News Briefs 28-07-2017

”We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return.”

Quote of the Day:

“Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the non-existence of Zeus or Thor — but they have few followers now.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Forbidden Science: Take an Inside Look at the World of Ufology via the Journals of Jacques Vallee

Jacques Vallee

Daily Grail Publishing has been privileged to publish reprints of two seminal books on UFOs by the great Jacques Vallee, Messengers of Deception and Passport to Magonia. Equally important, in my opinion, but often overlooked, are Jacques' more recent memoirs, Forbidden Science, published in three volumes.

With Jacques playing a central role in ufology since the 1960s, these books chart much of the history of ufology between 1960 and 1990 - anybody interested in the topic really should consider these required reading. So I was happy to find out that, while Jacques originally self-published Forbidden Science in a slightly expensive hardcover format, the good folks at Anomalist Books have recently re-released the three volumes in more affordable paperback editions:

Forbidden Science 1: A Passion for Discovery (1957-1969):

Beginning after the launch of Sputnik and ending with the landing on the moon, the first volume of Jacques Vallee’s journals details how UFOs, in the midst of a proliferation of sightings in the 1960s, became a forbidden science. In this beautifully written journal, Vallee reveals just how the scientific community was misled by the government, how the best data on UFOs was kept hidden, and how the public record was shamelessly manipulated.

Forbidden Science 2: California Hermetica (1970-1979):

With the end game in Vietnam and the turpitudes of Watergate in the background, the major topic of this second volume in the journals of Jacques Vallee is paranormal research. Vallee relates his behind-the-scenes experiences in California during the 1970s as the Human Potential Movement emerged, the Internet developed, and parapsychology secretly entered the physics laboratory. And all the while, as Vallee continued his examination of UFO encounters, the links to older mysteries became increasingly clear.

Forbidden Science 3: On the Trail of Hidden Truths (1980-1989):

The 1980s were a pivotal time in the development of venture capital that led to great innovations throughout the world. As recounted in this third volume of journals, Jacques Vallee found his passion in this world, while he witnessed with concern the increasing manipulation and disinformation that discouraged rational research into ufology. But he persisted in his first-hand UFO investigations in the US, Europe, and South America, and here strips from the historical record the secrecy behind which research into the paranormal was being conducted.

Links above will take you to each book's respective page at Anomalist Books with more information, and links for ordering from Amazon.

Related stories:

News Briefs 27-07-2017

Still waiting, you a-holes…

Thanks to Charles and Greg

Quote of the Day:
"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet."

~Rumi

Were Meteorites the Original Gods Worshipped by Ancient People, and the Model for the Construction of the Pyramids?

Leonid Meteor

Imagine being an ancient person, minding your own business around your campfire at night, when suddenly one of those mysterious star things - suspected by some to be the gods themselves - falls from the sky, making thundering sounds and catching fire. It lands nearby, burying itself in the sand - and upon uncovering it, you find a massive, conical shaped blob of iron. Would you think it might be a god fallen to Earth?

The evidence from historians throughout the ages suggests that the answer to this question might be 'yes'. The 2nd century Christian theologian and historian Clement of Alexandria is said to have concluded that "the worship of such stones to have been the first, and earliest idolatry, in the world."

For example...

...the learned Greaves leads us to conclude [the famous image of Diana at Ephesus] to have been nothing but a conical, or pyramidal stone, that fell from the clouds. For he tells us, on unquestionable authorities, that many others of the images of heathen deities were merely such.

...Herodian expressly declares that the Phoenicians had...a certain great stone, circular below, and ending with a sharpness above, in the figure of a cone, of black colour. And they report it to have fallen from heaven, and to be the image of the sun.

So Tacitus says, that at Cyprus, the image of Venus was not of human shape; but a figure rising continually round, from a larger bottom to a small top, in conical fashion. And it is to be remarked, that Maximus Tyrius (who perhaps was a more accurate mathematician,) says, the stone was pyramidal.

And in Corinth, we are told by Pausanias, that the images both of Jupiter Melichius, and of Diana, were made (if made at all by hand) with little or no art. The former being represented by a pyramid, the latter by a column.

These examples, offered by Edward King in his 1796 book Remarks concerning stones said to have fallen from the clouds, both in these days and in antient times, contain a curious similarity: these sacred stones worshipped by the ancients were conical, or pyramidal in shape.

It is well-known that this shape is common in meteorites, caused by passing through the atmosphere in a stable orientiation, which causes the leading surface to be melted and flattened/rounded.

Karakol meteorite

Similar sacred stones revered in ancient times are discussed in a 1936 paper, "The Image which Fell Down from Jupiter", by C.C. Wylie and J.R. Naiden:

We are told that the image of Aphrodite (Venus) in the sanctuary at Paphos was simply a white cone or pyramid; that the emblem of Astarte at Byblus was a cone; and that the image of Artemis (Diana) at Perga in Pamphylia was also a cone. We are told that the images of the sun god, Heliogabalus, at Emesa in Syria was a cone of black stone with small knobs on it, and that it appears on coins of Emesa. We are told that the sacred stone of Cybele brought from Pessinus to Rome during the second Punic war was a small black rugged stone, but we do not know whether it was of conical shape. We are also told that conical stones, which were apparently considered sacred, have been found at Golgi in Cyprus, in the Phoenician temples at Malta, and in the shrine of the Mistress of Torquoise in Sinai.

Similarly, Book V of Herodian's Histories describes the 'Black Stone of Elagabalus', a Phoenician temple dedicated to the sun god: "In this shrine there is no statue sculpted by the hand of man...but there was an enormous stone, rounded at the base and coming to a point on the top, conical in shape and black...worshipped as though it were sent from heaven".

While in most cases these sacred stones have disappeared in the intervening millennia, as the quoted section above notes, we still do have depictions of some of them recorded on ancient coins. According to Whylie and Naiden, "these images show that the stones were the shape of typical meteorites, and it is assumbed by some scholars that many were genuine meteorites."

Coin depicting Temple of Aphrodite

This conical or pyramid shape also brings to mind another sacred stone revered by the ancient Egyptians: the black, cone-shaped 'Ben-Ben' stone kept in the temple of Ra at Heliopolis. The shape of this stone is thought to have acted as the model for the capstones found on many of Egypt's famous pyramids and obelisks - does this mean that pyramids were originally built to mimic meteorites, the 'gods fallen from the sky' (compare the image below to the earlier photo of a meteorite)? As we've reported previously, the ancient Egyptians are known to have mined meteoric iron, and used it in ceremonial objects such as King Tutankhamun's dagger.

Pyramidion

In any case, worship or reverence for stones fallen from the sky isn't restricted just to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans: remember the Buddha made from meteoritic iron (and stolen by the Nazis)? Also, Whylie and Naiden offer a few other examples from the past 1000 years or so:

As sacred stones of later times one might mention the Casas Grandes meteorite found wrapped in a mummy cloth in a Montezuman ruin in Mexico; the Ensisheim meteorite which fell in Alsace in 1492, and was suspended in a church; and the sacred stone of the Mohammedans at Mecca. For the older sacred stones, there is now no way of telling which were authentic meteorites and which were not, but the shape suggests that several were. Of the stones preserved, the Ensisheim and Casas Grandes (an iron) are genuine meteorites...the sacred stone at Mecca has not been examined.

And if you think we're well past such silly ideas these days...remember that a 'Church of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite' was formed after the famous 2013 bolide made news across the world...

Related:

News Briefs 26-07-2017

Please keep your elves under control...

Quote of the Day:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

Robin Williams

Otherworlds: A New Book Exploring the Links Between Psi and Psychedelics

Book cover for Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience

Our good friend (and Darklore contributor) Dr David Luke has a new book available covering the strange lands that live between shamanism and parapsychology: Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (Amazon US / Amazon UK). Here's the blurb:

A psychonautic scientific trip to the weirdest outposts of the psychedelic terrain, inhaling anything and everything relevant from psychology, psychiatry, parapsychology, anthropology, neuroscience, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, biochemistry, religious studies, cultural history, shamanism and the occult along the way.

Staring the strange straight in the third eye this eclectic collection of otherworldly entheogenic research delivers a comprehensive and yet ragtaglledy scientific exploration of synaesthesia, extra-dimensional percepts, inter-species communication, eco-consciousness, mediumship, possession, entity encounters, near-death and out-of-body experiences, psi, alien abduction experiences and lycanthropy. Essentially, its everything you ever wanted to know about weird psychedelic experiences, but were too afraid to ask…

David is a former president of the Parapsychology Association who has published almost one hundred papers on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness - so he knows his stuff.

Links: Grab a copy of Otherworlds from Amazon US or Amazon UK

News Briefs 25-07-2017

Always moving forward...

Quote of the Day:

The further a society moves from the truth, the more it will hate people that speak it.

George Orwell

Astronomer Royal: Advanced Extraterrestrial Civilisations Will Be Post-Biological

Cylon

People sometimes joke about the horror of being trapped in a room with an older person, listening to them ramble on about various topics. If that person was Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal, I wouldn't complain at all. The 75-year-old recently sat down with Edge, and over the course of an hour rambled on about all manner of fascinating topics, including advanced aliens, the nature of reality, the dangers of advances in science, climate change, AI, and interplanetary travel.

In the discussion ("Curtains For Us All? A Conversation With Martin Rees", both video and transcript available), Rees contemplated the long process of biological evolution, as compared to the rapid advances made once humans became a technological civilisation, and extrapolated to what that might mean for any advanced alien species that might be out there:

If we think of what's happened on Earth, there's been 4 billion years of evolution. And for a few millennia, there's been some kind of civilization—organized human groups—leading eventually to technology and the world we live in today. If we extrapolate, then of course the extrapolation we get depends on whether we listen to someone like Ray Kurzweil or someone more conservative.

Even though the rate of progress is uncertain, the direction of travel is pretty well agreed. It's almost certainly going to be towards a posthuman world, where our intelligences would be surpassed by something genetically engineered from us or, more likely, it will be some sort of artificial electronic device that has robotic abilities and intelligence.

Some people say that will happen within a century, others say it will happen within a few hundred years. Even if it takes a few hundred years, that is a tiny instant compared to the past history of the Earth. More importantly, it's a tiny instant compared to a long-range future. There are billions of years ahead for our solar system, and maybe even more for the universe.

If you imagine a time chart for what's happened on the Earth, there's been 4 billion years where there's been no manifestation of any technology. Then, a few millennia of gradually expanding technology generated by human beings. After that, maybe there will be billions of years more when the dominant technology, the dominant non-natural things, will be entirely inorganic. That means the following: If we were to detect some other planet on which life had taken a course similar to what happened here on Earth, it's unlikely that its development there would be sufficiently synchronized with development here that we would catch it in those few millennia in which we've got technology that is controlled by organic beings like us. If it's lagging behind what's happened on Earth, then we'll see no evidence for anything artificial.

On the other hand, if it's ahead, then what we will detect—if we detect any evidence that that civilization existed—will be something mechanical, machines. Those machines maybe will not be on the planet because they may not want gravity, they may not want water, et cetera. They may be in space. If the Yuri Milner program detects anything, then it's likely to be some artifact created by some long-dead civilization. It's unlikely that there would be any coded message intended for us, but it might be something we could clearly see was not something that emerged naturally. That in itself would be very exciting.

Well worth a watch/read!

Link: "Curtains For Us All? A Conversation With Martin Rees"

News Briefs 24-07-2017

Accept no imitations, the Daily Grail is the go-to-source for fringe news:

Quote of the Day:

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.

Paul McCartney