What was the Bloop?

In 1997, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected a strange noise in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. After several repeated incidents, the sound vanished, never to be heard again. What did the bloop sound like? And what was behind the strange noise?

What was the Bloop?

The Bloop was a powerful, ultra-low frequency underwater sound. During the summer of 1997, it was detected several times by a hydrophone array in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of South America. After that summer, the sound never returned.

“[The Bloop] rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km.” ~ NOAA

Speculation about the Bloop’s origin continues to this day. Dr. Christopher Fox, who named the Bloop, doesn’t believe that it originated from humans or a geological event. In fact, he thinks it came from an animal due to the fact that “its signature is a rapid variation on frequency similar to that of sounds known to be made by marine beasts.” There’s just one problem with his theory. The Bloop was far louder than noises caused by any other ocean-based creature, including whales. So, whatever caused the Bloop is either bigger than a whale or far more efficient at generating sound.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Is it possible that the Bloop was some sort of sea serpent, similar to the one reported by the 1840 voyage of the HMS Daedalus? It seems possible but until the Bloop decides to resurface again, the best we can do is speculate.

The Missingest Man in New York?

On August 6, 1930, Judge Joseph Crater left Billy Haas’s Chophouse in New York City. He was never seen again. His high-profile disappearance rocked the nation and despite decades of police work, his case remains unsolved to this day. So, what became of Judge Crater, the infamous “Missingest Man in New York”?

The Disappearance of Judge Crater?

Joseph Force Crater was an Associate Judge of the New York Supreme Court. He was appointed to office in mid-1930 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who at that time was the state’s Governor. His strange story begins during the waning days of July 1930.

While on vacation in Belgrade, Maine, Judge Crater received a phone call. Afterwards, he told his wife that he needed to return to New York City in order “to straighten those fellows out.” He traveled to New York and then returned to Maine on August 1. Two days later, he departed again for Manhattan, promising his wife he would return within a week.

On August 6, Judge Crater bought a single ticket for a Broadway show called Dancing Partner. Then, he met up with two friends at Billy Haas’s Chophouse on West 45th Street. After dinner, the two friends entered a taxi. Meanwhile, Judge Crater walked down the street, presumably heading for the Belasco Theatre. He was never seen again.

Judge Crater’s Secret Life

Around August 13, Judge Crater’s wife, a woman by the name of Stella Mance Wheeler, began calling friends in New York, searching for her husband. On August 25, he failed to show for court, raising eyebrows amongst his colleagues. Finally, on September 3, nearly a full month after his last sighting, the police were alerted to the case.

Judge Crater’s disappearance became national news and led to a gigantic investigation. As the police waded through information and thousands of false sightings, they quickly learned that there was more to the story than met the eye. Layers of the Judge’s life were peeled back, revealing numerous strange facts.

  • The Affair: Judge Crater was having an affair with Sally Lou Ritz, a showgirl. After he received the mysterious phone call in July, he returned to New York, supposedly “to straighten those fellows out.” Instead, he took Sally on a trip to Atlantic City. Later, Sally was of the last two people, along with the Judge’s lawyer, to see him alive.
  • The Money: On August 6, just hours before his disappearance, Judge Crater asked his assistant to cash two checks totaling $5,150. He also removed $20,000 from campaign funds, close to a year’s salary. They proceeded to carry the cash in locked briefcases to the Judge’s apartment. Afterwards, the Judge gave his assistant the rest of the day off.
  • The Missing Safety Deposit Box: During the course of the investigation, the cops learned that Judge Crater had emptied his safety deposit box prior to going missing.

In January 1931, the Judge’s wife opened a desk drawer and discovered uncashed checks, stocks, bonds, and three life insurance policies. She also found a long note from the Judge, part of which read, “I am very whary (weary). Joe.” Ultimately, the investigation ended with a whimper and on June 6, 1939, Judge Crater was declared dead in absentia. His case was officially closed forty years later.

What happened to Judge Crater?

Numerous theories have been put forth to explain the Judge’s vanishing act:

  • Political Victim: The Judge’s wife believed that he was murdered “because of something sinister connected to politics.” Also, there were many rumors at the time of a pending legal scandal. It should be noted that Judge Crater was deeply involved in the machinations of the Tammany Hall political machine.
  • Lover’s Quarrel: This theory, advanced by Mrs. Crater’s attorney, indicated that the Judge was being blackmailed by a showgirl. The Judge refused to pay her off and was killed for his troubles.
  • The Wife: Over the years, many have viewed Mrs. Crater with suspicion. The Judge was obviously cheating on her. Also, the fact that she didn’t involve the police until four weeks had gone by is somewhat strange.
  • Extended Vacation: Some think that the Judge skipped town and resettled elsewhere under a different name in order to live with another lover or to avoid a scandal.
  • Murder by Madam: In his book, Vanishing Point, Richard Tofel makes the argument that the Judge ended August 6 in a well-known brothel run by a woman named Polly Adler. Polly later wrote a popular book about her life as a madam. According to Tofel’s research, early drafts of the book stated that Judge Crater died of natural causes while in her brothel and that she had his body removed to an unknown location. While this is an interesting possibility, it should be noted that these early drafts have yet to be found.

On August 19, 2005, a handwritten note was discovered in a metal box after the death of a seemingly random woman named Stella Ferrucci-Good. The letter claimed that Judge Crater was murdered by three men: Robert Good and two brothers named Charles and Frank Burns. Robert Good was a Parks Department supervisor and Stella’s late husband. Charles was a New York police officer and Frank was a cab driver. While she didn’t mention a motive, she did state that the three men supposedly buried Judge Crater’s body under the boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

In the mid-1950’s, the boardwalk had been torn up and the New York Aquarium built in its place. Unsubstantiated reports indicate that the remains of five bodies were found at the time. These skeletons were later interred in a mass potter’s grave on Hart Island.

Interest surged in the cold case. But the excitement quickly died off. The police were skeptical of Stella’s claim. And unfortunately, there was no way to substantiate it. Even if bones had been recovered from under the boardwalk, it would take a miracle to find them. It would take an even greater miracle to identify them, given that Crater has no living direct relatives from which to extract DNA.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

For decades, Judge Crater’s disappearance was one of the most famous unsolved disappearances in American history. Indeed, he was as well-known as Amelia Earhart or Glenn Miller. The term “to pull a Crater” became an established expression. “Judge Crater, call your office,” became a national punchline.

Although the Judge’s fame has waned, the mystery continues. In my mind, the most believable theory is the one offered by Ms. Stella Ferucci-Good’s letter. However, in order to prove it, we need more evidence. Interested researchers might want to consider tracking down workers who helped build the Aquarium. A detailed search of tabloids of the time, which supposedly reported the five bodies, might also prove helpful. With a little legwork, we might finally be able to close the books on Judge Crater, one of history’s strangest mysteries.

Apostle of Christ Unearthed?

On July 26, a team of archaeologists announced the discovery of an ancient tomb. But not just any tomb. They claim that this particular tomb belongs to St. Philip, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. If correct, it promises to be one of the most astonishing discoveries in recent memory. But is this really Philip’s tomb?

Who was St. Philip?

Philip was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He rarely appears in the New Testament. His most notable showing is during the Last Supper, when his question led Jesus to teach the disciples about the unity of the Father and the Son.

Much of our knowledge of Philip derives from non-canonical texts. According to the Acts of Philip, he was crucified upside-down in Hierapolis for converting a city official’s wife. He died while preaching to a gathered crowd, sometime around the year 80 AD. Afterwards, he was buried in an octagonal tomb named “The Martryium.” It should be noted that the Catholic Church does not accept this story as fact.

St. Philip’s Tomb?

Since 2003, Italian professor Francesco D’Andria has been leading archaeological excavations within the ancient city of Hierapolis. Recently, he unearthed an old tomb near the ruins of a church.

“Until recently, we thought the grave of St. Philip was on Martyrs’ Hill, but we discovered no traces of him in the geophysical research conducted in that area. A month ago, we discovered the remnants of an unknown church, 40 meters away from the St. Philip Church on Martyrs’ Hill. And in that church we discovered the grave of St. Philip.” ~ Francesco D’Andria

The tomb has yet to be opened. However, according to D’Andria, its structure and etchings prove that it belongs to St. Philip.

“St. Philip is considered a martyr. In fact, the church built in his name on the Martyrs’ Hill is, for this reason, also called Martyrion, despite the fact there were no traces of the grave of St. Philip. As we were cleaning out the new church we discovered a month ago, we finally found the grave. With close examination, we determined that the grave had been moved from its previous location in the St. Philip Church to this new church in the fifth century, during the Byzantine era. We are extremely happy and proud to have discovered the grave of a saint whose name appears in the bible – this surely is an important discovery for religious tourism, archaeology and Christendom.” ~ Francesco D’Andria

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

D’Andria has been working in this area for over three decades. His recent article for the Biblical Archaeology Society, Conversion, Crucifixion, and Celebration, provides terrific background on the story of St. Philip as well as his own excavations at Hierapolis. He is more than credible which makes impossible to dismiss his claim. Still, its a rather extraordinary claim, seemingly based on nothing more than the structure of the grave and its inscriptions. Heck, the tomb hasn’t even been opened yet.

As for me, I remain skeptical. I would like to learn more about D’Andria’s evidence before I form an opinion. I read every single article I could find on this discovery but unfortunately, none of them discussed why the tomb’s structure and inscriptions pointed to St. Philip as the only possible occupant. So for the time being, I’ll eagerly await future news on D’Andria’s work. For if his claims prove accurate, then the tomb is one of the most significant archaeological finds in recent memory.

Deciphering Ancient Texts?

In 1896, two undergraduate students unearthed an underground cache of over 200,000 pieces of papyri. The collection includes letters and other documents dating from 500 BC to 1000 AD. Despite over one hundred years of work, researchers have only managed to transcribe two percent of the ancient texts. They need help to transcribe the rest…YOUR help.

A Treasure Trove of Ancient Texts?

In 1896, Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt discovered an ancient dump near the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus. With the help of locals, they proceeded to uncover a treasure trove of papyri, digging as far down as twenty-five feet in some cases. The papers, which dated back to Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, included letters, documents, receipts, loans, work contracts, gossip, and other things. After a decade, Grenfell and Hunt brought the recovered papers back to Oxford University where they have remained ever since.

For over a century, researchers have worked to transcribe the documents. In the process, they have made numerous important discoveries, including a lost play by Euripides entitled Melanippe the Wise, lost works from the poet Sappho, and lost letters from the philosopher Epicurus. Amazingly, they also found tiny fragments of a “lost gospel” which appears to describe Jesus exorcising demons.

However, the process has been slow and many of the ancient texts remain unstudied to this day. In fact, Oxford University researchers estimate that only two percent of the documents have been successfully transcribed. Now, they are seeking the help of outsiders to help decode the rest of the works.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

You don’t need to know Greek in order to help. You merely need to visit Ancient Lives and use pattern recognition tools to match letters to symbols. The site will then store your translation and wait for others to view the ancient text. By having multiple people study each fragment, scholars hope to weed out mistakes and discrepancies.

If you have time, please stop by Ancient Lives and lend a hand. Who knows? You might find yourself reading a lost play or a lost letter. You might even find something really important…something that changes history as we know it.

Who Framed Captain Kidd?

Captain William Kidd is one of the most notorious pirates in history. In 1701, he was executed in London after being found guilty of murder and five charges of piracy. Two hundred years later, documents emerged that called into question the official story. Was Captain Kidd framed? If so, why?

The Adventures of Captain Kidd

In 1698, King William III offered pardons to pirates who surrendered themselves to England. Only two men, the apparent worst of the worst, were denied such pardons. The first such pirate was “Long Ben” Avery, who eluded punishment and vanished. The second pirate was a man known as Captain William Kidd.

Kidd was a Scottish sailor turned British privateer. Privateers were essentially government-sponsored pirates. They were issued letters of marque and were only permitted to attack ships belonging to enemy nations. As such, Captain Kidd received a government license, some funding from prominent members of the Whig Party, and permission to keep a percentage of his profits. In turn, King William III gained another vessel to disrupt enemy trade as well as rights to ten percent of all of Kidd’s profits.

In September 1696, Kidd launched from London in the Adventure Galley and set course for Madagascar. Hopes for a successful voyage quickly crumbled and the ship’s crew suffered an outbreak of cholera, constant leaks, and few prizes. By October 30, 1697, part of the crew had deserted and the rest were openly talking about mutiny. On that day, Captain Kidd fought with gunner, William Moore. The argument ended when Kidd slammed a bucket into Moore’s head, fracturing the man’s skull. Moore died the next day.

Captain Kidd becomes a Pirate

A few months later, on January 30, 1698, Kidd finally captured the large prize that had eluded him and his crew. The Quedah Merchant was a four-hundred-ton Armenian ship, filled with satins, muslins, silks, sugar, opium, guns, silver, and gold. However, although the vessel was under French control, it was captained by an Englishman. After news of the Quedah Merchant reached England, Captain Kidd was declared a pirate.

After capturing at least four smaller ships, Kidd learned that he was being hunted. He sought support from Lord Bellomont, one of his investors and the newly appointed governor of Massachusetts. Bellomont offered him clemency. But when Kidd arrived in Boston, Bellomont had him arrested instead.

Kidd’s trial started on May 8, 1701 in England. He was accused of Moore’s murder and five counts of piracy. Kidd claimed that his attack on Moore was due to the man’s role in an attempted mutiny. He also claimed that four counts of piracy were done against his wishes by the mutineers.

The fifth count proved more troubling to explain. The Quedah Merchant was captained by an Englishman and carried strong connections to the England-based, East India Company. Also, Kidd did not take his spoils back to England as his contract required. Instead, he dispersed it amongst his crew and kept the rest for himself. Kidd fought back, alleging that his mutinous crew took the spoils. He also insisted that the Quedah Merchant was clearly a French ship and that he had the papers to prove it. However, these papers mysteriously disappeared prior to his trial. On May 23, 1701, Captain Kidd was executed via hanging.

Was Captain Kidd Framed?

While the charges were serious, many people continue to believe that Captain Kidd was framed or at the very least, sacrificed for the sake of politics. Its important to note that he didn’t dispute the killing of William Moore or the seizure of four of the ships. His defense for those crimes hinged on his statement that he was under constant attack by a band of mutineers. Regardless, his crimes weren’t exactly unusual given the times.

As for the Quedah Merchant, Kidd based his defense on a “French pass,” which was a piece of paper indicating that the ship was controlled by France. Kidd reported that he took the pass from the vessel’s captain and sent it to Lord Bellomont, his old business parter. Bellomont wrote a letter to Kidd which seemed to confirm the pass’s existence. However, it vanished prior to trial. Over two hundred years later, in 1911, a writer named Ralph Paine made an astonishing discovery. While searching London’s Public Record Office, he found the missing French pass. Its existence caused many to question if it had been hidden on purpose, in order to throw doubt on Kidd’s story.

Several groups stood to gain from his execution. He was initially backed by prominent members of the Whig Party. After news of the Quedah Merchant went public, the Whigs found themselves under heavy attack from the Tories. Wishing to avoid an embarrassing situation, the Whigs were eager to abandon Kidd. They went so far as to declare that he’d turned rogue after they’d outfitted him and his ship.

Another group who stood to benefit from Captain Kidd’s death was the East India Company. Kidd’s capture of the Quedah Merchant angered the India emperor, who threatened to close down trade routes. The East India Company, eager to placate the emperor and discourage future piracy, had strong motive to make an example out of Kidd.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Captain Kidd was a privateer who either turned pirate or was forced to do so by a mutinous crew. He never gained much success and if it hadn’t been for his sensational trial and his subsequent attempt to barter his life for a vast, hidden treasure, he would’ve been easily forgotten.

So, was he framed? Not exactly. After all, he committed at least some of the crimes of which he was accused. However, other pirates got away with far worse. It seems clear that both the Whigs and the East India Company had strong reasons to see him hang. This caused his supporters to abandon him and most likely led Lord Bellomont to file away the French pass rather than present it at his trial. While Kidd wasn’t framed, he was a victim…a victim of politics.

What killed the Dinosaurs?

Sixty-five and a half million years ago, dinosaurs vanished from the earth. The fate of these magnificent beasts remains a mystery to this day. However, new evidence has recently emerged that might help solve this mystery once and for all. So, what killed the dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs & the Mysterious K-Pg Boundary?

Dinosaurs roamed the earth for about 160 million years, encompassing large parts of the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. While the size, shape, and features of dinosaurs varied extensively, they all share one thing in common. Sixty-five and a half million years ago, all non-avian dinosaurs perished in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, or the K-Pg extinction event. The K-Pg boundary is a layer of sediment in the earth’s crust that marks the switch from the Cretaceous Period (K) to the Paleogene Period (Pg). Non-avian dinosaur bones are never found above this layer, which indicates that dinosaurs became extinct at or before the same time it was created.

Did an Asteroid or Comet Kill off the Dinosaurs?

In 1980, the father/son team of Luis and Walter Alvarez discovered that the K-Pg boundary contained iridium, an element not usually found in the earth’s crust. After eliminating other possible sources, they concluded that the iridium most likely arrived via comet or asteroid. Although hotly contested at first, this theory later found broad acceptance due to the announced discovery of the Chicxulub Crater. The crater, located under Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, measures over 110 miles in diameter. Most scientists today believe that an asteroid or comet, measuring over six miles in diameter, impacted the earth sixty-five and a half million years ago. In the process, it created the crater and drove the dinosaurs to extinction.

The Problematic “Fossil Gap”?

However, not everyone believes the official story. These individuals point to the fact that dinosaur bones become less frequent as they approach the K-Pg boundary. Also, there is a “fossil gap” since no bones have ever been found within the boundary itself. Taken together, these things indicate that the extinction predated the impact at Chicxulub. If this is the case, then dinosaurs were probably killed off more gradually, by things such as a volcanic winter, the Deccan traps, falling sea levels, and/or climate change.

That brings us to the present. While working in Montana, a team of Yale scholars recently discovered a dinosaur bone just thirteen centimeters below the K-Pg boundary. This marks the closest a bone has ever been found to the boundary, beating the old record by twenty-four centimeters. The discovery, made by Yale anthropologist Eric Sargis and graduate student Stephen Chester, indicates that dinosaurs were still alive a few thousand years before the impact event.

“Here we have a specimen that basically goes right up to the boundary, indicating that at least some dinosaurs were doing fine.” ~ Tyler Lyson, Paleontologist, Yale University

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The discovery is exciting and lends weight to the theory that dinosaurs were still alive at the time of the impact event. However, it hasn’t ended the debate as to what killed the dinosaurs. This particular bone could’ve easily belonged to one of the few remaining dinosaurs as they gradually became extinct. Unfortunately, without more bones there’s no way to be sure.

In March 2010, forty-one experts from across the globe reviewed evidence in the fields of paleontology, geochemistry, climate modeling, geophysics, and sedimentology. They concluded that a giant asteroid caused the Chicxulub crater, triggering mass extinctions of the dinosaurs. So, it would appear that there is a sort of scientific consensus in support of the impact theory.

But does that even matter? History is full of scientific consensuses that were later overturned. Heck, thirty years ago, no one believed that an asteroid caused dinosaurs to go extinct. Now, its the most popular opinion. Who knows what the next thirty years will bring?

Was Alexander the Great Poisoned?

In June 323 BC, Alexander the Great died in Babylon after a two-week battle against an unknown ailment. Since then, historians have blamed his mysterious death on any number of things…excessive drinking, malaria, and typhoid fever to name just a few. However, new research points to something far more sinister…poison.

The Mysterious Death of Alexander the Great?

Alexander the Great was a king of Macedon. Considered a mighty warrior, he built one of the largest empires in history. In late May 323 BC, he grew ill after a night and a day drinking with Medius of Larissa at the Babylonian palace of Nebuchadnezzar II (located in modern-day Iraq). He took to bed for the next two weeks, complaining of a high fever, liver pain, and joint pain. After falling into a coma, he never awakened. Alexander the Great died on either June 11 or June 12, at the young age of thirty-two.

Rumors of an assassination soon began and his close friends suspected a poison procured from the legendary River Styx. Supposedly, the waters of the River were so corrosive that they dissolved any drinking vessel, short of one made from a horse’s hoof. Intriguingly, while their contemporaries doubted the poison rumors, they never doubted the existence of the River Styx. Regardless, the problem with the poison theory has always been the fact that Alexander suffered for about twelve days before dying. A long-acting poison of that nature seems doubtful in those ancient times.

Was Alexander the Great Poisoned?

In August 2010, Adrienne Mayor and Antoinette Hayes, both from Stanford University, proposed a new theory that breathed life into the possibility of an assassination. Similar to the ancient rumors, they speculate that Alexander might have died from ingesting a vial of water from the River Styx.

While the River Styx is popularly known as the mythological gateway to the underworld, Mayor and Hayes believe that it is based on a real-life river, namely the Mavroneri Stream, or Black Water. The Mavroneri has a strange history and the local people were once known to avoid it, claiming that its waters caused damage to metal and clay vessels.

Mayor and Hayes further speculate that the river once held a highly lethal bacterium known as calicheamicin. Calicheamicin, which was only discovered by modern science in the last few decades, grows on limestone deposits, some of which are found in the Mavroneri. While scientists have not yet looked for calicheamicin in the Mavroneri, there may be an expedition to do so as soon as October 2011. However, we do know that drinking water containing the bacteria would result in “an agonizing death over several days, a course of events compatable with those described in the ancient sources recounting the death of Alexander.”

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The true cause of Alexander’s death may never be known. However, Mayor and Hayes have gotten closer to unraveling it than anyone else in recent memory. If evidence of calicheamicin is discovered in the Mavroneri, it will provide additional support to the assassination theory. But the mystery won’t end there. If Mayor and Hayes are correct, than we have a whole new set of questions to consider such as: Who killed Alexander the Great?

And why?

The Mystery of Thomas Edison’s Ring

Thomas Edison is rightly known as one of the most brilliant inventors in history. After his death, he left behind a strange metal ring which was later found in his laboratory. Its purpose remained unknown…until now.

Thomas Edison’s Talking Doll?

Thomas Edison is the third-most prolific, patented inventor in American history, behind Kia Silverbrook and Shunpei Yamazaki. He is credited with inventing the phonograph, the motion-picture camera, and the light bulb.

In 1890, after many years of experimentation, development, and business warfare, Thomas Edison released a new invention into the marketplace.  It was called the Edison Talking Doll. The dolls stood about two feet high and weighed four pounds apiece. Inside their bodies, Edison installed tiny phonographs with pre-recorded cylinders. Children were supposed to turn a crank at a steady speed in order to hear a six-second nursery rhyme.

The voices of the little monsters were exceedingly unpleasant to hear – Thomas Edison

The dolls debuted at the Lenox Lyceum in New York City. One month later, production ceased due to poor demand and complaints about the easily-damaged phonograph system. Very few of these dolls exist today.

Thomas Edison’s Mysterious Ring?

That brings us back to the ring. It was discovered in 1967. Observers noticed that it contained grooves, similar to those used by a phonograph. Unfortunately, the ring was bent and damaged, making it impossible for anyone to play the recording.

That all changed recently when scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used image analysis to digitize the grooves. It turns out that the ring holds an old recording of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” The recording, made in the fall of 1888, was originally developed for an Edison Talking Doll. However, wax records subsequently replaced metal ones and thus, the ring was never used for its intended purpose.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

According to historian Patrick Feaster, the ring represents “the oldest American-made recording of a woman’s voice that we can listen to today.” The speaker is unknown. But until someone proves otherwise, she has earned her place in the history books as the world’s first professional recording artist.

Ark of the Covenant: Lost Technology?

The Ark of the Covenant is, perhaps, the most famous lost artifact of all time. According to biblical accounts, it contained the Ten Commandments and was used by Moses to communicate directly with God. Its ultimate fate remains an enduring mystery to this day. However, not everyone is convinced that the Ark was a mystical object. They believe that the Ark can be explained by science, specifically electrical engineering. Do their claims hold any merit?

Intriguing observations about the Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant was a rectangular box made of wood (probably Acacia arabia), measuring about four and a half feet long, two and a half feet wide, and two and a half feet tall. All surfaces, interior and exterior, were plated with gold. A gold crown or molding wrapped around the structure. Gold rings were attached to each corner, to be used in conjunction with carrying poles. A gold lid sat on top of the Ark. On top of the lid rested opposing gold cherubims, with their wings stretching out towards each other.

According to the Book of Exodus, Moses built the Ark of the Covenant based on instructions he received from God while atop Mount Sinai. The Israelites proceeded to carry it for the next forty years while they wandered through the desert. While at rest, they stored it inside a portable, sacred temple-like structure known as the Tabernacle. The Ark performed many strange, mystical feats. To mention just a few:

Nikola Tesla’s Speculations on the Ark of the Covenant

For centuries, the Ark was viewed as a mystical object from God, beyond the knowledge of man. However, that changed on September 9, 1915, when the famous scientist Nikola Tesla published an article entitled The Wonder World to be Created by Electricity. In it, he made the following astounding claim:

…Moses was undoubtedly a practical and skillful electrician far in advance of his time. The Bible describes precisely and minutely arrangements constituting a machine in which electricity was generated by friction of air against silk curtains and stored in a box constructed like a condenser. It is very plausible to assume that the sons of Aaron were killed by a high tension discharge…

The term condenser is an older word for what we now know as a capacitor, or an electrical machine capable of storing energy. Tesla thought that the Ark generated static electricity by causing air to rub against curtains. This created static electricity which was then stored inside the Ark, turning the box into a giant Leyden Jar. But how did this work exactly?

The Secret of the Ark of the Covenant?

According to Michael Blackburn and Mark Bennett, the true secret lies within the Tabernacle (in the picture below, the Ark is in the foreground while the Tabernacle is being constructed in the background). The Tabernacle was a roofless, three-walled wooden structure. It was closed off with curtains made of different materials, including goat’s hair and rams’ skins. These curtains rubbed against each other, creating an initial static charge. As this charge built up, the entire structure along with the Ark became highly electrified. At full tilt, Blackburn and Bennett estimate that the Ark would’ve been capable of carrying a charge in the range of fifty thousands volts.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The theory that the Ark carried massive amounts of static electricity accounts for the oddities mentioned above. First, anyone foolish enough to touch it risked death by electric shock. Second, the enormous build-up of static electricity within the Tabernacle would’ve been more than enough to keep Moses from entering it. And third, the communications from God could be explained by an electrical discharge. In other words, when the static electricity within the Ark reached a certain level, it would’ve been able to overcome air resistance and in effect, jump from one cherubim to the other one. This would take the form of “an intense burst of brilliant light of considerable duration and power.”

It must be noted that this theory doesn’t explain everything. According to the Bible, the waters of the River Jordan parted before the Ark. Also, after being captured by the Philistines, they suffered boils, tumors, and other plagues which they attributed to the Ark. In addition, the Ark was instrumental in bringing down the walls of Jericho, acting as a sort of ancient weapon of mass destruction.

So, was the Ark a piece of ancient, brilliant technology? There seems to be a distinct possibility that this is the case. But until adventurers manage to locate it, its exact nature will remain one of history’s most enduring mysteries.

Lost Secrets of the Ancient Physicians?

In 1974, divers discovered a 2,000 year old trading vessel near the port of Piombino in Tuscany, Italy. Fifteen years later, a medical kit was located amongst the wreckage. And just last week, DNA sequencing allowed scientists to analyze the kit’s contents and, in effect, crack open some of the ancient secrets of the ancient physicians. So, what did they find?

Ancient Secrets of Ancient Physicians

The trading vessel in question sank sometime around 130 BC in sixty feet of water. It measured about fifty feet long and was used to transport large jars of wine, glassware, ceramics, and oil lamps. However, to modern archaeologists, its most significant holding isn’t the cargo but rather, a simple wooden chest.

The chest held a variety of medical supplies, including spatulas, suction cups, a mortar and pestle, as well as one hundred and thirty-six tin-lined, sealed wooden vials. Ancient pills were found inside these vials.

The pills contained ground-up plants and herbs such as celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa, and chestnuts. Separate extracts of parsley, nasturtium, radish, yarrow, and hibiscus were also discovered. Researchers believe that the pills were either taken orally or dissolved and rubbed on cuts and infections. Interestingly enough, the various ingredients match those recorded in ancient Greek and Roman texts.

The plants and vegetables were probably crushed with a mortar and pestle – we could still see the fibres in the tablets. They also contained clay, which even today is used to treat gastrointestinal problems. – Dr. Alain Touwaide, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

The pills represent the “oldest known archaeological remains of ancient pharmaceuticals.” And as stated by Dr. Touwaide, they were most likely used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as dysentery and diarrhea.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The DNA analysis of this lost medical kit represents a significant breakthrough. It has already shed much light on the ailments facing ancient sailors as well as the treatments devised to deal with those ailments. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg of ancient medical knowledge. But as the kit and other discoveries like it yield new information, we will continue to unearth lost secrets…the lost secrets of the ancient physicians.