The Tomb of Qin Shihuang

Here's a great article on the legendary tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang, known mostly as the unifier of China, as well as his hobby projects such as the building of the Great Wall, and the construction of his Terracotta Army. His tomb lies unopened, with much speculation as to what treasures it may contain, and what defences it may have against intrusion:

Recently Guo Zhikun, a specialist in the history of the Qin and Han dynasties, gave a press conference in Xi'an, the capital city of west China's Shaanxi Province, in which he disclosed his academic research results focusing on the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang, making bold guesses about the mysterious tomb complex that fascinates the whole world.

The article runs through Guo Zhikun's five guesses as to what may lie within the tomb - and it's Indiana Jones material (no crystal skulls though). For an older story about Qin Shihuang here on TDG, see this update. Also I've previously posted a fascinating video documentary titled The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China, which is well worth viewing.

Ronson on Sylvia Browne

I missed this last weekend, but it's worth a mention. Journalist Jon Ronson, well-known for investigating the strange topics we like to cover, did quite a long piece on superstar psychic Sylvia Browne, which was published in the Guardian. Ronson managed to get a one-on-one with the elusive Browne by joining a cruise holiday on which she was featured.

His conclusions were not positive, with only one 'hit' of note by Browne mentioned, but plenty of doubts sown about her authenticity. Based on my own reading, I'd have to agree with Ronson and wonder why Browne has the following she does - and not just because of the now infamous Shawn Hornbeck error. I have heard of many mediums who seem to be more deserving of a high profile than Sylvia Browne. More importantly, skeptics tout Browne as an example of the fraudulent nature of mediumship - and as a figurehead (whether desired or not), she leaves a lot to be desired.

On the flipside, Jon Ronson's previous work - such as The Men Who Stare At Goats (Amazon US and UK), have exhibited a humorous cynicism, rather than objective reporting (though he's not a harsh skeptic in any sense). It's certainly a topic that lends itself to that approach for public reading, with its core theme of the oxymoron of military intelligence - and Ronson's writing talent makes it a fun and fascinating read - but at the same time, we should perhaps be wary of making these topics too easily dismissed in polite conversation. But then, with people like Sylvia Browne dominating the public definition of 'psychic', a little cynicism is not only desired, but required...

News Briefs 02-11-2007

Apathy makes the baby Jesus cry...

Thanks Kat and Rick.

Quote of the Day:

I could be mistaken. Maybe it was another bald-headed, jigsaw-puzzle-tattooed, naked guy I saw.

Mulder ('The X-Files')

Presidential UFOs

Is ufology making a comeback? I've noted lately that the most regularly updated blogs seem to be coming from that camp, and now the fever has spread to the U.S. Presidential race. In a recent Democratic candidate debate, Dennis Kucinich was asked directly (by moderator Tim Russert) whether he had seen a UFO - following on from his 'outing' by friend Shirley Maclaine in a new book. You can watch video of the segment here on TDG.

But Kucinich wasn't the only one talking UFOs:

Kucinich then sought out a Washington Post reporter an upbraided her for failing to ask more substantive questions on health care policy and Iraq.

What he did not know was that a short distance away, his UFO issue was, well, taking off in an interview with Gov. Bill Richardson, who during an appearing on MSNBC with Chris Matthews demanded faster declassifying of documents pertaining to Roswell and UFO sightings.

But Richardon stopped short of saying there is a government alien coverup.

Richardson wasn't just jumping on the bandwagon on debate night though - a few days previously he had discussed Roswell in a town hall meeting. And Republican contender Rudy Giuliani was confronted with a similar topic during one of his meet and greets.

All of which must be making the folks at the Disclosure Project very excited...

CPAK After-Party

Well, I thought I missed a great event when I couldn't make it to CPAK 2007 last month, with alternative history 'legends' Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, Robert Schoch and John Anthony West all presenting. However, now that I've seen the after-party, I *know* I missed the boat big time. Nice pegs Graham! (h/t Colette).

Radio 02-10-2007

Here's the rundown on the radio schedules for the second half of the week:

Whitley Strieber's Dreamland: Whitley Strieber interviews Robert Bruce this week on Dreamland.

Coast to Coast AM: Friday is open lines. Early show Saturday "Art Bell- Somewhere in Time" returns to 4/5/00 for a conversation on time travel with Dr. David Anderson. Afterward, author and astrologer Barrie Dolnick will join her co-author, attorney, Anthony H. Davidson in a discussion on the nature of luck, and the habits of lucky people. On Sunday Ian Lawton will discuss his recent research into reincarnation and existence between lives.

More details including relevant websites are available at the linked pages above. You can listen to C2C live, or to recent archived shows, at Dreamland is freely available at their website, and also now offers a podcast of the most recent show.

Zahi Gets a Makeover

The website of Dr Zahi Hawass, supreme ruler - err, Undersecretary of the State for the Giza Monuments, has had a massive makeover, with a Flash intro telling you all about how amazing Dr Hawass is (careful you don't cut yourself on all those exclamation marks). The site now has a much more logical interface, making it easy to find information - unless that is you're seeking answers about the real history ancient Egypt. All jokes aside, good to see Zahi keeping an online presence - and also kudos to him for his charity drive for a children's museum, raising funds from merchandising of copies of his Indiana Jones-style hat (seriously, that last comment is not a joke).

Intermediate States

Sometimes I feel like The Anomalist and the Daily Grail run on parallel tracks. Even more so today, with the announcement of the latest Anomalist journal release (#13), titled Intermediate States, to go along with our own Darklore release. Featuring contributions from Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman (both of whom are in Darklore as well!), and a bunch of others, there looks to be some great reading in there (see the link above for full details). Might be worth purchasing along with the Darklore paperback - for roughly $26, you'd end up with 500 pages of goodness, and get free shipping (unless, like me, you're an international customer). Make sure you check out the rest of the Anomalist Books catalogue too - they have got some great books on a variety of topics.

News Briefs 01-11-2007

Roswell, Presidential candidates, and LSD. Sounds like a fun night out in anyone's books...

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

I didn't go looking for LSD, it came looking for me; it decided to ring my doorbell, to make its presence known... the world needs it now more than ever.

Albert Hofmann

The Red-Eyed Monsters...

Before the moon sets on another Halloween, though I'd provide a good midnight read for our U.S. readers before popping off to bed. Over at Kithra's Krystal Kave, you'll find a downright fascinating article titled "Glowing Red Eyes":

Science tells us that nocturnal animals don’t have self-luminous eyes. They often have eyes that are reflective, in order to help them see in the dark, but they don’t glow. So the premise of this article is that seeing glowing red eyes on an out-of-place, or highly weird animal, or entity, is most likely a sign of it being something paranormal...

...What I’m going to do in this article is to give some examples of the various types of sightings that have been catalogued, and then take a look at what might lie behind them.

It's a comprehensive and well written article that is worthy of attention - and sure to make you latch your window tight. Incidentally, it's a good companion piece to two articles in Darklore, my essay on paranormal sounds and The Emperor's piece on high strangeness Bigfoot cases.