The Mysterious Case of Bridey Murphy

In the 1950s hypnotist Morey Bernstein of Pueblo, Colorado, was working with one of his clients, a twenty-nine-year old housewife and mother named Virginia Tighe when, during one of their sessions, she spoke with the voice and memories of a nineteenth-century Irishwoman named Bridey Murphy. The first time this occurred, Bernstein had been trying to help Tighe to remember her childhood and had casually suggested that she “go to some other place in some other time.” He meant for her to remember some other period of her life, but instead she seemed to jump to the life of someone else who had lived long before. In an Irish accent, she told Bernstein that she, Bridey Murphy, had been born in 1798 and died in 1864 of complications from a broken hip. Virginia Tighe herself was born in the Midwest in 1923, had never been to Ireland, and did not speak with even the slightest hint of an Irish accent.

In this and subsequent hypnosis sessions, she also provided Bernstein with numerous details about her family, experiences, likes and dislikes. For example, she gave the name of the Catholic church in Belfast, Ireland, where she had married Sean Brian Joseph McCarthy in 1818 and offered detailed descriptions of places where she had shopped for food. She also told Bernstein about the time in-between lives, when the spirit waited for a new existence. During this period, she said, she could travel anywhere with just a thought.

Her tale began in 1806 when Bridey was eight years old and living in a house in Cork. She was the daughter of Duncan Murphy, a barrister, and his wife Kathleen. At the age of 17 she married lawyer Sean Brian McCarthy and moved to Belfast. Bridey told of a fall that caused her death and of watching her own funeral, describing her tombstone and the state of being in life after death. It was, she recalled, a feeling of neither pain nor happiness. Somehow, she was reborn in America, although Bridey was not clear how this reincarnation happened.

Bernstein tape-recorded each session, and in 1956 he published a book based on his work, "The Search for Bridey Murphy". (Bernstein called Tighe “Ruth Simmons” in his writings in order to protect her anonymity, but journalists soon uncovered her real name.) Skeptics soon began noting flaws in Tighe’s story. Many of her place descriptions, including details about where Murphy had bought her food, were accurate, but other facts were not. The same was true of her language; some of the words she used were appropriate diction for a nineteenth-century Irishwoman, but others were those of a twentieth-century American. In addition, neither skeptics nor believers could find any evidence that anyone named Bridey Murphy had ever lived. Searches of church baptismal records and other records turned up nothing.

However, historians note that because of carelessness and poor record keeping, the documents of many other, known historical figures cannot be found either, so the lack of documentation could not be considered conclusive. Amidst the furor caused by attempts to track down evidence of the real Bridey Murphy, a Chicago, Illinois, newspaper published a series of articles that attributed Tighe’s knowledge of nineteenth century Ireland to Bridie Corkell, who had been born and raised in Ireland but who had subsequently moved to Chicago. Tighe had grown up in Chicago, and according to the newspaper, her family had known Corkell. Consequently, the newspaper suggested that while under hypnosis Tighe was recalling stories she had heard from Corkell but had forgotten. This did not end the matter, however. The newspaper’s own credibility was called into question when it was revealed that Corkell had not actually spent any time with the Tighe family. Moreover, Corkell turned out to be the mother of the newspaper’s editor.

Despite the many holes in Bridey's story, it was still a remarkably detailed account of life in 19th-century Ireland—information unlikely to have come the way of Virginia Tighe. The case was studied by psychiatrists and psychologists, who had used hypnosis in treatment for many years. Many subjects, in deep hypnosis, can be highly suggestible and will act on the slightest hint given to them, seeking to supply the answer they subconsciously believe the hypnotist wishes to hear. Such hypnosis is largely a matter of releasing relevant details from the brain's incredible capacity for storing information. A subject can even quote verbatim from a long-forgotten childhood book. However, someone under hypnosis is not automatically telling the truth even if they are seeking to give a satisfactory response. Bernstein admitted that, while she was under hypnosis, he did tell Virginia Tighe what he wanted, and it was then that she became Bridey Murphy.

The experts who examined the case of Virginia Tighe came to the conclusion that the best way to arrive at the truth was not to check back to Ireland, but to her own childhood and her relationship with her parents. Morey Bernstein's book stated that Virginia Tighe (whom he called Ruth Simmons in the book) was brought up by a Norwegian uncle and his German-Scottish-Irish wife. However, it did not state that her actual parents were both part Irish and that she had lived with them until the age of three. It also did not mention that an Irish immigrant named Bridie Murphy Corkell (1892–1957) lived across the street from Tighe's childhood home in Chicago, Illinois.

Most scientists today are satisfied that everything Virginia Tighe said can be explained as a memory of her long-forgotten childhood. Skeptics continue to contend that details of nineteenth-century Irish life were available to Tighe, and she was simply creating, probably unintentionally, a story that Bernstein and others wanted to believe. Tighe’s supporters, however, continue to insist that she really did live a former life as Bridey Murphy and reincarnate as Virginia Tighe.

Sources :
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;

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13:42 | 1 komentar

The Underground Vaults of Edinburgh

The underground vaults are vast, man-made caverns where the working class once labored and lived, situated in tunnels built in the 18th century underneath one of the arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was completed in 1788. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers. A few ghostly personalities have made their presence known in some not-so-subtle ways. Other investigations have reported unusual energy readings and photographs taken by tourists reveal orbs or white markings. The story of how the vaults came into existence actually starts 40,000 years ago during the Ice Age. On the great hill, where Edinburgh Castle stands watch over the city, a volcano once stood.

As the rivers of glacial ice encountered the hardened volcanic rock of the mountain, the glaciers split and went around either side of the great mound, carving deep valleys on both sides and then coming back together again, forming a teardrop-shaped piece of land that escaped glacial erosion. Geologists call this a “crag and tail.” Evidence of the site being a military outpost goes back almost three millennia. Given that there are steep cliffs on three sides and a long sloping hill to the top, the position is highly defendable.

A fortress of stone was constructed sometime during the reign of Malcolm III (1058 to 1093 C.E.). As Edinburgh’s population grew, people naturally wanted their homes to be as close to the Castle as possible, for protection. The homes were built very closely to one another, and they covered every piece of climbable land surrounding the Castle. In the late 18th century, it was decided that two great bridges would be constructed to span the deep valleys on both sides of the old town of Edinburgh. The first bridge was erected over the northern valley in 1772 and called the North Bridge. In 1785, an even longer southern bridge, with 19 arches supporting the road, was built to span the ravine of the Cowgate; it was named the South Bridge. Both bridges connected Edinburgh to new, level land, where grid street systems could be laid out to accommodate the population growth of the city.

On either side of the bridges, tenement buildings were constructed immediately adjacent to the bridge. With buildings on either side, the arches would be enclosed, forming the Edinburgh vaults. The tenements were so predominant they almost entirely masked the bridge.

The vault rooms, used as storage space and workshops for the South Bridge businesses, operated as intended for a relatively short space of time. Construction of the bridge had been rushed and the surface was never sealed against water. The vaults began to flood. Over the decades, the Scottish rain leaked through the bridge into the lowest parts of the vaults, spreading illness and death. As prosperity grew for the merchants who lived and worked on the South Bridge, many were able to move their living quarters to better housing. Those who couldn’t afford to move found themselves in what was fast becoming a slum.

Abandonment of the vaults began as early as 1795. With the vaults being gradually abandoned by the businesses on the bridge, the empty rooms were adopted and adapted by new users. By the 1840s, the city council resolved to remove all of the legal residents, which meant the caverns would become a haven for the poverty-stricken and the underbelly of Edinburgh.

During the Irish potato famine of 1845–1847, the destitute Irish came over to Scotland in droves. They had no money, no employment, and very few prospects, so they settled in the vaults. Prostitution, whiskey stills, gambling, fights, and murders were all taking place in the vaults in the latter half of the 19th century. By the early 20th century, the vaults were sealed off, eliminating the refuge of Edinburgh’s dark side.

In the 1980s, the vaults were rediscovered by former rugby international star Norrie Rowan, who owns some property that includes a section of the vaults. Rowan crawled through an opening and discovered part of an underground city. At Rowan’s invitation, and after some cleanup and electric light installation, Mercat Tours began offering historic walks through the vaults. But they found more than just some great history.
Des Brogan, one of the founders of Mercat Tours and a former history teacher said, “The more people we took down there, the more things began to happen. If they [people on the tour] were at all sensitive to the other world, they would feel very uncomfortable. On one occasion, we took somebody down who later told us she was a medium, and she identified a number of ghosts that she had seen down there.”

The accounts of ghost encounters continued to accumulate over the years. The stories reinforced each other, and many people were seeing different aspects of the same characters. The ghosts of birds and even a shaggy dog plopping itself down at visitors’ feet has been reported in addition to the human spirits. A few of these human spirits definitely stand out.

The frequent reports of paranormal activity and ghost sightings resulted in the UK paranormal entertainment show, Most Haunted, to investigate the vaults in both a 24 hour investigation and for a Most Haunted Live show on Halloween 2006. The television show Ghost Adventures investigated the vaults and claimed to have numerous encounters with spirits there.

There are a number of [spirits of] children who run around. “Jack” is the ghost of a little boy reported to be in late 18th-century dress and wandering the arches. “We think he was killed during the construction of the bridge, and his spirit is still within the confines of the vaults,” Brogan said.

The darkest and most notorious presence in the vaults is that of Mr. Boots. If someone seems intentionally frightened, or if a psychically sensitive person feels threatened, it’s attributed to Mr. Boots. “We call him that because he wears knee-length boots, very rough trousers that fit into the boots, and a very dirty ruffled white shirt,” Brogan said. “He’s unkempt and unshaven, and he has very bad breath. We know this because people can smell it. If our guide is telling stories, he will appear behind the group. And only some people in the group will see him. But as soon as he’s spotted, he disappears.”

Mr. Boots seems particularly connected to one room of the vaults. Several of the mediums who have investigated Mr. Boots’s room believe it to be a crime scene. Brogan believes Mr. Boots feeds off of the energy from the groups of people. On occasion, Mr. Boots has been reported to act out. Brogan said, “On a number of occasions, he has shown his unhappiness by switching off all the lights. There’s absolutely no reason why there should be light failure, but the lights all go out. And not only that, the candles go out as well,” leaving the guide and the group in complete darkness, entombed in a stone cavern. The guides are careful to forewarn about Mr. Boots. Brogan has never seen Mr. Boots, but he has heard him. “He stomps along the various corridors in the vaults, and you can hear him walking.” Brogan has also reported feeling drastic temperature changes between different rooms of the vault.

One scientific explanation for some of the underground experiences is linked to the fact that South Bridge is a heavy traffic route to the City. The traffic flow above creates vibrations which in turn create spectra that could be associated with sensations people experience while on ghost tours in these underground vaults. The underground vaults of Edinburgh are a place where the poorest of the poor sought shelter. Against all adversity—disease, crime, and no employment—some of the denizens of the vaults would prevail to a better way of life. Sadly, some not only made the vaults their home, but their tomb as well, and these poor souls may never leave.

Source :
The World’s Most Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger;;

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07:33 | 0 komentar

Lost City of the Arctic Circle

One of the most mysterious ‘lost cities’ on the American continent is not in its Southern but in its Northern hemisphere. Even more baffling, it is in the region that is the most hostile to human life on this planet—inside the Arctic Circle, called Ipiutak. Ipiutak is near Point Hope, on the north coast of Alaska. It is on a vast, treeless tundra which is permanently frozen. One polar explorer described it as “a land of icebergs, water and cold blue sky.” Winter is virtually all year long. Based on the artifacts that were being examined and the accomplishments of the Ipiutak people were being evaluated that another question arose—if they were different from other Arctic tribes, it was unlikely that they were the descendants of local inhabitants. So where did they come from and why did they abandoned their city?

Ipiutak is an ancient metropolis in northern Alaska that is the type site for a culture also called Ipiutak, dominant from 500 BCE to 1000 CE. It was discovered (or rediscovered) in 1939 by an expedition sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and led by Helge Eyvin Larsen and Froelich Gladstone Rainey. Both had previously published papers on the Arctic whale hunting culture and were acknowledged experts on the archaeology of North Alaska. They found a city that had been home to several thousand Inupiat Eskimos at least 3,000 years ago.

There were no trees within a hundred miles and no building materials were available except the bones of walruses and whales. The only way of establishing a permanent community was to dig and this they did—six feet at least—so that the earth could provide insulation against the biting cold. This was by no means an easy task, for after digging only a few inches the permafrost is encountered— soil frozen solid all year round. While this tedious and lengthy construction process was under way, temporary shelters were essential and these were built by tying whale ribs together and covering them with animal skins to form a tented roof.

Whalebone protect the entrance to an underground chamber

A University of Alaska archaeology team counted over 800 of the permanent “pit lodges” at Ipiutak and estimated that at least the same number of “tent lodges” would have been built. These lodges were all neatly lined up with avenues between the rows. This means that at the time it was found, Ipiutak was larger than Fairbanks and by far the largest settlement ever found to have existed in Alaska prior to the arrival of Europeans. It was even bigger than any arctic coastal village in Alaska or Canada today. The town of Ipiutak must have been home to more than 8,000 people. Seals and walrus were their principal source of food and were hunted with harpoons from the edge of the ice. Bows and arrows were used for the hunting of caribou.

Ipiutak was a community that was sophisticated enough to be static and this in turn means a widely based land hunter culture. These characteristics make it completely different from other Arctic communities. Ipiutak’s level of advancement was quickly evident as excavation expanded as rapidly as Arctic conditions permitted. Its people had a knowledge of mathematics and astronomy at least as advanced as the ancient Mayas. Beautiful ivory carvings, unlike those of any other known Eskimo or other American Indian culture, were discovered. Tombs were found containing skeletons with artificial eyeballs carved of ivory and inlaid with jet. Brooches, necklaces and pendants carved from whalebone displayed similar artistic ability while numerous tools and implements show practical applications as well as being of intelligent design.

For most of the 20th century, archaeologists and anthropologists assumed that the forebears of Native Americans had crossed from Asia to America over a “land bridge,” following herds of game animals. The close proximity of the two continents at the Bering Strait—which separate Siberia and Alaska—was a favored hypothesis. It was reinforced by increasing knowledge of the Ice Ages, as the idea of an exposed ocean floor between those two regions provided a perfect migration path from the Old World to the New World.

Vitus Bering, Danish-born but a captain in the Russian Navy, crossed the strait in 1728 and it was named after him. Today, it is 58 miles at the closest point between the easternmost point of the Asian continent and the westernmost point of the American continent. Winter storms are frequent and the sea is covered by ice fields as much as five feet thick. Even in mid-summer, drift ice is common in the strait.

Later during the 20th century, other routes were being proposed as the means by which migrants entered the Americas from Asia, but very recent research by Dr. Scott Elias at the Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research has established, as far as orthodox scholarship is concerned, the validity of the Bering land bridge route. This brings up the critical questions— how often do Ice Ages occur and when was the most recent? There have been, it is believed, four Ice Ages in the last million years. The last reached its peak 10,000 years ago and ended 8,000 years ago.

The work of Dr. Elias and his team included carbon dating to establish that plants and animals were on the land bridge about 11,000 years ago. It probably had a similar terrain to that of Northern Alaska today, birch and willow trees and clumps of sedges (resembling grass but with solid rather than hollow stems). It had no glaciers because although it was cold enough, the regional climate was too dry and glaciers cannot form without moisture. Perhaps, living conditions on the Asian side deteriorated and emigrating represented an escape. Perhaps—as far as the humans were concerned—it was the desire to finder greener pastures, and possibly animals followed their route. Equally plausible is the possibility that animals, mainly elk, bison and caribou, took the route after their herds had consumed what little vegetation was present on the Asiatic side. Men could have followed them as their meat supply moved east.

In March 2006, two adventurers crossed the Bering Strait from east to west on foot by walking across a frozen section where the distance is 56 miles and the perilous journey took them 15 days. They were an Englishman, Karl Bushby and a Frenchman, Dimitri Kieffer—and upon arrival, they were arrested for not entering Russia through a border control station! Eleven thousand years ago, the denizens of Northern Siberia were undoubtedly tougher than humans today and being accustomed to living in Arctic conditions, they could have made the crossing faster. Animals might have taken longer, lacking a human compulsion and having no curiosity as to their destination. But then, as far as we know, the humans knew nothing of the existence of continents although they could have had an awareness that a strait that used to be water was now land.

Point Hope, the location of the Ipiutak village, is about 400 miles north of the narrowest section of the Bering Strait so the crossings of the migrants could have been longer in distance than that taken by the two modern adventurers. Another consideration is that by staying close to the shore of the land bridge, the migrants could have had access to fish and game to sustain their journey. This would have enabled them to have taken longer for the crossing.

Some of the excavations of Russian archaeologists in the Amur River district in Northern Siberia have revealed the remains of a number of prehistoric settlements very similar to Ipiutak. The climate in that region is just as hostile as in Northern Alaska, yet evidence has been found of large Paleolithic, Neolithic and even Bronze Age populations.

A further connection with the Asian continent has been identified in that the decorative carvings of the Ipiutak resemble those from North China 3,000 years ago, while other carvings resembled those of the Ainu peoples of Japan. The conclusion was that the people of Ipiutak had a material culture far more elaborate and imaginative than that found elsewhere in the Arctic. When knowledge of a region’s earlier history is lacking, it can often be helpful to review the mythology of its past.

The philosopher, Will Durant, says in The Story of Civilization, “Immense volumes have been written to expound our knowledge and conceal our ignorance of primitive man. Primitive cultures were not necessarily the ancestors of our own—for all we know they may be the degenerate remnants of higher cultures that decayed when human leadership moved in, in the wake of the ice.” This profound thought may well be an explanation of the lost cities of the Arctic.

Most authorities have no doubt that Ipiutak is but the first of many ‘lost’ cities to be found. Another, lost city, Tigara, has already been identified and but for the extremely short portion of the year when excavation of the frozen land is possible, a string of other names would have already have been added—and with them, more details and information on their talented, imaginative and determined peoples. Much remains to be learned about Ipiutak. There are two reasons for this—one is that it was discovered only fifty years ago, the second is that the bitter Arctic conditions make the work agonizingly slow. As a result, archaeologists have far more questions than answers regarding this enigmatic frozen city.

The archaeologists have strong evidence for believing that they know where the Ipiutak people came from, but still don’t know the answer to the question—where did they go? If they went south, they would have been in a less severe climate and remains would surely have been found by now that could be linked with the city near Point Hope. It is possible that they went east and in this case, discoveries may be made in the future in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Wherever the Ipiutak went, their advanced culture will be identifiable and that may even lead to an answer to the next inevitable question, why did they go?

Sources :
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol.61 : “Lost City of The Far North” by Peter King;

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Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol.61 : “Lost City of The Far North” by Peter King page 33
06:42 | 2 komentar

Piasa Bird

In 1673, Father Jacques Marquette saw the painting on a limestone bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. While skirting some rocks, which by his height, he saw upon one of them two painted monsters which at first made him afraid .The petroglyph was carved into the rock a half inch or more and was painted red, black, and blue. The monster are described as large as a calf; they have horns on their heads like those of a deer, a horrible look, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face somewhat like a man's, a body covered with scales, and so long. A tail that it winds all around the body, passing above the head and going back between the legs, ending in a fish's tail. The monster depicted in the mural was first referred to as the "Piasa Bird". There are rumors the Piasa may still be around, and these are yet to be confirmed.

The original Piasa illustration no longer exists; a newer version, based partly on 19th-century sketches and lithographs, has been placed on a bluff in Alton, Illinois, several hundred yards upstream from its origin. The limestone rock quality on the new site is unsuited for holding an image, and the painting must be regularly restored. The original site of the painting was a high-quality layer of lithographic limestone, which was mostly quarried away in the late 1870s by the Mississippi Lime Company.

The ancient mural was created prior to the arrival of any European explorers in the region, and possibly before 1200 CE. It may have been an older iconograph from the large Mississippian culture city of Cahokia, which began developing about 900 CE. The location of the image was at the river bluff "gate" to the American Bottoms valley, the site of Cahokia, the largest prehistoric city north of Mexico and a major chiefdom. Cahokia was at its peak about 1200 CE, with 20,000 to 30,000 residents. Bird icons, such as falcons and bird men, were a common motif of the Cahokia culture. The Piasa may have been painted as a symbol to warn strangers' traveling down the Mississippi River that they were entering Cahokia territory.

The Piasa bird was said to have been killed by the Illinois chief Ouatoga (with the help of twenty warriors) and commemorated in a petroglyph that existed in 1673 when Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet visited the area. According to the local legend, the Chief ordered his bravest warriors to hide near the entrance of the Piasa Bird's cave, which Russell also claimed to have explored. Outoga then acted as bait to lure the creature out into the open. As the monster flew down toward the Indian Chief, his warriors slew it with a volley of poisoned arrows. Russell claimed that the mural was painted by the Indians as a commemoration of this heroic event.

In 1924, Herbert Forcade painted his conception of the Piasa on the bluffs where a sand plant now operates on the 600 block of West Broadway, but the image was blasted away in the 1960s to make room for construction of the Great River Road. A 3-ton metal replica of the Piasa was mounted on the bluffs near Norman’s Landing, 2 miles west of Alton, in 1983, but it was removed in 1995. The Piasa’s latest manifestation is a 48-foot x 22-foot painting on the bluffs completed by the American Legends Society and many volunteers in 1998. Piasa Park, opened in 2001, surrounds the painting and offers an interpretive center.

On April 24, 1948 a big bird that looked like a naval torpedo was seen flying at a height of 500 feet over Alton, Illinois, by E. M. Coleman and his son. They said the creature just like the legendary bird depicted in a petroglyph on a bluff by the Mississippi River in Illinois. Sightings continued over St. Louis, Missouri, during the following week.

Possible explanations proposed by Perry Armstrong, a surviving rhamphorynchid (a fossil flying reptile), Rhamphorynchus was a longtailed pterosaur that lived in Europe and Africa during the Late Jurassic, 150 million years ago.

Sources :
Mysterious Creature : “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart;

Pic Source : Mysterious Creature :
“A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart page 433
06:18 | 0 komentar

Brown Mountain Lights

So far as is known, the first printed reference to the lights reported in the Charlotte Daily Observer for September 13, 1913 near Brown Mountain in North Carolina. These lights have been described in various ways. Some witnesses report that the lights are intensely bright; others say they are soft and misty. In any case, the lights disappear as suddenly as they appear, leaving witnesses to puzzle over what they have seen. Consequently, some have speculated that the lights are caused by an unknown geological phenomenon, perhaps related to Earth’s magnetism, while others have said the lights are caused by alien spacecraft. One early account of the lights dates from September 13, 1913, as reported in the Charlotte Daily Observer. Citing the testimony of a group of fishermen that the “mysterious light is seen just above the horizon almost every night. . . . With punctual regularity it rises in the southeasterly direction just over the lower slope of Brown Mountain. . . . It looks much like a toy fire balloon, a distinct ball, with no atmosphere about it . . . and very red.”

Soon after this account, a United States Geological Survey employee, D.B. Stewart, studied the area in question and determined the witnesses had mistaken train lights for something more mysterious.
But participants in a 1916 expedition swore that they had seen the lights just below the summit and, moreover, floating to the southeast in a horizontal direction and in and out of the ravines.

Reports of odd lights continued, and a more formal US Geological Survey study began in 1922, which determined that witnesses had misidentified automobile or train lights, fires, or mundane stationary lights. However, according to a marker on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a massive flood struck the area soon after the completion of the USGS study; all electrical power was lost and trains were inoperative for a period of time thereafter. Several automotive bridges were also washed out. The Brown Mountain lights, however, continued to appear. One of the best vantage points, Wisemans View, is about 4 miles from Linville Falls, NC, and the best time of year to see them is reportedly September through early November.

Continuing sightings and debates about their meaning brought another Geological Survey scientist, George Rogers Mansfield, to the area in March and April 1922. He devoted seven evenings to personal observations and supplemented these with a survey of the mountains and with interviews of local residents. He attributed 44 percent of the lights to automobiles, 33 percent to trains, 10 percent to stationary lights, and 10 percent to brush fires. Besides leaving 3 percent unaccounted for, Mansfield was acknowledging what by now seemed obvious: no single explanation covered all the phenomena.He did speculate that the 1916 witnesses had seen nothing more than fireflies, even though he conceded that a government entomologist whom he had consulted held that identification to be “improbable” for various reasons.

In the years since then, witnesses have reported phenomena that they state resemble “toy balloons,” “misty spheres,” “flood lights,” and “sky rockets.” In a few instances, when witnesses believe they have been closest to the manifestations, they claim to have heard a sizzling noise. A 1977 experiment beamed a 500,000-candlepower arc from a town twenty-two miles away to a location west of the mountain where observers lay in wait. The blue-white beam looked like an “orange-red orb apparently hovering several degrees above Brown Mountain’s crest.” The investigators concluded that refractions of distant lights were largely responsible for the sightings.

Other theorists, such as Britain’s Paul Devereux, hold that the lights are evidence of the presence of little-understood, so-far-unrecognized geophysical phenomena he calls “earthlights,” but this explanation seems needlessly complex.

Local folklore has it that people were seeing the light long before the age of trains and cars; the evidence for this, however, is exceedingly slight. Still, if this claim is ever validated, it would demonstrate that the Brown Mountain lights have not yet surrendered all their secrets.

Sources :
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;
Unexplained! : Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark;

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05:38 | 1 komentar

Ruins of Pueblo Bonito

Pueblo Bonito, the largest and best known Great House in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, northern New Mexico, was built by ancestral Pueblo people called the Anasazi and occupied between AD 828 and 1126. But the civilization that built these houses was not nearly so durable. By 1200 Chaco Canyon’s houses were empty; by 1300 Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings were, too.Why did the Anasazi abandon their great cities, in many cases only a hundred or so years after they built them? And where did they go? This is a mystery that has intrigued historians—not to mention archaeologists, anthropologists, demographers, biologists, and visitors to the American Southwest—ever since James Simpson and his men first stumbled upon Chaco Canyon. U.S. army Lt. James H. Simpson and Carravahal, Simpson's guide from San Juan Pueblo, first came upon Chaco Canyon during a 1849 military expedition. They briefly examined eight larger ruins in Chaco Canyon including Pueblo Bonito, named pretty village in Spanish by Carravahal. At the conclusion of his expedition, Simpson published the first description of Chaco Canyon in his military report, with drawings by expedition artist R. H. Kern.

Archaeologists dated the Chaco Canyon buildings to the end of the tenth century, well before the rise of the Aztecs. From numerous other sites in the area, archaeologists were able to chronicle the rise of the civilization that culminated in these buildings. This was, they determined, a homegrown civilization, one that had been built by a people called the Anasazi by the Indians Simpson encountered. Ancient Pueblo People or Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and a lesser section of Colorado. The cultural group has often been referred to in archaeology as the Anasazi, although the term is not preferred by the modern Puebloan peoples. The word Anasazi is Navajo for "Ancient Ones" or "Ancient Enemy".

The Anasazi were remarkably wealthy: along with exotic gems, archaeologists have found huge quantities of discarded pots—at one Chaco building, a single trash heap contained 150,000 broken pots. This must also have been a remarkably egalitarian society, for there were no palaces or special buildings mixed in among the huge apartment buildings. Supporting all this was a sophisticated irrigation system that used dams and dikes, contoured terraces, and reservoirs to make the most of the sandy soil and limited rainfall.

About one hundred years after they built the Great Houses of Chaco Canyon, the Anasazi moved north into southwest Colorado, creating an architecture that was, if possible, even more stunning. Here they built their homes right inside the caves that sculpt the steep cliffs of the area’s canyons. Protected by the caves, many of these cliff dwellings (including the huge Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde) are still largely intact.

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde

To the historian and archaeologist Harold Gladwin, writing in 1957, the solution was obvious: the Anasazi were under attack. This would explain why people who had been widely scattered came together in the huge apartment buildings of Chaco Canyon. The large pueblos offered more protection than smaller, scattered villages—hence the building spree in Chaco Canyon at the end of the tenth century. It would also explain why they had abandoned the Chaco Canyon buildings so soon after they’d built them. When the Chaco Canyon towns failed to hold off their attackers, the Anasazi retreated to the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, built during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The cliff dwellings were, to put it mildly, inconvenient—but at least that made them inaccessible to enemies as well.

Who were the people who drove away the Anasazi? Gladwin believed they were the people who later became known as the Navajo and Apache. Sweeping down from western Canada, they were the last people to reach the Southwest before the Spanish invasion. Navajo tradition seems to confirm this theory: the word “Anasazi” comes from the Navajo word for “ancient enemies.”

Other historians have proposed it was the Southern Paiute or Ute, not the Navajo or Apache. (Ute legends, too, tell how they conquered people as they moved south.) Whoever their enemies were, the Anasazi outnumbered them, but the raiders’ hit-and-run attacks against their settlements and fields eventually took their toll.

There was one major problem with these “military” solutions to the mystery: there is no archaeological evidence that the Apache or Navajo or Ute or Paiute entered the area until long after the pueblos and cliff dwellings had been abandoned. Granted, the Apache and Navajo were traditional enemies of the Pueblo people of the Southwest, but some historians argued that this tradition originated in the seventeenth century after the Indians acquired horses from Europeans (giving them a tremendous tactical advantage). Finally, if the Anasazi went down in battle, why didn’t archaeologists find any mass graves or other signs of war? Anyone looking at the ruins of Pueblo Bonito or Cliff Palace today can see they were deserted—not burned or sacked.

An alternative solution to the mystery: the great drought. This theory depends on advances in the science of dendrochronology, which uses the growth rings of trees to supply precise information about past climates. Each year a tree produces a growth ring; the wider the ring, the more rain there was that year.

It was A. E. Douglass, on a National Geographic expedition to the Southwest in 1929, who developed new techniques of tree-ring dating, then charted the tree rings in living trees and overlapped and matched them with those found in wooden beams from increasingly older archaeological sites. Douglass found there was a severe drought in the area between 1276 and 1299—exactly the time the Anasazi cities were finally and fully abandoned. But Gladwin’s followers struck back: there had been previous droughts in the area, they pointed out, and the cities hadn’t been abandoned. And there were nearby areas with more rainfall—but there was no evidence that the Anasazi had moved there. So the environmental explanations became more complex, taking into account not just rainfall amounts but the times of the year the rain fell, water table levels, landclearing practices, the changing mix of subsistence strategies. Other explanations emerged as well. Could there have been a massive epidemic? Unlikely: there was no sign of large burial areas.

Could the Anasazi have turned on each other? Anthropologist Christy Turner’s study of skeletons found evidence of cannibalism, such as sucked-out bone marrow. But others had alternative explanations, and there were still no signs of massive burials or sacked cities. And why wouldn’t the victors have stayed on? Could there have been some sort of religious upheaval? Some archaeologists have argued that the Anasazi may have been drawn south by the emerging Kachina religion. But others question whether the archaeological record of Kachina icons and artifacts puts the religion in the area early enough to have attracted the Anasazi. Besides, why would the religion have required the Anasazi to leave their cities? And so the debate goes on.

Most of the archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians working on the mystery today agree that there will never be a single solution, whether military, environmental, or social. Rather, they believe a variety of factors came into play. Perhaps, for example, drought or crop failures set off internal fighting, or undermined people’s religious faith. Perhaps a combination of many factors chipped away at a complex system until it could barely maintain itself, and then some final force—a massive drought, an outside attack—was just the last straw.

Sources :
Mysteries In History by Paul D. Aron;;

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