Archive | April 2012

Lost Treasure of King John

King John who ruled England from 1199-1216 is best known for being a villain in the Robin Hood stories. He lost possessions of the Angevian Empire, he irritated the Barons so much so that he was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 and lost his Crown Jewels at Wash. The legend about this lost treasure has been doing rounds over 700 years now. John was born on the Christmas Eve and was the eldest son of Henry II. As a child John was largely overshadowed by his enigmatic brother Richard. Just like his father John developed a habit of violent outrages which lead to foaming mouth. When Henry died he left no land to John so he gained the name John Lackland. All of Henry’s territories went to his eldest son Richard I (who was better known as Richard the Lionheart). In 1199 Richard was killed in France and John spent no time in declaring himself the King of England. His reign started in a very unfortunate manner as his nephew Aurthur of Brittany was murdered. Many accused John for this murder and even rebelled against him.

King John lost his Crown Jewels at Wash

The story of King John’s lost treasures has been in vogue from 13th century. King John was travelleing to East of London in late 1216. By this time the fortunes of the King had sunk very low, he pawned money to pay for the crusades of his brother Richard I and spent them on luxuries for himself. He had already lost his lands in Normandy to French king and was facing a French army on his own soil who was aided by the barons. Only a year before he had to sign the Magna Carta that reduced his powers to the throne.

King John was confronted by various problems through his reign

On October 9, 1216 he arrived at Lynn, one of the very few places where he was still a little popular. On his arrival the king started feeling ill and decided to return back to Loncolnshire for safety reasons. On October 12 King John tried cross the Wash (a large bay that separates East Anglia from Licolnshire). During those times the region was filled with mudflats and marshes. It was traversable only during the low tides but was dangerous because of the quick sands and rapid movement of water. The king himself crossed at Wisbech and his baggage train consisting of many Royal treasures including the Crown Jewels was just behind him. The water rose suddenly and the treasures were lost in the water and quick sands. The incident has been a part of many writings. The king was ill with dysentery and moved a few more times before dying on October 18 at Newark.

Wash was a marshand with quick sands and rapid movement of water

There has always been a lot of speculation over what the King lost at Wash. Though most feel there were priceless Crown Jewels lost, but there are no records to support the claim. While others feel that the king was carrying some furniture and nothing more. But modern researchers feel that the king was travelling through the English countryside at a fair pace of 60 kilometres a day. The luggage trains in those days were very sluggish, and the army could not travel with such pace if they were to carry a baggage train.

Does Yeti Really Exist?

Tales of a hairy monster living in the high Himalayan region can be found in the writings of various Chinese scholars. This creature has often been linked to the genesis of Asian civilisation. Though some Europeans had also witnessed this Ape like creature but it did not receive much publicity before the fall of twentieth century. In 1906 H.J. Elwes reported to have noticed a hairy figure racing across a field of snow while he was on an expedition to the Himalayas. Most scientific establishments refuted this fact. But some scientists had to validate the fact when they found the journals of Major Lawrence Waddell who had reported some humanlike tracks on snow in 1887. In 1921 a company of British soldiers witnessed dark shapes moving about in the snow on the expedition to scale the Mount Everest. The explorers also found several human-like footprints.

Illustration of how a Yeti might look

 

The sherpas in the vicinity called these creates as “Metoh Kangmi” or “Abdominable Snowman”. The creature was later known as Yeti. It has been described as being five to six feet tall having reddish hair, a conical, long hanging arms and a human like face. In 1925 a Greek photographer named N.A. Tombazi on expedition to the Himalayas was pointed at a figure at a fair distance by a Sherpa guide. Tombazi later revealed that the creature stood upright similar to a human and was pulling some bushes. Yeti disappeared before Tombazi had chance to take a snap. But the photographer headed to the place and found footprints that were very human-like. In the following years there were many reports of odd human footprints in snow.

 

Picture of a Yeti sighting

In 1930’s studies started using explorer Frank Smythe’s discovery of Yeti footprints on snow. These footprints were found at 14,000 feet and measured about 13 inches long and five inches wide. Another famous mountaineer also reported about the Yeti sighting. During the World War II all sightings and explorations stopped in the Himalayan region. But in 1942 four men who had escaped from Communist Prison in Siberia and walked all the way to India reported they had met two Yetis.

 

Yeti footprint

After 195o there were many expeditions to Himalays renewing interesting in the Yeti. In 1953 celebrated mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reported to have seen giant footprints on their expedition to the summit. Norgay also revealed later that his father had died shortly after seeing a Yeti. But Hillary went on to lead another expedition to find evidence for existence of Yeti. But he found nothing of this sort. Hillary concluded that Yeti was part of fairy tale which had no real existence. But most experts feel that Hillary had jumped onto a conclusion very soon, because he had also not seen the snow leopard but that definitely exists.

 

Another Yeti sighting caught on camera

Though most of the interest in Yeti was killed off by Hillary’s conclusion but it soon re-ignited. There was a report where a Sherpa girl and her yaks were attacked by a creature. In the incident three animals were killed. In August 1981 a group of Soviet mountaineers led by Igor Tatsl claimed to have not only met but had a friendly time with the Yeti. He even felt that these were the closest evolutionary stage of human beings, they had sharper sense than normal human beings.

 

In the 1990’s and 2000’s there were various other sightings. But no conclusive proof except some footprints and blur pictures exist. But how could so many people lie. We should wait and see when the concrete evidence for the existence of this mysterious creature can be found.

 

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Mystery about Sandringham Company Vanishing

Year of this incident was 1915 and the Great World War had already started waging. It had been two years since the beginning of the war. An army of coalition forces consisting of Australia, British and New Zealand troops landed in Dardanells in Turkey. They were sent with a mission to attack the Turks. Among these coalition forces there were 250 men and 16 officers from the Royal Norfolk Regiment. There were grooms, servants and gardeners of the British Royal Family estate of Sandringham in Norfolk included in the regiment.

 

Coalition forces landing in Dardanells, Turkey

The incident we are referring here happened on August 12, 1915 in the height days of the battle. The incident was witnessed by many soldiers from the New Zealand company. At morning the Sandringham company was ordered to carry out an attack near Suvla Bay. Many eye witnesses describe that the company ascended the hills and began entering with a low lying cloud. Once the last person from the army entered the hill suddenly the cloud lifted. On watchers tried to look through to find the soldiers. By now the soldiers should have been clearly visible, but none could be seen. It seemed that the entire company had suddenly vanished.

 

Last Pictures of Vanished Sandringham Company

There is absence of proof to explain the real incident. Thus many authorities assumed that the soldiers were killed and buried under this short lived cloud cover, but this could be an extremely challenging task. The Turks on their part have denied such an accusation. Another explanation for incident could be that Turks had defeated them in such a short time and took them as war prisoners. But Turks have repeatedly stressed that they knew nothing about the company and had never made contact with them.

Company advancing towards Suvla Bay

 

Even till date there is no clarification on the incident. Not even a single survivor was found. Moreover, after the war ended none of the soldiers from Sundringham company were found in the list of war prisoners. It seems that the entire company had miraculously vanished off the Earth within a minute. Only logical explanations can be provided by supernatural or paranormal activity because there is no logical way to prove this incident.

The Puzzle Surrounding Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is one of the revered buildings in the world. There are few buildings constructed in the 6th century that are still used. It was the jewel in the crown of two great long lasting Empire – Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. There is no other building in the world that has served as the headquarters of Sunni Islam (it was the seat of the Caliphate) and previously the seat of Orthodox Christianity. Hagia Sophia is unique in whatever way you look upon it. It has been converted into a museum now. The building was named after Sophia (meaning Holy Wisdom) and reaches back to the times before Christianity. The present structure was perhaps inaugurated on December 27, 537 AD. Hagia Sophia has survived many earthquakes, wars and riots. But there is a big mystery that lies hidden beneath this famous building.

Hagia Sophia standing tall in Istanbul

This is the only building which was designed as a church and yet does not have extensive underground areas, whether it is burial chambers, crypts or catacombs. The original Hagia Sophia church was inaugurated back on February 15, 360 AD. It was the biggest church in the new Roman capital of Constantinople. Other churches constructed during this time such as Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (326-330 AD) and Old St. Peter’s in Rome (330-360 AD) have extensive underground areas. Crypt is an integral part of the design of any great church. Crypts are used to bury a Christian figure or some martyrs. For most other churches the underground areas are the most sacred parts of the building. But it is very mysterious why the Hagia Sophia does not have any  underground areas apart from a few underground tunnels.

Underground tunnel below Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Some experts feel that lack of underground areas is due to the location of the building. May be the area was unsuitable for any type of underground construction. But this argument cannot hold much ground because only at 150m is Basilica Cistern. Basilica Cistern is a well known ancient underground site of the world. There are many underground chambers in the Basilica.

Underground Tunnels of Basilica Cistern

Did the famous designers of this building, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles forget these underground areas while chalking their designs? Judging their reputation hardly can this be a fact. May be the underground areas were sealed off at a later date. On May 29, 1453 Hagia Sophia fell to the Ottoman Turks when Constantinople fell. Constantine XI also wrote to the Pope that he had to surrender the city as there was not much aid coming from the West. But why would someone seal the underground areas?

Interior of Hagia Sophia

There may have been many Greek Orthodox treasures in this building. Hagia Sophia was looted in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade. But most of Orthodox relics were restored back in 1261. These were icons of a faith and the followers never wanted them to fall in the hands of the Muslim invaders. Some of the items were even believed to have been infused with miraculous powers. So, when the Ottoman’s stormed into the city all these items were filled into the underground area and sealed off.

Black Death could be one of the reasons for sealing underground areas of Hagia Sophia

Second reason could be the outbreak of Black Death during the Ottoman capture of the city. Black Death was one of the most destructive epidemics to have struck humanity. This epidemic struck large European cities in 1350. Black Death arrived in Constantinople early because of the Crimean contacts. About fifty percent population of the city was wiped out by the epidemic, including the son of a Byzantine Emperor. Underground areas beneath the church were one of the areas to bury senior members, aristocracy and clergies affected by the Black Death. Underground areas of Hagia Sophia could have been filled with corpses of victims. After Ottoman annexation, Ak Semseddin who was the Sufi instructor of Mehmed the Conqueror could have suggested the sealing of the underground areas. Ak was a physician of repute and knew that contact with the affected corpses could lead further loss of lives.

But the definite reasons are still unknown as there hasn’t been much research about this rather strange mystery.

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