Friday, November 03, 2006

OOPARTS and Tubal Cain

There is a class of ancient artifacts such as iron nails found in solid rock, a delicate gold chain found in a lump of coal in the 1890s, or an ornate bell-shaped vessel inlaid with silver blasted from rock in a Massachusetts that are called Out Of Place Artifacts, known popularly as OOPARTs. They seem to suggest that someone had been manufacturing objects millions of years before the human race was capable of such fine and precise work or even before humans existed on this planet. These artifacts are, in essence, a form of proof that another intelligence had once walked the Earth, maybe before the dinosaurs disappeared and that those sophisticated beings probably originated in outer space given the fossil and geological records relied on by our modern day scientists. It is circumstantial evidence that, if accurate, provides us with the proof that some ancient sightings were of alien spacecraft.

One of the first of the Out of Place Artifacts (OOPARTs) I came across was a reference in several UFO books to some sort of "bell-shaped vessel" discovered during blasting in a quarry in Massachusetts in the mid-19th century. For some reason I have always envisioned this as a "gravy boat."

According to those UFO books, the original source was the Scientific American in 1851. The story was headlined "A relic of a by-gone age" although some suggested it was labeled as "A Curiosity."

The story, as reported in those other UFO books, was that the blasting in the quarry "threw an immense mass of rock… in all directions." Among the shattered debris, the workmen found a small metallic vessel in two pieces that when reassembled formed a "bell shape" about four and a quarter inches high and about six inches wide at the top. The whole thing was something like an eighth of an inch thick.

The report continued, saying that it was made of zinc with "a considerable portion of silver." The sides were inlaid with silver and the carving was "exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workman." The magazine concluded, again according to all those other UFO books, that the find was worthy of additional investigation because the vessel was extremely old, pre-dating the first inhabitants of the continent.

I discovered that the University of Iowa library, (Pat Williams looks through the 1852 Scientific American in the bound periodicals) in it’s bound periodically section, held the entire run of Scientific American. It would be easy enough to check the primary source of the story. So I did. To my disappointment, but not great surprise, there was nothing in the 1851 issues about anything like the metal vessel being found. True, there were a number of things labeled as "curiosities" but nothing that told of manufactured items coming out of a quarry.

But research isn’t always that simple, and there is always the chance that someone had written down a date wrong and it was then copied by all those others who failed to do primary research but who believed the others had. So, I decided to look in both 1850 and 1852, and being somewhat compulsive about such things, I quite naturally started in 1850 because it came before 1852.

The article appeared in the June 5, 1852 edition of the Scientific American, on page 298. The details as listed in most of the UFO books were substantially correct. There was some additional information in that article, including that "On the sides there are six figures of a flower or bouquet, beautifully inlaid with pure silver, and around the lower part of the vessel a vine, or wreath, inlaid also with silver. The chasing, carving, and inlaying are exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workman."

The entry continues, noting "There is no doubt that this curiosity was blown out of the rock… but will … some other scientific man please to tell us how it came there?"

While I had been at the mercy of those other writers in the past, until I began to roam the stacks in the bound periodicals section of the University of Iowa library, researchers today aren’t so restricted (and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some of them have never seen the inside of a library). I typed "Scientific American 1852" into a search engine and in seconds was looking at a complete listing for Scientific American available on-line. Since I already knew the date, I could easily pull up what I wanted. Anyone with access to a computer and an on-line service could do the same (and therefore stay out of the library).

Like so much else in the UFO field, there is always something left out of the stories in all those UFO books. What is rarely mentioned is a paragraph at the end of the article in which it is suggested that Tuba Cain, one of the first residents of the area, meaning from the 17th century, had made the vessel.

But sometimes UFO research takes off on strange tangents. On closer examination of the Scientific American, it begins to look as if the mark at the end of the sentence that I thought originally was an artifact caused by the microfilm process, and right after the word Tuba, is an "L" that slipped out of alignment and into the margin. This means the name is a reference to Tubal Cain and Tubal Cain probably wasn’t an early reference to one of the first residents of Dorchester County, but was a descendent of Adam and Eve. Tubal Cain refers to blacksmiths from antiquity and the original Tubal Cain supposedly worked with bronze and iron in the far distant past and no where near the New World.

Here is something else from outside the UFO field (and that I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for access to the Internet), Tubal Cain is a secret Masonic phrase, and something that certainly wasn’t well known in 1852. So now the question becomes is this tale of a metallic vessel found in solid rock true or does it have some significance to the Masons and the use of Tubal Cain is the clue. I confess that I don’t know. I am more than a little disturbed to learn of the history of Tubal Cain and the reference to it, or him, in this particular article. There is no reason for those other writers to have made anything out of the reference, unless they themselves were Masons and knew the code. Without the Internet, I certainly would not have made the connection, nor would I have been able to ask the question.

Ignoring that little bit of diversion, we find that if we are going to look at the rest of the case with a scientific detachment, we must ask a couple of other questions. First, did they find anything to suggest the vessel had been embedded in the rock? Did they find bits of rock that matched the contours of the vessel? If we were to date the "vessel" according to standard archaeological methodology we would be forced to conclude that the vessel was millions of years old because that was the age of the material in which it was found.

Second, they suggest that a scientific man should take a look at the vessel and named Professor Agassiz, as someone to study the find. The Scientific American wondered what Agassiz’s credentials were to make any sort of study. I confess that in today’s world, I’m a little curious about the man’s credentials as well, though there is nothing to suggest that he ever looked at the vessel or rendered an opinion about it so this is really a dead issue.

In the end, we’re left with many unanswered questions, including that of the placement of the vessel and if it was actually embedded in the stone as originally suggested. It is always possible that it was not embedded in the stone but was associated with it. That means, simply, that the vessel was in the ground on top of the stone maybe lost in it, but had not been embedded in the stone.

And we now wonder if there was a hidden meaning in this article that was meant for the Masons because of the use of Tubal Cain. In a world filled with speculations about a da Vinci code, Templars, and a bloodline related to Christ, it is not difficult to believe that the Mason of the 19th Century planted the article for some, probably trivial reason.

22 comments:

Dustin said...

Interesting bit of research on that article. Do you have a copy of "Forbidden Archeology"? In there, on page 798, it lists it as June 5, 1852, and they call this Tubal Cain "the first inhabitant of Dorchester."

Interestingly, while this case doesn't, as you point out, say anything about an impression in the rock, there's many cases which do, particularly in situations where objects apparently fell out of coal.

I've always been interested in some OOPArt cases, and I'm glad I found your article this morning. Nice post. :-)

pup said...

"Tubal Cain is a secret Masonic phrase, and something that certainly wasn’t well known in 1852."

I think it's just subtle humor, making fun of the naïve and breathless tone of the original article calling for Agassiz to verify it.

Tubal Cain was often used in the 19th century as a symbolic reference to the first blacksmith or metal-worker. So the average reader wouldn't need to be a Mason to understand its reference in an article. The humor in this context goes along with a typical 19th century technique of using mythical figures for mundane references, like calling a waiter who brings drinks a Ganymede. What's supposed to be ironic is the juxtaposition of the prosaic town of Dorchester with the heroic figure of an ancient metalworker supposedly living there.

To show how well known Tubal Cain was to readers in the mid 19th century, and how it was often used as a metaphor for some unknown ancient maker of artifacts, try searching for the name here, in the same archives where the Scientific Americans are: http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/moa_adv.html

For example, in the Sept. 17, 1853 edition of the Scientific American, an article on modern inventions says, "One man, with an iron foundry, will turn out more utensils than Tubal Cain could have forged, had he worked directly to this time."

In the May 5, 1849 edition, there's a poem titled "Tubal Cain," beginning, "Old Tubal Cain was a man of might, in the days when earth was young; By the fierce red light of his furnace bright, The strokes of his hammer rung..." It's about the creation of tools for peace and war.

Nov. 6, 1852, in an article: "Blessings on the man who invented the saw. Who was he? It is an old tool, and probably Tubal Cain was its author..."

Not to mention all the other similar metaphoric uses in the other period books and magazines in the database.

aldous worp said...

Pup is right on the money here, or should I say dead level and on the square. The Freemason's have been responsible for alot of clandestine things over the centuries, but planting false artifacts isn't on the agenda, I assure you. It never ceases to amaze me how many things are blamed on Freemasonry. There is a much greater possibility that there were previous visitors to this planet than an organized agenda by the Freemason's to plant false artifacts for no apparent reason. If you are ever in public somewhere and hear the phrase "Tubal Cain" spoken out loud, stop and look around and see who is standing in the crowd with a twinkle in their eye and a slight smile on their face. That would be the Freemason who spoke it, and I assure you he isn't out hidding OOPARTS.

oz said...

OOPA or OOPARTS are the stock and trade of those of us who believe in pre-Columbian contact with the Americas. This particular example (if completely accurate)is one of hundreds of known oopas that seem to vastly predate all of human civilization.

It is one of the better documented examples, but far from isolated.

Yes, the "science" could have been better documented with regard to supporting geologic evidence, but the story is well documented and available for reference -- as you so aptly demonstrated. The story and your treatment of it serve as wonderful examples of both how a "rumor in a UFO book" can be based in truth and of how truth can easily be turned to your own sensationalist meaning (Masonic meddling).

Kudos to you for your research. Shame on you for sensationalism.

Henry F. said...

Tubal Cain is a name found in the Bible given to the frist metalworker. It is found in the Book of Genesis, 4:22. As to all the other comments about Masons and Tubal Cain, who knows. Did anyone ever think to question the assumption that the deposits in which this artifact was formed had to be 'millions of years' old? What if they were formed much more recently under circumstances that are rare today? Miners have lost hats that have been found decades later fossilized, a process that supposedly takes millenia. Of course, this is all assuming that that original reports in Scientific American were accurate, which absent any hard evidence such as the artifact itself, is impossible to ascertain, whether true or not.

Henry F. said...

Tubal Cain is a name found in the Bible given to the first metalworker. It is found in the Book of Genesis, 4:22. As to all the other comments about Masons and Tubal Cain, who knows. Did anyone ever think to question the assumption that the deposits in which this artifact was formed had to be 'millions of years' old? What if they were formed much more recently under circumstances that are rare today? Miners have lost hats that have been found decades later fossilized, a process that supposedly takes millenia. Of course, this is all assuming that that original reports in Scientific American were accurate, which absent any hard evidence such as the artifact itself, is impossible to ascertain, whether true or not.

DDLD said...

There is an old mine in the Olympic National Forest in WA State called Tubal Cain mine. On the way up the trail to the mine there are scattered parts of a B-29 bomber. Look it up. Now, since reading your article, it is my theory that they were blown out of the mine prior to being manufactured. :)

Dufusyte said...

Tubal Cain is known as Vulcan to the Greeks. (tu)-vul-can

He is the first metal worker.

Askinstoo said...
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Brian Platt said...

Hi Kevin it's your little brother. I was searching you out hoping to find you. The kids and I were looking at your pictures. We are very proud of you. Hope to talk to you. Brian

jus.kane said...

Tubal Cain is important to Masons for exactly the reasons other commentators have named - he was the first known cunning worker in metals, or metal smith. His legacy is part of the practical inheritance of the mason's craft. No big mystery there, speaking on the square.

In 1852, actually, the percentage of Masons among the scientifically curious (and literate) public was probably significantly higher than today...but then, so was the percentage of people who were familiar with the bible.

Prof. Agassiz would have been exactly the guy to look at it (whether they were being serious or tongue in cheek). He was Mr. Geologic dates...still considered the big man in early scientific geology....

Jeryl said...

I find it extremely interesting and yet disturbing that you don't consider the objects to not only be manmade, but an indication that man has either: (1) been around much longer than previously thought or (2) the Genesis account of creation is correct. Having come from atheism to agnosticism to Christianity and having examined the evidence thoroughly, I hold to the latter. While that IS a matter of faith, it is just as much a matter of faith to believe otherwise. Be objective.

Carmina said...
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Randel Smith said...

Sounds like the artifact may be in a place where it can be examined. Might be worth looking around.

As with the case of the fossilized miner's hat, there has been unexpected fossilization and petrification in the Mount Saint Helen's area. This has raised eyebrows among some who fear that the current system of geological dating may not be entirely accurate. If so, the implication is that the earth, etc., could be much younger, or there could be a mixture of both. Very worrisome.

I would think that if the artifact was found in Massachusetts, the norsemen would be a more likely source; and that would be pretty easy to decide if you could look at the thing, since today we have so many examples of their workmanship.

I suspect that, depending on conditions, things like coal may be able to form without taking as long as assumed, so a manmade chain being found in a solid lump is not impossible. But we never see a picture of the chain and it's workmanship, which today, would tell a specialist much about it's origins . . .

Randel Smith said...
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Randel Smith said...

Glad to see the scholarship of the other posters here on the state of society in the antebellum world. Having delved into the hobby of civil war re-enacting, and other periods as well, I can attest to what they are saying about the common usage of such references as Tubal Cain. My own ancestors from the period have given names coming from ancient Greece and obscura from the Bible. And these people were not university educated, just very common folk, but such was the focus and interest of the time.

thanh11111111 said...
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thanh11111111 said...
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Tazz admin said...
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rose white said...

It is interesting that this artifact was blasted out of puddingstone that had formed in a depression.
Puddingstone being stone that formed from a mixture of sands, gravels and small pebbles that is washed down cliffs or hills by water.
The sediment then is deposited quickly without time to or further stirring to allow for graduated layering as would happen if a similar mixture was swished round in a bottle.
So logically the artifact could quite easily be datable to Pre-Flood and being washed from some nearby antediluvians home during the Flood.
The fact that so many experts pour scorn on it shows it is a genuine artifact.

Simon H said...

Amusing notion that it's some sort of secret code. It's an attractive notion to many because quite simply the idea of conspiracy and machinations appeals to many. Perhaps that's partly imbued upon them by their discontentment at what they perceive as life as usual.

If indeed it were secret code as implied, what perchance would it be hinting at? Wreaths for an emperor? Presidency? The mint? :)

Simon H said...

Just to dismiss any notions of incredulity towards the article though, I must in fairness direct those of you unfamiliar with it towards the Antikythera mechanism and point out there were most likely predecessors. History is full of forgotten surprises.

On the subject of skepticism, I'd discourage laughing off UFO reports. I certainly wouldn't hastily label them, but simply encourage people to bear in mind that technology employed in modern aircraft took time and resources to develop. In todays terms many of the past reports are of logical designs and performance within the 20 year window many technologies take to complete and enter production. Secrecy is a valuable tool in military surprise and development. Labeling anything such as dreams of aliens is simply a logical way to discredit.