Decoding Shugborough

The BBC is reporting that codebreakers have descended upon Shugborough Hall in the UK to try and crack the mystery of a strange inscription there. The estate houses the enigmatic Shepherd's Monument, which bears a strange reproduction of the famous Poussin painting Les Bergers d'Arcadie (known to many mystery researchers under the name Et in Arcadia Ego). Additionally the monument is inscribed with the letters "D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M" - a sequence of letters which has never been explained. You can see images of the monument at Marcus Williamson's Rennes-le-Château Home Page.

For those interested in discussing this topic further, or related subjects, chime in on this thread over at the Inside the DaVinci Code website.

Strings on the Web

For readers who are interested in the 'new physics' - quantum weirdness, string theory etc - make sure you check out the official website for the PBS-NOVA feature "The Elegant Universe". Based on physicist Brian Greene's best-selling book (and hosted by him as well), the series attempted to explain the strange concepts inherent in 'String Theory' such as extra dimensions. The website is packed full of information - and for broadband users, the great attraction is that the whole series is available to be watched for free online. Great stuff.

News Briefs 11-05-2004

No mention of four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire - but here's the news today anyhow (oh boy)...

  • Robert E. Fulton dies aged 95 - considering he was there when King Tut's tomb was opened, motorcycled through 32 countries as he travelled around the world, and invented a flying car, we can assume he lived a full life.
  • Bad blood flows between the Medici family as plans progress to exhume their illustrious ancestors.
  • When trees go bad - scientists find evidence of chemicals leading to toxic ozone production.
  • But you can always rely on those goody-two-shoes cabbages and sprouts, with their chemical which fights cancer.
  • Zookeeper says Ohio 'lion tracks' are probably actually those of a dog.
  • Mathematicians study strange prime number obsession of cicadas.
  • The mystery of the underwater man-made islands of Orkney.
  • Searching for other Earths.
  • Nancy Reagan tells Bush Administration to support stem cell research. Just say yes.
  • Researchers teleport information to multiple recipients.
  • The fairy circles of Africa baffle scientists. Set up a few fairy traps, you're bound to bag one of the little blighters soon enough.
  • Possibly the first photo of an extrasolar planet taken.
  • Drug zaps fat least in those little obese mice anyhow.
  • Delusional parasitosis. Not the sort of thing you want much to do with.
  • Europe's space shuttle passes early test. Nice to see they've named a spacecraft after my little boy.
  • Remains of famous ancient poet Petrarch are actually from two different people.
  • Record number of entries for popular science book prize.
  • Ghosthunters get shut out of UK historical site.
  • US chemists take molecular robot for a stroll around the petri dish.
  • Russian space agency chief backs plan for manned mission to Mars within a decade.
  • As if the snakes, spiders, jellyfish and crocodiles aren't enough, researchers say Australia once had its fair share of large mammalian carnivores.
  • Historic castle to go to highest bidder. Ghosts thrown in for free.
  • The Milky Way gets another arm.
  • A group of virgins and an evangelist from the US to tour the UK urging teenagers to remain celibate.

Quote of the Day:

Stoop not down into the darkly splendid World; wherein continually lieth a faithless depth, and Hades wrapped in clouds...stay not on the precipice with the dross of Matter, for there is a place for thy Image in a realm ever splendid

Chaldaean Oracles

Ashmolean Images

With the talk recently of creating an image gallery here at TDG, it's worth pointing out the definitive resource on the 'net for quality images of Egypt (copyright free no less!). Jon Bodsworth's Egypt Archive is, to me at least, a treasure of the internet - the site houses images from every point of Egyptian history and geography. Jon's just updated his 'Ashmolean Museum' section, so it's as good a reason as any to go visit the site (who needs a reason?)...

News Briefs 10-05-2004

Several interesting history related stories this weekend, as always feel free to post your thoughts...

Quote of the Day:

There is truth in the high opinion that in so far as a man conforms, he ceases to exist.

Max Eastman

Image Gallery?

User JeffNutter has an interesting idea in his recent blog - community image galleries of sacred sites around the world:

...what a large reservoir of images we, collectively must have all of which will be related to areas that someone out there will be researching or have an interest in. So there we have it, on the one had a bank of useful images and on the other a group of researchers who could benefit from those images. The only problem being a gulf between them.

I think JeffNutter's got some great ideas here, so I may look into creating a section of the site dedicated to image galleries, with clickable thumbnails. If you've got any suggestions, or would just like to voice your support for such an idea, please leave your comments.


I've just added a new book review to the site, this one a brilliant piece of work on the search for extraterrestrial life. LONELY PLANETS (available from Amazon US and UK), by planetary biologist David Grinspoon is a great read, I recommend it to anyone interested in this subject area. For those who find the review interesting, you can get more of an idea about David Grinspoon at his Funky Science website, and also in this multi-part feature over at the Astrobiology Magazine website.

News Briefs 07-05-2004

Welcome to the eclectic news center. It all made sense when I wrote it ........

  • Dinosaurs may have been wiped out by a mighty Verneshot, an underground explosion with the energy of 7-million atom bombs.
  • Arthropod animals were molting to make room for growth more than 500-million years ago.
  • Hummingbirds may be 30-million years old.
  • Physics meets archaeometry in ancient Greece.
  • The tomb of a Mayan queen has been found in the rain forest of Guatemala.
  • An ancient musical instrument has been found in the central highlands of Vietnam.
  • Archaeologists have made a sensational discovery in Turkmenistan -- a royal mausoleum.
  • Zahi Hawass, the man in charge of Egypt's antiquities and the greatest archaeologist of all time, is leading the hunt for to recover ill-gotten artifacts. Classic pic of Zahi and the Sphinx.
  • The Mudslingers protect an ancient ruin.
  • More than 2,000-years ago this ancient Maya community may have been major city.
  • It took ancient peoples in Great Britain a millennium or more to create Stonehenge, but the New Zealand version will be built in a little more than a year. Kiwihenge.
  • The drugstore culture threatens ancient Arab medicine.
  • Far-away Easter Island has become an exotic port-of-call for medical researchers.
  • The infamous, crawling, air-breathing, predatory snakehead fishes may be indicators of ancient climate shifts.
  • The humpback whale is believed to sing its mysterious songs for the same reason generations of teens have started bad garage bands.
  • A rising tide of micro-plastics is plaguing the seas. Where did you think those 2-liter bottles went?
  • Here's a follow-up on that lion in Ohio that Greg told you about yesterday.
  • In Wassaw Sound off Savannah, Georgia there's an 11-foot-long bullet with a snub nose and four stubby fins, an aluminum cylinder with No. 47782 written on it lying in the silt. Enclosed in its metal skin is 400-pounds of conventional explosives and a quantity of bomb-grade uranium. Take a guess what No. 47782 is.
  • Scientists uncover how the brain retrieves and stores older memories.
  • Ex-Nazi corporal says Germany attempted to kidnap Ike. If I told you more you would swear I made it up. Just read it.
  • No one is pretending the forthcoming climate change filmThe Day After Tomorrow is anything but implausible, but that the public is probably smart enough to distinguish between Hollywood and the real world. I wish.
  • Monsters like Godzilla may be scary, but they could be a parent's best friend.
  • Man is not a useless speck lost in the Universe.
  • You're invited to participate in the Massive Medicine Wheel Ceremony set for tomorrow. One Heart, One Mind, One Circle.
  • The James E. Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to take a few baby pictures in 2011.
  • Life in the universe could be everywhere.
  • Join the quest to unlock universe's missing link.
  • One-third of the universe still eludes us.
  • Our map of the Milky Way will have to be redrawn after Australian astronomers made the astonishing discovery that our spiral galaxy has a huge, out-flung arm.
  • Four vast petro-chemical oceans on the surface of Saturn's giant moon Titan wait the arrival of the ESA Huygens probe.
  • Mars scientists find some tempting new rocks.

Quote of the Day:

Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations.

Ralph Charell

Inside DaVinci

As mentioned in my initial post here on Daily Grail version II, TDG is now just one piece of a larger concept which we call DUAT. Let me introduce you to another facet of what we are doing: Inside the DaVinci Code. This website contains information regarding Simon Cox's new book CRACKING THE DAVINCI CODE (Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble), as well as a DVD that we are producing called INSIDE THE DAVINCI CODE.

The DVD, which is now available for pre-order for delivery from May 28th, will give a unique insight into some of the stunning backdrops used by Dan Brown in THE DAVINCI CODE - St Sulpice, the Louvre, Rosslyn Chapel, as well as the enigmatic village of Rennes le Chateau. Also included will be interviews with researchers and experts concerning some of the 'facts' in Brown's novel.

The website also features a forum to discuss the topics - from Rennes and the Priory of Sion, to the gnostic gospels and the divinity (or not, as the case may be!) of Jesus. Please do register and join in the chat - all we ask is that you treat all other members with respect.

News Briefs 06-05-2004

Come on over and check out our Da Vinci website, join in on the forums...

  •'s image of the day: the astronomer's dilemma...when you look so far back in time that the stars haven't formed yet, what do you look for?
  • Five designer babies created for stem cells. Make mine a Gucci thanks.
  • The dispute over the infamous Patterson Bigfoot film. I know you can't get enough of this, so here's more.
  • Obesity and high-blood pressure are becoming endemic.
  • Ancient map confirmed by satellite images.
  • NASA must transform to put men on Mars. I'm sure they meant to say humans. Or perhaps men are to Mars, women are to Venus?
  • A day in the life of the Spirit rover. What do they tell the little fella when he asks when he's coming home?
  • Tuna and sharks a prime example of convergent evolution. If you believe in that sort of freaky stuff, personally I'll take my chances with God creating the Earth a few thousand years ago (n.b. before starting those emails...that was a joke).
  • NASA releases 180 degree view of Endurance Crater. Looks good.
  • Archaeologists uncover oldest evidence of bedding. For a good night's sleep, you just can't beat a grass and clay mattress.
  • Dr Richard Leakey suggests fencing in the Great Apes to save them from extinction.
  • Laser technique may allow creation of devices within living cells. You have to follow the link just to see the cool image at the very least.
  • Comet NEAT debuts in the Northern Hemisphere. That's for sky-watchers, not an impact prediction...
  • Uber-physicist Brian Greene tell you all about the Fabric of the Cosmos. If the article is interesting, make sure you check out his books THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS (Amazon US and UK) and THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE (Amazon US and UK). There are not enough hours in the day to read everything cool out there...
  • Giant 'masks' suggest ancient Maya flourished.
  • Ghost hunters encounter some spirits at local pub. Insert punchline here.
  • Houses of Pharaonic gold miners found near Red Sea.
  • African lion roaming central Ohio? See also links in Heck's blog and Sonicreducer's blog. Thanks guys.
  • Giant squid isn't picky, and will mate blind, not caring if other squid is male or female. So bit like humans and nightclub closing time then.
  • Builder survives nail gun incident. Trust me, check this one meaning to 'a pain in the neck'.

Quote of the Day:

Spirits and conjurations...gods, spheres, planes and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things, certain results follow.

Aleister Crowley