Monday, March 7, 2011

"Mother Shipton Meteorite" on Public Display in Middlesbrough until March 20

"Seeing is not always believing." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Traditionally called "The Middlesbrough Meteorite", the meteorite I discussed last August in my blog entry on the controversial world-ending 1881 prophecy will be on rare public display at the Middlesbrough Dorman Museum in the United Kingdom until March 20.

[Note: Meteorite photograph originates from Wikimedia Commons, shared by the original photographer under a GNU Free Documentation License.]

The museum is celebrating the 130th anniversary of the meteorite's fall to Earth on March 14, 1881. The meteorite is not normally on public display at its regular museum home in York.

The meteorite's museum appearance is getting some higher level publicity, even highlighted in a recent BBC article.

It is of course not normally associated with Mother Shipton, however, something I first speculated about last year on my web site in a very detailed entry near the top of the Prophecies section. This section of my web site continues to evolve (and much more slowly than I would prefer due to my multi-tasking life).

Named after the township in which it fell, the meteorite was observed and retrieved by railway workers when it arrived in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire on March 14, 1881, the precise year of the controversial prophecy some have associated with Yorkshire prophetess Mother Shipton, first appearing in print in 1862:

"The world to an end shall come
In eighteen hundred and eighty one"

This particular prophecy has been called into question, however, due to convincing claims that it was a forgery, claims I am currently investigating in depth, as there are some odd anomalies surrounding that entire story. You can read more about my continuing investigation on the web site.

Even more mysterious, though something I approach in a rather lighthearted way, is an odd silhouette naturally etched on its face, eerily resembling a historical drawing of Mother Shipton herself.

During my recent seminar about Mother Shipton at the February Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles, I did hold up the picture showing the resemblance to Mother Shipton. It was not the primary focus of my presentation, but it was a fun and engaging exercise.

The response to the photographic parallel was actually quite favorable, an interesting test to see if others perceive the image, with some suggesting I surface this to George Noory of Coast to Coast (something I may consider after a key question I'm investigating regarding the 1881 prophecy is resolved).

If you are nearby Middlesbrough in the U.K., this is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the meteorite to see if you can observe the eerie Mother Shipton silhouette etched upon its face. This would of course completely depend on the orientation of the stone in the display, and it would also be interesting to know if lighting influenced the nuances of the original meteorite photograph in which I first observed this eerie characteristic.

I also just happened to discover a web site where you can order a replica, though I don't know how accurate it is (tempting indeed for a curious observer like me! :-).

I'll share a little bit regarding how I managed to discover that the Middlesbrough Meteorite was on display this month...

There was a story in the news over the weekend regarding a respected NASA scientist claiming to find evidence of microscopic fossilized alien life prevalent in a particular rare class of meteorite (CI1 carbonaceous chondrites).

My first thought upon reading this article was to double check the class of the Middlesbrough Meteorite. I recalled from an article published last year that this meteorite has been studied by NASA due to its rare characteristics, so I was curious if it might be of the rare class described by the NASA scientist in the latest article.

When I searched online for the meteorite, I was surprised to discover an entirely new set of stories, some quite prominently placed, regarding its public display. But I quickly discovered it is a more common class L6 chondrite, not the type likely to contain fossils.

There are clearly other characteristics of the meteorite considered unusual by NASA. In the article describing NASA's analysis of the Middlesbrough meteorite in 2010, Martin Lunn, curator of astronomy at the museum in York, described the stone as "an extremely rare type of meteorite – one of only a few examples in the world".

The recent BBC article claims "the rock is unusual in that it did not break up in the Earth's atmosphere" as the reason NASA made a 3D scan of the meteorite last year in order to facilitate robotic searches for similar rocks on Mars.

Another story on the meteorite's public display can be found in a local newspaper, one I actually emailed on a whim over the weekend, just to test the waters on potential local media interest in the Mother Shipton parallels (no reply yet :-).

You can also read about the meteorite's public display and see another photograph on the British and Irish Meteorite Society web site.

I do realize that the Mother Shipton parallels I have introduced into the public domain may be considered eclectic, highly speculative or even fringe, but one must not under-estimate Mother Shipton's uncanny ability over the centuries to entertain the public with mystery and intrigue. And the statistically unlikely "coincidences" involved here cannot be overlooked.

Even so, the quote at the beginning of this blog entry is worth heeding, particularly when evaluating an image of Mother Shipton that not everyone sees or believes.

Skeptics would say that you see what you think you want to see in such variegated etchings on the stone, though quite honestly I really wouldn't have even considered looking for Mother Shipton on the stone when I first saw it. I was more focused on the date of its arrival, that pivotal year of 1881.

And how is it that this image could be positioned so similarly to the famous historical image of Mother Shipton, with some people even observing the folds in her kerchief? (Indeed apparently that "kerchief" didn't burn up at all upon its entry into the atmosphere - Mother Shipton afficianados know of what I speak - regarding a legendary tale from long ago. ;-) ;-)

Indeed one might say there are any number of other images to be observed in the stone, from a horse to other depictions of smiling women (another quite witch-like too), even what appears like a phoenix arising from the ashes on the BBC depiction of the stone (not sure how accurate that artistic rendering may be).

Like some unearthly Rorschach test, the space stone's etchings are no doubt a creative imagination's playground. But an enjoyable exercise all the same.

Ultimately I view the perfectly oriented Mother Shipton image on the 1881 meteorite as a statistically improbable synchronistic bonus, something some of us can choose to accept as a friendly little "wink" from the cosmos (or maybe even from Mother Shipton herself :-). Mysteries such as these make life interesting.

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