Saturday, 30 September 2017

Investigating the Paranormal with Higher Consciousness

Planes and flight have interested me since childhood, and that's how it came about that I was watching a documentary about the crash of a jumbo jet in the Everglades.  Near the end of the program it said that some paranormal phenomena took place, and that certainly got my attention right away!   Then, when I did a google search for it , I realized that it was one of the best-documented paranormal events, with several books and even TV movies about the subject.  How come I hadn't heard of it before?  It was time to catch up - quickly!

It all happened a long time ago now, at the end of 1972 when one of the first jumbo jets crashed into the Everglades one night, killing over a hundred people, including the pilots. But two of the crew apparently didn't pass over as easily, because they were seen many times on other planes of the same airline!  Eastern Air Lines used undamaged parts of the crashed plane in some of its other planes (common practice), and it was on those planes with cannibalized parts that the appearances occurred.

These are the pilots that were repeatedly seen:  Second Officer Don Repo (most frequently around the food-heating ovens in the lower deck galley); and Captain Bob Loft, who appeared as a life-like flesh-and-blood person sitting in First Class a few times.   

And the whole story sounds more credible because passengers and crew who saw the apparitions were well-balanced professionals with a sound mind, and who actually refused to talk about what they experienced, lest they were sent to a psychiatrist and/or lost their jobs.

Even though Eastern Air Lines officially dismissed the notion of any paranormal activity on their planes, they did authorize the cannibalized parts to be removed after over a year of sightings, and apparently this action stopped the ghostly appearances.

Sounds very intriguing in itself, but the book documenting these sightings and paranormal experiences, namely  The Ghost of Flight 401 by John G. Fuller, intrigued me for other reasons as well.

At some point during his endeavour to find out about the paranormal sightings, the author meets some people with psychic abilities who offer to help him with his research, and when I read chapter 10, I was just blown away because it read exactly like the passages in my Rhuna series!  Here is a short excerpt from The Ghost of Flight 401:

“They would begin the session sitting in the comfortable living room… they began meditating.  Then Richard directed them in deep, slow breathing that would intensify their meditation and slowly move them toward an altered state of higher consciousness.” 

If you've been reading RHUNA, you'll recognize the above passage as the same thing Rhuna often does when she meditates to receive visions or do Astral Projection, namely attain a higher level of consciousness - almost like a trance.   Even though I made up these things in my books, I based them on what little I knew about meditation and ESP.  So I was amazed and thrilled to learn that people are doing exactly what Rhuna does, and also having results, it seems!

You can read my review for the book, The Ghost of Flight 401 at amazon and Goodreads

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Chocolate - Gift of the Gods

Are you a chocaholic?  I sure am!  And I love it that chocolate was considered a gift of the gods in ancient Aztec and Mayan times!  (who says anything has changed?!)

But seriously, back in the day when the Aztec believed that cocoa beans were a gift from God, chocolate was A LOT different!  See this statue below?  He's holding a cocoa pod.  I had no idea that they were that big!

Here's what the pods look still on the tree: 


And this is what the cocoa beans look like when you cut open that pod:

Yuck!  Hard to believe that this can end up as delicious, decadent chocolate, isn't it!

Well, here's what happens to these pulpy beige-coloured seeds inside the pods:  First, they are taken out of the pods and allowed to ferment for several days, and then dried for another week or two.  By the end of this stage, the beans have turned dark brown.

This is how you get cocoa beans if you're going to make your own chocolate from scratch, but the Aztecs and Mayans prepared their chocolate in a very different way.  They made a drink out of the cocoa beans, added lots of chilli and some corn flour to make it frothy  - which resulted in a very spicy and bitter stimulant.  Basically, it was like a drug - perhaps like strong coffee in our day which gets your heart racing and adrenaline pulsing!

And it was bitter because no sugar was added, and if you've ever had a block of 80% or more cocoa dark chocolate, you might be able to imagine that part of it.  Adding chilli to chocolate isn't as far out as it sounds because they actually go together quite well.  Not sure about the frothy corn flour though!

This is a Mayan cup that was used to drink the cocoa.  Chocolate is now known to be a cardiovascular stimulant, and it has other good properties, too (as long as not too much fat and sugar are added, that is!)  So no wonder the Ancients thought it was a gift from the gods!

My Urban Fantasy series is set in the ancient world, and in the first book, Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom, cocoa is mentioned many times in the section where Rhuna learns about the Atlan civilization (based on Atlantis)

Here's a short excerpt:

“Look here,” said Mala Mahuni, taking off the lid of one of the large urn-shaped vessels. “Rice!  And over here is a special treat:  cocoa!  Excellent!  It’s one of the great Atlan delicacies, and do you know what I’ve done?” he asked with a mischievous grin.  “I’ve cooked the rice in sheep and goat’s milk, added honey, spices and some cocoa!”

Rhuna looked at him blankly.

“Sit and let us enjoy!” he said as he ladled the sticky creamy-brown food into large bowls.
They sat down on comfortable cushions and Rhuna picked up a mouthful with her thumb and two fingers.  Once on her tongue, the food exploded into wonderful taste sensations she had never experienced before, then slowly melted and left a sweet, yet slightly bitter residue. 
“Oh!” she said after the first mouthful, and Mala Mahuni looked expectantly at her.
“You should say ‘mmm!’” he said.
“Mmm!” said Rhuna.
Mmm!”  They began to laugh.
“Is it good?” asked Mala Mahuni after his second quick mouthful.
“It’s excellent!” said Rhuna, still in a laughing mood, and they both laughed some more as they ate.  Rhuna thought that it felt like they were doing something a little mischievous, and wondered what Tozar would say about it.

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