DESPERATE PROOF NON BELIEVERS WERE LED TO BELIEVE IN …THE SCIENCE and MAGIC FOR THE SUPERNATURALLY SUPERSTITIOUS

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ANCIENT PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE

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ENTERING THE GATES OF HELL

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ORACLES OF THE DEAD and NECROMANCY

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The ancient Greeks believed that the dead (in Greek: “Nekys”, “Nekroi”) stayed in the earth as a perishable body while as a soul they were released and found their way to the Underworld through deep gorges, crevices and caves. The souls of the dead did not have ordinary consciousness but had other capabilities not possessed by the living such as the ability to know the future.

Based on such beliefs, the Homeric Odysseus descended to Hades, [the world of the dead], to meet the soul of Teiresias the great diviner to find out what was hidden in his future. In the rhapsody “Nekyia” of the Odyssey we have exact descriptions about the care that should be exercised by the living when approaching the souls of the dead, since the miasma of death was very powerful.

Faith in such beliefs led many among the ancients to visit sites, which were reputed to be entrances to the Underworld in order to receive prophecies from the Oracles of the Dead

For a certain period of time, and in total darkness, the pilgrim ate food appropriate for the dead such as broad beans, pork, barley bread and oysters and underwent purification by washing and prayers.

The purpose of these procedures was presumably to strengthen the pilgrim’s defences against the psychologically powerful contact with the death experience. With yet more severe fasting and meditation the pilgrim would also stay in the northern room of the eastern corridor until the time of the oracle.

Pilgrims expected to see the images of the dead as shadows against the flickering lantern light. These visions may have been enhanced by the special diet recommended in the days before entering the sanctuary, which some have described as including hallucinogens. Interestingly, inside the underground chambers, archaeologists have found mechanical contrivances which may have been used to enhance the appearance of animated dead. After a session with the dead, pilgrims were forbidden to talk about what they learned for fear of Hades claiming their own lives in exchange.

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