Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November News Roundup

When I signed the contract for Arcana I had no idea that the plan was to release the book so soon. This month I've been busier than expected working on a promotional plan and making sure the folks at Pendraig have everything they need. As a result I haven't have much time for blogging, so here's a paranormal news roundup for the first half of November featuring stories from all over the world.

This first one is not necessarily paranormal, but it's an interesting historical tidbit nonetheless. The remains of a Persian army of 50,000 that disappeared in 525 BC may have been found in the western Egyptian desert.

Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.

The disappearance of the army was reported by the Greek historian Herodotus, and this discovery represents the first piece of archaeological evidence that has been found supporting his account.

According to Herodotus (484-425 B.C.), Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, sent 50,000 soldiers from Thebes to attack the Oasis of Siwa and destroy the oracle at the Temple of Amun after the priests there refused to legitimize his claim to Egypt.

After walking for seven days in the desert, the army got to an "oasis," which historians believe was El-Kharga. After they left, they were never seen again.

"A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear," wrote Herodotus.

From the story I'm left wondering if this army was destroyed by magick. The Egyptian priesthood was feared in ancient times for its purported magical powers, so much so that those powers even make an appearance in the Book of Exodus. I've never lived in any place where summoning a sandstorm was practical, but I can call up thunderstorms when the season is right. I'm thinking that if I lived in Egypt a sandstorm wouldn't be much more difficult.

News out of India suggests that the Hindu deity Lord Jagannath may have returned to earth - as a sea turtle.

The turtle is protected in India and anyone found keeping one without permission can be jailed for a year or more and fined.

But adamant villagers have refused to give up the reptile, saying the turtle bears holy symbols on its back and is an incarnation of Lord Jagannath, a popular Hindu deity.

"Lord Jagannath has visited our village in the form of a turtle. We will not allow anybody to take the turtle away," said Ramesh Mishra, a priest of the temple.

Jesus, on the other hand, appears content to stick with a truck belonging to Jim Stevens of Johnson City, Tennessee.

Stevens, of Jonesborough, said nearly every morning, an image that looks to him like the face of Jesus Christ has appeared in the condensation on the driver's side window of his Isuzu truck. A Johnson City Press photo of the truck showed a facial image.

Stevens said when he first saw the image, he figured it would evaporate and not return. But it kept reappearing for two weeks now.

Is it just me, or is it simply ridiculous to tell authorities that God told you to steal a car? A Dodge Charger, no less.

Police said a 36-year-old man was collared by a security guard at Freedom Dodge before he could get inside the showroom. WLEX-TV reported the man told the guard that God wanted him to steal a Dodge Charger.

When police arrived, the suspect initially told them his name was "Seven."

Bad news for Bolivian Catholics - the church has banned the use of human skulls during special Mass celebrations.

The Bolivian Episcopal Conference on Friday asked the overwhelmingly Catholic nation to cast aside the "growing" trend of seeking protection from bad luck by making offerings of coca, cigars or drinks to human crania.

As much of the world celebrates Halloween and Mexico prepares for its Day of the Dead, Bolivian bishops had another festival on their minds, the Day of Skulls, which falls on November 8.

Known locally as Natitas, the festival, which is believed to be pre-Colombian, sees families adorn skulls, sometimes those of relatives, with flowers, hats, candles and other decoration.

A British student has received a scholarship for studying paranormal phenomena. Personally I think this is a great idea. Paranormal research has never been taken very seriously and it's nice to see a parapsychology foundation funding the education of researchers.

Callum Cooper, 21, of Northampton University, was given £1,800 from New York's Parapsychology Foundation to investigate phenomena like haunted sites, and even text messages from the dead.

He won out over international competition for the Eileen J. Garrett prize, which is intended to help students find possible scientific proof for uncanny happenings.

Finally, the soccer magick continues. It's getting to the point where it's practically commonplace.

Zolani Mkiva, chairman of the Makhonya Royal Trust, a grouping responsible for co-ordinating cultural activities, said the tournament, the first to be held in Africa, needed to be blessed in true "African style."

"We must have a cultural ceremony of some sort, where we are going to slaughter a beast (cow)," said Mkiva.

"We sacrifice the cow for this great achievement and we call on our ancestors to bless, to grace, to ensure that all goes well. It's all about calling for the divinity to prevail for a fantastic atmosphere."

South Africa is set to host the World Cup -- the world's most watched sports spectacle -- in less than eight months, with the tournament expected to attract about 500,000 foreign tourists.

Mkiva said the Trust has sent letters to the chief executive and chairman of the World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC), proposing traditional ceremonies to be performed at each of the 10 stadiums that are going to be used for the event.

That's all for now and I hope everyone is having a great month. There's still no exact release date for Arcana, but once I have one you'll be the first to know.

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