10/22/10  #595
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High overhead, the black helicopter hovered soundlessly. Inside, secret high-tech monitoring equipment recorded anything that looked suspicious -- and to them, everything is suspicious! The simplest phone calls, the most innocent of e-mails, the junkiest of junk mails, all raise flags of warning to those who listen. To them, freedom means subversion. Privacy means treason. Innocence means guilt.  They watch and wait, for soon will come the time when once again, e-mail boxes all across the planet are filled with your number one source of information on conspiracies, UFO, the paranormal, and much more - Conspiracy Journal!

This week Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such awe-inspiring stories as:

- Cancer is a Man-Made Disease, Controversial Study Claims -
- Mind Control Victims Win Compensation -
- Relics: Perplexing Objects of the Past -
Scientists Find Evidence for Psychic Phenomena -
AND: Oregon's Weird Green Tide Pool and Other Bizarre Mysteries

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


Occult Journeys Through South America

Strange Tales of Witchcraft, Spiritualism, Lost Races
and Religious Miracles!

South American folklore has its share of unique and fantastic myths and legends. There are incredible tales of magicians and their weird magical arts, strange creatures, ghosts and other unexplainable mysteries. The first explorers that entered what is now South America were dazzled by the endless tropical rain forests, the strange and diverse wildlife, and the indigenous peoples and their mysterious ways. Even today, South America offers unique perspectives and influences on the paranormal that are not found elsewhere on the planet.

The people of South America live in a world steeped in ancient traditions that enhance their lives with rich tapestry of mystical beliefs. In modern Latin America, Catholicism is the predominate religion. However, especially in Brazil, Espiritismo (Spiritism) has become extremely prevalent since its beginning in the mid 19th century. Spiritism like Spiritualism, believes in the survival of the human personality after death and that mediums are able to communicate with the spirits. Followers of Spiritism believe in an afterlife. But unlike Spiritualism, Spiritists believe that the soul with reincarnate after a period of time.

Join John Wilcock in his mystical journey, noted occult and paranormal researcher Tim R. Swartz recounts stories of demons and sinister spirits, creatures from out of this world, living dinosaurs and giants in the Earth. If you are an armchair you will enjoy this work such as well as some one who is planning on heading for the grandeur's of South America. This is a travelers guide to the strange and unknown you should not be without.

About the Author
The author provides a fascinating overview of some of the occult beliefs and rituals of South America. Wilcock is an old hand at traversing the globe and sharing his insights with his readers. He has written guidebooks for Mexico, California, Texas, Rome, Florence and many other touristy locales. He has also authored a book called "A Guide To Occult Britain," as well as serving as a researcher for Albert Goldman's "The Lives of John Lennon," a biography of Jim Morrison and a biography of Rupert Murdoch. . . Wilcock also has impressive credentials as a columnist and editor. He was a cofounder in 1955 of the celebrated newspaper "The Village Voice," for which he wrote a regular column called "The Village Square." As an editor, WIlcock held the reins of "The Witches Almanac," "The East Village Other," and the "Lost Angeles Free Press." In 2010, Wilcock's book on Andy Warhol "The Autobiograph and Sex Life of Andy Warhol," was published to no small acclaim.

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Cancer is a Man-Made Disease, Controversial Study Claims

Rarity of cancer in Egyptian mummies suggests modern environmental factors.

Is the common nature of cancer worldwide purely a man-made phenomenon? That is what some researchers now suggest.

Still, other specialists in cancer and in human fossils have strong doubts about this notion.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for roughly one in eight of all deaths in 2004, according to the World Health Organization. However, scientists have only found one case of the disease in investigations of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, researcher Rosalie David at the University of Manchester in England said in a statement. (The researchers did not reply to repeated queries made via phone and e-mail.)

The rarity of cancer in mummies suggests it was scarce in antiquity, and "that cancer-causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization," researcher Michael Zimmerman at Villanova University in Pennsylvania said in a statement. "In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases."

Zimmerman was the first to diagnose cancer in an Egyptian mummy by analyzing its tissues on a microscopic level, identifying rectal cancer in an unnamed mummy who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Ptolemaic period 1,600 to 1,800 years ago.

David and Zimmerman also analyzed ancient literature from Egypt and Greece for hints of cancer, as well as medical studies of human and animal remains going back to the age of dinosaurs. They suggested evidence of cancer in animal fossils, non-human primates and early humans was scarce, with a few dozen uncertain examples. As they analyzed ancient literature, they did not find descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers until the 17th century, and the first reports in the scientific literature of distinctive tumors have only occurred in the past 200 years, such as scrotal cancer in chimney sweepers in 1775, nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761 and Hodgkin's disease in 1832.

One possible reason cancers might have been comparatively rare in antiquity is that the short life span of individuals back then precluded the development of the disease. Still, the researchers did note some people in ancient Egypt and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget's disease of bone, and osteoporosis.

David and Zimmerman therefore argue that cancer nowadays is largely caused by man-made environmental factors such as pollution and diet. They detailed their findings in the October issue of the journal Nature Reviews Cancer.

"In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death, but in ancient times, it was extremely rare," David said in a statement. "There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer."

Despite that statement, dinosaurs did develop cancer well before humans were on the scene. Also, others argue the short life spans of antiquity could be a profoundly effective reason as to why cancer might have been rare then.

"Cancer is very rare in modern societies in humans under age 30," oncologist Dr. John Glaspy at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center told LiveScience. "In ancient times, people rarely lived to be much older than that. So cancer was rare. The 'sin' of modern societies is having people live to be much older."

Another concern when examining the fossil record is that skeletal remains might not preserve cancers very well. "To see cancers with the skeletal record, you really have to have a tumor that's affecting bone," paleoanthropologist John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin at Madison said in a phone interview. "Although there might be few confirmed diagnoses of tumors in bones, it's because cancer is a difficult diagnosis to make from bone."

Hawks did note that modern lifestyles could certainly lead to much higher rates of cancer than in the past, but not necessarily due to pollution.

"When it comes to cancers such as breast cancer, we know the age that a woman first has children or not makes a lot of difference in whether they get breast cancer, and back then people had children early, which would have put them into a lower-risk category," Hawks said.

Source: MSNBC


Mind Control Victims Win Compensation

Hundreds of mentally ill patients who were subjected to barbaric CIA-funded brainwashing experiments by a Scottish doctor could be entitled to compensation following a landmark court ruling.

Doctor Ewan Cameron, who became one of the world’s leading psychiatrists, developed techniques used by Nazi scientists to wipe out the existing personalities of people in his care.

Cameron, who graduated from Glasgow University, was recruited by the CIA during the cold war while working at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

He carried out mind-control experiments using drugs such as LSD on hundreds of patients, but only 77 of them were awarded compensation.

Now a landmark ruling by a Federal Court judge in Montreal will allow more than 250 former patients, whose claims were rejected, to seek compensation.

Gail Kastner, who underwent electroshock treatment at a Montreal psychiatric institute in 1953, and whose claim was rejected 10 years ago, successfully appealed the judgment.

Last week, Alan Stein, of Montreal law firm Stein and Stein, which represented Kastner, confirmed he was in the process of contacting former clients who could now renew their appeal.

“There are about 200 people still due compensation,” he said. “This judgment should send out strong signals to the Canadian government. Those who have previously missed out should have a strong case for appealing.”

Using techniques similar to those portrayed in the celebrated novel the Manchurian Candidate, it was believed that people could be brainwashed and reprogrammed to carry out specific acts.

Cameron developed a range of depatterning “treatments” while director of the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University.

Patients were woken from drug-induced stupors two or three times a day for multiple electric shocks. In a specially designed “sleep room” made famous by Anne Collins’s book of the same name, Cameron placed a speaker under the patient’s pillow and relayed negative messages for 16 hours a day.

Kastner was a 19-year-old honours student suffering from mild depression when she first underwent “treatment” in 1953. On returning home she sucked her thumb, demanded to be fed from a bottle, talked in a baby voice and urinated on the floor.

She was ostracised by her affluent family, who were unable to cope with her changed state, and her marriage in 1955 quickly broke down due to her difficulties.

Cameron, who was born in Bridge of Allan in 1901, rose to become the first president of the World Psychiatric Association.

It took two decades and the persistence of Joseph Rauh, the distinguished American civil liberties lawyer, to uncover what happened and secure compensation for some of Cameron’s victims.

Source: The Sunday Times


Relics: Perplexing Objects of the Past
By Scott Corrales

Few people outside of South America have ever heard of this most mysterious and controversial emblem of power, which according to some sources, may be the ultimate source of mysteries.

Tradition holds that the Baton of Command (a direct translation of its Spanish name, Bastón de Mando, which in turn translates as Simihuinqui -- the name given to it by the South American tribesmen) was crafted some eight thousand years ago by Multán (also known as Voltán), a mighty chieftain of the Comechingones tribe, from a piece of black basalt. The occult powers of this ancient artifact were legendary among the tribes of the modern Argentinean Chaco and the Bolivian lowlands, and in the 1830's, an Araucanian warlord named Calfucurá--well steeped in his people's traditions--led a massive search for the object in the mountain ranges of Tandil, Balrcarce, San Luis and Córdoba which did not turn up the Baton of Command.

It is at this point that we must delve into the other esoteric tradition linked to this black basalt wand: students of the occult believe that aside from its neolithic age, the Baton of Command is tied in to the European tradition of the Holy Grail, which has been handed down to us through Arthurian legend and Wagnerian opera and is far removed from fiction.

These esoterics, like the late Argentinean scholar Guillermo Terrera, believe that the 12th century chansons de geste of Chretien de Troyes and Wolfram Von Eschenbach make allusions to the Baton of Command and to the existence of South America--a landmass whose existence Medieval man could not have suspected.

While these allegations would quite rightly be dismissed as crankery in the hallowed halls of academe, Terrera and his followers nevertheless make an intriguing case for their beliefs. According to these esoteric revisionists, mythological sources in Central and Eastern Asia make reference to a mysterious character entrusted with the custody of two sacred items: one of them the so-called Holy Grail o Sangraal, and the other being "the Stone of Wisdom", which they identify as the Baton of Command.

The enigmatic custodian of these items would have begun his career thousands of years ago, and is only known as the "Man from Persia" -- the Parsifal of Eschenbach's songs, and the Sir Perceval of the Arthurian Cycle. According to the German minstrel's epic, the enigmatic Parsifal travelled to the land of Argentum ("...the secret gates of a silent land named Argentum and will always be...") to lay the objects under his care in the sacred hill known as Vlarava. Extrapolating from the epic poem, these esotericists have identified Argentum with Argentina and the sacred mount Vlarava with Mount Uritorco in the country's northern reaches.

Putting aside their reliance on late Medieval epic for a moment, Terrera and his colleagues further noted that the knighthood of the Grail mentioned in the songs is none other than that of the Knights Templar, about whom much has already been written. Their belief is borne out by the fact that the Templars seemed obsessed with recovering a holy relic which was variously known as the "Stone of Wisdom" or the "Talking Stone" -- could this have been the Baton of Command?

In 1934, a mystic named Orfelio Ulises, who had just returned to Argentina after having spent eight years in Tibet as an adept of lamaism, came across upon the mysterious Baton of Command, allegedly "guided" by the mental powers of his Tibetan masters, and dug the object out of the slopes of Mount Uritorco in Capilla del Monte. While all of this smacks of Madame Blavatsky in all her glory, other more credible events would also come to pass.

Much like Spielberg's Indiana Jones, Ulises would come to realize that other parties were interested in his discovery: The Nazi Ahnenerbe ("Ancestral Heritage Society"), founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1935 with the aim of supporting the theories put forth by the notorious Thule Society, had already secured paranormal objects like the Spear of Longinus--also known as the Spear of Destiny--in 1938, and a year earlier had started to send out worldwide expeditions in search of Noah's Ark, Atlantis, and bizarre medicines used by South American natives. It was only a matter of time before these twisted forces had fixed their predatory gaze on the Baton of Command. To their aid came then-colonel Juan Domingo Perón--Argentina's future dictator. Perón spent the late 1930's as a military observer in Italy and Germany and was also fascinated by the occult.

Orfelio Ulises and a number of "hermetic scholars" managed to conceal the periapt from the Nazis and keep in Argentina, where it remained under Ulises' care until his death, and then passed on to Professor Guillermo Terrera in 1948. It is currently in the custody of Dr. Fernando Fluguerto Martí and his Delphos Group.

Also in 1948, Baron Georg Von Hauenschild, an archaeologist and Grail scholar, prepared an exhaustive report on the Baton of Command for the Institute of Archaeology, Linguistics and Folklore of the University of Cordoba, showing that the object's estimated age was indeed 8000 years and of clearly neolithic manufacture. Great care was taken by prehistoric craftsmen in polishing the object, rounding off its base and tapering its head into a soft conical shape. The volcanic basalt that it is made of gives it a metallic look, and when struck, the Baton of Command makes a ringing sound. Subsequent electromagnetic and spectroscopic analyses proved that the Baton emits an electromagnetic field; students of the occult have construed this to mean that a properly trained adept, under the right conditions, might be able to establish a paraphysical link to other realities or unlock the wand's secrets.

This is where the Baton of Command's powers apparently lie: it was designed, according to Professor Terrera, as a means of regenerating humanity and patiently awaits the right person to come and make use of it. As of this writing, that person has apparently not come.

Author Luis Alberto Vence makes the following curious note. According to historical sources and the beliefs of contemporary smiths and armorers, the mythical blade Excalibur would have measured approximately 1.10 meters -- the exact length of the Simihuinqui or Baton of Command.

Metaphysical claptrap or occult truth? You be the judge. In his book El Valle de los Espíritus (Buenos Aires, Kier, 1989) Terrera sums up the situation thus: "We must bear in mind that all that science has discovered up until yesterday as an absolute truth could be corrected either today or tomorrow, since all human knowledge is subject to change, as part of the dynamic process that accompanies it."

Rings of Power and Other Finery

In 1997, moviegoers were treated to John Cameron's Titanic and its subplot concerning an intriguing blue diamond. Jewels such as the one shown in the film have often been ascribed remarkable talismanic powers, and in other cases, qualities that make them lethal to the user, much like the One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien's saga.

Not many of these items have survived down to our time, but we know that Alexander the Great was particularly fond of an unusual opal which kept him from being wounded in battle. Upon embarking on his conquest of the Persian Empire, the Macedonian king (whose own armor would become talismanic over the centuries, as mentioned earlier) made a quick stop at the ruins of Troy to secure a sacred shield, which had belonged to one of the heroes of Homeric legend, in an effort to bolster his invulnerability an extra notch. But neither the exotic opal nor the ancient shield were much help when an arrow pierced Alexander's lungs while storming the walls of a city in the Punjab.

Rings occupy a privileged position among all articles of jewelry: Apollonius of Tyana received a ring of amber from one of the initiates in the fabled city of Iarchas somewhere in Central Asia (or another dimension?). The amber stone allegedly kept its wearer from harm and enabled him or her to have foreknowledge of any dangers ahead--a faculty that the legendary Apollonius employed more than once. Charlemagne possessed an unusual ring whose stone was supposed to preserve all of a warlord's conquests. Naturally, this amulet quickly taken by the Frankish monarch's son Lewis and in turn squabbled over by Charlemagne's nephews, who divided up their grandfather's empire.

But the powers ascribed to these adornments mainly reflect the wishes of the human wearer rather than any true supernatural powers. However, what are we to make of the ring worn by Charles XII of Sweden? This Scandinavian monarch ruled an empire built around the Baltic Sea and was one of Russia's most implacable foes. Author Brad Steiger notes in his book Atlantis Rising (Dell, 1976) that the Swedish king's rise to power had apparently been aided an abetted by his dealings with a "little grey man" who had given him a ring that would vanish on the day of Charles' death. The monarch appears to have gladly accepted this gift and embarked on his military career. In the heat of battle, shortly after one of his officers noted that the ring had vanished from his fingers, the monarch received a mortal wound.

Emeralds held a particular fascination for the infamous Emperor Nero, according to the historian Pliny, who wrote that the lyre-strumming despot owned a flat, nameless specimen imbued with supernatural powers, which he even used as a magnifying glass. While antiquity was fascinated by colored stones like sapphires and rubies, diamonds acquired importance in more recent centuries--some of them having names and histories as bizarre as any fictional object, and the Hope, Star of India and Kolhinoor diamonds have been featured on silver screen.

The Regent diamond is one of the more fascinating ones. A slave in an Indian mine found the precious stone sometime during the 1600's and escaped bondage, only to be slain by a sailor to whom he had shown the diamond. The sailor took the stone to France, where he died a suicide. The Regent changed hands from one French aristocrat to the next, bringing misfortune to all of them. Napoleon Bonaparte had the Regent embedded in the pommel of his sword, which he later surrendered upon being exiled to Elba in 1814.

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Thrice Great

God or human wizard? All books of esoteric lore speak reverently of Hermes Trismegistus or Hermes Thrice Great and his coveted "Emerald Tablet". Worshipped by the Greek residents of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, and identified with the ancient deity Thoth, the scribe of the underworld, Hermes Trismegistus was believed to have been a human monarch who ruled for three thousand years and wrote an amazing thirty-five thousand books -- a useful way of filling up three millennia. Yet only fragments of this mythic figure's writings have been handed down from hoary antiquity, ironically through the works of Christian authors.

Although some modern scholars agree that Hermes Thrice Great was in fact the title given to the proto-chemist in charge of refining gold--a seemingly "magical" process to the ancients--medieval alchemists and thinkers considered Trismegistus to have handed down secrets preserved by the aptly-named "hermetic" schools of knowledge.

The most significant of these works was a document referred to as the Emerald Tablet, which was supposedly buried along with Trismegistus's mummy under the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. The Tablet allegedly reveals the secrets of alchemy. Although the Hermes Thrice Great's mummy still waits patiently for archaeologists to find it (although the "Tomb of Osiris" discovered in 1998 does offer fascinating possibilities), part of the Emerald Tablet's metallurgical secrets can be found in the Leyden Papyrus--brought back to Europe in the 1820's by Johann d'Anastasi--which escaped the destruction of alchemical texts mandated by the Emperor Diocletian in 298 A.D..
Based on this historical assessment, one could hardly consider the Emerald Table a holy relic...unless the theories of Argentinean author Fabio Zerpa are taken into consideration.

Zerpa, better known for his work in ufology, cites the Count de Gebélin's belief that the Emerald Tablet is merely another name for the legendary Book of Thoth -- a forbidden book some ten thousand years old which would have been the basis of Egyptian civilization and occultism, as well as the key to "mastering the secrets of the air, the sea, the earth and the heavenly bodies". In Primitive World, his treatise on Egypt, de Gebélin remarks that the Book of Thoth survived destruction because it was cleverly disguised as a game, as we shall see below.

An Egyptian priest, Nefer-Ka-Ptah, retrieved the book, which had been sealed in a series of nested sarcophagi and kept in the bottom of Nile. Upon studying it, the priest was able to learn the art of numerology, communication with entities living across space and time, clairvoyance, and the art of building "magic mirrors" which do not reflect the viewer's countenance, but rather other worlds inhabited by loathsome beings.

Nefer-Ka-Ptah died a suicide, according to the story, and the Book of Thoth was spirited out of Egypt. Its magical powers and hidden knowledge would spread around the world in the form of the Minor and Major Arcana of the Tarot, which first appeared around 1200 A.D. in Italy as carticellas ("little cards") and were banned in 1240 and 1329 by bishops across Europe as malign. In his book The Black Art (Paperback Library, 1968) Rollo Ahmed, notes that the High Priestess card represents the Egyptian goddess Isis--perhaps the most tangible link to its Egyptian origin.

So, if Zerpa is right, the Tarot deck in your drawer could harken back to mythological times, placing it among the oldest relics known to mankind.

Magic Mirrors and Scrying Stones

Mathematician, astrologer, alchemist, spy, close advisor to queens and emperors: these are the impressive credentials of Dr. John Dee, one of the 16th century's most influential personages. Although he is best remembered for his work in the esoteric arts, mainly the development of the Enochian language employed in magical rituals, it is possible to find endless references to Dee's importance as political and scientific figure without a single mention of the aspects which have made him a household name in occult circles.

John Dee's achievements in esoterica--alleged communication with an order of angelic beings--were achieved through the technique known as "scrying", looking into mirrors or similar reflective surfaces such as bowls filled with water, mercury or oil, in order to have clairvoyant experiences. Dr. Dee himself lacked this ability, and depended on his assistant Edward Kelley to do the viewing (a technique very similar to a modern-day Remote Viewer and his handler). The techniques involved in the process of speaking to otherworldly entities are contained in Dee's Libri Mysteriorum.

The reflective surfaces employed in the scrying were a globe of rock crystal--a precursor of the "crystal ball"--and a flat surface which Dee referred to as his "jet shewstone". These items are important relics of the paranormal tradition and survive to this very day, currently displayed in the British Museum.

Where Dr. Dee acquired his objects of power is a mystery. Nevertheless, there has been the suggestion--posited by paranormal researcher and playwright Eugenia Macer-Story--that the good doctor may have obtained them, by means of the activities of English "seadogs" raiding Spanish galleons, from the place they were most available at the time: Aztec Mexico, only recently conquered by Spain.The Aztec priesthood had fashioned a great many magic mirrors out of obsidian, and some of them are in museums, like the legendary black mirror of the evil deity Tezcatlipoca, on display in the Mexico City's Instituto Nacional de Antropología.

There exist other objects allegedly employed for the purpose of communication with other levels of existence. One of them leads us into a discussion of the ever-controversial Knights Templar, the monastic order of warriors whose activities had a major impact on Europe and the Mediterranean Basin during almost two centuries. The Templars are perhaps better known for their activities during the Crusades and the tragic end of their order at the hands of the kings of France, but a number of scholars have focussed on the occult aspects of their work. George Andrews cites French paranormalist Guy Tarade's research into a document dating back to the year 1310, which contains the "transcript" of the torture of knight Templar by Church authorities. The tormented warrior-monk speaks of time travel, fiery chariots, wells of darkness in the heavens and realms of existence around unknown stars. Logically, this can be dismissed as pain-induced delirium, but the transcript hints at these things being seen through a "chest made of an unknown metal" tentatively identified with the Ark of the Covenant.

Here we take another flying leap into speculation: aside from all the powers ascribed to it over the millennia, could the Ark have been a means of seeing into other places and times? Andrews suggests that the "well of darkness in the heavens" is an unspecialized description of the astronomical phenomenon our scientists term a Black Hole--something utterly unknown in the 14th century.

Mysterium Tremendum: The Ark of the Covenant

It is with some trepidation that any writer approaches the subject of the Ark, since theories about its nature branch out like the leaves of a tree into unsuspected directions, making a cursory examination nearly impossible. In the limited space available to us here, we shall try to examine some of the most provocative thoughts on this, the most spoken-of relic that is out of our hands.

Viewers of Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark already know the basics: the Ark was a transportable device given by Yahweh to the ancient Israelites as a means of communication and occasionally as a weapon. The holy object was stored in the Temple of Jerusalem where presumably only members of the priesthood had access to it, and was kept safe from capture during the various invasions of Palestine by foreign powers (Egyptians, Assyrians and Hellenic Syrians). Although the Emperor Titus successfully conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D., his triumphal arch in Rome, which shows Roman legionaries on parade with their captured booty from the temple (the Menorah, sacred trumpets and tables), does not include the Ark--a sculptor's oversight, perhaps? These objects remained in Rome until the city was sacked by the marauding Vandals in the 5th century and taken to their capital, Carthage. The Byzantine armies of Belisarius shipped the objects to Constantinople after the conquest of the Vandal kingdom, but the superstitious emperor Justinian, fearing that the captured "treasure of the Jews" would spell the ruin of Constantinople, had it objects sent to Jerusalem in 555 A.D.

Modern writers of occult history suggest that the Knights Templar discovered the Ark in the ruins of Solomon's temple and took custody of it, eventually shipping it back to Europe. A number of hiding places have been suggested for it:one of them is Rennes le Chateau in France, certain European forests and even remote Abyssinia. Some authors have raised the possibility that before reaching its ultimate resting place, the Ark may have been guarded in a very unusual location: the fortress known as Castel del Monte, located in the "heel" of the boot-shaped Italian peninsula.

Castel del Monte was built in 1240 A.D. at the command of the Frederick II, holder of an impressive number of titles, including Holy Roman Emperor and King of Jerusalem. A patron and ally of the Knights Templar, the emperor decreed that his strange, octagonal castle be built to precise measurements having magical significance and enclosing a main hall known, suggestively, as the Master's Chamber. The late Robert Charroux suggested that Castel del Monte was meant to be "a castle of Templar alchemists, governed by the figure 8, which when written horizontally, is the symbol of infinity and universal domination." (Charroux, Legacy of the Gods, NY: Berkeley, 1974).

Lacking all the typical inner structures of a castle, such as armories, refectories and living quarters, this octagonal fortress was not meant to repel invaders or serve as a garrison. In the light of all of its mystical associations, could we not speculate that this, in fact, was the special place built to receive the ultimate relic--the Ark of the Covenant? Under the protection of the powerful German emperor and the Knights Templar, it is hard to conceive of a safer location, or as Charroux points out, a more symbolic one, since Castel del Monte is located halfway from the greatest points of pilgrimage in the Mediterranean world: Santiago de Compostela in the west and Jerusalem in the east.


Objects of such mystical prowess often conferred legitimacy upon the wearer: the crown of Constantine hung in full view above the altar of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia church, from where it was taken many times by anyone inclined to make a bid for the Byzantine throne. The successful coup-de-etat was seen as a sign of divine favor and the crown returned to its proper place.

Humanity has certainly shown a flair for imbuing physical objects with unsuspected magical or supernatural powers, but can we casually dismiss their existence as flights of fancy? Certainly some of them existed, and some of them have astonishing stories to tell.

Source: Inexplicata-Scott Corrales


Murderous Mists of Lost and Folklore

For six seasons, the American television show Lost captivated an audience of millions across the globe. Its uplifting, albeit anti-climatic, ending left some aficion­ados scratching their heads over the abundance of puzzles bereft of answers. One of the show’s biggest mysteries concerned the existence of the dreaded Smoke Monster, the clanking, slinking, tubular terror that periodically squirmed from its dank lair somewhere on the island. Where did it come from? What was its purpose? Well, its mystery presumably now remains locked in the vaults of television lore.

Strangely, similar murderous mists have peppered worldwide folklore, suggest­ing that the fictional Smoke Monster of Lost’s fantasy island may have its roots in a darker reality.

The 1825 edition of The Terrific Register Or, Record Of Crimes, Judgments, Providence, And Calamities contains “An Account Of An Uncommon Tempest”:

Mr Brydone, a late ingenious traveller, says in his account of Malta, that on the 29th of October, in the year 1757, about three quarters of an hour after midnight, there appeared to the south-west of the city [Valletta, presumably] a great black cloud, which as it approached changed its colour until at last it became like a flame of fire mixed with black smoke. A dreadful noise was heard on its approach, which alarmed the whole city. It passed over the port, and came first to an English ship, which in an instant was torn to pieces, and nothing left but the hulk; part of the masts, sails, and cordage, were carried along with the cloud at a considerable distance. The small boats that were in its way were torn to pieces, or sunk; the noise increased, and became more frightful. A sentinel, terrified at its approach, took shelter in his box; both he and it were lifted up, carried into the sea, where he perished; it traversed a considerable part of the city, and laid in ruins almost every thing in its course. Several houses were thrown down, nor was there any steeple left standing in its passage; the bells, with the spires of some, were carried a considerable distance; the roofs of the houses were demolished and beat down, which, if it happened in the day-time, must have caused a dreadful slaughter, as the people would have all run to the churches. It went off at the north-east point of the city, and, demolishing the light-house, it is said to have mounted up into the air with a most frightful noise, and passed over the sea to Sicily, where it tore up some trees, and did other damage; but its force had been spent in Malta. The number killed and wounded was near 200; and the loss of shipping, houses, and churches was very considerable.

However the learned may differ in opinions concerning this singular phen­omenon, the sentiments of the people are concise and positive; they declare with one voice that it was a legion of devils let loose to punish them for their sins. There are a thousand persons in Malta, who will make oath that they saw them within the cloud, all as black as pitch and breathing out fire and brimstone. They add that if there had not been a few godly persons amongst them the whole city would certainly have been involved in universal destruction.

Terrifying indeed, but possibly a misinterpretation of a genuine freak of nature. But what about some of the other accounts of equally devilish smoke monsters?

In the summer of 1945, Lieutenant Ernest G Bentley and his American comrade Sergeant Utz were walking through the mountain range close to Wha Chee, a village in western China. In surrounding ranges villagers had been busy felling trees, but this particular location was abundant with foliage, making it look particularly odd, runn­ing adjacent to so many barren areas. Wondering why the locals appeared not to frequent the area, the soldiers were suddenly met by a group of children who, through terrified wails, attempted to discourage Bentley and Utz from their journey. Confused by the actions of the children, the soldiers were even more shocked when an elderly woman hurried by, eager to collect wood from the summit. However, her journey was cut short, for within seconds she came scrambling out between a crack in the rocks, followed by a smoky, transluc­ent, and tubular column. The woman screamed in horror as the misty shape appeared to engulf her.

Terrifying pillars of sinister smoke have been observed closer to home too. In Edinburgh on 23 November 1904, one Godfrey Anderson, while taking an evening stroll, became unnerved by a black, smoky form which rose from a nearby drain. Four feet long and two feet high, this caterpillar-shaped entity oozed towards a stationary horse and in one vaporous swoop engulfed the poor animal. The horse reared up, revealing its ripped throat, and suddenly the smoke monster vanished into thin air.

In Runcorn, Cheshire, in 1953, the festive season was disturbed by a tall, black apparition which killed 53 pigs at a farm owned by Harold Crowther. The Sunday Graphic of 27 December reported that the 15th-century farmhouse had been plagued by unusual events since 10 August, when a ghostly figure, resembling the deceased father of Mr Crowther’s wife, appeared; but it was clear that the monster which killed the pigs was an altogether more malevolent spectre.

Mr Crowther reported that: “Two days after the loss of the last pig, I saw a large black cloud about seven feet in height, shapeless except for two prongs sticking out at the back moving about in the yard. The shapeless mass approached me, stopping about four or five feet away. Then it turned in the direction of the pigsties, passed into an outhouse and disappeared.”

This conjunction of dark, smoky or cloudy forms with vampiric characteristics recurs elsewhere; some accounts of the Highgate ‘vampire’ mentioned the appearance of a hulking, black mass said to drain the energy from its victims. A similar figure lurks in Argent­inean folklore, where it is known as El Petizo. Reputed to have fallen upon a number of travellers in the area, this tall, black apparition most recently attacked a young boy in 2002 as he was cycling nine miles southeast of Rosario de la Frontera. As Scott Corales reported: “The young man managed to unholster his shotgun and fire two shots, but when he saw that this had no effect, promptly drew his knife and stabbed it without causing any apparent harm. Frightened, the youth tried to escape, only to find that ‘El Petizo’ knocked him down again without saying a word, dragging him by the hair to the side of the road. The young man stated that at that point he began screaming at the top of his voice and that this is what saved him: his cries were heard by a local man who rushed to provide assistance… The fearful shape disappeared without a trace when it became aware of the other man’s presence.”

In 1935, a similar vampire-like spectre was reported to be haunting a village near Gnjilane, southern Serbia. The monster was immune to gunfire and prowled a rural area where it spooked the cattle. It was said to have been cornered by several bold peasants one afternoon, but as they fired at the thing it vanished through a door, filling the air with three loud knocks.

The Evening Hour of 15 January 1896 carries a strange story of a ‘burning beast’, somewhere between a clanking smoke monster and a more traditional dragon: “COW, MONSTER, OR GHOST? – Reappearance of the Fearsome Thing that Pirate Hicks Discovered Fifty years Ago”

Neil Hopkins, of Glocester, Rhode Island, was returning from his work on Dandelion Hill, near Putnam, a few nights ago, when, at the darkest spot in the road, a strange beast gave him chase. He cannot exactly tell what it was, as he caught only a glance of it as he ran. Hopkins is certain that the creature was some supernatural beast that lives in Glocester forest.

“It seemed to be all a-fire; it had a hot breath”, Hopkins told his neighbours.

“There was a metallic sound, like the clanking of steel against steel. The beast didn’t seem to be strong in the wind, for it chased me only a short distance, and then plunged off into the woods. I could hear the dead branches and twigs crackling under the heavy tramp.”

Hopkins says it was as big as an elephant, and that he is certain it had no tail. Opinion is divided as to what it was that scared Hopkins. Some think that it was only the escaped circus bear that held up several farmers and scared their horses…

Others think that it was the famous Glocester monster, the “burning beast” that Hopkins saw. The “burning beast” has been seen only once before. That was 57 years ago last summer, when it appeared to four Glocesterites, John Jepp, Ben Cobb, Ben Saunders and Albert Hicks, the pirate, who was afterward hanged on Liberty Island in New York Bay. Hicks was a native of Glocester. He and his companions were digging up the Page farm one night trying to find Capt. Kidd’s supposed buried gold, when the monster frightened them away. They dropped picks and shovels and ran for life. Some Spanish doubloons had been previously found on the Page farm, but the gold diggers never cared to searched [sic] further after their awful experience.

Hicks used to describe the beast thus – “It was a large animal, with staring eyes as big as pewter bowls. The eyes looked like balls of fire. When it breathed as it went by, flames came out of its mouth and nostrils, scorching the brush in its path. It was as a big as a cow with dark wings on each side like a bat’s. It had spiral horns like a ram’s, as big around as a stovepipe. Its feet were formed like a duck’s and measured a foot and a half across. The body was covered with scales as big as clam shells, which made a rattl­ing noise as the beast moved along. The scales flopped up and down. The thing had lights on its sides like those shining through a tin lantern. Before I saw it, I felt its presence and I smelled something that was like burnt wool as it went by. I had a feeling of suffocation when it came near me. The monster seemed to come from nowhere and to go away in the same manner.”

There are many people in Glocester who believe that the beast still haunts the forest not far from the Providence turnpike, and that it was it that gave Hopkins his fright.

Within the realm of high strangeness, all kinds of phenomena have been connected with columns or shrouds of smoke. UFOs, ghosts, phantom hounds and manimals have all been reported as transforming into smoke, or emerging from it. Are these disparate phenomena possibly connected? Might they all originate from the same dark, unknown cavern which spawned Lost’s unholy smoke?

Source: Fortean Times


Scientists Find Evidence for Psychic Phenomena

Ever think you could predict the future? The good news is, you're not crazy. The better news is—there's now scientific evidence that backs you up.

For most of us, the idea of psychic phenomena is just too science-fictiony. But it's true, according to Dr. Daryl Bem, a social psychologist who conducted nine different experiments on the phenomena.

Have you've ever taken a psychic test with Zener cards (the ones with the plus sign and the wavy lines)? If you have, you'll have averaged one correct answer, or "hit," out of every five cards. Psychology Today says the Zener test and others like it are flawed, because "such studies often fail to meet the threshold of 'scientific investigation.'"

    However, Bem's studies are unique in that they represent standard scientific methods and rely on well-established principles in psychology. Essentially, he took effects that are considered valid and reliable in psychology—studying improves memory, priming facilitates response times—and simply reversed their chronological order.

In a test that we wouldn't have believed had it not been documented, 100 Cornell students were shown 48 common nouns and given three seconds to observe and visualize each word. Then they were asked to type out as many words as they could remember. After that, a computer re-displayed half of those words, which the students then retyped.

You don't have to be psychic to know where we're going with this: It turns out that the students more likely recalled the words that they were later asked to retype.

In his original paper, Dr. Bem wrote, "The results show that practicing a set of words after the recall test does, in fact, reach back in time to facilitate the recall of those words."

The reason for this phenomenon can be explained through science (or in this case, SCIENCE!), specifically physics:

    Einstein believed that the mere act of observing something here could affect something there, a phenomenon he called "spooky action at a distance."

    Similarly, modern quantum physics has demonstrated that light particles seem to know what lies ahead of them and will adjust their behavior accordingly, even though the future event hasn't occurred yet.

The study will be published in an upcoming volume of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. But if you can't wait to read it, the adventurous among you can download the non-edited draft of Bem's paper for yourselves.

We predict you'll be conducting your own psychic experiments with lottery numbers.

Source: Blastr


Oregon's Weird Green Tide Pool and Other Bizarre Mysteries

STONEFIELD BEACH, Oregon – When viewing the greenish tide pool at this remote spot along the central Oregon coast, local unidentifiable flying object (UFO) experts note it’s “a whole new color experience.” The tide pool in question fires the imagination because “rocks will float on it.” All this is not news, however, to a world that’s been hearing about UFO sightings almost daily. Thus, even this latest discovery seems to be “no big deal.”

A wealth of UFO evidence exists along Oregon coast

While more and more visitors to the central Oregon coast on a quest to see their own UFO sightings, it’s no wonder that some think it’s “getting old.”

In fact, UFO and aliens are considered to be a kin to “rock stars” here in this somewhat “strange” state that boasts numerous UFO organizations, clubs and followings that number in the tens of thousands.

This state is so “into” UFO’s and aliens that it’s no big deal when there’s a UFO sighting, “because that happens around here almost every day.”

“I mean, what’s up at Stonefield Beach is just sort of “ho-hum,” said one local.

“I’d say we’ve seen it all before. UFO sightings are interesting, but I’d say our attitude around -- when it comes to these alien visitors – is you’re most welcome and please don’t zap us,” joked the resident who lives down Highway 101 from Stonefield Beach.

At the same time, more serious UFO experts are wondering about Stonefield’s green goodish water that’s attracting a lot of attention from experts, to include marine biologists at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in nearby Newport, Oregon.

“No, it’s not some sort of algae or something from the Pacific. It’s strange, and I can’t explain it,” says Hugh Miller who’s a member of The Trails End Paranormal Society of Oregon.

“They’ve taken a lot of it,” adds Miller. “But what’s left is amazing.”

Still, even this green tide pool doesn’t get much of a rise from coastal residents who don’t want so much attention paid to this remote area where they live off the gird for whatever reasons.

“I guess it’s because there’s so much in the way of UFO sightings here in Oregon,” adds Miller whose Trails End Paranormal Society recently held something dubbed the “Rose City Paranormal Conference” in Portland, Oct. 14-16.

Due to the rash of recent UFO sightings in Oregon, China and other parts of the world, the conference was well attended, says Miller who’s been researching Oregon UFO’s for the past 45 years.

“We had a very interesting Eric Byler of Oregon UFO Research as our guest speaker. He more or less said ‘they’re with us, and don’t worry since all will be revealed soon.’ I’m not sure when or where since I’ve been at this for so long. But, being here today at Stonefield and testing this green water, makes me think he’s right.

We may know something soon about the alien’s intentions,” he added during an interview near the green tide pool at Stonefield beach.

When describing Stonefield Beach, locals want visitors to stay away

The Oregon coast has long been associated with UFO encounters due to such things as the geologic oddity of rock formations along the coast that some say are makers for UFO visits.

In fact, Stonefield is perhaps the most secluded and exclusive of the central Oregon coast parks.

There are formally declassified documents at a nearby Newport historic museum points to a period during World War II and then in the late 1950’s when “the U.S. government installed numerous secret look out facilities in the area around Cape Perpetua.”

What’s interesting to local UFO hunters is that one of these “stone” lookout bunkers still sits near the top of Cape Perpetua that looks right down on Stonefield Beach.

“It’s sort of prehistoric. There’s remains of whales, sea lions and the only place that I know of along the coast where you see dozens of wild rabbits that are huge in size,” says Kinney. “And, there’s these people who camp out and burn fires amongst the Stonefield rock formations that’s creepy.”

What’s also creepy, adds Kinney, “is the locals want you out of here, big time. They know this is a free beach and part of Oregon’s national recreation area, but don’t hang at Stonefield after hours.”

At Stonefield, there’s no such thing as popular beach spots, or shops or restaurants. “There’s just death on the beach and the place reeks to high heaven. It’s as if someone or something doesn’t want the locals or tourists to visit there,” says coastal resident Mackenzie Ryan.

Moreover, Ryan notes “these strange lights and an eerie glow that seems to light up everything around. You see the light on the drift wood that litters the Stonefield beach, and you see it in the sky over the mountains that sit right behind this beach spot. There’s no place like it.”

Along a grassy hill there sits -- in the sea of rocks – what can only be described as mounds of formed and hardened sand. “We can’t explain it. It’s these small mounds and the crazy glow on everything at Stonefield that spooks us at this time of the year.”

Oregon UFO groups are many with participation increasing

The joke around UFO circles in Oregon is there’s “more UFO hunters than aliens.” Or, “UFO’s are an equal opportunity phenomenon.”

One leading group is known as “MUFON,” for “Mutual UFO Network, Inc.” MUFON’s charter states that it will seek to “investigate the UFO phenomenon in a scientific manner as funds and expertise allow. To this end, MUFON strives to establish a presence in every state of the United States and even in every country of the world since the UFO phenomenon knows no boundaries.

MUFON members advise those who are frightened of having “first contact,” that “it’s perfectly safe.”

At the same time, MUFON guidance for “civilians” is a UFO sighting is not so much something “you see,” but “more of a feeling” along the lines of a “deeper psychic intuition.”

One Oregon MUFON expert notes that when he takes say “a couple hundred photos an hour” of UFO’s over Oregon communities that, perhaps, only about “two or three show a UFO clearly enough to say it’s alien.”

Source: Huliq

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