Archive for the ‘end of the wolrd’ Category

My Women’s Shuffle inWashington

January 29, 2017


Here I am, totally ignorant of what will happen, trying on my pussy hat for the Women’s March on Washington. ( “SPES” by the way, is Latin for “hope”, something in short supply lately.)

People asked me why I felt I had to take my walker and go all the way across the country to do this when there were protests in town.  There are either too many answers to that, or none.  One reason is that more than half my ancestors have been in the country since before 1700.  They settled the land, served in the armies and government.  Some were kind, compassionate people, some weren’t.  Some clear cut trees for their fields, fought Natives in King Joseph’s War, owned slaves and persecuted Quakers.  One can be proud of Colonial ancestors but also see the results of their actions.

I stand with Standing Rock, because they were among those who pushed Natives onto reservations.  water-is-life


I stand for women’s rights because my  male ancestors refused to vote for them.susan-c-davis-young

I believe Black Lives Matter remembering how those of my family believed their lives were property.  black-women

In short, I believe in not repeating history but in working hard to make the world better and more equal for all.

So, I went to Washington and it was a euphoric experience.  Whatever you hear, I was surrounded by people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders and professions.  They say that there were so many causes that it was chaos.  I didn’t see one sign I didn’t agree with.  Heidi Stemple put it better than I can:

I’m seeing lots of criticism of the Women’s Marches. Let us all remember, that whatever it meant to each of us– every one of those reasons are important and significant. Did we save access to health care for women? Did we stop the pipeline or make undocumented people more safe? No. But, we needed each other and we showed up to prove that we are here and not to be taken lightly, forgotten, or discounted. We are women who, when pushed, will push back. Will letters or phone calls help these causes? Perhaps not. But, we, the daughters, mothers, lovers, and sisters, we will raise our voices and shout down those who wish to keep us down–every damn time– until the time when we find or make or learn other ways to make a difference. We ARE the wall. We will take care of the children you will leave behind and we will boil the water you make unsafe to drink. We will nurse the ill who have no access to health care. We will teach the science you refuse to believe. We will remember the souls you shoot and kill on the streets. We will form the secret networks to help all the people you care nothing about. We are not snowflakes. We are the people who birthed you, fed you, nurtured you. Do NOT mistake our femininity as weakness. Because, even when we are down, WE ARE NOT WITHOUT POWER.

What she said.  Here are some examples of the wonderful people who came out to support us all:



United Health Workers.  There were at least a hundred of them, with shirts, purple hats and stickers.  (They gave me one)  They marched for health care for all and better working conditions for those who do the real caring; home health workers, CNAs and nurses.


There were many people supporting gay and trans issues.



Domestic workers came to many of the marches all over the country.  They wanted respect, immigration reform, health care and decent pay.  Or, as they said. Human Rights for all.

These speak for themselves.  Personally, I think that a man wearing a pussyhat is very appealing. A man who takes his daughter to a march for human rights is a treasure and an example to fathers everywhere.


When your congress person votes to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, this young man is the one who will have fewer treatment and education options.  Many people were concerned about health care cost and availability.  I rant about this all the time.  We are the only first world country without national health.  Could is possibly be because there is such a powerful health insurance lobby ?


So, this is my new Facebook image, partly because I need to keep reminding myself not to fear and partly because I really would like to look as beautiful as she.


Did you miss the rapture?

December 3, 2012

I know we have almost three weeks until the Mayan calendar (one of them, anyway) ends and the galactic Death Ray will disintegrate the earth etc. but one group has already vanished, the True Believer cows!

Cow clicker inventor, Ian Bogost, informed me of this.  While humans are still waiting to be raptured up, the cows have made their getaway, rather like the dolphins in Douglas Adams’ SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH.  I’m so pleases that someone else is taking the matter as seriously as I am.


For all of you who were worried about there being milk, cheese and hamburgers in Heaven, relax.  You can count on the Holy Cow to provide for you.  The rest of us will have to make do with products from heretical cows, slightly curdled, no doubt.   But that’s what happens on the edge of oblivion.  More to come….

Weathering the Apocalypse in France? What a Great Idea!

November 26, 2012


I’ve spent a lot of time in the back country of Southern France.  I even drove up to Rennes-le-Chateau for my book on the Da Vinci Code,   but even when I was researching THE REAL HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD, I totally missed the news about the town of Bugarach (really) apparently known as being a psychic vortex and, when the world ends, will be the only place spared.  It seems, from the articles I’ve read, that the people who survive will largely be reporters.  This should make the post-apocalyptic world interesting.   For those who, like me, have missed this, here is a link from The Guardian:
I have radio interviews right up to Dec. 21, so I suppose that I’ll miss this one.  However, the nice thing about predicting the End is that there is always another coming up.

The Election as Apocalyptic Sign

October 27, 2012

This is the usual American image of Halloween.  Adorable children in costumes, going door to door, collecting treats and laughing.  When I was a child we went out alone and ranged as far as we could walk.  Now children are shadowed by parents or organized into parties at community centers.  In my grandfather’s day they were

closer to the original meaning of Halloween.  He and his friends stole furniture from porches, tipped over outhouses and generally destroyed anything they could.

Now, what has this to do with either the election or the end of the world?  OK, it’s a tenuous connection.  But I was thinking about how many people feel that if their candidates don’t win, the world is headed down in a spiral to destruction.   Nothing prophetic, Biblical, Mayan or mathematical.   One group is certain that the world will be crushed under a load of debt.  The other is sure that international industrialists will run amok and destroy the ecosystem so we’ll have nothing left to eat, drink or breathe.

I’m not as concerned about the accuracy of these theories as I am about the climate that is producing them.   Even though the Mayan believers have been quiet lately along with the ones worried about a galactic alignment, sunspots and rogue killer asteroids, there is still an overarching sense of impending DOOM.

Campaign ads are to blame, I’m sure of it.  Never mind racial or gender slurs, opposing candidates have become antichrists.  If we don’t vote for the correct one, Satan will rule.  If you don’t believe me, watch a few hundred of these.  Therefore, my feeling is that we’ve done this to ourselves because in our collective id, we like feeling on the edge of disaster.  Why?  I’m really asking.  I have no idea.  Is it adrenalin?  A need to wipe the slate and start over?  Too many post-apocalyptic movies where the main characters are gorgeous and compassionate and we think there will be more of them then for us to meet?

Why aren’t we thinking more about saving the world for the cute, innocent kids to trick or treat in?
Just a thought.


On the Edge of the End and Would You Mind?

September 14, 2012

For my next book, I’ve been researching the early years in the Crusader Kingdoms (1099-1162)  A number of people thought that the Christian conquest of Jerusalem was the beginning of the End of the World.  Some of the Western Christians certainly were hoping for that, but not the ones who settled there.  At least one Armenian, Matthew of Edessa, wrote a treatise about how all the invasions by Turks, Christians and Greeks clearly presaged the end.   It’s been interesting, but all too familiar.

I’m very surprised that I haven’t heard anything in the past few weeks about new prophecies.  Even the Mayans haven’t been getting much attention.  Maybe it’s too obvious that we are on the brink?  Iran will blow us up or someone else will.  The climate will make the seas boil, very Biblical that.  There will be class warfare and we’ll have another wholesale bloodbath of the very rich, as in the French Revolution, followed by anarchy.  And, of course, there’s the serious zombie threat.

I’m beginning to realize why apocalyptic theories are so popular.  Even after writing a whole book on them, I couldn’t get my mind around the reason why so many people really liked to think that we were all going to go ‘poof!’ very soon.

The way things are going now, with what seems to me to be collective global insanity, a nice total flood or earth- destroying asteroid sounds positively like a relief.

But, in case that isn’t in the offing, what should we do to restore, or perhaps establish, a world where reason has a voice at last?

Pilgrims, Apocalypse, Churchill, Fleming and myths that won’t die

November 25, 2011


A few days ago a friend sent me an inspiring story about how the young Winston Churchill was saved from drowning by the father of Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.  As a reward, Churchill’s father sent young Alexander to medical school.  In 1943 Church was ill and saved by a dose of penicillin.  My bs radar immediately went off.  So I checked and the story has no basis in fact at all.  What is amazing is that this story has been around for decades despite the fact that it is easy to disprove.  There are several sites that give the story and the reality behind it.  The one I used was


Was not saved by Fleming's father.

paid his own way through medical school

So, what does this have to do with the Pilgrims — Puritans, actually?   Well, despite lots of research by historians, the records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and plain old common sense, we still have an image of the First Thanksgiving as a wonderful, squdgy time of friendship and sharing between the English settlers and the Native Americans. It’s an idea of a Golden Age that we somehow have lost, an era of abundance and brotherhood.  And the thing that I still have trouble with is, even though most of us know that this is a myth, we cling to it anyway.   When the first settlers were starving, they stole from the Indians rather than trade.

And now we come to the Apocalypse. I didn’t know about this until I was researching THE REAL HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD.   I knew that the Puritans were Calvinist Protestants who came, according to my schoolteachers, for religious freedom.  What I was ignorant of was that many of them were part of a sect that believed the end of the world was near.  They had come to America to prepare for it.  Converting the natives was part of this belief although some thought that the Indians were in league with demons.

After the Mayflower landed, word came that King Charles I had been overthrown and that England was now a Puritan theocracy.  Some of those who had left England returned to take part in this new society.  They were among those who, by a complex twist of logic and Biblical interpretation, believed that England was the new Jerusalem and that this was where Jesus would arrive at the Second Coming.   For other arcane reasons (see my post on the End in October) 1666 was considered the date for the event.

When the end didn’t come and Charles II did, the American Puritans put their faith in their new colony.   Within a few decades they were expelling dissidents and hanging women for witchcraft.

pilgrims meeting the local neighbors.

Not as much good will and mutual respect as we were taught.

Again, most of us know about the downside of the story of the Pilgrims and how that made a deep impression on the country for generations.  And yet, we still cherish the warm, fuzzy, inaccurate memory of the first Thanksgiving.   I really can’t understand this and it fascinates me.  I’m beginning to fear that I need to go back for a degree in behavioral psychology.

ps.  Looking at the list of how many times my posts have been read, I realize that by far the most popular was the one on chastity belts.   No comment.

May 7, 2011

In response to many requests (OK 2) I have reproduced the chapter from the book THE REAL HISTORY BEHIND THE TEMPLARS on recognizing pseudo history.  (see my previous blog)  Since it’s rampant these days, I think we all should cultivate a talent for spotting the signs.  It pleases me greatly to know that this cahpter is being used in at least one classroom!

Ps. I’d show the picture of the helicopter but secret government agents have erased them from my computer.  I’d show you the book that tells of the Irish monk, but I promised the owner to protect his identity.  Sorry.

How to Tell if You are Reading Pseudo-history.

            There are so many published theories about the Templars that it’s difficult to keep up with them.  In this book I have attempted to give the story of the Order and also address some of the illogical or unsubstantiated claims about them.  But this is very difficult.  Every time I think I’ve found them all, new Templar stories pop up like dandelions on a lawn.  So, I’ve decided to give the reader a few guidelines to help in judging the material. Many of these are well-written and sound authoritative.    But there are some clues that can help the reader make a decision about how trustworthy the writer is.

Here goes.

1.    Is the book published by a university press?  If yes, then it’s been checked by other historians and, while there may still be errors, it’s likely to be as accurate as possible.

If no, then…

2.   Are most of the footnotes to primary sources that any scholar can find?  If yes, then you may be ok and, if you doubt something, you can go look it up.

One mark of pseudo-history is that most of the footnotes are to other pseudo-histories or “secret” books (see no. 4) and it’s impossible to trace down the original information to check it.

If no, then…

3.    Does the author use phases like “everybody knows” and “historians agree”?  If yes, then don’t bother reading further.  There is nothing that “everybody” knows.  That’s just a quick way of saying, “I haven’t done my research and want to make you feel too ignorant to call me on it.”

Historians do agree on things like, “there was a battle of Hastings and William of Normandy won”.  Or “Machu Pichu is an amazing feat of engineering.”  Beyond that, everyone has a different way of evaluating the available data.  One other thing historians agree on is that someone who presents work that’s not based on information that others can check isn’t going to last long in the rough and tumble academic world.

4.   Does the author insist that the theory can’t be proved with available data because there was an immense cover-up or that the knowledge is guarded by a select secret society?  If yes, then how did the author find the information?  How was it authenticated?

An alternate to this is that the author has a “secret” source, a lost book or a document that reveals all.  This was used often in the Middle Ages.  The most famous is Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote some of the earliest King Arthur stories.  He found the information in a book “in the British tongue”, that is, Breton or Welsh.  Since no one else had the book and Geoffrey wouldn’t show it to anyone, only he could transmit the truth.  I must admit, he did well with it.


5. Does the author pile one supposition upon another, assuming they are all true?  For instance, a book may begin with a known fact, such as, “the Templars had their headquarters at the al-Aqsa mosque” and then continue with something like, “As is well-known, the area in front of the mosque is large enough in which to land a helicopter.”[1]  Then the author might continue by wondering why the space was there before helicopters had been invented.  Perhaps he has found, by chance, a manuscript illustration that resembles a helicopter about to land.  Even though the manuscript was made in, say,Ireland, the author of a pseudo history will imagine a previously unknown Irish monk coming to Jerusalem in time to see the Templars’ secret helicopter landings.  “Everybody knows” the Irish were great pilgrims.

From this, the author will claim to have established that there were helicopters flown by Templars and that it is proved by the picture made by the phantom pilgrim monk.  Of course, the only way this could be is if the Templars were really time-traveling soldiers of fortune determined to grab all the artifacts they could, including mystical talking heads (really a 24th century communication device) that would give them the secret of the universe.  This makes perfect sense because “everyone knows” that this is the site of Solomon’s temple and Solomon, as you must have heard, was a great magician who hid advanced technology in the basement of the Temple to keep ignorant and superstitious people from gaining knowledge that their primitive minds couldn’t handle.

The author is sure that now is the time when all should be revealed.

You heard it here first.

[1]  Another interesting trait of pseudo historians is that the author won’t have bothered to find out that the Templars filled in the courtyard with buildings, including a large church and that it was only when Saladin took the city ofJerusalem and cleared them out that there was room to land a helicopter.

Ready for the Rapture?

April 29, 2011

My facebook page friends have been discussing Signs and Portents of the End.   As I noted in an earlier post, the news that the Rapture is prophesied for May 21, 2011, is spreading.  Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, revolutions, tsunami, volcanoes, bookstores closing!  It does look suspicious to me.   However, I’ve been reading Matthew of Edessa, who wrote in the 1150s and, except for the bookstores, he cites the very same signs!  He even adds the invasion of the Turk, Zengi, who conquered Matthew’s home.  Poor Matthew was very disappointed that God didn’t come through and divide the sheep from the goats, or even the Orthodox Christians from the heretics.

But that doesn’t mean we should get complacent.  And, if the Rapture doesn’t come on May 21, we still have another chance on Dec. 21, 2012!  So don’t give up hope.  As this picture, kindly provided by the Bible Society, shows, Ascension robes will one day come in handy.The Rapture in Dallas

Don’t Wait for 2012! The End is Closer

December 13, 2010

I don’t know how I missed this one.  Thanks to the mediev-l list for letting me know. Medievalists are always interested in the end times.  We’ve seen so many of them come and go.  Anyway….

Evangelist Harold Camping has used the tried and not yet true method of calculating the end of the world by figuring the length of time from the Creation and predicting the end of the final age or “the eighth day”.  Interestingly, he believes the earth to be much older that other Bible mathematicians do, almost 14,000 years.  He has written an eighty page explanation of his methods, along with supporting references from Revelations etc.  If you want to check it out, you can get an Adobe copy at

Click to access waat.pdf

The bottom line is that the Rapture will be May 21, 2011, giving believers six months to donate all their property to the poor and prepare.  The next five months will be pretty rough for the rest of us, but it will all be over at the final destruction of the earth on October 21, 2011.

Isn’t it nice to know we can all stop fussing over the Mayan calendar?   Isn’t it great to realize that we don’t have to do holiday cards next year?   For all those people about to go into foreclosure, just hold out a few more months and the problem will be solved.  Why move when soon the house, the car and the planet won’t be here next year?

Now doesn’t that take a weight off?


Common Threads

June 8, 2010

The second half of my radio interview with Fred Stella on various theories about the end of the world aired yesterday (Sunday) For those who would like to hear what I’ve learned since the book was finished, the link is

I’ve actually learned about so many more Signs of the End that I could write an End of the World Part II although that seems even stranger than writing the first history of the End.