Towns And Villages You Didn't Know Were Cursed

Haunted or cursed places where strange supernatural phenomena take place are typically the foundation of a vast assortment of novels and movies in the horror genre that exists today. From novels like Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” to the film classics like Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead,” the plots of scary fictional tales with this kind of common theme are sometimes even set in towns and villages that actually exist in the real world. These existing locations are believed by many to be haunted by ghosts or cursed by powerful and malevolent unearthly beings. Because there are many chilling accounts of allegedly real hauntings and tragic events involving these old towns and villages, it is not surprising that they are used in fiction to maximize a story’s potential to horrify and terrorize its audience.

1. The Al Jazirah Al Hamra

Once a prosperous fishing village located on the northeastern edge of the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazirah Al Hamra used to be filled with antiquated houses that date back to the ancient times and was once an active coastal area where various trade transactions took place. For some reason, around 1968, the residents of the village collectively abandoned their homes. Today, while many of these previous inhabitants still have ownership over some of the land in the village, very few of their descendants continue to live there.

It was around the 1960s when rumors of Al Jazirah Al Hamra being haunted started to gain ground among UAE citizens. Many believe that the village is home to several “djinns” or genies – supernatural creatures in Arabian and Islamic mythologies. These djinns, in particular, are malevolent beings that feed on human flesh. Because of the dark tale surrounding the village, it is a popular tourist spot for those who enjoy ghost hunting and thrill-seeking. While some residents in the area discourage the nocturnal visits of strangers, many locals have also reported sightings of these djinns and have shared their stories with others.

2. The Cinco Saltos

Located in the rural region of Rio Negro, the City of Cinco Saltos is also notoriously known as the “City of Witches” due to reports of the rampant presence of black magicians, necromancers, and witches in the area. One infamous story about this old city involves its large cemetery where a body of a 12-year-old girl was supposedly found while workers renovated the area. Despite the fact that the girl was dead for around 70 years, the girl’s body is well-preserved due to mummification. Some even say that her body was tied to her coffin, leading superstitious residents of the city to suggest that the girl was used as a sacrifice in an occult ritual conducted by one of the hidden covens in the city. There are also reports of seeing a ghost of young girl roaming around the cemetery.

Another terrifying tale said to have taken place in Cinco Saltos involves the Pellegrini Lake where many child sacrifices were purportedly performed by the resident witches. This is supported by reports from visitors of hearing eerie shrieks of young kids when they pass through the lake’s crossing at night. Some people tried to locate the source of these unnerving screams but they always ended up unsuccessful.

3. The Dargavs

This village is more popularly known as the “City of the Dead” and is regarded as among the most enigmatic locations in Russia. Hidden somewhere in the Caucasus Mountains in North Ossetia of southern Russia. Looking at the site from a distance, it may seem like a regular hill village with crude houses, but in reality, Dargavs is no ordinary village. It is actually an ancient necropolis built around the Middle Ages. People of the Ossetian or Alanian tribe erected these house-looking crypts to bury their family members in, and today, there are currently around 100 stone crypts in the area and some of them contain scattered bones.

Today, many of the residents residing on the mountains steer clear of the necropolis due to a local legend warning that those who would visit the tombs in Dargavs end up receiving a curse that supposedly drives them to an early grave. It also doesn’t help that the area is covered with fog most of the time, adding a spookier feel to the grave site.

4. The Canewdon

Located in East Anglia, Canewdon is often referred to as the “witch country” of England as there are a lot of unverified superstitious tales surrounding the village, particularly about witchcraft. There was once a prophecy made by a famous “cunning man” from the 19th century named James Murrell about Canewdon, saying that the area would be doomed to be infested with witches forever. This makes sense in a way since the village has been the subject of witch lore since the 16th century. There is also a legend which states that each instance that a stone drops from the tower of St. Nicholas Church, a witch will perish only to have another take her place. Another legend claims that should a person run counterclockwise around the church or one of the tombs found in its courtyard during Halloween, ghosts, witches or even the Devil would appear.

More than the legends, what’s really tragic about the village of Canewdon was the fact that it was the site of many witch trials and executions that resulted in the suffering and demise of many people during the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the more notable magicians who came from Canewdon include George Pickingill, a black magician heralded as one of the world’s primary authority on witchcraft and Satanism during the early 20th century.

5. The Yarumal

The municipality of Yarumal in the Antioquia Department of Colombia has the unfortunate reputation of having an alarmingly large portion of its population suffer from the neurological curse of dementia. Out of 5,000 of its villagers, it has been determined that half of them will develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, with some of them getting afflicted with the neurological disease even before they hit 40 years of age.

As for the reason why so many of the residents in Yarumal are fated to suffer the affliction of dementia early in their lives, scientists have determined that a genetic mutation causing the disease can be traced back to a Spanish conquistador who arrived in the region sometime in the 17th century. The mutation is referred to as E280A and can be found on the 14th chromosome of a gene. While suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease is not fate that should be wished on anyone, there is a silver lining to the fact that many of the residents in Yarumal have this particular genetic mutation. Researchers believe that the people of Yarumal are the key to finding a permanent and effective cure to dementia, which is why the mountain village today is also serving as a large laboratory where the conditions of the villagers are thoroughly studied.

6. The Bhangarh

Regarded as the most haunted site in India, the ruins of the city of Bhangarh in the Rajasthan, India was once a stronghold of the Mughal Empire during the 16th century until the empire weakened by the early 19th century. However, it was the famine of 1783 that drastically diminished the human population in city and since then, Bhangarh has remained largely uninhabited.

The fort of Bhangarh is full of temples and palaces but despite its breathtaking sites, the city today is nothing more than an abandoned “ghost” town. In fact, even now, entry to the city between sunset and sunrise is prohibited and outsiders are warned against entering the city by the Archaeology Survey of India. There is even a legend circulating in the region that anyone who dared to visit the ghost city at night is fated to remain trapped inside the city’s ruins for eternity. Nevertheless, thousands of people have visited Bhangarh at night every year, either because they don’t believe in the curse or they want to see for themselves if it’s real.

As for why the city is cursed, one story tells of a holy man called Baba Balnath who gave his permission for the people to construct the town so long as the buildings they erected did not cast a shadow over his residence. If they did, he would punish the people by destroying the city. A descendant prince, however, violated this rule leading Balnath to curse the entire town.

Another tale speaks of a wizard called Singhiya who fell in love with the princess of Bhangarh named Ratnavati. To make the princess love him, Singhiya cast a spell on a fragrance purchased by one of the princess’s attendants. However, the princess saw through the plan and caused the magician’s death. Before he took his last breath, Singhiya cursed Bhangarh, prophesizing that people would soon abandon the city completely.

There is no way to tell if all these old towns and villages from different parts of the world are actually cursed. What we can say is that the spooky tales and legendary curses connected with these old sites are what makes these places all the more interesting for many of us. This is why many of us go out of our way to see them for ourselves – because they infuse a little fear, strangeness, and mystery into our normal lives.


 Sources: 

http://listverse.com/2016/04/29/10-cursed-villages-and-towns/
https://moviepilot.com/posts/3895720
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazirah_Al_Hamra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_Saltos
http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/city-dead-mysterious-village-dargavs-russia-003436/page/0/1
https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=nDdcVt9-jnMC&pg=PA50&dq=canewdon+witches&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=canewdon%20witches&f=false
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28514-conquistador-brought-early-onset-alzheimers-to-colombian-town/
http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/ghost-city-bhangarh-and-curse-holy-man-002380?nopaging=1

Tales of Joyeuse: The Sword that Conquered Europe

source:  Ancient Origins

Some 1200 years ago, there lived a famous blacksmith named Galas who embarked on a mission of forging the perfect sword. In 802CE, three long years after the blacksmith first set fire to the forge, the very blade that would help conquer Europe was fashioned into existence. 

Fated to rest in the hands of the battle-born King of the Franks, Charlemagne, the sword La Joyeuse would soon command epic tales of conquests, myth, and magic. The history of Charlemagne’s conquest of Europe, for the most part, is a story of Joyeuse. Legend has it that Charlemagne was on his way back from Spain when setting camp in the very region where Galas was working; there the King of the Franks acquired Joyeuse. Charlemagne was known to be especially brutal and ruthless when fighting his battles, and Joyeuse was a weapon that was as glorious and deadly as his reputation.

There exist several accounts that ascribe magical powers to Joyeuse. Legend has it that the sword was forged with the shards of the infamous Lance of Longinus—the very lance that was stabbed into Jesus’ side during the crucifixion. It is said that whenever Charlemagne unsheathed Joyeuse in battle, he revealed a sword that outshone the sun, and left its enemies blind. It is also said that whoever mastered Joyeuse was impregnable to poison. 

The King of the Franks

Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, who lived from 742CE to 814CE was the King of the Franks; the Franks was an ancient kingdom that existed in modern day France. Charlemagne was a central figure to the political, military, and spiritual reshaping of medieval Europe. 

Soon after the fall of the Roman Empire, Charlemagne was responsible for consolidating the powers of Western Europe. He was able to build one of the vastest kingdoms in written history. The King of the Franks ruled over what are now the countries of France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Low Countries. In a rather militaristic method, Charlemagne was able to enforce the spread of Christianity throughout the conquered lands of Europe. 

Charlemagne was born in 742CE and was the son of King Pepin the Short. Upon the death of King Pepin, Charlemagne inherited the crown with his brother Carloman.  Unfortunately, after the brothers inherited the throne, Carloman passed away. Charlemagne then became the sole King of the Franks. 

Among the many things that the new king inherited was the responsibility to protect the temporal of the Holy See, the central seat of government of the Catholic Church occupied by the Pope. As a result, Charlemagne became deeply embroiled in wars against adversaries of the church, the most powerful of which were the pagan Lombards and Saxons of Germany. 

Ultimately, the new king was able to prove his military prowess by annihilating the adversaries of the land and the church. In 774CE, with a victory against the Lombards and the Saxons under his belt, the pope declared Charlemagne as the first champion of the Catholic Church. 

The Song of Roland

source:  Marto Deluxe Edition

source:  Marto Deluxe Edition

The next two decades of Charlemagne’s reign were marked by brutal wars waged against the Lombards and Saxons of Germany and the Moors of Spain. In 778CE, Charlemagne launched a campaign against the Moors. It was during this campaign that the legendary Battle of Roncevaux Pass took place. The Battle of Roncevaux Pass was later immortalized in the epic poem Song of Roland, one of the oldest surviving major works of French literature. The 11th-century epic poem mentioned an account of Charlemagne riding into battle with La Joyeuse: 

(Charlemagne) was wearing his fine white coat of mail and his helmet with gold-studded stones; by his side hung Joyeuse, and never was there a sword to match it; its color changed thirty times a day. 

According to the story, it was during the Battle of Roncevaux Pass when Charlemagne momentarily lost Joyeuse. To get his sword back, Charlemagne promised to reward whoever could bring Joyeuse back to him. Eventually, one of Charlemagne’s soldiers found Joyeuse and brought it to him. True to his word, the King of the Franks gifted a generous portion of land to his soldier; Charlemagne planted his sword into the earth as he proclaimed— 

“Here will be built an estate of which you will be the lord and master, and your descendants will take the name of my wonderful sword: Joyeuse.” 

According to the story, this is the origin of the French town Joyeuse which sits in South France.

In 779CE, Charlemagne once again launched a massive military assault against the Saxons; this time, the campaign dealt a rather destructive blow to the King’s adversaries as it yielded the baptism of the Saxon leader in 785CE. 

After securing a lasting victory against the Saxons, Charlemagne’s reign became relatively quiet, except for occasional small-scale revolts and Viking raids. Charlemagne’s accomplishments in defending the Holy See and Western Christendom were eventually recognized in 800CE when the Pope crowned him as the Emperor of the Western Empire. 

As great a king as he was, Charlemagne proved to be an even greater emperor. He was able to bring order to a chaotic empire and set a good example to future kings and emperors. Under his reign, agriculture, trade, and law saw unprecedented leaps forward. 

Safekeeping La Joyeuse

charlemagne's saber - Imperial treasury of vienna 

charlemagne's saber - Imperial treasury of vienna 

Historians of today associate two swords to Charlemagne. One of Charlemagne’s swords is a saber; it is currently in the care of Weltliche Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury) in Vienna, Austria. While the other one is the legendary sword Joyeuse which is currently in the care of the Louvre Museum. 

Joyeuse was transferred into the Louvre in 1793. Before then, the sword was kept originally in a monastery in Saint-Denis, which is a place of burial for French kings. The earliest mention of the sword being kept in the monastery was in 1905; Joyeuse was mentioned in an inventory where it was listed alongside two other royal swords—the swords of Louise IX and Charles VII.  

The sword Joyeuse derives its name from the word “joyful.” Since the 13th century, Joyeuse was featured prominently in coronation rites of rulers of France. The earliest known event when Joyeuse was used at a coronation was in 1270 when of the Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold was crowned into power. This was a tradition continued until the coronation rites of Charles X in 1825.


Anatomy of the Sword

Today, the once battle-wielded Joyeuse is kept in the Louvre Museum; by this time, the sword has been preserved as a composite of numerous parts added over its long years of service as a coronation regalia. According to the Louvre, the pommel, the cross guard, and the grip had been all been replaced sometime between the 10th and 13th century. And although much of the original steel remains intact to this day, the blade itself had allegedly been refurbished sometime in the 19th century. 

Because it wasn’t being used in battle anymore, Joyeuse had undergone a lot of cosmetic changes to give it a more prestigious look. These ornamentations made Joyeuse representative of a wide range of cosmetic sensibilities from all around Europe throughout different periods in time. 

Joyeuse features two halves of a heavily sculpted gold pommel. The long gold grip measured 4.2 inches and was originally designed with a fleur-de-lis ornamentation within its prominent diamond patterning; fleur-de-lis is a stylized representation of a lily that is most famously recognized as the former royal arms of France. The fleur-de-lis ornamentation, however, was removed for the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804. 

Joyeuse features a gold cross-guard that measures 8.9 inches wide. It sports two winged dragons that are beaded with lapis lazuli eyes. The cross-guard was stamped in the 13th century with the text, “Deux marcs et demi et dix esterlins”; this translates to “two marks and a half and ten sterlings”, which is the weight of the gold. 

Joyeuse features a slender Oakeshott type II blade with a wide and shallow fuller. The blade of Joyeuse runs 32.6 inches long and measures 1.77 inches wide. There are competing schools of thought that offers opposing views on estimated age of the blade. One school of thought believes that the sword, to this very day, features the original blade of Joyeuse that dates back to the Middle Ages; the other suggests that the blade was forged when the sword allegedly got an overhaul in 1804. 

Much like most parts of the sword, the scabbard that originally carried Joyeuse had long undergone various changes. It is very likely that not much of the original scabbard remains except for its belt and the precious stones that were planted on its throat. 

At its present form, the scabbard consists of gilded silver. Its 6-inch throat is covered with purple velvet and ornamented with gold-threaded fleur-de-lis and gems. The velvet and fleurs-de-lis were late additions to the sword; both were added in 1824 for the coronation of Charles X. As for its dimensions, the scabbard has a length of 33 inches and a width of 2.75 inches. A piece of the original belt is still fitted in place, in true medieval fashion, with a gilded buckle. 

Today, Joyeuse remains to be one of the most important swords in all of Europe. Although it has long been removed from the battlefields of yesteryears, Charlemagne’s prized weapon serves as a reminder of prestige and royalty—a surviving testament to the King’s legendary conquests and much storied victories. 

Did Ancient Civilizations Possess Knowledge of Time Travel?

source: humansarefree

source: humansarefree

Time travel has always been a fascinating topic that’s been largely explored in a multitude of written works of science fiction and countless sci-fi films for many, many years. But what’s even more interesting is that tales of time travel go much further back in our history, with some ancient texts that have existed for hundreds or thousands of years mentioning or describing cases of people traveling forward in time. 
 
With the existence of a variety of ancient legends and myths from different parts of the world which seem to be literary interpretations of what could be actual examples of time traveling, some of us just can’t help but ask: Did certain ancient civilizations possess some knowledge of time travel?
 
Well, though we can’t answer this definitively just yet, for now, let us look into some of the ancient texts which mention tales of people who have supposedly defied all laws of logic, space and time. 

1. Story of the Seven Sleepers

source: wikipedia

source: wikipedia

The story of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus is a tale that is quite significant in both the Christian and Islamic tradition. The Christian interpretation of the story goes like this:

During the persecutions overseen by the Roman emperor Decius sometime in 250 AD, seven young men were accused of being worshippers of Christianity. These individuals were given some time to renounce their faith, but instead, they chose to surrender their material possessions by giving them to the poor and retiring to a mountain cave. Inside this cave, the seven young men prayed and eventually fell asleep. When they awoke, they thought they had only slept for a day, but when they wandered into the city to buy food, they were astounded to find buildings with the crosses of Christianity attached to them. And so, they came to the stunning realization that they had not slept for just one night, but for two hundred years, and they had awakened at a time when Christianity had already spread across the vast expanse of the Roman Empire. 

A similar tale about these sleepers can be found in Surah 18 of the Qur’an. Referred to as the story of the Companions of the Cave, it tells almost the same story as the Christian version; only the Qur’an does not provide the exact number of the People of the Cave who had miraculously been transported a couple of centuries into the future.

2. Bible - The Book of Baruch - Disappearance of Jeremiah

Source: ken raggio

Source: ken raggio

There are also several examples of time travel found in the Bible, and one of them is a story about the disappearance of Jeremiah as told in the deuterocanonical Book of Baruch. 
 
In the first part of this book, Jeremiah is told by God that Jerusalem will be destroyed and that he has to bury and protect the vestments of the temple. After that, he is to go into exile with his people until the day comes that God would allow them to return. But before the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah instructed Abimelech, a eunuch, to bring back figs from the orchard of Agrippa. Abimelech, however, ends up falling asleep in the orchard. And when he woke up, he was told by an old man that he had slept miraculously for the last 66 years. 

3. Mahabharata - Story of King Raivata Kakudmi

Source: a brief history of time travel

Source: a brief history of time travel

One of the very first stories that describe time travel can be found in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata – an ancient text which is believed to have been written no later than 400 BCE. This tale in that text follows a king, his daughter, and their quest to find her the most suitable husband. 

Revati was the only daughter of King Raivata Kakudmi, a monarch who ruled the prosperous kingdom of Kusasthali. Because the king thought her daughter was so beautiful and accomplished that no could prove good enough to marry her, Kakudmi took Revati to Brahmaloka, the home of the creator Brahma, to seek the powerful god’s help in finding his previous daughter the perfect suitor. 

When they arrived, Brahma was listening to a musical performance so they had to patiently wait until the performance was completed before Kakudmi could pay his respects and make his request to the god. However, once he did so, Brahma only laughed at the foolishness of the king. The God revealed that during the time they had waited in Brahmaloka, 108 yugas had already passed on Earth, with each yuga representing around 4 million years. 
 
With Kakudmi and Revati completely astonished over how so much time had passed on Earth during their short stay in Brahma’s domain, Brahma had to explain to them that time runs differently in different places of existence, which is interestingly similar to how modern physicists and astronomers conceptualize space-time today.  

4. Buddhist Text - Pali Canon - Heaven of the 30 Devas

buddha's real teachings

buddha's real teachings

Another ancient text that we will be discussing is the Buddhist text of Pali Canon, which, like the previous stories, also mentions the relativity of time. 
 
It is written in this collection of scriptures in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition that in the heaven of the thirty Devas, or the place of the Gods, “time passes at a different pace, and people live much longer.” For example, one hundred years on Earth is equivalent to just a single day passing in the heaven of the Gods. 

5. Japan - Legend of Urashima Taro

source: wikia, ayakashi: ghost guild

source: wikia, ayakashi: ghost guild

Urashima Taro is the protagonist of the legend about a fisherman who rescued a turtle from harm, who turned out to be the daughter of the Emperor of the Sea, Ryujin. To personally thank him and reward him for his actions, Taro was brought to the bottom of the sea to visit the Palace of the Dragon God where she met the Emperor and Princess Otohime.
 
Taro stayed in the underwater palace for three days, but he eventually decided to go back home to his village where his aging mother lived. And so, he asked the princess’s permission to leave, and before he left, she gave him a mysterious box that will supposedly protect him from danger so long as he never opens it. 
 
However, when he reached land, he discovered that 300 years had already passed since he had left the village and traveled to the bottom of the sea. In grief of all that he had lost, he opened the box the princess gave him, which let out a cloud of white smoke. Suddenly, Taro aged rapidly, and from the sea, he heard the voice of the princess reveal that kept inside the special box she gave him was actually his old age. 
 
All the stories and texts I have just mentioned all paint the idea of time travel in the same way that modern science has theorized it today: that time is relative and not absolute; and that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. And while these myths and legends may just be stories concocted from the brilliant imagination of their writers, they have opened an avenue of discourse that compels us to contemplate what it could mean for humanity if there are those among us who have the means to travel through time as well as the power to modify our history. 


Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sleepers
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak//publics/pseudepig/ParJer-Eng.html
http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-unexplained-phenomena/time-travel-ancient-mythology-modern-science-001242?nopaging=1
http://the-wanderling.com/mahabharata.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakudmi#Meeting_with_Brahma
https://www.ancient-code.com/time-travel/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urashima_Tar%C5%8D
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C4%81li_Canon#Sutta_Pitaka
http://www.messagetoeagle.com/did-ancient-civilizations-possess-knowledge-of-time-travel/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_travel

The Deadly Enigma of the Devil's Sea

We all have to respect the ocean; not just because it is the foundation of many forms of life, but because this massive body of water can also be quite ruthless when it comes to claiming lives. Many of us know better than to underestimate how many human lives could be lost in an ocean-related tragedy, and needless to say, mankind has had too many of them. Thousands of years of maritime history can attest to the harsh realities that humans have had to face when navigating through Earth’s “final frontier.” 
 
While the vast expanse of the Ocean promises treasures just as much as it forbodes tragedies, certain parts of the planet's hydrosphere pose deadlier dangers to those who dare pass through their waters compared to other sea and ocean regions. And one of those most dangerous stretches of water which is shrouded in curious mystery can be found in the gigantic Pacific Ocean. This region of the Pacific goes by many names. Aside from “The Dragon’s Triangle,” it is also referred to as the “Devil’s Sea,” “Formosa or Taiwan Triangle,” and the “Pacific Bermuda Triangle.” 

The name “Dragon’s Triangle” can be traced back to old Chinese fables which originated from around 1000 BCE. These tales spoke of dragons that lived underwater and, from time to time, capsized and sank naval vessels along with the seamen aboard them for these mythical creatures’ consumption and to satisfy their hunger.

On the other hand, the oceanic area’s name the “Devil’s Sea” or “Ma-No Umi” in Japanese was actually coined by the natives of Japan a long time ago because of the local legends that speak of the area’s notoriety in subduing and consuming even the strongest and the most buoyant of ships, and for being the home of terrifying sea monsters that drowned people to death. 

The “Dragon’s Triangle” is located in the region of the Pacific Ocean near the Japanese volcanic island of Miyake, which is just around 100 kilometers south of Japan’s capital, Tokyo. It is a triangle-shaped danger zone found between the coast of Japan and the Islands of Bonin, and it covers a large part of the Philippine Sea. Although this region is well-known by Japanese fishers, the Devil’s Sea is still not officially labeled on nautical maps, and reports on its size and the area it occupies have provided conflicting estimations that has yet to be reconciled conclusively. 

From the names referring to this part of the Pacific, we can already tell that there is something dangerous about this oceanic area. The reason why people regard the Dragon’s Triangle as a deadly enigma is because of reports of its unpredictable and sometimes violent weather. There are also claims of random and unexplained occurrences of ocean phenomena such as maelstroms, ocean swells, and rogue waves. Another interesting reason is the alleged disappearances of several maritime vessels and aircraft along with many other strange events in the region. 

Because of the perils, it poses to the vessels and the seafaring individuals that pass through it, the Dragon’s Triangle has gained significant notoriety that Japanese authorities went so far as to brand it as hazardous for marine travel and expeditions. 

What is also fascinating about the Dragon’s Triangle that makes it worthy of discussion is that it is one of the 12 Vile Vortices that exist today. Paranormal expert Ivan Sanderson coined the term “vile vortex” in his 1972 article titled “The 12 Devil’s Graveyards Around the World.” A vile vortex is an area found in different parts of the world, where the pull of Earth’s electromagnetic waves is thought to be at its strongest. Five of these vortices are situated on the same latitude below the equator, while five of them are on the same latitude above the equator. The remaining two vortices are the north and south poles of the planet. These 12 areas are said to be prime sites of magnetic anomalies, unexplained disappearances as well as other bizarre phenomena.

The Dragon’s Triangle, in particular, is located above the equator and is aligned opposite to where its Atlantic counterpart – the Bermuda Triangle – is situated. And just like the Devil’s Sea, this region in the western portion of the North Atlantic Ocean is also notorious for being the subject of similar cases of mysterious disappearances and paranormal phenomena. 

Legends, Stories, and Strange Incidents in the “Dragon’s Triangle

Kublai Khan and his men at sea

Kublai Khan and his men at sea

There are many legends, stories and cases of mysterious disappearances of boats, ships, and aircraft as well as other strange incidents in the Dragon’s Triangle that we know of today.

One popular tale supposedly took place back in the 1200s. According to this story, Emperor Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty attempted to conquer Japan twice by crossing the Devil’s Sea. Both efforts to take over the country did not succeed, and they resulted in the loss of the Yuan emperor’s sea-faring vessels, as well as the demise of more than 40,000 crewmen of these ships in the initial attempt alone.

 

There is a famous Japanese legend dating back to 1803 that talks about another eerie incident in the Dragon’s Triangle. This Japanese Utsuro-Bune legend involves a hollow boat that’s shaped like a box and resembles an incense burner or “kou-hako.” Inside this boat was a foreign-looking female who bore unique physical features. Fishermen who found her brought the woman inland to investigate her, but she did not know how to communicate in Japanese. This has led for some people to speculate that this particular story is an actual case of a close encounter with an extraterrestrial or interdimensional being.

Modern linguist and author Charles Berlitz, in his 1989 book “The Dragon’s Triangle,” made a sweeping declaration that there were a lot of fishing boats, tankers, Japanese and American warships and aircraft, and Soviet submarines that had fallen prey to the harsh waters and weather conditions of the Devil’s Sea. In fact, there are even much-wilder speculations that link the Dragon’s Triangle to the world-famous disappearance of the renowned female pilot Amelia Earhart.


Another popular case of a ship’s disappearance in the Devil’s Sea is that of the Kaio Maru No. 5 back in 1952. The Kaio Maru No. 5 was a research vessel of the Japanese government that investigated the undersea activities of the region. The ship supposedly disappeared in the Dragon’s Triangle along with its crew of 31 people who were never seen or heard from again. 

 

Explanations on the Strange Mystery of the Dragon’s Triangle

As is usually the case with most mysterious phenomena, many theories have been put forward which took a crack at explaining the strange stories and incidents that have taken place within the danger zones of the Devil’s Sea. Some of the explanations are more scientific and rational, but there are also those who fit the realm of the supernatural, paranormal, and speculative science. 
 
There are those who believe that the Dragon’s Triangle could be housing a secret or hidden doorway or a black hole that leads to another dimension or a parallel universe. Some also connect the oceanic region with the lost city of Atlantis, while others have raised the possibility that extraterrestrials have something to do with the sudden and unexplained disappearance of many vessels and sea-faring individuals that passed by the area.

Of course, rational and natural explanations have also been presented to put the questions surrounding the controversial and strange mystery behind the Dragon’s Triangle to rest. For one, deep-sea fishing has always been a dangerous line of work, which is why it should not come as a surprise that many fishing boats have sunk in the region of the Devil’s Sea and other surrounding seas and oceans near Japan. Some even say that the number of incidents of fishing boats that sank in the Dragon’s Triangle is no higher than the average, and so, there could be no big mystery after all. 
 
Another explanation for the disappearance of the boats and ships in the area could be the vast field of methane hydrates that lies at the bottom of the ocean within the zone of the Devil’s Sea. According to this theory, methane hydrates – or ice-like deposits that detach from the bottom of the ocean floor – turn into the gaseous form of methane clathrates which, in turn, produce bubbles on the water’s surface. When methane clathrates surpass the temperature of 18 °C (64 °F), they result to gas eruptions that mess with buoyancy and consequently leave ships vulnerable to sinking easily. 
 
Some of the other natural explanations related to the disappearance of various vessels and people in the Dragon’s Triangle have something to do with undersea volcanic activities, the movement of tectonic plates, as well as agonic lines and magnetic anomalies.
 
The scientific and natural explanations mentioned above should have been sufficient enough for everyone to tear off the shroud of mystery and inexplicability surrounding the Dragon’s Triangle. Even then, many still prefer to believe in more unconventional theories of the paranormal. But regardless of whether or not you choose to believe the scientific or the supernatural explanation, it cannot be denied that the Dragon’s Triangle or the Devil’s Sea is among the world’s most compelling mysteries about the oceans and high seas and that much of it remains to be thoroughly understood.  
 
And so, for those who might find themselves cruising somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, perhaps it would be in your best interest for the time being that you steer clear of this region.


Sources:

http://www.crystalinks.com/bermuda_triangle.html
http://www.unexplainedstuff.com/Places-of-Mystery-and-Power/Japan-s-Dragon-s-Triangle.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Sea
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/05/31/sea.legends.bermuda.triangle/index.html
http://listverse.com/2013/05/10/10-places-as-mysterious-as-the-bermuda-triangle/
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/beyond-bermuda-triangle-devils-sea/
http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-dragons-triangle.htm
http://www.marineinsight.com/maritime-history/unexplained-mystery-the-devils-sea-the-dragons-triangle/
http://mysteriousfacts.com/mystery-of-the-devils-sea/
http://www.paranormal-encyclopedia.com/d/dragons-triangle/
https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4337

 

The Legendary Sword in the Stone of Galgano

The story of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone is one of the most famous British legends. For centuries, this Arthurian story has been passed down from one generation to another through various literary works of authors and poets.

The Sword in the Stone - which some believe to be the same as the world-famous Excalibur - essentially tells the tale of an embedded sword that could only be pulled out from the stone by the one true king of England. The retrieval of the sword was deemed unlikely to be accomplished by any other man until the future King Arthur managed to do the impossible, proving his divine appointment as king and true heir of Uther Pendragon.

However, the story of a mystical sword stuck in a stone is not entirely unique to the well-known Arthurian legend. In fact, a similar yet lesser known story can be found in the Italian region of Tuscany, which some experts have suggested to be the real inspiration behind the British legend. This is the Sword in the Stone of Saint Galgano. And unlike King Arthur’s Excalibur, an actual 12th-century sword believed to be the very same sword that Saint Galgano thrust into the bedrock still exists today.

The Life of Saint Galgano Guidotti

Saint Galgano is considered to be the first saint whose canonization was conducted to a formal process by the Roman Church. Much of his life is known through the documents from the processing of his canonization in 1185, which is just a few years after his demise. There are also a number of written works by later authors that covered the saint’s life.

Galgano Guidotti was born in 1148 in Chiusdino, in the modern province of Siena, Italy. Being the son of a minor noble, he had spent his youth as a wealthy knight, solely concerned with the worldly pleasures that life had to offer. Trained in the art of war, Galgano was both arrogant and violent. However, all of that changed and he later renounced the ideologies of warfare and subsequently chose the path of a hermit.

The Story Behind Galgano’s Legendary Sword in the Stone

source: holiday in tuscany

source: holiday in tuscany

Saint Galgano’s path to holiness began with a vision of the Archangel Michael - who, incidentally, is often depicted as a warrior saint. According to one version of the legend, the Archangel Michael appeared before Saint Galgano and showed him the path to salvation, with the angel providing him directions to the place where he should go to achieve this.

On the following day, Saint Galgano declared his intention of becoming a hermit and took up residence in a nearby cave, which was met with ridicule from his family and his friends. Dionisia, Galgano’s mother, managed to convince her son to a pay a visit to his fiancee one last time before he completely renounces all worldly pleasures. And so, wearing his expensive nobleman’s clothing, he rode a horse and set out to visit his fiancee. However, on his way there, his horse suddenly reared, throwing him off its back.

Suddenly, Galgano felt an invisible force lift him to his feet, and an irresistible seraphic voice led him to Montesiepi, a hill nearby his home town of Chiusdino. When he reached the foot of the hill, the voice bade Galgano to be still and to look at the top of Montesiepi. There, he saw a vision of a round temple, with the Twelve Apostles surrounding Jesus and Mary. The voice instructed him to climb the hill, and while he was doing so, the vision he saw faded.

Once he reached the top of the hill, he heard the voice speak again, and this time, it commanded him to renounce all of his worldly desires. Saint Galgano, however, objected since the task was easier said than done. He went on to say that to accomplish such a feat was as easy as splitting a rock with a sword - it simply cannot be done.

In order to prove his point, Saint Galgano drew his sword and attempted to thrust it into the rocky ground. To his surprise and amazement, his blade went through the stone with as much ease as a hot knife slicing through butter. Having understood the divine message loud and clear, Galgano permanently resided on Montesiepi as a humble hermit, leading a life in poverty.

While he led a simple and humble life far different from the extravagant lifestyle he once had as a nobleman, Saint Galgano was visited occasionally by peasants, looking for his blessing. He also made friends with the wild animals he lived with.

According to one legend, the Devil once sent an assassin in the guise of a monk to kill Galgano. However, the saint managed to survive the ordeal because the wild wolves he was living with attacked the killer and “gnawed on his bones.”

At the age of 33, Galgano Guidotti met his demise in 1181, and was canonized four years later. His funeral was considered a major event at the time, and was attended by bishops as well as three Cistercian abbots, including one who had lost his way while headed for Rome.

The following year, the Bishop of Volterra placed Montesiepi under the care of Cistercian monks, knowing that they would erect a shrine in Galgano’s memory. They began the construction of a round chapel in 1185, and this became known as the Cappella di Montesiepi. The chapel is located just above the main abbey and houses the legendary sword of Saint Galgano up to this day.

Authenticity of the Sword in the Cappella di Montesiepi

source: delightfully italy

source: delightfully italy

For centuries, the sword in the stone in Montesiepi was widely believed to be a fake except by the most devout. However, research in the 21st century revealed that based on the composition of its metal as well as its style, the sword is indeed from the 12th century.

The sword has a basic design - its pommel is flat and slightly egg-shaped with a truncated form, while its guard is a straight bar of steel - and its style is typically associated to the known weapons of the 12th century.

In 2001, a metal analysis conducted by Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia revealed that the sword is indeed very old, with no clear proof to support the claims that the sword is a recent fake.

Ground-penetrating radar analysis also revealed a two-meter by 1-meter cavity beneath the sword believed to be a burial recess, which possibly contains Saint Galgano’s body. Meanwhile, carbon-dating confirmed that the two mummified arms housed in the same chapel at Montesiepi were also indeed from the 12th century. This incidentally supports that legend that anyone who attempted to remove the sword from the stone had their arms ripped out from their bodies.

The recent scientific research and evidence proving that the sword as well as the mummified arms in Cappella di Montesiepi have existed around the 12th century may not be full-proof evidence that the sword in the stone is indeed Saint Galgano’s blade, but it does paint a shade of truth to the story.

Saint Galgano’s Sword vs. King Arthur’s Excalibur

source: wikia

source: wikia

There are those who argue that the “Sword in the Stone” legend of King Arthur did not originate from the Celtic fringes of Britain or France but in Italy. The story of Saint Galgano and the sword embedded in a rock in Tuscany bears similar details to the Arthurian legend of Sir Percival, the finder of the Holy Grail.

It is also interesting to note that the the first story mentioning King Arthur pulling a sword from an anvil on top of a stone appeared in one of the poems written by 13th century French poet Robert de Boron, and that these poems were written several decades after Galgano’s canonization by the Roman Church. By that time, word of Saint Galgano’s life may have already travelled across Europe, with the legend of King Arthur and his sword likely to have been inspired by the story of the reformed Italian knight.

Though the two stories share very similar elements, each convey a different message and fulfills a different purpose. The Arthurian legend of the Sword and the Stone is a story that displays the might, glory and mythical qualities of King Arthur to do the impossible, demonstrated by the unlikely retrieval of a sword.  The story of Saint Galgano’s sword, on the other hand, speaks of faith, humility and the path to holiness by doing the opposite - which is thrusting a blade into a rock-solid ground.

Though Saint Galgano Guidotti’s story may just be a curious legend much like the story of King Arthur and the Excalibur, its legacy is far from forgotten. The round temple in Montesiepi is still standing, and is still safekeeping the sword believed to have belonged to Galgano as well as the mummified forearms that supposedly belonged to a man who dared to pull out that very same sword. The walls of the Abbey of San Galgano on Montesiepi are also still standing tall, and has since become a tourist spot for its haunting beauty, history and architecture.  


Sources:

http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts/legendary-sword-stone-san-galgano-002968?nopaging=1
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/sep/16/rorycarroll.theobserver
http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-sword-in-the-stone-at-montesiepi-chapel
http://myarmoury.com/feature_stone.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2999894.stm

5 Ancient Legends Based on True Events

Humans, above all else, are excellent storytellers. Myths and legends have ignited the imagination and fed the souls of human beings for thousands of years. The vast majority of these legendary tales are usually just stories people have handed down through the ages. However, as it turns out, there are plenty of old myths and stories that have more than a kernel of truth to them. In fact, a few of them have roots in real geological and astronomical events of the past, providing warning of potential catastrophic dangers that threaten our existence, while also speaking volumes to the awe we hold for the wonders of our planet.

So, here are five ancient legends from around the world that are somehow based on true events.

1. The Guest Star

Crab_Nebula.jpg

The Ancient Story of “The Guest Star.” In April of the year A.D. 1006, witnesses from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and possibly even in North America, spotted what they described as a “guest star” in the sky. Astronomers digging through ancient texts have found lost records mentioning and describing the cosmic phenomenon. Among them is from the multipart opus “Kitab al-Shifa” or “Book of Healing” by the Persian scientist Ibn Sina, who is also known in the west as Avicenna. In the “Book of Healing,” Avicenna took note of a transient celestial object that changed color and “threw out sparks” as it faded away. What he saw started out as a faint greenish yellow light, which twinkled wildly at its peak brightness. Then, it became a whitish color before ultimately vanishing.

For a long time, the “guest star” was suspected of being a comet, but now, it has since been determined that the celestial wonder was really a supernova – a cosmic explosion that took place 7,200 years ago but whose visible light only reached Earth at the turn of the first millennium. In 1006 A.D., the supernova was far brighter than Venus and was visible during the daytime for weeks. At present, though its visible wavelengths have since dissipated from view, the high-energy remnants of the supernova can still be seen through NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

2. The Crater Lake and the Battle of the Gods

The Legend Surrounding the Crater Lake. The most common of the legends centering around the Crater Lake in Oregon involve two powerful mythological beings: Skell, the lord of the Above-world; and Llao, the god of the Under-world. The theme of this legend is essentially “good-versus-evil.”

The Native American Klamath tribe believed that the Crater Lake in Oregon was once a tall mountain named Mazama, which back then was inhabited by Llao. The underworld deity engaged in an epic battle with Skell, the sky god, and fire and brimstone flew across the skies between Mazama and the nearby Mount Shasta. Llao was defeated in the fight, and they had to go back to the underworld. With the intention of imprisoning him forever, Skell collapsed the mountain on top of Llao, before topping off this prison with a beautiful blue lake.

The legend was not exactly far from the truth. However, the crater lake was not the product of a battle between angry gods but Mount Mazama, a volcano that erupted 7,700 years ago. So much molten rock was expelled that the summit area collapsed during the eruption to form a large volcanic depression called caldera. Subsequent smaller eruptions occurred as water started to fill the caldera which eventually formed the deepest lake in the United States.  

3. The Myth of Rama’s Bridge

The Myth of Rama’s Bridge. In the Hindu epic the “Ramayana,” the wife of the god Rama, gets kidnapped and taken to the Demon Kingdom on the island of Lanka. With the help of an army of ape-like men, Rama, along with his brother Lakshman, built a floating bridge between India and Lanka. He led the army in crossing over the bridge, and successfully vanquished Ravana, the demon king, and consequently rescued his wife.

While this elaborate tale is filled with fantastical details, the mythical Rama’s Bridge itself actually exists. Satellite images reveal a 48-kilometer line of submerged limestone shoals and sand that stretches between India and Sri Lanka. The bridge separates the Gulf of Mannar located in the southwest from the Palk Strait, which is in the northeast. Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is quite shallow, being only 1 to 10 meters deep in some places. It was reportedly passable on foot up to the 15th century until storms deepened the channel. Temple records seem to tell that the Rama's Bridge was completely above sea level until a cyclone in 1480 brought a huge storm surge into the channel and sunk it beneath the waves.

4. Atlantis

Atlantis.png

As first described by Greek philosopher Plato in his writings, this myth tells a tale of a civilization at its peak that tragically sank beneath the waves and got lost for all eternity. This great civilization called Atlantis is supposedly founded by a race of people who were half god and half human, and lived in a utopia where they possessed great naval power. However, while at the pinnacle of their power and influence, their home - which were located on islands that were said to be shaped like a series of concentric circles – was destroyed in a great cataclysm.

Atlantis was probably not a real place that have existed in ancient times, but a real island civilization may have been the source of inspiration for the tale. It remains heavily debated, but several archaeologists are of the opinion that the myth of Atlantis could have been based on the collapse of the Minoan empire.

Santorini in Greece is now an archipelago, but thousands of years ago, it was a single island – a volcano named Thera. Around 3,650 years ago, a volcanic eruption, which is considered to be one of the biggest in human history, rocked the island and led to its destruction. The vast magma chamber of the volcanic island was emptied so catastrophically and so quickly that the core of the island collapsed, setting off tsunamis that flooded much of Thera with the inflowing Aegean Sea. The eruption blew tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere where it lasted for years and potentially caused many cold, wet summers. Such conditions would have ruined harvests in the region, which is believed to be a main contributor to the quick decline of the Minoan civilization and why they were never heard from again.

5. Noah’s Ark

16651_222.jpg

In the famous story told among Christians, Jews and Muslims, God, a long time ago, chose to destroy the Earth with a great flood but spared a man named Noah and his family. On God’s command, Noah built an ark and filled it with a pair of every animal. When God covered the Earth with water, it drowned everyone and everything that once roamed the land. Noah, his family and the other animals managed to survive while on the ark, and they were the ones that repopulated the planet after the disaster.

While a boat full of animals of every kind is hardly believable to some, experts say that the epic biblical flood - as often is the case with apocryphal texts - could have been based on a much earlier tale. One such story that comes to mind is the Epic of Gilgamesh. This ancient epic unfolds similarly to its biblical equivalent. In this Mesopotamian saga that dates back to the 7th century BCE, many gods conspired to create a great flood that will destroy the world. One of the gods, Ea, told a man to make a boat to save himself and the rest of his family, along with a group of animals.

So, with similar flood tales told in many cultures, is there any evidence that the great floods referenced in these stories actually happened? Scholars and scientific experts generally agree that there never was a global deluge as there is not enough water in the Earth system to cover all the land. However, some geologists think that the legend of a great flood may have been influenced by a catastrophic flooding event in the Black Sea around 5,000 B.C.

Geological records show that the Mediterranean Sea overflowed into the Black Sea, which is located north of Turkey. It forced the sediment barrier between the two to open in a very dramatic manner, and anyone nearby who witnessed what happened at the time would have seen the creation of waterfall 200 times the volume of Niagara Falls. In a single day, enough water came through the channel to cover Manhattan, and the roar of the cascading water would have been loud enough to be heard at least 100 miles away. And so, anyone who were living in the fertile farmlands on the northern rim of the sea at the time would have had the harrowing experience of seeing the boundary of the ocean move inland at the rate of a mile a day.

Myths are beautiful, breathtaking narratives and literary treasures of our past. But more than that, these ancient tales we have listed - and many other which were not mentioned - were able to provide important clues to our distant past. And these clues were helpful and crucial in filling in the gaps in our scientific and historical knowledge about geological and astronomical phenomena that took place on Earth in bygone eras. So, with the help of science, we can safely say that some tales are not just made-up stories passed from one generation to another; they could be true as well.


Sources:

http://www.iflscience.com/environment/six-ancient-legends-that-are-based-on-real-events/all/
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ten-ancient-stories-and-geological-events-may-have-inspired-them-180950347/
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160427-lost-supernova-sighting-sn1006-arab-astronomy/
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/multimedia/tapestry.html
https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2002/fs092-02/
https://www.newscientist.com/blog/space/2007/09/bridge-built-by-monkeys.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_Bridge
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/evidence-for-a-flood-102813115/?no-ist