Mysterious Hole Phenomenon

There are several examples of the Mysterious Hole that have appeared in the USA, in remote parts of Russia, and recently in Guatemala. From the end of 1980s a strange phenomena is happening in some Russian forests. In the case of Russia, the holes have been found in at least three regions: Ryazan region, Kaluga region, and Krasnoyarsk region. In the Ryazan region, the phenomenon of the Mysterious Holes occurred at least ten years ago. People find strange, deep holes. They appear in the dense forest, in the places you can't get on the car or truck to bring any device to drill the ground. There is no any soil [sic] that should be taken from such deep holes is found. In Siberia, human groans heard from a super deep hole drilled on a plateau between the Aral and Caspian seas were recorded and sent to the Soviet Academy of Sciences for further studies. But researchers did not take the mystical phenomena seriously, and the record was lost.

Almost all religions of the planet say that there is some underground realm. At that, each religion has its peculiar description of the realm. Some elements of the description however are typical of all religions. First of all, the population of the underground realm consists of ‘masters’ and people who get there after their death. Second, people get under the surface in the form of shadows, souls and others known today as clots of information and energy fields. Third, the ‘masters’ and sometimes the souls posses unique information about the past and even about the future. To obtain this information one has either to send his soul to the underground realm like Siberian shamans do, or help the shadows become visible and audible for some time. In ancient Greece there were special rituals involving obligatory blood shed.

Esoteric experts state that the bloody rituals were first of all connected with the unique energetic and informational saturation of blood. Attempts to obtain the information possessed by the ‘masters’ of the underground world were taken in all epochs and even in the modern time.

Russian researcher Nikolay Rerich was the first to organize an expedition to the legendary area of Shambala inhabited by wise ‘teachers’ and concealed from people’s eyes under the Himalayan Mountains. He successfully conducted the expedition and brought a message from the ‘teachers’ especially for the Soviet Government. Gleb Bokiy from the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (earlier the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission) also planned an expedition to the mysterious Shambala. The preparation was controlled by the Commissariat Head Felix Dzerzhinsky. When the latter died financing of the project was stopped. It is known that Germany’s Waffen SS of the Third Reich also organized expeditions to Shambala. The structure and objectives of the organization resembled so much those of the mystical orders that existed in Germany before WWII. The organization, as well as the orders, wanted to keep it secret that creatures with superhuman power existed deep under the surface.

The creatures employed meditation and self-discipline to gain power over the natural phenomena and attain the level of Gods. When Adolph Hitler, who as some researchers believe possessed extrasensory capabilities, came to power he supported the idea of a Hollow Earth and even made it official. Russian researcher of the occult magic of fascist Germany Sergey Zubkov states that race clearing in the Third Reich and organization of secret societies were meant to help the mysterious ‘masters’ out from under the surface for active participation in reorganization of the world.

SS even had a special structure for collecting mystical information of the secret societies that at that time existed in Germany and employed the information for researches aimed to create a mystical weapon for solution of war problems. The organization sent expeditions to Tibet and the Himalayas.

The first expedition searching for Shambala started in 1931. The expedition failed to discover the way to the underground world but it brought lots of Tibetan manuscripts to Germany which proved that the ‘mysterious’ masters actually existed under the surface. Later, the organization sent even more expeditions to the area. Who are the mysterious creatures living under the surface and where could they come from? President of the Association of Engineer Biolocation Vladimir Khlopkov is absolutely sure that some sentient beings live under the surface. Ten years ago, he conducted some kind of a brain storm of the planet’s interior.

The most experienced operators of the Association used biolocation frames to find the traces of intellect under the surface. The researchers said that they found out intellect at the depth of 200 kilometers under the surface. Khlopkov explained it was a strong intellect but alien to humans. It is clear that albuminous bodies cannot survive under the huge pressure of rocks and terribly high temperatures under the surface. It is highly likely that the discovered intellect is concentrated in some informational and energy clusters. Later, Vladimir Khlopkov discovered several places on the planet’s surface where the intellect probably got out on the surface.

One of the areas was in the town of Zelenograd very close to Moscow. Biolocation operators came across strange formations there during ground tests and at first called them “traces of UFO landing”. When studied closer the traces revealed coincidence with a deep break that geophysics also discovered there. Every evening operators observed a strange biological field creep out from the break and move at a speed of 90 cm per second towards Zelenograd. Little by little the field filled up the whole of the town. In some time, the field began to withdraw at the same speed back to the deep break. The entire of the cycle took about 3.5 hours. Khlopkov said that the field was reading the information in people’s memory.


Mysterious Tunnel In Russia

In the Russian republic of Khakassia, there is the Kashkulakskaya Cave, the name means ‘the cave of a black devil’, in the Mountains of Kuznetsky Alatau. For many years, researchers from the Novosibirsk Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine of the Academy of Medical Sciences regularly came to the place to study the strange phenomena that occurred to people staying in the cave for a long period of time. Visitors of the cave were at regular intervals gripped with horror that made them rush to the exit. At that, those people had optical hallucinations that were the same with all people: they saw an elderly man wearing a shaggy horned cap and with his eyes sparkling.

Researchers fixed high-precision magnetometers and other appliances outside and inside of the cave; they compared the indications of the devices with the emotions experienced by people in the cave. It turned out that bursts of a higher magnetic field fixed with the devices coincided with the moments when people felt nervous. At that, devices fixed outside the cave precisely on its outline registered no changes at the time when there was a magnetic storm inside of the cave.

Some researchers participating in the experiment supposed that they came across some kind of a radio-range beacon complying with a strange program and sending signals vertically up, right into the cosmos. May it be so that the mysterious creatures living under the surface came from the space and used the signals for communication with other beings that stayed there in their home?

In Kaluga region (Russia), a shepherd Pyotr Malinkin took his cows out to the pasture as usual. Having gone five kilometers into the field the man was shocked to find a huge hole in the ground six meters in diameter. The pit was not on the spot the day before, it appeared overnight. The shepherd said the animals were scared to approach the hole, they did not eat the grass nearby. Specialists of the Labyrinth public group to study anomalous phenomena went to examine the wonder in the field. Local elderly women confirmed the large hole had appeared in the field indeed. They said the hole had a perfect round shape, as if someone took a huge lump of ground with a cup. Local townsfolk built a fence around the hole not to let curious people and cows fall down in it.

The hole became a local place of interest: people come to see it and picnic nearby, others take photographs against its background. As it turned out, the pit was not round, but oval. It does not look like an excavator pit: there are no bucket tracks on its walls, nothing is seen on the meadow around either – the ground is even. The pit is smooth and vertical inside. There is some water on the bottom of the 4,5-meter deep pit. Specialists of the above-mentioned Labyrinth group believe the hole probably appeared as a result of UFO’s activities: aliens landed their spaceship on the meadow to take ground samples. However, ufologists failed to find any evidence to prove the landing of an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Ufologists also proposed the ground hole appeared as a result of a rare inexplicable natural phenomenon.

An identical phenomenon occurred ten years ago in the Ryazan region, when a huge crater reminiscent of a shell-hole appeared in the ground near the Sasovo village. Nobody was able to explain the appearance of the pit. Such hole appeared before in the Rostov and Tula regions of Russia. Local townsfolk told Labyrinth ufologists there was a larger ground hole two kilometers far. It appeared decades ago. Elderly people say village residents used to sacrifice sacks of grain throwing them in the hole to pacify ‘something’ under the ground. During the Soviet years they used to throw branches and stones in the hole, but they never managed to cover it.

Ufologists tried to find the pit, but they could not find the mysterious pit – numerous trees and bushes have grown in the field. Local people said there was another mysterious object in their countryside. They said there is an ‘angry spring’ on the stream nearby. When a person comes to the spring to take some water, it starts ‘boiling.’ If one starts talking near the spring, the water in it boils harder and harder. There used to be a church on the spot where the spring appeared. Legends say the church went under the ground when Napoleon’s army was advancing in the region in 1812.

The Kaluga region is located on limestone soil. Ground waters can dissolve such soil, creating limestone caves, the vaults of which may tumble down at times. This can be an explanation how the village church went under the ground. It is not ruled out mysterious holes appear for the same reason – the ground was probably sucked in a limestone cave. These holes, ufologists believe, are of the terrestrial origin, although it is hard to explain why the walls of the pits are perfectly smooth and even.

Residents of Novoselovo district in the Krasnoyarsk region have come across a mysterious phenomenon in the field. They discovered several tunnels of unknown origin in an area located some 100 meters away from the highway connecting the cities of Krasnoyarsk and Abakan , in the vicinity of the village of Kurgany, Siberian News Agency reports. There are about 10 holes in the field. Each hole has an entrance to a cave-like hollow place in the earth. Some of the tunnels are big enough for a person of medium height to stand up straight. According to one of the suppositions, all the underground passages are interconnected in a network. A few daredevils equipped with flashlights attempted walking across the tunnels. Local residents have a number of theories to explain the origin of the tunnels.

Some people believe the tunnels are the work of unidentified pranksters, others blame mysterious animals which reportedly dig holes in the ground. According to yet another theory, the tunnels may somehow be related to an earthquake that occurred in the area 3 years ago. Krasnoyarsk scientists have not yet made any official statements as to the explanation of the phenomenon.

Enormous Hole In Guatemala

Another mysterious phenomenon occurred in Guatemala. A 330-foot-deep sinkhole killed at least two teenagers as it swallowed about a dozen homes early Friday and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people in a crowded Guatemala City neighborhood. Officials blamed the sinkhole on recent rains and an underground sewage flow from a ruptured main.

The pit emitted foul odors, loud noises and tremors, shaking the surrounding ground. A rush of water could be heard from its depths, and authorities feared it could widen or others could open up. Rescue operations were on hold until a firefighter, suspended from a cable, could take video and photos above the hole and officials could use the documentation to decide how to proceed.


The dead were identified as Irma and David Soyos, emergency spokesman Juan Carlos Bolanos said. Their bodies were found near the sinkhole, floating in a river of sewage. Their father, Domingo, was still missing, according to disaster coordinator Hugo Hernandez. Several houses and at least one lorry have been swallowed by a giant sinkhole in a poor district of Guatemala City. The hole is said to be more than 100m (330ft) deep.

Residents said they had felt the earth shaking and heard loud noises before the houses collapsed. More than 1,000 homes were evacuated in the area. The national emergency agency said there had not been any casualties. Officials said the sinkhole had probably been caused by a saturated sewer main. They had initially urged residents to stay at home on Thursday night, but later decided to move them to temporary shelters. Three people who had officially been declared missing turned up later, national disaster co-ordinator Hugo Hernandez said.

Mayor Alvaro Arzu said the sewers were now being repaired and help was being offered to those affected. Apparently, no one (especially the mainstream scientists) has been able to offer an explanation that is satisfactory or agreeable to all.

One explanation about these mysterious hole phenomenon are "tree holes" that were formed when lava or volcanic ash settled around a tree, burnt out the wood, then hardened and became the deep hole.

A second explanation is that, in place of the tree and lava, we have relatively vertical limestone deposits which had been dissolved away by natural acids (e.g., carbonic acid) that were either from underground water or which were formed during the rainy seasons.

The About.com site has the following to say under the heading "Karst Topography and Sinkholes" ... When limestone interacts with underground water, the water dissolves the limestone to form karst topography - an amalgamation of caves, underground channels, and a rough and bumpy ground surface. Karst topography is named for the Kras plateau region of eastern Italy and western Slovenia (Kras is Karst in German for "barren land"). The underground water of karst topography carves our impressive channels and caves that are susceptible to collapse from the surface. When enough limestone is eroded from underground, a sinkhole (also called a doline) may develop. Sinkholes are depressions that form when a portion of the lithosphere below is eroded away. Sinkholes can range in size from a few feet or meters to over 100 meters (300 feet) deep. They've been known to "swallow" cars, homes, businesses, and other structures.

Sinkholes are common in Florida where they're often caused by the loss of groundwater from pumping. A sinkhole can even collapse through the roof of an underground cavern and form what's known as a collapse sinkhole, which can become a portal into a deep underground cavern. While there are caverns located around the world, not all have been explored.

Many still elude spelunkers as there is no opening to the cave from the earth's surface. Inside karst caves, one might find a wide range of speleothems - structures created by the deposition of slowly dripping calcium carbonate solutions. Dripstones provide the point where slowly dripping water turns into stalactites (those structures which hang from the ceilings of caverns), over thousands of years which drip onto the ground, slowly forming stalagmites. When stalactites and stalagmites meet, they forum cohesive columns of rock.

Tourists flock to caverns where beautiful displays of stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and other stunning images of karst topography can be seen. Karst topography forms the world's longest cave system - the Mammoth Cave system of Kentucky is over 350 miles (560 km) long. Karst topography can also be found extensively in the Shan Plateau of China, Nullarbor Region of Australia, the Atlas Mountains of northern Africa, the Appalachian Mountains of the U.S., Belo Horizonte of Brazil, and the Carpathian Basin of Southern Europe.

A third suggestion of an explanation is that the holes are actually chimney-type, or vertical, entrances into underground caverns or caves. The above explanations are, of course, possible and they have a naturalistic basis, without invoking aliens or magical creatures from the 'deep'. Note one interesting observation, if it can be considered an accurate one. It has been suggested that these deep holes appear to have been 'dug' from the bottom up. The use of the word 'dug' would suggest an agency other than 'blind nature' or randomness which the 'hollow earth' supporters would take it to support their views / beliefs. Shades of Jules Verne's 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'?

There has also been the suggestion that some occurrences of the Mysterious Hole are due to the actions of pranksters. Although, judging by the depth and verticality of some of these holes, the pranksters would surely have needed major heavy logistical support.

One of the easiest explanation offered is that a Mysterious Hole could easily be the entrance to a mine, natural or artificial, or maybe some superhuman creatures possessing intellect actually exist under the surface. The only thing is not clear yet if they originated on this planet or came from space.

Sources and Pics sources :
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=105918;
http://www.mysteries-of-the-world.com/mysterious-hole.html ;
http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/karst.htm;
http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/378/13614_aliens.html ;
http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/09-08-2006/83834-holes-0 ;
http://english.pravda.ru/science/mysteries/27-02-2007/87801-underground-0; http://english.pravda.ru/science/mysteries/87801-1/ ;
http://english.pravda.ru/science/mysteries/87801-2/ ;
http://english.pravda.ru/science/mysteries/87801-3/ .
15:36 | 11 komentar

Werewolves

Werewolves, also known as lycanthropes from the Greek λυκάνθρωπος, λύκος (wolf) and άνθρωπος (human, man), are mythological or folkloric humans with the ability to shape shift into wolves or anthropomorphic wolf-like creatures, either purposely, by being bitten or scratched by another werewolf, or after being placed under a curse. This transformation is often associated with the appearance of the full moon, as popularly noted by the medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury, although it may have been recognized in earlier times among the ancient Greeks through the writings of Petronius. Werewolves are often granted extra-human strength and senses, far beyond those of both wolves or men. The werewolf is generally held as a European character, although its lore spread through the world in later times.

Shape-shifters, similar to werewolves, are common in tales from all over the world, most notably amongst the American Indians, though most of them involve animal forms other than wolves. This type of transformation—from a squeamish human into a predatory animal— may well have been the preserve of Shamanism and ritual amongst our prehistoric ancestors. Perhaps the Shaman, in the course of such a ritual, may have adopted the animus of a wild animal, may have worn its skin, and may even have appeared animal-like. The first usage of the word “werewolf ” occurs in English and in a Biblical context. It is referenced in the Ecclesiastical Ordinances of Cnut, a Danish king who ruled a great part of England between 1017 and 1035.

The term “wehrwulf ” is used in a passage that has little connection with a human transforming into a wolf. The text involved is Matthew 7:15. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” The author of the Ordnance—intriguingly named Wulfstan—urges both priests and bishops to be vigilant in protecting their flocks (congregation) “in order that the ravening werewolf should not too widely devastate their spiritual flocks. In his exposition, the holy man uses the rare Saxon term “wodfreca” (wod meaning “bold” and freca meaning “grasping” or “greedy” alongside the term “wehrwulf.” This has been translated by some scholars as the Saxon equivalent of berserker—a wild, vicious man who lived in the woods. By using the adjective wodfreca,Wulfstan drew a clear connection between the unchristian person and the wild ravening animal. Later in Saxon England, the term was used to describe any form of outlaw or outcast. These people were associated with viciousness and bloody slaughter; a butcher who gave no mercy. The notion of the wild, wolfish man was becoming deeply entrenched in Christian as well as Pagan mythology.

One of the most celebrated werewolf cases of the late 16th century was that of Peter Stubb (alternately spelt Stubbe, Stumpf, or Stube), the werewolf of Cologne, Germany, whose trial took place in 1589. The widespread knowledge of the case can be attributed to the pamphlets, detailing many of his horrendous crimes, that circulated throughout Europe, and were translated into a number of languages. A number of learned writers of the time, such as Martin Del Rio, subsequently made comments on the case, adding to its notoriety. Witchcraft was involved in the transformation—the dark powers centering around a magic belt with which, by buckling it around his waist, Stubb could transform himself into a ravening wolf.

He was described in A True Discourse Declaring the Damnable Life and Death of One Stubbe Peter,” an anonymous pamphlet published in 1590, as “strong and mighty, with eyes great and large, that in the night sparkled like brands of fire; a mouth great and wide, with the most sharp and cruel teeth; a huge body and mighty paws. And no sooner would he put off the same girdle, but presently he should appear in his former shape, according to the proportion of a man as if he had never been changed.” Whilst in his wolf shape, Stubb was incredibly ferocious, viciously attacking a number of people who crossed his path and then escaping into the surrounding countryside, easily outdistancing the hounds that were sent after him.

It was alleged that his first choice of prey, whilst in the wolf shape, was human but if he could not find any, he would attack the sheep and cattle of his neighbours. He had, it was stated, murdered no less than thirteen young children and savaged at least two pregnant women, ripping the unborn babies from their wombs in order to devour them. The horror of his attacks could not be overemphasized. In addition to these bestial crimes, he was accused of incest with both his sister and daughter, and of actually murdering his own son whilst in human form and of eating the boy’s brains in order to staunch “his greedy appetite.” Whilst in his wolf-form, Stubb was cornered in some fields near the town of Bedbur by a pack of hounds that had been sent against him. In order to elude them, he removed the magic belt and appeared simply as an ordinary traveller, walking towards the town and leaning on his staff.

But those who were following the hounds claimed that they had never taken their eyes from the wolf and had seen the miraculous transformation. Stubb was arrested and, under strict torture, gave a full account of his abominable life. The magic belt, however, was not found and (under torture) Stubb admitted to having abandoned it “in a certain valley,” just before he had been captured. The valley was searched but nothing was discovered and it was assumed that the Devil (whose servant Stubb was supposed to be) had reclaimed it.

Stubb’s case had now become so celebrated that he could not escape the full rigor of the law. Every horrid detail of the affair had shocked the populace of Germany and beyond. He was sentenced to be strapped to a wheel and large sections of his flesh were ripped from the bone using red-hot pliers. His arms and legs were then smashed with a wooden axe, after which he was finally decapitated and his corpse was burnt on the same pyre as those of his daughter and mistress, who had also been executed for their crimes. After the execution, a memorial was set up in Bedbur consisting of a long pole pushed through the broken execution wheel and with the likeness of a wolf, framed in wood near its summit.

On the very top, however, Stubb’s head was impaled as a warning to all who might be tempted to follow him and take on the guise of a wolf. Around this grisly reminder were hung sixteen pieces of wood, representing the sixteen victims whom Stubb was alleged to have murdered as a werewolf. Although this German werewolf was perhaps the best known, it was in France that many of the trials for lycanthropy occurred. Indeed, contemporary with and even before Stubb was brought to trial in Bedbur, there were several notable French trials, including that of the famous Gilles Garnier.

Gilles Garnier, the “hermit of St. Bonnot,” ranks as one of the earliest and most famous French werewolves. During the early 1570s, he was dwelling in great poverty, along with his wife in the rough and wooded countryside of Armanges, near the town of Dole. He was not a native of the area, having initially come from Lyon, and he was considered odd and rather belligerent in his ways. About the time he came to live at Armanges, a large wolf began to prey on the flocks of local shepherds, spreading fear and alarm. Additionally, several children were carried off to be devoured in the forest—witnesses claimed that a werewolf was responsible. As time passed, such attacks became more and more frequent, to the alarm of many of the parents in the area.

Naturally, suspicion fell upon the surly anti-social hermit dwelling in the woods, but there was not enough concrete evidence to confront him. However, the local parlement (governing body) did take some action. It issued a proclamation that the populace should assemble with pikes, arquebuses, sticks, and halberds to hunt, seize, and kill the werewolf. The vigilante assembly soon hunted down its prey in November 1573. It was reported that a little girl was rescued from the jaws of a wolf in La Poupee meadow, between Authune and Chastenoy. She had been badly mauled by the creature and her shocked rescuers thought that they recognized human features on the wolf as they drove it off.

For many, the animal bore an uncanny resemblance to the misanthropic hermit of St. Bonnot. The parlement at Dole ordered that he be arrested and questioned. Garnier’s confession (perhaps elicited under torture) gave a graphic and horrifying account of his activities as a werewolf. Much of the gruesome details concerned the murder and devouring of two children in particular—two boys, ages ten and twelve years of age, one of whom he had killed in the locality of Dole and the other (in August 1570) in a pear-orchard near the village of Perrouze. In this latter case, he had been driven off (still in his wolf form) by the approach of some labourers. In that same October, he had also killed a ten-year-old girl in a wood known as La Serre about a mile or so from Dole. He claimed that he found her flesh “especially sweet” and took some of it home for his wife to eat.

Unlike Stubb, however, Garnier was slightly vague about how he actually transformed himself into an animal. There was no magic belt given to him by the Devil. Rather he seems to have become a wolf through “sorcery” and in most of his evidence, he speaks of “strangling” his victims whilst in his werewolfguise. Could it be possible that the weak-minded and confused Garnier simply imagined that he became a wolf in order to commit several murders?

It is also possible that cannibalism may have been common in some of the more remote parts of Europe than is perhaps commonly supposed, and that the wretched Garnier and his wife might have given in to such abnormal urges in order to survive. Such mental niceties, however, were not taken into account by the officials in Dole, who eventually found the hermit guilty of the most ghastly of werewolf crimes. Ironically, he was not offered the mercy of strangulation before his body was completely burned—an unusually harsh punishment that was said to reflect the awfulness of his offences. It probably also reflected a wide-spread fear of a beast lurking within the midst of a civilized community.

Some modern researchers have tried to explain the reports of werewolf behaviour with recognised medical conditions. Dr Lee Illis of Guy's Hospital in London wrote a paper in 1963 entitled On Porphyria and the Aetiology of Werewolves, in which he argues that historical accounts on werewolves could have in fact been referring to victims of congenital porphyria, stating how the symptoms of photosensitivity, reddish teeth and psychosis could have been grounds for accusing a sufferer of being a werewolf. Others have pointed out the possibility of historical werewolves having been sufferers of hypertrichosis, a hereditary condition manifesting itself in excessive hair growth.

And even in today’s relatively sophisticated society, a fear of the beast still lingers. It is not a great distance in many instances, from the thronging streets of a busy city to the cool of the remote and shadowy forest. And who knows what lurks in the dappled shade under the low boughs—a crouching beast, waiting to strike and to tear us limb from limb. Werewolves may be far closer to us than we would prefer.

Sources : Encyclopedia of the Undead written by DR. Bob Curran; and Wikipedia
Pic Sources : Pic 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Loup-garou.jpg
03:28 | 1 komentar

Legend of Leyak

In the folklore of Bali, Indonesia, the Leyak (in Indonesian, people called it 'Leak' (le-ak) the Y is not written or spoken) is a mythological figure in the form of flying head with entrails (heart, lung, liver, etc) still attached. Leyak was a human who is practicing black magic and have cannibalistic behavior. It is said that Leyak is flying around try to find a pregnant woman in order to suck her baby's blood or a newborn child, to complete her magical skill. There are three legendary Leyak, two females and one male. Leyak with the great magic skill can transform into Rangda, queen of black magic. Leyak is said haunt the graveyards, feed on corpses, have power to change themselves into animals, she even take the form of a monkey with golden teeth or a massive rat, a ball of fire and even a bald-headed giant. It is said that she have an unusually long tongue and large fangs.

In daylight she appear as an ordinary human, but at night her head and entrails break loose from their body and flying around. Her powerful enemy is Barong, a character in the mythology of Bali. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good. Barong and Rangda exist in the natural order of the cosmos and represent as Good and Evil. Both Barong and Rangda are cemented in Balinese legend.


Barong

The legend of Leyak in Bali refers to a horrible black magic inspired drama with the key figure of Calon Arang. The story written in a manuscript describing that during the reign of Erlangga in 11th century there was a widow called Calon Arang at the village of Girah having a beautiful daughter. Her daughter name is Ratna Manggali, who has reached her adultery, but no one among youths from the village and surrounding had the courage to approach the virgin. This is because her mother is known to have black magic knowledge, and practiced it maliciously, and with her bad attitude causing many people were dead even hatred was increasing among the people, yet this is used as a temptation to her thirsty black magic need.

Barong Dance

Her bad reputation at last reached the palace, and some soldiers took initiative and asked permission to the king to punish the widow. The soldiers headed to the village of Girah and found her sleeping. One solder drag her by her hairs, but unfortunately she awaken and once she was startled she glared with her 2 wild eyes emanating fire shooting and burnt the soldier, the other took a hundred steps of flee but again her blitz eye fires burnt them except one solder survived the malicious black magic fur. This soldier then reported his horrible experience to the king, and made the king totally upset and run out of reason to overcome the problem. Calon Arang know that the palace involved in this scandalous act of murder trial, and she become uncontrollably angry and spread her magic malicious power causing great epidemic.

The king was really made under pressure, and asked the priests to gather on the palace. The priests decided to perform a ceremony to reveal god advise. At last god Shiva gave an omen that there is a powerful priest living at Batu Tulis. His name is Mpu Bharadah who can assist the king to solve the overcoming problem. It is said that this religious figure has the ability to solve any problem in the kingdom not only relating to religion and magic, but also social nature and politic. He married twice, first wife they have a daughter named Wedawati, who was left by her mother at very young age, and always crying on her mother's tomb, and since she was insisting to stay at her mother's cemetery the priest decided to build a hermitage on the place, so he could take care of his beloved daughter while still keep the compassion with his new family of second wife.

At the other side, Calon Arang knowing the plan of the palace appeared to be more and more uncontrollable, she worship the god of the black magic, Bhagawati Goddess, and transform into Leyak in night time to complete her magical skill. She always practices her black magic by dancing at the cemetery together with her sister Larung and her students Woksirsa and Mahsisawadana. They play the corps on the cemetery, and other dirty frightening vision.

After they had the ritual at the cemetery then a victim must be taken again. Normal people see this as unreasonable death of human being, and giving more and more pressure, feeling of great scare every time the day changed into the night and at the dark places. The king sent one of important person named Kanuluhan to meet the priest which always welcome by Mpu Bharadah and in turn the priest sent his student Bahula to the palace to follow Kanuluhan. The priest proposed to the king that Bahula will request Ratna Manggali for his wife, in order to find the source of Calon Arang magical skill.

The king then prepared a team to escort Bahula visiting the village of Girah for the marriage request. The group was warmly welcome by the widow and after the discussion she become very happy, furthermore knowing that Bahula is the student of Mpu Bharadah. She even did not care about the marriage dowries, the most important that Bahula be the loyal husband of her only daughter Ratna Manggali.

After the marriage, Bahula stay in Girah with his beloved wife and having children. Yet every night he found his mother in law going out and back late morning. This is strange, and forced him to ask to his wife. Ratna Manggali then followed her mother, and found her mother with her students were making ceremony at the cemetery, practicing black magic. She run back home and reported to her husband. Knowing this, Bahula expressed his concern to his wife, and ask her to find the book that is put on her mother's room and which is on certain days given special ritual. Once his wife found it, she gave the book to him, and then Bahula showed the book to Mpu Bharadah.

The priest understood why Calon Arang practices the black magic as the book she reads is the source of black magic. But according to the priest the content of the book is good if it is dedicated to human welfare, no science is bad, it is depend on the person who understand the knowledge. Mpu Bharadah then advised Bahula to back to Girah and return the book, and the priest will follow. The priest visited Girah in the hope to advise Calon Arang to stop practicing this evil activities. The response of the widow was in contradictory, as she feel that she had been doing it and it will, unless the priest kill her.

Calon Arang insisted not to change her life style. This discussion become a high tension debate and making the widow very angry. In her furriated moment she show her talent of black magic and transform into Rangda, because she knew that the priest have more experience to deal with black magic. Mpu Bharadah with his magical skill, transform into Barong then confronts Rangda, and a battle of magical wits takes place. They fight each other with all of their magic powers.

And even with the help of her sister and her 2 students, the priest was successfully defeating Rangda. The priest did not have choice except to keep her quiet, and cremated her as a normal un-sin person. After the cremation of Calon Arang, her 2 students also surrendered and become the follower of Mpu Bharadah as nun and priest. This is the end of the story about the origin of Leyak in Bali, which is also got the strong influence from Mahayana Buddhist. The Balinese are constantly aware of the evil intensity of Leyak. If a dog whines and whimpers on a moonless night, then the Balinese know there are Leyak around. It is believed that if Leyak are not appeased in some manner, then they could even run rampant in a village causing destruction, illness and even epidemics.

Sources : Wikipedia; and http://www.baliblog.com/travel-tips/bali-travel/demons-and-spirits.html
Pic sources : http://www.indo.com/travel_agents/tunas/barong.jpg; http://your.usc.edu.au/wacana/indobase/kodak/rangda.jpg
16:22 | 2 komentar

Project Blue Book

Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force (U.S.A.F.). The staffs of Project Blue Book was assigned to carry out three main functions:
1. To try to find an explanation for all reported sightings of UFOs;
2. To determine whether theUFOs posed any security threat to the United States; and
3. To determine if UFOs exhibited any advanced technology that the United States could utilize.
Thousands of UFO reports were collected, analyzed and filed, which concluded there was nothing anomalous about any UFOs, Project Blue Book was ordered shut down in December 1969. This project was the last publicly known UFO research project led by the USAF. But what do US governments really know about UFOs? Certainly some conspiracy theorists have suggested that the United States government actually has a close relationship with alien visitors, and provides them with ground bases. One of the areas is said to be under the water of the western Atlantic. Other theories propose that extraterrestrial beings are allegedly abducting law abiding US citizens in return for technological secrets.

On June 24, 1947, when civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold sighted nine discs near Mount Rainier in the state of Washington and described the motion of the unidentified flying objects as looking like “a saucer skipping across the water,” the Boise, Idaho, businessman inadvertently coined a term that would become known in most languages of the world, “flying saucers.” The U.S. Air Force immediately denied that they had any such craft, and at the same time officially debunked Arnold’s claim of having spotted unidentified flying objects. Donald H. Menzel, Professor of Astrophysics at Harvard, who became an unyielding saucer-skeptic and debunker, said that Arnold had been fooled by the tilting snow clouds or dust haze reflected by the sun. Arnold, however, stuck fast to his story, and the item made the front page of newspapers across the nation.

For UFOlogists, it was the birth of an era. During the period June through December 1947 there was no specific organization responsible for investigating and evaluating UFO reports. At this time everyone had an expert opinion. Even within the military structure, there were those who expressed their own feelings and beliefs as to what UFOs actually represented. The wide news coverage of public reports of “flying discs or saucers” created sufficient concern at high military echelons to authorize the Air Material Command (AMC) to conduct a preliminary investigation into these reports. Early belief was that the objects reported were of aircraft more advanced than those possessed by the U.S. Armed Forces. A letter (September 23, 1947) from Lt. General Twining of AMC to the commanding general of the Army Air Forces expressed the opinion that there was sufficient substance in the reports to warrant a detailed study.

On December 30, 1947, a letter from the chief of staff directed AMC to establish a project whose purpose was to collect, collate, evaluate, and disseminate all information concerning UFO sightings and phenomena in the atmosphere to those interested agencies. The project was assigned the code name “Sign.” The responsibility for “Project Sign” was delegated to the Air Technical Intelligence Center, which was then part of the AMC. In February of 1949 “Project Sign” completed its evaluations of the 243 UFO reports that had been submitted to the project. The report concluded that: “No definite and conclusive evidence is yet available that would prove or disprove the existence of these UFOs as real aircraft of unknown and unconventional configuration.”

“Project Sign” was changed to “Project Grudge” on December 16, 1948, at the request of the director of Research and Development. Project Grudge completed its evaluations of 244 reports in August 1949. The conclusions of the Grudge reports were that the evaluations of reports of UFOs to date had demonstrated that “these flying objects constitute no threat to the security of the United States.” Grudge also concluded that reports of UFOs were the result of misinterpretations of conventional objects, a mild form of mass hysteria or war nerves, and individuals who sought to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity. Project Grudge also recommended that the investigation and study of reports of UFOs be reduced in scope. Air force investigation of UFOs continued on a reduced scale, and in December 1951 the Air Force entered into a contract with a private industrial organization for another detailed study of the UFO cases on file. The report, which was completed March 17, 1954, is commonly referred to as Special Report Number 14. Reports one through 13 were progress reports dealing with administration. Special Report Number 14 reduced and evaluated all UFO data held in air force files. Basically, the same conclusions were reached that had been noted in both the preceding Sign and Grudge reports.

It was during the early 1950s that the national interest in reported sightings increased tremendously. With the growing volume of reports, a Scientific Advisory Panel on UFOs was established in late 1952. At a meeting held during January 14–18, 1953, all available data was examined. Conclusions and recommendations of this panel were published in a report and made public. The panel concluded that UFOs did not threaten the national security of the United States and recommended that the aura of mystery attached to the project be removed.

In March of 1952 Project Grudge became known as Project Blue Book. From this time to its conclusion in 1969, the project concerned itself with investigation of sightings, evaluation of the data, and release of information to proper news media through the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information (SAFOI). It was a scheme designed to show the public there were no secrets in the US’s official investigation of alien craft. This ‘openness’ was merely a front, and it was actually made a crime equal to spying for military officers to reveal details of UFOs to unauthorised people. In reality, Blue Book only reported cases that were guaranteed to be found as hoaxes or mistaken identity.

Blue Book officers were stationed at every air force base in the nation. They were responsible for investigating all reported sightings and for getting the reports into Blue Book headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The bulk of the investigations, as interpreted by field officers, led Blue Book officials to decide that most people did not see extraterrestrial spacecraft, but bright stars, balloons, satellites, comets, fireballs, conventional aircraft, moving clouds, vapor trails, missiles, reflections, mirages, searchlights, birds, kites, spurious radar indications, fireworks, or flares.

One of the experts who worked as a scientific consultant on the project was Josef Allan Hynek. He revealed that any sightings reported by people under 18 years of age were automatically ignored, and other incidents would only be published if they could be rationalised. In total, Blue Book investigated 15,000 reports of UFOs, many of them still not explained, and Hynek himself experienced something of a conversion. He became an informed believer, and coined the term ‘close encounter’.

For more than two Decades, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, served as an astronomical consultant to Project Sign and Project Blue Book, had been teaching astronomy at Ohio State University in Columbus, which is not far from Dayton, where Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the home of Project Blue Book, was located. When he entered the project, the government was trying desperately to determine whether it was the Martians or the Russians who were responsible for the elusive discs being tracked in the atmosphere over North America. The air force appealed to Hynek that they needed a competent astronomer to tell them which cases arose out of the misidentification of planets, stars, meteors, and so forth.

Hynek admitted later that he was certain that the UFO phenomenon was a result of postwar nerves, and he was certain that in a few years the whole strange business would be forgotten. He also prematurely concluded that the flying saucers were strictly an American fad. He never suspected that it would turn out to be a global phenomenon. But the famous sightings in Michigan in March and April 1967, the ones that got Dr. Hynek dubbed “Dr. Swamp Gas,” demonstrated to “Blue Book’s tame professor” that there was a “backlash of public sentiment.” For the first time, Hynek said, he became aware that “the tide was slowly turning.” Hynek said that two factions definitely existed in Project Blue Book.

There were those individuals who were extremely concerned over the radar trackings and the close approaches made by UFOs to civilian and military aircraft. These investigators assumed that the pilots were being truthful and were not concocting weird tales. These open-minded Blue Book personnel wanted to check all the possibilities. But most of the top brass, Hynek commented, couldn’t understand for a split second why any of their colleagues would bother to take seriously the subject of UFOs. In what would become an often-quoted observation, Hynek said, “Scientists in the year 2066 may think us very naive in our denials.”

Britain has its own group of people similar to Hynek. Nick Pope was a civil servant who worked for the Ministry of Defence. His role was to respond to questions from the public about UFOs. During the course of his work, he uncovered enough fascinating information to write his own books about unexplained phenomenon. Other investigators believe what Pope has been privy too is merely the tip of the iceberg, and some quite extraordinary files concerning the issue of UFOs have been uncovered. One collection entitled ‘UFO Policy’ features a six-page document from 1960 which states that any unauthorised information disclosures would be viewed as breaches of the Official Secrets Act. The Ministry of Defence official policy states that it does not investigate UFO sightings unless they are of ‘defence significance’. Despite impressive proof or terrifying witness accounts, the authorities at the Ministry of Defence continually rule that each incident has no importance to national security. At least that is the public position, and what happens behind the scenes is unknown.

Of the unexplained UFO incidents, the official statement is: “The description of the object or its motion cannot be correlated with any known object or phenomenon.” On the basis of Blue Book reports, therefore, the air force concluded:
1. No UFO has ever given any indication of threat to the national security.
2. There is no evidence that UFOs represent technological developments or principles beyond present-day scientific knowledge.
3. There is no evidence that any UFOs are “extraterrestrial vehicles.”

The transfer of the responsibility of UFO research to the University of Colorado in 1969 served to terminate the air force’s official involvement in the UFO mystery, but the residue of suspicions and outright accusations of government cover-up and censorship has never been dissipated. By the time Project Blue Book ended, it had collected 12,618 UFO reports (other sources said over 13,000 sightings) and concluded that most of them were misidentifications of natural phenomena (clouds, stars, et cetera) or conventional aircraft. A few were considered hoaxes. 701 of the reports — about six percent — were classified as unknowns, defying detailed analysis.

The UFO reports were archived and are available under the Freedom of Information Act, but names and other personal information of all witnesses have been redacted. The American Constitution and Freedom of Information Act is designed to let the public know what is actually happening. In 1980, however, a group called ‘Citizens Against Unidentified Flying Objects Secrecy’ sued the National Security Agency. It wanted the NSA to open its files on 239 UFO incidents but the authorities argued that to do so would damage US national safety. In recent years a ruling changing the classification status of documents has meant many of these reports will finally be put in the public domain. One cannot help but feel that any truly amazing official papers that may cause public hysteria will be suppressed.

Though many accepted Blue Book's final conclusions that there was nothing extraordinary about UFOs, critics — then and now — have charged that Blue Book, especially in its later years, was engaging in dubious research, or even perpetuating a cover up of UFO evidence. Some evidence suggests that not only did some UFO reports bypass Blue Book entirely, but that the U.S. Air Force continued collecting and studying UFO reports after Blue Book had been discontinued, despite official claims to the contrary. Are US governments hiding the truth from their people, or is there really nothing to report? It is a question to which we may never have a definite answer.

(Sources : The Most Strangest Mysteries, Encyclopedia of Unexplained and Unusual Things, and Wikipedia)
(Pic source : http://www.paranormalknowledge.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/bluebook.jpg)
05:55 | 0 komentar

The Cursed Diamond

The Hope diamond has intrigued people for centuries. Its perfect quality, its large size 45.52 carats (9.10 g), and its rare color (fancy deep blue diamond) make it strikingly unique and beautiful, currently housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. The Hope Diamond is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, but it exhibits red phosphorescence under ultraviolet light. It is classified as a type IIb diamond, which are semiconductive and usually phosphoresce. The Hope diamond phosphoresces a strong red color, which will last for several seconds after exposure to short wave ultra-violet light. The first known precursor to the Hope Diamond was the Tavernier Blue diamond, a crudely cut triangular shaped stone of 115 carats (22.44 g) (This diamond was much larger than the present weight of the Hope diamond because the Hope has been cut down at least twice in the past three centuries.) The diamond is believed to have come from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India, and is famous for supposedly being cursed.

The Tavernier Blue named for the French merchant-traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who brought it to Europe. His book, the Six Voyages (Le Six Voyages de...), contains sketches of several large diamonds he sold to Louis XIV in 1669; while the blue diamond is shown among these, Tavernier makes no direct statements about when and where he obtained the stone. The historian Richard Kurin builds a plausible case for 1653 as the year of acquisition, and an origin from the Kollur mine in Guntur district Andhra Pradesh (a part of the Golconda kingdom), India.

The history of the stone which was eventually named the Hope diamond began when Tavernier obtained the blue diamond during one of his five voyages to India between the years 1640 and 1667. While there, he stole a large blue diamond from the forehead (or eye) of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita, the wife of Rama, the Sixth Avatar of Vishnu. Where it had been set as one of two matching eyes, and the temple priests then laid a curse on whoever might possess the missing stone.

Early in the year 1669, Tavernier sold this blue diamond along with approximately one thousand other diamonds to King Louis XIV of France for 220,000 livres, the equivalent of 147 kilograms of pure gold. There has been some controversy regarding the actual weight of the stone; Morel believes that the 112 3/16 carats stated in Tavernier's invoice would be in old French carats, thus 115.28 metric carats. For this transgression, according to the legend, Tavernier was torn apart by wild dogs on a trip to Russia (after he had sold the diamond).

This was the first horrible death attributed to the curse, but the historical record shows that he actually lived to the age of 84 (it is not known how he died).

In 1678, Louis XIV commissioned the court jeweller, Sieur Pitau, to recut the Tavernier Blue, resulting in a 67 1/8 carat (13.4 g) stone which royal inventories thereafter listed as the Blue Diamond of the Crown (diamant bleu de la Couronne de France,), but later English-speaking historians have simply called it the French Blue. It was set in gold and suspended on a neck ribbon for the King to wear on ceremonial occasions.

In 1749, King Louis XV had the French Blue set into a more elaborate jewelled pendant for the Order of the Golden Fleece, but this fell into disuse after his death. Marie Antoinette is commonly cited as a victim of the diamond's "curse", but she never wore the Golden Fleece pendant, which was reserved for the use of the king. During the reign of her husband, King Louis XVI, she used many of the French Crown Jewels for her own personal adornment by having the individual gems placed into new settings and combinations, but the French Blue remained in this pendant except for a brief exception in 1787, when the stone was removed for scientific study by Mathurin Jacques Brisson and returned to its setting soon after.

In September 1792, while Louis XVI and his family were confined in the Palais des Tuileries during the early stages of the French Revolution, a group of thieves broke into the Garde-Meuble (Royal Storehouse) and stole most of the Crown Jewels. While many jewels were later recovered, including other pieces of the Order of the Golden Fleece, the French Blue was not among them and it disappeared from history.

The Hope Diamond was long believed to have been cut from the French Blue, but this remained unconfirmed until a three-dimensional lead model of the latter was recently rediscovered in the archives of the French Natural History Museum in Paris. Previously, the dimensions of the French Blue had been known only from two drawings made in 1749 and 1789; although the model slightly differed from the drawings in some details, these details were identical to features of the Hope Diamond.

Historians Germain Bapst and Bernard Morel suggested that one robber, Cadet Guillot, took the French Blue, the Côte-de-Bretagne spinel, and several other jewels to Le Havre and then to London, where the French Blue was cut into two pieces. Morel adds that in 1796, Guillot attempted to resell the Côte-de-Bretagne in France but was forced to relinquish it to a fellow thief, Lancry de la Loyelle, who put Guillot into debtor's prison. Conversely, the historian Richard Kurin speculates that the "theft" of the French Crown Jewels was in fact engineered by the revolutionary leader George Danton as part of a plan to bribe the opposing military commander, Duke Karl Wilhelm of Brunswick.

When under attack by Napoleon in 1805, Karl Wilhelm may have had the French Blue recut to disguise its identity; in this form, the stone could have come to England in 1806, when his family fled there to join his daughter Caroline of Brunswick. Although Caroline was the wife of the Prince Regent George (later George IV of the United Kingdom), she lived apart from her husband, and financial straits sometimes forced her to quietly sell her own jewels to support her household. Caroline's nephew, Duke Karl Friedrich, was later known to possess a 13.75 carats (2.75 g) blue diamond which was widely thought to be another piece of the French Blue.

However, this smaller diamond's present whereabouts are unknown In September 1812, a blue diamond with the same shape, size, and color as the Hope Diamond was recorded in the possession of the London diamond merchant Daniel Eliason, the earliest point when the history of the Hope Diamond can be definitively fixed. It is often pointed out that this date was almost exactly 20 years after the theft of the French Blue, just as the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Eliason's diamond may have been acquired by King George IV of the United Kingdom,

There is no record of the ownership in the Royal Archives at Windsor, but some secondary evidence exists in the form of contemporary writings and artwork, and George IV tended to commingle the state property of the Royal Jewels with family heirlooms and his own personal property. After his death in 1830, some of this mixed collection was stolen by his mistress, Lady Conyngham, and some of his remaining personal items were discreetly liquidated to cover the many debts he had left behind him. In either case, the blue diamond was not retained by the British royal family.

In 1839, the diamond appeared in a published catalogue of the gem collection of Henry Philip Hope, from whom the Hope diamond has taken its name. Unfortunately, the catalog does not reveal where or from whom Hope acquired the diamond or how much he paid for it. The stone was set in a medallion surrounded by many smaller white diamonds, which he sometimes lent to Louisa Beresford, the widow of his brother Thomas Hope, for society balls. Henry Philip Hope died in 1839, the same year as the publication of his collection catalogue. His three nephews, the sons of his brother Thomas, fought in court for ten years over his inheritance, and ultimately the collection was split up. The oldest nephew, Henry Thomas Hope, received eight of the most valuable gems including the Hope Diamond. It was put on display in the Great Exhibition of London in 1851 and Paris Exhibition Universelle in 1855, but was usually kept in a bank vault.

In 1861, his only child, Henrietta, married Henry Pelham-Clinton, Earl of Lincoln. When Henry Thomas died on December 4, 1862, his wife Anne Adele inherited the gem, but feared that the profligate lifestyle of her son-in-law (now the 6th Duke of Newcastle) might cause him to sell the Hope properties. Upon Adele's death in 1884, the entire Hope estate, including the Hope diamond, was entailed to Henrietta's younger son, Henry Francis, on the condition that he change his surname when he reached legal majority. As Lord Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton Hope, this grandson received his legacy in 1887. However, Francis had only a life interest to his inheritance, meaning he could not sell any part of it without court permission.

On November 27, 1894, Lord Francis married his mistress, American actress May Yohe. She later claimed she had worn the diamond at social gatherings (and had an exact replica made for her performances), but he claimed otherwise. Lord Francis lived beyond his means, and it eventually caught up with him. In 1896, his bankruptcy was discharged, but, as he could not sell the Hope Diamond until he had the court's permission, his wife supported them.

In 1901, he was free to sell the Hope Diamond, but May ran off with Putnam Strong, son of former New York City mayor William L. Strong. Francis divorced her in 1902. Lord Francis sold the diamond for £29,000 to Adolph Weil, a London jewel merchant. Weil later sold the stone to U.S. diamond dealer Simon Frankel, who took it to New York. There, it was evaluated to be worth $141,032 (equal to £28,206 at the time). In 1908, Frankel sold the diamond for $400,000 to a Salomon or Selim Habib, reportedly in behalf of Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey; however, on June 24, 1909, the stone was included in an auction of Habib's assets to settle his own debts, and the auction catalog explicitly stated that the Hope Diamond was one of only two gems in the collection which had never been owned by the Sultan.

The Parisian jewel merchant Simon Rosenau bought the Hope Diamond for 400,000 francs and resold it in 1910 to Pierre Cartier for 550,000 francs. Lord Francis Hope married Olive Muriel Thompson in 1904. They had three children before her wife died suddenly in 1912, a tragedy that has been attributed to “The Curse”.

The Hope diamond is truly unique, earliest major account of the Hope Diamond's "cursed origins" was a fanciful and anonymously written newspaper article in The Times on June 25, 1909. A few months later, this was compounded by the New York Times on November 17, 1909, which wrongly reported that the diamond's former owner, Selim Habib, had drowned in a shipwreck near Singapore; in fact, it was a different person with the same name, not the owner of the diamond.

The jeweller Pierre Cartier further embroidered the lurid tales to intrigue Evalyn Walsh McLean into buying the Hope Diamond in 1911. Evalyn Walsh McLean added her own narrative to the story behind the blue jewel, including that one of the owners was Catherine the Great. McLean would bring the Diamond out for friends to try on, including Warren G. Harding and Florence Harding. McLean often strapped the Hope to her pet dog's collar while in residence at Friendship, in northwest Washington D.C. There are also stories that she would frequently misplace it at parties, and then make a children's game out of finding the Hope.

One likely source of inspiration was Wilkie Collins' 1868 novel The Moonstone, which created a coherent narrative from vague and largely disregarded legends which had been attached to other diamonds such as the Koh-i-Nur and the Orloff diamond. Even the jewelers who may have handled the Hope Diamond were not spared from its reputed malice: the insanity and suicide of Jacques Colot, who supposedly bought it from Eliason; the financial ruin of the jeweler Simon Frankel, who bought it from the Hope family.

But although he is documented as a French diamond dealer of the correct era, Colot has no recorded connection with the stone, and Frankel's misfortunes were in the midst of economic straits that also ruined many of his peers. The legend further includes the deaths of numerous other characters who had been previously unknown: diamond cutter Wilhelm Fals, killed by his son Hendrik, who stole it and later committed suicide; Francois Beaulieu, who received the stone from Hendrik but starved to death after selling it to Daniel Eliason; a Russian prince named Kanitowski, who lent it to French actress Lorens Ladue and promptly shot her dead on the stage, and was himself stabbed to death by revolutionaries; Simon Montharides, hurled over a precipice with his family. However, the existence of only a few of these characters has been verified historically, leading researchers to conclude that most of these persons are fictitious.

For its first four decades in the National Museum of Natural History, the Hope Diamond lay in its necklace inside a glass-fronted safe as part of the gems and jewelry gallery, except for a few brief excursions: a 1962 exhibition in the Louvre; the 1965 Rand Easter Show in Johannesburg, South Africa; and two visits back to Harry Winston's premises in New York City for a 50th anniversary celebration in 1988 and some minor cleaning and restoration in 1996.

In December of 1988, a team from the Gemological Institute of America visited the Smithsonian to grade the great blue stone using present day techniques. They observed that the gem shows evidence of wear, has a remarkably strong phosphorescence, and that its clarity is slightly affected by a whitish graining which is common to blue diamonds. They described the color as a fancy dark grayish-blue. An examination on the same day by another gemologist using a very sensitive colorimeter revealed that there is a very slight violet component to the deep blue color which is imperceptible to the naked eye.

Still, one can only wonder that the original 112 3/16-carat stone bought by Tavernier was described as "un beau violet" (a beautiful violet). When the Smithsonian's gallery was renovated in 1997, the necklace was moved onto a rotating pedestal inside a cylinder made of 3-inch (76 mm) thick bulletproof glass in its own display room, adjacent to the main exhibit of the National Gem Collection in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. The Hope Diamond is the most popular jewel on display.

On February 9, 2005, the Smithsonian Institution published the findings of its year-long computer-aided geometry research on the gem and officially acknowledged the Hope Diamond is part of the stolen French Blue crown jewel. However, since the diamond was put in the care of the Smithsonian Institution, there have been no unusual incidents related to it.

Some sceptics think, it is much like the "curse of Tutankhamun", this general type of "legend" was the invention of Western authors during the Victorian era, and the specific legends about the Hope Diamond's "cursed origin" were invented in the early 20th century to add mystique to the stone and increase its sales appeal.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_Diamond;
http://history1900s.about.com/od/1950s/a/hopediamond.htm;
http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_Si/nmnh/hope.htm

Pics sources :
http://www.7x7diamonds.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/diamond-540x380.jpg
01:15 | 1 komentar

Mystery of Borobudur Temple

Borobudur a Buddhist stupa in the Mahayana tradition is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. This Buddhist monument from the eighth century (between 750 and 850 AD) has gained a place on Unesco’s world heritage list. Located 40 km (25 mile) northwest of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, near the Mount Merapi (one of the most active volcano in Indonesia). It was built from nearly two million stone blocks of andesite, a bluish-gray volcanic stone, Borobudur is shaped like a stepped pyramid, the base of which is 402 feet long from north to south and 383 feet long from east to west; the height is now 95 feet above ground level. This magnificent temple is a three-dimensional diagram of the universe and a visual representation of Buddhist teachings. From above, the design of Borobudur resembles a mandala (a Hindu pattern used in meditation), leading to specu­lation that the complex was built by Indian Buddhists who were influenced by Hindu beliefs. Viewed from the ground, the mandala comes together to form a mountain of stone.

For centuries, Borobodur lay hidden under layers of volcanic ash. The reasons behind the desertion of this magnificent monument still remain a mystery and no one knows what happened to the culture that built the monument.Perhaps Mount Merapi had erupted, choking the rice lands with layers of volcanic ash. Whatever the cause, the population moved to East Java in a mass exodus, and Borobudur was left behind, its meaning lost in time. Some scholars believe that famine caused by an eruption of Mount Merapi forced the inhabitants of Central Java to leave their lands behind in search of a new place to live. When people once again inhabited this area, the glory of Borobudur was buried by ash from Mount Merapi.

Northwest View of Borobudur

Mountain peaks, according to Buddhist thought, are the place where contact with divine truth may take place. Pilgrims today and yesterday would climb Borobudur level by level, drawing closer and closer to complete infusion by divine wisdom. Essentially, the pilgrim can experience nirvana on earth. Borobudur has the mound shape of a stupa, the most typical Buddhist structure honouring Buddha. It is made of square and round terraces, topped by a dome-like structure.

One of The Damaged Stupa with Buddha Statue Inside It

The terraces symbolise the three levels of the Buddhists’ cosmological system: the world of desire, the world of form without desire and the world of formlessness. These layers also depict the three steps of spiritual growth towards salvation.


Borobudur was rediscovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British governor of Indonesia who, during his visit in Semarang, now the capital city of Central Java, received a report indicating the discovery of a hill full of many carved stones. The hill was believed by the local inhabitants to be the site of an ancient monument called budur. Raffles then commissioned a team led by Cornelius to investigate the hill. He was responsible for the excavation of Borobudur at that time, speculated that Borobudur may have originally been a holy place of pilgrimage for believers of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. Monks from the nearby monastery would have led pilgrims along the galleries, using the carved panels to illustrate the stories of their faith and the way of the Buddha as they circled their way to the top of the monument.

Lacking further historical information, Raffles was unable to determine the exact date of Borobudur's construction. But he knew that in the 13th and 14th centuries, Islam had replaced Buddhism as the island's religion, and he thought it unlikely that Borobudur would have been built since then. Also, ancient records showed that in the 10th century, the region around Borobudur had been mysteriously deserted, and all construction in central Java had stopped then. From the detailed carvings, Raffles concluded that Borobudur had been built sometime between the eighth and tenth centuries, during a period of relative peace in East Asia, after the nomadic and religious invasions had run out of steam.

It was in 1835 that the site was cleared. Some efforts were made to restore and preserve the colossal monument since then. Unfortunately, in 1896 the Dutch colonial government gave away eight containers of Borobudur stones, including reliefs, statues, stairs and gates, as presents for the King of Siam who was visiting Indonesia. A restoration program undertaken between 1973 and 1984 returned much of the complex to its former glory, and the site has since become a destination of Buddhist pilgrimage. On January 21, 1985 the temple suffered minor damage due to a bomb attack. In 1991, Borobudur was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The colossal monument consists of six rectangular terraces topped by three concentric circular terraces.

Four of the terraces are galleries, each enclosed by a balustrade and an inner wall, open to the sky and carved with sculptures. At first sight, the square galleries are an overwhelming mass of images depicting the activities of gods and mortals carved in the dark volcanic stone along the wide processional paths. There are more than 1,300 narrative panels illustrating the life of Buddha and Buddhist texts, the largest and most complete collection of Buddhist reliefs in the world. Originally, there were over 500 statues of the Buddha, 432 seated in lotus position on the square terraces and 72 meditating inside the bell-shaped stupas on the top terraces. There are no elaborate carvings on these three upper levels.

Some scholars think that this massive monument is a gigantic textbook of Buddhism to help people to achieve enlightenment. To read this Buddhist textbook in stone requires a walk of more than two miles. The walls of the galleries are adorned with impressive reliefs illustrating the life of Buddha Shakyamuni and the principles of his teaching. Representing the existence of the universe, Borobudur perfectly reflects the Buddhist cosmology, which divides the universe into three intermingled separate levels. The three levels are Kamadhatu (world of desire), Ruphadatu (world of forms), and Arupadhatu (world of formlessness).

In 1885 J.W. Ijzerman Chairman, an archaeologists of the Archeological Society in Yogyakarta discovered a ‘hidden base’ that was located behind the exterior wall of the lowest terrace, it has been built around the monument with 160 stone reliefs, 157 of which were covered and just 3 visible. In 1890-91, the complete ‘hidden base’ was exposed, photographed and encased again. Why the reliefs were ever covered up remains a mystery. There are various theories circulating, varying from structural explanations (the cover plates created a stronger base for the stupa) to iconographic ones (the sight and significance of the pictures was not supposed to be visible to everyone).

It is thought that during construction Borobudur experienced a landfall that threatened the entire building. To prevent the whole monument from collapsing, the Kamadhatu level was closed and made into a new base that holds Borobudur steady. This discovery brings about renewed efforts to safeguard Borobudur from vandalism and natural threats. The hidden base of Borobudur was originally the first level, which contains the gallery of Kamadhatu level.

Mahakarmavibhanga (Causes of Good Health); Relief 19 from the Hidden Base, East Side, South End

The content of these hidden reliefs is loosely based on a Sanskrit Buddhist text called the Mahakarmavibhangga ("Great Exposition of the Law of Karma"). Buddhism postulates that for every cause there is an effect. Those who undertake good actions generate good effects, while those who initiate wrongful actions generate bad effects. Although the person committing the act may not immediately realize the results generated by his or her actions, the karmic effect will eventually play out, if not in this life then in a future existence or reincarnation. The Sanskrit-based Mahayana edition of the "Great Exposition of the Law of Karma" has never been fully translated into English.

Mahakamavibhanga (Causes of Good Health); Relief 20 from the Hidden Base, East Side, South End

However, a few short quotations from the Mahakarmavigghanga in English are available from various sources. For example, the Buddha tells the young Brahmin Shuka that there are a total of eighteen benefits to be derived from the building a Tathagata Stupa. "What are these eighteen?

One will be born as the child of a great king
One will have a noble body
One will become beautiful and very attractive

One will have sharp sense faculties
One will be powerful and famous
One will have a great entourage of servants

One will become a leader of men

One will be a support to all

One will be renowned in the ten directions

One will be able to express oneself in words and verses extensively

One will receive offerings from men and gods

One will possess many riches

One will obtain the kingdom of a universal monarch

One will have long life

One's body will be like a collection of vajras

One's body will be endowed with the major marks and the minor signs (of a Buddha)
One will take rebirth in the three higher realms
One will swiftly attain complete nirvana


These eighteen points are the benefits of building a Tathagata Stupa." Elsewhere in the text the Buddha says the following:

"If in this life you often use harsh speech to irritate others, and if you delight in exposing their private matters, and if you are stubborn and unyielding, then in your next life you will be born as a fire-spewing hungry ghost." We may derive additional information concerning the contents of this text by examining the version of the Mahakarmavibhangga that appears in the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. In the Pali version of the text, the Sakyamuni presents a discourse in which he describes various human actions and their corresponding results. He begins by listing the ten wrongful actions of the evil-doer: killing living beings, stealing, engaging in sexual misconduct, speaking falsely, speaking maliciously, speaking harshly, engaging in gossip, coveting that which belongs to others, harboring ill will toward others, and holding wrongful views. In addition, he delineates the ten rightful actions, which consist of abstention from committing the aforementioned ten wrongful activities.

According to the Buddha, the minds of individuals are complex, generating a variety of karmic results within a single lifetime. The result of any karmic action may not even be realized during the same existence in which the act has been committed. Moreover, it is incorrect to presume that the evildoer always goes to hell, or that the good man always goes to heaven. Instead, the Buddha lists four possible outcomes concerning the evildoer who goes to hell, the evil doer who goes to heaven, the good man who goes to heaven, and the good man who goes to hell. It is entirely possible, said the Buddha, that any good actions that a person commits just before death could result in an evildoer going straight to heaven. Or the evil actions of a person committed just before death could cause someone whom had previously performed numerous acts of merit to go straight to hell upon the dissolution of the body. However, neither heaven nor hell is to be regarded as a permanent condition.

Each individual will eventually be reborn into future existences where the karma they have generated during previous lives will inevitably exert its effect. The main theme of these hidden reliefs is reward and retribution. Besides pictures of heaven and hell, there are scenes from daily life, worldly successes and dramas, good and bad things that are interconnected with deeds from the past and that determine whether reward or retribution is awaiting a person in the future. At the same time, the reliefs present a picture of day-to-day life on Java at the end of the eight and ninth century.

There is a scene for example in which there are monks shown on the right, receiving donations of food and drink (good deed); at the left of the same relief one sees how those who donated the food and drink are living a life of plenty, blessed with love, beauty and status – the reward. This level of Kamadhatu pictures the world of passion and the inevitable laws of karma. The first 117 panels show various actions leading to one and the same result, while the other remaining 43 panels demonstrate the many results that follow one single effect. At least 160 relief panels were carved around this level, based on the manuscript of Karmavibhangga. What is left of these can be seen in the Southeast corner of this level.

The next level is Rupadhatu level, it show the stories based on the manuscripts of Lalitavistara, Jataka-Avadana and Gandavyuha. The Lalitavistara reliefs, consisting of 120 panels, tell us about the life of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. It starts with the glorious descent of Buddha from the Tushita heaven. Born as Prince Siddhartha, Buddha's childhood was isolated from the outside world's misery. Accidentally witnessing the misery of sickness, decrepitude and death, young Prince Siddharta decided to escape from the worldly life and commencing his search of freedom from suffering. Siddhartha’s long and painful search finally led him to the highest level of enlightenment and made him Buddha, the Enlightened One. This story ends with Buddha’s sermon in the Deer Park near Benares.

The Jataka is a collection of stories about Buddha's previous reincarnation, chains and virtues. According to the Jataka, Buddha was born 504 times before being born as Prince Siddharta, taking on the forms of god, kings, princes, learned men, thieves, slaves, and a gambler. Many times he was born in the forms of animals such as lion, deer, monkey, swan, big turtle, quail, horse, bird and many others. But the Boddhisatva (Buddha-to-be) was distinguished from all other kings, slaves, or animals among whom he lived. The Boddhisatva is always superior and wiser than those around him.

As to the relief of Avadana, the main figure is not the Buddha himself. All the saintly deeds pictured in this part are attributed to other legendary characters. The stories are compiled in Dvijavadana (Glorious Heavenly Acts) and the Avadana Sataka (The Hundred Avadana). The first 20 frames in the lower series of stories on the first gallery depict the Sudhanakumaravana. The series of reliefs covering the wall of the second gallery is dedicated to Sudhana’s tireless wandering during his search for the highest wisdom. The story is continued on the walls and balustrades of the third and fourth galleries. Most of the 460 panels depict the scenes based on the Mahayana text Gandavyuha, while the concluding scenes are derived from the text of Badracari.

On the last three circular uppermost terraces or Arupadhatu level, consists of 72 stupas circle the huge main stupa that crowns the top of the temple. The circular form represents the eternity without beginning and without end, a superlative, tranquil, and pure state of the formless world. There are no reliefs on the three circular terraces. All but the largest central stupas on the upper levels contain a (more or less) life-sized statue of the Buddha kneeling, although many of these statues are missing or damaged.

There are also many alcoves along the lower levels which contain similar statues but many of these are missing or damaged as well. As a testament in stone Borobudur is remarkable, but even without its reli­gious implications the art of the carved reliefs would ensure it a high place among the world’s greatest monuments.

(Sources : Sacred Places Around The World by Brad Olsen;
http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/boro_nav/bnav_level_1/2revealed_borofrm.html; http://www.rmv.nl/index.aspx?toplevel=about%20the%20museum&identifier=1049&parent=press%20releases%20and%20photos&pid=676;
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/indonesia/borobudur.htm; http://www.borobudur.tv/karma_1.htm)

(Pics sources :
Pic 1 http://allindonesiantourism.blogspot.com/2009/02/borobudur-bhudist-temple.html;
Pic 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Borobudur-Nothwest-view.jpg;
Pic 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Borobudur-perfect-buddha.jpg;
Pic 4 http://narkochi.blogspot.com/search/label/borobudur;
Pic 5 http://www.arthist.umn.edu/aict/html/non_west/IND/IND044.html;
Pic 6 http://www.arthist.umn.edu/aict/html/non_west/IND/IND045.html)
02:45 | 5 komentar

Jersey Devil

Jersey Devil, sometimes called the Leeds Devils, is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many variations. The Jersey Devil has worked its way into the pop culture of the area, even lending its name to New Jersey's team in the National Hockey League. Some people think the Sandhill Crane (which has a 7 feet wingspan) is the basis of the Jersey Devil stories. The physical descriptions of the Jersey Devil appear to be mostly consistent with a species of pterosaur such as a dimorphodon. Some witnesses say that the Jersey Devil that haunts the Pine Barrens in southeastern New Jersey is a cross between a goat and a dog with cloven hoofs and the head of a collie. Others swear that it has a horse’s head with the body of a kangaroo. Most of the people who have sighted the creature mention a long tail, and nearly all of the witnesses agree that the thing has wings. But it doesn’t really fly as much as it hops and glides. Whatever the Jersey Devil is, people have been sighting it in the rural area in South Jersey since 1735, which, according to local legend, is the year that it was born.

Rather than some monstrous animal that was somehow spawned in the one million acres of pines that still remain some distance from the state’s cities and refineries, the Jersey Devil has at least a semihuman origin. It seems that there was a prominent family in South Jersey whose patriarch demanded a large number of heirs to carry on the Leeds name to future generations. While that might have been well and good for Mr. Leeds, when she learned that she was about to bear her thirteenth child, Mrs. Leeds decided that she had enough. She had grown tired of being continually pregnant to satisfy her husband’s ego. In a fit of rage, it is said that she cursed the unborn child within her and cried out that she would rather bear the devil’s child than give birth to another Leeds for posterity.

Visualizing the image of Satan, Mrs. Leeds decreed that she wished the child to be born with claws and fangs, fierce and wild as some vicious beast. The old legend said that Mrs. Leeds was granted her angry wish of revenge. The baby was born a monster with devilish fangs, claws, tail, and cloven hoofs, but the extremes of its viciousness soon eclipsed the borders of Leeds’s curse. The little monster ate every one of the other Leeds children and escaped out of the chimney to begin its reign of terror among the farmers and villagers of the region. For well over 200 years, terrified witnesses have claimed to encounter the Jersey Devil.

The most famous series of sightings occurred in January 1909 when hundreds of men and women reporting seeing or hearing the frightening creature. So many people refused to leave the safety of their homes that local mills were forced to shut down for lack of workers. As with so many of its kind, local folklore has it that the Jersey Devil serves as an omen of tragedy and war. According to some witnesses, the being was sighted just prior to the onset of the Civil War (1861–65) and again before the start of the Spanish-American conflict (1898) and World War I (1914–18). In addition to these encounters, the creature was seen flying over several other towns. Since the week of terror in 1909, sightings have been much less frequent. In 1951 there was another panic in Gibbstown, New Jersey, after local boys claimed to have seen a screaming humanoid monster.

A bizarre rotting corpse vaguely matching the Jersey Devil description was discovered in 1957, leaving some to believe the creature was dead. However, there have been many sightings since that time. In 1960, the merchants around Camden offered a 10,000 dollar reward for the capture of the Jersey Devil, even offering to build a private zoo to house the creature if captured. To date, the reward has been unclaimed. In 1991, a pizza delivery driver in Edison, New Jersey described a night encounter with a white, horselike creature.

In Freehold, New Jersey, in 2007, a woman supposedly saw a huge creature with bat-like wings near her home. In August of the same year, a young man driving home near the border of Mount Laurel and Moorestown, New Jersey reported a similar sighting, claiming that he spotted a "gargoyle-like creature with partially spread bat wings" of an enormous wingspan perched in some trees near the road. In January 23, 2008 the Jersey Devil was spotted again this time in Litchfield, Pennsylvania by a local resident that claims to have seen the creature come barreling out of the roof of his barn. Some skeptics believe the Jersey Devil to be nothing more than a creative manifestation of the English settlers.

The aptly named Pine Barrens were shunned by most early settlers as a desolate, threatening place. Being relatively isolated, the barrens were a natural refuge for those wanting to remain hidden, including religious dissenters, loyalists, fugitives and military deserters in colonial times. Such individuals formed solitary groups and were pejoratively called "pineys", some of whom became notorious bandits known as "pine robbers". Pineys were further demonized after two early twentieth century eugenics studies depicted them as congenital idiots and criminals. It is easy to imagine early tales of terrible monsters arising from a combination of sightings of genuine animals such as bears, the activities of pineys, and fear of the barrens. Outdoorsman and author Tom Brown Jr spent several seasons living in the wilderness of the Pine Barrens. He recounts occasions when terrified hikers mistook him for the Jersey Devil, after he covered his whole body with mud to repel mosquitoes.

Not surprisingly, the Jersey Devil legend is fueled by the various testimonials from reputable eyewitnesses who have reported to have encountered the creature, from precolonial times to the present day, as there are still reported sightings within the New Jersey area.

Many contemporary theorists believe that the Jersey Devil could possibly be a very rare, unclassified species which instinctually fears and attempts to avoid humans. Such elements that support this theory include the overall similarities of the creature's appearance (horselike head, long neck and tail, leathery wings, cloven hooves, blood-curdling scream), with the only variables being the height and color. Another factor that supports the cryptozoological theory is the fact that it is more likely that a species could endure over a span of several hundred years, rather than the existence of a single creature living for over 500 years.

(Sources : Encyclopedia of Unusual & Unexplained Things; and Wikipedia)
(Pic source : Wikipedia)
16:03 | 3 komentar

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