Monday, April 30, 2012

Giant effigy mounds in South America discovered by Professor Robert Benfer

Professor Robert Benfer is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He says, "My research programs should be winding down, but a series of unexpected discoveries has them expanding."  As this recent article explains, Professor Benfer -- who has been involved in archaeological work involving Central and South American civilizations since the early 1970s -- had long observed that ancient archaeological earthworks in Peru resembled animal shapes, but until recently dismissed the idea, saying:
 I had always noted that a very large structure, just north of Lima, resembled a bird. But since there were supposedly no giant animal effigy mounds in South America, I thought it couldn't be.
Now, with the help of the greater availability of satellite imagery, he has confirmed that in fact Peru is home to ancient "effigy mounds" in the shape of birds and other animals -- an extremely important discovery.

This article by Professor Benfer from the September 2011 edition of Antiquity describes these mounds in more detail, complete with imagery from Google Earth Pro.  He explains that these mounds may date from the period 2200 BC to 1750 BC.  The article also points out that, "While geoglyphs are common in Peruvian coastal valleys, they differ from effigy mounds in that they lack three-dimensional structure; both types of monuments are however similar in that they are best viewed from overhead."  

The article also explains that effigy mounds are most commonly associated with the north-central United States.  Many readers are no doubt familiar with the famous Serpent Mound of Ohio (pictured above in a map from the 1800s), perhaps the most well-known effigy mound in the US.  Interestingly enough, the Serpent Mound has been shown to have strong celestial alignments -- including alignments to solstice rising and setting azimuths, as well as to significant lunar rising and setting points -- and the Peruvian effigy mounds discovered by Professor Benfer appear to incorporate similarly significant alignments in their design as well.

In fact, at the end of the article, Professor Benfer notes the possibility that these Peruvian mounds may "represent animals that mirror those in the Andean Zodiac, in the same manner as North American effigy mounds may be seen as representing animals of their respective constellations."  Some evidence that the effigy mounds of the US represent constellations (the Serpent Mound corresponding to the constellation Draco) are linked below.

That these effigy mounds in North and South America appear to incorporate astronomical alignments, and that they might also represent constellations, does not mean that the cultures that constructed them were connected, and Professor Benfer's article does not suggest that they are (the thoughts below about possible connections between widely geographically dispersed monuments are not meant to imply that Professor Benfer believes any such theories). 

While these newer Peruvian discoveries have not been extensively studied yet, there is some amazing analysis of the moundworks of Ohio which suggests that those North American mounds may be in some way connected to other ancient sites around the world, including the Giza pyramids!  The potential similarities between the South American mounds and the North American mounds must of course be explored further, and they may be coincidental similarities that arose in isolation -- but that is certainly not the only possibility, and (just as in a crime scene) all possibilities should be explored and none should be rejected out-of-hand if there appears to be evidence in its favor.

The idea that the North American mounds might intentionally mirror aspects of Old World sites (or derive from a common influence without intentionally mirroring one another) is a startling assertion, but there is in fact extensive evidence found throughout the Americas (and across the Pacific all the way to New Zealand) which suggests an ancient connection with a culture or cultures influenced by the same influence behind the pyramids of Egypt, some of which has been discussed in this blog and in the Mathisen Corollary book itself, as well as in the work of many other authors.  The insistence by the defenders of the conventional narrative of mankind's ancient past that there was no significant ancient contact across the oceans is very strange, given the extent of the archaeological evidence which suggests otherwise -- for one recent discussion of some of this evidence see this post, and for a long list of others (with links) see this older post.

The extensive and extremely sophisticated alignments of the earthworks of the American Midwest are discussed in great detail in some of the articles of Martin Doutré which he makes available on his website, Ancient Celtic New Zealand (click on "Articles" for a list of those, many of which deal with sites outside of North America).

For a discussion of the dimensions and alignment of the earthworks in the area of Newark, Ohio (including the "Octogon" pictured above, which is next to a circle and which together with the circle may represent a spider), see this article by Mr. Doutré.  In that article, he notes that the dimensions of the circle and the octagon have very close correspondence with the dimensions of the Great Pyramid.  We have previously discussed a possible connection in the dimensions of Stonehenge to the dimensions of the Great Pyramid, also based upon the work of Mr. Doutré.

This article, by Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason also discusses the Octagon and other ancient sites in Ohio, and notes that "The angle of true north off the central axis is very close, if not the same as, the slope of the Great Pyramid, i.e. between 51.5 and 52 degrees" (meaning the angle to true north from the central axis of the Octagon earthwork with its accompanying circle, which you can see in the image above in the upper-left portion of the map: the axis is easy to see because the mound-builders included an actual "neck" connecting the circular head of the spider with the octagonal body or abdomen of the spider).  Note that Mr. Doutré linked to that article and others by Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason in some of his articles, but that the site he linked to which used to display their articles now contains a fairly generic site about the mounds with little controversial information included, although this page of that site does link to an "archived" section containing the articles of Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Mason.

That material from Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason also includes a discussion of evidence that the Serpent Mound corresponds to an ancient understanding of the circumpolar constellation Draco.

Mr. Doutré has also written detailed articles examining the alignments and dimensions of other extensive earthworks in the American Midwest, including the incredible Cahokia Mounds of Illinois.  If you take the time to read through all the pages of that article, you will be stunned that you have never heard of this amazing archaeological treasure, and dismayed at the damage that has been done to it over the years (parts of the site have been turned into tract housing, parts have been paved over into a large parking lot, and parts of it were turned into a modern gravel quarry), although some belated attempts to undo these horrible blunders appear to be in progress.  

It is very difficult to argue with the massive evidence that Mr. Doutré presents which demonstrates that the designers of this extensive mound complex possessed a precise understanding of the precessional constant (beyond what either Hipparchus or Ptolemy understood), as well as an understanding of the sophisticated mathematical concept of phi, and -- most astonishing -- a clear understanding of the size of the spherical earth, and navigational concepts required for successfully crossing the bluewater oceans.  Did ancient Native Americans somehow know all of these things, as well as knowing of Stonehenge and Giza?  If so, how?  If not, who else might have had a hand in the design of these little-understood moundworks in North America?

It will be very important to examine the effigy mounds that Professor Benfer has discovered in Peru, to see if important dimensional codes akin to those described by Mr. Doutré in the mounds of Illinois and the Octagon of Ohio might be present there as well.  The other similarities to the earthworks of North America -- such as alignments with important astronomical events, and connection with constellations -- suggest that this analysis may prove to be worthwhile.  The astonishing similarities discussed in this previous post (about aligned stones, V-shaped notches on the horizon, and subtly-sculpted rock faces found in Peru and elsewhere around the globe) also suggest that this new discovery by Professor Benfer may point to connections around the globe.

Professor Benfer is to be congratulated for this exciting new contribution to our collective anthropological understanding -- in addition to all the other work he has contributed to anthropological knowledge throughout his career.  His use of the new wealth of information provided by modern technology -- in this case Google Earth -- has opened an intriguing new perspective on areas he has long examined from "ground level."  Let us hope that we can all learn from his ability to see things from different angles, and from his demonstrated success in following these new perspectives to such fruitful conclusions!  

I for one look forward to his upcoming analysis of this important new development in human history.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rupert Sheldrake and Morphic Resonance

Rupert Sheldrake is a trained and accomplished plant biologist and holds a doctorate in biochemistry.  He is most well-known, however, for his pursuit of a new explanation for evidence that  defied explanation by the conventional theories of evolution and materialism.  

The controversial new explanation that he offers burst onto the public stage in 1981 with the publication of his book entitled A New Science of Life: the Hypothesis of Causative Formation.  The senior editor of the journal Nature wrote an un-signed editorial about it, entitled "A book for burning?" and pronouncing its ideas "heresy."  Nature is an extremely prestigious and oft-cited forum, and the controversy that ensued effectively altered Dr. Sheldrake's career path for the rest of his life.  

The substance of that first book has since been republished and updated under a new title, Morphic Resonance: the Nature of Causative Formation.  The Greek word morph means "shape"or "form" -- we are familiar with it in many words, including "metamorphosis" ("change-form"), "anthropomorphic" ("man-form-like"), and even "morphine" (a name chosen to refer to the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, whose name comes from the same root and means "shaper" -- he could take many forms). The term as Dr. Sheldrake uses it refers to the different forms and families of biological species, and his theory of "morphic resonance" proposes that the different forms arose from a process other than molecular changes at the genetic level (variation in form based on genetic molecular changes being the current orthodox and accepted view).  

Instead, he proposes that there are "fields" (energy fields or, more broadly, fields of some type of force) which he calls "morphogenetic fields" -- "form-generating" or "form-producing" fields -- which act to organize the biological material at all levels into their characteristic forms, and that these fields give rise to all the different families of the biological world.  In fact, going beyond this, he also proposes that morphogenetic fields act upon and organize inorganic matter.  However, in the field of biology, he points to evidence discovered by genetic researchers which suggests that the genes between different species differ much less radically than expected, suggesting the possibility that something else might be responsible for the divergence of widely different species with nearly-identical genes.  

He also points to research which has shown that physical traits engendered in adults of a type of water flea (genus Daphnia) are passed on to their offspring.  These fleas "develop large protective spines when predators are around; their offspring also have these spines, even when not exposed to predators" (Morphic Resonance, xxi).  Similarly, he points to research showing that the other members of a species of lab rats which previously learned to negotiate a maze appear to be able to negotiate that maze more readily than lab rats whose species did not learn that maze (4).  That is to say, lab rats who did not previously learn the maze but whose fellows from the same species did, appear to have statistically significantly better scores on a maze once some members of their species take the time to learn it!  The radical implications of such a proposal -- and the reason that it provokes such vitriolic reaction among defenders of orthodoxy -- become immediately clear.

The implications include the idea that these resonance fields can change over time, altering the morphogenetic forces that shape both organic and inorganic matter.  This radical suggestion upends the idea of "laws of physics" -- unchanging and unbreakable rules that existed from the beginning of the universe -- and replaces them with something that Dr. Sheldrake says are more akin to "habits" -- trends that can become ingrained and exert enormous influence, but which can be changed over time, and to which new "habits" can always be added!

His theory is also radical in that it suggests that forces external to the organism -- residing outside the structure of the cells and genes -- can mysteriously influence thought, learning, and morphology.  If rats in New York can somehow get the benefit of the learning achieved by rats in London, then the nature of learning and consciousness and the mind is very different from what we are generally led to believe.  This is the connection to Dr. Sheldrake's work with telepathy and other "psi" phenomena.  He believes that, just as the form-generating force may reside somewhere outside of the actual molecular structure and the genetic material, so too might consciousness and awareness and memory reside somehow outside of the matter of the brain (and points to research which appears to provide evidence to support such a theory).

This type of hypothesis would allow for the kinds of apparently telepathic connections between organisms which appear to defy the conventional theories -- including some of the more "mundane" (perhaps) manifestations such as "telephone telepathy" (when you are thinking about someone and they call -- an experience we all have quite frequently but usually chalk up to coincidence: could it be that in fact your consciousness received extrasensory notification from the caller before your phone even received their call?) and "pet telepathy" (dogs and cats who appear to know when their owner is coming home, even before they would expect to know based on one of the five physical senses).

Dr. Sheldrake's work appears to resonate with many subjects discussed elsewhere on this blog, such as the documented premonitions of disaster prior to the voyage of the Titanic, or the remarkable communication through dreams discussed in this previous post and related in this moving account by Daniel P. Reid.  There is also the extremely important theory proposed by Lucy Wyatt that astral travel or what we might term some form of shamanism was central to advanced ancient civilizations, including that of ancient Egypt.  The thread of shamanism clearly runs through ancient advanced civilizations, as we have discussed previously (in connection with the work of Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend in Hamlet's Mill and of John Anthony West in Serpent in the Sky). The possibility that consciousness can transcend the physical brain, which Dr. Sheldrake examines, is clearly related to this thread as well.

I also find it extremely interesting that Dr. Sheldrake originally came to this theory in part through his observations of plant biology.  We have previously discussed at some length the work of another accomplished plant biologist, J.C. Willis, who -- like Dr. Sheldrake -- believed in some form of evolution to explain the diversity of species, but who found that the evidence does not support the dogma of neo-Darwinism.  Dr. Willis also came to the conclusion that there was some external and invisible principle at work in the universe which gives rise to all the different forms, but that it could not be the mechanism proposed by the neo-Darwinians.  He thought perhaps that this force might be chemical, or even possibly electrical, saying:
There might for example be (probably is) some physical or chemical law that at present we do not know, compelling genes or chromosomes to behave in a certain way. [Here there is a footnote, which reads: "My friend Dr C. Balfour Stewart suggests that it is probably electrical, as is probably the splitting of the chromosomes in reproduction."] page 46 of  The Course of Evolution (1940).
Dr. Sheldrake notes that Darwin himself appeared to accept the idea that acquired traits could be passed on to successive generations (so-called "Lamarckian inheritance," sometimes called "epigenetics" in its more modern form by researchers who admit that the evidence appears to point to some reason to suspect that something "over and above" strict genetic information may dictate inherited characteristics, the prefix epi- indicating "other than" or "over and above") (Morphic Resonance, xxi).  It is the position of neo-Darwinism, not original Darwinism, that rejects the inheritance of acquired characteristics. 

Finally, whether one accepts the theory that Dr. Sheldrake advances or not, his work also exposes another theme which runs through many posts on this blog and runs through the Mathisen Corollary book as well, and that is the withering criticism that is immediately leveled at anyone who dares to challenge the quasi-religious tenets of current scientific orthodoxy (note that his work was labeled as "heresy" when it was first published, as if the editors of Nature were protecting a sacred religion).  Other examples can be seen in previous posts, such as "There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists" and "Read Dr. Daniel Botkin's article, 'Absolute certainty is not scientific.'"

The vehemence and viciousness of this certain reaction (and the damage that it can do to one's academic career) no doubt discourages a great many academics from examining areas that might otherwise be explored, and serves to choke off wide swathes of potentially fruitful fields of human inquiry.  This is very unfortunate -- even tragic.  It also makes the willingness of Dr. Sheldrake to publish his conclusions all the more courageous, and whether one agrees with his conclusions or not we should all be grateful for his perseverance.

Dr. Sheldrake's other books include:



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bluejohn Canyon and Slot Canyons

On April 26, 2003, outdoorsman Aron Ralston (then 27) was canyoneering in Bluejohn Canyon, a remote slot canyon in Utah, when a heavy boulder he had clambered over on his way down became dislodged and fell in such a way as to pin his right forearm against the canyon wall.

Having told no one exactly where he was heading (other than the somewhat general "Utah"), no one would know where to look for him if he didn't return on time. No one was coming to find him.

Thus began a gripping ordeal which is described in Mr. Ralston's own words in the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place and which is portrayed powerfully in the movie 127 Hours (2010).

If it is April 26 where you are right now on the globe, you can imagine being trapped on this day and celebrate Aron Ralston's compelling escape from his predicament five days from now, on May 1 (mark your calendar). Somewhere in those 127 hours, you might want to pick up the book and watch (or re-watch) the movie.

Not only did Mr. Ralston's perseverance and fortitude in finding a way to extricate himself (and his subsequent refusal to let the loss of his arm stop him from climbing and adventuring since then) make him justifiably famous around the world, but it also gave Bluejohn Canyon a new notoriety.

Let's take a look at the forces which might explain the existence of slot canyons, which (like so many other geological features on our planet) appear to be better explained by the catastrophic mechanisms of the hydroplate theory than by the conventional uniformitarian theories.

Slot canyons are steep-sided narrow canyons which are usually significantly deeper than they are wide (sometimes as narrow as three feet at the top but 100 feet in depth!) The most famous, perhaps, is the unmistakeable Antelope Canyon in Arizona, which (as discussed below), may well have been produced by the same forces and the same post-flood event that carved Bluejohn Canyon.

Bluejohn Canyon (see Google Maps image above) is located on the Colorado Plateau, which according to the hydroplate theory was uplifted by the sinking action of the adjacent Rocky Mountains in the catastrophic events surrounding a global flood.

If you are unfamiliar with this theory and are ready to dismiss it altogether because it proposes a global flood, don't do so until you check out the evidence presented elsewhere on this blog or in hydroplate theory originator Dr. Walt Brown's extensive online book examining worldwide geological evidence.  Most especially, check out the evidence suggesting that the Grand Canyon is better explained by this theory than by the conventional theories -- because the events surrounding the creation of the Grand Canyon are intimately connected with the events which created Antelope Canyon and Bluejohn Canyon as well, if the hydroplate theory is correct.

The dramatic events leading up to the creation of the Colorado Plateau, and the subsequent creation of the Grand Canyon and the other incredible geological features which surround it (including the slot canyons as well as petrified wood, the Goosenecks, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and many other distinctive features of the American Southwest) are described by Dr. Brown on this webpage.

Essentially, he argues that when the drifting continents ground to a halt (after drifting apart during the flood in the direction of the Pacific Basin, as described in this previous post), they thickened and in some places created huge mountain ranges (almost always perpendicular to the direction the continents were moving). Floodwaters poured off the thickened continents, but in many places they were trapped in enormous inland seas or lakes (such as in California's Great Central Valley).

On the Colorado Plateau, two enormous lakes were not only trapped but elevated as the Colorado Plateau rose. When they later breached, the escaping waters carved the Grand Canyon quite rapidly -- explaining why the canyon goes right through the Kaibab Plateau (the conventional theory, of slow erosion by the Colorado River over millions of years, has a very hard time explaining why that river would choose to go over and through the Kaibab massif, or how it could have done so).

Less obvious but equally scientifically supportable, this theory argues that if these events explain the formation of the Grand Canyon, they would also explain geological features in the surrounding area that were created when sub-surface water erupted out due to the catastrophic draining of those two enormous lakes (which Dr. Brown names Grand Lake and Hopi Lake for convenience -- you can see the area that the geologic evidence suggests that they once occupied in this map).

The water table below the surface of the land surrounding these lakes was roughly at the same level as the lakes' former surface, and when the lakes suddenly drained, the surrounding water table was suddenly left next to two giant basins -- and sub-surface water began to burst out in ways that carved some of the world's most distinctive terrain features.  Later, some of that water from the land around those lakes would also erupt upwards out of the former lake-bottoms. As Dr. Brown explains:
Grand and Hopi Lakes emptied in weeks, so the water table surrounding those basins, in effect, quickly rose hundreds of feet. Perhaps several Great-Lakes’ worth of high-pressure subsurface water began seeking underground escape routes into those draining basins. Escaping groundwater exploited cracks and weak spots in the rock and opened up underground channels, many miles long. Those channels became destinations for even more escaping groundwater. The more water that flowed through these channels and their tributaries, the larger they became. In this way, hundreds of canyons formed that today enter the basins of the former Grand and Hopi Lakes. [That quotation is found on this page].
The hydrodynamic forces which created the slot canyons that are found in this general part of the world were carved by this subsurface water, according to Dr. Brown, and not by the erosive action of surface water flowing on the earth's surface (as the conventional theories propose). He explains:

Slot canyons have rough, vertical sandstone walls and can be a few hundred feet deep but only a few feet wide. They are usually found on the Colorado Plateau, along tributaries that feed into the Colorado River.73 [. . .] Conventional thinking says that slot canyons were carved by streams or flash floods eroding down from the surface. However, that would produce V-shaped canyons with relatively smooth walls, not extremely narrow, vertical canyons with jagged walls [. . .]. Besides, this quarter-mile long slot canyon, located at 36°51'46.14"N, 111°22'30.24"W, cuts through a ridge that rises 120 feet above ground. If the crack were not already there, a stream would flow along or around the ridge, not through it. Also, why would slot canyons be cut primarily through warped sandstone layers on the Colorado Plateau? Why are slot canyons not more uniformly scattered worldwide?
“Plateau Uplift” on page 208 explains why hydraulic uplifting of the Colorado Plateau warped horizontal layers and produced vertical fractures through those sedimentary layers. After Grand Lake breached, thin, vertical fractures that had penetrated wet layers of porous sand (aquifers) would have become drainage channels if flow could occur down to what would soon become the Colorado River. Drainage along those fractures eroded slot canyons and exposed warped, curved layers that were later cemented into sandstone by the silica-rich subsurface water. These vertical fractures produced slot canyons and streams; streams did not produce slot canyons. If all this happened millions of years ago, slot canyons would be much wider and shallower. [These sections of text are found on this page, at Figure 130, below photographs of Antelope Canyon].
These are very powerful points. Further support is provided by the clustering of features explained by this hypothesis in the geological region where we would expect them if in fact two huge lakes breached the way Dr. Brown believes that they did.

The series of maps below show how the location of Bluejohn Canyon is part of the area which would have been affected by this massive event, if the explanation proposed by Dr. Brown is correct (and there is ample evidence to suggest that it is). Note the other violently-disturbed terrain all around Bluejohn Canyon, starting with the Canyonlands and proceeding all the way to the Grand Canyon and beyond.

Each successive image "zooms out" to cover more ground, with the intent of showing how Bluejohn Canyon is part of a larger interconnected series of terrain features (including the Grand Canyon and also nearby Antelope Canyon) that were all carved by forces surrounding those breaching lakes (escaping water from the lakes, followed by violently escaping subsurface water). The area covered by the previous map is shown by a red rectangular outline in each successive map. The final map also shows the outline of the area covered by the very first map (which is the one above).

By "zooming out," this map shows how the line of canyons including Horseshoe Canyon and Bluejohn Canyon drain into Green River (northeast of the area covered in the red rectangle) -- Dr. Brown notes how many canyons (which he calls "barbed canyons") flow into rivers from the opposite direction that tributaries generally flow in regular river formations (the Green River, above, flows to the south, but the drainage of the slot canyons into it comes from the south and flows in from southwest to northeast). The explanation: these barbed canyons (including the slot canyons) were created by subsurface water flowing out into the basins that would later be occupied by the Colorado River and the Green River.

At this point we've almost zoomed out enough to see how all this terrain links together with the Grand Canyon (and many other features discussed by Dr. Brown on this page and this page of his website).

Below (at last) is a "Big Picture" image showing the location of Bluejohn Canyon in relation to the Grand Canyon, and other features that can be explained by the catastrophic draining of those two massive lakes.

In the map above (click on the image to enlarge it) you can see a label pointing to Bluejohn Canyon (inside the smaller red rectangle, which represents the area covered by the very first map up at the top of this post), as well as labels indicating the location of the Goosenecks (explained by Dr. Brown in the caption to figure 127, about three-fourths of the way down this long page), the famous Monument Valley (the backdrop for many John Wayne movies, its origins as the former lake-bottom of Grand Lake discussed by Dr. Brown in figure 124 on the same long web page), the stunning Antelope Canyon area (caused by the same rushing subsurface flows that carved Bluejohn and Horseshoe Canyons further north), the "funnel" formation at the origin point of Marble Canyon (where water blasted out on its way to setting the conditions for the carving of the Grand Canyon), Coal Mine Mesa (discussed, along with a photograph, at figure 129 at the bottom of that same page), and of course the Grand Canyon itself.

Dr. Brown also points out a host of problems with the conventional explanation for the Grand Canyon and the surrounding features (including "barbed canyons" that run "the wrong way" as Bluejohn does) on this web page.

This is all very powerful evidence, in my opinion, and worthy of careful consideration. It suggests that slot canyons are caused by relatively rare circumstances, typically involving a trapped post-flood body of water, uplifted due to nearby mountains, and then rapid breaching of large volumes of water and subsequent subsurface flows and eruptions of the "stranded" water table. They don't only occur in the American Southwest, but a large percentage of them do. Bluejohn Canyon certainly fits the description and appears to be evidence supporting the hydroplate theory's explanation of past events.

This is not to suggest, of course, that Aron Ralston accepts the hydroplate theory or its explanation for the creation of Bluejohn Canyon. However, as people around the world think back on his courageous escape, it is worth spending some time thinking about the amazing geology of our globe -- including slot canyons such as Bluejohn Canyon -- and how best to explain the evidence that we find to this day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ogham inscriptions in Colorado

In 1975, historian Dr. Donald G. Rickey (1925 - 2000) was investigating the site of an 1868 battle which took place between soldiers of the 7th US Cavalry and a raiding party of Cheyenne warriors at Hackberry Springs, in Colorado.

At the time, Dr. Rickey was the Chief Historian for the Bureau of Land Management (part of the US Department of the Interior), and had a personal interest in the battle in that one of the two 7th Cavalry troopers killed in the battle was his ancestor Sam Rickey.

While at the site, Dr. Rickey discovered groove marks which he initially called "spear-sharpening marks." However, as circumstance would have it, he traveled to Scotland only a few weeks later, where he happened to visit a museum displaying the distinctive grooved writing system known as Ogham or Ogam, used by the Celts and found in throughout the British Isles, mainly in Ireland but also in England, Wales and Scotland, almost always in the form of grooves carved into stones.

He immediately suspected that the rock inscriptions he had seen in southern Colorado might be an example of this same writing system. Dr. Rickey returned to the site with other researchers over the next two years, and eventually contacted Dr. Barry Fell (1917 - 1994), a Harvard professor and the author of the controversial America BC, first published in 1976. Professor Fell agreed that the inscriptions were likely an example of Ogham, and of the older "all-consonant" variety which seems to prevail in the Americas.

Dr. Rickey submitted the site for consideration for recognition of its historic significance, but his mention of the possibility that the rock art might be Ogham elicited a swift and contemptuous response from his archaeological colleagues, as described in the short video clip above. The full text of the memos and letters between the defenders of the orthodox view of history (which does not admit to the possibility of ancient trans-oceanic travel) can be seen here.

The tone of these letters is revealing. Dr. Stuart Piggott of the University of Edinburgh (to whom the Chief Archaeologist of the National Park Service wrote upon learning of Dr. Rickey's heretical suggestion) wrote back to say "I have just heard of this and have no doubt that it is not just the fringe but hard-core lunacy. I am astonished that anyone, particularly a historian, should have fallen for it" (see page 3 of the online pdf linked above; that pdf also contains a photograph of the inscriptions on page 6).

Unfortunately, this type of refusal to consider the evidence typifies so much of the academic response to the suggestion that some of their foundational assumptions might not match the evidence.

There is extensive evidence of Ogham writing in the Americas. One excellent book detailing Ogham inscriptions in the Colorado region (and surrounding areas, where ancient waterways might have led trans-Atlantic voyagers as seen in this video) is the Colorado Ogam Album, by Donald L. Cyr (1994). That volume contains one hundred eighty high-quality photographs of such inscriptions from an area of about two hundred miles in diameter. Donald Cyr published a discussion of these important New World inscriptions in 1997 in Atlantis Rising (article here).

As this blog has pointed out many times before, the alleged Ogham inscriptions (and evidence of other Old World writing systems appearing in the New World, such as the Micmac hieroglyphs) are by no means the only "data point" which points to the conclusion that mankind's ancient history is radically different from what is being taught in universities (and defended with such smugness by professors such as the professor quoted above). For a list of other forms of evidence (with links to discussions of each), see this previous post. And that list is by no means exhaustive, either.

Sadly, the refusal of the conventional academic and archaeological community to countenance the possibility that these inscriptions might be important clues to a more accurate understanding of the ancient past acts to prevent their study and preservation, and strongly discourages large numbers of academics with expertise in Ogham from hazarding a translation of any of them, for fear that they will be branded a "hard-core lunatic" (or worse).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Lyrid meteor shower for 2012, what causes it, and how to see it

The April Lyrid meteor shower takes place each year as the earth reaches the portion of its orbit designated by the dates April 20 through 26. This meteor shower is the product of the dust trail left by the long-period Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). The earth reaches the heaviest part of the residue cloud on April 21 or 22 each year, and this year it should be on April 21. Since these meteors can generally only be seen at night, the night of April 21 is probably the best night to see the shower, so make your plans now!

Here is a previous post featuring a rough sketch I drew to help illustrate the connection between the paths of comets traveling through the inner solar system and the meteor showers that are associated with different nights of the year. That diagram shows the meteor showers created by the debris from Comet Halley, the October Orionids and the Eta Aquariids (which take place around May 4). Here is a link to a helpful web page listing the meteor showers of the year.

Note that Comet Halley in the diagram can be seen to approach the inner solar system and earth's orbit from "below" the ecliptic plane (the south-pole-side of the plane of the ecliptic), and then break above the plane for a short time before diving back down on its way out. This diagram shows the plane of Halley's Comet more clearly.

In contrast, the image above from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows that Comet Thatcher spends most of its time "above" the ecliptic plane (on the north-pole-side, that is) and dives in from a fairly steep angle. In these diagrams, the path of the comet is light blue when it is above the ecliptic plane of the earth, and darker blue when it is below it.

The image also clearly shows another striking aspect of Comet Thatcher: it is a long-period comet, with an aphelion over 110 astronomical units from the sun (an astronomical unit or AU is a unit of measurement corresponding to the mean earth-sun distance). In contrast, Halley's Comet is a short-period comet, with an aphelion of only 35.1 AU. Comet Thatcher only comes by every 415 years or so, while Halley's Comet appears every 75 or so years.

The images below show Comet Thatcher's path from a closer and closer vantage point (to give a full appreciation for the amazing orbit of this far-traveling space object: after you stare at those for a few minutes to let it really sink in, we can go on to discuss the meteor shower that its trail causes each year):

As the earth passes through the line marked on the images above representing the path of Comet Thatcher, the debris left by the comet causes the April Lyrid meteor shower (you can see why Comet Thatcher only causes one meteor shower each year, while Halley's Comet causes two if you compare the third image above with the image of Comet Halley's orbital path).

This post from last year describing a different meteor shower (the June Lyrids, which also appear to radiate from the region of the constellation Lyra, but which are caused by a completely different comet trail and are not as strong as the April Lyrids nor as anciently attested) gives a mental image you can use to explain the predictable meteor showers of the year to your friends (it is also a helpful mental construct for understanding the important phenomenon of precession, as discussed in this post and in greater detail in the Mathisen Corollary book).

As that post from last year's June Lyrids explains, meteor showers are named for the constellation from which they appear to radiate (they may be seen all over the sky, but they will seem to be coming from a certain point called the radian, and their tails will generally appear to point back towards the radian). Meteor showers named Lyrids feature meteors which appear to streak away from a point in the constellation Lyra the Lyre. This diagram of the night sky for the early morning hours of April 22 gives a good depiction of that concept.

The Lyre is a small but easily-identified constellation, because it contains the star Vega, the fifth-brightest in the sky. Also, for viewers in the most heavily-populated regions of the northern hemisphere, Lyra is visible every night of the year (although sometimes only during the post-midnight hours when most people are fast asleep). For observers in San Luis Obispo, California (W120°39'36.0", N35°16'48.0") on the night of April 21, 2012, the bright star Vega rises at 9:14 pm (and about four minutes earlier each night after that). For New Paltz, New York (W 74°04'48.0", N41°44'24.0"), Vega rises at 10:23 pm on the night of April 21 (and about four minutes earlier each night after that).

Vega is one of the three stars of the brilliant Summer Triangle, discussed in this previous post. That post features several diagrams to help you locate Vega and the Lyre (in conjunction with the Swan and the Eagle and the Milky Way).  You can also use the interactive sky chart available at Sky & Telescope which enables you to enter different locations and times and view the sky and constellations for those different places and times (you can get to that by starting at this Sky & Telescope article about this month's Lyrids).

Because the moon will be at New Moon on April 21 (between the earth and the sun and hence out of the sky during the night), it should be an ideal night to try to observe the Lyrid meteor shower.

In fact, the conditions are good enough that NASA scientists will be attempting to photograph some of the meteors from the International Space Station, and simultaneously from locations on the earth (which may enable them to create a "3-D view" of the meteor if they can catch one from two directions at once). This article from NASA's Science News page has some helpful advice from NASA scientist Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Science Office, who will be staying up all night on April 21-22 to chat with the general public about the shower at this URL (thanks to the astute Mr. Mark D. S. for alerting me to this!).

Here's hoping that this year's April Lyrids are a positive and memorable event for all observers. As you observe a few of the meteors, think about their origin in that lonely ball of ice orbiting far, far beyond Pluto right now (see top diagram). If you want to learn more about the difference between long-period and short-period comets, and the possibility that this bi-modal distribution of comets may support the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown, check out this and other previous posts about comets.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stonehenge acoustics, and beyond

Yesterday, the BBC News reported on the work of researchers into the acoustic properties apparently designed into the layout of Stonehenge. 

The article, entitled "Neolithic acoustics of Stonehenge revealed by academics," describes a theory put forward by scientist Dr. Steven Waller in February of this year (it actually fits into the extensive and important acoustical work he has been doing for years at sites around the world, and ties into material on Stonehenge that he published at the end of 2011), which the BBC article describes as "suggesting the design of Stonehenge could have been inspired by music."

In fact, however, the theory of Dr. Waller is much more amazing than that (the author of the BBC article seems to have missed it, as that is as much description of Dr. Waller's work as it gives, with no later elaboration). Based on my understanding of Dr. Waller's written paper describing his November 2011 presentation to the Acoustical Society of America, as well as the remarkable slides he has posted from his presentation on the subject from February of this year, Dr. Waller's theory might be better described as arguing that Stonehenge is actually a physical representation of acoustical wave-patterns! Specifically, it mirrors a two-point sound-wave interference pattern. 

This is an amazing assertion, and Dr. Waller's research, as well as the research of two academics also mentioned in the article, appears to support such a hypothesis. The other two researchers who have now spent several years studying Stonehenge and acoustics are professors Rubert Till of Huddersfield University and Bruno Fazenda of the University of Salford (both in England). Here is a link to an article from 2009 describing some of their findings, and here are links three segments (part one, part two, and part three) from a television show discussing their work (along with over-dramatic narration and actors dressed in furs and skins reinforcing the idea -- stated in the narration -- that Stonehenge was built by primitive stone-age people just learning the first rudimentary skills of farming and beginning to gather in villages).

The work of all three researchers suggests that the site's acoustics may well relate to the use of drumming and even to altered states of consciousness (such as rhythmically induced trances), and to changes in brain-wave activity. Dr. Waller's other work in particular demonstrates the unmistakable connection between shamanic activity and acoustically unusual sites (natural echoing chambers, canyons, and caves, many of which are decorated with significant rock art). Dr. Waller's website Rock Art Acoustics discusses the art and acoustics at many such sites in the American Southwest and West, as well as at the Caves of Lascoux and other sites in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and the Pacific.

The fact that so many of these sites seem to incorporate both celestial imagery or alignments (Stonehenge contains strong alignments, and the Caves of Lascaux contain celestial imagery, for example) and that Dr. Waller and the other researchers believe their acoustics may be connected with altered brain-wave activity, states of consciousness, or shamanic activity, is extremely significant. 

In her book Approaching Chaos, Lucy Wyatt (whose work is discussed in this previous post) presents evidence that sophisticated incorporation of acoustic principles in ancient structures enabled the use of sonic and ultrasonic vibration that may have played a role in the very purposeful rituals that took place at those sacred sites. The heart of these rituals was a shamanic journey undertaken by a leader in search of beneficial knowledge for rest of the civilization. She points to evidence offered by many researchers suggesting that the Great Pyramid may have incorporated such sophisticated acoustic principles, and notes that other ancient structures around the world, including those on Malta, may have as well (158, 161-165). See this previous post for a discussion of some strong evidence that the ancient temples on Malta incorporate deliberate acoustical manipulation in their design.

Lucy also points out the power of acoustic vibrations to create physical patterns (such as in a thin layer of sand upon a metal disc), something that John Anthony West also discusses in his examination of the evidence of extremely sophisticated knowledge in ancient Egypt and the parallels between these patterns and ancient Egyptian and Pythagorean designs (see for instance the discussion in this previous post and this previous post, as well as of course his indispensable book Serpent in the Sky). Dr. Waller in the slide show linked above makes the insightful observation that, if ancient monuments such as Stonehenge are physical incorporations of acoustical wave-patterns, this could explain the numerous traditions found around the world insisting that ancient megalithic sites were erected by mystical figures using sound (often a flute)!

This appears to be an incredibly important line of investigation. The power and importance of music and chanting has been explored in many previous posts on this blog (see here, here, and here to begin), and the possible connections between acoustics and shamanic activity at these sites suggested by the work of Steven Waller, Rupert Till, Bruno Fazenda, and Lucy Wyatt sheds tremendous new light on the power of sound, and they are to be congratulated for it (and encouraged to continue!). 

The high level of sophistication required for the depiction in massive stone of wave-interference patterns, as well as the achievement of finely-tuned acoustical effects in these megalithic sites, and even the simultaneous incorporation of precise solar and astronomical alignments in the very same structures, also provides compelling evidence that the knowledge that originally informed these monuments was probably not the product of neolithic early farmers as described in the conventional academic narrative and depicted in most popular drawings and shows.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake

April 18 is the anniversary of the terrible San Francisco earthquake of 1906. While official records are not extremely accurate, it is now believed that over 3,000 people lost their lives in the quake and the devastating fires that raged afterwards.

The earthquake itself is estimated to have been between 7.9 and 8.25 in magnitude. Previous posts such as this one have discussed reasons to believe that the commonly cited causative mechanism for earthquakes, namely the constant drifting of tectonic plates, is incorrect.

The hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown cites extensive evidence which suggests that the entire model of drifting continental plates is flawed, and that it does not do a good job of explaining evidence regarding the depths of earthquakes or the distribution of earthquake depths around two general groupings, deep and shallow.

Dr. Brown points out that "Plate tectonic theory claims that earthquakes occur when plates rub against each other, temporarily lock, and then jerk loose. If so, why are some powerful earthquakes far from plate boundaries?" Several previous posts, such as this one and this one, have discussed the question of earthquakes far from plate boundaries.

Dr. Brown also notes another important problem with the continental drift model. In a paragraph entitled "Drifting versus Shifting," he points out that the continental drift model and the hydroplate theory each posit a very different type of force to explain earthquakes. The drift model proposes a continual force, which builds up over time and eventually leads to slippage or other sudden release of energy, while the shifting model proposes a disturbance -- an unusual force that acts suddenly.

While each of these two propositions could explain the slippage along the San Andreas Fault that occurred during the 1906 earthquake, there is some evidence which seems to support the hydroplate explanation and not the tectonic explanation. Dr. Brown notes:
Shallow earthquakes sometimes displace the ground horizontally along a fault, as occurred along the San Andreas Fault during the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Western California slid northward relative to the rest of North America. The San Andreas Fault has several prominent bends, so just as two interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle cannot slip very far relative to each other, neither can both sides of the curved San Andreas Fault. Furthermore, if slippage has occurred along the San Andreas Fault for eons, friction should have greatly heated the sliding surfaces. Drilling into the fault has not detected that heat.
This is an extremely important data point, and one which strikes a telling blow against the tectonic explanation. If it were the only data point that seemed to oppose the tectonic theory, it would not perhaps be so damaging, but in fact there are dozens of other powerful data points which are very damaging to the tectonic theory but which seem to support the hydroplate theory. Some of those which have been discussed in previous posts include the arc-and-cusp shape of deep ocean trenches, the unexpectedly low gravity readings scientists have measured over deep ocean trenches, and the difficulties the tectonic theory has in explaining the location of Antarctica (did it all move south on one plate, and if so then how to explain the severe sediment displacement found in the mountain ranges of Antarctica?), as well as the earthquakes far from boundaries mentioned above, and the bimodal depth distribution of earthquakes that Dr. Brown discusses in the passages linked above. The existence of Lake Vostok in Antarctica seems to pose some serious difficulties for the conventional tectonic theory as well.

Another problem with the idea of constant continental drift should be clear to anyone who has studied the rather precise alignments that still exist in ancient structures around the world, including the Giza pyramids, Stonehenge, the passage mounds of the Boyne River Valley in Ireland (such as Newgrange and others), and the ancient megalithic temples of Malta.

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States, with appalling loss of life. It serves as an awful reminder of the devastating power of earthquakes. We should insist on continued research and analysis into the true cause of earthquakes, and should be wary of those who insist that our current theories are beyond questioning.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The shamanic tradition in ancient Egypt

Here's a link to an interview on Red Ice Radio with Lucy Wyatt, author of the book Approaching Chaos (2010) as well as the website of the same name.

The interview is in two parts, the first of which has been titled "The Bronze Age City Builders" and the second of which is titled "The Hermetic and Shamanic Tradition."

The topics covered are both fascinating and important, and resonate with many of the subjects that I have noticed and discussed on this blog in the past, although I only recently became aware of Lucy Wyatt's work.

One of the most interesting to me is her assertion of the possibility that many of the ancient texts of ancient Egypt, which were almost universally assumed to describe the journey of the soul after death, actually describe the out-of-body journey (or astral travel) that the pharaoh would take on behalf of his people during life, a practice that survives in the shamanic traditions found in many parts of the world even to this day.

Following and building upon the work of Jeremy Naydler, her work points out the many references in the Pyramid Texts to ascending ladders, flying upwards in the form of a falcon through successive celestial worlds, and other hallmarks of shamanic tradition the world over. This is a connection which I also believe is extremely clear and extremely important, and which I first learned about through the work of Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend in Hamlet's Mill (1969), discussed in this previous post.

Other previous posts on the subject of the important aspects of lost (or "largely forgotten") civilization that have been preserved in shamanic tradition around the world include:
Lucy Wyatt's interview discusses the possibility that the pharaoh prepared for this dangerous and powerful journey his entire life, which he would undertake during the private portion of the Heb Sed Festival, usually inside of a specially-built pyramid, perhaps with special electrical properties enhanced by gold accoutrements (gold being a good conductor of electricity). She notes that among Tutankhamun's burial possessions was a gilded bed designed for his Heb Sed festival. She also notes that the process may have involved some sort of psychoactive substance, possibly derived from gold, and proposes an Egyptian connection to alchemy that is slightly different from that proposed by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887 - 1961) which is discussed in this previous post.

She also suggests that it is possible that the qeni garment which the pharaoh donned during this ritual may have been designed to protect his heart from stopping if electricity was indeed involved in this out-of-body travel of his life essence, and that the "opening the mouth" ceremony described in detail in many ancient Egyptian may have been designed to prevent the pharaoh from swallowing his tongue during this experience.

Another interesting point she makes in her interview is the similarity between the intensive preparation the pharaoh would undertake prior to this shamanic journey and the intense training found in the Buddhist monastic tradition -- and in fact the remarkable similarities between ancient Eygptian and Buddhist thought are also explored in this previous post.

According to her hypothesis, this shamanic connection is no mere sidelight of history: Lucy finds evidence to believe that the original archetype for cities was accessed shamanically, rather than as a natural progression from simple farming villages. She notes that archaeological evidence suggests that shrines and ritual are the beginnings of the ancient Mesopotamian cities (Ur, Uruk, Eridu etc), not market places. Similar evidence can be found all over the world.

For further reading on this very important theory, one which has wide-ranging implications, be sure to check out Lucy Wyatt's book, as well as the excellent and extensive article she published on the Graham Hancock website here.

Also, you can learn more about her work at the upcoming Eternal Knowledge Festival in Suffolk, England, taking place on April 27 - 29.

I believe it is abundantly clear that Lucy Wyatt's work provides a very important perspective on ancient civilization in general and ancient Egypt in particular, one that is very different from the conventionally-understood view, and one that reveals that ancient civilizations may have been far more scientifically advanced than most scholars currently believe, sciences which we moderns (for all our vaunted technology) can barely comprehend.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


On this fateful day 100 years ago, 14 April 1912 at approximately 2340 hours, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and began taking on water. Less than three hours later, at 0220 hours on 15 April 1912, Titanic would sink beneath the surface forever. Only 710 of those on board would survive: the other 1,514 passengers and crew would perish.

The collision itself can obviously be attributed to a loss of what military professionals call "situational awareness" (this very useful concept and term has since spread to many other fields, because it is an extremely valuable tool for any situation requiring analysis, particularly the analysis of situations requiring decisions in conditions of uncertainty, especially decisions in which mistakes could entail grievous loss of life or property).

In a military environment, situational awareness entails having an accurate picture of the friendly situation, the enemy situation, and the terrain situation. While this may sound easy, it is not. The famous strategist and military analyst Carl von Clausewitz once said, "in war, everything is simple, but the simple is difficult." Anyone who looks back on complex situations such as the command of a massive trans-Atlantic liner or any combat situation in history and says to himself (or herself), "but it was so obvious! that should have been so simple!" should take care to fully understand this insightful observation by Clausewitz.

It has in the past been the case that a battalion or brigade commander has begun a battle at the US Army's most sophisticated force-on-force training centers thinking that all his subordinate units are ready to go, only to learn later that one of his tank companies actually began the battle with critical shortages of ammunition. This would seem to be impossible -- impossible that it would actually happen, but even more unbelievable that the commander would think everything was just fine when in reality the situation was completely different from the picture in his head. This is an example of being unaware of the true "friendly" situation.

It is also quite often the case that the enemy in a combat or training situation deliberately feeds hints that he is doing one thing, only to do the opposite. It is understandable that the friendly commander might interpret the data points he sees as confirming the picture he wants to see in his mind. When the enemy suddenly shows up out of a totally different direction than the friendly commander anticipated, reality comes crashing in and corrects the false picture that the friendly commander had been carrying around in his mind (although often by then it is too late). This is an example of being unaware of the true "enemy" situation.

Again, it is often the case that a friendly commander will believe that his unit can advance through a certain piece of terrain (perhaps a riverbed that affords him a concealed avenue of approach) but when his vehicles actually try to negotiate that terrain, they discover that they get bogged down in soft wet ground and cannot proceed. Conversely, there are times when a commander will conduct analysis which leads him to believe that a certain avenue is impossible for the enemy to negotiate, only to discover too late that the terrain could be traversed by the resourceful opponent (this happened to the Germans at Pointe du Hoc in World War II, when the US Army Rangers demonstrated that there is literally no terrain that cannot be negotiated by a well-led group of Rangers). This is an example of having a failure of situational awareness regarding the terrain.

In the case of Titanic, it is quite obvious in hindsight that the mental picture of the "friendly" capabilities was altogether too optimistic. Everyone knows that the ship was believed to be "unsinkable" by many -- an unfortunate description in the prestigious British journal Shipbuilder published at the occasion of the launching of Titanic's sister ship Olympic in 1910, which declared that these ships were "practically unsinkable" (Daniel Allen Butler, 11). As Daniel Allen Butler says in his 1999 history Unsinkable: The Full Story of RMS Titanic, "Before long, and perhaps inevitably, the qualifying adjective was forgotten by the general public" (11).

This failure of situational awareness is related to the egregious failure to provide enough lifeboats for everyone aboard. As Chris Berg of the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, Australia wrote in an article entitled "The Real Reason for the Tragedy of the Titanic" (and as Butler's 1999 book also points out), the reason for this terrible failure of situational awareness stemmed from the belief that lifeboats were not needed for every passenger, because they were primarily used to shuttle passengers to rescue ships. This was exactly how they had been used in the relatively rare incidents in the decades prior to the Titanic disaster.

As the Clausewitz quotation above cautions us, we should be very careful to avoid falling into the trap of believing that we would have seen the true situation where those alive in 1912 failed to do so. As Daniel Allen Butler writes:
If builders, owners, and officers of the Titanic were complacent and overconfident, they were simply reflecting the attitude of every shipping line in the North Atlantic trade. If the passengers believed that the Titanic was indeed unsinkable, it wasn't because they had succumbed to the blandishments of the shipping line's advertisements or the pronouncements of the experts: in the forty years prior to the Titanic's maiden voyage, only four lives had been lost on passenger ships on the North Atlantic trade. Imagine how blithely air travel would be regarded by present-day travelers, who usually seem to express little enough trepidation about the hazards of commercial flying, if the major airlines possessed a similar safety record. never had any form of transportation been so safe and hazard free. xi.
As for the "terrain," so to speak, we now know that an extensive and dangerous field of ice stretched across Titanic's path, much further south than the captain anticipated (he had already adjusted his course ten miles further south based on warnings received, but not far enough).

Recent analysis suggests that an extremely rare proximity of the moon, combined with the earth's passage through the point in its orbit where it comes closest to the sun, just a few months prior to Titanic's collision with the berg may have created larger tides which enabled larger icebergs to stray further south by April of 1912 than in previous years. This unusual situation may have in some way contributed a bit to the incorrect mental picture in the mind of Captain E. J. Smith (who had successfully plied the Atlantic for forty-five years, beginning at the age of 12, and had been the Captain of the sister ship Olympic for about a year before Titanic's maiden voyage), but as even those who proposed the exceptional-tides hypothesis are careful to state, Titanic sank because she steamed at night into an ice field her captain could have known about, and without slowing down.

Even after the collision, however, a lack of situational awareness appears to have played a decisive role. Daniel Allen Butler provides evidence that -- while the passengers may have been kept from knowing the seriousness of the situation in order to prevent a panic -- the leadership on board were not given a briefing on the grave condition of the ship, although they could and should have been. He writes, "One of the most remarkable aspects of Titanic's sinking is that very few people on board regarded the situation as serious for more than an hour after the collision -- in fact it was nearly 1:15 before Fourth Officer Boxhall was told the ship was going to sink. While no doubt Smith wanted to avoid a panic among the passengers, and quite possibly the crew as well, not letting his officers know just how serious the emergency was may well have contributed to a false sense of security among them, which in turn caused them to allow a number of the boats to leave the ship less than half full" (250 - 251).

An even more awful failure of situational awareness (perhaps not as well known to the public because not included at all in the 1997 film) involves the nearest ship to Titanic, a small liner of 6,000 tons (Titanic was 45,000 tons), the Californian. There is significant evidence that Californian was stopped at the edge of the ice field just five to ten miles north of Titanic (see map above), that her officers including Captain Stanley Lord visually saw Titanic when she first came into view at 2330 on the night of the 14th (only ten minutes before the brush with the iceberg) and in fact even tried to hail her with a Morse lamp, that Captain Lord ordered his wireless operator to tell the other ship that Californian was surrounded by ice and stopped (this message was received and rebuffed by Titanic's operator, who was busily sending a backlog of messages at the time and angry that Californian had failed to ask permission to break in), and that the officers of the Californian saw the other ship come to a stop (not thinking anything unusual about this, which is understandable).

However, after Captain Lord retired for the evening (giving instructions to let him know if the other ship altered course or moved closer), the officers on duty saw the ship extinguish its lights, and later fire eight white rockets (the distress signal). They report that they informed their captain, who told them to note it in the log, and that Captain Lord then went back to sleep. The official log prepared by the captain later did not report anything about the rockets, and the "scrap log"(a sort of rough draft log from which the official log would later be compiled) for the night of the 14th - 15th was later discovered to be missing.

Had Californian's captain perceived the true situation, or taken appropriate action, the terrible loss of life might have been completely avoided or at least greatly reduced. Afterwards, of course, the true situation became quite clear, and it appears likely he tried to hide the evidence of the rockets and to alter the reported location of his vessel to make it seem farther away at the time of the Titanic disaster. The evidence surrounding this aspect of the disaster is presented in Mr. Butler's book in a chapter entitled "Watching Eight White Rockets" and in an Appendix entitled "The Titanic, the Californian, and the Culpability of Captain Lord."

A very good source for those interested in the events surrounding the Titanic, including the inaction of the Californian, can be found online in the 1912 report issued by the US Congress entitled "Loss of the Steamship Titanic." It concludes that Captain Lord was culpable of failing to respond to the white rockets of distress. Some continue to work to exonerate Captain Lord to this day (this web page describes some of the controversy) but the weight of the evidence does not seem to be in his favor (defenders of Captain Lord have tried to argue that a third ship came between the Californian and the Titanic during the time in question, and fired off flares -- perhaps a fishing boat communicating with its longboats -- before sailing away again, but there is absolutely no evidence to support this assertion).

The human tragedy of the Titanic story is enormous in scope, and the entire story far bigger than can be discussed here. However, the perspective of "situational awareness" is extremely valuable, and one which bears directly on all forms of analysis, including the analysis that is the subject of so many of the discussions in this blog and in the Mathisen Corollary book as well. The difficulty of perceiving the true situation, even when evidence is available that should make it possible to do so, is evident at every turn. The importance of examining the data points available, and of looking at different ways to "connect the dots" (not just the first one that suggests itself) comes through quite powerfully.

There is always a human tendency to want to "confirm" the picture we have in our minds -- to confirm the picture that we want to see -- with every new data point we encounter (and to push aside those data points that might disrupt our desired picture). We see this in the events described above, but it is also in operation among supporters of the conventional theories (such as the geological theory of tectonics, or the picture of human history that involves slowly evolving and slowly progressing stages of civilization, even though substantial data points appear to call these theories into question). And, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that this tendency to want to confirm our own pet theory with every new data point cannot fail to be operative in our own mind as well.

Carefully pondering the Titanic story is therefore a very valuable exercise, and never more appropriate than on this, the one hundredth anniversary of that tragic night.

Respect -- RIP.

Note: for my most recent thoughts on the Titanic tragedy, see "Titanic conspiracy, due diligence, natural law and mind control," 04/13/2014.