On June 11th 1963, Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, ignited a match, and set himself on fire. Đức burned to death in a matter of minutes. He was immortalized in a photograph taken by a reporter who was in Vietnam to cover the war. All those who saw this spectacle were taken by the fact that Duc did not make a sound while burning to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.
The origins of one of the America’s oldest unsolved mysteries can be traced to August 1587, when a group of about 115 English settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. Later that year, it was decided that John White, governor of the new colony, would sail back to England in order to gather a fresh load of supplies. But just as he arrived, a major naval war broke out between England and Spain, and Queen Elizabeth I called on every available ship to confront the mighty Spanish Armada. In August 1590, White finally returned to Roanoke, where he had left his wife and daughter, his infant granddaughter (Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas) and the other settlers three long years before. He found no trace of the colony or its inhabitants, and few clues to what might have happened, apart from a single word—“Croatan”—carved into a wooden post.
The “Dare Stones”
In 1937, a twenty-one-pound quartz stone was found in a swamp 60 miles west of Roanoke. On one side was a cross and the instruction “Ananias Dare & Virginia went hence Unto Heaven 1591.” On the other were carvings that, when deciphered by faculty at Emory University, were a message from Eleanor Dare to her father, John White, that the colony had fled inland after an Indian attack.
The story told by the stones matched some of the details of Strachey’s account, and a number of academics believed them. During the next three years, nearly forty more stones were found in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Together, they told a story of the colonists’ journey through the southeast, ending in the death of Eleanor Dare in 1599.
The timing of the discovery, exactly 350 years after the English settlement of Roanoke, made the “Virginia Dare Stones” a perfect story, and the media jumped on it. In 1941, though, an article in The Saturday Evening Post revealed the “discoverers” of the stones to have staged an elaborate hoax. The stones were quickly forgotten by most people, although there are others that state that the article in the Post was biased for “tourist” reasons. There are many scholars that still believe the first stone found to be authentic. But the other forty stones, conveniently “found” after the fact, are definitely suspect and most likely a hoax.
The Lead Masks Case refers to the discovery of the bodies of two electronic technicians in Brazil in 1966. The bodies were found in a field wearing impermeable coats and lead masks (usually used to protect against radiation – pictured above).
Even stranger was the discovery of a small notebook beside the bodies with signs and numbers, and a letter in which was written: “16:30 be at the agreed place. 18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for the mask sign”. A waitress who was the last to see them alive said that one of them looked very nervous and kept glancing at his watch. There were no obvious injuries on the bodies. Gracinda Barbosa Cortino de Souza and her children, who lived next to the hill where the men died, claimed that they had seen a UFO flying over the spot at the exact moment the detectives believed the two men must have died.
Deep in an arid desert region of Mexico lies a little known area that seemingly defies the physics of sound. Known as the Zone of Silence.
Locally as the Vertice de Trino, it is a place where radio waves barely permeate the air. Located between the states of Chihuaua, Coahuila and Durango and only 400 miles from the U.S. Border, something in the area makes it almost impossible to receive radio, television, cell phones or any other sound related transmissions. While the exact cause of this phenomenon has not been fully explained to date, there are many theories abounding that the area has been heavily influenced by past extra-terrestrial and other paranormal activities. Regardless of the cause, the Zone of Silence continues to be a fascinating study into the unknown.
The unique qualities of the region were first discovered when Mexican aviator Francisco Sarabia reported radio trouble while flying over the area in the 1930s. This phenomenon was then later confirmed in 1966 when an organic chemist could not contact fellow team workers on his hand-held radio while conducting a field study. However, full awareness of the unique sound anomalies within the zone did not arise until July 11, 1970. On that date, a faulty U.S. Air Force rocket launched from the White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico went suddenly off course and crashed into the remote desert region. Because the rocket was carrying two containers of radioactive elements, an Air Force recovery team was immediately dispatched to the area where it was once again confirmed that all types of radio signals failed to travel through the air. As a result, research headed by the Mexican government was established to study the unique plant, animal and mineral components of the area in an effort to determine the cause of the drop in signals.
The Zone of Silence is often compared to the Bermuda Triangle, the Egyptian Pyramids, the holy cities of Tibet, Cape Canaveral, all being located between parallels 26 and 28 (Hunt 1984). Soon came the story that just on the other side of the world, somewhere in Tibet or Nepal, there was an area with the same characteristics, so the area is regarded as a center where energy focused ground.
The most commonly held position among scientists for the sudden disappearance of radio waves is the high amounts of mineral deposits in the region. Very high levels of both magnetite and uranium are present, which could create enough electromagnetic pulses to interfere with radio signals. In addition, the region has also received an unusually high level of meteorite activity over thousands of years. This has given rise to speculations that there may be some unusual magnetic properties in the soil arising from the breakdown of meteorite fragments.
The high level of meteorite activity has generated many theories that the region is a vortex where an extraordinary amount of earth energy is concentrated, leading it to be a hot spot for paranormal activities. Numerous reports by local residents of UFO sightings and contact with extra-terrestrial beings have been documented on a regular basis since 1910. Some people have claimed to being witness to “large disks” landing on area hills, while many others describe a regular occurrence of mysterious lights and fireballs in the night skies. Backing the theory of spaceships landing in the area are reports of contacts with alien beings. In all cases, these beings have been described as strange looking blond people wearing long raincoats and ball caps. When asked by a rancher where they came from, their response was “from above”.
How the Zone of Silence disrupts radio signals and seems to attract extra-terrestrial activity has yet to be fully explained. But there is little question that the area contains many phenomenons that continue to defy logical explanations.
The Frederick Valentich Disappearance is an event that occurred on October 21, 1978, in which 20-year-old Frederick Valentich disappeared in unexplained circumstances while piloting a Cessna 182L light aircraft over the Bass Strait to King Island, Australia. Prior to his disappearance, Valentich reported via radio that he had encountered an unidentified craft which was moving at the same speed of his plane, and which hovered over him. No trace of Valentich or his aircraft was ever found.
Shortly before Valentich’s last reported contact, plumber Roy Manifold set up a time lapse camera and tripod on the shoreline in order to photograph the sun setting over the water. When his pictures were developed they appeared to show a fast moving object exiting the water. Manifold gave the time that the pictures were taken as being approximately 6:47 pm (18:47 hrs), or 20 minutes before Valentich reported having difficulties. Moments before a strange noise terminated Valentich’s communications, he said: “My intentions are – ah – to go to King Island – ah – Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.
Gregor MacGregor was a Scottish soldier, adventurer, and coloniser who, in 1820, claimed to be ’prince’ of Poyais, a fictional Central American country. He claimed the native chieftain had given him 12,500 mile² of fertile land with untapped resources and cooperative natives eager to please. He had created a civil service, army and democratic government. Now he needed settlers and investment. He sold land for 3 shillings and 3 pence per acre, a very generous price, and also raised a £200,000 loan on behalf of the Poyais government.
He published a guidebook entitled Sketch of the Mosquito Shore, including the Territory of Poyais, descriptive of the country, supposedly written by one Captain Thomas Strangeways. It described Poyais in glowing terms, concentrating on how much profit one could get from the country’s ample resources. The region was even free of tropical diseases.
In 1822 a ship called Honduras Packet set sail to Poyais with 70 settlers aboard. Its cargo included a chest full of “Poyais Dollars”, fictional currency which many of the settlers had converted their pounds sterling to. Another ship later left for Poyais with 200 settlers.
What the settlers found was an untouched jungle; there was no settlement of any kind. They built rudimentary shelters, however, tensions began to build and tropical disease began to take its tole – one man who had spent his life savings on the trip committed suicide. A passing ship, upon hearing the settlers’ story, took them to British Honduras but 180 of the 270 settlers perished during the ordeal.
Officials in the UK were quickly notified (naval ships had to be sent out to tell five other ships that had set out for Poyais to turn back) and the whole story was published in the newspapers. McGregor, however, was already in France, trying to accumulate more investors. In fact, apparently undeterred by having caused the deaths of hundreds of people, McGregor continued the scheme until 1837. He was jailed for a week in 1826 but otherwise went unpunished. He died in 1845.
In 1983, a team of deeply pious scientists conducted a radical experiment in an undisclosed facility. The scientists had theorized that a human without access to any senses or ways to perceive stimuli would be able to perceive the presence of God. They believed that the five senses clouded our awareness of eternity, and without them, a human could actually establish contact with God by thought. An elderly man who claimed to have “nothing left to live for” was the only test subject to volunteer. To purge him of all his senses, the scientists performed a complex operation in which every sensory nerve connection to the brain was surgically severed. Although the test subject retained full muscular function, he could not see, hear, taste, smell, or feel. With no possible way to communicate with or even sense the outside world, he was alone with his thoughts.
Scientists monitored him as he spoke aloud about his state of mind in jumbled, slurred sentences that he couldn’t even hear. After four days, the man claimed to be hearing hushed, unintelligible voices in his head. Assuming it was an onset of psychosis, the scientists paid little attention to the man’s concerns.
Two days later, the man cried that he could hear his dead wife speaking with him, and even more, he could communicate back. The scientists were intrigued, but were not convinced until the subject started naming dead relatives of the scientists. He repeated personal information to the scientists that only their dead spouses and parents would have known. At this point, a sizable portion of scientists left the study.
After a week of conversing with the deceased through his thoughts, the subject became distressed, saying the voices were overwhelming. In every waking moment, his consciousness was bombarded by hundreds of voices that refused to leave him alone. He frequently threw himself against the wall, trying to elicit a pain response. He begged the scientists for sedatives, so he could escape the voices by sleeping. This tactic worked for three days, until he started having severe night terrors. The subject repeatedly said that he could see and hear the deceased in his dreams.
Only a day later, the subject began to scream and claw at his non-functional eyes, hoping to sense something in the physical world. The hysterical subject now said the voices of the dead were deafening and hostile, speaking of hell and the end of the world. At one point, he yelled “No heaven, no forgiveness” for five hours straight. He continually begged to be killed, but the scientists were convinced that he was close to establishing contact with God.
After another day, the subject could no longer form coherent sentences. Seemingly mad, he started to bite off chunks of flesh from his arm. The scientists rushed into the test chamber and restrained him to a table so he could not kill himself. After a few hours of being tied down, the subject halted his struggling and screaming. He stared blankly at the ceiling as teardrops silently streaked across his face. For two weeks, the subject had to be manually rehydrated due to the constant crying. Eventually, he turned his head and, despite his blindness, made focused eye contact with a scientist for the first time in the study. He whispered “I have spoken with God, and he has abandoned us” and his vital signs stopped. There was no apparent cause of death.
In 1999, a professor at Bashkir State University in Russia named Alexander Chuvyrov made a remarkable archeological discovery. He was called to the house of Vladimir Krainov, who reported a strange slab buried in his backyard. Chuvyrov was instantly intrigued, as he had been searching for similar slabs that have been cited in various historical manuscripts. The slab was so heavy that it took over a week to unearth. The discovery was named the Dashka stone and later titled the Map of the Creator. The artifact is approximately 5 feet high, 3.5 feet wide, .5 feet thick, and weighs at least one ton. The stone was investigated and determined to be some sort of three-dimensional relief map of the Ural Region. Today the military uses similar maps to measure elevation and terrain. The Dashka stone reportedly contains representations of civil engineering work, weirs, an irrigation system, and powerful dams. To date, the ancient technology used to make the map is unknown and extremely advanced.
The map also contains numerous inscriptions. At first, the scientists thought that it was an Old Chinese language, although it was later reported that the inscriptions were done in a hieroglyphic-syllabic language of unknown origin. A group of Russian and Chinese specialists in the fields of cartography, physics, mathematics, geology, chemistry, and Old Chinese language researched the artifact and were the ones that identified it as a map of Ural region, with rivers Belya, Ufimka, and Sutolka listed.
Dating of the slab was reported to be over 100 million years old, but no reliable resources citing evidence of what type of test were used or the exact results could be found. If the Map of the Creator is genuine then it would suggest the existence of an ancient highly developed civilization. Researchers have claimed that a three-dimensional map of this order could have only been used for navigational purposes. Many websites claim that the slab is proof of ancient flight. Recent discoveries indicate that the slab is a piece of a larger artifact.
The Dashka stone continues to undergo scientific testing and is not available for public viewing.