Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Great Amherst Mystery

Amherst Mystery

Esther’s Haunting Mystery

Towards the concluding half of the 19th century, in a small town known as Amherst in Nova Scotia, Esther Cox had been affected by what she claimed as poltergeists. Esther is said to be residing with her married sister, Olive Teed her husband Daniel together with their two young children.

A brother and sister of Ester and Olive also seemed to live with them along with the brother of Daniel, John Teed. After Ester was almost killed by one of her male friend and had been a victim of psychotic break, due to the poltergeists and her house began to get haunted. Due to ill-health she spent some time at another sister’s house in a nearby region and thereafter returned to Amherst and the hauntings started once again.

After the poltergeists had threatened to burn the house, Esther had moved in with another family where the house became haunted also. Walter Hubbell, a part-time actor and also an occasional paranormal investigator had moved in with Esther. He examined the house for several weeks and finally wrote a popular book based on his experiences, wherein he claimed to have perceived floating objects together with assaults on Esther by invisible forces.
 

Traumatized by Assault

 
As per Hubbell, the incident took place towards the end of August 1878 after Esther aged 18 had been subjected to an attempted sexual assault by a male friend Bob McNeal with a gun.

He had been an acquaintance of the family and she had developed a liking for him, in spite of the fact that he was of a poor character. Esther had been traumatized by the assault and her behaviour underwent a change and seemed depressed. She had undergone immense distress and shortly thereafter the physical occurrences had started.

There had been knockings, rustlings and banging in the night and she began suffering from seizures whereby her body seemed to swell and she began having fever and chills in turns. The objects in the house also seemed to be moving.

 Though the frightened family did not want to draw attention to themselves for fear of mockery these incidents of the poltergeists, which took place led them to consult a doctor and seek his help. Dr. Carritte had been astonished by these events that took place. He witnessed the writing on the wall and the loud claps.
 

Witnessed Several Astonishing Incidents

 
According to Dr. Carritte it was as if someone had been banging on the roof with a sledge hammer and witnessed bedclothes move, heard scratching noises, and the words `Esther Cox, you are mine to kill’ written on the wall towards the head of her bed.

The following day the doctor administered sedatives to Esther in order to calm her and put her to sleep as a result more noises and flying objects exhibited themselves. Life seemed to be very intolerable for her family and with the frightful occurrences and fires which had been set in the house made Esther leave her home. However she was taken in by a kind family which permitted her to work in their dining saloon. But here also the poltergeists tormented her.

The locals witnessed several astonishing incidents in the saloon. They saw a knife which had flown mysteriously through the air and stab Esther and when someone had pulled it out of her, it seemed to fly back again in the same wound. Clergymen, scientist, together with other doctors had explored the hauntings.
 

The Haunted House – A True Ghost Story

 
A popular reverend had visited and witnessed a bucket of cold water appeared to be boiling on the kitchen table. Dr Edwin Clay, a Baptist clergyman had defended Esther on investigating and drawing the conclusion that she was not causing the displays herself.

 He spoke regarding the reality of the case of poltergeists, at several lectures where he had a great audience to listen. The local would gather at Esther’s cottage all over with the intention of catching glimpses of the objects flying through the air or to hear the noises or communicate with the poltergeists through questions and rapping. It is said that Esther also went to Saint John, New Brunswick where she had been examined by a team of scientists who supposedly connected with the poltergeists and assumed that it could be various entities who could be haunting her.

However no explanation has been provided regarding the poltergeists till date though some who did investigate the stories and were of the belief that it was a hoax by Esther. Walter Hubbell had spent six weeks in the home of Esther Cox to document the Amherst haunting and claimed to have been the victim of his own paranormal events which had taken place at her home where he had witnessed several violent incidents with Esther. In 1879, he had published his report known as `The Haunted House:

A True Ghost Story. He had also published a book – The Great Amherst Mystery. He had involved an affidavit of thirteen witnesses who swore that they had experienced the supernatural events first-hand.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Minaret of Jam

The Minaret of Jam

Minaret of Jam – Splendour & Multifaceted Design


The Minaret of Jam located in Afghanistan is known for its splendour and multifaceted design and the 64-meter tower is a graceful, soaring structure which is said to be in good condition till date in spite of it being constructed by baked bricks in the 12th or 13th century.

It is covered with intricate brickwork with a blue tile inscription towards the top and is remarkable for the excellence of its architecture as well as adornment, representing the finale of an architectural and artistic tradition of that region.

The Minaret of Jam is located on an octagonal base comprising of four cylindrical shafts resting one above the other and becoming progressively smaller as they tend to go higher. It is made of fired brick and lime mortar having two wooden balconies together with a lantern towards the top.

 Its external is decorated in superb detail covered with brick, stucco and glazed tiles contain sophisticated inscriptions of alternating band of Kufic and naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns together with verses from the Quran.

The complex decorations together with the inscriptions seem to be clearly visible presently which has led it to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower had been constructed by Ghorid Dynasty at the height of its glory when it reigned over areas of modern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
Minaret of Jam


Turquoise Mountain – Legendary Lost Afghan Capital


It is presumed that the Minaret of Jamhad one been linked to a mosque which had been washed away in a flood earlier to the Mongol sieges.

Archaeologists had located physical evidence of a large courtyard building that had once existed besides the minaret. In Central Asia, it was common to build single huge towers as a means of political power. The Minaret of Jam is said to be both amazingly large and visible owing to its size though hidden from the world because of its location within the valley. The most fascinating concept of the Minaret of Jam is that it could have belonged to the lost city of Firozkoh which is also known as the Turquoise Mountain.

This city had been the capital of Ghorid Dynasty as well as one of the greatest cities in the world and the capital had been totally ruined in the early 1220s by Ogedei Khan the son of Genghis wherein its location had been lost forever to history.

The Turquoise Mountain – Firozkoh is said to be the legendary lost Afghan capital of the Middle Ages and was apparently a prospering multicultural centre. It was believed that the ancient city had been the home of a Jewish trading community, documented by inscription on tombstones that had been discovered in the 1950s.
Minaret of Jam 1


Lasting Legacy – Christians/Jews/Muslims



The minaret seems to be very apparent from the religious point of view. One of the visitors had commented that `this chapter, called Maryam tells of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, both venerated in Islam and of prophets such as Abraham and Isaac.

 It’s a text that emphasises what Judaism, Christianity and Islam have in common instead of their differences. It appears the Ghorids positioned the text here to appeal for harmony and tolerance in the land, a message that is more relevant now than ever’.


It remains as a lasting legacy belonging to a period wherein Christians, Jews and Muslims are said to live side-by-side in harmony and united by their commonalities instead of being divided by their differences.

The effect of the Minaret of Jam is amplified by its histrionic setting with a deep river valley between gigantic mountains in the core of the Ghur province. It is one of the well preserved monuments that tend to represent the extraordinary artistic creativity and the mastery of structural engineering of that time.

 Its architecture and adornment seems to be outstanding with regards to art history, blending together foundations from the earlier developments in the region, in an incomparable manner as well as employing a great influence on later architecture in that region.

Outstanding Universal Value



Its graceful soaring structure is a remarkable model of the architecture and adornment of the Islamic period in Central Asia. It tends to play an important role in their future diffusion with regards to India as demonstrated by the Qutb Minar, in Delhi that begun in 1202 and was completed in the early 14th century.

Ever since the building of the Minaret of Jam which was around eight hundred years back, there were no reconstruction or extensive restoration work carried out in the area. In 1957, the archaeological remnants had been surveyed and recorded when the ruins had been first located by archaeologist. Ensuing surveys and researches have led to simple safety maintenance measures to the base of the Minaret.

Thus the characteristics which express the Outstanding Universal Value of the site, not least the Minaret but the other architectural forms together with their settings in the landscape is said to be unharmed within the limitations of the property and beyond.

The Minaret of Jam had been truly forgotten for several centuries and had only been rediscovered in 1886 by Sir Thomas Holdich, then forgotten again and once again rediscovered in 1957.

Threatened by Seepage/Erosion/Vibration – Road Construction



Presently it is threatened by seepage from the waters of the rivers where it tends to stand, together with erosion, vibrations from the road-construction in the surrounding areas which are threats of intentional destructions together with the continuation of illegal archaeological digs.

Visitors to the Minaret of Jam can climb to the top by a set of stairs that have been shaped like a double helix. The steps first end in an open chamber where the visitors can view out over the rivers and the scenery in the vicinity.

A second set of stairs can be taken to see the lantern gallery. But few visitors tend to make it to the minaret since it is a long and complex climb filled with several dangers and threats, inclusive of local bandits, abduction or execution by rebels.

The Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan is undoubtedly located in the midst of very unsafe area of the present world. With no extensive restoration coming up since the minaret had been constructed, together with little funding in conducting any repairs, it is doubtful if the minaret would be preserved or will be left to crumble into ruins.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

You Know Nothing, Essay writer

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Friday, August 25, 2017

The Prehistoric Plague House

Skeletal Remains Discovered – Northeast China

Unearthing had been done in the ruin site of a tiny wooden house in northeast China wherein the archaeologist came across the skeletal remains of almost 100 bodies which seemed crammed up. They have been attempting to put them together to know what could have actually taken place at the ruin site.

Anthropologist were of the belief that a prehistoric disaster could have probably killed hundreds of people around 5,000 years ago and had compelled the village to stuff the house full of the dead rather than to bury them.

At some point of time, the house had been set on fire or possibly caught fire as verified by the state of the ruins. It was observed that some of the skulls and limb bones seemed to be charred as well as deformed. It was presumed that the fire had been the cause of the collapse of the wooden roof and damaged the bodies that were there.

 At least 97 bodies had been unearthed from the pile that had been left there which ranged in the age group of 19 and 35 years according to reports. Several of the skeletons had been discovered in a disorderly manner in the ruin site of a crypt-type house dubbed F40, which was a small structure of only 210 square feet by way of size.

According to archaeologist in a published study in the journal Chinese Archaeology had reported that the site in northeast China known as `Hamin Mangha’ dates 5,000 year back and is the biggest as well as the best preserved prehistoric settlement located till date in northeast China.

Plague House

Archaeological Discoveries

Besides the bodies, the researcher also discovered over 100 pieces of pottery, jade works, stone implements together with artifacts of bone, shell and horn at the ruin site. There were three tombs there as well as ten ash pits together with a ditch or moat that had been surrounding the area.

Other important archaeological discoveries comprised of the Niuheliang Goddess Temple which seemed to be the most mysterious site of the ancient Hongsham 5,000 years ago wherein beautiful relics of unknown deities as well as bigger than life statues were found. Moreover, the ruin site of the ancient tombs from the Qijia Culture in northwest China dating 4,000 years back has also shown evidences of human sacrifice.

The site `Hamin Mangha’ dates back to an era where writing had not been utilised and the locals lived in comparatively small settlements, growing crops and hunting for their food. The village comprised of the remains of grinding instruments, arrows and spearheads, besides pottery which gives some insight on their way of living.

 The researchers in one field season between April and November 2011 had discovered the foundations of 29 houses which seemed simple one-room structures comprising of a hearth and doorway.

Insight – Catastrophic Events/Mass Disasters

These discoveries at Hamin Mangha provided the researchers with the understanding of the prehistoric people of northern China and how they managed with catastrophic events and mass disasters.

The images taken by the archaeologist at the ruin site express the prehistoric scene better than words. The archaeologist had stated that the bones in the northwest were relatively complete while those in the east often have only skulls with limb bones scarcely remaining. He added that in the south, limb bones were discovered in a mess, forming two or three layers’.

The remains were never buried and had been left behind for the archaeologist to find out some 5,000 years thereafter. A team of anthropologists at Jilin University in China has been researching on the prehistoric remains in an attempting of determining what had occurred to these people at that point of time.

The team had published a second study in Chinese, in the Jilin University Journal, Social Sciences edition on their discoveries.

The Jilin team had detected that the people in that house had died owing to prehistoric disaster resulting in dead bodies being stuffed in the house. The dead resulted quicker than they could be buried at the ruin site.

Outbreak of Acute Infectious Disease

Team leaders Ya Wei Zhou and Hong Zhu had mentioned in the study that the human bone accumulation in F40 had been formed due to ancient human putting remains in the house successively and stacked centrally.

 No remains of older adults besides individuals between the age of 19 and 35 were found. The researchers had observed that the age of the victims that were discovered at Hamin Mangha seemed to be the same that had been found in another prehistoric mass burial that had been earlier unearthed in present day Miaozigou in northeast China.

Zhou and Zhu had also mentioned that this similarity of the ruin site could indicate the cause of the Hamin Mangha site had been identical to that of the Miaozigou sites which means that they both could probably relate to an outbreak of an acute infectious disease. Had it been a disease, it killed people of all age group giving no time for survivors to bury the deceased in a proper manner.

The excavation had been conducted by researchers from the Inner Mongolian Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the Research Centre for Chinese Frontier Archaeology of Jilin University.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dona Juliana Dias da Costa :A Love Affair That Saved Portuguese from Mughals


Love Affair Between Portuguese Woman & Mughal Prince


This is an unusual love affair between a Portuguese woman and a Indian Mughal prince which describes the intensity of her love that the Portuguese woman by the name Dona Juliana Dias Da Costa had over Shah Alam, the son of Aurangzeb. It is said that she not only assisted in safeguarding the Christian in then Mughal-ruled India but was also responsible in spreading the faith in Portuguese India.

Dona Juliana Dias da Costa was considered to be a woman of Portuguese origin from Kochi in the court of Aurangzeb the Mughal Empire in Hindustan. She became Harem-Queen to the Mughal Emperor of India Bahadur Shah I the son of Aurangzeb who became the monarch in 1707.

 Her family had fled the Dutch conquest of Portuguese Kochi while she herself ended in the court of the Mughal at Delhi serving the family of the prince Shah Alam. She continued to be there till the prince did not find favour with his father and escorted him into exile. She was then rewarded when Shah became the Emperor – Bahadur I after the death of his father and her influence became boundless in the court in spite of being a Catholic in a Muslim state.
 

Assisted Italian Jesuit Missionary


  It is said that she had galloped on a war elephant with Bahadur Shah during his fights in order to defend his authority and after his death she continued to be greatly considered but with less influence. While Bahadur Shah I had been alive, she was frequently sought out by European powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese, the British and the representatives of the Pope during her period of strongest power.

She was of great help to the Society of Jesus inclusive of assisting the Italian Jesuit missionary Ippolito Desideri in his mission in evangelising Tibet. In appreciation of her various contributions together with services to the Jesuits, she had been recognized as a Patroness of the Society.

Tiwari and Chauhan had come across the diplomatic role of this Portuguese Catholic woman in the 80s, who had spent four years to write disputably the most inclusive documentation of Mughal, Portuguese, British, Dutch and French interaction in India. They have related the Portuguese method for survival with the Mughals with the help of the love affair story between Juliana and Shah.

Proficiency of Skills – Diplomat Par Excellence


From the moment they had a well-known settlement in Hugli through the favour of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the Portuguese were comfortable being there till they annoyed his son with their misbehaviours which resulted in sacking the settlement in 1632. As a consequence, 4,000 Christians had been taken captives in dreadful conditions to Agra.

As per the book, the parents of Juliana were among the prisoners and Juliana was born in Agra around 1645 wherein her mother by that time had been attached to one of the ladies in the harem of Shah Jahan. After the death of her parents Juliana had been brought up in Delhi by Father Antonio de Magalhanes. According to the authors, Tiwari and Chauhan due to the upbringing under the Jesuit Fathers, together with the years she had spent in Goa, provided her with the proficiency of skills which made her a diplomat par excellence.

She had skills in expertise in languages, international exposure to the happenings all over the world, inclusive of the knowledge of international trade and merchandise, knowledge of medicine as well as surgery since the Fathers had Portuguese doctors from Goa, in their company. Besides that she had all the royal manners and customs which assisted her in gaining great experience

At 17 - Youngest Tutor to Muazzam/Shah Alam


Though Juliana was married, she became a widow at a young age and in 1681-82 paved her way for access to the Mughal court with the help of Father Magalhanes. Tiwari had mentioned that the Aurangzeb had entrusted the education of Prince Muazzam – later Shah Alam, which was his second son, to Juliana.

She had been 17 and his youngest tutor. Muazzam was 18 and was filled with sorrow for the merciless imprisonment of his grandfather Shah Jahan and with this began their lifelong love affair. The book had also provided the Portuguese letters which had been written by the viceroy in Goa to the Portuguese King expressing him of the favour Juliana tends to hold in the Mughal courts.

 Juliana stated that the book moved wherever Shah Alam had been posted by Aurangzeb inclusive to Goa in order to end the threat posed by Sambhaji the Maratha leader. Later on when Shah Alam had been suspected of treason by Aurangzeb and imprisoned, it is said that Juliana had risked her life in making his seven years of imprisonment, comfortable by sneaking in items of luxury to him. Her faithfulness rewarded her when Shah Alam eventually ascended to the throne after the death of his father Aurangzeb.

Worthy Benefactress of the College/Mission of Agra


The book also explains the role of Juliana in assisting Shah Alam in winning the battle to the throne against his own brother. It is said that Juliana got Shah Alam to organize the Portuguese gunners in his artillery and that proved to be a fruitful move.

The book also mentions of her correspondence with the viceroy of Portuguese in Goa as her power rose in the Mughal court under Emperor Shah Alam - `What becomes more than clear from the exchange of these letters to and from Juliana is not only the higher position attained by her at the Mughal court after the release of prince Shah Alam but her continued devotion in making favours to the cause of Christianity from the Mughal territories also’.

In addition to her diplomatic services the book has also recorded the financial help provided by Juliana to the Portuguese. It states that it was around 1707 that she had said to have given the province of Goa a great fortune valued to 40 to 150 contos. When she died in 1734, the Goa Personnel report of 1735 addressed her as the `Worthy Benefactress of the College and Mission of Agra’ in a most strange statement.