edgar Cayce—The Sleeping Prophet (1967) and Thomas Sugrue, author of There Is a River (1942), both of which are important books about the life and work of Edgar Cayce. Astonishing tales of clairvoyant feats such as the location of missing persons, objects, and criminals have filled many books by a number of authors. Equally intriguing are the “life readings” that the seer gave regarding the past incarnations of individuals. Others speak of the series of trances in which Cayce gave a detailed recreation of everyday life in ancient Atlantis, and spoke of the Great Crystal that powered their society.

According to his clairvoyant insights, Cayce perceived a secret room in the Sphinx, a veritable Hall of Records that would reveal many remarkable facts about the evolution of humankind on Earth. He also put forward a number of prophecies about the future. In the period 1958 to 1998, Cayce foresaw a number of dramatic geographic changes. He predicted a shifting of the poles, which would be caused by the eruption of volcanoes in the torrid zones. Open waters would appear north of Greenland, and new islands would rise in the Caribbean Sea. He also stated South America would be shaken by a violent earthquake. While these cataclysmic events have not yet occurred, many of Cayce’s followers believe that there are definite signs that such geographic changes are in the process of manifesting.

(Sources : The Atlantis Encyclopedia by Frank Joseph; Encyclopedia of Unusual & Unexplained Things; and Wikipedia)

(Pic source : The Atlantis Encyclopedia by Frank Joseph page 82)
07:22 | 3 komentar


Unicorn is a horselike animal with a single horn (from Latin unus 'one' and cornu 'horn'). Unicorn legends have a long and cosmopolitan history ranging throughout most of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Unicorn of Western lore is based on a complex number of traditions and animals that can be grouped into three major trends: Unicorns in classical Western literature, the Unicorn of the medieval bestiaries, and reports of one-horned animals in the Renaissance and afterward. Though the modern popular image of the unicorn is sometimes that of a horse differing only in the horn on its forehead, the traditional unicorn also has a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and cloven hooves—these distinguish it from a horse. and his single horn was said to neutralize poison. In addition, the visual conventions of Christian art and heraldry turned the small, goatlike animal of the bestiaries into a conventional white horse with a horn.

Legends of an Asian unicorn (KI-LIN) also fed into the popular imagination. There are only a few eyewitness reports of a living animal. Most accounts are rumors or artistic depictions. One of the earliest mentions is in the Indika of Ctesias, a Greek physician of the late fifth century B.C. who visited Persia and heard fabulous stories about India. He described a white wild ass with an 18-inch-long horn on its dark-red head. In the first century B.C., Julius Caesar wrote that an animal like a one-horned stag lived in the Erzgebirge of southern Germany. Unicorn horns were highly prized as curios by European royalty in the Renaissance.

Nobles and monarchs said to possess one or more of them included Edward IV of England, James III of Scotland, Pietro de’ Medici, Pope Clement VII, Pope Julius III, and Philip II of Spain. Felix Fabri and other pilgrims saw a large, one-horned animal from a distance near Mount Sinai, Egypt, on September 20, 1483. Lodovico de Varthema reported hearing in 1503 that there were two Unicorns in a park outside Mecca, Arabia. One was as large as a colt and had a horn 4 feet 6 inches long, while the younger one was smaller and had a 16-inch horn. The animals’ hooves were cloven. They had been given as a gift from a king in Ethiopia to the sultan of Mecca. At the port of Saylac, Somalia, he also observed cattle with single horns that bent backward from their brows.

Around 1630, the Jesuit Jeronimo Lobo noted the common occurrence of the Unicorn in Ethiopia. It looked like a bay horse with a black tail and long mane. Some time before 1669, a group of Portuguese soldiers ran across a Unicorn in Ethiopia, where the animals were said to be often seen grazing in the mountains. In 1673, Olfert Dapper wrote that Unicorns were said to live in the woods near the Canadian border, presumably in Maine. They resembled horses but had cloven hooves, a long and straight horn on the forehead, and a curled tail like a boar’s. Most likely, he was referring to the Moose (Alces alces).

In the late eighteenth century, an unnamed Boer saw an ash-gray Unicorn with cloven hooves in South Africa. In 1820, John Campbell came across a “real unicorn” that had been killed by the inhabitants of South Africa. It had a 3-foot horn projecting 10 inches above the tip of its nose, and its head was 3 feet from mouth to ear. In the nineteenth century, caves in the interior of South Africa were said to contain drawings of Unicorn-like animals. Eduard Rüppell (in the 1820s) and Baron von Müller (in 1848) both heard of a horse- or donkeylike, one-horned animal in the Kurdufa¯n region of Sudan. Müller said it was called A’nasa and had a movable horn. In April 1843, Fulgence Fresnel, the French consul at Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, wrote that several Arabs he knew often killed a Unicorn-like animal in eastern Chad. The animal looked like a wild bull with legs like an elephant’s, a short tail, and a single movable horn. Most of it was gray, but the front part was a vivid scarlet.

(Sources : Mysterious Craetures : “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart; and Wikipedia)

(Pic source : Mysterious Craetures : “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart page 568)
08:14 | 2 komentar

Leap Castle

According to the legends, Leap Castle was built in the late 15th century on a Druidic site by the O'Bannon family and originally called "Léim Uí Bhanáin," or "Leap of the O'Bannons." The O'Bannons were the "secondary chieftains" of the territory, and were subject to the ruling O'Carroll clan. Leap Castle is an Irish castle in Country Offaly, about four miles north of the town of Rosacrea on the R421, and has long been regarded by many to be the most haunted castle in Ireland and this is not surprising considering its bloody history particularly during the occupation of the O'Carroll family. In the 16th century, feuding and bloodshed between warring clans was quite a common occurrence and there are many stories of guests been invited to dinner at the castle and then being massacred before they could devour their desert. There is supposedly a network of dungeons carved out of the rock below the keep with secret chambers and bricked up areas and human remains have also been discovered there.

Many visitors to this site have spoken of feelings of real terror and a sense of evil in some places and others have related encounters with a ghostly Lady in a red gown. The most terrifying of all reports is that of a small hunched creature which has appeared from time to time accompanied by the stench of a rotting corpse and the smell of sulphur. The creature is referred to as the "It" or the "Elemental". When the O’Carroll family came here, they had a nasty habit of murdering people and dropping the mortal remains down a hole in the wall called an “oubliette.” Once in the hole, the remains were promptly forgotten about. One O’Carroll chieftain murdered his own brother, a priest, for starting Mass too promptly. Hence, the top floor of the castle is called the Bloody Chapel. It was, however, lower down in the castle that “It” is experienced—an elemental force of evil with the head of a sheep and the stench of death.

The small, windowless room below the oubliette was the final resting place for scores of victims who were initially locked in a hidden dungeon off the Bloody Chapel. This room had a drop floor, and prisoners were pushed into the room where they fell to their deaths—either impaled on a spike below, or if they were unfortunate enough to miss the spike and die a quick death, they slowly starved in the midst of rotting, putrid corpses. Around 1900, workmen who were hired to clean out the windowless room discovered hundreds of human skeletons piled on top of each other. It took three full cartloads to remove all of the bones, and one theory is that some of the remains were those of Scottish mercenaries hired by O’Carroll who had them murdered when it came time for payment. Mysteriously, among the bones, workmen also found a pocket watch made in the 1840s. Could the dungeon still have been in use back then? No one will ever know.

Shortly after the gruesome discovery in the dungeon, playful dabbling in the occult may have caused the reemergence of the evil spirits. In 1659, ownership of Leap Castle passed in marriage from the O’Carroll family to an English family, the Darbys. The Darby family turned Leap into their family home, with improvements and additions and landscaped gardens. In the late-19th century, descendants Jonathan and Mildred Darby were looking forward to raising their family here.

The occult was the fashion of the day, and Mildred Darby did some innocent dabbling, despite the castle’s history and reputation for being haunted. In 1909, she wrote an article for the Journal Occult Review, describing her terrifying ordeal: “I was standing in the Gallery looking down at the main floor, when I felt somebody put a hand on my shoulder. The thing was about the size of a sheep. Thin, gaunt, shadowy...its face was human, to be more accurate...inhuman. Its lust in its eyes, which seemed half-decomposed in black cavities, stared into mine. The horrible smell one hundred times intensified came up into my face, giving me a deadly nausea. It was the smell of a decomposing corpse.” The spirit is thought to be a primitive ghost that attaches itself to a particular place. It is often malevolent, terrifying, and unpredictable.

The Darbys remained at Leap until 1922. Being the home of an English family, it became the target of the Irish struggle for independence. Destroyed by bombs and completely looted, nothing but a burned-out shell remained. The Darbys were driven out. The castle lay in ruin for decades. But then, in the 1970s, it was purchased by an Australian, who had a white Witch brought in from Mexico to exorcise the castle. She spent many hours in the Bloody Chapel and when she emerged, she explained that the spirits at Leap Castle were no longer malevolent, but they wished to remain.

In the 1990s, the castle was sold to the current owners. They are aware of the castle’s troubled history. Shortly after moving in, they began restoration of the castle. However, a “freak accident” left the owner with a broken kneecap, which delayed restoration work on the castle for nearly a year. One year after his “accident,” the owner was back at work when the ladder he was standing on suddenly tilted backwards away from the wall, causing him to jump to the ground. The result was a broken ankle and more delays with the restoration. The owners say they would be happy to share the castle with the spirits as long as there are no more “occurrences.”

(Sources : Encyclopedia of Haunted Places : “Ghostly Locales From Around The World” compiled and edited by Jeff Belanger; and Wikipedia)

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07:31 | 6 komentar

Derinkuyu : Ancient Underground City

In 1963 in Cappadocia, Turkey, a man working on a wall in his basement made an astonishing discovery. Behind the wall was a mysterious room he had never seen. This strange room led to another one … then that one led to another musty room … then another one. By chance, he had stumbled upon the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu. As archaeologists studied this fascinating labyrinth, they realized it was only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, they discovered the complex had a total of 11 floors, reaching over 300’ below the surface! It was opened for visitors as of 1969 and to date, only ten percent of the underground city is accessible for tourists. Its eight floors extend at a depth of approximately 85 m. Derinkuyu is notable for its large multi-level underground city, which is a major tourist attraction.
The historical region of Cappadocia, where Derinkuyu is situated, contains several historical underground cities, carved out of a unique geological formation, and were largely used by early Christians as hiding places. Derinkuyu is a town and district of Nevşehir Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. According to 2000 census, population of the district is 24,631 of which 11,092 live in the town of Derinkuyu. The district covers an area of 445 km2 (172 sq mi), and the average elevation is 1,300 m (4,265 ft), with the highest point being Mt. Ertaş at 1,988 m (6,522 ft).

An Underground Tunnel in Derinkuyu

First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries B.C according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu was enlarged in the Byzantine era. The underground city of Derinkuyu was the hiding place for the first Christians who were escaping from the persecution of the Roman empire. Everything discovered in these underground settlements belongs to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. The number of underground settlements, generally used for taking refuge and for religious purposes, increased during this era. It was a kind of underground tenement, with several levels and corridors 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet high. Three strategically important doorways could be sealed by rolling huge 1,000-pound stones into position. Doorways could be 'locked' from the inside, preventing the entrance of their enemies.

Heavy Stone Door

It seemed that the builders of these high-ceilinged rooms were, for that time, exceptionally tall, and it was completely invisible from the ground above. Derinkuyu’s underground complex had all the conveniences of a town — presses for wine and oil, stables for animals, storage rooms, a school with a vaulted ceiling, chapels, and kitchens that are still blackened by the soot of cooking fires. The city was irrigated by an underground river, which supplied numerous water wells. The metropolis was dimly lit by oil lamps resting on hundreds of shelves chiseled into the walls. Fresh air was provided by 1,500 ventilation shafts and a magnificent exhaust fan that still astonishes present-day engineers. It is believed the massive honeycomb of rooms was big enough to hold a population of up to 30,000 people!

A Chapel in Derinkuyu

Collins Wilson, the author of The Atlantis Blueprint, says "there is geological evidence that Turkey was plunged into a mini-ice age for about 500 years in the middle of the ninth millennium B.C. This made more sense. If the landscape was covered with snow and ice and scoured by freezing winds, an underground city would be as comfortable as a Hobbit hole." Of course, food & supplies are still an issue. The local archaeologist, Omer Demir, told Collins that he believed that the oldest parts of the 'city' dated to the late Palaeolithic Era, perhaps 8,500 B.C. Older parts were hewn out with stone tools, not metal. Moreover, it had been made by two types of human being, and those who carved the oldest part were much taller the the others - again, they had made their ceilings higher.

It is believed the first levels of the city were dug into the soft stone by the Hittites around 1400 BC. The individual chambers are connected by hundreds of corridors. Amazingly, this subterranean city was connected with other underground cities in Cappadocia through miles of long tunnels. Between the third and fourth levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church on the lowest level. The large 55 m ventilation shaft appears to have been used as a well. The shaft also provided water to both the villagers above and, if the outside world was not accessible, to those in hiding.

(Sources :;; Wikipedia)

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08:34 | 7 komentar

John Dee

John Dee was one of the pre-eminent figures of Elizabethan England, Dee’s reputation became tarnished through his involvement with Edward Kelley (1555–1595). During the 1580s they travelled in Europe (possibly involved in espionage, or the rumoured network of secret societies said to have been founded by Agrippa), and the two men conducted a series of séances through which they claimed to be in touch with angels. The angelic communications were written in an angelic language, Enochian. The séances came to an end when one of the angels suggested wife swapping. Dee was also said to have found the Philosopher’s Stone in Glastonbury Abbey, while Kelley performed a successful transmutation at Trebona, Bohemia, on 19 December 1586. Dee may have been the inspiration for Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and had one of the largest libraries in all of Europe at his house at Mortlake.

Queen Elizabeth I was a visitor to Dee’s house but, after her death in 1603, he fell from favour and died in poverty, and his great library was broken up by collectors and creditors. Although Dr. John Dee’s reputation as a black magician may be undeserved, he seems destined to remain so categorized in the history of magic and the occult. Dee came from a family of means, and he was admitted to St. John’s College, Cambridge, when he was only 15. His application to his studies was intense, and he soon distinguished himself as a scholar. He slept only four hours per night, ate a light meal, participated in various forms of recreation for two hours, then used the remaining 18 hours for study.

When he left Cambridge, he traveled to Holland to study with Mercator (1512–1594) and other learned men of his day. Returning home, he was made a fellow of Trinity College, and he gained a wide reputation as an astronomer. Dee left England again soon after acquiring fame as an astrologer and an astronomer, and he taught at many European universities. In 1551, he was back in England and was received by King Edward VI (1537–1553), who awarded him a pension of 100 crowns per annum. This stipend Dee later exchanged for a rectory at Upton-upon-Severn. During Queen Mary I’s (1516–1558) reign (1553–58), Dee was accused of trying to kill her by “enchantments.” He was seized, confined, and tried. After a long trial that lasted until 1555, he was at last acquitted.

When Elizabeth I (1533–1603) ascended to the throne in 1558, she consulted with Dee as to which day the stars deemed the most propitious hours for her coronation. Pleased with his pronouncements, she continued to grant him the favor of her attention, and she made many promises of preferment—none of which were kept. Disillusioned by the intrigues of the English Royal Court, Dee left the country for Holland. In 1564 while residing in Antwerp, Dee published his greatest work, Monas Hieroglyphica. After he had presented a copy to the Emperor Maximilian II (1527–1576), Dee returned to England to produce more learned occult volumes.

In 1571, while residing once again on the Continent, Dee fell ill. When Elizabeth heard of it, she sent two of her best physicians to attend to him. The queen also conveyed additional proofs of her high regard for him and made further promises. When he recovered, Dee returned to England and settled at Mortlake in Surrey. Here he accumulated an extensive library of works on occultism and allied subjects, prompting his neighbors to decree that he was in league with the devil. While Dee insisted that he did not practice black magic, it seemed apparent that he knew a great deal about the subject.

By the early 1580s, Dee was growing dissatisfied with his progress in learning the secrets of nature and with his own lack of influence and recognition. He began to turn towards the supernatural as a means to acquire knowledge. Specifically, he sought to contact angels through the use of a "scryer" or crystal-gazer, who would act as an intermediary between Dee and the angels. Dee's first attempts were not satisfactory, but, in 1582, he met Edward Kelley (then going under the name of Edward Talbot), who impressed him greatly with his abilities. Dee took Kelley into his service and began to devote all his energies to his supernatural pursuits. These "spiritual conferences" or "actions" were conducted with an air of intense Christian piety, always after periods of purification, prayer and fasting. Dee was convinced of the benefits they could bring to mankind. (The character of Kelley is harder to assess: some have concluded that he acted with complete cynicism, but delusion or self-deception are not out of the question. Kelley's "output" is remarkable for its sheer mass, its intricacy and its vividness.) Dee maintained that the angels laboriously dictated several books to him this way, some in a special angelic or Enochian language.

Secret Enochian letters used by John Dee

In 1583, Dee met the visiting Polish nobleman Albert Łaski, who invited Dee to accompany him on his return to Poland. With some prompting by the angels, Dee was persuaded to go. Dee, Kelley, and their families left for the Continent in September 1583, but Łaski proved to be bankrupt and out of favour in his own country. Dee and Kelley began a nomadic life in Central Europe, but they continued their spiritual conferences, which Dee recorded meticulously. He had audiences with Emperor Rudolf II and King Stephen of Poland in which he chided them for their ungodliness and attempted to convince them of the importance of his angelic communications. He was not taken up by either monarch.

During a spiritual conference in Bohemia, in 1587, Kelley told Dee that the angel Uriel had ordered that the two men should share their wives. Kelley, who by that time was becoming a prominent alchemist and was much more sought-after than Dee, may have wished to use this as a way to end the spiritual conferences. The order caused Dee great anguish, but he did not doubt its genuineness and apparently allowed it to go forward, but broke off the conferences immediately afterwards and did not see Kelley again. Dee returned to England in 1589.

About ten years after Dee's death, the antiquarian Robert Cotton purchased land around Dee's house and began digging in search of papers and artifacts. He discovered several manuscripts, mainly records of Dee's angelic communications. Cotton's son gave these manuscripts to the scholar Méric Casaubon, who published them in 1659, together with a long introduction critical of their author, as A True & Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and some spirits. As the first public revelation of Dee's spiritual conferences, the book was extremely popular and sold quickly. Casaubon, who believed in the reality of spirits, argued in his introduction that Dee was acting as the unwitting tool of evil spirits when he believed he was communicating with angels.

He has often been associated with the Voynich Manuscript. Wilfrid M. Voynich, who bought the manuscript in 1912, suggested that Dee may have owned the manuscript and sold it to Rudolph II. Dee's contacts with Rudolph were far less extensive than had previously been thought, however, and Dee's diaries show no evidence of the sale. Dee was, however, known to have possessed a copy of the Book of Soyga, another enciphered book.

After Elizabeth’s death, James I (1566– 1625) refused to extend patronage to Dee because of his troubled reputation as a practitioner of the dark arts. Dee returned to Mortlake, where he died in 1608 in a state of neglect and poverty. Dr. John Dee’s globes, magic stone, and other items of his occult practices may be seen today in the British Museum.

(Sources : Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things Vol. 2; Alchemy & Alchemists by sean Martin; and Wikipedia)

(Pics sources :; Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things Vol. 2 page 64)
16:52 | 1 komentar

Underwater Temple of Lake Titicaca

Many mysteries and legends shroud the shores of this high alpine lake on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Not only is Lake Titicaca the highest navigable lake in South America, it is the world’s largest mountain lake at 3,200 square miles (8,288 sq. km), and the second deepest alpine lake with a depth of 1,000 feet (305 m). Lake Titicaca has been a sacred body of water to South America’s indig­enous people since pre-Inca times. According to Indian lore, the legendary god Viracocha arose from Lake Titicaca and went to Tiahuanaco to create the first Andean human being. It was long rumored that sunken temple existed at the bottom of the lake, and these rumors were substantiated when modern scien­tists explored its depths.

Scholars have long been intrigued by tales of ancient palaces seen by fisher­men during dry spells when the lake level dropped, or of local Indians diving down and touching the roofs of stone buildings. Even early Spanish chroniclers recorded Inca stories of a great flood long ago and ruins on the lake bottom. Stories of the lost treasure were enough to draw the famous French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau to explore the lake. However, he discovered only ancient pottery.

In 1967, a scientific expedition authorized by the Bolivian government began exploring the depths of Lake Titicaca. National Geographic also launched an expedition in 1988. The ruins of an ancient temple have been found by international archaeologists under Lake Titicaca, the world's highest lake. More than 200 dives were made into the lake, to depths of as much as 30m (100ft), to record the ruins on film. The divers found high walls covered in mud and slime and eaten away by the brackish water. Not far from the shore, a number of paved paths led into the lake and connected to a large, crescent-shaped base. The finely cut stone paths, numbering 30 in all, were set with great precision into the ground in a parallel formation.

Divers went as deep as 30m explore the ruins

Another expedition in the year 2000 located and documented a 660-foot (200-m) by 160-foot (50-m) temple after following a submerged road, almost twice the size of an average football pitch in an area of the lake near Copacabana town. To date, no conclusive answers have been given as to who may have built the monuments before they sank. A terrace for crops, a long road and an 800-metre (2,600 feet) long wall was also found under the waters of the lake, sited in the Andes mountains between Bolivia and Peru. Dating back 1,000 to 1,500 years ago, the ruins are pre-Incan. The Incas also regarded the lake as the birthplace of their civilization, and in their myth, the Children of The Sun emerged out of the waters.

"They have been attributed to the indigenous Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco people", said Lorenzo Epis, the Italian scientist leading the Atahuallpa 2000 scientific expedition. The complete findings of the 30-member team, backed by the scientific group Akakor Geographical Exploring. The lake has long drawn fascination with various legends around it, including one of an underwater city called Wanaku and another of Inca gold lost by the Spanish. The research involved 10 scientists from Italy, 10 from Brazil, five Bolivians, two Germans and a Romanian.

On May 28 2002 National Geographic News reported on the many recent discoveries underwater on the coastal shelves around the world :
"Ancient stories of massive floods pass from generation to generation and in many places in the world are integral to a people's spoken history. The tales differ by locale, but commonly feature either torrential rains or a hugely destructive wall of water bursting into a valley, destroying everything in its path. In many cases, the flooding is an act of retribution by displeased gods. Scientists, historians, and archaeologists view many of these enduring tales as myth, legend, or allegoric tales meant to illustrate moral principles. Recent findings indicate that at least a few of them could be based on real floods that caused destruction on an enormous scale."

The lower altitude terraces where corn could still grow are still at a level above Lake Titicaca. This means that the "pre-historic" peoples cultivating corn "lived" in the area "before" and "after" the numerous necessarily cataclysmic crustal deformations and uplifts that raised the Andes. The cataclysmic uplifts caused the terraces where the corn "was" successfully cultivated to be raised to an altitude where the corn would not grow. As the mountains rose cataclysmically the peoples terraced their cornfields successively lower down the mountainsides. There is a stone causeway leading "out" of Lake Titicaca. It has been speculated by some of your archaeologists that the area used to be at sea level and the causeway led out to the Pacific ocean. The causeway now leads out of the lake to nowhere at 9000 feet altitude.

There are stone "ruins" more "ancient" than the stone causeway leading out of Lake Titicaca. These "ruins" are buried under six feet of "sediment" on the shallow "bottom" of Lake Titicaca. The sediment contains "pre-historic" (more ancient than 12,000 B.C.) sea shell fossils. There was not enough topsoil on the peaks surrounding Lake Titicaca to have "eroded" down and "covered" these "ancient" ruins with six feet of sediment.

The six feet of sediment covering the "ancient ruins" around and under the present "water level" of Lake Titicaca was probably deposited by the "Biblical Flood" before the existence of Lake Titicaca. The huge Flood happened "pre-historically" when the land around Lake Titicaca was closer to sea level.

(Sources : Sacred Places Around The World : “108 Destinations” by Brad Olsen;;;

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07:30 | 4 komentar

The Lost Army of Cambyses

Cambyses II was the emperor of Persia (ruled 530–522 BCE) and successor to Cyrus the Great. Eager to emulate his father’s deeds of conquest, and to extend Persian rule across all the known nations (ie civilisations) of the world, Cambyses invaded Egypt in 525 BCE, defeating the last true Egyptian pharaoh Psammetichus III. Yet today he is remembered not for his feats of conquest, but for his lost army – a force of 50,000 warriors, dispatched to conquer a tiny oasis kingdom, that vanished into the desert and was lost without a single survivor or the slightest trace being discovered for more than 2,000 years. The primary source for the tale of Cambyses and his lost army is the ancient Greek traveller and historian Herodotus, an intrepid man who travelled all over Egypt just 75 years after the Persian invasion.

Herodotus followed in Cambyses’ footsteps and recorded the local tales and histories of the invader. Unfortunately his impartiality is questionable; he had the typical ancient Greek antipathy towards the Persians and his Histories slander Cambyses remorselessly, painting him as a despot, madman and general ne’er-do-well. Herodotus first recounts how Cambyses managed to cross the difficult Sinai desert region and meet the Egyptians with his army intact, which is relevant because it shows that the Persians were capable of coping with desert transits. They recruited Arabian tribes to create water depots at regular spots along the route – in effect, artificial oases – and in this manner were able to arrive at the battle site in good order and defeat Psammetichus.

Later, Cambyses travelled to the major Egyptian cult centres to be crowned pharaoh but, according to Herodotus, made only a perfunctory effort to learn about or pay respect to their customs. He then decided to launch military expeditions against the Ethiopians (to the south), the Carthaginians (along the coast to the west) and the ‘Ammoniums’ – ie the inhabitants of the Siwa Oasis, a small fertile enclave deep within the Western Desert, which was famous for the Oracle of the Temple of Ammon (the Siwan name for the Egyptian god Amun-Ra, whom the Greeks equated with Zeus). The priests of the temple were used to commanding respect from Egypt’s rulers, who were supposed to obtain ‘divine’ favour to legitimise their overlordship. Alexander the Great made sure to do this when he conquered Egypt 200 years later, but Cambyses, it seems, failed to follow the proper forms and disdained the Siwans. Cambyses took his army south along the Nile to launch his Ethiopian expedition, stopping at Thebes to detach a force to send to Siwa in 524 BCE.

According to Herodotus, in Book III of his Histories, an army of 50,000 men was ordered to ‘enslave the Ammonians and burn the oracle of Zeus’. Led by guides, the army set off into the desert, reaching ‘the city of Oasis’, known to the Greeks as ‘The Isles of the Blest’ (modern-day Kharga), seven days’ march to the west. After this, they were never seen again, although the Siwans themselves were somehow able to give Herodotus a rough account of what happened next:
“…this is what the Ammonians themselves say: when the Persians were crossing the sand from the Oasis to attack them, and were about midway between … [Siwa] and the Oasis, while they were breakfasting a great and violent south wind arose, which buried them in the masses of sand which it bore; and so they disappeared from sight. Such is the Ammonian tale about this army.”

This is the full extent of what we know about the lost army, which has led many scholars to doubt the episode ever happened. Perhaps Herodotus was simply inventing the tale to make Cambyses look more foolish. Why would the Persian emperor waste his time launching a strike on Siwa? Why would he send such a huge army to conquer such a small place (probably only a few thousand residents at most)? Above all, why would he send them via such a perilous route with so little preparation or precaution? Herodotus himself suggests, albeit indirectly, some of the answers.

A possible motive for the expedition is that Cambyses was angered by the attitude of the priests of the Temple of Ammon, who – themselves angry at a perceived lack of due deference – may have been spreading the word that his kingship was illegitimate. They may even have predicted his death. Herodotus also drives home the point that Cambyses was an irascible drunk, given to fits of spite and cruel rage, and quite capable of nursing a lethal grudge. He was also unhinged enough to doom his men with inadequate planning and preparation.

An alternative explanation is that Siwa was only intended as a way point on a longer journey. Perhaps the real targets were lands further to the west. Cambyses’ intended assault on Carthage had been called off because the Phoenicians who provided his navy refused to move against their kin who had set up the colony at Carthage. Perhaps he intended to approach them by land instead – this would account for the apparently disproportionate size of the expeditionary force. If Herodotus is right, the Persian army met a bleak end. The region they were travelling across includes barren depressions of bare rock and boulders; wind-sculpted buttes; plains of salt and dust; vast sand seas of impassable dunes; searing desert winds hotter than 40°C that blow for days on end; massive sand storms that will bury anything that stands still; and an utter absence of water. How the Ammonians knew the fate of the lost army is unclear, given that they specifically told Herodotus that not one soldier had reached Siwa, but perhaps they simply assumed the most likely scenario.

Herodotus provides a few clues about the possible location of the lost army, describing the army’s route from the oasis known as ‘Island of the Blest’, which is today a major agricultural town known as Kharga. From here they would presumably have tried to follow the traditional caravan route to Siwa, which goes via the oases at Dakhla (a few hundred kilometres to the west) and then Farafra (a few hundred more to the north-west). From Herodotus’ account it sounds as though the Persians may have got to Dakhla or even Farafra, but were then lost as they attempted to complete the final leg of the journey. Even narrowing it down this far, however, leaves a dauntingly vast area to examine. If the Persians got lost out of Dakhla and started going in the wrong direction they could have ended up pretty much anywhere in the Western Desert.

The Western Desert is one of the hardest places in the world to be looking for lost relics. It is vast, covering about two-thirds of modern-day Egypt: an area of 680,000 square kilometres (263,000 square miles), equal to the combined size of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The conditions, as described above, are incredibly harsh and desolate. Even modern vehicles with four-wheel drives and special equipment cannot cope with some of the dunes found in the sand seas.Much of the area is restricted owing to the security issues of the region: millions of landmines from World War II, the proximity of the border with Libya and sensitivities about oil operations and terrorism. And there is always the likelihood that any finds that are stumbled across will soon be covered up by the shifting desert sands, never to be seen again.

In the last decade there have been some slightly confused reports about discoveries in the Western Desert that sound almost too good to be true. In January 1933, Orde Wingate--later famous for creating the Chindits, allied troops that fought behind enemy lines against the Japanese during World War II--searched unsuccessfully for the Lost Army of Cambyses in the Egypt's Western Desert, then known as the Libyan Desert. On February 17, 1977, Associated Press reporter Marcus K. Smith wrote the following story, whose headline read: "Lost Army Found."

CAIRO—The remains of an invading Persian army that vanished in a sandstorm 2,500 years ago have been uncovered in the Egyptian Western Desert. An Egyptian archaeological mission discovered thousands of bones, swords, and spears of Persian manufacture of the vanished army of King Cambyses at the foot of Abu Balas Mountain. The site is in a region twice the size of Switzerland, known as the 'Great Sea of Sand.' Archaeologists are calling it one of the greatest finds of the century. The site is not far from the Siwa (Amon) Oasis, 350 miles west of Cairo which the Persian soldiers were trying to reach when they were overwhelmed by a desert storm...
This story proved to be a hoax.

From September 1983 to February 1984, Gary S. Chafetz, an American journalist and author, led an expedition--sponsored by Harvard University, The National Geographic Society, the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority, and the Ligabue Research Institute--that searched for the Lost Army of Cambyses. The six-month search was conducted along the Egyptian-Libyan border in a remote 100-square-kilometer area of complex dunes south west of the uninhabited Bahrein Oasis, approximately 100 miles south east of Siwa (Amon) Oasis. The $250,000 expedition had at its disposal 20 Egyptian geologists and laborers, a National Geographic photographer, two Harvard Film Studies documentary filmmakers, three camels, an ultra-light aircraft, and ground-penetrating radar.

The expedition discovered approximately 500 tumili (Zoroastrian-style graves) but no artifacts. Several tumili contained bone fragments. Thermoluminence later dated these fragments to 1,500 B.C., approximately 1000 years earlier than the Lost Army. A recumbent winged sphinx carved in oolitic limestone was also discovered in a cave in the uninhabited Sitra Oasis (between Bahrein and Siwa Oases), whose provenance appeared to be Persian. Chafetz was arrested when he returned to Cairo in February 1984 for "smuggling an airplane into Egypt," even though he had the written permission of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority to bring the aircraft into the country. He was interrogated for 24 hours. The charges were dropped after he promised to donate the ultra-light to the Egyptian Government.

According to Professor Mosalam Shaltout, chairman of the Space Research Center at the Desert Environment Research Institute of Egypt’s Minufiya University, an Italian-led expedition in December 1996 which was surveying for meteorites stumbled across archaeological remains in the El Bahrein Oasis area of the Western Desert. Aly Barakat, a geologist with the team, found a dagger blade and hilt, pottery shards, apparently human bone fragments, burial mounds, arrowheads and a silver bracelet, which, on the basis of a photograph, was identified as ‘most likely belonging to the Achaemenid period’ (ie ancient Persian).

Meanwhile, in 2000 there were widespread reports that a team of oil-prospecting geologists, said to be from Helwan University, in Cairo, had stumbled across similar finds in the same area, spotting scattered arrow heads and human bones. In 2003 geologist Tom Bown led an expedition to the area, accompanied by archaeologist Gail MacKinnon and a film crew, to follow up Aly Barakat’s discoveries, which they, controversially, said had been suppressed by the Egyptian authorities. Bown claimed to have found remains at the same site, near the El Bahrein Oasis, at a place later named Wadi Mastour, the Hidden Valley. In fact he reportedly went as far as describing seeing thousands of bones littering the desert.

Yet another follow-up expedition in 2005, however, cast serious doubt on the claims of both Barakat and Bown.A team from the University of Toledo, in Ohio, together with British and Egyptian associates, travelled to the site near El Bahrein. They located a broken pot found by both Barakat and Bown, although they identified it as Roman, but they failed to find any other suggestive remains beyond a few burial sites, which they claim are common in the desert. Instead of fields of scattered human bones they found large numbers of fragments of fossilised sand dollars (sea urchin-like creatures that leave distinctive round calcite cases), which are apparently easy to mistake for human bones and could explain the previous claims.

In November 2009, two Italian archaeologists, Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni, announced the discovery of human remains, tools and weapons which date to the era of the Persian army. These artifacts were located near Siwa Oasis. According to these two archaeologists this is the first archaeological evidence of the story reported by Herodotus. While working in the area, the researchers noticed a half-buried pot and some human remains. Then the brothers spotted something really intriguing -- what could have been a natural shelter. It was a rock about 35 meters (114.8 feet) long, 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) in height and 3 meters (9.8 feet) deep. Such natural formations occur in the desert, but this large rock was the only one in a large area.

However, these “two Italian archaelogists" presented their discoveries in a film rather than a scientific journal. Doubts have been raised because the Castiglioni brothers also happen to be the two filmmakers who produced five controversial African shockumentaries in the 1970s--including Addio ultimo uomo, Africa ama, and Africa dolce e selvaggia--films in which audiences saw unedited footage of the severing of a penis, the skinning of a human corpse, the deflowering of a girl with a stone phallus, and a group of hunters tearing apart an elephant’s carcass. The Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, has said in a press release that media reports of this "are unfounded and misleading" and that "The Castiglioni brothers have not been granted permission by the SCA to excavate in Egypt, so anything they claim to find is not to be believed.

Apart from being a great unsolved mystery, the miserable desert fate of the lost army of Cambyses also presents the intriguing likelihood that there could be a huge find of skeletons, armour, clothing, weapons and equipment from the ancient Persian era awaiting discovery. The army would have included in its number soldiers from many different parts of the antique world. In the uniquely arid conditions, with the possibility that sand may have covered and protected, the remains could be amazingly well preserved. There could be an archaeological treasure trove somewhere in the Sahara.

(Sources : Lost Histories : “Exploring The World’s Most Famous Mysteries” by Joel Levy; and Wikipedia)

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14:02 | 3 komentar

The Drummer of Tedworth

The Drummer of Tedworth is a report of supernatural activity by Joseph Glanvill in the West Country of England, in his Saducismus Triumphatus. The book's Latin title Saducismus Triumphatus means The Defeat of Sadducism, and implies the denial of an afterlife. In 1668, Glanvill published one of the earlier versions of Saducismus Triumphatus, his A Blow at Modern Sadducism ... To which is added, The Relation of the Fam'd Disturbance by the Drummer, in the House of Mr. John Mompesson. The tale Glanvill told was that a local landowner, John Mompesson, owner of a house in the town of Tedworth (now called Tidworth, in Wiltshire), had brought a lawsuit against a local drummer, whom he accused of extorting money by false pretences. After he had won judgment against the drummer and confiscated his drum, he found his house plagued by nocturnal drumming noises. It was assumed that the drummer had brought these plagues of noise upon Mompesson's head by witchcraft.

The story is considered by some to be an early account of the activity of a poltergeist, a mischievous spirit that makes noises unexplainable except by supernatural causes. John Mompesson, a justice of the peace, had brought before him an ex-drummer in Cromwell’s army, who had been demanding money of the bailiff by virtue of a suspicious pass. The bailiff had believed the pass to be counterfeit, and Mompesson, who was familiar with the handwriting of the gentleman who had allegedly signed the note, immediately declared the paper to be a forgery. The drummer, whose name was Drury, begged Mompesson to check his story with Colonel Ayliff of Gretenham. The colonel would vouch for his integrity, the drummer insisted. Mompesson was swayed by the drummer’s pleas that he not be put into jail, but he told the man that he would confiscate his drum until he had checked out his story. Drury demanded that his drum be returned, but Mompesson told him to be on his way and to give thanks for his own freedom. Mompesson had the drum sent to his house for safekeeping, then left on a business trip to London.

Upon his return, his wife informed him that the household had been terrorized by strange noises in the night. She could only accredit the sounds to burglars trying to break into the house. On the third night of his return, Mompesson was brought to his feet by a loud knocking that seemed to be coming from a side door. With a pistol in one hand and another in his belt, Mompesson opened the door. No one was there, but now the knocking had begun at another door. He flung that one open, too, and finding no one there, walked around the outside of the house in search of the culprit. He found no one on his search, nor could he account for the hollow drumming that sounded on the roof when he went back to bed. From that night on, the drumming came always just after the Mompessons had gone to bed. It made no difference whether they retired early or late, the invisible drummer was ever prepared to tap them an annoying lullaby.

After a month of being contented with rooftop maneuvers, the disturbances moved inside— into the room where Mompesson had placed the ex-soldier’s drum. Once it had established itself in the home, the ghostly drummer favored the family with two hours of martial rolls, tattoos, and points of war each evening. On the night in which Mrs. Mompesson was being delivered of a child, the drummer was respectfully quiet. It maintained this silence for a period of three weeks, as if it were allowing the mother to fully recover her strength before it began its pranks in earnest. The children were the ones who suffered most when the drummer terminated its truce. With terrible violence, the thing began beating on their bedsteads at night. It would raise the children’s beds in time with its incessant drumming, and, when it finally did quiet down, it would lie under their beds scratching at the floor. The Mompessons hopefully tried moving their children to another room, but it did no good. The drummer moved right along with them.

By November 5, the ghostly drummer had achieved such strength that it could hand boards to a servant who was doing some repair work in the house. This was witnessed by a roomful of people, but Mompesson soon forbade his servant such familiarities with their invisible tormenter. When the thing began to leave behind offensive, sulphurous fumes, the Mompessons took this as sufficient evidence that their unwelcome guest had come directly from the pit of Hades. A Reverend Cragg was summoned to conduct a prayer meeting in the house. The drummer maintained a reverent silence during the minister’s prayers, but upon the last “amen,” it began to move chairs about the room, hurl the children’s shoes into the air, and toss every object that it could get its invisible hands on. A heavy staff struck Rev. Cragg on the leg, but the astonished clergyman reported that a lock of wool could not have fallen more softly. The knocking had become so loud at nights that it awakened neighbors several houses away.

The Mompessons’ servants had also become subject to receiving nocturnal visits from the drummer. Their beds were raised while they attempted to sleep, and at times it curled up about their feet. The ghost particularly delighted in wrestling with a husky servant named John. It would jerk the bedclothes off the sleeping man, throw shoes at his head, and engage in a hearty tug-o’-war with the man, who was trying desperately to keep the covers on his bed instead of on the floor. At times, the powerful entity would entwine itself around John and forcibly hold him as if he were bound hand and foot. With a tremendous effort of brute strength, the servant would free himself from the grasp of his invisible opponent and reach for the sword that he kept beside his bed. John had found that the brandishing of his sword was the only action that could make the thing retreat.

By January 10, 1662, nearly a year after its unwelcome arrival, the entity had acquired a voice and the ability to simulate the sound of rustling silk and the panting of animals. It had begun by singing in the chimney, then moved into the children’s bedroom where it chanted: “A witch, a witch! I am a witch!” When Mompesson rushed into the nursery with his pistol, the disturbances ceased at once. That night it came to his bedside, panting like a large dog. The bedroom, even though lacking a fireplace, and on a particularly cold and bitter winter’s night, became very hot and filled with a noxious odor.

On the following morning, Mompesson scattered fine ashes over the chamber floor to see what sort of imprints might be made by the incredible entity. He was rewarded by the eerie discovery of the markings of a great claw, some letters, circles, and other weird footprints. It was at this point in the manifestations that Rev. Joseph Glanvil arrived to conduct his investigation. The phenomena were most cooperative for Rev. Glanvil and provided him with ample evidence of their existence from the very first moment of his arrival. It was eight o’clock in the evening and the children were in bed, enduring their nightly ritual of scratching, bed-liftings, and pantings. Rev. Glanvil tried desperately to trace the source of the disturbances, but could find nothing. He was momentarily elated when he noticed something moving in a linen bag, but upon scooping up the cloth, and hoping to find a rat or a mouse in his clutches, he was dismayed to find himself left holding an empty bag. Later that night, when Rev. Glanvil and a friend retired for the evening, they were awakened by a loud knocking. When the clergyman demanded to know what the entity wished of them, a disembodied voice answered that it wanted nothing of the two men.

The next morning, however, Rev. Glanvil’s horse was found trembling in a state of nervous exhaustion, appearing as though it had been ridden all night. Glanvil had scarcely mounted the horse for his return trip when the animal collapsed. Although the horse was well-attended and cared for, it died within two days. One night in the children’s bedroom, the voice shrieked its claim that it was a witch over a hundred times in rapid succession. The next day, the harried Mompesson fired his pistol at an animated stick of firewood and was astonished to see several drops of blood appear on the hearth! The firewood fell to the floor and a trail of blood began to drip on the stairway as the wounded ghost retreated. When the invisible thing returned three nights later, it seemed to vent its anger on the children. Even the baby was tormented and not allowed to sleep. At last Mompesson arranged to have the children taken to the house of friends. At this tactic, the drummer pounded severely on Mompesson’s bedroom door, then quit its post there to show itself to a servant. The terrified man told Mompesson that he could not determine the exact proportions of the entity, but he had seen a great body with two red and glaring eyes, which for some time were fixed steadily upon him.

When the children were returned to their home, the thing seemed to want to make up to them. The Mompessons and their servants could hear distinctly a purring, like that of a cat in the nursery. The contented purring, however, turned out to be but another ploy of the devilish drummer. Four hours later, it was beating the children’s legs against the bedposts and emptying chamber pots into their beds. A friend who had stayed the night in the haunted house had all of his coins turned black. His unfortunate horse was discovered in the stables with one of its hind legs firmly fastened in its mouth. It took several men working with a lever to dislodge the hoof from the animal’s jaws. About this time, Drury, the man whose drum Mompesson had confiscated, was located in Gloucester Gaol where he had been sentenced for thievery. Upon questioning, he freely admitted witching Tedworth’s justice of the peace. He boasted that he had plagued him and that Mompesson would have no peace until he had given him satisfaction for taking away his drum. Mompesson had the drummer tried for witchcraft at Sarum, and the man was condemned to be transported to one of the English colonies. Certain stories have it that the man so terrified the ship’s captain and crew by “raising storms” that they took him back to port and left him on the dock before sailing away again.

Witchcraft was a real thing to the people of 1663, and noisy hauntings were often recognized as the work of Satan. While on board ship, Drury had told the captain that he had been given certain books of the black arts by an old wizard, who had tutored him in the finer points of witchcraft. By the time a king’s commission had arrived to investigate the haunting, the phenomena had been quiet for several weeks. The cavaliers spent the night with the Mompessons, then left the next morning, declaring that the entire two-year haunting was either a hoax or the misinterpretation of natural phenomena by credulous and superstitious men. Reverend Joseph Glanvil’s frustration with His Majesty’s investigators is obvious in the conclusion of Saducismus Triumphatus, his account of the Mompesson family’s ordeal, where he stated that it was bad logic for the king’s investigators to conclude a matter of fact from a single negative against numerous affirmatives, and so affirm that a thing was never done. “This is the common argument of those that deny the being of apparitions,” Glanvil declared. “They have traveled all hours of the night and have never seen any thing worse than themselves (which may well be) and thence they conclude that all apparitions are fancies or impostures.”

(Sources : Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things; and Wikipedia)

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12:58 | 0 komentar

White River Monster

Of all the awesome and hideous mystery beasts in the world, nothing is loved by its neighbours quite as much as ‘Whitey’, the White River Monster. In fact, Arkansas State Legislators have declared the area where it has been most often seen – around the town of Newport – a ‘White River Monster Refuge’. It is now illegal to ‘molest, kill, trample or harm’ the legendary beast. But this has not always been the case – originally locals wanted to dynamite the monster. Whitey’s first appearance was in the 1890s. He then reappeared in 1915, but it was only in the first week of July 1937 that he really made a splash. It floated a few minutes on the surface, then submerged.

Men fishing in the White River, a tributary of the great Mississippi, noticed that they were finding it hard to land many fish. One day they spotted a strange creature and reported it to the local plantation owner, Bramlett Bateman. He saw a 12-foot, gray thing emerge from a “deep hole” some 60 feet deep in the river, a monster with the skin of an elephant, four or five feet wide by twelve feet long, with the face of a catfish, was lolling on the surface of the water, near Newport, on July 1, 1937.

He saw it again on September 22. As many as twenty-five other residents, including two deputy sheriffs, saw something that made a lot of bubbles and foam in the river that summer. Bateman was sceptical, but agreed to have a look at whatever they had found. He was shocked at what he saw. Bateman felt this beast was a threat to his crops, and applied to local officials to blow up the eddy with TNT. The authorities refused permission, and by then hundreds of people had heard of the phenomenon. They came from as far away as California, some with cameras, some with explosives; one man reportedly brought a machine gun. A plan to capture the monster with a giant net fell by the wayside, and Bateman’s use of a deep-sea diver to find the creature came to nought. As people lost interest in the beast, Bateman felt he was being accused of creating a hoax although there had been over 100 confirmed sightings recorded during the short period of excitement.

Whitey was forgotten, but he made a dramatic return on June 28, 1971, south of the White River Bridge. Cloyce Warren took a photograph of an animal that had been seen for about ten days. It shows a nondescript object disappearing beneath the water. He was fishing with two friends when suddenly a great fountain of water spurted in front of them and a creature with a 20-feet-long spikey back was seen to surface and then disappear beneath the water. The man managed to take a photograph of the beast, which he sold to the Newport Daily Independent newspaper. People who saw the picture were unimpressed by its clarity and the newspaper has since lost the original copy.

Ollie Ritcherson and Joey Dupree were boating on the river July 21, 1971, looking for the monster when something lifted their boat upward out of the water. Sightings continued through August. However, numerous other witnesses saw a long, grey creature surfacing in the water of the White River. Some said it was the length of a boxcar, that its smooth flesh looked as if it was peeling. Others said it made a bizarre noise, like a cow’s moo or horse’s neigh. Those who managed to see the beast’s face in detail told of a strange tusk protruding from its forehead.

A trail of peculiar 14 inch tracks were found on the nearby Towhead Island, and a CBS news team was duly despatched to report on the area. R. C. McClauglen and his family watched an animal thrash in the river for five minutes near Jacksonport on June 5, 1972. The last reported sighting came in late July when two people out fishing claimed their boat was rocked by what they believed was the monster. Media coverage killed off sightings of Whitey, and in February 1973 the Arkansas Senate passed its resolution to protect the beast.

From the accounts witnesses have provided, some experts believe Whitey may be a lost elephant seal. They can be immense creatures, up to twenty feet long, and the descriptions of noise, skin and forehead horn would all fit correctly. It is also known that the elephant seal migrates seven thousand miles each year so it may just be off-course. However, the nearest seal colony lies on the west coast of America, so it would have to come through the Panama Canal to reach the White River. Also, elephant seals only live for around fifteen years, so no single animal could possibly account for sightings over almost a century. Whatever Whitey is, he can be assured of a warm, if not explosive, welcome the next time he pops up in Arkansas.

(Sources : 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy; and Mysterious Creatures : “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart)

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07:26 | 2 komentar

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