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True Tales of Haunted Dolls

Posted: July 16, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Occult, Uncategorized
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Dolls have long been a source of amusement for both children and adults. However, they can also bring terror as well as joy. Read on for chilling true tales of haunted dolls and possessed playthings.

The Legend of Robert the Doll

When it comes to haunted dolls, Robert is arguably America’s most famous. The Key West doll is a fixture on local ghost tours and even served as an inspiration for Chucky in Child’s Play.

robert the haunted doll

Robert belonged to Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. In 1906, a Bahamian maid reportedly gave the doll to Robert and then cursed the toy after Robert’s parents displeased her. Soon after the maid’s departure, strange events began plaguing the Otto household.

Young Robert enjoyed talking to his namesake, and servants insisted the doll talked back. They also claimed the plaything could change expressions at will and move about the house on his own. Neighbors reportedly saw the doll move from window to window when the family was away, and members of the Otto household heard maniacal giggles emanating from the toy.

Robert the Doll spooked plenty of folks during the day, but at night he focused on young Robert Otto. The boy would wake in the middle of the night, screaming in fear, as the heavy furniture in his room crashed to the floor. When his parents demanded to know what happened, Otto’s response was always the same: “Robert did it! It was Robert.”

Robert Otto died in 1974, and his notorious doll now sits on display at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West. Legend has it the doll will curse anyone who takes a photo without permission, which Robert grants by slightly tilting his head. Visitors who forget can always beg for forgiveness which is what cameramen from the Travel Channel did after their HD camera mysteriously stopped working.

haunted doll

The Eyes Follow You

Though dolls like Robert grab headlines and spark imaginations, they’re not alone. Hundreds of haunted doll tales fill ghost blogs and forums across web, including one from an average woman in Moundsville, WV.

Years ago, the woman had a grade school friend named Emily and the two spent a lot of time at Emily’s home. The entire house had a strange feeling to it, but it was the attic that was the most unnerving.

“The attic was finished, but had that ‘death’ smell to it, like an abandoned building,” the woman writes. “It was always cold, despite the hot air that would rise from the floors below. The attic contained four small rooms, and one room was entirely devoted to dolls which I always found terrifying.”

One afternoon, the girls played with a few of the dolls until Emily’s grandmother called them to lunch. They placed the rag dolls back on the shelf, but one tumbled off just as they were about to leave. This was strange as the doll fell in a way that seemed physically impossible. Puzzled, the woman returned the doll to its shelf and went downstairs to eat. However, that wasn’t the end of the encounter.

“Later on that day, Emily and I were playing in the woods adjacent to her house, and I squatted down to pick up a pretty stone,” the woman writes. “When I went down, I felt something poking me in my pocket. I put my hand in the pocket, and I found two doll eyes …the eyes from the doll I had picked up earlier that day. Needless to say, I have been terrified of dolls ever since.”

doll_head

Haunted Doll Sites

Though most people avoid haunted dolls, some have a passion for possessed playthings and share their knowledge and interest online.

The Doll House Cam

The Doll House Cam streams videos of haunted dolls 24/7, giving armchair ghost hunters the chance to spot a possessed doll in action.

“Set in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, amongst the mountains and streams, is a little known secret,” reads the title page of DollHouseCam.com. “Seven dolls that once were loved by little girls now adorn the home of a family of five. They don’t just sit on a shelf looking pretty. These porcelain beauties, for lack of a better description, have taken on a life of their own.”

David’s Haunted Dolls

doll_eyesDavid’s Haunted Dolls is dedicated to educating the public about haunted dolls and the best way to care for any “Spirit Children” they might come across.

“A haunted doll is not your everyday Betsy Wetsy,” he writes. “Haunted dolls are real life spirits that are attached to a certain host doll. Nobody really knows if the spirit picks that host doll, or if they are just drawn there, but we do know it happens. You might even have a haunted doll in your home, and not even know it.”

AJ’s Haunted Dolls

Folks looking to buy a haunted doll need look no further than AJ’s Haunted Dolls. The site offers a variety of creepy playthings, ranging from the innocent and sweet to the dark and destructive.

“Each and every one of my Spirit Children and paranormal items are unique in their own special way,” AJ writes. “Not only because they are inhabited with a beautiful spirit, but because of the vessel they have chosen. I try and collect a variety of hosts, spirits, and unique paranormal magical items.”

By Christie Gordon

MysteriousUniverse.com

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Part of an ancient cave bear femur flute discovered in Slovenia in 1995

Part of an ancient cave bear femur flute discovered in Slovenia in 1995

In 2008 at Hohle Fels, a Stone Age cave in Southern Germany, archaeologists discovered what is thought to be the oldest example of a man-made musical instrument: a vulture bone flute dating back to the period when ancestors of modern humans settled in the area (~40,000 years ago). This discovery suggests that our ancestors were probably grooving to their own beat long before this time – making music, arguably, one of the most ancient human cognitive traits.

This raises an interesting question: In a time before electric duvets and home pizza delivery, how and why did our ancestors find time to indulge in such a non-essential task as the creation of music?

This was a mystery contemplated by the father of evolution Charles Darwin. In The Descent of Man he questions why a skill which appears to provide no survival advantage should have evolved at all, stating “As neither the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing musical notes are faculties of the least direct use to man in reference to his ordinary habits of life, they must be ranked among the most mysterious with which he is endowed”. However, in his autobiography he later suggests a solution to this mystery while reflecting on his own lack of musical appreciation, lamenting “If I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature”. Here Darwin seems to have stumbled upon a fact with which many of us would intuitively agree, the notion that music can enrich our life by generating and enhancing emotions. But can we find a biological basis for this assumption?

Do you hear what I hear? – How our brains process and store sounds and melodies:

Scientists believe that we are unique in the way our brains process sounds. Unlike other animals, the auditory centres of our brains are strongly interlinked with regions important for storing memories; meaning, we are very good at combining sounds experienced at different times. This ability may have been crucial for the evolution of complex verbal communication. For example, consider times when the meaning of a spoken sentence does not become apparent until the last word – we’d have a pretty hard time understanding each other if by the end of a sentence we had already forgotten how it started! This is a skill even our closest relatives appear to lack, and one which is necessary for development of both language and musical appreciation.

We are also really good at forming long term memories for sounds – think about your favourite song, are you able to hear the music in your ‘mind’s ear’? Scientists have found that most people are able to imagine music with a surprising level of accuracy.

It is believed that throughout life, as we listen to our own culturally specific music styles, our brains develop a template of what music should sound like. These templates are specific to each individual, depending on what forms of music they are exposed to. From this we develop the ability to predict how certain music styles should sound and are able to tell when something doesn’t quite fit our expectations. The musical templates we develop throughout life provide us with a standard against which we judge the desirability of new melodies.

How music tickles the brain’s pleasure centres:

Life can be a bit of a maze, and there are times when we need something or someone to give us the thumbs up and let us know that we’re doing things right. Like a parent praising a child, our brains provide us with an internal ‘reward’ signal to let us know we’re on the right track. This system, in the brain’s mesolimbic area, is responsible for the hedonistic sense of pleasure produced by evolutionarily desirable behaviours, such as eating, sex or caring for offspring. Scientists are now able to see this reward system and the behaviours which activate it using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Interestingly, along with activation caused by behaviours with an obvious survival advantage, researchers have found that the strong emotional response people experience when listening to music (defined as the feeling of chill you get when listening to a particularly emotionally charged piece)  also activates this reward system.

bassImaging studies reveal that the rewarding aspect of music is also a very personal phenomenon, since mesolimbic activation can be initiated by different melodies in different people. This is due to the way our brains are connected. Auditory and frontal cortex regions, which store our musical preferences, are linked to mesolimbic reward pathways meaning that the sensation of music-induced pleasure is defined by your own personal musical preferences.

It is therefore possible that music could have started life as a way of strengthening social groups, through shared preferences – something which still happens today. Groups linked by a shared emotional experience could form stronger bonds which may ultimately have helped group survival. These findings indicate that our ability to enjoy music may be less mysterious than Darwin originally thought.

Post by: Sarah Fox

The brainbank.scienceblog.com

 

Ask the Author

Posted: June 3, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Uncategorized

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This is an invitation to submit questions  to author Joshua Free in our facebook group.  You must join the group in order to post questions.

 

  • Above: This photo of giant Edouard Beaupre ca. 1900 proves that giants exist. But 18?

Here’s one for your “Forbidden Archaeology” file.

Scientists are remaining stubbornly silent about a lost race of giants found in burial mounds near Lake Delavan, Wisconsin, in May 1912.

The dig site at Lake Delavan was overseen by Beloit College and it included more than 200 effigy mounds that proved to be classic examples of 8th century Woodland Culture. But the enormous size of the skeletons and elongated skulls found in May 1912 did not fit very neatly into anyone’s concept of a textbook standard.

They were enormous. These were not average human beings.

Strange Skulls

First reported in the 4 May 1912 issue of the New York Times, the 18 skeletons found by the Peterson brothers on Lake Lawn Farm in southwest Wisconsin exhibited several strange and freakish features.

Their heights ranged between seven and nine feet and their skulls “presumably those of men, are much larger than the heads of any race which inhabit America to-day.”

Above the eye sockets, “the head slopes straight back and the nasal bones protrude far above the cheek bones. The jaw bones are long and pointed, bearing a minute resemblance to the head of the monkey. The teeth in the front of the jaw are regular molars.”

Mystery of The Wisconsin Giants

Was this some sort of prank, a hoax played by local farm boys or a demented taxidermist for fun and the attention of the press? The answer is no.

The Lake Delavan find of May 1912 was only one of dozens and dozens of similar finds that were reported in local newspapers from 1851 forward to the present day. It was not even the first set of giant skeletons found in Wisconsin.

On 10 August 1891, the New York Times reported that scientists from the Smithsonian Institution had discovered several large “pyramidal monuments” on Lake Mills, near Madison, Wisconsin. “Madison was in ancient days the centre of a teeming population numbering not less than 200,000,” the Times said. The excavators found an elaborate system of defensive works which they named Fort Aztalan.

“The celebrated mounds of Ohio and Indiana can bear no comparison, either in size, design or the skill displayed in their construction with these gigantic and mysterious monuments of earth — erected we know not by whom, and for what purpose we can only conjecture,” said the Times.

On 20 December 1897, the Times followed up with a report on three large burial mounds that had been discovered in Maple Creek, Wisconsin. One had recently been opened.

“In it was found the skeleton of a man of gigantic size. The bones measured from head to foot over nine feet and were in a fair state of preservation. The skull was as large as a half bushel measure. Some finely tempered rods of copper and other relics were lying near the bones.”

Giant skulls and skeletons of a race of “Goliaths” have been found on a very regular basis throughout the Midwestern states for more than 100 years. Giants have been found in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and New York, and their burial sites are similar to the well-known mounds of the Mound Builder people.

The spectrum of Mound builder history spans a period of more than 5,000 years (from 3400 BCE to the 16th CE), a period greater than the history of Ancient Egypt and all of its dynasties.

There is a “prevailing scholarly consensus” that we have an adequate historical understanding of the peoples who lived in North America during this period. However, the long record of anomalous finds like those at Lake Delavan suggests otherwise.

The Great Smithsonian Cover-Up

Has there been a giant cover-up? Why aren’t there public displays of gigantic Native American skeletons at natural history museums?

The skeletons of some Mound Builders are certainly on display. There is a wonderful exhibit, for example, at the Aztalan State Park where one may see the skeleton of a “Princess of Aztalan” in the museum.

But the skeletons placed on display are normal-sized, and according to some sources, the skeletons of giants have been covered up. Specifically, the Smithsonian Institution has been accused of making a deliberate effort to hide the “telling of the bones” and to keep the giant skeletons locked away.

In the words of Vine Deloria, a Native American author and professor of law:

“Modern day archaeology and anthropology have nearly sealed the door on our imaginations, broadly interpreting the North American past as devoid of anything unusual in the way of great cultures characterized by a people of unusual demeanor. The great interloper of ancient burial grounds, the nineteenth century Smithsonian Institution, created a one-way portal, through which uncounted bones have been spirited. This door and the contents of its vault are virtually sealed off to anyone, but government officials. Among these bones may lay answers not even sought by these officials concerning the deep past.”

Sources:

Anon. “Strange Skeletons Found: Indications that Tribe Hitherto Unknown Once Lived In Wisconsin,” New York Times, 4 May 1912

Anon. “The Wisconsin Mounds: Interesting Relics of Pre-Historic Civilization” New York Times, 10 August 1891

Burlington News, “The Princess of Aztalan” (Photos), Mound Builders page

Dahly, Terje “Old Newspapers Are Serious About Giant Skeletons” from the “Giants: Did They Live?” website

Deloria Jr., Vine. Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (Fulcrum Publications, 1997)

Hamilton, Ross. “A Holocaust of Giants: The Great Smithsonian Cover-Up” Xpeditions Magazine website.

Sutherland, Mary. “Giants . . . Giants . . . Giants . . . Giants” A Big Page About Giants, BUFO Radio / Burlington News website

Unknown. “Greater Humans” page. Greater Ancestors World Museum website

Wikipedia, “Aztalan State Park” Wisconsin

 

 by Mark Shernick

Does Telepathy Between Couples?

Posted: February 17, 2013 by phaedrap1 in Uncategorized

Can these two read each other’s minds?Rick Gomez/Blend Images/Corbis

When Julie Beischel met Mark Boccuzzi at a conference and agreed to participate in an experiment on telepathy, she didn’t immediately tell him about the powerful connections she’d felt to him; after all, they were strangers.

Now married, however, Beischel and Boccuzzi credit telepathy for helping them meet and fall in love.

It was like nothing I had ever encountered,” Beischel said.

The data from the experiment backed up her perception, however, and the couple eventually asked Dean Radin, senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) that conducted the summer study program, to marry them. Now, they are co-writing a book, Psychic Intimacy: A Handbook for Couples, that will highlight practical applications of telepathy for couples. In fact, they’ve suggested that Radin turn the experiment into a dating service.

The field of parapsychology can be tricky for scientists to navigate. At best, they’re known as a fringe group; at worst, they’re lumped together with astrologers and fortune tellers. NIH funding is hard to come by. People were often surprised that Beischel, a “hard-core” scientist with a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology, wrote a book about mediums.

But Beischel, Radin and many others are confident in their ability to answer most skeptics’ question affirmatively: Is telepathy real?

Radin tells the story of Hans Berger, the German who recorded the first human electroencephalogram (EEG) in 1924, who fell while riding a horse and was almost run over by a team of horses racing down the road inches from his head. His sister, many miles away, sensed the danger and insisted that her father send a telegram to find out what was wrong. She had never sent a telegram before, and the experience left Burger so curious that he switched from studying math and astronomy to medicine hoping to discover the source of that psychic energy.

About 100 years later, the explanation is still largely a mystery, but about 200 published experiments reveal mental connections that are “way beyond chance,” Radin said. Not knowing how it works, though, is uncomfortable for many scientists.

“Looking at the experiments and the data, it’s very clear something is going on,” Radin said. “There is doubt because we don’t have a good explanation for it yet.”

Still, even his most skeptical friends have shifted their thinking; while they may not believe it’s real, they no longer feel as strongly that it’s not, Radin said.

by Sheila M. Eldred

A zombie invasion is a problem that may seem to belong in a horror film rather than to real life, but, none the less, the British government believes it has worked out the best way to cope with one.

Shaun Of The Dead

The Cabinet Office would lead Britain’s response to a zombie apocalypse, according to an official response to a Freedom of Information request

8:02AM GMT 26 Dec 2012

In the event of an apocalypse brought about by an army of the undead, civil servants would co-ordinate the military’s efforts to “return England to its pre-attack glory”, according to a Freedom of Information request that has revealed the country’s contingency plans.

The MoD would not lead efforts to plan for such a zombie attack or deal with the aftermath because that role rests with the Cabinet Office, which co-ordinates emergency planning for the Government.

Details about the authorities’ surprising level of readiness for a zombie onslaught emerged in a response to an inquiry from a member of the public.

The MoD replied: “In the event of an apocalyptic incident (eg zombies), any plans to rebuild and return England to its pre-attack glory would be led by the Cabinet Office, and thus any pre-planning activity would also taken place there.

“The Ministry of Defence’s role in any such event would be to provide military support to the civil authorities, not take the lead. Consequently, the Ministry of Defence holds no information on this matter.”

The Army is frequently called on to save the day in zombie films. Soldiers arrive in the nick of time, for example, to rescue the hero at the climax of Simon Pegg’s 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead.

This is not the first time that public authorities have provided tongue-in-cheek responses to Freedom of Information inquiries about zombies.

Last year, Leicester city council was forced to admit that it had no specific preparations for dealing with a zombie invasion, although the local authority stressed that certain aspects of its emergency plan would apply to any disaster. Bristol city council went rather further when asked what it would do in the event of an undead rampage through the West Country.

A senior official replied with a copy of a “top secret” internal strategy document setting out how the council would respond to a “zombie pandemic”.

Staff were told to listen out for code words in radio and television broadcasts to warn them that an attack was under way, and given health and safety advice on the correct way to kill zombies.

Under the heading “procurement implications”, the memo said Bristol city council had ordered suitable equipment for tackling the undead, “where possible, in line with our buy-local policy”. It added: “A catalogue of standard issue equipment – cuffs, stun guns, protection suits, etc – is available on the staff intranet.”

However, critics have accused people who make Freedom of Information requests about subjects such as zombies, wizards and vampires, of being time-wasters who are costing the taxpayer money.

Some fear that trivial uses of the recently won right to ask public bodies to release information they hold will give politicians an excuse to scale back the powers, which were introduced in full only as late as 2005.

 

The Telegraph

Found: Whale thought extinct for 2 million years

Posted: December 23, 2012 by phaedrap1 in Uncategorized
 Mysterious, elusive, diminutive creature rarely came to shore
Image: Pygmy whale

Darryl Wilson, University of Otago

The pygmy whale, a mysterious cetacean that looks radically different from all living whales, is actually the last living member of a group thought to have gone extinct 2 million years ago.
By Tia Ghose Staff Writer

The pygmy right whale, a mysterious and elusive creature that rarely comes to shore, is the last living relative of an ancient group of whales long believed to be extinct, a new study suggests.

The findings, published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, may help to explain why the enigmatic marine mammals look so different from any other living whale.

“The living pygmy right whale is, if you like, a remnant, almost like a living fossil,” said Felix Marx, a paleontologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “It’s the last survivor of quite an ancient lineage that until now no one thought was around.”

The relatively diminutive pygmy right whale, which grows to just 21 feet long, lives out in the open ocean. The elusive marine mammals inhabit the Southern Hemisphere and have only been spotted at sea a few dozen times. As a result, scientists know almost nothing about the species’ habits or social structure.

The strange creature’s arched, frownlike snout makes it look oddly different from other living whales. DNA analysis suggested pygmy right whales diverged from modern baleen whales such as the blue whale and the humpback whale between 17 million and 25 million years ago. However, the pygmy whales’ snouts suggested they were more closely related to the family of whales that includes the bowhead whale. Yet there were no studies of fossils showing how the pygmy whale had evolved, Marx said.

To understand how the pygmy whale fit into the lineage of whales, Marx and his colleagues carefully analyzed the skull bones and other fossil fragments from pygmy right whales and several other ancient cetaceans.

The pygmy whale’s skull most closely resembled that of an ancient family of whales called cetotheres that were thought to have gone extinct around 2 million years ago, the researchers found. Cetotheres emerged about 15 million years ago and once occupied oceans across the globe.

The findings help explain how pygmy whales evolved and may also help shed light on how these ancient “lost” whales lived. The new information is also a first step in reconstructing the ancient lineage all the way back to the point when all members of this group first diverged, he said.

Who is Baphomet?

Posted: November 2, 2012 by phaedrap1 in Occult, Spirituality, Uncategorized
Baphomet is an enigmatic, goat-headed figure found in several instances in the history of occultism. From the Knights Templar of the Middle-Ages and the Freemasons of the 19th century to modern currents of occultism, Baphomet never fails to create controversy. But where does Baphomet originate from and, most importantly, what is the true meaning of this symbolic figure? This article looks at the origins of Baphomet, the esoteric meaning of Baphomet and its occurrence in popular culture.

Throughout the history of Western occultism, the name of the mysterious Baphomet is often invoked. Although it became commonly know name in the twentieth century, mentions of Baphomet can be found in documents dating from as early as the 11th century. Today, the symbol is associated with anything relating to occultism, ritual magic, witchcraft, Satanism and esoterica. Baphomet often pops up in popular culture to identify anything occult.

The most famous depiction of Baphomet is found in Eliphas Levi’s “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie“, a 1897 book that became a standard reference for modern occultism. What does this creature represent? What is the meaning of the symbols around it? Why is it so important in occultism? To answer some of these questions, we must first look at its origins. We’ll first look at the history of Baphomet and several examples of references to Baphomet in popular culture.

Origins of the Name

There are several theories concerning the origins of the name of Baphomet. The most common explanation claims that it is an Old French corruption of the name of Mohammed (which was Latin-ized to “Mahomet”) – the Prophet of Islam. During the Crusades, the Knights Templar stayed for during extended periods of time in Middle-Eastern countries where they became acquainted with the teachings of Arabian mysticism. This contact with Eastern civilizations allowed them to bring back to Europe the basics of what would become western occultism, including Gnosticism, alchemy, Kabbalah and Hermetism. The Templars’ affinity with the Muslims led the Church to accuse them of the worship of an idol named Baphomet, so there are some plausible links between Baphomet and Mahomet. However, there are other theories concerning the origins of the name.

Eliphas Levi, the French occultist who drew the famous depiction of Baphomet argued that the name had been derived from Kabbalistic coding:

“The name of the Templar Baphomet, which should be spelt kabalistically backwards, is composed of three abbreviations: Tem. ohp. AB., Templi omnium hominum pacts abbas, “the father of the temple of peace of all men”. 1

Arkon Daraul, an author and teacher of Sufi tradition and magic argued that Baphomet came from the Arabic word Abu fihama(t), meaning “The Father of Understanding”. 2

Dr. Hugh Schonfield, whose work on the Dead Sea Scrolls is well-known, developed one of the more interesting theories. Schonfield, who had studied a Jewish cipher called the Atbash cipher, which was used in translating some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, claimed that when one applied the cipher to the word Baphomet, it transposed into the Greek word “Sophia”, which means ” knowledge” and is also synonymous with “goddess”.

Possible Origins of the Figure

The modern depiction of Baphomet appears to take its roots from several ancient sources, but primarily from pagan gods. Baphomet bears resemblances to gods all over the globe, including Egypt, Northern Europe and India. In fact, the mythologies of a great number of ancient civilizations include some kind of horned deity. In Jungian theory, Baphomet is a continuation of the horned-god archetype, as the concept of a deity bearing horns is universally present in individual psyches. Do Cernunnos, Pan, Hathor, the Devil (as depicted by Christianity) and Baphomet have a common origin? Some of their attributes are strikingly similar.

The ancient Celtic god Cernunnos is traditionally depicted with antler horns on his head, sitting in “lotus position”, similar to Levi’s depiction of Baphomet. Although the history of Cernunnos is shrouded in mystery, he is usually said to be the god of fertility and nature.
In Britain, an aspect Cerennunos was named Herne. The horned god has the Satyr-like features of Baphomet along with its emphasis on the phallus.
Pan was a prominent deity in Greece. The nature god was often depicted with horns on its head and the lower body of a goat. Not unlike Cerenunnos, Pan is a phallic deity. Its animalistic features are an embodiment of the carnal and procreative impulses of men.
Pope Sylvester II and the Devil (1460). In Christianity, the devil has similar features to the pagan gods described above as they are the main inspiration for these depictions. The attributes embodied by these gods became the representation of what is considered evil by the Church.
The Devil Card from the Tarot of Marseilles (15th century). This card’s depiction of the devil, with its wings, horns, breasts and hand sign is undoubtedly a major influence in Levi’s depiction of Baphomet.
Robin Good-Fellow (or Puck) is a mythological fairy said to be a personification of land spirits. Bearing several attributes of Baphomet and other deities, he is here shown on the cover of a 1629 book surrounded by witches.
Goya’s 1821 painting “Great He-Goat” or “Witches Sabbath”. The painting depicts a coven of witches gathered around Satan, portrayed as a half-man, half-goat figure.
A Baphomet-like figure on the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral, which was originally built by the Knights Templar.

Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet

This depiction of Baphomet by Eliphas Levi’s from his book Dogmes et Rituels de la Haute Magie (Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic) became the “official” visual representation of Baphomet.

In 1861, the French occultist Eliphas Levi included in his book Dogmes et Rituels de la Haute Magie (Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic) a drawing that would become the most famous depiction of Baphomet: a winged humanoid goat with a pair of breasts and a torch on its head between its horns. The figure bears numerous similarities to the deities described above. It also includes several other esoteric symbols relating to the esoteric concepts embodied by the Baphomet. In the preface of his book, Levi stated:

“The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of Hermeticism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The ugly beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.” 3

In Levi’s depiction, Baphomet embodies the culmination of the alchemical process – the union of opposing forces to create Astral Light – the basis of magic and, ultimately, enlightenment.

A close look at the details of the image reveals that each symbol is inevitably balanced with its opposite. Baphomet himself is an androgynous character as it is bearing the characteristics of both sexes: female breasts and a rod representing the erect phallus. The concept of androgeniety is of a great importance in occult philosophy as it is representative the highest level of initiation in the quest of becoming “one with God”.

Baphomet’s phallus is actually Hermes’ Caduceus – a rod intertwined with two serpents. This ancient symbol is has been representing Hermetism for centuries. The Caduceus esoterically represents the activation of chakras, from the base of the spine to the pineal gland, using serpentine power (hence, the serpents) or Astral Light.

The Caduceus as symbol of chakra activation.

The Science is a real one only for those who admit and understand the philosophy and the religion; and its process will succeed only for the Adept who has attained the sovereignty of will, and so become the King of the elementary world: for the grand agent of the operation of the Sun, is that force described in the Symbol of Hermes, of the table of emerald; it is the universal magical power; the spiritual, fiery, motive power; it is the Od, according to the Hebrews, and the Astral light, according to others.

Therein is the secret fire, living and philosophical, of which all the Hermetic philosophers speak with the most mysterious reserve: the Universal Seed, the secret whereof they kept, and which they represented only under the figure of the Caduceus of Hermes. 4

Baphomet is therefore symbolic of the alchemical Great Work where separate and opposing forces are united in perfect equilibrium to generate Astral Light. This alchemical process is represented on Levi’s image by the terms Solve and Coagula on Baphomet’s arms. While they accomplish opposite results, Solving (turning solid into liquid) and Coagulation (turning liquid into solid) are two necessary steps of the alchemical process – which aims to turn stone into gold or, in esoteric terms, a profane man into an illuminated man. The two steps are on arms pointing in opposite directions, further emphasizing their opposite nature.

Baphomet’s hands form the “sign of Hermetism” – which is a visual representation of the Hermetic axiom “As Above, So Below”. This dictum sums up the whole of the teachings and the aims of Hermetism, where the microcosm (man) is as the macrocosm (the universe). Therefore, understanding one equals understanding the other. This Law of Correspondence originates from the Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus where it was stated:

“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing”. 5

The mastery of this life force, the Astral Life, is what is called by modern occultists “magick”.

The Magician tarot card displaying the Hermetic axiom “As Above, So Below”

“The practice of magic – either white or black – depends upon the ability of the adept to control the universal life force – that which Eliphas Levi calls the great magical agent or the astral light. By the manipulation of this fluidic essence the phenomena of transcendentalism are produced. The famous hermaphroditic Goat of Mendes was a composite creature formulated to symbolize this astral light. It is identical with Baphomet the mystic pantheos of those disciples of ceremonial magic, the Templars, who probably obtained it from the Arabians.” 6.

Each of Baphomet’s hands point towards opposing moons, which Levi calls the Chesed and the Geburah – two opposing concepts taken from the Jewish Kabbalah. In the Kabalistic Tree of Life, the Sefirot, Chesed is associated with “kindness given to others” while Geburah refers to the “restraint of one’s urge to bestow goodness upon others, when the recipient of that good is judged to be unworthy and liable to misuse it”. These two concepts are opposed and, as everything else in life, an equilibrium must be found between the two.

The most recognizable feature of Baphomet is, of course, its goat head. This monstrous head represents man’s animal and sinful nature, its egoistic tendencies and its basest instincts. Opposed to man’s spiritual nature (symbolized by the “divine light” on its head), this animal side is regardless viewed as a necessary part of man’s dualistic nature, where the animal and the spiritual must unite in harmony. It can also be argued that Baphomet’s grotesque overall appearance might serve to ward off and repel the profane who are uninitiated to the esoteric meaning of the symbol.

In Secret Societies

Although Levi’s 1861 depiction of Baphomet is the most famous one, the name of this idol has been circulating for over a thousand years, through secret societies and occult circles. The first recorded mention of Baphomet as a part of an occult ritual appeared during the era of the Knights Templar.

The Knights Templar

Baphomet presiding over a Templar ritual by Leo Taxil.

It is widely accepted by occult researchers that the figure of Baphomet was of a great importance in the rituals of the Knights Templar. The first occurrence of the name Baphomet appeared in a 1098 letter by crusader Anselm of Ribemont stating:

“As the next day dawned they called loudly upon Baphometh while we prayed silently in our hearts to God; then we attacked and forced all of them outside the city walls.” 7

During the Templar trials of 1307, where Knight Templars were tortured and interrogated by request of King Philip IV of France, the name of Baphomet was mentioned several times. While some Templars denied the existence of Baphomet, others described it as being either a severed head, a cat, or a head with three faces.

While books aimed for mass consumption often deny any link between the Knights Templar and Baphomet, claiming it to be an invention of the Church to demonize them, almost all reputed authors on occultism (who wrote books intended for initiates) acknowledge that the link. In fact, the idol is often referred to as “the Baphomet of the Templars”.

“Did the Templars really adore Baphomet? Did they offer a shameful salutation to the buttocks of the goat of Mendes? What was actually this secret and potent association which imperilled Church and State, and was thus destroyed unheard? Judge nothing lightly; they are guilty of a great crime; they have exposed to profane eyes the sanctuary of antique initiation. They have gathered again and have shared the fruits of the tree of knowledge, so that they might become masters of the world. The judgement pronounced against them is higher and far older than the tribunal of pope or king: “On the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” said God Himself, as we read in the Book of Genesis.

(…)

Yes, in our profound conviction, the Grand Masters of the Order of the Templars worshipped the Baphomet, and caused it to be worshipped by their initiates; yes, there existed in the past, and there may be still in the present, assemblies which are presided over by this figure, seated on a throne and having a flaming torch between the horns. But the adorers of this sign do not consider, as do we, that it is a representation of the devil: on the contrary, for them it is that of the god Pan, the god of our modern schools of philosophy, the god of the Alexandrian theurgic school and of our own mystical Neo-platonists, the god of Lamartine and Victor Cousin, the god of Spinoza and Plato, the god of the primitive Gnostic schools; the Christ also of the dissident priesthood. This last qualification, ascribed to the goat of Black Magic, will not astonish students of religious antiquities who are acquainted with the phases of symbolism and doctrine in their various transformations, whether in India, Egypt or Judea.” 8

Freemasonry

Shortly after the release of Levi’s illustration, the french writer and journalist Léo Taxil released a series of pamphlets and books denouncing Freemasonry, charging lodges with worshipping the devil. At the center of his accusations was Baphomet, which was described as the Mason’s object of worship.

“Les mystères de la franc-maçonnerie” (Mysteries of Freemasonry) accused Freemasons of satanism and worshipping Baphomet. Taxil’s works raised the ire of Catholics.
The Book cover of “Les mystères de la franc-maçonnerie” depicting a Masonic ritual presided by Baphomet, who is literally being worshipped.
Anti-Masonic image by publicist Abel Clarin de la Rive, 1894.

In 1897, after causing quite a stir due to his revelations on French Freemasonry, Léo Taxil called a press conference where he announced that many of his revelations were fabrications 9. Since then, this series of events has been dubbed the “Léo Taxil Hoax”. However, some would argue the probability that Taxil’s confession may have been coerced in order to quell the controversy involving Freemasonry.

Whatever the case may be, the most likely connection between Freemasonry and Baphomet is through symbolism, where the idol becomes an allegory for profound esoteric concepts. The Masonic author Albert Pike argues that, in Freemasonry, Baphomet is not an object of worship, but a symbol, the true meaning of which is only revealed to high-level initiates.

“It is absurd to suppose that men of intellect adored a monstrous idol called Baphomet, or recognized Mahomet as an inspired prophet. Their symbolism, invented ages before, to conceal what it was dangerous to avow, was of course misunderstood by those who were not adepts, and to their enemies seemed to be pantheistic. The calf of gold, made by Aaron for the Israelites, was but one of the oxen under the layer of bronze, and the Karobim on the Propitiatory, misunderstood. The symbols of the wise always become the idols of the ignorant multitude. What the Chiefs of the Order really believed and taught, is indicated to the Adepts by the hints contained in the high Degrees of Free-Masonry, and by the symbols which only the Adepts understand.” 10

Aleister Crowley

The British occultist Aleister Crowley was born about six months after the death of Eliphas Levi, causing him to believe that he was Levi’s reincarnation. Partly for this reason, Crowley was known within the O.T.O., the secret society he popularized, as “Baphomet”.

A signed picture of Crowley as Baphomet.

Here’s Crowley’s explanation of the etymology of the name Baphomet, taken from his 1929 book The Confessions of Aleister Crowley:

“I had taken the name Baphomet as my motto in the O.T.O. For six years and more I had tried to discover the proper way to spell this name. I knew that it must have eight letters, and also that the numerical and literal correspondences must be such as to express the meaning of the name in such a ways as to confirm what scholarship had found out about it, and also to clear up those problems which archaeologists had so far failed to solve…. One theory of the name is that it represents the words ???? ??????, the baptism of wisdom; another, that it is a corruption of a title meaning “Father Mithras”. Needless to say, the suffix R supported the latter theory. I added up the word as spelt by the Wizard. It totalled 729. This number had never appeared in my Cabbalistic working and therefore meant nothing to me. It however justified itself as being the cube of nine. The word ?????, the mystic title given by Christ to Peter as the cornerstone of the Church, has this same value. So far, the Wizard had shown great qualities! He had cleared up the etymological problem and shown why the Templars should have given the name Baphomet to their so-called idol. Baphomet was Father Mithras, the cubical stone which was the corner of the Temple.” 11

Baphomet is an important figure in the Thelema, the mystical system he established at the beginning of the 20th century. In one of his most important works, Magick, Liber ABA, Book 4, Crowley describes Baphomet as a divine androgyne:

“The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God … ‘The Devil’ is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes … This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade ‘Know Thyself!’ and taught Initiation. He is ‘The Devil’ of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is Baphomet, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection … He is therefore Life, and Love. But moreover his letter is ayin, the Eye, so that he is Light; and his Zodiacal image is Capricornus, that leaping goat whose attribute is Liberty.” 12

The Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), recites during its Gnostic Mass “And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.” 13 Baphomet is considered to be the union of Chaos and Babalon, masculine and feminine energy, the phallus and the womb.

The Church of Satan

Although not technically a secret society, Anton Lavey’s Church of Satan remains an influential occult order. Founded in 1966, the organization adopted the “Sigil of Baphomet” as its official insignium.

The Sigil of Baphomet, the official symbol of the Church of Satan features the Goat of Mendes inside an inverted pentagram.

The Sigil of Baphomet was probably heavily inspired by this illustration from Stanislas de Guaita’s La Clef de la Magie Noire (The Key to Black Magic).

Illustrations from La Clef de la Magie Noire (1897)

According to Anton Lavey, the Templars worshipped Baphomet as a symbol of Satan. Baphomet is prominently present during in Church of Satan rituals as the symbol is placed above the ritualistic altar.

In The Satanic Bible, Lavey describes the symbol of Baphomet:

“The symbol of Baphomet was used by the Knights Templar to represent Satan. Through the ages this symbol has been called by many different names. Among these are: The Goat of Mendes, The Goat of a Thousand Young, The Black Goat, The Judas Goat, and perhaps the most appropriately, The Scapegoat.

Baphomet represents the Powers of Darkness combined with the generative fertility of the goat. In its “pure” form the pentagram is shown encompassing the figure of a man in the five points of the star – three points up, two pointing down – symbolizing man’s spiritual nature. In Satanism the pentagram is also used, but since Satanism represents the carnal instincts of man, or the opposite of spiritual nature, the pentagram is inverted to perfectly accommodate the head of the goat – its horns, representing duality, thrust upwards in defiance; the other three points inverted, or the trinity denied. The Hebraic figures around the outer circle of the symbol which stem from the magical teachings of the Kabala, spell out “Leviathan”, the serpent of the watery abyss, and identified with Satan. These figures correspond to the five points of the inverted star.” 14

In Popular Culture

Mostly due to the influence of Aleister Crowley and Anton Lavey on popular culture, references to Baphomet can be found throughout popular culture. In some cases, such as with heavy metal bands, the references are rather clear and unequivocal – these bands in no way conceal the influence of these schools of occultism on their imagery. Here are some examples:

Death Metal Band Behemoth – Cover of Zos Kia Cultus
Death metal band The Black Dalia Murder – Album cover of Ritual.
Marilyn Manson – Anti-Christ Superstar album cover
Rammstein’s Pussy refers to the androgyny of Baphomet. The second guy from the right also does the “As Above So Below” hand sign.

In mainstream (“corporate”) pop culture the references are a lot more vague and concealed. Aimed at a younger crowd, the references are existent but, probably not recognized and understood consciously by most of the audience. Here are some examples.

Lady Gaga.
Pop singer Kerli.
Screen shot from the popular online game Ragnarok.
Album cover of “Baphomet” by Kiichi

Many more obscure references can be found by those “who have eyes to see”.

In Conclusion

Baphomet is a composite creation symbolic of alchemical realization through the union of opposite forces. Occultists believe that, through the mastery of life force, one is able to produce magick and spiritual enlightenment. Eliphas Levi’s depiction of Baphomet included several symbols alluding to the raising of the kundalini – serpentine power – which ultimately leads to the activation of the pineal gland, also known as the “third eye”. So, from an esoteric point of view, Baphomet represents this occult process.

However, over time the symbol has come to signify much more than its esoteric meaning. Through controversies, Baphomet became, depending of the point of view, a representation of everything that is good in occultism or everything that is evil in occultism. It is, in fact, the ultimate “scapegoat”, the face of witchcraft, black magick and Satanism. The fact that the symbol is rather monstrous and grotesque has probably helped propel the symbol to its level of infamy as it never fails to shock organized religions while attracting those who rebel against them.

Since gaining widespread recognition in popular culture, the image of Baphomet is now used as a symbol of anything regarding occultism and ritualism. In corporate-owned mass media, which has ties with secret societies, the figure of Baphomet appears in the oddest places, often to audiences too young to understand the occult reference (Secret Arcana’s sister site Vigilant Citizen documents the occurrences of Baphomet and other occult symbols in music videos, movies and fashion). Is Baphomet used in pop culture as a symbol of the power of the occult elite over the ignorant masses?

After centuries of myths, hoaxes, propaganda and disinformation on both sides of the spectrum, can we truly answer the the original question posed by this article: “Who is Baphomet?”. Is it a symbol of Satan or of spiritual enlightenment? Is it a symbol of good or evil? The answer lies within the symbol itself: It is both. In Egyptian mythology, Toth Hermes was a mediating power between good and evil, making sure neither had a decisive victory over the other. Baphomet represents the accomplishment on this cosmic task on a very small scale, within oneself. Once perfect equilibrium is attained on a personal level, the occult initiate can point one hand towards the heavens and one hand towards the earth and pronounce this hermetic axiom which reverberated through millenniums: “As Above, So Below”.

  1. Eliphas Levi, Dogmes et Rituels de la Haute Magie
  2. Arkon Daraul, A History of Secret Societies
  3. Eliphas Levi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie
  4. Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
  5. English translation of the Emerald Tablet
  6. Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
  7. Malcom Barber and Keith Bate, Letters from the East: Crusaders, Pilgrims and Settlers in the 12th-13th Centuries
  8. Op. Cit. Levi
  9. The Confessions of Léo Taxil, April 25 1897
  10. Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
  11. Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley
  12. Aleister Crowley, Magick, Liber ABA, Book 4
  13. Helena and Tau Apiron, “The Invisible Basilica: The Creed of the Gnostic Catholic Church: An Examination”
  14. Anton Lavey, The Satanic Bible

Tsunamis in the Alps?

Posted: November 1, 2012 by phaedrap1 in News, Science, Uncategorized
Tags:

A killer wave slammed medieval Geneva, a new study says. And it could happen again.

Chateau de Chillon on Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

The circa A.D. 1000 Chateau de Chillon on Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Photograph from ADS/Alamy

Daniel Stone

National Geographic News

Published October 31, 2012

Nearly 1,500 years ago a massive flood in Geneva reportedly swept away everything in its pathmills, houses, cattle, even entire churches.

Now researchers believe they’ve found the unlikely sounding culprit: a tsunami-like killer wave in the Alps. The threat, they add, may still be very much alive.  

Spurred by a huge landslide, the medieval Lake Geneva “tsunami” (technically defined as a seismic ocean wave) swamped the city, which was already a trading hub, according to a new study.

Far from any ocean, the massive wave was likely generated by a massive landslide into the Rhône River, which feeds and flows through Lake Geneva, according to a group of Swiss researchers.

The team analyzed a massive sediment deposit at the bottom of the lake’s easternmost corner and determined that the material had once sat above the lake and had slid all at once into the Rhône, near where the river flows into the eastern end of Lake Geneva (map).

The sudden splash sent a tsunami barreling down the length of the 225-square-mile (580-square-kilometer) lake toward Geneva, at the western end of the lake, the study suggests. Researchers estimate the wave was between 9 and 26 feet (3 and 8 meters) tall, depending on how quickly the rockfall occurred, which they were unable to measure.

(From National Geographic magazine: Where and when will the next tsunami hit?)

Geneva in the Crosshairs

The Alpine tsunami, the researchers caution, isn’t just a thing of the past.

A similar event at Lake Geneva could affect the modern-day Swiss cities of Lausanne, Nyon, and Thonon-les-Bains—but Geneva itself may be at greatest risk.

The city is home to major financial and international organizations as well as nearly 200,000 people, many of whom live in low-lying areas near the lake. Unfortunately for them, the lake narrows as it approaches Geneva, creating a funnel effect that would amplify an approaching wave.

For now, there’s little indication that another Geneva tsunami is imminent, researchers have said. But the new study found evidence of several large flooding events in Geneva since the last glacier retreated from the city’s site.

“If this has happened five to six times since the last glaciation, there’s reason to believe it could happen again in the future,” said University of Geneva geologist Guy Simpson, who study team’s modeler.

“A three-meter [ten-foot] wave that hit Geneva today would be a scary wave.”

The Geneva-tsunami study appears this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The modern Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) craze began in the late 1940s, when a wave of people reported seeing strange objects in the skies above America.
Indeed, it was in 1947 the term flying saucer entered the popular consciousness after pilot Kenneth Arnold witnessed several brightly-lit saucer-like objects weaving in and out of distant mountain peaks while he was flying in Washington State.
This wasn’t the first wave of UFO sightings, however. An earlier wave occurred in Britain in 1909, when hundreds of people described flying objects shaped like dirigibles and emitting beams of light carrying out extremely advanced manoeuvres overhead. A decade earlier, throughout 1896 and ’97, there was a rash on similar sightings in the United States.
But these weren’t the first accounts of alien spacecraft on record. Legends of god-like beings coming from the heavens exist in many cultures. Throughout North America, there are numerous caves that date back thousands of years. These paintings figures and objects much like the modern imagery of aliens and flying saucers.
One intriguing legend comes from the First Nations people of central Ontario. Their ‘Skyman’ tale may in fact be one of the earliest alien encounters on record.
According to the story recorded in 1917 by ethnologist Colonel G.E. Laidlaw, 500 years ago there was a large Ojibwa village about 550 native people living somewhere in our region. One day, a pair of them stumbled upon a stranger sitting on the grass in a field. This figure, a male, was notably “clean and shining bright.”
The natives approached the stranger and asked who he was and how he came to be in the field. “I am not one of you. I do not belong to this land. I dropped down from above,” the stranger explained.
Showing unusual hospitality, the Ojibwa invited him back to their village. The stranger agreed, but on one condition:  “Go home and clean the place where I will stay, and when you come back for me, I will go with you for a few days.”
Agreeing, the Ojibwa men went back to their community, told their fellow villagers about their experience, and cleaned the hut where they would house the ‘Skyman.’
The stranger did in fact accompany them to their village, but he was clearly restless. He watched the skies often and told people that in two days something would come and get him to take him back up to the sky.
One afternoon, Skyman looked up and said, “It is coming.” The villagers craned their necks and turned their eyes above and saw something that looked like a bright shining star streak down from the heavens and hover near the ground.
This was the most beautiful thing any of them had ever seen. Skyman entered the shining star and disappeared from view. The shining star then shot back into the sky and faded away.
This tale seems to be a description of an encounter with an ‘ancient astronaut,’ as seen in many cultures and popularized by Swiss theorist Erich von Daniken of Chariots of the Gods fame.
Many modern UFO theorists believe Skyman was a marooned extraterrestrial astronaut whose own craft was somehow damaged or destroyed. They point to the fact Skyman clearly entered the glowing star as proof the object was a spacecraft of some sort. Was he ‘clean and shining bright’ because he wore a silvery pressure suit? Did he request his hosts clean his quarters out of fear of contracting human viruses against which he had no immunity?
Many researchers believe Skyman was no mythological tale, but rather an actual encounter of the first kind between an ancient alien and an entire Ojibwa community. And it was said to have occurred somewhere nearby. Maybe we too should be craning our necks and scanning the skies.

By Andrew Hind

Orangeville.com