Evidence, photos and discoveries about humankind’s mysterious past, including lost worlds, mysterious civilizations and ancient technology. Over the decades, there has been many discoveries (although most of them had been conveniently covered up or the evidence had been lost) found through out the world showing that indeed, our perceptions, knowledge and understanding of our origins are not entirely true! This page will be updated with articles, photos, links and more as time allows. Have a site focusing on ancient civilizations, or you want to be a guest author here? Email me your site(s) or your request to be a guest author and I will reply to you within the next 24 hours.
Alternate history focus: Kensington Runestone
Swedish American farmer Olof Öhman said he found the stone late in 1898 while clearing his land of trees and stumps before plowing, having recently taken over an 80-acre (320,000 m2) parcel that had for years been left unallocated as “Internal Improvement Land”. The stone was said to be near the crest of a small knoll rising above the wetlands, lying face down and tangled in the root system of a stunted poplar tree, estimated to be from less than 10 to about 40 years old. The artifact is about 30 x 16 x 6 inches (76 x 41 x 15 cm) in size and weighs about 200 pounds (90 kg). Öhman’s ten-year-old son, Edward Öhman, noticed some markings and the farmer later said he thought they had found an “Indian almanac.”
Unfortunately for provenance purposes, only family were said to be witnesses to the finding, although people who later saw the cut roots said that some were flattened, consistent with having held a stone. Also, there are many different versions describing when the stone was found (August or November, right after lunch or near the end of work for the evening), who discovered the stone (Olof Öhman and Edward Öhman; Olof Öhman, Edward Öhman and two workmen; Olof Öhman, Edward Öhman, and his neighbor Nils Flaten), when the stone was taken to the nearby town of Kensington, and who made the first inscriptions that were sent to a regional Scandinavian language newspaper. Soon after it was found, the stone was displayed at a local bank. There is no evidence Öhman tried to make money from his find.
When Öhman discovered the stone, the journey of Leif Ericson to Vinland (North America) was being widely discussed and there was renewed interest in the Vikings throughout Scandinavia, stirred by the National Romanticism movement. Five years earlier Norway had participated in the World’s Columbian Exposition by sending the Viking, a replica of the Gokstad ship to Chicago. There was also friction between Sweden and Norway (which ultimately led to Norway’s independence from Sweden in 1905). Some Norwegians claimed the stone was a Swedish hoax and there were similar Swedish accusations because the stone references a joint expedition of Norwegians and Swedes at a time when they were both ruled by the same king. In Minnesota, Scandinavians were newcomers, still struggling for acceptance; the runestone took root in a community that was proud of its Scandinavian heritage.
An error-ridden copy of the inscription made its way to the University of Minnesota. Olaus J. Breda (1853–1916), Professor of Scandinavian Languages and Literature in the Scandinavian Department made a translation, declared the stone to be a forgery and published a discrediting article which appeared in Symra during 1910. Breda also forwarded copies of his translation to fellow linguists in Scandinavia. Norway’s leading archeologist Oluf Rygh also concluded the stone was a fraud, as did several other noted linguists.
The stone was then sent to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. With scholars either dismissing it as a prank or unable to identify a sustainable historical context, it was returned to Öhman, who is said to have placed it face down near the door of his granary as a “stepping stone” which he also used for straightening out nails. Years later, his son said this was an “untruth” and that they had it set up in an adjacent shed, but he appears to have been referring only to the way the stone was treated before it started to attract interest at the end of 1898.
In 1907 the stone was purchased, reportedly for ten dollars, by Hjalmar Holand, a former graduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Holand renewed public interest with an article enthusiastically summarizing studies that were made by geologist Newton Horace Winchell (Minnesota Historical Society) and linguist George T. Flom (Philological Society of the University of Illinois), who both published opinions in 1910.
According to Winchell, the tree under which the stone was allegedly found had been destroyed before 1910, but several nearby poplars that witnesses estimated as being about the same size were cut down, and by counting their rings it was determined they were indeed around 30–40 years old (NB: letters were written to members of a team which had excavated at the find site in 1899, and their estimates from memory, without any reference to tree rings, ranged as low as 10–12 years in the case of county schools superintendent Cleve Van Dyke). The surrounding county had not been settled until 1858, and settlement was severely restricted for a time by the Dakota War of 1862 (although it was reported that the best land in the township adjacent to Solem, Holmes City, was already taken by 1867, by a mixture of Swedish, Norwegian and “Yankee” settlers).
Winchell also concluded that the weathering of the stone indicated the inscription was roughly 500 years old. Meanwhile, Flom found a strong apparent divergence between the runes used in the Kensington inscription and those in use during the 14th century. Similarly, the language of the inscription was modern compared to the Nordic languages of the 14th century. The Kensington Runestone is currently on display at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.
In 1577, cartographer Gerardus Mercator wrote a letter containing the only detailed description of the contents of a geographical text about the Arctic region of the Atlantic, possibly written over two centuries earlier by one Jacob Cnoyen. Cnoyen had learned that in 1364, eight men had returned to Norway from the Arctic islands, one of whom, a priest, provided the King of Norway with a great deal of geographical information. Books by scholars such as Carl Christian Rafn early in the 19th century revealed hints of reality behind this tale. A priest named Ivar Bardarsson, who had previously been based in Greenland, did turn up in Norwegian records from 1364 onward and copies of his geographical description of Greenland still survive. Furthermore, in 1354, King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden and Norway had issued a letter appointing a law officer named Paul Knutsson as leader of an expedition to the colony of Greenland, to investigate reports that the population was turning away from Christian culture. Another of the documents reprinted by the 19th century scholars was a scholarly attempt by Icelandic Bishop Gisli Oddsson, in 1637, to compile a history of the Arctic colonies. He dated the Greenlanders’ fall away from Christianity to 1342, and claimed that they had turned instead to America. Supporters of a 14th century origin for the Kensington runestone argue that Knutson may therefore have travelled beyond Greenland to North America, in search of renegade Greenlanders, most of his expedition being killed in Minnesota and leaving just the eight voyagers to return to Norway.
However, there is no evidence that the Knutson expedition ever set sail (the government of Norway went through considerable turmoil in 1355) and the information from Cnoyen as relayed by Mercator states specifically that the eight men who came to Norway in 1364 were not survivors of a recent expedition, but descended from the colonists who had settled the distant lands, generations earlier. Also, those early 19th century books, which aroused a great deal of interest among Scandinavian Americans would have been available to a late 19th century hoaxer.
Hjalmar Holand had proposed that interbreeding with Norse survivors might explain the “blond” Indians among the Mandan on the Upper Missouri River, but in a multidisciplinary study of the stone, anthropologist Alice Beck Kehoe dismissed, as “tangential” to the Runestone issue, this and other historical references suggesting pre-Columbian contacts with ‘outsiders’, such as the Hochunk (Winnebago) story about an ancestral hero “Red Horn” and his encounter with “red-haired giants”.
A natural north-south navigation route—admittedly with a number of portages round dangerous rapids—extends from Hudson Bay up Nelson River (or the Hayes River, as preferred by early modern traders from York Factory) through Lake Winnipeg, then up the Red River of the North. The northern waterway begins at Traverse Gap, on the other side of which is the source of the Minnesota River, flowing to join the great Mississippi River at Minneapolis. One of the early Runestone debunkers, George Flom, found that explorers and traders had come from Hudson Bay to Minnesota by this route decades before the area was officially settled. Supporters of the stone’s authenticity argued that the 1362 party could have used the same waterway. This idea is based on Scandinavian voyagers sailing the rivers from the Baltic sea down to Miklagård during the Viking age, but this ignores that different ship types were used to cross oceans and to sail on rivers. The boats that are small enough for portage are not suitable for open sea voyages.
This waterway also contains alleged signs of Viking presence. At Cormorant Lake in Becker County, Minnesota, there are three boulders with triangular holes which are claimed to be similar to those used for mooring boats along the coast of Norway during the 14th century. Holand found other triangular holes in rocks near where the stone was found; however, experimental archaeology later suggested that holes dug in stone with chisels rather than drills tend to have a triangular cross-section, whatever their purpose. A little further north, by the Red River itself, at Climax, Minnesota, a firesteel found in 1871, buried quite deep in soft ground, matched specimens of medieval Norse firesteels at the Oslo University museum in Norway.
There has also been considerable discussion of what has recently been named the Vérendrye Runestone, a small plaque allegedly found by one of the earliest expeditions along what later became the U.S./Canada border, in the 1730s. “Allegedly”, because it is not referred to in the journal of the expedition, or indeed any first-hand source; only in a summary of a conversation about the expedition a decade after it took place.
No non-Native American artifacts dating from before 1492 have been recovered under controlled, professionally conducted archaeological investigations at any great distance from the east coast of the continent; and with current techniques, the dating of any holes cut into rocks in the region is as uncertain as the dating of the Kensington stone itself.
Holand took the stone to Europe and, while newspapers in Minnesota carried articles hotly debating its authenticity, the stone was quickly dismissed by Swedish linguists.
For the next 40 years, Holand struggled to sway public and scholarly opinion about the Runestone, writing articles and several books. He achieved brief success in 1949, when the stone was put on display at the Smithsonian Institution, and scholars such as William Thalbitzer and S. N. Hagen published papers supporting its authenticity. However, at nearly the same time, Scandinavian linguists Sven Jansson, Erik Moltke, Harry Anderson and K. M. Nielsen, along with a popular book by Erik Wahlgren again questioned the Runestone’s authenticity.
Along with Wahlgren, historian Theodore C. Blegen flatly asserted Öhman had carved the artifact as a prank, possibly with help from others in the Kensington area. Further resolution seemed to come with the 1976 published transcript of an interview of Frank Walter Gran conducted by Dr. Paul Carson, Jr. on August 13, 1967 that had been recorded to audio tape. In it, Gran said his father John confessed in 1927 that Öhman made the inscription. John Gran’s story however was based on second-hand anecdotes he had heard about Öhman, and although it was presented as a dying declaration, Gran lived for several years afterwards saying nothing more about the stone. In 2005 supporters of the runestone’s authenticity attempted to explain this with claims that Gran was motivated by jealousy over the attention Öhman had received.
The possibility of a Scandinavian provenance for the Runestone was renewed in 1982 when Robert Hall, an emeritus Professor of Italian Language and Literature at Cornell University published a book (and a follow up in 1994) questioning the methodology of its critics. He asserted that the odd philological problems in the Runestone could be the result of normal dialectal variances in Old Swedish during the purported carving of the Runestone. Further, he contended that critics had failed to consider the physical evidence, which he found leaning heavily in favour of authenticity. Meanwhile in The Vikings and America (1986) former UCLA professor Erik Wahlgren wrote that the text bore linguistic abnormalities and spellings that he thought suggested the Runestone was a forgery.
The manuscript of the Codex Runicus contains 11 instances of the J rune, two of them appear on the last page of the manuscript, in the words for the oldest recorded melody in Scandinavia
In 1983, inspired by Hall, Richard Nielsen, a trained engineer and amateur language researcher from Houston, Texas, studied the Kensington Runestone’s runology and linguistics, disputing several earlier claims of forgery. For example, the rune which had been interpreted as standing for the letter J (and according to critics, invented by the forger) could be interpreted as a rare form of the L rune found only in a few 14th century manuscripts.
In 2001, Nielsen published an article on the Scandinavian Studies website refuting claims the runes were Dalecarlian (a more modern form). He asserted that while some runes on the Kensington Runestone are similar to Dalecarlian runes, over half have no such connection, and are best explained by 14th-century usage. As indicated by the later discovery of the Larsson rune rows (see below) he was half right.
With one slight variation from the Larsson rune rows, using the letter þ (representing “th” as in “think” or “this”) instead of d, the inscription on the face (from which a few words may be missing due to spalling, particularly at the lower left corner where the surface is calcite rather than greywacke) reads:
Translation: Unlike the version in the infobox above, this is based on Richard Nielsen’s 2001 translation of the text, which attempts specifically to put it into a medieval context, giving variant readings of some words:
8 Geats and 22 Norwegians on ?? acquisition expedition from Vinland far west. We had traps by 2 shelters one day’s travel to the north from this stone. We were fishing one day. After we came home, found 10 men red with blood and dead. AVM (Ave Maria) Deliver from evils.
The lateral (or side) text reads:
(I) have 10 men at the inland sea to look after our ship 14 days travel from this wealth/property. Year [of our Lord] 1362
When the original text is transcribed to the Latin script, the message becomes quite easy to read for any modern Scandinavian. This fact is one of the main arguments against the authenticity of the stone. The language of the inscription bears much closer resemblance to 19th century than 14th century Swedish.
The AVM is historically consistent since any Scandinavian explorers would have been Catholic at that time. Earlier transliterations interpreted skelar as skjar, meaning skerries (small, rocky islands) but Nielsen’s research suggested this meaning was unlikely, and the Larsson rune rows confirm his claim.
As an example of how linguistic research affects the discussion of this text, no evidence has been found of the Swedish term opthagelse farth (journey of discovery), or updagelsefard as it often appears, in Old Swedish, Danish or Norwegian, nor in Middle Dutch or Middle Low German during the 14th or 15th centuries.
In the contemporary and modern Scandinavian languages the term is called opdagelsesrejse in Danish, oppdagingsferd or oppdagelsesferd in Norwegian and upptäcktsfärd in Swedish. It is considered a fact that the modern word is a loan-translation from Low German *updagen, Dutch opdagen and German aufdecken, which are in turn loan-translations of French découvrir.
In a conversation with Holand in 1911, the lexicographer of the Old Swedish Dictionary (Soderwall) noted that his work was limited mostly to surviving legal documents written in formal and stilted language and that the root word opdage must have been a borrowed Germanic term (i.e. from Low German, Dutch or High German). Also, the -else ending characterizes a class of words that the Scandinavians borrowed from their southern neighbors.
However, before the Scandinavians could have borrowed the term from the Germanic languages, the Germanic peoples had to have first borrowed it from the French language, which did not happen before the 16th century. Linguists who, due to this and similar facts, reject the Medieval origin of the Kensington inscription, consider this word to be a neologism and have noted that, in a Norwegian newspaper circulated in Minnesota, the late 19th century Norwegian historian Gustav Storm often used this term in articles on Viking exploration.
Nielsen suggests that the Þ (transliterated above as th or d) could also be a t sound, which would mean the word could be the 14th century expression uptagelsefart (acquisition expedition). However, in the rest of the text, the Thorn rune regularly corresponds to modern Scandinavian d-sounds and only occasionally to historical th-sounds, while the T-rune is used for all other t-sounds.
Another characteristic pointed out by skeptics is the text’s lack of cases. Old Norse had the four cases of modern German. They had disappeared from common speech by the 16th century but were still predominant in the 14th century (see Swedish language). Also, the text does not use the plural verb forms that were common in the 14th century and have only recently disappeared: for example, (plural forms in parenthesis) “wi war” (wörum), “hathe” (höfuðum), “[wi] fiske” (fiskaðum), “kom” (komum), “fann” (funnum) and “wi hathe” (hafdum). Proponents of the stone’s authenticity point to sporadic examples of these simpler forms in some 14th century texts and to the great changes of the morphological system of the Scandinavian languages that began during the latter part of that century.
The inscription also contains “pentadic” numerals. Such numerals are known in Scandinavia, but nearly always from relatively recent times, not from verified medieval runic monuments, on which numbers were usually spelled out as words. For example, to write EINN (one) the runes E-I-N were used (writing customs avoided having the same rune twice in a row for identical sounds) and indeed the word EN (one) is in the Kensington inscription. Writing all the numbers out (such as thirteen hundred and sixty-two) would not have easily fit the surface space, so the stone’s author (whether a forger or 14th-century explorer) simplified things by using pentadic runes as numerals in the Indo-Arabic positional numbering system. This system had been described in an early 14th century Icelandic book called Hauksbók, known to have been taken to Norway by its compiler Haukr Erlendsson. However, the few pages of Hauksbók, called Algorismus, that describe the Indo-Arabic numerals and how to use them in calculations, were not widely known at the time, and the Indo-Arabic number system did not become widespread in Scandinavia until centuries later.
In 2004, Keith Massey and Kevin Massey published their theory that the Latin letters on the Kensington Stone, AVM, contain evidence authenticating a medieval date for the artifact. The Kensington Stone critic Erik Wahlgren had noticed that the carver had incised a notch on the upper right hand corner of the letter V. The Massey Twins note that a mark in that position is consistent with an abbreviation technique used in the 14th century. To render the word “Ave” in that period, the final vowel would have been written as a superscript. Eventually, the superscript vowel was replaced by a mere superscript dot. The existence of a notch where Wahlgren notes, then, shows that the carver was familiar with 14th century abbreviation techniques. The Massey Twins, however, point out that knowledge of these conventions was not available to the purported forger in late 19th century Minnesota, as books documenting these techniques were being printed in Italian academic circles only a few years after Öhman discovered the stone.
This is moot if the V is seen as the first letter of the word “Virgo” (virgin) rather than the second letter of the word “Ave”.
The Kensington inscription consists of 29 different runic characters. Of these, 18 belong to the normal futhark series, q.e. a, b, d(/th), e, f, g, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, and v. Then there are three special umlauted runes, that are marked by two dots above them. These represent the letters u, ä and ö. There is also one appearance of the Arlaug rune which usually represents the number 17. This does not work on the Kensington Stone, so therefore it’s sometimes interpreted as a bind rune of e and l. Finally, there are seven others that represent the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10. These results are obtained by counting how many times each rune recurs on the stone. Since the included photographs of the stone are quite sharp, the reader can easily verify this. Furthermore, it is also quite easy to see what Latin letter each rune represents, since most of the words are readily recognized as modern Swedish words. The result of such analysis also agrees nicely with the runic alphabets recorded by Edward Larsson in 1885.
Many runes in the inscription deviate from known medieval runes, but in 2004 it was discovered that these appear along with pentadic runes in the 1883 notes of a 16-year-old journeyman tailor with an interest in folk music, Edward Larsson. A copy was published by the Institute for Dialectology, Onomastics and Folklore Research in Umeå, Sweden and while an accompanying article suggested the runes were a secret cipher used by the tailors guild, no usage of futharks by any 19th-century guild has been documented. However, given that the Larsson notes are the only firm evidence for 19th century knowledge of these futharks, it does appear that a secret has been kept with considerable success. The notes also include the Pigpen cipher, devised by the Freemasons, and it may not be coincidental that the abbreviation AVM seen in Latin letters on the Kensington stone also appears (for AUM) on many Masonic gravestones; Wolter and Nielsen in their 2005 book even suggested a connection with the Knights Templar.
Larsson’s notes disprove the early theory that the unusual runes on the Kensington Runestone were invented on the spot by the supposed 1890s hoaxer; but without a source for Larsson’s rune rows (for example an ancient book, or records from the hypothetical Masonic-type organisation), it is not possible to give their origin any particular date range closer than “before 1883.” However, his second rune row includes runes for the letters Å, Ä and Ö, which were introduced into the Swedish version of the Latin alphabet in the 16th century. Although Nielsen has demonstrated that double-dotted runes were used in medieval inscriptions to indicate lengthened vowels, the presence of other letters from the second Larsson rune row on the Kensington stone suggests that the post-16th century versions were intended in this case.
Before Edward Larsson’s sheet of runic alphabets surfaced in Sweden in 2004, when the stone was exhibited there, it seemed as if the Kensington runes were gathered from many different futharks, or in a few cases invented by the carver. Larsson’s sheet lists two different Futharks. The first Futhark consists of 22 runes, the last two of which are bind-runes, representing the letter-combinations EL and MW. His second Futhark consists of 27 runes, where the last 3 are specially adapted to represent the letters å, ä, and ö of the modern Swedish alphabet.
Comparing the Kensington Futhark with Larsson’s two it becomes clear that the Kensington runes are a selective combination of Larsson’s two Futharks, with some very minor variations such as mirror-imaging. On the stone the runes representing e, g, n, and i have been taken from Larsson’s first Futhark, and the runes representing the letters a, b, k, u, v, ä, and ö have been taken from Larsson’s second Futhark.
The Mysteries of Ancient Peru
By Brian Haughton
The landscape of Peru is a spectacular mix of wild mountain scenery, dense inaccessible forests and narrow coastal plain. The country has a rich archaeological heritage with a history stretching back almost 20,000 years, with intriguing and mysterious sites like the settlement and lines at Nazca, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Sacsayhuamán and the sacred Lake Titicaca.
Peru is best known for the sun-worshipping Inca civilization, which became established in the region around A.D. 1200. Roughly contemporary with the Maya and the Aztecs, the Inca Empire, which included considerable parts of modern Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, was perhaps the strongest and certainly the largest in pre-Columbian America.
The hub of this vast empire was located at the modern city of Cuzco, 11,500 feet up in the Peruvian Andes. Cuzco means “navel,” and for the Incas it was a sacred place, the center of the Inca Empire and the center or navel of the world.
Cuzco and Lake Titicaca
According to one Inca legend, after seeing the desperate state of the world, Tayta Inti (“Father Sun”) sent his two children, a son and a daughter, to bring back order and peace. The children emerged from Lake Titicaca with a golden staff, and were told by their father to settle permanently wherever the staff should sink into the earth.
At a hill overlooking the valley of the present city of Cuzco, the staff sunk into the ground revealing the fertility of the soil. It was in this place that the brother and sister and their followers founded the Inca city of Cuzco. Ancient Cuzco was closely linked to the Sun, and at its center was the Coricancha (“golden enclosure”), the Inca’s most important temple, dedicated to the Sun God, Inti. This building, whose walls and floors were once covered with solid gold, probably functioned as an observatory for marking solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses, the accurate tracking of which was vital to the timing of Inca religious and secular activities.
It is believed that Cuzco was laid out in the form of a puma, a sacred animal to the Incas and one that symbolized their Empire. The belly of the puma was formed by Cuzco’s main plaza, the river Tullumayo was its spine, and the great head of this gigantic beast was formed by the 15th century fortress of Sacsahuaman. The fortress is an excellent example of Inca architecture, and consists of huge cut-stone blocks fitted together so tightly that mortar was not needed. Some of the blocks used at Sacsahuaman weigh a staggering 190 tons. It is still an impenetrable mystery how the Incas moved such boulders and how they were able to fit them together so precisely.
Lake Titicaca, from where the brother and sister emerged with the golden staff, is a sacred lake lying on the border between Peru and Bolivia. At over 12,500 feet up on a high plateau in the Andes, Titicaca is the highest commercially-navigable lake in the world. It covers 3200 square miles and has an average depth of 350 feet.
Inca legend tells that in the remote past when terrible floods were ravaging the earth and mankind was nearly annihilated, the creator god Viracocha arose from the depths of Titicaca and travelled across the lake to the Isla de la Luna (the island of the moon), the Isla del Sol (the island of the sun) and the island of Amantani. Viracocha ordered the sun (Inti), the moon (Mama-Kilya) and the stars to rise. He then created a new man and a new woman, Mallku Kapac and Mama Ocllo from stones, and sent them out to repopulate the world.
Local legends speak of a lost city called Wanaku beneath the waters of Lake Titicaca, and in 2000 a fascinating discovery was made by an Italian team of archaeologists and divers called Akakor Geographical Exploring. Submerged in the depths of the lake the expedition found evidence for pre-Columbian constructions in the form of a huge temple, 660 feet long and 130 feet wide, traces of a paved road, a 2300 foot-long retaining wall, a terrace for crops and ceramic artefacts.
Although the Bolivian government has agreed to provide financial backing for further study of these intriguing underwater ruins, locals are frightened that the investigations into the sacred lake are disrespectful and will bring bad luck to the communities living in the vicinity.
Situated almost 8,000 feet up on a mountain ridge, the spectacular Inca ruins of Machu Picchu (“Old Peak”) mysteriously abandoned by the Incas in the 1530s, represent the archetypal lost city. This splendidly-located site lay forgotten for hundreds of years before its discovery in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, and is now perhaps the most easily recognizable ancient monument in South America.
The current opinion of scholars is that Machu Picchu was probably a religious retreat and royal estate rather than a conventional city as we understand it today. The complex of houses, palaces, temples, observatories and storage structures was constructed between A.D. 1460 and 1470 by Inca ruler and founding father of the Inca Empire Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, and was inhabited up until just before the Spanish conquest of Peru in 1532.
One of the most impressive characteristics of Machu Picchu is its polished dry-stone walls, constructed using massive blocks of granite, finely cut using bronze or stone tools and fitted perfectly together. The Incas worked these blocks with stone and sand into irregular shapes that can have as many as thirty sides, and join together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. The blocks fit together so tightly that even the thinnest knife blade cannot be inserted between the interlocking stones.
A particularly intriguing and enigmatic structure at Machu Picchu is known as the intihuatana (“hitching post of the sun”), which is thought to have functioned as a solar observatory. The intihuatana consists of a column of granite, possibly the gnomon or pointer of a sun dial, rising up from a large pyramidal table-stone. At each winter solstice, during the Festival of Inti Raymii (Festival of the Sun), a ceremony would be held at the intihuatana where the god would be symbolically secured to the stone by an Inca priest in an attempt to prevent the complete disappearance of the sun.
The Incas are not the only inhabitants of Peru to have left their mark on the landscape. Hundreds of years earlier a mysterious civilization living in the arid Nascan Desert carved out a vast series of lines and pictures which remain enigmatic to this day.
The Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are one of the world’s best known and most controversial mysteries. The giant geoglyphs, covering an area roughly 37 miles in length and a mile wide, are etched onto the surface of the Nazca desert between the towns of Nazca and Palpa in southern Peru. There are over 300 glyphs, ranging from straight lines, to flowers, plants stylized hummingbirds, monkeys, lizards, spiders and human figures.
The question of how the Lines were made is actually no great mystery. The iron oxide coated stones that litter the surface of the desert were removed to reveal the underlying lighter-colored soil. In this way, the lines were drawn as a groove of lighter color contrasting with the darker red of the surrounding desert.
The function of these enigmatic inscriptions and who was responsible for their construction are hotly debated issues. Proposed theories to explain the lines include that they functioned as an astronomical observatory, as ritual pathways, a calendar, a map showing underground water supplies, or even as landing strips for alien spaceships. The most widely accepted explanation as to who made the lines credits the Nazca culture (300 B.C. to A.D. 800) with their design and construction using basic tools and surveying equipment.
The vast ceremonial city of the Nazcans, Cahuachi, overlooks the Lines. The focus of the city of Cahuachi was a central 100 foot-high pyramid, there were also extensive plazas and terraces, and over 5000 tombs, most of which have been looted. The city was a center for pilgrimage, and its population increased rapidly during major ceremonial events, many involving the Nazca Lines.
Archaeologists have used designs on Nazcan pottery, which include depictions of hummingbirds, whales, reptiles and monkeys, illustrated in a strikingly similar way to those on the Nazca plain, to attribute the lines in the desert to the Nazca culture.
Why the Nazca Lines were created is more of a mystery. Because the lines can only be appreciated from the air many researchers believe they were designed to be seen by the sky gods of the Nazcans. Indeed a ritual explanation for the lines is accepted by the vast majority of scholars, though the general term ‘ritual’ does not really bring us any closer to understanding exactly how the glyphs were used.
One particularly fascinating theory has been put forward by English explorer and researcher Tony Morrison, who has done extensive research into the old folk ways of the people of the Andes Mountains. Through this research Morrison discovered that the barren Nazca desert is even now an area given over by the local people for contact with their ancestors. Shamans, mediators between the tribal community and the spirit world, are present in most Native American cultures, and it is the Shaman who would probably have made use of the Lines to communicate with the ancestors.
Perhaps then, many if not all of the Nazca Lines were used as ‘spirit paths’ by tribal Shamans who would have walked in a trance along the glyphs on ‘voyages of the soul’ disappearing into the realm of the ancestors. Perhaps they made these spiritual journeys to utilize the peculiar energy of the particular glyph they were walking along, to bring much-needed rainfall or for some other benefit to their tribe.
According to this theory, the Nazca Lines in effect functioned as maps of the spiritual landscape, or the landscape of the ancestors, though this does not mean that the way in which the glyphs were used and perceived was always the same over the 1200 or more years they have been in existence. In that sense, the great expanse of geoglyphs littering the Nazca Desert remain an enigma.
Brian Haughton is a trained archaeologist, researcher and writer born in Birmingham in the U.K, currently based in Greece. He is the author of “Hidden History: Lost Civilizations, Secret Knowledge, and Ancient Mysteries,” published by New Page Books. He is also webmaster of: www.mysteriouspeople.com , dealing with the lives of enigmatic and unusual people in history.
Perhaps the most popular example of Mount Shasta lore, and a legend involving the first claim by non-Native Americans for a spiritual connection with the mountain, concerns the mystical brotherhood believed to roam through jeweled corridors deep inside the mountain. According to Miesse, “In the mid-19th Century paleontologists coined the term “Lemuria” to describe a hypothetical continent, bridging the Indian Ocean, which would have explained the migration of lemurs from Madagascar to India. Lemuria was a continent which submerged and was no longer to be seen. By the late 19th Century occult theories had developed, mostly through the theosophists, that the people of this lost continent of Lemuria were highly advanced beings. The location of the folklore ‘Lemuria’ changed over time to include much of the Pacific Ocean. In the 1880s a Siskiyou County, California, resident named Frederick Spencer Oliver wrote A Dweller on Two Plants, or, the Dividing of the Way which described a secret city inside of Mount Shasta, and in passing mentioned Lemuria. Edgar Lucian Larkin, a writer and astronomer, wrote in 1913 an article in which he reviewed the Oliver book. In 1925 a writer by the name of Selvius wrote “Descendants of Lemuria: A Description of an Ancient Cult in America” which was published in the Mystic Triangle, Aug., 1925 and which was entirely about the mystic Lemurian village at Mount Shasta. Selvius reported that Larkin had seen the Lemurian village through a telescope. In 1931 Wisar Spenle Cerve published a widely read book entitled Lemuria: The Lost Continent of the Pacific in which the Selvius material appeared in a slightly elaborated fashion. The Lemuria-Mount Shasta legend has developed into one of Mount Shasta’s most prominent legends” (1993; 136).
According to Zanger, Frederick Spencer Oliver was a Yrekan teen who claimed that his hand began to uncontrollably write a manuscript dictated to him by Phylos, a Lemurian spirit (1993). Meisse points out that Oliver’s novel of spiritual fiction is “The single most important source of Mount Shasta’s esoteric legends. The book contains the first published references linking Mt. Shasta to: 1) a mystical brotherhood; 2) a tunnel entrance to a secret city inside Mount Shasta; 3) Lemuria; 4) the concept of “I AM”; 5) “channeling” of ethreal spirits; 6)a panther surprise” (1993; 143). The author claims to have written most of the novel within sight of Mount Shasta, and autobiographical telling of the story from Phylos the Thibetan’s point of view is an interesting twist. We have included a few pages of text from the novel, including the reference to the mystic brotherhood that lives amid “the walls, polished as by jewelers, though excavated by giants; floors carpeted with long, fleecy gray fabric that looked like fur, but was a mineral product; ledges intersected by the builders, and in their wonderful polish exhibiting veinings of gold, of silver, of green copper ores, and maculations of precious stones.” (Oliver 1905; 248).
In 1908, Adelia H. Taffinder wrote an article, “A Fragment of the Ancient Continent of Lemuria,” for the Atlantic Monthly. In her article she links the concept of Lemuria to California, and Meisse proposses that the article, “with its Theosophical teachings and extension of the Lemurian Myth to California, may have been part of the research material involved in the creation of the Mount Shasta Lemurian Myth as presented by Selvius in 1925 and Creve in 1931″ (1993; 147).
Selvius’ 1925 two-page article, “Decendants of Lemuria” is, according to Meisse, “the singlemost inportant document in the establishment of the modern Mt. Shasta-Lemurian myth,” so we have included Selvius’ full-text article. Selvius claims that Professor Edgar Lucian Larkin viewed the Lemurian site on Mount Shasta using his telescope: “Even no less a careful investigator and scientist than Prof. Edgar Lucin Larkin, for many years director of Mount Lowe Observatory, said in newspaper and magazine articles that he had seen, on many occasions, the great temple of this mystic village, while gazing through a long-distance telescope.”
Although Selvius’ article is the most historically interesting, Wishar Spenle Cerve’s 1931 Lemuria: The Lost Continent of the Pacific is, according to Meisse, “responsible for the legend’s widespread popularity” (1993; 146). Perhaps most intriging is Meisse’s speculation that “it appears from the similarity of material that “Selvius” and “Cerve” were one and the same person” (1993; 145). Further muddying the waters is Edward Stul’s worth claim that “Wishar Spenly Cerve” is really a letter-for-letter pseudonym for “Harve Spencer Lewis,” first Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order of North and South America. Still, it is Cerve’s book, published by the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, that has provided the popular description of the Lemurians as “tall, graceful, and agile,” and as visitors that “would come to one of the smaller towns and trade nuggets and gold dust for some modern commodities” (250).
The idea of a lost continent (and the subsequent existence of Lemurians on Mount Shasta), quickly became widely known, though perhaps not so widely believed. In 1939, Mount Shasta botanist William Cooke was in a Cincinati library when he was asked if he “knew anything about the LeMurians.” A few months later, in a Mount Shasta Herald article called “Lights on Mt. Shasta: Evidences Discounted,” Cooke questions the legend that Larkin could have used a telescope to see any structures on Mount Shasta. About a year later, in another Herald article, titled “Wm. Bridge Cooke Discusses ‘Lost Continent’ Book,” Cooke questioned the possibility of a Lemuria or Mu (1941).
Today the belief that Lemurians inhabit the mountain is still very popular, and anyone visiting the local bookstores will likely be suprised by the plethora of texts on the subject.
DAVID HAMBLING traces the hidden history of the most notorious conspiracy of all time, while DAVID V BARRETT assesses its modern legacy.
Once, the Illuminati were barely a rumour. An ancient conspiracy manipulating humankind for their own dark purposes, they were the hidden hand behind history. They infiltrated the corridors of power via groups like the Freemasons, starting revolutions and toppling kingdoms. They gained control of the international banking system, allowing them to covertly rule the world.
In recent years, though, this blanket of secrecy has been gradually lifted. Now the secrecy has been eroded. First, in 1975, there were the three books later published as the single-volume The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson; then there was a best-selling game; these days, the Illuminati crop up in every corner of popular culture, from Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons to Tomb Raider. But the truth about the Illuminati remains as elusive as ever.
As a political conspiracy, the group known as the Bavarian Illuminati was actually very short-lived. A secret society dedicated to spreading republicanism, it was founded in 1776 and outlawed in 1790, after which it ceased to function. While they caused much alarm, the Bavarian Illuminati were notably unsuccessful as revolutionaries. They may have inspired other groups, but there is little evidence that the Illuminati themselves endured as a political force. However, this group was the artificial creation of one man – and an imitation of a far older and more influential Illuminati. And to find out about them we must travel back to 16th-century Spain.
THE “NEW CHRISTIANS”
For centuries, most of Spain was under Moorish rule, with Muslims, Jews and Christians living peacefully together in what has been described as a golden age of the arts and sciences. However, by the late Middle Ages the Moorish kingdoms were falling one by one to Christian conquerors, a process known as the Reconquista. The new regime had a slogan: “One country, one faith”. Having expelled the Moors, they next decided to resolve the ‘Jewish question’.
There had been public violence against the Jews since 1391, followed by a strong pressure on them to convert. In 1492, the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella issued a final edict that Jews must be baptised into the Catholic Church or be expelled from Spain. Many left, but others stayed, and the many thousands of Conversos, or ‘New Christians’, now made up much of Spain’s educated urban middle class.
Ironically, then, the effect of the edict was perhaps precisely the opposite of what was intended: Converso families who had previously been shunned for their religion were now equal to their neighbours. Conversos could occupy public office, and frequently did, often rising to high position. Converso authors and poets contributed greatly to Spanish culture; even Cervantes, Spain’s greatest author, may have come from such a family.  And the Church now found itself faced with a new generation of young priests from Converso stock.
Prejudice dies hard, and many Old Christians deeply resented their new brothers in religion. Inevitably, conspiracy theories began to surface, suggesting that the Conversos were infiltrating the state and the Church in order to take them over. The idea was popularised by Friar Alonso de Espina in a 1466 tract, Fortalitium Fidei Contra Judaeos (Fortress of Faith against the Jews).
A chronicler in Seville recorded a plot by a group of senior Conversos against the authorities in 1481. They were gathering men and arms for a revolt, and believed that they could get the people to support them. But the plotters were betrayed – the beautiful daughter of their leader was in love with a Christian – arrested, and the ringleaders publicly executed. The story provided justification for later generations who believed that the Conversos could not be trusted. It was not until the 20th century that historian Henry Kamen proved the whole thing was a complete fabrication. 
Laws of racial purity were passed to prevent those with Jewish blood from holding public office, and in 1478 a new organisation was set up to deal with religious subversion: the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition was zealous in following up any allegation that Conversos might be secretly following their old religion and, using torture and psychological terror, set about ensuring that nobody strayed from the true path.
Many Conversos were sincere Christians, and they brought new ideas into Christianity. In 1511, Spain saw the first stirrings of a movement whose followers were called Illuminati in Latin or Alumbrados in Spanish. In English, we might call them ‘Enlightened Ones’. Pedro Ruiz de Alcaraz preached a form of Christianity which involved contemplation to achieve the mystical experience of seeing the Light of God directly. The Alumbrados emphasised the power of God’s love and the ineffectiveness of human effort – including even that of the Church. For them, ecstatic vision and personal communion replaced ecclesiastical ritual and priestly mediation.
A few Alumbrados came from old aristocratic families, but the majority were Conversos. In the 1520s, the Inquisition established that the Alumbrados were heretical and set about exterminating them. The movement was forced into hiding. For curious political reasons, the Alumbrados were accused, and frequently convicted, of being Protestant Lutherans, an entirely unrelated ‘heresy’. It’s a bit like convicting Buddhists of being Hindu, and must have added a surreal (even Pythonesque) air to the trials.
Ignatius of Loyola was among those accused of being an Alumbrado.  Cleared, he became a priest and founded the Order of Jesus or Jesuits, which became a powerful elite acting under the direct authority of the Pope. The Jesuits also had a lasting hostility to the Inquisition, although it was Jesuit influence that helped end Illuminism in Spain; rather than opposing mysticism, they embraced it, making the Church more appealing to would-be Alumbrados. The movement didn’t completely die out, though, resurfacing in France as the Illumines. But, as a major religious movement, Illuminism had lost its momentum.
The Spanish experience contains all the elements associated with the Illuminati. A movement inspired by visionaries defies the established order; it faces a society racked by a fear of infiltration; and there is a violent reaction, driving the movement underground. The popular image of the Illuminati as we know them – a conspiracy against society, perpetrated by Jews – was born.
Where did the Alumbrado heresy come from? Mainstream Jewish thought certainly does not encourage the rejection of religious authorities in favour of a direct personal approach to a God of light. But such a belief is the hallmark of the mystical Jewish movement known as Kabbalah.
Derived from the word for ‘to receive’, Kabbalah – also spelled Cabala or Qabbalah – is a tradition which deals with the understanding of God and personal mystical experience. The major work of the Kabbalah is the Sefer Zohar or Book of Splendour, compiled in Spain by Moses of Leon around 1280. Although he claimed the contents were derived from much earlier sources, modern scholars believe that the Zohar was Moses de Leon’s own work, a synthesis of the thinking of the time and his own new material.  By couching it in traditional form and writing in Aramaic, he gave the Zohar more authority and made its new ideas acceptable to his contemporary audience, thus avoiding charges of heresy from more orthodox scholars.
The Kabbalah is a theology of light in which the Universe is described in terms of 10 ‘sephiroth’ – attributes or aspects of God. These are described as spheres through which the light of God is transmitted to mankind. The sephiroth give shape to the divine light and are separate but also one with it “in the same way as the rays which proceed from the light are simply manifestations of one and the same light”.
Each of the sephiroth has its own name and qualities, including ‘Binah’ or Understanding, ‘Hokhmah’ or Wisdom and so on. Each relates to the others in particular ways and they form a structure which is described in terms of a tree or a primordial human figure, Adam Kadmon. As the first created being and link between mankind and God, Adam Kadmon is involved in the creation and also the redemption of the world, when evil will finally be expunged. Matters then get progressively more complex: emanating from the 10 sephiroth is a second world of another 10, which is the physical world we know. There are also third and fourth worlds, occupied by hosts of named angels and demons, each with particular attributes.
Names are very important in the Kabbalah, as the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are literally the building blocks of the Universe. God created the world through the act of naming. The combinations of letters encompass everything that ever has been or will be.
This gives rise to the hermeneutical aspect of Kabbalah, a way of decoding messages concealed in the scriptures. There are three different techniques:
Temura: changing the letters of words to create other words by anagrams
Gemetria: in which letters have numerical values and can be compared with other numbers or words
Notarokon: making words from the initials of phrases (so “Ateh Gibor le-Olam Adonai” – “Thou art mighty forever, Lord” becomes AGLA).
This provided Renaissance Kabbalists with a great deal of occupation as they painstakingly shuffled words and numbers to reveal the secret truths about the Universe and to uncover the many powerful names of God. They calculated, for example, that there are exactly 301,655,172 angels in the Universe. What their modern counterparts can do with the aid of computer technology can scarcely be imagined. 
It is this side that gives rise to “practical Kabbalah”. The Zohar contains details of how to communicate with hidden powers, explaining how to command angels and demons to influence nature, cure disease, curse enemies, predict the future and perform other wonders. For example, a piece of Kabbalah folklore allows a married couple to predict which of them will die first, by adding the numbers of their names together and seeing if the result is odd or even.
The Alumbrados appeared in areas such as Toledo, which were previously centres for Kabbalism, and although they seem to have lacked the scholarship of the Kabbalah, the core idea of personal experience of God’s light persisted. This may be because Conversos maintained only their oral traditions after the loss of their Hebrew and Aramaic books. Interestingly, many Alumbrado leaders were women, a group which would not in any case have had access to the written component of the Kabbalah.
A LIGHT FOR THE WORLD
If the Alumbrados represented the resurfacing of an oral tradition, then the scholarly tradition of the Kabbalah also survived and thrived elsewhere. Spain was the great centre of Kabbalistic learning, and the expulsion of Jews spread Kabbalists to North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, Palestine and Italy. The latter was to prove significant, as the humanist philosopher Pico Della Mirandolla picked up the Kabbalah and Christianised it. Mirandolla explained Kabbalah as a theology which predicted Christianity and contained many of the same elements. (The Christian version is often spelled Cabbala to distinguish it from Jewish Kabbalah.)
In 1494, a leading theologian, Johannes Reuchlin wrote De verbo mirifico, in which he showed that the Biblical name of God, the Hebrew letters YHWH, could be miraculously transformed into JESUS by Cabbalistic means. Adam Kadmon was also identified with Jesus.
The Catholic Church eventually ruled against Cabbala, concluding: “Its speculations concerning God’s nature and relation to the Universe differ materially from the teachings of Revelation.”  Its study was considered heretical, and practical Cabbala was a black art, driven underground once again. This did nothing to destroy its popularity, and Cabbala became a staple of Renaissance magic; it also gave rise to the word ‘Cabal’ for a group of plotters.
Cabbala has appeared either overtly or in concealed form in much occult teaching since then. It was borrowed, adapted and built upon; in modern terms, unlicensed pirate copies were in free circulation. Its ancient pedigree gives it authority, its dense scholarship lends it weight and depth, making Cabbala the ideal ingredient to add to any philosophy for an instant boost – the monosodium glutamate of the occult.
Scratch the surface of Freemasonry and you find the Cabbala. Rosicrucianism is rife with it. It lies at the heart of esoteric religious groups like the OTO, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley’s ‘magick’. None of this could be described as pure, but then Cabbalistic scholarship has never been pure. Since the earliest days, there have been cross-currents with other philosophies, most notably the first-century Gnostics, Hermetic philsophy, Persian Zoroastrians and the even earlier Pythagoreans. It is quite possible – and hotly debated – that the ‘original’ Kabbalah may have come from one of these sources and was only later adopted into Judaism. Adam Kadmon looks rather similar to the Persian Adam Qadmaia, the hidden Adam. There is no continuous ancient tradition, but an unceasing blending and development of ideas.
However, new developments can always do with an impressive lineage to back them up, and everyone – from the Freemasons to Moses de Leon to the first-century Kabbalists – who invoked Moses has tended to invent an ancient pedigree to support their own ideas.
THE TWO SIDES OF THE ILLUMINATI
As we have seen, there are two very different sides to Illuminism. One is the popular view of the Illuminati as villains behind everything from Freemasonry to Satanism, with the recurrence of various plundered symbols giving the impression of a unified movement. Adam Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati, founded to “attain the highest degree of virtue”, were quickly demonised. Weishaupt came from a Jewish family, had a Jesuit education and was a Freemason – all factors that counted against him. In more recent times, Illuminati paranoia has moved from political radicals to international banks, also depicted as shadowy organisations controlled by Jews. Laughable as this idea may seem, such beliefs in a powerful conspiracy that was undermining society helped propel the Nazis to power in 1933, while similar notions are current among ultra-nationalists in Russia today.
The other Illuminati are the heirs to the Kabbalistic tradition. As always, their teachings are confined to the few, because it is an esoteric path for those willing to put in the effort, rather than an exoteric one for the many. Trying to make complex and subtle doctrine simple destroys its essence. It’s like trying to stuff a cream cake into your pocket: you could do it, but you no longer have a cake, only a sticky mess. Such teachings can be easily misunderstood and the doctrine distorted, losing its truth.
Modern organisations like the Kabbalah Centre want to make the Kabbalah more accessible, suggesting that the Zohar can be ‘read’ by running your hands over the text. The Centre also sells red string wristbands to protect from the evil eye at , Kabbalah water spray for , or a complete Zohar for 5.  Whatever the metaphysical objections, the Centre has attracted stars like Madonna and Britney Spears with its promises to “bring more money into your life, ignite sexual energy and… radiate beauty to all who see you”.
But you may be sure that the real Illuminati are still there, and those that look for them will be able to find them. They may want personal transformation rather than global domination, but those who reject authority in favour of finding their own truth will always be unpopular with the powers that be.
1 Kevin S Larsen: “Cervantes, Don Quijote, and the Hebrew Scriptures”
2 Henry Kamen: The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997, p46.
3 Mention should also be made of the blessed Ramon Llull (1232–1316), a Spanish Christian philosopher who spent much time debating with theologians from other faiths. His works describe the Creation in terms of divine lights and a distinctly Cabbalistic (or proto-Cabbalistic) ‘art of combination’. He is known as Doctor Illuminatus.
4 Darren Aronofsky’s wonderful 1998 movie Pi (1998) includes an exploration of this idea.
5 See “Catholic Encyclopedia”
By David Hambling
ADAM WEISHAUPT AND THE BAVARIAN ILLUMINATI
The organisation known as the Illuminati – or the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria – was initially called the Order of Perfectibilists, and was founded on 1 May 1776 by a young professor of Natural and Canon Law at the University of Ingoldstat in Bavaria (pp74–76). He was Adam Weishaupt (1748–1811 or 1830), a Jew brought up as a Catholic, who converted to Protestantism and had a strong interest in the esoteric tradition that led him to join the Freemasons in 1774.
Weishaupt’s aim was to perfect both the world and the individual (hence the Order’s original name), a project he described as: “illumination, enlightening the understanding by the Sun of reason, which will dispel the clouds of superstition and of prejudice”. Weishaupt’s radical version of Enlightenment involved the abolition of nations, monarchies and religions, and had the ultimate intention of doing away with all social structures, including private property and marriage.
Members of the Illuminati were organised into cells that reported to an Unknown Superior, thus preserving secrecy but also (despite Weishaupt’s avowedly egalitarian beliefs) maintaining a distance between lower and higher-grade members.
Indeed, although he had found no deep spirituality in the Masonic lodge he had joined earlier, Weishaupt was a firm believer in the secret doctrines, the ancient wisdom teachings, which he believed lay at the heart of both Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism.
The Illuminati began with Weishaupt and four friends in 1776. By 1779, it had 54 members in five lodges around Bavaria, and then began to expand beyond it by infiltrating and taking over existing Masonic lodges. Within five years, it had some 650 members in lodges around Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Switzerland and northern Italy.
The organisation’s revolutionary beliefs had also attracted attention, despite its structure as a secret society, with both Church and State determined to quash it. In 1784, Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria, banned all secret societies; in 1785, the Illuminati were specifically named as a seditious group, with Weishaupt stripped of his university post and banished from Bavaria. The authorities seized a great deal of Illuminati documentation, and clamped down on its members, most of whom also fled the country.
Weishaupt settled in Gotha in Saxony, where he received a pension from Duke Ernst II and taught Philosophy at the University of Göttingen. Without his leadership, the Illuminati very quickly died out. It had lasted a mere 10 years – but its reputation continues even today.
By David V Barrett
10 ILLUMINATI CONSPIRACIES
In their bid to control the world, the Illuminati are said to have had their hidden fingers in all sorts of conspiratorial pies over the centuries. Possibly the scariest thing about these theories is the way they all tend to link up somewhere along the line: tug on virtually any thread of popular conspiracy theory and it will eventually lead you to the Illuminati. In the Internet age, this network of interconnections is becoming ever more tangled, with many websites having taken paranoia as an art form to a pitch of dizzying baroque splendour.
Quickly infiltrated by Weishaupt’s Illuminati and pursuing world domination on the quiet ever since. In reality, the main result of Weishaupt’s takeover attempt was the conspiracy theories of Robison and Barruel, and thus a legacy of hostility from national oligarchies and the Catholic Church towards Masonry.
The Great Seal of the United States
The Masonic/Illuminati conspiracy is revealed in the ‘secret’ symbolism of the ‘Eye in the Pyramid’ adopted in 1782 and still to be seen on the dollar bill (top). (In fact, the ‘all seeing eye’, representing omniscient deity, and the pyramid below it, representing lasting strength, are not Masonic symbols, and of the 14-strong design committee for the seal only Benjamin Franklin was a Mason. ‘Novus Ordo seclorum’ doesn’t mean New World Order or even New Secular Order, no matter what Dan Brown says.
The Jewish conspiracy
Scratch a Mason, Satanist or international banker and you’ll find a Jew, say the conspiracy theorists. Underlying many of the Illuminati conspiracy theories is a strain of anti-Semitic thought that even includes belief in the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the document that supposedly proves a Jewish plan for world domination (and a proven forgery – see FT131:7; 136:37–38).
A cabal of 13 immensely powerful Satanist families – including such names as Astor, Rothschild, Rockefeller, Onassis as well as the Merovingian bloodline of European monarchy – have been using mind control techniques on an unsuspecting populace to maintain their grip on power. Some of these families are either aliens, Jews (or possibly both) to boot!
According to David Icke, the Illuminati are a race of shape-shifting reptilian aliens from ‘the lower fourth dimension’, counting among their number such human-alien hybrids as George W Bush, Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and Kris Kristofferson. Other accounts suggest that the Illuminati have been working hand-in-glove with the notorious ‘Grays’, opposed by the ‘friendly’ aliens of the Galactic Federation and even, in some theories, crop circle-makers trying to reveal Illuminati plans.
The New World Order
The Illuminati are behind pretty much every major international body in the political and financial realms, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the United Nations, the EU and the International Criminal Court. Their aim is to work behind the scenes to brainwash the masses into accepting a global government, centralised economic control and a single world religion.
We’ve all had bad experiences with Windows – which should come as no surprise when we realise that Bill Gates is in fact the latter-day incarnation of none other than Adam Weishaupt. The name is a dead giveaway: Bill = B(avarian) Ill(uminati), Gates = Geheime Amerikanische Tochtergenosssenschaft der Erleuchteten Seher, the American Illuminati lodge. Simple.
The Bohemian Club
Meeting each year since 1872 at “the world’s most prestigious summer camp”, this ‘secret society’ dreamt up by some San Francisco journalists in 1872 is a front for all kinds of Illuminist/Satanic/New World Order goings-on, including naked wrestling, strange pageants involving giant owls and (the story goes) S&M and necrophilia.
From college Fraternity societies like Phi Beta Kappa (formed, very quickly, in 1776 by American illuminists and a direct link to Weishaupt, the theory goes) to ‘secret’ college societies like Yale’s Skull and Bones, these incubators of the future great and good have come under much suspicion as potential Illuminati breeding grounds, producing powerful politicians and industrialists, top spies and, of course, George W Bush.
Abstruse numerological interpretations of the 9/11 and 7/7 bombings show that these supposed terrorist attacks actually have the name of the Illuminati written all over them, for those who can read the clues. Don’t try this at home.
Finally, please note that none of the theories expounded here is supported by Fortean Times or its editors.
By David Sutton
SECRET RULERS OF THE WORLD
The growth of a conspiracy theory
It is astonishing that a small, short-lived society in southern Germany over two centuries ago should have taken such a strong hold on conspiracy theorists worldwide. It has been said that it is irrelevant whether the Illuminati actually control the world; if enough people are foolish enough to believe that they do, then, in a sense, they do.
Conspiracy theories about the Illuminati began only a decade after the demise of the Order, stemming from the work of two writers, John Robison and Augustin de Barruel, each with an agenda of his own.
In 1797, John Robison, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, wrote a book with the all-embracing (though hardly snappy) title, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies, collected from good authorities.
A Freemason himself, Robison’s aim was actually to distance socially respectable British Freemasonry from what he saw as some of the more dubious continental varieties. Robison’s book is full of factual errors, but its influential central thesis was that the Illuminati, after abolishing all religions and governments, “would rule the World with uncontrollable power, while all the rest would be employed as tools of the ambition of their unknown superiors”.
Abbé Augustin de Barruel, a former Jesuit, was the author of Mémoires pour servir a l’histoire du Jacobinisme, a four-volume work published in 1797 and 1798 and equally full of erroneous stories – including the much-cited one that the downfall of the Illuminati began when one of their couriers, Franz Lang or Jacob Lanz, was struck by lightning and killed. Sewn into secret pockets in his clothes, it is said, were coded messages from Adam Weishaupt, which were discovered by the Bavarian police and led directly to the ban on the Order. In an echo of accusations against other ‘secret societies’, de Barruel said the Illuminati “had sworn hatred to the altar and the throne, had sworn to crush the God of the Christians, and utterly to extirpate the Kings of the Earth.”
The influence of Robison and de Barruel on future conspiracy theories about the Illuminati cannot be over-emphasised. According to both writers, the Illuminati were so successful at recruiting members from other groups, like the Masons, that they were in part responsible for the French Revolution.
But the tendrils of the supposed Illuminati conspiracy have spread much farther and wider than Revolutionary France. So widespread are they, the conspiracy theorists assert, that they have been behind almost everything that has happened since. Is it just coincidence that 1776, the year that the Illuminati began, was the year of the American Revolution? Or that the first of the influential American “Greek letter” college fraternities, Phi Beta Kappa, also began in that same year?
The Internet is rife with conspiracy theories of every shade involving the Illuminati. Those who believe that there is a Jewish Masonic conspiracy running the world simply cite the founder of the Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, a Jew and a Freemason, as proof of their case. Most such theories are promulgated by fundamentalist Christians or New Age enthusiasts, and are usually extremely right wing, white supremacist or anti-Semitic. Some fundamentalist Christians link the Illuminati with the Antichrist and the impending end of this era; other conspiracy theorists claim the Illuminati were behind 9/11.
The basic theory is that the Illuminati did not die out in 1786,when they were closed down in Bavaria. Instead, groups around the world went underground, resurfacing under a number of different identities. Thus, all 33˚ Freemasons must actually be secret Illuminati members. So too the powers behind Greek-letter societies (especially the Yale University fraternity society Skull and Bones), which between them produce a large number of bankers, industrialists, senators, congressmen and presidents of the United States. And of course the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers and other major Jewish families, especially if they are bankers. Also heads of governments around the world. It goes without saying that the Illuminati were behind the creation of the European Union.
Stripped to its basics, the present-day theory of the Illuminati is that they are already the Secret Rulers of the world, and that they are plotting a New World Order, a world government under their control – just as John Robison had argued back in 1797. They run organisations such as the Freemasons, the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Trilateral Commission and the World Bank; and, of course, the Bilderberg Group, the annual meeting of top politicians, financiers and businessmen from Europe and North America held behind closed doors and usually in a world-class hotel, and the Bohemian Club, notorious for its Bohemian Grove summer camps for the rich and powerful, held each July in California.
Effectively, any organisation containing powerful or influential people is, say the conspiracy theorists, run by the Illuminati.
A number of obvious questions could be asked by anyone with a critical mind, but two are fundamental. First, if the Illuminati and their offshoots are so all-powerful, why have they been so singularly ineffective at achieving their aims over the last two centuries? And second, if they are so secretive, how is it that their members, aims, motives, plots and plans are so easy for conspiracy theorists to uncover?
Indeed, if the Secret Rulers of the World are so inept, perhaps we don’t need to worry too much about them. Instead, perhaps we should be more concerned about the conspiracy theorists themselves. In America they include so-called Christian Militia groups and other ultra-right-wing Christian sects which are anti-Semitic, anti-Black, anti-gay, anti-feminist and anti-liberal.
Adapted from the forthcoming Atlas of Secret Societies by David V Barrett, to be published by Godsfield in March 2009.
THE SECRET PEOPLE
Some Conversos were crypto-Jews, outwardly practising Christianity but secretly maintaining their old religion. Those who fled from Spain to Portugal in 1492 found themselves trapped when King Manuel decided that they should neither be allowed to leave nor retain their religion, leading to a concentration of crypto-Jews.
They maintained their identity by oral tradition, as no books or outward signs of Judaism could be kept. Candles were lit secretly to mark the Sabbath, and they celebrated festivals unknown to orthodox Catholicism, like those of Saint Moses and Saint Esther. On entering a church, they would ritually murmur: “I enter this house, but I do not adore sticks or stones, only the God of Israel”.
Large numbers emigrated to the New World. In 1516, the bishop of Havana complained that “practically every ship docking in Havana is filled with Hebrews and New Christians.” The Inquisition followed, and in one Auto da Fe in Mexico in 1649, 108 people were convicted of keeping Judaism in secret.
In spite of such pressures, some crypto-Jewish families have maintained traditions such as not eating pork ever since, in many cases without even knowing why. Many have only discovered their secret ancestry in recent years. 
One fascinating story concerns the remote village of Belmonte in Portugal. By 1917, the inhabitants believed they were the only Jews in the world. Then they were discovered by Samuel Schwarz, a Polish mining engineer. At first they denied that they were Jewish and did not accept him, as they could not believe any Jew would openly admit his religion. They only accepted the truth of what he said when he recited a credo containing the Hebrew word ‘Adonai’ (Lord). Schwarz later wrote a book about his experiences, estimating that there were still thousands of crypto-Jews in Portugal who had kept their secret for over four centuries.
Top 10 Ancient civilizations with advanced technologies
Top 10 Ancient Civilizations With Advanced Technology
Like a real life Indiana Jones, maverick archeologist David Hatcher Childress has taken many incredible journeys to some of the oldest and most remote spots on earth. Writing prolifically of lost cities and ancient civilizations, he has produced no less than six lengthy books (the Lost Cities series) chronicling the dimly remembered glories of obscure locales from the Gobi desert to Puma Punku in Bolivia, from Mohenjo Daro to Ba’albek. We caught up with him shortly before taking off for New Guinea on yet another archeological expedition and asked him if he would be willing to write an exclusive for Atlantis Rising on the Top 10 Ancient Civilizations with Advanced Technology. He agreed to dig through his archives and give us a story.
1. ANCIENT MU OR LEMURIA
According to various esoteric sources, the first civilization arose 78,000 years ago on the giant continent known as Mu or Lemuria and lasted for an astonishing 52,000 years. It is sometimes said to have been destroyed in earthquakes generated by a pole shift which occurred some 26,000 years ago, or at approximately 24,000 B.C.
While Mu did not reach as high a technology, supposedly, as other later civilizations, it is, nevertheless, said to have attained some advanced technology, particularly in the building of long-lasting megalithic buildings that were able to withstand earthquakes. However, it was the science of government that is sometimes said to have been Mu’s greatest achievement.
Supposedly, there was one language and one government. Education was the keynote of the Empire’s success, and because every citizen was versed in the laws of the universe and was given thorough training in a profession or trade, magnificent prosperity resulted. A child’s education was compulsory to the age of 21 in order for him to be eligible to attend citizenship school. This training period lasted for seven years; so the earliest age at which a person could become a citizen of the empire was 28.
2. ANCIENT ATLANTIS
It is said that when the continent of Mu sank, the oceans of the world lowered drastically as water rushed into the newly formed Pacific Basin. The relatively small islands which had existed in the Atlantic during the time of the Lemurian civilization were left high and dry by the receding ocean. The newly emerged land joined the Poseid Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean to form a small continent. This continent is called Atlantis by historians today, though its real name was Poseid.
Atlantis is believed to have taken technology to very advanced stages, well beyond what exists on our planet today. In the book A Dweller On Two Planets, first dictated in 1884 by Phylos the Thibetan to a young Californian named Frederick Spencer Oliver, as well as in a 1940 sequel, An Earth Dweller Returns, there is mention of such inventions and devices as air conditioners to overcome deadly and noxious vapors; airless cylinder lamps, tubes of crystal illuminated by the night side forces; electric rifles, guns employing electricity as a propulsive force (rail-guns are similar, and a very new invention); mono-rail transportation; water generators, an instrument for condensing water from the atmosphere; and the Vailx, an aerial ship governed by forces of levitation and repulsion.
The sleeping clairvoyant, Edgar Cayce, in a reading spoke of the use of aeroplanes and of crystals or firestones used for energy and related applications. He also speaks of the misuse of power and warnings of destruction to come.
3. RAMA EMPIRE OF INDIA
Fortunately, the ancient books of India’s Rama Empire have been preserved, unlike those of China, Egypt, Central America, Peru. Many of these ancient nations are now either desert wastelands, swallowed by thick jungle or literally at the bottom of some ocean. Yet India, despite devastation by wars and invasion, managed to maintain a large part of its ancient history.
For a long time, Indian civilization was not believed to date from much earlier than about 500 B.C., only about 200 years prior to Alexander the Great’s invasion of the subcontinent. In the past century, however, the extremely sophisticated cities of Mohenjo Daro (Mound of the Dead) and Harappa have been discovered in the Indus Valley of modern-day Pakistan.
The discoveries of these cities forced archaeologists to push the dates for the origin of Indian civilization back thousands of years. A wonder to modern-day researchers, the cities were highly developed and caused leading archaeologists to believe that they were conceived as a whole before they were built: a remarkable early example of city planning. Even more remarkable is that the plumbing-sewage system throughout the large city is superior to that found in Pakistan, India, and most Asian countries today.
4. OSIRIAN CIVILIZATION OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
It is said that at the time of Atlantis and Rama, the Mediterranean was a large and fertile valley. This ancient civilization, pre-dating dynastic Egypt, was known as the Osirian Civilization. The Nile river came out of Africa, as it does today, and was called the River Stix. However, instead of flowing into the Mediterranean Sea at the Nile Delta in northern Egypt, it continued into the valley, and then turned westward to flow in the deepest part of the Mediterranean Valley where it created a large lake and then flowed out between Malta and Sicily, and south of Sardinia into the Atlantic at Gibraltar (the Pillars of Hercules). When Atlantis was destroyed in a cataclysmic upheaval, this cataclysmic change in the Atlantic slowly flooded the Mediterranean Basin, destroying the Osirian’s great cities and forcing them to move to higher ground. This theory helps explain the strange megalithic remains found throughout the Mediterranean.
It is an archaeological fact that there are more than 200 known sunken cities in the Mediterranean. Egyptian civilization, along with the Minoan and Mycenean in Crete and Greece are, in theory, remnants of this great, ancient culture. The civilization built huge earthquake-proof megalithic structures and had electricity and other conveniences common during the time of Atlantis. Like Atlantis and Rama, they had airships and other modes of transport, often electrical in nature. The mysterious cart tracks of Malta, which go over cliffs and under water, may well be part of some ancient Osirian tram-line, possibly taking quarried stone to cities that are now submerged.
Probably the best example of the high technology of the Osirians is the amazing platform found at Ba’albek, Lebanon. The main platform is composed of the largest hewn rocks in the world, the famous ashlars of Ba’albek. Some of the individual stones are 82 feet long and 15 feet thick and are estimated to weigh between 1,200 and 1,500 tons each!
5. UIGER CIVILIZATION OF THE GOBI DESERT
Many ancient cities are said to have existed at the time of Atlantis and Rama in the Uiger civilization of the Gobi Desert. Though the Gobi is now a parched land-licked desert, these cities were ocean ports. Edgar Cayce once said that elevators would be discovered in a lost city in the Gobi Desert, and while this has not happened yet, it is not out of the question.
Vimanas and other advanced devices are said to have been in use in the Uiger area, and the famous Russian explorer Nicholas Roerich reported seeing a flying disc over northern Tibet in the 1930s. Perhaps the craft was an ancient vimana coming from a still active city using Uiger technology that exists in Northern Tibet or the Gobi Desert.
Significantly, it is claimed that the Elders of Lemuria, known as the Thirteenth School, moved their headquarters prior to the cataclysm to the uninhabited plateau of Central Asia that we now call Tibet. Here they supposedly established a library and school known as The Great White Brotherhood.
For instance, the great Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu, born in 604 B.C., talked frequently of Ancient Masters and their profound wisdom. He wrote the famous book, Tao Te Ching, probably the most popular book ever written in Chinese. When he finally left China, near the close of his very long life, he journeyed to the west to the legendary land of Hsi Wang Mu. According to the ancient Chinese, this was the headquarters of the Ancient Ones. Could this have been The Great White Brotherhood and the Thirteenth School of Mu?
As in Mu and Atlantis, construction in South America was on megalithic scale with polygonal construction techniques designed to make the massive walls earthquake-proof. Earthquake-resistant walls were important all around the Ring-of-Fire, ancient Mu.
Homes and communal buildings were built out of megalithic blocks of stone. Because of the high regard the culture had for the well being of future generations and the value they placed upon the gradual, sustained growth of the community, structures were built to last for thousands of years. A house built of cement, wood and plaster-wall will last a hundred years or so, if kept up. Witness the megalithic construction of Egypt, Malta, Peru. These buildings are still standing today. Cuzco, the ancient capital of Peru, which was probably built before the Incas, is still inhabited today after thousands of years. Indeed, most of the buildings of downtown Cuzco today incorporate walls that are many hundreds of years old (whereas more recent buildings constructed by the Spanish are already crumbling).
Only a few hundred miles to the south of Cuzco lie the fantastic ruins of Puma Punku, high in the Altiplano of Bolivia. The ruins of Puma Punku, about one mile from the famous ruins of Tiahuanaco, are massive megalithic constructions that are tossed about like toy building blocks. What kind of cataclysmic upheaval could have done such a thing? Here is the kind of megalithic construction meant to last for thousands of years, yet, the 100-ton blocks have been torn asunder by mighty geological forces.
It would appear that the South American continent was suddenly and violently thrust upward during some kind of cataclysm, most likely a pole shift. A former sea-level canal can now be seen at 13,000 feet in the Andes Mountains. As possible evidence for this scenario, many ocean fossils can be found near Lake Titicaca. The lake is even inhabited by the only known fresh water sea horses.
7. THE MAYANS
Mayan pyramids are found from Central America to as far away as the Indonesian island of Java. The pyramid of Sukuh, on the slopes of Mount Lawu near Surakarta in central Java is an amazing temple with stone stelae and a step pyramid that would match any in the jungles of Central America. The pyramid is in fact virtually identical to the pyramids found at the ancient Mayan site at Uaxactun, near Tikal.
The ancient Mayans were brilliant astronomers and mathematicians whose early cities lived in agrarian harmony with earth. They built canals and hydroponic garden cities throughout the ancient Yucatan Peninsula. Some of the Mayan glyphs were allegedly radionic-type insect control devices that broadcast an etheric vibration of the targeted pest.
Edgar Cayce mentions the Mayas and their technology in one reading: As for a description of the manner of construction of the stone: we find it was a large cylindrical glass (as would be termed today); cut with facets in such manner that the capstone on top of it made for centralizing the power or force that concentrated between the end of the cylinder and the capstone itself. As indicated, the records as to ways of constructing same are in three places in the earth, as it stands today: in the sunken portion of Atlantis, or Poseidia, where a portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages of sea water, near what is known as Bimini, off the coast of Florida. And (secondly) in the temple records that were in Egypt, where the entity acted later in cooperation with others towards preserving the records that came from the land where these had been kept. Also (thirdly) in records that were carried to what is now Yucatan, in America, where these stones (which they know so little about) are now, during the last few months, being uncovered.
It is believed that an ancient Hall of Records resides somewhere in the Mayan region, probably beneath an existing pyramid complex, in an underground tunnel and chamber system. Some sources say that this repository of ancient knowledge is kept in quartz crystals that are of exceptional quality and capable of holding large amounts of information in the similar manner as a modern CD.
8. ANCIENT CHINA
Ancient China, known as Han China, is said to have come, like all civilizations, from the huge Pacific continent Mu. The ancient Chinese are known for their sky-chariots, their geomancy, and the jade manufacture that they shared with the Mayas. Indeed, the ancient histories of the Chinese and the Mayas seem indelibly linked.
Anthropologists makes a good case for a Taoist influence coming to Central America by showing Shang dynasty symbols and motifs (the yin-yang is the most famous, but there are many more) and then relating them to known Mayan art and sculpture. Jade was of particular importance to the Shang Chinese. So far, the source of Chinese jade has not been pinpointed. Much of it may have come from Central America. Even the source of Central American jade is a mystery; many ancient jade mines are believed to be still undiscovered. Anthropologists suggest that Chinese voyages to Mexico, between 500-300 B.C., may have been related to Taoist trade in magic mushrooms or drugs of longevity.
The ancient Chinese are often said to be the originators of every invention from toilet paper, earthquake detectors, paper money, canons, rocket technology, printing methods, and thousands of other clever and high-tech items. In 1959 archaeologists in China discovered belt buckles made out of aluminum thousands of years ago. Aluminum is generally processed from bauxite with electricity!
9. ANCIENT ETHIOPIA & ISRAEL
From such ancient texts as the Bible and the Ethiopian book Kebra Negast, we have tales of the high technology of ancient Ethiopia and Israel. The temple at Jerusalem is said to have been founded upon three gigantic ashlar blocks of stone similar to those at Ba’albek, Lebanon. Today, the revered Temple of Solomon and Muslim Dome of the Rock mosque exist on this site, whose foundations apparently reach back to the Osirian civilization.
Like much of the later Phoenician construction, the building at the Temple to hold the Ark of the Covenant and the temples in Ethiopia are the last of the megalithic stone constructions. The massive Temple Mount, built by King Solomon on the ruins of earlier megalithic temple, was made to house the ancient relic known as the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant is said to have been an electrical generator box which housed several sacred objects, including a solid gold statue from earlier cultures that is called the Holy of Holies. This box and gold statue were said to have been removed from the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid in Egypt by Moses during the period of the Exodus.
Many scholars believe that the Ark of the Covenant, as well as other ancient artifacts, were actually electrical devices, some of which were worshipped in temples as oracles. The Bible recounts how certain unauthorized persons would touch the Ark and be electrocuted.
10. THE AROI SUN KINGDOM OF THE PACIFIC
The last of my list of ancient civilizations is that of the virtually unknown ancient culture of the Aroi Sun Kingdom of the Pacific. While the so-called lost continent of Mu sank over 24,000 years ago in a pole shift, the Pacific was later repopulated by a racial mixture of all civilizations, coming from Rama, China, Africa and the Americas.
An advanced island nation, with larger areas of land than are currently in the Pacific, grew up around Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Ancient legends in Polynesia attribute this remarkable civilization to the Aroi Kingdom that existed many thousands of years before the European rediscovery of the Pacific. The Aroi allegedly built many of the megalithic pyramids, platforms, arches, roads and statues throughout the central Pacific.
When some of the more than 400 gravel hills on New Caledonia were excavated in the 1960s, cement columns of lime and shell matter were carbon dated by Yale and the New Caledonia Museum as having been made before 5120 B.C. and 10,950 B.C. These weird cement columns can be found in the southern part of New Caledonia and on the Isle of Pines.
According to the Easter Islanders, the statues of the islands walked or levitated in order to move in a clock-wise spiral around the island. On the island of Pohnpei, the Micronesians claim that the stones of the eleven-square-mile city were levitated into place.
The Polynesians of New Zealand, Easter Island, Hawaii and Tahiti all believe that their ancestors had the ability of flight and would travel through the air from island to island. Was this the Air Atlantis flight that stopped in Malta, Ba’albek, and Rama destined for the remote but popular convention center at Easter Island?
There are a number of sunken communities in the UK, many of them now sit under man-made reservoirs for example the small villages of Derwent and Ashopton were flooded when the Ladybower reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District was created in the 1940s1. Similarly, the villages of Nether Hambleton and Middle Hambleton are now submerged under Rutland Water (the largest reservoir in the UK).
Wales has a lion’s share of lost lands. For example Cardigan, Caernarvon and Conwy Bay all boast tales of submerged Kingdoms.
While some of these may be romanticised and embellished, stories such as the tale of Maes Gwyddno (Gwyddno’s Plain, also known as Lowland or in some cases Bottom Hundred) and others might just describe actual floodings. There is evidence of submerged forests in the area that the sunken kingdom is said to have existed. For example, remains of a forest are visible during low tide at Borth. It could very well be that these tales are indeed a folk memory of a land that was lost to floods.
The once-heavily populated Suffolk town of Dunwich, England, suffered dramatic flooding during the 13th and 14th century. At one time, Dunwich was a major sea-port but the flooding lead to parts of the town being lost to the waves and sadly, coastal erosion has carried on ever since2. Dunwich also shares a legend that accompanies many of the tales surrounding sunken, submerged villages and towns. It is said that during certain tides, the peals of church bells can be heard from beneath the waves3.
Moving north but staying on the east coast of the UK, Withernsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire has a memorial on its seafront, bearing the legend of the Sister Kirkes:
Legend tells of two sisters building separate churches after arguing over the style of a jointly funded church. One wanted a spire, the other a tower. These two buildings became known as the Sister Kirkes.
The Sea eventually claimed both of the churches. Eroding the church of St Mary the Virgin, Withernsea around 1444. St Peter’s church, Owthorne, between 1286 and 1324.
Stones from the churches were reused in the building of St Nicholas church, Withernsea and St Mary the Virgin, Rimswell.
Human remains found on the beach from St Peter’s were reinterred at Rimswell4.
It must be said that Withernsea and the whole of the Holderness region suffer a never-ending battle with coastal erosion.
In 1607, England and Wales suffered one of the most devastating floods in history. The Bristol Channel floods lead to over two thousand deaths, damaging farmland and livestock and the flood waters reached as far inland as Glastonbury, some fourteen miles from the coast. Controversy has cropped up in recent times with the speculation from some quarters that the flood was caused by a tsunami although the British Geological Survey does not agree with this theory saying that there is no geological evidence to suggest that an earthquake occured at that time5.
Going back to Wales: Llys Helig, a palace of the 6th century King, Helig ap Glannowg is said to lie two miles off the coast of Conwy Bay. In 1816, an Edward Pugh is said to have wrote of floating in a boat over the area and seeing ruined houses and a causeway pointing to Priestholme Island and Penmaenmawr on the mainland.
In 1864, an expedition to find the remains of the building was lead by a Charlton R. Hall of Liverpool and the Rev. Richard Parry of Llandudno. They apparently saw “[…]lines of seaweed growing on the tops of walls and returned convinced that they had seen the remains of ‘a grand hall of distinguishable trace’ […]”.
Later expeditions interpreted the underwater archaeology as a walled enclosure covering an approximate area of that of five and half acres6.
Over in Canada, a number of communities and islands were flooded during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway (the system of canals that allow ocean-going ships to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes). They are now referred to as ‘The Lost Villages’ and in some locations the remains of sidewalks and buildings can still be seen under the water. The town of Iroquois was relocated and while parts of Morrisburg were flooded, those in the affected parts of the town were transferred to higher ground.
The City that sank or rather the infamous Port Royal, Jamaica, is another casualty of the sea. In 1692 an earthquake hit the piratical town and thirty-three acres “of the storehouse and treasury of the West Indies”7 sank into the deep. After a severe storm, a hurricane and two more earthquakes in 1722, the final nail was driven in the town’s coffin. While the sea around Port Royal is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Caribbean, it is now an impoverished fishing village. The town that had once been called the ‘Wickedest City on Earth’ had had its comeuppance and returning once again to Wales, it brings to mind the tale that surrounds Lyn-y-Maes near Tregaron8.
Here, a small lake is said to cover the site of the original Tregaron whose inhabitants are said to have been wicked, their time was spent indulging in revelrie and orgies. After being warned countless times that the town would be destroyed by fire and flood if they did not mend their wicked ways, lightning struck causing a fire to break out. Shortly after this a devastating flood swept through and consumed the town. Those who did not burn were drowned.
10 Most intriguing mysteries of lost civilizations
Here are ten of the most intriguing pieces of the puzzle that is our past. They are shrouded in mystery and varying degrees of doubt, but all are nonetheless fascinating.
1. Egyptian Treasures in the Grand Canyon
The April 5, 1909 edition of the Arizona Gazette featured an article entitled “Explorations in Grand Canyon: Remarkable finds indicate ancient people migrated from Orient.” According to the article, the expedition was financed by the Smithsonian Institute and discovered artifacts that would, if verified, stand conventional history on its ear. Inside a cavern “hewn in solid rock by human hands” were found tablets bearing hieroglyphics, copper weapons, statues of Egyptian deities and mummies. Although highly intriguing, the truth of this story is in doubt simply because the site has never been re-found. The Smithsonian disavows all knowledge of the discovery, and several expeditions searching for the cavern have come up empty-handed. Was the article just a hoax? “While it cannot be discounted that the entire story is an elaborate newspaper hoax,” writes researcher/explorer David Hatcher Childress, “the fact that it was on the front page, named the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, and gave a highly detailed story that went on for several pages, lends a great deal to its credibility. It is hard to believe such a story could have come out of thin air.”
Ancient Egyptian Treasures In The Grand Canyon?
2. Age of the Pyramids and Sphinx
Most Egyptologists believe the Great Sphinx on the Giza plateau is about 4,500 years old. But that number is just that – a belief, a theory, not a fact. As Robert Bauval says in “The Age of the Sphinx,” “there was no inscriptions – not a single one – either carved on a wall or a stela or written on the throngs of papyri” that associates the Sphinx with this time period. So when was it built? John Anthony West challenged the accepted age of the monument when he noted the vertical weathering on its base, which could only have been caused by long exposure to water in the form of heavy rains. In the middle of the desert? Where did the water come from? It so happens that this area of the world experienced such rains – about 10,500 years ago! This would make the Sphinx more than twice its currently accepted age. Bauval and Graham Hancock have calculated that the Great Pyramid likewise dates back to about 10,500 B.C. – predating the Egyptian civilization. This raises the questions: Who built them and why?
The Age of the Sphinx
How Old Are the Pyramids?
The Mystery of the Sphinx
Redating the Sphinx
3. Nazca Lines
The famous Nazca lines can be found in a desert about 200 miles south of Lima, Peru. On a plain measuring approximately 37 miles long and one mile wide are etched lines and figures that have puzzled the scientific world since their discovery in the 1930s. The lines run perfectly straight, some parallel to one another, many intersecting, making the lines look from the air like ancient airport runways. This prompted Erich von Daniken in his book Chariots of the Gods to suggest (ludicrously, we think) that they actually were runways for extraterrestrial craft… as if they would need runways. More intriguing are the gigantic figures of 70-some animals carved into the ground – a monkey, a spider, a hummingbird among others. The puzzle is that these lines and figures are of such a scale that they can only be recognized from a high altitude. (They were rediscovered by accident in the 1930s by an overflying airplane.) So what is their significance? Some believe they have an astronomical purpose, while others think they served in religious ceremonies. A recent theory suggests the lines lead to sources of precious water. The truth is, no one really knows.
More information: The Lines of Peru
4. Location of Atlantis
There are as many theories as to the true location of Atlantis as there are SPAM in your e-mail box. We get the legend of Atlantis from Plato who wrote about the beautiful, technologically advanced continent-sized island back in 370 B.C., but his description of its location was limited and vague. Many, of course, conclude that Atlantis never really existed, but was merely a fable. Those who think it did exist have sought evidence or at least clues in almost every corner of the globe. Edgar Cayce’s famous prophecies said remnants of Atlantis would be found around Bermuda, and in 1969, geometric stone formations were found near Bimini that believers said confirmed Cayce’s prediction. Other proposed locations for Atlantis include Antarctica, Mexico, off the coast of England, possibly even off the coast of Cuba (see below). Writer Alan Alford makes the case that Atlantis was not an island at all, but an exploded planet. The controversy and theories will likely continue until someone uncovers a sign saying: “Atlantis, pop. 58,234.”
Atlantis: Where is the Lost Continent?
Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found
5. Mayan Calendar
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over the supposed prophecies of the Mayan calendar. More people fear it, perhaps, than feared the ominous predicted catastrophes of the year 2000. All the fretting is based on the finding that the Mayan “Long Count” calendar ends on a date that corresponds to our December 21, 2012. What does this mean? The end of the world through some global cataclysm or war? The beginning of a new era, a new Age for mankind? Such prophecies have a long tradition of not coming to pass. But the only way we’ll find out for sure is to wait and see. Just in case, however, in 2012 you might want to do your Christmas shopping early.
Introduction to the Mayan Calendar
Mayan Calendar Prophecy
6. Japan’s Underwater Ruins
Off the southern shore of Okinawa, Japan, under 20 to 100 feet of water lie enigmatic structures that may have been built by some ancient, lost civilization. Skeptics say the large, tiered formations are probably natural in origin. “Then, in late summer of the following year,” writes Frank Joseph in an article for Atlantis Rising, “another diver in Okinawa waters was shocked to see a massive arch or gateway of huge stone blocks beautifully fitted together in the manner of prehistoric masonry found among the Inca cities on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in the Andes Mountains of South America.” This seems to confirm that these are manmade ruins. The architecture includes what appear to be paved streets and crossroads, large altar-like formations, staircases leading to broad plazas and processional ways surmounted by pairs of towering features resembling pylons. If it is a sunken city, it is huge. It’s been suggested that it might be the lost civilization of Mu or Lemuria (see below).
Japan’s Underwater Ruins
7. Voyages to the Americas
We were all taught that Columbus discovered America; what they meant to teach us, however, was that Columbus began the official European invasion of the Americas. People had “discovered” the continent long before Columbus, of course. What are known as Native Americans arrived here many centuries before Columbus, and there is good evidence that explorers from other civilizations beat Columbus here, too. It is widely accepted that Leif Ericsson successfully sailed to North America in the year 1000. Far stranger, artifacts have been found suggesting that ancient cultures explored the continent. Greek and Roman coins and pottery have been found in the U.S. and Mexico; Egyptian statues of Osis and Isiris were found in Mexico, to say nothing of the Grand Canyon discovery, see above; ancient Hebrew and Asian artifacts have also been found. The truth is, we know very little about early, far-traveling cultures.
History Mystery: Ancients in America
8. Sunken City off Cuba
In May 2001, an exciting discovery was made by Advanced Digital Communications (ADC), a Canadian company that was mapping the ocean bottom of Cuba’s territorial waters. Sonar readings revealed something unexpected and quite amazing 2,200 feet down: stones laid out in a geometric pattern that looked very much like the ruins of a city. “What we have here is a mystery,” said Paul Weinzweig, of ADC. “Nature couldn’t have built anything so symmetrical. This isn’t natural, but we don’t know what it is.” A great sunken city? It must be Atlantis, was the immediate suggestion of many enthusiasts. National Geographic showed a great deal of interest in the site and was involved in subsequent investigations. In 2003, a minisub dove down to explore the structures. Paulina Zelitsky of ADC said they saw a structure that “looks like it could have been a large urban center. However, it would be totally irresponsible to say what it was before we have evidence.” Further explorations are forthcoming.
Sunken City Off Cuba
9. Mu or Lemuria
Nearly as famous as Atlantis is the legendary lost world of Mu, sometimes call Lemuria. According to tradition among many Pacific islands, Mu was an Eden-like tropical paradise located somewhere in the Pacific that sunk, along with all of its beautiful inhabitants, thousands of years ago. Like Atlantis, there is ongoing debate as to whether it really existed and, if so, where. Madame Elena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophy movement in the 1800s, believed it was in the Indian Ocean. The ancient residents of Mu have become a favorite of channelers who bring their enlightened messages to present times.
A Short History of Lemuria
10. Caribbean Underwater Pyramids
One of the most intriguing tales of the discovery of ruins of a lost civilization is the story of Dr. Ray Brown. In 1970, while diving near the Bari Islands in the Bahamas, Dr. Brown claimed to have come across a pyramid “shining like a mirror” that he estimated was 120 feet tall, although he could see only the top 90 feet. The pyramid had a colored capstone and was surrounded by the ruins of other buildings. Swimming into a chamber he found a crystal held by two metallic hands. Over the crystal hung a brass rod from the center of the ceiling, at the end of which was a red multifaceted gem of some kind. Brown said he took the crystal, which allegedly has strange, mystical powers.
Hollow Earth: Can there really be another civilization living below our very feet?
For so long, the theories, speculations and almost fanatical beliefs about another race of beaings living underground, have caught the attentions and imaginations of so many. A tantalizing idea, but no substantial evidence has ever been presented.
Legends say that an entry to the underground realms was located somewhere in the North, and legendary ancient tribes living on the planet centuries ago used the entries to have a good shelter under the Earth’s surface. Mystics believe that the entry to the legendary Hyperborea, Shambala and Plutonia is carefully concealed from outsiders somewhere close to the North Pole. Recently, a reliable edition reported that UFOs coming to this planet start not from space but burst out from huge holes under the surface in the North Pole.
It was during Plato’s epoch that people first surmised that life probably existed inside planet Earth too. Plato believed that the planet inside was full of tunnels and cavities. Researcher Edmond Halley studied the magnetic field of the Earth and noticed that it slightly varied which suggested that there could be several magnetic fields at once. The researcher supposed that another sphere with its individual magnetic field was inside of the planet. The idea of a hollow planet was very popular among science fiction writers for a long period. And even some researchers presented various estimations and experiments to prove that the planet could be actually hollow inside.
One should know that the idea of hollows inside Earth appared dates from great antiquity. Seventy five years ago, the map of the North showed that a third of its territory was still unexplored, and it means that God knows what ideas about the mysterious North could exist at that time.
Doctor of geological and mineralogical science, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Mark Sadikov is sure that in the North there are no holes that can be used as entries to underground areas. The territory of the North is a deep-sea zone of the Arctic Ocean with its ridges and deep basins between them.
Research officer from the geography of polar countries department at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Maria Gavrilo says she noticed no holes in the area of the North Pole when she was there. The expert adds that the North Pole is an ocean covered with ice, and this is an absolutely proven fact. Many attempts were made to find land there but all in vain. Now in the 21st century many new methods have been applied to carefully study the region.
Experts of the hollow Earth theory are certain that the planet has several magnetic fields. They also say that aurora polaris is gas that oozes out through the thin earth crust on the poles of the planet. What is more, followers of the idea emphasize that compasses get absolutely mad when approaching the poles. Many researchers also add that warm winds often blow from the north which proves that large hollows may exist there.
Academician Mark Sadikov states that there are actually several magnetic fields. Some magnetic fields even belong to old platforms. As for winds, the temperature may vary depending upon local weather conditions.
There are two magnetic fields, the South Pole and the North Pole, Maria Gavrilo says. Both poles may shift widely. The extensive studies of both poles have revealed that each of the two is not steady and may actively migrate. The expert adds that aurora polaris is a unique phenomenon that is produced by the glow of excited atoms in the upper layers of the atmosphere, then it gets concentrated in an oval zone some distance from the poles where we can observe it. Astronauts saw from outer space that the entire of the Earth is wrapped in glow like in a halo, but earth dwellers can see it just on the poles. Aurora polaris is very strong; it may have a great impact upon human psyche and cause radio frequency interference.
Researchers say that it is normal that a compass may go mad when close to the poles. Indeed, the Earth’s magnetic field is the tensest inside of the pole, and chaotic movements of a compass are an attempt to point there.
Majority of suppositions concerning the idea of a hollow planet are based upon conjectures not scientific data. That is why serious contemporary researchers would not comment upon such theories. The North has been studied in detail. Scientific expeditions start for the North every month. What is more, foreign tourists go for trips to the North on ice-breakers very often.
According to researchers, hollows that may actually exist under the surface are just karst caves. At the same time, adepts of the hollow planet theory insist that the Earth would have had bigger weight if it were not hollow. But Maria Gavrilo responds that adepts of the idea should mind that when making calculations as concerning the weight of the planet one need to know that mass inside of the planet is not motionless but mobile. If the fact is ignored researchers may get a wrong result.
Life inside Earth is impossible first of all because there is no enough space under the surface. Second, pressure and temperature speedily go up at certain depths. When a mine deeper than one kilometer was built in Africa it turned out that people could go down the mine and stay inside with refrigerating plants only as the temperature was too high there.
So, the theory of the hollow planet was very popular when science was not that advanced as it is now. Mysteries on the surface are not enough for people, and they are constantly looking for new ones inside the Earth. Deeper layers of the lithosphere are the absolute mystery to us, and nobody knows what is located even deeper. There may be lots of unexpected secrets that people dream to uncover. – Pravda.ru
Hollow Earth theory
The British astronomer Edmund Halley, of comet fame, proposed that the earth might consist of several concentric spheres placed inside one another in the manner of a Chinese box puzzle. The two inner shells had diameters comparable to Mars and Venus, while the solid inner core was as big as the planet Mercury. More startling was Halley’s proposal that each of these inner spheres might support life. They were supposed to be bathed in perpetual light created by a luminous atmosphere. When there was an unusually bright display of aurora borealis, Halley postulated that it might have been caused by glowing gas escaping from the earth’ s interior into our atmosphere.
Halley proposed his theory in the seventeenth century, when scientific knowledge of the structure of the earth was still primitive. As time went on, the improbability of a hollow earth became apparent to scientists and scholars, but the idea was taken up by writers of imaginative fiction. Certainly the best known was Jules Verne, who wrote Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1864. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a whole cycle of novels set in the hollow earth.
Verne, Burroughs, and a lot of other writers of science fiction were inspired by the theories of an early nineteenth-century American eccentric named John Cleves Symmes. Like Hailey, Symmes thought the earth was made up of five concentric spheres. But he added a new wrinkle. There was a huge opening, popularly called “Symmes Hole,” at each of the poles. The ocean flowed in and out of these openings. The interior of the earth was also supposed to be inhabited.
Symmes, an army captain who had served with distinction in the War of 182 1, was an enthusiastic evangelist for his theory. He traveled around the country trying to raise rwney to send an expedition to the north polar hole. He even petitioned Congress for money to finance the expedition, and the proposal garnered twenty-five votes. A rich doctor financed an 1824 expedition to the South Pole to find the Symmes Hole. The expedition was unsuccessful, but Symmes died with his idea intact, and a stone model of the hollow earth according to Symmes sits atop a memorial raised to him by his son at Hamilton, Ohio.
In 1906, William Reed published a book called Phantom of the Poles in which he stated, “I am able to prove my theory that the earth is not only hollow, but suitable in its interior to sustain human life with as little discomfort as on its exterior, and can be made accessible to mankind with one-fourth the outlay of money, time and life that it costs to build the subway in New York City. The number of people who can settle in this new world (if not already occupied) will be billions.”
Reed’s startling proposal received scant attention from a skeptical public. Somewhat more influential was Marshall B. Gardner, who wrote about Symmes’ theory a few years later. Gardner rejected the “absurd” Symmes notion of five concentric spheres, but he enthusiastically adopted the idea of openings at the poles. According to Gardner, the interior of the earth was lighted by a small sun about six hundred miles in diameter. Unfortunately for Gardner, he published his book in 1920; in 1926, Admiral Richard E. Byrd made his first flight over the North Pole, and in 1929 he performed the same feat at the South Pole. As history records, Admiral Byrd did not find any gaping holes. Since the holes were supposed to be over one thousand miles in diameter, they would have been pretty hard to overlook.
Gardner did not abandon his hollow earth ideas, but he did stop lecturing and writing about them. However, others who have kept the faith have insisted that Byrd actually did discover the big hole at the pole and actually flew a good way into the interior of the earth, and that for some obscure mean the government is “covering up” this fact. Some hollow earthers insist that on later expeditions Byrd actually penetrated some four thousand. miles into the interior of the hollow earth. Satellite photograph has presented hollow earthers with another problem.
None of the photographs of the earth taken from space show polar holes. But the hollow earthers are not about to be put down by such evidence. It’s all part of the cover-up, they say. The satellite photos are all retouched to hide the hole. Actually, sonic of the early photos of the earth from space did show what appeared to be a gigantic hole at one pole. The pictures, however, were composites made up of many smaller photos. The “hole” was simply an area that had not been photographed. Nonsense, insist the hollow earthers; these were the real photos that slipped through the web of censorship by accident. As with the Byrd expedition, these “polar hole photos” have become pillars of the hollow earth faith.
An odd champion of the hollow earth was Richard. S. Shaver, a Pennsylvania welder who claimed that by “racial memory” he had reclaimed all of man’s “forgotten” history His tales included accounts of evil creatures called Deros who lived in huge subterranean caverns that honeycombed the earth. There is also a vast body of occult speculation about a huge underground civilization known as Agartha. It is supposed to be the me of “hidden masters” whose powers range from the merely supernatural to the absolutely godlike.
More bizarre even than’ the theories of Symmes and Gardner was the one put forth by Cyrus Reed Teed, an herb doctor and alchemist from Utica, New York. Teed held that the scientists had gotten it all backward, and that the earth was hollow and we are living on the inside!
It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds at first, for many of Teed’s methods of accounting for observable phenomena in terms of the hollow earth were really quite ingenious. The sun was at the center of Teed’s hollow earth and it was half light and half dark. It was the rotation of the two-sided central sun thatt caused the illusion that the sun rises and sets. The moon, planets, and stars were not distant objects but merely reflections of light. The reason that we couldn’t see across to the other side of the earth was that the atmosphere was too dense. Some of Teed’s other explanations, however, are utterly incomprehensible.
Scott Morris, the Games editor of Omni magazine, calls Teeds idea “one of the most absurd theories ever proposed.” But he then points out that “what’s most in is that a little mathematical fiddling turns this crazy theory into a proposition that is virtually impossible to refute. The trick is done by inversion, a purely geometric transformation that lets the mathematician turn shapes inside-out. When a sphere is inverted every outside is mapped to a corresponding inside, and vice versa.
Teed did not arrive at his theories by mathematics but, by mystical inspiration. He also decided that he was the new Messiah and adopted the name Koresh-Hebrew for Cyrus. He called his new religion Koreshanity, and the hollow earth was a basic article of faith.’ He wrote, “to know of the earth’s concavity is to know God. While to believe in the ewth’s convexity is to deny Him and all His works. All that is opposed to Koreshianity is antichrist.”
Teed picked up several hundred followers, partly because he was a spellbinding orator and partly because his hollow earth had a certain appeal. It made the universe smaller, more manageable, more comfortable. The earth was no longer an insignificant bit of rock orbiting an obscure star; it was the whole universe!
Koresh moved his followers to a “New Jerusalem” in Florida, and before his death in 1908 he said that he would rise from the dead. Followers kept watch over the body for two days, but In the Florida heat it quickly showed signs of decay, and health officials ordered that the messiah of the hollow earth be burried. The cult lingered on and continued to make a few converts.
Perhaps the most bizarre influence that Teed’s ideas had was in Nazi Germany. Some of Teed’s publications fell into the hands of Peter Bender a German aviator who had boen’badly wounded. Bender was inverted, and though he was to die in a Nazi concentration camp, the hollow earth ideas that he proclaimed sparked interest in the anti-intellectual climate of Nazi Germany.
In April 1942, the Nazis sent an expedition under Dr. Heinz Fischer, an expert on infrared rays, to the island of Ruegen in the Baltic. One of the purposes of the expedition was to get a picture of the British fleet by turning their cameras upward and shooting across the center of the hollow earth! Astronomer Gerald S. Kuiper observed. “High officials in the German Admiralty and Air Force thought this would be useful for locating the whereabouts of the British fleet because the concave curvature of the earth would facilitate long-distance observation by means of infrared rays which are less curved than visible rays.”