Friday, October 31, 2008

Archeologist finds 3,000-year old Hebrew text

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An Israeli archaeologist has discovered what he says is the earliest-known Hebrew text, found on a shard of pottery that dates to the time of King David from the Old Testament, about 3,000 years ago.

Professor Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem says the inscribed pottery shard -- known as an ostracon -- was found during excavations of a fortress from the 10th century BC.

Carbon dating of the ostracon, along with pottery analysis, dates the inscription to time of King David, about a millennium earlier than the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, the university said.

The shard contains five lines of text divided by black lines and measures 15 by 15 centimeters, or about 6 inches square.

Archaeologists have yet to decipher the text, but initial interpretation indicates it formed part of a letter and contains the roots of the words "judge," "slave," and "king," according to the university. That may indicate it was a legal text, which archaeologists say would provide insights into Hebrew law, society, and beliefs.

The researchers say the text was clearly written by a trained scribe.

The shard was discovered at the Elah Fortress in Khirbet Qeiyafa, about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The fortress, measuring 2.3 hectares (about 5.7 acres), is the earliest-known fortified city of the biblical period in Israel.

Excavations began there in June. So far, just four percent of the site has been excavated, the university said.

Because the ostracon is similar to that found in other Israelite settlements, and because no pig bones were found at the site, archaeologists say the site was likely part of the Kingdom of Judea. Jewish dietary laws forbid the eating of pork.

Among the artifacts found at the site are more than 100 jar handles bearing distinct impressions which may indicate a link to royal vessels, the university said. Such a large quantity found in such a small area is "unprecedented," the university said.

The site of Khirbet Qeiyafa is located near the place where the Bible describes the battle between David and Goliath -- the Elah Valley, which shares its name with the fortress.

Garfinkel said it is the only site in Israel in which to investigate King David.

"The chronology and geography of Khirbet Qeiyafa create a unique meeting point between the mythology, history, historiography and archaeology of King David," he said.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the earliest-known copies of the Bible, some dating back about 2,000 years.

It is widely believed that the first set of Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd who ventured into a cave in the Judean Desert in search of a lost sheep or goat.

The texts, written on crumbling parchment and papyrus, were found wrapped in linen inside earthenware jars

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

History of Mysterious Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31, usually by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting candy. It is celebrated in much of the Western world, though most commonly in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and sometimes in Australia and New Zealand. Irish, Scots and other immigrants brought older versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century. Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.

The term "Halloween" derives from Hallowe'en, an old contraction, still retained in Scotland and some parts of Canada, of "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before All Saints day (observed by some Christians, including Roman Catholics), which used to be called "All Hallows," derived from All Hallowed Souls.

In Ireland, the name was Hallow Eve and this name is still used by some older people. Halloween was formerly also sometimes called All Saints' Eve. The holiday was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries (along with Christmas and Easter, two other traditional northern European pagan holidays) and given a Christian reinterpretation.

In Mexico, All Saint's Day, following Halloween, is the Day of the Dead.

Halloween is also called "Pooky Night" in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the puca, a mischievous spirit.

"Punkie Night" is observed on the last Thursday in October in the village of Hinton St. George in the county of Somerset in England. On this night, children carry lanterns made from hollowed-out mangel-wurzels (a kind of beet; in modern days, pumpkins are used) with faces carved into them. They bring these around the village, collecting money and singing the punkie song. 'Punkie' is derived from 'pumpkin' or 'punk,' meaning 'tinder.'

Though the custom is only attested over the last century, and the mangel-wurzel itself was introduced into English agriculture in the late 18th century, "Punkie Night" appears to be much older even than the fable that now accounts for it. The story goes that the wives of Hinton St. George went looking for their wayward husbands at the fair held nearby at Chiselborough, the last Thursday in October, but first hollowed out mangel wurzels in order to make lanterns to light their way. The drunken husbands saw the eerie lights, thought they were "goolies" (the restless spirits of children who had died before they were baptized), and fled in terror. Children carry the punkies now. The event has spread since about 1960 to the neighboring village of Chiselborough.

In the United Kingdom, the pagan Celts celebrated the Day of the Dead on Halloween. The spirits supposedly rose from the dead and, in order to attract them, food was left on the doors. To scare off the evil spirits, the Celts wore masks. When the Romans invaded Britain, they embellished the tradition with their own, which is the celebration of the harvest and honoring the dead.

These traditions were then passed on to the United States. Anoka, Minnesota, USA, the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World," celebrates with a large civic parade.
Halloween is sometimes associated with the occult. Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the "liminal" times of the year when the spirit world can make contact with the natural world and when magic is most potent.

Read complete history of halloween at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO

He was told to never talk about Cold War incident; files now are public

LONDON - An American fighter pilot flying from an English air base at the height of the Cold War was ordered to open fire on a massive UFO that lit up his radar, according to an account published by Britain’s National Archives on Monday.

The fighter pilot said he was ordered to fire a full salvo of rockets at the UFO moving erratically over the North Sea — but that at the last minute the object picked up enormous speed and disappeared. The account, first published in Britain’s Daily Star newspaper more than 17 years ago and to this day unverified by military authorities, was one of many carried in the 1,500 pages the archives made available online.

The unnamed pilot said he and another airman were scrambled on the night of May 20, 1957, to intercept an unusual “bogey” on radars at a Royal Air Force Station Manston, an airfield at the southeastern tip of England about 75 miles from central London.

“This was a flying object with very unusual flight patterns,” the pilot said, according to a typed manuscript of his account mailed to Britain’s Ministry of Defense by a UFO enthusiast in 1988. “In the initial briefing it was suggested to us that the bogey actually was motionless for long intervals.”

Ordered to fly at full throttle in cloudy weather, the pilot said he was given the order to fire a volley of 24 rockets at the mysterious object.

“To be quite candid I almost [expletive] my pants!” the pilot said, saying he asked for confirmation — which he received.

Retired U.S. airman Milton Torres told Britain’s Sky News on Monday that he was the pilot and has spent 50 frustrating years attempting to uncover the truth of his aerial encounter. Speaking from his home in Miami, Torres said he never saw the UFO with his naked eyes, but watched in awe as it appeared on his jet’s radar and sped off before he had chance to fire.

Complete story at

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Video: Tree man cured

THE world's infamous Tree Man is well on the road to recovery, after amazing footage has revealed most of his gnarled warts have disappeared. Discovery channel has been following the whole case form begining. The expert found Dede, from Indonesia, suffers from the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), or common warts.

In Dede's case, due to a low immune deficiency, the virus flourished to a massive, debilitating infection.

Over nine months, Dr Gaspari issued Dede with chemotherapy and performed gruelling surgery to remove 13lbs of branch-like warts. Discovery channel will be presenting a complete documentary on the case.

Now Dede is transformed.

He says: "In the past I couldnt even put on my own shirt. Now I can do it myself. It's wonderful."


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