Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Cursed Diamond (Hope Diamond)

The Hope diamond has intrigued people for centuries. Its perfect quality, its large size 45.52 carats (9.10 g), and its rare color (fancy deep blue diamond) make it strikingly unique and beautiful, currently housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. The Hope Diamond is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, but it exhibits red phosphorescence under ultraviolet light. It is classified as a type IIb diamond, which are semiconductive and usually phosphoresce. The Hope diamond phosphoresces a strong red color, which will last for several seconds after exposure to short wave ultra-violet light. The first known precursor to the Hope Diamond was the Tavernier Blue diamond, a crudely cut triangular shaped stone of 115 carats (22.44 g) (This diamond was much larger than the present weight of the Hope diamond because the Hope has been cut down at least twice in the past three centuries.) The diamond is believed to have come from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India, and is famous for supposedly being cursed.

The Tavernier Blue named for the French merchant-traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who brought it to Europe. His book, the Six Voyages (Le Six Voyages de...), contains sketches of several large diamonds he sold to Louis XIV in 1669; while the blue diamond is shown among these, Tavernier makes no direct statements about when and where he obtained the stone.

The historian Richard Kurin builds a plausible case for 1653 as the year of acquisition, and an origin from the Kollur mine in Guntur district Andhra Pradesh (a part of the Golconda kingdom), India. The history of the stone which was eventually named the Hope diamond began when Tavernier obtained the blue diamond during one of his five voyages to India between the years 1640 and 1667. While there, he stole a large blue diamond from the forehead (or eye) of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita, the wife of Rama, the Sixth Avatar of Vishnu. Where it had been set as one of two matching eyes, and the temple priests then laid a curse on whoever might possess the missing stone.

Early in the year 1669, Tavernier sold this blue diamond along with approximately one thousand other diamonds to King Louis XIV of France for 220,000 livres, the equivalent of 147 kilograms of pure gold. There has been some controversy regarding the actual weight of the stone; Morel believes that the 112 3/16 carats stated in Tavernier's invoice would be in old French carats, thus 115.28 metric carats. For this transgression, according to the legend, Tavernier was torn apart by wild dogs on a trip to Russia (after he had sold the diamond).

This was the first horrible death attributed to the curse, but the historical record shows that he actually lived to the age of 84 (it is not known how he died).

In 1678, Louis XIV commissioned the court jeweller, Sieur Pitau, to recut the Tavernier Blue, resulting in a 67 1/8 carat (13.4 g) stone which royal inventories thereafter listed as the Blue Diamond of the Crown (diamant bleu de la Couronne de France,), but later English-speaking historians have simply called it the French Blue. It was set in gold and suspended on a neck ribbon for the King to wear on ceremonial occasions. 

Read more on Unsolved Mystery of Hope Diamond (Cursed Diamond)

Fountain of Youth

The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. Florida is often said to be its location, and stories of the fountain are some of the most persistent associated with the state.

A long-standing story is that Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, Puerto Rico's first Governor, was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to present-day Florida in 1513, but the story did not start with him, nor was it unique to the New World. Tales of healing waters date to at least the time of the Alexander Romance, and were popular right up to the European Age of Exploration. The later legend derives from the "Water of Life" tale in the Eastern versions of the Alexander Romance, where Alexander and his servant cross the Land of Darkness to find the restorative spring. The servant in that story is in turn derived from Middle Eastern legends of Al-Khidr, a sage who appears also in the Qur'an. Arabic and Aljamiado versions of the Alexander Romance were very popular in Spain during and after the period of Moorish rule, and would have been known to the explorers who journeyed to America.

There are countless indirect sources for the tale as well. Eternal youth is a gift frequently sought in myth and legend, and stories of things such as the philosopher's stone, universal panaceas, and the elixir of life are common throughout Eurasia and elsewhere. An additional hint may have been taken from the account of the Pool of Bethesda in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus heals a man at the pool in Jerusalem.

The Arawaks and the land of Bimini

The native stories about the curative spring were related to the mythical land of "Beimeni", or Beniny, a land of wealth and prosperity. The spring was purportedly located on an island called Boinca. Although subsequent interpretations suggested the land was located in the vicinity of the Bahamas, the natives were referring to a location in the Gulf of Honduras.

The islands of Bimini in the Bahamas were known as La Vieja during the Ponce expedition. According to legend, the Spanish heard of Bimini from the Arawaks in Hispaniola, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Sequene, an Arawak chief from Cuba, had purportedly been unable to resist the lure of Bimini and its restorative fountain. He gathered a troupe of adventurers and sailed north, never to return. Word spread among Sequene's more optimistic tribesmen that he and his followers had located the Fountain of Youth and were living in luxury in Bimini. Bimini and its curative waters were widespread subjects in the Caribbean. Italian-born chronicler Peter Martyr d'Anghiera (Peter Martyr) told of them in a letter to the pope in 1513, though he didn't believe the stories and was dismayed that so many others did. 

Read more about Fountain of Youth 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Cursed Ring

In the vault of a Los Angeles bank lies a silver ring set with a semiprecious stone. It is not a particularly pretty ring or even a very valuable one, and chances are that no one will ever dare to wear it again. The ring lies in the vault because it bears one of the most malignant curses in the history of the occult. Successive owners have suffered injury, misfortune, even death. And many people still believe it was this ring that sent Rudolph Valentino to a premature grave. Certainly, the violent incidents that have surrounded it over the years can hardly be shrugged off as mere coincidences.

Rudolph Valentino (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926) was an Italian actor, sex symbol, and early pop icon. Known as the "Latin Lover", he was one of the most popular stars of the 1920s, and one of the most recognized stars from the silent film era. He is best known for his work in The Sheik and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Valentino was born Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Piero Filiberto Guglielmi in Castellaneta, Italy, to a French mother, Marie Berthe Gabrielle Barbin (1856 - 1919), and Giovanni Antonio Giuseppe Fidele Guglielmi, a veterinarian who died of malaria, then widespread in Southern Italy, when Valentino was 11. He had an older brother, Alberto (1892-1981), a younger sister, Maria, and an older sister Beatrice who died in infancy.

As a child, Valentino was reportedly spoiled and troublesome. His mother coddled him while his father disapproved of his behavior. He did poorly in school, and was eventually enrolled in agricultural school where he received a degree. After living in Paris in 1912, he soon returned to Italy. Unable to secure employment, he departed for the United States in 1913. He was processed at Ellis Island at age 18 on December 23, 1913.

In 1917, Valentino joined an operetta company that traveled to Utah where it disbanded. He then joined an Al Jolson production of Robinson Crusoe Jr., travelling to Los Angeles. By fall, he was in San Francisco with a bit part in a theatrical production of Nobody Home. While in town, Valentino met actor Norman Kerry, who convinced him to try a career in cinema, still in the silent film era.

By 1919, he had carved out a career in bit parts. It was a bit part as a "cabaret parasite" in the drama The Eyes of Youth that caught the attention of screenwriter June Mathis, who thought he would be perfect for her next movie.

It was in 1920 that Valentino, at the peak of his success, saw the ring in a San Francisco jeweller's. The proprietor warned him that the ring was a jinx, but Valentino still bought it. He wore the ring in his next picture, The Young Rajah. It was the biggest flop of his career and he was off the screen for the next two years. Valentino did not wear the ring again until he used it as a costume prop in The Son of the Sheik. Three weeks after finishing this film, he went to New York on vacation. While wearing the ring, he suffered an acute attack of appendicitis. Two weeks later, he was dead. 

Read more at  The Cursed Ring

666 - Number of beast Antichrist

The association of the number 666 with the Antichrist is derived from Revelation 13:18 in which John the Revelator is told in his apocalyptic vision that the number of the Beast is 666 and that the number stands for a person. In John’s world of the first century, the Beast that ruled the Earth would have been the emperor, the caesar, of the Roman Empire, Nero (37C.E.–68 C.E.). Using the Hebrew alphabet, the numerical value of “Caesar Nero,” the merciless persecutor of the early Christians, is 666. Although Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.) made it clear when speaking to the apostles that no one will know the exact hour or day of his Second Coming, for many centuries certain Christian theologians have associated the rise of the Antichrist to power and his achievement of a seven-year reign over all the

Earth as a kind of catalyst that would set in motion Armageddon, the last final battle between good and evil—the ultimate clash between the armies of Jesus Christ and Satan. Ever since the Protestant Reformation, the pope has been a favorite of certain Evangelicals for the ignominious title. Many of the pontiffs in the Middle Ages did exercise great power over the rulers and the people of the emerging European nations; and consequently, there were numerous embittered princes and fiery Protestant leaders who did seek to affix the blame for a large number of repressive social and religious programs on the Vatican.

However, contemporary popes have wielded little political influence, surely none that would place them in world-threatening positions. There have been such men as Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), who actually appeared to covet and campaign for the position by calling himself the Beast and 666. Hollywood has capitalized on the fascination of certain Christians and horror movie fans with the menacing evil of the Antichrist and depicted him in a number of motion pictures.

In Rosemary’s Baby (1968), an unsuspecting young wife (Mia Farrow) is selected to bear the Antichrist after her husband (John Cassavetes) makes a pact with Satan. The Omen (1976) spawned a series of three films that follow the Antichrist from early childhood to his position of wealth, power, and charismatic mastery as an adult. In the first of these films, Gregory Peck, as the unsuspecting surrogate father of the Antichrist, is warned of his son’s true identity by a number of priests and other individuals who all meet untimely warnings as the babble of the demented, he is later shocked to discover the numerals “666” on his son’s scalp and he resolves to do whatever must be done to stop Satan’s will from being accomplished. In spite of a valiant effort on the part of the father, who now concludes rightfully that his true son was killed and supplanted by the disciples of the Antichrist, the demon seed continues his destructive path to world domination in two additional films. 

Read more at http://theunexplainedmysteries.com/666.html


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