Panxian Dadong The Big Cave of Southern China

In Southern China, there is a cavern called the Panxian Dadon (Dadong), which means simply “Big Cave", perched up within a karst tower 1630 meters above sea level in a remote valley near the western Guizhou Plateau. The Big Cave of Panxian is a palaeologic as well as archaeological site, is high up on the flank of the karst tower and the large entrance portal can be seen from a distance. The caves have almost 20m of sediments from the Middle Pleistocene together with numerous animal bones which dates back between 130,000 and 260,000 years old. Besides animal bones, five human teeth and stone artifacts were also discovered.

The cave long remained hidden within the rugged mountainous wilderness, and was not actually first discovered and explored until 1990, when archeologists penetrated into the uncharted darkness and were met with a series of unusual findings. The cave itself was found to be surprisingly large, stretching for a total of over 1,660 meters into the mountainside, with various interconnected caves, shafts and tunnels that meandered off into the inky black. The total area of the fairly vast cave system was estimated to be around 9,900 square meters. As impressive as this was, the real surprises came when researchers began picking through the deep prehistoric sediment deposits here and found an increasingly baffling collection of ancient remains dating back between 130,000 to 300,000 years that remain a mystery to this day.

Large numbers of remains belonging to these large animals were discovered at the caves. On excavation, it revealed over 40 species of mammals, stone artefact, human teeth and animal teeth with over 30 percent of the huge animals’ remains constitute teeth and around two percent of the remains were of the skulls.

Most of the teeth belonged to the huge animals such as the buffalos, rhinoceros and Stegadons. The cave seems to be the central cavern of three stacked caves which extends towards a hillside where the central cave was 220 meters deep covering 8000 square meters.

Paleoanthropologists have pointed out that it is unlikely that these animals wandered in on their own, since species such as the Stegadon and rhinos typically were browsers and grazers that lived on open grasslands rather than in caves, and it also seems unlikely that these enormous, hulking beasts could have climbed up to the cave by themselves even if they wanted to. Additionally, the large amount of rhino remains found in the cave is at odds with their typically solitary nature. One theory has been that prehistoric predators may have killed the animals and dragged them back to their cave lairs to feast on them, yet evidence found on the bones that were found tends to challenge this notion. Careful analysis of the bones showed that ancient human beings likely had some part to play here, although it is unclear just what that may be.

Other questions that surround the remains are why there is such a plentitude of rhino and Stegadon remains in particular compared to the other species found, and why out of all of the Stegadon remains only one adult specimen has been identified while the rhinos represent an even distribution of all ages. This tends to discount the idea that young Stegadons were killed just because they were easier prey and easier to carry up to the cavern, and seems to demonstrate a very conscious, deliberate process behind the reasons why these large, heavy animals were killed and laboriously brought here, rather than just random hunting. Whatever those reasons may be remain unknown, and will perhaps always remain so. For the time being, research has continued at the Panxian Dadon cave, and the Chinese government has designated the site as a national preservation site, making it a rare case of such a designation for a prehistoric site in the country.


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Mysterious Disappearance of Patanela

On November 1988, Patanela, a 19-metre steel schooner was vanished without trace while approaching Sydney Harbour. She disappeared on a calm November night, within sight of the lights of Botany Bay. There was no mayday call, no distress flares sighted, no debris, and no bodies as evidence of her sinking. Nearly 20 years later, a ghostly 'message in a bottle' from Patanela's crew has been found on a beach in the Great Australian Bight by a beachcomber.

The 'message in a bottle' is written by John Blissett as he and three others sailed Patanela from Fremantle across the great Australian Bight on October 26, 1988. In faded blue handwriting inside a Bacardi bottle, it was found on a secluded beach near Eucla on the southern coast of Western Australia, by Esperance woman Sheryl Waideman on New Year’s Eve.

The note in a bottle offers a sailing holiday to the lucky finder.

"Hi there - out here in the lonely Southern Ocean and thought we would give away a free holiday in the Whitsunday Islands in north Queensland, Australia,'' John wrote.

"Our ship is travelling from Fremantle, Western Aust, to Queensland to work as a charter vessel.''

"See ya soon"
, it ends, signed John.

The note invites the finder to call one of a pair of phone numbers to claim the prize.

It gives Patanela's position as 34 degrees, 26 minutes, 20 seconds south, 129 degrees, 18 minutes, 54 seconds east in the Great Australia Bight.

That's south of Eucla - raising the possibility that the bottle drifted ashore and has sat undiscovered since.

Aboard Patanela, was John Blissett and his friend Michael Calvin, both from Taree, plus the skipper, Perth businessman Ken Jones and his wife Noreen. None have been sighted since Patanela departed Portland, Victoria, in early November.

An inquest which started in 1992 concluded that Patanela foundered in the early hours of November 8, 1988 some time after a final radio contact with Sydney Harbour. Nothing remained to explain the vessel’s fate.

The disappearance sparked wide speculation and a variety of conspiracy theories including claims of piracy and drug running. There is no evidence to either substantiate or disprove any such claims.

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Maumee River Monster

Maumee River Monster is a river monster also known as river dragon. First reported in Napoleon, Ohio. On September 13, 1902, many persons have seen the animal, and its appearance is accurately described. In form the creature is said to be somewhat like a river lizard, although considerably larger. It has been seen on the banks of the Maumee River and appears to move as easily on the land as in the water. The principal feature about the animals’ body is a huge tail, covered with minute scales like a fish. It also has two small, web-shaped feet, possibly six inches in length. Its eyes are very small, set far apart, and are of a peculiar greenish color. The whole body of the creature seems covered with a coarse, heavy hide of a dull brown color.

It is almost impossible to give anything like the exact measurements of the animal, but it is estimated that the creature is nine or ten feet long, and would measure anywhere from 24 to 30 inches in height, while its body would measure perhaps 14 inches across. Some one who has seen it has remarked, “if there is such a thing as a cross between an alligator, a lizard and a snake, I believe our river ‘haunt’ would exactly fill the bill.”

Illustration of the Maumee River Monster

Parts of the body of the animal are ill proportioned, giving it a squatty appearance when seen at its full length. Characteristics of both the water and land are mingled at times very noticeably together, and it is impossible to classify the creature with any accuracy. The name it has come to bear along the river if the “river Dragon,” although who first suggested the mystic creature of superstition as its namesake, it would be impossible to say. The home of the animal is on Savage’s Island, about 12 miles below here. At that point there is a series of rapids in the Maumee River, and it is supposed that the animal was washed into the river from Lake Erie, into which the stream empties, a short distance below. In parts the island is covered by a thick shrubbery, reaching to the water’s edge, but although the ground has been carefully explored, no trace of the lurking place of the animal could be found. It is now believed that the creature inhabits a cave in the island, entrance to which is effected from the river, the water concealing all trace of it. The theory of the pioneer of this section was that there is a vast honeycomb of caverns in this vicinity, many of which are below the bed of the river, and it is believed by many that the animal makes its home among these passages.

At that time, party of fishermen were rowing home about dusk from their day’s sport, when suddenly in the vicinity of Savage’s Island one of them uttered a low exclamation of terror and dropped his oars. The attention of the others was attracted by his actions, and the course of the boat was stopped. Directly on a jutting point of the island, hardly 40 feet away, lay an animal, the sight of which could well inspire fear. In the gathering gloom the weirdness of the creature’s appearance was intensified. “It reminded me more of a huge snake than anything else,” one of the party afterward said. Its head was turned toward the occupants of the boat, and suddenly it raised itself, giving the startled watchers a vivid idea of its size, and plunged into the water with a tremendous splash. This move was enough, and the men bent to their oars heartily. But the creature evidently had no idea of attacking them, for that was the last seen of it that night.

The story the party told of their encounter with the strange creature of the river aroused wide interest, but although a close watch was kept on that section of the river, nothing further was seen of the animal until nearly a month afterward. On this occasion the view was obtained in much the same manner was before, and the creature dived into the water almost instantly on being sighted, but the previous story was corroborated, and that the Maumee River contained a strange sea animal was no longer doubted.

No signs of other animals of the same kind have been seen in the vicinity, and it is the common supposition that the creature is alone, although what became of the former “dragon” and how this one succeeded in effecting an entrance to the river unseen, are questions it seems impossible to answer. There, however, seems to be several of the creatures in existence somewhere, as the two experiences here can hardly have been with the same one. [Bay City [MI] Times 14 June 1903: p. 18]

In the 1970's, the man who reported it was Sam McConnish, who claimed he saw the river monster and a Thunderbird. It usually is said to look like Nessie or a giant catfish, though it's stated to be a serpent more often than a giant catfish. In 2009 a man who was by the mouth of the Maumee River reported a large sea serpent like monster and it had quickly disappeared into the water.


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15 Year Old Boy Discovers Lost Mayan City Hidden In The Mexican Jungle

William Gadoury, a 15-year-old school student from Quebec, Canada, has found something that’s been hidden from archaeologists for centuries - a lost city of the Maya civilisation, buried deep in the Yucatan jungle of southeastern Mexico. He didn’t do it by hiring a bunch of expensive equipment, hopping on a plane, and slaving away on an excavation site - he discovered the incredible ruins from the comfort of his own home, by figuring out that the ancient cities were built in alignment with the stars above. To investigate further he used satellite images provided by the Canadian Space Agency and then mapped on to Google Earth, he discovered the city where the third star of the constellation suggested it would be.

The photographs revealed linear features that ‘stuck out,’ Daniel De Lisle, from the Canadian Space Agency told The Independent.

‘There are linear features that would suggest there is something underneath that big canopy,’ he said.

"I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains," Gadoury told French-Canadian magazine, Journal de Montréal. "They had to have another reason, and as they worshiped the stars, the idea came to me to verify my hypothesis. I was really surprised and excited when I realised that the most brilliant stars of the constellations matched the largest Maya cities."

Gadoury had been studying 22 Maya constellations for years before releasing that he could line up the positions of 117 Maya cities on the ground with maps of stars and constellations above - something that no one had pieced together before.

With this in mind, he located a 23rd constellation, which included just three stars. According to his sky map, he could only link up two cities with the three stars, so suspected that a third city remained undetected in that spot.

Unfortunately, the location on the ground that matched up with the third star wasn’t exactly somewhere that Gadoury could just go visit - it’s right in the heart of the jungle, in the inaccessible and remote region of Mexico’s southern Yucatán Peninsula.


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Legend of Domovois

Domovois were male house spirits that were said to live in Russian homes—usually the homes of peasants. Domovois were not evil, but they could be mischievous or moody, particularly if the family in question failed to keep a clean house. If the family was good to the domovoi and treated the house well, keeping it properly clean and tidy, then the domovoi would serve as their protector.

Domovois also known as Domovye are masculine, typically small, bearded, and sometimes covered in hair all over. According to some traditions, domovye take on the appearance of current or former owners of the house and have a grey beard, sometimes with tails or little horns. This belief is commonly held to be a remnant of the pre-Christian cult of ancestors which is also reflected in some of the titles of the domovoi (e.g., dedko, dedushka "grandfather"). There are tales of neighbors seeing the master of the house out in the yard while in fact the real master was asleep in bed. It has also been said that domovye can take on the appearance of cats or dogs. The domovoi is more often heard than seen and his voice is said to be hollow and harsh.

A certain amount of respect had to be shown to the domovoi. In addition to keeping a clean house, people had to be careful to keep places like the center of the room and the threshold of the house clear at night, since that was when the domovoi liked to move about.

The various noises heard in a house at night were said to be the sounds of a domovoi, although he preferred to stay invisible. Moans or loud noises were a sure sign of a displeased domovoi, while sounds of music or laughter were good signs. Some of the domovoi’s nighttime activities consisted of tending to the livestock and keeping outside spirits from intruding on and interfering with his family.

Although domovois preferred to remain invisible, they could take various forms as it pleased them, including anything from a frog to a copy of the human master of the house. If someone really did wish to see his or her domovoi, he or she had to wait until Holy Week or Easter Sunday. At this time, the individual had to take butter made from the milk of the first seven cows to be milked for the first time and smear it on his or her head, wear all new clothing and footwear to church, and, during the liturgical service, turn around. There and then, the domovoi would reveal himself.

A domovoi also could be prophetic as his behavior foretells or forewarns about the future. If he laughs, sings, jokes, or dances good times can be expected, and if he strums a comb there is a wedding in the future, but if he wails at night, extinguishes a candle or makes himself visible it means a family member, usually the head of the household, will die.The touch of the domovoi is also a harbinger. If his furry hand feels warm, good fortune is indicated; however if his touch is icy cold, misfortune is coming.

The domovoi had to be invited into a new home when a family moved. This was done by taking coals from the hearth of the old house and using them to start a fire in the hearth of the new house. It was also considered respectful for the head of the family to walk into the new house with bread and salt.Today, some people still believe—or at least claim to believe—in the domovois. Homeowners sometimes make respectful offerings to them.


Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore edited by Josepha Sherman

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