Up From the Dump

The late Carl Sagan, musing on the twilight of the ancient world after the murder of the pagan philosopher Hypatia in 415CE:

The glory of the Alexandrian Library is a dim memory. Its last remnants were destroyed soon after Hypatia’s death. It was as if the entire civilization had undergone some self-inflicted brain surgery, and most of its memories, discoveries, ideas and passions were extinguished irrevocably. The loss was incalculable. In some cases, we know only the tantalizing titles of the works that were destroyed. In most cases, we know that of the 123 plays of Sophocles in the Library, only seven survived. One of those seven is Oedipus Rex. Similar numbers apply to the works of Aeschylus and Euripides. It is a little as if the only surviving works of a man named William Shakespeare were Cariolanus and  A Winter’s Tale, but we had heard that he had written certain other plays, unknown to us but apparently prized in his time, works entitled Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet.”

Well, here’s some consolation at last, via The Independent:

For more than a century, it has caused excitement and frustration in equal measure – a collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it could redraw the map of classical civilisation. If only it was legible.

Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.

…The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye – decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view. Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a “second Renaissance”.

Works by Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod have been recovered, and there is the inevitable speculation about “lost Gospels” popping up. However, Oxford University’s Oxrhynchus Papyri Project (unhappily called “POxy” for short) site does not yet appear to have been updated to reflect the breakthrough.

(Tipped from The Light of Reason)

UPDATE: Rogue Classicism has a less-dramatic account of the new discoveries; it seems our Independent hack may have got carried away a bit.

UPDATE 2: The New York Times has a piece on the subject by Sarah Lyall, and suggests that the Independent over-hyped the story.

Canada Free Press Ponders Saddam’s Stargate

Judi McLeod’s Canada Free Press has another scoop on Iraq. A few months back it was all about how Saddam Hussein performed human sacrifices in Satanic rituals; now it’s Saddam’s belief in reincarnation:

Saddam believes he is the “literal reincarnation” of King Nebuchadnezzar II, according to “investigative mythologist” William Henry and others. (Stephen Wagner, Your Guide to Paranormal Phenomena Newsletter).

…In geographical terms, Saddam didn’t have to go far to find himself a “literal reincarnation”. Babylon is Iraq today.

“Saddam is saying he is the reincarnated Nebuchadnezzar,” writes Henry in Saddam Hussein, the Stairway to Heaven and the Return of Planet X. He is attempting to recreate and outdo the feats of the biblical king.”

It is well known that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has connected himself with Nebuchadnezzar. It was more than $500 million he spent in the 1980s on the reconstruction and the re-establishment of ancient Babylon–the capitol of Nebuchadnezzar. Then there are the over 60 million bricks, fashioned to place in the walls of Babylon. Each one engraved with the inscription, “To King Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Saddam Hussein”.

Actually, the inscriptions read “The Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar was reconstructed in the era of Saddam Hussein”, but let’s not get bogged down with mere details just as we’re about to fly:

Henry also believes there is a connection between Saddam and Planet X, the alleged “12th Planet”. This phantom planet, Nibiru maintains Zecharia Sitchin in his many books on the subject, was the home of the Elohim–the gods of antiquity and Genesis–who created humanity through genetic manipulation.

(An assessment of Sitchin can be read here. Here’s his website)

“Saddam controls an asset infinitely more important and powerful than oil, or even nuclear weapons,” writes Henry. “He controls access to the temples that housed the history (of) humanity’s origins, and potentially, the secrets of stargates. Buried deep beneath the sands if Iraq are the secrets of the Shining Ones of Planet X. Saddam’s actions reveal that he knows the political value of these secrets.”

What? The piece concludes:

Canada Free Press founding editor Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the media. A former Toronto Sun and Kingston Whig Standard columnist, she has also appeared on Newsmax.com, the Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, and World Net Daily.

“30 years experience” and just parroting some crap from a newsletter? Is this a joke? And just who is her source, William Henry?

Henry’s complete crackpot masterwork (written before the war, it seems) can be seen here. Here’s a bit more:

While it is uncertain if Planet X is headed this way in the immediate future, one thing is certain. The return of this planet centers on the recovery of a technology once housed at Solomon’s Temple that is used to open a gateway linking Earth with far off regions of space. Recent military and political activity suggests that the world powers are jockeying for position as if the return of Planet X is imminent. The stakes are high. This planet is at the center of a biblical prophecy known as the “Day of the Lord.”

Maybe McLeod is in some sort of competition with Joseph Farah to find the most deranged wacko to puff: Henry is clearly on the same level as WND favourite Patrick “Nephilim” Heron. Website Empire of the Odd has more:

William Henry dosn’t bother to disclose where he received his degree or even what kind of degree it is. That is almost unprecedented and gives (me) reason to doubt that he is formally trained in the field.

OK, so he’s an amateur mythologist? That’s cool, so am I!

Not so long ago he mentioned something about the venerable Subliminal Research Foundation in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he supposedly worked with a team of psychiatrists and psychologists to develop “self help technologies.” Thankfully (and probably since the Subliminal Research Foundation doesn’t really exist) he pulled that text off of his web page. Kudos for doing that at least!

There are a few other sites linking Henry with the Subliminal Research Foundation. It seems to be an old business name of The Joe Land Company; Land is a subliminal-message self-help guru who is also based in Albuquerque (SRF is listed as co-author of Land’s 1987 Program Yourself For Success on a couple of second-hand dealer websites).

Henry’s other articles include:


Gosh, this could keep McLeod going for weeks…

(Tipped from Cult News Network)

UPDATE: Commentator Geoff notes that McLeod is so stupid that a few weeks ago she repeated a story about Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga that had originally appeared in The Onion.