Strange Places Where People Live

Just Some of the Strange Places Where People Live

JUST SOME OF THE STRANGE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE LIVE

This is our collection of strange places where people still live. It’s more than a collection of strange houses, of which there are millions, it’s a demonstration of the relationship that humans have with their environment and the way in which they have used and shaped it to their own needs.

Al HAJARAH – YEMEN

This incredible walled town has been built on the top a massive rocky outcrop within the Haraz Mountains of western central Yemen in a region known as the San‘a’ Governorate. Its history is so ancient that not even the inhabitants can be sure when the first settlers arrived, but it is officially said to date back to at least the 12th century. The houses themselves are fortified and feature substantial storage facilities such as granaries and cisterns in case of siege.

Al Hajjarah Yemen - Most Mysterious
Al Hajarah Yemen – Mudbrick & Clay Apartment Blocks (WMC-4324651179)

Secluded and remote, its culture and traditions have survived into the 21st century. Al Hajarah literally means “Of (the) Rock”. The lands surrounding the town are relatively fertile and the area receives sufficient rain to grow wheat, barley and grasses which support typical Arabian livestock such as goats, camels, and horses. Its inhabitants are said to be friendly with a passion for dancing and traditional music.

The multistorey houses of Al Hajarah have evolved and been rebuilt over the centuries slowly and completely covering the upper section of the outcrop. This has meant that by necessity the streets are narrow, and some buildings seem to balance precariously on the edge of precipitous cliffs.

XUANKONG SI – CHINA

There are five Most-Sacred mountains in China and Mt. Heng (Heng shan) located in Shanxi province is one of them. Close to its base and overlooking the wooded Golden Dragon River (Jinlong he), is Xuankong Si, sometimes written as Xuan Kong Si, which literally translates as the Monastery in Mid Air. It is more often called the Hanging Monastery. Built in 491AD it still clings to the side of the cliff using engineering techniques that are still of significant interest to modern architects. Horizontal shafts were first cut into the side of the mountain to serve as the anchor points. Strong lengths of hard wood cut from single trees were then driven into the holes. The depth of the holes and the hardness of the rock provided a strong base. There are sufficient supports to ensure that if the crossbeams ever need to be replaced then one can be removed at a time without impacting on the structural integrity of the monastery. It may be the first recorded instance of deliberate over engineering.

The Strange Homes of Xuankongsi
The Strange Homes of Xuankongsi (Image: Shutterstock)

The reason Xuankong Si was built so high above the ground may be one of practicality – defense against marauders or protection from floods. The more romantic version is that the Monks were dedicated to silence and so high above the ground they might achieve this ideal. It is said that they were forbidden to hear the barking of dog, the wailing of a child or even the sound of a rooster crowing as it welcomed the dawn. It is now largely a tourist attraction but caretakers are said to still live in its caves and halls.

CAPPADOCIA – TURKEY

This bizarre but beautiful place located in the ancient region of Anatolia in modern day Turkey may be one of the oldest examples of continuous human habitation in the world. It is an incredible example of how people have shaped and modified the already unusual geology and yet retained the natural mystery of its rocky spires and eye-twisting landscapes. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are records from the 6th century BC that describe it, even then, as one of the oldest regions of the Persian Empire. The best examples of this form of human habitation can be found in the town of Göreme where sandstone deposits have been eroded into hundreds of spectacular toadstool shapes. In turn, these have been carved into by the inhabitants and turned into homes, monasteries, churches and even a police station. It currently has a population of 2,500 people and is one of the most famous historic tourist destinations in Turkey.

Cave Hotel of Cappadocia
Cave Hotel of Cappadocia (C) EE-Igor Stramyk)

While it is believed that the area of Cappadocia and Göreme has been inhabited by people for many millennia it was during the Roman period that it was significantly expanded by new settlers and Christianity became the dominant religion of the region for the next several hundred years. An interesting side note is that in German it is known as Love Valley – Tal der Liebe. the Romans are said have named it Ager (Agri) Phallus. Have a look at some of the other pictures of Göreme on Wiki Media Commons and you will understand why. Nature’s Humour!

ROUSSANOU MONASTERY

In the heart of central Greece and on the edge of the Plain of Thessaly are the Metéora, which literally means the rocks suspended in air. It’s from this word that we get the modern word meteors – rocks from outer space. In reality they are pillars of harder than average sandstone that have survived the erosion of the softer material that once surrounded them. Six religious retreats have been built on top of these pillars and one of the most famous is the Roussanou Monastery. It was rebuilt by two brothers, Maximos and Ioasaph (Joseph)*, in 1545 and dedicated to St. Barbara whose sacred day is the 4th of December. Over the centuries its fortunes grew and faded. From 1730 to 1937 it was largely uninhabited although many of its relics remained within its walls. Shortly after the Nazi occupation of Greece in 1941 it was stripped of its treasures by the occupying soldiers. Most of these have never been recovered. The monastery consists of three levels which include the church, cells, guest quarters, reception halls and a display hall. It is truly a remarkable place that has to be seen to be appreciated. Sadly, the new road at the base does detract from the mystery.

Roussanou Monastery Most Mysterious
Roussanou Monastery (EE – Kopachinsky)

Since 1988 Roussanou Monasteryhas been the home of a small group of nuns. Since the construction of a wooden bridge in 1800’s it has been relatively easy to visit the location and the nuns are said to be quite welcoming. As with Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland there are rumored to be sealed caves carved into the stone under the building but, as yet, no excavations have been permitted. *The original brothers that founded the monastery are occasionally referred to as Nikodemus and Benedict.

SETENIL DE LAS BODEGAS

It’s amazing how people have the ability to take even the most unusual of environments and still find a way to build their homes. Setenil De Las Bodegas is one such place. Located in the Andalucía province of Spain it has a history that may date back many thousands of years. What makes it special is the way that its inhabitants have carved away the walls of the gorge and then built their houses into the recesses. These are not the ruins of Mesoamerican Native Indians or the abandoned caves of lost biblical civilizations. These are homes that have been built and rebuilt over the centuries and are still occupied to this day. Outcrops of ancient rock loom over the main street that has been built beneath. In one place there are houses that have a million tons of rock above them and on top of that rock there are even more houses.

Setenil De Las Bodegas
Setenil De Las Bodegas – Spain (Image: Shutterstock)

In Setenil De Las Bodegas one persons’ basement – dug deep enough – is another persons’ roof. The village is a settlement that has slowly extended along the route of the Trejo River and may well still be occupied long after the newer cities full of brash lights have vanished.

CASA DO PENEDO – PORTUGAL

Literally translated the name means House of Stone and it is located in the Fafe mountains of Northern Portugal. It is ten kilometres north-east of Fafe and can be found on Google earth at these co-ordinates: 41° 29′ 17.52″ N 8° 4′ 4.84″ W. It was originally built as a mountain retreat around 1974 by an engineer from nearby Guimarães who was inspired by the natural space provided by four large boulders. Due to its isolation, it has on occasions been the target of vandalism and robbery.

casa-do-penedo-portugal
Casa Do Penedo, Spain (SSPL)

Its unusual design has also stimulated a steady traffic of tourists who are not beyond peering through the windows or even trying to enter uninvited. At the time of writing this article (2010) it is owned by Vitor Rodrigues who has had to have heavy security doors and barred windows fitted to protect the house. The interior is larger than might be expected and is beautifully rustic with a large wooden bench-style table and balconies. It is not a fake.

There have been several claims that Casa Do Penedo is a hoax created by a Photoshop artist but it is definitely real. It has been featured on Portuguese television, in the British Daily Mail Newspaper and on countless architecture websites. The closest village is Pereira which is 1.3 kilometres to the south.

PONTE VECCHIO – ITALY

In the city of Firenze (Florence) Italy is a remarkable bridge. Known as the Ponte Vecchio, or the “old Bridge” in English, it spans the river Arno. The bridge seen in the photograph was originally constructed in 1345AD after two of its predecessors had been destroyed by flood waters. What makes it unusual is that it is one of the few surviving bridges to have tenanted shops built along its span.

Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio(SSPL)

Originally these were almost exclusively butchers, perhaps because of the direct access to the waters of the river and the ease of disposing offal and the like. Over the centuries the shops and houses along the bridge were increased and so was its prestige. In 1593 butchers were forbidden to sell on the bridge and the shops and houses were quickly taken over by gold and jewel merchants – a tradition that persists to this day.

Although it was once the practice for people to live above their shops this has largely ceased although it is rumoured that some of the Ponte Vecchio shops still have small apartments hidden out of site of the many tourists and inhabitants of Firenze, Italy. The waters are calm but could you sleep if they weren’t?

MATMÂTA – TUNISIA

Located 355 kilometres to the south of Tunis (the capital of Tunisia) is the remarkable settlement of Matmâta. Here the inhabitants have dug deep pits into the ground and then tunneled into the side walls to create their homes. Not only is this site ancient and probably dates back to the Roman period and Punic Wars, but its existence also remained largely unknown until the mid-1960’s. It truly came to the attention of the world when it was selected as the location for Luke Sky Walker’s home on the planet Tatooine in the Star Wars film – A New Hope (1977).

Matmata, Tunisia
Matmata, Tunisia (SSPL)

There are various legends to explain why the Berbers of this region started to build their homes in this fashion. One is that it was to hide from the invading Egyptians, and another is that they already existed to some extent and were the original caves of desert monsters that had long since departed.

It is most likely that the early inhabitants already knew that underground homes were less affected by the extremes of temperature that can be experienced in this part of the world. The most famous of these dwellings is the Sidi Driss hotel featured in the image above, where it is still possible to spend a night for approximately 20 dollars. (2010)

SEALAND (PRINCIPALITY)

This very strange place to live and is often described as a micro-nation due to that fact that it is (was) outside of the territorial waters of any country. Some reviewers have even awarded it the status of the World’s smallest sovereign state. In fact, it is an old ‘World War II’ Maunsell Sea Fort and is about 13 kilometres off the island of Great Britain.

Principality of Sealand
Principality of Sealand (Wikimedia)

The nearest coastal town of significance is Harwich located in Suffolk. Major Paddy Roy Bates, an already famous figure in British pirate radio, occupied the platform during September 1967 with the intention of broadcasting Radio Essex from the site.

Since this date the micro-nation of Sealand has had an interesting history including an invasion, a hostage crisis, hashish smugglers, several leadership battles, the assassination of Gianni Versace, a passport scandal and a minor diplomatic crisis involving Germany. In the past, produced its own passports and currency. It has even been represented in various international sporting events. You don’t get much stranger than this.


The Curse of Tutankhamun's Tomb

The Victims of Tutankhamun's Curse Revealed

THE CURSE OF TUTANKHAMUN FACTS

If you’re reading a website about mysteries and haven’t already heard about the Curse of Tutankhamun, then you are definitely in the minority.  Here are the basics that just about everybody remembers.

“Once there was a boy king of Egypt called Tutankhamun.  He was buried and his tomb lay undiscovered for thousands of years.  A team of archaeologists eventually found the tomb and opened it.  Many of them later died in mysterious circumstance.”

This was the mystery that has launched a thousand movies.  Well, a good few dozen at least.  The best and most recent has to be ‘The Mummy’ series starring Brendon Fraser and Rachel Weisz.

Some say the curse was nothing but coincidences but there is no denying that many associated with the discovery of the tomb did die in unfortunate circumstances.  Here’s a list pf some of the people who died or suffered.  You can make up your own minds.

curse-of-tutankhamun-tomb
Howard Carter in the Tomb of Tutankhamun (WMC)

DEATHS AND DISASTERS

Howard Carter the archaeologist and his sponsor Lord Carnarvon discovered the burial chamber of the forgotten boy-king hidden in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt on 4th November 1922.  According to the legend the curse started to take effect almost immediately.

1922

Golden Bird:  According to the legend, Howard Carter had brought a pet canary to the dig site and some say that that one day it started singing furiously as Carter walked over where Tutankhamun’s tomb would be found prompting speculation that this was an omen. The day after the tomb was opened a serpent got into the bird’s cage at Carter’s house and killed it.  Many saw the snake – a cobra – as representing the spirit of the dead pharaoh and the legend of the curse began.

tutankhamun-mummy-sarcophagus
The sarcophagus and mummy of Tutankhamun being examined by Howard Carter (WMC)

While this story has been told many times in many publications, the precise source of the information is vague. In one version the canary actually belonged to one of Carter’s friends.

1923

Carnarvon: The first to be struck down was Lord Carnarvon who funded the excavations.  He was bitten on the cheek by a mosquito. He died delirious with fever within seven days on the 5th April 1923.  What is even stranger is that he died precisely five months to the day after discovering the tomb.  It is said that x-rays of Tutankhamun showed that he had a small scar on his cheek in exactly the same place where Lord Carnarvon was bitten.

Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon at the Tomb of Tutankhamun
Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon at the Tomb of Tutankhamun (WMC)

It is true that Lord Carnarvon was bitten on the cheek by a mosquito that became infected and resulted in septicaemia. It is also true that Tutankhamun had a small scar in roughly the same place that Lord Carnarvon was bitten.

(Source National Geographic / http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2005/06/king-tut/williams-text)

Susie:  According to family members of Lord Carnarvon his dog Susie let out a howl of anguish at precisely the same time Carnarvon died and then died herself.  What makes this so spooky is that Susie was back at home in England some 3,500 miles away. The story was told often by his son – George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon.

Cairo Blackout Deaths:  The story goes that on the night that Lord Carnarvon died there was an unexplained blackout in Cairo.  The following morning two bodies were found that some curse researchers claim were Egyptian labourers who had worked on the dig with Howard Carter.

George Jay Gould, an American railway executive, died in the French Riviera on May 16, 1923 after he developed an unexplained fever following a visit to the tomb.

George Jay Gould and the Curse of Tutankhamun
George Jay Gould and the Curse of Tutankhamun (WMC)

Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey:  He was a 23-year-old Egyptian prince who was shot by his French wife of six months – Marie-Marguerite – on the 10th of July 1923 at the Savoy Hotel. Shortly before this event he had visited the tomb of King Tutankhamun and had his photograph taken there.

Aubrey Herbert, the half-brother of the recently deceased Lord Carnarvon, died on the 23rd of September 1923 of blood poisoning after a routine dental operation went strangely wrong while he was attending a private hospital in Park Lane. He had only just come back from his own trip to Luxor in Egypt.

Ahmed Kamal Bey (Pasha) was Egypt’s first Egyptologist and a scientific pioneer in his own country.  He visited the tomb of Tutankhamun and died shortly afterwards probably from a lung infection.

1924

Archibald Douglas Reed was an English scientist, employed by the Egyptian government who was in charge of taking x-rays of the mummy before it was removed to the Museum of Cairo.  According to many sources, he fell ill the morning after the X-rays had been completed.  By the 15th of January 1924 – within just three weeks – he was dead of an unidentified illness.

Hugh Evelyn-White (1874-1924) was an English archaeologist and coptologist. He was educated at King’s School, Ely. In 1909 he joined the Metropolitan Museum of New York’s expedition to Egypt, remaining with them until 1922, except for a period when he served in World War I.  He was one of the first to enter the mortuary chamber, where the mummy of the pharaoh was found. He returned to Leeds in England and worked as a lecturer at the University. In 1924 he shot himself while travelling in a cab. In order to explain this desperate act, he wrote in a letter: “I have succumbed to a curse which forces me to disappear.

Sir Lee Stack, Governor-General of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, was one of the first people to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun.   Six months later while he was being driven from the Egyptian War Office in Cairo to his official residence, he was shot multiple times by a group of students.  He died of his wounds three days later on the 19th of November 1924.

1926

Professor Aaron Ember was one of the leading Egyptologists in the United States and was recognized in Europe as an expert on ancient Egypt. He was head of the department of Egyptology at the Johns Hopkins University.  He died on 1st June 1926 after his house caught fire and he delayed leaving until he had rescued an original version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead he’d been working on.  Some say it was a book sent to him by Howard Carter.

1928

Arthur Cruttenden Mace was a member of Howard Carter’s team during the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV62) in 1922, and provided an invaluable help to Carter during both the excavations and the drafting of the first volume of The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen. In 1924 his health started to mysteriously deteriorate, and he left Egypt never to return.  He died on 6 April 1928 after having written a letter claiming that he was being poisoned by arsenic.

Arthur Cruttenden Mace and Howard Carter Examine the Chariot
Arthur Cruttenden Mace and Howard Carter Examine the Chariot (WMC)

Sir Bruce Ingham received a gift from his friend Howard Carter some years after the discovery of the tomb. It turned out to be a paperweight made from a mummified hand wearing a scarab bracelet that was allegedly inscribed with “Cursed be he who moves my body. To him shall come fire, water and pestilence.”  Within a short time, Sir Bruce’s house burned down.  When he set about having it rebuilt a flood washed away the new foundations. The new house was finally built and mysteriously burned down again.

1929

Howard Carter’s personal secretary, Captain Richard Bethell, was found dead in bed in 1929. However, according to both old and more recent news reports he had been smothered to death while staying at an exclusive Mayfair club in London on the 15th of November 1929.

1930

Edgar Steele (24 February 1930): only four days later, Edgar Steele, 57, who was in charge of handling the tomb artefacts at London’s British Museum, died at St Thomas’ Hospital after a minor stomach operation.

Lord Westbury (20 February 1930): Bethell’s father, Lord Westbury, 77, was believed to have thrown himself off his seventh floor St James’s apartment. Bethell’s father committed suicide in suspicious circumstances in 1930. What made this event even more bizarre, was that the apartment was filled with unregistered items taken from King Tutankhamun’s tomb, that had been gifted to him by his son.

Now that’s quite a list but it’s not complete.  According to various researchers there should be even more names.  Some of these include:

  • Joel Woolf
  • Edouard Neville
  • Professor La Fleur
  • William Henry Goodyear
  • Bernard Greenfell
  • Lady Almina
  • John Maxwell

… and even the nurse who attended to Lord Carnarvon during his illness!

Information about these people and the way that they died is difficult to validate.  For now, they must remain just a few of the extras in this chilling tale of a cursed tomb and the boy king Tutankhamun.

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (SSPL / Comp)

FACT OR FICTION?

The accounts of the curse mostly originate from 1920’s-era newspapers, well known for sensationalism and exaggeration of the facts to make great headlines. Reliable records of what happened to Carter’s people after they left the dig are hard to come by. References to the simultaneous death of dogs, the canary, and the lights going out in Cairo are found only in these newspaper reports and so should be considered anecdotal at best.

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 14 people directly associated with the Egyptian excavations died in mysterious or unpleasant circumstances.

There is one last twist to the story. It’s often been said that the curse of Tutankhamun was untrue because Howard Carter, the man who actually opened the tomb, lived for another 17 years after its discovery.

However, according to those that knew him, he was often depressed after his discovery and unhappy for most of this time. He never married or had children. Some say he was in love with Lord Carnarvon’s daughter and pined for her most of his later life. He later contracted Hodgkin’s Disease.  In 1939 he died alone in his London flat aged just 64. After his death, his executors found at least 18 items that Carter had secretly taken from Tutankhamun’s tomb.  Most of these were eventually returned to Egypt and the curse seemed to stop claiming victims.


Thors Well Most Mysterious

Thor's Well Looks Like It Could Drain An Ocean

THOR’S WELL

This mysterious hole in the rocks of Cape Perpetua seems to be able to drain the ocean.  Waves pour over the rocks and cascade down into the pit.  Legend has it that Thor dropped his hammer at this spot and created a passage to the underworld. It certainly looks mysterious and is a truly one-of-a-kind geological feature.

Thors Well Draining the Ocean
Thor’s Well Draining the Ocean (SSPL)

Thor’s Well is actually a spectacular coastal blowhole sometimes referred to as a natural saltwater fountain. It is one of several remarkable geological features that can be found at Cape Perpetua which is around 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Yachats in Oregon State, USA. Cape Perpetua is a characteristic Pacific Northwest headland and at its highest point climbs to over 800 feet (240 m). In 1908 the region was absorbed into the Siuslaw National Forest.

Thor's Well Photography
Thor’s Well Photography (SSPL)

Thor’s Well is best seen around high tide when wave surges force water through the lower chamber and up through sinkhole. This creates a twenty-foot fountain that crashes down onto the surrounding plateau of rocks. Waves simultaneously pour over the nearby stony lip and sweep across the jagged rocks of Cook’s Chasm. As the waves retreat, the water cascades down into the seemingly never-ending sinkhole with beautiful but deadly force.

Local legend says that the well has already swallowed several people alive who were never found again.  According to the stories, they are always careless tourists that got to close and were washed in.

Actually, there is no recorded incident of anyone falling in the well and dying or disappearing.  Several people have been injured though when creeper waves knocked them off their feet and onto the volcanic rocks.  Still, there is always a first time and visitors are strongly advised to approach Thor’s Well with caution.

Thors Well at Sunset
Thor’s Well at Sunset (EE)

Thor’s well is naturally not bottomless and simply connects to the ocean through an underground chamber creating the illusion that it’s behaving like the bath hole of the God’s. This has led to it being nicknamed the drainpipe of the Pacific. It’s popular with nature photographers but the risk of being either swept into the well or out across the jagged rocks should never be underestimated.

Cape Perpetua is less visited than other beauty spots and on occasions can seem deserted. Thor’s Well can be accessed from the north side of Cook’s Chasm and is 145 metres Northwest of Cook’s Chasm Bridge on Route 101 – Oregon Coastal Highway.

Other nearby coastal features include Spouting Horn blowhole, The Devil’s Churn and Cape Perpetua Beach.


Lovers Heart Symbol

The Mysterious Origin of the Love Heart Symbol

LOVE HEART SYMBOL ORIGIN

Around the world the classic “heart-shape” has come to represent love.  It’s carved into trees and printed on millions of valentines cards every year.  In one sense, the meaning of any symbol is what most people believe it means.  Still, to truly understand something it’s often worth looking beyond the obvious. What the heart-shape actually means is the subject of some debate.

What it doesn’t do is represent the form of an actual human heart which is fist shaped and quite unpleasant in appearance.  Also, a real human heart is not something the average person sees very often. Why would humans choose such an ugly organ to represent their deepest most passionate love?  Well, it would seem that they didn’t.

Lovers Heart Celtic SymbolsThe truth seems to be that the origin of the heart-shape or “Lovers Heart” was a stylisation of a ladies VJ and the inverted head of a man’s pocket rocket*1.  So, when “hearts become entwined” it means much more than just love.

Love Heart Symbol Found in Ancient Rome

How can this be true?  There have been claims that it first appeared in Neolithic times but there’s no hard evidence of this.  It does appear in the Roman period and can be seen in 2,000-year-old Roman graffiti in the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii – occasionally on the walls of brothels where it features more detail than the modern version.

There is no question that sex in ancient Rome and other great cities of the time was much more “liberal” than now but, even then, there were restrictions.  (Pliny the Elder) One theory is that it was a secret symbol that a man would give to a woman to indicate that he wanted to make love to her – especially if there was a restriction on them being together – perhaps a difference in social status.  A woman might do the same thing.  The heart symbol seems to have first represented lust before it became associated with love.  Think how similar it is today and how many cards are signed, “From your secret valentine”.

Something that ties in with this theory is the Silphium drug.  During the emergence of the Roman Empire, it seems that there existed a plant known as Silphium (a form of Fennel).  It is believed that this important plant grew only in the area surrounding the city of Cyrene in North Africa. Its importance is that it acted as a contraceptive and the seed was perfectly “heart-shaped”.  It was considered so important that it was imprinted on the coins of the time.  The demand for this plant was so great that it was “used” to extinction.  It’s interesting to note that Silphium has similarities to the word Sylph – meaning a desirable woman.

Silphium Heart and Hungarian Heart
Silphium Heart and Hungarian Heart (C) Pavenue

Heart Symbol Origin

So how did the word Heart become associated with the shape?  The answer has more to do with connotation than design and the clues can be found in the way we use it in language today.  Think of these expressions: “It is the heart of the life”, “He left me heartbroken never to be whole again”, “His love stabbed my heart”, “He made my heart throb” (not beat but throb – and that is a very old word indeed – meaning to pulse and contract – possibly Anglo Saxon), “My heart shuddered with desire”, “She surrendered her heart”.

The innuendo is obvious. The word heart once meant centre or deep inside.  We still use it today when we refer to ‘heartwood’ which is the wood deep inside a tree.  Whether it was slang or whether it came from a change in meaning the similarities are simply too overwhelming to be ignored.

Again, the medieval period was far more licentious than we like to admit.  Nude dinner parties while in a bath were not uncommon.  It wasn’t until the arrival of various nasty diseases that people started being a lot more cautious about casual bonking.  They also stopped bathing together because it too could spread disease.  This lack of bathing also helped reduce the desire for bonking.

Proof Lies in the Design of the Love Heart Symbol

There is much more history that can be cited but the real proof lies in the design. Viewed from the front the symbol clearly depicts a female’s mound.  There’s no doubt that this is a much more realistic interpretation than that of the human heart.  Equally, another version of the symbol may signify the lady bits viewed from behind.  A design from the 15th century (La Blessure) depicts the female symbol (Venus) inverted and superimposed on the heart shape.

It is also common to see a heart “pierced” by an arrow with tiny droplets of blood.  This is cupid’s arrow – the arrow of desire and love.  Some even suggest that droplets of blood represent the loss of virginity. The arrow is also the definitive phallic component of the Male symbol – Mars – the erect arrow.  We still use the word shaft to mean the shaft of a man’s best bit and the shaft of an arrow.

Pierced Lovers Heart
Pierced Lovers Heart (C) Pavenu

So how did it become so widely spread? One theory is that the Church adopted and sanitised it. They certainly used this strategy to overwhelm many other pagan and pre-pagan beliefs and symbols.

Easter was once a celebration of fertility – that’s why we still give Easter Eggs. The very name comes from the pagan Goddess Eostre whose sacred animal was the rabbit – Easter Bunny (ever wondered why?).

This wasn’t the only conversion. The names of most of the weekdays are actually named after Nordic or Roman Gods, Thor – Thursday, Frija – Friday, Woden – Wednesday, Saturn – Saturday. Mayday is actual a fertility rite, Lent was the pagan lean month when food stocks needed to be conserved and the halo – or rays of light from the head of the deity – were actual a representation of the Egyptian Sun God Ra.

The symbol above is another depiction of the Love Heart symbol. It allegedly dates from the Romano-Greek period and was reproduced in both Spain and England c 1700. The Word “Tergo” seen written in the circle can be translated from Latin as “From behind” or “The Rear”. In this version of the symbol the lines of the heart extend beyond the normal shape associated with the heart. The words “Connubialis Pectus Pectoris” seem to mean lustful heart. The words “Connubialis Tripudiam” appear to mean happiness. The inverted female symbol of Venus is integrated into the design and a smaller heart links the circle and the cross.

Lovers Heart Parchment
Lovers Heart Parchment (C) Clint Pavenu

The cross itself is enclosed by four smaller hearts of excellent geometrical precision which in themselves make up the shape of the “lucky” four leafed clover symbol.

A little more than one hundred years ago, the modern love heart symbol was popularized by yet another restrained society, the Victorian’s. They adored the romantic heart shape and just like their historic counterparts used it as a secret symbol for physical desire. It was during this time that the erotic book “The Pearl” was written by an anonymous author.  Like the Love Heart Symbol, The Pearl was another Victorian “code” for a lady’s happy bean.

When it comes to the heart symbol origin it is possible to cite example-after-example.  Literature is literally littered with them.  You don’t have to go looking for them – once you understand what you are looking for the examples leap out at you.

*1 (Editor’s note: sorry for the use of so many euphemisms but search engines do get so odd about certain words.)

Page tags: Heart Symbol Origin, Love Heart Symbol, Lovers Heart, Heart Symbolism


Devetashka Cave Sunbeams

Devetashka Cave is Truly Unique in the World

Devetashka Cave
(C) Envato

Located seven kilometres from Letnitsa and 15 kilometres northeast of Lovech, near the Bulgarian village of Devetaki, is the gigantic, mysterious, and generally extraordinary Devetashka Cave. The cave itself is immense, measuring roughly two kilometres in length with a huge entrance chamber some 60 metres in height.


Crazy Things that Fall From The Sky

While some of these strange Skyfalls can be attributed to meteorites, debris from airplanes and even old satellites, some of the reports are far more bizarre. It seems that for thousands of years everything from Angel Hair to St. Bernard dogs have plummeted to Earth from who knows where! Here is a collection of some of the recorded events from the past till today:

200 AD: FROGS & FISH

The Greek Historian, Athenaeus, clearly records in his historical anthology, the Deipnosophistae (Banquet of the Sophists), a three day period during which it rained fish). A later reference possibly to the same event or a separate occurrence in Paeonia declares that small frogs and wheat fell in copious amounts. So great was the fall of frogs that when they died they poisoned the wells. (Heraclides Lembus 21st book of his History)

1578 – 1579 AD: RODENTS

In Bergen, Norway, the town experienced two bizarre episodes involving falling animal objects. In the first the sky chose to pelt the inhabitants with numerous large yellow mice and strangely, repeated the episode a year later but this time with lemmings.

Strange Sky falls - Rodents Since this time it has failed to happen again. (The Journal of Cycle Research 6:3) It is worth noting that for many years- and during this period it was common folklore that lemmings often fell out of the sky with thunderstorms. Also … it is worth pointing out that many lemmings are naturally slightly yellow.

1653 AD: MORE FROGS

The village of Acle in Norfolk experienced a downpour of frogs in such quantities that apparently the people of the village were “sorely inconvenienced”. First the frogs were swept into piles and then carried in pails to a local field for burning. It was said that all were dead when found. (Source: Michell & Rickard: Phenomena)

It is worth noting that by far the most common animal sky fall is the humble frog.

1687 AD: FIBROUS FLAKES

Thousands of flakes of a fibrous material that was pitch black in colour fell near the town of Klaipeda (Memel) on the east coast of the Baltic Sea in Lithuania. Some of the flakes were recorded to be as large as tabletops and were all damp. To start with the flakes emitted a sour rotting odour that disappeared as the material dried out after which it could be torn like paper. Some of flakes were kept as curiosities and 150 years later the material was examined by the Royal Irish academy 1839 who stated that it was largely (Conferva Crispata) which is a form of threadlike green algae. No explanation was provided as to how this material had become compressed into flakes.

1696 AD: STAR BUTTER / STAR ROT

A great quantity of “Star Butter” or less politely “Star Seed” fell across many areas of Southern Ireland during the winter and spring of 1696. The material was never formally identified and according to the Bishop of Cloyne, it exuded a mighty stench causing him to refer to it as “stinking dew”. He also stated that some of the common dark yellow globules were as large as the end of a person’s finger. He noted that cattle continued to feed on the affected fields and does not record whether they suffered any adverse side effects.

Star Jelly / Star Rot
Star Jelly / Star Rot (WMC)

Mr. Robert Vans of Kilkenny records that many people would collect the substance in all manner of containers including pots and pans as a widespread belief had sprung up that the “star butter” had powerful medicinal properties. (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London – May 1696)

1702 AD: SKY DEMON

During a late autumn afternoon in the Village of Drăgăneşti, Prahova (Romania) a great cluster of clouds appeared from the direction of the Carpathian Mountains. Within a short time the sky had become contorted and black as if a great snow was to fall. Instead, only a huge lump of ice half as tall as man fell into the paddock adjacent to the local tavern. It was clear that there was something embedded in the ice. The innkeeper fastened it to a sleigh and dragged it into the hostelry where it swiftly melted revealing a creature mottled blue in colour and naked of hair.

sky-falls-demon-alien
An ancient sky-demon or a modern alien? (SSPL)

All that saw it agreed that it looked like a hairless, long-faced, homunculus (monkey) with ragged wings and whip-like tail. The enterprising innkeeper had the creature skinned and mounted over the bar trestle. It appears to have been a successful draw for visitors from far and wide until three years later when it was seen by a travelling (Scythian) Monk who insisted that the remains of the creature should be burnt at once – and so it was. (Source: Egorov Raczaw: 1728 – Prahova Travel Journals)

1741 AD: ANGEL HAIR

Gilbert White records that on 21 September 1741 he went to the nearby fields just before dawn to discover that they were covered with a strange cobweb-like substance. Prodding it with a stick he found it to be “as like cobweb but more slippery in nature and although sticking easily to the rod dissolved quickly into nothingness after it had been touched.” He further describes how his dogs became so covered with this material that they had to scrape it from their eyes with their paws. Later at about nine in the morning Gilbert records that the sky filled with clothes of the same material that was clearly heavier than the air and while he first believed them to be cobwebs soon realised that they were not strands but densely woven and five inches on a side and one to two inches on the other. This phenomenon continued for the better part of an hour and by Gilbert’s estimate covered an area of some 32 square miles and caused much comment. No spiders were found in the webs and no person complained of bites. Although Gilbert White doesn’t state exactly where he was at the time, the event took place in a triangle made up of the towns of Bradley, Selborne and Alresford, so clearly this event took place in Hampshire – England. The event is recorded in the 1829 book,”Popular Biology”, by Rev. W. Bingley. It is clear that the event was attributed to the Gossamer Spider but had never before been seen on this scale. The fact is that while the Gossamer spider can create a field of webs to have them fall in such numbers from the sky is a near impossibility.

1781 AD: BRIMSTONE

Emile Coulon, a farmer living some six miles from the town of Lyon in France was sitting at the table in his kitchen when a rock broke through the thatch of the roof and impacted on the table in front of him which was of oak but still cracked. As he watched the rock split into two halves allowing him to see inside. He reached out and took the halves which were hollow and glowing with yellow crystals.

Strange Sky Falls - Devils Brimstone
Strange Sky Falls – Devils Brimstone (EE)

Raising them to see more clearly he noticed that the rock (geode) was damp and smelt of rotten eggs. He appears to have passed out because he was found later by his wife lying on the floor. When he woke and studied the “phenomenon” again he noticed that the interior of the “Stone Egg” no longer glowed but was blackened as if by fire. The stone was sent to the Cathédrale St-Jean where it was identified as Devil’s Brimstone and kept for examination but nothing further was heard.

1819 AD: STRANGE ORGANISM

On August 13 at the town of Amherst, Massachusetts a strange organic glowing object fell to the ground from the sky. It apparently landed in the garden of Erastus Dewey who did not locate it until the following morning. It was later examined by Professor Rufus Graves who noted that the skin of the object was a “cloth-like nap” which he removed to reveal a “buff-coloured pulp-like substance.” In size it appeared to be as an upturned “salad bowl” circular in form and approximately an inch thick. The professor removed the skin of the object revealing the organic pulp below which was described as of the consistency of “good soft soap”. The stench (smell) was overpowering and quickly induced dizziness and nausea. On exposure to the air this substance quickly turned a livid shade of red like fresh blood. Although the professor placed the material in a tumbler it seemed to attract moisture and began to rapidly liquefy and become a substance not dissimilar from household starch. Within three days the material had deteriorated (evaporated) to become a thick dark residue. On examination of the deposit Professor Graves concluded that it was ash-like in nature. It is worth noting that a bitter dispute broke out between Professor Graves and Amherst College Chemist, Edward Hitchcock who claimed it was fungal in origin while Graves maintained it was meteoric. The matter was never resolved but according to author Jerome Clark it is a far from unusual occurrence. (Sources: John G. Burke – Cosmic Debris, Mysteries of the Unexplained – Readers Digest, Jerome Clarke- Unnatural phenomenon)

Mysterious Organism USA
(C) Clint Pavenu / Coloured / 2020

1824 AD: BLOOD RAIN

A dark red cloud appeared over the village of Buliavino on the line from Moscow to St. Petersburg and towards the evening a rain, red in colour, fell in torrential amounts. Those villagers that caught the rain in pots and pans were in no doubt that the liquid was blood. Towards midnight the rain became normal in appearances and continued in varying intensity for two further days. While livestock seemed unaffected by the incident, all the fields of the village turned first a bright orange and then blackened as if covered by soot. With the loss of their spring grass the villagers were set to abandon their homes when they noticed a new growth of vegetation. The new grass seemed to grow at twice the speed and produced a crop of a quality never before seen. Vegetables grew to enormous sizes and the people of the place experienced vibrant health and fitness for many years to come. Those that had saved the red fluid in jars or bottles sold it for a medicine that was said to restore vitality to those that drank it. A bottle of the fluid was allegedly dispatched to the court of Tsar Alexander the First but what he did with it is not known. (Source: Reported by a Cossack soldier on route to Novgorod 1827 /Essay: Cossack Tales and Folklore – 1866 Russian)

1841 AD: FRESH SQUID

On Wednesday, 7 July 1844, Mr. John Seaver was caught in an unusually fierce hailstorm whilst riding the Tremont road. To his astonishment he witnessed an unusual animal lying amongst the ice. It was ten inches in length and four and a half inches in circumference with tentacles protruding from its body. This animal was a squid! This discovery was supported by the high salt content of the hail. The partially frozen squid appeared to have fallen a great distance and was later preserved in spirits. (Source: Pennsylvania Sentinel – 12 July 1841)

1867 AD: COMPLETELY NUTS

During the night of 9 May 1867 policemen in Dublin, Ireland, were driven to take shelter from a rainstorm of great proportions into which was mixed vast quantities of nuts and berries that fell with the rain from the sky. The officers noted that these objects seemed driven by a great force. The berries were described as being about half an inch in diameter and in appearance like a much shrunken orange – although black in colour. A study of the objects revealed a faint aromatic odour but the berries remained unidentified. Apparently skeptics claimed the mysterious objects were nothing more than hazelnuts that had been “preserved” in a bog for “centuries”. If this is indeed what they were it still fails to explain what they were doing pelting down from the sky. (Source: Symons Monthly Meteorological Magazine – December 1867)

1877 AD: SNAKES ALIVE!

The Southern part of Memphis Tennessee experienced a rain of living snakes during 1877. It was recorded that thousands fell and ranged in size from a foot to 18 inches in length. (Scientific American – 10 February 1877)

1894 AD: TURTLE AND ALABASTER

Two strange objects both encased in ice fell in the region of Vicksburg, Mississippi on 11 may 1894. The first was an ordinary gopher turtle while the second was a block of alabaster. Both falls occurred during the same hailstorm which was ordinary in type and nature. No tornadoes had been reported in the region. (Source: Monthly weather Review – May 1894)

1940 AD: SILVER LINING

It appears that clouds do have a silver lining after all. In the Meshchera region of Central Russia “numerous” silver coins rained down during a storm during August 1940. (Source: Michell & Rickard: Phenomena.

1976 AD: WINDFALL

Two clergymen had an unexpected windfall when banknotes to the value of 2,000 marks literally fluttered down from a clear and empty sky at Limburg, West Germany. (Source: The Bath and West Evening Chronicle – 6 January 1976)

2001 AD: RED RAIN – SOUND FAMILIAR?

A red rain fell on Kerala, India in July, 2001. A possible meteor was quickly identified as the cause of the strange-colored rain but quickly retracted when a study identified that the water was filled with fungal spores. CESS director M. Baba said: ‘‘The exact species is yet to be identified. But how such a large quantity of spores could appear over a small region is as yet unknown.’’ (Source: The India Express – Kamal Gopinath Nair – Aug 6 2001)

Strange Sky Falls – Blood Rain Kerala, India. (Comp)

2007 AD: STRANGE METALLIC OBJECT

On the afternoon of 3 January 2007 in Free Hold Township New Jersey a strange metallic object, roughly the size of a baby’s fist fell from the sky and punched a hole through the roof and shattered the tiles of the second storey bathroom before embedding itself in the wall. Lt. Robert Brightman of the Freehold Township Police Department investigated the incident in the Colts Pride Development and contained the unusually heavy object in a glass cylinder stating that it would remain in police custody pending further investigation. Investigators who checked it with a Geiger counter were relieved that it was not radioactive. (Source: New York Times – 4 January 2007) (Copyright notification – see below)
Sky Fall Rock

IT JUST KEEPS ON HAPPENING …

We’ve already found several references for 2008 including a large glass sphere in Kentucky, a shower of ball bearings in Greece and most bizarrely – A Ten Thousand Mark German “Reichs Bank Note” encased in ice in the yard of a resident of Manassas, Virginia. Still, none of these incidents are verified so will sadly have to stay as possible incidents.

We’ll keep adding to this section so check back later!


End of the World Predictions

25 Shocking End of the World Predictions

END OF THE WORD PREDICTIONS

Not all of these “end of the world predictions” will destroy the planet, but most will remove humanity once and for all. We’ve listed the top 25 predictions based on Likelihood and Impact.

Scientists pretty much know how the actual planet we live on will end and so their end of the world predictions are likely to be accurate. Even in the few centuries that mankind has studied the universe, the science of astronomy has repeatedly shown that eventually the Sun will expand and consume the first three planets of this solar system.

Even if it stops just short of the Earth, the intense heat will destroy every living thing on this little blue world. The good news is that this won’t (or shouldn’t) happen for another several billion years. In geological time humans haven’t even been on this planet for a single second in the 24-hour lifespan of the Earth.

However, the bad news is there are many ways in which the planet could change so radically that the vast majority of people would be unable to survive. There are even some events that could end all life long before our several billion-year window closes.

According to many respected scientists – some of these predictions will definitely occur it’s just a matter of when. In short, the only way that humanity will survive in the very long-term is get off this planet and spread across the universe (a bit like a virus moving from cell-to-cell).

Here we look at the “end of the world predictions” for the way in which humanity (and on occasions the whole world) is likely to end. We’ve ranked these predictions in order of diminishing likelihood.

 1.  TOTAL NUCLEAR WAR

This is still number one and is a well-known prediction for the end of the world (certainly for Humanity) that is both likely and feasible. There are nine countries in the world that admit having atomic weapons and they are often referred to as the Nuclear Club. Five of these countries are classed as Nuclear Weapons States which is a title and status conferred on them by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

In order of nuclear acquisition, they are the USA, Russia, Britain, France and China. India, Pakistan and North Korea, none of whom are current signatories to the Treaty have all undertaken recent nuclear weapons tests.

end-of-world-predictions-nuclear-warIt is widely believed that Israel has nuclear weapons as may South Africa. Israel refuses to comment and South Africa states that it manufactured six atomic bombs but has now decommissioned them. There may well be more countries that secretly developed nuclear weapons or acquired them on the black market.

Exact figures are hard to estimate but numbers released by the BBC on 2 May 2000 claimed the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons amounted to over 42,000 warheads. The good news is that four years later there were apparently a lot less. Today there are around 17,500.

As we can see, there are plenty of “Nukes” still active. We haven’t been able to discover what the total megaton yield of the remaining warheads would be, but it is enough to say that it is still very big indeed.

The end of the world scenario is simple. For unknown reasons, the nuclear powers start using their weapons on each other and ‘MAD’ – or Mutually Assured Destruction – occurs. The devastation from thermonuclear blasts would be bad enough and would send what was left of mankind back to the Stone Age. Worse though would be the ongoing effects of nuclear radiation and nuclear winter. The radiation would engulf the planet on a scale that can’t be imagined. Within 6 months anyon.e who was not “blown up” would be very sick. Within 24 months just about everyone is dead. Disease, residual radiation pockets, starvation, secondary pollutants, poisoned rain, and freezing temperatures will just about finish off humanity. It is very possible that a select few people may survive on stockpiled rations in deep underground bunkers but even they will have to face a radically changed world if they ever return to the surface. Humanity as we know it would be gone

2.   BIOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE / WEAPON

Plagues have always claimed a terrible death toll from the human population. Bubonic plague caused by the bacterium “Yersinia Pestis” claimed an estimated 75 million lives in the 1340’s pandemic alone. The Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 may have killed up to 100 million people. The Recent COVID19 pandemic claimed well over 4 million lives.

Biological Weapon Armegedon

The most lethal of the natural diseases is Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever but fortunately it has never fully erupted outside of Africa although according to the excellent 1994 book the “Hot Zone” by Richard Preston it was accidentally brought to Reston Virginia in the USA but miraculously did not escape the containment laboratory. It was an airborne variation. Ebola outbreaks continue till today. It is not surprising that this ranks high in our list of “End of the World Predictions”.

The Uganda Ministry of Health recently confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in the Bundibugyo area. Samples tested by the United States National Reference Laboratories and the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organization confirmed the presence of a new strain of the Ebola virus.

These natural super-diseases are terrifying but because humans have evolved along with these bacteria and viruses there are usually survivors. Even the deadliest of all the natural viruses, the Ebola Filovirus only kills nine out of every ten people.

The real concern is that bio-weapons specialists have been experimenting and there are real concerns that new and deadly strains of Ebola, Anthrax, Smallpox and even Bubonic Plague have been created. These new diseases may well be 100% effective. Only those that were pre-vaccinated before weapons were used would survive and they might not survive the ensuing natural mutations.

This is a very real and terrifying threat to the survival of the human race particularly if the release was unanticipated and accidental. Covid19 has been a terrifying wakeup call for the world mainly because it was a new disease against which we had little natural immunity.

3.   OVER POPULATION PREDICTIONS

In our list of End of the World Predictions, this actually may be the most serious longer-term threat facing humanity. There are just too many people on this planet and the number is getting bigger by the minute. Unpleasant as it may sound, we are the mammal equivalent of locusts. We devour vast amounts, and we are desperately opposed to limiting our numbers. It’s probably an ancient survival instinct. Locust swarms work by consuming everything they can and then die when the food runs out. However, locusts have a survival mechanism we don’t. They can lay eggs that wait until conditions are good and then start again (diapause).

The reason Brood X (cicadas) only appear in the USA once every seventeen years maybe for the exact same principle. Locusts can also breed incredibly fast in the right conditions with one female producing dozens of offspring in just a few weeks.

We humans can’t do that on any serious scale. We would just die. Still, before we did, we would fight each other for the few resources that remain, and we would fight to the death. It would be “Total War” at every level. It’s very possible that those that do survive would be unable to make it on their own.

The only thing we can hope for is that Humanity will somehow change its behaviour before this happens. Strange as it may seem – a plague that wipes out 70% of humanity might actually ensure the survival of our species in the longer-term. Let us put this scenario another way. At the current rate of population growth, it could well be all over in in a thousand years. That’s soon!

4.   A NEW UNKNOWN WEAPON

In this scenario a new type of weapon is created. It might be a Fusion Bomb capable of turning the world into a short-term star, it might be a new form of radiation or it might even be a gravitational weapon that stops the world spinning.

Now while all of these possibilities seem like farfetched science fiction “End of the World Predictions” it is worth noting that so would have nuclear weapons seemed to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821).

In fact, he probably could not have imagined such a destructive power as even possible. The point is that just 150 years ago people were still using cavalry with lances. So, 100 years from now – who knows? One thing we can be sure of – the Arms Race is still very much alive and well.

5.   COLLAPSE OF THE WORLDWIDE ECOSYSTEM

Most biologists now agree that the worldwide ecosystem is a far more fragile entity than was previously thought. The ecosystem produces the air we breathe and the food that we eat. The ecosystem is also a very complex matrix of interdependent relationships.

The theory states that if mankind continues to destroy the planetary ecosystem, then eventually a “tipping point” or “destructive critical mass” will be reached. Suddenly crops won’t grow because the insects that pollinate them have died off. Believe it or not, there is now a significant shortage of pollinating bees in the USA right now

Ecological Disaster

Pollutants damage the seas, and the food chains fail. Millions of microbiological ecosystems that produce oxygen just disappear. Each small loss creates further losses until the Earth starts to lose its larger species and finally us.

This is a classic example of a huge number of micro-disasters adding up to one big one. The planet would survive and would probably regenerate once the cause (us) was wiped out. In fact, after 50 million years or so it might look quite like it did just before the last major ice age. By then there will be very few traces that we once existed at all. As one of our End of the World Predictions this would be a very nasty way to go.

6.   TOTAL ICE AGE (SNOWBALL EARTH)

According to climatologist the Earth is actually in an Ice Age cycle that fluctuates between warm and cold periods. Currently we are in what is called an interglacial period – the warm time in between the much longer and colder ones.

If the record of ice ages is accurate and consistent, then it’s due to get very much colder in the next few thousand years – maybe starting tomorrow. There is no doubt that with the aid of modern technology humanity could survive. However, a theory that was recently put forward claims that we are heating the planet too fast and that this warming trend will trigger rapid cooling if the desalination of the polar oceans causes the current known as the North Atlantic Current (conveyor belt) to fail. The ice age that follows would be far colder than normal and would destroy civilization in the northern hemisphere.

Snowball Earth Ice Age

A film, “The Day After Tomorrow” was released in 2004 and featured this scenario. Now you might think that this is bad, but it gets far worse. Proponents of the Snowball Earth theory suggest that all the extra ice would reflect so much sunlight that each year it would get progressively colder (more snow and ice reflecting sunlight) until the planet transformed into a giant snowball entirely frozen except for a few “slushy” areas around the equator.

If you think that this is farfetched it is worth noting that an increasing number of scientists believe that it has happened at least several times before. They cite it as the only explanation for the type of worldwide sedimentary deposits that have been discovered. It does get warmer again when internals volcanism and increasingly dirty snow allow the planet to warm up. Still, by then we’d be long gone.

7.   ENERGY EXPERIMENT GOES WRONG

Some years ago, there was significant speculation in the media and around dinner tables about what would happen when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – a gigantic underground particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles, was switched on and tested. On 10 September 2008, the LHC circulated its first particle beams but a few days later had to halt operations due to equipment malfunction when faulty magnets triggered a malfunction. The biggest concern is that the LHC will create a microscopic blackhole which will then start getting larger until it destroys the planet. The general consensus of the scientific community is that the LHC is not dangerous although there are still many conspiracy theories circulating about the dangers.   However, there will be other experiments and discoveries in the field of sub-atomic energy that might, just might, one day go horribly wrong.

8.   SUPER VOLCANO

Super volcano concerns first came into public consciousness after the airing of a popular BBC programme, Horizon, the explored the subject. In brief, a Super Volcano is a giant volcano that will generate an eruption in the VEI 7 to VEI 9 category. The threat and existence of these volcanoes was largely overlooked by science until quite recently for three reasons. Firstly, volcanology is a relatively new science and has had a lot of catching up to do. Secondly, these volcanoes don’t appear as mountains or cones. Their eruptions are so gigantic that they collapse back into the crust forming mega calderas that can be overlooked. Thirdly, there have been plenty of more interesting or at least accessible volcanoes to study.

How big is the threat? According to volcanologists it’s big and it’s real. Put another way – the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens was a either a High VEI 4 or a low VEI 5. The blast ejected 1.2 cubic kilometres of rock and ash.

When the Lake Toba super eruption took place only 75,000 years ago it ejected 2,300 cubic kilometres of debris that reached high into the atmosphere. It was 2,000 times as powerful as Mt. St. Helens. An interesting observation is that apparently all (original) Western DNA can be traced back to 7 females and is known as the Near Extinction Bottleneck. It came that close!

Super Volcano Eruption

In a 1998 article, Stanley Ambrose proposed a hypothesis—a volcanic winter scenario—to explain recent human differentiation. The bottleneck was caused by a volcanic winter resulting from the super-eruption of Toba in Sumatra.

The largest explosive super eruption identified, a VEI 9, took place in Colorado, USA and ejected 5,000km3 of material. Fortunately, it was 28 million years ago and quite some time before humans appeared on the scene. However, in deep-geological-time the event happened yesterday. According to the makers of a TV documentary / drama about the Yellowstone super volcano – we’re already overdue for the next one. Now as end of the world predictions go … that is troubling.

9.   ASTEROID OR METEOR IMPACT

This is a disaster scenario with which many people are already familiar. At least two blockbuster films have been made about the subject – “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact”.

In brief, a meteorite or asteroid of a sufficient size impacts the Earth. If the object is large enough it will create an explosion that could literally generate enough heat to turn burn away the atmosphere, turn millions of square miles of the planet’s surface to molten rock, trigger vast amounts of volcanism, stimulate tsunamis capable of completely covering Cuba and create earthquakes beyond anything measured by science.

Asteroid Impact- Human Extinction

A truly big asteroid or small planetoid could literally take the Earth back to the state it was when it was in just formed (the second time) – a molten fiery world devoid of life. It is worth noting that this is the event that created the original planet we live on.

The impact of smaller, but still devastatingly destructive asteroids, has probably occurred several times in the planet’s history. It is the smoking gun for the extinction of the dinosaurs and as recently as 1908 an event occurred over Tunguska in Russia that destroyed 80 million trees and created shock waves that could be felt in London. Had it been four times the size we may not be here today.

Still, the big impacts are exceedingly rare – if they were more common then life could never have evolved as it has. This is a very practical contender to end the world and enough of a threat for governments to set up programmes such as the Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) project to help provide warning of dangerous asteroids and meteorites.

Between the 16th to the 20th of July 1994 various fragments of an asteroid, Shoemaker Levy 9, crashed into the planet Jupiter causing spectacular impact explosions. By the way, if just one of the Shoemaker Levy Nine fragments had hit us then it would have been goodbye humanity in less than 10 minutes.

10.   NEGATIVE ENERGY CLOUD

New predictions for the end of the world just keep on cropping up. This one is called a Negative (Dark) Energy Cloud and there is absolutely no physical evidence for its existence. Still, this could be one of the most real and dangerous threats facing the planet Earth.

The theory goes that the universe is made up of energy in various states and dimensions.  For example, scientists believe that ‘Dark Matter’ makes up 85% of the universe however it is neutral to all forms of electromagnetic radiation and thus invisible to detection. In the standard Lambda-CDM model of cosmology, the total mass–energy of the universe contains 5% ordinary matter and energy, 27% dark matter and 68% of a form of energy known as dark energy.

It has been proposed that our lack of understanding surrounding Dark Matter and Dark Energy could allow for the existence of gigantic energy clouds currently undetectable to science.  These may move independently of the standard dynamics of galaxies and solar systems.  Should a planet enter one of these clouds we would expect to see massive disruption to our use of electricity, natural electromagnetic shield and as a result, rapid and destructive climate change.  Electricity would build up and eventually be released in cataclysmic lighting strikes, increased solar radiation would cause damage to the tissues of living organisms, electronics would fail to work completely, and weather patterns would alter dramatically.  We have no idea what this could do to complex human brains, but it is unlikely to be positive.

11.   MASS GENETIC MUTATION

All living things have genes that are based on DNA that has taken billions of years to evolve into what exists today. Genes do mutate naturally but usually with tiny changes over a long period of time. If they’re “good mutations” then the species improves and evolves as the new mutation is spread through the breeding population. If it’s a “bad mutation” then usually the creature often fails to survive long enough to reproduce.

Genetic MutationsHowever, some bad genetic mutations make it through and spread throughout the population. Some horrible genetic weaknesses that made it into the greater human population, and now cause disease, include: Angelman Syndrome, Colour Blindness, Down Syndrome, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Haemophilia, and Sickle-cell Disease. There are more.

Today, thanks to modern genetic engineering, mankind is able to create in a few months the kind of genetic adaptation that might have previously taken a million years. This is unnatural! (not in nature)

The genetic engineers assure us that it’s safe, but many other scientists are deeply concerned. In this scenario a “very bad mutation” makes it into the human population and has a devastating impact. It might trigger a new kind of disease that kills everyone, or it might cause a slower series of mutations that, over time, transform humans into something else that isn’t human anymore. Just remember this – it doesn’t matter how many times the genetic engineers get it right – they only need to get it badly wrong once!

12.   MACHINES & ROBOTS

In the exceptional 1982 film, Blade Runner, (based on the book – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) Harrison Ford discovers that his rather “messed-up” world is under threat from artificial humans that are a fusion of synthetics and bioengineering (Replicants).  In the 1999 film, The Matrix, a man called Neo discovers that he is just a “mind” plugged into a vast network that simulates reality and the world is actually run by machines and robots.

end-of-world-predictions-robots
Robots take over the world. (SSPL)

In the science fiction novel “Gravity Dreams” by L. E. Modesitt and published in 2000 – the central character discovers that his world was once nearly destroyed by nanobots – tiny self-replicating machines small enough to live in the cells of human beings. In the 2002 film, I Robot, the world comes close to being taken over by a fantastic artificially intelligent man-made brain that has an army of robots at its command. It’s a common theme.

The science fiction tales are many and often based on science-fact. There are literally dozens of examples. Humans are pushing ever harder to perfect nanotechnology; Japanese robot toys are becoming more intelligent by the year and synthetic body parts are the next big thing in medicine.

This is the scenario. Humans create AI machines (robots) that are stronger and smarter than we are. The machines stop doing what humans want and start doing what they want. Conflict follows – machines win. Terminator movies turn out to be prophecies. Goodbye humans.

13.   TECTONIC MANTLE SLIP

It is completely accepted by science that the crust of the earth floats on a subterranean ocean of molten rock. These tectonic plates move very slowly and are the cause of continental drift. Proponents of the Tectonic Mantle Slip theory believe that there is some evidence to suggest that periodically the entire crust “slips” on the molten core and all the land masses are relocated in different parts of the world. This slip can happen very quickly over a period of just a few months.

The result of a modern-day slip would be catastrophic for humanity. The earthquakes and increased volcanism would just about wipe us out as would the tidal waves, mega-storms, and tsunamis.

However, those that survived would find themselves living in vastly different and unstable climates. Ecosystems would fail and social infrastructure would collapse totally. Desert countries might find themselves washed away by monsoons; fertile farmland could be relocated to Arctic zones. Strangely, our Palaeolithic ancestors who were used to harsh conditions are likely to have survived such a cataclysmic event far better than we would today. Mantle slip was a major feature of the disaster movie – 2012.

14.   GAMMA RAY BURSTS

It is only fairly recently that scientist recognized the threat posed by GRB’s or (Gamma Ray Bursts). These energy emissions were first discovered in the late 1960s by the US “Vela” nuclear test detection satellites.

The most popular theory for the origin of Gamma Ray Bursts is that they are generated by a dying star that is consumed from within by a black hole. As the star finally collapses the phenomenon ejects a massive and deadly burst of Gamma energy. If you’re close to this event – say within a thousand light years, then your planet is toast.

A few fish and cockroaches might survive but to be honest we’re not sure about the fish. If the burst is further away but still within range, then our planet might just lose its ozone layer and experience 10 years of acid rain.

The fact is that nobody is a 100% sure what creates these bursts of super-deadly radiation but there is no doubt they are happening – these events are now recorded by satellites up to several times per day. Fortunately, these are very far away and pretty harmless.  Still, if one was closer, we might not even see it coming.

15.   MOON CATASTROPHE

Many people do not realise how important the moon is to the protection and future survival of this planet. The moon intercepts meteors, creates tides, balances the rotation of the planet and may even keep the core of this planet moving and generating the magnetic shield that protects us from solar radiation.

If for some reason the moon was destroyed the Earth could be left very vulnerable. Some experts claim that the lack of a moon would create such chaos that humanity would be exterminated while other experts say that it would definitely be a problem but not an Extinction Level Event (ELE) unless a big enough part of the moon fell back onto the Earth.

Is the destruction of the moon possible? The answer is yes. Between the 16th to the 20th of July 1994 an asteroid, Shoemaker Levy 9 crashed into the planet Jupiter. Had this object impacted the moon (8,000 times smaller) then it could have split the moon into two smaller molten moons that could have well drifted away.

Is it possible? The answer is yes. Is it likely? No. The good news is that the Moon has been around for billions of years and it hasn’t happed yet.

16.   (NEW) COLLIDING DIMENSIONS / THE NEXT BIG BANG

There has not been much written about this possible ending for two reasons. Firstly, the science behind it is very theoretical, hard to explain and even harder to follow. Secondly, it hasn’t happened anywhere we can see even with our most powerful telescopes and star watching instruments. This is a very simplified explanation.

We, and everything else in our universe, exist in a dimension. There are other dimensions even if you don’t understand or believe in them. When they collide, they create vast amounts of energy and matter. The result is probably a “Big Bang” exactly like the one that created everything our universe.

This End of the World theory is that if this is true then at any time and in any place, there could suddenly be a second “Big Bang” event. This would naturally have devastating consequences for any physical matter (Us, the World, Galaxies etc.) that already existed.

17.   ALIEN INVASION

There are billions of stars in the universe and recent science has shown that many of these have planets that orbit them. This could mean that there are trillions (maybe zillions) of planets out there. It is almost a statistical impossibility that none of these supports intelligent life. We know of at least one – us.

end-of-world-predictions-alien-invasion
Alien Invasion (SSPL)

However, according to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. This means that even if there are aliens living in nearby star systems it would take decades or even millennia for them to reach us.

Of course, it is possible that these aliens have found a way around this problem and can zip across to Earth as easily as we visit the local supermarket but it’s just very unlikely. In this scenario these pesky “zipping” and incredibly advanced aliens decide that they want our world and don’t want us hanging around asking for free healthcare and the secrets of the universe.

Basically, they don’t come in peace, see us as vermin, and wipe us out.  Not in the flashy planet busting way that makes such good sci-fi movies but swiftly and effectively with nerve toxins, biological agents and radiation.

18.   THE UNIVERSAL SWITCH OFF

This is a very simple theory. In the beginning there was nothing (absolutely no single thing) and then there was something. Scientists call this event the “Big Bang”. We know this happened because we can actually hear the echoes of this event with our most powerful telescopes. It happened about 10 billion years ago.

The foundation of this theory states that if something can be created from nothing – “The Great Switch On” – then just as easily it could be “Switched Off” – something into nothing. Don’t be fooled into dismissing this theory because it is simple – this could well be the most dangerous threat to all existence and not just our lonely little planet. Please take note – the great and unexplainable “Switch On” is a universally accepted scientific event – it happened. However, according to Isaac Newton: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

19.   ROGUE BLACK HOLE

In this theory a black hole (the incredibly dense heart of a dead star) enters our solar system. At first it would really stir up the asteroid belt so the chances are Earth would be destroyed by a meteor or asteroid long before eventually being swallowed by the black hole. They say it could happen at any time because black holes – particularly the smaller ones – can be very hard to spot as not even light can escape their massive gravity.

Fortunately, many mainstream scientists and astronomers are very sceptical and firmly believe that if there was a black hole close enough to be a threat, they’d have noticed it by now. Still, if we are considering a much longer period – say hundreds of millions of years then it is just as likely as any other theory.

20.   WAR OF THE SEXES

The basic concept was featured in the 1976 book “A World out of Time” by Larry Niven – a much respected futurologist and science fiction writer. Basically, there is a conflict between the human X & Y chromosome and the males and females of our species simply cannot produce any more children. Females solve this problem through self-reproduction (a form of hermaphrodism that already exists) and, over time, become a separate species on their own. Males die out. Something would survive but it would not be humanity as we know it. Sounds silly? Not really.  Male fertility across the globe is falling and society is already rethinking its perception of gender as never before.

21.   GLIESE 710

Apparently, GLIESE 710 is a small red dwarf star that is heading our way. It will arrive in about 1.3 billion years and if it passes through our solar system then it is very possibly goodbye planet Earth.

Just so you know – it may be small, but it is still 50 times the size of our planet. It will also disrupt just about every rock and asteroid in the region. So even if GLIESE 710 is a close miss we’re still space debris thanks to all those disturbed asteroids. Will it hit our solar system? At the moment it’s a 1 in 50 chance but that’s still not good when that one chance means total annihilation. The good news – it’s so long in the future that nobody cares.

22.   ANTIMATTER

This option may well deserve to be ranked higher, particularly as science seems determined to prod this concept until something nasty happens. First off – is there really something called antimatter –the opposite of matter?

According to CERN, yes there is and during 1995 they announced that they had successfully created nine antihydrogen atoms by implementing the SLAC/Fermilab concept during the PS210 experiment. The experiment was performed using the Low Energy Antiproton Ring (LEAR), and was led by Walter Oelert and Mario Macri. Fermilab soon confirmed the CERN findings by producing approximately 100 antihydrogen atoms at their facilities.

The problem was that these 1995 antimatter particles were “hot” (a disturbing term) and not that suitable to study.

Put simply, when antimatter and matter neutralise each other vast amounts of energy could potentially be released. Enough energy to destroy a planet. The very good news is that it is incredibly expensive and difficult to produce this stuff.

23.   ARMAGEDDON

According to various religious beliefs, particularly the Christian Church, God will eventually end the world and the “good’ will go to Heaven and the “evil” will go to Hell. Believers call this the Rapture. It was supposed to happen just over a decade ago and again as recently as the 21st of May 2011. Nothing happened then and nothing happened in 2012 with the end of the Mayan calendar.  Naturally, people have been a bit reluctant to set a date for this to happen in the future.

In the Book of Revelation, God, ushering in the Great Tribulation judgments, commands seven angels to pour “seven vials of the wrath of God” upon the Earth. Those that are deeply religious believe that this will happen soon. Others claim its nonsense.

24.   ANDROMEDA

According to the New Scientist Space (14 May 2007) in approximately 2 billion years the Andromeda Galaxy will nearly collide with our own galaxy – the Milky Way. During this time, the gravitation effects of this near miss could cause havoc with our own solar system causing either a world ending cataclysm or, according to others, nothing at all. Nobody is very sure what will happen, but it is more than likely to be unpleasant. Fortunately, two billion years is a long time so right now no one is losing any sleep over this future cosmic collision.

25.   EXPANSION OF THE SUN

As we mentioned right at the start of this article even Suns (stars) have a lifespan. Eventually our Sun will finish consuming the hydrogen fuel that keeps it nice and yellow and start a series of convulsions that will see it transform into a huge red giant. The sun will grow so large that it will probably consume Mercury and Venus and may or may not consume Earth before it finally collapses. It doesn’t really matter because the increase in temperature will certainly burn the entire surface of our planet to a cinder and may even turn it to molten rock again. This is always assuming that the Earth has managed to survive several other possible “end of the world” disasters that could end it all before this happens.

Still, the planet has survived so far and if it was a human, it would already be in its late 30’s. How long will Humanity survive is a much more relevant question? The people of this planet, both from developed and undeveloped nations, are consuming our precious few resources and destroying the environment – our habitat – at rate never before experienced. It’s just not sustainable. The truth is that the planet will survive for a long time to come but people might not. See the section Ten Real Ways to save humanity!

In reality, the biggest threat to Humanity is … Human beings!


Taos Hum - New Mexico - Taos

The Taos Hum - Can Drive People Crazy

Congress Investigates?

In brief, the “hum” appears to be a low frequency sound with a rhythmic pulse to it. Many of the people that have claimed to hear or suffer from this humming have apparently claimed that it sounds like a “far away diesel engine”. It’s named after the town of Taos in New Mexico where it is claimed that it is quite common to hear it.

In fact, it was so common that the good citizens and sufferers banded together in 1993 and petitioned the American Congress to investigate the source of this annoyance. 1n 1997 Congress did direct a dozen or more scientists and researchers from some of the most recognized institutions in the country to investigate. One reason for this was the allegation that the Taos Hum was possibly the result of military activity – covert or otherwise. A side effect of this allegation was that the inquiry was conducted openly and involved a large number of people.

Two key organizations were also involved namely the Phillips Air Force Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (those fine people that brought you the Atom Bomb). Apparently a Mr. Joe Mullins of the University of New Mexico and Mr. Horace Poteet of Sandia National Laboratories wrote the team’s final report.

“According to the August 23, 1993 “Taos Hum Investigation: Informal Report”, most hearers initially experienced the hum with an “abrupt beginning, as if some device were switched on.” Many of the hearers believed there was a connection between the hum, the military installations in and around New Mexico, and the Department of Defense or that the hum was somehow caused by the U. S. Navy’s ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) stations in Northern Michigan. These suspicions made a civilian presence on the investigation team necessary.” (Source: Thomas Begich / Staff Writer Earthpulse.com)

recording-hum-taos-new-mexico-1
Recording the hum in Taos, New Mexico (SSPL)

Are You Hearing Things?

The research team first made contact with ten professed “hearers” and made efforts to understand the experiential nature of the Taos Hum. Their consistent initial findings were as follows:

  • It often had an abrupt beginning.
  • It was always a low barely audible sound
  • There was always a fluctuation in the pulse

One of the initial findings of the team was that the Taos Hum was not only an annoyance, its hearers also claimed it produced very unwanted side effects such as dizziness, insomnia or sleep disturbance, disorientation, pressure on the ears, headaches, loss of sex-drive and nosebleeds. Most importantly, its very existence seemed to disturb their psychological equilibrium. Many felt “singled out” by a phenomenon that was clearly “unnatural”.

The stated purpose of the team was to …

Once the team had come together (now including James Kelly a hearing research scientist with the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center) it is understood that a fairly significant (quantitive) sample of the Taos population was interviewed – 1,440 is the figure recorded. Using the technique of extrapolation, they concluded that statistically 2% of the population of Taos were persistent sufferers or had heard the Taos Hum at some time.

Given this large number of hearers, initial exploration of a source for the hum focused on external possibilities for generation of the low frequency hum. While there were isolated instances of hearing within the low frequency range identified by hearers, these tests revealed no consistent background noise which could account for the hum. As Mullins and Kelly concluded, there were “no known acoustic signals that might account for the neither hum nor are there any seismic events that might explain it.”

The effect of being able to hear this hum can vary from being a mild irritation to a life disabling condition. Its effect is therefore very much like tinnitus – a persistent ringing in the ears that is a recognized medical complaint. “Hearers” of the “Hum” have been known to move halfway around the world to get away from it – something that travel can’t do to help tinnitus.

Taos Hum - New Mexico Houses
Taos Hum – New Mexico (SSPL)

These are the basic “facts” about the “Taos Hum” …

What’s peculiar about the notes in the Taos Hum is that they have no obvious source. Not earthquakes, not nuclear explosions, nothing. The vibrations triggered by cataclysmic events fade away to nothing, but the Hum continues, regardless. It may well be the echo of undetected seismic activity.

A Denver audiologist said that she had recorded a steady vibration of 17 cycles per second with a harmonic rising to 70 cycles per second near Taos. The low range of human hearing is 20 to 30 cycles per second.

Massey University professors Tom Moir and Fakhrul Alam from New Zealand have begun their research on “Unidentified Acoustic Phenomena”.

There may be no “Taos Hum” at all and the phenomenon is explained by an as yet unidentified but reasonably widespread medical complaint.

We admit that this is not the most exiting of mysteries. Still, if there really is a sub-audible worldwide humming then humankind should figure out what is causing it. Who knows -It might be dangerous.

Driving Miss Daisy – Crazy

Regardless of whether it really does or does not exist there are a significant number of people that firmly believe that the Taos Hum it is driving them crazy. One way or another – they deserve help. According to Daisy Fielding, She had hoped to set up a pottery business in Taos but the sound of the humming was so annoying that she gave up trying to live there and returned to San Francisco.

Taos Hum - Driving People Crazy
Taos Hum – Driving People Crazy (Hemera/WMC/Stephenson)

There is a substantial amount of information on the internet about the Taos Hum. If you are interested then Wikipedia is a good place to start. We wish we could have become more “into” this mystery but the Taos Hum just doesn’t work for us. Let’s face it – there’s just not much to work with. Let’s see … some people hear a strange humming. It’s driving them crazy. No one knows where it’s coming from. No one is even sure it’s real. Welcome to the Taos hum!


Most Mysterious - Fly Ranch Geyser

Fly Ranch Geyser - A Modern Natural Wonder

A Modern Natural Wonder?

Fly Ranch Geyser, in Nevada USA, is a small geothermal geyser that only started spouting mineral rich water as recently as 1964. In fact, before then it didn’t exist at all and was created accidentally when a team drilling for sources of geothermal energy tapped into the reservoir.

The story actually starts a little earlier in 1917 when a borehole was sunk in an attempt to find fresh water for the ranch in Hualapai Valley. They struck water but at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit and extremely rich in minerals it wasn’t exactly what was needed for field irrigation. This first geyser was allowed to continue venting and over the next forty years created a 3 metre high cone that looked like a miniature volcano. It was the presence of this scalding water that brought the geothermal energy company to the ranch in the first place.

Fly Ranch Geyser
Fly Ranch Geyser (SSPL)

The second borehole found the same reservoir of boiling water but unfortunately it just wasn’t hot enough. The hole was plugged but a short while afterwards the seal broke and fountains of boiling hot water and steam erupted. The new geyser was even stronger than the original which now ceased to vent. The perpetual sprays of steam and water can reach between one to two metres in height from the tips of the cones. This cascades down into the surroundings pools of which there are around thirty of varying sizes. Fly geyser has even become something of an oasis for birds and small fish.

Fly Ranch Geyser is phenomenally rich in calcium and over the past decades has built a remarkable cone with multiple vents surrounded by tiered travertine pools. The beautiful green colours of the geyser are not created by the minerals but by hermophilic algae, which thrives in a hot, moist microclimate created by this natural wonder. The base minerals create the rust coloured travertine that is rapidly forming a unique and aquatic ecosystem right alongside Black Rock Desert.

The feature is not large when compared to the geysers of Yellowstone or Haukadalur (Iceland) but what it lacks in size it makes up in character. It is often described as alien, surreal and mysterious.

Where is Fly Geyser?

Fly Ranch Geyser is located in Washoe County, Nevada, USA some 20 miles (32 km) north of the town of Gerlach and two hours north of Reno. The complete site covers around 74 acres and is private property although the structure can just be seen from the State Route (CR) 34 that runs along the western boundary from Gerlach in the South to Vya in the North. As the geyser is quite small and around half a mile from the road you will need powerful binoculars or telephoto lens.

Most Mysterious - Fly Ranch Geyser Close
Fly Ranch Geyser (SSPL)

Casual visiting is not permitted and there are many signs warning of the consequences of trespassing. People wishing to visit the actual Fly Geyser Site are generally advised to make inquiries in the town of Gerlach.

Are the photos of Fly Geyser Real?

Yes, the images of Fly Geyser have not been manipulated to enhance their colour although the angle of most photographs tend to make it look bigger than it is.


Underwater Waterfall Mauritius

Underwater Waterfall Mauritius

UNDERWATER WATERFALL MAURITIUS

Located at the at the southwestern tip of the Island of Mauritius and just to the east of the Morne Peninsular is one nature’s most fantastic and eye twisting illusions. In both photographs and real life it looks as if a steady flow of water and sand are plunging over the edge of an impossibly deep ocean chasm. Known as the underwater waterfall of Mauritius it is spectacularly beautiful and magical. Unfortunately not all is as it seems.

Mauritius Underwater Waterfall
Mauritius Underwater Waterfall (SSPL – 534374716)

Mauritius is a volcanic island that emerged from the ocean around 8 million years ago and has eroded away so that it is surround by a fairly narrow underwater shelf and one of the longest coral reefs in the world. Several geological features contribute to the effect. The lagoon is situated between two volcanic peaks – Le Morne Brabant to the west and Mount Laporte and Pilton du Fuge to the East. The Morne Peninsular curves to the East creating a natural lagoon largely enclosed by coral reefs.

A natural gully runs from the base of Pilton du Fuge to the edge of the island shelf some 1.5 km offshore. As it gets closer it becomes wider and deeper creating a natural break in the surrounding reef. It’s been proposed that the water of the lagoon has a higher saline content than the surrounding ocean making it heavier. This denser water drains down the gully aided by currents and wave surges from the east drawing sand with it in a curving pattern that dramatically accentuates the gully and creates the illusion of sandy water pouring over the edge of a chasm.

The Underwater Waterfall Mauritius
The Underwater Waterfall Mauritius

So it seems that what can be seen in these photos and on Google earth is a trick of the eye. However, as the sand and heavier water reaches the edge of the island shelf it does actually drift down into the magnificent depths kilometres below. The irony is that you can’t actually see it in the images.