Strange Ancient Mysteries Dissected: The Proof Is Out There

Strange Ancient Mysteries Dissected: The Proof Is Out There

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and some believe the mysterious stones in this next story could unlock the secret location of untold riches. Do we have your attention? It's 2004 in Phoenix, Arizona. Third generation treasure hunter Dan Dillman is at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum where he's been granted special access to view some artifacts that have long been a family obsession.

These photos show replicas of a set of rectangular slabs known as the Peralta Stones. They're each 18 inches wide and 12 inches tall. One is known as the Horse Stone, or the Priest Stone, and features a horse on one side and a priest on the back. A second, the Trail Map Stone, features what looks like a pictorial map.

The third has a recessed heart that's filled with a separate, heart-shaped stone. This heart tablet seems to connect with the trail map. - I first heard about the Peralta Stone tablets from my grandfather and uncles when I was just a little kid, sitting at the kitchen table, talking about treasure stories. And my grandfather and uncles truly believe that these were real stone maps that led to some place.

- [Tony] Anthropologist Kathy Strain says the story goes that the original tablets were found in the 1940s in Arizona. - Police officer Travis Tumlinson was near Apache Junction, Arizona and he just stepped out of the car to stretch his legs and he found these stones buried in the dirt next to where he was parked. - [Tony] This heart-shaped insert was apparently found later by someone who went back to search the area. - The prevailing theory is that these stones will tell the way to get to the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Now, Lost Dutchman Mine is believed to be on some land in the Superstition Mountains. In 1748, the land was granted to a Mexican cattle-bearer named Don Miguel Peralta. It is said that there was a gold mine on that property, but he rarely ever went to it. - [Tony] In the 1870s, German immigrant Jacob Waltz supposedly found the location of the mine and spent years filling his saddlebags with gold. Dutchman was a common American term for a German in the 1800s from the Anglicized version of the German word Deutsche.

- [Kathy] It's possible that these stones led him to find the mine, but it's also possible that he's the one that authored these to help him remember where the mine was. - [Tony] A number of searchers have mysteriously died or gone missing while hunting for this gold, and that only adds to the superstition that surrounds these peaks. - We continue following the information that we've gleaned from the Peralta Stone maps and we believe they lead to some of the greatest treasures this world has ever known. - The Superstition Mountains are renowned for more than just a legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine. Some Apaches believe a hole leading to the underworld is located there.

What can our experts discover about this legendary search for treasure? Let's put them on the hunt. (tense music) Archeologist Dr. Ed Barnhart first deciphers what the stones say, starting with the Priest Stone. - One of the tablets has a text that in Spanish says, "Look for the map," which strikes me as a little odd considering these tablets are supposed to be the map.

On the flip side, we have what's called the Horse Tablet, and then there's text again in Spanish saying, "The horse of Santa Fe, I graze north of the river," which people have taken to be some sort of cryptic directions to the mine. One of the troubles I have with that particular text though is that horse, caballo, is misspelled. - [Tony] Barnhart adds that on the Heart Stone, there appears to be a date, 1847, the last year Arizona was a part of Mexico.

But what about the symbols on the other tablets like the so-called Trail Map Stone? - The trail map itself seems to be kind of squiggly lines. There's no place where it begins or ends, so it's very difficult to discern how you would use it as a map. - [Tony] So who carved these stones? Barnhart says it's unlikely the German prospector Waltz would've been literate in the 1800s, much less having education to be able to write words in other languages. And more importantly, he says the stones reveal two completely different levels of carving skill. - [Ed] The stones appear to be carved by two different authors.

One is a much better artist than the other. - [Tony] NASA geologist Dr. Bob Anderson agrees there seems to be two separate artists and he says they performed their work in different centuries. - The carvings that you see on the two sandstone ones, which are the map, are pretty legitimate of what you would find in the 1840s and 1850s. These rocks are scattered all over Arizona and they were used as markers to show people where you want 'em to go.

The horse, on the other hand, and the heart appear to be totally different. That heart symbol is probably much more recent. I would say probably in the 1940s or 1950s.

These two rocks that are carved later do not belong to the same puzzle that the first two do. (tense music) - So, we're left a bit puzzled by these stones. Our verdict, the Trail Map Stone and the Heart Stone might be legitimate 19th century marker stones, but the heart-shaped insert and double-sided Horse or Priest Stone are likely fakes from the 20th century. And since they're not part of the same set, it's unlikely they reveal the hidden spot of a treasure trove.

2020, Staffordshire, England. Historical researcher Andrew Baker is visiting Shugborough Hall, a centuries old country house with numerous neoclassical monuments, but he's here to see just one. Framed by a pair of columns sits an enigma carved in stone, The Shepherd's Monument. - The monument stands by the river surrounded by trees and by dark shrubs.

So it's eerie and mysterious. - [Tony] Footage of the marble relief shows four people gathered around a tomb that reads "Et In Arcadia Ego." Below the carb scene is a stone plaque bearing only the cryptic letters O-U-O-S-V-A-V-V, flanked by a D and an M. Andrew says its meaning is one of the most enduring puzzles in England.

- The idea that there was something in England that had a coded message on it might be to do with secret societies treasurer, who knows what? It's as if it's been planted there for us to read today. - [Tony] Historians believe the Shepherd's Monument was commissioned by the estate's owner, Thomas Anson, and that it was built sometime around the 1750s. Beyond that, the details get murky.

- The theory goes that Thomas Anson's brother, Royal Navy Admiral George Anson, circumnavigated the globe collecting treasure that was hidden away somewhere. And that the Shugborough Hall inscription leads to the location of that lost treasure. - [Tony] Yet some believe the inscription leads to treasure even more precious than gold.

- Another theory goes that the Anson family were members of an organization known as the Priory of Sion, descendants of the Knight's Templar, who were rumored to originally be charged with protecting The Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is said to be the cup that was used to serve wine at the last supper, and collected blood from Jesus during the crucifixion. - [Tony] Or could the Holy Grail be something else? According to legend, the Priory of Sion claimed that Jesus Christ was an earthly, not a heavenly king whose bloodline traced itself to ancient France's Merovingian dynasty. So some believe the Holy Grail is not actually a physical cup, but rather the Priory's secret knowledge that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children with her. One codebreaker has suggested the Shugborough inscription stands for "Jesus, as deity defy," which has been linked to these controversial beliefs.

Many of these theories laid the groundwork for Dan Brown's wildly popular "Da Vinci Code" franchise. Professional scholars have dismissed many of those claims is pseudo history, but the idea of a secret society protecting a holy bloodline retains a grip on popular culture. So it's time to see if our experts can chisel out the truth. (tense music) Archeologist Dr. Ed Barnhart begins with the theory

that George Anson collected treasures from around the world and that the code is a way to find them. - What George Anson collected in today's money would be millions of dollars of wealth. But if we look at the Shugborough Hall property, and all of these amazing monuments, it would appear that most of George's wealth went into the estate itself. - [Tony] If Anson spent the lion's share of his fortune, which seems to be the case, since his family fell out of prominence, then maybe this isn't a literal treasure map, but rather a clue to how the Ansons hid the truth about the Holy Grail as members of the Priory of Sion.

Catholic miracle researcher Michael O'Neill says the main problem with that theory is this supposed secret society didn't actually exist. - In the 1950s, a French man named Pierre Plantard started this Priory of Sion and he attempted to draw a connection between that secret society and the Knights Templar. Unfortunately, there was no such connection.

And then in 1993, we see a raid of the apartment of Plantard where they find all these documentation and letters between Plantard and his friends talking about their intentions to perpetrate this great hoax. so ah the proof is in the puddin - [Tony] So if the Priory of Sion and its connection to the holy grail is completely made up, then what does this inscription mean? Barnhart thinks he's found a clue. - The inscription itself is clearly the initials, the first letters of a longer statement. This D and this M are typically on Roman tombs, and it means Dis Manibus, which means dedicated to the venerated dead.

So this may be some sort of monument dedicated to someone who's passed away. (tense music) - For us, many unanswered questions about this inscription remain. Our verdict is that it's a memorial dedication to someone, though we're still not really sure who. We may have to accept that the message was meant to be kept private and may stay that way forever. It's November, 2016, and Sunil Krishnan has made a pilgrimage to the ancient village of Hampi.

He is there to explore the beauty and antiquity of the Vittala temple. The temple's biggest attractions are these mysterious 56 pillars made of solid granite, that somehow produce musical notes when struck. (pillar ringing) - So I went there, then I realized this is beyond my understanding.

You've heard about this pillar all your life. Finally you get to play with it. That is an amazing experience. (pillar ringing) - [Tony Harris] Journalist Eric Grundhauser says that visitors to the ancient site have been fascinated by the musical pillars for more than 500 years. - The musical pillars of Hampi consist of 56 granite pillars, sometimes referred to as the Sa Re Ga Ma pillars, Sa Re Ga Ma being the Indian version of the tonal scale equivalent to Do Re Mi Fa.

So the sounds emitted will change depending on which pillar you are tapping. (pillar ringing) - According to legend, the musical pillars may have been created for the God Vishnu, to celebrate his return, and the reincarnation of Vishnu will destroy the wicked and the unjust in this dawning of a new age. - [Tony Harris] Grundhauser says foreign invaders have long obsessed over the mystery of how these stone columns could produce such soothing music. - The Mughals are said to have charred the pillars for three months, trying to unlock the secrets of their musical notes.

The English ended up carving off two of the pillars just to see inside, discovering that they are just granite pillars. Many visitors to the site still have trouble explaining how the pillars could have been created to emit such unique musical tones. (pillar ringing) - Although we have examples of resonance stones in other parts of the world, there's nothing quite like Hampi's pillars in terms of historical significance. For decades, they have been the subject of numerous scientific studies, and yet they still remain an enigma.

So let's see if our experts can solve this ancient riddle. (intense instrumental music) We start with forensic audio analyst, Dr. Rob Maher, who has a theory as to how these pillars made of solid rock could make music. - The mechanics of this particular rock and the diameter of the pillars are that it's a flexural vibration, meaning the whole pillar itself is wiggling side to side almost like a string.

And so that's the thing that is allowing it to vibrate at a particular frequency. - [Tony Harris] Sound crazy? Well, you see examples of flexural vibration all the time, like on a guitar string or a coiled door stopper. To test his theory, Maher creates a synthetic version of a flexural vibration sound and compares it to the columns. - So I'll play the synthesized first.

(notes ringing) (pillars ringing) So it has the same characteristic pitch and the general quality to it, and so what we're hearing when the structure is struck is just these flexural vibrations, but the understanding of how they work is still emerging. - [Tony Harris] So how could a giant piece of stone be made to produce a sound the same way as a guitar string? - Some theories have said that it may be that the pillars are reconstituted granite, and each one of the pillars were purpose made for the tones. Perhaps there's inclusions in the granite stones that subtly produce these differences in tone, but exactly what that inclusion would be, and how Hindus of the 1500s figured that out, these are all still unanswered questions. - [Tony Harris] Barnhart also points out that even if it was possible for artisans from over 500 years ago to wield the technology needed, the surrounding evidence does not support that conclusion.

- The creation of a cement that would be made of granite, would involve heating up that granite to thousands of degrees, and there is no evidence of any kilns of that nature being able to get that hot anywhere near the temple. - [Tony Harris] And even then, the musical mystery remains. - The kind of trial and error it would take to make each one of them consistently make a different tone, it boggles the modern mind how we would go about this process. So the idea that scientists of the 1500s did this, not once, but 56 times is really kind of amazing.

(pillars ringing) - Okay people, we are genuinely stumped. We don't know how these things were made. So we have to conclude, the musical pillars of Hampi are the product of a lost technology forgotten over time. Today the pillars are cordoned off to prevent further damage to the stone instruments. So if you go, look, but don't touch.

It's August 1987 in the town of Romford in East London, UK. A local resident is filling a hole in his yard when suddenly his shovel hits something hard and metallic. In this photo, you can see the strange 12 sided hollow object that's about the size of a tennis ball.

Each side has a pentagonal face with a circular hole in the middle, and in each corner is a small, rounded knob. Writer Eric Grundhauser says, other mysterious devices like this were first discovered in the early 1700s and they've been baffling people ever since. - What you're looking at in this image is one of the most unexplained mysteries of the ancient world. Even though we found over a hundred of them across Europe, no one is still clear on what exactly they are. - [Tony] They're known as dodecahedrons because of their 12 sided shape, but no one knows exactly how or why they were made. Grundhauser says some suspect the ancients may have used them for communing with the spiritual world.

- One of the theories surrounding these dodecahedrons is that they were used as divining tools by augers or seers, some kind of dye, or rolling of the bones. - [Tony] So perhaps these devices were used to predict the future. They have 12 faces that could correspond with the 12 celestial signs of the Zodiac creating a sort of horoscope. Perhaps they were related to the first century mystery religion known as Mithraism. This was a secretive cult centered on the God Mithras that drew heavily upon astrological symbolism.

A similar connection to the star constellations was proposed by one of the greatest philosophers of all time. - [Eric] Plato had this idea of these shapes that were the ideal shapes of the universe. The dodecahedron was meant to represent the heavens, that the dodecahedron was itself a mirror of the shape of the universe. - [Tony] And what makes these objects even more enigmatic is that though they've been found throughout Europe, they're all precisely forged out of metal with the exact same design, though in a variety of small sizes.

There's no mention of them in any written records. - We don't know who created these dodecahedrons or how they were even created, but it doesn't look like it would've been easy, given ancient technology. - These mysterious contraptions have been uncovered in ancient military camps, temples, and even public baths.

So in addition to a fortune telling tool or religious totem, some have speculated they could be weapons, money, or even just a game. But after centuries of study, we're still no closer to the truth. So let's see if our experts can define what this is. (tense music) Anthropologist Kathy Strain explores whether the bronze object could have some religious or spiritual purpose, perhaps related to Mithraism, which was seen as an early rival to Christianity in the Roman Empire. - Mithraism was a star cult. When you think about a star that is multifaceted, multi edged, maybe this is something that that could represent a star.

It could be something that you kept in order to practice your religious action. - [Tony] But Strain reiterates that what complicates this theory is that these objects haven't just been found in temples and other religious sites. - [Strain] Knowing that they have been found in bathhouses, they've been found in Roman camps.

We can't use that as evidence to say that this is a religious object. - [Tony] Archeologist Dr. Ed Barnhart says these objects have sometimes been uncovered among caches of coins.

Then perhaps this dodecahedron could be some form of money? - It's very large, impractical for a currency. There aren't any identifiable and repeating symbols. If an organized civilization is going to make a currency, it's got the bust of a Roman emperor or something on it. - [Tony] So it may not be a type of coin, but perhaps it still had a valuable purpose.

- I think that it's a survey object. I think that the balls on every corner let it securely attach to basically a tripod. The locations where we find these objects are fairly neatly where the Roman empire expanded itself by building Roman roads. If you look through the hole on one side, whatever the other side you're looking through is a different diameter hole, which means they are very functional in terms of judging both distance and size of things out in front of you. - [Tony] The dodecahedron has six angles of view. And so if you know the size of an object, you can calculate how far away it is.

By looking at the object through the device, at a point where the two opposite circular holes are superimposed. You can determine the distance by plugging factors like the diameter of each hole, the distance between the two holes, and the height of the object into a simple geometric equation. (tense music) Our verdict, we're gonna go with Barnhart on this one and say this was likely a surveying tool.

The need to be secured on a tripod would explain why the device has the seemingly extraneous knobs. But remember, there is nothing about these dodecahedra in the written records, and no molds for making them have ever been found. So we'll likely never know for sure.

2024-06-06 02:55

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