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Decoded! AI cracks the Voynich Manuscript: It’s Mostly Hebrew!

voynich2-800x523The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and it may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912
Some of the pages are missing, with around 240 remaining. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams. Some pages are foldable sheets.
The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II No one has yet demonstrably deciphered the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.
In 1969 the Voynich manuscript was donated by Hans P. Kraus to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where it is catalogued under call number MS 408.[
The weird document has been considered one of the most mysterious documents known. Considered a hoax by some, copies of mysterious Voynich Manuscript were published in 2016 for the first time in hopes that someone would crack its code,

Computer scientists have now been able to decode the manuscript using artificial intelligence. The result was beyond surprising: according to algorithms employed by the Canadian researchers, the text appears to be written in Hebrew with letters rearranged.

“It turned out that over 80 per cent of the words were in a Hebrew dictionary, but we didn’t know if they made sense together,” said Professor Kondrak who led the research.

While they noted that none of their results, using any reference language, resulted in text they could describe as “correct”, the Hebrew output was most successful.
The scientists approached fellow computer scientist and native Hebrew speaker Professor Moshe Koppel with samples of deciphered text. maxresdefault
Taking the first line as an example, Professor Koppel confirmed that it was not a coherent sentence in Hebrew.

However, following tweaks to the spelling, the scientists used Google Translate to convert it into English, which read: “She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people.”
“It’s a kind of strange sentence to start a manuscript but it definitely makes sense,” said Professor Kondrak.

The result of the work of decoding can be found here.

The possibility that the Voynich manuscript’s secrets will soon be entirely revealed is certainly beyond thrilling.



The Independent

The Blog of Mystica

The Deadly Mystery of Prions

Deer that became zombies

zomDeer in at least 22 U.S. states and parts of Canada have died from a neurological disease called “chronic wasting disease,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Authorities are concerned that this illness, which is sometimes dubbed “zombie deer disease,” might spread to people, just as “mad cow disease” has done in the past.
Chronic wasting disease can cause a number of symptoms in animals, including drastic weight loss, a lack of coordination, drooling, listlessness or a “blank” facial expression, and a lack of fear of people, according to the CDC. It infects members of the deer (cervid) family, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, reindeer, moose and elk.
The disease was first discovered in Colorado in 1967, according to the CDC, and so far, no cases in humans have ever been reported.
Indeed, the infectious proteins that cause chronic wasting disease — called prions — don’t easily jump between species, said Mark Zabel, associate director of the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University. But it’s known that these proteins can evolve to infect other species, Zabel said. For example, the type of prion that causes so-called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease,” was transmitted to people who ate infected meat (mostly in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and ’90s), resulting in several hundred human infections.
“We have every reason to suspect” that chronic wasting disease could pass to humans, Zabel told Live Science. The disease “may still be evolving, and it may be just a matter of time before a prion evolves in a deer or elk that is capable of infecting a human, he said.” [10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species]


Recently, researchers in Canada raised concerns about the possibility that the disease could jump to humans, after a study showed that macaque monkeys could get the disease from eating infected meat. Out of five monkeys that were fed infected white-tailed-deer meat, three tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to The Tyee, a Canadian news outlet. This is the first time that the disease has been found to spread to primates through the consumption of infected meat, according to the Associated Press.
Infectious prions cause disease when they start to fold abnormally and trigger the misfolding of other, similar proteins. Studies by Zabel’s lab and others have shown that the prion proteins that cause chronic wasting disease are “flexible,” meaning they can “adopt many different shapes relatively easily,” Zabel said.
Moreover, some studies have shown that researchers can artificially evolve the prions that cause chronic wasting disease (either in a test tube or animal models) so that the altered prion proteins can cause human proteins to misfold, Zabel said.
This suggests that if chronic-wasting-disease prions evolve in nature, they could potentially cross the species barrier, he said.

The mystery of prions

A number of fatal neurodegenerative diseases in humans–such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), kuru and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease–are thought to be caused by a mysterious infectious agent known as a prion. Prions also cause disease in a wide variety of other animals, including scrapie in sheep and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cows.

Just, what are prions and how do they cause disease?

Prions are proteins that have changed their normal shape. Proteins are the building blocks of living cells that are used by our bodies either as structural elements or as signaling molecules that carry information throughout our body. They consist of chains of amino acids folded into complex shapes. When the shape of a protein changes the spectrum of waves it is emitting changes. The prion protein is now transmitting a different informational message into your body. In effect, your body is now tuned to a new radio station and instead of classical music you may be getting hard-rock. When the prion creates a “disease” in the body it is known as a “mutant prion” since it can start a chain reaction and persuade other proteins to follow its example. That process can spread the disease through the cells and eventually to the brain. Just as we have “informational medicine” like homeopathy that can be used to heal us, we now have “informational disease” that can kill us.

Western science, and therefore our approach to the way in which we handle our food supply, has been confronted with an informational disease — mad-cow disease. The phenomenon was not a part of classical biochemistry and was only officially recognized in 1997 when Dr. Stanley Prusiner of UCSF won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for “his pioneering discovery of an entirely new genre of disease-causing agents.” Dr. Prusiner had discovered that altered versions of proteins, which he dubbed prions, are to blame for a family of human and animal diseases. Prusiner had pursued his specific area of research since 1972 but was met with incredulity, criticism, and controversy. Unlike bacteria, virus, or parasites, an “infectious” prion cannot be destroyed by heat, freezing or radiation. For example, to destroy mutant-prion infected meat the USDA facility at Ames, Iowa uses a tissue digestor, a large stainless steel vat that melts the carcasses in boiling lye under pressure, then dries the liquid into a powder that is incinerated.

Initially, mad-cow disease was a scientist’s worst nightmare since no one knew how it was transmitted. Early estimates were that millions of people in the United Kingdom could get the brain-wasting degenerative disease. Even through in the United Kingdom more than 185,000 cattle were found to be infected, only 143 cases of the always-fatal human version of the disease have been diagnosed. The number of new human cases has now leveled off at fewer than 20 a year. Only 10 people outside of the United Kingdom are known to have died from the human form of the disease. One cause for the low death rate could be the body’s quality control system for handling misfolded proteins. When a cell detects such prions it sends a signal to the nucleus to activate a program to destroy these mistakes. However, a disturbing note is that Britain, on Dec. 17, 2003, reported the first case of a person dying after a blood transfusion from an infected donor.


Mad cow disease

Glow in cattle’s eyes may be a sign of mad cow disease

Mad-cow disease, officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was first diagnosed in 1986 in Britain. Researchers quickly decided that cattle had gotten the disease from eating brains and nerve tissue of sheep infected with scrapie a variant of mad-cow disease. The tissues had been mixed into cattle feed along with the ground-up carcasses of other animals – including other cows. Such “rendered” feed has now been banned for most food animals. Today Japan tests every cow that enters the food supply for BSE, and Europe tests every animal older than 30 months (the age at which the incidence of BSE starts to climb). However, currently in the United States only about 20,000 of the 35 m5 million cattle slaughtered each year are tested for BSE, i.e., an insignificant 0.06% are tested.

If BSE is an “informational” disease than there should be other variations. We know that mad-cow disease can be caused by a mutation of a single gene, a so-called spontaneous case. Similar spongy-brain diseases have also appeared in at least 10 animal species. Included are farmed mink, domestic cats, cougars, bison, and African antelope (kudu & oryx). The so-called chronic wasting disease also strikes mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk in the wild. Sheep carry a variant of mad-cow disease known as scrapie. Shepherds and pathologists have recognized it since the 18th century. Sheep haven’t been known to transmit their brain disease to people despite centuries of opportunity. In fact, potted sheep’s brain is a national dish in Scotland. This has raised questions about current theories regarding the scrapie as the trigger of BSE in Britain.

Is there maybe another underlying cause for these diseases, and the unparalleled large surge of mad-cow disease in the United Kingdom?

The link to food supply and heritage factors

An organic farmer, Mark Purdey, and a number of researches are putting forth an

hypothesis based upon environmental causal factors. They implicate a warble fly eradication program mandated in the early 1980s by the British government. Warble flies lay their eggs in a cow’s skin, causing health problems and reducing the value of cow hides. To combat this heavy doses of organophosphate insecticides were used. These were poured along the spinal column of cows to be absorbed into the cow’s body. They exert their toxic effect by entering the central nervous system and deforming the molecular shape of various nerve proteins. Organophosphates were developed by Nazi chemists during the course of World War II as a biological weapon. The effects of organophosphates can be made more severe because they remove copper from the body leaving the door open for manganese or similar metals to replace the copper in the prion protein. This creates a condition akin to the occupational disease known as “Manganese Madness.” The “informational” disease caused in humans by BSE is called variant Crueutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)s. In addition to CJD and vCJD, could other degenerative ailments in humans, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease involve abnormal changes in the shapes of proteins caused by environmental factors that affect us directly or indirectly via our food supply?
“Confusingly, researchers also recognized that some prion diseases, such as GSS, were inherited. The pattern of inheritance was recognized as being autosomal and dominant, meaning that if a parent developed GSS, there was a 50 percent chance that a child of either sex would also develop the disease. Any explanation for the cause of a prion disease therefore has to account for random, inherited and transmitted variants of the disease.
“Although there is not yet a universally accepted explanation of this puzzle, progress is being made. We now know that a normal cellular protein, called PrP ( for proteinaceous infectious particle) and which is found in all of us, is centrally involved in the spread of prion diseases. This protein consists of about 250 amino acids.
“Some researchers believe that the prions are formed when PrP associates with a foreign pathogenic nucleic acid. This is called the virino hypothesis. (Viruses consist of proteins and nucleic acids that are specified by the virus genome. A virino would also consist of proteins and nucleic acids, but the protein component is specified by the host genome, not the pathogen genome). In support of the virino hypothesis is the existence of different strains of prions that cause differing patterns of disease and breed true; the existence of strains in pathogens is usually the result of changes in the nucleic acid sequence of the infectious agent. Scientists have not found any nucleic acid associated with a prion, however, despite intensive efforts in many laboratories. Furthermore, prions appear to remain infectious even after being exposed to treatments that destroy nucleic acids.
“This evidence has led to the now widely accepted prion theory, which states that the cellular protein PrP is the sole causative agent of prion diseases; there is no nucleic acid involved. The theory holds that PrP is normally in a stable shape (pN) that does not cause disease. The protein can be flipped, however, into an abnormal shape (pD) that does cause disease. pD is infectious because it can associate with pN and convert it to pD, in an exponential process–each pD can convert more pN to pD.
“Prions can be transmitted, possibly by eating and certainly by inoculation either directly into the brain or into skin and muscle tissue. Exponential amplification of the prion (converting pN into pD in the body) would then result in disease. Occasional, sporadic cases of prion diseases arise in middle or old age, presumably because there is a very small but real chance that pN can spontaneously flip to pD; the cumulative likelihood of such a flip grows over the years. Inherited cases of CJD and GSS may result from mutations in the PrP gene, which gives rise to changes in the amino acid sequence of the PrP protein. This change would increase the probability of pN transforming into pD, so that the disease would almost certainly occur.

Scientific Research

300px-R7_prion“Physical analysis of the structure of PrP provides some direct evidence for the existence of two different (normal and aberrant) shapes. Recently the structure of the core part of the PrP protein was determined by magnetic resonance image analysis. Mutations that cause prion disease are clustered within or adjacent to key structural elements in the protein, so it is easy to imagine that mutations destabilize the structure of pN and cause it to reconfigure into pD.
“The prion theory has not been proved correct, but much evidence now supports it. We do not yet know why the pD structure of a prion would result in neurodegeneration, but we do know that prion protein accumulates in brain tissue. One part of the prion protein can cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death; perhaps this mechanism explains the pattern of the disease.
“Prions have long intrigued scientists because of their unusual properties. Recently the general public has become interested in them as well because of the epidemic of BSE, more dramatically known as mad cow disease. Hundreds of thousands of infected animals have been eaten by Europeans and particularly the British over the past 10 years. The latest research suggests that the infected meat may pose a threat to human health, but the significance of that threat may not become apparent for years. Although it is generally considered a British problem, BSE is almost certainly a natural disease of cattle, so it is undoubtedly found in other countries as well. The normal incidence of BSE is vanishingly small, however. The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims that BSE has not been identified in any U.S. cattle.

Could Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s be infectious?

The archetypal prion-based disease is kuru, which spread through cannibalistic rituals in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Kuru affected mostly women and children of the Fore tribe, who ate brains and spinal cords of deceased relatives, and subsequently developed body tremors, balance problems and slurred speech. There’s no cure for kuru and sufferers always died. But it no longer strikes as cannibalism in the region has been eliminated.
Other prion diseases include scrapie in sheep and goats and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cows. When transmitted to humans during the “mad cow disease” outbreak in Europe, BSE resulted in variant CJD (vCJD).
The newly described addition to the prion disease canon, Shy-Drager syndrome (SDS) or multiple system atrophy (MSA), was first recognised in the early 1960s and has many features in common with Parkinson’s disease.
The most important of these is that a protein known as α-synuclein (α-syn) accumulates in the brain, in both Parkinson’s and SDS/MSA. This accumulation is very similar to what happens in CJD, where the prion protein (PrP) accumulates, and also in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, where two types of proteins, known as amyloid beta (Aβ-amyloid) and tau, build up in the brain.


Infected with prions, the brain of a vCJD victim reveals spongy areas (yellow).

The clumps and tangles of these various aggregated proteins cause neurons to degenerate and die. This is a cumulative process which takes between months and decades to manifest as overt disease.
In fact, many of the neurodegenerative diseases of the ageing brain are associated with the accumulation and deposition of specific proteins. It has long been suspected that neurodegenerative diseases in general may all ultimately be caused by this process of proteins getting caught in the wrong process, and misfolding.
This misfolding sets off a cascade of events: the proteins oligomerise (a number of identical molecules join together); accumulate; nucleate (form a nucleus or centre); polymerise (combine to build a structure with its components); self-replicate; and eventually, propagate and spread throughout the brain. Many of these protein changes also occur in the usual food cooking process (aggregation of proteins caused by heating) or food preparation (the solidification of proteins in the refrigerator).
Finally, some but not all of these misfolded proteins gain the ability to be transmitted between people and animals. In fact, the word “prion” was coined by Prusiner in 1982 to describe this property of a pro_teinaceous in_fectious particle. And we don’t yet know of ways to easily “dis-infect” or kill these proteins. All kinds of chemicals that kill bacteria and viruses do not harm prions.
Infectious Proteins
Scientists have always kept – and still do – an open mind about whether Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions are transmissible. We’ve known since the early 1960s that amyloid fibrils – the accumulations of Aβ-amyloid in the brain – are self-propagating entities.
In diseases involving amyloid protein, the “amyloid enhancing factor”, which causes the disease to progress, is thought to be amyloid itself. In other words, the amyloid is self-replicating and makes copies of itself exponentially.

We know that the Alzheimer’s disease-causing human Aβ-amyloid can cross-seed Aβ-amyloid accumulation in genetically susceptible rodents. Mice carrying an unstable and genetically modified human protein can then be “infected” by giving them a dose of the human abnormal protein. But there’s still no direct evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is transmissible between people.
Working out whether SDS/MSA is transmissible, at least from humans to genetically susceptible transgenic cell and rodents, is the first step in testing if it’s transmissible from humans to primates, or indeed among people.
As a precautionary measure, the authors of the paper warn we should now take additional safety precautions in the neurosurgical clinics where deep brain stimulation is used to control the tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease. Because of the overlap in symptoms and signs of Parkinson’s with SDS/MSA, it’s likely that some people with the newly described disease have been treated by deep brain stimulation.
It’s important to ensure that cross-contamination of neurosurgical equipment doesn’t occur because we don’t want to inadvertently transmit a disease between humans. Using disposable stimulation electrodes, for instance, will be mandatory in the future. Similar concerns have already been raised about other neurodegenerative illnesses, such as diseases involving misfolded tau protein, which cause frontotemporal dementia.
With the publication of this paper, the spectrum of prion diseases has been enlarged, perhaps considerably. But until it becomes possible to evaluate the role of intra-species transmission, SDS/MSA will have to remain in the category of “hypothetically transmissible to a genetically susceptible recipient”.
It’s premature to classify it as being the same as CJD, which is clearly transmissible within and between species. That has been made apparent by the mad cow saga, which still has years to run due to the long latency from prion infection to overt disease.

The impact on the future


Some have come up with the idea that on a long term view, the existence of prions and their devastating consequences in living organisms together with their way of transmission will definitely change human nutrition habits.
“Science is trying to find a prevention and a solution for the phenomenon of prions”, says Dr. Peter Weiler, who was formerly teaching at the German university in Potsdam. “However, they come in a variety of forms and spread in a way that doesn’t follow any known pattern. Always more species are being discovered to develop prion-based disease. Meat-eating from animals that were once alive might become a deadly danger one day – or a luxury not affordable for everybody.”
So will meat-eaters soon have to give up on their preferred dishes?
Weiler thinks that meat will be created from cell cultures on day.
“Nature won’t be able to cope with the current habits of a human population that increases at such a high rate,” he says.
To the question whether prions might be the answer of nature to human behavior, we only receive an enigmatic smile.



Foundation for Mind-being Research

American Scientific

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The series “Origins” opens the new season with several articles from our guest author Harry Bourne.

India, Africa, the Sea & Antiquity: “Amerindia” and Scandinavia

Author: Harry Bourne

What is about to be described in this section is to demonstrate what is written about various groups hypothesised to have reached parts of Africa in antiquity and will mainly follow Oliver Cromwell’s much-quoted comment on the occasion of his portrait being painted. This was that the portrait had to include his warts plus all his other imperfections or never be done.
This wartsn’all approach means the noting of the good and bad about the cited groups. This will largely concentrate on the period between circa (= ca.) 500 BCE and ca. 500 CE. By BCE is meant Before Common Era (= BC) and CE indicates Common Era (= AD). Indian seafarers are mainly excluded from this section and will be discussed in Part 2 and onwards. Mention of such as “online in 2015” indicates access in that year.


Part 1.3



This section figures the people(s) variously known as the First Nations, Native Americans, Amerindians, Amerinds, etc. The latter is plainly an abbreviated form of the term immediately preceding it. The inclusion of the Amerinds may be somewhat unexpected but hopefully the reason for this will become obvious.

There has been a considerable amount of research into the maritime history of Amerinds on the Pacific or west-facing littoral of the Americas. Attesting the very long history of seafaring of Amerinds these shores of West-coast Americas is the near-800 pages by Thor Heyerdahl (20). Useful supporting material is in “The Dissemination of American Economic Plants on Precolumbian Sea Routes” by Bruno Wolters (21). Also useful are Richard Callaghan (22), Dorothy Hosler (23), etc.

The last three named are among those showing extensive commercial traffic along these Pacific-facing parts of West-coast Americas. Heyerdahl, Wolters, etc, demonstrate this was largely raft-based that again could be non-stop for ca. 3500 miles between Ecuador and west Mexico. A major difference between that of the Indo-Malay ANs on the Indian Ocean and that of West-coast Americas is that the Amerind seacraft had clearly defined steering and propulsion modes. The propulsion came by use of sails and the steering methods were based on devices called guares/guaras, swords/daggers, leeboards, etc.
Evidence of the passages between Ecuador to west Mexico include shaft-graves, clothing, language, ceramics (& associated technology), metallurgy (& associated metallurgy), terraced agriculture, etc. Useful agricultural produce was also exchanged according to Wolters (ib.), as were psychoactive plants plus fungi according to such as Terry McGuire (24). Hosler (ib.) points to the interesting case of the bird called the white-faced jay. She says Ecuadorian habitat differs from that of Ecuador where it has a very restricted distribution in Mexico and says there are no known intermediate stages between Ecuador and west Mexico. She thought that it was attractive to the traders because of its color and its ability at mimicry.

The Ecuadorian merchants not only brought these birds to west Mexico but came looking for supplies of the Spondylus shell plus the psychoactive drugs also known in the homeland and apparently having the effects. McGuire (ib.) also refers to an overland trade also reaching east Mexican parts of North America. Looming large among the ancient cultures here are the Olmecs.

The Olmec Culture may have had their heartland in the Veracruz province (Mexico). An alternative name for them according to Philip Arnold (25) was Uixtotin (= Peoples of the Saltwater/Sea). To this is to be added Giancarlo Sette (26). Sette (ib.) shows Olmec artifacts evidently traded for gold and jade from Panama/Costa Rica. They include an Olmec-made object found in Costa Rica having decoration matched at the Early Olmec site of La Venta (Mex.) so presumably indicates the beginnings of this trade. What Hosler (ib.) says about the white-faced jay probably showing non-stop traders for ca. 3500 miles applies equally to Veracruz-to- Panama voyages.

By far the most complete research into the seafaring of East-coast Amerinds is by Jack Forbes (27 & 28) and is probably the nearest there is to Heyerdahl’s (ib.) massive book touched on already. He regards it as probable that East-coast Amerinds from those of Mesoamerica to those of North America as capable reaching parts of Europe. Forbes (ib.) cites John Heaviside (29) as an early believer of Amerinds reaching that part of Africa known as Egypt.

In this opinion, Heaviside runs opposite to the rather later one of Stephen Compton (30) but both agree on the Egypto/Mexican connections (as do many others). Forbes (ib.) refers to many instances of Amerinds possibly known in ancient Europe Also to the finding of bodies with faces that were neither African nor European in vessels washed up in the Azores. This was evidently reported by the brother-in-law of Columbus. Gordon Kennedy (31) makes a further possible linkage of Amerinds with the island-groups collectively known as the Macaronesian Islands that are otherwise the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries plus the Cape Verde Islands.

Kennedy is manly describing the Canary Islands. Heaviside refers to half-black and half-white populations in west African oral-lore. He says this is mirrored by a passage in the Popol Vuh (= Counsel-book [of the Quiche Maya]), itself oft-said to be the nearest thing to an Amerind sacred book. More on this comes with the frequent comparisons of west African faces and some those carved on the Olmec Great Heads, the head of a young Yoruba (Nigeria) woman and another in the famous Wuthenau collection, of the names of Yemoja/Yemoya ( a Yoruban sea-goddess) and Yemoye (an Amerind spelling of Jamaica). Other hints added when we read of Roger Blench (32) saying it seems the African palm-oil tree turned into that of the Americas and the American silk-cotton tree became the African silk-cotton tree.

A similar pattern of plant exchanges was briefly noted as having been shown by Wolters (ib.) but it should be said that this was mainly a trade in coastal waters. Views earlier than those of Heyerdahl (1952) are cited by Michael Bradley (33) that totally dismisses Amerinds sailing on rafts. Nor do all authorities agree that rafts are a typical seacraft of West –coast Amerinds.

Even after the exploits of Heyerdahl detailed in his massive 800 pages (& elsewhere) there is an opinion this only shows Norwegians are good sailors not South American Amerinds were/are. The DNA tests demonstrate Heyerdahl’s basic thrust of an Amerind origin for the Polynesians was wrong but should not be taken as indicating the Amerinds of southern West-coast Americas did not venture out on to the Pacific Ocean.

Two books by Jack Forbes have been referred to. In them, he makes obvious he has little time for claimed Africans as an ancestral strand of the Olmecs of Mexico or as traders in the Caribbean coeval with Columbus. It should be borne in mind that although Forbes points to an offshoot of the North Equatorial Current west-flowing to the Gulf of Guinea, the voyages there described in Richard Callaghan’s computerised simulations denote that they were of a drift not purposeful nature.

Douglas Peck (34) says Amerinds could not get from Yucatan (east Mex.) to Cuba. If wrecks truly imply bad seacraft, the probable Amerind bodies found in the Azores were in a wrecked vessel. Many would disagree with Kennedy (ib.) seeking Amerind links with the Canaries; the more so given there was even very little contact with nearby islands. With the Cape Verde Islands as the last of the Macaronesian groups in mind, any attempt at linking them with Amerinds in west Africa would surely fail on such as Elysee Reclus (34) noting the current between these islands and Senegal halted contacts. This would almost mirror what Peck says about Yucatan to Cuba.



Thor Heyerdahl’s Expedition Kon-tiki




Scandinavia or Nordic Europe is the homeland of the variously labelled as Vikings or Norse and it might again be wondered why they are included here. One similarity are scenes on rocks depicting economic activities in parts of Africa and Scandinavia. Those in the latter region include fishing and are detailed in Graham Clark’s (35) “The Development of fishing in prehistoric Europe”. Clark’s many works attest large bones showing adult cod at sites of the Mesolithic (= Middle Stone Age) plus the gathering of stone from the Lofoten Islands for axe-making. The rock-art continues through the Neolithic (= New Stone Age) into the succeeding Bronze and Iron Ages. By the Pre-Roman Iron Age, the Hjortspring/Nydam/Kvalsum/ Gokstad sequence of Nordic ship-building has already begun. It should be borne in mind this is a simplified version of development but serves as rough and ready way to demonstrate stages leading up to the beginning of the Viking period.
The ship excavated at Gokstad (Norway) in the 19th c. is held to be a fine example of Nordic/Viking shipbuilding. As the Phoenicians had a round-shaped merchantmen called the golah so the Vikings had one called the knarr. Likewise, the Phoenicians had a called a kirkarah and the Vikings had the drakarr (= dragon-ship/longship). As is normal, the drakarr as a warship gets most attention.


Viking long ship “drakarr”


Follow up: Part 1.3: . Stay tuned. 

The first chapters of this can be found here:

Part 1.1 China

Part 1.2 Indonesia


The series “Origins” opens the new season with several articles from our guest author Harry Bourne.

India, Africa, the Sea & Antiquity: China

Author: Harry Bourne

What is about to be described in this section is to demonstrate what is written about various groups hypothesised to have reached parts of Africa in antiquity and will mainly follow Oliver Cromwell’s much-quoted comment on the occasion of his portrait being painted. This was that the portrait had to include his warts plus all his other imperfections or never be done.

This wartsn’all approach means the noting of the good and bad about the cited groups. This will largely concentrate on the period between circa (= ca.) 500 BCE and ca. 500 CE. By BCE is meant Before Common Era (= BC) and CE indicates Common Era (= AD).

Indian seafarers are mainly excluded from this section and willbe discussed in Part 2 and onwards. Mention of such as “online in 2015” indicates access in that year.

Part 1.1



Probably the most thorough research into theorised voyages across the enormous Pacific Ocean are by the authors summarised in the two volumes edited by John Sorenson and Martin Raish (1). Several of them firmly opine ancient Chinese knew the Americas as the White Coast, Fusan/Fusang, Mulanpi, etc, and are the ancestors of the Olmecs. The Olmecs are a culture of what variously are called the Native Americans, American Indians, Amerinds, etc, and many of who have the so-called Chinese eye-fold.

The Chinese (Fu)san resembles at least one of the umpteen names applied to the Africans  severally called San, Khwe, Aka/Akka among numerous others. It seems they seemingly once occupied most of Africa but are now mainly confined to its least desirable corners (esp. the southwest). Their small stature, yellowish skins, epicanthis, etc, made the San/Khwe ideal candidates for speculation about antecedents. The first Dutch in southern Europe happily filled the gaps according to Tia Mysoa (2) when attributing these antecedents to the crew of a wrecked Chinese ship and this will be seen to have other parallels.

It will be obvious it is the variously tagged epicanthic, Mongolian, Chinese or Mandelan fold of the eye takes most attention in the attribution to Chinese sources when it occurs in Africa. Tests by Chinese scientists on the DNA hair of the population of the Lamu-group island of Pate and a local women was identified as a “China girl” and there is a one-time naval supremacy of China to which to this is then attached. Porcelain of Chinese manufacture has several Kenyan find-spots and the Chinese placename of Shanghai and that of Shanga (Pate, Kenya) have also been compared.

A recent popular about the Chinese in Pre-Colonial Africa is the book simply titled 1421 by Gavin Menzies (3). He described the Treasure ships that the Ming Shi-li (= Ming Records) says were enormous and were led across the Indian Ocean Region (= IOR) by the Chinese admiral Zheng-he/Cheng-ho. Menzies (ib.) further tells us about the Chinese ships having passed Cape Agulhas and on to points west. The significance about Cape Agulhas is that it is the southernmost point of continental Africa not Cape Town as so often said. To its east is the IOR and to its west is the Atlantic. According to Menzies, the Chinese were led by Zheng-he past Cape Agulhas, much of Atlantic-west Africa up to the Gulf of Guinea. Zheng-he is also said to have sailed past Gulf-facing Africa to as far north in west Africa as the Cape Verde Islands. Here they left an inscription marking this great feat at Janela.

The South China Sea has been the scene of some spectacular wrecks of Chinese ships according to Arab chronicles cited by James Hornell (4). The Chinese legend of Hsu-Fu tells of 3000 Chinese supposedly migrating across the Pacific Ocean. If their ships are exampled by the replica also named as Hsu-Fu, it fell apart several hundred miles short of its intended American destination according to Tim Severin (5).

The Tek Sing was another wooden Chinese ship. It was en route to Indonesia and foundered on an Indonesian island. The loss of life was so great that the Tek Sing has acquired the clearly unwanted label of the eastern Titanic according to a Wikipedia (6) contribution.  This is despite the expected Chinese knowledge over the centuries of the routes to and from the South China Sea.

On the other hand, that the Chinese fleet led by Zheng-he did get to and crossed the Indian Ocean Region (= IOR) is beyond question. However, the size of his ships has been questioned very seriously by Zheng-Ming (7) and Stephen Davis (8) in China and outside of China respectively. Even a massive timber found in a Chinese frequently claimed as proving the giant size of the Chinese ships turns out to belong to a river-craft not a seacraft. Probably the most authentic giant wooden ships are the Orlando class of battleships constructed for the British Royal Navy that another Wikipedia entry. Their very length made them so unstable and needing steel supports that they proved useless and were soon scrapped. It will be shown this is not the only example of ancient ships of giant size to which this applies.

Geoff Wade (9) closely examined the supposedly peaceful and benign nature of Zheng-he’s expeditions and concluded it was anything but on both counts. The epicanthic fold is known all over Africa and owes nothing to shipwrecked Chinese. The more so given that the San represent probably the oldest known strand of mankind. As to the “China girl” from the Kenyan island of Pate, Geoffrey York (10) reports that her brother apparently from the same set of parents and all being black Africans is totally baffled as to her synodontism claimed by Chinese scientists.

This will indicate the “China girl” that York (ib.) says was said by Chinese sources as marking a one-time Chinese maritime supremacy does nothing of the kind as to proving this was ever the case. This resembles something on another small island a little to the north of Pate to be mentioned in the next section. The porcelain plus other small finds of Chinese origin occurring in Kenya are likely to indicate general trade with east Africa.

The Shangai/ Shanga equation actually proves to have no more substance to it than that of the comparison of Shiraz (Persia/Iran) and the Shirazi (= Swahili) of east Africa. The more so given that Felix Chami (11) has effectively removed this line of argument. York (ib.) further shows that despite the claimed Chinese wreck and despite diligent searches by the Chinese, so far actual wrecks are unproven. There is thus little support for the Chinese claims. Moreover, if Zheng-he’s ships got past Cape Agulhas and sailed along the west African coast, it is surely legitimate to wonder why such a feat was marked in the Janela (Cape Verde Islands) inscription in an obscure Indian language.



Follow up: Part 1.2: Indonesia. Stay tuned. 

The 7 Most Haunted College Campuses In The World

Happy Halloween!
Pursuing a higher education comes with a price.

by 10/25/2014

Oh, wait, I’m sorry, were you thrown off by that last part? Basically, what I meant to say was that for some students, the college struggle goes beyond the academic and into the realm of the supernatural. Below, find the seven scariest real-life hauntings on college campuses:

7. Fordham University

tumblr_mc3vw5e67S1rdutw3o1_500The Bronx campus of Fordham University is gorgeous, but it also comes with icy ghost hands that will grab your shoulders in Keating Hall — the basement of which was once an old hospital morgue, if you believe the local legends. Also, ladies, be sure to say hi to the blonde ghost that haunts the shower room, even though she’ll never talk back. (She’s the silent type.)

6. Nagasaki University

Grudge-tumblr_static_2Nearly 70 years after the atomic bomb hit Nagasaki, “screams, cries, and the smell of burning flesh” have all been reported from both students and visitors.

5. University of Illinois

tumblr_m7yz18l82x1roaheko1_500Thinking about pursuing higher education at the University of Illinois? Great! Just hope you’re okay with the faceless man who terrorizes the student body. Legend has it, more than one student was found hanged in their closet after encounters with ‘Ol Facey.

4. Heidelberg University

39705-Clown-DemonWomen in Nazi Germany went through forced sterilization at the university’s clinic due to Hitler’s eugenic movement, and at nightfall, you can still hear them weeping. Understandably. Also, at least two Jewish professors were murdered in the Holocaust, and in their former classrooms, the the chalkboards have been known to “self-erase” and randomly produce strange words, written by no one.

3. Oxford University

Nearly_Headless_NickEngland’s famous Oxford University, the oldest in the English-speaking world, has a number of famous ghosts. Like, literally famous — the ghost of Colonel Francis Winderbank haunts Merton College library, while the headless spirit of Archbishop William Laud hangs out in the St. John’s College library.

2. University of Toronto

tumblr_m9h84pieeA1rdq2opo1_500In the 1850s, a stonemason named Ivan Reznikoff tried to kill his rival, Paul Diabolos, with an axe — supposedly over a shared lover. Diabolos supposedly got the better of Reznikoff and murdered him, hiding his body somewhere in the building. Now, there are three pieces of evidence that support this banana-pants story — one, the still-visible axe marks on a door where Reznikoff swung, two, skeletal remains found in the building after a fire, and three, the personal account of future respected lawyer and parliamentarian Allen Bristol Aylesworth, who personally spoke with a man claiming to be Reznikoff’s ghost.

1. Ohio University

tumblr_mdwtddaXa71qlr7ydo1_500Fox once shot an episode of “Scariest Places on Earth” here, due to its numerous reported paranormal incidents. Wilson Hall, in particular, is located in the middle of a pentagram consisting of five cemeteries, and a student’s reported death in room 428 in the 1970s led to subsequent residents of the room reporting paranormal activity. Legend has it, a second student later died in the same room after practicing witchcraft, and it’s been vacant and boarded up ever since.

Oh, and did we mention that there was a mental institution built next to the university, compete with a cemetery mostly populated by unmarked graves? And that there’s another dorm where a female student, Laura, fell to her death, and ever since then Bob Marley’s “Laura” won’t play on any musical device?

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Original article at:

Traces of Neanderthal Virus DNA Found in Modern Human Genomes


Even though the last common ancestor of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived at least 400,000 years ago, traces of our cousins can still be found in our DNA. Fragments of DNA from viruses that affected Neanderthals have been found in modern human genomes according to new research led by Emanuele Marchi from the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology, which was was published online this month in Current Biology.

Marchi’s results show that humans today have traces of Neanderthal viruses in portions of our DNA that don’t code for protein. DNA from Denisovan bone fragments was compared with genetic samples from Neanderthals and cancer patients today. The results showed that viruses that infected Neanderthals nearly half a million years ago can still be found in our genomes today, and researchers aren’t sure yet what implications that DNA may have for modern diseases like HIV and cancer.

Viral DNA that gets passed down though DNA is known as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). While ERVs make up almost a tenth of our genomes, it is found in regions that we don’t really understand. There are hints that some of these ERVs can team up to cause disease, but it requires a lot more study. Future research will seek to understand ERVs better to determine if it still has pathogenic properties and if those ancient genetic sequences can possibly be used to target treatments.

As genetic sequencing techniques continue to improve, we will continue to understand our evolutionary history more completely. By learning more about what makes us who we are, we will be able to exploit those processes to improve our quality of life while we’re here and will make it better for those who come after.

Found on: ifl science


Against Bee Killing

This is more than just protecting a species. This action means protecting ALL species.

Official blog of Lara Lamberti

Against Bee Killing

You might want to follow me and take action in this.

This is a very important cause – I already posted about the dying bees before.
If you take the time to sign the request, you’ll be asked to eventually add your own words. I personally think that this is more powerful than just signing.
My text was this:
Thank you for considering my input.
“We all have been taught already in school how the ecological chains work in nature. Some elements – animals or plants – are less, other more important, however, none is unimportant. Nature has developed over billions of years to find a wonderful balance that we can admire every day – and that we’re destroying every day instead. Greediness, failure of knowledge, corruption, criminal acts, filtered information, regardlessness – the list of reasons is long, but greediness is always the reason on top of it. Bees…

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Politics And Other Observations Of The Day

Politics And Other Observations Of The Day.

Many are complaining that we’re living in a world of lies, but very few people are aware that lies are mostly the base of success. Nothing brings you faster to success, fame and power than the lie that everybody wants to hear.