Barbara (Kitty) Mervine is a long-time friend of the JREF who is joining us on her second Amaz!ng Adventure. While she'll be enlightening those on board with tales of Mexican UFOs, she's taken time to point out some European assumptions concerning ancient American civilizations for those who missed the boat.
In preparation for travelling to Mexico for the first time I have been studying up the history of Mexico and in particular the Mayan civilization. The misconception that the native people of Mexico were incapable of having such advanced skills in architecture, math and astronomy started long before the Erich von Däniken wrote his infamous "Chariot of the Gods" book. When sixteenth- century Spanish historians wrote of the Mayan ruins, they concluded that the people that built the pyramids and other advanced architectural structures were descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Cotton Mather, William Penn and Roger Williams were all supporters of what was called the "Jewish Theory" for Mexico. Other theories to explain how such an advanced civilization ended up in Mexico include the Mayans being survivors of a lost continent such as Atlantis. In recent times we have space aliens coming to both Egypt and Central and South America to build landing pads and pyramids, and pass on their wisdom.
There are many claims in the Bible, and James Randi casts a critical eye on the "facts" therein. It seems that the archeological record and the Biblical record are somewhat at odds, and despite protests from religious "scholars," the evidence points to the idea that Nazareth, for example, did not exist as portrayed.
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A Swift reader asked me to comment on the upcoming movie, The Haunting in Connecticut. It's the story of a family who moves into the perfect house, only to find it's haunted. And while I can't comment on a movie I haven't seen, I can use this opportunity to point out something that irks me about movies, and that's the tagline "Based on a True Story."
You'll see in the photo the large words at the top. And then below "Some things cannot be explained." Er, I'm not so sure about that, but again, I haven't seen the film so I can't comment.
There are many other "based on true story" films that are worthy of comment, however.
Swift reader Stephen brings this item to our attention:
I just wanted to alert your readers that, sadly, one of the best professions for critical thinkers seems to have been infiltrated. Yes, I'm a librarian and usually damn proud of it. But just the other day, as I was checking the conference program for the American Library Association's Annual Meeting in Chicago this summer, there was cause to be less proud. For, there on the program, in the "Auditorium Speaker Series" was a notice that one of the featured speakers was to be... wait for it... James Van Praagh! Arrrgh! Even worse, the write up for the event sounds as if it came right from the computer of a HarperCollins publicist (as no doubt it did). It's full of material that really brings shame to ALA.
You say you don't believe in the power of Psi? That's P-S-I, not P-S-Y. Psi is defined as "supposed parapsychological or psychic faculties or phenomen" by the Apple Dictionary, and while the entry thankfully says "supposed," others say there's a simple demonstration that can make you a believer.
Swift reader Austin wrote to ask what I thought about psiballs. Psiballs are balls of energy that you create between your hands with the power of your mind. With practice, it's reported that you can program these balls to do "complex tasks," but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
According to WikiHow, here's one way to make one of your very own:
1. Gather your energy. This could be from your own body or from another source. You could visualize the energy entering and filling every part of your body from the Earth through your feet, or from the sky and the sun through your crown chakra. Some people imagine energy coming into the body on the in-breath and out through the hands on the out-breath.