Archive for the 'Mysterious History' Category

Burial mounds, chapels…Stonehenge is more than just stone.

In case you missed this before, or did not have a chance to see the pictures, here’s a bit on those discoveries made at Stonehenge last year. (Not that we mystery-minded folks were ever all that surprised by this news!)

 

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Archaeologists Have Made An Incredible Discovery At Stonehenge

 

by George Dvorsky (io9)

 

“Using powerful ground-penetrating radar, investigators working around Stonehenge have detected a trove of previously unknown burial mounds, chapels, shrines, pits — and most remarkable of all — a massive megalithic monument made up of more than 50 giant stones buried along a 1,082-foot-long c-shaped enclosure.

 

This news is unreal — and it’s resetting virtually everything we thought we knew about Stonehenge. Just a week after finding out that Stonehenge was once a complete circle, archaeologists from Birmingham and Bradford universities, and from the Ludwig Boltzman Institute in Vienna, have shattered the image of Stonehenge as a desolate and lonely place…”

 

For more on this, and pictures, click here.

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Portraits of madwomen

Each one of them could be a character in their own tragic novel…

 

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(Dangerous Minds)

 

“Among the early pioneers of photography in the 1800s was a middle-aged English doctor called Hugh Welch Diamond, who believed photography could be used in the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill. Diamond first established his medical career with a private practice in Soho, London, before specializing in psychiatry and becoming Resident Superintendent of the Female Department at the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in 1848—a position he held until 1858. Diamond was an early adopter of photography, taking his first portraits just three months after Henry Fox Talbot licensed his “salt print” process for producing “photogenic drawings.” As a follower of “physiognomics”—a popular science based on the theory that disease (and character) could be discerned from an individual’s features or physiognomy—Diamond believed photography could be used as a curative therapy…”

 

For the rest, and an amazing gallery of images, click here.

 

 

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The Nocturnal Picaresque

A “noctuary” is  “an account of what passes at night” — this lovely little word opens the door to so many mysterious musings…

 

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The Nightwalker and the Nocturnal Picaresque

 

The introduction of street lighting to 17th-century London saw an explosion of nocturnal activity in the capital, most of it centering around the selling of sex. Matthew Beaumont explores how some writers, with the intention of condemning these nefarious goings-on, took to the city’s streets after dark, and in the process gave birth to a peculiar new literary genre.

 

“At the end of the seventeenth century a new literary genre or subgenre emerged in England, one that might be characterized as the nocturnal picaresque. Its authors, who were moralists or satirists or social tourists, or all of these at the same time, and who were almost invariably male, purported to recount their episodic adventures as pedestrians patrolling the streets of the metropolis at night.

 

These narratives, which often provided detailed portraits of particular places, especially ones with corrupt reputations, also paid close attention to the precise times when more or less nefarious activities unfolded in the streets. As distinct from diaries, they were noctuaries (in his Dictionary of the English Language [1755], Samuel Johnson defined a “noctuary” simply as “an account of what passes at night”).1 These apparently unmediated, more or less diaristic accounts of what happened during the course of the night on the street embodied either a tragic or a comic parable of the city, depending on whether their authors intended to celebrate its nightlife or condemn it as satanic…”

 

For the rest, click here to go to The Public Domain Review.

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