Secret HistoryS

Black Cat

17th Century Witch Chronicles Put Online

© chiccmanchester.wordpress.comThe English Civil War diary of Nehemiah Wallington
A 350-year-old notebook which documents the trials of women convicted of witchcraft in England during the 17th century has been published online.

The notebook written by Nehemiah Wallington, an English Puritan, recounts the fate of women accused of having relationships with the devil at a time when England was embroiled in a bitter civil war.

The document reveals the details of a witchcraft trial held in Chelmsford in July 1645, when more than a hundred suspected witches were serving time in Essex and Suffolk according to his account.

"Divers (many) of them voluntarily and without any forcing or compulsion freely declare that they have made a covenant with the Devill," he wrote.

"Som Christians have been killed by their meanes," he added.

Of the 30 women on trial in Chelmsford, 14 were hanged.


California Islands Give Up Evidence of Early Seafaring: Numerous Artifacts Found at Late Pleistocene Sites on the Channel Islands

© Courtesy of Jon ErlandsonA three-view look at a chert crescent dating to ancient seafarers on San Miguel Island.
Evidence for a diversified sea-based economy among North American inhabitants dating from 12,200 to 11,400 years ago is emerging from three sites on California's Channel Islands.

Reporting in the March 4 issue of Science, a 15-member team led by University of Oregon and Smithsonian Institution scholars describes the discovery of scores of stemmed projectile points and crescents dating to that time period. The artifacts are associated with the remains of shellfish, seals, geese, cormorants and fish.

Funded primarily by grants from the National Science Foundation, the team also found thousands of artifacts made from chert, a flint-like rock used to make projectile points and other stone tools.

Some of the intact projectiles are so delicate that their only practical use would have been for hunting on the water, said Jon Erlandson, professor of anthropology and director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. He has been conducting research on the islands for more than 30 years.

Wall Street

Is the Amelia Earhart mystery finally about to be solved? Diving team to explore plane wreckage at bottom of ocean

  • Body of the downed plane was discovered in 2002 by fishermen
  • Divers claims there is gold bullion on board coral-covered wreck
  • But they have been unable to get it because of 20ft poisonous sea snake
  • Tests on bones believed to be Earhart's found on island 'inconclusive'
A diving team is being put together in Papua New Guinea to swim down to the wreckage of a rust-and-coral-covered plane in the hope of solving one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries - the 74-year-old disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

The 40-year-old American and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared while attempting to fly around the world in 1937 in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra plane and most theories say they crashed near Howland Island in the central Pacific.

She and her navigator had completed 22,000 miles of the journey when they arrived at Lae in New Guinea, as the country was then known, and just 7,000 miles across the Pacific remained before they were due to land back in the U.S.
© CorbisEarhart posing by her plane in Long Beach California in 1930


Mysterious objects from Mexico's past

© UnknownOld days: “Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico” at the de Young Museum showcases a range of objects, such as this group of standing figures and celts dated from 900–400 BC.
The headline items in the de Young Museum's new special exhibit, "Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico" are indeed colossal, similar to the iconic - if much more contemporary - Easter Island heads.

The unique show, organized by many and led by the de Young's Kathleen Berrin and Virginia M. Fields of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, represents the only chance for visitors to see 140 ancient objects outside their homes in 25 Mexican and U.S. museums. In addition to the huge heads, the exhibition also features many small, fascinating works of art.

The Olmec ("people of the rubber country") created a pre-Columbian civilization in south-central Mexico, now the states of Veracruz and Tabasco. Thriving some 3,500 years ago, the Olmec pre-dated other Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Zapotecs, Teotihuacans, Aztecs and Mayans.

Unlike many other ancient civilizations, the Olmec disappeared without a trace, leaving uncertainty behind them. Their contemporaries were the golden age of Greece and the Zhou dynasty of China, both known in great detail today, unlike the Olmec.


Vapour trails, bright lights and a mysterious balloon

© Unknown
Details of a mystery cylinder floating in the sky over Torquay, star-shaped lights with vapour trails over Torbay and a silver ship hovering over Brixham are revealed for the first time today.

All three UFO incidents are included in the largest-ever release of official files on unexplained phenomena.

But the Herald Express had already solved one of the 'mysteries' seven years ago thanks to a group of local teenagers and a £13 balloon.

Files released today by The National Archives reveal how UFOs were discussed at the highest level worldwide.

Among the files is a sighting reported by an un-named man from Torquay.

He wrote: "On April 28 1967 I, along with 100 others including schoolteachers, witnessed a silver UFO pass over Torquay at approximately 11.30am.

"The UFO traveled towards Brixham, where it remained stationary for approximately one hour.

"The object was observed by Brixham Coastguards, which was reported to the RAF in Plymouth.

"The object, after remaining stationary over the town, proceeded to fly off."


Roman Find on Cumbrian Farm Stuns Visiting Archaeologist

Roman fort
© Flickr
A freelance archaeologist and his wife came face to face with a chunk of unique Roman history as they walked across a Wigton farm.

Karl James Langford, 36, and his wife Lisa, 43, are over the moon with their chance discovery of a sandstone fragment which still bears part of a Roman inscription.

The couple had gone with their two children - a boy aged two and a five-month-old girl - to visit the remnant of the Maglona Roman fort near Wigton last week when Lisa spotted the stone on the ground. It had been exposed by a heavy rain storm.

Still clearly visible on the sandstone fragment - which is about the size of a tea saucer - are the Roman letters M, R and P.

Karl, 36, believes the artefact may once have spelled the name of the settlement, which was abandoned a few decades before the Romans pulled out of Britain in AD 410.


Time capsules unearthed amid ChCh devastation

© TVNZAnthony Wright of Canterbury Museum with the time capsules.
Contractors working in the Christchurch Square area have unearthed two artefacts, exposed by the force of the 6.3 quake a week ago.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker presented the two time capsules at a media briefing today - and says he hopes they will serve as a symbol for the city's recovery.

The capsules, a glass one with a hand-written letter on gold parchment inside, and the other yet to be opened but in a metal container, were found beneath a statue of founding citizen John Robert Godley at Cathedral Square.

It was found by one of the crane operators for Daniel Smith Industries (DSI) and his boss said his first thought was to contact Parker.


Scientists Probe Lake Huron for Signs of Pre-Historic Caribou Hunters

© University of MichiganJohn O'Shea (right), the University of Michigan researcher heading an archeological probe of an underwater ridge in Lake Huron, prepares to deploy a side-scan sonar device with graduate student Eric Rupley. Scientists are planning a dive this spring to search for artifacts from what they believe was once a major caribou migration corridor and hunting hotspot about 10,000 years ago for some of the earliest inhabitants of present-day Canada and the United States.
Guided by computer simulations that reconstruct a lost world now lying at the bottom of Lake Huron, a team of scientists is preparing to search this spring for ancient artifacts along an underwater ridge that straddles the U.S.-Canada border - a place the researchers believe was a caribou-hunting hot spot about 10,000 years ago for some of the earliest inhabitants of North America.

The planned probe of the Alpena-Amberley Ridge - named for the Michigan and Ontario towns that respectively mark the western and eastern ends of the 160-kilometre-long lake bottom feature - is expected to involve remotely operated sonar devices for mapping the underwater terrain, as well as a team of scuba divers to comb the long-submerged landscape in search of spearheads and other signs of hunting activity from the end of the last ice age.

University of Michigan researchers first announced in 2009 that they'd discovered rock formations along the drowned ridge that appeared eerily similar to well-documented caribou-hunting structures used in prehistoric times by the "Paleo-Indian" peoples who once occupied Canada's Arctic and sub-Arctic territories.

Now under about 35 metres of water, the Lake Huron ridge was once a 16-km-wide upland corridor in a lake-dotted landscape that linked caribou wintering grounds in the south to their summer ranges in present-day Northern Ontario and beyond.

"Scientifically, it's important, because the entire ancient landscape has been preserved and has not been modified by farming, or modern development," project leader John O'Shea, a University of Michigan archeologist, said when the rock structures were discovered. "That has implications for ecology, archeology and environmental modelling.''


New Death Ritual Found in Himalaya - 27 De-fleshed Humans

Human Remains
© Cory RichardsClimber Matt Segal removes a skull from an eroded cliffside cave in Nepal's Mustang region last year.

The remains of 27 ancient men, women, and children have been found in cliffside caves in Nepal. Many of the bones bear cut marks that point to a previously unknown Himalayan death ritual, experts say.

The corpses - many of which had been stripped of flesh - were placed in the high mortuaries some 1,500 years ago, the team announced Friday.

Nearly 67 percent of the bodies' had been defleshed, most likely with a metal knife, say the researchers, who found the remains in 2010.

After the de-fleshing process, the corpses had been neatly laid to rest on wide wooden shelves, the researchers speculate. But due to centuries of exposure to the elements, the bones and bunks - and much of the caves themselves - had collapsed by the time the team entered the chambers.

Also in the jumble: goat, cow, and horse remains - perhaps sacrificial offerings for the dead, though their purpose remains a mystery.

Dug into characteristically reddish cliffs of the Upper Mustang district, the human-made caves lie at 13,800 feet (4,200 meters) above sea level, high above the village of Samdzong.

In ancient times, rock outcrops and probably ladders would have eased access to the caves. Since then, however, erosion has rendered the chambers accessible to only expert climbers, such as seven-time Everest summiter Pete Athans, who co-led the team.


DNA: Out of Africa

Chauvet cave painting hand
DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid - is the basis of life. Its molecular structure was discovered in 1953, revealing how it carries all the genetic information needed for organisms to live and reproduce.

Scientists describe it in sequences of letters, and humans inherit three billion from each of their parents. As generations move from place to place, distinctive DNA markers are carried by each and every one of us. In a programme of pioneering research at Edinburgh University, Dr Jim Wilson has been gathering samples of DNA from Scots across the country and this week, in a new book by Alistair Moffat, and in a series of features in The Scotsman, we discover what his innovative work has revealed - and where the Scots came from. Day 1 looks at our origins.