Top 10 Incorrupt Corpses

Throughout the years the Roman Catholic Church has found the bodies of some of their saints to be incorrupt. When this happens, the body is often put on display (quite often they are put inside a Church altar with a glass front). This is a list of the most famous incorrupt saints. You can read a much more indepth article with a photo and video gallery of incorrupt corpses here.

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St Bernadette was born Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. From February to July 1858, she reported eighteen apparitions of “a Lady.” Despite initial skepticism from the Roman Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation. After her death, Bernadette’s body remained “incorruptible”, and the shrine at Lourdes went on to become a major site for pilgrimage, attracting millions of Catholics each year.

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St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney (May 8, 1786 – August 4, 1859) was a French parish priest who became a Catholic saint and the patron saint of parish priests. He is often referred to, even in English, as the “Curé d’Ars” (the parish priest of the village of Ars). He became famous internationally for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish due to the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings.

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n March 19, 1934, Pope Pius XI entered Blessed Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart in the register of saints. In Germany, the new saint is virtually unknown outside of the Carmelite Order. Her life was quiet and hidden. She died on March 7, 1770 at the age of 22, and of this short lifespan, she spent five years in the Carmelite monastery in Florence. She performed no brilliant, attention-getting deeds, nor did her reputation reach the wider world. She spent her life living quietly and with virtue.

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Saint Vincent de Paul studied humanities at Dax with the Cordeliers and he graduated in theology at Toulouse. Vincent de Paul was ordained in 1600, remaining in Toulouse until he went to Marseille for an inheritance. On his way back from Marseille, he was taken captive by Turkish pirates to Tunis, and sold into slavery. After converting his owner to Christianity, Vincent de Paul was freed in 1607. Vincent returned to France and served as priest in a parish near Paris. n 1705 the Superior-General of the Lazarists requested that the process of his canonization might be instituted. On August 13, 1729, Vincent was declared Blessed by Benedict XIII, and canonized by Clement XII on June 16, 1737. In 1885 Leo XIII gave him as patron to the Sisters of Charity.

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There is little known about Saint Silvan except that he was martyred (killed for his faith). Considering his body is over 1,600 years old, it is remarkably preserved.

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Saint Veronica Giuliani (Veronica de Julianis) (1660-July 9, 1727) was an Italian mystic. She was born at Mercatello in the Duchy of Urbino. Her parents, Francesco Giuliana and Benedetta Mancini, were both of gentle birth. In baptism she was named Ursula. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, she showed signs of sanctity from an early age. Her legend states that she was only eighteen months old, she uttered her first words to upbraid a shopman who was serving a false measure of oil, saying distinctly: “Do justice, God sees you.”

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Saint Zita (c. 1212 – 27 April 1272) is the patron saint of maids and domestic servants. She is also appealed to in order to help find lost keys. Zita often said to others that devotion is false if slothful. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance, and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep.

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Saint Don Bosco, born Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, and known in English as John Bosco (August 16, 1815 – January 31, 1888), was an Italian Catholic priest, educator and recognized pedagogue, who put into practice the dogma of his religion, employing teaching methods based on love rather than punishment. He placed his works under the protection of Francis de Sales; thus his followers styled themselves the Salesian Society. He is the only Saint with the title “Father and Teacher of Youth”.

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Pope Pius IX (May 13, 1792 – February 7, 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from his election in June 16, 1846, until his death more than 31 years later in 1878. Pius IX was elected as the candidate of the liberal and moderate wings on the College of Cardinals, following the pontificate of arch-conservative Pope Gregory XVI. Initially sympathetic to democratic and modernizing reforms in Italy and in the Church, Pius became increasingly conservative after he was deposed as the temporal ruler of the Papal States in the events that followed the Revolutions of 1848.

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Pope John XXIII (Latin: Ioannes PP. XXIII; Italian: Giovanni XXIII), born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (November 25, 1881 – June 3, 1963), was elected as the 261st Pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City on October 28, 1958. He called the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) but did not live to see it to completion, dying on June 3, 1963, two months after the completion of his final encyclical, Pacem in Terris. He was beatified on September 3, 2000, along with Pope Pius IX, the first popes since Pope St. Pius X to receive this honour.

You can read a much more indepth article with a photo and video gallery of incorrupt corpses here.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/08/21/top-10-incorrupt-corpses/

Top 10 Significant Numbers in Biblical Numerology

Biblia Sacra – the Holy Bible – is the most widely read book in the world. It is a source of inspiration to many and – more curiously – a source of divination and secret codes. This list looks at ten significant numbers in the Bible – numbers that pop up time and again. Many people take this with a grain of salt but many others consider it to be very important and believe that the study of these numbers can unlock knowledge of the future. Interesting.

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No surprise, but 1 is obviously used throughout the Bible to indicate one thing only, God Himself. “The one true God.” The number 1 Commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods besides me.” Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This was to remind the Jews of the time not to worship multiple gods like all those civilizations around them. 1 is enough. Numerology seems to be more than just coincidence when we consider the chapter and verse, 6:4. 6 plus 4 equals 10 (see #5).

Just as God is 1, so Satan is 1 single entity by himself until the last book. Whenever someone is alone in the wilderness, whether it is Moses, or Elijah, or Jesus, they are not really alone, but are, in fact, never closer to the one, true God than at that moment. Jesus is abandoned in the end and left all alone, and he says as much to his Disciples, then reminds them that he will not be alone, but the Father will be with him.

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The Bible employs 22 in a more arithmetical manner than most numbers. Consider the perfect shape to be a circle. 22 divided by 7 is a good approximation of pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. From the first epistle, Romans, to the end is 22 books. This ties in with what is known as the Canon Wheel. The Bible may be divided into three sections of 22 books each (though only in Protestant Bibles as they removed seven books from their Canon). The first is comprised of Genesis to the Song of Solomon, the second from Isaiah to Acts, and the third from Romans to Revelation. The first may be thought of as representative of the Father, the second of the Son, and the third of the Spirit.

There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Revelation ends the whole Bible on a 22nd chapter. If the patriarchs’ ages, as given in the Bible, are added up, then Abraham’s birth year was 2167 BC. From then to the death year of Jesus, 33 AD, is 2200 years precisely.

Jesus quotes the opening of Psalm 22 while in agony on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The chronology of men from Adam to Jacob totals 22 names. Jeroboam reigned for 22 years.

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The Bible uses 40 to denote completion or fulfillment. It is used 146 times throughout both Testaments. It is the traditional Hebrew number for the duration of a trial of any kind, when times are hard and a person’s faith is tested. The Israelites slaved in hard bondage under the Egyptian pharaohs for 400 years, 10 times 40. God forced them to wander in the Wilderness of Sin, throughout the Sinai Peninsula, for 40 years as punishment for their “stiff-necked unbelief.” “Sin,” here, does not denote sinfulness, but the Hebrew word for the Sumerian moon god, from which “Sinai” is derived. Moses was 40 years times 3 when he died, at 120.

Moses was 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving God’s Law, another 40 days on the mountain after the golden calf sin. Elijah, some 300 years later, spent 40 days on the same mountain worshiping God.

There are tons of references to “40 days and 40 nights” throughout the Bible. The most notable are the 40 days and nights of rainfall that caused the Flood of Noah. During this time, the whole world flooded to a depth of some 15 feet above the tallest mountains. It took 375 days for the water to recede.

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before being tempted by Satan. Jesus remained on Earth for 40 days after his Resurrection, appearing to the Apostles and teaching them, before ascending to Heaven. At the time of his Ascension, there were about 120 Christians on Earth, or 40 times 3.

It was about 40 years from Jesus’ Ascension to the destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 AD, by the Romans.

In the original Koine Greek, as recorded in the Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, the oldest complete manuscripts of the New Testament (c. 200-250 AD), Jesus utters the word “fulfill” in some variation or other, precisely 40 times throughout the Gospels.

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12 is used in a similar way to 3, 10, and 40. It indicates a kind of totality.

The most obvious example of 12 are the 12 tribes of Israel, mentioned many times throughout the Bible. Revelation incorporates multiple uses of 12. After the Tribulation begins, Christians will have already been Raptured to Heaven to spare them the horrors. 144,000 people, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel, will be converted to Christianity and die as martyrs under the reign of the Antichrist. The New Jerusalem, the city of Heaven, is described as having walls 144 cubits thick, symbolic of the 12 tribes and the 12 Apostles.

The foundations of the walls are made of 12 precious stones. The city is foursquare, with walls 12,000 stadia, or furlongs, long, wide, and high. Stadia and furlongs are not the same length, but are close. The former equates to about 1,400 miles, the latter to about 1,500 miles. There are 3 gates in each side, for 12 total. These are made of single pearls, giving us the phrase “pearly gates.” Inside, the Tree of Life yields 12 different kinds of fruits.

Daniel is also concerned with the time of the end, and Daniel has 12 chapters. Daniel 12:12 states, “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” 1 plus 3 plus 3 plus 5 equals 12.

When Jesus feeds the 5,000, his Disciples pick up 12 basketfuls of leftovers afterward.

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12 has much in common with 4, 3, and 10. They all indicate completion of some sort.

Of the 12 tribes of Israel, Jesus’ lineage is traced back to Judah, the fourth tribe. There are 4 major writing prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. There are 12 minor writing prophets (see #7), or 4 times 3: thus three different ways to indicate the totality of the Old Testament’s prophecies.

There are 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse. There are 4 angels standing ready at the 4 corners of Earth.

There are 4 Gospels, 4 living beasts in Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation. There are 4 points of the Cross, which is more significant than you might think, since the typical cross of the time was either a single, vertical pole, called a crux simplex, or a Tau cross, named after the capital Greek T. The lowercase “t” was unnecessary unless something needed to be added above the head of the condemned, and such placards were only needed for the executions of celebrated people.

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The instances in which 10 shows up are too numerous to list. Aside from the Ten Commandments, there are a total of 603 other commandments, for a total of 613. 6 plus 1 plus 3 equals 10. 10 is a psychologically satisfying number. We don’t care as much for top 9 lists as we do for top 10 lists. We have 10 appendages on the ends of our hands and feet. So it is natural for 10 to be an important number throughout the Bible. It indicates completion, just as 4, 12, 3, and 40.

Noah was the 10th patriarch before the Flood.

John 3:16 is the thesis of the entire Bible. It is the mirror image of the number of laws in the Old Testament, and thus, its digits add up to 10. God promises not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if only 10 righteous people can be found in them.

Jesus performed a total of 37 miracles across the Gospels. 3 plus 7 equals 10. In the original Greek, he says some variation of the word “fulfill” 10 times in each Gospel. He quotes Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Old Testament, 46 times. 4 plus 6 equals 10.

The Bible uses the number 6 to indicate imperfection. The work week is 6 days long, but it is missing something until God decides to set aside another day, on which no work is to be done, but rest must be taken in honor of God resting from his great work.

The most well known number in the Bible is, of course, 666, which symbolizes the Unholy Trinity. Satan is alone (see #10) until the events of the Revelation. He is the antithesis of the Holy Spirit, not God, for it is Satan’s spirit that control the two beasts. One is the Antichrist, who is the antithesis of God, and the other is the False Prophet, the antithesis of Jesus. As each of these entities is imperfect, it is represented by the number 6, whereas the Holy Trinity is 777. It is interesting to note there are 66 books in the King James Bible, as though it may be incomplete.

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3 is the number of the Trinity, of course, and thus, indicates a wholeness, but it also seems to indicate an inner sanctity. Of Jesus’ 12 Apostles, he loves 3 of them more than the rest. They are Peter, and brothers John and James. It is understood that because they had strong faith in Jesus, he liked them more than the other 9. They were allowed to witness his Transfiguration, another example of 3: he suddenly stood talking in bright white clothing with Moses and Elijah.

Samuel is called by the Lord 3 times before he realizes it and answers. Satan tempts Jesus 3 times before giving up. It is on the third day of creation that Earth is made. The placard on the Cross is written in 3 languages. Jesus raised 3 people from the dead, Lazarus, a widow’s son, and the daughter of a man named Jairus.

Though the Bible does not say how many lashes Jesus suffered, the Law of Moses required 40 minus 1. 40 was deemed sufficient to kill a man (see #8), so 1 lash was subtracted. 3 plus 9 equals 12 (see #7); 3 times 9 equals 27 (see next entry). 3 squared is 9. 39 is also the number of books in the Old Testament.

There are 3 angels named in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer. Jesus was about 33 when he died. He was set up on the cross at the third hour of the day, and lasted until the ninth. He rose from the dead on the third day, just as Jonah was in the belly of a great fish 3 days. Jesus fell under the cross 3 times on the Via Dolorosa.

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The Bible uses 7 to indicate perfection, and 7 and 14 are inseparable throughout it. God is said in Revelation to have 7 Spirits, depicted as 7 lamp stands. The 7 candelabra (menorah) set on the Tabernacle in Exodus and Deuteronomy are an homage to God’s “sevenfold Spirit.”

Noah led the clean animals into the ark in sets of 7 pairs for each species. The unclean animals were saved to the tune of one pair each. Joshua led the Israelites, with the Ark, 7 times around Jericho

“John the Baptist” is how Matthew first refers to the man generally understood to be the last of the Old Testament prophets, who preaches according to the Law of Moses and predicts the coming of the Messiah. “John the Baptist” has 14 letters, which is twice 7. “Jesus the Christ” has 14 letters.

The 4 living beasts, which Ezekiel identifies as Cherubim, are mentioned 3 times in the Bible (see #6). 4 plus 3 equals 7. Ezekiels sees 4 wings and 4 faces on each beast. 4 times 4 times 4 equals 64, and the beasts are introduced in Revelation at chapter 4, verse 6, 64 reversed. Revelation depicts the beasts as having 6 wings each. 6 plus 4 equals 10 (see #5).

Revelation is written and sent to the 7 major churches of Asia minor. The Tribulation will last 7 years.

When Jesus feeds the 4,000, his Disciples pick up 7 basketfuls afterward. He feeds this multitude with 7 loaves of bread, plus some fish. He feeds the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus teaches with a total of 37 parables.

Although it may seem quite contrived, it is not to consider that Jesus is popularly thought to have suffered 5 wounds on the Cross: two nails in his hands, one in his feet, the crown of thorns, and the spear in his side; whereas, he can be more properly thought of as suffering 7 wounds: both hands, the thorns, the spear, the flogging itself, and both feet. The feet were nailed apart to the sides of the cross, through the heel bones, since the bones would support the weight of the victim on the nails. A single nail through the top of the feet will not.

There are 31,102 verses in the King James Bible. 3 plus 1 plus 1 plus 2 equals 7. There are not 777,777 words in the King James Bible (wouldn’t that be astounding?), but it’s close, at 774,746. There are three 7s, and the rest adds up to 14. 774 minus 746 equals 28, which is 7 times 4. What verse sits precisely at the middle of the Bible? Since there is an even number, there are two middle verses. They are Psalm 103: 1 and 2, the same digits as in the total number of verses. “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” These two verses have a total of 28 words, 7 times 4. The precise center of this passage is the four-word phrase, “Bless his holy name.” Excising this leaves 24 words, which is twice 12 (see #7). The two verses effectively mirror each other.

The first sentence of the first verse of the Old Testament, in the original Hebrew, has 7 words. The first sentence of the first verse of the Gospel of Mark, which was the first to be written, has 7 words. There are 7,957 verses in the New Testament. 7 plus 9 plus 5 plus 7 equals 28, or four 7s.

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Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah becomes explicit at Chapter 7, verse 14, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” 14 is twice 7, and the two add up to 21.

There are 14 generations from Abraham to david, 14 from David to the Baylonian exile of the Jews, and 14 from there to Jesus. These generations are divined thrice, thus 3 sets of 14, or 42, twice 21.

There are 21 chapters in the Gospel of John. There are three epistles of John, with 5, 1, and 1 chapters respectively. 5 plus 1 plus 1 equals 7, times 3 epistles equals 21. In the Revelation, believed by many to have been written by the same John, there are 3 dispensations of God’s wrath, first 7 seals, then 7 trumpets, then 7 bowls of wrath. 7 times 3 equals 21.

“God” or “Lord” appear in the King James Bible a total of 10,875 times. 1 plus 8 plus 7 plus 5 equals 21, or 7 times 3.

There are 22 chapters in Revelation (see # 9), and the last chapter contains no violence of any kind. It is the absolute final aftermath of everything, depicting solely the perfection of life in the New Jerusalem, Heaven on Earth, with God and Jesus reigning on thrones in the center of the city, where death and pain no longer, and never again, exist. Thus, the 21 chapters preceding this can be seen as the totality of God’s judgment against the wicked, and punishment and destruction of evil, followed by the number 1, a single chapter all on its own, “a new beginning.” The 22nd chapter ends on the 21st verse, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” 2 plus 2 plus 2 plus 1 equals 7 (see #2).

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Just for fun, there is a theory that William Shakespeare helped translate parts of the King James Bible. It is not known if he was fluent in Hebrew, but his plays showcase various Latin, Greek, and French phrases. The Baconian Theory that Shakespeare did not actually write his works centers on the premise that he is known to have had only a grammar school education, and would not have been so multilingual, or philosophical. This is, of course, a patently false analogy.

Either way, Shakespeare’s absence from the lists of official translators and scholars seems glaring in light of his literary stature and the fact that the King James Bible was published in 1611, at the very pinnacle of his genius. Hamlet was published some time around 1602-03, King Lear in 1605-06, Macbeth in 1606, Cymbeline and The Tempest in 1610-1611. In 1610, when the King James translation teams were working on the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek source texts, Shakespeare was 46 years old. It is believed he personally translated Psalm 46, perhaps at the behest of King James or the translators, out of respect for Shakespeare’s poetic brilliance. The 46th word of Psalm 46 is “shake.” The 47th word up from the bottom is “spear,” possibly indicating that Shakespeare would turn 47 by the time the King James Bible was finished.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/09/20/top-10-significant-numbers-in-biblical-numerology/

10 Theories on the Origins of the Valentine’s Heart

Valentine’s Day is not far away. Millions of people are preparing to send cards to their loved ones, or to receive unexpected surprises from people with secret crushes. And just as many are preparing to spend the night alone eating ice-cream from a tub, alone, with a horrible ’90s romance flick. This list looks at the origins of the most famous symbol of St Valentine’s Day: the heart.

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Our actual hearts do come close to the Valentine shape. But if you’ve ever seen a real human heart, it’s just as disgusting as any other organ inside you. Even cleaned up and not bloody, it’s raw, visceral, and thoroughly unromantic. The valentine shape works the same way as a Disney cartoon character. Lions are majestic animals, but not quite so perfectly beautiful as in The Lion King (their hair is not parted in the middle, and their fur is not always spic and span). Except for the red color, all aspects of blood are removed from the valentine shape rendering it no longer disgusting, but still representing what the ancients always thought of the heart: the Greeks believed that as the mind was the center of logic, the heart was the center of emotion and the soul. It is, after all, centered in the chest (and leaning slightly to the left).

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Let’s keep the laughter to a minimum. The external female organs are collectively referred to as the vulva, and altogether, they form a nearly perfect upside down Valentine heart. The narrow point of the heart is situated precisely on the clitoris, and the lobes of the wider end at the bottoms of the labia majora. The implication is obvious, but deserves more research into the history of this correlation; it might prove fascinating.

The female genitals were painted or inscribed on the outside doors of brothels in Pompeii, and can be found perfectly preserved there today. Their appearance was simplified to the Valentine heart, which is why sailors frequently used the symbol as a tattoo. Sailors were at sea for months or years without women, so when they hit a port, sex was one of the first things on their minds. When the tattoos were questioned by family (wives), they were usually euphemized as just a symbol for love.

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Testicles all look the same, really, and if this particular theory is true, it more likely stems from the handling of livestock than human testicles. Livestock testicles, after all, rarely grow coarse hair as humans’ do, and as such, are very easy to examine. Centuries ago, castrating livestock was not as technological an affair as it is today: no anesthetic, no pliers to crush the cord; just a knife and a prayer that the animal would not die.

Livestock owners typically did this job themselves to save money, and few were professionals. The testicles were grasped together at the bottom of the scrotum and simply sliced off. Testicles are elongated ovoids, somewhat tapered at the back end, wider at the top. When they are pressed side to side, the tapered ends form the rudimentary point that is the bottom of the Valentine heart, and the wider ends form the top lobes. It may have occurred to someone that because they are part of the man’s erogenous area, they could be seen as a source of romance. You will find testicles stylized as inverted Valentine hearts on some coats of arms, such as the Colleoni family of Milan.

The implication is that a man sends a Valentine heart to a woman as a subconscious offering of his reproductive future; likewise, a woman sends a heart to a man as a subconscious desire for it.

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The Valentine heart is already a good approximation of a broad head for arrows. In keeping with the theories of numbers nine and eight, Cupid, the Roman god of physical love-making, is classically depicted firing arrows at people. Anyone struck with the arrow falls in desperate, nearly uncontrollable love either with the nearest person to him, or with the person who prayed to Cupid to find love.

Widespread dissemination, in all types of art, of the Valentine heart began in the 1400s (but see item one) with Renaissance painters, and many of those depictions were of winged Cupid the baby or boy at play stirring up love with a bow and arrow. He is obviously a good shot, and it is understood that he shoots the victim right through the heart, the center of emotion and passion. The arrowhead is frequently seen as somewhat softened; a sharply pointed and edged iron hunting tip is not very romantic, so the two rearward pointing barbs, meant to prevent the head from being withdrawn from the target, were rounded into lobes, and suddenly, the arrowhead does not look quite so vicious.

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The general shape of the torso is no less similar to the Valentine heart as the actual human heart. The shoulders of both men and women are meant to be wider than the waist, especially when the person’s chest swells with a deep breath. This creates the rough, isosceles triangle, odd vertex down, and it only remains to refine by sinking the horizontal top. The eye traces down and in from the shoulders along the collarbones, and the sump between the Valentine heart’s lobes is understood to be at the top of the actual heart, where love is popularly thought to originate.

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There is more than one position for kissing, but the classic example involves the chests pressed together, arms intertwined or around the back, and noses touching (no face tilting). When this position is reached, the two people can form a perfect Valentine heart of space between them, and the shape is centered between their real hearts. This affords another good list idea: why do we kiss?

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If you invert a Valentine heart, the wide, rounded lobes look just like a butt. Sir Mix-a-Lot approves of big butts, and it is his avowed opinion that when a woman walks in with an itty-bitty waist and a round thing in your face, you get sprung. So the buttocks themselves are no more important than the narrow waist above them, and the Valentine heart appears just like this. Why it would have been inverted over time is difficult to say; maybe someone found it more aesthetic with the wide part at the top, and it caught on. Man’s arousal by a woman with a narrow waist and wide hips may stem from the principle that wider hips have a vastly easier time of giving birth.

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The human heart is roughly triangular, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, and the Valentine heart approximates this, but with two rounded lobes at the top, which is distinctly different from the real thing. The rest of the shape tapers to the bottom point, and altogether, it’s a fair abstraction of a woman’s breasts pushed together probably by a corset, which was popular among men and very unpopular among women from the Renaissance on.

The corset is designed to constrict the breasts and mash them up toward the collar, so whatever breast size a woman sports, all of it is enhanced for the benefit of the men around her; it also compresses the abdomen and waist uniformly, giving the woman what is thought of as the perfect hourglass figure. The disadvantage is that it also constricts her ability to breathe, which is why women fainted so easily in the old days. The reason women’s breasts arouse men is a good question, but probably has to do with the primitive instinct to make babies with a woman who can promise them a lot of milk.

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Not that swans are the mascot of Valentine’s Day, but we think of them as symbols of grace, elegance, beauty, and calmness; their down-turned necks make them appear humble and demure, and this was how women were expected to act back in the day. The classic picture of two swans facing each other with bills touching is a very popular one for Valentines, and swans do this quite often. They’re smelling each other’s breath to remember who’s who (swans can appear identical and sometimes get confused, just as we confuse them). Mated pairs also neck as a way of bonding. They are generally monogamous and mate for life, and if you’ve ever wondered if animals feel grief and sadness, yes they do. Male swans are just as aggressively protective of their mates as we are.

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Silphium was a well known herb, probably extinct today, used extensively across the Mediterranean for spicing food and as a deliberate abortive agent in women, a sort of birth control pill. The day after sex, the woman would eat the silphium plant, usually cooked, and/or seeds. We have no direct evidence of the plant’s ability to cause a miscarriage, since we cannot find any specimens, but indirect evidence in the way of contemporary literature strongly indicates that silphium was highly reliable in aborting pregnancies.

It only grew along a stretch of the northeastern Libyan coastline, the climate of which has become markedly drier over the millennia. By the time of Nero, Pliny the Younger claims that the plant was extremely difficult to find, and possibly the very last specimen was presented to the Emperor, which he had prepared for his supper.

The silphium seed has survived to us, minted on Cyrenian coins, and it grew as a perfect Valentine heart.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/02/08/10-theories-on-the-origins-of-the-valentines-heart/

Top 10 Evil People In The Bible

[IMPORTANT: This list contain a competition.] For many of us the Bible is a source of inspiration, a teller of wonderful tales, and a moral guide. But if we were to selectively take certain stories in the abstract we could be horribly misguided. This list is going to introduce ten characters from the Bible who were certainly not following the moral guide in the very same Book which chronicles their lives and experiences. These are but ten of the vilest villains in the Sacred Scriptures; alas many more abound. Be sure to name and shame the rest in the comments.

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Antipas was a pathetic and weak man who – at the behest of his soon-to-be mistress “salome” (his step-daughter) carried out her demand (originating from her mother Herodias – item 9) to murder John the Baptist. In what is probably his most famous moment he stood in judgement of Jesus Christ when Pontius Pilate felt incapable of the task. Antipas – expecting a miracle – was most annoyed at Jesus’ silence so sent him back to Pilate to be murdered upon the demands of the Jews.

Antipas didn’t just behead John the Baptist – but that alone makes his worthy for a place on this list. Fittingly he died in exile after plotting to overthrow Emperor Caligula.

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Herodias was clearly destined to a life of evil – marrying first Herod II, the son of the evil Herod “the Great” (item 2 on this list) and then falsely divorcing him to marry his far viler brother Herod Antipas (Item 10 – directly above). Her life of crime didn’t end with bigamy. Saint John the Baptist was rather vocal at the time about the bigamous marriage of Herodias and Herod Antipas and it raised the ire of the adulteress – to a point where she would not be happy until she saw him slaughtered.

Seeing how enamored her new husband (Herod Antipas) was with her daughter (his step-daughter – Salome) she offered the girl to him in exchange for the arrest of St John. Herod being rather a weak man took her up on the very generous offer – appeasing the ill-feeling of Salome about the arrangement by promising to grant her any wish should she “lie” with him. This is where Herodias was able to cleverly execute her plan. She convinced her daughter to “get together” with her father-in-law in order to have the Baptist killed.

After the famous dance of the seven veils, Salome told her father-in-law that she was his – and she named her wish (in reality the wish of her witch of a mother Herodias): the head of John the Baptist. Happy to dick his brother’s wife but not to renege on a promise to his new teenage bed pal, Herod had no choice but to command it be done. Salome has gone down in history as the woman who had St John killed; but in reality it was her evil conniving mother Herodias who was behind it all.

If this story interests you, you will probably love the Oscar Wilde play Salome. Here is the complete film on youtube of an incredible interpretation of his play by the great director Charles Bryant starring the incredible Alla Nazimova with the sets and costumes mimicking those designed by Aubrey Beardsley (Salome illustration above) who died a the young age of twenty-five.

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During the birth of man God suspended the laws of incest; therefore it was possible for Adam and Eve to have children who could marry each other and have their own children. But before we even get to the second generation of Adam and Eve we find trouble with the first. Cain and Abel were brothers – the children of our first parents. Abel was devoted to God and made many offerings to him – particularly his prize fatted sheep.

Cain also made many offerings but – extraorindarily fond of meat – offered fruit instead. God, clearly being a devout carnivore was far more interested in Abel’s offerings and gave him much praise for them – and frankly who wouldn’t prefer a side of lamb over a basket of plums? Cain, being the jealous type decided to take matters into his own hands.

He convinced his brother to check out the newly laid fields and whilst rollicking amongst the Einkorn wheat (the original wheat that doesn’t cause an obesity crisis) pulled out his sword and shoved it firmly in his brother who, unfortunately, had his back to him. It is a very famous story and here it is as told by the Sacred Scriptures:

Jehosophat

Undoubtedly you have heard the phrase “jumping’ Jehoshaphat!” Joram (sometimes known as Jehoram) was Jehoshaphat’s son. Actually he was one of seven sons – no wonder Jehoshaphat was jumping – you would be too with seven babies’ nappies to change. Joram reigned jointly with his father for a while but, realizing his father’s time was drawing short, decided he needed to cement his place as sole ruler of the Kingdom of Judah. With six brothers it is no wonder he was a little edgy about the succession to the throne.

So Joram did what any co-regent would do under the circumstances. He took a sword and slashed the throats of his bros. Single-handedly this megalomaniac dismembered his little brothers. If that isn’t evil I don’t know what is. Oh wait – yes I do – see the next item. Oh – by the way – in case you are wondering what became of old Jehoram: he died when his bowels fell out (2 paralipomenon 21:16-19).

541566 Abimelech-Slays-His-Seventy-Brethren

Cain and Jehoram deserve a place on this list without a doubt, but if they are here – so should Abimelech be. He didn’t kill one brother; he didn’t kill six brothers, he killed seventy! Yes. That isn’t a typo. He murdered all but one of his brothers! Clearly his father, Jerobaal, had a lot of spare time on his hands. So anyway – after butchering his brothers the local city folk declared him king (not surprisingly). After this rather vile moment of evil the Scriptures go on to tell the quite random tale of talking trees – of course – that makes sense! Follow the link below and read the remainder of the tale to hear about the talking trees.

Sodom

When we think of old folk we usually think of kindly old grandparents who give us candy and love everything we do. Not so in Biblical times. The Old Man from Ephraim (most of you will know him as Lot) was definitely not your stereotypical grandpa. After inviting some random traveling guy (who turns out to be the angel Gabriel) into his house for a sleep over, the local village men go on a horn-fest and demand the guest be given to them for a good old fashioned Biblical gang-bang.

This really is in the Bible incidentally – gay gang bangs – who would have thought it?! Lot summons up his morals and refuses to hand over the man. But he has a better alternative: he hands over his virgin daughter and the concubine of the visiting stranger (you can’t travel without a concubine in the Bible of course – even if you are an angel). The village men – content to rape anything they can get their hands on – agree to leave the angel behind and take off with the concubine (obviously the virginal daughter was a dog) for the night.

But wait – it gets worse. The next morning the poor concubine is left in a heap on the door step of the Lot’s house. Any person with any civility would, of course, take her in and clean her gashes – undoubtedly there are many wounds left after a night of Biblical village rape. But is that what happens? No. The guest – jointly evil with Lot – thinks the concubine is dead and carries her home on his ass. Upon arriving home he doesn’t check his heavenly emails – he grabs a knife and chops her into twelves bits and posts her around the country. As you do. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:

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Jezebel wasn’t just a whore – she was a butchering murderous bitch. Being a worshipper of Baal (a devil) she determined to convert her nation-by-marriage (Israel – she was a Phoenician princess married to a Jewish king) to the same religion. In order to do so she butchered as many Jewish prophets as she could round up; and she rounded up quite a few!

This is not entirely uncommon in the old testament as the Jews frequently killed their prophets; but Jezebel had to go one worse. Not content to murder the prophets to stop them spreading their “wickedness” she sacrificed babies to her god of stone to appease him. Elijah – her chief protagonist at least has a chance for vengeance and eventually slaughtered the 450 prophets of Baal. Jezebel came to a ruinous end when she was cast from a window by three Eunuchs whereupon she was trampled to death by horses and eventually eaten by dogs, leaving behind her only her feet, skull, and hands.

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As so often we see in the Old Testament, the Jews became greedy and fell into wicked ways. When that happened God typically sold them into slavery of sorts. At the time of Jephthah the slave-owners were the Philistines and the Ammonites. Being somewhat of a good fighter his fellow Jews ask him to be their leader in battle, but that is not enough for Greedy Jephthat who decides that he wants to be the supreme chief of the Jews for good (a king in a sense). His fellow men agree on the condition that he beats the enemy.

To ensure that will be victorious over his enemies he makes a special deal with God: if he can beat the Ammonites he will offer as a burnt sacrifice to God the first thing or person that comes out of the door to greet him upon his return. He wins his battle – heads home – and the first thing he sees is: his virgin daughter. Not overcome with emotion or love of his beautiful firstborn he thinks only of his promise. Next minute the daughter is ash on the pyre. Yes – the evil bastard baked his daughter so he could be king.

NOTE: this interpretation exists only in the King James version of the Bible written in the 1500s – the original Catholic Bible has the girl offered up as a virgin for the rest of her life.

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Herod the Great (“a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.” – off to a good start!) is the famous King from the time of Christ. He was a Jewish ruler who governed (with the support of the Romans with whom he was very tight) Judea. Amongst his achievements was the building of the great Second Temple – a popular venue for the Jews to sell sacrificial animals, food, sweets, and to trade money; it was this place which Jesus Christ would later come to smash apart.

But it is not this den of thieves for which Herod is most famous; he is better known for his massacre of innocent children – the death toll of which has been unheard of since (unless you liken abortion to the murder of innocents in which the modern death toll is exponentially higher). The story goes that Herod heard of the birth of Christ (after his agents spied the three wise men entering his country) and, wanting to prevent a replacement king, ordered the murder of all newborns in the village of Bethlehem (the place of Christ’s birth). Imagine that – ordering the murder of ALL babies born in a city over the previous two years. That is the reason we remember the evil Herod the “Great”.

Well – that and the fact that his temple wall is the most sacred place in modern Judaism – a dedication to one of the most evil men in the history of the Bible.

Giotto - Scrovegni - -31- - Kiss Of Judas

You were undoubtedly expecting to see Judas on this list. Given that he betrayed God Himself (Jesus, the Son of God) who could be more wicked in the Bible than he? Some controversy exists regarding this particular evil man as he seems to create a paradox. It goes thus: he betrayed God but if he hadn’t there would be no salvation as Christ had to die for that to happen. So if Judas was a faithful apostle, Christ wouldn’t have died so there could be no salvation.

Either way – his act of betrayal is but one part of his wickedness. In the end he succumbed to the selfish act of suicide and hanged himself from a tree; most descriptively we know that his bowels gushed from his body in the act. He is almost universally regarded as being a resident of Hell for his acts.

Haydock Douay Rheims Hardback

As this list is about the Bible and it is one of the first lists posted since we have migrated to our new host – we are running a competition. All you have to do to enter is be a registered commenter; in other words anonymous commenters or commenters who are not logged in are discounted. Simply sign in with Disqus, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or Listverse to be an entrant. For every 100 comments generated by this list we will randomly select one commenter to receive a beautiful leather bound copy of the Bible pictured above (value: $125 US).

It is a big book – family size – so it is well worth entering. Comments must be coherent and to the point – comments that are obviously posted with no relevance to the topic won’t be included. As a further bonus, if we get over 500 comments in the next 48 hours not only will we be awarding five Bibles as prizes, we will slip $500 US dollars into one Bible signed by Jamie Frater (also selected at random) to help you along with your Christmas shopping.

Just to make things clear – if we get 100 comments, one person will receive a prize. If we get 400 comments, four people will get a prize. If we get 500 comments, five people will get a prize and one will also receive $500 US in cash extra. This competition is open to every member of Listverse regardless of where you live. This is not a US-only competition. If you are from Timbuktu you can still enter.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/10/21/top-10-evil-people-in-the-bible/

Top 10 Ancient Religious Sites

Whether you are religious or not, it must be accepted that religion has been with us for a very long time. Some of the most monumental structures ever made have had religious functions. Today it is still possible to be moved by the ruins of these sites, even though the people who made them, and sometimes the gods they were raised to, have disappeared. Here I present ten of the most important ancient religious sites. Pop in the comments any you think I should have included.

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Begun in the 14th century BC, by the pharaoh Ramses II, the temples of Karnak are some of the most famous in the world. Tourists flock to Luxor in their millions. Sitting next to the Nile, Karnak forms one of the largest religious sites in the world. It is packed with stone carved temples and sanctuaries. The great temple of Amun-Re, alone, is worth the effort of visiting, but requires more than a single day to fully appreciate. The friezes, obelisks and forests of pillars will be familiar to you even if you have never been there. Hollywood is fascinated by all things Egyptian, so watch out for Karnak in the background of Transformers: Revenge of the fallen.

Callanish Stones

The Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis date from roughly 2900-2600BC, around the same time stones were being brought to Stonehenge. Legend says that the pale stones are the remains of the Giants who refused to convert to Christianity, Saint Kieran turning them to stone in punishment. I include the Callanish stones rather than the more famous Stonehenge for several reasons. Stonehenge is easier to visit but gives a far less satisfying experience. You can walk amongst the Callanish stones, touch them, and feel much like the original worshipers would have. At Stonehenge you are bombarded by the noise of two major roads. While on the Isle of Lewis you can see the hundreds of other standing stones which litter the fields and hillsides, so it’s well worth a visit.

Editors Note: As a child in the seventies in England, Stonehenge was a fascinating place. With far fewer cars than today, and the ability to still walk among the stones themselves, it was a place of wonder even for a young child. It’s a shame it’s been so diminished by time and ‘progress’.

Great Ziggurat Of Ur

The epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written story we possess. In this epic, composed in at least the second millennium BC, Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, boasts of the mighty temples he has constructed. Those temples must have resembled the Great Ziggurat of Ur. The ziggurat, first built in the early Bronze age and reconstructed several times since, is a massive step pyramid built to honor the god Nanna. The structure visible today was heavily repaired by Saddam Hussein and sustained minor damage in the first Gulf war. Few people will get to visit the site but it must surely be one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world still visible.

Pyramid-Moon-From-Sun-Cc-Abourdeu

Once one of the great cities of the world, Teotihuacan’s origins remain hotly debated. There is no agreement as to which people built the city, though it is known to have reached its zenith around 450AD. Whoever built it, Teotihuacan is one of the most recognizable sites in the New World. Two great pyramids, those of the Sun and Moon, dominate the city. The pyramids were famously used for human and animal sacrifice, probably in the dedication of new buildings in the city. A broad Avenue of the Dead runs from the pyramid of the Moon, passed that of the Sun, and down towards the temple of Quetzalcoatl. Walking along this road it is easy to imagine the great religious festivals that must have occurred there.

Delphi Tholos

While not as magnificent as Teotihuacan, Delphi has had a profound effect on the Western world. It was the center of the cult of Apollo, and respected by all the Greek city states as sacred. The temple complex, now ruined, lies on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, home of the Muses. The ruins of the temples, stadium, and shrines of Delphi still speak to an important gathering place. No important matter of state could be settled without seeking the advice of the Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle, a woman priestess known as the Pythia, would sit above a crack in the rock under the temple and inhale the divine vapors (volcanic gases). While in a trance caused by the gases she would utter nonsense-words, the speech of the Apollo, and these would be interpreted by priests. Those hoping for such a divine experience today are out of luck, no gases are emitted under the temple any more. This probably is what caused worship at the site to fail.

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Borobudur is an 8th century Buddhist structure, lost in the jungle until rediscovered in the 19th century. The structure is composed of two million cubic feet of stone set in six square platforms. Each platform is decorated with carved friezes. Five hundred statues of the Buddha are set in niches for worshipers to pray before. The six levels form a path that must be followed to reach the very top. The path is not easy and one must cover a distance of two miles. As you progress along the path the friezes display images of the law of Karma and the life story of the Buddha. At the summit there are three ‘stupa’, stone mounds which once held relics. Volcanic eruptions are a risk to the site. The most recent eruption, in 2010, covered the site with a thin layer of ash. It is feared that an eruption may damage the fine carving which covers the monument.

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Construction of these caves occurred fitfully from 200BC to 600AD. Like Borobudur, the cave lay forgotten for centuries. They were rediscovered by a British officer, John Smith, while out hunting for tigers, in 1819. You can still see his name and the date, faintly written in pencil, on the walls. Twenty nine caves have been excavated, though not all of them are richly decorated. Those that are, are full of gorgeous sculptures and paintings, considered masterpieces of ancient India. For the most part these frescos tell stories from the Buddha’s life, while others offer a clear insight into the lives of the ancient peoples who carved the caves.

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The Pantheon, “All God”, is one of the best preserved Roman buildings. A temple had been on the site for many years but the one visible today is that designed by the Emperor Hadrian, and built in 126AD. The building was converted to a Christian church in the 7th century, but can still be enjoyed in something like its original form. The front of the building resembles a classic Roman temple portico, supported by columns. Roman temples, for the main part, were to be enjoyed from the outside. The Pantheon is different – it can only be appreciated from inside. Behind the portico is the rotunda, a round space, under the largest dome built by the ancients. Set in the center of the dome is a circular hole, the oculus. The oculus is the only source of light and is an elegant allegory of God. At no time will the light ever touch the floor, as if to say that all we can know of God is by indirect means.

P84200-Malta-The Upper Level

The Hypogeum is truly ancient as construction began ~3500BC. It is the only example of a prehistoric temple being built underground. The carved space has been used variously through its history, being turned into a necropolis at some point in the distant past. The Hypogeum is a mixture of natural caves and excavations over three levels. The walls are smoothly carved and have reflections of structures found elsewhere above ground on Malta, as if to suggest the above being brought below. A ‘speaking chamber’, a rounded niche carved into one wall, allows anything spoken into it to echo throughout the Hypogeum. Visiting may be tricky as, for preservation reasons relating to the ochre paintings on the ceiling, only 80 people are allowed entry per day.

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The importance of this site has only very recently been recognized. If the Hypogeum is ancient then Göbekli Tepe is primordial. Göbekli Tepe is the oldest man-made structure yet discovered. The site is composed of twenty circular structures spread over a hilltop. What remains today are large limestone pillars decorated with abstract designs of carved animals. So far depictions of snakes, scorpions, birds, boars, foxes and lions have been uncovered. The pillars have been traced to a nearby quarry where unfinished ones can still be seen. While this site cannot be definitely said to be religious in nature, it is certainly intriguing. The site has been dated to the tenth millennium BC. This is earlier than any civilization yet known. If it is a temple then this must surely be one of the first ever made.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/08/25/top-10-ancient-religious-sites/

10 Mythological Origins Of Day And Night

Humans, ever since the dawn of time, have been as curious as cats—possibly more. We deem it necessary to have an explanation for everything. This causes us to create many theories, whether it be why it snows or how a little insect flies. Little of our universe can be fully explained, but science is there to find the truth. However, before science matured to what we have today, we had created the simplest possible explanations for everything. Some cultures had the most outrageous theories. However, they are also interesting.

10Japanese Mythology

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According to the Nihon Shoki, there were three siblings who came from the god Izanagi-no-Mikoto and the goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto. The three gods were Amaterasu (the goddess of the Sun and ruler of the heaven), Tsukiyomi (the god of the Moon and ruler of the night), and Susanoo (the god of storms and ruler of the seas).

One day, Amaterasu commanded Tsukiyomi to go to Earth and pay a visit to Uke-Mochi, the food goddess. To bid Tsukiyomi welcome, Uke-Mochi vomited rice, fish, and other animals onto the Earth. Uke-Mochi then used the same method to serve Tsukiyomi food at a banquet.

Unsurprisingly, Tsukiyomi was so offended and disgusted by the act that he killed Uke-Mochi. Once Tsukiyomi returned to heaven, he told Amaterasu what had happened during his visit. Amaterasu was so displeased by her brother’s actions that she swore to never meet and face him again. Hence, when the Sun sets, the Moon flees from the Sun for eternity.

9Aztec Mythology

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In Aztec mythology, there were four different gods who became the Sun; however, all of them perished due to feuds with other gods. After the gods had another large feud over the validity of the fourth god, the world was destroyed, and again there was no Sun god. All of the gods knew that, if a fifth Sun god took over, another feud would erupt and eventually destroy the world again. Thus, no one volunteered to become the Sun god, while darkness loomed and swallowed the world.

The Sun, however, was a vital part of the world, so the gods created a council to vote for the fifth Sun god. This time, the gods decided that the god who was picked must kill himself to save the world. Two gods were picked: Tecciztecatl and Nanauatl.

A great fire was created for the two gods to sacrifice themselves. Tecciztecatl was the first one to attempt to jump into the fire, but he was so scared of the sheer heat of the fire that he retreated back four times. The gods became tired of Tecciztecatl’s folly, so they asked Nanauatl to jump into the flames. Nanauatl, without a second thought, jumped into the fire and became the Sun. Tecciztecatl’s pride was hurt, and he decided to jump into the flames at last.

Finally, there were two suns born from the fire, but the gods did not like the idea of having two suns in the sky. Hence, they threw a rabbit at Tecciztecatl, which left a mark of the rabbit on him. This made Tecciztecatl dimmer, and created the Moon. However, Tecciztecatl was angry at Nanauatl, for he hasn’t forgotten Nanauatl’s actions. So, ever since he became the Moon, he attempted to chase Nanauatl. Thus, when Nanauatl is seen, his brightness creates daytime. When Tecciztecatl is seen, his dimness creates darkness and night.

8Egyptian Mythology

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The Egyptian pantheon is one of the most famous pantheons in the world, along with the Greek, Roman, and Norse pantheons. Ra (or Re) is the Sun god in Egyptian mythology. Ra is believed to be one of the only Egyptian gods to not inhabit the Earth. Instead, he lives in the sky, due to his old age.

Ra rides on a solar bark, which represents the Sun, and travels through the 12 provinces, which represent the 12 hours of day—thus creating daytime. Ra, however, dies every sunset, which gives darkness throughout the world. In his dead form, he goes through the Underworld in his night bark. During his travels through the Underworld, he fights the snake demon named Apep. At sunrise, it is believed that Ra has defeated Apep once again. Ra proceeds to travel on his solar bark, until he dies once more.

There are two night gods. Khonsu is the newest Moon god, eclipsing the old Moon god—Iah. Khonsu travels across the world in Ra’s absence, to guide people to their destination. Iah is thought to be the reason why there are 365 days in a year.

7Lakota Mythology

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The Lakota, a Native American tribe, used to inhabit the states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Minnesota. They also lived in parts of Canada, specifically Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. They are more popularly known as the Sioux, but this name is deemed insulting to them.

Hanwi is the Moon goddess in Lakota mythology. Wi, the Sun god, once took a mortal, named Iktomi, to replace Hanwi’s place next to him at a feast. Skan, the sky god, denounced Wi for his actions, and decided to punish him. Skan took Hanwi from Wi and gave her rule over the night. Meanwhile, he ordered Wi to only rule over the day, never being allowed to see Hanwi. Hanwi, for eternity, will be depressed due to Wi’s actions. She shows her shame by hiding different parts of her face, thus creating the Moon cycle.

6Mesopotamian Mythology

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Mesopotamia is the birthplace of many of the first civilizations, including Sumerians, Akkadians, Amorites, Hittites, Kassites, Assyrians, and Chaldeans.

Shamash, the Sun god, was believed to be the child of the Moon god, Sin. He is depicted as the god of justice and equality. Shamash repeatedly rises from the east, on foot or a chariot, with Sun rays emanating from his shoulders. While he is providing sunlight for the world, he also presides over courts—for men and gods alike.

However, his duty is not limited to our world—he must also do this in the Underworld. He travels to the Underworld by descending in the west, thus creating darkness and night. In the Underworld, Shamash also presides over courts, where he judges the disputes of the dead.

5Inuit Mythology

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The Inuit are people of Asian origin, who inhabit the arctic regions of the United States, Canada, and parts of Greenland.

Malina, the Inuit Sun goddess, lived with her brother Anningan, the Moon god. One day, they had a large dispute and it turned ugly. During the dispute, Malina spread black grease over Anningan’s face. Regretting her decision, she ran away from their house and became the Sun. Anningan chased after her to the point where he transformed into the Moon. In this event, the day and night rotation was born.

Anningan sometimes begins to neglect his needs and begins to starve, so he gets thinner and thinner, which represents the Moon cycle. There is a more sinister myth surrounding Malina and Anningan. In this version of the story, Anningan rapes Malina.

4Mamaiuran Mythology

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The Mamaiurans are an Amazonian tribe that inhabit Brazil. According to their mythology, the world was originally covered in darkness. This darkness was caused by the immense population of birds, who annoyingly blocked out the Sun and its light with their wings.

Two humans, named Kuat and Iae, were both tired of the birds taking all the sunlight for themselves. They hatched a plan, in which they decided to trap the king of the birds—Urubutsin. They both hid inside a dead animal’s corpse, and waited for Urubutsin to land. When he landed, Kuat leaped out of the corpse and caught Urubutsin by his leg. Kuat demanded the king to share some of the sunlight with the rest of the world. Unable to flee, Urubutsin was forced to agree.

Like the Inuit myth, this one also has another version. In this version, the bids are vultures and Urubutsin is given a carcass filled with maggots as a gift.

3Norse Mythology

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Narfi, a giant that lived in Jotunheim, had a daughter named Nott. Nott was different from the other Norse women, since she had dark hair and complexion. She wore stars as hair clips, making her more attractive to men. She had three husbands. The first, Naglfari, whom she had a child named Aud with; the second, Annar, whom she had a child named Jord with; and the last one, named Dellingr, whom she had a son named Dagr with.

The gods found out about Nott and her children, so they put them all to good use in their creation of the universe. Nott and Dagr were given chariots and horses to travel around the Earth. The gods also decided to give them a specific set of hours to circle the Earth—12 hours each. Nott’s main horse, Hrimfaxi, drops water from his mane wherever Nott leads him, creating morning dew. Meanwhile, Dagr provides brightness with his bright, golden hair.

2Iroquois Mythology

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In the Sky World, there was a pregnant woman and her brother. She was very curious about the Tree of Life, which covered the entrance to the world below. No one was allowed to tamper with it. One day, the woman persuaded her brother to move the tree. The entrance was uncovered, and the woman curiously peeked out of it. Being a clumsy being, she fell, but attempted to save herself by grasping at the root of the tree. She failed, however, and grasped some dirt, which fell with her.

The birds of the world, being alerted by the woman’s calls for help, came to save her. Eventually, they safely landed on a sea turtle’s back. There, the woman created the Earth, went into labor, and gave birth to two twins. Unfortunately, the woman died due to the rebellious way the Left-Handed Twin was born. Left-Handed Twin and Right-Handed Twin were the antitheses of each other—Right-Handed Twin being the good twin, and Left-Handed Twin being the evil twin.

They were nurtured by their grandmother, Sky Woman, who died shortly after they grew up. The twins then fought over her body, and eventually tore it apart. Sky Woman’s head was thrown into the sky and became the Moon. Left-Handed Twin and Right-Handed Twin knew that there was no chance they would come to an agreement on anything. Therefore, they decided to dwell in different realms. Right-Handed Twin would dwell on Earth first, creating the day. Afterwards, Left-Handed Twin would dwell on Earth, creating the night, where evil roams more freely.

1Filipino Mythology

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The Filipinos had a very interesting myth about day and night. After the Spanish conquest of the Philippine Islands, the native religion had faded from memory.

In Filipino mythology, there were two gods: Apolaki, who ruled over the Sun, and his sister Mayari, who ruled over the Moon. Their father, Bathala, ruled over the entire world from the heavens, following his battle with Ulilang Kaluluwa. Sadly, Bathala’s reign ended with his death, and a power struggle between Apolaki and Mayari began. Apolaki wanted to become the sole ruler of the heavens and the world, while Mayari had other plans: She sought to share the reign with Apolaki.

In one battle, Apolaki took out one of his sister’s eyes. After the battle, Apolaki began to contemplate his actions, eventually beginning to regret them. To show his regret, Apolaki agreed to share the heavens and the world with Mayari. First, Apolaki would rule with the Sun; then, Mayari would rule. Yet due to her loss of an eye, when she reigns over the heavens and the Earth, her power wanes, making the Moon dim.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/12/20/10-mythological-origins-of-day-and-night/

Top 10 Popes Who Died Violently

Pope (from Papa meaning Father) is the term used for the men who have ruled the Catholic Church since its birth at Pentecost. Throughout the history of the papacy there have been a small number of wicked popes, but in contrast there have been many great ones (Pope Saint Gregory the Great, for example, who gave us the calendar we all use today). There has also been a great deal of bloodshed in the history of the Papacy – this list looks at ten cases of that. This list is in chronological order.

Pope-Peter Pprubens

As one of the original apostles of Jesus, and one of the greatest purveyors of Christianity at the time, the apostle Simon Peter became the ire of Emperor Nero of Rome who despised Christians (going so far as to blame them for the Great Fire of Rome earlier in the year 64AD). An order was sent out by Nero for Peter’s arrest, but he escaped. During his escape, Peter witnessed a vision of Jesus which inspired him to return to Rome and accept his martyrdom. It is said that he asked to be crucified as Jesus was, but to be turned on his head so as not to imitate Jesus’ crucifixion. In this position, he wouldn’t easily be able to suffocate to death as those in an upright position were prone to do, prolonging his death.

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According to legend, after being banished from Rome and sent to work in a stone quarry, Clement found that his fellow prisoners were suffering from dehydration. After kneeling to pray, he saw a lamb on a hill. He took a pickaxe and struck the ground where the lamb stood, and a stream of water came gushing out. As it goes, upon seeing this many locals and fellow prisoners were converted to Christianity on the spot. As punishment by the guards, an anchor was tied around Clement’s neck and he was thrown into the Black Sea.

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Stephen was only Pope for a scant three years, but was burdened by controversy both within the church, and from outside forces. Within the church, the debate roared on over the subject of rebaptism of lapsed Catholics and the like. Outside the church, though, Emperor Valerian– who had once been an ally of Christians, but later turned away from them– issued two edicts of persecution against the church. Stephen was sitting in his throne, celebrating Mass, when the emperor’s men stormed the room and beheaded Stephen where he sat. The blood-stained throne was alleged to have been preserved by the church until the 18th century.

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Not too long after Pope Stephen I was killed, Sixtus II was elected as the new Pope. During this time, Emperor Valerian had made it law that all Christians were required to participate in ceremonies honoring the Roman gods, largely to avoid conflict with the government. As Pope, though, Sixtus was able to avoid this. Unfortunately, not long after the first decree, Valerian sent out another which condemned Christians priests, bishops, and deacons to death. While giving a sermon, Sixtus II was captured by the emperor’s men and put to death by beheading– the first victim of the infamous 258 Persecutions.

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Born the grandson of a Senator, and the son of a state official, made John VII the first Pope to be born from a distinguished family line. He was also Pope during the time of the “Byzantine Papacy”, wherein all Popes had to be approved by the Byzantine emperor to ensure that all decisions made would suit the state, though as with other Popes during that time things didn’t always go so smoothly. But it wasn’t the state that would see to his end, but rather the enraged husband of a woman John VII was sleeping with who caught them in the act, and beat the Pope to death.

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Some consider him one of the greatest Popes of his times, and others argue otherwise; but neither would disagree that his time was marred by political intrigue. It was only a matter of time before he himself would become the victim of this. There is some speculation as to whether it was a coordinated assassination, or simply done out of jealousy of the churches treasures; but one evening a relative of John VIII visited the Pope, and poisoned his drink. Finding that the poison did not work quickly enough, the relative bashed in John’s head in with a hammer.

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This one is actually a two-fer of sorts. The thing Pope Stephen VII is most famous for is not any particular decree, or acts of benevolence, but rather for putting a corpse on trial. Specifically, his predecessor, Pope Formosus, was put to trial in what would become known as the Cadaver Synod. Upon finding dead Pope Formosus guilty of all charges, Stephen VII had him stripped of his papal vestments, three fingers removed from his right hand, his body thrown into the Tiber river, and all the former Pope’s laws and ordinations annulled. Sadly for Stephen VII, the trial caused a frenzy and he was imprisoned, and later put to death by strangling.

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When people think of the Pope, the more devout will think of them as a benevolent and compassionate leader, or failing that, at least as a pretty nice guy most of the time. Not so with John XII. Shortly after being elected Pope at the age of eighteen, John XII decided the whole celibacy thing wasn’t for him and went about humping whatever he could. Gambling, theft, assassinations, and incest are only a few things he was reported to have partaken in regularly. It’s even alleged that he would toast Satan and Roman gods and demons during sermons and other celebrations. He was briefly deposed by Pope Leo VII after John XII handed the papal lands over to German king Otto I, but was later reinstated. So after all that, it only seems a somewhat ironically fitting end that John XII would be beaten to death by a jealous husband coming home to find the Pope having sex with his wife.

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It seems Benedict VI never did a whole lot himself, and yet he was destined to suffer for the transgressions of his predecessor, Pope John XIII, who during his time as Pope made several enemies amongst the nobility in Europe. John at one point was captured and exiled, yet managed to return and had several of his enemies hung for their parts in his exile. John went on to die a natural death, but unfortunately Benedict was not as fortunate. Only a year and a half after being elected Pope, a priest named Crescentius I– brother of the late Pope John XIII– was ordered to capture, and later strangle Benedict VI to death.

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Along with being Pope for only a very short eight months, John XXI was also a practicing physician and a prolific writer, writing on subjects such as logic, philosophy and medicine. It seems a fitting tribute then that John XXI would be immortalized in Dante’s classic epic poem, the Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia). He is actually the only Pope shown to live in Paradise. But to get to paradise, John XXI met with an unfortunate accident. Shortly after a new wing was added to his Palace in Viterbo, Italy, a section of the poorly constructed roof collapsed in on him while he was asleep in his bed. He died of his injuries eight days later.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/04/03/top-10-popes-who-died-violently/

Top 10 Truly Badass Saints

We all think of Saints as quiet and holy people – but history is full of some pretty amazing and curious people who came to be canonized. This list looks at ten of the toughest saints to have walked the earth – men and women who not only lived holy lives, but kicked some serious butt at the same time. For those of you who don’t know the specifics of what sainthood is, here is a brief summary before we start on the list. A saint is a person who lived a life of virtue. Many saints from the early Church are saints by general acclamation – in other words, they were so popular that they simply came to be known as saints. But, from very early on in Christianity, a saint was declared as such by the Pope (or in the case of martyrs, by the local Bishop). Literally, the term “saint” refers to any person who is in Heaven – not just those so named by the Church. But enough of the details – here are ten saints you don’t want to meet in a dark alley.

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I bet you weren’t expecting to see St Francis on this list. St Francis is best remembered in popular culture as the animal patron – the saint who could talk to animals and sooth wild beasts. While it is true that there were many reports of miracles regarding animals in St Francis’ life, he is more revered in the Church because of his strict poverty, stigmata and efforts to fix problems in the Church during a time of crisis. But what most people don’t know (including many religious people) is that St Francis was so devout in his beliefs that he raced off to Egypt in 1219 to become a martyr – he hoped that he would convert a bunch of muslims and then be killed. That was a hope that nearly came true!

St Francis was received by Sultan Melek-el-Kamel, whom he wanted to convert, and suggested that his muslim scholars undergo a test of true religion by fire. They all refused, so St Francis offered to enter a fire pit and, if he was able to leave it unharmed, they would have to agree that God had protected him and that his was, therefore, the true religion. The sultan rejected his offer but was so impressed that he gave St Francis permission to preach Christianity unhindered in his lands – an incredible concession considering the nation was in the middle of fighting against crusaders from the west. This saint was definitely a man of steel.

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Saint Louis was the King of France from 1226 until his death in 1270, and is the only canonized King of France. He was crowned King at only 12 years old, following the death of his father, King Louis VIII. Because of his youth, his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled France as regent during his minority. He went on two crusades during his lifetime, one in his mid thirties, and the other in his mid 50′s, which is no mean feat when you consider how bloody and violent they could be. The first began with the capture of Port Damietta in 1249, and went on to the Battle of Fariskur, where he lost his army and was captured by the Egyptians. He was only released after a ransom of 400,000 livres tournois was paid (nearly twice France’s annual revenue), and the return of the city of Damietta.

Perhaps most significant for the badassness of King Louis was that the whole time he was battling, he was wearing a cilice (a sharp metal chain worn tightly to cause pain and sometimes bleeding) around the legs or waist. So when everyone else was suffering because of battle scars, the King was suffering twice. His end was to come in his second crusade when he died – as all good kings do – in the midst of a bloody battle.

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St George is undoubtedly amongst the most well known saints on this list. He was a third century Roman soldier and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. He is regarded as the most prominent military saint and is one of the most revered in the Western World. George was raised as a Christian and decided at a young age that he wanted to be a soldier. He joined Diocletian’s army and, before long, was one of the finest soldiers around. Some time later Diocletian decided that all soldiers who were Christians had to renounce their faith and become pagan. George refused (I am sure you all see where this is going). Diocletian tried to convince him to convert because he didn’t want to lose his best soldier but George refused.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords, in which he was resuscitated three times (pretty damned badass), George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on April 23, 303.

But most of all he is a badass because he killed a dragon or so the legend goes. Here is the story of St George and the Dragon:

“In the fully developed Western version, which developed as part of the Golden Legend, a dragon or Crocodile makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of “Silene” (perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya or the city of Lydda, depending on the source. Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.” [Source]

Saint Ignatius Loyola In Armour

Ignatius of Loyola (Basque: Ignazio Loiolakoa, Spanish: Ignacio de Loyola) (1491 – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537 and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and was its first Superior General. St Ignatius was an incredibly brilliant Knight who fought in many battles without any injuries, until one fateful day. On May 20, 1521, a cannonball wounded one of his legs and broke the other. Unperturbed, he got up and hobbled back to the castle. He needed surgery which was undertaken without anesthesia – a treatment that most modern folk would balk at. Part of his leg bone had to be cut off, and the operation was generally a disaster. But, despite the fact that he ended up with one leg shorter than the other (which led the doctors to put weights on his leg to stretch it back out), he survived and went on to found one of the most famous religious orders in the world (inspired by the religious texts he read while recovering from the cannonball).

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Saint Simeon Stylites lived for 37 years standing on top of a small platform on a tall pillar. That is sufficient to label him badass. Before this he spent 40 days closed in a tiny hut without any food or water. When he walked out it was hailed as a miracle. Pilgrims flocked to see St Simeon and they erected taller pillars for him to stand on – in the end his pillar was 15 meters high. He lived off goat’s milk and flat bread – provided by local children. He refused to let any women come near the pillar (including his mother) and he would let people climb a ladder to talk to him and ask for advice.

St Simeon truly cemented his name in the annals of badass history when he got an ulcer on his thigh which festered and ultimately led to his death – standing up.

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“Forward! They are ours!” That was the battle cry of Saint Joan of Arc, the young virgin who led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII.

In one battle, Saint Joan was hit in the neck by an arrow. Unlike most men in war, she didn’t take it lying down; she got right back up, pulled out the arrow and continued to lead the army. In another battle, whilst scaling a wall to attack the English, she was hit in the head with a canon ball – as is to be expected of a warrior saint, she shook her head and kept climbing. Her leadership (and battle style, which was 100% attack) shattered the English Army wherever it met her.

She was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court and burned at the stake when she was nineteen years old. 25 years later the Pope (Pope Callixtus III) investigated the trial at the request of Saint Joan’s mother, Isabelle Romée, and the Inquisitor General overturned it and declared that Joan was a martyr. It took 500 years before she was officially canonized. Oh – and contrary to popular belief, St Joan didn’t dress in men’s clothing – she fought all of her battles in a dress with armor over the top.

St Vladimir

Which saint had hundreds of concubines, multiple wives from around the world, so many children that everyone lost count, and an army of pagans? St Vladimir of Kiev did! Vladimir was the grand prince of Kiev, who converted to Christianity in 988, but before his conversion he was a pretty mean (not to mention profligate) guy. From the start of his reign in 980, he conquered lands, slaughtered people, had children and generally partied hard. On a few occasions he, being a good Pagan, took part in human sacrifices:

“In 983, after another of his military successes, Prince Vladimir and his army thought it necessary to sacrifice human lives to the gods. A lot was cast and it fell on a youth, Ioann by name, the son of a Christian, Fyodor. His father stood firmly against his son being sacrificed to the idols. More than that, he tried to show the pagans the futility of their faith: ‘Your gods are just plain wood: it is here now but it may rot into oblivion tomorrow; your gods neither eat, nor drink, nor talk and are made by human hand from wood; whereas there is only one God — He is worshiped by Greeks and He created heaven and earth; and your gods? They have created nothing, for they have been created themselves; never will I give my son to the devils!’”

Interestingly, it was this speech which caused Vladimir to ponder over the next few years as to whether he ought to convert to Christianity, which he ultimately did. He ruled so kindly after his conversion that he became known as Vladimir the Great – a far cry from his previous life.

Moses The Black

St Moses the Black was a slave of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. He became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley, spreading terror and violence. He was a large, imposing figure. On one occasion a man caught him in a theft, which annoyed St Moses immensely. The next day he swam across the Nile (a not insignificant act) with a knife in his mouth – his intention was the kill the guy. When he got to his home the guy had fled (having obviously heard some of Moses’ previous exploits). St Moses, instead, killed four of his sheep before sticking the knife back in his mouth and swimming back. Shortly after that the law started to catch up with him so he hid in a monastery. The influence of the monks was so great that he converted and became a monk.

But the story doesn’t end there. Some years later a group of thieves wanted to rob the monastery where St Moses was living. He caught them off guard and single handedly beat them all to a pulp. He dragged their bloodied bodies to the chief monk to ask what to do (knowing it wasn’t a monkly thing to kill them). The head of the monastery said to forgive them and send them away, which surprised the robbers so much that they all apologized, converted and became monks too! He eventually died at the hands of a group of warriors who attacked the monastery when he was 75 years old – but not before he managed to help 70 of the monks escape. St Moses chose to stay behind with a few other monks to fight off the warriors.

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St Longinus was a soldier in the Roman army, from Caesarea. He spent his life earning his pension by fighting with his fellow soldiers throughout the Roman lands, and eventually ended up in Jerusalem helping out with various tasks he was capable of (he was nearly blind). One of the tasks was to be life changing. St Longinus was instructed to assist at the crucifixion of Jesus. Being a good Roman soldier he took his work seriously and, ensuring that he get a promotion for doing a good job, stabbed Jesus in the side while he was on the cross. In other words, Longinus stabbed God. It takes a true badass to have the guts to do something like that.

Blood and water flowed out from the stab wound and some of it got in Longinus’ eyes. His blindness vanished and he declared “Indeed, this was the Son of God!” [Mark 15:39]. He immediately left the army, converted and became a monk. Not long after he was arrested for his faith, his teeth ripped out and tongue cut off. However, St. Longinus continued to speak clearly and managed to destroy several idols in the presence of the governor, who consequently had Longinus beheaded. His relics are now in the church of St Augustine, in Rome, and the lance he used to stab Jesus is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peter’s in Rome.

Saintquiteria

This entry is number one on the list for not just the badassness of St Quiteria, but the downright weird circumstances of her life. St Quiteria was one of nine sisters all born at the same time (nonuplets). The nine girls’ mother was a lady of high rank and she was disgusted that she had given birth to nine children like a common animal and even more so that she had nine daughters and no son (son’s were far more valuable). In a fit of rage, she demanded that her nurse take the babies and drown them in the river. The nurse couldn’t do it so she took them to a remote village where the girls grew up together. Then things get really weird. They formed a nonuplet warrior gang.

The girls were all good Christians and their gang was formed to travel around breaking Christians out of jail. They spent a number of years in this task (and smashing Roman idols) until they were caught and returned to their father, who recognized them. He told them all to marry good Roman pagans but they refused and broke out of jail. Then the real badass began. They waged a guerilla war against the Roman Empire. Eventually, the girls were all killed or died (Quiteria was beheaded) and along with Quiteria, two of her sisters Marina and Liberata are saints.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/01/30/top-10-truly-badass-saints/

10 Wacky Biblical Conspiracy Theories

We’re guessing you’ve heard of the Bible. The founding text of a little something known as Christianity, it sets out the guiding principles of Jesus’s teachings, offers advice for life, and gives the craziest people on the internet something else to project their madness onto. And it turns out that for every regular Christian drawing inspiration from the Bible, there are tons of lunatics using it to turn their collective insanity up to 11. Here are 10 Biblical conspiracy theories so flat-out bizarre they’d make Dan Brown weep.

10 God Owns An Awesome Spaceship

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The book of Ezekiel is kind of a big deal in Biblical lore. Not only is it frequently cited by the most badass Christian in history, it’s also home to some breathlessly poetic descriptions of awe-inspiring visions. One in particular, in Ezekiel 1, represents one of the most remarkable moments in the Bible outside of Revelations—a grand passage that overwhelms the reader with the magnificence of God and all his power. That is, unless you happen to believe in conspiracy theories, in which case it overwhelms them with a big flying spaceship.

The scene starts with the narrator in exile, just chilling by the riverside, when suddenly the heavens open and a frightening contraption descends—a monstrous thing of “wheels within wheels” and lots of fire. Since this doesn’t sound exactly Biblical, proponents of the ancient astronaut theory have frequently jumped on this as a description of a spaceship from someone who didn’t have the vocabulary to describe one.

All of which sounds pretty convincing, until you actually read Ezekiel 1 and discover that he’s quite accurately describing a chair. Specifically, the throne of God, which is described in the exact same way elsewhere without any references to flying or fire or anything that’d make you automatically think “spaceship!”

9 The Tower of Babel Was A WMD

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We all know the story of the Tower of Babel—a gigantic structure built by man in an attempt to reach the heavens. But there are some who believe it was actually a rocket-mounted hydrogen bomb designed by Nimrod to destroy any meteorites God threw at them via his city-sized Stargate.

Just to be clear, this isn’t a wacko theory posited by a single nutjob. It appears in various forms on a number of blogs across the Internet, and always involves the same basic mish-mash of ideas. The first is that ancient beings had left behind a pile of super-mega missiles that humanity stumbled across and decided to use; the second is that they planned to use it to attack God (for varying reasons); and the third is that heaven confused their languages to stop them from attacking. In short, it’s simply a reprise of the original story that adds nothing of value except sexing it up to include a massive H-Bomb.

If anything, it probably detracts from the original, because while building an impossible tower is a nice metaphor for humanity’s hubris, accidentally stumbling across a city-vaporizing bomb from the future isn’t a metaphor for, well, anything.

8 Jesus Called Barack Obama ‘Satan’

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It’s no secret that Obama isn’t exactly the most popular president in history. Too warmongering for lefties and too socialist for those on the right, he’s clearly got a few problems. The biggest of these may be that Jesus once openly referred to him as Satan.

It’s true: Luke 10:18 in full reads “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Now, if you incorrectly translate that sentence into Hebrew, the words “lightning” and “heaven” become Barq and Bamah (or Shamayim if you do it correctly). Say them fast enough and it sounds like “Barak Bamah.” And that in turn sounds like “Barack Obama”—meaning Jesus just heavily implied that the 44th President of the United States is literally Satan.

At least he did if you completely ignore the other words in the sentence, the ones that come between “lightning” and “heaven.” And if you mistranslate “heaven.” And if you ignore the “O” at the start of “Obama,” and ignore the fact that taking any two random words and translating them into Hebrew will probably result in something that sounds a little bit like something else. But hey, don’t let that get in the way of your belief.

7 The Bible Is A Computer Program

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Looking for patterns in the Bible is nothing new. Ancient scholars did it. Isaac Newton did it. Dan Brown made millions doing it (sort of). So what could possibly be crazier than a bunch of guys using computers to analyze random Bible words for clues to the future? Well, how about a bunch of random guys using computers to prove that the Bible is secretly an ancient computer program?

That last link, by the way, will take you to a website so overloaded with insanity there’s a very real chance it’ll crash either your mind or computer (or both). The idea it puts forward is that there is a mathematical code embedded in the original Hebrew of the Bible that was encoded with a “time lock” to stop people from opening it until the late 20th century, and that whoever cracks that code will have the key to unlocking the cryptogram of the universe. In other words: The universe is a giant computer and the Bible is the ancient program that will give us absolute control over it, something that was conspicuously used as a plot point in the ’90s thriller The Omega Code.

So how do we go about using this super-powered program? Well, according to the website above, things are already in motion. They’ve been looking through the Bible for clues, and by their calculations, the code should be cracked sometime around the year . . . 2006.

6 Sodom And Gomorrah Were Destroyed By A Nuclear Bomb

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The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a contentious one to say the least. Depending on whether you’ve bothered to read Ezekiel 16:49-50, it’s either about God blowing up a city for refusing to help the poor and needy, or (if you haven’t) because he really, really hates gay people. On the other hand, it could just be about a city wiped out in an ancient nuclear attack.

The idea goes that some ancient aliens were in the middle of civil war when one side decided to unleash nuclear death on the other. Lot—the sole survivor of the Bible’s most infamous conflagration—was an alien spy saved when his masters told him to leave the strike zone. His wife was turned to salt by the force of the blast and the resultant fallout explains both the Dead Sea and the general aridity of the region. It’s such a neat little theory that you almost want to believe it—until you realize it makes absolutely no sense.

5 Jesus Invented The Internet

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Ask anyone on the Internet today who was responsible for inventing it and they’ll (rightly) answer “Al Gore.” But it turns out that the former Vice President was stretching the truth a little bit more than we thought when he made that claim. According to a number of theories out there, the first person to actually dream up the Internet was none other than Jesus.

Now, since most of us probably don’t remember from Sunday school the scene where Jesus was forced to invent both computers and telecommunications before tackling the Internet, we’d better back up and explain. The idea isn’t that Jesus literally built the Internet—that would be silly—but that he predicted it with unerring accuracy, sort of like how people give Jules Verne and H.G. Wells credit for “inventing” stuff they dreamed up for their books.

It’s all thanks to the Parable of the Net,a fisherman-based story in Matthew that functions as an allegory for the Final Judgement, but is actually predicting the Internet—because “the net” is 1990s slang for “the Internet.” Honestly, that’s about as much rationale as these people give, although there are some interesting attempts out there to prove how a man from ancient Galilee talking about fishing is really describing modern broadband. We’ll let you have a read and decide for yourselves.

4 The Bible Contains Evidence Of Time Travel

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Time travel is one of those things we all so desperately want to be real that we’ll look for evidence of it anywhere. And you better believe that includes the Bible. A year or so ago, the conspiracy TV show Ancient Aliens even devoted a whole segment of its show to “proving” that the prophet Jeremiah had witnessed an incident of time travel.

But this is a far from the delusions of a lone nut: Across the Internet, endless videos and pages exist claiming the Bible not only describes time travel, it also shows you how to abuse it. That last link in particular will take you to a site that seems to claim God both invented time travel and then gave the power to Hitler, specifically so he could go back to the pioneer days and murder early white settlers (because we all know how much Hitler hated white people). Sure it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the beauty of conspiracy theories: They don’t have to.

3 Noah Came From Mars

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Thanks to the absolute lack of evidence to support the idea of a globe-destroying super-flood, it’s already pretty niche to believe that the Genesis account of Noah is anything but an awesome myth. But niche doesn’t even begin to describe the guys in this entry. See, not only do they believe that the story of Noah literally happened, they believe it literally happened on Mars.

Although the theory has many variations, the basic idea seems to be that a cataclysm threatened Mars—like, for example, a planet-destroying flood—that forced Martian leader Noah to escape in a spaceship containing a handful of Martian animals and plants, which he later used to colonize the Earth. In some versions this involves genetic manipulation, in others it simply involves landing on another planet and gallivanting about like some sort of bearded Xenu. In other words, it’s an insane hodgepodge of nonsense disguised as some sort of sci-fi fairytale. Kind of like Scientology, when you think about it.

2 The Garden Of Eden Is Hidden Under Kansas City (And Inhabited By Nazis)

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People have wasted a lot of time and energy trying to find the location of the Garden of Eden. Wasted because, A) it probably doesn’t exist in a literal sense, and B) if it does, it’s guarded by an immortal being wielding a sword of fire. Oh, and also because it’s already been discovered—1,200 kilometers (800 mi) below Jackson County, Missouri.

Well, at least according to this theory, which also states that it’s currently inhabited by aliens and members of the Nazi party. The idea is an offshoot of the Hollow Earth theory we’ve covered elsewhere, combined with a load of Christian imagery, UFO lore, and seemingly anything else that occurred to the author during a late-night drinking session.

In essence, it’s like the perfect mix of conspiracy theories: a load of self-contradictory nonsense that flies in the face of both established science and established Bible scholarship. The only thing it lacks is the assertion that a leading Biblical character is some sort of weird space alien.

1 Jesus Was A Space Monster

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The main problem with the ancient astronaut theory is that once you start applying it to the Bible, it leads to only one outcome: that Jesus Christ—historical religious leader, Son of God, and meddlesome End Times prophet—was a human-alien hybrid placed on Earth by intergalactic warlords to freak us out with futuristic technology.

You can probably guess the idea behind this one. The virgin birth was a genetic implant. The “miracles” of Jesus were simply alien tech (we’re intrigued to hear how this explains the miracle of the pigs; feel free to suggest ideas below). The missing 30 years of Jesus’s life were spent on the mothership, learning how to manipulate humans. All so he could . . . what, exactly? Start a religion? Get crucified? Hang out with Mary Magdalene and get up to some hijinks while he was at it?

However you look at it, the “Jesus was an alien hybrid” theory doesn’t even begin to tiptoe around the edges of making sense—all it does is take one unexplainable mystery and replace it with a load of pseudoscience dressed up with inexplicable scenes of sci-fi insanity. Sure, it’s essentially harmless, but that fact that people genuinely believe this is somehow terrifying.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/12/27/10-wacky-biblical-conspiracy-theories/

10 Roadside Attractions Ordained By God

Having spent an eternity in management, God knows that being a good delegator is the cornerstone of success. Anyone who’s read the Bible knows that some of his requests are bizarre (like the time he told Hosea to marry a prostitute and name his kid “Not My People”), but who really wants to question God when he tells you to do something? Some people took their “divine assignments” so seriously and with such devotion that we can’t help but marvel at their resulting splendor as we discover them while along America’s roads.

10 The Minister’s Treehouse

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Maybe because the ark was so 2500 B.C., or maybe because the minister was already living atop fairly high ground, God instructed Horace Burgess to build him a tree house. Begun in 1993, Burgess’s structure is now 30 meters (90 ft) tall and contains 80 rooms, including a bell tower and a basketball court. Burgess claims to have spent only $12,000 on its construction, and God has promised he will never run out of wood.

The Minister’s Treehouse was once open to the public but has been closed by order of the local fire marshal. Apparently, the marshal is unaware that the house’s original certificate of occupancy was issued by a much higher authority.

9 Jesus Is Coming To An Alien Planet Near You

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Following a miraculous recovery in 1917 from what should have been a life-ending accident in the Kentucky coal mines, Harrison Mayes could only think of one way to repay God: He would plant homemade concrete signs and crosses along the roadside in 44 states. Some merely encouraged the passersby to “Get Right With God,” while others offered the disclaimer, “If You Go To Hell, It’s Your Fault.”

Later in life, Mayes must have decided that his message needed a larger audience and began labeling his signs with directions like, “To Be Erected on Planet Jupiter.” He signed them P.A.E., which stood for “Planetary Aviation Evangelist.” If interplanetary concrete missions work doesn’t pull down some serious rewards in heaven, then God only knows what does.

8 Grotto Of The Redemption

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The Virgin Mary is also a fan of large and interesting building projects—or maybe she just steps in when God is busy with his multitude of other bizarre projects. Whatever the case, when Mary was kind enough to spare Father Paul Dobberstein from pneumonia in 1912, he promised to build her the largest grotto in the world. In Iowa. Because as long as you’re going to spend 42 years sculpting an enormous pile of rocks to depict nine scenes in the life of Jesus, why not do it in Iowa?

Father Dobberstein traveled far and wide in search of jewels for his monument, which included a chunk of the North Pole and a few cave formations that he “borrowed” from Carlsbad Caverns when no one was looking. He hired men from the local pool hall to help, paying them in both beer and cash. In 1954, Dobberstein went on to build grottoes in heaven, but work continues on the Grotto of the Redemption to this day. For employment inquiries, please report to the local pool hall and be willing to accept liquid currency and a virgin’s blessing.

7 Paradise Garden

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Created in the ’60s by preacher and bicycle repairman Howard Finster, Paradise Garden once served as a fantastical showroom for the 5,000 paintings Finster had promised God he would create. A true overachiever, not only did Finster paint over 46,000 religious pieces in his lifetime, he turned acres of Georgia swampland into a small village made entirely of recycled objects. His subjects included Christianity, creation, and of course, mechanical objects—because robots were the only thing the Bible was missing.

Finster’s faith was tested when his work became famous through R.E.M. album covers and Johnny Carson appearances. His sudden discovery showed him that his sacredly sanctioned art was folk art and that he could sell it for lots of money.

6 The Triple Cross Challenge

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Ever wondered why roadside crosses often come in threes? The majority of these cross clusters are the work of Reverend Bernard Coffindaffer, a Methodist minister who claimed that the Holy Spirit appeared to him following open-heart surgery in the early ’80s and told him to get to work erecting crosses along our nation’s highways. Coffindaffer convinced landowners to donate over 2,000 sites in the US and abroad to the building of these monuments and spent over $3 million of his own money on materials. He did all of this in just nine years before his death in 1992.

5 Cano’s Beer Can “Jesus” Castle

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Jesus did come back, and he’s living in Colorado, according to a Native American, Vietnam War veteran who goes by the name of Cano. Having spent 30 years creating a gleaming masterpiece made up of over 100,000 beer and soda cans, along with other pieces of scrap metal, Cano credits Jesus himself for the work as well as “Vitamin Mary Jane.”

Jesus has been living here since 1987, when Cano, who lives across the street in a trailer, says they became neighbors. Cano’s plan is to eventually talk Jesus into going to Washington with him so that he can back Cano up while Cano lists his grievances to the president.

4 God’s Ark Of Safety

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According to Pastor Richard Greene of Frostburg, Maryland, Jesus instructed him to build a new ark. He also told the pastor to build this ark next to the interstate to warn people that he was coming back.
Either way, people will definitely take note when this hulking, biblical-scale behemoth casts its shadow across their morning commute.

Although Greene’s vision occurred in 1976, God’s newest ark is currently just a huge steel frame. The pastor claims that it will cost another $20–30 million to complete, but he assures everyone that those steel beams already have healing properties and will eventually contain a gymnasium, theater, and a conference center.

3 Salvation Mountain

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For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have Jesus as a neighbor or to live near steel beams with magical powers, a trip to the middle of the California desert might still save our souls. Just up the road from the abandoned Salton Sea, a three-story bluff covers the expanse of a football field and proclaims God’s love in Technicolor splendor.

This sinner’s beacon, adorned with colorful Bible verses and psalms, was created by Leonard Knight, who began the project in 1967 after seeing “the light.” At first, he thought God wanted him to stitch a hot air balloon together from scraps of fabric, but after years of failed attempts to inflate it, Leonard decided to make God a little monument instead. Thirty years later, he was still adding to it (using adobe, tires, and more painted scriptures) with a devotion that even an atheist might credit to divine inspiration.

2 Holy Land USA

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Perhaps you’d like your own mission from God, but you’re afraid to start with a mere dirt mound in the desert. If so, this abandoned biblical amusement park may be the calling you’ve been waiting for. Located in Waterbury, Connecticut, Holy Land USA was the brainchild of evangelist John Greco, who built the park in the ’50s after he received a message from God. Much like the other artistic visionaries on this list, Greco fashioned his park out of recycled materials like old plywood, chicken wire, bathtubs, tin siding, and fragments of religious statues.

Leading guests through replicas of a biblical-era Holy Land, which began with the Garden of Eden and included fun places to hang out like “The Catacombs,” the theme park experienced a surge of popularity in the ’60s and ’70s. Following Greco’s death in 1986, Holy Land fell into disrepair, and God was left to take his message elsewhere, abandoning the project altogether when The Flaming Lips filmed a video from their album, “A Priest Driven Ambulance” amid the park’s crumbling ruins in 1991.

1 The Second Coming House

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If all else fails, prophet Isaiah Robertson is dutifully preparing us for the coming Rapture in 2014. Using his house and property as a canvas, he channels God’s message using bright colors and cutout wooden symbols. A 7.6-meter (25 ft) cross stands next to the house, also a kaleidoscope of layers and shapes, which is the exact height Jesus will be when he returns, says Isaiah.

Prophet Isaiah is quite chipper when he warns visitors that they might burn in hell for all of eternity, and everyone who drops by gets the same warm-hearted tour. According to Isaiah, his colorful home is one of the last things we’ll see on the way to becoming either a sheep or a goat during the Rapture. At least if we never make it to any of the other sights mentioned on this list, the good news is that we’ll still catch a glimpse of this one, if only in passing—on our way to becoming flaming goats swimming in lava below Jesus’s prodigious feet.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/10/06/10-roadside-attractions-ordained-by-god/