Yamashita's Gold

During World War II, Japanese forces gather valuable items from the countries that they occupied. When it became obvious that Japan was losing the war, the soldiers quickly buried a large collection of gold, silver and diamonds somewhere in the Philippines. This collection is known as Yamashita’s Gold - named after General Tomoyuki Yamashita, nicknamed "The Tiger of Malaya". Those who might have known about the location of the hidden treasure have already been killed or executed. Though accounts that the treasure remains hidden in Philippines have lured treasure hunters from around the world for over fifty years, its existence is disputed by most experts. The so-called “Yamashita Treasure” is not a wild tale but true. During the war, acting directly under the authority of the emperor, Japanese teams swarmed over China and the other Japanese occupied areas and as if with a giant vacuum cleaner, took all of the gold and gems they could lay their hands on. Their methods were not pretty, but they ended up with uncounted tons of gold which, they hid in caves in the Philippines.

The stolen property reportedly included many different kinds of valuables looted from banks, depositories, temples, churches, other commercial premises, mosques, museums and private homes. It takes its name from General Tomoyuki Yamashita, who assumed command of Japanese forces in the Philippines in 1944. According to various accounts, the loot was initially concentrated in Singapore, and later transported to the Philippines. The Japanese hoped to ship the treasure from the Philippines to the Japanese home islands after the war ended. As the Pacific War progressed, Allied submarines and aircraft inflicted increasingly heavy losses on Japanese merchant shipping. Some ships carrying loot back to Japan were sunk.

After hostilities, those in the know went on a big treasure hunt. Primary in this exercise was Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippine Islands. Ferdinand was certainly not alone. The cast of characters is fascinating, involving all of the leading political personalities of the day from President Truman on down, including people like Gen. John Singlaub, Melvin Belli, Laurence Butler, Bonner Fellers, Orrin Hatch, Rep. Larry McDonald, Robert Welch, Floyd Paxton, etc., etc. Most of them lost money trying to recover the hidden gold.

Prominent among those arguing for the existence of Yamashita's gold are Sterling Seagrave and Peggy Seagrave, who have written two books relating to the subject: The Yamato Dynasty: the Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family (2000) and Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold (2003).

The Seagraves contend that looting was organized on a massive scale, by both yakuza gangsters such as Yoshio Kodama, and the highest levels of Japanese society, including Emperor Hirohito. The Japanese government intended that loot from Southeast Asia would finance Japan's war effort. The Seagraves allege that Hirohito appointed his brother, Prince Yasuhito Chichibu, to head a secret organization called Kin no yuri ("Golden Lily"), for this purpose.

It is purported that many of those who knew the locations of the loot were killed during the war, or later tried by the Allies for war crimes and executed or incarcerated. Yamashita himself was executed for war crimes on February 23, 1946.

The Seagraves and a few others have claimed that United States military intelligence operatives located much of the loot; colluded with Hirohito and other senior Japanese figures to conceal its existence, and; used it to finance US covert intelligence operations around the world during the Cold War. These rumors have inspired many hopeful treasure hunters, but most experts and Philippine historians say there is no credible evidence behind them.

Jimmy R. McCormick fans the flames by saying in his 1992 workbook on treasure hunting in the Philippines, that for 20 years, he “personally observed” many Japanese groups making regular trips to the Philippines, always to the same locations with treasure markings, guided by maps they jealously guarded.

In March 1988, a Filipino treasure hunter named Rogelio Roxas filed a lawsuit in the state of Hawaii against the former president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Marcos for theft and human rights abuses. Roxas claimed that in Baguio City in 1961 he met the son of a former member of the Japanese army who mapped for him the location of the legendary Yamashita Treasure. Roxas claimed a second man, who served as Yamashita's interpreter during the Second World War, told him of visiting an underground chamber there where stores of gold and silver were kept, and who told of a golden buddha kept at a convent located near the underground chambers.

Roxas claimed that within the next few years he formed a group to search for the treasure, and obtained a permit for the purpose from a relative of Ferdinand, Judge Pio Marcos. In 1971, Roxas claimed, he and his group uncovered an enclosed chamber on state lands near Baguio City where he found bayonets, samurai swords, radios, and skeletal remains dressed in a Japanese military uniform.

Also found in the chamber, Roxas claimed, were a three foot high golden colored buddha and numerous stacked crates which filled an area approximately 6 feet x 6 feet x 35 feet. He claimed he opened just one of the boxes, and found it packed with gold bullion. He said he took from the chamber the golden buddha, which he estimated to weigh 1,000 kilograms, and one box with twenty-four gold bars, and hid them in his home. He claimed he resealed the chamber for safekeeping until he could arrange the removal of the remaining boxes which he suspected were also filled with gold bars.

Roxas said he sold seven of the gold bars from the opened box, and sought potential buyers for the golden buddha. Two individuals representing prospective buyers examined and tested the metal in the buddha, Roxas said, and reported it was made of solid, 20 carat gold. It was soon after this, Roxas claimed, that President Ferdinand Marcos learned of Roxas' discovery and ordered him arrested, beaten, and the buddha and remaining gold seized. Roxas alleged that in retaliation to his vocal campaign to reclaim the buddha and the remainder of the treasure taken from him, Ferdinand continued to have Roxas threatened, beaten and eventually incarcerated for over a year.

In 1998, The Hawaii Supreme Court held that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that Roxas found the treasure and that Marcos converted it. However, the court reversed the damage award, holding that the $22 billion award of damages for the chamber full of gold was too speculative as there was no evidence of quantity or quality, and ordered a new hearing on the value of the golden buddha and 17 bars of gold only.

Many individuals and consortia, both Philippine and foreign, continue to search for treasure sites. A lot of local participants that interested with Yamashita’s Gold discuss the treasure maps and sightings of possible treasure symbols everywhere from Quezon City, Batangas and Bicol to Cebu, Negros, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat.

Sources :
SunStar Cebu May 2, 2007, Treasure Hunters : “The Blinding Sheen” by Cherry Ann T. Lim;
The Phoenix Project Journal, News Review Vol. 43, No. 9;
YG Bet You Didn’t Know : “Lost and Found” page 18;

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06:27 | 2 komentar

Boudicca's Grave

Boudicca is a legendary figure of British history, famous as an archetypal warrior woman who supposedly embodies the spirit of Britannia with her motto, ‘Britons never, never shall be slaves!’. In 60–61 CE she led her tribe the Iceni and other Celtic allies in a bloody revolt against the occupying Roman forces, but was defeated in a final battle and met her end. Her final resting place has never been discovered, but its location has triggered various speculation. Boudicca (also spelled Boudicca), formerly known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" (d. AD 60 or 61) was a queen of the Brittonic Iceni tribe of what is now known as East Anglia in England, who led an uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Her name derives from the Celtic word bouda, meaning ‘victory’, and was hence was an Iron Age equivalent of Victoria – a fact made much of by the Victorians, who popularised her legend.

The better-known version of her name, Boadicea, is probably the result of a mistranscription of Tacitus, the Roman historian who is the primary source for her story. (The other source is Dio Cassius, a slightly later Greco-Roman writer who probably based his version mainly on Tacitus, although he added some extra details.) After the Romans’ conquest of Britain in 43 CE they had occupied most of South East England, but left client kings in charge of some peripheral areas. This was common practice. What usually followed was that the king in question would will his kingdom to the Romans on his death, ensuring an orderly transition of power.

In the Iceni area, King Prasutagus had been left in charge as a client king; Boudicca was his wife. In return for subjecting to Roman overlordship and making the Roman emperor co-heir to his kingdom, he was allowed to rule and was even lent considerable sums of money with which to enjoy himself. When he died, however, he left his people in a parlous state. Roman law did not recognise inheritance by females, and Prasutagus had only daughters (although the Romans probably would have annexed his kingdom anyway). On top of this, the Iceni were faced with the debts he had run up. Accordingly the Romans took over, and the Iceni suddenly found that their jealously guarded freedoms had disappeared. Their lands were now considered Roman property and they were treated like slaves.

They were ruthlessly taxed and, according to Tacitus, Boudicca and her daughters were flogged and raped. In 60 CE, while the Roman governor Suetonius Paulinus was away in Northern Wales campaigning against the Druids on Anglesey, the Iceni and their neighbours the Trinovantes rose up in revolt. Leading them was the charismatic and forceful Boudicca, whom Dio Cassius describes as cutting a striking figure: Boudicca was tall, terrible to look on and gifted with a powerful voice. A flood of bright red hair ran down to her knees; she wore a golden necklet made up of ornate pieces, a multi-coloured robe and over it a thick cloak held together by a brooch. She took up a long spear to cause dread in all who set eyes on her.

First the British horde fell on the Roman settlement of Camulodunum (modern-day Colchester), razing it to the ground and massacring most of the inhabitants. They defeated a Roman legion sent to deal with them, and in 61 CE moved towards the recently founded Roman trading post and administrative centre of Londinium (modern-day London). Hearing the news of the revolt, Suetonius had called off his campaign and marched from Wales to Londinium at speed, travelling the entire length of the Roman road known as Watling Street, arriving there just before the British host.

Realising that he did not have enough men to defend the city, he retreated, evacuating as many as possible. The Britons burned Londinium to the ground and again massacred everyone they found, before moving along Watling Street to Verulamium (modern-day St Albans) where they did the same. In all, Boudicca’s forces are said to have killed around 70–80,000 people.

Suetonius retreated back up Watling Street, gathering what forces he could, eventually mustering 10,000 men. Boudicca’s horde was said to be 230,000 strong. The Roman governor knew that if he took on the Britons in open country they would surround him and cut his force to pieces, but he also knew that if deployed on the right ground, superior Roman military tactics would nullify the imbalance of forces. Tacitus records that Suetonius ‘prepared to break off delay and fight a battle. He chose a position approached by a narrow defile, closed in at the rear by a forest, having first ascertained that there was not a soldier of the enemy except in front of him, where an open plain extended …’ This is the only description of the site of what is commonly called the Battle of Watling Street, on the basis that since Suetonius was retreating up this Roman road he would probably have picked a site not far from it.

The pursuing British horde, confident of victory, drew up the wagons carrying their women, children and old folk in a huge ring around the battlefield so that they could view the fight. Unable to cope with Roman tactics, discipline and armour, the British horde was defeated and tried to flee, but were impeded by their own wagons. The Romans slaughtered 80,000 of them in one of the worst single days of carnage ever recorded on British soil.

The location of Boudica's defeat is unknown. Most historians favour a site in the West Midlands, somewhere along the Roman road now known as Watling Street. Kevin K. Carroll suggests a site close to High Cross in Leicestershire, on the junction of Watling Street and the Fosse Way, which would have allowed the Legio II Augusta, based at Exeter, to rendezvous with the rest of Suetonius's forces, had they not failed to do so. Manduessedum (Mancetter), near the modern town of Atherstone in Warwickshire, has also been suggested, as has 'The Rampart' near Messing in Essex, according to legend. More recently, a discovery of Roman artifacts in Kings Norton close to Metchley Camp has suggested another possibility.

Tacitus records that Boudicca survived the carnage but committed suicide with poison (according to tradition, her daughters committed suicide alongside her). Dio Cassius reports that she fell sick and died, presumably of despair at the great defeat. Tantalisingly, he also records that she was buried with great ceremony and riches, raising the questions: where does Boudicca’s body lie, and might the rich hoard of grave goods still be recovered?

Perhaps the most prevalent bit of folklore regarding Boudicca’s grave is the tradition that she is buried beneath one of the platforms in King’s Cross station, one of the main railway stations in London, from where trains head north along the busiest rail route in the country. (It is also now famous internationally for being where Harry Potter catches the train to Hogwarts in the popular books and films.) Absurd though it sounds, this legend is remarkably widespread, although the actual platform number that is given varies considerably. Usually it is Platform 10. A former place name for King’s Cross is Battle Bridge, which is given as a possible location for the Battle of Watling Street – perhaps this is the basis of the legend.

Alternatively, the original source of the legend may be Lewis Spence’s 1937 book Boadicea – Warrior queen of the Britons. Spence was a folklorist and writer on occult and pseudohistorical topics such as Atlantis and fairy traditions, and is not now noted for his academic rigour. The story received an added impetus in 1988 when an article in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph claimed that contractors working on Platform 10 at King’s Cross station had unearthed the skeleton of the warrior queen. This has since been quoted widely, usually with the date of the discovery given as 22 February.

Archaeological discoveries can be more convincing than local folklore because of the presence of material evidence. However, unless archaeologists are fortunate enough to find inscriptions or other definite information at the same time, attributing identities to tombs or bodies is a matter of pure speculation. A good example is the Lady of Birdlip, a skeleton dug up near Birdlip in Gloucestershire in the late 19th century. Along with the bones were found a variety of grave goods, and the grave itself was flanked by two other graves. The grave seems to date to the 1st century CE, which is the correct time, and the grave goods – which included a mirror, brooches, a necklace and bowls – led to the identification of the skeleton as a woman. Perhaps inevitably it was suggested that the Lady of Birdlip was none other than Boudicca, buried with her two daughters alongside her.

The region had been the home of the Dobunni in late Iron Age times – perhaps these were Boudicca’s original people, to whom she had fled after the disastrous defeat somewhere nearby? Intriguingly, anomalous amounts of Dobunnic currency have been found in East Anglia, suggesting some sort of link between the Dobunni and the Iceni. The problem with this identification, apart from the total lack of any actual evidence, is that on viewing the Birdlip skull most experts assume it is male. Only when the context is known – ie the apparently ‘feminine’ grave goods – do attributions change. Antiquarian Malcolm Watkins argues that the Lady of Birdlip might have been a shaman/priest, rather than a warrior queen.

The final resting place of Queen Boudicca is likely to remain a mystery unless it is found that the ancient Britons helpfully buried her with some written identification. In practice, Boudicca herself is a historical problem. She is known only from the two Roman sources given and is not recorded or attested from any other sources. Indeed, until the work of Tacitus was rediscovered in medieval Europe during the Renaissance, British historians and chroniclers such as Bede or Geoffrey of Monmouth seemed to be unaware that she had ever existed. Given such a slim historical profile, it is hardly surprising that Boudicca should be so difficult to locate. Her final fate remains surrounded by unknowns. Perhaps she was cremated, dumped in a mass grave or simply fell somewhere in the wilderness.

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

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04:10 | 1 komentar

The Vela Incident

The Vela Incident (sometimes known as the South Atlantic Flash) was the possible detection of a nuclear weapon test. This detection was made by a United States Vela satellite on September 22, 1979. Much of the information about the event is still classified. The Vela 6911 satellite apparently detected the characteristic double flash of an atmospheric nuclear explosion (first a very fast and very bright flash, and then a less bright and longer-lasting flash) of some two to three kilotons at 47°S 40°E / 47°S 40°E / -47; 40 near to the Prince Edward Islands, a South African dependency lying in the Indian Ocean. The technical evidence is however inconclusive. In a class of its own, the Vela series of highly sophisticated satellites were launched in pairs between 1963 and 1970 to detect nuclear detonations in the Earth’s atmosphere. Being part of an overall system consisting of Vela Uniform, to detect underground detonations, and Vela Sierra, to detect surface detonations (neither of which used satellite technology), the system is also known as Vela Hotel.

The satellites, which were built by TRW, were equipped with detectors to identify X-rays, gamma rays, and neutron emissions which were not only used to detect nuclear detonations, but were also effectively used to gather scientific data on solar flares and other solar radiation. There is much doubt as to whether the satellite's observations were accurate. The Vela Hotel 6911 satellite was one of a pair that had been launched on May 23, 1969, over ten years before the "double-flash" event, and this satellite was already more than two years beyond its so-called "design lifetime". This satellite was known to have a failed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) sensor, and it had developed a fault (in July 1972) in its recording memory, but that fault had cleared itself by March 1978.

On September 22, 1979, Vela 6911 detected two very distinct flashes in the vicinity of the Indian or South Atlantic oceans that supposedly could be only one thing: a nuclear detonation. The Carter administration held an emergency meeting, other satellites were enlisted to see if they saw the detonation, which they did not, and utter pandemonium ensued for a short time as the US government scrambled to see who or what had set off a nuclear weapon that day.

It was a small explosion, estimated at only three kilotons, and the Soviets, Chinese, French and British are unlikely as the originators. If the detection was a nuclear explosion, and not a natural phenomenon or malfunction, the two primary suspects for the sources of an unexplained nuclear blast were Israel and South Africa, both of which had covert nuclear weapons programs at the time. A test by either Israel or South Africa would have been very awkward for the Carter administration.

Israel was a close American ally, while the South African relationship was close but unpopular due to apartheid. Carter had worked hard on nonproliferation issues, and a vigorous response would have been required if it had been proven that either nation had conducted the test. This would have disrupted the negotiations underway over the Camp David Accords.

Technical information and analyses suggest that :
  • An explosion was produced by a nuclear device detonated in the atmosphere near the earth’s surface.
  • It had yield equivalent to less than 3 kilotons.
  • It took place within a broad area, primarily oceans, that was generally cloudy.
If a nuclear explosion did occur, it is uncertain who triggered it. There are difficulties with both the South African and Israeli hypotheses. South Africa did have a nuclear weapons program at the time, and the geographic location of the tests points to their involvement. Since the fall of apartheid, South Africa has disclosed most of the information on its nuclear weapons program, and according to the subsequent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, South Africa did not have the capability to construct such a device until November 1979, two months after the incident.

However in September 1979 American signals intelligence detected unusual security measures at South Africa's Walvis Bay facility the week before the event, which led to suspicions that the putative test was staged from there. At that time some special security measures put into effect which indicate that certain elements of the South African Navy were exercising or on alert on 22 September. The harbor and naval base at Simonstown were declared, in a public announcement on 23 August, to be off limits for the period 17-23 September.

The US defense attache gathered from several reliable resources that harbor defense exercises took place there during this period. Although such a closure might not be required for a nuclear test at sea, it could have screened sensitive loading or unloading operations as well as ship movements.

Also, at Saldanha naval facility, which includes a naval search-and-rescue unit, was suddenly placed on alert for the period 21-23 September. The alert was not publicly announced, no explanation for it was given to naval personnel, and no activity was observed in on around the port. Furthermore, at the same time, General Malan, Chief of South Africa’s Defense Force, was reported to be touring South America, when he might have been expected to be in South Africa or at the test observation point during such an important event. Prime Minister Botha has avoided public comment on the issue since the US disclosure of the Vela indications.

Israel did have nuclear weapons in 1979, but it is questioned whether they had the capability to mount a covert test thousands of kilometers away. If it had been an Israeli test, it would almost certainly have been conducted with South African assistance and cooperation.

Problem is, the whole thing made no sense. The first problem was that no other satellites had detected the detonation, even though at least three were capable of it, if not more. It might have ended there, a very scary and potentially dangerous malfunction caused a false alarm. But it didn’t.

Astronomers working at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico detected an atmospheric shockwave that could have been linked to a nuclear explosion. The US government’s hydrophone network detected a very clear echo of a large explosion. But the one piece of foolproof evidence was never found: radiation. Dozens of flights were conducted to try to detect fallout, and none was ever found, though extremely low levels of a certain radioactive element might have been detected in Australia, some time later.

Some specialists who examined the data speculated that the double flash, characteristic of a nuclear explosion, may have been the result of a nuclear weapons test: "The conclusions of the Presidential panel (the Ad Hoc Panel) were reassuring, as they suggested that the most likely explanation of the Vela detection was a meteoroid hitting the satellite — in part because of the discrepancy in bhangmeter readings. Others who examined the data, including Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the national laboratories, and defense contractors reached a very different conclusion — that the data supported the conclusion that on 22 September 1979, Vela 6911 had detected a nuclear detonation." However, it has never been ruled out that the "double flash" signal might have been a spurious electronic signal that was generated by an aging detector in an old satellite.

No corroboration of an explosion, such as the presence of nuclear wastes in the air, was ever made, although there were numerous passes in the area by U.S. Air Force planes that were specifically designed to detect airborne radioactive dust. It was also noted that some meteoroids as they enter the atmosphere produce explosive bursts measured from several kilotons of TNT (the Eastern Mediterranean Event) to megatons of TNT (the Tunguska Event). However in such cases the physical manifestations are normally distinct from those that were observed, since single meteors do not produce the double flash characteristic of a nuclear detonation.

The blast remains a secret to this day, despite South Africa having given up all nuclear weaponry and testing decades ago. If they did it, they still aren’t saying, even though they have no motivation to keep quiet after all this time. Only if it involved Israel would it be worth keeping secret still. Most likely, Israel tested a nuclear weapon, but how it managed to not produce detected fallout is a mystery.

Sources :
Interagency Intelligence Memorandum : “The 22 September 1979 Event”. National Security Archive. December 1979;
MilsatMagazine January 2009;

Pics Sources :
MilsatMagazine January 2009 page 32
04:48 | 5 komentar

Brazilian Stonehenge

It has been called a Brazilian Stonehenge, but at this point, archaeologists know even less about a newly discovered stone temple in the far northern region of Brazil. It is clear that forgotten ancient builders were much more sophisticated than previously believed. No one knows how old the site is but indigenous pottery found nearby has been dated to at least 2,000 years. In May 2006, reports emerged of an "Brazilian Stonehenge", found in the Amazon Basin, in Brazil. According to a report from the BBC, 127 giant stone blocks driven into the ground—upright and evenly spaced, each weighing several tons and up to 10 feet tall—on a remote hilltop in the province of Amapa appear to have been carefully arranged so as to imply advanced knowledge of astronomy and that well before the arrival of European colonizers.

On the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, December 21, the shadow of one of the blocks disappears when the sun is directly above it. At this point researchers are willing to concede that the layout appears intended, at a minimum, to mark the winter solstice. Further conclusions await more complete analysis. All this in an area and at a time declared by orthodox science to be strictly primitive. Mariana Petry Cabral, of Amapa’s Institute of Scientific and Technological Research and the project’s chief archaeologist, says the monument has been known to the local population for years.

Alternative researchers such as Harold T. Wilkins have long claimed that the Amazon region was home to advanced ancient civilization. Legends like that of El Dorado have led many to dream of fabulous temples and hoards of gold in the South American jungles.

In southern Brazil celebrated British explorer Col. Percy Fawcett disappeared in the 1920s searching for what he believed was a lost jungle metropolis. Tangible evidence for the existence of such a spot has never materialized, though, and the general idea of once advanced civilization in the dense rainforests of the Amazon basin has always been ridiculed by mainstream academia. With the new discovery, though, all that may change.

Sources :
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol. 59 : “BRAZILIAN ‘STONEHENGE’ FOUND IN NORTHERN AREA”;

Pic Source :
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol. 59 : “BRAZILIAN ‘STONEHENGE’ FOUND IN NORTHERN AREA” page 10
02:52 | 4 komentar

The Cursed Ring

In the vault of a Los Angeles bank lies a silver ring set with a semiprecious stone. It is not a particularly pretty ring or even a very valuable one, and chances are that no one will ever dare to wear it again. The ring lies in the vault because it bears one of the most malignant curses in the history of the occult. Successive owners have suffered injury, misfortune, even death. And many people still believe it was this ring that sent Rudolph Valentino to a premature grave. Certainly, the violent incidents that have surrounded it over the years can hardly be shrugged off as mere coincidences. Rudolph Valentino (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926) was an Italian actor, sex symbol, and early pop icon. Known as the "Latin Lover", he was one of the most popular stars of the 1920s, and one of the most recognized stars from the silent film era. He is best known for his work in The Sheik and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Valentino was born Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Piero Filiberto Guglielmi in Castellaneta, Italy, to a French mother, Marie Berthe Gabrielle Barbin (1856 - 1919), and Giovanni Antonio Giuseppe Fidele Guglielmi, a veterinarian who died of malaria, then widespread in Southern Italy, when Valentino was 11. He had an older brother, Alberto (1892-1981), a younger sister, Maria, and an older sister Beatrice who died in infancy. As a child, Valentino was reportedly spoiled and troublesome. His mother coddled him while his father disapproved of his behavior. He did poorly in school, and was eventually enrolled in agricultural school where he received a degree. After living in Paris in 1912, he soon returned to Italy. Unable to secure employment, he departed for the United States in 1913. He was processed at Ellis Island at age 18 on December 23, 1913.

In 1917, Valentino joined an operetta company that traveled to Utah where it disbanded. He then joined an Al Jolson production of Robinson Crusoe Jr., travelling to Los Angeles. By fall, he was in San Francisco with a bit part in a theatrical production of Nobody Home. While in town, Valentino met actor Norman Kerry, who convinced him to try a career in cinema, still in the silent film era.

By 1919, he had carved out a career in bit parts. It was a bit part as a "cabaret parasite" in the drama The Eyes of Youth that caught the attention of screenwriter June Mathis, who thought he would be perfect for her next movie.

It was in 1920 that Valentino, at the peak of his success, saw the ring in a San Francisco jeweller's. The proprietor warned him that the ring was a jinx, but Valentino still bought it. He wore the ring in his next picture, The Young Rajah. It was the biggest flop of his career and he was off the screen for the next two years. Valentino did not wear the ring again until he used it as a costume prop in The Son of the Sheik. Three weeks after finishing this film, he went to New York on vacation. While wearing the ring, he suffered an acute attack of appendicitis. Two weeks later, he was dead.

Shortly after Rudolph Valentino’s untimely death in August 1926, stories began to circulate that the great Latin lover’s ghost haunted his favorite places. Falcon Lair, the dream home he had built on Bella Drive for his bride Natacha Rambova, became the most commonly reported site for ectoplasmic manifestations of the departed Valentino.

Pola Negri, a famous female movie star of the time, asked to pick a memento from Valentino's possessions, chose the ring-and almost immediately suffered a long period of ill health that threatened to end her career. A year later, while convalescing, she met a performer who was almost Valentino's double, Russ Colombo.

Miss Negri was so struck by the resemblance that she gave him Rudolph's ring, saying, "From one Valentino to another." Within a few days of receiving the gift, Russ Colombo was killed in a freak shooting accident. His cousin passed the ring on to Russ's best friend, Joe Casino. Also at the height of his popularity as an entertainer, Casino took no chances with the ring. Instead of wearing it, he kept it in a glass case in memory of his dead friend. When he was asked to donate it to a museum of Valentino relics, he refused, saying that he treasured it for sentimental reasons. As time passed, Joe Casino forgot the ring's evil reputation and put it on. A week later, still wearing the ring, he was knocked down by a truck and killed.

By now the curse was front-page news. When asked what he proposed to do with the ring, Joe's brother, Del, explained that he could not allow himself to be intimidated by a curse, or jinx, or ghost, or whatever it was. He didn't believe in things like that. Del Casino wore the ring for some time and nothing unusual happened. Then he lent it to a collector of Valentino relics, who suffered no ill effects either. This caused several newspapers to speculate that at last the evil influence of the ring had come to an end. And that seemed to trigger off a new wave of violence.

One night soon afterward, the home of Del Casino was burgled. The police saw the burglar, a man named James Willis, running from the scene. One of them fired a warning shot, but the bullet went low and killed Willis. Among the loot found in his possession was the Valentino ring. It was at this time that Hollywood producer Edward Small decided to make a film based on Valentino's career.

Jack Dunn, a former skating partner to ice star Sonja Henie, bore a great resemblance to Rudolph and was asked to make a film test for the part. He dressed in Valentino's clothes for the test - and also wore the jinxed ring. Only twenty-one years old at the time, Dunn died ten days later from a rare blood disease. After this tragedy the ring was kept out of sight and never worn by anyone again, but that did not seem to curb its fatal influence.

A year after Jack Dunn's death, a daring raid was carried out in broad daylight on a Los Angeles bank in which thieves got away with a haul of over $200,000. In a subsequent police ambush, two of the gang were caught and three passersby seriously injured.

The leader of the bank robbers, Alfred Hahn, was jailed for life. At his trial, Hahn remarked: "If I'd known what was in the vault apart from money, I'd have picked myself another bank." For in the bank's safe deposit vault was the Valentino ring.

Sources :
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places by Brad Steiger ;

Pic Source :
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places by Brad Steiger page 289
03:54 | 3 komentar

The Ballechin House

Ballechin House once described as the “Most Haunted House in Scotland", with several similarities to the Borley Rectory haunting, including the apparition of a ghostly nun, and regular sightings of the spirit of Major Robert Steuart. Built in the nineteenth century, the Ballechin House is a classic example of a haunting that is seemingly caused by an angry, wronged ghost. The house was subject to a paranormal investigation before the turn of the 20th century and many noises and a few apparitions were recorded. Ballechin House was built in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1806 on the ancestral home of the Steuart family since the 15th century. The Steuart family are an illegitimate branch of the royal house of Steuart, descending from a son of King James II. Major Robert Steuart, who had inherited the property in 1834, died in 1876 and left the property to John Steuart, one of his nephews.

Major Robert Steuart died shortly after declaring that he was not going to allow his spirit to leave the world. Instead, he claimed that he would find a way to put his spirit into the body of one of his fourteen dogs. Once the funeral was over, however, Steuart’s nephew killed all of the dogs and moved into the Ballechin House. According to some who knew Steuart’s heir, he did this because he did not want to spend any time or money caring for the dogs. Others, however, said that the nephew was a superstitious, religious man who did not want his uncle coming back to life, even as a black spaniel.

The Major was still freshly in his grave when haunting began at Ballechin House. Shortly after the dogs’ death, strange things started to happen in the house. The odor of dogs would appear at odd times and places, for no apparent reason, and people in the house would suddenly feel themselves pushed by what they sensed was a dog—though no dog was there. Visitors also heard strange noises, including knocking, loud bangs, and angry but muffled voices. Some years later, the nephew was accidentally struck and killed by a London taxicab, at which time the Ballechin House was put up for rent.

From 1892 to 1896, a few groups— including a priest and some nuns seeking a religious retreat and a party of hunters wanting to shoot game on the property— stayed in the house. All such occupants fled within days, saying it was haunted by unseen animals.

From February to May 1897, members of the Psychical Research Society, a group dedicated to investigating paranormal phenomena, rented the house in order to study the goings-on there. At this point the haunting escalated: The strange noises became louder and more frequent; the house seemed filled with the sounds, smells, and jostling of unseen dogs; and a mysterious black spaniel appeared and disappeared on several occasions in front of many witnesses. A few people also reported seeing a weeping apparition of a nun. (They later discovered that Major Steuart’s sister had been a nun.) Eventually the members of the Psychical Research Society decided to abandon the house as well, after declaring it haunted.

In 1899, The Alleged Haunting of B---- House was published, and serialised in the London Times, containing a journal kept of the phenomena. John marquess of Bute was one of the guest that stayed at Ballechin during these investigations, and is quoted as saying "he could not understand how such a handsome house could have so wicked of a reputation.”

Local rumours have persisted in the region of a lost son and heir of John Steuart, who according to local lore was born out of wedlock to a domestic on the estate. Different versions of this tale have this son sent to Canada or Australia, or not surviving into adult hood.

Ballechin House was uninhabited by 1932, and most of the house was demolished in 1963, after a fire, leaving only the former servants quarters and outbuildings. The loss of Ballechin House was considered great, as many of its state rooms were considered some of the finest in Perthshire. Also lost was art work and furniture which had been collected by generations of the Steuart family, including many pieces from the far east, probably due to successive lairds' involvement in the British East India Company.

Sources :
The Complete Idiot’s Guide : “Ghost and Hauntings” by Tom Ogden;
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;

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03:11 | 2 komentar

1972 Art Theft in France

In 1972, an unknown thief (or thieves) looted the town hall at Bagnols sur Ceze, France, and removed several impressionist paintings valued conservatively in the millions of U.S. dollars. No trace of the stolen paintings has been found since their disappearance in 1972, and no suspects have been named in the case. Bagnols-sur-Cèze was quite certainly a Roman town (the name of the town comes from the Latin balnearius meaning baths) before the main part was built in the 13th century around a central arcaded square that is still preserved today.The old center of Bagnols-sur-Cèze retains its historic feel, with small streets and largely preservered architecture. Several facades are remarkable. The towns contains a notable museum of contemporary art, the Musée Albert-André.

In 1868, Léon Alègre, a humanist from Bagnols, established an "encyclopedic" museum in eight rooms of the third floor of the town hall. It juxtaposed paintings with stuffed animals and fossils, steam machines with ancient artefacts. In 1917, the painter Albert André became curator. At his instigation and thanks to the generosity of his painter friends, Renoir, Monet, Signac, Marquet, Bonnard, Jean Puy, as well as Rouart, Vollard, Durand-Ruel, Elie Faure, and Paul Clémenceau, the museum took on a more defined character and began to concentrate on figurative, modern, and contemporary painting.

In 1971, the donation of George and Adèle Besson completed the remarkable collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings that had been assembled by Albert André. The works of Matisse, Bonnard, Van Dongen, Berthe Morisot, Maillol, Picasso, and Camille Claudel are the highlights of a collection lovingly put together by a critic and enlightened art lover.

Unfortunately on November 12, 1972 an incident happens when nine impressionist paintings were stolen and never recovered. The stolen works included :

Pierre Bonnard’s : Le Petit Café
(1900, Oil on wood, 43 X35 cm)

Eugene Boudin’s : Cows in a Pasture
(Oil on wood, 22X16 cm)

Raoul Dufy’s : Composition
(Oil on wood, 50X25 cm) and

Orchestre avec nu
(Oil on wood, 42,5X20 cm)

Albert Marquet’s : View of the Port of Marseille
(1918, Oil on canvas, 46X38 cm)

Henri Matisse’s : View of Saint Tropez
(1904, oil on cardboard, 48X35 cm)

Pierre Renoir’s : Roses in a Vase
(1905, Oil on canvas, 31X38 cm) and

Portrait of Madame Albert Andre
(1904, Oil on canvas, 28X31 cm)

Édouard Vuillard’s : Pot de Honfleur
(1919, Oil on cardboard, 32X36 cm)

The statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has expired, but French authorities continue to remind the public that the paintings are considered stolen property, and that possession or exchange of stolen items is a separate criminal offense. Police presume that the paintings were purchased by one or more rogue collectors who cherish such items as personal treasures, without a need to display them publicly.

Sources :
Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes by Michael Newton;
http://www.saztv.com/page18.html; http://www.gard-provencal.com/an/museums/aandre.htm

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03:57 | 0 komentar

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