Extinction of Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Experts disagree about what caused their extinction. Some believe the extinction was caused by a such as a meteorite or comet hitting the earth. Others believe a more gradual process was responsible, such as the competition between mammals and dinosaurs, or severe climatic changes. We're also not sure of how long it took for extinction to take place. Some believe it happened over half a million years and others say it only took a few days. The extinction event that killed the dinosaurs effected the entire earth! Plants and animals on both land and in water were affected. The disappearance of other living things was so great that scientists knew about the extinction 30 years before the first dinosaur was discovered.

The victims of the Cretaceous extinction included dinosaurs, ammonites (mollusks related to the octopus, and the chambered nautilus), pterosaurs, and certain plant groups. But many other animal groups, even some large-bodied reptile groups like champsosaurs, were not affected. The image of the last majestic dinosaurs passing away and leaving a world of shrew-like mammals and cold-blooded reptiles is false. Instead, many of the major modern land animals were already living in the Cretaceous.



Dinosaurs shared their last million years with modern creatures. Since more than just dinosaurs became extinct, reasons that only explain why dinosaurs died can be ruled out. For instance, there is one theory that disease caused the extinction of dinosaurs. But a disease could not have caused the extinction of plants and animals over the whole world. There are two groups of extinction theories: catastrophic extinction and gradual extinction. Catastrophic extinction would have been caused by a sudden, external event, such as the collision of the earth with an asteroid, or the eruption of a series of gigantic volcanoes. Gradual extinction would have been the result of changes in the earth's land mass and climate shifts. It could also have been because new and better animals won in the struggle for existence.

Until the recent theories about collisions, some ideas about the disappearance of dinosaurs centered around mammals beating them in the struggle to survive. One theory suggests that mammals killed dinosaurs because they ate dinosaur eggs. Other scientists have suggested that dinosaurs caused their own extinction. According to this theory, too many meat-eating dinosaurs evolved, eating all the plant-eaters, causing all dinosaurs to die. These ideas have the same pitfall described earlier. They explain dinosaur extinction but ignore the extinction of other groups. The extinction event did not kill all animal and plant life. Many kinds of animals survived, including fishes, frogs, turtles, crocodilians, birds, and mammals. Scientists must take the fossil record and find reasons for all extinctions.

(Taken from many sources)
20:38 | 1 komentar

The Dragon's Triangle

In recent years much has been written about the Bermuda Triangle and the mysterious phenomena associated with it. Most of us are aware that the Bermuda Triangle is a triangular shaped area of ocean stretching from the Straits of Florida, north-east to Bermuda, south to Lesser Antilles and then back to Florida. Less known, on the other side of the world, there exists a similar area of ocean known as the Dragon’s Triangle. The Dragon’s Triangle follows a line from Western Japan, north of Tokyo, to a point in the Pacific at approximate latitude of 145 degrees east. It turns west south west, past the Bonin Islands, then down to Guam and Yap, west towards Taiwan, before heading back to Japan in a north north easterly direction. Both areas share stories of missing maritime vessels and aircraft, reports of malfunctioning navigational and communication equipment and tales of drifting, crewless ghost ships.

The Dragon’s Triangle in particular, bears testament to an ever-changing seascape. Islands and lands masses have formed and disappeared literally overnight through volcanic activity and seaquakes. Records reveal islands charted by experienced navigators, and documented as having been visited; yet years later no trace of these places could be found!


Another common factor is the existence of agonic lines - lines of no magnetic variation, along which the magnetic needle points directly north and south. The principle agonic line in the Western Hemisphere runs directly through the Bermuda triangle, whilst the principle agonic line in the Eastern Hemisphere runs through the Dragon’s triangle. Which in both cases often leads to extreme compass deviation in the surrounding area. For over a thousand years, possibly longer, the Japanese and their neighbours have recorded strange occurrences and disappearances. Ancient records tell of restless dragons surfacing from the depths, and taking unfortunate mariners back to their underground lairs. Legends dating back to c.1000 BC tell of underwater palaces inhabited by dragons and of a great slumbering dragon which lived in the cavern beneath the sea.

However, it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that western attention was drawn to this eastern phenomenon, and connections made with the Bermuda Triangle. Despite frequent coverage in the Japanese media of disappearances, reports rarely made the international press. Language barriers and racist attitudes may have a lot to do with this. One wonders how well known the Bermuda Triangle might have been if it wasn’t situated off the coast of the United States?

In ancient times such happenings were explained by the interventions of gods, demons and mythical creatures. Today, the fate of the missing craft and crews remains a mystery; although many explanations have been suggested. These include, alien abduction, the disappearance into a “black hole” or gateway to another dimension, time or parallel universe. The destruction and disappearance without trace by extreme natural phenomena. Falling prey to covert military or scientific experimentation or abduction by “unfriendly forces”. Even elaborate insurance fraud has been suggested; whereby ships end up in breakers yards and are reported missing in the triangle!

Whatever the answer, the Dragon’s Triangle, along with it’s Bermudan equivalent, remains one of the world’s best kept secrets. Perhaps the answer lies with the great slumbering dragon.

(Written by Ade Dimmick)
19:41 | 0 komentar

Life On Mars

The idea that the Earth could be invaded by a marauding army of creatures from Mars is a scene now suitable only for vintage science-fiction – with the advent of modern technology and better understanding, even our creative writers have progressed. The suggestion that intelligent life forms live so close to Earth is now too implausible for fiction. But as we learn more about the universe, so our intelligence contradicts old, established beliefs. Can it be true that conventional wisdom is wrong? In 1976, Viking Orbiter 1 was sent to scan the surface of Mars. The craft was designed to photograph the planet’s terrain and find a suitable landing site for a future Viking Landing 2 mission. Investigators studying the photographs found a picture of Mars’ Cydonia region that seemed to show a milewide hill shaped like a human face. NASA claimed it was just a trick of the light, and released the image, naming it the ‘Mars Face’.

However, many enthusiasts believed that close scrutiny of the photographs proved that some formations were artificial, rather than naturally created. Some people stated that the face was the design of an intelligent life form, and some believed that triangular-shaped hills near the face were actually pyramids. In 1998 and 2001 the Mars Global Surveyor took more photographs of the Cydonia region.


NASA has promised to continue mapping the area until the question is answered and former NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, vowed that the Cydonia region of Mars will be studied to everybody’s satisfaction. Other developments in the quest to find life on Mars have also thrown up some fascinating results.

A meteorite from Mars was found in Antarctica in 1984 and the NASA scientists who studied it found it contained evidence that bacterial life may actually exist, or have existed, on the planet. The space rock contained hydrocarbons, which are the natural waste products of dead micro-organisms, mineral structures consistent with bacterial activity and tiny globules of carbonate, which may be microfossils. In NASA’s opinion, these features found together strongly point to possible micro-organism activity. Another recent discovery was published when data found by the Pathfinder mission to Mars suggested there might be chlorophyll in its soil.


Pathfinder touched down in the Ares Vallis region of the planet in July 1997, and took many pictures and readings from the area in which it landed. Some of the pictures it took revealed that two areas close to the landing site may have contained chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a substance used by plants and other organisms to extract energy from sunlight. It is an important component of life on our planet, a very stark indicator that there may be life on another planet too. The most important ingredient for life is water. It had generally been assumed that there was little easily available water on the surface of Mars, and most of that was frozen solid. However, recent studies have suggested that the surface is actually just a covering over a permafrost layer.

NASA and Russian scientists have looked at the examples of life found in permafrost regions of Earth, and believe similar organisms may lurk somewhere on Mars. Other experts who have studied the surface of the planet have noted how similar it is to former, now driedup, river, lake and ocean areas on Earth. It all suggests that water was in abundance at some time on Mars. American President George Bush certainly seems to share in this opinion, and his budget announcements have all favoured putting some money into space research, particularly on Mars. One statement said that ‘habitable worlds’ may be more prevalent than scientists once thought. He vowed to put $3 billion into Project Prometheus, a plan to find out more about our solar system. This money should prove to be highly beneficial for the Mars projects, for, as each new study seems to throw up more potential questions, it may well take nothing less than a manned mission to Mars to finally put the mystery to rest.

(Source : 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy)
18:40 | 0 komentar

The Dead Sea Scrolls

The northern shore of the Dead Sea is a particularly dry, arid place. It is 13 miles from Jerusalem, and even though the area is often shrouded in haze, the humidity levels are extremely low: it is the perfect place to preserve ancient artifacts. In the spring of 1947 two young Bedouin shepherds were looking for a lost goat among the cliffs in the area known as Qumran. As they hunted from cave to cave, they came upon a store of jars containing many papyrus and parchment manuscripts. These scrolls only came to prominence later that year when the Bedouin sold seven of the texts to a local antiquities dealer. As the academic world grew to hear about the discoveries, intense excitement burst through the global community of historians. Little did they know that this would be the most important discovery of ancient scrolls in the entire century.

In 1949 the exact location of the initial find was discovered, and the cave was given a thorough archaeological survey. More fragments of scrolls were uncovered, along with pieces of cloth, pottery and wood.

The Cave where Dead Sea Scrolls have been found

Over the next seven years ten more caves containing ancient texts were found in the Qumran area, and the remains of around 850 different scrolls were discovered in total. The caves were named in the order that they were searched, and cave four, uncovered in 1952, proved the single biggest haul of artefacts with 15,000 fragments of 500 different manuscripts.

A complex of ancient structures close to the caves, referred to as the Qumran ruin, was also excavated. What the scientists discovered was that the scrolls and the ruin both dated from between the third century BC and 68 AD, placing them around the time of Christ. It seems the texts formed the library of a Jewish sect, similar to the Essenes.


The Essenes were a strict Torah observing society, who disliked the established priesthood and may have actually been wiped out by the Jerusalem based church. It is thought the ruins at Qumran formed part of their society, and the scrolls were hidden from the advancing Roman army around AD 70. The truly fascinating thing about the scrolls is not so much their history, but what they actually say. The scrolls have been deciphered and reconstructed by expert modern scholars. They tend to fall into two groups: texts concerned with religion and others revealing details of daily lives and history. There are copies of many biblical writings, and all but one book of the Old Testament.






More interestingly, there are previously unseen psalms authored by King David and Joshua, and also some prophecies attributed to Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel that do not appear in the Bible. The scrolls contain previously unknown stories about Enoch, Abraham and Noah. Similarly the lost words of Amram, Joseph, Judah, Levi and Naphtali are also revealed in the texts. Surprisingly, given their date and proximity to New Testament events, the life of Jesus Christ is not mentioned. The scrolls are mainly written in Hebrew, but also feature passages in Aramaic and Greek.

Some scrolls explain laws and codes of battle, whereas others recount poems and the philosophies of wise men. The most enigmatic information contained in the scrolls lists 64 places around Israel where ancient treasures are buried. It is suggested that not only gold and silver is hidden there, but many of the holy objects from the temple of Jerusalem were also deposited in distant, unknown places for safekeeping. Although the scrolls were all discovered within eight years, the collection was scattered among universities, museums and scholarly institutions across the world.

(Taken from many sources)
18:07 | 0 komentar

Fountain of Youth

Florida is often said to be the location of the Fountain of Youth, a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. A long-standing story is that Spanish explorer and Puerto Rico's first Governor, Juan Ponce de León, was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to present-day Florida in 1513, but the story did not start with him, nor was it unique to the New World. Tales of healing waters date to at least the time of the Alexander Romance, and were popular right up to the European Age of Exploration. The later legend derives from the "Water of Life" tale in the Eastern versions of the Alexander Romance, where Alexander the Great and his servant cross the Land of Darkness to find the restorative spring. The servant in that story is in turn derived from Middle Eastern legends of Al-Khidr, a sage who appears also in the Qur'an.

Al-Khidr and Alexander watch The Water of Life revive a salted-fish

There are countless indirect sources for the tale as well. Eternal youth is a gift frequently sought in myth and legend, and stories of things such as the philosopher's stone, universal panaceas, and the elixir of life are common throughout Eurasia and elsewhere.

The Arawaks and the land of Bimini
The native stories about the curative spring were related to the mythical land of "Beimeni", or Beniny, a land of wealth and prosperity. The spring was purportedly located on an island called Boinca. Although subsequent interpretations suggested the land was located in the vicinity of the Bahamas, the natives were referring to a location in the Gulf of Honduras.


The islands of Bimini in the Bahamas were known as La Vieja during the Ponce expedition. According to legend, the Spanish heard of Bimini from the Arawaks in Hispaniola, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Sequene, an Arawak chief from Cuba, had purportedly been unable to resist the lure of Bimini and its restorative fountain. He gathered a troupe of adventurers and sailed north, never to return. Word spread among Sequene's more optimistic tribesmen that he and his followers had located the Fountain of Youth and were living in luxury in Bimini. Bimini and its curative waters were widespread subjects in the Caribbean. Italian-born chronicler Peter Martyr d'Anghiera (Peter Martyr) told of them in a letter to the pope in 1513, though he didn't believe the stories and was dismayed that so many others did.

Ponce de León and Florida


The story continues that Juan Ponce de León heard of the fountain from the people of Puerto Rico when he conquered the island. Growing dissatisfied with his material wealth, he launched an expedition to locate it, and in the process discovered Florida. Though he was one of the first Europeans to set foot on the American mainland, he never found the Fountain of Youth. The story is apocryphal. While Ponce de León may well have heard of the Fountain and believed in it, his name was not associated with the legend in writing until after his death. That connection is made in Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo's Historia General y Natural de las Indias of 1535, in which he wrote that Ponce de León was looking for the waters of Bimini to cure his sexual impotence. Some researchers have suggested that Oviedo's account may have been politically inspired to generate favor in the courts.

A similar account appears in Francisco López de Gómara's Historia General de las Indias of 1551. In the Memoir of Hernando D'Escalante Fontaneda in 1575, the author places the restorative waters in Florida and mentions de León looking for them there; his account influenced Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas' history of the Spanish in the New World. Fontaneda had spent 17 years as an Indian captive after being shipwrecked in Florida as a boy.

In his Memoir he tells of the curative waters of a lost river he calls "Jordan" and refers to de León looking for them. However, Fontaneda makes it clear he is skeptical about these stories he includes, and says he doubts de León was actually looking for the fabled stream when he came to Florida. Additionally, Ponce did not mention the fountain in his writings throughout the course of his expedition. It is Herrera who makes that connection definite in the romanticized version of Fontaneda's story included in his Historia general de los hechos de los Castellanos en las islas y tierra firme del Mar Oceano. Herrera states that local caciques paid regular visits to the fountain. A frail old man could become so completely restored that he could resume "all manly exercises… take a new wife and beget more children." Herrera adds that the Spaniards had unsuccessfully searched every "river, brook, lagoon or pool" along the Florida coast for the legendary fountain. It would appear the Sequene story is likewise based on a garbling of Fontaneda.

The very last excursion of Ponce de León ended in the vicinity of the modern Port Charlotte, Florida. Within a very short distance from the site of his last battle lies Warm Mineral Springs. This spring has been in use for thousands of years. It is, therefore, conceivable that his last action was an attempt to reach this artesian well, and to ascertain whether it is the Fountain.

(Source and Pics from Wikipedia)
16:48 | 1 komentar

Dracula


Count Dracula, a fictional character in the Dracula novel, was inspired by one of the best-known figures of the Romanian history — Vlad Dracula, nicknamed Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) — who was a ruler of Wallachia (1456-1462). Many "Dracula Tours" are being offered throughout Romania. They include the most important historical places related with Vlad Tepes, such as 14th Century town of Sighisoara — Vlad's birthplace. The house in which Vlad Dracula was born has a small plaque on the door and now is a restaurant and small museum of medieval weapons. Other Dracula sights are: the Snagov Monastery — where, according to legend, Vlad is said to have been buried after his assassination; Castle Bran (Castle Dracula); the Poenari fortress; the village of Arefu — where many Dracula legends are still told; the city of Brasov — where Vlad led raids against the Saxons merchants; and, of course, Curtea Domneasca — Dracula's palace in Bucharest.

An Intriguing Figure in The Fifteenth Century
Count Dracula is more than 100 years old and still alive! Of course, almost everybody has heard about this Nosferatu: through movies featuring Max Schreck, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Gary Oldman; in several books — among which the recent Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice; or even in bedtime stories told to us in our childhood. We all have an idea of who or what the Count is. However, on the other hand, Vlad Tepes (Dracula), the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker for his novel, is definitely less known.


Vlad Tepes was born in December 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. Vlad's father, governor of Transylvania, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order — which could be compared to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John or even to the Teutonic Order of Knights — was a semi-military and religious society, origin
ally created in 1387 by the Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Barbara Cilli. The main goal of such a secret fraternal order of knights was mainly to protect the interests of Christianity and to crusade against the Turks. The boyars of Romania associated the dragon with the Devil and decided to call Vlad's father "Dracul" — which in Romanian language, means "Devil"; "Dracula" is a diminutive, which means "the son of the Devil." In the winter of 1436-1437, Dracul became prince of Wallachia (one of the three Romanian provinces) and took up residence at the palace of Tirgoviste, the princely capital. Vlad followed his father and lived six years at the princely court. In 1442, in order to keep the Turks at bay, Dracul sent his son Vlad and his younger brother Radu, to Istanbul, as hostages of the Sultan Murad II.

Vlad was held in there until 1448. This Turkish captivity surely played an important role in Dracula's upbringing; it must be at this period that he adopted a very pessimistic view of life and learned the Turkish method of impalement on stakes. The Turks set Vlad free after informing him of his father's assassination in 1447. He also learned about his older brother's death and how he had been tortured and buried alive by the boyars of Tirgoviste. When he was 17 years old, Vlad Tepes (Dracula), supported by a force of Turkish cavalry and a contingent of troops lent to him by pasha Mustafa Hassan, made his first major move toward seizing the Wallachian throne. Vlad became the ruler of Wallachia in July of 1456.


During his six-year reign he committed many cruelties, and hence establi
shed his controversial reputation. His first major act of revenge was aimed at the boyars of Tirgoviste for for not being loyal to his father. On Easter Sunday of what we believe to be 1459, he arrested all the boyar families who had participated at the princely feast. He impaled the older ones on stakes while forcing the others to march from the capital to the town of Poenari. This fifty-mile trek was quite grueling and no one was permitted to rest until they reached destination. Dracula then ordered boyars to build him a fortress on the ruins of an older outpost overlooking the Arges River. Many died in the process, and Dracula therefore succeeded in creating a new nobility and obtaining a fortress for future emergencies. What is left today of the building is identified as Poenari Fortress (Cetatea Poenari).

Vlad The Impaler

Vlad Tepes adopted the method of impaling criminals and enemies and raising them aloft in the town square for all to see. Almost any crime, from lying and stealing to killing, could be punished by impalement. Being so confident in the effectiveness of his law, Dracula placed a golden cup on display in the central square of Tirgoviste. The cup could be used by thirsty travelers, but had to remain on the square. According to the available historic sources, it was never stolen and remained entirely unmolested throughout Vlad's reign. Crime and corruption ceased; commerce and culture thrived, and many Romanians to this day view Vlad Tepes as a hero for his fierce insistence on honesty and order. In the beginning of 1462, Vlad launched a campaign against the Turks along the Danube River. It was quite risky, the military force of Sultan Mehmed II being by far more powerful than the Wallachian army. However, during the winter of 1462, Vlad was very successful and managed to gain several victories.


Sultan Mehmed II

To punish Dracula, the Sultan decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Wallachia. His other goal was to transform this land into a Turkish province. He entered Wallachia with an army three times larger than Dracula's. Finding himself without allies, and forced to retreat towards Tirgoviste, Vlad burned his own villages and poisoned the wells along the way, so that the Turkish army would find nothing to eat or drink. Moreover, when the Sultan, exhausted, finally reached the capital city, he was confronted by a most gruesome sight: hundreds of stakes held the remaining carcasses of Turkish captives, a horror scene which was ultimately nicknamed the "Forest of the Impaled". This terror tactic deliberately stage-managed by Dracula was definitely successful; the scene had a strong effect on Mehmed's most stout-hearted officers, and the Sultan, tired and hungry, decided to withdraw (it is worth mentioning that even Victor Hugo, in his Legende des Siecles, recalls this particular incident). Nevertheless, following his retreat from Wallachian territory, Mehmed encouraged and supported Vlad's younger brother Radu to take the Wallachian throne. At the head of a Turkish army and joined by Vlad's detractors, Radu pursued his brother to Poenari Castle on the Arges river.

According to the legend, this is when Dracula's wife, in order to escape capture, committed suicide by hurling herself from the upper battlements, her body falling down the precipice into the river below — a scene exploited by Francis Ford Coppola's production. Vlad, who was definitely not the kind of man to kill himself, managed to escape the siege of his fortress by using a secret passage into the mountain. He was however, assassinated toward the end of December 1476. The only real link between the historical Dracula (1431-1476) and the modern literary myth of the vampire is the 1897 novel. Bram Stoker built his fictional character solely based on the research that he conducted in libraries in London. Political detractors and Saxon merchants, unhappy with the new trade regulations imposed by Vlad, did everything they could to blacken his reputation. They produced and disseminated throughout Western Europe exaggerated stories and illustrations about Vlad's cruelty. Vlad Tepes' reign was however presented in a different way in chronicles written in other parts of Europe.


(Source : Issue #5 of Journal of the Dark, by Benjamin Leblanc).
21:07 | 2 komentar

The Knights Templar


The Knights Templar were a monastic military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land. Never before had a group of secular knights banded together and taken monastic vows. In this sense they were the first of the Warrior Monks. From humble beginnings of poverty when the order relied on alms from the traveling pilgrims, the order would go on to have the backing of the Holy See and the collective European monarchies. Within two centuries they had become powerful enough to defy all but the Papal throne. Feared as warriors, respected for their charity and sought out for their wealth, there is no doubt that the Templar knights were the key players of the monastic fighting orders.

Due to their vast wealth and surplus of materials the Templars essentially invented banking, as we know it. The church forbade the lending of money for interest, which they called usury. The Templars, being the clever sort they were, changed the manner in which loans were paid and were able to skirt the issue and finance even kings.

Knights Templar's Signet Ring

Perhaps because of this wealth or fear of their seemingly limitless powers, they were destined to be destroyed. The order met with a rather untimely demise at the hands of the Pope and the King of France in 1307 and by 1314, 'The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon' ceased to exist.


Although originally a small group of nine knights, they quickly gained fame largely due to the backing of Bernard of Clairvaux and his In Praise of the New Knighthood. Bernard at that time was often called the Second Pope and was the chief spokesman of Christendom. He is also the one responsible for helping to draw up the order's rules of conduct.

In European political circles, they became very powerful and influential. This was because they were immune from any authority save that of the Papal Throne. (Pope Innocent II exempted the Templars from all authority except the Pope.)

After the crusades were over, the knights returned to their Chapters throughout Europe and became known as moneylenders to the monarchs. In the process many historians believe they invented the Banking System. The Templars fought along side King Richard I (Richard The Lion Heart) and other Crusaders in the battles for the Holy Lands.

The secret meetings and rituals of the knights would eventually cause their downfall. The King of France, Philip the Fair, used these rituals and meetings to his advantage to destroy the knights. The real reason for his crushing the Templars was that he felt threatened by their power and immunity. In 1307, Philip, who desperately needed funds, to support his war against England's Edward I made his move against the Knights Templar.

On October 13th, 1307, King Philip had all the Templars arrested on the grounds of heresy, since this was the only charge that would allow the seizing of their money and assets. The Templars were tortured and as a result, ridiculous confessions were given. These confessions included:

- Trampling and spitting on the Cross
- Homosexuality and sodomy
- Worshipping of the 'Baphomet'.

Philip was successful in ridding the Templars of their power and wealth and urged all fellow Christian leaders to do the same thing. On March 19th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake. De Molay is said to have cursed King Philip and Pope Clement as he burned asking both men to join him within a year. Whether he actually uttered the curse or if it is simply an apocryphal tale what remains as fact is that Clement died only one month later and Philip IV seven months after that.

The Hidden Treasures
The order was disbanded, and it was suggested that all European monarchies take steps to suppress the movement. On 19th March 1314, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake on an island in the middle of the River Seine in Paris. As theflames rose, it is claimed de Molay cursed King Philip and Pope threatening that they would both follow him within a year. They both did – Clement died a month later and Philip seven months after that. However, the Knights Templar themselves are said to have continued in secret, and before his death, de Molay had passed on his powers to a successor. Some of the Templars are believed to have taken refuge in Scotland during the intervening years, but the movement did not reveal itself again until 1705. Since then the order has had associations with Freemasonry and other secret societies, but the movement has flourished and they have had many high profile and influential members. In more recent years, following the Second World War, the cohesion of the entire international order has become somewhat fractured.

The meetings are still held in secret. Apart from fiercely guarded rituals and traditions, it would seem that there are few mysteries surrounding the order. But one question remains – why did the Parisian Templars not fight when arrested by Philip’s men? In the days leading to their capture, a heavily-laden cart was supposedly removed from their buildings. Philip never found all the riches in their offices that he wished to acquire, and it seems the knights submitted to his thuggery meekly, in order to let their great treasure escape.

Jacques de Molay, Last Leader of the Templars

So what was this treasure? The obvious theory is that it was gold and jewels taken from holy temples of Jerusalem and the biblical world during the Crusades. However, many have speculated that the reaction of the Templars suggested that it was something beyond material value, and may have been something of enormous spiritual importance, such as the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail. Others have considered that it may be secret Christian knowledge, such as the ‘bloodline of Jesus Christ’.

The treasure, whatever nature it takes, has never been found, and where it is hidden remains a mystery. Many Templar experts have considered it may have been the root of Bérenger Saunière’s mysterious wealth, and believe it was buried at the church of Rennes-le-Château. However, one of the most widely-held theories is that the surviving Templars hid it at Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. If the order did manage to continue throughout its banished years, there is good reason to believe the secrets of the treasure are known to only a select few. To the rest of us, the Knights Templar are only modern day descendants of an historical mystery.

(Taken from many sources)
20:36 | 0 komentar

Himuro Mansion

The Himuro mansion is one of the japanese urban legend and its surrounding area have a dark history involving grisly murders, an evil cult, and restless spirits. The exact location of the mansion is unknown, but local people said it was lies in abandoned deep in the forest, miles outside Tokyo. The Mansion is rumored to be the gruesome death site of a Japanese family and several of its associates a few decades ago. The Himuro family participated in a specific enigmatic Shinto ritual, dubbed the “Strangling Ritual ,” which was used to seal off bad karma from the Earth. The karma, called “Malice,” would emerge on a specific date near the end of the year from a portal in the Mansion’s courtyard. In order to prevent this, a maiden was chosen at birth and isolated from the outside world to be raised as a sort of sacrificial lamb. This was done to prevent her, the “Rope Shrine Maiden,” from developing any ties to the outside world, which would ruin the ritual.


Himuro Mansion's Outer Gate


Before the “Strangling Ritual”, another maiden would be chosen to perform the “Blind Demon Ritual” – tied down, her face would be forced upon a wooden mask with spikes where its eyeholes should be. The relation of this practice to the main “Strangling Ritual” is not known but appears to be necessary for the latter to be successful.

After the proper time has passed for the “Rope Shrine Maiden” and the day of the “Strangling Ritual” comes, the “Rope Shrine Maiden” is bound by ropes on her ankles, wrists, and neck. The ropes are then tied to teams of oxen, which proceed to pull away from each other and the girl’s body, wrenching her limbs from her body. It is not known whether she is dead before her limbs are severed; however, it seems logical that the rope around her neck would suffocate her, though she would be in excruciating pain until her neck broke or all the air was expelled from her body. The ropes used to bind her appendages would then be soaked in her blood and criss-crossed on the gateway of the “Malice.” Thus, the portal would be sealed for approximately seventy-five years before the ritual had to be repeated.

Hallway Inside The Mansion


For generations, this tradition had been passed down through the Himuro family. The family master [the head of the household, usually a man] always oversaw the proceedings, doing tasks such as tying the ropes and blinding the “Blind Demon” himself. He was assisted by the “Headless Priests” (usually the holy men of the neighborhood or relatives), who would hold the Maidens still and chant any incantations or words that had to be said to make the ritual legitimate. The family master was a man of honor, which was (and still is) typical in Japan.

However, the honor of the family master led to disaster. During the last recorded “Strangling Ritual,” it is said that the “Rope Shrine Maiden” caught sight of a man outside the Mansion several days before she was to perform the “Strangling Ritual.” She fell in love with him instantly, and her newfound tie to Earth tainted her blood and spirit; the Ritual and her sacrifice failed miserably. The master learned what had happened and lost his sanity. He went on a rampage throughout his Mansion, murdering his family members, the Priests, and any unfortunate soul who had been visiting him at the time. Shamed because of his failure to prevent calamity, he fell upon his own katana, committing suicide. The Himuro family and the rituals it performed were now dead.

The local people of the neighboring town kept quiet about the story and they were not eager to find out the details of the murders. Apparently, the rituals were kept very quiet; still today, efforts to find out more information about the family and its tragedy are put forth, but records are slim. A team of researchers was sent to the Mansion to obtain as much information as they possibly could, which is how a majority of the true story was uncovered. The story itself was swathed in local legends and mysteries, leading people to believe that the vengeful souls of the murdered family wandered the Mansion, repeating the failed rituals to those who dared enter the abandoned edifice.

What is perhaps the most terrifying part of this story is that a majority of it is very true, including the ritual itself and the horrific murders. Any holes in the story have been filled in by local legend, by the people in the village in the vicinity of the Mansion, who do indeed attempt to ignore the stories of the malicious apparitions not far from where they live.

Sources and Pic Source::
Horror and Haunting: "Japanese Urban Legend" by Freddy Xavier
Ultima Magazine: "The Legend of Himuro Mansion" by Carissa Creveling, 2003
18:25 | 4 komentar

The Ark of The Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 25. Following Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt, God instructs Moses to build a Tabernacle (or tent) in which the Israelites will worship God. Placed in a special area known as "the Holy of Holies," the Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred object in the Tabernacle. Detailed instructions were given by God to construct the Ark. It was to be made with acacia wood and overlaid with gold. Dimensionally, the Ark was to be 2.5 cubits (1 cubit is approximately 18 in.) long and 1.5 cubits wide and high. Atop the Ark were two gold cherubs that stood with their wings covering an area of the Ark known as the "Mercy Seat." It was contained three items of extreme significance to the Israelites. The first was two stone tablets bearing the divine inscription of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments formed the foundation of God's covenant with Israel, commonly referred to as "The Law" (Exodus 31). The second item in the Ark was the rod of Aaron. God miraculously caused Aaron's rod to bud with blossoms to show the rest of the tribes of Israel that it was God's will for Aaron to be in charge of the Priesthood (Numbers 17). The last item was a golden pot of manna. Manna was the starchy food God miraculously provided for the Israelites during their 40 years of desert wanderings (Exodus 16).


The Ark was where God manifested His presence on earth. It went ahead of the Israelites wherever they traveled. Not only was it the center of worship when it resided in the tabernacle, but the Ark also protected the Israelites in battle, supernaturally defeating any adversaries that came before them (Joshua 6:3-4). The Israelites also went to the Ark to seek God's guidance and wisdom for the nation (Numbers 7:89, Exodus 25:22).


The Ark of the Covenant could only be approached once a year by the high priest on "Yum Kippur"- the Jewish Day of Atonement. On this day, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. It was also only on this day that God's presence manifested between the two Cherubs. The high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the Mercy Seat. Once received by God, the blood of the lamb atoned (covered) for the sins of the high priest and the entire nation of Israel. This ritual was performed continuously, year after year. The Ark of the Covenant played a key role in the forgiveness of sins.

At first glance, the blood sacrifices associated with the history of the Ark of the Covenant may seem somewhat disturbing. Slaughtering animals and offering their blood on an altar begs of the occult. It is important to note, however, that these sacrifices were not intended to appease the wrath of a bloodthirsty deity. God does not desire the blood and suffering of helpless lambs (Hebrews 10:8).

The biblical text repeatedly shows that where there is sin, the unavoidable result is death. The sacrifice of the lamb points to the severity of sin. Sin must always be atoned (paid) for in order for God to be just (Hebrews 9:22). God's compassion enabled the sins of Israel to be transferred upon the lamb. More importantly, these sacrifices were foreshadowing a greater sacrifice yet to take place -- the sacrifice of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. God knew that these continual sacrifices would be insufficient to pay for the sins of Israel, much less the sins of all humanity. Therefore, God provided Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrificial lamb, which became the greatest act of love in all history. A Roman cross became the ark on which Christ was sacrificed. The blood of Christ, once and for all, atoned for the wrongs of all who would accept Him as their Savior (John 3:16).

But the Ark of the Covenant disappeared from the Jewish Temple somewhere before or during the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem in 586 BC. In anticipation of the Ark's disappearance, the prophet Jeremiah wrote: "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more. Even before Jesus, Jeremiah's prophecy revealed that there would be no more need for the Ark of the Covenant in the future. God had a better covenant He would bring to pass -- the new covenant in His Son, Jesus Christ.
17:40 | 3 komentar

The Thousand Doors


Lawang sewu or known as the thousand doors. one of the most haunted and spooky buildings in java. situated at semarang, the capital city of central java province. Serviced as function hall in 18th century by the dutch, then changed into tortured camp during japan invasion. and a heroic scene amongst young indonesians against conquerors made this building has changed into indonesian railway headquarter and the latest was served for indonesian army. This building is a very important place in Semarang and for many years tourists have been returning to Semarang only to have a glimpse of this amazing place here. The Lawang Sewu is immensely popular for the famous Thousand Doors which is the ticket to fame for the place.

The place is distinguished simply for the numerous doors and windows found here and the building was christened as the Gedung Lawang Sewu and tourists love coming here simply because of the distinctive Dutch Symbolism
like The Hague and Rotterdam and also the Royal family and the immensely long corridors leading to the offices on the other side.

The building has numerous long winding corridors which open out to the offices on one side of the office and the other end of the building on the other hand. It is a famous landmark in the region of Semarang and a pride for Java. The place was actually built as the main colonial office for the Dutch and was then taken over by the Japanese government.


This place was important because it was the main military hub for the Indonesians and was used for giving shelter to the soldiers and army men here. However later the place was converted in to a heritage site and many came to visit the place during their holidays or vacations while coming to visit the Semarang. There are other places also which deserve mention but Lawang Sewu stands out among the rest.

Now this thousand doors remain somewhat forgotten. look the empty alleys and the interior. The place was often considered to be haunted place as many truly and sincerely believed that the place was inhabited by spirits and ghosts and thus many people used to feel scared to visit the place fearing the obvious as locals says, it's pretty haunted. and for ourselves, lawang sewu is something nice. the architecture, the stained glass windows and the underground tunnels (and said there was an underground prison) tell so many histories.

(Taken from many sources)
16:25 | 2 komentar

The Turin Shroud

The Shroud of Turin is reputedly Christ's burial cloth. It has been a religious relic since the Middle Ages. To believers it was divine proof the Christ was resurrected from the grave, to doubters it was evidence of human gullibility and one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of art. No one has been able to prove that it is the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, but its haunting image of a man's wounded body is proof enough for true believers. The Shroud of Turin, as seen by the naked eye, is a negative image of a man with his hands folded. The linen is 14 feet, 3 inches long and 3 feet, 7 inches wide. The shroud bears the image of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Jesus. The shroud is wrapped in red silk and kept in a silver chest in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy since 1578.

Its first appearance in recorded history came in 1357, in the little village of Lirey in France. It was then taken to Chambéry, in the Savoy region of the country in 1457, and it was there in 1532 that the shroud was almost destroyed in a fierce fire. This experience left charred marks on the corner of the folds in the fabric, and in 1578 it was taken to Turin where it has remained ever since. The Catholic Church is convinced that the shroud genuinely possesses an amazing physical record of Christ’s body, and the cloth is now only shown to the public on rare occasions.

In October 1978, the Shroud of Turin  Research Project, the U.S. scientific group  that examined the shroud, unanimously  reported that the image on the cloth is not  the result of applied materials.” In their estimation, the man on the shroud was not painted  on the cloth and that an unknown event of  oxidation selectively darkened certain fibrils of the threads so as to make a superficial image  of a man with accurate details valid when magnified 1,000 times.

In 1988, among much publicity, the Holy See allowed the relic to be independently radiocarbon dated by three separate research institutions: Oxford University, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The laboratories all used parts from the same sample, a piece of cloth just 1 centimeter by 5.7 centimeter, taken from the corner of the shroud, for testing. The conclusion from the tests was that the object dated from sometime between A.D. 1260 and 1390, the era when the shroud was first exhibited, and was therefore not the burial cloth of Christ, but a medieval forgery.

However, recent research has thrown considerable doubt on the validity of the 1988 radiocarbon dates. A paper by chemist Raymond N. Rogers (published in the January 2005 issue of the scientific journal Thermochimica Acta) indicates that the original sample of cloth used for radiocarbon dating was invalid. Chemical testing found that the radiocarbon sample had completely different chemical properties than the rest of the shroud, persuading many researchers to believe that the sample used for radiocarbon dating must have been cut from one of the patches used to repair the cloth after the 1532 fire. Rogers concluded from his chemical analyses of the cloth that it was at least 1,300 years old.

During the 2002 restorations, the back of the controversial cloth was photographed and scanned for the first time. In 2004, the Institute of Physics in London published an article in the Journal of Optics A, revealing the results of the analysis of the photographs. Using image processing techniques, Italian scientists Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolio of Padova University identified a faint, ghostly image on the reverse of the cloth, showing mainly the face and hands. This second image corresponds with that on the front of the cloth, and is entirely superficial, thus ruling out the possibility of paint seeping through from the front. It would also appear to rule out the theory that the image on the shroud was created using early photographic methods.



This frontal image (above) shows the forearms, wrist, and hands. There appears to be a large puncture wound on the wrist. This is significant because if nails were placed through the palms of the hand, this would not provide sufficient support to hold the body to the cross and tearing of the hands would occur. Only if the nails were placed through the wrists would this provide sufficient support to hold the body fixed to the cross. We can also see a large blood stain and elliptical wound on the person's right side (remember, in a negative imprint left and right are reversed).


From studying the size and shape of this wound and historical records, we can deduce that this wound could have been caused by a Roman Lance. In addition, by measuring the angle of dried blood on the wrist, one can reconstruct the angle at which this person hung from the cross. He mainly hung from a position 65 degrees from the horizontal.

Many of the critics of the authenticity of the shroud and its images argue that it is nothing more than a finely executed medieval painting. Some skeptics have even claimed that the shroud images were painted by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Such an argument was quickly dissolved by pointing out that the great artist was born in 1452, nearly one hundred years after the shroud had been on exhibit in Lirey in 1357. At the scientific symposium on the shroud conducted in Rome in 1993, Isabel H. Piczek of Los Angeles presented her conclusions that the controversial cloth is not and cannot be a painting of any sort, technique, or medium. Piczek is a professional artist with degrees in physics who has won international awards for painting and figurative draftsmanship. She has personally executed art works in every ancient and modern technique known, including nearly 500 giant-size items in public buildings throughout the world. In her opinion, Piczek cautions that the shroud must not be conserved as a painting would be, “or else we may destroy the only object on Earth which is the blueprint of the future of our cosmos.

Sources:
http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_2.htm#Image;
100 Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy;
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
Hidden History by Brian Haughton

Pic Source:
http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_2.htm#Image
21:54 | 2 komentar

Noah's Ark

In the book of Genesis, the God is depicted as regretting he'd created such wicked creatures as human beings. He favors Noah and his family but destroys most other living creatures, not just the humans whose wickedness offended him, but all animals and presumably all plants as well. God plans to drown the whole world in a flood. To save himself and other animal species, Noah is directed to build a big boat that will save them from the flood.Noah's ark is the boat built by the Biblical character Noah and his family. At the command of God, according to the story, Noah was to build a boat that could accommodate his extended family and a lot of animals.

In Genesis 6:19-21, it is written:

"And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them."

In Genesis 7:2-3, it is written:

"Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. "
 
Noah's Ark (1846) created by Edward Hicks

For 40 days and 40 nights the rain poured and the sea rose until the Earth was completely covered. Both the Bible and the Koran say that the Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat as the water subsided, and that is where the focus of most Ark-hunters attempts has been.

Several ark sightings on Mt. Ararat occurred during the twentieth century. During a thaw in the summer of 1916, a Russian Imperial Air Force lieutenant flying over Mt. Ararat reported seeing half the hull of some sort of ship poking out above surface of a lake. In 1949 a US Air Force mission photographed an unusual feature 15,500 feet up on the northwestern plateau of Mount Ararat on the other side from the Ahora Gorge. The images appear to show the bow of a ship poking out of a glacier. The phenomenon was given the name the ‘Ararat Anomaly’ and resurfaced in the 1970s when secret military satellites were able to focus on the area from space. A photograph taken in 1972 by the Earth Research Technical Satellite (ERTS) is said to reveal an unusual feature at 14,000 feet on Mt. Ararat. It was reported to be the same size as the Ark.In the 1980s, former NASA astronaut James Irwin participated in expeditions up the mountain, but he found only the remnants of abandoned skis. With the breakup of the former Soviet Union, the archaeology expeditions up the mountain intensified during the 1990s, and the search for Noah’s Ark continues.

Other Ark investigators believe it could be simply an old rock formation, an old fortress, or even a crashed aeroplane. Of course, the only way researchers can gather definite evidence is to be near the site on the ground. But increased tension between Turkey and the area’s Kurdish population has hampered exploration attempts, and the recent instability in nearby Iraq has also added to the region’s pressures. Until a team of archaeological experts can examine the photographed remains firsthand, the mystery of Noah’s Ark will never be solved.

Sources:
100 Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy;
Gale Encyclopedia of The Unusual and Unexplained Vol.2 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
http://www.skepdic.com/noahsark.html
17:35 | 3 komentar

Nazca Lines

The Nazca lines are geoglyphs and geometric line clearings in the Peruvian desert. They were made by the Nazca people, who flourished between 200 BCE and 600 CE along rivers and streams that flow from the Andes. The desert itself runs for over 1,400 miles along the Pacific Ocean. The area of the Nazca art is called the Pampa Colorada (Red Plain). It is 15 miles wide and runs some 37 miles parallel to the Andes and the sea. Dark red surface stones and soil have been cleared away, exposing the lighter-colored subsoil, creating the "lines". There is no sand in this desert. From the air, the "lines" include not only lines and geometric shapes, but also depictions of animals and plants in stylized forms. Some of the forms, including images of humans, grace the steep hillsides at the edge of the desert. The Nazca lines are communal. Their creation took hundreds of years and required a large number of people working on the project. Their size and their purpose have led some to speculate that visitors from another planet either created or directed the project.

Erich von Däniken thinks that the Nazca lines formed an airfield for alien spacecraft*, an idea first proposed by James W. Moseley in the October 1955 issue of Fate and made popular in the early sixties by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in The Morning of the Magicians. If Nazca was an alien airfield, it must have been a very confusing airfield, consisting as it does of giant lizards, spiders, monkeys, llamas, dogs, hummingbirds, etc., not to mention the zigzagging and crisscrossing lines and geometric designs. It was very considerate of the aliens to depict plants and animals of interest to the locals, even though it must have meant that navigation would be more difficult than a straight runway or a large clearing. Also, the airport must have been a very busy place, needing 37 miles of runway to handle all the traffic.


However, it is unlikely spacecraft could have landed in the area without disturbing some of the artwork or the soil. There is no evidence of such disturbance. The alien theory is proposed mainly because some people find it difficult to believe that a race of "primitive Indians" could have had the intelligence to conceive of such a project, much less the technology to bring the concept to fruition. The evidence points elsewhere, however. The Aztecs, the Toltecs, the Inca, the Maya, etc., are proof enough that the Nazca did not need extraterrestrial help to create their art gallery in the desert. In any case, one does not need a very sophisticated technology to create large figures, geometrical shapes, and straight lines, as has been shown by the creators of so-called crop circles.


The Nazca probably used grids for their giant geoglyphs, as their weavers did for their elaborate designs and patterns. The most difficult part of the project would have been moving all the stones and earth to reveal the lighter subsoil. There really is nothing mysterious about how the Nazca created their lines and figures. Some think it is mysterious that the figures have remained intact for so many hundreds of years. However, the geology of the area solves that mystery.


The mystery is why. Why did the Nazca engage in such a project involving so many people for so many years? G. von Breunig thinks the lines were used for running footraces. He examined the curved pathways and determined that they were partially shaped by continuous running.

Anthropologist Paul Kosok briefly maintained that the lines were part of an irrigation system, but soon rejected the notion as impossible. He then speculated that the lines formed a gigantic calendar. Maria Reiche, a German immigrant and apprentice archaeologist to Julio Tello of the University of San Marcos, developed Kosok's theory and spent most of her life collecting data to show that the lines represent the Nazca's astronomical knowledge. Reiche identified many interesting astronomical alignments, which had they been known to the Nazca might have been useful in planning their planting and harvesting. However, there are so many lines going in so many different directions that not finding many with interesting astronomical alignments would have been miraculous.

The Nazca lines became of interest to anthropologists after they were seen from the air in the 1930s. It is unlikely that a project of this magnitude was not religious in purpose. To involve the entire community for many centuries indicates the supreme significance of the site. Like pyramids, giant statues, and other monumental art, the Nazca art speaks of permanence. It says: we are here and we are not moving. These are not nomads, nor are they hunters and gatherers. This is an agricultural society. It is, of course, a pre-scientific agricultural society, that turned to magic and superstition (i.e., religion) to assist them with their crops.

The Nazca had the knowledge to irrigate, plant, harvest, collect, distribute, etc. But the weather is fickle. Things might go smoothly for years, or even centuries, and then, in a single generation entire communities are forced to leave because of extended drought or because of floods or tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fires, or whatever else Mother Nature might hurl their way.

Was this a site for worship? Was this the Mecca of the Nazca? a place of pilgrimage? Were the images part of rituals aimed at appeasing the gods or asking for help with the fertility of the people and the crops, or with the weather or with a good supply of water? That the figures could not be seen as those in the heavens might see them would not be that important for religious or magical purposes.

In any case, similar figures to the giants at Nazca decorate the pottery found in nearby burial sites and it is apparent from their cemeteries that the Nazca were preoccupied with death. Mummified remains litter the desert, discarded by grave robbers. Was this a place for rituals aimed at bringing immortality to the dead? We don't know, but if this mystery is ever to be cleared up it will be by serious scientists, not by alienated pseudoscientific speculators molding the data to fit their extraterrestrial musings.
06:55 | 0 komentar

Area 51

Area 51, secret installation, its existence is denied by the government agencies and contractors that have connections there. By late 1955, the facility had been completed for flight testing of Lockheed's U-2 spyplane. Since that time, Groom Lake has undergone vast expansion, catering to the needs of testing the most advanced aircraft projects in the world. Forty-four years after it was created, Groom Lake has hosted flight testing of the aforementioned Lockheed U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 stealth fighter, Northrop's B-2 stealth bomber, the mysterious Aurora Project, and possibly even alien spacecraft. Tony LeVier, Lockheed's test pilot assigned to test-fly the U-2 spyplane, claims the credit for recognizing Groom Dry Lake as a suitable test site.

The CIA gave U-2 designer Kelly Johnson the task of choosing and building a secure test site. In March 1955, Johnson sent LeVier and Skunk Works foreman Dorsey Kammerer to visit potential test sites in the deserts of southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. After two weeks, LeVier presented Johnson with his impressions, and Johnson chose Groom Lake.


The Groom Lake facility has been known by many names since its construction. Kelly Johnson named the place "Paradise Ranch". When his flight test team arrived in July 1955, they simply called it "The Ranch". In fact, the secret base was formally named Watertown Strip, after the town in upstate New York where CIA director Allen Dulles was born. In June 1958, it was officially designated Area 51 by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The adjacent AEC proving grounds became known as the Nevada Test Site and divided into such numbered areas. The base is now known worldwide as "Area 51" (thanks to numerous mentions in Hollywood shows and movies), though officially this designation was dropped in the 1970s. By 1970, the USAF Systems Command took over the operation of Groom Lake.

At this time, the U-2 and A-12/SR-71 spyplanes had both been tested and in service on reconnaissance missions. Unmanned high-speed drones were also being tested, including the Model 147 Lightning Bug, Model 154 Firefly, and D-21 Tagboard. In 1967, the United States acquired its first Soviet MiG-21 and the US efforts to acquire Soviet weapons technology expanded. In 1975, the Red Flag series of realistic air warfare exercises started at Nellis AFB, using large portions of the ranges surrounding Groom Lake. The box of airspace surrounding Groom Lake was strictly off-limits to Red Flag aircrews. It became known as "Red Square" at this time, but later acquired the semi-official title of "Dreamland" as a series of new exotic aerospace projects evolved in the late 1970s. These included the Have Blue and Tacit Blue stealth technology demonstrators. The testing of these aircraft brought extreme security measures at Groom Lake.


The Groom Lake base was considerably expanded in the 1980s. The main runway (14/32) was extended to the south, and then a huge northernly extension built out onto Groom Dry Lake, today having a length of 27,000 feet. A smaller parallel runway was built in the early 1990s. Semi-recessed "scoot and hide" shelters were built on the main taxiway so that secret aircraft could be more easily hidden from spying satellites overhead. New radars, satellite telemetry and other communications facilities were installed, and extra warehouse and assembly areas constructed. The base housing area was completely rebuilt, accomodating up to 2,000 people, and an extensive recreational facility provided.

Today, Groom Lake seems to be administered by Detachment 3 of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB. [lrec] Perimeter securtiy was also increased. Until 1984, it was easy to view the base from Bald Mountain and other hills in the Groom Range to the north of the lakebed. The USAF then extended the Nellis range military reservation to cut off the view...or so they thought! Two hillsides to the south of the Groom Range still offered a view of the base from 12 miles away. White Sides Peak and Freedom Ridge, these points were annexed by authorities in 1995.


Clearly marked but not actually fenced, the entire boundary of the base is patrolled by an anonymous security force equipped with high-tech surveillance gear. Remote electronic sensors detect movement along known dirt tracks and roads leading towards the installation. It has been thought for quite a while now that the surveillance equipment is so advanced that certain sensory equipment has the ability to smell a person coming near the boundary, and distinguish him/her from other animals nearby.

The ground patrols, often called "Cammo Dudes", are assisted by FLIR-equipped Sikorsky MH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. Since the Tacit Blue flights ended in 1985, only two further black projects which were presumably test-flown from the secret base, have since been officially acknowledged. These were both stealth air-launched missiles: the Lockheed Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM), cancelled in 1992, and the Northrop Tri-Service Stand-Off Attack Missile, cancelled in 1994. So what activities are taking place at Groom Lake?

In 1989, a man named Bob Lazar appeared on a Las Vegas television station and claimed that he had been employed at Area 51 for the purpose of "reverse engineering" alien flying saucers. He alledged that nine of these disc-shaped craft were flown from a highly secure facility named "S-4" at Papoose Lake, 10 miles southwest of Groom Lake. Lazar's story has been widely criticized and a more credible link to disc-shaped objects is that they are testbeds for anti-gravity propulsion systems, being tested at Groom Lake. Such technology would represent an unprecedented leap worthy of the most extreme secrecy.

20:32 | 5 komentar

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