Category: history


Highgate Cemetery – London’s Most Haunted

Highgate Cemetery is steeped in supernatural lore. Constructed out of need with six other cemeteries in the early 1800s, with London’s population nearing a million and the death toll rising, there was no more room to bury the dead. This cemetery is one of the most famous in the world, with many notable historic figures, such as Karl Marx, buried there.

The architecture of the cemetery is truly unique. In the heart of the grounds is an eccentric structure called the Egyptian Avenue which consists of sixteen vaults, entered via a great arch. Each vault fits twelve coffins, purchased and used by individual families. This avenue leads to the Circle of Lebanon which was built in the same style consisting of thirty six vaults. A separate gothic-styled catacomb, named the Terrace Catacombs, has an additional fifty five vaults.

But what lures most people to the cemetery are the legends and myths that include ghosts, a vampire and other unexplained phenomena. Spirits coming out of the mausoleums, a glowing woman who roams the paths in between the graves, a man in a top hat, and misty ghosts that hang around the tombs are just some of the the spirits that inhabit the cemetery. Its the account of the “Highgate Vampire” that makes the site legendary.

The first report was in 1970, when a young man reported that he had seen a dark figure resembling a vampire in the cemetery. Since then, hundreds of claims of suspected vampires continued to be reported. Helping the belief along was the fact that dead foxes, with their throats torn open, kept turning up on the grounds. Aside from ghosts and a resident vampire, Highgate Cemetery in London is a hauntingly beautiful place to visit, or spend eternity.




Michelle D. Brock, Richard Raiswell and David R. Winter, Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits in the Early Modern Period (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Legends, Mysteries, Light and Darkness: The Secret History of the Biblical Cave of the Patriarchs: undefined

Zorats Karer: The Incredible History of the 7,500-year-old Armenian Stonehenge: undefined

Lupus In Fabula: The Wolf In The Story: undefined






TIL Humans appeared 200,000 years ago. Written history begins 5,500 years ago. This means 97% of human history is lost forever.


not to be all like “this is the culmination of the violence of writing that everybody from plato to rousseau wrote about,” but like the automatic assumption that written history is the only real history and that indigenous oral traditions, which in some cases stretch back more than ten thousand years, are automatically precluded from containing actual memory, is both racist and colonial as fuck and also the culmination of the violence of writing that everybody from plato to rousseau wrote about

This post tragically attracts so many Well Ackshooallys who think they’re very clever for pointing out that oral tradition can be flawed (I guess we’re supposed to believe Marco Polo’s writings as fact since it was written down, while discarding oral traditions because they weren’t?) even though the particular native people referenced, Aboriginal Australians, have a breathtakingly accurate oral tradition due to cross-checking, and it’s actually believed by experts in the field that the oral tradition accurately dates back 18 thousand years, even further than claimed!

Excerpt from Guardian article “Revealed: how indigenous Australian storytelling accurately record sea level rises 7,000 years ago”

“Say I’m a man from central Australia, my father teaches me stories about my country,” Reid said.

“My sister’s children, my nephews and nieces, are explicitly tasked with the kin-based responsibility for ensuring I know those stories properly. They take those responsibilities seriously. At any given point in time my father is telling the stories to me and his grandkids are checking. Three generations are hearing the story at once … that’s a kind of scaffolding that can keep stories true.

“When you have three generations constantly in the know, and tasked with checking as a cultural responsibility, that creates the kind of mechanism that could explain why [Indigenous Australians] seem to have done something that hasn’t been achieved elsewhere in the world: telling stories for 10,000 years.”

It is also a form of cultural supremacy to assume that if a solution to a problem isn’t immediately obvious from your external (highly educated, superior?) viewpoint, the problem must not have a solution.

Also people are like ‘okay so that’s a small percentage difference, who cares?’ The difference is making explicit cultural supremacy the invisible focal point needed for a concept to work, or addressing cultural supremacy. Also it’s from a website known for allowing all kinds of blatant white supremacy, let alone discouraging discussions of racial microaggressions, use your brain.

Keep in mind that a lot of historical records were wiped out due to imperialism, colonialism, and the cultural genocide of ethnic populations (especially Indigenous and Black populations) globally. History isn’t lost because it wasn’t written down, it was purposefully compromised at many points.

All good points.


Snow White no longer a fairy tale?


On June 24th 1947 everything changed, and pilot Kenneth Arnold was the first to know it. Arnold was flying over Washington state from Chehalis to Yakima and he took a short detour toward Mount Rainier where a U.S. Marine Corps C-46 transport airplane had reportedly gone missing. By Arnold’s account the flying conditions were perfect, clear and smooth, but then at 3pm he saw them. A chain of shining, metallic, saucer-shaped objects stretching at least five miles long. When Arnold landed his story spread like wildfire and he is largely credited with being the first to ignite America’s feverish pursuit of UFOs. But, Arnold was not the first to see unexplained phenomena in the sky. The first recorded incident happened well before he was born, before there were airplanes, and before America was even a country.


Kenneth Arnold

In the 1600s Massachusetts was a wilderness with much promise, but few people. The first major settlement in the state was the Plymouth Colony which was followed up by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a wave of immigrants arriving from England in 1630 led by Puritan lawyer John Winthrop. Winthrop came from a wealthy family and he served as the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for twelve of the colony’s first twenty years, founded what is now the city of Boston, and formed numerous settlements along the Charles River. He was also an active writer and although they were not considered valuable at the time, his works A Model of Christian Charity and The History of New England are now considered to be invaluable accounts of Puritan living in the new world, the journey across the Atlantic, and the history of Massachusetts through the 1640s.

These works are considered historical treasures, but one entry from Winthrop’s diary dated March 1, 1639 raises the eyebrows of almost everyone who reads it. In this entry Winthrop writes about an incident involving James Everell, a “sober, discrete man” and an experience shared by him and two others one night on the Muddy River. Everell and his companions were in a small boat when they spotted a bright light in the sky that expanded, contracted, and darted back and forth between the starting point and a spot near Charlestown (a distance of approximately two miles) for two or three hours:

“In this year one James Everell, a sober, discreet man, and two others, saw a great light in the night at Muddy River. When it stood still, it flamed up, and was about three yards square; when it ran, it was contracted into the figure of a swine: it ran as swift as an arrow towards Charlton, and so up and down about two or three hours.”

When the phenomena disappeared the men report that they found themselves one mile upstream, a feat that would have required them to actively row against the tide. They said that they had done no such thing and that they had no memory of how they got there. The account could have marked them as mad, but they were not the only ones to see the mysterious darting light. According to the entry from Winthrop “Diverse other credible persons saw the same light, after, about the same place.”

While some have tried to explain the light as natural phenomena, the March 1, 1639 entry is not the only time that Winthrop recorded bizarre sightings in the sky above his newly founded city. Years later on January 18, 1644 Winthrop wrote another diary entry describing how two men traveling to Boston by boat witnessed another strange incident:

“About midnight, three men, coming in a boat to Boston, saw two lights arise out of the water near the north point of the town cove, in form like a man, and went at a small distance to the town, and so to the south point, and there vanished away. They saw them about a quarter of an hour, being between the town and the governor’s garden. The like was seen by many, a week after, arising about Castle Island and in one fifth of an hour came to John Gallop’s point”

One week later another celestial event caused Winthrop to take up his pen. In this latest incident a light “like the moon” was reported joining and separating in the skies over Boston:

A light like the moon arose about the N.E. point in Boston, and met the former at Nottles Island, and there they closed in one, and then parted, and closed and parted diverse times, and so went over the hill in the island and vanished. Sometimes they shot out flames and sometimes sparkles. This was about eight of the clock in the evening, and was seen by many.”


Map showing Boston circa 1649

This account from Winthrop was like the previous in that it focused on unexplained light phenomena in the sky, but it continues further, taking a turn to also include a ghostly encounter. Several months earlier, the approximate location of the lights was the site of a horrific accident on the water where a ship exploded after a sailor accidently set the cargo of gunpowder on fire. Five crew members were killed and all bodies were recovered except for the man responsible for igniting the powder. Before the explosion the man claimed to have unusual powers, like speaking to the dead, which made some believe that he died in the explosion only to have his body and soul taken by the devil. According to the diary entry of Winthrop, men experienced more unexplained occurrences at the same time that the “moon” light was rising above Boston, and again approximately two weeks later:

About the same time, a voice was heard upon the water between Boston and Dorchester, calling out in a most dreadful manner, ‘Boy! Boy! Come away! Come away!’; and it suddenly shifted from one place to another a great distance, about 20 times. It was heard by diverse godly persons. About 14 days after, the same voice in the same dreadful manner was heard by others on the other side of the town towards Nottles Island.”

The Puritans of New England had many beliefs and claims that are easily explained away by more modern applications of science and general common sense. It is because of this that it can be startling to read unexplained accounts from over 300 years ago that so closely resemble reports still being filed today. John Winthrop was a prime example of the upstanding, honest, law-abiding Puritan citizen and yet in his diaries, now historical documents used as scholarly works, there are at least three entries addressing unexplained phenomena of lights moving through the skies and disembodied voices, all with multiple “diverse godly persons” witnessing them.

Regardless of one’s belief in the paranormal, it is a fact that within the early dawning years of this country one of the leading men who helped plant the roots of America recorded his experiences with the new world around him, including phenomena that we were not able to explain in the skies over Washington in 1947, and  are no closer to explaining today.


John Winthrop