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.


Are Pyramids Proof Of An Ancient Advanced Civilization?

In our modern era, it cannot be denied that the ancient pyramids of Giza have somewhat become the “apple of mankind’s eyes." This is not just because we revel at their distinctiveness as a tourist destination, but mainly because these ancient structures are vestiges of a once-thriving civilization that had a unique history and culture.



The oldest and the largest of the Egyptian pyramids found at the vast desert landscape of Giza is the Great Pyramid. Believed to have been built for and by the will of the Pharaoh Khufu at some point during his reign in the 26th century BC, the Great Pyramid withstood the test of time. It was one of the biggest buildings on the face of the earth up until the transition to the twentieth century. Standing today at 455 feet (138 meters), this ancient structure is considered by some to be a unique icon of Egyptian legacy and is also the “last construction standing” among the listed Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 

The second pyramid, known as Khafre's pyramid, is widely believed to have been commissioned by Khufu’s son Khafre, whose reign commenced around 2520 BC. The Great Sphinx monument is also located near the Khafre’s pyramid and dates around the same time as his reign, which has led some scholars to believe that the human face of the Sphinx is that of Khafre himself. 

The third pyramid, which is the smallest out of the three principal pyramids of Giza, was supposedly built to serve as the final resting place of Pharaoh Menkaure. It is believed to have been constructed between 2510 and 2490 BC during his rule.   

Proof of Advanced Ancient Technology:

The pyramid complex of Giza is regarded by many to be an impressive feat of engineering, considering mankind’s knowledge about construction and the technology available to the builders of the time were supposedly primitive. Scholars also deem these pyramids as testimonial relics of the “blood, sweat and tears” of tens of thousands of laborers who worked for decades to erect these ancient structures. 

These ancient buildings have continued to stand their ground for the past 4,500 hundred years, an incomparable achievement that has gained the interest and admiration of many. Part of the fascination over these pyramids is rooted in the curiosity over who built them as well as why and how they were built. These questions have opened an avenue of “new-age” discourse in our modern era, with some going so far as to assert that the ancient pyramids of Egypt could be a remnant of a technologically-advanced ancient civilization. Some even believe the pyramids are proof that ancient visitors of extraterrestrial origin once socially interacted with the people of earth. 

Most talk of advanced ancient civilizations and ancient astronauts is put off as pseudoscientific or fantastical speculation, but those who believe that the pyramids of Giza could have been built using advanced ancient technology have arguments that are just too compelling to ignore. 

Here are ten reasons why the pyramids of Giza could be evidence that Egypt’s ancient civilization once possessed advanced technology, which could be alien in origin. 

1. The Size & Weight of the Pyramids & Their Materials. 


One of the arguments raised by those who believe that the pyramids of Giza were built using advanced alien technology is the colossal size and weight of the pyramids and the materials they were built from. 

Building the Great Pyramid, for example, required the quarrying and transportation of 2.3 million stone blocks. Lifting each of these blocks was not exactly effortless either as these stones weighed between 2.5 to 15 tons. 

Archaeologists and researchers have presented theories of how the laborers of that time managed to quarry and transport these blocks from a nearby source to the site where the pyramid was built. However, many insist that these massive stones were nearly impossible to mine, move and lift given the primitive tools of that era. Since the Great Pyramid took at estimated 20 years to complete, it would have taken the laborers only two and half minutes to set each of the pyramid’s insanely-heavy blocks. 

2. The White Limestone Casings of the Great Pyramid. 

While the Great Pyramid is still a magnificent sight to behold, its current appearance today is nothing but a shadow of its former shining beauty. In the distant past, Egyptians referred to the Great Pyramid as “Ikhet,” which, which translates to “Glorious Light.” The Great Pyramid was once shielded with casings made of white-colored and smooth limestone until a disastrous earthquake in 1303 AD led to its untimely uncoupling. Much like mirrors, the pyramid stones reflected sunlight, which made the pyramid glisten like a crystal in the middle of the desert. 

What’s interesting about these reflective stone casings is not just their shape and appearance, but also the source of the material they were made of. Gathering large amounts of flat and polished limestone meant that tons of these stones had to cross the long stretch of the Nile river before they could be used. For some, this leads to the inevitable question of how those who worked in the construction of the pyramid managed to transport heavy and reflective limestone without the guidance of sophisticated knowledge and machinery.  

3. The Elaborate Tunnel Systems Inside the Pyramids of Giza. 


Archaeologists uncover a secret or two hiding beneath the pyramids of Giza from time to time. Prime examples of these discoveries are the elaborate networks of tunnels hidden under the vast desert. There are those who have dared to explore these passageways and the potential rooms or compartments hidden within, but most are still largely unexplored by people of the 21st century. 

What purpose could these tunnels have possibly served? Until we have the chance to excavate and thoroughly investigate these pathways, there’s still no definite answer to this question. Some believe that there could be an underground city beneath the pyramids of Giza and that this buried metropolis could be thousands of years old. 

4.  Strange Heat Anomalies in Several Areas of the Great Pyramid. 


In 2015, an international team of scientists and architects conducted thermal scans of the pyramids in Giza. To their astonishment, they observed “thermal anomalies” in the pyramids and detected high-temperature heat spots in several areas of the Great Pyramid. Mainstream science proposed that empty chambers, internal air currents and the use of varied construction materials were the causes of these anomalies, but believers of ancient advanced civilizations had something completely different in mind.

They believe that the heat spots come from advanced ancient equipment or machinery hidden beneath the pyramids. Some even speculate that the Great Pyramid of Giza could be an antiquated spacecraft built or brought here on the planet by extraterrestrial beings and that the heat anomalies indicate that the alien ship’s engines are ready to ignite after receiving sufficient energy from the sun for the past few thousand years. 

5. Alignment of the Great Pyramid with True North. 

The position of the Great Pyramid and its alignment with the location of true north is one of the more well-known pieces of evidence for the possibility of a technologically-superior ancient civilization. Although built thousands of years ago, the Great Pyramid is regarded by many to be the most accurately-aligned structure on the planet – yes, even more so than our modern-day Meridian Building in London – with a very minimal degree of error of 3/60th. Moreover, this error is not just a mistake in calculation but is explained by the fact that true north shifts as time passes. This means that the Great Pyramid was perfectly aligned at the time it was built. 

How did the ancient Egyptians manage to design and erect the Great Pyramid with such a high level of accuracy? They did not have a compass, so they must have calculated the alignment using sophisticated algorithms. But if they didn’t even have the knowledge and technology to make a compass, how could they have mathematically extrapolated the Great Pyramid’s near-perfect alignment with the cardinal direction of true north? Theories have attempted to answer this mystery, but experts can’t seem to agree on a single explanation. 

5. Alignment of the Pyramids with the Stars of Orion’s Belt. 


According to the Orion Correlation Theory, which was first presented by Robert Bauval back in 1983, the placement of the three main pyramids in the Giza Plateau aligns with the three main stars of Orion’s Belt. This theory also alleges that the whole outline of the Great Sphinx, the pyramid complex in Giza as well as the Nile River reflects the location of the constellations of Leo, Orion’s Belt and the Milky Way galaxy, in that order.

What’s interesting about this theory is its suggestion that the three pyramids of Giza were precisely aligned with the three stars of the Orion’s Belt in 10,500 BC. If true, this would mean that these pyramids were constructed 12,000 years ago and not 4,500 years in the past as mainstream science has led us to believe. 

7. Eight-Sided Design of the Great Pyramid

While it may initially seem like the Great Pyramid of Giza has four sides just like most pyramids, it is the only one to have been built with eight sides and four slightly-concave faces. 

Also worth mentioning is the degree of precision required in forming all eight sides of the pyramid, with each side indented by one degree of a half-degree, which is not an easy thing to do even in modern times. 

Moreover, all sides of the Great Pyramid cannot be easily seen from the ground or even from afar, and are only visible from above. 

As for what purpose the eight-sided design of the Great Pyramid served, some say that it had the structural purpose of keeping the casing stones from loosening, while others suggest that the indentations are nothing more than the incidental consequence of erosion. Of course, there are also those who believe that multiple-sided pyramid served an astronomical purpose or that it could be a communication device between ancient Egyptians and the extraterrestrial beings that guided them in the distant past. 

Based on the seven reasons we have just enumerated, can we conclude that the pyramids in Giza prove that ancient Egyptians once possessed highly advanced technology that may very well have come from extraterrestrial sources? 
Were our ancestors far more capable than we give them credit for? We may never know. 


The Ourang Medan, The Mystery of the Deadliest Ghost Ship in History

In June 1947, the Dutch freighter S.S. Ourang Medan was traveling along the straits of Malacca, when the ship suddenly sent out a chilling distress signal.

"All Officers, including the Captain, are dead. Lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead."

This first message was followed by a series of indecipherable Morse code sequences until finally, a last ominous transmission:

"I die." 


Ourang Medan's grim SOS was picked up by British and Dutch listening posts around Sumatra and Malaysia, who worked together to determined where the signal was coming from and alerted nearby ships.

American merchant ship Silver Star was first to reach Ourang Medan. They waived and shouted at the vessel to check for signs of life above deck. But there was no answer. Only eerie silence.

The US ship decided to send out a rescue team to board the ship to look for survivors. But what they found was a blood-curdling nightmare.

The entire Dutch crew was a ghastly pile of corpses – eyes wide open in horror, mouths are frozen in an eternal scream, arms stretched out as if saying stop as if saying no more.

Inside, they found the captain with the same twisted expression on his face as that of his men, dead on the bridge of the ship. Now nothing more than a dead captain, leading a dead ship.

His once strapping officers are now cold corpses straggled on the wheelhouse and chartroom floor. Even the ship’s dog wasn't spared a horrific death.

But the most harrowing is finding the radio operator, fingertips still on the telegraph where he sent his dying message.

After seeing the chilling devastation on board, the Silver Star decided to tow the Ourang Medan to port. But it wouldn't make it to shore, as thick clouds of smoke started rising from the lower decks and interrupted the rescue.

The crew barely had time to sever the line and move to safety, before the Ourang Medan exploded. The blast was apparently so big that the ship “lifted herself from the water and swiftly sank,” taking with it all the answers to its mysterious end to the bottom of the sea.

Or so the story of the Ourang Medan goes.


Some details may differ slightly in each version of the story. Like it happened in February 1948 instead of June 1947. Or that the waters that day were choppy instead of calm. And that the crew wasn't just dead, but they were decomposing at a faster rate. 

While in some versions, the details are, well, too detailed. Like one of the two American ships that heard the distress signal was named The City of Baltimore. That the smoke from the lower deck before the explosion came exactly from the Number 4 hold. Or that the poor canine aboard was a small terrier.

But whichever version of the story you've heard (or told), the basic plot points remain the same - Ourang Medan's entire crew met a gruesome and inexplicable death, and then very conveniently blew up and sank to the bottom of the ocean, leaving us all with an unsolved nautical macabre mystery.

So what happened to the Ourang Medan?

Theory #1: It was a cover up.

The most commonly pointed out loophole in the tale of the Ourang Medan is the vessel's lack of paper trail.

The Lloyd's Shipping registers don't have any mention of the ship. It's not in The Dictionary of Disasters at Sea that covers the years 1824-1962. It wasn't in the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen either.

There's no trace of it in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Nothing in the Dutch Shipping records in Amsterdam. The Maritime Authority of Singapore also doesn't have the ill-fated ship in any of their records. 

In other words, the Ourang Medan was a ghost ship, even before it gained notoriety as one. Because there's no tangible proof that it even existed.

But as espousers of this legend would explain, it's because the Ourang Medan is part of a transnational government cover-up involving the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, China, the United States, and possibly many others.

They believe that the ship was deliberately expunged from all maritime records because it was being used to smuggle a secret cargo of lethal nerve gas to Japan.

Saying the Ourang Medan's voyage is linked to Army Unit 731 founded by Japanese bacteriologist Shirō Ishii, whose main objective was to bring back a weapon of the chemical, gas, or biological variety, that could win the war in their favor.

But as the Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibited the use of all chemical and biological weapons in war, the only way a large shipment of poisonous gas could make it across the other side of the world without raising any suspicion from authorities is by loading it as inconspicuous cargo, in an old, beat up Dutch freighter.  

This theory also provides a convenient and somewhat plausible explanation for the grisly death of the Ourang Medan's crew. With that much hazardous chemicals on board, a gas leak would've certainly led to the immediate death of everyone in the ship.

However, it wouldn't explain why the rescue crew from Silver Star wasn't affected by the poisonous gas when they boarded the ship.

Or why, like the Ourang Medan, there’s no mention of the Silver Star in Lloyd's register.

Theory #2: It was carbon monoxide poisoning.

American author and inventor of the term Bermuda Triangle, Vincent Gaddis, speculates that it was carbon monoxide poisoning is the answer to the mysterious deaths of the Ourang Medan crew.

According to his theory, burning fuel from a malfunctioning boiler system produced carbon monoxide fumes that poisoned the crew.

When breathed in carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream and prevents red blood cells from carrying oxygen around the body. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. 

The trouble with this theory is that Ourang Medan is not an enclosed space. Fumes could've simply escaped into the atmosphere, and lives of the crew working the upper decks of the ship would've been spared.

Theory #3: It was pirates.

What's a story about a ghost ship without pirates, right?

There are theories claiming that pirates invaded the Ourang Medan and killed everyone on board, which although doesn't explain some accounts saying that there were no visible wounds on the victims' bodies, it does fit with the Strait of Malacca's long history with piracy as far back as the 14th century.

Because of its geography - narrow and dotted with many islets - it makes it ideal for a surprise attack towards ships using it as the trade route to China and Europe.

Theory #4: Ghosts

One of the most repeated, but arguably, also the most inconsequential detail in the story of the Ourang Medan is the extreme chill the rescue team felt as soon as they entered the hull of the ship, despite it being 110°F outside.

Inexplicable drop in temperature plus the frightened expressions on the crew's faces set in a vast, unforgiving sea, equals ghosts did it.

There aren't many supporters of this theory, but what's a ghost ship story without a ghosts-did-it theory?

Theory #5: Aliens

You might think that the alien theory is the most far-fetched, the most uncreative, the most cop out theory explaining the phenomena of the Ourang Medan, but it's a very popular theory, with entire books dedicated to it.

The story of the Ourang Medan has all the elements of a good mystery - inexplicable deaths, unknown assailants, world powers, war, pirates, ghosts, and multiple highly-plausible conspiracy theories. 

Which is probably why it still fascinates us to this day, even if it's already been dismissed by historians, researchers, and the casual internet fact-checker alike as a hoax.

But if it's good enough for the CIA to release a document in 1959 saying, that the Ourang Medan holds the key to many of the sea's mysteries, including that of sightings of huge fiery spheres that come from the sky and descend into the sea, then, it's certainly a hoax worth retelling.

1. Death Ship: The Ourang Medan Mystery,
2. The Myth of the Ourang Medan Ghost Ship, 1940,
3. S.S. Ourang Medan,
4.S.S. Ourang Medan,
6. LETTER TO<Sanitized> FROM C.H. MARCK,
7. Did the Ourang Medan “ghost ship” exist?,
8. The SS Ourang Medan: Death Ship (Updated),
9. Mysterious Death at Sea: the Disturbing Discovery at the S.S. Ourang Medan,
10. The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena: From bizarre biology to inexplicable astronomy,
11. Vincent Gaddis,
12. Crime on the high seas: The World's Most Dangerous Waters,
13. The World's Most Dangerous Waters,

Rama Setu: The Bridge Between Myth and History



Roughly 1500 years old, narrated in 24,000 verses, and told in 480,000 words, the Sanskrit epic Ramayana forms part of the single most significant body of literature in ancient Indian lore—the Itihasa. Along with Ramayana, the Itihasa consists of another Sanskrit epic in Mahabharata and a collection of olden lore and legends in the Puranas.
Ramayana is an epic poem that chronicles the story of how Prince Rama rescued his wife Sita from the Demon King Ravana. Despite being considered as deeply meaningful literature, most experts agree that Ramayana is a product of mythology, rather than an artifact of actual history; in most recent years, however, this previously unshaken academic assumption has become the subject of much historical controversy.

s ource:&nbsp; ThoughtCo

source: ThoughtCo

In Ramayana, the great Hindu poet and sage Valmiki makes a great mention of Rama Setu, a bridge across the ocean that connects India and Sri Lanka. Ramayana tells the story of how Prince Rama was forced into relinquishing his throne as the crowned prince of Ayodhya. Following his dethronement, the former prince, along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, went into exile; the three spent fourteen years traveling across the deep forests of ancient India. As events unfolded, however, all hell broke loose when, in one of their forests journeys, Rama’s wife Sita was abducted by the Ten Headed Demon King Ravana.
To get his wife back, Rama gathered a large army that consists of a group of monkey soldiers called the Vanaras. In the story, Rama led his army from the mainland, which is modern day India, into the Island of Lanka, which is modern day Sri Lanka, where Sita has been held captive by the demon king. There, he waged war against the Demon King Ravana; a battle of epic proportions broke out. But in the end, Rama was able to destroy Ravana. The tale concludes with the return of Prince Rama and Sita to their home kingdom of Ayodhya, where the prince was finally crowned as the new king.

In Ramayana, Rama was initially unable to lead his forces of Vanaras across the ocean to the Island of Lanka. As such, the prince sought the help of the Sea God who gave him the precise instructions on how to build a bridge across the ocean; these included seeking the help of the Vanaras in constructing a floating bridge. The Vanara complied to Rama’s request by constructing a causeway made of rocks and boulders. The Vanaras did this by writing Rama’s name onto the stones, rocks, and boulders, and tossing them into the ocean.  It took the Vanaras five day to complete the bridge Rama Setu. Once in place, Rama used the Rama Setu to move his army across the ocean, and into the Island of Lanka.

source:&nbsp; Dr. Rita Louise

Because Ramayana has always been considered a work of fiction rather than an actual record of the past, the Rama Setu or Rama’s Bridge, in turn, was always believed to be a fictional bridge rather than an actual bridge. But in recent years, thanks to advanced satellite imaging technology, NASA has revealed photos of a land formation that appears to have been a causeway of sorts. These strips of land, although broken, appear to have, at some point in the past, extended across the ocean, thus bridging a part of modern day India into modern day Sri Lanka.
Today, this land formation is best known as Rama’s Bridge, in reference to the Rama Setu mentioned in the Ramayana. Rama’s Bridge is a long stretch of land connection that consists shoal and sandbank; it bridges the Rameswaram Island in India and the Mannar Island in Sri Lanka. 

Rama’s Bridge extends to 50 kilometers long; and although most of it is submerged underwater, it forms a solid, albeit intermittent, pathway that connects India to Sri Lanka. The records kept in Rameswaram temple indicate that the bridge remained above sea-level and was passable on foot until sometime in the 15th century when it was finally submerged in water by a great storm.

Both the peoples of India and Sri Lanka has long been aware of the existence of the bridge as made apparent by the prominence of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. Since time immemorial, the sea that separates India and Sri Lanka has been referred to as Sethusamudram, which directly translates to sea of the bridge. 

People in the West, on the other hand, first heard of Rama’s Bridge through Ibn Khordadbeh, a Persian cartographer who lived in the 9th century. The cartographer made a mention of the bridge in his Book of Roads and Kingdoms; in the book; he called it Set Bandhai, which means Bridge of the Sea. 

In the early 19th century, a British cartographer prepared a map of the area and referred to the bridge as Adam’s Bridge; the name was derived from an Abrahamic-Islamic myth that speaks of Adam falling into a mountain in Sri Lanka and using the bridge to cross to mainland India. 

A good number of Orthodox Hindus believe that the existence of Rama Setu is in itself an unmistakable and undeniable proof of the Ramayana being a part of actual real-life history. To bolster its perceived historical value, believers have put out historical inscriptions, travel guides, dictionary references, and even old maps that validate the existence of Rama Setu as the same exact bridge featured in Ramayana.  

In 2002, NASA released photographs that show an almost unbroken chain of limestone shoals between the southeastern coast of India and the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka; these photos renewed the mythohistorical interests in Rama’s Bridge. Since then, many mainstream scientists, historians, and academics have repeatedly tried to debunk the pseudo-historical claims that surround the existence of Rama’s Bridge, making it clear that the structure in question wasn’t so much of a man-made bridge but a natural land formation of sorts. 

There remains much debate and conflicting claims on the origin and nature of the structure. Among the most prominent theories offered by mainstream science is that Rama’s Bridge is, in fact, a chain of barrier islands that resulted from the natural process of sand deposition and sedimentation that has occurred over long periods of time. Another explanation offered by mainstream scientists is the possibility that the landmasses of India and Sri Lanka may have been connected at some point in time in the old world, making Rama’s Bridge an ancient shoreline. 

In a rather confusing fashion, various scientific studies offer different definitions on what Rama’s Bridge is; it has been described as a chain of shoals, an extended stretch of coral reefs, a sequence of barrier islands, a sandbar, and a narrow strip of land, among other things. For all the speculations and explanations offered by the mainstream sciences, much of the scientific community has yet to arrive at an acceptable consensus on what Rama’s Bridge is exactly. 

Over the years, modern day scientists, historians, and academic researchers have repeatedly made clear what  Rama’s Bridge is not. Rama’s Bridge was not, at any point in time, a manmade structure; Rama’s Bridge, despite its name, is not the same mythohistorical bridge referenced in Ramayana; and perhaps most importantly, Rama’s Bridge was not constructed by the Vanana’s, nor was it built by any other ancient civilization of magical monkey soldiers 2,500,000 ago, as the Sanskrit epic suggests. But what if. What if we remain open to the possibility, however unlikely, that Rama’s Bridge was, in fact, all of these things? What effect then does it have on us, on sense history, and on our perceived understanding of the world? 

At present, it is widely regarded in the academe that civilized life on the planet began about 4,800 years ago. Scientists, historians, and academic researchers, among others, point to the fact that there is no substantial body of evidence whatsoever that supports the existence of a civilization predating ancient Sumerian and Egyptian societies, both of which are considered to be earliest civilizations in prehistory. 

Experts point out that the absence of evidence supporting the existence of a far older civilization plays directly in favor of the currently accepted timelines of civilizational and cultural development. This is where the growing interest in Rama’s Bridge and Ramayana comes in. 

source:&nbsp; HubPages

source: HubPages

According to Hindu tradition, the events that unfolded in Ramayana took place during the Treta Yuga, which is presently considered a mythological period that began 2,165,000 years ago and lasted until 869,000 years ago. If we set aside, any mythical exaggeration alluded to in Ramayana, then assuming the possibility that Rama’s Bridge was, at some level, humanmade would place the structure well outside the accepted timeline; the existence of which would consequently imply the existence of a civilization that far predates ancient Sumerian and Egyptian societies. 

Although Rama is central to the unfolding of events in Ramayana, it is not exactly the crowned Prince of Ayodhya that makes for the most significant variable in the mythohistorical debate that surrounds Rama’s Bridge; It is, in fact, his army of monkey soldiers---The Vanaras. Around 2,500,000 years ago, at very doorstep of the Treta Yuga, human evolution was kick-started by the existence the genus Homo, with the Homo Habilis being the first primates that were able to wield tools. And by about 1,800,000 years ago, Homo Erectus started to walk the Earth. 

Archaeological sites that held the bones of Homo Erectus repeatedly reveal that these early humans coexisted in small communities; they lived in huts; they wore clothes, and they fashioned tools made of stone. Homo Erectus, in other words, showed early signs of a developing civilization---traits previously unheard of in predecessor primate groups. 

These ape men, so to speak, literally existed within the Tetra Yuga period.  As such, it might not be too far of a stretch to see the possible connection between today’s accepted history and the cherished mythology in the Ramayana. It’s not too far of a stretch to see the possible connection between these primitive human beings that we know, for a fact, existed in the past, and the Vanaras--builders of the ancient bridge that today rests in the waters of myth, magic, and history. 

Kusanagi: The Sacred Sword of Myth, Magic, and History

The sword of Kusanagi, the storied sword that completes the Imperial Regalia of Japan, is the stuff of ancient history and timeless legends abound by gods, monsters, and the few mortals who dared wield its piercing magic. But is the sword of Kusanagi, its very existence, part of real-life history? Or is this most storied blade fashioned only from tall tales forged brilliantly into an enduring legend? For us to arrive at answers, we must first take our journey back to a much, much earlier point in time. 


The Imperial Regalia: The Three Great Treasures of Japan

The Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, or grass-cutting sword, makes one of the three Imperial Regalia, The Great Treasures of Japan. Along with the Kusanagi sword, the other Regalia objects consist of The Regalia Mirror Yata-no-Kagami and the Regalia Jewel Yasakani-no-Magatama. The Imperial Regalia is said to embody the three primary virtues central to the ancient and now modern Japanese society.  While the Yasakani Jewel embodies benevolence, and the Yata Mirror represents wisdom, the Kusanagi Sword is the very embodiment of valor. 

Ever since the 7th century, the presentation of The Regalia Objects to the Emperor by a priest has been an essential element to the enthronement ceremony. The enthronement ceremony is a highly private tradition in which only the emperor and selected priests have the privilege of actually laying their eyes on the sacred treasures. Two of the three treasures, the Yasakani Jewel and the Kusanagi Sword, were last seen in 1989 during the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Akihito. 

Before it was known as the Kusanagi, the sacred sword carried a different name—Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, which translates to Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven. The legendary sword’s origin is one that extends to an equally legendary battle that went down between the Storm God Susanoo and the eight-headed serpent Yamata-no-Orochi. 

Once in time, according to ancient Japanese lore, there existed a fearsome eight-headed serpent named Yamata-no-Orochi.  For the longest time, the monster-serpent wreaked havoc to the province of Izumo, while it terrorized the province’s ruling Ashinazuchi family. The ruling family had nine daughters, and the serpent having devoured eight of them, was coming for the last Ashinazuchi daughter. Not wanting to lose another daughter, the head of the family sought the help of the then exiled Storm God Susanoo.  

Upon hearing the story, the Storm God Susanoo wasted no time and tracked down and attacked the eight-headed beast. His valiant efforts, however, were in vain. Orochi proved to be a formidable beast, and the Storm God was ultimately forced to retreat. Although defeated at the moment, Susanoo wasted no time as he started to devise his next plan of attack against the serpent Orochi. 

Susanoo’s plan was as cunning as it was simple. The Storm God planned on getting each of Orochi’s eight heads drunk. And so, the Storm God Susanoo went on with the preparations. He had arranged eight giant bowls of sake, Japanese rice wine, to lure out the eight-headed serpent. Orochi took the bait and fell for the trap. 

Intoxicated and asleep, the beast was defenseless when Susanoo attacked, ferociously decapitating each of Orochi’s eight heads. To make certain that Orochi was unable to regenerate and return, Susanoo with his sword chopped off the serpent’s tails. Olden stories have it that it is in one of the Orochi’s tails that Susanoo recovered a second sword, the legendary sword which at the moment he named Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, or Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven. 

Yamato Takeru: The First Kusanagi Swordsman

The Sun God Susanoo did not keep custody of the Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi for very long. Although a god, Susanoo was banished from heaven because of a long-standing quarrel with his sister Ameterasu, Goddess of the Sun. Wanting to make peace with Ameterasu, Susanoo gifted the Sword of Gathering Clouds to her as a peace offering thus ending his long exile. 

Entire generations have come and gone. And many generations soon after, the Sword of Gathering Clouds changed hands once more when the Sun Goddess Ameterasu presented the sword to the great warrior Yamato Takeru, the son of Emperor Keiko—the 12th Emperor of Japan. It was in the hands of Takeru that the sword claimed its present name. It was also in the hands of the great warrior that the Kusanagi extended its existence deep into the imperial line of Japan. 

According to the legend, Takeru first discovered of the sword’s magic during a hunting expedition when a rival warlord lured him onto an open grassland. The warlord had his men shoot flaming arrows, thus setting the grass ablaze, and trapping Takeru in the fiery landscape. 

Moments away from burning to his death, Yamato Takeru drew the Sword of Gathering Clouds. With a series of wild swings, he used it to cut down the grass and clear a path that he can use to escape. Olden stories tell that it was during Takeru’s desperate attempt to escape the fiery grassland that he first discovered the Kusanagi’s magical ability to control the wind. Taking advantage of its new found magic, Takeru used the Sword of Gathering Clouds to gain control of the wind and sweep the great big fire across the landscape to the direction of the rival warlord and his men. 

Celebrating his victory over the treacherous warlord and commemorating his narrow escape from death, Takeru changed the name of the sword from Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven to Grass Cutting Sword—The Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. At that moment Yamato Takeru became the first man to wield the legendary Kusanagi sword. And since then, the Kusanagi bestowed upon its wielder the supreme power to be most powerful ruler in all of Japan. It is for this very reason that the Kusanagi sword, along with other Regalia Objects, are presented in the enthronement ceremony when a new Japanese Emperor assumes power.  

Historical Accounts of the Kusanagi

The earliest mention of the Kusanagi sword appeared in the ancient Japanese text, Kojiki. However, since Kojiki is a collection of Japanese myths, the text in it describing the existence of the Kusanagi is regarded less as a historical account and more as a work of early Japanese fiction. 

The first reliable historical mention of the sword is found in the Nihonshoki. Although parts of this book consist of mythological stories, the Nihonshoki prominently contains sections that recorded real-life historical events that were contemporary to its writing. In the Nihonshoki, it was the written that the Kusanagi was removed from the Imperial Palace in Nara in 668 AD after the sword was suspected to cause Emperor Tenmu’s ill health. Having been removed from the Imperial Palace, the Kusanagi was the sent to the Atsuta Shrine to be safeguarded by Shinto priests. 

Originally built 1900 years ago, the Atsuta Shrine is among the most prominent places of worship from the time of ancient Japan. As the Atsuta Shine underwent major repairs during the Edo period, the Great Grand Shinto priest Matsuoka Masanao claimed that he was able to witness the legendary blade in the flesh. Upon describing the sword, Matsuoka detailed what became the most popular account of the Kusanagi: 

 “A stone box was in the wooden box of length 150 cm, a red earth had been stuffed into a gap, a cored camphor tree log like a box shape was seen in the stone box, and gold was laid out, the sword was placed on it. A red earth was also stuffed between the stone box and the camphor tree box. The sword was about 84 cm long, shaped like calamus, the middle of the sword had a thickness, and from the grip, about 18cm is like a fish spine, fashioned in a white metallic color, and well maintained.” 

Almost immediately after witnessing the Kusanagi, the Great Grand Priest Matsuoka was banished from the Shrine, while several Shinto priests died strange deaths. 

The Tale of the Heike

After the sword’s possession by Yamato Takeru, there are few other stories that make prominent mention of past whereabouts of the Kusanagi. In The Tale of the Heike, a 14th-century collection of Japanese epic oral poetry, the Kusanagi sword is said to have been lost at sea following the defeat of the Kusanagi owners Heike clan and the child emperor Antoku in the Naval Battle of Dan-no-Ura. 

In the story, the Emperor's grandmother upon gathering the news of their clan’s defeat led the Emperor and his men to commit suicide by jumping into the waters. It was said that the emperor’s grandmother took with her two of the Three Sacred Treasures—the Regalia Jewel Yasakani-no-Magatama, and the Regalia Sword Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. The Regalia Mirror, meanwhile, stayed with a lady servant. 

Stories tell that while the Regalia Jewel was salvaged in its casket floating at sea, the Kusanagi Sword was lost forever to the great waters.  The historical reliability of this account, however, is regarded as questionable as the Tale of Heike was written 200 years well after the actual Battle of Dan-no-Ura took place. In those 200 years, more than a few replicas of the Three Sacred Treasures were made and lost when rival members of the royal family soldiered their way into power. It is widely thought that the Imperial Regalia lost in the Battle of Dan-no-Ura were mere replicas, as the original Regalia Objects remained tucked away in the Atsuta Shrine. 

The Kusanagi Today

Today, it is believed that the Kusanagi sword remains safeguarded, as it was in the ancient times, well within the walls of the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya. The sword’s last known appearance in modern history was when it was presented to Emperor Akihito, along with the Regalia Jewel, in his enthronement ceremony in 1989. And even then both imperial objects remained practically unseen as both were shrouded in packages.  

Whether or not the Kusanagi, and the rest of the Imperial Regalia, still exist in their original incarnations can only be the subject of wild and probably endless speculations. Perhaps the only thing that holds some semblance of certainty is that these ancient, sacred relics—part-myth and part-history in their very existence—have shaped Japan in the most real way imaginable. 

Tales of Joyeuse: The Sword that Conquered Europe

source:&nbsp; 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:&nbsp;&nbsp;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&nbsp;

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. 

Mystery Of The Naga Fireballs

source:&nbsp; The Daily Grail


In our modern world, we are currently caught in a tug of war between those who believe in the supernatural and paranormal nature of extraordinary events and those who seek to refute them by providing rational explanations or placing these unusual occurrences under the microscope of scientific investigation. Many myths, miracles and strange phenomena over time have been disbelieved, debunked and dismissed by skeptics and individuals of conventional logic and science. And yet, believers in things beyond mainstream truths continue to insist in the validity of their unconventional beliefs although evidence to the contrary has already been presented to them repeatedly. 

One example of an on-going debate between believers and skeptics concerning a supernatural phenomenon is the controversial mystery behind the Naga fireballs. And in this article, we will not be just talking about what the Naga fireballs are and the tale surrounding this unusual yearly manifestation; we will also shed light on the two sides fighting to gain supremacy over this alleged paranormal occurrence. One side believes in the legitimacy of the Naga fireballs’ magical wonder, while the opposing team has dared to unmask this phenomenon as nothing more than a human-made hoax.

What Are The Naga Fireballs?

s ource:&nbsp; HostelBookers

The Naga Fireballs are the reported tens to thousands glowing balls which spontaneously appear from and float above Thailand’s Mekong River at night every year. According to those who have seen them, these blazing balls of light emit a reddish color, and their sizes vary from smaller bubbles to bigger orbs as large as basketballs. 

Also referred to as “bung fai paya nak,” “Mekong lights,” or the “Naga Dancing Fire Balls,” these fireballs shoot up from the water and rise in the air as high as around 600 feet before dissipating completely. They ordinarily occur in the chilly evenings between late October and early November along the 300-mile-long stretch of the Mekong River. However, there are reports that they have occasionally surfaced in smaller ponds, rivers, and lakes found within this region of Thailand. 

The Phayanak Festival & The Naga


Reports of floating fireballs are not solely unique to Thailand as many cases of similar fiery orbs have also been spotted in different parts of Asia. However, it is in Thailand that the Naga fireballs are celebrated as part of the “Phayanak Festival,” an annual event in the country in which Buddha is greeted by the locals upon his arrival on Earth at the end of “vassa” – the three-month Rain Retreat or Buddhist Lenten season. This usually takes place on the 15th day of the 11th lunar month and is held in October every year. 

The “Wan Ok Phansa” is the last day of the festival and locals in Thailand celebrate the return of Buddha by gathering near the riverbank to observe the fireballs rise from the waters, float up in the air, and then disappear in the heavens. According to local mythology, the orbs of bright red light that appear above the Mekong River each year are actually the exhaled breath of the Naga or the “Phaya Naga,” which is a colossal sea serpent residing in the riverbed and wakes up annually to observe the end of “vassa” or the Buddhist Lent. 




Although many have reported having personally seen the Naga fireballs arise from the Mekong River, there is still no universal agreement on the possible cause of the phenomenon and the reason why it consistently appears on an annual basis. Several theories, however, have been proposed in an attempt to explain the extraordinary event, and some of them can be classified as supernatural, natural or human-made. 

Given the mythological origin of the Naga Fireballs, the apparent supernatural explanation of this yearly phenomenon is that the burning red lights from the water of the Mekong River are indeed caused by a huge sea serpent living in its riverbed. Of course, to support this theory, the existence of the Naga must first be adequately proven. 

And so far, one of the proofs presented by those who believe in the existence of these magical sea serpents is a photograph featuring around 30 American soldiers supposedly carrying a 7.3-meter sea serpent found in the Mekong River back in 1973. Another proof supporting the supernatural value of the Naga fireballs and the existence of the Naga itself can be found at a Buddhist temple in Nong Khai City where fossilized bones of the mythical sea creature, such as an egg and a tooth, are reportedly on display. 

source:&nbsp; Samui Times

source: Samui Times

Though they do not refute the possibility that reddish balls of fiery light can rise from the water, some insist on a more natural explanation for the Naga fireballs. A popular explanation raised by these individuals is referred to as the Swamp Gas Theory. This theory is familiar to those who are interested in UFO phenomena, and it proposes that the organic deposits in the riverbed of the Mekong River decompose, which in turn, produce methane gas. This gas forms bubbles that float its way up to the surface, and once the gas comes into contact with oxygen-air, these pockets of methane spontaneously ignite and are consequently set aflame before they take flight into the sky. 

This theory was presented by a pediatrician, Dr. Manos Kanoksilp, who extensively studied the Naga Fireballs. To him, producing these blazing orbs also require precise conditions such as the perfect alignment of the Earth, the moon, and the sun. 

A similar explanation to the Swamp Gas Theory is the reasoning raised by some people that the Naga Fireballs are produced by the combustible phosphine gas that came from the muddy environment of the river.  In fact, Saksit Tridech, the deputy secretary of the Thai Science Ministry, along with a group of scientists, conducted a study regarding the physical conditions surrounding the river, and they concluded that the Naga Fireballs are produced as a result of the large deposits of phosphine gas found in the area. Phosphine, however, is not a naturally-occurring gas and so, it is posited that this type of gas is the consequence of a bacterial reduction of phosphate in the decay of organic material. 

Other scientists also theorized that the Naga Fireballs are free-floating plasma orbs that form when surface electricity is released into a solution – which in this case, is the Mekong River’s waters. However, the problem with this theory is that this type of orb is not only different in color and appearance from the reported characteristics of the Naga Fireballs, but it can only be produced using high voltage electricity that does not naturally occur in the environment. 


source:&nbsp; slam blogsma

source: slam blogsma

The plasma orb theory is not the only supposition whose soundness has been disputed by skeptics and supernatural believers alike. The phosphine gas theory and the swamp methane gas theory have also been cast aside by some people as the most logical explanation to the Naga Fireballs. These people say that the perfectly precise conditions required to consistently produce the orbs year after year cannot possibly occur in a natural setting unless some man-made manipulation is involved. 

And so, we have now reached the most controversial explanation of them all, and this particular theory claims that the annual appearance of the Naga Fireballs is nothing more than a hoax to perpetuate the popularity of the Phayanak Festival and the Mekong River, which consequently has a positive effect on the local economy and the livelihood of the area’s residents.

In 2002, a documentary aired on the program “Code Cracking” of the ITV television network investigated what could be the source of the mysterious fireballs that surface every year during the celebration of the festival. The team had to take a boat and quietly travel to the Loatian side of the Mekong River. Once they crossed the river, they found Loatian soldiers firing tracer rounds into the sky. Those who analyzed the footage of the event also came to the conclusion that the Naga Fireballs were caused by the firing of flare guns from the other side of the river while the festival is ongoing on the Thailand side. The loud audience of the festival was not able to hear the sound of the gunshot as it was drowned out by the cheering noises of people and the noisy crackle of fireworks during the event. And so, they would not have been able to tell so easily if they were being deceived in the darkness and from half a mile away. 

With the stunning revelation that the Naga Fireballs could be a man-made phenomenon originally intended to generate buzz and draw crowds for the annual Buddhist Lent-related festival, does this truly mean that this strange phenomenon is nothing more than a hoax?

For me, the answer would be no. In cases where there are varying theories to explain an unusual occurrence, we must not be so quick to cling onto a single explanation. And in the case of the Naga fireballs, there is no such thing as single truth, as the opposing sides of believers and skeptics have presented their respective evidence and have chosen to uphold their own perspectives on the matter. And so, at least for now, whether you believe in the supernatural, natural, or human-made explanations about the mysterious Naga fireballs is completely up to you. However, keep in mind that regardless of which perspective you think best explains this phenomenon, you should always, always try to keep an open mind.   


The Most Deadly Cursed Diamond In The World

Diamonds are precious gemstones which, from ancient to modern times, have typically been used for adornment because of its gemological and shining characteristic of dispersing white light and bursting it into different spectral and sparkling colors. It cannot be denied that people are primarily fascinated by these precious stones for their crystalline beauty and elegance as well as the widespread knowledge that they could last “forever.” But, of course, not all diamonds and other gemstones are famous simply for their physical attributes, but for the notorious reputation, they gained over several generations for purportedly being cursed. 
Many of the oldest gemstones that survive today bring with them tales of mystery, intrigue as well as a series of misfortunes that have been passed down from one owner to the next. With so many people going to great lengths to possess them, and with so many deaths believed to have been caused by these precious diamonds, a lot of individuals today are left wondering if the pricelessness of these gemstones is worth the curse that comes with owning one.
One of the most famously known diamonds believed to possess a deadly curse is the Koh-i-Noor.

The Koh-i-Noor, which is Persian for “Mountain of Light,” is currently ranked as the 90th largest diamond in the world, and is arguably the most infamous one. It is a large, dazzling, oval-cut and colorless diamond, which currently weighs at 105.6 karats or 21.12 grams. Its earliest officially recorded weight was 186 karats or 77.2 grams, though it is believed by some to have weighed as much as 793 karats before its first cutting. 
As for when it was first found and where it originally came from, no one knows for certain. But what is common knowledge is the fact that it is an unspeaking witness to centuries of violent and bloody wars and conquests, having been passed on from one ruler or conqueror to another, sometimes by inheritance but mostly by force. The story and lives of those who once held ownership of this gemstone went down in history as rulers whose legacies were plagued with ill fortune, and whose kingdoms and empires eventually met their downfall. 
Even now, ownership of this precious diamond is still being fought about by various nations, which is probably why some people have thought of the Koh-i-Noor as the deadliest cursed diamond on the planet. 

Source: bbc

Source: bbc

Mysterious Origins

There are conflicting views regarding the possible origins of the Koh-i-Noor. Some say that the legendary diamond’s existence dates back to more than 5,000 years ago, and was found in the river bed of the Lower Godavari River, which is part of the second longest river in India. Others say that the legendary diamond came from Surya, the sun god, and was given to the world as a unique gift. There also those who claim that the diamond was originally the property of the Hindu god Krishna, while others believe that the Koh-i-Noor is the prized jewel called Shyamantaka mentioned in the written texts of Indian mythology. Another story suggests that the diamond was worn by Raja Karna as a talisman when he fought in the Mahabharata war. 


The Journey of the Koh-i-Noor From India to England

While it may be impossible now to find out where exactly the Koh-i-Noor was found, it is widely believed that the prized gemstone came from the Kollur Mines in the Guntur District, which was located in what is known today as the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. 
They say that the diamond was the eye of the Devi, or the goddess, in a Hindu temple during the reign of the Kakatiya dynasty sometime in the 13th century. However, during the early 14th century, the Turkic Khilji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate marched to southern India. The army of Alauddin Khalji – the dynasty’s second ruler – raided the kingdoms of the area for their wealth, and it is believed that among the riches and prized possessions taken by the Khilji’s army is the Koh-i-Noor diamond. 
The stone supposedly remained in the custody of the Khilji dynasty for several years until it was later passed on to subsequent dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate. However, most historians agree that the first reliable recording of the Koh-i-Noor was in the Baburnama or the Memoirs of Babur, an autobiographical work written by the founder of the Mughal Empire, Babur. The jewel was obtained by the conqueror and at the time, he referred to it as the “Diamond of Babur.” He also mentioned in his memoirs that it had belonged to an unnamed Raja of Malwa in India. It has also been said that the emperor treasured the diamond so much that he compared its worth to “the value of one day’s food for all the people in the world” who lived at the time. 
The Mughal Empire ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent for around two centuries, and it is believed that the Koh-i-Noor was passed from one emperor of the Mughal Empire to the next until the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, had the jewel placed onto his ornamental Peacock Throne. Unfortunately, Jahan’s sons got caught up in a power struggle that led to his imprisonment, and the ailing emperor eventually passed away in captivity. When his son Aurangzeb came into power, ownership of the Peacock Throne and the diamond passed onto him before it eventually came into the possession of Aurangzeb’s grandson, Sultan Mahamad. 


 In 1739, Delhi was invaded by the ruling Shah of Persia, Nader Shah, who went down in history as the “scourge” of the Ottoman Empire. With the invasion of Nader Shah’s army came the exhaustive looting and acquisition of the riches and valuable possessions of the Mughal nobility. Along with other jewels and treasures, the Peacock Throne which contained the diamond was transported to Persia. As the story goes, when the Shah finally got his hands on the famous stone, he allegedly exclaimed “Koh-i-Noor!” which is how the jewel got its name. 
The Koh-i-Noor did not last for very long in Nader Shah’s possession as he was assassinated in 1747. With the fall of his empire, the diamond fell into the hands of his general, Ahmad Shah Abdali, who eventually rose to power as the Emir of Afghanistan. When he and his son died during their respective reigns, Ahmad Shah Abdali’s descendants were caught in a civil war. Amid the chaos, Shah Shuja Durrani, a descendant of Ahmad Shah who briefly assumed power as king, escaped from the wrath of his feuding brothers and brought the Koh-i-Noor with him in India. 

Shah Shuja Durrani sought asylum in Lahore, which was granted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler and founder of the Sikh Empire. However, his safety came at a very high price, as the Sikh emperor required that the Koh-i-Noor be given to him in exchange for his hospitality. And so, Shah Shuja Durrani surrendered ownership of the diamond, and the Sikh emperor took possession of the stone in 1813. 
The new owner of the Koh-i-Noor purportedly loved the diamond so much that he wore it on all kinds of public occasions. Perhaps to make sure that the jewel will be taken care of by capable hands, the Sikh emperor willed that the Koh-i-Noor be given to a Hindu temple. However, when he died and after the assassinations of the next Maharajas, his youngest son, Duleep Singh, ascended the throne at the tender age of five in 1843. And when the British Empire won the Second Anglo-Sikh War in April 1849, the ten-year-old Duleep was made to sign the Last Treaty of Lahore. Having done so, he resigned his claim to the sovereignty of Punjab and officially ceded ownership of the Koh-i-Noor to Queen Victoria along with his other assets to the East India Company.

When the Koh-i-Noor came into the possession of the British royal family, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, commissioned the re-cutting of the diamond to its current size and appearance, and it was worn by the queen as a personal brooch. After Queen Victoria’s death, it became a part of the crown jewels of the British royal family. It was mounted onto the crown of Queen Consort Alexandra before it was transferred to Queen Consort Mary’s crown in 1911, and was finally placed on the crown of The Queen Mother Elizabeth in 1937.
Today, the crown is publicly displayed along with other Crown Jewels of the royal family at the Tower of London.

The Curse of the Koh-i-Noor

Considering that the ownership of the Koh-i-Noor transferred from one person to another for so many times to the point that it became difficult to pinpoint who had it when we can’t help but ask: Is the curse of the Koh-i-Noor real?
There’s an old saying about the Koh-i-Noor, and it states: “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or woman, can wear it with impunity.”
If we take a look at the events that transpired around the time the Koh-i-Noor was in possession of an emperor or a ruler, it will not be difficult to see the pattern of violence, gore, and tragedies that are very apparent in the diamond’s history. The stories of the people who gained ownership of the jewel and their descendants who ended up inheriting the stone usually ended in torture, murder, mutilation, treachery and the collapse of their dynasties. 

While the British royal family may never admit that they believe in the curse of the Koh-i-Noor, its history cannot be dismissed so easily, and it seems the threat of receiving the curse is frightening enough for the long-reigning monarch to handle it with caution. After the reign of Queen Victoria, the use of the Koh-i-Noor diamond has so far only been granted to the wives of the male heirs to the British throne. Even Queen Elizabeth II has steered clear of wearing the diamond with a crown or as an accessory, even though the Koh-i-Noor’s curse supposedly only applied to male rulers.

Of course, this does not confirm that the diamond is cursed and deadly, but it does leave us wondering if the jewel is indeed the source of the problem of its owners, or its role in the violent history of many fallen empires is not any more special than any other spoil of war. Did the owners of the Koh-i-Noor and the empires and kingdoms they ruled experienced horrible misfortunes and terrible fates because the diamond in their possession was cursed? Or, did people come to believe that the Koh-i-Noor was cursed simply because its previous owners incidentally experienced misfortunes along with the collapse of their empires?
We may never know for sure if the Koh-i-Noor is indeed cursed, or its supposed menacing power to destroy the lives of its owners and their descendants is nothing more than a long-standing myth. And perhaps answering this mystery should be the least of our concern at the moment as there are more pressing issues about this diamond that remains unresolved today, particularly the disputes over its ownership. 
Although under the possession of the British royal family, other countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan have called for the United Kingdom’s relinquishment of the diamond’s ownership and the return of the Koh-i-Noor to the care of their respective nations. And although the jewel’s presence in London is largely contested, it looks like the British royal family will not be ceding possession of this diamond anytime soon. 


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.