News Briefs 03-03-2015

Learn to swim...

Thanks @mattstaggs.

Quote of the Day:

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

Henry Ford

Ciudad Blanca: Mythical Lost City Found in Honduran Rainforest

Over at National Geographic, there's a fascinating article detailing the recent discovery of one of South America's most pervasive mysteries: The fabled 'White City' or 'City of the Monkey God', which was said to have been kept intact during the Spanish conquest due to its remote and inhospitable location in the remote valley of La Mosquitia, deep in the Honduran rainforest. the 'monkey god' is a reference to the tale of a giant buried statue of a monkey god, as was told by natives to American explorer Theodore 'Ted' Morde in 1940; Morde's alleged discovery of the mythical city was never confirmed --he refused to reveal its location, and later committed suicide in 1954.

But now thanks to modern LIDAR technology, an international expedition has managed to pinpoint a highly advanced urban center that is over a thousand years old;

Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorado State University, said the pristine, unlooted condition of the site was “incredibly rare.” He speculated that the cache, found at the base of the pyramid, may have been an offering.
“The undisturbed context is unique,” Fisher said. “This is a powerful ritual display, to take wealth objects like this out of circulation.”
The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials. They include stone ceremonial seats (called metates) and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes, zoomorphic figures, and vultures.

The most striking of the objects found so far was a stone head of a 'were-jaguar', which would seem to indicate that the inhabitants practiced some form of shamanic religion --possibly involving the use of psychedelic substances, which would trigger in the shaman the illusion of shape-shifting into a jaguar.

But more than solving once and for all the legend of the 'White City', the archeologists are now convinced this urban center is in fact part of a previously unknown civilization which thrived in the Mosquitia valley around 1000-1400 AD. Therefore, many more 'lost cities' are bound to be found --that is, if they're not razed first by the illegal deforestation of the forest.

Here's hoping the Honduran government manages to secure this incredible discovery, so that archeologists can continue finding more remnants of this previously unknown civilization. Maybe one day they'll unearth the monkey god statue after all --or at least a couple of crystal skulls...

[LINK] Exclusive: Lost City Discovered in the Honduran Rainforest


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News Briefs 02-03-2015

Live long and prosper...

Thanks @catvincent.

Quote of the Day:

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.

Tom Robbins

Life Is Like Blue Jelly... And That's Enough.


What is the meaning of life? For some it's 42, for others it can be found in religion or science. For a few of us, the meaning of life is simply the wonder of not knowing. However, instead of looking outwards for the answer, perhaps we can find what we're looking for within -- and find meaning in our dreams. Anthropologist Margaret Mead described a unique perspective on the meaning of life that came to her in a dream (Amazon):

Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”

Read more at Brain Pickings.

LLAP Leonard Nimoy, Cultural Icon and Fortean Inspiration

Unless you've just been recently resurrected by the Genesis device, you're probably aware that Leonard Nimoy, the 83-year-old actor who attained universal celebrity for his interpretation of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek franchise, passed away this morning.

The Internet has been awash with expressions of condolences and celebrations of Mr. Nimoy's life and cultural impact. All the newspapers and media outlets have already released their obituary notes, including this one in The New York Times. When I read the NYT obit though, I was immediately annoyed by how among all the mentions of Mr. Nimoy's achievements during his long career, it unforgivably omitted the one role which we Forteans will probably remember him the most for: his hosting in the iconical TV series "In Search Of", after he replaced Rod Serling.*

It's hard to tell how many people were introduced to the mysteries of Atlantis, UFOs, Bigfoot and many other enigmas, thanks to the appeal of Mr. Nimoy's commanding voice, but I'm sure there's quite a few members of The Daily Grail who wouldn't be reading these lines, if it weren't for the fact that they watched the show when they were kids, and became hooked for life.

So, I thought that a fitting Fortean tribute to Mr. Nimoy would be asking you, the Grail community, to leave a comment in which you could mention your favorite "In Search Of" episodes.

Go boldly to the final frontier, Mr. Spock. We have been and shall always be grateful to you.

(*)Apparently I wasn't the only one who complained, because the obit corrected the omission.

News Briefs 27-02-2015

"The poetry of earth is never dead."

Quote of the Day:

“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.”

John Keats

Cyborg Tears: Blind Man Sees Wife for the 1st Time in 10 Years

It's not as cool-looking as Geordi Laforge's visor in STTNG, but technological advances such as the Argus II Second Sight show blind people won't have to wait until the XXIVth century to recover the ability to see the faces of their loved ones.

News Briefs 26-02-2015

A huevo!!

Thanks to Alejandro, for forcing the Gringos to start using the letter "Ñ".

Quote of the Day:

"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of imagination."

~John Keats

A Fortean Shoutout to Artist Jack Cusumano

One of the things I love the most about the Fortean world, is how these mysteries can do more than just make one scratch his head in confusion; sometimes they can also inspire artists to create amazing content, which consequently influences the cultural perception of said mysteries in a very peculiar 'cross-polination' process --for more about that, read Mutants & Mystics by Jeffrey Kripal. In fact, I am of the opinion that a person with an artistic sensibility is more suited to grasp the nature of the phenomena, than a lab coat-wearing scientist rigidly adhering to 'rationalism' and the scientific method.

Among those artists who took Forteana as his bug-eyed muse is Jack Cusumano. Jack is an animator living in L.A. and has worked in TV shows like Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja and Rick & Morty; he also collaborated in Dumm Comics --a website I've been a fan of since 2008. Jack had had a keen interest in weird stuff and the supernatural at an early age, but later went through a 'skeptical' phase in which he was convinced all paranormal phenomena could be 'explained' by Science through conventional interpretations, thus becoming disinterested in them; It was around 2012 when one of his co-workers suggested to him Mysterious Universe --the podcast produced by our friends Ben & Aaron-- and listening to it not only allowed him to reconnect with the things which both fascinated and terrified him in his childhood, but also forced him to entertain the possibility that there might be something in these mysteries which may elude a simple, mundane explanation.

Above all, Jack manages to see the amusing side of the Fortean world, something that has helped him create the wonderful moving images showcased in his Tumblr page High Strange Gifs; all the gif images are inspired by actual reports and posts Jacks find online in websites like MU, Open Minds, Epoch Times and other Fortean outlets. Below are more samples of his delightfully quirky artwork:

Bigfoot Stalking Buffalo in Yellowstone Park
(via Above Top Secret Forums)

Flaming V-Shaped UFO in Brazil, Horse-Shaped One in Mexico
(via Mysterious Universe)

Metallic Orb Could Have Been Sent By Aliens, Scientist Suggests
(via Open Minds)

Here's also a quick animated his wife Teri --who is also an artist interested in the paranormal-- created and Jack assisted with, based on a concept of hers involving my favorite Schrödinger cat cryptid:

As a life-time fan of animation, I for one would have loved to watch a Saturday morning cartoon full of cute, Fortean creatures when I was growing up. Here's hoping one day Jack and Teri will create that show for your children.