Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hammurabi and new novel Gettysburg Passage

Code of Hammurabi from Ancient Babylon, one of...Image by carmen_seaby via Flickr
What does one of history's greatest law givers and a new action and adventure novel, Gettysburg Passage, have in common? Well, I'll get to that in a moment. First, the news.

News out of Haaretz.com in Israel: A small clay tablet has been discovered by archaeologists in Israel while escavating a site called Tel Hazor. The tablet is approximately 3,700 to 3,800 years old and has key words that remind experts of Hammurabi's famous law codex. The tablet uses Akkadian cuneiform, the international language of diplomacy during that ancient time. Here is a link to the Haaretz wire story:


Hammurabi was the sixth king of Babylon, considered the first king of the Babylonian Empire and the ruler of all of Mesopotamia. He is famous as the first law giver and his Hammurabian Code. Many experts believe that key laws and moral principles found in the Jewish Bible were strongly influenced by Hammurabi.

Was Hammurabi the first law giver? The first in recorded history to this date, yes. But what if there were earlier law givers? Maybe not kings, but influential "law clerks",  sojourners -- perhaps people on a quest to save a future Western civilization that had yet to significantly develop. What if these people "planted the seeds" that eventually influenced those who helped create Hammurabi's famous Code? And what if those influencers somehow had an insight into today's modern American society?

Well, I've given enough hints! The new novel, Gettysburg Passage, ISBN 978-0-615-39102-1 by John Callahan, will be published by Amazon in mid August. The plot deals with Americans who confront a series of mysterious events that may have some powerful relation to earlier civilizations, even pre-dating good old Hammurabi.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Gettysburg Passage by John Callahan

The novel Gettysburg Passage by John Callahan will be available soon from Amazon. The book cover design, ISBN and final edits are nearing completion. This post also includes a short verification for linking to the Technorati blog site,

Please put the following short code HV37RTTNEVBJ within the post and publish it.

Thank You!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Mysterious Ancient Civilization You've Never Heard Of

Location of Harappa in the Indus Valley and ex...Image via Wikipedia
The Voice of America recently posted a brief yet interesting update on Mohenjodaro (also spelled Moenjodaro, Mohenjo-Daro), the mysterious, ancient Indus Valley civilization that existed roughly parallel to Egypt and Mesopotamia. Mohenjodaro, the city, is a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site.

But because of its location in dirt poor, arid southern Pakistan northeast of Karachi, the remains of this Indus Valley civilization faces a Rodney Dangerfield reality. The country experiences widespread poverty, is administratively mismanaged, confronts an enervating insurgency and the culture places little value on the past that is not related to Islam.

As the article points out, this is a recipe for neglect. Less than 10% of Moenjodaro and its sister city of Harappa have been excavated. Almost nothing is known of this mysterious civilization except that at its peak it may have contained the most modern capital city and administrative in the world, with advanced housing for 30,000 to 40,000 residents, a perfectly engineered street grid, sophisticated water distribution and waste-water removal, public pools, a vast granary to collect the harvest from the surrounding agricultural areas.

Little art work has of yet surfaced from this mysterious civilization that stretched from northern India to Iran. Intriguingly, the artifact above, often called The Dancing Girl, was found there and is considered by art experts to be one of the most sophisticated and evocative sculptures ever made (the artifact that speaks to the ages") . It depicts a young woman of perhaps 15 caught in the moment of song and dance.

With the global economy weak and archaeological funds short, what other undiscovered evidence of surprisingly advanced and evocative past civilizations exist for us to find under the baked dirt and sands of our world?

My new novel, Gettysburg Passage, from Amazon, deals with issues of unknown yet hard-to-supress civilizations and how they can messily erupt in our midst today. When they show up, they impact ordinary people attempting to go about their lives as they are pulled and tugged reluctantly into events that often seem well above their experience to handle. For a review of the book, check out one of my earlier posts or contact me directly via email or Twitter. As of this writing, the publication date is anticipated to be in the first week of August, 2010.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Here is the Voice of America link:


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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Civil War Ghosts of Blenheim House in Fairfax, VA

Fairfax, VA, just outside the Washington Beltway, was a bustling crossroads during the Civil War. Fairfax Courthouse, as it was called, was anchored by its stately courthouse, built in the early 1800s. About a mile northeast of this building was the Willcoxon family farm, 367 acres of rolling hills, streams, woods and prime agricultural land. Albert Willcoxon was a prominent northern Virginian and slave holder, but did not possess a great sense of timing. In the late 1850s he built a beautiful Greek Revival brick home on a hill with panaramic views from gently sloping hills. It was and is an impressive structure on impressive grounds, with twin fireplaces at each end, center doors front and rear for cross ventilation, sturdy pine floors and plenty of windows for ample interior light.  Just after completion, Virginia seceded from the Union. Located less than 15 miles from the federal capital, his exposed position must have been obvious. As early as July, 1861, Federal troops swarmed the area and the residents either fled or settled in for a nasty period of uncertainty and incivility. As it turned out, the Willcoxon farm, later called Blenheim House, because of its prime location became a centralized officers' quarters, hospital and camping ground for Federal forces and thousands of soldiers lived, visited or just passed through on the way to other postings and titanic battles both north and south of the area. Nearly every major "star" of the war in the eastern theater was familiar with these grounds. Today, the home is part of a Civil War Interpretive Center located at 3610 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA, 22030, and is extremely close to my home and place of work. Did you know that local legend has it that many of those Yankee soldiers can still be found prowling the area on warm summer nights even now? The farmhouse must have made quite an impression on them if they would return today to play a game of chess or checkers, pick an apple, sniff a daisy blossom, brew some campfire coffee or just rest and hang out under one of the majestic oak trees. One of the plot elements of my new book, Gettysburg Passage, involves the unlikely sighting of such soldiers (starting further south, near Brandy Station, VA) by young professionals who don't have any particular interest in history or the Civil War. How would you react if you saw something like that while returning from Starbucks or the mall? Would you share it with your family and friends, or just store it away as something weird, embarrassing and unexplanable? Please let me know.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Huge hoard of Roman coins found on Somerset, UK farm

As you may have seen recently on several news portals, a hobbyist in England found a huge cache of ancient Roman coins buried in a farmer's field. The find is valued at a $1 million and probably represented the life savings of an entire Roman-era town. Why was the treasure buried? Scientists really don't know. Recent engineering studies have shown that most evidence of our current civilization would almost completely disappear within a few centuries if we faced some sort of catastrophic societal failure. Yet as we dig, we continue to find tantalizing, surprising and amazing clues of how people lived long, long ago. Could there be lost, yet advanced civilizations from our past that are yet to be discovered? Why not? As time goes on, we learn more and more about our amazing ancestors and how they surmounted incredible obstacles to advance their way of life. A link to the news story about the coin find follows, from the Guardian, UK. The image is from Freefoto.com.

This is John Callahan, and many of these issues are addressed in my new novel, Gettysburg Passage, soon to be published by Amazon. A brief summary of this modern, action and adventure book can be found further down on this blog. I invite your interest and dialog.


Monday, July 5, 2010

10,000-Year-Old Hunting Weapon


A University of Colorado researcher recently found a 10,000 year old dart that had been frozen in the ice sheet at Yellowstone National Park. As glaciers continued to recede around the world, exciting new achaeological finds will become the norm. Who knows what will be found next, perhaps evidence of lost, advanced civilizations? In The Lord of the Rings, it was understood that kingdoms rose and fell, civilizations soared and crashed and always something new came along to replace what stood. It has been a familiar theme in literature. In my new ebook, Gettysburg Passage, by John Callahan, a link to a mighty past civilization is found on the grounds of a Washington, D.C. homeless shelter. Details on the novel's availability will be found on this blog soon.

photo courtesy of http://www.freefoto.com/

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time Travel and Physics

In the new book, Gettysburg Passage, several shifts in time are crucial to development of the plot and an evolution of the characters. In the story linked to below from Physics Today from 2006, a professor predicts time travel within the decade. Interestingly, he believes each instance of time travel will create a parallel universe so that you do not confront "The Grandfather Paradox" which was the basis for The Terminator movies.


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Friday, July 2, 2010

The Origin of Western Civilization

I think the point of a news story linked to below is that as archaeologists continue to excavate, the origins of Western civilization continues to be pushed back and back into the murky, shadowy past. According to article, much of our civilization did not originate in the "cradle of civilization" in the Fertile Crescent around Babylon, but instead is the result from cultural and technological advances which originated east of modern day Turkey, in Armenia.

Of course, one of the important plot points in my new ebook from Amazon, Gettysburg Passage, is that our civilization was conceived far earlier than even this, from an area to the west where EurAsia comes together as the last Ice Age slowly recedes...

Here is the link details:

Mesopotamia’s civilization originated in Armenia
Published July 2, 2010 by

The article states that excavations at Shengavit (4000-3000 B.C.) in Turkey confirm that Armenia is the innovation source for metallurgy, wine-making and horse breeding.
In the article, Mitchell S. Rothman, a Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology and founder of the Anthropology Department at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, is quoted as claiming that Mesopotamian culture borrowed very heavily from the earlier Shengavit culture.

When you think of a royal mace in my ebook, Gettysburg Passage, you may think of an image of an ancient and mysterious small staff or club that a king or royal functionary might wield as a symbol of authority. During the Viet Nam War the fighter jet above was a member of an attack squadron called the Royal Maces. You can clearly read the words on the side of the plane!

But then, a royal mace also looked something like the more royal and sedate image above. :-)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Do Eternal Cave Fires Really Exist?

Sacred fires, blazes that erupt eternally from mysterious caves plummeting deep, deep into the earth, are a central plot point to my ebook novel, Gettysburg Passage. People have asked, can such a thing really exist? Are you basing your imaginative fiction on something that is not credible? In reality there are documented fires erupting from deep underground that burn indefinitely, perhaps forever. For instance, there are many stories on the web about a fire that burns underground in Centralia, PA. I have attempted to include a few photos of that cave fire but the blogger image loaded is not cooperating. What causes the initial combustion? A fuel source is necessary, like a seam of coal that is exposed near the earth's surface. Ignition may come from many causes, including naturally occurring brush fires from a passing lightning and thunder storm, for example. But not all cave fires are so easily explained and some believe certain fires linked to sacred grounds are a signal from the Creator and maybe an amazing yet risky portal to the unknown.....

Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle in North American history. It happened on June 9, 1863 and is considered by historians to be the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign, the invasion of the North by the Army of Northern Virginia. If you are lucky enough enough on one of these cool summer evenings to be in the vicinity of Fleetwood Hill, near Culpepper, VA, the word is that you can still glimpse thousands of Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry and elements of Union Major General Alfred Pleasonton's command, riding through dust clouds near U.S. 29. If great thinkers like Einstein consider time to be illusory and subject motion and perspective, is it not possible that such sightings could be real? In the ebook, Gettysburg Passage, such a sighting plays a key role in kicking off the narrative action. If you'd like a special viewing spot to catch the riders on parade, contact the author.