Fact of the matter is there are many religions, and similar stories, which predate Christianity that hold remarkable similarities to the JC doctrine. A bit like many other folk stories.
I can’t for the life of me recall where I found this, but I spotted it again recently and thought I would share it. Click on the image to enlarge it.
Who else would love to see this in cinemas?
What a great yarn!
With acknowledged thanks to http://zombiethon.wordpress.com/
I have resisted the urge until now to write anything about the supposed impending end of the world as, to be honest, I thought it was clear that it was never going to occur; but a number of emails and a friend of mine (yes you Micha) prompted me to realise some folks are very interested, worried or a bit concerned. So this article was born.
Will the world end on 21st December 2012?
In short no the world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.
So where did we get this idea?
The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012. Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then just as your calendar begins again on January 1 another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.
Is NASA predicting a ‘total blackout’ of Earth on Dec. 23 to Dec. 25?
Absolutely not. Neither NASA nor any other scientific organization is predicting such a blackout. The false reports on this issue claim that some sort of “alignment of the Universe” will cause a blackout. There is no such alignment (see next question). Some versions of this rumor cite an emergency preparedness message from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. This is simply a message encouraging people to be prepared for emergencies, recorded as part of a wider government preparedness campaign. It never mentions a blackout.
Will powerful solar flares will destroy earth?
The sun goes though a well-documented 11-year sunspot cycle that is driven by its magnetic field entangling, reforming and flipping polarity. Yes, the peak of the next cycle is in 2012 (or 2013), and some predictions suggest it might be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the last peak. But experts say it will certainly not be the biggest peak ever recorded.
The bottom line is that no dragon’s breath of flame will stretch across 100 million miles of space and blowtorch Earth. The largest solar flare recorded to date, on Nov. 4, 2003, spewed several billions of tons of plasma in Earth’s direction. The flare’s X-ray radiation that impacted our protective atmosphere had the equivalent radiation of 5,000 suns. But guess what? We’re still here!
But I heard the Sun will align with the galactic equator on the winter solstice?
And your point is? These are simply coordinates in the sky. It has no physical reality any more than the crossroad in Picadilly Circus influences the geology of our great and green United Kingdom. This is greatly confused with the fact that the sun’s position actually oscillates up and down as it orbits the galaxy, like a horse on a carousel. We pass through the galactic plane every 35 to 40 million years. It’s possible that an increased number of comets might be hurled towards the Earth because of gravitational interaction with the densest parts of our galaxy during this passage. But we are talking about the consequences spanning many thousands of years, not crashing down on our heads in any one specific year!
Will an asteroid will smash into Earth?
A threatening near-Earth asteroid that’s gotten the most press is the 900-foot wide Apophis. But its chances of collision have been downgraded to 1 in 250,000 at its next close approach in 2029. In theory, an uncharted asteroid or comet could come out of the blue tomorrow. But if we don’t know about it today, the Mayans certainly didn’t know about it 1,200 years ago. Earth-killer impacts are tens of millions of years apart. So there’s no reason to be a doomsday clock-watcher.
Will a black hole in the galactic centre destroy us?
The Milky Way’s black hole has no influence on the galactic disk. The black hole is three million solar masses. The Milky Way is several trillion solar masses when we add the tug of dark matter. Any gravitational influence of the black hole over the galaxy would be like the tail wagging the dog. The Milky Way’s collision with the Andromeda galaxy will dump gas into the black hole and it will blaze as a quasar. But that’s several billion years away, at least.
Can supernovae or hypernovae irradiate Earth?
There are no stars that are so close to Earth that radiation from their supernova demise would seriously affect us. The nearest candidate, the red giant Betelgeuse, is predicted to explode in the next 1,000 years. The monster star Eta Carinae is also on a short fuse. Neither doomed star has a spin axis precisely aimed at Earth, so we don’t have to worry about being fried by a narrow beam of gamma rays ejected from the core’s implosion. In fact the kinds of stars that shoot out these Death Star beams are uncommon in the Milky Way. Earth has a one percent chance of getting zapped over 10 billion years. Scratch gamma ray bursts off of your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Could a cloud of negative energy engulf the solar system?
Wow! A dark cloud with a bad attitude! This sound suspiciously like a Star Trek episode. Dark energy is all around us already, but it is not packaged into clouds. The same goes for dark matter.
So Micha, listen to your boyfriend. Stop worrying, have a fabulous Christmas, and a wonderful 2013! That goes for the rest of you too.
It’s behind you!
No this is not a scene from the annual christmas panto at the BIC. Though I am sure the old cliche will undoubtedly be uttered, no this article is all about those scary looking mummified remains or ‘Mummies” you know the ones that would sneak up behind the hero or heroine in the old 1940’s Kharis movies. These films are responsible for the enduring stereotype of the lumbering, foot-dragging monster that scared the shazbhat out of me as a kid!
Yet they always fascinated me, as did the idea of the living dead or zombie, which is perhaps why educationally I took the direction I did.
One could be forgiven for thinking that mummies are the sole ownership of the ancient Egyptians as any decent hammer horror or adventure story will always place this type of genre there. But not so. Did you know this practice was observed all over the world, some places closer to home than others too! Mummies of humans and other animals have been found all around the world, both as a result of natural preservation through unusual conditions, and as cultural artifacts. Over one million animal mummies have been found in Egypt, many of which are cats!
What is Mummification?
The process of mummification has two stages – the ancient Egyptians were expert mu. First, the embalming of the body. Then, the wrapping and burial of the body. Let’s consider each of these stages individually to gain a better understanding.
First, the body is taken to the tent known as ‘ibu’ or the ‘place of purification’. There the embalmers wash his body with good-smelling palm wine and rinse it with water from the Nile.
One of the embalmer’s men makes a cut in the left side of the body and removes many of the internal organs. It is important to remove these because they are the first part of the body to decompose.
The liver, lungs, stomach and intestines are washed and packed in natron (a natural salt used to dry out dead bodies and internal organs in the mummification process) which will dry them out. The heart is not taken out of the body because it is the centre of intelligence and feeling and the man will need it in the afterlife. A long hook is then used to smash the brain and pull it out through the nose.
The body is now covered and stuffed with natron which will dry it out. All of the fluids, and rags from the embalming process will be saved and buried along with the body. After forty days the body is washed again with water from the Nile. Then it is covered with oils to help the skin stay elastic.
The dehydrated internal organs are wrapped in linen and returned to the body. The body is stuffed with dry materials such as sawdust, leaves and linen so that it looks lifelike.
Finally the body is covered again with good-smelling oils. It is now ready to be wrapped in linen.
In the past, when the internal organs were removed from a body they were placed in hollow canopic jars, these are jars used to hold internal organs. The lids of canopic jars represented four gods called the “four sons of Horus”.
Over many years the embalming practices changed and embalmers began returning internal organs to bodies after the organs had been dried in natron. However, solid wood or stone canopic jars were still buried with the mummy to symbolically protect the internal organs.
|Imsety the human-headed god looks after the liver.|
|Hapy the baboon-headed god looks after the lungs|
|Duamutef the jackal-headed god looks after the stomach|
|Qebehsenuef the falcon-headed god looks after the intestines.|
The body has been cleaned, dried and rubbed with good-smelling oils. Now it is ready to be wrapped in linen.
First the head and neck are wrapped with strips of fine linen. Then the fingers and the toes are individually wrapped. The arms and legs are wrapped separately. Between the layers of wrapping, the embalmers place amulets (a small trinket or charm that was meant to protect the owner from evil spells or actions) to protect the body in its journey through the underworld. The ancient Egyptians believed that before a person could get to the afterlife, that they had to pass through the underworld. The underworld was a place that was full of terrifying monsters and dangerous animals. A person would need magic to successfully overcome these threats. The ancient Egyptians chose spells to take with them on their journey. The spells were chosen from a group of spells known as the Book of the Dead. The spells were then written on a papyrus scroll which was buried with them in their tombs.
A priest reads spells out loud while the mummy is being wrapped; these spells will help ward off evil spirits and help the deceased make the journey to the afterlife. The arms and legs are tied together, and a papyrus scroll with spells from the Book of the Dead is placed between the wrapped hands. More linen strips are wrapped around the body; at every layer the bandages are painted with liquid resin that helps to glue the bandages together. Next a cloth is wrapped around the body and a picture of the god Osiris is painted on its surface.
Finally, a large cloth is wrapped around the entire mummy. It is attached with strips of linen that run from the top to the bottom of the mummy, and around its middle. A board of painted wood is placed on top of the mummy before the mummy is lowered into its coffin. The first coffin is then put inside a second coffin. The funeral is then held for the deceased, and for his family who mourns his death.
A ritual called the ‘Opening of the Mouth’ is performed, allowing the deceased to eat and drink again.
Finally, the body and its coffins are placed inside a large stone sarcophagus (a large stone or wood box in which coffins were placed for burial) in the tomb. Furniture, clothing, valuable objects, food and drink are arranged in the tomb for the deceased.
Now his body is ready for its journey through the underworld. There his heart will be judged by his good deeds on earth. If his heart is found to be pure he will be sent to live for all eternity in the beautiful ‘Field of Reeds’.
As you can tell the ancient Egyptians had much fascination for me as a child and continue to do so today. But what about other cultures? In addition to the well-known mummies of ancient Egypt, deliberate mummification was a feature of several ancient cultures in areas of South America and Asia which have very dry climates. There are more than 1000 mummies in Xinjiang, China. The oldest-known deliberate mummy is a child, one of the Chinchorro mummies found in the Camarones Valley, Chile, and dates from around 5050 BC.
More than 6,500 years ago in Peru, this tiny baby’s brief battle for life finally came to an end. The child, no more than 10 months old, had a serious heart defect and suffered from growth problems. After contracting pneumonia and then suffering circulation failure the sick child died and was wrapped in linen and buried with an amulet hung around its neck, clearly the grieving parents showing much love for their lost child.
This tiny mummified baby was a member othe Orlovits family, was with a group of mummies found in 1994 in a forgotten church crypt in Vac, Hungary. Michael Orlovits, his wife Veronica (born in 1770) and their son Johannes (born 1800) were among those preserved by the cool, dry air of the crypt and the oil from the pine shavings that lined their coffins. Extensive research, including DNA analysis, revealed that Veronica Orlovits suffered from severe tuberculosis, and this is pertinent as it gives us a window of insight into ancient worlds and times gone by. How did they live? What did they die from? Technology increasingly has a strong part to play in the gaining of understanding.
The scan on Michael Orlovits will help reveal if he suffered from the same disease as his Wife, in addition to any other diseases or injuries. Without invasive techniques, the scan will also reveal the exact condition of preservation of the mummy over the past 245 years.
The eagle-eyed readers and fans of 100U4M will have spotted a new section to your far right called “What is Truth?“.
The basic idea of this section and its sub-pages is to make ‘believers’ think by looking at doctrines, beliefs, et al, and discuss them alongside Science. Religious? Atheist? Head over there now.
Simply because I was deliberately kept in the dark for many years, and I allowed myself to be, admitting to that is a huge step for me. But because of this I never questioned my faith – after all why would they lie to me? Now I treasure research, and wish to be surrounded by a library of knowledge until the end of days ….. (goes misty eyed and dreams of a burial in space).
Anyhow, I want to present facts not fiction. I sincerely hope that members of my immediate and perhaps even extended family will take a look and consider what they read.
I have, as I often do, used Wikipedia as a source for basic explanation of some of the subjects discussed, this is because it is a freely available resource for all. Of course there are limitations, problems with such a source and so on. But it is the overriding fact that any and all can get access to this site across all platforms.However, if you dear reader can suggest different or more concise sources then please do make contact!
Finally, as a struggling freelance writer, with five children, a coffee addiction, and a requirement for warm socks now that Winter is fast approaching I have set up an option for those of you that wish to to make donations via PayPal for my ‘Coffee’ fund. Any help is greatly received and I thank you in advance.
Succinct logic by a very funny man – Chris
Mwah ha ha haaar!
There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Vampire legends throughout human history. Almost every culture on the face of our earth has some kind of myth or story about undead, blood-sucking creatures that relate back to Vampire mythology.
Understandably these legends are not all consistent with one another perhaps because of cultural differences, but that aside there are many common threads throughout these varied cultural myths. So in order for us to take a more analytical view at the Vampire dear readers, we must ‘don our lab coats’ and do a little scientific hypothesis!
With any mythological legend like Vampires, it immediately appears that there are more questions than there are answers, so let us first consider some basic facts:
Does the Vampire actually exist?
No matter how much evidence there is to suggest the Vampire does or does not exist, most people are not satisfied without a conclusive answer, which is why I am guessing you are here now? I suggest to you that it is human nature to want to know definitively, but without hard scientific evidence in hand, how does one determine if Vampires really exist or if they are indeed a myth created by story tellers of old thought up to frighten children before bedtime? While we may not have an airtight case to prove that Vampires are real, there is in fact evidence to suggest that this may indeed be the case.
It is a classic problem we come across now when dealing with myth and legend, but in particular concerning cryptids and legendary monsters – we are not able to prove that they are real, but we also cannot prove that they are unreal. There are plenty of examples in the past where scientists believed a creature to be extinct only to find it alive and well in a remote part of the world. As an example, consider please the legendary sea monster the Kraken, It was thought to have been pure fantasy until giant squids matching the Kraken’s description were finally discovered, even being captured on film.
Throughout this article, I will attempt to explain exactly what a ‘modern day’ Vampire is, and what it is not; but it should be remembered that there are largely different descriptions of various “Vampiric” or Vampire-like creatures throughout mythologies around the world. While I may struggle to come up with a fixed definition of what a Vampire actually is, it may be that I am leave out various mysterious and unexplainable creatures around the world that have fed into vampire mythology. Consider though at the same time, it is exactly the fact that nearly every culture around the world has independently identified ‘Vampiric’ creatures that makes us ask the question – do Vampires actually exist?
If we had hard evidence, we wouldn’t even be asking the question. It would like be asking “do Snakes exist?” If we could prove it without a doubt, there would be no question. Equally though, just because we cannot prove something does not mean it isn’t true. For example, there are many people who believe in a God that rules from a place called Heaven and even though they do not have any hard proof of his or her existence, they still believe to the point that they will give up their lives, such is their conviction. So why not believe in the Vampire?
Ok I have avoided the question long enough! Do Vampires really exist? Well, in all honesty, there is just no way to be sure. There have been reports and stories from all around the world spread out over thousands of years, concerning creatures such as these. If Vampires do not exist, then it begs the question ‘how does one go about explaining all of these sightings and encounters?‘ A hoax is one thing, but the same hoax being played out over and over again, and for thousands of years across independent cultures? Well that is entirely different. We have reason to believe Vampires might exist because of these reports, but we have reason to be rightly sceptical because we simply do not have the proof we so badly desire.
We must dear reader also keep in mind that if you were to actually encounter a Vampire, it is more than likely you would not live to tell about it (unless Sarah Michelle Geller was by your side). Not only is our Vampire insatiably hungry for human blood, but legend and mythology tells us that they live by a code that requires their existence to remain secret – making detection that much more difficult.
In my opinion, the only way to answer this question is to give the only honest answer anyone can. Do vampires really exist? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. I really don’t want to run into one! Though the opportunity to discuss human history over a glass of Merlot, is appealing. However, the dying part not so. I choose a cautious approach :).
The History of Vampires
Until recently the world in general, myself included, did not know a great deal concerning the history of vampires.
Despite them being one of the oldest and most prevalent creatures of world mythology, the origin of vampires has remained unknown for thousands of years. It wasn’t until The Scriptures of Delphi were found that we were given a glimpse into the early vampire history.
Making The First Vampire
It is generally understood and accepted that only a Vampire can create another vampire, so logic tells us that the history of Vampires begins with a single Vampire who created the others. But we had little insight into how the first vampire came about until recently. So logically our question is ‘how was the first Vampire made’?
The answer lies in The Scriptures of Delphi, specifically in the collection of writings known as ‘The Vampire Bible’ a difficult book to find, however, I have recently had loan of an original copy from a dear friend and spent some time pouring over these manuscripts in my laboratory. Quite something to hold a book written some hundreds of years ago.
The first Vampire started out as a human man named Ambrogio. He was an Italian-born adventurer who, as it turns out, rather unluckily ended up in Delphi, Greece. His story is a little too long for the blog, though interesting, but to summarise; a series of blessings and curses transformed this young man into history’s first Vampire.
Specifically, it begins with the Sun god Apollo (of Greek mythology), who in a fit of rage curses Ambrogio so that his skin would burn should it ever touch sunlight again. Ambrogio’s bad luck followed when he ended up gambling away his soul to Hades, the god of the underworld (from Greek mythology). The next curse came via Apollo’s sister Artemis (also of Greek mythology), the goddess of the moon and hunting, made it so that Ambrogio’s skin would burn if he ever touched silver.
However, the blessings came soon after when Artemis, taking pity on the poor young man, gave him the gift of immortality. He would carry his curses – his skin burning by sunlight or silver, but he would live forever in his current form. Not only that, but Artemis also gave him the speed and strength to become a hunter whose skills were second only to her own.
Blood-sucking (the scientific name for this is ‘hematophagy‘ for the curious) is also included in this “blessing”. In the Vampire origin story, Ambrogio hunts swans and uses their blood as ink to write love poems to his love the lady Selene. While this may be considered a little creepy by our standards, it wasn’t all that unusual in ancient Greece utilise as much of your kill as possible.
The First Vampire Clan
Ambrogio later moved back to Italy, now as a full-fledged Vampire. Legend traces him to the city of Florence (Firenze), where he creates the very first Vampire Clan.
There is not a great deal known about this clan, other than they were most likely willing volunteers – humans who were greedy for power and immortality, and were willing to trade their souls for it. It was believed that the curse would continue for any Vampire where their souls would remain in the Underworld (aka Hades), where they could return to claim them, but then could never leave.
What we know of the history of Vampires, is that the clan grew in size and strength, until infighting created something of a ‘civil war’ within the clan, and many Vampires left to form their own clans. (Sound a bit like the History of Japan anyone?).
What happened to Ambrogio and those who stayed with him is largely unknown, though it is believed that he still resides somewhere in Florence.
Becoming a Vampire
Vampire cults have existed for many years, such is the human obsession with the macabre, but the majority of these cults are filled with members who simply display Vampire-like activity, such as drinking human blood and hiding from sunlight (some would say that this applies to a lot of students who though, substitute the blood for alcohol). These cult members are of course, distinctly human, simply mimicking their understanding of Vampire behaviour. Until recently, this was the closest any human could get to Vampirism. The details of how to become a real vampire have only recently come to light. Many of the ancient myths appear to be true, while others are still in question.
In ‘The Vampire Bible’, ancient scribes describe the only known way that a human can become a Vampire. As the following excerpt shows us, it takes more than just a bite to become a vampire;
“As it was with Selene and Ambrogio, when Artemis allowed him to take of her blood, so it has been ever since. The ritual begins with a bite from vampire to human, where he may consume her blood. As she lays bleeding her pulse moves inside him, and they become one… “
“…and she must then drink of their joined blood, the first bite as vampire, the last as human…”
This description portrays a ritual that is consistent with earlier legends of Vampires, where the human host must drink the blood of their Vampire master in order to transform.
‘The Vampire Bible’ then states that the reason for this ritual goes all the way back to the beginning of Vampire history, which is the story of the first Vampire Ambrogio, and his lover Selene.
As mentioned previously, the story is that Ambrogio was made a Vampire through a series of gifts and curses from the Greek gods Apollo, Artemis, and Hades. His one true love was a mortal woman named Selene who he was forbidden from mating with. On her deathbed Selene begs her love Ambrogio to create children for her, so with the approval of Artemis, Ambrogio drinks Selene’s blood. Apparently the mixing of his and her blood was the only way Ambrogio could pass on his Vampirism to another human.
Later legends say that all future Vampires were created by Ambrogio by the exact same ritual – he would drink the human’s blood, which would mix with his own (and Selene’s remember). The Vampire would then bite his own wrist, and the human would have to willingly drink the mixed blood in order to become a real Vampire.
Feeding to survive
Though the topic of Vampire feeding seems pretty straightforward, there are always a few questions when it comes to the specifics. As most people know, Vampires drink blood. The blood of live humans is always preferred, but animal blood will also do the trick. Any warm-blooded mammal can supply the necessary blood for survival, and in extreme situations cold-blooded creatures like snakes and other reptiles may suffice, though their blood is less effective.
Many Vampire myths insinuate that a Vampire’s heart does not beat. Legend and logic shows us that this is not true. Just like humans, Vampire hearts beat in order to move the blood through the body. This is why staking a Vampire through the heart is an effective way of killing it – duh!
Unlike humans though, Vampires do not eat food for sustenance. In our bodies, food is digested and transformed into energy. Since Vampires do not have active digestive systems, blood is ingested and absorbed directly into their bloodstream.
Fresh blood is therefore absolutely necessary for the Vampire’s survival. It is the blood that allows them to regenerate both any wounds they may acquire during the hunt, or otherwise, and to sustain their living flesh. Since Vampires are essentially dead, their bodies naturally decay. Fresh blood moving through the body allows their flesh to stay alive, and they have no desire to become a rotting Zombie!
From my studies, it is my understanding most Vampires only need to feed a couple of times a week in order to maintain health, but a wounded Vampire will need to feed more often as blood would be required for the healing process.
As a Vampire ages, it appears that he/she requires less blood to maintain normal functionality. The reason behind this is not entirely clear, but it is likely connected with the fact that a Vampire’s gifts and special abilities intensify over time as well. Thus, the older a Vampire gets, the stronger its power becomes, and the less mortal its body is.
Vampire Bites and Disease
Unless you want to become a Vampire, or die, there is good reason to be resistant to a vampire bite. Even if a vampire bites you and leaves you alive, you would still be at high risk for acquiring Porphyric Hemophilia (Vampire Disease) which if left untreated, this disease will cause a human body to weaken and deteriorate.
See some historic and notable cases here. Of course, if the disease is allowed to settle into the organs of the body, the only options left are to either die or become a Vampire but this is often frowned upon in most societies. I can’t think why though.
When using the term “vampire disease”, it’s important to distinguish between the two different definitions of the term:
- Porphyric Hemophilia is a bacterial disease that humans can become infected by. An infection that if it is not cured will lead to death or Vampirism.
- Sangue Debolezza is a potentially deadly, rare disease that only Vampires can catch.
Porphyric Hemophilia is a condition caused by a bacterial strain carried in the blood and saliva of every Vampire. A human who comes in contact with the blood or saliva of a Vampire can easily become exposed to this bacteria. Once exposed, an infected human only has about 72 hours to begin antibiotic treatments before the bacteria becomes incurable.
In essence, this “Vampire disease” spreads through the human’s body, changing the chemistry of the blood and skin. The first symptoms of infection may include photosensitivity or photodermatitis (sensitivity to light of the eyes or skin). Muscle weakness or seizures can occur, as well as inconsistencies in the nervous system, such as a slow or rapid heartbeat.
Eventually the bacteria behind this disease settles into the body and lives there, creating a perfect environment for it to exist in. At this point, the human body has been completely transformed detrimentally, without any ‘benefits of Vampirism’. In order to gain immortality, strength, and speed, one must still drink the blood of a vampire. Unfortunately this is something not readily available from your local Supermarket.
The term “Sangue Debolezza” comes from Italian, literally translating to “blood weakness”. The origins of this rare vampire disease remain unknown, but we do know that it only affects vampires.
The symptoms of Sangue Debolezza include severe exhaustion and chronic headaches, followed by nausea, which eventually leads to starvation in many cases.
It is a difficult disease to learn about because only Vampires can acquire it, and they rarely subject themselves to medical examination. According to most sources, it is a very rare condition, but it is the only known disease that can kill a vampire. Unfortunately the origins of this disease are also unknown.
Are Vampires real? Is the evidence enough or is it just legend? Some people think so. I’ll leave the final decision up to you!
Much love – Chris.