Thursday, April 29, 2010

Byzantine Mosaics, Ravenna Basilica, Italy

"Love is the beauty of the soul."
Saint Augustine

My cousin Sylvia and her hubby Tom last week went on a camping trip to northern Italy from their home in Vienna, Austria. They spent time at Lake Garda, and also visited Ravenna, which is known for its superb Byzantine mosaics dating from the mid-6th century and said to probably be the finest Byzantine mosaics in the western world.

As Syl always does, she promised me angel photos from her trip. Here are two of her photos with her description:

“This is from the Basilica in Ravenna. Dates back to 525A.D. It is a mosaic in a 2 octagon with 8 rectangles sort of chapels off the center. All is glitter with a play of light and dark void and solid forms. It is down some stairs almost in the basement so it is dark walking down then when you get there you see light in shapes and colors with filtered light through the windows and in and out of the octagon shapes. Very lovely experience. Ravenna was once the capital of the Roman Empire and in the 6th century it was dominated by Byzantine culture.”

It’s nice she often has the chance to explore Italy as our grandparents were born in Sicily and came to America in the later part of the 19th Syl is able to explore some of our family heritage and culture.

Thanks, Syl...


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ancient Aliens; and The Unknown novel by Linda Pendleton

Tonight I am watching the History Channel and the program, Ancient Aliens. Fascinating. Apparently the series is based around the theories presented by Erich von Daniken in his 1968 bestselling book Chariots of the Gods, The series further explores the theories of ancient alien visitations and alien technology. It’s available on DVD too.

So it reminded me of my own novel, The Unknown .  I recently added the novel to Kindle. It is also available in trade paper at and other online bookstores.

Here is an excerpt from the opening to The Unknown, which takes place on the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona: (sorry for the formatting--can't indent properly).

Tommy stared into the darkness as if transfixed, as if seeing something that Leon could not see.
Tommy said, "It's going to happen."
It happened before Leon could phrase a reply.
There was a bright flash on the horizon that seemed to originate from the point at which Tommy had been staring.
And now Leon was staring in that direction too.
It all happened with incredible swiftness. The bright flash became a group of colored lights, pulsing and flashing–low in the sky and approaching at an astonishing rate of speed.
There was no time to do anything. In the instant that followed, Leon's mind was a jumbled riot of confused thought. Should he hit the ground? Those pulsing lights were zooming in straight at them, almost upon the pickup truck before Leon could even form a lucid thought out loud, it happened so fast.
Tommy remained placidly leaning back against the grillwork of his pickup truck, holding his can of beer and watching the approaching something as if he fully expected this to happen.
Leon, who had certainly not expected anything like whatever this was, did have time to duck his head as something huge and incredible whooshed by overhead. The gigantic whatever was cruising at what would be treetop level. Leon craned his neck around, watching it pass by close enough for his widened eyes to see that the pulsating lights encircled a silver-colored sphere which Leon Running Deer estimated to be nearly a thousand feet in diameter. There was an eerie silence. Leon barely discerned the slightest sound as the thing barreled at them.
Then it hovered for five or ten seconds.
And then, even before the amazement of any of this could sink into Leon's stunned mind, the whatever became gone disappearing in a straight path tracking southwest, fading out of sight into the darkness with no less than another five or ten seconds.
Leon Running Deer murmured "Holy shit," in a tone of mixed awe and reverence.
Tommy said soberly, "The gods speak. The old Ways live."
Leon's rational mind was grappling with what he'd witnessed. "We always saw military aircraft flying over when we were kids," he said. "The bombing ranges in Utah and New Mexico–"
"You think that was a military aircraft, bro?"
Leon admitted, "I don't know what it was."
"I'll tell you what it was," said Tommy. "It was two drunk Indians full of too much brew." His eyes focused on Leon. "You want to keep your nose clean, lawyer man? This never happened."
Leon found himself wondering what indeed had happened.
The whole event had transpired, start to finish, in hardly more than thirty seconds, tops.
The night again belonged only to the night breeze carrying the scent of mesquite and the howls of coyotes beneath a black infinity of starlight.
It was as if nothing had happened!
And what exactly had happened, Leon pondered. Something, something very beyond the realm of normal human experience, had happened here tonight. Had the gods indeed appeared and spoken to him here on this remote mesa on this night? He was left with nothing but fleeting impressions of what he had seen and heard.
He could believe his eyes and ears, couldn't he?
He found himself wondering how often people saw things like he and Tommy had just witnessed, with no one believing them. Or were such people afraid to say anything because they knew that no one would believe them?
Leon stopped staring after the point at which the "whatever" had vanished. He reached for another can of beer.
"Yeah, you're right," he said soberly, thoughtfully, staring again off to the distant point where the lights had disappeared. "Just a couple of drunk Indians."
He did not know what to make of what had occurred. But something had definitely occurred, yes. Hell, yes.
And Leon Running Deer found himself wondering when it would happen again.

© Copyright 2001, 2010 by Linda Pendleton, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lenore E. Piper, Famous Mediums, Part Two

Photo Copyright 2010 by Ted Grussing

Famous Mediums, Part Two: Lenore E. Piper.

A medium who drew considerable attention in the late 19th century was Lenore E. Piper (1857-1950) of Boston. She exhibited what has now become identified as the classic mold of a trance medium who relinquishes conscious control to welcome the influence of an indwelling entity who displays strongly identifiable personality characteristics. Piper hosted several different entities who would come through her at different times. She was also capable of automatic writing.

Piper was investigated at some length by the famed Philosopher William James, Harvard Professor of Psychology, who later became president of the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research which was founded in England. After much initial skepticism, Professor James' examination of Mrs. Piper in 1885 finally concluded that she was undeniably genuine. James' wife, Alice, accompanied him on his first visit with Mrs. Piper and precautions were taken to insure that the medium was not aware of the history or even identities of either. James later explained, "My impression after the first visit was that Mrs. P. was either possessed of supernormal powers, or knew the members of my wife's family by sight and had by some lucky coincidence become acquainted with such a multitude of their domestic circumstances as to produce the startling impression which she did. My later knowledge of her sittings and personal acquaintance with her has led me absolutely to reject the latter explanation, and to believe that she had supernormal powers."

See Part One, Famous Mediums: Betty


Monday, April 19, 2010

UFO Picks Up Car With Two Teenagers Inside in N.H.

Have an 18-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy become the new Betty and Barney Hill?

“Two New Hampshire teenagers sitting in a parked car were approached by a black-colored UFO in Laconia on March 20, 2010, lifted into the air and then dropped back onto pavement 180 feet away, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database.”

This event happened about 90 miles form the Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961.

Read the reports by the two kids at Peter Davenport’s National UFO Reporting Center.

the boy's report a
nd the girl's report

After the police were called by the girl’s mother and the two teenagers were interviewed; the event was reported to Davenport’s website and he apparently contacted MUFON and they investigated.

Read the article here.

Did it happen? Could be.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

UFOs Should be University Course Says American Professor

What characterizes the abduction experience is that it is physically real and it enters the physical world, but it is also transpersonal and subjective. It crosses that barrier between the hard-edged physical world and the spirit/transpersonal world.” ~John E. Mack, M.D., 1992 article, The UFO Abduction Phenomenon: What Does it Mean for the Transformation of Human Consciousness?

I came across this article about an American professor of anthropology at the Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, New York, who believes that UFO studies should be part of the curriculum of university studies. The anthropology professor, Phillip Haseley has brought several speakers on the subject to the college in recent years.

What I found interesting was the articles I found on reporting this were from the UK, not the United States, although I finally did find an article from the Buffalo, NY paper which is in the neighborhood of the college where Professor Haseley teaches.

“It happens to millions of people [around the world],” Professor Haseley is quoted to have said. “It’s about time we looked into this as a worthy area of study. It’s important that the whole subject be brought out in the open and investigated.” He also added in regards to MUFON or those who believe in UFOs, “To say we are UFO believers basically implies we are taking this on faith, and that’s not the case, there’s plenty of evidence.”

Although Professor Philip Haseley has not had an encounter of his own, he is head of the Western New York Mutual UFO Network, MUFON, the national group interested in UFOs and who investigates local sightings and encounters. The local MUFON sent out an investigator to me when I had a sighting in Sedona, Arizona, April 4, 2001. And it was a thorough report....

I agree it would make a fascinating college course and, of course, I am also reminded of the work of the late psychiatrist John E. Mack, Harvard Professor, Pulitzer Prize author (Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence), and author of Abduction and Passport to the Cosmos— about his important work with abductees and extraterrestrial encounters.

You may want to read more about Dr. Mack and see a video on my previous blog in which he talks of evidence.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vision and Faith

Photo Copyright 2010 by Ted Grussing

“To every man of vision the clear Voice speaks; there is no great leadership where there is not a mystic. Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside themselves was superior to circumstance.”
~Bruce Barton, The Man Nobody Knows, 1924.

“If you are anticipating the worst while hoping for the best, you will get the worst. The things that happen to you are in direct accordance with the things wherein you place your faith. Believe you are licked - and you are.” ~Harold Sherman, (1898-1987), Author

“The power within cannot operate for you unless you have faith in it!” ~ Claude Bristol and Harold Sherman, TNT: The Power Within You, 1954.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Velikovsky and his "Threat" to Science

My husband, Don Pendleton, was always interested in science as well as metaphysics, and in his nonfiction writings often would marry the two, and at times, even bringing the religious into that marriage. At times, his fiction would also gave him the opportunity to do the same.

I just finished formatting Don’s sixth Ashton Ford novel Time to Time for Kindle, and in rereading it, I thought these ideas that he presented through his fictional character, psychic detective, Ashton Ford, were so very interesting. Don was a fan of the works of best-selling and controversial author, Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval, and Oedipus and Akhnaton; books I still have in my library. Dr. Velikovsky was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst but was best known for his scientific views on the solar system and our own existence. His theories were not accepted at the time by many in the science community but since that time more than sixty years ago, some of those theories now have been given credibility and consideration.

Don, in his fictional book, gives a nonfiction account of what happened to Velikovsky when he published his major work, Worlds in Collision. And Don’s character, Ashton Ford asks the important and revealing question: “What was the scientific/academic commu­nity so frightened of?” Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Are you at all familiar with Velikovsky’s books?--Or the controversy concerning his theories?

Excerpt, Don Pendleton’s Time to Time, from Chapter Thirteen:

More than thirty-five years ago, at the very dawn of the modem UFO age, a scholarly Russian Jew from Israel landed on our shores with a manuscript that would for­ever challenge man's view of himself, of his own history, and of his solar system. The man's name is Immanuel Velikovsky, and his Worlds in Collision was destined to ignite a fire storm of controversy that now stands as the most shameful attempt to suppress nonpolitical ideas since the Inquisition.

Velikovsky's great sin was that he chose to accept as literal truth the vast treasury of written history which modem scholars universally regard as religious myth. Another great sin was his vast intellect and fearless deter­mination to state his views into the teeth of academic dogma and arrogance; his intrusion into the jealously guarded temples of science.

Even so, the hysterical reaction by some of the most eminent educators and scientists must have gone far beyond anything this quiet scholar could have antici­pated. The language used to denounce him—even before his ideas had been published—was ferocious to an ex­treme unmatched in modern times, harkening back to the dark days when scientists themselves were being anathe­matized by the church, and to the same spirit that burned Giordano Bruno at the stake and inspired Galileo to re­cant in order to escape a like fate.

Velikovsky did not write about or even mention flying saucers; indeed, he had undoubtedly never heard of such phenomena when he arrived in New York shortly after the end of World War II. But his story is relevant here as a stage setting for the later fire storm over UFOs, and I believe you will find it interesting as an insight into the functioning of some academic/scientific minds.

He was a medical doctor and psychiatrist with a fasci­nation with biblical lore and an inherent sensitivity to the broad historical overview of man and his environment. Whether his reconstruction of history was right or wrong was never the issue. It was the implications of that reconstruction that caused the panic in so many institutional minds and made his very name a sore point to academi­cians (to this very day) who have never read a line of his book.

Velikovsky was not an astronomer or physicist, but the mere publication of his ideas was obviously highly threat­ening to the entire academy of astronomers and physicists here and abroad.

He was not an historian, or a sociologist, or a natural­ist, or an anthropologist, archaeologist or geologist, yet many of these almost with a single voice arose to de­nounce and castigate the man without even coming close to a direct contact with his writings.

What caused such hysteria in our academic and scien­tific communities?

Velikovsky took the biblical events and other "myths" as a true account of real experiences of real men and women sharing together the real history of this planet. He then looked for logical explanations within the natural world to verify this real history. His brilliant investigation took him into the heavens as well as into the earth, and his conclusions were spectacular.

For example, though not an astronomer and with no credentials whatever to make such a statement, Veli­kovsky theorized that Venus did not begin its planetary existence as the other planets did, that in fact Venus did not occupy its present orbit around the sun until very re­cently, that in fact it was torn from the body of Jupiter by a violent upheaval within that planet and was loosed into the solar system as a comet that made several close passes at Mars as well as Earth, and settled into its present orbit during the recorded history of mankind. That "recorded history" is contained within the legends and myths for all to see.

The whole astronomical world "knew" and had long accepted the thesis that Venus has a surface temperature below sixty degrees Centigrade and that frigid Jupiter is buried beneath miles of ice. With all that learned convic­tion, it is easy to see how the institutions would laugh up their sleeves at the novel conclusions by Velikovsky that both planets must be quite hot, but it is not easy to under­stand the anger and hostility with which these conclusions were met.

Velikovsky's ideas were, of course, anathema to the body of professionals who enjoy the prestige and respect normally accorded our men of great learning. If Veli­kovsky was right then these guys were dummies and un­deserving of their robes and honors—or so they seemed to feel.

The most prestigious American astronomer of the time, Harlow Shapley of Harvard (who apparently led the at­tack on Velikovsky) stated in a letter dated May 27, 1946: "If in historical times there have been these changes in the structure of the solar system, in spite of the fact that our celestial mechanics has been for scores of years able to specify without question the positions and motions of the members of the planetary system for many millennia fore and aft, then the laws of Newton are false. The laws of mechanics which have worked to keep airplanes afloat, to operate the tides, to handle the myriads of problems of everyday life, are fallacious. But they have been tested completely and thoroughly. In other words, if Dr. Veli­kovsky is right, the rest of us are crazy."

Shapley said it; I didn't. But Velikovsky was right. The pity is that none of these pillars of science would even consider the evidence. All of their protests were based on mere hearsay of Velikovsky's theories, long before the book was actually published.

And, for the shameful aspect, the storm of protest was geared to a single goal: the suppression of the ideas. Sha­pley led a broad institutional attack upon the proposed publisher of the Velikovsky manuscript, Macmillan Com­pany, which was highly vulnerable to academic displea­sure because of its large investment in textbook publishing. In a letter dated January 25, 1950, to the pub­lisher at Macmillan, he tried to get the message across in a sly way: "It will be interesting a year from now to hear from you as to whether or not the reputation of the Mac­millan Company is damaged by the publication of Worlds in Collision. Naturally you can see that I am interested in your experiment. And frankly, unless you can assure me that you have done things like this frequently in the past without damage, the publication must cut me off from the Macmillan Company."

Another member of Shapley's club, Dean McLaughlin, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan, wrote Macmillan on May 20, 1950: "The claim of univer­sal efficacy or universal knowledge is the unmistakable mark of the quack. No man can today be an expert even in the whole of geology or the whole of astronomy. There is specialization within specialties. I do not mean that we are ignorant of all fields but our own; I do mean that we are not equipped to do highly technical original research in more than several distinct specialties for each scientist. But no man today can hope to correct the mistakes in any more than a small subfield of science. And yet Veli­kovsky claims to be able to dispute the basic principles of several sciences! These are indeed delusions of gran­deur!"

The entire point of McLaughlin's letter was in protest to Macmillan's promulgation of such lies—yes, lies, as are contained in wholesale lots in Worlds in Collision."

Strange, isn't it, that the professor states in the same letter: "No, I have not read the book."

This is just a tiny sample of the unprecedented conspir­acy to suppress a publication and which succeeded to the extent that Macmillan passed their hot potato off to Doubleday, which has no textbook division. But the club even went after Doubleday.

In a letter to a Doubleday subsidiary dated June 30, 1950, Fred Whipple—Shapley's successor at the Harvard Observatory—worded a sharply sarcastic broadside at the new publisher in discussing a public account of the mat­ter: "Newsweek has unwittingly done the Doubleday Company a considerable amount of harm. They have made public the high success of the spontaneous boycott of the Macmillan Company by scientifically minded peo­ple."

Whipple then went on (in the same letter) to suggest a similar treatment of Doubleday: "There will be no revi­sion of Earth, Moon, and Planets (a book by Whipple) forthcoming so long as Doubleday owns Blakiston (the subsidiary), controls its policies, and publishes Worlds in Collision."

Yet in a statement printed by the Harvard Crimson on September 25, 1950, Harlow Shapley said: "The claim that Dr. Velikovsky's book is being suppressed is nothing but a publicity promotion stunt. Several attempts have been made to link such a move to stop the book's publi­cation to some organization or to the Harvard Observa­tory. This idea is absolutely false."

What were these great men so frightened of?

Velikovsky's thesis was to the effect that global cata­clysms had fundamentally and repeatedly altered the face of the planet Earth during historical times, that the terres­trial axis had shifted, magnetic poles reversed, even a different orbit established.

In horrific convulsions, the oceans had replaced conti­nents, Earth's crust had folded, massive volcanoes spawned new mountain chains, lava flows of up to a mile thick covered vast areas of the planet, climatological changes converted lush gardens to frozen tundra, and for­ests became deserts.

Civilizations collapsed in a wink and whole species disappeared as gigantic tidal waves swept along the conti­nents, crushing and burying everything in their paths.

Stunned human survivors recorded the events as best they could, and those records survive today for any who will look and see.

Velikovsky looked, and he saw and reported it again. He also theorized a logical explanation, based entirely on the evidence, of how it all came about. Jupiter gave birth to Venus, which became a comet and roamed the solar system for eons before inevitable celestial mechanics brought the huge mass into a collision orbit with Earth.

It is not even important to my point here that Dr. Veli­kovsky's radical theories have been largely vindicated (though not on purpose) by new discoveries during our space age. Venus is a hot body with a very thin crust, as Velikovsky concluded, and it does rotate in a retrograde motion, again as he concluded. Jupiter is a very hot body—now even possibly thought to be a dim companion star to our sun—and it is a radio source, as Velikovsky theor­ized.

Many other of Velikovsky's theories, regarding electro-magnetism and sunspots and various other phenomena of our solar system, have been vindicated.

None of that is the point.

The point is that the entire scientific/academic commu­nity rose up to crush these ideas even before they could be promulgated, and with the aim of suppressing them rather than meeting them head-on in true scientific curios­ity.

This is one example of a human phenomenon, the cur­ious workings of the mind having to do with intellectual arrogance and survivalist instincts.

We will meet another example later, in the discussion of a similar conspiracy to suppress through ridicule all reasonable debates and/or researches of the UFO ques­tion.

Then we'll try to figure out why these people are so frightened.

Or do we already know why?

Time to Time, Copyright © 1988 by Don Pendleton

If interested to learn more, Youtube has a series of six videos with Velikovsky (The Bonds of the Past), and discussions of his theories. I believe the videos was from the 1970s. Also, Carl Sagan (who was outspoken against Velikovsky) did a Cosmos show about him.

Here is Part One: The Bonds of the Past: