Secret History


Lost Russian plane loaded with roubles found after 80 years

© Getty
A Savoia Marchetti 65 Boat Plane
Search parties failed to locate the plane and the case was quickly classified

Back in 1935, a plane carrying 12 people and two million roubles - the equivalent of millions of pounds today - was lost over Russia. Now, the mystery of its disappearance appears to have been solved.

The Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flying boat took off from the town of Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinksy in Russia's far east on 26 June 1935 carrying the passengers and money collected from a local tractor repair workshop. An hour and 15 minutes into the flight to the regional capital of Khabarovsk, communication was lost with the plane.

Search parties failed to locate the plane and the presence on board of two officers from Stalin's secret police - the NKVD - who were there to guard to the cash, meant the case was quickly classified, before being shut down shortly after.

However, a search group from a Russian NGO that seeks out the remains of people killed in accidents said yesterday that it had discovered the bodies of three men and one woman from the air disaster in a remote area of Russia's Khabarovsk region.

"The passengers were still lying where they fell, thrown out of the wooden cabins of the plane along with the remains of the seating and seat belts. Around them lay their personal items," the Russia Search Movement (RSM), said.

The incident became shrouded in local legend - rumours of foul play by a third party trying to steal the money were told.

Suspected wreckage from the plane was reported by loggers in 2006. Preparations by RSM for an expedition to the apparent crash site lasted almost a year. The team of volunteers said that when they reached the site earlier this summer, having traversed over 2,000 miles through the Siberian taiga forest, they found it had been ransacked by treasure hunters. They did not recover the two million roubles.

The team did, however, reconstruct the likely last moments of the plane, which apparently ran into low cloud shortly after taking-off from the island of Sakhalin.

Descending to a low altitude in an attempt evade the cloud and use the Amur river as a guide to reach Khabarovsk, the pilot slammed into the side of a hill.


Ten facts about the Second World War that you may have forgotten

Seventy years after the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, a number of important historical details about the conflict have been forgotten by the US public. These facts may be unknown or ignored by the people of the United States, but much of the world hasn't forgotten them, and they have relevance in relation to current events.

1. Hitler was a right-winger

Endless books and articles, such as "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg, have attempted to paint Adolph Hitler as some kind of leftist. These texts often play up the fact that the Nazi Party's official name contained the word "Socialist," or that Hitler's speeches sometimes talked of "revolution."

Regardless of what Glenn Beck and much of the US media would prefer to be the case, Adolph Hitler considered himself to be a right-winger. In his speeches and writings, he frequently referred to his Nazi organization as the "Party of the Right."

When establishing the Nazi Party in the early 1920s, Hitler made abundantly clear that he was on the right wing of the political spectrum, saying: "There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction — to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power — that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago. Here, too, there can be no compromise — there are only two possibilities: either victory of the Aryan, or annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew. "


Paracelsus: The father of toxicology

© Flickr
A copy of Quentin Matsys’ portrait of Paracelsus
Toxicology is a branch of knowledge dealing with the scientific study of the characteristics and effects of poisons on living organisms. The man considered to be the 'father' of this discipline is Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, also known as Paracelsus. It is said that Paracelsus meant 'equal to Celsus' (referring to the Roman encyclopaedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus), and the change in his name was meant to be an indication of Paracelsus' desire to rival ancient medical authorities such as Celsus and Galen.

Following in His Father's Footsteps

Paracelsus was born in 1493 in Einsiedeln, Schwyz, the Old Swiss Confederacy (modern day Switzerland). Paracelsus' father, Wilhelm Bombast von Hohenheim, was a Swabian nobleman said to have been born out of wedlock in an impoverished family of knights. Wilhelm was himself a physician, and was mentioned by Paracelsus to be one of his earliest teachers. When Paracelsus' mother, Els Ochsner, died when he was just nine years old, the father and son moved to Villach in Carinthia. By watching his father giving medical comfort and aid to visiting pilgrims, the young Paracelsus developed a desire to emulate his father. Wilhelm also nurtured Paracelsus' growing interest by teaching him the basics of medicine. Furthermore, Wilhelm gave his son herbs and stones, water and metals, as friends, thus initiating him into the wonders of nature.


Russia's last Tsar exhumed, case reopened into murder of Romanov family

© © Wikipedia
Russian Emperor Nicholas II (second from left) and his family.
The remains of the last Russian emperor and his wife have been exhumed, while the Interior Ministry's Investigative Committee has reopened an investigation into the early 20th century murder of the Romanov family.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced the renewal of the case due to new evidence in an official statement online.

The investigators will have to study archival materials related to the enquiry conducted between 1918 and 1924 by former Russian Imperial officers. These documents were found sometime after 2011 along with some new material evidence.

Additionally, at request of the Russian Orthodox Church, a special working group on studying and burying the remains of the last Russian emperor's son Aleksey and daughter Maria was formed in July 2015 with the burial plans announced this month.

The working group has exhumed the remains of Nicolas II and his wife and took DNA samples to verify the identity of remains supposedly belonging to Aleksey and Maria that were unearthed in 2007.

The group aims to verify Aleksey and Maria's identity by comparing them to the remains of their aunt, the empress's sister Elizaveta Feodorovna, and to the emperor's grandfather, Alexander II.

Green Light

Russian archeologists unearth Moscow's oldest street

Scientists digging at the site of a demolished hotel in the heart of Moscow have unearthed the oldest street archeologists have ever had a chance to study, they report. The medieval street connected the Kremlin with the bank of the Moskva River.

The find is located in a historic city area called Zaryadye, east of the Kremlin. The name means 'behind the rows' and refers to the marketplace that was next to the fortress. Wealthy merchants and warriors lived there and did business.

The area saw demolishing and massive construction effort in the 1930s that completely changed Zaryadye and left behind a formidable foundation from an abandoned project of a gigantic ministerial building.

In 1967, the infamous Rossiya Hotel was constructed on that foundation, but after decades of service the Moscow authorities decided to demolish it in 2007. With the gigantic building gone, archeologists got a chance to excavate one of the oldest parts of the Russian capital.

The dig produced a trove of historic artifacts from the medieval times, when Zaryadye was a major trade hub in Moscow, scientists of the Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences reported Wednesday.

Those include what used to be the street called Velikaya (Great), which led from the Kremlin to a pier on the Moskva River to the south. The 6.5-meter-wide street appeared on the maps during the early stages of the city's expansion in 12th-13th centuries.


Oldest case of decapitation in the new world

© Leeh Usp and Gil Tokyo
The skull as it was found in the burial pit and a reconstruction showing the position of the hands over the skull.
An international team of researchers has unearthed the oldest case of decapitation in the New World — a 9,000-year-old skull buried in Brazil with two severed hands covering the face.

The grave was excavated in 2007 in the rock shelter of Lapa do Santo, an archaeological site which has yielded 26 human burials dating to the early Holocene period. It consisted of a circular pit covered with five limestone cobbles.

There, the archaeologists found a skull with the palms of severed hands arranged over the face in opposite direction.

The right hand was laid over the left side of the face with the fingers pointing to the chin, while the left hand covered the right side of the face, the fingers pointing to the forehead.

A jaw and the first six cervical vertebrae, all bearing v-shaped cut marks, completed the assemblage.

"Using cranial morphology and tooth wear, this individual was estimated to be a young adult male," André Strauss from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany and colleagues wrote in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.


1,000 years old remains of 50 people found under Westminster Abbey, London

© Getty
Uncovered: The bones were found beneath Victorian drainage pipes after a toilet block was knocked down to make way for a new building
Ancient human remains of up to 50 individuals have been found by workmen during the demolition of a Westminster Abbey toilet block.

The bones are thought to have belonged to people from the 11th or 12th centuries, with the body of a small child found amid the remains of 50 adults.

"What the child is doing there is one of the many unanswered questions," Westminster Abbey's archeologist Warwick Rodwell told the Guardian.

"It is a feature of many ecclesiastical sites that you find the remains of women and children in places where you might not quite expect them," Rodwell added.

The child was buried in a wooden coffin, leading experts to believe that he or she was a person of some importance.

The remains were found as workmen demolished a 1950s-era lavatory block in order to make room for a new tower space through which visitors will eventually be able to access the abbey's attic.

Comment: Indeed, all sorts of skeletons have been coming out of London's closets in recent years:

City of London rail development project uncovers another 30 skeletons from Great Plague of 1665

Seven centuries later: Thirteen skeletons of Black Death plague victims unearthed during London Crossrail tunnelling

Back to Bedlam: Crossrail digging unearths ancient London burial ground


Swedish "Blue Virgin" island with labyrinth and ritual caves dates back to Mesolithic stone age

© Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay
The Island of Blå Jungfrun (Flickr). Inset: stone labyrinth (CC BY 3.0) and Stone Age fireplace
In local folklore, Bla Jungfrun Island has long been associated with dark curses and witchcraft. Off the coast of Sweden, the island has a history of bad luck and a reputation for magic, and even now visitors to the island must not stray off the paths, or stay after nightfall. Archaeologists investigating caves on Blå Jungfrun believe that strange rituals and performances dating back 9,000 years might have been held in the caves.

The uninhabited island, now a national park situated in the Kalmar Straight along the east coast of Sweden, is mostly bare rock and dense forests, and sports an ancient labyrinth, but it is the caves which interest the team of researchers from Kalmar County Museum and Linnaeus University of Sweden.


Petroglyphs left in Canada by Scandinavians 3,000 years ago?

Hundreds of petroglyphs are etched on a slab of crystalline limestone about 180-by-100 feet (a third the size of a football field) in Peterborough, Canada. They may have been left by Algonquin Native Americans about a thousand years ago, or by Scandinavian traders a few thousand years ago. The latter claim flouts the common understanding of history, which places Europeans in the New World much later. But it has had a few prominent supporters.

They say that the depictions of animals, solar symbols, geometric shapes, boats, and human figures on the so-called Peterborough Stone reflect a style used in the Old World.


Skull and Bones: The disgusting initiation ceremonies at the heart of the American Establishment


Yale Skull and Bones initiates of 1918. Prescott Bush, George W Bush's grandfather, who funnelled massive loans from Wall Street to Nazi Germany in the 1930s and even into the Second World War, is standing left of the clock.
It's the primal scene of American power, of Bush family values. For two centuries, the initiation rite of Skull and Bones has shaped the character of the men who have shaped the American character, including two Presidents named Bush.

And last Saturday, April 14 - for the first time ever - that long-secret rite was witnessed by a team of outsiders, including this writer.

Using high-tech night-vision video equipment able to peer through the gloom into the inner courtyard of the Skull and Bones "Tomb" in New Haven, The Observer team witnessed:
  • The George W. effect: intoxicated by renewed proximity to Presidential power, a robed Bonesman posing as George W. harangued initiates in an eerily accurate Texas drawl: "I'm gonna ream you like I reamed Al Gore" and "I'm gonna kill you like I killed Al Gore."
  • Privileged Skull and Bones members mocked the assault on Abner Louima by crying out repeatedly, "Take that plunger out of my ass!"
  • Skull and Bones members hurled obscene sexual insults ("lick my bumhole") at initiates as they were forced to kneel and kiss a skull at the feet of the initiators.
  • Other members acted out the tableau of a throat-cutting ritual murder.
It's important to remember this is not some fraternity initiation. It is an initiation far more secret - and far more significant, in terms of real power in the United States - than that of the Cosa Nostra. If the Bushes are "the WASP Corleones" - as the ever more stingingly waspish Maureen Dowd has suggested - this is how their "made men" (and women) are made. It's an initiation ceremony that has bonded diplomats, media moguls, bankers and spies into a lifelong, multi-generational fellowship far more influential than any fraternity. It was - and still remains - the heart of the heart of the American establishment.

Comment: As we said regarding British PM David Cameron's Oxford University intimacy with a dead pig, the initiation rituals of various 'elites' serve the purpose of 'binding' them to secret societies, clubs and cults that both reward and control their subjects over the course of their future careers. But while such revolting practises may certainly be useful for future blackmail purposes, the salient point is simply that the 'elites' enjoy doing this kind of thing, just as they enjoy causing suffering in 'those other people' (human beings, or 'barbarians', as they see us).