Category Archives: ENGLAND

Christians Hid a Dinosaur Fossil 170 Years Ago Because It Contradicted the Bible

Christians Hid a Dinosaur Fossil 170 Years Ago Because It Contradicted the Bible

After 170 years of being concealed by god-fearing individuals, a fossil from a prehistory sea dinosaur, the Ichthyosaurus, has finally been identified, with 160 million years old evidence of life in tow.

Religions have historically not been too open about new scientific findings that clash with established dogma.

So when a family in England in 1850 inadvertently unearthed a dinosaur fossil, an Ichthyosaurus, to be precise, they promptly re-buried it because it flew in the face of the religious teachings the family held dear.

And the find preceded Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by a few years, so one can only imagine how mystified these folks were at the sight of this enormous, lizard-like fish skeleton.

Fossil of Ichthyosaurus.

In fairness to the Temperley clan, of Somerset, the discovery must be framed within the context of their times, Victorian England, a time in which faith ruled communities and folks believed their origin stories lay in the Bible.

Understanding the period in which they lived makes the reasons they re-buried the fossil all the more clear. Now, however, the fossil is the family’s pride and joy, and more than that, it’s part of their brand and business.

Julian Temperley is the head of the family’s distillery, which makes brandy cider, and he is featuring the fossil on an array of product logos. How times have changed!

Ichthyosaurus.

He told the story of how his ancestors first discovered the Ichthyosaurus in an interview with IFL Science, a web page devoted to science and nature. He explained how his relatives first found the fossil on their property in 1850.

Initially, they took it back to the family home, where everyone marvelled over this curious object. But they felt keeping it, or trying to understand what it actually was, or displaying it, was “denying god,” Temperley said.

Hence, they took it back to the quarry where it had been unearthed and promptly re-buried it.  “Fossils weren’t really explained until Darwin came along,” Temperley said. “Up until then, if you believed in fossils you were denying the Bible.”

Ichthyosaurus fossil.

Over the ensuing decades, he added, “whenever we visited Somerset as kids, we dug it up and were generally amazed.”

As the years passed and the strictures of the church loosened, the family came to realize the fossil was something to be prized and shown.

But it was an act of nature, a flood in 2013 — 2014, that was the deciding factor in the skeleton’s favor.

“We realized it was not a good idea to leave it buried,” Temperley told IFL Science. “I thought we ought to look after it.” Consequently, he spent more than $3,500 (USD) to have the skeleton fully restored and mounted.

Ichthyosaurus skeleton.

But the “fish lizard” is paying him back, as it’s now an integral part of his family’s brand of brandy cider. “Putting it with ageing spirits,” Temperley noted wryly, “seems like the right thing to do.”

Although the hidden dinosaur fossil of the Ichthyosaurus found on the Temperley property so long ago is a rare discovery, the 90 million-year-old remains are not the only one of their kind.

Though the creature has been extinct for many centuries, the longest skeleton found was almost 11.5 feet, discovered by an archaeologist in the 1990s.

That one hangs at a museum in London, and while it may be the largest, it doesn’t have the distinction of adorning a family label — that unique honour goes only to the Temperley creature, truly one of a kind.

The well that turns objects to STONE: Mysterious site in Yorkshire is rumored to be cursed by the Devil

The well that turns objects to STONE: Mysterious site in Yorkshire is rumored to be cursed by the Devil

A weird phenomenon takes place in Knaresborough city of North Yorkshire, England. It houses a petrifying well that can make items into stone tremendously. Every year, millions of tourists come to this rather curious attraction.

The petrifying well was mentioned by John Leyland in 1538, an ancient to King Henry VIII, according to the Amusing Planet.

Leyland noted that the well was said by locals to have magical properties and healing powers, which he reported in his writings. This marked the beginning of legends that would surround the petrifying well for a long time.

The petrifying well is located inside a cave known as Mother Shipton’s Cave. The name of the cave comes from a local woman believed to be a witch, Ursula Southeil, whom the locals referred to as Mother Shipton.

Amusing Planet reports that according to the legends, Mother Shipton — the daughter of a prostitute and the devil — was born in the cave. While she was supposed to have been hideous due to who her father was, she gained fame as a prophetess.

Mother Shipton’s Cave.

Mother Shipton is believed to have predicted several events such as the defeat of the Spanish armada in 1588, the Great Fire of London of 1666, and even the invention of cellphones!

While the story of Mother Shipton gave the petrifying well a terrifying reputation, it also enjoyed a more flattering legend.

Mother Shipton in Knaresborough.

As John Leyland reported, the well was believed to have magic healing powers and would be visited by locals because of these reputed curing abilities.

According to Oddity Central, a physician examined the petrifying well in the early 1600s.

The results of his findings led him to conclude that the waters running through the well were a miracle cure for any type of sickness. With this kind of reputation, the petrifying well became an ever-growing popular attraction.

The Petrifying Well at the Matlock Bath Aquarium with objects that have been coated by minerals from the water.

But the most interesting feat of this well is its capacity to transform objects into stone. Contrary to the legends surrounding Mother Shipton or the healing powers of the well, this feat was all-natural, even if it was believed to be part of the magic of the well for a long time.

According to Force To Know, the petrification of an object in this well happens because of high levels of mineral content in the water.

Through a process of evaporation and deposition over time, objects appear to turn into stone, as they are covered by solidified minerals.

That process was for a time attributed to Mother Shipton as one of her magic tricks. Because of her reputation of being a witch, she was supposed to turn objects into stone herself.

The terrifying aspect of the well is reinforced by the fact that when viewed from the side, the cave looks like a giant skull. Locals and visitors perpetuated these frightening legends, but the stories only increased people’s curiosity.

Everyday objects have been hung in the water of the Petrifying Well, slowly being covered by minerals. The Petrifying Well is the oldest tourist site in the UK.

When the Royal Forest was sold by King Charles I to Sir Charles Slingsby in 1630, the cave was well known, with many people wanting to witness this strange petrifying process for themselves.

The new owner decided to profit from it by selling guided tours to the visitors coming onto his land. By doing so, Slingsby had just created England’s first-ever tourist attraction.

Today, the well is known to have no magic powers but is still visited by millions of tourists yearly because of its capacity to apparently petrify objects.

The magic properties attributed to the petrifying well of Knaresborough may have been proven wrong, but this curious location still holds a strong ability to attract visitors

The mystery of the Octavius: An 18th-century ghost ship was discovered with the captain’s body found frozen at his desk, still holding his pen

The mystery of the Octavius: An 18th-century ghost ship was discovered with the captain’s body found frozen at his desk, still holding his pen

The world has an array of tales, mysteries, and legends and we are traveling on a different dimension when reading or listening to them. Those stories are thoughtful for everyone who loves a good mystery, and the story about the ship Octavius is very fascinating.

There are a great number of tales in maritime tradition, about ghost ships sailing with the world’s ghostly crew and destined never to make port.

It’s the story of a mysterious disappearance, and a captain, a frozen body, still seated behind his desk and a crew that suffered the same fate. Some people say that this is not a simple legend.

It was October 11, 1775, when the whaler ship Herald stumbled upon a rather strange looking schooner. The crew of Herald thought it probably that the badly weather-beaten boat was drifting, and decided to give it a closer inspection.

On nearing the ship, the crew saw that the ship was weather-beaten–the sails were tattered and torn and hanging limply on the masts. They boarded the drifting Octavius, and there they discovered the reason why there was no activity on deck!

But to understand, we must travel back to 1761, when the journey for Octavius began, fourteen years before she was found by the Herald. Leaving the port of London, the 28 sailors began their journey towards China….

This was a majestic sailing ship, that left port with a full crew, and they arrived safely in China, where unloaded their cargo.

The weather was unusually warm, and it seems that the captain decided to sail home via the Northwest Passage, travel that at the time had not been accomplished. This was the last that anyone heard of the vessel, her crew, or her cargo. And so, Octavius was declared lost.

Fast forward to 1775, when Herald’s crew makes it’s way slowly through the strange, creepy and quiet ship. Below deck, they discovered the 28 sailors, frozen stiff, motionless and blue. And when they reached the Captain’s office, they found him behind his desk, also frozen.

The inkwell and other everyday items were still in their place on the desk. Turning around, they saw a woman wrapped in a blanket on the bunk, frozen to death, along with the body of a young boy.

According to the legend, the captain was still holding his pen as if he was frozen instantly. Herald’s crew reported that the whole crew had the same characteristic, and they were like models in a waxworks museum.

When the Octavius began its journey in 1761, the Captain carefully wrote the date in his logbook, a document that was found on his desk 14 years later (but the last entry in it was from 1762).

The thirteen years between 1762 and 1775 were nowhere to be found! With the realization that they are on board a ghost ship, the men left Octavius and joined the rest of their crew back on board the Herald. According to those who believe that this story is real, it was the Captain’s fault that they all froze to death.

According to this version of the story, the captain of Octavius decided to do a mission impossible: go through the notorious Northwest Passage, and it was this decision that killed all people on board. But, of course, this story was born almost 250 years ago and all traces of it, in reality, are lost over.

Two and a half centuries is a long period, in which stories change and are embellished with other, different details. According to one version, the Octavius got stuck into the ice for two and a half months, and it wasn’t long before they ran out of supplies and froze to death.

But why the captain was still behind his desk with a pen in hand? Furthermore, according to the legend, Octavius did manage to get through the Northwest Passage, but only when was already a ghost ship. The ship’s last recorded position was 75N 160W, which placed the Octavius 250 miles north of Barrow, Alaska.

It took more than a century before another attempt to crossing this passage was made with a ship, but this time successfully. And for hundreds of years, this story survived until became a legend, drifting, just like Octavius and no one knows what really happened, but especially, what is the reason that can freeze a man half-way through his writing, still with the pen in hand!

The crew of the Herald were frightened of the Octavius and feared that it was cursed, so they simply left it adrift. To this day, it has never been sighted again.

Metal detectorist unearths stunning £15,000 gold hat pin from 1485 which may have belonged to King Edward IV

Metal detectorist unearths stunning £15,000 gold hat pin from 1485 which may have belonged to King Edward IV

In a region in Lincolnshire, England, a metal detector discovered a silver hat pin from the 15th century.

It is thought that the jewel belonged to Edward IV, a prince who was known in the Wars of the Roses for both his good looks and his spectacular achievements.

The ring is estimated as being worth as much as $18,000. Lisa Grace, 42, an amateur detectorist, discovered the medieval jewel, which is in pristine condition.

“It is believed the pin is linked to royalty as Edward IV and his circle wore strikingly similar pieces during his two reigns as King from 1460 until his end in 1483,” wrote the Daily Mail.

“The jewel is designed as a sun in splendor — the personal emblem of Edward IV.”

The piece may have been lost in battle.

A metal detectorist has unearthed a gold hatpin that may have links to King Edward IV and is worth £15,000. Lisa Grace spotted the Medieval jewel while searching a recently-ploughed field in Lincolnshire

Other clues to its royal ownership: At the center of the piece is a purple amethyst stone, another of Edward IV’s favorites. The pin closely resembles a jewel depicted on Edward IV’s hat in a portrait preserved in The Museum Calvet in Avignon, France.

Grace said she was stunned at her discovery, just a few inches below the surface. “When I found it, the jewel wasn’t far under the ground at all as the field had recently been ploughed,” she said to the media.

Specialists say they have been experiencing “early interest from both collectors and museums and are expecting offers between £10,000 and £15,000.”

Edward IV of England meets with Louis XI of France at Picquigny to affirm the Treaty of Picquigny

An official from Duke’s Auctioneers said: “The jewel does bear a striking resemblance to the one in a well-known portrait of Edward IV from the Musee Calvet.” But he also said that it could have belonged to a courtier.

“The fact is we shall never know, but it clearly belonged to someone of high status in the upper echelons of medieval society.” Edward IV was not born the son of a king but was the oldest son of Richard, Duke of York, descended from Edward III.

Richard and his supporters came into conflict with Henry VI, the Lancaster ruler who was widely derided for his weak character and suffered from at least one complete mental breakdown.

King Edward IV

Richard of York served as regent during Henry VI’s incapacity. He died when Edward was in his teens and Edward became the claimant of the throne as the Yorks attempted to assume leadership of England through defeating the Lancasters in battle. Edward IV was made a king of England on March 4, 1461.

Weeks after declaring himself king, he challenged the Lancasters in the Battle of Towton. It was one of the bloodiest battles in English history, with nearly 30,000 dead, and Edward won, even though the Lancaster army had more men. In battles, Edward IV was an inspiring and able general.

Battle of Towton

Edward was over six feet tall and considered very handsome. The Croyland Chronicler described Edward as “a person of most elegant appearance and remarkable beyond all others for the attractions of his person.” He was interested in creating a fashionable and glamorous court.

His chief supporters wanted him to make a dynastic marriage but he fell in love with a beautiful widow, Elizabeth Woodville, and made her queen. She was highly unpopular, and Edward lost his throne to a resurgent Lancaster force for a time. After more battles, he was made king again in 1471.

Edward IV, line engraving by Simon François Ravenet. National Portrait Gallery, London

After this comeback, Edward IV ruled until his sudden demise from illness in 1483. He had become overweight and devoted to his mistresses.

When he passed, his oldest son was only 12, and Richard III, Edward’s younger brother, usurped the throne. Edward’s two sons were both imprisoned in the Tower of London and disappeared from public view.

Edward IV’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, married Henry VII, the Lancaster claimant who vanquished Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth. Their son, Henry VIII, resembled his grandfather, Edward IV, in his height and some say his character. The present queen, Elizabeth II, is directly descended from Edward IV.

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

Entrance to the caverns.
Entrance to the caverns.

An apparently ordinary rabbit’s hole in a farmer’s field leads to an underground sanctuary said to have been used by devotees of a medieval religious order – but is everything what it seems?

According to local legend, the Caynton Caves, near Shifnal, in Shropshire, were used by followers of the Knights Templar in the 17th Century.

Many people believe that they were dug out by followers of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, more commonly known as the Knights Templar, during the 17th century, as a place where they could meet in secret.

This historically intriguing Catholic military order was founded in 1119 and soon grew to be rich and powerful. Their persecution and abrupt dissolution by Pope Clement V in the early 1300s forms part of the mystery that surrounds the secretive medieval Templars.

There is another argument: That the Caynton Caves were simply created as a Victorian folly in around 1850 by a rich landowner. A folly can most simply be described as a building with no purpose — although it doesn’t, as the name implies, mean it was done by mistake.

The folly “craze” in Britain began in the 18th century as a way to be playful or creatively artistic with a small building, such as a shelter beside an ornamental lake, like a kind of charming architectural gag. In Victorian Britain, follies were a popular way to display wealth and status.

Detail of some of the pillars and carvings in the grotto. 

The Caynton Caves are located on private land near the market town of Shifnal. They are carved into the sandstone bedrock just three feet below the ground and feature several chambers and what is believed to be a font. There are many niches for candles to light the passageways.

View within the cavern

Historic England, the public body that protects and maintains England’s historic environment, lists the site at U.K. National Grid Reference SJ7756102887 as a “Cave/grotto. Probably late C18 or early C19, but undatable.”

The listing does, however, identify neo-Norman architectural features. This was a late-19th to early-20th century Romanesque Revival style so this could support the hypothesis that the caves were created as an ornamental Victorian grotto. Or could these features have been carved out two centuries after the caves were first created?

Perhaps there is truth in both sides: maybe the caves were carved out in the 17th century, and the landowner simply rediscovered and repurposed an old and disused space.

This is one option that doesn’t seem to be up for discussion. No answers have been put forward to the question of how, five hundred years after the order was formerly disbanded, a Knights Templar group might be connected with the local area.

The members of this order were armed knights with many privileges in the Catholic Church and thus were considered powerful and quite respected. Much of their prestige was linked to the Crusades, in which the Templars were noted as among the most skilled warriors. Their “uniform,” the iconic white mantle (or knight’s cloak) had to be worn at all times. It bore a red cross that was a symbol of martyrdom; to die on the battlefield was a great honor.

Underground in the Caynton Hall grotto. Part of the interior of the grotto. A number of ‘nightlight’ candles have been left lying around, presumably by local youths who camp out there sometimes.

By the mid-12th century, schisms between the Christian sects were becoming ever more fractious. When Jerusalem, which had been captured by the Christian army of the First Crusade in 1099, was retaken by Muslim forces led by Sultan Salah ad-Din in 1187, it marked the beginning of the end for the Knights Templar.

It would take just over a century for the Templars to tumble from being influential in the political arena, and collectively — individual knights were sworn to poverty, a little like monks — among the most powerful landowners, merchants, and creditors across the whole of Christendom. However, the fact that they fell from grace, from such revered heights to such allegedly debauched lows, didn’t tarnish their reputation too badly in the long term.

The secretive nature of the order and accounts of forced confessions of knights under torture by the Inquisition has left the Templars gilded with a romantic image of chivalry and fighting for the greater good against all odds. It’s no wonder that people long to find a connection to them. In more recent years (since the late-19th century), the name of the order has become associated with several modern temperance organizations and with Freemasonry.

Looking along one of the passageways in the grotto.

Although two Templar crosses are noted to be carved on the interior of the caves, these are crowded by a host of more recent inscriptions. The Caynton Caves have been favored by 21st-century pagans and Druids, especially for solstice and Halloween rituals. But it was their use by satanic cults, who have carved their symbols all over the walls, that prompted the landowner to seal off the caves in 2012. Sadly, various parties seem unable to resist the lure of this hidden grotto and trespassers continue to break in periodically.

The BBC featured an interview in January 2017 with Michael Scott, who was quite intrigued by an online video of the caves so he decided to go there, see the place and take some photos. When he was asked to briefly describe his experience and impressions of the caves, he said: “I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it.”

“Considering how long it’s been there it’s in amazing condition … It was raining so the slope down was quite sludgy but inside the cave was bone dry.” Local newspaper the Shropshire Star stands firmly in the camp that the caves date from the Victorian-era and refutes any possible connection to the Templars:

“This is an underground folly which has been cut out of sandstone as a temple. It is unknown when or why it was built but probably was created as a folly in the mid-19th century when it was considered fashionable. The landowners used to allow the public to explore the temple but the disrespectful behavior by visitors had finally made them seal up the entrance in 2012.”