“CONTACT WITH A SHADOW MAN” and More True And Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness

CONTACT WITH A SHADOW MAN” and More True And Macabre Stories! #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: When you think of human sacrifice, you might picture Aztec or Mayan ceremonies, or maybe a Satanic cult standing in a pentagram with a naked woman on an altar – possibly even a volunteer. Personally, I picture Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. While civilizations and groups such as these certainly did (and maybe still do) their share of brutal sacrificing, they are by no means the only ones that conducted death rituals. Some will most certainly surprise, and possibly disturb, you. (Sadistic Sacrificing of Souls) *** A shadow person is a humanoid figure that you perceive in a patch of shadow. Some believe that they are supernatural spirits or extra-dimensional beings. What are they? Paranormal researchers have a theory, neuroscientists have another theory. (Contact With a Shadow Man) *** An astronomy professor says we should begin focusing on space archaeology – starting with our own moon. Why? Well, he believes E.T. might have left a clue there of his existence. (Extraterrestrial Evidence on the Moon) *** And what if we were to discover there were aliens still living on the moon – and they were meddling in our affairs? How would you feel about that? Should extraterrestrials interfere in human affairs if they can help our society, or should we refuse that kind of leap in technology and medicine? (Should Aliens Interfere With Earthly Affairs?) *** Thousands of years ago, people were performing a form of surgery that involved boring holes through a person’s skull. Why on earth would they do such a thing? (Trepanation: I Need That Like Another Hole In The Head)

TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE…
(Scroll to bottom of blog post):

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE…
BOOK: “The Secret War: The Heavens Speak of the Battle” by Heidi Holllis: https://amzn.to/3c0oeD7
“Invisible Aliens and Self-Replicating Robots” episode: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/6195
“Grumblethorpe” video on YouTube with comment from Veronica for Pamela: https://tinyurl.com/y9j7jhru
“Daddy Issues” (previously titled “She Claimed To Be The Devil, And I Believe Her”) episode: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/6481

SUPPORT THE PODCAST…
Become a patron: http://www.WeirdDarkness.com/WEIRDO
Visit the store: http://www.WeirdDarkness.com/STORE
Social media and contact info: http://www.WeirdDarkness.com/CONTACT

STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Note: Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
“Trepanation: I Need That Like Another Hole In The Head” by Robin Wylie for the BBC: https://tinyurl.com/yatx2ruu
“Sadistic Sacrificing of Souls” by T.L. Perez for Ranker: https://tinyurl.com/y9noz4wz
“Contact With a Shadow Man” by Stephen Wagner for Live About: https://tinyurl.com/y8j6j7qb
“Extraterrestrial Evidence on the Moon” by Cynthia McKanzie for Message to Eagle: https://tinyurl.com/y86xeukz
“Should Aliens Interfere With Earthly Affairs?” by Ellen Lloyd for Message to Eagle: https://tinyurl.com/y9yle3a6
Weird Darkness opening and closing theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music, varying by episode, provided by Alibi Music, EpidemicSound and/or AudioBlocks with paid license; Shadows Symphony (http://bit.ly/2W6N1xJ), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ), and/or Nicolas Gasparini/Myuu (https://www.youtube.com/user/myuuji) used with permission.

MY RECORDING TOOLS…
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I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use. If I somehow overlooked doing that for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll rectify it the show notes as quickly as possible.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
Find out how to escape eternal darkness at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
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TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.

While you’re listening, you might want to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can find transcripts of the episodes, paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, the Weird Darkness store, streaming video of Horror Hosts and old horror movies, plus you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide. And if you are an artist and find inspiration through the podcast in any art form, you can submit your work to the Weirdos Art Gallery. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.

Coming up in this episode of Weird Darkness…

When you think of human sacrifice, you might picture Aztec or Mayan ceremonies, or maybe a Satanic cult standing in a pentagram with a naked woman on an altar – possibly even a volunteer. Personally, I picture Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. While civilizations and groups such as these certainly did (and maybe still do) their share of brutal sacrificing, they are by no means the only ones that conducted death rituals. Some will most certainly surprise, and possibly disturb, you.

A shadow person is a humanoid figure that you perceive in a patch of shadow. Some believe that they are supernatural spirits or extra-dimensional beings. What are they? Paranormal researchers have a theory, neuroscientists have another theory.

An astronomy professor says we should begin focusing on space archaeology – starting with our own moon. Why? Well, he believes E.T. might have left a clue there of his existence.

And what if we were to discover there were aliens still living on the moon – and they were meddling in our affairs? How would you feel about that? Should extraterrestrials interfere in human affairs if they can help our society, or should we refuse that kind of leap in technology and medicine?

Thousands of years ago, people were performing a form of surgery that involved boring holes through a person’s skull. Why on earth would they do such a thing?

Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!

* * * * * * * * * *

For a large part of human prehistory, people around the world practiced trepanation: a crude surgical procedure that involves forming a hole in the skull of a living person by either drilling, cutting or scraping away layers of bone with a sharp implement.

To date, thousands of skulls bearing signs of trepanation have been unearthed at archaeological sites across the world.

But despite its apparent importance, scientists are still not completely agreed on why our ancestors performed trepanation.

Anthropological accounts of 20th-Century trepanations in Africa and Polynesia suggest that, in these cases at least, trepanation was performed to treat pain – for instance, the pain caused by skull trauma or neurological disease.

Trepanation may also have had a similar purpose in prehistory. Many trepanned skulls show signs of cranial injuries or neurological diseases, often in the same region of the skull where the trepanation hole was made.

But as well as being used to treat medical conditions, researchers have long suspected that ancient humans performed trepanation for a quite different reason: ritual.

The earliest clear evidence of trepanation dates to approximately 7,000 years ago. It was practiced in places as diverse as Ancient Greece, North and South America, Africa, Polynesia and the Far East. People probably developed the practice independently in several locations.

Trepanation had been abandoned by most cultures by the end of the Middle Ages, but the practice was still being carried out in a few isolated parts of Africa and Polynesia until the early 1900s.

Since the very first scientific studies on trepanation were published in the 19th Century, scholars have continued to argue that ancient humans sometimes performed trepanation to allow the passage of spirits into or out of the body, or as part of an initiation rite.

However, convincing evidence is hard to come by. It is almost impossible to completely rule out the possibility that a trepanation was carried out for medical reasons, because some brain conditions leave no trace on the skull.

However, in a small corner of Russia archaeologists have turned up some of the best evidence for ritual trepanation ever discovered.

The story begins in 1997. Archaeologists were excavating a prehistoric burial site close to the city of Rostov-on-Don in the far south of Russia, near the northern reaches of the Black Sea.

The site contained the skeletal remains of 35 humans, distributed among 20 separate graves. Based on the style of the burials, the archaeologists knew that they dated to between approximately 5,000 and 3,000 BC, a period known as the Chalcolithic or “Copper Age”.

One of the graves contained the skeletons of five adults – two women and three men – together with an infant aged between one and two years, and a girl in her mid-teens.

Finding multiple skeletons in the same prehistoric grave is not particularly unusual. But what had been done to their skulls was: the two women, two of the men and the teenage girl had all been trepanned.

Each of their skulls contained a single hole, several centimeters wide and roughly ellipsoidal in shape, with signs of scraping around the edges. The skull of the third man contained a depression which also showed evidence of having been carved, but not an actual hole. Only the infant’s skull was unblemished.

The job of analyzing the contents of the grave fell to Elena Batieva, an anthropologist now at the Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. She immediately recognized the holes as trepanations, and she soon realized that these trepanations were unusual.

They had all been made in almost exactly the same location: a point on the skull called the “obelion”. The obelion is on the top of the skull and towards the rear, roughly where a high ponytail might be gathered.

Less than 1 percent of all recorded trepanations are located above the obelion point. What’s more, Batieva knew that such trepanations were even less common in ancient Russia. As far as she was aware at the time, there was just one other recorded case of an obelion trepanation: a skull unearthed in 1974 at an archaeological site remarkably close to the one she was excavating.

Clearly, finding even one obelion trepanation is remarkable. But Batieva was looking at five, all of them buried in the same grave. This was, and is, unprecedented.

There is a good reason why obelion trepanation is uncommon: it is very dangerous.

The obelion point is located directly above the superior sagittal sinus, where blood from the brain collects before flowing into the brain’s main outgoing veins. Opening the skull in this location would have risked major hemorrhage and death.

This suggests the Copper Age inhabitants of Russia must have had good reason to perform such trepanation procedures. Yet none of the skulls showed any signs of having suffered any injury or illness, before or after the trepanation had been performed.

In other words, it appeared as if all of these people were trepanned while they were completely healthy. Was their trepanation evidence of some sort of ritual?

It was an intriguing possibility. However, Batieva had to give up the trail. She had many more skeletons to analyze from all over southern Russia, and could not afford to get sidetracked by just a few skulls, however enigmatic.

Before she gave up, Batieva decided to search through Russia’s unpublished archaeological records, in case any more strange obelion trepanations had been discovered but not reported.

Surprisingly, she got two hits. The skulls of two young women with obelion trepanations had been discovered years earlier: one in 1980 and another in 1992. Each one had been unearthed less than 31 miles (50km) from Rostov-on-Don, and neither showed any signs of having been trepanned for a medical reason.

This gave Batieva a grand total of eight unusual skulls, all clustered in a small region of southern Russia and potentially all of about the same age. A decade later, even more came to light.

In 2011, an international team of archaeologists was analyzing 137 human skeletons. They had recently been excavated from three separate Copper Age burial sites around 310 miles (500km) south-east of Rostov-on-Don, in the Stavropol Krai region of Russia, close to the modern-day border with Georgia.

The archaeologists had not set out to discover trepanations. They were there to learn about the general health of the prehistoric inhabitants of the region. But among the 137 skulls, they found nine with conspicuous holes.

Five of them were standard examples of trepanation. The holes had been made in a variety of different locations around the front and side of the skull, and all of the skulls showed signs of having suffered a physical trauma, suggesting that the trepanations had been performed to treat the effects of the injuries.

But none of the other four trepanned skulls showed any signs of damage or disease. What’s more, all four had been trepanned exactly above the obelion point.

Quite by chance one of the researchers – Julia Gresky, an anthropologist at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) – had already read Batieva’s paper describing the unusual trepanations from the Rostov-on-Don region.

Now Gresky, Batieva and other archaeologists have teamed up to describe all 12 of the obelion trepanations from Southern Russia. Their study was published in April 2016 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

The 12 skulls would have been remarkable discoveries wherever they had been found. But the fact that they were all discovered in the same tiny corner of Russia meant that a connection seemed likely. If there was no link, the odds that a batch of such rare trepanations would turn up exclusively in southern Russia would have been exceedingly low.

Gresky, Bateiva and their colleagues argue that, while this idea is difficult to prove, the clustering of these unusual trepanations suggests that southern Russia may have been a centre for ritual trepanation.

Maria Mednikova of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow is an expert on Russian trepanation. She believes that trepanations in specific, dangerous areas of the cranium may have been performed to achieve “transformations” of some kind. She suggests that, by trepanning in these places, people thought they could acquire unique skills that ordinary members of society did not have.

We can only speculate as to why these 12 apparently healthy people were trepanned in such an unusual and dangerous way. But thanks to the trepanation holes themselves, we can infer a surprising amount about the fate of the people after they received their trepanation.

One of the 12 skulls belonged to a woman under the age of 25, who had been buried at one of the sites near Rostov-on-Don. It showed no signs of healing, suggesting that she died during her trepanation or shortly afterwards.

However, the owners of the other skulls seem to have survived their operations. Their skulls showed bone healing around the edges of the trepanation holes – although the bone never completely re-grew over the holes.

Three of the 12 skulls showed only slight signs of healing around the trepanation hole, suggesting that their owners only survived between two and eight weeks after the operation. Two of these individuals were women between 20 and 35 years of age. The third was an elderly person between 50 and 70 years old, whose sex could not be determined.

The other eight skulls showed more advanced healing. Based on what we know about bone healing today, these individuals probably survived for at least four years after their operations.

These eight survivors included all five of the people from the mass grave near Rostov-on-Don, whose bizarrely-trepanned skulls first attracted Batieva’s attention almost 20 years ago.

The two men, two women and one adolescent girl had all survived with their obelion holes for years. The girl, who based on her skeleton was between 14 and 16 years old, must have been trepanned when she was no older than 12, and possibly much younger.

It is still possible that these 12 people were suffering from diseases or head injuries. In that case, the trepanning operation may have worked for at least eight of them.

But it is also possible that Batieva and her colleagues are right, and these people were trepanned for a ritual purpose. If that is true, we can only guess at what benefits they received – or believed they had received – throughout the rest of their lives.

* * * * * * * * * *

Up next…

Some of the ways human societies and cultures have committed human sacrifice are even more gruesome than you can imagine.

A shadow person is a humanoid figure that you perceive in a patch of shadow. But what exactly are they?

These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.

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You’ve already heard me talking this week about the crisis situation in Haiti and Guatemala and how we’re doing what we can to save lives there by partnering with Food for the Poor. And I know that you, my Weirdo family, are very generous – you’ve proven that in the past with our Hope in the Darkness campaign last October, and the last couple of months you’ve swarmed the Weird Darkness store to buy merchandise knowing the profits are going towards depression relief during this dark time we’re living in. I know how important that is to you just as it is to me. If you are torn because you want to donate but can’t give to both, I completely understand and I think I’ve worked out a solution. I’m extending the Weird Darkness store fundraiser indefinitely and adjusting it so that 50% of all profits that would normally come to me will still go to the International Foundation for Research and Education of Depression. I say 50% because I have to pay for the artwork and designs which can get quite expensive, but the fundraiser is now continuing on in perpetuity so we can help as many people as we can who suffer from depression. That also means that instead of buying merchandise this month, you can wait – and instead, make a single, one-time donation to Food For The Poor. As I’ve said, COVID19 has hit Haiti, Guatemala, and other areas of Latin America and the Caribbean even harder than it hit the more prosperous areas of the world, because there was practically no food or assistance there to begin with. The low-paying jobs some of the them did have (mostly street vendors and day laborers) are now gone thanks to the quarantine. The only meal most children received the entire day came from the school they attended, but now that all the schools have been forced to close due to the pandemic, these children are receiving zero meals each day. And unlike so many of us, the poor souls have no government assistance, no unemployment insurance. That’s why I’m asking you to partner with me, Weird Darkness, and with Food For The Poor to literally save the lives of these children and families. All it takes to save a life is a one-time tax-deductible donation of just $37. That’s it. Just $37… given once. That single gift will feed a child in Haiti or Guatemala for a full 6-months. If you can give a one-time gift of $74, you feed two children for six months. If you’ve been especially fortunate during this trying time and can give $185 – that single donation saves the lives of five children, giving them emergency provisions for the next six months. I’ve pledged $50 per month, and if you’re a Weirdo family member who can do the same, please do so. But again, any amount you choose to donate is going to make a huge impact. If only eight people give five bucks each, that still saves a child’s life. The important thing is that you give today. Right now. As you listen to this episode of Weird Darkness. Click the red “Emergency Food Relief” banner at WeirdDarkness.com. You can give online right now, it only takes a moment. Or if you’d rather donate by phone, the number is 855-901-4673. That’s 855-901-4673. The important thing is that you do it as soon as possible. We’re currently at just over 50% of our goal, which is fabulous after only a few days – our Weirdo family has been more generous the past five days than I believe you’ve ever been in the past four years, but we still have a long way to go! So please make your one-time donation or monthly pledge, whichever you prefer, for any amount, right now. Call 855-901-4673, or click the “Emergency Food Relief” banner at WeirdDarkness.com. 855-901-4673, or click the “Emergency Food Relief” banner at WeirdDarkness.com.

* * * * * * * * * *

The shadow man. Anyone who has been interested in the paranormal has undoubtedly heard the stories of shadow people, entities seen out of the corner of your eye, or brief glimpses of humanoid forms very much like shadows that bring a feeling of dread or fear and dissipate or flee when approached. A humanoid figure that you perceive in a patch of shadow. Some believe that they are supernatural spirits or extra-dimensional beings.

Most encounters with shadow people—those smoky, person-shaped entities that move around in the dark—are fleeting glimpses. They are seen out of the corner of your eye, swiftly passing across a wall or ducking around a corner. You may wonder if the rational explanation for these quick glimpses are that they are imagined or just ordinary shadows of some kind. Maybe they’re real, maybe they’re not.

Another kind of shadow person encounter—a close encounter of the second kind, to borrow J. Allen Hynek’s UFO classification system—is rarer and more compelling. The witness sees the shadow entity for an extended period, not merely a passing glance. It could be for a half minute, a few minutes or even more. The witness can often also detect human-like movement: the raising of an arm, the turn of a head, or walking. The witness gets a pretty good look at the thing and is able to describe it in some detail. Very often, these detailed descriptions compel the witness to ascribe an intelligence to the specter. It’s not just a shadow, it seems to be an entity that moves and even reacts with purpose.

shadow person encounter of the third kind is rarer still: contact. In this case, the witness actually is touched or is otherwise affected physically by the entity.

These perceptions of shadow people often occur when you awaken partially and are in the stage of REM sleep paralysis. You are semi-conscious but your vivid dreams from REM sleep continue and you can experience hallucinations, including that there is an intruder in your bedroom. During this phase, you are unable to move or speak but your senses seem to be clear. Neuroscientists say at least 20 percent of the population experiences these sleep paralysis episodes. Researchers have reproduced these feelings by stimulating a site in the brain’s left hemisphere.

When you are fully awake but hyper-vigilant, such as when walking alone at night, you might become fearful of any shadowy movement and imagine a threat.

Heidi Hollis wrote a book on shadow people, “The Secret War: The Heavens Speak of the Battle,” (which I’ve linked to in the show notes) and she has appeared often on Art Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” radio show to discuss the topic. She believes they are aliens and gives advice on warding them off. Shadow people have been the topic of horror movies and a 1985 “Twilight Zone” episode.

Michael W. tells of his close encounter in the fall of 1998. It has many typical characteristics, including that his perceptions happened when he awoke during the night. He had just purchased a home and spent the day painting it before moving in. His friends left for the night but he decided to sleep in a bean bag chair. He awoke in the middle of the night feeling thirsty and went into the dark kitchen for a glass of water.

“That’s when I got a distinct feeling that someone was watching me. There at the top of the basement stairs and in front of the light switch, I could distinctly make out the figure of what I automatically assumed was my good friend Larry.” He called out to the figure, which didn’t respond. “I was still absolutely convinced that I was looking at a living person. My guard went up with the dangerous possibilities of who it could be.” He took out his pocket knife in case he needed to defend himself.

“Then in an instant, the shadow moved forward in my direction. I lunged forward with the knife extended outward. I saw the shadow move into my arm as if deliberately trying to impale itself on my weapon, and it kept on coming!” He screamed and the entity continued straight through his body.

“I spun around in a circular motion 180 degrees. I saw the shadow moving at an almost leisurely pace away from me. It proceeded through the large kitchen, into the adjoining dining room, and finally through the wall that would have led outside if it were a door.” He finally turned on the light switch. Wide awake now, he searched the house, found nothing, and evacuated to his old apartment for the rest of the night.

He never had a repeat of that encounter while living in the house. Of note, he said he wondered whether he was thirsty due to the paint fumes. A rational explanation would be that those could have been an influence, as well as an episode of a hallucination associated with sleep paralysis. He wondered if it might be associated with the address ending in 666 and that the house was aligned with magnetic north.

* * * * * * * * * *

Humans have always had a dark side. Maybe when you think of human sacrifice, you picture grand and graphic Aztec or Mayan ceremonies. While civilizations such as these certainly did their share of brutal sacrificing, they were by no means the only ancient civilizations that participated in death rituals.  From ancient China to England to Egypt, civilizations throughout history developed quite a few human sacrifice methods. Mostly, these were religious human sacrifices, though sometimes they were carried out as punishment, or as a part of local traditions. Those who sacrificed humans used a number of brutal techniques to do so, including decapitation, strangulation, whipping, burning, cannibalism, and burying victims alive. If anything, this list demonstrates the disturbing creativity of human bloodlust.

The ancient British left no written historical records of their own, so much of what we know about ancient Britain is based on Roman writings. Julius Caesar wrote that Druids built massive wicker men, loaded them with human and animal sacrifices, and lit them on fire. Others suggest this is Roman hyperbole designed to make the British appear savage. Whether or not human sacrifices actually happened in wicker effigies, evidence exists of human sacrifice in ancient Britain. Bodies found in bogs show evidence of ritualistic slaying, possibly undertaken as offerings to the gods.

One of the most powerful empires in Chinese history, the Shang Dynasty lasted for more than 500 years, and is the first recorded period in ancient Chinese history. It was also home to brutal techniques focused on ripping apart the bodies of those who were sacrificed.  Shang human sacrifice victims were burned, split into halves, beheaded, or chopped up. The most common ceremonies were pit, foundation, and interment sacrifices. For pit sacrifices, young men were ripped apart and buried without their possessions. Foundation sacrifices involved children and infants, while interment sacrifices focused on young women. Some of the people sacrificed were captives, others criminals. The Shang also made sacrifices to various gods.

Early Tahitian invaders of Hawaii practiced a number of human sacrifice techniques, victimizing descendants of the Polynesians who initially settled the Hawaiian Islands. Those sacrificed were mostly captives, though some were tribe members who broke laws or committed taboo acts. Sacrifice techniques included strangulation, bone-breaking, and the complete removal of the intestines. Early Hawaiians practiced human sacrifice to appease Ku, the god of war and defense, in order to ensure victory in future battles. Captives from enemy tribes, especially chiefs, were sacrificed in sacred temples through a variety of means, including being hung upside down, bludgeoned, and bled. They were then disemboweled and the remaining flesh, either cooked or raw, was eaten by the priest and the chief of the tribe.

In the golden age of ancient Egypt, pharaohs were buried with effigies of their retainers (servants and other followers), but pharaohs of the First Dynasty were buried with their actual, living retainers, in a practice known as retainer sacrifice. These servants (and sometimes high-ranking officials) were sacrificed in accordance with religious beliefs. According to these beliefs, servants were meant to continue serving their rulers after they perished. Essentially, rulers were so important that they needed an entourage in the afterlife. As the First Dynasty ended, retainers managed to convince pharaohs that they could better serve if left alive to continue carrying out the will of the pharaoh on Earth.

Like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the royals of ancient Mesopotamia were buried with the rest of their household. This included some members of the royal court, such as soldiers, handmaidens, and servants. Human remains found at an archaeological site in Ur (now Iraq) attest to more than 2,000 people being sacrificed in this way. In an innocent near-past, experts believed victims of sacrifices in Mesopotamia were poisoned peacefully before burial. Recent discoveries suggest a more brutal practice. Analysis of skeletal remains suggests that victims were struck in the head before burial. Some have speculated that targets may have been struck in the head to end them because the poison wasn’t enough, thus preventing them from being buried alive. However, the truth about why they were dispatched in such a way remains unknown.

Many probably think first of the Aztecs when they hear “ritualistic human sacrifice,” and with good reason. Human sacrifice was widespread in Aztec culture, and sacrificial techniques were ruthless. The Aztec worshipped a pantheon of gods that they believed they had to appease through blood sacrifice – both animal and human. Archaeologists estimate that a few thousand people were sacrificially slain each year for this purpose. While some came from the Aztec community, many were prisoners of war. During sacrificial rituals to the sun god, the victim was forced to walk up the many steps of a temple; at the top, a priest cut the person open from throat to stomach. The heart was then removed and offered to the god. The person was then pushed from the top of the temple down the stairs to the bottom, where they were dismembered or taken away.

In ancient Fiji, the traditions of some indigenous groups required that a widow be strangled shortly after her husband’s passing. This ritual was carried out because Fijians believed all women should accompany their husbands in the afterlife. These widows were referred to as the “carpeting of his grave.” It was common in most tribes for the widow’s brother to strangle her, or at least oversee the act. Australian anthropologist Lorimer Fison reportedly overheard the following between a sister and a brother while studying the tribes in question: “O Matakimbau,” [the wife] cried, “Malani is dead! Take pity upon me and strangle me to-day.” “All right,” her brother replied. “Go now and bathe yourself, and put on your ornaments. You shall be strangled by-and-by.” (Ain’t family love grand?)

Xwetanu was an annual celebration in Dahomey, an ancient West African kingdom located in present-day Ghana. The ceremony consisted of many things, including the sacrifice of slaves to honor deceased kings. The preferred method of sacrifice was decapitation.  So many sacrificial victims were beheaded that the ceremony’s name translates to “yearly head business.” One source states that thousands of people were sacrificed under the leadership of one king.

The Mayans were a highly religious people known for hosting elaborate ceremonies. One of these ceremonies included the seemingly brutal practice of throwing human sacrifices into large limestone pits called cenotes, which typically had water at the bottom.  These huge, natural sinkholes were believed to be portals to the spiritual realm. Therefore, people were pushed into them as divine sacrifices.

The Japanese practiced an honorary form of self-sacrifice called seppuku. Often referred to as hara-kiri in the West, the Japanese typically refer to it as seppuku. This practice was one of the many ritualized aspects of the life of samurai in feudal Japan. Samurai committed seppuku for a variety of reasons – as punishment for a crime, to restore their honor, or to show solidarity with a recently deceased lord. The ritual had several steps. First, the warrior ate his favorite meal, dressed in his best robes, drank sake, and wrote, then recited, a death poem. Next, he thrust a dagger into the left side of his own abdomen (believed to release his spirit), drew the blade laterally to the right, and then turned the blade upward. The end of the ceremony required an assistant, called a kaishakunin, to finish the sacrifice by decapitating the samurai.

Over the course of hundreds of years, ending in 1830, an organized crew of dangerous outlaws known as Thugs, or Thuggee, brutally sacrificed more than 30,000 people throughout India. Considered a cult of religious assassins by some, the superstitious Thugs found targets by following natural phenomena they believed to be omens. They ended their targets in a variety of ways, including strangling them with handkerchiefs. The sacrifices were meant to honor Kali, the goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction.  Thugs would disguise themselves as travelers, merchants, or soldiers to gain the trust of their targets. Despite its bloody activities, the cult had a strict code of ethics. According to one source, they were prohibited from sacrificing “fakirs, musicians, dancers, sweepers, oil vendors, carpenters, blacksmiths, maimed or leprous persons, Ganges water-carriers, and women.” However, they would sometimes slay women if it was necessary to maintain the cult’s secrecy.

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When Weird Darkness returns…

Could there be evidence of extraterrestrials on our moon?

And if we were to discover extraterrestrials are here, should they interfere with human affairs if they can help our society?

These stories are up next.

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We were really hoping things would be somewhat back to normal this month, but we’re all still social distancing and self-quarantining, so I’m going to extend the fundraiser through the rest of this month – and beyond. Last month all profits from the Weird Darkness store went to the International Foundation for the Research and Education of Depression. I’m doing the same this month. And then next month, and into the foreseeable future, 50% of all sales from the Weird Darkness store will CONTINUE to be donated to help those who struggle with depression and anxiety. If you purchase something from the Weird Darkness store whatever portion usually comes to me, 100% of it in May 2020, and then 50% every month thereafter, will be donated to the International Foundation for Research and Education of Depression. You can check out the merchandise anytime by clicking on STORE at WeirdDarkness.com.

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Is there any evidence of extraterrestrials’ presence on our Moon? A Harvard astronomer suggests our satellite may offer proof of extraterrestrial life.

While astronomers keep looking and listening to the stars attempting to locate alien life, there could be other options we haven’t yet considered.

Dr. Abraham “Avi” Loeb, a Professor of astronomy at Harvard thinks we should focus more on space archaeology that is a fascinating but neglected science field. By mapping sites from space, we can expect to find the unexpected. There are ancient ruins and artifacts scattered all across our own planet. Could such ancient sites not be present on alien worlds? Could not extraterrestrial have built monuments and left behind evidence of their existence?

Our current space technology doesn’t allow us to explore distant regions of the universe, but why not take a closer look at the Moon?

“The moon is interesting for two reasons,” Professor Loeb explains. “One, the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, so anything that impacts the moon will not burn up. Moreover, the moon also doesn’t have geological activity.”

Our Moon’s surface doesn’t recycle materials the way our planet does. Basically it means that anything that has come into contact with our Moon –be it microbial life or single-celled organisms–could remain, in some capacity, on the surface. This is of course a good thing if we want to find traces of extraterrestrial life.

We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that while exploring the moon our scientists can discover technological or biological material that is of extraterrestrial origin. Such alien material can come from another planetary system.

Professor Loeb likens the Moon to a mailbox. “If we never check that mail, we would never know that we received the message. The message that [extraterrestrial life] exists. We have to remind ourselves that actually going places, going to another star takes a long time. If you use the current rockets that we have and you want to reach the nearest star, it will take 100,000 years,” Professor Loeb says.

Establishing a lunar base would allow scientists to create archaeological sites and start looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, SETI is approaching Professor Loeb’s theory with caution.

“I think it’s good that he stimulates some thought on these things,” said Shostak. “On the other hand, you know, we’ve also got almost nothing on the moon. So, we don’t really know.”

Professor Loeb is not the only scientist who has proposed evidence of extraterrestrial life may be much closer than we think.

One of the reasons we have not found such alien artifacts is because we have not looked in all places. Scientists have previously made clear that extraterrestrial artifacts in our solar system could exist and observe us.

“Extraterrestrial artifacts may exist in the solar system without our knowledge simply because we have not yet searched sufficiently,” said Jacob Haqq-Misra, Rock Ethics Institute, and Ravi Kumar Kopparapu, Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.

“The surface of the Earth is one of the few places in the solar system that has been almost completely examined at a spatial resolution of less than 3 feet,” said Haqq-Misra and Kopparapu.

But even as humans have spread across the solid surfaces of the Earth, there are still caves, jungles, and deserts as well as the ocean floor and subsurface areas that have not been explored.

The Moon has been searched to a small extent, and we simply don’t know what’s there. Space archaeology can bring us long-awaited confirmation that we are not alone in the Universe.

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This is a hypothetical scenario that should serve as food for thought.

Let’s assume that extraterrestrials do exist, and an advanced alien race is in close vicinity of our planet watching us. They can have probes observing events taking place on the Earth. Let’s also assume these extraterrestrials are very advanced and could help humans solving a variety of problems, like for example finding a cure for Covid-19.

The question is – Should extraterrestrials interfere in human affairs if they can help us?

Do we deserve their compassion and gift of knowledge?

Some will say every sentient being, who possesses adequate means is obliged to help those who require assistance. Empathy makes us human, but why should we assume this is also an extraterrestrial personality trait?

We don’t know anything about alien logic, intelligence or emotions. Many will argue, humanity doesn’t deserve help from extraterrestrial intelligence.

Our history books offer proof we are a violent and destructive race. A quick look at our planet today shows we disrespect other lifeforms and destroy our nature. Perhaps extraterrestrials observe us and think that we don’t deserve to call this beautiful planet our home.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek you’ll remember how Seven of Nine described humans in the episode Scorpion.  Seven of Nine said: “When your captain first approached us, we suspected that an agreement with humans would prove impossible to maintain.

You are erratic, conflicted, disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned, every individual entitled to their own small opinion.”

Could this be how extraterrestrials see humanity? Ufologist and former Ministry of Defence UFO investigator Nick Pope warned that humans are totally unprepared for an alien invasion. Who can argue with that? We have successfully demonstrated we are unprepared for a pandemic outbreak, so it’s unlikely our world could handle a superior alien force that has hostile intentions.

“In most science fiction movies extraterrestrials are presented as the bad guys and they are part of a hostile invasion force. For some reason, these highly advanced alien beings travel several light-years with the goal to destroy Earth and humans.

Many of the extraterrestrial invasion scenarios make a good movie plot, but how realistic are they from a scientific point of view?

An astrobiologist has examined five possible extraterrestrial invasion scenarios and his conclusions are more optimistic and show us we shouldn’t be afraid of our alien visitors.”

Most alien invasion scenarios are simply unrealistic.

A while back researchers suggested that extraterrestrials are deliberately waiting for the right moment before they reveal themselves to Earthlings. (Which I also covered in the episode, “Invisible Aliens and Self-Replicating Robots” which I’ll link to in the show notes.)

If aliens wait and hope humans will evolve spiritually, then they may have to wait a very long time.

Returning back to Star Trek, many will remember that the Prime Directive prohibits its members from interfering with the internal and natural development of alien civilizations.

The Prime Directive applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of technological, scientific and cultural development. It prevents starship crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them. So, if an advanced alien race wants to help another alien culture it cannot do so without breaking the rules.

Even if many think this way of reasoning is unethical, the Prime Directive is an ethical guideline, for how to treat cultures based on a policy of egalitarianism and trust. It ensures every culture is given the opportunity to develop on its own without interference.

Could extraterrestrials watching us be prohibited in interfering in our development?

Another possibility is that we have reached a stage when we can apply for membership in the Galactic Club. (Also covered in the “Invisible Aliens and Self-Replicating Robots” episode.)

According to David Schwartzman, a biogeochemist at Howard University in Washington D.C, aliens are out there, but there are several things we must accomplish before planet Earth can be initiated into the Galactic Club.

“Our world will change completely once we enter the Galactic Club. I submit that if we want to enter the Galactic Club, the challenge lies in reconstructing our global political economy. A few minor side benefits should result, like no more war, no more poverty, a future for all of humanity’s children with a substantial proportion of biodiversity intact. We should not expect the Galactic Club to save us from ourselves,” Schwartzman said.

Even if extraterrestrials are out there and they’re unwilling to help humanity, it’s still in our best interest to save our planet and do what is right for future generations. Maybe one day in the future humans will explore beautiful, exotic alien worlds, but right now, planet Earth is our home, our only home.

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Keep listening – up next on Weird Darkness we’ll step into the Chamber of Comments.

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Our next Weirdo Watch Party has been postponed for a week – so it is now rescheduled for Saturday, May 30th!  Join me, other Weirdo family members, and horror hosts Slash and Foxi Roxi as they present the 1984 B-horror movie, Carnage:the story of Carol and Jonathan, a newlywed couple, who move into their new house which they discover is haunted by the ghosts of a newlywed couple who died in the house three years earlier. You can be a part of the Weirdo Watch Party for FREE – just visit the page and start watching! In fact, there are horror movies hosted by horror hosts streaming on the page all the time, not just during our scheduled watch parties! The chat room is also there, so during the Weirdo Watch Party we can all join in to chat with each other, comment about the film and the horror hosts, and sometimes the horrors hosts jump into the chatroom with us to get in on the jokes and conversation. It’s FREE, it’s FUN, and it helps to promote different horror hosts and show them that we appreciate what they do.  So join us for our next Weirdo Watch Party as we view the 1984 paranormal horror film, “Carnage”! Be sure to update your calendar, smart home device, or phone reminder with the new date! Saturday, May 30th at WeirdDarkness.com. Again, that’s Saturday May 30th, 9pm Central (10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific, 8pm Mountain) on the Weirdo Watch Party page at WeirdDarkness.com!

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Here in the Chamber of Comments I answer your emails, comments, podcast reviews, tweets, letters I get in the mail, and more. You can find all of my contact information, postal address, and social media links on the CONTACT page at WeirdDarkness.com. While you’re there, join the Facebook Group, “Weird Darkness Weirdos” and hang out with me and the rest of our Weirdo family! Or drop me an email anytime at: darren@weirddarkness.com.

(YouTube comment from Elaina Valentin): Used to love listening to weird darkness, but the ads are so out of control it’s SICKENING!!

REPLY: YouTube is out of control, I hear you, Elaina. They used to only insert one or two per hour, now it’s insane – the video you commented on had EIGHTEEN commercial breaks. That is, as you so eloquently put it, SICKENING. And I don’t have the time to go into every video (which would be every day) to remove the spots and insert them in exactly the right, planned places for breaks; my time just doesn’t allow for that. However, the actual podcast itself doesn’t have a googolplex of commercials like YouTube does. Please try the podcast by searching for “Weird Darkness” on whatever you use to listen to podcasts. You’ll find it a LOT more satisfying… or at least less irritating!

(YouTube comment from Veronica Briggs regarding the message I received from Pamela about feeling so alone): Pamela. If you are out there come speak to me please. I personally would like to meet you. Please reach out.

REPLY: Thanks for that, Veronica. Pamela – I hope you’re listening to this. This comment was left in the comments of the YouTube video “Grumblethorpe” where I shared your comment. Here is someone who does want to get to know you. You are NOT alone. I’ll put a link directly to this video so you can scroll down to the comments and get in touch with Veronica yourself, Pamela. I do honestly hope that you do. Don’t suffer in silence!

(YouTube comment from Anita Charron on the episode “She Claimed To Be The Devil, And I Believed Her” – which I retitled this morning as just “Daddy Issues”): That my friend was an awesome story and it is so true Thank You for making me take a good look at myself.

REPLY: Glad you liked it, Anita. I will say that while narrating it I found myself debating whether or not I wanted to even finish the story. It is very blasphemous in some areas… but then I realized, we’re talking Lucifer here. Of course it’s going to be blasphemous, that’s the opinion the Devil is going to have. Even Satan’s own version of the truth is going to be twisted in a way to make him (or her in this case) look like the victim. But Lucifer does have a great point and a real truth to share at the very end of the story. Not about Hell, but about what we do to ourselves. I won’t say anything more so I don’t spoil the story, but for anyone who has not heard it, I will leave a link to the story “Daddy Issues” in the show notes.

(Dooomswear303 had a comment on that same episode): You’re the best thing that has happened to me in corona!

REPLY: I’m not sure… is that a compliment? Glad you like what I’m creating, 303!

(YouTube comment from David Ingling about Food For The Poor): What about the starving people/ kids in the USA?

REPLY: Well, first, Weird Darkness is not a USA podcast – it’s a Weirdo podcast, and that means it is worldwide. Heck, it’s universal. Back to your question though: “What about the starving people/ kids in the USA?” By all means, give to them too – we are all equally valuable. So my question back to you then is, are you giving to help people and kids in the USA, or is that just your way of assuaging your guilt for not giving to the needy at all? No need to answer – it’s a rhetorical question.

I’ll answer more of your emails, comments, and more next time! Again, you can find all of my social media and contact information on the CONTACT page at WeirdDarkness.com.

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If you made it this far, welcome to the Weirdo Family. If you like the podcast, please tell your friends/family about it however you can and get them to become Weirdos too! And I’d greatly appreciate you leaving a review in the podcast app you listen from, that helps the podcast get noticed!

Do you have a dark tale to tell of your own? Fact or fiction, click on “Tell Your Story” at WeirdDarkness.com and I might use it in a future episode.

All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise), and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.

“Trepanation: I Need That Like Another Hole In The Head” by Robin Wylie for the BBC

“Sadistic Sacrificing of Souls” by T.L. Perez for Ranker

“Contact With a Shadow Man” by Stephen Wagner for Live About

“Extraterrestrial Evidence on the Moon” by Cynthia McKanzie and “Should Aliens Interfere With Earthly Affairs?” by Ellen Lloyd, both for Message to Eagle

Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music.

WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.

If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you’ll find a link in the show notes.

Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… Jeremiah 32:17 = “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

And a final thought… There is no greater wealth in this world than peace of mind.

I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.

 

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