Morag

Morag or Mòrag (Scottish Gaelic) is a loch monster reported to live in Loch Morar, Scotland. After Nessie, it is among the best known of Scotland's legendary monsters. The name "Morag" is a pun on the name of the Loch, and of the Scottish female name, "Morag". Sightings date back to 1887, and include some 34 incidents as of 1981. Sixteen of these involved multiple witnesses. Morar lies in a glacially deepened valley on Inverness-shire’s west coast. Twelve thousand years ago, as the ice retreated, sea water is believed to have invaded the lake, bringing with it an abundance of marine life. Even after the sea water retreated, for a few thousand years the sea animals now in the loch may have had fairly ready access to their oceanic home, because the loch level and the low-tide level were only one-third then what they are today. The sea level at high tide would have been within a few feet of loch level.

James Macdonald told the story of his encounter with a creature called Mhorag in January 1887, but it appeared to be more like a Mermaid or Kelpie rather than a Nessie-like animal. Folklorist R. Macdonald Robertson collected this story, describing an undated event from early in the century, from Alexander Macdonnell: Some years ago, we were proceeding one morning down the loch in the estate motor launch from Meoble to Morar pier with some schoolchildren and other persons on board. As we were passing Bracarina Point, on the north side, some of the children excited shouted out: “Oh look! What is that big thing on the bank over there?” The beast would be about the size of a full-grown Indian elephant, and it plunged off the rocks into the water with a terrific splash.

Robertson noted that “Loch Morar’s monster is said to have been seen by a number of persons of unquestionable veracity.” A typical sighting is expressed in the words of one witness: “a huge, shapeless, dark mass rising out of the water like a small island.” Some who saw the shape thought it was, as they told travel writer Seton Gordon in the 1930s, a “boat without sails towing one or two smaller boats after it.” These were ghost ships, they assumed.Modern witnesses at Morar, Ness, and elsewhere often say the creature’s back looks like an “upturned boat.”

In an unpublished memoir written in the early 1940s, Lady Brinckman, who had lived on an estate near the loch five decades earlier, recalled this incident from the summer of 1895: One evening, it was getting towards dinner time and I was sitting looking back, when suddenly, I saw a great shape rise up out of the loch, a good way off. I called the attention of Theodore and McLaren to it and asked if it was the launch and that it did not seem to be coming the right way.McLaren pointed a long way to the left as being where the launch would come from, and then, while we were watching, it disappeared. McLaren said, “It’ll just be the monster,” and he said it was a well known thing that one was seen from time to time.

In September 1931 young Sir John Hope, who as Lord Glendevon would go on to become a privy councillor and undersecretary of state for Scotland, had a curious experience that,while it involved no direct sighting, clearly suggested the presence of some huge unknown animal in the loch.

He, his brother, a friend, and a local guide had gone out on a boat to fish in a deep part of Morar.Hope,who was holding a long trout rod, felt something grab his line, dragging it “directly downwards at such a pace that it would have been madness to try and stop it with my fingers. In a very few seconds the whole line including the backing had gone and the end of the rod broke.” Whatever had taken the bait, it was “something . . . heavier than I have experienced before or since.” It could not have been a salmon that, even if there were one that size in the loch, would have traveled parallel to the surface rather than making a steep vertical descent. Such descents, however, are described in any number of lake monster reports. The only other conceivable candidate is a seal, but no seals are known to exist at Loch Morar. Glendevon says that when they asked their guide what the animal could have been, “he mumbled something and said he thought we had better go home.” Glendevon suspected that he knew more than he was telling.

The most dramatic Morag encounter to date took place on August 16, 1969. It is also the only sighting ever to be reported in newspapers all over the world shortly after its occurrence. It happened as two local men,Duncan McDonell and William Simpson, were on their way back from a fishing trip at the north end of the loch. It was just after 9 p.m. The sun had gone down, but there was still plenty of light. Hearing a splash behind them,McDonell,who was at the wheel, turned to determine its cause. To his astonishment, it turned out to be a creature coming directly toward them, at a speed later estimated to be between twenty and thirty miles per hour. Within seconds it struck the side of the boat, then stopped or slowed down. Though McDonell had the impression that the collision had been accidental, that did not allay his fear that the creature, simply by virtue of its bulk, could cause the boat to capsize.He grabbed an oar and tried to push it away. Meanwhile Simpson had rushed into the cabin to turn off the gas. He returned with a rifle and fired a single shot at the beast, to no apparent effect. It slowly moved away and sank out of sight. These events took five minutes to run their course.

On April 3, 1971, Ewen Gillies, a lifelong resident of a house overlooking Loch Morar and a member of a family with centuries-old roots in the region, saw the creature for the first time. Alerted by his twelve-year-old son John,who noticed it a few minutes earlier while walking down a road near the shore, Gillies stepped outside and looked out on the water. It was a clear, sunny morning, around eleven o’clock.Not quite half a mile away a huge animal lay in the water, its three- or fourfoot neck pointed straight up and curving slightly at the top.

The head was barely distinguishable from the neck itself. Two or three humps, moving up and down slightly, ran along its back. The skin was black and shiny. The creature was approximately thirty feet long. Gillies went into the house to retrieve a Brownie camera. He took two pictures from an upstairs window just before the creature lowered its head, straightened its body, and sank below the water. The pictures did not turn out, but no one accused Gillies, a respected member of the community, of making up the story. He and his son had seen Morag.

The name comes from the Gaelic Mhorag, traditionally believed to be the spirit of the loch and conceived of as a shapechanging mermaid whose appearance was an omen of death if glimpsed by a member of the Gillies clan.With the passage of time and the thinning of population in this wild, remote region, the older folklore faded from memory, and Mhorag (actually pronounced “Vorack”) became Morag, a strange but not supernatural beast seen by some but seldom spoken of. Perhaps because Morag the animal is lost to view or seen only in distorted form through the folkloric fog that hangs over the loch’s history, researchers have had a hard time tracing reports beyond the late nineteenth century.

In the early 1970s investigator Elizabeth Montgomery Campbell interviewed elderly residents who recalled sightings in their youth. Campbell also learned of a “persistent tradition of hideous hairy eel-like creatures that were pulled up by fishermen long ago and thrown back into the loch because they were so repulsive.”

On March 3, 1981, Sydney Wignall, Bryan Woodward, and John Evans were in an inflatable boat west of Brinacory Island when they saw two black humps traveling at the same speed as their boat. They were visible for about 20 seconds.

There is no doubt that Loch Morar possesses an adequate food supply — fish, plankton, and detritus — to support a population of large animals. It is also one of nine Highland lakes with “monster” traditions and reports. (Besides Ness and Morar, the others are Oich, Canisp, Assynt, Arkaig, Shiel, Lochy, and Quoich.) Most sightings at Morar and elsewhere describe creatures bearing an undeniable resemblance to the supposedly long-extinct plesiosaur. If such animals survive, however (and there is no confirmation of this in the fossil record), they would have had to adapt to far colder water temperatures than their ancestors could handle. Roy P. Mackal, a biologist with a keen interest in lake monsters, argues that Morag, Nessie, and their relatives are zeuglodons, primitive, snakelike whales generally believed to have ceased their existence over twenty million years ago.

Sources :
Mysterious Creatures : A Guide to Cryptozoology by George M. Eberhart;
Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena by Jerome Clark;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morag_(loch_monster)

Pic Source :
Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena by Jerome Clark page 317
23:30 | 0 komentar

Ancient Jade Disc

Mysterious ancient discs made from nephrite jade discovered in China (2005) are raising scientific eyebrows in China and elsewhere. Among the earliest surviving Chinese artifacts, the discs are called ‘Bi’ and have been associated by some scholars with the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century B.C.); however, they may be much older, representing neolithic art from 6000 to 2000 B.C. Showing clear evidence of advanced precision tooling, though, the ‘Bi’ discs present scientists with an unexplainable anomaly. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine how they could have been made with the primitive stone tools and abrasives usually associated with the period. The original function and significance of the bi are unknown, as the Neolithic cultures have left no written history. From these earliest times they were buried with the dead, as a sky symbol, accompanying the dead into the after world or "sky", with the cong which connected the body with the earth.They were placed ceremonially on the body in the grave of persons of high social status.

Bi are sometimes found near the stomach and chest in neolithic burials. Jade, like bi disks, has been used throughout Chinese history to indicate an individual of moral quality, and has also served as an important symbol of rank. They were used in worship and ceremony – as ceremonial items they symbolised the ranks of emperor, king, duke, marquis, viscount, and baron with four different kweis and two different bi disks.

Bi that found recently in China are flat with a round central hole. In some respects they resemble a phonograph disc or a CD Rom. And, in fact, some believe that data of some type may actually be encoded in the concentric circular grooves. New laser technology has shown some promise in extracting intelligent information from the indentations. Some experts have speculated that the discs may be of an extraterrestrial origin and have pointed to a similarity with the so-called Dropa Stones of China which are claimed to be 10,000 to 12,000 years old.

Sources :
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 52 : Jade Disc Puzzle;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi_(jade)

Pic Source :
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol.52 page 11
05:44 | 1 komentar

Black Cat

Throughout history, cats have been worshipped as gods by certain cultures and abhorred as demons by others. In European folklore, the black cat is the traditional companion of witches. Because of this old belief, the black cat has become an omen of misfortune and ill luck, and a popular notion is that unhappiness will follow quickly in the wake of the black cat that crosses one’s path. An old book called Beware the Cat (1584) gives warning that black cats are witches in disguise, and that killing a cat does not necessarily mean killing the witch, for a witch can take on the body of a cat nine times. In the Middle Ages, the brain of a black cat was considered an essential ingredient in all recipes of the witches and witch doctors.
The folklore surrounding black cats varies from culture to culture. In Great Britain, black cats are a symbol of good luck. The Scottish believe that a strange black cat's arrival to the home signifies prosperity. Furthermore, it is believed that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors. However in Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens, specifically being suspected of being the familiars of witches; other cultures consider them to be bad luck as well. The gambling world is afraid of a black cat: it is believed that if, while traveling to a casino, a black cat crosses a gambler's road or path, that person should not go to the casino; most players believe that black cats bring bad luck.

Other black creatures, such as black dogs, have shared in the prejudice and suspicion of being "familiars". The black cat in folklore has been able to change into human shape to act as a spy or courier for witches or demons. During the Middle Ages, these superstitions led people to kill black cats. This had the unintended consequence of increasing the rat population and the spread of the Black Plague and other diseases carried by rodents.

There is no evidence from England of regular large-scale massacres of "satanic" cats, or of burning them in midsummer bonfires, as sometimes occurred in Europe. However, the supernatural powers ascribed to black cats were sometimes viewed positively, for example by sailors considering a ship's cat in general and a black one in particular as luck for their ship. Sometimes, fishermen's wives would keep black cats at home too, in the hope that they would be able to use their influence to protect their husbands at sea.

Black cats have been found to have lower odds of adoption in American shelters compared to other colors (except brown).Some shelters also stop adopting black cats around Halloween for fear they will be tortured. However, in the history of humane work, no one has ever documented any relationship between adopting black cats, and cats being killed or injured. Pirates of the 19th century believed that a black cat would bring different kinds of luck. If a black cat walks towards someone, that person will have bad luck. If a black cat walks away from someone then that person will have good luck. If a black cat walks onto a ship and then walks off it, the ship is doomed to sink on its next trip.

Today the black cat is not feared as it was in earlier times, and it is now the most popular pet among people in the United States, Australia, and France. However, many superstitious people still regard a black cat as an unlucky omen and believe that not only the black cat, but all cats, have nine lives.

Sources :
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hensen Steiger;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_cat

Pic Source :
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1285/900148540_75eec760e4.jpg
20:08 | 0 komentar

Khidr

Khidr is widely known for his appearance in the Qur'an in sura al-Kahf [Qur'an 18:65] as the guide of Moses and Alexander the Great, a wali (saint), a prophet, and one of four immortals along with Enoch (Idris), Jesus, and Elijah. In the Persian Alexander Romances (Iskandarnama), Khidr appears as Alexander’s deputy and cook who gained immortality by drinking the water of eternal life. His name, however spelled and pronounced — al-Khadir, al-Khidr, al-Khizr (Arabic), al-Khezr (Farsi), H1z1r (Turkish), or Khidlir and Khizir (Indonesian) — means literally, “the Green.” The Prophet Muhammad expanded on the story, further detailing Moses’ journey with Khidr. Asked by his companions about Khidr, the Prophet Muhammad explained that after al-Khidr sat on barren land, the ground turned green with vegetation.

Although not mentioned by name in the Qur'anic verse, Khiḍr is assumed to be the figure that Musa (Moses) accompanies and whose challenging actions disturb Moses, leading to Moses violating his oath to not ask any questions. This incident - and others - have led to the description attributed to Khidr of being a "teacher of the prophets".

One day, Prophet Moses (pbuh) delivered such an impressive sermon that all who heard it were deeply moved. Someone in the congregation asked: “O Messenger of Almighty God, is there another man on earth more learned than you?” Moses replied: “No!” believing so, as Almighty God had given him the power of miracles and honored him with the Torah. However, Almighty God revealed to Moses that no man could know all there is, to know, nor would one messenger alone be the custodian of all knowledge. There would always be another who knew what others did not. Moses asked Almighty God: “O Almighty God, where is this man? I would like to meet him and learn from him.” He also asked for a sign to this person’s identity.

Almighty God instructed him to take a live fish in a water-filled vessel. Where the fish disappeared, he would find the man he sought. When Moses heard about Khidr’s wisdom, he set out on his journey, accompanied by a young man, Joshua (Youshe the son of Noun) who carried the vessel with the fish and decided not to rest until they found him. They reached a place where two rivers met, Moses felt tired and decided to rest there. Instantly, Moses fell asleep on a rock.

While he was asleep, his companion saw the fish wriggle out of the vessel into the river and swim away making a silvery line. However, he forgot to relate this incident to Moses. When he awoke, they continued their journey until they were exhausted and hungry. Moses asked for his meal. Only then did his companion recall that the fish they had brought with them had got away. Hearing this, Moses exclaimed: “This is exactly what we are seeking!” They hurriedly retraced their steps to the place where the rivers met and where the fish had jumped out.

There they found a man sitting on the same rock, his face partly covered with a hood. His bearing showed he was a saintly man. He was Al-Khidr, the guide. Moses greeted him and told him he had come to find out that, which God wanted Moses to know through Khidr. So, “do you allow me to follow you and would you teach me the things God has taught you?” Khidr said, God has given me knowledge of some of His mysteries which you do not know of. You might find them strange, and therefore it might be difficult for you to stop yourself from asking questions when you are with me. But when Moses promised to be patient, Khidr agreed to let Moses accompany him and learn from him, provided that he would just watch and not ask any questions.

Moses went along with Khidr. Soon they came to a river and Khidr hired a boat to cross it. The people on the boat knew Khidr and did not charge any money to take them across. Strangely enough, as they were crossing, Khidr made a hole in the boat by breaking a plank. Moses was annoyed at this and said to Khidr, “Is this how you repay their kindness, why did you do that?” Khidr replied: Did I not tell you not to ask any questions? Just then, a bird came and sat on the prow of the boat and drank a drop of water. Pointing towards it, Khidr said, our knowledge is like that drop in comparison to God’s knowledge which is like an ocean. Moses realized his mistake, remembered his promise, and apologized. “I'll be more careful next time,” he said.

When they reached the town across the river and were passing through it, they saw a nice child. For no obvious reason, Khidr suddenly rushed to the child caught him and killed him immediately. It was too much for Moses to bear. He forgot about his promise and asked angrily, “Why did you kill that innocent child who had done no crime? It was really a cruel and evil deed.” Khidr did not reply. He only reminded Moses of his promise, and said, “If you break your promise once again, I’ll leave.” Moses apologized, and promised not to question him again.

They continued their way and after walking for a long time, they became hungry and tired. They arrived in a town and asked the people for some food to satisfy their hunger, but the people of the town refused to give them food or shelter and did not treat them with hospitality, so they left the town while they were still hungry. As they were leaving the town, they saw a wall which was about to be collapsed. Khidr repaired it, without taking any money for doing the work. Moses didn’t understand this kindness in return for their unkindness. He couldn’t resist asking “Why did you do this when the people were so unkind to us? At least, you could have taken some money for it to buy us some food.” “Alas,” said Khidr, you cannot be patient, now; you’ve broken your vow for the third time. It is time for us to part. But before this I would like to reveal the secrets hidden in what I have done.

That boat in which I made a hole belonged to poor people who earned their living from it. The king who lives across the river is very cruel, and takes away all good boats by force. He would have taken this one, too. That’s why I made a hole in it, so that it would look broken and useless and the king wouldn’t take it for himself. But why did you kill the child? Moses asked. I killed him because his parents are very virtuous and pious people, said Khidr. But, he would have grown up to be an atheist and very wicked person and made their life miserable. They will be unhappy at his death, but, the pain and sorrow would be much less than what they would have had to bear if he had grown up to be a sinner. Also, there was the possibility that he would force his parents to accept atheism. God will soon give them another son who will be a joy in their old age. Instead of that child that was killed by Khidr (and Moses objected to this act). God granted his parents a daughter from whose generation came seventy Prophets. What about the last one? Why did you fix the wall even though the people were unkind to us? asked Moses. Well, I did that because a treasure belonging to two orphan children is hidden beneath that wall, said Khidr. Their father was a very virtuous man, and it was God's wish that these boys find the treasure when they grow up. Revealing all this to Moses, Khidr said, “Remember, I did nothing on my own. It was all God’s will.” “And moreover, I did not do it of my accord. This is the significance of that with which you could not have patience.” (Qur’an 18: 60-82)

Then Khidr went away leaving Moses surprised, and lost in thought about how little we human beings know of God’s mysteries. Indeed, everything has a reason, and God, the Wise, the Omniscient and the Omnipotent alone knows it all.

Among the strongest transmitted proofs about the life of Khiḍr are two reports, one narrated by Imam Ahmad in Al-Zuhd whereby Prophet Muhammad is said to have stated that Elijah and Khidr meet every year and spend the month of Ramadan in Jerusalem and the other narrated by Ya'qub ibn Sufyan from the 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz whereby a man he was seen walking with was actually al-Khiḍr. Ibn Hajar declared the chain of the first fair and that of the second sound in Fath al-Bari. He goes on to cite another sound report narrated by Ibn 'Asakir from Abu Zur'a al-Razi whereby the latter met al-Khiḍr twice, once in his young age, the other in his old age, but al-Khiḍr himself had not changed.

Al-Khiḍr is believed to be a man who has the appearance of a young adult but a long, white beard. According to some authors like Abdul Haq Vidhyarthi, al-Khiḍr is Xerxes (not to be confused with Xerxes I), who disappeared after being in the lake regions of Sijistan or Sistan that comprise the wetlands of the Irano-Afghan border today, and after finding the fountain of life, sought to live his entire remaining life in service of God and to help those in their path/journey to Him.

Imam Bukhari reports that al-Khiḍr got his name after he was present over the surface of some ground that became green as a result of his presence there. There are reports from Al-Bayhaqi that al-Khiḍr was present at the funeral of Prophet Muhammad and was recognized only by Abu Bakr and Ali from amongst the rest of the companions, and where he came to show his grief and sadness at the passing away of the Prophet. Al-Khiḍr's appearance at prophet Muhammad's funeral is related as follows: A powerful-looking, fine-featured, handsome man with a white beard came leaping over the backs of the people till he reached where the sacred body lay. Weeping bitterly, he turned toward the Companions and paid his condolences. Abu Bakr and Ali said that he was Khiḍr.

In another narration al-Khiḍr met with Ali by the Kaabah and instructed him about a supplication that is very meritorious when recited after the obligatory prayers. Al-Khiḍr also figures into the Alexander Romance as a servant of Alexander the Great. Al-Khidr and Alexander cross the Land of Darkness to find the Water of Life. Alexander gets lost looking for the spring, but al-Khiḍr finds it and gains eternal life.

It is reported by Imam Muslim that during the time when the false Messiah appears and as he approaches at the outskirts of the city of Medina, a believer would challenge him, whom the false Messiah will slice into two piece and rejoin, making it appear that he caused him to die and be resurrected, to which this man would proclaim the falsehood of the Dajjal who would try again to kill him (or make show of it) but would fail and thus his weakness and inability being made revealed. According to the commentators and transmitters of this narration the person who will challenge the Antichrist and humiliate him will be al-Khiḍr.

Khidr brings a gift that Sufis realize as the treasure of gnosis within the heart. Some Sufis teach that we will all meet Khidr at least once in our lifetime, that you will recognize him when you shake hands with a white bearded man with no bone in his thumb.

Sources :
Men of God by Akramulla Syed;
http://thesoundjournal.org/archives-2/february-2010-issue/al-khidr-the-green-and-artistic-spiritual-guide-excerpt/;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khidr

Pic Source :
http://thesoundjournal.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/khidr-bengal-cambridge.jpg
21:18 | 1 komentar

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