What really happened to Russia’s missing cosmonauts?

The brothers finished setting up, grabbed their head-sets, twiddled the knobs on their portable receivers, hit the record button and listened… 

“Come in… come in… come in… Listen! Come in! Talk to me! I am hot! I am hot! Come in! What? Forty-five? What? Fifty? Yes. Yes, yes, breathing. Oxygen, oxygen… I am hot. This… isn’t this dangerous?” 
The brothers looked nervously at one another. They only fully understood the Russian later when their sister translated for them, but the desperation in the woman’s voice was clear. 

“Transmission begins now. Forty-one. Yes, I feel hot. I feel hot, it’s all… it’s all hot. I can see a flame! I can see a flame! I can see a flame! Thirty-two… thirty-two. Am I going to crash? Yes, yes I feel hot… I am listening, I feel hot, I will re-enter. I’m hot!” 

The most fascinating thing you will read today.

The second supernatural-author portrait I’m bringing to Arisia this weekend is of Montague Rhodes (M. R.) James (1862-1936), Cambridge (UK) don, Biblical scholar, mediaevalist, and author of numerous ghost stories.  Many of these last are in an antiquarian vein, and his short works are considered among the iconic ghost stories in the English language. The earliest were written to entertain friends at Christmas — part of the Christmas ghost story tradition in England which was either started, or developed, by Charles Dickens.

This colored pencil drawing is based on a circa 1900 photograph of James that appears in numerous places on the Web, including Wikipedia. I cannot find attribution for the photo. Online you will find color stills of a gentleman playing James for a BBC TV series that appeared recently. Fortean Times magazine (which I sometimes refer to as “the other British humour magazine”, the other other one being The Economist) published a piece touching on this in the past couple of years.

New labyrinth found

Cornish patterns uncovered

Images: Jeff Saward May 2006 Two carvings of labyrinths in Rocky Valley, between Boscastle and Tintagel in north Cornwall, have been the subject of much discussion over the years, their origins variously ascribed to the Bronze Age, the early Christian period and even the 18th century. When earth mysteries enthusiast David Roberts visited the site recently, he took digital photographs of the two labyrinths. On returning home, he downloaded the photographs onto his computer and noticed a third carving above the two previously known rock-cut patterns.

The hitherto unnoticed labyrinth is much fainter than the other two, leading to suggestions that the two bolder images were re-cut over existing carvings in relatively modern times. An alternative suggestion is that the two known labyrinths were copied from the much older, worn carving. All three labyrinths appear to be classic ‘Cretan’ in style, with seven-fold paths and left-handed entrances, although the ‘new’ carving is indistinct and its details somewhat difficult to establish. The recently identified labyrinth, news of which was published in Cornish earth mysteries magazine Meyn Mamvro, was described by Mr Roberts as “faint but unmistakable


Meyn Mamvro 58, Autumn 2005.
Holy Terror

As well as inspiration and hope, the Bible has some truly horri­fic moments. Here’s a small selection…

A thousand men bludgeoned to death with a donkey’s jawbone (Judges 15:15–16).
Victims burned alive (Numbers 16:35; Joshua 7:25; Judges 9:49, 15:6; Daniel 3:22; Matthew 13:49–50).
Parents cannibalise their children (2 Kings 6:28–29).
Cutting off thumbs and toes (Judges 1:6–7).
Decapitation (1 Samuel 17: 51, 31:9; 2 Samuel 16:9, Mark 6:22–29).
Disembowelling and stabbings (Judges 3:21–22; 2 Samuel 2: 23, 3:27, 20:10; 2 Chronicles 21:19; Acts 1:18).
Dismemberment (1 Samuel 15:32–33; Daniel 2:5, 3:29; Judges 19:22–29 – includes gang rape then dismemberment!).
The Leviathan, a fire-breathing sea monster (Job 3:8, 41:1–34; Psalms 74:14, 104:25–26; Isaiah 27:1).
Gouging out of eyes (Judges 16:21).
Hanging (Joshua 10:26; Esther 9:25; Matthew 27:5).
Parents murder their children as a sacrifice (2 Kings 3:27, 16:3, 17:17+31; 21:6).
Choking and torture (Matthew 18:28–35).