Archive for March, 2005

Hopi issue a warning

Indian Country Today reports a warning of impending trouble:

HOTEVILLA, Ariz. – From Hopiland, a spiritual vortex for Native people, spiritual leaders Dan Evehema and Thomas Banyacya became the voice of the voiceless: the birds and animals.

Warning of the impending apocalypse, they urged all people of good hearts to join them.

Even in their last years, Evehema and Banyacya warned that material greed and ignoring spiritual truth results in climate change, and, ultimately, the destruction of the world.

Hopi Snake Priest Evehema said the disease in the world today is greed, and the final insult for this country’s aboriginal people is the loss of ceremonial land.

The mystery of the Moon

The Moon holds a fascination for us. We may have walked on it, written songs about it, made love under it or planted our crops by it. But our nearest space neighbor remains an enigma. has the story:

Planet Earth’s natural satellite has got a grip on scientists. The charisma of the Moon is made more so by many unanswered questions, even after Apollo moonwalkers went the distance to study the nearby, crater-pocked globe.

Not only the U.S., but European, Indian, Japanese and Chinese probes are being readied for a new scientific assault on the Moon, hoping to glean insight about lunar ice, the Moon’s cratering history, and even how that big, dusty ball of rock got there in the first place.

Johnny Cash: “Hurt”

I added the video at the top of the site. It is probably a temporary feature. I love the song. And it is appropriate to the site because Johnny Cash sounds like a dying man singing out the last of his glorious life. It’s hauntingly beautiful.

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ISIS investigates haunted New England mansion

The Book of Thoth carries fascinating details:

In the 1890’s the Houghton Mansion belonged to the former mayor of North Adams Massachusetts, Albert C. Houghton.It is now a Masonic lodge and home to the Greylock Lodge A.F. & A.M. and the Naomi Chapter of the Eastern Star.

The mansion has been identified as haunted and has been previously investigated by The New England Ghost Project.

Go read the details. It’s well worth the click on the link.

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Lost novel of Dumas resurrects mystery of Nelson’s death

Lord Admiral Horation Nelson is a historic hero of mine; Alexandre Dumas one of my favorite novelists. Now their paths cross. From The Australian:

A QUARREL about who killed Admiral Horatio Nelson is about to be revived with the first publication of the lost final novel of Alexandre Dumas.

The French marksman who shot the British commander at Trafalgar is the hero of Le Chevalier de Saint Hermine, a 900-page work Dumas was turning out for serial publication in the months before his death in 1870.

The imminent appearance of the lost Dumas, the product of eight years of detective work by Claude Schopp, a Dumas expert, had been kept secret and has taken the literary world by surprise.

Mr Schopp gathered the text from newspapers of the period and other places, including a library in Prague.

Britain has always doubted French claims that Sergeant Robert Guillemard, a Provencal fusilier, shot Nelson from the mizzenmast of Le Redoutable and survived to tell the tale.

Midshipman John Pollard was credited by Captain Thomas Hardy, commander of HMS Victory, with killing the sniper, who was described as an anonymous infantryman.

As an older man, the then Commander Pollard wrote to The Times in 1863 to complain that another former midshipman, Edward Collingwood, was trying to take the credit.

Dumas appears to have exploited uncertainty over the identity of the marksmen to put his hero’s finger on the trigger. By weaving historic fact with swashbuckling fiction, the author of The Three Musketeers was pursuing his life’s mission of bringing French history to the masses through fiction.

St Hermine is the long-missing third part of a trilogy about a band of aristocratic adventurers set during the revolutionary terror and the Napoleonic empire. Hector de St Hermine appears briefly in the previous two parts, Les Blancs et les Bleus and Les Compagnons de Jehu.

The goddess with 100-foot breasts

I like art. The Times of London has the story:

FIRST came the Angel of the North. Now motorists using the A1 are to be confronted with the far earthier figure of a giant reclining “goddess” stretching her curves alongside nearly half a mile of the dual carriageway.

The woman, with breasts and hips up to 100ft high, will be created 10 miles north of Newcastle from the waste material generated by open-cast mining, with each of her enormous curves concealing millions of tons of mining spoil.

By the time the “Goddess of the North” is finished in two to three years she should be among the world’s largest sculptures and visible from a passing passenger jet.

Charles Jencks, the renowned landscape sculptor behind the designs, said: “When finished you will see the most incredible curvaceous woman lying there with her left leg over the right and her hair spread out.”

World War II ‘plague’ submarine discovered at bottom of ocean

University of Hawaii researchers found a World War II-era Japanese sub designed to carry out an attack with biological weapons. DefenseTech has the story:

The submarine is from the I-400 Sensuikan Toku class of subs, the largest built before the nuclear-ballistic-missile submarines of the 1960s. They were 400 feet long and nearly 40 feet high and could carry a crew of 144. The submarines were designed to carry three “fold-up” bombers that could quickly be assembled…

An I-400 and I-401 were captured at sea a week after the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Their mission, which was never completed, reportedly was to use the aircraft to drop rats and insects infected with bubonic plague, cholera, typhus and other diseases on U.S. cities.

When the bacteriological bombs could not be prepared in time, the mission reportedly was changed to bomb the Panama Canal. Both submarines were ordered to sail to Pearl Harbor and were deliberately sunk later, partly because Russian scientists were demanding access to them.

Students study the supernatural in Buffalo

Let’s shuffle over to The Buffalo News for the story:

We’re in good hands. In my annual April Fool visit to the realm of pseudoscience, I visited Center for Inquiry Research Fellow Chris Whittle’s University at Buffalo honors class studying the so-called supernatural.

His 21 students are investigating reports of everything from coffee shop ghosts in Clarence (Alyssa Brown) to the monster South Bay Bessie in Lake Erie (Ryan McNerney); from the physics of quack medical devices (Chris Wirz) to voices heard over white noise (Heather Camp); from the reported odd behavior of the Buffalo Museum of Science’s mummies (Hajan Thomas, Luke Mohr, Jon Morabito, Peter Ruocco and Laura Karnath) to the contemporary local occurrence of panthers (Sarah Finch); from abominable snowmen in Washington State (William King and Chris LaFleur) to giant frogs in Buffalo’s old Central Terminal basement (Ian Phillips).

“It’s all nonsense” may be your first reaction – as was my own – but these bright and energetic young men and women have been asked to take their responsibilities seriously and to examine their assigned aspect of what some – but unfortunately not most – of us think of as weirdness with objectivity.

I think these students are doing a remarkable job.

The most serious problem in carrying out their research, they told me, is bringing objectivity to their task. When you’re a member of a university community, the identified home of science and rationality, that’s not so easy to do. When you’re taught by a Center for Inquiry representative, you know which way the class is slanted.


One is Nathan Brandwein’s study of so-called “real vampires” – yes, vampires. These are not people restricted to Transylvania: a quick Web check locates at least 45 here in Buffalo. There are several roles: sanguinarians who drink human blood and psi-vampires who instead get their boost through psychic energy. At least they’re not modern-day Draculas: they have volunteer donors. One vampire Web site even welcomes the following: “Vampires, Wiccans, WereCreatures, Goths, Pagans, Dragons, the Fae (all types, Fairies, Sidhe, Elves, etc.), Donors and Supporters.”

Click on the link for the entire story. It’s a good read.

Ghost hunters search in Texas

The San Antonio Express News has the details:

Feeling a presence in one of the darkened rooms of Victoria’s Black SwanInn, Gloria Young began to speak. “If you’re here, will you make your presence known?” she asked. Nothing. She tried several more questions. Then, finally, “If you’re here, will you speed up the Geiger counter?”

It had been clicking about once every 30 seconds. Click click click click click. “Thank you,” she replied, ever respectful.

The Geiger counter was just one of the many devices pressed into service by Young and the handful of other ghost hunters who descended on the innfor a ghost hunting seminar, which took place Saturday in the day andnight at the storied inn.

Though Young acknowledged no one yet knows if a Geiger counter can detect ghosts, it is one of many technologies sheand other ghost hunters use.

The inn and the buildings surrounding it on the 35-acre property along Salado and Walzem creeks are thought by many to be chock-full of spooks and spirits. American Indians lived on the land for hundreds of years. The Mexican Army and early Texans met in bloody battle there in 1842.

The grand oldhouse that now hosts weddings and brunches has seen its share oftragedies. Jo Ann Rivera, who bought the property in 1987, became a believer notlong after moving into the inn.

She says she constantly hears voices, piano music and footsteps. She says she’s even seen apparitions,including a little girl who shows herself more often to men staying at the inn.

Archaeology, Biblical scripture and tomb raiders

Is the ossuary of James a clever forgery or a legitimate artifact?

The question comes up because the ossuary was not dug up at an authorized excavation, where every shard is scrutinized by scholars.

Like most so-called antiquities, it just turned up in the shop of an antiques dealer, which is another way of saying it was looted.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has a special unit of archaeological detectives trying to stop this trade. They spend their nights burrowing underground on the trail of tomb-raiders, like those who may have stolen the ossuary from the tomb of James. The trouble is, no one has any idea when that happened, or where.

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