History Speaks


Disappearing Ships and Crews

There are two purposes to be served in discussing the disappearances of ships and crews. First, we shall list enough of the available material to show that such phenomena have occurred and, second, we shall see what conclusions can be drawn and how it will serve our space thesis.

It is well-known sea lore that ships develop a kind of spiritual or psychic entity, or personality, like people, and the strange tale of the Marie Celeste illustrates this as few other histories can. After reading the whole story, it cannot be denied that a malignant curse enshrouded this unhappy vessel. The dramatic disappearance of her crew is vital to our present theme, but it is only one incident in the strange experiences of the brigantine.

The following account by Henry S. Galus is from Fate (Vol. X, No. 8):

On the afternoon of December 4, 1872, the British brigantine, Dei Gratia, made a queer discovery, about three hundred miles off the Portuguese coast, which soon tangled seamen, courts and researchers in the hottest controversy in nautical history.
Mate Oliver Deveau had raised his glass to windward and had seen a vessel under short sail, plowing directly toward him. Deveau notified Captain David R. Morehouse, of it, and the skipper “spoke” to the craft in greeting. There was no reply. Sensing some tragedy, Morehouse went abreast the brig to lend it possible aid. Nothing stirred on her deck. Yet this brig had been holding a course as if guided by the skill of a salty helmsman!

Deveau and two hands boarded the craft. Official records reveal the baffling sight in his own words: “I found no one on board—I found three and one-half feet of water in the pumps—fore hatch and lazerette hatch both off—binnacle stove in – skylight of the cabin was open and raised—the compass in the binnacle was destroyed. All the Captain’s effects had been left – I mean his clothes, furniture, etc. I found the log book in the mate’s cabin, on his desk.

“There seemed to be everything left behind in the cabin as if left in a hurry, but everything in its place. I noticed the impression in the Captain’s bed as of a child having lain there.”

Nine days later, at Gibraltar, Deveau swung the ghost ship into port with the idea of collecting salvage money for the 1,700 barrels of alcohol under her hatches. But the destiny of the Marie Celeste was more complicated than that. The Marshal of the Vics Admiralty Court put the brig under arrest. The Queen’s Proctor, Frederick S. Flood, asserted that a crew just didn’t leave a ship with $80,000 worth of alcohol, to risk their necks on a directionless joy ride. What, then, had Deveau done with the missing crew?

The Dei Gratia had also pulled into port. Flood turned suspicious glances toward its hands. Clearly he was determined to find evidence of crime. He entered the Marie Celeste’s cabin, and his eyes snapped when he uncovered an old Italian sword under the Captain’s berth. Flood scrutinized the deck— and found the stains he expected! Dr. J. Patron was summoned to make a chemical test.

“No,” he told Flood, “these are not blood stains.”

John Austin, the ship surveyor and diver, next examined the brig’s underside. He came up dripping to report that there was no indication that the brig had struck anything like a reef which might have caused the crew, fearful of being trapped on board, to abandon ship.

Then, why had the Marie Celeste been abandoned? It was learned that her master had been Captain Benjamin S. Briggs. Nine others accompanied him, including his wife and daughter Sophie. Surely Briggs, and old sea master, would have done nothing to endanger his family. The destroyed compass was a clue—but there was no further evidence of violence.

“You’ll never find the answer. An unworldly power cleared the brig’s deck.” The tribunal scoffed. Ghost ships! In the 19th Century!

Lack of evidence now bogged down the court’s hearing of the Dei Gratia’s salvage claims.

Meanwhile, as news of the riddle boiled in the world presses, amazing background facts came to light. Rumor stated that the current tragedy was only a continuation of the misfortunes that dogged the brig since she was first launched in Nova Scotia. Who ever had touched her had suffered disappointments, financial losses, or worse.

As the Amazon, in 1861, the 206-ton brig made her maiden voyage under Captain Robert McLellan. He took sick while plying the Bay of Fundy. Ashore, days later, he died. John N. Parker, the next skipper, was only mildly successful with his trips. The owners replaced him with William Thompson. Promptly, the brig cracked up on Cape Breton Island. This broke her owners. Salvors seized the vessel. John Howard Beatty bought and lost her quickly, for as the Sackville, New Brunswick, Tribune reported, the Amazon piled up on the Maine coast.

As a condemned hulk she was auctioned off at New York. On November 12, 1868, Richard W. Hains paid $1,750 for her, and it was he who named her Marie Celeste. Scarcely ten months later he forfeited the brig for debt. James H. Winchester, her newest proprietor, put the blame for his poor profits on a swift succession of skippers; however, not until the middle of 1872 did a serious misfortune befall him. A Boston Marshal charged Winchester with fraudulent ownership. The Marie Celeste was immediately bonded for $2,600.

Reeling under the blow, Winchester was reedy to let the bedeviled craft go, but fate, through the court, settled in his favor. During ensuing repairs, the ill-fated Benjamin S. Briggs reduced Winchester’s costs by purchasing a third interest. And the Captain’s wife, Sarah, penned these final words to her mother-in-law, on November 7th, 1872, off Staten Island: “Benje thinks we have a pretty peaceable set (crew) this time, if they continue as they have begun. Can’t tell you how smart they are.”
Had Captain Briggs conveyed any suspicions of his crew to his wife?


One theory of what happened to the Marie Celeste’s human cargo, with a possible correlation to Sarah Briggs’ words, comes from an English author, Laurence J. Keating. In 1929 his book, The Great Marie Celeste Hoax, “exposed the famous sea mystery with ruthless truth.” Keating charged that:

“Mrs. Briggs was a prime irritant on board the Marie Celeste; trouble rode most of the voyage; she died and was cast overboard; Captain Briggs disappeared one night from the brig, apparently murdered while most of the men were drunk. Lastly, the Dei Gratia had not found the Marie Celeste, but a brig named Julia—and the whole puzzle was the result of a criminal conspiracy between Captains Morehouse and Briggs, which unfortunately cost the latter his life!”

More than any other theory to date, this astonishing one from Keating has been shouted down. J. Franklin Briggs, nephew of the lost skipper and now living in New Bedford, Massachusetts, has spent many years trying to disprove both Keating’s claims and other statements he considers a defamation of the innocent dead. In a privately circulated booklet published August 8, 1944, the surviving Briggs presents a digest of his voluminous investigations which included interviews with H.S. Morehouse, the Dei Gratia’s Skipper’s son; Winchester Noyes, grandson of Captain Winchester; and Mrs. Alice Melason, Mate Oliver Deveau’s daughter.

Still, the booklet does not solve the riddle.

“We may believe,” J.F. Briggs concludes, “that the Captain became suddenly alarmed (Presumably by rough weather), hauled aback the square sails to stop the brig’s headway, ordered all hands into the yawl, and temporarily left the ship, which subsequently gathered way and sailed off.”

This view is the simplest explanation. But scores of other solutions have been just as sincerely forwarded. There is the letter Proctor Flood wrote to the London Board of Trade on January 22 or 23, 1873:

“My own theory, or guess, is that the crew got at the alcohol and in the fury of drunkenness murdered the master, his wife, child, and the chief mate; that they damaged the bows of the vessel with the view of giving it the appearance of having struck on rocks…so as to induce the Master of any vessel which might pick her up to think her not worth saving; and that they did, sometime between November 25, and December 5, escape on board some vessel.”

This, so closely paralleling Author Keating’s accusations, was countered by a Captain Shufeldt, U.S. Navy, who had examined the Marie Celeste: “The damage about the bows of the brig appears to me to amount to nothing more than splinters made in the bending planks,,, neither hurting the ship nor any possible chance the result of intention to do so,” In Yachting, for February, 1940, Dr. Oliver W. Cobb, cousin of Sarah Briggs, wrote:

“there may have been leakage, and gas may have accumulated in the hold” because of the effects of temperature changes on the alcohol store. Thus, the Marie Celeste’s master, fearful of an explosion, got his crew off the craft. Cobb feels that Briggs used a halyard line to hold the brig until it was determined safe for a return aboard. “Probably a fresh northerly wind sprang up, filled the square sails—these people were left in an open boat on the ocean.”

A sailor named Lund, one of the three who sailed the Marie Celeste into Gibraltar claimed that the derelict’s “peak halyards were broken and gone.” The second seaman, Anderson, “saw ropes hanging over the side.” Deveau at the same time testified: “the main peak halyards were broken.” He didn’t say, “gone.” Has Dr. Cobb provided the true solution, then?

Several researchers suggested that icebergs threatened the brig and, therefore, the fear-stricken crew took flight only to become victims of other icebergs. However, one of the most painstaking historians of the enigma is Charles Eddy Fay, who now lives at Lake Worth, Florida. He went directly to the Navy Department to ask whether icebergs were common in the part of the ocean where the ghost ship was picked up. On December 7, 1940, the hydrographic office told him:

“As to the possibility of icebergs being found in the locality—that is highly improbable, due to the long drift, through comparatively warm water, necessary for any ice to reach this vicinity. However, small pieces of ice have been sighted exceptionally far south as follows—up to 1934.”

Another more popular assumption saw Captain Briggs and his crew fall prey to merciless pirates. On this one, too, Fay sought government information. A letter dated January 15, 1941, came from the Naval Archives:

“—concerning the possibility of pirates—records do not reveal that any piratical operations took place as late as 1872 between the Azores and the coast of Portugal.”

A swirling flood of conjectures continued to pour forth as to the fate of Captain Briggs and his men and women. Was J. L. Hornibrook any nearer the facts in Chamber’s Journal, September 17, 1904?

“Suddenly a huge octopus rises from the deep, encircles the helmsman. His yells bring every soul running on deck. One by one they are caught by the waving wriggling arms. Then, freighted with its living load, the monster slowly sinks into the deep, leaving no trace of its attack.”

Or do you prefer the story from the Washington Post, December 19, 1931, quoting a feature published earlier in the London Daily Express? An R.E. Greenbough found a document in a floating bottle which told of the crew being kidnapped from the Marie Celeste by an undisclosed ship. Kathleen Woodward wrote in the New York Times Magazine, October 12, 1924: A man referred to as Triggs, a bo’sun’s mate on the Marie Celeste, quoted as charging Captain Briggs and crew abandoned ship, boarded a derelict steamer, broke open its safe, stole gold, fled and arrived with a misleading tale at Cadiz.

In the British Quarterly Review, July 1931, there appeared a story by Harold T. Wilkins. The Dei Gratia, on a predatory mission, purposely waited in the middle of the ocean for the brig, somehow induced the crew to come aboard and slaughtered all hands. In Nautical Magazine, July 1922, D.G. Ball tried to wash the log page clear once and for all—“the whole story is just a myth without any foundation of fact.” He assured his readers that no such ship had ever existed. He regretted that he must divulge this truth for the controversy fascinated him.

That the Marie Celeste did exist is proven by subsequently recorded voyages after her release March10, 1873, by the Gibraltar court; and by the court records themselves.

Captain George W. Blatchford, of Wrentham, Massachusetts, finally delivered her alcohol cargo to Genoa, then sailed to Boston. “When she arrived,” related Winchester, her owner, “a great many people came to look at her, but as soon as they found out her history they would not touch her.” Those who believed an ominous fate still pursued her were soon presented with a convincing sequel. Here are the actual incidents that followed.

Winchester refused to gamble further on the brig. He managed to get rid of her at an $8,000 loss. The succeeding owner, Captain David Cartwright, according to the New York World, January 24, 1886,

“sent her to Montevideo with a cargo of lumber. She arrived there minus her deck load, and minus spars and sails. There the Captain got a charter to carry horses. The few delivered alive were too ill to be worth anything. Edgar M. Tuthill (her skipper) obtained a charter to bring freight from Calcutta. On the passage home he was taken sick and died in St. Helena, three weeks later. We next sent her to Africa. She lost $1,000.00.”

But the end was near. The Marie Celeste’s last proprietor, Wesley A. Grove, signed Captain Gillman E. Parker and loaded her with assorted cargo for Port-au Prince, Haiti. The various shippers; first took out insurance for $25,000—and on January 3, 1885, the drunken Parker staggered up to the helmsman, pointing to a clearly visible coral reef.

“Steer hard for her, m’hearty, and do the job real good.” The brig crunched viciously, and the grinning skipper shouted all hands below for a lusty drink session, after which all rowed ashore.

In Haiti, someone talked. The plot failed when the insurance companies dug up evidence to indict the bribing shippers. At the trial in Boston, the shippers admitted guilt. Parker escaped conviction, as the judge ordered a new trial on the charge of barratry.

Perhaps the last echo of the Marie Celeste’s evil fate intervened to cheat justice. For within three months Parker died. Six months later his mate was dead. All the conspiring firms by this time had bankrupted, and one of their members committed suicide.

Thus the log book of the most ill-fated brig in history was closed forever.

There are several facts which we must stress. First, the upper rigging of the ship was slightly damaged, as if some unusual accident or activity took place there. Then, the compass was damaged. Aside from these, there was no note of disarray or a struggle. Life had departed from the ship instantly, apparently with all the routine activities interrupted and; no preparations made; log book on the table, clothing in order, sails set, galley undisturbed—but no records in the log or anywhere else!

To attempt to postulate motive for space inhabitants kidnapping crews from ships—not to mention isolated individuals to which we shall come momentarily—is in the realm of pure speculation. On the other hand, bearing our two possibilities in mind as to the origin of space contrivances, in either case our space friends would want to know what has happened to us since they left, or what has happened to us since they put us down here. Again, there is always the possibility that the open seas provide an easy catching place.

In any case, selective transportation requires intelligence. A force acting from the sky and intelligently directed could do some very puzzling things.

Here is another mystery at sea as reported in Fate Magazine, June 1954:

SOS, SOS---came the distress call from the Dutch vessel S.S.Ourang Medan, Dutch and British listening posts located the vessel as proceeding through the straits of Malacca. It was early February 1948, the sea calm, the weather clear.

SOS, SOS, again came the frenzied call. After a short silence, “…all officers, including Captain dead, lying in chartroom and on Bridge… probably whole crew dead…”

There followed a series of indecipherable dots and dashes and then came quite clearly: “I die.” And after that only an ominous silence.

Rescue ships from Dutch Sumatra and British Malaya rushed to the indicated location of the vessel in distress. They found her only fifty miles from the position given. Boats were put over the sides to investigate.

When boarding parties reached the Ourang Medan they found an eerie sight. There wasn’t a living creature on the ship. The captain lay dead on the bridge. The bodies of the other officers sprawled in the wheelhouse, chartroom and wardroom. The faithful “sparks” was slumped in a chair in the radio shack, his hand still on the sending key.


The bodies of the hapless crew lay everywhere: in their rooms, in the passageways, on the decks. And on all the dead face was a look of convulsive horror. As a report of the Proceedings of the Merchant Marine Council put it: “their frozen faces were upturned to the sun, the mouths were gaping open and the eyes staring…” Everyone was dead! Even the ship’s dog a small terrier, was lifeless, its teeth bared in anger or agony.

But strangely there was no sign of wounds or injuries on any of the bodies.

After a quick conference, the would-be rescuers decided to put a tow line onto the unlucky vessel and take her into port. But at that very moment smoke and flames belched froth from No. 4 hold. The fire was immediately so hot and so widespread that it was impossible to subdue.

The boarding parties hurriedly abandoned the doomed vessel and returned to the safety of their own ships. Moments later there was a terrific explosion on the Ourang Medan and the ship seemed to leap into the air. Then it settled back and quietly slid beneath the waters. From that day to this, no one has ever been able to determine what happened to this unfortunate ship or to her officers and crew. The fate of the S.S. Ourang Medan is another unsolved mystery of the sea.

The notable points: sudden death (or disappearance) of people (all life) at a lonely and isolated spot, at sea. No apparent cause assignable. A sudden and unexplained fire, obviously for the purpose of “destroying the evidence,” a fire so suddenly violent and widespread as to defy action, although strong men, familiar with ships, were at hand, prepared for emergencies.

Some meteorologists and astronomers have suggested from time to time that ships and aircraft disappearing at sea may have been struck by meteors. Many writers have expressed the feeling that there is something unexplained in these disappearances without trace, but there is no proven case of an aircraft being struck by a meteor over land. In fact there are a few, if any, proven cases of cars, trucks, trains, buggies, sleighs, mud scows, coal barges, or even buildings, being struck directly by meteors, and considering the millions of these features on a landscape, it seems like stretching and distorting coincidence rather far to blame random meteors for the dispatching of numerous ships and aircraft to oblivion. Especially without trace, and more especially, today with constant radio vigil, without warning or without radio reports from the victims. Can you imagine a ship, struck by meteor big enough to sink it, going down entirely without some debris being scattered about?

The New York Times, of June 21, 1921, discusses the disappearances of three U.S. ships, with such a dearth of information that piracy was suggested. Several departments of the U.S. Government were investigating. In February, the Carol Deering, a five-masted schooner, had run ashore on the coast of North Carolina, in circumstances startlingly like those of the Marie Celeste. The crew had disappeared about the time a meal was to be served. Some bottles were later found with messages, one purporting to be from the Captain and one from the Mate, but they were contradictory, and not to plausible. The Times of June 22, 1921, commented on “More Ships Added to the Mystery List,” and on June 24 mentioned about a dozen disappearances without a trace.

For something modern, we cite the Washington D.C.Times-Herald, of February 11, 1953”

Colombo, Ceylon, and February 10, 1953: A slightly damaged motor ship whose five-man crew vanished mysteriously at sea was towed into Colombo today, still carrying plenty of food, water and fuel.

A Meal had been prepared in the galley, ready for serving. Despite a broken mast, the Holchu rode well in the waters with a cargo of rice. The ship normally plies between Andaman and Nicobar Islands, near the route from Colombo to Singapore.
There was no clue as to the fate of the five Asiatic crew men known to have been aboard.

Sighted three days ago, two hundred miles south of Nicobar Islands, the derelict was boarded by crew members of the British freighter, Ranee. The British vessel was carrying 7,450 tons of rice from Communist China to Ceylon—the first consignment under a new trade agreement…

Note the pattern again in this modern case. The broken mast is the key. This was a motor ship, and carried no sails (presumably), but in any case was not dependent on sails. The damage aloft is a common feature of these events and somehow indicates activity above the ship, or at least above its deck.

Another training ship, British, the Atlanta, set sail early in 1880 from Bermuda, with 250 cadets and sailors aboard, and was not heard of again. Two things strike me: the year 1880, a year of unexplained mysteries; and the Bermuda-Caribbean area where mysterious disappearances are many.

The Danish training ship, Kobenhoven, sailed from Montevideo on December 14, 1928, with fifty cadets and sailors aboard…and disappeared. She was a beautiful sight, full-rigged and radiant of strength and dependability—I saw her and photographed her in the harbor of Funchal, Madeira, in November, 1927, when I was aboard the S.S. Windsor Castle, en route from Southampton to Capetown, What happened?

May I suggest that there seems to be a tendency for selectivity toward sailing vessels? And don’t overlook the fact that this strong ship disappeared in the era of wireless and radio. As in the cases of so many airplanes, where radio operators are constantly on duty, this ship not only disappeared with trace, but met a fate so instantaneous that it was impossible to radio for help or to announce impending disaster.

On October 3, 1902, the German bark, Freya, cleared from Manzanillo, on the west coast of Mexico (a tropical pesthole, if ever I saw one), for Punta Arenas (see Nature, April 25, 1907). On October 20, she was found at sea, partly dismasted, lying on her side—nobody aboard. The anchor was still hanging from her bow, not fully shipped, a good indication that calamity had struck very soon after she left port. The date on the wall calendar, in the Captain’s cabin was October 4. Weather reports showed that there had been only light winds, but upon July 5 there had been an earthquake in Mexico. It does not seem that this quake could have created a tidal wave sufficient to capsize and damage this vessel, without doing some noteworthy damage along the nearby shores. Note that she was dismasted— not the type of damage to expect from a tidal wave.

Several weeks after the disappearance of the crew of the Freya, another strange sea occurrence was reported. According to the log of the S.S. Fort Salisbury, the second officer, Mr. A. H. Raymer, had, October 28, 1902, in Latitude 50º 31’, Longitude 4º 42’ W, (which is a few hundred miles off the coast of French Equatorial Africa, in the South Atlantic), been called by the lookout, at 3:05 AM, who reported that there was a huge, dark object, bearing lights, in the sea ahead. Two lights were seen, and the steamer passed a bulk of an estimated length of 500 – 600 feet, which seemed to be slowly sinking. A mechanism of some sort, the observers thought, was making a commotion in the water. Phosphorescence was mentioned, but seems weak to account for two definite lights.

The Captain was interviewed, and said: “I can only say that Mr. Raymer is very earnest on the subject, and has, together with the lookout and helmsman, seen something in the water, of a huge nature, as specified.”

Now comes a tale in which there seems to be little chance of error or hoax. This is the sort of thing that can be certified, and it happened in the open, among a group of hard-headed people noted for clear thinking and straight-forward speech. Note how typical it is, as to details.

About seven AM, on a bright sunny morning in 1850, the people living in the vicinity of Easton’s Beach, near Newport, R.I., rubbed their eyes in disbelief. They saw a large sailing vessel heading hard-in for shore and disaster. At first they believed it was an optical illusion, but as the vessel drew closer, they heard its weather-beaten sails flapping like shrouds in the stiff breeze, and they shouted: “It’s the Seabird?” Frantically they tried to wave her, from her course. But the vessel come (sic) on.

Then miraculously, as though lifted by giant hands, the vessel majestically berthed herself on the shore, undamaged.

The watchers, most of them God-fearing fishermen, crossed themselves, and like a funeral procession, boarded the ship, their hearts filled with fear of the sight that their eyes might meet. But the only thing they did meet was a friendly mongrel, its tail wagging as it emerged from the shadows of the vessel and followed them about the dock.

A search was made for Captain John Durham and his crew, but no sign of them was found. A look of bewilderment covered the faces of the searchers when they crowded into the small galley and found coffee boiling on the stove and an elaborate breakfast laid out on the table. They also found that the crew’s quarters smelled strongly of tobacco smoke, but there was no clue to the crew’s whereabouts.

Captain Durham was a rugged New Englander, not afraid of the Devil himself, and an excellent seaman. The ship’s course was carefully plotted and the navigation instruments all in order. The ship’s log lay open, with the last entry neatly noted: “Branton Reef, sighted.” Branton Reef, a chain of rock offshore, is only a couple miles from Newport, where the 300-ton trading boat was scheduled to dock. The Seabird had been on a four-month voyage and was just returning from Honduras.
The Seabird remained beached on the sand, the object of many curious eyes. There was much speculation of how, where, when and why the captain and his crew had disappeared—so close to home—without leaving a tangible clue.

The crew of a fishing boat, which returned two hours earlier with a catch, reported hailing the captain from a distance, and said that he waved back at them. They said that the Seabird then was on her course for Newport.

One fisherman speculated that a sea monster reached aboard the vessel and swallowed the crew. Friends nodded agreement, for there were reports by reputable seamen of the sightings of strange denizens of the seas, bigger than whales.

A thorough investigation by a Board of Inquiry failed to shed new light on the mystery. They reported their findings to the Captain’s wife, a woman of few words. She glanced up from the Bible she as reading, and with a look of resignation, said: “’Tis the will of the Lord.”

The vessel’s holds were unloaded. Tropical hardwoods, pitchpine, sacks of coffee and some dyewoods were transported to her designated port of call. Then an attempt was made to refloat the ship—but the Seabird dug deeper into the sand.

Soon after, a night gale blew itself into a violent storm. The wind howled around the neck of Rhode Island, kicking up the sea. The sea, in turn, threw mountainous waves at the Seabird, lifting her from her sand anchorage and tossing her about.
In the calm of the day that followed, when the sea was gentle again, the fishing folk who lived in the quiet village near Easton’s Beach arose early to see what damage the storm had done. They expected to find the Seabird pounded to pieces, her debris littering the shore.

Instead, the vessel was gone. Like her ill-fated captain and crew she had vanished without a trace, and was never seen or heard of again! (Fate, April, 1953)

There are really at least two important events in this story. The disappearance of the crew can be considered one event, or certainly as one distinct phase of one event. The final disappearance of the ship is another, and perhaps the initial beaching of the boat, without damage, is something to be singled out for attention.

The crew must have abandoned the ship—or disappeared—within sight of land. In fact they were within sight of their homeport, and most likely there were fishing boats around in the area. There was no storm to complicate matters. No boat or wreckage came ashore, in spite of the nearness of land. It would be interesting if we could know whether there was damage to masts or rigging.

It seem obvious that the ship was close enough to port so that the last and final alteration in course had been made before the crew disappeared, and this fact would enable us to place a maximum limit on the distance from shore at which an “event” could have occurred. The vessel was spoken to about two hours previously, another check on distance, as well as on time.
It is one thing for a crew, to vanish without a trace; another for a stranded ship to do likewise. The two disappearances, in quick succession, create an improbability of much higher order. For our present purposes we cannot overlook the disappearance of the ship, for some wreckage should have been seen somewhere, but none was reported, although there was a storm of sufficient violence to make an experienced seagoing population expect to find the ship completely demolished.

The crew disappeared, suddenly, unexpectedly, completely, in daylight within sight of the home port, in good weather, and left the dog. A sailor leaving a ship casually, or leisurely, would not abandon the ship’s mascot or pet!

Now—let’s peer into the records a bit closer. First the crew. Do you begin to see a pattern? Complete and sudden disappearance, with no time to leave a record of any kind, from a ship under sail, in calm weather. A very high order of selectivity—so high as to demand that purposefulness be considered. A dexterity for segregation beyond the capability of natural forces in one case, much less in a long sequence of events. A disappearance almost impossible to explain except as upward.

But in this case, the disappearance of the crew is but one phase, and there is evidence of continued application of intelligence—from above. As if the force, which abducted the crew, might have some element of compassion for the owners of the cargo, the unfortunate ship was brought carefully to shore, and gently grounded, high on the sand, “miraculously, as if lifted by giant hands.” What better description can there be of a ship being levitated by an intelligently directed force from above?

But even that is not all. The ship lay quietly on the beach until the undamaged cargo was unloaded. Then—disappearance. Yes, we know there was a storm, a big one. Yes, storms do queer things. But this storm, with all the delicacy of a watchmaker, removed all of a large ship…hull, spars, rigging, hatchcovers, deck rear, dunnage, small boats—everything. Took it off the beach where experienced salvors could do nothing with it…took it away, completely, suddenly finally—without trace.

Are we to keep on forever attributing this high order of dexterity and selectivity to untutored storms and whirlwinds?

In the disappearances we certainly have an intimation, however slight, of levitation…of something operating from above, with great and decisive power, and suddenness of action. Whatever it may be, it seems to favor isolated places and ships. There is without doubt, an element of our old friend: selectivity, and perhaps segregation. There is also a suggestion of ruthlessness—selective ruthlessness. There is something of evasion, or secretiveness. All are attributes of intelligence.

The story is told—by C.F. Talman, in Realm of the Air—of a ship which was expected to arrive in New York in colonial days. One Sunday afternoon, after a violent storm she was floating in the air, every spar so clearly visible that there was no doubt about the identity of the image depicted in the sky. That was the last ever seen of her. Mr. Talman opines that this was a mirage, and that probably she had sprung a leak in the storm, and foundered before she got to port.

We’re in none to good a position to argue with the learned meteorologist. It may have been a mirage. Could be; but let’s peer a bit closer.

First of all, if the ship was seen so clearly, it should have been possible for seaside folk to note whether she was in distress. Nothing was said of that. No wreckage was reported, although she was admittedly close to shore, and we’re familiar with that characteristic, too. Disappearance close to port, without a trace: and that’s a repeating tale, along the Atlantic seaboard. Nothing was said about the image being upside down, which is a usual characteristic of mirages. And if so close as to make every spar recognizable, would not this be pretty close for a mirage? And, again, are mirages commonly noted right after a storm? Aren’t they more likely in a time of stable weather when stratification of the atmosphere over water and land is possible?

It is entirely within the realm of possibility that this ship was seen in the process of being levitated!

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Teleportation or Kidnapping?

As sheer entertainment, little compares with the intrigue of the countless reports, verified, of the strange and instantaneous movement of persons from one place to another—distances of many many, miles.

But to serve our ends, we must look again for selectivity and, if possible, some indication of motive. Perhaps we should ascribe these phenomena to caprices of space inhabitants. On the other hand, there may be an element of error involved. Perhaps, for some inexplicable reasons, the UFO’s made choices for capture or kidnapping and then discovered, suddenly, that their choice had not been a wise one.


From what we have already discovered, as to speed of movements and the vast areas which can be covered. It is not at all unlikely that the pickup was made, the error discovered, and the kidnapped set down again—but the UFO has traveled such a great distance that it does not realize that it is not putting the object (person) down in relatively the same place! But if they are that intelligent they’d know they weren’t putting the object (person) down in the same place. Perhaps so—but why would they care?

Bear these thoughts in mind as we review our first case of teleportation.

On the morning of October 25, 1593, relates Don Luis Gonzales Obregon, in Las Calles de Mexico, a soldier suddenly appeared in the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City; a soldier dressed in the uniform of the regiment which at that moment was guarding the walled citadel of Manila, in the Philippine Islands.

With the soldier’s strange appearance came the rumor that his Excellency, Gomez Peres Dasmartinas, Governor of the Philippines, was dead. A preposterous rumor, of course! But one that spread through the city like wildfire.

Puzzled as to how the soldier could have traveled more than nine thousand miles without so much as soiling his uniform, the authorities nevertheless jailed him as a deserter from the Philippines regiment.

Weeks passed while the soldier languished in prison; the long slow weeks necessary for new to travel by sailing ship from the Philippines to Acapulco, then by messenger across the sky-high mountains and into the valley of Mexico.

Suddenly, Mexico City was quaking with news. His Excellency, the Governor of the Philippines was dead, murdered by a mutinous Chinese crew off Punta de Azufre shortly after he had left his island home on a military expedition against the Moluccas! Moreover, he had been murdered on the very day the Philippine soldier had appeared in the Plaza of Mexico City.
The Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition took charge of the soldier. He could not tell them how he had been transported from Manila to Mexico. Only that it had been “in less time than it takes a cock to crow.” Nor could he tell them how it had come to pass that Mexico City was buzzing with the news of the Governor’s death, even before it was known in Manila.

At order of the Holy Tribunal, the soldier was returned to the Philippines for further investigation into the mysterious matter. Irrefutable witnesses came forward to swear that the soldier had been on duty in the Island City on the night of October 24; just as it had been proved beyond doubt that on the following morning he had been apprehended in the Plaza of Mexico City, more than nine thousand miles away.

A Legend? Not according to the records of the chroniclers of the Order of San Augustin and the order of Santo Domingo. Not according to Dr. Antonio de Morga, high justice of the criminal court of the Royal Audiencia of New Spain, in his Sucesos do las Islas Filipinas.

This case of this peripatetic soldier is one where we can tie down both ends of a teleportation axis, if indeed it is teleportation. We can find unexplained disappearances and appearances, but, offhand, we don’t know of others just like this one. And it seems as though there may be several debatable disappearances. But what are you going to do with apports, or appearances? It seems to me that they are a sort of second order phenomenon, unless they can be connected somehow with corresponding disappearances, some place. Shall we settle for a kidnapping by UFO’s?

“Help, help! It’s got me!” This pitiful plea ending in a piercing scream brought friends running to Oliver Lerch’s home, into the bright moonlit night. But he was not to be seen, although they could hear his voice, growing fainter, calling for help from a hundred feet or more above their heads. “Help me, help…”

Oliver Lerch was never seen again on the face of this earth; and thus was recorded one of the most amazing disappearances ever to confront our modern age—the disappearance of a man into thin air!

The facts of the case are clearly written down for everyone to see in the police records of South Bend, Indiana, and have been attested to by level-headed persons not given to delusions, mass hysteria or suggestion. These witnesses include lawyers; Reverend Samuel Mallelieu, the local Methodist minister; and responsible citizens who actually witnessed the weird disappearance.

The impossible happened on the farm of Tom Lerch, Christmas Eve, 1890, in a community of over 100,000 people—by no means an ignorant backwoods settlement filled with limitless superstition.

The Lerch farm stood (and still does) on the outskirts of South Bend, an ordinary farmhouse with the roof sweeping low over the entire building and no attic—no nook or crevice which could conceal a dead body.

Tom Lerch was a stern father who demanded absolute obedience from his two sons; 23 year old Jim, and especially 20 year old Oliver; however, there was nothing to indicate that he was unkind to the boys.

The house was the scene of a merry Christmas party, and young Oliver was in good spirits as he sang with his girl, pretty Lillian Hirach, daughter of a Chicago attorney, a friend of his father’s who was also a guest. Jim had his attention also arrested by a young lady whom he later married. Altogether, perhaps twenty people were gathered around the piano, singing hymns and gay holiday songs. Nothing foretold of the grim tragedy which was to come.

Outside, the night was still and quiet. After a day of dimness and snowfall, the winds shifted and the clouds faded away. Now the moon shone down on a countryside charmingly beautiful with glistened snow. Around 10:00, Oliver’s mother, who was preparing supper, called to him to fetch some water from the well. He smiled and excused himself from Miss Hirsch. He walked from the living room and put on his coat, cap and gloves. Then he went out into the calm night. That was the last time any person saw him on this earth.

Some minutes later, perhaps five, a horrible cry for help, so terrifying that it could be heard above the singing, split the serenity of the happy occasion. For a second the group in the house froze, looking at each other in astonishment; then with Tom Lerch in the lead they dashed out into the night. The cry sounded again, only this time it was fainter.

“Help, help… It’s got me…” Oliver’s terror-stricken voice called again, this time from a position above their heads.

With panic in their hearts, some of the people dashed back into the house, while the others continued to call to the voice above their heads which was still moaning: “Help me…Help…” Anxiously they continued to scan the moonlit sky, but there was nothing to be seen; only the voice could be heard:

“Help me, help…”

It is highly possible that the glare from the lights of the house may, to a limited extent, have affected the visibility of the would-be rescuers. Then too, the trees and bushes situated near the house may have deflected the apparent direction of the pleading voice. But for almost five minutes the voice continued to call. Sometimes it was loud, then soft, now close at hand, now feeble and far away—but always from the sky, never on the ground level.

Neighbors were called and a frantic search was begun which covered the entire yard, the farm buildings, the roof and chimney of the house, and even the basement. Men got ladders and climbed in trees, poked in the snow, and even lowered the lantern down the well. Oliver could not be found.

At 10:00, the horror of the ghastly situation became all the more apparent when eight or nine people in the yard heard the voice calling to them from above their heads. Once more it uttered a soul-tingling plea for help. After that, the voice was never heard again.

The search was continued with renewed effort, the members not daring to venture an opinion as to what weird, unnatural event was taking place. Then it was noticed the Oliver’s tracks had stopped about 225 feet from the house, about half the distance to the well; beyond these tracks the snow was undisturbed. There was no sign of struggle, nothing to indicate that a fracas of nature had occurred. At the end of the tracks, halfway between the house and the well, lay an abandoned bucket. Oliver had left the house with two. Where was the other one?

The search for Oliver continued all night and all the next day, without revealing the slightest clue as to his whereabouts.
Some witnesses disagreed as to the exact words called out by Oliver. Some swore he called “It’s got me.” Others were just as dogmatic and claimed he screamed: “They’ve got me!”

Different theories were advanced to the effect that an eagle might have carried him off. But who ever heard of an eagle carrying off a grown man? And would an eagle, even if it could do so, hover over the scene for half an hour, holding on to its victim? What about the missing bucket? Would Oliver, thus lifted up into the sky, still retain his hold on a bucket? Would he not drop it and use both hands in the struggle?

For a time it was thought that the grapnel of a balloon had carried off the man. This, however, was quickly disproved. Due to weather conditions no balloon had ascended that day, anywhere.

Another theory holds that Oliver was murdered; that the slayer crept up behind his unsuspecting victim as he went to the well, seizing the bucket and killing him with it. One of the guests at the Lerch farm that night, driven mad with jealousy over the attentions Oliver was giving to Lillian Hirsch, may have been a amateur ventriloquist. Did he murder Oliver and conceal his body somewhere? If so, how did he manage it? The entire farm was searched. Aided by the darkness, did this guest simulate Olivers’ voice and “throw” it into the air, thereby confusing the other startled guests? Or was Oliver Lerch, by some unknown trick of nature, sucked into another dimension? (Fate, September, 1950)

As a corollary to the disappearance of Oliver Lerch, a Mr. H.M. Cranmer of Hammersley Fork, Pennsylvania, Wrote a letter tot he editor of Fate Magazine which we reproduce in part.

An event similar to the strange disappearance of Oliver Lerch happened here, about twenty-five years earlier. (This would make it around 1865).

It was late in summer when a group of men gathered here for the winter work of cutting pine. Just after dark a dozen men finished their supper at the hotel kept by Uriah Hammersley, and seated themselves on the hotel porch to enjoy their after-dinner smoke.

As they sat talking, they noticed a drunken man—a stranger no one had ever seen before— staggering along the road in front of the hotel. The stranger, cursing to himself as drunks often do, passed the hotel without stopping, and continued down the road. After he had gone about two hundred yards, he suddenly began to shout angrily, “damn you, let me go!”

The men from the hotel porch ran down to the spot, and Kelleys who lived on a farm an equal distance below—came running from the opposite direction. The stranger was nowhere to be seen, but everyone could hear him still shouting, “damn you, let me go,” from overhead. His voice got fainter and fainter and finally stopped.

The dust in the road was several inches thick and the stranger’s boot tracks were plainly visible up to the spot where they abruptly ended. On one side of the road was Kelley’s cornfield – no tracks could be found in it. On the other side was a creek forty feet away, with a sandbar thirty feet wide. No tracks were found in the sand.

In the crowd there were men who could track deer or bear all day on bare ground, but not one of them could, or even did, find a trace of the missing man!

Up to 100 years ago the Indians stoutly maintained that the “thunderbird” – a bird that could carry a full grown deer or a man – still existed in the United States. In Maine the Indians called it “Pomola.”

Sometime after 1500 AD, the Indians killed two “thunderbirds” along the Mississippi River, and carved and painted them, life size, on rocks on the Illinois side. One of the carvings was destroyed by a stone quarry but the other one is still there. The Indians along the upper Mississippi called the bird “Piazzi”—meaning destroyer.

In translating “thunderbird” from the Indian languages, the word “eagle” was used. The average American, if he saw a gigantic bird carry off a calf, would be afraid to tell of it, because he would know that no one would believe him. Or, if a pilot saw one, who would believe his story of a bird with a 25 or 30 foot wingspread?

I am interested in Mr. Cranmer’s comments about the Indians and the thunderbird. Has there ever been a better description of a noisily-powered flying machine? And for the word “Piazzi” meaning destroyer, is not that fairly descriptive as well?

According to the Chicago Tribune, of January 5, 1900, there disappeared a young chap named Sherman Church. It seems that Mr. Church was employed in the August Mills in Battle Creek at the time. He was seated in the company’s office, when he arose and ran into the mill. He has not been seen since. The mill was almost taken apart by searchers, and the river, woods and country were scoured, but to no avail. Nobody saw Church leave town, nor was there any known reason for his leaving.

What can we make of that one? If somebody (or something) desired to teleport Mr. Church, it seems that the teleportation could just as well have taken him right out of his seat. So—what impelled him to run out of the offices? Did “something” want him to go outside where he could be lifted…?

This account, from the London Sunday Express, September 21, and 28, 1924, bears careful consideration. On July 24, 1924, at a time of Arab hostility, Flight Lieutenant, W.T.Day, and Pilot Officer, D.R.Stewart, were sent from British Headquarters upon an ordinary reconnaissance flight over a desert in Mesopotamia. According to scheduled flight plan they would not be absent more than a few hours. The men did not return, and they were searched for. The plane was soon found, easily spotted in the desert.


Why it should have landed was the problem.

“There was some petrol in the tank. There was nothing wrong with the craft. It was, in fact, flown back to the aerodrome.”

But the men were missing. “So far as can be ascertained, they encountered no meteorological conditions which might have forced them to land.” There were no marks to indicate that the plane had been shot at.

In the sand around the plane were seen footprints of Day and Stewart.

“They were traced, side by side, for some forty yards from the machine. Then, as suddenly as if they had come to the brink of a cliff, the marks ended.”

The landing of the plane was unaccountable. But, accepting that as a minor mystery, the suggested explanation of the abrupt ending of the footprints was that Day and Stewart had been captured by hostile Bedouins, who had brushed away all trails in the sand, starting from a point forty yards from the plane. But hostile Bedouins could not be thought of brushing indefinitely and a search was made for a renewal of traces.

Airplanes, armored cars, and mounted police searched. Rewards were offered. Tribal patrols searched unceasingly for four days. Nowhere beyond the point in the sand where the tracks ended abruptly were other tracks to be found.

What is there about that account that would lead you to suspect a hoax, a mistake, or an error? I do not see anything, and if there is I would be grateful for being put straight. So far as I can see, these two men really did disappear—at the end of their tracks…in a barren desert. Oliver Lerch disappeared the same way. He left a bucket. These sturdy Britishers, two of them, mind you, walking side by side, left a plane. I have known some British airmen. They would not give up without a struggle, unless they were overpowered instantly and unexpectedly—or were snatched up off the ground! Have you ever tried to brush tracks out of the sand without leaving more disturbance than you obliterated?

I suggest that these two men were abducted by some levitating power which suddenly pulled them off the ground after compelling them to land and walk away from their plane to a point where they could be levitated without injury to themselves or damage to the plane.

On November 25, 1809, Benjamin Bathurst, returning from Vienna, where he had been a representative of the British Government, stopped in the small town of Perleberg, Germany. In the presence of his valet and secretary he was examining the horses which were to take his coach further along its way to England. Under observation, he walked around to the other side of the horses—and vanished!

Teleportation or kidnapping?

Kaspar Hauser entered the town of Nuremberg, Germany, on Whit-Monday, May 1828. Most accounts agree that he had poor control of his legs as he walked. About sixteen or seventeen years old, he knew nothing at all of the accoutrements of civilized living, even trying to pick up the flame of a candle. Either he suffered from almost complete amnesia, or practically his entire life had been spent in solitary confinement or its equivalent. Nobody knows to this day where Kaspar came from. Many suspect imposture but that doesn’t fit the known circumstances. In view of some of our modern knowledge of handling prisoners, he may have been subjected to brain-washing. There may be no connection at all for us, in the advent of Kaspar Hauser. We merely mention that he suddenly appeared, full grown, at the gates of Nuremberg, but without mentality enough to have arrived there by his own volition. ???

Could he have been dropped from a space ship?

Not too long ago I had some correspondence with R. DeWitt Miller, author of Forgotten Mysteries, and, some time back, the contributor of a long series on the same subject in Coronet. Mr. Miller is devoted to the investigation of all types of paranormal events, and especially the sort of thing we have been discussing here. When I mentioned Oliver Lerch’s case to him, Mr. Miller expressed the opinion that the Lerch story might have had the same origin of that of David Lang.


Certainly we must concede an element of parallelism in the various accounts of sudden disappearances. Miller sent me the following story, which bore the pencilled note that there is an affidavit and the story is said to be essentially identical with the disposition. This is it:

On September 23, 1880 (again those incredible 1880’s), Land, a farmer and prominent land owner living near Gallatin, Tennessee, returned home from a business trip. After greeting his family, he started across an eight-acre field to inspect his blooded horses.

While he was walking across the field his wife and two children saw a buggy approach along the road, and stop. In the buggy were “Judge” Peck, a local attorney, and a friend. When he saw Lang crossing the field, Peck stopped his buggy and signaled the farmer to return to his house.

There, in full view of five persons—Lang’s wife and two children, Peck and his friend—Lang vanished in a field which was devoid of trees, boulders, or any sort of cover; a field covered with grass and without caves, bogs, abandoned wells, or other chasms. In fact, a later geological survey showed this entire field was underlayed at a depth of a few feet with a solid stratum of limestone.

The press of Tennessee was filled for months with stories about the “Lang Disappearance.”

There were searches – made immediately following Lang’s vanishing and for months afterwards.

Bloodhounds were used. Detectives were called in. The story reached Vienna, and a Dr. Hern stated that: “there are vortices (in the so-called physical world) through which a man might vanish.” Ambrose Bierce wrote a fictionalized version of the incident. The bloodhounds, the detectives and the theorists produced nothing.
The case has been the subject of endless speculation. But no one has ever found a trace of David Lang. And there remains only the affidavit of Lang’s daughter and the statements of the the other witnesses that Lang simply vanished while crossing an open field.

And so we are faced with the problem of explaining these phenomena. Are they cases in which the psyche of the individual is such that he can control his movement and body in time and space? If so, why does he not return?

I submit that capture by a space contraption, for purposes beyond our ken, is the only truly satisfactory answer. ‘

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It is not within the scope of this book so show that a civilization of single origin covered this planet some tens of thousands of years ago – perhaps hundreds of thousands.

Such a case can be made, without too much difficulty, in spite of the anti-Atlantians who have a phobia against it; and we can show that there have been two – at least two—principle waves of civilization. The first can be said, roughly, to be antediluvian and the second postdiluvian, speaking in general terms and putting the Flood, or its equivalent, far enough back in history so as to coincide with the cataclysm which caused it.

All of the centers of civilization and cultural renaissance recognized by present-day anthropologists – India, Peru, Yucatan, Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, China, Rome, England and others – are but the reviving remnants of an empire and civilization which colonized the world a hundred thousand years ago. They area all “parts,” or nuclei, in one great renaissance which has been taking place for, roughly, six to ten thousand years. In it are some traces of the archaic, original, master culture, and, perhaps through India, Tibet, Egypt and Middle America, there are some tenuous links between our immature revival and the parent past. These traces are mostly in the form of stone works, and some glyphs, of a singular nature, with a very few written records existing mostly in the Orient, and particularly in southern Asia.

All of this is anathema to conventional science, archaeology and anthropology especially, for organized science has set up a pattern which covers human growth in broad general terms, and has accepted some rigidly restricting tenets which limit original thinking and shut out much that is obvious. While these general assumptions of science are largely proven by observation and deduction, they are only proven up to a point. Beyond that point there are the “erratics”: little annoying things, events, or artifacts, which stubbornly refuse to fit into the pattern, and which are sturdily disregarded in the interest of maintaining a working hypothesis acceptable to science in its current state of thinking.

In addition to all this there is the refusal to acknowledge evidence antedating the current subwave which extends back only about three thousand to eight thousand years, and that far only in Egypt and south Asia. All data in conflict with this basic assumption are rejected by definition.

Many of the so-called erratics cease to be erratics by the simple expedient of admitting the real antiquity of human culture upon the earth. Most of the perpetual squabble over whether Asians settled America, or American colonized Asia, are painlessly dissolved by merely extending the time scale back a few thousand years—and, perhaps, accepting a new working theory to the effect that all present cultures are traceable to a common origin.

Aside from written records, to be discussed later, which establish mechanical flight at a remote time of maybe 70,000 to 200,000 years ago, we concern ourselves at the moment only with the gigantic stone masonry which remains in almost all parts of the world. Certain characteristics of some of the stone work bespeak origin in a single, widespread civilization, highly developed in some way, but not mechanical in the same sense as ours of today. We will presently limit ourselves to one phase only: the massive size and weight of the various monoliths. The manner or method of their carving is material for another report, but it can be confidently said that the First Civilization had simple and effective methods of working and moving stone which are unused today, and which were more effective than anything which we of the Second Civilization have developed.

In many areas we find evidence of stone blocks of unbelievable weight being quarried, more or less casually moved considerable distances, then lifted into place. This common factor connects pre-Inca Peru with Easter Island in a startling and undeniable way, and seems to tie in the Middle East, the Orient, Africa, and maybe Polynesia. Many investigators and thinkers have proposed methods for moving these quarried and dressed blocks. All of the proposals are based on application of such simple Block & tackle unknown to those people Mech. Lifting, thusly Not feasible, present day engineering equipment as block-and tackle or sand ramps.


The great pyramids, consisting of hundreds of thousands of huge stone blocks, are thought by some to have been erected by thousands of slaves toiling up long ramps of sand to bring these gigantic masses from the Nile. Flotation has been considered. No suggestions have been made which really fit all cases, and some of the submissions are so cumbersome and inadequate as to seem ridiculous.

Let’s take a look at some of these great monoliths, and note their size, their geographical distributions, and, where possible, something of their age and any other details which stand out.

One such example is that of Sacsahuaman Fortress, in the High Andes of Peru, above the ancient Inca, and pre-Inca city of Cuzco. There are several eras of civilization represented in the poorly understood archaeological remains at, and near, Cuzco. The latest, aside from the present Spanish-Indian population, are the Inca ruins, most of which were in use at the time of the iniquitous Spanish conquest. The Incas were also using some structures which were inherited from their predecessors, and this has led to some confusion, because practically all other ruins in the neighborhood have been vaguely and uncertainly classified as “pre-Incan.”

This is a rather too comprehensive term, and the pre-Inca remains should be divided into those ruins which were immediately pre-Inca, and those which had their creation remote in time; some of which were skillfully constructed before the mountains were raised to their present high level – certainly before glaciation.

The massive work of Sacsahuaman seems to be intermediate between the extremely old and the more immediately pre-Inca, and may very well be the initial works of those people who were last in the area before the Incas, and whose works the Incas inherited and used.

The Fortress (so-called by archaeologists, who admit no types of building other than religious, military, and occasionally residential) of Sacsahuaman is on a mountain top overlooking modern Cuzco. It is noteworthy as one of the earliest works showing the construction of walls by grinding and fitting stones, in situ. These walls are also noted for the very large stones which make up the lower of three tiers, and it is these in which we are more interested. (See Fate, Vol. II, No. 1, and American Anthropologist, 1936.)

The stones making up the corners of the reentrant angles, of this lower tier, appear to be a dark basalt; heavy, hard, and rugged. They are so large that they dwarf a man on horseback standing beside them. Some of them are about twelve feet square at the base, and eighteen to twenty feet high. They are estimated to weigh about two hundred tons each. Other stones in the same walls range from small ones of only a few hundred pounds, through continuous gradations up to the largest. All of them were crudely rough quarried, and were then ground into their designated niches in the structure by pushing them back and forth, in situ, until they fitted so closely, completely and accurately that a knife blade cannot be inserted between them. This is a logical and practical shortcut to effective stone fitting which we have not equaled in modern engineering.

(It is interesting to note in passing, however, that we use this method in what is probably our operation of highest accuracy and precision: lens and mirror grinding for astronomical telescopes. No substitute has been found for this system of grinding pieces of glass together to obtain perfect curvature, and there is no basic difference in the two operations.)

However, there are some startling inferences in the size and mass of the stones. To place the largest of these corner stones in place, so that others could be worked to fit them, required tremendous force. It is unimaginable that sufficient hand labor and crude tackle could be massed around them so that they could be moved and handled.

The intermediate sizes, some to them weighing ten, twenty, and forty tons, or more, had to be picked up, put approximately into place, and pushed back and forth until they ground themselves into their individually fitting contours. This was no mean chore. It is inferred that means of handling must have existed which made it easy, or at any rate possible, to swing these stones up and around, and to shove them to and fro, against terrific friction, while pinched between their adjacent neighbors. Such power would tax any modern machine or power plant and require an installation of generating equipment sufficient to run a city. It seems plainly obvious that some other source of power existed.

It may be that this tremendous power was limited in its application to articles of stone texture only, but this is a little doubtful. Or, perhaps it was limited to nonmagnetic materials in general. Such a limitation would have sidetracked the development of a mechanized culture such as ours of this day, and would partly account for the strange fact that almost all relics of the profound past are non-metallic. It does seem possible that the usefulness of that power, whatever it was, may have been limited by its very nature and that it was never developed along industrial lines because of this limitation and even, perhaps, because of a basic difference in values. This writer cannot see his way to believing that such a power was electrical, magnetic, calorific, or strictly mechanical, else it would have led to industrial developments leaving at least a few traces.

The ruins of Baalbek lie to the northeast of Beirut, between the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern end of the Syrian Desert. The ruins of Baalbek are the most majestic and the most notable of the earth’s ancient structures. They have caused more speculation among scientists generally, and archaeologists in particular, than any other group of ruins on earth, for it is usually conceded that there has never been found a single vestige of information intimating or showing when, or by what people, they were created. I have several descriptions of these ruins before me.


The one of all others which, it seems to me, would appeal to the layman, as strongly as to the scientist is Mark Twain’s, and as this book is written for the people, his description is the one I have selected to use:

At eleven o’clock our eyes fell upon the walls and columns of Baalbek, a notable ruin, whose history is a sealed book. It has stood there for thousands of years, the wonder and admiration of travelers. Who built it is a question that may never be answered. One thing is sure though, such grandeur of design, and such grace of execution as one sees in the temples of Baalbek, have not been equaled or even approached in any other work of man’s hands that has ever been built within the last twenty centuries.

The great Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Jupiter, and the several smaller temples are clustered together in the midst of these Syrian villages miserably dirty. They look strange enough in such plebian company. These temples are built upon massive sub-structures that might support a world almost. The material used is blocks of stone as large as an omnibus, very few of them are smaller than a carpenter’s tool chest. These structures are traversed by tunnels of masonry through which a train of cars might pass. With such foundations as these it is little wonder that Baalbek has lasted so long.

The temple of the Sun is nearly 300 feet long and 160 feet wide. It has 54 columns around it, but only six are standing now; the others lie broken at its base, a confused and picturesque mass. Corinthian capitals and entablatures, and six more shapely columns do not exist. These columns and their entablatures together are ninety feet high, a prodigious altitude for shafts of stone to reach, and yet one only thinks of their beauty and symmetry when looking at them. The pillars look slender and delicate, the entablatures with their elaborate sculpture look like rich stucco work, but when gazed aloft until your eyes are weary you glance at the great fragments of pillars among which you are not standing and find that they are eight feet thick, and with them lie beautiful capitals (?) apparently as large as a small cottage, and also single slabs of stone superbly sculptured that are four or five feet thick and would completely cover the floor of any ordinary parlor.

The temple of Jupiter is a smaller ruin than the one I have just been speaking of, and yet it is immense. It is in a tolerable state of preservation. One of nine columns stands almost uninjured. They are 65 feet high and support a sort of porch or roof. This porch roof is composed of tremendous slabs of stone which are so finely sculptured on the undersides that the work looks like fresco from below. One or two of the slabs that lay around me were no larger than those above my head. Within the temple the ornamentation was elaborate and colossal. What a wonder of architectural beauty and grandeur this edifice must have been when it was new and what a noble picture it, and its stellar companion, with the chaos of mighty fragments scattered around them made in the moonlight.

And yet, these sculptured blocks are trifles in size compared with the rough-hewn stones that form the side verandah, or platform which surrounds the great temple. One stretch of that platform composed of only three stones is nearly 300 feet in length. They are thirteen feet square, two of them are each 64 feet and a third 69 feet long. They are built into the massive wall twenty feet above the ground.

We went to the quarry from whence these stones of Baalbek were taken. It was a quarter of a mile off, down-hill. In a pit lay the mate of the largest stone in the ruins. It lay there just as the giants of the old forgotten time left it when they were called hence; to remain for thousands of years an eloquent rebuke to such as are prone to think slightingly of the men who have lived before them. This enormous block lies there squared and ready for the builder’s hands, a solid mass 14 feet by 17 feet wide and 70 feet long.

One could use the same words almost to describe the massive unfinished stone statues left in the quarries on Easter Island. Something sudden terminated the work of Easter Island and Baalbek. I do not say that it was the very same something, but the epoch is certainly of the same order of time and there are elements in common—Easter Island, Peru, Baalbek, Egypt – all with screaming evidence of sudden overwhelming disaster happening to a race of beings who handled rocks weighing hundreds and hundreds of tons.

There is little in Baalbek, Easter Island, Peru, or Egypt to show a gradual development of so advanced a culture or civilization: they, or at least their megalithic stone work, appear to have been ready-made, as though a colony was set up directly, complete, a going concern. In Peru it appears that the levitator, or power plant, was lost. In Baalbek it has been shown that the work was never completed and the largest stone still lies in the quarry. In Easter Island a similar great stone, a statue, still lies in the quarry where it was being sculptured, in a depression from which great power manipulation would be required to move it. In both cases work stopped suddenly, and apparently the “force-lift” for the 1,200 ton stones was lost, somehow.

It seems necessary to conclude that while massive stone work was in progress all over the world (for we have to include India, Tibet, Polynesia, etc.), sources of power were limited in number, and available only to a few important projects. It seems that such levitators disappeared suddenly and unexpectedly. Where to?

It is further possible that maybe there was only one machine available which could lift the greatest of weights, and that it was mobile and used first in one part of the world and then another.

What kind of power was this levitation agency? How did it work? If through our crude mechanical principles of ropes, cables, blocks and tackles, how did the ancients get enough rope on a 1,200-ton block to take the strain of lifting it, and how shift the position of the prime mover? Rocks are not magnetic. Does flotation offer a complete answer for lifting the big ones into place? Sand ramps do not seem suitable.

I have used the word “levitation” as a substitute for power or force. I have suggested that flying saucers used some means of reacting with the gravitational field. In this way they could apply accelerations or lifting forces to all particles of a body, inside and outside, simultaneously, and not through external force applied by pressure, or harness, to the surface only. I believe that this same, or a similar force was used to move stones in very ancient times. I believe the source of this lifting or levitating power was lost suddenly.

We believe, in short, that this lifting engine was a space ship, probably of vast proportions; that it brought colonists to various parts of the earth, probably from other terrestrial areas; and that it supplied the heavy lift power for erecting great stone works; and that it was suddenly destroyed or taken away. Such a hypothesis would underwrite all of the movements of stone over which archaeologists and engineers have puzzled.

We believe Mu to have existed as a world civilization, hoary with age, replete with knowledge or astronomy and physics in an almost unbelievably remote past; that this entire civilization was wiped out with great, and sudden, violence, leaving very little trace. Whatever we have of culture development today is but the thin, reviving remnants of that era, propagated by a little handful of people who happened to be in sheltered positions when the devastation struck. Earthquakes have been most usually cited as probable causes for such catastrophes, but they do not explain all the concomitant details. One thing does, and is logical. Collision from outside bodies striking the earth. It is the only common denominator for our broadest and most basic problems of anthropology.

Let us merely state that our tenet, and the point of inserting this discussion into the general concept, is to indicate that there was long ago a very advanced culture, which could and almost certainly did, invent a means of levitation and space mobility; that this world-wide culture was cataclysmically and instantly wiped out all over the world. Remnants of humanity escaped, and it is our suggestion that at least one space ship was afloat at the time and escaped the disaster and sired a race of space dwellers which has ever after used the neutral at the limit of the earth’s sphere of influence as an abode or headquarters.

      Continuation of Part Three         

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