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The Fires of Tap O’ Noth

What Did the Ancient Picts Know and When Did They Know It?

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen admit being amazed by their latest discoveries at Tap O’ Noth, an ancient Scottish settlement. The virtual iron age metropolis in Aberdeenshire may, at some point, have been populated by as many as 4,000, in about 800 huts, high atop a hill near the modern town of Rhynie. Generally believed to be Pictish, the community has been carbon dated to as early as the third century AD, and, say the scientists, was one the the largest post-Roman settlements ever found either in Europe or the British Isles. (

Some historians believe King Arthur’s bride Guinevere was a Pictish princess, but the lost Pict people of Scotland have long been considered, though highly artistic, still, quite primitive. That view has been challenged by some recent research, like that at a Pictish monastery at Portmahomack on the Tarbat peninsula in Scotland, demonstrating that as early as AD 500, Pictish artisans and architects were using the ‘golden section’ or ‘golden ratio’ in the building of Christian chapels. Expressed numerically at 1.618, the ratio appears often in nature and has been a frequent tool of sophisticated designers in both ancient and modern cultures.

Yet, with all the amazement over the sheer size and advancement of the site at Tap O’Noth, there is still no believable explanation for one of its greatest mysteries, and, indeed, of many other such hillforts. How was it that so many of their ancient walls, when destroyed, were turned to glass, or ‘vitrified?’ But, they were. Some enclosures in this category are as old as 2500 hundred years, yet the remains of their walls were melted by some—as yet unexplained—heat source, far greater than that of any known furnace for centuries to come.

As recently as 2018, at the vitrified fort of Dun Deardail, researchers from Scotland’s Stirling University claimed that they could now explain how the ancient stone walls became molten and melted. But, critics point out, even though the researchers succeeded in experimentally producing some very hot spots, the spots were relatively tiny, and far short of what would have been needed to generate the massive melting of stone now evident.

The Stirling experiment was the latest to take up the vitrification question, first faced in 1934 by University of Edinburgh archaeologist Gordon Childe. According to researcher Nick Redfern writing for Atlantis Rising Magazine in 2016, Childe and his team “carefully constructed a series of walls that were comprised of fire-clay bricks, timber, and basalt rubble. They then proceeded to place no less than four tons of brushwood, and extra timber, against the walls and set them on fire.” The ultimate result of more than four tons of burning brushwood and extra timber, was, alas, just a few, melted droplets. Obviously, a concentrated, far more powerful, longer-lasting heat source had vitrified the fortresses.

Building on the Childe effort, Dr. Ian Ralston (at Edinburgh University’s Department of Archaeology) undertook, in 1980, an even more ambitious project in northeast Scotland, when he built his own twenty-five-foot-long, partial recreation of a stone fort. In 2004, renowned futurist Arthur C. Clarke described the Ralston experiment on his Mysterious World television series. “Professional dry-stone wallers toiled for days to build the wall of rock laced with timber,” which was set alight. “After several hours and many tons of wood, a load of old furniture has to be commandeered from the local dustman, as the only way to keep the temperature up. Later, another consignment of wood, the sixth of the day, arrives to keep the fires burning. As night falls over Aberdeen, weary helpers begin to realize the true extent of the mystery of the vitrified forts, to wonder not only how the fort builders could achieve the searing temperatures needed to melt the rock, but how they managed to drag vast quantities of wood up to the tops of the hills with only primitive transport. The morning after … twenty-two hours after the first fire was lit … at first sight, the result looks disappointing. There are no ramparts of fused stone. The search is now on for any rocks that have melted” (, Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World).

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

Issue #132
The Heat of Battle

from the Member’s Archives
The Heat of Battle


In This 88-page edition:

    The Coming Struggle for Military Dominance in Outer Space
    Who Turned Ancient Hill Forts to Glass?
    Is There More Substance Here than Meets the Eye?
    The Curious Story of Dr. John Dee and the Empire of Angels
    Has Their True Age Been Drastically Underestimated?
    Fresh Evidence of Real History for the Biblical Account
    As Implications Multiply, Real Explanations Are Hard to Find
    Searching for Reality Behind the Computer Simulations
    Was Father Ernetti Lying, or Did the Vatican of the 1950s Have Something to Hide?
    Nearly Two Centuries Later, Her Story Still Arouses Debate
    Jupiter in Sagittarius, November 2018–December 2019
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Invisible Warfare

Can greater-than-human conflict overflow onto the human plane? Nineteenth century founder of the Theosophical Society Madame Helena P. Blavatsky was…

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Long-Lost Worlds Beneath Our Feet

For ages, people have populated the blank spaces on the map with strange creatures and stranger people, imagining lost cities and fabulous beasts. As the world was largely explored, people continued to imagine strange realms underground or beneath the sea. Now our imaginings have largely been moved off planet, yet much of the sea is still unexplored, and we know very little about the underground. And, indeed, it still may hold some surprises for us.

But before examining the evidence, we need to dispel a couple of modern myths. We who investigate the unexplained owe it to ourselves not to react to close-minded skepticism by embracing its opposite, uncritical credulity. Yet there are still some people who cling to the idea that the earth is hollow, with entrances usually located at the poles, and often lit by a central miniature sun. Let’s first dispose of the central sun myth. First of all, it would be in a dynamically unstable position; if it drifted even slightly away from the exact center, it would be attracted by the earth’s gravity and crash into the side of the underworld. Furthermore, there is no known or projected way for a tiny object to generate brilliant light; stars are very massive objects, held together by their immense gravity. Throughout the universe, whether energy is created by hydrogen fusion or by some other unknown process, it remains true that massive objects are invariably hotter than smaller objects. And even if a tiny central sun magically produced energy, it would simply expand and blow itself apart. As for the earth being hollow, there is no known process that would produce a hollow planet, and no known force that would keep it hollow. People speak of “centrifugal force,” which, technically, is not a force; it is angular momentum. If the earth were spinning fast enough, the poles would be even more flattened than they are now, but it would not be hollow. Gravity may not be fully understood by modern physics, but it can at least be measured, and there is no doubt that for the earth to have the gravity it does, it must be solid and very dense. Furthermore, every bit of evidence we have, including volcanism and careful measurements of crustal heat flow, show the earth’s deep interior is hotter than the surface of the sun. As for the North Pole entrance, the North Pole is on the three-mile-deep Arctic Ocean. And countless people have visited both poles; we even have a permanently manned base at the South Pole.

Another popular modern myth is the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) that uses heat to melt a tunnel at great speed, lining its roof and walls with the molten stone. Some versions involve a laser. But the molten stone would simply sink to the bottom of the cavity and flow back around the machine, simultaneously overheating it, and, as it cooled and solidified, entrapping it. And melting stone and allowing it to harden again does not decrease its volume and produce an empty space. There is a patent for a machine that uses heat to cut or shatter rock and then remove it mechanically, but there is no evidence that this process would be appreciably faster than the drilling done by more conventional TBMs.

Yet there are still underworlds. There are the physical underworlds of natural caves and man-made mining tunnels, and there is the underworld of ancient and modern myth.

The cave with the biggest known rooms is the Son Dong cave in Vietnam; it is actually a natural tunnel eroded through limestone, with a stream flowing in one end and out the other. The cave is 5.6 miles long and in places its ceiling is 660 feet high, and the cave is up to 490 feet wide. The longest explored cave is Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave system, also known as the Flint Ridge system; cavers discovered that Mammoth Cave and several other nearby caves are connected in a system, of which 365 miles of passageways have been explored. It is possible that Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico may be connected with the nearby Lechugilla Cave, which is at least 1,597 feet deep. The deepest cave yet explored is the Krubera Cave in the Western Caucasus Mountains; it has been explored to a depth of 7,208 feet below its entrance, but that entrance is well over 7,000 feet above sea level. The deepest anyone has been below sea level is the Marianas Trench in the Pacific; so far, three people have been to the bottom, about seven miles down.

The deepest mine is the Mponeng gold mine in South Africa, at 2.5 miles. At this depth, the heat flow is so intense that powerful air conditioners and fans are needed just to keep the miners alive, and the rocks are too hot to touch. In addition, the passageways tend to close slowly due to the pressure of the rock above, and sometimes miners are killed in sudden “rock bursts.” It is doubtful that any man-made or natural cavity could exist much deeper than this unless it is filled with (relatively incompressible) water.

Then there is the underworld of ancient myth. The Greeks and Romans believed in Hades, the underworld of the dead; it was not a place of punishment, although it was not particularly pleasant. The idea that a vengeful God condemned sinners to an eternity of fiery torment evolved much later and helped the Church keep people in line. The Egyptians believed in an underworld called the Duat, and the Mayan underworld was Xibalba. Mayan civilization was concentrated in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is honeycombed with caves and underground rivers, and the landscape is dotted with cenotes, places where the cave roofs have collapsed, giving access to the water. The caves extend offshore; I myself have dived in a tunnel eighty feet down off Isla Cozumel. In other parts of the world, people traditionally believed that fairies, elves, gnomes, and the like, lived underground, often in hollowed-out hills, or in a kind of parallel universe that could be accessed through tunnels or caves.

Yet with all that, haunted caves do not seem all that common. Some believe that the infamous Bell Witch of Tennessee still dwells in a cave, and there are accounts of mysterious voices and other sounds in Mammoth Cave. Moaning Cavern in Calaveras County, California, is allegedly haunted, and some people claim to have heard knocking sounds there, reminiscent of the accounts of “tommy knockers.” The original entrance is a vertical pit 165 feet deep, where many Indians and early Gold Rush miners fell to their deaths. When I rappelled down it years ago, I encountered nothing strange.

Then there are the modern legends of secret government bases or underground cities inhabited by reptoids. Some of these alleged bases have been given the acronym “DUMB” for Deep Underground Military Base, and some people claim that they are often two miles down. No one has explained why the government would go to the trouble and expense of going that deep; and, as the Mponeng Mine shows, the rock is dangerously hot and unstable at that depth. In fact, some claim there are bases that deep in Nevada, where the earth’s crust is stretched thin and heat flow is extreme, or even in Mt. Shasta. Having climbed Shasta, I must point out that it is a volcano made of weak and unstable rock, very hot inside, with an active fumarole near the surface—not a good place for an underground base or a Lemurian city. There are urban legends of tunnels going miles down under Los Alamos, New Mexico, and there really is at least one shallow tunnel there, used by the government’s laboratories; I have seen the entrance to it. But Los Alamos is built on the flanks of an immense volcano, thought to be extinct, and, as local hot springs show, there is still a lot of heat below the surface.

There have been claims of a secret underground base near the town of Dulce, beneath Archuleta Mesa on the Jicarilla Apache reservation in northern New Mexico. There have been some strange events in the area, including cattle mutilations investigated in the seventies by former New Mexico state police officer Gabe Valdez, but the underground base stories began with one Paul Bennewitz, who believed that he had picked up radio transmissions from the base. However, it is no secret that Bennewitz had been fed disinformation by the USAF OSI (Office of Special Investigations), ultimately leading to his nervous breakdown. A man named Phil Schneider, now deceased, claimed that he had worked in the base under Archuleta Mesa and that the upper parts were used by the US military, but hostile aliens controlled the lower parts, and that he participated in a gun battle with these aliens. There is not one shred of evidence to back any of this up.

Regarding the theories that reptoids (humanoid reptiles) live underground, there are innumerable accounts of reptoids encountered by UFO abductees; and they have also been reported in places like South Carolina’s Scape Ore Swamp; and there are ancient Mesopotamian statues of humanoid reptilians. It is likely that there is a grain of truth behind these accounts, but there is no hard proof that reptoids live in deep caves. No miners or cave explorers have reported them.

And while there is no proof of DUMBs or interconnecting maglev train tunnels as some writers have claimed, there is no doubt that maglev trains are possible and could travel at immense speeds. The government does have many known (and, almost certainly, many unknown) underground bases, although they are nowhere near two miles deep. For example, there is the Mt. Weather Emergency Operations Center in Virginia, and the continuity of government shelter beneath the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. And, of course, there is the operations center under Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. The Denver Airport has a Masonic plaque and a statue of a horse with glowing eyes, and it used to have some strange and disturbing paintings. The old Denver Airport was handling traffic quite effectively, but the city insisted on building the new one 25 miles out of town; it wound up costing two billion dollars more than expected and was 16 months behind schedule. The area used for the airport is far larger than necessary, and there are known maintenance and storage areas underground. The workers there admit that there are underground sections that are off limits to them, and no one knows what they contain, or why. Some believe it is quite likely that there are shelters here for our elites, and/or an underground command center.

Whether or not such speculation is on target, there yet remain many underground mysteries around the world that conventional science has utterly failed to adequately explain.

In Turkey, for example, there really are ancient underground cities. The largest yet explored is Derinkuyu in the Cappadocia region. Some 200 feet deep, this beautifully engineered structure has room for 20,000 people, plus food, and livestock. Multiple levels and doorways can be closed off against intruders. In more recent times, Christians hiding from the Muslims have apparently briefly used the cities. They would, however, be of no use as strategic refuges against attack. Invaders could easily have taken the land above and left the people beneath to slowly starve or suffocate, their ventilation shafts blocked. Derinkuyu, some speculate, may have been built by the Indo-European Phrygians around 600-800 BC. Some 36 of these cities have been found so far and the Hittites may have constructed some before the time of the Phrygians, and at least one is conceded by orthodoxy to be some 5,000 years old.

[As in the case of many spectacular ruins around the world, no one can say with certainty just when, how, or for what reason, these underground cities were originally built. They could well be thousands of years older than the peoples who ultimately used them for their own purposes, and who have been erroneously credited with the original constructions. —ED]

So why did ancient people go to such trouble and expense to live underground? It seems they faced some threat from the sky, perhaps a nuclear war (ancient Hindu texts seem to describe something of the sort) or a super-massive solar outburst. They could, hopefully, take shelter until the danger was past and then reemerge, but how did they know in advance that such threats were coming? How could such catastrophes be reliably predicted far enough in advance to allow for the building of enormous underground cities? Clearly, the builders must have had great knowledge, and perhaps technology, that we don’t have today.

Equally strange are many ancient ruins located above natural caves or above man-made underground chambers. Inspired by Edgar Cayce, as well as cryptic ancient records and prophecies, occultists have long claimed there are secret chambers in the Great Pyramid at Giza, and even a tunnel connecting them with a “Hall of Records” beneath the Sphinx. Egyptologists have scoffed, of course, but in recent decades geologist Dr. Robert Schoch, engineer Thomas Dobecki, and others have used sonic waves to identify unknown chambers under the Sphinx. Along with ground penetrating radar and particle physics, such technologies are leading to many new underground and underwater discoveries. Other researchers have found even more tunnels and chambers under Giza. Researcher Andrew Collins has explored some of them, and they connect with a natural cave system, but lower levels are filled with water. Under Giza, it turns out, there is far more than even the wildest theorists had suspected. And yet Zahi Hawass and other conventional archaeologists have fought tooth and nail to deny it all and keep it secret. Why?

Under Sacsayhuaman in Peru there is a tunnel system that was, inexplicably, blocked off by authorities after a teenage couple entered and never came out. Their bodies were never recovered. Why would the Peruvians not do a thorough exploration of the system, which, some believe, could contain gold and emeralds and/or ancient artifacts and records, providing, perhaps, a treasure house of knowledge? What could governments across the world be hiding from us? There are known caves and tunnels under the ruins of Teotihuacan in Mexico and a cenote beneath El Castillo, the pyramid at Chichen Itza. In Malta, very ancient ruins remain partly underground. Beneath a temple in Ellora, India are man-made tunnels, some too small for adult humans to traverse. Carvings in the temple depict the ‘reptoid’ Nagas, full-sized humans, and dwarf humans—reptoids, perhaps, live underground after all. In fact, it may be true that most ancient sacred sites are above caves or man-made underground chambers and that these existed first, with surface temples added later.

Could ancient cave paintings, mostly in Spain and France, be clues to advanced ancient civilization? (See Joseph Jochman’s article on page 41 of this issue.) Some believe that many of the paintings represent the visions of people who have ingested psychedelics, like peyote or ayahuasca. Could there be some mysterious energy concentrated at such sacred sites? Might this energy be even greater underground, where it could help shamans and priests achieve altered states of consciousness?

Did initiates lie, as some believe, in something like the Ark of the Covenant fitted into the “sarcophagus” in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid focusing power like a lens focusing sunlight? Did this help raise their consciousness? And are there artifacts beneath Giza and other sites that could challenge all of our conventional beliefs—if, indeed, the authorities have not preemptively removed and hidden them?

Are global elites, and the conventional archaeologists who serve them, hiding advanced ancient knowledge from the rest of us? And will that knowledge, one way or another, finally be revealed to the public? Stay tuned.

(In early November 2017, particle physicists, using recent muon studies, reported finding an immense, unexplained cavity in the Great Pyramid. For an exclusive Atlantis Rising report, see the article by Dr. Robert M. Schoch on page 42. —ED)

CAPTION: A chamber in the vast underground city beneath Derinkuyu, Turkey.

Lost History

March/April 2018 – #128