Mention ‘Erebus’ to any New Zealander (who is old enough to remember 1979) and they will be able to tell you what they were doing when they heard about the crash.
On 28 November 1979, while on a sightseeing tour to the Antarctic, Flight 901 ripped through the slopes of Mt Erebus, killing everyone on board. It remains the worst disaster in our country’s history. In an instant that is still controversial, 257 people died.
NZ has always been somewhat isolated, tucked away at the end (or the beginning) of the world. In 1979, we were more of a large community than a country, and Erebus ‘rocked’ us. I remember a radio being brought into my class at school so we could hear the updates. A friend dropped by today and said her parents knew someone who was on the plane, that was the feel at the time, somehow close & personal.
There was a double edge to this event. As well as a national tragedy there was knowing in hindsight, something that the crew did not. At 1.40am on the morning of 28th November, the flight co-ordinates for Flight TE901 were changed and no one was told. This moved the flight path 45km (27 miles) to the east and instead of flying over McMurdo Sound, the plane would cross Lewis Sound and fly directly over the top of Mt Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world. At 3794m (12,448ft) it is the second highest volcano in the Antarctic).
Sir Edmund Hillary who was to have been the narrator on this flight, pulled out due to other commitments (a strange sounding tale it would have been if the man who had climbed Mt Everest, died on Mt Erebus). His place was taken by his good friend & fellow explorer Peter Mulgrew.
The rainbow threads in this story create a densely woven fabric. Let the weaving begin.
While researching for my previous article I came upon a reference in Greek mythology to Erebus. As mentioned earlier, in NZ, it is ‘a name that stands in infamy’. I was intrigued to find that Erebus was the primordial darkness & shadow, the offspring of Chaos (the void from which all things originated). Even more intriguing was finding that Erebus also refers to the region of the the Underworld, where the dead must first pass through, in essence the gateway to hell. The deepest region of Hades where the Titans were confined is known as Tartarus.
The children of Erebus & Nyx (Night) include the illustrious line up of Hypnos (Sleep), Thanatos (Death) and Charon (the ferryman of the dead).
‘Erebus’ took on a new significance.
Of all possible places, a plane had crashed into the entrance of the Underworld, or perhaps it could be said to have rent an opening into the Underworld. Rescue workers at the site later described it as a hellhole. The wreckage left a 600 metre trail (see picture above).
Further reference to Greek mythology yielded the story of the Titan, Menoetius (brother to Atlas, Promethius & Epimetheus) who was ‘plunged into darkest Erebus’ for his boundless audacity. I was interested to note that Sir Edmund Hillary, who escaped death on Erebus, (but died earlier this year) was described by the actor Brian Blessed as ‘a kind of Titan’.
Menoetius whose name means ‘defying fate’ or ‘ruined strength’ is believed by some to be identical to Menoetes, the herdsman of Hades. He was overthrown by Hercules (in his twelfth & final labour) before he carried off Cereberus. Interestingly, the rescue team was dispatched on a C-130 Hercules and the bodies of the victims were ‘ferried’ back to NZ on a RNZAF Hercules.
A further subtle link with Hades was the sight of the koru (the Air New Zealand symbol used on the tail of their craft) found intact on the slopes, after the plane had been decimated.
I recalled seeing a similar name very recently. Kore is a name used for Persephone, Queen of Hades, it means ‘young maiden or virgin’. Flight TE901 was the first ( could it be called virgin?) crash for our country’s national airline, Air New Zealand.
The in flight catering for this 11 hour, round trip ‘voyage to the end of the world’ featured a special dessert. ‘Peach Erebus’ was to be served as the plane passed the Sentinel of McMurdo, the name given to Mt Erebus in advertising brochures. In China the peach has a venerated history. Xi Wangmu (also known as the Queen of the West, ensured the everlasting existence of the gods by feeding them the ‘peaches of immortality’. The peach tree put forth leaves once every thousand years and it required another three thousand years for the fruit to ripen. ‘Peach’ was also used a slang word for ‘young bride’ another echo of Persephone perhaps.
The threads then returned to modern day, when in a very strange turn of events, I came across a story that eerily echoed a recent post on the Rainbow Warrior. Two days after the death mentioned in that post, on 12th February, Ron Chippindale, the chief crash investigator of Flight 901, was killed when a car went out of control and ploughed into him on a footpath.
Throughout this time a name kept appearing as I made my way through the endless Internet & book pages. The life & achievements of Sir Edmund Hillary, seemed to weave a parallel fabric.
Hillary reached the summit of Mt Everest in 1953, at the age of 33. News of this reached England on the eve of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and he was knighted just a few days later, making it one of the very first tasks the Queen undertook. In 1958 he reached the South Pole, in typical kiwi style, on a tractor.
Then in 1975, his wife & youngest daughter were killed in a plane crash in Nepal. Four years later his loss was echoed again, when his close friend, Peter Mulgrew took his place on TE901. Hillary’s life which seems filled with interesting dates, married the widow of Peter Mulgrew on 21st December 1989.
In 1985, he flew with Neil Armstrong to the North Pole. Neil Armstrong (if the accounts of moon landing are correct) landed on the moon on July 20th 1969, exactly fifty years to the day of Edmund Hillary’s birth in 1919. After the flight Armstrong read an excerpt from an account by the Swede Saloman Andree who tried to reach the pole by balloon in 1897, & ended with an eerie tale that the bodies of the Andree expedition had been found 33 years later, on Bear Island. I feel this had some symbolic significance, especially as the Arctic is named for the bear. Edmund Hillary became the first man to stand at both the North & South Pole and the top of the world.
New Zealand has an emotional connection to the Antarctic through both the Erebus crash & Sir Edmund Hillary’s fifty year association with that land. Scott Base is our main base in Antarctica, situated on Ross Island near Mt Erebus. Scott Base is named after Robert Falcon Scott, a British explorer. Incidentally, it was a V8 Ford Falcon, that killed the crash investigator Ron Chippindale.
Mt Erebus is situated on Ross island. Between 1840 & 1843 English explorer James Clark Ross commanded an Antarctic expedition in the region. It was he who named Mt Erebus and the neighbouring volcano, Mt Terror after his two expedition ships.
I do find it a little strange that sailors who are said to be such superstitious folk would wish to name, let alone sail in ships with such inauspicious names. Indeed, on returning from the Antarctic in 1842, in an incident that echoed the future, Terror ploughed into the side of Erebus, while trying to avoid an ice berg. Both ships were locked together, but were eventually able to separate, however Erebus sustained massive damage. This description made me look at Mt Erebus in a new light. My thoughts have always been for the passengers of flight 901, and still are, but now I wonder could Mt Erebus have sustained great injury that day. This volcano’s future had already been usurped by it’s naming. The craze to dissect Gaia and pollute her with meaningless names boggles the mind. In NZ, the Maoris had the very great wisdom to name places appropriately ie. Rotorua translates to Roto (lake) & Rua (two), I’m sure you can work it out.
One further note about these ships. The Erebus & Terror were refitted after these voyages and under the command of Sir John Franklin, set out on an expedition to gather magnetic data in the Canadian Arctic & to complete a crossing of the Northwest Passage. They were last seen entering Baffin Bay in 1845. The expedition vanished and despite a massive search there was no news of their fate until 1848. Both ships had become icebound and had been abandoned by their crews, all of whom died from exposure, starvation & possibly botulism from tainted rations. There were also oral reports by local Inuit, that some crew members had resorted to cannibalism. Just how much is in a name.
We return to Antarctica, the frozen continent, the coldest place on earth. For such an inhospitable place, it sure is ‘mighty popular’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_research_stations_in_Antarctica
According to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 only research goes on here & while military personnel are allowed, we are told they don’t do any military stuff, one wonders why they would need to be there then. Is the use of the word ‘Treaty’ a way of saying ‘it’s all right nothing is happening, you can go back to sleep’. I have come across some fascinating scenarios on this trek, including talk of Nazi bases. Operation Highjump in 1947 was a huge operation, there is the official version or the more interesting one (browse at your leisure).
From the early 1980’s the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica has generated a vast amount of interest. It has also generated forever and a day of research, funding for research & panic about the future of the world’s environment, as any profitable business seems to do these days. Rational thinking and the working together of groups with differing beliefs is as likely as flying pigs circling the South Pole.
Ken Ring is a kiwi with some interesting ideas, all the more so because they lead us back to Erebus (go on, he’s worth the read- the no nonsense approach will do you the world of good).
So Ken suggests that Erebus has a hand in the creation of the hole in ozone layer.
As above so below?
We are so used to a world that we affect only through such methods as pollution. We cannot comprehend another way of relating to our surroundings. Could the colossal impact, the devastation of human life, the futile horror of the rescuers have created a ‘hellhole’? In 1984, Erebus erupted ‘launching bombs measuring 10 meters wide and slung them as far as 3 kilometers away from the crater’. For the second half of 2005, it erupted up to six times a day. Consider also or as well, the possibility that activities carried out in Antarctica of which we know nothing, may directly affect this colossus.
Over the course of this article I have developed a feeling of friendship towards Erebus. I have my own views on the cause of the crash, Mt Erebus was not to blame, it was where it had always been.
I have to tie off the threads shortly because of a promise I made to whatever it was that urged me to write this. That I would post it at 6.oopm NZ time, as my antidote to the poison that I believe is about to be spilled into this country & it’s surrounds through the ROCK2WGTN concert, a further attempt by the ‘darkness’ to create another hellhole. As my son said today, the biggest concert we have in NZ is The Big Day Out, and by world wide standards I’m sure you would laugh. The question is ‘what the hell are they up to? I wouldn’t blink an eye if it was in the USA or England but here – get off the grass!
The timing of the vernal equinox is no accident. As the darkness returns to Antarctica, this country will be rocked for two nights, by an energy that does not belong here.
On 28 Nov 1979, we were also rocked and so was Mt Erebus. Wellington stands on a fault line which I believe makes it easier to ‘rock’. Has the darkness of Erebus arrived? Take a look at the plans for Wellington new airport, because if there’s one way out of the darkness, it is the stupendous power of laughter.
I am grateful to Ellis Taylor for his timely article and post a link here
Some additional info is posted here for anyone who is interested.
Details of Erebus crash
Columbia Space Shuttle cloud over Antarctica three days after it is destroyed.
South Pole Markers 2005 – 2008
Antarctic crater from 250 million years ago
Ancient Martian meteorite found in Antarctica
Overland road to South Pole
Mysterious creatures found in Antarctica
My apologies, but this article is ‘arse about face’ as it followed on from a conversation with a friend. If you start at the end & work your way up it makes more sense.
(Ok, now try this one… It wasn’t as obvious as the first one, but I had my suspicions, so I just lifted my glasses & hey presto. Sorry this is a bit disorganised, I was planning to do a post on these at some time)
Hint on pic above: The orange & red blobs of ice cream create the eye sockets – now find the skull!
Previously: One day I’ll figure out how to put pictures in the order I want. This is just a quickie.
The ‘artistic’ impression below is the face that literally jumped out at me every time I passed the bus-stop poster shown below.
This is the second time I’ve found this style of hidden image. The first was in Sydney last year. Both times, two lines of large, densely placed lettering are placed one on top of the other & create teeth. Then shading, colouring or objects are used in the ares of eyes, nose, skull etc.
I believe the writing that makes the teeth is the most important feature, and then the picture making parts of the brain creates the image guided by suggestive elements.
I am short sighted, I wear glasses to drive or watch TV, the rest of the time I choose to live with the blur, rather than have my vision directed straight ahead, which is what glasses do. This may give me a head start in spotting images like this.
So relax your vision & stand back, don’t try & see the image and let it jump out at you.
I have some others if interested.
Start here: I dislike this bus-stop poster in the extreme. It was the first in a line of ‘dark’ posters that started appearing a few months ago. The first time I drove past it I just thought “what the ….” and went back for another look with my camera.
Can you see it?
So far no one has got it without directions – but once they’re shown it becomes easy to spot. Admittedly it’s actual size is large and meant to be viewed from a car.
When I heard about the Easter Rock Concert in Wellington, I felt there was a link.
Will post another image tomorrow to help if you can’t see it.
No, I’m not advocating the auctioning of underwear for cancer charities. This is my chosen response whenever someone mentions cancer (unless of course they are referring to the fine astrological sign.) Nine times out of ten, I have to say it silently, for fear of being tarred and feathered. I’m presuming most people remember that old fashioned expletive ‘knickers’ from the days of Morecombe & Wise & the like – uttered loudly & irreverently.
It seems to me that we are living in a world where all the bases are covered by some form of ‘terrorism’. Step out into the world and you run the risk of being annihilated by some heretofore unknown group of dedicated & strategically brilliant fanatics. You’re not safe at home either, for lurking there behind every organ in your body is the dreaded inner terrorist ‘El Cancer’.
I reject cancer & I reject the hype & ‘specialness’ that has been carefully cultivated behind it. As a human being, I receive daily programming, in one form or another, that this disease is basically a fait accompli for me or someone I love.
While researching on the Internet today I found this sentence – ‘I’m the first among our friends to have cancer…’, aaahhhh, what future do we have if we talk like that, life becomes an episode of Midsomer Murders – who’s next?
Well bollocks to that.
For the rest of this article I will refer to the above mentioned disease as ‘knickers’ (except when used as a book or article title – for the sake of clarity.)
Let me say I have no disrespect for people who are suffering from this, or any disease, quite, quite, quite the opposite, I abhor suffering. My personal wish is that the truth about this disease be brought to light, that its causes be acknowledged & removed. But that’s not going to happen while ‘knickers’ is talked of in hushed & awed tones and left in the hands of pharmaceutical bank accounts.
My personal irreverence with the disease began when I started to get the feel that I wasn’t a proper woman, if I hadn’t developed breast knickers. Everywhere I turned there were magazine article’s, books, movies, even personalised car licence plates. The media had found a new best seller, ‘the pain and disfigurement of women’. Combined with this, was my first & only mammogram, from which I have never felt quite the same again. What a horrible process.
My quip, when I can get away with it, is one lump or two. I just refuse to be railroaded.
Dr Toni Jeffrey’s is a NZ doctor who wrote a timely book called ‘Cancer Conspiracy.’ She claims that research shows women who have mammograms are 6 times more likely to get breast knickers than those who don’t have them. She also objectively points out they do find one woman in a thousand who does have knickers .
Women aged 40 – 69 in NZ are urged to have yearly mammograms which are provided free of charge – the risk is a non-optional extra that is not mentioned.
The article below though some years old now, has some interesting comments and in particular mentions how an awareness campaign, was founded, marketed & solely financed by a leading pharmaceutical company.
The daffodil has become synonymous with knickers over the past 50 years. I have often thought that it a shame, that a lovely flower be conscripted into service as a symbol of disease. The official explanation is that it is a symbol of ‘hope’, that awful word that alludes more to helplessness than bright futures. I suggest that what is needed is a symbol of health & vitality.
Daffodils have a chequered history, but what is not commonly known is their long association with grief & death. In Greek Myth, the world is changed forever when Hades, bursts forth from the Underworld & abducts Persephone as she reaches to pick a daffodil. This event brings winter to the earth, as her mother Demeter, Goddess of the harvest, refuses, in her grief to let anything grow.
Robert Herrick, in Hesperides (1648) alludes to daffodils as a portent of death.
Narcissus (the botanical name for the genus that includes daffodils) was a beautiful youth who fell in love with his own reflection and pined away until he died of sorrow. The Gods took pity on him and turned him into his namesake flower.
The name Narcissus, derives from the Greek ‘narke’, meaning deep sleep or numbness, (from which comes the word ‘narcotic’) and refers to the belief at the time that the flower’s scent produced a death-like sleep.
The Greeks planted daffodil bulbs near tombs and in Victorian times daffodils were also depicted on headstones. They had a number of meanings, among them was death of youth.
More recently, the daffodil has again been conscripted as a symbol, this time for 9/11.
And again for AIDS
When daffodils appear in spring they are as Wordsworth so eloquently put it ‘continuous as the stars that shine’. Is it possible that instead of seeing Spring flowers, we are being subliminally conditioned to focus on a symbol of suffering, illness &, death. Never underestimate the power of symbolism, it is the desktop icon of the western world.
In the natural world, the coming of the daffodil has heralded the coming of Spring. In NZ Daffodil Day is a booming industry. Everywhere daffs are on sale in their hundreds. The plastic versions are just as plentiful and hell hath no disdain like those of knicker sellers to whom one hath not donated. Everyone is doing their bit. But their bit of what – it comes down making as many people as possible focus on, or raise money for what is basically a man-made disease.
We live in a toxic world. We are polluted daily through what we eat, drink, breathe and have our being in. We are subjected to manufactured stresses created through the media, overwork and our removal from nature. We are human beings forced into the mould of a machine.
Of course there is knickers, and many other diseases to boot.
In the best traditions of the western world, millions of dollars have been spent developing weapons of mass destruction for the war on knickers, what about the why of knickers. I’ll back the cleaners at the knicker research institutes any day over the researchers.
Our immune systems, in proper working order are our elixir of life. Our natural state of health is to be healthy. Driving home from work today, I looked at the trees, I saw nature giving the purest directive. Everywhere the trees were ‘going for it’, even the ones that have taken a beating at one time or another were still going for it and not one of them was ‘raising awareness’, they’re too bloody busy living, which is what you, my friend, should be doing instead of reading about knickers :)
were the chief requirements of life,
when all that we need
to make us really happy is