Were Ancient Giants Vegetarian Intellectuals?


What are some of the most common references for giant humanoids? The Christian Bible, European legends and fairy tales, cultural folk tales, the Q’ran, ancient Chinese mythology, Hindu mythology, ancient Norse mythology, and the list goes on and on.


What about artifacts? Is there archaeological evidence to support the existence of a giant humanoid race in earth’s ancient history? Of course, there are lots of fringe science groups who claim all sorts of archaeological evidence indicating a giant race. The most credible testimony, however, would come from accredited colleges and groups like the Smithsonian and National Geographic who have conducted exhaustive efforts to verify claims of researchers. So, what do they say? 


Well, sometimes that’s not always clear. News agencies have published reports referencing respectable institutions. These types of hoaxes have been going on for some time. However, with the advent of social media and its ability to create viral content, once a fake story is out there, it is difficult to ever overwhelm it with the truth. Especially if the truth is boring. 


But, dear reader, the gringa says, “Not so fast!”. Although a fake news story about National Geographic discovering giant remains did occur, a REAL story about REAL giant humanoid remains WAS published by National Geographic itself. See how confusing chasing the truth can get? So, let’s disseminate some of the more common giant-related news stories and separate fact from fiction.


FAKE News: Published in 2014 by World News Daily Report, an article claimed that the US Supreme Court ruled in a case that would force the Smithsonian Institute to de-classify documents that covered up an archaeological find in the 1900s of thousands of giant humanoid skeletons. And plenty of fake pictures accompanied this fake story. Unknown to many readers of this “news site” is what is clearly stated in the website’s fine print: it is a news satire publication. In other words, they intentionally publish fake news. So, reader beware!


FAKE News: In 2004 a hoax was perpetrated involving a doctored photo of an “archaeologist” who had uncovered the remains of a giant in a dig in Saudi Arabia. National Geographic was credited as funding the expedition and breaking the story but that was simply untrue. Stories like this often have a financial motive to stimulate tourism.


REAL News: Published in 2012 by National Geographic is a report on ancient skeletal remains of a giant humanoid in what would have once been ancient Rome. The entire skeleton was intact and stood, get this, a whopping 6’8″. Yeah, not fake news but not really that much of an impressive “giant” either. Although this ancient Roman would have stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries, by today’s standards, among many Americans and Europeans, um, not so much. He probably wouldn’t even generate a second glance at the shopping mall. If he played on a professional basketball team he would simply be “average”.


Now, there is no doubt that occasionally a person is born with a genetic condition that will result in giantism. But the question about the past is if an entire race of giants existed, not just a blip on the genetic radar from time to time.


And think about this. Giantism is really a matter of perspective. In the US, the gringa’s considered short at 5’4″. However, I was in for quite a surprise the first time I traveled outside the US to a south-of-the-border country. In photo after photo of the gringa with locals or family from Peru, I am, practically, a giant in comparison. There is actually a related story that is quite amusing.


On one of our first trips to Peru we planned to go to the deep jungle. It is difficult for villages to get US goods, especially textiles. I decided to pack favorite name-brand clothing and shoes and give them all away when we arrived. While there I would purchase locally crafted textiles. Sure, the gringa arrived home with a wardrobe that was intrinsically linked to Incan culture, bright fabrics, vibrant patterns, etc. The only problem was that “pants” were “pedal-pushers” and “long-sleeve” shirts were actually “three-quarter” sleeve shirts. As for shoes, the best I could find to fit my big American feet was a pair of men’s sneakers and several pairs of flip-flops. So, giantism is relative to time and place.


NEVER Debunked: In 1912 an archaeological dig conducted by Beloit College found giant skeletal remains in several ancient mounds, thought to be burial mounds, in Wisconsin. Beloit College is a credentialed higher education institution still instructing students today. The site was near Delavan Lake, which was probably a prime habitat location for ancient peoples. It is thought that humans inhabited the area as early as 1000 BC and at one point, a mound building culture thrived in the area for centuries. And, apparently, they were quite large! 


The Wisconsin Historical Society states that archaeologial evidence indicates that more than 200 mounds were studied by the college in the 1800s. At that time the area around the lake was still populated by the Potawotomi Indians. 


Delving into the mounds revealed skeletal remains of individuals ranging in height from 7’6″ to an extraordinary 10′. Their skulls were enormous, even by today’s standards. Even stranger, many had an extra digit on their hands and feet. Their jaws featured a double row of teeth and, instead of having incisors for their front teeth, there were molars. Considering that incisors evolved to tear the flesh of meat and tough-skinned fruits, it is possible that these ancient giant humanoids were vegetarians. There was also evidence that they were different races. 


This was not the only archeological dig in Wisconsin to find giants interred in burial mounds. They were also found in Maple Creek, Lake Mills, and Lake Lawn Farm. The Wisconsin remains have never been debunked as a hoax. So, they are either the real deal or the most successful prank ever perpetrated on the historical sciences communities about ancient mound builder societies.

JUDGE For Yourself: This is the story that the gringa hopes is true. Although skeletal remains were not found in an ancient Prague Castle to indicate a past population of giants, there is evidence to suggest that Slavic giants did exist and that they might have been scholars and intellectuals. The gringa’s talking about the legendary “Giant Library of Prague Castle”. Considering, however, that curators of the castle’s historical artifacts claim no connection with the photograph that gave birth to this legend, and no giant tomes have ever been found, the gringa believes she must remain disappointed.


And the credibility of these curators really shouldn’t be in question. Prague Castle is the largest castle in the Czech Republic. Construction began in 880 and was inhabited by royalty well into the mid-1900s. Wars often resulted in damage but the castle would faithfully be repaired. Now accessible to the public, visitors can enjoy acres upon acres of gardens, stables, historical architecture, period furniture, priceless art and the coveted opportunity to take a peek at the Czech Crown Jewels.

But even if no giants ever lived there and the library features no books big enough to swallow the gringa whole, it is still a delightful and entertaining prospect to imagine giant Czech kings and queens. The gringa can picture in her mind’s eye a sedate and very mindful giant mentoring a pint-sized human who sits upon the knee like a child. Perhaps they argue heatedly over a particular philosophical point, the tiny human hopping up to stand on the giant’s lap, attempting to make eye contact and poking a stubby finger into the giant’s chest in frustration, trying to make his point. And then there would be the rumble of speech that would come forth from enormous lungs and vocal chords that might create enough force to blow back the itty-bitty antagonist’s hair from his face. The good-natured, intellectual giant would chuckle at the audacity of the little creature. His good humor would surely be infectious and the two would soon be best friends again. The gringa can totally see this happening. But, alas, it can only happen in our imaginations! But, what else is our imagination for?


Sources:


Snopes


World News Daily


National Geographic


Delavan History


A True Ott, Ph. D


Sia Magazine


My Czech Republic


Hotel & Restaurant Administration – Czech Republic


Image Credit: Mission Galactic Freedom


Video Credits: 


UFOmania – The truth is out there


Rick Steves Europe


ReelNostalgia

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Special Holiday Guests


It seems that some space aliens decided to spend their Thanksgiving holidays in the gringa’s neck of the woods. On November 23, observers in downtown Houston, Texas noticed a strange object in the sky over the city. It appeared to hover for about 30-45 seconds then began slowly heading East. The gringa thinks maybe the aliens were not prepared for the effects of a holiday turkey’s Tryptophan. The ETs may have been a bit sluggish.  The sighting happened in the middle of the afternoon, about the time a Thanksgiving luncheon would have concluded. As a quick-thinking Houstonian began shooting some video, he was able to capture about 4 minutes of slow, eastward, flight.

The gringa’s local newspaper ran a headline story Thursday, December 1, 2016, with about 30 images featured on their website. The majority of those images had nothing to do with the Thanksgiving sighting. The newspaper did, however, post a link to the amateur video footage.  But, when the gringa clicked the link it only took me to the MUFON website (Mutual UFO Network). This is an online community of UFO enthusiasts from all over the world. (If you ever have your own UFO sighting you can report it directly to MUFON’s website and they will investigate.) Despite the gringa’s best efforts she couldn’t find the video or the report referenced by my hometown newspaper. Oh well, it did lead to another interesting discovery.

Apparently, being inspired by a bit of Thanksgiving turkey, it seems the ETs may have been curious about where this delectable delight came from. Soon another UFO sighting occurred in the country of Turkey. The very next day after Houston’s headline, social media users in Turkey were panicking over what they though was a possible UFO invasion. The gringa thinks that the ETs were so impressed as guests to a Texas style Thanksgiving, they invited friends from all over the universe to descend upon Turkey for the grandest turkey party ever.

But were space aliens really gathering in great numbers above the skies of Istanbul and Ankara? There were so many sightings a hashtag was created: #ufoattacktoturkey.  The sightings were reported as occurring on November 27. Witnesses claim there was a media blackout about the event but images have been preserved on YouTube and Twitter. However, the gringa discovered that many of the uploaded photos were not even from the Turkey or Houston event.  This one seems to be the most credible:

turkeyufo

In all, sightings were reported from 12 Turkish cities by dozens of witnesses. They claimed that loud booming and explosive sounds accompanied the UFOs. The best video the gringa found:

So what the heck was going on in Turkey? Were aliens hoping for a repeat of the holiday dinner originally enjoyed in Houston just a few days earlier? It seems that a group of pranksters enjoyed the thrill of a hoax. Nothing actually appeared in the skies over Turkey. It was just a group of people posting doctored photos to social media who then sat back and watched their handiwork go viral. The gringa is supposing the Houston story may have been a test run to whet the appetites of UFO enthusiasts so they would be ripe for the picking when they launched their Turkey gag. So, although the gringa keeps an open mind, she also remains a healthy skeptic when explosive UFO headlines capture my attention!

And, I must admit, I’m glad it was a hoax. The gringa holds out hope that space aliens are vegetarians.

Sources:

www.mufon.com

Houston Chronicle

www.thesun.co.uk

Coast to Coast AM

Image Credit:  Above Top Secret

 

 

 

 

Drones, UFOs, and Saving The Planet… They Are ALL Connected


UFO enthusiasts got a thrill recently when news agencies all over the United States were sounding the alarm of a strange light seen hovering, then moving about, near the famous St. Louis Arch. The YouTube video posted below, sourced from streetview citycams, begins by speeding up the video 1000 times so as not to bore the viewer with several minutes of nothingness. Throughout the hi-speed progression lightning can be observed. As viewers watch, they can see the light dim and sometimes disappear because of cloud cover. The video records a strange light approach the Arch from the left side of the screen and do some interesting acrobatics. The gringa has provided a play by play script to refer to as the dear reader views the video.

Video begins 2:19:49 streetcam time (SCT)/0:00 YouTube Time (YTT).

2:25:13 SCT/0:15 YTT First arrow indicates the appearance of the light in the top middle portion of the screen with light becoming visible at 2:25:19 SCT/0:17 YTT and approaches the Arch.

2:26:20 SCT/0:39 YTT Light appears to hover over the Arch, “wink out” a couple of times only to reappear in relatively the same place, indicating it was hovering the entire time.

2:26:41 SCT/0:46 YTT Light winks out.

2:28:06 SCT/0:52 YTT Light reappears as indicated by arrow and seems to be in same position above the Arch which would make it seem that it was hovering the entire time it was not visible.

2:28:54 SCT/0:56 YTT Light appears to be hovering above the Arch.

2:29:36 SCT/1:00 YTT Light winks out.

2:30:01 SCT/1:02 YTT Arrow directs attention to higher point above the Arch, indicating that the light has climbed higher. However, it is not visible.

2:31:00 SCT/1:08 YTT Another arrow indicates the light to be in the upper left corner of the screen but the gringa does not see it appear.

2:31:18 SCT/1:14 YTT The gringa begins to click through each second at the rate of 2 clicks per second so I get to see half of a second in each frame. I see a flash of the light at a higher point above the arch as I begin my second click of 1:15 YTT, going into my first click of 1:16 YTT. There is no arrow used in the video here to direct you to the flash of light. If you are not prepared you will miss it.

2:32:08 SCT/1:22 YTT Arrow again indicates that the light is seemingly flashing in the top left corner of the screen. Then there is a clear winking on and off of a light in the far left top corner of the screen as the light begins a rapid descent, disappearing behind cloud cover, but can clearly be seen descending.

2:32:25 SCT/1:28 YTT The arrow draws the viewer’s attention to the light whose rapid descent has been abruptly arrested and it once again begins to hover.

2:32:39 SCT/1:33 YTT Light brightly blinks out after a short rapid descent. If you begin once again to click through frames, 2 clicks per second/frame, the light can be seen faintly descending, angling off to the left, then hooking sharply right and descending quickly and can be viewed practically all the way to its landing on the ground in the lower left portion of the screen, its final landing at about 2:32:47 SCT/1:36 YTT.

Summary of the mystery light’s activity:

  • About 45 seconds of hovering above the Arch.
  • For about 1 minute the light continues to climb and hover above the Arch.
  • Within about 50 seconds the light manages to travel the distance in the view screen from seeming to hover above the Arch to the upper left corner of the view screen.
  • Within 30 seconds light makes a rapid descent that includes a brief hover before two radical left/right maneuvers, like a zig-zag, and appears to land on the ground.

So what was it? The gringa believes it was a drone, not an extra-terrestrial vehicle. It is pretty obvious by the final descent and apparent landing on the ground that it is a very small vehicle and very much Earthling technology. The gringa doesn’t know all the details on speed and distance relative to the camera and the Arch, but that doesn’t change my mind that it is a drone. And the gringa warns her dear readers to be on the lookout for many more videos and hoaxes to come with drone technology becoming more and more affordable for technology enthusiasts.

Other than making interesting UFO hoax videos, what are some actual practical uses for drones? Well, for one thing, drones may very well help save the world, and the gringa’s not talking about how military personnel are already putting them to use in battle. Using them to target and kill fellow human beings is not the gringa’s idea of saving the world.

Using them as a research tool to monitor dolphin and whale populations is more what the gringa considers saving the world. And that is just what marine biologists are doing in Hawai’i. Ocean Alliance is taking advantage of how drones can monitor wildlife without intrusion by humans. With drones capable of being equipped with high resolution cameras, researchers can get close up views and real time video of what dolphin pods and whale families are doing. Even if weather is bad and ocean conditions rough, the drones can still go out and do their job when a human outing would otherwise get postponed.

Drone technology has allowed researchers to compile a more accurate catalog of whale groups and monitor their health conditions with more detailed analysis. Results from boat-based surveys simply do not compare and marine biologists are excited to go even further with drones.

Now, while some people may be excited at the thought of drones delivering pizza or their mail order of retail goods, the gringa is more excited about drone delivery of medicine to hard to reach vulnerable people around the world.

With successful deliveries to earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2012, Doctors Without Borders were inspired to test drone delivery of  a group of dummy TB test samples in remote villages in Papua New Guinea. The Mayo Clinic recently announced that drone medical delivery is poised to take off and revolutionize healthcare for people around the world where access has continued to be a problem.

So what might be the niche technology career of the future for our youth interested in STEM? Development of drone technology and drone piloting. So, don’t get left behind! Get on board to save the world with a joy-stick, a laptop and a map! That’s all you need today to be a superhero!

Sources:

www.whale.org

www.yahoo.com

www.mayoclinic.org

Image Credit: 1.bp.blogspot.com

The Allure of Conspiracy Theories


The gringa loves real science and also a thrilling science-fiction tale. I don’t get the two confused. I love to debunk a curious space related conspiracy theory and I have to admit I have believed my share of crazy conspiracy theories in my lifetime. However, there is a difference, I believe, between a person who entertains a conspiracy theory as a possibility, explores it for its entertainment value or believes one with the joint purpose of proving or disproving, and the person who is a whole-hearted conspiracy theorist. Where exactly is the line in the sand between the two psyches? Why are conspiracy theories so alluring to otherwise sound, reasonable minds?

Take for example the true believers in a  YouTube video  that contains audio claimed to belong to a Soviet Union era cosmonaut, the first Soviet woman in space, who was killed upon re-entry when her space capsule failed to withstand the re-entry burn.  The video/audio was debunked as a hoax by former NASA mission control technician James Oberg. His career encompasses space journalist, historian, author and he is fluent in the Russian language, an expert in Russia’s space program.

The hoax award can probably be given to the Judica-Cordiglia brothers who perpetrated multiple space related hoaxes throughout the 1960s. These Italian brothers liked to while away the time underground in an old bunker filled with electronic equipment. Although they claimed the equipment was for detecting radio frequencies filled with covert signals that they decoded and revealed to the public, the truth is it was their own private hoax production studio.

They also claimed to have captured the dying words of Vladimir Komarov, a Soviet cosmonaut whose spaceship burned up in re-entry. Back then the public must not have known what we know now… there is a radio blackout during re-entry as radiation and intense heat interfere with the viability of radio signals.

Although the gringa is certain the hoax videos and audios were highly compelling, the truth is equally, if not more, interesting. While Komarov encircled the Earth in a faulty space capsule he had what he knew was his last conversation with a Soviet official who was safely aground on Earth. It is reported that Alexei Kosygin was in tears as the two talked, knowing his comrade was doomed to a torturous death by suffocation in extreme heat before the capsule ever disintegrated into a ball of flames. The United States had listening posts in Turkey where Cold War spies eavesdropped on the emotional exchange as  Komarov vacillated between rage and despair at his horrible fate.

To make the tale even more gripping is the fact that Komarov’s gruesome death could have been completely avoided. The original plan was to launch a second capsule the day after Komarov’s launch. The two space vehicles were to dock together and Komarov would swap places with one of the two cosmonauts in the second vehicle.  This was all scheduled to coincide with the Communist revolution’s 50 year anniversary and was Brezhnev’s victory plan to reveal to the world Soviet superiority.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was slated for the second space capsule. He made a tour of Soyuz 1 with a group of technicians and they recommended a postponement of launch due to hundreds of flaws in the vehicle. Forwarding the recommendation, inspection report and a ten page memo to Brezhnev through a KGB friend, the buck stopped with the KGB. No one dared defy Brezhnev’s dream of glory because the KGB agent, Venyamin Russayev, as well as every other agent who had knowledge of the communique, were summarily demoted and shipped off to remote areas within the Soviet Union for convenient, out of the way service.

Komarov knew he was on a suicide mission but he went anyway. He is a true hero. When Gagarin’s KGB friend suggested to Komarov to simply refuse the mission, he explained that if he didn’t go, the government would send the cosmonaut who was next in line, which was Gagarin. Gagarin had tried to save Komarov’s life by recommending the mission be scrapped. Komarov turned around and gave his own life that Gagarin’s might be saved. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is.

Soyuz I launched April 23, 1967 and almost immediately began experiencing problems and mechanical failures. Due to these problems the second capsule’s launch was scrubbed from the schedule. U.S. National Security Agency analysts (fancy words that basically mean spies) recorded and translated what they could of Komarov’s communications to ground control. They describe a cosmonaut who knew he was going to die. Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin cried as he told Komarov he was a hero. American records reveal that when the descent parachutes failed, Komarov raged as he entered his death plummet.

This tragic story is as fascinating as it is sad. Why would anyone feel the need to believe a titillating conspiracy theory rather than the tragic truth? And this is not the only case where outrageous conspiracy theories have often been eclipsed by an even more fantastic truth. Consider the following conspiracy theories and their fans:

  • Da Vinci disciples who believe the mysteries in the book “The Da Vinci Code” are real yet the mystery of Da Vinci’s art is even greater than conspiracy fiction.
  • 9/11 Truthers who believe that the U.S. government murdered thousands of U.S. citizens yet is eclipsed by the intricacies of an ideological war by a small group of terrorists that have managed to capture the entire world’s attention, keeping everyone riveted with fear despite their very small numbers compared to the numbers of allied militaries fighting against them.
  • Birthers who believe that President Obama was not born a U.S. citizen is really quite boring when compared to the fascinating, tragic yet triumphant tale of how a young boy became president of the United States of America despite the statistical odds stacked against him.
  • Amelia Earhart fans who believe that she was abducted by extra-terrestrials yet the biography of this amazing, adventurous woman and the impact she has had on the lives of women for decades is so much greater than chasing shadows.
  • Osama bin Laden – conspiracy theorists believe that he is not dead and that the story of his body being dumped into the sea from a helicopter is a cover story. However, the account of the assassination plan by military special forces is the stuff that best selling novels are made of.
  • Princess Diana – conspiracy theorists believe that she was assassinated by the British Royal family and would rather believe such outrageousness when the life of not only this amazing princess but the entire House of Windsor can keep a person riveted to history books for weeks on end.

The gringa would like to know what makes a diehard conspiracy theorist tick. Experts say that they are more than your average skeptic. To selectively doubt certain scenarios or details that are reported by official agencies is normal. But when a critical political view morphs into believing in the omnipotent power of an elite shadow government ruling the world, a real conspiracy theorist is born.

Conspiracy theorists are not necessarily mentally ill despite the fact that they may believe some things that seem outright crazy, unreasonable or illogical. It is becoming such a widespread perspective, psychologists are categorizing it with its own empirical field definition. They explain that distrust is the underlying condition but it is the wrong kind of distrust. It is a form of distrust that is disconnected from critical thinking skills.

Although everyone has trust issues with someone at some point in their life, not everyone becomes a conspiracy theorist. When a person is able to hold on to the general opinion that most people in society are decent people worthy of measured trust, that trust growing as a relationship grows, that is a person managing distrust in a healthy way. However, once a person becomes so cynical that they believe that no one can be trusted, that everyone is out to get something over on everyone else, they are primed and ready to believe that the entire world is at the mercy of global elite puppetmasters.

Conspiracy theorists believe a distortion of the real truth that governments, though corrupt to varying degrees, do have within them some officials who are puppets serving elite interests in order to line their own pockets yet at the same time there are also officials who genuinely want to serve their people. And working within these governments are programs honestly designed to make the nation, as well as the world, a better place while at the same time operating alongside programs designed to enhance and broaden the scope of power for individual elites as well as the nation. So, a conspiracy theorist neglects to believe the good that is very real and their perspective lacks balance because it lacks the entire truth.

You see, cynicism is like a cancer. Once a person gets into that negative mindset, cynicism grows. At first Frank believes that his coworker, Joe, who got a promotion, somehow conspired to sabotage Frank’s chances at the promotion by telling tales behind his back. Once Frank convinces himself of this truth, rather than the real, ugly truth that he’s just a lousy worker unworthy of the promotion, Frank then has to include his other co-workers in the conspiracy when they object to his accusations against Joe. As Frank continues to stew in his own angry juices he soon believes it all started at the top with a boss who must surely hate him. Eventually he either quits or his behavior is so affected he gets fired. Such an experience will most certainly shape his behavior as he continues on to his next job.

Rather than accept the uncomfortable truth that another person excelled his own capabilities and deserved the promotion, rather than believe the nasty truth about self, that he scapegoated a co-worker and then blamed his other co-workers and, ultimately, his boss, rather than accept that he is the problem, Frank continues in blaming others because that is more convenient than believing an uncomfortable truth about self. By perpetuating this scapegoat mindset Frank becomes unfit for any job. As he continues this self-destructive cycle blaming others rather than practicing self-accountability, Frank must then begin to believe in a united business conspiracy of a network of people who just want to keep him down. Eventually this unreasonable paranoia will affect Frank’s view of pretty much everything in his life.

Eventually, Frank is just a very nasty, negative fellow who believes that everyone is out to get him. He concludes if that’s true about society and work environments, it’s not a stretch to then believe that the federal government also conspires against the little people for their own gain. Mainstream and official sources of information are rejected as “tainted” and Frank only relies on fringe journalism because those are the folks who really know what’s going on and haven’t sold their souls to the “establishment”.  Eventually, by his own selective exposure to views that agree with his personal angry-at-the-world perspective, Frank is a full-fledged conspiracy theorist, brainwashed by himself.

So, when you get right down to it, psychologists are right. Conspiracy theorists are not really mentally ill. They are really just Negative Nellies and Nasty Nelsons. It’s perfectly fine to be a Curious Casper and entertain conspiracy theories for entertainment value or as alternative possibilities to an accepted truth that does not have the evidence to completely prove it to be the truth. But keep things in perspective. Don’t be like Frank.

Sources:

www.npr.org

www.yahoo.com/news

www.slate.com

www.scientificamerican.com

time.com

Image Credit: http://www.topsecretwriters.com

 

Biggest Pyramid Scheme Ever – Maybe


Do the gringa’s dear readers remember Sam, the big ball hunter of Bosnia? Well, the gringa found the subject of ancient big balls so fascinating, she continued to do a bit of digging around (pardon the pun) in Sam’s archaeological projects. Ol’ Sam, aka Semir Osmanagic, seems to have made quite a notorious name for himself in the scientific community where geometric relics are concerned. The Indiana Jones of the Balkans has also claimed to have discovered pyramids in Bosnia.

First reported shortly after his announcement of his discovery in 2001, serious archaeologists where quick to label his find nothing short of buffoonery. Sam, true to form, soldiered on despite his naysayers.  He is fully convinced he has discovered Europe’s first ancient pyramids and it begins with Bosnia’s Visocica hill that lies close to Visoko, a Bosnian town almost twenty miles northwest of Sarajevo.

Visoko was once the capital of Bosnia during medieval times. Roman and Illyrian ruins can be found nearby as well as Neolithic relics. Perhaps, then, thousands of years ago, it was a thriving capital city noted by architecture similar to ancient Egypt.

Dubbed by Sam as the “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun”, excavation began in an official project in 2006. On hand, in addition to Sam’s international archaeological team, were tourists, curious locals, journalists and, interestingly enough, beauty contestants from the Miss Bosnia pageant.

As days and weeks passed, volunteers and crew members removed enough earth to reveal what they claim to be a system of tunnels. Sam reported the tunnels to be constructed of sandstone blocks and man-made mortar. His best estimate on the age of the pyramid and tunnel network is around 2,500 years old. The project had not discovered any bones, pottery, charcoal or other artifacts that might have been linked to any ancient Bosnian civilization.

As tourism to the site increased, Sam increased the size of the site for visitors to explore. Other hills were soon named: Pyramid of the Moon, Pyramid of the Earth, Pyramid of Love and Pyramid of the Dragon. Locals say business is booming with cash laden tourists buying all sorts of souvenirs, eating at the cafes, and staying overnight at the town’s inns. How fortunate for a region that has struggled to recover from the brutalities of the 1990s. Sam thinks this positive turn of events is just what Bosnians not only need, but also deserve after enduring such suffering.

Sam recognizes that the number of archaeologists that scoff at his discovery is legion. Some have even attempted to get his dig shut down. Others worry about how it will harm the integrity of “real” archaeology. Then there are those who worry that there may be true historical value to be studied in the area but that Sam’s “wacky” pyramid scheme could inadvertently destroy the evidence as he focuses on “creating” ancient pyramids.

The press has given him mixed reviews. Among those getting on the Bosnian bandwagon are ABC, Associated Press, Boston Globe, MSNBC, and the Washington Post. Archaeology magazine, however, criticized the press for being gullible. Mark Rose, the editor, attempted to smear Sam’s reputation by poking fun of his claim that Mayans could have been the ancestors of the mysterious Atlantis civilization. Now, the gringa has seen theories bandied about regarding this and language is usually the link. That is a possibility I could find plausible.

However, Rose went further and accused Sam of believing that Atlanteans were space aliens from the star cluster Pleiades. Here, the gringa just shrugs. The problem with such an accusation is that there is no evidence one way or another of the existence of Atlanteans and therefore no way to prove or disprove their ethnic (or planetary) origins. I believe, then, that is an unfair accusation because once accused, a person has no way to defend themselves wrong or right. To me, it is an empty argument. I don’t dismiss the possibility of something I can neither prove or disprove as being a “crackpot” consideration. I just shrug and say, “Who knows? Big deal.”

Despite all of this, Sam remains standing strong against the haters and insists that the pyramids are, indeed, quite real. The Bosnian government also supports him completely and in 2011 gave permission for Sam to thoroughly investigate the hills/pyramids. Their reasoning is that they expect archaeologists to criticize Sam’s discovery. To accept Bosnian pyramids, they have to reject what they have been taught as traditional history. That is a bitter pill many will find too hard to swallow. The gringa understands.

Traditional history attests that 2,500 years ago ancient Bosnians were living in tents or caves and cooking by campfire. Evidence to this effect has been found in ancient tools discovered in exploration of caves and suspected settlement areas. To claim that man-made monuments on the scale of pyramids were being built just seems outrageous. Sam knows he must deliver extraordinary evidence to change the minds of skeptics. The gringa needs to understand the evidence that is available.

As excavation progressed, the “hill” took on the shape of a stepped pyramid. Many geologists, archaeologists and scientists of related studies conducted their own examination of the site. They concluded that the shape of the hill is naturally occurring, despite its resemblance to a stepped pyramid. The formation is called a flatiron formation. The European Association of Archaeologists went a step further and published  a press release claiming the whole thing is a hoax perpetrated for financial and political gain.

In direct contradiction to these scientific professionals are others who have thrown in their support of Sam’s pyramid scheme. The Geodetic Institute, located in Sarajevo, sent out a surveyor. His measurements reported that the Pyramid of the Moon is a step pyramid with three triangular sides and a flat top. The sides are oriented toward cardinals points  making it highly unlikely this is an accidental occurrence of nature. When satellite images were thermally analyzed, they determined that the pyramid structures’ pattern of heat loss showed that it occurred more rapidly than the surrounding natural hills. This gave way to the theory that the hills suspected to be pyramids are man-made and containing voids such as chambers and access tunnels.

Sam theorizes that ancient Illyrians constructed the pyramids between 12,000 – 500 BC and construction could have been ongoing over a period of time spanning multiple cultures and civilizations. A tunnel system spanning over two miles connects the three main pyramids. Sea levels would have been 1,500 feet lower than today so, although the tunnels contain water now, they would have been high and dry thousands of years ago.

During medieval times, a fortress sat atop Visocica. Experts who stand firm as Sam’s critics claim the ruins he is excavating actually belong to this ancient Roman observation post. The gringa leans more toward this theory than an ancient pyramid considering the purported age of the pyramid. If the pyramid was constructed between 12,000-500 BC, this part of Europe would have been covered by a sheet of ice almost one mile thick. Where would they get the stones? If they found the stones and required ingredients for mortar, how would they have been able to make the foundation stones connect with the earth? They would need to excavate nearly one mile of ice over a span of several square miles to construct multiple pyramids. Then they would have to dig a tunnel system into a frozen earth.

Now, I understand the desire for fame and glory. The gringa also understands the desire for a people, impoverished by years of civil war, to take advantage of a profitable project. I’m not convinced these are genuine, man-made pyramids that are thousands of years old. I do think they are newly man-made pyramids constructed atop ancient Roman ruins. And even though archaeological purists would scream at just how wrong that is, the gringa once again shrugs and says, “What’s done is done.” Now I’m more concerned with the humanity factor of the locals who are alive today. They would like to eat well, live comfortably and have the means to educate their children. If a crazy pyramid scheme can do all that and everyone is aware of the controversy, who cares? It can only be a hoax if the criticisms are suppressed. As long as they are openly published, it is buyer beware. Everyone is free to believe what they want to believe. And I still like Sam even if he is off his nut.

Sources: en.wikipedia.org, www.smithsonianmag.com

Image Credit: news.nationalgeographic.com