Mysteries

Who Came to Ancient America?

Unlike many “reality” shows, the History Channel series, The Curse of Oak Island, has a real dose of history behind its premise. If you can bear with the typical reality show style editing and pacing, you will be rewarded with clues to the island’s history. However, as they say, there is much more to the story.

This region of the North Atlantic seems to hold many more secrets beyond what Oak Island may hold. Paul Chiasson writes in The Island of Seven Cities and Written in Ruins of evidence pointing to Chinese visitors to Cape Brenton Island. Mysterious ruins and Chinese words in native languages are among the clues.

Graeme Davis’ Vikings in America attempts to unravel the scope of Viking excursions into the Americas. No one questions they were here, only the extent and impact of their travels.

In Irresistible North, Andrea Di Robilant tracks down the legendary Zeno brothers of Venice. Did they make it to the New World?

And finally, no ancient mysteries would be complete without throwing the Knights Templars into the mix. In Templars in America, Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins trace a globe trotting mystery that may have crossed paths with the Zeno brothers and followed the trail first blazed by the Vikings.

So, are you ready for some exploring?

curse

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Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Forgotten Places, History, Legend, Mysteries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost City of Z

David Grann‘s book The Lost City of Z reintroduced readers to the true story of Percy Fawcett‘s epic search for the legendary Lost City of Z in the Amazon. Now, it is being told on the big screen this spring and may be a welcome respite to the same old, action films. Check out the trailer here:

Categories: Ancient America, Forgotten Places, History, Mysteries, Native Americans | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Choose Your Adventure

The busyness of the Christmas season has become nearly a tradition itself. Many are bogged down in the Retail Apocalypse right to the last hours of Christmas Eve. Stores will do anything to get in you in the door and our leaders will smile at the minor economic bump and run and hide when it’s erased with post-holiday debt. Nevertheless, perhaps you’re like me and try to carve some time out of these weeks to tone it down a bit. Perhaps you’d like to go on an adventure? Disappear into the jungles searching for lost cities like Indiana Jones?

No, seriously, you can for only a few dollars.

In The Lost City of Z, you can follow the trail of legendary explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925, he disappeared into the Amazon looking for the fabled city. When you’re done, head to Honduras in Jungleland and search for Ciudad Blanca — perhaps the fabled El Dorado. Then head back down south and follow the footsteps of Hiram Bingham and explore Machu Picchu in Cradle of Gold.

So take a breath, turn the lights down, and vanish into another world.

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, artifacts, Books, Forgotten Places, History, Mysteries, Native Americans | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No E.T. Here

A little aside for today: For those who still think “crop circles,” especially intricate ones, can only be explained by aliens, see this.

Categories: Critical Thinking, Mysteries | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Sunken Continent?

Scientists have found evidence of a lost land off South America. Sunken part of that continent? Or a completely unknown land from deep history?

It’s the kind of thing that fiction is made of.

Categories: Forgotten Places, Mysteries, Prehistory | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ghosts?

Paranormal fiction is massively popular right now. This once subgenre of fantasy now warrants its own section in bookstores. The plethora of vampires and witches that populate many of these books don’t hold my interest. Epic fantasy with vast armies and creatures of ancient myth do. The paranormal and supernatural variety — which seem to be more or less the same thing — hone in on more human-based beings and present-day settings. I’ve always equated paranormal largely with ghosts and they don’t figure too much into fiction. In fact, you are more likely to find books on allegedly real ghost sightings than on imagined. This is what separates this one element of the fantasy world from the rest. Many believe ghosts are real. Trolls and vampires? Not so much.

But do ghosts exist?

There are countless ghost sightings and experiences by thousands of people. Even if one tries to find natural reasons for them all, there are many left that are a bit supernatural. Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t natural, only part of nature we don’t always know is there. Dimensional physics. Zero point energy. Nuclear energies that bind molecules together.

Think about it. Person dies in a horrible manner in a battle. What energy is released? If you believe we are more than our carbon atoms, what happens when a soul is (which, be definition, transcends our normal, everyday dimensions) ripped from a body? Does this leave imprints in space? These wouldn’t be a “living” ghost, more like a photograph. Or do traumatic incidents create rifts in the fabric of spacetime? Is this why some hear voices or see scenes from the past played out?

From a physics standpoint, such things aren’t necessarily the realm of fiction. Still, not all ghosts fall into this category. What about ones that are claimed to actually interact with people? Is there some type of being not angel or demon?

Some would say all such ghosts are demons. I heard a ghosthunter recently make a distinction that demons disguised as ghost always show their true colors sooner or later. Others will argue that any studying of or hunting for ghosts is to be avoided. Any “living” ghosts must be of evil origin.

This stems from endless haunted house movies and biblical warnings about spirits in 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 John 4:1, etc. “Spirits” most likely means demons. Yet there appears to be non-demon, non-angel entities described in 1 Samuel 28 and Mark 9:2-8. Are these ghosts? Scripture is not entirely clear on what classifications these manifestations should be considered. However, the witch’s surprise in Samuel seems to indicate she saw something that she had never seen before, nor expected. So was it a ghost of or an act of God? And in Mark, there is no indication that Elijah and Moses were anything but Elijah and Moses. So in the end, the Bible does not appear to contain examples of what are typically defined as ghosts outside of demonic entities.

What are the nature of ghosts that can’t be explained by physics or demons? Or perhaps those are the only explanations we require.

Categories: Fiction, Mysteries | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Were there Giants in Ancient America?

“Now that’s an odd question,” you ask. “Giants?”

Well, I haven’t posted on ancient history in awhile, so let me wander for a bit. The thing is, many of the old county histories detail the findings of giant human bones throughout the country. There have been hoaxes, so many are apt to discard all accounts. Why would history after history write about something nonexistent? These books aren’t full of fantastic tales, but report local history matter-of-factly.

Then we never hear about the giants again.

Suspicious? Perhaps. Why no discoveries since? A cover-up or were there simply not that many of them? Were they just inspired by the tall-tale-telling of the 19th Century? Was inserting giants into histories just a passing fad?

The tone and widely spread accounts seem to argue for authenticity in the face of no proof of hoaxing. So were they all misidentifications of mammoth or other animal bones, as some have suggested? Or perhaps we are just reading our understanding of the past into history.

Without actual bones, this is mostly an exercise in various views trying to disprove the other. Perhaps if some of the more extreme views have not clouded the issue, and others weren’t so quick to dismiss things that didn’t fit the status quo, maybe it wouldn’t be such a fringe topic.

Ultimately, we should ask, legends often have kernels of truth, so why not history itself?

Categories: Ancient America, Legend, Mysteries | Tags: , | Leave a comment

What was the Star of Bethlehem?

Planets, stars, novas or even UFOs, all have been presented as the source of the account in the Gospel of Matthew. He was the only gospel writer who felt it necessary to include the star, which make many wonder if it really happened. Like many of these topics, one can choose to be quickly dismissive or delve deeper.

The latter is what Michael R. Molnar does in his book The Star of Bethlehem. It’s one of the most complete studies of the topic I have run across and draws out many overlooked details in the biblical account and from history. Some additional studies from a science-faith think tank can be found here, but Molnar’s book would be a great study for this Christmas season.

If you want more Christmas lore, try Revelation of the Magi by Brent Landau. This is a translation of a once popular, now largely forgotten, apocryphal Christian story. It’s a fascinating account for students of early Christian history and Christmas traditions. Does it add any truth to the gospel account? Maybe, maybe not. It has the style of fiction rather than historical reporting.

Now Landau’s speculations about the story and the biblical account are, at times, poor theology. He thinks the infancy accounts have no value and supposedly the “majority” of scholars agree. It didn’t take me long to find many who disagree with that. He also seems to be promoting some sort of pluralistic variety of Christianity by somehow concluding this Magi text points to all religious beliefs coming from Christ. It’s sad that some “scholars” seem to ignore scholars who don’t agree with them and try to dumb down Christianity (I’m not saying other religions don’t have any truths in them, but pluralists like to pretend everyone is the same). So don’t buy Landau’s book for the theology. If ancient texts interest you, his translation of the Magi text is a good read.

Instead of non-stop rushing around this month, take some time, sit by the Christmas tree, and learn about the history and traditions that surround us this time of year.

Categories: Ancient Documents, Bible, Mysteries, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easter Island Still Unsolved

The Navel of the World it is called. A speck on a map in the endless Pacific. Yet ancient people found it and erected some of the most iconic statues of the ancient world. Mysterious and solemn, the Moai stare, not out over the ocean, but inward. How the people of Easter Island – the Rapa Nui – built them and what happened to their culture has been debated for decades. The current issue of National Geographic details the current state of theorizing over this lost past.

In Jared Diamond’s Collapse, he championed the theory that Easter Island’s civilization collapsed largely due to their destruction of the island’s environment. Once forested, it is nearly empty of trees to this day. Other researchers, as chronicled in The Statues That Walked, lay out evidence that the environmental destruction wasn’t intentional, nor as widespread and not the final nail in their coffin.

As in the end of any culture, many factors were at work. It can be hard to pin the blame on any one as primary, as they often work in tandem.

Of course, the real question is will we learn from the past or suffer the same fate caused by the blindness of hubris?

Categories: Ancient Sites, Mysteries | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Who Exactly Were the Neanderthals?

The status and sophistication of the hominid species Neanderthal has been a matter of debate for decades. Once thought to be an ancestor man, genetic studies show it to be unrelated, though some studies have shown possible limited interbreeding. But how advanced were they? They existed for over a 100 millenia and went extinct about the same time man was making his big push across the globe. One recent study concludes they were building boats. They are the only other known hominid to ever approach man’s abilities.

Like all other hominids and primates, they pose a bit of problem for evolution in that they appear suddenly in history. The “family tree” of man is technically made up of assumed connections between bone fragments. Even though largely not considered man’s ancestor, they are often still referred as a “cousin” or such to fit into the evolutionary paradigm. This why some creationists still pretend they are humans in spite of the evidence. Taking this track instead of focusing on the more obvious problems doesn’t make a lot sense. I suspect this is just to fit this mysterious species into their own flawed interpretation of Earth’s history.

So where do neanderthals fit into the picture? How advanced did they get? Were they simply the latest in a long line of increasingly advanced primates, as some have suggested, designed to prepare the world for man? No evidence of religion or similar levels of sentience is known among them. Their use of simple tools is not unheard of in the animal world. But boats?

We pretend we have explained man’s past and the other beings we share the planet with. It takes only a quick glance to find that each new discovery has only proven we know very little.

It was religion that first said we all originated from the same ancestors, in one location and that intelligence and religion existed from the beginning. Science and history have caught up and verified these claims. Yet many still close one eye to the flaws and holes in evolution and young-earth creationism.

Perhaps someday people will allow facts lead to where they may without trying to bend them around a preconceived conclusion.

[For more on man’s past, see Who was Adam?.]

Categories: Mysteries, Origins of Man, Prehistory | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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