The Lost Norseman?

In 1956, Ghia built a concept car named the Chrysler Norseman. This prototype was anticipated to be a major attraction during 1957 auto shows. However, it subsequently vanished, never to be seen again. What happened to the Lost Norseman?

The SS Andrea Doria - The Last Resting Place of the Lost Norseman

The SS Andrea Doria – The Last Resting Place of the Lost Norseman
Description: The SS Andrea Doria sinking after being struck by the MS Stockholm
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The SS Andrea Doria – The Last Resting Place of the Lost Norseman?

The Chrysler Norseman was designed by Chrysler stylists and built by Ghia, a coach-building firm based in Italy. The vehicle was fully drivable and featured a very unusual cantilevered roof.

On July 17, 1956, the car was loaded onto a New York-bound ocean liner named the SS Andrea Doria. All was well at first. Then on July 25, the Andrea Doria smashed into the MS Stockholm near Nantucket, Massachusetts. It managed to stay afloat for 11 hours, giving time for most of the crew and passengers to escape. However, the Norseman was not so fortunate. The following day, the ocean liner sank into 150 feet of water, taking 46 lives and the concept car with it.

“Given what your average car looks like after ten Michigan winters, after a near sixty year salt bath, it’s likely that little remains of the Norseman.” ~ Rob Sass, Legendary Lost Cars

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The Norseman was never shown in public and indeed, few people ever saw the completed vehicle. Today, it lives on only in photographs. The Andrea Doria has been extensively salvaged over the years. At present, most of its valuable artifacts have been recovered. However, no one has rescued any of the vehicles contained in its 50-car garage. Thus, the Norseman is still down there, lost in 150 feet of cold, turbulent waters. Silently, it waits. It waits for an intrepid diver to recover it and restore it. It waits for one more chance at wowing the world.

“The Norseman was put into a wooden crate and placed in the number 2 cargo area. While looking for a lost diver, I had an opportunity to see the Norseman for myself in the cargo hold. The crate had disintegrated and the car was in very, very poor condition. The ocean’s salt water invaded the Norseman’s metal and most of the car is rust, corrosion and a heap of indistinguishable junk. The tires are still there and have assisted to its identification.” ~ David Bright, Prototype Car of the Future Lost on the Andrea Doria – Norseman

The Lost Obelisk of Babylonia

An ancient Greek historian named Diodorus Siculus once wrote about a massive obelisk in Babylonia. He called it one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. What happened to it?

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: What was the Lost Obelisk of Babylonia?

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: What was the Lost Obelisk of Babylonia?
Description: Workers moving ancient Egyptian Obelisk in the 19th Century
Source: La Nature magazine (1878)

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The Lost Obelisk of Babylonia?

From 60 to 30 BC, Diodorus wrote his Bibliotheca historica, a gigantic forty-book collection of history compiled from multiple sources. Unfortunately, many of the volumes have been lost to time. However, Books 1-5 as well as Books 11-20 still exist. It is in Book 2 that he mentions the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Lost Obelisk is one of those wonders.

“Semiramis quarried out a stone from the mountains of Armenia which was one hundred and thirty feet long and twenty-five feet wide and thick; and this she hauled by means of many multitudes of yokes of mules and oxen to the river and there loaded it on a raft, on which she brought it down the stream to Babylonia; she then set it up beside the most famous street, an astonishing sight to all who passed by. And this stone is called by some an obelisk from its shape, and they number it among the seven wonders of the world.” ~ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica, Book 2, Chapter II, Verses 4-5

Semiramis is the Greek name for Shammuramat, who served as regent of Assyria from 810 to 806 BC. However, for the ancient Greeks, Semiramis was shrouded in mythology. According to Diodorus, she was the daughter of the fish goddess Derketo and a mortal man. He describes her as being married to King Ninus, who is notably absent from the Assyrian King List.

So, any stories about Semiramis are obviously in question. However, that doesn’t mean the Lost Obelisk wasn’t real or that it wasn’t once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. For example, Diodorus attributes the very real Behistun Inscription of Darius to Semiramis. So, it’s entirely possible Diodorus or one of his sources saw the Lost Obelisk and misattributed it.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Interestingly enough, the Lost Obelisk makes an appearance in The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy (and how to end it). Here’s the relevant passage:

“The ancient Greek historian, Diodorus, reports that Queen Semiramis erected a 130-foot obelisk in Babylon and it was associated with Sun worship and represented the phallus of the Sun god Baal/Nimrod. Some Masonic researchers say that the word ‘obelisk’ literally means ‘Baal’s shaft’ or ‘Baal’s organ of reproduction’.” ~ David Icke, The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy (and how to end it)

Icke goes on to say, “It is for this reason that the obelisk also represents the Reptilian hybrid bloodlines which are, let’s be honest, a bunch of dicks.” For those of you are unfamiliar with him, David Icke believes humanity is controlled by a secret group of reptilian humanoids which he calls the Babylonian Brotherhood. So, yeah…

Sadly, no physical evidence of the Lost Obelisk remains today. And as far as I know, its not specifically mentioned in any other ancient text from that time period. Hopefully, it’s still out there somewhere, waiting for the intrepid archaeologist to dig it up.

The Lost Spitfire Squadron?

In August 1945, a dozen Spitfires were shipped from England to Burma. Another eight were mailed in December. However, they were considered excessive and soldiers were ordered to bury the boxes before they’d even been unpacked. What happened to the Lost Spitfire Squadron?

What happened to the Lost Spitfire Squadron?

What happened to the Lost Spitfire Squadron?
Description: Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XIIs of 41 Squadron
Attribution: Photograph Imperial War Museum CH 12754
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Lost Spitfire Squadron?

After fifteen years and over $200,000, British farmer David Cundall recently announced the discovery of the forgotten Spitfires. He was inspired to search for them by a comment made by a U.S. veteran to his friend Jim Pearce.

“‘They told Jim: ‘We’ve done some pretty silly things in our time, but the silliest was burying Spitfires.’ And when Jim got back from the US, he told me.” ~ David Cundall

According to Cundall, the Spitfires were buried under forty feet of soil in their original crates. The individual parts were waxed and wrapped in greased paper. The wings were folded back against the bodies. The joints were tarred. These efforts, designed to protect the planes during the shipping process, may have helped to preserve them as well.

Why were the Spitfires Abandoned in Burma?

The Americans expected the British to return to the burial site and dig them up. But this never happened, partly due to the increased production of newer, faster jets.

‘In 1945, Spitfires were 10 a penny. Jets were coming into service. Spitfires were struck off charge, unwanted. Lots of Spitfires were just pushed off the back of aircraft carriers into the sea. On land, you couldn’t leave them for the locals – they might have ended up being used against you.” ~ David Cundall

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Prior to Cundall’s discovery, there were only 35 Spitfires in existence. Strong demand and high prices (a refinished Spitfire sold for ~$3 million in 2009), have led aviation enthusiasts to search the globe for rumored caches of buried planes. So, where are Cundall’s new Spitfires? For the moment, they’re still underground, deep in the jungle.

“We sent a borehole down and used a camera to look at the crates. They seemed to be in good condition.” ~ David Cundall

They are likely to remain that way for at least a little while. International sanctions make it illegal for Burma to ship military materials in or out of the country. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron recently visited Burma, attempting to strike a deal to lift the sanctions as well as permit Cundall to excavate the site. With any luck, these Spitfires may eventually see the light of day and after more than six decades, finally reach the skies.

Da Vinci’s Lost Masterpiece?

On June 6, 1505, Leonardo da Vinci began to paint The Battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo Vecchio. Over fifty years later, Giorgio Vasari was hired to remodel the room where da Vinci’s mural was located. In the process, da Vinci’s mural vanished into thin air. New evidence suggests that not only does it still exist but that it is in the exact same place where it was painted all those years ago!

Copy of the lost Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci (Drawing by Peter Paul Rubens)

Copy of the lost Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci
Drawing by Peter Paul Rubens (1603)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Battle of the Anghiari – The Lost Leonardo?

The Battle of Anghiari is often referred to as “The Lost Leonardo.” At the time of its creation, it was considered his finest work. Today it’s remembered via a few sketches done by da Vinci as well as a Peter Paul Rubens drawing which was apparently inspired by a copy of the original work (Ruben’s drawing is pictured above).

For many centuries, this work was feared lost. However, it turns out Vasari had a penchant for secretly preserving artwork. Back in 1861, workers removed a wall from Santa Maria Novella. The wall had been adorned with Vasari’s Madonna of the Rosary. Behind it, they discovered a 1428 piece by Masaccio entitled Trinità. Rather than destroy Masaccio’s fresco, Vasari had covered it up with a false wall and in the process, saved it for future generations.

Did Giorgio Vasari save The Battle of Anghiari?

Art diagnostic expert Maurizio Seracini believes Vasari used similar techniques to save The Battle of Anghiari. In 2005, he used sophisticated radar equipment to discover “a narrow cavity behind the Vasari fresco Battle of Marciano.” In true Da Vinci Code fashion, he also found an inscription from Vasari on the Battle of Marciano. It reads “Cerca, trova.” Or, “Seek and you shall find.”

Yesterday, Seracini’s team reported that they have uncovered chemical evidence of da Vinci’s lost work. Here’s some details on the search for the lost Battle of Anghiari from Live Science:

  • “One of the samples contained a black material with a chemical composition similar to black pigment found in brown glazes on da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and “St. John the Baptist,” identified in a recently published scientific paper by the Louvre, which analyzed all the da Vinci paintings in its collection.
  • Flakes of red material found seem to be made up of organic material that may be associated with red lake (lacquer) — something unlikely to exist in an ordinary plastered wall.
  • From the high-definition images captured by the probe, the researchers saw a beige material on the original wall, which, they say, could only have been applied by a paintbrush.
  • The researchers confirmed an air gap between the brick wall holding Vasari’s mural and the wall behind it, something that had been identified in previous research using radar scans. The researchers speculate Vasari may have built a wall in front of da Vinci’s masterpiece in order to preserve it.”

Even if Vasari did store the mural behind a false wall, experts believe it could be in extremely poor shape. Still, we continue to believe the search is worthwhile. For if Seracini is right, then what may have been da Vinci’s greatest masterpiece will get a second opportunity to see the light of day…and to dazzle the world.

The Great Train Robbery?

On August 8, 1963, a crew of 17 men hijacked the Royal Mail train in Buckinghamshire, England. After taking the train to Bridego Bridge, they removed £2.6 million from it. Then they vanished into the night. Were they captured? And what happened to the money from the Great Train Robbery?

Image from The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Chaos Book Club

So, today marks Day 3 of the Chaos book club. Chaosis an adventure thriller along the lines of Indiana Jones or books written by Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Douglas Preston, or Steve Berry. If you haven’t already done so, please consider picking up a copy at one of the following locations:

Amazon Paperback * Kindle E-Book * Nook E-Book * Smashwords E-Book * iBooks E-Book * Kobo E-Book * Diesel E-Book * Sony E-Book

The Great Train Robbery

So, in the wee hours of the morning of August 8, 1963, conductor Jack Mills stopped his Royal Mail train at a mysterious red signal. His second, David Whitby, attempted to call the signalman from a nearby telephone only to discover that the line had been cut. Suddenly, fifteen robbers swarmed the locomotive.

They forced Mills to drive the train to Bridego Bridge and proceeded to attack the “High Value Packages” carriage. Guards offered some resistance but were quickly overwhelmed. Over the next twenty-five minutes, the robbers unloaded 121 mail sacks from the train and brought them into a waiting truck. The sacks contained £2.6 million in bank notes (roughly £40 million or $63 million in today’s money), many of which were going to be removed from circulation due to old age.

The robbers transported the money to Leatherslade Farm, which was located about 27 miles from the scene of the crime. They divided it into 17 shares (15 robbers, 2 informants) and used it to play Monopoly. Soon after, they fled the farm but they left behind plenty of fingerprints which were discovered by the police. By December, police had arrested nearly a dozen of the robbers as well as numerous associates.

What happened to the Money?

The ensuing trial was marked by controversy. One robber was freed for lack of evidence. The other ten robbers, for the most part, received 20-30 years in prison, far longer than the typical sentences handed out to murderers. Most egregiously, two innocent men were wrongfully convicted and given stiff sentences for a crime they didn’t commit.

As of today, seven robbers have escaped punishment, at least for a little while. As I mentioned, one man was freed. Two men escaped from prison – one stayed on the run for three years while the other waited until 2001 to turn himself in. Three robbers escaped as did a mysterious informant known only as “Ulsterman.”

Out of the original £2.6 million haul, about £0.4 million was recovered. The location of the remaining money has led some to believe that there is a hidden fortune, still waiting to be discovered. This is possible but unlikely. Most scholars believe that this money was spent fleeing the police or paying for lawyers. Also, large portions were probably spent by family members or were stolen outright.

The Great Train Robbery remains a partly-unsolved mystery. At least four participants were never captured. There is also the matter of the missing money, assuming that any of it is still around.

The Great Train Robbery & Chaos

The Great Train Robbery of 1963 was a monumental crime and has inspired countless books and films. On a more personal basis, it served as a partial inspiration for the prologue of Chaos.

“A loud high-pitched shriek reverberated across the tunnel, ping-ponging from wall to wall. Jenson glanced to his right. The Omega stood quietly in the semi-darkness.

Now what?

Metal rasped against metal. Then, three shadows hopped out of the subway car’s side and ventured to the front. ‘Running rails,’ one of the figures announced. ‘How the hell…?” ~ David Meyer, Chaos

I’ve always been fascinated by train robberies and the 1963 case is particularly interesting, thanks to the large cast of characters and the unsolved mysteries that still surround it. So, when I first sat down to write Chaos, I knew I wanted to set the stage with my own “Great Subway Train Robbery.” But instead of money, my robbers make off with a different sort of cargo…one that could wreak havoc not just on New York, but on the world as well…

Well, that’s it for today. Make sure you come back tomorrow when we will discuss a topic near to my heart…the conflict between Treasure Hunting and Archaeology.

 

Chaos Book Club

Lost Da Vinci Masterpiece Discovered?

On June 6, 1505, Leonardo da Vinci began to paint the Battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo Vecchio. The 12 by 15 foot mural depicted a Florentine victory over the Milanese. According to the famous Italian painter Giorgio Vasari, da Vinci never finished the project. New evidence suggests that not only was the painting completed but that it was covered up by none other than Vasari himself!

Copy of the lost Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci (Drawing by Peter Paul Rubens)

Copy of the lost Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci
Drawing by Peter Paul Rubens (1603)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Lost Leonardo da Vinci?

The Battle of Anghiari is often referred to as “The Lost Leonardo.” At the time of its creation, it was considered his finest work. Today it’s remembered via a few sketches done by da Vinci as well as a Peter Paul Rubens drawing which was apparently inspired by a copy of the original work (Ruben’s drawing is pictured above).

Over fifty years after da Vinci stopped working on the Battle of Anghiari, Vasari was hired to remodel the room where it was located. In the process, the mural vanished. Later art historians believed that Da Vinci’s painting was gone forever.

Did Giorgio Vasari save The Battle of Anghiari?

But in 1861, workers removed a wall from Santa Maria Novella. The wall had been adorned with Vasari’s Madonna of the Rosary. Behind it, they discovered a 1428 piece by Masaccio entitled Trinità. Rather than destroy Masaccio’s fresco, Vasari had covered it up with a false wall and in the process, saved it for future generations. In 2000, Carlo Pedretti “proposed that Vasari saved Leonardo’s masterpiece just as he had Masaccio’s.”

Art diagnostic expert Maurizio Seracini took the suggestion to heart. In 2005, he used  sophisticated radar equipment to discover “a narrow cavity behind the Vasari fresco Battle of Marciano.” In true Da Vinci Code fashion, he also found an inscription from Vasari on the Battle of Marciano. It reads “Cerca, trova.” Or, “Seek and you shall find.”

Seracini hopes to locate the work by using a “special copper-crystal mosaic gamma ray diffraction lens.” The camera would fire neutrons through the existing wall. If da Vinci’s painting is behind it, then the metals in the paint will emit gamma rays allowing Seracini to map the strokes. An ambitious fund-raising effort is underway to pay for the camera. But with just 32 days to go, it’s short by $244,000. If you’re interested in donating to the cause, visit here.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

It remains uncertain whether or not the painting was actually hidden away in the first place. And even if Vasari did store it behind a false wall, experts believe that it could be  in extremely poor shape. Still, the search is worthwhile. For if Seracini is right, then what may have been da Vinci’s greatest masterpiece will get a second opportunity to see the light of day…and to dazzle the world.

Where is the Colossus of Rhodes?

The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  At over 100 feet tall, it stood far higher than any other statue of its time.  Mysteriously, this behemoth disappeared over a thousand years ago and has been missing ever since.  So, what happened to it?

Colossus of Rhodes
Hand-Colored Engraving by Maarten van Heemskerck (16th Century)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Colossus of Rhodes?

Rhodes was a powerhouse of the ancient world.  After the death of Alexander the Great, it joined forces with Ptolemaic Egypt to control trade in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.  Unhappy with the situation, King Antigonus I Monophthalmus of Cyprus ordered his son to invade Rhodes.  The invasion was turned back.  A subsequent siege also failed and the Cyprus army was forced to flee, leaving behind most of its equipment.  The leaders of Rhodes decided to celebrate the victory by constructing a mammoth statue dedicated to Helios, the god of the sun.

In 292 BC, the sculptor Chares began work on the statue.  He used iron tie bars as framework and giant plates of brass as skin.  The Colossus of Rhodes was completed in 280 BC (Chares is believed to have committed suicide shortly before it was finished).  It stood close to one hundred and ten feet tall and with the addition of at least one fifty foot high marble pedestal, it reached over one hundred and sixty feet into the sky.

There is some confusion regarding the location of the statue.  Medieval historians believed that it straddled the harbor with each foot resting on a giant pillar.  However, modern archaeologists and engineers consider this unrealistic, since it would’ve been structurally unsound and forced a long-term closure of the port.  Instead, they believe that the Colossus of Rhodes rested on a single pedestal or on a hill overlooking the area.

The Collapse of the Colossus of Rhodes?

In 226 BC, a giant earthquake struck Rhodes, wreaking havoc on the city.  And after just 56 years, the mighty Colossus of Rhodes broke at the knees.  Afterwards, the ruins lay on the ground for over 800 years, becoming a tourist attraction in their own right.  In 654 AD, a Muslim leader named Muawiyah I conquered Rhodes.  Supposedly, he sold the ruins to a Jewish merchant who broke them down and transported them back to his home via camel.  However, this may be nothing more than a metaphor.

And a great number of men hauled on strong ropes which were tied round the brass Colossus which was in the city and pulled it down. And they weighed from it three thousand loads of Corinthian brass, and they sold it to a certain Jew from Emesa – Barhebraeus, 13th Century

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So where is the Colossus of Rhodes today? If we are to believe the stories, then the Colossus is gone, melted down and repurposed.  However, in 2008, German archaeologist Ursula Vedder proposed an alternative explanation.  She suggested that the Colossus of Rhodes had originally rested at the top of the Acropolis of Rhodes which sits on a hill overlooking the port.  There is a large rock base in the area, situated between a recently discovered stadium and racetrack.  If Vedder is correct, then the mystery of the lost Colossus may eventually be solved.  For all we know, the giant statue might be lying near these other ruins, buried deep in the sand, waiting for a team of explorers to unearth it.

Apostle of Christ Unearthed?

On July 26, a team of archaeologists announced the discovery of an ancient tomb. But not just any tomb. They claim that this particular tomb belongs to St. Philip, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. If correct, it promises to be one of the most astonishing discoveries in recent memory. But is this really Philip’s tomb?

Engraving of St. Philip (1526)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Who was St. Philip?

Philip was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He rarely appears in the New Testament. His most notable showing is during the Last Supper, when his question led Jesus to teach the disciples about the unity of the Father and the Son.

Much of our knowledge of Philip derives from non-canonical texts. According to the Acts of Philip, he was crucified upside-down in Hierapolis for converting a city official’s wife. He died while preaching to a gathered crowd, sometime around the year 80 AD. Afterwards, he was buried in an octagonal tomb named “The Martryium.” It should be noted that the Catholic Church does not accept this story as fact.

St. Philip’s Tomb?

Since 2003, Italian professor Francesco D’Andria has been leading archaeological excavations within the ancient city of Hierapolis. Recently, he unearthed an old tomb near the ruins of a church.

“Until recently, we thought the grave of St. Philip was on Martyrs’ Hill, but we discovered no traces of him in the geophysical research conducted in that area. A month ago, we discovered the remnants of an unknown church, 40 meters away from the St. Philip Church on Martyrs’ Hill. And in that church we discovered the grave of St. Philip.” ~ Francesco D’Andria

The tomb has yet to be opened. However, according to D’Andria, its structure and etchings prove that it belongs to St. Philip.

“St. Philip is considered a martyr. In fact, the church built in his name on the Martyrs’ Hill is, for this reason, also called Martyrion, despite the fact there were no traces of the grave of St. Philip. As we were cleaning out the new church we discovered a month ago, we finally found the grave. With close examination, we determined that the grave had been moved from its previous location in the St. Philip Church to this new church in the fifth century, during the Byzantine era. We are extremely happy and proud to have discovered the grave of a saint whose name appears in the bible – this surely is an important discovery for religious tourism, archaeology and Christendom.” ~ Francesco D’Andria

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

D’Andria has been working in this area for over three decades. His recent article for the Biblical Archaeology Society, Conversion, Crucifixion, and Celebration, provides terrific background on the story of St. Philip as well as his own excavations at Hierapolis. He is more than credible which makes impossible to dismiss his claim. Still, its a rather extraordinary claim, seemingly based on nothing more than the structure of the grave and its inscriptions. Heck, the tomb hasn’t even been opened yet.

As for me, I remain skeptical. I would like to learn more about D’Andria’s evidence before I form an opinion. I read every single article I could find on this discovery but unfortunately, none of them discussed why the tomb’s structure and inscriptions pointed to St. Philip as the only possible occupant. So for the time being, I’ll eagerly await future news on D’Andria’s work. For if his claims prove accurate, then the tomb is one of the most significant archaeological finds in recent memory.

Ark of the Covenant: Lost Technology?

The Ark of the Covenant is, perhaps, the most famous lost artifact of all time. According to biblical accounts, it contained the Ten Commandments and was used by Moses to communicate directly with God. Its ultimate fate remains an enduring mystery to this day. However, not everyone is convinced that the Ark was a mystical object. They believe that the Ark can be explained by science, specifically electrical engineering. Do their claims hold any merit?

The Army of the Israelites carry the Ark of the Covenant around the walls of Jericho
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Intriguing observations about the Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant was a rectangular box made of wood (probably Acacia arabia), measuring about four and a half feet long, two and a half feet wide, and two and a half feet tall. All surfaces, interior and exterior, were plated with gold. A gold crown or molding wrapped around the structure. Gold rings were attached to each corner, to be used in conjunction with carrying poles. A gold lid sat on top of the Ark. On top of the lid rested opposing gold cherubims, with their wings stretching out towards each other.

According to the Book of Exodus, Moses built the Ark of the Covenant based on instructions he received from God while atop Mount Sinai. The Israelites proceeded to carry it for the next forty years while they wandered through the desert. While at rest, they stored it inside a portable, sacred temple-like structure known as the Tabernacle. The Ark performed many strange, mystical feats. To mention just a few:

Nikola Tesla’s Speculations on the Ark of the Covenant

For centuries, the Ark was viewed as a mystical object from God, beyond the knowledge of man. However, that changed on September 9, 1915, when the famous scientist Nikola Tesla published an article entitled The Wonder World to be Created by Electricity. In it, he made the following astounding claim:

…Moses was undoubtedly a practical and skillful electrician far in advance of his time. The Bible describes precisely and minutely arrangements constituting a machine in which electricity was generated by friction of air against silk curtains and stored in a box constructed like a condenser. It is very plausible to assume that the sons of Aaron were killed by a high tension discharge…

The term condenser is an older word for what we now know as a capacitor, or an electrical machine capable of storing energy. Tesla thought that the Ark generated static electricity by causing air to rub against curtains. This created static electricity which was then stored inside the Ark, turning the box into a giant Leyden Jar. But how did this work exactly?

The Secret of the Ark of the Covenant?

According to Michael Blackburn and Mark Bennett, the true secret lies within the Tabernacle (in the picture below, the Ark is in the foreground while the Tabernacle is being constructed in the background). The Tabernacle was a roofless, three-walled wooden structure. It was closed off with curtains made of different materials, including goat’s hair and rams’ skins. These curtains rubbed against each other, creating an initial static charge. As this charge built up, the entire structure along with the Ark became highly electrified. At full tilt, Blackburn and Bennett estimate that the Ark would’ve been capable of carrying a charge in the range of fifty thousands volts.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The theory that the Ark carried massive amounts of static electricity accounts for the oddities mentioned above. First, anyone foolish enough to touch it risked death by electric shock. Second, the enormous build-up of static electricity within the Tabernacle would’ve been more than enough to keep Moses from entering it. And third, the communications from God could be explained by an electrical discharge. In other words, when the static electricity within the Ark reached a certain level, it would’ve been able to overcome air resistance and in effect, jump from one cherubim to the other one. This would take the form of “an intense burst of brilliant light of considerable duration and power.”

It must be noted that this theory doesn’t explain everything. According to the Bible, the waters of the River Jordan parted before the Ark. Also, after being captured by the Philistines, they suffered boils, tumors, and other plagues which they attributed to the Ark. In addition, the Ark was instrumental in bringing down the walls of Jericho, acting as a sort of ancient weapon of mass destruction.

So, was the Ark a piece of ancient, brilliant technology? There seems to be a distinct possibility that this is the case. But until adventurers manage to locate it, its exact nature will remain one of history’s most enduring mysteries.