One of the most interesting landscapes in Europe is undoubtedly the Alps. They act as a barrier between the Mediterranean and the more northerly areas of Central Europe. For thousands of years they were considered ugly, dangerous, unsuitable for agriculture and an obstacle to transit traffic. Although the Alpine passes were crossed thousands of years ago, the [...]
Category: Strange stories
Legendary warrior women
For many centuries, the use of armed female combatants was taboo in European culture. Weapons were carried exclusively by men. However, there were exceptions up to modern times, and not only in antiquity. The best known is the battle of the Greeks with Achilles against the Amazons with their queen Penthesilea described in the Iliad, the Henry of [...]
Enigmatic gold maker
Gold is a rare, incredibly fascinating metal that is held in the highest esteem in virtually all world cultures. In Africa and the Ancient Americas as well as in Europe, India, China and Japan. No wonder that people not only wanted to explore it laboriously, but sought ways and means to produce it artificially. Alchemists In an effort to find the multiple [...]
The real Robinson
At the time I went to school, almost every child knew the "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe (approx. 1660-1731). The book was available in several editions, including simplified versions for children, and "Robinson" became a synonym for a hermit on a lonely island. The bestseller found imitators, and the "Robinsonads" - adventure stories about sailing ships, castaways [...]
The great Xhosa cattle slaughter
Crises and mass hysteria, as examples of the dangers of uncontrolled "lateral thinking"? In “In short, in a nutshell, curious” on page 262 “The legendary cargo cult” and on page 323 “A renaissance prophet in the fickle of the masses” we dealt with mass situations in which people can lose their ability to criticize. In the past centuries, easily excitable crowds of people that could no longer be reached through arguments have in diverse [...]
Gods and oracles - an "old hat"?
(Published December 2014) The world of antiquity, characterized by gods and oracles, seems outdated and outgrown to us today. But did it have a true core - and are we really so much further along in this today than we were then, or have perhaps only the forms changed? Socrates and Transcendence If one reads the writings of the ancient philosophers, one [...]
Why we should erect a monument to the earthworm (Published in GralsWelt 78/2013) It is surprising, almost dismaying, to learn how ignorant many people still were in the 19th century. How little, for example, farmers knew about their arable land with its soil life, on the fertility of which depended the crop yields and thus the well-being of many people. We are not talking here [...]
The Zong Massacre
(Published in GralsWelt 71/2012) People were thrown overboard so that the transport insurance would pay for "lost cargo": a particularly chilling example of what was legally possible in the days of the slave trade. In 1781, the British slave ship Zong was en route from West Africa to the Caribbean. Her captain, Luke Collingwood (c. 1733-1783), was making only his second voyage on [...]
Was Marco Polo really in China?
(Published in GralsWelt 69/2012) A frequent saying of my history teacher was: "That's how it is written in mythology, that's how Homer told us - but in history you never know what is true and what is only invented." The great traveler - a braggart? We all learned in school about the world traveler Marco Polo (1254-1324) [...].
(Published in Grail World 61/2010) As in the “Disputation of Valladolid” less than 500 years ago it was argued about whether Indians have a soul and whether they play a role in Christ's plan of salvation. Anyone who has read Heinrich Heine may remember his ballad about a disputation in medieval Spain. In his inimitable way, Heine lets a rabbi [...]