Aurora, Texas 1897

I love a good UFO conspiracy – not so much for the conspiracy as the legend and folklore surrounding it. Area 51 and Roswell, New Mexico fuel UFO speculation and government cover-up to the point of hysteria. I’ll admit; depending on your frame of mind or the conviction of believers – it does pose some questions.

Pondering UFO abductions, sightings or crashes is tricky business. It’s one thing to say you don’t believe we’re alone in the universe, another to state you buy into specific cover ups. I don’t believe we could possibly be alone, that said I find it difficult to digest many UFO theories being bantered about. Cautiously forging ahead – ponder Aurora, Texas in 1897.

On April 19, 1897 the Dallas Morning News reported an incident on April 17 in Aurora, Texas. A “cigar shaped” flying object hit a windmill and  crash landed on the property of Judge J.S. Proctor. Witnesses claim a single occupant perished; the body mangled and described as “not of this world”. A Mr T.J. Weems – U.S. signal officer on duty in the area – reported to conveniently be an expert on astronomy – declared Mars to be mystery ships’ home planet. Further evidence; papers found on deceased Martian contained script in undefinable hieroglyphics. A “Christian burial” scheduled the following day.

The incident was never mentioned in press again. Local legends tell of the mysterious metal craft partially buried with the “alien”, the rest tossed down Judge Proctor’s well. In 1945 the property was purchased by Brawley Oates who developed a acute case of arthritis after trying to clear debris out of the old well. Oates later sealed the well with a concrete slab and built a shed on top of it. The Texas Historical Commission erected a marker outside Aurora’s cemetery detailing the “legend”.

UFO enthusiasts, historians, and idle gawkers ponder events at Aurora with interest ranging from curiosity to conspiracy. Naturally no evidence exists – the legend lives on. Never mind original reports of a slow moving cigar shaped craft – think Zeppelins since they were the only aircraft of reference. Take folded papers containing Martian hieroglyphs with a grain of salt – obviously alien travellers carried note pads when crossing galaxies.

Hard as I ponder, I can’t think of one good reason why we need “proof” of alien visits. We can’t cope with our own nonsense let alone deal with ramifications of other worldly beings. Religion would bend it into utter nonsense, business would find ways to turn it into a cash cow and fear would make survivalist wing nuts look like the next best thing.

I’m perfectly happy in my belief we’re not alone – and equally convinced we couldn’t process the truth.,_Texas_UFO_Incident

Vinland or Bust

Despite school yard rhymes “in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” or America’s Columbus Day holiday – it is generally accepted Christopher Columbus rode on the coat tails of much earlier European discovery of America. Discovery of a Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, proved Vikings found America almost 500 years before Columbus bumped into the Caribbean – never underestimate a good publicist.

Written references to “Vinland” date back to the 11th century; Adam of Breman’s “Description of the Northern Islands” describes it as an island discovered by many in an ocean where grape vines grow by themselves, producing the best wine. Vinland is synonymous with the Norse, and accepted as the name given to North America.

I rarely link to Wikepedia, in this case I’m making an exception – a fairly good history of Vinland folklore and historical accounts…

Truth be told, it’s the Vinland Map that got me pondering. In the early 1960’s Yale University paid a million dollars for a map – a map offering definitive proof the Vikings discovered America hundreds of years before Columbus. Yale purchased the map a few years prior to the Newfoundland bombshell. In 1966 the Smithsonian cast doubt on authenticity of the map; a 1974 test of ink on the map showed traces of titanium dioxide, an element that didn’t surface in ink until the 1920’s. In 2002, Yale surrendered a sliver of paper; carbon dating concluded 1430 or thereabouts stood, as Yale believed, to be the year its paper was made.

Backing up a little; Vinland Map has a tricky, more accurately “slippery” history. It was originally offered for sale as an “extra”, as in “unexpected discovery” inside the pages of a authentic and verified book called “The Tartar Relation” – dated to 1440, a book written by a Franciscan friar on the “manners and history” of the Mongols. Rather an odd place for a Viking map to land; fueling speculation it was a forgery, penned on paper taken from the verified book.

This link allows you to click on areas of the map for points of interest, speculation and debate – basically, you decide. My mind needn’t ponder long to arrive at the conclusion Columbus basked in credit he didn’t earn or deserve. An  intrepid explorer – perhaps –  discovered America? Oh hell no, not even close.

I can’t help but find it incredible how we quibble over minor details. If almost 50 years of “science” still draws debate; that’s one masterful forgery. Speculation by historian Kirsten Seaver that German priest Joseph Fischer forged the map in 1930’s Germany as a protest against the Nazis (she contends the map has Catholic symbolism; a protest against Nazi persecution of Catholics and a “take that Adolf” bitch slap for Germany likening itself to the Aryan Norse people – last laugh on you Hitler – Vikings were Catholic and discovered the known world) are still just a best guess.

The Vinland Map is a good mystery, in the end it doesn’t change a thing. We know the Vikings were in North America long before the Columbus show. Who honestly cares at this point if they set foot in Minnesota. Nobody is trying to take Columbus Day holiday away from you. Knock yourselves out public education system; who cares where Newfoundland is anyway – until a Norse settlement rises in New York state, Columbus discovered America when he bumped into the Caribbean and everything hinges on a questionable map.

Tell Qaramel

History teaches ancient hunter gatherers only began building settlements once farming and domesticated animals were part of the picture. Tell Qaramel, located in the north of modern day Syria, proves again how little we know. Baffling archaeological finds; Gobekli Tepe, Puma Punku, Varna, Derinkuyu, Piri Reis map, Catalhoyuk,Tell Qaramel – blowing conventional thinking out of the water, yet nary a splash.

Tell Qaramel was identified in the 70’s when a survey revealed mounds or “tells” at the site. The tell fit conventional thinking but surrounding area formed the basis of an archaeological head scratcher. Five round stone towers have been carbon dated to between 11,000 and 9650 BC, with no evidence of farming or domesticated animals. The towers at Qaramel pre-date the tower of Jericho by roughly 2000 years – until this discovery, the tower of Jericho was considered the oldest stone tower in the world.

I could ponder till my head hurt and still not come up with reasons why we ignore ancient history. Not so much ignore as omit; leave out references to historical evidence simply because we can’t explain or justify the finds within conventional thinking.

A joint Polish – Syrian investigation continues, professor Ryszard Mazurowski from Warsaw University, has led the dig since 1999. I can’t imagine what more it will take to snap us out of mainstream, textbook historical thinking – I do however have my fingers crossed that he finds something that finally makes history stand up and take notice – carbon dating seems to have little impact.

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El Dorado Wasn’t Lost

El Dorado is the stuff of legends; a lost “city of gold” in the jungles of South America, a myth stemming from Spanish conquistadors lust for gold. Within a few years of Francisco Pizarro’s 1532 arrival in Peru, the search for El Dorado was on. No one knows how much gold and silver was taken from South America; some estimates put the value at 500 billion in today’s dollars. Still – it was never enough, El Dorado was always just around the corner.

In 1537, conquistador Jimenez de Quesada left Peru with an army of 800 men, following the trail of El Dorado whispers. Quesada travelled into the Andes,  stumbling upon the Muisca people in what is now Columbia. The Muisca had a lot of gold; gold of spiritual and ceremonial, rather than monetary value.

To the Muisca, El Dorado was a ruler – a man so rich and powerful he covered himself in gold dust every day only to wash it off in their sacred lake by nightfall. Muisca crafted gold “Tunjos” , exquisite gold “offerings”, far superior to any gold crafted in Europe. These Tunjos had no relation to wealth or status. They were offerings, tossed into the sacred lake during ceremonies and rituals.

In 1636 Juan Rodriguez Freyle published a book called The Conquest and Discovery of the New Kingdom of Granada. He wrote of the ceremony of “El Dorado”, an elaborate ritual to appoint the “golden one” as successor when a king died. The ceremony took place over many days, culminating in the golden one – naked but for a covering of gold dust – travelling by raft to the middle of the lake to make offerings of gold and gems to the waters. Hundreds lined the shore, burning incense and throwing Tunjos into watery oblivion. Despite his accurate account of Muisca culture, the legend of the lost city El Dorado gained momentum. Gold was one powerful fever.

Archaeological evidence points more and more to El Dorado the man, rather than a lost city. I’m not sure how I feel about El Dorado; at least we don’t have to look for it any longer. It was never lost.

Gold raft from the Muisca people, found 1969 in a cave near Bogotá – depicting the ceremony of El Dorado.

Saucer Talk

On June 24, 1947 pilot Kenneth Arnold was in the air near Mt. Rainier Washington. Suddenly 9 “highly reflective” objects, moving in tight formation at super sonic speeds appeared; trying to make sense of it, Arnold changed his heading and angle of his aircraft – this was an era before jet aircraft – Arnold could think of no explanation. Without warning the objects simply disappeared, as if into thin air. Arnold stated they moved like saucers skipping across water. Newspapers across the country misquoted Arnold – “they looked like saucers skipping across water”. The term “flying saucer” was born. A few months later Roswell New Mexico became a household name – to this day the most controversial “alien cover-up” in history.

It doesn’t take much of a ponder for me to state – I don’t think for one second we’re alone in the universe. That said, and to the disappointment of friends who jokingly refer to me as a card carrying member of the “tin foil hat” club – there are some simple laws of physics needing a little reflection.

First law of physics to consider is that of “inertia”. Isaac Newton said “an object at rest or in motion tends to stay at rest or in motion unless acted on by an outside source”. To put this in perspective; for a fighter pilot travelling near the speed of sound to suddenly stop or make a 90 degree turn – 300 G’s of force would be the resulting death sentence as his internal organs were turned to jelly. Currently the most force a human being can survive – in a pressure suit – before blacking out is 10 G’s.

In the 1950’s the Avrocar designed aircraft mimicked wingless craft described by people reporting UFO’s. The conclusion being – wingless aircraft lacked stability, had poor aero-dynamics, and were not capable of reaching high speeds in earth’s atmosphere.

Almost all reports of UFO sightings claim the aircraft were completely silent. So what happened to the sonic boom? Sonic booms are the result of pressure differences between the front and end of an aircraft as it pushes through the atmosphere. The craft literally push a wave as they travel, resulting in what we’ve come to know as sonic booms. On a basic level we are able to effect “noise cancelling” by broadcasting the negative sound of what we want to cancel – this technology is used in “noise cancelling” headphones – no technology exists to cancel “shock waves”. Many reports claim the craft simply disappeared – this would require “light bending” technology; in essence an electromagnetic charge forcing light to “bend” around an object instead of that light being reflected or refracted.

Lastly, as technology changes, so do descriptions of UFO sightings. Once upon a time every last UFO was saucer shaped – today more and more witnesses describe a craft with wings, similar to “Stealth” fighters. UFO “sightings” appear to keep pace with technology.

Any attempt on my part to fathom what lies beyond the Milky Way are met with mind boggling possibilities – our universe vast beyond tangible points of reference – my gut saying we’re not alone, it simply isn’t possible. My head reminding me of our known laws of physics; laws allowing me to draw one single conclusion – if ET shows up on our doorstep; inertia cancelling, gravity defying, sound cloaking invisibility technology in hand – I hope they have a great sense of humour when I put on my tin foil hat.

Image – www,


Most people have knowledge of Stonehenge; without question the daddy of Neolithic sites. A sprinkling know of Carnac; over 3000 carefully aligned stones – some of monolithic proportions, erected between 3300 – 4500 BC near the village of Carnac in France. Fewer still have uttered the word  Gavrinis.

Gavrinis, a tiny island off the coast of Brittany in France clung to the mainland between 3,500 and 5,000 BC., a time defined by burial tomb construction. Not more than a bumpy  outcropping of rock (750 by 400 meters) uninhabited Gavrinis slept undiscovered until 1835 when French archaeologists started poking about a sunken burial tunnel entrance. Serious excavation began in the 1930s.

Gavrinis defies explanation. Over 50 stone slabs form the entrance tunnel and inner chamber – curiously carved slabs begging for stand at attention while humming the theme from 2001 Space Odyssey reverence. Gut reaction to a mind blowing epic – Gavrinis is no ordinary Neolithic site..

Roughly half the slabs boast intricate carvings resembling fingerprints. Mathematicians  believe it’s a code of sorts. Computer analysis dropped a bombshell – patterns represent the number of days in a year, references to solstice and equinoxes, an exact longitude and latitude of the island, and the “mathematical constant Pi”.

Much as this makes me grin from ear to ear, I have to admit not everyone is on board.  Many mysteries of the ancient world find themselves living on book shelves in “wing nut” land. Irrefutable archaeological evidence hasn’t taken Gobekli Tepe or Puma Punku off the crazy shelf and into mainstream consciousness. If 16th century Turkish admiral Piri Reis could produce a map of Antarctica, precisely as it would appear without ice, yet wallow in conspiracy land – it’s doubtful Neolithic people at Gavrinis coding “Pi” into fingerprint carvings will make a ripple.

Call me a pondering fool, I don’t care.Not for a second do I entertain the notion “alien” or otherworldly intervention had anything to do with ancient head scratchers. I’m going to fall asleep with a silly little grin; content in the knowledge that ancient civilizations kicked ass.

Will ISON Boom or Bust?

Comet ISON was discovered in 2012 by Russian scientists Vital Nevski and Artyom Novichonak; named ISON for their International Scientific Optical Network, ISON juries still deliberate if it will be a boom or bust. On November 28, 2013 the comet dubbed “dirty snowball” will pass within a million kilometres of the sun’s surface. If it survives, ISON will rival any comet event witnessed by mankind. With a brightness magnitude greater than the moon, ISON would blaze across the night sky as one of the most bad ass comets we’ve laid eyes on.

For ISON to prove bad ass it has to survive solar tides and radiation. In 2011 comet Lovejoy survived a brush with the sun, though much smaller than ISON – Lovejoy’s tail lit up the night sky for weeks. At least twice the size of Lovejoy and passing the sun at a greater distance, fingers are crossed for the “comet of the century”.


A composite image of Comet ISON as seen from the Hubble Space Telescope on April 30th, 2013. (Credit:

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As far as I’m concerned – we need a gob smacking, jaw dropping cosmic event to humble our over inflated egos. Nothing like a good dose of universal bad ass to put life in perspective.