Monday, October 8, 2012

Esoterica: Mayan Calendar Reality -- Knocking at the Tomb -- Creatures of the Night

Experts meet to discuss Maya calendar, debunk end-of-world stories

As the clock winds down to Dec. 21, experts on the Mayan calendar have been racing to convince people that the Maya didn't predict an apocalypse for the end of this year.

Some experts are now saying the Maya may indeed have made prophecies, just not about the end of the world.

Archaeologists, anthropologists and other experts met Friday in the southern Mexico city of Merida to discuss the implications of the Mayan Long Count calendar, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns.

Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Mayans, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone — but not an end.

Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years. People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.

Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera said Friday that the Mayas did prophesize, but perhaps about more humdrum events like droughts or disease outbreaks.

"The Maya did make prophecies, but not in a fatalistic sense, but rather about events that, in their cyclical conception of history, could be repeated in the future," said Barrera, of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Experts stressed that the ancient Maya, whose "classic" culture of writing, astronomy and temple complexes flourished from A.D. 300 to 900, were extremely interested in future events, far beyond Dec. 21.

"There are many ancient Maya monuments that discuss events far into the future from now," wrote Geoffrey Braswell, an anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego. "The ancient Maya clearly believed things would happen far into the future from now."

"The king of Palenque, K'inich Hanaab Pakal, believed he would return to the Earth a couple of thousand years from now in the future," Braswell wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Moreover, other monuments discuss events even before the creation in 3114 B.C."

Only a couple of references to the 2012 date equivalency have been found carved in stone at Mayan sites, and neither refers to an apocalypse, experts say.

Such apocalyptic visions have been common for more than 1,000 years in Western, Christian thinking, and are not native to Mayan thought.

"This is thinking that, in truth, has nothing to do with Mayan culture," said Alexander Voss, an anthropologist at the University Of Quintana Roo, a state on Mexico's Caribbean coast. "This thing about looking for end-times is not something that comes from Mayan culture."

Braswell compared the Mayan calendar, with its system of cycles within cycles, to the series of synchronized wheels contained in old, analogue car odometers.

"The Maya long count system is like a car odometer," Braswell wrote. "[The odometer on] my first car only had six wheels so it went up to 99,999.9 miles. That didn't mean the car would explode after reaching 100,000 miles." - Fox News

Twilight of the Gods: The Mayan Calendar and the Return of the Extraterrestrials

The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012


The Landlady's House

I've had several "paranormal" experiences. All my life I have "seen" things that probably should have scared the wits out of me, but only served to make me even more curious. The one that remains the most vivid in my memory happened one night in a house we had lived in about 5 years ago (which has since been torn down) in Waukegan, Illinois. Our landlady's (Phyllis) parents had built the house when she was a little girl, and had both died in the house. Lee (my ex husband) was sleeping on the couch in the living room and I was sleeping in our bedroom, which had no door and faced the living room. I woke up hearing a creaking noise, and thinking it was Lee coming to bed, sat up. When I looked into the living room, the rocking chair was slowly rocking - I could see a hazy figure of an old man standing in front of it, looking toward my mother in law's room. I had seen things like this before, and prefer to show respect for the dead and let them go about their business. I never felt scared - until the next day when I asked the landlady about her parents. That was when I got to learn that her father had died in that chair, and her mother had died in my my mother in law's bedroom. After that I always kinda just felt like I was an intruder in someone else's home, even though I never saw anything else after that. The landlady's husband must have seen or known something as well - within a week of Phyllis' passing, he had the place leveled. So that's how it ended, and you know, I still get a creepy feeling whenever I drive past the lot where my house used to be. D.


Knocking at the Tomb

Knock, knock, knock! The bell has just gone twelve, and there is the clang again upon the iron door of the tomb. The few people of Lanesboro who are paying the penance of misdeeds or late suppers, by lying awake at that dread hour, gather their blankets around their shoulders and mutter a word of prayer for deliverance against unwholesome visitors of the night. Why is the old Berkshire town so troubled? Who is it that lies buried in that tomb, with its ornament of Masonic symbols? Why was the heavy iron knocker placed on the door? The question is asked, but no one will answer it, nor will any say who the woman is that so often visits the cemetery at the stroke of midnight and sounds the call into the chamber of the dead. Starlight, moonlight, or storm—it makes no difference to the woman. There she goes, in her black cloak, seen dim in the night, except where there are snow and moon together, and there she waits, her hand on the knocker, for the bell to strike to set up her clangor. Some say that she is crazy, and it is her freak to do this thing. Is she calling on the corpses to rise and have a dance among the graves? or has she been asked to call the occupant of that house at a given hour? Perhaps, weary of life, she is asking for admittance to the rest and silence of the tomb. She has long been beneath the sod, this troubler of dreams. Who knows her secret? - Myths and Legends of Our Own Land - Complete


Ghost Taps, Pookas, and Other Creatures of the Night

By Varla Ventura - My recent appearance on Coast to Coast with George Noory on the topic of vampires and werewolves, brought on some interesting callers, many of whom mentioned the duende, a sort of Latin American version of a goblin or sprite. And maybe this late-night interview and callers sharing stories of mythological beings, real life ghosts, and other paranormal phenomena opened the gates to a new encounter with what I believe was another episode of "The Haunted Nursery."

Three nights ago my slumber was interrupted not by the crying wails of the Baby Ventura but rather a gentle tap on my forehead. When I opened my eyes, a bit confused, I looked around to see what had made midnight contact with my face: a pillow? An errant arm or hand of my beloved? No and no. I even wondered if a drop of water had mysteriously fallen from the ceiling. As I was contemplating the possibilities, the spot on my head still cold from the touch, I heard a very gentle laugh from the baby, who, upon inspection, was sleeping peacefully. And then just moments later a steady tapping began in the kitchen (down the hall but still relatively close, it's a small apartment). I listened, a little breathless. Tap tap tap. What was it? The fridge churning? The wind rattling the windows? Tap tap tap. Pause. Tap tap tap. Pause. This went on for two or three minutes, something that sounded like a cupboard opening and closing. Keep in mind I've lived in this apartment for nearly ten years, and this sound I had heard only once before: I was in the middle of a radio interview, which happened to be on the topic of the paranormal, and heard something similar coming from the kitchen. It lasted about two minutes and then left. Nothing until just the other night.

The next night I listened intently to the noises of the night to hear it replicated. Nothing. And the next night. Nothing. So I was left to wonder, was this a playful tap from one of the inhabitants of the Haunted Nursery? Or perhaps it was another type of creature altogether?

When dealing with the spirit realm, some may tell you, all bets are off. The creatures that lurk, in the dark of the night, aren't always ghosts or ghoulish apparitions. Countless volumes of folklore, especially Irish and Welsh mythology, detail dozens of creatures that lurk under bridges, besides roadways, on beaches, and beneath the hydrangea in your garden. Pookas, for example, are sometimes mistaken for horses or even rabbits. For one of my recent books, Taming the Pooka, Celtic Tales of the Trickster Fairy: Magical Creatures, A Weiser Books Collection I read a great deal of W. B. Yeats. Yeats was a scholar of Irish folklore as well as the occult. In 1911 he became a member of The Ghost Club -- a paranormal research group, one of the first of its kind! It would not surprise me to hear that Yeats himself encountered a Pooka whilst roaming the country roads, warm from a pint at the pub.

Maybe I'm just overtired, or all the stories I've been reading are getting to me. Because I heard something, quite distinctly, go bump in the night. - THP

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