Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weird News of the Week

Secrets of Snow

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Teaching Robots to Improvise

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Solutions for Fresh Bananas

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This is not a Photo

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Bees in NYC

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Creature of the Month - The Beast of Brassknocker Hill by Nick Redfern

The strange saga all began in July 1979, amid wild rumours that a terrifying monster was haunting the dark woods of Brassknocker Hill, situated near the old British city of Bath. Described variously, and in both excited and hysterical tones, as a long-fanged, four foot tall creature resembling a baboon, chimpanzee, spider-monkey, gibbon or lemur, the creature was of far more concern to some than it was to others.

Locals Ron and Betty Harper were hardly in a good mood when they discovered that the mysterious creature had stripped whole sections of their old, mighty oak tree bare of bark. To the kids of Brassknocker Hill, however, the hunt for the beast provided them all the excitement they needed of a jolly adventure of Hardy Boys proportions – particularly so when, only one month later, the number of trees targeted had reached an astonishing fifty, and the woods were plunged into an eerie silence after almost all the local birds summarily fled the area, presumably for far safer and beast-free pastures.

Meanwhile, eighty one year old Brassknocker Hill resident Frank Green, clearly hyped up to the max and desperately trying to live out his Dirty Harry fantasies, took a far more grave and serious view of the strange situation. He took up nothing less than a day and night shotgun vigil, and told the media in loud and worried tones: “I am very fond of some animals, but I reckon this creature could be dangerous and I am taking no chances.”

Fortunately, or unfortunately – depending on one’s personal perspective on the monstrous matter - Green did not have the opportunity to blast the baboon-like beast to kingdom come, or, indeed, to anywhere. It skilfully avoided all of his attempts to track it down, much to the relief of the police, who were hardly enamoured by the idea of a grouchy, old-age pensioner roaming around Brassknocker Hill with a loaded shotgun in search of a marauding, unknown creature.

Nearby Monkton Combe became the next locale terrorized by the Beast of Brassknocker Hill. A small, old village situated approximately three miles from Bath, the main claim to fame of Monkton Combe is that the village’s railway-station appeared in the 1931 film, The Ghost Train, penned by Arnold Ridley (Mr. Godfrey in the BBC’s classic, wartime comedy TV series, Dad’s Army), and also in the 1953 Ealing comedy-movie production, The Titfield Thunderbolt. As for the creature, it was seen by a man who was driving through the area late one night, and who offered the anonymous description to the press that the animal he crossed paths with was of a significant size, seemed somewhat bear-like in appearance, briefly stood on its thick and substantial hind legs, and possessed a pair of large eyes that were surrounded by great white circles of fur or hair.

Getting in on the growing sensationalism, a Dutch newspaper – Het Binnenhof – ran a story that, translated into English, practically suggested an assault on Brassknocker Hill of the type of proportions one would expect to see in a Tokyo-shattering on-screen attack by Godzilla! The title of Het Binnenhof’s eye-catching article, that provided an entertaining summary of the affair, was: Beast of Bath Destroys British Wood! Its title guaranteed not just local and national interest, but now international coverage, too.

By the time the following summer arrived, the mystery seemed to have been solved: A policeman, one Inspector Michael Price, caught sight in the woods of what he thought was nothing less than a large chimpanzee running around; although the identification of the animal was never fully confirmed, thus leaving the cage-door open to the possibility it had been a baboon, after all. The local press quickly sought out comments from the police. And they got them, too: “We were sure this mystery creature would turn out to be a monkey of some sort,” said Inspector Price himself, clearly and happily wallowing in a brief wave of very odd publicity. “After all, men from Mars aren’t hairy, are they?” Quite! But rumours of strange and savage activities at Brassknocker Hill persisted, much to the glee of the local media.

Two years later, the stories returned, only this time – rather curiously - the tales of a baboon, or some other type of monkey, on the loose were replaced by sightings of something very different. A stag, polecat, or even a Japanese deer, were among the many and varied candidates for the new beast of the hill. Then, one morning in the summer of 1984, reports started coming in to the news-desk of the Bath Chronicle newspaper of a strange-looking creature holding up traffic on Brassknocker Hill. Once again, for the press, the game was afoot, to reference a certain famous and fictional detective.

“I grabbed my notebook,” said reporter Roger Green, who later became the editor of the Littlehampton Gazette. “Colin [Shepherd] the photographer grabbed his camera, and we rushed out to the hill. The reports were pretty credible, so we were convinced that there was something there,” Green recalled. “It was with slight trepidation that we entered the woods. After several minutes of stalking, we came across the “beast,” by then calmly grazing in a field. It was an Alpacca, a type of llama, and had escaped from a paddock. It was later reunited with its owner by the police.”

But, quite obviously, this did not explain the earlier sightings of a baboon-like animal, which – under no circumstances, at all - could have been confused with a llama! Needless to say, the mystery was never resolved, and the baboon, if that is what it really was, vanished, died, or moved on to pastures and tree-bark new. But, the legend of the Beast of Brassknocker Hill continues to thrive amongst the residents of the area who still very well remember those monster-filled, crazy days and dark nights of years now long gone.

Nick Redfern is an author, lecturer, and journalist who writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies.
His books include The Pyramids and the Pentagon; Keep Out!; The Real Men in Black; The NASA Conspiracies; Contactees; and Memoirs of a Monster Hunter all published by New Page Books. His new book The World's Weirdest Places will be published in October.  He writes for many publications, including UFO Magazine, Fate, and Fortean Times, and has appeared on numerous television shows, including the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens,Monster Quest, and UFO Hunters; National Geographic Channel’s The Truth about UFOs, and Paranatural; and SyFy Channel’s Proof Positive.

Picture credited to Scott A. Andrews

James O'Kon Coming September 24th to The Explorer's Club NYC

Join The Explorer's Club for a public presentation as Mr. James O'Kon talks about the technological achievements that allowed the Maya to artificially push their environment to its optimum capacity with dense populations in urban centers.  When disaster stuck in the form of a drought, the worst in 7000 years devastated the Maya civilization.  The same advanced sciences that built the cities and enabled the growth of large populations could not save the Maya, and the scientific Maya civilization was no more.

Date: September 24, 2012
Time: 6 PM Check In, 7 PM Start
Guest Ticket: $20
Location: New York Headquarters
46 East 70th Street
New York, NY
Click Here for More Information 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Positive News of the Week

Favors for Strangers

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New Technologies for Firefighter Safety

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Dogs and Babies = Healthy Family

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Amnesiac uses Facebook to Piece Life together

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Bionic Eye May be on Its Way

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Good Vibrations: The Healing Power of Resonance by Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman

Today we take a glimpse inside The Resonance Key by Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman. Scientists and paranormal researchers alike are looking to resonance as the theory that could bridge the gap between science and the supernatural and explain every facet of reality in between. The Resonance Key dives into the most amazing new ideas, theories, and research that link vibration, mind, and matter. This piece comes from Chapter 7.

“O trumpeter, me thinks I am myself the instrument thou playest, Thou melt’st my heart, my brain—thou movest, drawest, changest them at will…” —Walt Whitman, “The Mystic Trumpeter”

Less than 100 years ago, the concept of laying in a tube-like structure and having a camera take a picture of your inner organs or brain was thought to be the stuff of pure science fiction. Could you imagine describing this technology to someone of that time period? It would be like trying to show a cavewoman how to use an iPod.
But for the thousands of patients who have gone for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) this “fantasy” is an accepted reality. Magnetic resonance imaging involves the combined use of a powerful magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to produce a detailed computer image of inner organs, bone, tissue, blood vessels, and even the brain. An MRI is one of the most critical non-invasive diagnostic tests for evaluating a variety of diseases such as cancer and heart disease—conditions that cannot otherwise be accessed via the typical x-ray, ultrasound, or CAT scanning.
MRI’s do not use ionizing radiation, or x-rays. The typical cylindrical shaped unit is comprised of a tube surrounded by a powerful circular magnet. While the patient lies in the magnetic tube, radio waves redirect the axes of spinning protons within a powerful magnetic field, created by the passing of an electrical current through embedded wire coils in the walls. A second electromagnetic field using radio waves is then activated, allowing the protons to absorb the energy. Other coils send and receive radio wave signals (which accounts for the clicking sounds heard during the exam) that are then processed on a computer, resulting in the final images that are given to a doctor or specialist. The doctor looks for diseased tissue or organs, which are detectable due to the protons in different tissues returning to their equilibrium state at different rates, allowing contrasts between types of body tissues.
MRI uses a static magnetic field. The energy difference between the nuclear spin states corresponds to a photon at radio frequency (rf) wavelengths. Resonant absorption of energy by the protons due to an external oscillating magnetic field occurs at what is called the Larmor frequency for the particular nucleus. The Larmor frequency is what happens when a magnetic moment is placed in a magnetic field. Its natural tendency is to align with the field. A magnetic moment is like a current loop and the influence toward alignment can be called the torque on the current loop exerted by the magnetic field. It is all very technical, but the end result is an imaging machine that can detect a variety of diseases and save lives.
Man’s use of resonance and sound to heal the body is probably one of the oldest treatment modalities in existence. The idea that the body responds to different sound and light frequencies is not new, and serves as the underlying foundation of many ancient healing traditions. From the drumming of shamans, to chanting, music, humming, and pulsating light, many techniques involving sound have been used throughout the ages by healers and religious leaders. Even in today’s modern, technology-centric world, scientists are reevaluating the use of sound and light in aligning the body’s own vibratory frequencies with those of a body vibrating at optimal health.
 Archaeologists have recently discovered small, clay skull-shaped whistles buried with human remains in unearthed Aztec temple cities. These “whistles of death,” which can also take shapes other than skulls, were at first dismissed as ancient noisemakers and toys by archeologists, but new research by a mechanical engineer named Roberto Velazquez points to a much different use.
Velazquez, who has produced hundreds of replicas of these whistles and other flute and wind-type instruments found in Mexican ruins, suggests that among other purposes, they were used during mourning to help assist the dead in their journey to the other side. He is working with musicians, archeologists, and historians to take a new look at these ancient artifacts, and what they were capable of. In a June 2008 story for by Julie Watson, Velazquez says “We’ve been looking at our ancient culture as if they were deaf and mute, but I think all of this is tied closely to what they did, how they thought.”



An example of Ehekachichtli or Death Whistle, ancient noise generators believed to have been used in Aztec and pre-Columbian tribes to entrain the human brain into altered states of consciousness, as well as for treating illness. These belong to Larry Flaxman’s personal collection of archeological artifacts.” Images courtesy of Larry Flaxman.

Watson reports that many pre-Columbian tribes had utilized similar whistles, including noisemakers made of turkey feathers, sugar cane, and frog skins for a variety of purposes including religious rituals, to fend off enemies, and even to heal. Though the primary use was thought to be helping the deceased make the journey to the underworld, a clearly Shamanic influenced practice, the whistles are also thought to have been used to treat certain illnesses among tribe members. The sounds produced by some of the whistles fall within the maximum upper range of human hearing. It is certainly possible that the users may have known exactly which whistles could produce sounds that altered the brain, changed the state of consciousness, or even affected the rhythm of a person’s heart rate.
Velazquez has traveled extensively across Mexico to examine newly unearthed instruments. Oftentimes, he has to spend significant amounts of time trying to figure out just how to blow into them in order to recreate the specific sounds for which they were made. Some of the noisemakers had to be put inside his mouth in order to produce the right sound, and one, a frog-shaped whistle, took nearly a year for Velazquez to figure out how to operate. The end result for many of the objects is a combination of good and bad. According to Arnd Adje Oth, a pre-Hispanic music expert, some of the instruments emit a positive tone, others sound clearly negative. “Surely, sounds were used in all kinds of cults, such as sacrificial ones, but also in healing ceremonies.”
Today’s New Age mentality has certainly put a new spin on the use of sound and light to heal, however, the basic theory remains the same. There are good vibes—those that make you feel good, and bad vibes—those that make you feel awful. Sick. Diseased. Perhaps the Beach Boys in their Grammy winning song “Good Vibrations” were alluding to the effect of positive vibrations upon the human mind?
 The use of sound and resonance in holistic healing has led to a multi-million dollar business of products, techniques, and machines that use varying frequencies of radio waves, dubbed Sound Wave Frequencies, supposedly to help the body re-attune itself to optimal health. Those involved in the field suggest that they can heal physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual “diseases” using sound waves to restore the body’s natural harmonious balance.
 One of the pioneers of this concept is Nicole La Voie, a French-Canadian mother who used her own experience to launch a healing technology company. After being exposed to numerous x-rays during her employment as an x-ray technician, La Voie’s son was born with many health problems, including glandular system failure as a child. La Voie went on to study everything from homeopathy to sacred geometry and even became a Reiki Master. Her intense interest in helping her child led to her developing a sound therapy system based upon a specific system of vibrational frequencies, called Sound Wave Energy, which she claims healed her son and many others.
 The idea behind La Voie’s program is that the body is like a symphony, with each cell taking part in the orchestration of harmony. “When a musician (organ or system) produces a sour note, we bring them back into harmony by helping them to retune their instrument, or refocus their attention.” This may sound very “New-Agey” and metaphysical, but we have to remember that the body is an electrical system of sorts. The frequency ranges used in the Sound Wave Energy system are between 15 and 33 Hz, and “sound like a cat’s purr or an engine’s hum,” with the purpose of achieving balance and peace of mind.
Dr. Hans Jenny, author of Cymatics: Volume Two, writes that sound is “the creative principle. It must be regarded as primordial…” The Old Testament begins with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In Sanskrit, “Nada Brahma” states the world is sound. Jenny’s research involved the use of this creative power found in tone and sound to create three-dimensional shapes that corresponded with the sound frequency. Much of Jenny’s work involved transforming powders, pastes, and liquids into patterns that were mirrored in nature, art, and architecture (a la sacred geometry!). These patterns were created by the use of specific vibrational frequencies of sine waves, the majority of which lay within the audible range. The waves act to excite the inanimate powders, pastes, or liquids into lifelike forms. Light is projected up through the lens to provide a glimpse of the amazing standing wave patterns that suddenly emerge from the proper pitch or tone, and amplitude, of sound directed at the inert object. Jenny’s methodology suggests that sound provides a foundational and fundamental basis for all matter; a sort of a vibrational matrix, which, in future chapters, we will compare to the concept of the Zero Point Grid. Perhaps the Grid itself…is composed of sound.
In an article for Kindred Spirit magazine’s Autumn 2002 issue, Cymatics expert Jeff Volk writes about the power of sound to change and shape matter. “Imagine hearing a tone, and watching as sound waves involute an inert blob of kaolin paste, ‘animating’ it through various phases in a nearly perfect replica of cellular division.” Volk claims these types of experiments “vividly reveal certain universal principles which lend credence to the proliferation of sound therapies that are rapidly emerging at the forefront of the holistic health movement.” In a video titled Of Sound Mind and Body: Music and Vibrational Healing, Rupert Sheldrake is quoted as stating that human bodies are “nested hierarchies of vibrational frequencies” that are part of an even larger, more complex system of vibrational structures. Again, this speaks to the concept of a grid of layered vibrational realities that are both macrocosmic, as well as microcosmic in nature.
Volk refers to the work of Dr. Peter Guy Manners, a British naturopath who, in the 1950s, applied the principle of entrainment, where weaker pulsations fall under the influence of stronger ones, to his theory that every form, unique in size, shape, and density, has its own range of vibrational frequencies. “Manners correlated the resonant frequencies of healthy tissues and organs,” Volk continues. “He devised a way to project these vibrations via sound waves, directly into distressed areas.” The process is called “sympathetic resonance,” and the distressed areas are literally brought back to their original, healthy vibrational levels. The continued research and development of the EEG and EKG increased the possibilities of using audible sound waves on the brain, and the work of Robert Monroe in the 1960s solidified the use of specific sound frequencies to modulate brain waves, research that was again continued by the Monroe Institute in Virginia devoting years to the study of using specific frequencies to entrain brainwaves.  
These concepts were not outlandish to those of a spiritual bent. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, the use of Tibetan singing bowls are used to calm the brain with tone, as does meditation, chanting, and shamanic drumming, all of which can induce an altered state of consciousness and take the brain from a normal Beta state (14–20 Hz) into the deeper Theta and Delta states (8 Hz to 0.5 Hz). One new healing modality, called Unified Field Healing System, correlates the Earth’s the Schumann Frequency with that of the “light of consciousness” to create an integration of resonance and light. Even the ancient Egyptians were aware of this connection between the vibration of the planet, and that of the body, as discussed in an earlier chapter.
To review a little, the Schumann Frequency occurs because the space between the surface of the Earth and the conductive ionosphere acts as a waveguide. The limited dimensions of the Earth cause this waveguide to act as a resonant cavity for electromagnetic waves in the ELF band. This cavity is naturally excited by energy from lightning strikes. Schumann resonance modes are observed in the power spectra of the natural electromagnetic background noise, as separate peaks at extremely low frequencies (ELF) around 7.8, 14.3, 20.8, 27.3, and 33.8 Hz.
 The fundamental mode of the Schumann Resonance is a standing wave in the Earth-ionosphere cavity with a wavelength equal to the circumference of the Earth. This lowest-frequency (and highest-intensity) mode of the Schumann Resonance occurs at a frequency of approximately 7.8 Hz. Further resonance modes appear at approximately 6.5 Hz intervals, a characteristic attributed to the atmosphere’s spherical geometry.”
In another article for Kindred Spirit magazine’s July 2002 issue, Volk also discussed the use of cymatics to tone up the body and tune up the mind. He states that “cymatherapy” uses “specific overlays of frequencies all within the audible range” to provide everything from a “sonic facelift” that tones and tightens the skin while removing toxins, to using the sound wave therapy to heal bone chips and ligament tears in a football player’s ankle. He points also to the more well-known use of this therapy on a racehorse named Rarely Found, who used the technique to heal a torn flexor tendon and achieve full recovery, something other therapies failed at. Volk’s work has led to a plethora of modern-day devices that use both sound and light to heal.
Jenny studied the earlier works of Rudolf Steiner and of Ernst Chladni, “the father of acoustics,” and contributed his own knowledge to a body of work that is growing each year. Volk points to the progress of technology in engineering and electronics behind the more recent “Cyma Glyphs” of contemporary researchers Alexander Lauterwasser and John Reid, who have created “sound figures” in water and sand. Reid, an acoustic engineer, did research in the sarcophagus of the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid, transforming it into a giant resonator. He applied electronic frequencies to a membrane stretched over the opening to create a resonant vibration and explored the various acoustic properties of the chamber and surrounding passageways.
In his book Vibrational Medicine, Dr. Richard Gerber posits the difference between physical matter and etheric matter as simply a difference of frequency. He posits that MRIs are utilizing the same principle of applying resonance to reveal and image physical distress within the human body. He also believes that energy imbalance in the subtle or etheric body always leads to disease in the physical body. The idea is that, from an energetic standpoint, when the human body is weak or off balance, it oscillates at a less harmonious frequency than when healthy. “This abnormal frequency reflects a general state of cellular energetic imbalance within the physical body.” By further applying certain vibrational frequencies, Gerber maintains that the body can restore itself to the balance of health and rid itself of the “toxicities of illness.”
Gerber’s believes this new paradigm of healing views the human body as more than just a machine with parts. Instead, the body and its various systems act more as energy fields within which the life force moves. This more harmonious and holistic view of the body and its systems is shared by many doctors and researchers, including Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, and Bernie Siegel. In Cynthia Logan’s Healing Vibes, her essay in “Forbidden Science: From Ancient Technologies to Free Energy,” Gerber is quoted as stating his intention to create a “kind of Mayo clinic of healing research.” He firmly believes that “Western technology has now evolved to the point that we are beginning to get confirmation that subtle energy systems to exist and that they influence the physiologic behavior of cellular systems.” Though vibrational medicine is still not considered a scientifically accepted area of research, Gerber and his colleagues continue to put forth the idea that because the body is a vibrating field of energy, the way we look at healing must acknowledge that new view of what it means to be human.
Modern sound healing modalities have even embraced the use of sound in conjunction with acupressure, as in the Alphatouch treatment method. Alphatouch claims that through the use of a proprietary AlphaSonic sound wave machine, acupressure points along the body are activated helping to alleviate pain and inflammation. Acupressure has long been considered a viable alternative health modality, so it seems like a natural progression to introduce the element of sound into the mix. Sound waves can amplify the effects upon the acupressure points to relax muscles, increase circulation, and even reduce inflammation just by holding a transducer a few inches from the body and moving it slowly across the body’s meridian, where acupressure points are located.
A more New Age concept involves finding the resonant frequencies of the body’s chakras, or seven energy points, and aligning them back to wholeness. Supposedly, if even one of the chakras is not vibrating at the proper frequency, the person can experience a variety of disease and distress, both mental and physical. Thus, if the body is nothing but vibrating energy, and sound is nothing but vibrating energy, to achieve the synching of both would lead to perfect “soundness” of body and spirit. But what are the chakras exactly? Other than hearing about your favorite movie star espousing her latest “feel good” chakra treatment, do you know “what” or “where” they are?
Chakras are the body’s energy centers through which life energy or life force flows into and out of our aura. They serve to create a harmony of energy throughout the body, mind, and spirit, and when one chakra is blocked, it can cause disease or distress to the entire physiological and psychological system. Okay, that sounds reasonable enough, but what does a chakra look like? Chakras have been alternatively described as a wheel-like vortex, or similarly shaped to a lotus flower. Various colors are assigned to the chakras, as are associations with particular organ, gland, and body system they are connected to. The heart chakra, for example, governs the thymus gland and is in charge of the functioning of the heart organ, lungs, bronchia system, lymph glands, secondary circulatory system, immune system, and arms and hands. The heart chakra resonates to the color green.
The seven main chakra centers are aligned along the spinal column. If there are disturbances on any level, this shows in the chakra’s vitality level. Also, each of the seven main chakras is their own intelligence center. This means that each chakra is not only associated with our physical health, but also controls aspects connected to our emotional, mental, and belief system.
The body itself is incredibly sensitive to sound, from the slightest whisper to a shocking scream. Our ears are able to discern sound vibrating between 20 and 20,000 cycles per second. Our bones and skin can even perceive sound through a process called conduction—in fact, do you remember the “Bone Fone” from the 1980s? This device would “resonate through your bones—all the way to the sensitive bones of your inner ear.”
Native cultures recognized the therapeutic nature of sound, using gongs, bowls, didgeridoos, rattles, and other objects to align the body and correct disturbances in the physical vibratory mode. Those objects have now morphed into sound discs, resonator plates, sound tables, frequency modulators, and other high-tech machines that produce frequency ranges that correspond with the human body’s own transducing waves. According to the Center for Neuroacoustic Research and the California Institute for Human Science, scientific studies have shown that the sound vibrations of dolphins, Tibetan bowls and even musical choirs can have a healing effect. They have even discovered that the sounds made by the rings of the planet Uranus are virtually identical to those produced by the Tibetan bowls! NASA recordings of “outer space noise” sound almost just like the sounds made by the ebb and flow of ocean tides. Perhaps sound patterns are far more prevalent than we ever imagined, creating a virtual symphony that links outer space with inner space.
People who meditate can attest to the vibratory healing of using a simple mantra, such as “om,” which they claim heightens consciousness and brings about a deeper awareness, as do Buddhist and Gregorian chants. The repetitive nature, the rhythm of a word repeated over and over, or a chant sung or spoken, seems to have a profound effect on the body as well as on the mind. One has only to listen to a decent high school marching band banging on the drums to experience how this rhythmic resonance can move the body. Watch people dancing and it becomes clear that music moves the body (although not always in a good way. Think Elaine on Seinfeld.)
In an article for the December 2008 O Magazine, noted neurologist Oliver Sacks, MD, discusses the healing power of singing. He refers to the “profound bond between music and our brains, and how the simple act of singing can be good medicine—especially as we age.” Sacks further explores how every culture uses music and singing in ritual as well as in play. Think of Christmas carols and African drumming rhythms. Music is one of the ways we bond as humans, often through memories associated with it, such as a favorite song from childhood that still has the power to soothe us as an adult.
Music involves the use of many parts of the brain, and Sacks feels this is why it is so important to us in terms of both building memories, and even learning. He has also seen proof of it healing diseases and making profound changes in those stricken with neurological diseases. “I have seen this over and over again in my practice as a neurologist,” he states. “The right sort of music can literally unlock someone frozen by Parkinson’s disease, so that they may be able to dance or sing, even though, in the absence of music, they may be unable to take a step or say a word.”
Music is a fundamental way of expressing what it means to be human. And when music resonates with us, it heals, inspires, and lifts us. Again, we refer to the concept of entrainment, which exists both as a concept of physics, and in the human brain. In physics, entrainment is the tendency for two oscillating objects to lock into phase, or synchronization, so that they have similar vibrational frequencies. They are said to oscillate in harmony, pulsing in synchrony. This principle also appears in chemistry, astronomy, biology, and even psychology, and the brain itself can be trained to certain brainwave frequencies that are in phase with outside vibrational rates.
In music, there can be entrainment of rhythm, vibration, harmony, and tone, and it has a direct effect on the listener by either resonating positively, or sounding like an awful cacophony that does not promote a state of calm or well being. Dutch scientist Christian Huygens, who has a long history with resonance studies, discovered the concept of entrainment in 1665 working with pendulum clocks, which would eventually end up swinging at the same rate when placed near one another. This synching up of the pendulum swing was repeatable, but the swings did not stabilize in synchrony, but in anti-phase instead. Entrainment occurred, however, because the swing rates had the same period, even though they had opposing phases. When two systems achieve entrainment, they assume a stability that gradually reduces the expended amounts of energy. The systems are then said to be in resonance.
Brainwave synchronization is the entrainment of the brain’s wave frequency with that of an outside stimulus, creating a different brain state. For example, the two hemispheres of the brain synchronize to binaural beats, which occur when audio signals to the brain cause a response directly related to the frequency of the introduced signal. Two tones that are close in frequency then generate a beat frequency at the difference of the frequencies, which is generally in the subsonic range. For example, a 500 Hz tone and 510 Hz tone will produce a subsonic 10 Hz tone, roughly in the middle of the alpha range. This new subsonic tone can have effects on the mind of the person experiencing it. Also, the normal “carrier frequency” (for example, the 500 Hz in the previous example), may have the same such effect. The way it works is that the brain experiences the pulse by combining the two tones. Each ear hears only a steady tone. These entrainment frequencies may provide health benefits in treating certain medical conditions, but as of yet, the medical community is reluctant to adopt brainwave synchronization for emotional/mental disorders. Although the effects and efficacy can certainly vary from person to person, there are a variety of helpful brainwave synchronization techniques available that can have beneficial effects on individuals such as classical neurofeedback or learning meditation.

Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman are the best-selling authors of 11:11: The Time Prompt PhenomenonThis Book is From the Future, and The Deja vu Enigma.  They are also screenwriters, researchers, and popular public speakers who have been interview on television and radio shows all over the world.  They are currently staff writers for Intrepid Magazine, and regular contributors to TAPS Paramagazine, and New Dawn Magazine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Weird News of the Week

New Take on Noah's Ark

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Alcoholic Sandwiches

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Unique Identities

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Floating Islands

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Visual Messages

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Bacteria Resistant Honey

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Lovecraft and the Necronomicon by Dr. Bob Curran

Arguably no American writer has had more of an impact on the modern horror scene than Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the man who created the Cthulhu Mythos, with its strange gods, eerie places, and forbidden books. But what sort of a man was Lovecraft, how did he create such a terrible universe, and where did his inspiration come from? In A Haunted Mind, Dr. Bob Curran explores what motivated Lovecraft—his personal life is just as strange as some of his creations—and drove him to create his terrible cosmos. Using both folklore and history, Dr Curran investigates a wide variety of Lovecraftian mysteries.  Here Bob Curran's gives us a glimpse into the Lovecraft's personal library.

Part of the fascination—and horror—regarding Lovecraft’s fiction lies within the references to certain dark and forbidden occult books, the contents of which are enough to madden the most rational mind. The very titles of such blasphemous tomes such as The Neconomicon, The Book of Eibon, Mysteries of the Worm, and Cultes des Goules evoke the horrors that infest their yellowed and mouldering pages. Some Lovecraft scholars have suggested that these volumes might be based on actual works, the existence of which is denied to most academics, although Lovecraft may have been aware of them. Could this be true? Are there books out there that could drive the mind of the reader to the very edge of insanity by the secrets that lie within them? Let’s take a look at some of the terrifying works that Lovecraft mentions and see if they at all parallel real history.

Perhaps no book in the entire Cthulhu Mythos is as celebrated (or cursed) as the blasphemous Necronomicona Latin translation of a foul text known as the Kitab Al-Azif, which originated in the Middle East. It was supposedly written around [SC] a.d. [SC] 730 by the mad Arab demonologist, Abdul Alhazred. The fictitious writer was another product of Lovecraft’s mind, influenced by the small amount of Middle Eastern history that he knew, even though the name is not grammatically correct in Arabic. Since the Kitab Al-Azif first appeared in Lovecraft’s tale “The Hound” (written in 1922 and published in Weird Tales in 1924), it has been extensively written about and modern versions of it have been printed to satisfy fan appetites. Of course, these are not actual grimoires; they have been created from the imaginations of writers and publishers for a specific market. Some are add-ons to role-playing games, others are just curiosites. There are, however, rumors that such a book did exist, and that Lovecraft had access to it. Other stories say that it was based on another book of which Lovecraft might have been aware.
According to author Daniel Harms, the book was probably inspired by the work of the Roman writer Marcus Manilius, who lived in the first century [SC] a.d. [SC] No one is sure where he came from (or if Manilius was his real name), but he could have been a citizen of Rome around the time of the emperors Augustus or Tiberius. He was known as both a poet and an astrologer, and is credited as the author of Astronomica, a five-volume astronomical poem. According to Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, Lovecraft was definitely familiar with Manilius’s work, as he quoted from it in an amateur astronomy column that he wrote for the Asheville Gazette-News in 1915. In “The Hound,” the Necronomicon is not yet the horror that it eventually becomes. Its exact nature is uncertain, but it is thought not to be a grimoire. Its author, Alhazred, is described as a “demonologist,” but in later references he is described as a “soothsayer” and a “wizard.” In fact, Alhazred sounds more like desert kahins, the fortune-telling oracle-mongers who communicated and consulted with the djinn (spirits) in the desert wastes, or interpreted the designs of local gods in the Middle East.

Although the exact nature of the Necronomicon was not specified in “The Hound,” its context is certainly set in “The Festival” (written in 1923 and published in 1925). In this story, the protagonist visits an ancestral home in the snowy town of Kingsport, which exerts a sinister hold over him when he learns that four of his kinsmen were hanged for witchcraft there in 1692. His destination becomes the home of an old, mute gentleman who may be more than he seems. In a musty room within this old gentleman’s house, a pile of “hoary and moldy” tomes sit on a table. The titles include Saducismus Triumphatus by Joseph Glanvill (printed in 1681), the Daemonolatreia of Regimius (printed in Lyons in 1595), and a Latin version of the Necronomicon translated by Olaus Wormius. The first two of these books are real, the last is not. Glanvill’s book confirms the existence of witches and deals in part with Swedish witchcraft cases, whereas the Daemonolatreia is a compendium of alleged demonic matters relating to the trial of European witches. The context of the Necronomicon is a witch book that deals with ancient and forbidden lore and, according to Lovecraft, is worse than any other volume in that terrible pile. But exactly what was the Necronomicon and what terrible secrets did it contain?
In 1927, Lovecraft penned “A History of the Necronomicon,” which was an exposition of the supposed history of the work. The first notes of this “history” appear in a very long letter to Clark Ashton Smith, as Lovecraft tried to keep the development of the text within certain historical parameters.
According to Lovecraft, the book was compiled around [SC] a.d. [SC] 730 in Sana’a (today the capital of Yemen) by a wandering poet and scholar named Abdul Alhazred. The choice of Sana’a may not have been an arbitrary one, because the city is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world with a history dating back more than 2,500 years. What better site for the creation of a repository of arcane lore? Far from being a “crazed poet,” Alhazred may have been a well-traveled man who visited the ruins of Babylon Fortress and Memphis in Egypt. It is here that Lovecraft’s initial image of an urbane and measured researcher appears to break down slightly, for the title that he gives to the book is the Kitab Al-Azif. In ancient Arabia, the term Al-Azif was used by the kahina to describe the insect-like buzzing voices of the djinn with whom they communicated. Prolonged exposure to such buzzing was enough to drive any rational human insane. Therefore, many of the kahina were usually considered to be mad and issued many of their prophesies in rambling verse. Although the title Al-Azif has been used by countless Lovecraft aficionados to refer to the original work, Lovecraft uses it only once in a revision of Adolphe de Castro’s The Last Test. Nevertheless, Alhazred is portrayed as a rambling madman, transcribing terrible knowledge that he learned from the djinn in the wilderness. Some writers claim that during his travels he had visited Irem, City of the Pillars, which had been built by the djinn. According to Iraqi scholar Ibn Khallikan, the horror of the knowledge that Alhazred sought to share with a wider world was confirmed when, in [SC] a.d. [SC] 738, he was torn to pieces by invisible forces in a corner of the marketplace in Damascus. The book, however, survived.
Besides Alhazred’s texts, it is thought that Lovecraft may have had knowledge of another book, on which his work may have been based. Southern Jordan is home to one of the most mysterious places in the Middle East. It is a remote valley that boasts a spectacular rocky outcropping lying about 60 kilometers east of Aqaba known as Wadi Rum, or Valley of the Moon. It is perhaps the largest wadi in all of Jordan and contains traces of human habitation from around the third or fourth century.
It is thought that the word rum comes from an ancient language of the region and means “high” or “elevated.” Mount Um Dami rises 1,800 feet above sea level, while another rise not far away, the towering Jabal Rum, is one of the highest peaks in Jordan. The towering rocks of the region are said to be all that remains of the city of Irem, the stronghold of the djinn-kind, which was destroyed by the magic of King Solomon and never rebuilt.
Many people believe the wadi to be a mystical place. Local legends state that there was once a great city here—a fortress built by the djinn in the days before King Solomon ruled Israel in the second half of the 10th century [SC] b.c. [SC] Local muquarribun, Ghost Priests who still live among the Bedouin of the region, claim that in a local cave lie several cylinders in which are stored a number of scrolls known as The Whispers of Angels.
Written by the djinn, the knowledge that they contain supposedly dates from just before the formation of the earth, and concerns old pre-Islamic gods who dwelt at that time. They also revealed spells and incantations that could affect the very nature of reality itself. The incantations were used to create an earthly paradise in which the gods relaxed before the coming of Mankind, and the book reveals how animals and men were created, as well as instructions for the manipulation of our very reality. Another legend states that the scrolls contain words of power used by Allah in the creation of the world, which were written down by djinn who secretly overheard them. The muquarribun claim that some of their kind have access to and can read at least part of these scrolls, but not all of them.
Although the Ghost Priests of the Bedouin claimed sole knowledge of The Whispers of Angels, the Al Sulaba, the Lost Shamans of the Arabian Peninsula, also claimed to be the true guardians of such arcane texts. Little is known about this strange group; recently they seem to have vanished into the desert or may have completely died out. Even when they were first mentioned in 1853 by the explorer Sir Richard Burton (who referred to them as Khlawiyah, a name derived from khala meaning “wilderness”) they appear to have been small in number and nomadic by nature. Burton suggested that they might be the descendants of Crusaders. Their name may have derived from the Bedouin al-sulban, meaning “the crosses,” which suggests that they are of unknown or mixed origin. Among some of the other Bedouin groups they were classed as great magicians who were directly in touch with ancient gods and djinn out in the desert. They carried with them the ancient text of The Whispers of Angels, which they claimed came from a place known as Majlis al-Jinn—the Congregation of the Spirits—a mysterious cavern on the Selma Plateau in Oman. The cavern is part of a massive and partly inaccessible cave system which was once used by hermits who passed this knowledge into the hands of the Al Sulaba. The text was supposedly passed down in a number of lacquered wooden boxes, which the nomads carried away with them. Significantly, the Al Sulaba are also associated with the city of Sana’a, which is where Abdul Alhazred allegedly penned the Necronomicon.
But did he indeed write it? Does the blasphemous volume actually come from another source other than Al-Azif? According to journalist George Hay, the great Arab philosopher Al-Kindi is also a possible contender for producing the text. Al-Kindi was the first of the peripatetic Arab philosophers, earning the title “father of Islamic philosophy.” He is credited with melding ancient Greek and Middle Eastern philosophy and wrote on a whole range of subjects including mathematics, astrology, astronomy, meteorology, earthquakes, sword-making, and religious matters. One of his books, The Essence of the Soul, although dealing with religion and philosophy, also contained sections on magic; Hay claims this was the forerunner of the Necronomicon.
As for the Al-Azif, Lovecraft claims the formal translation into Greek was carried out by the fictional scholar Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople in [SC] a.d. [SC] 950. Lovecraft states that Theodorus found the Kitab Al-Azif in the Imperial Library, and set about translating and renaming it the Necronomicon. Lovecraft confidently asserted that the translation meant “an image of the laws of the dead” but, as writer Robert M. Price has pointed out, it can be translated in a number of ways: “the book of dead names,” “knower of the laws of the dead,” or simply “laws of the dead.” Claiming that Lovecraft’s Greek etymology is unsound, S.T. Joshi claims that the title actually means “book considering the dead,” perhaps simply referring to a manual of classification.
According to the writer Dennis Detwiller, around 1,000, the Greek Necronomicon was translated back into Arabic by philosopher and healer Ibn Sina under the title Kitab al-Majmu (The Book of Collections). Ibn Sina, better known by his Latin name Avicenna, wrote extensively in the fields of philosophy and medicine; his writings contributed extensively to the Islamic Golden Age between [SC] a.d. [SC] 750 and [SC] a.d. [SC] 1257.
The Kitab al-Majmu is connected to the Alawites, a Syrian Islamic sect. The Alawites belong to the Shia branch of Islam and trace their descendancy from a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed. The Kitab is not printed in the conventional way, but is passed down among them in handwritten form between what they describe as an “Initiated Master” and “Apprentice.” The Alawites have a mystical reputation and some Islamic clerics declare that they are not Muslims at all. Little is known about their holy books, although they seem to be pretty standard historical and religious texts and certainly not the Necronomicon.
However, despite the translation back to Arabic, the Greek translation was still popular, and in 1050 it came to the attention of Michael I Cerularius, a theologian noted for his strong views. It is said that Michael was so shocked by what he had heard about the book that he ordered all copies to be gathered up and burned along with all known copies of the Kitab Al-Azif. However, Michael was not thorough in his destruction of the terrible work, for a copy or two survived. According to some sources, a copy of Al-Azif was found somewhere in Jerusalem by a Crusader knight around 1099, and it was brought to the Comte de Champagne, a student of the occult, who set his knights to guard it. The book would later form the basis for a French version of the Necronomicon, and in the early 13th century, several French copies circulated in a number of French monasteries including Mortemer Abbey in Normandy and the monasteries of St. Hilaire and St. Martin du Canigou in Languedoc. In all of these holy houses, the copies were held in secret, and were not spoken about in the outside world.
It is interesting that a Christian Orthodox Patriarch was involved in the destruction of the Necronomicon, because legend states that a Syrian Coptic monastery dedicated to the Egyptian saint Pachomius held a certain book, written in a form of Greek, called The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. This is allegedly one of the “Enochian texts,” which described the activities of the Grigori or Watchers (angels sent by God to watch over Earth who sinned with the daughters of men). In particular, The Testaments reveals some of the sorceries that the fallen angels taught men in return for enjoying their daughters. Much of the book is devoted to the teachings of the angels’ leader, Samyaza, which supposedly gave great magical power to whoever could translate them. There were, of course, restrictions on who could read the text: No woman could even look at the pages of the book and men had to undergo certain rituals before they read them.
At some point, The Testaments was removed from Syria and taken to one of the religious houses in Mount Athos in Greece. Again, it was placed in a secret location and no woman was permitted to see it. However, at the end of the 19th century, one of the men who allegedly consulted its pages was Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin. This book was supposedly the source of Rasputin’s occult powers, which later held much of Russia in thrall. What became of The Testaments (if it ever existed) afterward is unknown.
Although Greek, French, and Belgian variations of the Necronomicon existed, the edition to which most people refer is a 1228 Latin translation by one of Lovecraft’s fictional characters, a Danish monk named Olaus Wormius. The name Olaus Wormius emerges again in connection with another version of the Necronomicon in 1487. This time, Olaus Wormius is a monk in Catholic Spain, and is a secretary to Tomas de Torquemada, a senior official in the Inquisition.
Both of these versions of Olaus Wormius were based on a Danish physician named Ole Worm (1588–1655). Something of a perpetual student, he obtained degrees from the University of Marburg in Germany (1605) and the University of Basel in Switzerland (1611), holding a doctorate in medicine. His contribution to modern medicine lies in the naming of bones in the cranium, which are known today as Wormian bones. He also acted as a court physician to King Christian IV of Denmark, advising the Monarch on various contagions that had broken out in the country. This urbane and learned Protestant physician seems very far removed from the Lovecraftian creation of Olaus Wormius, who translated the blasphemous Greek text of the Necronomicon in far-away Spain.
According to Lovecraft, the fictional Wormius sent a printed copy of the translated text to Johannes Trithemius, Abbot of the Schottenklöster in Wurzburg, Germany. Trithemius was a learned cryptologist and occult scholar who, in 1499, produced a book entitled Steganographia, which was allegedly about magic. Although he had published a number of books on the occult, Trithemius was shocked and alarmed at the content of Wormius’s book, and reported it to the church officials, who had Wormius seized and burned at the stake as a witch. (The real Ole Worm died at home.)
Despite all this suppression, copies of the Necronomicon continued to circulate. The most famous was the black-letter text, which was a direct printing of Wormius’s earlier text that had been printed in Germany around 1400. According to Lovecraft, the book had now been placed on the Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum (The List of Banned Books). Unfortunately, the Index did not actually exist at this time and was only introduced in 1559 by Pope Paul IV. Therefore, Lovecraft’s knowledge of Vatican history seems slightly suspect. It is quite possible that other lists of banned literature may have existed, but many of these related to religious heresies or those which directly challenged the views of the Church
Despite having a place on the list, copies of the book still continued to circulate; more French editions appeared, along with Russian and Italian version. In fact, the Leonardo da Vinci reputedly possessed a copy of the book, and a copy was also translated by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote). However, one of the copies made around this time was of special interest: Around 1586, the most comprehensive and accurate English translation of the Necronomicon was written by a mysterious but well-known individual named Dr. John Dee.
Dee was an enigmatic figure in 16th-century society who straddled the worlds of science and magic as they gradually became distinct from each other. The son of a minor courtier, Dee was born in Tower Ward, London, in 1527. His family was Welsh, and had arrived in London as part of the retinue of Henry VII. Raised as a Catholic, he was educated at Chelmsford Grammar School, where his abilities were recognized; he was recommended for a scholarship to St. John’s College in Cambridge. In the late 1540s and early 1550s he traveled through Europe, visiting the courts of many European rulers and lecturing at several universities. It is thought that at this time he was acting as both a diplomat and spy on behalf of the English throne.
Always interested in both science and the occult (particularly in astrology) Dee was arrested for treason in 1555 because he allegedly cast the horoscopes of Queen Mary I and Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I), which showed the Queen in an unfavourable light and doomed to an early death. He appeared before the Parliamentary Star Chamber and exonerated himself, but he was placed under the supervision of a number of Catholic bishops anyway. This led to continual rumors of magic and necromancy, which would follow him for the rest of his life. When Mary died in 1558, Dee found some favor with her successor, her half-sister Elizabeth, and become her consultant regarding astrological and scientific matters. He put forward proposals for the creation of an early English empire, as well as extending English claims in the New World.
While on a visit to Prague, he visited the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. According to some accounts, Dee supposedly came across a copy of the Necronomicon. Others say that he found Olaus Wormius’s translation at the castle of a Transylvanian noble, although there is no mention of a trip to the country in any of Dee’s own diaries. A third story stated that Dee acquired the book from his questionable associate, the spirit-medium Edward Kelley. Kelley allegedly purchased it in Prague from a Jewish mystic and Kabbalist named Jacob Eliezer—the so-called “Black Rabbi” who fled to the city from Italy to avoid charges of necromancy.
Regardless of where he obtained the Latin version of the Necronomicon, Dee supposedly started work on the English translation in 1586. According to journalist George Hay, there are two dates for the printing of the work: One is recorded as 1585 in Haarlem, Holland, which would make the translation slightly earlier. The other year is 1571 in Antwerp. Daniel Harms, however, dismisses both accounts, saying that the English translation was undertaken from 1586 onward, and that the text was never printed but kept in a handwritten form only. Dee died in 1608 or 1609, and if he possessed a copy of the Necronomicon no one knows what happened to it. He did, however, leave several mysterious volumes including the Book of Soyga, which was a Latin treaty on magic and the mystic arts written sometime before the 16th century. It contained Kabbalistic tables as well as incantations for the summoning of various angels—the angel Uriel in particular. After Dee’s death, it was deemed lost, but was found again in 1994 and is now in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. Of his Necronomicon, however, there was no trace.
In his Guide to the Cthulhu Cult, Fred Pelton mentions another copy of the Wormius volume written by Baron Frederick I of Sussex under the title Cultus Maleficarum, more commonly known as The Sussex Manuscript. This is, Pelton says, a confused and barely intelligible version, and is not considered to be reliable. However, it should be noted that Sussex was never a Barony, so the book that Pelton produced as evidence was probably written by Pelton himself. Although August Derleth considered publishing it, and made reference to it in some of his stories, this idea was eventually abandoned. Lovecraft scholars suggest that Dee’s translation is probably the most complete and reliable version in English.
Although vehemently suppressed, versions of the Necronomicon were starting to appear in many languages besides English at this time. A reference to yet another copy appeared in a work entitled My Understanding of the Great Book, by a German scholar named Joachim Kindler. The copy surfaced in the city of Buda in 1641, and he says it was written in the Gothic tongue (a language spoken by the ancient Germanic tribes), although other writers dispute this and say that it was written in a form of proto-Turkish. Kindler gives the first real clues—apart from scattered quotations—as to the overall content of the abhorred volume. The translation, he claims, “offers proofs logickal and glorious” of the “stellar numbers, potentiated objecks, signs and passes, probatories, phylacteries, and craftsmanly artes.” In other words, the Necronomicon could be viewed as a grimoire in the conventional sense.
It is here that the book may take on a slightly more substantive form through another historical figure. In 1664, the Kabbalist Nathan of Gaza supposedly wrote and circulated the Sepher ha-Sha’are ha-Daath (The Book of the Gates of Knowledge). Contained within this work were two chapters of what Nathan called “The Book of Alhazred.” These chapters, according to Nathan, concerned the dark side of Jewish mysticism and referred to the Qliphoth or “husks,” which represented the impure and unpredictable forces abroad in the world. These chapters, he added, would only be read by dark magicians, but he included them as a warning to all who sought the mystical path.
Nathan of Gaza was an historical figure who was born in Jerusalem in 1643. He was a Talmudic scholar, a seer, and a prophet for the “false Messiah” Sabbatai Zevi (Tzevi). Nathan’s father, Elisha Hayyim ben Jacob, was a German Jew, which gave him the Jewish family name “Ashkenazi” (his mother was Polish), but most of his early studies lay in a more Eastern version of the Talmud. After studying both the Kabbalah and Talmud under the renowned scholar Jacob Hagiz, Nathan settled in Gaza where he became something of a mystic, experiencing ecstatic visions and pronouncing radical views to all who would listen. In 1663, he married the daughter of a prosperous man named Samuel Lissabona and his father-in-law’s wealth allowed him to continue with his theological and mystical studies without having to look for work.
A great deal of Nathan’s study lay in the work of the 16th-century rabbi Isaac Luria. Much of the mystical and quasi-magical Lurianic teaching centered around the nature of the Zohar (The Book of Splendor), which was one of the foundations of Kabbalistic teaching. It was during the reading of the Zohar that Nathan experienced one of his most significant visions in which he learned the secrets of the Talmud and various Kabbalistic secrets. The vision lasted for 24 hours and transformed Nathan’s life and his perception of reality. The insight told him that Sabbatai Zevi, a rabbi, was the true Messiah sent by God.
This was not the last special vision that Nathan was to undergo. As the years passed, he experienced a series of minor visions, all confirming Sabbatai Zevi as the true Messiah. In the spring of 1665, he experienced a second significant vision. This one, he claimed, was not just a prophesy. He was possessed by a divine spirit—those around him claimed that he smelled differently. Prompted by these visions, it was Nathan who pushed Sabbatai Zevi into declaring himself as the new Jewish Messiah.
In December 1665, Nathan and Sabbatai Zevi parted company as the latter traveled to Turkey to consolidate his position as Messiah there. Nathan now confronted the rabbis in Jerusalem who had proclaimed Sabbatai “a false Messiah.” He circulated many documents concerning the Messiah, seeking to prove that his visions had been correct.
The campaign of the new Messiah was going badly in Turkey as well. In September 1666, Sabbatai was arrested and when he appeared in court before the Sultan, Sabbatai immediately cast off his Jewish garb and donned a Turkish turban, renouncing Judaism and accepting the Islamic faith. Because he had been associated with this “false Messiah,” Nathan of Gaza found himself shunned by the Jewish community. However, this did not stop him from publishing texts and books that circulated throughout the world. One of these may have been the Sepher ha-Sha’are ha-Daath.
Throughout the succeeding centuries, various copies and sections of the Necronomicon surfaced in several parts of the world, most notably in America where a number of English variations appeared among some of the remote New England communities. Several of these copies had been passed down through the generations of families as heirlooms. According to tradition, many of these families were living in remote areas such as Rhode Island and Vermont, and were lacking in formal education, but they possessed an arcane knowledge that they obtained from the book and others like it. For example, according to Lovecraft’s own The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, a 1771 raid on a farmhouse near Providence, Rhode Island, supposedly uncovered a copy belonging to a degenerate branch of the Curwen family. Subsequent writers have suggested that certain raiders took this book and made copies of it, which then found their way into the hands of certain antiquarians in the area. One of these was allegedly a relative of Lovecraft.
According to Keith Herber in Arkham Unveiled, somewhere between 1895 and 1900, Henry Armitage, head librarian at Lovecraft’s fictional Miskatonic University (clearly modeled on Brown University, not far from Lovecraft’s own house), purchased a copy of the Necronomicon from Whipple Phillips, Lovecraft’s grandfather. This is perhaps the first time the book was directly linked with the family of the Mythos author. Lovecraft fans claim the book is at Brown University, but is only available to certain scholars.
One such scholar may have been writer Brian Lumley’s fictional character Joachim Feery who, in 1901, supposedly published a book entitled Original Notes on the Necronomicon. Feery also published a series of commentaries on some of the more monstrous tomes, such as The Book of Dzyan, De Vermis Mysteriis, and the Necronomicon. In all of his work, there were inconsistencies and discrepancies and, when questioned about this, Feery claimed that he had consulted his father’s work (who had also written a commentary on the Necronomicon) or that any addition information had come to him in his dreams. This made his writings suspect and irrelevant, and even a second “amended” work a year later did nothing to reinstate his reputation.
Other writers have attempted to link the deadly book with actual places and historical events. For instance, a copy of the Necronomicon was apparently donated to Harvard University by the estate of an antiquary who perished on the RMS Titanic; the occultist Aleister Crowley supposedly published a copy in 1916; in 1928, a copy was found in Russia in a secret library of Ivan the Terrible; eventually it found its way into the hands of Joseph Stalin before World War II.

A Haunted Mind will be available through all retailers August 20th.

Dr. Bob Curran has travelled throughout the world, fascinated by the myths and stories that he has found. He has written a number of books, including VampiresLost Lands, Forgotten Realms; Zombies; and Werewolves, all from New Page Books. He lives in Northern Ireland with his wife and family. 
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