News Briefs 17-10-2016

Thumbs up for miracles...

Thanks to @CultofWeird and @djp1974.

Quote of the Day:

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth.
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
Because there's bugger all down here on Earth!

Monty Python, 'The Galaxy Song'

Two Mysterious Cavities Discovered Hidden Within the Great Pyramid

Pyramid Anomaly

Almost a year ago we wrote about the announcement of the 'Scan Pyramids' project, which aimed to search for hidden chambers in the pyramids of Egypt. Just two weeks later came a breaking news story on an 'impressive anomaly' being detected behind the outer blocks of the Great Pyramid at ground level, suggesting the existence of a secret passageway or room.

A year on, and we finally have more news on the Great Pyramid investigation. Only, the much-vaunted 'impressive anomaly' on the pyramid's eastern side doesn't get a mention; instead new 'cavities' have been found:

An unknown cavity was detected at a height of about 345 feet from the ground on the northeastern edge of the monument, while a "void" was found behind the northern side at the upper part of the entrance gate.

"Such void is shaped like a corridor and could go up inside the pyramid," Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of the Paris-based Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute, told Seeker.

He added that no link can be made between the two cavities at the moment.

...Tayoubi and his colleagues placed detectors sensitive to muons, called emulsion plates, inside the pyramid to discern dense areas from less dense areas — essentially the bones and tissue of the pyramid. When the films from the detectors were analyzed at Nagoya University in Japan, they revealed a significant excess of muons in the same direction, strongly pointing to a corridor-like void.

"The precise shape, size and exact position of this void is now under further investigation," the researchers said.

Exactly how much 'further investigation' will be possible is up in the air though, as a familiar face heads up the scientific committee overseeing the investigation - and this particular person is not a fan of other people getting the glory ahead of him...

The results have been submitted to a scientific committee led by the former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass... [He] believes more research is needed before it can be confirmed that the results point to hidden cavities or secret rooms.

"These people are scientists and do not have an archaeological background. The core of the pyramid was built using long stones and small stones. If you know that, you'll find anomalies everywhere," Hawass told Seeker in a phone interview.

"I think there are no secret rooms and these anomalies have to do with the way the pyramid was built," Hawass said.

There is currently no new information posted on the Scan Pyramids website, but we'll keep an eye out for new videos or press releases in the near future that might offer more information.

Link: Great Pyramid Find: Two Mysterious Cavities With Unusual Features


News Briefs 15-10-2016

“He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.”

Quote of the Day:

“Knowing others is intelligence;
 knowing yourself is true wisdom.”

Lau Tzu

The Ancient Egyptians Collected Fossils

Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, Egypt

Fossils of ancient animals have fascinated humanity through most of our history, from sometimes being considered 'dragon bones' in ancient China, through to modern scientific analyses of them opening up new understanding of evolution and the ancient Earth.

And it turns out that, thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians also shared this fascination:

Ancient Egyptian worshippers of Set, god of darkness and chaos, collected fossils of extinct beasts by the thousands. From 1300 and 1200 BC, nearly three tons of heavy, black fossils, polished by river sands, were brought to Set shrines on the Nile. Many of the bones were wrapped in linen and placed in rock‑cut tombs.

The immense troves of fossils heaped at Qau el-Kebir and Matmar were discovered in 1922-24 by archaeologists Guy Brunton and Sir Flinders Petrie, stunning evidence that Egyptians revered large stone bones as sacred relics of Set.

Sounds fascinating, and worthy of much more investigation, right? Flinders Petrie - one of the great Egyptologists - thought so. Petrie's wife said that he regarded the fossil trove "among the most important things we have ever found". Co-discoverer Brunton wrote that the discovery would be “the subject of a special memoir”, but it never eventuated...and amazingly, the fossils, forgotten by the scientific community, slipped back into the mist of history.

That was, until 1998, when - intrigued by this historical footnote - Adrienne Mayor, author of The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myths in Greek and Roman Times, contacted paleontologist Andrew Currant of the Natural History Museum in London, to inquire whether there were any records of what happened to the fossils:

Currant learned that a large “undocumented collection” of fossils from Qau were stored in a warehouse in Wandsworth. They were still in the original crates that Brunton and Petrie had shipped from Egypt. As I pointed out in The First Fossil Hunters, the fossils gathered by ancient Egyptians more than 3,000 years ago – languishing in unopened crates in South London since 1920s – surely deserved scientific study by paleontologists and Egyptologists.

My book also described some Qau fossils wrapped in linen located in 1999 by archaeologist David Reese–who also tried in vain to convince the National Museum to open their crates of fossils. Reese learned that a collection of ancient Egyptian textiles from the Petrie Museum had been de-acquisitioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum and then acquired by the Bolton Museum (Manchester). In response to our queries, Angela Thomas, senior keeper at the Bolton, realized that some very ancient linen items of peculiar bulk had been inadvertently included with the textiles from the V&A. Labels scrawled on the backs of envelopes in Petrie’s handwriting confirmed that these bundles were some of the long‑lost linen‑wrapped fossil bones discovered at Qau in 1923.

Almost two decades on - and ninety years after the original discovery - the Egypt Exploration Society has this year awarded a grant to finally open the 'lost' crates of fossils shipped back from Egypt by Brunton and Petrie. Interestingly, that grant seems to be under the umbrella of a project researching the use of iron - in particular iron from meteorites - in ancient Egypt.

I say interesting, because when reading about the animal fossils collected by the Egyptians, I was struck by the thought that there might be a link between that topic and the many mentions in the Pyramid Texts of the bones of the resurrected pharaohs being made of iron. For example, one passage reads "My bones are iron (bja) and my limbs are the imperishable stars." Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert, in The Orion Mystery, note that such phrases show "there was a belief that when the departed kings became stars, their bones became iron, the heavenly material (meteorites) of which the star gods were made."

And sure enough, upon reading through the website of the 'Iron From the Sky' project, it appears their researchers have made that same connection:

The Pyramid texts are considered to be the earliest theological Egyptian text. They contain references to iron in numerous places, mainly featuring in funerary ceremonies, the reception of deceased kings to heaven and their subsequent life in heaven, as well as a specific association with the god Seth.

Excavations during 1923-24 revealed that during the 19th Dynasty, heavily mineralised mammal fossil bones were incorporated into burial shafts at Qau el-Kebir, in addition to similar fossil bone fragments wrapped in two linen bundles placed within a near-by rock-cut tomb [6]. Many of the bones were reported to be hippopotamus and this location was known as a cult centre of the god Seth who was frequently depicted in artwork as a hippopotamus. These dark, heavy, fossilised bones share strong visual similarity with desert-weathered iron meteorites; as such, they could be the source of inspiration for the Pyramid texts reference to the ‘iron bones of gods’. [my emphasis]

Very interesting indeed! And, if we were to follow that (admittedly tenuous) link a little further...might the ancient Egyptians have believed the fossilised animal bones were the mortal remains of the gods fallen to Earth? That is, were the 'ancient aliens' hippos?

Related stories:

News Briefs 13-10-2016

Solve this riddle: What has an ear and a skull, but not a toenail?

Thanks again to viewers like you.

Quote of the Day:

You have to think if we’ve been visited by extraterrestrial life it was like a zookeeper walking into the chimp enclosure: He looks around, takes some pictures, then leaves without interacting significantly with the environment. Meanwhile the chimps have no idea what the fuck just happened."

J. Richard Singleton

News Briefs 12-10-2016

Happy Crowleymas!

Thanks Blair, @AnomalistNews and @NiburuGuru.

Quote of the Day:

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

William Shakespeare, 'The Tempest'

Bug Brain: Bumblebees Can Learn a Complex New Task Just By Watching Others Do It

Bumblebee close-up. Image by Richard Bartz. (licence: CC by SA 2.5)

We've mentioned this in the news briefs, but just in case any of you skimmed over it and missed the story, this mind-blowing story is worth pulling out: researchers have found that bumblebees can learn to do a 'complex' new movement, such as pulling on a string, to gain a reward - just through watching other bees do it.

To test the bumblebees’ cognitive skills, Lars Chittka from Queen Mary University of London, UK, and colleagues poured sugar water onto artificial flowers, which were attached to strings and placed under Plexiglas. They then trained bees to tug on the string to access the sugar water — an “unusual” task that does not mimic any behavior the bees would normally perform in the wild.

...The ability of animals with relatively small brains to learn a complex task, and culturally spread that learned knowledge to others, makes Chittka question, "How much brainpower is actually required for any one task — how many neurons, how many sequential and parallel neural processing stages?"

Cool video of a bee pulling on a string below:

This is not the first fascinating discovery about the capability for seemingly complex thoughts and behaviour in bees. It has been known for some time that honey bees are capable of symbolic language use, as evidenced by the 'waggle dance' that bees returning to a hive engage in to communicate the location of food sources to others - both the distance and direction.

So the question is: just how much is complex and intelligent behaviour dependent on having a big brain?

Link: Bumblebees Learn to Tug on a String for a Reward

News Briefs 11-10-2016

Dig deeper

  • Aliens could be feeding on cosmic rays for survival.
  • Ultrasound used to “jump-start” patient’s brain out of a coma.
  • Ambitious mission to capture first picture of Earth-like planet launched.
  • Stonehenge solstice sunset view 'will be ruined by tunnel’.
  • Astronauts going to Mars ‘could be at risk of space brain dementia’.
  • Is this "base reality"? Probably not, say some.
  • Graham Hancock’s next big non-fiction book will explore the mysteries of ancient America.
  • Alcester pensioner discovers his bird bath is a rare, 2,000 year old Roman relic.
  • Analysis of wood inscription reveals Persians were in Japan 1,000 years ago.
  • Unknown ancient shipwreck ‘graveyard’ found under Black Sea.
  • 25 new 'Dead Sea Scrolls' revealed.
  • Dinosaur camouflage revealed in living color.
  • Podesta leaked emails: “The Vatican knows there are aliens and space warfare is imminent.”
  • Treasure trove of ancient human footprints found near volcano.
  • More than one thousand asteroids perilously close to Earth, says NASA.

Quote of the Day:

As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.

Michel Foucault

Fairy Folklore, the JFK Assassination, and Meteor Mysteries: Free Articles from Darklore Volume 9

Title Spread for John Reppion article in Darklore 9

If you haven't yet managed to get your hands on a copy of our newly released anthology Darklore Volume 9, you can now read three articles from it completely free over on the Darklore website.

We are pleased to offer three sample articles from Darklore Volume 9, as examples of the quality writing and layout inside the book - simply click on each graphic to download the PDF file. The first is "The History and Practice of English Magic", in which John Reppion explores the real history and lore behind a fantasy fiction bestseller. The second sample article, "The Most Important Man on the Planet", offers Adam Gorightly's insights on the amazing life of Kerry Thornley, co-founder of Discordianism and one-time JFK assassination suspect. And lastly we have Greg Taylor's article "Rocks in Your Head", in which he surveys the strange phenomenon of 'electrophonic meteors' and suggests that they offer a lesson to us on the value of listening to eye-witness reports of UFOs.

The sample articles offer just a taste of what you'll find in the print issue of Darklore Volume 9, so pick yourself up a copy to see the rest (links below). It takes much time and money to create the Darklore series (and this website) - all our contributors are paid for their articles - so we appreciate those who take time to buy the books and/or support us on Patreon.

Hope you enjoy the articles!

Darklore Volume 9 Paperback

Darklore Volume 9 Limited Edition Hardcover

Darklore Volume 9 Cover