Author Topic: The Living Dead  (Read 1445 times)


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The Living Dead
« on: February 23, 2022, 08:20:27 AM »
Here's an amusing coincidence: A couple of days ago I was watching a gardening video, and the presenter kept emphasising the need to use PEAT FREE compost; later expanding on that a bit by saying that that peat was a limited resource and took thousands of years to form, etcetera.

That annoyed me slightly. A resource that you cannot use is not a resource. Are we denying ourselves peat so our grandchildren can use it in their potting sheds? But then they have to save it for their grandchildren, and so on.

So I got on the internet to find out what was the story with peat, a substance that I have never seen and don't understand (it's basically mud, but you can burn it?) and I did eventually find out what the justification was for preserving it (habitat for particular animals, carbon sequestration, and a couple of other things), but the main point - stay with me - is that in my research I landed on a couple of pages discussing ancient bodies found in peat bogs, which were so well preserved they were often taken for recent murder victims though they had died thousands of years ago.

The people had had all been human sacrifices (the ones I read about were in Denmark) - generally strangled or hanged, with the ligatures still plainly visible (now you sense where I'm going with this). I had heard of bodies being found preserved in bogs or glaciers, but only the fact of this happening, not any of the background (where, why, how).

Then yesterday I downloaded the archive of old Knotting Matters, issues 1-100, which I intend to savour methodically from start to finish (expect lots of questions posted in this forum arising from that project). However, I couldn't resist taking just one sneak peek preview, and decided on issue 100 (Sept 2008), and what do you think I saw when I rolled down to the contents page?

Some of you will have guessed already: it was a photo of a peat bog sacrifice victim - in Britain this time - with the accompanying article describing Geoffrey Budworth's examination and analysis of the knotted cord around his neck.

So here I've been for over fifty years on the planet, almost entirely ignorant of the subject, and in the space of a couple of days, two completely unrelated activities have led me a circuitous path to the same thing. I suppose it would have been a better story if it had been *exactly the same* preserved body, but nevertheless it's a pretty unlikely happenstance.

By the way, I was surprisingly emotionally affected by what I read on the internet about the peat bog bodies. I found it chilling and haunting. I told myself that dozens - perhaps even hundreds - of people are being hanged or strangled every day right now and I've never really worried about that.

Examining my feelings, I think that what's chilling is that those people were killed by their own clan or tribe and they probably knew well in advance. There was no practical means of escape for them. It's not like today when you could skip town and start a new life elsewhere. Even if they could walk or run far enough to escape, no other group would accept them.  Survival was only possible in the security of their kin and comrades, and the leaders of that group had decided they must die. No possible appeal. No possible help.

Modern life has many trials and irritations, but getting a letter from the government informing you that you have been selected to be throttled as a sacrifice to the gods is thankfully not one of them.


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Re: The Living Dead
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2022, 06:01:01 AM »
Bonus coincidence (two for the price of one).

Having started with Issue#100 I decided to carry on with it, and I read Desmond Mandeville's Trambles article. Intrigued I got up and got some cord to try out some of his ideas (basically he explores related knots separated only by one tuck).

Ferreting around in the drawer for two similar diameter cords I decided on two different colours (something I often forget to do) in order to have a visual contrast between the two working ends.

After following Mandeville's article for a bit, I suddenly felt inclined to tie a couple of other bends from my sadly limited repertoire to see how the "colour contrast" concept worked out: first the Vice Versa, then the Zeppelin.

Having thought "Zeppelin", I remembered that someone (Dan Lehman?) had disputed that name and put another forward, and having thought that (yes, I'm this scatterbrained) I decided to do a search for Zeppelin Bend on line to see what articles there might be on the history and the disputed parentage.

Now the payoff: From the Wikipedia article on Zeppelin Bend:
Prior to Bob [Thrun]'s discovery, the late Desmond Mandeville discovered [it] for himself in 1961, later to present [it] as "Poor Man's Pride" in articles in the IGKT's Knotting Matters.
Not days this time between connections, but mere minutes between my first seeing the name Desmond Mandeville (as far as I recall), seeing it again in a different medium and in a completely different context, and being referred back to Knotting Matters!

Is it really so amazing? Maybe not. There are only so many people widely published/referenced for knotting endeavours. So if I'm in knot-thought-investigation mode perhaps it's to be expected for the same name to come up twice in a short space of time.

Still ... the separate KM index lists 645 different contributors. If we pare that down heavily to account for one-off authors you'd still have to allow for 200-300 people. And it could have been someone not even vaguely connected to IGKT who "discovered" the Zeppelin Bend (sorry DL - I really think it's fait accompli by now). So to me it seems remarkably coincidental.