A Vampire Free Zone

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The Hill of Crosses is a site of pilgrimage about 12 km north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. The precise origin of the practice of leaving crosses on the hill is uncertain, but it is believed that the first crosses were placed on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort after the 1831 Uprising. Over the generations, not only crosses and crucifixes, but statues of the Virgin Mary, carvings of Lithuanian patriots and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims. The exact number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put it at about 55,000 in 1990 and 100,000 in 2006.

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Over the generations, the place has come to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats it faced throughout history. After the 3rd partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire. Poles and Lithuanians unsuccessfully rebelled against Russian authorities in 1831 and 1863. These two uprisings are connected with the beginnings of the hill: as families could not locate bodies of perished rebels, they started putting up symbolic crosses in place of a former hill fort.

When the old political structure of Eastern Europe fell apart in 1918, Lithuania once again declared its independence. Throughout this time, the Hill of Crosses was used as a place for Lithuanians to pray for peace, for their country, and for the loved ones they had lost during the Wars of Independence.

The site took on a special significance during the years 1944–1990, when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union. Continuing to travel to the hill and leave their tributes, Lithuanians used it to demonstrate their allegiance to their original identity, religion and heritage. It was a venue of peaceful resistance, although the Soviets worked hard to remove new crosses, and bulldozed the site at least three times (including attempts in 1963 and 1973). There were even rumors that the authorities planned to build a dam on the nearby Kulvė River, a tributary to Mūša, so that the hill would end up underwater.

On September 7, 1993, Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses, declaring it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice. In 2000 a Franciscan hermitage was opened nearby. The interior decoration draws links with La Verna, the mountain where St. Francis is said to have received his stigmata. The hill remains under nobody’s jurisdiction; therefore people are free to build crosses as they see fit.

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The vampires will be destroyed if they venture near this holy hill.

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Why the Ark of the Covenant is one of history’s enduring mysteries

Archaeologists are skeptical that this ancient artifact can be found.

FOR CENTURIES, PEOPLE have tried in vain to locate and recover the Bible’s most sacred objects. Among the most sought-after of these religious antiquities is the famed Ark of the Covenant.

This legendary artifact is the ornate, gilded case said to have been built some 3,000 years ago by the Israelites to house the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. Biblical accounts describe the Ark as large, about the size of a 19th-century seaman’s chest, made of gold-plated wood, and topped with two large, golden angels. It was carried using poles inserted through rings on its sides.

The Ark has been linked to several of the Old Testament’s miracles. It is said to have cleared impediments and poisonous animals from the path of the Israelites during the Exodus. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the Bible says that the river stopped flowing the moment the Ark-bearers set foot in it.

And many believe that when the Israelites besieged Jericho, they carried the Ark around the city for a week, blowing trumpets until, on the seventh day, the walls fell down, allowing easy conquest. (This is what archaeology is telling us about the real Jesus.)

But in 597 and 586 B.C., the Babylonian Empire conquered the Israelites, and the Ark, at the time supposedly stored in the Temple in Jerusalem, vanished from history. Whether it was destroyed, captured, or hidden–nobody knows.

One of the most famous claims about the Ark’s whereabouts is that before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, it had found its way to Ethiopia, where it still resides in the town of Aksum, in the St. Mary of Zion cathedral. Church authorities, however, say only one man, the guardian of the Ark, is allowed to see it, and they have never permitted it to be studied for authenticity.

Another claim is that the Ark was hidden in a warren of passages beneath the First Temple in Jerusalem before the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C. But that theory can’t be tested either, because the site is home to the Dome of the Rock shrine, sacred in Islam. Digging beneath it simply isn’t an option.

Other more dubious claims exist, too. But perhaps the most famous quest for the Ark was on the big screen. In the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, adventure hero Indiana Jones must find the Ark before the Nazis, who intend to use its power for world domination.

Searches for such biblical relics are compelling, says archaeologist and National Geographic Society fellow Fred Hiebert, but ultimately doomed to failure. Even if there is an ancient, Ark-like object in Ethiopia, he asks, how do you determine it’s the one from the Bible?

“We are talking about things [at] the crossroads between myth and reality,” he said. “I think it’s great to have stories like [that of] the Ark of the Covenant. But I do not believe, as a field archaeologist, that we can use the scientific method to prove or disprove [them].”

nationalgeographic.com

‘Angel’ Photographed Hovering Over Firefighters in Poland

A remarkable photograph from a fire in Poland shows what appears to be an angel hovering in the sky over the scene. The jaw-dropping image was reportedly snapped last month as firefighters were battling a blaze in the community of Małdyty. The picture was subsequently posted to social media by the mystified fire department, who marveled at the wondrous sight and left their social media users to draw their own conclusions as to what can be seen in the photo.

When asked about the anomaly, one of the firefighters who had been on the scene understandably explained that “I didn’t see anything. The work is dangerous, I didn’t look around.” He went on to seemingly dismiss any possible otherworldly explanation for the oddity, observing that “I’ve seen strange figures in photos taken during our rescue operations before, but I don’t know if this is the way the light works or if the wind is causing the smoke to look like that.”

However, one of his colleagues had a different take on the picture, musing that “if we have such protection from the afterlife watching over us, I feel fairly calm about safety during the operation.” To that end, some have suggested that the eerie figure in the sky was some kind of guardian angel that was protecting the firefighters as they tried to stop the blaze. What’s your take on the curious image?

Looks like smoke coming out of a chimney to me. Grasping at straws here.

Speaking of holy images:

The Face of Jesus Appears in the Oddest Places

Jesus Christ is everywhere, but one Orlando woman thought she was going crazy when she saw his image in the bark of a dead tree in her front yard.

“It’s Treesus,” the homeowner, Kim, said on the eve of Resurrection Sunday. “I find it very odd. For me, it’s unmistakable, and I’m not particularly religious. So I don’t know what it means.”

The Orlando Sentinel agreed to withhold her full name and address because she fears her home would turn into a mecca of pilgrims wanting to see the image.

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Here the face of Jesus manifests as a stain on a bathroom wall.

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Grilled cheese sandwich, actually this one is the Virgin Mary I think.

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There are no photos of Jesus (okay maybe the Shroud of Turin) and nobody painted him.  So how did we determine that he looks like the guy on the Kit Kat chocolate bar?

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Potato chip

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The image seems to materialize in hot places

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Pizza slice

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Why? Why would the Lord and Saviour, King of Kings, put his face on a bloody banana?  He might only convert 2 or 3 people with this stunt.  He should manifest on a giant billboard in Times Square.

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Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.

There have been many instances of perceptions of religious imagery and themes, especially the faces of religious figures, in ordinary phenomena. Many involve images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the word Allah, or other religious phenomena: in September 2007 in Singapore, for example, a callus on a tree resembled a monkey, leading believers to pay homage to the “Monkey god” (either Sun Wukong or Hanuman) in the monkey tree phenomenon.

Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being face.

Oh wow Jesus, this is really going to help people quit smoking.

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And then there are people nowadays who will never notice Jesus.

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A No Go Zone for Vampires

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The Hill of Crosses is a site of pilgrimage about 12 km north of the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. The precise origin of the practice of leaving crosses on the hill is uncertain, but it is believed that the first crosses were placed on the former Jurgaičiai or Domantai hill fort after the 1831 Uprising. Over the generations, not only crosses and crucifixes, but statues of the Virgin Mary, carvings of Lithuanian patriots and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought here by Catholic pilgrims. The exact number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put it at about 55,000 in 1990 and 100,000 in 2006.

 

cross1

Over the generations, the place has come to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats it faced throughout history. After the 3rd partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire. Poles and Lithuanians unsuccessfully rebelled against Russian authorities in 1831 and 1863. These two uprisings are connected with the beginnings of the hill: as families could not locate bodies of perished rebels, they started putting up symbolic crosses in place of a former hill fort.

When the old political structure of Eastern Europe fell apart in 1918, Lithuania once again declared its independence. Throughout this time, the Hill of Crosses was used as a place for Lithuanians to pray for peace, for their country, and for the loved ones they had lost during the Wars of Independence.

The site took on a special significance during the years 1944–1990, when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union. Continuing to travel to the hill and leave their tributes, Lithuanians used it to demonstrate their allegiance to their original identity, religion and heritage. It was a venue of peaceful resistance, although the Soviets worked hard to remove new crosses, and bulldozed the site at least three times (including attempts in 1963 and 1973). There were even rumors that the authorities planned to build a dam on the nearby Kulvė River, a tributary to Mūša, so that the hill would end up underwater.

On September 7, 1993, Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses, declaring it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice. In 2000 a Franciscan hermitage was opened nearby. The interior decoration draws links with La Verna, the mountain where St. Francis is said to have received his stigmata. The hill remains under nobody’s jurisdiction; therefore people are free to build crosses as they see fit.

 

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The vampires will be destroyed if they venture near this holy hill.

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Conspiracy Theorist Decries Dinosaur Statue Outside McDonald’s in Arizona

A McDonald’s restaurant in Arizona found itself the target of an agitated conspiracy theorist who took issue with them having a massive dinosaur statue in front of the building because, he contends, such creatures never existed! The bizarre dispute reportedly began last month when a man named Josh Brown took to the Facebook group Christians Against Dinosaurs to express his concern about the huge Tyrannosaurus Rex which sits outside the establishment in Tuscon. “Please help! This McDonald’s has this dinosaur and refuses to remove it,” he declared, urging group members to “call the manager and demand the removal of this blasphemy!”

Brown, it would appear, is a believer in the fairly obscure, but still very real conspiracy theory that dinosaurs did not exist and that the creatures are actually a creation of nefarious forces intent on misleading the public about the ‘true’ history of the planet. While some suspected that the Facebook post was some kind of clever satirical message, it turns out that was not the case as a local media outlet tracked down the man behind the post and he confirmed that it was genuine.

“It seems to me that every dinosaur story and display or dinosaur-themed event is furthering the myth that the Earth is much older than the Bible says it is,” he explained, “the dinosaur should go unless they’re willing to compromise with a plaque of some kind stating that it’s a fictional character.” For their part, the McDonald’s at the center of the ‘controversy’ say that, despite Brown’s best efforts, they have yet to receive any complaints about the dinosaur statue other than his Facebook post and have no plans to remove it.

Ironically, it would seem that Brown’s post backfired in a big way for him as he now claims that it caused him to become the target of all manner of online harassment from people who “spew insults and threats.” Adding insult to injury, the conspiracy theorist also revealed that he has been ousted from the Facebook group where the kerfuffle all began, suggesting that the administrators of the page did not take too kindly to his unique form of ‘activism.’

These idiots who take the old testament literally really bother me.

Churchtanks: Sculptures of Churches Turned Into Tanks

Religion and war have always been mixing and closely related throughout history. Missouri-born artist Kris Kuksi took notice of this connection, repeating itself throughout history, and decided to unveil it in his Churchtanks sculpture series. By creating the juxtaposition between the classical world and the modern war gear, Kuksi transforms churches into tanks, blending the two structures smoothly and seamlessly.

 

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As explained in his statement, creation of the sculptures is a “process that requires countless hours to assemble, collect, manipulate, cut, and re-shape thousands of individual parts, finally uniting them into an orchestral-like seamless cohesion that defines the historical rise and fall of civilization and envisions the possible future(s) of humanity.” Churchtanks thus represent the ability of art to fascinate and at the same time to raise awareness.

 

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Division between church and state.

 

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Bank tank.

 

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