Buddhist Lama says Loch Ness monster is mythological water deity

The first Buddhist Lama in Britain, who is leading the project to create a new Buddhist centre in the Highlands of Scotland said the famous Loch Ness monster is a naga, a water deity which brings prosperity in the religion, according to a news report in The Scotsman .

The Loch Ness monster is an unknown animal that some people believe inhabits Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Popular interest and belief in the animal’s existence has varied since it was first brought to the world’s attention in 1933, and made famous by a photograph supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson in 1934, depicted below. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar readings.

Photo of the ‘Loch Ness monster’ taken by Robert Wilson

The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs, a Mesozoic marine reptile. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as ‘Nessie’, as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as including misidentifications of more mundane objects, outright hoaxes, and wishful thinking. However, spiritual director of the new Buddhist centre in the Highlands, Lama Gelongmo Zangmo, has another explanation:

“Nessie is a naga. We build the relationship with the naga, try to please them and don’t abuse the environment,” said Lama Zangmo. “If Nessie is treated well, she will bring prosperity.”

The naga is a legendary aquatic, serpentine creature that resides in oceans, rivers, lakes, or waterfalls. Nagas are said to have black scales and can grow to hundreds of feet in length. Nagas are traditionally worshipped as personifications of water deities and considered bringers of rain and clouds. They are guardians of temples and holy places. Most Kaliyatran believe that the superior God direct the actions of the nagas, and these sea serpents are honoured with many titles such as the “Maharaja Sarpa” and the “Naga who is God”. It is commonly believed that nagas live in underground cities, are capable of speech and can use their heavenly powers to control weather and assume humanoid form at will.

Tibetan Buddhist depiction of a naga. Image source .

Tributes have already been made at the Samye Ling monastery in Dumfries-shire, and a shelter has been made at the nearby River Esk, where sacrifices have been left to the spirit. Dr William Tuladhar-Douglas, Buddhism lecturer from the University of Aberdeen, said: “There’s about 2,500 years’ worth of history behind a gesture like that.”

Featured image: A depiction of naga. Image source .

A 1,800-year-old ring and the curse of the ‘evil eye’

Last year, archaeologists in Croatia found a remarkable 1,800-year-old ring with an ‘eye’ that was used to protect the wearer from spells or a bad curse, often referred to as the ‘evil eye’. The belief that a look of envy or dislike from another person could cause injury, bad luck or even death for the person at whom it is directed has existed for at least 5,000 years and has often led to individuals taking protective measures, such as wearing particular items of jewellery.

The ring was one of about 200 items recovered two metres under soil in the eastern town of Vinkovci, an area known to be occupied long before the Roman period. While the unearthed ceramic items date from the first to the sixth century AD, the unusual ring was dated to the third century. On the ring there is an outline of a rabbit or a mouse nibbling a flower, a symbol of happiness, while above the edge of the ring there is an eye, symbolising protection from misfortune.

Written record of the evil eye goes back to around 3,000 BC to the Sumerians who left behind a clay tablet inscribed with a prayer to ward off the curse. Remarkably, a similar prayer is still used today in many cultures around the world, particularly in the Mediterranean.

It is believed, however, that the believe in an ‘evil eye’ goes back to the upper Palaeolithic period as 10,000-year-old drawings have been found on cave walls in Spain which appear to depict symbols to ward off the evil eye.

The tradition and concept varies widely among different cultures, but belief in the evil eye exists far and wide. It is particularly strong in the Middle East, Central America, East and West Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and Europe, especially the Mediterranean region. It has also spread to areas, including northern Europe, particularly in the Celtic regions, and the Americas, where it was brought by European colonists and Middle Eastern immigrants.

The concept appears several times in the Old Testament and is also found in Islamic doctrine, based upon the statement of Muhammad, “The influence of an evil eye is a fact…” [Sahih Muslim, Book 26, Number 5427].

Attempts to ward off the curse of the evil eye has resulted in a number of talismans in many cultures, usually disks or balls consisting of concentric blue and white circles, a blue or green eye appearing on a hand, and various other forms of jewellery depicting an eye. But in addition to talismans or ‘lucky charms’, many cultures have engaged in protective measures in an attempt to ward off the evil eye. For example, Asian children sometimes have their faces blackened, especially near the eyes, for protection. Among some Asian and African peoples the evil eye is particularly dreaded while eating and drinking, because soul loss is thought to be more prevalent when the mouth is open; in these cultures, the ingestion of substances is either a solitary activity or takes place only with the immediate family and behind locked doors. Other means of protection, common to many traditions, include the consumption certain foods, the wearing of sacred texts, the use of certain hand gestures, and the display of ritual drawings or objects. The Romans even wore a large phallus object around their neck for protection, presumably to draw the eye’s attention to it rather than the wearer!

Medical science and objectivity tells us that the eye cannot kill, though for centuries deaths were often attributed to the evil eye. In medieval Europe witches were often identified – and burned at the stake – on the evidence that they had directed an angry glare at someone that resulted in their death. So frightened was the British court system of the evil eye and its bewitching powers that it required that accused witches be brought into the courtroom walking backwards.

UFO entering Volcano in Mexico?

One of the most interesting latest videos of UFOs is the video of what appears to be an unidentified flying object (UFO) entering the Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico which was recorded on May 30 by the daily video monitors of Televisa, a Mexican media company.

Televisa monitors the volcano on a daily basis and this video is a time lapsed video, which means video images taken at a specific interval. A special effects expert who has worked for the US Navy and Congress in Washington, was asked by Huffington Post about the authenticity of the video and, after analysing the video, he concluded that the video appears genuine.

However, he says that since the video is time lapsed, the speed that you see is not the real speed and if played at real speed then the speed is similar to aircraft speeds. This doesn’t mean that it is an aircraft though, although he suggests that it may be an ‘illusion’ giving you the impression that it goes down while it goes away. If you watch the video carefully that may be the case but it is not for sure.

It is interesting to mention that there was a similar video taken last year by the same company showing another object, cigar shaped this time, entering the volcano. Mutual UFO Network suggested that this may have been a meteor.

The reality is that since it is a time lapse video, it is difficult to say with certainty.

FBI Struggles to Explain 1950 UFO Memo

A 1950 memo describing the recovery of three ‘flying saucers’ in New Mexico has been viewed millions of times since it was released in the FBI digital archive as part of the Freedom of Information Act.

The one-page memo was sent by Guy Hottel, the head of the FBI’s District of Columbia field office, to FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. The memo contained information that Hottel had received from an about a possible UFO discovery.

“An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico,” Hottel wrote.

“They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots.”

The fumbling response from the FBI failed to provide a believable explanation: “It is simply a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated.”

You can read more here:

Ex US Military Veteran claims to have worked with aliens

Charles James Hall, a Vietnam Veteran, has given a fascinating interview on an Australian news morning show, where he claimed that he had worked with Aliens in the Nellis Nevada Air Force base.

He was stationed in the Airforce for more than two years and during that period of time he claims that he was in contact with three different species of Alien. The ones that he calls White aliens, the Grey Aliens of Roswell and a race called the Nordics that look like humans. The white aliens could live up to 700 years, reminding us of the old testament and other ancient texts which have mentioned such long life spans.

According to Charles, the US government agreed to give Aliens temporary residence at the Nellis Air Force base. The government was willing to give them anything they required for technology transfer.

You can read more here.

Were the Americas inhabited 30,000 years ago?

One of the most dramatic discoveries to fuel the debate about the date of habitation in the Americas was made in a streambed in southern Uruguay – a set of 30,000-year-old fossilised animals which show distinctive marks left by human tools . The immense significance of the discovery is that mainstream archaeology says that humans began arriving in the Americas between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago, and the Clovis people of North and Central America are generally considered the “first Americans.”

The fossils were first uncovered in 1997 when severe drought led local farmers to drain a lagoon in Arroyo del Vizcaíno, which exposed many fossilised animal remains. But these weren’t just any animals. The bones were gigantic.

It wasn’t until 2011 that a team of palaeontologists managed to break their way through the bureaucratic roadblocks to excavate the site, and over the next two years they unearthed thousands of fossils. It turns out that the bones belong to giant sloths weighing up to 4 tonnes (the size of a small elephant), saber-toothed cats, oversized armadillos, and other mega fauna that roamed the Americas until around 11,000 years ago.

Hunting mega fauna. Credit: Heinrich Harder

In an analysis published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in November 2013, it was revealed that the fossils at Arroyo del Vizcaíno have been radiocarbon dated to between 29,000 to 30,000 years old. And, astonishingly, the bones had marks left by human tools. The team also found a potentially human-made scraper that could have been used on dry animal hides, and stone flakes. If this is indeed the case, it means that humans inhabited the Americas at least 15,000 years before previously thought.

Study co-author Richard Fariña said the strength of the evidence lies in the team’s methodology and the fact that two of the bones they tested for dating also bore markings similar to those made by human tools. “The association can’t be closer than it is,” he said.

But of course, such dramatic findings are never accepted easily. There are already suggestions that the markings on the bones are the product of nature mimicking human tools.

Further excavations at the site are already planned and it is estimated that it could yield a thousand more bones.

24,000-Year-Old Boy reveals Origins of Native Americans

The DNA of a young boy found in eastern Siberia holds the key to unravelling the mystery of where Native Americans originated . The 24,000 year-old remains revealed two major surprises for anthropologists when they completed an analysis of his genome.

The remains of the boy, aged 3 to 4 years old, were found buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia. He was buried under a stone slab wearing an ivory diadem, a bead necklace and a bird-shaped pendant. The discovery was made by Russian archaeologists back in 1938, following which the remains sat in a museum for decades gathering dust. The true significance of the finding was unrealised until they were examined by a team led by Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen.

Dr Willerslev extracted DNA from bone taken from the child’s upper arm, hoping to find ancestry in the East Asian people from whom Native Americans are known to be descended. But what they discovered was a huge surprise.

The team discovered that the boy’s DNA matched that of Western Europeans, showing that during the last Ice Age people from Europe reached much further east across Eurasia than previously believed. Incredulous at the results, they decided to test the DNA of an adult who died 17,000 years ago, found at a second Siberian grave site – they found the same markers of European origin. The results indicated that Europeans occupied Siberia during the Last Glacial Maximum approximately 20,000 years ago.

But that was not all. The results also showed that a quarter of the boy’s DNA matched that of living Native Americans. Until now it was believed that Native Americans descended from East Asians in Siberia. Now it seems that they descended from a mixture of Western Europeans who had reached Siberia and the East Asian population.

“We estimate that 14 to 38 percent of Native American ancestry may originate through gene flow from this ancient population,” Dr Willerslev and colleagues wrote in an article published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

A European contribution to Native American ancestry could explain two longstanding mysteries about their origins. One is that many ancient Native American skulls, including that of the well-known Kennewick man , look very different from those of the present day population. Another is that one of the five mitochondrial DNA lineages found in Native Americans, the lineage known as X, also occurs in Europeans.

Dr. Willerslev has presented his findings to the academic community, which received a mixture of reactions from excitement to incredulity. The research will certainly prompt a search for more ancient DNA from Siberia in order to provide further verification of this ground-breaking result.

Early Humans Lived in China 1.7 Million Years Ago

New research published in in the journal Scientific Reports, has revealed that Homo erectus, an ancient ancestor to modern humans, occupied a vast area in China as early as 1.7 million years ago. The work is part of a government push to investigate traces of early humans in China with the hope that it may identify a new cradle of mankind in the nation.

The now-extinct species of human is said to have evolved in Africa at least 1.8 million years ago and then dispersed out from the continent reaching as far as China. Now scientists are trying to understand exactly when, how and why they moved to other continents in an attempt to better understand what drove human evolution. One possibility is that hominids migrated to East Asia during the early Stone Age as a consequence of increasing cooling and aridity in Africa and Eurasia.

A team of archaeologists were able to determine when the Homo erectus wandered the plains of China by analysing tools and earth samples in the Nihewan Basin, which lies in a mountainous region about 150 kilometres west of Beijing, an area rich with Stone Age sites. Researchers have found more than 100,000 relics in the region including thousands of stone tools including stone blades used for cutting or scraping, which are believed to have been used by Homo erectus.

In order to date the items, Hong Ao, a paleomagnetist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xi’an, and his colleagues analysed earth samples to look at the way in which different layers were magnetized — since the Earth’s magnetic field has regularly flipped numerous times over millions of years, looking at the manner in which the magnetic fields of minerals are oriented can shed light on how old they are. The researchers discovered this site in northern China might be about 1.6 million to 1.7 million years old, making it 600,000 or 700,000 years older than previously thought.

Artefacts, bones and tools belonging to Homo erectus have also been found in southern China more than 2,500 kilometres away, which suggests that they inhabited a huge territory in China about 1.7 to 1.6 million years ago. Some researchers believe that discoveries showing stone tools dating back up to 2 million years in China draws into question current beliefs that Africa was the sole origin of mankind .

Belief in ‘God’ is programmed in our brains

Old news but current. Back in 2009 a scientific study had shown that the belief in ‘God’ or supernatural force that is above everything is programmed in different parts of our brain. This is important because such a belief does not exist in animals which makes it a strange addition to evolution.

That’s why there are divided opinions amongst scientists whether religious belief has a biological basis or not. Followers of Darwin’s theory suggest that this center of the brain was evolved because the belief in the Divine can help you survive in difficult circumstances when you cannot do anything else.

What makes this discovery important is when we correlate it to the hypothesis that humans were created to serve the ‘Gods’. If such a theory has any truth in it, then this scientific study supports it. A programmed brain to believe in ‘Gods’ is the perfect tool to create faithful servants.

Such a strong belief in our minds has created multiple religious divisions in humanity and all of them are supposedly seeking the truth and enlightenment and yet the wars between religions have brought death to millions.

You can read more here.

Early humans probably walked in a different way

In a recent research at the University of Liverpool in the UK publishes in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Karl Bates and a team of researchers have analysed how a footprint is associated with the way an animal or early human walked.

Until now the depth of the footprint was directly connected to the pressure of the body which created it. However, the study shows that the correlation of the foot pressure and footprint depth is more complicated than what was initially thought. Using sophisticated computer algorithms and models as well as live data from people walking, they have correlated foot print depths with pressure, showing that different parts of the foot create different size indentations.

The results indicated that previous ideas on early human gait have to be rethought.

You can read more here.