Greece UFO Sightings

The Greek government finally revealed a case of UFO sightings that occurred on November 11, 2007. The incident started when the pilot of Olympic Airways 266 departed from Athens to London reported an unidentified flying object (UFO). Other pilots of flight 730 and 770 confirm the same unidentified object. The sightings also detected by the radar of Athen Airport and the object seemed headed to Karystos, a small town on the island of Euboea, Greece. Unfortunately, the mysterious object has disappeared before two F-16 fighter planes that assigned to intercepted it arrive at the destination. On February 2009, document on this subject disclosed to the public, including records of communication between the pilot and the airport officials.

Eyewitnesses describe that the UFO was similar with a big star moves erratically and the shape always changes. Beside the pilot, there was two passengers that also saw the mysterious object.

A spokesman for Olympic Airlines confirm the incident and the Greece authorized officials said it was not detected on any radar. They concluded that the object is probably Planet Venus on the autumn night.

However, later the Greek military confirm that their radar station at the top of Parintha mountains near Athens detected an object moving with extraordinary speed and does not matched with description of any other plane on earth. The staff at the radar station also said that the UFO is very large, it has unusual shape and very bright.

Actually the incident on 2007 was not the first UFO sightings reported by the pilot and aircraft passenger in Greece. A documents issued by the Ministry of Defence last year mentioned that a plane of Alitalia Airlines almost failed to land at Heathrow airport on 1991.

 UFO with cylindrical shape

At that time Achille Zaghetti, the pilot reported an unidentified flying object with cylindrical shape crossed with a distance of about 300 meters to the right side of the plane.

Source:
Beta UFO Magazine Vol. 16

Pic Source:
Beta UFO Magazine Vol. 16 page 5
05:27 | 0 komentar

Sirens

The Sirens depicted in various classical literature as the mythical creature with two forms: the appearance of half-woman half-bird, other sources said half-woman half-fish (mermaid), and with their magical song, they enchant the seafarer and fishermen. Every person who hears them singing will forgot everything and died of hunger. In the Age of Alexander (300 B.C.), it began to lose its bird shape, and by the Middle Ages, it was described as having a fish’s tail. By the end of the twelfth century, the Siren was considered synonymous with the mermaid. The myth of the sirens is one of the most enduring myths, among the sailors and seafarer it still exists even into the present day. Sources of classical literature about the Sirens can be found in Aristotle, Pliny, Ovid, Hyginus, Physiologus (2nd century A.D.) and medieval bestiaries.

In Greek mythology, the Sirens (the mermaid form) were the daughters of Phorcys, a Greek god of the sea. While the bird form, they were supposed to be daughters of the river Achelous by the nymph Calliope; and Ceres turned them into birds.

According to Homer (9th century B.C.), they were lived on an island between Aeaea, the Circe's home and the Scylla’s lair. Sirens, who once lived in a forest, near a rivebank, issued a challenge to the Muses in a singing duel, but sirens lost the challenge, whereupon they leaving their forest habitat, and took refuge on the rocky coast in southern Italy. Here they spent days so they could entice the wayfarer, only to devour them. This is where Odysseus encounter the Sirens.Several days before his encounter, Circe magical powers turned Odysseus' men into swine when they landed on Aeaea on their way home from Troy. Aided by Hermes, the messenger god, Odysseus was immune to Circe's magic and restored his crew to human form, and also gained the witch's aid for the next part of his joumey For a year he stayed as her lover, before she told him how to navigate through the waters of the Sirens and between Scylla, a monster, and Charybdis, a whirlpool. Scylla had been a rival of Circe, who had turned her into a monster when one of her many lovers had shown an interest in the unfortunate girl.

Circe had warned of the dangers caused by these creatures, urging Odysseus to close his men ears with wax after ordered him to bind his body with the strong rope to the mast of his ship. These men are allowed concentrate on rowing at the same time makes them immune to their magical song.


Odysseus and the Sirens (bird form), eponymous vase of the Siren Painter, ca. 480-470 BC

On the tympanum of the chapel of St. Michael d’Aiguilhe at Le Puy, the statue of the two-tailed sirens are dating from before the 10th century, and the siren-birds statue can be seen at Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire.


The two-tailed sirens

They may well be representations of the inferior forces in woman; or they could also be symbolic of the corrupt imagination enticed towards base ends or towards the primitive strata of life; or of the torment of desire leading to self-destruction, for their abnormal bodies cannot satisfy the passions that are aroused by their enchanting music and by their beauty of face and bosom. It seems that they are largely symbols of the ‘temptations’ scattered along the path of life (or of symbolic navigation) impeding the evolution of the spirit by bewitchment, beguiling it into remaining on the magic island; or, in other words, causing its premature death.

Sources:
A Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot;
Mysterious Creatures: “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart;
Seafaring, Lore & Legend: “A Miscellany of Maritime Myth, Superstition, Fable, and Fact by Peter D. Jeans;
The Encyclopedia of Mythology by Arthur Cotterell

Pic Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Odysseus_Sirens_BM_E440_n2.jpg;
A Dictionary of Symbols by J. E. Cirlot page 297
05:47 | 0 komentar

Falcon Lake Incident

One of the most famous UFO landings in Canada occurred on May 20, 1967. On that day, Stephen (Stefan) Michalak was exploring the wilderness near Falcon Lake, Manitoba in Canada when he saw two red cigar-shaped objects glowing in the sky. One of them suddenly descended 160 feet away. It was about 35 feet in diameter and he could see strange colored lights flashing inside when a door opened. The UFO appears to be hot stainless steel, whirring, hissing, and emitting purplish light from horizontal slits. He crept closer until he heard weird voices coming from inside. Thinking maybe it was an experimental Russian craft, he asked in Russian, “Do you speak Russian?” When he got no response, he tried five different languages and still there was no response. 

Michalak then decided to get closer. He walked right up to the craft and looked through the opening. He saw a bright “maze” of lights on a panel, all flashing in different sequences. Michalak accidentally touches the walls, causing the UFO to take off, blasting Michalak with hot gas that burns his shirt, undershirt, and chest. Almost immediately he started to feel very sick. He was rushed to the hospital where he began to suffer a number of alarming symptoms including a headache, diarrhea, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, hives, numbness, swelling of joints, eye irritation, and burns. He was unable to keep any food down and lost 22 pounds. His blood lymphocyte level decreased from a normal 25 percent to a dangerous 16 percent. More than 27 doctors examined Michalak, and the only explanation that seemed to fit was exposure to radiation.

The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) had an interest in Michalak's case and since they could not identify the landing site alone, on June 1, they asked Michalak to accompany them. But, Michalak could not find the exact location of the sighting, which also cast doubt on his claim. The RCMP also confirmed that he consumed several bottles of beer on the night before the incident. On June 26 Michalak was able to memorize the landing site and he found his personal stuffs that he had left in a hurry. However after the RCMP tested the soil for radioactivity, the result were negative.

 Falcon Lake Map

A month later, the RCMP officers and Michalak recovered a semicircle on the landing site, with diameter of 15 feet on July 28. There were radiation traces in a crack in the rock at site. However no traces of radiation were found outside the circle or the grass below the rock. The radioactive material that found in the rock was identified as radium 226, an isotope found in world wide for commercial use, and waste from nuclear power plants. They concluded that the radiation level is not harmful to humans in the landing site.

In 1999, Michalak died at the age of 83. The Canadian government stated that the Falcon Lake incident remain unsolved.

Sources:
Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena: “UFOs and Aliens” by Preston Dennett;
UFOs and Popular Culture: “An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth” by James R. Lewis;

Pic Source:
04:50 | 1 komentar

Archimedes' Burning Mirror

In the third century B.C. the Greek mathematician Archimedes laid down many of the principles which still guide engineering science today and created, perhaps, highly advanced and innovative military technologies which have been lost to history. There are several famous stories from ancient literature that speak of giant lenses or mirrors that were used in battle. The most interesting of these stories is that of the Greeks using a fearsome ‘Solar Mirror’ or also known as 'Burning Mirror,' which Archimedes had cooked up in Syracuse in 212-215 B.C., to incinerate the invading Roman naval fleet. He allegedly focused this giant solar mirror on the ships of the Roman fleet and set them on fire. Archimedes was credited with the naval victory, though the Romans eventually got the better of the Greeks in the long run.

In the words of Polybius, ‘the Romans … had every hope of capturing the city immediately if only one old man out of all the Syracusans could have been removed; but so long as he was present they did not dare even to attempt an attack …’ Beaten back with heavy losses, the Romans were forced to abandon their assault. Instead they opted to starve the city into submission, and launched an eight-month siege.

Bronze Statue of Archimedes at the Archenhold Observatory in Berlin

Finally, in 212 BCE, Marcellus was able to take advantage of a Greek festival in the city to sneak past the defences and breach the inland walls. Thus the immediate consequences of Archimedes’ genius may have been slight, merely delaying the fall of Syracuse for a year. But his legacy to science has been considerable; even that of his perhaps-mythical Burning Mirror, which helped to inspire the research into parabolic dishes that has led to today’s radio telescopes and satellite TV antennae.

Archimedes himself had little regard for the concrete but transitory products of his fertile genius.He preferred the realm of mathematics, where truth is eternal. Accounts of his death relate that, as the Romans poured into Syracuse and sacked the city, a soldier broke into Archimedes’ house and ordered him to report to Marcellus, but that he was too preoccupied with a mathematical problem and refused to come until it was completed, whereupon the soldier ran him through.

According to the 12th-century Byzantine historian John Tzetzes, supposedly paraphrasing the Roman historian Dio Cassius (155–235 CE), it was a hexagonal mirror (probably of polished bronze), surrounded by smaller square mirrors, the whole assemblage fixed to an armature. The mirrors gathered the rays of the sun and concentrated them into a laser-like beam, which ignited the Roman galleys from a distance, reducing them to ashes. Today Archimedes’ Burning Mirror is generally considered to be a myth, but early European scientists had mixed feelings about the tale.

In the 17th century Descartes dismissed the story as fantasy, but in 1747 George Louis LeClerc, comte de Buffon, claimed to have ignited a pine plank from 150 feet (45 metres), using an array of 128 mirrors. In 1975, Greek scientist Dr Ioannis Sakkas claimed to have used 60 mirrors held up by sailors to ignite a wooden ship from 160 feet (48 metres), while in 2002 a German experiment using 500 people with mirrors supposedly had similar success. In 2005 a group of MIT students conducted experiments using 30 cm square mirror tiles which is focused on a wooden ship at a range of 30 m. The flame burned small area of the ship. More recently, in 2010, the Mythbuster, carried out an experiment using 500 mirror which is aimed by school childrens at the Roman wooden ship as the target 120 m away, however the heat failed to reach 300 °C which is required for combustion to occur because of bad weather condition and it was concluded that the 'mirror' was a feasible weapon as long as the sky is cloudless, and the ship remained in stationary condition for around 10 minutes.

Even if the technology is feasible, this does not mean the story of Archimedes’ Burning Mirror is true, but perhaps it should not be dismissed out of hand. With or without the Burning Mirror, the genius of Archimedes was too much for Marcellus and the Roman army.

Sources:
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 24: “The Ancient Electricians” by David Hatcher Childress”;
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 60: “Document Reveals Archimedes’ Genius”;
Secret History: “Hidden Forces that Shaped the Past” by Joel Levy;
06:36 | 0 komentar

Mystery of the Pendle Witches Cottage

On December 2011, water engineers of the United Utilities were amazed as they unearth an old cottage from the 17th century in Pendle, Lancashire during a construction project, because they found a cat’s skeleton and bones on one of the room’s wall. Few days later archaeologists were asked to investigated the cottage which is located in the village of Barley near the Lower Black Moss reservoir. The local historian already speculated that the cottage could be the lost Malkin Tower, where the infamous Pendle Witches held a meeting on April 1612. In the early 16th century, when the Protestant Reformation began to restructure nearly all of Europe politically as well as religiously, witches were largely overlooked by the rulers of church and state who now struggled with the larger issues of the great division within Christianity. Then, after a time of relatively little persecution, the period of the great witchcraft craze or hysteria that many practicing witches and students of witchcraft today refer to as the “Burning Times,” occurred from about 1550 to 1650.

During the 17th century entire districts in several parts of Lancashire seemed disturbed by the presence of witches. If men and beasts were act strangely and suddenly ill, most likely they were under the witches charmed. The local justice court in one of the Lancashire’s district named Roger Nowell and Nicholas Bannister, having learned that Malkin Tower, the residence of Old Demdike and her daughter, was the witches meeting place, they want to arrest Old Demdike and her followers, and then to commit them to Lancaster Castle. On April 2nd 1612, Old Demdike, Chattox and her daughter Anne Redferne, were summoned to confess their witchcraft practices.

When Old Demdike had been sent to Lancaster, a grand meeting, was held by 17 witches and 3 wizards on April 6th 1612 the Good Friday at Malkin Tower, they were planning to kill Mr. M'Covell, the governor of the castle, and blow up the building, to enable the witches to escape from the castle easily. Friends and others sympathetic to the family attended, and when word of the meeting reached Roger Nowell, he decided to investigate. They were brought to trial on April 27th 1612 before they executed their plan and questioned them the real purpose of the meeting. Before the assizes, Old Demdike, worn out by age and died in prison.

The Pendle witch trials in 1612 are one of the famous witch trials case in the 17th century. There were twelve accused person related with witchcraft practice lived in Pendle Hill, Lancashire, and they all charged with the murder of ten people. The following names were known as the Witches of Pendle Forests:
• Alice Nutter
• Alison Device daughter of Elizabeth Device
• Anne Redferne daughter of Chattox
• Anne Whittle a.k.a. Chattox
• Elizabeth Device daughter of Demdike
• Elizabeth Southerns, a.k.a Demdike
• Isabel Robey
• James Device son of Elizabeth Device
• Jane Bulcock
• John Bulcock son of Jane Bulcock
• Katherine Hewitt a.k.a. Mould-heels
• Margaret Pearson

Ten of the accused were tried on August 18th to August 19th, 1612 along with the witches of Samlesbury. Their names were:
• Alice Gray
• Elizabeth Astley
• Ellen Bierley Daughter of Jennet Bierley
• Isabel Sidegraves
• Jane Southworth
• Jennet Bierley
• John Ramsden
• Lawrence Haye

And others that became known as the Lancashire witch trials in the Lancaster Assizes. One of the Pendle Witches was tried on July 27th, 1612 in York Assizes, while another one (Demdike) was died in prison. From eleven people in the trial of 9 women and 2 men were convicted guilty and hanged, the other one was found innocent and released by the court.

The ruins of the cottage that have been unearthed by the United Utilities workers

When the engineers were found the building on December 2011, it was contained a sealed room with a mummified cat hidden inside the brick wall. They also found a 19th century kitchen range in its original position. Many artifacts were discovered, such as crockery, a tin bath and a bedstead from Victorian era. Historians speculated the cat was probably placed in the walls at the beginning of the 19th century, and the room's with two doorways sealed up creating some kind of mausoleum. They still figure out what is the real purpose of the buried cat. Indeed, cat is always associated with witchcraft especially the black cat. However local people believed that if a cat was buried alive there it will protect the cottage's residents from evil spirits. Until the archaeologists fully investigate the site, the Pendle Witches Cottage is still a mystery.

Sources:
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Vol.2 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendle_witches;
http://www.pendlewitches.co.uk/;
http://www.unitedutilities.com/9126.aspx

Pic Sources:
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/57197000/jpg/_57197557_pendle.jpg
05:07 | 1 komentar

Treasure Galleons of 1715 Fleet

On July 24 the 1715 fleet set sail from Havana Harbor at sunrise, their hulls and sterncatles packed full of treasure. Unfortunately, on the sixth day of their voyage, luck ran out when a violent hurricane sank the eleven ships. The entire fleet was gone, three in deep water and the rest closer to shore up and down the wild and untamed eastern coast of Florida, from St. Augustine south to what is now Cape Canaveral. The stretch of the Florida coastline where the 1715 fleet met its end is known as the Treasure Coast because of the number of wrecks offshore, and the tendency for some of the scattered cargo to periodically wash ashore. The fleet lay untouched and unknown until 1955, when a building contractor named Kip Wagner took a walk along the beach of Sebastian, Florida. He stopped to look at some objects that had washed ashore and thought they were seashells, but quite unusual shells. He decided to scrape off the coating of one of the darkened objects and discovered that what he had were not seashells, but silver pieces of eight. Wagner did some research and realized he had found treasure from one of the sunken galleons of the ill-fated 1715 fleet.

The plate fleet of 1715 (this is because this fleet was carrying silver or plata in Spanish word) was one of the richest ever, owing to a unique set of circumstances. From 1701 until 1714 the War of the Spanish Succession had pitted Spain against other European powers – a state of war that extended to the high seas and made it dangerous for the fleet to attempt the crossing for fear of interception by an entire enemy fleet. For the previous two years the plate fleets had been kept in port, so that vast quantities of treasure had ‘backed up’ in the New World. The usual practice was for two treasure fleets to be sent to different parts of the Caribbean. The Nueva España flota would sail to Veracruz in Mexico (aka Nueva España), while the Tierra Firme flota would visit South American ports, of which Cartagena was the main stop. The two would load up and then rendezvous at Havana to sail back across the Atlantic in one armada, in good time to miss the hurricanes.

The 1715 fleet was supposed to be no different. Captain General Don Antonio de Echeverz y Zubiza, in command of the Cartagena fleet, arrived in Havana on schedule, his ships groaning with an amazing fortune of Bolivian silver and gold coins, chests of Colombian emeralds and sacks of finely worked Peruvian jewellery. By mid-March he was ready to sail, but his superior, Captain General Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla, was late. The Nueva España flota was still moored at Veracruz, awaiting tardy mule-train shipments from the Pacific coast, bearing the booty delivered by two years of Manila galleon traffic. In the meantime Ubilla lined his holds with staggering quantities of gold bullion and silver ingots and coins. Finally the mule-train arrived and disgorged its bounty of silk, spices, ivory, hardwoods, indigo dye and precious porcelain. Ubilla finally arrived in Havana in mid-May. To his dismay he was delayed still further. Every merchant in the New World had been waiting to ship cargo to Europe and the plate fleet represented their first chance for three years. All 11 ships in the combined fleet were stuffed to the gunwales with every bale and crate of merchandise possible. The Governor of Havana attempted to convince the two admirals to allow another ship – the Grifon, a French ship he had chartered himself – to join the convoy, a request that occasioned yet more wrangling before they assented.

The real delay, however, was caused by the remarkable saga of the queen’s dowry. King Philip V of Spain had recently lost his first wife, Marie Louise of Savoy, and his new bride, Isabella Farnese, Duchess of Parma, had reluctantly agreed to marry Philip before receiving a dowry, but refused to consummate the marriage until the full amount was delivered to her. So King Philip insisted that the plate fleet would not leave the Caribbean until the queen’s dowry – all eight chests of it – was loaded aboard and stored in Ubilla’s personal cabin.

Finally the great fleet weigh anchors and leave Havana on July 24. It was carrying over 14 million pesos in declared treasure (plus a substantial quantity of undeclared, smuggled loot – perhaps even more than the declared amount), worth, according to one estimate, £220 million ($418 million) in today’s money based on weight alone.

The plan was to strike north and ride the Gulf Current along Florida’s Atlantic coast until they reached the trade winds that would carry them across the Atlantic. At first they made good progress, but on 29 July they were becalmed and by the next morning the sea and sky took on an ominous cast. The sun struggled to break through a pervasive haze, while the sea rose in threatening swells despite the absence of any wind. The usual flocks of sea birds had vanished, and as the afternoon drew on the clouds gathered. Unbeknownst to the hapless sailors of the plate fleet, their northwards progress had shadowed the course of a huge cyclone brewing further out to sea. Now it changed course and swept westwards towards them – a full-blown hurricane, driving them towards the jagged reefs and shoals off the Florida coast.

Coins and jewelry recovered from the 1715 fleet

In the early morning of 31 July all 11 of the Spanish ships met their end. Ubilla’s flagship was the first to strike the reef. According to eyewitness accounts from survivors, it was picked up by a vast, 50-foot high wave and smashed onto the reef with such violence that the top half of the deck sheared off instantly. Soon the whole ship was smashed to splinters and the admiral and 223 of his crew were killed. The rest of the fleet soon followed, with the exception of the Grifon, whose captain had wisely sailed a more easterly course and left himself with enough weather room to ride out the storm. More than 700 men – possibly more than 1,000 – were drowned or smashed, and most of the precious cargo was scattered across the sea floor or plunged to the bottom amidst the wreckage. The only exception was the Urca de Lima, which was jammed fast against the bottom but survived relatively intact thanks to its sturdy hull. The survivors dragged themselves ashore and huddled together until the hurricane died down and the morning light revealed the full extent of the devastation. The wreckage and corpses littered 50 kilometres (30 miles) of Florida shoreline, between modern-day Fort Pierce and Sebastian Inlet.

In 1955 Kip Wagner was a local resident who had become interested in the tales of sunken treasure after finding coins on the beach near his home. He had first tried his hand at treasure hunting in 1949 but without success and then he formed the group of treasure hunters called the Real Eight Company. Among the members were his nephew Rex Stocker, and a group of divers who were officers and civilians stationed at nearby Patrick Air Force Base: Del Long, Colonel Dan Thompson, Lou Ullian, and Colonel Harry Cannon.

Around 1960, Wagner contacted Bob Marx. Who was living in Spain at the time and already had quite a reputation as a treasure hunter and marine archaeologist. Wagner asked Mrax to do research on the fleet at the Archive of the Indies in Seville, where the records of all treasure ships were kept. This was Marx’s first involvement with the 1715 fleet. He gathered a great deal of information on it and learned that there had been some survivors from the ships that were close to shore. Their firsthand accounts of the disaster helped the salvors find some of the wrecks. At this time, Marx only provided research on the 1715 fleet because he was pursuing other sunken ships.

Then, in 1963 Mel Fisher became involved when Wagner asked him to join, and Real Eight Company began operating as a full-time salvage company. Fisher also brought to the group Mo Molinar, an exceptional treasure hunter he had met in panama. By 1967, Bob Marx joined the crew to run four salvage boats for the company and three others for Mel Fisher. However, on 1972, Mel Fisher was pursuing the Atocha and Bob Marx, the Maravilla. The Real Eight Company experienced financial problems and they decided to sell to a group headed by former race car driver and Indianapolis winner Jim Rathman. Other members of the company, which became known as Circle Bar Salvage of Louisiana.

Marx remained involved with that group and then in 1981 he bought it from them. He then divided the wrecks with Mel Fisher, and the six wrecks that have been found are actively being salvaged by a number of subcontractors who are professional treasure hunters. John Brandon, one of the subcontractors, has been working on the 1715 fleet for more than 28 years and has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold, silver and jewels. Harold Holden has also been successfully salvaging treasure from the 1715 fleet’s wrecks for many years. Among his finds have been a gold locket at the end of a 10-foot-long braided gold chain valued at $850,000 and a gold box or picture holder with filigree doors valued at $1.5 million. In 1987, Holden, Brandon and Molinar found eight hundred gold coins worth $2.5 million. Many of these unusual and valuable items are now kept in Mel Fisher’s museums.

Marx says that one of the wrecks near Frederick Douglas Beach has produced the most coins. He estimates that from the time the first coins were found by Kip Wagner in 1955 to the present, at least $100 million in treasure has been salvaged and some of the gold coins are worth more each year.

Sources:
Lost Histories: “Exploring the World’s Most Famous Mysteries” by Joel Levy;
The Hunt for Amazing Treasures by Sondra Farrell Bazrod;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1715_Treasure_Fleet

Pic Sources:
The Hunt for Amazing Treasures by Sondra Farrell Bazrod page 150
05:32 | 0 komentar

Wendigo the Winter Cannibal Giant

Wendigo is a Native American name for a Winter Cannibal Giant in northern North America. The name derives from the Ojibwa language for “Wiindigoo”, originally used by the Algonquian Indians tribe of the northern forests, they believed that Wendigo were cannibalistic giants with supernatural powers, one of which was the ability to possess people and turn them into Wendigo. The creature has various name such as Weetekow, Weetigo (Cree/Algonquian), Wendego, Wetiko, Windegoag, Witigo, Witiko. Reported sightings came from Eastern and Central Canada; northeastern United States. Based on witnesses descriptions, they’re typically larger than a human but not too much, with height around 6–9 feet, sometimes they’re covered in matted white fur, and other descriptions characterize them as practically hairless. Often, especially in the north country, they are missing some of the body parts that are most vulnerable to frostbite: toes and parts of the ears and nose. The creature has red or black and staring eyes also has large fangs and claws. Seen most often in winter, and it can swim in cold rivers. Runs swiftly. Has a strident voice. Sometimes rubs its body with tree resin and sand. Eats people, especially children.

There’s plenty of lore claiming that the Wendigo can possess the spirits of hunters, jumping bodies, perhaps, when its own has started to break down. According to Algernon Blackwood’s story “The Wendigo”, originally published in 1910, a pair of hunters encounter a creature in the Canadian woods that they had hoped was only a legend. Blackwood’s Wendigo is a mystical creature, representing the lure of the wilderness. Its voice resembles the sounds of the wild – falling water, wind, the call of birds and beasts. Grasping its victim, the Wendigo runs at such speed that the poor victim’s eyes bleed and his feet burn. It can take great leaps or run along the tops of trees. It will fly, repeatedly dropping its prey, as a hawk drops a fish, over and over again until it is dead. If the victim of the Wendigo does return to civilization, it is as a shattered shell of the individual, his mind crushed by the terror of the dark woods.

As with many of the creatures brought to life in the pages of gothic horror fiction, Blackwood’s Wendigo is inspired by a beast already present in folk mythology. In this case, Blackwood draws upon the folk tales of the Algonquian tribe of Native Americans. In some versions of these tales, the Wendigo is an evil spirit that influences weak and susceptible individuals to engage in horrific behavior. Specifically, when facing extreme conditions and starvation, the Algonquians believed that the spirit of the Wendigo may transform an individual into a cannibal. The victim then becomes a Wendigo.

Steve Pitt describes the creature this way:
"It is something like a werewolf on steroids. It stands more than six metres tall in its bare feet, looks like a walking corpse and smells like rotting meat. It has long, stringy hair and a heart of ice. Sometimes a Wendigo breathes fire. It can talk, but mostly it hisses and howls. Wendigos can fly on the winds of a blizzard or walk across water without sinking. They are stronger than a grizzly bear and run faster than any human being, which is bad news because human flesh happens to be a Wendigo’s favourite food. A Wendigo’s appetite is insatiable. Indeed, the more it eats, the hungrier it gets." (Legion Magazine January/February 2003)

Loren Coleman suggests that Native American folklore has a layer of truth that should not be dismissed. Stories of Wendigo, he claims, may contain information about actual encounters between native peoples and a group of large, hairy hominids. He writes:
"In eastern North America, a specific variety of manlike hairy hominid allegedly exists which exhibit aggressive behavior, hair covering the face in a mask like fashion, occasionally piebald coloring, an infrequent protruding stomach, and distinctive curved, five-toed splayed footprints. They are inhabitants of the northern forests." (Coleman, Crypto, ‘Hominology Special Number 1,’ April 7, 2001)

Though these creatures were called by many different names by the various tribes, they are, according to Coleman, the beings described by the Algonquians as Wendigo. In Coleman’s examination of native folk tales a picture of the Wendigo begins to develop that looks more like a flesh-and-blood primate than like the mystical otherworldly being of Blackwood’s tale. The Wendigo that Coleman describes are large, hairy creatures with big hands and bear-like faces. They wear no clothes and do not employ the bow, instead using stones for weapons – hence the origin of the term ‘Stone Giants.’ They are cannibals, though it is unclear whether this means that they eat members of their own group or that they eat human prey.

Coleman suggests that accounts of human encounters with Wendigo can be found not only in native folk tales but also in stories told by early European settlers to North America. One such European encounter even comes from the pre-Columbian period:

"Leif Erickson wrote in 986 A.D. of encountering monsters that were ugly, hairy, and swarthy with great black eyes. In 1603, on Samuel de Champlain’s first voyage to eastern Canada, the local natives informed the explorer of the Gougou, a giant hairy beast that lived in the northern forests and was much feared by the Micmac. A London Times article of 1784 records the capture of hair-covered hominids by local natives, near Lake of the Woods, in south-central Canada. In the Boston Gazette of July 1793, a dispatch appeared from Charleston, South Carolina, May 17, 1793, concerning a creature seen in North Carolina. The account centers on Bald Mountain, where the local residents call it Yahoo, while the Indians give it the name of Chickly Cudly." (Coleman, Crypto, April 7, 2001)

Coleman, then, not only brings the Wendigo out of fiction and folklore to stalk the forests of eastern Canada, he also sees the creature as a biological creature, an undiscovered primate.

Sources:
Mysterious Creatures: “A Guide to Cryptozoology” by George M. Eberhart;
The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Demons, Spirits and Ghouls by Alex Irvine;
Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark;
Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs: “Mysterious Creatures, Lost Worlds, and Amazing Inventions” by Gregory L. Reece

Pic Source:
The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Demons, Spirits and Ghouls by Alex Irvine page 56
05:21 | 1 komentar

Doppelganger Phenomenon

A doppelganger also known as bilocation is an exact duplicate of a living person in whose company it appears. “Doppelganger” is a German term for “double-goer.” The doppelganger’s movements are a mirror of its companion’s; it is seemingly oblivious to eyewitnesses and does not utter a word. One theory is that a doppelgänger is the product of some kind of psychic phenomenon, such as telepathy or hallucination, existing in the mind of the person it is duplicating. The ability to be seen in two different places at the same time, was a talent shared by many saints in 17th century. In some cases, the doppelganger appears to be several years older than the person viewing it. To believers, this suggests that a doppelganger might be an image from the future. In Celtic folklore this phenomenon is known as the Fetch and there is belief that should you see your double, your death is imminent.

On rare occasion a person who is about to die sees his own wraith. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was said to have seen his own double in Italy shortly before he drowned a few days later during a storm in the Bay of Spezia.

John Aubrey, the 17th century antiquary and author, recorded a number of cases. An undated case from England tells of a Sir William Napier who while on a journey to Berkshire, stopped at an inn for the night and he was shocked to see a corpse on the bed in his room, and even more shocked to see that the corpse was himself! The vision vanished, but Napier died soon thereafter. Queen Elizabeth I was also believed to have viewed her own corpse just before her death.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the President of the United States and entered the White House. One night, shortly after his election, he looked into his bedroom mirror and saw a most alarming sight. He recalled: ‘My face had two separate and distinct images one of which was a little paler than the other one.’ After a while both images vanished without a trace and reappeared later the same night. And then he share his experience with his wife. After hearing about her husband’s experience, her wife, Mary Todd Lincoln told him she believed the paleness one was a bad omen and that Lincoln would serve his first presidential term but would not live to complete his second. The prediction proved to be true, on April 14th 1865, during his second term election as President, he was shot by John Wilkes Booth during a performance at Ford’s Theatre in Washington and died shortly afterwards.

However, not all appearances of doubles are death omens, many also believed that should you encounter such a spectre in the early morning you are assured of a long life. They may also be out-of-body projections.

One of the most prominent exponents was St. Martin de Porres, a 17th century priest who spent all his religious life in a monastery of the Holy Rosary in Lima. Although he never left Peru his figure was seen in Mexico, China, Japan, the Philippine Islands and France. A merchant, who had business to conclude in Mexico, visited the priest and asked for his blessing before he set off on his journey. But when the merchant reached Mexico City he fell ill. Lying in his bed he prayed for help and that night St. Martin appeared at his bedside and prescribed a medicine, after which he disappeared. On being restored to full health, the merchant returned to Lima and discovered that St. Martin had never left his monastery.

In May 1905 Sir Frederic Carne Rasch, the member of Parliament for the Chelmsford division of Mid-Essex, was suffering from an attack of influenza and unable to attend an important debate in the House of Commons. His colleague Sir Gilbert Parker, who knew his illness, was surprised when on looking around the chamber he saw Sir Frederic. He described his face as being ‘remarkably pallid’ and his expression as ‘steely’. Three other politicians, including the future Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, claimed to have also seen their colleague, who vanished before the vote was taken. When Sir Frederic finally returned to full health and resumed his parliamentary duties, he apologized to his fellow members for his ghostly appearance and said that he had been totally unaware of the incident.


“How They Met Themselves” painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This painting is inspired by the doppelganger or fetch phenomenon

The author John Cowper Powys also seems to have acquired the ability to bilocate. When he was living in America during the early part of the last century he would occasionally travel some 30 miles away from his home to visit his fellow writer Theodore Dreiser in New York. One night as he was leaving to catch his train to return home, he told Dreiser that he would appear to him later in the evening. A couple hours later Dreiser looked up from a book he was reading to see the form of Powys surrounded by a pale white glow standing in front of him. As Dreiser rose to greet him, the apparition vanished. Astonished by what he had seen, Dreiser immediately phoned Powys to discover that his friend was indeed back at his home in the Hudson valley.

The poet and author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was returning from Strasbourg when he saw coming towards him his own figure dressed in a grey suit. The apparition vanished before reaching him. Although Goethe was worried that this could be an omen of his imminent death, he went on to enjoy a long and eventful life. Few years later he was riding down the same road but this time in the direction of Strasbourg when he suddenly realized that he was attired in exactly the same suit of clothes that he had seen his ghostly double wearing. Is it possible that he have witnessed a vision from the future?

In Latvia, Emilie Sagee, a teacher who working at a finishing school for young ladies often seen by her pupils in two places in the school at the same time. On one occasion, while she was writing on the blackboard her class was astonished to see her double looking over her shoulder. At first neither the staff nor the headmistress believed any of these stories but when the sightings increased, they began to worry. One day the girls in Miss Sagee’s class were waiting for another teacher. Some of them looked outside the window and saw Miss Sagee picking flowers in the garden, then turned around to see her double standing in front of the class. Three of the girls approached the phantom and one of them even walked through the ghostly image which after a few minutes began to fade away.

There are number of theories which attempt to explain for the appearance of this phenomena. Many believe telepathy provide the answer, while other expert believe that astral projection could be another explanation. However none of the theories could provide satisfied explanation.

Sources:
Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena: “Ghosts and Haunted Places” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley;
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;
Paranormal Magazine Issue 54 December 2010: “Double Trouble” by John Stoker

Pic Source:
Paranormal Magazine Issue 54 December 2010 page 18
06:45 | 2 komentar

Mystery of the Bog Bodies

Bog bodies are often found in the peat bogs of Northern Europe, from Ireland and the United Kingdom to the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany over the past 300 years. The first recorded specimen was uncovered in 1791 in the Netherlands, and hundreds more have been discovered since then as peat in the ancient sphagnum bogs has been mined over the years. As diggers work their way through a level of peat, a shovel will hit something that feels different, or perhaps a hand will come tumbling out of the ragged mass of plant material. Further investigation in the surrounding peat can bring a whole body into view. Most of the corpses are those of ancient Europeans—Celts and Germanic tribesmen who lived in the northern forests while the Romans lived in the lands to the south. The majority of these bog mummies or bog bodies date to between the first century B.c. and the fourth century A.D., though the oldest dates from the Mesolithic period (about 10,000 years ago). They are commonly given names related to the locale where they are discovered.

There are also some medieval and modern examples. The astonishing preservative powers of the bogs have prevented the decay of these ancient remains so effectively that, although the skeleton does not usually survive, we have the skin, internal organs, stomach (sometimes including the remains of the last meal), eyes, brains, and hair. Bog waters are suffused with tannins (organic acids) and even aldehydes, which act to kill microorganisms, inhibit bacterial decomposition, and promote the preservation of soft tissues. So rich are bog waters in dissolved tannins from the plants within the bog that the waters are often stained brown by the tannin. This same brown appears in the skins of bog bodies. The ambient chemicals in a bog can act much like the tannin derived from bark that leather workers use to tan hides. The bog bodies are essentially tanned into leather by their immersion, which accounts for their leathery appearance as modern specimens. But how and why did these people meet their death in remote bogs thousands of years ago? One thing we do know is that a large amount of the bodies recovered show signs of extreme violence, including signs of torture and murder.

More than 80 bodies have been recovered from the bogs of Ireland in the past two centuries, seven of which have been radiocarbon dated. Unlike the rest of Northern Europe, the majority of these bodies belong to the late medieval or post-medieval period, though there are some from the Iron Age.

The earliest recorded find of a bog bodies in Europe is the Kibbelgaarn body in the Netherlands, unearthed in 1791. In the 19th and 20th centuries there were hundreds of discoveries made in Holland. Gallagh Man is one Iron Age example, radiocarbon dated to between 470 and 120 B.C., found by the O'Kelly family in 1821 at Gallagh, near Castleblakeney, County Galway. Gallagh Man was naked but a deerskin cloak tied at the throat with a band of willow rods, which may have been used as a strangling device. As with many other bog bodies that suffered violence, his hair had been cropped short. He may have been a criminal and suffered public execution, as the body had been staked to the ground with pointed wooden sticks, possibly to prevent his soul from escaping, a practice known from some Danish bog bodies.

In 1879 Huldremose Woman, found in a bog near Ramten, Jutland, Denmark, was discovered with two skin capes, a woollen skirt, a scarf, and a hair band. Examination of the body revealed the gruesome details that her arms and legs had been repeatedly hacked, one arm being cut completely off, before she was deposited in the peat. The woman met this brutal death sometime between 160 B.c. and A.D. 340.

Perhaps the most famous of these bog bodies is Tollund Man, found in May 1950, near the village of Tollund in Denmark, by two brothers cutting peat. When the men first glimpsed the face staring up at them, they thought it was a recent murder victim and immediately contacted the local police. But subsequent radiocarbon dating of Tollund Man's hair showed that he had died around 350 B.c. During the operation to remove the body from his resting place, one of the helpers collapsed and died of a heart attack. Perhaps, as the late Danish archaeologist P.V. Glob suggested, this was a case of the bog claiming a life for a life. Tollund Man's body had been arranged in a fetal position at the time of death, and was naked apart from a pointed skin cap and a hide belt. His hair had been cropped extremely short and there was stubble clearly visible on his chin and upper lip. A rope consisting of two leather thongs twisted together was pulled tightly around his neck, and it is believed that he was probably hanged or garroted using this rope.

Tollund Man

Tests on the contents of his stomach reveal that Tollund Man's last meal had been a kind of vegetable and seed soup. An interesting fact about the soup is that its ingredients were a mixture of various kinds of wild and cultivated seeds, which included such an unusual quantity of knotweed that it must have been gathered especially for the purpose. One possibility is that the knotweed was an important ingredient in a ritual last meal that was somehow part of a sacred execution rite. This possibility is also suggested by the careful arrangement of the body and the fact that his eyes and mouth had been closed.

In 1952, near Windeby in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, two bodies were found in a small bog. The first turned out to be male who had been strangled and then placed in the bog, the body held down by sharpened branches stuck firmly into the peat around him. The second body was that of a young girl of about 14 years of age, dating to the first century A.D. The girl had been blindfolded with a strip of cloth before being drowned in the bog, her body secured by a large stone and branches from a birch tree.

In 1978, the body of a girl aged between 25 and 30 was discovered in Meenybradden Bog, near Ardara, County Donegal, Ireland. The girl, with short cropped hair and eyelashes and eyelids still intact, had been wrapped in a woollen cloak and carefully placed in the grave. There was no evidence of violence on the body, which was radiocarbon dated to A.D. 1570. The cause of death, and why she was buried in the bog, is still a mystery.

Around 1980s, Lindow Man was unearthed. The body is naked but with an arm band made of fox fur and a thin rope around his neck. Lindow Man had been in his 20s when he died between A.D. 50 and A.D. 100. Examination of the body revealed that he had been hit twice on the crown of his head, probably with an axe, with sufficient force to detach chips of his skull into his brain. He had also been strangled using the leather garrote still remaining around his neck, and there was a gash on the throat, which may indicate that his throat had been cut. His hair had been trimmed (using scissors) two or three days before he met his death. The contents of his stomach included burned bread and traces of pollen from mistletoe, a plant sacred to the Celts. Celtic scholar and archaeologist Dr. Anne Ross believes that the threefold death suffered by Lindow Man, along with the blackened crust in his stomach, and the traces of mistletoe, suggest that the man was the victim of a Druidic sacrifice.

Two Irish bog bodies were found in 2003. The first was discovered in Clonycavan, County Meath, north of Dublin called the Clonycavan Man and the second in Croghan, County Offaly, just 25 miles away. Old Croghan Man, as he has become known, was in his mid-20s, a giant at around 6-feet 6-inches tall. He has been dated between 362 B.C. and 175 B.C.

Clonycavan Man, a young male around 5-feet 2-inches tall, dates from between 392 B.c. and 201 B.C. In common with other bog bodies, they appear to have been brutally tortured before their deaths, probably as ritual sacrifices. While Old Croghan Man's nipples had been cut and he had been stabbed in the ribs. A cut on his arm indicates that he had tried to defend himself during the attack. There were also holes in both his upper arms, where a hazel rope withy had been passed through to bind him. He was later decapitated and dismembered before being buried in the bog. In contrast to his violent end, Croghan Man's body revealed that he had well-manicured nails and relatively smooth hands, which indicate somebody who had probably never performed any manual work; perhaps he was a priest or a member of the aristocracy. Clonycavan Man suffered a massive wound to the head, caused by a heavy axe that shattered his skull, and also several other injuries on his body. One particularly distinctive feature was his unusual raised hairstyle, for which he had used a kind of Iron Age hair gel, actually a form of resin that had probably come from south-western France or Spain.

A more recent find from northern Germany, from Uchte, Lower Saxony, was at first thought to be the body of a teenage murder victim. But when scientists reexamined the body in January of 2005 it was identified as a young girl aged between 16 and 20, who had been deposited in the bog in about 650 B.C. She subsequently became known as the Girl of the Uchter Moor. Even her hair had been preserved, though archaeologists weren't sure whether it was originally blonde or black, as the peat turns all hair reddish.

Ned Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, has developed a theory to explain why 40 bodies discovered in Irish bogland were made along tribal, political, and royal boundaries. His belief is that the burials are offerings to fertility gods by kings to guarantee a successful reign. This is certainly a possible explanation for many of the Irish bog bodies, but what of the rest of Northern Europe? The variety of different ways in which many of these people were killed would suggest something more than murder, probably some kind of ritual sacrifice.

The ancient Roman historian Tacitus wrote Germania, a contemporary account of the German tribes in the first century A.D., in which he described the Germans' capital punishment of criminals and outcasts by staking them in the bogs. He mentions some interesting customs connected with crime and punishment in their culture, including how "cowards, shirkers, and those guilty of unnatural vices" were forced down into the bog under a wicker hurdle. He also states that adulterous wives were stripped naked, had their heads shaved, and were turned out of the house and flogged through the village. There are certainly indications from Tacitus that suggest that many of the victims in the bogs had broken some law or taboo of the society for which they were executed. It is obvious that there can never be one single explanation for the gruesome but compelling mystery of the bog bodies, considering the vast array of possible theories.

Sources:
Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs: “Soft Tissues, and Hard Sciences” by Phillip Manning;
Hidden History: “Lost Civilizations, Secret Knowledge, and Ancient Mysteries” by Brian Haughton

Pic Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tollundmannen.jpg
14:11 | 0 komentar

Assassins of Persia

Among the world’s most famous secret societies, the Assassins also known as the Hashshashin emerged out in the late eleventh century CE, were a secret brotherhood based in the impenetrable mountain fortress of Alamut and led by a charismatic Svengali-figure, Sheikh Hasan-i Sabbah. The name ‘Assassins’, believed to derive either from the name of their leader or from their alleged drug use (called the Hashish), was a derogatory one given the sect by its enemies. They called themselves the ad-dawa al-jadida, ‘the new doctrine’. They were told if they wished to return to paradise, they must swear absolute obedience to Hasan and carry out assassinations at his command. Under the influence of more hashish, the brainwashed acolytes became deadly killing machines, who could be directed at the sect’s enemies. They feared no danger when they were dispatched to kill targets chosen by their leader and they did play a major role in shaping the politics and power balance of the medieval world through terror and assassination. During their sinister reign they destabilised Persia, governed parts of Syria and performed contract killings for the crusaders.

Hasan i-Sabbah
Their origins lie in the turbulent and complex history of Islamic schisms, since they were a branch of the Isma’ili Shiite Fatimids. The Fatimids were a dynasty of Shiite Muslims who claimed descent from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, and therefore considered themselves to be rightful rulers of the Islamic Empire, rather than the Sunni Abbasid caliphate. The Fatimids started off in Yemen, but were constituted as a kind of secret society themselves. Their modus operandi was to send missionaries to lands outside their rule, where they would practise their faith in secret and seek to convert leading citizens, such as generals and rulers, and so take control (although they also made free use of armies, invasion and other more usual forms of conquest). By the 11th century their influence had spread as far afield as Spain, Sicily and Sardinia, and a Fatimid dynasty ruled large parts of North Africa and the Near East from Cairo.

The Assassins were a particularly fervent group of Fatimid missionaries, their founder, Hassan-i-Sabah, came from a Persian Shiite family but converted to the Ismaili sect after a long period of spiritual doubt. In 1078 he went to Cairo, then the center of Ismaili activity, and sought permission from the Caliph to spread the Ismaili faith in Persia. The Caliph agreed, but required that Hassan pledge to support the claim of the Caliph’s eldest son Nizar to the Caliphate. From this pledge came the formal name of Hassan’s order, the Nizaris.

In the years that followed, Hassan wandered Persia, teaching the Ismaili faith and winning converts. In 1090 he seized control of the fortress at Alamut, high in the northern mountains of Iran, and made it his center of operations. (According to Marco Polo, who visited Alamut in 1271, the stronghold included fabulous gardens, occupied by lovely women whom the reigning cult leaders used to good advantage.) From this impregnable base they developed their ideology and their power, becoming the Assassins of legend. For the Assassins, targeted murder of high-ranking members of inimical branches of Islam became a religious duty and a means of spreading their political and religious influence. There is no real evidence that they used drugs or brainwashing techniques, but they are believed to have gone about their sinister business with grim efficiency. Individuals or small cells of Assassins would infiltrate the hometown of the target and live there quietly for some time, disguised as tradesmen or religious ascetics. Observing the target carefully over time they would build up a picture of his movements and choose the right moment to strike. Usually they would carry out the assassination in public, often in the mosque during Friday prayers. The Assassins preferred to use a dagger, at close range, to minimise the chances of escape for the target. However, they took care not to injure anyone else and did not allow suicide, preferring to be killed by the victim’s guards.

Hassan imposed a strict hierarchy on his followers. Members of the lowest rank of the order, who carried out assassinations, had the title of fidai or devotee. According to medieval accounts, Hassan reinforced the loyalty of his followers with a clever trick. After completing a course of martial arts training, each fidai was given wine drugged with hashish, and taken into a hidden garden full of fruit trees, modeled on the paradise described in the Quran, where wine flowed in streams among gilded pavilions and lovely women provided every sensual delight. The fidai stayed there for a few days, until another dose of drugged wine returned him to his ordinary life. Convinced that Hassan had literally transported them to Paradise and back, the fidais readily risked their lives for him in the belief that death simply meant a one-way trip back to the garden.

In 1092 the Assassins claimed their first victim, Nizam al- Mulk, vizier for one of the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad. In 1094, two years after the Caliph died and Nizar’s claim to the succession failed, Hassan was strong enough to become an independent force, seizing additional mountain strongholds as far west as Syria and using these to extend his reach through the Middle East. Soon afterwards they made alliance with Ridwan, the ruler of Aleppo, in Syria, and for two decades became de facto rulers of the area. After Ridwan’s death, however, his successor Ibn al-Khashab drove them out of the area and thus made their list, meeting a sticky end at the point of an Assassin’s dagger in 1123.

The following year Hasan-i Sabbah died, but the sect continued to grow in strength through the early 12th century. His first two successors pursued his policies and made the Assassins a name to be feared throughout the Muslim world. The fourth head of the order, Hassan II, pursued a different course. After becoming Sheik of the order in 1162, he proclaimed himself the Mahdi, the prophet whose arrival marked the coming of the millennium, and abandoned Islam for a religion of his own invention centered on the teaching that “nothing is true, and everything is permissible.” After four years, he was murdered by his brother-in-law, but Hassan II’s troubled rule allowed the head of the Syrian branch of the Assassins, Rashid ad-Din Sinan known by his legendary title, ‘the Old Man of the Mountains’, to break free of Alamut’s control.

Syria at that time was divided between the Crusader kingdoms to the south and a Sunni Muslim kingdom centered on Aleppo in the north, and Sinan played these off against each other to maintain his own independence. By the late 12th century the Assassins in Syria had established

good relations with the Christian crusaders in the Levant, and in 1173 they briefly considered converting to Christianity, probably in order to benefit from favourable tax laws. However, Christians in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, jealous of their taxexempt status, objected, and negotiators sent by the Assassins were murdered. Relations were nevertheless maintained, and

in the Assassins the crusaders found a valuable ally against the Saracen king, Saladin. When the great Arab general Saladin (Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, 1138–93) took power in Aleppo, Sinan responded by ordering his death, but by this time Arab rulers had begun to learn Assassin ways and in 1175 Sinan’s agents failed twice.

In 1192 the Assassins became embroiled in the complex politics of the crusader kingdoms. Someone – historical speculation points to Richard I (the Lionheart) of England – hired them to polish off Conrad of Montferrat, king of Jerusalem. Conrad was a rival of Richard’s vassal Guy of Lusignan for the throne of Jerusalem.With support from Philip II of France and Leopold of Austria, Conrad replaced Guy as king in April 1192. His reign was short. On 28April he was returning from dinner at the house of a friend when he was set upon by two Assassins and stabbed to death. The sect continued to exert its sinister influence over Middle and Near Eastern politics until the mid-13th century.

After Sinan’s time, the Assassins moved away from their sectarian roots and became an organization of hired knives who killed for money. Like the rest of the Arab world, they were fatally unprepared for the arrival of the Mongol armies in the middle of the thirteenth century. Weakened in part by the depredations of the Assassins, the Abbasid caliphate was in no position to resist the marauding Mongol hordes. Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis and brother of Kublai, was dispatched to conquer Persia and crush the Assassins. In 1256 he arrived at the gates of Alamut with the largest Mongol army ever assembled, but was not called upon to test the fortress’s supposedly impregnable defences because the Assassin sheikh promptly surrendered in the misguided hope of receiving mercy. Hulagu razed the fortress to the ground, and by 1265 the last remaining Assassin strongholds in Syria fell to another invading army under the Mameluke sultan, Baybars I.

After nearly 200 years of secret influence the Assassins were finished as a power in the region, but the Nizari Isma’ilis lived on, eventually breaking up into several groups, some of which still exist today. The most prominent of these are the Qäsim-Shâhîs, or Khojas, best known through their leader, the Aga Khan, last descendent of the fearsome Assassin sheikhs.

Sources:
Secret History by Joel Levy;
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies by John Michael Greer;
The Encyclopedia of Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories by Michael Newton

Pic Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asabah2.jpg
06:03 | 0 komentar

Temple of Angkor


In 1860, Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist had gone to Indo-China in search of rare birds and insects. He didn't find rare birds or insects but found monumental highways, artificial waterways  and magnificently constructed towers. These he realized were not  ordinary buildings but were the remnants of a splendid civilization. Unfortunately Mouhot fell sick and died of tropical fever. His reports were passed on to others. And all the details arrived at one conclusion - that there  occurred a brilliant civilization. The minute details were later on discovered by the French government who set up an Exploration Commission. By 1885 they had worked up a chronology of the rulers and developed the outlines of a description of the civilization that had produced the wondrous city. They could document that Angkor had been constructed by a south-east Asian people, called Khmers. They developed militarily and technologically for 500 years. But the question which historians could not answer was that why these ancient peoples suddenly chose to abandon settlements that they labored so hard to build?

 Angkor Wat was built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century

The civilization began with the trade and other contracts between India and South East Asia. It took spiritual inspiration from India. And after a few years modern Kampuchea was formed. It was called Phnom or Funan which meant 'mountain'. The founder of the Funan, according to the Khmer tales was Kaundinya, a Brahman. He came to the shore where a young woman paddled out in her canoe to greet him. She was Queen Willow Leaf, ruler of the country and daughter of a serpent deity. She was against Kaundinya, so she seized his ship. But Kaundinya proved to be more powerful. He shot a magic arrow into her craft. The queen realized that she was no match for him. So she made peace with him and shortly afterwards the two married. And from their union were born the ancestors of Funan rulers and generations of Khmer rulers.

The kingdom progressed for five centuries and then around 550 A.D. the Funan Kingdom was overthrown by Jayavarman II. With him started the brilliant Khmer empire and a royal dynasty. This dynasty flourished for more than 600 years. Jayavarman, meaning 'protector of victory', was a military genius. He ruled for 48 years and unified the state and kept the state militarily strong. He set up a new capital on the mountain of Kulen. There he brought an Indian 'skilled in magic science' to exorcise all foreign demons and to establish the protection of his empire by Lord Siva. And to make his position all powerful, he declared himself as the God-king - the incarnation of Siva. The concept provided the mantle of legitimacy for 30 Khmer kings. It also became the inspirating force behind the feverish buildings which created the urban complex on and above the plain of Angkor. The civilization of Angkor was unique as it was a mixture of two influences—Indian and Javanese. It was built with sandstone and laterite, the rectangular structure (2,800 by 3,800 feet) faces west, in Hindu belief the direction taken by the dead when going to their next life.

Jayavarman created a hereditary office of high priest to assist in the task of administration. With him Jayavarman established a religious hierarchy to supervise every aspect of national life. Jayavarman was followed by his nephew Indravarman I. He ruled for 11 years and solidified his empire by building barrages and raised water storage lakes. With the facility of storage water, the condition of peasants improved. They could irrigate their land throughout the year. Indravarman's son and successor, Yasovarman I, also did much for the good of the kingdom. He constructed a funerary temple in the middle of a lake. He also created a stone pyramid and a barrage to the east of the royal city nearly 5 square miles in size.

Thus the construction work continued from generation to generation and the empire continued to prosper. Yasovarman was followed by Suryavarman who kept the torch of progress burning. Between 900 and 1200 Angkor achieved great prominence because of the rise of impressive temples in Angkor, including the famous temple that became known as Angkor Wat. It was built in the 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II who ordered it to be built. Suryavarman II, dubbed one of the greatest Khmer kings, was a warrior-king and launched many attacks on the Dai Viet, which was highly resilient and resisted subjugation. Suryavarman had gained the throne through the violent means of killing his great uncle, King Dharanindravarman. 

The architecture of Angkor Wat is in classical Khmer style. It was also a temple-mountain surrounded by a wide moat, crossed by a causeway on the east side. The state temple was dedicated to Vishnu, whom Suryavarman II considered the Protector of the Khmer empire, a departure from earlier rulers, who regarded Shiva as the protector of their kingdom. Five huge beehive-like towers dominate the skyline at Angkor Wat, while the long causeways and wide pools give a sense of freedom in space. This temple is considered the best example of Khmer architecture at its most refined state. Composing a half-square mile (200 hectares), Angkor Wat uses its massive proportions to astonish any visitor. Similar to large-scale monuments in Egypt, there is a long approach to the temple, an imposing entry foyer, followed by a center temple rising pyramid-like on three superimposed terraces. The external appearance resembles descriptions of Mount Vaikuntha, home of Vishnu.
But after his death, the Khmer empire entered a period of decline, primarily because there was no direct heir. The struggle for throne began. Jayavarman VII, (brother of the dead king) who was in exile came and took the reigns of the state into his hands. He gave new light to the kingdom—architecturally and politically. He built temples in memory of his parents—To Prohm and Preadh Khan. He also polished and completed the Earlier unfinished temples. He dedicated a temple to himself and the Buddha, called the Bayon. 

The Bayon represented changes in architectural construction. Compared with earlier temples, this temple is cluttered and its 51 towers make the profile difficult to understand. More unique and unusual is the sculpture with huge smiling faces, which is a representation of Jayavarman VII in the aspects of Buddha. He died in 1219 and from the 13 th century onward, no Khmer king undertook the construction something like that of Jayavarman VII. In addition to weak kings, many social and economic factors contributed in weakening the empire. With the weakening process already started in the 13th century, darkness finally engulfed the whole civilization in the 15th century. The city fell to the Siamese. The end came about in seven months and Siamese returned with much loot and plunder. Siamese returned next year. But by that time the entire city was deserted. There was no trace that a civilization ever flourished in the jungles of Angkor. Where did the people disappear? Why didn't the people with such a splendid civilization and culture fight back? These are some of the questions which are still inviting attention of the archaeologists and historians to carry out more research.

Sources:
Encyclopedia of World History Volume II: “The Expanding World 600 C.E. to 1450” Edited by Marsha E. Ackerman, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, and Mark F. Whitters;
Sacred Places Around The World: “108 Destinations” by Brad Olsen;
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Volume 2 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
World Famous Unsolved Mysteries by Abhay Kumar Dubcy

Pic Source:
Encyclopedia of World History Volume II: “The Expanding World 600 C.E. to 1450” Edited by Marsha E. Ackerman, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, and Mark F. Whitters page 234
04:18 | 0 komentar

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

In 1920s, the city of Chicago, Illinois, became a hotbed of organized crime activity to the extent that underworld violence and corruption have become indelibly associated with the city’s image around the world. Even Charles “Lucky” Luciano, boss of New York’s Mafia, described Chicago in the 1920s as “a goddamn crazy place.” The heart of the problem was Alphonse "Scarface" Capone and his endless war to suppress rival bootleggers. Funded by the enormous profits from bootlegging liquor during Prohibition, the Chicago gangs employed bribery and coercion of police, politicians, and the judiciary to operate with virtual impunity throughout the city and outlying suburbs. As their dominance of the city progressed throughout the decade, personal rivalry and competition led to increasingly brazen acts of violence, culminating in America’s most infamous gangland killing called the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre, in which seven affiliates of George “Bugs” Moran’s Northside gang were gunned down in the garage of a Clark Street trucking company.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

In 1919 following the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing the manufacture, transport, and sale of alcoholic, criminals across the nation set up operations for producing, smuggling, and distributing liquor. In Chicago, career criminal Johnny Torrio, taking a lesson from the oil, railroad, and steel industries, established a trust to control the illicit liquor trade. After arranging the murder of his boss and taking over his Southside gang, Torrio successfully divided the city into territories and fostered an uneasy cooperation among the gangs on mutually beneficial issues such as price fixing and bribery of officials. He discouraged the use of violence except as a last resort, but squabbles over territory and personal affronts led to an average of 30 gangland killings per year in Chicago during the early 1920s. Many of these were high-profile attacks in public places such as restaurants, flower shops, and street corners that drew considerable attention from the press and public but rarely resulted in convictions. Chicago recorded 703 gangland murders during Prohibition, while countless other victims disappeared on “one-way rides” or were slain in Chicago’s suburbs.

Torrio retired in 1925 after surviving an attempt on his life and left the operation to his protégé, Al Capone. With Torrio gone, several rivals attempted to increase their territories and profits, and the city saw a sharp escalation in violence, with the annual number of gang killings doubling to 60 in 1925–26. Al Capone proved to be at least Torrio’s equal in both business sense and brutality, and by 1927, he had established himself as the undisputed ruler of Chicago’s Southside underworld. Still, the killings continued at a high rate as a way to deal with witnesses, disloyal members within gangs, and hijackings of alcohol shipments by rivals. The latter infraction became a particularly contentious issue between Capone and the Northside gang headed by Bugs Moran.

Throughout 1928, Moran intercepted so many of the Southsiders’ deliveries that Capone allegedly brought in killers from out of town to end the problem. Their elaborate plan began with a neutral party selling Moran a shipment of premium Canadian whiskey at a bargain price and arranging for a second transaction at a trucking company owned by Moran. An intermediary offered the load to Moran, and delivery was scheduled for the morning of February 14, 1929— St. Valentine’s Day—at Moran’s primary warehouse on North Clark Street. Capone imported two members of Detroit’s Purple Gang to watch the garage and telephone a waiting strike team when Moran arrived. Unfortunately, the spotters had Moran’s description but no photograph. Around 10:30 A.M. on D-Day, they marked the arrival of a man resembling Moran and made the fatal call.

In fact, the visitor was actually Dr. Reinhard Schwimmer, a Chicago optometrist and “gangster groupie” who enjoyed spending time with the North Side crowd whenever possible. Also present were brothers Frank and Pete Gusenberg (Moran’s frontline enforcers), Adam Meyer (a bookkeeper and also Moran’s business manager), Albert Kachellek a.k.a. James Clark (Moran’s second in command), Albert Weinshank (Moran’s operation cleaner), and John May (Moran’s car mechanic). Moran had overslept and was running late to the meeting. As he approached on foot, shortly before 11:00 A.M., Moran saw a police car stop in front of his garage and fled the scene, thus saving his own life. Inside the garage, two men in police uniforms brandished weapons and ordered all present to stand against a brick wall. Next, two or three other men dressed in civilian garb entered the warehouse. Before the victims recognized their peril, a storm of fire from .45- caliber Thompson submachine guns cut them down. Two of the dead or dying men were also blasted in the face at close range with a sawed-off shotgun.

While Chicago had long suffered a reputation for vice and corruption even before the start of Prohibition, the cold and calculated nature of this mass murder drew the shocked attention of the nation. In any case, the massacre effectively destroyed the North Side gang. Commentators and politicians pointed to it as an indicator of everything from the failure of Prohibition to the dehumanization associated with modern urban living. Chicago officials responded by temporarily closing most speakeasies and gambling dens and by launching several independent investigations. They brought in Calvin H. Goddard, one of the leading experts in the little-known field of forensic ballistics, who tested several machine guns—some owned by criminals and some by the police—and finally matched two of the weapons to bullets from the murders.

One of the Tommy guns used on St. Valentine’s Day was found in December 1929 after police arrested hitman Fred “Killer” Burke in Michigan. Burke denied any part in the slaughter and was never charged with the crime, instead receiving a life sentence for the murder of a Michigan police officer. Police were able to partially untangle the weapons’ trail of ownership through several gangsters and gun dealers but could not definitively connect any of them to the massacre.

Goddard’s efforts ended lingering suspicions that the killers were actually corrupt Chicago officers, and the attention his methods received during the high-profile investigation helped establish ballistics as a reliable investigative tool. Several arrests were made, but in the end no one was ever tried or convicted for the St. Valentine’s murders, and the case remains officially unsolved.

Sources:
Disasters, Accidents, and Crises In American History: “A Reference Guide to the Nation’s Most Catastrophic Events” by Ballard C. Campbell;
The Encyclopedia of Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories by Michael Newton;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine%27s_Day_massacre

Pic Source:
http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Libby-Hellmann-on-The-St-Valentine-s-Day-Massacre/td-p/862368
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Moodus Noises

Moodus noises are underground rumbling sounds and tremors that have occurred for centuries near the Moodus River in Connecticut. In fact, the river’s name comes from Native Americans who inhabited the region and attributed these sounds and tremors to evil gods. They called the area Matchitmoodus, a Wangunk Indian name meaning “Place of Bad Noises.” The noises can be heard most strongly from Cave Hill, located next to Mt. Tom and owned by the Cave Hill Resort. The Puritans who settled in the region during the 1670s also heard the noises, but they attributed the phenomena to the devil. The swarms of tremors at Moodus, which recur periodically and whose cause is unknown, often compared to distant thunder or cannon fire, and the noises have long occurred there. While scientists have offered various theories as to what causes the quakes, no one is sure why they are so noisy and why they occur in that particular place and depth: about a mile deep in an area a few hundred yards wide.


According to local legend, the Wangunk created a religion around the noises, and they believe that the area was the dwelling place of a vengeful god called Hobbamock. They said the god is very angry because the Europeans had come to Connecticut. The Colonial settlers speculate that the noises is the fights between the white magic witches of Moodus and the black magic witches of Haddam. Usually the fights took place in a cavern lighted by a great carbuncle under Mount Tom. When the evil witches tired of the fights, he would blow the white witches out of the cavern, extinguishing light of the carbuncle and creating the great peals of thunder.

In 1760s the Moodus noises had caused so much concern. Even King George III of England sent an alchemist, Dr. Steel, to investigate and to find the source. Local people say that Dr. Steel attempted to solve the problem by removing a giant pearl blocking the mouth of a cave near the river. It is uncertain if Steel actually removed anything at the cave, but interestingly the noises and tremors became reduced and less frequent. However in 1816 and 1817 the tremors turned from little tremors into large quakes.

At that time the scientists and researchers concluded that the noises were caused by underground gases or chemical explosions. While scholars of the 20th century concluded that seismic forces were to blame as the source of the noises. But in 1980s, when scientists declared that the Moodus noises were nothing more than the micro earthquakes, the phenomena were still a matter of controversy.

Sources:
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/06/nyregion/a-steady-observer-for-trembling-moodus.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodus,_Connecticut

Pic Source:
http://www.city-data.com/city/Moodus-Connecticut.html#
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Cursed Stone of Glavendrup

Denmark is well supplied with runic inscriptions, in the village of Glavendrup on the central island Funen there is a huge rune stone with the longest inscription, and it has a curse on it. The Glavendrup Stone Ship and runestone are dates from the early 10th century, the middle of the Viking age. It has 60 meters or 67 yards long, and has a runic stone at its Western end. The runestone forms the end of a stone ship. There are other megaliths in the vicinity, including memorial stones with Latin characters from the early 20th century. In the stone ship, nine graves have been found, but they were all empty. The stone was found in 1794, narrowly missed being turned into building material in 1808, and finally placed where we can see it today in 1906. Glavendrup runestone is located a 15 minute drive Northwest of Odense Airport on Funen.

The Glavendrup Runestone

The inscription tells a story that the stone is dedicated to the memory of a man named Alle (Ali), and was placed there by his wife (Ragnhild) and sons, and blessed by the god Thor. It has been noted that Thor is the only Norse god who is invoked on any Viking Age runestones. And then it ends with a curse threatening to turn anyone who tampers with the stone or drags it away, into a “raete” (rita). Strangely enough present day rune experts have no idea what a “raete” is, but it is used as a threat in several other connections. However Ragnhild, wasn't just married to Alle, Ragnhild also had another runic stone made for another husband named Gunulf, known as the Tryggevaelde Runic Stone, carved by the same rune carver, Sote (Soti). The Tryggevaelde Runic Stone was originally placed near the East coast of Zealand but has been moved to the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen.

Here is the Old Norse translation from the inscription that carved on the Glavendrup stone:
A: Ragnhildr setti stein þessa eptir Ála sölva, véaliðs heiðverðan þegn.
B: Ála synir gerðu kumbl þessa eptir föður sinn ok hans kona eptir ver sinn, en Sóti reist rúnar þessa eptir dróttin sinn. Þórr vígi þessa rúnar.
C: At rita sá verði er stein þenna elti eða eptir annan dragi.

English translation:
A: ‘Ragnhildr placed this stone in memory of Áli the pale (?), the worthy thane of the véalið (‘army of the shrines’).
B: Áli’s sons made this monument in memory of their father, and his wife for her husband, but Sóti carved these runes in memory of his lord. May Thor consecrate these runes.
C: May he become a rita who removes (lit. ‘puts to flight’) this stone or distorts it after (i.e. for) someone else.’

According to McKinnell, Simek & Dwell (2004) this inscription is carved on the three sides of a very large reddish granite boulder (height 1.88 m, width of side A 1.42 m, of side B 1.59 m, of side C 55cm) that serves as the ‘prow-post’ of a ship-setting made of large stones. It is the longest surviving runic inscription in Denmark. The Ragnhildr who is named here also commissioned the Tryggevælde stone, Zealand, in memory of her (previous?) husband; it ends with a very similar curse, but does not include the dedication to Thor.

In C, rita (rata, ræta) may be interpreted as ‘sorcerer?’, and ‘to become a rita’ must mean something shameful along similar lines; this is at least implied by a connection with the term ergi ‘passive sexual perversion’ on the Saleby rune-stone. The definition of rita as a ‘pejorative term for an evil-doer’, a sorcerer (warlock) or ‘fiend’ is perhaps too mild a euphemism for what is meant. This kind of formula is found on a total of seven Danish runestones and although three of them are from Northern Jutland, there are also examples from Fyn, Zealand, Scania and Västergötland. The verbal form ailti (here 3rd pers. subj.) should probably be interpreted as ‘who damages’ or ‘who destroys’. It might possibly refer to removal and re-use of the stone for another similar monument.

In view of this, the end of the Glavendrup inscription might also be translated literally ‘or drags it away to commemorate someone else’; however this boulder is so massive that it would be very difficult to remove it physically.

Sources:
Gods and Mythological Beings in the Younger Futhark in Runes, Magic and Religion : A Sourcebook by McKinnell, J. and Simek, R. and Dwel, K. (2004);
Paranormal: Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 56 “Dane-lore: 10 of the Weirdest Sites in Denmark” by: Dr. Lars Thomas;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glavendrup_stone;
http://www.vikingdenmark.com/glavendrup-stone-ship-runic-stone-funen-denmark.html

Pic Source:
Paranormal: Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 56 page 23
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