Assassins of Persia

Among the world’s most famous secret societies, the Assassins also known as the Hashshashin emerged out in the late eleventh century CE, were a secret brotherhood based in the impenetrable mountain fortress of Alamut and led by a charismatic Svengali-figure, Sheikh Hasan-i Sabbah. The name ‘Assassins’, believed to derive either from the name of their leader or from their alleged drug use (called the Hashish), was a derogatory one given the sect by its enemies. They called themselves the ad-dawa al-jadida, ‘the new doctrine’. They were told if they wished to return to paradise, they must swear absolute obedience to Hasan and carry out assassinations at his command. Under the influence of more hashish, the brainwashed acolytes became deadly killing machines, who could be directed at the sect’s enemies. They feared no danger when they were dispatched to kill targets chosen by their leader and they did play a major role in shaping the politics and power balance of the medieval world through terror and assassination. During their sinister reign they destabilised Persia, governed parts of Syria and performed contract killings for the crusaders.

Hasan i-Sabbah
Their origins lie in the turbulent and complex history of Islamic schisms, since they were a branch of the Isma’ili Shiite Fatimids. The Fatimids were a dynasty of Shiite Muslims who claimed descent from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, and therefore considered themselves to be rightful rulers of the Islamic Empire, rather than the Sunni Abbasid caliphate. The Fatimids started off in Yemen, but were constituted as a kind of secret society themselves. Their modus operandi was to send missionaries to lands outside their rule, where they would practise their faith in secret and seek to convert leading citizens, such as generals and rulers, and so take control (although they also made free use of armies, invasion and other more usual forms of conquest). By the 11th century their influence had spread as far afield as Spain, Sicily and Sardinia, and a Fatimid dynasty ruled large parts of North Africa and the Near East from Cairo.

The Assassins were a particularly fervent group of Fatimid missionaries, their founder, Hassan-i-Sabah, came from a Persian Shiite family but converted to the Ismaili sect after a long period of spiritual doubt. In 1078 he went to Cairo, then the center of Ismaili activity, and sought permission from the Caliph to spread the Ismaili faith in Persia. The Caliph agreed, but required that Hassan pledge to support the claim of the Caliph’s eldest son Nizar to the Caliphate. From this pledge came the formal name of Hassan’s order, the Nizaris.

In the years that followed, Hassan wandered Persia, teaching the Ismaili faith and winning converts. In 1090 he seized control of the fortress at Alamut, high in the northern mountains of Iran, and made it his center of operations. (According to Marco Polo, who visited Alamut in 1271, the stronghold included fabulous gardens, occupied by lovely women whom the reigning cult leaders used to good advantage.) From this impregnable base they developed their ideology and their power, becoming the Assassins of legend. For the Assassins, targeted murder of high-ranking members of inimical branches of Islam became a religious duty and a means of spreading their political and religious influence. There is no real evidence that they used drugs or brainwashing techniques, but they are believed to have gone about their sinister business with grim efficiency. Individuals or small cells of Assassins would infiltrate the hometown of the target and live there quietly for some time, disguised as tradesmen or religious ascetics. Observing the target carefully over time they would build up a picture of his movements and choose the right moment to strike. Usually they would carry out the assassination in public, often in the mosque during Friday prayers. The Assassins preferred to use a dagger, at close range, to minimise the chances of escape for the target. However, they took care not to injure anyone else and did not allow suicide, preferring to be killed by the victim’s guards.

Hassan imposed a strict hierarchy on his followers. Members of the lowest rank of the order, who carried out assassinations, had the title of fidai or devotee. According to medieval accounts, Hassan reinforced the loyalty of his followers with a clever trick. After completing a course of martial arts training, each fidai was given wine drugged with hashish, and taken into a hidden garden full of fruit trees, modeled on the paradise described in the Quran, where wine flowed in streams among gilded pavilions and lovely women provided every sensual delight. The fidai stayed there for a few days, until another dose of drugged wine returned him to his ordinary life. Convinced that Hassan had literally transported them to Paradise and back, the fidais readily risked their lives for him in the belief that death simply meant a one-way trip back to the garden.

In 1092 the Assassins claimed their first victim, Nizam al- Mulk, vizier for one of the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad. In 1094, two years after the Caliph died and Nizar’s claim to the succession failed, Hassan was strong enough to become an independent force, seizing additional mountain strongholds as far west as Syria and using these to extend his reach through the Middle East. Soon afterwards they made alliance with Ridwan, the ruler of Aleppo, in Syria, and for two decades became de facto rulers of the area. After Ridwan’s death, however, his successor Ibn al-Khashab drove them out of the area and thus made their list, meeting a sticky end at the point of an Assassin’s dagger in 1123.

The following year Hasan-i Sabbah died, but the sect continued to grow in strength through the early 12th century. His first two successors pursued his policies and made the Assassins a name to be feared throughout the Muslim world. The fourth head of the order, Hassan II, pursued a different course. After becoming Sheik of the order in 1162, he proclaimed himself the Mahdi, the prophet whose arrival marked the coming of the millennium, and abandoned Islam for a religion of his own invention centered on the teaching that “nothing is true, and everything is permissible.” After four years, he was murdered by his brother-in-law, but Hassan II’s troubled rule allowed the head of the Syrian branch of the Assassins, Rashid ad-Din Sinan known by his legendary title, ‘the Old Man of the Mountains’, to break free of Alamut’s control.

Syria at that time was divided between the Crusader kingdoms to the south and a Sunni Muslim kingdom centered on Aleppo in the north, and Sinan played these off against each other to maintain his own independence. By the late 12th century the Assassins in Syria had established

good relations with the Christian crusaders in the Levant, and in 1173 they briefly considered converting to Christianity, probably in order to benefit from favourable tax laws. However, Christians in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, jealous of their taxexempt status, objected, and negotiators sent by the Assassins were murdered. Relations were nevertheless maintained, and

in the Assassins the crusaders found a valuable ally against the Saracen king, Saladin. When the great Arab general Saladin (Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, 1138–93) took power in Aleppo, Sinan responded by ordering his death, but by this time Arab rulers had begun to learn Assassin ways and in 1175 Sinan’s agents failed twice.

In 1192 the Assassins became embroiled in the complex politics of the crusader kingdoms. Someone – historical speculation points to Richard I (the Lionheart) of England – hired them to polish off Conrad of Montferrat, king of Jerusalem. Conrad was a rival of Richard’s vassal Guy of Lusignan for the throne of Jerusalem.With support from Philip II of France and Leopold of Austria, Conrad replaced Guy as king in April 1192. His reign was short. On 28April he was returning from dinner at the house of a friend when he was set upon by two Assassins and stabbed to death. The sect continued to exert its sinister influence over Middle and Near Eastern politics until the mid-13th century.

After Sinan’s time, the Assassins moved away from their sectarian roots and became an organization of hired knives who killed for money. Like the rest of the Arab world, they were fatally unprepared for the arrival of the Mongol armies in the middle of the thirteenth century. Weakened in part by the depredations of the Assassins, the Abbasid caliphate was in no position to resist the marauding Mongol hordes. Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis and brother of Kublai, was dispatched to conquer Persia and crush the Assassins. In 1256 he arrived at the gates of Alamut with the largest Mongol army ever assembled, but was not called upon to test the fortress’s supposedly impregnable defences because the Assassin sheikh promptly surrendered in the misguided hope of receiving mercy. Hulagu razed the fortress to the ground, and by 1265 the last remaining Assassin strongholds in Syria fell to another invading army under the Mameluke sultan, Baybars I.

After nearly 200 years of secret influence the Assassins were finished as a power in the region, but the Nizari Isma’ilis lived on, eventually breaking up into several groups, some of which still exist today. The most prominent of these are the Qäsim-Shâhîs, or Khojas, best known through their leader, the Aga Khan, last descendent of the fearsome Assassin sheikhs.

Sources:
Secret History by Joel Levy;
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies by John Michael Greer;
The Encyclopedia of Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories by Michael Newton

Pic Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asabah2.jpg
06:03 | 0 komentar

Temple of Angkor


In 1860, Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist had gone to Indo-China in search of rare birds and insects. He didn't find rare birds or insects but found monumental highways, artificial waterways  and magnificently constructed towers. These he realized were not  ordinary buildings but were the remnants of a splendid civilization. Unfortunately Mouhot fell sick and died of tropical fever. His reports were passed on to others. And all the details arrived at one conclusion - that there  occurred a brilliant civilization. The minute details were later on discovered by the French government who set up an Exploration Commission. By 1885 they had worked up a chronology of the rulers and developed the outlines of a description of the civilization that had produced the wondrous city. They could document that Angkor had been constructed by a south-east Asian people, called Khmers. They developed militarily and technologically for 500 years. But the question which historians could not answer was that why these ancient peoples suddenly chose to abandon settlements that they labored so hard to build?

 Angkor Wat was built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century

The civilization began with the trade and other contracts between India and South East Asia. It took spiritual inspiration from India. And after a few years modern Kampuchea was formed. It was called Phnom or Funan which meant 'mountain'. The founder of the Funan, according to the Khmer tales was Kaundinya, a Brahman. He came to the shore where a young woman paddled out in her canoe to greet him. She was Queen Willow Leaf, ruler of the country and daughter of a serpent deity. She was against Kaundinya, so she seized his ship. But Kaundinya proved to be more powerful. He shot a magic arrow into her craft. The queen realized that she was no match for him. So she made peace with him and shortly afterwards the two married. And from their union were born the ancestors of Funan rulers and generations of Khmer rulers.

The kingdom progressed for five centuries and then around 550 A.D. the Funan Kingdom was overthrown by Jayavarman II. With him started the brilliant Khmer empire and a royal dynasty. This dynasty flourished for more than 600 years. Jayavarman, meaning 'protector of victory', was a military genius. He ruled for 48 years and unified the state and kept the state militarily strong. He set up a new capital on the mountain of Kulen. There he brought an Indian 'skilled in magic science' to exorcise all foreign demons and to establish the protection of his empire by Lord Siva. And to make his position all powerful, he declared himself as the God-king - the incarnation of Siva. The concept provided the mantle of legitimacy for 30 Khmer kings. It also became the inspirating force behind the feverish buildings which created the urban complex on and above the plain of Angkor. The civilization of Angkor was unique as it was a mixture of two influences—Indian and Javanese. It was built with sandstone and laterite, the rectangular structure (2,800 by 3,800 feet) faces west, in Hindu belief the direction taken by the dead when going to their next life.

Jayavarman created a hereditary office of high priest to assist in the task of administration. With him Jayavarman established a religious hierarchy to supervise every aspect of national life. Jayavarman was followed by his nephew Indravarman I. He ruled for 11 years and solidified his empire by building barrages and raised water storage lakes. With the facility of storage water, the condition of peasants improved. They could irrigate their land throughout the year. Indravarman's son and successor, Yasovarman I, also did much for the good of the kingdom. He constructed a funerary temple in the middle of a lake. He also created a stone pyramid and a barrage to the east of the royal city nearly 5 square miles in size.

Thus the construction work continued from generation to generation and the empire continued to prosper. Yasovarman was followed by Suryavarman who kept the torch of progress burning. Between 900 and 1200 Angkor achieved great prominence because of the rise of impressive temples in Angkor, including the famous temple that became known as Angkor Wat. It was built in the 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II who ordered it to be built. Suryavarman II, dubbed one of the greatest Khmer kings, was a warrior-king and launched many attacks on the Dai Viet, which was highly resilient and resisted subjugation. Suryavarman had gained the throne through the violent means of killing his great uncle, King Dharanindravarman. 

The architecture of Angkor Wat is in classical Khmer style. It was also a temple-mountain surrounded by a wide moat, crossed by a causeway on the east side. The state temple was dedicated to Vishnu, whom Suryavarman II considered the Protector of the Khmer empire, a departure from earlier rulers, who regarded Shiva as the protector of their kingdom. Five huge beehive-like towers dominate the skyline at Angkor Wat, while the long causeways and wide pools give a sense of freedom in space. This temple is considered the best example of Khmer architecture at its most refined state. Composing a half-square mile (200 hectares), Angkor Wat uses its massive proportions to astonish any visitor. Similar to large-scale monuments in Egypt, there is a long approach to the temple, an imposing entry foyer, followed by a center temple rising pyramid-like on three superimposed terraces. The external appearance resembles descriptions of Mount Vaikuntha, home of Vishnu.
But after his death, the Khmer empire entered a period of decline, primarily because there was no direct heir. The struggle for throne began. Jayavarman VII, (brother of the dead king) who was in exile came and took the reigns of the state into his hands. He gave new light to the kingdom—architecturally and politically. He built temples in memory of his parents—To Prohm and Preadh Khan. He also polished and completed the Earlier unfinished temples. He dedicated a temple to himself and the Buddha, called the Bayon. 

The Bayon represented changes in architectural construction. Compared with earlier temples, this temple is cluttered and its 51 towers make the profile difficult to understand. More unique and unusual is the sculpture with huge smiling faces, which is a representation of Jayavarman VII in the aspects of Buddha. He died in 1219 and from the 13 th century onward, no Khmer king undertook the construction something like that of Jayavarman VII. In addition to weak kings, many social and economic factors contributed in weakening the empire. With the weakening process already started in the 13th century, darkness finally engulfed the whole civilization in the 15th century. The city fell to the Siamese. The end came about in seven months and Siamese returned with much loot and plunder. Siamese returned next year. But by that time the entire city was deserted. There was no trace that a civilization ever flourished in the jungles of Angkor. Where did the people disappear? Why didn't the people with such a splendid civilization and culture fight back? These are some of the questions which are still inviting attention of the archaeologists and historians to carry out more research.

Sources:
Encyclopedia of World History Volume II: “The Expanding World 600 C.E. to 1450” Edited by Marsha E. Ackerman, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, and Mark F. Whitters;
Sacred Places Around The World: “108 Destinations” by Brad Olsen;
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained Volume 2 by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
World Famous Unsolved Mysteries by Abhay Kumar Dubcy

Pic Source:
Encyclopedia of World History Volume II: “The Expanding World 600 C.E. to 1450” Edited by Marsha E. Ackerman, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, and Mark F. Whitters page 234
04:18 | 0 komentar

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

In 1920s, the city of Chicago, Illinois, became a hotbed of organized crime activity to the extent that underworld violence and corruption have become indelibly associated with the city’s image around the world. Even Charles “Lucky” Luciano, boss of New York’s Mafia, described Chicago in the 1920s as “a goddamn crazy place.” The heart of the problem was Alphonse "Scarface" Capone and his endless war to suppress rival bootleggers. Funded by the enormous profits from bootlegging liquor during Prohibition, the Chicago gangs employed bribery and coercion of police, politicians, and the judiciary to operate with virtual impunity throughout the city and outlying suburbs. As their dominance of the city progressed throughout the decade, personal rivalry and competition led to increasingly brazen acts of violence, culminating in America’s most infamous gangland killing called the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre, in which seven affiliates of George “Bugs” Moran’s Northside gang were gunned down in the garage of a Clark Street trucking company.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

In 1919 following the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing the manufacture, transport, and sale of alcoholic, criminals across the nation set up operations for producing, smuggling, and distributing liquor. In Chicago, career criminal Johnny Torrio, taking a lesson from the oil, railroad, and steel industries, established a trust to control the illicit liquor trade. After arranging the murder of his boss and taking over his Southside gang, Torrio successfully divided the city into territories and fostered an uneasy cooperation among the gangs on mutually beneficial issues such as price fixing and bribery of officials. He discouraged the use of violence except as a last resort, but squabbles over territory and personal affronts led to an average of 30 gangland killings per year in Chicago during the early 1920s. Many of these were high-profile attacks in public places such as restaurants, flower shops, and street corners that drew considerable attention from the press and public but rarely resulted in convictions. Chicago recorded 703 gangland murders during Prohibition, while countless other victims disappeared on “one-way rides” or were slain in Chicago’s suburbs.

Torrio retired in 1925 after surviving an attempt on his life and left the operation to his protégé, Al Capone. With Torrio gone, several rivals attempted to increase their territories and profits, and the city saw a sharp escalation in violence, with the annual number of gang killings doubling to 60 in 1925–26. Al Capone proved to be at least Torrio’s equal in both business sense and brutality, and by 1927, he had established himself as the undisputed ruler of Chicago’s Southside underworld. Still, the killings continued at a high rate as a way to deal with witnesses, disloyal members within gangs, and hijackings of alcohol shipments by rivals. The latter infraction became a particularly contentious issue between Capone and the Northside gang headed by Bugs Moran.

Throughout 1928, Moran intercepted so many of the Southsiders’ deliveries that Capone allegedly brought in killers from out of town to end the problem. Their elaborate plan began with a neutral party selling Moran a shipment of premium Canadian whiskey at a bargain price and arranging for a second transaction at a trucking company owned by Moran. An intermediary offered the load to Moran, and delivery was scheduled for the morning of February 14, 1929— St. Valentine’s Day—at Moran’s primary warehouse on North Clark Street. Capone imported two members of Detroit’s Purple Gang to watch the garage and telephone a waiting strike team when Moran arrived. Unfortunately, the spotters had Moran’s description but no photograph. Around 10:30 A.M. on D-Day, they marked the arrival of a man resembling Moran and made the fatal call.

In fact, the visitor was actually Dr. Reinhard Schwimmer, a Chicago optometrist and “gangster groupie” who enjoyed spending time with the North Side crowd whenever possible. Also present were brothers Frank and Pete Gusenberg (Moran’s frontline enforcers), Adam Meyer (a bookkeeper and also Moran’s business manager), Albert Kachellek a.k.a. James Clark (Moran’s second in command), Albert Weinshank (Moran’s operation cleaner), and John May (Moran’s car mechanic). Moran had overslept and was running late to the meeting. As he approached on foot, shortly before 11:00 A.M., Moran saw a police car stop in front of his garage and fled the scene, thus saving his own life. Inside the garage, two men in police uniforms brandished weapons and ordered all present to stand against a brick wall. Next, two or three other men dressed in civilian garb entered the warehouse. Before the victims recognized their peril, a storm of fire from .45- caliber Thompson submachine guns cut them down. Two of the dead or dying men were also blasted in the face at close range with a sawed-off shotgun.

While Chicago had long suffered a reputation for vice and corruption even before the start of Prohibition, the cold and calculated nature of this mass murder drew the shocked attention of the nation. In any case, the massacre effectively destroyed the North Side gang. Commentators and politicians pointed to it as an indicator of everything from the failure of Prohibition to the dehumanization associated with modern urban living. Chicago officials responded by temporarily closing most speakeasies and gambling dens and by launching several independent investigations. They brought in Calvin H. Goddard, one of the leading experts in the little-known field of forensic ballistics, who tested several machine guns—some owned by criminals and some by the police—and finally matched two of the weapons to bullets from the murders.

One of the Tommy guns used on St. Valentine’s Day was found in December 1929 after police arrested hitman Fred “Killer” Burke in Michigan. Burke denied any part in the slaughter and was never charged with the crime, instead receiving a life sentence for the murder of a Michigan police officer. Police were able to partially untangle the weapons’ trail of ownership through several gangsters and gun dealers but could not definitively connect any of them to the massacre.

Goddard’s efforts ended lingering suspicions that the killers were actually corrupt Chicago officers, and the attention his methods received during the high-profile investigation helped establish ballistics as a reliable investigative tool. Several arrests were made, but in the end no one was ever tried or convicted for the St. Valentine’s murders, and the case remains officially unsolved.

Sources:
Disasters, Accidents, and Crises In American History: “A Reference Guide to the Nation’s Most Catastrophic Events” by Ballard C. Campbell;
The Encyclopedia of Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories by Michael Newton;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine%27s_Day_massacre

Pic Source:
http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Libby-Hellmann-on-The-St-Valentine-s-Day-Massacre/td-p/862368
04:49 | 0 komentar

Moodus Noises

Moodus noises are underground rumbling sounds and tremors that have occurred for centuries near the Moodus River in Connecticut. In fact, the river’s name comes from Native Americans who inhabited the region and attributed these sounds and tremors to evil gods. They called the area Matchitmoodus, a Wangunk Indian name meaning “Place of Bad Noises.” The noises can be heard most strongly from Cave Hill, located next to Mt. Tom and owned by the Cave Hill Resort. The Puritans who settled in the region during the 1670s also heard the noises, but they attributed the phenomena to the devil. The swarms of tremors at Moodus, which recur periodically and whose cause is unknown, often compared to distant thunder or cannon fire, and the noises have long occurred there. While scientists have offered various theories as to what causes the quakes, no one is sure why they are so noisy and why they occur in that particular place and depth: about a mile deep in an area a few hundred yards wide.


According to local legend, the Wangunk created a religion around the noises, and they believe that the area was the dwelling place of a vengeful god called Hobbamock. They said the god is very angry because the Europeans had come to Connecticut. The Colonial settlers speculate that the noises is the fights between the white magic witches of Moodus and the black magic witches of Haddam. Usually the fights took place in a cavern lighted by a great carbuncle under Mount Tom. When the evil witches tired of the fights, he would blow the white witches out of the cavern, extinguishing light of the carbuncle and creating the great peals of thunder.

In 1760s the Moodus noises had caused so much concern. Even King George III of England sent an alchemist, Dr. Steel, to investigate and to find the source. Local people say that Dr. Steel attempted to solve the problem by removing a giant pearl blocking the mouth of a cave near the river. It is uncertain if Steel actually removed anything at the cave, but interestingly the noises and tremors became reduced and less frequent. However in 1816 and 1817 the tremors turned from little tremors into large quakes.

At that time the scientists and researchers concluded that the noises were caused by underground gases or chemical explosions. While scholars of the 20th century concluded that seismic forces were to blame as the source of the noises. But in 1980s, when scientists declared that the Moodus noises were nothing more than the micro earthquakes, the phenomena were still a matter of controversy.

Sources:
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/06/nyregion/a-steady-observer-for-trembling-moodus.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodus,_Connecticut

Pic Source:
http://www.city-data.com/city/Moodus-Connecticut.html#
05:56 | 2 komentar

Cursed Stone of Glavendrup

Denmark is well supplied with runic inscriptions, in the village of Glavendrup on the central island Funen there is a huge rune stone with the longest inscription, and it has a curse on it. The Glavendrup Stone Ship and runestone are dates from the early 10th century, the middle of the Viking age. It has 60 meters or 67 yards long, and has a runic stone at its Western end. The runestone forms the end of a stone ship. There are other megaliths in the vicinity, including memorial stones with Latin characters from the early 20th century. In the stone ship, nine graves have been found, but they were all empty. The stone was found in 1794, narrowly missed being turned into building material in 1808, and finally placed where we can see it today in 1906. Glavendrup runestone is located a 15 minute drive Northwest of Odense Airport on Funen.

The Glavendrup Runestone

The inscription tells a story that the stone is dedicated to the memory of a man named Alle (Ali), and was placed there by his wife (Ragnhild) and sons, and blessed by the god Thor. It has been noted that Thor is the only Norse god who is invoked on any Viking Age runestones. And then it ends with a curse threatening to turn anyone who tampers with the stone or drags it away, into a “raete” (rita). Strangely enough present day rune experts have no idea what a “raete” is, but it is used as a threat in several other connections. However Ragnhild, wasn't just married to Alle, Ragnhild also had another runic stone made for another husband named Gunulf, known as the Tryggevaelde Runic Stone, carved by the same rune carver, Sote (Soti). The Tryggevaelde Runic Stone was originally placed near the East coast of Zealand but has been moved to the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen.

Here is the Old Norse translation from the inscription that carved on the Glavendrup stone:
A: Ragnhildr setti stein þessa eptir Ála sölva, véaliðs heiðverðan þegn.
B: Ála synir gerðu kumbl þessa eptir föður sinn ok hans kona eptir ver sinn, en Sóti reist rúnar þessa eptir dróttin sinn. Þórr vígi þessa rúnar.
C: At rita sá verði er stein þenna elti eða eptir annan dragi.

English translation:
A: ‘Ragnhildr placed this stone in memory of Áli the pale (?), the worthy thane of the véalið (‘army of the shrines’).
B: Áli’s sons made this monument in memory of their father, and his wife for her husband, but Sóti carved these runes in memory of his lord. May Thor consecrate these runes.
C: May he become a rita who removes (lit. ‘puts to flight’) this stone or distorts it after (i.e. for) someone else.’

According to McKinnell, Simek & Dwell (2004) this inscription is carved on the three sides of a very large reddish granite boulder (height 1.88 m, width of side A 1.42 m, of side B 1.59 m, of side C 55cm) that serves as the ‘prow-post’ of a ship-setting made of large stones. It is the longest surviving runic inscription in Denmark. The Ragnhildr who is named here also commissioned the Tryggevælde stone, Zealand, in memory of her (previous?) husband; it ends with a very similar curse, but does not include the dedication to Thor.

In C, rita (rata, ræta) may be interpreted as ‘sorcerer?’, and ‘to become a rita’ must mean something shameful along similar lines; this is at least implied by a connection with the term ergi ‘passive sexual perversion’ on the Saleby rune-stone. The definition of rita as a ‘pejorative term for an evil-doer’, a sorcerer (warlock) or ‘fiend’ is perhaps too mild a euphemism for what is meant. This kind of formula is found on a total of seven Danish runestones and although three of them are from Northern Jutland, there are also examples from Fyn, Zealand, Scania and Västergötland. The verbal form ailti (here 3rd pers. subj.) should probably be interpreted as ‘who damages’ or ‘who destroys’. It might possibly refer to removal and re-use of the stone for another similar monument.

In view of this, the end of the Glavendrup inscription might also be translated literally ‘or drags it away to commemorate someone else’; however this boulder is so massive that it would be very difficult to remove it physically.

Sources:
Gods and Mythological Beings in the Younger Futhark in Runes, Magic and Religion : A Sourcebook by McKinnell, J. and Simek, R. and Dwel, K. (2004);
Paranormal: Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 56 “Dane-lore: 10 of the Weirdest Sites in Denmark” by: Dr. Lars Thomas;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glavendrup_stone;
http://www.vikingdenmark.com/glavendrup-stone-ship-runic-stone-funen-denmark.html

Pic Source:
Paranormal: Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 56 page 23
04:42 | 0 komentar

Sunken Treasure of Admiral Nakhimov

On 14 October 1980, a press conference held by 83 year old Ryoichi Sasakawa, the Chairman of the Japanese Shipbuilding Industry Foundation at the Tokyo Press Club. Next to him was a small grey ingot, made of platinum. It was stated that the ingot had been salvaged from the Russian armed cruiser, Admiral Nakhimov. The cruiser sunk on 28 May 1905 by the Japanese fleet during the Russo-Japanese war. It was reported to be only a tiny part of treasure worth £1,000 million, however the total value of the sunken treasure to be expected to exceed £1,700 million. There was mention of 5,500 boxes, each containing 5,000 British gold sovereigns, together with 30 platinum bars and 48 gold bars. The Admiral Nakhimov immediately became the richest treasure ship of all time, however Sasakawa offered to turn it over to the Russia, in return for the Kurile Islands to Japan, which they had seized at the end of the Second World War.

The Admiral Nakhimov

Admiral Nakhimov, an armed cruiser of 8,524 gross tons, 333 feet long, with a crew of 567. Built in 1885 and then largely reconstructed in a British shipyard in 1899, the Admiral Nakhimov was one of the more interesting naval ships in the late 19th century. She was modeled after the British Royal Navy Imperieuse class cruisers. The Nakhimov was considered a more successful design and equipped with 203 mm guns, which were lighter and their number could be doubled.

The story of the Admiral Nakhimov treasure began in February 1904 when, provoked by recent Russian territorial expansionism in the east, Japan carried out a surprise torpedo attack on the Russian Far Eastern Fleet in Port Arthur. On October a Russian reinforcement fleet that included four new Borodino-class battleships was ready to depart from the Baltic Sea. Tsar Nicholas II hoped that deploying a strengthened navy would reassert Russian control over the eastern seas. One of the older ships was the Admiral Nakhimov. Her main armament consisted of eight 6-inch guns and ten 4.7-inch guns, but it did have a top speed of 17.5 knots, and it was for this reason that it had been selected for a special mission.

On 20 October 1904, under Admiral Rozhdestvensky command, the Russian fleet entered the North Sea. The competence of its command quickly came into question when, on 22 October, Russian guns opened fire on the hull fishing fleet in the mistaken belief that they had run into Japanese torpedo boats. The result was the sinking of four innocent trawlers. In the general confusion the Russians even managed to fire on their own ships. It was not a good omen. However the fleet passed through the English Channel without further incident.

On 27 May 1905, the Russian fleet was in the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan, en route to Vladivostok, when it sailed within range of the guns of the Japanese Imperial fleet, lying in wait for them under the command of Admiral Heihachiro Togo. The Japanese fleet was smaller than the Russians but it had better design, equipment and superior maneuverability thanks to British technical assistance. Within twenty-four hours the Russians had lost all eight of their battleships and four cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov was among those ships damaged during the battle. She began sinking, gradually but inexorably. At daybreak, the remaining crew abandoned ship in the less badly damaged boats; they were soon picked up and made prisoner by the auxiliary cruiser Sado Maru. They were able to watch from the deck of their captors' ship as their old ironclad was swallowed by the sea, just east of Tsushima Island. The wreck site has been confirmed at 34° 34'N, 129° 32'E. Although their ship was lost in action, 626 of the crew were rescued; only 25 were lost.

Stories of fabulous sunken treasure aboard the Admiral Nakhimov began to surface soon after the battle, but salvage was not technically feasible at that time.Almost twenty years later, an ambitious teacher in the Japanese Naval School, by the name of Suzuki, began to interested about the Admiral Nakhimov treasure. In 1932 he met Hishida, his old friend in a Tokyo restaurant. That meeting was to change Suzuki’s life. Over thirty years he would spend the rest of his days, in an unending quest for the Admiral Nakhimov treasure. He never give up because his belief was based on the information provided by his friend Hishida. Hishida told Suzuki that another friend, Tanaka, had recently been approached by two Russian survivors of the battle, the 2nd Paymaster of the Admiral Nakhimov, Suzanov, and Rear-Admiral Natralof from the Russian flagship Suvovov, with a proposal for salvaging the gold and platinum on board the Admiral Nakhimov. There were various further items of supporting evidence. The Japanese government had received reports on 25 October and 19 November, from their embassies in Paris and Berlin respectively, that the Russians had succeeded in selling foreign bonds for 700 million French francs and 800 million German marks, all of which had apparently been converted into pound sterling and placed on board the Admiral Nakhimov.

Suzuki convinced that he knew exactly where the gold has been stowed. He had made the acquaintance of a tortoiseshell merchant called Eiso Ezaki, from Nagasaki City. Ezaki moved extensively in Russians circles, had friends in high places and had even constructed a model of the Admiral Nakhimov out of tortoiseshell for the Tsar. According to Ezaki the gold was stowed in the aft section of the third deck.

In August 1932 a team of 100 men began the search for the Admiral Nakhimov, deploying eight boats and dragging wires between them. On 16 January 1933 their efforts were finally rewarded. A large iron and steel vessel, fitting the dimensions of the Admiral Nakhimov, was discovered six miles east of Kami Tsushima on Tsushima Island. Salvaged operations began almost immediately and continued until September. It became clear that the Admiral Nakhimov was not going to be an easy ship to penetrate. The team did not have the necessary financial resources, nor did it have adequately trained divers. When japan entered the Second World war, operations were suspended and all the divers and crew were conscripted into the Japanese navy. All work on the Admiral Nakhimov was stopped.

In February 1944 the Japanese government itself ordered Suzuki to recommence operations for salvaging the gold on the Admiral Nakhimov and financed the operation to the tune of $500,000. However after the war Suzuki was advised not to restart operations until peace treaty with the United States had been signed. This meant a further delay until 1953. Then, Suzuki started again on his quest for the Admiral Nakhimov treasure, this time in a joint venture with an American corporation, the Pacific Far East Salvage company Inc. The American investors, like most of the others who met him, found Suzuki a thoroughly convincing and impressive character. They soon agreed to participate. However they found no treasure at all, sadly in june 1954 the superintendent of the divers, Mr. Yoichiro Oshii, lost his life during the project.

By 1955 the Americans were beginning to lose confidence in the project. Doubt centered not so much on the original existence of the gold on board the ship as on question on stowage. New theories beginning to proliferate. Perhaps the gold was not stowed at the aft of the third deck. Perhaps it was in the magazine room beneath the aft gun turret. The Admiral Nakhimov project was once again suspended, and although Suzuki continued to resurrect the project to his dying day, he had run out of willing financiers.

The question remains, did Sasakawa genuinely recover the enormous quantities of gold that he claimed, suggesting that Suzuki had been correct all along, or was the press conference nothing more than a massive publicity stunt as some have suggested? As always with treasure ships, the truth is difficult to get at. Interestingly, a book by Sidney Tyler entitled “The Japan Russia War “ and published in the US in 1905, long before treasure stories about the Admiral Nakhimov began to circulate, mentions Russia losing $75 million in gold. Unfortunately, he does not state which ship the gold was supposed to have been on.

Sources:
Lost Treasure Ships of the Twentieth Century by Nigel Pickford;
http://www.bbcknowledge.com/nz/liberating/21st-century-treasure-hunters/;
http://www.cityofart.net/bship/ru_nakhimov.html;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_armoured_cruiser_Admiral_Nakhimov

Pic Source:
Lost Treasure Ships of the Twentieth Century by Nigel Pickford page 36
05:19 | 1 komentar

Leanan Shee The Irish Fairies

Stories of blood-drinking or energy-sapping fairies had existed in both Scotland and Ireland since the earliest times. According to those who speak the Gaelic tongue of Scotland and Ireland, the creature prefer to be known as “sidhe” (also spelled sidh, sith, sithche) and pronounced “shee.” In Ireland one such being was known as the Leanan Shee (the fairy mistress), a creature with a special affinity for humans The name comes from the Gaelic words for a sweetheart, lover, or concubine and the term for a barrow or fairy-mound. The Leanan Shee are said to be able to enchant humans, to take advantage of them in numerous ways, and even cast a spell on likely young men or women and marry them. She seeks the love of mortals. If they refuse, she must be their slave. The fairy lives on their life, and they waste away. Death is no escape from her. She was drawn to warriors and poets and often magically provided prowess for the former and inspiration for the latter. But her attentions came at a price. As she made love to the warrior or poet whose mistress she inevitably became, she drew both the strength and life from them in the manner of the ancient Roman succubus. In the end, they were little more than an empty husk, which the fairy then discarded in favour of another lover.


Although the Leanan Shee did not actually drink blood, there were other Irish fairies that were said to do so. Some were said to dwell in the Magillycuddy Reeks in County Kerry in the very south of Ireland. In a lecture given at Trinity College in Dublin in 1963, the former Archivist of the Irish Folklore Commission (a Government-sponsored body set up to preserve Irish tradition), Sean O’Sullivan, (himself a Kerryman) stated that he’d heard of a castle guarding a mountain pass, high in the Reeks, that was inhabited by blood-drinking fairy creatures. The name of this place was Dun Dreachfhoula, significantly pronounced Drac-ola or Dracula, and meaning “the fort of evil blood,” sometimes translated as “the fort of the blood visage.” Unfortunately, O’Sullivan did not make any further reference to the location of the place either in his lectures or books. For instance, it does not appear in his most famous book, Irish Wake Amusements—and he died without ever revealing where it might be.

Several academics have tried to locate it but even the most minute examination of the sites of the Barony of Kilkerron in which the Reeks lie reveals nothing. And yet tales of blood drinking and flesh eating persisted in the region well into the 20th century.

In the 1930s, a collector for the Irish Folklore Commission, Tim Murphy, detailed a story from the remote mountain parish of Sneem in County Kerry that contained vampiric fairies references. A farmer in the area had married a woman who was said to have fairy connections, who refused to eat any food that was cooked in the house but at night, would rise from her bed and go to the local cemetery where she dug up the bodies, drank the blood, and consumed the flesh. The husband followed her to the churchyard where he confronted her as a vampire. “You would not eat the good meat or drink the good beer at your own table but you would come here at night to eat this foul dinner,” he told her. However at this point, Murphy’s story became confusing and mixed with another tale and the fate of this vampiric fairies was unclear.

Sources:

Encyclopedia of the Undead: “A Field Guide to the Creatures that Cannot Rest in Peace by DR. Bob Curran;
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leanan_s%C3%ADdhe

Pic Source:
The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger page 102
04:43 | 0 komentar

Sun Temple of Abu Ghurob

Abu Ghurob (also known as Abu Gurab, or Abu Jirab) is a sun temple, a ‘burial center’ or ‘funerary complex’ for a new cult of Ra (because the actual function of a place is unclear) dating to around 2400 B.C. built by the Khemitians, who were indigenous ancient Africans, employed advanced forms of engineering and manufacturing to produce the artifacts in stone—and to cut, shape and lift the thousands of tons of stone that we see remnants of today. Many of these structures exhibit evidence of advanced machining. Perfectly round holes appear to be drilled right into and through the alabaster structures. It was excavated by Egyptologists between 1898 and 1901 by Ludwig Borchardt on behalf of the Berlin Museum and is located near the city of Memphis.

Abu Ghurob, means “Father of Crow’s Nests,” because of the great sight line from a small hill at the site, features many structures carved out of alabaster, a highly crystalline igneous (volcanic) rock. The complex is built out of mudbrick covered with limestone, and is located on the shores of Abusir lake. Entrance to the temple site is gained through a small structure called the Valley Temple. Archeologists have been unable to study the Valley Temple in detail. It is partially submerged and has suffered extensive damage. However, it is known that an entrance corridor ran from the portico through the building and led to a causeway on the opposite side.

The massive alabaster (Egyptian crystal) platform at Abu Ghurob

Based on Ancient American oral tradition from Tennessee, retold by Cherokee wisdom keeper Dhyani Yahoo in her book 'Voices of Our Ancestors' describes formless “thought beings” called TLA beings who rode a sound wave from the Pleiades star cluster through a hole in space in East Tennessee and created the Cherokee. All humans are dream children of these angels or elemental forces of Nature (the Egyptian Neter) who came from the stars. This legend obviously resonates with Khemetian belief concerning Abu Ghurob. Curiously Dr. Eve Reymond, a scholar who had explored the ancient Egyptian Building Texts from Edfu, Egypt in her book 'The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple' also tell of formless beings who came from the stars and created an island civilization in Egypt. These sages, as they were called, constructed an original mound where the creation of humankind took place. This island was called the Island of the Egg and was surrounded by the primeval water. The Edfu tale matches the Atlantis story as told by Plato of a civilization founded by the gods who created a hybrid race of humans.

Alternative researchers uphold the use of megalithic red granite blocks as a trademark of ‘Atlantean’ temple building. At Abu Ghurob one sees colossal red granite blocks weighing several tons that were precision products of this power plant. Egyptologists guess that the massive basins were used to hold sacrificial animal blood, which ran through perfectly round channels cut into the paving. To support this hypothesis, they point to evidence of grooves cut into the stone floor of the courtyard that may have been used to drain away the blood. However there is not a single drop of DNA or other evidence to support this misconception. Other researchers, think that the basins were probably only symbolic, or decorative, since no knives or other equipment related to sacrifice have been discovered in the area. While Stephen S. Mehler theorized that the ancient stone masonry pyramids were never originally designed and built to be tombs for kings, or anyone, but as energy devices that utilized flowing water and solar power from sunlight to produce varied forms of energy for the use of all people. Interestingly, the inner surface of the basins are smooth to the touch and show signs of circular tool marks, suggesting that whoever crafted them did so with a technology we would admire today.

Sources:
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 59: “The Lost World of Egypt’s Abu Ghurob” by William Henry;
http://www.gizapyramid.com/Mehler%20New%20Article.htm;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Gorab

Pic Source:
Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 59: “The Lost World of Egypt’s Abu Ghurob” by William Henry page 40
04:07 | 0 komentar

RMS Queen Mary The Gray Ghost

The RMS Queen Mary is the world's best-documented haunted ship, and the ship having more ghosts than other ships her size had crew. When she was christened at her Scottish shipyard in 1934 by Britain's King George V and Queen Mary, the RMS Queen Mary was the largest ship in the world and the jewel of the Cunard Line. During the years that the 1,019-foot luxury liner the Queen Mary was in service (1936–1967), there were 41 passengers and at least 16 crew members who died on the high seas of various illnesses and accidents. In addition to the deaths that occurred directly in her cabins or on her decks, the Queen Mary was responsible for the deaths of over 300 seamen during World War II. Today, the ship is permanently moored in Long Beach, California, as a hotel and tourist attraction. There have been literally hundreds of sightings of various ghosts throughout the ship, and they continue to the present day. Many of the ship's staff, tour guides, and visitors to the ship, as well as overnight guests at the hotel, have reported seeing them.

The RMS Queen Mary, now moored in Long Beach, California

The RMS Queen Mary is 1,019.5 feet long, weighs 81,237 gross tons, is 181 feet tall from its keel to the top of its smokestack, has a 160,000 horsepower engine capacity, and was built to accommodate approximately 3,000 passengers and crew comfortably. In all aspects, the Queen Mary is significantly bigger than the Titanic was, built 20 years earlier. The ship made her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936. The Queen Mary was one of the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners, and her civilian service would be short-lived. In March 1940, she was painted grey and given the ominous name of the “Gray Ghost.” The Queen Mary was pressed into service for World War II and was transporting around 15,000 troops at a time, mainly for the United States.

Although she escaped harm from enemy vessels, on October 2, 1942, the Queen Mary had a tragic collision with one of her escort cruisers, the HMS Curaçao. In 1942, the Queen Mary was being escorted through hostile waters by a much smaller vessel called the Curaçao. The Queen Mary had strict orders not to stop or even slow down for any reason, as Hitler’s U-boats were all around the area. The Queen Mary was running in a zig-zag submarine evasion pattern, and the Curaçao inadvertently got into the way of the great ship. The Curaçao was literally sliced in half, killing 338 of the sailors aboard—though a few crew members were pulled from the water by other escort ships, most were lost.

On July 31, 1947, the Queen Mary returned to its peacetime mission of being a transatlantic vessel. But the days of transatlantic vessels were numbered. On September 19, 1967 the RMS Queen Mary was retired from service after completing 1,001 Atlantic crossings. The city of Long Beach, California, successfully bid to acquire the Queen Mary and have her permanently docked as a tourist attraction for the city of Long Beach. On December 11, 1967, she pulled in to Long Beach and has remained there ever since.

Since the Queen Mary was permanently docked in Long Beach in 1967, hundreds of visitors have claimed to have seen materialized ghosts, moving objects, and eerie lights floating through its hallways. Disembodied voices are frequently reported, and many individuals say that they have heard screams and the harsh sound of ripping metal in the bow area, terrible echoes of the night the Gray Ghost tore the Curacao in half. In addition to the many ghosts sighted on the Queen Mary, there have been traditional haunting phenomena, such as unexplained voices and moving objects.

Several séances have been held on the ship, at which mediums claim to have contacted resident spirits. The spirit most often mentioned is that of Lieutenant Carlo Giovetti, an Italian fighter pilot who was shot down by the British over North Africa. Giovetti died onboard the Queen Mary while being transported as a prisoner of war. He died primarily due to complications from injuries he suffered during the plane crash, and, like many others who died onboard during the War years, was most probably buried at sea.

Peter James, a psychic medium has been investigating the history and ghosts of the Queen Mary since 1991. James said, “The Queen Mary is the most haunted place that I have ever investigated. And I’ve literally been around the globe with hauntings. This is number one as the most haunted place in the world. There are at least 600 active resident ghosts on the Queen Mary.” Why so many deaths on a luxury ocean liner? Certainly the military service has a lot to do with the fatalities. James said, “While transporting over 10,000 of our troops during World War II, it was quite hot in the Indian Ocean and the Queen Mary was not equipped with airconditioning. Fact has it that troops were dying at a rate of one every 7 minutes for hours. That’s how bad it was, because they were packed like sardines.” In addition to U.S. and allied troops, the “Gray Ghost” also picked up some German and Italian prisoners of war. The prisoners were as young as 17 years old. They were housed in the isolation ward on B deck. They chose to commit suicide rather than face the consequences of becoming prisoners of war.

James said, “To this day, you can hear the collision—the residual sound effects and also the water splashing and many screams for help.” Military service doesn’t account for all of the fatalities on the ship. There were medical conditions of passengers, some drownings in the pool, and even a few accidents. The ship’s door number 13 features a watertight seal and can be closed, in order to section off the ship in case of a hull breach. He says at least two men throughout the ship’s history were crushed to death in this doorway, and James suspects it could have been foul play. One ghost who is regularly seen is that of 18-year-old John Pedder, who was crushed to death deep among the pipes and girders of the engine room by hydraulic door no. 13 during one of the luxury liner’s final voyages on July 10, 1966. Because of the area he haunts, he has earned the nickname "the Shaft Alley Spectre." Other visitors have met him in narrow walkways and have even stepped aside to let him pass, only to see the young man disappear after a few steps. The ghost of Senior Second Officer W.E. Stark has been spotted in his former sleeping quarters as well as on deck. He, too, died in an accident. On September 18, 1949, he drank a mixture of carbon tetrachloride and lime juice: The deadly cleaning fluid had been stored without proper warning in an old gin bottle. He treated the mistake lightly, but the next day he fell into a coma and died three days later. The phantom of a man in a mechanic's white boiler suit has also been seen and heard near the engine room. Likewise, a man in blue-gray overalls, with black hair and a long beard, has been spotted below deck.

Peter James has visited the Queen Mary well more than 1,000 times since 1991. His first supernatural experience onboard happened during his first tour on the ship’s old “Ghosts, Myths, and Legends” tour with his friend. He said to his companion, “This captain just came up to me and said he was Captain Stark, and this is where they found his body. Ten seconds later, the tour guide turns around and says, ‘And this is where the body of Captain Stark was found.’”

As a psychic, James certainly has an advantage in experiencing the supernatural aboard the ship, but he said there are many phenomena that have materialized for witnesses who are not psychically sensitive. He believes the first-class swimming pool is the heart of the ship, and James has encountered a significant amount of supernatural occurrences there. One such event involved the disembodied voice of a young girl named Jackie, and more than 100 witnesses experienced it at a single time. James said, “Jackie is about 4 or maybe 5 years old. After I had an interactive conversation with her, she said she would meet up with me in the other pool area. I was a bit confused, because I was only aware of one pool—the first-class swimming pool. However, in her consciousness of about 60 or more years ago, the Royal Theater used to be the second-class swimming pool, where, sadly, she drowned. Jackie speaks as clearly as we do.”

Robin Wachner the marketing communications director for the Queen Mary, explained that, since 1967, the Queen Mary has operated as a hotel and has featured restaurants, catering halls, and special event tours. There are more than 365 guest rooms that are preserved exactly as they were when the ship sailed. Even some of the fixtures in the rooms are original. Today, the ship receives more than 1.4 million visitors per year. Wachner said she’s never personally experienced any ghosts onboard, but many of her colleagues have. She said, “In the marketing office, a lot of people have experienced seeing, out of the corner of their eye, a man in black. He appears almost as fast as he disappears. People have walked over to see if they can help this man, and he’s just gone. We also have a lot of instances within our offices of doors just mysteriously opening and closing when there’s no wind and no windows open. There have been some strange happenstances aboard the Queen Mary among the employees—people see disembodied heads, legs, and images, and people dressed in vintage clothing disappear into thin air.”

Sources:
Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places by Brad Steiger;
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings by Tom Ogden;
The World’s Most Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger.

Pic Source:
The World’s Most Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger page 21
05:49 | 2 komentar

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