The Dybbuk Box

The Dybbuk Box is the commonly used name of a wine cabinet which is said to be haunted by a dybbuk, a spirit from Jewish folklore. The legend of the box originated in a story written as an eBay auction listing by Kevin Mannis. Mannis purportedly bought the Box at an estate sale in 2001. It had belonged to a Polish Holocaust survivor named Havela, who had escaped to Spain and purchased it there before emigrating to the United States. Havela’s granddaughter told Mannis that the Box had been kept in her grandmother’s sewing room and was never opened because a dybbuk was said to live inside it. He offered to give the box back to her, but she became upset and refused to take it.

On opening the box, Mannis found that it contained two 1920s pennies, a lock of blonde hair bound with cord, a lock of black/brown hair bound with cord, a small statue engraved with the Hebrew word “Shalom”, a small, golden wine goblet, one dried rose bud, and a single candle holder with four octopus-shaped legs.

Numerous owners of the box have reported that strange phenomena accompany it. His mother is supposed to have suffered a stroke on the same day he gave her the box as a birthday present. Every owner of the Box has reported that smells of cat urine or jasmine flowers and nightmares involving an old hag accompany the Box. Iosif Neitzke, a Minnesota college student and the last person to auction the box on eBay, claimed that the box caused lights to burn out in his house and his hair to fall out. Neitzke sold it to Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. Haxton, who wrote The Dibbuk Box, and claimed that he subsequently developed strange health problems, including hives, coughing up blood, and “head-to-toe welts.”

Source.

Via: NowYourAfraidOfTheDark

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Twin Serpents

“The Jormungand (Midgard) and Julunggul (Rainbow) serpents sit between two worlds; the old world that needed and revered them and the present which has shunned such monsters as fears metamorphosed into mythical form. Dark and with the power of fire, the serpent Jormungand winds it way through the landscape of Earth. Bright and with the light of the earth, the Julunggul serpent slithers to meet with her dark twin.

They both have a function within mythology. The earth was shaped by Julunggul, who later swallowed it and all it contains in a fit of anger; then regurgitated it to restore the earth as it is full of music, art and life. The serpents together bring forth all that is good in this world of music and art.” — jonsarriugarte

Via: UniqueDaily

The Legendary Tales of Atlantis

 More than 2,500 years ago, a legend first began to spread about a society of the past that enjoyed an abundance of natural resources, great military power, splendid building and engineering feats, and intellectual achievements far advanced over those of other lands. Called Atlantis, it was described as a continent-sized area with rich soil, plentiful pure water, abundant vegetation and animals, natural hot springs for health and vigor, and such mineral wealth that gold was inlaid in buildings and was among the precious metals and stones worn as jewelry. Slaves performed manual labor, allowing a large elite to pursue knowledge, enjoy sporting events, and continually improve upon an already thriving society.

In the ensuing centuries, no conclusive evidence of Atlantis has been found, but its attributes have expanded to include additional engineering and technological feats that enhance its legendary status in the popular imagination. In 1882, Ignatius Donnelly published Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, arguing that all civilization is an inheritance from Atlantis. Listing numerous parallels between ancient cultures spaced far away from each other, Donnelly argued that their commonness resulted from contact with Atlanteans.

Similarities do indeed exist among various ancient cultures, as do significant differences. Flood myths and sun worship, for example, might be based on a shared teaching, or they might be separate reactions to beneficent and destructive elements of nature. Pyramids were built in Egypt and the Americas, but they are also significantly different in their structures. The walls of pyramids in the Americas did not converge to form a true point, as they did in Egypt; rather, the walls reached a certain level upon which a platform was built and often a temple erected. If Atlantis did indeed fall somewhere between 8500 and 9500 B.C.E., what accounts for the long time lag until the pyramids were erected in Egypt (generally dated around 2500 B.C.E.) and North America (generally dated after 200 C.E.)?

Since the 1800s, Atlanteans have been credited for having had the technology to generate electricity, build flying machines, and harness nuclear power for energy and war-fare—all developed more than 9,000 years before such things came into being in modern society. Other claims have Atlanteans knowledgeable about a formidable death ray, secrets for levitation, and pure forms of energy through crystals. Many Atlantis enthusiasts firmly believe that the inhabitants of the lost continent had cosmic connections with extraterrestrials and may actually have been a colony established on Earth by alien explorers.

Since Atlantis was first described, claims have been made that certain members of the civilization escaped destruction during its catastrophic final days and managed to impart their knowledge to other peoples of the world, helping civilize primitive societies, passing on the secret of written language, and supervising construction of some of the world’s most mysterious structures of the ancient world. The pyramids of Egypt and the Americas, the Sphinx in Egypt, and the megaliths of western Europe are among the structures attributed to the genius of Atlanteans.

According to most accounts, Atlantis was suddenly destroyed by a cataclysm of earthquakes and floods and swallowed up by the sea. No definitive remnants have ever been found, and the exact location of the “lost continent” remains debatable. The idea of Atlantis was first expressed in the works of Plato (c. 428–348 or 347 B.C.E.), the Greek philosopher, who stressed that a perfect world exists in ideas. For example, a shoe, according to Plato, exists as an idea before a craftsperson makes the material object identified as a shoe. The material world, then, is a reflection of ideas, never quite reaching the perfection of ideas, but which serve as models for which the adepts might strive.

While Plato used the model of Atlantis to represent a world of perfect order in contrast to all that was imperfect in the world around him, he labeled the story of Atlantis “literally true”—a significant declaration. For Plato was suspicious of fiction and art. If ideas are the primary reality, and the material world is a reflection of ideas, then art, as a reflection of the material world, is twice removed from reality, according to Plato. His claim that the Atlantis story is literally true helps sustain the continuing legend of Atlantis. It remains a legend, or an Idea, however, until some material proof shows that Atlantis existed in the material world. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.), another of the great Greek philosophers, viewed the Atlantis legend as fiction.

 Plato’s writings comprise several letters and 25 dialogues. His views and those of his mentor, Socrates (c. 470–399 B.C.E.), were presented as dramatic conversations exploring such topics as truth, the origin of the world and its composition, the purpose of humankind, and what an individual should choose as an aim of life. Atlantis is discussed in two of Plato’s dialogues, Timaeus and Critias. Timaeus provides a description of the island continent and how Atlanteans conquered all the known world except for the Athenians (Plato was an Athenian). Critias, named after the primary speaker in the dialogue, Plato’s great-grandfather, presents a history of Atlantean civilization and describes the ideal society that flourished there. Critias notes that the stories were originally passed on by an ancestor, Solon (638–558 B.C.E.), a politician and poet who traveled widely. Critias and Solon were both ancestors of Plato.

Solon, as the story goes, was informed by Egyptian priests in the city of Sais, located in the Nile delta, that there was once a land even older in history than Egypt, which the Greeks acknowledged as being centuries older than their own society. The priests described a large island continent called Atlantis that prospered some 8,000 years earlier, which dates Atlantis before 8500 B.C.E. The continent was located beyond “the Pillars of Hercules,” the Greek term for the rocks that form the Straits of Gibraltar, the westernmost point of the Mediterranean Ocean. Beyond the straits is the Atlantic Ocean.

 There were several cities on the continent. The primary city, also called Atlantis, was located in the center of a series of concentric rings that alternated between rings of water and land. The water rings served as canals for trade and helped form a series of natural defenses that made an invasion of Atlantis extremely difficult.

The city of Atlantis, in the innermost circle, had palaces and temples where wise and powerful rulers lived. The ruling coalition descended from Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Poseidon and Clieto had five sets of twin sons, according to Greek mythology, each of which was given a region of Atlantis.

Atlas, the firstborn son, was given the largest province, which became the city of Atlantis, a name that derives from Atlas. The finest structure on the island, the Temple of Poseidon, honored the god and served as the home of the primary ruler.

Atlantis had a powerful army of professional soldiers, as did each of the other nine regions of the continent. The culture of Atlantis promoted learning, through which advances in engineering and science made the land bountiful, beautiful, and powerful. In addition to magnificent architectural structures, a network of bridges and tunnels linked the rings of land, and clever uses of natural resources provided security and abundance. Many groves provided solitude and beauty, racetracks were used for athletic competitions, and irrigation systems ensured great harvests.

 In Plato’s account, the people of Atlantis eventually became corrupt and greedy, putting selfish pursuits above the greater good. They began invading other lands with the idea of world domination. Angered by these developments, Poseidon set about destroying the civilization, battering the continent with earthquakes and floods until Atlantis was swallowed up by the ocean.

 That description of the destruction of Atlantis has been linked by some to other cataclysmic events—stories of a great deluge in the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and flood myths in other societies. Some contend that the end of the Ice Age between 12,000 and 10,000 B.C.E. likely resulted in rises of water levels in various parts of the world and that earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and climate changes, either incidental or associated with the Ice Age, occurred during the time identified with the destruction of Atlantis.

The location of Atlantis has been claimed on each of the seven continents, and in several spots in the world’s oceans and seas. Additionally, many of the ancient world’s wonders have been attributed to Atlanteans who, presumably, escaped the destruction of their homeland and spread their advanced engineering skills elsewhere.

The text of Plato’s dialogue suggests the Atlantic Ocean “beyond the pillars of Hercules” as the location of Atlantis. As late as the twentieth century, a belief persisted that a landbridge once existed in the ocean and ran between Europe and Africa and North and South America. Such a land-link concept helps explain similarities in flora and fauna existing on continents spread thousands of miles apart. The mid-Atlantic ridge, a series of undersea mountains, has been presented as a remnant of the land bridge, or as the remains of Atlantis.

Jacques Collina-Girard of the University of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence had been studying patterns of human migration from Europe into North Africa at the height of the last Ice Age, 19,000 years ago, when his reconstruction of the area revealed an ancient archipelago with an island at the spot where Plato wrote Atlantis existed. The island was named Spartel, and it lay in front of the Pillars of Hercules to the west of the Strait of Gibraltar at a time when the sea level was 130 meters lower than it is today. According to Collina-Girard, the slow rise of post-glacial sea levels would gradually have engulfed the island and the archipelago 9,000 years before Plato.

 While the concept of an island being swallowed by the sea in the area before the Pillars of Hercules seems a viable theory, there is as yet no evidence discovered to prove that a continent existed in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. The shallow waters around the northwest coast of Africa and extending to the Canary Islands is an area that may have been above the ocean at one time and has been suggested as a location for Atlantis, but no physical remains of human habitation have been located there.

Alan F. Alford, a leading authority on ancient mythology, spent five years investigating Plato’s account of Atlantis, In December 2001, announced his conclusion that the myth of the lost continent took place only in Plato’s mind. In Alford’s theory, the Greek philosopher invented Atlantis as a metaphor for the ancient version of the contemporary “Big Bang Theory.” Atlantis, as a symbol for a lost paradise, represented a kind of cataclysm of all cataclysms that brought about the beginning of all time.

The discouraging theories of the skeptical do little to diminish the enthusiasm of those who earnestly believe in the physical reality of Atlantis. The Atlantic Ocean location for the lost continent received renewed attention in the late 1960s, specifically the region near Bimini Island in the Bahamas, an island chain off the coast of the United States. Fueling the excitement over what appeared to be discoveries of actual roadways, walls, and buildings under the water was the fact that they were found in the exact location and at the same point in time as prophesied by Edgar Cayce (1877–1945), a psychic, whose “life readings” for clients revealed that many of their present-life psychological traumas were being caused by a terrible incident that the sufferer had experienced in a past life. Many of the presentlife traumas of his clients, according to Cayce, were due to the sufferings they had experienced as people who lived in Atlantis in a previous life.

 Cayce helped popularize a modernized view of Atlantis as a superior civilization that had developed planes, submarines, x-ray, anti-gravity devices, crystals that harness energy from the sun, and powerful explosives. He theorized that an explosion in 50,000 B.C.E. blew Atlantis up into five islands; another occurred in 28,000 B.C.E.; and the third, the one described by Plato, occurred around 10,000 B.C.E. Cayce claimed that he had been an Atlantean priest from around 10,500 B.C.E. who had foreseen the coming destruction and sent some of his followers to Egypt. Those followers directed the building of the Sphinx and the pyramids.

 In 1940, Cayce predicted that remnants of Atlantis would rise again near the Bahamas in the late 1960s. In 1967, two pilots photographed a rectangular structure in the ocean off the coast of Andros, the largest island of the Bahamas. Another configuration of stone, in the shape of a “J,” was found by divers off the island of Bimini. The J-shaped formation was believed to be a road of stone. Extensive diving expeditions became common in the area, and some divers claimed to have seen remnants of temples, pillars, and pyramids. However, none were documented by extensive excavations.

 The J-shaped structure became popularly known as the Bimini Road and was a cause of celebration among enthusiasts of Atlantis and Cayce. Geological tests, however, show that the J shape is actually a limestone beachrock. Fractures in the formation give it the appearance of a construction of blocks, but the entire formation shows the same grains and microstructure—a quality difficult to replicate in a series of blocks. Radiocarbon testing of shells in the stone show that the formation is relatively young—about two or three thousand years old, some 9,000 years younger than the alleged final destruction of Atlantis. Finally, the curve of the J parallels the beachline of the nearby island, showing it has been shaped by the same currents affecting the island.

The rectangular structure off the coast of Andros, on the other hand, was indeed manmade—it was a storage facility built in the 1930s where sponges could be deposited after they were collected in the surrounding ocean. Despite these explanations, enthusiasm over the Bahama site continues among believers.

Another theory suggests that Antarctica was once located in the mid-Atlantic and had a more temperate climate where a civilization once thrived. Antarctica, thus, has been claimed as the site of Atlantis and of a similar type of advanced civilization.

The question of where Atlantis was located still persists. Among the many possible sites for Atlantis on the seven continents or under the seas, two popular locations are based on areas that, like Atlantic Ocean regions “beyond the pillars of Hercules,” can be related to Plato’s time. One site is the island of Crete, where the thriving Minoan civilization fell into disarray around 1400 B.C.E. The other site is in present-day Turkey, known in ancient times as Anatolia, where associations with Atlas and his descendants were strong.

Little was known about Minoan culture before the discovery in 1900 of a great palace at Knossos on the island of Crete by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851–1941). He named the culture that created Knossos and thrived on Crete “Minoan civilization” after Minos, the legendary king of Crete. The palace at Knossos was probably damaged by an earthquake about 1700 B.C.E., a date that marked the end of one phase of the early history of Crete. Minoan civilization had regular contact and trade with ancient Egypt, which lies southeast, across the Mediterranean, from Crete. Crete, then, qualifies as a land far to the west (in those days) of Egypt where Atlantis was said to be by the Egyptian priests who spoke of the continent to Solon.

Archaeological excavations early in the twentieth century unearthed remarkable artifacts of Minoan civilization. Then, in 1939, Greek archaeologist Sypridon Marinatos (1901–1974) discovered pumice, volcanic ash, on Crete. Marinatos connected the ash to the tremendous eruption of a volcano on Thera, a nearby island. The eruption was reported in ancient histories. The explosion would have created havoc on Crete and perhaps a tidal wave that swept over the island. To illustrate that possibility, Marinatos likened the Thera explosion to the 1886 eruption of Mt. Krakatoa that could be heard a thousand miles away and created tidal waves that killed 36,000 people. The volcanic ash on Crete helped preserve excellent artifacts of Minoan civilization, including whole streets and houses as well as frescoes and pottery.

However, while Plato’s text cites earth-quakes and floods as having destroyed Atlantis, there is no mention of a volcano. The date of the Thera volcano, around 1500 B.C.E., does not match the period of the downfall of Atlantis, which Egyptian priests told Solon had occurred 8,000 to 9,000 years earlier. The 1500 B.C.E. date does coincide if the claim of 8,000 years is reduced to 800 years. That tactic was suggested by Greek geologist Angelo Gelanpoulous in 1969: he theorized that all dates and measurements related by Solon were exaggerated and were actually one-tenth as large as claimed. Gelanpoulous’ theory provided some neat correlations, but they work only in a few circumstances.

Another problem with identifying the fall of Atlantis with the destruction of Minoan civilization is an inexact correlation between the eruption of Thera and the demise of ancient Crete, where Minoan civilization continued on for another century after the volcanic eruption. In fact, during twentieth-century excavations, some volcanic ash was found beneath an elaborate palace, showing that construction soon continued after the eruption. Furthermore, there was no apparent disruption in trade between the Minoans and Egyptians. The volcanic eruption caused havoc on Crete, but it did not destroy Minoan civilization.

The kings of Knossos attained their greatest power about 1600 B.C.E., when they controlled the entire Agean area and traded extensively with Egypt. The subsequent destruction of Knossos and the collapse of Minoan culture coincided with the beginning of the most flourishing period of Mycenae civilization in Greece; this coincidence suggests that it may have been the warlike Mycenae who attacked and destroyed Minoan civilization.

Lydia, an ancient country of Asia Minor (now Turkey), was located in the valleys of the Hermus and Cayster rivers (now the Gediz and Büyükmenderes rivers). Known earlier by the name Maeonia, it had fertile soil, rich deposits of gold and silver, and a magnificent capital, Sardis. Lydia prospered as a powerful dynasty beginning about 685 B.C.E. During the sixth century B.C.E., Lydia attained its greatest splendor under the rule of King Croessus. The empire ended when the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great (c. 585–c. 529 B.C.E.) captured Sardis about 546 B.C.E. After the defeat of Persia by Alexander III (c. 356–323 B.C.E.), king of Macedonia, Lydia was brought under Greco-Macedonian control, and then in 133 B.C.E. it became part of the Roman province of Asia.

 Lydia was across the Agean Sea from Greece. A legendary king of Lydia was named Tantalis: his name sounds similar to Atlantis, and he shared many mythic attributes among Lydians that the god Atlas had among Greeks. Like Atlas, Tantalis was a leader of the Titans, the group of gods who were overthrown by Zeus. In Greek mythology, Zeus punished Atlas by banishing him to the west and made to hold up the sky. A similar fate was shared by Tantalis in myths of Anatolia (an old name for the region in Asia Minor that includes Turkey).

According to that myth, Tantalis ruled over a fabulously wealthy city he founded on Mt. Sipylus in Lydia. His city was shattered by earthquake and flood and was reputed to have sunk when he lost the favor of the Olympian gods.

During the 1990s ruins were found on the northern slope of Mt. Sipylus. The area had undergone several phases of change through the centuries. Among the ruins was a statue of the goddess Cybele that was dated around 1400 B.C.E., a time when the Hittite rule over the area was overthrown by locals affiliated with the Mycenae civilization of Greece. The area of Tantalis had been conquered, and perhaps razed. Or, it subsequently was buried during an earthquake, and eventually submerged by a lake. The area is in a major fault zone, and heavy earthquake damage to the cities of Lydia was documented in 17 C.E. Among the hardest hit of twelve ancient Lydian cities was Magnesia at Sipylus, in the region where Tantalis was located.

Lake Saloe in Turkey has long been identified with the lost city of Tantalis. The lake was pumped out in modern times to provide more land for farming. It is now a fertile plain with nearby rivers. An old caravan route was found, certainly not a remnant of a mighty empire, but the tantalizing prospect that Tantalis was Atlantis remains.

Via: UnexplainedStuff

The Lost Continents of Lemuria and Mu

Lemuria and Mu are sometimes distinct and sometimes interchangeable names for a legendary lost continent, which, according to its proponents, existed in the Caribbean Ocean and had many of the attributes associated with Atlantis. The mysterious lost lands of Lemuria and Mu were conceived of during the nineteenth century, when the theory of evolution was introduced and was among the advances in the sciences that challenged conventional ways of understanding life. Archaeological discoveries among the ruins of the Egyptians, Mayans, and other societies were forcing new interpretations of history, and radical forms of mysticism, such as Theosophy, were becoming popular.

References to the lost continent of Mu can be traced back to 1864 and a French archaeologist named Charles-Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg. He had become fascinated by hieroglyphics found on Mayan ruins that dated back several centuries. By the time Spanish explorers had reached the New World areas of Mexico and Central America in the 1500s, the great centers of Mayan civilization had long been abandoned and were being reclaimed by the rainforest.

Brasseur traveled to Spain to look at artifacts of Mayan civilization. In a library in Madrid he discovered a purported guide to Mayan hieroglyphics. Using the guide to decipher a rare Mayan manuscript, he learned about an ancient land that had sunk into the ocean after a volcanic eruption. Figures corresponding to letters “M” and “U” were connected with the lost land, and Brasseur determined that the lost continent was named Mu. Using that same guide, however, later scholars were unable to decipher such a story, or to even make sustained and meaningful text from the hieroglyphics. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that a thorough guide to interpreting Mayan hieroglyphics was established.

Nevertheless, Brasseur’s version of a lost continent won some favorable attention. An archaeologist named Augustus Plongeon (1825–1908) used a similar key to decipher hieroglyphics at one of the first excavations of Mayan sites. He allegedly uncovered a story about two brothers who vied for a queen named Moo. One of the brothers was killed, and the other took power just before a catastrophe struck Mu. Queen Moo fled before the catastrophe. Speculations quickly added that she had reached Egypt, became revered as the goddess Isis, founded Egyptian civilization, and directed the building of the Sphinx.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Charles Darwin‘s (1809–1882) theory of evolution, Origin of the Species, was published. Although the theory became widely accepted among scientists, it was also extremely controversial. One point of contention concerned an animal and layers of sediment found in South Africa, the island of Madagascar, and India—all of which are in the same region but separated by expanses of water. The lemur, a predecessor of monkeys, had the same traits in each locale. According to Darwin’s theory, the animal should have developed some unique traits respective to the different environments. Similarities in sediments in each of the areas also raised questions. Scientists began to speculate that a land bridge once existed in the Indian Ocean that connected the three areas.

English zoologist Phillip L. Schlater proposed the name Lemuria after the lemur for this former land now sunk in the Indian Ocean. The land bridge idea was supported by noted scientists, including German naturalist Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919) and Alfred Russell Wallace (1823–1913), who had developed a theory of evolution similar to Darwin’s. Seas and continents were thought to be immobile in those days before the theory of continental drift, and no fossils of early humans had yet been found. Haeckel used Lemuria, which had sunk into the sea, to explain the absence of early human fossils. Lemuria became a respected term among educated people in Europe and America.

Thus, the lost continent of Lemuria began with science, but its renown spread and has been sustained through mysticism. Science has since discounted the land bridge and lost continent theories, and evidence of early humans was found during the twentieth century in Africa.

James Churchward (1832–1936) was among the first mystics to promote Lemuria as the lost continent of an advanced human race. Beginning in the 1870s, Churchward said Lemuria was a paradise of 64 million people, and that it was destroyed around 10,000 B.C.E. According to Churchward, Lemurians developed homes with transparent roofs, lived to be hundreds of years old, and were capable of telepathy, astral travel, and teleportation. Lemuria, according to Churchward, was about 5,000 miles long and 3,000 miles wide and stretched to the Pacific Ocean, where islands of the present day are former mountain peaks of the lost continent.

In the 1880s, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891) formed the Theosophical Society with psychic investigator Henry Steel Olcott. In her book The Secret Doctrine (1888), she claimed to have learned of Lemuria in The Book of Dzyan, which she said was composed in Atlantis and shown to her by survivors of that lost continent. Her source may have been Sanskrit legends that tell of the former continent of Rutas that sank beneath the sea.

Lemurians, according to Blavatsky, were the third of seven root races of humankind. They were hermaphrodites with psychic abilities and a third eye. Atlanteans, she stated, were the fourth root race. They evolved from Lemurians after much of Lemuria sank, and they lived on the edge of the continent in the northern Atlantic. Atlantis sank around 8,000 B.C.E., according to Blavatsky, and its inhabitants fled to central Asia.

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), who founded Anthroposophy, was another proponent of Lemuria. Other mystics have envisioned the Elders of Lemuria, known as the Thirteenth School, who moved to an uninhabited plateau of Central Asia now called Tibet before the catastrophe that wiped out their land. They established a library and a school of spiritual adepts known as the Great White Brotherhood.

Certain land masses on the planet are supposedly the last remains of Lemuria, from Pacific islands (Fiji, Hawaii, and Easter Island) to the west coast of the United States. According to some Lemurian enthusiasts, in 1972 the ruins of a submerged Lemurian city was found between Maui and Oahu in the Hawaiian island chain and was covered up in a top-secret project by U.S. Naval Intelligence.

Via: EncyclopediaOfTheUnusualAndUnexplained

The Ghost Ship Palatine

While some regard the Palatine as a legend, there is historical proof that she did exist. Her fiery phantom appears off of the isle. There is evidence that the Princess Augusta, a British ship, went aground on Block Island on December 26 or 27, 1738 or 1752 and broke up. Her crew was deposed and said provisions were scarce, half of the crew died and others were affected by the bitter cold. 150 surviving passengers from the Palatine region of Germany and Switzerland were aboard.A heavy snowstorm and strong winds caused the ship to ground herself on Sandy Point. The acting captain told survivors to salvage what cargo they could before and after she was destroyed.

Palatine Legends
There are two versions of what happened to the survivors. One is that the islanders nursed them back to health. The crew deliberately grounded the ship to hide their mistreatment of the immigrants and to hide their plundering.

The other legend is that the islanders lured the ship to run aground to salvage what they could. In some versions, they set the ship on fire to conceal what they did. A history book records that some of the locals lured ships ashore to plunder them during the new moon.

James Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem about the ship and called her the Palatine. He stated islanders lured the ship to wreckage, then burned her. Samuel Livermore refuted Whittier’s version when he wrote about the island’s history in the late 1800s. The poet responded and wrote he did not intend to put the islanders in a bad light. He heard the story from a New Englander and said it was possible his source was wrong.

There are two versions of when the phantom ship appears. One is that she is seen around the anniversary of her being wrecked. The other is she is an omen of bad weather, appearing as a warning.

Palatine Phantom Ship
Benjamin Congdon, born in the late 1700s, wrote he saw the Palatine phantom about ten times. Many other New Englanders reported seeing the ghost ship in flames.

A woman, Kathy, reported she saw the ghost ship when she about seven. It was a hot summer day. She was playing with her two brothers and the large family dog. They saw a tall masted ship about a half mile off shore, ablaze and sails billowing. They saw the people and heard their cries for help. The dog reacted by barking with agitation. The children ran to tell their parents. One of the brothers was sent to the closest farmhouse to get help. The farmer was not surprised when told about the ship and gave the boy a history book for his father to read. The man had seen it twice. There is no information as to whether or not bad weather followed this sighting.

A marker on Sandy Point that tells of the Palatine graves and has the year, 1738. No wreckage has been found that positively identifies the ship as the Palatine. Often, legends are based on facts and get embellished as they are handed down. Such is the case here. There is historical documentation that the Princess Augusta was wrecked. There were many reliable eyewitnesses.

Via: Suite101

England’s Hill Figures, Part 5: The Cerne Abbas Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant or the ‘Rude Man’ is one of the largest hillfigures in Britain, he is one of two representations of the human form, the other being the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex. The giant, carved in solid lines from the chalk bedrock measures in at 180 feet high, and carries a huge knobby club, which measures 120 feet in length.

The first written record of the giant appears in 1751 in a letter by Dorset historian John Hutchins, he suggested that the figure was cut in the mid 1600’s. Another slightly later reference to the figure can be found in the Gentleman’s magazine of 1764, where the figure is described and depicted with a navel, that has long since disappeared. The lack of earlier references is frustrating but does not mean that the figure dates to the 17th century, and its style and proximity to an Iron Age earthwork suggests a much earlier origin.

There are numerous theories as to when and why the giant was created, one of the more popular is that he is the Greek-Roman god Hercules, who is often represented with a club and an animal fur. It has been suggested that the figure was once depicted carrying and animal fur in his left hand. It is possible that worship of Hercules arrived in the early part of the Roman invasion, which was then became amalgamated with a god of a local Celtic tribe. The theory given the most weight by historians is that it was created during the reign of the Emperor Commodus between 180 – 193 AD, he believed himself to be a reincarnation of Hercules and allowed the cult to revive.

Other stories suggest that the monks at the nearby monastery cut the giant as a joke on an Abbott called Thomas Corton, who was expelled from the area for malpractice. This is unlikely but its close proximity to a ecclesiastical house is strange, how could such an obviously pagan symbol have survived for so long? especially through puritanical times and the reformation. It may be that the religious buildings were built close to the giant as a form of amalgamation of the pagan site. This was common practice, and many churches are built on, or near to, sites that were once Pagan religious centres.

According to one legend, the figure represents a Danish giant who led an invasion of England from the coast. He had fallen asleep on the side of the hill, and the local villagers had taken advantage of his slumber to cut off his head. They then drew around his prone body in the manner of a gigantic police chalk line, to show where he met his doom. However, the chalk figure sometimes rose from the dead on dark nights, to quench his thirst in the local stream, a habit also common to certain standing stones.

The giant’s obvious sexuality and virility was put to use in fertility folk magic. Local women who wanted to conceive would spend a night alone on the hillside – most productively within the confines of his giant phallus, and young couples would make love on the giant to ensure conception.

Sleeping on the giant was also thought to be a good way to ensure a future wedding for unmarried women. Just above the giant’s head is a small Iron Age earthwork which encloses a roughly square piece of land, this is known as the ‘Frying Pan’ or the ‘Trendle’ and it was within this enclosure that the Mayday Maypole was erected during the festival celebrations. Like many traditional village Maypole ceremonies this practice died out in the 19th century.

Via: MysteriousBritain

The Mystical Qualities of Crystal Skulls

Crystal skulls are fashioned from large pieces of crystal, usually from the mineral quartz. They are often life-sized and bear the same distinguishing characteristics as a human skull with eye sockets, a nasal cavity, and a rounded cranium. The most exquisite crystal skulls have finely crafted jaws with removable mandibles.

In addition to claims of paranormal activity, controversy concerning crystal skulls centers on their origins. More than a dozen of them were claimed to have been discovered in Mexico and Central America and are dated by their founders or those who currently possess them as being hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years old. Common methods for dating artifacts can neither confirm nor refute claims about when these crystal skulls were crafted, but, generally speaking, skulls sculpted with metal tools cannot be more than a few centuries old if they originated in Mexico and Central America.

One of archaeology’s most compelling mysteries is that of the 13 Crystal Skulls. Skulls have been one of the most powerful objects of symbolism in human history, all over the world. Several “perfect” crystal Skulls have been found in parts of Mexico, Central and South America. During early expeditions, archaeologists were told by locals that the skulls possessed magical powers and healing properties. However, people were unsure as to where they came from, or even why they existed. Some like to believe that these were remains from the lost civilization of Atlantis. Others like to believe these are fakes. And yet another group of psychics believe that these skulls have the capability to enable us to look into the past, present and future.

Historians and social anthropologists decided to find out more about the strange skulls. Very soon, they came across an ancient Indian legend saying that there had been thirteen crystal skulls of the Goddess of Death; they had been kept separately from each other under the strict control of pagan priests and special warriors.

Searches for more skulls started; some of them were found in museums and some in private collections not only in the USA, but in Mexico, Brazil, France, Mongolia, and in Tibet. There were more than 13 skulls found. However, not all of them were as perfect as Mitchell-Hedges- was. Very likely, those were just later attempts to create something similar to the original skulls that were believed to have been gifts by God to the people.

Some crystal skulls are attributed to the Mayan culture that thrived in southern Mexico and Central America during the first millennium C.E. However, as established through studies of recurring symbols, artifacts, or references in hieroglyphics, there is no known cultural tradition among the Mayans that relate to crystal skulls or any kind of skull worship or fascination. There is some evidence of skulls being symbolically important in Aztec culture, which flourished earlier and further north than Mayan civilization, yet there are far fewer claims among crystal skull enthusiasts that connect the objects to Aztec culture. Radio-carbon testing is not applicable to crystal, because the method works only on previously animate objects.

Crystal skulls are credited by believers for having the ability to awaken or raise human consciousness to a higher level. Some people assert that they experience a psychic connection when viewing a crystal skull, and commonly declare that they were infused with positive energy. Skulls of quartz crystal, like other quartz objects, are believed by mystic crystal enthusiasts to have the ability to record events, thoughts, and emotions that occur in their presence.

Some of the believers of the mystical qualities of the crystals credit ancient peoples with having crafted crystal skulls. According to them, ancients used the skulls to predict the future, to control the weather, as healing devices, as oracles to receive cosmic wisdom, as receivers of universal knowledge, and as a tool meant for future use to gain divine knowledge.

There is a crystal skull on display at the London Museum of Mankind, and the Paris Crystal Skull is on display at the Trocadero Museum. Both skulls can be traced back to Mexico, where records show they were purchased in the 1890s. The London Museum acquired its skull through Tiffanys of New York in 1898. Tests conducted in 1995, revealed scratches from steel tools, perhaps a jeweler’s wheel, confirming the skull must be of modern origin. The origin date of the skull was moved from the ancient Aztec times to the more recent period after the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1520. Night workers at the museum reportedly refuse to work near the skull unless it’s covered, citing vibrations, colors shifts appearing in the skull, or a simple association of skulls and death.

The Amethyst Crystal Skull and the Mayan Crystal Skull were found in Guatemala in the early 1900s. The latter skull received its name because it was found at the site of Mayan ruins. “Maya” is kept by a psychic who uses the skull to assist her in readings.

Two skulls exhibit particularly exquisite craftsmanship. The Rose Quartz Crystal Skull, found along the Guatemala-Honduras border, includes removable mandibles, as does the Mitchell-Hedges skull, the most famous and notorious of crystal skulls. Named after its founders and keepers, F. A. Mitchell-Hedges (1882–1959) and his daughter Anna (1910–2007 ), it is considered the finest example of a crystal skull. Fashioned from clear quartz, the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull is realistic in size (the cranium approximates that of an average female adult), and its jaws were formed from the same piece of crystal as the skull. The jaws fit neatly into sockets and maintain a perfect balance with the skull.

The two biggest mysteries of the Mitchell-Hedges skull concern the craftsmanship used to make it and the story surrounding its discovery. The skull is believed to have been formed from a large block of crystal that was carved into a rough shape of a skull and then smoothed into its final shape with water and a solution of silicon-crystal sand or, perhaps, through some unknown technology. There are no scratches on the Mitchell-Hedges skull that would indicate the work of metal tools. Shafts within the skull are said to channel light from the base of the skull to the eye sockets in a manner similar to modern optic technology, and the sockets have concave forms that reflect light to the upper cranium. Internal prisms and light tunnels are believed to be the reason why objects are magnified and brightened when held beneath the skull.

Like other crystal skulls, the Mitchell-Hedges skull reportedly changes color, sometimes clouding up white, and other times growing from a small patch of black to intensely black. Many of those who have viewed it report strange visions when looking in, and some have detected a faint hum or a scent. Like other mystical crystal objects, the Mitchell-Hedges version has been reputed to have oracular and healing powers, to be able to accumulate natural magnetism, and to amplify and transmit energy. Its keeper and early publicist, F. A. Mitchell-Hedges, also claimed it had the power to kill, citing several of his enemies who died before he did.

Mitchell-Hedges was an explorer and gambler who wrote books about his searches for remnants of lost tribes and the lost continent of Atlantis (Lands of Wonder and Fear, 1931) as well as his encounters with sea monsters (Battles with Giant Fish, 1923, and Battles with Monsters of the Sea, 1937). In 1927, Mitchell-Hedges and his daughter Anna were clearing debris atop a temple in the ancient Mayan city of Lubaantum (modern-day Belize) when Anna discovered what became known as the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull on her seventeenth birthday. Weeks later, near the same site, she found the jaw of the skull.

Mitchell-Hedges did not publicize the skull until 1943, when he began referring to it as the Skull of Doom and claimed it was 3,600 years old. Curiously, he barely mentioned the skull in his autobiography, Danger, My Ally (1954). After he died in 1959, daughter Anna became the keeper of the skull.

It is now generally accepted that Anna Mitchell-Hedges did not discover the fabled crystal skull in the ruins of a Mayan city in 1927, but Mitchell-Hedges bought the artifact at an auction at Sothebys in London in 1943. Such claims have been verified by records at the British Museum, which had bid against Mitchell-Hedges for ownership of the object.

In 1970, the Mitchell-Hedges skull was examined by art conservator and restorer Frank Dorland. He claimed to have seen a spirit after studying the skull late at night in his home. According to Dorland, tests conducted at Hewlitt-Packard laboratories in Santa Clara, California, vouched for its craftsmanship including an absence of scars that would indicate metal tool work, and evidence that it was cut against the crystal axis. The validity of the tests has been questioned, as has the whole story of how the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull was found and how far back it dates.

Jo Ann and Carl Parks became owners of the famous Texas Crystal Skull, whom they affectionately call Max, in 1980 when a Tibetan healer bestowed the artifact on them in payment of a debt. Admittedly unaware at first of the significance of this object, Carl and Jo Ann, residents of Houston, placed the skull in a closet for the next seven years. Not until they came into contact with F. R. “Nick” Nocerino of Pinole, California, one of the world’s foremost authorities of crystal skulls and director of the Society of Crystal Skulls, did they learn what an important artifact it was. Nocerino had been searching for that skull since the 1940s. He knew of its existence, but its actual location had sent him on a quest that had led him around the world.

Of the 13 crystal skulls known to researchers that are the actual true size, Max is the largest, weighing 18 pounds compared to the others, which weigh nine to 11 pounds. Max was found in a Mayan tomb at a site in Guatemala, and it has been estimated that Max came from a 50-to-60-pound piece of crystal that was more than a half a million years old. Other than Max and the crystal skull owned by Anna Mitchell-Hedges of Canada, all the others, each differing somewhat in size and detail, are held in museums or private collections.

People claim that being in Max’s proximity provokes images and visions within them. They believe to see scenes from the past history of Earth, and frequently they perceive UFO-related scenes and messages. “Whether you believe any of that or not, if you simply look at the artifact on a scientific and archaeological level, you cannot help being over-whelmed and awed at the skilled worksmanship that was involved in creating him,” Jo Ann Parks has commented.

The British Crystal Skull on display at the London Museum of Mankind is considered to be a nineteenth-century artifact. Scientists, at least, are convinced that all evidence weighs toward recent origins of all crystal skulls. Until convincing evidence that a known civilization venerated such an object, or that crystal skulls are remnants of a vanished civilization, belief in special qualities of the skulls are in the minds of beholders of mysticism.

Via in Part: EncyclopediaOThefUnusualAndUnexplained

The Essence of Alchemy

Alchemy is an ancient tradition, the primary objective of which was the creation of the mythical “philosopher’s stone,” which was said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver, and also act as an elixir of life that would confer youth and immortality upon its user. As practiced historically, alchemy can be viewed as a protoscience, a precursor to modern chemistry, having provided procedures, equipment, and terminology that are still in use. However, alchemy also included various non-scientific mythological, religious, and spiritual concepts, theories and practices.

The image of alchemists as defrocked wizards and full-time frauds is not quite accurate. Most of them were, in fact, highly spiritual men whose quest to transmute one substance into another was closer to mysticism than modern chemistry. The essence of alchemy lay in the belief that certain incantations and rituals could convince or command angelic beings to change base metals into precious ones.

According to ancient tradition, the mummy of Hermes Trismegistus, the master of alchemical philosophy, was found in an obscure chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza, clutching an emerald tablet in its hands. The words contained on the tablet revealed the alchemical creed that “It is true and without falsehood and most real: that which is above is like that which is below, to perpetuate the miracles of one thing. And as all things have been derived from one, by the thought of one, so all things are born from this thing, by adoption.” Within the secrets inscribed on the tablet was the “most powerful of all powers,” the process by which the world was created and by which all “subtle things” might penetrate “every solid thing,” and by which base material might be transformed into precious metals and gems.

For centuries, the writings of Hermes Trismegistus were considered a precious legacy from the master of alchemy. The Hermetics believed that the nature of the cosmos was sacramental: “that which is above is like that which is below.” In other words, the nature of the spiritual world could be discovered through the study of the material substance of Earth; and earthly humans, created of the dust of the ground, comprised the prima materia of the heavenly beings they would become, just as the base elements of Earth comprised the raw materials for gold. The alchemical adepts believed that the most perfect thing on the planet was gold and that it was linked with the sun. The sun was considered to be the lowest manifestation of the spiritual world and therefore provided the intermediary between God and humankind.

The science of alchemy was introduced to the Western world at the beginning of the second century of the common era. It was, however, 200 years before the practice of the craft reached its zenith, concurrent with the persecutions of the pagans by the Christians. Zosimus of Panapolis, self-appointed apologist of alchemy, cited a passage in Genesis as the origin of the arcane art: “The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair.” To this scriptural reference, Zosimus added the tradition that in reward for their favors, the “sons of God,” who were believed to be fallen angels, endowed these women with the knowledge of how to make jewels, colorful garments, and perfumes with which to enhance their earthly charms.

The seven Archangels whose favor the alchemist sought to obtain for their transformation were Michael, who was believed to transmute base metals into gold and to dissolve any enmity directed toward the alchemist; Gabriel, who fashioned silver and foresaw the future; Samuel, who protected against physical harm; and Raphael, Sachiel, Ansel, and Cassiel, who could create various gems and guard the alchemist from attack by demons. However, members of the clergy were skeptical that the alchemists were truly calling upon angels, rather than demons in disguise, and they recalled the words of the Church Father Tertullian (c. 155 or 160–after 220), who confirmed earlier beliefs that the “sons of God” referred to in Genesis were evil perverts who bequeathed their wisdom to mortals with the sole intention of seducing them to mundane pleasures.

While the Hermetic was akin to the mystic, a great deal more came out of those smoky laboratories than candidates for the torture chambers of the Inquisition. In the intellectual half-light of the Middle Ages, the brotherhood of alchemy, perhaps by accident as much as design, did produce a number of valuable chemical discoveries. Albert le Grand produced potassium lye; Raymond Lully (1235–1315) prepared biocarbonate of potassium; Paracelsus (1493–1541) was the first to describe zinc and chemical compounds to medicine; Blaise Vigenere (1523–1596) discovered benzoic acid. Discoveries increased during the Renaissance when such men as Basil Valentine (c. 1450– 1492) discovered sulphuric acid, and Johann Friedrich Boetticher (1682–1719) became the first European to produce porcelain. Evidence has been disinterred from the musty alchemists’ libraries in Europe that suggests that certain of the medieval and Renaissance alchemists conducted experiments with photography, radio transmission, phonography, and aerial flight, as well as the endless quest to transmute base metals into gold.

Via: UnexplainedStuff

The Phaistos Disc


In Greek tradition, they were a “sea people” who entered the Peloponnesus and the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean about four thousand years ago. They were the forefathers of the Achaean or Bronze Age inhabitants of Greece, named after their leader, Pelasgus, remembered as the First Man.

Notable mariners, the Pelasgians came from the Far West, where they conquered Western and Northern Europe, just as Plato’s Atlanteans were said to have done, previous to their arrival in the Eastern Mediterranean.


The pre-Greek Linear A written language of ancient Crete and the enigmatic Phaistos Disk are both attributed to the Pelasgians. According to the first-century B.C. Greek geographer Diodorus Siculus, writing was introduced by the Pelasgians, and the mathematical genius Pythagoras was supposed to have been directly descended from them.

The Phaistos Disc is made of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the Greek island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC). It is about 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter and covered on both sides with a spiral of stamped symbols. Its purpose and meaning, and even its original geographical place of manufacture, remain disputed, making it one of the most famous mysteries of archaeology. This unique object is now on display at the archaeological museum of Heraklion.


The disc was discovered in 1908, by the Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier, and features 241 tokens, comprising 45 unique signs, which were apparently made by pressing pre-formed hieroglyphic “seals” into a disc of soft clay, in a clockwise sequence spiraling towards the disc’s center.

The Phaistos Disc captured the imagination of amateur and professional archeologists, many attempts have been made to decipher the code behind the disc’s signs. While it is not clear if it is a script, most attempted decipherments assume that it is; most also assume it’s a syllabary, while still others believe it could be an alphabet or logography. Attempts at decipherment are generally thought to be unlikely to succeed unless more examples of the signs are found, and more context becomes available for further meaningful analysis.

Although the Phaistos Disc is generally accepted as authentic by archaeologists, a few scholars have forwarded the opinion that the disc is a forgery or a hoax. The assumption of authenticity is based on the excavation records of Luigi Pernier and is supported by a later discovery of the Arkalochori Axe with similar but not identical glyphs.

Via in part: OldMapsExpeditionsAndExplorations

The Salem Witch Trials


The Salem Witch Trials were a fearful and disastrous time in American history. Families were torn apart. The once friendly communities were now full of rumors and distrust, suspicion, and dislike. Anyone could be declared a witch, even innocent widows or children who were different in some manner or disliked by a Puritan. The punishments for witches were often horrifying and included hanging, water drowning, burning, and pressing the “witches.” The Trials began in 1692 and ended in 1693. During the trials, nineteen people were hung and 150 imprisoned for perceived witchcraft.

In 1689 a minister, Samuel Parris, moved to Salem village with his family and 2 slaves, Tituba and Indian John. In January of 1692, Parris’ daughter, Elizabeth Parris, Jr., known as Betty, falls ill. It is Betty’s illness which begins the “witch hunt” and subsequent Salem Witch Trials.


Witchcraft trials had been going on for several centuries throughout Europe, with the approval and support of the Church. Countless thousands of men and women had been tortured and executed for alleged witchcraft and devil worship. The Puritans were a very strict and serious minded religious group, that did not condone, singing,dancing or recreational non-work related activities. Such activity was considered idleness and labeled as being the influence of the devil.

Some of the factors leading to acusations in the Salem Witch Trials, included petty jealousies, greed, feuds, and property disputes. Several of the accused witches were well-off and if convicted of witchcraft, their property was forfeited. Other reasons included their failure to attend church regularly, and perceived opposition to the minister, Samuel Parris, as well as any odd or uncustomary behaviors.

January 1692, “Betty” becomes ill, the Reverend Samuel Parris consults with the town doctor, William Griggs. The doctor can find nothing wrong with the girl, and under some pressure from the minister, blames the girl’s illness on witchcraft. As the town was already anxious, due to livestock deaths and a smallpox outbreak, both of which were perceived as sure signs of the devil’s presence in their community. This misdiagnosis began and would fuel the witch hunt hysteria in Salem for almost five months.

The minister’s daughter, Betty, and several of her friends began calling out the names of people in the village, who were said to be bewitching them. Soon the town jail was filled with 150 people from Salem and surrounding villages, all accused of witchcraft.

The trials began in June 1692 and were presided over by Chief Justice William Stoughton. The first to go to trial and be hanged was Bridget Bishop. Thirteen women and four men, would follow her to the gallows over the summer. An additional man Giles Corey was pressed, or crushed to death with heavy stones, as he steadfastly refused to plead guilty to the witchcraft charges against him. As well there was one dog, who was thought to be a transformed witch, who was also hanged.


In October of 1692, the trials suddenly ended, when the court was dismissed by the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, William Phipps, who ruled that so-called “spectral evidence” was not allowable. The accused still in custody were scheduled to be released and those found guilty or waiting on “death row” were also pardoned and released.

In the following years, apologies were issued, but the wounds to the Village of Salem ran deep. The Witch Trials became an example of what fear, superstition, and petty jealousies can do to a tight knit society. Many of the accused and convicted continued to languish in jail after the trials ended, because they could not afford the money required for their release. Since their property was seized and would not be returned to them. Most of those convicted and then released ended up poor and destitute.

There were food shortages in Salem, as the many of the fields had been neglected due to the turmoil of the trials. The Reverend Parris and his family were forced to move away from Salem by April 1696, due to community pressure. His son Noyes died insane. The Puritan Religion began to fade-out and lose influence as a direct result of the Witch Trials. Colonial society began to question the outdated and superstitious beliefs of the Puritans. Following these infamous proceedings, there was never another witch trial or execution in the American colonies.

Via: Squidoo

Summer Solstice 2011

Today, June 21, is the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it’s the longest day of the year in 2011. The summer solstice occurs when the sun is the farthest north in the sky, directly above the Tropic of Cancer. According to USA Today, the exact moment of the solstice today will occur at 1:16 p.m. ET.

While some consider the summer solstice as the beginning of summer, many actually regard it as midsummer, though the definition varies between different regions and cultures. In the Southern Hemisphere, today actually marks the 2011 winter solstice. These seasons will again be flipped between the hemispheres on December 22, when the second solstice of the year occurs (winter for Northern Hemisphere, and summer for Southern Hemisphere).

Scientifically speaking, the two solstices in a year are the days during which the earth’s tilt towards the sun is the most extreme.  For the solstice in June today, the tilt is towards in the sun in the Northern Hemisphere (summer solstice) and away from the sun in the Southern Hemisphere (winter solstice).

Penthesilea, Amazon Queen

Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors featured throughout Greek mythology. However, they have a basis in true history. Arguments persist over whether they originated in Asia Minor, Libya, the Steppes or Ukraine.

Roman history records various accounts of Amazon raids in Asia Minor. According to myth and what history has been uncovered, no men were permitted to live in Amazon country, but Amazons would make an effort once or twice annually to mate with men from other areas or men who were taken as slaves.

If the result of that union was a baby girl, she would be raised to hunt and wage war. If the result was a baby boy, he would be given away or left to die in the wilderness. The weapons of the Amazon were bow, spear, and axe. They are almost always portrayed wearing only one earring.

Penthesilea, one of the most celebrated Amazon Queens, fought alongside the Trojans in the Trojan war. She prevailed in that one but eventually was slain by Achilles.