Another Starman Sails Away: Vale Dr. Edgar Mitchell

Last year, after attending the infamous Be-Witness presentation, some of my friends invited me to their podcasts so I could share my impressions about the farcical event organized by Jaime Maussan. They were particularly interested in learning about the reaction of the audience after the ad-nauseamly discussed Roswell slide was revealed --were they disappointed or outraged?

I know I did end up disappointed. Not because of the alleged proof presented by the Roswell 'Dream Team' and Maussan, though --since I was already prepared to take it with deer lick of salt-- but because at the last minute, Maussan announced one of his guest stars for the event hadn't been able to make it: Dr. Edgar Mitchell; the 6th man to walk on the Moon, who because of his deteriorated health, was forced to follow the advice of his doctors and decided to cancel his trip to Mexico city. Of all the UFO celebrities Maussan had invited to join him at the National Auditorium that night, Dr. Mitchell was the *only* one I was genuinely looking forward to seeing onstage when I paid for my ticket.

Sadly, now I'll never have that chance again. Dr. Mitchell's family has just recently announced he passed away last night at around 10 pm, at a local hospice; just one day away of celebrating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 14th's lunar landing. He was 85 years old.

Of the 12 Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon, only 7 now remain alive --Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean,David Scott, John W. Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. They won't be around for much longer, and I fear a long time may pass before we replenish our batch of explorers, who have actually set foot outside of our world.

When we choose to remain still, we do a disservice to the memory of these men.

Predicting the future is a risky game, because more than likely you'll end up making a fool out of yourself in the face of unborn generations; nevertheless, I dare to guess that in the future the name of Edgar Mitchell will actually be most remembered, not for his involvement in the early stages of space colonization; and not even for his somewhat-questionable activism in support of the UFO reality and the push toward Disclosure. No, I think our descendants will still remember his name because of his support on the exploration of the mysteries of Consciousness, through his founding of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which I suspect will have a pivotal role to play in our transition toward a new reality paradigm. It is then when Mitchell's name will stand tallest from the rest of his astronaut brothers, and will be regarded as a Magellan who charted the course to a better future for humanity; a future he managed to feetingly glimpse on his return to the Moon, when he experienced a feeling of 'Unity' with the entire universe:

Safe travels, Dr. Mitchell. And thank you.

Edgar Mitchell Apollo astronaut earth overview effect politicians politics

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News Briefs 05-02-2016

"Sunshine cannot bleach the snow,Nor time unmake what poets know."

Quote of the Day:

“Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.”

R.W. Emerson

Teleportation: From Ancient Myth to Modern Science

Being a die-hard fan of Star Trek, I basically grew up accepting the idea that people could be beamed from one location to the next.  They made it look so easy; you just stepped onto the lighted pad while some guy in a red (or yellow) shirt hit a few icons on his control board and after a few wibbly lines and sparkles, away you went.  They were never really clear on exactly how it worked or how far they could send you, but it must have been anywhere from a few hundred thousand miles to a million.  What a way to travel!

Of course, that’s a TV show.  A particularly good TV show in my opinion, but a fictional construct nonetheless.  Mr. Roddenberry was faced with a conundrum when he created a show based on interstellar travel, including visits to all manner of alien worlds.  How do we get our characters from the ship to the surface without endless voyages in shuttlecraft or what have you?  Easy, we invent a machine that magically transports them in an instant!  But did Roddenberry really invent the idea?

Well, no, he didn’t.

The idea that a person or thing can be magically transported from one location to another is actually quite an old one.  It has shamanistic origins, and there are accounts, arguably, in the Bible, but it likely predates the Biblical period.  Those Biblical accounts, Ezekiel 11:1, and in the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den from the Hebrew Bible, tell of the mystical phenomenon of bilocation, where a person is observed in two places at once, often impossibly far apart.  This idea is also found in Vedic traditions, Buddhism and many other spiritual customs.  The story from the Holy Quran, of the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, is sometimes thought of as another example.

The idea has a few names too: bilocation (also given as bi-location), apportation (or to apport), teletransportation, or more commonly, teleportation.  These terms all have slightly different meanings, but all refer to the same phenomenon.  The term teleportation was first coined by the inimitable father of paranormal research, Mr. Charles Fort in 1931, in his second non-fiction book titled Lo!.[1]  In it he described various events and happenings revolving around the idea and presented his thesis that, by way of a “cosmic joker”, certain objects and people could be transported over great distances by unknown means.  Fort connected many disparate phenomenon with teleportation, from telekinetic apportation, which is associated with spiritualistic séances and mediums, to missing persons cases and even weird rain (strange items and/or animals falling like rain, often from clear skies).

"Mostly in this book I shall specialize upon indications that there exists a transportory force that I shall call Teleportation."

But as mentioned, the idea long predates Fort and the spiritualism movement of the late 19th century.  The problem, as with any Fortean subject, is that the older the account, the less credible the source.  There are many stories from almost every culture that feature an event resembling Fort’s idea of teleportation, but it’s exceedingly difficult to pin down details, and thus we are forced to look at them as apocryphal myths.   Of course, the more modern accounts don’t really offer that much reliable information either.

Apportation gets a bad rap, resulting from the questionable methods of mid to late 19th century and early 20th century mediums and spiritualists, who used sleight of hand and outright trickery to dupe sitters into believing objects, such as flowers, stones, perfumes, and small animals, were either spontaneously disappearing or appearing (or both) during a séance.  Almost every account from this period has either been debunked or is considered to have been hoaxed, but there are a few worth mentioning.

The amazing story of the Pansini Brothers is one such account.

The Pansini Brothers, the sons of Signor Mauro Pansini, an Italian building contractor, were considered to be “mediumistic children”.  Following what was said to have been poltergeist activity in the family’s older home in 1904 and ongoing accounts of the older son speaking in tongues, the boys, Alfredo (10) and Paulo (8), we mysteriously transported a distance of ten to fifteen miles from the home in mere minutes.  Apparently there were multiple teleport events involving both boys, and on one occasion, in the presence of a bishop Bitonto, the boys vanished from the room as their mother and the bishop discussed means for ending this “obsession”.[2]

Despite fairly close scrutiny by Italian scientists at the time, no explanation was ever found for the events.

Another notable account of teleportation is that of Damodar Ketkar of Poona, India.  Ketkar, described as a young child in the grips of a “poltergeist persecution”, suffered a teleportation event on April 23, 1928.  According to a letter written by the boy’s British Governess, Miss H. Kohn, Damodar materialised in front of her and said to her “I have just come from Karjat!” (Which is approximately 63 miles from Poona)

Kohn noted, with some enthusiasm, that the boy’s posture upon materialising was “…of a person who has been gripped round the waist and carried, and therefore makes no effort but is gently dropped at his destination.”[3]  He apparently suffered no ill effects from the experience.

This case is unique and particularly interesting, as it’s the only known case of a person’s teleportation arrival being witnessed independently.  As with the others though, this tale stands, and will remain, uncorroborated.

Of course, anyone who stays abreast of modern technological advancements, is aware that scientists are working on making the Star Trek transporter a reality.  This research is in the realm of quantum physics, and it involves what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”, otherwise known as quantum entanglement.  A certain level of success has been achieved in the field of quantum teleportation, but we’re still far from zipping through space, from planet to planet, for various complicated reasons.

It is reasonable to think, though, that in time our greatest scientific minds will master the science and bring us something like a sci-fi transporter, but as Eric W. Davis concluded in his 2004 special report to the US Air Force Research Laboratory on teleportation physics:

“At present, none of the theoretical concepts explored…have been brought to a level of technical maturity, where it becomes meaningful…”[4]


[1] Charles Fort. Lo!. Claud Kendall (Publisher) 1931 New York [Online annotated version]: http://www.resologist.net/loei.htm

[2] Lapponi, Joseph. Hypnotism and Spiritualism. New York: Long-Mans, Green and Co. 1907

[3] Price, Harry. An Indian Poltergeist with Miss H. Kohn. Psychic Research (New York) March 1930

[4] Davis, Eric. W. Teleportation Physics Report. Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command – August 2004 AFRL-PR-ED-TR-2003-0034 http://www.rense.com/1.imagesG/teleport.pdf

 

News Briefs 04-02-2016

Defying sensibility, one link at a time.

Love and waffles to Kat, Red Pill Junkie, and David Metcalfe for some of the links!

Quote of the Day:

"We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest."
- Buckminster Fuller

News Briefs 03-02-2016

Likely stories:

Quote of the Day:

Needless to say, urgings by ravens are ignored at one's peril.

James D. Doss

Kickstarter: The Secret Drugs of Buddhism

I've long been fascinated with shamanism and the use of psychedelics throughout history, and am honoured to be the publisher of Paul Devereux's classic The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia (Amazon US or Amazon UK). So a few years ago I was intrigued by a book, published on-line, titled Secret Drugs of Buddhism.

Written by long-time researcher Mike Crowley, the book offered some brilliant observations on the crossovers between certain aspects of Buddhism and the use of psychedelics. And now, after continued interest from many readers, Mike has created a Kickstarter in order to do a print run of an actual book version. With a foreword by Ann Shulgin, Secret Drugs of Buddhism...

...represents over four decades of research by Buddhist scholar Mike Crowley into the use of psychoactive sacraments in the religions of India.

Beginning with prehistoric cultures of central Asia, the book considers drug use from prehistoric central Asia, through the Indus Valley civilization and then Vedic ritual to medieval Indian Buddhism and, eventually Tibet.

The author points out that some mythic elements (e.g. Shiva's blue throat) rely on simple (Sanskrit) word-play to conceal allusions to psychoactive plants. Some of this research has already been aired in learned journals (e.g. Time & Mind) but the book treats the subject in far more detail.

If you're at all interested in the shamanism and the secret traditions of ancient cultures, I highly recommend chipping in to this Kickstarter as the book is wonderful.

Link: Secret Drugs of Buddhism, a book

News Briefs 02-02-2016

Looking for some good reading? Look no further...

Quote of the Day:

It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. it is a matter of converting the high technology of weaponry to livingry.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Fill Your Bookshelves With All This Grail Goodness - Before Prices Go Up

Here at the Daily Grail we don't just post a non-stop buffet of Fortean goodness to the web. We also publish actual books, ranging from absolute classics - such as Jacques Vallee's UFO masterpiece Passport to Magonia, to a yearly(ish) anthology covering everything from hidden history to the mysteries of consciousness.

Unfortunately, I've received word from our printer that - after ten years of static prices - this month they will be lifting their print prices. As we run on a very tight margin, that rise in price will sadly be reflected in a higher retail price for our books from the start of next month.

The good news is that I'm telling you now, so if you're interested in any of our books, you can get in before the price rise at the end of the month and grab them at the current price. And by buying one of our books, everybody wins: not only are they great reads on fascinating topics, but each sale helps keep this site running as well as supporting the various authors and researchers associated with each book.

To save you having to dig around Amazon, below you'll find direct links to all of our titles. First, our stand-alone books on topics ranging from shamanism to UFOs, lucid dreaming and the afterlife:

Daily Grail Books

We also now have eight volumes of our Fortean anthology series Darklore available:

Daily Grail Publishing's Darklore Series

Massive apologies for the impending price rise, which we have been forced into by circumstances beyond our control. But I'm sure those who have purchased our books in the past will agree that they remain great value, and we will be continuing to add new, exciting titles in coming months and years on a range of topics relevant to all those who read The Daily Grail.

News Briefs 01-02-2016

It says a lot about the modern world when a Markov bot mashing up Sarah Palin quotes with Erowid trip reports makes more sense than what most politicians are saying. Or maybe that's just me...

Thanks Kat and @t3dy.

Quote of the Day:

Todd and I held it in, as long as the magic unfolded, and the economy sputtered to a halt and started screaming incoherently.

Sarowid Palin

Archaeoacoustics: Listening to the Sounds of History

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum - Paola, Malta

When we study the ancient world, we have but one sense to use.  We can, unfortunately, only view the past with our eyes.  As beautiful as the artefacts of our ancestors are, this one dimensional perspective tends to be somewhat restrictive to our understanding.  After all, when we consider our contemporary world, we have the benefit of seeing, smelling and hearing all of the various elements that make up that landscape.  Not so with the ancient world.

However there are a select few people trying to change that.  Those people are working in the field of archaeoacoustics, and though this is a relatively new field of study, great strides are being made in an effort to understand the significance of sound as it pertains to the monuments and rituals of our ancestors.  The term archaeoacoustics has been coopted from its earlier use, as it pertained to sounds being recorded in clay pottery and other such objects during their manufacture in ancient societies, so as to be “played back” with the use of modern equipment.  This idea was once supported by many in mainstream science, but has recently fallen into disrepute as a result of many failed attempts to verify it through experiment.  The term now relates more widely to the study of sound in ancient construction and monuments.

In spite of the fanciful ideas of the more conspiratorial among us, not every ancient monument was constructed to capitalise on resonant frequencies, but some were and they deserve a closer look.

Chanting, a ritualistic form of stylised speech, and the root of all western music, was first used by ancient and prehistoric spiritual leaders in nearly all cultures as a means of furthering or supporting other aspects of ritual.  It was meant to bring the participant closer to a religious or spiritual awakening.  Chants are used in nearly all religious variants, from modern shamanistic cultures to pagan, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic traditions.  It ranges from simple melodies to complex musical structures and depending on the setting, can offer a profound experience to witnesses.

As is common knowledge, sound or music has a profound effect on us humans (and likely on some animals as well).  We develop strong associations between musical elements and certain emotions and our moods are often deeply affected by what we hear.  For this reason, spiritual or religious chants often have a deep effect on our perception of related experiences.  Religious hymns are designed to foster a connection between the congregant and the clergy, and in fact churches the world over are constructed with this in mind.  The shape and orientation of the church and its internal elements are painstakingly arranged to optimise the acoustical properties of the space, so as to maximise the effect of song and instrument alike.  And this is by no means a new practise.

Nowhere is acoustical significance in ancient construction more striking than in underground temples.  There are famous examples of such construction throughout the old world, perhaps the most famous is the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops, whichever you prefer) at Giza in Egypt.  Some theorists maintain that the King’s Chamber was designed and built to use sound as a resonant booster, to give the Pharaoh a better chance of reaching the afterlife, though this is not a widely held opinion among mainstream archaeologists or Egyptologists.  Those same theorists, conspiracy theorists you might say, suggest also that the Hall of Records, an unconfirmed structure or room situated under the Sphinx, has significant acoustical properties as well.  This is, for obvious reasons, entirely suppositional of course.

But we needn’t resort to conspiratorial fantasy in this case, for there are many ancient monuments and temples that use sound and acoustical properties to their advantage.  The underground city complex at Budapest, called the Labyrinth of Buda Castle, which is located under Castle Hill in Buda (which is the west-bank part of Budapest on the Danube river in Hungary), is said to have special acoustical properties, though since this site is largely a natural formation, it doesn’t really count here.  It does remain the oldest known example of the shape of a room or cave being used to amplify or resonate sound for ritual purposes.

Other examples, such as the Oracle Room in the Hypogeum of Ħal Seflieni in Paola, Malta offer much to study.  Hypogeum means ‘underground’ in Greek, and in this case refers to a subterranean labyrinthine structure of the Seflieni phase of Maltese prehistory (3000-2500BC).  It consists of several passages and chambers, of which the Oracle room is the smallest.  With its delicately painted ceiling, the Oracle room boasts the most powerful or effectual resonant chamber in the ancient world.  Even muted sounds made in this chamber resonate and amplify, which has the effect of distorting the sound and making it seem like it has a divine origin (or that it hadn’t been generated by any source in the chamber).  Today the hypogeum is a necropolis, containing the remains of some 7000 prehistoric Greeks, but at one time it was used for religious ritual.

Another site, Chavín de Huantar in the Peruvian Andes, is a large city ruin that was built by the pre-Incan culture known as the Chavín in approximately 1200BC, though the area is thought to have been occupied as early as 3000BC.  The site has buildings, ruins, temples and other artefacts.

Ancient visitors and priests at Chavín de Huantar would have been privy to an experience not found anywhere else.  The buildings were constructed using a highly specialized combination of shafts, corridors and surfaces, all designed to make a series of echo chambers, in which sounds – often conch shell trumpets, called pututus, being blown by priests outside of the structure and chanting, as well as water running in streams under and around the buildings – would seem otherworldly.[1]  Add in the psychotropic effect of ritual consumption of San Pedro cactus juice (and possibly other substances, like ayahuasca), and one can easily see how a pilgrimage to such a temple would have been a profound spiritual experience.

Perhaps the first archaeoacoustic researcher, Iegor Reznikoff, an anthropologist of sound with the Université Paris Ouest, found, in the 1980’s, that there is a connection between the location of prehistoric artwork in the caves at Lascaux (and other ancient cave sights in southern France, where the oldest known human art is found from 25,000BC) and the acoustic resonance of those same locations.[2]  Reznikoff and a colleague mapped such caves, highlighting areas of acoustical significance and found that those areas coincided with areas that held the most works of prehistoric art.[3]  Which suggests a defined ritualistic process to the painting, and may have been prevalent among prehistoric artists.

Acoustic resonance is a feature of many natural caves, and it’s likely that this natural feature was the primary motivator in the development of acoustics in ritual sites and practices.  Modern technology allows archaeologists to identify and study such features of ancient sites, and in most cases the research is inaccessible to the amateur.  However, there are branches of this endeavour that are within reach of anyone who can get themselves to the locations in question.

Recently, a team of researchers have been using sound to study the world famous Stonehenge megalithic site in south west Wales, Britain.  According to experts from London’s Royal College of Art, Stonehenge holds more mystery than meets the eye.  For many years, enthusiasts and researchers have held that Stonehenge had an audio component, either in its use or construction.  Many visitors report that chants and music seem to resonate in a strange way at various points within and around the structure, but new insights seem to suggest that the stones themselves were musical instruments.

Research recently published in the Journal of Time & Mind, suggests that the bluestones – the smaller stones that make up the interior of the monument – actually have acoustical properties and may have been selected for that reason.[4]  It turns out that the stones resonate in a peculiar way when struck with a hammer or other instrument, and generate a wide range of sounds.  Researchers even found what may be evidence of hammer or stone strikes on several of the stones, indicating that they’re on the right track.

This research, with the input of other experts, suggests that many of the standing stone sites throughout the UK may have had, as a central feature, an acoustic nature.[5]  It may be that Stonehenge and other standing stone circles and like monuments were built as musical instruments, to be used in conjunction with or as a part of ritualistic gatherings and celebrations.

The same may be true for monuments all over the world, as is highlighted by researchers such as Michael Tellinger, who demonstrates in a video on his YouTube channel the acoustic properties of artefacts found at Waterval Boven, South Africa. (See below)

There is no denying it, sound has played a central role in the development of not only human spirituality and culture, but also in architecture.  While most of our history can only be relayed in terms of visual artefacts and writing, the aural history of our ancestors just begs to be heard.  And when you consider the fact that resonant sound has been a significant part of human life for upwards of 27,000 years (at least), it’s no wonder so many people feel so passionately about music and its makers.

 


[1] Brooks, Michael.  Was sound the secret weapon of the Andean elites? Newscientist Magazine – September 2008 http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926721.700-was-sound-the-secret-weapon-of-the-andean-elites.html?page=1

[2] Starr, Douglas. Notes From Earth: Echoes From The Distant Past. Discover Magazine – November 2012 http://discovermagazine.com/2012/nov/03-echoes-from-the-distant-past#.UsCjmvRDsid

[3] American Institute of Physics. "Music Went With Cave Art In Prehistoric Caves." ScienceDaily, 5 Jul. 2008. Web. 29 Dec. 2013. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080704130439.htm

[4] Paul Devereux, Jon Wozencroft. Stone Age Eyes and Ears: A Visual and Acoustic Pilot Study of Carn Menyn, Environs, Preseli, Wales. Time & Mind  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1751696X.2013.860278#.UsCuvfRDsie

[5] Sarah Griffiths, Amanda Williams. Stonehenge ‘was a prehistoric center for rock music’: Stones sound like bells, drums and gongs when played. DailyMailUK December2013 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2515159/Why-Stonehenge-prehistoric-centre-rock-music-Stones-sound-like-bells-drums-gongs-played.html