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Grey Matter


Wonderful Fortean Wonders

Just in case you missed it, The Charles Fort Institute is having a contest of sorts. It is for the Seven Fortean Wonders of the World and you can vote. It is starting out with 79 contenders.

The great thing about it is that there are certain things on that list that I don't remember ever hearing about. I love hearing about mysteries that I have missed out on!

So I decided to give a brief summary of these mysteries that I had missed.

1) The zone of silence in Mexico:

According to its legend, this radio-wave dead zone - located in the Mapimi Reserve in Durango State – is a combination of magnetic anomaly and broadcast 'skip zone' (a region beyond the reach of ground-traveling radio waves and waves which refract off the ionosphere). Since it was first reported in the 1930s, this anomaly is said to attract meteorites, send US military rockets off course, and be inhabited by wandering balls of light and strange little men.

2) The plain of jars, Laos:

The Plain consists of more than 400 sites on the Khorat Plateau of central Laos, some with as many as 250 large half-buried huge cylindrical 'jars' carved from sandstone. First discovered by western archaeologists in the 1930s, they have been dated to 500-800 BC. Although human remains have been found in proximity, there is no evidence they were used for burials. In fact there is no credible explanation for their size, location or purpose. Lao folklore attributes them to a race of giants who stored their rice wine in them. Sadly, study and tourism are hampered by the dangerous remains of recent wars.

3) Belmez Faces:

These strange, hauntiing images of faces first appeared in the concrete floor of the Pereira family home in Belmez de la Moraleda, Jaen, Spain in 1971. The first face was destroyed but further images appeared in the fresh concrete that replaced it. Paranormal investigators have suggested "thoughtography" as the cause of the images with the psychic Maria Gomez, who owns the house and found the first face, being the source. Other, more skeptical, researchers have demonstrated to their satisfaction that the faces are the either produced by paint or oxidising agents applied to the floor.

4) The Fairy Coffins:

The Fairy Coffins of Edinburgh are a series of small wooden coffins complete with miniature wooden bodies. Found on the slopes of Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh in the 1830's no one knows what they represent – guesses have included memorials to sailors lost at sea through to a memento mori for the victims of Burke and Hare.

5) The Fairy Shoes:

Apparent relics left behind by frolicking fairies! A typical relic is the one found by the Sommerville family of Castletownesend, West Cork. It was a tiny fairy shoe, worn at the heel, 2.875 inches (73mm) long and 0.875 inches (22mm) wide.

6) Salzburg Cubes:

In 1885 two coal miners split open a lump of coal and found a metal cube inside. The piece of rock was dated to some 60 million years old. Once on display in the museum at Salzburg the cube has been lost… Had it still been extant some people would continue pushing forward the theory that it was a human artefact.

7) Vitrified Stone Forts:

Forts, predominantly in Scotland, whose stone walls have been fused into a glass like material by an apparent long term exposure to high heat. The majority of these forts were constructed between 900 BC and 900 AD. About 50 examples of these 'vitrified' forts are known, including An Dun near Gairloch; Craig Phadraig near Inverness; Barryhill in Perthshire; the largest being Dun Mac Uisneachain north of Oban.

I was pretty surprised about the fairy related mysteries because I normally consider myself to be pretty up with fairy lore. Although I do vaguely remember hearing about the fairy shoes a long time ago, I don't remember ever hearing about the fairy coffins.

I was also surprised and not surprised, that several of these mysteries that were unknown to me were in the UK. I also consider myself almost as knowledgeable about UK fortean mysteries as the US. However, that just goes to prove something I have long thought, the UK just being a small island, has more mysteries than anywhere on earth. I have spent more time there than anywhere outside the US and I long to go back and investigate all that I missed.

Then there is the zone of silence in Mexico. Mexico and Central America may well be second in the mysteries department, especially ufo mysteries. Although I live in New Mexico, I have spent very little time in Mexico as opposed to far off places like the UK. I have also never been to any of the fortean sites there. I am thinking that I should start planning a vacation and very soon. Somewhere with a nice beach and near some ancient and mysterious sites. If you know the place, feel free to email me.

Laos. I am sure there is much more mystery than the jars on the plains in Laos and South East Asia as a whole. Sure, we somewhat know about China, Japan, Thailand and Korea, but how much do we know about Laos or even Vietnam? Not to mention other Asian countries like Myanmar (Burma) and other places rarely visited by westerners. God only knows how many hidden mysteries there are in such places.

Aside from all that, I find it impossible to pick the greatest mysteries. If you pop over there and look at the list you will probably know what I mean. How can you choose from such an array of fascinating mysteries? I haven't and although I may try, I also may wait until the list whittles down.

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