27 Oct

31 Ghost Stories – Day 27: Objects out of place in history

Posted by Bryan White | Wednesday October 27, 2010 | 31 Ghost Stories

I’ve been contemplating this one while I’ve been slacking and letting days slip by but let me tell you people something, October has been fucking busy and not in a good way. This time last year I had news organizations and NPR on my jock for pieces about Halloween, I put together a kick ass costume and had a blast with the Family of Doom but this year has been nothing but work, work, work. It’s a real drag, man. It hasn’t really felt like October at all and I’m a little bummed about that. On top of it, these pieces require a lot more research than I though I’d need. Not that I’m complaining. Between here, Facebook and Twitter, I’m getting some great feedback so I’m glad you guys like it. It’s just that they’re not exactly ghost stories anymore and the whole thing has descended into the realm of flat out strange. So tonight’s is one of those, too. Every now and then, archaeologists turn up an artifact while exploring a certain place and the technology of it seems to exceed the capabilities of the time. Often, there’s an explanation for what it’s doing there but sometimes, science is stumped and the Fortean researchers go apeshit theorizing what it’s presence means in the context. For instance:

Antikythera MechanismIn 1900, divers discovered the wreck of the Antikythera, a ship found to have sailed around 100 BC off the coast of Greece. From the wreck, they managed to recover a number of period artifacts and pieces of something that academics were at a loss to identify. It was a series of interlocking gears, badly corroded from nearly two thousand years of sitting at the bottom of the sea. For decades this thing sat around and every now and then some scientist would put forward a model for what it actually did but the problem was the every one of these models required the device to originate somewhere in the middle of the second millenum CE not a hundred years BCE. Once x-rays were set loose on it, the true complexity of the Antikythera Mechanism came forward and minds in the scientific community were blown. This thing was clearly an analog computer. The complexity of this machine is unheard of, on par with the sort of engineering found in the shops of Swiss Watchmakers of the 17th century. Ultimately, it was used to calculate the positions of stars and planets, it predicted eclipses and phases of the moon and it came with an instruction manual etched into the housing. This thing was way, way ahead of its time and while its construction is consistent with automata that was common in nearby Rhodes, it’s operating on a much higher level than your average gear-driven puppet show. The technology present should not have been known to engineers at the time since it took nearly two thousand years for other cultures to catch up.

Baghdad BatteryAs we speak, American and Coalition Forces as well as Sunni and Shia militias are hard at work bombing the fuck out of the very cradle of civilization. It’s hard to accept that what is not the most unstable location in the entire world, a constant warzone, a crime scene of epic proportions and what looks like the end of the fucking world is where early man finally got its shit together and began the process of agriculture and society so that we didn’t go the way of cromagnon man or any of the other previous iterations of our species. Found near Baghdad in 1936 were a series of terracotta jars containing an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. The presence of an electrochemical couple in the jar suggested that if it were to have been filled with grape juice or vinegar, it would have been able to provide an electrical charge. Replicas have been made using the same technology and design with the acidic substance presence and it has created a small electrical charge, about half a volt. What the hell were Mesopotamians doing back then with batteries? Those of us on the fringe suspect that it might have something to do with the Dendera Light, a stone relief found in Egypt that seems to illustrate ancient people hanging out under arc lights.

In 1963, three prospectors in California cracked open a recovered geode to find what would come to be called the Coso Artifact. The artifact in question, found on the inside of a 500,000 year old geode was a 1920’s Champion Sparkplug. Fortean researchers suggest that this device, actually inspected by analysts and scientists but is now missing, could have been formed in the wake of an ancient advanced civilization like Atlantis or Thule or that it was left by time travellers accidentally.

The Ica Stones were discovered in caves in Peru by local farmers. The stones show etchings, clearly made by intelligent hands that depict long-extinct animals on them. We’re talking dinosaurs and shit! Stones dated prior to the discovery of dinosar bones depicting these beasts.

There are plenty of these out of place artifacts and a lot of them are strange hoaxes and misunderstandings but many of them stump scientists and academics to this day.


  1. October 27, 2010 11:49 pm


    I love this ish.

  2. October 28, 2010 1:48 am


    This blog is one of the best Hallowe’en countdown blogs, if not the best. Another cool post.

  3. October 28, 2010 2:47 pm

    Troy Z

    May I just commend you for using the combination of words heretofore unused on this planet: “I had… NPR on my jock”?

    By the way, thank you again for this October series. If you feel that there’s not much response in the comments section of your articles, it’s only because we’re all enraptured, lying on our stomachs on our blankies, hands on our chins as we kick our legs in the air, watching you hold the flashlight under your face as you regale us with these stories.

  4. October 29, 2010 1:37 am


    I just turned on the history channel and there is a show called Ancient Aliens that is talking about the Antikythera Mechanism and ancient batteries. Really interesting stuff.

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