It’s a familiar trope: A priest holds a crucifix in front of a possessed person, a vampire recoils at the sight of garlic, but can objects that are considered good truly protect us from evil entities? People have used inanimate objects as protection since antiquity. Amulets and talismans are widely known, but what about witch bottles and smoked cats? I discuss these two horrific archaeological discoveries in my upcoming book, Evil Archaeology, available April 1st. Below is an excerpt from the book on witch bottles and smoked cats, just in time for Halloween.
Witch Bottles and Smoked Cats
One horrific find that archaeologist uncover more often than you might expect is the witch bottle. The practice of making witch bottles and burying them as a charm to ward off evil originated in England in the late Middle Ages but continued well into the twentieth century both in England and the United States (Manning, 2014). There were many different reasons people used witch bottles, but the one most often cited is bewitchment. These bottles were not like the ones used to trap jinn; that would not be horrific. Instead, these bottles contained urine and other bodily fluids mixed with insects, pins, and sharp objects that were meant to magically injure the witch and make it too painful for her to urinate. It was an oddly specific way to punish a witch.
In addition to punishing the witch, by burying a witch bottle at you home, you could prevent an evil witch attack or curse. In 2014, archaeologist unearthed a beautifully preserved glass witch bottle in Newark-on-Trent in the United Kingdom. The six-inch-tall green bottle was buried at a building complex known as the Old Magnus Buildings to protect the area from evil spirits and witches. The bottle dated to around 1680 CE. Historical evidence suggests most witch bottles used a similar recipe, but in England, some witch bottles were a little different. Some of the materials found in English witch bottles include leather hearts pierced with needles, human hair, fingernail clippings, sulfur, tallow, bone, pages from books, and written spells. Sometimes, English witch bottles are found with unidentified liquids that have remained unidentified because they have not undergone a chemical analysis. Witch bottles can be found in old homes and buildings behind walls, around chimneys, and under floorboards. If you have a very old home, you could have one buried somewhere, especially if you live in New England. Lucky you!
Possibly for similar reasons, cats described as “smoked” have been found buried around homes. The gruesome and sad practice is thought to be even older than burying witch bottles. The amount of these smoked cats found in standing stone structures in the British Isles and north-central Europe “suggest[s] a possible Anglo-Saxon or Norse origin for the custom” (ibid.). In Germany, archaeologists have recorded almost one hundred of these poor kitties. There were even seventeen found in Australia, with many more expected worldwide.
Although there was skepticism about whether these cats were intentionally mummified and entombed in buildings, archaeologists more often find that the cats in these burials are pinned or tied in various poses, along with rodents or birds positioned as if they were in the “midst of an attack or chase, or positioned with their prey in their mouths” (Sheehan, 1990). There is some disagreement as to whether these cats were buried alive, but it seems more likely that they were buried after death.
Unlike witch bottles, research into the ritual concealment of cats in buildings is often overlooked, even though there have been identified nearly forty cases of dried cats in US buildings in the Mid-Atlantic region. Workers renovating the Ohio Statehouse found a shoebox dating to the nineteenth century that contained the skeletal remains of a cat behind the plaster wall in the cupola at the top of the rotunda. The difficulty reaching the location indicates it was clearly a deliberate act (Manning, 2014). One theory to explain the rationale behind this practice is that it was a way to ward off vermin, as a sort of sympathetic magic. This theory makes some sense considering the fact that numerous cats were posed in aggressive postures, often with prey. However, some archaeologists argue this may have been a ritual sacrifice to the building in exchange for structural safety.
To read more on the more on the history of witches, evil, and gruesome archaeological discoveries, be sure to check out Evil Archaeology. It is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and will be available everywhere on April 1st.
Manning, M. Chris. “The Material Culture of Ritual Concealments in the United States.” Historical Archaeology 48, no. 3 (2014): 52–83. doi:10.1007/bf03376937.
Sheehan, John. “A Seventeenth Century Dried Cat from Ennis Friary.” North Munster Antiquarian Journal 32 (1990): 64–69
Happy Saturday, everyone!
I’ve been a little quiet lately, so I just wanted to give a quick update. In addition to writing, researching, and finishing up a few other big projects that I will unveil before the year is up, I have had some strange health issues.
After numerous and visits to some of the best specialists in the world (to which I am grateful to have access), I have found that I have a number of severe food allergies and intolerances, as well as multiple autoimmune disorders. Basically, my immune system is in hyperdrive, so much so that it can attack itself. I have a treatment plan to put me into remission, part of which requires me to be drastically limited in what I can eat. I can no longer have wheat, oats, corn, gluten, soy, nuts, eggs, legumes, dairy, fish, shellfish, nightshades, fungi, yeast, sesame, cassava, a variety of specific proteins, and bananas. Yes. Bananas. Basically, I try to focus on what I can eat since that list is easier to swallow (pun intended). I will spare you all of the technical aspects of all of this but let me just note one thing:
Many people argue over the safety of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). I have always been a "health nut" and have generally tried to avoid GMOs. However, I was not well-versed on the science behind them and not quite positive that they were particularly unsafe. I was on the fence about the science since throughout history man has genetically modified food through practices like plant grafting. I really didn’t give it a lot of thought, otherwise and of course growing up, things like GMO or organic were not in my family's lexicon. As a child of single mother in the 80s/90s, I grew up eating my fair share of Hot Pockets, Lunchables, and soda. That's probably why I became so health conscious as an adult.
In my freshman year in college, I had a biology class called Ecology, Environment, and Evolution. The professor was a real polemicist when it came to the topic of GMOs. He would pick fights with me for fun because he somehow assumed I was anti-GMO (probably because I was vegan). He also liked to put me down for majoring in what he loved to remind me was a “soft science,” like anthropology, as opposed to a hard science like biology. He used to drone on and on about how safe GMOs were and how anyone worried about them were “complete morons.”
Fast forward nearly 15 years, and here I am, a soft scientist, sitting in the Cleveland Clinic as multiple specialist “hard scientists” are explaining to me that they believe my condition and its growing prevalence in Western society is due to GMOs. So there you have it. Just something to consider.
Rest assured that while my diet may be limited, my passion and energy for uncovering the truth behind ancient mysteries is not. Nothing changes on that front. Well, except for maybe white chocolate while writing. One of my favorite indulgences is white chocolate, especially if I am up late researching or writing. So, if anyone knows of a white chocolate out there that is vegan, GMO, and soy-free, with nothing artificial, please let me know!
I am very excited to learn about this study, as it directly pertains to new research I am working on with regards to my interplanetary search for lost civilizations. The new research program I am currently developing, known as The Final Frontier, will attempt to study ancient exoarchaeological sites to find evidence of ancient civilization. If you are interested in learning more about The Final Frontier, please sign up to receive updates.
With that said, this new study shows out of Brown university shows evidence that ancient Mars may have had enough chemical energy for microbes to thrive underground and likely had a global subsurface habitable zone several kilometers in thickness. According to researchers, the subsurface of ancient Mars would have had enough hydrogen production via radiolysis to power a global subsurface biosphere, making it possible for habitable zones that would have been similar to those on Earth.
While there has been evidence of past water activity on Mars, scientists have not been clear on how long water may have flowed on Mars. So, to determine how long water may have flowed on Mars, researchers used a gamma ray spectrometer from NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft to map large quantities of the radioactive elements thorium and potassium in the Martian crust. This find led them to believe that uranium was also there. Thus, the decay of those three elements provides the radiation that drives the radiolytic breakdown of water. Since these elements decay at constant rates, the researchers could use the modern abundances to calculate how long water flowed, sort of like radio carbon dating. The evidence suggested that there would have been plenty of groundwater in these habitable zones which would have persisted for hundreds of millions of years.
While the researchers are careful to point out that their findings do not necessarily mean that life existed on ancient Mars, but rather that if life did indeed get started, then the composition of the Martian subsurface could have supported life for hundreds of millions of years. The work also has implications for future Mars exploration, suggesting that areas where the ancient subsurface is exposed might be good places to look for evidence of past life, which is precisely why they are researching this.
According to Jack Mustard, a professor in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and coauthor of the study, the mission of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is to look for the signs of past life. The top two sites NASA is considering: Northeast Syrtis Major and Midway.
What do you think they'll find? Perhaps more importantly, do you think they will tell us the whole story?
Brown University. (2018, September 24). Ancient Mars had right conditions for underground life, new research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 24, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180924102040.htm
Hi everyone! I had the honor of writing the foreword to this amazing book by my friend and colleague, Barbara Jean Lindsey, about the Egyptian Goddess, Sekhmet.
Today, people from all walks of life are inspired by Sekhmet. Teachers, health practitioners, stay-at-home parents, writers, musicians, artists; her felinus spirit resonates with an astonishingly broad range of contemporary people. How has this complicated Egyptian goddess touched so many lives today? In this book, author Barbara Jean Lindsey brings together an impressive cross-section of people whose lives have been touched by the spirit of Sekhmet. These first-hand experiences combine with spiritually inspired art to bring a new appreciation for what could only be described as an “Egyptian Goddess Revolution.”
Now available on Amazon!
It is with great shock, sadness, and anger, that I must report one of the single greatest historical losses the world has ever seen. Sunday, September 2nd, 2018, at around 7:30 p.m., local time, the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil went up in flames, taking with it at least 20 million artifacts spanning 11,000 years of not only Brazilian history, but also Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Paleontological, Geological, Biological… Everything!
Before I go on to explain, please keep in mind that this tragedy is much more massive in terms of loss of artifacts than even the burning of the Library of Alexandria. Ancient accounts estimate the number of scrolls lost in the burning of the Library of Alexandria is around 40,000. Modern scholars, such as Luciano Canfora (1990), professor at the University of Bari (Italy), have argued that the number may be much smaller, considering that some individual literary works were comprised of multiple scrolls. One of the highest estimates of the losses at Alexandria is from Aulus Gellius, in approximately 169 CE, who claimed that 700,000 scrolls were burned during the sack of Alexandria (Canfora, 1990); still nowhere close to 20 million! So what happened? How and why did this literal palace of cultural treasure burn? Brace yourself for the details, which are so shocking, they leave us wondering if this was a case of criminal negligence or criminal intent.
First, the background. The museum, located in Rio de Janeiro, is celebrating its 200th year. Founded in 1818 by King Dom João VI, it is also a research center that was incorporated into the University of Brazil (now UFRJ) in 1946. According to the National Museum of Brazil’s website, the collection had more than 20 million items covering many areas of science such as Archaeology, Ethnology, Geology, Paleontology, Zoology, and Biological Anthropology.
The fire was eventually controlled late in the morning of the following Monday, but small flares continued to burn parts of the institution's facility, causing the ashes of burned documents to fall in several neighborhoods of the city. According to the press office of the museum and the fire department, there were no injuries. Researchers and officials from the National Museum met with fire officials to try to assist in trying to save the museum. The goal was to prevent the fire from reaching a part of the museum containing flammable chemicals used in the preservation of rare animal specimens.
The causes of the tragedy are still unknown. The Brazilian Federal Police will investigate, but Minister of Culture, Sérgio Sá Leitão, theorized that the fire could have been the result of a short circuit. The Civil Police has opened an investigation and will pass on the case to the Federal Police's Office of Repression of Environmental Crimes and Historical Patrimony, which will determine if the fire was criminal or not.
Much of the building's structure was made of wood, and the collection had a lot of flammable material, which made the fire spread quickly. However, other factors were at play here. For example, only four guards were on site. Also, the museum's smoke detectors were not working. Firefighters arrived at the site soon after the fire started, but according to them, the two fire hydrants near the National Museum did not have enough pressure, even though according to the University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) rector, Roberto Lehrer, there was a reserve of water in the museum. The fire commander-in-chief, Colonel Roberto Robadey Costa Junior, said that the lack of water delayed their ability to fight the fire by a half hour, leaving firefighters with little choice but to collect water from a nearby pond in a futile effort to extinguish the blaze. Today’s dawn rainfall helped to extinguish further outbreaks.
Officials say that 90% of the entire collection is gone. Treasures from the collection of the National Museum include the skull of Luzia, the oldest human fossil found in the Americas; the largest Egyptian collection in Latin America, containing mummies and rare Egyptian objects purchased by Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II; also Incan artifacts and Andean mummies; a large collection of Greco-Roman art and artifacts of Empress Teresa Cristina; the collections of Paleontology that include the 80 million year old fossil of the dinosaur, Maxakalisaurus topai. The 5-ton meteorite, Bendegó, the largest ever found in Brazil, is the only item left untouched after the fire. Below are the pictures of the museum after the fire.
There are countless important artifacts and documents lost forever. While it is hard to imagine entire museum exhibits burning to the ground, it is perhaps harder to imagine what other items could have been lost. What about the artifacts stored away from public viewing? The museum, as an independent part of the university, was a research institution. Countless artifacts that were not in the public view are also gone. Were they burned too? Or was this the most sophisticated art heist of all time? The details are still unfolding.
Clearly, I am not the only one with major questions here. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets once the word got out. They blamed the government and Brazilian President, Michel Temer, for not investing enough to help secure the museum in the years leading up to the fire. Instead, the government chose to take millions of taxpayer dollars to pay for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and 2014 World Cup. This left public institutions, like the museum, broke. At one point, the museum could no longer pay its staff.
What really happened to this museum? I will stay on this story and investigate. I will be sure to bring you updates on everything I find out.
Canfora, L. (1991). The vanished library: A wonder of the ancient world. London: Vintage.
Museu Nacional. (n.d.). Retrieved September 4, 2018, from http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/
In a paper just published in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, entitled, “The Strongest Magnetic Fields on the Coolest Brown Dwarfs,” by Kao et al., the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has made the first radio-telescope detection of a planetary-mass object beyond our solar system.
Its colossal magnetic power has astronomers calling it a “rogue” object, that is mysteriously traveling through space unaccompanied by any parent star. The phantom object is being called a “failed star,” as it is something between a planet and a brown dwarf. Scientists discovered that the object was part of a very young group of stars, which means that it could be a free-floating planet. They argued that it was not a brown dwarf because it was not big enough. Brown dwarfs are too big to be classified as planets, yet not big enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores, which is the process that powers stars. The object is 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter, but with a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's, and is 20 light-years from Earth. The strange object has a surface temperature of about 825 degrees Celsius, or more than 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists have named the elusive rogue body, SIMP J01365663+0933473.
So what does this mean? Could this be Nibiru, as some have suggested? Subsequent observations have shown that there is evidence of a “variable structure in the frequency-dependent time series” of their targets on timescales “shorter than a rotation period, suggesting a higher degree of variability in the current systems near the surfaces of brown dwarfs” (Kao et al., 2018). The scientists conclude that the age, mass, and temperature of the mysterious rogue planet-like object cannot account for the strong magnetic fields produced by their targets. More research is clearly needed, thus, it remains a mystery. I will post updates as they are received.
Do I think this is Nibiru? I think it is an interesting discovery, for sure. It really makes it clear how little we know about the nature of the cosmos. That's the real story here, in my opinion. Everyday, a tiny bit of new information seeps through the filter of academia, challenging us to question the accepted narrative, sometimes, even calling for us to rewrite text books.
As to whether this strange celestial body is "the one" that may bring about a cataclysm or otherwise, I tend to doubt it based on my belief that if and when they do spot something to worry about, we the people would be the last to know, if ever at all.
Still, it is important to watch these developments closely because disclosure is a process, not a result.
Kao, M. M., Hallinan, G., Pineda, J. S., Stevenson, D., & Burgasser, A. (2018). The Strongest Magnetic Fields on the Coolest Brown Dwarfs. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 237(2), 25. doi:10.3847/1538-4365/aac2d5
Archaeologists believe they have found evidence of ancient cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. At the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Washington, D.C., archaeologists discussed how ancient stone money transactions on the island of Yap, in the western Pacific Ocean, may have been the precursor to Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Researchers drew astonishing parallels between the carved limestone disks of the Yap people and modern cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But how did this ancient stone money system work like cryptocurrency?
Yap islanders pioneered a public oral system for securely tracking and exchanging their currency, the giant limestone coins, called rai. Archaeologists point out that a similar process happens with blockchain through the storing of digital histories. There are many other similarities, though, including the mining, storage, peer-to-peer negotiation, and auditability of both currencies. Once again, history has shown that the ancients were wiser than people often realize.
What are these ancient coins, and how were they used?
How long the Yap people have used stone currency remains a mystery, but flat rocks have been found at the site dating back over 2000 years. What archaeologists do know, is that centuries ago, Yapese stone carvers started traveling to the Palauan archipelago to carve limestone into circular rai currency. The stone disks had a hole cut into the center, so men could skewer them with wooden poles for transport on their rafts. Back at the island, the miners would present the huge coins to the villagers at a public gathering where they would describe each coin’s manufacturing history and attributes of the stones to the community so that everyone knew a rai’s worth. After public inspection, a coin was assigned a value based on its attributes like size, shape, quality, and even the risks taken on the journey to acquire it. Once the rai’s worth was determined, the village chief would display the coin at communal spots. Researchers argue that similarly, Bitcoin miners solve complex mathematical problems in order to release units of the cryptocurrency to the community. Then, blockchain technology verifies the transaction, making it visible to the network.
The similarities do not end there. Through the display of rai in public places in the village, the Yap people could see and agree on the value of the currency, like how Bitcoin participants can check the value of their currency through a viewable digital ledger. Further, for the Yap people to have mined for limestone, they had to work out agreements with nearby islanders. Likewise, miners of Bitcoin receive a digital request to mine for coins. After a rai coin was verified and publicly displayed, it could be exchanged for goods and services, just like Bitcoins. Also, like Bitcoin, the transaction history for each rai was publicly visible to yap blockchain members.
New research is emerging every day to suggest that ancient stone money, like the rai, is only one of many examples of how ancient civilizations created a socially networked economic system based on community and transparency. Clearly, we still have a lot to learn from our ancient history. Exciting new technologies like cryptocurrencies and blockchains are yet another example of how ancient wisdom may hold the key to humanity’s future. As Machiavelli said, "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times."
Time to rewrite the history books again! In Jordan, at a site called Shubayqa 1, archaeologists from the University of Copenhagen, University College London and University of Cambridge, have found traces of what may be the oldest bread in the world. In fact, the bread residues found are older than agriculture. In a discovery that could rewrite human history, archaeologists found 24 charred remains of flat loaves of bread dating to as far back as 14,400 years! Discoveries of the Epipaleolithic Natufian culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, like flint sickle blades and ground stone tools, have led researchers to believe they may exploited plants in a number of ways. This new discovery, however, means that man made bread four thousand years earlier than the oldest known remains of agriculture.
The research, published in the scientific journalism Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the pieces of bread were baked from early ancestors of cereals that were later domesticated. Analysis of the remains found that wild grains were ground into flour, after which dough was made. The result was a type of bread that was also found at other Neolithic and Roman sites in Europe and Turkey. The archaeologists are curious here whether the use of the wild cereals has had an influence on the later cultivation of crops, but whether this actually was the case, has yet to appear from follow-up research.
Did bread contribute to the development of agriculture?
The fact that the bread was baked before farming took place indicates that the bread had a special status. Making bread is in fact a laborious process, grain has to be harvested, the grains have to be peeled and ground, the dough has to be kneaded and then the bread has to be baked. Perhaps the desire to make more of this special food has contributed to the development of agriculture.
In the follow-up studies into the development of agriculture, research will continue to focus on the Natufian culture. The Natufian culture lived between about 12,000 BC. and 9,000 BCE, in the area of what is now Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and parts of Syria. It is known as a culture that played an important role in the transition from nomadic cultures to cultures with a permanent residence. For example, Natufian culture was a hunter-gatherer culture, but they did have permanent settlements. The place in which the bread was found is such a permanent settlement.
I am back from a writing hiatus, just in time for some of the weirdest archaeological news yet this year. A few weeks ago, archaeologists in Alexandria, Egypt excavated a 2,000-year-old, black granite sarcophagus at a construction site of an apartment complex. The tomb was located about five meters below the surface, along with an alabaster head (probably of the owner of the sarcophagus).
The news spread all over. People were understandably excited to find out who or what was in that sarcophagus. Some even feared that they would unleash a curse. At the moment of truth, there was a bit of disappointment. Upon opening, the archaeologists were made nauseous from the putrid stench emanating from the sarcophagus. Inside, three skeletons sloshed around in a vile stew of reddish brown sewage water. When I first heard about this, I wondered if it may have been an embalming gone wrong, leaving the bodies to essentially cook in a vat of unknown chemicals. However, the archaeologists on site reported that there was a small crack in the sarcophagus that had allowed sewage water to seep in over the years, leading to what could be described as the devil’s privy.
Yet, the horror and disappointment didn’t stop there because the archaeologist did indeed release a curse; the curse of stupid. In the spirit of the, “The Tide Pod Challenge,” people are now asking to, “drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus.” In a Change.org petition, signers are calling on Egyptian authorities to allow people to drink the “mummy juice.” As of this afternoon, the petition had over 22,000 signatures and was rapidly growing towards their goal of 25,000 signatures. Some reasons people have stated for signing the petition include, “This is the true next stage in the evolution of mankind, the world governments dare think they can take this nectar of life for themselves, Give. Us. The. Juice,” and, “Let us drink from the cursed waters of Set.”
Personally, I think that these people are way off. Clearly the only way to truly get the magic mummy juice power is to include the actual mummies in the mix to make a supercharged sarcophagus smoothie. Since we can't do that, here is a recipe for Dr. Heather Lynn’s Sarcophagus Smoothie. I guarantee it is 100% more delicious and nutritious than anything you will find floating in a sewage-filled sarcophagus.
All ingredients are what would have been eaten in ancient Egypt. The smoothie gets its red color from pomegranates. Pomegranates have been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs and painted on the walls as a symbol of prosperity. Greek yogurt is used as a nod to the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Dr. Heather Lynn’s Sarcophagus Smoothie
1 cup plain yogurt Greek yogurt
4 figs (fresh, sliced in half)
1 1/2 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
4 teaspoons honey
2 Tbs. raw carob powder (Cacao or cocoa powder is a good substitute; however, carob is more authentically Egyptian)
Combine ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve cold.
As you may have already heard, Art Bell, long-time paranormal radio show host, has died at at the age of 72, at his home in Pahrump, Nevada on Friday.
Art made a big impact on me as a kid. He and his many diverse guests spurred my imagination like nothing else. He opened my mind to the possibility that there are alternative explanations out there and taught me that the world is far from the mundane façade we encounter every day. Although I traveled a more traditional academic path, it was his show that kept me from becoming another guardian of the "Ivory Tower." I, like many listeners, saw his show as an escape; a place to virtually commune with other open-minded seekers during a time before the internet was firmly entrenched in our culture.
While many of his shows challenged us to ask if we were alone in this universe, I think Art's greatest achievement was creating a community, reassuring his audience that they were not alone in their everyday lives.
Now, with our open minds, we have the power to reach out to the next generation of curious seekers in ways some of us could have never imagined. I am honored to have come full circle in my life; from being a listener, to a Coast to Coast guest, and “alternative” researcher. It was a bittersweet day to learn that Art passed on the day my own show, Digging Deeper, was set to launch.
I don’t believe Art would want us to dwell in the negative. Instead, I picture him under a starry night sky rocking out to Blue Oyster Cult song, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” (one of the songs he often played in his bumper music). Imagine the look The Reaper must have had when Art asked him; “Wanna take a ride?”
Thank you, Art Bell.
From Heather, East of the Rockies.
So, I wanted to share a little Easter history with everyone, but I wanted to do something a little different than just focus on the pagan origins of the holiday itself. We often focus on the origin of the name of the holiday, etc. I thought instead, it would be interesting to look at the common tradition of the Easter Basket. There have been many cultural adaptations and interpretations of this custom, but all somewhat related.
What are the origins of giving baskets of fake grass, eggs and candy? Why a basket?
It was an ancient pagan custom that in the spring, people would offer baskets of seedlings to the fertility goddess Eostre (or Oestre) hoping to increase the chances of a good harvest. Also, the goddess Eostre was often depicted carrying eggs in a basket, signifying fertility and new life.
The basket was used to symbolize a bird’s nest so people would decorate it to resemble one even more by adding a bed of grass to the bottom. Then, eggs would be added to the nested basket to look more realistic.
These ideas, among others, were adopted by the early Catholic Church. For instance, it was also traditional for people to fast before the Spring Equinox. By doing this, they hoped to redirect their energy into the seedlings so that the harvest would be more successful. This was an idea that inspired Lent. After a long fast during Lent, Easter offered a welcome feast to celebrate its passing. This desire to celebrate by feasting on previously abstained goodies led to the basket tradition.
The Christian adaptation of the Easter Basket revolved around the custom of Blessing the Family Baskets. This is when every family would bring a basket of food that they had commonly abstained from during Lent, to Mass on Easter Sunday. It would then be blessed for an Easter feast. In the basket would be items such as red wine, salted meats like ham, dairy, eggs, and eventually candy. This tradition is still observed in more Orthodox households. It is sometimes called the Pascha or Paschal Basket.
The more commercialized Easter baskets of today have ditched the religiously symbolic foods in favor of just eggs and/or candy, as the world has become more secularized (and sugar loving!). Still, many families will spend today feasting and observing the joy and new life of the spring season, provided to the world by the glory and miracle of the risen son/sun.
Have you ever wondered why we use the heart shape as a symbol of love? Anyone who has ever seen a real heart can tell you that this doesn't really look like this ♥.
So what is the history behind this iconic Valentine's Day symbol?
It all started in the ancient Greek city of Cyrene which is now part of modern-day Libya.
Cyrene was a beautiful and wealthy city; whose prosperity came from the cultivation of the medicinal herb silphium. The seeds of this plant had the shape of what we know as a heart, like, but not related to, that of the lamprocapnos spectabilis plant depicted below. Lamprocapnos spectabilis is not extinct, and can be seen in gardens today.
Below are dried silphium perfoliatum seeds, photographed by K.R. Robertson, Illinois Natural History Survey.
The plant had many uses, the most popular of which was as one of the earliest forms of birth control and abortion induction. It was one of the first known "morning after pills," referred to by the Roman poet Catullus as the cure for "the madness of love."
The popularity of and demand for the silphium made Cyrene wealthy. It was so important to their local economy, that they began printing it on their money. Archaeologists have found silver coins from the 6th century B.C.E. like these, which depict the heart-shaped seed:
There are also various depictions of happy Greek women holding what appears to be little hearts, but they were really the silphium seeds that allowed them to control their own fertility. With the export of silphium, the “free love” movement spread to other cultures who would later associate the heart symbol with sex and romantic love. The plant, which is related to fennel, became extinct due to over cultivation.
Don’t you just ♥ history?
For more on the origin of Valentine’s Day, check out this post.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
I hope everyone is having a good spring so far! I've not been very active on online lately because I have been busy working with a local historical society and museum. Sadly, they have found themselves deep in debt and on the verge of closing, so I'm doing what I can to help them stay open and protect their collection. I also have a dig scheduled for this July, so my summer looks to be pretty packed with some "mainstream" day job stuff. Rest assured, I'm still here researching behind the scenes and responding to emails when I can. If you need to reach me, email is best:
I'll be speaking with Solaris Blueraven LIVE tonight at 12 Midnight EST/09:00 P.M. PST on Hyperspace at KCOR Digital Radio Network. Be sure to tune in! We'll be talking about a range of topics from the dark history beneath Pizzagate, to the latest string of NASA annoucements. Can't wait to spend my Friday night with you! :)
NASA announces exoplanets, 3 of which are in the “Goldilocks zone,” the region around a star that has just the right conditions to for extraterrestrial life.
“If one of these planets hosts life and the adjacent one doesn't, why not?” asks Sarah Ballard, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.
Seven Earth-sized worlds have been located just 12 parsecs (39 light years) from Earth. According to NASA, astronomers have found other seven-planet systems before, but this is the first to have so many potentially habitable Earth-sized worlds. All of them orbit at the right distance to possibly have liquid water somewhere on their surfaces.
“This is a Rosetta stone with seven different languages — seven different planets that can provide us with completely different perspectives on planet formation,” adds team member Julien de Wit, a data scientist at MIT.
You can read more in the journal Nature.
NASA has put out a public call for help in locating "mysterious and as-yet undiscovered Planet 9," which astronomers think may be "the most distant planet in our solar system." The new website, Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, lets people search footage captured by the agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission a few years ago. The footage shows objects gradually moving across the sky. "There are too many images for us to search through by ourselves," NASA said. They have even offered to share credit for the discovery.
Astronomers believe that the planet exists because of strange orbits of other distant objects that spin beyond Neptune. If Planet 9, also known as Planet X, is there and is as bright as some predictions, they believe it could show up in the WISE movies taken in 2010 and 2011. Pluto used to be the ninth planet before its demotion to dwarf planet status 10 years ago. This is why they are looking for what is now referred to as "Planet 9."
"There are just over four light-years between Neptune and Proxima Centauri, the nearest star, and much of this vast territory is unexplored," said lead researcher Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Planet 9 could have a mass about 10 times that of Earth and an orbit about 20 times farther from the sun, on average, than Neptune, NASA said. It may take between 10,000 and 20,000 Earth years to make one full orbit around the sun, NASA suspects.
So how about it? Are you in? Would you want to be credited by NASA as "finding" Planet X? Is this a legitimate plea for help from a new populous focused NASA, a PR stunt, conditioning, or a psyop?
As most of you know, there are a lot of wild things going on in the world right now. Years ago, when I started my quest for truth about ancient mysteries, I was in a very different mindset. My fascination with these topics started when I was young but in a way so seemed the rest of the world. It was a simpler time; a time when Time Life’s Mysteries of the Unknown series could still beguile and provoke the curious of all ages. Stemming from the fascination of my youth, I’ve spent my studies trying to locate any credible or new information about these so-called mysteries of the unknown. Sadly, while trying to find El Dorado, uncover the secrets of Stonehenge, or the mysteries beneath the Sphinx and Giza Pyramids, (of which there are many and soon they will be revealed), I have lost some level of innocence. The more I research and the more I speak to people around the world, I have found that these mysteries are not necessarily all still unsolved because someone hasn’t simply “discovered” some new data or missing piece of the puzzle. No. The truth is, some of humanity’s greatest mysteries have either already been solved then hidden from the public, or are currently being researched by an elite few chosen people, usually backed by multi-national corporations.
Many of you have been on this journey with me and may remember in older interviews I seemed skeptical of many of the theories presented by either the host or their callers. I can now say with great certainty that I have seen behind the veil. As a result, I’ve had to take a step back and gather myself. Finding out how deep the rabbit hole actually goes was jarring. While I am still fascinated by ancient sites and civilizations, I now see them through what academia refers to as a different “lens.” This new lens is both a blessing and a curse. It is like eating from the tree of knowledge, only to realize you can never go back to the innocence lost. The more your research “alternative” history and alt-arch, the more you realize that we are indeed living in a simulated universe. Who are the engineers?
This has been a roller-coaster ride, but no one ever said “waking up” was easy. Now, with all of the geopolitical changes we are facing, I feel it is more important than ever before to ramp up research into some of the most pressing issues today. What significant role can a historian play in the analysis of topics such as the Mandela Effect, Aliens, Moon Landings, Underground Bases, Geoengineering, etc.? Let’s just say, you are about to find out. As the French poet Jacques Yonnet once said, “A historian is a kind detective in search of the fact — remote or otherwise - that brings to a set of events apparently unconnected with each other, the link that unites them, their justification, their logic."1
1 Jacques Yonnet, Rue des Maléfices: Chronique Secrète d'une Ville (Paris: Libretto, 2012).
Hello everyone! Wow...2017 is off to an interesting start, isn’t it? There is a lot to do this year. The world is on fire and so many things are happening. Now, more than ever, we need to secure the history of our world and its peoples. We need to prevent our true past from becoming “alternative facts.” In order to do this, we must first uncover the hidden truth about human origins. This will be my primary focus in 2017. Over most of 2016, I have been on a bit of a sabbatical. I postponed the release of my new book, Evil Archaeology, for reasons I will explain in more detail in an upcoming blog post. Aside from that, I have been working on a book that I felt needed to come first, The Anunnaki Connection: From Human Origins to Armageddon.
Throughout 2016, I uncovered information about the Anunnaki that has, for lack of better term, ‘blown my mind.’ As many of you know, I have been a bit reluctant to fully embrace the idea of Anunnaki. I have been open to the idea, but pretty skeptical. The longer I have been on this quest for truth about who we are and why the elites are hell-bent on hiding and revising our history, the more I have seen evidence to support that there is more to these ideas than simply mythologies. In my research, I have found that the story of the Anunnaki is not limited to the Near East. There are connections throughout all of the ancient civilizations of the world, especially in Mesoamerica. This is why I will be travelling to Mexico in November. Anyone interested in joining me on this expedition is more than welcome. I will post more about this later, as well.
These ancient Anunnaki connections are like a system of cryptography which will reveal an ancient message. Once understood, this message has the power to either liberate or enslave humanity, depending on the intentions of those who decipher this ancient code. The elites believe they know the secrets of antiquity, but they only have bits and pieces of the story. There are many gaps, and in these gaps it is easy for opportunists to exploit and peddle disinformation. Hence, I will be working double-time to uncover everything I can and bring it to light. Remember: The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. (Maximilien Robespierre)
Yours in the Quest,
Hi everyone! I am in the process of updating my website and with that comes a new blog. Check back for more! In the meantime, check out the new Archaeology Newsfeed.