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Mysteries


Strange quirks of history

THE PIRATES, MELIDONI

We cross a hill near Aghia Elessa then begin our descent into the unknown. There is a dirt track, rocks and stones and the sea. Nothing else. There are no houses, no roads, no telegraph poles. The hills rise up in the distance, the sea is an intense blue and there are no signs of…

ROSA HERN

In 1850, an Irish doctor by the name of Charles Hern was appointed by the British authorities as resident physician on the island of Kythera. He was young and was blessed with the typical charm of the Irish. One evening, at a ball at the British governor’s palace, he met a young Kytheran girl, Rosa…

THE HANGED MEN

That morning, October 9th 1821, an inhabitant of Karava saw everything. He went straight to Hora and denounced the killers. The English governor ordered a police inspector to go immediately to Karava. The inspector’s name was Jean Kasimatis, and he was a member of one of the dynasties which had ruled over Kythera for a…

THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented. The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill…

YANNI’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

Yanni is the head of the largest family on the island of Spetses. He is also one of the most renowned butterfly experts in the Balkans. He is a contemporary of mine, and a friend. His family has an interesting history. In the early 19th century, his ancestors were shipowners. But at the time, there…

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The Burial of Anne Boleyn

No historic monument in Britain is more visited than the Tower of London. Millions of tourists flock there to see the Crown Jewels, the Yeomen, or « Beefeaters », in their unique renaissance uniforms, and the famous ravens who, as legend would have it, have witnessed so many historical events throughout the centuries.Before becoming a museum, the…

SIR WILLIAM WYNDHAM

Towards the end of the 17th century Sir William Wyndham passed through Saint Mark’s Square in Venice in a carriage. At the very end of the square, a curious gathering was held; there were more people than usual. As he stopped his carriage to find out what was going on, he spotted a charlatan who…

VARANASI, THE HAUNTED TEMPLE

  Dagmar, our friends’ delightful and brilliant daughter, who had stayed at Varanasi, told me about this temple on the Ghats that is greatly haunted and feared by everyone in its vicinity. And suddenly I remembered an Indian man I met in Paris many years ago, who told me about the most harmful of sorcerers…

THE VULTURES OF THE TOWERS OF SILENCE

Thousands of years ago, the Persians were of Zoroastrian confession. Founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in the 6th century B.C., this religion ‘of fire’ was in fact one of the first, if not the first, monotheist schools of thought in History. Later, the Muslim invasion and fanaticism forced an entire colony of Zoroastrians into exile….

MANDU THE SULTAN AND THE DANCER

Not far from Maheshwar, Mandu was the capital of a vast and extremely wealthy Islamic sultanate. In the 14th century, it was the biggest city in India with a million inhabitants. One of the sultans had returned from a trip to Africa with 150,000 baobab saplings. With their strange, unique forms, they still stand proudly…