Archive for the Mysterious origins Category

Emerging news on the MaKomati front

Posted in Destinations, Evidence!, Expert testimony, Fact Checking, Mysterious origins with tags , , , on November 30, 2008 by Eric S.

If you’re like me, September 20th’s post on the Indiana Jones-like activities of South African airplane pilot Johane Heine, his (unmentioned in the article) cohort Michael Tellinger, and their collective of against-the-establishment archaeologists aka The MaKomati Foundation, you may have finished reading still hungry for more answers. Truly, you may have found yourself with such a hunger even if you’re not even vaguely like me; there’s plenty of wtfage to go around with a theory like the one MaKomati is putting forth.

On the one hand, you’ve got the brotherhood of conventional Archaeology, Paleontology and Anthropology, who collectively agree the earliest traces of civilization can be found with the Mesopotamians, circa 5,000 BCE, in an area modern folk not terribly interested in Archaeology, Paleontology, Anthropology or, for the most part, Geography, refer to as The Middle East.

On a second, third and possibly fourth hand, there’s evidence of other primitive-yet-intelligent humans spread about here and there: Paleolithic tools 2.6-2.5 million years old; remnants of a migration across the Bering Strait during an interval between 50-9,000 years ago; and the reasonably well preserved remains of cave paintings in modern France and Germany commonly believed to be 15-20,000 years old. All of which boils down to this: there are plenty of gaps in the historical record. MaKomati believe they’ve found a hunk of history to spackle into one of the gaps.

Personally, I’m skeptical. No, wait; that’s not quite the right word. Dubious is probably closer to the fact. I admit that’s in part due to my comfort with what I’ve come to accept as fact through years of reinforcement by, well, every source of factual authority I’m exposed to. But I also acknowledge that the factual authorities with which Aristotle, Copernicus and Galileo had their comeuppance weren’t entirely dependable; I freely admit that much of my understanding of how the universe works is founded on the baby-talk summations of consensus of passionate, hard core geeks who take great pains to make sure that I’m handed as best-we-can-tell-fact has been tested, hypothesized, checked, rechecked, challenged, refuted, modified, shot down, rechecked again, confirmed, reviewed, published and subsequently checked by classrooms full of aspiring hard core geeks. Honestly, I don’t think it’s such a bad system.

The question then is, are Johan Heine, Michael Tellinger and the MaKomati Foundation a modern day archaeological Galileo? Or are they a couple of guys with a plane and some ruins in a remote corner of the globe looking to boost local tourism? Okay, unfair comparison on at least three counts: 1) everyone has already heard of Galileo, 2) hard science is by definition easier to validate than soft science, and 3) the establishment Galileo was up against was going to burn him for what he was saying. But I couldn’t think of a suitably foundation-shaking foundation shaker. Maybe Alfred Wegener.

Lucky for me, Michael Tellinger stopped by the site a couple of weeks ago. I followed his initial comment on the September 20 article with a list of questions, to which he graciously responded. Here are his answers in their entirety:

  1. First, according to makomati.com, conventional wisdom explains the ruins as cattle kraal built and used by the Bantu people within the past 1,000 years. The Makomati Foundation dates these structures as being far older: somewhere between 75,000 to 250,000 years old. This is actually the basis for several questions:

    75,000 – 200,000 years seems like a pretty broad estimate, given what little I personally know of dating techniques. What accounts for the 125,000 year discrepancy?

    We are dealing with a very complex site that covers over 500 square kilometres and makes up the largest and oldest city on Earth that has almost completely eroded.

    We have gathered artifacts from the same site that date back from 300,000 yrs and 600 years. This points to a very long occupation of these sites.

    BUT we deal with Archaeoastronomy mainly to determine the deviation from today’s cardinal points. 3 degrees; 17 min. and 42 sec deviation.

    The presessional cycle of 25,800 years has almost been completed – this means that we are in essence working with chunks of 25,000 years.

    Now we have to look for other clues as to how many years it actually is.

    The main indicators are the alignment with Orion – which could have only happened 75,000 years ago and more.

    And Geology – erosion.

    Dolerite erodes very slowly and the erosion patterns on most monoliths indicate that they were brought there a long, long time ago.

    Lichen growth is also a reasonable indicator. We have lots of evidence there.

  2. What techniques have been used? What are the advantages of these techniques?

    Archaeoastronomy; Geology – alien rocks brought from elsewhere; astronomy; and what most of us often forget about – logic and reason.

  3. Did the Bantu in fact use these structures as cattle kraal, as recently as the 13th century? If so, were they making use of what at that time were already ancient artifacts, or were additional structures built by the Bantuu (or other indigenous peoples) in the intervening time?

    Many examples indicate that the Bantu people used the existing materials to build their own dwellings and kraals and sometime simply occupying existing structures.

    They were also used by the British and Boer soldiers in the South African War around 1900. This has introduced many contaminants into the original sites but many still remain pristine.

  4. If not, would you care to theorize on how this wrongful theory came to be accepted as doctrine?

    This incorrect doctrine was adopted by ignorant and lazy historians who have done very little research themselves into ancient human history – and simply accepted the stories taught in mainstream academic institutions.

    I know this sounds conspiratorial but unfortunately it is so. When ill informed people deal with the current finds they simply cannot see the bigger picture.

    It is as if there was no history in South Africa before the Bantu people arrived. This is obviously a very ignorant and arrogant stance – but it doe hold a firm grip an many academics in this part of the world. It is called political correctness and is doing us all a great disservice.

  5. The ruins cover a considerable piece of real estate. When I think of empires or civilizations with both a) similar geographical spread and b) an inclination to build durable structures ( for example, the Egyptians, Romans, Incans and Greeks, as opposed to the Sioux or Aborigine), I typically picture a display in a museum that includes all manner of ‘household items’: pots, tools, earthenware, jewelry and so forth. Has Makomati discovered any such artifacts?

    We are dealing with the largest and oldest city on Earth with many thousands of habitants over an extended period of time.

    With ancient terraces; roads; wells; irrigations systems; dwellings, temples and work places.

    Many artifacts that show a habitation period of over 300,000 years. With specific items pointing to various incidents.

    We also have what we now believe to be the OLDEST pottery in the world – maybe as old as 50,000 years. But the academics that dated it from WITS university in 1986 were so freaked out by this discovery that they returned the fragments to the owner with a short message – “They are about 10,000 years old.”

    Other archaeologists recall this find and attest that the ash heal in which the potter was found was around 30 – 50,000 years old.

  6. Same question as 1, above, applied specifically to Adam’s Calendar.

    Adam’s Calendar is the flagship among all these because it is unique in the world today and can be dated with some accuracy to a great time in antiquity.

  7. The people who built these structures: do they have a name? Beyond their architectural capabilities, what else do we know about them?

    We know very little about them except what we are discovering on a daily basis in the expansive ruins.

    They were most likely all involved in gold and other metal mining.

My thanks to Mr. Tellinger, and my invitation to anyone who’d care to contribute constructive input.

York, PA ice mystery begins to unfold

Posted in Evidence!, Fact Checking, Hysteria, Mysterious origins, Nature gone amok, The Unexplained with tags , , on October 22, 2008 by Eric S.

“Ice?” I hear old timers, raised in the days before global warming kicked into high gear, “Falling from the sky, you say? T’aint news. That’s what we old timers used to call snow.” Yeah, I threw in that “T’aint” bit because it sounded vaguely like the guy from the old Pepper Ridge Farms cookie commercials. Alas, it’s not the composition that makes this story a story in the news reporting sense of the word, so much as the girth of the invading particle and it’s mysterious origins:


(external video link)

Comet? Hailstone? So called ‘blue ice’? Sure, any of those *could* be the explanation. But come on, folks. How many comets, hailstones and hunks of frozen airline waste merit not only a full 2:10 news story, but demand the attention of a 4-person, multidisciplinary team of scientists including an earth scientist (e.g., code for ‘guy who knows how hunks of rock in outer space (not necessarily just Earth) are put together) and three (3!) biologists?? I’m not prone to alarmism, but this reeks of cover up. If the next thing you hear about this is reported by Tom Biscardi, I suggest you make sure all the supplies in your End of the World shelter are fresh.

South African Explorers Discover the Oldest Man-made Structure on Earth

Posted in Destinations, Mysterious origins, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained with tags , , , on September 20, 2008 by Eric S.

At least, that’s what the author of makomati.com purport. At first glance, the findings of pilot Johan Heine and the MaKomati foundation give that electric crackle of discovery armchair archeologists get once or maybe twice in a lifetime (maybe three, if you’re really old) when some intrepid explorer stumbles across a cave full of scrolls or tomb full of mummies.

A series of heavily weathered ruins stretching from South Africa to Kenya largely regarded as the remains of watering holes along Wadi trade routes (i.e., those of a number of indigenous south African peoples) include what appears to be a functioning calendar that could be among the oldest man-made structures on the planet:

That was enough to get me to add their book to my Amazon list, read the whole site, and even toss the question of the theory’s validity to the braintrust over at the Straight Dope message boards. Sure there are a couple of facts that seem far fetched at first glance – the estimate of the ruins’ age from 75,000 (or twice as old as cave paintings at Chauvet) to 250,000 years old, that include a network of sites connected by roads comparable in size to the Egyptian empire – but one has resist the natural impulses of the chronological superiority complex.

Fact is, I’d love for this these guys to be on to something, and not just out to make R250 selling me their book. But their science seems to be only slightly better than those bigfoot guys.

Bigfoot press conference barely rates as a disappointment

Posted in Fact Checking, Mysterious origins, Rant, Sighting! with tags on August 16, 2008 by Eric S.

Okay, come on, really now… who’s actually suprised at how this whole We Done Caughted Us um Bigfoot press conference has played out? Believer, skeptic, undecided or uninterested, at the end of the day there’s only so much stock you can put in a press conference announced on a website with a masthead enshrouded in gif animation flames:

(image reproduced sans flame effect, as is displays in masthead of www.searchingforbigfoot.com, apparently due to WordPress cheese-supression filters)

Coverage of the event plastered across the ‘Net just about everywhere except, peculiarly enough, searchingforbigfoot.com:

From the New York Times (reproduced in full):

Results from tests on genetic material from alleged remains of Bigfoot, made public at a news conference in Palo Alto held after the claimed discovery swept the Internet, failed to prove the existence of the mythical half-ape and half-human creature. The story was fueled by a photograph of a hairy heap, bearing a close resemblance to a shaggy full-body gorilla costume, stuffed into a container resembling a refrigerator. One of the two samples of DNA said to prove the existence of the Bigfoot came from a human and the other was 96 percent from an opossum, said Curt Nelson, a scientist at the University of Minnesota who performed the analysis.

From the Sydney Moring Herald:

Of three samples in a preliminary DNA test, one came back inconclusive, one contained traces of human DNA and one had traces of opossum DNA, probably from something the creature ate, they claimed.

They didn’t produce a Bigfoot corpse; that is in a hidden location, they said, after being moved from a freezer that broke down a couple of times. They will not say exactly where they found the creature and claim they saw a band of other Bigfoots watching them. Neither will they allow anyone other than their own hand-picked scientists to examine the body of the dead animal.

In honor of Terry Hulk Hogan’s immortal words proclaiming that professional wrestling is “as real as your imagination”, I leave the Scientific Method Slo Motion Replay to the likes of David, who’s already gotten started back here in the comments on Wednesday’s post. Honestly? What I find most shocking about event is the brilliance with which it’s nestled itself between instantly-dismissible poppycock and headline news. Yes, yes, I know that that’s the exact zone that local news teams and the purveyors of the Fox Pop-Sci Flavor of the Week live, but this one was covered by the New York Times.

Let’s review some facts:

  • The conference didn’t include actual bigfoot remains. Which, given the vigilance of airport security personnel, is hardly surprising (and also a swell indication that we’re all still safe from freedom-hating haters of freedom — go TSA!). While in legal proceedings neglecting to bring evidence actually works against your ability to make a case, in situations like this, they actually work against your critics. Because, hey, who are you going to believe: an actual eye witness, or some so-called ‘scientist’ who hasn’t even looked at real actual evidence?
  • The DNA analysis revealed traces of human DNA as well as traces of opossum DNA. Come on, admit it: when you heard opossum, your first reaction was something along the lines of WTF? And thats the brilliance of it: anything more reasonable (say, a new species of hominid) would have quickly disolved into boring, scientific analysis; anything less (say, a part human, part extraterrestrial hybrid) would have rung the bell of anyone that likes their toast toasted on both sides. But a part human part marsupial? That just gives you pause. Pause long enough to think through a couple of impossible scenarios. Pause long enough to make a couple of previously impossible-sounding scenarios seem even a little bit less impossible. Only as real as your imagination, folks.
  • The remains have not shown up on Ebay or been purchased by goldenpalace.com. Yet.

What does all of this mean? I don’t claim to know. I suspect this will ultimately turn out to be a seemingly well meant but honest mistake, that some money will exchange hands, that a few more fifteen-minute intervals of fame will make the rounds, and that the mystery will continue. And have no doubt that that last part is a good thing. Why? Becuase as long as there’s enough of the planet left unpaved for there to be even the possibility of an undiscovered species of 7’6″, 1,000lb wookies to be roaming around, there’s a chance this whole imagination thing will be a skill we take with us when we skip along to a new rock.

Even breakingier news on the Bigfoot front

Posted in Evidence!, Mysterious origins, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on August 13, 2008 by Eric S.


Among other reputable news sources, Fox News and local station KTVU report that a crack team of Bigfoot researchers, including Tom “Ain’t Never Seen a Bear Skeleton” Biscardi, claims to have recovered a genuine Bigfoot carcass. And in the interest of both setting the scientific record straight and shutting the yapps of know-it-all bloggers, they’ll be hosting a press conference this Friday in Palo Alto. Here’s details for anyone in the area, courtesy of SearchingForBigfoot.com:

Date: Friday, August 15, 2008
Time: From 12Noon-1:00pm
Place: Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto, 4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, California 94306
(A Crown Plaza Resort)

Purporting to present DNA and photographic evidence, this press conference will summarize the Bigfoot learnings of body-discoverer Matthew Whittington (for unreported reasons also known as Gary Parker), his bigfoottracker.com co-founder and Georgia resident Rick Dyer, and aforementioned ursine mortality skeptic Tom Biscardi. What can we expect? I have to tell you, I’m more anxious to find out than I am to watch Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball. Stay tuned for details as they emerge.

Chupacabra sightings

Posted in Mysterious origins, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on June 23, 2008 by Eric S.

Coming across this two-year-old news story on what may have been a sighting of the elusive desanguinator of goats, el chupacabra, I set to looking for a followup story:

Sadly, all I was able to find was that, though posted in March 2006, that newscast was in fact from August 2005; the fact that the initial report took that long to work its way onto YouTube was not a good indication that I’d find an update of the situation. Though Google turns up plenty of mentions of the report by Ms. Rivas on Channel 9 News (2,320 or so) and the hairless dog/rat/kangaroo farmer Reggie Lagow captured and handed over to authorities at Texas Parks & Wildlife, a search for chupacabra coleman TX yielded a suspiciously low 0 search results. In their defense, I suppose, one could argue that Texas is, after all, the size of a planet, and look how long it’s taking those NASA guys to search Mars.

There was, however, an incident in the Dominican Republic in March of this year leading to the demse of this creature, which blogger Faustino Perez suspects may be a chupacabra:

If, like me, your Spanish isn’t so hot, you can read a translation of Perez’s post in the first comment down this page, but the short version is that folks in the DR don’t take kindly to unusual looking beasties drinking out of their toilets.

Truth to tell, I’m skeptical on both of these accounts. Having been in the company of goats on a couple of occasions, I can promise you neither the dog-kangaroo nor the albino rat-otter would stand a chance of draining a goat of it’s blood. Unless, of course, they had some sort of hypno ray…

Unicorn sighting: Rome

Posted in Mysterious origins, Nature gone amok, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , on June 13, 2008 by Eric S.

While I’d ordinary leave unicorn sightings to the Harry Potter contingent (no offense to you, Harry Potter contingent), something about the idea of an Italian deer unicorn provides all sorts of extra opportunities for snarkiness:


(photo appropriated sans permission from newsvine.com.)

Sadly, unlike another recently discovered abnormality, this mono-antlered Roe Deer cleverly named “Unicorn” (hey, maybe it’s clever before being translated from Italian to English) has been determined to be not a manifestation of divine providence, but a garden variety genetic flaw/birth defect. So, rather than a magical improvement on the quality of healthcare worldwide, speculators anticipate Uni’s legacy primarily being remembered by the Italian-crafted shoe buyers of the world.