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Arctic Mythology. Demons and giants of the north 86 Arctic Mythology. Demons and giants of the north 87

Mysteries

Arctic Mythology. Demons and giants of the north

In many cultures, white is considered the color of death and evil. After visiting the far north, it’s easy to see why. The polar night steals the sun. The icy desert stretches in all directions in the false light of the moon and the aurora. The frost burns, the blizzard howls like a horde of ghosts. And there are no flowers other than white on the frozen ground covered with snow. Snow and white in the dark.

Arctic Mythology. Demons and giants of the north 88

Demons of the Siberian taiga

The North stuns not with its beauty or splendor, but with its grandeur. Taiga and tundra are like the ocean. Tibet and the Norwegian fjords can be hidden here and no one will find it. But even in populous England, where in the Middle Ages there were twenty inhabitants per square kilometer, there was still room for the people of the hills and bizarre forest creatures. What then can be said about Yakutia, where the population density is even today a hundred times less?

People have never really owned this land. Handfuls of hunters and pastoralists fought for existence in a vast world owned by ghosts. In a country where snow lies seven months a year, and the temperature in winter drops below minus 60 degrees, the invisible rulers of the taiga did not forgive insults and could dictate conditions.

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Taiga master Baai Bayanai

The bulk of the ghostly population of Yakutia are ichchi, the spirits of nature. Like Japanese kami, they can be both personifications of mountains, trees and lakes, and patrons of the area, the embodiment of ideas and phenomena. But if in Japan the old pine becomes the embodied idea of ​​a tree, then in Yakutia spirits are not identified with objects. Ichchi just lives in a tree and, if his house is cut down, he will not die. But he will be very angry.

Fortunately for the lumberjacks, only some of the trunks are “occupied” with spirits. But the taiga, meadows, swamps, mountains, river floods and lake expanses are so tightly controlled by Ichchi, as if Yakutia is one big sacred grove for them. Until now, trees decorated with ribbons can be seen along the roads of the republic. Spirits collect a small tribute from people – it can be a souvenir, a coin or a sip of kumis. Tribute is not taken for the use of land, but simply for entering the territory.

The disembodied, invisible and unseen ichchi managed to survive even the Christianization of Yakutia without loss. Traditional means of exorcists do not work on them – the spirits of the taiga have developed full immunity to holy water, the cross and prayers. But luckily, the icchi are not evil. The most powerful of them, the ruler of the forests and prankster Baai Bayanai, even patronizes hunters. Even if not for everyone, but only for those who are worthy, who have passed the necessary tests and who observe customs. True, this god has a specific sense of humor, and even the worthy are not always protected from his jokes.

The real evil spirits of the Yakut expanses are ghosts-abases. They are also incorporeal, but unlike icchi, they can be shown to people in a varied, invariably frightening guise. Classic Abases prefer the appearance of the Irish Fomorians – one-legged, one-armed and one-eyed giants. In the last couple of centuries, they say, the shape of a three-meter, impenetrable dark, often headless silhouette has come into vogue. If the abases appear during the day (and they are not afraid of the light), then you can see huge black eyes on a deathly white face. Abasa, as a rule, do not have legs – ghosts simply glide over the ground or gallop along the roads on monstrous horses. And in any form, the Abases emit an intolerable smell of decomposition.

One can escape from the abas. His main weapon is fear, and if the ghost fails to frighten the victim and put him to flight, then he himself becomes confused.

Myths and legends of the Arctic 1
Myths and legends of the Arctic

Abases in the illustrations by Elleya Sivtseva

Ghosts of this type know how to manipulate gravity – make a weapon or a load incredibly heavy, or even press a person to the ground. The most dangerous thing is that the Abases are capable of drinking the soul. People who encounter evil spirits in a forest or in an abandoned house die without receiving any external damage. But the consequences for the victim can be even worse than death. Sometimes an evil spirit enters a devastated body, and a thief – a zombie appears.

The Siberian dead are so harsh that African zombies are no match for them. The scoundrel is not only bloodthirsty and incredibly strong – he is also fast as lightning. It is very difficult to stop him: the fighter has never heard of silver, garlic and holy water, and, as befits a zombie, he is philosophical about bullets and ax blows. To incapacitate a fighter, he must at least be beheaded. And so that the dead man does not become a fighter, he must be beheaded and buried with his stomach down, holding the severed head between his legs. Fortunately, the fighter is short-lived. The presence of the abasa accelerates the decay of the corpse so much that the zombie is literally rotting before our eyes.

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Figure: Eve Wilderman

Even more dangerous are the Yakut ghouls – yuyors. Buried without the necessary rituals, suicides and criminals return as a bizarre cross between a vampire and a werewolf. During the day, the yuyor lives under water, where he cannot be reached (Dracula would never have thought of that!). Going out on a night hunt, the ghoul takes on a human form and without much difficulty persuades the victims to let him spend the night. Well, at the moment of the attack, the yuyor turns into a monster covered with wool, which is almost impossible to kill. The wounds only force the yuyor to retreat.

Not all Siberian scum is indifferent to Christian relics. The Syulyukyuns, an analogue of Lovecraft’s Deep Ones, who live in the cold lakes of Yakutia, converted to Orthodoxy. And now on Christmastide, when all the water becomes holy, they have to evacuate to dry land. And since, together with religion, the syulukyuns borrowed water vices and a way of life from the Russians, fishmen spend their time on the shore playing cards. In the underwater mansions, they leave sacks of gold, which a clever diver can try to snatch away.

This pandemonium is ruled by Ulu Toyon, the god of death and evil, who lives high in the icy mountains. In the guise of impenetrable fog, he sometimes descends into the valleys to destroy forests in fierce storms and send pestilence to herds. Ulu Toyon devours the hearts of the captives and turns the souls of people into his tools, instilling them into the bodies of predators. This is how possessed bears appear, ready to attack a person. Or Bigfoot.

Chuchuna

Legends about the “Bigfoot” usually describe two types of this creature: Bigfoot and Yeti. But in the mountains of Yakutia and further south to Sikhote-Alin, there are legends about the third, unique species – chuchunu. Chuchunu is distinguished from other “relict hominids” by its long, flowing hair. Slender, of average height and athletic build, among other “snowmen” he stands out for his civilization. Chuchuna is covered with wool and is afraid of fire, but wears coarse clothes made of skins and hunts using weapons – stones, bone knives, and sometimes bows. And if Bigfoots and Yeti are always silent loners, then chuchuns usually appear together or three, talking with the help of a piercing whistle.

Myths and legends of the Arctic 3

The horrors of Chukotka

In the game “Berserk” rakken for some reason turned out to be a swamp creature

The Norwegian sagas mention the Utburds – the undead, which are transformed into babies abandoned in the forest during the years of famine. In Chukotka, such demons are called angyaks. But compared to the Arctic, Norway can be considered a resort. Even an adult exile cannot survive in the icy desert. Therefore, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, there are also wreckens that have no analogues in warm Scandinavia.

Rakkens are people expelled from the camps for greed, anger or cowardice. Upon death, the perpetrator transforms into a gnome with an extra mouth on his stomach. The details of the description depend on the area: black-headed dwarfs hide under the hills, gray-headed dwarfs in the rocks, blue-headed dwarfs in the sea. Sometimes crab pincers are mentioned among the signs of rakken.

Of course, wreckens hate people. And they invent much more sophisticated forms of revenge than those of the Angyaks and Utburds. On tiny sledges pulled by invisible dogs the size of an ermine, they carry diseases and other misfortunes to camps. And there is nothing worse than a disease for the warlike Chukchi. After all, only the one who died in battle can get into the Arctic Valhalla – “Cloud Country”. Men who die in bed go to the frozen Netherworld.

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The horse in Yakutia is a sacred animal. Good gods are most willing to take on the appearance of undersized and shaggy horses.

Bestiary of Canadian Eskimos

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Inupasukugyuk as seen by Larry MacDougall

The Inuit Eskimos, whose settlements are scattered from the Chukchi Peninsula to Greenland, are the most numerous people in the Arctic. They came closest to the Pole, surviving in conditions that the Nenets, Evenks and Chukchi would find too harsh. But the Tuniites were even braver. This legendary tribe, according to the legend of the Eskimos, in ancient times lived on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, and with the advent of “real people” (Inuit) retreated into completely lifeless icy deserts. It was two thousand years ago. Nevertheless, it happens that even today northern hunters meet tall, incredibly muscular aliens, using rough tools of the Paleolithic era and dressed in unstitched skins. The primitive language of the Tunisians is like baby talk. Tunisians fall into rage easily, but are generally peaceful.

Much more dangerous is the meeting with the giantess inupasukugyuk. They are so powerful that they kill a bear with a throw of a stone, and at the same time are so simple-minded that they take people for living talking dolls and try to play with them. The giantesses value their toys, so the hapless hunter cannot escape from captivity for many days. It is difficult to say how dangerous a meeting with a male inupasukugyuk is, because until now no one survived after it and talked about their adventures.

But there are also benefits from giants. Great luck if you can tame their dog – then you won’t need a kayak. A huge dog can swim in the sea with a hunter on the back of his neck and carry killed narwhals ashore, like a spaniel dragging ducks from a lake. True, the happy owner of the mighty beast will have to lead a secluded life, the giant dog will certainly eat its neighbors.

In contrast to the giants, there are tiny ishigak – gnomes that do not reach a person’s knee. But they are difficult to find because dwarfs leave no footprints in the snow. Despite their small stature, ishigak are great bear hunters. They defeat the beast by cunning: first they turn the clubfoot into a lemming, then they kill, and only after that they turn it back.

Mythology of the Arctic.  Demons of the far north

Ishigak, Arctic gnomes (Fig. Larry MacDougall)

The Eskimo monsters have one thing in common: they are all dangerous, but not evil. The monsters of the ice world do not wage war against people – they leave this concern to the harsh nature. They only pursue their own goals, not always clear. So, kvallupilluk (or aglulyk) – skinny, scaly aquatic, living in polynyas – often steal children who play by the cold sea. But they do not eat them, as one might think, but, on the contrary, they use witchcraft to protect them from the cold and feed them. Therefore, in times of famine, the Eskimos voluntarily give their babies to the inhabitants of the waters, and then occasionally see their children when they go ashore to play. Kvallupilluk are not indifferent to young animals, they fiercely protect young animals from hunters. But to people who hunt for an animal in the proper season, aquatic are inclined to help.

The Takrikasiuts are not evil – people-shadows living in a parallel world, similar to the wonderful country of the British fairies. But hearing their voices, let alone seeing a takrikasiut, is not good. This means that the border between the worlds has become thinner. One more step – and you can leave the familiar reality forever, there will be no turning back.

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Kvallupilluk can be trusted with their own children. Seriously!

The werewolves of the Iyrat, who know how to take on the guise of a raven, polar fox, bear, caribou deer, or man, are not evil, but they always give themselves away with the glow of blood-red eyes. They often harm people, but not of their own free will: the iyrat fulfill the will of the spirits of the Inuit ancestors. The source – a gigantic, all-seeing flying eye – circles over the tundra, looking out for taboo violators. The ancestors send iyrat to those whom he complains about. First with a warning. Then with evidence that the warning was worth heeding.

Even the mad demon mahaha is angry in a special way, atypical. White-haired, blue-skinned, wiry and practically naked, armed with impressive claws, he pursues victims among the ice with laughter. And when he catches up, he tickles them with cold fingers until the unfortunate ones die with a smile on their face.

Myths and legends of the Arctic 8

Mahaha is the only tickling demon in the world. Even his name hints at something

Only the Amarok, a giant wolf that devours hunters foolish enough to go hunting alone, seems to be your typical monster. But the descriptions of this beast are so detailed that many consider the amarok not a mythical creature, but a cryptid – unknown to science, but a real or recently extinct beast. It could be canis dirus – “dire wolf” – or an even more ancient predator, the common ancestor of canids and bears.

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Giant dog in the service of the Eskimos

Tuunbak

The Demon Bear in Terror is a Dan Simmons invention, but based on real Inuit folklore. The name of the monster, Tuunbak, means “evil spirit”, and its prototypes can be considered mythical giant bears – nanurluk and ten-legged kukueak. And an ordinary polar bear makes an impression on the Inuit – his name is nothing but “Nanuk”, which means “respected.”

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World floors

The mythology of the tribes, whose camps are separated by hundreds of kilometers of tundra, are related only by the most common motives. Shamans too rarely meet each other to work out a uniform version of the adventures of their ancestors. As a rule, the legends of different tribes are united by cosmogony – fundamental ideas about the structure of the world, as well as the key characters of the legends – heroes and deities. They remain recognizable, despite the inconsistency in the descriptions of appearance, details of the biography and assessment of actions.

The cosmogony of the most ancient peoples usually states that souls complete a cycle of rebirth without leaving the material world. Later concepts were supplemented by parallel dimensions: the “upper world”, inhabited by the spirits of ancestors, and the “lower” – a dark abyss that gives rise to monsters. The views of the peoples of the Arctic belong to the second category and stand out in only one. Here in the underworld there is no change of seasons.

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According to the Chukchi legend, the northern lights flare up in the sky when dead children play with a ball. Figure: Emily Feigenschuch

It is always summer in the upper world, horses and deer are always galloping through the flowering meadows. Only the astral counterparts of shamans have a way to a happy country. On the sacred sharp mountain in the Lena delta, where the waters of the great river flow into the icy ocean, there are the guards of the upper world – giants with bear heads, birds with human faces and brass people. They meet those who are worthy to enter the first of the nine layers of the heavenly kingdom, located beyond the ordinary visible sky. The Chukchi describe the afterlife in a similar way, placing the worthy dead in the “Cloud Country”.

The Yakut underworld is located underground and, because of the pitch darkness reigning there, has been extremely poorly studied. Much more interesting is the underworld of the Inuit – Adlivun. Winter reigns here, but the darkness of the polar night is softened by the radiance of the stars and the undying northern aurora. Not fiery furnaces, not sulfur smoke, but eternal cold and blizzard fill the hell of the northern tribes. The frozen desert is the purgatory through which the tupilac – the souls of the dead – must pass before they find peace in the silvery light of the moon.

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Myths and legends of the Arctic 17

The upper, middle and lower worlds of the Yakuts. Illustrations by Elya Sivtsev for the epic “Olonkho”

The nether world is ruled by Sedna, the “Lower Woman,” who is served by werewolf-adlets with a human face and body, but wolf legs and ears. From Adlivun she sends demons to the land – tuurnaite. Those called pumpkin are the personification of frost. Others, like the Chukchi rekken, bring disease and failure on the hunt until shamans drive them out.

In the view of the peoples of the Arctic, every living creature and every object is endowed with its own soul, which the Eskimos call anirniit. At the highest level, the ideas of creatures, objects and phenomena are combined into Silla – the world soul, which gives form and meaning to matter.

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Sedna is a cross between the Scandinavian Hel and the sea queen

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Pohjola

The Kola Peninsula is not only a deposit of apatites, but also Pohjola from Finnish mythology, a country ruled by powerful shamans, from where cold and disease come to the world. At the same time, however, Pohjola and the “thirtieth kingdom” – a world where magic is as common as the polar lights. Somewhere out there, in the midnight mountains, the World Tree connecting the upper and lower dimensions pierces the Earth. Climbing the branches of the tree, you can get to Saivo, the abundant “land of the eternal hunt”, inhabited by the spirits of virtuous ancestors. She can sometimes be seen reflected in the crystal surface of sacred lakes. From below, stunted wizards and blacksmiths, like the Nenets sikhirta, make their way into the world of the living. There are other guests, much more unpleasant: rabbis, Sami ghouls, spirits of evil shamans. As befits undead, the ravk is incredibly strong afraid of the light and always tormented by hunger. Unlike European vampires, the ravk is not limited to blood and devours his victim with bones.

Even the vicious tuurnaite is part of Sillu. The world is one, which means that it does not require management. The concepts of justice and goodness do not apply to him. Sedna, the strongest of evil spirits, the mistress of sea animals, and Tekkeitsertok, the patron saint of caribou deer, are hostile to people, since deer and walruses have no reason to love hunters. But at the same time they are revered as gods – givers of food. Life and death are parts of cosmic harmony. And so it was intended.

In the preparation of the article, information and wonderful illustrations from the site inuitmyths.com were used

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Mysteries

“Submerged UFO’s” – mysterious and not fully explained phenomena in the oceans

"Submerged UFO's" - mysterious and not fully explained phenomena in the oceans 89

When asked who lives on the ocean floor, people answer differently. Kids and some adults will say: SpongeBob SquarePants. Lovecraft fans will mutter something like “Cthulhu fhtagn” with a twinkle in their eyes. Divers and oceanologists will look thoughtfully at the questioner and, if they are lucky, will tell a lot of interesting things about Quakers, “bio-duck”, “bloop” and even Poseidon -anomalous phenomena of the underwater world.

Submarine project 212 at periscope depth
Submarine project 212 (Type 212 submarine at home, in Germany, as well as Todaro class in Italy) at periscope depth / © Ministero della Difesa

The depths of the sea have always been a mysterious and frightening environment for humans. Perhaps there are no more impressive and persistent legends than those associated with various places in the oceans. Take the notorious Bermuda Triangle or the “Flying Dutchmen” – at first glance, serviceable ships that were abandoned by the crew. Many of them received a reasonable explanation, and some still remain mysteries, even if supported by a lot of evidence.

By analogy with UFOs, or, as they are now officially called “unidentified aerial phenomena”, marine anomalies are often called USOs – unidentified submerged objects. These phenomena can be divided into two classes based on the way they are detected: visual and acoustic. It is logical to note that most of the observations of sound anomalies occur in the second half of the 20th century, when submarines and methods of tracking them became widespread. Whereas descriptions of the first class of USOs have been found since ancient times. Let’s start with them.

Buddha wheels and devilish carousels

The ability of many marine life to produce bioluminescence has long been known. Some species of plankton emit light enough to be seen by the human eye. Most cases of observation of any glow on or directly below the surface of the water are associated with this phenomenon. Well this is from the point of view of science. And if we turn to bikes, stories about mysterious circles on the water are popular. Let’s note right away: despite the prevalence of these stories, not a single documentary evidence of such phenomena exists.

They are called “wheels of Buddha” or “devilish carousels”. There is a version that the first name was given to the luminous circles on the water by Eastern navigators, and the second – by European ones. Moreover, the Chinese considered the meeting with these phenomena a favorable sign, while the Christians took them for a bad omen. It is difficult to find authoritative confirmation of these stories, except for the transmission on Channel One, so let’s move on to the next point.

Krakens and Submarine Sharks

By the 1970s, sane people were convinced that horror stories about giant sea monsters were nothing more than the fruit of the inflamed fantasy of sailors of the past. What could they only think of after six months of eating corned beef, which they have to wash down with water that has bloomed in barrels? But no, sometimes the legends turn out to be true.

Four years before the incident with the damage to the bulb, Stein safely patrols the coast of Hawaii / © US Navy National Archives
Four years before the incident with the damage to the bulb, Stein safely patrols the coast of Hawaii / © US Navy National Archives

In the spring of 1978, the USS Stein DE-1065, the USS Stein DE-1065, was attacked by a giant squid while patrolling the Pacific coast of South America. The target of a deep-sea giant that unexpectedly approached the surface was the protective casing of the nasal sonar. The alarm was sounded by acoustics, whose work was unceremoniously interrupted by a strong abnormal noise. Inspection of the bulb at the forward end of the ship’s keel, where the instrument was located, puzzled the sailors.

The first ever filming of a giant squid in its natural habitat.  Taken from aboard a deep-sea vehicle.  These creatures live at great depths and if they float to the surface - either dead or for a very short time / © Discovery Channel, screenshot from video
The first ever filming of a giant squid in its natural habitat. Taken from aboard a deep-sea vehicle. These creatures live at great depths and if they float to the surface – either dead or for a very short time / © Discovery Channel, screenshot from video

Almost 10% of the rubber-like coating was badly damaged. In cuts and scratches, they found pieces of chitin, similar in composition to the tissues of squid suckers. The problem was that, judging by the size of these suckers, the length of the mollusk should have reached, according to some estimates, 45 meters. That is, almost three times more than the theoretically calculated maximum length of the giant deep-sea squid. History is silent as to whether anyone’s hearing was hurt by hitting a sensitive underwater sound receiver.

But this incident is not the only example of an attack by marine fauna on the US Navy. Around the same years, American submarines acquired active sonar stations AN / BQR-19 from Raytheon : expensive and complex equipment, the outer elements of which were covered with neoprene. It suddenly turned out that on this material, almost in every trip, round holes with a depth of one or two millimeters began to appear.

Submarine USS Ohio, the first in its class of submarines.  The seemingly monolithic bow part of the hull is a huge casing of the AN / BQR-19 sonar.  Much of it is made of soft materials like neoprene and special rubber / © US Navy photo by Wendy Hallmark
Submarine USS Ohio, the first in its class of submarines. The seemingly monolithic bow part of the hull is a huge casing of the AN / BQR-19 sonar. Much of it is made of soft materials like neoprene and special rubber / © US Navy photo by Wendy Hallmark

Open sources do not indicate what worried the military most of all: damage to the appearance or some kind of malfunction caused by these caverns. According to some reports, the deepest “wounds” led to leaks of special sound-conducting oil, which literally “blinded” the submarine. In any case, the problem was closely studied by both the command of the fleet and the manufacturer of hydroacoustic stations.

The engineers argued that no animal could leave such damage. The military reached the point where they began to suspect the secret development of Soviet “colleagues”: they say, the communists have come up with a new weapon against nuclear submarines (nuclear submarines). The naval biologists solved the riddle. They remembered that in tropical waters you can find an extremely unpleasant fish: the Brazilian glowing shark. For the specific structure of her jaws in English, they came up with a telling name – cookiecutter shark (the first word means a device that cuts the dough for cookies in even circles).

This rather disgusting-looking creature has a length of about half a meter, hunts in packs and attacks anything that it considers to be food. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a whale or a submarine. With their incredibly sharp teeth, Brazilian glowing sharks pull a large piece of flesh from their prey and swim back to a depth of more than three kilometers. Their belly also emits a pale green light. After the neoprene parts of the nuclear submarine were covered with fiberglass, which fish cannot bite through, the damage to the equipment came to naught.

This female elephant seal was unlucky enough to be attacked by a Brazilian glowing shark.  The bites of this fish rarely lead to the death of marine life, but they give them a lot of torment / © Jerry Kirkhart |  Wikimedia
This female elephant seal was unlucky enough to be attacked by a Brazilian glowing shark. The bites of this fish rarely lead to the death of marine life, but they give them a lot of torment / © Jerry Kirkhart | Wikimedia

Fun fact – ten years later, history repeated itself. Apparently, the Navy forgot about the curious incident with sharks and did not cover the new rubberized outer parts of the submarines with solid materials. Nature was not long in coming: the fish again inflicted considerable financial damage on the US Navy.

Cthulhu awakening?

The mention of Lovecraft in the first paragraph was no coincidence. The writer in his works indicated a fairly accurate location of the underwater city of R’lyeh. This is the abode of a gigantic monster – the Great Ancient Lord of the worlds, Cthulhu. Under normal conditions, he sleeps, but if he wakes up, he will destroy the entire human civilization. How does all this relate to reality? It seems to be nothing, but in 1997 an incredibly powerful infrasonic signal was recorded. He proceeded from approximately the same area of ​​the Pacific Ocean, where, according to Lovecraft’s description, Cthulhu is hiding.

© Andrée Wallin
© Andrée Wallin

The piquancy of the situation is added by the general character of the sound, which is very similar to the noises emitted by a living creature. However, if these “gurgles” (Bloop is the official name of this USO) were produced by an animal, it must be several times larger than a blue whale. Many theories have been put forward.

Spectrogram "Bulka" / © NOAA
Spectrogram “Bulka” / © NOAA

A combination of factors that enhance the natural infrasound, and the noise of a large concentration of marine life, and the grinding of ice on the ocean floor were assumed. In 2012, scientists agreed that the most likely cause of such a sound was a cracking especially large iceberg.

And other results of the work of SOSUS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( the NOAA ) after the Cold War had access to a powerful tool – SOSUS. This acronym hides a sophisticated American submarine tracking and tracing system. After the collapse of the USSR, there was no need to conduct continuous monitoring of the now not Soviet, but Russian nuclear submarines.

Some SOSUS nodes were mothballed, and the secrecy was somewhat lowered. As a result, “civilian” scientists gained access to high-precision hydroacoustic instruments. And since the early 1990s, the number of sound anomalies found in the ocean has begun to grow. Among them – both with conditionally established reasons ( Bloop ), and still unexplained. By the way, by a strange coincidence, all unusual sounds that received an explanation were attributed to especially large icebergs.

Takeoff spectrogram / © NOAA
Takeoff spectrogram / © NOAA

But there are real mysteries too. For example “off» ( Upsweep ) and “whistle» ( Whistle ). The first anomaly was first recorded in August 1991 and has been observed every spring and fall ever since. The sound source is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and may be associated with volcanic activity. Or it may not be: it seems that it will not be possible to establish for sure – every year it is quieter. The “whistle”, in turn, was heard only once and with only one hydrophone one and a half thousand kilometers from the coast of Mexico. Its peculiarity is an unusual spectrogram and a high frequency for infrasound.

Quakers and bio-dips

If the reader gets the impression that only the Americans recorded “sea UFOs”, then they are mistaken. The Soviet sailors also had their own adventures associated with sound anomalies. The most documented “communist” USOs are called “Quakers”. In the mid-1970s, the crews of Russian nuclear powered submarines faced an alarming acoustic phenomenon. Most often it was found in the areas of NATO anti-submarine lines in the North Atlantic.

The acoustics of Soviet submarines recorded unusual sounds, similar to the croaking of frogs. The sources of these low-frequency vibrations almost always accompanied the submarine and moved at incredible speeds (up to 150 knots, according to some reports). The problem was that the active sonar did not show any metal or plastic objects in the place where the sound appeared. Either the Quakers were alive or too small to be found.

Soviet nuclear submarine of project 671 "Ruff" / © US Department of Defense
Soviet nuclear submarine of project 671 “Ruff” / © US Department of Defense

Until the late 1980s, attempts were made to establish the nature of these sounds. Assumptions were different. Someone suspected previously unknown phenomena occurring in a nuclear reactor: after all, diesel-electric submarines have not heard anything like that. According to another version, the sources of “croaking” could be special oscillatory processes at the boundary of water layers of different temperature and salinity.

For a long time of observations, sailors and scientists have sorted out all possible hypotheses – almost from attempts to contact an alien mind with humanity to an unknown weapon of capitalist aggressors. In the end, the USSR Academy of Sciences insisted that the sounds are of a biological nature: either they are some kind of whales, or unknown species of deep-sea molluscs, mistaking the submarine for prey. Or maybe even large concentrations of sea crustaceans sound like that.

The divers, in turn, argued that this was all nonsense and that the Quakers did not at all look like marine fauna. Mysterious objects tried to find bearing, plotted the places of their detection on the maps and compared the accumulated data of different crews after the campaigns. But no intelligible explanation has appeared.

Loading of sonar buoys into SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter.  Such devices can be dropped from almost any type of equipment - an airplane, helicopter, drone, ship or boat.  They transmit information about the surrounding acoustic situation on a single frequency and any combat unit equipped with a suitable receiver can receive this intelligence / © US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips
Loading of sonar buoys into SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter. Such devices can be dropped from almost any type of equipment – an airplane, helicopter, drone, ship or boat. They transmit information about the surrounding acoustic situation on a single frequency and any combat unit equipped with a suitable receiver can receive this intelligence / © US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips

There is the most realistic version, expressed by many skeptics. For croaking, Soviet sailors took the sounds of active buoys being dropped from anti-submarine aircraft. These hydroacoustic radios have water-filled batteries and are hypothetically capable of producing similar sounds. This theory explains why Quakers were most often observed in areas of active NATO patrols – and why they stopped hearing in the 1990s: after the collapse of the USSR, Russian nuclear submarines no longer needed to be monitored so closely. And the rapid movement of the source of the mysterious sound can be a simple effect of the sequential activation of several buoys in a row.

However, Soviet submariners were not the only ones who heard croaking in the depths of the sea. Similar sounds were recorded by sailors of the Royal Navy. True, they christened them differently – “bio-ducks” (the English onomatopoeia of quacking is similar to the Russian-speaking onomatopoeia of croaking). Moreover, the British submariners would not have succeeded in attributing the anomaly to someone’s anti-submarine equipment: the waters around Australia were of interest only to the British. The fact is that this southern continent served as the main nuclear test site for Her Majesty’s army, navy and air force.

Southern minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) shortly before diving.  Most likely, it is at this moment that the whale makes a sound called "bio-duck" / © Oceanwide Expeditions
Southern minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) shortly before diving. Most likely, it is at this moment that the whale makes a sound called “bio-duck” / © Oceanwide Expeditions

In such a distance, in the 1960s, to closely monitor the underwater situation, not only the USSR, but even the United States would not have enough resources. Then they assumed that the sounds were associated with some kind of marine life, and they calmed down. It took British scientists more than 50 years (kidding aside!) To establish the origin of these “bio-dips”. The initial guess turned out to be correct – whales made a mysterious croak-quack. The southern minke whale makes such a strange sound before deep diving, for an unknown reason.

The loneliest whale in the world

One of the most curious mysteries of the World Ocean is the so-called 52 hertz whale. Since the 1980s, specific singing at a frequency of 52 hertz has been recorded in various parts of the Pacific Ocean. Known species of large whales emit lower sounds: blue – 10-39 hertz, fin whales – 20 hertz. But, despite the anomalous frequency, these sounds are associated in structure with gigantic marine mammals.

By 1992, the unique “singing” was somewhat lower, but the rest of its characteristics remained almost unchanged. The sound source travels at a speed of 30 to 70 kilometers per day and migrates 708 to 11,062 kilometers per season. This behavior is typical of whales. On the basis of all these signs, biologists and oceanologists have suggested that hydrophones record a “voice” of either an unknown species, or a mutant, or a hybrid, or an individual with birth defects.

Migration map of a sound source identified as a "fifty-two hertz whale" / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Migration map of a sound source identified as a “fifty-two hertz whale” / 
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In any case, if this is a whale, then it has already been dubbed the loneliest in the world. The fact is that other individuals of his species are not able to understand singing at such a frequency. For them, the sounds emitted by the 52 Hz are just noise. There is also a more optimistic hypothesis, according to which this singing is one of the “whale dialects” inherent in a previously unknown population of a species.

Stationary objects

The term USO is understood as some mobile or temporary phenomena. But in the World Ocean there are a large number of stationary anomalous objects. If we discard the completely fantastic legends about Atlantis, the list of curious formations on the seabed will still remain impressive. The most notable ones are:

  • Terraced formations near the Ryukyu Islands, or “Yenagui Monument”, are stone structures lying at a shallow depth near the Japanese island of Yonaguni. The dominant point of view in the scientific community is that, despite the correct geometric shapes, it is simply a rare geological phenomenon. It does not prevent many pseudo-archeologists and lovers of everything mysterious to seek confirmation of the man-made origin of this object.
  • The megalith at the bottom of the Pantelleria Vecchia Bay in the Strait of Tunis is a piece of limestone (calcirudite) 12 meters long and weighing 15 tons. It has three neat round holes, at least one of which runs through the megalith. Presumably, this huge stone was processed by man in the Mesolithic (Stone Age), about 12-15 thousand years ago. Analysis of the megalith rock showed that its age is at least 40 thousand years, and the bottom sediments under it are dated no more than 10 thousand years.
  • “Cuban Underwater City” – regular geometric structures on the shelf of the western part of the island of Cuba. They were discovered using sonar in 2001, while exploring the seabed relief. Subsequent research with a remotely controlled underwater robot has raised more questions than answers. The camera image showed pyramidal and ring structures made of granite blocks. It is planned to study education better, but this requires funding.
Left - sonar data obtained from the study of the area of ​​the bottom, later called the "Cuban Underwater City".  On the right is a computer simulation based on them.  Most oceanographers are inclined to believe that these are just bizarre-looking natural formations / © Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews |  Badarcheology
Left – sonar data obtained from the study of the area of ​​the bottom, later called the “Cuban Underwater City”. On the right is a computer simulation based on them. Most oceanographers are inclined to believe that these are just bizarre-looking natural formations / © Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews | Badarcheology

Other riddles

The phrase that mankind has studied the depths of the sea worse than near space has long been sore. But there is some truth in this. The oceans are a very difficult environment for research, moreover, it has a colossal volume. It is not surprising that there are still many interesting discoveries to be made in it.

In this article, we have considered only those marine anomalies that have a more or less scientific explanation or mention in several independent authoritative sources. Of course, there are many other unexplained (yet) phenomena. For example, the mysterious “ping” ( Ping , onomatopoeia for sonar), which scares away the creatures in the Fury and Heckle. In 2016, the Canadian military initiated an in-depth study of this phenomenon, but so far without success.

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Mysteries

Ball lightning: Plasma fireballs coming from another dimension?

Ball lightning: Plasma fireballs coming from another dimension? 90

There are probably fewer people who have seen ball lightning than those who have met a ghost. And even fewer of those who, after meeting with this phenomenon, began to study it. Having become scientists, such lucky ones surprise us with their hypotheses.

Do fireballs come from another dimension?

Ball lightning and ghosts

The comparison with ghosts is no coincidence. According to the British Ghost Club, a research organization that researches the paranormal, the hallmark of most ghosts is their silent appearance and disappearance. The same can be said about ball lightning.

Ghosts are capable of taking any form, including creating some kind of spherical formations. In addition, it is also a bunch of electric charge. Is it not for this reason that there are more pictures of ball lightning (they can be counted on one hand) than pictures of supposedly ghosts? Hence the version appeared that ball lightning, like ghosts, is a consequence of hallucinations or a disturbed psyche.

Common hypotheses

If we collect exclusively scientific versions of the origin of ball lightning, then even their summary will make a decent volume. Scientists all over the world take this phenomenon seriously, but at the same time they can neither theoretically explain it, nor experimentally reproduce it in laboratory conditions, nor even reliably document it. 

Ball lightning: Plasma fireballs coming from another dimension? 91

The famous physicist Pyotr Kapitsa believed that ball lightning is a gas discharge moving along the lines of force of a standing electromagnetic wave between clouds and the earth. Another Russian scientist, Boris Smirnov, suggested that this is a plasma cellular structure that stores its energy supply.

At the moment, only a reminder on how to behave when meeting with an uninvited guest is effective, in particular, not to make sudden movements and try to minimize air fluctuations. Unpredictability of ball lightning behavior and violation of the above rules are fraught with death or severe injury.

Ball lightning – from another dimension

One summer afternoon in the early 1980s, an Italian teenager sat in his bedroom and watched an afternoon thunderstorm sweep across the Roman countryside. Suddenly, a ball of light, the size of a soccer ball, appeared in the corner of the room. No heat, no smell – the ball hovered about a meter in front of him and rose slightly above his head. 

The dark yellow impenetrable ball hovered for only a few seconds, then it disappeared as silently as it appeared. The teenager didn’t even have time to get scared.

What he saw interested Andrea Aiello so much that, having studied physics, he began to work within the walls of the German Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, where he develops his own theories about this phenomenon. The most likely explanation is that he witnessed ball lightning, a rare form of atmospheric electricity that can float smoothly above the ground inside or outside buildings and even pass through closed windows.

Some scientists believe that ball lightning is the result of a discharge of electrical energy during severe thunderstorms. Others think that this natural phenomenon could have been caused by the lightning strikes themselves. Some believe it is a jumbled mess of electromagnetic field lines wandering the Earth alone. The most bizarre is the next hypothesis that ball lightning is from another dimension.

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Mysteries

Ararat’s main secret: why Turkey forbids exploring the mountain

Ararat's main secret: why Turkey forbids exploring the mountain 92

According to the Holy Scriptures, it is known that Noah made an ark of solid gopher wood and built it like modern ships. The ark had three decks with bulkheads and interiors, and its hull was tarred outside and inside.

This rescue vessel had very specific dimensions: it was 300 cubits (about 135 meters) long, 50 cubits (about 25 meters) wide and 30 cubits (about 15 meters) high. Students at the British University of Leicester made calculations and found that approximately 70,000 animals could enter such a ship.

According to numerous legends, the ark “on the seventeenth day of the seventh month” moored “on the mountains of Ararat”, the peaks of which, appearing from the water, were found by a dove.

Now Ararat is called a huge mountain range, which reaches 130 kilometers in length. It is located on the border of Iran (Persia) and Armenia, but most of it with two snowy peaks lies within Turkey. The height of Ararat reaches 5,165 meters from sea level or 4,365 meters from the foot of the mountain to its top.

Mount Ararat can only be considered conditionally – in fact, it is an active volcano with two craters, which last erupted in the 19th century – then melt water penetrated into the crater of Big Ararat, which caused a thermal explosion.

Search history

The history of the search for the ark, thanks to which mankind was saved, excites the minds of people for the last two centuries. Until the beginning of the 19th century, local residents – Persians, Kurds and Armenians believed that it was impossible to climb the sacred mountain.

In 1828, according to the Turkmanchay peace treaty, Ararat passed from Persia to Russia, and the German Johann Parrot first ascended the summit. Over the course of a century, the ark on the mountain was seen three times – once it was reported by a shepherd, the second time by the Turks (1833), and the third time by the English climber James Bryce, who reported that he found wooden remains at an altitude of 4000 meters.

According to unverified data, in 1916 a Russian expedition ascended Ararat, which reported that the ark was found in the saddle between the peaks of Ararat according to photographs taken by pilot Vladimir Roskovitsky. Allegedly, in the same year, a certain American, Colonel Alexander Coor, also visited the site.

But the materials of the expedition disappeared during the revolutionary events, and in 1921 Ararat withdrew to Turkey, and its northern slopes became inaccessible to the Russians.

But the Turks prohibited access to Ararat and other researchers, moreover, they did it in the most unexpected way. During the Cold War, Ararat was closed to expeditions, but spy planes of the United States hovered over it every now and then, watching the border of the USSR.

The American Christian astronaut James Irving, who visited Ararat, devoted several years to the search for the ark, and according to rumors, in 1982 he found the remains of the ark, but the Turkish authorities prohibited further research. Irving took this as a sign from God that the search should be stopped.

Climber from Milan Angelo Palego, who visited the mountain 15 times, told the researcher from Yerevan Ashot Levonyan that in the summer of 1989 he found a ship at an altitude of 4000 meters, but when in 2000 he gathered an international expedition to examine the find, the Turks forbade the climb …

In 2003, they denied access to the mountain to Russian explorer Andrei Polyakov. What caused locked?

They do not want conflicts with the Kurds

The Turks themselves refer to the fact that warlike Kurds are operating on the slopes of Ararat, who kidnap tourists and demand a ransom for them. In the late 1920s, there was even the Ararat Kurdish Republic, which ceased to exist in 1930.

There are indeed Kurdish settlements at the foot of the mountain; they even organized the Noah’s Ark Museum there. The Kurds venerate the mountain as Sacred, and the Christian and Muslim Kurds have no doubt that somewhere on the slopes of the mountain lies an ark.

Kurds believe that this is their mountain, call Noah Nuh and consider themselves the successors of the Old Testament history.

Do not want to conflict with the Armenians

Perhaps the Turkish authorities understand that Ararat, as a recent “gift” of the Bolsheviks, belongs to them without impressive grounds. The volcano is still a symbol of Armenia, and the Turks even tried to dispute the fact of the image of the mountain on the coat of arms of the Armenian SSR, but they failed: the mountain is still on the coat of arms of the country.

Believe in prophecy

According to Islamic prophecies, the ark of the biblical Noah will be found just before the end of the world, and perhaps that is why the authorities of the Muslim country are in no hurry to give the green light to the search. Perhaps that is why it is almost impossible to get to the northern side of the volcano, on which the ark is supposedly located.

No matter what happens

Perhaps the Turks are tired of the attention to the mountain, which is located in the border zone, the entrance to which is only by passes. Perhaps they do not want to bear the costs of the rescue operations of climbers who have lost their way or caught in bad weather.

The kidnapping or disappearance of athletes from America, Europe or Russia in such an area could harm the country’s reputation.

One way or another, but in the XXI century Ararat is open only once a year, in August. Certified climbers can follow a single route on the southern side of the mountain, which is guarded by the Turkish military, but on which you will definitely not find an ark. Tourists have no other ways to get to the mountain.

Store it for the Americans

However, the well-known Russian researcher in search of the ark, says that the mountain is closed for European, Russian and Armenian scientists, but not for Americans. He is sure that Ararat will be examined by the Americans. Led by Professor Bright, they search at an altitude of 4,000 meters and above and drill the ice in search of Noah’s Ark.

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