weekend, Herman Hegge and I organised and were amongst more than
a dozen of speakers at the Frontier Symposium 2005. This year’s
conference was special, if only because it was the celebration
of ten years of our organisation and occurred for the first time
over two consecutive days. It was made extra special because of
the appearance of Ramana,
to bedazzle us with what he claims is a mixture of "magic
and trickery"... which includes levitation and spoon bending.
1995, Frontier Sciences Foundation started as a mail order catalogue
and a magazine with 250 subscribers. Today, it has over 1200 subscribers
in the Netherlands and Belgium, where it is mainly available as
a newsstand magazine. We have since added Frontier Publishing
(with over fifteen titles published, both in Dutch and English)
and our own Amsterdam bookshop, Frontier Bookshop, to our offering.
Back in 1995, we were the sole distributor of Nexus in continental
Europe; since then, many national editions have come about. We
continue to maintain a close working relationship with Nexus and
its many satellite publications, in recent years best expressed
by the fact that the Nexus Europe conference is held in the same
venue, and organised by the same team, as the Frontier Symposium.
In recent years, Frontier Symposium has also become a social gathering
for many friends, and this year, both Herman and I greeted our
parents and other family members as honorary guests. Finally,
the symposium was extra special as it coincided with the Dutch
edition of my Rosslyn chapel book.
The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, in the very heart of Amsterdam,
holds fond memories, as it was where the idea of FSF was born
in October 1994 – both Herman and I can still identify the
exact location in the St John’s Room. On February 2, 2005,
during an inaugural meeting in Arnhem, with four other founding
members, Frontier was born.
Both Herman and I are equally amazed about the success of our
organisation, and the inspiration it has given others, specifically
on a national level. Since 2001, this is best expressed in the
so-called Frontier Award, the “Dutch Oscar” for the
person who made an outstanding contribution to frontier sciences
in one single year, which this year was won by Robin de Ruiter.
He symbolised the continuous drive of so many people, including
the 80 year old Dr. Hans Moolenburgh, to bite away at the edges,
to redefine the boundaries – a new frontier. We hope to
remain a forum both in Amsterdam and beyond… hip hip hip
November 5, I was able to present the main axis of The Canopus
Revelation at the Questing Conference, one of the longest running
conferences in Britain… and at present the only one who
continues to have a London venue. The organiser, Andy Collins,
introduced my lecture as “The Truth about Egypt’s
Star Religion”, which meant I had a lot to live up to! I
do hope that the audience left seriously questioning the accepted
status of “Osiris equals Orion”, which is in my opinion
no longer tenable.
The conference was a great chance to meet up with Jeremy Narby,
whom I had not seen in many years… the same applied to Ian
Lawton, each of which had to contend with the Guy Fawkes’
bonfires during their lectures. The other speakers were Colin
Wilson, Graham Phillips, Andrew Collins himself, Michael Carmichael
(a relatively late substitution because of Stan Gooch’s
cancellation) and Philip Gardiner & Gary Osborn.
Most lectures touched upon the role of psychedelics, coinciding
with the publication of Graham Hancock’s Supernatural, a
book which hopefully will make a great contribution to the subject,
and which in my opinion is the niche where Hancock is truly at
home, unlike some of his previous books. Jeremy and I reflected
that ten years ago, Rob La Frenais organised The Incident conference
in Fribourg, where these same subjects were discussed, but at
a time when the general audience did not yet seem ready for “the
message”. Let’s hope that from 2005 onwards, it will
live on the spot where, on Halloween 1590 and thus 415 years ago,
allegedly 200 witches raised the devil, in an effort to kill King
James VI, on his return from Denmark with his wife Queen Anne.
Whether the coven happened or not, is up for debate, though there
is sufficient evidence that shows that groups of people at the
time were practicing “alternative forms of medicine”,
including several midwives. This extensive group was rounded up,
and virtually all burnt as witches. The trial is famous as it
was not only allegedly directed against the king of a country,
but that the trial itself was attended by that person himself.
James VI decided to follow a vogue that was popular in Europe,
in an effort to show to “his” people that “evil”
lurked amongst them – and everyone was a suspect…
and could be rounded up. Four centuries onwards, it seems that
the world has not changed much…Tomorrow, the Catholic world
will remember their saints, followed by their ancestors. Today,
in the tradition of “trick or treat”, we should perhaps
remember those that died innocently, even though the official
accounts have robbed them of their innocence.
Seven wonders of the modern world
oldest and sole survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,
the Great Pyramid, has only secured eighth place in an updated
list of modern marvels, which include monuments from all continents,
as well as natural marvels. But the top spot is reserved for a
“Wonder of the New World”, the Inca city of Machu
The new listing is the result of a poll by the readers of the
travel magazine Wanderlust. In second place is the vast temple
complex of Angkor in Cambodia, with India's Taj Mahal third, and
the ancient city of Petra in Jordan fourth. The last three places
were taken by the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Great Wall of China
and the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador.
The seven wonders of the ancient world were the pyramids at Giza;
the hanging gardens of Babylon; the temple of Artemis at Ephesus;
the mausoleum at Halicarnassus; the statue of Zeus at Olympia;
the Colossus of Rhodes, and the lighthouse at Alexandria.
The new list does not stop at number seven though. Stonehenge
is found in fiftieth place and, of course, the Great Pyramid just
fell outside the top seven.
Frontier Bookshop opening
years ago, the first Frontier Bookshop opened in Amsterdam. On October
15, we celebrated the move of our bookshop to even more central and
bigger premises, on Leliegracht 42, thus not abandoning the Jordaan
area. The opening was a joyous event, with good and old friends from
the Netherlands and abroad present. Duncan Roads (owner of Nexus Magazine),
David Hatcher Childress (author and owner of Adventures Unlimited Press),
Marcus Allen (manager of Nexus Magazine UK) and Ken Thomas (author)
were amongst those who provided the international flavour. The Dutch
compartment was – of course – much larger, and included
many contributors and staff members of Frontier Magazine, as well as
– of course – staff of the bookshop itself. For all of those
who will find themselves in Amsterdam, the shop is now twice as big,
and offering some absolute gems: books that elsewhere are either out
of print, or selling for hundreds of pounds, we are offering at the
“correct price” – don’t thank us; it’s
the Dutch law! Our team in the bookshop will be more than happy to meet
you and help you in your queries…
The Rosslyn Music code
The Stone Puzzle of Rosslyn Chapel, we reported
on the possibility that the cubes of the ceiling of the Lady Chapel
could contain a musical code. Now, Scottish composer Stuart Mitchell
states that he has cracked the code. Apparently, each cube contained
different patterns to form an unusual 6½-minute piece of music
for 13 medieval players.
The melody was unravelled after Mitchell realised the cubes formed a
cadence (three chords at the end of a piece of music) of which there
were only three types in the 15th century. According to Mitchell, the
music sounds like a nursery rhyme. "It is in triple time, sounds
childlike and is based on plain chant which was the common form of rhythm
of the time. In the 1400s, there wasn't a great deal of guidance for
tempo so I have chosen to make it run for six and a half minutes but
it could be stretched to eight minutes if a different tempo was used.”
The Edinburgh musician, who has named the piece The Rosslyn Canon of
Proportions, added: "The key was recognising the cadences and that
each arch was the music for a different musician." Mitchell plans
to use the illustrations in the chapel of the musicians with different
medieval instruments to prepare the recording of the piece, as it was
meant to be heard. The strange combination of instruments in the piece
includes bagpipes, whistles, trumpet, a medieval mouth piano, guitar
the Italian edition of “L'Enigma di Rosslyn” was published
in May 2005, the Italian television programme Voyager spent one
week filming in and about Rosslyn, for an episode to be aired
on September 27, 23h00 CET. The Voyager team used the The Stone
Puzzle of Rosslyn Chapel as the main axis around which to develop
Voyager began in 1999 as a television programme, but has since
also become a popular newsstand magazine – there is now
even a TV series for children: Voyager Boys, whereby the magazine
now caters for both adult and younger audiences.
On August 29, I was interviewed by the Italian state television
RAI, within their studios in Turin, by the magazine’s anchor
man Roberto Giacobbo, surrounded by his very friendly and informed
team. To give a more Masonic perspective on certain aspects of
the chapel, the station had also invited Aldo Molda, historian
and professor. For those of you who have an opportunity to watch
the broadcast, pay special attention to the incredible set, which
with the impressive camerawork, resulted in surreal images.
The team deviated from the norm, in the sense that they also filmed
extensively in Temple… and were greatly pleased to come
up with some real scoops, which we will leave for them to discuss…
The end of Easter Island
Basener, assistant professor of mathematics at Rochester Institute of
Technology, is unravelling a mystery surrounding Easter
Island, by creating the first mathematical formula to accurately
model the island’s societal collapse.
Between 1200 and 1500 A.D., the small, remote island, 2,000 miles off
the coast of Chile, was inhabited by over 10,000 people and had a relatively
sophisticated and technologically advanced society. During this time,
its inhabitants used large boats for fishing and navigation, constructed
numerous buildings and built many of the large statues, known as Tiki
Gods, for which the island is now best known. However, by the late 18th
century the population had dropped to 2,000 and islanders were living
in near primitive conditions, with almost all elements of the previous
society completely wiped out.
Basener argues that the population crash stems “from the fact
that the inhabitants eventually ran out of finite resources, including
food and building materials, causing a massive famine and the collapse
of their society. Unfortunately, none of the current mathematical models
used to study population development predict this sort of growth and
quick decay in human communities.”
Population scientists use differential equation models to mimic the
development of a society and predict how that population will change
over time. Since incidents like Easter Island do not follow the normal
progression of most societies, entirely new equations were needed to
model the outcome. Computer simulations using Basener’s formula
predict values very close to the actual archaeological findings on Easter
Island. Basener will next use his formula to analyze the collapse of
the Mayan and Viking populations.
Return from Rennes-le-Château
spent the third week of August in the Rennes-le-Château area.
Since early March, André Douzet, I and several other people have
created a new French newsstand magazine, Les
Carnets Secrets. Uptake of the magazine is excellent and the expansion
of the magazine, even including foreign distribution, is rapidly developing.
At the same time, the success of The Da Vinci Code in general
and specifically its link with Rennes-le-Château has meant that
conferences on the “mysteries” are well-attended in the
area – though in the village of Rennes-le-Château itself,
apparently most conferences have resulted in aggressive debate between
a small number of people, which has left most audiences dejected.
Such animosity was not the case in the two lectures I helped with.
The first was on Sunday evening, August 14, in the Hostellerie
of Rennes-les-Bains. The room is able to cope with eighty, but
in the end, there were 135 – which meant some had to sit
in the entrance hall. Tellus Film screened its first production
[the DVD contains German, French and English commentary], after
which there was room for debate. André Douzet and I used
the opportunity to show footage dating back to 1993 and 1994,
of the infamous vault at the foot of Notre-Dame-de-Marceille.
It shows aspects of the vault long before it got mentioned in
The Templar Revelation and achieved some fame of its
The second event was a lecture by André Douzet on the enigmatic
mountain, Bugarach, which occurred in the Domaine de la Salz, a remote
and enigmatic location in the hills above Rennes-les-Bains. The entire
organisation needs to be thanked for a more than warm welcome.
Most of these events are organised by Tellus Film, mostly through their
French representative, Sigrid “Sigi” Scherf, who is also
the mastermind behind the bookshop in the very heart of Rennes-les-Bains
– which is selling many of my books (including some of the Dutch
titles!). The bookshop is only expected to operate during the summer
season, when Rennes-les-Bains is transformed into a veritable tourist
magnet – people who come to appreciate its fine surroundings,
and not so much the mysteries. Altogether, it makes for a much more
relaxed atmosphere, whereby the audience members come to be informed
and entertained, rather than be the centre of attention, as happens
in the village of Rennes-le-Château. We will return to the area
in late November, for more conferences.
Peruvian ‘writing’ system from Caral
display of artefacts retrieved from Caral has
gone on display in the National Museum in Lima, Peru. It shows that
the ancient culture used knots and strings to convey information. The
device is called a “quipu” and its presence in Caral means
that its existence is now thousands of years older than previously believed.
Previously, the oldest known quipus, often associated with the Incas,
dated from about 650 AD. But Ruth Shady, the archaeologist leading investigations
at Caral, said that quipus were among a treasure trove of articles discovered
at the site, which is about 5,000 years old: “This is the oldest
quipu, and it shows us that this society ... also had a system of ‘writing’
(which) would continue down the ages until the Inca empire and would
last some 4,500 years,” Shady said.
The quipu, with its well-preserved, brown cotton strings wound around
thin sticks, was found with a series of offerings including mysterious
fiber balls of different sizes wrapped in ”nets” and pristine
Shady said no equivalent of the “Rosetta Stone” that deciphered
the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt had yet been found to fully unlock
the language of the quipus, but said their existence pointed to a sophisticated,
organized society where such information as production, taxes and debts
were recorded. “They came up with their own system because, unlike
cities in the Old World which had contact with each other and exchanged
knowledge and experiences, this (city) in Peru was isolated in the Americas,
and advanced alone.”
The exhibition also includes some of the 25 huge whale bones fashioned
into chairs found at the site, as well as a cotton-soled sandal and
flutes and pipes made from animal horns, pelican or condor bones or
The remains of jungle fruits, cactus fiber and shells revealed trade
with distant regions and a block of salt the size of a small laptop
computer was found in Caral’s main temple, suggesting salt may
have had religious as well as commercial value. Shady said that representations
on clay figurines had helped show that nobles wore their hair in two
long ponytails each side of the face, with a fringe at the front and
the hair on the top of the head cropped close to the skull.
Caerlaverock Old Castle report published
1998-1999 excavations at Caerlaverock
Old Castle have been published. It has ended the mystery of why the
Maxwells spent so much money developing their seat in the south west,
only to move it 200 metres inland after only 50 years. Martin Brann,
assistant inspector of ancient monuments, said: “Popular opinion
among the site excavators, and the many visitors to this damp dig, was
that the castle inhabitants were driven away by the midges.”
The report has rephrased this as “repeated storms, changing sea
level and rapid coastal change during the 13th century occupation of
the castle”. It seems that the periodic influx of sea water to
the castle ditch system added to the problems. The excavations also
uncovered the first Islamic glass from a Scottish medieval context.
“The broken shards found are from a glass beaker with an Arabic
inscription, the decoration and style of which places its origin most
probably in 13th century Damascus.”
It is also possible that the site already had a fort, built by one of
the Celtic lords of Nithsdale.
preparation for their appearances on The
Fringe and various other initiatives they are working on, I met
up with the team of Duat Magazine earlier in the week. From left to
right: myself, Simon Cox, Andy Gough and Mark Foster. Our initial target
was the Grand Lodge of England’s Freemason’s Hall in central
London. As our scheduled meeting was slightly delayed, we decided to
take the guided tour while waiting.
An American tourist, three minutes into the guided tour, asked the guide
about Rosslyn and where it all featured in the history of Freemasonry.
For all we know, the tour guides get this question all the time, but
we felt it was very funny that the question was asked in the presence
of two authors who have discussed Rosslyn Chapel in various publications
and formats – without anyone on the tour knowing we were there.
We can only assume that once you have decided to venture into the fringe,
these things will happen…
The venue’s strict no photography policy meant that the accompanying
photograph had to wait until the meal afterwards.
Dating the Nazca lines
Antiquity (Volume: 79, number: 304, page: 390–401), W.J. Rink
and J. Bartoll report on their dating of the Nazca
lines. “The authors used optically stimulated luminescence
dating of quartz buried when the stone lines were constructed to give
new dates for contexts associated with geoglyphs on high mesetas near
Palpa. They conclude that the stone lines at sites at San Ignacio and
Sacramento were constructed between AD 400 and 650. This suggests that
they were made in the later part of the Early Intermediate Period by
people of the Nasca culture.”
These discoveries do more to confirm, rather than add anything new to
the Nazca debate, which continues to be a hotbed of tourist interest
Sub Rosa opens up its secrets
Taylor, Mark Foster et al. are continuing to move the frontiers of alternative
publications ever further. Not only is there the Daily
Grail website, one of the best portals in the field, which after
a few various transformations is now back in its good old proper format,
there is now also an online magazine, Sub
Rosa. We hope that the team will be able to succeed where previous
efforts, such as Phenomena Magazine, have failed.
soft launch is in my opinion always a good way to start. We did it with
Frontier Magazine in 1995, and it reached newsstand in Belgium and the
Netherlands shortly afterwards. The recent success of Les Carnets Secrets
has also proven that rather than talk, getting a magazine out there
and showing you are able to do it, is the best way to prove to everyone
you can do it... rather than just talk about it and wait for other people
to give you money or find advertisers. Over the years, many magazines
have taken off, but few have survived. The team has used one of this
site's article, on Terence McKenna, as one of its features... So we
have a special fondness when wishing them good sailings... may the rose
Encounters of the Da Vinci kind
the Amsterdam Nexus Conference 2005, this year once again with another
intriguing line up of speakers, I met up with Simon Cox, a friend of
many years. As fate would have it, both he and I have written guides
to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Simon's has been translated from his
English edition (held by me - right), my own was done solely for the
Dutch market (held by Simon). As a consequence, an exchange of books
had to occur.
Machu Picchu threatened
and landslides are treatening the Inca citadel Machu
Picchu, as evidenced during the April 2004 landslide that occurred
in the valley below the world famous site. The government of Peru has
submitted a $132.5 million plan to the United Nations' cultural body
to preserve the famous Inca citadel, to avoid losing its status as a
World Heritage site. The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
UNESCO, warned in 2003 that it could put the stone citadel on its list
of at-risk sites after experts said unrestricted tourism and landslides
had damaged Machu Picchu and its surroundings.
Machu Picchu has become South America's best-known archeological site
and attracts almost half a million tourists every year. About 2,500
visitors a day visit the site, perched on a mountain saddle, near the
southern Peruvian city of Cuzco.
Peruvian earth drawings predate Nazca lines
have discovered a group of giant figures scraped into the hills of Peru's
southern coastal desert that are believed to predate the country's famed
Nazca lines. About 50 figures were etched into
the earth over an area roughly 90 square miles near the city of Palpa,
220 miles southeast of Lima. The drawings include human figures as well
as animals such as birds, monkeys, and felines. One prominent figure
appears to represent a deity commonly depicted on textiles and ceramics
from the period. They are believed to be created by the Paracas culture,
sometime between 600 and 100 BC. The Nazca culture flourished between
50 BC and 600 A.D., making the “Palpa figures” older.
Rosslyn Chapel imposes visitor rules
having read The Da Vinci Code are flocking to visit Rosslyn
Chapel, which features in the climax of the novel. But unsupervised
visits have been banned over fears that the huge numbers of sightseers
could spoil the chapel.
The fragile carvings in the 15th century Midlothian church risk
being damaged by people brushing against them and the humidity
from their breath. To control numbers and avoid overcrowding this
summer, the chapel trust will allow only hourly guided tours.
It will be the first time access has been restricted.
Visitor numbers have soared by 56 percent to 70,000 per year.
In July 2004, there were 9000 visitors – a 96 percent rise.
The extra numbers are helping fund a £3million restoration
project but the overcrowding could damage the very objects that
people have come to see. Interest in the chapel is set to increase
further with a Hollywood movie of the book to be released in 2006.