Modern Megaliths: What will the People of 5000 AD Think of These Century-Old Sound Mirrors?

Kilnsea Acoustic Mirror (CCAS 2 licence, Paul Glazzard author)

Megaliths around the world - from Stonehenge to Sacsayhuaman - have intrigued the modern world, with an air of mystery surrounding their construction, and their function.

So what then do you think people of future millennia might imagine the monolithic 'sound mirrors' that haunt the coastline of southern England were used for? Not even a century after their construction, most of the general public would have little idea when, or for what purpose, they were built.

For the record, there are a number of sound mirrors dotted along the southern coast of England. Just as the moai of Easter Island gaze silently out into the Pacific Ocean [edit: I've been informed I'm wrong on that: the moai actually face inland to the island's volcano - thanks rolandr], these modern English megaliths also face out into another body of water: the English Channel. Their function, however, was not to look, but to listen.

They were constructed in response to a ground-breaking invention: the aircraft. With World War I came the realisation that England was no longer protected by the Channel, but could be attacked from the air. These odd-shaped concrete constructions were constructed as an early-warning system: shaped to reflect and focus the sound of incoming aircraft (within a range of around 25 miles) to observers, they would allow authorities to deploy counter-measures in a timely manner (warning the population, and attacking the incoming aircraft).

Unfortunately, however, rapid advances in the speed of aircraft, and the development of radar in the 1930s, meant that the sound mirrors were made obsolete within a decade of their construction. But they still remain in various locations along the British coastline, just waiting to one day be forgotten, before having new mythologies attached to them...

(thanks Norman)

News Briefs 07-06-2017


Quote of the Day:

Do anything, but let it produce joy.

Walt Whitman

News Briefs 06-06-2017

2017, illustrated...

Thanks to Anomalist News.

Quote of the Day:

It has become more and more obvious that there is one political party in America, and that is The Business Party.

Bill Hicks

The New Gods

The New Gods Title Spread

This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 9, which is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK. Darklore 9 features essays from Alan Moore, Mike Jay, Robert Schoch and others, on topics ranging from hidden history to the occult.


The New Gods

A Short History of the Fictional Origins of Modern Paganism

by Ian 'Cat' Vincent

Many neo-pagans will tell you that their beliefs and practices have been celebrated consistently since before Christianity, although sometimes disguising their intent by adopting – or being co-opted by – the Church. It is a belief system which can offer great beauty and spiritual insight. What it isn’t is ancient, historically accurate or, in most senses of the word, authentic.

The immediate ancestor of modern paganism – Druidry – was pretty much invented wholesale by Romantic poets and historians in the 17th to 19th centuries. Paganism as we know it today is partly a derivation of inaccurate Victorian and early 20th century historical and anthropological theories, mixed with a sizeable amount of plagiarism of the work of Aleister Crowley and then filled out with a variety of secondary sources.
In recent years, this point has been addressed by many, especially Professor Ronald Hutton. Hutton is a historian with great sympathy for the spirituality of pagan belief systems, but no truck with the often speculative, and occasionally downright shoddy, history taken as read by most of its adherents.
Hutton has said...

The real danger is ...the idea that all customs, indeed all superstitions, nursery rhymes, and anything that smacks of ‘folkiness’, are direct survivals of ancient pagan fertility rites, and are concerned with the appeasement of gods and spirits. Although the suggestion of an ancient origin for our folklore was the central tenet of the Victorian and Edwardian pioneers of folklore collection, this notion has only become generally known in the last forty years or so, and has taken hold with astonishing rapidity; the majority of the population now carry the virus in one form or another, while some are very badly infected. The problem here is not simply that these theories are unsupported by any evidence, but that their blanket similarity destroys any individuality. All customs will soon end up with the same story.

Fortunately for neo-paganism, it had a wider range of stories to draw upon in its recently evolved origins. Specifically, it drew greatly on the fictional genres of science fiction and fantasy.

This is a personal overview of their intertwining.

Worlds of Gods and Monsters

A book which is often taken as the starting point for science fiction (SF) is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818). Most people know the origin story of the book: Mary Shelley, her Romantic poet husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori gathered at the Villa Diodante in 1816, trying to out-do each other in creating horror stories on a dark and stormy night. As veteran British science fiction writer Brian Aldiss was first to note, this is a tale where the protagonist “makes a deliberate decision” and “turns to modern experiments in the laboratory” to achieve his aims…certainly within what we would now consider as SF. Nonetheless, Frankenstein’s origins occupy the interface between nascent speculative fiction and Romanticism.

Other early SF works (then called Scientific Romances), such as those by Jules Verne, often involved that basic scheme of a creator going beyond the realms of then-known science, but only slightly…such as the ballistic spaceship launch system of From The Earth To The Moon (1865) or the weaponised submarine of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1870). Verne was far less concerned with the effects his creators had on their world, however, than he was with writing popular adventure stories – a trait that never really left the genre as a whole.

The same could not be said for H.G. Wells. All of Wells’s science fiction works tend towards the didactic. The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) and The Invisible Man (1897) are stern warnings about both hubris and the consequences of meddling with Nature, while The Time Machine (1895) and The Shape Of Things To Come (1933) are explicit warnings as to the possible future consequences of his society, expressed in fiction. It is interesting to note that, of his work, the two which take on SF’s most-often-assumed base story of space travel – The War of the Worlds (1898) and The First Men in the Moon (1901), are his least didactic. Sometimes, less is more…and, always, science fiction is never as much about the worlds of Tomorrow as it is a method of using the fantastic as a tool to examine the world of Today.

Mention here should be also made of Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the man who coined terms like “the great unwashed”, “pursuit of the almighty dollar”, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, “dweller on the threshold” and “It was a dark and stormy night”. His 1871 novel The Coming Race was of enormous yet rarely-spoken influence on the occult and spiritual currents that followed. In this book, he wrote of an

News Briefs 05-06-2017

The woodpeckers are not what they seem...

Quote of the Day:

It’s much, much harder to terrorise a population into submission than official and unofficial purveyors of mass violence always think it is. Normality isn’t a fixed state but a spectrum with a remarkably wide range. Terrorists are contemptible for many reasons, but one of them is the stupidity of not knowing this. They try to magnify themselves with epic acts of cruelty. In the end they are diminished and defeated by the strange ability of human beings to step around the pools of blood, keep going and forget.

Fintan O'Toole

Earth is an Alien Planet: Cuttlefish Disguise Themselves as Crabs to Catch Prey

What kind of nightmare alien planet do we live on? Last week we looked at wasps performing neurosurgery on cockroaches, this week it's cuttlefish pretending to be bottom-feeding crabs in order to sneak up on their prey.

According to New Scientist:

Cuttlefish have been caught on film walking like crabs by moving their tentacles in novel ways.

Kohei Okamoto at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, and his team first spotted pharaoh cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) displaying the unusual behaviour while feeding them in the lab.

“We were surprised to see how closely they resemble hermit crabs,” says Okamoto.

The molluscs would raise their front arms while they bent their other legs, as if they had joints, while quickly moving them up and down independently. Certain parts of their skin also darkened.


News Briefs 02-06-2017

“Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.”

Quote of the Day:

“When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest…”

Dante Alighieri

WTF? This 1949 Science Fiction Novel by a Legendary Rocket Designer Names the Leader of Martian Civilization as "Elon"

Project Mars book cover

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In recent years entrepreneur Elon Musk has put himself at the forefront of the emerging commercial space industry with his company SpaceX enjoying multiple orbital rocket launch successes (as well as the development of their self-returning, reusable rocket systems).

Just last year Musk dreamt big when discussing the future of space travel, saying it was his goal to see a million people living on Mars within 50 years. But with a population that large, the logistics and planning wouldn't just involve space travel, but would also have to take into consideration a variety of social, economic and political factors. For instance, Who would be in charge? Who would be mayor, or governor, or president of the Red Planet?

Never fear, the answer may have already been given to us: in 1949, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun - former Nazi rocketeer, soon to be NASA's star rocket designer - wrote a science fiction book about humanity's first mission to Mars. Von Braun put his considerable technical knowledge to use (according to many reviewers, perhaps adding *too* much detail) in writing Project Mars: A Technical Tale. In his story, set in the 1980s, ten large space ships make the journey, a project which required "upwards of 1,000 flights into Earth's orbit" in order to "build, supply and fuel these ten ships, and it is an international, cooperative project."

By chapter 22 of von Braun's novel, the human visitors have discovered a peaceful indigenous civilization that resides underground on Mars (remembering when he wrote it, little was known about the planet's habitability). And then, in chapter 24, we are given an outline of how Mars is governed by this civilization. It's here that we come across a wonderfully surprising discovery:

Project Mars Excerpt

The Martian government was directed by ten men, the leader of whom was elected by universal suffrage for five years and entitled "Elon." Two houses of Parliament enacted the laws to be administered by the Elon and his cabinet.

The Upper House was called the Council of the Elders and was limited to a membership of 60 persons, each being appointed for life by the Elon as vacancies occurred by death. In principle, the method was not unlike that by which the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church is appointed. Usually the Elon chose historians, churchmen, former cabinet members or successful economic leaders who could offer lifetimes of valuable experience.

Yes, you heard von Braun - one of the progenitors of human space travel - correctly: the leader of Martian civilization is called 'Elon', the same name as Elon Musk, who is currently leading the field of human space travel. Predestination, time vortex, or just a delicious coincidence? Maybe throw this one in the Mars weirdness file with Jack Kirby drawing the Face on Mars in a comic 17 years before it was discovered...

Wernher von Braun's Project Mars: A Technical Tale is available to download in multiple formats from

(via Reddit)

Related stories:

News Briefs 01-06-2017

Let them drink covfefe.

  • CRISPR may not be the genetic magic bullet we all hoped for.
  • Astronomers may finally have the first picture of a black hole.
  • Meet Stratolaunch: The world's biggest plane, designed to release satellite-carrying rockets into space.
  • NASA's 1st mission to the Sun launches next year.
  • Former pilot for JFK claims he talked about UFOs with him.
  • District 9 director Neil Blomkamp's new project is sure to delight David Icke fans.
  • When UFOlogy starts to resemble a D&D game session.
  • UK's The Mirror runs a story on how Peter Robbins had a huge falling out with Left at East Gate's co-author Larry Warren.
  • Supernatural Staffordshire: Perception and the shadow of fear.
  • A.I. researchers think transparency in their work is cumbersome, despite the threat of catastrophic outcomes.
  • How a brain tumor gave Pat Long a persistent state of deja vu --along with a unique perception of how memory works.
  • The 6 most mysterious unsolved murders of all time.
  • *Sigh* if only white supremacists could get their History right, for a change…
  • Are flat earthers being actually serious?
  • Red Pill of the Day: That time when Hunter S. Thompson ran for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado.

Thanks to the re-framers of debates.

Quote of the Day:

"My ego every day is more and more polite. I tame it."

~Alejandro Jodorowsky