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Chispology 4: Agastya


chisp cover

Continuing the serialization of

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a few more of the world’s greatest mysteries… are finally solved

Available to buy in book form

Autumn 2018


In the last chapter I brushed almost incidentally upon the fact that Jesus was a poet who, while in India, was responsible for (among other things) the Bhagavad Gita. In this, the next chapter of my chispological investigations, I would like to return to my Indian Jesus in order to introduce further avatars of that most remarkable man. We begin with a Persian text known as the Siraj-ul-Maluk (1306), which reads;

 Where is Isa, the Ruhullah, and, the Kalimatullah, who was the leader of the righteous, and the chief of travelers?

 Here we have Isa, the Islamic name for Jesus, clearly described as the ‘Ruhullah’ from ‘Kalimatullah.’ This latter name philochisps into Cholamandalam which means ‘realm of the Cholas,’ an Indian dynasty who ruled over the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu. This is the clear & startling evidence that at some point Jesus – the ‘chief of travelers – lived in southern India. A near identical version of ‘Ruhullah’ can  be found in a Buddhist scripture known as the Vinaya Pitaka, in which a section called the Mahawaga records a future successor to the Buddha who would go by the name of ‘Rahula.’ Furthermore, the mother of this man was a certain ‘Magdaliyana,’ whose name we can easily see transchispering into the Mary Magdelane of the Gospels.

The statue of Thiruvalluvar, off India's southernmost point
The statue of Thiruvalluvar, off India’s southernmost point

There is more, I am a both a student & a translator of the great body of didactic Kural composed by the Tamil saint, Thiruvalluvar, round about the age of Christ. When we drop the ‘Thi’ element from Thuiruvalluvar’s name – which is the Tamil version of the Sanskrit Sri, meaning ‘holy’ or ‘saintly’ – we are left with, ‘Ruvalluvar,’ which is then only a small philochisp away from ‘Ruhullah.’ In the Chisper Effect I showed how Saint Thomas was killed in the very village – Mylapore – that Thiruvalluvar was said to have lived. ‘The first Portuguese historians,’ recorded Father Henry Hosten. ‘say that St. Thomas built his ‘house,’ meaning his church, on the site where a Jogi had his temple.’  This Church was built upon an ancient Hindu site called Kapaleeswara, the ‘eeswara’ element immediately connecting to the ‘Ishavarakrishna’ avatar of our Indian Jesus.

Sensing that Jesus was Thiruvalluvar removes the word ‘coincidence’ from the matter & implies something much more profound. It seems likely that Jesus-Issa had at some point set up some kind of ashram at Mylapore, & that Thomas had journeyed there to study at the feet of his master. Presupposing that Jesus had a hand in the creation of the Kural, it is unclear whether they were his own personal compositions, or the work of some Tamil poet recording his holy wisdom in the same fashion as that which the author of the Matthew Gospel collated the Sermon on the Mount. Tantalisingly, the poetry itself may give us a clue, for the Kural takes, to all extents & purposes, the same form as the Latin epigramme, which had been made extremely popular in the first century AD by poets such as Martial.

That Thomas and Thiruvalluvar are both associated with Mylapore seems no coincidence, especially when we encounter the assemblage of Jesusian sayings known as the Gospel of Thomas. Discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in only in 1945, this obscure Gospel is actually just a collection of 114 brief & wise sayings of Jesus made by a certain ‘Didymus Thomas.’ In the same fashion, the Kural of Thiruvalluvar are presented as brief proverb-like nuggets of wisdom, maintaining a similar air & atmosphere to those of Thomas’ Gospel;

Jesus said, “He who will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.” (GoT)

Around pleasant, intelligent speakers
People swiftly gather (TK)
Jesus said, “Whoever finds the world and becomes rich,
Let him renounce the world.” (GoT)

Prefer destitution’s stark minimalism
Possessions befuddle mind (TK)
Jesus said, “Fortunate is the man who knows where the brigands will enter, so that he may get up, muster his domain, and arm himself before they invade.” (GoT)

Adherence of wise counsel
Frightens our enemies (TK)

Whoever wrote the Kural must have been (i) an excellent poet, (ii) extremely fluent in Tamil & (iii) aware of the Roman epigrams of poets such as Martial, which were so much in vogue in the First Century AD.  It is by placing Jesus-Issa in southern India that allows us to make the following babel-chain, rooted in the Asvaghosha avatar of Jesus-Issa.

Agastya - looks a lot like Jesus
Agastya – looks a lot like Jesus


Agastya was one of the great poet-saints of south India, fitting into our jesus-Issa blueprint quite effortlessly. Of course, a babel-chain is only valid when supported by evidence, & in this instance we may count on the services of a great deal of source material. We begin with the charming story of Agastya found in a text called, ‘The Jatakamala,’ a selection of 4th century collection of Sanskrit tales made by Aryassra concerning the previous births (jati) of the Buddha. In them we find a passafe which has great correspondance with Mir Muhammad bin Khawand Shah Ibn-i-Muhammad’s Hazrat Issa avatar of Jesus;

While staying in the grove of penance, the Great-minded One, being in the habit of giving, continued also honouring the guests that happened to arrive, with such roots and fruits as he had just gathered, with fresh water and such hearty and kind words of welcome and blessings as are appropriate to ascetics, and himself lived on as much of his forest-produced food as his guests had left, strictly limiting his meals to the sustenance of his body Jataka

Hazrat Issa… wore a woollen scarf on his head, and a woollen cloak on his body. He had a stick in his hand; he used to wander from country to country and from city to city. At nightfall he would stay where he was. He ate jungle vegetables, drank jungle water, and went on his travels on foot. Mir Muhammad

 Other pieces which link Agastya to the Jesus Jigsaw include;

(i) The Ramayana describes Agastya as the, ‘brilliantly glowing sage among those sages,’ and the, ‘sun-like radiant sage Agastya.‘ He is said to have had the ability to make his physical body disappear completely and resurrect as a glow of light inside a subtler vibrational field. This act is highly reminiscent of the Transfiguration of Jesus found in the Gospels, which state; ‘Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.’ (Matthew 17:1-2)

(ii) Like Jesus, Agastya was followed by twelve iconic disciples. Abithana Chintamani names them as, ‘Tiranatumakkini alias Tolkappiya Munivar, Atankottacan, Tiralinkan, Cemputcey, Vaiyapikan, Vayppiyan, Panamparan, Kalarampan, Avinayan, Kakkaipatiniyan, Narattan & Vamanan.’ Here we can see Thomas embedded as ‘tuma’ in Tiranatumakkini/Tolkappiyar; Peter embedded as the Latinized ‘patini’ in Kakkaipatiniyan; Nathaniel in Narattan and James embedded in ‘Cemputcey.’ Nathaniel is often identified with Bartholomew, who has known Indian connections. Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History (5:10) states that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia.[10] Popular traditions and legends say that Bartholomew preached the Gospel in India.

(iii) Agastya could render his body in a state of suspended animation at will, a meditative state known as samadhi. Yogic masters slow their breathing and heart rate down to such an extent that they would appear dead to the onlooker. This is surely the most important connection between Agastya and the New testament Jesus, for it tells us the exact way in which the latter avatar survived the Crucifixion. A text known as the Nathanamavali (Nathaniel?), conserved in the Aravalli mountains by a group of ascetics known as Nath Yogis, lend such a notion support by saying, when its says, ‘Isha Natha came to India at the age of fourteen. After this he returned to his own country and began preaching. Soon after, his brutish and materialistic countrymen conspired against him and had him crucified. After crucifixion, or perhaps even before it, Isha Natha entered samadhi by means of yoga.’

Agastya had his traditional stomping grounds in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu; with the Tamil grammatical treatise called the Tolkappiyam, said to have been written by a disciple of Agastya known as Tholkappiyar – who we observed above could have been Thomas! In addition, in Hebrew, the name Bartholomew would be Bar-Tholmai, or Son of Tholmai.

Dated by scholars such as Takanobu Takahashi to the first or second century AD, the Tolkappiyam describes a migration from the north India led by Agastya. The migration began somewhere north of the Vindhya mountains, a range which geographically separates the Indian subcontinent. To this day, all across Tamil Nadi, Agastya remains a highly venerated saint. It is surprising how a northern, Aryan has been taken so much to heart by the Dravidian Tamils, but we must remember we are not dealing with an ordinary man here. The spirit, message and remembrance of Jesus has already crossed multiple international barriers – whether it be through his Judean avatar, or another – and it comes as no surprise to learn that the Tamils have their own version as well.


Tamil Nadu & its beautiful people are very proud of their place in the world – a wee look on the map of India and you can see that Tamil Nadu is remarkably similar to the Irish landmass, in size, and shape, and of course, spirit. This strong sense of patriotic self-identity was born out of repelling a constant stream of invasions from the north, plus several attempts by the various owners of Delhi to impose Hindi as the national Indian language.  India’s southernmost state is a traveler’s dream, and leaving Chennai with Victor Pope in late 2013, we set out on a rattlesnake of a tour across the vasty land of the Indian Tamils. We eventually came to Chidambaram, a town which spreads out for a mile or so in all directions from its centerpiece – the tremendous Nataraja Temple. It is a great feeling being there in the early morning, when the heat is soft and the colours turn pastel in the rising light. A very religious place, it is overseen by white-robed Brahmins, whose hair is tied back and scrunched into buns. Their ancient ancestors were sent there by King Hiranyavarman, his leprosy being healed in the natural spring-waters of the Ghat. This is a beautiful green, fish filled pond, where the Brahmins and orange-clad babas wash themselves (brushing their teeth in the same water), while etched into marble plates all round the ghat is a beautiful selection of Tamil poetry.



After a night’s stay in Chidambaram, I set off the following morning early, catching an 8AM bus to Veeitheswara (Eswara = Ishvara = Jesus), a cute little townlet famous for Nadi Astrology. The originator of the system was of course, Agastya, and for two thousand years the Nadi priests have maintained his philosophies, the core of which state that the past, present and future lives of all humans were foreseen by Hindu sages in ancient times. The Nadi prophecies were written on palm leaves in Vatteluttu, an ancient Tamil script said to be composed by Agastya through divine revelations. While sitting in a small roadside shack at Veeitheswara, eating rice and fish with my hands from a banana leaf, I was happy I had made such a long journey south. All in all, Agastya fits so snugly into the Jesus Jigsaw, his status as an avatar is pretty much ensured. So, after washing my hands and clutching my new lead with relish, I set off eagerly out into the Tamil hinterland in search of more clues.

Following the trail of Agastya would lead us to a certain corner of the Western Ghats, the great chain of mountainsto the west of the Indian peninsular. In ancient Tamil, Pothgai was known as the Podiyil Hill, of which place the Shilappadikaram refers to Agastya as being ‘the great sage.’ Legend describes how Agastya was sent south by the god Siva to counterbalance the effects of so many gods and rishis residing upon Mount Kailash. While Agasyta was at Pothgai, Siva married Parvati in the Himalayas, and forgetting to invite Agastya, the latter became considerably upset about being overlooked on such an important occasion. To make it up to Agastya, Siva and Parvati travelled to the Pothgai and got married all over again, with Agastya being the only guest.

In ancient Tamil, Pothgai was known as the Podiyil Hill, of which place he Shilappadikaram refers to Agastya as being ‘the great sage.’ Agastya is said to have wandered the area searching for natural ingredients to assist his Siddhar medical treatments, and to this day, one can visit 21st century siddhars who will treat a patient with the same ayervedic methods as those used by Agastya two thousand years ago. One of his medicinal preparations – Boopathi Kuligai – could even bring the dead back to life! Although the text is now lost, his medical book is said to have contained instructions for the creation of medicines for multiple ailments, such as fevers, cancers, abdominal problems, and eye problems. This reminds us of the Gospelic Jesus, who is constantly and consistantly praised for his healing powers; treating paralysis, lameness, fevers catalepsy, haemorrhaging, skin diseases and mental disorder. There is also the ‘marhami-i-isa,’ or ointment of Jesus, described by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as being recorded, ‘in hundreds of old medical books,’ which could have come from the Siddhi system. We can also sense a hint of a correlation between the ‘Agastya Rasanayam’ (an ayurvedic cure for asthma)  and the numerous mentions in the 2nd century Jewish Tosefta of cures and charms inscribed with the name of Jesus.

Jesus using ancient Siddar techniques to cure blindness
Jesus using ancient Siddha techniques to cure blindness

Of the many branches of Siddha medicine; Choondu Varma (mesmerism) and  Kirikai Chikisai (psychiatry) could well have been the medical disciplines on which Jesus drew in order to cure those possessed by demons (Mark 1:23-27). Another Siddha-Jesus connection comes with the curing of ophthalmological disorders, which we may discern from Dr PJ Thottham’s, ‘certain oils believed to have a cooling effect are applied to the head. They keep the nervous system active and healthy. Among other types of medicine are the ones instilled into the eye, such as mais or kattus which are rubbed on a stone, along with the juice of a plant, milk, coconut water or rose water. The resultant paste is applied into the eyes with the help of a stick. Similarily, there are certain medicines in a paste form, which are applied externally on the eyelids of the patient.’ This method, of creating a paste to rub into the eyes of the afflicted, has an intimate resonant tone with the curing, by Jesus, of a blind man,

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay. And said unto him, ‘Go wash in the pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. John 9:7

Approaching Mount Potolakla

All this leads us to the special moment in the Jesus Jigsaw when we need to introduce what is known as a ‘Boddhisatva,’ one of the holiest entities in Buddhism. These are considered to be divine savior-figures, and are described as enlightened (bodhi) existence-beings (sattva), said to have attained Buddhahood in order to help all sentient beings. His name is Avaloketisvara, the later part of whose name transchispers easily into Ishavara. As for Avaloketisvara’s connection to Pothgai, known as Mount Potalaka to the Chinese, let us examine his mentions in two ancient texts, both of which designate Pothgai as this diety’s place of residence;

The merchant’s son Sudhana… arrived in due order at mount Potalaka, and climbing Mount Potalaka he looked around and searched everywhere for the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Finally he saw the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara on a plateau on the western side of the mountain in a clearing of large woods abounding in young grass, adorned with springs and waterfalls, and surrounded by various trees. He was sitting cross-legged on a diamond rock surrounded by a multitude of bodhisattvas seated on rocks of various jewels. He was expounding the dharma-explanation called ‘the splendour of the door of great friendliness and great compassion’ belonging to the sphere of taking care of all sentient beings Gandavyuhasutra

To the east of the Malaya mountains is Mount Po-ta-lo-kia. The passes of this mountain are very dangerous; its sides are precipitous, and its valleys rugged. On the top of the mountain is a lake; its waters are clear as a mirror. From a hollow proceeds a great river which encircles the mountain as it flows down twenty times and then enters the southern sea. By the side of the lake is a rock-palace of the Dêvas. Here Avalôkitêsvara in coming and going takes his abode. Those who strongly desire to see this Bôdhisattva do not regard their lives, but, crossing the water, climb the mountain forgetful of its difficulties and dangers; of those who make the attempt there are very few who reach the summit Xuanzang

In the description by Xuanzang, a 7th century explorer from China,  of his epic pilgrimage to the summit of Po-ta-lo-kia, the sentence, ‘of those who make the attempt there are very few who reach the summit,‘ confirms the peak as being Agastya’s Pothgai. In a festival known as the Agastya Mala, it takes a week to visit the mountain and pay homage to the small temple dedicated to Agastya on its summit; a three day ascent, a day of resting, and a three day descent. Wanting to see the place for myself, I journeyed from Pudokotai to the Tamil town of Ambasaamudram. On arriving, Victor & I discovered that to visit the mountain we had to go in from the Kerala side, gaining permission from Trivandrum forestry commission en route. Not to be deterred, we took a hotel for the night, where a kindly local on a walk around town (i) pointed out the mountain in the distance, a cone-shaped edifice erupting out of its less aesthetic shadowy cousins of this portion of the Western Ghats,  & (ii) agreed to help us get as close as possible the following morning!  What followed was a glorious day with driver and guides, wandering about the gorgeous green uplands of the Western Ghats, searching for the residue of Agastya. Travelling with locals helped us cruise through the security checks, and we had a splendid time – including a dip in a powerful waterfall at the Agastya Falls.


Near the falls we were led to a magnificently evocative rock-carved temple dedicated to Agastya, which lay on a cliff above a small lake, and could have even been the one mentioned by Xuanxang. Another highlight was a boat-trip across a man-made dam, whose surrounding scenery was more beautiful than anything I’ve seen even in Scotland! Unfortunately, this was as close as I was going get to Pothgai – but I did not mind at all; the day had been a splendid one, and we returned to Ambasamudram in fine spirits. That night, while Victor regaled the hoteliers with songs on his acoustic guitar during the nightly power-cut, I began to compile my notes on Avaloketisvara, said to have once roamed this splendid portion of the Western Ghats? He is in fact one of the main figures in what is known as the ‘Mahayana,’ or ‘Greater Vehicle,’ a branch of Buddhism whose origins seem to lie with our very own Asvaghosha. The 7th century Chinese explorer, I Tsing, describes hymns composed by Asvaghosha, which were chanted in the name of Avaloketisvara at the evening service of the monasteries. This suggests that Asvaghosha was the creative brain behind Avalokekitsevara, whose name translates something like, ‘The Higher Lord (Ishvara) who looks down on the world.’

Another of Avaloketisvara’s titles, Mahâsattva, represents him as having reached the tenth & upmost level of the Boddhisattvas. Postponing their own entrance into the Nirvana in order to alleviate the suffering of others, the notion rings remarkably close to the core tenets of the Christian belief. The notable twentieth century Indologist, Arthur Llewellyn Basham, remarked that, ‘the Bodhisattva was thought of as a spirit not only of compassion but also of suffering. In more than one source we read the vow or resolve of the Bodhisattva, which is sometimes expressed in almost Christian terms… The idea of the Suffering Savior might have existed in some form in the Middle East before Christianity, but features like this are not attested in Buddhism until after the beginning of the Christian era. The Suffering Bodhisattva so closely resembles the Christian conception of the God who gives his life as a ransom for many that we cannot dismiss the possibility that the doctrine was borrowed by Buddhism from Christianity.’

Guanyin with child - quite like the Mary-Baby Jesus motif
Guanyin with child – quite like the Mary-Baby Jesus motif

There are other Christian elements in the mythography of Avaloketisvara. Just as Jesus was known as the son of god, so Buddhists say that Avaloketisvara was born from the Amithaba, a father-figure said to rule over a heavenly ‘Pure Land‘ established for the salvation of man. Another aspect of Avaloketisvara is the ‘Guanyin,’ said to be a saviouress, and considered to be the ‘Mother of all Buddhas.’ In Chinese art and sculpture she is represented as holding a child, just as Christians depict Mary, the Madonna, bearing the infant Jesus. More evidence comes through iconic portrayals of Avaloketisvara as sporting small circular wheel-marks on his hands and feet, in the very places that the crucifixion scars would be. Professor Fida Hassnain says, ‘examination of the Buddhist icons show all Boddhisattvas stand or sit on a lotus throne. Some show their hands and palms with round marks. These statues of the Mahayana period, with marks on palms and feet, symbolically depict wounds of crucifixion. This fact is immortal evidence about the identity of Jesus as the teacher of the Mahayana monks.

There is also an interesting passage contained in the text known as the Lutus Sutra, which seems to describe the stigmata acquired by Jesus during his crucifixion, as in, ‘then bodhisattva Avalokitesvara extending his right hand with the splendour of the purest gold, releasing clouds of arrays of perfect networks of immeasurable light, and putting his palm which was like a blossom with tendrils, adorned with marks and tokens, distinctive, taintless, producing immeasurable beams of lights.’ The last key sentence is a perfect description of a hand devastated by the driving of a large nail through its centre. The description is found in the 24th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which also contains a key passage in relation to the Jesus Jigsaw. It reads;

So asked, the Lord replied to the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Akshayamati: There are [some] worlds, young man of good family, [where] the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Avalokitesvara preaches the Dharma to creatures in the form of a Buddha […] To some [beings] he preaches the Dharma in the form of a Pratyekabuddha […] To some [beings] he preaches the Dharma in the shape of a Brahma […] [to those] who are to be converted by Mahesvara, he preaches assuming the form of Mahesvara.

Here we have it openly admitted that the spiritual emanations of Avaloketisvara appear in different forms according to whatever religion perceives it. This connects neatly to the Bhavisya Suta, in which Ishavara Putaram was described as preaching to the Kashmiri Jews ‘through their own faith.’ The passage also mentions the Mahesvara, another name for Siva, whose connection to the Jesus Jigsaw we shall look at another time. There’s far too many avatars flying about at the moment as it is!

Having traversed the entire length of the subcontinent from Ladakh in the Himalayan north, to the sultry shores of Tamil Nadu, our journey through the Jesus has reached its southern limits. A few miles from the tourist-hungry town of Kanyukamari, lapped by the waves of three separate seas, where the Indian government erected a giant statue of Thiruvalluvar to celebrate the new Millennium, the Ramayana itself places Agastya in the viciniti. The poem describes how Agastya sang his self-penned hymn to Rama before the hero went to Sri Lanka to fight his great duel with the demon Ravana. I had the very epic poem with me as I visited the hay-strewn streets of the idyllic village of Agasteeswaram, a few miles inland from Kanyakumari, India’s most southern point. A village legend remembers an occasion when Agastya himself was teaching the local inhabitants the Ramayana, & a temple was erected on the spot. Also said to have heralded from the Kanyakumari region was Thomas-Tolkappiyam, & another sacred poet called Athanakottu Asan said to have 12 disciples, including Tolkappiyam & Agastya. Again, the 12 disciples is a clear match to Christian doctrine.

On my personal visit to the sacred site of Agasteeswaram, I had reached the furthest limits of my research expedition, an epic journey which had taken me from the dusty cloisters of the National Library in Scotland to the extreme south of the Indian subcontinent. Standing in the upper limits of the colossal statue of Thiruvalluvar, I passed a sunset watching the sea-waves roll into land from three different directions. To the east lay the Bay of Bengal, to the south the Indian Ocean, and to the east the Sea of Araby. For myself, at that moment, they represented the presence of Jesus in three different religions – Hinduism, Buddhism & Christianity – which travelling in different directions, would all converge upon a single point in space and time.

Abhayagiri Stupa
Abhayagiri Stupa

Somewhere to the south-east lay the island of Sri Lanka, in which place the Matsya Purana – a history of ancient India – describes Agastya as a native of Sri Lanka. Traces of the Jigsaw can be found here, and it is most probable that Issa went to the island to study at the cutting edge Buddhist Therevedan Abhayagiri monastery. In more recent years, Dr Andrew Skilton, professor of Religion at the University of London, comments, ‘It is clear from sculptural evidence alone that the Mahayana was fairly widespread throughout Sri Lanka…. Relics of an extensive cult of Avalokitesvara can be seen in the present-day figure of Natha.’ There is one Mahayanan text in particular that originated in Sri Lanka that is of great interest. Known as the Lankavatara Sutra, it has the Buddha discoursing with Ravana, the traditional foe of Rama. Suzuki writes of it, ‘the Lanka is a memorandum kept by a Mahayan master, in which he puts down perhaps all the teachings of importance accepted by the Mahayan followers of his day… there is no doubt that the Lanka is closely connected in time as well as in doctrine with The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana generally ascribed to Asvaghosa.’

It was while in Sri Lanka, our Indian Jesus most likely established the Issarasamana ashram as mentioned in Sri Lanka’s first historical chronicle, the Mahawansa, in which we also encounter, in the same period, Yalalakatissa, a deviation of Avaloketisvara, which contains a prominent Issa element.

In our quest for the Indian Jesus our journey must take us once more to the serendipitous vale of Kashmir. In the modern-age, if we were to travel overland to Srinagar from Kannuyakamari, Indian’s most southerly point, it would take about 48 hours by train to Jammu, followed by a twelve-hour car journey through the Himalayan foothills. In the age of Jesus it would have taken a lot longer – a probable sea journey to the mouths of the Indus, followed by a mighty hike across the plains and up through the passes. Whichever way he got there, Jesus definitely made the journey north. The Persian History, the Ikmal-ud-Din by Shaikh Al-Said-us Sadiq, places Yuz Asaf in both Sri Lanka (Sholabeth) and Kashmir. Sadiq describes how Yuz Asaf was visited by an angel, after which he prostrated himself before God and uttered, “I submit myself to Thy command, O God Almighty! Enlighten me of Thy Will. I praise Thee and I am grateful to Thee for having guided me…The angel, therefore, guided him to leave the country…and then leaving Sholabeth he proceeded on his journey… after roaming about in many cities, reached that country which is called Kashmir. He travelled in it far and wide and stayed there and spent his (remaining) life there, until death overtook him, and he left the earthly body and was elevated towards the Light.’

We have already seen in the Chisper Effect how Jesus-Yuz Asaf was buried at Rozabal in Kashmir. That he lived a long twilight in the Himalayas is suggested by the Muslim tradition in which two texts – the Mustadrak and the Asabah – describe Jesus as having lived until he was 120 years old. Both of these texts draw on the words of a seventh century muslim cleric, Ibn Umar, who reported, ‘I have been told that there is no Prophet after other Prophet but he lives a life half then the one who lived earlier. And I have been told that Jesus, the son of Mary lived for a hundred and twenty years.’ (Hadith 37732).  This leads us to an account of the death of Jesus, as described by Sheikh-us-sadiq;

At the approach of death, he sent for his disciple, Babad. He was used to serving him and protecting him during his old age. He was perfect in all matters. Yuzu-asaph made a will, saying: As such, you should safeguard your duties and never deviate from the righteousness, and absorb yourself in prayers. He then gave directions about preparation of sepulchre for him, at the very place where he breathed his last. He then stretched his legs towards the west, and kept his head towards the east. He then turned his face towards the east, and breathed his last.

download (2)That Jesus lived for a hundred and twenty years may be difficult for many in our modern world to accept. Even so, this is just within the limits of modern human longevity (122 is the known record), and we should acknowledge Jesus was a healthy man, living in an era far from the cancer-causing, fatty toxicity of the chemicals which permeate our modern foodstuffs. He also a consummate master of medicine, whose knowledge of long-lost herbal remedies would have added to his personal life-span. It must be noted that the figure of 120 years appears in the Siddha tradition, as an attested life-length of several siddhi masters. They believe that if a man generally takes fifteen breaths a minute (21,600 a day), he could live for a period of at least 120 years.

That the author of the Matthew Gospel was in Tamil Nadu at some point can be seen in Jesus’ final words in that Gospel, as he was nailed to the cross: ‘now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.’ (27-45)


Rendering these words into Tamil, we obtain;

Eloi - El is used in Tamil for ‘god,’ but specifically a sun-god.

Lama - A Buddhist Saint – the primary lama being the Buddha himself.

Sabac – Becomes Savam in Tamil, which means ‘death.’ Similar ‘v’ to ‘b’ changes took place with Vengalam/Bengal and Viswas/Biswas.Tha - Give

NI – You

The full translation would be then rendered – O God O God O lama Death Give You – which is a perfect fit for the grammar of the Tamil language. It has been noticed by linguists that the Aramaic language of first century Judea contains many words found in Tamil, which could now be explained as having come through Agastya, who appears to have contributed much to the origins of that language. The comprehensive historian of all things Agastyan, KN Sivaraja Pillai, states, ‘Agastya had also to perform his civilizing work by systematizing the Tamil Language and founding the first Academy whence all culture flowed for the benefit of later generations,’ while the very language of Tamil is still known as ‘Agastyam.’ Recent archeological evidence has found traces of the Tamil language dating back to 1000 BC, meaning Agastya would fit into the history of Tamil as its great redresser, & a text such as the Thirukurral its Divine Comedy. Just as poets like Dante laid the roots for modern Italian, and Shakespeare the modern English, the Tamils seem to have accepted Agastya as the founder-father of their language. We must remember that the poetic Jesus was working in the highest realms of the art, where the creation of new words and rules of language would have come as easily as leaves grow on a tree.


Before we leave Agastya, it just so happens that in the hills about the Siddha HQ near, Ambassamudrum, a plant known as Helleborus Niger grows wild. An image of the same plant also appears in the curious pages of the Voynich manuscript. Discovered in 1912 by Wilfrid Voynich, it has been described as the world’s most mysterious manuscript, mainly for the fact it is written in a language & script no-one has ever been able to crack – even the best codebreakers of WW2 failed to break into it. Carbon dating has given the ms an origin of the early 1400s, & is divided into the following sections;

1 – Drawings of plants, many of which are obscure
2- Astrological illustrations of the sun, moon & zodiac
3 – A biological section
4 – A pharmaceutical section
5 – A selection of recipes


For me, the Siddhi system of medicine seems an essential a mix of all the contents of the Voynich manuscript: herbalism, astrology, biology & pharmacology! The last of the Siddhars, Theraiyar, was active in the early 1400s, who was considered to be a supreme master of many fields such as astrology, mysticism, alchemy and medicine. He was also fluent in numerous languagesTelugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Thulu and Sanskrit while his work on the classification of diseases, their managements and prognosi were highly respected. All these ingredients – the date, the subjects, the mysterious use of language – suggest he is the brain behind the original Voynich manuscript. An examination of the script shows a number of orthographical similarities to the Tamil, & I believe what Voynich MS is an actual European copy of a Siddha text, which was tinkered with here & there, such as introducing pictorial representations of western architecture.

The Voynich manuscript
Tamil script from different eras

The original book arrived in Europe in the hands of a 15th century Italian alchemist named Bernard of Treviso. His meeting with Therayair in Alleppey, Kerala – transchispered here into Apulea –  was recorded by Bernard in a text known as The Allegory of the Fountain;

When I passed through Apulea, a city in India, I heard that a man resided there who was so very learned in every branch of Science, that he had not his equal in this world. He instituted as a Prize of disputation for all skilled in Art, a book… Therefore, desirous of honour, I did not doubt that my mind would assist me thereto and dispose me to the prescribed disputations, a very learned man adding spurs to my undertaking this province, and it also coming into my mind that the daring and bold were carried to sublime things, while the timid were thrown down and lived in perpetual dejection, I passed manfully into the field of contest and happily obtained the palm of disputation before the audience, and the book of premium was so honourably delivered to me by the faculty of Philosophy

I shall perhaps make a more thorough investigation of the Voynich manuscript, probably wandering the Tamil Ghats matching up flowers that grow there to the floral images found in the Voynich. Probably in my late 60s just before I embark on my decade long study of the Mahabharata. Until then, I would simply like to enjoy this moment, for the search for Agastya has been an incredibly satisfying investigation; after which a Tamil Jesus helps us to clear up a great deal of the historical smoke. But, we have spent far too long in the ancient east, its time to travel  back to my native island & answer that particularly native & often mind-raking question, just exactly who were the Picts?


Next Wednesday, 21/02/18

Chapter 5 : The Picts


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

Chispology 3 : The Mahabharata


chisp cover

Continuing the serialization of

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a few more of the world’s greatest mysteries… are finally solved

Available to buy in book form

Autumn 2018


At some point in high antiquity, the epic poetry of Homer reached India. With Alexander the Great slept with a copy under his pillow every night, we know of at least one occasion – during Alexander’s invasion – that Homer’s poetry was in India. By the first century AD, the Greek historian Dio Chrystotum wrote;

 It is said that Homer’s poetry is sung even in India, where they have translated it into their own speech and tongue. The result is that, while the people of India have no chance to behold many of the stars in our part of the world — for example, it is said that the Bears are not visible in their country — still they are not unacquainted with the sufferings of Priam, the laments and wailings of Andromachê and Hecuba, and the valour of both Achilles and Hector: so remarkable has been the spell of one man’s poetry!

It may be no coincidence that the two major epics of Hindu India, the Mahabharata & the Ramayana, seem substantively reflective of the militaristic Iliad & the journey-adventures of the Odyssey. As a westerner, I feel the Iliad more in my blood, but as a witness of the east, I am beginning to understand more & more the influences involved in comparative cultures. Therefore, it is time to analyze in more detail the greatest Indian epic poem, the Mahabharata.

During my research trip to India in 2013, hard upon the trail of an oriental Jesus, & musing that Issa-Jesus could have visited the battlefield of Kurukshetra in order to write the Bhagavad Gita, I thought a visit to the very locale might assist my studies. Cue orange-clad holy men, chunky old bicycles, clouds of dust, a faint smell of spice, air like a white hot blanket and nobody speaking English anywhere. After an hour of utter confusion, I eventually made my way within a jeweler’s shop, owned by a friendly English-speaking chap called Parikshit, who happened to share his name with Arjuna’s grandson. On enquiring about the battlefield’s location, he laughed and said I was standing in the middle of it, and that it spread around us in all directions for forty square miles. Moments later, Parikshit very kindly arranged a rickshaw for me, and I began to tour the ‘battlefield’ with its many monuments, memorials and temples dedicated to quasi-historical moments found in the Mahabharata.

Taking notes @ Kurukshetra

Composed by a certain Vyasa, & approaching 100,000 slokas, or couplets, the MB is the world’s longest epic, concerning a great civil war of the Bharatas and the establishment of the Dhurmarajya, or universal sovereignty in that house. It still flourishes in the subcontinent to this day, an ever living, ever present inspiration to society, whose iconography & quotations are spread prolifically across the entire Hindu sphere. The poem is considered to be, ‘Vyasochchishtam Jagath sarvam,’ meaning ‘the whole world is the spit of Vyasa.’ This implies that the MB touches all topics & conditions of humanity, an encyclopaedia of early Indian culture & history whose allogerical teachings have been the guiding light of Hindus for millennia. Just how many millennia is the question I would like to investigate today.

IMG_20180206_081528571_BURST000_COVER_TOP IMG_20180203_115035319

Attempting to make any sense of the origins of the MB  is rather like getting caught up in a n extremely sticky spider’s web. It doesn’t take long to get a headache when analyzing the MB, & solving this particular problem is one for the supercomputers of the future – or about a decade in my seventies wandering India like a mad saddhu. But an attempt shall here be made – well at least a start. I first came across the ‘problem,’ in a little book I picked up in the south Indian mini-state of Pondicherry. I discovered ‘On the Mahabharata’ in the depths of a bookshop in Auroville, an international ashram established by the gosh-golly amazing Indian poet Sri Aurobindo. My blog at the time details my stay at the ashram. In it I use the word ‘litology’ in place of Chispology, which would be coined at some point over that winter.


Since Chennai, Victor & I have trundled down the coast of Tamil Nadu, whose seas are not to be swam in, only admired from the safety of the shore. First port of call was Mamallapuram, a touristy place in which to eat fish & dawdle awhile, which we did for a couple of nights. The highlight for me was making use of a posh hotel’s swimming pool (£3 for two hours), followed by a poolside lunch for another £3 quid. Inbetween dips I worked on my version of the Thirukural & felt solace once again in my choice of vocation, where another man’s vacation becomes my personal office!

After a couple of nights we jumped on a bus south. The distance between Chennai & Kannayakamari, India’s southernmost point, is1000 kilometres, which is more or less the length of Britain. Thus, by reaching the Pondicherry area we have gone about as far, in comparative terms, as Aberdeen. Our actual residence has been taken up about ten miles from Pondy, in the spacious international ashram of Auroville. My first visit was back in 2002, an occasion on which I encountered a majestic & divine epic poem called Savitri, by the Oxford-educated ascetic Sri Aurobindo (born 1872).


It was the main work of his life, & is read out at the ashram once a week to devotees, an occasion which Victor & I were lucky enough to arrive for just in time. Auroville is also the world’s repositary of Aurobindo’s works, stored in a modern library on site, in which I have found a number of interesting paragraphs that have assisted me in my studies. It was while studying his words, I came across this remarkable description of poetry, which lovers of the art must enjoy.

All poetry is an inspiration, a thing breathed into the thinking organ from above; it is recorded in the mind, but is born in the higher principle of direct knowledge or ideal vision which surpasses mind. it is in reality a revelation. The prophetic or revealing power sees the substance; the inspiration perceives the right expression. Neither is manufactured; nor is poetry really a poiesis or composition, nor even a creation, but rather the revelation of something that eternally exists. the ancients knew this truth & used the same word for poet & prophet, creator & seer, sophos, vates, kavi.

Across the several square miles of land that Auroville takes up, there are various places to stay, & we got quite a good ‘un called Reve (pronounced rave), where Vics got a great hut on stilts & Im in a cheaper hit on the roof of the kitchen. The place is full of young, mainly French, ashram-heads, & is a picture of perfect tranquility. To get about the place, a moped/scoooter is essential, & a steal at only a quid a day – with petrol being 70p a litre.



Vic’s even had a few goes on it, declaring it to be like riding a pushbike with a motor (well-observed that man). I love bikes me, for they provide moments like this morning when I razzed down to the boulangerie for chocolate croissants, listening & singing to Betty Boo – the chorusus especially startling folk on the roadside. Also filling the roads are loads of cute birds on bikes, from all over the world, which is always good for a poet’s soul.

The word boulangerie is of course French, for Pondicherry is the old French morsel of empire that carried on during the British Raj in much the same way the Portuguese held on to Goa. Cue boulevards & avenues & white-washed villas that are positively Marseilleian at the seafront, but then get swallowed by India street by street as one drifts inland. Ten blocks in all traces of the French have dissappeared. It was in Pondy that Victor & I conducted a little travel arranging – Vic bought a flight from Goa to Delhi for the 17th December, & we both got a ticket from Calicut to Goa for the 27th November, This gives us ten days – starting Sunday – to razz round Tamil Nadu & Kerala – about a thousand miles of travel – during which I’ll be still hunting for Jesus. It should be quite Indiana Jonesey, which is why I got into Litology in the first place, & I reckon there’s gonna be plenty to write about in the coming fortnight…




 I left Auroville with Aurobindo’s book firmly ensconced in my backpack. Since then, I have picked at the contents occasionally, & finally feel ready to add my own tuppeneth to the long-running investigations. Of these, Sri Aurobindo has left many interesting pre-independence, anti-western, but undoubtedly correct remarks, including;

Only a serious scrutiny of the Mahabharat made with a deep sense of critical responsibility and according to the methods of patient scientific inference, can justify on in advancing any considerable theory on this wonderful poetic structure.

It is not from European scholars that we must expect a solution of the Mahabharata problem. They have no qualifications for the task except a power of indefatigable research and collocation; and in dealing with the Mahabharata even this power seems to have deserted them. It is from Hindu scholarship renovated and instructed by contact with European that the attempt must come. Indian scholars have shown a power of detachment and disinterestedness and a willingness to give up cherished notions under pressure of evidence which are not common in Europe. They are not, as a rule, prone to the Teutonic sin of forming a theory in accordance with their prejudices and then finding facts or manufacturing inferences to support it. When, therefore, they form a theory on their own account, it has usually some clear justification and sometimes an overwhelming array of facts and solid arguments behind it

All that we know of the Mahabharata at present is that it is the work of several hands and of different periods — this is literally the limit of the reliable knowledge European scholarship has so far been able to extract from it. 


A century ago the above berated ‘European scholarship’ did not have the resource of chispology to call on, so let us see what we can do, shall we? First things first, let us look at records of the MB’s authorship. In the poem’s massive prolegomena, we learn that because the Mahabharata was written in so difficult a style, Vyasa himself could remember only 8,800 of the Slokas, Suka an equal amount and Sanjaya perhaps as much, perhaps something less. Another passage in the prolegomena then states quite plainly that Vyasa first wrote the Mahabharata in 24,000 Slokas, adding that he afterwards enlarged it to 100,000. The quadrupling of the poem is actually a factochisp, for it is clear from a study of the MB that following the composition of the core poem concerning the War Parvas, a redaction was created by a lesser poet, to which was later added a great deal of new material by much inferior poets. In this passage, Sri Aurobindo ascribes the second poet as being like Valmiki in style – ie similar to the composer of India’s other great epic, the Ramayana;

In the Mahabharata we are struck at first by the presence of two glaringly distinct and incompatible styles. There is a mass of writing in which the verse and language is unusually bare, simple and great, full of firm and knotted thinking and a high and heroic personality, the imagination strong and pure, never florid or richly coloured, the ideas austere, original and noble. There is another body of work sometimes massed together but far oftener interspersed in the other, which has exactly opposite qualities, it is Ramayanistic, rushing in movement, full and even overabundant in diction, flowing but not strict in thought, the imagination bold and vast, but often garish and highly-coloured, the ideas ingenious and poetical, sometimes of astonishing subtlety, but at others common and trailing, the personality much more relaxed, much less heroic, noble and severe. When we look closer we find that the Ramayanistic part may possibly be separated into two parts, one of which has less inspiration and is more deeply imbued with the letter of the Ramayana, but less with its spirit


As for the setting of the poem, a number of Indian scholars have proscribed a 4th millennium BC date for the Mahabharata War. It is highly likely that some of the content of the poem does herald from this time, for the poem glorifies the Saraswathi River, which silted over about the year 2000 BC. However, the poem’s composition must post-date 1000 BC, for on my trip to India I identified the following materielle, as recorded in my blog;

India’s capital is an amazing architectural feast, and before catching my ongoing flight to Ladakh, I spent a few hours touring the city. In Delhi, the rush of life, scent and colour that is in an Indian city is magnified a thousand-fold, accompanied by a grandiose array of tombs, forts and parks. Over the centuries they have been bequeathed to the city by a steady stream of conquerors, all of whom have ruled their Indian empires from this fortress in the north. Of the places visited, it was an hour spent within the idyllic fortified oasis of the Puran Quila that whetted my appetite the most for my mission ahead. The fort was built around a village named Indrapat, a phonetic match to the city of Indrapashtra. The great Indian epic poem, the Mahabharata, tells us this was the capital of the Pandavas, those members of an ancient and noble family who were both the cousins and the enemies of another Indian family known as the Kuru. Brought to conflict, a great and deadly war was fought between these two clans which sucked in all the peoples of ancient India, the story of which constitutes the bulk of the Mahabharata. Through astrological data found in the text, these events have been traditionally dated to c.3100 BC, yet the earliest archaeological strata of occupation at Purana Qila is c.1000 BC, somewhat confusing the issue. Because of this contradiction, Indian scholarship has been divided over the two dates for a century or two, and like any academic debate, both schools remain firmly entrenched in their mindsets. The actual answer lies tangled up in a series of layers, or strata, which were added to the poem’s contents over many centuries – in essence both schools are partially right.

Arjuna & Krishna at Kurukshetra

As for the other book-end in time, Hopkins in his, ‘The Great Epic of India’ (1902) concluded that the epic is dated after the youngest vedic works, ie post 600 BC, adding there was ‘no evidence of an epic before 400 BC.’ In the Chisper Effect I showed how the 1st century AD Issa-Jesus, or Ishvarakrishna, was the author of the Bhagavad Gita, & when searching for a figure to use as his mouthpiece for the Gita, Issa-Jesus chose Krishna. An objection may well be raised by traditionalists, who state that the Mahabharata, in which the Gita is contained, was written well before the 1st century AD. On the other hand, a growing number of modern scholars concur on the Gita being a late interpolation into the Mahabharata. Where Amit Chaudri calls the Gita a ‘slightly anomalous, somewhat unassimilate episode,’ Sri Aurobindo remarks on the Gita’s insertion, ‘into the mass of the Mahbharata by its author in order to invest its teaching with the authority and popularity of the national epic.’

In the Life of Issa, we learn how Issa-Jesus visited a tomb at the Jaggernatha temple in Orissa, ‘where repose the mortal remains of Vyassa-Krishna, and where the white priests of Brahma welcomed him joyfully.’ I myself have dabbled with the poetic arts, and have visited the tombs and shrines of several poets, such as those of Shelley and Keats in the Protestant cemetery of Rome, and the tomb of Dante in Ravenna. The latter was the author of the great Italian epic, the Divine Comedy, in which poem he actually places the Roman poet Virgil, who had lived over a thousand years before him. In the same fashion it feels as if the poetic Jesus was visiting one of his own poetic idols. One can see from this pilgrimage to Vyasa’s tomb how much of an interest Issa-Jesus had in the Mahabharata – so much so he ended up adding the Gita to it. In this poem, Krishna is in all essence a god incarnate, but  Vyasa’s Krishna is very different, whose divinity is not presupposed at all. Sri Aurobindo reports;

Krishna’s divinity is recognised but more often hinted at than aggressively stated. The tendency is to keep it in the background as a fact to which, while himself crediting it, the writer does not hope for a universal consent, still less is able to speak of it as a general tenet and matter of dogmatic belief; he prefers to show Krishna rather in his human character, acting always by wise, discerning and inspired methods, but still not transgressing the limit of human possibility


In the millennium between the foundation of Indrapashtra at Purana Qila, & the visit of Issa-Jesus to the tomb of Vyasa, we encounter a certain Panini, whose mentioning of the Mahabharata narrows our time frame down by about three centuries. In his famous Sanskrit grammar the Astadhydyi, Panini gives names connected to the Mahabharata – including Arjuna, Vasudeva, Yudhisthira – & even the name Mahabharata itself. With the classical Indian writers Brihatkatha and Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa both placing Panini as a contemporary of the short-lived Nanda empire, he must have lived some of his life between 345 & 321 BC.

In the same era there is a mention of a certain ‘Arya Krishna,’ who could well be our Vyasa Krishna. Within the pages of the ‘Tibetan Blue Annals,’ written in the 15th century by a monk called Gos lo-tsa-ba gZon-nu-dpal, the author introduces and translates what he calls, ‘a stray page from an Indian text on the hierarchy of the Doctrine which is in my possession.’

Arya Krishna in his turn protected the Doctrine, benefited living beings and entrusted the Doctrine to Arya Sudarsana, and passed into Nirvana. Arya Sudarsana in his turn fully protected the doctrine, benefited living beings and then passed into Nirvana. About that time in the city of Vaisali monks issued a statement containing the ten improper regulations. In order to expel these monks from the community, seven hundred arhats, including Sarvakamin and others, held a council. At that time three hundred years had elapsed since the Parinirvana of the blessed one. King Asoka having died, Sudarsan was reborn in Kashmir.

Arya Krishna was the 5th patriarch entrusted with the ‘dharma,’ ie the teachings of the Buddha. He is known for spreading Buddhism in Ceylon (Ramayana territory) with 500 followers at the request of that island’s king. As for his floruit, If we go backwards in time from the end of this passage, we may ascribe decent dates to those notices made in the Blue Annals.

238 BC: Death of Ashoka = King Asoka having died

c.250 BC: 300 years after the Buddha’s enlightenment = About that time… three hundred years had elapsed since the Parinirvana of the blessed one.

In the earliest part of the passage, we learn  that Sudarsana had succeeded Arya Krishna, whose life-span could easily stretch into the 4th century BC in which those earliest mentions of the Mahabharata appear in Panini. For me, the leading Buddhist of the time, Arya Krishna was also Vyasa Krishna, the composer of the great Hindu epic, for the Chispologist must learn to train their minds away from such linear notions as, ‘because Arya Krishna was a Buddhist, he could not have composed a Hindu poem.‘ In my Chisper Effect I showed how Issa-Jesus wrote the biography of the Buddha AND the Hindu-centric Gita. There are traces here & there in the MB of Buddhist influence, such  as the presence of the notion of Shambhala, alongside seventeen of the Jātaka that are parallel’d in the MB; including the Sammodamānajātaka, Mitacintijātaka (114) MBh 12,135 Pañcatantra, Sasajātaka (316) [MBh 12,141–145 Pañcākhyānaka & the Kuntanijātaka. During my studies, I came across the research of a German expert on the MB who noticed an anomaly.  At certain times in the poem the Pandavas are seen as scheming gamblers, which Adolf Holtzmann in his  Grammatisches aus dem Mahabharata, saw as evidence of an inversion. GJ Held succinctifies Holtzmann’s theory;

Now the Pandavas are spoken of as being Vishnuites & the Kauravas as being Sivaites. We might , therefore, expect that the struggle between the two parties in the Epic would be the recoil of a collision between an older Sivaism & a subsequent rise of Vishnuism, there are, however, no traces of such a collision to be found. But there was certainly a time when a close connection existed between Sivaism & Buddhism, & it is none less certainly known that there was once a collision between Buddhism & Brahamanism, which knowledge induced Holtzmann to assume that the Sivaism of the Kauravas must have implied a certain partiality for the teachings of Buddha. Finally Holtzmann arrives at the following historical reconstruction.
Right back in the most ancient times there was a guild of court-singers who extolled in their professional poetry the mighty deeds of their monarchs. Then came a talented poet who made of the original Epic composed in honour of the renowned race of the Kauravas a poem in praise of a great Buddhist ruler… But now the new teaching, coming into conflict with the growing pretensions of the Brahmins, begins to decline, & their priests concert the now popular poem to their own use, but reverse the original purpose of the work as a whole. Now it is no longer the Kauravas who are lauded but their very adverseries,  the Pandavas, to whom a decided predilection for Brahamanical doctrine is ascribed. The Epic is subjected to further revision. Buddhism is eliminated altogether.
The great drawback,‘ continues Held, ‘is that these alterations can only be inferred from the poem itself. External evidence is entirely lacking.’ However, if we cite Arya Krishna as that external evidence we gain our credible linkage between the MB & a Buddhist-influenced origin. Just as the Homeric poems are like the pre-Schliemann site of Troy itself, ie many strata waiting to be dug out & identified, so the Mahabharata will one day be given levels such as MBIIa & MB VIIb, & so on, with the deepest being the Buddhist original. At this point in my life I am too touched by the domestic goddess to consider roaming the subcontinent in search of the clues which solve the MB problem. So dense is the forest of slokas, that even if I tried I rather think my mind would get caught in the sticky webbing like a fly. Sri Aurobindo writes;

It is only by a patient scrutiny and weighing of the whole poem, disinterestedly, candidly and without preconceived notions, a consideration Canto by Canto, paragraph by paragraph, couplet by couplet that we can arrive at anything solid or permanent. But this implies a vast and heartbreaking labour


I shall present you with one whimper of a possibility of a strata. The year 1424 BC or thereabouts for the MB war is quite popular among scholars, such as S B Roy who used astronomical calculations to obtain that date, while Krishna’s ‘Dwarka City’ seems to have been submerged under the sea in the same period, an event recorded in the MB itself. Arjuna says;

The sea, which has been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. It rushed into the city, coursing through the beautiful city streets, & covered up everything in the city. I saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. In a matter of a few moments, it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the city, Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory

Under-water archaeological exploration at the site revealed a prosperous port town which had been in existence for about 60-70 year, before being submerged under the sea in the year c.1450 BC. This really does feel like Aryan Invasion time. In the core of the Mahabharata, Krishna is more a diplomatic mortal than the physical expression of immortal divinity. He is seen as the mover & shaker political statesman behind the armies of Yudhishthira as they conquered India. That an original Krishna figure could have been attached to the Aryan Invasions of India by the Hyksos leads us to the chispology of modern Krishna-scholar, Edwin Francis Bryant;

According to Arrian, Diodorus, & Strabo, Megasthenes described an Indian tribe called Sourasenoi, who especially worshiped Herakles in their land, & this land had two cities Methora & Kleisobora, & a navigable river, the Jobares. As was common in the ancient period, the Greeks sometimes described foreign gods in terms of their own divinities, & there is little doubt that the Sourasenoi refers to the Shurasenas, a branch of the Yadu dynasty to which Krishna belonged; Herakles to Krishna, or Hari-Krishna, Mehtora to Mathura, where Krishna was born; Kleisobora to Krishnapura, meaning ‘the city of Krishna,’ & the Jobares to the Yamuna, the famous river in the Krishna story.

The Shurasenas are named after Shurasena, the first Yadava king of Mathura. If this was Seuserenre, then Krishna would have been his grandson, & thus Egypto-Hyksos. To this day in Puri, the very city where Vyasa-Krishna was lain to rest, the Ratha Yatra festival is almost identical to the Egyptian Opet festival. In the latter, Amun, Mut & Khonsus are placed on sacred barques & floated along the Avenue of the Sphinxes between the temples of Karnak & Luxor. In Puri images of Krishna, Balaram & Subhadra are carried upon chariots through the streets. We may also observe how both triads of idols were then/are still sprinkled with sacred water, decorated with jewelery & flowers & accompanied by musicians on their highly ritualised journey. We should also examine the cosmology of Balaram, for where this Hindu god is represented as an incarnation of the primeval serpent of the abyss, the Egyptian deity Khonsu is shown as the Great Snake who fertilizes the world.


In Sanskrit, Krishna literally means ‘the dark-blue one.’ In the latter term we can see a pathway into Egyptian theology, whose god Amun was clad in the same blue skin as Krishna, & just like Krishna was depicted in funerary art as having two ostrich feathers in his head-dress. Both gods are also depicted as having a ‘sacred river’ emerging from their feet, while the ancient ‘Coffin Texts’ of Egypt associate Amun with the falcon-headed Horus, just as Krishna is linked with the eagle-headed Garuda. In Egyptian, Amun is written as Ymn, which has been reconstructed by Egyptologists to ‘Yamanu,’ which transchispers into the sacred river ‘Yamuna’ in India, where grew up the boy Krishna. What appears to have happened is that after Vyasa used Krishna for the MB, he became personally associated with Krishna, with his creation slowly acquiring the status of Godhead.

Returning to Panini, I would like us for one moment to assume that his knowledge of the Mahabharata was contemporary. Leaning further in that direction, let us now assume that with his work in Sanskrit being under the patronage of a Nanda king, this same king also patronised the Mahabharata. It this from hyperfact that we can make quite solid philological associations between members of the Nanda dynasty & characters mentioned in the Mahabharata. The first Nanda monarch was Ugrasena – also known as Mahapadma Nanda – who had eight sons. Of these, it was Dhana who succeeded to the throne, a little time before he was conquered by Chandragupta. Of his brothers, both Panduka & Pandugati seem philochisps of the Pandavas, one of the two main warring families in the MB. As for Dhana, he clearly appears in the MB as Duryodhana, but it is in Diodorus Siculus that we find a rather interesting avatar. This passage is also interesting for history as it sees the moment when Alexander the Great decided attacking the Nanda Empire would not be worth it after all.

While all this was going on, Hephaestion returned with his army from his mission, having conquered a big piece of India. Alexander commended him for his successes, then invaded the kingdom of Phegeus where the inhabitants cheerfully accepted the appearance of the Macedonians. Phegeus himself met the king with many gifts and Alexander confirmed him in his rule. Alexander and the army were feasted bountifully for two days, and then advanced to the Hyphasis River, the width of which was seven furlongs, the depth six fathoms, and the current violent. This was difficult to cross.

He questioned Phegeus about the country beyond the Indus River, and learned that there was a desert to traverse for twelve days, and then the river called Ganges, which was thirty-two furlongs in width and the deepest of all the Indian rivers. Beyond this in turn dwelt the peoples of the Tabraesians and the Gandaridae, whose king was Xandrames. He had twenty thousand cavalry, two hundred thousand infantry, two thousand chariots, and four thousand elephants equipped for war. Alexander doubted this information and sent for Porus, and asked him what was the truth of these reports. Porus assured the king that all the rest of the account was quite correct, but that the king of the Gandaridae was an utterly common and undistinguished character, and was supposed to be the son of a barber. His father had been handsome and was greatly loved by the queen; when she had murdered her husband, the kingdom fell to him.

Alexander saw that the campaign against the Gandaridae would not be easy, but he was not discouraged. He had confidence in the fighting qualities of his Macedonians, as well as in the oracles which he had received, and expected that he would be victorious. He remembered that the Pythia had called him “unconquerable,” and Ammon had given him the rule of the whole world.


According to the MB itself, after Vyasa had recited the poem, then his pupil Vaisampayana recited ‘the entire thought’ of Vyasa at the Snake Sacrifice of King Janamejaya, whose name transchispers into Xandrames, ie our Dhana. The NEXT time the MB was recited, it was a generation later by a certain Ugrasravas, whose name recalls the Nanda emperor,  Ugrasena, whose name also appears in a Vedic Sanskrit text known as the Shatapatha Brahmana. Reaching its final version in 300 BCE, this text says Ugrasena was the son of Parikshit, & thus the grandson of Arjuna, alongside three brothers – Janamejaya, Bhimasena & Śrutasena. Thus we have a royal Ugrasena related to a royal Janamejaya, just as a royal Ugrasena is related to a royal Xandrames. It now seems quite likely that the court of the Nanda Kings is the local in which the MB began to take the form recognizable by the world at large. Finally, the MB tells us that Ugrasravas dictated the MB to a certain rishi called Saunaka. Its always nice to finish with a little food for thought, so beginning with Janamejaya’s brother, Srutasena, we can create the following babel-chain.


It is recognizing the cross-pollination of the Nanda kings with the leading arhats of the Palitapura Buddhists in the 4th century BC that brings us to the following possibility. In the legends of Krishna, he is said to be the grandson of a certain Ugrasena. This Ugrasena had a son called Kamsa who is said to have killed the princely sons of Devakai, except of course Krishna, who survived the royal cull. Thus, when the Greek writer Quintus Curtius Rufius gives the name Agrammes to Dhana, we can recognize the Kamsa-Gramsa-Agrammes babel-chain. Curtius also mentions that Dhana’s father, Ugrasena, ‘usurped the supreme authority, and, having put the young princes to death...’ an incident which seems to have later creochisped into the Krishna legend. Convoluted, yes; accurate; seemingly;  & chispology, of course!


Next Wednesday, 14/02/18

Chapter 4 : Agastya


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Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

Chispology 2: The Aryan Invasion


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Continuing the serialization of

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a few more of the world’s greatest mysteries… are finally solved

Available to buy in book form

Autumn 2018


The beauty of Chispology is that it is always possible to find some kind of solution to a puzzle. Whether it is correct, of course, is down to the weight of evidence which transplants a theory from conjecture, thro’ circumstantially proven to  the realms of ‘distinct possibility.’ It is in the latter category that I would like to place my investigations into the the great academic minefields surrounding the ‘Aryan Invasions.’ Adding my own voice to the – in the words of Thomas Trautman – ‘large, noisy public debate,’ I shall be introducing several new words into the Chispological lexicon, including the rather exotic looking, Anthrotree.’ This is a shortened version of ‘Anthropological Factotree,’ which constitutes the main trunk of the ancient peoples, or tribe, we are discussing. Out of this entity shoot branches – & of course sub-branches – representing Culture, Theology, Linguistics, Archeology & Genetics. Applying the mechanicals in this instance, I hope to identify the peoples of the Aryan invasion of India with a set or sets of peoples elsewhere, thus identifying the source of the Aryans.


When Strabo writes, ‘Aristobolus says that when he was sent upon a certain mission in India, he saw a country of more than a thousand cities, together with villages, that had been deserted because the Indus had abandoned its proper bed.’ he is writing of the decline of the Harrapan, or Indus Valley civilisation, c.1700 BC. After this event, one stream of academic thought – based upon archeology & linguistics – has estimated that about the year 1500 BC an illiterate, pastoral, horse-rearing people known as the Aryans migrated to India. Their heartland has never been satisfactorily identified, but it seems to have occupied the general area of the Anatolia-Syria-Iran sphere. Roaming east, they would eventually reach the Indus river system & India proper, bringing with them their mitochondrial heritage & an ancient caste system which still fetidly clings with vicious certitude to Indian life. The Aryans, with their lighter-skin & parleying in an Indo-European tongue,  came across darker-hued, Dravidian-speaking natives; who were slowly but resolutely pushed to the southern parts of the subcontinent.

It is into the bedsoil of this migration that I shall now plant the HYPERBASIS behind this chapter’s investigation. A hyperbasis is a statement of fact made with the best evidence available, spliced with a dash of creative understanding. When approaching the Aryan Invasion problem, I remembered a hyperchisp I made in the Princess Scota chapter of the Chisper Effect. Essentially the Greek god Zeus was also a Hyksos pharaoh call’d Seuserenre Khyan & another historical figure called Sesostris. Where Seuserenre was known as the ‘Embracer of RegionsZeus was consider’d to be the, ‘King of the Entire World,’ while Sesostris was also said to have conquered the world; where Zeus attack’d the Titans in Thrace, so Sesostris led armies in the same region; where Seuserenre was succeeded by Apepi, Zeus had a son called Epaphus/Apis. With the babel-chain of Zeus-Seus-Ses adding more support to the case, when examining the following passage by Herodotus concerning Sesostris, please bear in mind that when we read about the exploits of one avatar, we are in fact reading about all three.

Chose out the strongest of the men and formed an army worthy of the greatness of his undertaking; for he enlisted six hundred thousand foot-soldiers, twenty-four thousand cavalry, and twenty-seven thousand war chariots. After he had made ready his army he marched first of all against the Ethiopians who dwell south of Egypt, and after conquering them he forced that people to pay a tribute in ebony, gold and the tusks of elephants. Then he sent out a fleet of four hundred ships into the Red Sea, being the first Egyptian to build warships, and not only took possession of the islands in those waters, but also subdued the coast of the mainland as far as India, while he himself made his way by land with his army and subdued all Asia. Not only did he, in fact, visit the territory which was afterwards won by Alexander of Macedon, but also certain peoples into whose country Alexander did not cross. For he even passed over the river Ganges and visited all of India as far as the ocean, as well as the tribes of the Scythians as far as the river Tanaïs, which divides Europe from Asia; and it was at this time, they say, that some of the Egyptians, having been left behind near the Lake Maeotis, founded the nation of the Colchi. And the proof which they offer of the Egyptian origin of this nation is the fact that the Colchi practise circumcision even as the Egyptians do, the custom continuing among the colonists sent out from Egypt as it also did in the case of the Jews. 

Zeus_Jupiter_Greek_God_Art_14_by_donquijote10A nice passage this; not only does it reinforce Sesostris as a Hyksos king – through  the circumcision motif – but it gives us a definitive literary tradition that the Hyksos sailed to India & campaigned there. According to a 4th century Greek scholar known as Euhermerus, During the voyage to India, when Zeus, ‘was king of all the inhabited world & was still in the company of men,’ after traversing the Red Sea and skirting the shores of Arabia – just as did Sesotris – he established a sanctuary upon an ‘exceedingly high hill’ on an island called Panachea in the Indian Ocean. It is reasonable to suggest that the invasion of India by Zeus was the spearhead of the Aryan invasions. Two things stand out in support; the tallying mid-second millennium BC date of the both the invasion & Zeus; alongside the placing of Zeus (as Sesostris) militarily in India. This shall be the root out of which we shall at first send forth the trunk – i.e. the Hyksos invaded India. This is the core of our anthrotree, whose Hyksosean branches we shall now analyze in more detail.

First things first, let us establish the homelands of the Hyksos themselves. These were originally in Bactria, center’d upon the Bactria-Margiana Archeological Complex, or BMAC. Deep in the heart of southern, Asiatic Russia,  it is only since the end of the Cold War that the west first learnt of its existence, to which information we can very little so cautiously secretive have been the Russians. We do know that the BMAC survived until 1700 BC, after which its population began searching for other realms to settle. Before then, it is in Bactria that the world’s first war chariots were developed out of conventional two-wheel farming carts, which would later become famous in the hands of the Hyksos. Also applicable to our investigation is the ancient Amu River which flows through the BMAC lands, known today as the  Oxus. The first whiff of the Hyksos being Bactrian begins here, for the name Amu was the very one given to the Hyksos by the Egyptians.

300px-Indo-Iranian_originsIn the Near East they Hyksos appear as two tribal branches; the Kassites & the Mitanni. Where art from Bactria and Margiana depict an, ‘anthropomorphic winged deity with an avian head holding two mountain goats by the legs,’ the same image can also be found among the Mitanni of ancient Syria, who also used the ‘new-fangled’ Hyksosean war-chariot. The Mitanni are related to Kassites, who first appear in Western Iran about 1800 BC, while two hundred years later they captured Babylon and ruled it for over four centuries. It is in the Kassite overlordship of Babylon & the production of seals to the god ‘Uzi-Sutach’,  which connect the Kassites to the Hyksos, who also produced seals in the same period dedicated to ‘Sutech.’ The Hyksos also penetrated into Egypt & Syria. At Avaris, the famous the German archeologist Manfred Bietak discovered an inscription on a doorjamb, in which we read of a Hyksos king known as Sakir-Har.

The possessor of the Wadjet and Nekhbet diadems who subdues the bow people. The Golden Falcon who establishes his boundary. The heka-khawaset, Sakir-Har.

The word ‘Sakir’ means Saka, an ancient name  out of which evolved ‘Scythia,’ pointing to the homelands of the Hyksos Ancient Scythia encompassed those epic swathes of the steppes of southern Russia above & both sides of the Caspian Sea of which Bactria was part.  As for the Hyksos establishment in Syria, it is soundly attested by an inscription on the 2nd Kamose stela, & its mention of the Hyksos pharaoh, Apopi.

I put in at Per-djedken, my heart happy, so that I might let Apopy experience a bad time, that Syrian prince with weak arms, who conceives brave things which never come about for him!

There is enough evidence to approximate the Hyksos core to Central Asian, with branches spreading out as far south as Arabia & North Africa. We are now in a position to identify & assemble anthropological correspondences between the Hyksos cultural sphere & the Aryan Invasion of India; the aforementioned anthrotree. To do so we must examine the five branches one-by-one;


An immediate & significant cable-tie between the Hyksos & the Aryans is both their usage of the two-wheeled chariot, well before the rest of Eurasia. The Aryans in India were also adept bowmen, just as the Hyksos were described, & ran patriarchal communities like the Hebrews. We can also associate the living habits of the early Indian with the Hyksos homelands, for Arrian (quoting Megasthenes) noticed the distinctly Scythian nature of the early Indians.

Megasthenes states… the Indians… were originally nomads, as are the non-agricultural Scythians, who wandering in their waggons inhabit now one and now another part of Scythia; not dwelling in cities and not reverencing any temples of the gods; just so the Indians also had no cities and built no temples

Also to consider is a passion for bull-sports. When ruling Egypt, the Hyskos remembered their homelands by building the city of Saka, whose chief deity was the bull-formed Bata . Traces of bullsports have been found in Hittite Anatolia, Iranian Bactria, & also in the Indus Valley, the heart of the Aryan Invasion. Further south, in Tamil Nadu one may still observe the very ancient Jallikattu – the taming of the bulls – held in villages as the Tamils celebrate the Pongal festival.



A spiritual link between the Syro-Iranian steppes & the Aryan Indians can be seen in the religious practices depicted in both the Rigveda & the Avesta. The latter is the chief text of the ancient Iranian faith, Zoroastrianism, in which the god Mitra is a prominent figure, just as he is in the Vedas. In addition, both faiths used the hallucinogenic called soma by the Rigveda & haoma in the Avesta. We may also acknowledge among the pantheon of Kassite gods their Suriash is related to the Sanskrit Surya; their Maruttash becomes the storm god, Marut; & their Indas becomes Indra.


In the last chapter we saw how the name ‘Hebrew’ was part of a babel-chain with ‘habiru,’ ‘abhira’ & ‘apira.’ Throughout Central Asia, the Abhira are remembered in places such as  eastern Iran’s Abiravan, while completely satisfying the needs of our anthrotree we encounter the Abhira on the western coast of India between Tapti to Devagarh, & stretching inland along the eastern banks of the Indus. In his rarely read ‘Anacalypsis,’ Godfrey Higgins (1772-1833) points out here were thousands of Hebrew-like place names all across India which had been changed ever so slightly as to mask their Jewish origins. Among these are Seuna-Desa (Zion Land) in Maharashtra, while Nashik is the exact Hebrew name for ‘Royal Prince.’


In 1786, the great orientalist Sir William Jones announced the discovery, or at least a remembrance, of an Indo-European language which appeared to be the mother tongue of the vast majority of Eurasia’s tongues. In his Third Anniversary Discourse to the Asiatic Society, he proposed with much erudition that Sanskrit, Greek and Latin all had a common source, while etymological relationships could also be found with Gothic, Celtic  & Persian. Despite the fanfare he was not the first to suggest such a state of affairs, for as early as 1653 Van Boxhorn had suggested that a language called Scythian was the basis upon which stood Germanic, Romance, Greek, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Iranian. Sir William wins the laurels, however, for his famous ‘philologer’ passage which set in motion the pseudo-science of comparative linguistics.


The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanscrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family

As far as our investigation goes, the Hyksos connection can be seen in Sanskrit’s relationship with ‘old Persian.’ The ‘common source’ mentioned by Jones came to be known as Proto-Indo-European (PIE), which can be partially constructed by pure inference alone. At its core are keywords such as that from which evolved the English daughter, the Ferman tochter, the Greek thygatêr, the Lithuanian dukte, the Russian doch & the Sanskrit duhit. Another word family revolves around the Sanskrit root, ar, which means plough, giving us the Slavic arati, the Latin aratrum & the Czech oradlo. In much the same consequence we have father, vater, padre & the Avestani pitar. For my mind; the diction, syntax & vocabulary of PIE should have originated with the ancient language of the BMAC. It has indeed been well established now that there are over 50 near-identical words in old Iranian & Sanskrit which evolved out of BMAC.

There is a lovely Indian myth that ties Proto-Dravidian & Vedic Sanskrit together. It tells us how Lord Shiva began to play his Damroo (Udukkai in Tamil), a musical instrument formed from animal vertebrae & skin. A small ball would bounce between the ends of the instrument, & as it did so one side created Tamil & the other Sanskrit. The allegory is that both Tamil & Sanskrit had a common source – HYKSOSEAN. It has indeed been noticed how the Dravidian languages of South India share much common ground with the Sanskrit. Languages are like continents dividing tectonically, then drifting apart. On both landmasses certain animals are the same – the older sort – but there are new animals which have evolved. In India, the language of the Hyksos  morphed into the Indo-Aryan tongues of Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali & Urdi; & also the Dravidian languages, with the latter transforming far from the Scythian original due to the aboriginal influence of the dark-hued Dravidian natives. Dravida Peravai (with the help of a few fellow-scholars) points out the similarities between the two languages, without mentioning the possibility of an Indo-Aryan substratum such as the one we are slowly creating;

The view that the Dravidian languages are the foundation of Sanskrit is supported by both Konow and Keith who noted that the auxiliary verbs, periphrastic future, and the participial forms in Sanskrit were probably of Dravidian origin. Stephan H. Levitt in a recent article in the International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics has suggested that Sanskrit may have adopted many North Dravidian forms. In addition, Levitt is sure that certain Sanskrit etyma for animals and plants that end in -l, are of Old Tamilian origin. Due to early Dravidian settlement in Northern India there is a Dravidian substratum in Indo-Aryan… Burrow (1962) found 500 Dravidian loan words in Sanskrit. In addition, Indo-Aryan illustrates a widespread structural borrowing from Dravidian in addition to 700 lexical loans (Kuiper 1967; Southward 1977; Winters 1989).


A serious piece of evidence linking Vedic India with the Mitanni branch of the Hyksos was found in northern Syria. In a cueniform treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni made in 1380 BC, the Hurrian speaking Mitanni king swears by the gods Mitrašil, Uruvanaššil, Indara, and Našatianna, who correspond to the Vedic deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya (Ashvins). In addition, the Mittani also produced a horse-training manual (circa 1400 BC), created by ‘Kikkuli the Mitannian,’ which contains a number of Indo-Aryan technical terms;

Manual       Vedic Sanskrit        English

aika                      eka                      one
tera                       tri                      three
panza                  pañca                    five
satta                    sapta                   seven
na                        nava                     nine
vartana              vartana                 round

 Other Mittani word link’d to Indo-Aryan found elsewhere include the colours babru-babhru (brown), parita-palita, (grey), and pinkara-pingala (red), while the term marya means warrior in Hurrian  & young warrior in Sanskrit.


If we accept that India was infiltrated by a series of massive Indo-European migrations about the year 1500 BC, there should be residual evidence in the DNA of Indians & the so-call’d ‘Aryans’.  This is indeed true, for the aotosomal DNA of the invasion still flows in the blood of the Northern Indians, especially those of a higher caste. They in fact share more with populations from the Middle East, Central Asia & Eastern Europe. The traditionally eastern European R1a haplogroup, & especially the R1a1a subgroup, are rife in northern India; which offers a neat comparative match for the similarities between the Lithuanian and Sanskrit languages.


If any tree is living well & prospering with the vital energies of life, a rush of green foliage soon flows into & between the branches like tidal water into coastal rocks. In the same fashion, if the hyperbasis of AN anthrotree is correct, & the evidence which have created  the branches infallible, then we should be able to find upon the tree certain corresponding literary legacies – ie leaves. Together they make up the foliage of an anthrotree, & there just so happens to be an ancient literary record which embellishes, rather than detracts from, the Hyksosean Invasion theory.

The key figure is Dionysis, & when Diodorus Siculus tells us, ‘since all men agree that Dionysus fought on the side of Zeus in his war against the Titans,’ we can begin to place  the god in the right time-frame to invade India with Zeus. according to the legends, Dionysis was Zeus’ son, thu’ Diodorus  was hardly convinced in the matter, telling us, ‘Dionysus had been born of Semelê and Zeus,’ adding, ‘later, after the writers of myths and poets had taken over this account of his ancestry, the theatres became filled with it and among following generations faith in the story grew stubborn and immutable.’ This is a perfect description of the crystalization of a chisper, but I do believe Diododrus is wrong here, or at least confused enough by the mythologizing to lose his euhemeristic respect for the tale. The thing is, I’m not so sure about Semelê, but by assembling a wee babel-chain, we can definitely begin to unveil the truth behind the origin of the story Zeus being the father of Dionysus.

Seuserenre – Yanassi

Seus – Ionassi

Zeus – Dionyssis

Yanassi appears only once in the recorded annals thus far, upon a damaged stela found at Avaris, naming him as the ‘eldest king’s son’ of Seuserenre. This means he should have come next to the succession, but the throne of Hyksosean Egypt went instead to Apophis. Why is this? One expects it would have been a tad difficult to rule Egypt when one was campaigning on the other side of the ancient world. Diodorus tells of Dionysus;

The most famous part of his wanderings in Asia is his expedition to India, which is said to have lasted three, or, according to some, even 52 years.


A detailed account of the invasion is found the 20,000 line 48 book epic, Dionysiaca by Nonnus. Some of the details seem heavily influenced by Alexander the Great’s campaigns, but there lingers in the text the historical essence of a Bronze Age Dionysus, as recorded by the lost poems of Euphorion & Peisander of Laranda, giving us the following information;

1 : Dionysus grew up in the mountains of Lydia, i.e. western Turkey.
2 : Zeus orders Dionysus to make war against the Indians.
3 : After the campaign Dionysus goes to Athens where he marries Ariadne after abandonment by Theseus. Hesiod tells us; ‘and golden-haired Dionysos made blonde-haired Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, his buxom wife: and [Zeus] the son of Kronos made her deathless and unageing for him.’

 During his time in India, Dionysus enabled a certain sense of civilisation, which smacks completely of the influence of the ‘Aryans’ on Indian culture. He is said to have ‘founded cities, and gave laws for these cities,’ &;

There are pointed out among the Indians even to this day the place where it came to pass that the god was born, as well as cities which bear his name in the language of the natives; and many other notable testimonials to his birth among the Indians still survive, but it would be a long task to write of them
Diodorus Siculus

The key fact here is the birth of Dionysus in India. We have already placed his father, Zeus, in the subcontinent, so that’s half the job done. According to Sir William Jones, ‘Meros is said by the Greeks to have been a mountain in India, on which their Dionysos was born, and that Meru, though it generally means the north pole in Indian geography, is also a mountain near the city of Naishada or Nysa, called by the Greek geographers Dionysopolis, and universally celebrated in the Sanskrit poems.’ We also have another Bronze Age half-man, half-god figure said to have campaigned in India, the remarkable fellow called Herakles. Remarkably both this demi-god AND Dionysis can be found transchispered into the sketchy pharaoh lists recorded by Manetho & Africanus, in which we have the following successions of Hyksos kings;

Manetho                    Africanus

Beon (44)                  Bnon (44)
Apakhnas (36)              Pachnan (61)
Apophis (61)               Staan – – (50)
Iannas (50)                Archles – – (49)
Assis (49)                 Aphopis – – (61)

Looking at the two, we can see differences in order & one anomaly in reign length with Apakhnas & Pachnan. The actual truth in the chisper is not so important here, but what is relevant are the name of two of Zeus’ mythological sons;

 Archles = Hercules
Iannas = Dionysus

There appears to be at least two different Herakles active in the Bronze Age world, with Diodorus describing the first as; ‘the most ancient Heracles who, according to the myths, had been born in Egypt, had subdued with arms a large part of the inhabited world, and had set up the pillar which is in Libya.’ Diodorus also writes, ‘inasmuch as it is generally accepted that Heracles fought on the side of the Olympian gods in their war against the Giants,’ which makes him a contemporary of Zeus AND fighting alongside his brother, Dionysus, in the War of the Titans. What is beautiful is that we can also place the two brothers fighting alongside each other in India. The third century AD writer, Pisistratus, retold a local account of Heracles & Dionysus assaulting an unlocated, ‘Sacred Ridge,’

 On many parts of this rock you see traces of cloven feet and outlines of beards and of faces, and here and there impressions of backs as of persons who had slipped and rolled down. For they say that Dionysus, when he was trying to storm the place together with Heracles, ordered the Pans to attack it, thinking that they would be strong enough to stand the shock; but they were thunderstruck by the sages and fell one, one way, and another, another; and the rocks as it were took the print of the various postures in which they fell and failed

 This Hyksosean Herakles links the Anatolian Sabians in Harran with the Indian Sibae tribe. According to Quintus Curtius, the Sibae, whom he calls Sobii, occupied the country between the Hydaspes and the Akesines, while Strabo tells us; ‘they said also that the Sibae were descended from those who accompanied Herakles on his expedition, and that they preserved badges of their descent, for they wore skins like Herakles and carried clubs, and branded the mark of a cudgel on their oxen and mules.’ Quintus Curtius also mentions that when Alexander the Great confronted Porus, Porus’s soldiers were carrying an image of Herakles in their vanguard. In his lost Indika, quoted heavily from by Arrian, Megasthenes, a Greek geographer of the third century BC, places Heracles in the Mathura area, describing him as being; ‘Held in especial honour by the Sourasenoi, an Indian tribe who possess two large cities, Methora & Cleisbora, & through whose country flows a navigable river called the Iobares.’ Megasthenes also states that, ‘the garb which this Heracles wore was like that of the Theban Heracles, as also the Indians themselves record; he also had many sons in his country, for this Heracles too wedded many wives; he had only one daughter, called Pandaea; as also the country in which she was born.’ Megasthenes is describing here the Pandyan Kingdom, of which Mathura was a part, as being named after Pandaea, the only daughter of Herakles. We must also appreciate a possible philochisp between the Indian Sourasenoi tribe & the Hyksos king, Seuserenre. Finally, Megasthenes tells us Herakles founded the city of Patliputra.

He was the founder, also, of no small number of cities, the most renowned and greatest of which he called Palibothra. He built therein many sumptuous palaces, and settled within its walls a numerous population. The city he fortified with trenches of notable dimensions, which were filled with water introduced from the river.


 It can be fairly said that our first Hyksosean anthrotree has borne good fruit, such as Seuserenre Khyan & his Hyksos sons establishing themselves in India, where they would be remember’d as Herakles & Dionysus. Some may scoff, but if were able to plant the same species of anthrotree in a different places, & see it also bear healthy leafage & indisputable fruits, then surely the two trees will support each other intrinsically. This would just be like comparing the far-scattered members of the old British Empire who still play rugby & cricket, still worship Jesus, still speak the mother tongue. These are the branches of the British anthrotree. As for the Hyksosean, it is time to head to the north-western fringes of Eurasia, & the island of emerald green upon which the Irish have made their home. According to legend, it was with Princess Scota herself that the proto-Irish first left Egypt. I established in The Chisper Effect they were connected to the Daughters of Danaus, who turned up later in Ireland as the Tuatha de Danaan. With the hyberbasis that the Hyksos went to Ireland,  let us examine the supporting evidence.

1: Herakles

Passing through the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ at the straits of Gibraltar, & heading to Corunna on the coast of northern Spain, one comes to the tower at ‘Brigancia’, known in pre-Christian times as the ‘Tower of Hercules.’

2: Danu & Bali

The goddess Danu was worshiped in both Ireland in India, & in the latter land we find the Danavas, or the ‘sons of Danu.’ The Davanas were led in battle by a certain Bali, who appears in Irish cosmology as Bilé. In Canaan, Jacob had a son called Dan – the founder of the Tribe of Dan – whose mother was Bilhah. In Celtic Wales, the husband of the mother goddess Don was Beli Mawr.

3: Hyber-Habiru

Of the ‘Scottish’ discovery of Ireland, John of Fordun tells us; ‘one of the sons of Gaythelos, Hyber by name, a young man, but valiant for his years, being incited to war by his spirit, took up arms, and, having prepared such a fleet as he could, went to the foresaid island, and slew part of the few inhabitants he found, and part he subdued. He thus appropriated that whole land as a possession for himself and his brethren, calling it Scotia, from his mother’s name.’ Here we can easily see the similarity between Iberia, Hybernia & of course the Hyksosean ‘Ahbiru’ & ‘Habiru.’ Proffessor Barry Fell pointed out that among the ancient names for Ireland was Ibheriu, tying all the names together in a neat babel-chain;


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4: Linguistics

In the 19th century, Godfrey Higgins stated; ‘the Irish word ‘Ogham’ and the ‘Acham’ of the Sanscrit I have shown to be the same. When we consider this we shall not be much surprised to find the language of Scotland called Sanscrit, or Gael-doct, that is, learned Gael….The language of the sacred island of Iona, of Scotland, is the Gaelic, but it is also called Shan Scrieu or Sanscrit….While travelling lately by coach, in the Highlands of Scotland, an old gentleman told me the Gaelic language was called Sanscrit. On the coach-door being opened by the waiter, when we arrived at the next inn, the old gentleman asked him, in English, if he understood the Gaelic, and what was the name in Gaelic of the language: his answer was, without a moment’s hesitation, Sanscrit…We have found the word Gael or Gal in Ben-gal, and the Gaelic language in Scotland….I believe there were many Sanscrit languages; it was an appellative term, and applied equally to the Gael or Celtic in India, and in Scotland. The Scotch Gael or Celtic, was the Gael of Singala, of Beni-Gael, of Point-de-Galle, of Oru Gallu, of the Syriac or Hebrew or Pushto. This very ancient and first-written syllabic language was, I cannot doubt, the Sanscrit or holy writ, and thus it is found in Scotland.’

Just as our Hyksos loved their bullsports, so do the Spanish, especially those in the Basque country where the Hyksos under Scota had settled before moving to Ireland. It can now be seen as no coincidence that a great many Basque words are reminiscent og those found in the Dravidian languages of southern India.  Nyland, using transliterations and Basque translations provided by Dr. N.Lahovary, gives us another 125 Dravidian-Basque connections, including;

Dravidian                                          Basque

ura             wife                             urruxa         female
aru             to give birth                   aur            child
suri            to pour                         isuri          to pour
biho            heart                         bihotz         heart
kara            height                        garai          high, prominent
ba               mouth                       abo            mouth
tshika         small child                 txiki          small
amma           female                    ama            mother
kerki          throat                      gurka          throat
mugul        flower bud              mugil          flower bud
buti        man servant                 botoi          man servant
maintu        love                        maita           love

Professor Vahan Sarkisian notes numerous lexical and grammatical similarities between Basque and Armenian. This language is spoken in the east of Turkey, in the locality of the Mitanni sphere. Also spoken in the are was Hurrian, whose connections with Basque are few, yet significant; linked as they are by words connected to ancient institutions such as religion & social organization.

images5: Chaldeans

Sweeping back east, let us examine an order of Babylonian priests, known to the world as the Chaldeans. The influence of this mysterious mysterious Near-Eastern sect, otherwise known as the Magi, was felt all across the ancient world, with Diogenes Laertius stating; ‘some say that the study of philosophy was of barbarian origin. For the Persians had their Magi, the Babylonians or the Assyrians the Chaldeans, the Indians their Gymnosophists, while the Kelts and the Galatæ had seers called Druids and Semnotheoi.’ Their chief deity was Ba’al, as given in the Book of Jeremiah (32:29);

 And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger

 The name of Ba’al immediately brings to mind the Irish Bilé, & upon investigation the Chaldean religion appears highly similar to that of the druids who arrived in Ireland with the Tuatha de Danaan. Just as Bile was the father of the Irish gods, so Ba’al was the, ‘oldest and mightiest of the gods of Babylonia, one of the earliest trinities. He was “Lord of the World,” father of the gods,” & was celebrated back in Ireland at the Celtic Spring festival of Beltane. i.e.‘Ba’al’s Fire.’ The source of the Chaldean faith can be traced to Egypt, where Ba’al, appears as Belus, the father of Danaus, of whom Diodorus tells us;

 After establishing himself on the Euphrates river he appointed priests, called Chaldaeans by the Babylonians, who were exempt from taxation and free from every kind of service to the state, as are the priests of Egypt;  and they also make observations of the stars, following the example of the Egyptian priests, physicists, and astrologers. 

6: Asia Minor connection

Finally, the anonymous author of the life of St Gadroe presented a legend of the origin of the Scots, in which they are said to have been a colony from a city called ” Choriscon,” situated on the river Pactolus, between the regions of Choria [Caria] and Lydia.


Out of the foliage of this second Hyksos anthrotree, I shall pluck out a fruity hyperfact namely saying that Belus was a Hyksos leader. Diodorus Siculus, for example, cites Euhemerus as relating how Zeus went to Babylon and was entertained by Belus. Chispological support comes with a Biblical figure living at the end of the Moses period called Balaam son of Beor, or Bela son of Beor, from Pethor (Pitru) in Mesopotamia. This ancient settlment lay beside the River Sagura, a western tributary of the Euphrates, connecting with the building of a seminary by Belus in that very area. With the Hyksos period predating Moses, it makes sense that in an inscription found at Deir ‘Alla in 1967, Bal’am son of Be’or was not a prophet of YHWH, but of the Hykos chief diety, ‘Ahstar’ & also of ‘Shgr,’ whose name can be connected easily to the River Sagura.

It is through religion of the Hyksos that we can now understand how Judiasm & Hindusim have points of common origin. We have already seen how the Jews left their presence in the topography of northern India, to which we may add a remembrance of the studies of Clearchus of Soli, embedded in the Contra Apionem of Josephus, who declares that, ‘ these Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calami, and by the Syrians Judaei, and took their name from the country they inhabit, which is called Judea; but for the name of their city, it is a very awkward one, for they call it Jerusalem.’ In addition we can make the following links;

(i) Both the Jewish and the Hindu calendars are lunar. Yom Kippur in the Jewish calendar coincides with Durga puja in the Hindu calendar. Purim and Holi occur on the same day.
(ii) Both Jews and Hindus perform marriage rites under a canopy.
(iii) The six-pointed star, Magen David, is also a sacred Hindu symbol.
(iv) The pancha diyas or five lamps used in Hinduism are similar to the menorah lit during Hanukkah.
(v) The design of the second temple and the Thanjavur temple in Tamil Nadu are very similar.
(vi) Both faiths remove their sandals while entering a temple or synagogue.
(vii) Both faiths have ritual baths before special occasions.
(viii) Both faithsequire the isolation of women during the days of the menstrual period and after childbirth.
(ix) The death rite of Both faiths are similar.
(x) There are certain striking similarities between the Hindu god Brahma and his consort Sarasvati, and the Jewish Abraham and Sarai.
(xi) The names of Isaac and Ishmael seem derived from Sanskrit: (Hebrew) Ishaak = (Sanskrit) Ishakhu = “Friend of Shiva.” (Hebrew) Ishmael = (Sanskrit) Ish-Mahal = “Great Shiva.”.

Returning to Belus, of his four known sons, Aegyptus ruled Arabia also tallies nicely with Josephius’ account of the Hyksos, when, ‘some say that these people were Arabians.’ We can connect another sibling, Phineus, to Scota herself, for he appears in Irish literature as Fenius Farsaidh, the grandfather of Gaythelos. That Fenius was Scythian supports his Hyksos identity, while as the transchispered ‘Goidal Glas,’ his grandson appears to have been the high priest, the ‘Kohen Gadol,’ of the Hebrews.  Analyzing the contextus of Phineus, we discover a certain tale – as given by Ovid – in which he brandishes a spear against Perseus while squabbling over the daughter of Casseiopeia, who had been declared by her mother to be more beautiful than the Nereids. The names & situation massively reflect a Biblical figure called Phinehas, in whose tales we see an incident with remarkable echoes to that of Phineus. For Casseiopia we have a certain idolatrous Cozbi, & we may observe the Biblical Phinehas also brandishes a spear. The ‘most beautiful woman’ motif contained in Ovid finds its Biblical reflection in Flavius Josephus, who asserts that the enemies of the Israelites sent their most beautiful women to seduce the Jews into idolatry. Josephus explains the result was the slaying of Cozbi by Phinehas, after which God rewarded him & his posterity with the covenant of an everlasting hereditary priesthood – explaining how Gaythelos became the ‘Kohen Gadol.

Between Fenius & Gaythelos was a figure called Neleus, the husband of Scota. According to the Irish account, he left Scythia to study languages on the plain of Shinar, which appears somewhere in Babylonia in the Bible as the location of Tower of Babel. The Jewish Pentateuch is a mish-mash chisperball of earlier events, but I have been able to actually sense & see the truth in the matter. Genesis tells us;

 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there… And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded… And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do… Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech… So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

This is in fact an account of the Hyksos bringing their one language to the rest of the ancient world, i.e. the introduction of PIE as the substratum to the world’s languages. A detailed remembrance of the influence on language of Fenius Farsaidh can be found in the  History of Ireland, written by the 17th century Gaelic scholar Seatrún Céitinn;

 When Fenius became King of Scythia… He sent seventy-two of his court scholars to the various countries on the three continents of the world that were known to be inhabited, and charged them to remain abroad for seven years, so that each of them might learn the language of the country in which he stayed.  At the end of seven years, they returned to Scythia and to King Fenius, who then established a school for the teaching of languages.  

According to the 7th century Auraicept na n-Éces, Fenius Farsaidh discovered four alphabets, the Hebrew, the Greek, the Latin and the Ogham. The truth would be something like these four alphabets evolved out of the Hyksos use of a script, most likely to be Proto-sinaitic. In his General History of Ireland, Geoffrey Keating tells us Niul was born in the ‘Magh’, or Plain, of Senair, in the Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn, we read, ‘It was about this time that Niul, a son of Fenius, was born at Eathena.’ Keating also states that, ‘Magh Senair’ was,‘near the city called Athens.’ This means that the Plain of Sinar was not in Babylonia, but in Greece.





 Mycynea, huh? Suddenly we can begin to make sense of a statement by Diodorus Siculus, paraphrasing the lost Aegyptica of Hecataeus of Abdera, who says, ‘aliens were driven from the country, and the most outstanding and active among them banded together and, as some say, were cast ashore in Greece and certain other regions; their leaders were notable men, chief among them being Danaus and Cadmus. But the greater number were driven into what is now called Judaea, which is not far distant from Egypt and was at that time utterly uninhabited. The colony was headed by a man called Moses.’ Here we have the Hyksos ‘aliens’ clearly heading to Greece. Martin Bernal, in his deeply-thought opus Black Athena, correctly identified the Hykos as being the founders of Mycynae, pointing to the presence of an Ugarit toponym, either mhnt – camp – or mhnm- 2 camps. The Ugaritian ‘h’ is pronounced ‘kh,’ giving us a Mycynae like pronunciation of mkhn. Additionally, Altan Oba in his ‘The Golden Barrow’ noted how the tombs of the Scythian kings in the Crimea were built in a method that was ‘surprisingly reminiscent of Mycenaean constructions,‘ ie enormous blocks of dressed stone overlapping each other until they centrally meet  in a royal, corbelled vault. We may also note Gregory Borovka’s statement in his Scythian Art, where he recognises, ‘the striking circumstance that the Scytho-Siberian animal style exhibits an inexplicable but far-reaching affinity with the Minoan-Mycenaean. Nearly all its motives recur in Minoan-Mycenaean art.’

Let us now return to the Athens-born Niul, who appears in John of Fordun, as a ‘certain king of the countries of Greece, Neolus.’  A variant name given in the Lebor Gabala Erenn) is Nel. It is time for a wee babel-chain.


At the heart of this babel chain we see the name of Menaleus, whose eloping wife Helen initiated the Homeric Trojan War. In support of the Menaleus-Neolus connection, three ancient sources state that Menaleus had a son called Aithiolas, being the Scholion to Homer’s Iliad 3 (175th); Eustathius of Thessalonica & the Byzantine Suda (alphaiota 124). It is by no stretch of the imagination to see how the name Aithiolas transchispers into Gaythelos, or better still Gaithelos, as given by other Irish records. A connection to our anthrotree comes with the adventures of Menaleus as written down by a grammarian called Aristonicus, upon whose now-lost text ‘On the Wanderings of Menelaus,’ ruminated Strabo. In these ponderings, Strabo states that of the accounts collected by Aristonicus, ‘some propose a coasting-voyage by Gades as far as India.’ Gades is Cadiz, i.e. the Pillars of Hercules, & this little nugget also places Menaleus among the Aryan Invaders.

The ancient city of Mycenae was sited in the northwest corner of the Plain of Argos, on the Peloponnese, in which place Pausanius, the Greek travel writer of the 2nd century AD, recorded, ‘the underground chambers of Atreus & his children, in which were stored their treasure. There is the grave of Atreus, along with the graves of such as returned with Agamemnon from Troy.’ In the late 19th century, a renegade amateur archeologist from Germany called Albert Schliemann excavated the site, discovering fabulous grave treasures which included the ‘Mask of Agamemnon,’ proving that the Homeric epithet, ‘Mycenae, rich in gold,’ was no exaggeration. Dated to 1550 BC, scholars have suggested that the treasures cannot be connected to the Mycynean leadership fighting a Trojan War in the 13th Century BC. Unraveling the factochisp, & moving Menaleus & Agamemnon back three centuries, when Schilemann telegraphed the King of Greece that he had, ‘gazed on the face of Agamenon,’ his proud & swoony statement may bear out to be true, although not in the way standard Homeric scholarship has imagined.  The graves also contain’d many exotic items for a rural backwater of a fledgling Greece. In Emily Vermeule’s list we may detect traces of the Hyksos world as in, ‘ostrich eggs from nubia, sent through Egypt & crete, lapiz lazuli from Mesoptamia, alabaster & faience from Crete, raw ivory from Syria, silver from Anatolia.’ Also found in the graves were gold diadems, which  parallel closely certain diadems found in a second millennium BC  grave at Assur, a sixteenth-century BC Kassite ring & other artifacts across Anatolia.


The Irish records tell us that Niul was a ‘Governor of Capacyront.’ This forms the first link of an interesting factochain which leads us back to Mycynae. Capacyront is Cappadocia, bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia. Herodotus tells us that the name of the Cappadocians was applied to them by the Persians, while they were termed by the Greeks ‘Syrians’ or ‘White Syrians’. One of the Cappadocian tribes he mentions is the Moschoi, is associated by Flavius Josephus with the biblical figure Meshech, son of Japheth: ‘and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians.

 Mosocheni = Mycynae

The capital of the Cappadocian Mosocheni was Mazaca, an ancient site near Kultepe  which became the power base of the Hittites. In our interest, at Kultepe was found a rare type of bead which was also found at Shaft Graves III & Omicron at Mycynae. With that wee connection I have almost finish’d my case, but there is time for one last little flourish of greenery.

The Homeric poems, the Iliad & Odyssey, are rooted in the world of Mycynean Greece. This means that if I am correct, there will be some kind of Hyksos undercurrent to the poems, the discovery of which I believe I have made. The very first king of the Mitanni realm was a certain Kirta, who lived in the 16th century BC. His name appears on an inscription found at Alalakh where King Shuttarna I is deem’d the ‘son of Kirta.’ I cannot help but see a connection here between Shuttarna & the Deir ‘Alla ‘Shaddayin,’ but what rings even truer is the existence of a Bronze Age Ugarit epic text in which Kirta appears as Keret. Inscribed in tablets by a certain Ilimilku, we are told the story of El-worshipping King Keret of Khuburu’s war against the kingdom of Udum. Straightaway appears the Hyksosean ‘Habiru’ element, whose worship of the semitic ‘El’ reinforces his Hyksoseanity. A thorough reading of the rest of the poem shows a great deal of potential influence on the Mycyenan epics. In Keret, we have armies stopping at a shrine of Athirat, or Aserah, the Semitic the goddess of the sea, just as the Mycyeneans gathered at Aulis en route to Troy. We also have have a siege of Udum, after which King Pubala was forced to give Keret his daughter, Hariya, marriage, which too smacks of the Helen of Troy legend.


It makes perfect sense that the known Asiatic imperialists of the age of the Aryan Invasion actually carried out these invasions. From their Bactrian heartlands, the Hyksos had fanned out all across the ancient world in their fast-moving, swift-conquering chariots. in the creation of a Bronze Age Empire. Heading east & west; Egypt, Greece, Arabia & India all came under the sway of the Hyksos kings, reaching their imperial height during the reign of Seuserenre Khyan in the early 16th century BC. The empire was ruled very much in the fashion of the British, where handfuls of elite Hyksos noblemen ruled over their conquered peoples, imposing their language on other cultures as they did so. This transmigration of Hyksosean language – the PIE – would form the sub-stratum of languages across most of Eurasia. Thus, whenever anybody says mentions the Aryan Invasion, by thinking chispologically we will know what they are really meaning is an invasion of India by the Hyksos.


Next Wednesday, 07/02/18

Chapter 3 : The Mahabharata


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

Chispology 1 : The Exodus


chisp cover

Commencing the serialization of

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a few more of the world’s greatest mysteries… are finally solved

Available to buy in book form

Autumn 2018



These are the further historical observations, methodical inquiries & pendragon calculations made by Damian Beeson Bullen of Burnley. Today is the 23rd of January 2018, & I have just embark’d upon the second installment of the Chisper Effect. Having collated enough notes for another 12 chapters, I shall be uploading them every week for the next 3 months or so, after which the book shall be available to buy. During this period I shall continue to analyze the Chispological process, including tinkering with a much-needed lexicon as we progress. Chispology is the academic cloth that wipes away the dirt which accumulates over time, that cakes facts with a muggy untruth. In the Chisper Effect I showed how where the historian dismisses information as romancing or mythology, the Chisper learns how to read outside of the box and recognize where the truths are in a tale. It is time for a fresh historical mysteries, so let us reconvene our studies once again towards the dawn of recorded history, the Biblical account of the Exodus & the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. A cursory glance at some of the rather unbelievable events indicates there are is quite a factochisps, or perhaps a creochisp – in play; the parting of the Red Sea. This highly unlikely natural event is based in reality upon an ancient mistranslation of ‘Yam Suph,’ which actually means ‘Sea of Reeds.’ Instead of crossing a parted Red Sea, it is more likely that Moses discovered a safe passage through the Nile Delta. The Book of Exodus tells us exactly where the miracle took place;

14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baal-zephon

In this context we can imagine Moses using the marshlands of the Nile delta, sticking to the dry passages while at the same time trapping the Egyptian army in one of the vast annual floods of that mighty & ancient river. Artapanus suggests this very sequence of events when he wrote, ‘now the Memphites say that Moses was familiar with the countryside and watched for the ebb tide and he conveyed the multitude across through the dry sea.’ As the name Pi-Ha-Hiroth given in Exodus 14:9 translates into Hebrew as, ‘mouth of the canals,’ it is through the chispological kaleidoscope that we may realign with reality a campaign in the swampy Delta in which the Moses-pursuing pharaoh, & a great deal of his army, were caught & drowned by the flooding Nile. This leads us to the next stage of our next investigation, & the ascertaining of the identity of the pharaoh of the Exodus.

download (1)Just as the Chisper Effect began with the Biblical Joseph, I thought it would be a nice idea to commence our second epic sweep through history with the same individual. Having established the Sobeknahkt–Zaphanath babel-chain in my first book, confirmed by a great deal of rather interesting & factual support, I concluded that the pharaoh of the Joseph story must have been Amenemhat I. This knowledge leads us to an Egyptian tale called The Story of Sinuhe – set during the reign of Amenemhat’s successor, Sensuret I – in which we  observe how Sinuhe fled Egypt & found shelter in the hills of Canaan with a certain King Amuneshi. The name of his protector transchispers into Joseph’s own son Manasseh, the patriarch of his eponymous tribe. That the Israelites lived in both Egypt & Canaan in these days is confirmed thro’ an early translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint made under Ptolemy ), which reads; ‘the sojourning of the children of Israel, that is which they sojourned in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years.’

Pictorial evidence for such a cross-national existence comes in the tomb of Knumhotep II, a ‘Great Chief’ who ruled the Oryx nome during the reigns of Amenemhat II & Sensuret II. His wonderful tomb relief shows a group of bow-wielding Semitic Asiatics know as ‘Aamu’ led by a certain Abisha. This name philocisps into the Hebrew term ‘beoshri,’ which means ‘in my good fortune.’ From here we transchisper easily to Joseph’s brother, Asher, whose name is said in the Torah to mean ‘happy-blessing.‘ Datewise, Abish & Asher fit, with more support for the genflation coming from the Torah statement that Asher migrated to Egypt & the same time as Jacob & co.

And these are the names of the children of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons… Asher… And the sons of Asher: Imnah, and Ishvah, and Ishvi, and Beriah, and Serah their sister; and the sons of Beriah: Heber, and Malchiel.


Utilising the Chisper Effect also allows us to introduce a hyperfact – a hypothetical fact – to support the 20th century BC date for Joseph. It begins with Joseph’s great-uncle Ishmael – brother of Isaac – among whose children, as recorded by Josephus, was a certain Cadmas. This would have put him a generation before Joseph, roundabout the year 2000 BC, which links him semantically & chronologically with the Greek foundation figure, Cadmus. Herodotus, writing c.450 BC, tells us; ‘Now the Dionysus who was called the son of Semele, daughter of Cadmus, was about sixteen hundred years before my time.‘ The legends behind Cadmus fit a Semitic origin, for he was connected to Tyre, on the shores of ancient Phoenicia. The legends also state that Cadmus founded the citadel of Thebes, known as the Cadmeia. According to Sarantis Symeonoglou (The Topography of Thebes from the Bronze Age to Modern Times), in the Early Helladic III period, just when Herodotus said Cadmus was alive, archeologists have detected, ‘two buildings of monumental character… the remarkably large dimensions of the main room could only have been achieved with the structural support of column, possibly as many as four… their sheer size, in addition to the isolated find of a hoard o bronze tools, marks them as structures fit for kings.’ The legend of Cadmus bringing the Phoenician alphabet to Greece fits well with the idea of him being Cadmas the Ishmaelite, whose tribe were said to inhabit the northern parts of the Sinai peninsular. It is in this area, at the ancient mining complex of Serabit el-Khadim, that the world’s oldest consonantal script was discovered. Dated to about 1850 B.C, it is called Proto-Sinaitic, or Old Canaanite, & it records an early semitic language. From its pictorial symbols the Paleo-Hebrew, Phoenician and the South Arabian letters were evolved; & thus by extension most historical and modern alphabets. And of course, adding a wee ‘s‘ to ‘Khadim’ gives us a name that sounds remarkably like Cadmus.


Securing the Cadmus/Cadmas dating gives us a little extra historical concrete into which we can anchor a timechain, part of which contains the dating for the not insignificant event occurred known as the Exodus, when the Israelites completed their ‘sojourning… in the land of Egypt.’ With the Joseph pharaoh Amenemhat I’s reign spanning 1991-1962 BC, if we are to add the Septuagint’s 430 years we reach a date of sometime between 1561 & 1531 for the Exodus. A mid-sixteenth century BC date for the Exodus can also be determined by continuing to follow time-clues.

+ 40 Years For some forty years he (Moses) bore with their conduct in the desert  Acts – 13:18

+ ‘about’ 450 years And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet  Acts – 13:20

 + 40 Years It was then that they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. He reigned forty years before God removed him and appointed David as their King Acts -13:21-22

+ 40 Years David reigned over Israel were forty years… Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father. Kings I – 2:10-13

+ 4 Years In the 4th year of Solomon’s reign, according to Kings I 6:1, ‘he began to build the house of the Lord.’  This was the grand old famous temple of Jerusalem’s known as the Temple of Solomon, a portion of which still stands as the Wailing Wall.

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+ 143 Years It is onto the building of the Temple of Solomon that we can send out a time-tendril to the foundation of the city of Carthage, for the Jewish historian, Josephius, states, ‘it was recorded that the temple was built by king Solomon at Jerusalem, one hundred forty-three years and eight months before the Tyrians built Carthage.’  The city’s name, Qart-hadasht, or New City, remembers its origin as a colony of Phoenician Tyre, whose foundation, according to Polybius (quoting Timaeus of Tauromenion) took place in 814 or 813 B.C. A similar date can be obtained thro’ Velleius Paterculus, who said Carthage lasted 667 years. With the city being utterly destroyed in 146 B.C. by the Romans, this highlights the year of 815 B.C. for its foundation. All these dates were fairly confirmed in 2000, when Nijboer of Groningen University carbon-dated animal bones in the first layer of settlement at Carthage to a period just before 800 B.C.. We can now construct the following chronology.

814 B.C. – Foundation of Carthage (+143)
957 B.C. – Start of Solomon’s Temple (+4)
961 B.C. – Start of Solomon’s reign (+40)
1001 B.C. – Start of David’s reign (+40)
1041 B.C. – Start of Saul’s reign(+c.450)
1491 B.C. – Moses ends his wanderings (+40)
1531 B.C. – The Commencement of the Exodus

The date of 1531 BC lies at the extreme end of the Exodus time-frame as ascribed by the 430-year sojurn of the Israelites in Egypt, which must have occurred between 1561-1531. This is several centuries before the conventional modern date for the Exodus, which was made on account of the mention in the Exodus of a store city called Rameses. The first of many pharoahs called Ramesses was crowned c.1300 BC, a date upon which a great many Egyptologists have anchored their search for the Exodus. The problem is a statue was found in recent years in a storage drawer in a Berlin museum, dated to 1350 BC, whose pedestal relief mentions ‘Israel,’ in conjunction with Canaan & Ashkelon.  We shall look at the inscription in more detail soon, but for now  let us accept the With the holy Hebrew Nation being founded after the Exodus, the Ramesses pharaohs are clearly precluded from the equasion.

The key phrase in the Book of Acts is, ‘about the space of four hundred & fifty years,’ which allows us a little flexibility. There is also a grey area hovering around the date of the Solomon Temple, for ‘he began to build the house of the Lord,’ could mean an earlier moment than, it was recorded that the temple was built by king Solomon.’ It is quite possible that the time spent building the Temple are missed out here, pushing the 1531 BC date back a few more years. All this leads us quite convincingly to the reign of Ahmose I, whose mummified remains have been carbon-dated to the mid-sixteenth century BC, coinciding perfectly with the end of his reign.

Ahmose I
Ahmose I

According to the Egyptian historian-priest Manetho, this pharaoh ruled for twenty five years & four months, a time-span supported by an inscription found at the stone quarries Tura dated to Ahmose’s 22nd regnal year. We have already seen in the Scota chapter of the Chisper Effect how the reign dates of the 18th dynasty can be anchored on  a 1536 BC helical rising of Sirius in the ninth regnal year of Ahmose’s successor,  Amenhotep. This means that Ahmose ruled between 1571 & 1546 BC. On analyzing his reign, it is not surprising that we encounter accounts of natural disasters, which seem to be the factual basis upon which the Biblical creochisps were originally founded. An inscription upon the ‘Tempest Stela of Ahmose I,’ found on the third pylon of the Karnak temple, reads;

The gods made the sky come in a storm of rain, with darkness in the western region and the sky beclouded… louder than the sound of the subjects, stronger than …, howling on the hills more than the sound of the cavern in Elephantine. Then every house and every habitation they reached perished and those in them died, their corpses floating on the water like skiffs of papyrus, even in the doorway and the private apartments of the palace… while no torch could give light over the Two Lands. Then His Majesty said: ‘How these (events) surpass the power of the great god and the wills of the divinities!

We have here a match to three of the ten god-sent plagues said to have preceded the Exodus of Moses; darkness, flooding & hail. So nfar so good, & like any decent hyperchisp, the more evidence we can acquire in support, the better. Happily for our investigation, a poem called the Admonitions of Ipuwer, set in the reign of Ahmose, has several passages which evidently present an Egyptian perspective to the Ten Plagues.

Plague of Blood

Exodus 7:20-21: All the water that was in the River was turned into blood. And the fishthat were in the River died, and the River began to stink; and the Egyptians were unable to drink water from the River.

Admonitions 2:6,10: Pestilence is throughout the land, blood is everywhere… O, yet the River is blood and one drinks from it; one pushes people aside, thirsting for water.


Plague of Hail

Exodus 9:23-24: Jehovah gave thunders and hail, and fire would run down to the earth, and Jehovah kept making it rain down hail upon the land of Egypt. Thus there came hail, and fire quivering in among the hail.

Admonitions 2:10-11: Yet porches, pillars and partition walls are burnt, the facade of the King’s Estate is enduring and firm.


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Plague of Darkness

Exodus 10:22-23: A gloomy darkness began to occur in all the land of Egypt for 3 days.

Admonitions 9:11: Wretches them; day does not dawn on it.


The Perishment of Cattle & Crops

Exodus 9:25; 10:15: The hail struck everything that was in the field, from man to beast, and all sorts of vegetation of the field;

Exodus 9:3: Jehovah’s hand is coming upon your livestock that is in the field. On the horses, the asses, the camels, the herd and the flock there will be a very heavy pestilence.

Admonitions 5:6: O, yet all herds, their hearts weep; cattle mourn because of the state of the land.

Admonitions 4:14; 6:2-4: O, yet trees are swept away, plantations laid bare…O, yet barley has perished everywhere… everyone says. ‘There is nothing!’ — the storehouse is razed.


The Egyptians are Stripped of their Wealth

Exodus 11:2; 12:35-36: Speak, now, in the ears of the people, that they should ask every man of his companion and every woman of her companion articles of silver and articles of gold… the sons of Israel did according to the word of Moses in that they went asking from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold and mantles. And Jehovah gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, so that these granted them what was asked: and they stripped the Egyptians.

Admonitions 2:4-5; 3:1-3: O, yet the poor have become the owners of riches; he who could not make for himself sandals is the owner of wealth… the outside bow-people have come to Egypt. O, yet Asiatics reach Egypt and there are no people anywhere. O, yet gold, lapis lazuli, silver, turquoise, garnet, amethyst, diorite, our fine stones, have been hung on the necks of maidservants; riches are throughout the land, but ladies of the house say: ‘Would that we had something we might eat!’

The Admonitions papyrus
The Admonitions papyrus

The true date of the Exodus should be 1546 BC, the year that Ahmose I died, which we may now presume occurred during a flooding of the Nile Delta in pursuit of Moses. After the flight from Egypt, Moses is said to have led the Isrealites for 40 years, i.e. to 1506 BC. I would just like to remind the reader of a passage in the 2nd chapter of The Chisper Effect. The general idea of the Princess Scota investigation was to associate her with a certain Neferubity, the daughter of Thutmose I. His reign spanned the years 1526-1513 BC, which very much confirms Princess Scota as living during the ‘Days of Moses,’ as stated by John of Fordun.


expulsion_of_the_hyksosThe great achievement of Ahmose I was the driving out of the Hyksos from Egypt. This foreign ruling class were a relatively short-lived dynasty which dominated Egyptian affairs for a century, from 1650-1550. They appear in the Admonitions poem where we read that, ‘the outside bow-people have come to Egypt. O, yet Asiatics reach Egypt.’ Likewise, another passage in the Admonitions reads, ‘the desert is throughout the land, the nomes are laid waste, and barbarians from abroad have come to Egypt… Woe is me because of the misery of this time!’ There is enough evidence to opine that the Biblical Exodus is a creochisp of an actual historical event known as the Expulsion of the Hyksos, & that the Israelites constituted at least one branch of the Hyksos ‘tribe.’ Relevant to our investigation is an inscription appertaining to one of the Hyksos pharaohs in Egypt, Apophis, who was given in a stela as a Chieftain of Retjenu (i.e., Canaan). Female Hebrew names also appear in a 17th century BC manuscript known as the Brooklyn papyrus, while the sites of Semitic settlements have been found all throughout Egypt, especially in the region around the Hyksos capital at Avaris. In the latter place, a Syrian palace has been discovered, suggesting a Near Eastern origin for the Hyksos elite, as supported by Eusebius (Preparation 9.23);

Artapanus says, in his book concerning the Jews, that Joseph was a descendant of Abraham and son of Jacob… He married Aseneth a daughter of the priest of Heliopolis, by whom he begat sons. And afterwards his father and his brethren came to him, bringing much substance, and were set to dwell in Heliopolis and Sais, and the Syrians multiplied in Egypt. These he says built both the temple in Athos and that in Ileliopolis, and were called Ermiuth. 

Just as Avaris was situated in the same territorial region as the Biblical ‘Goshen,’ where the first Israelites had settled in the days of Jacob, it would also be the locality of their final stand in this golden land. As attested by Josephus, before being rudely usher’d out of Egypt by a native population led by Ahmose I, the Hyksos had gathered their strength in Avaris;

The shepherds… were shut up in a place that contained ten thousand acres; this place was named Avaris. Manetho says, ’That the shepherds built a wall round all this place, which was a large and a strong wall, and this in order to keep all their possessions and their prey within a place of strength

This whole nation was styled HYCSOS, that is, Shepherd-kings: for the first syllable HYC, according to the sacred dialect, denotes a king, as is SOS a shepherd; but this according to the ordinary dialect; and of these is compounded HYCSOS. Some say that these people were Arabians

That the Hyksos ‘shepherds’ were the Israelites can be inferred thro’ another statement by Josephus which reads, ‘those shepherds who had been driven out of the land…  to the city called Jerusalem.’  In many places the Bible makes apparent the flock-rearing nature of the early Israelites. Before their invasion of Canaan they are said to have fought & defeated the Midianites, after which they had plundered all Midian animals – a haul which included 675,000 sheep – while on defeating the Hagrites we are told they took, ‘50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 captives’ (Chron I – 5:18-22).

The anti-Hyksos action at Avaris conducted by Ahmose I is given amazing gloss by the tomb biography of a certain Ahmose, son of Abana, in which we read; ‘the town of Avaris was besieged, I fought bravely on foot in his majesty’s presence. Thereupon I was appointed to the ship khaemmennefer (“Rising in Memphis”). Then there was fighting on the water in “P’a-djedku” of Avaris. I made a seizure and carried off a hand. When it was reported to the royal herald the gold of valour was given to me. Then they fought again in this place; I again made a seizure there and carried off a hand. Then I was given the gold of valour once again.’ The biography then details several more campaigns fought by Ahmose I, which indicates that the Exodus led by Moses – in which Ahmose would have died – must have taken place a number of years after the Expulsion of the Hyksos. Returning to the tomb biography of Ahmose son of Abana, we can even see a record of the Hyksos being taken into slavery, some of whom were captured at Sharuhen, in Canaan itself.

Then Avaris was despoiled, and I brought spoil from there: one man, three women; total, four persons. His majesty gave them to me as slaves. Then Sharuhen was besieged for three years. His majesty despoiled it and I brought spoil from it: two women and a hand. Then the gold of valour was given me, and my captives were given to me as slaves.


This enslaved branch of the diaspora would eventually flee Egypt with Moses, & settle back in the ‘Holy Land,’ picking up the Ten Commandments & the Ark of the Covenant from Mount Sinai along the way. The commandments would have been written down in Proto-Sinaitic, & in an absolutely fascinating tally, the very place where that script was first discovered is said by many modern scholars to be the actual Mount Sinai upon which Moses received the word of god. His sister, Miriam, definitely seems to have been there, for on the occasion the scholar Burton Bernstein visited Serabit, he noted;

When we had taken our fill of the temple ruins, Nura, who had been sitting patiently on a block of sandstone, led us toward the mine adits, a few hundred yards down a trail from the peak. On the way we passed an extraordinary example of all three Sinai inscription categories. At the top of a rock face was a rude cartouche, with hieroglyphs bordering figures of profiled Egyptians approaching an ankh-holding deity. Below the cartouche were two lines of Proto-Sinaitic engravings, and to the side were the graffiti and some indistinct Semitic script. Lieutenant Micha thought he could make out the Hebrew word for Miriam

Serabit al-Kadim is the most prominent of a trio of peaks; the others being Jebel Saniya & Jebel Ghorabi, with the latter being the Biblical Mt. Horeb from where Moses & the Israelites left the Sinai area for Canaan. On the mountain also stood a significant shrine dedicated to the cow-goddess, Hathor, which fits wonderfully with the ‘Golden Calf’ idol made & worshiped by the Israelites when Moses was away having a natter with God. We also have in the vicinity a river, whose headwaters begin at Bir Umm Agraf, transchispering to the ‘reph’ of Rephidim (Place of Spreading Out) where the Israelites assembl’d befor climbing Mount Sinai. The Exodus picks up the story;

Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

The key phrase here is ‘smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace,’ which can now be seen not as a visitation from God, but more a remembrance of the ancient metallurgical smelting practices carried out at Serabit al-Kadim, from whose mountain turquoise was mined in immense quantities. That the Israelites & their burnt offerings were there en masse also accounts for the tons of mysterious white ash discovered a century ago at the Hathor Temple. There are also twelve stone steles at the site which match the Septuagint’s;

Moses wrote all the words of the Lord; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mountain, & set up twelve stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent forth the young men of the children of Israel, and they offered whole burnt-offerings, and they sacrificed young calves as a peace-offering to God

We shall finish this segment of our investigations with the first western explorer of the site, Sir Flinders Petrie, who dated certain spiritual activities on the Egyptian side, to the time of both Exodus pharaohs, Ahmose I & Amenhotep I.

After a long period of neglect, during which no expeditions were sent to Sinai, we find offerings made by Aames I…of an alabaster vase with the name of his queen, Aahmes Nefertari, menats of glazed pottery for that queen and for his daughter, Merytamen, and a handle of a sistrum which was probably for Nefertari. In the next reign we find that Amenhotep I… repaired the sacred cave, the lintel and portico of which were broken down [from almost 500 years of neglect under the Hyksos], and put a fresh lintel, and a new architrave to the portico


Coming down from the Holy Mountain ourselves, & with some of the mists of the origins of Judaism beginning to clear, the next question we shall asks is just how did the Israelites come to be called Hebrews? Relevant evidence can be found with Josephus, who tells us that ‘HYCSOS’ was their ‘styled’ name. An alternate used by the Hyksos themselves was the Habiru or Abhira, who of course in Palestine became the Hebrews. The presence of a certain Abihu with Moses on the Holy Mountain may be  significant. By mid-fourteenth century, as given in the Armana letters, we may read how the Apiru were conquering Canaan.

The war against me is severe . . . Apiru has plundered all the lands of the king…if there are no archers, lost are the lands of the king (EA286)
Milkilu and…the sons of Lab’ayu…have given the land of the king to the (EA 2 87)
The land of the king is lost… the Apiru have taken the very cities of the king (EA288)
The land of the king deserted to the Apiru (EA290 )

This very first Zionist expansion into the Holy Land began not long after the death of Moses, when leadership of the Israelites passed to the warlike Joshua. The Bible describes a war of conquest by the Israelites in which the walls of Jericho fell, according to our timeline, not long after the Exodus concludes in 1506 BC. This date has been amazingly ratified by archeologists, who at first discovered a network of collapsed walls (John Garstang 1930-36), then proved the destruction layer of that city dated to c.1500 BC (Kathleen Kenyon 1952-58).

We can also enter as supporting evidence the general conclusion of Egyptologists such as Manfred Görg, who say that in the gray granite block inscription found in Berlin, the third of the name rings superimposed upon Western Asiatic prisoners should read  Y3-šr-il (Ishrael). With the other two names – Ashkelon and Canaan – being written consonantally, just like Eighteenth Dynasty examples from the reigns of Tuthmosis III and Amenhotep II, we we presume that Israel came into existence sometime before the 15th century BC. It also appears that the conquests attributed to Joshua were actually a Biblical creochisp, condensing the two to three centuries long conquest of Canaan into a single account, an analysis of which I shall save for another day.

While in the Holy Land, the ‘Sos’ element of the Hyksos, or ‘shous,’ transchispered into the Shasu, a semitic tribe of the Levant of whom the Shasu of Yhw were the founders of Judaism thro’ their devotion to their god Yahweh. Another semitic link comes thro’ an account of Moses made by Josephus, when ‘it was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Hellopolls, and his name Osarsiph, from Osyris, who was the god of Hellopolls; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses.’ Heliopolis appears in the Book of Genesis as the city of On, with a strong emphasis on the worship of Ra, or the sun. It was in Heliopolis that Ra-worship was focused via the massebah, those lofty obelisks which baffle & amaze the voyeur to this day. What is interesting is that the earliest worship of Jehova/Yahweh by the Jews also seems massebah-based, but was slowly seen as unorthodox after the creation of Israel c.1500 BC. The earliest Israelites even left a number of gigal stone circles where the sun was worshiped, & the Twelve Tribes could well be attached to the signs of Zodiac. Of these gigal, the one near the Samarrian city of Shechem, north of Jerusalem, was sited near a massebah pillar;

On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord Joshua24:26 

All the men of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar which was in Shechem Judges9:6

It seems sensible to suggest that the singular status of the solar deity of Egypt is the true origin behind the monotheistic Yahweh. Indeed, as the avatar known as the ‘Aten,’ the sun would become – for a while – the chief god of Egypt. In the midst of this theological movement, Pharaoh Ahkenaten moved his capital to a new garden city in the desert, called Akhetaten (today’s Armana); a setting & a philochisp which immediately invokes the Garden of Eden that begins the Bible.

"Tomb of Joseph at Shechem", by David Roberts 1839
Tomb of Joseph at Shechem, by by David Roberts 1839

One of the most remarkable remembrances of the Exodus is the fact that Moses actually transported the mummified body of Joseph from Egypt to Shechem.

As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of JosephJoshua 24:32


While we are still hovering in the vicinity, there is something about Shechem which I simply cannot leave, especially at the opening of my book, which needs to catch the attention, right? When I as a boy I watched a VHS tape of The Raiders of the Lost Ark almost religiously, competing at the weekend with my sister to get up first put the film on. If I came second it would have to be either Grease, Grease 2 or Dirty Dancing, to which films my subconscious knows all the words. Three decades later, I would now like to declare that the Ark of the Covenant is not in some American warehouse, as deposited by Indiana Jones, but is instead buried under rocks on Mount Gerizim, near Shechem.  This was the most sacred mountain of the Samaritans, at which place a rather interesting event took place as described by Josephus in his Jewish Antiquities;

The Samaritan nation too was not exempt from disturbance. For a man who made light of mendacity and in all his designs catered to the mob, rallied them, bidding them go in a body with him to Mount Gerizim, which in their belief is the most sacred of mountains. He assured them that on their arrival he would show them the sacred vessels which were buried there, where Moses had deposited them.

Instead of finding the vessels – which included the Ark of the Covenant – no man other than Pontius Pilate put paid to the expedition & killed its ring-leaders. The vessels were never found that day,  & thus might be stillburied on Gerizim, but where? Let us open up the Chisper Effect on the matter a moment, starting with an account of the hiding of the sacred vessels found in II Maccabees;

These same records also tell us that Jeremiah, acting under divine guidance, commanded the Tent of the Lord’s Presence and the Covenant Box to follow him to the mountain where Moses had looked down on the land which God had promised our people. When Jeremiah got to the mountain, he found a huge cave and there he hid the Tent of the Lord’s Presence, the Covenant Box, and the altar of incense. Then he sealed up the entrance.


Unraveling the chispers, the association Moses made with Shechem & its mountains as defined by Deutronomy 27 is remembered in II Maccabees with, ‘the mountain where Moses had looked down on the land which God had promised our people.’ The unidentified man looking for the Moses vessels on Gerizim in the First Century AD – as attested by Josephus – must have known something, & I am rather inclined to follow the smoke to the slopes over Shechem. If II Macabees is correct, there should be a sealed cave on Gerizim in which the Ark & the holy tablets of Judaism may still be found. One final clue comes with a copper scroll found at Qumran, which reads, ‘in the desolations of the Valley of Achor, under the hill that must be climbed, hidden under the east side, forty stones deep, is a silver chest, and with it, the vestments of the High Priest, all the gold and silver with the Great Tabernacle and all its Treasures.’ Conflicting accounts have been given as to the location of the ‘Valley of Achor,’  whose true location could really be anywhere in the Holy Land. Let us instead associate, ‘the hill that must be climbed’ with Gerizim, on whose ‘east side‘ there will be a cave whose entrance has been sealed ‘ forty stones deep.’ It is in that place, Mr Jones, or ye tomb-raiders of the future, that we shall find the Ark.

With that little treasure we have set off,  once again, on our adventures thro’ time. So far we have managed to validate a little more historicity of the Bible, in which process we have discover’d how the Book of Exodus contains creochisps of real happenings, including the historical event known as the Expulsion of the Hyksos. In the next chapter we shall see how the Hyksos of Egypt, & Israel, are all connected to a vast geopolitical enterprise, one branch of which opened  up in the Indian subcontinent three & a half thousand years ago.


Next Wednesday, 31/01/18

Chapter 2 : The Aryan Invasion


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang


The Chisper Effect 12 : The Ripper Gang

    Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



As we approach the end of my first chispological analysis of the most spectacular mysteries of mankind, we are about to enter what are for me our modern times. The difference between this age & those of the past, especially the deeper histories, is society’s ability to relay information to the masses with widespread rapidity. With this possibility comes the very real risk of media manipulation, of creating a factochisp on purpose, the veritable ‘Fake News’ of the Trump administration. Humanity is primarily a gossip-loving species, that is force-fed to a gluttonous, news-hungry people; if enough people read about, or see images of, a factoid then the widely spread belief moulds minds for whomever may benefit. ‘That never happened,‘ someone might say. ‘But I read it about,’ ‘but I saw it with my own eyes,’ will be the curt response.


Such an illusion occurred in the case of the notorious Whitechapel prostitute killer, Jack the Ripper, said to stalk the dimly lit streets of London’s East End in the summer & autumn of 1888. Among eleven unsolved crimes contained in the dossier on the so-called Whitechapel Killer, there are five which form the unholy canon of victims. These poor unfortunate women were all found with their throats cut, with four of them being mutilated in the most abhorrent fashion. They were;

Mary Ann Nichols: 31 August, Buck’s Row
Annie Chapman: 8 September, 29 Hanbury Street
Elizabeth Stride: 30 September, 40 Berner Street
Catherine Eddowes: 30 September, Mitre Square
Mary Jane Kelly: 9 November, Millers Court


What bother’d the police the most about the killer was the phantom-like way this sadistic slaughterer managed to avoid detection during his grisly butchering & subsequent flights to safety. The police were also perturbed by the statements of numerous witnesses who had been closest to the action, so to speak, with the vast majority offering differing descriptions of the murderer. Using chispology, these two enigmas can be reconciled into a single stream of thought; Jack the Ripper was in fact several people, a murder gang, whose members facilitated the slayings. The Ripper Gang is the bloody colour of red, but when we mix in the blue of media manipulation & their creation of the single maniacal murderer, the colour inevitably changes. As we look at this new colour, we can sense red is somewhere in the background, but our minds see only now the new colour, violet.


The question we must ask is who turned the Ripper’s red to violet? Who in their right mind would be behind such a desperate & devious mission? Upon approaching a mystery such as this, one should apply to the problem Aristotle’s philosophies of causality; when all the dust has settled on an event, whomever benefits most from the final outcome probably had something to do with its initiation. In the case of Jack the Ripper, two very significant prosperities induced by the killings can be connected to the famous Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, who was living & working in London in 1888. His name stands out a little ridiculously, almost scandalously, in the same way that Queen Victoria’s deranged eldest son was a popular suspect in the case. Instead, where Prince Albert Edward’s ‘claim’ is based on speculation only, upon investigating Mr Shaw, a certain number of tentacles of truth seem to penetrate the dark historical swamps of the Ripper case with ease.

A young George Bernard Shaw
A young George Bernard Shaw

One of Shaw’s jobs at that time was as a music critic for the Star newspaper, where he wrote under the pseudonym, ‘Corno di Bassetto.’ The Star was also the Victorian tabloid which printed for the first time the name of Jack the Ripper, selling millions of copies in the process. In 1888, newspapers were the perfect public medium upon which to launch the creation of a crazed serial killer in order to focus a global spotlight upon the capital slums. At the time of the killings, the East End of London had crammed almost a million outcasts into its poverty-stricken streets, a community that was either ignored or condemned to eternal destitution by the wealthier classes of the capital. With a flash of his midnight knife, the Ripper would change everything in an instant. The public outcry over the killer was so intense that there soon kicked in the process of urban renewal & poverty relief that George Bernard Shaw had been campaigning for for years. Social reform is the crucial motive behind the Ripper killings, at the height of which Shaw printed the following letter in the Star. As we read the extracts, let us imagine him as the actual architect behind the entire Ripper legend.



SIR,– Will you allow me to make a comment on the success of the Whitechapel murderer in calling attention for a moment to the social question? Less than a year ago the West-end press, headed by the St. James’s Gazette, the Times, and the Saturday Review, were literally clamering for the blood of the people–hounding on Sir Charles Warren to thrash and muzzle the scum who dared to complain that they were starving–heaping insult and reckless calumny on those who interceded for the victims–applauding to the skies the open class bias of those magistrates and judges who zealously did their very worst in the criminal proceedings which followed–behaving, in short as the proprietary class always does behave when the workers throw it into a frenzy of terror by venturing to show their teeth. Quite lost on these journals and their patrons were indignant remonstrances, argument, speeches, and sacrifices, appeals to history, philosophy, biology, economics, and statistics; references to the reports of inspectors, registrar generals, city missionaries, Parliamentary commissions, and newspapers; collections of evidence by the five senses at every turn; and house-to-house investigations into the condition of the unemployed, all unanswered and unanswerable, and all pointing the same way. The Saturday Review was still frankly for hanging the appellants; and the Times denounced them as “pests of society.” This was still the tone of the class Press as lately as the strike of the Bryant and May girls. Now all is changed. Private enterprise has succeeded where Socialism failed. Whilst we conventional Social Democrats were wasting our time on education, agitation, and organisation, some independent genius has taken the matter in hand, and by simply murdering and disembowelling four women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism. The moral is a pretty one, and the Insurrectionists, the Dynamitards, the Invincibles, and the extreme left of the Anarchist party will not be slow to draw it. “Humanity, political science, economics, and religion,” they will say, “are all rot; the one argument that touches your lady and gentleman is the knife.”

The riots of 1886 brought in £78,000 and a People’s Palace; it remains to be seen how much these murders may prove worth to the East-end in panem et circenses. Indeed, if the habits of duchesses only admitted of their being decoyed into Whitechapel back-yards, a single experiment in slaughterhouse anatomy on an artistocratic victim might fetch in a round half million and save the necessity of sacrificing four women of the people.


In this letter, Shaw essentially describes how social reformers had tried multiple manners of methods to highlight the plight of the impoverishment of London’s East End, to their ignominious collapse of their efforts. Yet, where failed, ‘humanity, political science, economics, and religion,‘ it was the brutal murders of prostitutes which finally managed to open the eyes of a hoary establishment. When reading through the letter, expressions such as ‘private enterprise‘ & ‘independent genius’ seem outstandingly brazen words of self-congratulation. There is also a startlingly curious & cold-blooded sense of self-righteousness about Shaw’s, ‘necessity of sacrificing four women of the people.’

William Morris
William Morris

A similar opinion to this was vaunted by one of Shaw’s companions in social reform, William Morris, who printed in his own newspaper (the Commonweal), ‘in our age of contradictions and absurdities, a fiend-murderer may become a more effective reformer than all the honest propagandists in the world.’ Morris knew the East End well, & was always exploring its dark alleys & experiencing its gin-soaked poverty at first hand. Along with Shaw & their fellow reformers, Morris had grown steadily disenchanted with the normal means of civic protestation. Things became intolerable after November 1887, when on that month’s ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the British government brutally killed a number of protesters in Trafalgar Square. It was becoming clear to Morris & Shaw that an alternative route to reform was required. Their solution was a ‘fiend-murderer,’ whose hunting grounds were the poorest parts of London, in order to shine a focus on that area’s deprivation. That the Ripper’s unfortunate victims came from the prostitute class was an act designed, in fact, to assist these looser ladies in the long run. In 1885, William Morris had declared; ‘the first thing that is necessary, is that all women should be freed from the compulsion of living Sin this degraded way.’ There is also a vague holy grail nugget that has been hinted at by Ripperologists that Morris was arrested at one point during the murders & in relation to them. This may be a factochisp or genuine truth, but I shall pursue it no further at this moment.

The murders began with the non-canonical slaying of Emma Smith, on the 3rd April 1888. Later that year, on August 7th, Martha Tabram was stabbed 39 times in the George Yard Buildings, George Yard, Whitechapel. Also at this time, the Lyceum Theatre was playing ‘Dr Jekyl & Mr Hyde’ whose fiend-murderer was the talk of all of London.’ It is roundabout this point that the Ripper plan, I believe, was put into place. Smith & Tabram may have been ‘Ripper’ victims, or were perhaps an opportunistic catalyst for the plan to begin. Either way, by the night of the killing of the Mary Ann Nichols, on the 31st August 1888, Morris received a visit from a certain Ernest Balfort Bax, another ardent social reformer & erstwhile Star journalist. I believe on this occasion they were discussing the Star’s role in the plot that was just about to unfold, for the next day the newspaper printed a passage which neatly planted in the public’s imagination the arrival a ‘Man Monster’ in London.

HAVE we a murderous maniac loose in East London? It looks as if we had. Nothing so appalling, so devilish, so inhuman – or, rather non-human – as the three Whitechapel crimes has ever happened outside the pages of Poe or De Quincey. The unravelled mystery of “The Whitechapel Murders” would make a page of detective romance as ghastly as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” The hellish violence and malignity of the crime which we described yesterday resemble in almost every particular the two other deeds of darkness which preceded it. Rational motive there appears to be none. The murderer must be a Man Monster

 What was needed was a group of individuals – a gang – who would carry out the deadly wishes of Shaw & Morris, to seek & slay those unlucky martyr-women to the cause. That several people were involved in the killings was much-opined at the time; The London Echo (1st September 1888) postulated, ‘one of the chief theories of the police with respect to the matter is that a sort of “High Rip” gang exists in the neighbourhood,’ while Percy Clark, a police surgeon in Whitechapel, told the East London Observer in 1910, ‘I think perhaps one man was responsible for three of them. I would not like to say he did the others.’ It has often been noted with some amazement how the Ripper managed to always elude capture, despite a modus operandi of killing in the open streets. On one occasion, a policeman patrolled a section of Whitechapel & found nothing untoward, then just ten minutes later returned to the same place to find a dead woman who had suffered a great deal of crude, organ-removing surgery. In the face of such risks, we may assume that a look-out system had been set in place to facilitate the plan.


Witnesses at three of the murders placed a man & woman gently carousing in the immediate area of the body-finds. The clearest of these sightings is at the murder of Annie Chapman; where one witness describes hearing what sounded like a body dropping against a fence, while five minutes later another witness places a man & a woman cavorting on the street-side of that same fence. While Annie Chapman was being brutalized behind the fence, the couple must have been keeping an eye on the street. That a woman was involved, a veritable JILL THE RIPPER, has been half-proven in recent years by the pro-female DNA profiling of a stamp on a letter sent to Thomas Horrocks Openshaw on the 29th October 1888. Signed ‘Jack the Ripper,’ after the signature there appears a curious creochisp of an American folk song.

O have you seen the devle
With his mikerscope & scalpul
A-lookin at a kidney
With a slide cocked up

Did you ever see de devil wid his iron handled shovel
A-scrapin up de san’ in his ole tin pan
He cuts up mighty funny, he steals all yo’ money
He blinds ou with his san.’ He’s tryin’ to git you, man
American Folk Song


This North American connection to the Ripper Gang leads us to two of its main players; a religious-nut insurance clerk called Henry Wentworth Bellsmith & a quack doctor called Francis Tumblety. The first of these, Henry Wentworth Bellsmith, was born in London in 1849, then moved to Toronto in 1878 with his wife & children. Following a decade of obscurity, by early 1888 we see him separated from his wife & back living in London, where he was employed by the Toronto Trust Company. By the month of April he had taken up lodgings with a certain Mr and Mrs Callaghan of 27 Sun Street, Finsbury Square, on the fringes of London’s East End. As the Autumn killings got underway, Mr Callaghan began to suspect his lodger was actually the Ripper, but before he could properly raise his suspicions with the authorities, Bellsmith vacated his rooms & vanished. A year later, Callaghan finally reported his haunted thoughts to a British psychiatrist working on the Ripper case, Forbes Winslow. The salient points of the statement Callaghan gave Winslow can be summarized thus;

(i) Bellsmith told Callaghan he was visiting London from Toronto on business for a few months or maybe a year.
(ii) Callaghan said of Bellsmith, ‘we all regarded him as a lunatic, obsessed with women of the street, who he said should be drowned.’
(iii) Bellsmith kept loaded revolvers in his room.
(iv) Following the killing of Martha Tabram in early August, Bellsmith came home late & ‘washed his own shirt.’ Callaghan later noticed spots of blood on Bellsmith’s bedsheets.

When Bellsmith moved out of Finsbury Square in mid-August, he told Callaghan was returning to Toronto. Instead, he seems to turn up in another room in Whitechapel, when an un-named landlady would remember a man just like Bellsmith, who had been lodging with her during the murders. The story is best given by an Australian newspaper, the Port Philip Herald (22-11-1890), extracts of which read;

Mr Albert Backert, Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, has written the following letter to the Chronicle:

In connection with the late Whitechapel murders, the most remarkable and sensational statement was made to me this morning at my place. At eleven o’clock this morning a very respectable middle-aged woman called at my house, and wished to see me. She was asked in, and then made the following statement to me, which she declared was all quite true:

About two years ago, she said, she was living in the model dwellings close by here and had a bedroom to let, furnished. A young man called and engaged the room. After living some time with her he stated that he had been to sea, and that at the present time he was receiving £1 a week from his father, and was also receiving an allowance from his brother, who was a doctor, and that he did not work himself. She also noticed that he had plenty of clothes, including hunting breeches, revolvers, guns, and many other articles, which an ordinary working man would not have.
“The People”, a London Conservative paper, has the following remarkable statement 

She describes him as young, of middle height, well-built, with a small, fair moustache and light brown hair, although she had frequently remarked that he had means by which he made his moustache and eyebrows much darker on some occasions than others. His movements during the time the murders were occurring were very mysterious… His brother, who she understood was a doctor, visited him on two occasions and appeared much older than he. She has no doubt the man she suspects is English, but he spoke with a nasal twang, evidently affected, and used the word “Boss” very frequently in conversation. He usually rose at two in the afternoon, and would go out about five o’clock, invariably wearing a tall hat and dressed very respectably, but as he had a large number of suits of clothes, he often dressed differently, or as she puts it: “He was a man who could so alter his appearance that if you met him in the street once you would not know him again.”

 The strange man she describes an accomplished linguist and able to speak French and German fluently as she frequently heard him in conversation with some foreigners who lived on the same floor…. one brother, the doctor who visited him, residing in the neighborhood of Oxford street. He also told her he had travelled for several years in the United States and Canada… There was little doubt, too, that he sent communications to the Press Association and Central News, for she declares that she once saw either envelopes or postcards addressed to them, although she believes that those she saw were subsequently destroyed… before his departure he had sold all his belongings – including many suits of clothes and several revolvers – to a ship’s mate, who, a few days later, called and took them away… On Wednesday evening she was walking in Commercial road, when, to her astonishment, she recognised the man, standing on the kerb in conversation with a well-known tradesman of the district, whose name she declines to divulge, but who, she has ascertained, is a friend of his… She has seen his wife, and had entered into conversation with her. The latter she describes as a rather pretty young woman of about twenty five, but whose face wears a strange look.


This description of the ‘lodger’ being seen in London with his young wife, two years year after the killings, is a composite match to Bellsmith & Caroline Taylor, who were married in 1889, when she was 23 years old. It is onto the landlady’s remembrance of the lodger’s elder brother that we can project the physicality & doctor persona of Francis Tumblety, who was 56 in 1888. Though a prominent suspect at the time, his name was lost in the muddy depths of Ripperology, only to resurface a century later in a letter discovered by an English policeman named Stewart Evans. Written in 1913 by John J. Littlechild, Chief of CID Special Branch at the time of the murders, it stores some vital information.

I never heard of a Dr D. in connection with the Whitechapel murders but amongst the suspects, and to my mind a very likely one, was a Dr. T. (which sounds much like D.) He was an American quack named Tumblety and was at one time a frequent visitor to London and on these occasions constantly brought under the notice of police, there being a large dossier concerning him at Scotland Yard. Although a ‘Sycopathia Sexualis’ subject he was not known as a ‘Sadist’ (which the murderer unquestionably was) but his feelings toward women were remarkable and bitter in the extreme, a fact on record. Tumblety was arrested at the time of the murders in connection with unnatural offences and charged at Marlborough Street, remanded on bail, jumped his bail, and got away to Boulogne. He shortly left Boulogne and was never heard of afterwards. It was believed he committed suicide but certain it is that from this time the ‘Ripper’ murders came to an end.

The ‘unnatural offences’ ascribed to Tumblety were acts of homosexuality against five men, which had been conducted across the entire period of the canonical murders. The first of these incidents took place on the 31st August, the very date of the killing of Mary Ann Nichols. Perhaps he was indulging in his secret passions in order to deflect his mind from the horrors about to unfold. Tumblety was a man with a chequered past, including suspicion of having had a hand in the assassination of President Lincoln. He also had a reputation of being quite a vicious misogynist, as best recorded in the written account of a certain Colonel Dunham, who had once been invited to a dinner by Tumblety.

Someone asked why he had not invited some women to his dinner. His face instantly became as black as a thunder-cloud. He had a pack of cards in his hand, but he laid them down and said, almost savagely, ‘No, Colonel, I don’t know any such cattle, and if I did I would, as your friend, sooner give you a dose of quick poison than take you into such danger.’ He then broke into a homily on the sin and folly of dissipation, fiercely denounced all women and especially fallen women.
He then invited us into his office where he illustrated his lecture so to speak. One side of this room was entirely occupied with cases, outwardly resembling wardrobes. When the doors were opened quite a museum was revealed — tiers of shelves with glass jars and cases, some round and others square, filled with all sorts of anatomical specimens. The ‘doctor’ placed on a table a dozen or more jars containing, as he said, the matrices (uteri) of every class of women. Nearly a half of one of these cases was occupied exclusively with these specimens.

Hall Caine
Hall Caine

Tumblety was perfect for the job, & in the context of the Ripper Gang, where Bellsmith led the actual murders, Tumblety would have been the mastermind. We can link him directly to the private company of George Bernard Shaw through a collection of writers & thespians known as the ‘Beefsteak Club,’ of which Shaw was a frequent member. Tumblety admitted attending club meetings to a publication known as the New York World on the 29th January, 1889; when he boasted of frequenting ‘some of the best London clubs, among others the Carleton Club & the Beefsteak Club.’ One of the Club’s more prominent members was Thomas Hall Caine, whom as a young man in the 1870s had been seduced and manipulated by Tumblety. Caine would go on to become a successful writer, noted for the touches of realism he poured into his works, analysis of which writings shows how he poured the real world into his fictions. His third novel, A Son of Hagar, for example, begins with a suicidal girl & her illegitimate baby being dragged alive from the Thames, which reflects the birth of his own first child before he became married to its mother. Thusly, Caine’s own complicity in the Ripper conspiracy may ve secretly interwoven into a short story of his, ‘The Last Confession,’ which was published in 1893;

Father, do not leave me. Wait! Only a little longer. You cannot absolve me? I am not penitent? How can I be penitent? I do not regret it? How can I regret it? I would do it again? How could I help but do it again? Yes, yes, I know, I know! Who knows it so well as I? It is written in the tables of god’s law: Thou shall do no murder! But was it murder? Was it crime? Blood. Yes, it was the spilling of blood. Blood will have blood, you say, But is there no difference?

My life as a physician in London had been a hard one, but it was not my practice that had wrecked me. How to perform that operation on the throat was the beginning of my trouble, you know what happened. I mastered my problem, & they called the operation by my name. It has brought me fame it has made me rich it has saved a hundred lives, & will save ten thousand more… My work possessed me like a fever. I could neither do it to my content nor leave it undone.

Later in the Confession, Caine encounters a Tumbletyesque ‘American surgeon’ who proclaims how it was, ‘good to take life in a good cause, & if it was good for the nation, it was good for the individual man. The end was all.’ That Caine’s ‘fictional’ surgeon committed murders in secluded alleyways, & that he cut throats the throats of his victims, leaves little to the imagination.


The Ripper Gang would leave its biggest trace on the night of September 30th, when two prostitutes were killed within an hour of each other. This famous ‘Double-Event,’ would be the next bloody step in sensationalizing the Ripper, whose ‘official’ birth had been cast by the Star only a few days previously. Dated to the 25th September, the Central News Agency received the following letter written in red ink;

Dear Boss:- I keep on hearing the police have caught me, but they won’t fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on ______, and I shan’t quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now? I love my work, and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle to write with, but it went thick, and I can’t use it. Red ink is fit enough, I hope. Ha! ha! The next job I do I clip the lady’s ear and send to the police officers, just for jolly. Wouldn’t you? Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp; I want to get a chance. Good luck-
Yours truly,
Jack T. Ripper
Don’t mind me giving the trade name. Wasn’t good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands. Curse it; no luck yet! They say I am a doctor now. Ha! ha!

In a journalistic flash, the Ripper name had been emphatically placed upon the lips of the news-hungry people of London & beyond. Of the matter, the investigation’s leader, Sir Robert Anderson, declared in his memoirs, ‘I will only add here that the ‘Jack-the-Ripper’ letter which is preserved in the Police Museum at Scotland Yard is the creation of an enterprising London journalist.’ In his own autobiography published a few years later, Sir Melville Macnaghten similarly observed; ‘I have always thought I could discern the stained forefinger of the journalist – indeed, a year later, I had shrewd suspicions as to the actual author!’ These two former police officers never actually got round to naming their suspected journalist, but we can see in the entire ruse the hand of George Bernard Shaw, who lecturing in 1892 revealed that, ‘in 1888 it only cost us twenty-eight postcards written by twenty-eight members to convince the newly-born Star newspaper that London was aflame with Fabian Socialism.


The scene was set for the double-event, a cranking up of the horror, when two separate Ripper murders would occur within an hour or so of each other. The first, of Lizzie Stride, was almost witnessed by an immigrant Hungarian Jew called Israel Schwartz. His English was terrible, but he did manage to give a report to police through a translator in which the presence of two individual gang-members is clearly shown;

12.45 a.m. 30th. Israel Schwartz of 22 Helen Street, Backchurch Lane, stated that at this hour, on turning into Berner Street from Commercial Street and having got as far as the gateway where the murder was committed, he saw a man stop and speak to a woman, who was standing in the gateway. The man tried to pull the woman into the street, but he turned her round and threw her down on the footway and the woman screamed three times, but not loudly. On crossing to the opposite side of the street, he saw a second man standing lighting his pipe. The man who threw the woman down called out, apparently to the man on the opposite side of the road, ‘Lipski’, and then Schwartz walked away, but finding that he was followed by the second man, he ran so far as the railway arch, but the man did not follow so far.

Upon being taken to the mortuary, Schwartz identified the body as that of the woman he had seen. He thus describes the first man, who threw the woman down:- age, about 30; ht, 5 ft 5 in; comp., fair; hair, dark; small brown moustache, full face, broad shouldered; dress, dark jacket and trousers, black cap with peak, and nothing in his hands. Second man: age, 35; ht., 5 ft 11in; comp., fresh; hair, light brown; dress, dark overcoat, old black hard felt hat, wide brim; had a clay pipe in his hand.

Despite the darkness of the night, Schwartz gave police a fairly detailed description of the two Rippers. Analyzing these, we may observe three tallies between Schwart’s Man 2 (given first) & the description which Callaghan made of Bellsmith;

(i) Heights of 5’11 // 5’10
(ii) Healthy complexion // Dark complexion
(iii) Respectable dress // Respectable dress
(iv) Ages of 35 / 39

We may now assume that Bellsmith had at least one accomplice during the murders; the peak-capped, short & stocky thirty year-old we shall call THE SAILOR.  It was observed during the Autumn of Terror that the murders all took place upon weekends that certain ships were berthed in London, supporting the idea. He would also have been the ‘ship’s mate’ mentioned by Bellsmith’s landlady, who stated that before his departure, ‘he had sold all his belongings – including many suits of clothes and several revolvers – to a ship’s mate, who, a few days later, called and took them away.’

A link between Bellsmith & the murder of Lizzie Stride comes from a witness called Matthew Packer, who thought he had sold grapes to the murderer & his victim on the night of the killings. On the 15th November, The Daily News quoted Packer as saying; ‘on Tuesday evening two men came to my house and bought twelve shillings’ worth of rabbits off me. They then asked me if I could give an exact description of the man to whom I sold the grapes, and who was supposed to have committed the Berner-street and Mitre-square murders, as they were convinced they knew him, and where to find him. In reply to some questions by Packer, one of the men said ‘Well, I am sorry to say that I firmly believe it is my own cousin. He is an Englishman by birth but some time ago he went to America, stayed there a few years, and then came back to London about seven or eight months ago. On his return he came to see me, and his first words were “Well, Boss, how are you?” He asked me to have some walks out with him, and I did round Commercial-street and Whitechapel. I found that he had very much altered on his return, for he was thoroughly harem scare-em. We met a lot of Whitechapel women, and when we passed them he used to say to me, “How do you think we used to serve them where I come from? Why, we used to cut their throats and rip them up. I could rip one of them up and get her inside out in no time.”’ The an described here as the Ripper’s cousin is a perfect blueprint for Bellsmith, who spent a decade in America before returning to London in March or April 1888, those 7-8 months before the above news story appeared.


During the Double-Event, the look-out couple can be seen as being present at both killings. At the Stride slaying, a resident of 36 Berner St, Fanny Mortimer, describes; ‘a young man and his sweetheart were standing at the corner of the street, about twenty yards away, before and after the time the woman must have been murdered, but they told me they did not hear a sound {Evening News, 1st October 1888}. An hour later, at the brutal murder of Catherine Eddowes (the worst yet) a man & woman were seen quietly conversing at the entrance of Mitre Square ten minutes before the body was found. The woman was described as standing facing the man with her hand on his chest, but not in any manner suggested she was resisting him. Some reports say that the clothes of this women were only similar to those of Catherine Eddowes, reinforcing the notion that the two women were not the same person. Who this woman was remains a mystery, but the man she was flirting with seems exceedingly familiar. An amalgamation of the witness descriptions of him gives us;

30-35 years old / 5 foot 6 inches tall / Fair complexion / Brown hair / Small, fair mustache (some said descriptions said big) with a medium build / He was wearing a loose-fitting pepper and salt colored jacket / He was wearing a grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color / He wore a reddish handkerchief knotted around his neck / Overall he gives the appearance of being a sailor

Let us now find the tallies between the description of this shadowy look-out figure, & that of THE SAILOR as described by Isaac Schwartz as being involved in the slaying of Elizabeth Stride.

                                                                    Sailor          Man at Eddowes Killing

30 years old // 30-35 years old
5 ft 5 in // 5 foot 6 inches tall
Fair complexion // Fair complexion
Dark hair // Brown hair
Small brown moustache // Small fair mustache
Respectable dress: dark jacket and trousers // Pepper and salt colored jacket
Black felt cap with peak // A grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color

The tallies between the two can be seen as simple creochisps based upon the true physical appearance of the SAILOR. We may, with some certainty, place him in Whitechapel a few minutes before the murder of Eddowes. The ‘Star’ newspaper of October 1 reports; ‘from two different sources we have the story that a man, when passing through Church Lane at about half past one, saw a man sitting on a doorstep and wiping his hands. As everyone is on the look-out for the murderer the man looked at the stranger with a certain amount of suspicion, whereupon he tried to conceal his face. He is described as a man who wore a short jacket and sailor’s hat.’ It may seem incongruous that the Star newspaper would give away such a vital clue, but in the heat of the moment with so many journalists submitting Ripper stories almost by the hour, it would have been impossible to check them all to a proper satisfaction, & that is even if the editors were actually parley to the ruse of Morris & Shaw.

With the passing of the Double-Event, this series of increasingly ghastly killings had crossed the police border from the Metropolitan department into the City of London district. Now two police forces were entrenched in the investigation, amplifying the clamour to either catch the killer or reform the slums in which he worked. The rich conversaziones of West London could not ignore the East End any more. The ante had been upped… Polly & Anne had ‘only’ been savagely disemboweled & lacerated; but to those wounds were added Catherine Eddowes facial mutilations. The fever & the fervour created by this devastatingly effective media sensation were boiling into open protestation. On the 26th October, The Times printed a letter to the editor from Mary J. Kinnaird, beginning; ‘I have begun to raise a fund, to which I invite contributions from your readers, with a view of powerfully bringing the teachings of Christianity to bear on that dark corner in Whitechapel which has been disgraced by such hideous crimes. If the Gospel sufficed to change the cannibal inhabitants of the Fiji Island into a nation of Christian worshipers, it is sufficient and alone sufficient, to turn the darkest spots in London into gardens of the Lord.’

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The next day, the East London Observer printed a petition made to Queen Victoria from the women of East London, who felt, ‘horror at the dreadful sins that have been lately committed in our midst, and grief because of the shame that that has fallen on our neighborhood. By the facts which have come out at the inquests, we have learnt much of the lives of those of our sisters who have lost a firm hold on goodness, and who are living sad and degraded lives. While each woman of us will do all she can to make men feel with horror the sins of impurity which cause such wicked lives to be led, we would also beg that your Majesty will call on your servants in authority and bid them put the law which already exists in motion, to close bad houses within whose walls such wickedness is done, and men and women ruined in body and soul. – We are, Madam, your loyal and humble servants.” And here follow the 400 or 500 signatures.

The petition was presented in due form, and Her Majesty has replied in the following gracious terms to the request of Her earnest and loyal, if humble subjects:-

“MADAM, – I am directed by the Secretary of State, to inform you that he has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition of women inhabitants of Whitechapel, praying that steps may be taken with a view to suppress the moral disorders in that neighborhood, and that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to receive the same. I am to add that the Secretary of State looks with hope to the influence for good that the petitioners can exercise, each in her own neighborhood, and he is in communication the Commissioners of Police, with a view to taking such action as may be desirable in order to assist the efforts of the petitioners, and to mitigate the evil of which they complain. 

The work of raising public consciousness so the community would finally take pity on the East End degradations was turning out to be a resounding success. Plans were already underway for a slum clearance to begin the following year, while the city of London would plunge pell-mell into wide-spread improvement schemes, a period of municipal eminence still reverberating through the capital to this day. On observing those terrifically terrible slums evaporating into modernity, our deadly masterminds of social reform would have watched on with a sense of vulgar pride. Innocent women had been sacrificed, yes, but the greater good was very much winning.


There was to be one more murder; less a sacrifice to social reform, but more a mopping-up operation to ensure the Ripper Gang preserved its anonymity. The background to the slaying of the last canonical victim, Mary Jane Kelly, begins with the climax of Francis Tumblety’s love of lewd activities & his arrest for, ‘Gross Indecency,’ on the 7th November. Just over a week later he was bailed for £300, about £25,000 pounds in today’s money, which was paid for by person or persons unknown. Two days after his arrest, on the 9th, the most sadistic slaying of Mary Jane Kelly had taken place in her own private rooms on Dorset Street. It could well be the case that while Tumblety was being investigated for the Ripper murders, his fellow gang members orchestrated a new murder in order to exonerate him of the Ripper crimes.

The MJK murder was a different thing altogether, for we see the shifting of the killer’s M.O. from the open streets to a secluded room. Also notable is MJK’s fire-grate, which showed signs that female clothes had been burnt. These were probably the blood-soaked attire of the Gang’s female member, who donned MJK’s clothes in order to move through the London streets without any visible bloodstains. MJK died about 4AM, but as morning broke on London a certain Maurice Lewis swore he had seen her playing ‘pitch and toss’ in McCarthy’s Court at 8AM. The man he places with her with seems an exact match to THE SAILOR, a 5’5”, stoutly-built 30-year-old. It appears that this same man was also spotted hanging around MJK’s room before she was murdered, for at 2AM that night a witness described a short, stout man wearing a black ‘wideawake hat.’ This head attire match’d the ‘soft, felt hat,’ of another witness description, that of George, Hutchinson, who depicted the same man as, ‘looking up the court as if waiting for someone to come out.’ The date is also significant, one expects, for William Morris was able to discuss the latest Ripper murder during speeches he was giving for the first anniversary of the Bloody Sunday demonstration, on the 13th November.

Among the massive mess of mysteries that is the Ripper mythomeme, there is one clue that appears to have been missed by everyone. We begin with Catherine Eddowes, who on the night before her murder was speaking to the superintendent of the Mile End Casual Ward. In casual conversation she said that after a month or so of picking hops with her boyfriend in Kent, that she had returned to London & was ready to collect the reward on offer for information leading to the capture of the Ripper.
I think I know him,’ she told the superintendent.
‘Mind he doesn’t murder you too,’ he replied, jovially.
Oh, no fear of that.’

The easy familiarity with the Ripper which we detect in Eddowes statement leads us without much resistance to the possibility that her boyfriend, John Kelly, was involved in the Ripper Gang. Evidence for such initializes on the night of her murder, when Eddowes had been arrested for drunkenness. Surprisingly, she gave her name as Mary Ann Kelly, while the previous day she had used the name ‘Jane Kelly’ when pawning her boyfriend’s boots. Why do this? What was her connection to Mary Ann Nichols & Mary Jane Kelly? The answer begins with Catherine’s boyfriend, who just happens to have shared his name with MJK’s father! We learn of him through information given to the press by MJK’s boyfriend, Joseph Barnett, in which he stated that after being born in Ireland, MJK & her family moved to Wales, where her father John Kelly was, ‘a gaffer or a foreman in an ironworks in Caernarvonshire.’ This John Kelly turns up at the age of 36 in the 1871 census as living at 85 Mumforth Street in Flint, North Wales, close to his work-place in Caernarvonshire. The same census shows ‘Mary Jane’ as a seven year old – alongside her brothers Patrick & John – which seals the deal, for she was 24 at the time of her murder

The journey of John Kelly, father of MJK, to John Kelly, boyfriend of Catherine Eddowes begins by analyzing the 1871 & the 1881 Denbighsire census. In these we can see how the Kelly family was split up, for the 1881 census sees MJK & her brother Patrick appearing in a new Kelly family, headed by the Irish-born Hubert Kelly, a probable relation of John. In that same census we also see MJK in a family consisting of a sister (Elizabeth) & six brothers (including Patrick), an identical match to the sister & the ‘six or seven brothers’ that Joseph Barnett attributed to MJK. The seventh brother would be young John, who is absent from the Denbighshire census.

A sound reason for this turn of events is that John Kelly had lost his job, out of which hardship he was forced to break-up of the family home. After losing his job in Wales, John Kelly did what many working folk did in that era & headed to the capital of the Empire. This then connects to Catherine Eddowe’s John Kelly, who turns up in London in 1876 & works as a fruit-seller for the 12 years up until the murders. If John Kelly had something to do with the Ripper Gang, then his daughter, MJK, may have been involved, & what she knew would be silenced forever by JILL THE RIPPER & the SAILOR in the mopping up operation conducted by the Ripper Gang. That MJK was killed in her own rooms can be put down to the fact that the Gang had reduced in numbers, for on the 4th November, a certain George Wentworth Bellsmith had caught a steamship (the Fulda) to America from the English port of Southampton. This may or may not have been Henry Bellsmith, but as with everything in this mystery, but it is such tantalizing vagaries which is the hallmark of the Ripper mystery.



What we can state more confidently is that another member of the Ripper Gang was fleeing to the United States, with Tumblety jumping his rather expensive bail & taking a passage to New York. His arrival in America invoked a massive amount of interest & press coverage, & the Americans really did feel that the Ripper was one of their own who had fled to the motherland for sanctuary.

Francis Tumblety, or Twomblety, who was arrested in London for supposed complicity in the Whitechapel crimes and held under bail for other offenses, arrived in this city Sunday, and is now stopping in East Tenth street. Two of Inspector Byrnes’ men are watching him and so is an English detective who is making himself the laughing stock of the whole neighborhood.
The New York Sun, December 4th 1888

The flames of suspicion burnt only for a short while, & nothing ever came of the British interest in Tumblety, even after they had requested samples of his handwriting from San Francisco. They could sense that something was up somewhere, but the Ripper Gang had cast a cloud of enough confusion, that Tumblety’s true complicity in the murders was completely masked, allowing him to continue the rest of his life unmlested by the earlier furore

We have already seen how Bellsmith spent only a little time in the United States, before returning to the East End of London with his new young wife. In that same period, the Eastern Post & City Chronicle (21-09-1889) reports how Dr Forbes Winslow, acting on the information of Callaghan, was; ‘certain that this man is the Whitechapel murderer… “I know for a fact,” said the doctor, “that this man is suffering from a violent form of religious mania, which attacks him and passes off at intervals. I am certain that there is another man in it besides the one I am after, but my reasons for that I cannot state. The police will have nothing to do with the capture. I am making arrangements to station six men round the spot where I know my man is, and he will be trapped.”’


This same religious mania would resurface in the writings of Bellsmith a decade later, when he penned a curious apocalyptical & cryptical book known as Henry Cadevere, in which we may read; ‘murder, adultery, selfishness, hypocrisy, everything we call evil or sinful are equally meritorious with the most spotless purity of soul and body … sin becomes a misnomer and crime another name for virtue.’ For Bellsmith, the Ripper murders had been a pseudo-religious mission to highlight the poverty in the East End slums; in his book he writes; ‘Oh, Liberty! What crimes are done in thy name! The work of Socialists?” mused Cadavere, bitterly. “This is the work of brotherhood and humanity?” Bellsmith’s ‘work’ was the murder of the underclass, & he even finds space in his book to praise the ‘prophetic vision of William Morris.’ As for Tumblety, upon his death in 1901 he guiltily left $1000 to the Baltimore home for Fallen Women. Also in his possession were two cheap imitation rings, exactly the same as those said to have gone missing from Annie Chapman’s fingers.

As for John Kelly, the last trace of him is on the 29th November 1888, when he was admitted to Whitechapel Workhouse infirmary suffering from laryngitis. From this moment on he disappears from the history, & is never seen or heard of again. Perhaps not, for when Bellsmith’s landlady stated that she saw him; ‘standing on the kerb in conversation with a well known tradesman of the district, whose name she declines to divulge, but who, she has ascertained, is a friend of his,’ this ‘tradesman’ may have been Mr Kelly, who we know had been employed by a fruit salesman called Lander ever since his arrival in London in 1876. Or then again, it might not, but that is the beauty of the Ripper case, a catacombe of chispers which infuriates & dazzles all at once.


Next Wednesday, 24/01/18

The serialization begins of  my new book, CHISPOLOGY

Chapter 1 : Exodus


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 11 : The Dark Lady

    Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter XI

In the last chapter we saw how the young Shakespeare was a companion for the slightly older nobleman, William Stanley, on a tour of the Continent in the middle of the 1580s. We last saw them in Venice, where I am convinced that somewhere within the vaults of the Venetian Archives lies some hitherto undiscovered reference to Shakespeare. He would have been included in a list of passengers made by the ship, or perhaps a list of arrivals/departures organized by the Venetian authorities. It is after scribbling his name down in such a log-book that he sailed out across the sultry seas of the Adriatic. Before him, a glassy liquid pane was sprinkled with white sails which puffed like clouds across the drifting blue waters. By Shakespeare’s side was Stanley, perhaps hand-in-hand in a gay kinda way, who together turned to face Venice as it slowly dwindled & merged into a thin, green line. In his luggage were a small library of books in Italian he had collected, such as Straparola’s Notti piacevoli, published in Venice in 1550 & a big influence on The Taming of The Shrew, & Parabosco’s Il Viluppo, which would eventually inspire The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

APRIL 1586
Shakespeare crosses the Adriatic

images3That Shakespeare took to the whale-roads is reflected by an extremely accurate knowledge of both the sea & its sailing terms. Most scholars presume he got this from books, but seeing as Sir Henry Mainwaring released the first nautical dictionary only in 1644, this avenue may be precluded. Of Shakespeare’s sealore, AF Falconer declares that he, ‘must have learned it first hand for there was no other way,’ adding that the bard possessed, ‘an understanding of naval ceremony, naval strategy & the duties & characteristic ways of officers & men.’ One passage in particular contains a highly obscure sailing term;

Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman
That ever lay by man: which when the people
Had the full view of, such a noise arose
As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest

‘It is a puzzle,’ writes WB Whall, ‘how Shakespeare, unless he had been a sailor, could have known enough of sea life to write such a magnificently apt simile as this. It could not have occurred to anyone who had not been at sea. The shrouds are the heavy ropes of the rigging which supports the masts of a ship on neither side so that they can carry sail.’ Another naval accuracy comes in Hamlet’s, ‘methought I lay worse than the mutinies in the bilboes,’ with the latter word being sea-slang for leg-shackles. One also gets the feeling that Shakespeare experienced a ship-wreck for himself. His plays are littered with them, as in;

After our ship did split,
When you and those poor number saved with you
Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother,
Most provident in peril, bind himself,
Courage and hope both teaching him the practise,
To a strong mast that lived upon the sea;
Twelfth Night 1:2

Across the Adriatic lies the thousand-islanded lands of Croatia, or Illyria in more antique times. This locality is mentioned ten times by Shakespeare who set his Twelfth Night there, most likely after he had experienced the port of Ragusa, today’s Dubrovnik. That the term for that city’s ships – Argosies (after Ragosies) – was used by Shakespeare in the Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Henry VI, Part III and The Taming of the Shrew, may be based upon this visit. As one hears references to Illyria’s coasts, sailors, the ‘Uskok’ pirates, tall population & robust wines, one senses the snatch of time Shakespeare had with the country as he sailed south through the Adriatic.


MAY 1586
Stanley & Shakespeare reach Egypt

Leaving ‘Illyria,’ our party sailed on to Egypt, & the sweaty flesh-pots of its capital, Cairo. While in this city they would have sought out the principle headquarters of the Levant Company, from which office emanated the tendrils of pre-imperial trade into the ports & courts of the eastern Mediterranean. Powerful cities such as Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Jerusalem, Damascus & Aleppo had all become secure stopping stations for the Levant Company, as was Constantinople, where Company man William Harborne had become the de facto English ambassador to the Ottomans. Within two decades the East Indies Company would be formed, the majority of its nucleus members being Levant Company men, & one could say that British India has its true roots in these Elizabethan mercantile expeditions to the east.

The connection between Stanley & the Levant Company begins with Barry Coward, author of a book on the history of the Stanley family, who states, ‘from 1584 to 1593 Earl Henry borrowed as he had never done before… the loans raised by Earl Henry & his son, Ferdinando, were all raised by bonds pledging a cash surety, made with important London merchant financiers, like John lacy, Richard Martin, Peter Vanlore, Michael Cornleius, William Cuslowe, Nicholas Mosley, & Sir Rowland Hayward.’ A key link here is Richard Martin, a two-time mayor of London & one of the founding members of the Levant Company in 1581. Earl Stanley’s financial embroilment with such a fellow could well have led to him sending his son to check in the family’s investments in the new markets.

nile-crocodile-16th-century-artwork-middle-temple-libraryStanley’s journey to Egypt is given more details by Thomas Aspen, who records; ‘afterwards he proceeded to Egypt, and with the assistance of a native guide, went to reconnoitre the River Nile. Whilst on their journey, a large male tiger suddenly appeared from behind a thicket, and with a hideous howl came rushing towards them. Sir William had two pistols, and discharged one as the tiger was making a spring at them. Unfortunately he missed his aim, and it was only by dexterously stepping aside that he eluded the grasp of the ferocious brute. Before the animal had time to take another spring, Sir William drew a second pistol, discharged the contents into the tiger’s breast, and as it reeled drew his sword and killed it.’ That our party visited the River Nile allows us to look deeper into one of Donne’s sonnets.

See, sir, how, as the sun’s hot masculine flame
Begets strange creatures on Nile’s dirty slime,
In me your fatherly yet lusty rhyme
For these songs are their fruits—have wrought the same.
But though th’ engend’ring force from which they came
Be strong enough, and Nature doth admit
Seven to be born at once; I send as yet
But six; they say the seventh hath still some maim.
I choose your judgment, which the same degree
Doth with her sister, your invention, hold,
As fire these drossy rhymes to purify,
Or as elixir, to change them to gold.
You are that alchemist, which always had
Wit, whose one spark could make good things of bad.

This sonnet’s opening lines really do invoke a definite sense of witnessing the Nile at first hand. The decisive evidence comes with the sonnet being placed among a sequence dedicated by Donne to a certain ‘E of D,’ implying William Stanley, the 6th Earl of Derby. Meanwhile, Shakespeare’s own time in Egypt is reflected by two unusual eye-witness accounts found in two of his earliest plays;

Thou art more puzzled than the Egyptians in their fog
Twelfth Night

An Egyptian that had nine hours lien dead who was by good appliance recovered

MAY 1586
Shakespeare writes sonnets to Stanley

Just as Donne was writing deliciously sensuous sonnets to & for Stanley so, it seems, was Shakespeare; with Egypt as likely a place as any to craft his lines. What happens on the Grand Tour stays on the Grand Tour, & here was our bard in Egypt, where the demands of a young family had been replaced by yearnings to see pyramids & sail the love-barges of Cleopatra. He was also traveling with a prominent member of his country’s royal family, & as we have discerned from the secret back story behind Venus & Adonis, Stanley actually fancied him. Sleeping your way to the top has always been a way to get ahead, & in Shakespeare’s case he did not seem to mind if it was with a member of the opposite sex. Indeed, on his return to England, Shakespeare never sired another child, implying perhaps he became fully LGBT on the Grand Tour.

It is Shakespeare’s love for Stanley that provides an important keystone in the dissemination of the many mysteries behind Shakespeare’s famous sonnet sequence. The form chosen for these poetical lovegasms is a short, 14-line photo-poem capable of storing some of the most refined & musical expressions of human thought. That Shakespeare was writing sonnets at such an early stage in his career was opined by his greatest biographer, & most ardent analytics, Sydney Lee, who said; ‘in both their excellences & their defects Shakespeare’s sonnets betray their kinship to his early dramatic work.’ Lee made comparisons of the sonnet’s bipolar passages, their, ‘highest poetic temper,’ & their, ‘unimpressive displays of verbal jugglery,’ comparing them with similar instances in the early plays.

Gay men in Egypt- it actually illegal in the country these days
Gay men in Egypt-  manlove is actually illegal in the country these days

Shakespeare’s sequence seems to be a collection of several individual sonnet-clusters, with each set of creative pulses being eternally crystalized & unified by generally gorgeous iambic pentameter. The exact order in which these mini-sequences were written is beyond the remit of this book, but a general impression is most definitely given by them of Shakespeare’s homosexual love for a young aristocratic man – but who? That the fellow is a member of the upper echelons of the aristocracy is suggested by sonnet 125, which begins, ‘were it ought to me I bore the canopy.’ The ceremonial material in question is that carried over the head of the incumbent monarch by England’s leading noblemen, in procession to Westminster Abbey & the coronation.

Over the past two centuries, the Bard’s corpse has been argued over & dissected so much, that hardly anything remains of the man: his flesh & bones have been shredded, flung & scattered across the ever-expanding wastelands of Shakespearean criticism. The one bonus of all these efforts is that the Elizabethan Age has been scrutinized to a near infinite degree by scholars hoping to turn up some precious new nugget of biographical detail concerning the Bard. There have been successes & among this vast sea of uncertainty one may find the following island of logical thinking;

A few years down the road, & increasingly mindful of Haines’ caution to Buck Milligan that Shakespeare’s sonnets are, ‘the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance,’ I nonetheless came to conclude from the evidence I accumulated that not only was Barnfield’s Ganymede the sixth Earl of Derby, William Stanley, but also that Barnfield published poems from 1594 (including over twenty homoerotic love sonnets) were in dialogue with some of Shakespeare’s own homoerotic sonnets to his Fair Youth... we hardly have reason to be very surprised if, after all, Shakespeare’s beloved & revered male addressee might turn out to be William Stanley

This passage was written by Leo Daugherty who, after surviving such a process of intense academic endeavour with his wits intact, stated in his brilliant book, ‘William Shakespeare, Richard Barnfield & the Sixth Earl of Derby’ that he had made, ‘conclusions of some enormity.’ The crux of his excited proclamation was that the identity of the Handsome Youth was a certain Elizabethan nobleman called William Stanley. That this was the same man who we have just placed in a holiday romance fashion with Shakespeare soared into my own theorizing like a bolt of divine lightning. It makes sense,especially when the ‘Dark Lady’ of the sonnet series was noted by Shakespeare for the blackness of her skin, a woman most likely to be encountered abroad.


JUNE 1586
Shakespeare joins the Levant Company fleet

We have now placed Shakespeare firmly among the buccaneering world of corsairs that constituted the Elizabethan navy, where men like Drake, Hawkins & Raleigh were the x-factor style idols of the day. Our young bard is about to board one of the Levant Company ships, with all five vessels having just made successful trading operations in Turkey, Egypt & Syria. Three of the ships had met up in the Egyptian port of Alexandria: The Toby, the Susan & the Edward Bonaventure; & by the June of 1586 they had combined with the remaining two Company ships off the Greek island of Zante. One of these was Company flagship, the Merchant Royal, under ‘acting Admiral’ Edward Wilkinson. The second vessel was the William and John, both of which ships had been dealing in Tripoli.

All five ships would have combined together for security reasons – the journey through the Straits of Gibraltar, a stone’s throw from hostile Spain, would be too treacherous for one or two vessels traveling on their own. It was a prudent move, for a very real danger was imminent; two separate squadrons of Spanish & Maltese galleys had left the Straits of Gibraltar & were hunting down the English like hungry, prowling wolves. Shakespeare must have been invigorated to the infinite degree at the prospect of very real military action.


JULY 1586
The Battle of Pantelleria

Deep in the middle of a sultry summer, Shakespeare found himself sailing west through the Mediterranean as a passenger of the Levant Company fleet. After safely bypassing Malta, they were suddenly intercepted by a squadron of eleven Spanish and Maltese galleys under Don Pedro de Leyva. The engagement took place off the island of Pantelleria on the 13th July, a five-hour running battle which saw the massive devastation of Spanish ships like some prophetic glimmer of the Armada. A Venetian ambassador to Rome, Giovanni Gritti, recorded;

Between Sicily & the island of Pantalara the galleys of Naples & of Sicily fell in with nine English galleys returning form Constantinople, full of merchandise, & although they attacked the English ships they failed to take them. The galleys have returned to Naples for reinforcement & will sail again to search for the English. They have sent news of these English to Genoa, so that they may be on the look out for them in the waters of Corsica & Sardinia

After five hours of fighting it was all over & the Spanish galleys had been battered into submission. On the English side only two sailors had died, & handful more of men being wounded. The tough English sailors had simply outmaneuvered, & more importantly, outgunned the Spanish in battle. Remembrances of Shakespeare witnessing such a brutal sea-battle lies scatter’d throughout this plays. AF Falconer writes how he, ‘distinguishes between various types of ordnance & gun, understands how they work & are managed, & is familiar with gunnery terms & words of command.’ We can see for ourselves in examples, such as

The nimble gunner
With linstock now the devilish cannon touches
Henry V

Like an overcharged gun, recoil
And turn the force of them upon thyself
2 Henry VI

What’s this? a sleeve? ’tis like a demi-cannon
What, up and down, carved like an apple-tart?
Taming of the Shrew

JULY 1586
Shakespeare visits Linosa


While stopping for provisions & water round about the time of the Battle of Pantelleria, Shakespeare took a stroll along the island of Linosa – anciently ‘Aethusa.’ In a great moment of creative fusion, the island became embedded in his mnemonic vaults, ready for the right moment to become the setting of one of his poems or plays. This eventually occurred when Shakespeare was writing the Tempest, which was the last to be performed publicaly in his lifetime. Linosa is an extremely pretty island, its three lofty cones being the spiky remnants of ancient volcanoes. In Shakespeare’s time Linosa was deserted, like the other islands of the Pelagian archipelago in which it lies. Of a possible Tempestesque shipwreck on the island, GD Gussone wrote; ‘before 1828 some travelers going to Linosa found three human skeletons on those mountains which, in his opinion, where the remains of men who were perhaps thrown by a storm on to the island and that miserably perished for lack of food.’


Linosa’s position between Sicily & Tunisia fits neatly with the geography of the Tempest, in which Alonso, King of Naples, washes up on a deserted island on his way to see the King of Tunis. The island also plays host to the witch Sycorax, banished there from Tunisia’s neighbor, Algiers. The true Syrocrax is mentioned in John Ogilby’s ‘Accurate Description of Africa,’ in which she advises, soothsayer fashion, the commander of Algiers not to surrender the city to Emperor Charles V in 1541. The citizens did as they were bidden, & the fleet of Charles V was destroyed in a ‘terrible Tempest.’ Unfortunately for Syrocrax, ‘to palliate the shame and the reproaches that are thrown upon them for making use of a witch,’ she was exiled in a pregnant state on Linosa, & was perhaps one of the skeletons found on the island. According to the Tempest, she was dead by the events of the play, but her son Caliban was still alive. His character was probably based on a real meeting with Shakespeare, whose bones were laid to rest by his mother’s on the mountains.

Shakespeare in Algiers

After the battle of Pantelleria, the Company fleet headed for Algiers in order to restock supplies & make any necessary battle-repairs. These movements fit neatly into the itinerary of William Stanley, who according to the Garland visited ‘the King of Morocco and his nobles all / Then went to the King of Barbary.’ A connection between Stanley & North Africa comes through the Barbary Company, formed in 1585. The Queen herself had invested in the project, alongside Stanley’s father. The Levant Company connection is tentative, but the presence of William Stanley at this particular emporium provides a stronger suggestion that he may have been working for his father: details on contracts needed to be fine-tuned, perhaps, or accounts checked.

Despite suffering little in losses & damage, the battle of Pantelleria would have shredded the nerves, & it is at this point that Stanley would have ordered his young charge, John Donne, to make his way back to England in the relative the safety of the armed Company merchantmen. With the help of a thick sea-mist, this little fleet avoided the waiting Spanish at Gibraltar, & would soon be happily unloading their wares at the London docks. John Donne would eventually return to the service of the Earl of Derby, where on the 13th May 1587, the Derby Household Books included a ‘Mr John Downes’ alongside the same six waiters who appeared on the 1585 retinue list with a certain ‘Mr John Donnes.’


Shakespeare visits John Dee

According to the Garland, Stanley made a great geographical leap from Algeria to Russia, in order to spend some time with John Dee. This esoteric fellow was an extremely famous Elizabethan alchemist & academic from Manchester, & thus would have been a neighbor to the Stanleys in his youth. Memories of their relationship survives in Dee’s recording keeping, while Derby was instrumental in getting Dee appointed a director of Christ’s College, Manchester. The Garland’s account of the meeting is a factochisp for Dee’s actual residence at Trebona in Bohemia (in the modern-day Czech Republic), during which time he was making contact with the court of the Russian Tsar, but from hundreds of miles away. This is a perfect example of the Chisper Effect in action, of how the truth will distort into an alternate reality in which the main quintessence is still present. The quickest route for Shakespeare & Stanley to get from Algeria to Bohemia would have been by sailing up the Adriatic to Trieste. From there it would have taken an extra week of tough overland, Brokeback Mountain riding for Stanley & Shakespeare to reach Bohemia, during which time he may have etched the opening to sonnet 33;

Full many a glorious morning have I seen,
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye

There is also this passage from Anthony & Cleopatra which seems to invoke the Alpine crossing;

Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish,
A vapor sometime like a bear or lion,
A towered citadel, a pendant rock,
A forkèd mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon ’t that nod unto the world


On reaching Dee, the arch-magus would have filled them in on recent developments, of how at first he had been a valued guest of the court of Rudolf II, an intellectual hotbed centered on Prague. PJ French states, ‘Dee’s world view was thoroughly of the Renaissance, though it was one which is unfamiliar today, one of a line of philosopher-magicians that stemmed from Ficino & Pico della Mirandola & included, among others, Trithemius, Abbot of Sondheim, Henry Cornelius Agrippa Paracelsus. etc…. Like Dee, these philosophers lived in a world that was half magical, half scientific.’ Unfortunately, Dee fell on the wrong side of Rudolf, & after being banished from Prague was given shelter at in the household of Vilém of Rožmberk, in the town of Trebona. Shakespeare’s own brief stay in the region can be traced via three separate plays;

(i) Measure for Measure is set in Vienna.
(ii) The Winter’s Tale is set in ‘Bohemia’ in which Trebona is situated.
(iii) ‘The old hermit of Prague,’ is mentioned in Twelfth Night.


Also in Prague at that time was a copy of Titian’s Venus & Adonis – or perhaps even the original – commissioned by the Holy Roman Emporer, Charles V (d.1558), as discerned through a letter written by F. Mueller, the correspondent in Italy for the court of Bavaria. Now held in the Galleria Nazionale of Palazzo Barberini in Rome, what marks it out from all the other V&As painted by Titian (there were many copies made, usually completed by his students) was the hat which was worn by Adonis. In Shakespeare’s poem we actually have various mentions of such a hat, as in, ‘with one fair hand she heaveth up his hat,’ & ‘therefore would he put his bonnet on.’ It is possible that Stanley & Shakespeare were living the swancy-fancy life of art connoisseurs at this point & making an effort to study the work of evidently their favorite painter. Indeed, on their Italian itinerary they may have seen copies of the painting at the Palazzo Mariscotti in Rome, or in the possession of the Barbarigo-Guistiniani family in Padua.

Shakespeare sketches the Tempest

At this point in the Stanleyan Grand Tour the first outlines of the plot & structure of a play called the Tempest appeared in Shakespeare’s notebooks. It was first performed in public in 1611, yet a proto-version could have been one of the earliest creations of his blossoming mind, especially when the Tempest is the first play one comes to when entering the First Folio. A clue might be found in five consecutive lines of the Garland, where we observe quite succinctly the setting of the Tempest (Barbary is North Africa) & its principle subject Prospero, a dead-ringer for John Dee.

Within the Court of Barbary,
When two full years Sir William had been,
Into Russia he needs must go,
To visit the Emperor and his Queen,
One Doctor Dee he met with there

Where Prospero had his Ariel, Dee declared he possessed a benevolent angel called, ‘Uriel, the angel of light.’ One imagines Shakespeare actually hearing Dee discussing Uriel during our party’s stay in Trebona. Such an early date for the proto-Tempest is unwittingly hinted at by Sydney Lee’s; ‘the influence of Ovid, especially the Metamorphoses, was apparent throughout his earliest literary work, both poetic & dramatic, & is discernible in the ‘Tempest.’’ This play reflects the early experiences Shakespeare enjoy’d with Commedia dell’Arte; which sometimes featured a magician, his daughter & supernatural attendants. CDA also contained archetypical clowns known as Arlecchino and Brighella, on which the Tempest’s Stephano and Trinculo are clearly based, while its lecherous Neapolitan hunchback has a perfect correspondence in the Tempest’s Caliban. the Tempest is also one of only two of his plays that utilise the Classical Unities – a dramaturgical tradition of setting a play in a single place & time, with the other being the very early Comedy of Errors. Coincidence or not, CoE is set in the eastern Mediterranean, the same part of the world where Stanley & Shakespeare went next…

Shakespeare Studies Dee’s Library

Many of the Shakespeare’s esoteric themes and sources lead to the library of John Dee. Also in Prague using the library at that time was Edward Kelley – of Spenser’s woodcut fame – who seems to have dedicated a poem in the V&A stanza form to his ‘especiall’ friend, Shakespeare (Gulielmus Shaksper appears on the baptism record), which appears in Elias Ashmole’ 1652 anthology, Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum.


S.E.K. concerning the Philosophers Stone, written to his especiall good friend, G.S. Gent.
THe heauenlie Cope hath in him natures fower,
Two hidden, but the rest to sight appeare:
Wherein the Spermes of all the bodies lower
Most secret are, yet spring forth once a yeare:
And as the earth with water Authors are,
So of his part is drines end of care.
No flood so great, as that which floweth still:
No thing more fixt, than Earth digested thrise:
No winde so fresh, as when it serueth will:
No profit more, then keepe in, and be wise:
No better hap, than drie vp aïre to dust,
For then thou maist leaue of, and sleepe thy lust.
Yet will I warne thee, least thou chaunce to faile,
Sublime thine earth with stinking water erst:
Then in a place where Phoebus onely tayle,
Is seene at midday, see thou mingle best:
For nothing shineth that doth want his light,
Nor doubleth beames, vnlesse it first be bright.
Let no man lead, vnlesse he knowe the way,
That wise men teach, or Adro leadeth in,
Whereof the fist is large, and easiest pray,
The other hard, and meane but to begin,
For surely these, and no one more is found,
Wherein Apollo will his harp strings sound.
Example learne of GOD, that plaste the Skies,
Reflecting vertues from and t’euerie poynt,
In which the moouer wherein all things lies,
Doth hold the vertues all of euerie ioynt:
And therefore Essence fift may well be said,
Conteining all, and yet himselfe a maid.
Remember also how the Gods began,
And by discent who was to each the Syre:
Then learne their liues and kingdomes if thou can,
Their manners eke, with all their whole attire?
Which if thou doe, and knowe to what effect,
The learned Sophies will thee not reiect.
If this my Doctrine bend not with thy braine,
Then say I nothing, though I sayd too much:
Of truth tis good, will mooued me, not gaine,
To write these lines: yet write I not to such
As catch at crabs, when better frutes appeare,
And want to chuse at fittest time of yeare.
Thou maist (my friend) say, What is this for lore?
I aunswere, Such as auncient Phisicke taught:
And though thou red a thousand bookes before,
Yet in respect of this, they teach thee naught:
Thou maist likewise be blinde, and call me foole,
Yet shall these Rules for euer praise their Schoole.





The same collection of poems also has a commentary which tells how Kelley performed an alchemical tansmutation to, “gratifie Master Edward Garland and his Brother Francis.”Are these in fact William Stanley & Shakespeare. These brothers also turn up in Dee’s diary, along with two other ‘Garlands’, Robert & Henry, none of whom have ever turned up anywhere else in the Elizabethen world, suggesting the true names were incognito. The ‘Brothers’ element also more than hints at the Familist connection.

Garland connections

When two full years Sir William had been, Into Russia he needs must go,   To visit the Emperor and his Queen,   One Doctor Dee he met with there,   Which Doctor was born at Manchester ;   Who knew Sir William Stanley well,   Tho’ he had not seen him for many a year.   Pray what’s the Cause, the Doctor said,   Brings you, Sir William, into this Country 1   I’m come to travel, Sir William replied,   And I pray thee, Doctor, what brought thee!   I came to do a cure, the Doctor said,   Which was of the Emperor’s feet to be done,   And I have perform’d it effectually,   Which none could do but an Englishman.   Then he brought him before the Emperor,  Who entertained him with Princely cheer,   And gave him Gold and Silver store,  Desiring his company for seven year.   But one three years Sir William would stay,  Within the Emperor’s court so freely,   And then Sir William he would go,  To Bethlehem right speedily


Interestingly matches the Stanley connection

mentioned in Dee’s diary

8 Dec. Monday, about noon, Mr Edward Garland came to Trebona to me from the Emperor of Muscovia, according to the articles before sent unto me by Thomas Simkinson

9 Dec. On the 19 day (by the new calendar), to please Master Edward Garland (who had been sent as a messenger from the Emperor of Muscovy to ask me to come to him, etc, and his brother Francis, E.K. made a public demonstration of the philosophers’ stone in the proportion of one grain (no bigger than the least grain of sand) to 1 oz and a ¼ of common and almost 1 oz of the best gold was produced. When we had weighed the gold, we divided it up and gave the crucible to Edward at the same time.



8 April: Dee writes that “After dinner, as E.K. was alone, there appeared unto him little creatures of a cubit high: and they came to the still where he had the spirit of wine distilling over out of a retort.”                 After delivering what must be the most inaccurate set of predictions in Dee’s writing, the spirit Ben tells Kelley that “this Francis Garland was an espy upon us from the Lord Treasurer of England, and that Edward Garland is not his brother: and that so the matter is agreed between them, eke. He said that shortly this Francis Garland should go into England, and that we should be sent for, but that it were best to refuse their calling us home.”


22 June Mr Francis Garland went toward England from Trebona.

21 Nov. Saturday at night Mr Francis Garland came from England to Trebon and brought me a letter from Mr Dyer and my brother Mr Richard Yong.

18 Dec. Thomas Simkinson and Mr Francis Garland’s brother Robert came to Trebon from England, thinking we were ready to come into England upon the Queen’s letters sent for us. One other brother came also and stayed there. The same day: Mr John Carpio invited Mr Kelly and me, to his marriage, after Christmas.

Framncis Garland – not necassarily Shakespeare



Shakespeare tours the Levant

As the year 1587 dawned, Shakespeare & Stanley were just beginning to celebrate two exciting & adventure-packed years together on the road. They were also celebrating leaving wintry Bohemia for the sun swathed south, where the Garland tells us;

But one three years Sir William would stay,
Within the Emperor’s court so freely,
And then Sir William he would go,
To Bethlehem right speedily,

Likewise to fair Jerusalem,
Where our blessed Saviour Christ did die
He asked them if it was so,
They answered and told him aye.

This is the Tree, the Jews then said,
Whereon the Carpenter’s son did die;
That was my Saviour, Sir William said,
For sure he died for the sins of me.

After their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, our lads set off north towards Turkey, calling at Tripoli in the Lebanon for supplies, perhaps even a little Levant Company networking. Our party would have next sailed west, docking for a while at the ports of Cyprus. This visit later inspired Shakespeare to bescene a portion of his tragedy, Othello, on the island. The official setting is given in the text as only a ‘sea-port’ of Cyprus, & a ‘hall in the castle,’ with local tradition stating Shakespeare was describing the heavily fortified medieval citadel at Famagusta. It is while staying at this fortress that Shakespeare may have heard the local story of Francesca de Sessa, a dark-skinned Venetian officer serving in Cyprus known as ‘Il Moro.’ Here, place & person were planted in Shakespeare’s vernal imagination, waiting for them to catch the creative fire & begin to shoot upwards into existence. When it did, the play would be given further gloss by raiding Cinthio’s Gli Hecatommithi (1565), which Shakespeare had read in Italian. This pattern of development continues throughout most of Shakespeare’s continental plays: when metapoetic travelogues are liberally sprinkled with the plots of foreign authors.


MARCH 1587
Shakespeare in Ephesus

From Cyprus our party pass’d on to Turkey, & one play in particular contains memories of their visit. In the Comedy of Errors, a Sicilian merchant called Egeon is imprisoned in the ancient city of Ephesus. The city played an integral part in the early days of Christianity, being one of the seven churches addressed by the Book of Revelations. Fifteen centuries later, the Christian church was usurped by the Islamic Ottomans, when this once well-populated & sophisticated city became locked in a terminal decline. Its river, the Caystros, was steadily silting up into malarial swamps, leaving the once bustling harbours of Ephesus far inland. Population levels were plummeting; a century before Shakespeare’s visit, the city was said to contain 2,000 souls, but numbers had halved by the time our Bard reached the city. By 1824 both town & citadel were abandoned completely except for the wild animals wandering its time-haunted streets.

The siting for the Comedy of Errors at Ephesus allows us to recognize one of Shakespeare’s few Biblical allusions. Patricia Parker  in Shakespeare & the Literary Traditon 1999) writes of the, ‘centrality of a passage from Ephesians 2 for this comedy set in Ephesus & its plot of alien & citizen, of a family seperated until a final Recognition Scene. Ephesians’ second chapter speaks of the Law & its dividing line between ‘alien’ Gentile & ‘citizen’ Jew, a division as absolute as that between ‘alien’ Syracusian & local Ephesian at his Comedy’s beginning.’ One expects that after his trip to the Holy Land, Jesus could not have helped but feel connected  to the New Testament, & Parker recognizes as much by stating, ‘the language & structures of this Comedy, then, are strikingly even obtrusively Biblical.

It is time now to focus our investigation on a situation central to the plot of the Comedy of Errors is an imprisonment of Egeon. Appearing only in the first & final acts, framing the traditional story, & the threat of death hangs over him throughout the play. In light of the Stanleyan Grand Tour, it seems easy to notice the tallies between Egeon & Stanley, who was also imprisoned in Turkey. Thomas Aspen writes; ‘after paying a visit to Palestine, he journeyed to Turkey, and had a narrow escape of becoming a victim to the bigotry of the followers of Mahommed. In a discussion with one of the Paschas he defended Christianity and the Bible, and denounced the religion propounded in the Koran as false and deceptive. He was arrested for “blasphemy against the religion of Mahommed,” and after being kept a long time in a filthy and dismal prison, a date was fixed for his execution, but a lady interceded on his behalf, and three days before the appointed time he was liberated.‘ That ‘dismal prison’ was not situated in Ephesus, however, but in Constantinople; a city towards which our suntann’d party traveled next.

April 1587
Shakespeare sees Mitylene

‘Shakespere’s own muse his Pericles first bore,’ said the great poet of Restoration England, John Dryden. As the young Shakespeare was sailing along the shores of western Turkey, he was already jotting ideas down for the play, ‘Pericles.’ At one point he was reclining lazily in a boat, anchored in the harbour of Mitylene, a moment which transchispered itself into the play, where one of the stage directions reads;

On board Pericles’ ship, off Mytilene. A pavilion on deck, with a curtain beofe it; PERICLES within, reclining on a couch, unkepty clad in sackcloth. A barge lies beside the Trian vessel

The uneven writing of Pericles suggests its first two acts were co-written. As early as 1709, Nicholas Rowe was suggesting, ‘there is good Reason to believe that the greatest part of that Play was not written by him; tho’ it is own’d, some part of it certainly was, particularly the last Act.‘ The second author’s identity is unknown, but Pericles does contain a number idiomatic Lancashire expressions such as would be native to Stanley, like ‘keep thee warm.’ What is slowly emerging is the idea of Stanley & Shakespeare collaborating & composing the prototypes of a number of the canon’s early plays.


MAY 1587
Shakespeare visits Constantinople

Our Grand Tourists have now reached the furthest limits of their travels, finding themselves at the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Only two years before their arrival, an Elizabethan traveler called Henry Austel had recorded his own visit to the ‘most statelie City of Constantinople, which for the situation & proude seat thereof, for the beautiful & commodious havens, & for the great & sumptuous buildings of the Temples, which they call Moschea, is to be preferred before all Cities of Europe.’ It had only been a decade or two since the Ottoman Empire had reached its high-water mark, but defeats at Malta & Lepanto ensured the Turks would never dominate the world. Instead they would have to trade their way to success, & in the wake of the Italian financial crash of the 1570s it was the English merchants who dealt directly with the Grand Turke. As he walked around its capital, Shakespeare would have marveled at the minarets & markets, & as he wander’d under sultry Turkish suns & star-studded Oriental moons, may have penned the following sonnet to Stanley.

Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but to-day by feeding is allay’d,
To-morrow sharpen’d in his former might:
So, love, be thou; although to-day thou fill
Thy hungry eyes even till they wink with fullness,
To-morrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dullness.
Let this sad interim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;
Else call it winter, which being full of care
Makes summer’s welcome thrice more wish’d, more rare.

The key allusion is to the Greek myth of Hero & Leander, the two passionate lovers were separated by the Hellespont, today’s Dardandanelles, near which Constantinople lies. Leander would swim each night across the straits to make passionate love to his beloved Hero, as in the sonnet’s, ‘where two contracted new / Come daily to the banks, that, when they see / Return of love, more blest may be the view.’ Yet more support for a Shakespearean visit to the area can be found in Othello, where a person’s relentless nature is compared to the strong one-way currents found at the Hellespont.

Like to the Pontick Sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne’er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont

Joseph Mallord William Turner 'The Parting of Hero and Leander', exhibited 1837 Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘The Parting of Hero and Leander’, exhibited 1837

Stanley Incarcerated

We have already learnt of Stanley’s incarceration in Turkey on trussed up charges of Blasphemy. The Garland tells us;

Sir William was taken prisoner,
And for his religion condemn’d to die.

Before I’ll forsake my living Lord,
My blessed Saviour and sweet Lamb;
Sweet Jesus Christ that died for me,
I’ll die the worst Death that e’er did man.

Farewel Father, and farewel Mother,
And farewel all Friends at Latham-Hall,
Little do they know I am a Prisoner,
Or how I’m subject unto thrall.

More details are given in the Brief Account, in which this we are told that a certain ‘bashaw’ (pasha) who attempted to entangle Stanley in religious controversy. The Lancashire lad was shrewd at first, until the Pasha cunningly declared Christianity to be a fable; ‘your prophet is an imposter, your profession hypocrisy.‘ Stanley countered with a spirited defence, on which he was swiftly arrested by ‘a band of janissaries’ & cast in a prison, three yards square. Stanley’s imprisonment would last for 5 weeks, without bread or water, & suffering the constant torments of an insolent jailor, while all the time the Pasha was using his ‘utmost influence’ to bring Stanley ‘to the gibbet.’ These events seem to have taken place in September 1587, as discerned thro’ the mention of a lunar eclipse in sonnet 107;

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.

On the 16th September, 1587, the Moon was shadowed in a deep partial eclipse, lasting 3 hours and 7 minutes, when 76% was shrouded in darkness. Thus, it was after this event, when ‘the mortal moon hath her eclipse endured,’ that Shakespeare’s love for Stanley became ‘forfeit to a confined doom,‘ ie imprisoned in a Turkish prison awaiting death. Fortunately for the lads & their love, a heroine was just about to ride to their rescue, whose entrance into the story may just even settle the greatest Shakespearean mystery of them all… the identity of the mysterious ‘Dark Lady’ of the sonnets. Was she in fact a Turkish noblewoman?

A Lady walking under the prison wall,
Hearing Sir William so sore lament,
Unto the Great Turk she did go,
To beg his life was her intent

A Boon, a Boon, thou Emperor,
For thou’rt a Lord of great command;
Grant me the life of an Englishman,
Therefore against me do not stand,

For I will make him a husband of mine,
Whereby Mahomet he may adore;
He’ll carry me into his own country,
And safely thither conduct me o’er.

The Lady’s to the Prison gone,
Where that Sir William he did lie;
Be of good chear, thou Englishman,
I think this day I’ve set thee free;

If thou wilt yield to marry me,
And take me for to be thy bride;
To take me into thy own country,
And safely thither to be my Guide.

I cannot marry, Sir William said,
To ne’er a Lady in this country;
For if ever on English ground I tread,
I have a wife, and children three.

This Excuse serv’d Sir William well,
So the Lady was sorry for what he did say,
And gave him five hundred pounds in gold,
To carry him into his own country;

But one half year Sir William would stay,
After from prison he was set free;

According to the Brief Account, while in Constantinople, Stanley had endeared himself to the family of an influential Turk, whose wife & daughter had become greatly concerned about his incarceration. The daughter – who is clearly mentioned in the Garland – managed to get an interview with the Sultan, & eventually secured Stanley’s freedom. As she turned up at the prison, the Brief Account tells us, it was with ‘the most rapturous emotions’ that Stanley ‘beheld his female deliverer.‘ She found him in a most sorry state indeed; his body was decimated, his eyes were sunken, his cheeks were pallid & his mind was maddened by thoughts of imminent execution. Instead, at the eleventh hour he was saved from the gibbet by the ‘romantic gallantry’ of a ‘worthy family.’

The Dark Lady

It is clear there was a Turkish woman very much in love with Stanley at the same time as was Shakespeare. This back-story reflects itself with neatness onto the dramatic sub-structure of the sonnets, in which a Dark Lady courts both Shakespeare & the Handsome Youth, who we have already associated quite clinically with Stanley. Metric reminiscences of this ménage a trois are found in sonnets 127–152, where Shakespeare & Stanley are shown to be in love with the same dark-skinned woman, who appears to have had some kind of amorous relations with both men. Sonnets 127 & 130 are fine reflections of Shakespeare’s internal torment at falling for an exotic beauty;

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slandered with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature’s power,
Fairing the foul with Art’s false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Sland’ring creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.


A little of the Dark Lady’s personality can be discerned by a deeper reading of the sonnets. She is painted as a most promiscuous creature, who ‘robb’d others’ beds revenues of their rents,’ & ‘in act her bed-vow broke.’ The latter could mean she was married, or perhaps the vow was simply made to her various lovers during her affairs. We also see her described, in sonnet 128, as something of a musician;

How oft when thou, my music, music play’st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st

There is one stand-out sonnet in the Dark Lady series, number 135, which seems to have been written by one William for another. Leo Daugherty states, ‘virtually all editors & other scholars believe to constitute wordplay referring not only to Shakespeare’s own given name but also probably to his addresses as well.’ It reads;

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in overplus;
More than enough am I that vex thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea all water, yet receives rain still
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large Will more.
Let no unkind no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will

Sonnet 136 is a similarly gentle play on the fact that the Dark Lady is love in with two different men called William, or Will;

If thy soul check thee that I come so near,
Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
Thus far for love, my love-suit, sweet, fulfil.
Will, will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.
In things of great receipt with ease we prove
Among a number one is reckoned none:
Then in the number let me pass untold,
Though in thy store’s account I one must be;
For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
That nothing me, a something sweet to thee:
Make but my name thy love, and love that still,
And then thou lovest me for my name is ‘Will.’

There are two sonnets in the series which contain elements of Stanley’s Turkish captivity. The metaphor of imprisonment in sonnet 133 hints at the dire straits in which Stanley had found himself;

Prison my heart in thy steel bosom’s ward,
But then my friend’s heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe’er keeps me, let my heart be his guard;
Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail:
And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.

Sonnet 144 contains some excellent & appropriate Christian allegories attached to the ‘two loves’ of Shakespeare, which paint Stanley as an angel & his tempter – the Dark Lady – as an infidel ‘devil’ wanting to ‘corrupt’ the ‘purity’ of Stanley’s sainthood.

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still;
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colour’d ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turn’d fiend
Suspect I may, but not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another’s hell:
Yet this shall I ne’er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

The same sonnet also yields a clue as to how Stanley escaped prison, for when we read ‘whether that my angel be turn’d fiend / Suspect I may, but not directly tell,’ we can identify a correlation to the forced conversions of Christians in the eastern Mediterranean. Only by relenting from his proud Christian stance, & embracing Allah, would his life be saved. Stanley was a member of a family of survivors, & clearly did what was needed to secure his freedom. One can only imagine the joy felt by Shakespeare on his release. The darling Turkish family did not realise so much at the time, but by securing Stanley’s freedom they set in place a series of events that would one day lead to the creation of the First Folio.


Shakespeare sails home

The Grafton Portrait - Shakespeare as he looked on his return from the Continent
The Grafton Portrait – Shakespeare as he looked on his return from the Continent

In the noble houses of Elizabethan England, the ‘household book’ would record the toings & froings of visitors to the estate. The vast majority of these have been lost, but at Knowsley, however, one of these little diaries miraculously survived the ravagings of time, written down with meticulous energy by the Stanley steward, William Ffarington. Crucially, the book supplies us with information for the three-year period between 1587 & 1589, providing the precise date for Stanley’s return to Knowsley… December 1587. With the lunar eclipse occurring in September, we are given a three month window for Stanley to be freed from prison & to travel between Constantinople & Lancashire. Intriguingly, in one of Lorenzo Bernardo’s dispatches, we hear of an English Catholic gentleman who was acting quite suspiciously bout Constantinople in that very time period.

November 11th: An English gentleman arrived here on board the ships ‘Salvagna.’ He says he is a Catholic; that he left England at the end of May with the intention of going to Jerusalem, but on his arrival here he changed his mind, & after staying a few days he left for Patras, there to embark on board an English ship for England. This roused great suspicions, & I succeeded in keeping him under observation

Whoever that mysterious Catholic was, if he had been on the trail of Stanley he was too late; for he & Shakespeare were already scudding the sea-lanes home. In the age of Elizabethan sail, Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind had a top speed of 8 knots, about 9.2 mph. With the port of London lying 3627 nautical miles from Constantinople, the voyage would have taken about 19 days of unbroken sailing. Slowing down the ship to the speed of a merchant vessel, perhaps 4 or 5 knots, the same voyage would have taken just over a month. Ample time for Stanley to return to Lancashire by December. It is on this voyage that Shakespeare would have gained his knowledge of the Bay of Portugal (the Bay of Biscay), an unusually deep body of water that would have been unsoundable by the plumbing methods of Shakespeare’s time. Memory of the Bard’s time on the Bay can be found in As You Like It;

ROSALIND: O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou didst know how many fathom deep I am in love! But it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown bottom, like the bay of Portugal

The long hours of tedium that a sea-voyage entails provided a perfect atmosphere in which Shakespeare could compose his poetry. As our two lovers home, sharing than beautiful bunk of theirs, it is possible that Shakespeare found a serene moment to compose yet another sonnet of the series to his ‘Handsome Youth.’ Of these, there is one sonnet in particular that can be accurately dated to the Stanleyan Grand Tour we have been painting.

To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In process of the seasons have I seen;
Three April pérfumes in three hot Junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived.
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.

If the twelve seasons mentioned begin with that of winter 1584-85, then it is the three Mediterranean ‘hot Junes’ of ’85, ’86 & ’87 which Shakespeare spent with Stanley which are meant. This means the sonnet was composed at the end of autumn, 1587, just as they were sailing home.

Stanley spends Christmas in Lancashire

In the year of 1587 the plague came to the good folk of Lancashire. This was bad, but the return of our gallant & sun bronzed adventurers cheered up the county no end. Stanley, especially, would have cut a dashing image; 25 years old, fully tanned & full of exciting tales from his travels. He may even have taken his great friend Shakespeare with him to Lancashire. Our young bard was 23, fresh from a Grand Tour, & flush with the creativity that would soon manifest itself as some of the greatest plays the world has ever seen. Some plays were being penned already, some may have only been a title, some were yet to be born; but there seems an incredible dedication by Shakespeare to recording as many details of the Grand Tour is possible in his plays. As our party arrived at Knowsley, Shakespeare’s knapsack would have contained the manuscript copies of his & Stanley’s co-written plays, such as Titus Andronicus, & Pericles. They may even have been performed that Christmas at Knowsley when the Household Books record ‘Sir Thomas hesketh plaiers.’ No evidence exists for these players having performed the early Stanley-Shakespeare plays, but it certainly feels right, & if so, the events surrounding their debut as playwrights were recorded in December 1587;

On fryday my Lord the earle came home from cowrte & the same night came my Lord bishoppe, mr stewarde mr recyver mr foxe, on saturday Sir Thomas hesketh plaiers went awaie

This could well have been the performance that won the newly-emerging dramaturgical Shakespeare his first laurels of appreciation. As the English entered the fateful year of 1588, in the North at least, the name of a brilliant young playwright was being swirled around the dinner-tables of the gentry. The first sailings of the flower-garlanded galleon that was England’s true bard had just been seen at Knowsley, where Stanley’s brother Ferdinando must have been impressed. Taking the bardic baton from his brother, Ferdinando would later that year drag our boy back to London, & into the realisation of his prenominate destiny.  


During my Chispological studies, I have found the common recourse of academics refusing to accept the euhemeristic nature of historical accounts is generally, ‘that would make a good film,’ before closing all dialogue & pretending the facts don’t exist. The thing is, Shakespeare’s tour of Europe would make a damn thrilling blockbuster; there are sea-battles, death-row prisons, duels, magicians & a sordid love triangle – its got everything really. It is no wonder that after travelling Europe in such a fashion that the young Shakespeare, verteux – as the French say – & amorous – as the French do -, would find his mind & spirit filling with so much poesis it would take years to spill onto the page. How it became such stellar poetry was down, of course, to his flowering genius, which surely was nourished & did thrive in the fertile bedsoil of the Stanleyan Grand Tour. We can now also acknowledge that the dramatic continental output of the Shakesperean ouvre is in all essence a grand & brilliant creochisp of the Swan of Avon’s especial flight abroad.


Next Wednesday, 17/01/18

Chapter 12

The Ripper Gang


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 10 : Shakespeare’s Grand Tour

    Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter X

The next two chapters of The Chisper Effect concern a rather famous Elizabethan gentleman, an ever-living poet whose inimitable works our senators of history have esteemed shall never die. Most people on the planet have heard of William Shakespeare, with the vast majority of the English-Speaking world having had to sit through at least one of his rather impenetrable plays, while at the same time whimsically gazing through classroom windows to the sunny fields outside. Even so, ‘God comes first,’ declared Heinrich Heine, before adding, ‘but surely Shakespeare comes next,‘ & at some moment in a human’s life there may come a time when they actually get Shakespeare, they finally understand the profound genius of a man who conjured such a sequence of brilliant plays they shall remain in our collected consciousness for eternity.

william-shakespeare-194895-1-402It is almost universally known that William Shakespeare was born in an obscure little Warwickshire backwater called Stratford-Upon-Avon. One of the greatest pleasures of his story is that the ‘Swan of Avon‘ set out, barely educated, from such a little idyll to end his life’s journey as the greatest genius his native islands had ever, & shall probably forever, produce. More than any other single individual, his natural creativity has improved & modernized the English tongue; while at the same time his uncanny penchant for the dramatic arts invented, fermented & cemented a theatrical tradition still thriving to this day. But it is when searching for the historical Shakespeare that we hit something of a brick wall. During his lifetime, nobody really bothered to ascertain any significant details of Shakespeare’s life. In the Elizabethan era, the art of English ‘biography’ was very much in its infancy, & it is really no great wonder that we know so little about Mr. William Shakespeare, gent.


The first proper attempt to record a biography of Shakespeare was made fifty years after his death, when in the 1660’s John Aubrey included a gossipy sketch in his, ‘Short Lives.’ Another half-century would pass before anybody else tried to flesh out Aubrey’s work, when the poet-laureate-to-be, Nicholas Rowe, took upon himself the task of modernizing Shakespeare into the English of his day. Combining Rowe & Aubrey gives us the bare bones of the historical Shakespeare, which in essence are just a scrappy handful of unlikely anecdotes & second-hand memories, into which we can stitch a few dozen ‘official’ details such as his marriage to Anne Hathaway; the christening records of their three children; legal affidavits; & his famous will. In the official spheres, six of his signatures have been raked up from the ashes of historical beaurocracy, the last of which was scratched loosely upon his will. This last document also contains the only known handwriting we possess in his hand. Even then, this consists of only the four letters of ‘by me,’ or even ‘by mr,’ a scanty authentic sample indeed of our greatest writer’s gargantuan wordsmithery.


Shakespeare spent a great deal of his adult life in London, but upon his death in 1616, at the age of 52, his body was returned home to be buried in Stratford. Seven years after this entombment, thirty-six of his plays were printed together for the first time in a rather large tome known as the First Folio. This brilliantly influential book contains a woodcut engraving which has provided us with the definitive image of the Bard; a balding & bearded man, nestling quite unegregiously in his middle-age. For various errant reasons, this printed testament & definitive image of Shakespeare are said not to be enough to prove he existed. By some obtuse glitch there exists today a rather large & angry mob of academics who, with growing defiance, absolutely & positively deny that William Shakespeare ever composed his own plays.

There are two principle themes behind this chronic conclusion of the Anti-Shakespeareans: the first is a complete lack of any manuscripts in Shakespeare’s hand. Yet, none of the great playwrights of the period left behind any actual manuscripts of their plays: in a time without copyright, these precious reams of paper were jealously guarded & then destroyed by the theaters. It was far better for a play to dwell in the memory of an actor or three, than to fall into the hands of a rival company. The second objection to Shakespeare’s existence comes from an intellectually snobbish attitude prevalent throughout the halls of academe, which assumes that literary genius may only be taught & never be acquired through natural means. From this vulgar stance comes the conclusion that an uneducated country yeoman could not have acquired the intellectual capabilities to produce such a fantastic treasury of writings that constitute Shakespeare’s majestic oeuvre. That is despite the fact that in a 1601 play called The Return from Parnassus (Part II) – when Shakespeare was at the height of his abilities – in a staged dialogue with the actors Richard Burbage, William Kempe compares university playwrights with non-university playwrights, & definitively places Shakespeare among the latter:

Few of ye Vniuersitye men penne plaies well, they smell too much of yat writer Ouid, & yat writer Metamorphoses, & talke too much of Proserpina & Iupiter: why heeres our fellowe Shakspeare putts them all downe, aye and Ben Iohnson too: O yat Ben Iohnson is a pestilent fellowe, hee brought vpp Horace giuing ye poetts a pill; but our fellowe shakespeare hath given him a purge yat made him beraye his credditt.

The case against has not been enough to convince the majority of scholars – & the rest of the world at large – that Shakespeare the man was not also Shakespeare the author. Such defenders of his noble name are known as Stratfordians, while pitted against them are the Anti-Shakesperean non-believers, who go by the name of ‘non-Stratfordians.’ Of this most bitter & increasingly fractious academic battleground, the modern scholar Leo Daugherty, postulates, ‘most of the “warfare” emanates from scholars and critics deeply entrenched in ideology far more than in commitment to good evidence.’ 

The ‘ideology’ mentioned by Daugherty manifests itself as an intellectual world shaking collective & disbelieving heads at Shakespeare’s meteoric rise, combining voices in an open declaration that the works of Shakespeare must have been created by some university-educated nobleman & not the Swan of Avon. This has seen the promulgation of a series of candidates onto which has been deflected more than a century of critical scholarship. Like any of our great world mysteries, a crazed wild-fire has broken out among the pages of our normally rational academics, leaving smoldering charcoal embers which bend & distort the truth about Shakespeare to this day. Contenders for the laurel crown include Christopher Marlowe, despite the fact he was stabbed to death in 1593; making it rather difficult for him to have penned a play such as the Scottish-influenced Macbeth, written to celebrate the succession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603. Macbeth also contains numerous allusions to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, and we must note that a year before this – in 1604 – died Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. This starbright gentleman is the main focus of most Anti-Shakespearean scholarship, but he simply could not have written plays such as the Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline & Coriolanus. The latter, for example contains the fable of Menenius as drawn from the ‘Remaines’ of William Camden, which were published in 1605. We can also see De Vere was placed, in 1598, among the great writers of the age alongside Shakespeare, by their contemporary Francis Meres.

The best for Comedy amongst vs bee Edward, Earle of Oxforde, Doctor Gager of Oxforde, Master Rowley, once a rare scholler of learned Pembrooke Hall in Cambridge, Maister Edwardes, one of Her Maiesties Chappell, eloquent and wittie Iohn Lilly, Lodge, Gascoyne, Greene, Shakespeare, Thomas Nash, Thomas Heywood, Anthony Mundye, our best plotter, Chapman, Porter, Wilson, Hathway, and Henry Chettle.

Despite this glaringly obvious separation of Edward De Vere & Shakespeare, by an eye-witness so to speak, the Oxfordians – as this largest pack of Anti-Shakespeareans are more commonly known – have been fiercely advancing the Earl of Oxford’s candidacy for decades. En route, wherever they meet with sound evidence which shows De Vere could never have been William Shakespeare, like tigers cornered in a cave they will thrash out with increasingly bewildering conspiracy theories to negate the challenge to their theories. Somewhere into this mix of baseless conjecture is sometimes tossed a love child of Queen Elizabeth, & I am sure in one strand of the Oxfordian theories Shakespeare was said to have been his own father.

During my studies I became quite fond of this piece of third hand witness testimony to Shakespeare’s visits to Oxford on the road between Stratford & London. It was made by William Davenant, the city’s mayor & proprietor of its Crown Tavern. Born in 1606, his godfather – perhaps even father – was said to be the Bard himself. The story was recorded but unpublished by Aubrey from a comment attributed to Davenant by Samuel Butler, & contains too much natural detail to pretend it is all made up

Mr. William Shakespeare was wont to go into Warwickshire once a year, and did commonly in his journey lie at this house [the Crown] in Oxon, where he was exceedingly respected… Now Sir William would sometimes, when he was pleasant over a glass of wine with his most intimate friends–e.g. Sam Butler, author of Hudibras, etc., say, that it seemed to him that he writ with the very spirit that did Shakespeare, and seemed contented enough to be thought his Son. He would tell them the story as above, in which way his mother had a very light report, whereby she was called a Whore.

The vita of William Shakespeare is more famous for what it does not contain than what it does. One of the enduring Shakespearean conundrums revolves around the seven-year period between 1585 & 1592, the so-called ‘Lost Years,’ a wilderness of remembrance in which our budding bard might as well have been living on the moon! All we know is that at the beginning of 1585, when his twindownload (2)s were baptized in Stratford, Shakespeare seems nothing but a simple family man. Seven years later, however, he is setting London alight with the first resonant tromp-blasts of his miraculously brilliant plays. The occasion was a rather popular performance of ‘Henry VI’ at the Rose Theatre, dated to the 3rd of March, 1592. Takings for the performance were £3 6sh 8d, outdoing Christopher Marlowe’s Jew of Malta, played in the Rose only the previous week, by almost a full pound. Shakespeare was now the starry darling of the London literary scene, but what journey had he made from rural Stratford for him to have ever become so? Of this curious puzzle, Bill Bryson writes, ‘there is not a more tempting void in literary history, nor more eager hands to fill it.

On first encountering this contentious arena, my instinct was to say I believed what it said on the tin, that Shakespeare had written his own plays. Having looked at a great deal of the available evidence, I am rather inclined to agree with my first instinct, for with a wee waft here & there, when those paper trails of history that have been blown about by the blustery gales of many centuries settle in just the right order, all of a sudden they form a series of cogent patterns to illuminate a path through the murky mists of Shakespeare’s history. Some of the key patterns center upon a certain Lancastrian nobleman called William Stanley, who became the Sixth Earl of Derby in 1594. His feudal demesne was not in Derbyshire, however, but Lancashire, whose ‘capital’ was the palatial stately home at Knowsley, on the outskirts of Liverpool.


In Shakespeare’s day the Derbys were the second family of England, direct descendants of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, through Mary, one of the two sisters of Henry VIII. The elder sister, Margaret, had married into the Stewart line of Scottish kings, whose great-grandchild would eventually inherit the English crown as King James I. Before that momentous occasion of national unification, the Stanleys were the ideological focus of many a plot throughout Elizabeth’s childless reign. But being shrewd operatives & canny northern lads, this noble family never once challenged the hegemony of the Tudors, remaining content enough to lord it over their private kingdom in the North. Instead of plotting for the throne, the Stanleys were content to patronise the dramatic arts, running private troupes of player to perform up & down & all across the land. They even had a private playhouse built at Knowsley, which would have attracted Shakespeare like a moth to a dramaturgical flame. That our bard had been in the vicinity can be observed in the creochisping, money-obsess’d character of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice. He is based, I believe, upon Thomas Sherlock, a coin-counting churchwarden in the Lancashire parish of Prestcott, bordering the Stanley’s estate at Knowsley. The Churchwardens Accounts of Prescott read;

1581: imprimis, receyved bye me, the sed Thomas Sherlock at the handes of the olde churche wardens, ouer theire accountes the last year as appereth bye this booke

1584: item, paid to Thomas Sherlocke for the repairinge of the olde slate upon the sowth syde of the church

In his younger years William Stanley undertook an epic tour of Europe just at the commencement of the Shakespearean ‘Lost Years.’ According to the ‘History of the House of Stanley,’ by John Seacome, the good folk of Lancashire were addicted to his, ‘whole travels, martial exploits, and bravery abroad, which this county (especially) gives us many large accounts, as well in story, as song, and frequently made themselves merry therewith.’ The thing is, if we were to place Shakespeare in the company of Stanley on his continental tour, it is singularly remarkable how much of the Shakespearean oeuvre begins to fit snugly into the minute nooks & crannies of the Stanleyan Grand Tour. Actualizing Shakespeare in the entourage of Stanley begins within the rustic pipings of an obscure ballad called ‘The Garland of William Stanley.’ Anonymously penned, it was printed in the 18th century, a ‘garland,’ or collection, of stanzas telling the story of Stanley’s Continental wanderlust. The poetry of the Garland is not the finest, falling far below the standard of even the most ordinary of broadside ballads; but what it lacks in beauty of language is more than made up for by geographical & historical content. The story it tells is more a montage of three separate journeys; Stanley’s first in 1582-1584 with his tutor Richard Lloyd, the second between 1585-87 with Shakespeare, & a third in the early 1590s, just before he became the Sixth Earl.

img_6_6The Garland explains how Stanley conducted a twenty-one year tour of the Continent (a clear exaggeration) via France, Spain, Italy, Rome & the mountainous Alpine parts of southern Germany known as ‘High Germany.’ Stanley then went to North Africa, visiting Egypt, Algeria & Morocco, before sweeping back north to meet the famous Elizabethan magus, John Dee, at the court of the Russian Emperor. Another grand sweep would see Stanley returning to the Mediterranean once again, in order to tour the Near East. After conducting the obligatory pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he found himself imprisoned in Constantinople for blasphemy against Mohammed. After his release, at the behest of an infatuated Turkish woman, Stanley moved up to the frozen north, where he became stranded upon the island of Greenland. Fortuitously rescued by a whale-ship, he would eventually be dropp’d off in Holland, from where he boarded a boat for England & his homecoming at Lathom Hall in Lancashire. I think it hardly a coincidence that in every place Stanley visited in the Garland – Greenland aside – we can site one or more of Shakespeare’s continental scenes, with the only exception being the Elsinore of Hamlet.


Shakespeare’s own continental ‘ticket’ would been paid for by the wealthy Stanley. These ‘Grand Tours’ were partaken only by the very rich, in particular young aristocrats wanting to complete their education by visiting foreign ‘academes’ & basking in the natural beauties of the Continent; whether it be the delights of scenic scenes, or the bosom of some pretty damsel. That Shakespeare accompanied Stanley should appease the Anti-Shakespeareans, for foreign travel alongside a man of noble birth would have furnish’d Shakespeare’s brain with all the courtly mores, continental languages & classical scholarship our poet would ever need to create his masterpieces. Looking into the Italian plays in particular, one cannot help but notice Shakespeare’s attention to topographical & cultural details. By placing Stanley & Shakespeare together readily explains how the Bard would have gained such an impressive love for Italy. His journey up to, throughout, & beyond that golden land I shall now present in a neat, chronological & hopefully unclutter’d fashion. As we journey alongside William Shakespeare & William Stanley, in the absence of any external evidence their Grand Tour, it is in the internal evidence of his writings, as ascertained thro’ the Chisper Effect, that we are able to trace the route of the most important adventure in the history of the English language.

Shakespeare joins the retinue of the Earl of Derby

In the chilly late January of 1585, Shakespeare’s twins, Hamnet & Judith arrived in the world. They were baptized in Stratford on the 2nd February, 1585. Its possible that Shakespeare was present, but he would have had to get to Dover in 3 days or so – doable, but stretching it. It would be almost 3 years before he would hold his twins in his arms. In the three intervening years I believe that Shakespeare made meticuolous notes concerning his journeying, a great deal of which would find its way into his plays.  ‘Let him carry with him also some card, or book,’ suggested Sir Francis Bacon to the young travelers of the age, ‘describing the country where he travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less as the place deserveth, but not long: nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance. Just after the twins were born, Oxford & Worcester’s Men received payment for a performance in Stratford on the 20th January, which it would be great to play Shakespeare at. It would have been the last play he watched as a layman, for on his return from the continent he would be a veritable Mr Theater himself.

Shakespeare had found himself a very minor station in the grand retinue of William Stanley’s father, the 4th Earl of Derby, who was readying himself for a trip to Paris. His mission was to present the French King with the Order of the Garter on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, one of only 26 – no more, no less – noble investees of the a tradition founded by Edward III in 1348, & religiously maintain’d by Elizabeth. There are several manuscripts extant which contain a list of the leading members of the Earl’s retinue, together with numbers for their anonymous, un-named staff. Among the names we may observe;

Sir Richard Shireburn, treasurer – 3
Sir Randulp Brereton of Malpas – 6
Thomas Arderne, steward – 2
William Fox, comptroller -1
Stanley of Chelsea – 2

We may notice here the presence of Thomas Arderne, the cousin of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary, while William Stanley appears as Stanley of Chelsea. On & off, throughout his entire life, Stanley did indeed live in the fashionable parts of West London.



Shakespeare in Paris

As Shakespeare crossed the English Channel, he would have gazed wide-eyed with wonder at the Earl’s fleet as it flew across the choppy green waters to France. After making footfall upon foreign shores, we can follow his first steps abroad via a contemporary record of the Garter procession through France;

7th February : The Earl of Derby… is coming to bring the Garter to this king. He has disembarked at Bolounge with a great following of English nobles, & is to be lodged, & apparently splendidly entertained, by the king
Bernardino de Mendoza

21st February : The Earl of Derby arrived at Saint Denis. He was sent by the Queen of England to bear the garter to the most Christian king. Lord Derby stayed two days at St Denis, & on the third day he took the roads with all his company, which consists of two other lords, fifty gentleman, & others to the number of two hundred
Giovanni Dolfin


Once in Paris, the Fourth Earl (see image left) & his party took up residence at the Louvre, bedazzling the French nobility with the extravagance & magnificence of his embassy. On the 28th February, the Order of the Garter would be finally handed over with much ceremony to Henri III, of which occasion Elias Ashmole wrote, ‘on the day of Installation, there hath from ancient time been accustomably prepared, a very sumptuous & noble Feast.’ The young Shakespeare must have been blown away by the experience, his ears swelling with the florid language & sickly pomp of such grandiose, courtly affairs. It must have been a moment of creative epiphany, for during his career all but one of his plays (Merry Wives of Windsor) would be set in an aristocratic environment. Our young poet would also have wondered at the sheer extravagance of the Earl of Derby, but the truth of the matter is that such spectacular showboating was actually bleeding the Earl dry, who was pretty much doing the whole thing on bills of credit. By Paris he had spent-up, of which circumstance Sir Edward Stafford wrote to Walsingham, ‘at their coming to town they had not a hundred crowns left, & no other provision.’

MARCH 1585
Stanley & Shakespeare embark on their continental tour

In our noble sanguinities, being the second son of an aristocratic family generally means you are left to your own devices, to enjoy a life of luxury without the pressure to carry on the family name & lands. In Elizabethan England, many of these privileged young libertines traveled extensively across Europe, & Stanley was no different. The Queen had encouraged such tours, when in her own words, ‘young men of promising hopes’ such as the Earl of Essex & Phillip Sydney did travel through, ‘foreign countries for the more complete polishing of their Parts & Studies.’ Stanley was no different, he had already toured the Continent once, in 1582-83 & was going back for more. With him went the 21 year-old Shakespeare. Perhaps the elder Stanleys had recognized the young poet’s talents & suggested that this promising youngster should accompany Stanley on his educational trip to the continent.

To actually be out of gloomy England & heading for sunnier climes & all the pristine culture of Europa would have felt as wonderful to Shakespeare as it does to any modern Briton holidaying abroad. Such a moment of liberating freedom would later be remembered by Shakespeare;

Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass to know where sits the wind,
Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads.
The Merchant of Venice

The Grand Tour was flooding into the young Shakespeare’s life when, as The Garland of William Stanley describes, the optimum reason for such a continental sojurn was the study of various languages;

Then first Sir William travell’d to France,
To learn the French tongue and to dance;
He tarried there not past three years,
But he learnt their language and all their affairs.

And then Sir William would travel to Spain,
There for to learn the Spanish tongue;

Placing Shakespeare with Stanley at this time helps us to understand how our dramatist in years to come was able to read a number of source-texts in their original form. Most of these were translated into English long after Shakespeare had utilised them for the plots of his plays, such as the Hecatommithi of Cinthio (the inspiration of Measure for Measure), translated into English as late as 1753.

MARCH 1585
Shakespeare visits the Ardennes

Nicholas Rowe once stated it was certain that Shakespeare, ‘understood French, as may be observ’d from many Words and Sentences scatter’d up and down his Plays in that Language; and especially from one Scene in Henry the Fifth written wholly in it.’ In that scene, where Katherine says, in pretty good French, ‘Alice, tu as été en Angleterre, et tu parles bien le langage,’ Alice replies, ‘un peu.’ It is Shakespeare’s knowledge of that language which would have made life much easier for our party as they traversed the primeval forest of the Ardennes between Paris & Antwerp. This very region turns up in Shakespeare’s As You Like it, where the ‘Forest of Arden’ is set in an un-named duchy of France. The play contains a wrestling match at a tournament, mirroring Thomas Aspen’s description of William Stanley’s travels in which our Grand Tourist, ‘took laurels in many of the chief tournaments.’ From both Aspen & the Garland we see Stanley immersing himself in the social swirls of Continental courts. A memory of this happenstance was recorded by Shakespeare himself;

Twere good, I think, your lordship sent him thither:
There shall he practise tilts and tournaments,
Hear sweet discourse, converse with noblemen.
And be in eye of every exercise
Worthy his youth and nobleness of birth.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Returning to As You Like It, this pastoral describes a certain Rosalind dressing up as a boy-child called ‘Ganymede,’ a figure that Shakespeare drew from classical mythology. Legend states how the baby Ganymede had been abducted by Jupiter in the guise of an eagle. This very motif was chosen by the Stanleys to decorate their family’s noble crest, & placing the emblem in As You Like It seems a clear nod by Shakespeare to his patrons.


APRIL 1585
Shakespeare witnesses the Siege of Antwerp

Among the gentlemen waiters who traveled to France in the Earl’s retinue, we may observe a 13-year-old John Donne, who was destined to enter the leading ranks of the English poetic pantheon. Modern scholar Dennis Flynn shows how Donne’s uncle, Jasper Heywood, was a leading Jesuit missionary, & in the anti-Catholic atmosphere of that age, ‘he & his sister, Donne’s mother, seemingly conspired to get him out of harm’s way by arranging this trip to the continent as a member of the ambassador’s retinue,’ adding, ‘since Donne did not return to England with the Earl in March 1585, the most plausible explanation for his turning up later in Derby’s household is that at some point he joined the Earl’s son William Stanley on the continent.’ There may be more to the Jesuit connection, for Edmund Campion, their chief English activator, was given safe houses in Lancashire, whose nobility were very far from accepting the Protestant reformation as instigated by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII. Other pro-Catholic clues include Shakespeare’s teacher at school, Simon Hunt, leaving Stratford for the English College at Douay in order to be trained a Jesuit, while Shakespeare’s father had signed & hidden a Catholic testament in his house rafters in Stratford.


We may presume that our gallant young Englishmen swaggering about the continent had at least some kind of sympathy to Catholicism, & that Jasper Heywood’s nephew, the young John Donne was welcome in their company. According to Flynn, Donne was present at the 1585 siege of Antwerp as conducted by the Duke of Parma. Flynn insists that Donne reflected upon his time at the siege in a set of ‘Latin Epigrams’ which were composed, ‘during a period datable by their contents to April or May 1585.’ Flynn cites additional evidence in a poem by Donne’s, entitled ‘To Sleep, stealling upon him as he stood upon the Guard in the corner of a running Trench, at the siege of Duke’s-Wood,’ which includes the lines;

Our very standing still here business finde;
Duty imploys our bodies, cares our minde.
Duty which may the next hour double strike;
Whilst each man here stands grasping of a pike;
Waitings stoln onsets with our weary spears,
Examining even whispers with our ears.

Perhaps Stanley was observing the siege in order to gain an education in military affairs. Despite tensions between England & Spain, Stanley’s Catholicism & noble breeding would have ensured a friendly reception from the Duke of Parma.

JUNE 1585
Shakespeare visits Nerac

In the summer of 1585, Shakespeare accompanied Stanley – & Donne – into the kingdom of Navarre, which stretched across both sides of the Pyrenees like a blanket drying on a wall. On arrival they received an excellent welcome, for Stanley’s father had befriended Henri of Navarre in their youth. Shakespeare’s own time in the kingdom would heavily influence his composition of Love’s Labours Lost. Set in Navarre itself, Abel Lefranc describes that play’s, ‘easy familiarity with the atmosphere reigning at the court of Navarre… the Park of Navarre… is easily identifiable with the park of Nerac.’ The town of Nerac lies in south-west France, near Toulouse, in which place Henri of Navarre had installed a humanist academy whose academic atmosphere permeates the poetry of Love’s Labours Lost. In this charming play we encounter the austere intellectual endeavors of four young men completely rattled by the arrival of the Princess of France, when all pretensions of mental asceticism soon descend into glib rounds of love-gifts, sonnets & masques. The very start of Love’s Labours Lost shows the state of mind of four young men whose ebullient language bubbles with the deepest passion for scholarship. It is a charming read;

ACT I SCENE I. The king of Navarre’s park;

Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register’d upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavor of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe’s keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors,–for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world’s desires,–
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here


The three years that Stanley spent on the continent (1585-1587) are a direct match for the three-year course of study planned by the play’s principle character, Ferdinand; alongside Biron, Dumain, and Longaville, two of whom are perhaps metapoetic reflections of Shakespeare & Donne. Indeed, when Biron says, ‘study is like the heaven’s glorious sun,’ we can sense the importance Shakespeare attached to his time in Nerac.

Shakespeare visits Spain

After leaving Nerac, Shakespeare would have ascended the myriad-mountain’d Pyrenees; those gorgeous rocky giants abutting the beautiful, sierra-swept lands of Spain.

And then Sir William would travel to Spain,
There for to learn the Spanish tongue ;
He tarried there not past half a year,
But he thought he’d been in Spain too long

That Shakespeare was with Stanley has been half-noticed by Sir Henry Thomas. Of the ‘Tawny Spain’ phrase found in Love’s Labour’s Lost, he declares it, ‘so apt a description of the landscape, at least in some parts of Spain & at certain seasons of the year, that it suggest personal observation. I such it really was, the trip to Spain might be a youthful escapade.’ Shakespeare seems to have understood the rudiments of the Spanish tongue, with Sir Henry stating; ‘it is common ground that Shakespeare had some knowledge of Spain and the Spaniards that a few Spanish words were among his stock-in-trade… Shakespeare’s allusions to Spain are very numerous, he uses Spanish phrases and gives an English garb to others.’ Learning Spanish enabled Shakespeare to study its literature, such as the 1585 edition of La Galatea by Cervantes, containing the Proteus-Julia-Sylvia love triangle, which would later inspire The Two Gentlemen of Verona, & Lope de Rueda’s  ‘Comedia los Enganos,’ the seminal influence on Twelfth Night.


There are also tantalizing remembrances of Donne’s own visit to Spain. Upon a portrait of the young poet, painted in 1591, we may see the phrase; ‘Antes muerto que mudado,’ whose translation as ‘sooner dead than changed’ could well contain a secret nod to his Roman Catholicism. Donne may have picked up the phrase at first hand while in Spain, & while there stocked up on books for his personal library. In his middle-age, in 1623, Donne wrote a letter to the Duke of Buckingham confessing, ‘in my poore library I can turn my eye toward no shelf, in any profession from the mistress of my youth, Poetry, to the wife of mine age, Divinity, but that I meet with more authors of the {Spanish} nation than of any others.’

Shakespeare begins Venus & Adonis

Like any good tourist, Shakespeare availed himself of the opportunities to wander foreign caches of culture. While visiting the Court of King Phillip II in Madrid, he would observe two paintings by the great Italian renaissance painter, Titian. Their names were The Rape of Lucrece and Venus & Adonis, & the substance of each one would be utilised by Shakespeare for two long poems printed in the early 1590s. It seems our poet was inspired to begin the composition of at least ‘Venus & Adonis’ almost immediately, for on its publication in 1593, on the title page Shakespeare calls the poem ‘the first heir of my invention.’ A key factor in placing Shakespeare directly in front of & staring at Titian’s painting can be observed in the poet’s rejection of Ovid’s version of events, & his following of Titian instead. Like Shakespeare’s depiction, the painting has Adonis backing away from the advances of Venus, shirking Ovid’s portrayal of the young god happily embracing his bonnie suitor. ‘Fie, lifeless picture, cold and senseless stone, Well-painted idol,‘ says Venus, who around the neck of Adonis, ‘her yoking arms she throws: She sinketh down, still hanging by his neck.‘ This is just as is pictorially described by Titian, as is Shakespeare having Adonis ‘urging release… from the twining arms.’  Shakespeare also appears to be mirroring the painting when he writes, ‘O, what a war of looks was then between them!’ 

More evidence that Shakespeare saw the painting & wanted to recreate the story it told in words comes within the poem itself. Erwin Panofsky, in his, ‘Problems in Titian, Mostly Iconographical,‘ writes, ‘Shakespeare’s words, down to such details as the nocturnal setting and “love upon her backe deeply distrest,” sound like a poetic paraphrase of Titian’s composition,’ & gives stanza 136 as a good example;

With this he breaketh from the sweet embrace
Of those faire armes which bound him to her brest,
And homeward through the dark lawnd runs apace;
Leaves love upon her backe, deeply distrest.
Looke, how a bright star shooteth from the skye,
So glides he in the night from Venus’s eye.


The poem is very much moulded by homoerotica, suggesting Shakespeare had been seduced by Stanley on their Grand Tour. On analysis of the poem, we may observe how Venus – who would be based on Stanley – is rather more humanized than one would expect of a member of the immortal pantheon. The poem could in actuality be a versified memorial to Stanley & his sexual overtures towards the younger, twenty-two year old, Adonis-like Shakespeare. Evidence for such a sequence of events may be obtained through understanding the Elizabathan tendency to name one another via ingenious allusions.

(i) In the poem, Venus says to Adonis; ‘Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel? Nay, more than flint, for stone at rain relenteth: Art thou a woman’s son, and canst not feel what ’tis to love? How want of love tormenteth?’
(ii) In 1597, a young Cambridge graduate named Joseph Hall published two books of satires in which he marks out for especial criticism a certain ‘Labeo,’ telling him to ‘write better’ three times, & at one point to even refrain from writing completely.
(iii) In 1598, John Marston wrote, ‘so Labeo did complain his love was stone, Obdurate, flinty, so relentless none.’ This hints that Labeo was the same person as Shakespeare’s Venus – ie William Stanley. At this very period, John Marston was heavily involved with Stanley in reviving the St Paul’s Boys troupe, & would have acquired an intimate insight into the secret Stanley-Shakespeare affections.
(iv) In 1599, we gain rock solid evidence concerning Stanley’s mediocre, playwrighting pretensions. In a letter which George Fenner sent to Humphrey Galdelli, Stanley was said to be, ‘busy penning plays for the common players.’ These were most probably The Maid’s Metamorphosis and The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, two ‘anonymous’ productions performed in 1599 by the St Paul’s Boys. Both of these are inferior productions of the Elizabethan tradition, & may be among the pieces criticized by Joseph Hall when he attacked the writings of ‘Labeo.’

Stanley duels with a Spaniard

With the Armada only three years away, to be an Englishman in Spain in 1585 must have been a very tense experience. Relations between the two countries were steadily souring, a background against which our party found themselves into quite a scrape. Thomas Aspen describes how Stanley; ‘was challenged by a Spanish nobleman to single combat. In the first encounter the Spaniard succeeded in wounding Sir William on his right arm, and causing him to fall to the ground, but he was soon upon his feet again. In the second round the Spaniard aimed three deadly blows at the wounded Englishman, but they were all skillfully averted, and Sir William gave his adversary a thrust on the right breast, inflicting a severe wound, and causing him to reel to the ground. Blood flowed freely, and the friends of the Spanish nobleman counselled his withdrawal from the contest, but he was too enraged to heed their advice, and in the third encounter rushed at Sir William with the force of desperation, but the blows were successfully parried, and the representative of the house of Stanley once more secured the crown of victory by inflicting a second wound on the breast of the Spaniard, and thus effectually disabling him.‘ This would not be the last time a bunch of (probably drunk) English tourists got themselves into a spot of bother in Spain, but having survived the fracas it was definitely time to hop-it out of a country growing more & more hostile by the hour.

Shakespeare passes through Aragon

More gloss to the Stanleyan grand tour is given via John Seacome’s ‘History of the House of Stanley,’ to which edition of 1801 was attached an anonymous appendix entitled ‘A Brief Account of the Travels of the Celebrated Sir William Stanley.’ This pamphlet contains new material, & tells us that following his duel in Spain, Stanley predicted ‘the vengeance of the whole court would fall upon him‘ & so purchased the habit of a friar in order to flee in disguise. While they made their way through Aragon with ‘considerable hardships,’ I believe Shakespeare took down a series of notes which would find a home in the extremely popular 17th century play, Mucedorus. The earliest known edition is dated to the year 1598; but the words, ‘newly set foorth,’ on the title page indicate there was an earlier performance. The plot has a certain Prince of Valencia disguising himself as a shepherd so he can sneak into Aragon in order to view its famously beautiful Princess, a sequence of events which heavily echo Stanley’s own travels in the district. That Shakespeare had actually had a hand in the writing of the play came to light in the 17th century, when three scripts were found in the royal library of Charles II, bound together & labelled ‘Shakespeare. Vol. I’. These were Fair Em, The Merry Devil of Edmonton & a 1610 quarto printing of Mucedorus.

Shakespeare crosses the French Riviera

After the sojurn in Spain, the Garland tells us, ‘to Italy then Sir William would go, To Rome.’ It is apparent that our intrepid poetical gentlemen took the land route, for on leaving the gorgeous sierras of Spain they must have passed through Roussillon, which makes an appearance in All’s Well That Ends Well. This region stands at the start of the French Riviera, while further along the coast we reach the sprawling sea-port of Marseille, another of All’s Well’s localities. This same play is also set in the city of Florence, Italy, & one expects Alls Well to be some kind of metapoetic tribute to Shakespeare’s journey in 1585, one that swept him along the French Riviera & into northern Italy.

Shakespeare in Italy

It is time to proceed with joy unto the Italian peninsular, the greatest of all the Shakespearean hauntlands. It is in this famous ‘Paradise of Exiles,’ that Shakespeare would set more than a quarter of his plays, such as the seminal classic, Romeo & Juliet. Italy & Shakespeare are like pasta & wine – they go together so darned well. A great deal of their connections were unearthed by an amiable Californian, Richard Paul Roe, who sadly departed this world in 2010. The last twenty-five years of his life were spent wandering about Italy with a well-thumbed copy of Shakespeare in his hands, hunting down clues as to whether the Bard had visited the country. To say his efforts were a success are a clear understatement, the Indian Jones of Shakespearean studies, he dug out & polished many prime artefacts, concluding;

The ‘imaginary’ settings for the ten Italian plays of Shakespeare have presented both specific, and strikingly accurate, details about that country, as a result of dedicated sojourns within it by the playwright. The author’s journeys took him from its Alpine slopes to the toe of its peninsula, across the length and breadth of its great island of Sicily, and included sailing trips on both the adjoining Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas. For the last four hundred years, nearly all of the playwright’s descriptions of Italy’s places and treasures have either gone unrecognized as being true, or have been dismissed as mistaken.

Italy burned an indelible mark into Shakespeare’s creative consciousness, & throughout his works we find over a hundred scenes set in that country, alongside 800 general other references. A great study of these was made by another Bard-in-Italy aficionado, Ernesto Grillo, a 20th century teacher & lecturer of Italian studies at Glasgow University, & absolute Shakespeare nut. After a lifetime of lectures, one of his students assembled Grillo’s copious notes into a book entitled Shakespeare and Italy. Published in 1949, it quotes Grillo in conclusion:

Italy with its public and private life, its laws and customs, its ceremonial and other characteristics, pulsates in every line of our dramatist, while the atmosphere of many scenes is Italian in the truest sense of the word. We cannot but wonder how Shakespeare obtained such accurate information, and we have no hesitation in affirming that on at least one occasion he must have visited Italy

This ‘one occasion,’ was in the company of Stanley. ‘Open my heart and you will see / Graved inside of it, ‘Italy!’’ sang Robert Browning, & it makes perfect sense that our budding Bard would have visited the land of Virgil, Dante, Petrach & Tasso, for it is the Italian influence that raises English poetry to its highest pitch.

The Levant Company launch five ships from London

To promote the trade of Elizabethan England, the Company of Merchants of the Levant was formed in order to take advantage of the declining international trade of both the Portuguese & the Venetian empires. The Company established ‘factories’ in the Syrian city of Aleppo (its headquarters), Constantinople, Alexandria and Smyrna. They also commissioned a small fleet of five ships to trade in the Near East, but at the very moment they were ready to embark, in November 1585, Phillip II of Spain declared war on England. This forced the Company to heavily arm the ships; the 300 ton galleon Merchant Royal, the William and John, the Toby, the Susan and the 300 ton armed merchant galleon Edward Bonaventure. They sailed later in the month, & we shall see in a short while how important this little fleet is to the unwritten history of William Shakespeare.

Piazza Ognissanti
Piazza Ognissanti

Shakespeare in Florence

Like any poet of substance, Shakespeare’s soul would have been fired up for his first visit to Florence; the home of Dante and a true diamond among the many jeweled delights of Tuscany. Florence is a veritable beauty to behold, especially when observed from its heights, when the weighty Duomo rises out of a sea of orange rooves like some volcanic, Polynesian island. Shakespeare would set several scenes of Alls Well that Ends Well in the city, while an accurate knowledge of Florence & the Florentines is heavily evident in other plays. In Alls Well (3-5) we hear, ‘if they do approach the City, We shall lose all the sight,’ a statement elucidated by Roe’s, ‘the ‘City’ in question is an area to north of the Arno, where stood the walled Roman colony of Florentia.’ Roe also pinpointed the description of a religious hostelry situated ‘at the Saint Francis here beside the port.’ On investigation, Roe discovered that the ‘Saint Francis’ in question was, ‘the ancient name of Piazza Ognissanti, where the Chiesa di Ognissanti (Church of All Saints), belonged to the Franciscans since 1561.’ To this we may add the findings of Ernesto Grillo who describes how Shakespeare knew, ‘the Florentines were notable merchants and mathematicians, making frequent use in their commerce of letters of credit and counting their money by ducats; and he was also aware that they were constantly in conflict with the Sienese. And here the poet uses a phrase which is pure Italian–The Florentines and the Sienese are by the ear (si pigliano per gli orecchi).’

At the time the city woudld have been abuzz with anticipation for the upcoming dynatsic marriage between Virginia de’ Medici, daughter of Cosimo I de’ Medici, to Cesara D’Este, on of Alfonso, Marquis of Montecchio, in turn the illegitimate (but later legitimized) son of Alfonso I, Duke of Ferrara. They would be married in Florence on the 6th February 1586, & it is possible that Shakespeare & Sytanley were in attendance. To celebrate the event the artists of Italy were in ferment; a comedy “l’Amico Fido”,  by Giovanni de’ Bardi, was comissioned  with the lyrics of Alessandro Striggio, who had been been ‘continually involved in some intermedi and musical compositions for the Grand Duke‘ for months. Meanwhile, in Ferrara the poet Torquato Tasso dedicated a Cantata to the newlyweds.

While in flourishing Florence, Shakespeare would have connected on a spiritual & artistic level with the great Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, perhaps even visiting his natal house which still stands to this day. It would have been a grand changing of the Parnassian baton, for Dante’s contribution to world literature is the brilliant Divine Comedy, a most beautiful epic poem through which the poet explored Hell, Purgatory & Heaven, embroidered by some of the most sublimely beautiful language. So gorgeous were his words, in fact, that when the fragmented Italian principalities were searching for a national language; out of the many dialects on offer it was Dante’s Tuscan that won the day. In the same fashion, Shakespeare’s influence over the English language has been equally meritorious, for there is something about a song sung on the highest slopes of Parnassus that reverberates along the tongues of a poet’s fellow countrymen for forever & a day.

What did Shakespeare know of Florence? That it bred great
men, and also great gentlemen, as appears in Claudio and Cassio;
that it sometimes depended on France in wars against its neighbors,
apparent in All’s Well; that it was a leader in the new theories of
warfare and in the mathematics that they required, for otherwise
Othello’s appointment of Cassio is absurd and perhaps Claudio’s
success in war owed something to such knowledge; that it was a
great financial center, is evidenced in the Pedant’s bill of exchange
and in lago’s slurs against his rival; and perhaps Shakespeare
thought of Lucentio’s “philosophy” as distinctively Florentine.
These are all cultural or intellecutal things; of the physical aspects
of the city and its peculiar customs, he offers nothing: for Venetian
local color, he uses the Rialto, the special police, the gondoliers; but
Shakespeare’s Florence, though he thought of it no less than Venice
as a center of commerce and culture, has no Ponte Vecchio, no
churches, no palaces, no markets; it is a mere ghost city. In All’s
Well, he lays eight scenes in or near the city, yet never refers to the
Arno; and the “Duke” who gives Bertram the command of horse is
not mentioned as a Medici. Surely young roistering nobles would
have given him a much more vivid picture of the city; and even a
single book on Florence, like Contareno’s Venice, would have supplied
a fuller and more balanced view. One is led to the conclusion
that such local color as was not in his sources

Shakespeare and Florence and the Florentines
Author(s): John W. Draper
Italica, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Dec., 1946), pp. 287-293


Shakespeare visits Rome

In 1586, the Eternal City was a shadow of the epic metropolis of the Ceasars, but would have still held the same charm & fascination as it does to the tourist of today. ‘Of the ground contained within the walls,’ remarked Shakespeare’s contemporary, William Thomas, ‘scarcely the third part is now inhabited, and that not where the beauty of Rome hath been but for the most part on the plain to the waterside and in the Vatican, because that since the Bishops began to reign every man hath coveted to build as near the court as might be. Nevertheless, those streets and buildings that are there at this time are so fair that I think no city doth excel it.’ For Stanley, a visit to the Italian capital was one he would have truly relish’d, whose Vatican City would have been a most soulful draw for our pro-papal party. In England, in 1585, it was a treasonous offence to be or even harbor a Catholic priest; while a £20 fine was given to anybody who failed to attend a protestant service. As our party wandered the streets of Rome, they would have been overjoyed to step into any church they liked, to worship their version of Jesus in the open.

Shakespeare begins Titus Andronicus

Stanley & Shakespeare would have delighted in seeing the ruins of the ancient city, which according to the Brief Account reflected Stanley’s, ‘credit on his taste.’ It was on these walks that Shakespeare’s creative connection to Rome was forged, as seen in his four Roman Plays; Julius Ceasar, Anthony & Cleopatra, Coriolanus & Titus Andronicus. While wandering the remains of the Forum & the Colosseum, already 15 centuries old, Shakespeare’s innate enthusiasm would have been fired into tackling themes of grand antiquity. Of these, it is the play Titus Andronicus that he began in earnest, perhaps even on the spot, a brutally violent revenge play in the style of the Roman dramatist Seneca. Most poets have several pieces going on at any one time, & when in the early 20th century, the epic Shakespearean scholar Walter Raleigh says, ‘his early play of Titus Andronicus, which is like the poems,‘ we obtain a feeling that Shakespeare was writing a proto-Titus at the same time as penning Venus & Adonis. Philip C Koln has observed a ‘close kinship’ between the two, where ‘both Titus & Venus contain rape (or attempted rape), Ovidian in origin, transformations, heavily embellished poetry to express the deepest physical & psychic wounds, the curse of doomed love, & the powerlessness of gods & goddesses to protect.’  A 1585-86 date also fits well Ben Jonson who, writing in 1614, describes Titus as being, ‘these twenty five or thirty years,’ old; i.e. 1584-89.

It had not been so long since Shakespeare had stood in the Alcazar gazing deeply at the brushwork of Titian’s Rape of Lucrece. As he combobulated his new play, Lucrece’s enforced ravishment became the inspiration for a similar rape. Indeed in Titus, as the sexually molested and mutilated Lavinia reveals the identity of her rapists, her uncle Marcus invokes the story of Lucrece in order to invoke an oath of vengeance;

And swear with me—as, with the woeful fere
And father of that chaste dishonoured dame,
Lord Junius Brutus swore for Lucrece’ rape
That we will prosecute by good advice
Mortal revenge upon these traitorous Goths,
And see their blood, or die with this reproach

On an allegorical level, in her excellent book, Shadowplay, Clare Asquith notes how the rape of Lavinia seems to represent English Catholocism in the early 1580s. This would have been an appropriate choice of metaphor, reinforced by Lavinia’s lopped off hands, reflecting the Catholic inability to worship freely in Elizabethan England. In the wake of the Tudor Reformation, Asquith reminds us, ‘the faces, arms & attributes of thousands of images of the Madonna & the saints were still being mutilated in exactly this way all over England; some of them, faces slashed & hands removed, still remain in parish churches.’ Such hidden, pro-Catholic layers would have resonated powerfully with a sympathetic 16th century audience. ‘A related similarity between Tamora & Elizabeth is inescapable,’ writes Asquith, & it is through Titus’s hidden Catholic layer that she finds an allusion to events of the year directly preceding that in which Shakespeare began writing the play, ‘In 1585,’ states Asquith, ‘Richard Shelley… was imprisoned for presenting a petition for toleration, dying later in jail without trial. The demented Titus accosts a simple countryman & asks him to deliver a letter that… also contains a weapon… a knife – a hint at the barbed attacks contained in the appeals. The message is twice called a ‘supplicatio.’ For running this errand, the poor clown, who delivers the letter with a cheerful invocation to God & the martyr St Stephen, is hanged on the spot.’

That Titus was Shakespeare’s first dramatic production seems cryptically embedded in the play itself. The plot has no historical basis, but the name of its chief character seems based upon Livius Andronicus, a Roman poet & dramatist of the third century BC, also known as Titus. The Roman writer Livy describes how Livius Andronicus had been an inspired dramaturgical innovator, who ‘was the first, some years later, to abandon saturae and compose a play with a plot. Like everyone else in those days, he acted his own pieces; and the story goes that when his voice, owing to the frequent demands made upon it, had lost its freshness, he asked and obtained the indulgence to let a boy stand before the flautist to sing the monody, while he acted it himself, with a vivacity of gesture that gained considerably from his not having to use his voice. From that time on actors began to use singers to accompany their gesticulation, reserving only the dialogue parts for their own delivery.’ It would have been apt for a forward-thinking playwright to name his first play after a similar-minded dramatist of the past, & a nod to the Roman may be seen in the cutting off of Lavinia’s tongue, mirroring the mute dramaturgy as utilised & made famous by Livius Andronicus.
In 1687 Edward Ravenscroft was the first to question Shakespeare’s authorship in the introduction his own adaptation of the play, stating; ‘I have been told by some anciently conversant with the Stage, that it was not Originally his, but brought by a private Author to be Acted and he only gave some Master-touches to one or two of the Principal Parts or Characters; this I am apt to believe, because ’tis the most incorrect and indigested piece in all his Works, It seems rather a heap of Rubbish then a Structure.‘ In the modern age the academic community agrees that Titus Andronicus was only co-authored by Shakespeare – whether actually agreeing, or massively polarized in the ‘he wrote it/he did’nt write it’ camps. There are clear discrepancies in style & vocabulary rippling all throughout the text; the blank verse especially doesn’t feel like Shakespeare’s. The earliest commentary on the play’s origins, made by Edward Ravenscroft in 1687, describes Titus as, ‘the most incorrect and indigested piece in all his Works; It seems rather a heap of Rubbish then a Structure.’ This creative jumbling forwards Stanley as a candidate for co-authorship, that Titus was the product of a collaboration between our erstwhile, literary-minded travelers. Stanley, of course, was a good old Lancashire lad, who would have spoken in that broad, Elysium-dripping accent of the North, & his presence during the penning of Titus which would account for its numerous dialectical idoms, such as; blowse, brabble, brat, caterwauling, chaps, codding, egall, faire-fast, gald, leere, luls, ruffle, slonke, tawnt, trull & welkin. That Stanley was involved in the creation of Titus would also help to explain why his family’s private troupe of players were the first to perform the play. When it was printed in 1594 – the year Stanley became the Earl of Derby – the title page of the first quarto edition reads; ‘as it was Plaide by the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Suffox their Seruants.’

There is one more angle to the composition of Titus, & that is a leaning by certain scholars towards George Peele’s co-authorship of the play. If they are correct, & does have some influence, there are two possibilities. The first is that he helped with the play on Shakespeare’s return to England, just as they had worked on the Arraignment together. The second possibility is the most intriguing – Peele disappears from the annals for three years; in 1585 he was employed to write the Device of the Pageant borne before Woolston Dixie on his becoming Lord Mayor of London (October 1585), & in 1588 he writes a play on the Spanish Armada. There is a germ of a seed of a thought that Peele joined our tourists at some point, & may have been invited along by Stanley, who had been studying at Oxford in the exact same period as Peele.


Shakespeare in Padua

In 1545 a troupe of comunnaly-funded traveling performers of the new-fangl’d, definitely not medieval ‘commedia erudite’ went to a notary office in Padua to make their existence official. The theatrical traditon was about to explode into Europe & by the end of the century permanent playhouses were springing up all across the continent. Shakespeare’s knowledge of the fair city of Padua, perched upon those perfect plains of north Italy, transcends anything he could have acquired through bookish lore. In the Taming of the Shrew, where Biondello says, ‘my master hath appointed me to go to Saint Luke’s, to bid the priest be ready to come against you come with your appendix,’ Paul Roe tracked down the actual church, declaring it to be the Saint Luke’s Church of via Venti Settembre 22. Only a stone’s throw away, Roe was delighted to pass through the arched Porta Barbarigo & straight into Act I, Scene I of the Taming of the Shrew; with its waterway, landing place and wide open space with clustering buildings. That Shakespeare stayed in the city just feels right; Padua was home to one of the greatest universities of the Renaissance, & a trip to such an academic environment fits in with Stanley’s intellectual itinerary. At the time of their visit, the majority of Europe’s greatest medical doctors & teachers were based in Padua, & a period of erudition in the city by the young Shakespeare helps account for the high level of medical knowledge in his plays. An example comes in Love’s Labours Lost, when Holferness states;

This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish, extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion

This passage shows a remarkable insight into the obscure biological material known as the ‘pia mater,’ a Latin term for the inner lining or membrane of the brain and spinal cord, along with its neurological connections to the brain’s activities. The key to the conundrum comes with an English physician known as William Harvey (1578-1657), the first man to describe to the English the processes of the circulation of the blood about the body. His book, De Motu Cordis, was published in 1628, yet Shakespeare was hinting at this very process decades before, where in Julius Ceasar we read, ‘you are my true and honourable wife, as dear to me as are those ruddy drops that visit my sad heart.’ How on earth could Shakespeare & Harvey both have obtained this select & secret knowledge? The answer can only be at Padua, whose university Harvey entered in 1592. While there he developed a relationship with Hieronymus Fabricius of Acquapendente, who had held the chair of Medicine and Anatomy at the time of Stanley’s visit. Back in the 1570s, Fabricius had discovered that veins possessed valves which kept the blood flowing in the direction of the heart, & one expects that is was in his private lectures that men like Shakespeare would have first heard of the pia mater & the circulation of the blood.


Shakespeare in Lombardy

images2Being now at the beating heart of the Veneto Plain we find ourselves within striking distance of several more of Shakespeare’s Italian plays. Of these productions, his most famous is Romeo & Juliet, which sees the Montagues & Capulets playing out their tragic feud in Verona & Mantua, while The Two Gentlemen of Verona, is set in, well, Verona. These two cities, along with Milan, are sited in what Shakespeare accurately describes as ‘fruitful Lombardy, the pleasant garden of great Italy.’ That Shakespeare spent time in Mantua is hinted at in The Winter’s Tale, where he describes Queen Hermione’s statue as; ‘a piece many years in doing and now newly perform’d by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano, who, had he himself eternity and could put breath into his work, would beguile Nature of her custom.‘ Julio Romano was actually famous for being a painter, not a sculptor, but in Vasari’s Lives of Seventy of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, we are given two (now-lost) Latin epitaphs on Romano which confirm his status as both sculptor & a painter! Such obscure & minute details like these only serve to reinforce Shakespeare’s personal observations of his time in Italy.

We have previously seen through Shakespeare’s creation of Venus & Adonis how the great art of Europe inspired our impressionable young poet. Likewise, we may also assume that he saw a famous painting by Correggio while visiting Milan. From 1585, the Jupiter and Io was exhibited in the palace of the sculptor, Leoni, of which viewing experience Shakespeare writes, ‘we’ll show thee Io as she was a maid / And how she was beguiled and surpris’d / As lively painted as the deed was done.’ While in Milan, Shakespeare certainly discovered the city’s Well of St Gregory, for he understood that it was a burial pit for plague victims, rather than a water-storage unit. To these Milanese connections we can add another observation, this time made by Grillo, who writes; ‘despite being 100 miles from the coast, the city of Bergamo, near Milan, produced sails. In the Taming of the Shrew, Vincentio says to Tranio,Thy father! O villain! He is a sailmaker in Bergamo.’

The legacy of Romeo & Juliet has had, in Verona, a most profound effect. Every day sees a new set of star-crossed lovers arrive in the city to take a bubble-bath in its lake of wistful romanticism. Close to the imagined site of Juliet’s Balcony, explosions of graffiti & notes cover the walls on a daily basis, leading to the irate & rather staid Veronese authorities instigating 500 euro fines to anyone who stick notes up with chewing gum! Another Shakespeare-induced visitor to Verona, Paul Roe, was not looking for love, however, but was drawn there by the a singular passage in Romeo & Juliet, which contained a very distinctive topographical clue;

Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun
Peered forth the golden window of the East,
roes-verona-sycamoresA troubled mind drove me to walk abroad,
Where, underneath the grove of sycamore
That westward rooteth from the city’s side,
So early walking did I see your son

To this day, there stands a grove of Sycamores outside the western walls of the city, which were joyously observed by Roe; ‘in the first act, in the very first scene, of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, the trees are described; and no one has ever thought that the English genius who wrote the play could have been telling the truth: that there were such trees, growing exactly where he said in Verona.‘ Roe also points out that Verona’s Chiesa di San Pietro Incarnario is mentioned by Juliet’s, ‘now, by Saint Peter’s church, and Peter too. He shall not make me there a joyful bride.’ Shakespeare also understood the etymology of a minor place very much off the normal radar, ten miles from Verona on the banks of the Tartaro River. Called Villafranca, its name translates as ‘Freetown,’ & in Romeo & Juliet we hear, ‘you Capulet, shall go along with me; And Montague, come you this afternoon, To know our father pleasure in this case, To old Freetown our common judgment place.’ As details like these are absent from both the 1562 Arthur Brooke poem, The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, & the Italian originals by da Porta and Bandello, once again we must place Shakespeare in person at the scene-setting of one of his plays.

Before we leave Lombardy, let us put to bed an Anti-Shakespearean factochisp of his time there, as told by Sydney Lee; ‘the fact that he represents Valentine in the ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ as travelling from Verona to Milan by sea, & Prospero in the ‘Tempest’ as embarking on a ship at the gates of Milan, renders it impossible that he could have gathered his knowledge of Northern Italy from personal observation.’ To counter this assumption Roe rummaged ferret-like through the Verona State Archives & finally found a map dated to 1713 which show how the Adige, Tartaro, and Po rivers were once connected by a system of canals. These would have allowed the water-borne journey along the fossi as undertaken by Valentine in the Two Gentlemen. As for the aquatic ‘gates of Milan,’ the fact that a sea-going ‘bark’ such as was described in the Tempest as leaving Milan finds confirmation through the pen of Michel de Montaigne, who in 1581 wrote; ‘we crossed the river Naviglio, which was narrow, but still deep enough to carry great barks to Milan.’ Shakespeare’s select knowledge of those unexpectedly navigable north Italian river ways bolsters our touring Bard yet further.


Shakespeare experiences Commeddia Dell Arte

The history of Elizabethan theater is a curious hybrid, an amalgam of continental trends & the medieval folk traditions of the English provinces. By the Elizabethan age, her playwrights had developed an uninhibited secular drama, inspired by a burgeoning humanist world-view & fueled by a constant stream of renaissance minds forged in grammar-schools & varnished in the land’s universities. It is in Shakespeare’s visit to Italy, then, that these forces were truly emblazoned upon a single individual spirit. To the Elizabethan mind, Italy was poetry, & Italian theatre the most innovative on the planet. In 1586, from the fertile fields of the Veneto Plain, directly to the east of Lombardy, a new kind of improvised comical theatre called Commeddia Dell Arte began to spring up. The full name of the form is commedia dell’arte all’improvviso, or “comedy of the very creative ability of improvisatio,’ & were rather like the romantic comedies of today, & were typically acted out by masked ‘archetypes’ trained to give out improvised performances. These stock characters included foolish old men, mischievous servants, brash military officers, & miserly merchants. ‘ In Act II Scene II of Hamlet, Hamlet seems to be describing a performance as he speaks to an actor;

I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas caviare to the general: but it was–as I received it, and others, whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine–an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said there were no sallets in the lines to make the matter savoury, nor no matter in the phrase that might indict the author of affectation; but called it an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine.

Most of Shakespeare’s early plays – The Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night & Much Ado About Nothing – were inspired by the tradition. Of Love’s Labours Lost, where Geoffrey Bullough writes, ‘there may have been an earlier play, continental in origin & affected by the commedia dell’arte tradition,‘ he is referring to the use of CDA’s archetypical characters; foolish old men, mischievous servants, brash military officers & miserly merchants such as the braggart (Armado) & ostentatious pedant (Holofernes). Another early play, Twelfth Night, utilises many of CDA’s ‘lazzi,’ a stock comic element, as when the ‘Pantalone’ is tricked by other characters into doing those daft things they have convinced him will impress the woman he admires.

That Shakespeare witnessed a performance at some point seems likely, for both Mantua & Verona were both on the circuit of traveling CDELA troupes. Grillo writes that English theatre, ‘borrowed from Italian drama much of its technique–chorus, echo, play within a play, dumb show, ghosts of great men, mechanical stage apparatus and all the physical horrors which aroused in the audience feelings of awe and terror,‘ & with Shakespeare’s trip to the Continent beinf in all essence an academic pursuit, it seems that the study of Italian theater was on the curriculum.

MARCH 1586
Shakespeare in Venice

Of all the cities in adorable Italy, Shakespeare seems to know the most about the floating pleasure-palace that is Venice. When, in the Merchant of Venice, he writes, ‘what news on the Rialto?’ he was well aware of the rumor-laden tittle-tattle that flock still to that famously beautiful bridge. Elsewhere in the pantheon, just after  Shakespeare introduces Cassio as a ‘Florentine’ in Othello, he has the Venetian lago become all prickly & slurry,  reflecting the provincial Italian animosty our bard must have observed at first hand. In the MOV in particular, Grillo finds, ‘an inimitable Italian atmosphere… the topography is so precise & accurate that it must convince even the most superficial reader that the poet visited the country, acutely observant of all its characteristics as he traveled through its mountains & valleys. One instance is the gift of a dish of pigeons which Gobbo takes to his son’s master. Gobbo is a purely Venetian name, which must certainly have been suggested to Shakespeare by the statue of the kneeling hunchback of the Rialto, which forms the base of the pillar upon which in ancient days were affixed the decrees of the Republic.’


The inimitable Paul Roe found the very house where MOV’s Shylock lived: a ‘penthouse’ on the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, where Jewish Banks once leant the Christians money. That it was, & still is, supported by three columns, just as Shakespeare describes, is yet another incredible accuracy from our poet in Italy. The MOV gives the following directions to the house; ‘turn upon your right hand at the next turning, but at the next turning of all, on your left; marry, at the very next turning, turn of no hand; but turn down indirectly to the Jew’s house,’ which is an uncanny way of describing the mazy lanes of Venice. ‘Other Shakespearean Venetian references,’ says John Hudson, ‘are to the characteristic gondolas & chopins – a kind of platform shoe – as well as to the Venetian calendar & judicial procedures.’

Titian Sacred Profane - Copy (15)

There is also a very subtle time-clue  that Shakespeare was visiting Venice before 1589.  In the MOV, we hear Portia say, ‘Tarry, Jew. The law hath yet another hold on you. It is enacted in the laws of Venice, if it be proved against an alien that by direct or indirect attempts he seek the life of any citizen.‘ This ‘law’ cannot be applicable to tha 1589 ruling made by the venetian Senate which declared the city’s Jewish  residents were now full citizens of the Republic.

While in Venice, Shakespeare would have pictorially seen the next stage in the development of his Venus & Adonis. The above painting is by Titian, his amazing ‘Sacred & Profane Love,’ in which the coat of arms of a leading Venetian politician – Niccolo Aurelio – can be seen. In the sculptural relief below the two women – one of whom is Venus – there is a man on the ground that invokes the image of a chastised Adonis. The rampant horse & the woman being checked by the hair in the relief seem to represent the halting of the passions, with the horse being the Platonic symbol of libido. This pictorial motif then turns up in the poem as;

But, lo, from forth a copse that neighbours by,
A breeding jennet, lusty, young and proud,
Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy,
And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud:
The strong-neck’d steed, being tied unto a tree,
Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.
Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,
And now his woven girths he breaks asunder.

The Venice that is portrayed in Othello shows a personal appreciation by the bard. Grillo summoned up concisely much of the true Venetian atmosphere that he could see in the play, being, ‘the darkness of morning, the narrow and mysterious “calli,” Brabantio’s house with its heavy iron-barred doors, the Sagittary, the official residence of the commanders of the galleys, the hired gondolier witness of gallant intrigues… the galleys sent on a multitude of errands, the armaments, the attendants with torches, the special night guards, the council chamber, the senators, the Doge —the beloved Signor Magnifico— the discussions about the war… the history of Othello with all the sacrifices made in defence of the republic, the appearance of the divine Desdemona, fair & beautiful as a Titian portrait – all give the impression of a vivid portrayal of scenes enacted in the very heart of the Queen of the Adriatic.’ This wonderful passage brings us to the end of our search for Shakespeare’s secret Italy. He surely visited the country, for where else would he have picked up such a native phrase such as, ‘sano come un pesce / sound as a fish,’ an expression Grillo states was, even in his time, ‘still in common use in certain parts of Italy.’


Like all art, poetry grows naturally out of accumulated materielle, to which is added an individual poet’s personality & technique. Their creations should be seen as the fragrant flowers of a bush, the roots of which are buried deep under the earth. By following these roots to their sources of nourishment, we can slowly create a picture of the poet’s unseen life, the one that lives beneath the surface of the page. If Shakespeare had accompanied Stanley, the sheer wealth of scenery & culture that Europe contains should have found an eventual memorial among his plays. When the English poet Lord Byron visited the Continent in the early 19th century, his composition of a long poem called Childe Harolde’s Pilgrimage is more or less a record of his travels. In the same fashion, it is through the Chisper Effect that we can see how the plays of Shakespeare are a metacreative journal of his travels with Stanley. Doctor AW Titherly concurs with such a notion by stating,

Shakespeare’s geography, being ubiquitous in its range, is evidentially inconclusive, except in so far as its abiding realism manifestly betrays extensive travel experience as distinct from mere book-learning.’


Next Wednesday, 10/01/18

Chapter 11

The Dark Lady


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 9 : The Mandylion

Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


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Chapter IX

I would like to declare that the ultimate object of veneration upon which the legends of the Holy Grail are based is not, in fact, the cup used at the Last Supper, but rather a ‘Turin Shroud’ like piece of material which sported the so-called image of Jesus Christ. Our first port of call is an obscure 6th century manuscript from Georgia, which reads; ‘but I climbed Holy Golgotha, where the Lord’s cross stood, and collected in the headband and a large sheet the precious blood that had flowed from his holy side.’ Here we have the blood of Christ being stored for posterity in a piece of linen, & in our modern days scholarship has begun to promulgate the idea that into the fabric of the burial shroud of Jesus was imprinted a bloody image of his crucified corpse. Certain members of this niche academy have then connected the bloody shroud to an ancient image of Jesus known as the Mandylion; while a handful more have pointed out that all of this could be the basis into which is rooted the legend of the Holy Grail. Richard Hayman, for example, in his Holy Grail and Holy Thorn: Glastonbury in the English Imagination (2003) writes of the 12th century creator of one of the earliest grail stories we possess, Robert de Boron, that he had perhaps, ‘heard of the Holy Mandylion & substituted it for a cup in the Grail story.’  Seven years prior to this, in his 1996 paper, Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and the Turin Shroud, Dan Scavone postulates how the Mandylion was also both the Turin Shroud AND the Holy Grail. After investigating the matter myself, I have ascertained that these scholars were beating about the right bush, but had never dove headlong into the thorns, where the Grail has been waiting all along. The truth to the matter is tangled up in layers of both proper history & later medieval romancing, thus the best thing to do is to present the information in chronological order, beginning quite surprisingly with the death of the apostle Thomas, who for some reason was known as the ‘Didymus,’ or twin, of Jesus.

downloadOur quest begins in India & its most southerly state, sun-kissed Tamil Nadu. From mornings of gorgeousness to those soul-searing sunsets, Tamil Nadu is a wonderful place in which to freely wander; body, mind and soul. Alright, there are still beggars all over the shop and women cleaning the streets, but everybody else seems to be getting on harmoniously in some kind of casteless happiness. During my investigations into the Jesus Jigsaw, I had visited Tamil Nadu on the trail of possible southern avatars of Ashvaghosha. From my studies in the north I swooped down to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, arriving on a train known as the Thirukural Express. This rather elongated name is actually the most sacred text of the Tamils – the Kural of Thiruvalluvar. Hardly anything is known about its author, but the experience of reading or hearing those brief nuggets of wisdom which form the Kural really do invoke a Christian mantra. One of the first western scholars to describe the poetical wisdom contained in the Kural was RT Temple, who declared it to be, ‘one of the grandest productions of man’s brain, much of which bears so strange a resemblance in thought to the Sermon on the Mount. It has accordingly been argued ere this, with much show of probability that the teachings of the gospel influenced the nameless weaver of Mayilapur.

Thiruvalluvar’s legendary home in the Chennai suburb of Mylapore was renamed St Thome by the Portuguese, with Father Henry Hosten recording, ‘the first Portuguese historians say … that St. Thomas built his ‘house,’ meaning his church, on the site where a Jogi had his temple.’  A connection between Thomas & Thiruvalluvar cannot be ruled at out, but we shall leave identifying the link for another day. For now, let us focus on the long standing tradition that states Saint Thomas was martyred at Mylapore in 68 AD. The 7th century patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, describes how Thomas preached; ‘the gospel of the Lord to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and the Magi. He fell asleep in the city of Calamina of India.’ Calamina philochisps into Cholamandalam, the ‘Realm of the Cholas,’ an Indian dynasty who ruled over the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu. That Thomas died at Chennai, the chief city of Cholamandalam, is commemorated locally to this day, with the tradition that Thomas was martyred in the suburb of Mylapore . Having aroused the hostility of the locals, the saint is said to have been chased to the site of the modern-day St Thomas’ Mount, & was there brutally slain. A text, thought to be by Hippolytus, describes the killing, with Thomas being, ‘thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine speare at Calemene, the city of India, & was buried there.’


The apocryphal Acts of Thomas describe that after his murder at Mylapore, the body of Thomas was wrapped in, ‘beautiful robes and much and fair linen’ before being ‘buried in a royal tomb.’ Two centuries after the burial, the remains of Thomas were removed from India, to be relocated in the Christian west at the ancient Syrian city of Edessa. An anonymous text known as ‘The Passio’ describes the circumstances behind the removal of the bones;

The Syrians begged of the Roman emperor Alexander, then on his victorious return from the Persian war against Ardashir, and petitioned that instructions should be sent to the princes of India to hand over the remains of the deceased Apostle to the citizens. So it was done; and the body of the Apostle was transferred from India to the city of Edessa

We have here reached a significant moment of chispological diversion, for the remains of Thomas were stored in a royal citadel known as the ‘Britio Edessenorum.’ This gives us our first credible link to the Grail legend, for a thousand years later the transchispering recollections of the Thomas relics being stored in the Britio Edessenorum transmogrified into a legend that Joseph of Arimathea had taken the holy cup of Christ to Britain. Support for this particular chisper comes from a mention by the Venerable Bede of the so-called King Lucius of Britain, who never actually existed, but was in fact  Agbar Lucius IX of Edessa, who dwelt in the Britio Edessenorum. This has not stopped thousands of people searching for the Grail through Joseph of Arimethea’s supposed connection to Glastonbury; but as I have stated earlier in this book, when a factochisp is based on a philochisp it becomes extremely difficult to ascertain the truth, & with such a huge passage of time as that which has enveloped the grail legend, we should not wonder why it has never been found.


In the centuries following the removal of  the Thomas relics to Edessa, a piece of material called the Mandylion showed up in the city. Also known as the Icon of Edessa, it was said to bear the face of Jesus, whose twin, we must remember, was Thomas. The key premise here is that alongside the bones brought from India in the casket, there was also brought the burial shroud of St Thomas, upon which an imprint of his body had been left behind by the blood pouring out of his four lethal wounds. Seeping into the fabric of the cloth, a shadowy vision of Thomas would remain which would one day become mistaken for that of Jesus himself. That the Icon arrived in Edessa alongside the remains of Thomas can be observed through just a single philochisp. Firstly, let us analyze a 4th century hymn by Saint Ephraem of Syri, a curious piece pitched from the perspective of the Devil;

The merchant brought the bones: nay, rather! They brought him. Lo, the mutual gain! ‘But the casket of Thomas is slaying me, for a hidden power there residing, tortures me.

The merchant who brought the remains of Thomas to Edessa is given a name in an early Syrian ecclesiastical calendar, when for the third of July it records; ‘St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in ‘India’. His body is at Edessa having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. The 4th century church historian Jerome gives this merchant a slightly different name in an alternative setting; ‘Judas Thomas the Apostle, when Our Lord sold him to the merchant Hâbbân that he might go down and convert India.’ Habban now transchispers easily into a certain Hannan, who was said to have painted a picture of Jesus for the King of Edessa. The tale appears in a text known as the Doctrine of Addai;

When Hannan, the keeper of the archives, saw that Jesus spoke thus to him, by virtue of being the king’s painter, he took and painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints, and brought with him to Abgar the king, his master. And when Abgar the king saw the likeness, he received it with great joy, and placed it with great honor in one of his palatial houses.

To summarize, the remembrance of Khabin/Habban bringing the bloody, image-imprinted shroud of Saint Thomas has here morphed into the story of a man called Hannan painting a picture of Jesus, This is a classical philochisp-fueled factochisp operating in the most outrageous of truth-stretching fashions, & when information is as garbled & regurgitated as in this case, only confused accounts remain. In the middle of this messy swamp, however, lies the true source of the Icon of Edessa, being the blood-stained burial linen of Jesus’ so-called twin. According to an anonymous 7th century Greek text, the Acts of Thaddaeus, we are told how the image of Jesus was imprinted on a ‘tetradiplon,’ which translates as ‘doubled in four,’ suggesting the shroud of Thomas was folded up, with the head image being displayed in some sort of protective case.

The question we must now ask ourselves is however did King Arthur become involved in a quest for the Mandylion? The answer lies in connecting King Pelles, the British possessor of the Grail, with Edessa. As I showed in the last chapter, Pelles is a philochisp of Liberalis, the father of the Grail-seeking Peredur, also known as a Gothic warrior called Pharas the Herulian. This leads us to a rhotacismic philochisp of Liberalis into a 6th century Byzantine Goth called Liberarius. In 525, this one-time chief Magister of Thrace found himself in charge of Edessa, with the Chronicle of Pseudo-Zachariah Rheto describing him as; ‘Liberarius the Goth, a harsh governor, who was nicknamed ‘The Bull-Eater.


The epithet, I believe, comes from Liberarius once possessing the wonderful dining-set that was dug out of the earth in today’s Western Romania, near Nagyszentmiklós, in 1799. The hoard consists 23 pieces of golden plates, cups & bowls amounting to about ten kilos of pure gold, with some of the plates baring images of bull. One plate has a peculiar inscription which also mentions bulls. The inscription’s language is unknown, but an orthographical date can be ascertained through the shape of the omega – whose middle vertical line appears higher than its round sides, a typical feature of 6th century Greek inscriptions. A transliteration of the inscription reads;

 Boila zoapan finished this bowl, which Boutaoul zoapan made suitable for hanging up

We can here make two connections to the Arthurian theory I am slowly building. First, the treasures were found in the very regions in which Justinian settled 4,500 Heruli, near the fortress of Singidunum (modern Belgrade). Secondly, Boutaoul could actually be Sir Bedivere, one of Arthur’s oldest knights, for his name derives from Beado-Wulf. Support of the babel-chain comes in this lovely & obscure corner of Arthuriana given by Big Geoff;

When he had seated all according to rank, Kai arose, with a thousand men to serve from the kitchen, with a robe of yellow ermine about him, — and such wore each one of them; and then arose Bedwyr, Arthyr’s chief butler, with a thousand men adorned with the like garments, to pass the yellow mead in innumerable gold and silver cups.

In the very year that Liberarius was governor of Edessa (525), Evagrius records how the city had been; ‘inundated by the waters of the Skirtus, which runs close by it; so that most of the buildings were swept away, & countless multitudes that were carried down by the stream perished.’ Among the buildings ravaged by the rising waters was the city’s cathedral, in which the Mandylion was normally housed, and it is clear a new home was needed. This furnishes the perfect backstory for the removal of sacred relics from the city, under the mantle of their conservation. All we need to do is to put the Mandylion is the luggage of Liberarius, then sail him to his estate in the north of Britain where he appears as Liberalis & Pelles. A tentative connection can be first made through St Serf. In the last chapter we saw how the Latin ‘Liberalis’ & the Greek ‘Eleuther’ were different names for the same man. This leads us to the vita of Serf, a Scottish saint said to be the son of a certain King Eliud of Canaan, who could well have been Liberarius, governor of Edessa. Another possible presence of Liberarius in the north of Britain is recorded by an obscure reference to a 6th century figure called Librarius, who appears in the vita of Saint Samson of Dol.

Now it came to pass that on a feast-day they went together to church, & there, among the many people to be discussed, they heard a discussion concerning a certain Librarius who lived in a remote land to the north… and it came to pass that at length, at the end of the third day when the fatigue of the journey was over, they reached the place where master Librarius had his dwelling, & there found the aforesaid master sitting with much people discoursing much on particular cases

The end of this passage, with Librarius acting in the capacity of a lawman, mirrors strongly a man of such weight of authority as the Byzantine Liberarius. Presuming he had taken the Mandylion to Britain, I believe our sticky-fingered ex-governer at some point received an order straight from the top; could the Monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai desert please have the Mandylion sent to them in order to copy the image of Jesus for the benefit of Christendom. The 12th-13th century French romances tell us that Peredur & Bors received the grail in Britain from a certain King Pelles & his son, Eliezer, at their court in Corbenic. What has happened here is a case of genflation, that is when an author receives into his hands two different names of the same personage, & places them together as kindred. In this striking instance, Pelles stands for Liberalis & Eliezer stands for Eleuther. Before being taken to Corbenic, the grail was kept at a place called Galaort. That Galla Law (bottom right) was Galafort is suggested by the presence  of a very ancient church dedicated to St Mary at neighbouring Monklowden, which is mentioned as being present at Galafort in the romances. We have already seen how Liberalis/Eleuther was a man of the north, & his realms could well have encompassed the south Edinburgh area,  especially when we hear of a certain ‘Liberton’ just a few miles north of Penicuik.

IMG_20141017_124150Examining the medieval French romances in which the story of the Arthurian quest for the holy cup first appears, we may observe how the principle heroes, Sir Peredur & Sir Bors, took the grail from Britain to a place in the east called Sarras. This place remains unidentified, but the Estoire del Saint Graal gives us a an important clue;

 They left the wood and set out their way, traveling until they arrived at a city called Sarras, between Babylon and Salamander. From this city came the first Saracens

 The Babylon as found in in medieval texts generally refers to the Egyptian capital city of Cairo, but Salamander is as yet an unidentified place. The text does tell us, however, that Sarras was the homeland of the Saracens, which tribe is placed in the Sinai Peninsular of Egypt by the 6th century Byzantine historian, Procopius.

 As one sails into the sea from there, the Egyptian mountains lie on the right, extending toward the south; on the other side a country deserted by men extends northward to an indefinite distance… This coast immediately beyond the boundaries of Palestine is held by Saracens, who have been settled from of old in the Palm Groves. These groves are in the interior, extending over a great tract of land, and there absolutely nothing else grows except palm trees. The Emperor Justinian had received these palm groves as a present from Abochorabus, the ruler of the Saracens there, and he was appointed by the emperor captain over the Saracens in Palestine

The romances tell us that the Grail was taken to a hilltop castle in the middle of a wasteland, a fantastic match for St Catherine’s fortified monastery as it rises over the deserts of Sinai. Saint Catherine’s still stands oasis-like to this day, in the middle of the Sinai desert of Egypt, by the very place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. The monastery was built at some point during the reign of Justinian (527-565), with impenetrable walls & sturdy buildings surrounding the Church of the Transfiguration. The monks of Saint Catherine’s were expert copyists of Christian relics; & we possess by them one of their earliest painted copies of the Mandylion. Known as the Christ Pantocrator, its foundation layer is 6th century, while the image contains iconography pointing directly to the reign of Justinian. The image of Jesus it contains would become the standard from the 6th century onwards; before this time Jesus had appeared different almost every time he had been depicted, but the Pantocrator Christ would unify the vision of Jesus for the Faith. Before the 6th century, the image of Jesus Christ had always been one of a clean-shaven, Apollo-like youth.

A mosaic dating to the 4th century AD, depicting Christ as a typical clean shaven, Greco-Roman youth. Eermans Handbook of History of Christianity (1977)
A mosaic dating to the 4th century AD, depicting Christ as a typical clean shaven, Greco-Roman youth. Eermans Handbook of History of Christianity (1977)

A hint that the Mandylion had once been housed at Sinai is contained in certain 14th century murals painted by the Knights Templar within churches across Cyprus. In the Church of Panagia Phorbiotissa at Asnou, the Mandylion is depicted as suspending over two visions: of Moses receiving the laws & the Burning Bush, both of which events occurred at Sinai. The church also contains images of Christ’s transfiguration, another event thought by biblical scholars to have occurred at Sinai, & to which miracle St Catherine’s Monastery was originally dedicated. In the deliciously informative book ‘Approaching the Holy Mountain,’ edited by Sharon Gerstel, we are told; ‘take the famous tenth century diptych showing the disciple Thaddeus & King Abgar who receives the Mandylion… A row of monastic saints below make makes it probable that the two wings of what may have been a tryptich are regions to be seen within the localism characteristic of Sinai.’ The same book also records how a 6th century abbot of St Catherines, St. John Climacus created a piece of art called ‘The Ladder of Divine Ascent’ in which; ‘the tablets have been transformed into two of the most venerated images of Christ in the Byzantine world, the Mandylion (an imprint of the saviour’s face on cloth) & its arch copy, the keramion, a miraculous reproduction on a tile… what is shown is a transfiguration, the metamorphisis of the stones into the living face of Christ which can also be seen behind & between the Mandylion & Keramion in a ghost-like sketch on blue ground.’


The Pantocrator Christ was the result of the Mandylion’s time in Sinai, & after the monks had finished their work, the icon was returned to Edessa before 544. In that year, according to the 6th century Syrian scholar Evagrius, it was miraculously used to ward off a Persian siege of the city.

In this state of utter perplexity, they bring the divinely wrought image, which the hands of men did not form, but Christ our God sent to Abgarus on his desiring to see Him. Accordingly, having introduced this holy image into the mine, and washed it over with water, they sprinkled some upon the timber; and the divine power forthwith being present to the faith of those who had so done, the result was accomplished which had previously been impossible: for the timber immediately caught the flame, and being in an instant reduced to cinders, communicated with that above, and the fire spread in all directions.

It is clear that the Mandylion contained the imprint of a complete man. In the 7th century, members of the Christian sect known as the Nestorians were living in Edessa, whose archbishop, Gewargis Silwa, described the Mandylion as, ‘an image of his adorable face & his glorified incarnation.’  While Andrew of Crete, in the early 8th century, describes ‘the imprint … of the bodily [somatikou] appearance” of Christ.‘ A similar description of a full-length Mandylion was made in the 8th century when, according to the Codex Vossianus, a canvas imprint of Christ’s complete body was being kept in a church in Edessa. A certain Smera states, ‘King Abgar received a cloth on which one can see not only a face but the whole body.’ Two centuries later, on the 15th of August 15, 944, the Mandylion appeared in Constantinople to a fanfare as keenly celebrated as a triumph of the Ceasars. The archdeacon & referendarius of the majestic Hagia Sophia cathedral, Gregory,  gave an eyewitness account of the Mandylion, describing how the image, ‘was imprinted only by the perspiration of the agony running down the face… embellished by the drops from his own side…. Blood & water there, & here the perspiration & figure.’ It is not difficult to imagine such an imprint as being made not long after the scene of carnage that was Saint Thomas’ murder in Tamil Nadu, when sultrified sweat would have mixed with fresh-wrought blood & left a pictorial remembrance on his burial robes, especially when Archdeacon Gregory continued that the image of Christ, ‘was imprinted only by the perspiration of the agony running down the face of the Prince of life as clots of blood drawn by the finger of god…… & the portrait… has been embellished by the drops from his own side.’

The sacred Mandylion would soon be nestling alongside many other sacred Christian relics in the Byzantine version of London’s Tate gallery – the Theotokos of the Church of Our Lady of Pharos. The Fourth Crusader, Robert de Clarie, recorded an inventory of the chapel’s precious relics, being; ‘within this chapel were found many precious relics; for therein were found two pieces of the True Cross, as thick as a man’s leg and a fathom in length. And there was found the lance wherewith Our Lord had. His side pierced, and the two nails that were driven through the midst of His hands and through the midst of His feet. And there was also found, in a crystal phial, a great part of His blood. And there was found the tunic that he wore, which was stripped from Him when He had been led to the Mount of Calvary. And there, too, was found the blessed crown wherewith He was crowned, which was wrought of sea rushes, sharp as dagger blades. There also was found the raiment of Our Lady, and the head of my Lord Saint John Baptist, and so many other precious relics that I could never describe them to you or tell you the truth concerning them.’ The idol would remain in Constantinople until 1204, when the Byzantine capital was sacked during the 4th Crusade by treasure-hungry Crusaders. In the year following the theft, Theodore Angelos wrote to Pope Innocent III;

The Venetians partitioned the treasures of gold, silver, and ivory while the French did the same with the relics of the saints and the most sacred of all, the linen in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before the resurrection. We know that the sacred objects are preserved by their predators in Venice, in France, and in other places, the sacred linen in Athens

Here we have a direct mention of the Mandylion, or sacred linen, being moved at least as far as Greece. The ‘French’ were the Knights Templar, of which number a certain Othon de la Roche was known as the ‘Lord of Athens. It is almost certain the Mandylion was Othon’s possession in Athens in 1204, after which it made its eventual way to the Templar heartlands in the south of France. Its destination can be properly detected by following certain clues found in the earliest writers of the Grail story, all of whom were connected to the Templars. Where Robert de Boron said the secret of of the Grail was taken to the ‘Vales of Avaron,’ we are led, not to Avalon – an errant transchisper – but to the Aveyron department, to the north & west of Montpellier. A second author, Wolfram von Eschenbach, then placed the Grail in France at a certain Montsalvat, adding its guardians were the ‘Templiesen.’ This leads us quite succinctly to the charming village of Montsalvy, in the department of… wait for it…. Aveyron (the red territory below).

url carte-index

Wolfram’s Grail was a bit weird actually, some kind of precreation gemstone which fell out of Lucifer’s crown after God pitched him out of Heaven. What matters most for us, however, is where Wolfram located the Grail – he definitely knew something about something. Some of his source material came through a certain Kyot of Provence, a gentle philochisp from Guiot of Provins, who was a well-known troubadour from the Champagne area of France. That Guiot participated in the fourth crusade puts him bang on the spot to know what happened to the Mandylion after its removal from Constantinople. According to the romances, the Holy Grail was said to have been kept in a castle, & there are indeed the ruins of an early medieval castle towering over Montsalvy to this day, upon the vista-laden Puy de l’Arbre. That this castle goes by the lovely name of Mandalrulfen provides our investigation with an amazing semantic match for the Mandylion. The area also has a connection to the very French Sir Lancelot du Lac, who first appears in the Grail Romances of the late 12th century. It is quite possible he is based upon a top Templar of that time called Alain Martel, from the Lot region of France, which gives us; (A)Lain ce Lot. The town of Martel is only 40 miles from Montsalvy, where – fascinatingly – the Puy de L’Arbre was once known as the Lancelot du Lac-esque, Puy de Lake.

Let us now acknowledge the esoterix behind Mandalrulfen castle once playing host to a secret Templar ceremony in which the Mandylion formed the climax of a series of iconic revelations. Think masonic lodges & grandmasters, hoods on-heads & stuff like that. The word ‘grail’ actually derives from the Latin ‘gradalis,’ which translates as ‘by degrees.’ This phrase describes the gradually unfolding exhibition of divine objects during the Grail ceremony, a ritualistic procession where a series of ‘holies’ were brought before the initiate, concluding with a vision of ‘Jesus’ as found on the Mandylion. One of the earliest Grail romances, the Grand St. Graal, lists many of these holies;

A sacred dish of blood
Nails of the Crucifixion
The Cross
The vinegar sponge
A scourge
A man’s head,
Bloody swords
Christ himself
A bloody lance head
A red man


All of these objects would have been stolen from the Theotokos of the Church of Our Lady of Pharos in Constantinople at the same time as the Mandylion. Among them is a dish, which would soon acquire the factochisp of it being the vessel used by Christ at the last supper, & the subsequent creochisp into it being the Holy Grail. In reality it was only a minor object during the Grail ceremony, of which the Mandylion took the central & climactic stage. In recent years Dr. Barbara Frale, unearth’d a vital piece of evidence in the Vatican archives, unearthing a 1287 description of a Templar ceremony made by a certain Arnaut Sabbatier. Conducted somewhere in the south of France, with only a few witnesses in attendance, Arnaut was shown a long piece of linen cloth sporting a bearded man, then was asked to kiss its feet. This was the last time on record in which the Mandylion was seen in France, for it seems to have vanished during the fall-out of the Papal persecution of the Templars in 1307. Spearheaded by the French king Philip IV, on Friday 13th of that year all the top Templars were arrested, then executed upon the grounds of torture-drawn confessions for mostly made-up misdemeanors. The Pope & the King then claimed vast tracts of Templar lands for themselves, along with all their deposited finances, which of course was a completely unpredictable bonus. The surviving Templars, eager to save their most precious relics, spirited the Mandylion out of France via the seaport of La Rochelle. Legend has it that some of the treasures were taken to Scotland, where in 1314 members of the order were fighting in the Scottish army at the Battle of Bannockburn. They were said to have originally landed on the Isle of May, in the Firth of Forth, which leads naturally to the River Esk & on to the village of Temple. Founded on lands given to the order by David I of Scotland in 1127, Temple was home to the main Templar receptory in Scotland. To this day, a local proverb tells us that at Temple;

Twixt the oak and the elm tree
You will find buried the millions free


At this junction, I would like to kill two academic birds with a single stone; the first of these theories is that the Turin Shroud was once the true burial garb of Christ; while the second is an idea that the Turin Shroud was also the Icon of Edessa. The truth, as I understand, is that the Mandylion contains the imprint of St Thomas, while the Turin Shroud is simply a medieval copy of the Mandylion. Carbon dating of the Turin Shroud was performed by the Vatican in 1988, after which Cardinal Ballestrero announced the linen was woven into existence at some point between 1260 & 1390.


These dates neatly coincide with the Turin Shroud’s first official appearance in the possession of the de Charneys, a noble French family & founders of the church at Lirey, near Troyes, where the ‘Holy Winding Sheet,’ was first put on display. The earliest reactions to the Charney shroud, made by two local bishops, was that it was nothing but a painting, with Bishop Henri de Poitiers adding that he even knew ‘the artist who had painted it.’ His statement was later confirmed in a 1390 memorandum composed by Bishop Pierre d’Arcis, who declared the shroud had been ‘cunningly painted.’

Presupposing that the Mandylion was in Scotland after 1307, let us examine the movements of Sir Geoffrey de Charney, the founder of the church at Lirey. He was Europe’s most admired knight at the time, a wielder of many honors & a possessor of much social power. We can place him quite distinctly in Scotland on two separate occasions, when the Chronicles of Froissart state he was on good terms with many of Scotland’s noblemen;

Mctray Duglas and the erle Morette knewe of their comynge, they wente to the havyn and mette with them, and receyved them swetely, sayeng howe they were right welcome into that countrey. And the barons of Scotlande knewe ryght well Sir Geffray de Charney, for he had been the somer before two monethes in their company: sir Geffray acquaynted them with the admyrall, and the other knyghtes of France

 The simple idea is this. On encountering the Mandylion on his first visit to Scotland, Sir Geoffrey de Charney returns the next year with his best painter to copy the image. The mention of the ‘erle Morette,’ ie the Earl of Moray, is significant for at the time of de Charney’s visit to Scotland, Isabella, the sister of John Randolph the third Earl, had married into the ‘Dunbar’ clan of Lothian & Berwickshire, a family of stalwart Knights Templars with whom we may assume the Mandylion had been sequestered. The presence of the icon in Lothian is suggested by a rare depiction among the cornucopian carvings of Rosslyn Chapel, only a few miles from Temple. There is a sculptured tableau in the chapel, atop a pillar cornice, on which a headless figure holds up a piece of material sporting the very face of Christ. That the Mandylion was kept at Rosslyn would help to explain the mystery behind the chapel’s steps, which are said to have been worn down by pilgrims who had traveled to Rosslyn from northern Spain. It is likely that this circumstance is connected to the Sudarium of Oviedo, said to be the face cloth used in the burial of Christ. A modern writer, Mark Oxley, records; ‘folklore recounts how pilgrims in their thousands traveled there after completing the arduous trek to the shrine of St James of Compostela.’ A pilgrim, after seeing the Sudarium, would have dearly wanted to complete the set, so to speak, by travelling to Scotland & Rosslyn in order to see the other material visually associated with the death & resurrection of Christ.

The Mandylion at Rosslyn
The Mandylion at Rosslyn

The building of Rosslyn Chapel officially commenced in 1446, directed by a local nobleman, Sir William Sinclair. In fact, he had been employing a group of builders & masons since 1441 – perhaps to build a secret underground chamber, or a tunnel to his castle? To this day, perhaps, in a secret compartment of the chapel’s crypt, or possibly wrapped around the body of one of the buried Templars, the Mandylion is still hidden at Rosslyn. Was it the very ‘secret shown to us’ which Marie Guise mentioned in a letter after visiting the chapel in 1546. For the moment, all we may do is speculate, for Historic Scotland controls the site & any excavatory work is strictly forbidden. In the Scotsman newspaper (27th July 2000), local project director, Stuart Beattie, says;

 We are not in the business of being grail hunters at the moment, although I think there are members of the trust and a lot of the public who would like to see invasive investigations. The immediate priority is to focus on conservation work, and then perhaps the trust might turn its attention to more esoteric matters


Next Wednesday, 03/01/18

Chapter 10

Shakespeare’s Grand Tour


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 8 : The Holy Grail

Continuing the weekly serialization of


Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter VIII

Finding the Holy Grail is, well, the Holy Grail of historical mysteries. According to later Arthurian tradition, & the chisper widely believed by modernity, the Grail was a wine-filled cup utilised by Jesus at the last supper. The truth, however, is somewhat quite different. Analyzing the complex collection of chispers that surround the Grail has been the most taxing of tasks, but the solution is at hand. We must begin at the end of 2011, when I made what I thought to be rather an important discovery concerning an obscure old stone standing in a sleepy corner of Scotland known as the Yarrow Glen. For over thirteen centuries the stone had been slowly eroding beneath the sod, the ancient secrets it kept fading into obscurity. Two hundred years ago it suddenly surfaced, a five-foot long block of solid greywhacke disturbed from its earthy slumbers by a farmer’s ploughing of the moor. The discovery was made at Whitehope farm, just outside the pretty village of Yarrow, nine miles to the west of Selkirk in the heathy heart of the Scottish Borders. Of the find area, George Eyre-Todd declared; ‘previous to 1808 the neighbourhood of the glebe was a low waste moor, with some twenty large cairns upon it, in which, when opened, were found some heaps of fine yellow dust and the head of an antique spear. About three hundred yards further to the west, when the strath was being broken in by the plough, a large flat stone was laid bare. It contained a Latin inscription, rudely engraved.’

This exciting & curiously inscribed stone was taken for examination at the nearby home of the Duke of Buccleugh, Bowhill House. Eminent antiquarians hurried to examine the stone, including luminaries such as Sir Walter Scott, Dr. John Leyden & Mungo Park. Following its perusal, the stone was returned to its home on the moor, but placed erroneously in an upright position. In its original position it had  led horizontally on the ground, whereby standing it bolt upright we visitors must now bend our necks sideways in order to read the much-weathered inscription. On doing so we find a Latin memorial, scoured out of the rock in large scraggly capital letters.




The accepted translation reads;

This is an everlasting memorial.
In this place lie the most famous princes
Nudi and Dumnogeni
In this tomb lie the two sons of Liberalis.

The stone marks a burial ground for two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD – but which two? Their deaths seem to have been attached to a major battle, for a great deal of burial tumuli & memorial stones had been erected at the site. The Statistical Account of Scotland 1845 describes;’ on Dryhope Haugh, there stood a large cairn called Herton’s Hill, in the midst of which, when the stones were removed about thirty years ago, to enclose the surrounding field, some urns were found, besides a coffin found of slabs, & containing ashes. There may still be seen to the westward of Altrie Lake, on rising knolls, five considerable tumuli, probably remains of the ancient Britons.’ At the end of the 19th century, yet more remains were unearthed, with William Angus recording, ‘cart loads of bones are said to have been unearthed to the west of the church & put upon the glebe lands.’ The identities of the men who gave life to those bones are long lost to us now, except, of course, for the two princes of the stone.


In the New Year of 2012 I thought I had it all figured it all out, & telephoned the Southern Reporter, a newspaper based in Selkirk. They enjoyed my ‘discovery’ enough to actually publish the story (Jan 7th 2012). That I was described as a ‘hobby historian’ shows that at this point in my studies – which I began seriously in 2010 –  I had not yet established the core ideas of Chispology.

AN Edinburgh hobby historian is claiming the Yarrow Stone marks the grave of King Arthur, writes Sally Gillespie.

Self-styled literary archaeologist Damian Bullen says academic consensus has the Liberalis Stone as the burial ground of two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD. And one of those he believes was King Arthur.

Mr Bullen, 35, said: “When we strip away the mediaeval romancing of our legendary king, we are left with genuine nuggets of historicity. One of them is the stone at Yarrow which I am convinced is his grave marker.”

It has been reported that the famous regent died with Medrawt (said to be his nephew Mordred) during “the strife of Camlann”. Camlann means “crooked glen” which Mr Bullen says is “a perfect match” for the river bends in the Yarrow Valley near the Liberalis Sonte.

Ploughing in the area three hundred years ago revealed a large flat stone inscribed in Latin.

Mr Bullen says: “Academic consensus states that the site was a burial ground for two Christian princes of the fifth to sixth centuries AD – but which two? At first glance it seems that Prince Nudos and Prince Dumnogenus were the sons of King Liberalis, but there is more to these names than meets the eye.”

He looked up “liberalis” and “nudus” in the 1968 Oxford Latin Dictionary from which he believes the former means gentlemanly and argues: “Calling our two princes, ‘sons of Liberalis,’ would be a poetic way of saying that they were very noble princes.”

Nudus, he says, implies loss of all one’s material possessions.

“In the context of a burial chamber, the word nudus is surely used as a deterrent to would-be grave robbers of the future.”

He further claims: “Moving on to the second prince, Dumnogenus, the whole key to the Yarrow Stone and its significance to British history is revealed. The word is actually made up of two components, Dumno and Genus. Genus – descent, birth, origin – with implication of high or noble descent – nationality, race, nation. The genus element means ‘born of,’ as in our modern word ‘genes.’ This makes the two princes ‘born of the Dumno’. This has to be the Dumnonii, a tribe of ancient Britons, whose lands encompassed Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

“This knowledge renders the inscription as, ‘Here lie two famous and very noble princes of Dumnonia, buried without possessions’ Of all the princes of antiquity who have heralded from this region, there is one who stands head and shoulders above all the rest – King Arthur! That he died with a family member – Mordred – fits the inscription on the Yarrow Stone completely.”

He says the monks of Glastonbury where Arthur is currently believed to be buried, made the story up to raise money.

“When we look deeper into the initial discovery (of Arthur’s coffin), we learn that the abbey was, at that time, in deep financial trouble. A few years before the discovery, in 1184, the monastic buildings and church of Glastonbury had been burnt to the ground. Money was needed, and with the relics of saints being big business at the time, these wily monks ‘found’ the bones of Saint Patrick. Widespread belief in an Irish burial site soon put paid to that particular claim, and the bones of Saint Dunstan ‘discovered,’ not long after were dismissed as swiftly. By 1189, with Richard the Lionheart pressing the churches for financial assistance to aid his crusade, the monks were getting desperate. How fortuitous it was, then, that the bones of King Arthur were unearthed the next year.

“As seems likely, the monks of Glastonbury had made the whole thing up, meaning the search for Arthur’s grave is back on.”

Other clues to support his theory, he says, are the “crooked” element of Camlann being echoed in a hill overlooking the river called Crook Hill and the moor on which the stone was found having the name Annan Street, which he says is a possible shortened form of Camlannan. He continues: “There is a ‘Dead Lake,’ near Yarrow bridge, which local tradition says was the final resting place of warriors slain in battle. It could well be the lake in which Arthur ordered his knight Bedivere to throw Excalibur into as he lay dying.”

And Mr Bullen says: “There is a real likelihood of a battle having taken place at Yarrow. In the area one finds a host of Cath- names – Cath is Brythonic for battle – such as Cat Craig, Catslackburn, Catslack Knowe and Cat Holes.”

He notes there are battlefield burials in the area and he believes Arthur’s corpse was the well-preserved skeleton found on Whitehope Farm in the mid-19th century but which was gradually lost to curio-seekers.

And from letters dating back to the period, Mr Bullen also thinks King Arthur’s skull may be in the vaults of a local museum.

“It seems Arthur was buried near Selkirk. I’m convinced of this and until we find another site in a crooked glen, where two princes of Devon or Cornwall are buried side by side, and surrounded by the bodies of many warriors, I shall remain so.”

Asked to comment on Mr Bullen’s hypothesis, a spokesperson for Historic Scotland said: “The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) records indicate that ‘the Yarrow Stone was set up to mark the grave of two British Christian chieftains. It dates from the early 6th century and falls into place in the early Christian series more richly represented in Wales and Cornwall.’ As such, we certainly believe it is of national importance.”

A couple of days later I was studying in the National Library of Scotland, when an email dropped into my inbox with an urgent message to contact a certain Niamh Andersson by telephone. It turns out she worked at Deadline News, an Edinburgh based company which feeds stories to the nationals. Thinking ‘why not’ I walked down to the place to give them a few more details about me & my studies, and they also took my photo. The following morning I went to my local newsagents, bought a copy of the Daily Record & found my face staring up at me. The Record is more a national tabloid, and I was quite tickled to see how an off the cuff mark in the Southern Reporter story had creochisp’d into the headline;


From here the story shot round the twittersphere and opened up a great deal of debate onto whether I was right or wrong. Certain Arthurians who have written books about their version of King Arthur reacted swiftly, dismissing my findings as rubbish. Now, I am always readily ready to admit when I am wrong about something, and in this instance I was definitely wrong about the Yarrow stone marking the burial ground of King Arthur. In the last chapter I showed he was buried at Inchyra, which leaves us with the unanswered question of, ‘just who were the two Dumnonian princes buried at Yarrow?’ The answer comes quickly, for where the Jesus College genealogies have a certain Pheredur as a king of Dumnonia (after King Cador), we may observe in the Triads & the Annales Cambrae the same figure – & his brother Gwrgi – in action in the Borders, fighting at the Battle of Arfderydd, near Longtown in Cumbria, in 573. That they later died at the same time – thus realizing the historical background of the Yarrow stone – is given by the Annales Cambrae, when in 580 AD; ‘Gwrgi and Peredur – sons of Elifert – died.’ The circumstance of their deaths is given in the Triads, when among  ‘Three Faithless Warbands’ of Britain, we may observe;

The War-band of Gwrgi & Peredur, who abandoned their lord at Caer Grue, when they had an appointment to fight the next day with Eda Great-knee; & there they were both slain

Caer Grue has never been identified, but could well be Din Guarie on the Northumbrian coast, upon which site the magnificent castle of Bamburgh was built. This location is supported by a passage in the Historia Brittonum, which shows how Urien of Rheged, who at that time was the ruling ‘lord’ of Gwrgi & Peredur, was besieging Angle-held Lindisfarne, the Holy Island across the waters from Bamburgh;

Theodoric (Athelric’s brother) fought vigorously against Urien & his sons. During that time, sometimes the enemy, sometimes the Cymry were victorious, & Urien blockaded them for three days & three nights in the island of Lindisfarne.

Reading between the lines, it seems that during the three-day siege of Lindisfarne, Gwrgi & Pheredur ‘abandoned their lord,’ Urien, and took a day’s march to Yarrow in order to fight Edda Great Knee. This man appears in the Historia Brittonum (chapter 63), as Adda, the father of Theodoric & Athelric. The battle’s victor is unrecorded, but numbering the rather large amounts of Dark Age burials in the locality we know that Yarrow was once an epic scene of carnage. Among the casualties, we may now presume, were Gwrgi & Peredur,  whose father’s name appears in MS Harleian 3859h; ‘Gurci ha Peretur mepion eleuther.’ The name Eleutherius translates out of the Greek into ‘liberty,’ which in Latin is our very own ‘Liberalis.’ We may support this name-change elsewhere, for the very same transchisper occurs within two copies of an Irish text known as ‘The Expulsion of the Dessi,’ in which ‘Luthor‘ would be extracted from ‘Eleuther.’

 Nine men of Luthor… from whom are the Luthraige (Laud 610)

Nine men of Liber… from whom are the Luburige (Rawlinson B 502)

In another manuscript, known as the Boneddy y Gwyr Gogledd, or in English as ‘The Descent of the Men of the North, Eleuther becomes Eliffer. The text in question is essentially a series of Dark Age genealogies, originally made in the late 6th century. Two of the pedigrees are of particular interest to our grailquest.

Gwrgi & Peredur are the sons of Eliffer of the Great Retinue son of Arthwys

Gwendoleu & Nudd & Chof the sons of Ceidyaw son of Arthwys, son of Mar son of Keneu son of Coel.

At this point we should acknowledge how Arthwys of the  ‘Boneddy y Gwyr Gogled,’ is the same man as King Arthur. To do so, we must compare the names of three of the Boneddy’s consecutive kings to three consecutive kings given by the Pictish lists;

ARTHwys——-CEIdyaw —– GwenDOLEU

GARTHnach —- CAIltram ————- TALORg

Securing the King-Arthur-is-Arthwys connection shows how the Arthwys-Eleuther-Peredur lineage reinforces the presence of Dumnonian princes in the Yarrow inscription. With the name ‘Nudi’ being given in the same context as ‘Dumnogeni,’ it is likely that the princes are being described as belonging to the ‘Nud.’ Judy Shoaf, the American administrator of the now closed down Arthurnet forum, not long after I offered my solution to the Holy Grail when she publicly ridiculed me by posting, ‘none of Damo’s posts has ever included a single assertion that is useful to the study of Arthurian literature or of history… his  work is moronic, and of interest only for its spectacular ignorance & I have decided not to shame him by sending it to anyone,’ she confirmed my linguistic supposition of the Yarrow inscription in a private message. Notice Judy’s initial instinct was ‘I thought you must be wrong,’ a sentiment shared by most of academia when faced with work from outwith the dusty cloisters of academe.

BTW, I was interested in your idea that Nudus and Dumnogenus are adjectives modifying princes in the Yarrow Stone inscription. I thought you must be wrong, because clearly you don’t know Latin, and this would not work grammatically. BUT I checked the inscription and your suggestion makes sense—the forms have endings in –i which fit the plural “princes” rather than implying names of single individuals in apposition with “princes.” It’s odd that the two words were read as names, but one would expect that a memorial would give the names of the persons involved; perhaps the names were on the other side, which I gather is damaged. However, I guess people who study inscriptions are better qualified than I am to interpret what the words mean in context. The way one figures it out is to look at other memorial stones (or texts) that use these words or a similar structure. Liberalis, on the other hand, looks like a name, in terms of both grammar and sense.

Searching for the source of the ‘Nudi,’ there is  a mention of such a man in that very era, when an ‘Edeyrn, son of Nudd’ is seen fighting at Badon in the Dream of Rhonabbwy. This name transchispers elsewhere into Yder, son of Nut (Wace) & Hiderus filius Nu (Big Geoff).  In the last chapter I showed how Uther Pendragon appears as Uudrost in the Pictish King List. Other versions of the list gives him the name-variant of Hydrossig, in which we can detect both Yder & Hiderus . This allows us to construct a family tree showing Pheredur as descended from a figure called King Nudd, & so was definitely Nudi.

       Nud   =   Nut

           {}           {}

      Hiderus = Yder = Hydrossig = Uudrost


                                           Arthwys =  Garthnach


                                          Eleuther = Liberalis




With Yder/Ederyn being present in the Pictish King List, it seems likely that the name Nudd is a retraction of Neithan, or Nechtan, the name of several Pictish kings. In the far north of Scotland, in Keiss Bay, there is a stone is carved with NEHTETRI, while in Latheron we have an Ogham inscription which reads; DUV NODNNATMAQQNAHHTO, i.e.  Duvnodnat son of Nahhto. In Aboyne  a stone is carved with NEHHTVROBBACCENNEVV MAQQOTALLUORRH, ie Neht <robba> Ceneu, son of Talorc (or Tallorcen, Talorgeu). The connection to Ceneu is intriguing, for this king appears in the Men of the North genealogies, as in;

Gwrgi & Peredur are the sons of Eliffer of the Great Retinue son of Arthwys son of Mar son of Ceneu son of Coel

We also have a fascinating chispological pattern presented by the Nehht-Vrobba combination, which creates two babel-chains that lead to Nectonius & Wrip, as given in the Pictish Chronicle’s;

So Nectonius the Great, Wirp’s son, the king of all the provinces of the Picts, offered to Saint Brigid, to the day of judgement, Abernethy, with its territories … Now the cause of the offering was this. Nectonius, living in a life of exile, when his brother Drest expelled him to Ireland, begged Saint Brigid to beseech God for him. And she prayed for him, and said: “If thou reach thy country, the Lord will have pity on thee. Thou shalt possess in peace the kingdom of the Picts.

Things are seeming so very real here, and it is through ‘Edeyrn, son of Nudd that the topsoil of a long buried layer to the Arthurian mythomeme may be scraped away. In the Rhonabwy poem, Ederyn is seen leading a ‘pure black troop’ of Danish warriors, which points us directly to the Scandinavian Heruli, of whom Tacitus writes, ‘not only are they superior in strength to the other peoples I have just mentioned, but they minister to their savage instincts by trickery and clever timing. They black their shields and dye their bodies, and choose pitch dark nights for their battles.’ The arrival, or rather return, of the Heruli to Scandinavia was recorded by the 6th century Byzantine historian, Procopius, who stated that roundabout the year 500 AD, after, ‘crossing many lands, they arrived at the land of the Dani, and then by crossing the sea they arrived on the island of Thule.’ The exact location of Thule is disputed, from Sweden to Iceland, but it definitely places the Heruli in the furthest fringes of NW Europe in which Scotland plays a prominent geographical part. A first hint that they came to Britain can be seen in the ‘Boneddy y Gwyr Gogledd,’ where Arthwys was succeeded by a certain ‘Mar.’ This gives us a solid semantic match to Maehren, the name of a Herulian kingdom whose denizens were known as ‘Marings’ as attested by buck foundle in Pannonia opposite the mouth of River March.

We can definitely observe a Herulian presence in the Pictish King list, where Galalan Erilich ruled from 507 to 519, between Drest Gurthinmoch & King Arthur’s brother, Drest. The epithet ‘Erilich’ is a match for the Herulian ‘Erilaz/Erilar,’ as found on ten runic inscriptions across Scandinavia, dating between 450 & 550. That Herulians could become Pictish kings suggests some kind of ancient tribal bond, & just as Tacitus recorded that Herulians ‘dye their bodies,’ so too does Herodian describe the Picts; ‘they tattoo their bodies with coloured designs and drawings of all kinds of animals; for this reason they do not wear clothes, which would conceal the decorations on their bodies.’ It is also becoming clear that the concentric circle appearing on a shield-painting of the Herules Seniores as found in a medieval copy of Notitia Dignitatum (below left) – a census of the Roman military dated to the beginning of the 5th century AD – is identical to those carved into numerous Pictish stones, usually in pairs. Indeed, the Pictish stones were for a long time attributed not to the Picts, but were given a Scandinavian origin. The ‘Sculptured Stones of Scotland,’ for instance, printed for the Spalding Club, states, ‘in the greater number of instances where any tradition exists, they are still called ‘Danish Stones.’

circ heru

The Pictish symbol stones began to spring up in Scotland in the 5th & 6th centuries, the very period when the southern Heruli were returning to their northern homelands. The Pictish symbols have never been deciphered, but it is undeniable that another Scandinavian element to appear among the Pictish symbols is the lightning-like Sowilaz, the rune for sun which can be seen running through a pair of Herulian concentrics in the symbol known to scholars as the ‘z-rod & double-disc (above right). This combination of Sowliaz & Herulian also turned up in 1840, when a piece of bone called the Lindholm Amulet was found in Skåne, Sweden, whose runic inscription reads, ‘I am (an) erilaz, I am called Sawilagaz.’ The name Sawilagaz translates as, “the one of the Sun (Sowilo).’ We may also notice the presence of the Sowilaz in the Boneddy y Gwyr Gogledd’s,

Dunawd & Cherwyd & Sawyl High-head (penuchel) are the sons of Pabo the Pillar of Britain son of Arthwys son of Mar son of Keneu son of Coel

The Lindholm Amulet

The Heruli were numbered among the Gothic tribes, & evidence for their presence in 6th century Britain comes during the siege of Rome in 537, the same conflict to which King Arthur was marching before he turned about-face in the Alps in order to deal with Mordred’s treachery back in Britain. The siege would last for over a year, when in 538 the Ostrogoths & the Byzantines, led by Belisarius, would come to an amicable agreement & end the siege completely. It is in an exchange of letters between the leaders at that time that helps us to  scrape off a little more top-soil from the 6th century Herulian strata of British history. Procopius records;

And the barbarians said: “We give up to you Sicily, great as it is and of such wealth, seeing that without it you cannot possess Libya in security.”

And Belisarius replied: “And we on our side permit the Goths to have the whole of Britain, which is much larger than Sicily and was subject to the Romans in early times.

We have already seen in the last chapter how Arthur had visited Jerusalem. That King Arthur fought in the Byzantine forces is corroborated archeologically by the Byzantium-originated Tintagelware, & also this wonderful passage from Culhwch & Olwen, the oldest Arthurian tale, which shows how Arthur fought military campaigns far from the shores of Britain;

Then Glewlwyd went into the Hall. And Arthur said to him, “Hast thou news from the gate?”“Half of my life is past, and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor; and I have been heretofore in India the Great and India the Lesser; and I was in the battle of Dau Ynyr, when the twelve hostages were brought from Llychlyn. And I have also been in Europe, and in Africa, and in the islands of Corsica, and in Caer Brythwch, and Brythach, and Verthach; and I was present when formerly thou didst slay the family of Clis the son of Merin, and when thou didst slay Mil Du the son of Ducum, and when thou didst conquer Greece in the East.” I have been in Caer Oeth and Annoeth, and in Caer Nevenhyr

The sites of many of these places have been lost to modernity, but there is enough to show that Glewlwyd was campaigning in Byzantium & beyond. India the Great is India itself, while India the Lesser was Ethiopia. There are also mentions of Africa, Sicily (Salach), Greece & the islands of Corsica. All these places were theaters of action for the Byzantines, especially during Justinian’s Reqonquista in the 520s & 530s.  We know about the Byzantines driving Godas out of Sardinia, for example, and also fighting the Hymarites in Arabia (Lesser India) in 530. The crucial section for Arthuriana is when Glewlwyd tells Arthur I was present… when thou didst slay Mil Du the son of Ducum.’ Mil Du, son of Ducum, was a Jewish warlord called Dhu Nawas who was defeated in the Yemen in 527. This gives us an interesting insight into Arthur’s lost years – between Badon in 516 & his accession to the Pictish throne in 529 – when at one point he was fighting for the Byzantine armies in the Arabian peninsular!

Wherever Arthur went he left a trail, but as the name Peter differs according to which language it is uttered in (French = Pierre, Danish = Pedyr), so too was Arthur’s name different in varying regions. Add to this the oral corruptions & scribal mistakes that abounded through the barely literate Dark Ages, then as we shall see Arthur’s name & identity kaliedoscoped into manifold splinters. One variant was Arthwys, which leads to a certain…

….Erythius/Erythrios. According to the Chronicle of John Malalas, he held the title of Patricius in the Byzantine empire, in 527. The very same title was found in connection with Arthur on a seal at Westminster last seen in the 16th century. In his preface to Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, William Caxton writes, ‘in the Abbey of Westminster, at St. Edward’s Shrine, remaineth the print of his seal in red wax closed in beryl, in which is written “Patricius Arthurus, Britannie, Gallie, Germanie, Dacie, Imperator.”‘ The mention of Dacia is most relevant here, being a Byzantine District to the North of Thrace. Erythios is said to have been a patrician alongside a certain Ateneos/Aetherius, who could well be Ederyn/Eleutherius, etc.  According to John Bishop of Nikiu’s Chronicle, the two patrician tried to convince Emperor Justinian to adopt Mazdakism in order to conquer Asia. We also know thar Erythius’ wife was sentenced to death for being a Manichean in 527, a possible motive for Arthur abandoning his Byzantine political life & heading to Scotland. The Chronicle of John of Malalas tells us;

At that time many Manicheans were punished in every city, among those punished was the wife of the senator Erythrios & other women as well.


But what about the Grail? According to the Arthurian romances, composed mainly in French about 1200 AD, we read how the Grail was transported to the Grail castle, somewhere in the Middle East by Sir Peredur & Sir Bors. I believe that the name of Sir Bors is a philochisp of Bouzes, one of the Gothic generals of Vitalian. A first mention of him was made in 528, when he appears as the joint duke of of Phoenice Libanensis (to the east of Mount Lebanon) together with his brother, Coutzes. That Bouzes was Sir Bors is also supported by Mallory’s ‘Morte D’Arthur,’ which states that Bors died fighting the Turks in the Middle-East. This connects with Bouzes’ own disappearance from history, when in 556 he was last recorded as defending Nesus on the River Phasis. Most importantly for our investigation, in 530 A.D. Procopius places Bouzes alongside a certain ‘Pharas the Herulian’ at the Battle of Dara.

The extremity of the left straight trench which joined the cross trench as far as the hill, which rises here, was held by Bouzes with a large force of horsemen and by Pharas the Herulian with three hundred of his nation… In the late afternoon a certain detachment of horsemen… came against the forces of Bouzes and Pharas. And the Romans retired a short distance to the rear… And again Bouzes and Pharas stationed themselves in their own position…Then Pharas came before Belisarius and Hermogenes, and said:”It does not seem to me that I shall do the enemy great harm if I remain here with the Eruli; but if we conseal ourselves at this slope, and then the Persians have begun the fight, if we climb up this hill and suddenly come upon their rear, shooting from behind them, we shall in all propability do them the greatest harm.” Thus he spoke, and, since it pleased Belisarius and his staff, he carried out this plan.

Seeing Bouzes & Pharas the Herulian together suggests that Pharas may have been Peredur, a notion we may support by picking apart the variant names – Pheredur & Parzival – in order to identify the correct phonetics contained in ‘Pharas Eril.

PH: The ‘ph’ of Pheredur

AROS: The ‘arz’ of Parzival

ER: The ‘ur’ of Pheredur

IL: The ‘al’ of Parcival

History supports the connection, for a 14-year sojourn by Peredur in Constantinople, given in the medieval Welsh tale Peredur son of Efrawg, finds a tally in Pharas the Herulian’s membership of the Byzantine armies. Pharas’ epithet means he belonged to the Herulians, who were in the 6th century fighting as foederati in the Byzantine legions. He may even have been related to Galanan Erilich. It is interesting to observe that in the description of Pharas made by Procopius we get someone who sounds very much like one of the pious Knights of Arthur’s Round Table, as in, ‘energetic and thoroughly serious and upright in every way, although he was an Erulian by birth. And for an Erulian not to give himself over to treachery and drunkenness, but to strive after uprightness, is no easy matter and merits abundant praise. But not only was it Pharas who maintained orderly conduct, but also all the Erulians who followed him.’

The Järsberg runestone
The Järsberg runestone

According to the romances, the Grail was actually in Britain at some point, in the hands of a certain British King called Pelles. As we can see from the following babel-chain, the ‘Pelles’ name contains the core etymological elements as that of Liberalis, who we have ascertained was the father of Pheredur.


We may connect Liberalis with the Herulians thro an inscription found on a runestone near Kristinehamn, in Varmland Sweden. Known as the Järsberg Runestone, the text reads; ‘…ubaz am I called. Raven am I called. I, the eril, write the runes.’ 
The runestone is damaged, & it is possible that ‘ubaz’ is actually the
 ending of a different word. Another runestone, from Skärkinds,
Östergötland, & dated to the same era gives us ‘leubaz.’

Returning to the Grail, it was said to have been kept at a place called Galafort, which points to a fortification near the Gala River in the Scottish Borders, in the relative vicinity of Yarrow. We will find out how it got there in the next chapter, but for now let us note how it was removed from Galafort to ‘Corbenic,’ castle. This was evidently somewhere in Northumberland, for the region was once given the name Bernicia by the invading Angles, named after their ancestral King, Benic or Bennoc, as appearing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

 547 : This year Ida began his reign; from whom first arose the royal kindred of the Northumbrians. Ida was the son of Eoppa, Eoppa of Esa, Esa of Ingwy, Ingwy of Angenwit, Angenwit of Alloc, Alloc of Bennoc, Bennoc of Brand, Brand of Balday, Balday of Woden

In Bamburgh castle with the kids

The capital of Bernicia was Bamburgh castle, a place well worth visiting for its fabulous castle, the wonderful tick-tack exhibitions within its sprawling walls & the lungbursting views of the North Sea. It feels that the Grail Castle actually stood on nearby Holy Island, on whose lands the 7th century Christian settlement of Lindisfarne upsprang. One medieval description of a visit to the castle states, ‘Gawain rode out to sea along a narrow causeway for a long way before reaching the castle.’ This is an exact match for the approach to Holy Island at Lindisfarne, a tidal causeway many tourists have underappreciated when swigging back that sweet & tasty mead made by the red-nosed local monks, thus stranding themselves in a tipsy stupor on the island.

The chief object of this chapter has been to show how the legendary finder of  the legendary Grail was a real person, and thus if the legendary finder of the Grail was real then… well, you get the picture. We have also ascertained he was a British king of Herulian blood, who would appear in the Byzantine annals as fighting in one of the auxiliary foedarati regiments alongside the Byzantine legions. Acknowledging such a pan-Continental existence for Peredur puts into perspective how, according to the romances, he was given the Holy Grail at Corbenic in Britain, after which he would take it to a place called Sarras, situated somewhere in the Byzantine East. This leads us to an extremely fascinating collection of factochisps which have muddled up the origins & the outcome of the Holy Grail no end. It is time for a comprehensive study of the Mandylion…


Next Wednesday, 27/12/17

Chapter 9

The Mandylion


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

The Chisper Effect 7 : Dux Pictorum

Continuing the weekly serialization ofchisper_effect

Damian Beeson Bullen’s


In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved


(Register with Completely Novel to…)



Chapter VII

In the last chapter we witnessed the supporting evidence for King Arthur’s historicity in the far south of Britain. Since his birth at Tintagel his fame has fanned out to every corner of the British Isles, swelling among folk memories & clinging hardily to topographical features. Scotland, especially, enjoys a vivid Arthurian tradition; there is a Loch Arthur near Dumfries, there is Ben Arthur above Loch Lomond, there is the great mountain of Arthur’s Seat at Edinburgh, while Stirling enjoys its own Round Table & a curious construction known as Arthur’s Oven. By analyzing the battle-list in the Historia Brittonum we can easily identify at least two consecutive battles fought by Arthur in Scotland. The seventh of the twelve battles was sited in the ‘Coit Celidon,’ i.e. the wood of Caledonia, the Roman name for Scotland. It is into this very wood that the wizard Merlin fled following the battle of Ardderyth in 573, and where, according to John of Fordun, he was murdered by shepherds at Drumelzier. The Caledonian Wood was once an epic affair, spreading mile after mile of foliage between Hadrian’s Wall & the Firth of Forth, & is thus too vague a reference point to locate the actual battlefield with any precision. Contrarily, we can state quite positively that Arthur’s eighth battle was fought in a singular & identifiable place in Scotland.

The eighth battle was at the fortress of Guinnion, in which Arthur carried the image of holy Mary ever virgin on his shoulders; and the pagans were put to flight on that day. And through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of the blessed Virgin Mary his mother there was great slaughter among them


In a recension of the Historia Brittonum known as Vatican Reg.1964., there is a wonderful piece of handwritten scholia attached to this battle by a tenth-century scribe called Marc the Anchorite;

For Arthur proceeded to Jerusalem, and there made a cross to the size of the Saviour’s cross, and there it was consecrated, and for three successive days he fasted, watched, and prayed, before the Lord’s cross, that the Lord would give him the victory, by this sign, over the heathen; which also took place, and he took with him the image of St. Mary, the fragments of which are still preserved in great veneration at Wedale, in English Wodale, in Latin Vallis-doloris. Wodale is a village in the province of Lodonesia, but now of the jurisdiction of the bishop of St. Andrew’s, of Scotland, six miles on the west of that heretofore noble and eminent monastery of Meilros.


Astonishing stuff! We have been given a pin-point location for an Arthurian battlefield; a literary arrow aiming straight at Stow-in-Wedale in the Scottish Borders between Galashiels and Edinburgh. The fortress of Guinnion should then be Craigend Fort, two thirds of a mile to the north of Stow, whose grassy remnant of today barely does justice to what was once an impressive 900-foot high hill-fort. That a West Country Arthur was fighting this far north – & further, as we shall soon see – can be understood through the processes of the Chisper Effect. We begin by looking at an antique text known as the Pictish King List: only a handful of copies have survived the rigors of time, but they all contain pretty much the same sequence of kings, albeit with subtle variations in name spellings & reign lengths. The Picts were an ancient Scottish tribe who the Romans just could not conquer, building instead Hadrian’s Wall in order to keep them out of the Empire. Of the variant lists of their kings, the reigns given by the 14th century Poppleton Manuscript can be safely cross-referenced with dates found in the Irish Chronicles. Of these, the Annals of Clonmacnoise give us our first solid date, being;449: Drust mc Erb, K. of Pictland, died.’  Taking this as our starting point, let us examine the Poppleton King List, beginning with Talore, the successor of Drust McErb.

Year Crowned                       Reign-length

(449) Talore son of Aniel   (4)
(453) Necton Morbet son of Erip   (24)
(477) Drest Gurthinmoch   (30)
(507) Galalan Erilich   (12)
(519) Two Drests – son of Girom
———————— son of Uudrost

Drusts reign 5 years together / Drest son of Girom rules solo 5 years

(529) Garthnach son of Girom   (7)
(536) Cailtram son of Girom   (1)
(537) Talorg son of Muircholaich   (11)
(548) Drest son of Muniat   (1)
(549) Galam Cennaleph   (1)
(550) Galam Cennaleph and Bridei together   (1)
(551) Bridei son of Mailcon (30)

The final date of 581 (551+30) given as the end of King Bridei’s reign matches an event recorded in that same year by the Annals of Tigernach;

 581AD : The death of Bruide son of Maelchú, king of the Picts

In terms of reign-lengths, the Poppleton List can be certified as authentic, & looking through it with a keen chispological eye focusses our attention on a certain Garthnach, son of Girom. He was the ruler of the Picts between 529 & 536 & his parent’s name, like so many others scattered through the king lists, is non-especial. However, let us now look at Girom’s name as it appears in alternate versions of the Pictish King List, a cross-table in which philochisps are simply running riot;


Gygurn: Bodleian ms Lat misc c.75

Gigurnus: Scalacronica, Corpus Christi College


If we simply drop the Gs, we are left with a fellow called Arthnach son of Ygurn/Igurnus, which even the most skeptical of scholars must recognize as an incredible fit for Arthur son of Igerne. It has been a long, long time since anyone spoke Pictish; the phonetical rules of its language have been forgotten forever, expect in a few places where Pictish place-names still linger to this day, such as ‘aber’ for river-mouth & ‘pitt’ for portion of land. That the Picts placed a guttural ‘g’ before the vowels of their proper names is a distinct possibility, & if this is somehow not the case, then it must only be a massive coincidence that Garthnach son of Gygurn lived in the exact same period as Arthur son of Igerne, giving up his throne only a year before Arthur’s death at Camlann. Instead, I would prefer to praise the inherent abilities of the Chisper Effect, including the process of identifying semantics & etymologies of lost languages, a quality which can only enrich the work of future scholars.


If Garthnach & Arthur were one & the same individual, we are left with the not insignificant problem of transporting a Cornish Arthur onto the Pictish throne. The likeliest & most legal explanation is that Igerne/Gygurn was a Pictish princess, as – according to the venerable 7th century Northumbrian monk, Bede – the nature of Pictish kingship was matrilineal;

 The Picts, accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began to inhabit the northern parts thereof, for the Britons were possessed of the southern. Now the Picts had no wives, and asked them of the Scots; who would not consent to grant them upon any other terms, than that when any difficulty should arise, they should choose a king from the female royal race rather than from the male: which custom, as is well known, has been observed among the Picts to this day.

We know next to nothing about the power politics of 6th century Britain, even less about the Pictish system, but the idea of Igerne being both Duchess in the West Country & a princess of Pictland is not at all far-fetched,  for dynastical alliances between royal houses is a common feature that continues to this day. Britain’s reigning monarch, for example, Queen Elizabeth II, is married to a Greek, while in the age of Victoria, her many children married into most of the noble houses of Europe. We must also recall from the last chapter how a Pictish name, Drystan, appeared on the Fowey Stone only a few miles from Tintagel as the son of King Mark of Cornwall (see image above). Collating & examining the supporting evidence, & beginning with the latest piece chronologically, Arthur’s connection to Pictland seems to be behind the poetical words of Gruffud ap Meredudd ( fl. 1352-1382 ), who wrote of an ‘Arthur of the highlands, hill country of Prydein,’ where Prydein is the Welsh term for Pictavia. We may confirm this this by correlating the ‘Caw of Prydein’ as given in the Old Welsh tale, Culhwych &  Olwen, with the vita of Saint Gildas, which describes King Caw as, ‘the king of Scotia… the noblest of the kings of the north.’


Two centuries prior to Gruffud ap Meredudd, the 12th century French historian, Lambert of Saint-Omer, describes Arthur quite specifically as a Pictish war-leader; ‘Arthur, Dux Pictorum, ruling realms of the interior of Britain, resolute in his strength, a very fierce warrior, seeing that England was being assaulted from all sides, and that property was being stolen away, and many people taken hostage and redeemed, and expelled from their inherited lands, attacks the Saxons in a ferocious onslaught along with the kings of Britain, and rushing upon them, fought valiantly, coming forward as leader in twelve battles.’  Lambert also presents a second Picto-Arthurian tally with, ‘there is in Britain, in the land of the Picts, a palace of the warrior Arthur, built with marvelous art and variety, in which the history of all his exploits and wars is to be seen in sculpture.‘ This palace may have been at Rhynie, deep in the pretty Cairngorms, whose place at the heart of Pictavia is attested by a large number of Pictish Symbol stones found in the vicinity. A definite Arthurian connection to Rhynie comes through Tintagelware, which had fanned out throughout Britain to a series of high-status sites such as South Cadbury & Longbury Bank in the Dyfed parish of Penally. The latter should well have been the capital of Arthur’s Menevian ‘Throne’ as given in the Triads, & I would now like to remind the reader of the northern realm ascribed to Arthur in the same Triad, ‘Penrhionyd in the north,’ whose name easily transchispers into Rhynie.



Just as Cadbury was home to a grand timber feasting hall; & just as at the ‘high-status’ Longbury Bank in Dyfed, Ewan Campbell & Alan Lane suggest ‘there is tenuous evidence for at least one large timber building,’ so have archeologists uncovered the post-holes & plank slots of a timber feasting hall at Rhynie. It was erected in the immediate vicinity of a Pictish symbol monolith known as the ‘Craw Stane,’ one of three fortified Pictish enclosures  found in recent years at Rhynie, a ‘Royal Mile’ full of timber buildings, defense ditches based on the Roman style & wooden palisades… perhaps the bona fide capital of the Dux Pictorum.


The Tap o Noth


In the Welsh language, ‘Pen’ means ‘summit or peak,’ which renders Penrhionyd as meaning ‘Peak of Rhionyd.’ Above Rhynie towers the far-seen Tap o’ Noth, Scotland’s second highest hillfort, complete with impressive triple-ringed defense-works. Cast in such a majestic setting it is well worth a trip to Rhynie, a remarkably compact & pretty village whose residents go about their business quite unaware that they are breathing the same pure & mountain air as Arthur did during his seven-year stint as King of the Picts. There was even found, in 1978, a Pictish stone with an image of a bearded man with a pointy nose, who is wearing a head-dress, sporting a kilt & wielding a double-headed axe. Known as the Rhynie Man, it was taken from Rhynie & placed in the foyer of Aberdeenshire council’s HQ. It is rather a stretch of the imagination to consider it an image of Arthur, but it may be the nearest pictorial image we possess of how the true Arthur would have appeared to his Caledonian contemporaries.

More support for a Pictish Arthur begins with another glance at the King List, where we encounter a certain ‘Drest Gurthinmoch’ as ruling the Picts between 477 & 507. The Gurthinmoch element is the most important here, for when we take another look at Arthur’s northern court as given in the Tribal Thrones Triad…

 Arthur the chief lord in Penrhionyd in the north,
And Cyndeyrn Garthwys the chief bishop,
And Gurthmwl Guledic the chief elder

…we can satisfactorily identify ‘Gurthmwl’ with Gurthinmoc.

It makes perfect sense that when Arthur – the chief lord – became the Pictish King in 529, Gurthmwl/Gurthinmoc would have been described as a ‘chief elder.’ He had been a Pictish King himself, ruling for a good thirty years, & combining this nugget with the cornucopia of solid proofs I have provided leads us to only one conclusion… Arthur was at least half Pictish!


Returning now to the Pictish ordnance of Arthur, three years after the Battle of Badon, in 519, an otherwise un-sourced brother of Arthur, Drest son of Gygurn, became King of the Picts. What is interesting here is that at one point Drest shared his throne with a certain Drest, son of Uudrost, whose name transchispers into…


It seems probable that the two Drests were actually the same man, genflated into the list as individual sons of his mother & father. Either way, the presence of Uther in the King List, & his appearance beside Igerne, pretty much seals the deal that Garthnach was Arthur. Coming to the Pictish throne in 529, he would be king for only seven years, being succeeded in 536 by ‘Cailtram,’ who appears in Arthuriana as Sir Kay. That same year, according to Big Geoff, Arthur had begun a march on Rome, which we may attach to the historical siege of that city by the Ostrogoths that commenced in March 537. According to Big Geoff, after campaigning in France (in 536) Arthur went on to winter in the same country. The following year, with the summer coming on, Big Geoff describes that after departing for Rome in the old Hannibal style, Arthur; ‘had begun to climb the passes of the mountains, when message was brought him that his nephew Mordred, unto whom he had committed the charge of Britain, had tyrannously and traitorously set the crown of the kingdom upon his own head, and had linked him in unhallowed union with Guenevere the Queen in despite of her former marriage.’ The war which followed is quite succinctly described in the Annales Cambrae;

 537 AD The Strife of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell

The location of this ‘deadly battle’ has never been established to satisfaction, but it seems certain it was somewhere in the north parts of Britain, where the Triads place both Picts & Scots at the battle, as in; ‘three Dishonoured Men who were in the Island of Britain: The third and worst was Medrawd… When Medrawd heard that Arthur’s host was dispersed, he turned against Arthur, and the Saxons and the Picts and the Scots united with him to hold this Island against Arthur.’ There is also a passage in the Old Welsh tale, The Dream of Rhonabwy, in which a certain Iddawg places the battle in the Pictavian ‘Prydyn.’

I was one of the missionaries in the Camellian battle between Arthur and Medrawd his nephew… I was named in Iddawg Cordd Britain. And because of this the ranks of the troops were distributed at Machman. But, however, three nights before the end of the Camell battle I drove them out and I came to Lech Las in Prydyn to eat.

Both Machman & Lech Las are unknown to modernity. Of these, Machman, certainly feels like Clackmannan, a town just to the east of Stirling. Named after the pre-Christian ‘Stone of Mannau,’ it would have been the perfect location-beacon upon which Arthur’s armies would have assembled before Camlann. The other site, Lech Las, may well be the etymological root of Glasgow, from the lechlas-to-chlas pilochisp, which we may support by Glasgow being one of the very few Christian sites in 6th century Scotland.  But I digress too far. Returning to the battlefield at Camlann, solid Scottish remembrances of the battle can be found in the 16th Bcentury Scottish history by the very erudite Hector Boece;

In that deadly battle more than twentythousand Scots and Picts, together with King Modredus and a great host of the nobles of both nations. About thirty
 thousand of the Britons and their Bretagne auxiliaries died, including King Arthur and Modredus’ brother Gawanus, whowas so loyal to Arthur that he fought against his brother that day.

This passage contains a lovely piece of information that adds peripheral support to Arthur’s historicity. The mention of ‘Bretagne auxiliaries’ finds a correlation in a ‘legio bretonum’ mentioned in the The Life of Saint Dalmas of Rodez (c.800 A.D.) who were stationed ‘Ultralegeretanis,’ or ‘beyond the Loire.’ Of its date, ‘all one can conclude for sure,‘ opines Australian scholar Howard M. Wiseman, ‘is that the incident took place between 534 or 541.’ During Arthur’s continental adventures in the year before Camlann, he is seen campaigning heavily in Burgundy, & may have been the very leader of the ‘legio bretonum‘ as mentioned in the vita.

Returning to Boece, when adding to the casualty list at Camlann, he tells us, ‘furthermore, there died Caimus, Gwalinus, and
 nearly the entire British nobility.’ We should take particular notice of the demise of a certain Caimus. This man, I believe, was the same fellow as Arthur’s successor to the Pictish throne, CailtramAccording to the King List, Cailtram ruled the Picts for only a year, ending his short stint on the throne on 537, heavily supporting the Cailtram to Caimus babel-chain. Another northern king to die in 537 was Comgall, king of the Scots, as given by the Annals of Tigernach;

 537 - Comgall, Domangart’s son, King of Scotland, fell in the 35th year of his reign

By this use of the word ‘fell’ we must come to the conclusion that Comgall died in battle – in the very same year as our seismic battle at Camlann. The ‘gall’ element of his name also philochisps into Gwalinus; & one cannot help but feel that when Boece places Caimus & Gwalinus side-by-side in death, he is referring to them as the kings of the Picts & the Scots. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that these two monarchs would have marched their armies all the way to Cornwall, where Camelford is thought by some to be the site of Camlann. This Cornish legend is more of an unsupported factochisp based upon a philochisp, a common error in historical investigations. Looking for the ‘Camellian battle‘ in the north, however, brings us to a possible philochisp found in the Pictish heartlands at Carmyllie, near Dundee – & one that may be supported by a definitive local tradition.


Travelling to the edge of the parish, & ascending the ridge over the gentle Vinney water, one may see the village of Dunnichen in the valley below. It is to the north of that sparklingly pretty townlet, in the gently undulating agricultural landscape of East Mains, that a memory of the battle of Camlann remained long in the folkspeech of the natives, where a transchispering whisper of an Arthurian battle having taken place there refused to fade into nothingness. In the second statistical account of Scotland (1845), the Rev. Mr Headrick records, ‘a confused tradition prevails of a great battle having been fought on the East Mains of Dunnichen, between Lothus, King of the Picts, or his son Modred, and Arthur King of the Britons, in which that hero of romance was slain.’ An Arthurian battle at Dunnichen is hinted at by a clear topographical reference in the locality; of which John Stuart-Glennie declared, ‘a rock on the north side of the hill of Dunbarrow, in Dunnichen parish (in the adjoining county of Forfar), has long borne, in the tradition of the country, the distinguished name of Arthur’s Seat.’  Was this hill the site of Arthur’s camp at the battle of Camlann?

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Archeology has proven that a substantial conflict had been fought in the locality. A Pictish stone was dug up on East Mains, of which instance Headrick observes in 1833’s Statistical Account that, ‘a good many years ago, there was turned up with the plough a large flat stone, on which is cut a rude outline of an armed warrior’s head and shoulders; and not many years ago, the plough also uncovered some graves in another part of the same farm. These graves consisted of flat stones on all sides. They were filled with human bones, and urns of red clay with rude ornaments upon them ; the urns being filled with whitish ashes. By exposure to the air, the bones and urns mouldered to dust.‘ To this information, Andrew Jervise adds (PSAS II, 1854–7), ‘on the lands of Lownie also, (the original property of the Auchterlonies) & in the King’s muir adjoining, a variety of ancient graves have been now and then discovered.’  Also at Dunnichen was found one of the most remarkable symbol-stones in the Pictish pantheon. It had been dug up in 1811 in a field named ‘Chasel’ (Castle) park at East Mains, & moved to the church yard at Aberlemno. One side of this wonderfully carved stone shows a battle in full swing, presumably between the long-haired Picts & what appears to be helmet-wearing Saxons. Camlann was fought on an international scale, a great civil war in which Mordred obtained military assistance from the Saxons, with the Triads telling us; ‘the three disgraceful traitors who enabled the Saxons to take the crown of the Isle of Britain from the Cambrians… The second was Medrod, who with his men united with the Saxons, that he might secure the kingdom to himself, against Arthur; and in consequence of that treachery many of the Lloegrians became as Saxons.’

We also have an account of Guinevere being imprisoned in the locality after the battle. Hector Boece, following, ‘Vairement, Tergotus, and other reliable writers of our national history, because they record things more truthfully, without the tales of itinerant minstrels,’ writes that after the Battle of Camlann, Guinevere was taken to a hill-fort in Perthshire. In May 2014, I decided to investigate the matter for myself, writing it up in the following blogpost;


Queen Guinevere’s Grave

May 16, 2014

 It has been quite a week. Only the other day I made the first inroads into the previously unfathomable mysteries of the Voynich manuscript, then yesterday I began my initial forays into the academic minefield that are the Pictish symbols. These enigmatic images are found on memorial stones & bits of jewelry across northern Britain, & their true meaning has remained a mystery. Speculation has abounded, but with no Pictish literature to speak of, nothing has ever been able to be properly verified. A lovely clutch of them can be found at a place called Meigle, so two days ago I secured the company of my friend Victor Pope (& his plus one free bus pass) & head off into Scotland in search of a Pictish stone. Our journey took us from Edinburgh, over the red-iron leviathan that is Queensferry Bridge, an experience which reminds me of crossing the Goan river estuaries. From there we trundled through Dumfermline & the western reaches of Fife, before arriving in the gorgeous, stately Tayside town of Perth. Changing busses, we now set off east in the direction of Dundee, along the lush stretch of undulating Green that is the Strathmore.


After passing through Coupar Angus, the bus veered north-east for a while & took us to the exquisitely compact & cute townlet of Alyth, over which stands the earthy remains of a majestic Pictish hill-fort. Full of Arthuriana, the 16th century Scottish historian Hector Boece writes that following the disastrous battle of Camlann, in which Arthur met his doom, Guinevere was taken to Alyth;

On the following day, the British camp was ransacked. In it were discovered Arthur’s consort Queen Guanora, and no few men and women of noble blood. Furthermore, ample spoils were collected and shared out among the victors in the traditional way. The Scots were allotted wagons decorated with precious British ornamentation, horses of noble appearance and speed, arms, and the captive nobles, while Queen Guanora, illustrious men and women, and the rest fell to the Picts. These were led to the Pictish district of Horestia, to Dunbar, which was then a very stoutly fortified stronghold (in our days, the name of the place endures, although nothing of the fort save some traces). There they were detained and spent the rest of their lives in wretched servitude.

The bus then trundled on another 3 miles, dropping me & Vic off at Meigle. We had an hour to spend there, the purpose of the visit being to check out the collection of Pictish stones found in the village churchyard & gathered together inside a small, yet atmospheric museum. Luckily, Vic’s plus one bus pass got us in half-price (£2.25 each) & we had a jolly good time checking out the marvelous carvings of a long-dead race. Outside the church there is also the famous ‘Vanora’s Mound,’ said to be the grave of Guinevere herself. The New Statistical Account of Scotland 1845, tells us; ‘Like other places of the same kind, it is the scene of innumerable legends, which agree in representing it as the residence or prison of the infamous Vanora or Guinevar, who appears in the local traditions under the more homely appellation of Queen Wander, and is generally described as a malignant giantess,’ while Boece adds, ‘the most ornate of these is that of Queen Guanora, as we are advised by its inscription. There is a superstition in that district that women who tread on that tomb henceforth remain as barren as was Guanora.’

The connection between the mound & the grave comes from a massive symbol stone at whose center stands a figure in a dress being torn apart by lions – local folklore suggests this is Guinevere being attacked for getting it on with Mordred. Other scholars think it might likely to be the biblical Daniel, who also got torn apart by lions & appears elsewhere in Pictish imagery. Anyway, that is our starting block; two separate traditions placing Guinevere in the vicinity of Meigle. The thing is, the reason I’d hauled ass up into this pretty corner of Scotland was that I had a different idea as to the location of Guinevere’s grave. So me & Vic jumps on a bus three miles down the road to Newtyle, chomping on a bridie as we went, from where we began a six mile hike back to Coupar Angus through fields full of May flowers & buzzing insectry. Across the Strathmore the Grampians began their epic journey north to the Moray Firth, with pockets of snow still skipping the tallest peaks in the distance.


About two miles into the walk, Vic & I came across a tall Pictish stone known as the ‘Keillar Stone.’ It stands on an ancient burial mound, with a clear view across Strathmore to the hillfort at Alyth, & is a really special location indeed. Of the stone, in 1875 William Oliphant described it as an; ‘old and striking monument, making the spot on which it stands historical, though no syllable of the history has come down to us.‘ In 1856, John Stuart-Glennie reported there was a ‘graveyard’ under the stone as in;

The tumulus on which it is placed is formed of earth and stones, and several cists containing bones have been found in it. Ancient sepulchral remains have also been dug up in various parts of the adjoining field.

Of the mysterious Pictish symbols on the stone, the presence of a rimmed mirror & comb combo seems to reflect the eternal female predilection for making themselves beautiful. In the 7th century, Bede records Pope Boniface sending the combo to a Saxon Queen, called Ethelberga. In Bede’s account, he reprints the Pope’s letter to the queen in its entirety, an extract of which reads;

We have, moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, that is, a silver looking-glass, and a gilt ivory comb, which we entreat your glory will receive with the same kind affection as it is known to be sent by us.

To finish my post I would just like to hypothesise upon a possible factochisp that had taken in the locality. It is true that Guinevere & her fellow nobles were taken in captivity to Alyth, where ‘they were detained and spent the rest of their lives in wretched servitude.’ On their deaths they were buried at the Keillar stone, but over the passage of time, the local tradition that Guinevere was buried in the area, was accidentally shifted to the Vanora Mound at nearby Meigle.



Back in 2017, one final clue to Camlann’s siting at Dunnichen lies in a long-lost church which once stood in the village. Known as St Causnan’s Chapel, the name is a chispological degeneration of Saint Constantine, Arthur’s kinsman, who received the kingship of the Britons on the field of Camlann itself. Big Geoff tells us, ‘even the renowned King Arthur himself was wounded deadly, and was borne thence unto the island of Avalon for the healing of his wounds, where he gave up the crown of Britain unto his kinsman Constantine.’ This crucial passage introduces us to the concept of Avalon, or ‘the Isle of Apples,’ one of the most mysterious & magical places in British mythology. An alternative name, ‘Afallach,’ is given in the Triads.

 Three Dishonoured Men who were in the Island of Britain: There took place the Battle of Camlan between Arthur and Medrawd, and was himself wounded to death. And from that (wound) he died, and was buried in a hall on the Island of Afallach

According to legend, Arthur sailed to Afallach to be treated for his wounds by Morgan Le fey & her nine maidens. The Somerset idyll of crankpots, fine scrumpy & quaint, old streets that is Glastonbury has for a long time staked a claim to its being the Arthurian Avalon, even going so far as to fake Arthur’s grave at the back-end of the 12th century. In 1190, an ancient coffin was ‘discovered,’ by the monks of Glastonbury, in which was found a woman’s bones with the hair still intact. Another coffin was unearthed underneath her, which was found to contain a man’s bones. This being removed, they subsequently found a third coffin upon which a lead cross had been placed, which bore the inscription, ‘Here lies the famous king Arthur, buried in the isle of Avalon.’  On opening the third coffin, they found large & sturdy bones, which the monks transferred with suitable honour and much pomp into a marble tomb in their church. They also declared that the other two coffins contained the bones of Guinevere, & waited for the tourists to pour in.

Looking deeper into the initial discovery, we learn that the Abbey was in deep financial trouble. A few years before the discovery, in 1184, the monastic buildings & church of Glastonbury had been burnt to the ground. Money was needed, & with the relics of saints being big business at the time, these wily monks ‘found’ the bones of Saint Patrick. Widespread belief in an Irish burial site soon put paid to that particular claim, & the bones of Saint Dunstan ‘discovered,’ not long after were dismissed just as swiftly. By 1189, with Richard the Lionheart pressing the churches for financial assistance to aid his crusade, the monks were getting desperate. How fortuitous an occasion it was, then, that the bones of King Arthur were unearthed the next year!

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As seems likely, the Monks of Glastonbury had made the whole thing up, meaning the search for Arthur’s grave is back on. With Camlann being fought at Dunnichen, common sense tells us we are looking for an island with orchards somewhere in the vicinity. There is such a place; for as long as anyone can remember a rich & fertile tract of land in Perthshire called the Carse of Gowrie has flourished with that Fruit of Eve, the apple. The Carse still retains the pleasant moniker of ‘the Garden of Scotland,’ whose once sprawling historic orchards have dwindled to only five wee woods in the modern age; Bogmiln, Inchyra Farm,  Muirhouses, Newbigging & Templehall. In days long gone, a holy Pictish community once prospered in the vicinity of Inchyra Farm, as attested by a tall cross slab discovered at St Madoes, which is now in the Perth Museum. The following account is from the New Stat. Acct. [Statistical Account]. ‘In the churchyard there is a very beautiful specimen of that class of monument called Runic from their imagined Norse or Danish origin. They are somewhat prevalent in this part of Scotland other specimens being found at Abernethy, Mugdrum, Dupplin, Fowlis Wester and DunKeld. There is not anything Known about their history origin or object; and although they were long supposed to have some connection with events took took place during Danish incursions those who have lately comparing them and investigating their their characters begin to think that there is more reason for linking them with the introduction of Christianity into this Country. The St. Madoes Stone is about 7 feet in length and in width about 3′ at bottom and 2½ at top. Its thickness is 8 inches.’ Here again we see how the Pictish Stones were considered to be of Scandinavian – ie Herulian – origin.


Just on the edge of St Madoes we come to Inchyra House, a place of great significance to our investigation on account of two particular Dark Age relics, which placed side-by-side very much invoke the idea that Inchyra was once Avalon. The first is a Pictish grave, discovered by ploughing in 1945, & situated 100 meters south of Inchyra House. The remains were covered by a large decorated flat slab lying flat over a cairn of forty-nine water-rolled stones. This may well be Arthur’s, for the Triads say he was buried in, ‘a hall on the Island of Afallach.’ The skeletal remains, which included the upper part of a skull, an arm bone and shoulder socket, were later respectfully re-buried without a closer examination. The second relique can still be seen an arrow shot from Inchyra House; the once prominent conical tumulus known as the Witch Knowe. Roundabout the year 1830 a gardener called James Powrie, removed several cartloads of stones, urns and numerous calcined bones. That the remians were buried at the ‘Witch Knowe’ provides a solid link to the attepted magical healing of Arthur after Camlann. It seems quite casual to just slip in the fact that Arthur may have been buried in the grounds of Inchyra, but further evidences suggest as much. An antique Welsh poem called Pa Gur has Arthur up to all sorts of obscure deeds in even obscurer places, including;

In the hall of Awarnach
Fighting with a hag
He cleft the head of Paiach

Here we have a clear philochisp for the Hall of Afallach. If this was at Inchyra, then of course the ‘Witch Knowe’ connects with the ‘Hag’ at Awarnach. That Arthur was buried in the area can also be ascertained through the following babel-chain;


According to a poem known as the Stanzas of the Graves, found in the 13th century ‘Black Book of Carmathen, among a comprehensive list of the burial sites of ancient Welsh heroes we read; ‘Anoeth, the grave of Arthur. In the vicinity of Inchyra we can also place Arthur’s ‘nurse,’ Morgan Le fey. Constructing a babel-chain around her name leads us to St Madoes, the village by Inchyra House. In the chain we encounter a variant of Madoes – Madianus – & the name of yet another Dark Age female sorceress, Modron.


In Celtic mythology, Modron was the daughter of Avallach, whose husband was a certain Urien of Rheged with whom she sired a prince called Owain. Likewise, Morgan Le fey was said to be the wife of King Urien of Rheged, with whom she sired a certain Prince Owain. The two are clearly the same woman, with the philochisp occurring during the transference of Modron’s legend to Brittany, where the figure of Morgan Le fey first prospered in folk-tales & literature.


Fifteen centuries ago, the alluvial flood plain that is the Carse of Gowrie was a patchwork of many islands, including Inchyra, whose phonetic ‘inch’ stems from the Gaelic name for ‘small island.’ The land upon which the Witch Knowe was raised does rather feel like it was in the island in the past, about a football pitch’s worth. From this place, & on crossing the Tay estuary, one comes to quaint Abernethy, the capital of the southern Pictland. The town even gets a mention in the Pictish King List, as in, ‘Nectonius the Great, Wirp’s son, the king of all the provinces of the Picts, offered to Saint Brigid to the day of judgement, Abernethy, with its territories.’ The vocal, local folklore of Abernethy relates how back in the 6th century Saint Brigit sent nine maidens to the town from Ireland. Their healing skills would have been among the best in Dark Age Britain, & transporting the mortally wounded Arthur to their bosom after Camlann would have been the best option at the time. In his Vita Merlini, Big Geoff describes the nine sisters of Avalon in a classic creochisp based upon Saint Bridget’s maidens at Abernethy;


There nine sisters rule by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country. She who is first of them is more skilled in the healing art, and excels her sisters in the beauty of her person.  Morgen is her name, and she has learned what useful properties all the herbs contain, so that she can cure sick bodies…. And men say that she has taught mathematics to her sisters, Moronoe, Mazoe, Gliten, Glitonea, Gliton, Tyronoe, Thitis; Thitis best known for her cither.  Thither after the battle of Camlan we took the wounded Arthur, guided by Barinthus to whom the waters and the stars of heaven were well known.  With him steering the ship we arrived there with the prince, and Morgen received is with fitting honour, and in her chamber she placed the king on a golden bed and with her own hand she uncovered his honourable wound and gazed at it for a long time.  At length she said that health could be restored to him if he stayed with her for a long time and made use of her healing art.  Rejoicing, therefore, we entrusted the king to her and returning spread our sails to the favouring winds.

Unfortunately for Arthur, his wounds turned out to be outwith the pale of even the abilities of Morgan Le fey, & so Death came & claimed him. That he was buried in a ‘hall’ in the future grounds of Inchyra House certainly feels right, & I began to investigate the matter further. What I discovered was something quite beautiful which all but confirms, in chispological terms, that Arthur was once buried under that ornate Pictish slab & its 49 water-rolled stones discovered at Inchrya in 1945.


One sleepless night during the writing of this book, as I stared at the ceiling in my bedroom, I was picturing the stone & the Ogham letters inscribed into it. While ruminating on the matter further I came to the conclusion that; if I was right, & Arthur was buried at Inchyra, the Ogham inscription on the stone might mention Arthur, Uther or Igerne in some capacity. A wee google later & the pdf was on my screen of a 1959 paper on the Inchyra Stone by written by Robert Stevenson. To my sleepy joy, the Ogham inscriptions appeared, as transliterated by FT Wainwright. Of their academic accuracy, Stevenson wrote; ‘Professor K.H.Jackson, who examined the stone along with us, is in general agreements.’ The first inscription reads…


…in which one can see Anoeth, as in the babel-chain;


It is the inscription on one of the stone’s edges that gives us the winning ticket;


In the Welsh tradition, Igerne is given the name Eigr, & thus in the Ogham inscription above we can quite positively see the names of Arthur’s legendary parents;

UHTU                     AGE

Uther                       Eigr

That the philochisps of Arthur’s burial site at Anoeth & the names of both of his parents appear on a single stone are just two more of the many ‘coincidences’ that paint Inchyra as the original Avalon. This means simply that King Arthur was – & still is – buried in the grounds. It was not the first time I had found Arthur’s grave, however, for back in my early days as a trainee chispologist I had deciphered another dark-age inscription, & come to the conclusion that Arthur & Mordred had been buried in a romantic glen in the Scottish Borders. It turned out I was wrong, but what I didn’t realise at the time was instead of finding Arthur, I’d actually found the guy who’d found the Holy Grail…


Next Wednesday, 20/12/17

Chapter 8

The Holy Grail


chisp cover


Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent



chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang