Changing the Course of the World


Sometimes, the history of the world is changed in just a matter of moments or by the actions of a single person. I was given to think about this one New Year’s Eve when I played a trivia game with some friends. A strange occurrence that lasted only minutes nearly condemned famed explorer Christopher Columbus to death at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. Some of his crew were not as lucky as he was and were put to death or tortured to death.

Columbus sailed west from Spain in 1492 and ended up taking the most direct route to the Caribbean that he could have. This is not a well traveled route these days because there is an impediment that lays in the way. The Sargasso Sea is the only sea in the world bordered not by land, but by water only. It sits in the Atlantic Ocean near the Caribbean. It is bordered by strong jet streams and currents and is the habitat of many animals because of its unique feature. It is so named because sargassum seaweed free floats in mass quantities in the Sargasso Sea. There is so much there that ships get stranded there.

All three of Columbus’ ships became mired in the seaweed of the Sargasso Sea for several days. They were at the mercy of the sea and the winds. On the second or third night that they were stuck in the Sargasso a curious thing happened. A glowing object shaped like a menorah rushed out of the water and hovered over the sea for a handful of minutes. It was such a startling happening, that Columbus put it in his captain’s log as did the captains of his other ships.

Upon returning to Spain, some of Columbus’ men told people about the flying menorah and Columbus’ log book was confiscated. And he was dragged in front of the Spanish Inquisition. Records of his questioning can still be found in the files of the Spanish Inquisition.

Eventually, a well respected monk that had traveled with the ships came to Columbus’ aid. He went before the Inquisition and supported Columbus’ statement of the facts. Unfortunately, the testimony of the monk was not enough to save all the members of the crew that were brought before the Inquisition.

Columbus was eventually given the chance to redeem himself by giving money to the Church. The problem was not that Columbus saw a UFO but that he described it as shaped like a menorah.

And so, Columbus was nearly executed for heresy because he described a UFO as a menorah. One has to wonder what we would be taught about Columbus if things had not turned out in his favor.

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