The Mysterious Death of James Forrestal: Suicide? Murder? Accident?

My previous article was about the CIA, it’s 1950s-era “assassination file,” and the still-mysterious 1962 death of Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe. Today, I’m going to focus on another aspect of that Cold War-era file. This one on the matter of death from a high fall. The document states, in part: “The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stair wells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location. The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the “horrified wit ness”, no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to insure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death. Falls into the sea or swiftly flowing rivers may suffice if the subject cannot swim. It will be more reliable if the assassin can arrange to attempt rescue, as he can thus be sure of the subject’s death and at the same time establish a workable alibi.” The CIA document continues: “Falls before trains or subways are usually effective, but require exact timing and can seldom be free from unexpected observation.”


Now, with all of that in mind, let;s have a look at a very controversial death that occurred in 1949 and that could easily have been achieved by using the rules above. May 22, 1949 was the date on which the first U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, died. Specifically at 1:50 a.m. As will quickly become apparent, the circumstances surrounding Forrestal’s final hours are swamped in controversy. All that we know with absolute certainty is that in the early hours of the 22nd, Forrestal’s body was found on a third-floor canopy of the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland. Did he take a fatal leap out of the window of the 13th floor of the hospital, his mind in turmoil and suicide on his mind? Was it an accident? Or, was Forrestal assassinated? April 2, 1949 was the date on which Forrestal was taken to the hospital – for his own good and for that of the U.S. government, too. Forrestal’s mind had been fragile for a while, But, then, following a full-blown breakdown, Forrestal needed expert care. He got it. For a while. Things suddenly, and terribly, changed on May 22, 1949. Death was just around the corner. It was a death shrouded in mystery. Let’s see what we know for sure about those final hours for someone who held some of the U.S. government’s most important secrets. The man assigned to keep a careful watch on Forrestal was Edward Prise. He was a U.S. Navy corpsman. Such was the length of their time spent together, the pair became good friends. As the night got longer, Forrestal told Prise that he didn’t need a sleeping pill and was going to dig into a book for a while. That too was a good thing. Or, at least, it seemed to be that way. After Prise’s shift was over, he was replaced by another military man, Robert Wayne Harrison, Jr. Forrestal’s end was almost upon him.

James V. Forrestal

At some point into his shift, Harrison, Jr. left the room to run an errand. From that point onward, everything very much becomes murky, unclear – and probably something that will never be fully resolved to the satisfaction of everyone. When Harrison, Jr. got back to the room he was shocked to the core to see that Forrestal was not in his bed. And, the room’s windows were open. Harrison’s Jr raced to the window: the cord of Forrestal’s dressing-gown was tied to the radiator near the window. Clearly, the goal was death by strangulation. It turned out, however, that Forrestal’s weight caused the cord to snap and Forrestal fell ten floors to his death; something that absolutely no-one could have had a chance of surviving. The official theory is that Forrestal – left all alone in his room – took his own life, possibly in a brief moment when his mind swung back to that dangerous state of depression and anxiety. The big question, however, is: could Forrestal have been pushed? The reason: to make sure he could never, ever reveal what he may have been exposed to in government? An accident? Murder? Suicide? We’ll probably never know.

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The Mysterious Death of Todd Geib

It seems as if mysteries and darkness can come for anyone. 22-year-old Todd Geib seemed to have everything going for him. He had a good job with Hager Distribution, Inc, in Wyoming, and enjoyed outdoors activities and sports. Described as friendly, smart, and outgoing by everyone who knew him there would have been no reason to suspect that he was destined for a dark fate, yet in 2005 ominous forces would come for him, and he would be propelled into the annals of very strange disappearances and deaths.

On Saturday the 11th of June, 2005, at around 7:30 PM, Todd left the apartment that he was sharing with his cousin to go to the Half Moon Bar & Grille to meet up with some other friends, who he left with at around 9:30 PM. Their destination was an all-night keg party being held being held at a nearby apple orchard about two miles north of White Road in Casnovia, Michigan, and located just about a mile and a half from where he lived, where his friend dropped him off without incident. At around 12:45 AM, things were apparently getting pretty rowdy at the party, with a fight breaking out that threatened to transform into a full-on brawl. It seems to have been enough to urge Todd to leave, and so he left the party on foot, calling the friend who had dropped him off there to let them know he was on his way home. He left a message for his friend saying he was going to walk back to his cousin’s place, which no one really thought much of since it was nearby and he was familiar with the area. Yet things would get weird from there.

Todd Geib

From between12:47 a.m. and 12:57 a.m., Geib made a series of phone calls that were a bit odd to say the least. In one he called a friend and simply said “I’ve had enough.” In another, he simply said “I’m in a field,” before the phone went dead. The concerned friend called back and the phone picked up, but all she could hear was what sounded like either heavy breathing or the rushing of wind before the call cut out again. According to reports, the phone was not used again after that and no further calls went through. This would be the last time anyone heard from Todd, and he would go missing.

A massive search was mounted to try and find Geib, including around 1,500 police and volunteers, as well as aircraft, who scoured the orchard and the area around the party sight, as well as the stretch of road where he was expected to have walked along to get home but they found nothing even after thoroughly searching the area three times. It was as if Geib had vanished off the face of the earth. On July 2, 2005, three weeks after he had gone missing, Geib’s body was found, but it was very odd for several reasons. First was that the body was found in Ovidhall Lake, about two miles from Todd’s home, right in the middle of the area that the search had completely and thoroughly combed. Then there was the fact that the body was reported as being discovered “standing” upright in the water, with the head and shoulders breaking over the surface, as if he had been swimming and had just gotten stuck there. Rather strange was that he was fully clothed and with his wallet still in his pocket, so the big question was how had he gotten into that lake to turn up dead?

An autopsy was conducted on Geib’s body and it was found that he had no external injuries but had a blood alcohol content of .12, leading authorities to rule it an accidental drowning while under the influence of alcohol. It was deduced that he had gone to that party, gotten smashed, and then left to go wandering around before finding himself in that lake to drown while drunk out of his own wits. Considering the levels of alcohol found in his system, this seemed to be a perfectly rational deduction, but what about the strange calls he had made and how had his body evaded detection during the search through the area? It was also seen as odd that typically drowning victims are typically found bobbing abut face down in the water, so how had he managed to stay upright just eerily standing there in his watery grave?

Despite the weird details, in the eyes of the authorities the case was closed, but of course there are those who do not buy the official ruling. The man’s family questioned why he would have suddenly decided to take a swim in the pond while fully clothed, and an independent investigation by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Sikirica found by careful analysis of the photos and autopsy data that while Geib had been missing 3 weeks, he had only been dead for 2 to 5 days. It was also determined that Geib had had no water in his lungs, and that there were many clues that pointed to the body being placed in the water after death. Dr. M Eric Benbow, a forensic biologist from Michigan State University, who reexamined Todd’s case, would say of the state of the body:

There should have been more biofilm, more slime buildup. The other thing, it looks like part of his head was exposed. There should be insects in the clothing, even in the mouth, in and on the ears, in the folds of the skin. That’s where these flies will typically lay their eggs. They’ve evolved to be attracted to dead things within minutes to hours, to a day. We saw none of this in Todd’s shirt. Carcasses are consumed pretty quickly and dramatically. If a body was here, it would be colonized with some type of aquatic insect. Given our experiment, I find it very surprising that Todd’s body had no reported insect activity and the clothing had no algal development. Based on our study, it is unlikely that his clothing and his body had been in for 21 days.

This heavily suggests that Todd’s body had been put into the water not long before he was found, detracting from the official verdict that this was a death by drunken misadventure. This was corroborated by other experts, and all strongly points to the possibility that Geib was in fact murdered, yet the Michigan State Police have never reopened the case, much to the consternation of Geib’s family. It would later be found that Todd had traces of the antidepressants amitriptyline and desipramine in his system, although he had not ever been prescribed these and it is unknown why he had taken them or what connection they had in it all. It is quite possible that they were given to Todd against his will, and considering the fact that they can cause side effects such as “hallucinations, confusion, agitation, cardiac arrest, coma, and seizures” it certainly seems suspicious. Kathy Geib, Todd’s mother, has continually fought to get the case reopened, but authorities have refused to do so, despite the evidence against accidental drowning. We may never know just what happened to Todd Geib, or what his last calls really meant. What happened to him out there? Why were there no clues turned up and why was it all conveniently ruled as a drowning despite all of the sinister clues suggesting otherwise? The answers remain elusive, and it is yet another unsolved death likely to remain in the shadows for some time to come.

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New Theory Shows How Stonehenge Could Have Been Multi-Storied With a Thatch Roof

Are you ready to throw out everything you’ve ever been told about Stonehenge – everyone’s favorite 3,000-year-old stone monument whose true purpose has been debated for centuries? Would you believe it had multiple floors? Would you believe it had a roof? A thatched roof? A recent book by a British architect makes the case that it was a multi-level, covered Neolithic temple and has a scale model to prove it. A recent audio study builds a case for the original having fabulous acoustics, and this author claims it could have matched William Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in design, audience capacity and performances – over 2,000 years earlier!

Globe Theater

“Archaeologists are very obsessed with dating and the meaning of it. I looked at it and thought it was a ruin, and that with my design skills I could work out what was there. In our climate back in the Bronze Age it still rained, and why would you move 75 large stones just so you could dance around twice a year? If you put a roof on it you can use it all year.”

Sarah Ewbank has over 30 years of experience as a landscape architect and has been studying the layout of Stonehenge for some time in an attempt to envision its original looks and purpose. A recent interview with The Daily Mail has given her ideas and book, “Stonehenge – Temple Cipher Roof,” some new publicity. She first looks at the idea that the structure was used to celebrate the solstices and asks an obvious question.

“It seems obvious to me that they would have wanted to mark the winter solstice inside, under a roof, not outside in the freezing cold.”

Isn’t this better than outdoors?

Ewbank considers the Bronze Age builders of Stonehenge to be sophisticated – they were goldsmiths, artists and experienced metalworkers – who would have wanted to celebrate in comfort. There were also enough of them around that the building would need to hold a crowd. For a modern-day architect to imagine such a structure, Ewbank first needed to imagine a layout with supports for multiple floors and a roof. She started with the four concentric formations of stones which make up Stonehenge – the outer and inner circles, a horseshoe and an oval. Ewbank then added missing stones and wooden beams using evidence from archaeological investigations and ground-penetrating radar.

Building a modern thatch roof

“Their existence suggests that the sarsens’ uprights and lintels were engineered as if to take the load of a roof.”

The next key is the horizontal stones, which she believes were there to support a roof, and the knobs on the vertical stones which would have held them in place. Ewbank sees the horseshoe formation as the supports for a central wooden framework spanning the center of the oval structure, with rafters to support the lower part of the roof. She thinks the upper roof cap would be easy – it’s just an inverted boat which the builders already knew how to make. Finally, she envisions a platform for lifting the 20-ton support stones with ropes. If the completed structure is hard to imagine, Ewbank has excellent illustrations on her Facebook page and website.

“The idea of a roof on Stonehenge wouldn’t make any sense. Part of the point of the place is the majesty of the stones, so why would you put a roof on them? The bottom line is that there isn’t any evidence for it.”

Stonehenge curator Heather Sebire from English Heritage just can’t see it.

Can you? (More illustrations at The Daily Mail.)

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8,000-Year-Old Flute-Like Musical Instrument Unearthed in Turkey

An ancient flute-like musical instrument that dates back approximately 8,000 years has been unearthed in the city of Bilecik in the northwestern part of Turkey. Archaeologists found the instrument while they were conducting excavations underneath an apartment in the city. The excavations, which were launched by the Bilecik Archeology Museum and the Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University Archeology Department, have been ongoing for two years.

The musical instrument that looks similar to a flute or whistle was made from a bone and has three holes that each measure less than one centimeter in diameter. Associate Professor Erkan Fidan described it in further detail, “We think that this musical instrument, which has 3 holes, is a part of a musical instrument that changes sound notes to make sounds. We think that the tool was used thanks to an appliqué mouthpiece attached to this piece.” It is also believed to have been the first musical instrument ever found in that area.

(Not the musical instrument found in Turkey)

In addition to the musical instrument, they found “…religious objects such as decorated boxes made of terracotta, human-shaped amulets, and animal figures during the excavations. In addition, a skull we found in the courtyard gives us information about the religious life of that period.” As a matter of fact, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of 11 individuals but experts still need to conduct detailed analysis on the remains in order to find out the age and sex of the deceased. Einkorn wheat, gernik wheat, bread and durum wheat, black vetch, lentils, and barley were found there as well.

The area in which the items were found represents the site of one of the first settlers in the western part of Anatolia. The site was found after a local resident discovered ancient fragments of ceramics. After making the discovery, the individual contacted the Archaeology Museum and excavations began at the location in 2019.

“We have unearthed the first villages of human communities that came here 9 thousand years ago and stayed here for 1000 years. Those who come here are people who know how to farm and domesticated animals,” Fidan explained, adding, “People lived in round-plan houses here, but they used their houses mostly as sleeping places. They spent all their daily lives in the courtyards between the houses, in their gardens.”

He went on to say that the three-holed flute-like musical instrument will be put on display at the Bilecik Archeology Museum once the research and restorations are finished. In the meantime, you can see what the ancient musical instrument looks like as pictures can be viewed here.

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Bitcoin stuck at $31K, but history suggests a price surge this month is on the cards, one trader says

Bitcoin is stuck at $31,000, but according to one trader, a price surge is on the cards, borrowing a leaf from history.
Other analysts have pointed to the four-year cycle in which Bitcoin always finds support before a breakout and the continued rise of retail traders.

At this point, almost every other analyst has given his prediction of a future price movement for Bitcoin. These predictions usually rely on extensive research, several charts, and years of experience in the market. However, what if it was as easy as looking at what Bitcoin did at this time last year? One trader believes it is, and that Bitcoin is about to embark on a parabolic run.

Bitcoin is today trading at $31,660, having made little movement in the past day. While there were fears that the bears would take over during the weekend and finally break the $30,000 support, BTC has held strong. The volume is 12 percent down, but all other metrics remain stable.

And while BTC is still down by over 50 percent from its all-time high, it’s still doing quite well compared to a year ago. At the time, it was trading at $9,100. Many predicted that it was on its way down and advised investors to take profits and flee.

A crypto trader who goes by “CryptoKaleo” on Twitter recollects the time, and on Twitter, he reminded traders that despite the bearish outlook, Bitcoin took off.

Just a reminder that one year ago everyone thought BTC looked terrible also. The sane thing to do was to take profit before it crashed back down below $6K even though the tech was running wild. It didn’t take long for the narrative to change.

“July 20 could mark a new beginning for Bitcoin”

CryptoKaleo recalled that the period from July 9 to July 20 was especially bearish-looking as Bitcoin seemed stuck at a range. However, starting on July 21, fate changed and it started going up.

BTC price chart courtesy of @CryptoKaleo

While the trader is aware that history doesn’t always repeat itself in the exact same way, he believes “it often rhymes.”

If you don’t believe Bitcoin is dead, this is called opportunity.

— K A L E O (@CryptoKaleo) July 13, 2021

The trader isn’t alone in his conviction that BTC is on its way to recovery, and then some. Yet another popular Bitcoin and Litecoin trader and analyst has predicted that the crypto is headed to $300,000 by the end of this year.

According to the trader, who also operates Bitcoin and Litecoin resources, Bitcoin has been finding support at the 1.618 Fibonacci level every four years, specifically in July.

Bitcoin finds support at the 1.618 Fibonacci in July of 13, 17, 21 (4 years apart!). The trend would show that Bitcoin will have a top in December of 21 at ~300k.

BTC chart courtesy of @MASTERBTCLTC

There are those, like on-chain analyst Willy Woo that have pointed to an ever-increasing retail presence in the industry as the basis for their belief that a bull market is about to commence.

Chart: Weekly net flows to small holders (of less than 1 BTC).

It’s retail that drive Bitcoin bull markets. When they stop buying, that’s a bear market warning. They haven’t stopped buying.

Last 30 days: Whales sold 4k BTC, plebs bought 31k BTC

Data provider: @glassnode

— Willy Woo (@woonomic) July 17, 2021

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Bitcoin is heading to $23,000 and the dollar is doomed: Billionaire fund manager

A billionaire investor with over $135 billion in assets under management has claimed that Bitcoin is headed to $23,000 and the dollar is doomed.
The investor revealed he doesn’t own Bitcoin and has never invested, as he doesn’t have the risk tolerance needed to invest in the crypto.

One of Wall Street’s leading investors is bearish on Bitcoin, predicting that the leading cryptocurrency is going to crush even further in the short term. Jeffrey Gundlach, better known as the Bond King, foresees BTC crashing to $23,000 and urged traders to wait for the crash before investing in the cryptocurrency. The Wall Street veteran is even more bearish on the U.S dollar which he believes is doomed.

Bitcoin’s relationship with institutional investors has been rather checkered. On its way up, they piled in, from JPMorgan making ambitious price targets to giants like Ruffer Investments in the U.K buying tens of millions worth of the crypto. However, as it slid down, Ruffer sold its stash (making $1.1 billion in the process) and JPMorgan has been predicting a further price slide.

Gundlach is one of those that never really converted to Bitcoin, even when it was on its way up. Speaking in an interview on CNBC, the 61-year-old stated:

I think it’s only a trading vehicle. I’ve never been long bitcoin personally. I’ve never been short Bitcoin. It’s just not for me. I don’t have that kind of risk tolerance in my DNA where I have to get worried to pull up the quote every day to see if it’s down 20%.

Bitcoin to $23,000

Gundlach, who became referred to as the Bond King back in 2011, founded Doubline Capital in 2009, after he was fired from his vastly successful stint at TCW Capital. Doubleline, which is based in Los Angeles, now manages $135 billion in assets, focusing on mutual funds, private funds, active ETFs and more.

The billionaire, however, isn’t too fond of crypto. And even if he wanted to buy BTC, he believes that he may be a bit too late as the price is already too high.

But I would not own Bitcoin presently. I think you had an opportunity to buy it at a cheaper level.

Gundlach further cautioned investors against putting their money in Bitcoin, stating that he believes it will slide down further.

The chart on bitcoin looks pretty scary….I have a feeling you’re going to be able to buy it below 23,000 again. Bitcoin has really lost its steam.

The investing guru is not optimistic about his future outlook of the U.S dollar either. “I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I think the dollar-I will use the word ‘doomed’ in the long term,” he told CNBC.

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Is Bitcoin a currency? The one thing the crypto industry can’t agree with Satoshi on

Is Bitcoin a currency, or is it just good as a speculative asset? This is the one thing that has yet to be settled over a decade since its invention.
Michael Saylor says it’s better as property, China says it’s purely speculative, the Fed says it has failed as a currency, but Satoshi created a peer-to-peer currency.

What is Bitcoin to you? Is it an asset you invested in purely for speculation? Are you in it because you don’t want to be left out of what feels like a defining technology of our time? Or is it a currency to you that you intend to make day-to-day payments with? This is the one thing that the crypto industry, regulators and Satoshi Nakamoto can’t seem to see eye to eye on.

Satoshi invented a currency over a decade ago. On the Bitcoin whitepaper, he described it as “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash [that]would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

To Satoshi, who to date remains a mystery, Bitcoin was necessitated by the trust-based model that online commerce has relied on for decades, which according to him, suffers from some inherent weaknesses.

However, looking at what Bitcoin is today, it’s clear that it has taken on new uses, and with each passing day, Satoshi’s vision of an internet currency slips further away.

Michael Saylor, Mark Cuban, the Fed, China all agree Bitcoin isn’t a currency

There’s no shortage of people and even institutions that have declared a belief that Bitcoin isn’t a currency. The latest is Michael Saylor, the CEO of Microstrategy and one of the biggest Bitcoin evangelists. He sees Bitcoin as property, not currency.

He stated in the past week:

I don’t really think that Bitcoin’s going to be a currency in the US ever. Nor do I think it should be. I really think logically it should be treated as property. It’s like owning a building, or owning a bar of gold, or owning a share of stock. It’s property.

As with any other property, he sees value in holding Bitcoin over the long term. He likened it to buying Google or Microsoft stocks. “If you buy and hold, that’s good, and at any point in the history of technology, if you had sold, you made a mistake, right?”

Jerome Powell, the chair of the U.S Federal Reserve, also believes that Bitcoin has failed as a currency. This week, while testifying before Congress, he stated that stablecoins might become a payment option, but crypto assets had clearly failed.

Powell’s counterparts in China agree with him. In the whitepaper for the digital yuan, the People’s Bank of China stated that due to “lack of intrinsic value, acute price fluctuations, low trading efficiencies and huge energy consumption,” cryptocurrencies can “hardly serve as currencies used in daily economic activities.

Mark Cuban has also disputed the use of Bitcoin as a currency in the past. Cuban went to the extent of stating that one of the key reasons he stayed away from crypto was because he didn’t see their potential as currencies. It was only after he identified their use as assets that he came into crypto.

Bitcoin has had to adapt to changes in perception, regulation, and even users’ needs. It has thus shifted greatly from its original, and intended use as currency. However, with solutions like Lightning Network making it easier and cheaper to spend, maybe one day Satoshi’s dream of a “system for electronic transactions without relying on trust” might become a reality.

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Mark Cuban has invested in a new altcoin that’s seeing impressive recovery after May crash

One of the world’s foremost innovators and investors, Mark Cuban, has invested in a new altcoin, even after he was burned in a recent rug pull.
Cuban invested in OlympusDAO, a crypto that according to analyst Chico Crypto, is seeing one of the most impressive recoveries following the wider crash in May.

Mark Cuban has become one of the biggest cryptocurrency fans in recent months, investing in everything from Ethereum to NFT platforms and DeFi market leaders. He is now increasing his position in a new altcoin that, despite crashing in May like all the other coins, is now seeing an impressive recovery.

Cuban revealed his altcoin portfolio for non-fungible tokens on his platform, known as Lazy. Since then, crypto fans have been on the lookout for changes in his positions to know what he’s bullish about. And as trader Tyler Swope spotted recently, Cuban has increased his position on Olympus (OHM).

Related: Mark Cuban’s enthusiasm in DeFi curbed after suspected rug pull hit

Cuban buys and stakes Olympus (OHM)

Cuban bought 75 OHM on Saturday, worth $42,300 at current prices. But it doesn’t stop there for the Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star. He has staked his OHM, a further endorsement for the cryptocurrency. A dig into his Etherscan address shows that he has now staked 536 OHM, worth $302,304 at press time.

OHM is the native token of Olympus DAO, a decentralized reserve currency that claims to promote stability and predictability without having a peg for its tokens. The project has only been around for a few months, but in that time, it has attracted the interest of several investors, so much so that one month after launch, it spiked to an all-time high at $1,479.

That was in late April. However, May came, and as the greater crypto market tumbled, OHM wasn’t spared either. It shed about 90 percent of its value to trade at $164. Since then, it has been recovering well – certainly better than most cryptos including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

It now trades at $564, and in the past 24 hours, it added 7 percent to its value. However, it’s still a relatively small crypto, with CoinGecko pegging its market cap at just $390 million.

Popular YouTuber and analyst Tyler Swope, better known as Chico Crypto, described OHM as “one of the only projects out there that is recovering and recovering well since the May crush.”

He added, “So unique that even the highly respected Messari put out research on how it works… and according to Messari, OHM has a flywheel effect in which users are incentivized to do what’s best for it.”

Der Beitrag Mark Cuban has invested in a new altcoin that’s seeing impressive recovery after May crash erschien zuerst auf Crypto News Flash.

Italy’s Bizarre Haunted Village of Witches

Located in the peaceful Argentina Valley in the Ligurian Alps of Italy, just a stone’s throw from the border of France, is the serene, tiny town of Triora. Surrounded by sweeping natural vistas, soaring cliffs, and deep valleys, it is little more than a speck on the map, with just about 400 permanent residents living a life of peaceful solitude. Despite its small size, the surrounding natural grandeur has helped Triora land itself on an association of small Italian towns of historical interest called I Borghi più belli d’Italia, holds a place on excellent tourist destinations called Touring Club’s Bandiere Arancioni network, and it boasts a spot on a list of the top 100 most beautiful medieval towns in Italy. From all appearances this is a historical, quaint little hamlet that is clean and welcoming to all who visit, yet there is a very dark and sinister past pervading this place, and for all of its beauty Triora also carries the ominous nickname of il paese delle streghe, or “The Village of Witches.”

The town of Triora has a history going all the way back to ancient Roman times, and by the 11th century it was a thriving center of commerce in the region that continually had to defend itself from forceful invasion by the powerful Republic of Genoa. The Republic eventually just bought the town the old-fashioned way, and it continued to be an important place, not only financially and as an important crossroads for trade between Italy and France, but also valued for its military importance as a strategic location. It would be renowned as a center of trade and commerce, as well as known for its agricultural richness, until the town’s fortunes began to change in the late 16th century.

Triora, Italy

In 1587, Triora experienced a sudden influx of unexpected hardship. The plentiful crops the region had always enjoyed went into decline, famine followed, and starvation and woe spread through the area. Considering that up until that point the town had always thrived, there were soon rumors that something supernatural was afoot, that this place had been cursed. Before long, the situation was growing to include freak weather, plagues, pestilence, acid rain, mysteriously dead, sometimes mutilated livestock. The word on the street was that witches were responsible for the town’s strife, with many stories springing up of sightings of witches rituals and acts of healing and other magic, as well as tales of conjured demonic spirits roving about and even human sacrifice and cannibalism towards children. These rumors at the time spread far and wide, and before long had captured the attention of inquisitors from Genoa and Albenga, the local diocese.

When the notorious and greatly feared inquisitor Giulio de Scribani and the priest Girolamo del Pozzo arrived in town, it did not take them long at all to come to the conclusion that this was a place corrupted and held under siege by witchcraft, and an investigation led them to the Cabotina area of the village, which was a hodgepodge collection of deteriorating, filthy huts outside the town walls inhabited by the poor and destitute. Scribani arranged systemic house to house searches of Cabotina, as well as surrounding communities, eventually rounding up dozens of young women, girls, and even one young boy, all suspected of being witches. Scribani, who was a former local magistrate, was probably the last one any of these women wanted to see, as he had built up a rather sinister reputation as a hardcore fanatic intent on wiping out the influence of the Devil on earth, and by extension witches. He was known for his gratuitous use of torture and violence.

The list of suspects would soon expand to include even family members of local nobles, to the point that even the Inquisition was suspicious that there could be so many witches in one place. They were subjected to intense interrogation and torture, with some of them dying from this torture and another young woman committing suicide by leaping out of a window, marking bloodshed before the trials had even begun. Twelve of the accused refused to confess and one 12-year-old girl was released for reasons not clearly known. Some were executed, at least four of them, but in the end, the remaining witches were spared from execution by the Inquisitor of Genoa, as this was a point in time where execution of witches was becoming old-fashioned and Scribani was being increasingly seen as a fanatical loose cannon, although their ultimate fates are unknown. It was certainly too late to save those who died under torture or by their own hand. Some reports say that they were all indeed secretly put to death, but their fates remain elusive. Scribani would end up being excommunicated for his ways, although the damage had already been done.

It is said that up to 200 women were accused of witchcraft in Triora and in the neighboring villages, although the extent of their exact fates remains murky due to sketchy record-keeping of the time, and it has largely come to be known as “Italy’s Salem,” although this happened long before Salem. The witch hunt at Triora set off a massive witch hut that would spread through Italy and surrounding countries to lead to untold deaths and tortures, all driven by panic and superstitious fear of the supernatural. To this day the witch trials of Triora reverberate through the area, and the town have capitalized on it by holding tours of the Cabotina “witch town” and supposed places cursed by the witches at the time, as well as a museum dedicated to the witch trials called “Museo Etnografico e della Stregoneria di Triora,” and souvenirs, signs, and statues connected to witches all over town. With festivals devoted to the trials and Halloween events as well, it is clear that this place revels in its past. To this day the area gets its reports of hauntings and sightings of Shadow People, but it is mostly a very peaceful and serene location that tends to usurp its dark past.

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Mysterious English Cave House Was Probably Home to an Exiled King

A mysterious cave house in Derbyshire, England, that nobody knew much about turned out to have a pretty big secret. Back in the 18th century, Anchor Church cave was used as a party place by the local gentry and that was pretty much all that anyone knew about its history.

But now, based on new research, archaeologists think that the cave house dates back 1,200 years and was believed to have been inhabited by a king named Eardwulf who was exiled from Northumbria in the year 806 AD. The cave house has also been recognized as one of the oldest intact domestic interiors that have been discovered in the United Kingdom.

Anchor Church cave in 1895.

Edmund Simons, who is the principal investigator on the project, has had a life-long fascination with cave houses so he decided to put together the project in order to better understand these structures. While the project consisted of studying 170 different sites, it was the Anchor Church cave that provided the most surprises.

Anchor Church cave was listed as a natural cave enlarged in the 18th century, but Simons claimed that couldn’t be possible, “It’s not a natural cave, I can’t think of a natural process that makes walls, doors and windows, let alone pillars,” and that the features were consistent with Saxon architecture.

Furthermore, he is convinced that the story of King Eardwulf (also known as Saint Hardulph) living there as a hermit is true. Simons noted that the word “hermit” should be used lightly as the king would have been “…somebody who would have had disciples with him and would have been revered as holy, probably as a saint in his own lifetime. He doesn’t have his great feasting hall any more but it is quite a nice gaff.” Interestingly, the former king was buried at Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire which is located only five miles from the caves.

Engraving of Anchor Church cave from 1823.

Then in the 18th century, Sir Robert Burdett used the cave “… so that he and his friends could dine within its cool and romantic cells,” and the openings were widened so women in nice clothing could easily walk in.

With that being said, the Anchor Church cave is “probably the oldest intact domestic interior in the UK,” Simons stated, adding, “We have churches from this kind of date but we haven’t got anywhere where people slept and ate and prayed, all that kind of thing. Here, we’ve got one. It is quite remarkable.” Pictures of Anchor Church cave can be seen here.

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