Lizzie Borden Murder Case

On Thursday, 4 August 1892. Andrew Borden and his wife were found dead in their home in the quiet, provincial mill town of Fall River, Massachusetts, USA. Some people said their daughter Lizzie had murdered them. Other believed it was someone else. Was it Lizzie? Or could it have been someone else? The story began at 8.00 am, 4 August, the day was already the hottest of the year. In the dining room of their big white house on Second Street, members of the Borden family were having breakfast. At the table sat prominent 70-year-old businessman Andrew Borden, his second wife, Abby and a brother-in-law of Andrew’s, John Morse. John was manager of one of the Borden farms. Andrew’s two daughters by his first marriage, Emma and Lizzie, were absent. Emma was visiting friends in a nearby town.

Lizzie, a rather unattractive, inhibited, unmarried woman of 32 had not yet come downstairs. Except for her hobby, fishing, and her participation in church activities, Lizzie spent a lot of time alone, often up in her room. About every four months she had what her family called ‘funny turns’. At such times she did peculiar, inexplicable things; she never remembered these incidents afterwards. Her ‘funny turns’ were attacks of epilepsy. Lizzie dislike her stepmother intensely, especially after Andrew signed some property over to his wife’s sister that his daughters felt should be theirs.

Andrew Borden was a person who enjoyed making money but hated spending it. When his daughters asked him for money he almost always turned them down. The Bordens were rich but they certainly did not live like people with money. Andrew also had the reputation in Fall River of being a very hard man in business dealings; as a result, he had many enemies. There was one other person in the house that torrid August morning: Bridget, the Irish maid. Bridget was in the kitchen preparing to go outside and wash the windows. She was quite unhappy about it. She did not feel well and resented Mrs. Borden’s order to wash the windows. Bridget was not the only one who felt ill. With the exception of Lizzie, everyone in the house had stomach trouble. They decided it was something they had eaten the night before.

The Borden's House

The time was 8.45 am John Morse left the house to visit other relatives in Fall River. Andrew also departed, heading for the financial district. Lizzie descended the stairs just as her father was going out the front door. She greeted Bridget but said nothing to her stepmother. Abby climbed the stairs to the second floor bedrooms to make their beds. Bridget went outside to wash the windows. She took the key to the kitchen door with her. Since a robbery two months before, the Bordens were extremely cautious about locking their doors. Lizzie began ironing some clothes. It was 9.30 am.

At 10.40 someone knocked at the front door. Bridget, now working inside the house, hurried to see who it was. She heard someone laugh behind her as she struggled with the key. It was Lizzie, standing in the stairs. At last the maid got the door open. The person on the other side was Andrew Borden; he had forgotten his keys. As Bridget returned to the kitchen, Lizzie came down to the sitting room and told her father, ‘Your wife has gone out. She had a note from someone who was sick.’ Andrew said that he, too, felt rather weak and decided to stretch out on the sofa and take a nap before lunch. Lizzie went back to her ironing. Bridget, who had finished washing the windows inside and out, said she still felt ill. Lizzie told her to go up to her room and rest until it was time to make lunch. As the girl climbed to her small, hot, third room, she heard the clock strike 11.00.

Ten minutes later Lizzie called out from downstairs: ‘Bridget! Come quick! Father’s dead. Somebody came in and killed him!’ The astonished maid rushed down the stairs and found Lizzie standing by the kitchen door. ‘Go across the street and get Dr Bowen,’ she said. ‘Run!’

When the doctor arrived, Lizzie explained, ‘Just as I was returning to the house from the barn I heard a loud groan. The kitchen door was wide open.’ The doctor quickly examined Andrew’s body and discovered that the man had been struck in the head eleven times with an axe. Being asleep, he never knew what hit him. Lizzie told Bridget to go to ask her friend Alice Russell to come and stay with her. Meanwhile, another neighbour, Adelaide Churchill, had seen Dr. Bowen enter the house next door and rushed over to find out what had happened. When she asked where Abby was, Lizzie replied that she did not know. Then she added, ‘But I believe I heard her come in a short while ago. ‘She turned to Bridget, ‘Go upstairs and see.’ Mrs. Churchill accompanied the Irish girl. They found Abby Borden lying face down on the guest room floor. She had been hit on the back of the head nineteen times with an axe. It was now 11.40, half an hour after Andrew Borden’s bloody, lifeless body had been discovered in the sitting room. Policemen were already surrounding the house and a crowd of curious people had gathered in the street. The news had travelled fast.

About this time John Morse returned from his visit across town. He did a very strange thing when he saw the crowd in the street: he went round to the back of the house and began eating pears from one of the trees. As soon as he was told what had happened, however, he went into the house. He explained where he had been to the police, but they were not fully convinced. For one thing, his manner was too casual. The police made a complete search of the house but found nothing suspicious. Nor did they find a note asking Mrs. Borden to go to a sick friend. Later someone reported that a stranger had been seen near the house earlier that morning; he was never seen again. Lizzie was able to account for every move she had made that morning; however, the police considered her to be their number one suspect. Lizzie’s calm cool manner under the horrible circumstances caused them to be suspicious. In addition, she kept contradicting herself.

There was another matter that caused the police to suspect Lizzie. The day before the murder she had gone to several shops trying to buy prussic acid, a deadly poison. She wanted it, she said, to kill moths in her fur coat. The shop owners refused to sell it to her. According to Lizzie, she had been in the house all morning, except when, shortly after her father’s return home, she went to the barn to get some things she needed for a fishing trip. Then, when she returned to the house, she discovered her father’s body.

Lizzie Borden was arrested on August 11, 1892, with her trial beginning ten months later in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Her stories proved to be inconsistent, and her behavior suspect. She was tried for the murders, defended by former Massachusetts Governor George D. Robinson and Andrew V. Jennings. One of the prosecutors in the trial was William H. Moody, future United States Attorney General and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. What motive did she have? She hated her stepmother, it is true, but not enough to kill her. She adored her father, so why would she kill him? For his money? She and her sister Emma would become rich the moment he died. What about Bridget, the maid, and John Morse, Andrew’s brother-in-law? Couldn’t one of them have commited the murder?

During the police investigation, a hatchet was found in the basement and was assumed to be the murder weapon. Though it was clean, most of its handle was missing and the prosecution stated that it had been broken off because it was covered with blood. However, police officer Michael Mullaly stated that he found it next to a hatchet handle. Deputy Marshall John Fleet contradicted this testimony. Later a forensics expert said there was no time for the hatchet to be cleaned after the murder. The prosecution was hampered by the fact that the Fall River police did not put credence in the new forensic technology of fingerprinting, and refused to take prints on the hatchet. No blood-soaked clothing was found as evidence by police. A few days after the murder, Borden tore apart and burned a light blue Bedford cord cotton dress in the kitchen stove, claiming she had brushed against fresh baseboard paint which had smeared on it. The trial began on 5 june 1892, and lasted ten days. At first the public and press were anti-Lizzie Borden, but little by little they came round. How could a quiet, respectable, mature woman like Lizzie commit such a horrible crime?

Despite incriminating circumstances, Lizzie Borden was acquitted by a jury after an hour and a half's deliberation. When they returned they delivered a verdict of not guilty. The courtroom suddenly became wild with cheers and applause. The fact that no murder weapon was found and no blood evidence was noted just a few minutes after the second murder pointed to reasonable doubt. Her entire original inquest testimony was barred from the trial. Also excluded was testimony regarding her attempt to purchase prussic acid. Another axe murder in the area, perpetrated by José Correira, which took place shortly before the trial, was a great stroke of luck for Borden.

Once more life in Fall River became normal. The two Borden sisters had their father’s money, bought a lovely big new house in the most fashionable section of Fall River. They lived together in this beautiful, spacious mansion for several years. Then they quarrelled and Emma moved out, leaving Lizzie all by herself in the empty house. In 1927, Lizzie passed away at the age of 67, alone and unloved.

Today visitors to Fall River almost always ask to see the old Borden house on Second Street. ‘Did Lizzie Borden really murder her parents?’ they ask. The people of Fall River simply shake their heads and say, ‘No one will ever know.’ Probably not, but on the other hand, if Lizzie did not commit the murder, who did?

(Source : Unsolved Mysteries by George P. Mc Callum and Wikipedia)
(Pics source : Pic1 taken from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b5/Lizzie_borden.jpg/390px-Lizzie_borden.jpg. Pic 2 taken from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9a/LBsHouse.gif )
02:13 | 3 komentar

Underwater Pyramid In Japan

One of the greatest discoveries in the history of archaeology was made last summer, off Japan. There, spread over an amazing 311 miles on the ocean floor, are the well-preserved remains of an ancient city. Or at the very least, a number of closely related sites. A structure thought to be the world's oldest building, nearly twice the age of the great pyramids of Egypt, has been discovered. The rectangular stone ziggurat under the sea off the coast of Japan could be the first evidence of a previously unknown Stone Age civilization, say archeologists. The monument is 600ft wide and 90ft high and has been dated to at least 8000BC. The oldest pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, was constructed more than 5,000 years later. The structure off Yonaguni, a small island southwest of Okinawa, was first discovered 75ft underwater by scuba divers 10 years ago and locals believed it was a natural phenomenon. Professor Masaki Kimura, a geologist at Ryukyu University in Okinawa, was the first scientist to investigate the site and has concluded that the mysterious five-layer structure was man-made. "The object has not been manufactured by nature. If that had been the case, one would expect debris from erosion to have collected around the site, but there are no rock fragments there," he said. In the waters around Okinawa and beyond to the small island of Yonaguni, divers located eight separate locations beginning in March 1995. The discovery of what appears to be a road surrounding the building was further evidence that the structure was made by humans, he added.
 
That first sighting was equivocal - a provocative, squared structure, so encrusted with coral that its manmade identity was uncertain. Then, as recently as the summer of 1996, a sports diver accidentally discovered a huge, angular platform about 40 feet below the surface, off the southwestern shore of Okinawa. The feature’s artificial provenance was beyond question. Widening their search, teams of more divers found another, different monument nearby. Then another, and another. They beheld long streets, grand boulevards, majestic staircases, magnificent archways, enormous blocks of perfectly cut and fitted stone - all harmoniously welded together in a linear architecture unlike anything they had ever seen before. In the following weeks and months, Japan’s archaeological community joined the feeding-frenzy of discovery. Trained professionals formed a healthy alliance with the enthusiasts who first made the find. In a progressive spirit of mutual respect an working alliance, academics and amateurs joined forces to set an example of cooperation for the rest of the world. Their common cause soon bore rich fruit. In september, not far from the shore of the island of Yonaguni, more then 300 airline miles south from Okinawa, they found a gigantic, pyramidal structure in 100 feet of water. In what appeared to be a ceremonial center of broad promenades and flanking pylons, the gargantuan building measures 240 feet long. Exceptionally clear sub-surface clarity, with 100 foot visibility a common factor, allowed for thorough photographic documentation, both still photography and video. These images provided the basis of japan’s leading headlines for more than a year.

Robert Schoch, professor of geology at Boston University, dived at the site last month. "It basically looks like a series of huge steps, each about a metre high. Essentially, it's a cliff face like the side of a stepped pyramid. It's a very interesting structure," he said. "It's possible that natural water erosion combined with the process of cracked rocks splitting created such a structure, but I haven't come across such processes creating a structure as sharp as this." Further evidence that the structure is the work of humans came with the discovery of smaller underwater stone mounds nearby. Like the main building, these mini-ziggurats are made of stepped slabs and are about 10m wide and 2m high.
 

Kimura said it was too early to know who built the monument or its purpose. "The structure could be an ancient religious shrine, possibly celebrating an ancient deity resembling the god Nirai-Kanai, whom locals say gave happiness to the people of Okinawa from beyond the sea. This could be evidence of a new culture as there are no records of a people intelligent enough to have built such a monument 10,000 years ago," he said. "This could only have been done by a people with a high degree of technology, probably coming from the Asian continent, where the oldest civilisations originate. There would have to have been some sort of machinery involved to have created such a huge structure." Whoever created the city, most of it apparently sank in one of the huge seismic events that this part of the Pacific Rim is famous for, Kimura said.

The world's largest recorded tsunami struck Yonaguni Jima in April 1771 with an estimated height of more than 131 feet (40 meters), he noted, so such a fate might also have befallen the ancient civilization. Kimura said he has identified ten structures off Yonaguni and a further five related structures off the main island of Okinawa. In total the ruins cover an area spanning 984 feet by 492 feet (300 meters by 150 meters). The structures include the ruins of a castle, a triumphal arch, five temples, and at least one large stadium, all of which are connected by roads and water channels and are partly shielded by what could be huge retaining walls. Kimura believes the ruins date back to at least 5,000 years, based on the dates of stalactites found inside underwater caves that he says sank with the city.
 


And structures similar to the ruins sitting on the nearby coast have yielded charcoal dated to 1,600 years ago—a possible indication of ancient human inhabitants, Kimura added. But more direct evidence of human involvement with the site has been harder to come by. "Pottery and wood do not last on the bottom of the ocean, but we are interested in further research on a relief at the site that is apparently painted and resembles a cow," Kimura said. "We want to determine the makeup of the paint. I would also like to carry out subsurface research." Teruaki Ishii, professor of geology at Tokyo University, said the structure dated back to at least 8000BC when the land on which it was constructed was submerged at the end of the last ice age. "I hope this site is artificial as it would be very exciting. But at this time I feel it is too early to say. I think the structure could be natural, but part of it may have been made," he said.

The first signs of civilisation in Japan are traced to the Neolithic period around 9000BC. The people at this time lived as hunters and food- gatherers. There is nothing in the archeological record to suggest the presence of a culture advanced enough to have built a structure like the ziggurat. British archeologists are, however, cautiously enthusiastic about the discovery which will be featured this summer in a Channel 4 documentary. Jim Mower, an archeologist at University College London, said: "If it is confirmed that the site is as old as 10,000 years and is man-made, then this is going to change an awful lot of the previous thinking on southeast Asian history. It would put the people who made the monument on a par with the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley."

Yet, not a word about the Okinawa discovery reached the US public, until the magazine, “Ancient American” broke the news last spring. Since that scoop, only the CNN network televised a report about Japan’s underwater city. Nothing about it has been mentioned in any of the nation’s other archaeology publications, not even in any of our daily newspapers. One would imagine that such a mind-boggling find would be the most exciting piece of news an archaeologist could possibly hope to learn. Even so, outside of the “Ancient American” and CNN’s single report, the pall of silence covering all the facts about Okinawa’s structures screens them from view more effectively then their location at the bottom of the sea. Why? How can this appalling neglect persist in the face of a discovery of such unparalleled magnitude? At the risk of accusations of paranoia, one might conclude that a real conspiracy of managed information dominates America’s well-springs of public knowledge.


Source :

Frank Joseph - “Ancient American”, Divers Find World's Oldest Building written by Trushar Barot;

National Geographic.com

Pics source :

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/images/070919-sunken-city_big.jpg;

http://www.world-mysteries.com/yonaguni_map1.gif;

http://www.altarcheologie.nl/underwater_ruins/yonaguni/The%20Morien%20Institute%20-%20the%20mysterious%20underwater%20pyramid%20structure%20at%20Yonaguni_files/yonfig14.jpg
17:37 | 8 komentar

Bimini Road

Bimini is an island in the Bahamas, 55 miles east of Miami, Florida, approximately 7 miles long and 1/3 mile across at its widest point. Its modern inhabitants are descendants of West African slaves imported by Spain and Britain beginning in the mid-16th century. They replaced the resident Caribs, who arrived only a few generations before and after whom the Caribbean Sea was named. Bellicose cannibals from Middle America’s mainland, the Caribs feasted on the island’s earliest known inhabitants, the Lucayans, a linguistic branch of Arawak Indians. Before their extermination (consumption?), the Lucayans were described by Spanish explorers as able craftsmen (surviving Lucayan celts and hammer-stones attest to their refined skills), with noticeably lighter complexions and auburn hair, even occasional blue eyes. These untypical traits may have been genetic traces of contacts with pre-Columbian visitors from Europe, or even racial evidence for an Atlantis pedigree, in view of the following information.

The origin and meaning of “Bimini” are unknown. However, the name appears in the Ancient Egyptian language as Baminini, which means, “Homage (ini) to the Soul (ba) of Min.” Min was the Egyptians’ divine protector of travelers on far-off journeys, a particularly appropriate god to be worshiped at distant Bimini, if indeed the island had been visited by voyagers from the Nile Valley.

Material evidence for an Egyptian or, at any rate, an Egyptian-like presence in the western Atlantic appeared during the late 1930s, when James Lockwood, Jr., an American archaeologist in Haiti, saw a stone statue of the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis, that had been discovered on an off-shore island. The Lucayans knew Bimini as “Guanahani,” another curious connection with the Ancient World, because the name translates as “the Island (hani) of Men (guana)” in the language of the Guanches. These were native inhabitants of the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of North Africa, until their utter demise at the hands of the Spanish in the 15th and 16th centuries.


Map of Bimini Road

Although no monumental buildings were found on Bimini, in Arawak, Guanahani meant “the Place of the Encircling Walls”; in Arawak, hani was also synonymous for “crown” or “wreath.” This oldest known name for the island may have referred to a large stone formation lying in 19 feet of water less than 2 miles off Bimini’s northernmost point. It is composed of so far unnumbered but certainly no less than 5,000, mostly square-cut blocks running in a straight line for about 1,900 feet, before swinging back on itself to create a J-formation. To early observers, it resembled a paved road running across the bottom of the sea. But the general consensus of investigators since then tentatively identifies the structure as a cyclopean wall, not unlike Andean examples found in Peru, specifically, at Cuzco and Sacsahuaman.

Unfortunately, it continues to be known by its first and misleading appellation. In 1933, Edgar Cayce, during one of his trance states, said that records from Atlantis still existed “where a portion of the temples may yet be discovered, under the slime of ages of sea water—near what is known as Bimini.” The little island was not Atlantis itself, he explained, but its outpost, known many thousands of years ago as Alta, extending (politically) to east-coastal Florida, and part of a wider Atlantean administration known as Poseidia, comprising the Lesser Antilles. In 1940, the “Sleeping Prophet” predicted, “Poseidia will be among the first portion of Atlantis to rise again. Expect it in ’68 and ’69; not so far away!” The so-called “Bimini Road” was, in fact, “discovered” in 1968 by maverick archaeologist Mason Valentine, while looking for Atlantean remains around the island in hopes of confirming Cayce’s prophesy.

Since then, the underwater site has been subjected to continuous investigation by researchers convinced it is an Atlantean ruin and critics sure it is nothing more than a natural formation of beach rock. The latter, despite their standard array of academic credentials, have for more than 30 years failed to show an analogous arrangement of beach rock, not only at Bimini, but anywhere else in the world. Allegedly similar examples from Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas, or near Sri Lanka, cited as evidence for its entirely natural provenance, are so unlike the linear, organized blocks found at Bimini that such comparisons are worthless.

Moreover, core-drillings at the Bimini Road, beginning in the mid-1980s, extracted micrite, which does not occur in beach rock. Some of its stones contain conglomerations of aragonite and calcite, patterns likewise missing from beach rock. Florida geologist, Eugene A. Shinn, a harsh critic of theories on behalf of the Bimini structure’s artificiality, radio-carbon dated the stones, which range in age from 2,000 to 4,000 years before present.

The oldest end of this time parameter coincides with the Middle Bronze Age, just when port facilities resembling the Bimini site were being constructed in the Near East, and Atlantis was nearing the apogee of its material greatness, according to researchers who argue that Plato’s sunken city flourished from 3000 to 1200 B.C. Serious investigation of the Bahama site began in the late 1960s under the direction of Valentine and his scientific colleague, Dimitri Rebikoff, continuing into the 1970s and early 80s through the work of Dr. David Zink, whose Stones of Atlantis was the first full-length book published on the subject. During the 1990s and early years of the 21st century, numerous underwater expeditions to Bimini conducted by William Donato, president of The Atlantis Organization (Buena Park, California), have contributed significantly toward a general appreciation of the structure’s real identity.

The underwater ruin appears to be the foundation of a continuous rampart which originally formed an elongated oval (the Lucayans’ “Encircling Wall”?) to shelter seagoing vessels. A harbor at the north end of Bimini makes abundant maritime sense, because its location serves two fundamentally important prerequisites for transoceanic travel: First, the island stands directly in the path of an Atlantic current that travels like an underwater conveyor belt—northward, parallel to New England shores, then due east toward the Azores, the British Isles, and Western Europe. Second, Bimini is the last landfall for fresh water before a transatlantic voyage from North America. The discovery at Bimini of additional, prehistoric evidence underscores the site’s ancient, man-made identity.

These include colossal effigy mounds shaped like fish and other zoomorphic and geometric figures, together with additional blocks also found at 19-foot depths, about 3 miles northeast of the road, resembling Tiahuanaco’s squared columns in the high Andes of Bolivia. But what divers see at Bimini today are the ruins of a ruin. As recently as the early years of the 20th century, the surface of the Road was visible at low tide, when its location was even designated “a navigational hazard.”

Older natives still living in the 1990s personally testified they saw waves washing over the tops of the stones on numerous occasions when they were young, although most inhabitants of the island avoided the site with superstitious dread. In the early 1920s, a Florida salvage company dismantled the structure down to its bottom course. The blocks were removed to Miami, where they were used as fill for the city’s new quayside. Cayce may in fact have described the Bimini Road as early as 1932. He said in a reading for May 5: This we find (at Poseidia) not an altogether walled city, but a portion of same built so that the waters of these rivers became as the pools about which both sacrifice and sport, and those necessities for the cleansing of the body, home and all, were obtained, and these—kept constantly in motion so that it purified itself in its course;—water in motion over stone—purifies itself in twenty feet of space.

The base of the Bimini Road is 1 foot short of 20 feet underwater. Rivers do not exist on the island today, but they did in its geologic past. Cayce seems to have portrayed the Road, not as part of a harbor, but a ritual and recreational feature. Ongoing investigations at Bimini with increasingly sophisticated search technology may prove that “the Place of the Encircling Walls” was indeed Cayce’s Alta, where ships 3,000 years ago, heavy-laden with copper ore mined in North America, replenished their provisions of fresh water on the last leg of their return voyages to Atlantis.

(Source : Atlantis Encyclopedia by Frank Joseph)
(Pics source : 1st pic taken from http://www.greatdreams.com/bimini2.jpg; 2nd pic taken from http://www.elanso.com/U/A9b/d41d8cd98f00b204e9800998ecf8427e/128334377980468750.jpg)
21:44 | 3 komentar

Weeping Statues

The phenomenon of weeping or crying religious statues is one of the oldest and most stereotypical images of holy powers in Catholicism. Ireland, South America and southern Europe all have well documented accounts of Virgin Mary (Madonna) figurines seeping strange liquids. And, whilst sceptics believe there are good reasons to doubt the validity of such occurrences, to the local populations they are often only explainable under the term ‘miracle’. In November 1992, a six-inch-high, blue and white porcelain statue of the Virgin Mary began weeping blood in Santiago, Chile. The figurine, which belonged to a local housewife, became an attraction for local people in the La Cisterna district and was even tested by Chilean police. Doctors at the Santiago coroner’s office discovered that the liquid produced at the statue’s eyes was type O-4 human blood.

There was another story from Sicily. It was like thousands of other plaster Madonnas manufactured at a plant in Sicily and sold throughout the country for a few lira. This particular Madonna was sold as a wedding present from a friend who decided that such a statue would be an appropriate gift for Antionetta and Angelo Iannusco, who were married in Syracuse, Sicily, in the spring of 1953.

Then, on the morning of August 29, 1953, as Antionetta prayed devoutly to the Blessed Mother to grant her surcease from the pains of her pregnancy, the statue began to weep. At first her mother-in-law and sister-in-law were skeptical, but then they witnessed a virtual torrent of tears flowing from the eyes of the plaster Madonna. Angelo, who prided himself on his atheistic philosophy and communistic politics, became so moved by the apparent supernatural manifestation that he left the Communist Party and assisted the priest as he said mass over the weeping Madonna. Doubting neighbors, cynical journalists, and rational, scientific investigators were baffled by the phenomenon of the weeping statue in the Iannusco household. When news of the miracle Madonna spread throughout Italy, thousands of people hurried to view it for themselves.

The southeastern Sicilian community’s hotels were quickly swamped with requests for accommodation. Before the Iannusco’s home could be crushed by the onslaught of curious pilgrims, the Syracuse Police Department agreed to remove the little Madonna to their headquarters for safekeeping. As the squad car moved through the streets, a patrolman carefully held the statue on his lap. Soon his jacket was drenched with tears. A skeptical detective caught several tears in a chemist’s vial and, without identifying the liquid, sent the specimen to a police laboratory for analysis. The next morning the irritated director of the lab berated him for wasting his time analyzing such substances as human tears. Hardly any time passed before the crippled, the lame, and the ill from all over Italy were soon gathering before the weeping Madonna.

The tears were caught on a cloth and wiped on the bodies of the afflicted. A middle-aged man recovered the use of a crippled arm. A three-year-old girl stricken with polio was able to discard the stainless steel braces that had encased her twisted legs. An 18-year-old girl who had been struck dumb 11 years before began to speak. Hundreds of others claimed to have received a healing blessing from the tears of the little Madonna. The Madonna’s tears ceased to flow on the fourth day of the phenomenon, but exactly one month later, the statue was carried through the streets of Syracuse at the head of a procession of 30,000 people.

Since that day, thousands of pilgrims have flocked to the shrine of the little Madonna, including more than a hundred bishops and archbishops and several cardinals. Her glassed-wall case, capped with a bronze cross, is surrounded by dozens of crutches and braces that have been left there as silent testimony of hundreds of miracle healings. Hopeful that their city would become known as the “Italian Lourdes,” the citizens of Syracuse purchased a 12-acre site and constructed a lattice-type pagoda shrine for the Madonna. Large ramps lead up to the entrance and the 400-foot high walls. Thirty-six small chapels surround the shrine and await the devout. In a message to the Sicilians in 1958, Pope Pius XII (1876–1958) said: “So ardent are the people of Sicily in their devotion to Mary that who would marvel if she had chosen the illustrious city of Syracuse to give a sign of her grace?”

Statue of the Virgin Mary crying tears of blood in Sacramento 2005

While the skeptical explain weeping statues and icons of the Madonna, Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.), or other holy figures as bizarre moisture condensation at best and as outright fraud at the worst, throughout the world and all of Roman Catholic Christendom, the ordinary statues or paintings become highly venerated objects of faith. As the old saying goes, “For those who believe, no explanation is needed. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”

Just before Christmas in 1996, a painting of Jesus was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses to be weeping red tears. This painting was no ordinary icon, for it hangs in the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity, above the spot where Christian tradition maintains Jesus was born. A Muslim cleaning lady was the first to see a light that came from the painting just prior to the tears flowing from the eyes of Jesus. Since her sighting, thousands of Christians of all denominations, along with many Jews and Muslims, have witnessed the tears.

Among other recent manifestations of weeping statues and icons are the following: Rooty Hill, near Sydney, Australia: since 1994, tears have streamed from the eyes of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in a small, private home. Grangecon, Ireland: three weeks after a retired postmaster and her daughter noticed tears and drops of blood tricking from the eye of a statue of the Madonna one day in 1994, 3,000 visitors from all over the world had arrived to witness the phenomenon for themselves.

A similar event happened in the small village of Mura, 35 miles north of Barcelona in Spain. Outside the village church a twofoot- high marble statue of the Virgin Mary had been set on a seven-foot-high pedestal. In March 1998, the local priest, Luis Costa, discovered it was crying tears of blood. Mura residents were convinced the phenomenon was genuine. The statue had not been tampered with, and further investigation revealed the blood was emanating from the figure in a particularly human way.

A man named Fabio Gregori of Civitavecchia, near Rome, became extremely devout after surviving an automobile crash in 1993. To aid in his devotions, his priest Father Pablo gave him a 17-inch replica of the statue of the Madonna that now stands in Medjugorje, Bosnia. Father Pablo blessed the statuette with holy water and told Gregori that Mary would be his guardian. Reverently, Gregori placed the image in a niche in the backyard grotto that he had created for his family’s prayers.

On February 2, 1995, Gregori and his wife were getting ready to attend church when their daughter ran into the house shouting that the statue was crying tears of blood. The statue of Mother Mary wept tears of blood for the next four days. Soon the grotto was overrun by thousands people. Many soaked handkerchiefs in the blood, and some claimed that they were healed of their afflictions after wiping the blood on their bodies. When word of the miracle reached Bishop Girolamo Grillo, he requested that the statue be turned over to the church for scientific examination. Gregori willingly complied, and the commission assembled by Bishop Grillo conducted an extensive examination of the statue, which included X-rays and a CAT scan. Bishop Grillo admitted his initial skepticism, but when the commission found no evidence of trickery and determined that the tears were composed of human blood, he had changed his mind. After the examination, the tears of blood ceased.

But thousands of pilgrims continued to seek healing and inspiration from the statuette, and it was placed in the St. Agostino church in Pantano, near Civitavecchia. Bishop Grillo’s conversion to the authenticity of the weeping Madonna did little to quiet the accusations of fraud that had begun to arise from skeptics. Amid the controversy, Fabio Gregori and his family were named often as the most likely instigators of the deception. In spite of his denials, skeptics continued their investigations of the weeping Madonna. Later, a DNA examination of the bloodstains revealed that they were from a male, and researchers argued that if the tears were the Madonna’s blood, they should have come from a female. Gregori was suspected of placing drops of his own blood upon the statuette.

Bishop Grillo said it had bled when it was far away from Gregori; he stated that the male blood was Jesus’, not Mother Mary’s, which resulted in the critics accusing Bishop Grillo of perpetrating a “pious fraud.” Although it will perhaps remain a subject of controversy, each year the statuette attracts thousands of pilgrims and is said to be responsible for scores of miracles.

Sceptics are quick to dismiss such stories. Some promote fanciful theories that water is soaked up by the base of the statues, mixes with red clay inside them, and then appears through the head as blood. Others are convinced these instances have been created through the use of a simple magic trick. Certainly, it is true that the actual point when blood appears on such statues is rarely witnessed.

By diverting people’s attention, it is easy to interfere with the figurines unnoticed. But these explanations fail to alter the effect on a credulous public. For the faithful, who point to dozens of dramatic healings, hundreds of mystical experiences, and thousands of religious conversions as their evidence that something supernatural is occurring around these icons, such phenomena as the weeping madonnas are likely to be interpreted as physical signs that the spiritual presence of the holy figure is with them. Although it is important to discover the truth, this type of religious mysticism is a pleasant way to remind us that there are still some things in life that we just can’t explain.

(Source : Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things; 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy)
(Pics source : 1st pic taken from http://www.mcn.org/1/Miracles/images/BLEEDINGSTAT.jpg ; 2nd pic taken from http://www.freewebs.com/religion_lms/lfkjf.jpg)
20:18 | 7 komentar

Mongolian Deathworm

Under the burning sand dunes of the Gobi desert there lurks a creature that is so feared by the Mongolian people they are scared even to speak its name. It is described as a fat, bright red worm, 0.6 to 1.5 m long (2 to 5 ft). The local name is allghoi (or orghoi) khorkhoi (хорхой), which means "blood filled intestine worm" because it is reported to look like the intestine of a cow. It is the subject of a number of extraordinary claims by Mongolian locals - such as the ability of the worm to spew forth sulfuric acid that, on contact, will turn anything it touches yellow and corroded (which would kill a human), and its purported ability to kill at a distance by means of electric discharge. Mongolian Nomads believe the giant worm covers its prey with an acidic substance that turns everything a corroded yellow colour. Legend says that as the creature begins to attack it raises half its body out of the sand and starts to inflate until it explodes, releasing the lethal poison all over the unfortunate victim. The poison is so venomous that the prey dies instantly.

Because Mongolia had been under Soviet control until 1990, very little was known about the Deathworm in the West. In recent years, investigators have been able to look for evidence of the creature’s existence. Ivan Mackerle, one of the leading Loch Ness Monster detectives, studied the region and interviewed many Mongolian people about the worm. Due to the sheer volume of sightings and strange deaths, he came to the conclusion that the Deathworm was more than just legend. Nobody is entirely sure what the worm actually is. Experts are certain it is not a real worm because the Gobi desert is too hot an area for annelids to survive.

Some have suggested it might be a skink, but they have little legs and scaly skin whereas witness accounts specify the worm is limb-less and smooth bodied. The most probable explanation is that it is a type of venomous snake. Although the native Mongolian people are convinced of the Deathworm’s nature, it will take more years of research to satisfy the rest of the world’s scientific community.

One investigator of that animal is Czech author Ivan Mackerle, who said in Fate Magazine (June 1991) that it reportedly kills its victims by electrocution. British zoologist Karl Shuker brought it to the general attention of the English speaking public in his 1996 book The Unexplained, followed a year later by his Fortean Studies paper on this subject, which was reprinted in The Beasts That Hide From Man in which it was hypothesized that the death worm was an Amphisbaenid. Loren Coleman also included this animal in Cryptozoology A to Z. A joint expedition in 2005 by the Centre for Fortean Zoology and E-Mongol investigated new reports and sighting of the creature. They found no evidence of its existence, but could not rule out that it might live in the deep Gobi Desert along the prohibited areas of the Mongolian/Chinese border.

(Source : 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy and Wikipedia)
(Pic source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Allghoikhorkhoi.jpg)
11:36 | 7 komentar

Longendale Ghostplane

The peak district is an area of sombre, imposing natural beauty between Manchester and Sheffield in the north of England. Britain’s first National Park, it is still the most visited National Park in Europe. It can be a dark, doleful place; a place where tradition and legend come alive; where history blurs with the present and where things can sometimes happen with no obvious explanation. In the west of the Peaks, running towards Manchester, lies the Longendale Valley. It is not only attracts tourists and leisure-seekers, but is also one of Britain’s most active sites for UFO enthusiasts and ghost-hunters. However, Longendale has one particularly unique type of supernatural story – Ghostplanes. The area has a long association with aircraft. The reservoirs in the area were used by the ‘Dambusters’ squadron to test their bouncing bombs during the Second World War.

Although these tests saw no fatal accidents, there have been over 50 cases where planes have found themselves lost in fog and crashed into the moors. In all, over three hundred airmen have died in these accidents. There is also a remarkable range of tales from people witnessing phantom vintage aircraft seemingly in trouble. It is such a common occurrence that the local park rangers and mountain rescue teams have almost become used to being called out for plane crashes that they cannot find. A striking recent example happened on the night of 24th March 1990. Many people were in the Peaks away from the city lights to watch the passing Hale-Bopp comet when they saw a large, low flying aircraft, like an old Lancaster bomber, on a collision course with local hills. Emergency switchboards lit up with a series of calls reporting the accident, with a staggering number of reliable witnesses.

Two of them were Marie- Frances Tattersfield, a police special constable, and her husband, a former pilot. Mrs Tattersfield said the plane was ‘the weirdest thing I have ever seen… it was big and it was well below the legal altitude for night flying. All its windows were lit up which made it look even more odd as no pilot would fly blind at that time of night over those hills’. The police launched a search and rescue operation with over a hundred volunteers, but no trace of any plane or crash was spotted. But the remains of many stricken aircraft do still litter the hills of the area.

On one, called Bleaklow, lies the shattered carcass of a B-29 Superfortress that crashed on 3rd November 1948, killing all 13 crew. Local children who play on the hill tell stories of a man in uniform who revealed himself as guardian of the site. They say he told them about the history of the aircraft and its crew, before vanishing. When shown photos of the dead aircrew, the children have been shocked to find the man they met was the doomed plane’s captain, Langdon P. Tanner. It is not just children that have seen the captain. Gerald Scarratt witnessed the B-29 crash as a boy, but only visited the site two decades later. He investigated around the remains of the wreckage and found a gold ring engraved with the name ‘Langdon P. Tanner’.

Soon after hearing of his discovery, a group of aircraft enthusiasts asked if he could take them to the wreck, ‘I bent down to show them where I found the ring, and when I looked up they had scarpered and were ten or fifteen yards away. ‘When I caught up with them they were ashen-faced. They said they had seen someone standing behind me, looking down and dressed in full flying uniform. I told them I had seen nothing, but they said: “We’ve all seen him, thanks for taking us up, but we are going.” And I have never seen or heard from them again,’ Scarratt said.

It would seem that, whether flying through the skies, or buried in the earth, there are some things in the Peak District which are beyond the realm of the explainable.

(Source : 100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy)
(Pic source : http://z.about.com/d/militaryhistory/1/0/0/0/-/-/b29.jpg)
20:36 | 4 komentar

Lost Land of Ophir

Ophir is the now-lost realm of biblical fame, recorded in the Old Testament for the fine quality of its gold, which was brought to Solomon by his Tyrian sailors. Eziongeber, the point of departure for Solomon’s ships, lay at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea, which suggests that the expedition’s destination lay somewhere to the south—and the question that has intrigued scholars for generations is: where? The ancient ruins discovered in Zimbabwe have been put forward as a possible site for Ophir, but they don’t seem to be old enough. Zanzibar on the east coast of Africa has also been mentioned, but that too is a very doubtful proposition. Because the voyage of Solomon’s gold convoy apparently occupied some three years, more distant lands have been sought as an answer to the question of where?, such as the delta of the River Indus (near what is now Karachi in Pakistan), Johore in southern Malaysia, Goa on the west coast of India, Malabar on the southwest coast of India, Malacca (earlier, Malaka) on the west coast of Malaysia, and Sumatra (Indonesia)—each of these has been suggested as the possible original Ophir; even Spain, Armenia, Phrygia (now Anatolia, central Turkey), and distant Peru have had their supporters.

“And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon.”
(1 KINGS 9:26–28)

This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel. It contains an inscription which mentions "Ophir gold" and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity. The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon's Temple.

It is interesting to note that on the coast of Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) there is a people who call themselves the Aphar; it does not take much imagination to derive “Ophir” from “Aphar.” One atlas of ancient and classical geography suggests that Ophir might have been located in the region of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). However, it seems most likely that Ophir is to be found closer to home, so to speak—specifically, it probably once existed in Arabia, perhaps on the west coast bordering the Red Sea or on the south coast facing the Arabian Sea. On the other hand, Charles Boland is quite clear as to its ancient whereabouts: “When King Solomon built his fabulous temple . . . he employed the ships of Tarshish to journey to Ophir (India).”

The exact location of Ophir remains a mystery, although there have been many ideas put forward by Bible students. Flavius Josephus (38 - 100 AD), the Jewish historian, linked Ophir with India and it is possible to show that from the second millennium BC there was a busy sea trade taking place between the Persian Gulf and India. Josephus connected Ophir with "Cophen, an Indian river, and in part of Asia adjoining to it," (Antiquities of the Jews I:6). Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) adds a connection to "Sofir," the Coptic name for India. Many modern scholars still place Ophir on the coast of India, in what is now Poovar.

(Source : Seafaring, Lore and Legend by Peter D. Jeans; http://www.biblelight.org/arch6.htm)
(Pics source : 1st from http://oneyearbibleimages.com/solomon_map.gif, 2nd from http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/israel/2-gold-of-ophir-bb.html)
17:07 | 9 komentar

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