CRYPTOZOOLOGY / FOLKLORE:
A mermaid was apparently found stranded in the mud after a storm in West Friesland. She was then taken, clothed and fed ordinary food. Some say that she lived for fifteen years in capture, trying to escape constantly; she was also taught to kneel before the crucifix and spin but she was never able to speak.
The first known printed reference on the Almas was made by a Bavarian named Hans Schiltberger. He traveled through the Tien Shan mountains as a captive to the Mongols. During his imprisonment he kept a journal in which he wrote: "In the mountains themselves live a wild people, who have nothing in common with other human beings, a pelt covers the entire body of these creatures. Only the hands and face are free of hair. They run around in the hills like animals and eat foliage and grass and whatever else they can find. The Lord of the Territory made Egidi a present of a couple of forest people, a man and a woman, together with three untamed horses the sizes of asses and all sorts of other animals which are not found in German lands and which I cannot therefore put a name to."
MAGICK AND THE OCCULT:
The magician Abramelin, also called "Abraham the Jew", authors The Book of Sacred Magic, said to have been delivered to his son Lamech. His book offers readers cabalistic magic squares that will purportedly perform such feats as raising tempests, causing spirits to appear, changing men into animals and vice versa, procuring visions, raising the dead, rousing love or hate, demolishing buildings, walking under water, and even making stage performances appear.
CONSPIRACY / CULTS AND RELIGION:
The term "Illuminati" was used by one writer, Menendez Pelayo, as early as 1492 and is attributable to a group known as the "Alumbrados" of Spain. The Alumbrados were said to receive secret knowledge from an unknown higher source, resulting in superior human intelligence.
WEIRD NATURE: / UFOLOGY:
10:00 PM, from The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus: Christopher Columbus and Pedro Gutierrez; while on the deck of the Santa Maria, observed, "a light glimmering at a great distance." It vanished and reappeared several times during the night, moving up and down, "in sudden and passing gleams." It was sighted 4 hours before land was sighted, and taken by Columbus as a sign they would soon come to land.