Tag Archive: ancient mysteries

Jan 02

The Penokee Man

The Penokee Man
By Doreen Stadelman Wente

The world we live in is full of unexplained mysteries. From the Nazca lines to Stonehenge to cave drawings, people have marveled at and wondered about these objects for centuries. Northwest Kansas has its own mysterious object; the Penokee Man.

Located in the Solomon River Valley of Graham County, Kansas, the Penokee Man is constructed of cobble-sized limestone rocks. These rocks form the outline of a man 57 feet tall by 32 feet wide. The figure lies with his head to the west and legs to the east on what is locally known as “Indian Mound.” It is believed that the Penokee Man was originally constructed of about 168 stones. Today 122 remain. The stones are thought to have been quarried from the Ogallala Formation just a quarter of a mile away.

The Penokee Man is one of less than 10 figures found in the United States and Canada. A few others have been found between Kansas and Canada leading researchers to believe they were constructed by the Blackfoot Indians of Canada. These figures are believed to be between 200 and 500 years old. Arrowheads determined to be more than 500 years old have been found in fields near the Penokee Man.

The figures were discovered when the great plains were being settled. The Penokee Man is 250 miles further south than any other known stone figure and is by far the largest. Many of the other figures have been destroyed due to agriculture. The Penokee Man is the most well preserved.

In 1879, a paleontologist from Harvard journeyed to Kansas to study the figure and determine its possible origin and use. Because of the figure’s positioning in relation to the Indian beliefs regarding the cardinal directions, he felt the figure may have had religious importance. After closer inspection, it was found that the Penokee Man had over-sized genetalia and was possibly a symbol of fertility. The Blackfoot tribes, however, have a legend named Naape. According to Don Blakeslee, Wichita State University archeologist, “Naape is not the creator of the world, but a heroic figure who transformed the Earth to make it suitable for human beings. The Blackfoot in the north believe that is what he was doing when he got tired and laid on a hilltop. He spread out his arms and marked where he was with a series of boulders. The view when you are at the Penokee Man is that you can see 360 degrees on the horizon.” (1)

A final theory of origin was presented by Erich Von Daniken, a swiss author of the late 1960’s. Von Daniken believed figures such as the Penokee Man, Stonehenge, and the Great Pyramids are all calling cards left by extraterrestrial intelligence who visited earth in the past.

Although residents of the nearby unincorporated town of Penokee, Kansas will disagree with the alien theory, they do feel strongly that the Penokee man once had great significance. The figure is located on private land and due to its deterioration over the years, it is not advertised as a tourist stop. However, the local people are fond of their Penokee Man and will always offer up their theories about the mysterious figure to anyone who wishes to learn more about him and area history.

(1) www.kansas.com/ne…/special-reports/kansas-105/article1053942
(2) www.grahanhistorical.ruraltel.net/stoneman/stoneman.html
(3) www.hdnews.net
(4) www.tauycreek.com
(5) www.kshs.org/kansapedia/penokee-figure/12167

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Sep 24

The Paracas Candelabra, Peru

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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The Paracas Candelabra, Peru
By Stephanie Kelly

One of the world’s oddest and oldest mysteries is that of the Paracas Candelabra which is located in Pisco Bay, Peru. This unexplained geoglyph, also known as the Candelabra of the Andes, is approximately 650 feet long and estimated to be about carved into the hill at least 2 feet deep in most places. This man-made creation is large enough that it has, reportedly, been seen from up to 12 miles away by people viewing from both land and sea. The giant ground drawings have yet to be connected to any one civilization, but many artifacts have been located that confirm one or more civilizations residing around the Pisco Bay area.
It is not completely clear what these massive markings mean or what they are meant to look like or represent. It is also not clear when they were created but pottery that was found near this massive landmark were radiocarbon dated back to around 200 BC. Other items found at Paracas include paintings, etchings, and petroforms. Some of these items appear to depict animals and people along with different plants and what appears to be random shapes.
With all of the recorded unexplained geoglyphs, hieroglyphs and petroglyphs people wonder who made them. Could lease be special places or records for an unknown civilization? Would it be possible that these are actually markers and notes for tribes and civilizations that would migrate across the deserts?

Ancient Origins; The mysterious prehistoric geoglyph of the Paracas Canelabra – http://www.ancient-origins.net/…/mysterious-prehistoric-geo…
Heritage Daily; 8 Ancient Geoglyphs across the globe –http://www.heritagedaily.com/…/8-ancient-geoglyphs-a…/106304
World Atlas; Candelabra of the Andes – http://www.worldatlas.com/…/same…/attractions/candelabra.htm
The Basement Geographer; Geoglyphs of the Andes –http://basementgeographer.com/geoglyphs-of-the-andes/

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Aug 05

Is Akrotiri really Atlantis

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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Is Akrotiri really Atlantis
By Stephanie Kelly
Many have heard of the Quest for Atlantis; a, somewhat futile attempt to find this mysterious and lost city that many scientists and research refuse to give up on. The first, confirmed, mentions of the lost city of Atlantis was made in Timaeus and Critias by famous historian, Plato. Plato was well known between 424-328 BC and his story concerning Atlantis even had the Greeks split on its validity. Plato himself even states that the story of Atlantis was passed down to him from his grandfather who had heard it from a man in Athens. Plato also says that the Athenian had been told the story by an Egyptian priest. Though many factual stories have been passed down from generation to generation and society to society, Atlantis appears to have been lost without any evidence or finds connected to it reality.
We do know, from Plato, that Atlantis would of been a large island for the time located just past the Pillars of Hercules, commonly considered the Strait of Gibraltar. This island could of had at least 10 cities but the only two mentioned are Royal City and Metropolis. After the people of Atlantis had conquered Africa and Egypt and what is now modern day Italy they attempted to take Athens. Athens quickly defeated Atlantis and they were forced back by the Athena’s led army who also liberated the lands they had captured. Not long after the Atlanteans were forced back, the island was cursed with earthquakes and floods until it finally sank into a muddy sea. According to scholars, Atlantis would of met its end around 1,500 BC, possibly, according the information provided by Plato.
Now that we know the history behind Atlantis, let us fast forward to modern day research, developments and education. Currently in modern day Santorini lays an ancient town, known as Akrotiri, that appears to have faced the same horrific end as Pompeii. The only difference between Akrotiri and Pompeii is the lack of human remains since none have been find within the current excavation of the city. Akrotiri is confirmed as a Bronze Age settlement that left behind many artifacts such as pottery and jewelry that are currently housed as the Museum of Ancient Thira.
The museum appears to have items from Akrotiri that could just match some of what Plato says about Atlantis. Some of these items are fragments of items depicting African scenery and the Adorant Monkeys. The archeologists have been able to determine that the demise of Akrotiri was not sudden. This Aegean center could’ve easily had to deal with earthquakes and tsunamis until the final eruption would have hidden it forever.
Though many scientists, archeologists and historians of Italy believe that Akrotiri is Atlantis there are still many questions that have not been, and may never be, answered. What if we, as researchers, are overlooking the evidence? Could Akrotiri actually be Atlantis? Could Plato have completely made up this story to get people reading his writings? Could Atlantis of been real but Plato’s information is a little exaggerated or inaccurate because of the lack of written record?

History Channel; Atlantis – Facts & Summary –http://www.history.com/topics/atlantis
Smithsonian; Archaeology and Relaxation in Santorini –http://www.smithsonianmag.com/…/archaeology-and-relaxation…/
Santorini Museums – https://www.santorini.com/museums/
History & Headlines – 1600-1500 BC: Atlantis falls into the Ocean? –http://www.historyandheadlines.com/history-1600-1500-bce-a…/

Stephanie Kelly's photo.
Stephanie Kelly's photo.
Stephanie Kelly's photo.

Jun 02

The James Ossuary

Sara Fawley

Sara Fawley

Hello my name is Sara Fawley. I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca Oct 1965. I lived there until I was 19, then moved with my now ex-husband to Texas where I lived for the next 25 years. I have two grown sons who are married and have lives and families of their own. My current husband and I now live in a small town in Arkansas with our dachshund Shabar. I owned and antiques and collectibles shop but closed it down in September 2013 after having a heart attack. I still buy and sell antiques and collectibles and make handmade natural gemstone jewelry which we sell at shows and festivals. I don't recall ever not knowing that there was more than just us out there. My first experience happened when I was a young child and was visited by my godfather "Grandpa Clyde" at the time of his death and for three weeks after that. I have seen one other full bodied apparition in my life and had several other minor experiences that left me scratching my head.I am not an investigator but have a huge thirst for knowledge. I am always looking up this or that legend, myth or story I hear or sometimes I just have random thoughts and look them up to see if anyone else thinks the same way. I am very analytically minded and always like to get to the bottom of things.
Sara Fawley

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By Sara Fawley

What is an Ossuary?

Before we talk about the specifics of this artifact, let’s first talk a little bit about what an ossuary is. Ossuaries are small stone (usually limestone) chests in which the bones of the dead were placed after the flesh had decayed. They were very popular in the Jewish community during the Second Temple perior (40 BCE – 135 CE.) These “bone boxes” are generally 2 ½ feet long in order to accommodate the longest bone in the human body ( the adult leg bone.) They taper slightly at the bottom, have flat or vaulted lids and have designs chip-carved or chisled on the outsides. Some do have a red of yellow wash of paint but most decorations ( plants, buildings, animals) were carved. Many contain inscriptions carved on the side in either Hebrew, Aramic or Greek. The incription generally consisted of the name and status in the family of the person whose bones were interred. .

The emergence of the James Ossuary

In 2001 Oded Golan, a Tel Aviv antiquities collector, announced that he had possesion of a stone ossuary which bore the Aramic inscription “Yaakov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua” which translates in English to “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. Many biblical scholars and archeaologists went wild. Finally there was solid proof (albiet circumstancial) of the existence of Jesus of Nazereth’s existence. If then inscription held true, then this was the “bone box” of “James the Just” Apostle and brother to Jesus.

The inscription was validated by two of the world’s leading paleographers (experts in authenticating and dating inscriptions based on the shape and stance of the letters) Andre Lemaire of the Sorbonne and Ada Yardeni of the Hebrew University. The ossuary and inscription were also examined and authenticated by the Geological Survey of Isreal(GSI) and Father Joseph Fitzmyer ( the world’s leading expert in Aramic).

In October of 2002 the ossuary was displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. Thousands of sholars and the general public flocked to the museum to see it.

The Controversy

In 2003, Oded Golan and four other gentlemen were arrested and charged with fraud and forgery of antiquities including the James Ossuary. The ossuary was seized by the Israel Antiquities Authority and tested by a panel of experts appointed by the authority. This panel included Professor Yuval Goren clay expert at the University of Tel Aviv. Goren reported that he had found fake patina added to the “brother of Jesus” portion of the inscription and that it had been added to the ossuary at a later date than the original portion of the inscription. This was disputed by Mr Golan’s supporters.

The Outcome

In 2005 the trial of Oded Golan for fraud and forgery of many antiquites including the James Ossuary began. The trial 138 witnesses, more than 400 exhibits and over 12,000 pages of testimony. Both sides provided many experts for and against the authenticity of inscription. In 2012, after 7 years of trial, Oded Golan was aquitted of all forgery charges. He was convicted and fined for some lesser charges such as selling antiquities without a license.
What Does This All Mean?

So does this mean the James Ossuary is without a doubt the “bone box” of James the Just? Not necessarily. In the judgement handed down it was made clear that the judgement was in no way authenticating any of the artifacts in question. The judgement simply provides that the prosecution did not prove by a preponderance of evidence that Oded Golan participated or was aware of any forgery or fraud in connection with the named antiquities. Both sides of the issue still have their experts and scholars who stand firmly behind their argreement or objection to the aunthenticity of the artifact.

The bottom line is even if the inscription were proven to be 100 % authentic this does not necessarily mean that the James inscribed on the box is actually James the Just. James, Joseph and Jesus were all very common names in that time period. Many argue that the odds of there being another James who had a father named Joseph and a brother named Jesus in the same time period are astronomical but the fact remains that it is still a very real possibility. Without a provenance of where the box came from (Golan aquired it in the 1970’s but has always been evasive as to from where) we may never know.






Jun 02

Shin-Au-Av; Death Valley’s Underground City

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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By: Stephanie Kelly

Shin-Au-Av; Death Valley’s Underground City
Death Valley, California

For more than a hundred years there has been a legends of the “Ghost land”, also translated to “God’s Land” by the Paiute Native Tribe. According to this legend, Shin-Au-Av was created when Shin-au-av-akaits was told to take a sealed sacked to the middle of the land and open it. Shin-au-av-akaits was young and curiosity got the best of him. When he could wait no longer, he opened the sack allowing hordes of people to escape the sack into the desert. As these people began to run toward the mountains another Godly figure named Tov-wots yelled, rather angrily, “Why have you done this? I wanted these people to live in the land to the east, and here, foolish boy, you have let them out in a desert.” These people, in the legend, reportedly began to dig a tunnel in order to hide for safety. And those the legend of the Death Valley Underground City of Shin-Au-Av.

In 1947, this legend became reborn thanks to a report in the San Diego Union dated August 4. This article appears to mention everything from mummies, ancient markings, signs of an ancient civilization structure and even giants!
According to the article, a man by the name of Howard E. Hill spoke in front of the Transportation Club. Mr. Hill said that a man named Dr. F. Bruce Russell had locate tunnels underneath Death Valley in 1931 and now, with the help of Dr. Daniel S. Bovee, the tunnels are going to be explored and documented. Mr. Hill also stated that crews have removed mummies from the caverns along with giants that were estimated, at the site, to be 80,000 years old.

Howard Hill also stated that he found a ritual hall that had markings and devices similar to what was then being used by the Masonic Order. Along with those findings were, as he stated, remains of animals such as elephants and tigers but it lacked any female remains of any kind.

Mr. Hill ends his speech by stating that a Dr. Viola V. Pettit from London will begin an inspection of the remains.

To add to this legend, the next day, an article was posted in the Hot Citizen Nevada Paper titled ‘Expedition Reports Nine-Foot Skeletons’ in which it was stated that many people were skeptical of Hill’s claims. Even to this day there is question about the existence of Giants and hidden artifacts related to these underground tunnels along with many other places. Some view this as just an exaggerated story while others consider it to be evidence that there is more out there, and possibly being hidden, than citizens can even begin to figure out!


Message to the Eagle: 10 Great Ancient Mysteries of North America

Legends of America: The Hidden City of Death Valley –http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ca-deathvalleyundergroundci…

University of Pittsburgh: Paiute Creation and Original Legends edited by D. L. Ashliman http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/paiute.html

OOPARTS & Ancient High Technology; Ancient Civilizations, Giants, Tunnels Beneath Southern California – http://s8int.com/giants9.html

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Apr 19

Dermot and Grania’s Bed

Stephanie Kelly
Stephanie Kelly

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By: Stephanie Kelly

Dermot and Grania’s Bed, also known as Dunnamore, is a megalith located in Cookstown, County of Tyrone, Northern Ireland. This megalith appears to be made up of at least 6 slabs. All of these slabs range in height and width with the largest single stone being approximately 26 feet long.
This megalith was first documented, though briefly, by men of the names Westropp, Borlase and De Valera. In Westropp’s review of the site it appears that he believes it to be nothing more that a split rock. He appeared to be very set in his thinking that Dermot and Grania’s Bed was nothing more than a natural rock formation. Borlase appears to be unsure exactly what this stone formation is and only mentions its existence without giving a cause for it. De Valera and an associate take a difference stance. They stated that the site could be a “roughly built megalithic tomb” but also note that Westropp’s thought of it being a split rock was preferred.
Dunnamore is one of many megaliths that seem to still be a mystery. It does appears that this site has not had much excavation or research done to help determine its place in history. Many feel that this stone formations could date back to the Bronze Age though excavation and research have not been done to accurate date Dunnamore using today’s scientific testing.


The Megalithic Portal: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=6333351

Megalithic Ireland: http://www.megalithicireland.com/Dunnamore.htm

Clare County Library, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland:http://www.clarelibrary.ie/


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Jun 23

Dighton Rock

Samuel Sanfratello

Samuel Sanfratello

My name is Samuel Sanfratello (Sam). I am a NY state dual-certified Mathematics and Special Education teacher and a nationally certified Consulting Hypnotist. I am also the proud owner and operator of two companies: Monroe Hypnosis and Rochester Analytics. I am a 2nd generation Spiritualist (American Spiritualism) and a certified Medium with the Plymouth Spiritualist Church (the mother church of modern spiritualism). I am an organizer of the Rochester Paranormal Researchers, founded in 2007 and a lead investigator for the Paranormal Science Institute’s F.R.I.N.G.E team. In my spare time, I give back to my community by doing volunteer work for my church and for my local chamber of commerce. I became interested in the paranormal when I spoke with a spirit in my grandmother’s house in the early 1980s. I enjoy reading publications and scientific articles about the fringe sciences and I enjoy sharing these understandings with others.
Samuel Sanfratello

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Dighton Rock 001The Dighton Rock is a 40 ton boulder first discovered in 1690 and located in Berkley Massachusetts (once named Dighton). According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, it is an eleven foot high “glacial erratic” boulder “covered with petroglyphs, carved designs of ancient and uncertain origin” (mass.gov). The boulder was moved from the Taunton river and is currently located in the park adjacent to the river on Bay View Avenue.

A picture of the petroglyphs has been retrieved from Flikr and is noted as being from: page 564 of ‘Histoire des peuples du nord, et des Danois et des Normands. … Edition revue et augmentée par l’auteur, etc. traduit de l’anglais par P. Guillot’ by Author: WHEATON, Henry.  Contributor: GUILLOT, Paul – Avocat près la Cour Royale de Paris. Shelfmark: “British Library HMNTS 9425.d.12. Published in Paris 1844. Additionally, I’m providing a sharpened image from the photos taken by Delabarre.

There are many speculations about the meaning of the petroglyphs. Accounts vary on the depth of the markings; however, many agree that the markings are not deep and there appears to be little sign of weathering.

Aside from Native American inscription, one possibility suggested by Ezra Stiles in “The United States Elevated to Glory and Honor” is that the petroglyphs are written in Ancient Phoenician (Stiles 17). The Phoenicians are a subgroup of Canaanites that are largely credited for influencing early Greeks. A reference for the Phoenician alphabet can be found at:http://www.omniglot.com/writing/phoenician.htm.

A second possible theory was that there was a Norse influence; however, in comparison to the Runic alphabet, I see very few similarities aside from the symbol “X”, meaning “gift” in Elder Futhark. It is worth noting that in the same time frame the Viking discovery of America was very popular in America and the chief evidence of Viking Exploration, the Kensington Stone, and according to the National Museum of Natural History it “has judged the Kensington Stone to be a nineteenth-century creation” (vikinganswerlady) . Very few other petroglyphs (to me) appear to resemble the Runic alphabet. A reference for the several Runic Alphabets can be found here: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/runic.htm

Dighton Rock 002A third possibility is suggested by Edmund Delabarre that the Dighton Rock was carved by Miguel Cortereal in 1511 and contains a message of his ultimate fate. (Delabarre, 170). Cortereal was a Portuguese ship captain that explored the coast of Labrador and was believed to have been lost at sea in 1501. Delabarre provides photograph evidence in Figure 27 (with overlays) demonstrating areas where he believes he sees the name “Miguel Cortereal”. Interestingly, “Delabarre managed to photograph it in different degrees of light until he was able to make out the date of 1511 which had been obscured by Indian markings of a later time. His investigations led to the the discovery of two Portuguese brothers, Gaspar Cortereal, who explored the coast of Newfoundland in 1501 and did not return to Portugal, and his brother Miguel Cortereal, who set out the next year to search for him and also did not return. Further study of the photographs revealed a clear M followed by the less distinct letters IGU, and more letters from which he pieced together an inscription which read “Miguel Cortereal 1511 V Dei hic dux ind.” and translated this abbreviated Latin message, “by the will of God leader of the Indians. This supported an Indian tradition recorded by Reverend John Danforth in 1680 that men from a strange land had come up the river at an earlier time and had slain their sachem. A shield-like marking on the rock was interpreted as the insignia of Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal.” (Mitchell).

In the end, no one can say for certain who placed the petroglyphs of Dighton Rock or what they mean. The mystery of the rock has existed for hundreds of years and has inspired many different people to search out their own personal truth as to the meanings and origins of these mysterious markings.

Works Cited:
Debunking the Kensington Stone. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2015, fromhttp://www.vikinganswerlady.com/Kensington.shtml

Delabarre, E. (1928). Dighton rock; a study of the written rocks of New England,. New York: W. Neale. Availablehttps://archive.org/details/dightonrockstudy00dela

Dighton Rock State Park. (n.d.). Retrieved June 9, 2015, fromhttp://www.mass.gov/…/region-s…/dighton-rock-state-park.html

Mitchell, M. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Brunoniana | Delabarre, Edmund B. Retrieved June 10, 2015, from http://www.brown.edu/…/N…/Databases/Encyclopedia/search.php…

Stiles, E. (1783). The United States Elevated to Glory and Honor (1783). Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/etas/41/

Apr 30

The Green Children of Woolpit: the 12th century legend of visitors from another world

Courtesy of:  http://www.ancient-origins.net/

wool1The Children of Woolpit is an ancient account dating back to the 12th century, which tells of two children that appeared on the edge of a field in the village of Woolpit in England. The young girl and boy had green-hued skin and spoke an unknown language. The children became sick and the boy died, but the girl recovered and over the years came to learn English. She later relayed the story of their origins, saying they came from a place called St Martin’s Land, which existed in an atmosphere of permanent twilight, and where the people lived underground. While some view the story as a folk tale that that describes an imaginary encounter with inhabitants of another world beneath our feet or even extraterrestrial, others accept it as a real, but somewhat altered account of a historical event that merits further investigation.

The account is set in the village of Woolpit located in Suffolk, East Anglia. In the Middle Ages, it lay within the most agriculturally productive and densely populated area of rural England. The village had belonged to the rich and powerful Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.

The story was recorded by two 12th century chroniclers – Ralph of Coggestall (died c 1228 AD), an abbot of a Cistercian monastery at Coggeshall (about 26 miles / 42 km south of Woolpit), who recorded his account of the green children in the Chronicon Anglicanum (English Chronicle); and William of Newburgh (1136-1198 AD), an English historian and canon at the Augustinian Newburgh Priory, far to the north in Yorkshire, who includes the story of the green children in his main work Historia rerum Anglicarum (History of English Affairs). The writers stated that the events took place within the reign of King Stephen (1135-54) or King Henry II (1154-1189), depending on which version of the story you read.

The Story of the Green Children

According to the account of the green children, a boy and his sister were found by reapers working their fields at harvest time near some ditches that had been excavated to trap wolves at St Mary’s of the Wolf Pits (Woolpit). Their skin was tinged with a green hue, their clothes were made from unfamiliar materials, and their speech was unintelligible to the reapers. They were taken to the village, where they were eventually accepted into the home of local landowner, Sir Richard de Caine at Wilkes.

The children would not eat any food presented to them but appeared starving. Eventually, the villagers brought round recently harvested beans, which the children devoured. They survived only on beans for many months until they acquired a taste for bread.

The boy became sick and soon succumbed to illness and died, while the girl remained in good health and eventually lost her green-tinged skin. She learned how to speak English and was later married to a man at King’s Lynn, in the neighboring county of Norfolk. According to some accounts, she took the name ‘Agnes Barre’ and the man she married was an ambassador of Henry II, although these details have not been verified. After she learned how to speak English, she relayed the story of their origins.

A Strange Underground Land

wool2The girl reported that she and her brother came from the “Land of Saint Martin”, where there was no sun, but a perpetual twilight, and all the inhabitants were green like them. She described another ‘luminous’ land that could be seen across a river.

She and her brother were looking after their father’s flock, when they came upon a cave. They entered the cave and wandered through the darkness for a long time until they came out the other side, entering into bright sunlight, which they found startling. It was then that they were found by the reapers.


Over the centuries, many theories have been put forward to explain this strange account. Regarding their green colouring, one proposal is that the children were suffering from Hypochromic Anemia, originally known as Chlorosis (coming from the Greek word ‘Chloris’, meaning greenish-yellow). The condition is caused by a very poor diet that affects the color of the red blood cells and results in a noticeably green shade of the skin. In support of this theory is the fact that the girl is described as returning to a normal color after adopting a healthy diet.

With regards to the description of the strange land, Paul Harris suggested in Fortean Studies 4 (1998) that the children were Flemish orphans, possibly from a nearby place known as Fornham St. Martin, which was separated from Woolpit by the River Lark. A lot of Flemish immigrants had arrived during the 12th century but were persecuted under the reign of King Henry II. In 1173, many were killed near Bury St Edmunds. If they had fled into Thetford Forest, it may have seemed like permanent twilight to the frightened children. They may also have entered one of the many underground mine passages in the area, which finally led them to Woolpit. Dressed in strange Flemish clothes and speaking another language, the children would have presented a very strange spectacle to the Woolpit villagers.

Other commentators have suggested a more ‘other-worldly’ origin for the children. Robert Burton suggested in his 1621 book ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ that the green children “fell from Heaven”, leading others to speculate that the children may have been extraterrestrials. In a 1996 article published in the magazine Analog, astronomer Duncan Lunan hypothesised that the children were accidentally transported to Woolpit from their home planet, which may be trapped in synchronous orbit around its sun, presenting the conditions for life only in a narrow twilight zone between a fiercely hot surface and a frozen dark side.

The story of the green children has endured for over eight centuries since the first recorded accounts. While the real facts behind the story may never be known, it has provided the inspiration for numerous poems, novels, operas, and plays across the world, and continues to capture the imagination of many curious minds.

Original article here.

Feb 27

The Alaska Triangle

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

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alaThe Bermuda Triangle…it conjures up thoughts of what else…Bermuda. Sandy clean beaches, beautiful crystal clear water, fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas in them, tropical breeze blowing gently…what??? That’s not what you think of when you hear the words Bermuda Triangle??? So let me guess, you must think of strange vortexes that swallow up planes and ships with all occupants on board never to be heard from again. Well I wouldn’t and couldn’t blame you if in fact that is what you think about when those words are mentioned, but I bet you never thought of Alaska. Oh yeah you read that right, there is supposedly a Bermuda Triangle in Alaska, so for all purposes it is the Alaskan Triangle and has been doing the same type of damage for years…it just doesn’t get as much notoriety as its tropical counterpart.

So the Alaskan Triangle stretches well over hundreds of miles between the towns of Anchorage, Barrow & Juneau. It came to its most prominence over 20 years ago, 1972 to be exact, with the disappearance of a plane carrying prominent politicians House Majority Leader Hale Boggs and Representative Nick Begich along with the experience bush pilot. They searched for the 3 men for over 35 days and ended up calling off the search and declaring all men deceased. No trace ounce of evidence of them or the plane has ever been found and I don’t think there ever will be. Now some say that the infamous head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover was in fact responsible for covering leads to the missing men because of his hatred and constant battles with Boggs in the political arena. Now this type of political espionage and secret plots surrounds Washington more than any other government in this entire world.

There have been over thousands of recorded missing people in the Alaskan Triangle some either hiking or some flying they have all disappeared without a trace. Now it could easily be chalked up to the harsh climate of the Alaskan wilderness and it multitudes of wild animals willing to eat any potential human who gets lost on their way and the winds and weather in the mountains could easily down a plane without ever trying. So yes, it is quite possible to easily explain the rational to all these people going missing, but to find no trace of any plane or person in all the thousands if missing people cases associated in the area of the Alaskan Triangle, now that seems a bit odd to me. With the technology of today and we can find a single piece of material associated to a missing person leaves me a bit puzzled. Again, though like its counterpart in Bermuda no traces of the ships, planes or people have been either so it isn’t that farfetched after all I guess.

Could the discovery of a Huge Underground Pyramid in Alaska’s mysterious Bermuda Triangle region be the cause of thousands of missing people? On May 22 1992 Chinese Set Off Their Biggest Nuclear Explosion weapons testing program. A huge underground pyramid was identified during the ,Chinese underground test it was much larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza.

There are huge number of disappearances in Alaska, We are trying to figure out why, people are being abducted and not returned. Because so many go missing in Alaska, part of the wilderness has been called the Bermuda Triangle. Thousands of people go missing each year but is there really a mystery here?

According to their folk-lore there exists a man, known as Kushtaka who can shape-shift to an otter and has the ability to lure innocent people and trap them. This theory surrounded by the amount of missing persons list that the state puts up is enough to confirm and verify the truth about Alaska’s Bermuda Triangle. The region’s statistical data of 2,883 missing persons is adequate proof about the insolvability of Alaska’s Bermuda Triangle. The state ranks 50th among the nation’s population count.

Despite its supposedly ancient provenance, evidence of the black pyramid’s existence didn’t appear until 26 July 2012, when reporter and cattle mutilation expert Linda Moulton Howe announced its discovery on late night conspiracy radio talk show Coast to Coast AM. That evening, Moulton Howe broadcast a pre-recorded interview with Doug Mutschler, “a retired U.S. Army Counterintelligence Warrant Officer,” who provided many of the initial “facts” (those are sarcastic quotes) about the pyramid, and first alleged the site’s current connection with the U.S. military.

According to Mutschler, geologists had used the detonation to undertake a seismographic study of the earth’s crust, only to find “a pyramid structure larger than Cheops” underground, somewhere west of Mt. McKinley. Mutschler recalls that the local NBC affiliate ran a story announcing the structure’s discovery about 6 months after the detonation, but when Mutschler attempted to follow up with the station to get a copy of the story (evidently not as part of his duties at Fort Richardson) they denied that the story had ever run, and asserted that they certainly didn’t have a copy to provide. Mutschler then called relatives to track down copies of the story that had run on other stations, but apparently none had: the discovery only appeared on Anchorage’s Channel 13 (in case you need to add some numerological significance to the whole thing).

Douglas A. Mutschler gives proof of who he was and tells there is a Ancient Pyramid in Alaska bigger than the biggest one in Egypt. Located between Nome and Mt. McKinley. The Alaskan underground pyramid is HOT and HUMMING, an active underground base, run by who or for what reason? These are Questions that we are asking and want answers to!

From: Douglas A. Mutschler Subject: To Linda Moulton Howe, Pyramid under Alaska? Date: June 22, 2012 To: earthfiles@earthfiles.com My name is Douglas A. Mutschler CW2, USA (ret) and during my service tour in Alaska I was informed of a pyramid under the land in Alaska. There is other information concerning this that came to my attention after it was reported to us in 1992. I have tried to pass this info to others but have not heard any response to my information. I assure you I am telling you the truth about this and I think that this is being kept quiet by our government as the news was buried the very next day after it was brought to my attention. If you can help me get this info out to you please call me so I can talk to you about this. My phone number ——-. The whole story is pretty interesting and this can be verified with your contacts I’m assured of that, as I do not have them and came up with zero from the news people there. I’ll tell you the whole story if you are interested. I’ve only contacted a couple of people but have not heard back from any of them. I’m wondering if my emails are getting through to them or is this an old story that has no interest to news reporters?

Thank you for your time in this matter. Douglas A. Mutschler

So is there in fact a pyramid under Alaska? Is there truly a Alaska Triangle wrecking havoc in this world making people and planes disappear without a trace?





Feb 27

Dudleytown CT

Latest posts by Melissa Foker-Brinkman (see all)

Note from the Connecticut State Police: Those who go, or attempt to go to Dudleytown will be arrested for trespassing and/or parking. The fines start at $75.00 per person and rapidly increase.

Trees now grow through the cellar hole of a Dudleytown house.

Trees now grow through the
cellar hole of a Dudleytown house.

In northwestern Connecticut within the town of Cornwall, in the shadow of three mountains, lies the remains of Dudleytown. The small hamlet holds accounts of ghostly tales, demons, unexplained events, and curses coupled with over 400 years of British and American history — including ties to King Henry VIII, Horace Greeley, General Heman Swift, and General George Washington.

Today, only the cellar holes and a few foundations remain. The roads have become forest trails that hikers and ghost hunters still traverse, regardless of warnings of evils spirits, and many claim the woods become strangely silent — the birds and bugs that sing and call during a hike up to Dudleytown don’t follow into the hamlet.

Dudleytown was founded by Thomas Griffis, who was the first to settle in the area, but it was three Dudley brothers who moved there a few years later for whom the land would be named. It was these brothers who also allegedly brought over a curse from England that has plagued the land ever since.

The Curse
All Dudleys can trace their heritage back to a Saxon named Dudd, who was titled Duke of Mercia and died in 725 A.D. It was Dudd’s land that would eventually become the site of the Dudley castle.

An old English word for land was “leigh,” so the area was called Dudd’s leigh. Many centuries later, when the taking of a surname became necessary, some people took a name based on their occupation (such as Smith or Baker) and others took their surname based on the land they came from, i.e., Dudley.

The story and curse of Dudleytown actually begins in England in the year 1510. Edmund Dudley was beheaded for plotting to overthrow King Henry VIII. At the time of the beheading, a curse was allegedly placed on the Dudleys for their treason.

The curse states all Dudleys from Edmund Dudley’s lineage would find themselves surrounded by horrors. Edmund Dudley’s son, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, followed in his father’s footsteps and also tried to overthrow the crown by marrying his son, Guilford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey (the original “queen for a day”).

John Dudley’s third son, Robert, Earl of Leicester, left England to avoid losing his own head.

The Dudleys who would eventually settle in Dudleytown can trace their roots to William Dudley, who was born in Richmond, Surrey, England on September 11, 1608. His son, also named William, was born aboard a ship headed for America on June 8, 1639. William II’s son, Joseph, was born in Saybrook, Connecticut on September 14, 1674.

Joseph Dudley of Saybrook had 12 children, three of which would eventually settle in Dudleytown: Gideon (born 1706), Abiel (born 1710), and Barzillai (born 1725).

Dudleytown is Born
In October of 1737, the Connecticut General Assembly ordered the Act for the Ordering and Directing the Sale and Settlement of all the Townships in the Western Lands. The Act stated that 50 private parcels of land from many western Connecticut towns would be divided and auctioned off. The Cornwall auction began at 50 pounds per parcel.

Dudleytown Road as it looked in 2008

Dudleytown Road as it looked in 2008

In February of 1745, Thomas Griffis bought half a parcel of Cornwall land from Eleazer Whittlesey of Wethersfield, Connecticut. Today, Dudleytown looks much like it did when Thomas Griffis first walked into the land some 250 years ago. A very thick forest, incredibly rocky terrain, and in the shadow of three mountains: Bald Mountain, Woodbury Mountain, and The Coltsfoot Triplets. Because of the location and the dense, tall woods, the forest was given the ominous name of “Dark Entry Forest.” Lying in the shadow of three mountains also meant the town received little sunlight. During winters there are times when snow will be falling on Dudleytown and nothing will touch the ground just 1000 feet lower in the valley of Cornwall. The land was hard, and living there was even harder.

In 1748 Gideon Dudley moved from Saybrook, Connecticut and bought some land from Griffis to start a small farm. By 1753 Gideon’s two brothers, Barzillai and Abiel Dudley, from Guilford, Connecticut, also purchased land nearby as the area was starting to blossom into a hollow. A few years later, a Martin Dudley from Massachusetts also joined the clan.

Contrary to what some believe, Dudleytown was never actually a town. It was always part of Cornwall township. Dudleytown used the Cornwall church, town hall, and cemetery to conduct its spiritual and business affairs. The area was called Dudleytown because of the number of Dudleys who came to live in the area.

Cornwall township was a hard area to farm in. Isaac Stiles, who was an early resident of the area eloquently put it best: “Nature out of her boundless Store, Threw Rocks together and did no more.” To make fields suitable for farming, early Dudleytown pioneers had to contend with the rocky soil. Each stone had to be picked up and moved. The stone walls that were created by clearing the woods and fields are still standing in Dudleytown today.

The Troubles Begin
Living in Dudleytown was never easy. Many things went wrong for the people and for the land. Were all of the events unexplainable? Was there a high lead content in the drinking water? Did Native Americans sneak into the hollow and wreak havoc? Or did the Dudleys carry a centuries-old curse into the village?

The rocks in and around Dudleytown do contain a high level of iron and other metals. It is possible there was some lead in the drinking water on the hillside. This theory could explain some of the dementia that area residents experienced, but continued lead poisoning is always fatal and for more than a century people lived in Dudleytown. If the water was bad, residents would have moved away sooner.

It is also true that there were many Native American tribes who lived in the general vicinity of Dudleytown, including the Mohawk nation. Some battles of the French Indian War (1755 – 1763) also took place within 100 miles of Dudleytown. There was fallout from the Native Americans for several years after the war, and one set of Dudleytown residents met their fate at the hands of angered Indians.

In August of 1774, an unidentified epidemic struck the Adoniram Carter household in Dudleytown and killed the entire family. A second Dudleytown Carter family, The Nathaniel Carters, distraught from the loss, moved near Binghamton, New York where Indians took the life of Nathaniel, his wife, and their infant by tomahawk. The Carters’ other three children were kidnapped to Canada where two daughters were ransomed. The son, David Carter, remained with his captors, married an Indian girl, and eventually returned to the United States for formal education. David escaped the curse of Dudleytown and eventually went on to become a Supreme Court judge.

One of the more bizarre tragedies occurred to one of Cornwall’s more famous residents, General Heman Swift. General Swift served in the Revolutionary War under General George Washington. In April of 1804 his wife, Sarah Faye, was struck by lightning on their front porch and killed instantly. Shortly after his wife’s death, General Swift was reported to have gone “slightly demented.”

Horace Greeley, editor and founder of the New York Tribune and most famous for his quote, “Go West, young man,” married Mary Cheney, who was born in Dudleytown. The two met in a vegetarian boarding house, and their union ended when Mary Cheney took her own life in 1872, one week before Horace Greeley lost his bid for the presidency of the United States.

The next tragedy occurred near the very end of the 1800s to one of Dudleytown’s last residents, John Patrick Brophy. John Brophy’s wife died of consumption, and shortly after his two children mysteriously disappeared in the woods. The children vanishing could have been attributed to the fact that they were accused of stealing sleigh robes and wanted to run from the law. After losing his entire family, the Brophy home burned to the ground. Some have speculated that it was John Brophy who set the blaze. Regardless of how the fire started, John Brophy walked away from Dudleytown never to be seen again.

By 1899 Dudleytown was completely deserted. Children who grew up there married and moved away. The forest began to reclaim the land.

Dudleytown is Reborn
In 1920 Dr. William Clark, a cancer specialist from New York City, came to Cornwall for the quiet that the woods could provide. Dr. Clark fell in love with the surroundings and built a summer house there. In 1924, together with some of his friends and colleagues, Dr. Clark formed the Dark Entry Forest Association (DEF). “The Dark Entry Forest Association was formed as a nature preserve,” explains Dr. John F. Leich, former president and current shareholder of the DEF. “Dr. Clark wanted a place where he could bring his children and grandchildren in the summers.” The original charter stated the land would remain “forever wild,” a nature preserve for its members to enjoy.

During a summer in the mid-1920s, Dr. William Clark was called away to an emergency in New York City. His wife stayed behind and when he returned a few days later, she was alleged to have gone mad. Sources said something from the forest attacked her and left her completely insane. She lived out the remainder of her days in a mental hospital.

Theories Behind the Curse
Dr. John F. Leich, a resident of the Dark Entry Forest since 1952, claims that in his almost 50 years of experience in and around Dudleytown, there is absolutely nothing odd or paranormal about the place. “My wife and I have been spending summers here since 1952,” Dr. Leich said. “There are approximately 50 shareholders in the Dark Entry Forest Association and about 20 houses, and none of us have seen anything strange or supernatural.”

Reverend Gary Dudley, a Dudley family genealogist, believes there is no family connection between Joseph Dudley of Saybrook, Connecticut, and the cursed Edmund Dudley. “Edmund Dudley’s son, Robert, Earl of Leicester had two sons, and one was illegitimate,” Rev. Dudley said. “The legitimate son of Robert died too young to marry, and the other moved to Italy where he and his three children remained—there is no lineage between Robert and the Dudleys who eventually settled in Cornwall.”

Rev. Dudley believes Dudleytown’s “ghosts” may have been the work of human error: “The town produced a little flax and some rye, which is interesting because if rye is left to decay, the resulting mold is a hallucinogen. This makes me wonder if the ‘demons’ were the result of bad bread as opposed to actually being the devil’s work.” “Dudleytown became a town that was just trying to survive as opposed to grow and thrive,” Rev. Dudley concluded.

Ed Warren, noted demonologist and ghost hunter, believes Dudleytown was definitely cursed. “The Dudleys had an ancestor in England who was a judge and condemned many people to death for witchcraft,” Mr. Warren said. “The curse in Dudleytown started after the village became a thriving town. People went mad and reported seeing monstrosities in the forest—things that were unnatural.”

“Curse? What is a curse? Dudleytown is cursed in that it is a tract of land with an aura of disaster. Everyone left the town,” Ed Warren concluded.

Nancy Zeigler, co-author of the forthcoming book, Deadleytown, said, “The people living in the Dark Entry Forest have a vested interest in saying there is nothing up there. Well, if there’s nothing up there, then why do we get strange things on our photographs? I’ve been slapped across the face and scratched with no one standing there.”

The legends of the ghost stories seem to have started in the late 1940s. American men were returning from World War II, and everyone was doing pretty well financially. One theory is the legends were made up by young men who wanted to drive up Dark Entry Road with their girlfriends in the car and tell them a scary story.

Shannon from Manchester, CT (Last name withheld upon request):
“My boyfriend’s family moved to Sharon, CT in early 1998. His mother’s fiancé has lived in that area all his life and they had been telling me a little something about Dudleytown. I was kind of skeptical so I decided to check into it.

“Ever since I was little I have had this ‘feeling’ if you will. Many people don’t believe this but I can tell if someplace is ‘haunted’. There is a house in Manchester, CT where I live, that is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a little girl. She was tortured and handcuffed in a crawl space of the house and left there for dead. And I walked into the house and instantly got cold chills and my whole body temperature dropped. I could feel her there. She was following me around in the house.

“So when my boyfriend’s family told me about Dudleytown, I had a natural curiosity to find out if it was true or not. So the next time I went out to Sharon I asked them to show me where it was. They had told me stories about Dark Entry Road. My boyfriend’s mother, like myself, can feel the presence of a spirit. So she and I drove to the beginning of Dark Entry Road and got out of the car to see if we could feel anything. Sure enough the second I stepped out of the car I got the coldest chill and my body temp. just dropped. I could definitely feel something.

“There have been quite a few people I have talked to out in that area that have told me that the town doesn’t like you to get to familiar with it. And that if you do it will change on you. I have heard several people tell me a story about how they were driving through or walking through there, having made it a daily route to or from work, and they have seen this ‘mass’, this black-as-black-can-be mass that just follows you.”

Sarah, Connecticut resident (last name withheld upon request):
“I have had some strange experiences there. In July of 1998 my fiancé and I, as well as two other friends went up there to check out the so-called ‘curse’.

“Problems started as we pulled up Bald Mountain Road–we all felt this feeling — it was different for all of us. My friend, Jenn, felt stabbing pains in her stomach and my back got really tense, and the two others got a creepy feeling.

“Around 11:30 PM we parked our car next to the entrance to one of the trails leading into Dudleytown. We all got out of the car, grabbed the flashlights and cameras and started walking down the trail. We heard nothing. Dead silence. No wind, no animals…nothing.

“We walked only a few feet and we heard this noise. The sound is difficult to describe, but it sounded like a huge metal dumpster dragging against asphalt. At this point we were freaking out, but we kept going.

“When we got to the entrance, Jenn started reading the sign and all of a sudden I took the flashlight and shined it at the ground where we just walked and we saw the words in huge letters ‘NEVER RETURN…SATAN’.

“What really freaked us out was that, first off, the writing was fresh, like it was done about two minutes before we got there. Secondly, we drove over that spot but there were no tire tracks, and when we walked over it there were no footprints.

“We’re like, okay, this isn’t good, let’s go…so we left. There is definitely something there.”

Dudleytown Today
The Dark Entry Forest Association still owns most of the land that Dudleytown once stood on. There is a group of homes on Bald Mountain Road that are very secluded from main roads and the rest of civilization.

Regardless of whether there was ever a curse or not, Satanists and black witches are performing rituals in the area that was Dudleytown. Robin “Boston” Barron, a ghost hunter and Dudleytown historian, said, “I once saw the bloody spine of a cow lying in one of the cellar holes in Dudleytown. It was definitely part of some ritual.” Some rocks lying along the trails have been painted or carved with symbols, and several people have been arrested for lighting fires or trespassing in the area.

Recently, this past October, the DEF announced they would no longer allow hikers to go onto their land. The area that was Dudleytown is quiet again for the third time in its historic and colorful life.

The Cornwall Historical Society’s Website claims the following:

Myth vs. Fact
Dudleytown enthusiasts should note the following corrections and clarifications to Starr’s history and a few of the more popular Dudleytown myths (more corrections will be added as research continues):

MYTH: The Dudleys of Cornwall were descended from cursed English royals.
FACT: The Dudley family of Cornwall has no connection to English nobility.

MYTH: Horace Greeley’s wife, Mary Cheney, grew up in Dudleytown and later committed suicide because of the Dudleytown curse.
FACT: Mary Cheney Greeley never lived anywhere in Cornwall. She and the rest of the Cheneys lived in Litchfield. Visit the Litchfield Historical Society’s website for more information.

MYTH: Abiel Dudley was driven insane by the Dudleytown curse.
FACT: Abiel Dudley did not go insane. His neighbors described him as “distracted” and unable to care for himself beginning around 1756 or earlier. In their 1771 petition to the Connecticut General Assembly for reimbursement for taking care of him, Dudley’s neighbors made no mention of anything unusual about him or his mental incapacities. They noted that he never had any wealth, only land that he did not cultivate.

MYTH: General Heman Swift was driven insane by the Dudleytown curse.
FACT: General Heman Swift lived to be 81 years old; if, as Starr suggests, he suffered from dementia in his later years, natural causes seem far more likely than supernatural ones.

MYTH: General Swift’s wife was killed by supernatural forces in the form of lightning.
FACT: Swift’s wife, Sarah, was indeed killed by lightning in 1804; however, this was not an uncommon occurrence in the 1800s, when many houses were not protected by lightning rods. Newspapers from all over the country, throughout the 19th century, had frequent accounts of dramatic lightning strikes rolling through living rooms and kitchens.

MYTH: John Patrick Brophy’s wife died under mysterious circumstances, their children mysteriously vanished, and Brophy was driven insane by the curse.
FACT: In the original version of the story, in Starr’s History of Cornwall, an unnamed Irish laborer suffered a series of misfortunes: his wife died of consumption (a common cause of death in the 1800s); his sons left town after they were caught stealing; and his house burned down. None of these events can be attributed as supernatural. In later retellings, the Irish laborer’s name is sometimes John Brophy, sometimes Patrick, sometimes other generic Irish names.

MYTH: A Polish immigrant named Joseph Matyas was one of the last residents of Dudleytown and was driven insane by the curse.
FACT: Starr referred to an unnamed “solitary Pole” who “failed to make good, lost his farm, and removed.” No mention of insanity was included in the original story. A few retellings have assigned the name Joseph Matyas to this man, while others have left him nameless (while embellishing the story with a surprising amount of detail, considering that his identity is unknown). It seems unlikely that Starr was referring to Matyas, as he lived in Cornwall with his wife and children long after Starr’s book was published (and was Hungarian, not Polish).

MYTH: Dr. William C. Clarke moved to Dudleytown and built a rustic cabin for himself and his wife. One day, Dr. Clarke was called back to New York City for an emergency, leaving his wife alone in Dudleytown. When he returned, he found that his wife had become completely insane and spent the rest of her life in an insane asylum.
FACT: This is perhaps the strangest piece of misinformation in Starr’s History of Cornwall, which relates that Dr. William Clarke’s wife slowly lost her mind before committing suicide, and that Dr. Clarke left Cornwall forever. However, Dr. Clarke continued to live in Cornwall, as do his descendents. The true story of Dr. Clarke can be found in our history of Dark Entry Forest Inc. We don’t know why Starr chose to include a somewhat cruel and very fanciful story about the death of Dr. Clarke’s wife. Perhaps he chose to sacrifice truth for the sake of telling a romantic story that might help the sale of his book; or perhaps he simply didn’t do enough research.

MYTH: The name “Dark Entry Forest” was chosen because the forest is haunted.
FACT: The name “Dark Entry” does not and never was intended to have ominous overtones. It is actually a fairly common name, found in several other towns.

MYTH: There are no birds or other wildlife in Dark Entry Forest (Dudleytown).
FACT: There are just as many birds singing in the Dark Entry Forest as there are in any other forested area of Connecticut. In fact, Cornwall has one of the largest and most diverse populations of breeding birds anywhere in the country.

Photos by: Jeff Belinger

Dudleytown CT: The Story of a New England Ghost Town; (Jeff Belinger; http://www.ghostvillage.com/legends/dudleytown.shtml; 01/17/2008)


Feb 27

Avebury Stones

Courtesy of: http://sacredsites.com/


Ninety miles west of London and twenty miles north of Stonehenge stands Avebury, the largest known stone ring in the world. Older than the more famous Stonehenge, and for many visitors far more spectacular, the multiple rings of Avebury are cloaked with mysteries which archaeologists have only begun to unravel.

Similar to Stonehenge and many other megalithic monuments in the British Isles, Avebury is a composite construction that was added to and altered during several periods. As the site currently exists, the great circle consists of a grass-covered, chalk-stone bank that is 1,396 feet in diameter (427 meters) and 20 feet high (6 meters) with a deep inner ditch having four entrances at the cardinal compass points. Just inside the ditch, which was clearly not used for defensive purposes, lies a grand circle of massive and irregular sarsen stones enclosing approximately 28 acres of land. This circle, originally composed of at least 98 stones but now having only 27, itself encloses two smaller stone circles. The two inner circles were probably constructed first, around 2600 BC, while the large outer ring and earthwork dates from 2500 BC. The northern circle is 320 feet in diameter and originally had twenty-seven stones of which only four remain standing today; the southern circle is 340 feet across and once contained twenty-nine stones, of which only five remain standing.

The construction of the Avebury complex must have required enormous efforts on the part of the local inhabitants. The sarsen stones, ranging in height from nine to over twenty feet and weighing as much as 40 tons, were first hewn from bedrock and then dragged or sledded a distance of nearly two miles from their quarry site. These stones were then erected and anchored in the ground to depths between 6 and 24 inches. The excavation of the encircling ditch required an estimated 200,000 tons of rock to be chipped and scraped away with the crudest of stone tools and antler picks (there is some evidence that this ditch was once filled with water, thereby giving the inner stone rings the appearance of being set upon an island). From excavation and soil resistivity studies it is known that the three rings originally contained at least 154 stones of which only 36 remain standing today. There are three reasons for the disappearance of these stones. In the 14th century, and perhaps earlier, the local Christian authorities, in their continuing effort to eradicate any vestiges of ‘pagan’ religious practices, toppled, broke up and buried many stones. Later, in the 17th and 18th centuries, still more of the remaining stones were removed from their foundations. Crops could then be planted in these areas and the massive stones could be broken into smaller pieces to be used for the construction of houses and other buildings.

ave1In the early years of the 18th century, however, the general outline of the Avebury temple was still visible. Dr. William Stukeley, an antiquarian who frequently visited the site in the 1720’s, watched in dismay as the local farmers, unaware of the cultural and archaeological value of the ancient temple, continued with its destruction. For over thirty years Stukeley made careful measurements and numerous drawings of the site, drawings that are today our only record of both the immense size and complexity of the ancient temple. Stukeley was the first observer in historical times to clearly recognize that the original ground plan of Avebury was a representation of the body of a serpent passing through a circle and thus forming a traditional alchemical symbol. The head and tail of the enormous snake were delineated by 50-foot wide avenues of standing stones, each extending 1 and 1/2 miles into the countryside. One of the avenues terminated at another stone ring known as the ‘sanctuary’. Continuing his explorations and mapping of the countryside surrounding the stone serpent, Stukeley gathered evidence that the sacred complex of Avebury included many other massive earth and stone monuments.

Only 1500 meters south of the main Avebury rings stands Silbury Hill, the largest, and perhaps the most enigmatic, of all megalithic constructions in Europe. Crisscrossing the surrounding countryside are numerous meandering lines of standing stones and mysterious underground chambers, many positioned according to astronomical alignments. Perhaps the most astonishing revelations of Avebury’s ancient grandeur have come through the recent research of John Michell, Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller. Drawing upon legends and folklore, archaeological excavations and dowsing, these specialists have determined that the Avebury temple was part of a vast network of neolithic sacred sites arranged along a nearly two-hundred mile line stretching all across southern England. Positioned directly on this line are the great pilgrimage sites of Glastonbury Tor and St.Michael’s Mount. The length of time for the main continuity of use of the Avebury complex throughout the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age was, according to present dating studies, around 2300 years. This lengthy span of time and the vast size of the whole complex give testimony to the fact that the Avebury temple was perhaps the most significant sacred site in all of Britain, if not the entire continent of Europe. And what of its use? Various conjectures have been made but it is premature to speak with any certainty. To fathom the mysteries of Avebury will take some years still. Only since the 1980’s has there occurred the essential meeting of science and spirit, of archaeology and intuition that may unlock the secrets of this wondrous place.

Source: http://sacredsites.com/europe/united_kingdom/avebury.html


Feb 27


Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

Latest posts by Todd Wayne Knipple (see all)

r1Rongorongo is a system of glyphs discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island that appears to be writing or proto-writing. It cannot be read despite numerous attempts at decipherment. Although some calendrical and what might prove to be genealogical information has been identified, not even these glyphs can actually be read. If Rongorongo does prove to be writing, it could be one of as few as three or four independent inventions of writing in human history.

Two dozen wooden objects bearing Rongorongo inscriptions, some heavily weathered, burned, or otherwise damaged, were collected in the late 19th century and are now scattered in museums and private collections. None remain on Easter Island. The objects are mostly tablets shaped from irregular pieces of wood, sometimes driftwood, but include a chieftain’s staff, a bird-man statuette, and two reimiro ornaments. There are also a few petroglyphs which may include short Rongorongo inscriptions. Oral history suggests that only a small elite was ever literate and that the tablets were sacred.

Authentic Rongorongo texts are written in alternating directions, a system called reverse boustrophedon. In a third of the tablets, the lines of text are inscribed in shallow fluting carved into the wood. The glyphs themselves are outlines of human, animal, plant, artifact and geometric forms. Many of the human and animal figures have characteristic protuberances on each side of the head, possibly representing ears or eyes.

Individual texts are conventionally known by a single uppercase letter and a name, such as Tablet C, the Mamari Tablet. The somewhat variable names may be descriptive or indicate where the object is kept, as in the Oar, the Snuffbox, the Small Santiago Tablet, and the Santiago Staff.

Etymology and variant names

Rongorongo is the modern name for the inscriptions. In the Rapa Nui language it means “to recite, to declaim, to chant out”.

The original name—or perhaps description—of the script is said to have been kohau motu mo Rongorongo, “lines incised for chanting out”, shortened to kohau rongorongo or “lines [for] chanting out”. There are also said to have been more specific names for the texts based on their topic. For example, the kohau ta‘u (“lines of years”) were annals, the kohau îka (“lines of fishes”) were lists of persons killed in war (îka “fish” was homophonous with or used figuratively for “war casualty”), and the kohau ranga “lines of fugitives” were lists of war refugees.

Some authors have understood the ta‘u in kohau ta‘u to refer to a separate form of writing distinct from Rongorongo. Barthel recorded that, “The Islanders had another writing (the so-called ‘ta‘u script’) which recorded their annals and other secular matters, but this has disappeared.” However, Fischer writes that “the ta‘u was originally a type of rongorongo inscription. In the 1880s, a group of elders invented a derivative ‘script’ [also] called ta‘u with which to decorate carvings in order to increase their trading value. It is a primitive imitation of rongorongo.” An alleged third script, the mama or va‘eva‘e described in some mid-twentieth-century publications, was “an early twentieth-century geometric [decorative] invention”.

Form and construction

r52The forms of the glyphs are standardized contours of living organisms and geometric designs about one centimeter high. The wooden tablets are irregular in shape and, in many instances, fluted (tablets B, E, G, H, O, Q, and possibly T), with the glyphs carved in shallow channels running the length of the tablets, as can be seen in the image of tablet G at right. It is thought that irregular and often blemished pieces of wood were used in their entirety rather than squared off due to the scarcity of wood on the island.

Writing media

Except for a few possible glyphs cut in stone. all surviving texts are inscribed in wood. According to tradition, the tablets were made of toromiro wood. However, Orliac (2005) examined seven objects (tablets B, C, G, H, K, Q, and reimiro L) with stereo optical and scanning electron microscopes and determined that all were instead made from Pacific rosewood; the same identification had been made for tablet M in 1934. This 15-meter tree, known as “Pacific rosewood” for its color and called mako‘i in Rapanui, is used for sacred groves and carvings throughout eastern Polynesia and was evidently brought to Easter Island by the first settlers. However, not all the wood was native: Orliac (2007) established that tablets N, P, and S were made of South African Yellowwood and therefore that the wood had arrived with Western contact. Fischer describes P as “a damaged and reshaped European or American oar”, as are A (which is European ash, and V; notes that wood from the wreck of a Western boat was said to have been used for many tablets; and that both P and S had been recycled as planking for a Rapanui driftwood canoe, suggesting that by that time the tablets had little value to the islanders as texts. Several texts, including O, are carved on gnarled driftwood. The fact that the islanders were reduced to inscribing driftwood, and were regardless extremely economical in their use of wood, may have had consequences for the structure of the script, such as the abundance of ligatures and potentially a telegraphic style of writing that would complicate textual analysis.

Oral tradition holds that, because of the great value of wood, only expert scribes used it, while pupils wrote on banana leaves. German ethnologist Thomas Barthel believed that carving on wood was a secondary development in the evolution of the script based on an earlier stage of incising banana leaves or the sheaths of the banana trunk with a bone stylus, and that the medium of leaves was retained not only for lessons but to plan and compose the texts of the wooden tablets. He found experimentally that the glyphs were quite visible on banana leaves due to the sap that emerged from the cuts and dried on the surface. However, when the leaves themselves dried they became brittle and would not have survived for long.

Barthel speculated that the banana leaf might even have served as a prototype for the tablets, with the fluted surface of the tablets an emulation of the veined structure of a leaf. Practical experiments with the material available on [Easter Island] have proved that the above-mentioned parts of the banana tree are not only an ideal writing material, but that in particular a direct correspondence exists between the height of the lines of writing and the distance between the veins on the leaves and stems of the banana tree. The classical inscriptions can be arranged in two groups according to the height of the lines (10–12 mm vs. 15 mm); this corresponds to the natural disposition of the veins on the banana stem (on average 10 mm in the lower part of a medium-sized tree) or on the banana leaf (maximum 15mm).

Direction of writing

Rongorongo glyphs were written in reverse boustrophedon, left to right and bottom to top. That is, the reader begins at the bottom left-hand corner of a tablet, reads a line from left to right, then rotates the tablet 180 degrees to continue on the next line. When reading one line, the lines above and below it would appear upside down, as can be seen in the image at left.

However, the writing continues onto the second side of a tablet at the point where it finishes off the first, so if the first side has an odd number of lines, as is the case with tablets K, N, P, and Q, the second will start at the upper left-hand corner, and the direction of writing shifts to top to bottom.

Larger tablets and staves may have been read without turning, if the reader were able to read upside-down.

Writing instruments

According to oral tradition, scribes used obsidian flakes or small shark teeth, presumably the hafted tools still used to carve wood in Polynesia, to flute and polish the tablets and then to incise the glyphs. The glyphs are most commonly composed of deep smooth cuts, though superficial hair-line cuts are also found. A glyph is composed of two parts connected by a hair-line cut; this is a typical convention for this shape. Several researchers, including Barthel, believe that these superficial cuts were made by obsidian, and that the texts were carved in a two-stage process, first sketched with obsidian and then deepened and finished with a worn shark tooth. The remaining hair-line cuts were then either errors, design conventions (as at right), or decorative embellishments.Vertical strings of chevrons or lozenges, for example, are typically connected with hair-line cuts. However, Barthel was told that the last literate Rapanui king, Nga‘ara, sketched out the glyphs in soot applied with a fish bone and then engraved them with a shark tooth.

Tablet N, on the other hand, shows no sign of shark teeth. Haberlandt noticed that the glyphs of this text appear to have been incised with a sharpened bone, as evidenced by the shallowness and width of the grooves. N also “displays secondary working with obsidian flakes to elaborate details within the finished contour lines. No other rongo-rongo inscription reveals such graphic extravagance”.

Other tablets appear to have been cut with a steel blade, often rather crudely. Although steel knives were available after the arrival of the Spanish, this does cast suspicion on the authenticity of these tablets.


The glyphs are stylized human, animal, vegetable and geometric shapes, and often form compounds. Nearly all those with heads are oriented head up and are either seen face on or in profile to the right, in the direction of writing. It is not known what significance turning a glyph head-down or to the left may have had. Heads often have characteristic projections on the sides which may be eyes, but which often resemble. Birds are common; many resemble the frigatebird which was associated with the supreme god Makemake. Other glyphs look like fish or arthropods. A few, but only a few, are similar to petroglyphs found throughout the island.


Oral tradition holds that either Hotu Matu‘a or Tu‘u ko Iho, the legendary founder(s) of Rapa Nui, brought 67 tablets from their homeland. The same founder is also credited with bringing indigenous plants such as the toromiro. However, there is no homeland likely to have had a tradition of writing in Polynesia or even in South America. Thus Rongorongo appears to have been an internal development. Given that few if any of the Rapanui people remaining on the island in the 1870s could read the glyphs, it is likely that only a small minority were ever literate. Indeed, early visitors were told that literacy was a privilege of the ruling families and priests who were all kidnapped in the Peruvian slaving raids or died soon afterwards in the resulting epidemics.

Dating the tablets

Little direct dating has been done. The start of forest-clearing for agriculture, and thus presumably colonization, has been dated to circa 1200, implying a date for the invention of Rongorongo no earlier than the 13th century. Tablet Q is the sole item that has been carbon dated, but the results only constrain the date to sometime after 1680. A Glyph representing an island palm is thought to represent the extinct Easter Island palm, which disappeared from the island’s pollen record circa 1650, suggesting that the script itself is at least that old.

Texts A, P, and V can be dated to the 18th or 19th century by virtue of being inscribed on European oars. Orliac (2005) argued that the wood for tablet C was cut from the trunk of a tree some 15 meters (50 ft) tall, and Easter Island has long been deforested of trees that size. Analysis of charcoal indicates that the forest disappeared in the first half of the 17th century. Roggeveen, who discovered Easter Island in 1722, described the island as “destitute of large trees” and in 1770 González de Ahedo wrote, “Not a single tree is to be found capable of furnishing a plank so much as six inches [15 cm] in width.” Forster, with Cook’s expedition of 1774, reported that “there was not a tree upon the island which exceeded the height of 10 feet [3 m].”

All of these methods date the wood, not the inscriptions themselves. Pacific rosewood is not durable, and is unlikely to survive long in Easter Island’s climate.

1770 Spanish expedition

In 1770 the Spanish annexed Easter Island under Captain González de Ahedo. A signing ceremony was held in which a treaty of annexation was signed by an undisclosed number of chiefs “by marking upon it certain characters in their own form of script.”

Several scholars have suggested that Rongorongo may have been an invention inspired by this visit and the signing of the treaty of annexation. As circumstantial evidence, they note that no explorer reported the script prior to Eugène Eyraud in 1864, and are of the opinion that the marks with which the chiefs signed the Spanish treaty do not resemble Rongorongo. The hypothesis of these researchers is not that Rongorongo was itself a copy of the Latin alphabet, or of any other form of writing, but that the concept of writing had been conveyed in a process anthropologists term trans-cultural diffusion, which then inspired the islanders to invent their own system of writing. If this is the case, then Rongorongo emerged, flourished, fell into oblivion, and was all but forgotten within a span of less than a hundred years.

However, known cases of the diffusion of writing, such as Sequoya’s invention of the Cherokee syllabary after seeing the power of English-language newspapers, or Uyaquk’s invention of the Yugtun script inspired by readings from Christian scripture, involved greater contact than the signing of a single treaty. The glyphs could be crudely written Rongorongo, as might be expected for Rapa Nui representatives writing with the novel instrument of pen on paper. The fact that the script was not otherwise observed by early explorers, who spent little time on the island, may reflect that it was taboo; such taboos may have lost power along with the tangata Rongorongo (scribes) by the time Rapanui society collapsed following European slaving raids and the resulting epidemics, so that the tablets had become more widely distributed by Eyraud’s day. Orliac points out that Tablet C would appear to predate the Spanish visit by at least a century.


Easter Island has the richest assortment of petroglyphs in Polynesia. Nearly every suitable surface has been carved, including the stone walls of some houses and a few of the famous mo‘ai statues and their fallen topknots. Around one thousand sites with over four thousand glyphs have been catalogued, some in bas- or sunken-relief, and some painted red and white. Designs include a concentration of chimeric bird-man figures at Orongo, a ceremonial center of the tangata manu (“bird-man”) cult; faces of the creation deity Makemake; marine animals like turtles, tuna, swordfish, sharks, whales, dolphins, crabs, and octopus (some with human faces); roosters; canoes, and over five hundred komari (vulvas). Petroglyphs are often accompanied by carved divots (“cupules”) in the rock. Changing traditions are preserved in bas-relief birdmen, which were carved over simpler outline forms and in turn carved over with komari. Although the petroglyphs cannot be directly dated, some are partially obscured by pre-colonial stone buildings, suggesting they are relatively old.

Several of the anthropomorphic and animal-form petroglyphs have parallels in Rongorongo, for instance a double-headed frigatebird on a fallen mo‘ai topknot, a figure which also appears on a dozen tablets. McLaughlin (2004) illustrates the most prominent correspondences with the petroglyph corpus of Lee (1992). However, these are mostly isolated glyphs; few text-like sequences or ligatures have been found among the petroglyphs. This has led to the suggestion that Rongorongo must be a recent creation, perhaps inspired by petroglyph designs or retaining individual petroglyphs as logograms (Macri 1995), but not old enough to have been incorporated into the petroglyphic tradition. The most complex candidate for petroglyphic Rongorongo is what appears to be a short sequence of glyphs, one of which is a ligature, carved on the wall of a cave. However, the sequence does not appear to have been carved in a single and the cave is located near the house that produced the Poike tablet, a crude imitation of Rongorongo, so the Ana o Keke petroglyphs may not be authentic.


Eugène Eyraud, a lay friar of the Congrégation de Picpus, landed on Easter Island on January 2, 1864, on the 24th day of his departure from Valparaíso. He was to remain on Easter Island for nine months, evangelizing its inhabitants. He wrote an account of his stay in which he reports his discovery of the tablets that year: In every hut one finds wooden tablets or sticks covered in several sorts of hieroglyphic characters: They are depictions of animals unknown on the island, which the natives draw with sharp stones. Each figure has its own name; but the scant attention they pay to these tablets leads me to think that these characters, remnants of some primitive writing, are now for them a habitual practice which they keep without seeking its meaning. There is no other mention of the tablets in his report, and the discovery went unnoticed. Eyraud left Easter Island on October 11, in extremely poor health. Made a fully fledged priest in 1865, he returned to Easter Island in 1866 where he died of tuberculosis in August 1868, aged 48.


In 1868 the Bishop of Tahiti, Florentin-Étienne “Tepano” Jaussen, received a gift from the recent Catholic converts of Easter Island. It was a long cord of human hair, a fishing line perhaps, wound around a small wooden board covered in hieroglyphic writing. Stunned at the discovery, he wrote to Father Hippolyte Roussel on Easter Island to collect all the tablets and to find natives capable of translating them. But Roussel could only recover a few, and the islanders could not agree on how to read them.

Yet Eyraud had seen hundreds of tablets only four years earlier. What happened to the missing tablets is a matter of conjecture. Eyraud had noted how little interest their owners had in them. Stéphen Chauvet reports that Orliac has observed that the deep black indention, about 10 cm long, on lines 5 and 6 of the recto of tablet H is a groove made by the rubbing of a fire stick, showing that tablet H had been used for fire-making. Tablets S and P had been cut into lashed planking for a canoe, which fits the story of a man named Niari who made a canoe out of abandoned tablets.

As European-introduced diseases and raids by Peruvian slavers, including a final devastating raid in 1862 and a subsequent smallpox epidemic, had reduced the Rapa Nui population to under two hundred by the 1870s, it is possible that literacy had been wiped out by the time Eyraud discovered the tablets in 1866.

Thus in 1868 Jaussen could recover only a few tablets, with three more acquired by Captain Gana of the Chilean corvette O’Higgins in 1870. In the 1950s Barthel found the decayed remains of half a dozen tablets in caves, in the context of burials. However, no glyphs could be salvaged.

Of the 26 commonly accepted texts that survive, only half are in good condition and authentic beyond doubt.





Feb 27

Mystery Hill: America’s Stonehenge?

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

Latest posts by Todd Wayne Knipple (see all)

sto1About 40 miles north of the city of Boston, and about 25 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, is what appears to be the greatest, and perhaps oldest, megalithic enigma of North America. Mystery Hill, also known as “America’s Stonehenge”, is a site that has puzzled archaeologists for almost a century.

Running across the 30 acres of hillside are a series of low walls, cave-like primitive buildings, and tunnels that are spread about with, according to one archaeologist, “gigantic confusion and childish disorder, deep cunning and rude naively.”

While the hill is compared to the English Stonehenge circle, it is, at first glance, physically quite different. Stonehenge is located on a plain, not a hill, and is arranged neatly as a series of concentric circles, horseshoes and squares. Mystery Hill seems a jumble in comparison. The stones involved in Stonehenge are larger, up to 45 tons. The stones at Mystery Hill are smaller (the largest is about 11 tons) and the construction less intricate.

Both sites do have some common points, though. Firstly, they served as observatories. Each has been found to have astronomical alignments including summer solstice. Secondly, we know almost nothing about the builders of either location.

While we don’t know the type of ceremonies that may have gone on at Stonehenge, we do know something about the apparent activity on the hill. One of the main features of the site is an enormous flat stone, like a great table, resting above the ground on four legs. Around the edge of the table runs a groove that leads to a spout. This great slab has been named the “Sacrificial Stone” (left) and certainly may have served such a function. The gutter probably allowed the blood of the sacrifice to drain off the top.

Underneath the Sacrificial Stone is a shaft eight feet long leading to an underground chamber. It seems reasonable that this allowed a priest concealed in the chamber to speak as the voice of an oracle. To a crowd gathered around the altar the sound would appear to float up from the Sacrificial Stone like the voice of some disembodied spirit.

sto2In addition to the oracle chamber and the Sacrificial Stone the site has a number of other artificial caves and passages. At least one was constructed with a drain to keep them from being flooded. The purpose of the rest of these structures, except one which appears to be a water well, are unknown.

The recent history of the hill starts with Jonathan Pattee. Pattee was a farmer who lived on the site from 1826 to 1848. There are many different and conflicting stories about Pattee, including that he was a robber, ran an illicit still, and operated a stop on the famous “underground” railroad that spirited escaped slaves from the south to safety. One thing for sure is that he used one of the structures as a cellar for his farmhouse.

Rumors abounded that Pattee had built the structures, with the help of his five sons, for no apparent reason. This seems unlikely as one of the site stones was found locked in the stump of a tree that started growing around 1769, long before Pattee came to the area.

In 1936 the site came into the hands of William B. Goodwin. Goodwin had a pet theory that Irish monks had crossed the Atlantic long before Columbus and were responsible for the structures on the hill. Goodwin conducted his own form of “archaeology” on the site by getting rid of whatever evidence that didn’t fit his theory. The loss of these artifacts is one of the reasons the enigma of Mystery Hill is so deep.

Currently the site is administered by the “America’s Stonehenge” foundation and is open to visitors. A fee, used to preserve and research the site, is charged.

How old is the site? Pottery fragments have been tested and found to go back as far as 1000 BC. Charcoal from one fire pit, measured by radiocarbon dating, was found to be 4000 years old. An impressive number of carbon-14 dates have been obtained from charcoal samples found during excavations at the site. These dates range from 7,000 years ago to as recent as 200 years ago. The earliest c-14 date which is directly linked to construction activity on the site is 2995 BP or about 3,000 years ago. C-14 dates and some artifacts found at the site suggest continued activity at the site into the early historic period just prior to white settlement of the region. Conservatively speaking, there is evidence of continued human presence related to the stone structures at the site for a 2500 year time period. Detailed archaeological and architectural analysis of the structures suggests the site went through five cultural phases each with its own distinct architecture. Rather than being built as single large scale construction project, the site evolved through multiple building episodes that expanded, modified, and upgraded it.

Who built it? Unknown. The Native Americans living in the northeast before Europeans arrived didn’t build in stone. The colonial farmers didn’t arrive in the valley until 1730 and we know from the locked stone that construction must have been started before 1769. The 39 years in between seem a short time to build such a set of structures and the Sacrificial Stone/Oracle doesn’t seem to fit with the colonist religious beliefs. A number of theories have been advanced in 70+ years since the first systematic investigation of the site in the late 1930’s. William Goodwin, the first investigator of the site, theorized it was built by Irish Culdee monks around 1000 AD. Hugh O’Neill Hencken, a curator with Harvard’s Peabody Museum, quickly countered Goodwin’s argument by stating the site was built by Jonathan Pattee who lived on the property from 1825 to his death in 1849. Barry Fell in his famous (or infamous) book America BC (1976) argued the site was built between 800 and 600 BC by Goidelic Celtics. In recent years, the theory that the site was built by Native American peoples has gained creditability in the ongoing debate over the site.

Was the site constructed in ancient times by a people we know nothing about? That seems likely. Some theorize that site might be linked to the Greek or Phoenician cultures of the Mediterranean. Certainly there is a startling similarity between the construction of the oracle on Mystery Hill and those found in ancient temples in Malta and Greece.

The truth is we may never know who built this site. We may never know how they used the astronomical information contained in its alignments. We may never know what the voice of the oracle said. And we may never know what, or whom, was sacrificed on its hard, cold, great, stone altar.




Feb 27

Oak Island

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Screenshot_5The history of Nova Scotia is remarkably rich with pirate folklore. According to the MARITIME MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC in Halifax, pirates routinely visited the region, attracted by its hidden coves and large swaths of unsettled land. The notorious Captain Kidd claimed to have hidden treasure in the area, as did pirate Ned Low. In 1795 at age 16, Daniel McGinnis witnessed eerie lights on the island one evening and the next day made his way across to Oak Island on a (supposed) fishing expedition. Once on the island, McGinnis discovered a circular depression at the island’s southeastern end, along with freshly cut trees and what appeared to be a pulley system strung over the soft ground. Rallying his friends Anthony Vaughan and John Smith, they began digging. Just two feet in, their shovels struck flagstone laid across the mouth of the depression. Further down, they uncovered deep pickaxe gouges along the wall of the pit and a layer of timber embedded in clay. Certain they stood over a very valuable secret, the boys removed the logs – they were met with more dirt. Ten feet beyond, they uncovered a second timber shelf; ten feet beyond that, yet another layer. At 30 feet deep, they stopped their excavation.

In 1804, a new group arrived intent on unearthing millions. Dubbed the Onslow Company, the team picked up right where McGinnis left off. And just like McGinnis, they struck upon shelves of timber evenly buried every ten feet. Records indicate that at the 60-foot mark they found coconut fibers scattered amongst the Canadian logs. At 90 feet down, the men made an astonishing discovery: a giant slab of stone, covered in mysterious writing.

The slab seemed to contain a coded inscription. Numerous historians tried to crack the puzzle. One researcher later translated the message to read: “Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.”

The pit wall, meanwhile, ruptured soon after the Onslow Company discovered the slab, flooding the site beneath 60 feet of water. Numerous attempts to bail the pit proved futile. It was as if the area were rigged to fill with water. In 1805, the Onslow Company called it a day.

And yet the flooding did nothing to calm hungry treasure hunters. If anything, it intensified their drive. No longer were they hunting for a haversack of loose change or a few pilfered candelabras. This was clearly the work of a highly skilled criminal who had gone to extraordinary lengths in hiding his fortune somewhere beneath Oak Island.

The year 1849 saw the arrival of the Truro Company, and the beginning of a long and troubled history filled with discoveries and bloody demises. In 1861, an excavation by the Oak Island Association caused the total collapse of the pit floor into either a natural cavern or a booby trap beneath. Oak Island also claimed its first victim that year, when a pumping engine burst and killed a man. In 1887, a second worker slipped from the rim of the pit and fell to his death. In 1909, a group of intrepid treasure hunters arrived on the island, including young, future president Franklin Roosevelt. While they found no treasure, Roosevelt followed the Money Pit mystery for the rest of his life. In 1931, numerous tools were unearthed within a new shaft. The discovery included a miner’s pick, a hatchet, and remnants of a seal oil lamp. Unfortunately, the island had been so completely ravaged by excavations and littered with old tools that it was hard to accurately date the discoveries.

In 1965, Oak Island claimed its next victims. Robert Restall, his son, and two other workers died from suffocation when a newly dug shaft released noxious gas. 1965 also saw the publication of a tantalizing article about Oak Island in Readers Digest. A 1979 episode of In Search Of… that examined the deadly Money Pit mystery only amplified interest. More treasure-hungry hunters arrived at the site; more holes were dug and more clues unearthed…

And yet, to this day, no treasure has been found. Critics contend the site is a sinkhole and its mystery blown vastly out of proportion. But a string of incredible theories have surfaced to explain the pit’s origins: It contains Marie Antoinette’s jewels; it’s a ritual site built by Freemasons; it’s the handiwork of Francis Bacon, who used Oak Island to stow away proof that he is the true scribe behind William Shakespeare.

In 2014, the History Channel debuted THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND, a documentary detailing a new excavation and the island’s enduring legacy. In the season finale, workers discover what appears to be an antique Spanish coin. The program has since been renewed for a second season. Clearly, the Money Pit mystery is not over just yet.




Feb 27

Viking Sunstone

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

Latest posts by Todd Wayne Knipple (see all)

vik1A shipwreck in the English Channel may have yielded quite a treasure: Scientists think they’ve found a Viking sunstone, the mythical navigational aid Viking mariners used to locate the sun and traverse the sea before compasses were developed.

A crystal found in the wreck of a British ship that sank off the island of Alderney in 1592 could have been used as a sunstone, they say, according to the BBC.

Sunstones were once considered “mystical,” since they were said to be able to pinpoint the sun’s position even through the clouds, but a 2011 study found the stones were actually real.

The crystal, an oblong shape about the size of a pack of cigarettes, was found near the navigational equipment. And it’s an Icelandic spar, the type of crystal scientists say the Vikings used, because it can diffract light into two distinct rays. Scientists tested a similar crystal and found it was indeed possible to determine the direction of the sun by finding the point where the rays converge, even after the sun has set.

As for why no intact sunstone has been found at a Viking burial site, scientists think that could be because the crystals shattered when warriors were cremated.

a group of physicists and optometrists say they have cracked the optical properties of the Viking sunstone, which legend has it aided the northerly, often storm-beset navigators long before the invention of the compass. But to do it requires using a squid-like sense of direction. A report released in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, lays out the possible inner workings of the Vikings’ legendary sólarsteinn, which was said to reveal the true bearing of a hidden sun, even on overcast days and during long summer twilights in the northerly latitudes. Researchers long speculated that the sunstone might have been a transparent type of calcite, common in Iceland, that has optical properties akin to linearly polarizing filters for a camera.

vik2Light passing through such a crystal, including the common Iceland spar, changes in brightness and color as the crystal is rotated. Vikings presumably could have used such crystals to observe polarization patterns and thereby pinpoint the direction of the sun. But exactly how this was done was an enigma, until now. Guy Ropars and Albert Le Floch of the University of Rennes’ Laser Physics Laboratory in France, led the latest study, which has solved the mystery of the myth they say by attacking the problem backwards.

“Rather than thinking in term of polarizer, we have deliberately chosen to ‘destroy’ the polarization of the light,” Ropars told Discovery News. “Iceland spar behaves theoretically and experimentally like a perfect depolarizer.” In other words, with the crystal held up to the sky, there is one specific angle of rotation, called the isotropy point, at which the crystal eliminates all polarization of the light passing through it.

Here’s where the “sixth sense” comes in: The investigators say that if you look through the crystal in its depolarizing position and then pull it away suddenly from your line of sight, you can catch a glimpse of a faint, elongate yellowish pattern known as a Haidinger’s Brush. The key here is that the ends of that yellow shape point directly toward the sun.

The Haidinger’s Brush phenomenon amounts to a greatly scaled-down version of the specialized ability of many insects, cephalopods, amphibians and other animals to “see” polarization patterns in the sky or water. That’s how those animals navigate. Turns out the Vikings may have too. When Ropars’ group asked test subjects to use their method to identify sun direction, their answers were accurate within 5 degrees.

Coupled with a second technique observing the changing polarization patterns passing through the crystal, also tested and described for the first time in this study, the Vikings could have established a reference point that could be used even when the sun was fully hidden, upping the sunstone’s accuracy to within 1 degree.

Ropars insists that sunstones could have helped the Vikings in their navigation from Norway to America, as the magnetic compass had yet to be introduced in Europe. Alas, archaeologists are quick to point out that no Iceland spar has yet been found in a Viking village.

The legendary Viking sunstone that could accurately navigate the seven seas in bad weather may actually be based on a real artifact, claim scientists.

After spending three years examining a cloudy crystal discovered in an Elizabethan wreck, researchers believe it could have been used to locate the sun in cloudy weather. The Alderney sank off the British Channel Islands in 1592.

“In particular, at twilight when the sun is no longer observable being below the horizon, and the stars still not observable, this optical device could provide the mariners with an absolute reference in such situation,” wrote researchers in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, a scientific journal.

A chemical analysis confirmed that the stone was calcite crystal, otherwise known as Icelandic Spar — believed to be the mineral of choice for Viking sunstones, reports Fox News.

Owing to the crystal’s unusual property of creating a double refraction of sunlight, the sun’s position can be pinpointed with remarkable accuracy simply by rotating it against the human eye until the darkness of the two shadows become equal. Researchers say the principle holds true even when obscured by thick cloud or fog.

It may not live up to its reputation as a magical gem that bestows the ability to plot the sun’s course even at night — as described in Icelandic fables — but the antique navigational aid could be behind the Vikings’ reputation as peerless explorers. Experts believe that Nordic adventurers may have beaten Columbus to the Americas by several centuries, according to the Independent.

The rectangular crystal has been studied by scientists at the University of Rennes, in Brittany, France, who suggests that Tudor sailors may also have used the stone hundreds of years after the end of the Viking Age.





Feb 27

Cambay Ruins

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

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cam1For decades archaeologists have argued about the origins of the mysterious “Harappan” (Indus Valley) civilisation that flourished across what is now Pakistan and northwest India from about 3000 BC. Now, new findings by Indian scientists working in the Gulf of Cambay suggest that the Harappans were descended from an advanced mother culture that flourished at the end of the last Ice Age that was then submerged by rising sea levels before ‘history’ began.

Report by BADRINARYAN BADRINARYAN, chief geologist with the scientific team from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) responsible for the underwater surveys in the Gulf of Cambay.

It was generally believed that a well organized civilization could not have existed prior to 5500 BP. Many were reluctant to accept that the flood myths mentioned in many ancient religious writings held some grains of truth. The recent discovery made in the Gulf of Cambay, India shocked many, and made some sit up and watch with interest. It clearly established the existence of an ancient civilization that was submerged in the sea. The methodologies adopted to study this find, were novel and different, wherein advanced marine technologies and the most modern scientific applications of various disciplines were put to use. The traditional but conservative archaeologists found it hard to accept that a major discovery could have been made by hitherto unapplied, unheard of techniques. Some observed and understood the importance of the discovery and came out in open support. Initially when the side scan sonar images of underwater structures were shown, some called it a magic of computer software. When hundreds of artifacts were collected and shown, they opined that the ancient river could have transported it! Again detailed scientific studies were undertaken to prove that the artifacts are insitu. The criticism has driven us to adopt the most modern technologies and scientific methodologies available in the world, which have completely substantiated our findings, and the results have been published as research papers in reputed international journals. Now several authors are quoting the Gulf of Cambay work as a standard and a bench mark methodology for modern marine archaeological surveys and investigations. The discovery has clearly established the possibility of ancient civilizations that were submerged due to flooding by rising sea waters after the last ice age.

The oldest civilization of city-states is thought to be in Mesopotamia datable to 5500 years BP. An extensive hitherto oldest mature civilization occurs in the Northwestern part of India adjoining Pakistan and Afganisthan. This is the well-known ‘Harappan’ civilization that lasted between 5300 and 2800 years BP. This includes major ruined cities like Mohenjodaro, Harrappa, Dholavira and villages, craft centers, campsites, river stations, fortified places, ports, etc. The cities had well-lined streets, arranged in straight lines, with proper drainage and sanitary arrangements and excellent water conveying systems including check dams for storing water. Usage of a variety of artifacts, metallic objects, many types of potteries, construction of huge structures, etc. could not have happened overnight. So obviously there was a major missing link between the ancient hunter-gatherer group of people and the ‘Harappan’ civilization. In India there were many Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic stone-age cultures. But none of them have any remote resemblance to the type of civilization found in the Harappan sites. It is possible that the missing link between the two is either under cover or has been submerged due to major sea level rise caused by melting of ice-sheets. It is a well established fact that during the Last Glacial Maxima (ice-age), the seas all over the world had shrunk and the sea level around 18000 years BP was about 130m below the present day sea level. So, it is logical to look for such submerged civilization near areas surrounding the present day Indian coastal areas, especially along the palaeo channel of various rivers.

cam2The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), a Govt. of India undertaking, has been carrying out several multi-disciplinary marine surveys along the Indian coastal areas for various purposes. During the course of a few geological surveys in Gujarat in the Gulf of Cambay, NIOT came across palaeo river channels in the sea. These were seen to be the extension of the present day major rivers of the area.

In a similar marine survey, in a Coastal Research Ship during 1999-2000 when the author was the Chief Scientist, several unusual frames of Side Scan Sonar images were encountered. These had square and rectangular features in an arranged geometric fashion, which are not expected, in the marine domain. Such features are unlikely to be due to natural marine geological processes. This made the author suspect that human workmanship must have been involved here. The surveys were followed up by the author in the following years and a couple of palaeo channels of old rivers were discovered in the middle of the Cambay area under 20-40m water depths, at a distance of about 20 kms from the present day coast.

The Gulf of Cambay forms a funnel shaped entrant of the Arabian Sea, sandwiched between the mainland Gujarat and Saurashtra Penninsula in the west. This gulf is 135 km long in a N-S direction and is more than 100km at its widest part. It is one of the roughest and most complicated seas in the world and covers an area of about 3000 sq.km. Several major rivers including the Narmada, Tapi, Sabarmathi, Mahi, Chathranji, etc. drain into it. It has a macro tidal range of 12m and the currents are up to 8 knots. The sea is often subjected to severe winds resulting in very rough conditions. These types of turbulence churn the seabed and produce enormous quantities of silt, making the seawater brownish and turbid, with the result that is that it is impervious to light rays. The combined effect of these conditions makes this part of the country unfit for diving and underwater operations and operating underwater videography is impossible. Hence, only instruments operated on the principle of sound, like sonar equipments and magnetic equipments can work here. This includes the Side Scan Sonar, Sub-bottom Profiler, and Multibeam ecosounder, apart from marine magnetometer.

The term SONAR stands for Sound Navigation and Ranging. Sonar is a sensing strategy that measures features of an environment (or medium) by the way in which that environment transmits, reflects and/or absorbs acoustic (sound) waves. The seabed is a little understood environment due to its inaccessibility and resistance to large scale detailed analysis. Sonar represents a clear approach of looking at the seafloor. Side Scan Sonar uses sound waves to produce images of the seafloor. The hard areas reflect more energy and are seen as dark shades, whereas softer areas do not reflect energy as well and are represented by lighter shades. This “Backscatter” is absent behind objects or features that rise above the seafloor, and are represented as white shadows in the sonar image. The dimensions of shadows are used to infer the size of the objects. The system used was a digital one, which provides high-resolution sonar images of the seafloor through advanced digital technology in 100 and 400 kHz frequency. The unit is connected to a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) for the accurate position of the survey vessel and in turn that of the objects.

In these surveys it was the Side Scan Sonar that gave excellent results supported by other systems. Initially two major palaeo channels of rivers were recognized. One was over a length of 9.2km and another over 9.0km. When these were sampled, it was seen that just below a thin marine sediment cover of few centimeters, river alluvium and pebbles typical of terrestrial river sediments, below which typical river conglomerates were observed at depth. Such evidence clearly indicated that the area presently under the sea was originally dry land over which rivers were flowing. Due to different factors they became submerged and now lie under water. The sonar images showed regular geometric patterns in one palaeo channel over a length of 9km in the sea about 20km west of Hazira coastal area. Associated with this on either side of the palaeo channel, basement like features in a grid pattern were observed at a water depth of 20-40m. These resemble an urban habitation site where, the basement now at the bottom of the sea, pit like structures are seen. Another palaeo channel over 9.2km was detected off the Suvali coastal area. Here also similar features were observed. In general the basement like features were located in a linear east-west direction on either side of the palaeo channel. It is seen that these features are 5x4m size on the eastern side whereas the westernmost part had dimensions of 16 x 15m. The habitation sites are all seen to be laid in a strict grid like pattern indicating a good sense of town planning by the ancients.

There were also evidences of water conducting systems like canals, etc. All these point to a properly planned township, with a high level of knowledge and practice by the ancients. The area in general is covered by sand waves that occur above the seabed. Often these cover the dwelling but even then the shapes could be made out. Apart from the regular sites of habitation, the Side Scan Sonar picked up images of several big structures. Some of these structures are as follows:

There is a rectangular (41m x25m) shaped depression, wherein one can see steps gradually going down to reach a depth of about 7m. Surrounding this depression there is a wall like projection on all sides. One could observe an inlet and outlet and also a separate enclosure. This looks like a tank or bathing facility now occurring below 40m of seawater. It occurs near the western periphery of the town. It resembles the “Great Bath” that is found in the ruins of “Mohenjodaro” and “Harappa”, where these structures also occur on the western side of the township. There are two divisions in the tank, which may represent separate enclosures for men and women or for socially higher and lower categories of people. There are two openings probably for an inlet and exit of water to keep the water in the tank fresh and clean.

One could observe a prominent and well-made long linear basement of a major structure measuring 200m x 45m. It nestles on high ground and one can see steps on the right corner approaching the structure. Inside the structure there is many 18m and above square shaped room like features with fortifications surrounding it. This type of huge structure resembles the “Citadel” found in Mohenjodaro, Harrappa, and Dholavira where these again occur at the western extremity on the high ground. Probably it is an administrative building supervising the entire civic activities of the township or could be a place of worship. Some pieces of fossilized human bones, natural teeth and some fossilized animal bones were recovered during sampling on the eastern side of the citadel.

Sonar image picked up a major dilapidated structure measuring 190m x 85m with spaces separated by what looks like collapsed walls. In front of it, on the bottom side there are several

basements of rectangular shaped 2.5 to 3.5m x 6m structures, resembling minor dwellings. It could be an ancient granary for the township probably with dwelling place nearby, for the workers. In the nearby areas some fossilized food grains have been collected. In many of the Harappan sites the granary is a regular feature.

The image is that of a basement of a buried settlement and it measures 74m x 48m. It has regular square, rectangular and arch shapes. The darker portions are the elevated or standout features. These indicate that there are still some constructed portions standing up partly. To the north of the structure also, a few square and rectangular shaped basements are visible.

A buried structural basement is depicted. The main structure measures 40m x 19m with wall-like dark features rising to 2-3m above the seabed. A series of step-like features are seen approaching the structure from the right side. To one corner of the main structure an 11m x 7m rectangular depression looking like a small tank or pond is observed.

A sub-bottom profiler survey, instead of reflecting sound waves from the seabed like side scan sonar, penetrate the seabed. The waves travel beneath the seabed in different formations in different speeds and the instrument collects the reflection data over selected frequencies. It provides good depth information on geological features apart from delineating any suspected buried anthropogenic structures.

The sub-bottom profiler image is below the 200m x 45m Citadel like structure. The standout features were picked up at regular intervals and appear to be the basement and foundations of the structure. It is observed that the foundations have been dug up to 5-6m in the soil over which broad column like features have been constructed, probably to take the load off the huge structure above.

The sub-bottom profiler image is below the buried settlement of a 74 x 48m structure. Here also manmade foundations like columns can be clearly seen emerging from below the seabed and occur as standout features. Here the foundations have been dug up to 3-4 m deep in the soil. These types of planning and methods of construction by the ancients clearly reveal that they had a very good knowledge of civil and structural engineering, wherein broader and deeper foundations were provided for bigger and heavier structures and thinner and shallower foundations for comparatively smaller structures. Likewise almost all the structures including the dwelling sites indicate a good amount of planning and design, taking into consideration the structural aspects.

Magnetic surveys were carried out by deploying a high-resolution Marine Ceisium vapour Magnetometer. The survey was for observing magnetic signatures occurring as anamolies of subsurface magnetic bodies of the area. The instrument was capable of sensing up to 0.001 nT at 1 sample rate. The values here were corrected for diurnal variation so as to remove the temporal variation in the earth’s magnetic field. The corrected magnetic field value is a result of the marine magnetic components: – regional geological features are very deep seated in origin and have depth persistence whereas one should look for very shallow and near seabed anomalies that do not extend in depth. Several shallow near surface anomalies were picked up ranging in depth from 1m below surface to as much as 50m. The deep seated anomalies are at least below 400m from the seabed surface. The near surface anomalies in general are covered by top sediments and are likely to be archaeological sites, which are to be examined and explored later. Due to these surveys a vast area has now acquired importance for archaeological purposes – including areas that were earlier not picked up by sidescan images. As such these surveys enhance the area of archaeological interest. Obviously this was an extensive civilization, the remains and ruins of which have since been covered by shifting shoals, sandwaves, tectonism etc., which are very common features in the Gulf of Cambay.

Even though a variety of objects and artifacts were collected in settlements, some persons expressed doubts whether these could have been transported by paleo channel and may not be insitu. To clear such doubts detailed geochemical analysis were carried out. Ten geological soil samples and ten artifacts were chosen from the Gulf of Cambay area. Since trace elements like Ti, Hf, Th, etc and Rare Earth Elements (REE) are immobile they preserve their signature without alteration and hence reflect primary petrogenic character. These 20 selected representative samples were analysed using ICP-Mass spectrometer. The rare earth element pattern normalized with shale. The results of the analysis clearly reveal that there is one to one match between the archaeological material and Cambay bed sediments. This is characterized by leaching of light rare earth elements and a prominent Europeam anamoly .The ternary and Binary plots of both the materials show clustering of all samples in one place indicating the samples are of same host chemistry and are insitu i.e. that the archaeological material are not transported but are made from locally available material only.

Sampling: In order to substantiate the findings detailed sampling was carried out. Since the sea condition was very rough and the water turbid and brown, sampling was carried out in areas where side scan images show excellent results. The samples were collected by utilizing a grab sampler, dredger, gravity corer and vibro corer. Large numbers of samples were carefully collected, systematically numbered and properly preserved. The artifacts collected included a variety of pottery pieces, Mesolithic stone tools, a few Paleolithic macro stone tools, beads made of semiprecious stones, brick pieces, hearth material, wattle and daub structure materials, corals, perfectly holed stones, fossilized human remains and human teeth. There are also three potsherd pieces. These are unfired and normally sun-dried, made of clay and of great antiquity. On the other side of the figure a cross like object and some figurines are seen. There were pieces in the shape of deer’s head and to the right a well turned ornamental piece with a straight hole in the center. How the ancients were able to make them in stone is still an enigma.

There are four very important objects. First, one can observe a fossilized jawbone (mandible) with a natural tooth kept in front. Next to it is a part of the carbonized wooden log. This was obtained from the top stratigraphic colomn at a depth about 30 to 40cm below the seabed and it was sent for dating. In the left corner there are rolled objects and long linear beads which when strung together forms a necklace. In the right hand bottom of the figure linear beads made of stone are there with holes in the middle.

A series of microlithic tools were collected at various locations. Generally microlithic tools are characteristic of the Mesolithic period and are found between Paleolithic and Neolithic Stone Age periods. The characteristic features of Mesolithic tools are that unlike the earlier Paleolithic stone tools these are much smaller, normally between 5cm to 1cm in length and are made of finely crafted semi-precious stones. These include quartz, chert, jasper, flint, chalcedony, agate, corundum, etc. Sampling collected about 248 such tools. The tools included a baked blade with a serrated edge, point, and point on flakes, lunate, scraper, cores with negative chipping and a borer. The tools have both geometric and non-geometric forms.

The Mesolithic period of Western India revealed the existence of their cultural phases, namely aceramic and ceramic. In general the Mesolithic sites confirmed the existence of a ceramic phase in its later part, containing other than potteries and microlithic tools, materials like wattle and clay shreds for house construction, flooring of the houses, etc. The Mesolithic sites are comparatively larger. Here the hunting and gathering way of life was replaced by organised food production. Holed stones which appeared in the late paleolithic became prominent in the Mesolithic. These holed stones appear to have been used as weights in digging sticks and as net sinkers by the fishing folks. In general a sedentary form of living heralded the beginning of other associated cultural artifacts like pottery, living in well-built houses like wattle and clay, or of sun dried and fired bricks.

Coming to microliothic tools a variety of classic collections were made. These include Thumb nail scraper to skin the small animals, obliquely truncated fluted core made of red corundum apart from borers and points. Usage of Corundum is something unique as it is the second hardest material known after diamond as per the Mohrs scale of hardness. The red and blue transparent varieties of corundum are the gemstones Ruby and Sapphire. This is the first reported usage of corundum as microlithic tool in India and maybe in the world. Other tools include a microlithic blade made of chert and quartz for cutting purposes, a microlithic side scraper, and a microlithic tool point with a serrated edge. Apart from these, pieces of hearth material have been collected. These were used for firing and heating and hence are very good for dating purposes. At places pieces of lightweight, hollow circle-like materials have been collected. Probably these may be slag pieces, cinder after extraction of metal, and the ancients might have the knowledge of some metallurgy. Pottery pieces of various types have been collected. These include a broken bowl, coarse red-ware, pottery pieces embedded in mud walls, slow wheel turned pottery pieces, pieces of jar-lid, pottery piece with some cord impressions and a very ancient fragment of pottery, possibly amongst the oldest so far collected anywhere anywhere in the world.

Even though most of the artifacts are of Mesolithic period, there were some Paleolithic tools that were much older. It shows that people have been living in the Cambay area for quite some time. One example is the bifacial scrapper, made of chert and a very characteristic upper Paleolithic stone tool. Similar stone tools were also present but many of them due to long submergence and rolling in the seabed appear to have their edges smoothened out and the sharpness of the edges is rather less.

River Conglomerate

A thorough examination of the macro and micro levels of soils in Gulf of Cambay brought to light a wealth of plant material typical of the land domain. Extensive studies are being carried out by a botany Professor and the studies may initiate a new branch in Marine Archaeology that may be called Marine Archaeobotony. So far prominent plant species identified include palm, coconut, bamboo, areca plant, etc. Many of them are fossilized. Some of the species identified and photographed are as follows. The top left show fossilized food grains; in top right one could observe the inner portion of a bamboo plant. In the bottom left, plant fiber material could be clearly seen and at bottom right one could see palm leaf with typical ridges. All these were recognized under the microscope. The major wooden log a part of which is shown, when taken out of the seabed was very fresh, dark, hard and showing growth rings, etc. Within a couple of days of exposure to the atmosphere the wooden log completely shrunk and developed cracks. It has given important date for the area. This species has been tentatively identified as belonging to hard wood like rosewood. All of these point to well grown trees and foliage with a lot of good fresh water and somewhat warm climate, at the time of their growth in the area.

The palaeo channel below the alluvium has hard dark alluvium and then typical river conglomerate. It clearly indicated fresh waters alluvial environment. Several insitu pieces of alluvium and conglomorate have been collected. All these factors clearly establish that the palaeochannels were originally well-flowing rivers in the land, which were subsequently submerged by the sea.

Since some persons have expressed doubts about the pottery pieces, a thorough scientific study was made involving the pottery pieces to establish their authenticity. To determine the properties of various materials including pottery, many samples were subjected to X-Ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. Since the materials that constitute pottery etc are clays and heterogeneous mixures of a variety of materials, these were accordingly analysed. Every area has a special fingerprint pattern in the clay, which can be recognized in X-Ray diffraction (XRD). The above analysis was carried out in Deccan College, Pune Maharashtra state, India, by using an advanced instrument that gave excellent results. The conclusions are that the pattern of pottery pieces corresponds very well with the locally available clay of Gulf of Cambay. The mineral patterns of habitational floor, wattle and daub and land materials (alluvial deposit) are comparable. The patterns of fired clay, floor birck piece, vitrified clay, compare very well. All these indicate that they are genuine artifacts, made from locally available material and are insitu. It fully confirms the presence of archaeological sites. The findings indicate that the pottery was produced locally with levigated clay, fired uniformly at about 700oC. From the presence of calcite in clays and pottery arid to semi-arid environmental conditions prior to the submergence of the site could be deduced. Calcritised alluvial deposits indicate the existence of ancient rivers which once flowed in the submerged regions of Gulf of Cambay.

Dating of samples: Most of the structures that were discovered in the Gulf of Cambay had many similarities to the Citadel, Great Bath and grid-iron pattern habitation sites grannery, etc. of the Harappan civilization. But many of the artifacts and typology were very different and distinctive and with the presence of so many micro tools appeared to be much older than the Harappan. In order to establish the credibility and age of the civilization it was essential to date different objects and artifacts to establish the period of the Cambay civilization. There are many types of dating of archaeological artifacts like carbon dating, Thermoluminesence, OSL, AMS, Dendrochronoly archaeomagnetism, Electron Spin Resonence dating, Pottasium-Argon dating, Cation Ratio dating, etc. In all about 23 numbers datable objects were selected covering both the palaeochannels. From the samples obtained from the marine archaeological sites it was clear that the following methods will be most suitable and a fairly accurate age determination can be obtained from them. These are 14C radiocarbon dating, radio carbon dating by Accelerator Mass Spectrometer, Thermoluminescence and Optically stimulated luminescence.

Radio carbon dating is a method for obtaining age estimates on organic material and is effective from the present back to a maximum of 50,000 BP. Radio active carbon 14C produced in atmosphere is absorbed by plants and the radio active carbon enters the human and animal cycle when the plants are eaten by animal and human beings. The absorbing of 14C is stopped when a living organism dies and 14C starts to disintegrate. How much 14C is disintegrated and how much is left out can be measured and the rate at which it disintegrates is known. From this the age of organic objects like trees, corals, human remains, and shells etc.can be determined. For age determination tests about 50-100 gms of organic material is necessary. In the AMS, an organic sample much smaller of the order of 1 to 2 mgs is enough to calculate the age. This has several advantages over the regular 14C method. The TL method is mainly used for rocks, soil materials, pottery, etc. that were fired. It is based on the principle that almost all natural minerals are thermoluminescnt. Energy absorbed from ionizing radiation frees electrons that are trapped. Later heating releases the trapped electrons producing light. Measurement of the intensity of the light can be used to determine how much time has passed since the last time the object was heated. Natural radioactivity causes TL to build up so that older an object more light is produced. Since a certain amount of heating, generally up to 350 deg. C, is required TL works best for ceramics, cooking hearths, fired bricks, fire cracked rocks or fire treated minerals such as flint or chert.

The OSL is similar to Thermal dating. The minerals in the sediment grains are sensitive to light and when exposed to light the electrons vacate the sediment grains. This process is called recombination or clock setting event. To detect the age the comparision must be made between sediment grain with a known amount of added radiation and sediment grains that are acted upon naturally. This method is suitable for a variety of unheated sediments not older than 500,000 years. This includes silty and sandy sediments that are deposited by water.

The selected samples for various types of dating were sent to some reputed institutes in India, Oxford University, England and to Hannover Germany. Some samples were repeated in different institutes to get confirmation of the age. The results tallied very well. The datable objects were selected to represent both the palaeo channels. However comparitively fewer datable samples were obtained from the southern palaeo channel. In the northern palaeo channel alluvial samples were collected at different depths to have an idea about the age of alluvium as well as the river. Of the total 23 samples that were dated 14C method was followed in 4 samples, TL method in 6 samples and OSL in 13 samples ages were determined.

The alluvium samples of northern palaeochannel were tested at the behest of NIOT by Manipur University. The top alluvium collected just below marine sediment was dated to be around 3000 BP and a slightly lower alluvium gave an age of about 5000 BP. A black alluvium which was somewhat semi consolidated and collected above the river conglomerate gave an age of 19000 BP. Obviously the river has been flowing at least between 19000 years BP, prior to Glacial Maxima and up to 3000 BP. This shows that the palaeo channel in the north was active and a riverine regime existed at least from about 19000 BP. As the area and the palaeo channel to the south was proven to be a hydrocarbon rich zone, several oil and gas producing wells and platforms have been put along with Xmas trees and several oil and gas pipeline are crisscrossing the area. Due to these factors no further sampling than the preliminary one could be undertaken in view of the safety and restrictions in the oil production areas. The water depths of the alluvial samples collected in the northern palaeo channel varied from 20 to 32m.

In the southern township or palaeochannel area six samples suitable for dating were identified. Of these 3 are carbonized wooden samples, one was a sediment sample, one was a fired pottery piece and one was a hearth material. Sample from the same carbonized wood was sent to National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, India and Geowissenschaftlicte Gemeinschaftsaulguben, Hannover, Germany for Carbon dating. This was the first sample (Location 21o 03.08’ N; 72 o30.83 E) from near the southern palaeochannel. This first gave a clue to the age and environment of the civilization. The calibrated age as per NGRI was 9580-9190 BP and as per Hannover Institute it was 9545-9490 BP. It means the age is about 9500 BP and this takes the age by more than 4000 years older than the oldest city civilization of Mesopotomia and a forerunner to ‘Harappan’ civilization. But this occurred near the top of the stratigraphic column. Because of this it was expected that at the lower levels the age would be much older and make the civilization really an ancient one. The wooden piece tested at Birpal Sani Institute at Lucknow, U.P. state gave a calibrated age of 8450 BP. However, two important artifacts were obtained in the near by area at lower levels. These were a nice, thin, pottery and a brownish to red hearth material. Along with it local clay sediment was also chosen. All the three samples were analysed in the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmadabad, Gujarat State, using standard Thermoluminescence based pottery dating techniques. As expected the one of the pottery piece whose figure is given, gave a date of 13000 ± 1950 BP. It is an important date. Another pottery piece, which was ill fired, on OSL dating (Location 21 o12.54’ N; 72 o 30.370’ E) by Oxford University gave an age of 16840 ± 2620 BP. These are the oldest fired pottery pieces obtained so far in the world. Till the results were out it was from Japan where the oldest potteries were known. The “Jomon” Pottery from the Fukui cave in Kyushu gave 12000 BP uncalibrated age. The pottery findings from Odai Yamamoto gave uncalibrated age of 13500-13800 BP. In the Gulf of Cambay civilization attempts already appear to have been made in experimental pottery making. These are seen from effects of fired clays (for making pottery), which gave ages of 20130 ± 2170 BP (Location 21 o 13.720’ N; 72 o 26.190’ E) and 16600 ± 1150 BP (Location 21 o13.80 ‘N; 72 o 26.10 E), by OSL as determined by the Oxford University dating lab. The well fired 3 potteries in the northern palaeochannel gave ages of 7506 ± 785 BP, 6097 ± 611 BP (both by Manipur University) and 4330 ± 1330 BP by Oxford University.

Apart from this sun-dried pottery pieces were collected in these areas. Three of the specimens were dated by OSL facility in Oxford. The results obtained are (1) 31270±2050 BP, (2) 25700±2790 BP and (3) 24590±2390 BP. A black slipped dish which was also sun dried was dated in Oxford by OSL. This gave an age of 26710 ± 1950 BP.

The hearth material from the southern township (Location 21o03.04 N 72o30.70 E) by TL dating from PRL, Ahmedabad gave an age of 10000 ± 1500 BP whereas the hearth material near the top

in the northern township gave an age of 3530 ± 330 BP by OSL, Oxford University. One of the charcoal pieces obtained on the northern side was tested by 14C dating in BSIP, Lucknow. It gave calibrated age of 3000 BP. It tallies very well with the age of upper most alluvium in northern Palaeochannel.

The wattle and daub materials that were originally of wood and clay were seen to be burnt, but the structure of the wood was well preserved at places (being fossilized). These were tested by OSL at Oxford and by TL at Manipur from the same locations. OSL dating found it to be 5860 ± 720 BP and TL dating determined it to be 5530 ±550 BP. They appear to be a comparatively good match and they reflect the proper ages. They may represent the period at which these structures caught fire.

From the above it is quite clear that the human activity is very evident from about 31000 BP in what is now in the Gulf of Cambay much before the Glacial Maxima at 18000 BP. The ancients were making potteries and were getting them dried initially in the sun. From about 20000 years, it is clear that the ancients are firing the clay to produce pottery. That means they knew how to make, maintain and manage fire. They appear to have succeeded in making fired pottery from about 16800 BP. They knew the art of construction of towns and houses in neat straight line, row after row as picked up by Side Scan Sonar image and wattle and daub structure and from rammed floor. Both the northern and southern townships have continuous habitational sites interspersed with big structures in between. But good quality fired pottery makes it appearance from about 13000 BP. In the southern township (we can call them metropolis) there appears to be organized activity in the form of a community living, a granary (where fossilized food grains were collected), etc., from about 13000 BP. To the south of this township in the Gulf of Cambay, sidescan Sonar picked up a drowned dead coral colony of 400m long and about 200m wide in a water depths of about 40m substantiated later by sampling. It is a well known fact that these corals live in hardly 2 to 3m water depth very near coastal areas. They require clean environment and good sunlight. Obviously the southern metropolis appears to have been near a sea coast at a particular point of time, when the metropolis itself stood on dry land with a good free flowing river and was a major bustling city. The dating of coral colony like other places by drill core will provide the date of beginning of coral build up in the area and the top sample of coral will reveal the age at which it was drowned giving a direct clue to the drowning of southern metropolis. It is worthwhile noting that the datable objects are found has only up to 8450 BP based on the date of the carbonized wood.

The northern metropolis has well made pottery pieces, wattle daub etc. from about 7506 BP onwards. It indicates well organized city living. Hence it is possible that this metropolis came up after 8450 but much before 7506 BP, may be after the submergence of the southern metropolis. The ancients appear to have shifted and founded the northern metropolis. However the various earlier dates from sun-dried pots etc. indicate that it was under constant habitation.

Evidence from Microlithic tools:

Apart from palaeolithic macro tools several pieces of micro tools have been collected. Usage of such tools has been reported in America, Europe and other places. In South America especially from Brazil presence of human beings are reported from 14000 BP, coinciding with big Pleistocene mammals. The study there indicated that between 17000 and 7000 BP most coastal plains have been lost due to sea level rise. Several microlithic tools that were recovered are seen to occur from 10970 BP. But the lagoa santa people occupying these areas in Brazil suddenly disappeared between 8000 and 7000 BP. In Europe in France, Germany, Belgium etc. the microlithic tool period started from 11800 BP taking back the age of the Mesolithic period. The microlithic period spread to several areas and lasted up to the seventh millennium BP.

In the Gulf of Cambay a variety of microlithic tools have been obtained in continuation of late palaeolithic tools. The presence of highly evolved experimental pottery from 13000 BP, organized living, sedentary well planned habitation, advanced sanitary and town planning activities in the southern metropolis indicates that it had developed to be a established civilization from about 13000 BP. Already there were evidences for control of fire, making pottery etc. from about 16840 BP. The southern metropolis so far has provided datable objects up to 8500 BP. The well developed northern metropolis has dates of civilization from about 7506 BP. In this one should take into consideration the ideas given by Graham Hancock who also postulated that several cultures in near coastal areas have been flooded and submerged by rising sea level caused by melting of icecap subsequent to the last iceage. The inundation maps prepared by Dr.Glen Milne of Durham University, England clearly shows that the Gulf of Cambay area prior to 7600 BP was mostly land and after 6900 BP it is mostly submerged. This type of rise in sea level is very much supported by the work of Dr.P.K.Banerjee pertaining to southeast coast of Indi, work of Sahidul Islam and Tooly in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh and Sen and Banerji’s work near Calcutta.

The area is highly prone to severe seismicity. In the past 500 years several earthquakes have shaken area, including the major +8 magnitude Richter scale event on 26.1.2001. On 16.1.1819 an 8.3 magnitude event devastated several areas nearby. It is seen that these quakes cause lot of subsidence at places and elevation at other places.

In the Gulf of Cambay itself various surveys have picked up fault zones and earthquake affected areas with throws upto as much as 30m (elevation and depression). The Gulf of Cambay was formed by a major rift. In order to understand the phenomenon and paleo-seismic activity, NIOT, commissioned Dr.Rajendran of CESS, Trivandram to carry out Paleo-seismic studies in the area surrounding Gulf of Cambay. His path-breaking work of identifying paleo-seismic events and dating them with OSL and also dating nearby Organic material has given excellent evidence to support the findings. He could detect the presence of sand blow layers caused due to old earthquakes as well as new ones. His work in peripheral land areas of the Gulf of Cambay like Kathana, Lotal and Motibaur gave evidences of major earthquakes in the Cambay areas in the following period (1) 2780 ± 150 years BP, (2) 3983 ± 150 BP and (3) 7540 ± 130 BP. Herein lies the evidence of the end of the Gulf of Cambay civilization. In the old major event about 7600 or near about the southern metropolis appear to have been thrown down by faulting and the nearby sea appear to have inundated it. Because of this the people appear to have proceeded north in the elevation higher than the sea level and established the 2nd or northern metropolis. This also got affected by faulting due to earth quakes around 4000 BP and destroyed by the 2780 ± 150 BP EQ, by down throwing the metropolis and sea transgressed the area to completely submerge it.

In this connection it is worthwhile pointing it out three important aspects:

The folk songs in local Kachchi dialogue, mention about 4 major towns of ancient past. Three of these have been identified as Mohenjadaro, Harappa and Dholavira. Obviously the fourth one and the biggest of them all and oldest is the Gulf of Cambay metropolis. )

The 2nd aspect is work by other agencies describing small-scale stone ruins near the Gulf of Kuutch, at the present-day town of Dwarka, as the remains of the ancient, fabled city of Dwarka – so well described as the abode of Lord Krishna of Mahabarata fame. The city is said to have been completely transgressed by the sea and this is vividly described by Arjuna, Krishna’s main disciple in the “Mahabaratha Epic”. The puzzling aspect, which is incoherent, is the location of city of Dwaraka. The temple we see today is hardly 900 years old. The area all around is dry, void of vegetation, and with brackish water. Krishna is supposed to have maintained a huge army of men, animals like Elephants, Horses, etc. There are absolutely there are no trees or foliage or fresh water for a big army. So it strikes a discordant note about the location. But the submerged metropolis of the Gulf of Cambay has strong, powerful flowing rivers, lots of trees and foliage and huge township of truly ancient times. So probably the metropolis in the Gulf of Cambay could be the “Dwaraka City” of Mahabarata fame.

The third aspect is to consider what happened when the first and second metropolis got submerged. It is interesting to note that there are about 500 Harappan and pre-harappan settlements in Gujarat of which about 258 are on the peripheral areas of Gulf of Cambay. All of them are younger than the Gulf of Cambay metropolis (southern). To the immediate west of the Gulf of Cambay on the Saurashtra coast is the well known pre-Harappan and Harappan archaeological site of Padri. It has been established by the Deccan College researchers, that the river Chatranji that is now flowing east into the Gulf of Cambay, originally flowed west but was tilted towards the east by large-scale structural changes. By connecting it to the southern palaeo channel and extending it, it is seen that it goes to Prabhaspatten in the Arabian Sea, and Prabhaspatten is a well known pre-harappan archaeological site mentioned in the Mahabharata epic. To the east the Palaeochannel is seen to be an extension of the present day river Tapi. Obviously the river Tapi was flowing right up to Prabhaspattan on the Arabian Sea prior to the drifting and formation of the Gulf of Cambay. It now falls into the Gulf of Cambay instead of the Arabian Sea. The ancients after the catastrophe and submergence in the Gulf of Cambay appear to have spread out all over Gujarat and then to the surrounding areas to establish a continuing and evolving civilization of Harappan type.

So, from the foregoing it is very evident the prehistoric civilization that matured and developed in the present day Gulf of Cambay was the forerunner and model to the subsequent advanced Harrapan civilization known to history. This wonderful twin prehistoric metropolis of Cambay lasted from about 13000 BP to about 3000 BP making it the most ancient and largest city civilization not only in Asia but also in the entire world. It is seen to be at least 7500 years older than the oldest Mesopotamian city civilization. However strong evidence supports the presence of humans from at least 31000 BP who were evolving and developing and formed a great hitherto unknown civilization that were submerged by the flood, giving credence to local and global flood myths.





Feb 27

Silbury Hill

Courtesy of:  http://www.britannia.com/

sil1Silbury Hill, located just south of the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, is a massive artificial mound with a flat top. It is approximately 130 feet (40 m.) high, with a base circumference of 1640 feet. It is composed of over 12 million cubic feet (339,600 cubic m.) of chalk and earth and covers over 5 acres (2 ha). Silbury Hill occupies a low-lying site and except at certain points in the landscape (notably from the West Kennet Long Barrow from which this photograph was taken), it does not protrude significantly above the horizon.

It was built in three stages, the first begun around 2,660 B.C.E. The last phase comprised the building of six concentric steps or terraces of chalk which were then covered with chalk rubble, flints, gravel, and finally soil to form a cone-shaped mound. Each of the six steps was concealed within the overall profile of the mound, except the last one at the top which was left as a terrace or ledge about 17 feet (5 m.) below the summit. This terrace is clearly visible on the eastern side of the mound, but less distinct from the west.

Various legends have been attached to Silbury Hill. Folklore has claimed it to be the burial place of an otherwise forgotten King Sil (or Zel); of a knight in golden armour; and even of a solid gold horse and rider. It is also told that the Devil was going to empty a huge sack of earth on the town of Marlborough, but was forced to drop it here by the magic of the priests from nearby Avebury. According to William Stukeley, the top of the hill was dug into in 1723 and some bones were discovered together with an ancient bridle. The mound was again dug into in 1776 and in 1849. In 1967, excavations were undertaken by Richard Atkinson but again neither burials nor any clue to the mound’s meaning were discovered. Atkinson did learn, however, through radiocarbon analysis that the mound dates to around 2660 B.C.E. Further evidence from the remains of plants and insects indicated that the structure was begun during the first week in August, probably at the time of the Celtic festival of “Lugnasadh” (or Lammas) at the start of the harvest season.

When seen from the West Kennet Long Barrow (as in the view at the top of this page), the summit of Silbury breaks the horizon at the line of the terrace. When seen from the Sanctuary, the summit is in line with the distant horizon, and even appears to slope gently with it.

Silbury can clearly be seen in the background, its summit in line with the horizon, in a drawing made by William Stukeley of part of the Sanctuary in 1723.

sil2Silbury also appears prominently in Stukeley’s drawing of the ‘great stone serpent of the Avebury complex (shown below). The very top of the mound can also be discerned from the village of Avebury in what has been described as a precise geomantic relation with the so-called ‘Obelisk’ in the Avebury complex. It can be seen, however, only after the crops in the intervening field on the horizon have been harvested; the standing grain is sufficient to obscure the view. For some, this is further evidence for interpreting the mound in connection with harvest festivals. The original purpose of Silbury is unknown, although various explanations have been put forward over the years. Recently, Michael Dames has suggested that the hill is a symbolic effigy of the ancient Mother Goddess and is to be associated with fertility rituals which marked the course of the year. The festival of “Lugnasadh” (or Lammas) in August, when it is thought Silbury was founded, celebrates the first fruits of the harvest. It has been pointed out that the spring which rises five hundred yards south of the hill and is the source of the River Kennet, was formerly called the Cunnit, a name which may be connected to the Mother Goddess and fertility.

Another explanation argues that Silbury Hill could have been used as an accurate solar observatory by means of the shadows cast by the mound itself on the carefully levelled plain to the north, towards Avebury. The meridian line from Silbury runs through Avebury church which stands on a ley line running between Stonehenge and the stone circle at Winterbourne Abbas. The same ley line also passes through two churches and the eastern slope of Silbury. Silbury, in fact, is a centre for alignments of straight prehistoric tracks, resurfaced by the Romans, and of standing stones. The Roman road between Marlborough and Bath runs directly towards Silbury Hill before swerving to avoid it. This would indicate that the Roman road followed a pre-existing track or ley line. John Michell makes the following observations:

“In view of the fact that in China mounds like that at Silbury were erected upon “lung-mei”, the paths of the dragon, there is good reason to suspect that Silbury itself was sited by Pre-Celtic Druids on a dragon line with the assistance of a geomancer’s compass. It may also be inferred that the Chinese “lung-mei” stretch over the entire globe. Many centre’s of English dragon legend stand at the junction of well-marked leys, one notable long-distance example being the St Michael’s line that runs from the Avebury circle to the extreme west of Cornwall.



Feb 27

Lovelock Giants

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

Latest posts by Todd Wayne Knipple (see all)

g1Lovelock Cave (NV-Ch-18) is a North American archaeological site previously known as Sunset Guano Cave, Horseshoe Cave, and Loud Site 18. The cave is about 150 feet long and 35 feet wide. Lovelock Cave is one of the most important classic sites of the Great Basin region because the conditions of the cave are conducive to the preservation of organic and inorganic material. The cave was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 1984. It was the first major cave in the Great Basin to be excavated.

The large rock shelter is north of modern day Humboldt Sink. Lovelock Cave is in the Lake Lahontan region, next to the former lakebed of Lake Lahontan. It was formed by the lake’s currents and wave action. It was first a rock shelter. Eventually an earthquake collapsed the overhang of the mouth. Lake Lahontan was a large Pleistocene pluvial lake that covered much of western Nevada. Due to drier Holocene climate the water elevation dropped and much smaller lakes remain such as Humboldt Lake, Pyramid Lake, and Carson Lake. The dry environment of the cave resulted in a wealth of well-preserved artifacts that provide a glimpse on how people lived in the area. Lovelock Cave was in use as early as 2580 BC but was not intensely inhabited until around 1000 BC. People occupied Lovelock Cave for over 4,000 years. The initial discoveries of artifacts and excavations, in the early 20th century, were not very well executed, which resulted in a loss of archaeological information. However more recent investigations were more careful and meticulous. A wealth of knowledge pertaining to life on the Great Basin has come from this important site because many unique artifacts have been successfully recovered.

In 1911 two miners, David Pugh and James Hart, were hired to mine for bat guano from the cave to be used as fertilizer. They removed a layer of guano estimated to be three to six feet deep and weighing about 250 tons. Heizer and Napton’s review of the excavation states “the guano was dug up from the upper cave deposits, screened on the hillside outside the cave, and shipped to a fertilizer company in San Francisco.” Miners had dumped the top layers of Lovelock into a heap outside of the cave. The miners were aware of the artifacts but only the most interesting specimens were saved. Unfortunately, the first exploration was unsystematic and the loss of material and damage to the site strata was considerable in large portions of the cave. L.L. Loud of the Paleontology Department at the University of California was contacted by the mining company when the refuse left by the ancient people proved so plentiful that fertilizer could no longer be collected.

g2In the spring of 1912 A.L. Kroeber sent L. L. Loud, an employee of the Museum of Anthropology, University of California to recover any materials that remained from the guano mining of the previous year. Loud excavated Lovelock Cave for five months and reportedly collected roughly 10,000 material remains. The majority of the archaeological record was gathered from three areas: a dump outside the cave left by miners, lower level deposits from the northwest end of the cave, and undisturbed refuse along the outlying edges of the cave. Unfortunately, Loud did not maintain a comprehensive report of the excavation so detailed information is not available. The method and procedure of archaeological excavations has improved over the years and Loud’s excavation does not fit into the standards of today’s practices. He labeled the individual dig locations as “lots” without establishing any grid system. Grid systems are used to determine origin and depth of archaeological record. Loud recorded 41 lots. Heizer and Napton tried to further detail Loud’s findings but because Loud was not consistent with his methods of recording data their efforts were ineffective.

Twelve years after the first excavation Loud returned to Lovelock Cave with M.R. Harrington in the summer of 1924. The Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York commissioned Harrington and Loud, who, assisted by local Paiute Indians, attempted to recover any materials left from previous investigations. They found leftover fragments that had been ignored by collectors in the east end and center of the cave. The team also dug to the base of the deposits in the west end. This excavation resulted in the discovery of the famous duck decoy cache.

The American Museum of Natural History sponsored Nels Nelson to conduct a surface collection of Lovelock Cave in 1936. However, no archaeological material recovered was admitted to the museum’s collection.

Robert Heizer came to Lovelock Cave in 1949 to collect organic material for radiocarbon dating. He later returned in 1950 and 1965 with a field group to sift through the remains that the miners left behind in a slope in front of the cave and collect coprolites. In excavations with Lewis Napton during 1968 and 1969 disturbed human remains were discovered. The remains found were so scattered that a complete recovery was never possible. Human coprolites found at Lovelock Cave are instrumental in piecing together the cultures’ subsistence patterns, specifically the kinds of food the Indians were eating. Indians in the area were primarily eating birds, fish and other fauna that lived near the lake. They also collected and stored vegetation for winter months. Furthermore, because coprolites are organic material, they could be dated with the radiocarbon dating technique.

The most renowned discovery at Lovelock Cave was a cache of eleven duck decoys. M.R. Harrington and L.L. Loud found when they were digging for the Museum of the American Indian in 1924 in Pit 12, Lot 4. The cache included eight painted and feathered decoys and three unfinished decoys. Items found in the same pit consisted of feathers and two bundles of animal traps. The remarkable decoys were made from bundled tule, a long grass-like herb, covered in feathers and painted.

The first attempt to date the decoys with radiocarbon dating techniques in 1969 was unsuccessful because the material got lost. Later samples could not be acquired without causing extensive damage to the decoys so they were not dated until the development of the Accelerator Mass Spectrometric (AMS) dating technique. Technological advances with AMS dating meant that much smaller, milligram-size, specimens from archaeological record were ample size for dating. Samples were retrieved from two duck decoys and A. J. T. Tull of the University of Arizona, Tucson conducted the dating of the specimens. In 1984 he reported the dates to Don D. Fowler. Duck Decoy 13/4513, Lovelock Cave was dated at 2,080 + 330 BP, and Duck Decoy 13/4512B was dated at 2,250 + 230BP.

A hand woven textile sling was collected by Loud in 1912 but it was not reported or studied extensively until years later. Archaeologists are interested in the specific specimen because it is recognized as one of the earliest slings in North America. The Indians of the Northern Paiute or Paviotso were occupants of the area during historic times and they recognized the sling as a toy or used for hunting and war. Slings were known to serve different purposes such as a toy, a forehead band, or a mechanism for hunting birds. The design of the sling found at Lovelock was constructed through a simple knotting technique from a two-ply yarn. The pattern on the sling is reversible. It was likely made from various pieces of available fiber. The sling found at Lovelock is just one of the many handmade textile items of the cave. Traps and nets were also crafted to assist hunters during their search for food. Baskets and other food storage items were used to ensure that during times of resource scarcity everyone would have enough food for survival.

Humans utilized the cave starting around 2580 BC but it was not intensively used until 1000 BC. Two competing hypotheses arose from the investigations of Lovelock Cave. Heizer and Napton supported a limnosedentary theory pertaining to life at the site. This view held that people of the area rarely moved from their base because they had access to such rich and varied resources. This theory is based on the coprolitic material found at Lovelock which revealed a primary diet of fish and diverse lakeside fare. A limnomobile view suggests that sites such as Lovelock were only occupied during certain times throughout the year and people in the area were very mobile. Lovelock Cave is believed to have been occupied extensively during the winter months. Summer months may have been plagued with insects that would make life near a marsh undesirable. The findings at the site reveal lengthy periods of occupation and also show the complicated techniques used by hunters and gatherers to acquire resources.

Lovelock Cave overlooks Humboldt Sink, a remnant of Lake Lahontan. The human coprolites recovered from Lovelock Cave reveal that 90 percent of the diet came from Humboldt Sink. All sizes of fish were eaten and hunting techniques included the use of nets, traps, and hooks made from fishbone. Dietary staples include: Lahontan Chub, ducks, and mudhens. Plants such as bulrush, cattail, and other grasses were also significant food sources. The environment of the Great Basin is very diverse. The amount of rainfall varies year to year. A wet year can potentially produce six times more vegetation than that of a dry year. Hunter-gatherers of the Great Basin survived on a wide variety of resources to adapt to a changing environment. The inhabitants of Lovelock Cave were fortunate to live around a rich lowland marsh, the duck and goose decoys were ideal for hunting in such areas. Mosquitoes and other insects were troublesome pests to people of the marshes during summer months.

Subsistence patterns and adaptations varied greatly among Great Basin groups. People living in mountainous areas were surviving on plants for more than fifty percent of their diets whereas people around water or in the marshes were hunting fish and other wetland wildlife. Waterfowl have been attracted to Great Basin marshes for thousands of years. Ancient hunter-gatherer inhabitants of Lovelock Cave became expert bird hunters. They used their well-designed duck decoys to lure prey then shoot birds from blinds. As hunters became more experienced they would wear disguises made from reeds or duck skin and stalk birds then surprise and grab them by the legs. The people at Lovelock recognized the importance of water fowl and utilized birds extensively. Archaeological specimens from the site show that the inhabitants collected feathers from geese, ducks, pelicans, and herons. Hunter-gathers were intelligent and used the feathers from the birds to create decoys which allowed the capture of more birds. Decoys are still used by local native people today in hunting water fowl.

Hunters were also able to rely on a variety of fauna such as muskrat, rabbit, and rodents as foodstuff. Gathers were harvesting vegetables and grasses in the spring and fall to supplement their rich diet. The women of the group were likely the gatherers and also responsible for crafting important items to make life easier in the marsh. Fibers from dogbane and milkweed were used to fashion yarns and baskets. Baskets were used to store food, especially vegetation that was harvested in the spring and fall to be saved for winter months. Women would occasionally collect fish with smaller baskets.

The ideal conditions at Lovelock Cave preserved deposits of feathers from various birds and textiles from nets. Common fibrous items include: nets, baskets, sandals, traps, and decoys. Manos and metates, hand held grinding stones, were abundantly used by Indians. They helped process plant foods especially seeds, nuts, and other tough material. The materials recovered from Lovelock Cave helped to demonstrate that hunting and gathering was the primary means of survival for Native Americans of the Great Basin for thousands of years. The diversity of resources allowed the people in the area to thrive using traditional methods for a long period of time, and whose material culture remained the same for thousands of years.

The cave’s last use is believed to be in the mid-1800s as indicated by a gun cache and a human coprolite. The material was tested through radiocarbon dating and dated to about 1850.

According to Paiute oral history, the Si-Te-Cah or Sai’i are a legendary tribe of red-haired cannibalistic giants. Mummified remains fitting the Paiute description were discovered by guano miners in Lovelock Cave in 1911. Adrienne Mayor writes about the Si-Te-Cah in her book, Legends of the First Americans. She suggests that the ‘giant’ interpretation of the skeletons from Lovelock Cave and other dry caves in Nevada was started by entrepreneurs setting up tourist displays and that the skeletons themselves were of normal size. However, about a hundred miles north of Lovelock there are plentiful fossils of mammoths and cave bears, and their large limb bones could easily be thought to be those of giants by an untrained observer. She also discusses the reddish hair, pointing out that hair pigment is not stable after death and that various factors such as temperature, soil, etc. can turn ancient very dark hair rusty red or orange.






Feb 27

North American Rune Stones

Todd Wayne Knipple

Todd Wayne Knipple

I was awakened to the reality of the paranormal at the age of 12 while at a friend’s home. What happened that one night back in 1983 kept me awake for three days. After that incident I was left with many questions. My determination to find answers to what had happened that night became an obsession that would lead me down a path into investigating the paranormal. I found myself consumed by these strange anomalies that were captured on video, audio and photographs, and the strange feelings and sensations I would have from walking into old buildings or a person’s home.
For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to finding these answers by using a scientific approach to fully understand and bring explanations to those who seek help and who are experiencing themselves the same things I experienced some 30 years ago. I can say that out of all of the cases I have investigated over the years as a paranormal investigator, 99% can be explained as a product of environment. There is, however, that 1% that can only be considered Beyond The Grave.
Todd Wayne Knipple

Latest posts by Todd Wayne Knipple (see all)

nmrsSeveral rune stones have been found in the United States, most notably the Kensington Runestone in Minnesota and the Heavener Stone in Oklahoma. There is considerable debate over their age and validity. The “Kensington Runestone” is a slab of gray stone, measuring 36 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It contains runic writing along the face of the stone and along one edge. The stone was found by a Minnesota farmer named Olaf Ohman in November of 1898 while a digging up a poplar tree stump on the southern slope of a 50-foot high knoll. The stone was buried face down about six inches below the surface, with the tree roots wrapped around it. Mr. Ohman and his sons saw the runic letters but did not know what they were.

Unfortunately, the stone was not left in place, so they were unable to demonstrate its obvious age from the growth pattern of the tree. The stone was sent to the University of Minnesota and then to Chicago. It was was studied by runic scholars, who interpreted the inscription to be an account of Norse explorers in the 14th Century. Many authorities who have since examined the stone have claimed it a forgery, but others are equally certain of its authenticity.

It is known King Magnus of Sweden sent that a party to Greenland in 1355. They never returned. It is very possible that these men were from that party. The stone bears the date of 1362. The transliteration of the text is generally accepted as:

“Eight Goths and 22 Norwegians on a journey of exploration from Vinland very far west. We had camp by 2 rocky islands one day’s journey north from this stone. We were out fishing one day. After we came home we found 10 men red with blood and dead. AVM [Ave Maria] save us from evil.”

The inscription along the edge of the stone says:

“Have 10 men by the sea to look after our ships 14 days’ journey from this island. Year 1362.”

The stone is now in the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota, near where the stone was found.

Update: At a 2000 conference in St. Paul, attended by archaeologists from about 20 states and three Canadian provinces, a Minnesota geologist and a Wisconsin chemist presented what they say is indisputable evidence that the runestone inscription is “real” and old, probably from the 1300s. Scott Wolter, president of American Petrographic services, is a licensed Minnesota geologist. He was instrumental in analyzing the stone’s surfaces with Barry Hanson, a chemist and project manager for nonprofit archeology group, Archeology ITM, and Paul Weiblen, professor emeritus in geophysics at the University of Minnesota. Weiblen published a 45-page report on the mineralogy of the stone, and concludes that the carvings are significantly older than 1898, when it was discovered.

Possible Viking Routes to Minnesota from Greenland via the Hudson Bay and the Nelson and Red Rivers or via the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.

Dr. Richard Nielsen, president of Houston Texas-based Nielsen Engineering, studies linguistics as a hobby. His research involving 14th century legal documents known as “Swedish Diplomas”, reveals linguistic evidence linking the writing style and expressions on the stone to the vernacular found in historical legal documents of the period between 1355 and 1375. During the 14th century many of the educated scribes died of the bubonic plague. Less educated writers introduced vernacular into the legal documents during that period.

Thomas Reiersgord, author of The Kensington Rune Stone: Its Place in History, believes that the “10 men red with blood”, were not killed by Indians, but were victims of the bubonic plague, carried in its incubation period from Europe, by one or more carriers in the group. In its pneumatic form the plague spreads and kills rapidly, the victims vomiting blood as well as covered with bloody pustules.

The “Heavener Runestone” of Oklahoma is a slab about 12 feet high, 10 feet wide, and 16 inches thick with runic letters spelling out the word “Gaomedat”. By reversing two runes which appear to be different from the others, the inscription becomes “Glomedal”, or “Glome’s Valley”. It could also be rendered “G. Nomedal”. Nomedal is a Norwegian family name. Thanks to the efforts of Gloria Farley, the area surrounding the stone is now the Heaven Rune Stone State Park. The stone is now protected inside a building erected around it. The official theory is that the stone was erected as a boundary marker between 600 A.D. and 900 A.D.

Old-timers related that there were many more stones in the area, but most were destroyed by treasure hunters in the 1930s and 1940s. Neither of the Heavener Runestones Numbers Two or Three have enough runes to render a translatable message. In 1967, another stone was found near Ponteau, Oklahoma.

The second stone, which measured 30 by 14 inches and 20 inches thick, shows 12-inch, three-pronged symbol on a stem, the runic “R”. Below it on the side surface was a small mark which later proved to be a “bindrune,” or combination of two runes. This stone is called “Heavener Runestone Number Two.

On Heavener Three an “X,” a “turkey track,” and an arrow shape: the runes for “G,” “R,” and “T,” respectively. The letters, 6 to 9 inches tall, appear in a triangular pattern on a stone 5 1/2 feet long. Neither of the Heavener Runestones Numbers Two or Three have enough runes to render a translatable message.

The Poteau stone, found by schoolboys in 1967, is 15 inches long. There are seven characters in a straight line, l 1/2 to 2 inches high. The runes showed very plainly because the bottom of the grooves were in a lighter colored layer of the stone, while the surface was dark. Tool marks in the grooves showed that the letters had been made with a punch, like the Heavener Runestone. Four of the runes are duplicates of those on the Heavener Runestone, and three seemed to be variants of others on it. From the site of the Poteau stone, the Heavener Runestone on the side of Poteau Mountain lies about 10 miles to the southeast. The original sties of Heavener Runestones Numbers Two and Three fall in a line between them.

There are several more theories regarding the Heavener stones. In 1967, Alf Monge, a former US Army cryptographer asserted that the symbols are a runic puzzle, indicating a date, equivalent to November 11, 1012, St. Martin’s Day, on our calendar. According to Monge, all of the cryptic runic messages in North American and those found in Stave Churches in Norway, are deciphered as dates of church holidays. He feels there is evidence that the creator of this puzzle and others found in North America was Eirik Gnupsson, known as Henricus, who was made Bishop of Greenland in 1112. Henricus was believed to have made several trips to Vinland and farther inland. Monge says Henricus left seven runic puzzles including the Kensington Rune Stone, the Heavener Rune Stone and the Spirit Pond Rune Stone. This is discussed in two books by O.G. Landsverk: Runic Records of the Norsemen in America, Erik J Friis Publisher, 1974, and Ancient Norse

Messages on American Stones, Norseman Press, 1969., and in Earl Syversen’s Norse Runic Inscriptions: with their long-forgotten cryptography, Vine Hill Press.

Monge’s solution to the Poteau inscription is another date, November 11, 1017 A.D., exactly five years later than the date he said was on the Heavener Runestone. The seventh symbol on the Poteau Runestone is not in the standard runic alphabets but was a runic symbol for the numeral 17.

The early Norse calendar is based upon a cycle of 19 days, or Golden Numbers. The Younger Futhark was used to number those days. There are, of course, only 16 staves in the Younger Futhark, so three new symbols were devised to represent 17, 18, and 19.

Yet another stone was found in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Its five runes, all from the 24-rune Elder Futhark, spells out “MEDOK.” Medok is similar to Madoc, the name of a Welsh prince. Ancient records state that he came to America in the year 1170 A.D., then returned to Wales for ten shiploads of colonists which he led up the Mississippi River. However, the Welsh did not use third century A.D. Norse runes and the name Medok is not Madoc. Alf Monge studied the inscription on the Shawnee Runestone and said it was another Norse cryptopuzzle, giving the date November 24, 1024 A.D.

While agreeing that the Heavener stone bears a cryptic message, Dr. Lee Woodward, a Sallisaw, Oklahoma minister, believes it is a monument to Rene Robert Cavelier de la Salle, a French explorer, who was murdered in 1687. Woodward asserts that la Salle was killed in the area of Heavener, not in East Texas as is commonly believed. He concludes that the stone was carved by Gemme Hiens, whom he refers to as a “German-English linguistic and artistic genius who had been a companion of La Salle from 1684-1687… Hiens did his monument in form of a runic riddle, not wanting all to readily recognize what he was doing. His riddle called for identification of a ‘Grandly Famous French Man and his dates’ (G. NOM E (t) DAT(es). He then cleverly answered the riddle in a way which be very clearly seen at the monument (D’ La Salle, 21 Novembre 1643-19 Mars 1687). Those are birth and death dates of La Salle.” Dr Lee Woodward’s theory is explained in his book, Secret La Salle Monument and Historical Marker.

Richard Nielsen, an American engineer and Norse scholar, feels that the runes should be read literally, not as puzzles. He says that the second and last runes on the Heavener Runestone, which had been considered an “A” and a “T,” were actually versions of “L,” and that the seventh rune on the Poteau inscription was a double “L” in the form of a bindrune, a combination of two runes using one vertical stroke for a stem line. Nielsen believes that all the runes on the Heavener, Poteau, and Shawnee inscriptions are from the Elder Futhark The Heavener runes transliterated into “G L O M E D A L.” , “Glome’s Valley”. The Poteau runes read “G L O I A L L W (ALU).” He says that he found that “Gloi,” is a nickname for “Glome,” thus the two stones are related to the same man. The word “ALU” is a magical formula. This language was used around 600 A.D. and is the key to the new dating of the Oklahoma Runestones. The stones were made, according to Nielsen, between 600 and 900. Nielsen’s essay “Early Scandinavian Incursions Into The Western States”, discusses the Kensington runestone as well as the Heavener stone.

The Spirit Pond runestones were found in Maine in 1971. One bears a rough map of the area, the second has runic writing on one side. On the third, there are ten lines of runes on one side and six on the other. The inscription tells of a sudden storm and fearful men trying to save their ship from “the foamy arms of Aegir, angry god of the sea”. This stone, too, has been called a hoax. I think that it is reasonable that Vikings, who were known to have built a settlement in Newfoundland, might very well have traveled south to Maine. As mentioned above, cryptologist Alf Monge believes that the stone is genuine, but its tale is not to be taken literally. He asserts that is a runic puzzle by Henricus, 12th century Bishop of Greenland.





Feb 27

The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England

Courtesy of:  http://www.perceptivetravel.com

Megalithic chambers at “America’s Stonehenge” in North Salem, New Hampshire. Source: Brad Olsen

Scattered across four New England states are approximately 800 stone–built chambers, possibly of an ancient origin. These remarkable chambers, found nowhere else in North America, can be circular or rectangular in form, up to 30 feet in length but usually half that, occasionally 10 feet wide and up to 10 feet tall in the central chamber. They are characteristically constructed of expertly–fitted dry masonry stones capped by megalithic slabs. Most of the best preserved chambers can be found sunken into the contours of the landscape. Although some structures are freestanding, the most fascinating structures are accessed by passageways driven into the hillside.

The most elaborate are described as “beehive” chambers, indicative of the conical shape in the central room, supported by a large ceiling capstone. These sophisticated structures sometimes feature “smoke holes” to ventilate the chambers, as well as shelves, benches or recesses incorporated into the walls. Some had blocked passageways and remained intact underground only to be discovered years later when a roof caved in, or a plow or pick–axe penetrated the chamber. It is unfortunate to mention that a vast majority of these New England stone buildings have been torn down for quarried stone, repeatedly vandalized, or otherwise dismantled, destroyed, or abandoned by the landowner blocking the entrance.

A Laundry List of Potential Builders
Early records of the New England colonists make mention of some of the chambers preexisting before they settled the land. Assuming that the structures were built by vanished Indian tribesmen and were free for the taking, New England colonial farmers put them to use as extra storage space shelters. Sometimes the age of the chamber could be authenticated by trees a hundred years old growing into the unmortared walls. The conventional wisdom at the time was that these enclosures were built as “colonial root cellars,” or if an old tree dated their age then they were termed “steam baths for Indians.” The root cellar and the Indian–built theories are dismissive because they overlook basic facts, such as the passageways being too low and narrow to wheel a cart into, most having soil floors that would rot vegetables, or that nowhere else in North America did Indians construct sweat lodges made of stone.

Let us use the logic test called Occam’s Razor to our laundry list of potential builders. The test goes like this: when you have two or more competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is always better. If there is scant evidence for European colonials or Native Americans building the chambers, then who else could be responsible for their construction? Is it possible to contrast these chambers against anything of a similar design? Where else in the world are beehive enclosures located?

One possibility is the ancient Greek Mycenaeans who buried their nobles in beehive tombs called tholoi, large circular burial chambers with a high vaulted roof. This is a possible influence, especially since the pre–classical Greeks were contemporary with the Phoenicians who may have lived at America’s Stonehenge, a location we will examine later. As for the beehive chambers of New England, like nowhere else in the world, they closely resemble smaller structures found around the islands of northern Europe. The New England chambers are dead ringers for those built by the Culdee Monks of Scotland, England, and Ireland who adopted the building style from their Celtic ancestry.

If we are to follow the prehistoric European theory then identifying the New England chambers’ proximity to river routes is another important piece of the puzzle, because almost all of the sites are situated near a natural waterway. The Merrimack River valley flowing south through New Hampshire and into northeastern Massachusetts was a seemingly active avenue for ancient voyagers, as was Connecticut’s Thames River drainage. Because of its long length the Connecticut River was perhaps the most important river route. The Connecticut originates far to the north in Quebec, Canada. It then creates the entire boundary between Vermont and New Hampshire until it passes through the middle of Massachusetts and Connecticut, before emptying into the Long Island Sound. What follows is a description of the four most prominent chamber sites and their associated prehistoric access routes.


The entrance to the Equinox Calendar Chamber at Gungywamp, Connecticut. Source: Brad Olsen

The Sprawling Gungywamp Complex
Near the Thames River mouth in eastern Connecticut is a wide assortment of stone chambers, the most extensive being a complex called Gungywamp. This 100–acre site is located in the wooded hills outside the town of Groton, Connecticut, just off Gungywamp Road. A pair of enclosed structures and a dozen other stone features are scattered around the eastern half of an old YMCA camp. The complex is located high atop an imposing cliff, situated above a swamp feeding a stream that connects to the Thames River. Archaeological excavations at the site have confirmed the presence of humans at the site over the past 4,000 years. It is known there was a settlement by white farmers after 1780, and the site was also utilized from time to time by Native Americans.

The word “Gungywamp” was originally thought to be an Indian word, but has another translation in Gaelic meaning “Church of the People.” Besides containing beehive chambers and a petroglyph image of a bird with outstretched wings, Gungywamp has a double row of stones, just north of two underground chambers. This double ring stone circle, no longer standing, consists of 12 rectangular stones in the outside circle measuring over 10 feet in diameter. The innermost ring is made up of eight stones lying in a tight curved pattern. The complex also boasts a number of megaliths, cairns, a row of standing stones and marked stones, suggesting a possible double use as an astronomical observatory.

The largest underground monument at Gungywamp is called the “calendar chamber” because it features an astronomical alignment. On the days around the spring and autumnal equinoxes an inner alcove is illuminated by an alignment through a hole in the west wall. On these auspicious days the sun shines upon a lighter stone on the opposite side, radiating an illumination within a smaller, interconnected beehive–shaped chamber.

Ceremonial Stone Circle at Gungywamp, near Groton, Connecticut. Source: Brad Olsen

The Fascinating Upton Chamber
In the hills surrounding Boston, Massachusetts are a number of mysterious manmade chambers. The most famous is the Upton Stone Chamber, one of the largest and most precisely built beehive chambers in New England. A long passage leads into a large underground chamber called “The Cave” by local kids. The Upton internal chamber is one of the largest intact. The very size belies an easy explanation. A 15–foot long entryway leads into an 11–foot diameter room over 10 feet tall in the central chamber. The precisely fitted rocks of a dry stone masonry have held up well over the years. Virtually no artifacts have been found inside Upton, or most of the other stone chambers for that matter.

The floor of Upton is currently rotted wood planking covering flagstones. An argument against colonial construction can be made that no artifacts have been found, or that the long narrow passageway would be impractical for carting in storage items.

Not only is Upton one of the finest examples of a beehive chamber, but this chamber is aligned to observe the setting solstice sun and stars of the Pleiades, as marked by large stone piles located on nearby Pratt Hill. The Upton Stone Chamber is on private land just outside the small village of Upton, in the backyard of a home on Elm Street, about 12 miles southeast of Worcester. Across the West River valley from the chamber is Pratt Hill where several cairns are located near the summit.

America’s Stonehenge
On a hilltop in New Hampshire near the Massachusetts border are a series of low stone walls and cobbled rock chambers called America’s Stonehenge. The entire complex covers about 30 acres of hills and woodland, around which extends an apparently haphazard collection of walls interspersed with tall, triangular–shaped standing stones. The site’s central feature is “Mystery Hill,” situated on a single acre, which contains 22 stone chambers which can be characterized as dolmens, plus other megalithic features. Immediately surrounding the central site are upright stone monoliths aligned to predict prominent astronomical sightings.

The Sacrificial Table at America’s Stonehenge. Source: Brad Olsen

In the central section of Mystery Hill are several engaging features of curiosity. The centerpiece is a T–shaped chamber with internal structures similar to a chimney and hearth, as well as a “couch” sculpted right into the living rock. From the couch, a pipe–like hole called a “speaking tube” ascends to the surface and runs directly below an enormous rock table weighing 4.5 tons. The tube may have been used for some kind of spooky oracle because it distorts voices when heard from below, and the table above may have served as a sacrificial altar because of the carved gutters on top to funnel blood.

Surrounding the “Oracle Chamber” are more than 20 stone chambers of various sizes, which may have been used as shelters for the presumed Bronze Age inhabitants, or were utilized collectively as some kind of religious ceremonial center. There is evidence that the entire complex is built over a natural cave system, but no entrances have yet been located. Instead, deep well shafts have been discovered, and the most intriguing pit leads not to a cave, but to a natural fault where a cluster of quartz crystals were recovered by archaeologists. The crystals may have been mined nearby, or came from afar with the inhabitants and were ritualistically placed into the well to indicate the site as a power point. It is known that crystals were worshipped or used for tools by ancient cultures.

The hilltop position of the megalithic beehive chambers suggests this location was used primarily as a village, but the site also appears to double as a celestial and astronomical observatory. The Summer Solstice Sunrise Monolith is situated where the sun rises over this upright slab of granite around the date of June 21st of each year. The top of the stone is uniquely shaped to match the landscape on the horizon where the sun rises. The place to make these sightings is in the middle of a stone circle, where other astronomical computations can also be made.

Nearby the stone circle there is a tall rock called the True North Stone, which was determined in 1975 to have lined up with the pole star Thuban around 1750 BCE, and is on the main central axis from which other alignments can be calculated. These alignments include the annual summer and winter solstices (June 21 and Dec. 21) and seasonal equinoxes (March 22 and Sept. 22), as well as specific solar and lunar events of the year. Several of the low stonewalls also indicate true north–south and east–west alignments.

It is interesting to note that all astronomical sightings at America’s Stonehenge were in a position to accurately predict their events around 1500 BCE. However, due to the earth’s changing tilt over several thousand years, called the procession of the equinoxes, they can no longer precisely predict astral movement events.

Located in North Salem, America’s Stonehenge is only about an hour’s drive from Boston, and 18 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Boat captains of antiquity would have reached the hilltop location by navigating up the Merrimack River to a tributary that runs just below the site. Today most visitors drive to America’s Stonehenge and take Exit 3 off the I–93 to Route 111. Motorists should follow the signs from North Salem.

View from the interior of a chamber at Mount Mineral, Massachusetts. Source: Brad Olsen

Mysteries in Western Massachusetts and Beyond
There are many other enigmatic stone structures to discover scattered across the New England landscape. In Massachusetts, The Wendell Beehive Cave is very similar in size and design to the nearby Pelam Chamber, being about four feet tall in the main chamber, constructed of mortar–free masonry in the shape of a beehive, and covered with earth. The Wendell “cave” is located on a hillock known as Mount Mineral, about 12 miles north of Pelham in Franklin County. Pelham Chamber is on private land, two miles west of Quabbin Reservoir on Route 202 in Hampshire County.

In Vermont, the vast South Woodstock complex is on private land surrounding the town of the same name. Nearby Elephant Valley in South Royalton, Vermont is home to the famous “Calendar I site.” Another prominent ancient observatory site is located in South Woodstock, Vermont. The South Woodstock complex consists of stone chambers, standing stones, and cairns in a natural bowl surrounded by hills and ridges. Besides having close proximity to waterways connecting with the Connecticut River, the beehive structures would have been interconnected by an intricate network of footpaths.

Sometimes seeing is the only way to believe, at least that’s how I felt before I had the opportunity to visit the locations outlined above.

Although some of the beehive chambers are on private land, there is a good chance the owners will grant access, or at least they won’t obstruct those who respectively come to visit. Only America’s Stonehenge is a regularly operated tourism attraction. Try to time your visit during the solstice or equinox dates. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and agree with me that these stone chambers of New England are indeed one of the great mysteries of North America!

Source:  http://www.perceptivetravel.com/issues/1109/new_england.html 

Feb 27

The Nazca Lines

Latest posts by Sara Owens (see all)

nasca1One thing that has always fascinated me are the Nazca Lines of Peru. Over 900 massive drawings spanning miles of the desert between the Nazca and Inca Valleys. Only fully visible and appreciated from the air, they are surrounded by mystery. Many people believe the lines were made to be seen by Alien visitors as landing sites. Others believe they were made as part of religious rites and now there is a theory that they were an elaborate map to finding water in the dry desert. Whatever their purpose they have lasted for centuries.

A Brief History of the Nazca People

The Nazca civilization flourished on the southern coast of Peru between 200 BCE and 600 CE. They settled in the Nazca and other surrounding valleys with their principal religious and urban sites being Cahuachi and Ventilla, respectively. The culture is noted for its distinctive pottery and textiles, and perhaps above all, for the geoglyphs made on the desert floor commonly known as Nazca lines. These can be simple lines, cleared spaces, or animals and figures traced in outline, and, as they cover several kilometres, they are best appreciated from the air.

The Nazca were contemporary with, and then outlasted, the Paracas culture and many Paracas sites have been nasca2discovered beneath Nazca settlements. Politically, the Nazca civilization has been described as a collection of chiefdoms occasionally acting in unison for mutual interest rather than as a single unified state. Or as M.E. Moseley puts it, “individuality – with cultural coherence, but without large-scale or integrated power – were Nazca hallmarks”. This interpretation is reinforced by the art and architecture of the Nazca which displays common themes across settlements but at the same time there is a general lack of uniform town planning or evidence of centralization. The maximum population of the Nazca has been estimated at 25,000 people, spread across small villages which were typically built on terraced hillsides near irrigated floodplains.

As they developed, the Nazca extended their influence into the Pisco Valley in the north and the Acari Valley in the south. In addition, as llamas, alpaca and vicuna do not survive in the coastal areas the use of their wool in Nazca textiles is evidence that trade was established with highland cultures. In addition, Nazca mummies have been discovered wearing headdresses made with the feathers of rainforest birds, once again, illustrating that goods were traded across great distances.

The Nazca Lines

In the Peruvian Desert, about 200 miles south of Lima, there lies a plain between the Inca and Nazca (sometimes also spelled Nasca) Valleys. Across this plain, in an area measuring 37 miles long and 1-mile wide, is an assortment of perfectly-straight lines, many running parallel, others intersecting, forming a grand geometric form. In and around the lines there are also trapezoidal zones, strange symbols, and pictures of birds and beasts all etched on a giant scale that can only be appreciated from the sky.

The figures come in two types: biomorphs and geoglyphs. The biomorphs are some 70 animal and plant figures that include a spider, hummingbird, monkey and a 1,000-foot-long pelican. The biomorphs are grouped together in one area on the plain. Some archaeologists believe they were constructed around 200 BC, about 500 years before the geoglyphs.

There are about 900 geoglyphs on the plain. Geoglyphs are geometric forms that include straight lines, triangles, spirals, circles and trapezoids. They are enormous in size. The longest straight line goes nine miles across the plain.

Discovery and Meaning

nacsa3Though discovered by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe who spotted them while hiking through the surrounding foothills in 1927, the forms are so difficult to see from the ground that they were not widely known until the 1930’s when aircraft spotted them while surveying for water. The plain, crisscrossed, by these giant lines with many forming rectangles, has a striking resemblance to a modern airport. The Swiss writer, Erich Von Daniken, even suggested they had been built for the convenience of ancient visitors from space to land their ships. As tempting as it might be to subscribe to this theory, the desert floor at Nazca is soft earth and loose stone, not tarmac, and would not support the landing wheels of either an aircraft or a flying saucer.

So why are the lines there? The American explorer Paul Kosok, who made his first visit to Nazca in the 1940s, suggested that the lines were astronomically significant and that the plain acted as a giant observatory. He called them “the largest astronomy book in the world.” Gerald Hawkins, an American astronomer, tested this theory in 1968 by feeding the position of a sample of lines into a computer and having a program calculate how many lines coincided with an important astronomical event. Hawkins showed the number of lines that were astronomically significant were only about the same number that would be the result of pure chance. This makes it seem unlikely Nazca is an observatory.

Perhaps the best theory for the lines and symbols belongs to Tony Morrison, the English explorer. By researching the old folk ways of the people of the Andes mountains, Morrison discovered a tradition of wayside shrines linked by straight pathways. The faithful would move from shrine to shrine praying and meditating. Often the shrine was as simple as a small pile of stones. Morrison suggests that the lines at Nazca were similar in purpose and on a vast scale. The symbols may have also served as special enclosures for religious ceremonies.

Construction of the Lines

How were they built? The lines were apparently made by brushing away the reddish, iron oxide covered pebbles that compose the desert surface and uncovering the white colored sand underneath. In most places wind, rain and erosion would quickly remove all traces of this within a few years. At Nazca, though, the lines have been preserved because it is such a windless, dry and isolated location.

A writer by the name of Jim Woodman believes that the lines and figures could not have been made without somebody in the air to direct the operations.

“You simply can’t see anything from ground level,” states Woodman. “You can’t appreciate any of it from anywhere except from above. You can’t tell me the Nazca builders would have gone to the monumental efforts they did without ever being able to see it.”

Woodman has proposed that ancient hot-air balloons were used to get an aerial view of the construction. To prove his hypothesis, Woodman constructed a balloon using materials that would have been available to the Nazca people. He was able to conduct a successful flight, though it only lasted two minutes.

Most researchers are extremely skeptical of Woodman’s conclusions, however, as they find little evidence in the remains left by the Nazca of any balloon construction or operation.

It is more likely that the Nazca people used simple surveying techniques in their work. Straight lines can be made easily for great distances with simple tools. Two wooden stakes placed as a straight line would be used to guide the placement of a third stake along the line. One person would sight along the first two stakes and instruct a second person in the placement of the new stake. This could be repeated as many times as needed to make an almost perfectly-straight line miles in length. Evidence that the line makers used this technique exists in the form of the remains of a few stakes found at the ends of some of the lines.

The symbols were probably made by drawing the desired figure at some reasonable size, then using a grid system to divide it up. The symbol could then be redrawn at full scale by recreating the grid on the ground and working on each individual square one at a time.

Related to Water?

Recently two researchers, David Johnson and Steve Mabee, have advanced a theory that the geoglyphs may be related to water. The Nazca plain is one of the driest places on Earth, getting less than one inch of rain a year. Johnson, while looking for sources of water in the region, noticed that ancient aqueducts, called puquios, seemed to be connected with some of the lines. Johnson thinks that the shapes may be a giant map of the underground water sources traced on the land. Mabee is working to gather evidence that might confirm this theory.

Other scientists are more skeptical, but admit that in a region where finding water was vital to survival, there might well be some connection between the ceremonial purpose of the lines and water. Johan Reinhard, a cultural anthropologist with the National Geographic Society, found that villagers in Bolivia walk along a straight pathway to shrines while praying and dancing for rain. Something similar may have been done at the ancient Nazca lines.




Feb 27

The Mysterious Ancient Etruscan Underground Pyramids Discovered in Italy

Latest posts by Sara Owens (see all)

etruWhen archaeologists discovered the first ever Etruscan pyramid-like buildings under a city in Italy, they were at a loss to explain the mysterious structures.

Three years ago a team of U.S. and Italian archaeologists began excavations under a wine cellar in Orvieto, Italy, after identifying stairs carved into a wall as Etruscan style. As they dug through mid-20th century and medieval walls and floors, they encountered tunnels and caves. These large chamber walls were carved to slope up in a pyramidal shape.
Popular Archaeology reports on the initial reactions of Prof. David B. George of St. Anselm College and Claudio Bizzarri, co-director of PAAO (Parco Archeologico Ambientale dell’Orvietano) and colleagues, “We discovered it three summers ago and still have no idea what it is. We do know what it is not. It is not a quarry; its walls are too well dressed. It is not a well or cistern; its walls have no evidence of hydraulic treatments.”

The Etruscans created and shaped many subterranean paths and cave chambers, but until this discovery none had ever been found that were in such a distinctive form, with a narrow apex that slopes and widens into a square base.

Etruscans are largely an historical enigma, emerging as a sophisticated culture around 900 BC in central Italy, and bringing art, fine metalworking, commerce, and writing to Europe and the Mediterranean. However, the society did not survive, and they were blended into the Roman empire, leaving few clues as to their culture.

Dubbing the underground pyramids “cavitá” (Italian for ‘hole’ or ‘hollow’), archaeologists have thus far managed to reach about 15 meters (49 feet) down. Much of the site had been intentionally backfilled in ages past for reasons unknown. Clearing the fill material has revealed many artifacts. According to Popular Archaeology, David B. George and colleagues have described the finds; “We know that the site was sealed toward the end of the 5th century BCE. It appears to have been a single event. Of great significance is the number of Etruscan language inscriptions that we have recovered – over a hundred and fifty. We are also finding an interesting array of architectural/decorative terra cotta.”

Excavations on the cavitá and related sites have produced ceramic materials, large basins, Attic red figure pottery, and more. In all, Claudio Bizzarri believes at least five similar pyramids exist beneath the city.
The mystery of the Etruscan pyramids continues to perplex researchers, with guesses as to their purpose including religious structures, or tombs. Bizzarri told Discovery News, “Most likely, the answer waits at the bottom. The problem is we don’t really know how much we have to dig to get down there.”



Dec 01

Jack The Ripper

Meredith Coplien

Meredith Coplien

Representative at National Paranormal Society
My name is Meredith Coplien, and I live in Orange Park Florida (Jacksonville area). I am currently a student studying CompTIA A+ and stay at home mom. I’m married to a wonderful man who happens to be in the Navy with 2 little boys (the oldest being special needs). I don’t know when my first paranormal experience was, per se. My mother’s culture kinda made it out to be an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize that it wasn’t so much so with American culture. I grew up as a Navy Brat, which has brought my travels to Washington State, Hawaii, Bahrain, Sicily, Italy, and finally Florida. After marrying my husband, it has brought me to Illinois and back to Florida. Needless to say, that I have experienced a lot of different cultures, their ideas on the paranormal, and just some plain weird stuff that would happen during our stays in foreign nations (which I will eventually get to talking about one day). I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the paranormal. I have a lot of personal experience, just not technical. I believe in logic and science should come first and foremost in the field, to rule out the normal before jumping to the paranormal.
Meredith Coplien

Latest posts by Meredith Coplien (see all)

JACK THE RIPPER: Case Closed Author:  Andrew Cook

Author: Andrew Cook

History was made in 1888 at Whitechapel, England when one of the first recorded serial killers stalked an impoverished neighborhood. Between August 31st, 1888 and November 9th, 1888, five women were brutally murdered and butchered in the streets. But the details of the murders are nothing compared to greatest question that has plagued history since: who was Jack the Ripper?

While also named the “Whitechapel Murderer” and “Leather Apron” at the time of the crimes, very little is known about the actual person.  There have been theories that went from the practical to the ridiculous. Others that went from gang killings to cult followings. It seemed nobody could agree on the profession or profile of the person the police and Scotland Yard were pursuing, let alone the identity.

The East End of London was so densely populated and crime ridden, that gang activity and murders were just a passing thought in the life of the people who lived there. The labyrinth-like layout of the area may have hindered the process, as there were many ways in and out of the areas where the murders were committed. Lighting was dim in the streets. In some alleys there was no lighting at all, making the crimes that were committed easier to accomplish while remaining unseen.

There are five generally accepted victims of Jack the Ripper (also referred as the Canonical Victims). Many of the woman had similar lifestyles. This creates various theories about the suspect and his (or her) victimology.

Mary Ann Nichols was nearly 44 years old when her body was found. She was the wife of William Nichols with whom she had separated with several years earlier, and was the mother of five children, four of which lived with her at the time of her death. It is commonly thought that she was an alcoholic, and this is what led to her life of prostitution. Her body was found at Buck’s Row on August 31st, 1888 by a Car-man named Charles Cross, who signaled a friend, Robert Paul for assistance. While Cross believed the woman to be dead, Paul thought he could still feel a faint heartbeat. According to reports, both men had agreed that they didn’t want to be late for work, and alerted police after rearranging her skirts to provide her some decency. Her autopsy shows that she had her throat slit twice with a rather large knife and several incisions were made into her abdomen. Investigators believed that she had been killed elsewhere, as there was a lack of blood to indicate that she bled out where she was found.

Annie Chapman was 47 years old at the time of death. She was also married and separated from her husband, John Chapman, with whom she had three children. It was commonly thought that she was an alcoholic as well, since she had been arrested several times for her intoxication. Annie turned to prostitution after the death of her husband. Her body was found on September 8th, 1888 by another Car-man by the name of John Davis. The medical report shows extensive damage to her body. As with the last victim, her throat had be cut, but only once. However, her abdomen had been disemboweled and her intestines was removed and thrown over her shoulders. Upon further examination, it was discovered that her uterus had been removed.

On September 30th, 1888 the body of Elizabeth Stride was discovered. She was 45 years old. She was married to John Stride, and she did have a stillborn baby girl, but no other children of record. It is believed that her husband and she had separated prior to his death in 1884. Elizabeth was also known to be an alcoholic and was arrested for being drunk and disorderly on many occasions. She did make money through legitimate means, but occasionally prostituted herself on the side for extra income. Her body was discovered by Louis Diemschutz, a jewelry salesman, in the early hours of the morning. While her throat had also been cut, it is believed that Louis had scared off her murderer before he could finish with the mutilation of her body.

Catherine Eddowes was also found on September 30, 1888. While there was no evidence she was married, she did live with Thomas Conway for some time, and had three children with him. They did separate and she took her daughter, while Conway took her one of her sons (it is unclear what became of her third child). Only 45 minutes after Elizabeth Stride’s body had been found, Catherine Eddowes’ still warm corpse was discovered. Catherine’s skirts had been pulled up past her abdomen. She had been disemboweled as well, and her intestines had been pulled up past her right shoulder, and smeared with fecal matter. A piece of the intestine had been detached and placed between her body and her left arm, in a sort of design. Her throat had also been cut. As with Mary Ann Nichols, the crime scene showed little blood from the murder and disembowelment.

Mary Jane Kelley was only 25 years old when she was murdered. She lived with a man named Joseph Burnett and a Mrs. Carthy who seemed to only know things about her through her stories of her family, as no one claimed her body. Mary Jane was from Ireland, and traveled with her family to Wales. She had been married at the age of 16 to a man name Davies, and her husband had died two or three years later in an explosion. There had been a suggestion that a child came of this marriage, but she did not have one residing with her during her time in London. When she arrives in London, Mary Jane claims to have landed a job at a high end Brothel on the West End. Accounts found that she was belligerent when she was drinking, but overall a very sweet person. Mary Jane Kelley was found by a landlord after he went to collect past-due rent. When knocking did not get an answer for him, he went to the window where he found her body lying on her bed. The medical examination found that her whole abdomen and thighs were disemboweled. . Unlike the other victims, it seemed the Ripper did not worry about being caught, as he or she took the time to cut up her face. All her organs from her abdomen were emptied from her body, and her breasts had been removed. These were placed systematically in various stages around her body.

There is a theory that the Ripper had thirteen other victims alongside the Canonical Five, ranging from the years 1887-1891. While many of them shared the same attributes of alcoholism and prostitution, two stood out that were able to give a description of their assailant. Annie Millwood was admitted to the Whitechapel Workhouse Infirmary on February 25th, 1888 with several stab wounds to her body. The exact number is unclear, and she would die less than a month later of “natural causes”. She described the man that attacked her as a stranger, but no one else had seen the attack itself.

Ada Wilson was attacked on March 28th, 1888 at her home. She claims that a man in his 30’s knocked on her door, and when she answered, the man forced his way into her home and demanded money. After refusing him, he stabbed her twice in the throat and ran, leaving Ada Wilson for dead. She, however, survived and was able to recount her tale to the authorities.

It is very possible that these two women may have been the first attempts at murder by the Ripper. As the body count increased, so did his methods. Using only a knife, as some may claim, he went from attacking women to evolving into a serial killer that not only mutilated the bodies of the women he killed, but managed terrify and panic a whole city.

Screenshot_7The Ripper Letters are in no way, an indication of who the murderer was. Upon simple examination, it is fairly easy to determine that the “Dear Boss” letter was written by someone completely different than the author of the “From Hell” and “Saucy Jack” letters. While the “From Hell” letter did have what seemed to be a human kidney, the recipient of the letter, George Lusk, was unable to determine if it belonged to Catherine Eddowes (the Ripper’s 4th victim).Screenshot_8

The suspect list continues to grow even today. More than 500 people have been identified as Jack the Ripper, including those of the noble class. One of which was Prince Albert Victor. Although there was no solid evidence, he became a suspect well after all the main players were dead. It was thought that he was mentally unstable (or in our day, he might have been mildly autistic). But that theory has been shot down by several experts as the Prince has been accounted for in other places, with several witnesses and royal documents and records back up his innocence.Screenshot_6

Screenshot_5Quite a few have been dubbed “Jill the Ripper”, as experts in the field believed that the famous serial killer may have been a woman. This theory grew credence as the community at large were looking for a man, thus making it easier for a woman to go about her business without harassment, or a second thought. Add in the theory that this woman may have been a midwife, or an abortionist, walking around with blood on their clothing would have the people around her not batting an eye. As experts would theorize on this, they thought “who else would know the human anatomy so well besides a physician?”

Screenshot_4There is a theory that H.H. Holmes, the famous doctor turned serial killer in Chicago may have been the infamous killer of Whitechapel. In 1893, a few short years after the last document murder in London, made his 60 room boarding house into a “murder trap”. It is believed he had killed over 200 people, mostly women, although he only admitted to 27 murders. He was tried and convicted of those killings in Chicago, and was hanged in May 1896.

Forensics back in the 19th century were shoddy at best, considering forensics was in its infancy. Many of the scenes were contaminated by the civilians, police force and the coroner. This makes identity harder to reveal even today, as the contamination could be from anyone. Most of the evidence had been handled by many people, even experts without the use of gloves or masks, making anyone who had come into contact with them a suspect using today’s technology. One touch, one sneeze, made any evidence unusable by today’s standards.


1. http://www.jack-the-ripper.org

2. http://www.casebook.org/index.html

3. http://www.biography.com/people/hh-holmes-307622

4. Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World’s Most Barbaric Criminals By Nigel Cawthorne (Book) (Amazon)

Oct 31

Effigy Mounds

Meredith Coplien

Meredith Coplien

Representative at National Paranormal Society
My name is Meredith Coplien, and I live in Orange Park Florida (Jacksonville area). I am currently a student studying CompTIA A+ and stay at home mom. I’m married to a wonderful man who happens to be in the Navy with 2 little boys (the oldest being special needs). I don’t know when my first paranormal experience was, per se. My mother’s culture kinda made it out to be an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize that it wasn’t so much so with American culture. I grew up as a Navy Brat, which has brought my travels to Washington State, Hawaii, Bahrain, Sicily, Italy, and finally Florida. After marrying my husband, it has brought me to Illinois and back to Florida. Needless to say, that I have experienced a lot of different cultures, their ideas on the paranormal, and just some plain weird stuff that would happen during our stays in foreign nations (which I will eventually get to talking about one day). I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the paranormal. I have a lot of personal experience, just not technical. I believe in logic and science should come first and foremost in the field, to rule out the normal before jumping to the paranormal.
Meredith Coplien

Latest posts by Meredith Coplien (see all)

flight_1Built during the Late Woodland period by mound builders, Effigy Mounds became a regional and cultural phenomenon spanning Iowa, Minnesota, and the Southern Wisconsin-Northern Illinois Border. There are mounds with geometric shapes, and over 200 common animal themes. An amazing feat, considering the prehistoric tools used by the Native Americans at the time.

What separates these mounds from others like it is the fact that these lack traded goods from long-distance tribes, or any sort of valuables. Some burial mounds only possess a simple cooking pot. This practice of burying their people in humble means may suggest that the communities that these mounds originated from were egalitarian, believing that all people were equal within the communities and even politically. But the practice of many that lack any markings that are geometric in shape still remain a mystery.

Today, only a handful remain intact due to agricultural development. That, however, has not stopped the theories of why they were built. Archaeologists believe that the geometrically shaped mounds were meant as a place of burial or sacred ceremonial sites, such as funerals, because some mounds had items believed to be used during a burial. Items that could have been used in the afterlife to make their transitions easier and more comfortable.

Native Americans have argued that they were sites of refuge, not of burial. That these were places of great religious importance, such as a place for birthing children. It could be suggested, that since some of these mounds lack any burial items, that this may have been a place of worship or clan meetings.

Others have suggested that they were built in observance of celestial bodies. There is a theory that the placement and shape of the mounds is what the Native American tribes of the day believed how the universe was shaped.

Some archaeologists suggest that the animal-shaped effigy mounds were territorial markers. Since this was a race of hunter-gatherers, it could be that they marked where one group, or tribe, had positioned for themselves to gather crops or hunt for their meat. It is also thought that each clan had an animal spirit, or an animal representative, and the mounds were built to honor those spirits.

Without the mound builders present, and only mythology and stories handed down through generations one could only guess why they were originally built. As scientific data has proven inconclusive, much of the theories presented can only be speculation of a race long past.


Sep 01

Voynich Manuscript

Meredith Coplien

Meredith Coplien

Representative at National Paranormal Society
My name is Meredith Coplien, and I live in Orange Park Florida (Jacksonville area). I am currently a student studying CompTIA A+ and stay at home mom. I’m married to a wonderful man who happens to be in the Navy with 2 little boys (the oldest being special needs). I don’t know when my first paranormal experience was, per se. My mother’s culture kinda made it out to be an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize that it wasn’t so much so with American culture. I grew up as a Navy Brat, which has brought my travels to Washington State, Hawaii, Bahrain, Sicily, Italy, and finally Florida. After marrying my husband, it has brought me to Illinois and back to Florida. Needless to say, that I have experienced a lot of different cultures, their ideas on the paranormal, and just some plain weird stuff that would happen during our stays in foreign nations (which I will eventually get to talking about one day). I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the paranormal. I have a lot of personal experience, just not technical. I believe in logic and science should come first and foremost in the field, to rule out the normal before jumping to the paranormal.
Meredith Coplien

Latest posts by Meredith Coplien (see all)

vonich man

The Voynich Manuscript


An elaborate ruse by a Charlatan to fool a client during a time when Alchemy was at its prime? Or could it possibly be a language no one has ever seen before, and will lay hidden until its author is revealed?  One of the mysterious of all texts, the Voynich Manuscript has remained untranslated for several centuries. Considered at the time of discovery a small but thick book, this leather-bound tome was approximately 7 inches by 10 inches, and held over 200 pages. The pages themselves hold what are thought to be herbal depictions of unidentified plants, astronomical drawings depicting many nude women and zodiac constellations. Some pages have biological drawings of tubs with intricate piping network that seem to depict body organs with nude woman bathing,  and short paragraphs marked with star-like “bullets” that could be recipes. They also contain circular diagrams that seem to be cosmological in nature, and pharmaceutical depictions of plant parts with texts.

None of the texts have been seen anywhere else in the world, and has intrigued those that have seen its pages or heard of its existence. Unlike the Rosetta stone, there is no other language that is discernible to those attempting to decipher its code. The finest of the American and British “code-breakers” during World War II seemed to have failed.

(Re)Discovered in 1912 by an antique book dealer in a Jesuit College in Frascati, Italy, Wilfrid M. Voynich bought the book from the Jesuits. Later photographing and sending them out to experts around the world in an attempt to decipher the book and its many pages, Voynich failed to make any leeway as to what is actually contained in any of the texts itself.

However, a letter was found tucked in the manuscript written by Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland to Athanasius Kircher that was dated 1665 or 1666 by Voynich. It states that the manuscript was originally purchased by Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia, sometime around 1586, for a great sum of 600 ducats, or what some experts say would have been $14,000. In the letter, Marci asks Kircher to attempt to break the cipher, and mentions that Roger Bacon, a Franciscan Friar who lived from 1214-1294, may be a possible author of the manuscript.

The letter left very little clues to those who have tried to decipher the words in the manuscript. In fact, it left more questions to be answered.  Questions that couldn’t be answered without knowing what the symbols in the book mean. This brought about questions of who wrote it and to what purpose? Although Voynich went about to prove that that Roger Bacon was indeed the author of the book, many theories have been presented. These theories have included anything from Leonardo da Vinci to a massive hoax on a very historical scale.

The theory that Roger Bacon wrote the manuscript has been debunked by carbon dating in 2009, which puts the vellum of the book to the early 15th century.  Well after Roger Bacon’s lifetime in the 13th century. It is with the C14 dating of the early 15th century that would probably exclude Leonardo da Vinci as its author, since he would either be a very small child (if the carbon dating was off by decades) or was yet to be born.

That leaves the possibility of a hoax. As before, if the carbon dating is accurate, what would possess a person to go through such extensive work to fool others? Was it an elaborate ruse by a Charlatan to fool a client during a time when Alchemy was at its prime? Or could it possibly be a language no one has ever seen before, and will lay hidden until its author is revealed?




Jan 13

How Ancient Cultures Used Healing Crystals and Stones

Courtesy of:  http://quantumstones.com/

Today, we understand that all things in the universe are forms of energy with their own frequency and vibration – including crystals. Nikola Tesla declared this concept as the key to understanding the universe and proved how certain forms of energy can alter the vibrational resonance of other forms of energy. This concept is why healing crystals and stones are still used today to align, heal and alter the vibration of bodily cells, chakras, and the subtle bodies by holistic healers.

The ancients didn’t have access to the enlightening scientific information that we have today concerning the power of healing crystals. However, people around the world seemed to instinctively be drawn to these lovely gems and have a deeper understanding of their value and meaning in the greater scheme of the universe.

Healing Crystals

Popular Uses for Healing Crystals in Early Civilizations

Minerals, gems, and crystals have been used for millennia to enhance emotional, physical and spiritual balance. How the ancients knew, we may never know for sure, but these cultures certainly considered stones a major aspect of their existence.

Roman Culture: Talismans and amulets of crystal were typical amongst Romans. Most often, they were considered useful in enhancing health, attracting desirable things, and for providing protection in battle.

Ancient Egyptians: One of the biggest historical proponents of healing crystals, the Egyptians buried their dead with quartz upon the forehead. This was believed to help guide the departed safely into the afterlife. Pharaohs toted cylinders filled with quartz to balance the Ba and Ka energies of the body. Strongly associated with the Sky Goddess Isis, crushed Lapis Lazuli stones were most notably worn by ladies of royalty – like Cleopatra – upon the eyes to promote enlightenment and awareness. Dancers donned rubies in their navels to foster their sex appeal. Many wore crystals over the heart to attract love, and placed crystal-laden crowns upon their head to stimulate enlightenment and awaken the Third Eye.

Chinese Culture: Chinese medicine commonly incorporates the use of healing crystals – including crystal-tipped needles used in acupuncture and Pranic healing sessions. These traditions hail from nearly 5000 years of practice.

Ancient Greeks: Crushed hematite was often rubbed upon soldier’s bodies prior to entering battle with the idea that it made them invincible. Interestingly, the word ‘crystal’ is thought to derive from the Greek word ‘krustullos,’ – meaning ‘ice’ – and until the 1500’s many ancients believed stones like clear quartz crystals were eternal ice sent from the Heavens. The mythological story of Amethyst plays a vital role in the story of the God Dionysus and Goddess Diana, and the word is said to be the Greek translation of ‘sober’ or ‘not drunken’ – something Dionysus could have spent more time being.

Traditions in India: Aryuvedic medicine in India considers crystals valuable for healing emotional and metaphysical imbalances. The use of various healing crystals is documented within the pages of the Hindu Vedas, which also references each stone’s specific healing abilities. Sapphires are thought to bring astuteness, clarity and mental balance, and jasper is thought to bring harmony, sexual vitality, and balance base chakras.

Ancient Japanese Beliefs: Scrying was a common practice in early Japanese culture, and it is very similar to looking into a crystal ball as we see some psychics do today. Crystal quartz spheres were considered representative of the heart of a dragon and signified their power and wisdom.

What We Know Now About Healing Crystals

Healing Crystals

Concepts of electromagnetism as proven by James Clerk Maxwell and their interdependent nature along with the various breakthroughs in quantum theory have given us scientific evidence for what the ancients always knew. Because everything vibrates at certain frequencies, they have the ability shift and alter the frequencies of other objects or bodies when they occupy the same space.

Hence, a crystal – which vibrates at its own frequency oscillations – vibrates within our own energy field through the physical law of resonance and creates a larger vibrational field, affecting the nervous system and transmitting the information to the brain. In essence, these connecting vibrations can harmonize frequencies and stimulate biochemical shifts that affect physical health in a positive, healing way.

Sources:  Lucas, S. (2014, November 8). How Ancient Cultures Used Healing Crystals and Stones. Retrieved January 13, 2015, from http://quantumstones.com/ancient-cultures-used-healing-crystals-stones/