Professor Alfred De Grazia, the late Prof. Emeritus of Chicago, passed away in July this summer; he was 95 years old.
I’m going to be re-presenting his writings here for you to read, adding my own abstracts made using tools from JKU.
Since even his short books are still long when posted into a blog, I’ll present to you, my readers, a chapter or a part of a chapter at a time. Tonight’s excerpt
is from the Lately Tortured Earth, Chapter 5, Electricty.
Part 2 of 3:
With the settling of the skies, the intensity of electric phenomena diminished. The divine spark manifested itself less and less; the arks were carried more and more up to the mountain temples (e.g. both the Temple of Solomon and the Temple of Jeroboam). The angels, demons, and mountain gods manifested themselves in electrical demonstrations on high with the aid of crosses, trees, and poles . These, too, could not be maintained. Empedocles, when discussing the four elements, fire, earth, air and water, says that fire has ceased to “travel”, and no lower forms of fire remain . Plutarch wrote at the end of the pagan age an essay on why the highly placed Delphic oracle had lost its influence; he gave the vaguest of references indicating a failure of electric current, but the question itself is significant . By late classical times, the knowledge of arks and of the exploitation of “god’s fire” was largely defunct. Yahweh became “invisible”, who before, declares the Bible, could be seen in flaming display upon the Ark of Moses. So later philosophers gave new meanings to words: realities became metaphors and abstractions; thus, the “word” and “presence” of the divine became thoughts, rather than the noises and signs of electrical divinity. The profuse electrical references in the Bible, in ancient Near East documents and Greek Mythology, in the Hindu Vedas – all were reduced to
metaphors, generalized into ordinary meanings (‘fire’ becomes ‘conflagration’), and metaphysical abstractions (the commandment to worship no other God nor image is interpreted philosophically rather than realistically). The obelisks whose points once lit up as the eyes of the hidden god Amon (Amen) came to be variously interpreted as giant sundials, emblems of royal power, phallic symbols, or sign
boards for vainglorious inscriptions. As Ziegler suggests, the Greek word “obelisk” itself might have meant “ob-el-ish,” or
“serpent-light-fire.” Von Fange recounts a century-old report on a Babylonian ziggurat, which may have been the Tower of Babel. The structure can be placed several centuries earlier than Moses but also in a highly electrical epoch. It appeared that fire struck the tower and split it down to the very foundation. In different parts of the ruins immense brown and black masses of brickwork had changed into a vitrified state. At a distance the ruins looked like edifices torn apart at their foundations.
Evidently the fiercest kind of fire created the havoc. The most curious of the fragments found several misshapen masses of brickwork, black, subjected to some kind of heat, and completely molten. The whole ruin has the appearance of a burnt mountain. On one side, beneath the crowning masonry, lay huge fragments torn from the pile itself. The calcined and vitreous surface of the brick had fused into rock-like
masses. It is difficult to explain the cause of the vitrification of the upper building. Great boulders were vitrified, and brickwork had been fused by fire . Here possibly was cosmic fire. Another effect deserves mention. A major electrical discharge in which a number of humans are stimulated, as in a town on an eminence, may proceed slowly and without killing. It leaks rather than blasts. It might affect people’s minds. Today, a fearful side-effect of electroshock therapy, which is used to treat persons suffering from depression, is amnesia; whole sections of the person’s store of memories will be erased.
The Tower of Babel was probably erected at a time when electrical perturbations were attributed, if my analysis in Chaos and Creation is correct, to movements of the planet Mercury . The arrogance of the builders in attempting to reach the sky was punished, recites the Bible, but in a peculiar way. They who spoke the same language when they began their work were caused to “babel” in many tongues. The Earth shook long beforehand; the tower partly sank into the ground, so say Jewish legends; but also much of the tower was destroyed by fire from the sky. The work had to be abandoned and
afterwards the nations spoke different languages. I offer a scenario for consideration. The Tower of Babel was being built in terror and hope of appeasing sky-bodies, possibly Jupiter-Marduk or Mercury. Conscripts or slaves of many countries made up a work force of 50,000 men. They put together a rough lingua franca from the language of the area to communicate on the job. The approach of a large body (there were actually many adoring and frightened references to planet Mercury around this time) occasioned the build-up of charge and then a flowing discharge through the structure, creating a
confusion in administrative orders and a linguistic amnesia especially in the lingua franca. No longer could people understand each other. And then the whole edifice was stuck by immense cosmic bolts, partly fractured, and exploded. “Slow lightning” is the geologically and biologically effective discharge of terrestrial electricity. A “slow lightning flood” may be conceivable, too. The curious vitrified forts of Scotland
may be a case in point . They remind us of the Ziggurat of Babylon. Their stone and mortar are fused solidly with the clifftops to which they adhere. The forts are much in need of study. The early interpretations of them as cattle pens is uncomplimentary to a people that lived in hovels that experienced no such fusion. The idea of brush being heaped outside the precipitous walls, and then burning
them with an intense heat, would require a mobile ceramics oven and vent. We would argue that the lightning here was not “bolt-thin” and “lightning-quick” but poured upwards over seconds, diffusing through its medium, ferruginously-mortared stone. There would have been an approaching unequally charged great body or gas cloud that had pierced the electrically balanced plasma
and drawn away or brushed aside the magnetic space sheath of Earth. The Earth below would have collected on its highest surfaces a charge to meet the incoming charge. This would begin to flow upwards. Heavy leader strokes descending would have collapsed the roofs of houses. A tube of ionized dust would arise and descend, make contact from both ends and set up a fierce heat that would scorch its “vessels.” A final flash, and then the body would pass or the cloud dissipate, and a rain of dust and vapors would fall back upon the ground, calcinating it. It is probable that many thousands of burnt eminences exist
around the world whose tops have seen the fusion of rocks, perhaps even Troy IIg, the “Burnt City” so-called . The famous site, whether or not it was the real Troy, is on an eminence. While not high, the city would have had many small reservoirs of water, whereas the ground outside might already have been dried out. In Troy IIg a sulphurous color suffuses all outdoor spaces and passageways of the town. A deposit of lead and copper melted and flowed around the town. (It is possible that this melt had been scavanged after Schliemann reported it in the 1880’s and the discoloration was all that was
iscoverable when the Blegen expedition re-excavated the site in the 1930’s). No human hand could have or would have set such a fire. The heat was fierce. The ash was far too abundant for a deliberate fire from local materials, and carried a red color. In places it was like calcinated rock, a meter or more in depth, perhaps like the vitrified Scottish forts. No one would have wanted to destroy precious metals (not so mention even more precious metal left in abundance in the scorched houses and the Treasure of Priam, found on a Wall). Noteworthy is the absence of human and animal skeletal material in the ruins. Either they turned to dust from the heat, or the electrical build-up was sensed, as it is by animals before earthquakes for example, and they fled from the hill onto the plain where the sensations were absent.
Perhaps a heavily charged cosmic body was approaching or was near the Earth with an opposite charge or inducing one to collect on Earth; this would cause numerous discharges. Every
eminence, one might imagine, would offer an exit for lightning especially if it held the slightest metallic component, and were not surrounded by damp lowlands. Buildings are not needed.
If settlements seem to have been affected by slow lightning flood, unsettled eminence should often have endured the same experience. I have explored as a candidate a conical hill of Stylida, Naxos, Greece (Alt.152m) . The top is a hard silicate with bits of ferruginous rock in the eroded (burst?) rubble. It nests among loose, hardly consolidated rocks that have fast fallen away from the columnar core. This
phenomenon is usually seen as an ancient metamorphosis. Somehow the temperature of water-laden deep limestones and granites mounted and caused them to nearly melt and to rise.