Wednesday, October 28, 2009
One of my favorite (and very prolific!) online writers is the awsome Mr. Ghaz, a 40-year-old free lance insurance surveyor who is living in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and is "currently experimenting" with his skills, in this case: writing. Here is a Top Ten of his Historical Mysteries, in no particular order:
1. The Most Mysterious Manuscript in The World
What makes the Voynich Manuscript of particular interest is that no one has yet been able to read it in full; the text is written in a code that some of the world’s greatest cryptographers and linguistics experts have failed to decipher. ..The manuscript measures 53/4 by 81/2 inches and is some 200 pages long. Its vellum leaves are covered with extraordinary flowing writing – extraordinary because its author has used a completely unknown alphabet.
2. One of The Most Extraordinary Frauds in History - Adolf Hitler’s Diaries
It was to be the greatest journalistic scoop of all time and would give an unparalleled insight into the mind of the German dictator. Historians, former Nazis, and newspaperman expressed grave doubts the authenticity of documents, but Stern remained adamant that they were genuine. Then, on May 5, West German Forensic scientist announced that the precious manuscripts had failed their tests. The 62 volumes of Hitler’s diaries were fakes..
3. The Bizarre Billionaire - Secret World of Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes was born in 1905. At the age of 18 he inherited the Hughes Tool Company from his father, who had patented the only effective bit for oil drills. Worth $750,000 on paper when Hughes took over, the company had made accumulative profit of $745 million by 1972. By then his empire included a number of hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, and Bahamas; mining interests; real estate; and the Hughes Aircraft Company – the ninth largest military contractor in the United States. Trans World Airlines (TWA) had been sold for $546 million 1966.
4. The Miracle of Borobudur: Famous Wonders
The temple of Borobudur (the word means “the monastery on the hill”) was built around a natural hill. More than two million cubic feet of stone was worked by craftsmen to create a giant symbol of the universe. The symbolism can be fully appreciated only from the air – a view none of the builders could ever have had...But in 1973 UNESCO launched the Borobudur Restoration Project. At cost of $25 million, 700 men worked for 10 years to restore the temple to its former glory.
5. An Ancient Wonder of The Americas
The discovery soon came too the attention of archaeologists, who paid the chicleros $15 for each building to which they were led. It was known that from about 600 B.C. a highly advanced and sophisticated people, the Mayans, had lived and built cities in the region of Peten. But the cities had disappeared long ago, and it was not known if the inhabitants had survived.
6. The Amazing Stories of Cracking Hitler's Unbreakable Code
In 1940 Enigma revealed that Hitler had abandoned Operation Sea Lion, his planned invasion of Britain; the next year Enigma helped British warships destroy the battleship Bismarck. When British and American commanders discovered Rommel’s plans, Allied bombers were able to destroy some of the ships carrying Rommel’s troops to North Africa. And in 1944, thanks to Enigma, the Allies knew that the Germans expected the main D-Day invasion forces to land at Calais, not Normandy – and learned exactly what opposition would be waiting for them...The breaking of the Enigma code remained a secret until late 1970’s; even to this day, many details of the equipment and techniques used are not known...
7. An Amazing Puzzle - The Enigma of Mazes and Labyrinths
The dream was so vivid that, on walking, the rector felt compelled to build a real-life version of the maze he had seen. The newly constructed maze was modeled on a set of religious carvings in the village church and the design was symbolic. The winding pathways represented the journey of life. The wrong turnings and culs-de-sac symbolized the sins that people commit before death, obstacles on the way to paradise and heaven.
8. The Mystical Microscope: Meditating on Atomic Physics
As early as 1895 the two mystics published drawings of their vision of hydrogen atoms, the simplest that exist in nature. The pair saw the atom as a transparent, egg-shaped body that contained six smaller bodies in rotation. And inside each of the smaller bodies were three even smaller, heart shaped particles. Leadbeater and Besant called them the “ultimate physical atoms,” and said they were joined together by “lines of force”
9. The Strange Stories of The Accidental Discoveries That Endured
The stories behind several are probably apocryphal: For example, Joseph Michael Montgolfier is said to have conjured up the idea of ballooning when he saw his wife’s chemise, drying by fire, rise up as it became filled with hot air. A number of other such stories, however, are known to be true...
10. The World Turned Upside Down: Comyns Beaumont’s Unique View of The Past
All this was consistent with Comyns Beaumont’s lifelong belief in the innate superiority of all things British. His career as a journalist had been dogged by his frustration with newspaper owners and editors who, he believed, failed to represent British interests adequately. His new theory of history restored the balance, to his satisfaction at least – and to the amazement and entertainment of all those who read his books. In a series of books published between 1946 and 1949, British journalist William Comyns Beaumont astonished the world with the following extraordinary revelations: Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified just outside Edinburgh, Scotland – the site of the ancient city of Jerusalem; Satan was a comet that collided with the earth and caused Noah’s Flood; the ancient Egyptians were in fact Irishmen; Hell is to be found in Western Scotland; the Greek hero Achilles spent his childhood on the Isle of Skye; Galilee, birthplace of Jesus, was Wales; Ancient Athens was in reality Bath, England.