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Is Anybody Home?

For years Hollywood has romanticized the search for life on planets other than Earth—especially the intelligent kind. Since 1960, when…

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Worlds Without End

Almost every society and every people in human history have believed in other worlds—not just other planets in our universe…

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Still an Outrage to the House of History?

Speaking to a gathering of London Alternatives in March 2014 at Saint James’s Church Picadilly, vanguard history researcher and author Graham Hancock doesn’t look terribly alternative. Known as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity’s past, his hair is conservatively styled, and he’s wearing glasses and a business suit, albeit sans tie. His demeanor and delivery (there’s something uber-credible about a crisp British accent) suggest a professorial lecture at a respected university. This audience is raptly attentive to Hancock’s description of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey (he thinks this site will prove to be over 30 times larger than Stonehenge), as well as other sites he visited while researching his forthcoming book, Magicians of the Gods, The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization (St. Martin’s Press, 2015). Since this presentation he’s made numerous trips that yielded the information he needed to clinch the stunning conclusions revealed in the book.

Hancock’s revelations aren’t so popular among mainstream archaeologists and academics, many of whom vehemently attacked his 1995 bestseller, Fingerprints of the Gods. Though it was described by the Literary Review as “one of the intellectual landmarks of the decade,” critics were furious that 600 pages of meticulously researched evidence indicated an epoch in human history that preceded by thousands of years recognized cradles of civilization in Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Far East. Hancock can be very diplomatic in addressing such criticism: “Orthodox history and archaeology taught in schools and universities, manifested through popular media, have enjoyed a monopolistic position as arbiters of our past. We are told these are the authorities to whom we should turn for the story of our past. And history is a narrative, a story,” he insists. “It’s not healthy for it to be monopolistically controlled; it’s healthy if there are alternative narratives available. I’ve tried to provide a coherent, well argued, reasonable, thoroughly documented alternative take on history; I’m suggesting we consider the possibility that we’ve lost a whole chapter of our story.”

While certainly a gentleman, Hancock seems to relish digging in his heels. Consider his recent blog post: CRASH! BANG! RUMBLE! Do you hear those sounds? Faintly? In the distance? Just audible over outraged yells and howls of protest? Those are the sounds of the house of history collapsing and the furious yells and howls are from the archaeological establishment trying to drown out the truth with their noise. The truth, he claims, is that: “We are poised on the edge of a major paradigm shift in our understanding of our own past.” This is a huge deal, since Hancock feels it’s due to our amnesia about a forgotten, traumatic past that we are “so messed up and confused and totally disturbed as a species.”

Both a literary Sherlock Holmes and an exacting forensic scientist, Hancock has carefully examined the Fingerprints he found in 1995 relating to a ‘crime’ committed 12,800 years ago when a mysterious killer brought cataclysmic fire and flood to Earth, wiping out, he says, a spiritually and technologically advanced civilization. Working tirelessly for two decades to compile evidence, Hancock is now sure of the cataclysmic culprit: a gigantic cosmic impact is Exhibit A—the smoking gun—revealed in Magicians. In this much anticipated work, Hancock substantiates the theory that large fragments of a disintegrating comet (some a mile wide and approaching at more than 60,000 miles an hour), generated heat of such intensity as to instantly liquidize millions of square miles of ice when they hit, destabilizing Earth’s crust and causing the global deluge recounted in myths all around the world. He’s certain that a second series of devastating impacts causing further cataclysmic flooding occurred 11,600 years ago—the exact date Plato gives for the destruction and submergence of the island of Atlantis.

“Now that we know that an extinction occurred in our historical backyard, history is never going to look quite the same again,” asserts Hancock, who expects it will take some time until archaeologists and historians accept the implications of new scientific findings. In the meantime, he has no doubt they will “continue to make the absurd and arrogant claim that a lost civilization ‘just isn’t possible.’

Unfolding like a novel, Magicians includes research from more than thirty esteemed academics, evidence to which the ‘prosecutor’ refers while arguing his case. Sitting in the jury box, readers accompany Hancock on his travels, hear his interactions with experts, and are given his perspective on myths and symbols that have shaped cultures through the ages. The verdict? Hancock does a magnificent job of proving beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization, which flourished during the Ice Age, was destroyed in global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. But there were survivors—known to later cultures as Sages, Magicians, Shining Ones, and Mystery Teachers of Heaven. “They travelled the world in their great ships, settling at key locations—Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, in ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru, and across the Pacific where a huge pyramid has recently been discovered in Indonesia,” says Hancock, who believes these human beings (he doesn’t buy the alien theory) kept the spark of civilization burning as the world lapsed into darkness. He believes these masters of agriculture, architecture, and engineering brought those skills to less evolved cultures—and encoded in sacred buildings a carefully crafted message for the future—specifically, for us.

“Beginning, really, in 2007 (the year New Scientist featured a cover article asking: ‘Did A Comet Wipe Out Prehistoric Americans?’) we now have massive new science, which, as far as I’m concerned, settles the case,” states Hancock. “There WAS a global cataclysm on a scale of the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, and it happened incredibly fast. No one in the mainstream community has considered the implications of an extinction-level event. It’s not their fault; this is new evidence,” he allows. But still, he has to smirk a bit—despite their models, historians and archaeologists will someday have to admit: Oops, my goodness, we missed that! Not everything has been missed—the October 5, 2013 cover of New Scientist proclaimed, ‘The True Dawn—Civilization is Older and More Mysterious Than We Thought.’ “I shall preserve this image throughout the rest of my time on this planet,” says Hancock, adding that a paper providing additional evidence for the comet impact was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

But while we’re debating whether or not a crime even occurred, the ‘bad guy’ may still be on the loose. Some astronomers believe a 20-mile-wide, ‘dark’ fragment of the giant comet that wrought such destruction remains hidden within its debris stream (the Taurid meteor showers) and threatens Earth. An astronomical message encoded in Pillar 43 at Gobekli Tepe and in the Sphinx and the pyramids of Egypt warns that the ‘Great Return’ will occur in our time; the Mayan Calendar projects a window of danger that opens onto the year 2030. Unlike many astronomers, Hancock doesn’t believe the meteor showers are just bits of cosmic dust. But neither does he think we need fly into panic mode: “It’s a reason to pay attention to our immediate cosmic environment, which appears to be much more dangerous than we thought,” he cautions. “There is a real and present danger in the Taurid meteor stream. With huge objects whizzing about, it’s a fitting subject for a global human project. The best minds of many different societies would need to be brought together; fortunately, a growing number of astronomers are concerned about the possibility of another impact. We need to put pressure on supervisory agencies like NASA to fund research at an appropriate level.”

Though it’s believed the ‘lost civilization’ was technologically developed, Hancock is pretty confident that today’s tech is the most advanced that’s ever existed on this planet, and it could even stave off an incoming impact. However, he also thinks we’re on the edge of what our technology can manage. “Our civilization has gone far down the road of mechanical advantage… we’re so pleased with ourselves, we’re arrogant. Really, we’re just a pimple of an industrial civilization. What we’ve lapsed are the potent faculties of the human mind.”

Formerly an ace map reader, Hancock says he now never consults them, even during extensive travel: “I switch on the GPS satellite navigation and just do what I’m told.” The idea of GPS tracking launches a fairly passionate fulmination: “I want as little government as possible, preferably none. I do not agree with states keeping tabs on my inner states of being. I’m a sovereign adult; I don’t need the nanny state to tell me what I can put into my body and consciousness—it’s none of their bloody business.” Hancock thinks the war on drugs has been used as an excuse to build up massive surveillance and intrusion. “It’s not the way forward,” he declaims. “If western civilization has been about anything, it’s the gradual growth of the individual. We’ve had a radical reversal of individual freedom by states and large corporations. The unfortunate thing about democracy is that it’s based on public opinion, which can be manipulated. We need absolute clarity and truth. Facts are needed, but we’re prevented from getting them.”

And Hancock is used to getting the facts. Long before he began researching a lost civilization, he’d graduated from Durham University in England (with First Class Honors in Sociology), then pursued a career in journalism, writing for many of Britain’s leading newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, and The Guardian. He was co-editor of New Internationalist magazine from 1976–1979. Having been East Africa correspondent for The Economist in the early 1980s, and having authored Under Ethiopian Skies; Ethiopia: The Challenge of Hunger, Lords of Poverty (a widely-acclaimed critique of foreign aid) and African Ark, Hancock is keenly aware of economic disparity. Pointing in a YouTube video to a picture of Earth from NASA, he notes that the areas ‘lit up’ exclude large parts of the African continent. “If we were confronted by another cataclysm, the lights would go out,” he warns. “The survivors would be those who are living in the dark now. Civilization is a fragile gift that can be taken away by the whim of the gods or by our pride and stupidity as a species.”

When he’s not traveling, researching or speaking, Hancock writes, preferably, fiction. His novels include Entangled, the story of a supernatural battle of good against evil fought out across the dimension of time on the human plane; War God: Nights of the Witch, and War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent, the first two volumes of a three volume adventure series on the Spanish conquest of Mexico. “I love writing; it’s a great pleasure for me,” he says, adding; “I’m very privileged and lucky to spend so much time on the road to explore amazing, intriguing ancient sites and then write about them. He aims for about 2,000 words a day. “But with big, heavily researched books like Magicians, I’ll often have to break away from the writing for five or six days while I read and take notes from mountains of books and scholarly papers relevant to the chapter I’m writing.” Interestingly, Hancock reports that with every book he writes, he loses or damages a tooth, a phenomenon associated with bearing children. After the writing is done, other elements of creative children need attention. (Magicians contains 73 maps, charts, and diagrams, as well as 32 pages of color photos). “I’m lucky to work with my wife, Santha, who’s an excellent professional photographer,” says Hancock, adding that the couple spent weeks honing roughly 70 images from among tens of thousands.

Does he engage in sports? No! “I do no sports or recreation apart from calisthenics now and then. Not enough, I fear. Though I’m fairly active walking around in the field” (and he dives). How about food on the road? “I don’t eat meat; I do eat shrimps (he uses the plural) and scallops. Oh, and some calamari.” But he’s cutting down on the fish. A vegetarian since 1986, he lapsed in the late 90s; he’s now getting a strong feeling he should return to vegetarianism. He’s also quit drinking alcohol, since a bottle and a half of wine every day adds up and, well, he’s just not a moderate kind of guy.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hancock spent his early years in India, where his father worked as a surgeon. While he admired his dad’s spirit of adventure in moving his young family to the subcontinent, as a young adult Hancock was alienated from him. “My father was a staunch, committed Christian, and we had profound disagreements on that front,” he says. “Particularly when I developed an intense interest in Gnosticism. Yet we had common ground in feeling there is a spiritual mystery in the heart of our human experience, and by the end of his story I’d resolved the issues between us.”

He’s also resolved in his opinion of organized, monotheistic religions. “They’re all part of the prevailing sickness making us all incredibly ill. We’ve had a grand bureaucracy of religions with priests, rabbis, and mullahs acting as intermediaries. The most useful thing we could do now is set those behind us and move to something that will nourish the human spirit. We’ve gone through a phase subjecting ourselves to big institutions: governments, religions, and corporations. That model is bust, past its ‘sell by’ date. We need revealed knowledge.” He’s partial to Shamanism, a system of direct contact with realms beyond this one.

Hancock believes that “messages still reach us from the deep and distant past in the words of the Sages, in the deeds of the Magicians, and in the mighty memorials that they left behind to awaken us at the time of the Great Return.”  Furthermore, he thinks we have an urgent need to awaken to the full mystery of the magnificent gift of consciousness. “This, too, was the promise of the Mayan Calendar—that we who are alive today will find ourselves at the threshold of a new age of human consciousness. If we can bring that age to birth—then preventing the remaining fragments of the comet from devastating Earth will be child’s play—and in the process we will have discovered, perhaps for the first time in more than 12,000 years



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Goddess in the Vatican?

The Vatican is one of the holiest places in the world—the center of Catholic Christianity. Not only is it home to the Pope and cardinals, it is believed that riches of secret books, secret charts, and valuable objects are preserved inside the Vatican walls. The greatest secret, however, might be that the Vatican was once an important center of pagan worship, specifically goddess worship. Goddess worship has been marginalized by most religions, but the goddess survives in Rome’s Vatican City, Washington D.C., New York, and even many places in Asia.

The place that was first known as the Mons Vaticanus was founded as a necropolis sometime before 600 BC. It became a temple to the goddess Cybele in 204 B.C., during the Punic War. The Carthaginian Hannibal was plundering the Roman countryside. Rome itself was desperate and apparently their own gods were failing them. Strange omens caused fear in the city. It is reported that one morning, two suns rose in the sky. It is also reported that stones rained for nine days. In the middle of one night, daylight appeared. The city’s gate was struck by lightning. All of these events were bad signs for the superstitious Romans.

Rome sent a delegation to Delphi in Greece for an interpretation of the prophecy in the Sibylline books. This prophecy stated that if a foreign invader attacks Rome, then that invader could only be driven away if the Mother of Mount Ida (Cybele) is brought to Rome. Although the father gods like Zeus and Jehovah had become more popular during the Iron Age that began circa 1250 BC, the goddess and her mysteries survived in Greece, Egypt, Anatolia, Palestine, and Syria. Now she was being recognized by Rome. The Great Goddess and Mother Goddess went by different names in different locales but Cybele was unique.

The personification of this goddess was the largest iron meteorite known in the ancient world. It was a 16-feet-tall conical object worshiped as the “Simulacrum of Cybele” and weighed several hundred tons. Worship of the goddess and her stone that dropped from the heavens included believing her priestess had the gift of prophecy. They could see into the future. What would become Vatican hill was selected as the place to house it. A 200-foot-long temple was planned. It would be built over the catacombs that existed for centuries. It took 13 years to build her temple, and it was dedicated on April 11, 191 BC.

Cybele and her meteorite had already proven her power even before the temple was complete, although skeptics might give more credit to the Roman General Scipio Africanus and his successes against the Carthaginians on their own soil forcing Hannibal to be recalled from Italy. The ability of Cybele to see the future gave birth to the word Vatican.

The Holy See

The word itself varies in its interpretations. Most believe it is derived from the Latin vates, meaning seer or soothsayer. In turn the word ‘Vaticanus’ was from the Etruscan language, meaning serpent or dragon. An even older word vatica is Hindi for a cultural or religious center. It is often used for Hindu monasteries. The Hindi suffix tika is the name of the red circle or dot that Hindu women place in the center of their forehead. It indicates a “third eye” or an ability to see beyond the three dimensions. How the word was brought from India to pre-Roman Italy is unknown. Vatis can also mean snake in the Etruscan language, and it was claimed by Pliny the Roman historian that snakes grew so large in the Vatican area that one ate a child. The serpent/dragon was given an unusual power of sight as well.

In Sun Cults versus Thunder Cults the author declares the Vatican was a sacred grove of the seer-serpent long before Roman peoples moved to the area. Pliny’s version may have been a misunderstanding of both the word and the pagan practices that would take place underground. The historian Varro claimed the word ‘Vatican’ was from a Roman deity Vagitanus who endowed children with the power of speech. In any case the word has something to do with prophecy and special sight. Today the Vatican is also referred to as the Holy See.

The belief that those priests and priestesses could tell the future was widespread. Among the Celts there were the Druids, the bards, and the vates. Pliny wrote that it was the vates who taught the immortality of the soul as well as the science of observing the skies. To the church, viewing the heavens was important for placing certain dates of worship, most importantly Easter.

Rome would actually later have an observatory, but as the modern city grew, pollution made it more difficult to view the skies. The Vatican Observatory Research Group would move its headquarters to Castel Gandolfo an hour outside the city.

A Common Thread

Centuries before the birth of Jesus the worship of Cybele had as a central theme of the son and mother. Unlike Christianity the mother was the dominant one and Cybele’s son was also her lover. And again unlike Christianity, the orgiastic rites of the goddess included self-flagellation and even self-castration. They also involved initiations where those admitted to the secret worship would be drenched in blood. A highlight of worship was the Taurobolium, baptism in the blood of a sacred bull.

The priests were not Romans but were from Asia Minor where the Cybele stone originated. Romans despised the effeminate behavior of the long-haired, strangely costumed priests parading in their streets, although their own religion had much in common.

The worship of Roman men, particularly in the military, had their own son-lover pair of Mithra and Atagartis. The rites shared the bloody initiation, but the male Mithra was a warrior god who slew a bull at birth. Like the worship of Cybele, a highlight of worship also included the Taurobolium, baptism in the blood of a sacred bull. Such Roman sites still exist, generally beneath churches.

While Christianity revered the concept of Mother and Son, the practices of the newer religion were very different.

The practices of the mother-goddess religion were soon forced underground—literally underground, as they would conduct their ecstatic ceremonies in the catacombs under the Vatican. The layers of catacombs that supported the structure above were used to conduct human sacrifice rituals and initiations. It wasn’t until Domitian AD 81–96 made human sacrifice a capital crime, that these tunnels were closed. Secret tunnels, however, allowed the forbidden ceremonies of Cybele, including child sacrifice, to continue. In the second century the tunnels were closed and Roman families that still engaged in such practices were banished to Libya.

One family that was forced to abandon Rome for Libya was that of Gaius Fulvius Victor. His father fled Rome when the Gnostic Antonius Pius sought to execute any nobles belonging to the Cybele sect. Through political in-fighting Victor somehow became Pope and while he is guilty of numerous crimes, including murder, his worst offense was in re-instituting child sacrifice to the Vatican. It had been practiced on certain occasions, but Victor wanted a sacrifice at every Mass.

The temple of Cybele stood on the Vatican until the Christians took over in the fourth century. Then the site evolved into the Basilica of St. Peter, which stands today. While the Catholic place would impose its own brand of mother and son images, the Vatican’s massive collection of pre-Christian goddesses populates the city. Statues and images of Artemis, Fortuna, Venus, Diana, and the Egyptian Sekmet are present, as is a huge obelisk.

The obelisk in the center of the Vatican represents the center point of the Axis Mundi of the Catholic faith. It is surrounded by 16 windrose markers, a directional system created by the Etruscan people long before Rome. Author Cort Lindahl in Axis Mundi points out that the markers refer to key places in the Christian faith, including: the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, to Axum in Ethiopia (which Graham Hancock believes holds the Ark of the Covenant) and to the Schloss Schonbrunn Palace of the Habsburgs.

Worship of the goddess Cybele survived long after Rome. In The Cult of the Black Virgin, author Ian Begg says the Frankish Merovinginians worshiped her as Diana, and there were huge idols and monuments to her in France. He connects the modern survival of her to Mary Magdalene. Lyons in France was a center of her worship, and she survived in Paris (as Isis) until St. Genevieve took over her role.

The Goddess in America

As Rome was the capital of one of the world’s greatest empires, the modern-day empire that is the United States has as it’s capital, Washington DC.

In 1663, the owner of the tract of land that became the District of Columbia was Francis Pope. He called the hill his home and it was built on “Rome” and the inlet of the Potomac that bordered his property, the Tiber. Local tradition said he envisioned his property as being the center of a capital mightier than Rome. While this story might be taken for legend instead of fact, a deed drawn up in Maryland survives in Annapolis. The deed is dated June 6, 1663, and states that Francis Pope has 400 acres on a strip of land called Rome, bounded by an inlet called the Tiber. A tenuous link has representatives of the Pope in Rome offering to contribute a block of marble from Rome’s Temple of Concord to be part of the Washington Monument. In 1630 a certain Englishman by the name of John Pope came to Massachusetts. He would be a direct ancestor to John Russell Pope who built the Jefferson Memorial.

As Roman astrologers linked the foundation of their city with a fixed star in Leo, called Regulus, the same star was adopted by the Founding Fathers as one of the three prime marking stars. American Freemasons played the primary role in planning, designing, constructing, and dedicating the city of Washington. What is best described by Dr. Bob Hieronimus (author of The United Symbolism of America) as the “annual solar mystery” is best experienced on August 10 and 12 from the steps of the West Front of the Capitol Building. The sun sets directly over the horizon, then the three primary stars glow above the White House. They are Spica, Arcturus, and Regulus forming a triangle that reflects exactly in the shape of the federal triangle. The three points are the White House, the Capitol and the obelisk that is the Washington monument.

Like the Vatican, Washington also had its own place to view the heavens. The place where a statue of Einstein now stands was once called Observatory Hill. In 1843 this sight was taken over as the U.S. Naval Observatory.

The importance of the stars in the design of cities as ancient as Rome and as modern as Washington is matched by the importance of the goddess in both places. In Rome, Christianity hid the importance of the more ancient goddesses by giving the mother of Jesus that role. George Washington, while certainly not Catholic, had by design placed half of the capital district in Maryland and half in Virginia. Mary of course is the Blessed Virgin. Her titles show her to be more than the mother of Jesus. She is the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of the Seas, and possibly the Mother Goddess of the ancients.

The Goddess Survives

While every religion has marginalized the goddess, apparently she survives in several cities, most importantly the great cities, including Rome, Paris, Washington and New York.

In America the goddess was given different names than the Old World goddesses. The district was name Columbia. It is assumed that her name is derived from Christopher Columbus, but at the same time, the symbol of the goddess from Minoan times was the dove. Both the Roman goddess Venus and the Greek goddess Aphrodite shared the dove as their symbol.

Possibly the most important aspect of the new United States was Freedom. Above the Capitol building is a fifteen-thousand-pound statue of a goddess standing nearly 20 feet tall. While she appears to represent the goddess Minerva or the Roman Bellona, the architect that designed the statue simply named her “Freedom.” Her crested helmet and sword suggest she stands ready to protect her country. The full-scale model was completed in Rome. Freemason and Rosicrucian, was the inspiration for the founding of Virginia, and his favored aspect of the goddess complete with helmet and spear is on the Virginia state flag. She is Athena, and Bacon had started a secret society dedicated to her while still a student.

Possibly the most important goddess in the United States is Liberty. She was known as Libertas in Rome and by other names. Her most ancient name was Ishtar. The sculptor who created New York’s Statue of Liberty, Frederic Bartholdi, referred to her as Libertas, but she was an early adoption by the Romans of Ishtar. Bartholdi was backed by Freemason Edward Laboulaye, who took the project from a notion to completion. Today she stands guard over that other important city, New York.

Libertas or Liberty is represented on many denominations of coins. The Seated Liberty dollar is one. She is on state flags and state seals. She is standing tall on not only Washington’s capitol dome but on the domes of Georgia and Texas and courthouses around the country.

Far from Western nations, the goddess even made her appearance in China. A statue to this goddess was built thirty-three-feet tall. It was to be the vanguard of the protest in Tiananmen Square. She was named the Goddess of Democracy but often referred to as the Goddess of Freedom and Liberty. Soldiers tore her statue down, but it has since been recreated in Hong Kong, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.


Lost History