Saturday, July 30, 2011

Family of missing man turns to psychic

Beauregard Daily News

DeRidder, La. —With Merryville resident Jerry Lee Keel having been missing since July 6, 2011, family members are searching for any clues as to his whereabouts.
One family member even turned to a local psychic for guidance.
Cynthia Lindsey, from New York, who now resides in Rosepine, was contacted through Facebook by the family member, and in turn telephoned the relative to try to help.
Lindsey, who has been an advisor for 25 years, said she has assisted police in other states with investigations and has helped solve several mysteries with her psychic abilities via Tarot Card readings.
She also said that she never actually met with any of Keel’s family face-to-face, but that they only spoke on the phone.
“Because I’m not really from here, I did not know any of them or their situation before I was contacted for help,” Lindsey said. “But I always try to help when I’m asked.”
Lindsey said the family member needed help in finding her Uncle, but that she never gave a name. “I told her the name of the person she was concerned about started with a J and that I saw a lot of water.”
The reading went on to reveal to Lindsey the body of water was Bundick Lake at Hopewell Crossing and that there was an army green aluminum boat.
Lindsey’s husband Alex, who is also a psychic, said he doesn’t read cards, but he gets impressions, and that he saw numbers on the boat.
These numbers have not been verified, therefore will not be revealed at this time.
Cynthia Lindsey went on to describe Keel over the phone to the family member, who said the description was accurate, and said she saw him in a boat with an older man and a younger woman with dark hair and brown eyes.
Lindsey said the reading also revealed the word Hackberry several times and that she was impressed that this was a place where Keel was to be taken out in the water, but refused to get into the boat, which led the three back to Bundick.
“I saw him (Keel) standing in the boat and he had a wound to the back of his head from a blunt object, possibly a gun,” Lindsey said. “I also saw visqueen plastic wrap, either wrapped around him, or him being caught in it at the water’s edge around the bottoms of some big trees.”
Lindsey said she did not imply that Keel was dead, but that what she was seeing could possibly be something that was planned to be done to him in the future.
“I am hoping that this means something in the future and that the police find him soon,“
Lindsey said. “I know what I saw, but I don’t know if it has happened yet.” Lindsey also said she had not been contacted by the police, only by a relative of Keel. “I would be glad to work with them (police) if they’d like, but I haven’t heard from them.”
“I know some people are skeptical of psychics, but I have helped solve cases before and I feel strongly about what I’ve seen in this case,” Lindsey said. “And I will do whatever I can to help.”

Herbivores’ Nibbles Affect Climate Tales That Tree Rings Tell


For more than 100 years, tree rings have served as a reliable way to estimate past climate conditions because in warmer years, which usually mean better growing conditions, tree rings tend to be wider. But herbivores that nibble away at trees also have an effect on tree ring size — a phenomenon that was known but never measured. Now, researchers from Norway and Scotland report the significant effect of grazing sheep on tree ring size over a nine-year period.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the current issue of the journal Functional Ecology, created nine fenced-off areas in the mountains of southern Norway. Some contained no sheep, some had about 10 sheep per square mile and some had about 30 sheep per square mile. Although sheep prefer to eat grass and herbs, in the mountains this is sometimes not enough, and they turn to shrubs and small trees for nourishment.
After nine years, the researchers sampled cross sections of more than 200 birch trees in the enclosed areas and measured the trees’ ring widths. “What we found is that the number of sheep had a very large impact,” said James Speed, an ecologist at the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology in Trondheim, Norway, and the study’s first author. “This shows how important the number of herbivores is.”
In areas where there were no sheep, the radial growth in the tree rings was double that areas with few sheep. And it was three times the growth seen in areas with the most sheep.
There was also, however, a clear pattern corresponding to climate. Finding ways to factor in the effect of herbivores might help researchers make more accurate climate estimations, Dr. Speed said. One way to estimate past herbivore populations might be to study the fossilized remains of fungi that live on dung, he said.

2,000-Year-Old Greek God Mosaic Discovered in Rome

By IBTimes Staff Reporter 

Rome archaeologists have unearthed a large and fine wall mosaic of the Greek God Apollo, dating from the second half of the first century after Christ, near the Colosseum, the Roman City Council said in a statement on Saturday.

The mosaic, depicting Apollo and the Muses, is linked thematically to the wall paintings discovered in 1998, representing a philosopher and a Muse of an architectural background.
"An archaeological discovery is of extraordinary value to the city of Rome," said Mayor Gianni Alemanno, thanking the archaeologists for uncovering the treasure of ancient Rome.
He insisted on making it accessible to public and tourists and this would require more funding for the excavations work.
"Now we must make an extra effort to find adequate financial resources to continue the work in the yard and open to the public. I hope, in this sense, the concurrence of all competent authorities to find the necessary resources,” the mayor said.
The building where mosaic has been found is believed to be holding many such architectural delights.
The city council plans to restore the site with more areas open to the public to give added value to the historical city and create income, the mayor said, adding that it will happen probably by the end of 2012.

Celebrating the Halfway Point of Summer

Donna Henes

As of August 1 summer is half over. The midway point of summer is like a well-seasoned woman. The galloping growth and sweet blush of spring have slowed and faded in her sweltering heat. She's slower now, and surer. Strong and steady. She's salty and sultry and a little bit dusty. A little wrinkled. A little weary. A whole lot wiser. She bears the fruits of her own labors and she wears them well. By midsummer, dame nature has grown tired of her wardrobe with it's dizzy palette of vibrant greens, vivid pinks, randy reds and profusions of pretty pastels. She now prefers the warmer, deeper, richer tones more flattering to her present station. The lady is now of a certain age, after all.
Midsummer marks and celebrates the glorious bounty of the ripening season. Trees and vines, stems and stalks are hung heavy with the abundance of the earth. Mushrooms push themselves up uninvited onto the musty floor of the dark forest. Animals, birds and fish, fat from their greedy feasts and lazy, all but offer themselves up to the hunters who are a step above them on the food chain. Summer crops are ready for the table and to be collected and prepared for the larder. But it is the growth of the grain that holds the strongest significance of the midsummer season in agrarian societies. Grain, the staple, the sustenance, the stuff, the staff of life.
The reaping of the first ripened grain was great cause for celebration in honor of the great grain mother who feeds us all. She has been known by many names: Astarte, Ashoreth, Isis, Demeter, Ceres, Op, Terre Mater, Tailltiu, Chicomecoatl, Green Corn girl, Blue Corn girl, Mother Quescapenek. The english word, "lady" is derived from the old english "hlaf-dig." The root word, "hlaf" means "loaf," and "dig" means "knead." Used together, they have the connotation of woman, lady of the house, matriarch, as provider of nourishment, the "giver of daily bread."
The midsummer cross-quarter day is the only one of the four seasonal midpoints that is not still actively celebrated in our contemporary culture. Midsummer is celebrated in Europe, but there it refers to June 21, the first day of summer and not the middle, at all. Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" actually takes place on the summer solstice. Many celebrations of the first corn were observed on August 1. Named for Juno Augusta of Rome, August was particularly sacred to the goddess who gives all life and feeds it, too. It was considered for this reason an especially propitious time to be born. To this day, when a Scot says that someone was born in August, it is a compliment in praise of skilled accomplishment, with absolutely no bearing on the person's actual birthday.
The summer cross-quarter day was celebrated by the Saxons as Hlaf Mass (feast of bread) and by the Celts as Lughnasadh (commemoration of Lugh). Lugh was the grain god, son of mother earth. Every August he was sacrificed with the reaping of the corn only to be born again in the new shoots of spring exactly as the Egyptian god of grain Osiris had been. "Loaf mass" and "lugh mass" evolved into ''lammas,'' the Druid corn feast, one of the four cornerstone festivals around which their year revolved. When the church adopted, co-opted, lammas, it was referred to as lamb's mass in commemoration of St. Peter in chains, and the practice of the offering of the first fruits on the altar remained exactly the same.
The only living vestige of lammas in the United Stated is a rural holiday called second planting. But unless you read "The Farmer's Almanac" or belong to the Grange or 4H Clubs, you would have no reason to hear about it. It is celebrated exactly as midsummer has always been celebrated. The first grain is harvested, threshed, milled, baked into bread and cake, brewed into beer and then shared in community. After a night of feasting and dancing, work starts again at first light planting the second crop of summer wheat that will the mature by the fall harvest.
How can we, separated from the agricultural process by city and century, appreciate the atmosphere of the season which surrounds us, but which we cannot see? What is the goddess of grain to us of the boulangerie? The patisserie? We who buy our grain in bags, in boxes, premixed, pre-measured, prepackaged, prepared, sown, grown, harvested, hulled, milled, by someone else, somewhere else. How can we identify with the earth values taught by terra mater during this time of year from where we are held captive in the synthetic heart of the genetically modified pop tart culture which claims us?
Well, we can behave, as they say, as if we were born in August. We can, in fact, become August -- wise and generous and gloriously noble, each on our own chosen paths. We can hone our skills as the tenders of mother earth. We can hoe our row. We can carry our load. We can break bread together. We can feed the hungry.
We reap what we sow.

Quebec spa detox treatment leaves woman dead

Posted: Jul 29, 2011 8:27 PM ET

A Quebec woman rushed to hospital after undergoing an overnight detoxification spa treatment involving intense sweating has died.
The woman, 35, died late Friday afternoon in a Drummondville hospital, said Quebec provincial police.
She and another woman were hospitalized after undergoing a detoxification treatment at the Reine de Paix farmhouse in Durham, a small town near Drummondville.
"The treatments consisted of a process of sweating by being all wrapped in plastic with mud, and also with blankets," said Sgt. √Čloise Cossette. Both women were also encased in cardboard boxes.
They were both unconscious when emergency services arrived at the rented farmhouse early Friday morning.
The second woman regained consciousness during the ambulance ride to Sainte-Croix Hospital in Drummondville and is in stable condition.
At least 10 people were undergoing the detox treatments at the time, which lasted for several hours, and did not include drinking water.
Police are investigating the farmhouse, which is being rented by a woman who offers an initiation to Reiki, a practice developed by a Japanese Buddhist in the 1920s.
Neighbours have previously complained to police about the farmhouse, after hearing loud screaming on the property.
"The screaming was odd, it gave me shivers," said neighbour Roxanne Labonté, who called authorities a month ago to complain about noise from the farmhouse.

Reiki: Healing for Pets and People

posted by Celeste Yarnall

Profound healing is possible through the power of touch. The Reiki practitioner, an initiated individual, channels energy in the form of pure white light to heal. Reiki originated in Tibet thousands of years ago, and its history may be traced through India, Egypt, Ephesus, Greece, Rome, China, and Japan, and from there to the West.
Reiki is not dependent on the energy clarity or healing ability of the practitioner. In other healing modalities, the conscious and subconscious belief system of the energy practitioner may affect the outcome of their chosen healing modality. With Reiki, the practitioner only serves as a conduit for the flow of pure white healing light; thus no negative energy is absorbed by or sent between the healer and the patient.
Reiki differs from other hands on-healing modalities by requiring a series of four attunements, which are like energetic initiations. These attunements activate and set the energy path in the practitioner. This energy path remains active for the practitioner’s entire life. It runs through the chakra system and ultimately to the hands. Whenever an initiated individual touches anything with the intention to help or heal, the Reiki energy auto- matically flows through their hands with no effort or expenditure on the practitioner’s part.
To give an attunement, the practitioner must be a Reiki master. The First Degree Reiki attunement activates the healing energy so that it flows when anything is physically touched with intention. The Second Degree Reiki attunement activates the energy so that it flows when certain symbols are performed by the Reiki practitioner, who can then activate healing at any distance, even without physically being present. The Third Degree or Master Reiki attunement activates the healing energy that sets the Reiki pathways in another individual.
The Reiki method of healing may be used on plants, animals, and people from infants to the elderly. Some have even had results using it with electrical devices and machines, as well. It has been effective in treating everything from mild imbalances to life-threatening illnesses. Reiki is a wonderful anti-aging technique because it increases blood flow to areas where it was restricted, thereby allowing the body to cleanse itself more deeply. Reiki can also realign muscles, nerves, and even bones, improving energy and information flow throughout the body.
Within the Reiki community of practitioners, many people, such as myself, specialize in working with dogs and cats. Reiki, therefore becomes part of an overall holistic approach to restoring balance and well being on the physical level especially when incorporating clinical nutrition with it’s emphasis on canine and feline species specific diets, organic supplementation and then by adding Reiki on the spiritual level we find that this rounds out the whole body, mind, spirit approach to wellness. Thus, we can easily include Reiki as a healing tool in our tool box of healing therapies for both ourselves and our animal companions.
The animal Reiki practitioner often receives intuitive information from the animal during treatment, some refer to this as medical intuition and call themselves a medical intuitive. This intuitive information is helpful to the animal’s human companion, if and when one receives it, in understanding what their animal friend is going through at the time and perhaps which organs systems need particular attention. As the signals or energy patterns are read the practitioner can direct the Reiki energy to that particular organ system. Reiki is also quite relaxing to both the Reiki practitioner and whomever actually receives it. Cats and dogs are especially good at living in the moment, and they appreciate as much stress reduction as possible for not only themselves but also for their human companions, as well. They know it is not good for them or us!
The Reiki animal practitioner can be an extremely valuable ally to your doctor of veterinary medicine. However, since there is so little known about energy medicine and its healing modalities in a western veterinary clinical setting, it can often become difficult to include a Reiki practitioner in your cat or dog’s therapy. If you find a holistic veterinarian who is a Reiki practitioner, or at least understands its principles, you are indeed fortunate. Perhaps you can open the door for your own vet to explore the many benefits of Reiki for both people and pets.
Celeste Yarnall, Ph.D is an author, lecturer and holistic practitioner. Through her company Celestial Pets, she consults with animal companions and specializes in the species specific, raw carnivore diet and EFT Tapping solutions. She is a medical intuitive, Reiki Master and author of 4 books. Her latest, The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, co-authored by Jean Hofve, DVM., covers the protocols used in the rearing of 11 generations of Celeste’s own Tonkinese Cats. Celeste is a member of the Moxxor Holistic Advisory Board, a motivational speaker and is a frequent guest in all media outlets.  She and her husband, Nazim Nazim, a contemporary artist, live in Westlake Village, CA with their 4 cats! You can connect with Celeste on Facebook here.

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Smith: Lammas celebrates the first harvest for the coming winter

Happy Lammas 2011!
The Pagan holiday Lammas, observed between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox, has arrived.
Lammas is marked from Aug. 1 to Aug. 2 at sunset, as the Earth moves from days full of light, toward days with long nights. Long ago, this day coincided with the first harvest, when folks marked the passings of the sun, moon and stars. The first harvest brings the awareness of the coming winter. It is a season of endings and completion, a point between the free and easy times of summer, when daylight grows dim, before the ground goes to sleep with the restrictions of winter.
Pagans view the human cycle of birth, death and continuation as a reflection of the grain cycle of growth, fall and rebirth. This is the time that modern Pagans also face their fears, concentrate on developing their own skills and take steps to protect themselves and their home. It is the time that we Pagans harvest the fruits of our actions during the past season.
For 2011, with all the crops lost by flooding and the devastation by tornadoes throughout the Midwest, it is time for a real first harvest celebration. Not only for the reaped bounty that survived but also for the lives of those who survived. It is said, "As Man toils in the fields, the Gods still control Nature."
Celebrate a happy Lammas with your familyand friends, then begin the work to stock the shelves for the winter ahead. Make a toast to the passing of summer. Lammas harvest feasts include: tomatoes, peaches, corn (popcorn), potatoes, cabbage (sauerkraut or cole slaw), onions, grains (breads and feast breads), berries (especially blackberry pies are traditionally eaten in honor of the harvest), cider, cornbread sticks and barley soup. Bake any of these breads on Lammas: wheat, corn, gingerbread or just make popcorn. Feed a piece of the baked bread to someone, saying, "May you never go hungry."
Please enjoy all the work of the fields and vines, and don't forget the napkins for the berries.
Blessed be!
Terry Smith is a Pagan living in Pineville.

North Wales Police reveal supernatural incidents

by Kate Forrester, DPW West

ASSAULTS by ghosts, visits from vampires and thefts by witches... These are just a handful of the supernatural incidents reported to North Wales Police within the last five years.
The force revealed it has been called to deal with incidents involving ghosts, vampires and witches – but has moved to assure residents that “no reports of demons, werewolves, wizards or zombies” have been received.
One distressed caller told officers they were possessed by a ghost, while another believed they were a vampire.
Out of 41 incidents, nine rang 999 to report ghosts in their house, five reported witches and one claimed to be sharing their home with a vampire.
Four separate spirit sightings were recorded, while mischievous ghosts and witches were alleged to be responsible for three assaults and a theft.
And two callers believed they were being pursued by witches, while one reported being “surrounded by witches and vampires”.
The force also received 13 calls reporting UFO sightings between 2004 and 2011.
The last recorded incident, revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request, was in Conwy last year, when a caller reported seeing an object directly above their house which they described as “a huge light with glowing green triangles at the back”.
Elfyn Roberts, co-owner of North Wales-based company Supernatural Activity, said people who experience ghostly incidents are often afraid to seek help.
He added: “It is quite unusual for people to report supernatural activity like this to the police, or to anyone.
“Often when people report these kinds of incidents to us, it takes a lot of persuasion on our part before they will agree to let us investigate because they are worried about the consequences and making the problem worse.
“Our advice to anyone who experiences an unexplained incident is to get in touch with people who have professional expertise.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lifeboat 'rescue' disturbs pagan ritual on Chiswick Eyot

By Lima Curtis

A PAGAN ritual was disturbed when a concerned lifeboat attendant responded to a 999 call.
Chiswick RNLI were called to Chiswick Eyot, an island on the Thames near Kew Bridge, after reports of a distressed person in the water last Tuesday.
However, when Ian Owen landed on the island he came across a woman in a multicoloured robe or blanket, rubbing soil into her skin, taking part in a pagan ceromony.
He said: "She appeared to be in her late 20s or early 30s, had closely cropped hair and had been daubing her face with mud.
"She was quite indignant at being interrupted, saying she had a perfect right to perform her religious rituals.
"I assured her that the lifeboat crew were solely interested in ensuring her safety."
After Mr Owen spoke to the lady she walked off, crossing the river bed to Chiswick Mall. 
Station manager Wayne Bellamy commented: "Chiswick RNLI lifeboat has experienced a very wide range of calls in the last nine years, but a pagan ritual was definitely a first."


NASA scientists believe they may have found the final resting place of a 1960s space probe which took "the picture of the [last] century" before crashlanding on the far side of the Moon.

The information comes in new imagery from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), sent up to circle the Moon under the Bush administration's plan for a manned return to our satellite body as a precursor to Mars missions. The LRO was intended to map the lunar surface in unprecedented detail, perhaps discovering useful ice deposits or crater-rim landing sites where solar power would be available year round.

All that became rather moot when Congress refused to fund the ambitious Moonbase plans and president Obama duly axed them. But the LRO has nonetheless produced many fascinating finds: and now, NASA boffins operating it believe they may have discovered the crash site of a previous Moon-recce craft called Lunar Orbiter 2.

Lunar Orbiter 2 had a similar mission to the LRO, in that it was sent up to help with selection of landing sites for the Apollo moon missions – many of which actually happened, unlike the recently-cancelled Constellation ones. However the instrumentation of the day was far less sophisticated than the LRO's and as all students of space history will know the first landing – by Apollo 11 in 1969 – almost ended in disaster as the lunar module's autopilot tried to set it down in a dangerous field of boulders, forcing a hairy manual intervention by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin when just 400 feet up.

Despite not being a total success in the matter of moon mapping, Lunar Orbiter 2 did achieve lasting fame when it sent back a stunning oblique image of the Copernicus crater in 1967 (above), dubbed "the picture of the century" by news media at the time. Later that year, its mission complete, the Orbiter was disposed of by commanding it to crashland on the lunar farside. Its exact resting place has never been known, but now the operators of the LROC have found what they believe is a tell-tale impact site just at the coordinates where the Orbiter should have come down.

It's not yet certain that this marks the last resting place of the greatest robot photographer of the last century, but the LRO scientists are working on confirmation.

"We are currently re-targeting the area under a higher incidence angle to help with crater rim measurements."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

History Time: Salem witchcraft in the opera house

Posted by Amanda Stonely 

Photo from Contemporary American Composers by Rupert Hughes (1900)
Edgar Stillman Kelley (1857-1944) composer of "Puritania, or the Earl and the Maid of Salem"
Oh, Salem! Salem! Where are all your tears?
Oh, little town which I loved so long
Shall e’er your bitter heart grow sweet again?
Farewell, farewell...

~from the opera “A Witch of Salem”
by Charles Wakefield Cadman (first performed 1926)

The published introduction to the opera “A Witch of Salem” states that the Salem Witch Trials era was one of “delusion, hysteria, credulity, fear mixed with pretense.”  Cadman and librettist Nelle Richmond Eberhart are among those who realized that these features, offering spectacles of the supernatural, the trials, and executions, were perfect grist for the operatic mill, though all of them embellished the stories to varying degrees.

Charles Wakefield Cadman (1881–1946) was a highly regarded composer who had researched, collected and published Native American songs and consciously incorporated these stylistic elements in his own compositions.

The plot of “A Witch of Salem,” though set in 1692, is only very loosely tied to the actual events of that year. It revolves around the family of Nathaniel Willoughby. His ward Sheila has, in her mind, exaggerated a remembered kiss into the status of a relationship with Anthony Talbott–who is engaged to Willoughby’s daughter Claris. When Sheila’s love goes unrequited, she arranges to have teenaged girls accuse Claris of witchcraft.

As Claris is being led to the gallows, Sheila has an attack of remorse and trades her own life for that of the unjustly accused. (Though, truthfully, after reading the libretto, I wonder whether her character is simply depressed and commits suicide by bloodthirsty mob.)

Among the eye- and ear-catching elements of the opera: Madagascar pirates who arrive to attend the hanging, singing in French, and a scene featuring Sheila singing “a weird Irish Banshee song.” This last is followed by a wailing sound apparently made by the actual Banshee! One character, “Tibuda, an Indian servant” seems to be based on the historical Tituba, although that is where the resemblance ends.

Cadman’s compositions show the influence of his study of so-called “exotic musics.” His music, albeit finely crafted, expressive and interesting, has not stood the test of time.

“A Witch of Salem” premiered in Chicago in 1926 and, though reasonably successful, never became part of the standard repertoire and, as far as I can tell, has never been recorded.

In contrast, Robert Ward’s opera “The Crucible” has enjoyed much more sustained success. Written fifty years ago, it won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for music and has been performed frequently since then. There is at least one available recording.

The libretto was by Bernard Stambler, who based it on the well-known Arthur Miller play. Since this play is so familiar I will forgo retelling the plot here.

Perhaps the strangest Salem-witch-trial opera I’ve found is “Puritania or the Earl and the Maid of Salem” by Edgar Stillman Kelley, set to a libretto by C.M.S. McLellan. This comic opera imitates the style of Gilbert and Sullivan in both music and text.

Kelley was a contemporary of the aforementioned Cadman; he also composed in a style influenced by Native American and non-European music. The show opened in Boston in June 1892–almost exactly two hundred years after original Salem witch hysteria.

The convoluted plot revolves around the exploits of Vivian George Trevelyan, Earl of Barrenland, and Elizabeth, the “maid of Salem.” Elizabeth manages to get herself arrested repeatedly for witchcraft, each time by self-accusation.

  The Earl is an oddly belligerent character who sings:

“ cut a fellows head straight off is unrestricted joy,
and to nick a chap between the ribs is bliss without alloy.”

Act One finds us on the Salem seashore. Elizabeth is convicted by the Witch Finder General and is about to be executed when the Earl, arriving from England, fortuitously falls in love with her. They sail back to England to get a pardon from Charles II.

Act Two begins in a chamber below the royal palace, where conspirators are setting gunpowder. When they’re done, the leader sits down on a keg of gunpowder and lights his pipe...

Act Two, Scene Two, takes place in the palace itself. While Elizabeth is being interrogated, she nervously draws a pentagram on the ground. Suddenly there is an explosion, and a man comes flying up through the floor. Everyone is convinced that Elizabeth is a witch until the man explains what happened and reveals that he is her father. (Yes, her father…) They all live happily ever after, somehow.

In a critique in 1904’s “The History of American Music” Louis Charles Elson praised the music of “Puritania.”  However, he found fault with the libretto: “A thinking auditor will always regret seeing so awful a subject used as a comic libretto. The tears of one century can never furnish the laughter of another. To one who reads history, the martyrdom of Giles Corey and Rebecca Nourse would forbid ever jesting about Salem witch-finders.”

His critique has a strangely modern ring to it.

Jim Dalton is a founding board member of the Salem History Society and is a professor of music theory and music education at The Boston Conservatory. He and his wife Maggi specialize in the research and performance of 19th century American music. Reach him at: For information on joining the Salem History Society, visit 

Original Article on


Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi 

Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 5072 (3rd century AD), Uncanonical Gospel. Photo courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society and Imaging Papyri Project, Oxford. All rights reserved.
Hundreds of thousands of papyrus fragments, retrieved 100 years ago from a dry rubbish dump in the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, have been put online in a bid to crowdsource translations.
Written in Greek during a period when Egypt was under the control of a Greek (and later Roman) settler class, the texts include a variety of documents -- from works of literature, letters, receipts to gossip.
A fascinating window into ancient lives, the images represent a monumental task: although the scraps of parchment were discovered in 1896, scholars have so far deciphered only two per cent of the text.
Many of the papyri had not been read for over a thousand years.
"We thought it was time we called in some help," project leader Chris Lintott of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, said.
Working in collaboration with Oxford University papyrologists and Egypt Exploration Society, Lintott’s team launched the Ancient Lives website, where armchair archaeologists can help with cataloguing and translating the ancient manuscripts.
Although the phrase "it's all Greek to me" seems to fit perfectly the project, knowledge of the classic language is not necessary.
Visitors to the Ancient Lives website are shown an image of an extract and then you can click on a character in the image and then what you believe is the corresponding Greek character in a keyboard below.
As untranslated fragments appear on the website, character-recognition tools will help people match the letters to symbols. Once the letters have been transliterated, the computer verifies whether the manuscript has been translated by an academic. If not, it passes it on to the scholars for further study.
Researchers have already discovered fragments of a previously unknown "lost" gospel which describes Jesus casting out demons, new letters of the philosopher Epicurus, various dialogues of Plato, a papyrus of the philosopher and poet Empedocles on the anatomy of the eye, Euripides’ lost play Melanippe the Wise, Menander’s Misoumenos, and various plays by Aristophanes.
Among personal and private papers, we learn that Aurelius the sausage-maker has taken out a loan for 9,000 silver denarii, perhaps to expand his business, while in another letter, written in 127 AD, a grandmother called Sarapias, asks that her daughter is brought home so that she can be present at the birth of her grandchild.
Since the website’s launch on Tuesday, volunteers have already transcribed more than 100,000 characters, according to Ancient Lives.
"This effort is pervaded by a spirit of collaboration," said project director Dirk Obbink, lecturer in Papyrology and Greek Literature at the University of Oxford.
"No single pair of eyes can see and read everything. From scientists and professors to school students and ancient enthusiasts, everyone has something to contribute – and gain," Obbink said.

The wonder herb sage

, Rural Living Examiner

Our plant of the week this week is mint and another lovely herb apart of the Lamiaceae (mint) family is sage (Salvia officinalis). Sage has over 2400 different species which are grown all over the world. Its name is derived from the Latin word salvare which means “to save”. It has been a favored herb for centuries as it was believed to have strong healing properties which science today has proven and it is also now known to have high amounts of Omega 3.
Sage’s use was originated in the Balkan and Mediterranean regions, dating back to early Greek and Roman history. In ancient times sage was used as a tea which people drank to give them long life and improve memory, but its first use was to preserve meats. It has astringent properties and is used as an antiseptic as well.
Like all other mints, sage is used for digestion and has been used for culinary purposes for over 2000 years. Sage is an easily grown plant in pots as a porch herb and grows equally as well in herb beds. Sage’s blue and purple flowers along with its strong scent make it wonderful for landscaping as an accent plant.
Sage should be sown indoors thinly and covered by a very thin layer of dirt. When the seedlings are ready to transplant they should be placed at least 3ft apart. Sage can tolerate a wide variety of soils growing best in clay loam, but it will need adequate amounts of nitrogen and good drainage to thrive regardless of the type of soil it is grown in.
The leaves should be harvested before the flowers bloom to ensure maximum flavor and scent. Dry the leaves on screens, or hung by the stems, in a well ventilated room and then stored in tightly sealed jars. You can also store fresh sage in your refrigerator by wrapping the leaves loosely in paper towels and storing them in open containers. Regardless of your use for sage you will find it a delightful addition to your home and garden.
Simple sage tea for memory and vitality: Add 2teaspoons of dried leaves to 1cup of boiling water. Cover tightly and allow steeping till the liquid is cool and no longer steaming (about 30 minutes). Strain and sweeten if desired with licorice or honey. Sage often has a sweetness of its own and does not need sweetened. It is all a matter of taste.
Note: White sage is the only sage found safe for use in smudges and as smoking incense.

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