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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mayan Calendar Mania: 729 Days and Counting

And now the Mayan calendar "End of days" mania begins. But two years out is an awful long time to be camping in the Pyrenees. And who sent the Mayans picture postcards from France?

Of course, the whole problem with eschatological predictions is what do you say the next morning when it didn't happen?

From a syndicated Newscore article today:

Armageddon-fearing pilgrims were flocking to a village deep in the southern French hills after a countdown was started to the end of the world, which stood Thursday at a mere 729 days to go.

Followers of the Mayan calendar believe the mountain in the Corbieres hills overlooking the village of Bugarach, east of the Pyrenees, was endorsed by aliens as a safe place to survive the demise of civilization.

The countdown began Tuesday, exactly two years until Dec. 21, 2012 -- the movement's assigned Judgment Day.

The mythical status bestowed upon the 4,045 foot high rock above Bugarach has inspired legends since the Middle Ages and attracted generations of hikers.

But the French locals were left bemoaning the sudden deluge of New Age pilgrims, who they accuse of setting up camp in the village to cash in on the fears of impending doom.

"It may be necessary to call in the military to control the crowds," said Bugarach mayor Jean-Pierre Delord, who anticipated "chaos" in the next 24 months. His deputy, Gilbert Cros said the new influx "gives us a bad image."

Police said they were looking into crowd control plans, while Miviludes, a state agency that tracks dangerous cults, said it was keeping close watch on the village and the “apocalypse movement."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charlotte Bank of America Murals

And you thought the Denver Airport had creepy murals.

"The Vigilant Citizen" over at the In Pursuit of Happiness blog has a loopy study of the "shocking" frescos at Bank of America's Corporate Center (originally the NationsBank Corporate Center) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Created in 1992 by artist Benjamin Long, the paintings are described as centering around themes of “making/building, chaos/creativity, and planning/knowledge in a “daring blend of abstract and realism, set off with touches of gold“.

Naturally, Mr. Vigilant believes they are full of occult, alchemical and Masonic symbolism, which he then connects back to—you guessed correctly—the Denver Airport murals.

The Vigilant Citizen bills his site with the tag line "symbols rule the world, not words nor laws," and he's the same navel gazer who peered deeply at the Chilean mine cave in and rescue in October and discovered it all to be a symbolic Masonic cornucopia.

A video about the Bank's fresco and their creation by Ben Long can be seen here.

JFK: Oswald's Coffin and A Secret Service Agent's Book

A couple of stories this past week for JFK conspiracists to chew on.

First, Lee Harvey Oswald's original wooden coffin was sold at auction for $87,469.

According to the LA Times,

Oswald's body was exhumed from Fort Worth's Rose Hill Memorial Park on Oct. 4, 1981, to resolve a dispute between his widow, Marina Oswald, and his brother, Robert Oswald. They had argued over a conspiracy theory that alleged that Kennedy's killer was actually a look-alike Russian agent who had taken Lee Harvey Oswald's place.

Dental records and other physical features proved that Oswald was indeed in the grave. But the coffin, damaged by water, was replaced with a new one before his remains were reburied.

Funeral home owner Allen Baumgardner, who had assisted in the original embalming of Oswald, kept the old casket, along with an erroneous death certificate and the 1963 funeral home log book. On Page 525 are the details of the original $573.50 mortuary fee and $135 cemetery plot. Oswald's coffin cost $300, and the leaky vault that enclosed it was $200.

And Gerald Blaine, a formet Secret Service officer who was a part of JFK's security detail, has just written a new book about his experiences before and after the assassination. In The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence, he and other agents take the *shocking* viewpoint that Oswald was the only shooter, and acted alone. We live in a strange world where that is considered the radical concept.

From an article in the Contra Costa Times:

Blaine, 84, said he went years without talking about JFK's death -- not even to his family.

"I didn't want to bother the family," he said, "and I didn't know how to deal with it. I found out that was consistent with every agent who worked for President Kennedy. Not one of them talked about it."

Blaine is certain that Lee Harvey Oswald worked alone. His marksmanship skills were more than adequate, and he perfectly fit an assassin's profile.

"He had psychiatric problems when he was a young man," Blaine said. "He had problems in military service and problems holding down a job. He even had a problem when he tried to defect, and he had a marriage that failed.

"Also, about a month or two before taking a shot at the president, he took a shot at a general in Texas. The bullet just missed, but it was traced back to Oswald's rifle."

Kennedy was shot while riding in an open-top car -- a president rides only in bulletproof vehicles today, Blaine said -- but that was in keeping with his personality. He wanted to see and be seen by the people.

The fateful Dallas appearance marked the last of several southern stops, including Tampa, Fla., San Antonio and Houston. Earlier in the trip, Secret Service agents rode on the back of the presidential limousine, which likely would have obstructed Oswald's aim. Kennedy stopped that.

"The president told us, 'I've got to use my political style, and my political style is to be among the people, to greet them and have them be able to see me,' " Blaine said.

The assassination still torments the former agent, but what makes matters worse is what he regards as misrepresentation of what he knows to be true.

"How many of you saw the movie 'JFK'?" he asked, referencing a film that reinforced conspiracy theories. "Unfortunately for our youth, that seems to be their history book.

"An article last month in USA Today said 82 percent of young people between 18 and 29 believe that President Kennedy's assassination was a conspiracy. "

He said he has no illusions of transforming the doubters, but he hopes his book, which includes input from fellow agents, will at least put facts on the table.

"If we make history out of the wild stories," he said, "you'll never trust history again." Blaine said he knows the truth about what happened in Dallas. He's had to live with it for 47 years.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Did a UFO Crash in the Alps?

The Austrian Times reports that a man spotted a "glowing fireball" cruising across the sky in the Tyrolean Alps last week, according to the German Central Research Centre for Celestial Phenomena (CENAP).

The centre quotes the man as saying: "I saw an extremely bright fireball cruising in the sky from east to west. It was much brighter than Jupiter. A long time went by before it eventually disappeared. I think I heard a hissing sound at the end."

CENAP, which is based in the city of Mannheim, has called on other eyewitnesses of the alleged sighting to come forward. The group of hobby researchers did not say whether the quoted witness caught the incident on camera.

This comes on the heels of news that an Ukrainian group of UFO researchers planned to build a monument in the memory of aliens who perished while trying to establish contact with humans.

Oleksandr Nalysman, a spokesman for the Berdychiv-based group, told local media contacts with alien civilisations were an "indisputable fact". He said: "We don’t pay enough attention to the fates of visitors from other planets who died on earth."

My, how those technologically advanced civilizations who can travel hundreds or even thousands of light years do seem to have trouble with the actual landing bits. How can aliens hope to open diplomatic relations with us lowly Earthlings of they keep smashing into mountains and deserts?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When You Wish Upon A Star

If you live in the Islamic Republic of Iran and you are the sort of person who believes there is a Jewish Conspiracy at work in the world, Google Earth has given you more fodder for your perennial nervousness.

From the Jerusalem Post:

Regardless of whether it was happenstance or an act of architectural subterfuge, government officials in Iran were incensed this week when they discovered the outline of a Star of David atop the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air, Al- Arabiya reported on Monday.

The six-pointed star was discovered by an eagle-eyed Google Earth user recently, over three decades after the building that houses the national airline of the Islamic Republic was constructed by Israeli engineers.

Israel and the Shah’s Iran maintained good ties until the Islamic Revolution of 1979 ended the relationship. Before 1979, Israel brokered arms deals with Iran, and there were regular flights between Teheran and Tel Aviv.

Once the existence of the Star of David was reported in Iranian media, government officials called for the immediate removal of the apparently offensive Jewish symbol.

Hard to say whether it was an intentional Easter egg (to mix in a third religious metaphor) left by Israeli engineers 30 years ago, or just a coincidental artifact of the building's design.

Meanwhile, Oye!Times reports that, back in August, some sharp-eyed gazer discovered to their horror that a newly constructed monument to the Revolution in downtown Tehran was covered with hundreds—hundreds!—of Stars of David, causing outrage and calls for its demolition. Probably a more rational solution than forcing everyone who gazes upon it to pluck out their eyeballs. No one knows if it was intentional, or just dumb luck of using geometric patterns.

Photo from an Iranian blogger showing how to spot the offending symbol.

Happy Hanukkah.