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“The ship of death” – that is what the American sailors boarded the ship in distress called the Ourang Medan. The entire crew of the ship was dead. Eyewitnesses assured that the faces of the crew were turned to the sky and distorted by torment.

Save our souls

In June 1947, British and Dutch radio stations received a very strange SOS signal, which someone transmitted in Morse code. The message transcript read:

“This is the Dutch ship, Ourang Medan. The captain and all the officers are dead in the cockpit and on the bridge. Perhaps the whole crew is dead.” 

Then came an incomprehensible series of dots and dashes, but they still managed to decipher the end of the message. Somewhere in the expanses of the Indian Ocean, an unknown radio operator clearly tapped out:

“I am also dying.”

Despite the brevity of the message, a few distress ships managed to receive the distress signal not far from the Strait of Malacca, which separates the island of Sumatra from Malaysia. Among these ships, by a strange coincidence, there were two American ships that were the first to establish the approximate location of the ship in distress. One of them – Silver Star (“Silver Star”) – went to the rescue of “Medan”.

Despite the fact that the width of the Strait of Malacca is only 40 kilometers, the length of the strait is more than 800 kilometers, so the drift ship was not immediately found. Sailors with Silver Star immediately noticed something was wrong – no one answered the greeting signals, and even a soul was not visible on the deck. Therefore, the captain of Silver Star decided to send a boat with a reconnaissance detachment to Medan.

The Americans who got on board got a terrible picture: the deck and bridge of the ship were littered with corpses. Even the dog died – apparently, the favorite of one of the officers. The radio operator who transmitted the SOS was found in the radio room – he was also dead, and his hand still lay on the transmitter. What terrified the Americans most of all was the fact that most of the dead lay with wide eyes and contorted faces, which testified to unbearable torment at the time of death. The sailors wanted to go down into the hold to inspect the cargo, but quickly abandoned this idea – an incredible cold reigned inside the ship, in some places the corridors were covered with hoarfrost.

After consulting with the captain, the Silver Star sailors decided to take the Medan in tow and deliver it to the nearest port, where it would be possible to find out the cause of the death of the sailors. But as soon as the ship was towed, a trickle of smoke appeared over the deck of the ill-fated ship – a smoldering fire began to break out. This was a paradox – despite the polar cold, fire raged inside the ship.

Photo © Andrew H. Hochheimer

The members of the Silver Star team barely had time to cut off the towing ropes and escape from the ship, when in the hold of the Medan there was such a strong explosion that the ship lifted above the water, and then it quickly sank, forever depriving the Americans of the opportunity to find out what happened.

The Research Begins

60 years later, American researchers became interested in the story of Medan. But they were surprised to find that the only document confirming the authenticity of the story of the Medan crew was a brochure published by the US Coast Guard in 1952. The brochure published the testimonies of sailors boarding the “flying Dutchman.” This proved that the story really happened.

As it turned out, the US archives confirmed the existence of the Silver Star ship. According to the papers, it was sold in the same 1947 to Grace Line and received a new name – Santa Juana. But finding documentary evidence of the existence of the Dutch vessel Ourang Medan was not so simple. Neither in the International Register of Ships, nor in the Singapore Maritime Archive, nor in the archives of Amsterdam, a ship of that name has ever been.

But it turned out that the traces of the ship must be sought in … Germany. The scientist Theodor Sirsdorfer, who devoted 50 years to the study of Medan and managed to establish the names of American ships that received the SOS signal (the second was a vessel called City of Baltimore), found a brochure by another German author – Otto Milke; the brochure was called Das Totenschiff in der Südsee (“Death Ship in the South Sea”) and was published in 1953.

In it, the author spoke in detail about the Ourang Medan ship, indicated its technical characteristics and claimed that the ship really died with the crew in 1947. Moreover, Milke shed light on the causes of the death of the ship, hinting that the fourth compartment in the hold of the ship was indeed filled with dangerous cargo, which caused the death of the crew – potassium cyanide and nitroglycerin.

Photo © Andrew H. Hochheimer

Versions for the Crew Death

But there was an even more terrible version of the death of the Medan crew, and it led from Nazi Germany to another country with a militaristic regime – Japan.

Division 731, which the Japanese called the “division of Togo,” was founded in 1932 by the Japanese bacteriologist Shiro Ishii and gained such terrible fame that people did not call it “cannibal lair”. The task of the department was to develop the deadliest bacteriological weapons and the most terrible poisonous substances.

In Harbin’s laboratories, the Japanese tested these substances on prisoners of war – Chinese and Russians, as well as on the civilian population of China – on women and children. The Japanese doctors did not stop the suffering of people – they opened the victims alive to see the effects of poisonous gases on their internal organs, froze the still alive “patients” and infected them with various combinations of infections.

Despite the war crimes of scientists, the Americans granted them immunity in exchange for research results. For transportation of toxic substances of unit 731, Medan, a ship of Sumatran or Malaysian smugglers, not registered in any of the marine registers, whose task was to take out the deadly substances to the United States, could be chartered. In the hold of the Medan, containers were leaked, the crew died, and the gas managed to disappear by the time the Americans approached.

However, this is only one of many versions of the death of the team “Medan”. Some researchers suggested the impact on sailors of powerful ultrasound, which can occur in the ocean and kill people. Conspiracists believed that the team was killed by the undead or met with a UFO. Scentists spoke of a cloud of methane that rose from the depths of the Strait of Malacca, covered the ship, and the crew simply suffocated without oxygen.

Photo © Historic Mysteries

The version with the Nazis was continued – the researchers found a publication in the Indonesian newspaper Lokomotiv dated February 3, 1948. It said that after the explosion on Medan, a boat with a starving man was thrown ashore on one of the Marshall Islands. This man spoke German and told the translator that the Ourang Medan actually belonged to Germany and sank 400 miles southeast of the Marshall Islands. In 1945, it supposedly transported containers of nerve gas, but, learning about the surrender of Germany, it began to hide, moving from port to port and moving on to South America. The Germans’ journey was interrupted by an accident – one of the containers was depressurized, the team died.

But there is another plausible explanation for what happened on the ship. Perhaps the smugglers’ vessel was transporting such a seemingly ordinary cargo as ammonium nitrate. This is a fertilizer that is used in the manufacture of explosives. After getting into the hold of sea water, ammonium nitrate entered a chemical reaction with water and began to decompose, releasing laughing gas, which causes drug intoxication and dulls vigilance. At the same time, a decrease in temperature occurred, since the reaction proceeds with the absorption of heat, which could explain the severe cold in the hold. And the introduction of ammonium nitrate into the reaction with any alkali that came on board could lead to the formation of ammonia, the choking from which could explain the terrible torment of the crew. Heating the fertilizer near a steam or diesel engine could lead to heating of the cargo,

Most likely, the violation of safety rules during transportation of hazardous chemicals is to blame for the death of the crew. The smugglers simply pushed the containers into the cargo compartments of the ship and went to sea, hoping for good luck. But this time she turned away from them.

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Mysteries

The origin of gold turned out to be a cosmic mystery

Astronomers calculated the origin of all chemical elements and wondered: where is there so much gold in the universe? The fact is that there are not enough known processes to explain the observed abundance of this precious metal.

Details are set out in a scientific article published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Astronomers believe that the earliest atomic nuclei appeared in the era of primordial nucleosynthesis, which began in the first seconds after the Big Bang and lasted several tens of minutes. At the same time, almost all the hydrogen available in the Universe was formed, a significant part of helium, a certain amount of lithium and an insignificant amount of beryllium and boron. All these chemical elements are light and are located at the very beginning of the periodic table.

The appearance of all the other atomic nuclei is somehow connected with the stars. New nuclei are formed in the bowels of all the stars without exception, as well as in the atmospheres of red giants, during supernova explosions and collisions of neutron stars.

What contribution does each of these processes make to the formation of certain chemical elements? This remains a matter of controversy.

The authors of the new study were the first to calculate the process of formation of all stable nuclei from carbon to uranium from first principles. This means that they solved the equations of nuclear physics in all their complexity, without resorting to simplifying assumptions.

These calculations made it possible to find out how much of this or that element is formed in a typical small star, in one supernova explosion, and so on. Based on this, scientists calculated the role of various celestial bodies and the events occurring with them in the huge chemical complex of the Universe.

The origin of various chemical elements in the periodic table according to a new study.  Illustration by Chiaki Kobayashi et al., Sahm Keily.

It turned out, for example, that small stars that do not explode like supernovae produce half of all carbon in the universe. The second half falls on massive luminaries that end their lives in a supernova explosion.

It is supernovae, according to the authors, that supply the universe with iron. Moreover, half of it falls on explosions of massive stars, and another half – on type Ia supernovae, that is thermonuclear explosions of white dwarfs .

However, the most unusual result concerns gold. In previous studies, the origin of the noble metal was attributed to collisions of neutron stars. Now scientists have questioned this.

“Even the most optimistic estimates of the neutron-star collision rate simply cannot explain the apparent abundance of this element in the universe,” says co-author Amanda Karakas of Monash University in Australia. “It came as a surprise.”

However, astronomers already have their own version of the origin of gold. They speculate that the problem is in supernovae of an unusual type. Explosions of very massive stars with strong magnetic fields could provide space with the observed amount of gold, experts say.

At the same time, the authors do not deny the contribution of collisions of neutron stars to the synthesis of other chemical elements .

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Mysteries

Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi desert

Is this part of China’s classified space program or another Chinese surprise?

For the first time, mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert, which is located in China, near the border with Mongolia, were seen in 2011. Seen, as is often the case in this century, using Google Earth. The program does not comment on the signs in any way, and no official reports from the Chinese government about exercises or tests in the Gobi Desert have followed.

There are several mysterious patterns, and each next one is even more mysterious than the previous one. Judge for yourself.

City models?

These two patterns resemble streets, only without houses, cars and shawarma stalls – in general, without everything that we are used to on the streets. Perhaps these street models were made in order to test weapons “in the city”. Then why not build houses? Or have the weapons already been tested, and this is all that remains of the “cities”?

Photo # 1 - Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert
Photo # 2 - Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert

Destroyed car park?

In this picture, those with an inquisitive mind and keen eyesight will make out destroyed cars. But why are they here? Perhaps they participated in weapons tests. Or is it just a warehouse of disused vehicles? But then why do we need large squares in the picture?

Photo # 3 - Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert

Runways?

Of course, this is the first thing that comes to mind. And the most logical thing, even if there is no hint of airplanes in this picture. Okay, let’s say these are really runways. But why then is the right stripe so defiantly glowing?

Photo # 4 - Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert

Chinese Stonehenge?

The most mysterious pattern of all. A circular one, consisting of stones or small structures, in the center of the pattern at the time of shooting there are three planes. Anyone who has flown an airplane at least once cannot help but wonder: where is the runway? Indeed, if this is a kind of air base, then where is the runway?

After the images were released, The Telegraph spoke with defense expert Tim Ripley. He authoritatively stated that the circular pattern resembles a test site for jet weapons, something similar he saw at Area 51 in Nevada.

Photo # 5 - Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert

Since the images with the mysterious signs were published, the Chinese government has not bothered to reveal the purpose of these objects. (It did work to block Google Earth in China, but it did not work.) Moreover, in 2018, another mysterious pattern was discovered not far from the patterns listed above.

The new pattern was studied in detail in a video with the explanatory title “No one can still explain what was found in the Gobi Desert.” This time we are talking about cross “runways” surrounded by incomprehensible glowing circles, vaguely resembling an infinity sign.

Photo # 6 - Mysterious signs in the middle of the Gobi Desert

According to the author of the video, if these are runways, then they have never been used. In addition, there are several dozen structures next to the runway that look abandoned. And here is the video itself:

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Mysteries

What secrets are kept by the stones of pharaohs and kings

One of the most beloved topics of the yellow press of the last century was the scary tale of precious stones, a typical example of which is the story of the “curse of the Hope diamond.”

It was a beautiful blue diamond with a purple tint and looked something like this: The modern history of the stone began in the 17th century in India, where it was somehow obtained by the jeweler Jean Baptiste Tavernier. He brought the stone to France, where he sold it to King Louis XIV, after which Louis fell from the slope, injured his leg, got sepsis and died, and Jean Bastist himself had been eaten by dogs before that.

The next owner of the stone was Louis XV, who presented it to Madame de Montespan. After a couple of months, the king lost interest in Madame and she moved to a monastery, where she died. The king returned the gift and passed it on to Marie Antoinette, who was soon executed by fiery French revolutionaries. With this pebble in the pendant, she ascended the scaffold.

What happened to the revolutionary Jacques who stole the stone is unknown, most likely he died or was eaten alive by lice, but in 1813 the stone appeared in a jewelry store in London, where the Englishman Henry Francis Hope bought it – he began to show everyone the diamond, so he entered into history as the “Hope Diamond”.

But, as you might expect, Hope glued the flippers together and gave the diamond to his heir, Lord Francis Hope, who presented it to his bride. After that, the lord went bankrupt and was forced to descend to the plebeian hotel business, but his very first hotel burned down with his wife.

Then the stone was sawed and sold to new owners. One of them was American Evelyn Wolls McClynn. After that, her son died in a car accident, her husband ended up in an insane asylum, and Evelyn herself also went a little crazy and died. The second owners made it to America unsuccessfully, because they chose the Titanic as a means of travel.

Approximately the same fairy tale surrounds many famous stones. The balance with the bulldo in these fairy tales does not always converge, since the tales are invented by journalists for the money of jewelers: when the public learns that someone died from the stone, this leads to incredible enthusiasm and everyone rushes to look at the miracle, allowing the jeweler to make money out of thin air. However, these tales are based on the truth.

In particular, Hope’s diamond was stolen from the temple of the Indian goddess Sita, where it somehow decorated a statue. The energy of the stone was monstrous – sensitive people who took it in their hands sometimes fainted and then they were tormented by nightmarish visions for months.

But Sita was definitely out of business there. The topic was Indian priests who used temples and statues to collect energy from the flock: pilgrimage went to the temple for decades, prayed to one or another deity, and as a receiving matrix, the deity had a stone in its forehead or two stones in its eyes.

Then, when the stone was pumped up, it was replaced with a new one, and the old one began to be used in rituals. In particular, it could be presented to your own or a neighboring king in order to vacate the throne as soon as possible – the ruler who accepted such a gift would immediately die under certain circumstances.

In general, the magic of stones is a complex and poorly studied topic. Some people seem to be doing it, blowing some “secret knowledge” into the ears of adepts. Nevertheless, there seem to be some very interesting developments in the topic.

We will not compose an introduction to modern and, most likely, not very correct views of quantum mechanics, but in general terms we will recall and clarify. An electron in an atom rotates in two directions, as it were: on the one hand, it rotates around the nucleus (orbital angular momentum), on the other, around its axis (spin).

Therefore, if, in theory, you learn to change either the spin of an electron of a single atom, or the angular momentum, then the atom can be used as a cell for storing a unit of information.

The idea, of course, is quite crazy, but, as scitechdaily writes with reference to the just published scientific work, researchers from the Delft University of Technology managed, using a scanning tunneling microscope, to first capture an individual iron atom, then plant it astride a nitrogen atom, after what the orbital angular momentum of some of the electrons of the outer cloud has changed for the iron atom. Thus, an eternal unit cell of information was created:

Of course, experimenters are still quite a long way from creating a full-fledged storage ring – nevertheless, the direction of work is interesting. Most likely, they will not be able to write data to the atoms of crystals soon, but the technology for reading them already exists. And this opens up interesting perspectives.

If the guys from the Delft University of Technology came up with the idea of ​​writing data into the atoms of the crystal, then the guys who lived long before them probably came to the same idea, and given the antediluvian technologies of the builders of magalitic structures, the idea was most likely implemented in practice. Therefore, many stones may turn out to be something like ancient flash drives that contain a lot of information about the ancient world. Perhaps that is why all the rulers collect stones with terrible power.

In addition, pebbles around which jewelers have created aura of horror stories, pebbles from places of worship of various kinds, and so on are also of interest. All these objects carry some kind of information that is inaccessible to analog devices. But now, when the technology appears that allows us to consider various rubies and diamonds as a digital massif, pebbles can tell a lot about the real story, and about the role of people in this story, and about the outside world in general.

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