A haunted house and hidden truths in our ancient past
I'm therefore keen to explore non-physical phenomena scientifically. As part of this exploration, here's a very strange experience I had a few years ago.
An unwelcome lodger
I was visiting a good friend one day when I began to notice a dark and unpleasant ‘presence’ in her house; it seemed to be focussed in her bedroom. One day, I helped her move shelves in that bedroom and when I was re-positioning her bed, I sensed that there was a place in the room where that negative feeling was strongest. For a while afterwards, I talked around the subject to her, to avoid alarming her and her son, but I also found that her young son had been having nightmares for a while. When describing them, he once blurted out, in great emotion, that a ‘vampire was after mummy’.
I quietly tried to gather more information on that matter. I discovered that their cat rarely went in that particular room in the house. What’s more, he never went in there after dark. My friend also admitted that her ex-husband had talked of a negative presence in the house and a feeling of dread and hostility when he went downstairs into the kitchen or bathroom in the night. She also reported noticing strange phenomena. For example, she would find small items such as ear-rings in the middle of the bathroom floor in the morning, even though they definitely weren’t there the previous evening and no natural vibrations could have ‘shook’ them to that location.
I took notice of these oddities in her house but, at the time, it was all weird and new to me; I therefore put them to the back of my mind. It was only when I house-sat for her that I noticed how palpable the negative presence was in the house. At one point during a visit, I was sitting with her cat in the living room and the cat turned and clearly saw something, invisible to me, at the foot of the stairs. He reacted strongly, hissing and baring his teeth and it took me a while to calm him down.
My friend’s house had only two bedrooms, hers and her son’s, and so when I house-sat, I usually slept in her bedroom. At least, I slept in that bedroom the first night, because in the middle of the night, I woke up, thrashing my arms, as if fighting off something. I sat up, cleared my head and had a drink of water. After some thought, I went straight downstairs and set up an uncomfortable but portable folding bed in her living room. From them on, whenever I slept in that house, I slept downstairs in that folding bed.
As the months went by, I became convinced that there was a negative, almost certainly male presence in my friend’s house and I made a deliberate decision to go on the offensive. I made a serious effort, when I was there, to try and perceive the presence’s location. Although it seemed a long-shot, it was clear that my friend’s cat could clearly see the presence, so why couldn’t I, if I made enough effort?
After some experimentation, I found that if I ‘zoned out’ out of focussing on physical objects (it’s the best description I can come up with) then it became possible for me to see ‘energetic presences’. In particular, in the part of her bedroom that I had always felt most uneasy, I perceived there was an alteration of the air, as if that volume of space was somehow polarised or excited in a subtle manner. This ‘excited’ area roughly matched the shape of a man, about five-foot-four in height. I need to state at this point in the account that the ‘excitation’ was a very subtle effect; I could only notice it if I really concentrated and calmed my mind. I think my friend’s cat had and has a much more advanced ability at seeing such phenomena; By comparison, I was a clumsy newbie.
But even if I could spot the presence, what was I going to do about it? What can you do about something non-physical? Fortunately, although I seemed to be dealing with a ghost, an ethereal presence, we are all living in a universe that has scientific rules and constrictions. I was certain that ghosts would still have to obey these laws, however exotic ghosts may appear to be. As I’ve explained in my book ‘how science shows’, ghosts, spirits, mind etc are in fact a scientific necessity to explain the state of reality, since non-physical entities must be present in our universe in order to positively influence reality at the quantum level. It is only by spirits exerting a high-quantum coherent effect on physical reality that life can exist at all in our universe, otherwise the disorganising effects of entropy would have stopped life ever existing. Ghosts must be possible, therefore, but they must also obey the laws of physics. It turned out that it was this limitation of their behaviour that became very evident in the final, crucial phase of this story.
The final stage in my experience with the negative spirit began, one day, when I was helping my friend clean out her attic. I was crawling around beneath the rafters, digging out old suitcases and boxes, when I found a wooden chest. I asked my friend about it. She looked confused when I mentioned it, as if she had no idea what I was talking about. I hauled down the chest from the attic to show her what I was talking about. When she saw the chest, she finally remembered what it was. She explained to me that she had been given it by her father years before and she had moved it from house to house, even though it had never been of practical use to her.
I opened the chest up. It had a thick, wooden surround and inside, a compartment lined with tin; a sensible way to protect items when on a ship. In that inner compartment was a key and a paper tag. As I picked up the key, I received a strong but not dangerous electric shock. I put the key back, closed the chest, then left the chest sitting on the upstairs landing. It soon began clear to all of us, and particularly my friend’s cat, that the chest emanated a palpable negative feeling. The cat refused to go anywhere near it. We soon agreed that the chest was better off outside the house. I therefore carried it out to the front of the house and left it there. In order to get rid of it, my friend put the chest for sale on ebay. It sold and the buyers arranged to come and collect it but on the way, their car broke down and so they had to abandon the visit. They got the car fixed and they said it was running fine, so they arranged another pick-up. They headed out again to my friend’s house but, once again, their car broke down. In frustration, they gave up the sale.
I took the initiative at this point and I advised my friend that she had to get rid of the chest. I said it wouldn’t sell for much anyway and I didn’t think anyone else should own it. She agreed and said ‘let’s throw it out’. I therefore accompanied them to the town dump in their car, carrying the chest and I personally threw it on to the waste-wood skip.
After that day, there was no longer a negative presence in my friend’s house. Her son slept soundly and her cat was very happy to visit her bedroom day or night, which was a mixed blessing as he very much enjoyed sneaking up there at five in the morning and grabbing her toes with his claws.
What should be made of this experience? It’s perfectly possible that myself, my friend, her son and their cat were all deluded and we collectively imagined the episode but this conclusion seems far-fetched, blinkered and probably a victim of Western Society’s agenda that all ‘supernatural’ phenomena are irrational fantasies. Fortunately, as I’ve explained in my book ‘How science shows...’, famous physicists made it clear in the last century that non-physical minds, independent to their physical bodies, must be bringing reality into existence; it is the only way to resolve the major problem in quantum physics known as the Observer Problem, and key issues in cosmology, such as the Baryon Asymmetry Problem and Boltzmann’s Well-Ordered Universe Problem. There’s nothing scientifically wrong with accepting that ghosts exist. In fact, science show us that the existence of ghosts is unavoidable.
Knowing this, it’s therefore perfectly rational to conclude that non-physical minds, separated from any physical body, can also exist. In other words, ghosts, demons, djinn, incubi and poltergeists can be very real entities and not just primitive superstitions. What’s very useful is that with this understanding under our belts, we don’t just have to say that such individuals exist, we can scientifically study their behaviour and thereby extend our understanding of phenomena occurring in physical reality. This is the subject of the second part of this article.
The ghost in my friend’s house seemed to have clear patterns of behaviour. It was nocturnally active and ‘stood’ in my friend’s bedroom, which was a relatively dark place as it had only one window which faced north. The presence’s ‘source’ location seemed to be the chest, as though the presence was anchored to that object in some way; a wooden box with an inner, tin lining, which was able to retain an electric charge, as I got a mild shock when I grasped the key lying inside it. Also, when the figure was ‘standing’ in my friend’s bedroom, it seemed to have a subtle but visually detectable effect on the air that its ‘body’ occupied.
Interestingly, all these elements make sense, scientifically. The fact that the presence or ghost seemed to affect the air that a human body would have occupied makes perfect sense. According to what I’ve studied, we, as influencing, organising, non-physical entities, keep our bodies working because we have a quantum-level organising influence on reality. We, as influencing spirits, keep our bodies working, functioning and forming complex chemical structures in the face of the Law of Entropy, the inevitable disorganisation of all physical matter over time. Logically, if you or I didn’t possess a physical body, but we were still present in physical reality, anywhere we stood would still be affected by that quantum-level organising influence we create. It would be fascinating to place measuring equipment in such an ‘occupied’ area and gather readings such as heat, light emissions, polarisation and related effects. It would probably be difficult to find an amenable ghost to do the tests but otherwise, it’d be a great series of experiments.
According to what I and my friend’s family experienced, the ghost seemed to have ‘anchored’ itself to the wooden chest and it was unable to haunt the house without the wooden chest. A big clue as to why the ghost needed that wooden chest can be explained by the fact that I got a mild electric shock when touching the key inside the chest. This shock showed that the chest’s compartment was both insulated from the earth and was able to store an electric charge. In other words, the chest was acting as a capacitor. The chest’s construction, a thin metal box inside of a wooden box, is exactly the right construction to make a capacitor. All capacitors consist of an outer layer of insulation, often paper or wood, inside of which is a conducting layer, usually a metal. The chest in my friend’s house was historically built this way to keep contents dry during sea voyages (tin being useful as it does not easily oxidise or rust and resists corrosion) but the chest’s design also had the unplanned property of working very well as a capacitor. It’s therefore logical to reach the conclusion that ghost needed a stored electric charge to function; the ghost chose to base itself in that box because the box could store an electric charge.
But that insight only leads us to a new question; why on Earth would a ghost want a stored electric charge? This conundrum leads us back to the laws of physics. You can’t do anything in physical reality without expending energy. Although we’re talking about ghosts, we’re still doing it scientifically and what we know scientifically about reality still applies; you need energy to do work, in order to make things move or change the temperature etc. It seems highly likely that the ghost concerned wanted to do things, he didn’t just want to be a passive observer (as that would probably get pretty dull after a while) and so he had to draw upon a store of energy to carry out his physical-effect actions. In this way, the ghost needed to turn stored energy or more specifically, electric charge into physical actions. This, fundamentally, is what all living things do; they turn electric charge into work. They do it through chemical processes in their body but, at their most fundamental level, even these biological-chemical processes are nothing more that transfer of electromagnetic charge.
If the previous ideas are correct, then the next thorny question becomes; how did the ghost accumulate the electric charge in his wooden-tin chest? Electric charge doesn’t spontaneously accumulate, it requires work to be done or through the supply of electromagnetic radiation. The ghost in my friend’s house seemed to be channeling electric charge from the wooden chest and turning that charge it into tangible, physical actions. It sounds hard to believe but in fact, when we’re alive, our bodies are performing a similar function, albeit at a biological level. As mentioned already, I think, our non-physical, spiritual selves are helping these processes occur in the face of entropy and so we are, literally, doing what the ghost was doing, only we do it via cell activity.
But where was the ghost getting the electrical charge that it was then, somehow, storing and using to perform physical acts? There is one possible answer. The ghost’s most active period seemed to coincide with the presence of fresh blood in the house. This correlation seems to indicate that it was gained energy from fresh blood. Such a connection is loaded with dark, historical attachments but on a scientific level, it has a surprising amount of merit. Our blood is a most impressive fluid. Our heart pumps it around our bodies continually and it reaches all our cells via our body’s intricate network of capillaries. Our blood carries oxygen to our cells so that the mitochondria in those cells can burn glucose and fats to produce energy for our cells’ functions. These chemical reactions are, at their most fundamental level, the transfer of electromagnetic energy from one molecular structure to another or via the excitation of atoms electron shells, which itself is made possible through photon transfer, which is the basis of electromagnetic transfer. In other words, fresh blood is, among its many properties, a significant store of electromagnetic charge but that charge is present in a subtle, biological-molecular form.
But even though the electric charge in blood may be in a subtle form, its energy may be very accessible to disembodied minds. As minds are necessary to make the biological activity in bodies work at all in the face of entropy. It is therefore logical to conclude that minds are also ‘tuned’ to manipulate the electromagnetic charge present in cells, as part of the processing of keeping our bodies alive through quantum manipulation. If this is correct, then it therefore makes sense that a disembodied spirit, a mind without a body, could manipulate the electromagnetic energy present in fresh blood. In a gruesome but logical twist to a very natural, biological process. In other words, ghosts are using the same influencing and manipulation ability that we all have, which we all use to make our biological activity happen, in order to harvest electrical charge and then use it affect physical objects in the real world.
There is still the problem of the ghost transferring the electromagnetic charge from fresh blood and then moving it to an improvised capacitor, such as a tin-lined wooden chest. Let’s be honest, ghosts aren’t generally seen with lengths of wire and crocodile clips. I am speculating on this matter but it may be that a disembodied mind can create a region of high quantum coherence and use that to move electromagnetic charge without significant loss, in a sense just like us influencing our bodies, but in a more general form. I can imagine that such a region of high quantum coherence would be very delicate and anything that might short-out such a field, such as a magnetic material, would immediately collapse it. Because of this, the disembodied spirit would need to keep his or her quantum-coherence field away from metals such as iron and nickel, which are both naturally magnetic materials. Also, electromagnetic noise such as the photon bombardment of sunlight might also weaken and disrupt the field. The spirit would probably therefore want to create their field in darkness and away from iron.
But would the ghost’s harvesting of the electrical charge in blood and transferring it to an insulated box be really worth the effort? How much electric charge is there actually in blood? Fortunately, with modern science, we can answer such a question. For example, this scientific paper calculates that ‘a single mammalian red cell has a net surface charge ranging from four to fifteen million electrons’. A single electron has a charge of 1.6 × 10 to the power -19 coulombs. Therefore, we can conclude that one red blood cell has a charge of 1.6 x 10 to the power -13 coulombs (approximately). There are, on average, 5 million red blood cells per microlitre in a healthy mammal. Therefore, there’s 5 trillion red blood cells, or 5 x 10 to the power 12 cells, in a litre of blood. We can therefore calculate that one litre of blood contains cells with a total surface charge of 0.8 coulombs. Great! The only problem now is, what does that value mean in real terms?
For many of us (including me), 0.8 coulombs has no tangible meaning. To understand what sort of charge is present in real terms, we need to translate that charge value into volts and amps. Firstly, 0.8 coulombs is a current of 0.8 amps flowing for one second. There's no doubt you or I would definitely feel this; it’s a serious jolt. To work out such a charge means in terms of the voltage in a capacitor, we need to work out the object’s capacitance value in Farads (named after Michael Faraday) because 1 coulomb (charge) = 1 volt x 1 farad. For example, the capacitance value of the human body is very low, around 100 picofarads or 1 times 10 to the power -7 farads. This means that if your or my body was charged to one coulomb, we’d have a voltage potential of ten million volts! This may sound crazily large but it’s worth remembering that even a spark that one can feel in one’s finger requires around 3,000 volts of electric charge potential to occur.
It’s important I think to stay realistic, even in this weird situation. For example, the harvesting and transfer of the charge in the blood to the box, by the ghost, is hardly likely to be 100% efficient. If I received a shock of around 3,000 volts when I grasped the key inside the chest, then the chest at that moment was holding 15 micro Coulombs or 15 x 10 to the power -6 Coulombs. In other words, it was a tiny amount of charge. It’s obviously extremely difficult to know how much blood was harvested to create this charge but I can make a very rough guess that a fortieth of a litre was available or about 25cc’s (I’ll leave it to your imagination to work out what blood I’m talking about). That would produce an efficiency value of about 0.1%. As I’ve said, such a value is a very, very rough calculation but it’s still worth using.
All the above information supports to some extent the idea that a ghost in my friend’s house was using its innate ability to form quantum-coherent fields and transfer the electric charge present in fresh blood into an ad-hoc capacitor, a steamer chest. It then used the stored charge to carry out small-scale physical acts. Although such a method of harvesting and storage might be feasible, it’s still a desperate and pathetic situation. Rather than incarnate in another body or be a passive observer of reality, the ghost concerned was desperately trying to influence physical reality by gathering electrical energy in an ad-hoc way. Perhaps if it wanted to have a positive influence, such behaviour could be condoned but in the case of the ghost in my friend’s house, its entire attitude seemed to be negative.
In summary, there seems to be a scientific and logical theory to explain what I experienced at my friend’s house. The next interesting question is; has such behaviour happened at other times and places? Have other disembodied minds been harvesting the electric charge present in blood and storing it in insulated boxes so that they can influence the physical world? According to the historical records, the answer seems to be very much a ‘yes’.
Just to recap, based on my experience at my friend’s house, it would seem that disembodied minds do exist (as predicted by the ‘mind influence reality’ solution to the Observer Problem in Quantum Physics). Some disembodied minds, in a desperate attempt to continue physically influencing the physical world, use an innate ability to manipulate biological processes by harvesting the electromagnetic energy present in blood. They then transfer this energy, through a coherent quantum field they’ve created, into a container with the properties of a capacitor. They then use this stored charge to power their physical acts. It’s a weird method and it’s hard to believe but the science for it, as far as I can tell, seems to be fine.
In the case of the episode at my friend’s house, the mind that was haunting her home was operating on its own with an ad-hoc capacitor box; a wooden steamer chest with an inner, tin lining. The ghost in her house was effectively a useless parasite, bothering and upsetting her and her son. But it’s perfectly reasonable to think that a spirit present in that form might actually be useful to the people around it. A disembodied mind might not have a body but it may still be able to retain its knowledge and it may also possess abilities that aren’t available, or are at least are much more difficult to attain, compared to a normal person. For example, a disembodied spirit may be able to perceive remote events, travel rapidly to other places, be unable to be killed (since it’s already physically dead) and apply the electric charge it possesses in exotic ways. Such useful abilities would clearly have been very tempting to many people in our history. It’s therefore not surprising that our history seems to be littered with example of such an arrangement between blood-sacrificing tribes and their gods. But there is one written, documented story of a tribe offering blood sacrifice to a non-physical entity that is particularly well documented and it has uncanny parallels to aspects of my experience at my friend’s house. It is the story of Yahweh and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
It’s worth noting that when I talk about Yahweh in the next few paragraphs, I won’t be saying anything that disagrees with or brings into disrepute any of the religious views about Him. For example, according to one aspect of the ‘mind creates reality’ theory that I’ve described in detail in my book ‘How science shows’, any mind has, at least theoretically, limitless potential. This would therefore mean that any incarnated or disembodied spirit has the potential ability to create an entire universe from the quantum realm. It is therefore perfectly possible that Yahweh, as a non-physical, sentient individual, did create the universe! This is a possibility that many agnostics and atheists would refuse to countenance, but in fact the science shows that Yahweh, or in fact any conscious mind, could potentially create a universe. It does nevertheless seem somewhat odd that He would spend a lot of his time in a box on Earth while having such a creative ability, but I’m sure religious leaders would have an answer to that conundrum.
The first aspect of Yahweh’s behaviour that fits with the activities of the ghost in my friend’s house is Yahweh’s use of an ad-hoc capacitor. As many people have pointed out over the years in books and articles, the detailed description of the construction of the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament makes it very clear that the Ark would have worked very well as a capacitor. In fact, the Ark would have been the best capacitor that those ancient peoples could have made with the materials available. For example, this website mentions a North American television documentary programme in which an experienced team built a replica of the Ark precisely to see how well it would work as a high-voltage capacitor. They found that it did work very well; in fact possibly too well. According to the website’s author, the documentary was abandoned and shelved before transmission. When the website author contacted the people involved in the project, one or more of them admitted that very strange phenomena took place, including the appearance of ghostly figures. Unfortunately, the footage of these events was lost, possibly deliberately, and so there’s little solid evidence available to support the claims. It’s interesting to note that in the surviving documentary, the television crew interview the cabinet maker at the end of the tests; he clearly looks visibly shaken. He states to the camera that he’s very glad that he’s going back to make a dining table and chairs. His rattled demeanour is hardly in keeping with a simple, high-voltage test of a box.
Returning to the historical records, one interesting element of the Ark’s construction is its massive weight. As the television-documentary-makers point out in the youtube video, a box built to the specifications stated in the Old Testament would weigh nearly two tonnes. According to the historical records, the Ark was carried by four men. How on Earth could four men have lifted such a box? The answer may be that they could never have lifted the box when it was uncharged. There is a lot of intriguing evidence swirling around the internet that indicates that containers possessing a high-voltage charge may lose their gravitational attraction to Earth or possibly interact with Earth’s magnetic field to reduce their weight. A certain Mr Hutchinson, who is by interesting coincidence involved in the documentary programme mentioned above, has seemingly demonstrated in video footage that in a high-voltage environment, objects can lose all of their gravitational attraction to Earth and fly upwards. Not surprisingly, a lot of people have accused Hutchinson of faking the phenomena but there is also intriguing evidence that the American military and others have invested a lot of money in investigating exactly such a phenomenon, particularly relating to the work of Townsend Brown and the Brown-Biefield effect. It may be that Yahweh knew full well that the Ark’s great weight would not be a problem once it was charged up. To support this idea, the Old Testament specifically states that Yahweh was able to control the weight of the Ark, making it light or extremely heavy on command. Such an ability, that of a mind moving massive but highly-charged objects around, also turns up in the literature on high-voltage research into anti-gravity. Perhaps those twentieth century researchers, discovering such exotic and fantastic phenomena, were simply re-discovering an aspect of reality that was already known and used, thousands of years before?
The second key element linking Yahweh to the ghost in my friend’s house is the matter of blood. It seemed that the ghost was drawing electric charge from fresh blood, possibly using a mind’s innate ability to manipulate electrical energy present in biological processes. As most people will know, Yahweh was also keen on fresh blood. In fact, the amount of fresh blood sacrificed to Yahweh, according to Bible records, was of astonishing proportions. Solomon, according to the Bible, sacrificed literally tens of thousand of livestock to Yahweh. The religious view of these acts is that they were ‘symbolic’ or ‘a demonstration of worship’ but they may have actually been a very practical act. The sacrifices may have enabled Yahweh to accumulate an enormous amount of stored charge. If the charge seemingly gathered from some spilled blood in a suburban home could give me a mild shock, what sort of level of change would have been present in the Ark after the electrical energy from thousands of livestocks’ blood was transferred into it?
Its possible to calculate a rough value of the electric charge and voltage stored in the Ark after Solomon’s sacrifices. To do this, we can use the efficiency of harvesting and storage of the blood-charge as 0.1%, as calculated earlier, although Yahweh may have been more efficient, particularly as he ordered that the blood be spattered on the cloth before his Ark. We can also use the value of 0.8 coulombs of charge per litre of blood, calculated earlier. King Solomon stated in the Old Testament (1 Kings 8:63) that he sacrificed ‘two and twenty thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep to Yahweh’. This equates to roughly 900,000 litres of blood. That much blood, according to our calculations, contains 720,000 Coulombs of charge. Using the efficiency value of 0.1% mentioned earlier, 720 Coulombs would therefore have made it into the Ark. That’s a lot of charge, enough kill anyone that touched it, which tragically happened to Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6:6. It also means that the Ark would possess an electric potential of 160 Gigavolts. Such energy values make the Ark a truly jaw-dropping device. If the Ark could have held such a charge, then it would have been in a class of charged devices able to produce incredible emissions. Here is a sample passage from a science paper entitled ‘Magnetically insulated and inductively charged capacitor for the attainment of gigavolt potentials’:
“A magnetically insulated coaxial capacitor of toroidal geometry is proposed which promises the attainment of gigavolt potentials. In contrast to earlier ideas employing the concept of magnetic insulation the proposed device does not depend on superconductors. Furthermore, also in contrast to earlier proposals, the charging does not require a high-energy electron accelerator but can simply be, performed inductively within a fraction of a second. The short charging time is of importance because magnetic insulation may prevent break-down only on a comparatively, small time scale. The energy of the device is discharged in the form of an intense relativistic electron beam with beam voltages and energy outputs many orders of magnitude larger than what is presently possible with Marx generators. The two most important applications of this machine seem to be in the field of thermonuclear fusion and the collective acceleration of ions up to energies of 103 GeV. Other applications are the generation of intense meson beams, gamma-ray flash tubes, the pumping of high-power lasers and ultra-strong microwave pulse generators.”
Such emissions are reminiscent of the Bible’s descriptions of the rays the Ark fired at the enemies of the Israelites.
It would seem that some aspects of the ghost’s behaviour in my friend’s house does actually match the behaviour of Yahweh and his Ark, albeit on a far smaller scale. If correct, then it explains why Solomon and other leaders sacrificed so many animals to Yahweh; it had nothing to do with admiration or gratitude and entirely to do with giving their God enormous power, literally.
It would be very useful to find some other correlation between the possible physics of such events and actual historic records with regard to the Ark. The blood element and the charge element have been examined, what of the other theoretical elements?
One aspect of the spirit - blood scenario that hasn’t yet been mentioned is the matter of iron. In the first part of this article, I pointed out that the spirit may form a quantum-coherent field for moving charge around. A naturally magnetic material like iron or nickel could short this field out, destroying the spirit’s ability to control the charge and possibility dissipating the charge to the Earth. It’s therefore fascinating to note that many ancient cultures around the world concluded that iron was an effective ward against disembodied spirits. Celtic stories speak extensively of iron as a ward against spirits. In fact, the word for iron comes from a Germanic root word ‘iraen’, meaning ‘holy’ or ‘strong’. Horseshoes were well known as 'wards' not because of their shape but because they were an easily-available iron object that could be nailed to doors and fireplaces. If such folk stories are right then the presence of iron would be a serious problem for any spirit trying to control and used stored charge. For example, Yahweh would have faced serious problems influencing the physical world if iron was present during His time of activity in the Near East. In the Bible, there’s no mention of Yahweh talking candidly about the ‘iron problem’ but there is tantalising evidence that the history of the power of the Ark was strongly linked to the spread of iron across the Arab world and the Near East.
Iron working is a relatively tough job. High temperatures are required to release iron from its stable ore in a furnace, higher than those required to make copper and bronze. Because of this, humans only began developing iron weapons and tools in Europe and Asia (or at least according to the history books) in around 1300 BC. For example, excavations at the ancient city of Ugarit uncovered the earliest example of an Egyptian iron weapon and a pharaoh’s name was found on the items; Meneptah. He reigned over Egypt between 1213BC and 1203BC. This date, according to a lot of evidence, is between 10 and 100 years after Yahweh left Egypt during the Exodus. Yahweh therefore exited Egypt at the very end of the Egyptian Bronze Age and entered a region that had not yet developed iron working. So far, therefore, Yahweh was working in a iron-free land.
But the Near East did not remain iron-free and this change is recorded in the Old Testament. The first mention (I think) of iron in the Old Testament is in Joshua 17:14, when the children of Joseph become upset that they’re not getting their inheritance, as promised by Moses:
“They spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.”
It seems clear from this passage that iron had entered the Holy Land by that point in history. It is therefore fascinating to read that Yahweh’s power for winning battles seems to go into a terminal decline. In the next book of the Bible, Judges. In Judges 1:19, it states:
“Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof. And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”
After that event, things seem to fall apart between Yahweh and the Israelites. The Israelites begin worshipping other gods. According to Judges 2:21, Yahweh chastises the Israelites for their lack of loyalty and declares he won’t help them in their battles:
“I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died. That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.”
The chronicler in the Book of Judges then seems to declare that all future Israelite victories are Yahweh forgiving the Israelites, and all the subsequent Israelite defeats are Yahweh punishing them for their transgressions. This reasoning may be true but it could also have masked the simple fact that Yahweh was no longer able to smite any of the Israelites’ enemies. It is very possible that the presence of iron in the region had effectively ended the ability of any disembodied mind from committing major physical acts and Yahweh was simply one of the spiritual victims. The general consequences of such a change for the religions of that era are unsurprising; ancient-god-blood-sacrifice-style-worship faded. If that form of worship really was nothing more than a practical quid-pro-quo activity, then anyone who was sacrificing quality livestock to a spirit were clearly after a return on their investment. If the spirit could no longer deliver, then the people stopped the sacrifices. The gory world of jinn-worship didn’t end because people morally improved, it stopped because its adherents were no longer getting anything in return. The end of the Bronze Age was an end of the real-world-power of spirits.
Many historians still debate the reason behind the Bronze-Age Collapse, when many city-states fell easily to incoming tribes and their civilisations crumbled. The answer may be staring us in the face. Those city-states were all guarded by their own, blood-charge-powered gods, who all used the same techniques that Yahweh possessed. When iron-clad raiders appeared, those city’s gods became powerless to act, to wage war and lay enemies to waste. As a result, the high priests and kings of those city-states suddenly found that their guardian spirit, who’d they’d sacrificed to for centuries and who had hitherto guarded their city in a very real way, was now useless to them. Before they could adjust to a post-sacrificial-god world, in which only military arms would work, it was all over and the raiders had won.
It’s a strange story but it is logical. If it is correct, then our ancient history is telling us what actually happened, and not some irrational belief. Our ancient records are also telling us that our modern scientific system is very wrong on an extremely important matter and that, in truth, we’re only slightly more wise to how our reality works than during the time of Galileo. Ironically, a pragmatic ancient religion is pointing out to us that in this supposedly enlightened modern world, we’re actually seriously in the dark. Time, perhaps, for a real enlightenment! :-)