The Dashka Stone: Map of the Creator

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. … veries.php … _0237.html

The Time We Found Pyramids on Mars

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mars has long fascinated people. One of the few objects in the night sky to show a visible color and the only one that wandered, it was a natural draw. As astronomy blossomed and scientists realized that it was another world, visionaries began to speculate about life there.

The first good telescopic observations revealed a world with definite features, areas of light and dark which could be continents and oceans. In 1877, Giovanni Schiaparelli took advantage of a particularly favorable opposition (when Mars and Earth are on the same side of the Sun, and Mars appears high in the night sky) and he drew a map of the planet. In keeping with the belief that the dark regions were oceans, when he saw dark lines across the lighter areas, he dubbed them “canali,” which is Italian for “channels.”

Map of Mars by Giovanni Schiaparelli

Note that although the “rivers” or “canals” are not real, he did see many things that are real — the Hellas basin is a gigantic impact crater, and the “lake” that he depicts in “Thaumasia felix” is actually the caldera of Olympus Mons.

American astronomer Percival Lowell believed that Schiaparelli had discovered artificial canals. Lowell became a major early proponent for the idea of a complex civilization on Mars. He persisted even when later observers failed to find the canals, demonstrated the likelihood of them being an optical illusion, and even when spectrographic data revealed that Mars was not really a very hospitable place — cold, dry, and with an atmosphere too thin to maintain liquid water. The idea persisted occasionally in science fiction until 1965, when Mariner 4 flew by Mars.

In its brief flyby, it revealed a Mars that appeared as dead and hostile as the Moon — barren and pocked with craters. Furthermore, the canals were clearly not present.

Map of Martian Canals by Percival Lowell

Mariner 4 image of Mars, showing moon-like craters

The idea of life on Mars fell largely out of favor as a result of this, but interest in Mars remained. Though the canals were obviously not real, speculation turned from present Martians to Martians past. If there was no civilization now, was it possible there had been in the past? After Mariner 4, Mariners 6 and 7 also flew by, largely confirming the lifeless image. But then that all changed.

Mariner 9 arrived in Mars orbit on November 14, 1971. It was followed within a month by the Soviet probes Mars 2 and Mars 3. On arrival, the probes discovered a Mars transformed: a vast dust storm completely masked the planet. Eventually, the dust settled, revealing a world of wonders previously unseen: staggeringly huge extinct volcanoes, a tremendous canyon system named for the probe (Valles Marineris), dry riverbeds, fog, clouds . . . and something else. On February 8, 1972, Mariner 9 returned an image of what looked an awful lot like pyramids in a region called Elysium Planitia:

Mariner 9 image of Elysium Planitia, showing pyramid-shaped structures

Could it be? Had there really been intelligent life on Mars, which had built pyramids eerily similar to the Egyptian pyramids at Giza? Some other vaguely artificial-looking objects were also observed, and piqued a bit of interest, but none more than the pyramids. That was nothing compared to what would come in 1976, though.

In 1976, two “flagship class” probes arrived at Mars: Viking 1 and Viking 2. Each was an orbiter/lander pair. Their orbiters surveyed the planet in much more detail than Mariner 9 had been able to achieve. In addition to obtaining better resolution images of the pyramids at Elysium Planitia, they also found some more in a region called Cydonia Mensae. As exciting as the first pyramid discovery had been, this really took off in the public imagination, for in addition to what seemed like a complex of pyramids, there was a gigantic face.

The “Face on Mars,” photographed by Viking 1; note that the black spots are data loss, not real objects

A consultant at Goddard Space Flight Center happened to see the images and found his fame in them. His name was Richard Hoagland, and he was to become the most ardent proponent of the Face on Mars. He described the pyramids as a buried city, and the Face as a crumbling monument akin to the Sphinx in Egypt.

There was no new data on these features for some time. No new missions were greenlit until Mars Observer, which ended in disaster when the probe suddenly ceased transmitting shortly before orbital insertion. It wasn’t until September 12, 1997, that a new spacecraft arrived at Mars: Mars Global Surveyor. It eventually imaged both Elysium and Cydonia, and the results were disappointing for anyone hoping to find evidence of life, although many refused to give up the faith. Mars Odyssey 2001, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have mapped the planet in ever increasing detail, and the features have proven to be disappointingly natural.

Elysium pyramid, photographed by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

It does look like a pyramid, doesn’t it? Even if there aren’t really alien-built structures on its surface, Mars still conceals a lot of mysteries. It boasts the largest volcanoes in the solar system by a huge margin, and also the largest canyon. It is smaller than Earth, but has the same land surface area as Earth’s continents. It has weather, including dust devils and gigantic dust storms. It has ice caps made of a mixture of water ice and frozen carbon dioxide, and water not only flowed in the past, but appears to be sometimes able to flow in the present as well. And who knows? Perhaps by the end of the century, some of us will be living there. And then we can build our own pyramids!

Via: MentalFloss

Operation Majestic-12

According to UFO researcher and documentary filmmaker Jamie Shandera, in December 1984, he received an anonymous packet in the mail containing two rolls of undeveloped 35mm film. The film, once developed, revealed what appeared to be a briefing report to President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had been prepared by a group of 12 prestigious and top-secret investigators who worked under the code name of “Operation Majestic-12” (MJ-12). The document, which appeared to be authentic, described details of the recovery, analysis, and official cover-up of the 1947, UFO crash outside of Roswell, New Mexico. The report also described the recovery of the bodies of four humanlike beings that had been found near the wreckage of the downed extraterrestrial spacecraft.

According to these documents, all four of the entities were dead, and their corpses had been mutilated by desert scavengers and were badly decomposed due to exposure to the elements. Although the creatures were human-like in appearance, the secret report stated that the biological and evolutionary processes responsible for their development had apparently been quite different from those of humankind.

On June 14, 1987, at the 24th Annual National UFO Conference in Burbank, California, Shandera, together with Stanton Friedman and William Moore—the two prominent UFO researchers Shandera had enlisted to help him test the truth of the MJ-12 documents—made public their investigations into what purported to be documentary proof of a government cover-up of UFOs that began in 1947.

According to the documents leaked to Shandera, the members of Majestic-12 consisted of the following individuals:

Lloyd V. Berkner, known for scientific achievements in the fields of physics and electronics, special assistant to the secretary of state in charge of the Military Assistance Program, executive secretary of what is now known as the Research and Development Board of the National Military Establishment.

Detlev W. Bronk, a physiologist and biophysicist of international repute, chairman of the National Research Council, and a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Vannevar Bush, a brilliant scientist who was, from 1947, to 1948, chairman of Research and Development for the National Military Establishment.

Gordon Gray, three times elected to the North Carolina Senate, succeeded Kenneth Royall as secretary of the Army in June 1949.

Dr. Jerome C. Hunsaker, an innovative aeronautical scientist and design engineer, who served as chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

Robert M. Montague, Sandia base commander, Albuquerque, New Mexico, from July 1947, to February 1951.

General Nathan F. Twining, commander of the B-29 superfortresses that dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In December 1945, he was named commanding general of the Air Material Command headquartered at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. In October 1947, he was appointed commander in chief of the Alaskan Command, remaining in that position until May 1950, when he became acting deputy chief of staff for personnel at U.S. Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Donald H. Menzel, director of the Harvard Observatory at Cambridge, Massachusetts, a leading authority on the solar chromosphere, formulated (with Dr. Winfield W. Salisbury) the initial calculations that led to the first radio contact with the Moon in 1946.

James V. Forrestal served first as undersecretary, then secretary of the U.S. Navy for seven years. In September 1947, he became secretary of defense, responsible for coordinating the activities of all U.S. Armed Forces.

Sidney W. Souers, a rear admiral, who became deputy chief of Naval Intelligence before organizing the Central Intelligence Office in January 1946.

Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a much-decorated U.S. Air Force officer, rose to the rank of commanding general of the Ninth U.S. Air Force in France before he was named assistant chief of staff of G-2 (Intelligence) in 1946. In June 1946, he was appointed the director of Central Intelligence.

Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was summoned from the post of naval attache at the American Embassy in Paris to become the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving from May 1947, to September 1950.

Many UFO researchers agreed upon seeing the list of MJ-12s alleged personnel that if a UFO had crashed and been recovered in Roswell in 1947, this would have been the kind of panel that could have accomplished a thorough investigation of the craft. Each of these individuals had been at the top in their respective areas of expertise during the late 1940s, and had the added benefit of government experience behind them.

The more skeptical investigators agreed that “Document A,” which purported to be a letter dated September 24, 1947, from President Harry S Truman to Secretary of Defense Forrestal, appeared to be genuine; but even though Truman did refer to “Operation Majestic Twelve” in the letter, there was nothing clearly stated that linked the group to UFO investigations.

Others questioned why Hillenkoetter, head of the CIA, listed as the briefing officer on the MJ-12 document, would remain quiet about the crashed flying saucer and the alien bodies when he became active in civilian UFO research in 1957.

The biggest shocker to longtime UFO researchers was the discovery of the name of Donald Menzel, the Harvard astronomer, on the MJ-12 list. Menzel was well known as a passionate debunker of flying saucers and the author of three anti-UFO books.

In spite of its defenders in the UFO research field, the authenticity of the MJ-12 documents remains highly controversial. Skeptical researchers have labeled the documents as clearly false and fraudulent, pointing out that a thorough search of the records of the Truman administration reveals no executive order for such a UFO investigative group as MJ-12. Researchers who have served in the military have stated that the clearest indication of a hoax lies in the many incorrect military terms and language used in these alleged “official” documents, suggesting that the creators of the hoax have never served in the military.

Via: UnexplainedStuff


Winter Solstice

The December or Winter Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it’s when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the winter solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20th and December 23rd. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.You can use the Sunrise and Sunset calculator to find the number of daylight hours during the winter solstice in cities worldwide.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living South of the equator. Those living or traveling South from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight. Those living or traveling North of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

December 20th and December 23rd solstices occur less frequently than December 21st or December 22nd solstices in the Gregorian calendar. The last December 23rd solstice occurred in 1903, and will not occur again until the year 2303. A December 20th solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one occurring in the year 2080.


Cloud Shadow of Mt. Rainier

Photo Via: Nick Lippert

Take a look at this: a phenomenal sunrise of Mt. Rainier in Washington state, where the volcano actually casts a sky shadow on the clouds!

From Seattle’s Komo News:

Mt. Rainier has quite a few tricks up its sleeve for adding additional beauty to the Pacific Northwest, from the majestic snow-capped peaks, to the mysterious lenticular cloud displays. Another trick it pulls off during the fall and winter is to cast a big shadow on a brilliant sunrise. It only happens when the sun rises farther to the south as we head toward the winter solstice and has to be in the exact position to where Rainier blocks the first rays of morning light.

Via: BadAstronomy

The Holy Lines and The Extersteine

About the same time ley lines were first introduced by Alfred Watkins (1855–1935) in the 1920s, a German evangelical parson named Wilhelm Teudt proposed a similar theory he called heilige linien (holy lines) that linked a number of standing stones, churches, crosses, and other objects of spiritual significance in Germany. Teudt’s holy line theory met the same fate as Watkins’s ley lines. There were so many possibilities for connecting a variety of objects on a landscape that the odds were better of finding alignments than not finding them.

Teudt made another observation that had more lasting significance. He noted that an ancient chamber constructed in the naturally formed megaliths called the Extersteine had a circular window that formed a point where rays of light at the midsummer solstice shone through, and where the moon was visible when it reached its northernmost position. He believed the Neolithic peoples (before 2000 B.C.E.) had used the site as an astronomical observatory and a calendar.

The Extersteine, which lies at the approximate latitude as Stonehenge in Great Britain, is a natural site of five sandstone pillars rising 120 feet above an area filled with caves and grottoes. It served as a ritual center for nomadic reindeer hunters, and later was the site of pagan rituals until the eighth century, when such rituals were forbidden by law. Christian monks took over the site and set up crosses and reliefs depicting biblical scenes. They abandoned it after about 1600. Many people continued to visit the Extersteine, claiming they were aware of its energy and that their physical ailments had been cured by walking among or rubbing against the stones.

Via: EncyclopediaOfTheUnusualAndUnexplained

The Dropa Stones

On the border of China and Tibet in the remote mountains of Bayan-Kara-Ula a truly amazing discovery was made in the 1930’s during the exploration of  the interlinked tunnels. A team lead by Chinese archaeologist, Professor Chu Pu Tei had been exploring the caves when they came upon a series of very unusual but neatly arranged burial sites containing the skeletons of creatures with spindly bodies and disproportionally huge skulls and were originally thought to have been the remains of the a Tibetan Ape. But that explanation was quickly ruled out by the fact that Ape’s do not bury their dead. After further more modern techniques of  testing, it has led experts to believe that these skeletal remains belong to an ancient unknown race of a humanoids.

They also went on to find cave paintings portraying beings wearing round helmets along with the Sun, Moon, Earth and stars all being connected by small dots. It became quickly obvious the paintings were some sort of map, undoubtedly made by intelligent beings. The carbon dating tests reviled that the findings were around 12,000 years old and the fact that the cranial cavity of these beings were so large would indicate that these beings were extremely intelligent and had very large brains but the skeletons were a little more than three feet tall.

This is where the mystery just begins. In addition to finding a new species of humanoid unknown to the world, while examining the surrounding caves Yei and his men also discovered what might be the most incredible, tangible artifacts in human history. 716 stone disks ranging anywhere from 9 inches to 3 feet in diameter and 3/4 to 3 inches thick with an engraved spiral going from the outside edge to the hole in the center of the disk. After close examination of the disks it was realized that the engraved spirals were actually code for something, a type of language unknown to any one on the planet. The disks came to be known as The Dropa Stones.

The strange new unknown written language dates back to 10,000 BC. Our earliest written language that’s recorded in the history books dates back to 3500 BC in Sumeria and the first Chinese inscriptions date to about 1200 BC.

The Dropa Stones were sent to a variety of scholars for investigation. One of them, Professor Tsum Um Nui of the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies, found that the spiral grooves were actually a line of characters written in an unknown language. In 1962, he announced that he had managed to translate the language. For a long time, the Peking Academy of Prehistory forbade the professor from publishing anything about the Dropa Stones. However, after many years of debate he published his hypothesis.

Here is one of the translations made by Nui:

An alien spacecraft crashed in the Bayan Har Shan region 12,000 years ago. The occupants were aliens called Dropa or Dzopa. The Dropa could not repair their craft, so they tried to adapt to the conditions on Earth. Meanwhile, the local Ham tribesmen hunted down and killed most of the aliens. Supposedly, the aliens had intermarried with the locals, making identification of the origins of the skeletons more difficult.

Another translation described how the Ham tribe showed remorse and regret that their spaceship crash-landed in such a remote mountain range having no way to repair their ship and that the Dropa would be stuck on earth forever never being able to return to their home planet. Since this incredible discovery, archeologists and anthropologists have learned much more then what was known about the isolated Bayan-Kara-Ula mountains and the people that inhabited them. An old legend still told by locals speak of small, gaunt, yellow faced men who came from the stars, long, long ago.

In 1968, a Russian scientist named W. Saitsew published a paper on the subject of extraterrestrials visiting earth throughout story and some of the information was gathered from the works of Nui. The Russians became very interested in the stone disks and later had some of the disks examined in a Moscow laboratory where two extraordinary discoveries were made. One, is that the disks contained traces of metal, mostly cobalt. Two, is the fact that when the disks were placed on a special turntable, they hummed in a very unusual rhythm as if they had an electrical charge going through them.

After that, nothing was heard of the disk for years, until a Austrian engineer by the name of Ernst Wegener in 1974, spotted the disks in Xian at the Banpo Museum, although the director of the museum could tell him nothing about the disks, he was aloud to take some photographs and hold them in his hands. All he had was a Polaroid camera and many of the photo’s circulating today are the one’s Wegner took.

Hartwig Hausdorf who is author of many book covering UFO’s, the Chinese Pyramids and other X-file conspiracy’s, once he heard the disks went to the museum in Xian he decided to examine the disks for himself in 1994.  When he contacted the director of the museum, he was told that the disks had disappeared with no explanation to their whereabouts.

Then in 1995 a special news report was released by Chinese government:

“In the province of Sichuan, which lies on the eastern border of the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains, 120 people of a previously ethnologically unclassified tribe have been discovered. The most important aspect of this new tribe is the size of its people: No taller than 3 ft. 10 in., the smallest adult measuring only 2 ft. 1 in! This discovery might be the first hard evidence on the existence of the Dropa/Dzopa – a people whose predecessors are said to have come from the stars.”

These two tribes still exist today in the isolated area between Tibet and China, though the two tribes now live in harmony with each other. Anthropologists have been unable to categorize either tribe into any known race of humans.  These tribes are neither Chinese nor Tibetan. These people are of pygmy stature with adults measuring between 3’6″ and 4’7″ with an average height of 4’2″, and an average body weight of 40 pounds. Their skin is a pale yellow, their body’s are very thin and their head’s are disproportionately large. Directly corresponding with the skeletal remains found in the caves back in the 1930’s. Oddly enough the Dropa and the Han tribe’s people have very little hair on their bodies if any, very large blue eyes, which is not at all common in that area of the world.

One other interesting fact is the similarity’s between the Dropa stones and the UFO’s that NASA caught on tape during their tether incident back in 96′. Many people have challenged these claims and Tsum Um Nui was forced to resign from the Beijing Academy. The Dropa Stones have been rapidly disappearing all over the world and are currently not available for public viewing at any museum. However, pictures of the artifacts do exist.

The Black Knight Satellite

“Our home is Epsilon Boötis, which is a double star. We live on the sixth planet of seven—check that, the sixth of seven—counting outwards from the sun, which is the larger of the two stars. Our sixth planet has one moon. Our fourth planet has three. Our first and third planet each have one. Our probe is in the orbit of your moon.”–signal translation originating from ‘The Black Knight’ Satellite, Time Magazine April 9, 1973

In 1953, four years before the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik I, an object of unknown origin was sighted by Dr Lincoln La Paz of the University of New Mexico orbiting the earth. As more reports of sightings trickled in from around the world, the U.S. Department of Defense appointed distinguished astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh(best known for his discovery of the dwarf ‘planet’ of Pluto in 1930) to run a search for the mystery object. The blip became known as “Black Knight”.The Pentagon never formally released the results of Dr Tombaugh’s study. No more was heard about the object until December, 1957, when Dr Luis Corralos of the Communications Ministry in Venezuela photographed it. The first modern satellites, Sputnik I & 2, had been launched just a few months earlier. Dr Corralos was taking pictures of the second of these modern marvels as it passed over Caracas, and his photos caught the unknown object shadowing the Russian craft.
“Black Knight” was observed once again in 1960, this time by one of the stations that formed the Northern American Air Defense System. The object was in a polar orbit, something that neither the Americans or Soviets were capable of at the time. Several times larger and heavier than anything capable of being launched with 1960, rockets, it shouldn’t have been there, but it was. The observance sent panic through the U.S. military. Not only did the intelligence agencies have no idea that the USSR had launched a new satellite, nothing in their reports on Soviet space activity suggested they had the capacity to place an object into a polar orbit, or to launch something that was estimated to be in excess of 15 tons. The military scientists were horrified, since they were at least four years away from achieving polar orbits and getting payloads that large into space.

Similar waves of shock and anxiety were spreading through the Soviet ranks. They had not launched the satellite and knew they were years away from being able to accomplish such a feat, they also knew that the Americans could not do it either. No one knew where it came from, but it was definitely there.

Three years later Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper was launched into space on his 22 orbit mission in the Faith 7 capsule. On his final orbit, he reported seeing a glowing green shape ahead of his capsule, and heading in his direction. The Muchea tracking station, in Australia, which Cooper reported this to was also able to pick it up on radar traveling in an east-to-west orbit. This event was reported by NBC, but reporters were forbidden to ask Cooper about the event on his landing. The official explanation is that an electrical malfunction in the capsule had caused high levels of carbon dioxide, which induced hallucinations.

If this weren’t enough, Ham radio operators worldwide had been receiving messages from Black Knight. Perhaps the strangest phenomenon associated with the Black Knight was the Long Delay Echo (LDE). The effect observed was that radio or television signals sent into space bounce back seconds (or even days) later, as if recorded and retransmitted by a satellite. First indentified over 30 years earlier by Norwegian geophysicist Carl Stormer and a Dutch collaborator Balthasar van der Pol, the duo discovered that short wave radio messages were followed by mysterious echoes that were picked up at indiscriminate intervals after the original transmissions. Indeed, the delays were so long that they could not be readily attributed to atmospheric quirks, magnetic storms or other natural phenomena. To this day, scientists have been unable to solve the mystery of the echoes.

Scottish Astronomer and science writer Duncan Lunan, in a paper presented to the British Interplanetary Society in 1973, noticed a correspondence between the LDE effect and the periodic appearances of Black Knight. To go further, he claimed that these “echoes” carried messages and star map which he had decoded and the transmission corresponded to a star chart which would have been plotted from Earth 13,000 years ago, and focused on the star system of Epsilon Boötes. Lunan theorized the messages may have been relayed to earth by a robot spacecraft from a highly advanced civilization far beyond the solar system. More astonishing, Lunan added, the automatic vehicle may have been circling the moon for thousands of years, waiting patiently for earthlings to acquire the necessary know-how to contact it.

In 1960 Radio Astronomer Ronald Bracewell of Stanford University speculated on life elsewhere in the galaxy. An article published in Nature offered the theory that an advanced civilization might not necessarily use long-range radio signals to communicate with other intelligent beings. Such signals would be considerably weakened over interstellar distances. Instead, Bracewell said, those far-off beings might employ robot space probes as their message bearers. Sent to a promising nearby star, such a vehicle could swing into an orbit around it at approximately the right distance to encounter a planet with life-supporting temperatures. If it picked up telltale radio signals, the probe might then bounce them back to advertise its presence, thereby producing an effect like the echoes of the 1920s. Finally, as its first message, the robot might transmit a picture of the area of the heavens from which it came.

Black Knight made its presence known again in 1974. This time it wasn’t picked up by way of radar or radio frequency, rather it formed a direct link to one man. That man was science fiction author Philip K. Dick, best known for writing the stories on which the movies Blade Runner (1982) and Total Recall (1990) were based.

Beginning in February of 1974, and continuing for the next eight years, Dick had a series of “mystic” experiences and communications with the Black Knight Satellite that left behind was what he called the Exegesis, an 8000- page, one-million-word continuing dialogue with himself written at night. More about the accounts of Philip Dick can be found here.

Just as mysteriously as it arrives the Black Knight seems to also disappear—leaving us to wonder and speculate as to it’s existence, it’s origin and it’s true purpose.

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 Big Horn Medicine Wheel

A mysterious pattern of stones sits at the summit of Medicine Mountain, nearly 10,000 feet above the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming exists a massive medicine wheel. Covered by heavy snows for most of the year, the stone configuration reveals itself and its purpose only in the summer months.

The stones are arranged in the shape of a wheel, 80 feet across and with 28 spokes emanating from a central cairn. The cairn, a ring-shaped pile of rocks, is large enough to sit in and is surrounded by six others that lie along the wheel’s circumference. Oddly enough, this configuration is not unique to Wyoming. Rather, hundreds of similar stone wheels exist throughout North America. Of the various medicine wheels throughout the continent, Bighorn is one of the most well studied and preserved.

The Big Horn Mountains was significant to the Crow, the Sioux, the Arapaho, the Shoshone, and the Cheyenne Indians—but none of these tribes were known for building stone monuments. Bits of wood found in one of the six smaller groups situated unevenly about the rim indicates that the Medicine Wheel has been there since at least 1760 and was likely constructed around 1700. The monument has been known to non-natives for over a hundred years, but speculation about its true purposes has only inspired mysteries and tales.

John A. Eddy, a solar physicist and astronomer on the staff of the High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, became interested in the site, especially after he discovered a large, crude pile of stones oriented to the summer solstice sunrise at over 11,000 feet on the Continental Divide. Interested by this discovery, he wanted to investigate just how much the pre-contact native people might have known of astronomy, and it occurred to him that the wheel might have been an observatory. Research over two summers on the site convinced him that the Big Horn monument may have been a primitive astronomical observatory that served its creators at least as well as Stonehenge served its primitive astronomers.

The high altitude (9,640 feet) and the clear horizons of the monument make visible the marking of sunrise and sunset at the summer solstice. The accurate knowledge of the first day of summer would have been very important for a nomadic people whose lives depended on awareness of seasonal changes.

Today, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel is still an accurate predictor for the summer solstice and is used by various Native American groups. Additionally, the site is a registered National Historic Landmark and is monitored by an archaeologist throughout the summer. Other important medicine wheels include one at Moose Mountain in Saskatchewan and one in Majorville, Alberta that is believed to be 5000 years old, making it coeval with the pyramids in Egypt.

Via in part: UnexplainedStuff & AtlasObscura

The Timeless Mystery of Stonehenge

The more we dig, the more the mystery seems to deepen,” said William Hawley (1851–1941), the official archaeologist of Stonehenge following World War I. He was reporting to the press about his underfunded historical project that seemed to be languishing. Hawley wasn’t able to make much progress in understanding Stonehenge by the time he wearily gave up the task around 1925. Since then, many others have tried, and much information has been gained. Still, old legends and theories about Stonehenge seem to carry as much validity as information based on careful tests performed with the best in modern equipment. As Hawley observed, each new discovery seems to broaden the sublime aura of Stonehenge.

Located on Salisbury Plain in England, Stonehenge is a site of concentric rings of stone, an avenue, and paths leading to nearby burial sites. The stone circles are situated on a henge, an area enclosed by a bank and ditch; the surrounding circular ditch is 340 feet in diameter and five feet deep. There are four stone alignments—two are circles and two others are horseshoe-shaped patterns. The outer circle is about 100 feet in diameter and originally consisted of 30 upright stones (17 still stand), weighing an average of 25 tons and linked on top by a ring of stones. The stones, composed of Sarsen, a kind of sandstone, average about 26 feet in height. Pairs of standing stones are topped by a series of lintels—a term that describes an object that rests across two pillars, similar to the top part of a doorway. Such pairs of standing stones with a third horizontal lintel joining them at the top are called trilithons. All the stones were smoothed and shaped. The lintels are locked in place by sculpted, dovetail joints, and the edges were smoothed to maintain a gentle curving appearance.

A second ring consists of bluestones, a smaller-sized stone. Within that circle are five linteled pairs of Sarsen stones in a horseshoe shape. Another horseshoe, consisting of blue-stones, is at the center. An avenue outlined with parallel banks and ditches 40 feet apart leads into the henge. A single standing stone, called the Heel Stone, is positioned in the center of the avenue just outside the outer circular ditch.

Several of the upright stones were toppled during the Roman occupation of Britain between 55 B.C.E. and 410 C.E. Two upright stones and a lintel fell in 1797, and two more in 1900. The five stones that fell since 1797 were put back in place in 1958 to restore the look Stonehenge had between 400 and 1797.

Several theories have emerged about when Stonehenge was erected and the purposes it served. Stonehenge begins being mentioned in recorded history during the twelfth century, most notably by Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100–1154) in his History of the Kings of Britain. Geoffrey’s history freely mixes documented events with folklore and contains many chronological inaccuracies. Still, his fanciful story of how Stonehenge was erected on Salisbury Plain remained popular for centuries. Geoffrey credited Stonehenge to Merlin, a wizard most often associated with the legendary King Arthur. In Geoffrey’s account, Merlin was asked by Ambrosius Aurelianus, brother of Uther Pendragon and uncle of King Arthur, to erect a monument to commemorate the site where several hundred British nobles were murdered by Saxons. Merlin used magic to transport the stones from Ireland, where they had been erected in the form of Stonehenge after having been brought from Africa by giants. The formation of stones was called the Giants Dance.

Later theories emerged to overshadow Geoffrey’s tale. Stonehenge was credited as the work of the Mycenae, a civilization that thrived in the Aegean Sea area of the eastern Mediterranean region before the rise of Greece in the first millennium B.C.E. The Mycenae connection fit together with a theory that prevailed into the twentieth century that ancient megaliths throughout western Europe were designed and erected by members of eastern Mediterranean cultures, from which modern languages, histories, and other forms of culture emerged. In the second half of the twentieth century, however, advanced techniques for dating ancient objects showed that Stonehenge actually preceded the rise of Mycenean cuture.

The most popular modern theory connects Stonehenge with Celtic culture that thrived in Britain before the Romans came. A priestly order among the Celts called the Druids were believed to have supervised construction of Stonehenge and other stone circles in the region. Druids were keepers of lore and leaders of ceremonial rites among Celts. They have been associated with magic powers, human sacrifice, and various mystical rites, but many of those attributes were bestowed on them by non-Celtic historians and are, therefore, suspect. As Christianity spread through Great Britain by the fourth century, Celtic culture and the Druids were eventually overwhelmed.

Under the supervision of Druids, the theory goes, Stonehenge was a sacred ceremonial site. The famous Slaughter Stone at Stonehenge, which shows traces of red after a rain, was believed to have been an altar where Druids performed human sacrifices. It was subsequently discovered that the redness derives from iron minerals in the Slaughter Stone.

William Stukeley (1687–1765) perpetuated the Druid link to Stonehenge in the 1740s with his book, Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids (1740). Stukeley identified the avenue leading into Stonehenge as a procession route. Back during the 1720s, he had discovered parallel lines of banks and ditches near Stonehenge. He called the phenomenon a cursus, a Latin word for racetrack, since he thought the lines were joined at the ends to form an oval.

Stukeley contributed to a growing trend in Great Britain to recognize ancient Britons, especially Druids, as “bards” (poets) living in communion with nature. Stukeley himself “went Druid” and joined an order that practiced secret Druidic rites, and he assumed the name of Chyndonax after a fabled French Druid priest.

Sir J. Norman Lockyer
(1836–1920), who was once director of the Solar Physics Observatory in London and the founder of the journal Nature, published The Dawn of Astronomy in 1894. The book argued that ancient temples in Egypt were aligned for stellar observations and as calendars—to determine the summer solstice, for instance. His findings were controversial, but they helped spur further studies of the astronomical interests of ancient societies. Lockyer came to the same conclusion about ancient Britons as he had of Egyptians after studying Stonehenge and nearby pre-historic, megalithic structures. Lockyer believed that Stonehenge served as a calendar. It was known that Celts had divided their year into eight parts. According to Lockyer, Stonehenge and other megalithic sites were used to determine key points of the year, such as the coming of warm weather for planting. Lockyer viewed Druids, the keepers of Celtic lore and knowledge, as astronomer priests responsible for devising the megalithic calendars.

The astronomical orientation of Stonehenge, meanwhile, was largely ignored by archaeologists. However, it received a tremendous boost during the 1960s and 1970s when Boston University astronomer Gerald Hawkins studied the site and used a computer to compare historical solar and lunar alignments with vantage points in Stonehenge. He published his findings in 1963 in Nature, then in an expanded version in a book, Stonehenge Decoded (1965), which offered the most convincing scientific evidence yet that Stonehenge served as an astronomical observatory, specifically as a calendar.

When one stands in the middle of Stonehenge and looks through the entrance of the avenue on the morning of the summer solstice, for example, the Sun will rise above the Heel Stone, which is set on the avenue. If one stands in the entrance and looks into the circle at dusk of that day, the Sun will set between a trilithon. According to Hawkins, the use of Stonehenge as a calendar probably evolved from painstaking trial and error experiments with wooden poles to a permanent form with the standing stones. Hawkins’s work was greeted with great interest and much skepticism. Nevertheless, along with other studies around the same time, it helped spur a trend for greater scientific research into Stonehenge and confirmed a new discipline, archaeoastronomy, the study of the use of astronomy among ancient societies.

Credit for Stonehenge to the Celts continued until the 1950s, when radiocarbon testing determined that Stonehenge dated from about 3000 B.C.E. and that work was begun on the site even before the Celts migrated into Britain from the European continent. Subsequent studies have revealed that Stonehenge was built in waves of construction spanning several centuries. Smaller stones were brought to the site around 2600 B.C.E. and the largest stones arrived around 2100 B.C.E. The last work on the site dates from around 1800 B.C.E.

Though information has come forth about when Stonehenge was erected, the identity of its builders remains unknown—and where the stones came from and how they were moved into place, are yet other matters to be investigated. The Sarcens likely came from Marlborough Downs, a quarry site about 18 miles northeast of Stonehenge. How the stones could be moved from by a prehistoric people without the aid of the wheel or a pulley system is not known. The most common theory of how prehistoric people moved megaliths has them creating a track of logs on which the large stones were rolled along.

Another megalith transport theory involves the use of a type of sleigh running on a track greased with animal fat. Such an experiment with a sleigh carrying a 40-ton slab of stone was successful near Stonehenge in 1995. A dedicated team of more than 100 workers managed to push and pull the slab along the 18-mile journey from Marlborough Downs.

To erect the slab, the group dug a hole. The slab was pushed over the hole until it fell in. Then, a team pushed while another pulled by rope to make the slab stand upright. The hole was filled after the process was repeated with a second slab. The lintel stone that forms the top of the trilithon was pushed up a ramp and then maneuvered into place on top of the two pillars. Engineers at the test site believed that levers may have been used to raise the lintel stone, and timber put underneath; the process was repeated until the lintel stone rested on timber at the necessary height to push it in place to complete the trilithon.

Whether such methods were actually used during the construction is not known. Still, human sweat and ingenuity were shown as a legitimate alternative to Merlin’s magic and other theories about how Stonehenge was erected.

Via: UnexplainedStuff

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).