Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Ghost Ship Mary Celeste

Mary Celeste
Mary Celeste – Cargo & Supply of Food Untouched 

A British merchant brigantine, Mary Celeste was spotted by crew members of brigantine Dei Gratia, about 400 miles east of the Azores on December 5, 1872in the Atlantic Ocean which was unmanned and abandoned with its one lifeboat missing as well as the crew of eight and two passengers.

Though the weather was perfect and the crew were well experienced with capable seamen, this abandonment seems to be a mystery with no trace of them. Captain Morehouse was surprised to discover that Mary Celeste which had left New York City eight days prior to him and should have reached Genoa, Italy by then had changed course to provide some help to the abandoned vessel and sent a boarding party to the ship.

On arriving on the abandoned ship, they found the ship’s charts below decks scattered about with the belongings of the crewmen in their quarters untouched while the ship’s only lifeboat was found missing and one of the two pumps were disassembled. The ship’s bottom was filled with three and a half feet of water with the cargo of 1,701 barrels of industrial alcohol untouched. Inspite of having a stock of six month supply of food and water, it seemed that no one had consumed it.

Mary Celeste Set Sail from Staten Island – Genoa, Italy

Mary Celeste, a 282 gross ton brigantine was built in 1861 by shipbuilder, Joshua Dewis, as Amazon at the village of Spencer’s Island, Nova Scotia and was the first vessel of several larger vessels to have been built at Spencer’s Island ship yard.

Amazon which was registered at the nearby Nova Scotia town, Parrsboro, being the closest local port of registry to the yard, was owned by an eight investors group from Cumberland County and Kings County of Nova Scotia led by Dewis and William Henry Bigalow who was a local merchant.

 Under the command of Captain Benjamin Briggs, Mary Celeste docked on the East River of New York city on 5 November 1872 taking on board the cargo of barrels of commercial alcohol which was intended for fortifying Italian wine for Meissner Ackermann & Co that was worth around $35,000. The ship along with the cargo was insured for $46,000 and Mary Celeste set sail from Staten Island for Genoa, Italy.

Disappearance of the Crew – Maritime Mystery

As per the accounts gathered by the crew of Dei Gratia, Mary Celeste was observed from 400 yards distance for two hours which was under sail yet sailing on a starboard tack and gradually heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar.

On seeing no one at the helm or on deck, it was concluded that she was drifting though they did not send any distress signal. On approaching the ship, they observed that the ship’s papers besides the captain’s logbook were missing with the fore hatch and the lazarette left open inspite of the main hatch being sealed. Besides this the ship’s clock was also not in working condition and the compass was destroyed.

 The sextant and the marine chronometer and the peak halyard which was used to hoist the main sail, were also missing. A rope which could probably be the peak halyard was located and was tied tightly to the ship and its other end was trailing in the water behind the ship though it was much frayed.

It appeared that the ship had been abandoned in a hurry since all the personal possessions of the crew were found untouched, making the piracy raid unlikely. Moreover there were no signs of struggle or violence. None of those on board were seen or heard again and their disappearance is the greatest maritime mystery ever known.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Murphy Law

Murphy  Law
Murphy’s Law – Captain Edward A. Murphy

Murphy’s Law - `If anything can go wrong, it will’, originated at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base and was named after Captain Edward A. Murphy who was an engineer on Air Force Project MC981 which was a project designed to see the extent of sudden deceleration a person can withstand in a crash.

Once after finding a transducer wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible for it and stated `if there was any way to do it wrong, he would find it’. The contractor’s project manager keeping a list of laws added one which he called `Murphy’s Law’. What he had done was in fact that he took up an old law which had been prevailing for years in a more basic form and gave it a name.

Thereafter, Dr John Paul Stapp, the Air Force doctor who rode a sled on deceleration track to a stop, pulled Gs and gave a press conference stating that their good safety record on the project was the outcome of a firm belief in Murphy’s Law which in a necessity,needs to be considered and tried to overcome it.

Tendency to Exist on Negative & Overlook Positive

Murphy  Law
George E. Nichols, the Northrop project manager, also added a few lines of his own and Nichols’ Fourth Law states, `avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome’. He is still around at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, a quality control manager for the Viking project sending unmanned spacecraft to Mars.

Dr Stapp had a paradox – Stapp’s Ironical Paradox which states, ` the universal aptitude for ineptitude makes human accomplishment, an incredible miracle’.Some of the aerospace manufacturers adopted the Murphy’s Law and used it extensively in their ads thereafter during the next few months and very soon began quoting in several news as well as magazines and thus the Murphy’s Law originated.

Murphy’s Law draws out our tendency to exist on the negative and overlook the positive and seems to focus in being hotheads using the rules of probability, which is the mathematical likeliness that something may occur and the law captivates our imagination. Many bands have been named after Murphy’s Law as well as a popular name for Irish pubs and taverns across the globe. Moreover, it has also been used as the title for an action movie.

Why Everything You Know About Murphy’s Law is Wrong? 

A book`History of Murphy’s Law by Nick T, Spark with different recollections later on from various participants, made it difficult to pinpoint who first coined the saying Murphy’s Law and the name probably stemmed from the use of new measurement devices which were developed by Edward Murphy.

The phrase was also termed in adverse reaction to something he had said when his devices had failed in performing and was cast in its present form before the press conference later on. The long running interpersonal conflicts went unreported till Spark researched the matter and his book expands on documents on an original four part article which was published in 2003, AIR – Annuals of Improbable Research on the controversy – Why Everything You Know About Murphy’s Law is Wrong’.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mithras – Zoroastrian Angelic Divinity of Covenant

Mitra in the Zoroastrian Avesta scriptures is described as `Mitra’, of wide pastures of the thousand ears, of myriad eyes, the lofty and the everlasting, the province ruler `the Yazad – divinity of the name and `the holy’.

Mithra is the Zoroastrian angelic divinity of covenant and oath and besides being the divinity of contracts, it is considered to be a judicial figure, a kind of an all seeing protector of Truth as well as the guardian of cattle, harvest and of water. Mithra has been derived from the Avestan language and in Middle Iranian languages, Mithra is Mihr, from which Modern Persian Mihr, Northern Pashto Nwar, Waziri Pashto, Myer and Armenian Mihr/Mher is derived.

The Mithraic mysteries were attributed by the Romans to Persian or Zoroastrian sources connected to Mithra but since the early 70s, the scholarship noted dissimilarities and these mysteries have been considered as distinct Roman product. According to some recent theories, Mithra represents the sun though the Khorda Avesta considers the sun to be a separate entity together with the moon with which the sun has the best of relationship.

Mithras not mentioned in the Gathas

As in the case of other divinities, Mithra has not been mentioned by name in the Gathas, which is the oldest text of Zoroastrianism and is attributed to Zoroaster and does not appear by name in the Yasna Haptanghaiti.

This is a seven verse section of the Yasna liturgy which is linguistically as old as the Gathas. The absence of Mithra’s presence in these texts was the cause of some anxiety amongst the Iranist. During the first half of the 20th century, a repeated speculation was that the absence of the name Mithra in the text indicated that Zoroaster had rejected Mithra.

 Based on this speculation there arose a series of speculations which led to the belief and the reason why Zoroaster refrained from mentioning Mithra, the reason being the latter was considered the supreme god of a group of bloodthirsty doeva worshippers which were condemned by the Zoroaster. There is no satisfying evidence to show that before the Zoroaster, the supreme god did exist among the Iranians or even among the Mithra or other divinity.

System of Seven Grades of Initiation

Mithra worshippers had a system of seven grades of initiation together with ritual meals and the initiates, who were known as syndexioi, were united by a handshake and would meet in underground temples known as mithraea.

The cult seemed to have its centre in Rome. From the various archaeological discoveries like the monuments, meeting places together with artifacts, some insight has been gained about Mithraism throughout the Roman Empire.

Iconic scenes of Mithras portray him being born from a rock, slaughtering a bull and participating in a banquet with god Sol – the Sun. There are around 420 sites with material related to the cult and among the items found, there are around 1000 inscriptions, 700 examples of the bull killing scenes and about 400 monuments.

 It is presumed that there could have been atleast 680 – 690 mithraea in Rome. Limited information is available from the inscriptions with brief references in Greek and Latin literature, since no written narrative or theology from the religion is available

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Coso Artefact - `Out of Place Artefact’

The Coso Artefact
The Coso artefact discovered by Wallace Lane, Virginia Maxey and Mike Mikesell on February 13, 1961 is claimed to be a spark plug object found encased in a lump of hard clay or rock while they were prospecting for geodes near the town of Olancha in California. It was claimed as an example of a unique artefact.

The Coso artefact is considered an item known as an `out of place artefact’, because modern objects found in places where they do not belong could hint at the possibility of modern technology being around long before modern man developed it. The Coso artefact was found in a stone or lump of hardened clay.

Thinking it to be geode, the nodule was cut but unlike the geodes, there was no cavity but perfectly circular section of very hard, white material which appeared like porcelain while in the centre of the porcelain cylinder, there was a 2 millimetre shaft of bright metal which responded to a magnet. Besides this, the outer layer of the object was encrusted with fossil shells along with fragment. 

Besides the shells, the discoverers also noticed two non-magnetic metallic metal objects in the crust which resembles a nail and a washer and amazingly, the inner layer was hexagonal which seemed to form a casing around the hard porcelain cylinder. A layer of decomposing copper in the interior of the inner layer surrounded the porcelain cylinder.

Various Theories on the Artefact

Geodes comprises of thin outer shell made of dense chalcedonic silica which are filled with a layer of quartz crystals and the Cose artefact does not have any of these features.According to Virginia Maxey, who consulted a geologist and examined the fossil shells encrusting the artefact, informed that the nodule had taken at least 500,000 years to attain its present form.

If a spark plug in enclosed in a 500,000 year old geode, it would represent a scientific and historical anomaly since spark plugs were invented in the 19th century and critics have been debating that the concretion and not geode which contains the Coso artefact can be explained or understood by known natural process and sufficient proof of it being 500,000 years old is completely absent.

Another research was conducted by creationist Ron Calais who was the other person who had physically inspected the artefact and had taken photographs of the nodule in natural light as well as x-ray and his x-ray brought about added interest in the artefact.

An offer of $25,000 made for the Artefact

His x-ray of the upper end of the artefact revealed some tiny spring or helix and according to Ronald J. Willis, INFO Journal Publisher, he speculated that it could be the remains of a corroded piece of metal with threads while the other half revealed a sheath of metal probably copper covering the porcelain cylinder.

The last known person to have the Coso artefact was one of the original discoverers, Wallace Lane. As per the Spring 1969 issue of INFO Journal, Lane was the last person to be in possession of the artefact which was at display in his home though he refused to let anyone examine it. He was also offered $25,000 for the same.

A national search was made in September 1999 to locate any of the original discoverers but turned out to be unsuccessful. It is presumed that Lane is dead and the location of the artefact is unknown or it could probably be destroyed, while Virginia Maxey seems to be alive but avoids any interaction and whereabouts of Mike Mikesell is unknown.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Coligny Calendar – Series of Bronze Tablets

The Coligny Calendar
The Coligny Calendar was located in Coligny, Ain in France near Lyon in the year 1897 together with the head of a bronze statue of a young male figure.

It is a series of bronze tablets which dates to the first century BCE and is a record of the Gaulic year which shows certain Roman influence since Roman numerals have been used. From what is known of the Celtic year, the names of the month are in Gaulish where the year is presumed to begin in November resulting in debate on whether the year begins in November 1, May 1, December 21 or June 21.

The debate for November 1 is that Samonios is similar to the Irish Samhain, which falls on November 1 with a festival on the 17th of Samonia known as TRINVX SAMO SINDIV, the three nights of today’s Samonia which reflects to the three days connected with the modern Samhain, Halloween, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day which could be a coincidence.

The debate for May 1st is that samonios has come from samon, meaning summer which marks the beginning of the summer half of the year according to traditional Celtic lore and hence Samonios could be May 1st.

A Lunisolar Calendar

The Coligny Calendar
It is a lunisolar calendar, being both a lunar as well as a solar calendar, which has caused some issues with drifting. It was engraved on bronze tablet and preserved in 73 sections which originally were 1.48 m wide and 0.9 m high and judging on the style of lettering along with the accompanying objects, it could probably date back to the end of the 2nd century AD.

The writings here are in Latin inscriptional capitals in the Gaulish language and the restored tablet has sixteen vertical columns together with 62 months which are distributed over five years.

J. Monard, the French archaeologist thought that it could have been recorded by druid with the hope to preserve their tradition of timekeeping when the Julian calendar was imposed in the Roman Empire though the general form of the calendar indicate the public peg calendars which are found in Roman and Greek world.

Calendar Followed Patterns of Moon and Stars

The Coligny Calendar
Similar calendar was also found near Villards d’Heria which is only preserved in eight small section and is now kept in the Musee d’Archeologie du Jura at Lons-le-Saunier.The Coligny Calendar is also known as the Sequani Calendar and has been the subject of a lot of speculation.

This has given to rise to another group who have decided to take up the matter and speculate on it. Clay, an astronomer and Barbara Carter, and astrologer, Eadhmonn Ua Cuinn, a Celtic as well as a sculptor, Helen Benigni, a writer and mytologer, Mark Butervaugh, a naturalist and an artist, together with Tim Krantz, a printmaker formed a team to study this calendar. On studying the Calendar, the group discovered that it was even more accurate from the others that had been revealed so far.

The Coligny Calendar
They found that the calendar went by the patterns of the moon and stars and keeping track of the position of the constellation in the sky, the ancient Celts kept track of the time with accuracy. Clay and Barbara also discovered that each month was indicated by a star of first magnitude, marked as PRIN on the calendar which appeared on the Eastern Horizon after sunset and then setting on the Western Horizon at sunrise.

The stars travelling with the orbit of the moon indicated the time at night. Study on the legends and myths surrounding the stars and constellations helped the group to figure out how the Celts marked their planting times, harvest and holidays thus explaining their seasons.