The Mysterious Megalithic Sites

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On 2 May 2014, Amesbury in Wiltshire was officially recognized as the oldest town in Britain. The news would seem completely insignificant to most, but what drew my attention is that the town is located about 40 miles from Stonehenge. For years historians and researchers alike believed that the famous site was constructed by European immigrants, but results from a recent archaeological dig by the University of Buckingham has finally proven that the site dates back more than 10 millenia and was initiated by British settlers. In fact, carbon dating has shown the parish of Amesbury has been occupied since 8, 820 BC.

Although there are quite a few sites similar to Stonehenge worldwide, the news immediately made me think of two utterly unique discoveries that I identified while doing research on megalithic sites. My favourite was Seahenge, discovered in Norfolk in 1998. Also known as Holme 1, the site consisted of fifty-five oak trunks that formed a circular enclosure with a large inverted oak stump in the middle. The site was built around 21st century BC. Ater its discovery, the site was excavated despite protests from neo-pagan groups and the timbers were cleaned and placed in permanent storage. Today visitors can view a recreated Seahenge at the original site or visit the museum that opened to the public in 2008. The site appeared on a list of mine that was published by Listverse detailing Ten Incredible Submerged Ruins.

sea-henge

While both of these sites are in the UK, I also discovered that a similar site was found at the bottom of Lake Michigan. This in itself is fascinating as most of the megalithic sites appear in Western Europe and the Middle East. In 2007 while surveying Lake Michigan’s bottom with sonar, a team of underwater archaeologists discovered a series of stones aligned in a circle 40 feet below the surface. One of the stones also seemed to feature a carving of a mastodon, an animal that has been extinct for over 10, 000 years. This site appeared on a published list called Ten Mysterious Underwater Anomalies.

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Where the Megalithic Builders came from and who they were, will always remain a mystery and a let’s be honest, a heavily debated one. To look at a few other examples, feel free to visit the Sacred Destinations website and visit their Megaliths page.

 

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The Real “Silent Hill”

“We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on”

–          Billy Joel

In 1962 an underground firestorm was ignited by the residents of Centralia, a mining town in Pennsylvania when they decided to burn their excess garbage near an exposed seam of anthracite coal. Little did anyone know that the ill-fated actions of that day would result in an unsuccessful two-decade battle against the ongoing inferno. The underground fire burns to this day underneath an area of around 400 acres (1.6 km²) – an area that continues to expand.

CentraliaThe mining town of Centralia was already steadily declining when the town’s 300 ft. wide, 75 ft. long garbage dump was set on fire by the local fire department in a clean-up attempt on 27 May 1962. Memorial Day was coming up and the town’s residents – a community of almost 1400 people – were looking forward to their annual celebrations. The fire department doused the last flames after the dump had been cleared on the 27th but had to return twice during the following days as the fire continuously reignited. It was only after they returned the third time with a bulldozer in tow to douse the concealed layers of garbage that they discovered the opening in the pit which led directly to the network of mines running beneath the town and surrounding areas.

The first attempt intended to deal with the fire saw a company called Bridy, Inc. excavating the area in an attempt to literally dig the fire out. The project was hampered by a variety of factors. Bridy, Inc. wasn’t allowed to exactly pinpoint the fire’s location as drilling or digging could open up the fire to vast amounts of oxygen which would only add fuel to the fire – as such they had to guess where to dig. The company used inadequate equipment and they were only allowed to work during weekdays. As Bridy’s funds started running out, a second strategy was proposed which would see the mines being flushed with a mixture of crushed rocks and water. Holes were made and the flushing material was deposited. Unfortunately the second project took place during a very harsh winter and a series of events, which included frozen flushing material and frozen water lines, led to the second project also failing. During the third attempt, they once again tried to flush the mines and fill the caverns up with incombustible material, only on a much larger scale than during the previous attempt. Unfortunately none of the attempts worked, in fact, the holes drilled for the flushing process might have actually given the fire the oxygen needed to spread as far as it did.

For the next few decades the town was divided between the residents who wanted to evacuate and those who believed the fire didn’t pose a danger to them and their homes. Some even accused the mining companies and U.S. Government of conspiring to steal the area’s mineral rights worth billions of dollars. In the end those who wanted the town to be evacuated won. Hundreds of homes, businesses and other structures were demolished and more than 1,000 people were relocated by the end of the 1980’s. But a few residents remained and continue to resist the government buyout to this day.

The tragedy of Centralia and its continuing battles has featured in hundreds of publications and has been the focus of three books. Today it is nothing short of a ghost town and occasional tourist attraction. The few tidy homes and trimmed lawns of the die-hard resistors stand out like silent sentinels against the network of abandoned residential streets. The ever burning fire is expected to burn out sometime within the next 100 to 250 years.

Apart from these informative links, we also found this youtube clip you might like:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-25/fire-still-burns-in-centralia/55213824/1

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/firehole.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2010/0205/Centralia-Pa.-How-an-underground-coal-fire-erased-a-town

The Terrifying Reign of the Illusive Halifax Slasher

hallifax-slasher

On 16 November 1938 two young millworkers from Halifax, England were attacked by an elusive blade-wielding madman who became known as the Halifax Slasher. For the next nine days the town was plunged into chaos as more women fell prey to the crazed assaulter. Angry mobs started patrolling the streets and dealt out justice as they saw fit. As Scotland Yard’s best arrived to assist with the investigation, the majority of the victims one by one confessed that their wounds were actually self inflicted – the Halifax Slasher in truth, never existed. Read more…

The Forgotten Nursery schools of WW2

Nursery schools did not form part of the US Public Education System in the early 20th century as they were deemed too expensive and according to the times – children below a certain age belonged at home with their mothers. Exceptions were made however, during times of war and during the Great depression.

It's naptime!

It’s naptime!

The first formal nursery schools’ educational vision was one of combined learn-and-play activities that enveloped both home and school conditions. The movement started in the UK and soon made its way to the US with the first nursery school in the US opening in 1856. The first nursery schools or kindergartens were often sponsored privately or affiliated to universities such as the University of Chicago’s Nursery School. As these nursery schools were very costly to operate, they mainly catered to the upper- or middle classes and as such were unavailable to children from poor families.

That all changed during WW2 and the Great Depression when industrial areas along the US coast opened day-care centers to free up women to work by accommodating  the war worker’s children. Grants were offered to authorized community groups who could provide child care and all working mothers were eligible for child care services. Open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. these schools provided warm meals and various activities throughout the day. Almost 130 000 children were enrolled for day-care at these centers by 1944.

For more detailed information and further reading please visit the following links:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2013645816/resource/

http://www.faqs.org/childhood/Me-Pa/Nursery-Schools.html

http://congressionalresearch.com/RS20615/document.php