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
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.
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
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
“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,
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,
“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
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
“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
“—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
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,
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
“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
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
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
Here is another mystery at sea as reported in Fate Magazine, June
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Back to Contents
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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