Oxford Cambridge dating

“The problem with Downing Street’s Covid projections” - by Ross Clark (Spectator, 2nd November 2020). Computer projections got us into this mess the first time and it sure looks they’ve doubled down on it for the ‘second wave’. Garbage-In-Garbage-Out...

2020.11.03 04:22 secretymology “The problem with Downing Street’s Covid projections” - by Ross Clark (Spectator, 2nd November 2020). Computer projections got us into this mess the first time and it sure looks they’ve doubled down on it for the ‘second wave’. Garbage-In-Garbage-Out...

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-problem-with-downing-street-s-covid-projections
“The graph presented by chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance during Saturday’s press briefing suggested that, in the absence of a new lockdown, deaths from Covid-19 could reach 4,000 a day by Christmas. To put this scenario in context, deaths in the first wave back in April peaked at just over 1,000 a day.
Back in spring, a pre-publication copy of Neil Ferguson’s paper — the Imperial College modelling of Covid-19 deaths which sent Britain into the first lockdown — was released, so we could all see the assumptions and reasoning behind it. Saturday’s graph did not even reveal the source of the 4,000 deaths a day claim — although it has subsequently been revealed to be a Cambridge/Public Health England (PHE) estimate.
Now Daniel Howdon, a research fellow at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, and Carl Heneghan, professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, have discovered that the Cambridge-PHE graph dates from three weeks ago. The pair have analysed the data and deduced that it predicted that deaths would be running at 1,000 a day by 1 November — i.e. yesterday. In fact, deaths have not turned out to be at anything like that level. The average for the past seven days (which smooths out the ‘weekend effect’) is 214 deaths per day.
The other graphs presented on Saturday, according to Howdon and Heneghan, are also at least three weeks old. The second most frightening projection came from Imperial College, which showed deaths peaking at just over 2,500 a day by January. This scenario also showed that deaths would be running at 486 a day by 1 November — more than twice as high as has happened in practice. The London School and Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Warwick projections, which showed deaths peaking at around 2,000 a day predicted 266 and 234 deaths a day by 1 November respectively.
Howdon and Heneghan point to their own preferred mortality projections, published by the MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge. These only go two weeks ahead, due to the huge uncertainties involved in trying to make forecasts further into the future. Importantly, its predictions have been falling in the past three weeks: on 12 October it predicted 588 deaths for 30 October. By 21 October, it was predicting 324 deaths for 31 October. Even that has turned out to be 50 per cent higher than the reality.
Why, then, did the government present us with graphs based on studies that have already proven to be overly-pessimistic? The very small print at the bottom of the graphs presented by Sir Patrick described them as ‘scenarios’ and not predictions. Nevertheless, that is exactly how they will have been taken by many viewers.”
submitted by secretymology to NoNewNormal [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 15:48 lasmalvinassoningles Greatest Prime Minister of All Time Round 1 Match 2: The Earl of Aberdeen v. Harold Macmillan

Apologies for the delay in getting the next match up, it was a busy week.
The first match was very close, but ultimately Pitt the Elder just squeezed past Ramsay MacDonald by one vote, winning 15-14. He will face real life foe Robert Walpole in the next round.
This week's match sees The Earl of Aberdeen, aka George Hamilton-Gordon battle against Harold Macmillan aka the Earl of Stockton.
You can vote for whoever you think was the better Prime Minister here!

Name George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton
Birth 28 January 1784, Edinburgh 10 February 1894, London
Death 14 December 1860, London 29 December 1986, Chelwood Gate
Party Peelite Conservative)
Dates in Power 19 December 1852 - 30 January 1855 10 January 1957 - 18 October 1963
Monarch Victoria Elizabeth II
Education Harrow, Cambridge Eton, Oxford
Career Before Becoming Prime Minister Appointed ambassador to Austria in 1812, he became a major player in European diplomacy during the early 19th Century. He served as Foreign Secretary before becoming leader of the Peelites in 1850. While Foreign Secretary he played a leading role in the Opium Wars with China, securing control of Hong Kong. A captain in the British Army, he saw action in World War I, including at the Battle of the Somme where he was severely wounded. He worked for the family firm Macmillan Publishers for many years, before becoming an MP in 1924. He achieved Cabinet rank during WWII, passing through several roles including Defence Minister, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor, before being appointed PM by the Queen after Eden's resignation.
Elections Fought as Leader None 1959
Notable Events While In Power Crimean War Decolonisation), Cuban Missile Crisis, Cold War
Major Policies Entered the Crimean War against Russia. Strategic blunders were made, including the famous Charge of the Light Brigade. When parliament voted for an inquiry into the management of the war, Aberdeen resigned as prime minister. Aside from the war, Aberdeen also saw conflict with the USA when their naval ships bombarded Nicaragua and they annexed Hawaii, both in opposition to British interests. He enacted many social reforms to raise living standards and working conditions, though he faced mounting economic issues in his second term. Three domestic policies or scandals from his time remain well known: Premium Bonds, the Beeching Cuts and the Profumo Scandal. His premiership also saw Britain's first hydrogen bomb test, the Windscale nuclear accident, and the cancellation of British efforts to build an independent ICBM). Internationally Macmillan worked to improve relationships with the US after the Suez Crisis, gave independence to many colonies across Africa, and applied for Britain to join the EEC, though this application was vetoed by France.
Random Fact He felt tremendous guilt over the loss of life in the Crimean War. So much so that he refused to finish building a church on his estate, considering himself, like King David, to be unworthy. Of the 28 students he entered Balliol College Oxford with, only he and one other survived the First World War. He refused to return to complete his studies.

https://preview.redd.it/j20w1u5h79v51.png?width=779&format=png&auto=webp&s=a880161228b38d7dd0c1212a170e30c1d10fd7dc
submitted by lasmalvinassoningles to ukpolitics [link] [comments]


2020.10.20 12:31 Cozret Coming AMAs: Thinking About the End of Mankind; The Quest for Arcane Powers

As October comes to a close, we have some appropriate AMAs to accompany your horror movie binges.
First, Thomas Moynihan will answer questions on the history of humanity considering its own end and has written a book on the subject, X-Risk. Ideas of transhuman replacement and environmental catastrophes existed well before the modern age and this is your chance to ask questions about how people in the past faced the idea of the end of everything human.
Then, for Halloween, Samuel P. Gillis Hogan of the Arcane: The History of Magic Podcast will be here to answer your questions about human attempts to affect their world through supernatural means. Magician-priests, Necromancers, Astrologers have all had influences from the Etruscan soothsayer who tried to warn Caesar to Elizabeth I’s personal court astronomer, John Dee. You can already listen to episodes on Medieval Ritual Magic and Astrology.
And our Calendar for November is already filling up!
Guest Date Time
Thomas Moynihan: X-Risk, How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction 10/28/2020 12pm EST
Samuel P. Gillis Hogan: Arcane: The History of Magic 10/30/2020 2pm EST
Chris DeRose: The Fighting Bunch: Battle of Athens (1946) 11/09/2020 12:30pm EST
Lawrence Sondhaus: World War One The Global Revolution 11/12/2020 6pm BST / 1pm EST
Senan Molony, Secrets of the Dead, PBS: Abandoning the Titanic 11/17/2020 TBD
submitted by Cozret to history [link] [comments]


2020.10.12 19:26 StevenStevens43 The confessio of Saint Palladius

The confessio of Saint Palladius
Saint Patrick:
In this article i am going to attempt to prove the real identity of Saint Patrick beyond reasonable doubt.
I am also going to deal with the criticisms against the Irish legends regards to Saint Patrick, whilst perhaps investigating the political landscape of the time, in order to get a better understanding and grasp on the subject.
So to begin with, i will begin with modern day historians and scholars first debunk of the Irish legends.
According to professional scholars and historians, the Irish apparently involved themselves in a giant conspiracy to deceive mankind by attempting to push back the date of Niall of the nine hostages to accomodate as early an arrival time for the hero Saint Patrick, as possible.
Historicity and dates
[5]:pp. 78–79 to conclude that the events of the later half of the 5th century have been extended backwards to accommodate as early a date as possible for the arrival of Saint Patrick, with the effect of pushing Niall back up to half a century. Hughes says "Niall himself must have died not before the middle of the fifth century".[6]
Link for photo-_stained_glass,_Saint_Patrick-_detail.jpg)
Saint Patrick
Niall Nogiallach:
Now before tackling the above claim, i should probably begin with Niall Nogiallach, the Irish high king, who was accused of kidnapping Saint Patrick.
Death
a Latin Life of Saint Patrick, says that Niall led Irish raids on Roman Britain, and in one of those raids Patrick and his sisters were abducted.
Confessio of Patrick:
And according to Saint Patrick's autobiography, he was indeed kidnapped in Britain by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland to work as a slave on a farm before escaping after a period of six years.
Saint Patrick
According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, when he was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals; he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family.
Link for photo-_geograph.org.uk-_834986.jpg)
Alleged location of Saint Patricks slavery
87 Years of age:
Now what brought them to the conclusion that the Irish have conspired to bring Nialls lifetime backward, was the fact that at least one of Niall Nogiallach's sons lived to the ripe old age of 87 years of age, which seems an implausible long-time span for a single individual.
Historicity and dates
However, the early annals record the activities of his sons between 429 and 516, an implausibly long time-span for a single generation, leading scholars like Kathleen Hughes[6] and Francis J. Byrne[5]:pp. 78–79
Niall death:
Now, regards to Niall's death, depending upon which Irish source you choose to follow, you will pretty much get a date somewhere between 382 AD and 411 AD.
Historicity and dates
Niall is presumed, on the basis of the importance of his sons and grandsons, to have been a historical person,[5]:70 but the early Irish annals say little about him. The Annals of Inisfallen date his death before 382, and the Chronicon Scotorum to 411.[6] The later Annals of the Four Masters dates his reign to 379–405,[7] and the chronology of Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éirinn to 368–395.[8]
Nath I:
And for one of his sons, Nath I, a death date between 428 AD and 445 AD.
History
In the Annals of Ulster there is an entry for the year 445 which originally consisted solely of Nath Í's name. A later writer, presuming this to be his death notice, added the detail that he was struck by lightning in the Alps,[1] circumstances also recounted in the Lebor Gabála,[3] Keating[5] and the Annals of the Four Masters, the latter of which dates it to 428.[4]
Link for photo
Nath I mac
Loegaire mac Neill:
And pretty much all sources tend to agree that Niall's other son, died 462 AD.
So, at first glance, i do not see anything untoward.
Loegaire mac Neill
Lóegaire (floruit fifth century) (reigned 428–458 AD, according to the Annals of the Four Masters of the Kingdom of Ireland)(died c. 462), also Lóeguire, is said to have been a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The Irish annals and king lists include him as a King of Tara or High King of Ireland. He appears as an adversary of Saint Patrick in several hagiographies.
Link for photo
Loegaire mac Neill
Expert opinion:
Scholarly leaders have concluded that Niall's death must not be before the middle of the fifth century, and they date his death at 452 AD.
Though, they do not explain why his death must be around 450 AD, nor how they managed to conclude he died in 452 AD.
Historicity and dates
Hughes says "Niall himself must have died not before the middle of the fifth century".[6] Byrne, following James Carney, is a little more precise, dating his death to c. 452.[5]
But.....:
Now, as for Saint Patrick, modern day historians and scholars that love to narrate gaelic legends to us, attribute the irish annals to setting a 432 AD arrival date for Saint Patrick..... But, they were compiled in the mid 6th century at the earliest, and therefore the only reliable opinion on the matter is that of the university professors of Oxford and Cambridge.
Dating
The Irish annals for the fifth century date Patrick's arrival in Ireland at 432, but they were compiled in the mid 6th century at the earliest.[15]
Palladius:
However, we know exactly when Saint Patrick arrived in Ireland, as it is recorded by the Bishops of Rome.
And he arrived in approximately 431 AD.
Pontification
He sent Palladius) to Ireland to serve as a bishop in 431. Bishop Patrick continued this missionary work.
Pope Celestine I:
And we even know exactly why he was sent to Ireland.
It was to go to war with Pelagianism.
The new Heresy.
Pope Celestine I
Pope Celestine I (Latin: Caelestinus I) was the bishop of Rome from 10 September 422 to his death on 1 August 432. Celestine's tenure was largely spent combatting various ideologies deemed heretical. He supported the mission of the Gallic bishops that sent Germanus of Auxerre in 429, to Britain to address Pelagianism, and later commissioned Palladius) as bishop to the Scots of Ireland and northern Britain. In 430,
Pelagianism:
So what was Pelagianism?
Well, it was the type of Christianity that had been adopted by the Irish and Brits.
A cross between the teachings of Aleister Crowley and Jesus Christ.
Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a heterodox Christian theological position which holds that the original sin did not taint human nature and that humans have the free will to achieve human perfection without divine grace. Pelagius (c. 355 – c. 420 CE), a British ascetic,
Link for photo
Aleister Crowley
Pelagius:
And Pelagianism was a Christian faith based upon the teachings of Pelagius, thought to be of British origins, around 354 AD, but also thought to have spent sometime being brought up in Ireland.
Beginnings
Pelagius was born about 354-360. He is said by his contemporaries, such as Augustine of Hippo, Prosper of Aquitaine, Marius Mercator, and Paul Orosius, to have been of British origin.[1] Jerome apparently thought that Pelagius was Irish, suggesting that he was "stuffed with Irish porridge"
Link for photo
Pelagius
Dating:
Now, there was definitely a time when most contemporary historians and scholars simply brushed off any Irish legends as complete hogwash.
But today, they are coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories to explain why the Irish gave Saint Patrick an arrival date of 432 AD.
Can you guess why it was?
Well, it was because the Irish apparently wanted to minimise the reputation of Palladius, whilst maximising the reputation of Saint Patrick, suggesting they believe that Patrick's work was actually Palladius's.
Dating
The date 432 was probably chosen to minimise the contribution of Palladius), who was known to have been sent to Ireland in 431, and maximise that of Patrick.[17]
Patrick the elder:
And they say this, despite the fact that Palladius was known by the Irish as "Patrick the Elder".
Dating
[17] A variety of dates are given for his death. In 457 "the elder Patrick" (Irish: Patraic Sen) is said to have died: this may refer to the death of Palladius, who according to the Book of Armagh was also called Patrick.[17]
Saint Palladius:
But not only was he known as Patrick the elder, he was also known as Saint Patrick, by Scots and Irish.
Palladius, Bishop of Ireland)
Palladius (fl. A.D. 408–431; died c. A.D. 457/461) was the first bishop of the Christians of Ireland, preceding Saint Patrick; the two were perhaps conflated in many later Irish traditions. He was a deacon and member of one of the prominent families in Gaul. Pope Celestine I consecrated him a bishop and sent him to Ireland "to the Scotti believing in Christ".
Link for photo#/media/File:St_Palladius_Fordoun.jpg)
Saint Patrick's church, Aberdeen, Scotland
The Irish preferred a later date for Saint Patrick:
Now do you remember previously the historians and scholars were accusing the Irish of trying to bring Niall backward to accomodate the arrival of Patrick?
Well, apparently they did this at the same time as believing Patrick died in around 550 AD.
That is despite the fact that the Irish annals recorded an arrival date for Patrick of 432 AD.... "But"!
And in actual fact, it is the modern day historians that support the earlier arrival for Patrick. AHA!
Dating
While some modern historians[19] accept the earlier date of c. 460 for Patrick's death, scholars of early Irish history tend to prefer a later date, c. 493. Supporting the later date, the annals record that in 553 "the relics of Patrick were placed sixty years after his death in a shrine by Colum Cille" (emphasis added).[20] The death of Patrick's disciple Mochta is dated in the annals to 535 or 537,[20][21]
Roman Britain:
Now let us look at some similarities between the two Saint Patricks.
Saint Patrick junior was born in Roman Britain, though there are no records of this, and his actual birthplace is unknown.
His date of birth is also unknown.
Though Pelagius, was known to have been born in Roman Britain as well, and around 354 AD..
Life
Patrick was born in Roman Britain. His birthplace is not known with any certainty;
Link for photo
Saint Patrick in his Roman robe
Nobles:
Were as Patrick the elder was born in Gaul to nobles and high ranking church officials.
Palladius#Armorica)
The Palladii were thought to be amongst the most noble families of Gaul, and several of them held high ranks in the Church of Gaul.[1]#cite_note-moran-1)
Saint Germanus:
Saint Patrick junior claims that he was ordained in to Priesthood by Saint Germanus.
But, no date is given for this.
Life
Saint Germanus of Auxerre, a bishop of the Western Church, ordained him to the priesthood.[42]
Link for photo
Saint Germanus
415 AD:
Saint Patrick the elder was ordained in 415 AD.
Armorica#Armorica)
He seems to have been ordained as a priest around 415.
Germanus Deacon:
It is believed by historians that Saint Patrick the elder was a deacon for Saint Germanus.
Armorica#Armorica)
Historian Kathleen Hughes) regards it as more probable that he was a deacon of St Germanus, and that Germanus sent him to Rome,[5]#cite_note-5)
Link for photo
Saint Patrick learning from Saint Germanus
Wicklow:
Saint Patrick junior is said to have arrived in Wicklow (Irleand).
Life
Acting on his vision, Patrick returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary.[35] According to J. B. Bury, his landing place was Wicklow, Co. Wicklow,
Arklow:
Saint Patrick elder landed in Arklow.
Ireland#Ireland)
.[7]#cite_note-7) Palladius landed at Arklow.
County Wicklow:
And it is the exact same place.
Arklow
Arklow (/ˈɑːrkloʊ/; ARK-loh; from Old Norse Arnkell-lág 'meadow of Arnkell',[3] Irish: An tInbhear Mór, meaning "the great estuary") is a town in County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland.
Link for photo
Arklow port
Missioners:
And the missioners that arrived with Saint Patrick junior, are actually now believed to have arrived with Saint Patrick the elder.
Ireland#Ireland)
Auxilius, Secundinus, and Iserninus are missioners identified with St. Patrick, but more recent research associates them not with Patrick but with Palladius.[8]#cite_note-8)
North Britain:
Saint Patrick the elder did not last long in Ireland, before a king of Ireland banished him.
Ireland#Ireland)
Irish writers who chronicled the life of St Patrick state that St Palladius preached in Ireland before St Patrick, although he was soon banished by the King of Leinster, and returned to North Britain.[9]#cite_note-butler-9)
Was not taken as a slave:
A lesser known fact, is that Saint Patrick junior did not last long in Ireland either, before being banished, as he was suspected of financial irregularities, and lying about who he was, and they did not believe his story about being kidnapped and taken as a slave.
Life
Much of the Declaration concerns charges made against Patrick by his fellow Christians at a trial. What these charges were, he does not say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the gifts which wealthy women gave him, did not accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and indeed paid for many gifts to kings and judges, and paid for the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It is concluded, therefore, that he was accused of some sort of financial impropriety, and perhaps of having obtained his bishopric in Ireland with personal gain in mind.[46]
The condemnation might have contributed to his decision to return to Ireland. According to Patrick's most recent biographer, Roy Flechner, the Confessio was written in part as a defence against his detractors, who did not believe that he was taken to Ireland as a slave, despite Patrick's vigorous insistence that he was.[47]
Bishop of Ireland:
Saint Patrick junior returned to a different part of Ireland, where he set himself up as a Bishop.
Life
.[47] Patrick eventually returned to Ireland, probably settling in the west of the island, where, in later life, he became a bishop and ordained subordinate clerics.
Date of death:
There is only speculation as to when Saint Patrick junior died.
Life
[17] A variety of dates are given for his death. In 457 "the elder Patrick" (Irish: Patraic Sen) is said to have died: this may refer to the death of Palladius, who according to the Book of Armagh was also called Patrick.[17] In 461/2 the annals say that "Here some record the repose of Patrick";[18]:19
Link for photo
Saint Patrick buriel place
Palladius bishop of Ireland:
Though for Saint Patrick elder bishop of Ireland, the date appears to be a bit more definite.
Palladius bishop of Ireland#Ireland)
Palladius (fl. A.D. 408–431; died c. A.D. 457/461
Link for photo
Saint Patrick cathedral, New york
418 AD:
And for Pelagius, it is a very definite 418 AD.
Pelagius
Pelagius (c. AD 354 – 418)
Link for photo
Calvinist depiction of Pelagius
Warlord:
There are however Irish accounts that depict Saint Patrick as actually being a bit of a warlord.
7th Century writings
The Patrick portrayed by Tírechán and Muirchu is a martial figure, who contests with druids, overthrows pagan idols, and curses kings and kingdoms.[68] On occasion, their accounts contradict Patrick's own writings: Tírechán states that Patrick accepted gifts from female converts although Patrick himself flatly denies this.
Accept faith or die:
The Irish annals depict Saint Patrick of telling Irish high king Logaire mac Neill, to accept the faith or die.
Saint Patrick
Lóegaire is warned by the saint that he must accept the faith or die.
Link for photo
Saint Patrick banishing the snakes
However....:
Modern day historians and scholars however question whether this is an accurate depiction of Saint Patricks time.
7th Century writings
The martial Patrick found in Tírechán and Muirchu, and in later accounts, echoes similar figures found during the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. It may be doubted whether such accounts are an accurate representation of Patrick's time,
Constantinius:
They question this, even though this period is during a period when the Roman military are in their death throws and desperately attempting to keep a Roman military presence in Britain, and appear to be so desperate, they even have Saint Germanus lead a military revolt against Saxons and Picts.
Visit to Britain
Constantius also recounts the miraculous healing of the blind daughter of 'a man with tribunician power'.[2] This use of the word tribune may imply the existence of some form of post-Roman government system. However, in Constantius' lifetime tribune had acquired a looser definition, and often was used to indicate any military officer, whether part of the Imperial army or part of a town militia.
Germanus led the native Britons to a victory against Pictish and Saxon raiders.
Link for photo
Germanus of Auxerre
Noblest in Gaul:
It is quite clear that to Irish ears, accept the faith or die, will translate to accept the faith of the Pope, or Saint Germanus and his very close relative and Roman military leader Constantinius and his army are coming over.
Early life
Germanus was the son of Rusticus and Germanilla, and his family was one of the noblest in Gaul in the latter portion of the fourth century.
Link for photo
Saint Patrick statue
Jugglers and mimes:
Now after all this, i simply cannot believe that a scholar or historian can still believe their own conclusions.
Even with Loegaire mac Neills biography they accuse the Irish of giving him an exessively long 87 year life span in order to accomodate Saint Patrick.
Sons of Niall
Both writers had Patrick come to Ireland in Lóegaire's reign and meet with him. Since the annals provided two death dates for Patrick, 461 and 493, Lóegaire's reign was made to fit these, and in general the earlier date. For the later date, Lóegaire's son Lugaid appears to have served the same adversary role.[1]
Pope Leo I:
Now, whilst Saint Germanus is in Britain fighting Picts and Saxons in armed military conflict, Pope Leo I is ordaining the beliefs that Catholics will follow.
For the first time ever, during the reign of Pope Leo I, Mary becomes the Mother of God, And Jesus becomes born to a virgin, and becomes both the lord and son of King David.
Have they never considered for even one moment, that it might actually have been the anti-Pelagius missionaries that changed the dates to suit the arrival of Saint Palladius?
Teaching on Christ
To Leo the Great, Mariology is determined by Christology. If Christ were divine only, everything about him would be divine. Only his divinity would have been crucified, buried and resurrected. Mary would only be the mother of God, and Christians would have no hope for their own resurrection. The nucleus of Christianity would be destroyed.[12] The most unusual beginning of a truly human life through her was to give birth to Jesus, the Lord and Son of King David.[13]
Link for photo
Pope Leo I
Augustine:
And Pelagius was actually held in very high esteem by many.
Not everyone was against him.
In fact, Augustine, considered a pillar of the church, referred to him as a Saint.
Pelagius
He was well educated, fluent in both Greek and Latin, and learned in theology. He spent time as an ascetic, focusing on practical asceticism. He was well known in Rome, both for the harsh asceticism of his public life and the power and persuasiveness of his speech. His reputation earned him praise early in his career even from such pillars of the Church as Augustine, who referred to him as a "saintly man."
Link for photo
Saint Augustine
Summary:
I would say it is far more likely that it is a case of those that accepted the faith of the pope, accepting changing the dates of Irish history to accomodate shifting the early years of Saint Pelagius over to that of Saint Palladius.
submitted by StevenStevens43 to AhrensburgCulture [link] [comments]


2020.10.02 14:25 yodatsracist Let’s get a list together of all the Colleges and Universities with Early Action Deadlines *before* November 1st and Regular Decision or Priority Scholarship Deadlines *before* January 1st. I’ll start…

Please help me add to this. I got some of this information (especially the scholarships) from an old list so I don't know if it's still up to date. Please help me correct any errors. Please also add any schools I missed. I bet there are other annoying big state schools with December 1st Deadlines. I bet I've missed some priority scholarship deadlines. I bet I got most of the notable private schools, but if everyone can just check their local state colleges, that would be ideal.

I'm not worried schools with special deadlines after November 1st (for early) or January 1st because I feel as if most readers of this sub will have at least one application submitted by those dates (if applying Early). This is just a list to make sure you don't miss any deadlines.

EARLY

October 15th:

Oxford University (UK)
Cambridge University (UK) [note: you can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge, using the British UCAS system, not the Common App; these aren't actually "Early"—this is their only deadline—but it made sense to put them here somehow, whatever, it’s before November 1st]
Coast Guard Academy
Georgia Tech (Georgia Residents only; non-Georgia Residents Nov. 2)
Stanford (if using the arts supplement only)
Texas A & M (Early Action; only an option for engineering applicants)
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (UNC) (Early Action)
University of South Carolina (Early Action)
University of Georgia (UGA) (both Georgia and non-Georgia)

October 31st

Berea College (Early Action)
Transylvania University (Early Action)
Please note that any school with an early date before November 1st is officially uppity, except for Oxford and Cambridge 'cause they're really just riding their own wave out there. But what the hell is up with these other schools? Who do they think they are?

REGULAR

November 1st

University of Florida (only some parts of the application; rolling after this, "on space-available basis")

November 15th:

University of Washington—Seattle (UDub)
What the hell. Seattle's cool, I mean, but it's not that cool. It's not California. I literally don't understand why they're so much earlier than everyone else. This school has lots of advantages students look for: it's in a major city, it's a public school so less expensive, it has a number of great programs including one of the top Computer Science programs in the country (think: where are Microsoft and Amazon headquartered?), etc., but a lot of students miss out every year on a great school because of their weird deadline.

November 30th:

All University of California campuses, including:

December 1st:

All Rutgers campuses,
New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden
Gonzaga (but "will take late applications until February 1st")
Stanford but only if you're doing an arts supplement.
Texas A&M (TAMU)—College Station
University of Southern California for film school applicants only
All University of Texas campuses (priority deadline), including UT Austin, UT Dallas, etc.
Again, I bet at least one or two other big state schools are in this category. Help me out.

December 4th:

California Polytechnic (Cal Poly)
All California State Campuses (CSU) (I’m not listing all 23 campuses)

December 15th

*University of San Diego (but accepts applications through February 1st for "Late Consideration")

SCHOLARSHIPS

Many schools offer consideration for scholarships for those who apply by a certain deadline. These can be either Priority Deadlines (you have a better chance of scholarships if you apply before) or Hard Deadlines (do or die deadlines where if you miss it, they won't consider you for merit). Priority Deadlines marked with a +, Hard Deadlines marked with a $.
These I actually just found on one long list from a few years ago so I haven't double checked to make sure the dates are still correct. I also I haven't filled in Priority or Hard but I'll try to go through and fill those in like next week or something. If someone wants to do that now, though, that'd be rad as hell tho.

October 15st:

University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (Morehead-Cain Scholarship, in state; OOS October 1st)
University of Central Florida (I'd check other Florida schools as well)

November 1st:

Indiana University (IU)
Michigan State
North Carolina State University (NCSU) (Parks Scholarship; school endorsement should actually be done by October 15th)
Ohio State University—Columbus
Purdue
Texas Christian University (TCU)
University of Maryland—College Park
University of Georgia (UGA) (Foundation Fellowship—internationals and OOS can get this)
University of Texas—Austin (UT—Austin) (even earlier than the normal deadline)

November 15th :

Emory $
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) (special COVID scholarship deadline)
Loyola University Maryland
The Ohio State University (OSU) (Maximus, Provost, and Trustees scholarships)
University of South Carolina
UNC and Duke's Robertson Scholarship

December 1st:

Boston University
Claremont McKenna
Clemson
College of Charleston
Creighton
Grinnell
Hampton
John Carroll University
Loyola University Chicago
Saint Louis University
Transylvania University
University of Connecticut—Storrs
University of Illinois—Chicago (UIC) +
University of Southern California (USC) $
University of Richmond
University of Rochester (including the IB scholarship)
Vanderbilt
Virginia Tech (Presidential Scholarship)
Washington & Lee

December 15th:

University of Alabama

December 20th

Duke (priority deadline for interviews)
&
Again, please help me add any schools I've missed!
Team work makes the dream work.
submitted by yodatsracist to ApplyingToCollege [link] [comments]


2020.09.11 06:24 StygianSagas A Scratching at the Door (part 1/2)

It is my cathedral, my magnum opus- the culmination of two decades spent grinding my way through the most debauched and blasphemous practices and indulgences. It’s a thing of imposing grandeur most might shrug off as ominous or distasteful, like a soviet-era state edifice or a moldering abandoned hospital on an overcast hillside. It’s also seedy, just the right mix of ordered and disordered to tickle my mind and draw me into the rapturous atmosphere I have worked so hard to create within its walls. For years, I have retreated here when the weight of the world around me has beaten me low with its tedious, mundane goings-on, a last respite for a mind that never felt quite at home there. Fitting, then, that it will serve as my tomb.
Whoever stumbles across this account will find it in my home. From there, my cathedral is some two miles away, down the old logging trail that forks off from Whispering Pines Road. The dugout is near its terminus- a low, brooding bunker-like structure buried in the hills and blocked by a pair of rusted metal doors. I will leave these locked, but accessible via the key beneath this letter.
I don’t have any idea as to what the purpose of the modest dugout was originally, for it was barren when I found it two decades ago. Perhaps storage, for the nearest house is much too far away for it to serve effectively as a storm shelter. Regardless, the contents will be unharmed. I have committed crimes to attain the totems and relics I surround myself with, but while I might be a thief, I have always considered myself a borrower of items, rather than a taker of treasures. They may be redistributed to their proper places as authorities see fit to distribute them. Whoever first goes to the cathedral should mentally steel themselves for what they’ll find when they push through those heavy doors, though.
The collection began when I was a teenager. The first modest additions were items I acquired while delving in abandoned places of ill repute close to my hometown. I took a century-old diary from a moldering manor home in Louisville, and snagged a small bust dulled by time from a tottering school’s library in Lynch. As I grew in boldness, my taste for eerie and unsettling items grew more and more insatiable.
The gravestones of several notable Civil War-era dead were taken from Perryville, beginning the collection of headstones and memorial plaques of supposedly spectral figures that tile my cathedral’s walls. A bone saw, taken from a reportedly haunted hospital across the state line in Ironton, leans on a shelf against the skull of a folklore-rumored hermit-turned-warlock from the hills west of Ashland, which I dug up and preserved with great care after his remains had lurked in the ground for the better part of a century.
International connections may be needed to return some of the items, though, for I have done a fair bit of traveling in my time, always on the lookout for suitably evocative items for my gallery. The collection boasts, for example, a golden ring pulled from the bottom of a Yucatan cenote, where it rested amongst the honored sacrificial dead piled there during the golden age of the Maya. It rests upon the index finger of an unnaturally large mummified hand treasured by a twisted group of scholarly mountainside cultists in Tibet, who believed it to be the withered claw of a woman from the fabled subterranean realm of Patala. All this shall be catalogued in the most intimate detail which my memory allows, and I will denote the dates and locations at which each item was acquired, from the most modest small-town tombstone to the most exotic ‘cursed’ statuette or storied murder weapon.
I won’t get too bogged down in all that here, though. You’ll find that list in the cathedral, along with whatever remains of me. The purpose of this text is to dissuade anyone from touching or tampering with, in any way, a certain item I’ve hidden away in a long-forgotten mine not terribly far from here. The entrance will be collapsed, a feat which will charge me no small amount of work, and it desperately needs to stay that way. I only bother to mention this item at all because, for reasons that will become evident, I am unsure whether it will stay put down there in the wake of my death.
Any perusing these pages would be justified in wondering what all the fuss is about, so I’ll lay out the story as clearly as I’m able, starting with why I even had cause to come in contact with the wretched thing in the first place. Some years into my darker explorations and trophy taking, exploiting a long interest in the darker side of paranormal speculation and occult practices, I began to experiment here and there with immersing myself in the kinds of provocative groups that often congregated around the places I visited. In college I visited a local quarry notorious for suicidal leaps with some of my fellow students on Halloween for a very stereotypical drunk layman’s séance. It produced nothing tangible in terms of unexplainable experiences, but electrified me with the mood -the atmosphere- that accompanied our silly ritual when it was performed in so ominous a setting.
Branching out from there, I found equally atmospheric experiences by hitching my wagon to various occult groups across my region, the most longstanding relation being with a nameless group of pagan revivalists in Cave City. They stoked my need for taboo moods with spectacular solstice sacrifices of live bullocks during firelight ceremonies in the cave systems across the county.
Over the years, I built up a book of contacts who shared my fascination, or at least held a belief in eldritch ritual and ample enough contacts to put me in a position to experience and partake in their rites. I never developed any belief that anything I was doing had any impact in the material sense, however.
Chasing these rituals and gatherings was to me purely a folkloric, atmospheric exercise, a passionate and exciting interest that sweetened my existence in a world I found comparatively drab. When I witnessed a group of isolated townspeople in the arid interior of Tunisia burn a live lamb on a bed of coals before an ancient horned statue in the hills under a full moon, I was under no illusions that I had made contact with Baal Hammon. Rather, I could imagine for the briefest hour that I stood in Carthage before it’s fall. I could feel the exaltations and excesses of the men and women of that lost land in a way that few others, even amongst our great but fast-decaying scholarly institutions, will ever know. In this way, I liked to pretend that my pursuits were entirely anthropological in nature, an extended study in the collection and interpretation of dark folklore.
There was a small, sequestered portion of my mind, however, that had less rational motivations. Whenever a promising message would come my way, titillating me at the thought of potential reality behind all the shadowy pageantry of these ritual outings, I would jump at the chance to experience the kinds of raw emotion -fear, awe, or otherwise- that were so often whispered about in occult gatherings. I wanted some taste of the beyond, whatever that happened to be, and a chance discovery I made in July seemed to promise that very thing. It was this call to the unknown that set me on the path towards my final resting place in the cathedral.
Several months ago, a contact I made years back while visiting radical underground pagan organizations in Europe and with whom I had shared deep if infrequent correspondence was mentioned in passing by a mutual acquaintance, and it came up that he hadn’t been heard from in some months. I wrote to him and, when calls and emails went unanswered, I resolved to make the trip east to his home in the mountains of western Maryland to see him in person. Even among circles as prone to weirdness and reclusiveness as mine, it was odd for someone to go entirely dark. The nature of my interests -and those of my friend, for that matter- meant that the hunger for understanding ears to speak to was endless. For someone to wholly disconnect from the people who were best able to understand his eldritch obsessions and habits was an act of self-isolation above and beyond anything I or most I inquired with had ever witnessed.
When I arrived at his modest home west of Cumberland, I found it deserted in an odd state, with the front door unlocked and unsecure but the windows boarded up as if a hurricane were soon due on the mountainside. His shotgun lay tossed on the couch in the front room as I entered the building, and by the looks of the place, he had been holed up there for some time, sequestered off from the rest of the house. The doorway to the basement was boarded up, as was his adjoining bedroom and the back door onto the porch, which left only the front door accessible, and even that seemed to have been secured until recently. With his front sitting room space and a combined kitchen cut off like that, he’d set himself up to sleep on his couch and over the intervening days built up a fearful mess of discarded food and hastily-rifled books and papers.
Upon forcing my way into the basement, I found the sparse furniture and stored books and pictures tossed and turned, but nothing missing. The shotgun resting in the front room above had been fired several times into the walls, but had apparently stricken nothing, for there was no trace of blood or injury to be discovered.
Such disorder was worrying, for he had been an orderly and reserved man. What worried me more, however, was that there were no signs of forced entry. His old truck still sat rusting in the gravel driveway, the keys tucked under the driver’s seat as was his custom. The boarding and locks holding shut the front door had been calmly removed and unlatched from within, and there was not a single sign of disturbance in his makeshift fortress that would suggest someone had laid siege to the house to take him or his belongings. After locking himself in his front room for days, perhaps weeks, he had finally freed himself and walked out into the dense, mountainous woodland surrounding the house with no gun, no shoes, no keys, and no truck.
I set about investigating myself, hesitant to involve the authorities for obvious reasons. It was one thing to call up mutual associates to check whether there was any consensus on what he had been up to in the days prior to his confinement, but it was quite another to allow police to intrude on his property and potentially discover some macabre collection similar to my own that I’d been unaware of. Call after call came back inconclusive and shrouded in uncertainty, leaving me less and less convinced as the evening wore on that he would simply stumble out of the darkening woodline any minute fresh off some spectacular hallucinogenic trip, angry at my intrusion into his home. Then, as the sun dipped below the hunched, wood-cloaked mountains, my friend’s ancient land line received a call, sending me stumbling inside at a run from the porch, and plunging me into roiling chaos.
The initial exchange seemed innocuous enough, considering what was to follow. Speaking accented but practiced English, a man asked after the whereabouts of my friend. I was initially hesitant to be fully forthright with this stranger, but when he voluntarily betrayed that my friend had been in Myanmar by asking how he had been since his return, I felt it was necessary to probe just a little. I asked when my friend had departed and, upon realizing his return to the states must have been immediately followed by his recent descent into paranoid compound fortification, I inquired whether he’d seemed distressed or ill in the days leading up to his return home. Those simple questions were somehow all the man on the other end of the line needed to hear, for his response was to ask if he had gone missing.
“I warned him,” the voice muttered. “I warned him not to go up into the mountains. I knew it must be bad, for him to stay so quiet after leaving.”
The exchange that followed couldn’t have totaled more than ten minutes, but my constant reflection on it over the intervening weeks has stretched it into an hours-long ordeal, remembered verbatim and retrievable down to a syllable. At my insistence, he told me of the witching circles he occupied in Yangon, and of my friend’s keen interest in them. As evasive as I had been with exact details, he described a trip through the country organized for my friend by contacts in the region, a sort of whirlwind tour of debauched and culturally subterranean experiences. This trip had apparently terminated in an ill-advised trek into the mountainous north of the country, that the speaker and his local Yangon brethren had absolutely refused to attend.
“There are ruins in the hills,” he told me, the disgust plain in his voice. “Sacked and toppled by the kings of Pagan, and with good reason. None should travel there.”
For centuries, people both local to the region and native to other provinces of Burma had stayed clear of the place. The longstanding curse placed upon it by the Pagan kings of old was bolstered here and there by the hushed retelling of another tale of woe sparked when a foreign traveler or urban youth from the south insisted on seeing the forbidden heights. Reiterated in the flesh of modernity just as it would’ve been recited those centuries ago from atop the peacock throne of Burma, the man warned me with hushed tones not to look into my friend’s final days, to burn any of his private writings, and to leave the dead to lie. He then hung up, the whole thing feeling for all the world like an establishing scene out of a century-old horror story.
That is precisely what made it impossible for me to heed his warnings.
Even as I looked over the domestic devastation around me left in the aftermath of just such a visit, I understood every ounce of thought that had driven my friend to make the trip into the mountains. These unnamed ruins, haunted by shadowy legendry so fierce an occultist guide among fellow occultists would not risk their ancient paths, were everything a chaser of the extravagant could dream to see. Initially worried for my friend, the realization that it had grown dark outside now breathed some level of fear into me, only heightening the racing of my thoughts.
Had he not boarded up his home, then thrashed and shot at some unknown force in the basement, only to run away into the woods? What, should I decide to stay there through the night, would I find?
These were the sort of thoughts that would’ve driven a reasonable man out of the house and down the little mountain road into the security of town, but I, as attested to by the stolen gravestones and human remains which shall soon surround my corpse in the cathedral, am not a reasonable man. I set about a fevered examination of the books and notes with which my friend had occupied himself during his voluntary imprisonment, and left messages with all the contacts I had garnered over a lifetime’s probing the obscure and obscene who I thought might have any knowledge of use to me. After all, with nothing else to work from, this scrap of tantalizing information was the only hope of learning what befell my companion, and discovering whether the unknown caller’s pessimism on that score was justified. The ominous connotations of that information were just an added incentive.
The night was a long, tedious affair, with several breaks taken for no better reason than to calm my nerves and assure there was nothing lurking in the unlit kitchen or creeping up the now exposed basement staircase. Nothing save the atmosphere of the little house was amiss, though, and the night ultimately proved enlightening. From a battered notebook well worn by continued visits from its owner over the years, I learned about my friend’s obsession with the concept of the Nat, a kind of mythic Burmese-Buddhist spirit, or deity. Writing using a cypher popularized by the Golden Dawn with which many in my circles will be familiar, he had been jotting down notes regarding the origination of the currently recognized pantheon of thirty-seven Nat, and on unofficial, more local Nat, revered or feared by populations of certain towns and villages spread here and there across the interior of Myanmar.
It was a history in which I was not versed, for Myanmar had never come up as a focal point of occult or otherwise weird significance, but he’d developed a fascination with rumors of a cult in the remote north of the country centered on a Nat of such wickedness that it had single-handedly spurred the attempted banning of local Nat offerings. This being was supposedly the reason for instituting the official pantheon of thirty-seven instituted some thousand years ago, after the end of the first millennium.
Scattered across the margins of Cambridge and Oxford histories of Southeast Asia and several more journals filled with scribbled code, I learned the story of King Anawrahta, founder of the first unified Burmese empire, and a figure seemingly obsessed with the imposition of Buddhist religious order overtop of the native faiths of his land. In the texts of academia, the reason given for this ranged from expanding state control over local governance to enriching the crown through more reliable religious taxation. Notes from my friend on correspondence with local occultists and their own books of speculative history painted a different, altogether darker picture.
Folk tales from the jungle-choked hills in the north of the country joined longstanding occult traditions in laying the blame for this crackdown on local rituals at the feet of a reviled figure called Paunggkuu, whose name is closely linked to the modern Burmese word for spider.
Paunggkuu, known by no other name or title, is shadowed by many rumored pasts and motives, with some tales alleging he was a noble member of a local clan whose prosperity was shattered by the expansion of the king’s empire in the south, turning he and his family to blood offerings and shadowy rites in hopes of bettering their fortunes. Still others believe he was a Nat-possessed vagrant, a nobody raised from nothing by a wicked spirit to great infamy only to just as quickly be tossed aside- an expendable mortal shell for a being which had long lurked in the mountains. Many more hinted origins exist, but the outcome of the rise of Paunggkuu is always the same, with the mundane man-turned-warlock leading a cult of several hundred followers into a megalithic ruined city tucked away in the trees, where they began to prey on the surrounding countryside.
Village youths started to go missing, and over time, whole rural communities were stripped clean of inhabitants. Rippling outwards from the ruined city, the locals spoke in hushed whispers of a creeping death, a diabolical Nat or witch in the guise of a monster who haunted the spaces beneath raised houses and huts at night, and whose disgusting visage appeared to the locals in nightmare night after sleepless night. So great was the fear brought about by this shadowy plague of disappearances that the regional seat of power, the small city of Mogaung, was forced to take notice. Its kingly high priest, himself a vassal and ally of the powerful King Anawrahta in the south, sent men into the region to quell the disorder and bring those responsible to justice. When those men, too, had gone missing, an army of several hundred was raised, and when that had failed to report back, the priest sent desperate word to Pagan, petitioning the king for aid.
Anawrahta, occupied with other matters in the south, failed to answer with speed, but was spurred to action by a dark event sometime around the middle of 1057, when a nighttime raid on the outskirts of Mogaung itself drove the priest to flee south to the capital, where he took up exiled residence in Pagan with his suzerain. This attack, which was laid at the feet of bandits in official records, did not topple the city or level any temples, but its nature was so horrid that Anawrahta put a momentary halt to his campaigns of unification and consolidation to march north with more than five thousand men, riding upon a gold-girdled war elephant and leading the host in person.
The events which followed seem singularly terrible, and the narrative presented in the royal chronicles of Pagan of a bandit revolt quashed by the glorious armies of Anawrahta does little to explain why all but a thousand of the men sent into the jungle never came back. It does nothing to explain why local Kachin legend speaks of the mortified screams which echoed down from the hills being audible even now on certain moonlit nights, when the skies are right. Bandits, after all, couldn’t have spurred a burgeoning kingdom with more enemies than allies to spend half a year leveling an ancient stone city, and the rest of the century burying its name and history by burning books and sundering stone carvings.
The sun rose over the Maryland hills, and with it, I found myself reverberating with not only a new grasp of a strange land’s lore and legendry, but of my aims moving forward. Several contacts of my friend’s had agreed to come search for him and continue looking into the mounds of documentation he had compiled. While they got on the road and began their long drives, a Javanese associate who had led me on an extravagant tour of ancient fire-cults still in practice on the remoter regions of that island contacted a friend at my behest. This friend initiated a chain of further connections from friend to friend until I was speaking with a Burmese Buddhist monk-turned-animist wiseman, who knew of the rumored city in the north.
Though he dissuaded me from my stated aim of visiting the site in search of answers, he agreed to meet me in Yangon upon my arrival and place me in contact with locals of the northern Kachin province who could aid me in getting transport and supplies in so remote a region. I purchased my tickets that morning for a chain of flights leaving out of Washington D.C. that evening, and after leaving a scribbled note for my vanished friend in the off chance he resurface before his other companions arrived, I piled into my car without a wink of sleep to drive for the capital.
I cannot entirely give voice to the feelings which drove my movements throughout the day. Exhaustion did not catch up to me until well into the initial flight from Washington to Japan, and even then, sleep came in fitful bursts. I was too busy pouring over hastily-copied scraps of information left by my friend, staring holes in satellite images of northern Myanmar, and memorizing a few helpful words of the Burmese language to even consider how I felt. The whole of the scenario seemed like some great initial stage in an epic drama, and my worry at the sudden disappearance of a close friend and associate in the pursuit of strangeness had fast been molded together with an urge to see what he must’ve seen, and to feel whatever had spurred the paranoia he must’ve felt during those last, manic days in the closed front room.
It would be trite of me to proclaim now what a fool I was for being so blind, so eager to face the unknown. Moreover, it wouldn’t be entirely honest. Even now, as I prepare to do what must be done, I can recognize that what I found in Myanmar was exactly the sort of thing I had been searching for throughout the long and confused span of years that led me into the jungles of rural Kachin, and I can’t claim I regret taking the journey. I can only regret that my friend had to suffer what he did to show me the path, and that both he and I proved too fragile to tolerate the thing which followed us home.
I met with my contact after a lengthy but fitful sleep at the cheapest hotel I could book once landed and settled in Yangon. After another lengthy attempt to dissuade me from my course outside a tiny local café which featured florid stories about regional Kachin Independence Army rebels, he sketched out a travel itinerary which would take me first by bus, then by locally arranged jeep up precarious roads to the tiny settlement of Sumprabum, in the farthest northern reaches of the nation. The way was precarious at times, with the aged dirt roads never failing to buck and rock the buses this way and that on the precipices of the scrub-choked cliff faces they hugged. The locals, bundled in like canned fish with a painfully conspicuous foreigner among them, mostly rode in sleepy silence through nearly two days of travel, leaving me to wonder whether I was the only one worried by the idea of toppling over the edge. It wouldn’t do, after all, to come so close to the unknown only to die in a bus crash.
Worry proved pointless, however, and I ended up in a tiny, flea-ridden bunk in Sumprabum a couple days after setting out from Maryland, my eyes scanning the tree-shrouded hills through the mist from my perch on the porch of a catholic mission as they reluctantly allowed me some much-needed sleep. It would be the first real rest I’d had since prior to my fateful road trip-turned-world excursion began. It would later prove to be the final mundane, dreamless sleep I would ever experience, but in my exhausted anticipation, I didn’t take any time to savor it.
Awakening plucked and prodded by mosquitoes but otherwise feeling prepared for anything, I made my way to a modest logger’s house of sheet metal and crude timber, where I met my local guide. He was an older man still steely with a laborer’s wiry muscle who the entire gathering of homes called Saya, something close to teacher. With my night owl’s pale skin, my relatively impressive height and my profuse sweating at the unaccustomed humidity, I must’ve looked like some traveling alien jester to the village’s locals, and we’d soon gathered a sizable crowd of onlookers as we talked over the plan for the day’s hike. I would pay a small sum to his family for his aid and the food and water he would furnish me with for the night I wanted to spend in the ruins, and then he would lead me on foot about twenty miles to the northwest into the forest, over hills and through valleys, until we arrived at the place the local Kachin population had dubbed Pyethceehon.
The name was only ever spoken in wavering tones of disgust and fear, and the assigning of so alien a name, alongside my newfound proximity to the place my friend had been only a short while ago, filled me with nervous apprehension for the first time since my entry into his home back in the states. While that vestigial, reptile-brained warning of danger to come was enough to put me on edge, it came nowhere close to drowning out my higher aspirations towards intrigue and awe. To be so close to the unknown was an ecstasy I hadn’t found in all my years of searching, and I was not about to abandon that sensation now.
Saya set a firm pace up what initially were muddy and brutally-sloped logging roads through the hills. After several hours we branched off and forded into the sea of trees. The undergrowth and tree trunks combined into a morass which looked absolutely identical to my untrained eye for hour after hour, but by nothing more than his memory of the landscape and the feel of the hills beneath his flip-flop clad feet, Saya pressed through. He always seemed to know just the right place to squeeze through a looming wall of interwoven trees or a jam of fallen logs in a creek bed. Our entire trip was scored by his thickly-accented English telling story after story about the sizes of snakes that could be found here or the density of the ant hives choking the ground there, interspersed with assurances that I could turn back at any time with but a word to him if I lost my nerve. I responded and questioned him when I could, but I was winded and broken by the endless ascents and descents we made despite years of avid hiking back home, and my spaces between strained breaths were few and far between.
He told me of several disappearances of hunters and scouts for logging outfits in the area, but nothing had transpired near the ruins in recent memory. So dark was their reputation that throughout the militia-driven guerrilla warfare which had preceded my arrival for several years, not one camp or troop movement had been made around or through Pyethceehon, whether by loyalist or separatist forces. Saya was the only man in the area that had come close in the past five or six decades, and even he never dared go the final mile or two towards the old settlement in the trees.
The first visit was a childhood expedition in search of village chickens spooked into the jungle by a storm, which had ended in him accidentally stumbling across the stream which babbled downhill from the hilltop upon which Pyethceehon brooded. The second was to lead my friend to the stony banks of that very same stream.
On arriving, the brave man made me the same offer he’d made my friend, standing with his hands on his hips and offering to come with me into the ruins if I felt I needed him there. It was an offer made through a face haunted by the very syllables formed in making the offer, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask Saya along.
Thanking him for his kindness, I made certain of the time I was to meet him tomorrow and departed for the legend-haunted wreck atop the low mountain, with afternoon long having set in. Our pace had been slowed by my pondering progress, and I knew the few remaining hours of daylight would provide more than enough time for the savvy Saya to reach the logging roads and be well on his way to the village by nightfall. The prospect of a night alone on this unknown precipice only set in when thirty minutes of hiking up the creek bed had secured my isolation. I gripped the little revolver I’d been given to ward off tigers with a tight desperation I had never before experienced. All the while, my tired legs carried me that last mile into Pyethceehon.
I was more vibrant and alive in those terrified minutes than I had ever been before. I pity my friend, for having been the very first outsider in a century to visit the place had denied him the experience of knowing some specter of the danger that lurked there firsthand. While he must’ve felt the weight of the ruin’s reputation and atmosphere, only I knew the fate of a personal friend who had come before. It lit a fire in my stomach so intense I chewed the interior of my cheek raw in jittery anticipation of reaching the summit, my wavering legs finding new strength as my destination neared.
During my hurried in-flight preparations for this moment, I had scoured pictures, satellite images and documentary footage of great Burmese temple and stupa sites like Bagan, wanting to be accustomed to the kind of structures I might find upon arrival. I had expected crumbling but mighty dome-and-spire edifices like those, but what I found was altogether alien. The structures of Pyethceehon were much more like the small, tightly-packed, cone-roofed structures of lesser-known Nyaung Ohak far to the south.
Its avenues were only a few feet wide, choked between hundreds of huddled monuments and teeming with hungry plant growth, the few untoppled stone peaks reaching no further than fifteen or twenty feet into the branch-strangled sky. Many of them leaned, their bases sinking into the stone of the ground as the passing of ten centuries remolded the very Earth beneath their feet. It was the material, though, that shocked me so, making me think I had wandered into some mighty forest of vine-blackened prehistoric teeth as I crested the hill and stumbled into that outpost of blasphemy.
The stone was not the reddish-brown of most of the nation’s monuments, nor the sandy, water-aged brown of monuments elsewhere in the near and far east. It was not the marble of rich classical sculpture or the placid limestone grey of contemplative new-world step pyramids and old-world castles. Rather, it was the shiny and rippling surface of masterfully-shaped obsidian, their rain-polished surfaces staring back in rank after rank at me through the scrub- looking for all the world like massive, teeming ant mounds.
The play of the sun through the canopy above off the slightly uneven surfaces even lent them the illusion of motion, as of water bubbling in rapids over a bank of piled stones, or, perhaps more appropriately, of millions of chitinous ant bodies amassing to repel an intruder. Their mostly conical spires were shingled with tiny interlocking plates of jade, weathered by centuries until it was almost muted, looking grey against the greens of the jungle.
I lingered there on the precipice for a long while, telling myself I needed to catch my breath, but knowing with every second I spent looking into the distance down those accursed rows that it was something much less explicable that kept my body frozen among the warm trees. It is only now, removed from the stress and excitement of the scene, that I can guess at what unspoken and unrecognized force halted my progress. Though I might not have been able to give voice to why at the time, I knew deep down that the conditions for obsidian to exist at all were not right here.
Obsidian was not among the pantheon of materials found in the jewelry, weapons or art of Southeast Asia, and that was because the nearest region with the right kind of volcanic activity to generate the substance at all lay thousands of miles away across the south china sea, on the island of Papua. I remember vividly having it pointed out as a commodity unique to the isle in my travels through Indonesia years before. What on Earth the glistening void-dark rock was doing in Myanmar remains far beyond me, but the grooved and layered construction of it, along with the faintly rough and uneven breaks in the glass-like surfaces where it had been so carefully shaped, told me it could be nothing else.
When at last my legs were moving beneath me again, I found winding my way through the obsidian forest testing at every moment my resolution to be there. Each stupa was littered with carvings, almost all of them pictographic, and almost all of these featuring the crouching forms of spiders. The largest, however, dotted every ten or twelve structures along the overgrown path I had chosen to follow, held another, more tantalizingly sinister image.
The first time I passed one of these carvings, I kept moving, my mind rushing to place why I recoiled on such an instinctive level from those particular figures amidst a legion of equally disturbing sights and sensations. Upon reaching a second rendition of the image, though, I opened my pack and flipped through my friend’s notebooks, desperate to confirm my suspicions. It didn’t take long to find his own rendition of the image, half-remembered in my nervous state, scrawled on the back cover of a cheap, weathered notebook.
The thing was a gaunt, thin, gangly creature, reminiscent of a man, but twisted and bent nearly beyond recognition. Its legs looked almost stick-like, ending in pointed barbs, and its torso sprouted three pairs of arms, evoking the image of sword-wielding Hindu gods. The arms sported one more joint than the single natural elbow showed by human beings, and each pair of them was held high in an awkward, exaggerated shrug- like a father aping a silent film-era monster to spook his children. This gave me the initial, erroneous impression that the many arms were the skeletal structure of unfurled wings. Each came to a blade-like point, just like the feet, with each lower pair slightly shorter than the last. The head -or what should have been a head- was by far the worst of it, though, and to think of it now in light of what I know makes me wonder beyond wonder that I stayed in that ruin at all.
Where a head should be, there was merely an aperture at the top of the torso, a large fang-lined mouth that ran like a zipper from where the back of a neck would’ve been to where the sternum should begin. Around it, unfurled and given the illusion of squirming motion by both the impromptu sketch artist and the ancient sculptors, were multiple layers of the sort of stunted forelegs that flank a tarantula’s mouth.
With the afternoon wearing on, I slowly pieced the shattered remnants of my aesthete’s zeal for the unusual back together. Wandering familiarized me with the two square miles or so that constituted the remnants of this little graveyard of forbidden worship, the knowledge I gained of its layout fortifying me with a sense of distant belonging I knew full well would disappear as soon as the sun sank beneath the horizon. Radiating inward like the strands of a great web, the avenues of the place all lead to a single center point where some massive temple or palace complex had once stood. It was here that I began to set up a modest little camp to wait out the night, piling what scant dry firewood I found and clearing undergrowth so that any insects or snakes would be scared out and away from my position.
The old temple was nothing save a foundation long sunk into the murky earth, its bottom littered with mud and stone from the superstructure, leaving only stalagmite-like fragments of its black obsidian walls to poke outward from the debris. It was in the protective shadow of one of these that I settled down, piling several more natural stones as a makeshift seat only after I ensured that none of the images of the damnable spider-thing were in view of my perch.
The final couple hours before nightfall felt like minutes, for time flew past with a speed only dread can create. I reflected, as I sat waiting for the proper moment to begin burning my small reserve of firewood, that there had been little in the way of totems or objects in the ruins. Most of the buildings had been stupas, too small to inhabit or enter, and the temple behind me had long ago been toppled in Pagan’s raid upon the despised cult. The sculptures, really the only testament to the past nature of this place, were repetitive, mimicking in stonework the kind of mantra repetitions witnessed in Buddhist or animist ceremonies.
I flipped through my catalogue of hastily-acquired knowledge, often referencing my friend’s notes and the books to which he’d clung, trying to recall anything which might help me retrace his steps in this dark corner of the Earth. I found none, for his notes said nothing of his actual expedition, and the treatments of this place in text and legend were so frightful and vague that there was little to work from. There were no signs of my friend in the avenues of shadowy Pyethceehon, just as there were no signs of the day-to-day lives of its ancient residents. The jungle had swallowed this vile place, and in another millennia, there would likely be nothing left to visit here.
Beyond the lack of information on my missing friend, I found my motivation consumed as the sunset got underway by an exhaustion which was entirely unlike me. Thoroughly unnerved and in a place unfamiliar to me, I should’ve been wide awake, ready to weather an entire night of vigilant, guarded listening over my fire. Instead, as the sky’s oranges darkened the shadows of the surrounding trees and scrub, turning the ranked stupas into ominous silhouettes which seemed to creep towards me through the encroaching trees, my usual explorer’s thrill at the unknown was extinguished. Each blink came as a labored exertion while I breathed life into the little woodpile before me.
Exacerbating this, I became aware of an impenetrable quiet hanging over the thinned mountaintop clearing in which Pyethceehon had brooded all these centuries. It was as if the very mosquitoes in the air knew not to disturb the slumber of such an ill-fated and ill-tempered beast as this.
I was in for a tense night.
submitted by StygianSagas to LovecraftianWriting [link] [comments]


2020.09.11 06:22 StygianSagas A Scratching at the Door [part 1]

It is my cathedral, my magnum opus- the culmination of two decades spent grinding my way through the most debauched and blasphemous practices and indulgences. It’s a thing of imposing grandeur most might shrug off as ominous or distasteful, like a soviet-era state edifice or a moldering abandoned hospital on an overcast hillside. It’s also seedy, just the right mix of ordered and disordered to tickle my mind and draw me into the rapturous atmosphere I have worked so hard to create within its walls. For years, I have retreated here when the weight of the world around me has beaten me low with its tedious, mundane goings-on, a last respite for a mind that never felt quite at home there. Fitting, then, that it will serve as my tomb.
Whoever stumbles across this account will find it in my home. From there, my cathedral is some two miles away, down the old logging trail that forks off from Whispering Pines Road. The dugout is near its terminus- a low, brooding bunker-like structure buried in the hills and blocked by a pair of rusted metal doors. I will leave these locked, but accessible via the key beneath this letter.
I don’t have any idea as to what the purpose of the modest dugout was originally, for it was barren when I found it two decades ago. Perhaps storage, for the nearest house is much too far away for it to serve effectively as a storm shelter. Regardless, the contents will be unharmed. I have committed crimes to attain the totems and relics I surround myself with, but while I might be a thief, I have always considered myself a borrower of items, rather than a taker of treasures. They may be redistributed to their proper places as authorities see fit to distribute them. Whoever first goes to the cathedral should mentally steel themselves for what they’ll find when they push through those heavy doors, though.
The collection began when I was a teenager. The first modest additions were items I acquired while delving in abandoned places of ill repute close to my hometown. I took a century-old diary from a moldering manor home in Louisville, and snagged a small bust dulled by time from a tottering school’s library in Lynch. As I grew in boldness, my taste for eerie and unsettling items grew more and more insatiable.
The gravestones of several notable Civil War-era dead were taken from Perryville, beginning the collection of headstones and memorial plaques of supposedly spectral figures that tile my cathedral’s walls. A bone saw, taken from a reportedly haunted hospital across the state line in Ironton, leans on a shelf against the skull of a folklore-rumored hermit-turned-warlock from the hills west of Ashland, which I dug up and preserved with great care after his remains had lurked in the ground for the better part of a century.
International connections may be needed to return some of the items, though, for I have done a fair bit of traveling in my time, always on the lookout for suitably evocative items for my gallery. The collection boasts, for example, a golden ring pulled from the bottom of a Yucatan cenote, where it rested amongst the honored sacrificial dead piled there during the golden age of the Maya. It rests upon the index finger of an unnaturally large mummified hand treasured by a twisted group of scholarly mountainside cultists in Tibet, who believed it to be the withered claw of a woman from the fabled subterranean realm of Patala. All this shall be catalogued in the most intimate detail which my memory allows, and I will denote the dates and locations at which each item was acquired, from the most modest small-town tombstone to the most exotic ‘cursed’ statuette or storied murder weapon.
I won’t get too bogged down in all that here, though. You’ll find that list in the cathedral, along with whatever remains of me. The purpose of this text is to dissuade anyone from touching or tampering with, in any way, a certain item I’ve hidden away in a long-forgotten mine not terribly far from here. The entrance will be collapsed, a feat which will charge me no small amount of work, and it desperately needs to stay that way. I only bother to mention this item at all because, for reasons that will become evident, I am unsure whether it will stay put down there in the wake of my death.
Any perusing these pages would be justified in wondering what all the fuss is about, so I’ll lay out the story as clearly as I’m able, starting with why I even had cause to come in contact with the wretched thing in the first place. Some years into my darker explorations and trophy taking, exploiting a long interest in the darker side of paranormal speculation and occult practices, I began to experiment here and there with immersing myself in the kinds of provocative groups that often congregated around the places I visited. In college I visited a local quarry notorious for suicidal leaps with some of my fellow students on Halloween for a very stereotypical drunk layman’s séance. It produced nothing tangible in terms of unexplainable experiences, but electrified me with the mood -the atmosphere- that accompanied our silly ritual when it was performed in so ominous a setting.
Branching out from there, I found equally atmospheric experiences by hitching my wagon to various occult groups across my region, the most longstanding relation being with a nameless group of pagan revivalists in Cave City. They stoked my need for taboo moods with spectacular solstice sacrifices of live bullocks during firelight ceremonies in the cave systems across the county.
Over the years, I built up a book of contacts who shared my fascination, or at least held a belief in eldritch ritual and ample enough contacts to put me in a position to experience and partake in their rites. I never developed any belief that anything I was doing had any impact in the material sense, however.
Chasing these rituals and gatherings was to me purely a folkloric, atmospheric exercise, a passionate and exciting interest that sweetened my existence in a world I found comparatively drab. When I witnessed a group of isolated townspeople in the arid interior of Tunisia burn a live lamb on a bed of coals before an ancient horned statue in the hills under a full moon, I was under no illusions that I had made contact with Baal Hammon. Rather, I could imagine for the briefest hour that I stood in Carthage before it’s fall. I could feel the exaltations and excesses of the men and women of that lost land in a way that few others, even amongst our great but fast-decaying scholarly institutions, will ever know. In this way, I liked to pretend that my pursuits were entirely anthropological in nature, an extended study in the collection and interpretation of dark folklore.
There was a small, sequestered portion of my mind, however, that had less rational motivations. Whenever a promising message would come my way, titillating me at the thought of potential reality behind all the shadowy pageantry of these ritual outings, I would jump at the chance to experience the kinds of raw emotion -fear, awe, or otherwise- that were so often whispered about in occult gatherings. I wanted some taste of the beyond, whatever that happened to be, and a chance discovery I made in July seemed to promise that very thing. It was this call to the unknown that set me on the path towards my final resting place in the cathedral.
Several months ago, a contact I made years back while visiting radical underground pagan organizations in Europe and with whom I had shared deep if infrequent correspondence was mentioned in passing by a mutual acquaintance, and it came up that he hadn’t been heard from in some months. I wrote to him and, when calls and emails went unanswered, I resolved to make the trip east to his home in the mountains of western Maryland to see him in person. Even among circles as prone to weirdness and reclusiveness as mine, it was odd for someone to go entirely dark. The nature of my interests -and those of my friend, for that matter- meant that the hunger for understanding ears to speak to was endless. For someone to wholly disconnect from the people who were best able to understand his eldritch obsessions and habits was an act of self-isolation above and beyond anything I or most I inquired with had ever witnessed.
When I arrived at his modest home west of Cumberland, I found it deserted in an odd state, with the front door unlocked and unsecure but the windows boarded up as if a hurricane were soon due on the mountainside. His shotgun lay tossed on the couch in the front room as I entered the building, and by the looks of the place, he had been holed up there for some time, sequestered off from the rest of the house. The doorway to the basement was boarded up, as was his adjoining bedroom and the back door onto the porch, which left only the front door accessible, and even that seemed to have been secured until recently. With his front sitting room space and a combined kitchen cut off like that, he’d set himself up to sleep on his couch and over the intervening days built up a fearful mess of discarded food and hastily-rifled books and papers.
Upon forcing my way into the basement, I found the sparse furniture and stored books and pictures tossed and turned, but nothing missing. The shotgun resting in the front room above had been fired several times into the walls, but had apparently stricken nothing, for there was no trace of blood or injury to be discovered.
Such disorder was worrying, for he had been an orderly and reserved man. What worried me more, however, was that there were no signs of forced entry. His old truck still sat rusting in the gravel driveway, the keys tucked under the driver’s seat as was his custom. The boarding and locks holding shut the front door had been calmly removed and unlatched from within, and there was not a single sign of disturbance in his makeshift fortress that would suggest someone had laid siege to the house to take him or his belongings. After locking himself in his front room for days, perhaps weeks, he had finally freed himself and walked out into the dense, mountainous woodland surrounding the house with no gun, no shoes, no keys, and no truck.
I set about investigating myself, hesitant to involve the authorities for obvious reasons. It was one thing to call up mutual associates to check whether there was any consensus on what he had been up to in the days prior to his confinement, but it was quite another to allow police to intrude on his property and potentially discover some macabre collection similar to my own that I’d been unaware of. Call after call came back inconclusive and shrouded in uncertainty, leaving me less and less convinced as the evening wore on that he would simply stumble out of the darkening woodline any minute fresh off some spectacular hallucinogenic trip, angry at my intrusion into his home. Then, as the sun dipped below the hunched, wood-cloaked mountains, my friend’s ancient land line received a call, sending me stumbling inside at a run from the porch, and plunging me into roiling chaos.
The initial exchange seemed innocuous enough, considering what was to follow. Speaking accented but practiced English, a man asked after the whereabouts of my friend. I was initially hesitant to be fully forthright with this stranger, but when he voluntarily betrayed that my friend had been in Myanmar by asking how he had been since his return, I felt it was necessary to probe just a little. I asked when my friend had departed and, upon realizing his return to the states must have been immediately followed by his recent descent into paranoid compound fortification, I inquired whether he’d seemed distressed or ill in the days leading up to his return home. Those simple questions were somehow all the man on the other end of the line needed to hear, for his response was to ask if he had gone missing.
“I warned him,” the voice muttered. “I warned him not to go up into the mountains. I knew it must be bad, for him to stay so quiet after leaving.”
The exchange that followed couldn’t have totaled more than ten minutes, but my constant reflection on it over the intervening weeks has stretched it into an hours-long ordeal, remembered verbatim and retrievable down to a syllable. At my insistence, he told me of the witching circles he occupied in Yangon, and of my friend’s keen interest in them. As evasive as I had been with exact details, he described a trip through the country organized for my friend by contacts in the region, a sort of whirlwind tour of debauched and culturally subterranean experiences. This trip had apparently terminated in an ill-advised trek into the mountainous north of the country, that the speaker and his local Yangon brethren had absolutely refused to attend.
“There are ruins in the hills,” he told me, the disgust plain in his voice. “Sacked and toppled by the kings of Pagan, and with good reason. None should travel there.”
For centuries, people both local to the region and native to other provinces of Burma had stayed clear of the place. The longstanding curse placed upon it by the Pagan kings of old was bolstered here and there by the hushed retelling of another tale of woe sparked when a foreign traveler or urban youth from the south insisted on seeing the forbidden heights. Reiterated in the flesh of modernity just as it would’ve been recited those centuries ago from atop the peacock throne of Burma, the man warned me with hushed tones not to look into my friend’s final days, to burn any of his private writings, and to leave the dead to lie. He then hung up, the whole thing feeling for all the world like an establishing scene out of a century-old horror story.
That is precisely what made it impossible for me to heed his warnings.
Even as I looked over the domestic devastation around me left in the aftermath of just such a visit, I understood every ounce of thought that had driven my friend to make the trip into the mountains. These unnamed ruins, haunted by shadowy legendry so fierce an occultist guide among fellow occultists would not risk their ancient paths, were everything a chaser of the extravagant could dream to see. Initially worried for my friend, the realization that it had grown dark outside now breathed some level of fear into me, only heightening the racing of my thoughts.
Had he not boarded up his home, then thrashed and shot at some unknown force in the basement, only to run away into the woods? What, should I decide to stay there through the night, would I find?
These were the sort of thoughts that would’ve driven a reasonable man out of the house and down the little mountain road into the security of town, but I, as attested to by the stolen gravestones and human remains which shall soon surround my corpse in the cathedral, am not a reasonable man. I set about a fevered examination of the books and notes with which my friend had occupied himself during his voluntary imprisonment, and left messages with all the contacts I had garnered over a lifetime’s probing the obscure and obscene who I thought might have any knowledge of use to me. After all, with nothing else to work from, this scrap of tantalizing information was the only hope of learning what befell my companion, and discovering whether the unknown caller’s pessimism on that score was justified. The ominous connotations of that information were just an added incentive.
The night was a long, tedious affair, with several breaks taken for no better reason than to calm my nerves and assure there was nothing lurking in the unlit kitchen or creeping up the now exposed basement staircase. Nothing save the atmosphere of the little house was amiss, though, and the night ultimately proved enlightening. From a battered notebook well worn by continued visits from its owner over the years, I learned about my friend’s obsession with the concept of the Nat, a kind of mythic Burmese-Buddhist spirit, or deity. Writing using a cypher popularized by the Golden Dawn with which many in my circles will be familiar, he had been jotting down notes regarding the origination of the currently recognized pantheon of thirty-seven Nat, and on unofficial, more local Nat, revered or feared by populations of certain towns and villages spread here and there across the interior of Myanmar.
It was a history in which I was not versed, for Myanmar had never come up as a focal point of occult or otherwise weird significance, but he’d developed a fascination with rumors of a cult in the remote north of the country centered on a Nat of such wickedness that it had single-handedly spurred the attempted banning of local Nat offerings. This being was supposedly the reason for instituting the official pantheon of thirty-seven instituted some thousand years ago, after the end of the first millennium.
Scattered across the margins of Cambridge and Oxford histories of Southeast Asia and several more journals filled with scribbled code, I learned the story of King Anawrahta, founder of the first unified Burmese empire, and a figure seemingly obsessed with the imposition of Buddhist religious order overtop of the native faiths of his land. In the texts of academia, the reason given for this ranged from expanding state control over local governance to enriching the crown through more reliable religious taxation. Notes from my friend on correspondence with local occultists and their own books of speculative history painted a different, altogether darker picture.
Folk tales from the jungle-choked hills in the north of the country joined longstanding occult traditions in laying the blame for this crackdown on local rituals at the feet of a reviled figure called Paunggkuu, whose name is closely linked to the modern Burmese word for spider.
Paunggkuu, known by no other name or title, is shadowed by many rumored pasts and motives, with some tales alleging he was a noble member of a local clan whose prosperity was shattered by the expansion of the king’s empire in the south, turning he and his family to blood offerings and shadowy rites in hopes of bettering their fortunes. Still others believe he was a Nat-possessed vagrant, a nobody raised from nothing by a wicked spirit to great infamy only to just as quickly be tossed aside- an expendable mortal shell for a being which had long lurked in the mountains. Many more hinted origins exist, but the outcome of the rise of Paunggkuu is always the same, with the mundane man-turned-warlock leading a cult of several hundred followers into a megalithic ruined city tucked away in the trees, where they began to prey on the surrounding countryside.
Village youths started to go missing, and over time, whole rural communities were stripped clean of inhabitants. Rippling outwards from the ruined city, the locals spoke in hushed whispers of a creeping death, a diabolical Nat or witch in the guise of a monster who haunted the spaces beneath raised houses and huts at night, and whose disgusting visage appeared to the locals in nightmare night after sleepless night. So great was the fear brought about by this shadowy plague of disappearances that the regional seat of power, the small city of Mogaung, was forced to take notice. Its kingly high priest, himself a vassal and ally of the powerful King Anawrahta in the south, sent men into the region to quell the disorder and bring those responsible to justice. When those men, too, had gone missing, an army of several hundred was raised, and when that had failed to report back, the priest sent desperate word to Pagan, petitioning the king for aid.
Anawrahta, occupied with other matters in the south, failed to answer with speed, but was spurred to action by a dark event sometime around the middle of 1057, when a nighttime raid on the outskirts of Mogaung itself drove the priest to flee south to the capital, where he took up exiled residence in Pagan with his suzerain. This attack, which was laid at the feet of bandits in official records, did not topple the city or level any temples, but its nature was so horrid that Anawrahta put a momentary halt to his campaigns of unification and consolidation to march north with more than five thousand men, riding upon a gold-girdled war elephant and leading the host in person.
The events which followed seem singularly terrible, and the narrative presented in the royal chronicles of Pagan of a bandit revolt quashed by the glorious armies of Anawrahta does little to explain why all but a thousand of the men sent into the jungle never came back. It does nothing to explain why local Kachin legend speaks of the mortified screams which echoed down from the hills being audible even now on certain moonlit nights, when the skies are right. Bandits, after all, couldn’t have spurred a burgeoning kingdom with more enemies than allies to spend half a year leveling an ancient stone city, and the rest of the century burying its name and history by burning books and sundering stone carvings.
The sun rose over the Maryland hills, and with it, I found myself reverberating with not only a new grasp of a strange land’s lore and legendry, but of my aims moving forward. Several contacts of my friend’s had agreed to come search for him and continue looking into the mounds of documentation he had compiled. While they got on the road and began their long drives, a Javanese associate who had led me on an extravagant tour of ancient fire-cults still in practice on the remoter regions of that island contacted a friend at my behest. This friend initiated a chain of further connections from friend to friend until I was speaking with a Burmese Buddhist monk-turned-animist wiseman, who knew of the rumored city in the north.
Though he dissuaded me from my stated aim of visiting the site in search of answers, he agreed to meet me in Yangon upon my arrival and place me in contact with locals of the northern Kachin province who could aid me in getting transport and supplies in so remote a region. I purchased my tickets that morning for a chain of flights leaving out of Washington D.C. that evening, and after leaving a scribbled note for my vanished friend in the off chance he resurface before his other companions arrived, I piled into my car without a wink of sleep to drive for the capital.
I cannot entirely give voice to the feelings which drove my movements throughout the day. Exhaustion did not catch up to me until well into the initial flight from Washington to Japan, and even then, sleep came in fitful bursts. I was too busy pouring over hastily-copied scraps of information left by my friend, staring holes in satellite images of northern Myanmar, and memorizing a few helpful words of the Burmese language to even consider how I felt. The whole of the scenario seemed like some great initial stage in an epic drama, and my worry at the sudden disappearance of a close friend and associate in the pursuit of strangeness had fast been molded together with an urge to see what he must’ve seen, and to feel whatever had spurred the paranoia he must’ve felt during those last, manic days in the closed front room.
It would be trite of me to proclaim now what a fool I was for being so blind, so eager to face the unknown. Moreover, it wouldn’t be entirely honest. Even now, as I prepare to do what must be done, I can recognize that what I found in Myanmar was exactly the sort of thing I had been searching for throughout the long and confused span of years that led me into the jungles of rural Kachin, and I can’t claim I regret taking the journey. I can only regret that my friend had to suffer what he did to show me the path, and that both he and I proved too fragile to tolerate the thing which followed us home.
I met with my contact after a lengthy but fitful sleep at the cheapest hotel I could book once landed and settled in Yangon. After another lengthy attempt to dissuade me from my course outside a tiny local café which featured florid stories about regional Kachin Independence Army rebels, he sketched out a travel itinerary which would take me first by bus, then by locally arranged jeep up precarious roads to the tiny settlement of Sumprabum, in the farthest northern reaches of the nation. The way was precarious at times, with the aged dirt roads never failing to buck and rock the buses this way and that on the precipices of the scrub-choked cliff faces they hugged. The locals, bundled in like canned fish with a painfully conspicuous foreigner among them, mostly rode in sleepy silence through nearly two days of travel, leaving me to wonder whether I was the only one worried by the idea of toppling over the edge. It wouldn’t do, after all, to come so close to the unknown only to die in a bus crash.
Worry proved pointless, however, and I ended up in a tiny, flea-ridden bunk in Sumprabum a couple days after setting out from Maryland, my eyes scanning the tree-shrouded hills through the mist from my perch on the porch of a catholic mission as they reluctantly allowed me some much-needed sleep. It would be the first real rest I’d had since prior to my fateful road trip-turned-world excursion began. It would later prove to be the final mundane, dreamless sleep I would ever experience, but in my exhausted anticipation, I didn’t take any time to savor it.
Awakening plucked and prodded by mosquitoes but otherwise feeling prepared for anything, I made my way to a modest logger’s house of sheet metal and crude timber, where I met my local guide. He was an older man still steely with a laborer’s wiry muscle who the entire gathering of homes called Saya, something close to teacher. With my night owl’s pale skin, my relatively impressive height and my profuse sweating at the unaccustomed humidity, I must’ve looked like some traveling alien jester to the village’s locals, and we’d soon gathered a sizable crowd of onlookers as we talked over the plan for the day’s hike. I would pay a small sum to his family for his aid and the food and water he would furnish me with for the night I wanted to spend in the ruins, and then he would lead me on foot about twenty miles to the northwest into the forest, over hills and through valleys, until we arrived at the place the local Kachin population had dubbed Pyethceehon.
The name was only ever spoken in wavering tones of disgust and fear, and the assigning of so alien a name, alongside my newfound proximity to the place my friend had been only a short while ago, filled me with nervous apprehension for the first time since my entry into his home back in the states. While that vestigial, reptile-brained warning of danger to come was enough to put me on edge, it came nowhere close to drowning out my higher aspirations towards intrigue and awe. To be so close to the unknown was an ecstasy I hadn’t found in all my years of searching, and I was not about to abandon that sensation now.
Saya set a firm pace up what initially were muddy and brutally-sloped logging roads through the hills. After several hours we branched off and forded into the sea of trees. The undergrowth and tree trunks combined into a morass which looked absolutely identical to my untrained eye for hour after hour, but by nothing more than his memory of the landscape and the feel of the hills beneath his flip-flop clad feet, Saya pressed through. He always seemed to know just the right place to squeeze through a looming wall of interwoven trees or a jam of fallen logs in a creek bed. Our entire trip was scored by his thickly-accented English telling story after story about the sizes of snakes that could be found here or the density of the ant hives choking the ground there, interspersed with assurances that I could turn back at any time with but a word to him if I lost my nerve. I responded and questioned him when I could, but I was winded and broken by the endless ascents and descents we made despite years of avid hiking back home, and my spaces between strained breaths were few and far between.
He told me of several disappearances of hunters and scouts for logging outfits in the area, but nothing had transpired near the ruins in recent memory. So dark was their reputation that throughout the militia-driven guerrilla warfare which had preceded my arrival for several years, not one camp or troop movement had been made around or through Pyethceehon, whether by loyalist or separatist forces. Saya was the only man in the area that had come close in the past five or six decades, and even he never dared go the final mile or two towards the old settlement in the trees.
The first visit was a childhood expedition in search of village chickens spooked into the jungle by a storm, which had ended in him accidentally stumbling across the stream which babbled downhill from the hilltop upon which Pyethceehon brooded. The second was to lead my friend to the stony banks of that very same stream.
On arriving, the brave man made me the same offer he’d made my friend, standing with his hands on his hips and offering to come with me into the ruins if I felt I needed him there. It was an offer made through a face haunted by the very syllables formed in making the offer, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask Saya along.
Thanking him for his kindness, I made certain of the time I was to meet him tomorrow and departed for the legend-haunted wreck atop the low mountain, with afternoon long having set in. Our pace had been slowed by my pondering progress, and I knew the few remaining hours of daylight would provide more than enough time for the savvy Saya to reach the logging roads and be well on his way to the village by nightfall. The prospect of a night alone on this unknown precipice only set in when thirty minutes of hiking up the creek bed had secured my isolation. I gripped the little revolver I’d been given to ward off tigers with a tight desperation I had never before experienced. All the while, my tired legs carried me that last mile into Pyethceehon.
I was more vibrant and alive in those terrified minutes than I had ever been before. I pity my friend, for having been the very first outsider in a century to visit the place had denied him the experience of knowing some specter of the danger that lurked there firsthand. While he must’ve felt the weight of the ruin’s reputation and atmosphere, only I knew the fate of a personal friend who had come before. It lit a fire in my stomach so intense I chewed the interior of my cheek raw in jittery anticipation of reaching the summit, my wavering legs finding new strength as my destination neared.
During my hurried in-flight preparations for this moment, I had scoured pictures, satellite images and documentary footage of great Burmese temple and stupa sites like Bagan, wanting to be accustomed to the kind of structures I might find upon arrival. I had expected crumbling but mighty dome-and-spire edifices like those, but what I found was altogether alien. The structures of Pyethceehon were much more like the small, tightly-packed, cone-roofed structures of lesser-known Nyaung Ohak far to the south.
Its avenues were only a few feet wide, choked between hundreds of huddled monuments and teeming with hungry plant growth, the few untoppled stone peaks reaching no further than fifteen or twenty feet into the branch-strangled sky. Many of them leaned, their bases sinking into the stone of the ground as the passing of ten centuries remolded the very Earth beneath their feet. It was the material, though, that shocked me so, making me think I had wandered into some mighty forest of vine-blackened prehistoric teeth as I crested the hill and stumbled into that outpost of blasphemy.
The stone was not the reddish-brown of most of the nation’s monuments, nor the sandy, water-aged brown of monuments elsewhere in the near and far east. It was not the marble of rich classical sculpture or the placid limestone grey of contemplative new-world step pyramids and old-world castles. Rather, it was the shiny and rippling surface of masterfully-shaped obsidian, their rain-polished surfaces staring back in rank after rank at me through the scrub- looking for all the world like massive, teeming ant mounds.
The play of the sun through the canopy above off the slightly uneven surfaces even lent them the illusion of motion, as of water bubbling in rapids over a bank of piled stones, or, perhaps more appropriately, of millions of chitinous ant bodies amassing to repel an intruder. Their mostly conical spires were shingled with tiny interlocking plates of jade, weathered by centuries until it was almost muted, looking grey against the greens of the jungle.
I lingered there on the precipice for a long while, telling myself I needed to catch my breath, but knowing with every second I spent looking into the distance down those accursed rows that it was something much less explicable that kept my body frozen among the warm trees. It is only now, removed from the stress and excitement of the scene, that I can guess at what unspoken and unrecognized force halted my progress. Though I might not have been able to give voice to why at the time, I knew deep down that the conditions for obsidian to exist at all were not right here.
Obsidian was not among the pantheon of materials found in the jewelry, weapons or art of Southeast Asia, and that was because the nearest region with the right kind of volcanic activity to generate the substance at all lay thousands of miles away across the south china sea, on the island of Papua. I remember vividly having it pointed out as a commodity unique to the isle in my travels through Indonesia years before. What on Earth the glistening void-dark rock was doing in Myanmar remains far beyond me, but the grooved and layered construction of it, along with the faintly rough and uneven breaks in the glass-like surfaces where it had been so carefully shaped, told me it could be nothing else.
When at last my legs were moving beneath me again, I found winding my way through the obsidian forest testing at every moment my resolution to be there. Each stupa was littered with carvings, almost all of them pictographic, and almost all of these featuring the crouching forms of spiders. The largest, however, dotted every ten or twelve structures along the overgrown path I had chosen to follow, held another, more tantalizingly sinister image.
The first time I passed one of these carvings, I kept moving, my mind rushing to place why I recoiled on such an instinctive level from those particular figures amidst a legion of equally disturbing sights and sensations. Upon reaching a second rendition of the image, though, I opened my pack and flipped through my friend’s notebooks, desperate to confirm my suspicions. It didn’t take long to find his own rendition of the image, half-remembered in my nervous state, scrawled on the back cover of a cheap, weathered notebook.
The thing was a gaunt, thin, gangly creature, reminiscent of a man, but twisted and bent nearly beyond recognition. Its legs looked almost stick-like, ending in pointed barbs, and its torso sprouted three pairs of arms, evoking the image of sword-wielding Hindu gods. The arms sported one more joint than the single natural elbow showed by human beings, and each pair of them was held high in an awkward, exaggerated shrug- like a father aping a silent film-era monster to spook his children. This gave me the initial, erroneous impression that the many arms were the skeletal structure of unfurled wings. Each came to a blade-like point, just like the feet, with each lower pair slightly shorter than the last. The head -or what should have been a head- was by far the worst of it, though, and to think of it now in light of what I know makes me wonder beyond wonder that I stayed in that ruin at all.
Where a head should be, there was merely an aperture at the top of the torso, a large fang-lined mouth that ran like a zipper from where the back of a neck would’ve been to where the sternum should begin. Around it, unfurled and given the illusion of squirming motion by both the impromptu sketch artist and the ancient sculptors, were multiple layers of the sort of stunted forelegs that flank a tarantula’s mouth.
With the afternoon wearing on, I slowly pieced the shattered remnants of my aesthete’s zeal for the unusual back together. Wandering familiarized me with the two square miles or so that constituted the remnants of this little graveyard of forbidden worship, the knowledge I gained of its layout fortifying me with a sense of distant belonging I knew full well would disappear as soon as the sun sank beneath the horizon. Radiating inward like the strands of a great web, the avenues of the place all lead to a single center point where some massive temple or palace complex had once stood. It was here that I began to set up a modest little camp to wait out the night, piling what scant dry firewood I found and clearing undergrowth so that any insects or snakes would be scared out and away from my position.
The old temple was nothing save a foundation long sunk into the murky earth, its bottom littered with mud and stone from the superstructure, leaving only stalagmite-like fragments of its black obsidian walls to poke outward from the debris. It was in the protective shadow of one of these that I settled down, piling several more natural stones as a makeshift seat only after I ensured that none of the images of the damnable spider-thing were in view of my perch.
The final couple hours before nightfall felt like minutes, for time flew past with a speed only dread can create. I reflected, as I sat waiting for the proper moment to begin burning my small reserve of firewood, that there had been little in the way of totems or objects in the ruins. Most of the buildings had been stupas, too small to inhabit or enter, and the temple behind me had long ago been toppled in Pagan’s raid upon the despised cult. The sculptures, really the only testament to the past nature of this place, were repetitive, mimicking in stonework the kind of mantra repetitions witnessed in Buddhist or animist ceremonies.
I flipped through my catalogue of hastily-acquired knowledge, often referencing my friend’s notes and the books to which he’d clung, trying to recall anything which might help me retrace his steps in this dark corner of the Earth. I found none, for his notes said nothing of his actual expedition, and the treatments of this place in text and legend were so frightful and vague that there was little to work from. There were no signs of my friend in the avenues of shadowy Pyethceehon, just as there were no signs of the day-to-day lives of its ancient residents. The jungle had swallowed this vile place, and in another millennia, there would likely be nothing left to visit here.
Beyond the lack of information on my missing friend, I found my motivation consumed as the sunset got underway by an exhaustion which was entirely unlike me. Thoroughly unnerved and in a place unfamiliar to me, I should’ve been wide awake, ready to weather an entire night of vigilant, guarded listening over my fire. Instead, as the sky’s oranges darkened the shadows of the surrounding trees and scrub, turning the ranked stupas into ominous silhouettes which seemed to creep towards me through the encroaching trees, my usual explorer’s thrill at the unknown was extinguished. Each blink came as a labored exertion while I breathed life into the little woodpile before me.
Exacerbating this, I became aware of an impenetrable quiet hanging over the thinned mountaintop clearing in which Pyethceehon had brooded all these centuries. It was as if the very mosquitoes in the air knew not to disturb the slumber of such an ill-fated and ill-tempered beast as this.
I was in for a tense night.
submitted by StygianSagas to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]


2020.09.11 06:14 StygianSagas A Scratching at the Door (part 1)

It is my cathedral, my magnum opus- the culmination of two decades spent grinding my way through the most debauched and blasphemous practices and indulgences. It’s a thing of imposing grandeur most might shrug off as ominous or distasteful, like a soviet-era state edifice or a moldering abandoned hospital on an overcast hillside. It’s also seedy, just the right mix of ordered and disordered to tickle my mind and draw me into the rapturous atmosphere I have worked so hard to create within its walls. For years, I have retreated here when the weight of the world around me has beaten me low with its tedious, mundane goings-on, a last respite for a mind that never felt quite at home there. Fitting, then, that it will serve as my tomb.
Whoever stumbles across this account will find it in my home. From there, my cathedral is some two miles away, down the old logging trail that forks off from Whispering Pines Road. The dugout is near its terminus- a low, brooding bunker-like structure buried in the hills and blocked by a pair of rusted metal doors. I will leave these locked, but accessible via the key beneath this letter.
I don’t have any idea as to what the purpose of the modest dugout was originally, for it was barren when I found it two decades ago. Perhaps storage, for the nearest house is much too far away for it to serve effectively as a storm shelter. Regardless, the contents will be unharmed. I have committed crimes to attain the totems and relics I surround myself with, but while I might be a thief, I have always considered myself a borrower of items, rather than a taker of treasures. They may be redistributed to their proper places as authorities see fit to distribute them. Whoever first goes to the cathedral should mentally steel themselves for what they’ll find when they push through those heavy doors, though.
The collection began when I was a teenager. The first modest additions were items I acquired while delving in abandoned places of ill repute close to my hometown. I took a century-old diary from a moldering manor home in Louisville, and snagged a small bust dulled by time from a tottering school’s library in Lynch. As I grew in boldness, my taste for eerie and unsettling items grew more and more insatiable.
The gravestones of several notable Civil War-era dead were taken from Perryville, beginning the collection of headstones and memorial plaques of supposedly spectral figures that tile my cathedral’s walls. A bone saw, taken from a reportedly haunted hospital across the state line in Ironton, leans on a shelf against the skull of a folklore-rumored hermit-turned-warlock from the hills west of Ashland, which I dug up and preserved with great care after his remains had lurked in the ground for the better part of a century.
International connections may be needed to return some of the items, though, for I have done a fair bit of traveling in my time, always on the lookout for suitably evocative items for my gallery. The collection boasts, for example, a golden ring pulled from the bottom of a Yucatan cenote, where it rested amongst the honored sacrificial dead piled there during the golden age of the Maya. It rests upon the index finger of an unnaturally large mummified hand treasured by a twisted group of scholarly mountainside cultists in Tibet, who believed it to be the withered claw of a woman from the fabled subterranean realm of Patala. All this shall be catalogued in the most intimate detail which my memory allows, and I will denote the dates and locations at which each item was acquired, from the most modest small-town tombstone to the most exotic ‘cursed’ statuette or storied murder weapon.
I won’t get too bogged down in all that here, though. You’ll find that list in the cathedral, along with whatever remains of me. The purpose of this text is to dissuade anyone from touching or tampering with, in any way, a certain item I’ve hidden away in a long-forgotten mine not terribly far from here. The entrance will be collapsed, a feat which will charge me no small amount of work, and it desperately needs to stay that way. I only bother to mention this item at all because, for reasons that will become evident, I am unsure whether it will stay put down there in the wake of my death.
Any perusing these pages would be justified in wondering what all the fuss is about, so I’ll lay out the story as clearly as I’m able, starting with why I even had cause to come in contact with the wretched thing in the first place. Some years into my darker explorations and trophy taking, exploiting a long interest in the darker side of paranormal speculation and occult practices, I began to experiment here and there with immersing myself in the kinds of provocative groups that often congregated around the places I visited. In college I visited a local quarry notorious for suicidal leaps with some of my fellow students on Halloween for a very stereotypical drunk layman’s séance. It produced nothing tangible in terms of unexplainable experiences, but electrified me with the mood -the atmosphere- that accompanied our silly ritual when it was performed in so ominous a setting.
Branching out from there, I found equally atmospheric experiences by hitching my wagon to various occult groups across my region, the most longstanding relation being with a nameless group of pagan revivalists in Cave City. They stoked my need for taboo moods with spectacular solstice sacrifices of live bullocks during firelight ceremonies in the cave systems across the county.
Over the years, I built up a book of contacts who shared my fascination, or at least held a belief in eldritch ritual and ample enough contacts to put me in a position to experience and partake in their rites. I never developed any belief that anything I was doing had any impact in the material sense, however.
Chasing these rituals and gatherings was to me purely a folkloric, atmospheric exercise, a passionate and exciting interest that sweetened my existence in a world I found comparatively drab. When I witnessed a group of isolated townspeople in the arid interior of Tunisia burn a live lamb on a bed of coals before an ancient horned statue in the hills under a full moon, I was under no illusions that I had made contact with Baal Hammon. Rather, I could imagine for the briefest hour that I stood in Carthage before it’s fall. I could feel the exaltations and excesses of the men and women of that lost land in a way that few others, even amongst our great but fast-decaying scholarly institutions, will ever know. In this way, I liked to pretend that my pursuits were entirely anthropological in nature, an extended study in the collection and interpretation of dark folklore.
There was a small, sequestered portion of my mind, however, that had less rational motivations. Whenever a promising message would come my way, titillating me at the thought of potential reality behind all the shadowy pageantry of these ritual outings, I would jump at the chance to experience the kinds of raw emotion -fear, awe, or otherwise- that were so often whispered about in occult gatherings. I wanted some taste of the beyond, whatever that happened to be, and a chance discovery I made in July seemed to promise that very thing. It was this call to the unknown that set me on the path towards my final resting place in the cathedral.
Several months ago, a contact I made years back while visiting radical underground pagan organizations in Europe and with whom I had shared deep if infrequent correspondence was mentioned in passing by a mutual acquaintance, and it came up that he hadn’t been heard from in some months. I wrote to him and, when calls and emails went unanswered, I resolved to make the trip east to his home in the mountains of western Maryland to see him in person. Even among circles as prone to weirdness and reclusiveness as mine, it was odd for someone to go entirely dark. The nature of my interests -and those of my friend, for that matter- meant that the hunger for understanding ears to speak to was endless. For someone to wholly disconnect from the people who were best able to understand his eldritch obsessions and habits was an act of self-isolation above and beyond anything I or most I inquired with had ever witnessed.
When I arrived at his modest home west of Cumberland, I found it deserted in an odd state, with the front door unlocked and unsecure but the windows boarded up as if a hurricane were soon due on the mountainside. His shotgun lay tossed on the couch in the front room as I entered the building, and by the looks of the place, he had been holed up there for some time, sequestered off from the rest of the house. The doorway to the basement was boarded up, as was his adjoining bedroom and the back door onto the porch, which left only the front door accessible, and even that seemed to have been secured until recently. With his front sitting room space and a combined kitchen cut off like that, he’d set himself up to sleep on his couch and over the intervening days built up a fearful mess of discarded food and hastily-rifled books and papers.
Upon forcing my way into the basement, I found the sparse furniture and stored books and pictures tossed and turned, but nothing missing. The shotgun resting in the front room above had been fired several times into the walls, but had apparently stricken nothing, for there was no trace of blood or injury to be discovered.
Such disorder was worrying, for he had been an orderly and reserved man. What worried me more, however, was that there were no signs of forced entry. His old truck still sat rusting in the gravel driveway, the keys tucked under the driver’s seat as was his custom. The boarding and locks holding shut the front door had been calmly removed and unlatched from within, and there was not a single sign of disturbance in his makeshift fortress that would suggest someone had laid siege to the house to take him or his belongings. After locking himself in his front room for days, perhaps weeks, he had finally freed himself and walked out into the dense, mountainous woodland surrounding the house with no gun, no shoes, no keys, and no truck.
I set about investigating myself, hesitant to involve the authorities for obvious reasons. It was one thing to call up mutual associates to check whether there was any consensus on what he had been up to in the days prior to his confinement, but it was quite another to allow police to intrude on his property and potentially discover some macabre collection similar to my own that I’d been unaware of. Call after call came back inconclusive and shrouded in uncertainty, leaving me less and less convinced as the evening wore on that he would simply stumble out of the darkening woodline any minute fresh off some spectacular hallucinogenic trip, angry at my intrusion into his home. Then, as the sun dipped below the hunched, wood-cloaked mountains, my friend’s ancient land line received a call, sending me stumbling inside at a run from the porch, and plunging me into roiling chaos.
The initial exchange seemed innocuous enough, considering what was to follow. Speaking accented but practiced English, a man asked after the whereabouts of my friend. I was initially hesitant to be fully forthright with this stranger, but when he voluntarily betrayed that my friend had been in Myanmar by asking how he had been since his return, I felt it was necessary to probe just a little. I asked when my friend had departed and, upon realizing his return to the states must have been immediately followed by his recent descent into paranoid compound fortification, I inquired whether he’d seemed distressed or ill in the days leading up to his return home. Those simple questions were somehow all the man on the other end of the line needed to hear, for his response was to ask if he had gone missing.
“I warned him,” the voice muttered. “I warned him not to go up into the mountains. I knew it must be bad, for him to stay so quiet after leaving.”
The exchange that followed couldn’t have totaled more than ten minutes, but my constant reflection on it over the intervening weeks has stretched it into an hours-long ordeal, remembered verbatim and retrievable down to a syllable. At my insistence, he told me of the witching circles he occupied in Yangon, and of my friend’s keen interest in them. As evasive as I had been with exact details, he described a trip through the country organized for my friend by contacts in the region, a sort of whirlwind tour of debauched and culturally subterranean experiences. This trip had apparently terminated in an ill-advised trek into the mountainous north of the country, that the speaker and his local Yangon brethren had absolutely refused to attend.
“There are ruins in the hills,” he told me, the disgust plain in his voice. “Sacked and toppled by the kings of Pagan, and with good reason. None should travel there.”
For centuries, people both local to the region and native to other provinces of Burma had stayed clear of the place. The longstanding curse placed upon it by the Pagan kings of old was bolstered here and there by the hushed retelling of another tale of woe sparked when a foreign traveler or urban youth from the south insisted on seeing the forbidden heights. Reiterated in the flesh of modernity just as it would’ve been recited those centuries ago from atop the peacock throne of Burma, the man warned me with hushed tones not to look into my friend’s final days, to burn any of his private writings, and to leave the dead to lie. He then hung up, the whole thing feeling for all the world like an establishing scene out of a century-old horror story.
That is precisely what made it impossible for me to heed his warnings.
Even as I looked over the domestic devastation around me left in the aftermath of just such a visit, I understood every ounce of thought that had driven my friend to make the trip into the mountains. These unnamed ruins, haunted by shadowy legendry so fierce an occultist guide among fellow occultists would not risk their ancient paths, were everything a chaser of the extravagant could dream to see. Initially worried for my friend, the realization that it had grown dark outside now breathed some level of fear into me, only heightening the racing of my thoughts.
Had he not boarded up his home, then thrashed and shot at some unknown force in the basement, only to run away into the woods? What, should I decide to stay there through the night, would I find?
These were the sort of thoughts that would’ve driven a reasonable man out of the house and down the little mountain road into the security of town, but I, as attested to by the stolen gravestones and human remains which shall soon surround my corpse in the cathedral, am not a reasonable man. I set about a fevered examination of the books and notes with which my friend had occupied himself during his voluntary imprisonment, and left messages with all the contacts I had garnered over a lifetime’s probing the obscure and obscene who I thought might have any knowledge of use to me. After all, with nothing else to work from, this scrap of tantalizing information was the only hope of learning what befell my companion, and discovering whether the unknown caller’s pessimism on that score was justified. The ominous connotations of that information were just an added incentive.
The night was a long, tedious affair, with several breaks taken for no better reason than to calm my nerves and assure there was nothing lurking in the unlit kitchen or creeping up the now exposed basement staircase. Nothing save the atmosphere of the little house was amiss, though, and the night ultimately proved enlightening. From a battered notebook well worn by continued visits from its owner over the years, I learned about my friend’s obsession with the concept of the Nat, a kind of mythic Burmese-Buddhist spirit, or deity. Writing using a cypher popularized by the Golden Dawn with which many in my circles will be familiar, he had been jotting down notes regarding the origination of the currently recognized pantheon of thirty-seven Nat, and on unofficial, more local Nat, revered or feared by populations of certain towns and villages spread here and there across the interior of Myanmar.
It was a history in which I was not versed, for Myanmar had never come up as a focal point of occult or otherwise weird significance, but he’d developed a fascination with rumors of a cult in the remote north of the country centered on a Nat of such wickedness that it had single-handedly spurred the attempted banning of local Nat offerings. This being was supposedly the reason for instituting the official pantheon of thirty-seven instituted some thousand years ago, after the end of the first millennium.
Scattered across the margins of Cambridge and Oxford histories of Southeast Asia and several more journals filled with scribbled code, I learned the story of King Anawrahta, founder of the first unified Burmese empire, and a figure seemingly obsessed with the imposition of Buddhist religious order overtop of the native faiths of his land. In the texts of academia, the reason given for this ranged from expanding state control over local governance to enriching the crown through more reliable religious taxation. Notes from my friend on correspondence with local occultists and their own books of speculative history painted a different, altogether darker picture.
Folk tales from the jungle-choked hills in the north of the country joined longstanding occult traditions in laying the blame for this crackdown on local rituals at the feet of a reviled figure called Paunggkuu, whose name is closely linked to the modern Burmese word for spider.
Paunggkuu, known by no other name or title, is shadowed by many rumored pasts and motives, with some tales alleging he was a noble member of a local clan whose prosperity was shattered by the expansion of the king’s empire in the south, turning he and his family to blood offerings and shadowy rites in hopes of bettering their fortunes. Still others believe he was a Nat-possessed vagrant, a nobody raised from nothing by a wicked spirit to great infamy only to just as quickly be tossed aside- an expendable mortal shell for a being which had long lurked in the mountains. Many more hinted origins exist, but the outcome of the rise of Paunggkuu is always the same, with the mundane man-turned-warlock leading a cult of several hundred followers into a megalithic ruined city tucked away in the trees, where they began to prey on the surrounding countryside.
Village youths started to go missing, and over time, whole rural communities were stripped clean of inhabitants. Rippling outwards from the ruined city, the locals spoke in hushed whispers of a creeping death, a diabolical Nat or witch in the guise of a monster who haunted the spaces beneath raised houses and huts at night, and whose disgusting visage appeared to the locals in nightmare night after sleepless night. So great was the fear brought about by this shadowy plague of disappearances that the regional seat of power, the small city of Mogaung, was forced to take notice. Its kingly high priest, himself a vassal and ally of the powerful King Anawrahta in the south, sent men into the region to quell the disorder and bring those responsible to justice. When those men, too, had gone missing, an army of several hundred was raised, and when that had failed to report back, the priest sent desperate word to Pagan, petitioning the king for aid.
Anawrahta, occupied with other matters in the south, failed to answer with speed, but was spurred to action by a dark event sometime around the middle of 1057, when a nighttime raid on the outskirts of Mogaung itself drove the priest to flee south to the capital, where he took up exiled residence in Pagan with his suzerain. This attack, which was laid at the feet of bandits in official records, did not topple the city or level any temples, but its nature was so horrid that Anawrahta put a momentary halt to his campaigns of unification and consolidation to march north with more than five thousand men, riding upon a gold-girdled war elephant and leading the host in person.
The events which followed seem singularly terrible, and the narrative presented in the royal chronicles of Pagan of a bandit revolt quashed by the glorious armies of Anawrahta does little to explain why all but a thousand of the men sent into the jungle never came back. It does nothing to explain why local Kachin legend speaks of the mortified screams which echoed down from the hills being audible even now on certain moonlit nights, when the skies are right. Bandits, after all, couldn’t have spurred a burgeoning kingdom with more enemies than allies to spend half a year leveling an ancient stone city, and the rest of the century burying its name and history by burning books and sundering stone carvings.
The sun rose over the Maryland hills, and with it, I found myself reverberating with not only a new grasp of a strange land’s lore and legendry, but of my aims moving forward. Several contacts of my friend’s had agreed to come search for him and continue looking into the mounds of documentation he had compiled. While they got on the road and began their long drives, a Javanese associate who had led me on an extravagant tour of ancient fire-cults still in practice on the remoter regions of that island contacted a friend at my behest. This friend initiated a chain of further connections from friend to friend until I was speaking with a Burmese Buddhist monk-turned-animist wiseman, who knew of the rumored city in the north.
Though he dissuaded me from my stated aim of visiting the site in search of answers, he agreed to meet me in Yangon upon my arrival and place me in contact with locals of the northern Kachin province who could aid me in getting transport and supplies in so remote a region. I purchased my tickets that morning for a chain of flights leaving out of Washington D.C. that evening, and after leaving a scribbled note for my vanished friend in the off chance he resurface before his other companions arrived, I piled into my car without a wink of sleep to drive for the capital.
I cannot entirely give voice to the feelings which drove my movements throughout the day. Exhaustion did not catch up to me until well into the initial flight from Washington to Japan, and even then, sleep came in fitful bursts. I was too busy pouring over hastily-copied scraps of information left by my friend, staring holes in satellite images of northern Myanmar, and memorizing a few helpful words of the Burmese language to even consider how I felt. The whole of the scenario seemed like some great initial stage in an epic drama, and my worry at the sudden disappearance of a close friend and associate in the pursuit of strangeness had fast been molded together with an urge to see what he must’ve seen, and to feel whatever had spurred the paranoia he must’ve felt during those last, manic days in the closed front room.
It would be trite of me to proclaim now what a fool I was for being so blind, so eager to face the unknown. Moreover, it wouldn’t be entirely honest. Even now, as I prepare to do what must be done, I can recognize that what I found in Myanmar was exactly the sort of thing I had been searching for throughout the long and confused span of years that led me into the jungles of rural Kachin, and I can’t claim I regret taking the journey. I can only regret that my friend had to suffer what he did to show me the path, and that both he and I proved too fragile to tolerate the thing which followed us home.
I met with my contact after a lengthy but fitful sleep at the cheapest hotel I could book once landed and settled in Yangon. After another lengthy attempt to dissuade me from my course outside a tiny local café which featured florid stories about regional Kachin Independence Army rebels, he sketched out a travel itinerary which would take me first by bus, then by locally arranged jeep up precarious roads to the tiny settlement of Sumprabum, in the farthest northern reaches of the nation. The way was precarious at times, with the aged dirt roads never failing to buck and rock the buses this way and that on the precipices of the scrub-choked cliff faces they hugged. The locals, bundled in like canned fish with a painfully conspicuous foreigner among them, mostly rode in sleepy silence through nearly two days of travel, leaving me to wonder whether I was the only one worried by the idea of toppling over the edge. It wouldn’t do, after all, to come so close to the unknown only to die in a bus crash.
Worry proved pointless, however, and I ended up in a tiny, flea-ridden bunk in Sumprabum a couple days after setting out from Maryland, my eyes scanning the tree-shrouded hills through the mist from my perch on the porch of a catholic mission as they reluctantly allowed me some much-needed sleep. It would be the first real rest I’d had since prior to my fateful road trip-turned-world excursion began. It would later prove to be the final mundane, dreamless sleep I would ever experience, but in my exhausted anticipation, I didn’t take any time to savor it.
Awakening plucked and prodded by mosquitoes but otherwise feeling prepared for anything, I made my way to a modest logger’s house of sheet metal and crude timber, where I met my local guide. He was an older man still steely with a laborer’s wiry muscle who the entire gathering of homes called Saya, something close to teacher. With my night owl’s pale skin, my relatively impressive height and my profuse sweating at the unaccustomed humidity, I must’ve looked like some traveling alien jester to the village’s locals, and we’d soon gathered a sizable crowd of onlookers as we talked over the plan for the day’s hike. I would pay a small sum to his family for his aid and the food and water he would furnish me with for the night I wanted to spend in the ruins, and then he would lead me on foot about twenty miles to the northwest into the forest, over hills and through valleys, until we arrived at the place the local Kachin population had dubbed Pyethceehon.
The name was only ever spoken in wavering tones of disgust and fear, and the assigning of so alien a name, alongside my newfound proximity to the place my friend had been only a short while ago, filled me with nervous apprehension for the first time since my entry into his home back in the states. While that vestigial, reptile-brained warning of danger to come was enough to put me on edge, it came nowhere close to drowning out my higher aspirations towards intrigue and awe. To be so close to the unknown was an ecstasy I hadn’t found in all my years of searching, and I was not about to abandon that sensation now.
Saya set a firm pace up what initially were muddy and brutally-sloped logging roads through the hills. After several hours we branched off and forded into the sea of trees. The undergrowth and tree trunks combined into a morass which looked absolutely identical to my untrained eye for hour after hour, but by nothing more than his memory of the landscape and the feel of the hills beneath his flip-flop clad feet, Saya pressed through. He always seemed to know just the right place to squeeze through a looming wall of interwoven trees or a jam of fallen logs in a creek bed. Our entire trip was scored by his thickly-accented English telling story after story about the sizes of snakes that could be found here or the density of the ant hives choking the ground there, interspersed with assurances that I could turn back at any time with but a word to him if I lost my nerve. I responded and questioned him when I could, but I was winded and broken by the endless ascents and descents we made despite years of avid hiking back home, and my spaces between strained breaths were few and far between.
He told me of several disappearances of hunters and scouts for logging outfits in the area, but nothing had transpired near the ruins in recent memory. So dark was their reputation that throughout the militia-driven guerrilla warfare which had preceded my arrival for several years, not one camp or troop movement had been made around or through Pyethceehon, whether by loyalist or separatist forces. Saya was the only man in the area that had come close in the past five or six decades, and even he never dared go the final mile or two towards the old settlement in the trees.
The first visit was a childhood expedition in search of village chickens spooked into the jungle by a storm, which had ended in him accidentally stumbling across the stream which babbled downhill from the hilltop upon which Pyethceehon brooded. The second was to lead my friend to the stony banks of that very same stream.
On arriving, the brave man made me the same offer he’d made my friend, standing with his hands on his hips and offering to come with me into the ruins if I felt I needed him there. It was an offer made through a face haunted by the very syllables formed in making the offer, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask Saya along.
Thanking him for his kindness, I made certain of the time I was to meet him tomorrow and departed for the legend-haunted wreck atop the low mountain, with afternoon long having set in. Our pace had been slowed by my pondering progress, and I knew the few remaining hours of daylight would provide more than enough time for the savvy Saya to reach the logging roads and be well on his way to the village by nightfall. The prospect of a night alone on this unknown precipice only set in when thirty minutes of hiking up the creek bed had secured my isolation. I gripped the little revolver I’d been given to ward off tigers with a tight desperation I had never before experienced. All the while, my tired legs carried me that last mile into Pyethceehon.
I was more vibrant and alive in those terrified minutes than I had ever been before. I pity my friend, for having been the very first outsider in a century to visit the place had denied him the experience of knowing some specter of the danger that lurked there firsthand. While he must’ve felt the weight of the ruin’s reputation and atmosphere, only I knew the fate of a personal friend who had come before. It lit a fire in my stomach so intense I chewed the interior of my cheek raw in jittery anticipation of reaching the summit, my wavering legs finding new strength as my destination neared.
During my hurried in-flight preparations for this moment, I had scoured pictures, satellite images and documentary footage of great Burmese temple and stupa sites like Bagan, wanting to be accustomed to the kind of structures I might find upon arrival. I had expected crumbling but mighty dome-and-spire edifices like those, but what I found was altogether alien. The structures of Pyethceehon were much more like the small, tightly-packed, cone-roofed structures of lesser-known Nyaung Ohak far to the south.
Its avenues were only a few feet wide, choked between hundreds of huddled monuments and teeming with hungry plant growth, the few untoppled stone peaks reaching no further than fifteen or twenty feet into the branch-strangled sky. Many of them leaned, their bases sinking into the stone of the ground as the passing of ten centuries remolded the very Earth beneath their feet. It was the material, though, that shocked me so, making me think I had wandered into some mighty forest of vine-blackened prehistoric teeth as I crested the hill and stumbled into that outpost of blasphemy.
The stone was not the reddish-brown of most of the nation’s monuments, nor the sandy, water-aged brown of monuments elsewhere in the near and far east. It was not the marble of rich classical sculpture or the placid limestone grey of contemplative new-world step pyramids and old-world castles. Rather, it was the shiny and rippling surface of masterfully-shaped obsidian, their rain-polished surfaces staring back in rank after rank at me through the scrub- looking for all the world like massive, teeming ant mounds.
The play of the sun through the canopy above off the slightly uneven surfaces even lent them the illusion of motion, as of water bubbling in rapids over a bank of piled stones, or, perhaps more appropriately, of millions of chitinous ant bodies amassing to repel an intruder. Their mostly conical spires were shingled with tiny interlocking plates of jade, weathered by centuries until it was almost muted, looking grey against the greens of the jungle.
I lingered there on the precipice for a long while, telling myself I needed to catch my breath, but knowing with every second I spent looking into the distance down those accursed rows that it was something much less explicable that kept my body frozen among the warm trees. It is only now, removed from the stress and excitement of the scene, that I can guess at what unspoken and unrecognized force halted my progress. Though I might not have been able to give voice to why at the time, I knew deep down that the conditions for obsidian to exist at all were not right here.
Obsidian was not among the pantheon of materials found in the jewelry, weapons or art of Southeast Asia, and that was because the nearest region with the right kind of volcanic activity to generate the substance at all lay thousands of miles away across the south china sea, on the island of Papua. I remember vividly having it pointed out as a commodity unique to the isle in my travels through Indonesia years before. What on Earth the glistening void-dark rock was doing in Myanmar remains far beyond me, but the grooved and layered construction of it, along with the faintly rough and uneven breaks in the glass-like surfaces where it had been so carefully shaped, told me it could be nothing else.
When at last my legs were moving beneath me again, I found winding my way through the obsidian forest testing at every moment my resolution to be there. Each stupa was littered with carvings, almost all of them pictographic, and almost all of these featuring the crouching forms of spiders. The largest, however, dotted every ten or twelve structures along the overgrown path I had chosen to follow, held another, more tantalizingly sinister image.
The first time I passed one of these carvings, I kept moving, my mind rushing to place why I recoiled on such an instinctive level from those particular figures amidst a legion of equally disturbing sights and sensations. Upon reaching a second rendition of the image, though, I opened my pack and flipped through my friend’s notebooks, desperate to confirm my suspicions. It didn’t take long to find his own rendition of the image, half-remembered in my nervous state, scrawled on the back cover of a cheap, weathered notebook.
The thing was a gaunt, thin, gangly creature, reminiscent of a man, but twisted and bent nearly beyond recognition. Its legs looked almost stick-like, ending in pointed barbs, and its torso sprouted three pairs of arms, evoking the image of sword-wielding Hindu gods. The arms sported one more joint than the single natural elbow showed by human beings, and each pair of them was held high in an awkward, exaggerated shrug- like a father aping a silent film-era monster to spook his children. This gave me the initial, erroneous impression that the many arms were the skeletal structure of unfurled wings. Each came to a blade-like point, just like the feet, with each lower pair slightly shorter than the last. The head -or what should have been a head- was by far the worst of it, though, and to think of it now in light of what I know makes me wonder beyond wonder that I stayed in that ruin at all.
Where a head should be, there was merely an aperture at the top of the torso, a large fang-lined mouth that ran like a zipper from where the back of a neck would’ve been to where the sternum should begin. Around it, unfurled and given the illusion of squirming motion by both the impromptu sketch artist and the ancient sculptors, were multiple layers of the sort of stunted forelegs that flank a tarantula’s mouth.
With the afternoon wearing on, I slowly pieced the shattered remnants of my aesthete’s zeal for the unusual back together. Wandering familiarized me with the two square miles or so that constituted the remnants of this little graveyard of forbidden worship, the knowledge I gained of its layout fortifying me with a sense of distant belonging I knew full well would disappear as soon as the sun sank beneath the horizon. Radiating inward like the strands of a great web, the avenues of the place all lead to a single center point where some massive temple or palace complex had once stood. It was here that I began to set up a modest little camp to wait out the night, piling what scant dry firewood I found and clearing undergrowth so that any insects or snakes would be scared out and away from my position.
The old temple was nothing save a foundation long sunk into the murky earth, its bottom littered with mud and stone from the superstructure, leaving only stalagmite-like fragments of its black obsidian walls to poke outward from the debris. It was in the protective shadow of one of these that I settled down, piling several more natural stones as a makeshift seat only after I ensured that none of the images of the damnable spider-thing were in view of my perch.
The final couple hours before nightfall felt like minutes, for time flew past with a speed only dread can create. I reflected, as I sat waiting for the proper moment to begin burning my small reserve of firewood, that there had been little in the way of totems or objects in the ruins. Most of the buildings had been stupas, too small to inhabit or enter, and the temple behind me had long ago been toppled in Pagan’s raid upon the despised cult. The sculptures, really the only testament to the past nature of this place, were repetitive, mimicking in stonework the kind of mantra repetitions witnessed in Buddhist or animist ceremonies.
I flipped through my catalogue of hastily-acquired knowledge, often referencing my friend’s notes and the books to which he’d clung, trying to recall anything which might help me retrace his steps in this dark corner of the Earth. I found none, for his notes said nothing of his actual expedition, and the treatments of this place in text and legend were so frightful and vague that there was little to work from. There were no signs of my friend in the avenues of shadowy Pyethceehon, just as there were no signs of the day-to-day lives of its ancient residents. The jungle had swallowed this vile place, and in another millennia, there would likely be nothing left to visit here.
Beyond the lack of information on my missing friend, I found my motivation consumed as the sunset got underway by an exhaustion which was entirely unlike me. Thoroughly unnerved and in a place unfamiliar to me, I should’ve been wide awake, ready to weather an entire night of vigilant, guarded listening over my fire. Instead, as the sky’s oranges darkened the shadows of the surrounding trees and scrub, turning the ranked stupas into ominous silhouettes which seemed to creep towards me through the encroaching trees, my usual explorer’s thrill at the unknown was extinguished. Each blink came as a labored exertion while I breathed life into the little woodpile before me.
Exacerbating this, I became aware of an impenetrable quiet hanging over the thinned mountaintop clearing in which Pyethceehon had brooded all these centuries. It was as if the very mosquitoes in the air knew not to disturb the slumber of such an ill-fated and ill-tempered beast as this.
I was in for a tense night.
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2020.08.31 17:16 skdwsk Chance me guys !! Thank you for your help

Hi guys my name is Shreyas and i am in the 12th grade. I am an international student from India and I am studying in an IB school.My preferred countries are UK,USA, Canada and my preferred major is undecided engineering but not comp. What are my chances of getting into:
In the UK: Cambridge,Imperial,Oxford,LSC
In Canada: UBC, Toronto, Waterloo, Mcgill
In the USA: UC Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, Brown, USC, NYU, Cornell
My grades:
10th Final: 8 A* and 2 A (IGCSE)
11th Final: 39/42 (IB)
12th Final: Not yet done
Sat: 1520
Subject SAT: Not able to take due to COVID
AP: I did one AP in 9th just for fun. I got 4/5 in AP Physics
EC's
4 internships since 9th grade in small to medium companies. All finance and business related.
1 research in 11th grade- Physics research for 6 months plus at a prestigious uni with a college professor.
1 patent: Filed for a patent a week ago along with 2 other professors. The patent is related to the ornithopter in drones.
1 App: A senior citizens friendly app I made in 11th
Fundraising: Raised over 1000 dollars to fund the cataract surgeries of underprivileged in 11th grade.
Duke of Edinburgh Award: Silver and completing Gold right now
NGO: Been doing social service in a govt school since 9th grade. (Teaching and assisting)
Purpose Gaming: An organization I started which has raised over 3000 dollars usd till date using the platform of online gaming tournaments.
Checkmate: Another organization where I spread the love for chess and raise money to fund the education of underprivileged children. Raised little over 1000 dollars till now.
Guitar: Finished grade 6 acoustic guitar from LCME. Currently doing 7
Research Paper: working on a research paper in physics right now along with a few professors.

Thanks guysss!!
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2020.08.19 02:17 ArthurDrakoni Review: The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

This review was first published on my blog, but I am reprinting it here per the subreddit rules.
2019 was a year where I got to experience a lot of alternate history books in audio form for the first time. It was also, like 2018 before it, a year where I finally got around to listening to several alternate history I'd been meaning to get around to. Case in point, the book we'll be reviewing today. We're taking a look at the classic alternate history novel The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson .
The Years of Rice and Salt takes places in a world where the Black Death killed ninety-nine percent of Europe's population. The story follows six or seven individuals, though three in particular, as they are reincarnated over the ages. Robinson makes it easy by having their names start with the same letter. The main characters we follow having names starting in K, B, and I. Secondary characters have names with Z, P, and S. The novel spans hundreds of years of history, and spans numerous nations, giving it a truly global feel to it.
The novel is divided into ten segments of varying lengths, and I will discuss each of them individually. For now, I will give some overall thoughts. I'd been putting off listening to this one, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. I absolutely loved this book. I loved its vast global scope, and how it features nations and cultures you don't often see in alternate history. I also loved the use of reincarnation as a plot device. It was certainly an interesting twist I haven't really seen in too many other alternate history novels. The story uses the Islamic Hegira Calendar for dates. The Islamic year 1 being when Mohammad felid Mecca for Medina in 622 AD. However, I've rendered the dates in the Gregorian Calendar for convenience sake. There's a ton of historical and cultural references throughout the novel. You don't necessarily have to catch them to enjoy the novel, but it adds to the experience. Thankfully, the Kim Stanley Robinson website has this handy reading guide that catalogs and explains them all.
Well, enough of all that, lets dive in.
Our first segment is titled "Awake into Emptiness." It takes place from 1381-1424. It follows a Mongol warrior named Bold who is serving in the army of Timur. Timur has sent Bold to scout ahead into the Hungarian Basin. Bold find a land almost totally devoid of humans. Bold travels through the depopulated Balkans until he is captured and sold into slavery by Arab slavers. During his time aboard a slave ship he meets an African slave named Kyu. As the ship makes its way to China, Kyu and Bold discover that their lives are destined to be intertwined.
This segment sets things up for the rest of the novel. The descriptions of the depopulated Europe were evocative and haunting. There are multiple mentions of cathedrals being only partially built because everyone died in the middle of construction. Medieval cathedrals took decades, if not centuries, to be fully constructed. Often, those who began work on the cathedrals would do so knowing that they would not live to see them completed.
There's a particularly sad scene where Bold encounters the sole European in all of his travels. The man can't speak any of the languages Bold know, but he gets his point across with gestures. He was just a fisherman, and was out fishing when the plague hit. He came back to find everyone, including his wife and children, dead. Now he's all alone, and due to the language barrier, Bold isn't much company. They share food and camp together, but the very next day the man is gone. His footsteps lead to the riverbank, which strongly suggests he might have committed suicide out of despair. What would it be like, I wonder, to be like the lone European? What thoughts would go through one’s head as the sole survive of a once prosperous village? To know that you might be alone forever? Chilling stuff indeed.
Bold and Kyu eventually get sold to the admiral Zhang He. He was the commander of the Ming Dynasty's fleet of treasure ships. They were massive ships that traveled everywhere from the South China Sea, to India, and even East Africa. The goal was to proclaim China's power and influence to the world, and to collect tribute. Zhang He is a staple in alternate histories about China colonizing the New World. Ironically, that doesn't happen in this book til after Zhang He. We'll talk more about that in a bit. We also get a frighteningly detailed explain of how eunuchs, of which Zhang He was one, are made.
Another significant aspect of "Awake into Emptiness" is how it sets up the character meeting in the Bardo at the end of each segment. The Bardo is an afterlife of sorts in Tibetan Buddhism. It is where souls go as they wait to be judged and then reborn. I should probably go over the difference between reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindu reincarnation is like water being passed from one cup to another; your outside changes, but the essence of who you are stays the same. Buddhist reincarnation is more like one candle passing its flame to another; there is a deep connection between you and your reincarnations, but they are ultimately different people. Tibetan Buddhism differs in that it is a bit more like the Hindu view of reincarnation.
The character we meet in The Years of Rice and Salt were part of a Jati in Tibet that got killed in an avalanche. A Jati is type of village or community; sometimes it can also mean clan or group of that nature. Throughout the book the Jati constantly find each other, often without meaning too, across their reincarnations. East Asian cultures, and other Asian cultures to an extent, place emphasis on finding your place within the web of other's lives. The part of this section that muse about the nature of reincarnation and Buddhism have an almost poetic quality to them. There's also some parts that end with "but if you want to know what happens next, read the next part." This is a nod to the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
The second segment is titled "The Haj in the Heart." The bulk is set in the 1560. It begins in India with two sisters named Kokila and Bihari. Life is mostly good, and they get married. Then Bihari dies in childbirth, and Kokila poisons their husbands, for which she is executed. Kokila is then reincarnated as a tiger named Kya, who is also killed, but not before she saves a wandering Sufi mystic named Bistami. While on a Hadj to Mecca, Bistami hears of a caravan in North Africa heading to the depopulated land of Al-Andalus. The caravan is led by the charismatic sultan Mawji Darya, and his beautiful wife Katima. Bistami finds himself drawn to Katima, almost as though he knows her from somewhere.
This is the only time, barring the last segment, our characters get reincarnated multiple times in one segment. Bistami at one point finds himself in the court of Emperor Akbar. He was a real ruler of the Mughal Empire. It was an off-shoot of the Mongol Empire established by Central Asian Mongols who settled in Northern India. Akbar was a Muslim, but promoted religious tolerance and understanding. He often held meetings with representatives of the different religions within his empire. Unfortunately, subsequent Mughal rulers didn't share his open-mindedness.
I previously mentioned the poetic nature of this book, and it's true in this segment as well. There is a particularly great scene where Bistami visits the tomb of a great Sufi mystic. He undergoes a religious experience and has visions, including of his past lives. The poetic nature, combined with the musings on the nature of reality, reminds me of The Man in the High Castle, another of my favorite alternate history novels. I should probably talk about Sufism. Sufism is a type of Islamic mysticism. They tend to be a bit more peaceful and less politically inclined than Sunni and Shia Islam. Most Sunnis and Shias, the two main branches of Islam, do not like Sufis very much, and don't consider them real Muslims. If you've ever heard of the Whirling Dervishes, those are Sufis. The Medieval Iranian poet Rumi is another famous Sufi.
It does make sense that the Beber, or Amazigh, as they call themselves, were first to resettle Europe. Towards the end of its history Al-Andalus was ruled by several BebeAmazigh dynasties such as the Almoravids and Almohads. I also liked that the alternate Black Death hit all of Europe, not just the Christian bits. Al-Andalus, and the Muslim settlements in the Balkans, were just as depopulated as the rest of Europe. It made it feel a bit more realistic. Granted, having ninety-nine percent of Europe be whipped out wasn't that realistic, but it is a thing I'm willing to accept for the premise of the novel. Amusingly, even the characters discuss how odd it is that Europe was totally whipped out.
Katima and her caravan are shown to be more open-minded and liberal than most Muslims. This is partially because they follow Sufism, but also because they are Berber. Traditionally, most Berber women have not worn the hijab, and woman have play major roles in Berber life. The caravan eventually moves further north and founds a settlement at the former site of Bayonne, France. They name their settlement Baraka. Katima's husband dies, but there's no precedent for women ruling on their own in Islam. In fact, the Hadith even forbids it.
Thus, Bistami and Katima declare that those Hadith's don't matter and forge their own. Granted, there's some precedence to this. Muslims believe that the Hadith is less authoritative than the Koran, but still important. Several Muslim women, in places such as West Africa and America, choose to ignore the Hadith to justify not wearing the hijab. The closest the Koran comes is saying that women must cover their breasts. Throughout the book there is a theme of trying to reconcile Islam with women's rights, and secular liberalism in general. The Sufis, and those like them, are trying to establish a light in the darkness, but these lights can easily be snuffed out. Case in point, more conservative Muslims from Al-Andalus come to overthrow Katima, forcing everyone to flee further north to Nantes. They name this new settlement Nsara.
Interestingly, when everyone arrives in the Bardo they perceive it as being similar to the Islamic afterlife. Does the Bardo appear different to everyone? They do seem to realize that it isn't the Islamic afterlife, and do start to remember their past lives before getting reincarnated. We'll talk more about all that in just a minute.
The third segment is titled "Ocean Continents." It takes place in the 1620s. Japan has been a thorn in China's side for centuries. The emperor orders a huge fleet of ships to conquer the island nation. However, a few ships get blown across the Pacific and discover two previously unknown continents. The section follows the crew as they explore this brave new world.
This is the part where China finally discovers the Americas. Overall, I did enjoy this segment, but the novel does show its age in places. When the Chinese first arrive, they meet the Miwok people of Northern California. The Miwok are overall portrayed well, even if it occasionally dips into "paint with all the colors of the wind" territory. The narration mentions how the natives barely use the land, and how everything is pristine. We now know that Native Americans played a big role in cultivating land, and played a major role in shaping North America's ecosystem. They just did so in a way that wasn't always recognizable to the Europeans. In fairness a lot of this scholarship has only come on in the last decade or so. Robinson wouldn't have had access to it.
The bigger issue is when the Chinese arrive in the Aztec Empire. At first, it looked like we might get a nuanced look at the Aztecs. They performed human sacrifice, but they did so because they believed it was necessary to thank the gods for giving them the world. Those chosen as sacrifices lives like kings in the year leading up to the sacrifice. They were also one of the few societies to give mandatory education for both men and women. I was hoping we'd see all this, but Robinson fell onto the lazy stereotype of the Aztecs as bloodthirsty barbarians. It got even worse when one of the Chinese fired a gun, and the Aztecs ran around like chickens with their heads chopped off. There is a reference to something this is claimed to have happened when Pizarro conquered the Inca. The problem being that there is no historical evidence that the Inca trampled each other to death when Pizarro fired his gun. It is likely a fabrication by post-conquest chroniclers.
Anyway, when we get to the Bardo we see that it is falling under the sway of the Chinese celestial bureaucracy. Does that mean Chinese Mythology is real too? Overall, not a terrible segment, but could have been better.
The fourth segment is titled "The Alchemist." It takes place in the Khanate of Samarkand in the 1640s. It follows three alchemists named Bahram, Khalid, and Iwang. The start off performing experiments to turn lead into gold. However, they soon start making discoveries that will overturn all pervious knowledge. The age of alchemy is over, and the age of science has begun.
I've always loved the history of science, so this segment was pretty fun for me. The characters make discoveries in all sorts of fields, but the Khan is only interested in military applications. There's a particularly amusing scene where Khalid complains about Sufis being a inch of hippies with their heads in the clouds. He's blissfully unaware that he was a Sufi in a past life. Another scene mentions that Armenia is a Muslim nation. That's particularly odd given that pervious segments mentioned them, along with Georgia and Ethiopia, as one of the few Christian nations that avoid the plague. There's also mention of small communities of Christians in Egypt and the Maghreb. The characters do speculate that the Armenians might be faking it to get better trade deals, but it is still odd. Samarkand in our world had some very famous universities, with some very impressive mosaics. All in all, another great segment.
The fifth segment is called "The Warp and the Weft." It takes place in North America and follows a ronin named Busho, but his friends know him as Fromwest. He is severing as a guest to the Haudenosaunee people, and tells of how his homeland was invaded by China. Busho must convince the Haudenosaunee, and the scattered tribes to North America, to unite and modernize so they can resist colonization from the Chinese and Muslims.
Overall, I thought that Robinson did a much better with his depiction of the Native Americans here. The Haudenosaunee people are more commonly known as the Iroquois. They are nation originally made of the five tribes: the Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oneida. In 1722 they welcomed the Tuscarora tribe to the nation. Interestingly, this segment mentions that the Haudenosaunee have expanded to nine tribes. Just who are these additional tribes? The Native Americans were exposed more gradually to Old World diseases than in our world. They've had more time to recover their population. This does give them more of fighting chance than the Native Americans did in our world. Still I can't help but feel that the fate is the Haudenosaunee is just a tad optimistic. Granted, they've got Busho to help them.
Perhaps it is optimistic, but I'm willing to take it. I've always wished alternate history featured the Native Americans more. I've also been fascinated at the idea of Native Americans successfully resisting colonialism. From what we hear, the Chinese invasion of Japan was incredibly harsh. There was no divine wind to save the Japanese this time. Busho wonders if the gods were made because of the Muslim missionaries in Nagasaki. It's a sly joke, because around the same time in our world, Christian missionaries were in Nagasaki. In fact, Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the two biggest Christian settlements in Japan. I wonder if the souls that would have been those missionaries got reincarnated as Muslims?
The Bardo segment is also interesting. The Jati try to resist drinking the elixir of forgetfulness to try to retain the memories in their next lives, and find each other.
The sixth segment is titled "Widow Kang." It takes place in South China in the 18th century. The widow Kang Tongbi has been plagued by strange dreams and strange happenings. She speaks in strange foreign languages, and finds herself draw to the Buddhist monk Bao Ssu and the Muslim scholar Ibrahim ibn Hasam al-Lanzhou. It's almost as though she knows them from somewhere before.
The parallelism was very strong in this story. At times it almost felt more like straight-up historical fiction rather than alternate history. The Machu overthrew the Ming Dynasty, thus establishing the Qing Dynasty, just as in our world. There's also a hysteria over supposed queue cutting, just as in our world. Queues are long braided ponytails the Manchu pushed upon the Han Chinese. The Han weren't required to adopt Manchu clothing and hairstyles, but the Manchu put indirect pressure on them to do so. There were also numerous instances of anti-Muslim persecution carried out during the Qing Dynasty. Yeah, if the goal of the novel was to speculate about a world without Europe, this was not one of its better moments.
Now, I must be fair here. Robinson utilizes a more leftist view of history that emphasizes intangible forces of history over individual choice. Additionally, there the wrinkle of people being reincarnated. Reincarnation might account for why this world had a Renaissance so similar to our world. Presumably, the Europeans got reincarnated too. Perhaps the Manchu were destined to overthrow the Ming Dynasty. It's interesting to speculate, but let's get back to the story.
Kang eventually marries Ibrahim after he helps her with some hypnosis exercises. They work together on try to find a way to reconcile Islam with Buddhism, and Chinese culture in general. There one scene where Kang disparages Islam for the way Muslim women are treated. Ibrahim point that Chinese women don't have it much better. Kang concedes that women have it pretty bad all the world over. Kang also takes to collecting poems and mantras. Her favorite? It has to do with rice and salt. There's also an amusing scene where, when discussing the possibility of past lives, Kang insists that she's always been Chinese. By this point, we know she's also been African, Berber, Muslim, Indian, Iroquois, and even a tiger.
It seems that Ibrahim, a few other Muslims, believe in reincarnation. In our world, there are some Muslims who believe this, but they are fringe groups, and don't represent mainstream Islamic thought. Granted, with the changes to history, maybe their beliefs became mainstream. I just loved Kang and Ibrahim's constant back-and-forth. They argue, but they also clearly care about each other. We also hear that many Sufi settlements have gotten crushed by Wahhabis. They're a brand of ultra-conservative Islam; Saudi Arabia is run by them. Sadly, this isn't too dissimilar to what happened in our world. Attempts to reform Islam pretty much always ended badly.
Our seventh segment is titled "The Great Age of Progress." It takes place from 1829-1864. The Ottoman Empire has long thought of itself as invincible. That all changes when they get into a war with the League of Travancore; an alliance of states in India. Travancore is a land of mechanical wonders and scientific advancement. The segment follows an Ottoman doctor named Ismail as he is taken to Travancore to experience these wonders firsthand.
Well, this certainly made up for the parallelism of the last segment. I love seeing industrial revolution alternate histories in non-Western nations. I also like that Travancore is an alliance of Indian states rather than a single nation. India is just as ethnically and culturally diverse as Europe, after all. The scene where Travancore invades Konstantiniyye is an ironic echo of the Ottoman's sack of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Of course, this time the Ottomans are in the role of the Byzantines. Wouldn't it be ironic if they were the Byzantines reincarnated? We also see that the Haudenosaunee League is an ally of Travancore, and are doing quite well for themselves. Several Buddhist monasteries have also become centers of science and learning. Buddhism originated in India, but faded away due to the actions of Brahmins, that is, Hindu priests. They knew they had to try to discredit Buddhism, or they'd be standing in the unemployment line. It is fitting that Buddhism has returned to the place of its birth here.
We also find out that some European survived in the Orkney, Shetland, and Faroe Islands. A few also managed to survive in England. Unfortunately, the Ottomans prized these surviving English for their exotic beauty. The Ottomans made a point of keeping the English members of their harams ethnically pure. Eventually, this resulted in some pretty nasty inbreeding. Yeah, those poor English would have been better off if the plague had taken their ancestors.
We skip ahead a bit where Ismail is serving as Tranvancore's ambassador to Yingzhou. It's China's colony on the west coast of North America. We discover that the Japanese people and culture have survived in spite of China's efforts to whip them out. There's even a strong underground resistance movement brewing in Yingzhou. There's mention of flood occurring in California, and interestingly enough, there was indeed a flood in California around the time this segment is set.
The eight segment is titled "War of the Asuras." It is set in the 1950s. Tension between China and Dar-Al-Islam have been brewing for years. Now they've finally boiled over into an all-out war. In time, this war will be known as the Long War. The segment follows three Chinese solders named Bai, Kuo, and Iwa.
This segment was maybe not my favorite, but all the same, not terrible. The Long War can best be described as World War I leading directly into World War II with no break in-between. The Long War lasted sixty-seven years in total. The war is so intense that our character beginning to lose their grasp on reality. Also, apparently the Muslims blew-up the top of Mount Everest so that K2, a mountain in Afghanistan, would be the tallest mountain in the world. There was no real point to this, and it probably didn't affect Chinese moral very much. It probably also wasted time and resources for the Muslims, and seemed more petty than anything. On a brighter note, Japan has used the chaos of the war to regain their independence.
The ninth segment is titled "Nsara." It takes place from 1999-2002. Budur Radwan is a young woman living in the United Alpine Emirates. She longs to be free and independent like her aunt Idelba, who works as a physicist in Nsara. Budur decides to seek on a train bound for the great Sufi city. She finds Nsara to be a land of wonders, and is drawn to the study of history and archeology by one of the city's madrasahs. Life is good, but the effects of the Long War still linger. How long can this temporary peace truly last?
This segment gets fairly metafictional as Budur and her classmates discuss the nature of history. They even speculate on how things might have gone had history turned out differently. One of the class's first projects is considering women's role in history, particularly as it relates to Islam. Their professor Kirana Fawwaz is convinced that it is possible to reconcile Islam with feminism if you throw out the Hadith. She even claims Mohammad was a feminist. Yeah...she must be using a different translation of the Koran, because everything I've read of the Koran paints a rather unflattering picture of the prophet. Feminist is...not a word I'd use to describe him. For example, he once ordered a village of Jews to be put to death for refusing to convert to Islam. Then there's the whole marrying an underage girl and consummating the marriage with her thing. There's a little old lady in the class who says that religion has brought nothing but suffering to people, especially women, and should be done away with. Well, I guess I know what happened to the soul that would have become me.
As someone with a history degree, I can attest that many of the conversations Budur and her classmates have are quite accurate. There would certainly be even more archeological sites in Europe than there already ate in our world. We even get to briefly see some surviving Native Europeans in the Orkney, Shetland and Faroe Islands. They're under the watchful eye of the Haudenosaunee. So we've got Native Americans overseeing what is, essentially, a European reservation. Oh how the tables have turned. One of Budur's friends is named Tristan, and he makes music based on that of Medieval Europe. Strange that more isn't made of his status as one of the only ethnic Europeans we meet. Unless his name isn't really Tristan, and he's the Years of Rice and Salt version of a weeaboo, but with European culture rather than Japanese.
I probably should have mentioned before that the Muslims renamed Europe as Firanja. Well, the Middle Eastern and North African ones did. The Central Asian one's call it Firanjistan. Most of Western Firanja speaks a language that, while similar to Arabic and Berber, is unique to Firanja. Though Skandistan speaks a separate language related to the Turkic languages of Central Asia. Firanja was placed under heavy reparations following the Long War. The terms also forced them to allow Buddhist monasteries to be established in their cities. I guess it makes a sort of sense that Muslim madrasahs and Buddhist monasteries became centers of learning. In our world, many universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, started off as places to train/educate Christian clergy.
Budur travels to a science conference in Iran to help deliver a message to her aunt's colleges. Specifically, about the potential to split an atom, and create new bombs. This is presented as something that the world must not know of, but I'm not sure about that. Mutually Assured Destruction, and thus deterrence, could have saved quite a few lives during the Long War. From what we hear, it got so bad that women and children got drafted. On the other hand, Dar-Al-Islam does seem just crazy enough to push the button. Don't forget what they did to Mount Everest. On a happier note, we do see that the Buddhist monasteries are making bricks to rebuild the summit of Mount Everest.
Budur also attends an archeology conference. One of the presentations is of a village in Tibet that got caught in an avalanche. It is the very village the sent the Jati on their journey across the ages. I also liked how the Middle East is called the Middle West, as a nod to how Sinocentric this world is. There's mention of scientists wanting to create a new calendar, with the date of their meeting being year one. Something similar happened in our world, but the Apollo 11 mission was used as the year one.
Post-war Firanja bares more than a passing resemblance to Germany during the Weimar Republic. It is mentioned that the Sultanate of Rum has experienced particularly bad hyperinflation. As the segment progresses, there's increasing political turmoil, and many radicals begin to blame mi routines such as Christians, Jews, and Armenians for Firanja losing the Long War. There's mention here, and in several other segments of a people called Zotts. Apparently, that's the Arabic word for Gypsies/Romani. With all the political chaos brewing, it's a good thing the Haudenosaunee keep a military presence in Firanja.
It would seem the Sufis' efforts weren't in vain after all. Nsara appears to be a liberal modern city. And yet it is also mentioned that several parts of Firanja, such as the United Alpine Emirates and Skandistan, are rather conservative. It goes back to the theme of trying to reconcile Islam with liberalism, pluralism, and multiculturalism. Quite forward thinking for a book published in 2002. Personally, I'm not sure it's really possible. Of course, I'm not sure any religion can truly be reformed. Better to discard them and find our truths and meanings in something more solid and rational.
Our final segment is titled "First Years." It takes place from 2030-2088. The segment follows a Chinese man named Bao Xinhua throughout his life. He participates in a democratic-ish/socialist-ish movement lead by the Chinese-Japanese philosopher Zhu Isao. We then follow him as he is assigned to a diplomatic post in Burma, gets married, and then moves to Yingzhou and becomes a history teacher.
I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but I promise this is a good segment. It appears that, despite winning the Long War, China wasn't much better off than Firanja. Of course, it was less than China won and more that Dar-Al-Islam lost. It might seem a little odd that the book doesn't really give as much attention to the social revolution China experienced, but it makes a sort of sense. The wheel symbol is very important in Buddhism and religions like it. It symbolizes reincarnation, rebirth, and the cycle of ages. As you get closer to the center, the arc of the wheel gets smaller. So there's that, or perhaps Kim Stanley Robinson felt that, much like this review, the book had gone on for long enough and it was time to wrap things up. The revolution has aspects of socialist movements, but the philosophy behind it is very much a product of the world of The Years of Rice and Salt.
The real winners of the Long War seem to be the Travancore and Haudenosaunee leagues. Though there were times where the characters referenced Yingzhou as though it comprised all of North America. From what I've gathered, Yingzhou seems to refer to China's colonies in America, and North America as a whole. Sort of like how America can mean either the Untied States, or the Americas as a whole. Similarly, Inka seems to be South America as a whole, and the Inka Empire. Anyway, there certainly does appear to be a growing sense of multiculturalism, pluralism, and international cooperation. All things that are founding principles of Travancore and the Haudenosaunee. In general, though not completely without flaws, the world does seem to have become a more peaceful place. There's also reference to a United Nations analogue called the League of All Nations.
Based on what we've seen both here and in the previous segment, it seems that this world is less technologically advanced than ours. Airships are the primary civilian aircraft, and there doesn't seem to be much mention of any nation having a space program. There's also not really any mention of television, movies, or computers. Granted, maybe the characters we follow don't watch much TV, or go to the movies very often. Still, the lack of computers and the Internet is pretty notable. It also a shame that, throughout the book, we never really get to see what sub-Saharan Africa is like. How did they evolve in a world without European colonialism?
It's mentioned that places, such as much of Firanja and Inka, still suffer from widespread poverty, but on the flip side, much of the world has improved quality of life. In the last segments we did see some Inka in Firanja, so it does seem that they and their culture have survived. There's certainly a sense of cautious optimism for the future throughout the world. Bao himself finds a sense of community and belonging in Yingzhou. His housing complex is much like a modern-day village. He and his fellow Jati members might not have achieved Nirvana, but they did pretty well for themselves. It kind of reminds me of the ending of Candide. Despite all of the hardships, the Jati made it out alive, and are happily tending to their garden, literally and metaphorically. Well, everyone but the K character. Of course, Bao does find himself with a new student named Kali towards the end of the book. Perhaps she'll come around in time.
I'd say, overall, the world of The Years of Rice and Salt isn't necessarily better or worse than ours, but it is very different. And so, at least for now, the journey of the Jati is at an end. Well, I think at this point it is pretty obvious that I loved this book. I also loved the audiobook adaptation narrated by Bronson Pinchot.
This was truly epic alternate history. It spanned, continents, cultures, centuries, and lifetimes. It shinned a light on cultures and peoples you don't often see in alternate history. It was an amazing journey, and I'm glad I was along for the ride. I'm glad I finally got around to listening to this book. I can't recommend this book enough. Check it out today, you'll be glad that you did.
Link to the original review on my blog, though you won’t find anything you didn’t find here: http://drakoniandgriffalco.blogspot.com/2020/01/book-review-years-of-rice-and-salt-by.html?m=1
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2020.08.18 04:08 jameswatt_tst What a load of crap life is.

168 hours in a week 56 hours sleep (rarely) – 112 h left 50 hours work – 62 h left 16 hours breakfast, lunches and dinners – 46 h left 7 hours personal hygiene – 39 h left 7 hours leisure (crashing into bed just to stop looking at a screen) – 32 h left 2 hours groceries shopping – 30 h left 8 hours gym – 22 h left 2 hours cleaning – 20 h left 7 hours commuting – 13 h left 6 hours upskilling (I work in programming I need to know a million programming languages and frameworks . Grossly less than I should here) – 7 h left 2 hours archery – 5 h left 1 hour unpredicted – 4 h left
I have 4 hours left to see my friends and meet a potential partner.
Let's keep going ...
I'm 27 . Moved to a different country when I was 19 to study. I couldn't afford going to a top uni (Oxford Cambridge) so I ended up going to a shittier uni. Worked my ass during uni and lived in absolute poverty. couldn't afford going out, couldn't afford travelling ... I was spending 12 GBP per week on food. shitty food. After 3 years managed to graduate with a first (yeeei .. not really). Started my masters at uni of glasgow ... Same life for another year. Got a distinction (yeeei ... Not really). Got a job which I had for the past 3 years as a "data engineer for a high frequency trading team" ... Woow. You'd expect I earn a lot of money. And yea. For my age I do earn quite a bit (but quite a bit in London is dog shit). I still live like a student (no travelling, no fancy anything) I save most of my money and I trade and invest money (I graduated in finance and investment). For 3 years I've done so and I can't even afford a deposit. I can't afford a car ...anything. I also work in a job where my skills are not transferable and I feel like the amount I earn now ... Won't change much in the next 10 years. So I'm stuck in a job, without prospects of promotion, without prospects of increasing salary. getting rich from where I am ... No chance. Getting promoted ... No chance. Ok. Ok. Let's focus on something else. If I can't make any progress professionally maybe .. maybe I can hit some milestones in other areas of my life. Love life . Well ... I work in programming. So the few women around me are basically men with long hair. Maybe ... Maybe in my group of friends ? Well I move quite a lot so my group of friends are mostly people from work ... Men." Ok ok dude. How about archery ... There sure are some women there? " ... Nope. Men. "Gym maybe? " Yeah... men .. or coupled women. "Ok. Online dating then it is" ... Now ... I'm 5.9 so most women consider me a dwarf. also, I'm in a big city so there are a loooott of hot rich guys around and turns out women on dating apps don't really care about finding "an average looking guy with a slightly above average income and a nice personality" so ... Not much success there either. "Ok dude. Fuck it. Friends it is. Focus on that" well ... Ok. All my "friends" are introverted people who define "fun" as going out for a drink and then home. they don't do anything during weekends... ok. They might play video games which I'm not into.
Guys. I'm losing it. Wtf. I feel so stuck and I can't make any progress on any front. How do you guys cope with this stuff?
UPDATE: that top paragraph was nicely formed when I posted
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2020.08.17 23:46 yyvi I (33,F) like (subconsciously) when guys treat me like shit as long as he is exceptionally smart

My dad is a cold, judgemental,distant, smart person. My brother doesn’t really care about me. Hence I (33,F) was usually dating distant guys, exceptionally smart,focused on work. My relationships lacked of intimacy. I was unhappy and constantly complaining about it.
So I decided to change my dating pattern. I found a guy, 6 years younger, nothing like my exes. With a decent job but nothing like his Oxford Cambridge precedents. With smaller pay check than mine but with perspectives. We can have a good conversation but we can’t talk about very complex concepts. Not a heartbreaker type of guy. He does well in life, is cute, sweet, good to me, exceptionally funny and wants to be close all the time.
I liked it for the first 3 weeks. I felt that finally someone cares. Now I’m starting to miss my ex who dumped me for his job, never had time for me, and never was really serious about us. But he was very smart, had great career, great uni degree and I was finding it very impressive.
I did something similar in the past. I dumped a cute guy and got back to my another, previous ex who used to treat me badly. I don’t want to do it again.
How can I change my brain from being impressed by what the guy says, knows, reads about into being attracted to how he treats me? How can I start appreciating what someone does to me?
When someone is good to me and not exceptionally smart I think that he is weak. I think he is a softie, I think less of him. It’s a mix of being sapiosexual and self destructive. Please help me stop it.
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2020.08.14 08:42 MirzaJan The story of Abbas Amanat

From: Juan R. I. Cole
To: SManeck
Subject: Re: Control of media?
Date: Saturday, February 07, 1998 3:43 PM
The true story of Abbas Amanat is as follows. He was brought up a Baha'i, in a Kashan family that had traditionally been Jewish but that had converted to the Baha'i faith in the previous generation. His brother Husayn designed the monument at Azadi square in Tehran, and also the seat of the universal house of justice. His father is an accomplished historian and is writing a mult-volume history of the Kashan Baha'i community. His brother Mehrdad is also a historian and co-authored the section on Qajar Iran in the prestigious Cambridge History of Iran. As a young intellectual at Tehran University and then later at Oxford, Abbas noticed that there was an authoritarian and anti-intellectual streak to the Baha'i organization, as exemplified in bigots such as Furutan (who had played a very sinister role in the attack on and suppression of Mazandarani's scholarship back in the 1930s and 1940s). Abbas therefore very wisely decided rather early on that he wanted nothing to do with the Baha'i organization. However, he has said repeatedly and publicly that he is "in love with the Bab."
Abbas wrote his dissertation on the Babi movement at Oxford under the direction of Albert Hourani and Roger Owen, two of the magisterial historians of the Middle East in our times. He then came to the United States to teach at Yale. He did not ask to be transferred from the UK to the US Baha'i community, but some helpful person in Wilmette heard of his advent and entered him into the US rolls. Abbas, naturally, declined to submit his major historical study of the Babis for their approval or censoring to the motley assemblage of insurance salesmen, electrical engineers, bit part actors and failed businessmen who staff the upper echelons of the Baha'i administration. His book was published by Cornell University Press in 1989.
The Baha'i Distribution Service, to its credit, felt that Abbas's book would be of interest to the Baha'is, and therefore contracted with Cornell University Press to buy 500 copies.
When the book was distributed to the Baha'is, it generated large numbers of angry letters from the fundamentalists in the community who have the impression that they own the religion and can tell people what they may or may not say. They were upset that it departs from the details of Nabil's Narrative (which many have elevated to the status of infallible scripture) and Shoghi Effendi's God Passes By (ditto). Moreover, some religious bureaucrats in Wilmette became uneasy about carrying a book by an author who was on the rolls but who had declined to have it reviewed. A dispute therefore broke out in Wilmette as to whether the Baha'i Distribution Service should continue to carry the book.
This dispute was ultimately submitted to the universal house of justice, which in reply declared that Abbas Amanat was not a Baha'i, and therefore the Baha'i Distribution Service was welcome to distribute his book, as it would be to distribute the book of any non-Baha'i author. I have a copy of this letter, but it is in my file cabinets somewhere and I am not going to spend time digging it out just to satisfy Susan Maneck, who may believe it or not as she likes.
In the good old days before the universal house of justice's membership began being stacked with former counselors (who tend to have an Inquisitorial mindset, since part of their job is Inquisition), the only way to be removed from the rolls of Baha'i membership once you were entered on them was to write a letter explicitly renouncing belief in Baha'u'llah. Professor Amanat has never done so, although it is no secret that he long ago dissociated himself from the Baha'i organization and its authoritarian practices. I find Susan Maneck's speculation about his internal, private, existential beliefs, based on nothing more than hearsay, to be extremely rude and the height of slander (since she is bringing up slander). Has she ever had so much as a private conversation with Professor Amanat? I find her, and her organization's, willingness to expel Baha'is from their own religion by haughty and arrogant fiat, to be not only offensive but indicative of a quite dangerous mindset.
In any case, the US Baha'i authorities have slightly more integrity about these things than do the Canadian ones, since they declined to remove Professor Amanat from the rolls simply on the say-so of the universal house of justice. They have sought from him a clarification of his views, but he maintains that his views are nobody's business.
However, I will indulge in a little speculation. I think that if the Baha'i religious authorities really desire to make themselves so odious that they succeed in chasing out of the religion all the major Baha'i professors at major universities, that they will succeed in this. Apparently the real purpose of these intellectual pogroms is to ensure that it may be said that learned persons such as Denis MacEoin, Abbas Amanat and Linda Walbridge are not Baha'is, but the real Baha'is are ignoramuses who know no Middle Eastern languages, know nothing serious about Baha'i history, and adhere to a fundamentalist and intolerant point of view on the Baha'i faith, and who have managed to get themselves elected to high office (often through the most shameful campaigning and manipulation).
cheers
Juan
https://fglaysher.com/bahaicensorship/media2.htm
submitted by MirzaJan to exbahai [link] [comments]


2020.08.14 04:47 LearningIsListening A not-so-brief rundown of letters ‘T-V’ in Jeffrey Epstein's 'Little Black Book'

Below is a rundown of letters ‘T-V’ under Epstein's contacts. Last year, I wrote about letters A-C. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/cpis3n/a_brief_rundown_of_the_first_ten_pages_of_jeffrey/).
I also wrote about letters D-F on July 5, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/hlrba8/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_letters_df_in_jeffrey/).
I posted letters G-I on July 13, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/hqko0y/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_letters_gi_in_jeffrey/).
I posted letters J-L on July 15, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/hrq9bg/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_letters_jl_of_jeffrey/).
I posted letter M on July 20, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/huw0yt/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_the_letter_m_in_jeffrey/).
I posted letters N-Q on July 27, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/hyudbz/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_the_letters_nq_in_jeffrey/). There are some misspelled names. Epstein entered their names like this.
I posted letter R on July 29, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/i0aqxd/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_the_letter_r_in_jeffrey/)
I posted letter S on August 7, 2020. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/i5orop/a_notsobrief_rundown_of_the_letter_s_in_jeffrey/)
I have bolded some of the more interesting connections and information, but there could be much more that I overlooked. I hope something here strikes an interest in someone and maybe we can get more investigations out of this. Please, if you know anything more about any of these people than what is presented here, post below. I am working off of the unredacted black book found here: https://www.coreysdigs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Jeffrey-Epsteins-Little-Black-Book-unredacted.pdf
T
Taaffee, Paul: Former Chairman and CEO of public relations firm Hill and Knowlton.
Tabet, Karim & Cristina: Karim is a founding partner of TAP advisory group. A former Vice Chairman at UBS Investment Bank and Joint Global Head at UBS Telecommunications. The subtitle under the Tabets reads ‘65th Street Neighbors.’ Ghislaine Maxwell lived in a townhouse at 116 East 65th Street.
Taki: Likely British journalist and Polanski apologist Taki Theodoracopulos. Taki wrote this interesting piece (https://www.gstaadlife.com/2009/11/taki-roman-orgy.html) in 2009 in which he throws Epstein under the bus while defending Polanski. Decades ago, Taki threw a party at The Savoy to celebrate the end of communism. Attendees included Ghislaine Maxwell and Imran Khan (https://greatgameindia.com/ghislaine-maxwell-arrested-fbi/).
Talbot Williams, Simon: Businessman involved in real estate. Owns Talbot & Scott ltd, an investment and development agency.
Tang, Mr David & Lucy Wastnag: David was a Hong Kong businessman who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion chain and several restaurants that attract the elite. Tang was a philanthropist who was involved in several charities, including Youth Outreach (YO), a charitable organization started in Hong Kong by Reverend Peter Newberry. This charity’s goal was to help at-risk youths (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2017-09/15/content_32018378.htm). Tang was considered one of the most well-connected people in London. He and his wife, Lucy, counted Prince Andrew, Naomi Campbell, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (Prince Andrew’s ex-wife), Kevin Spacey, the Duke of Marlborough, and Mick Jagger among their friends (https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/lucy-tang-on-top-the-highs-and-lows-of-a-party-girl-6540808.html). Tang vehemently defended Prince Andrew in 2011 when his relationship with Epstein was made public (https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/theyve-been-tang-oed-sir-david-tang-sets-the-record-straight-6383974.html). Two years later, Ghislaine celebrated her 51st birthday at China Tang, David’s restaurant at the Dorchester Hotel. Despite the backlash Prince Andrew received for counting Epstein among his friends, he attended Ghislaine’s birthday, along with former Labour minister Shaun Woodward and wife Camilla, the Earl and Countess of Derby, Dorrit Moussaieff, the diamond heiress/wife of the president of Iceland, Tamara Beckwith, and John Eliasch, multi-millionaire boss of sports firm Head. Every single one of those people appear in Epstein’s contacts. Epstein had 16 phone numbers, two email addresses, and three street addresses listed under David and Lucy’s name. Tang died in 2017.
Tate, Rupert: Two options. Either the former hedge fund manager at Merrill Lynch or the CEO of Bear Grylls Ventures.
Taubman, Alfred: Billionaire real estate developer and former owner of Sotheby’s, where Les Wexner was once a board member. Many parties and book premieres attended by the elites have been hosted by Sotheby’s over the years. Taubman spent nearly one year in jail for price fixing in collusion with Christie’s auction house (https://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-alfred-taubman-20150419-story.html). Taubman died in 2015.
Taubman, Bobby: Alfred’s son who took over the family business.
Tavoulareas, Mr Billy & Nicket: William Tavoulareas Jr. is an heir to his father, William Tavoulareas, a Greek petroleum businessman and former President and Chief Executive of Mobil Oil during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Sr. was a close friend of George H.W. Bush and Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and was also a member of the Knights of Malta. William Jr. has not been so lucky. He has psychological problems and despite the fact that he has millions in a trust fund, he lives out of his car and has been involved in several dustups with the law in Palm Beach (https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/news/a8979/william-tavoulareas-palm-beach/). Annick Finlan is Jr.’s ex-wife.
Tavoulareas, Peter: Billy’s Tavoulareas brother and son of William Tavoulareas Sr. Heir to father’s petroleum fortune.
Tayler, Emmy: Former personal assistant of Ghislaine Maxwell. Reportedly taught girls how to massage Epstein. Her name appears twice on Epstein’s Lolita Express flight logs (https://archive.org/stream/EpsteinFlightLogsLolitaExpress/Jeffrey-Epstein-Flight-Logs-in-PDF-format_djvu.txt). Recently fled the UK, but is presumably wanted for questioning (https://nypost.com/2020/08/10/emmy-tayler-maxwells-ex-personal-assistant-flees-uk-report/).
Taylor, Felicia: Retired anchor for CNN’s World Business Today. Stepsister of Victoria (nee Schott) de Rothschild, Sir Evelyn Rothschild’s second wife. Felicia knew Epstein socially and once had tea at his mansion (https://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/the-world-and-all-its-changes/). Pictured here (https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/felicia-taylor-steve-eichner-and-ghislaine-maxwell-attend-news-photo/659966292) with Ghislaine Maxwell at a Tommy Hilfiger hosted event in 2009. She is also the daughter of classic Hollywood actor Rod Taylor.
Taylor, Pamela: Make-up artist with a bunch of A-list clients.
Taylor, Sebastian: Not enough info. Likely refers to the personal friend of Nathaniel Rothschild (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099639/The-Russian-oligarch-Old-Etonian-billionaire-deeply-disturbing-questions-Lord-Mandelsons-integrity.html), but I can’t be sure. There are two other decent possibilities.
Taymor, Julie & Eliot: Julie is one of the most well-known theatre directors in the world. Responsible for the Broadway hit, Lion King. Elliot is Julie’s long-time partner. He is a film and theatre composer.
Tennenbaum, Harry: No info found.
Teodorani-Fabbri, Eduardo: A boss at Fiat motor company. Comes from the tremendously wealthy Agnelli family, who are the largest shareholders of The Economist (the Rothschilds also own a large portion). Eduardo used to date Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (listed earlier in Epstein’s contacts), the now deceased goddaughter of Prince Charles. Their first date was at an ARK charity dinner (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1194485/KATIE-NICHOLL-TPT-swept-Fiat-car-boss-Eduardo--Tara-s-Mr-Right.html). ARK is a children’s charity that has spawned many schools for grades K-12. It was started by Arpad Busson (also listed in Jeffrey Epstein’s book), the former fiancee of Uma Thurman. Busson is likely steeped in child trafficking. I wrote a thread about him and ARK charity last year (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/cl34ju/arpad_busson_billionaire_businessman_or_possible/).
Theilmann, Baroness Francesca: Publisher and art collector.
Theodoli, Catherine: Katrin is the CEO of Magnum Marine Corporation, a performance and luxury yacht manufacturer.
Tholstrup, Mogens: Former owner of Daphne’s, Pasha, and The Collection, three of London’s trendiest restaurants. Sold the restaurants for pounds 5.5m in 1998. Dated a series of high society girls, including Lady Victoria Hervey (former girlfriend and staunch defender of Prince Andrew) and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.
Tholstrup, Paola: A former model and the ex-wife of restaurateur Mogens Tholstrup (above). Pictured here (https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/paola-tholstrup-ghislaine-maxwell-and-harry-nutall-attend-news-photo/73141620?adppopup=true) at a Chinese New Year celebration with Ghislaine Maxwell and Harry Nutall in 2007.
Thompson, Barnaby: British film director, producer, and movie executive. Thompson ran Ealing Studios for 14 years. Barnaby has been photographed with a who’s who of Hollywood stars, royalty, and many people listed in Epstein’s contacts. He has attended parties hosted by Harvey Weinstein and Charles Finch, an interesting figure mentioned earlier (check my D-F thread) in Epstein’s black book (https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/photos/barnaby-thompson?family=editorial&page=2&phrase=barnaby%20thompson&sort=best).
Tisch, David: Businessman who comes from a ridiculously rich family. His grandfather, Laurence Tisch, was the co-owner of Loews Corporation. His cousin, Steve, co-owns the New York Giants and has produced many big budget Hollywood movies. David made some good money in Silicon Valley startup companies.
Tisch, Merryl & Jimmy: Merryl is the former Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents and wife of James (Jimmy) Tisch. A huge proponent of high-stakes testing for adolescents. Her husband, James, is the heir to Loews Corporation. He currently serves as CEO.
Tish, Anne & Andrew: Andrew is co-chair of Loews Corporation with his brother, James (mentioned above). Ann Rubenstein-Tisch is Andrew’s current wife. She is a former reporter for NBC. In 1996, Ann and Andrew partnered with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to open The Young Women’s Leadership School (TYWLS) of East Harlem, the first all-girls public school to open in the United States in 30 years (https://www.studentleadershipnetwork.org/history/). If you click on that link, you’ll immediately notice pictures of students with Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. The TYWLS has expanded and now comprises five schools (2800 students) and 16 sister schools (7000 students).
Titopupolo, Sonia: No info found.
Todhunter, Emily Olypitus: High-end British interior designer.
Toledo Ignacio, Alvarez de: Likely a real estate developer. Not 100% certain.
Tollman, Bea: Beatrice is a travel and hospitality businesswoman. Founder and President of the ritzy Red Carnation Hotel chain. Also has a large part in family-owned The Travel Corporation, which helps people organize/plan their trips.
Tollman, Brett: Son of Beatrice Tollman (above). Travel and hotel executive also involved in the family business. CEO of The Travel Corporation and founder of The Treadright Foundation, a non-profit charity.
Tollman, Mr & Mrs: This likely refers to Beatrice (above) and her husband, Stanley. Since I wrote about Beatrice earlier, I’ll focus on Stanley here, who is much more interesting. Stanley is a super shady businessman who is best known for being friends with Ken Bates (Chairman of Chelsea FC) and serving on the Board of the Chelsea FC soccer club, where he and Bates were partners with Marwan Ashraf, a senior Mossad agent. Tollman fled the US for the UK in the early 200s when he was convicted on 33 counts of embezzlement, fraud, and tax evasion (https://www.haaretz.com/1.4942945).
Tollman, Syrie & Gavin: Gavin is CEO of Trafalgar tours and Chairman of The Travel Corporation. Nephew of Stanley Tollman (above) and cousin of Brett Tollman (above). Gavin is married to his first cousin, Toni. There is a fascinating blog post (https://www.nittanyturkey.com/2005/07/25/was-100-million-worth-it/comment-page-1/) about the Tollmans and Hundleys, who defrauded the government out of millions. Be sure to read the comments. Pretty much everyone who responded used to work for the company and knows the Tollmans to some extent and the inner workings behind their thievery.
Tollman, Wyne: Wynn is Beatrice and Stanley’s son, but is not involved with the company. I could not find any other information on him.
Toub, Veronica (Busson): Fashion designer and socialite who was engaged to possible child trafficker and pedophile Arpad Busson (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/cl34ju/arpad_busson_billionaire_businessman_or_possible/) in the 1980s.
Treacy, Phillip: Award-winning hat designer who has worked with the British Royalty (designed a hat for Princess Beatrice, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge), Oprah, Naomi Campbell, Daphne Guinness, Lady Gaga, and Madonna. Has also designed hats for the Harry Potter movies. Thirty-six of his hats were worn at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Twenty were worn at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Trump Blaine & Robert: Robert is the younger brother of Donald Trump. Manager of Trump Corporation and President of Trump Management On August 3, 2020, Robert wrote “Jeffrey Epstein is still alive” on his Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/UncleRobTrump/status/1290360605904232448). Blaine is Robert’s ex-wife of over 25 years. They divorced in 2007 when it was revealed that Robert had a mistress for whom he purchased a $4 million house in Garden City, NY. Blaine’s father was an executive at IBM.
Trump, Ivana: Donald Trump’s ex-wife (1977-1992) and mother of Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. After their divorce, Ivana accused her ex-husband, Donald, of rape. Trump’s lawyers claim that she did not want her words “to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.” One of the conditions of her divorce settlement was that she wouldn’t talk about their marriage without Donald’s approval. In this (timestamped) video interview (https://youtu.be/qN8938c8puE?t=251), Maria Farmer, the sister of Epstein victim Annie Farmer and former employee of Epstein and Ghislaine who went to the FBI with Epstein allegations in 1996, says that Ivana was possibly involved in procuring children, although she couldn’t confirm.
Trump, Ivanka: Donald Trump’s daughter. Serves as Advisor to the President. Donates to Jewish charities and is a supporter of Israel, much like her father.
Trump, Robert & Blaine: See ‘Trump Blaine & Robert’ above.
Tucker, Chris: Famous actocomedian of Rush Hour and Friday fame. Tucker was on the infamous Africa flight with Epstein, Bill Clinton, and Kevin Spacey.
Turlington, Christy: Incredibly popular supermodel from the ‘80s and ‘90s who has worked for too many big name fashion designers and magazines to name. Jean-Luc Brunel, the (alleged) pedophile and child trafficker who sent three 12-year-old girls to Epstein for his birthday discovered Turlington and helped launch her career (https://nypost.com/2019/09/02/jeffrey-epsteins-model-scouting-pal-has-disappeared-without-a-trace/). Friends with fellow supermodel and all-around scumbag, Naomi Campbell, who is likely knee deep in Epstein’s child trafficking and pedophile ring.
Turnbull, Governor Charles: Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1999-2007. Epstein’s Little Saint James island is located in the Virgin Islands.
Turner, Jenny: There is an excellent Reddit thread (https://www.reddit.com/Epstein/comments/hnmwbg/jenny_turner_pseudonym/) from u/rsarector that provides evidence that Jenny Turner is a pseudonym for Ghislaine Maxwell. Make sure to check out the posts further down the thread by aimhighairforce and DSyntax for more information.
Turner, Miles Creswell: Investment banker who used to work for Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Interestingly enough, a man (Leo Iravanian) was arrested for harassment because Cresswell-Turner testified that traffic lights were not dangerous after Iravanian’s wife was killed by an Express coach. Iravanian continuously called Cresswell-Turner’s Marylebone office accusing Cresswell-Turner of being a paedophile (https://www.standard.co.uk/news/man-waged-hate-campaign-on-witness-at-wifes-inquest-6536135.html).
Tyssen, (Chessy) Francesca: Art collector and estranged wife of Austrian politician Karl von Habsburg. The Habsburg family is one of the most powerful and wealthiest families in Europe. The Habsburgs are a Black Nobility family of very high prestige.
U
Urbiola, Jorge: Likely refers to the diplomat and author who serves as Deputy Chief of the Mission of the Kingdom of Spain in Ukraine.
V
Vahabzadeh, Iraj and Linda: Iraj was the eldest son of Dr. Mostafa Vahabzadeh, founder and owner of Kayhan Publishing Group in Iran. Lynda was his ex-wife. Iraj passed away in 2016.
Van Hauen Sophie: No info found, although the address (62 Frith St) is that of Circa, a gay bar in London.
Van, William Straubenzee: British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament who died in 1999. After his death, it was discovered that van Straubenzee was named in documents pertaining to British politician child abuse (https://www.independent.co.uk/news-14-0/westminster-child-abuse-allegations-mp-with-a-penchant-for-small-boys-gave-his-word-he-was-not-a-10408985.html). Van Straubenzee was also a longtime friend of Princess Diana (https://www.insider.com/princess-diana-documentary-revelations-2017-7#she-read-trashy-romance-novels-2) and the uncle of Thomas van Straubenzee (lifelong friend of Prince William) and Charlie van Straubenzee (Prince Harry’s best friend).
Varsavsky, Martin: Argentine entrepreneur who has founded many companies, including Medicorp Sciences (biotechnology) and several telecommunications outfits.
Velasquez, Patricia: Venezuelan model/actress who appeared in print ads for Victoria Secret. Photographed here (https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/carole-radziwill-patricia-velasquez-and-ghislaine-maxwell-news-photo/608144434) with Ghislaine Maxwell and Carole Radziwill, who is also listed in Epstein’s contacts (check the ‘R’ thread) and is/was a good friend of Maxwell.
Verdin, Julia: British film producer, casting director, and actress. Has been a friend of Ghislaine’s for decades, as evidenced by the photo of the pair, which was taken in 1986 (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8490447/Ghislaine-Maxwell-fall-sits-cell-photos-reveal-society-life.html). Verdin owned a house on the Sunset Strip in the early 1990s. She lived there with Birgit Cunningham and actress Elizabeth Hurley, who seems to be embroiled in Epstein and Maxwell’s world. The house was known as “party central” and was frequented by the likes of Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349953/Lord-Strathclyde-affair-blonde-Birgit-Cunningham-I-feel-used-says-single-mum.html).
Verdin-Mulot, Annie & JP: Annie is a marketing director who has worked with Mulberry, Harrods, and Disneyland. She is the sister of Julia (above). Jean-Paul Mulot is a French journalist and former Deputy Editorial Director of Le Figaro, a daily newspaper in France. He is a permanent representative to the UK in the Hauts-de-France region. When confronted with his Epstein connections, Jean-Paul said that he only met him once 15 years ago and that his wife went to Oxford with Ghislaine Maxwell (https://fr.theepochtimes.com/un-ancien-directeur-du-figaro-cite-dans-le-carnet-noir-depstein-1001372.html). Close with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who served from 2007-2012.
Veronis, Jane: Jewelry designer. Her father is the co-founder of Veronis Suhler Stevenson investment bank.
Villani, Carmine S: President of Milestone Capital, an investment firm. Also President of Europower Renewable Energy Ltd.
Villeneuve, Jacques: Formula 1 race car driver. Epstein has many F1 contacts.
Vittadini, Emanuele A: No info found, but one of the emails listed traces back to arc-intl, which is a world-renowned glassware company.
Vittorelli, Dott. Marco: Chairman of Openjobmetis, an Italian job recruitment service. Also serves on the Board of Directors of Pallacanestro Varese, an Italian basketball club.
Vittoz, Martine: No info found.
Vittoz, Patrick: Director of Exploit Information Technologies, which specializes in website promotion, search engine submission, and hosting. Patrick has been an architectural consultant at his family’s business for 41 years.
Vittoz, Vonnic: No info found.
Vivian Smith, Charles: Investment banker. Currently the 5th Baron Bicester.
Von Habsburg, Francesca: Listed earlier in this thread under Tyssen, (Chessy) Francesca.
Von Hase, Bettina: Independent consultant and writer on art and culture. Daughter of a former German ambassador to the UK. Bettina’s ex-husband of 30 years, John Varley, is a trustee of The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.
submitted by LearningIsListening to conspiracy [link] [comments]


2020.08.10 19:44 CMacLaren On Rust, and Liberty

THE BADDAGE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN
Akbar
Akbar, a powerful vampire, was burnt when the Mother and Father, Akasha and Enkil, were put into the sun. He resides in Antioch, in search of the Mother and Father, and leaves his victims on the steps of the Temple.
Akbar threatens to kill Pandora unless Marius allows him to see and drink from the ancient couple. He drains Pandora to near death before Marius allows him to see the Mother and Father, and is later destroyed by Akasha when he attempts to drink from her.
http://i.imgur.com/jhDIx.jpg
Azim
Azim was one of the older vampires. He ruled as a god for a thousand years in a secret temple in the Himalayas, where those who went to worship him never returned alive.
He conducted disturbing rituals and entices Pandora to participate in them in return for Marius' location (when Marius gets trapped in the ice after Akasha awakens).
Akasha spares him during her worldwide slaughter, but for a purpose. She sees him as the ultimate symbol of vampire evil and explodes his body in front of human witnesses.
http://i.imgur.com/PEmx8.jpg
Daniel Molloy
Daniel was the recorder of Louis' confession that later became the story Interview with the Vampire. Born in 1955, Daniel comes across Armand in 1975, after he had recorded Louis' story.
He becomes Armand's mortal companion, but conflicts drive them apart. Armand continually refuses Daniel's requests for immortality.
Daniel turns to alcohol and becomes a mortal recipient of the dream of the twins. In 1985, Armand gives Daniel (who is dying) immortal life. He survives Akasha's worldwide slaughter of vampires.
http://i.imgur.com/ePwqZ.jpg
Druid Vampire (God of the Grove)
The Druid Vampire, also known as the God of the Grove, was kept in an oak tree by the Druids to preside over their harvest and to ensure the fertility of their land. He was badly burnt when Akasha and Enkil were placed in the sun, and as a result of his weakened state, the Druids went in search for another god.
The Druids abduct Marius and return him to their god, who subsequently makes Marius a vampire. He is destroyed by the Druids when he tries to accompany Marius in search of reasons as to why so many vampires where burnt.
http://i.imgur.com/lAAAr.jpg
Synopsis
The brand-new bestselling series from the authors of the phenomenal multi-million-selling Left Behind books. Now in paperback!
Here is the first in the Biblically inspired series, The Jesus Chronicles, which brings to life the story of Jesus, told in the voices of those who knew and loved him best-the Gospel writers John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke.
In this volume, readers will discover John's story, a thrilling account of the life of the man who came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament and to save all of humankind-and the disciple who was the last eyewitness to Jesus' glory. Readers will experience firsthand the creation of the Gospel of John as well as the Book of Revelation-Scripture that still has profound meaning for the world 2,000 years later. Publishers Weekly.
http://i.imgur.com/18mF2.jpg
Elder
An ancient Egyptian vampire, the Elder was the guardian of Akasha and Enkil prior to Marius. He was the cause of vampires everywhere being burnt (himself included), when he placed the ancient couple in the sun.
He does this to test the legend that the preservation or destruction of Akasha and Enkil is the determinant in the survival of the vampire race.
When Marius comes to remove the ancient couple from the Elder's care, the Elder becomes enraged and is killed by Akasha.
http://i.imgur.com/vuzpF.jpg Eric
Eric was made a vampire by Maharet around BC1000 at the mortal age of thirty. He survives Akasha's worldwide slaughter due to his immortal age of three thousand years and is one of the immortals that gather at Sonoma to stand against Akasha.
http://i.imgur.com/U4IQH.jpg
Flavius
Flavius is a one-legged Greek mortal slave who Pandora falls in love with in Antioch. He becomes Pandora's companion and protector even after she is made a vampire.
To the disgust of Marius, Pandora makes Flavius a vampire as he lay on his deathbed riddled with disease. He was forty years old.
When Marius discovers what Pandora has done, he sends Flavius away. Before he left, Flavius thanked Pandora for the immortality she gave him.
http://i.imgur.com/dFT76.jpg
Foundation Patriot
She was a peasant. She would go outside during the day in search of victims. Once, she approached a man carrying bread, she striked, sucking his fore-arm in order for him to drop the bread roll.She then, in the role of men in her step, remove the pan and press the bread with the smoke of his ability. During Badage droughts, she would feast upon her own brain. Badage drought in your brain, she woke up.
http://i.imgur.com/KAxXO.jpg
Laurent
Laurent is a vampire Baby Jenks meets during Akasha's worldwide slaughter of vampires. He is killed during this event. (He may or may not be the same Laurent from Armand's first Parisian coven — this is unclear.
http://i.imgur.com/YITrj.jpg
Madeleine
Madeleine was a Parisian doll maker who Claudia chose to be her mother and protector when Claudia feared Louis would leave her for Armand.
She was killed by Armand's coven, together with Claudia, the same year she was given immortal life. She had lost a child near Claudia's age when Louis made her a vampire, in 1862. Madeleine was the first vampire made by Louis.
http://i.imgur.com/JSLZL.jpg
Magnus
Magnus, the maker of Lestat, gave himself immortality during the 1400s when he trapped a vampire and stole blood from it. He chose to make Lestat a vampire because of his courage.
On the same night he made Lestat a vampire, during the year 1780, he destroyed himself in a fire, leaving Lestat alone to discover and learn about his immortality.
http://i.imgur.com/il4nf.jpg
The Woop-Town Supper
There was might in the whole world of the same face deers even when the metro man dances in the moon light and continues to splash fish in the water in an attempt to play some ball.
http://i.imgur.com/M7Mmt.jpg
The Jenikens Chronicle
Also know as the Master of Supper in the nether regions. His head head would be imploded if the crisp the crops during the Badage civil wars. The Akasha used to use the gamers ass soer weapons because the butter on the boot would have even more then the yearsd of the yatke.
http://i.imgur.com/gpjVn.jpg
The Master of Might
The Nabonidus Chronicle is an ancient Babylonian text, part of a larger series of Babylonian Chronicles incribed in cuneiform script on clay tablets. It deals primarily with the reign of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, covers the conquest of Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus the Great and ends with the start of the reign of Cyrus's son Cambyses, spanning a period from 556 BC to some time after 539 BC. It provides a rare contemporary account of Cyrus's rise to power and is the main source of information on this period;[1] Amélie Kuhrt describes it as "the most reliable and sober [ancient] account of the fall of Babylon."[2]
http://i.imgur.com/LIJiE.jpg
The essence of destruction
Although he may be just one of these old factioned faction. The master of wisom used tp bein the legue of the slit babied mammothes. It is unsure to why the health of such a large gigantic spepas uses such large and strange men.
http://i.imgur.com/LydF4.jpg
The Roaming Swordman
He is thought to combat large spiked black zombies who use baked potatoes as a lube to make their eyes work ffaster. It was unsure why he would take such risks for only the amount of the same young hill billy uses hte sweat of a large antelope and once they do, the large bird uses its pheromones to lure the large one with the old man happy.
http://i.imgur.com/7I2Tv.jpg
The Nasty Banquote
She was born in Châteauroux in 1954. She remained there for eighteen months. During her childhood, with her three brothers and sisters, she moved from city to city, depending on the assignments her sub-prefect father received.
In 1976 she was awarded a Master of Philosophy by the Sorbonne, Paris, and in 1978 went on to complete an MA in philosophy and aesthetics at Université de Paris X - Nanterre. There, too, she completed a doctorate in philosophy in 1981. During those years she studied with a teacher she admires, Emmanuel Levinas, and her work focussed on the notion of asceticism in Christian mysticism.
Work He uses the same humans as the one whpo produced the sweat y but also fat men of the large bablionial ground of which the man with the square and hte strange heart. He would cry 'Why are there latino in my huron'.
http://i.imgur.com/HK3KG.jpg
Essential Reading Carradice I, & Price M.J., Coinage in the Greek World, London 1988. Sellwood, D. 'Minting' in D. Strong and D. Brown Roman Crafts, London 1976, pp.63-73
Catalogues & Reference Works (Some have very useful introductions)
Burnett A., Amandry M., Rippolès P.P., Roman Provincial Coinage, London 1992. Callataÿ F. de., L'histoire des guerres Mithridatiques vue par les monnaies, Louvain-la-Neuve 1997. Houghton A., Coins From the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, New York 1983. Lindgen H.C. & Kovacs F.L., I Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant, California 1985. Lindgen H.C. & Kovacs F.L., II Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints, California 1989. Lindgen H.C. & Kovacs F.L., III Ancient Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection, California 1993. Metcalf W.E., The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian-Commodus, New York 1996. Newell E.T., The Coinage of the Eastern Seleucid Mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III, New York 1978 (reprint). Newell E.T., The Coinage of the Western Seleucid Mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III, New York 1977 (reprint).
Price, M.J., Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus, London 1991. SNG British Museum I, The Black Sea, London 1993. SNG Copenhagen
SNG von Aulock (Asia Minor mints) Secondary Literature: Monographs Balmuth, M.S. Hacksilber to Coinage: New Insights into the Monetary History of the Near East and Greece, New York 2001. Burnett A., Wartenberg U., & Witschonke R. (edd.), Coins of Macedonia and Rome: Essays in Honour of Charles Hersh, London 1998. Butcher K., Roman Provincial Coins, Lonson 1988. Carradice I., Greek Coins, London 1995. Figuera T., The Power of Money: Coinage and Politics in the Athenian Empire, Pennsylvania 1998. Grierson P. Numismatics, Oxford 1975. Harl K.W., Civic Coins and Civic Politics, California 1987. Head B., Historia Nummorum, 2nd ed. Oxford 1911/67. Hill G.F., Coins of Ancient Sicily, London. Hill G.F., Historical Greek Coins, London. Howgego C., Ancient History from Coins. Jenkins G.K., Ancient Greek Coins, 2nd ed London 1990. Jones J.M., A Dictionary of Ancient Greek Coins, London 1986. Kraay C.M., Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, London 1976. Kraay C.M., Coins of Ancient Athens, Newcastle 1968.
Martin T.R., Sovereignty and Coinage in Classical Greece, 1885. Meadows, A. and K. Shipton Money and its Uses in the Ancient Greek World Oxford 2001. Melville-Jones J.R., Testimonia Numaria, London 1993. Milne J.G., Greek Coinage, Oxford 1931. Mørkholm O., Early Hellenistic Coinage, Cambridge 1991. Nash D., Coinage in the Celtic World, London 1987. Oikonomides A.N., The Coins of Alexander the Great, Chicago 1981. Penn R.G., Medicine on Ancient Greek and Roman Coins, London 1994. Plant R., Greek Coin Types and Their Identification, London 1979. Ramage, A. and Craddock, P. King Croesus' Gold: Excavations and the History of Gold Refining, London 2000. Roberts W.R., The Ancient Boeotians and the Coinage of Boeotia, Chicago 1974. Rutter, N.K., Greek Coinage, Aylesbury 1983. Rutter, N.K., The Greek Coinages of Southern Italy and Sicily, London 1997. Rutter, N.K. Historia Nummorum, Italy, London 2001. Seltman C., Athens, its Hitsory and Coinage, Chicago 1974. Seltman C., Greek Coins, London 1977.
Troxell H., Studies in the Macedonian Coinage of Alexander the Great, New York 1997. Van Arsdell R.D., Celtic Coinage of Britain, London 1989.
Journal Articles
Beer L., 'Results of Coin Striking to simulate the Mint of Aegina' Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 47-51. Buttrey T.V., 'Pharaonic Imitations of Athenian Tetradrachms', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 137-40 Clay T., 'Metallurgy and Metallography in Numismatics', Numismatica e Antichita Classiche 17 (1988) 341-52. Hill G.F., 'Ancient Methods of Coining' NC 1922, 1-42. Holloway R.R., 'The Date of the First Greek Coins: Some Arguments from Style and Hoards', Revue Belge de Numismatique, 130 (1984) 5-17. Kagan D., 'The Dates of the Earliest Coins', AJA 86 (1982) 343-60 Kinns P., The Amphictyonic Coinage Reconsidered', NC 143 (1983) 1-22. Kraay C.M., 'The Archaic Owls of Athens: Classification and Chronology', NC 6 (1956) 43-68. Kroll J.H., 'From Wappenmünzen to Gorgoneia to Owls', ANSMN 26 (1981) 1-32. Kroll J.H. & Waggoner N.M., 'Dating the Earliest Coins of Athens, Corinth and Aegina', AJA 88 (1984) 325-40. Lewis D.M., 'The Chronolgy of the Athenian New Style Coinage', NC 11 (1962) 275-300. Mørkholm O., 'The Chronolgy of the New Style Coinage of Athens', ANSMN 29 (1984) 29-42. Mørkholm O., 'The "Behaviour" of Dies in the Hellenistic Period', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics1982, 209-14. Petrillo S. & Volk T.R., 'Old and New Worlds: Ancient Coinage and Modern Technology', in Information to Knowledge ed. Nisson E. & Schmidt K., Oxford 1995, pp.151-70. Price M.J., 'Early Greek Bronze Coinage', in Kraay C.M. & Jenkins G.K., Essays in Greek Coinage Presented to Stanley Robinson, 1968, pp. 90-104.
Price M.J. & Waggoner N., Archaic Greek Coinage: The Asyut Hoard, 1975. Robinson W.S.G., 'The Date of the Earliest Coins', NC 16 (1956) 1-8. Vickers M., ' Early Greek Coinage: A Reassessment', NC 145 (1985) 1-44. Walker A.S., 'Some Plated Coins from the Agora at Athens', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 132-6. Roman Bibliography
(Items marked * are available from Dr. Stanley Ireland)
Essential Reading Burnett A., Coinage in the Roman World, London 1988.
Catalogues & Reference Works (Some have very useful introductions) Crawford M.H., Roman Republican Coinage, Cambridge 1974 Grierson P. & Mays M., Late Roman Coins, Washington 1992. Roman Imperial Coinage
Secondary Literature: Monographs Carson R.A.G., Coins of the Roman Empire, London 1990. Carson R.A.G., The Principal Coins of the Romans, London 1978. Casey J. & Reece R., Coins and the Archaeologist, London 1974/88.
Casey J., Understanding Ancient Coins, 1986. Crawford M.H., Coins and Money under the Roman Republic, London 1985. Duncan-Jones, R. Money and Government in the Roman Empire, Cambridge 1994. Foss C., Roman Historical Coins, London 1990. Fox J., Roman Coins and How to Collect Them, London 1983. Giacosa G., Women of the Caesars, Milan. Harl K.W., Coinage in the Roman Economy, Baltimore 1996. Harlan M., Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins 63-49BC, London 1995. Hill P.V., The Monuments of Ancient Rome as Coin Types, London 1989. Reece R., Identifying Roman Coins, London 1986. Sear D.R., The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperatores 49-27BC, London 1998. Thomsen R., Early Roman Coinage, Copenhagen 1974. Thurlow B.K. & Vecchi I.G., Italian Cast Coinage, Italian Aes Grave, London 1979.
Journal Articles
Bruun P., 'The Source Value of Imperial Coin Portraits (the fourth century A.D.)', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics1982, 551-9. Burnett A.M., Craddock P.T., Preston K., 'New Light on the Origins of Orichalcum', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 263-8. Burnett A., The Currency of Italy from the Hannibalic War to the Reign of Augustus', Annali dell' Istituto Italiano di Numismatica 1982, 125-37. Burnett A.M., 'Clipped Siliquae and the End of Roman Britain', Britannia1984, 163-8. Burnett A.M., 'The Iconography of Roman Coin Types', NC 146 (1986) 67-75.
Burnett A.M., 'The Beginnings of Roman Coinage', Annali dell' Istituto Italiano di Numismatica, 36 (1989) 33-64. Buttrey T.V.,' On the Retariffing of the Roman Denarius', ANSMN 7 (1957) 57-65. Buttrey T.V., 'The Denarii of P. Crepusius and Roman Republican Mint Organization', ANSMN 21 (1976) 67-108. Buttrey T.V., 'Calculating Ancient Coin Production: Facts and Fantasies', Numismatic Chronicle (1993) 335-51. Carson R.A.G., 'The Date of the Capture of Valerian I', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 461-5. Cody J., 'Stylistic Trends in the Representation of Godesses on the Roman Republican Coinage', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 283-8. Cope L.H., 'The Metallurgical Analysis of Roman Imperial Silver and AesCoinage', in Methods of Chemical and Metallurgical Investigation of Ancient Coinage ed. Hall E.T. & Metcalf D.W., RNS special publ. 1972, pp.1-47. Cope L.H., 'Surface-Silvered Ancient Coins', in Methods of Chemical and Metallurgical Investigation of Ancient Coinage ed. Hall E.T. & Metcalf D.W., RNS special publ. 1972, pp.261-78. Crawford M.H., 'The coinage of the Age of Sulla', NC (1964) 141- 58. Crawford M.H., 'Plated Coins - False Coins', NC (1968) 55-9. Duncan-Jones R.P., 'The Currency of Italy from the Hannibalic War to the Reign of Augustus', Annali dell' Istituto Italiano di Numismatica, 29 (1982) 125-37. Ehrhardt C.T.H.R., 'Roman Coin Types and the Roman Public', Jahrbuch für Nimismatik und Geldgeschichte 34 (1984) 41-54. Kenyon R.F., 'The Countermark PROB on Coins of Claudius I from Britain', NC 148 (1988) 53-61. Kleiner D.E.E., 'Politics and Gender in the Pictorial Propaganda of Antony and Octavian', Echos du Monde Classique 11 (1992) 357-67. Mattingly H.B., 'New Light on the Roman Victoriate', in Kraay C.M. & Jenkins G.K., Essays in Greek Coinage Presented to Stanley Robinson, 1968, pp210-28. Mattingly H.B., The Management of the Roman Republican Mint', Annali dell' Istituto Italiano di Numismatica 1982, 9-46. Metcalf W.E., 'The Flavians in the East' Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 321-39. Millar F., 'The Aerarium and its Officials', JRS 1964.
Newman R., 'A Dialogue of Power in the Coinage of Antony and Octavian', AJN 2 (1990) 37-63. Ramage E., 'Denigration of Predecessors under Claudius, Galba and Vespasian', Historia 1983, 200-14. Reece R., 'Economic History from Roman Site-Finds', Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Numismatics 1982, 495-502. Shotter D.C.A., 'The Principate of Nero: Some Observations on the Coin Evidence', Historia 1983. 216-26.
Sutherland C.H.R., 'Early Imperial Mints in the Western Provinces: The Direction of Coin Types', Numismatica e Antichita Classiche 12 (1983) 151-7. Tyler P., 'Analyses of Mid-Third Century Roman Antoniniani as Historical Evidence', in Methods of Chemical and Metallurgical Investigation of Ancient Coinage ed. Hall E.T., & Metcalf D.W., RNS special publ. 1972, pp.249-60. Wallace-Hadrill R., 'Image and Authority in the Coinage of Augustus', JRS 1986, 66-87.
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2020.08.09 21:58 Poniesandproteins Scammer: The comprehensive timeline

Decided to take a scroll stroll through CC's Instagram, and I've compiled with dates what I think is the complete timeline for Scammer. I think I might be missing a few things, as CC does tend to delete posts and edit captions, and these screenshots of the grid are all from today (8/9/2020). Please add on images in the comments of anything you have saved that I may have missed and what dates those occurred at! I've also specified where each image has come from (the imgur album should be in order), so it will say next to the update if she posted in on the grid (shorthand= BG). I skimmed all her captions since December for any scammer mention, so if it's not included, no other update exists (currently.) Links to individual images are posted as "X" next to the description.
I will continue to update ths post until Scammer has been finalized and received by customers.
The full receipt gallery: Receipt-Imgur
The Scammer Timeline:
12/17/2019: Caroline has AWWL listed on her site as coming soon. Scammer is not yet conceptualized- website X
12/18/2019: Caroline talks about publishing something and is worried that no one will read it-BG X
12/23/2019: Caroline announces a “small book” that will self-publish in January-BG X
12/29/2019: Posts first scammer cover and announced the presale will start on Jan 15th, i.e. the scammiversary-BG X
12/31/2019: There will be two separate books, AWWL and Scammer. Scammer will cover all of 2019.- BG X
1/7/2020: Caroline announces she will stay in Sarasota until she finishes scammer. It is unclear what day she returned to NYC-BG X
1/14/2020: Announces preorders for Scammer will start tomorrow-BG X
1/15/2020: Carolinecalloway.com launches and preorders officially open, with the infamous cover reveal coming soon-BG X
1/15/2020: Caroline gets press coverage about scammer, from sites like Buzzfeed, Nylon, and Guardian. None of the press gets an excerpt or review copy of the text.-BG (Nylon) (Paper) (Dazed) (Buzzfeed) (Guardian)
1/18/2020: Scammer is now available for international preorder-BG X
1/21/2020: Announces scammer will only be sold as preorders, and not carried in any store.-BG X
1/27/2020: All orders of scammer will be signed with a “love note” from caroline.-BG X
1/29/2020: Claims again that all copies of scammer will come with handwritten notes-BG X
1/29/2020: Claims AWWL is still under contract with Flatiron, and is a different manuscript than Scammer-BG X
1/31/2020: Announces first “giveaway” of a free special edition BB if you purchase 4 copies of scammer.-BG X
2/14/2020: a buzzfeed article is published in which Caroline claims Scammer would be out "as late as April" but will probably be out sooner. (Buzzfeed Pt. 2)
2/23/2020: Seven days until preorders for Scammer end “forever” -BG X
2/23/2020: Typos are my brand hats are announced as included with the purchase of two copies of scammer. Caroline claims that they will not be for sale but are an exclusive gift with scammer. -BG X
2/23/2020: Caroline posts the lonely boy zines hardcover for scammer. She does not offer any corrections/answers in the comments of people asking if this is the actual printed manuscript, implying by omission it is.-BG X
2/24/2020: Cancels Sarasota trip to edit the scammer manuscript in New York instead. Claims it will take 1 week. -BG X
2/24/2020: Announces that if you buy 3 copies of scammer, you will receive a mantra card (separate from the handwritten notes included in all copies, regardless of quantity ordered). Also announces that the free gifts stack, i.e. if you order 4 copies, you get the hat, card and BB. -BG X
2/28/2020: The first order of Scammer sold out (???) and it is now up for restock- BG X
3/1/2020: “today is the last day you can buy scammer” -BGX
3/2/2020: extends preorder deadline to today. Claims she will travel to NYC in March to sign the copies, and will ship “ON TIME” in early April.-BGX
3/11/2020: updated added to the website that preorders of scammer will end on 2/26/2019 and the book will ship in spring 2020, tentatively on 4/1/2020. - website.X
3/19/2020: Posts cover reveal of scammer, which is the same as the previous cover art posted. Claims book is copy edited and ready to go, but the printers are closed. This is the first BG announcement of refunds being available by emailing Ari. Claims all preorders have finally closed, 17 days after her initially announcing preorders are closed. -BG X
3/22/2020: Adam (her manager) emails a snarker back who sent an inquiry about purchasing Scammer after the preorder date ended. Adam responds that it is too late and that the order has already been sent to the printer. X 4/1/2020 (exact date unclear): Posts announcement on her website that she is combining scammer and IAMCC into one manuscript. IAMCC will be free if you have paid for scammer and is only available online. -websiteX
6/1/2020: Takes a break from scammer because of BLM?-story post X
6/8/2020: “Scammer is shipping later this month.” Caroline is no longer signing the book copies, and instead is switching to the “sticker fortune cookies”. Still claims all copies will come with something with her signature on.-BG X
6/24/2020: confirms in comment thread on a grid post that she is still planning on shipping Scammer by the end of the month. This has since been deleted and is no longer on her account. (Citation needed)
6/28/2020: Finished signing all the stickers. Says that the shipping journey will begin tomorrow, again does not clarify to the questions in the comments about what is shipping, the stickers or the book itself- BG X
7/1/2020: Caroline makes Cathy drive her to the post office in an adult fairy costume…No mention in the comments what she actually shipped, with the caption deliberately ambiguous.- BG X
7/3/2020: Caroline posts asking for a copy editor for her IAMCC essay, it is unclear if Scammer is also getting copy edited.-Story post X
7/6/2020: Announces that this is the final week to change your address or cancel your order by emailing Brigid before the 10th. -BG X
7/11/2020: Claims extra stickers are available if you still want to preorder Scammer, and still has the preorder option available on her website. -Story post X
7/20/2020: Updated on the website that the book is “estimated to ship August 31st”. Refunds are still advertised. No mention of this on her Instagram. -website X
7/21/2020: Typos are my brand hats are available to purchase on her site, despite claims that they are an exclusive gift for scammer. The first customer photo of just the hat is posted. -Story X
8/2/2020: Posts that scammer is getting “extra material”. Advertises that preorders are still available -story X
8/8/2020: Makes video claiming she is "reworking" Scammer, because she wants to make it about 2020, and not a tell all of her scam workshops, father’s passing, and the cut article. She claims a genre pivot. -BG X
(Notable missing item -- her commenting that it "will for sure ship at the end of the month" as a reply to someone on a grid post. I remember seeing it, but cannot for the life of me find it in her posts/as a screenshot)
EDITED from original posting: additions to the timeline after August 10th
8/20/2020: Caroline posts the official CC calendar of dates. A date for the release of scammer is notably absent, though the caption says "something big" is coming September 10th. There is speculation in the posts comments that this is scammers official release date, and caroline does not respond to any. Website still has the 31st estimated ship date posted.- BG X
8/21/2020: Caroline finally replies to a comment asking when scammer will arrive with "it's coming. Ask Brigid if you want a refund." She does not give any solid date or time, with 10 days to the alleged ship date.-BG X
8/22/2020: Caroline posts a Cambridge memory on her story about being part of a hunt club, and plugs that you should buy scammer because of the stories. Previously, she has claimed all Cambridge stories are part of AAWL, and she was adamant that they were going to be two separate books. In the next slide, she links the pre-order page for scammer, which is still open and accepting orders, 9 days until they are supposedly shipping. -story X
8/23/2020: someone comments and asks if there is a blurb they can read for scammer to see what its about. Caroline replies "no, its a gamble", despite her website claiming IACC ( which is back behind a paywall) would be included in scammer. X
8/29/20: After radio silence for ~4 days from Caroline, Brigid posts on Caroline's account for her, claiming she is very busy writing in preparation for the 31st.- story X
8/31/2020: Caroline does not post anything on instagram, big grid or stories, but is still active deleting comments. Scammer is still available to preorder.
9/2/2020: the first article has been posted asking "where is scammer?" has been posted by an Australian media site. So far there is no coverage from larger sites. * Article updated at the end of September(Mama Mia)
9/3/2020: Brigid replies to a direct mesaage asking for an update with the claim that it will ship sometime next week, and Caroline will "probably" give an update soon. Caroline is still MIA.-DM X
9/4/2020: Caroline returns the internet with a Scammer update in the form of 14 minute video. She claims the delays to scammer occurred after finding out her mother's cancer has returned in early August. The new anticipated ship date is Septemebr 17th, and she's changing the dedication to honor her mother now instead.-BG X X
9/17/2020: Caroline makes no mention of Scammer and does not respond to any comments about it shipping, but does post a bunch of tiktoks, a YouTube video, and multiple portraits of herself.
9/18/2020: Caroline posts an email screenshot she sent to her team, saying she was not going to get any work done today, sent at ~11 pm. The subject of the email is copy editing, implying the work she is not doing is editing Scammer, 1 day after its has already "shipped"-BG X
9/23/2020: Caroline posts a screenshot of a word document, claiming the page pictured will be an exclusive title page for the first edition printing, and will not be in subsequent print runs. This directly contradicts her claims that there will only be one printing and you must preorder it to recieve a copy or miss out on it "forever". The page makes a joke aboit how only a crazy person would have hung along through all the delays without getting a refund. She posts to her story claiming she is writing today, 6 days after the new new new ship date. -BG + storyX
9/25/2020: Caroline posts two stories about "limping" through the end of writting Scammer. In the second photo, she does not blur out the page count and it has 358 as the page total.-Story X
10/1/2020: Caroline posts a video about dreamer bbs, where she screenrecords her site. Scammer is still available for pre-order, but she scrolls by without acknowledgment.-story X
10/6/2020: at 4am after drinkingX, Caroline posts a grid post with the title for the first chapter of Scammer. The title is "I was Caroline Gotschall" and she's tagged 5 locations that go with the chapter. She accompanies these locations with stock images+ a photo of her father's house and calls it a chapter lookbook/preview. She also posts the opening line for the book, "When the curtain comes up, everything is a mess." which is directly plagiarizing the opening line of her annotated SCHOOL GIRL chapters, which she has previously sold for $4.99 a chapter. In a separate grid post, she posts a text conversation with an unknown person, asking if they've edited work she's sent them.-BG +story+ etsy pages X
10/8/2020: Caroline makes a post about Rowing Blazers and makes a joke in the caption about how she "makes books never" and then says kidding and that it's "almost here"-BG X
10/8/2020: Caroline posts a "lookbook" for Chapter 5 and titles it The Cantabrigian Princess, with the opening line "Put Cantabrigian Princess on my tombstone." This lookbook includes more stock photos of England and a book cover she photoshopped of Oscar Wilde. Caroline responds to a fan comment about Flatiron owning the rights to her Cambridge years with " A lot has changed this year".-BG+story X
10/8/2020: Caroline makes a long post about how she was unable to make the "revised" ship date of August 31st because of her Mom's cancer diagnosis. She asks that you request a refund with Brigid if you are impatient, and does not give any hard deadlines, again using the caretaking as a reason. She claims the original plan was to make Scammer 140 pages, but now it will be 350ish (microsoft word pages) once she "limps through the end of 2020". She says she plans to release more titles and lookbooks through out the next few weeks, and that her first book "will come very soon".-BG X
10/8/2020: Caroline posts the chapter 6 lookbook, which is another Cambridge chapter titled Hogwarts High Baroque. It again is a collection of stock images and screenshots from the Harry Potter movies. She posts the opening two "paragraphs", which are lines pulled directly from her I Am CC essay part 1, an old Instagram caption from 2019, and Prozac Nation.-BG +storyX
10/9/2020: Caroline posts a photo of her laptop with the screen blurred. At the top, you can see the document is titled Scammer Final. The only words you can see in the document itself are the ones she's already posted on her Instagram, and she has control-F up for "drug dealer". Caroline responds to a fan comment questioning the timeline that Scammer was at the printers in March. Caroline confirms she turned scammer into IAMCC at that time instead for her covid fundraiser, despite being adamant that they were two separate manuscripts. She also claims shes been working slowly on it when she hasn't been too busy caring for her mom, despite tbe fact that IAMCC stopped updating in May and Caroline not taking over caretaker duties until late September.-Story X
10/11/2020: Caroline posts her chapter 9 preview, which is titled "On Suicide". This chapter is about her father's passing, and the lookbook is images of his house, a selfie of Caroline, and his autopsy report. The excerpt is verbatim her opening paragraph from IAMCC part 2.5.-BG X
10/11/2020: Caroline posts her chapter 13 lookbook, titled "La La Sand." The images are from her trip to LA to meet with talent agents and be zany and sexual in the desert, as well as when she crashed a tailgate at Yale. The writing preview is one sentence pulled from a previous caption.-BG X
10/15/2020: Caroline posts a series of stories about how she thinks Scammer will be the next American Psycho. She advertises that you can still pre-order Scammer or request a refund from Brigid. She also says it will "arrive at your doorstep when it's ready", giving no new shipping estimate besides... Eventually?-StoryX
10/21/2020: after going off the grid for a few days, Caroline returns to announce her newest lover and makes a snide remark about how her book is late, and then promptly goes off grid again-BG X
10/23/2020: Caroline posts three paragraphs of writing, claiming it is "her most beautiful prose yet", and also claims her new ~lover~ is the new Natalie. It is unclear if that means that lover is editing/writing with her like OG Nataile did, or if they are just her new muse. Regardless, the words are a bit jumbled, but do not appear to have been plagerized from herself, which makes this the first original writing excerpt from Scammer .-BG X
10/27/2020: Caroline posts a series of stories at 1 am about writing. She captions it about drinking and taking her antidepressants at the same time is the only way to write, with multiple hard seltzer cans, a beer can, and wine bottle visible in the images. She also posts three books with annotations: Educated by Tara Westover, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and Oxford: the Last Hurrah by Daffyd Jones. People have noted the writing excerpt posted on 10/23 sounded similar to Plath's style and word choices. She tags her manager in one photo asking if he can get her a role on a reality show as a reward for finishing Scammer eventually.-Stories X
11/8/2020: Caroline announces she's finally ready to write scammer, and that it will now be between 400-450 pages. Because she is upping the length, and since the quality "is better than ever", she is also going to increase the price, claiming this has to happen due to shipping costs for a heavier book. You can still purchase Scammer for $25 as of right now, and she posted two different swipe up links. She does not say what the new price will be, nor give any estimated shipping date.-BG + stories X
submitted by Poniesandproteins to SmolBeanSnark [link] [comments]


2020.08.05 00:31 __justsayin__ Globe: As hundreds of stores shut down, retail landlords cut rents in bid to help struggling companies survive

Some retail landlords are starting to chop rents to help tenants survive as the coronavirus pandemic enters its fifth month and a flood of retailers close stores and seek creditor protection.
The Retail Council of Canada estimates that one in five stores are now vacant across all types of malls, plazas and big-box centres. A growing number of brands – including Aldo, Ann Taylor, Reitmans, DavidsTea and Mendocino – have announced plans to shutter hundreds of locations.
While the economy is showing muted signs of recovery, retail continues to languish, especially in enclosed malls. Landlords are being forced to make concessions, as they balance rental revenue and their ability to fill vacant spaces with new tenants.
“We are taking a hit like everybody else,” said Eric Carlson, chief executive officer of B.C.-based Anthem Properties, which has $5-billion in retail, office and industrial properties in Western Canada and the United States. “Retail can’t survive without customers. Every landlord will want their retailers to survive,” he said.
DavidsTea to close 82 retail locations in Canada amid COVID-19
Anthem is forgiving rent for some of its tenants that were not allowed to open. It expects grocers, liquor stores and others with strong sales to pay full rent. But after months of deferrals, Mr. Carlson has had to change course for his hardest hit retailers.
“You have to give them some slack and give them an abatement,” Mr. Carlson said. “It’s not just out of virtuous nobility that you take that. It’s rational self-interest. The more everyone does well, the more everyone comes through. The better we will all do in the long run.”
Tenants are also pushing for new rent deals that are based on a percentage of their sales instead of the standard fixed amount every month. Landlords are reluctant to provide this because the rental income is unpredictable, as well as a logistical nightmare to verify sales of privately held companies. If landlords agree to an interim period of percentage rent, they are asking for something in return, such as a lease extension.
“More of these deals are being struck,” said Jordan Karp, who heads Savills Canada’s retail unit and represents tenants and landlords. Mr. Karp said he has told landlords: “At the end of the day, do you want them to be there and operating or do you want someone brand new? A lot of landlords say, ‘I want them here, so when we come back on the other side, they are there.’”
SmartCentres REIT, which operates 165 retail plazas in the country and leases space to 115 Walmarts, has agreed to percentage rent for a handful of its tenants.
“We are customizing rent payments around the realities of each vulnerable retail tenant’s situation, giving them as much as we can, taking into account the reality of our own situation,” said SmartCentres CEO Mitchell Goldhar, adding his trust is on track to collect more than 90 per cent of the rent because Walmart and Loblaw grocery stores make up a large part of its portfolio.
Enclosed malls are in a different position. Their properties were among the last to reopen amid crowd restrictions and physical-distancing requirements. Major operators collected about 15 per cent of their rent in May and approximately 25 per cent in April, according to real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
Since those dismal months, rent collection is rebounding. But it is still below normal levels. Store hours have been reduced, retailers are failing and even if they have reopened, they are attracting fewer shoppers.
On an afternoon late in July, one of the country’s most profitable malls, the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto, was subdued. Most stores were advertising deep discounts. The food court was quiet, with staff behind counters beckoning shoppers to their restaurants and a string of eateries closed. There were lineups for a couple of brands, Apple, Lululemon Athletica and Uniqlo Co., which were restricting the number who could enter their shops. But other stores had little traffic.
“Malls have been quieter than they would have been. The less people in shopping centres, the less sales there will be,” JLL executive vice-president Tim Sanderson said. “The longer this goes on, the more people will change their shopping patterns and go online.”
Downtown Vancouver and Toronto, once hubs of activity with a giant office work force, are now mostly vacant. Street retailers in their cores that were once teeming with activity are much quieter.
“It’s pretty tough because there isn’t the volume of people coming downtown,” said Scott Lee, JLL’s executive vice-president of retail for Western Canada. “The domino effect is that people are not eating out much, not grabbing as much coffee and not shopping as much in general,” he said.
In Vancouver, at a popular shopping area on Robson Street, JLL said the vacancy rate is 15 per cent today compared with 9 per cent before the pandemic. Similarly, in Toronto, at a busy shopping area on Queen Street, vacancy jumped to its highest level in two years and rents hit the lowest since early 2016, when the brokerage started tracking rents.
“With more space coming available and fewer tenants in the market there will be downward pressure on net rental rates,” said Brandon Gorman, JLL’s senior vice-president of retail in Toronto, who represents landlords.
Mr. Gorman said tenants are looking for percentage rent deals that convert to a fixed rent at a later date, as well as later possession dates and rent-free periods.
Even strip malls, where stores such as Walmart remained open through the pandemic and others were allowed to open earlier than enclosed malls, are losing revenue. Some of the chains that typically lease space in plazas, such as Hudson’s Bay Co., The Brick, GoodLife Fitness and Cineplex Entertainment, did not initially pay the rent when non-essential shopping was closed. And because of their size, they did not qualify for taxpayer-funded rent relief for small businesses.
As of the end of July, taxpayer-funded rent relief had been provided for 63,000 small-business tenants, according to the federal finance department. However, Ottawa’s rent relief program is due to finish at the end of August after two extensions.
Major mall operators Cadillac Fairview, Oxford Properties and Ivanhoé Cambridge have provided deferrals and applied for the federal government’s rent relief. Oxford has submitted more than 1,000 applications, on behalf of mostly its small retailers. Cadillac has about 1,400 tenants that qualify for the relief. Ivanhoé had deferred rent for more than 70 per cent of its retailers at its malls.
“Brick-and-mortar stores will need to reinvent themselves, not only because of the rise of e-commerce but also because consumers’ changing lifestyles and shopping habits,” said Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada.
submitted by __justsayin__ to CanadianInvestor [link] [comments]


2020.08.01 23:23 ninjastory85 How have you bounced back from the depths of despair?

My life is at a crossroads. In six months time I will be either:
a) Happy and contented, or b) Dead
In my life I have survived a fucked up childhood, in which I endured years of physical and emotional abuse. I have survived homelessness. I have overcome a lack of education, and now count multiple Oxford / Cambridge graduates among my working peers.
I have many trophies of success. I am at the very top of my field. I earn a six figure (GBP) salary. I have just bought a house equivalent to $800,000, in cash. In spite of the pandemic sweeping the world right now, I am the most financially comfortable I have ever been. I have a fantastic wife and two beautiful kids.
If that all sounds like a recipe for happiness, then it overlooks what is going on inside me right now.
In 2016, aged 31, I was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. This condition was asymptomatic, and remains that way for many people. In some however it can, if left untreated, be fatal.
My cardiologist pointed out that at 6ft and 17 stone (240lbs) I was considerably overweight and that if I wanted to avoid dying young then I should do something about it.
So I did. I sorted out my diet, cut down drinking, stopped smoking and started regularly going to the gym. In 18 months I had lost over 5 stone (70lbs).
I felt great. I looked great - I hadn’t even planned to go that far, but for the first time in my life I could see my abs. More importantly, for the first time in my life I felt truly comfortable in my skin, and my career began to really take off.
Again, all good right? Well, it was. Somewhere along the line, something changed. My weight became harder to maintain. I started feeling extremely sensitive to the cold. I had incredible insomnia. My energy disappeared - I felt as if I was constantly walking through treacle. I felt generally ill all the time.
To help solve the unbearable insomnia, I started drinking again. I also found that drinking on a night reduced the exhausted, treacle feeling I was experiencing. Of course, drinking is not good for the waistline - something by this point I had become a little obsessed about (think of a self made rich person who becomes incredibly tight because they’re terrified of losing everything they’ve worked so hard for - this was my attitude to eating). So I started eating less, and pretty much just the raw protein I needed for my gym work.
I realised that any diversion from my very restrictive eating plan would then cause very quick weight gain - something I was now frightened of. Two or three days of overindulgence at Christmas could easily see me gain 10 - 15lbs in weight that would then be very stubborn to shift, it just didn’t make sense. It felt cruel that six months of hard, hard work could unravel in days.
It started affecting my work. I was making up all sorts of excuses to avoid situations where I might have to eat something outside of my increasingly short list of acceptable items. I avoided social situations. The whole experience was exhausting, and I recognise now that I was exhibiting many symptoms of both alcoholism and anorexia (something which as a man, a father of two kids, I find very hard to comprehend). And believe me, alcoholism and anorexia are not good bed fellows.
I started to become very depressed. So I began drinking more, and eating less. But the strategies I had used to maintain weight before were beginning to lose their effect. The scales were creeping up, almost no matter what I did.
This included not eating at all some days. But then this massively back fired too. I was attending a pitch with work in London. I do these regularly - my job involves a lot of public speaking. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect.
I felt fine, usual nerves that go away after a couple of minutes. But then, out of nowhere, I suffered a full blown panic attack. I had never experienced this in my life before. My heart rate was though the roof, I was shaking like a leaf, sweating profusely, experiencing the most awful sense of dread. I’ve never felt so dizzy in my life, and I had the most compelling feeling of needing to get out of the room, but I knew that if I had bailed out my career would have been all but over.
I managed to get through the pitch, despite my incredible discomfort. As it happens, we won the business.
But it didn’t end there. Now, every speaking appearance I make, which is basically my job, I end up in that very same state. To a degree, lockdown has enabled me to get away with this. It’s unpleasant, but I can shake to my heart’s content on a video conference and no one really notices. I’ve measured my heart rate on my phone and at peak times, I’m approaching 200 BPM, sat still on a chair.
I’ve been getting away with it, but if I had to go and do a meeting in person tomorrow, I do not believe I could do it, as pathetic as that sounds for someone who’s been doing just that, very successfully, for the last 15 years.
I have been incredibly successful in my work over the years, against the odds really, but I cannot help but feel that at 35 years old my best work is behind me. I am a shadow of my former self. My ability to do my job and provide for my family is very much in doubt. My life's work is very much on the brink.
For the last twelve months or so I have felt crushed by a crippling depression. I cannot remember what the emotion of joy feels like. I am in agony constantly, both physically and emotionally. I’ve made two half hearted suicide attempts in the last twelve months. The third attempt, should it take place, will be anything but half hearted.
I recently discovered that my testosterone levels are catastrophically low. Around half of what a healthy 80 year old man should expect, and around a sixth of where I should be for a man of my age.
Symptoms of low testosterone in young men? Loss of energy. Weight gain. Insomnia. Depression. Anxiety.
Causes? Extreme weight loss. Malnutrition. Excessive use of alcohol.
Who knows whether there’s a connection or not, but I certainly tick a lot of boxes.
I am about to embark on a programme of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to normalise my levels. If this is indeed what I’ve been grappling with, we’ll soon find out.
It’s my last roll of the dice. It’s either the panacea to my woes and it ends the agonising pain I am in, or it isn’t, and I end the agonising pain I am in. Six months. That’s what I’m giving it. The date is in the diary; 1st February 2021 - happy or dead.
If I am able to come through this, I have promised myself that I will join the Samaritans. I will write about my experiences in the hope that I can help others. There are events of the last couple of years that are darkly comedic.
But in the meantime, inspire me, how have you bounced back from the depths of despair and turned your life around?
Time for another beer...
submitted by ninjastory85 to depression [link] [comments]


2020.07.30 18:55 DialecticSkeptic Book recommendations for Christians who want to understand evolution as Christians

The following are what I consider to be some of the most valuable books ever published that clearly explain in accessible terms the science of evolution and the age of the earth. Nearly all of these books are by authors or contributors who are evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously as the authoritative word of God. Therefore, this list represents "safe" resources for Christians who hold firmly to the apostolic faith and are curious to understand evolution and deep time.
Last updated: July 30, 2020

submitted by DialecticSkeptic to DebateEvolution [link] [comments]


2020.07.25 19:38 clme The evolving controversy over mandatory masks - some notes on the scientific, legal, and psychological dimensions

UPDATED ON AUGUST 23, 2020
I would like to address the two-pronged idea that (a) wearing cloth masks might help and (b) it certainly won't hurt...So no harm, and maybe some benefit, right? Instead of jumping to this conclusion, I think we should consider this issue in its broader context, bearing in mind that it is unwise to mandate something over which there is active and ongoing controversy within the scientific community itself (i.e. the issue is far from being settled, with evidence foagainst cloth masks all over the place, with just as many studies showing that they may be ineffective or actively harmful (e.g. making other health issues worse) as studies showing some modest efficacy.

1. Aspects related to scientific evidence and cross-country variability in cloth mask policies

One cannot pick up a random study on mask use and present it as justification. Because the topic of masks has become morally-loaded ("Do the decent thing, and wear a mask"; "Be a good human and protect the vulnerable"), we must be aware of people's tendency to "often choose morality over hard evidence" and control for it. We need to look at the totality of available evidence, to see the general patterns that emerge, the outliers, and the variance in the quality of the research designs involved. We need to keep in mind Carnap and Hempel's total evidence rule, lest we jump to silly conclusions . We also need to keep in mind that because of mob pressure, there is an asymmetry as to which science gets publicized and which science gets banned and overlooked. We know that researchers like Michael Osterholm who expressed reservations about masks have been harassed by the pro-mask crowd. The science one gets to see these days on social media is the science approved by the mob - there are very clear signs of pervasive COVID-19 related censorship. Overall, the available scientific and policy evidence indicates that mandating or even just formally recommending to the general public to wear a cloth mask in nonhealthcare settings is NOT a good idea:

2. Psychological, social, economic, legal, and political aspects of mandating cloth masks

People seem very quick these days to ask to (a) make mandatory whatever they happen to support or encourage, (b) ban whatever they happen to dislike or hate, and (c) consider themselves morally superior to those who disagree with them, and taking this so far so as to label them "evil" (or in our context, either evil or covidiots or both). This constellation of propensities is the essence of the authoritarian personality...the one that made possible the rise of the likes of Stalin and Hitler. Please be on alert whenever you hear others or yourself uttering the words "mandatory", "ban", and "evil"...that is the beginning of a very slippery slope.
From a legal standpoint, mask-wearing can be construed as a form of medical treatment, and most jurisdictions have legislation requiring informed consent for any and all forms of medical treatment. Mandating masks is a violation of your guaranteed right to informed consent for medical treatment. This means that it is one thing to personally believe that masks work and that they should be recommended, and quite another to loudly insist that they should be made mandatory.
The topic of masks has turned us against one another. Many of us feel humiliated, degraded, and robbed of our sense of human dignity by being forced to wear a cloth mask. Masks scare people unnecessarily. They create an atmosphere of doom and gloom, thereby enabling acquiescence to (and justification for) the dangerous rise of authoritarianism and the police state. This chilling description of how the police state works in Melbourne, Australia, as of August 2020, should drive the point home. To prove that you are a good or decent human being, you are supposed to do your share and wear a mask:
The most clever thing that these governors did was to build the morality of “loving your neighbor” into the use of this stupid facial accessory. Most people, if only concerned about themselves, would not comply. “I’ll take my own risks.” But with the “my nose rag protects YOU” mentality in place, they’ve given every citizen who complies the high moral ground and an astronomical sense of self righteousness. If you don’t wear the diseased diaper on your face, you are a cretin, a hateful murderer, a walking leprous pustule distributing your filth all over the environment... and therefore it doesn’t matter how I treat you. It really was a brilliant move and very effective. (Redditor kepc897)
and
I think the biggest factor is cognitive dissonance. In many (if not most) cases, the reason that people "wear the mask" is because they're afraid, either of the virus, or of "getting in trouble," or of being socially stigmatized / shamed, or even more benignly just of the extra attention they're apt to receive (or that they might feel like they're receiving) as a result of not conforming (e.g., being the only one without a mask in a particular store). So they wear the mask. But the story they tell themselves is not "I'm wearing this because I'm a scared, conformist little bitch." That's not very flattering. So instead they convince themselves they're wearing the mask because they're virtuous, they're responsible, and they care about others' safety. When they see someone else not conforming, on some deep level it triggers feelings of envy and inadequacy because they're seeing someone who isn't afraid. Demonizing that person is a way of reinforcing the story they're telling themselves. (Redditor Capt_Roger_Murdoch)
The interesting point about this collective test we each have to pass, is that it is visible to all. That guy doesn't wear a mask! Let's shame him! The visibility of it all - reminiscent of asking Jews to wear the yellow star in Nazi Germany - makes it easy to single out the enemy within. Redditor thartal has brilliantly captured the spirit of it all with his tongue in cheek "We must kill them before they kill grandma!". The whole exercise of identifying the bad apples among us has the added benefit of giving us someone who can conveniently (and self-servingly...) be blamed and punished: it is easier to punish anti-maskers than to punish the government for how it handled the pandemic, or Mother Nature for the pandemic itself. Meanwhile, the virus does what viruses do, in utter disregard for our security theater and risk rituals therein. Indeed, a sociological analysis of face masks as a risk ritual pointed out that the behavior is counterproductive, to the extent that it fuels anxiety instead of staving it off:
These risk rituals...are more likely to embed rather than resolve the anxieties around which they are organised, even creating a ‘spiral of anxiety’ (Crawford 2004: 505). Existential health risk anxieties are not easily managed and this also goes to the heart of the problem of responsibilisation. Individuals are made rhetorically responsible for problems over which they actually have little control, making the assumption of responsibility as illusory as the protective effects of the rituals that can accompany them... In the abstract, people endorse mask‐wearing as a social act but in reality the imperative of self‐protection predominates.
Note carefully the ingredients of the charade of "science-informed policy"...to fight COVID-19(84). SARS-CoV-2 is less lethal than we thought: for every 1,000 infected, less than 7 people have died, i.e. overall IFR under 0.7%, with two important attributes: heavy age-stratification and rapid decline in fatality rates due to ongoing progress in treatment. This updated scientific understanding of the true level of risk is incongruent with actively spreading an atmosphere of hysteria and panic by wearing a mask (with or without the Fauci-endorsed goggles). Pro-maskers hope to help crush the "curve", whereas anti-maskers hope to help flatten the fear:
Wearing [a mask] for show makes me complicit in something I know not to be true (not the reality of the virus, but rather the wisdom of the broader public health strategy since March). It plays into a hysteria that I will not be a part of or endorse. I want people to see I'm not scared to perhaps give them a bit more courage, as well. (Redditor PlayFree_Bird)
Note that being anti-mask is not a selfish or anti-social stance: anti-maskers have ethics and values, just like pro-maskers do, but in their ethical system they rank higher the importance of:
  1. Flattening the collective feamass hysteria
  2. Affirming the central value of normal human relations: "mask wearing is degrading our human relations: that which made human life worth saving in the first place...Face masks efface us"
  3. Defending civil liberties/fighting government overreach
  4. Respecting only evidence-driven public policy (i.e. refusing to be part of a charade)
The latter point has two aspects to it: (4.a.) some anti-maskers are aware that we do not have any strong evidence that cloth masks for the general public in nonhealthcare settings are effective (hence mandating them undermines the integrity of the scientific enterprise, basic respect for facts, and the principle of effectiveness in public health policy); (4.b.) other anti-maskers argue that even if masks were known to be effective, using them would be counter-productive because the best strategy is to get faster to herd immunity by encouraging low-risk demographics to live normally. Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard Medical School professor of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety, has spoken to this issue on 8th August 2020:
As a society we should appreciate young adults who help generate herd immunity by living normal lives and keeping society afloat. Thank you, thank you, thank you. When people throw misguided complaints at you, falsely claiming that you are endangering others, remember that the opposite is true.
Professor Udi Qimron, Head of the Department of Immunology at Tel Aviv University, said the same on 16th August 2020:
I would also ask children and young people to take off their masks.
Going out in public without a mask can be a scientific, political, and moral statement that many of us choose to make even at the risk of being bullied by the pro-mask cult. Genuinely selfish people would find it less costly to just wear the damned mask, even if they didn't believe it works.
Contrary to a widespread, but misguided opinion, mask mandates are not a solution to reducing the economic damage wrought by lockdowns. The darker, insidious, long-term psychological and social damage induced by mask-wearing is becoming increasingly apparent even here among Redditors. In short, masks dehumanize (see here 1 and here 2). To illustrate some of the facets of this process:
Forcing the healthy - especially children - to hide their faces in public has devastating psychological and sociological effects that go way beyond mere “inconvenience.” Your overall sentiment is commonly expressed - masks will help us get back to normal by assuaging people’s fears! This is an inversion of the truth. Masks foment terror. They perpetuate an atmosphere of fear, tension, and dread. Definitionally. Widespread mask wearing is dystopian and societally toxic in the extreme. Deny this obvious reality at your great peril. (Redditor WestCoastSurvivor)
and
Yes, it’s dehumanizing. It sows further distrust in society. Now people are not able to partake in the most basic human connection: sharing a smile, or any facial expression for the matter. Beyond that, the symbolism of masks revolves around disease, germs, contamination, etc. Healthy people wearing masks is just another way to further atomise and divide people, as if that weren’t bad enough already. Overall, the enforcement of masks feels more overreach. This whole fiasco has been characterized by overreach, tyranny and totalitarianism. Wearing a mask is a sign of submission as well as legitimization of a situation that I believe is greatly overblown. I don’t want to play this game at all. (Redditor FlakyDebt)
and
The concern I have with the way masks are mandated is that by mandating masks, we are setting up a scenario where people are taught to be afraid of other people. People are seen as “potentially infected” and people are now seen as something you need to stay away from. This creates a depressing social atmosphere and undercurrents of fear that I’m worried won’t entirely disappear for a bit even when the mask wearing is no longer mandated. (Redditor blueberryshoes_ )
and
The issue is mandatory mask wearing by law. The issue is not whether it's effective at improving health outcomes. The problem is that it's not the role of government to prevent (or reduce) all bad things from happening. Making ice cream illegal would arguably improve health outcomes as well but our society values individual freedom of choice. If people choose to wear masks, I'm fine with them doing so. I'm not okay with the government mandating mask wearing, regardless whether it "works". (Redditor mrandish)
and
A mask, a muzzle, a sign of submission. Who are we submitting to? The virtuous. Who are the virtuous? Those who submit. How do you recognize the virtuous? By the mask. It's a tight tautology. A cave-man ideology. (Redditor horsemintfoxglove)
and
For many of us it is not just the mandate to wear a mask (a "minor inconvenience" apparently) and the implied loss of freedom that irks, not just the discomfort of wearing one that pains us, not just the newness or strangeness that causes such a visceral reaction, or our frustrations at being told to accept incomplete and constantly developing science as long established fact - rather, it is the loss of identity, the loss of natural social signalling, the very loss of our public social intimacy with each other that is striking many of us to the absolute core. We are so naturally inclined to respond to human faces that we see them in walls and clouds; we yearn for them on a deep, primitive, visceral level. To a huge extent, we ARE our faces. Erasing our faces is dehumanising...Many people are scared of the impact of the virus on human life and angry at those who refuse to subscribe to masks, or at least join in unwillingly. But those of us reacting in all kinds of ways against the masking of humanity are also scared and angry. We are scared of losing that precious contact with our own and others' humanity, scared of losing what it is to be human. Scared, ultimately, of losing many of those things that make life worth living as a human being in the first place. (Redditor FrazzledGod)
and
The "wear a mask" agenda became fishy to me when they changed it from "mask" to "face covering", and started saying that even a bandana or a scarf or a cut up t shirt will do. Mandating medical-grade masks would make sense. Obviously, there is zero scientific or medical precedent for wearing a bandana on your face to stop disease spread. So then, the question becomes, why are they so insistent on pushing this agenda that you must hide your face? I think the answer is simple - they want people to be dehumanized in the eyes of their fellow man. Instead of seeing each other as fellow human beings with whom there is an emotional or physical connection, they want us to see each other as bioweapons, and they want us to think of ourselves as being bioweapons also. People are a lot easier to manipulate and to pin against each other when they are afraid of themselves and each other. Absolutely disgusting, and it's unbelievable how many people just lap it right up without questioning it when it's framed as a "public health crisis". (Redditor ashowofhands)

3. Looking ahead

In the not-too-distant future technological progress will likely lead to high-quality masks that will actually work. But they will work not only to contain viral particles, but also to dehumanize us. And that's why, even in that future when the science of mask-making will be perfected, many of us would choose not to wear one. But given that the current situation has set up a political precedent for authoritarianism and the curtailment of personal freedoms in the name of public health, the open question remains: will we still be allowed to choose?
What can one do about all this?
PS: Thank you for the platinum, kind stranger!
submitted by clme to CoronavirusCanada [link] [comments]


2020.07.23 18:18 jaylenholt [SHARE] Fulfilled Textbook Request Megathread #4

Download any of these for free at https://oppfiles.com/585933
DM me if you have any requests for anything not on the list.
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Almost all the books are in their latest editions and some of them are available in multiple editions too.
Please subscribe the sub to find all the latest textbook releases.
Enjoy!
[Book] Art is an endangered species: a History of western art, Paleolithic Romanesque(self) 1 [BOOK] Above the Fray: The Red Cross and the Making of the Humanitarian NGO Sector by Shai Dromi(self) 2 [Book] Prehospital Emergency Care 11th Edition(self) 1 [Book] JAMA Guide to Statistics and Methods 1st Edition by Edward Livingston, Roger Lewis(self) 3 [Book] Annual Editions: Anthropology 42/e, Elvio ANGELONI(self) 4 [Book] Donnelly, Seth 2019 The Lie of Global Prosperity: How Neoliberals Distort Data to Mask Poverty & Exploitation. Monthly Review Press.(self)NSFW 6 [Article] "What's Your Title?" - 'The Turn of the Screw.'(self) 3 [Article] Risk and survival of patients with head and neck cutaneous melanoma: national perspective. Al-Qurayshi Z et al(self) 1 [Book] [Taylor & Francis] Maritime Disputes and International Law: Disputed Waters and Seabed Resources in Asia and Europe by Constantinos Yiallourides(self) 2 [Book] Computer Network Security by Ali Sadiqui(self) 1 [Article] [Brill] Several articles from The Australian Year Book of International Law Volume 34(1)(self) 2 [Book]The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art(self) 1 [Book] (Taylor&Francis) Human Biological Diversity by Daniel E. 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