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Machinery of the Gods

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A surrealist look at ancient history

Out of the many marvels in our wondrous world today one of the most mysterious is the unknown source behind the deus ex machina, or machinery of the Gods. I’m not speaking of ancient astronauts or UFOs, but of real, down-to-earth questions concerning our very real, not-so-primitive ancestors.

Consider the temple complex at Baalbek in Lebanon composed of giant stone blocks over a thousand tons in weight and 70 feet long (still the largest hewn stones on the face of the earth). They were cut and transported how? The technology to move so massive an object still does not exist a full 2,000 years later. The ancients left us no clue, so we can only marvel.

Then there’s the so-called Baghdad Batteries, circa 250 B.C. At first considered a freakish anomaly, many other similar “batteries” have since been rediscovered in the Middle East, now that archeologists know what to look for. A simple addition of vinegar or wine and presto! You’d have enough current to light a bulb or drive a small electric motor. Though there’s been speculation they were used as a crude form of electroplating, even today no one knows their exact purpose.

Again, there’s the 2,000 year old Antikythera computer, dredged up by a sponge diver from the seacoast off Greece. A 1957 study of the badly damaged and corroded device by Yale University determined it to be a hideously complex analog computer replicating the movements of the heavens, including eclipses. In 2008, this ‘oldest computer’ was rebuilt by museum curator Michael Wright. See its functions by visiting You Tube and searching “Antikythera mechanism working model.”

From China comes the Third Century “South Pointing Carriage,” at first glance a primitive form of compass, using not magnetism but what’s known today as differential gears and but built with such astounding precision, as Dr. Joseph Needham stated, that when reconstructing the device in the 1980s, as error of less than 1 percent in any one of the myriad gears would lead to the “compass” being wildly off after only a few miles. (A replica is on display at the London Science Museum.)

Among these ancient “Machinery of the Gods” I think its time we include the so-called Lost Ark of the Covenant. Why? The Old Testament gives very detailed, precise instructions for not only creating, but maintaining the object (Exodus 25: 10-22). The two cherubin figures could well be the positive and negative terminals, as on a car battery. The gold gilding of the Ark made it a primary conductor for electronics. The “Priests” in charge of it wore what can only be described as protective clothing and when the Ark was briefly captured by the Philistines, who did not wear the protective clothing, an epidemic of lethal tumors occurred, forcing the terrified Philistines to unceremoniously dump the Ark back at Israel’s border. 

Only space forbids my drawing further analogies to the Ark as a deus ex machina. Whence its origin? I think it curious that the Ark’s cubic capacity of 71,282 cubic inches is almost precisely (71,290) the capacity of the empty stone vessel in the Great Pyramid known as the “empty sarcophagus.” A replica Ark, built to Biblical specifications in 1955 by Dr. Alfred Rutherford of Illinois, fit inside the granite sarcophagus with remarkable precision. A uniform 1/2 inch gap surrounded the facsimile on all sides. Once again, only space forbids further analogies other than pointing out the fact that both Daniel and Solomon were high-ranking Egyptian Priests as well as leaders and prophets of Israel. 

What eventually became of the Ark? No one knows. When the Babylonians took Jerusalem and razed the temple to the ground they meticulously documented the booty they’d won, down to the number of shovels, pots and pans, but the Ark was conspicuous only by its absence, lost in the murky mists of History and buried in the silent dreaming sands.

‘til next time, keep spreading the word: Soylent Green is People! All Homage to Xena!

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Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

Tagged as:

Surrealist Research Bureau, Baalbek, Baghdad battery, Antikythera mechanism, South Pointing Carriage, Ark of the Covenant

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