Sunday, January 23, 2005

Seventh Edition

The Time Traveler

Tonight's special on the Science channel was pretty far out stuff - the first real Time Machine. The idea has long been the realm of science fiction and whackos, yet here are scholars actually building a machine they believe will work. The function is hinged on powerful ring lasers, which will twist space and time into a loop, whereby sub-atomic particles and information can be passed through the loop to any point in time. The caveat is it can only send particles into the past as far as the point where the machine was first switched on, it cannot send particles beyond that point.

This restriction does not appear to be realistic. For one thing, what restricts the aiming of this laser ring of light, to some point in Earth's past? To someone at that point in the past, a ring of firey light would suddenly appear, and particles would pop out of it, seemingly from nowhere. I don't think they have considered this aspect, that the loop might be aimable, of course the exact calculations would have to be made to find the exact position of Earth at the desired point in the past, since our planet (and solar system, and galaxy, and the universe) are all moving in spirals at tremendous speeds this would be a tricky thing to calculate. If a larger version were built, allowing a human being to be passed inside the ring of laser light - then you could 'transport' a human being to any point in the future or past by aiming the spiral of lasers at the desired point. If your calculation was off by the tiniest fraction, the human being could be transported into a point a mile under the ground, under the ocean, 10,000 feet in the air, or miss the planet entirely and step off into the near vacuum of space!

If these calculations could be done with good accuracy (say within ten feet or so of the desired spot) then you could safely aim a point where nothing is known to be a danger and transport away. This person would then be able to act in the past or future! Current ideas hold that if the person did anything which would alter history enough to cause a paradox, he would either instantaneously be translated into an alternate universe (and yes they now are saying that a nearly infinite number of alternate universes DO exist) or some subatomic particle would interfere to prevent his actions from being successfully completed. So, a person might step into the time machine, step out at the Nuremburg rallies in Germany 1938 with a loaded sniper rifle, intending to assassinate him and avoid the second world war (and the murder of millions of Jews and other innocents) but when he went to fire - either the bullet would misfire, some particle would alter the flight of the bullet and cause it to miss, he might then be arrested and history would not be measurably changed. Some lone nut with a gun was arrested and imprisoned, the Nuremburg newspapers would say, this nut claims to be from the future, to be an American citizen - but when the American consulate was contacted they said they have no record of any such person ever existing. They would be telling the truth - for this person did not exist in their time previous to the assassination attempt.

Then there are historical evidences that time travelers have been at work. Leonardo Da Vinci is one example pointed to by the television program, with his futuristic designs. There have been failed assassination attempts by people who seem to have no past, such as the several attempts made on the Archduke Ferdinand prior to the successful attack by Gavrilo Princip, which sparked World War One. There is even a person who has been suggested as the first time traveler, (not referring to Nostradamus, who seems to have peered into the future, not traveled personally) but the Comte de St. Germain. St. Germain was sighted by witnesses for a period of over 200 years, never appearing to have aged and with no clear record of his birth or death. There have been found dinosaur bones with clean round bullet holes in their skulls! There are fossil footprints, millions of years old, made by what appear to be human feet wearing shoes or boots! Strange artifacts such as the "geode" found to contain what appears to be a spark plug, more than 250,000 years old have turned up, not to mention the strange items found in ancient coal beds. We may have already seen plenty of evidence of time travelers, but not recognized them.

The strangest point about this in my view is the remarkable similarity to the old television series "The Time Tunnel" which had a machine with a spiraling tunnel, into which the heroes stepped to step out at points in the past. To return, they had to step back into the tunnel, which was not always visible to people in the past. So will human beings master time travel? I believe so, though I do not believe they will be able to alter the past with much effect, they might be able to be 'witnesses' and be able to report back with photos, video footage etc. Items which were lost to history, (important documents, artifacts etc) could be stolen without affecting the future, and brought to the future where they could be preserved. Then there is another aspect - what would prevent someone from traveling to ancient Judaea and melding into the crowds who were gathering to hear a prophet from Nazareth, Jesus? When he or she returned to the future, a film could be shown of Jesus healing the sick, preaching the gospel or perhaps audiences would be more interested in watching the horrific tortuous death he suffered? Judging by the reaction to Mel Gibson's movie 'The Passion of Christ' I think they would prefer to witness the brutal death of the Saviour of humanity. Then too, a time traveler might secret him (or her) self near the tomb, and try to capture the actual resurrection! What would this mean to non-Christians? I suppose they could claim it was all faked, special effects etc and probably that would suffice to keep the followers of the False Prophet (Mohammedans) and the other religions satisfied. They might even claim that our time traveler actually revived a dead Jesus, thus intervening and creating a reality that did not exist previously, using futuristic medical science to save the dying man.

It might even be possible to bring people from the past into the future. To avoid paradoxes, they could never return, but in the case of people who were pronounced dead, or went missing - these people could be abducted with impunity. You would then have people with views and lives of experience that people of the future could only have read about - and frequently history is not so accurate in depicting the true events.

It is fun to ponder the possibilities as they say, though I hope that our attempts at time travel are done with a view to record history rather than change it. Traveling to the future holds terrific risks every bit as great as altering the past - for one could win the lottery every week, manipulate the stock market, learn secrets of science without having to invent it, the list boggles the mind. Such a simple act as sending a warning of an impending earthquake; with the idea being to save many lives, might actually be altering the past for the future and creating an unforeseen time paradox. It would be a hard thing to do, to avoid saving many lives - but absolutely necessary.

We are in the grip of Old Man Winter here now, got a fresh 11 inches of snow coupled with below zero temps and high winds. Just about as unpleasant as it gets around here. I really don't want to spend another winter here, and going to do something about it this time.

That is it for this edition.
Oroblanco - Roy

"Whoever said the dead don't come back to life has never been around here at quitting time." --anon

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sixth Edition

A Set of Lies Agreed Upon

That is a rather famous or infamous quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte I, emperor of the French. Unfortunately his statement is all too true.

Take for example the infamous barbarian Ghengis Khan. I read a book about him as a boy, and was shocked to learn some of the true facts. The history books and Hollywood especially tend to portray him as the consummate savage butcher, literally the "scourge of God" an appellation tacked on him by Muslim enemies which he adopted wholeheartedly. The Mongols are seen as violent rapacious beasts, a horrible sort of plague that spread across the Earth. However, the truth is Ghengis and his dynasty were horrible to have as enemies, they were quite guilty of the wholesale slaughters and destruction they have been accused of. Few bother to look into how these actions came about however. The Mongols were not simply savages invading every land
they came upon. They always sent ahead ambassadors, and almost always these ambassadors came seeking peace. No outright threats were made, in fact when Ghengis sent his envoys to the court of the ruler of Khorazahm (the largest empire he encountered) they brought along a camel train of some 100 pack animals loaded down with precious gifts of silk, gold, silver and the finest products of the east, on a mission to open trade relations with the largest Muslim empire in existence. Khorazahm killed the ambassadors and took the gifts. What ruler would stand for such treatment? Ghengis sent a second mission of envoys with even more gifts, in an attempt to make peace and avoid war, in the obvious hope that the first murders were a terrible
misunderstanding. Khorazahm killed these ambassadors as well, and the Great Khan was incensed. Among Mongols, ambassadors were inviolate! There are few reports from their empire but in all cases, foreign ambassadors are very well treated with the greatest respect. Furthermore, traders of any nationality were utterly safe within the Mongol empire, with Mongol soldiers in tiny detachments spread across the vast Silk Road and other trade routes acting as police. The Great Khan instituted the use of paper currency and a national treasury where the paper notes could be cashed in for good silver and gold. The Great Khan even proposed treaties of alliance with the western Christian monarchies of France and Britain against the Muslim nations which lay between them. It was to the court of Kubilai Khan that Marco Polo traveled to and returned with such fantastical reports that included a royal zoo, great roads and bridges. Does this sound like any kind of savage barbarian?

Napoleon himself is generally portrayed as some kind of madman by Hollywood as well as various historians and book authors, yet in fact he was very much a child of the French revolution. He instituted the Code Napoleon, a surprisingly good set of laws that is still the basis of many European laws. He was an ally of the young United States of America and sold the fledgling nation the tremendous Louisiana Purchase which doubled the size of the country. He set up a system of advancement based on merit (meritocracy) instead of the birth-based systems used before, and systematic agricultural advancement based on science. He is
usually never credited with it, but in his invasion of Egypt he brought along a crowd of the finest scientists and academics he could assemble, and it was no accident that the famous Rosetta stone was seen as an important find which led to the decipherment of ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics. Yes, indeed what a barbarian Napoleon was, fighting against the European monarchies and rule by right of birth, fighting on the same side as the United States of America against the British, the same gentle folk who in that war invaded Washington DC and burned our capital to the ground.

I could go on with this as there are so many examples, but it leads to the discovery tonight.

Hebrews in Ancient America
One of the famous inscribed stones found in America is the Bat Creek stone. It was unearthed from an Indian mound, and was a curiosity for many years - until Dr. Cyrus Gordon (an eminent diffusionist scholar) read and translated it as "for Judaea" or "unto Judaea". I had accepted his opinion, that this was indeed a Hebrew inscription; however this evening I was examining a photograph of the stone and could not fit his ascribed letters to the inscription. For one thing, there were too many letters, the last of them he read as "L YHWD" however not all of these letters appear in those forms in Israelite alphabets, they do appear in late Punic and early Neopunic. The letter forms would match very well with these alphabets, and are "L Y HSR" and combined with the first two letters not addressed by Dr. Gordon ("Q T") are easily read as "QT L YHSR" which is "Sacrifice for granting protection". HSR with the H in a different form means "potter" in Punic, so could be read in an alternate way as a sacrifice for someone with a personal name that means "the potter". This sort of inscription is well in keeping with North African practices of writing prayers and curses then burying or burning (or dropping in a well) to get the deities to grant their wishes. An inscription "for Judaea" or "unto Judaea" does not make sense nor are there any similar such inscriptions that I could find reference to in Israelite or Jewish
artifacts. The last letter could be a "D" instead of an "R" which makes the last word "pious" which also makes sense, "this sacrifice for the pious" - but pious Carthaginians, not Hebrews.

I would not go on to say there is no evidence of ancient Jews in America, in fact there is evidence but this particular inscription, found by the Smithsonian no less, is more likely from a different Semitic people.

Cold as shit here, 6 below zero. Nothing to report so this ends this edition.

"Molon labe" --Leonidas, king of Sparta

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Addenda to last edition

Article Ideas

Not a new edition, just jotting down some ideas to pull together for future use. I have still not found that reference to the Punic coins found in the cave in Tennessee, but in re-checking many old sources I found a great deal of material that I have not included in the book (The Secret of Carthage) project, or the anthology article or the Celator piece. For one, several other inscribed stones besides the Bourne stone, such as the Pontotoc stele of Oklahoma, which has Punic writing on two sides of what appears to be a partial sundial! I do not agree with Dr. Barry Fell's translation, however he did not have access to a Punic dictionary so worked from Arabic which is distantly related. His effort would be analogous to translating a German text using an English dictionary - it is closely related but fairly different. Then there are the Libyan inscriptions. Fell got quite carried away with the idea of Libyans and Celts, and classified Tartessians as separate from Phoenicians however they are merely another branch of the same Phoenician tree as Tartessus (Tarshish of the bible) was founded by Phoenicians. He also seems to have viewed Iberian Punic as far different from Punic which is not the case. It should not be surprising to find Libyan inscriptions since Kyrene and "Libya" were so closely affiliated with Carthage. Kyrene was an ally of Carthage for centuries after their initial warfare, and "Libya" was ruled by Carthage for six hundred years except for the brief period of the Mercenary revolt after the first Punic war. All this reminded me that several coins are not included in Epstein's study of ancient coins found in America - two Numidian bronzes found in Ohio, and a third Numidian found in the Snake River by a gold prospector, plus two bronzes found in a river in Connecticut; one of which appears to be another Thurium coin. Epstein has only one or two Punic coins listed, I have found reports of their being found in eleven US states.

All of this (so far) is useful for the two articles and book project, however I learned that the old magazine Fate is still being published. Fate magazine is about UFOs, ghosts, the paranormal etc but includes ancient mysteries. I have an idea for an article on the possible alien connection to ancient civilizations. There have been found at least two artifacts that appear to be representations of flying craft very like modern fighter jets, one in South America (Peru if memory serves) the other in Egypt. Well I have in my possession a third such artifact. It was sold as a limestone "amulet" of the goddess Tanit from the ancient city of Carthage, dating to 600 BC. If one looks at it edgewise, it is not remarkable, however if viewed from above, it looks very like a modern fighter jet! The importance of this is, most historians deny that there could have been any contact between the Old World and the New, thus some theorists have proposed that these ancient aircraft amulets must therefore be proof of a direct visit by the "gods" or a clue from Atlantis. The idea that there was no contact between the Americas and the Old World however is very much mistaken - and if we can show that Carthage had the same ancient aircraft, they are almost certainly the agents of contact between the Americas and the Old world. The upshot here is, we can easily get photos of the amulet we own, and Fate magazine pays 10 cents per word. For a longer article (3000 words is their general limit) this means $300 per article, which is not bad for an uneducated boob like me to earn for spewing out my theories. Of course that is dependent on whether they would even accept my work, which is a rather slim chance but might be worth a try anyway.

I don't know if anyone is bothering to read these 'blogs' of ours, no one has posted any sort of reply so I must presume that no one is. I suppose it doesn't matter, at least our friends and relatives don't have to wade through my lengthy drivel on a daily basis, but I would like to read at least a little feedback and opinion - but I am not going to push anyone to do it. I would not want someone to do that to me. If no one is reading these but Beth and me, at least I am not annoying people!

Since we are stuck here for the winter, I have been thinking about the upcoming sales of draft horses. We don't need another, but might need to find a bigger collar for the stud as his neck has been growing. We now have some big pieces of log to hook him up to for training, so if he decides to try to run away he will have a big weight to slow him down. I am tempted to harness him up and hook him now - in five months he will be three years old which is the recommended age for Percherons to start harness training. I also think we need to make some kind of snow plow to use on the driveway for the rest of the winter. A simple "V" plow would work, just hook Maggie up and ride on the plow while you walk her back and forth through the driveway. It would be nicer if we could get all the vehicles out of the way first though. Perhaps we could hook a chain to the Ranger and pull it aside, and the Camaro will be gone soon - then all we would have to move would be the Chrysler and the half ton pickup. I guess I am getting 'antsy' to harness up a horse!

That is it for this 'addenda' so will close here.

"Seldom are men granted good sense and good fortune at the same time." --Hasdrubal Haedus, Carthaginian senator

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Fifth Edition

Giants pygmies slavery unicorns and life or death situations

While searching for an article I found once on the finding of Carthaginian coins in a cave in Tennessee, I ran across this site:
Giant Bones Discoveries

The site is dedicated to theories on UFOs Nephilim etc but the article has quite a list of documented finds of giant human bones and remains. This is generally not acknowledged in any way by any of the modern history books, or if mentioned at all are lumped in with "myths" and fantasy. After all we all know there are no such things as giants or little people right? Then there are the strange human mummies of tiny people, two of which were found by prospectors in Wyoming - they appeared to be full grown, rather aged, small people that stood less than 16 inches tall. The recent discovery of what have been termed "Hobbits" , people who stood no more than 4 feet tall and hunted giant rats and pygmy elephants on an island in the South Pacific go even farther to prove that humanity has had a much more diverse and interesting history than is accepted by historians.

The Hobbits were tenacious enough to survive until at least 12,000 years ago, and local tribes have "myths" of the little people who were rather unpleasant neighbors. They would put out food in gourds for them to appease them, and the Hobbits would eat gourds and all. The Wyoming little people may be the same little folk referred to by Arapaho and Shoshoni "myths"
in which they were described as strong as full sized men, able to carry a full grown deer on their backs, and using poison tipped arrows as weapons.

In my view, we (humanity) need to re-examine the various mythologies around the world. It is fairly well proven that all "myths" are based on real facts. Even such farfetched stories as unicorns can be traced back to garbled reports of the one-horned Asian rhino. I was shocked to find a passage in Arrian where he says that "...the unicorns are not the beautiful creatures we have been told; in fact they are exceedingly ugly; they are as tall as a man at the shoulder, covered with armor plates, and will charge any man that approaches them.."

A digression here, not intending to irritate people of color but there has been a movement that claims the Egyptians to be black Africans, based on rather slim evidence. There were black Egyptians, and there can be little doubt that intermarriage between Egyptians and black Nubians and Ethiopians took place, but as a whole the native populace were not black. In fact
they depicted themselves (and were proud of) as having skin color of red! As further proof of (most) Egyptians not being black, we can note this passage from Arrian:

"The appearance of the inhabitants, too, is not so far different in India and Ethiopia; the southern Indians resemble the Ethiopians a good deal, and, are black of countenance, and their hair black also, only they are not as snub-nosed or so woolly-haired as the Ethiopians; but the northern Indians are most like the Egyptians in appearance."

The inhabitants of northern India being most like the Egyptians can only show they were not black, while the southern inhabitants were black. I fail to understand this "Afro-central" view of ancient history, in what looks to be 'hijacking' of various famous figures and cultures to claim them as black Africans. If people of color truly want to look for ancient forefathers to hold in high esteem, there are a number of civilizations and cultures but these are (to a large degree) ignored both by historians and the "Afro-central"-ists; namely the Nubians, builders of pyramids and cities, who developed their own system of writing (influenced by Egyptian and Phoenician styles) and conquered Egypt for some time, Ethiopia with a history as old as any and again with their own writing system and far reaching trade. The famous or infamous Queen of Sheba was no Arab as so often depicted by Hollywood - Sheba was conquered by Ethiopia far back in history and only much later became independent. Further south, the mysterious Nok culture of central and western Africa who skipped a 'bronze' age and went straight to making
iron tools, in South Africa the even more mysterious Great Zimbabwe culture built a huge stone walled city and has been proposed as having even traded gold with King Solomon. In south-central Asia the Colchians of fable, the place sought out by Jason and the Argonauts in the misty Bronze Age were black, and struck their own coinage like Aksum in Ethiopia did later. The Colchians may not be discernible today, but after so many centuries of intermarriage with the light-skinned neighbors it should not be surprising. Any relatively smaller population of a different race surrounded by more numerous people of a different race would naturally be absorbed by the larger population over time, until their racial aspects were lost completely. An even stronger case has been pushed to adopt Carthage and Hannibal as black Africans, yet this is a mistaken idea; Carthage was founded by people from Asia (Tyre) of Semitic stock. No contemporary historian made any mention of Carthaginians being black, nor their nomadic compatriots the Numidians. Surely if the Roman-boogeyman Hannibal Barca had been black, this would have been mentioned, just as the famous ancient sage Aesop was in fact black and the fact mentioned by contemporaries. In their day it was not seen as any insult or demeaning to mention that some person was black in color, just that it was remarkable for being different. In fact, the famous Greek historian Herodotus mentioned that the Ethiopians were the longest lived and best looking men in the world! I have no problem with people of any color taking pride in their ancestors, just let us keep it accurate and not try to distort historical fact for the sake of building up ancestral pride.

For that matter, if there is some remaining social stigma in that a person's ancestors were slaves, then these folk as well as the descendants of the slave-owners should re-examine history as well; for virtually EVERY nation and race has been enslaved by others at various periods in history, just that many people choose to ignore their own "roots" in slavery. (For example, Hebrews were enslaved by Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, as well as Persia and Rome, English were enslaved by Romans and later by Moors from Africa for centuries, Irish were enslaved by English, Germans by Romans, Romans by Carthaginians and vice-versa the list could easily
go on to include virtually every people on the planet. Humanity has an extremely long affinity for the practice of slavery, it persists even to our own day in some even more heinous forms than practiced in ancient times. Even when no social pressure or warfare occurs to end the practice, it usually is discarded as not economically sound since free men outproduce slaves,
as can be seen in the Roman empire in its later days. The "shame" of being enslaved is not easily understood, for in most cases the beginning came in the form of losing a war. Wars are won and lost sometimes by the most incredible changes of fortune, and many were captured by raiders, against which few stood any chance at all. The fact is, most slaves were slaves by sheer bad luck either their own or their forebears.)

The Outdoor Life TV channel has a series called "This Happened To Me", a video version of the short section from the magazine that included tales of life and death situations. Tonight two of the incidents showed how the "rules" of survival are not always to be followed! The first, involved a falconer who got his vehicle hopelessly stuck in a snowbank far from any inhabited place; he had failed to inform his wife or anyone as to the general whereabouts he would be hunting for a falcon, and his family had notified the authorities to start searching for him. He had a three day ordeal to survive in the worst possible winter conditions. After spending three hours or so trying to dig his vehicle free, he decided to spend the night in his SUV. In the morning, he started to hike out for help. By evening he had arrived at an un-occupied log cabin, probably
a ranch line-cabin or one used for hunting, prospecting or trapping. Finding it unlocked he spent the next night there, (it is an age-old "rule of the north" that remote cabins are left unlocked, that anyone needing to use it may find refuge there, the only caveat being that anyone using the cabin should replace the firewood used to keep warm>) and in the morning started hiking out again. Eventually he reached an equally remote trailer that had a phone, and he was able to phone for help. If he had done as the "rules" of survival demand, he would have remained with his vehicle and most likely have frozen to death before anyone ever found him. So in fact it is best to remain with the vehicle, IF you are on a roadway where other people travel and are likely to find you, it is better shelter than nothing and easier to spot than a human being -
however if your vehicle is so far off the "beaten track" and no one knows where you are, it may be better to try to hike out for help. The second incident was a fishing boat capsized during a vicious storm on Lake Huron. The two men decided to abandon the boat, fearing becoming entangled in the mass of fishing gear, hooks etc and slick of gasoline. They saw a distant island and swam for it. One of the two men was a much stronger swimmer than the other, and they decided to split up, the stronger swimmer pushing for shore and to go for help while the other man struggled on. The Coast Guard eventually found the boat, then the man in the water, and finally the other who had reached shore and set up an SOS to get attention. The general rule is to "stay with the boat" but in this case it was a very near-run thing; the CG helicopter had gone off the search pattern and was nearly out of fuel when they spotted the first man, if they had missed him his only chance would have been to have reached shore. Perhaps if they had stayed with the boat they would have been saved sooner who knows. It took 20 hours of swimming for the one survivor to reach shore!

We have been in some 'life or death' situations over the years, once during a nasty storm in Ontario while we were on a canoe trip we just barely made it to an island in a huge lake. It was illegal to camp there, but to continue in those white-capped waves would have been certain death - we watched helicopters recover the bodies of several other canoe-ists who failed to
make it to shore. I believe that survival in such situations is not always a matter of following the "rules" but of using common sense.

That is it for this edition. Deep freeze has settled in again, though the horses and dogs seem to be happy about the development. To my amazement the water hydrant at the barn has not frozen. Last year by this time it was frozen, so must be this winter is less cold to some degree. The biggest entertainment here is the TV as it has been for years, just seems to rub salt in the wound not to be out doing the things we love to do. The RFD channel ran a special on a chuckwagon cooking contest, really reminds me of some of the great (and awful) food we have had while out camping. Cooking over a fire is a bit of an art, you need patience and must pay attention setting up and not to burn things, but the slow cooking of beans, roasts, biscuits, even casseroles makes for food the equal of any I have had. I guess I miss camping out - used to go even in the winter when I was young. Winter camping was just about insane when I was a teenager, even my parents must have thought I was off my bean but I thought it was great - the campfire really felt good, and that warm sleeping bag never was so welcoming. Now it is a sort of 'niche' hobby for elitist suburban yuppie types, just as bowhunting has really been ruined by becoming oh-so
popular and the over-technifying of the hardware. Something of the art of hunting with a simple bow and arrow is lost in a mechanical wonder with gears, cables and pulleys with a mechanical release, digital optic scope and computer balanced counterweighted bow, along with the high tech graphite arrows and spring loaded heads. I rather liked going out with the old recurve bow, cedar shaft arrows and traditional style broadheads. Maybe someday if I ever found the right old style recurve and someone who sells cedar arrows...

I think this 'blog' idea is good in one way - sort of a therapy to jot down your thoughts, and a blessing for the poor friends and relatives who previously were subjected to my super long email messages. They would not admit this (out of nice-ness) but it is true! So much for this edition...


"There is nothing so foolish but some philosopher has said it." --Cicero

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Fourth Edition

RNF's for the night of January 12th.

Well not a pleasant day for me, so a little escapism here. Since both Beth and I have bad backs, our days of backpacking are pretty much over. I have a special backpack which puts 80% or better of the weight onto your hips, with a flexible internal frame, and would consider doing a short jaunt with it but no way I could pack a 60 or 80 pound pack for any distance. If you keep your tent at 6 pounds, sleeping bag at 5, minimum of clothing and a gallon of water, perhaps you could get to a 40 pound pack and be able to go for three or four days (assuming you could locate water supplies) so it is not utterly hopeless. However, I plan on using horses for most of our 'backpacking' in the future. With a large Percheron horse, you should be able to pack up to 200 pounds per horse. I am well aware that most horse packing involves the huge and heavy canvas tents, along with a wood stove etc so a lot of the weight is used up in gear. However, for prospecting or hunting for lost mines in desert country, you would not require a heavy canvas tent - just a nylon type with a sewn in floor. Even a large one weighs in at perhaps 12 pounds, then throw in two sleeping bags, cooking gear, food, prospecting equipment some spare clothes, first aid kit, a cell phone (yep I am a convert now - if you had one with you and one of us got hurt or bitten by snake or scorpion, help would be a phone call away!) a good GPS (our old one will not activate all the way for some reason) a supply of our meds and doggie food for the maniac dogs, and you could literally go for weeks at a time. I don't think we could go for more than about three weeks, since you have to go to the doc every month or you cannot get enough refills of your meds. However, with three weeks to poke around, let us look at a search for the Lost Dutchman mine for an example.

If you follow either the north or south trail, it is three days hike in leading either one or two horses. The dogs must learn not to bother with snakes and bugs as well as cactus, or they will be staying at a kennel. So you can figure three in and three out, leaving you fifteen days to do a systematical search! I know that we reached Peters Canyon and Peters Mesa in three days, and that was after having several difficulties along the way such as a well being trashed and ruined so we could not get water, the road in to the ranch had been destroyed so you could not drive in to the abandoned ranch, and so on. The springs are few and far between, but as long as you can find them you are fairly safe. Of the four routes in to the region where the lost mine is supposed to be, we have explored two of them. The route in past Massacre Field appears to be the easiest, the one from the state park the longest, the old north trail the hardest and the southern route the most unused. Of these, we have used the Massacre Field and old north trail. To take this a step farther, it would be possible, using the big horses as pack animals, to pack in supplies in one or two trips ahead of time, then on a following trip you would have stockpiles of food, water etc at strategic points to re-supply yourself. Of course you can get really sick of canned food and dehydrated too, but at least you would not go hungry. With the number of tourists that pour over those mountains, any stockpile would have to be buried and well hidden, which is where the GPS comes in.

Why did I pick the Lost Dutchman mine as an example, you might ask? Well it is one of the toughest to get in to hunt for, since they made a huge region into a wilderness area. It was wilderness anyway, but now you can only go in on foot or horseback. Gosh if we had four horses, Beth and I could actually ride in and lead the pack horses, and not have to hike the whole way. There are places where I would be too scared to ride though, for example one point on the northern trail is a steep rock face with sheer dropoffs on either side of you. The "professionals" who work the area packing in tourists use mostly mules, and you can see why. They are more surefooted, can live on what they graze (horses would need a little grain to supplement since they are working) and are strong. I would not mind having a couple of mules to use this way - but they are not real good at getting along with dogs. Let me change the 'venue' of the example here and suppose we were heading into the Tumacacori mountains to hunt for some of those lost silver and gold mines in that area. It is also rough country, and loaded with "Cholla" ("jumping") cactus, and springs are even more scarce. The area where I think is the best chance of making a find is no more than 18 miles at the longest route in, so you could hike in two days without killing yourself. In either area, I believe a good metal detector might prove a useful instrument.

Then there is another area I hope to return to, to hunt for the infamous Lost Black Gold Nuggets of Pegleg Smith. In our research, we have narrowed down the areas to search into three. They are still huge areas, but if you had horse-packing ability you could spend more time searching each one systematically. That whole region between the Salton Sea and I-10 is really remote and desolate, not nearly as rugged as the Arizona areas discussed above. I do not know of any springs in the area, though Corn Springs is supposedly not far from one area, so we would have to locate that right off. You could drive in with a pickup and horse trailer, along with a barrel of water, some hay, feed, camping gear etc and figure on being able to stay a couple of weeks at a time anyway. That lost "mine" isn't really a mine at all, but a very strange deposit of gold nuggets on top of a flat-topped hill. Depending on which version you read, it is either one hill, two hills, or three hills, but a key element to look for are brown hematites (the natural iron 'hot rocks') and they do exist in those three areas I mentioned. One of the three areas is quite remote though - it is not far from the old Butterfield stagecoach trail and far from any road. You might be able to get in there with a four wheel drive, or you might end up stranded somewhere out there where no tow truck would ever come to get you out. The nearby Orocopia mountains are another tantalizing area - why were these hills named "plentiful gold" when there are no gold mines there and no reports of any gold there? They too are fairly remote, but fringe on the region where Pegleg's gold nuggets may be. Maybe I should explain here what I am talking about. The story goes that a mountain man named Smith, who got the nickname "pegleg" after he lost a leg in a fight with some Indians, was packing a load of furs to the Spanish settlements on the coast of California to sell in the early 19h century. Somewhere near the Salton Sea, he became lost and left his burros while he climbed to the top of one of three, flat-topped hills to try to get his bearings. When he got to the top, he noticed the surface was littered with numerous brown hematites and black pebbles. He picked up a few of the pebbles and finding them strangely heavy, put some in a pocket while he got his bearings. He did spot a landmark he knew, and went down to get his burros and out to civilization. When he arrived at the Spanish settlements, he happened to strike one of the strange black pebbles and the black crust came right off leaving a gleaming gold nugget!

Pegleg got excited about his find and went back to search for his bonanza, but was never able to find it again. The story would go cold there, but another treasure hunter named John Mitchell enters the picture. Mitchell worked for the railroad and got word of a meteorite spotted coming down in the basin of the Salton Sea, so he packed his mule and went to look for it. (Meteorites were worth money in his day too, the early 20th century) He met an Indian couple at Corn Springs, and continued hunting for the meteorite. He got lost (like Pegleg) and decided to climb a flat topped hill (one of three) to try to get his bearings. He did so, and spotted a landmark he knew, but again he also noticed the brown hematites and black pebbles. He filled a sack with some of the black pebbles and put some in a pocket, and continued to hunt for the meteorite. He was successful in finding the meteorite, and decided to stash the sack of black pebbles since it was so heavy. He left the desert country and sold the meteorite - however more than 20 years later he was talking with an old timer who told him the story of Pegleg Smith. Mitchell then went and got out the few black pebbles he had kept, and hit one with a hammer - sure enough they were gold! He was getting on in years and well enough off that he did not bother to go look for it again, but the story parallels Smith fairly well. There are at least two other reports too, which seem to be the same lost mine. One has to do with a man who wrote to Desert magazine and claimed he had found it - and sent in several of the black gold nuggets to prove it! His site is supposedly in the Anza-Borrego state park, where he drove his jeep up a dry wash while out rockhounding. He spotted the black pebbles on top of a flat-topped hill, but said the other two hills were not to be seen. Ths fellow packed enough gold out to retire and live well, and said he had left practically no gold at the site so it was not worth while for anyone to try to find his mine.

There are other reports that could be linked to Pegleg, but among them one stands out. Around 1900 a prospector named Crazy Ike and an Indian partner came upon the skeleton of an Indian northeast of Indio with a cache of black-crusted gold nuggets nearby. Going farther on, they came to a volcanic cone rising amid a maze of jumbled boulders the size of a small hill. The sides of the cone were covered with the black nuggets, so the pair loaded their mules with nuggets. With their water supply running low, they headed back. They did finally make it out alive, and sold the gold for over $65,000 - back when gold was $20.67 an ounce! They were 'set' so never returned to the location, and Ike retired near Redlands where he bought a citrus grove, and passed away a few years later. Is this one and the same with the other reports? I suspect this area has more than one of these volcanic "chimney" type gold deposits. This type of gold deposit is extremely rare, the only example I know of is the one at Rich Hill in Arizona. The black crust is a result of lying exposed on the desert floor for centuries, and is known as "desert varnish" a documented oddity of nature.

Well if I put this much effort into my writing projects, they would be finished by now - so I will close here and post it later.

"Many things which nature makes difficult become easy to the man who uses his brains." --Hannibal Barca

"Only by taking great risks can great achievements be accomplished." --Xerxes

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Third Edition

Another RNF, as Rod Serling used to say, "submitted for your approval"...

The History channel program Conspiracy? tonight was on the RFK assassination. With all the attention focused on the JFK assassination, I had never looked into the RFK case and was shocked at the evidence. RFK was shot in the back of the head, at virtually point-blank (up to three inches distance) range, and in the back. The murderer Sirhan Sirhan has been locked away ever since - however, in the actual assassination, RFK was facing Sirhan, not turned away from him! How do you shoot someone in the back of the head, while facing him? Witnesses say the pistol in Sirhan's hand was never closer than 18 inches. His pistol was an 8 shot Iver Johnson 22 rimfire, not exactly a high powered firearm and (not to throw too much disdain on Iver Johnson) not known for their accuracy. The investigators recovered seven of the bullets fired, five from other victims hit in the fusillade, two from RFK, one was lost in the ceiling - however there are enough bullet holes to account for no less than 13 bullets! How do you get 13 bullets out of an 8 shot revolver with no chance of reloading it? Witnesses saw a woman (or a couple) wearing a polka-dotted dress running outside, yelling "We shot Kennedy!" but the witnesses were actually badgered by the LAPD into recanting their testimony. Sirhan Sirhan also shows all the signs of having been a brainwashed, "Manchurian Candidate" programmed assassin. His notebook was full of rantings and chantings that are excellent proof of his being brainwashed, and a psychiatrist who examined him found that he was very easily sent into a trance simply by showing a quarter in front of his face. In that trance state, he was able to recreate the scrawlings of his notebook, but he claimed that he had no recollection of ever writing in the notebook or of the assassination! Perhaps we as a nation need to get a real investigation begun into the assassinations of the 1960s, with powers to prosecute and bring to justice the people who were behind the political killings. Perhaps such an investigation would bring down some very powerful people, but we could reclaim our democracy.

Meanwhile the war in Iraq and Afghanistan grinds on, with no end in sight. We have special forces hunting Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, even though we know for a fact that he is not in the country but fled to Pakistan. I hope that the new upcoming elections in Iraq will start to end this uprising that accomplishes nothing but more and more killing - the insurgents cannot defeat our forces and are not really fighting for a "cause" for that matter, all they can do is hurt us. Of course in the process, they are going to be hurt far more, so over the long run it will fail unless Americans suddenly have a change of heart. I doubt that more than 10% of Americans would vote to pull our troops out with the job unfinished, so how effective is the Iraqi insurgency working?

A busy week and a busy month for Beth and me. Tomorrow she has some tests to take,(trying to locate just where her stroke originated from so they can find a way to treat and prevent another) and the next day I get all my upper teeth removed. (Maybe that will shut me up for a while eh? haha) I have an appointment Wed. back at the dental center so they can poke and prod to see if I can yell loudly. There is something to be done for about every day of the month, will be glad when January is over. Put a couple more guns up for auction on, seems to be working out. Beth is seriously considering getting an FFL to run as a side business, now that you can actually relocate your FFL. Had a hell of a time getting the horse trailer moved (had it blocking the barn access gate) to put hay in, and another hell of a time getting the pickup out of the driveway even though it was shoveled. The shoveled out area turned into a sheet of ice, and the 4wd just spun all four tires on the ice. The ice-topped snow is so hard it hardly breaks even when the Percheron horses walk on it.

So we are stuck here for another six months, if I wait to get my store-bought teeth which will not be until June. I hate the idea of moving to the desert in the heat of summer, but at this point I would even move in the middle of an ice storm across the whole of the country.

Well that is it for this edition, unless I go off on another tangent.

"The only job that you can start at the top is post hole digging." --Pat Parelli

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Second Edition

The aftermath of the tsunami has shown the good and evil sides of humanity. Billions of dollars worth of aid has been pledged to help the victims, and child slavers have been busy taking advantage of the many children left orphaned - with no parents to report them missing they are easy bait. It is perhaps also notable that when a disaster strikes here in the USA, the victims are offered low interest LOANS, not outright gifts or grants generally. Why is this?

I've been working on a couple of articles and in the research I found some interesting info on chronology. For example, using Eusebius (and Diodorus) as a guide, it is possible to actually get a precise date (year) of the fall of Troy, (1184 BC) from this you can get the outbreak of the Trojan war, (1194 BC) the return of the Heracleidae (1104 BC) we have the approximate time of Homer being alive (same time, sources say he lived 80 years after the end of the Trojan war) and we learn that the original Hercules (Herakles, Melqart) lived one generation before the Trojan war (a generation is usually rated as about 33 years) and that Theseus was a contemporary of him. Further on you can arrive at the years that Samson ruled the Hebrews as Shophet, (1207 BC) and the year that Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt in the exodus (1647 BC). I have not tried to work out the dates of king Solomon yet, but how do these figures compare with the estimates you find in history books? Well no history book I have seen will actually assign a date to the Trojan war, though I have seen numbers of 700-900 BC and 1200 BC. The guess of 1200 BC is pretty close to the figure you get by calculating the numbers in Eusebius and Diodorus. Then there is the question of the date of the Exodus. There is a natural disaster thought by some theorists to be the cause of the ten plagues of Egypt and resulting exodus of Hebrews - the eruption of Thera volcano.

A side note is in order here - the eruption of Thera triggered a massive tsunami that destroyed the Minoan civilization of Crete. By coincidence, there is an ancient Greek myth of the "flood of Ogyges" which is frequently cited by theorists as one and the same event with the flood of Noah. However, Ogyges and his family survived his flood by climbing to the top of Mount Ide - which is apparently a mountain on Crete! I suspect that the "flood of Ogyges" is a memory of the tsunami that occurred with the eruption of Thera.

The best guess based on the pottery styles puts this volcanic event in the 15th century BC (1400s) but a more accurate dating, based on dendochronology and radiocarbon dating dates the event to 1628-27 BC. This is only 20 years difference from the chronology you get using the figures of Eusebius and the other ancient writers! A possible answer to this gap may be in the figures given for the Hebrew rulers between Joshua and Samuel - Eusebius assigns 40 years to the combined rule of Debborah and Barak. This may come from some source which said 20 years and named both names, however there may have been only one of them as a ruler not both. This would put Moses and the Exodus exactly at the same time as the eruption of Thera! We might question the accuracy of dating by pottery, which is inexact at best. Then there is the question of which pharaoh was the one who faced Moses. The Egyptologists often point to Rameses II (the Great) whose 67 year rule and many sons are seen as the most likely candidate, however his reign is dated to 1279-1212 BC so it cannot be him. Ancient sources say the pharaoh was Amosis - (Ahmose) who is credited with expelling the Hyksos invaders, however his reign is dated by Egyptologists as 1570-1546. Could the Egyptologists be off by nearly 70 years? The last two rulers of the 17th dynasty, Seqenre Tao and his son Kamose had campaigned against the Hyksos (a people who appear to be directly related to the Hebrews) and Kamose is pretty close to Ahmose.

That is it for this edition, unless more RNF occur later tonight.

"By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you will be happy; if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher." --Socrates

Monday, January 03, 2005

First Edition

As this is a sort of 'daily journal' I decided to post some observations here and not annoy friends and relatives with my constant barrage of what are known in our circle as "random neural firings". If you don't know what that means, just recall riding in an airliner, subway or bus seated next to someone whose every thought comes spewing out of their mouth for your enlightenment regardless of your level of interest! Caveat emptor complete...

I was surprised yesterday evening to see the History channel run a two hour special, "The True Story of Hannibal". I was even more shocked when I learned it was more accurate and even handed than any other such special I had seen before on this historical character. I do find fault with that choice of the story of Hannibal as a boy, making the famous oath swearing "eternal hatred of Rome" - well there are two versions of this boyhood oath; one from a Roman, the other from a Roman-loving Greek, both enemies of all things Carthaginian but to different degrees. Livy has the "hatred" version, but Polybius gives us a more believable story, in his version Hannibal swears "never to be a friend to the Romans" which makes more sense. At least this TV special did have an actor with an eye patch and did not dress him up like some Persian king, like the last History channel "special" on Hannibal. More on this fellow later though.

Tonight, we had a couple of interesting programs. The first was the UFO files - well now, do you believe those are all phony, or occurring only in the heads of the witnesses? The UFO phenomenon and its various bizarre facets are one of my favorite mysteries, and you will find more from me on this subject in future.

The other program I found interesting was the Unsolved History episode on the Science channel - this was on the great Chicago fire of 1871 and the story of Mrs. O'Leary's cow. They made an excellent case to show that Mrs. O'Leary is not the most likely suspect here, but Daniel "Pegleg" Sullivan. Mrs' O'Leary admitted having gone out to her barn late that evening for a late customer wanting milk, but swore that she did not leave her kerosene lantern in the barn where (according to investigators at the time) her cow accidently kicked the lantern over and set fire to the barn. Sullivan had visited the O'Learys that evening and stopped in the barn, then went across the street where he said he sat down and smoked his pipe. He then claimed he saw the fire and ran back to try to save the animals, and did succeed in saving one cow and a calf. Well the U.H. did find that Sullivan could not have seen the fire unless it had broken through the wall of the barn, by which time there was no way he could have "run" (on his peg leg) back and gotten any livestock out alive. It is unlikely he deliberately set the fire, but a probable scenario is that he dropped a match or live coal from his pipe, and the fire caught - so he frantically tried to save the animals and later came up with the story to avoid being blamed for a fire which consumed more than 3000 acres of buildings and killed over 100 people.

A really crummy day here today, rain and fog with absolutely no sun at all. I should not complain about it, since at least we are not hip deep in snow with below zero temperatures, but what a thin slice of luck.
Even the horses seemed unhappy about the day, hanging around and loafing in the barn.
"We must find a way, or we will make one." --Hannibal Barca
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