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Mystery of the Ever-Burning Lamps


What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;

there is nothing new under the sun.”Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)


Those who know me know that I have a deep fascination with anomalies of the past. Is there a possibility that our modern technology pales in comparison to some that predates us? Skeptics and hard science will say no, but what about the legends from all around the globe? If they are all false or tall tales, then how can they describe something so similar? Sometimes ideas that may make us uncomfortable cause us to ignore the data, circumstantial or otherwise. It interferes with our internal belief systems. In order to look at a phenomena one must suspend his or her belief systems and examine every possibility no matter how uncomfortable it may seem at the time. Only after we gather and lay all the pieces of the puzzle out can we begin to put it together. Even then, we are likely to have missing pieces but we may still be able to see the bigger picture. This picture is that we are following in the footsteps of those who came before. Lets put some pieces on the table.

To our ancestors nothing was more stressful and terrifying than the dark. It was the place where wild animals ruled, hunting down anyone who strayed to far. It was the realm of ghosts and demons, and was synonymous with most creation stories. The Hopi creation says that in the beginning there was endless space. “There was no beginning and no end, no time, no shape, no life. Just an immeasurable void...” (Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi). The Juedeo Christian account is similar. In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1-4) There are so many creation stories and mythologies describing the beginning as darkness or void. There are just as many that relate how the darkness was lit by the gods by a power that was forbidden to mankind.

Was there an ancient race that predated modern humans who gave technology willingly or unwillingly to early mankind? If so, then where are those accounts? In Greek mythology Prometheus is credited with stealing fire from the gods and giving the technology to humans.It is believed that such technology showed up in sacred and important places such as The Temple of Solomon. The temple of Solomon was said to be built by specific directions from God. It was built to house another controversial possible powerful technology, the ark of the covenant. What really stands out is a translation from the Kebra Nagast which reads: "Now the House of Solomon the King was illuminated as by day, for in his wisdom he had made shining pearls which were like unto the sun, the moon and the stars in the roof of his house.” (“The Queen of Sheba and Her Only Son Menyelek," translated by Sir E.A.Wallis Budge). Let us think about these shining pearls which are a direct reference to a light source though it does not sound like a traditional flame. It is particularly interesting that something similar was discovered in 2013 by archaeologists exploring an ancient tunnel system in Teotihuacan near the Pyramid of the Sun. Using a small robot in a system of previously unexplored tunnels beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, scientists found hundreds of small clay spheres comprising of jarosite scattered all over an underground chamber that had walls covered in powdered pyrite. Though these spheres were not lit one has to wonder if they may have been at one time. It sounds preposterous doesn't it? But there are accounts of what are called ever burning lamps from all around the world.

Plutarch describes an eternal flame which burned at the temple of Ammon in Egypt. The lamp above the door was said to be impervious to wind and rain and no one could put it out. Another in Egypt was said to be in a temple dedicated to Venus, Saint Augustine describes it in his words as a “work of the devil”. It is likely as these discoveries were made many fell to such belief systems and were destroyed or hidden away. An example of the earliest form of covering up evidence. This was a way to rid ones self of the uncomfortable thoughts that others had powers far greater than theirs. Arthur C. Clarke once said. “Any sufficiently advanced technology isindistinguishable from magic.” In 527 AD Troops in Edessa Syria claim to have found a burning lamp which was inscribed and noted that the device had been lit in 27 AD and had been burning for 550 years. In 1540 a tomb was found in which a lamp was said to have been burning for 1,550 years, but how?An adviser in Louis IX's court in the 13th century is said to have had a lamp which required no wick or oil and when asked about it's fuel source he refused to tell anyone. (Eliphas Levi “Histoire de la Magie.”) Was this like all the others, an ancient light bulb of sort? We know there are references of electricity being used in ancient Egypt, the Baghdad Battery is still debated about among scholars today. It is theorized and seems that the ancients had some concept of electricity. Was this the technology passed down from the gods as the legends claim? Or was it an interpretation and re-building of that technology by someone who retained the basis of the science behind it? We have batteries which work very much like the Baghdad Battery but that power source could not be what powered these “ever burning lamps”. Something much more powerful would have been needed, but what and what kind of civilization could create such a device?

In 1964 a Sovietand Russianastrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev defined three levels of civilization:

Type I

Technological level of a civilization that is "close to the level presently attained on Earth, with energy consumption at ≈4×1019 erg/sec" (4×1012 watts).[1]Currently, the civilization of Type I is usually defined as one that can harness all the energy that falls on a planet from its parent star (for Earth–Sun system, this value is close to 1.74×1017 watts), which is about four orders of magnitudehigher than the amount presently attained on Earth, with energy consumption at ≈2×1013 watts. The astronomer Guillermo A. Lemarchand stated this as a level near contemporary terrestrial civilization with an energy capability equivalent to the solar insolation on Earth, between 1016 and 1017 watts.[2]

Type II

A civilization capable of harnessing the energy radiated by its own star—for example, the stage of successful construction of a Dyson sphere—with energy consumption at ≈4×1033 erg/sec.[1]Lemarchand stated this as a civilization capable of using and channeling the entire radiation output of its star. The energy use would then be comparable to the luminosity of the Sun, about 4×1033 erg/sec (4×1026 watts).[2]

Type III

A civilization in possession of energy at the scale of its own galaxy, with energy consumption at ≈4×1044 erg/sec.[1]Lemarchand stated this as a civilization with access to the power comparable to the luminosity of the entire Milky Waygalaxy, about 4×1044 erg/sec (4×1037 watts).[2]Kardashev believed that a Type 4 civilization was impossible, so he did not go past Type 3. However, new types (0, IV, V, VI) have been proposed.

Currently with our seemingly amazing advances, we do not rate on the Kardeshev Scale. Recently a California based company known as NBD made an amazing claim that if it actually were to come to fruition would be a game changing technology for all of humanity and move us up the Scale closer to a class I civilization. NBD claim to have developed a “Nano-Diamond Battery” that could last anywhere from a decade to 28,000 years without ever needing a charge. Now lets think back to Arthur C. Clarkes quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology isindistinguishable from magic.” Even today this seems like magic but what if it is simply the result of years of reverse engineering ancient technologies? It has been claimed by many researchers that alien technology was recovered from crash sites and from archaeological digs around the world. It has also been claimed that such advanced technology has been divided out to private industries for study and eventual commercialization and integration into everyday products. Think back to the amazing leaps we made in the short time between the 1940s and today. Are we using some of that recovered technology and simply taking it for granted?

The truth is that we have no concrete answers concerning this lost technology or even the people it may have originated from. What happened to them? Where did they go? Were they the fallen, were they the giants, were they the first people, or were they, like us simply mimicking in their own way the forgotten lost technology of their ancestors? Many ancient myths pertain to a world which existed prior to this one which sound like science fiction, but what if it isn't just a myth? The Hopi for example tell of a time before the destruction of the previous world in which people creating “flying shields” made to fly by magic no less which were used to attack one another. It is said of these shields or patuwvota that “many people flew to a big city, attacked it, and returned so fast no one knew where they came from.” (Book of the Hopi- Frank Waters)

If this is so, then where is all this great technology today? Perhaps we need to look back to the Hopi legends once more. “See,” said Sotuknang, “I have washed away even the footprints of your emergence; the stepping stones which I left for you. Down on the bottom of the seas lie all the proud cities, the flying patuwvotas, and the worldly treasures corrupted with evil … But the day will come , if you preserve the memory and the meaning of your emergence, when these stepping stones will emerge again to prove the truth you speak” (Book of the Hopi- Frank Waters)

What if a catastrophe were to befall the earth as it has many times in the distant past and set humanity back to the stone age? Suppose you survive the apocalypse but now there are no power plants and no running water. All that is still operational has a limited shelf life with no way to repair it. There is no one coming to help and survival is all that matters. You would retain the knowledge of how a light bulb works. Some would be able to build one from scrounged parts. This would light the dark but eventually the batteries will either fail or be taken and/or destroyed by enemy clans. The darkness would again be a place of unspeakable dangers. Soon remnants of society will adapt to this new world and eventually the past technologies will be all but forgotten, save for a few stories told around camp fires. Ruins will be found but no one will understand them or their use. Eventually generations forget what happened and in thousands of years the event will only be a legend a tale told for entertainment. That is until one day one of your descendants happens to stumble into a cave where they find a bright light illuminating the darkness unlike the torches they are used to. The light has been burning since before the fall and now all those legends and laughed at stories start to make sense. As she picks up the ever glowing magical item and takes it back to camp, a cold chill shoots up her spine a thought arises in her mind about the old stories her grandfather told her about a magical world where the night was lit by an unimaginable and unattainable power and she begins to think. What if?


Ron Lanham


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