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Were the Guanches from Atlantis?

Archaeologists and others have long wondered where exactly the indigenous people of  the Canary Islands, the Guanches, came from. Theories range from Celtic to Viking to Atlantean. According to a 2019 study of DNA from ancient mummies, they were most likely Berbers from North Africa, who arrived in the Canaries around 100 AD or even earlier, but many questions remain unanswered. (https://journals.plos.org/ plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0209125#abstract0)

Some 62 miles west of southern Morocco, the Canaries were conquered, beginning in 1402, by the Spanish Castilians, who found them inhabited by the Guanches. In Atlantis Rising Magazine #122 (“The Basque Atlantis Connection,” March/April, 2017), the late researcher William B.  Stoecker explained that the Guanches spoke Berber, a North African language. The Berber people are actually a mix of several races, united by culture and language. Those living in the southern Atlas Mountains, nearest the Canaries, have a high percentage of Rh negative blood, as do modern Canary Islanders, partial descendants of the Guanches. Although the Guanches seemed primitive, using no metals, there are a number of stepped pyramids in the islands, believed to have been built by the Guanches or some earlier, now-vanished, people.

If some kind of Atlantean empire or culture indeed existed, Stoecker believed, it might have been a seafaring culture on the continental shelves around the Atlantic. During the last ice age, when so much water was locked in vast ice sheets, these areas were largely dry land. Sea levels, then, were as much as 400 feet lower than today. The coasts of present-day Spain, France, and Portugal—as well as North Africa—would have extended further west. Florida was much larger than now, and the entire Gulf region of North America extended further south. The Bahamas had a much greater land area, as did other Caribbean and Atlantic islands—like the Azores and the Canaries.

Some 275 miles southwest of Portugal can be found the Horseshoe chain of seamounts, that includes the now submerged Ampere Seamount. During the last ice age the Ampere was partly above water. Composed of extinct volcanoes, the seamounts had formed on the Mid-Atlantic. In 1977 Russian researchers reported finding underwater ruins on the Ampere Seamount. Frank Joseph revisited the project in Atlantis Rising Magazine, #116, “Did the Russians Find Atlantis?,” (March / April, 2016).

Indeed, there was an immense collection of now-submerged real estate in and around the Atlantic and Caribbean, and, there is no need to invoke the sinking of an entire continent to explain the Atlantis legend.

Below are articles from our back issues that connect very directly to this content.
Available for purchase and download.

Issue #116
Did the Russians Find Atlantis?

from the Member’s Archive
Did the Russians Find Atlantis?

Atlantis Rising SPECIAL ISSUE – Ancient Mysteries

Atlantis Rising Magazine present this beautiful special edition of ANCIENT MYSTERIES in this glossy, full-color magazine published on premium paper. It features articles by some of the foremost researchers in the world about LOST TECHNOLOGY, LOST CIVILIZATION, SCIENCE AND THE VERY OLD, and EGYPT.

FEATURING:

LOST TECHNOLOGY
• Copper Mining in Ancient America
• Engineers of Puma Punku
• Maps from Before History
• 3-D Stone Age Art discovered at Gobekli Tepe

LOST CIVILIZATION
• Easter Island’s Astonishing Antiquity
• Journey to Gunung Padang
• Lost Tribes
• Giant Predecessors in America
• Did the Russians Find Atlantis
• The Search for the Garden of Eden

SCIENCE AND THE VERY OLD
• Riddle of Lost Civilization
(Advanced Neanderthals)
• How Did the Ice Ages End
• Ice-Age-End Scenarios
• The Trouble with Timelines

EGYPT
• Ancient Genius (Imhotep)
• Return to the Great Sphinx
• Hidden Chambers in Egypt
• Crime in the Great Pyramid

100 pages

Issue 116 – Hidden Chambers in Egypt?

In This 88-page edition:

  • PROTOSCIENCE
    Free Energy…Gravity Control…Alternative Science…
    THE QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY: ILLUSION OR REALITY?
    By Jerry Decker
  • THE FORBIDDEN ARCHAEOLOGIST
    THE UNEXPLAINED HUMAN FOSSILS OF SAVONA, ITALY
    By Michael Cremo
  • ALTERNATIVE SCIENCE
    SECRETS OF THE CAROLINA BAYS
    The Untold Story of the Younger Dryas
    By RALPH ELLIS
  • ALTERNATIVE ARCHAEOLOGY
    DID THE RUSSIANS FIND ATLANTIS?
    It Could Be Time for a Fresh Look at Forgotten Reports
    By FRANK JOSEPH
  • HOLISTIC HEALTH
    JUNK DNA OR NOT?
    Could the Genetic Material the ‘Experts’ Rejected Have a Purpose, After All?
    By BRENDAN MURPHY
  • THE OTHER SIDE
    Shroud of Turin
    The Mysteries Grow Deeper
    By PATRICK MARSOLEK
  • Shroud of Turin
    Big-Power Politics Then & Now
  • ALTERNATIVE SCIENCE
    THE INTOLERANT CHURCH OF SCIENTISM
    How Well Has It Earned the Adulation It Asks of Us?
    By WILLIAM B. STOECKER
  • SPIRITUALITY
    THE POWERS OF MEDITATION
    Just How Far Can Your Mind Take You?
    By JOHN WHITE
  • ANCIENT MYSTERIES
    HIDDEN CHAMBERS IN EGYPT
    The Curious Revelations of New Hi-Tech Surveys
    By ROBERT M. SCHOCH, Ph.D.
  • ALTERNATIVE ARCHAEOLOGY
    MAGICAL EGYPT 2
    VIDEO PRODUCTION LEADS TO STARTLING DISCOVERIES Ancient Art Reveals Surprising Secrets
    By CHANCE GARDNER
  • BOOK EXCERPT
    THE LOST ARTS OF LEVITATION
    Can Overcoming Gravity Be Simpler than We Thought?
    By STEVE RICHARDS
  • ASTROLOGY
    TREK TO THE PLANET VULCAN
    Could Dark Matter or Dark Energy play a part in explaining a mysterious hidden planet spoken of in esoteric lore?
    By Julie Loar
  • DVD
    LIFE BENEATH THE SURFACE
    Astounding New Evidence of Irreducible Complexity in Earth’s Oceans
    By Marsha Oaks

Archives – Sample page

Members of The Atlantis Rising Research Group have full access to the huge archives of articles. Below is a sample of the full-access archives.


#120 Nov/Dec 2016


Could history be wrong? More specifically, could the story and purpose of the pyramids of ancient Egypt, as presented in numerous TV documentaries and countless academic books, be fatally flawed? Indeed, is there another plausible paradigm, with an entirely different narrative for interpreting these magnificent monuments? Is there an alternative view that stands up to scrutiny, is consistent with the ancient Egyptian culture, and is corroborated with much more evidence than is the tomb theory of orthodoxy? Is there an explanation that is almost unknown to the public—let alone one that is fully considered?

Before considering this alternative view, it is probably fair to concede that some pyramids in ancient Egypt probably were used as tombs—there is, indeed, some good circumstantial evidence to support this view. So, we are not saying the peer-reviewed studies are entirely wrong. But simply because scraps of evidence can be found that some pyramids were probably used for burial does not, and should not, establish that this was the only original or intended function. The distinction is important, yet one that Egyptologists, wedded as they are to the ‘tomb,’ and ‘tomb only’ theory, rarely consider.

Ultimately, what counts is evidence. Alas, the evidence, which points to a very different purpose for these first pyramids, is usually ignored, glossed over, misinterpreted, or otherwise explained away. It seems almost as though the academic establishment intentionally chooses not to connect the dots of the evidence all around them. Would doing so paint a picture of our most ancient past, based almost entirely upon hidebound, and outworn, theories? Have the academic authorities invested so much in their cherished ‘tomb paradigm,’ that they cannot even consider other, perhaps more reasonable, possibilities? Has a big piece of the historical puzzle been almost entirely overlooked or ignored?

This problematic attitude has been well summarized by one of the few Egyptologists who has dared to speak out against such ‘academic censorship.’ In her controversial book, Kingdom of the Ark, Lorraine Evans, writes: “It is important to stress that many academics’ careers are based on these ‘facts’ and to disprove them overnight would make these people redundant.” In researching her book, Evans says, “I soon discovered that some academics were quite willing to share their work off the record [emphasis added —ED], but when it came to committing it to print they soon backed down and a wall of silence greeted me. None of them, it appeared, wanted to put their jobs on the line, to tell the truth. The sad reality of the matter is that we are relying on these people to tell us our history, but they seem content to operate under a veil of academic censorship.”

The trouble begins with the interpretation of evidence. Conventional academics, the virtual custodians of our past, offer theories of the evidence that, rather than clarifying the true historical facts, actually clouds them. Only hypotheses that reinforce existing prejudices—their personal belief systems—are offered. Take, for example, the heavy stone boxes found in a few of the first pyramids. Egyptologists have used the ubiquitous label ‘sarcophagi’ (meaning coffins), but is that the only use such stone boxes might have had?

In fact, the ancient Egyptians had, at least, three different terms for these enigmatic stone boxes, dArwEt, qErsEw, and nEb-Ankh—suggesting at least three different functions. It seems that qErsEw were indeed used for human burial, and were, in fact, sarcophagi, but that is not always the case, as can easily be observed in the so-called ‘sarcophagi’ of Khufu and Khafre, which contrast distinctly with those of other family members from the period, such as Kawab, Meresankh, and Minkhaf (the offsprings of Khufu and siblings to Khafre). Where the sarcophagi from the mastaba tombs of Khufu’s sons/daughters and siblings are exquisitely finished, highly decorated, and inscribed with the names and titles of the deceased the purported ‘sarcophagi’ of Khufu and Khafre are simply rough granite boxes, entirely anonymous, and bearing not a single inscription.

If we accept the maxim—that form follows function—with this evidence, we have our first hint that all is not what we have been told. Here, indeed, can be seen a clear distinction between the stone boxes in the mastaba tombs (which were obviously intended for burial) and those found in some of the pyramids. Moreover, it is not merely the outward appearance of these stone boxes that reveals a profoundly different function than those of the mastaba tombs. It is their actual contents which have been ignored or glossed over by academic authorities.

The first hint of the true purpose for these stone boxes (and, by extension, the giant pyramids themselves) presented itself almost two centuries ago when the Italian explorer, Giovanni Belzoni, became the first in recent history to enter the main chamber of Khafre’s pyramid. Prying open the lid of the granite container, Belzoni was astonished to find, not a king’s mummy, but a granite box filled with nothing more than ordinary earth.

Belzoni, however, immediately disregarded his own discovery, taking it as an aberration, assuming that the king’s actual body must have been stolen from the ‘sarcophagus’ in antiquity and that, to ‘honor the gods,’ the box had been filled instead with dirt. Incredibly, almost two hundred years later, Belzoni’s judgment remains the prevailing view of Egyptology. Few, if any, have ever even considered the possibility that the found in this stone container was, in fact, its originally intended content and that it had been placed there for a very good reason—something evidenced and explained elsewhere in the ancient Egyptian culture.

One of ancient Egypt’s most important festivals was the Festival of Khoiak, which marked the rebirth of Osiris. During this month-long celebration, the festival participants would fashion small, anonymous stone boxes (sometimes wooden) and fill them with earth, scattering some grain on top of the soil. These miniature boxes (nEb-Ankh) were symbolic versions of the larger stone boxes found in the pyramid. A lid would sometimes seal the box before it was buried, with a large rock placed on top to symbolize the pyramid mound. So here we have an ancient Egyptian ritual from later dynasties replicating in symbolic form exactly what Belzoni had found inside Khafre’s pyramid in 1818. The later Egyptians dynasties fully understood what these rough, anonymous boxes in the pyramids contained, for they replicated them in ritual form with their own miniature versions.

Sometimes a small effigy of the god Osiris would be placed in the small stone container. Typically this Osiris figure was made of mud, packed with grain, and wrapped in linen. Known as ‘Corn Mummies,’ these figures, Egyptologists believe, were fashioned as part of the Festival of Khoiak simply to venerate Osiris as the god of rebirth and regeneration,the god of agriculture. This is why, the Egyptologists explain, the face of Osiris is often colored green (representing vegetation) or black (for the black Nile silt). But this is to take a very simplistic and superficial view of the evidence and to fail to connect the other dots that complete the picture.

With this evidence of the nEb-Ankh and the Osiris ‘Corn Mummies,’ we can now see evidence pointing to the probability that these pyramids were not intended as tombs for kings but, in fact, served some other purpose. But why place a stone box filled with earth within the pyramid? Why create these Osiris ‘Corn Mummies’? A number of clues come to us from the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, the oldest religious writings found anywhere in the world. [A collection of Old Kingdom Egyptian writings, the Pyramid Texts were found carved onto the walls inside the pyramids at Saqqara. The Texts, some scholars believe, originated in sources dating to before dynastic Egypt. —ED]

In the Pyramid Texts we learn of the ancient Egyptian Creation Myth, where, in the beginning, there was nothing but water until the first mound (pyramid) rose out of the deep. The texts also tell us of the story of Isis and Osiris, that “Osiris is the grain” and that “the pyramid is Osiris… the construction [of the pyramid] is Osiris.” They further tell us that the body of Osiris was cut into sixteen pieces by his evil brother Seth and scattered along the banks of the Nile. Egyptologists dismiss these texts merely as ritualistic hymns, spells and incantations designed to assist the king, on his journey through the Duat and into the Afterlife. With this simplistic view they, once more, fail to connect the dots—and miss entirely what the texts actually say—burying a fundamental truth which is clearly visible to anyone with the eyes to see.

The enormous stone pyramids (and their satellites) of ancient Egypt numbered nineteen in total, but three were never completed, leaving sixteen fully finished. If, as the Pyramid Texts tell us, “the pyramid is Osiris” and his body was cut into sixteen pieces and scattered along the banks of the Nile, could it then be that the pyramids themselves were literally the body of Osiris, and like the ‘Corn Mummies’ of later times, had once been filled with grain and other seed types? What does the evidence say?

During the early explorations of the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara, vast quantities of grain and many other seed types were found, along with some 40,000 stones vessels of all shapes and sizes. Someone in antiquity, it seems, was storing enormous quantities of grain within the ‘body of Osiris’. Once again, we can join the dots and make connections with the later tradition of the Osiris ‘Corn Mummies.’

But, there’s more. If we consider the classic figurine of Osiris—with distinctive Atef crown and the royal regalia of crossed crook and flail—and then map the key points, creating a stickman, we find a remarkable correlation with the layout of the pyramids. The first pyramids, we can plainly see, aligns very well with the figure of Osiris; they really do reveal, as the Pyramid Texts state, the ‘body of Osiris.’ As for the stone box filled with earth: a scattering upon the earth of the seeds within the box could provide the virtual life-spark, soul, or Ka within the body of Osiris formed by the pyramids.

Why, after all, would the ancient Egyptians build sixteen pyramids and fill them with various seed types and storage vessels? Egyptologist, Dr. Mark Lehner, offers one explanation: a Coptic legend states that an ancient king, Surid (possibly a corruption of the name Suphis/Khufu), upon learning of an impending deluge that would destroy his kingdom, had the pyramids constructed as arks, to store in them everything “that was of esteem” in the kingdom. In this scenario the pyramids were built, not as the tomb of the king but as the womb of the kingdom, ensuring they had everything required in order to ‘reboot’ the kingdom after the worst effects of the deluge had passed. In short, the pyramid arks would ensure the rebirth of the kingdom, of the earth. This chthonic function [pertaining to the subterranean world —ED] is what the ancient myths tell us was the purpose of these pyramids, but the idea is dismissed by the academics who, though possessing little evidence, still insist that the pyramids were built as tombs, and only as tombs.

Despite the difficulties though, the prevailing historical narrative, is yet maintained by a determined establishment not only through indifference to significant evidence but also by the aggressive manufacture of bogus ‘evidence.’ The best example of this occurred in 1837, when the British antiquarian and electoral cheat, Colonel Richard William Howard Vyse, blasted his way into four hidden chambers within the upper reaches of the Great Pyramid. Within these chambers Vyse, according to his own published account, found ‘quarry marks’ (including some royal names) painted onto some of the roof and wall stones. Egyptologists hailed this discovery as incontrovertible proof that the pyramid was indeed a tomb, built for Khufu, circa 2550 BCE. The ‘evidence’ was accepted without further scientific analysis on what amounts to nothing more than the word of the British colonel. Such remains the case today.

The truth of the matter, however, is considerably different and, indeed, much more sinister. In his 1980 book, The Stairway to Heaven, best-selling author, Zechariah Sitchin, first put forward the sensational claim that these painted marks had actually been faked by Vyse and his team. While some of the case presented by Sitchin has since been discredited, an entire corpus of new evidence has recently surfaced that shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that Vyse did indeed fabricate this evidence in the Great Pyramid, as Sitchin claimed, and that, in so doing, he perpetrated one of the greatest hoaxes of all history.

In 2014, having tracked Vyse’s handwritten field notes to a small archive in Aylesbury, England, and after laboriously deciphering his extremely difficult handwriting, this writer found a number of clearly incriminating pages suggesting that, indeed, Vyse has perpetrated a fraud. I had much to say on this in Atlantis Rising #106, “Crime in the Great Pyramid,” but here are the high points.

On March 30, 1837, Vyse’s private notes stated the following: “In Wellington’s Chamber, there are marks in area of the stones like quarry marks of red paint, also the figure of a bird near them, but nothing like hieroglyphics.” The passage is remarkable for a number of reasons which are more fully explained in my forthcoming book, The Great Pyramid Hoax (Bear & Co., Dec 2016), but the most important point is Vyse’s admission that, after having opened and thoroughly examined this chamber twice, he had found “nothing like hieroglyphics.” And yet, despite this, Vyse’s assistant, J.R. Hill, (acting on Vyse’s instructions) very soon presented the facsimile drawing of a royal cartouche from this chamber. That single symbol remains, to this day, the sole evidence upon which the standard dating of the Great Pyramid is based.

Vyse stated repeatedly that he wanted to make an important discovery in these chambers; indeed, he wished to discover a cartouche that would date the structures. Given this desire, it is very had to believe that, in his private writings, he would make no mention of any cartouche having been found in this chamber. And yet, seemingly from nowhere, his assistant subsequently presented just such a thing.

In another passage from these same private notes, Vyse writes: “For Raven & Hill. These were my marks from cartouche [Vyse’s sketch of the infamous cartouche is drawn here —ED] to inscribe over any plain, low trussing.” Vyse is making a note to himself of his intention to instruct his assistants to copy a Khufu cartouche onto a roof trussing. He does not say here that he had found a cartouche already inscribed (past tense) on a particular trussing but that he has a cartouche “to inscribe” (future tense) over any trussing within the chamber. There seems little doubt—these painted marks were intentionally fabricated by Vyse and his team.

Such actions—the indifference to, and misinterpretation of, evidence, indeed by its active fabrication—tell a false version of the true history of these monuments. But, hopefully, as the mistakes, misinterpretations, and, indeed, crimes of the past are exposed and disentangled, the buried and distorted truth of our ancient past can now find its way to the surface, and our true origins can, at last, emerge from the darkness.

            CAPTIONS: The plain, uninscribed granite box in Khafre’s pyramid was found filled with earth. The key points of the Osiris figure (right) correlate with the relative positions of the first pyramids along the banks of the Nile. Italian explorer, Giovanni Belzoni, liked to dress as an Arab. The so-called Khufu cartouche found in one of the chambers above the King’s chamber in the Greay Pyramid (photo courtesy of Dr. Robert Schoch). Vyse’s private journal entry of 27th May, 1837.

Author Scott Creighton’s forthcoming book, The Great Pyramid Hoax (Bear & Co., December 2016), offers further, never-before-seen evidence of the audacious hoax perpetrated by British explorer and antiquarian, Colonel Richard William Howard Vyse, and his assistants inside the Great Pyramid in 1837.

Ancient Mysteries

Nov/Dec2016 – #120


#124 July/August 2017


Lost River of the Vedas

What is the difference between a yogi in a cave and a caveman? Wisconsin born Sanskrit scholar and internationally renowned Vedic teacher and historian Dr. David Frawley isn’t making a new-age joke—he’s questioning our ability to interpret findings and determine dates relating to ancient civilizations. “We tend to identify advanced civilizations with technology, but that may not be the indicator we should be looking for,” he cautions. “Besides, would an advanced civilization leave a mess? Maybe they would clean up after themselves, leaving little evidence.” He’s referring to the Indus Valley (Harappan) civilization, considered by orthodox archaeology to have existed from 2600 to 1900 BCE in western India and eastern Pakistan, which mysteriously vanished. Frawley recently returned from a three-day conference in India, where the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Archaeological and Geological Surveys of India got together to discuss the latest developments on the Indus civilization, including the 2001 discovery of an underwater city near Gujarat and the so-called Aryan Invasion/Migration, the idea that India was taken over by Western migrants around 1500 BCE.

Frawley thinks that hypothesis is preposterous, and in books, such as The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (1994) and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (1995) he and co-authors Subhash Kak and the late Georg Feuerstein criticize the theory of a conflict between invading Caucasoid Aryans and indigenous Indians, or Dravidians, supporting instead the idea that the Vedic people were indigenous to India. “Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south, as western historians have proposed,” states Frawley, adding, “there is no archaeological evidence that shows an Aryan invasion or migration, nor is there genetic evidence. Those who support a migration scenario say the Vedas came from the outside; yet the question of Aryans and Vedic culture revolves around Europe, not just India. The West does not want to accept what has been discovered. Instead, it wants to hold onto the idea that civilization came from the Near East.” On the other side of the pond, Frawley thinks Americans’ knowledge of history is “pretty dismal,” noting that the word ‘Arya’ is a generic Sanskrit term for ‘noble,’ and has no racial or linguistic connotations prior to European adaptation.

“Some linguists posit that German is more ancient than Sanskrit—the only language for which we have such a huge literary record,” he explains. “Sanskrit remains one of the great wonders of the world. Its grammar is so precise that NASA can use it for calculations” (perhaps why, in the 2016 Academy Award nominated film Arrival, characters seeking to unlock an alien code, ask the Sanskrit word for war). Interestingly, in an extensive report published last year in Britain’s New Scientist, author Andrew Robinson notes that the Indus civilization appears to have survived 700 years without war or social inequality. Excavated artifacts include gemstone jewelry and children’s games, but few weapons. There is, however, evidence of indoor plumbing, irrigation, sewage treatment and sophisticated urban planning. Multistory brick structures and long streets aligned with a grid indicate an adherence to the principles of Vastu, an aspect of Vedic culture mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. In particular, notes archaeological researcher Michael Cremo, Lothal, a Harappan city that flourished in the third millennium BCE, is laid out in a manner consistent with Vastu principles, indicating the city was part of the Vedic culture and suggesting that the Mahabharata may be traced to the same time period.

”The Vedic culture is said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers,” says Frawley, who has been interested in India all his life. In fact, he often refers to himself as “an Indian in an American body” and remembers a seminal moment when, as a teenager hiking a mountain near Denver, he felt a strong sense of being immortal and that he “had been here many times.” He discovered Yogananda’s teachings while studying the philosophies, religions, and science of the world. Having memorized all the Egyptian Pharaohs as a child, Frawley began his Vedic studies in the 1970s by translating Vedic mantras, guided by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. He researched the Vedas, India’s most ancient scriptures, believed to have been revealed to seers, or Rishis, and preserved by oral tradition. Written in early Sanskrit, they contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for Vedic priests. The four main texts are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. “I started with the Rig Veda because of its antiquity. I felt the ancient teachings had a message for us about where we came from and our foundation as a species. The Vedas provide a record that has survived the course of history because India has uniquely preserved its continuity of older cultures.”

Could the Indus civilization be considered the Saraswati Vedic civilization? “Vedic literature is clear on Saraswati river geography,” says Frawley, who earned a Doctorate in Literature from the Swami Vivekenanda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana. “Numerous Vedic texts locate it west of the Yamuna and east of the Indus, exactly where the main set of ancient ruins have been found. Lauded as the main river in the Rig Veda, the Saraswati is said to be wide and vast in size and ‘pure in course from the mountains to the sea.’ “So the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial homeland,” he points out. Modern land studies reveal the Saraswati to have been one of the largest, if not the largest, rivers in India before drying up in the desert in 2000 BCE. In ancient times, it drained the Sutlej and Yamuna, whose courses were much different than they are today. Later Vedic texts including the Mahabharata mention that the Saraswati dried up and no longer reached the sea. Frawley cites this as evidence bolstering his opinion that the Saraswati-Indus civilization was intrinsically literate and self-developed. “How could the Vedic people know of this river and establish their culture on its banks, if it dried up before they arrived?” Indeed, he says, the Saraswati as described in the Rig Veda appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture, as by then it was already in decline.

Writing in the journal Nature (May 2016), researchers from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) support Frawley’s view, citing pottery shards found in the Mohenjo Daro/Harappa area, near where the Saraswati River would have been. Dates obtained from state-of-the-art optically stimulated luminescence technology show they were created around 7000 BCE, indicating the Saraswati civilization was older by at least 2,500 years than conventional scholars consider the pyramids of Egypt or the megaliths of Stonehenge to be. First discovered in the 1920s by researchers looking for evidence of Alexander the Great (who, asserts Frawley, came upon the civilization and chose not to invade), Mohenjo Daro was thought to be around 4,500 years old—suggesting the Indus was an established civilization, not the result of an invasion from the west. The ASI scientists also say they discovered another site at least a thousand years older than Mohenjo Daro. “There are five sites as large or larger than Mohenjo-daro and Harappa,” says Frawley, noting that only one-tenth of what has already been uncovered has been examined.

In a 2002 article for The Hindu newspaper, Frawley drew on then recent marine archaeological discoveries of the existence of a submerged city dating from 7500 BCE in the Gulf of Cambay, further suggesting coastal origins for Vedic civilization along the path of the Indus and Saraswati river beds and supporting the authenticity of global flood myths. Frawley mentions that this concurs with the texts of the Rig Veda, which repeatedly uses the Sanskrit word ‘samudra,’ meaning ocean. He caught flak for this from Harvard Sanskrit professor Michael Wirtzel, a German-American philologist who vehemently argued that ‘samudra’ means ‘confluence of rivers’ rather than ‘ocean,’ and therefore writers of the Vedic civilization were from a place far from any oceans and not originally from India. “Wirtzel is a linguist; there has been no real evidence to show his support of migration,” says Frawley, referring to the fact that while many in Wirtzel’s camp have rejected the theory of an Aryan invasion from outside India, they still contend there was a migration from outside India.

Based on survey data utilizing the latest high-tech methods including side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling and multi-beam eco-sounding, a report by geologist Badrinaryan Badrinaryan of India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology shows clear evidence that a civilization flourished in the Cambay area from about 13,000 to 3,000 years ago, and strong evidence that human habitation there dates back as far as 31,000 years. Badrinaryan believes this is the progenitor of the Harrapan civilization, once considered the oldest in the world. “What I find interesting is that though genetic records show humans have been here 200,000 years, our historical timeline registers only 5,000 years,” notes Frawley. “As a historian, I’ve studied ancient cultures; none say ‘we are the first’; they all say ‘there were many before us.’ It’s odd that the cultures we claim invented civilization say they didn’t. And just because we don’t find technology doesn’t mean they were not sophisticated. India is interesting because in the south there has been continuous habitation through the ice ages… you can’t always ask for easy proof; if things have been underwater for ten thousand years it will be hard to identify them today.”

In a lecture to the Indian Council of Historical Research, Frawley’s calm, even tone is occasionally punctuated with bursts of enthusiasm. He’s confident, sure of his facts; his long, tapered left hand rests on his knee while the right, encircled with red and gold threads indicating he’s performed certain rituals, gesticulates. In 1991, under the auspices of the Hindu teacher Avadhuta Shastri, he was given the name Vamadeva Shastri, after the Vedic Rishi Vamadeva, and in 2015 received from the Indian government the prestigious Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of a higher order to the nation,” honoring his work and writings as a Vedic teacher. “There has been a concerted movement to denigrate the native culture of India; it’s time for that colonial scenario to change,” says Frawley, adding that India is the only nation still denying the true heritage of its native peoples. “The Marxist era ended in 1991 after destroying more art and culture than the British did.”

Not only that, but most archaeological work was done by colonial scholars funded by colonial governments, and India’s main historians were communists with a vested interest of their own.” Fortunately, says Frawley, as of 2014 the Indian government has been more favorable. “Like the U.S., India is divided by states, so some projects are statewide. Still, funding for archaeology is going down, and there is academic resistance to things that push our boundaries. But just as there was a revolution in physics, we could have a revolution in history.”

Frawley sees the current historical model as “just a working model that is probably flawed. Our scenario has changed; we’re finding older civilizations throughout the world. What’s unique about India is that it has the oldest, most massive literature and the longest list of dynasties and yet also the most recent discoveries. It offers a unique geological situation in the role of the movement of rivers, affecting both agriculture and the course of civilization.” So what does he think caused the decline of the Saraswati civilization? “Several factors: a weakening of the monsoon between 2200–1900 BCE; also, major quakes changed rivers like the Sutlej and the Yamuna. Early Vedic texts talk about the river reaching the sea; later texts talk about them drying up into a series of lakes. The British found evidence of these ancient rivers in the nineteenth century, but later archaeologists chose to ignore it. The Himalayas are the youngest and highest mountains in world, and are also the most active with regard to earthquakes (some have registered 8.0) and mega-quakes. Emerging rivers go through the outer range’s series of folds and hills. The plains are relatively flat, so that could have caused rivers to move. Oceans have been going up and down; at the end of the last ice age oceans went up 300-400 feet; the coastline was radically changed worldwide; most civilizations are on the coast and would have gone under. Water sites reveal evidence of habitations that would have gone underwater thousands of years ago. Mega earthquakes and rising oceans can cause lost continents.”

One of the mysteries of the lost Indus Valley civilization is the as yet undeciphered script that has been found on hundreds of excavated seals, which may represent humanity’s oldest writing. As far as the discovery of the Naga Stone (said to be India’s Rosetta), Frawley is skeptical about the details. “The problem is that though we have many seals, the small number of characters is extremely limited, and vowels may be missing; they’re not always written. Yet there is no doubt that the iconography found with the seals reflects what we find in later India. Though discoveries are being made all the time, trying to date history is difficult and speculative; we find ruins, but how do we interpret them? You can debate symbols; you can’t debate changing rivers, so we cannot ignore the Saraswati evidence.”

In 1980 Frawley founded the Vedic Research Center, reestablished as the American Institute of Vedic

What is the difference between a yogi in a cave and a caveman? Wisconsin born Sanskrit scholar and internationally renowned Vedic teacher and historian Dr. David Frawley isn’t making a new-age joke—he’s questioning our ability to interpret findings and determine dates relating to ancient civilizations. “We tend to identify advanced civilizations with technology, but that may not be the indicator we should be looking for,” he cautions. “Besides, would an advanced civilization leave a mess? Maybe they would clean up after themselves, leaving little evidence.” He’s referring to the Indus Valley (Harappan) civilization, considered by orthodox archaeology to have existed from 2600 to 1900 BCE in western India and eastern Pakistan, which mysteriously vanished. Frawley recently returned from a three-day conference in India, where the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Archaeological and Geological Surveys of India got together to discuss the latest developments on the Indus civilization, including the 2001 discovery of an underwater city near Gujarat and the so-called Aryan Invasion/Migration, the idea that India was taken over by Western migrants around 1500 BCE.

Frawley thinks that hypothesis is preposterous, and in books, such as The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (1994) and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (1995) he and co-authors Subhash Kak and the late Georg Feuerstein criticize the theory of a conflict between invading Caucasoid Aryans and indigenous Indians, or Dravidians, supporting instead the idea that the Vedic people were indigenous to India. “Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south, as western historians have proposed,” states Frawley, adding, “there is no archaeological evidence that shows an Aryan invasion or migration, nor is there genetic evidence. Those who support a migration scenario say the Vedas came from the outside; yet the question of Aryans and Vedic culture revolves around Europe, not just India. The West does not want to accept what has been discovered. Instead, it wants to hold onto the idea that civilization came from the Near East.” On the other side of the pond, Frawley thinks Americans’ knowledge of history is “pretty dismal,” noting that the word ‘Arya’ is a generic Sanskrit term for ‘noble,’ and has no racial or linguistic connotations prior to European adaptation.

“Some linguists posit that German is more ancient than Sanskrit—the only language for which we have such a huge literary record,” he explains. “Sanskrit remains one of the great wonders of the world. Its grammar is so precise that NASA can use it for calculations” (perhaps why, in the 2016 Academy Award nominated film Arrival, characters seeking to unlock an alien code, ask the Sanskrit word for war). Interestingly, in an extensive report published last year in Britain’s New Scientist, author Andrew Robinson notes that the Indus civilization appears to have survived 700 years without war or social inequality. Excavated artifacts include gemstone jewelry and children’s games, but few weapons. There is, however, evidence of indoor plumbing, irrigation, sewage treatment and sophisticated urban planning. Multistory brick structures and long streets aligned with a grid indicate an adherence to the principles of Vastu, an aspect of Vedic culture mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. In particular, notes archaeological researcher Michael Cremo, Lothal, a Harappan city that flourished in the third millennium BCE, is laid out in a manner consistent with Vastu principles, indicating the city was part of the Vedic culture and suggesting that the Mahabharata may be traced to the same time period.

”The Vedic culture is said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers,” says Frawley, who has been interested in India all his life. In fact, he often refers to himself as “an Indian in an American body” and remembers a seminal moment when, as a teenager hiking a mountain near Denver, he felt a strong sense of being immortal and that he “had been here many times.” He discovered Yogananda’s teachings while studying the philosophies, religions, and science of the world. Having memorized all the Egyptian Pharaohs as a child, Frawley began his Vedic studies in the 1970s by translating Vedic mantras, guided by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. He researched the Vedas, India’s most ancient scriptures, believed to have been revealed to seers, or Rishis, and preserved by oral tradition. Written in early Sanskrit, they contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for Vedic priests. The four main texts are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. “I started with the Rig Veda because of its antiquity. I felt the ancient teachings had a message for us about where we came from and our foundation as a species. The Vedas provide a record that has survived the course of history because India has uniquely preserved its continuity of older cultures.”

Could the Indus civilization be considered the Saraswati Vedic civilization? “Vedic literature is clear on Saraswati river geography,” says Frawley, who earned a Doctorate in Literature from the Swami Vivekenanda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana. “Numerous Vedic texts locate it west of the Yamuna and east of the Indus, exactly where the main set of ancient ruins have been found. Lauded as the main river in the Rig Veda, the Saraswati is said to be wide and vast in size and ‘pure in course from the mountains to the sea.’ “So the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial homeland,” he points out. Modern land studies reveal the Saraswati to have been one of the largest, if not the largest, rivers in India before drying up in the desert in 2000 BCE. In ancient times, it drained the Sutlej and Yamuna, whose courses were much different than they are today. Later Vedic texts including the Mahabharata mention that the Saraswati dried up and no longer reached the sea. Frawley cites this as evidence bolstering his opinion that the Saraswati-Indus civilization was intrinsically literate and self-developed. “How could the Vedic people know of this river and establish their culture on its banks, if it dried up before they arrived?” Indeed, he says, the Saraswati as described in the Rig Veda appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture, as by then it was already in decline.

Writing in the journal Nature (May 2016), researchers from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) support Frawley’s view, citing pottery shards found in the Mohenjo Daro/Harappa area, near where the Saraswati River would have been. Dates obtained from state-of-the-art optically stimulated luminescence technology show they were created around 7000 BCE, indicating the Saraswati civilization was older by at least 2,500 years than conventional scholars consider the pyramids of Egypt or the megaliths of Stonehenge to be. First discovered in the 1920s by researchers looking for evidence of Alexander the Great (who, asserts Frawley, came upon the civilization and chose not to invade), Mohenjo Daro was thought to be around 4,500 years old—suggesting the Indus was an established civilization, not the result of an invasion from the west. The ASI scientists also say they discovered another site at least a thousand years older than Mohenjo Daro. “There are five sites as large or larger than Mohenjo-daro and Harappa,” says Frawley, noting that only one-tenth of what has already been uncovered has been examined.

In a 2002 article for The Hindu newspaper, Frawley drew on then recent marine archaeological discoveries of the existence of a submerged city dating from 7500 BCE in the Gulf of Cambay, further suggesting coastal origins for Vedic civilization along the path of the Indus and Saraswati river beds and supporting the authenticity of global flood myths. Frawley mentions that this concurs with the texts of the Rig Veda, which repeatedly uses the Sanskrit word ‘samudra,’ meaning ocean. He caught flak for this from Harvard Sanskrit professor Michael Wirtzel, a German-American philologist who vehemently argued that ‘samudra’ means ‘confluence of rivers’ rather than ‘ocean,’ and therefore writers of the Vedic civilization were from a place far from any oceans and not originally from India. “Wirtzel is a linguist; there has been no real evidence to show his support of migration,” says Frawley, referring to the fact that while many in Wirtzel’s camp have rejected the theory of an Aryan invasion from outside India, they still contend there was a migration from outside India.

Based on survey data utilizing the latest high-tech methods including side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling and multi-beam eco-sounding, a report by geologist Badrinaryan Badrinaryan of India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology shows clear evidence that a civilization flourished in the Cambay area from about 13,000 to 3,000 years ago, and strong evidence that human habitation there dates back as far as 31,000 years. Badrinaryan believes this is the progenitor of the Harrapan civilization, once considered the oldest in the world. “What I find interesting is that though genetic records show humans have been here 200,000 years, our historical timeline registers only 5,000 years,” notes Frawley. “As a historian, I’ve studied ancient cultures; none say ‘we are the first’; they all say ‘there were many before us.’ It’s odd that the cultures we claim invented civilization say they didn’t. And just because we don’t find technology doesn’t mean they were not sophisticated. India is interesting because in the south there has been continuous habitation through the ice ages… you can’t always ask for easy proof; if things have been underwater for ten thousand years it will be hard to identify them today.”

In a lecture to the Indian Council of Historical Research, Frawley’s calm, even tone is occasionally punctuated with bursts of enthusiasm. He’s confident, sure of his facts; his long, tapered left hand rests on his knee while the right, encircled with red and gold threads indicating he’s performed certain rituals, gesticulates. In 1991, under the auspices of the Hindu teacher Avadhuta Shastri, he was given the name Vamadeva Shastri, after the Vedic Rishi Vamadeva, and in 2015 received from the Indian government the prestigious Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of a higher order to the nation,” honoring his work and writings as a Vedic teacher. “There has been a concerted movement to denigrate the native culture of India; it’s time for that colonial scenario to change,” says Frawley, adding that India is the only nation still denying the true heritage of its native peoples. “The Marxist era ended in 1991 after destroying more art and culture than the British did.”

Not only that, but most archaeological work was done by colonial scholars funded by colonial governments, and India’s main historians were communists with a vested interest of their own.” Fortunately, says Frawley, as of 2014 the Indian government has been more favorable. “Like the U.S., India is divided by states, so some projects are statewide. Still, funding for archaeology is going down, and there is academic resistance to things that push our boundaries. But just as there was a revolution in physics, we could have a revolution in history.”

Frawley sees the current historical model as “just a working model that is probably flawed. Our scenario has changed; we’re finding older civilizations throughout the world. What’s unique about India is that it has the oldest, most massive literature and the longest list of dynasties and yet also the most recent discoveries. It offers a unique geological situation in the role of the movement of rivers, affecting both agriculture and the course of civilization.” So what does he think caused the decline of the Saraswati civilization? “Several factors: a weakening of the monsoon between 2200–1900 BCE; also, major quakes changed rivers like the Sutlej and the Yamuna. Early Vedic texts talk about the river reaching the sea; later texts talk about them drying up into a series of lakes. The British found evidence of these ancient rivers in the nineteenth century, but later archaeologists chose to ignore it. The Himalayas are the youngest and highest mountains in world, and are also the most active with regard to earthquakes (some have registered 8.0) and mega-quakes. Emerging rivers go through the outer range’s series of folds and hills. The plains are relatively flat, so that could have caused rivers to move. Oceans have been going up and down; at the end of the last ice age oceans went up 300-400 feet; the coastline was radically changed worldwide; most civilizations are on the coast and would have gone under. Water sites reveal evidence of habitations that would have gone underwater thousands of years ago. Mega earthquakes and rising oceans can cause lost continents.”

One of the mysteries of the lost Indus Valley civilization is the as yet undeciphered script that has been found on hundreds of excavated seals, which may represent humanity’s oldest writing. As far as the discovery of the Naga Stone (said to be India’s Rosetta), Frawley is skeptical about the details. “The problem is that though we have many seals, the small number of characters is extremely limited, and vowels may be missing; they’re not always written. Yet there is no doubt that the iconography found with the seals reflects what we find in later India. Though discoveries are being made all the time, trying to date history is difficult and speculative; we find ruins, but how do we interpret them? You can debate symbols; you can’t debate changing rivers, so we cannot ignore the Saraswati evidence.”

In 1980, Frawley founded the Vedic Research Center, reestablished as the American Institute of Vedic Studies in 1988, which he now runs with his wife, Yogini Shambhavi Chopra. Their program of Vedic Education encourages the teaching of Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda in schools as well as in ashrams and temples, and includes developing a more accurate post-colonial, post-Marxist view of the history of India, particularly relative to the Vedic period, which is aware of the spiritual dimensions of the Vedas through such great Vedic teachers in modern India as Sri Aurobindo, Ganapati Muni and Sri Sivananda Murty.

We need the power of focus and clarity in going within,” says Frawley. “We need to use our senses in a way that expands our awareness. Many people have dulled senses because of outer stimulation, but our outer senses can be doorways to inner senses.” He suggests we hold a certain inner dimension in what we do; that we learn to observe and understand “like a mother remembering her child, though she is doing her work.” And he says witnessing isn’t judging; “we are like the flow then, rather than being in the flow.” In other words, we’re not just wading in the river—we are the River.

Addressing the India Ideas Conclave in 2014, Frawley shared his vision that a new Rishi order will bring about the revival and modernization of the ancient teachings. “Knowledge of India’s great heritage is relevant to the entire world, particularly in this age of globalization in which we need to understand life as a whole. It is not we as separate individuals who can guide humanity to a better world. We must awaken the Rishi vision, the inner Self or Atman of the Upanishads, the universal presence within the heart in order to propel us to our higher goal with certainty and with grace. I am reminded of a verse from the Rig Veda here: ‘The Rishis found the secret light, with the mantras of truth, they generated the Dawn.’ May we awaken to a new dawn and a new renaissance at both spiritual and cultural levels, honoring not only the outer physical sciences but also the inner science of consciousness.”Studies in 1988, which he now runs with his wife, Yogini Shambhavi Chopra. Their program of Vedic Education encourages the teaching of Yoga, meditation and Ayurveda in schools as well as in ashrams and temples, and includes developing a more accurate post-colonial, post-Marxist view of the history of India, particularly relative to the Vedic period, which is aware of the spiritual dimensions of the Vedas through such great Vedic teachers in modern India as Sri Aurobindo, Ganapati Muni and Sri Sivananda Murty.

We need the power of focus and clarity in going within,” says Frawley. “We need to use our senses in a way that expands our awareness. Many people have dulled senses because of outer stimulation, but our outer senses can be doorways to inner senses.” He suggests we hold a certain inner dimension in what we do; that we learn to observe and understand “like a mother remembering her child, though she is doing her work.” And he says witnessing isn’t judging; “we are like the flow then, rather than being in the flow.” In other words, we’re not just wading in the river—we are the River.

Addressing the India Ideas Conclave in 2014, Frawley shared his vision that a new Rishi order will bring about the revival and modernization of the ancient teachings. “Knowledge of India’s great heritage is relevant to the entire world, particularly in this age of globalization in which we need to understand life as a whole. It is not we as separate individuals who can guide humanity to a better world. We must awaken the Rishi vision, the inner Self or Atman of the Upanishads, the universal presence within the heart in order to propel us to our higher goal with certainty and with grace. I am reminded of a verse from the Rig Veda here: ‘The Rishis found the secret light, with the mantras of truth, they generated the Dawn.’ May we awaken to a new dawn and a new renaissance at both spiritual and cultural levels, honoring not only the outer physical sciences but also the inner science of consciousness.”

Ancient Mysteries

July/August2017 – #124


#51 May/June 2005

Mega-Engineering in the Stars?

Over a thousand years ago, while European civilization stagnated during the Dark Ages, did a race of advanced extraterrestrials in a distant part of our galaxy build a huge energy-capturing mega structure around their sun? This may be the story behind an anomalous star known to astronomers as KIC 8462852 (KIC = Kepler Input Catalog of the Kepler space observatory). Informally dubbed “Tabby’s Star,” “Boyajian’s Star” (Tabetha S. Boyajian spearheaded initial analyses of the star), and “WTF Star” (after the title of the paper authored by Boyajian, et al., 2015 [revised 2016], “Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 – Where’s the Flux?”, arXiv), this mysterious object continues to elude a satisfactory and wholly convincing “natural” explanation.

Launched in March 2009, the Kepler space observatory was designed to survey the Milky Way searching for exoplanets (planets orbiting around stars other than our Sun). Despite some setbacks, Kepler has been extraordinarily successful in its mission; thousands of exoplanets have been discovered. Extrapolating from the data thus far, possibly our Milky Way Galaxy contains tens of billions of Earth-size planets orbiting stars within habitable zones.

The primary method of detecting such exoplanets is by the periodic dimming of a star as an orbiting exoplanet crosses in front, blocking light. Kepler can continuously monitor approximately 150,000 stars. This brings us to the strangeness of KIC 8462852.

KIC 8462852 has dimmed and then brightened again on numerous occasions, but not in the systematic way that a star typically dims due to an orbiting planet or planets. The dimming, the dips in brightness detected coming from KIC 8462852, occur in a manner that appears random. For instance, after hundreds of days of relative stability, the star dimmed by 15% over several days. Then, after having come back to approximately its original brightness, about 725 or so days later, the star suddenly dimmed by 22% over just a few days, subsequently returning to its previous brightness. Three weeks later, it dimmed by 3% or so. After returning to its previous brightness, not quite a month later it dimmed by 8% for a few days, only to return to its previous brightness once again. To put these levels of dimming into perspective, if our Sun were being observed by an observatory on a distant planet, as Jupiter crossed, the dimming effect would only amount to about 1%.

“Citizen scientists” participating in the “Planet Hunters” project discovered KIC 8462852 collectively. These volunteers sifted through data from Kepler looking for patterns potentially indicative of planets orbiting stars, as well as other interesting or unusual phenomena. Tabetha Boyajian, then a postdoc researcher at Yale University (currently on the faculty of Louisiana State University) was overseeing the Planet Hunters when various participants noticed the strangeness of KIC 8462852. Boyajian became the lead author (along with 48 co-authors) on the initial paper that brought KIC 8462852 to the attention of the general astronomical community and to the world at large.

Other than its odd behavior, KIC 8462852 is not a remarkable star; in fact, it is a rather ordinary F-type main sequence star (our Sun is a G-type main sequence star; stars are classified based on factors such as surface temperature—F-type stars are slightly hotter than G-type stars). Located in the region of the constellation Cygnus at a distance of around 1200 to 1500 light-years from us (estimates vary), KIC 8462852 has an apparent magnitude of about 11 or 12 (far too dim to be seen with the naked eye), an estimated radius of 1.6 times that of our Sun and a mass of about 1.4 times that of our Sun.

Once brought to the awareness of the scientific community, other astronomers began studying KIC 8462852 from different perspectives. Although KIC 8462852 cannot be seen with the naked eye, it has been viewed through telescopes, and photographed, since the late nineteenth century. Analyzing old records and photographic plates, Bradley Schaefer (Louisiana State University) determined that it had dimmed by about 20% in overall brightness during the century from 1890 to 1989. But could this incredibly strange dimming be nothing more than an artifact of the diverse instrumentation used to photograph the star? Despite Schaefer’s careful work, there were doubts. However, using Kepler space observatory data collected from 2009 to 2013, Benjamin Montet (California Institute of Technology and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and Joshua Simon (Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington) found that KIC 8462852 had dimmed by about 3% overall during this period, with 2% to 2.5% of the dimming occurring during an approximately 200-day stretch. This bolsters Schaefer’s conclusion that the star dimmed by about 20% overall in a century.

There seems to be no doubt that there is indeed something very mysterious about KIC 8462852. What could explain these strange observations? A number of hypotheses have been put forward (see: J. T. Wright and S. Sigurdsson, 2016, “Families of Plausible Solutions to the Puzzle of Boyajian’s Star,” arXiv), but none of them are completely convincing or satisfying—at least not to everyone!

One possibility suggested to explain the strangeness of KIC 8462852 is that there are dust clouds or dense regions in the interstellar medium, which occasionally block and obscure KIC 8462852 from our sight. However, other stars in the vicinity of KIC 8462852 (as seen along our line of sight from Earth) do not show the same strange behavior. Is a hypothetical dust cloud so small that its effects only extend to KIC 8462852? This seems highly unlikely.

Another possibility is that some sort of large disk-shaped “dark object” (one that blocks and/or absorbs light) with ring structures around it is associated with KIC 8462852, and as they orbit around one another the light we see from KIC 8462852 dims intermittently. Such an object might be a black hole encircled by rings of dark matter; perhaps KIC 8462852 is part of a binary system consisting of a typical star and a black hole. However, if a star and a dark object formed a binary system, one would expect regular patterns in the behaviors observed, not dissimilar to the regularities of planets orbiting a star. Arguing against this hypothesis is both the apparent lack of periodicity in the dimming dips and also the pattern of overall dimming (extending over a century) of KIC 8462852.

Might the strange behavior of KIC 8462852 be due to anomalous internal stellar dynamics? Perhaps it is an unstable star that is going through some sort of weird disequilibrium and decay. If so, this would be very unusual indeed since other than the strange dimming events and decay in brightness overall, KIC 8462852 appears to be a typical F-type star. Or possibly the odd behavior is due to some sort of merger between the star and another object, such as another star or a black hole. But such an event would generally be expected to result in episodes of brightening, not dimming, unless one argues that the dips in brightness reflect the star’s inherent brightness; that is, the star is undergoing sustained periods of brightness, and the “dimming” is just a return to its “background brightness.” But, such an explanation appears to be very contrived and does not easily explain the sudden dips in brightness actually observed.

Or could KIC 8462852 be a star in its infancy that is still coalescing and stabilizing, and its odd dips in brightness are due to its youth? This idea has been proposed, but the actual data (supporting that it is a typical F-type star in “middle age” and lacks material coalescing around it, as expected of a young star) and the area where it is located (far from any “stellar nursery”) argue against this hypothesis. It is also unclear how youthfulness on the part of KIC 8462852 would specifically explain the strange dimming phenomena.

Could some sort of massive collision between planets or planet-like objects, or an exploding planet, have created a debris field that is circling the star, perhaps irregularly, creating the dips in brightness? If such a scenario were true, the fragments, dust, and debris resulting from the collision or explosion should be relatively hot and give off excess energy in the infrared range detectable by space-based telescopes run by NASA. Despite searches, no such excessive infrared emissions have been found associated with KIC 8462852, effectively ruling out the collision and exploding planet hypotheses—unless perhaps the collision or explosion happened a very long time ago, such that the debris is now cold. This leads us to another hypothesis.

In some circles the favored explanation for the strange behavior of KIC 8462852 is that proposed by Boyajian and co-authors in their original paper: that comets or planetesimal fragments either surround the star or are passing by the star. Unlike a massive collision or explosion, comets or planetesimal fragments would be relatively cold and thus not give off excess infrared emissions. However, there are other significant problems with the comet/planetesimal swarm hypothesis. It is difficult to fathom how a comet swarm (or similar cold debris) could be large enough to obscure the star by up to 22%, but for only short periods. The real downfall of the comet theory may be this: how can a comet swarm explain the long-term (recorded in a century worth of data) dimming trend of KIC 8462852? According to most researchers, it cannot; the comet swarm theory is effectively ruled out. So where does this leave us? Perhaps with the most interesting suggestion of all.

The hypothesis that brought KIC 8462852 to the attention of the public is that perhaps the strange behavior could be the result of alien technology. Might KIC 8462852 be evidence of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization? Possibly it is an example of so-called “star lifting,” the massive extraction of matter and/or energy from a star by technologically sophisticated beings. In his 1937 novel, Star Maker, British author and philosopher Olaf Stapledon introduced the concept that an advanced alien civilization, in its quest to utilize ever more energy, could enclose or encapsulate a star with a huge material structure (shell or sphere) in order to capture and utilize energy emitted by the star. Stapledon’s idea was fictional, but in 1960 the English-American physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson proposed the idea in the prestigious journal Science (3 June 1960). Thus, this concept is now often referred to as a Dyson sphere or some variation on the theme, such as a Dyson ring for a series of objects orbiting along the same path around a star or a Dyson swarm for a large number of independent constructions (perhaps energy collectors and artificial habitats) forming a dense collection around a star. In a follow-up to his initial article, Dyson clarified his thinking: “The form of ‘biosphere’ that I envisaged consists of a loose collection or swarm of objects traveling on independent orbits around the star” (Science, 22 July 1960).

One argument against a Dyson sphere, swarm, or similar structure surrounding KIC 8462852 is that, under certain scenarios, it would be expected to absorb and then reradiate energy and give off a detectable signature that is anomalous relative to known natural phenomena. In his original 1960 paper, Dyson suggested that this should most likely result in an increase in infrared radiation (essentially excessive “waste heat”). As already pointed out, there is no evidence of excessive infrared energy coming from KIC 8462852. However, the basic assumption may be incorrect in this case. The analyses have generally assumed that the aliens would be human-like in terms of their fundamental technologies and use human-like techniques to build their Dyson structures with materials similar to those we might use (metals, ceramics, and so forth) that would be predicted to give off anomalous infrared emissions. However, alien technologies might be of such an advanced nature or efficiency that excessive waste heat is not given off; possibly excess heat would be collected and utilized.

Depending on the nature of the Dyson swarm around a star, it could theoretically give exactly the pattern of dips in brightness observed with KIC 8462852. The problem relative to testing the alien megastructure idea is that we have virtually no way of falsifying such a hypothesis since a theoretical model of an alien megastructure can be created which will fit any number of parameters and datasets. One concept I find particularly interesting, however, is that the long-term dimming of KIC 8462852 may be due to the progressive construction of a Dyson swarm around the star that has obscured ever more light overall from our view. Did our instruments just happen to image this star during the building phase of a Dyson sphere? (Of course, given that KIC 8462852 is over 1000 light-years away, the Dyson swarm may be long complete.)

Another form of star lifting is the actual mining of a star for metals or other elements. As suggested by Eduard Heindl (Furtwangen University in Germany), perhaps aliens are superheating a portion of the star to create a jet that literally lifts material off the star and places it in orbit around the star where it can cool down, with the result that from our perspective, the star will appear to dim periodically and also perhaps over the long term. Or perhaps, as Clément Vidal (Free University of Brussels) has hypothesized, there are stellivore (feeding on stars) civilizations that utilize a small black hole or some other means to extract energy from a star (C. Vidal, 2016, Acta Astronautica, vol. 128). Could this be the explanation for the unusual behavior of KIC 8462852?

Overall, I agree with astronomer Jason T. Wright and his co-authors (Pennsylvania State University) who have written, “We have in KIC 8462[852] a system with all of the hallmarks of a Dyson swarm… Given this object’s qualitative uniqueness, given that even contrived natural explanations appear inadequate, and given predictions that Kepler would be able to detect large alien megastructures via anomalies like these, we feel [it] is the most promising stellar SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] target discovered to date.” (Wright et al. 2015, “The G Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. IV. “The Signatures and Information Content of Transiting Megastructures,” arXiv, p. 9. Material in brackets inserted by R. Schoch.)

Taking up this call, various astronomers have searched for radio signals suggestive of alien technology associated with KIC 8462852. Thus far, they have come up short; however, the truth is that we do not really know what to look for. Alien technology may be unexpectedly different; there is no guarantee aliens would use communications and engineering technologies similar to ours. Given the data from KIC 8462852, I believe we have strong indications that we may have located an advanced alien civilization. I doubt that they are aware of us; 1200 to 1500 years ago (the time it takes for electromagnetic radiation to travel from our solar system to KIC 8462852) we were in the depths of the European Dark Ages. A thousand years from now, will we be building a Dyson swarm around the Sun?

Robert M. Schoch, Honorary Professor at the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy and a full-time faculty member at Boston University, earned his Ph.D. in geology and geophysics at Yale University. Best known for re-dating the Great Sphinx, he is the author of books both technical and popular, including Forgotten Civilization: The Role of Solar Outbursts in Our Past and Future. Website: RobertSchoch.com


#114 Nov/Dec 2015


Is Anyone Home?

For years Hollywood has romanticized the search for life on planets other than Earth—especially the intelligent kind. Since 1960, when astronomer Frank Drake first attempted to deploy a radio telescope to listen for alien radio signals, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been a key element in many a cinematic story line. Films like Contact, Independence Day, and ET have offered variations on the theme of earnest, if lonely, researchers striving to lead the world to a new interstellar awareness. The reality, however, has been somewhat less inspiring. The maverick—if not entirely mad—scientist heroes of contemporary mythology have, more often than not, been forced to struggle for respect and funding, even while their more conventional brethren raked in the big bucks.

Ironically, even those with more exotic notions of ET life have had their differences with SETI. That includes Richard Hoagland, who, in his 1987 book, The Monuments of Mars, cited as evidence for an advanced ancient alien civilization, the giant, seemingly humanoid, face on the red planet’s Cydonia plain. In an interview with Atlantis Rising (“Artifacts on the Moon,” A.R. #2), Hoagland derided SETI as a “false-front western town”—ignoring real evidence, in order to preserve an entrenched, more earth-centric, way of thinking.

Life for SETI enthusiasts, however, may be about to change, and in a big way.

In July, at a press conference of the Royal Society in London, the world-renowned British cosmologist, Steven Hawking, announced that he had joined forces with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner to launch a new initiative to search for life amidst the stars, on a scale never before attempted. Christened ‘Breakthrough Listen’, the new radio astronomy project is intended to dramatically accelerate efforts already underway. Where earlier researchers have, in order to fund their efforts, scratched for scraps from a few wealthy patrons, like Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, the new plan will lavish a hundred million dollars on the enterprise and, perhaps, bring a new prestige—maybe even glamour—to the field. Whether that will result in actual discoveries, recognized as such by mainstream science, remains to be seen. file://localhost/(http/::www.scientificamerican.com:article:stephen-hawking-and-yuri-milner-announce-100m-initiative-to-seek-extraterrestrial-intelligence:)

As Hawking sees it, “Life arose spontaneously on Earth, so in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life.” In particular he is excited by recent discoveries of so-called exoplanets in faraway star systems, which, at least superficially, resemble Earth. According to Geoffrey Marcy, a University of California, Berkeley, astronomer, given credit for discovering the first exoplanet, “The universe is apparently bulging at the seams with the ingredients of biology.” Still, no predictions about how soon ET may be smoked out are being offered, though the program is certainly expected to track him down eventually. Nevertheless, the campaigners believe, the coming redoubling of effort will increase exponentially the chances of making contact sooner, rather than later. Previous efforts, they believe, have been, at best, anemic.

Milner, says Fortune Magazine, is one of the 50 richest men in the world. His money comes primarily from investments in Internet technology, including Facebook. In 2012 he established the ‘Breakthrough Prize’ to recognize important discoveries in science and math; and while he is making an enormous startup investment, the long-term funding for ‘Breakthrough Listen,’ is expected to come from crowdfunding on the Internet. The enthusiastic public will also be invited to lend the computing power of their Android smart phones to the project.

The Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia are also participating. According to the National Science Foundation, ‘Breakthrough Listen’ will scan the nearest million stars both in our own galaxy and in 100 others, nearby. The Green Bank telescope, in fact, is expected devote a full 20 percent of its observation time to the search for telltale radio signals from another civilization.

‘Breakthrough Listen,’ it is said, will generate vast amounts of data, all of which will be available for public analysis, likely constituting the largest amount of scientific data ever made so widely available. The team will use and develop what is expected to be the most powerful software ever for sifting and searching the flood of data. All software will be open source. Both the software and the hardware used in the ‘Breakthrough Listen’ project will be compatible with other telescopes around the world, so any can join the search. Besides using the ‘Breakthrough Listen’ software, scientists and the interested public will be able to contribute to it and to develop their own applications to analyze the data. (https://public.nrao.edu/news/pressreleases/gbt-breakthrough-listen)

Is ET Calling?

The new project comes on the heels of other recent developments that have also excited the SETI community. Some might argue, in fact, that ET is already calling. While most scientists won’t go there yet, they do acknowledge that they have a major puzzle on their hands. An intense burst of unexplained radio activity, it seems, has now been picked up by two major radio telescopes on opposite sides of the globe.

First detected in recordings made at Australia’s Parkes Observatory in 2007 by astronomer Duncan Lorimer and his team at West Virginia University, the signal was very distinct and appeared to be emanating from beyond the Milky Way. Later, when similar signals came in from much closer but were not confirmed by any other receivers, they were written off as some kind of fluke. So the matter had rested. Now, though, a 2014 paper from the Arecibo radio telescope, in Puerto Rico, is reporting detection of the same signal received in Australia.

The big question is, what is it? So far there are several schools of thought. Some think it may be caused by pulses from the collapse of supermassive stars. Others believe it may be generated by solar flares from nearby stars. Arguments have been made that it could be some kind of signature for the long sought Dark Matter. And, yes, some scientists have even begun to speculate about extraterrestrial civilizations. That kind of talk clearly causes heartburn among the scientific elite, but nobody has yet ruled it out. (http://www.npr.org/2014/07/26/335335653/close-encounters-of-the-radio-kind-mystery-bursts-baffle-astronomers?ft=1&f=1007)

In August 1977, Jerry R. Ehman, working on a SETI project for Ohio State University, picked up an unexplained signal with an apparently intelligent origin. Ehman famously wrote, “Wow!” on the computer printout, and ever since it has been called ‘the Wow! Signal.’ The event never recurred and was also written off as a fluke, but it has never been satisfactorily explained to orthodox astrophysicists.

Physicist Paul Laviolette, however, has speculated that the “Wow! Signal” was, indeed, the work of an extraterrestrial civilization. In his book, Decoding the Message of the Pulsars, (Starlane Publications, 2006), LaViolette argues that since 1967, astronomers have been analyzing very precisely timed signals coming from radio-emitting beacons termed “pulsars.” Pulsars, believes LaViolette, are immense navigational beacons created by an ancient spacefaring civilization. (See “The Pulsar Mystery,” in A.R. #24.)

LaViolette is not the only scientist who thinks the unmistakeable signs of ET civilization may have already been available to us, and could be hidden in plain sight in our own back yard.

Crop Circles and Other Dimensions

As a case in point, a 2009 study of British crop circles by researchers in England and America pointed to some kind of plasma discharge behind the phenomenon.

A team formed by New York businessman John Burke, Michigan biophysicist William C. Levengood, and British Crop Circle researcher Nancy Talbott (BLT Research) has analyzed the microscopic changes made in the stalks of crop circle plants and has demonstrated that something very unusual is at work.

In the 1990s multiple plant abnormalities—including the elongation and stretching of plant nodes, holes blown in the nodes, the distinct bending of nodes, and inhibited seed-head development—were documented at various laboratories in both the United States and Great Britain. Such commonly reported effects, however, accompanied only “genuine” crop circles and were not found in the mechanically flattened creations of various hoaxers.

“We were curious to know,” said Talbott in the report, “if some of the recent British formations continued to exhibit these same visible plant changes.”

After careful comparison between affected plants and controls taken in similar conditions outside the circles, the BLT team concluded that the only known method which could possibly produce the observed effects would be a plasma discharge of some kind.

To the delight of skeptics everywhere, a pair of British pubsters, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, famously claimed in the 1990s to be the creators of all crop circles. Like roosters claiming credit for the sunrise, however, they also had their doubters; and the question of who or what—terrestrial or otherwise—is generating the many immense and astonishing images appearing regularly in fields throughout the world, and especially in the Wiltshire of the U.K., remains a mystery, Doug and Dave notwithstanding. (http://www.bltresearch.com/fieldreports/uk2009.php)

Then, of course, there is the notion that extraterrestrials may inhabit other dimensions on other planets, as well as this one, and may be able to navigate in nonphysical ways, which we do not presently understand.

The eighteenth century Swedish polymath Emanuel Swedenborg wrote a great deal about ETs, which he said, he had personally encountered. His first experience with a “nonhuman” personage, he claimed, came in 1744, when he was the head of the Swedish Board of Mines.

One of the most advanced thinkers of his, or any other, time, Swedenborg wrote on virtually every area of scientific investigation, including physiology, invention, and brain neurons, about which he made some of the earliest known observations. He was a friend with Immanuel Kant and other celebrated thinkers. More recently, William Blake, Arthur Conan Doyle, Carl Jung, Honoré de Balzac, Helen Keller, William Butler Yeats, and many others have written that they were deeply influenced by him. The author of more than 20 books, Swedenborg served in many official capacities and, despite his claims of having personally communicated with extraterrestrials, was much celebrated throughout his entire life.

Described in detail in his books were beings from Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Venus, and the Moon, as well as from planets beyond our solar system. From his many ‘encounters’ Swedenborg concluded that the planets of our solar system are inhabited and that such an enormous undertaking as the universe would not have been for just one race; nor could only one ‘heaven’ be derived from it.

Beings from other worlds, he wrote, were in contact with him for over a decade and had appeared physically before him. Coming at many times and places, they provided many details about the universe, which later became part of conventional thinking. Swedenborg’s Nebular Hypothesis is still widely accepted, and it is believed that in developing the theory, he preceded Immanuel Kant, widely considered the originator of the hypothesis, by many years. In Earths in the Universe (1758) he wrote that the majority of planets in the universe were inhabited. Gradually he came to realize that those beings he met resided spiritually on other planets but could become instantly present on Earth if they chose.

Swedenborg’s works were immensely popular in his own time and have been subject to much discussion and study ever since.

Extraterrestrial Intervention on Earth

Even on the mundane material plane, though, strange new evidence might indicate a previously unappreciated link between this world and others. Consider the case of a minute, metallic sphere recently captured by a high-altitude balloon in the U.K. Scientists say it has led them to reconsider the possibility of intelligent intervention in the life of Earth. In fact, astrobiologist Milton Wainwright at the University of Buckingham thinks his team may have found concrete evidence indicating what they call ‘directed panspermia.’

First proposed by DNA pioneer and Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick over 40 years ago, ‘directed panspermia’ suggests that some highly advanced galactic civilization could have seeded life on Earth. If Wainwright is right, the process may still be going on. The original nineteenth century Panspermia theory is that the seeds of life could have been carried in a random manner from planet to planet by spores, radiation, comets, meteorites, etc. Crick, however, thought that, unlike such a mechanical process, the transmission of life from one world to another would have required civilized intelligent intervention.

The Buckingham scientists launched balloons nearly 17 miles into the stratosphere. When material from one was collected and examined, a small crash mark was found indicating the spherical object didn’t simply land softly. About the width of a human hair, the ball had filamentous life on the outside and a “gooey” biological material oozing from its center.

The possibility of ET origins, Wainright concedes, would be impossible to prove unless, “we can find details of the civilization that is supposed to have sent it.” In the meantime, there are still those who are willing to speculate.   (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/03/aliens-send-space-seed-to-earth_n_6608582.html)

Would proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life be a problem for religious believers? That question gets a fresh look in a recent book by Vanderbilt University astronomer David Weintraub—Religions and Extraterrestrial Life (Springer, 2014). Knowing (some would say we already know) whether humanity has company in the universe will trigger, Weintraub says, one of the greatest intellectual revolutions in history, and, he thinks, it will pose a significant challenge for only a few terrestrial religions.

While some of the more fundamentalist Protestant faiths may find it difficult to accept something not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, many others are quite comfortable with the possibility. Polls, says Weintraub, indicate that a very large part of society thinks alien life exists, and that includes 32% of Christians, 44% of Muslims, 37% of Jews, 36% of Hindus, and 55% of atheists (Survata polling). (http://www.livescience.com/48208- religion-extraterrestrial-life.html)

Calling ET

Since its beginnings, the privately funded SETI program has been content to train its radio telescopes toward space and simply to listen for anything unusual—keeping an ear out—just in case some other civilization, not unlike our own, might want to strike up a conversation. By all conventional accounts, though—except, possibly, for the “Wow!” signal—our number has yet to be dialed. For some, though, that is not good enough, and they are determined somehow to break the ice with whatever cosmic lonely hearts may yet be out there.

A group of scientists and investors has now created what they call a continuous message beacon to initiate a conversation with whatever extraterrestrial civilization might be willing to talk. For a small fee you can include your own message in the nonstop transmission. To carry out their intergalactic hailing plan or courting dance, Dr. Jacob Haqq-Misra and his colleagues have taken over the Jamesburg Earth Station radio dish in Carmel, California.

Not surprisingly, the project has its critics. Canadian bioethicist, trans-humanist, and futurist George Dvorsky is among those who view the idea as “both useless and potentially reckless.” After all, there is no guarantee that whatever advanced civilizations may be out there are friendly. On the contrary, they could well prove quite nasty. Indeed, who is to say they won’t react to our beacon the way some of us would to the annoying buzz of a fly, by squashing the source? Maybe not, but do we really want to take the chance? (http://io9.com/new-project-to-message-aliens-is-both-useless-and-poten-512863567)

At least one government on Earth, Russia, admits an ET invasion would be too much to handle. According to a report from RIA Novisti, carried by the Huffington Post, the Russian defenses are, admittedly not capable of defending against an extraterrestrial threat. That may seem obvious, given the advanced technology, which any interplanetary invader would require just getting here, but the question came up in a recent press conference at the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Center near Moscow.

While declaring that his country’s defenses were sufficient to handle any earthbound threat, center deputy chief Sergey Berezhnoy responded, quite seriously, that the vast array of available weapons would be inadequate for an extraterrestrial attack. The Russians are not alone in that regard. Notwithstanding Hollywood speculations, as in Independence Day, the military capacities of no country on Earth, including the U.S., seem in any way capable of meeting such a threat.

Understandably, military agencies like the U.S. Air Force remain reluctant to concede any reality to the alien threat. That might help explain, some feel, the stonewalling of events like the 1947 Roswell affair.

It is equally clear that inviting communication from unknown worlds with unknown agendas could be unwise, if not foolhardy. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/alien-invasion-earth-is-defenseless_n_4046659.html)

Stephen Hawking has said for years that he dreads what an alien civilization could do to Earth, perhaps wiping out humans the way we would an ant colony. Hawking’s curiosity, however, has apparently gotten the better of him, and he is now eager to get on with his ‘Breakthrough Listen’ initiative, anyway.

Oh, by the way, forget about easily identifiable little green men. The aliens may look a lot like us, says a Cambridge University evolution expert. Extraterrestrials that resemble human beings, says Professor Simon Conway Morris, should have evolved on at least some of the many Earth-like planets that have been discovered by astronomers in recent years. In his new book The Runes of Evolution, Conway builds on the principle of convergent evolution—that different species will independently evolve similar features. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/forget-little-green-men—aliens-will-look-like-humans-says-cambridge-university-evolution-expert-10358164.html)

Who can say the aliens are not here already? After all, how would we know?

Run that through your data processor, SETI geeks.

ET Presence

Nov/Dec 2015 – #114


#53 September/October 2005

Who knew? How could we have known that dinosaurs were such saintly beings? St. Bernadette, St. Silvan, stand aside (see “The Mysterious Gifts of the Saints” AR #124). The Church of Orthodox Science has declared the bodies of the clearly holy dinosaurs to be, well, incorrupt. Well, almost, but hey, 199.5 million years of preservation for even a saint’s body isn’t all that bad. Pilgrimages are being organized.

As the canonizations proceed, an amazing sleight of hand is also whisking before our eyes. Three years ago (AR #106), I described a crisis raging full force around the subject of the actual age of dinosaur remains, thereby equally implying a crisis in our historical understanding; namely, just when did the dinosaurs actually perish? Was it really 65 million or even 200 million years ago, or was it within the effective range of carbon dating; i.e., 50,000 years, 25,000 years ago, or less? The crisis stems from the discovery—with now apparent great frequency—of organic matter within and without the bones of these dinosaurs. In turn, this foundational narrative supporting the long ages required for Darwinian evolution—the long and ancient history of the dinosaurs—stands in jeopardy. For current science, this threat of a massive overturning is very real. And very disturbing.

The experts whose province actually is the subject of organic matter longevity—the molecular biologists and biochemists—assert, based on both theoretical structure and extensive repeated experimentation, that the maximum longevity of protein is 100,000 years. Simply the natural, inexorable, structure-breakdown process of the law of entropy in matter assures this. These biochemistry-established decay rates have yet to be disproven. Yet we have organic materials—blood vessels, osteocytes (tiny bone cells)—found within the bones of dinos, which, based on high guesswork, even on circularly reasoned estimations on the age of the geological stratum in which the bones are found (see AR #70), are stated to be from the Cretaceous (68 million, 80 million years old) and even from the Jurassic (199.5 million years old).

Dr. Mary Schweitzer, in 2005, was the first official publisher/defender of this organic material discovery, in this case, organic matter found in the thighbone of a mama T-Rex supposedly 65 million years old. I say the “first publisher” because, it turns out, she was far from the first discoverer. This phenomenon has been known (and not talked about) for years. Schweitzer, however, also became the chief theoretician for “explaining” this miracle. Mixing ostrich and chicken blood vessels in an iron-rich solution, she was able to extend the life of these vessels by 200X, where they yet were in a (vaguely described) “recognizable” condition; i.e., with some (unspecified) degree of preserved structure. More specifically, from an expected 3.5 days, she achieved 720 days. That the experiment employed utterly artificial conditions is ignored. That her preservative mechanism is orders of magnitude short of power, for she requires not 200X, but 20,000,000,000X to account for 199.5 million years—also ignored—but more on this later.

The New Normal

So, what has happened since? Firstly, the Schweitzer “explanation” is still the “go to” explanation—unquestioned. But it is worse. The miraculous preservation of organic matter in remains supposedly many tens of millions of years old is now being passed off as simply “normal.” Consider, for example, a January, 2017 piece in the Christian Science Monitor discussing a recently published article by Dr. Robert Reisz (in Nature Communications) on the discovery of collagen in a denizen of the Jurassic, a 195-million-year-old Lufengosaurus in China (see sidebar). The article quotes Dr. Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at University of Edinburgh: “It wouldn’t surprise me if this type of preservation is much more common than we might think…This realization could be a game changer for paleontologists and will give us new ways to study dinosaurs that we never before imagined.” And then the kicker: “Dr. Brusatte sees Reisz’s work as key support for Schweitzer’s controversial research. Taken together, he says, this kind of research ‘tells us that soft tissues and microscopic tissues may be able to be preserved for a huge swath of time—hundreds of millions of years.’

This is just one, typical example of the new tone of discussion. Biochemistry, go away. Poor troglodyte molecular biologists and biochemists. Protein longevity 100k years? How quaint. And long live the Darwinian story.

Schweitzer’s Magical Mystery Mechanism

Let’s look a bit more at Dr. Schweitzer’s born-in-2013, now trusty “go-to” explanation, that is, at her own sleight of hand. It is interesting to note, firstly, that the paper trots out the same Ms. T-Rex bone that had now been resting in Schweitzer’s lab for eight years. A microscope picture shows the iron particles (Fe) clustered tightly around the blood vessels, in her words, “infiltrating an organic layer.” But eight years in a nice dry lab, complete with handling, possible reagents, etc., is not the same as eight years at Hell Creek, Montana, where the soil is indeed known for containing moisture.

And iron particles love moisture. This love leads to forming iron oxide—a form of rust. Mark Armitage, a microscopy expert, discoverer of a number of fossils at Hell Creek, and fired from his lab-head position at Cal State for publishing in a peer reviewed journal on the subject of dinosaur soft tissue preservation, points out the following: It is quite possible that in actuality, while at Hell Creek, surrounded by moisture, the situation within the T-Rex thigh was relative stasis. Take the bone out and put it in a dry place. The matrix begins to dry out. Where do the iron particles go? Why, to the last source of moisture, namely to the walls of blood vessels. Can Schweitzer rule this out? Did she? No and no.

So let’s look again at that “go-to” experiment that demonstrated that “iron has a role” in soft tissue preservation. Note, the paper is not saying that it is iron that does the preserving—only that it “has a role.” But what this is—is questionable. To begin with, what did she do initially with the chicken and ostrich blood vessels she attempted to preserve via iron? Buried in the “methods” section of the paper, in an unlaudable non-effort to replicate the conditions of the burial of Ms. T-Rex at Hell Creek, we find that Schweitzer: a) put an anticoagulant into the blood; b) used centrifuges—ultra high speed—on the blood, over and over, and, c) used molecular filters on the tissue before the experiment began.

Why? Why all this? Begin with the anti-coagulant. The prime directive of blood, when exposed, is to coagulate. This is nature’s fundamental organism-saving device to stop us from bleeding to death. But if the blood was coagulated, it would have bound up the iron and made it unavailable for her experiment. She needed the iron free and available. The anticoagulant prevented it from clotting. Why the ultra-centrifuges used multiple times? She had to filter out all the serum, thus all the clotting factors that bind up these proteins tightly in the clotting reaction. She had to remove all the cells and sub-platelet cells—anything relating to clotting. And finally, she had to use a molecular filter to eliminate these things.

After all this, she was left with the red blood cells, which she then lysed (broke open), freeing the hemoglobin (which holds the iron). Then she left this on a lab bench for two years at room temperature, in the absence of water, the freeze-thaw cycle, or the heat of the Montana summer. Though I’m sure that research teams are busily searching the site for the syringe of anticoagulant, the centrifuges, and molecular filters that Ms. T-Rex carried at all times in her Prada purse; needless to say, it is not too likely that any of these things happened at Hell Creek when Ms. T-Rex met her end—along with many others in her bridge club at the time.

Which brings us to the notion, which arose from all these machinations, that iron is now a recognized fixative agent for preserving tissue. Schweitzer pointed to these as a preservative cause in that microscope slide where the FE particles are clustering along the blood vessels. Above this line of Fe particles is what she termed, in a misleading way, an area of “amorphous structure.” On closer look, this is also clearly fine structure, equally well preserved, which the iron apparently magically acts upon from a distance. In any case, here is the problem: Iron particles are nanometers in size. Yet standard fixative agents, such as formaldehyde, aldehyde, or formalin, are but several angstroms in size—vastly smaller. These agents work in tiny gaps of the amine sections of the protein, binding these together (the rest of the protein being fully subject to normal degradation). To employ an iron particle, to use Armitage’s metaphor, is like driving a garbage truck into a pile of papers when all you need is a tiny paper clip to hold the papers together. If iron actually worked, he notes, one could make a mint with a patent. The world of microscopy—whose business revolves around fixing tissue for microscope viewing—would be stampeding to your door. Iron, as a fixative, is a myth.

Schweitzer, while invoking iron fixation as a cause, also speculated that iron might be preventing bacteria from doing its normal work of breaking down organic matter. In other words, she has little clarity what iron does, or if. Combined with other problems, like the fact that places like the insides of Triceratops horns have no blood vessels to carry iron, invoking Schweitzer’s solution is roughly like wafting a smoke cloud by swinging your incense censor over both the subject and the burial shrine of St. Mother T-Rex. There is an obvious remedy.

Carbon Dating—What Happened to It?

What we have now is the ludicrous absence of that hitherto infallible, worshipped, and revered dating method called—oh, what was it again, yes—carbon dating! One resistance to this hitherto from the “scientific” community has been “contaminants”; as in, contaminants would invalidate the dating. Another has been that the bones are all in fact mineralized, truly fossilized or petrified, and thus obviously have no organic material—so go away C-14 people. This latter, by the way, is largely bunk. Armitage points out that these remains are indeed just bones—they are not fossilized. The bones are often simply restored via a standard EDTA cleaning solution. Armitage has videos of cleaning up a Triceratops horn found at Hell Creek, using a simple saline solution for cleaning, then slicing it open and revealing a mass of spongy, highly elastic, organic material.

But where is the “contamination” when opening and testing the insides of supposed fossilized bone? Seriously, this threat cannot be controlled for? (There are plenty of protocols.) The issue screams for carbon dating—not that it hasn’t been done. Members of the Paleochronology group presented their findings at the 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, August 13-17, a conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS). Their carbon-14 dating of multiple samples of bone from eight dinosaurs found in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana revealed that the bones are hardly from the Jurassic or Cretaceous but rather 22,000 to 39,000 years old. Not to worry. After the conference, the abstract of the study was removed from the conference website by two chairmen. Unwilling to challenge the data openly, they erased the report from public view without a word to the authors. When the authors inquired, they received a letter simply stating that, “There is obviously an error in these data. The abstract was apparently not reviewed properly and was accepted in error.”

There are other similar incidents. The degraded nature of the situation and of current science speaks for itself. I fear that if I were a member of orthodox science staunchly defending Darwinian theory, in continuing this suppression of results, stifling of discussion and cruel destruction of careers, I myself, when at St. Peter’s gate, would fail to enjoy the company of the saintly dinosaurs—maybe unless I were a biochemist.

SIDEBAR:

195-Million-Year-Old Protein

University of Toronto Press Release • February 2017

By Nicolle Wahl

New research from scientists at the University of Toronto and researchers in China and Taiwan provides the first evidence that proteins have been preserved within the 195-million-year-old rib of the sauropodomorph dinosaur Lufengosaurus.

The study appeared in the Jan. 31, 2017 issue of the journal Nature Communications, and the news is already making headlines around the world.

“These dinosaur proteins are more than 100 million years older than anything previously discovered,” says Professor Robert Reisz, a specialist in vertebrate paleontology in the department of biology at U of T Mississauga. “These proteins are the building blocks of animal soft tissues, and it’s exciting to understand how they have been preserved.”

The Canada-Taiwan research team, led by Reisz, used the synchrotron at the Taiwanese National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center to find the substance in place, known as collagen type I, preserved within the tiny vascular canals of the rib where blood vessels and blood would be in the living dinosaur.

The collagen was found together with lots of small, spherical, hematite particles. Hematite is a mineral that can be formed from the iron in hemoglobin, the oxygen-transport protein in red blood cells. The chemical bond between iron and oxygen is what gives blood cells their red color.

Reisz and his colleagues believe that these hematite particles were derived from the original blood of the dinosaur and that they acted as the catalyst for preserving the protein in the vascular canals of the bone. These collagen pieces are probably remnants of the blood vessels that supplied blood to the bone cells in the living dinosaur.

“Interestingly, there was no evidence of preservation of organic remains in the main mass of the bone, only in the small vascular canals that ran along the length of the rib, where hematite was also present” says Reisz.

“Our localized search, in areas of the bone that are likely to preserve remnants of the original soft tissues, is more likely to succeed than previously used methods. This approach has great future potential, because localized searches will yield important results even when the amount of organic remains is miniscule.”

Previous evidence of preserved collagen date back to the Late Cretaceous Period—more than 100 million years younger than this discovery—but those studies extracted the organic remains by dissolving away all other parts of the fossil, without a clear understanding of the precise origins of the collagen.

This research allowed the scientists to find the collagen in place without dissolving the rest of the fossil, and it has helped them understand how the organic remains were preserved. Reisz believes that future explorations for even older proteins will be possible if this technique is used.

CAPTIONS: Brontosaurus (after Charles R. Knight, 1897); Skeleton of “Lufengosaurus” as found in Yunnan Province, China. (Photo courtesy of Robert Reisz.)

Alternative Paleontology

Sept/Oct 2017 – #125


#123 May/June 2017


What Does Water Remember?

What if the element that keeps us alive could also perform wonders that few of its protectors know about? What if water is sensitive to everything it touches, and stores inside itself a record of the substances encountered on its journey?

“Water is life!” became a rallying cry heard throughout social media last year. The outrageous question is: what if water’s knowledge can somehow be converted into a digital file, read by instruments at a distant location, and eventually be used in the fight against disease?

Advocates of a theory called “water memory” are claiming that all of the above has been shown possible.

Nobel Prize winning virologist Luc Montagnier plays a lead role in the twenty-first century history of hacking into water’s memory bank. He won the Nobel Prize in physiology in 2008 for his role in the 1983 co-discovery of the HIV-AIDS virus.

His more recent experiments have paradigm-changing implications for science and medicine.

He wasn’t the first distinguished scientist to step into non-conventional research on water. However, the implications of both the water memory theory and his digital-transmission experiments are enormous. He suggests that diseases and serious conditions such as Alzheimer syndrome, Parkinson’s, autism and even cancer could be successfully treated in a low-cost way if hidden microbes are found by their signals.

Other scientists in various countries now speak about water memory, but they usually don’t go so far as to talk in terms of homeopathy, much less using water memory to find pathogens in someone’s blood.

Before detailing the procedure Montagnier furthered, some background history puts it in context.

Infinitesimal Dilution

In the 1800’s Samuel Hahnemann searched for a less damaging way to heal patients, rather than medieval practices. Medical doctors in that era sometimes used toxic substances in attempts to shock people out of their maladies.

Hahnemann pioneered making homeopathic remedies by adding a very small amount of some powerful substance to a liquid base, succussing (shaking the container) a thousand times without heat, diluting with more water and shaking it again, and repeating numerous times.

Homeopathy’s founding principles include the Law of Similars (“like cures like”) and the Law of Infinitesimal Dilution (the more dilute a remedy, the more potent). Hahnemann discovered the principles through experiments, which showed that the more dilute the solution, the stronger in healing.

One scientist whom I met concluded that homeopathy should be studied, because after she tested ultra-diluted and succussed samples alongside equally treated regular water samples with zero non-water molecules added, she saw differences. Chemically, all six samples should be identical pure water after so many dilutions.

She says “While a great deal of high-quality, double-blind studies validate the efficacy of homeopathic remedies today, it remains controversial because ‘it has nothing in it! How could it possibly work?’”

Probing Water’s Memories in the Twentieth Century

In the 1980s French scientist Jacques Benveniste made a career-killing move when he followed his curiosity about the strange behaviors of ordinary water.

Benveniste couldn’t figure out the mechanism in water that creates a record of substances it encounters, so he experimented for years. In 1988, a homeopathic doctor convinced him to try out an innovative electrical machine claimed to transmit chemical information.

Perhaps Benveniste wondered if electrical or magnetic fields played a part in the memory of water, because he did give the machine a try. Michel Schiff’s 1995 book The Memory of Water reports that a positive result of that experiment puzzled participants. Benveniste was soon derailed by the science journal Nature, so he didn’t get the support needed for continuing such experiments.

Benveniste had published an article in Nature about high-dilution experiments. Afterward the magazine sent a committee including conjurer James Randi to his laboratory. A few weeks later Nature published a report titled “High dilution experiments a delusion.”

As a renowned biologist, Benveniste had been considered as a candidate for the Nobel Prize, but that went down the drain after his water memory work sparked such controversy.

In the Foreword to Schiff’s book, Benveniste recalled that in his experience two phrases—‘homeopathic dilutions’ and ‘memory of water’—could turn peaceful, intelligent people into violently irrational persons.

That description could have been a premonition of his premature death. According to a French documentary, Water Memory, Benveniste died in 2004 from a fistfight while defending his controversial theory against some radical opponents.

Montagnier Inherits Benveniste’s Torch

This article is mostly based on information revealed to us in the Water Memory documentary after its release with English subtitles. Director Christian Manil and Laurent Lichtenstein created the film about the French medical doctor, Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier.

Why did Montagnier risk his career by stepping into the troubled waters of a controversial theory? He replied that he resists working on established theories; he would rather search for the extraordinary. And the importance of discovering a virus pales in comparison to “finding about the mechanisms of life.”

In 2005, curiosity had motivated Montagnier to use Benveniste’s technologies in his own research. With his first such experiment on the blood plasma of patients infected by HIV, Montagnier detected electromagnetic signals.

He eventually became convinced that water memory could open a new area for medicine. But pioneering can be lonely. Montagnier cheerfully said he learned from the downfall of his predecessor, and realized he can only rely on himself, with no backup or subsidies.

He invited the documentary crew to follow him through his experiment that casts new light on water’s properties. Wearing his white lab coat, while the crew turned his lab into a TV studio, Montagnier explained that the experiment was to detect electromagnetic signals from DNA.

DNA is matter that carries genetic information in a cell via two long chains of certain compounds in specific sequences. The tiny chains twist into a double helix.

Starting with DNA from an HIV infected patient, Montagnier explained, he would create a digital file, then send it through the Internet to another laboratory where the DNA would be reconstituted from that file.

The narrator of the film quipped that although the professor called the process transduction, it could also be given a sci-fi label—teleportation.

Montagnier displayed a small test tube containing very little DNA, just enough to measure its electromagnetic signal. The DNA of each organism is unique, like a person’s identification card. At the end of the experiment Montagnier would compare the DNA reconstituted several hundreds of kilometers away with the DNA stored in his fridge.

He added only two nanograms of matter to a sterile water sample. To one volume of that solution, nine volumes of water were added and then vigorously shaken in a vortex for 15 seconds. He repeated the operation ten times. At each stage the number of molecules present in the solution divides by ten. High dilution removes every molecule that had initially been in contact with the water.

Montagnier said if the operation had been carried out until the 24th dilution instead of just to the tenth, it would be like diluting one drop of the original DNA in the Atlantic Ocean.

He used a scientific protocol called double-blind coding, enlisting a member of the TV crew to label test tubes with random figures. Labels were hidden from the scientists’ sight so they couldn’t know which ten tubes contained only pure water and which ten underwent high dilutions.

Next, the encoded tubes were placed on a sensor—similar to a microphone—to record electromagnetic fields produced by each solution. The scientist then digitalized those signals and created a computer file. Chemically, all the tubes contained only water, so what could he possibly collect?

An instrument’s display screen showed that the first tubes didn’t reveal any particular information recorded. Then from certain tubes the scientists saw an increasing amplitude of signals.

When the encoded labels were checked, he found that the tubes corresponding to positive results had been diluted to the seventh and sixth dilutions—the range in which they got signals in previous experiments.

By successfully identifying two test tubes that had been in contact with the DNA and now generated signals, the first part of the experiment alone contradicted classical physics.

Structures Within Water

The highly diluted water retained the memory of original DNA traces and returned them in the form of electromagnetic signals. Since not a single molecule should remain, only the structures of the water could emit the signals of having been charged with the DNA molecules, professor Montagnier said.

Chemistry teaches that a water molecule has one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Professor Montagnier explained that water molecules are able to, figuratively speaking, hold hands with each other, like children in a circle, if the chain of molecules is long enough.

That circling creates an enclosed space that matter can’t get into, but electromagnetic signals can get in and be trapped inside. That’s what scientists call “coherent domains.”

Montagnier and colleagues assumed that the Parisian DNA’s electromagnetic signals carried information about the original molecules and the signals lodged in the coherent domains of the water. Although high dilutions made the DNA disappear, their trapped signals could simulate the DNA and its properties.

As if water receiving and transmitting signals weren’t enough, Montagnier next prepared to transfer the digital file through the Internet and use it to reconstitute the DNA—1,500 kilometers away.

The film crew relocated to the biology department of a university in Italy. Biologists there had been skeptical but accepted the challenge to carry out Professor Montagnier’s experiment—the other way around. Their computer processed the signal recorded in France and sent the signals’ information into a tube of purified water. Could the water in Italy listen to those signals and memorize them?

A biologist prepared tubes containing chemical elements required for the last stage of the experiment. The elements, called nucleotides, are building blocks for DNA molecules.

She used a technology, which revolutionized molecular biology lab work, as well as forensic science, for identifying criminals. A chain reaction from a membrane called polymerase is key. When fragments of DNA are introduced, polymerase helps reconstitute DNA sequences to the point where there are enough elements to identify whose DNA it is.

However, in this experiment there’s no physical matter but only water that “listened to the song” of a DNA signal sent from Paris.

On camera the scientists commented that nothing should happen; it was impossible that the DNA sequence of the virus could reveal itself alone without any model. “It would be like wanting to make a copy without the original.”

Professor Montagnier and the Italian physicist soon pored over digital information. Characteristic bands appeared on the screen, revealing that the DNA had been reconstituted—from information in a tube containing only basic elements and no physical DNA!

The experiment in Italy showed that “DNA transduction” is possible. The DNA sequences were 98% replicated out of the elements.

Next Era for Medicine

Montagnier pointed out the need for more experiments, independent of his. If they find the same results, medicine can advance to a new era—allowing doctors to treat patients with signals in water.

Since our bodies are 70% water and it circulates, mixes with vital fluids and is in our cells, conditions are favorable for creation of many coherent domains that can trap many signals.

He suspects that chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other diseases could be fought with the help of water’s ability to transfer and store information, if those diseases turn out to be affected by bacteria or other pathogens lurking in the body. His research found such signals in the blood of people with serious conditions, including certain cancers. If so, antibiotics over long periods will allow significant healing of the patients at the same time as other treatments make signals diminish or disappear. Montagnier cites successes in treating autistic youths with antibiotics.

Uses for water memory won’t be limited to detection of pathogens. Montagnier predicts that someday “we’ll be able to treat cancer using frequency waves.”

That new domain of medicine is what his opponents fear, he said, “especially the pharmaceutical industry.”

Imagine introducing into the water a molecule of medicine instead of the DNA molecule. After high dilutions, perhaps specific waves of the medicine could be embedded in domains of the water, and later re-emitted to simulate the medicine’s presence and benefit a patient.

Treating with frequencies instead of standard medicine would be extremely cost effective, Montagnier said. Finding the frequencies would cost a lot of money, but once they have been found, it could cost only pennies to treat someone.

Digital Biology Foreseen

Jacques Benveniste glimpsed a future digital biology in the 1980s. After he was ostracized and denied access to his former well-equipped laboratory, he had continued working, in a crowded prefabricated lab. Benveniste isolated a heart from a guinea pig allergic to albumin, the egg white. The heart went into allergic shock when subjected to albumin—even when Benveniste passed digital information about albumin over the heart.

Just as my ears recognize who is speaking, whether it’s a digital sound on a CD or the real person, the allergic organ made no distinction between physical albumin or albumin’s digital signal. The documentary asked why there aren’t more teams working on water memory.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Germany and an institute in the Netherlands are doing that. Studying how quickly water molecules change their binding state, they used ultrafast “vibrational spectroscopies” to show why water is unique compared to other molecular liquids. The teams discovered that the structural memory of water persists on a picosecond timescale.

A picosecond is one-thousandth of one-billionth of a second, so I don’t know why they called water’s sub-structures “long-lived.” However, the scientists say that finding local structures persisting in water for longer than a picosecond changes the general perception of water. And it’s encouraging that such a study was published in a scientific journal.

What has Professor Montagnier learned in the time since the documentary’s filming? An article, “New Evidence for a Non-Particle View of Life,” in the winter 2011 21st Century Science & Technology said Montaigne was appointed to Jiaotang University in Shanghai. “Montagnier, under attack in the West, will continue his research at Jiaotang.”

The university is often called China’s MIT, and a new institute there bears Montagnier’s name. He and his team planned to study electromagnetic waves produced by DNA in water, both the basis for a theory and its possible uses in medicine.

Today my Internet search returns no new information on what the 84-year-old Nobel laureate is up to now. But others, such as longtime water structure researcher Randy Ziesenis in Oklahoma and scientist/author Gerald Pollack at the University of Washington, are adding to the heaps of new knowledge about water.

The pile of evidence about water’s memory and structure has grown too big to sweep under the rug of scientific orthodoxy.

Holistic Health

May/June2017 – #123