Background notes

While the stories 'For Love's Sake' and 'Beyond Infinity' are strictly works of fiction, a number of historical facts were researched as inspiration for characters and events mentioned.

Solar eclipse 1994

Solar eclipse 1994The solar eclipse, mentioned in the story, did occur on May 10, 1994. However, it was nowhere near as dramatic as the account in the story. The actual eclipse was an annular eclipse—where the Moon's apparent diameter appears smaller than the Sun's. As a result, most, but not all of the sun's rays, are blocked causing the sun to look like a ring. Its trajectory took the viewable ecliptic effect over Baja California, across the USA, and into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia

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Teotihuacán

TeotihuacanTeotihuacán, or as one translation says, 'the place where men become gods', became a very large and important Mesoamerican city for many centuries. Even today its history and many of the findings in the pyramids or grounds remain shrouded in mystery.

It is unknown which culture initiated the site, almost 3000 years ago, but it is likely that numerous Mesoamerican cultures were involved over time. The three pyramids at Teotihuacan are—the Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, and Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent. To construct these structures—their location, orientation, and other engineering/architectural properties indicate that the builders had advanced knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering principals.

A number of puzzling finds have been made in and around the structures there for which numerous interpretations could be applied. A large quantity of Mica from Brazil was used in the interior of the Pyramid of the Sun. Today, we know this material is stable in the presence of an electric field (insulator) as well as numerous chemicals, is also capable of supporting an electrostatic field, and can withstand high temperatures. Why it was used in such great quantities in the structure of this pyramid remains a Quetzalcóatlmystery.

Beneath the Temple of Feathered Serpent, hidden in a long chamber, hundreds of mysterious orbs were discovered. These golden-colored orbs get their color from oxidized jarosite, a rather uncommon mineral. The reason they were made is unknown.

In November 2014 a significant quantity of mercury was also discovered in the chamber under this pyramid along with statues of carved jade, carved shells and rubber balls. Once again, the reason for its existence there is unknown.

The city came to an end around 700 CE though the details of what actually occurred are still unclear. Currently, two explanations are favored—the first, it was destroyed in a devastating fire of unknown origin; the second, it was burned by unknown invaders.

 

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Quetzalcóatl, Maya name Kukulkán

QuetzacoalThe veneration of a plumed/feathered serpent or a dragon/dragon-like creature is one of the oldest and universally recognized religious symbols. Considered a universal religion because of numerous representations, which have been associated with countless civilizations, drawings or images in caves and on rocks, have depicted the earliest acknowledgment or veneration of this deity. This creature has taken predominantly two forms—a snake with feathers, or a dragon.

Development of the Chinese dragon as a powerful spirit is believed to have begun in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE-1046 BCE). It existed as a supernatural power and was worshiped as a two-pawed serpent creature that could fly.

The Feathered Serpent was an important supernatural being of the Mesoamerican religion. The Olmec’s venerated the Sky Dragon (or ‘Dragon’, or simply a letter representing this deity) as one of the creator deities. The earliest representations of a feathered serpent appear in the Olmec culture around 1400 BCE. It is represented in carvings, drawings and in a painting in the Juxtlahuaca cave. Names such as Kukulkan, Quetzalcoatl, and others, are names for the same being used by various Mesoamerican cultures.

A number of Native American tribes also have snake-deity stories. Awanyu, a friendly deity, is associated with the Pueblo Native Americans.

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Paris Catacombs

CatacombsThe Paris catacombs are a 200-mile network of old caves, tunnels and quarries - and much of it is filled with the skulls and bones of the dead. The Cemetery of the Innocents (near Saint-Eustache, in the area of Les Halles) had been in use for nearly ten centuries and had become a source of infection for the inhabitants of the locality. After numerous complaints, the Council of State decided, on November 9th 1785, to prohibit further use of the Cemetery of the Innocents and to remove its contents.

Disused quarries were chosen to receive the remains; the City of Paris had in fact just completed a general inspection of the quarries, in order to strengthen the public highways undermined by them. Building work was done on the “Tombe-Issoire” quarry, using large quantities of stone, strengthening the galleries and completed by digging out a staircase, flanked by a well into which the bones could be thrown.

The transfer of the remains could begin after the blessing and consecration of the site on April 7th 1786, and it continued until 1788, always at nightfall and following a ceremony whereby a procession of priests in surplices sang the service for the dead along the route taken by the carts loaded with bones, which were covered by a black veil. Then, until 1814, the site received the remains from all the cemeteries of Paris.

Philibert Aspairt (died 1793) was a doorkeeper of the Val-de-Grâce hospital during the French Revolution. He died iCatacombsn the underground Catacombs of Paris in November of 1793 after entering them via a staircase located in the hospital courtyard. His motives are unknown. His body was not discovered until 1804, 11 years later, in one of the quarry galleries and was buried where it was found. The cause of his death was never determined. Aspairt might have been identified by the hospital key ring hanging from his belt.

His tomb is in the restricted part of the Paris catacombs, under the rue Henri Barbusse, next to the boulevard Saint-Michel.

Further Reading

National Geographic

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Codices

The Paris codicesThe codex represents one of the earliest forms of traditional, indigenous Mesoamerican writings. An estimate places the earliest date for the creation of these writings around the mid-first-millennium BCE. The subjects of these codices addressed matters of religion, astronomy, seasons, rulers and battles. Very few of the ancient codices survived the Spanish destruction of these early cultures. One such surviving codex is located in Paris. It was (as the story goes) rescued in 1859 from a basket by the fire place by Léon de Rosny. Today, the Paris Codex is currently held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, in the Département des Manuscrits, cataloged as Mexican,  386.

 

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Neanderthal Beheadings

The reference for the Neanderthal beheadings, mentioned in this story came from a February 9, 1930, article, published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner from Ogden, Utah, page 29. In February of that year, several other newspapers in the USA also reported the archeological finding of ten pre-Neanderthal male skeletons in a limestone bed near Peiping, China. Nine of the ten skeletons had been beheaded with something sharp though nothing identifiable as a weapon was found with them. The tenth skeleton showed damage but had not lost his head. Archeologist speculated as to the reason this group was found as they were (a group beheading). It was estimated that these individuals were beheaded at least 25,000 years ago—or more than 8,000 years before metal was forged into anything that could even be considered a pseudo-sword. A number of possible stone, bone, or other material weapons were postulated.

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Volcano eruption, 1994

Volcano eruptionMexico has a number of active volcanoes. One of these—Popocatépetl, is considered the most active. This volcano did erupt in 1994—the year this story is addressing—though not in the same month. Its eruption on December 21, 1994, caused the evacuation of nearby towns

 

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Llullaillaco

Llullaillaco

The stratovolcano Llullaillaco is located on the Northern Chile/Bolivia and Argentina borders are considered an active volcano. It was created I the Pleistocene period and repeatedly built on even in modern times. Significant eruptions have occurred in 1854 (mentioned in this story), 1868, and 1877.

In 1983–85 American archeologist, Dr. Johan Reinhard discovered Inca remains on the summit and the slopes of Llullaillaco. Though, it wasn't until 1999, that the discovery of three 500-year-old frozen mummies was made, near the summit. The mummies were buried with numerous objects.

 

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Llamas

Llama

Llamas were many things to many cultures. Urcuchillay, mentioned in the story, was a friendly god worshiped by Inca headers. It was thought to be a special multicolored llama who functioned as a protector spirit, watching over animals. It is associated with the constellation Lyra.

 

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Aztec Stone Calendar

CalendarThe stone calendar, mentioned in this story, is a system of three interlacing calendars and almanacs which were used by several pre-Columbian Central America cultures, notably the Aztec and Maya civilizations. Various versions of the classic calendar have been in use beginning around about 2000 BCE. The calendar is composed of the Long Count divine calendar of 2,880,000 days (Tzolkin) and a civil calendar of (Haab). The last day of the current cycle ending on the twenty-first of December, 2012. The Aztec, Maya, Inca all had beliefs that the Long Count is an astronomical calendar which was used to track longer periods of time, what the Maya called the universal cycle. Each such cycle is calculated to be 2,880,000 days (about 7885 solar years). The Mayans believed that the universe is destroyed and then re Time is cyclic – created at the start of each universal cycle.

 

 

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