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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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Two Probable Frauds

Turkey on the Bayeux Tapestry
That turkey on the Bayeux Tapestry. Fortunately, we added a caveat when we mentioned this turkey (see sketch) in SF#81. If said turkey really appears on the Bayeux Tapestry, which dates back to the Eleventh Century, it would clearly indicate Precolumbian contact with the New World. However, careful study of a copy of the Tapestry has failed to find this typically New World bird anywhere.

(Sørensen, Erik Ringdal; personal communication, November 2, 1995)

That crystal skull in the British Museum. Considered a first-class anomaly, this compelling artifact is carved out of hard crystalline quartz. It is said to exert an eerie effect on its viewers. Some say it was carved by the Atlanteans, but the Aztecs are generally credited with this amazing job of manufacture. The big puzzle is: How could the Aztecs have done it without modern lapidary tools -- the skull is so smooth and perfect? Well, maybe the Aztecs didn't carve it!

A. Rankin, of Kingston University, has examined the tiny trails made by fluid inclusions in the quartz matrix. He finds that they are characteristic of Brazilian quartz. In fact, there seem to be no suitable sources of massive quartz crystals anywhere in Mexico; and the Aztecs do not appear to have made any incursions into Brazil.

Even worse, British Museum experts have now found small cuts made by steel tools on the insides of the teeth. The skull, they suggest, is actually modern and carved with a jeweler's wheel.

(Hawkes, Nigel; "Famous Aztec Skull Is Thought to Be a Fake," London Times, September 30, 1995. Cr. A.C.A. Silk)

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987