Paluxy Tracks

Dinosaur tracks have been found on the riverbed of the Paluxy river in Glen Rose, Texas for several years, but controversially, there were human tracks also found in the same strata of rock, which were widely publicized as evidence against the geological time scale and in favor of young-Earth creationism. Many of these were found and admitted to be frauds that had been carved by the locals, but some tracks which were in an area submerged by the river, have been found to be genuine. Did dinosaurs and human beings coexist? No, according to paleontologists, who maintain that dinosaurs and people missed each other by over sixty million years. The Paluxy River is a river in the U.S. state of Texas. It is a tributary of the Brazos River. It is formed by the convergence of the North Paluxy River and the South Paluxy River near Bluff Dale, Texas in Erath County and flows a distance of 29 miles (47 km) before joining the Brazos just to the east of Glen Rose, Texas in south central Somervell County.

The story begins in 1909 with the accidental discovery, by a local teenager, of three-toed footprints in a tributary of the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas, southwest of Fort Worth. Eventually they were attributed to meat-eating, bipedal dinosaurs known as theropods. In 1910, however, two young brothers fishing in the river came upon something seemingly different: not only the familiar three-toed tracks embedded in limestone but “giant man tracks” in their company. Fifteen to eighteen inches long, they quickly became known to local people,who regarded them as curiosities, apparently unaware of the radical implications of such a discovery.

By the 1930s a Glen Rose man, Jim Ryals, was removing dinosaur and “giant man” tracks and peddling them to tourists. George Adams, another local, carved phony tracks of both kinds. Some of these “man” tracks, though amateurishly done,would survive to fool would-be truth-seekers decades later. Around this time Roland Bird, field explorer for the American Museum of Natural History, examined tracks of both theropod and sauropod dinosaurs in the Paluxy’s limestone bed. (Sauropod tracks were new to science, and Bird’s discovery received wide publicity.) He also heard rumors of man tracks, and on one occasion Jim Ryal showed him what Bird called a “mystery track,” mostly indistinct but “about 15 inches long, with a curious elongated heel.” Bird could only speculate that some “hitherto unknown dinosaur or reptile” had made it.

Though Bird rejected any notion that these tracks demanded a revolutionary revision of conventional paleontology, others who came later were not so cautious. Some saw the tracks as a blow to a hated doctrine, evolution. The first of these was Clifford Burdick who, intrigued by Bird’s remarks, made a quick visit to Paluxy. Burdick, a founder of the creationist Deluge Society, subsequently wrote an article for the July 25, 1950, issue of Signs of the Times, a Seventh Day Adventist publication,wherein he declared that the tracks amounted to a clear refutation of evolution. A popular and influential creationist book, John Whitcomb and Henry M.Morris’s The Genesis Flood (1961), hailed the discovery, and soon it was being featuring prominently in anti-Darwinian literature.

After reading A. E.Wilder-Smith’s Man’s Origin,Man’s Destiny (1965),Baptist minister and filmmaker Stanley Taylor led several expeditions to Paluxy over a four-year period. In articles published by the Bible-Science Association, he argued that the tracks were of human origin, but it was his 1972 film Footprints in Stone that had the most impact on popular perceptions, especially in fundamentalist circles, though the claims also began showing up in Fortean literature. The tracks not only cast doubt on science’s view that the Earth is of great age, the creationists asserted, but constituted evidence for a Great Flood that creationists think occurred around 4,000 B.C. In the Flood humans and dinosaurs perished together. The tracks also showed, as Genesis indicates, that giants had once walked the Earth.

A 1970 study at the Paluxy site conducted by creation scientists from Loma Linda University concluded that the tracks were of dinosaurs; other alleged tracks were not that at all,merely the effects of erosion on rock. Ten years later Tim Bartholomew and Glen J. Kuban, two young science students of creationist disposition,went to Paluxy, studied the tracks, and dismissed the human-origin belief. Some of the tracks were, in their judgment, “some type of unusual dinosaur tracks with elongate ‘heels’.”

In 1984 Kuban made a remarkable discovery: colorations that followed the pattern of dinosaurian digits. In other words, sediments different from those in the rest of the track had filled in the toe marks and later hardened to rock. At first other dinosaur specialists were reluctant to endorse Kuban’s findings, since they violated a long-held belief that bipedal dinosaurs nearly always walked on their toes. The Paluxy tracks suggested that these dinosaurs sometimes pressed the full weight of the soles of their feet on the ground. Subsequently, after other paleontologists found the same colorations in similar tracks near Clayton, New Mexico, they accepted Kuban’s interpretation as correct. Kuban and a colleague, Ronnie Hastings, invited leading creation proponents to the site and persuaded them that these were dinosaur, not human, prints. A creationist movie on Paluxy, Footprints in Stone, was quickly withdrawn.

Even so, some creationist writers and evangelists continue to portray the tracks as human. One of them, Carl Baugh, has produced yet more “evidence” he claims to have uncovered at the site: a human tooth, a human finger, and a hammer. The tooth has been shown to be from a Cretaceous fish, and the finger is no more than a suggestive-looking rock. The hammer has not been demonstrated to be of any great age. Baugh, who has been accused (even by fellow creationists) of scientific incompetence and worse, claims degrees from unaccredited and even nonexistent institutions of higher learning. Kuban, who has investigated Baugh’s background, states flatly that he “has no valid degrees whatsoever.”

Noncreationist writers on “true mysteries” also have discussed the prints, not to prove Genesis but to argue that human history is far older than generally thought. In Worlds Before Our Own (1978), for example, Brad Steiger wrote that advanced civilizations of giant human beings may have existed millions of years ago. “Cataclysmic changes in the Earth’s crust” as well as a “prehistoric nuclear war” wiped out all nearly all evidence for their presence. Among the few surviving pieces are the Paluxy prints.

Sources :
Cross Culture, Summer 2007 edited by Rishi Khar;
Unexplained! : “Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark;

Pic Source :
Cross Culture, Summer 2007 edited by Rishi Khar page 5
05:53 | 4 komentar

Syonan Jinja

Syonan Jinja was a former Shinto shrine located in the thick jungle of the MacRitchie Reservoir area in Singapore. It was built during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II and officially unveiled on 10 September 1942. However, the Shrine was demolished immediately after the Japanese surrender with the return of the British forces in 1945. Only remnants of a font and foundation remain. There are some debates circulating that Syonan Jinja was not destroyed by the returning British but by the Japanese themselves. A conspiracy is speculated of covering up a secret treasure left over by the Japanese on the event of a hurry retreat.After the fall of Singapore, General Yamashita in the subsequent months sought to build a memorial for the Japanese troops who had died during the Malayan campaign. British prisoners-of-war interned in the Changi Gaol and troops of the Japanese Army worked together to construct the Shinto Shrine, Syonan Jinja, at MacRitchie Reservoir which stood near the centre of the heat of battle for Singapore.

Syonan Jinja, means “Shinto Shrine of Syonan” or “The Light of the South." The shrine could be said to be a replica of the now-controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Japan. The Yasukuni Shrine dates back to 1869 and has been the resting place for more than 2.466 million Japanese soldiers who died for their country, serving as a national symbol to remember those who died in both World Wars. Reflecting its design, the Shinto shrine was a 12 m-high cylindrical wooden pylon, its peak tipped with a brass cone. At the base of the pylon, in a small shed-like shrine were the remains of the fallen Japanese.

The original structure of Syonan Jinja was a temple with no walls. It was raised from the ground by a stone platform graduated with a few steps, and the sloping temple roof rested on wooden pillars that stood at regular intervals around the perimeter of the platform. Tons of smooth stone pebbles that should have been used for the reservoir filtration were taken instead for paving the garden of the shrine.

A Shinto ceremony took place here every New Year’s Day for the few years that the shrine existed. This was marked by the outstanding of the temple bell, the arrival devotees and the presence of a Shinto priest presiding over rituals. It is believed that during rituals, worshippers would drink from a huge granite ceremonial fountain located outside the shrine. Immediately after the Japanese surrender and the return of the British forces in 1945, the Shinto Shrine and the British War Memorial behind it, both located at Upper Bukit Timah Road were demolished by the British forces, leaving the whole place ground zero except for some traces of stone ruins.

As the years went by, all traces of the shrine—mainly its foundation and the 90 stone steps of access—were overwhelmed by dense jungle growth. The fountain, made from a massive granite boulder, is still intact today. However, underneath the fountain, a secret tunnel was found dug by some unknown people , with a purpose unknown too.

Recently, Singapore Paranormal Investigators probed into this mystery and discovered what may be a link to the famous legend of Yamashita Gold. According to some records, an Indonesian gardener named Sappari, who worked at the reservoir during the occupation years, suggested that something very valuable had been buried close to the Jinja. His account indicated that just before the defeat looked imminent in 1945, Japanese soldiers in trucks drove up to the reservoir and undertook what Sappari described as “a lot of activity.” Maybe the Japanese destroy the shrine to cover the secret treasure beneath it. A gruesome rumor says that a company of Japanese Imperial Guards who were absolutely loyal to the Emperor vowed to protect the secrecy of the treasure with their blood. A mass ritual suicide, which is called “Sappuku,” therefore, took place at the Jinja.

Plans to rebuild the memorials to remember both the Japanese and Allied fallen were discussed in the 1990s but were shelved in 1991 because of sensitivities toward those who had suffered under the Japanese. Today, a transmitting tower stands at the site of the original monuments. On 9 July 1995, a plaque was unveiled by MP Ong Chit Chung at the Bukit Batok Nature Park as a memorial instead.

Today, remnants of the shrine are covered by jungle vegetation. There is waist-deep water to cross and many opportunities to get disoriented and lost. The swamp is infested by various snakes, scorpions, biting spiders, and millions of mosquitoes. Superstitious trekkers who lost their directions to Syonan Jinja would blame it on the haunting of the Japanese spirits who protect the Jinja or the treasure from intruders.

Sources :
Encyclopedia of Haunted Places : “Ghostly Locales from Around the World” by Jeff Belanger;;;

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05:03 | 0 komentar

The Lost Colony of Roanoke

Sometime between 1587 and 1590 the population of the first English colony in the Americas vanished, almost without trace. The group of 117 colonists disappeared after three years elapsed without supplies from the Kingdom of England during the Anglo-Spanish War, leaving behind the cryptic message ‘CROATOAN’ carved onto a timber post. In 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh, was awarded by Queen Elizabeth a licence to establish a colony of the area of North America known as Virginia. He promptly dispatched an expedition to the newly claimed territory. The good relations with the natives that were established and the favourable reports brought back induced him to dispatch a colonising party, and in 1585 the first English colony in America was established on Roanoke Island (now in North Carolina).

Raleigh’s first colony, under the captaincy of Ralph Lane, did not fare well. They struggled to find enough food and soon fell out with neighbouring tribes. They waited impatiently for the return of their supply/relief fleet, and when Sir Francis Drake called in at the colony on his return from raiding the Spanish Caribbean in April 1586, they decided not to wait any longer and gratefully accepted his offer of a lift home. In fact they missed by only a short while the actual resupply fleet, under Sir Richard Grenville. Finding the colony abandoned, Grenville decided to return to England but left a force of 15 men to maintain England’s – and Raleigh’s – claim to the area.

In 1587 a second group of colonists assembled by Raleigh stopped off at Roanoke Island to check on Grenville’s men. A landing party came ashore and made a grisly discovery: the only traces of the 15 were the bones of a single man. The one local tribe of Native Americans who were still friendly – the Croatans from nearby Hatteras Island – later explained that the small group had been attacked and the nine survivors had sailed off up the coast in their pinnace (small boat), never to be seen again. In fact the new colonists did not intend to re-establish the Roanoke colony and had their sights set on the mainland Chesapeake Bay area (where the plan was to establish the ‘Cittie of Raleigh’). But the commander of the ships that had brought them, Simon Fernandez, refused to take them any further, claiming that he would miss his window of favourable weather to make the return trip across the Atlantic.

On 22 July, Raleigh dispatched another group of 117 colonists. In all there were 91 men, 17 women and 9 children, under the leadership of John White, a friend of Raleigh’s who had been the official artist on the original colonising expedition and would have been familiar with the area. They set to work rebuilding the colony. On 18 August, White’s daughter gave birth to a girl, Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas. But the tense relations with the natives, epitomised by the murder of a settler who was out gathering shellfish, prompted the colonists to elect to send Governor White back to England with Fernandez to petition for more support and supplies. He set sail on 28 August. White was never to see his family again.

White made every effort to get back to America as quickly as possible but was dogged by bad luck.War broke out with Spain and almost all available ships were requisitioned to protect England against the onslaught of the Armada. By the time White made it back to Roanoke, travelling with a small squadron of three ships under Captain Abraham Cooke, it was August 1590. A landing party, including White (who recorded the episode in his journal), went ashore, ‘& sounded with a trumpet a Call, & afterwards many familiar English tunes of Songs, and called to them friendly,’ but no response was forthcoming. At the north end of the island they found the site of the colony. The first sight that greeted White was an odd one. On a tree on a sandy bank were carved the letters ‘CRO’. Further on they came to the remains of the actual settlement. A palisade of wooden timbers had been erected since his departure, but within it, all the houses had been taken down, and the only things left behind were some heavy lumps of lead, iron and iron ore. Carved onto one of the timbers of the palisade was the legend ‘CROATOAN’. In fact the apparently cryptic code reassured White greatly.

As he explains in his own account, he had agreed with the settlers that the most sensible plan was not to stay on the island but to move, preferably ‘50 miles into the maine’ (ie 80 kilometres/50 miles inland on the mainland). They had prearranged that if they were to move they would let White know where they had gone by making just such a carving as ‘a secret token’. If they were in distress, they were to carve over the letters a Maltese (eightpointed) cross – there was no such cross, so White assumed that the settlers were safe and had simply followed his instructions.

Exploring further,White and his companions found that several chests buried on his departure were still there, although they had apparently been opened and many of the contents thrown around. This he interpreted as evidence that the colonists had taken whatever they needed and that the Native Americans had come along later and discarded items they did not understand. The boats that had been left with the colony were also absent. White was confident that the inscriptions on the tree and timber indicated that the colonists had taken refuge with the friendly Native American tribe, the Croatans, on Hatteras Island. This was not exactly what they had agreed to on his departure, but it made perfect sense.

The next day he and Captain Cooke agreed that they would make the short voyage to Hatteras Island, but fate and the elements intervened. Two of their cables (the lines attaching the ship to the anchor) broke and they narrowly avoided running aground, only for a hurricane to blow up. The ships were forced to abandon their attempt to reach Hatteras and had to return to England.

Raleigh’s patent to exploit the territory of Virginia lapsed in 1590, which may explain why he temporarily lost interest in organising further trips to America. White eventually had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never see his family again. He retired to his estate at Killmore in Ireland. But it was generally assumed that the Roanoke colony, aka White’s company, had survived and was still out there. Raleigh himself sponsored expeditions that were partly intended to look for them in 1602 and 1603, but both were sidetracked.

Over the next few hundred years several visitors reported encountering or seeing people who looked or spoke English, or at least Native Americans who seemed to have Caucasian characteristics and a familiarity with English and Christianity, but no one was ever able to definitively claim that they had located the Lost Colonists. It seemed that 117 people had vanished, leaving a persistent mystery.

There are multiple hypotheses as to the fate of the colonists. The principal hypothesis is that they dispersed and were absorbed by either the local Croatan or Hatteras Native Americans, or another Algonquian people; it has yet to be established if they did assimilate with one or other of the native populations.

Another explanation is that they could have been killed by hostile Native Americans or starved to death. The first attempt at colonising Roanoke Island failed to feed itself adequately. Perhaps the Lost Colonists simply ran out of food and were not familiar enough with local agricultural or foraging to cope. This explanation seems much more probable since the publication of a 1998 study on tree rings from old growth trees in the area. Conducted by the Tree-Ring Laboratory of the University of Arkansas’ Department of Geography, the study showed that 1587–1590 saw the region’s worst period of drought in the 800 years from 1185–1984. If starvation had killed the colonists in Roanoke, however, White would probably have found the remains of the colonists on the site, and the colony itself would not have been carefully dismantled and stripped of most of its portable equipment. If the settlers did starve, they evidently didn’t do it on Roanoke Island.

The most widely accepted explanation for the fate of the colonists is that they were killed by Native Americans, but only after leaving Roanoke Island. The primary source to back this up is Captain John Smith of the Jamestown colony. He had dealings with the hostile Native American King Powhatan (father of Pocahontas) and was specifically told by him that a group of white men had settled amongst friendly Chesapeake Indians on the south side of Chesapeake Bay – where they had originally intended to found the ‘Cittie of Raleigh’ before being dumped on Roanoke. Feeling increasingly threatened by the incursions of white men into his territories, and also hostile to the Chesapeake Indians who were not part of his confederacy, Powhatan had launched an attack and claimed to have killed most or all of the white men. He backed up his claim by producing for Smith’s inspection ‘a musket barrell and a brass mortar, and certain pieces of iron that had been theirs’.

This may not be the end of the story, however, as there is a lot of evidence that some colonists were assimilated into a Native American tribe in the Roanoke area, possibly because they did not join the group who went to Chesapeake Bay. The most probable candidates are the Croatan Indians. The colonists had good relations with them, and in particular with their chief, Manteo, who had previously travelled to England and become a firm ally of the English. Plus, of course, this location is suggested by the colonists’ final message, ‘CROATOAN’.

It is now thought likely that some of the colonists stayed behind on Roanoke and later joined up with the Croatans on Hatteras Island, leaving the message for White to find, but that the collective was then forced to move to the mainland by the drought. The settlers and the Croatans then intermarried and eventually became known by a different name. Some of the strongest evidence for this scenario is the tale of the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina. In the 19th century it was widely put about that the Lumbee were indeed descendants of the Lost Colony, and it was argued that their accents, appearance and many of their names clearly indicated this. Since then, this idea has gone in and out of fashion.

Some anthropologists have argued that the 19th-century attribution was based on confused interpretation of the actual Lumbee ethnogenesis, which saw them migrate from the Roanoke area in the 18th century, and that Lumbee names do not resemble those of the Lost Colonists. More recently a DNA testing project has been launched to compare the Y chromosomes of Lumbee who share surnames with English people who might be descendants of the families who sent colonists to Roanoke. The whole issue is complicated by questions of race and segregation, for in the Lumbee area of North Carolina there was strict segregation until the Civil Rights era, and claiming mixed or white descent had important implications for personal and political treatment.

More plausible theories centre on the role the Spanish might have played. There was an established Spanish colony at San Augustin (now St Augustine) in Florida, and they were keen to stamp out English presence in the New World. In fact they did just this to other attempted colonies. It is now known that the Augustin colonists did hear about the Roanoke colony and that the Spanish did send out an expedition to reconnoitre and possibly destroy, but that when they arrived at Roanoke in June 1588, the colony was already gone. In other words it had survived in situ for less than a year.

In 1937 the story of the Lost Colony took an intriguing twist when a stone was found in a swamp, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Roanoke Island. The Eleanor Dare Stone, as it was soon dubbed, bore carvings which, when deciphered, seemed to indicate that it was a message from Eleanor Dare (daughter of John White and mother of Virginia Dare), explaining to her father that the colonists had fled from Roanoke Island under attack from Native Americans. Over the next three years 40 more stones were discovered, apparently tracing the colonists’ epic journey from Carolina to Georgia. The stones created a media sensation but were revealed in 1940 to be an elaborate hoax.

A team of researchers called the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research (LCCSR) think that it is. They have used a mixture of old and new techniques to attempt to locate and excavate the sites that the colonists might have occupied or passed through. Their first major coup was identifying the site of the original Croatan settlement on what was then Hatteras Island. Excavations revealed a late-16th-century signet ring that probably, to judge from the design of the crest on the seal, belonged to one of the original Roanoke colonists (ie the Lane party). This proved that the Croatan Indians of this site had had contact with the Roanoke settlers at some point.

The researchers then turned to the hypothesis that the Lost Colonists and the Croatans joined up and moved inland, with a particular focus on John White’s comment that the agreed plan had been to move ‘50 miles into the maine’. By looking at old land deeds they uncovered evidence that seemed to show that a group of descendants of Croatan Indians had owned land at a site called Gum Neck – precisely 80 kilometres (50 miles) inland from Roanoke Island, and one of the few sites suitable for settlement in an area that was previously swampy.

For the moment the theories regarding the relocation of the Lost Colonists to Chesapeake Bay and mainland North Carolina are unproven. But they fit with the available evidence, and in particular with the suggestive tales of encounters with apparent European descendants in the area. Archaeological research, guided by remote-sensing technology such as airborne radar and magnetometer scanning, may eventually pinpoint the exact location.

The "Lost Colony" and its fate, particularly the baby Virginia Dare, have had a significant effect on American popular culture. Numerous books and articles (ranging from scholarly to improbably romantic) have been written on the subject, and a number of places have been named Roanoke, Raleigh and Dare.

Phil Evans – who helped to found the First Colony Foundation, a group of historians and archaeologists who are looking on Roanoke itself for the precise site of the Lost Colony, which has been lost through neglect and the shifting sands of the area – comments, "As long as the Lost Colony is unexplained, it stays fascinating for a lot of people … I don’t want to take away the mystery. That’s what makes it different and exciting."

Sources :
Lost Histories : “Exploring the World’s Most famous Mysteries” by Joel Levy;

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05:42 | 2 komentar

HMS Bounty Mutiny

His Majesty's Armed Vessel (HMS) Bounty began her career as the collier Bethia, a relatively small sailing ship built in 1784 at the Blaydes shipyard in Hull. Later, she was purchased by the Royal Navy for £2,600 on May 26, 1787 (JJ Colledge/D Lyon say 23 May), refit, and renamed Bounty. The only two men ever to command her as the Bounty were Lieutenant William Bligh and Fletcher Christian, the latter illegally taking command through mutiny. Lieutenant William Bligh was appointed captain of the HMS Bounty in 1787. Bligh was a logical choice for the job: he was an accomplished navigator and mapmaker, and he had served under Captain James Cook, who had explored the South Pacific a decade earlier.Though Bligh is commonly portrayed as the epitome of abusive sailing captains, this portrayal has recently come into dispute. For historians, the reasons of the mutiny and trial records of the mutineers are still unclear and somewhat frustrating.

The Bounty, originally a merchant vessel, was bought into the British navy and, after suitable fitting out, dispatched to Tahiti in the Society Islands in the South Pacific where she was to take on board a cargo of breadfruit seedlings destined for the West Indies. It was hoped they would there become adapted to the climate and in time serve as a cheap source of food for the slaves working on the sugar plantations. In April 1789, the Bounty—loaded with more than a thousand of the plants—left Tahiti. After collecting and stowing breadfruit seedlings, the Bounty sailed westward, with many of her crew no doubt wallowing in the depths of melancholy at having to leave so splendid a place—or, rather, at having to abandon the extraordinarily compliant women who lived there.

Twenty-four days later, on April 28, Bligh was rudely awakened. “A little before sunrise,” he later wrote, “Fletcher Christian, who was mate of the ship, and officer of the watch, with the ship’s corporal, came into my cabin while I was asleep, and seizing me, tied my hands with a cord, assisted by others who were also in the cabin, all armed with muskets and bayonets. “I was forced on deck in my shirt with my hands tied, and secured by a guard abaft the mizzen-mast,” Bligh continued, “during which the mutineers expressed much joy that they would soon see Ottaheite. I now demanded of Christian the cause of such a violent act, but no other answer was given but ‘Hold your tongue, Sir, or you are dead this instant.’” A little more than two hours later, Bligh found himself, along with eighteen of his crew members, in the Bounty’s launch, an open rowboat that was a mere twenty-three feet long, not even seven feet wide or three feet deep. Twenty-five others remained on board the Bounty, now under Christian’s command. Bligh wrote : “The secrecy of this mutiny is beyond all conception . . . The possibility of such a conspiracy was ever the farthest from my thoughts . . . Christian in particular I was on the most friendly terms with.”

It would appear that the particular incident that precipitated the mutiny had to do with coconuts, though there is little doubt that Bligh’s notorious lack of tact and the ignoble suspicions he harbored concerning the men under his command provided ample fuel for the resentment that boiled over on that fateful day. The fact of the matter is that under very trying conditions of incessant heat, storm, wet, thirst, and hunger, Bligh got himself and his eighteen followers safely to Timor, a distance of nearly four thousand miles, with his crew remaining all the while a disciplined unit. From Timor Bligh returned to England, then lost no time in alerting the British admiralty about what had happened and was embraced as a hero. The British navy then dispatched HMS Pandora to find the mutineers and bring them back to England for trial.

Meanwhile, the mutineers made plans for their escape from admiralty attentions. They sailed the Bounty back to Tahiti, where most of the crew (including the men who had refused to join the uprising) elected to live ashore. Christian realized that the navy would try to hunt them down if Bligh or any of his men had survived, so he and eight of his followers, together with their Tahitian women, and accompanied by six Tahitian men and three more women (making twenty-seven in all) set off in search of a remote and unknown island. Eventually they settled in 1790 on Pitcairn Island, an uncharted island in the southeastern Pacific and, like Tahiti, a veritable paradise.

When the Pandora, Captain Edward Edwards, reached Tahiti in 1791, fourteen of the mutineers (some of whom later proved innocent) were captured and imprisoned in a small cell constructed on the quarterdeck, with each man being placed in irons as well; naval wit immediately christened this holding cell Pandora’s Box. Unhappily, while making her way back to England the ship was wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef during a dark and stormy night near the tip of Cape York in far northern Queensland. Some of the prisoners were freed to help man the pumps, one of which then failed, and it soon became clear that the ship was doomed. In the mad scramble to get clear of the foundering vessel, only a few prisoners were freed from the box; one of them was drowned as the ship went down and three others were killed by the gangway that fell on them. Many of the crew perished as well.

Captain Edwards, the surviving hands, and ten prisoners took to the ship’s boats and, in a curious replay of Bligh’s experience two years earlier, followed that man’s route to Timor, reaching Koepang (Kupang or Coupang) on September 18, 1791. They were subsequently taken to Portsmouth, where, notwithstanding their very unpleasant experience in the Pandora, the prisoners were immediately court-martialed, three of their number being found guilty and hanged forthwith.

Edward Christian, brother of the mutineers’ leader wrote: “There is a degree of pressure, beyond which the best formed and principled mind must either break or recoil. And though public justice and the public safety can allow no vindication of any species of Mutiny, yet reason and humanity will . . . deplore the uncertainty of human prospect, when they reflect that a young man is condemned to perpetual infamy, who, if he had served on board any other ship . . .might still have been an honour to his country and comfort to his friends.”

To Edward Christian, the villain was not his brother but Bligh. That’s the image of Bligh that’s lasted, helped along in the twentieth century by three best-selling novels and two movies in which first Charles Laughton and then Trevor Howard flogged and starved and terrorized their cinematic crews. Bligh’s name became a synonym for a sadistic tyrant. Fletcher Christian, meanwhile, was embraced not just by his brother but also by William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge (and Clark Gable and Marlon Brando). Christian became the prototypical romantic hero; pushed beyond his breaking point, he sacrifices a promising future in England to lead his shipmates to freedom.

A journal belonging to James Morrison, the Bounty’s boatswain, was discovered in Australia in 1934; the following quotation from this journal makes an interesting contrast with Bligh’s quotation above:
In the Afternoon of the 27th Mr. Bligh Came up, and taking a turn about the Quarter Deck when he missed some of the Cocoa Nuts (Coconuts) . . . which he said they were stolen and Could not go without the knowledge of the Officers, who were all Called and declared that they had not seen a Man touch them, to which Mr. Bligh replied “then you must have taken them yourselves,” and ordered Mr. Elphinstone to go and fetch every Cocoa nut in the Ship aft . . . He then questioned every Officer in turn concerning the Number they had bought, & Coming to Mr. Christian asked Him, Mr. Christian answered “I do not know Sir, but I hope you don’t think me so mean as to be Guilty of Stealing yours.” Mr. Bligh replied “Yes you dam’d Hound I do—You must have stolen them from me or you could give a better account of them—God dam you, you Scoundrels, you are all thieves alike” [Morrison then describes the officers’ outrage, and the subsequent seizure of the ship and the casting adrift of Bligh and his followers the next day] . . . “No, Captain Bligh [said Christian], if you had any Honor, things had no(t) come to this; and if you Had any regard for your Wife & family, you should Have thought on them before, and not behaved so much like a villain . . . I have been in Hell for this Fortnight passed and am determined to bear it no longer . . . I have been used like a Dog all the Voyage.”

In August 1791, Bligh had left England on another— and more successful—breadfruit expedition. When the court-martial began in September 1792, the captain was again in the South Pacific. The captain had left various written documents, such as his log and a narrative based on it, but there would be no opportunity for the defense to cross-examine him. And since Bligh maintained the mutiny came as a complete surprise, his documents offered few clues as to what led up to it.

About his relationship to Christian prior to the mutiny, Bligh had only good things to say. “This was the third voyage he had made with me,” he wrote in his narrative. “These two [Christian and midshipman and mutineer Peter Heywood] were objects of my particular regard and attention, and I took great pains to instruct them, for they really promised, as professional men, to be a credit to their country.” Indeed, as they forced him into the launch, Bligh asked whether this was a proper return for the kindness he’d shown Christian. “He appeared disturbed at my question,” Bligh wrote, “and answered, with much emotion, ‘That,—captain Bligh,—that is the thing;—I am in hell—I am in hell.”

What drove Christian to hell? Bligh had only this to say: “I can only conjecture that the mutineers had assured themselves of a more happy life among the Otaheiteans, than they could possibly have in England; which, joined to some female connections, have most probably been the principal cause of the whole transaction. . . .They imagined it in their power to fix themselves in the midst of plenty, on the finest island in the world, where they need not labour, and where the allurements of dissipation are beyond any thing that can be conceived. “The women at Otaheite,” Bligh added, “are handsome, mild and cheerful in their manners and conversation.”

As the launch pulled away from the Bounty, Bligh recalled, the mutineers cried out, “Huzza for Otaheite.” If Bligh had little to say about his alleged cruelty, neither did the defendants. Their situation precluded that: to try to justify a mutiny was a sure way to the gallows. Instead, each defendant stressed that he had nothing to do with the mutiny. Some said they were asleep or below deck and had no idea what was going on until it was too late. Others said they had tried to join Bligh but had been restrained. Still others argued, not unreasonably, that there was no more room on the launch, and to have joined Bligh would have been to condemn themselves and everyone else in his boat to certain death.

Many pointed out they’d happily greeted Edwards when the Pandora arrived in Tahiti, since they knew they were innocent. Indeed, they asserted, that’s why Christian and the real mutineers had dropped them off on the island before sailing into the unknown. Still, the court-martial provided some hints that life on the Bounty was no paradise, and not just compared to Tahiti.

John Fryer, the ship’s master (who accompanied Bligh on the launch but clearly disliked the captain), testified about the day of the mutiny. “When I saw Captain Bligh on the ladder,” Fryer recalled, “I asked, what they were going to do with him; when [seaman John] Sumner answered, ‘Damn his eyes, put him into the boat, and let the bugger see if he can live upon [the crew’s allowance of] threequarters of a pound of yams per day.’ I said, For God’s sake for what. Sumner and Quintal replied, ‘Hold your tongue, Mr. Christian is captain of the ship, and recollect, Mr. Bligh has brought all this upon himself.’” A judge asked Fryer what he thought Christian meant when he said he was in hell. “From the frequent quarrels that they had, and the abuse which he had received from Mr. Bligh,” the master answered. “Had there been any very recent quarrel?” the judge asked. “The day before,” Fryer said. “Mr. Bligh challenged all the young gentlemen and people with stealing his cocoa nuts.”

None of this, however, seemed enough to explain a mutiny, and it certainly wasn’t enough to save all the mutineers from the death penalty. After a week-long trial, the court found four of the defendants genuinely hadn’t participated in the mutiny. They were acquitted. Two others were found guilty, but the court found there were enough extenuating circumstances to recommend a royal pardon for those two, and the king granted it. Another got off on a technicality. The remaining three mutineers on trial were found guilty and hanged.

In 1808, after eighteen years of a lonely sojourn, the remaining survivors on Pitcairn Island were discovered by the American sealer Topaz, Captain Mayhew Folger. In about 1830 a British frigate visited the island and found there one Seaman John Adams (aka Alexander Smith), the only mutineer left alive. Curiously, the frigate’s captain did not arrest Adams and take him back to England; perhaps at last the navy was beginning to absorb something of the new and enlightened philosophy of the age.

Sources :
Mysteries In History : “From Prehistory to the Present” by Paul D. Aron;
Seafaring, Lore & Legend : “A Miscellany of Maeaitime Myth, Superstition, Fable, And Fact” by Peter D. Jeans;

Pic Source :

05:58 | 0 komentar

Reck's Skeleton Mystery

Olduvai Gorge in the East African nation of Tanzania is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. It is especially renowned as the place where Louis Leakey discovered fossils of a variety of apemen, including Homo habilis.They are mentioned in most textbooks. But these textbooks are usually silent about the very first skeleton discovered at Olduvai Gorge, called the Reck’s skeleton that was found in Upper Bed II which dating from 1,15 million years old. George Grant MacCurdy a leading anthropologist from Yale University, considered Reck's skeleton to be genuine. According to today’s orthodox scientific opinion, humans like us did not come into existence until about 100,000 years old. In 1913, a German scientist, Hans Reck, came to Olduvai Gorge to search for fossils. One of Reck’s African collectors saw a bone protruding from the earth and started to excavate. Reck came and completed the excavation. Using hammers and chisels, workers under Reck’s direction took out an almost complete, anatomically modern, human skeleton in a solid block of hardened sedimentary rock.

Reck identified a sequence of five beds at Olduvai Gorge. The skeleton was from the upper part of Bed II. At Reck's site, the overlying layers (Beds III, IV, and V) had been worn away by erosion.

The Northern Slope of Olduvai Gorge where Hans Reck found a fully human skeleton (X) in Upper Bed II

According to modern dating methods, Bed II is from 1.15 million to 1.7 million years old. Reck carefully studied the geology of the site, and concluded, “The bed in which the human remains were found . . . showed no signs of disturbance. The spot appeared exactly like any other in the horizon. There was no evidence of any refilled hole or grave”. So this skeleton is evidence that anatomically modern humans were existing in the very distant past, over one million years ago. Reck returned to Germany, taking the skeleton’s skull with him personally, while the block of rock containing the rest of the skeleton followed by ship. When his first reports on the skeleton came out, he won the support of many scientists, including the American anthropologist George Grant MacCurdy of Yale University. The skeleton bore the same relation to the stratified beds as did the other mammalian remains, and was dug out of the hard clay tufa with hammer and chisel just as these were. In other words, the conditions of the find were such as to exclude the possibility of an interment. The human bones are therefore as old as the deposit.” Mac Curdy also agreed that the skeleton was of modern type and not like an earlier form of human such as the Neandertals.

Other scientists, including Louis Leakey, disagreed that the skeleton was as old as Bed II. To settle the question, Leakey and some others went to Olduvai Gorge to personally examine the site in 1931. After careful study, Leakey concluded that Reck had been right. Reck and Leakey, along with A. T. Hopwood of the British Museum of Natural History, published a report in Nature (1931, vol. 128, p. 724) affirming that the skeleton was as old as the bed in which it had been found, Bed II. Other scientists continued to object to the great age of Reck’s skeleton.

Reck and Leakey held their ground, until in 1932 an English geologist named P. G. H. Boswell published in Nature (vol. 130, pp. 237-238) a report in which he claimed he had found reddish pebbles from Bed III and white calcrete fragments from Bed V in a sample of the matrix from which Reck’s skeleton had been extracted. The sample that Boswell studied had been sent to him from Munich. And there is no way of knowing if it came from the matrix that directly encased the skeleton or from some other sediments that had come in the crate along with the skeleton.

Nevertheless, both Reck and Leakey joined Boswell, Hopwood, and Solomon concluding in a report published in Nature (1933, vol. 131, pp. 397-398) that "it seems highly probable that the skeleton was intrusive into Bed II and that the date of the intrusion is not earlier than the great unconformity which separates Bed V from the lower series."

It remains somewhat of a mystery why both Reck and Leakey changed their minds about a Bed II date for Reck's skeleton. Perhaps Reck was simply tired of fighting an old battle against odds that seemed more and more overwhelming. With the discovery of Beijing man and additional specimens of Java man, the scientific community had become more uniformly committed to the idea that a transitional ape-man was the only proper inhabitant of the Middle Pleistocene. An anatomically modern Homo sapiens skeleton in Bed II of Olduvai Gorge did not make sense except as a fairly recent burial. This would still give the anatomically modern human skeleton an age of perhaps as much as 400,000 years, because the oldest part of Bed V is about that old. And 400,000 years is still far beyond the orthodox scientific estimates for the maximum age of anatomically modern humans. Unfortunately, during World War II, Reck’s skeleton, except for the skull, vanished from the Munich Museum.

Reck excavated the skeleton from Bed II in Olduvai Gorge. He carefully searched for signs of intrusive burial (especially materials from Bed III and higher levels) and found none. Louis Leakey and other scientists, who personally studied the skeleton in Germany and investigated the Olduvai Gorge site itself, confirmed Reck’s reports. So probably the sample examined by Boswell was not from the actual matrix of the skeleton. It was from other materials that came in the box with the skeleton from Africa. The most reasonable conclusion : “Reck’s skeleton is evidence for the existence of anatomically modern humans over one million years ago.”

Sources :
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol. 57 : “Reck’s Skeleton and Olduvai Gorge Mystery” by Michael A. Cremo;
Hidden History of the Human Race by Michael A. Cremo;

Pic Source :
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol. 57 page 20;
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol. 57 page 18
05:47 | 1 komentar

The Cursed Painting

‘The Curse of the Crying Boy’ appeared out of the blue one morning in 1985. The Sun, at that time the most popular tabloid newspaper in the English-speaking world, published on page 13 of its 4 September edition a story headlined: “Blazing Curse of the Crying Boy”. It told how Ron and May Hall blamed a cheap painting of a toddler with tears rolling down his face for a fire which gutted their terraced council home in Rotherham, a mining town in South Yorkshire. The blaze broke out in a chip-pan in the kitchen of their home of 27 years and spread rapidly. But although the downstairs rooms of the house were badly damaged, the framed print of the Crying Boy escaped unscathed. It continued to hang there, surrounded by a scene of devastation. Normally a chip-pan blaze would merit nothing more than a couple of paragraphs in a local newspaper. What transformed this story into a page lead in Britain’s leading tabloid was the intervention of Ron Hall’s brother Peter, a firefighter based in Rotherham.

A colleague of Peter’s, station officer Alan Wilkinson, said he knew of numerous other cases where prints of the ‘Crying Boy’ had turned up, undamaged, in the ruins of homes destroyed by fires. Accompanying the article was a photograph of a ‘Crying Boy’, with the caption: “Tears for fears… the portrait that firemen claim is cursed.”

The firemen concerned had not actually used the word ‘cursed’, but nevertheless the newspaper report had helped to give the story a certain level of credibility. The paper added that an estimated 50,000 ‘Crying Boy’ prints, signed ‘G Bragolin’, had been sold in branches of British department stores, particularly in the working class areas of northern England. Examples could be seen hanging in the front rooms of family homes across the nation, and one story even suggested a quarter of a million had been sold. After one month of hearing all the tales, the “Sun” gave their readers the chance to bring their “Crying boy” paintings and agreed to have a very large bon fire to rid everyone of this cursed or jinxed painting. All paintings that were brought to the newspaper were in fact burned and everyone rejoiced. However, the story goes on. There have been reports of the crying boy painting being found in charred homes untouched since 1985 and as recent as 1988.

Typical of these additional stories was that told by Dora Mann, from Mitcham, Surrey, who claimed her house was gutted just six months after she bought a print of the painting. “All my paintings were destroyed – except the one of the Crying Boy,” she claimed. Sandra Kaske, of Kilburn, North Yorkshire, said that she, her sister-in-law, and a friend had all suffered disastrous fires since they acquired copies. Another family, from Nottingham, blamed the print for a blaze which had left them homeless. Brian Parks, whose wife and three children needed treatment for smoke inhalation, said he had destroyed his copy after returning from hospital to find it hanging – undamaged, of course – on the blackened wall of his living room. As the stories accumulated, new details emerged that encouraged the idea that possession of a print put owners at risk of fire or serious injury.

One woman from London claimed she had seen her print “swing from side to side” on the wall, while another from Paignton said her 11-year-old son had “caught his private parts on a hook” after she bought the picture. Mrs Rose Farrington of Preston, in a letter published by The Sun, wrote: “Since I bought it in 1959, my three sons and my husband have all died. I’ve often wondered if it had a curse.”

Rotherham fire station officer Alan Wilkinson who had personally logged 50 ‘Crying Boy’ fires dating back to 1973, dismissed any connection with the supernatural, having satisfied himself that most of them had been caused by human carelessness. But despite his pragmatism, he could not explain how the prints had survived infernos which generated heat sufficient to strip plaster from walls. His wife had her own theory: “I always say it’s the tears that put the fire out.” The Sun was not interested in finding a rational explanation. It ignored Wilkinson’s comments and claimed “fire chiefs have admitted they have no logical explanation for a number of recent incidents.”

Soon afterwards, it emerged that the ‘cursed’ prints were not all copies of the same painting, nor were all the prints by the same artist. The picture that survived the fire in Rotherham that initially triggered the scare was signed by the artist G Bragolin. The Sun claimed the original was “by an Italian artist”. In fact, Giovanni Bragolin was a pseudonym adopted by Spanish painter Bruno Amadio, who is also known as ‘Franchot Seville’.

The story was uncovered by “a well respected researcher into occult matters, a retired schoolmaster from Devon named George Mallory” in 1995. Mallory traced the artist who had painted the original, “an old Spanish portrait artist named Franchot Seville, who lives in Madrid”. Seville, as astute readers will recognise, was one of the pseudonyms used by Bruno Amadio, otherwise known as ‘G Bragolin’ whose signature appeared on some of the prints.

Seville/Amadio/Bragolin told Mallory the subject of the paintings was a little street urchin he had found wandering around Madrid in 1969. He never spoke, and had a very sorrowful look in his eyes. Seville painted the boy, and a Catholic priest identified him as Don Bonillo, a child who had run away after seeing his parents die in a blaze. “The priest told the artist to have nothing to do with the runaway, because wherever he settled, fires of unknown origin would mysteriously break out; the villagers called him ‘Diablo’ because of this.” Nevertheless, the painter ignored the priest’s advice and adopted the boy. His portraits sold well but one day his studio was destroyed by fire and the artist was ruined. He accused the little boy of arson and Bonillo ran off – naturally in tears – and was never seen again. From all over Europe came the reports of the unlucky Crying Boy paintings causing blazes. Seville was also regarded as a jinx, and no one commissioned him to paint, or would even look at his paintings.

In 1976, a car exploded into a fireball on the outskirts of Barcelona after crashing into a wall. The victim was charred beyond recognition, but part of the victim’s driving license in the glove compartment was only partly burned. The name on the license was one 19-year-old Don Bonillo.” Psychics claimed the boy's spirit was trapped in the painting and that the curse extends to all the many different versions of the painting!

The curse apparently only affects those who are aware that the painting is cursed - hardly surprising since any subsequent misfortune will get blamed on the painting. Some Crying Boy paintings had a companion Crying Girl or a painting of a boy and girl holding flowers. About the only thing the various prints had in common was that they were cheap, mass-produced paintings sold by department stores in the 1960s and 1970s and popular in working class homes .... where they hung uneventfully until 1985, or so it seems.

Sources :
The Curse of the Crying Boy by David Clarke;;

Pic Source :
06:39 | 5 komentar

Moving Coffins

Barbados, an island located at the easternmost edge of the West Indies, is the site of a strange story that some writers have treated as one of the great mysteries of the nineteenth century. The mysterious events in question, said to have taken place inside the Chase vault at Christ Church overlooking Oistin’s Bay, allegedly occurred between 1812 and 1819 or ’20 and involved the inexplicable movement of coffins. Each time when the vault was opened to bury a family member, all coffins but one had changed position. This had happened several times without explanation over a number of years. The Chase Vault was constructed for James Elliot around 1724. The vault was built such that it was partially underground. It was approximately 12 feet (3.7 m) long and 6 1/2 feet wide. However, Elliot was never interred there, and the vault remained empty until Thomasina Goddard was interred on 31 July 1807.

Sometime in 1808, the vault was acquired by the Chase family, a fairly wealthy and important clan in Barbados. Some writers state that the patriarch of the family, Thomas Chase, was one of the most hated men on the island. On 22 February 1808 the body of Thomas Chase's infant daughter, Mary Ann Maria Chase, was taken to the vault for burial. The vault was then opened on 6 July 1812 to bury Thomas Chase's other daughter, Dorcas Chase. Both Goddard's and Mary Chase's caskets were found to be undisturbed at this time. Both of the Chase girls were interred in heavy lead caskets. One month later, on 9 August 1812, the vault was opened again to accept the body of Thomas Chase himself. It was at this time that the caskets of the Chase girls were found to be displaced. The coffins were reordered and the entrance sealed.

The vault was opened again on 25 September 1816 to accept the body of another infant, Samuel Brewster Ames. The coffins, with the exception of Thomasina Goddard's, were again found to have been disturbed. Thomas Chase's coffin was supposedly so heavy, it took eight men to move it. Once again, the coffins were reordered, some of them stacked on others in the small vault, and the entrance sealed. On 17 November 1816, the vault was opened again to accept the body of Samuel Brewster. Once again, the coffins were found to be in disarray throughout the vault. For the third time, the coffins were moved back to their original positions and the vault sealed.

The vault was opened again on 17 July 1819, to accept the body of Thomasina Clark. Again, the coffins were found scattered. By this time, the mysterious incidents attracted the attention of local officials. Lord Combermere, Governor of Barbados, was reported to have attended Clark's burial. The Chase Vault was carefully examined by the Governor and his staff. No secret entrance into the vault was detected, and sand was scattered across the floor to detect any footprints. The coffins were reordered and Clark's wooden casket placed in the vault. It was reported that Goddard's wooden casket was falling to pieces, either through decay or because of the activity in the vault. The remains of her casket were tied together and placed against a wall. Finally, the vault was closed and the marble slab cemented in place. The Governor and his staff reportedly placed their official seals in the cement to ensure the integrity of the seal.

On 18 April 1820, some eight months after the burial of Thomasina Clark, the vault was ordered to be reopened. The seals were found to be intact, but when the entrance slab was moved the coffins, with the exception of Goddard's wooden casket, were again found to be in disarray. The sand on the floor did not show any kind of human activity within the vault. There was also no indication of flooding or earthquake. After this incident, the vault was abandoned, and the coffins were buried elsewhere.

Over time various versions of the story saw print. Even one of the alleged witnesses, the Rev. Thomas H. Orderson, the rector of Christ Church, gave conflicting accounts to inquirers. Other accounts were published in 1844 (Sir Robert Schomburgk’s History of Barbados) and 1860 (Mrs. D. H. Cussons’s Death’s Deeds).

Another moving-coffins story, however, could not have been based on the Barbados incident because it saw print before the West Indian events became known. The European Magazine for September 1815 related the case of “The Curious Vault at Stanton in Suffolk” in which coffins were “displaced” several times under mysterious circumstances.Nathan Lucas, one of the alleged witnesses to the final (1820) interment at the Chase Vault,mentions this English case, even quoting the article, in his privately written 1824 account.

A final tale is told by F.A. Paley in Notes and Queries, November 9, 1867, of an “instance which occurred within my own knowledge and recollection (some twenty years ago) in the parish of Gretford, near Stamford [England], of which my father was the rector. Twice, if not thrice, the coffins in a vault were found on reopening it to have been disarranged. The matter excited some interest in the village at the time, and, of course,was a fertile theme for popular superstition: but I think it was hushed up out of respect to the family to whom the vault belonged.” Paley quoted from an unnamed woman who claimed to remember the incident.

These documented nineteenth-century incidents have no twentieth-century equivalents, but they have attracted the attentions of such thoughtful latter-day writers as Lang, Rupert T. Gould, and Joe Nickell, who are responsible for the most thorough modern examinations. Of these writers, only Nickell comes to a firm conclusion. He argues that none of these incidents ever happened in the real world.

The only one for which much information is available, the Barbados episode, is loaded with symbols and phrases that Freemasons would recognize. Nickell,who had investigated an earlier Masonic hoax involving a tale of buried treasure, contends the Barbados story was fashioned around the Masonic allegory of a “secret vault” that, according to a Masonic text:
. . . in the ancient mysteries, symbolic of death,where alone Divine Truth is to be found. . . . We significantly speak of the place of initiation as “the secret vault,where reign silence, secrecy and darkness.”

It is in this sense of an entrance through the grave into eternal life, that the Select Master is to view the recondite but beautiful symbolism of the secret vault. Like every other myth and allegory of Masonry, the historical relation may be true or it may be false; it may be founded on fact or the invention of imagination; the lesson is still there, and the symbolism teaches it exclusive of the history.”

Along with other suggestive evidence, Nickell quotes these words from Lucas:
“I examined the walls, the arch and every part of the vault and found every part old and similar; and a mason in my presence struck every part of the bottom with his hammer and all was solid.”

Nickell remarks: In the Royal Arch degree of Masonry — to which the “arch” above may have been in cryptic reference (just as the “vault” suggests the “secret vault” which, in Masonry, is said to have been “curiously arched”) — there is a reference to the “sound of a hammer”.

According to Macoy’s Illustrated History and Cyclopedia of Freemasonry, “The blow of the Master’s hammer commands industry, silence, or the close of labour, and every brother respects or honors its sound.” Though based entirely on circumstantial evidence, Nickell’s speculations are intriguing and well argued. They are also, at this late date, unprovable.

Sources :
Unexplained! : “Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena” by Jerome Clark;

Pics Sources :;
Unexplained! by Jerome Clark page 574
05:48 | 2 komentar

The Lost City of The Kalahari

The Bushmen and Hottentots (now called Khoi Khoi) have many legends and tales of lost cities in the Kalahari desert in southwestern Africa. These cities were not built by them, they say, but by the ancients. The building of the city had never been completed, and it was still possible to unearth tools from the debris. These mysterious ruins were apparently to be found in different parts of the Kalahari, even north near the Caprivi Strip and Ovamboland. Dr. Gustav Prelude, a well-known historian, reported that a party of Khoi Khoi in the Kalahari who had camped near his expedition had told him of a terrible drought and of large ruins somewhere to the north, and expressed their willingness to lead him there once the rains had fallen. The Khoi Khoi also claimed that precious stones had been found in the desert farther north. In 1895, Gilarmi Farini also interested with the story of diamonds from Kalahari. During his return to the town of London, Farini reported the discovery of the Lost City of the Kalahari.

In the early twentieth century, Farini give birth to a legend of a lost city that circulating in South Africa. Some say they saw an abandoned city, or a stone quarry in the desert. It also attempts to explain the presence of this unknown civilization by comparisons with archaeological discoveries of Great Zimbabwe. William Leonard Hunt also known as Gilarmi farini born in New York City, he became a showman, best known for tightrope walking across Niagara Falls. He changed his name to Gilarmi A. Farini and his show name was Farini the Great. Farini exhibited shows at Coney Island, and when a show did well, it was taken to London. One of the most popular London shows was entitled Farini’s African Pygmies or Dwarf Earthmen from the Interior of South Africa. Essentially a tableaux of Bushman life in the Kalahari, it included six live Khoi Khoi. Farini was very interested in the Khoi Khoi and became even more so when they showed him diamonds they said had come from the Kalahari.

Farini The Great

Farini, his son Lulu, and a black South African showman named Gert Louw who had brought the Khoi Khoi to London, sailed from London to Capetown on January 7, 1895 and arrived on January 29. After meeting certain dignitaries in Capetown, in early February the party departed for the Northern Cape and the Kalahari. Six months later they returned to Capetown, claiming to have discovered a lost city of colossal proportions; they departed for London on July 22, 1895. Back in London, Farini addressed the Royal Geographical Society and later the Berlin Geographical Society. His book, Through the Kalahari was published at about the same time, and it contained photographs of the lost city taken by Farini’s son Lulu.

Farini even staged a Lost City Exhibition in London, which included photos of the city. These photos showed the city to be built of huge, massive stones stacked on top of each other, and of extremely ancient construction. Farini described the megalithic city as a long line of stone laid out in the shape of an arc and resembling the Chinese Wall after an earthquake. The ruins were quite extensive, partly buried beneath the sand at some points, and fully exposed to view in others. They could be traced for nearly a mile, and consisted mainly of huge flat-sided stone. In some places the cement was in perfect condition and plainly visible between the various layers of the heaps. The top row of stones was weathered and abraded by the drifting sand. Some of the uppermost stones were grotesquely worn away on the underside so that they resembled a small center table supported by a short leg.

In his Royal Geographical Society report he described the stones as “cyclopean.” Heaps of masonry, each about eighteen inches high, were spaced at intervals of about forty feet inside the wall. The heaps were shaped in the form of ovals or obtuse ellipses; they had flat bases and were hollowed out at the sides for about twelve inches from the edge. Some of them consisted of solid rock, while others were formed from one or more pieces of stone accurately fitted together. Where they had been protected from the sand the joints were perfect. Most of the heaps were more or less covered with sand, and it took his local guides almost a day to uncover the largest of them.

The following day, with no assistance from his guides, who apparently felt it was all a waste of time, Farini and his companions dug the sand away from the middle arc and exposed a pavement structure built of large stones. The pavement was about twenty feet wide, and so designed that the longer, outer stones were laid at right-angles to the inner ones. A similar pavement intersected it at right angles, and the whole structure resembled a Maltese Cross.

Farini visualized an altar, column or some other kind of monument at the intersection of the two pavements. The remains of the base, which were clearly visible at the junction of the pavements, consisted of loose pieces of fluted masonry. There were no inscriptions or markings of any kind. He concluded that the ruins were probably thousands of years old, and they must be of a city, a place of worship or the burial ground of a great nation. Lulu sketched the ruins and took several photographs. Farini composed this poem for his lost city:

“A half-buried ruin—a huge wreck of stones On a lone and desolate spot;
A temple—or tomb for human bones Left by man to decay and rot.
Rude sculpted blocks from the red sand project, And shapeless uncouth stones appear, Some great man’s ashes designed to protect, Buried many a thousand year.
A relic, maybe, of a glorious past,
A city once grand and sublime, Destroyed by earthquake, defaced by the blast, Swept away by the hand of time.”

Professor A. J. Clement also interested with Farini’s lost city in 1964 and advance a new explanation. In his book, The Kalahari and Its Lost City, Clement does an exhaustive study of Farini’s book, his route and the inconsistencies to be found in the publication (and there are many). Clement is to be commended for his research, though his final conclusions are to be questioned. Farini’s book caused a brief sensation at the time, and was published in both German and French. But then the whole business of a lost city in the Kalahari was generally forgotten until 1923 when the story was revived by Professor E. H. L. Schwartz of Rhodes University. Farini himself died at his ranch in Ontario in 1929.

From the 1920s up through the 1950s, many expeditions set out in search of the incredible lost city, many using aircraft. Since 1932 twenty five expeditions were launched to find the Lost City. They criss-cross the desert based on Farini’s story. F. R. Paving and Dr. W. Mr Borcherds searched the desert, flying over the region by air reconnaissance, and advanced multiple hypotheses. No one was able to find it, largely due to Farini’s wildly inaccurate maps to the spot. Many began to feel that the whole thing was really just a natural limestone formation, yet Farini had photos of the city in his book, and no one had yet come up with a suitable natural formation that fit Farini’s description.

Clement also shows in his book that Farini almost certainly did not travel up to Lake Ngami afterward, as he claimed in his book. Clement believes that he turned back after discovering the city, and used details supplied by his secretary W. A. Healey who had visited Lake Ngami the year before collecting items, as well as Bushmen, for the London exhibit. After poring through Farini’s book, Clement finally concluded that Farini’s lost city must actually lie near the small town of Mier, now called Rietfontein.

With partial sponsorship from the Sunday Chronicle newspaper, Clement set out with his 77-year-old father, a reporter from the newspaper and a professional photographer, on Easter Monday of 1964. At Rietfontein they were shown an extremely unusual “rock formation” known to the locals as Eierdop Koppies (Eggshell Hills). Says Clement, “The unmistakable outline of a large, oval-shaped amphitheater, perhaps a third of a mile in length, was the predominant feature. In numerous places there was striking resemblance to a double wall built from large, glistening black rocks, and it was obvious that many of the individual boulders could easily be confused with square building blocks.

There were several examples of flat slabs of rock perched precariously like table-tops on underlying boulders, and one of them—more impressive than the rest—closely matched the one appearing in Farini’s illustration. One or two of the rocks showed a kind of fluting, several were encrusted with a mortar-like substance, and a few were shaped like a basin. To use the phraseology employed by Farini in his lecture before the Royal Geographical Society: ‘The masonry was of a cyclopean character...’”

Clement showed one of Farini’s photos of his lost city to the oldest man in town who agreed that it seemed to show the same place. Clement, it seems, had genuinely rediscovered Farini’s lost city—known all the time to local residents—but concluded that it was no city at all, merely a highly unusual natural rock formation of dolerite, a hard igneous rock. After showing his photos to a geologist, the geologist suggested that the “ruins” were the product of the weathering of dolerite. In this case, magma intrusions forced their way in the form of sills or sheet along the bedding planes of sediments (some 180-190 million years ago, guesses the geologist) forming the level planes or flat sheets of rock found at the site. As the magma cooled, it formed cracks and splits, making it seem as if the rock had been carefully cut and dressed, with pieces stacked up on top of each other. One of the components of dolerite is pyroxene, and over time a chemical reaction takes place in its decomposition that precipitates a brownish “desert varnish” and kind of cement.

Clement concludes his book by saying, “Like all legends, that of the Lost City will be a long time a-dying, and doubtless there will still be some who are disinclined to let the matter rest in spite of all the contrary evidence. And possibly this is just as well, for there is something rather sad about the destruction of a legend.” Clement was convinced that Farini’s city was a natural formation. He could not conceive of a “cyclopean” structure in the Kalahari that was not natural. He said, “The climatological history of the Kalahari does not appear to have undergone any marked change for several thousand years, and it is obvious that no settlement of the size indicated by Farini could exist without perennial rivers or lakes in the vicinity.” And, “...suitable conditions for the establishment of a ‘city’ cannot have existed along any of the river courses for tens of thousands of years. Furthermore, if the age of the Lost City is assessed in relation to Zimbabwe and the ancient ruins of Persia, it is impossible to conceive of any ‘city’ in the Kalahari having been built more than 15,000 years ago.”

Farini had traveled a great deal in Europe and the Mediterranean and had probably seen cyclopean walls in the Peloponnese in Greece or at Abydos or the Valley Temple of Chephren in Egypt. Farini’s lost city is probably just as he believed it to be, a cyclopean structure from another era, destroyed in a cataclysmic shift of the earth’s crust, possibly 15,000 years ago, but probably more recently, such as about 10,000 years ago. It has been suggested that a shift of the earth’s crust about this time sent Africa moving to the south, causing a huge tidal wave to wash over all of Southern Africa.

Any cities, such as Farini’s, would have been destroyed and depopulated during such an event. Farini was also a Mason, and, depending on his initiatory status within the Masons, had probably been exposed to the Masonic beliefs in Atlantis, cataclysms, Mystery Schools and such. His poem about the city indicates as much. Other clues to the non-natural origin of the rocks can be found in photos taken both by Clement and Farini. The rocks are all neatly squared and the lines of “masonry” are parallel and at right angles. Some igneous formations such as basalt do indeed crystallize in regular patterns, but not like the dolerite rocks at Rietfontein. The final proof is Clement’s own photo of one of the massive blocks with a series of four parallel, horizontal grooves on it. Was it an ancient city? Was it natural? Was this what Farini had found? There seemed no clear answer to any of these questions.

Sources :
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 40 : “Vanished City of the Kalahari” by David Hatcher Childress;

Pics Sources :;
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 40 page 33
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