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    Flood myth musing
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2009 Sep 8, 12:53 -0400

    First - a huge thanks to Frank and George for references and advice on Pliny!   

    I sent an e-mail privately to Frank, and he suggested I bring it up to the list.   This conjecture is the result of a long drive back from dropping my son off at college - to it may be completely daft and the product of highway hypnosis.

    Elements:   persistence of flood myth, use of "shore-finding" birds, possible role of migratory birds in venturing out of sight of land.

    The concept is this:  

    In an era before written records, a family lives in an area that is becoming increasingly crowded for resources and find themselves in mortal danger from others.    Every year they have witnessed the annual migration of birds that leave in a certain direction in the spring and return in the fall.   They always fly out and return on the same path.  The patriarch of the family is used to sailing along the coast, but never out of sight of land.   With few options - either a perilous journey or certain death at the hands of others, they construct a large vessel, which can hold the family, plants and livestock.   In a prescient move, they capture and cage some local birds as insurance to find land, like the migrating birds surely must.

    The family sets out in the general direction of the migration of the birds they saw.   But something strange happens, as they gaze back at their homeland, they first see the village under water, but still see the cultivated uplands and mountains.   Soon, the uplands are under water and only the tops of the mountains are visible.   Then, the mountains disappear altogether.   Not knowing that this is due to the curvature of the earth, they are certain that some huge catastrophe has overtaken their ex-homeland, and have no choice but to proceed in a world that seems covered with only water.    As time goes on, in desperation, as much as on faith, they release some of the birds they captured.   At first, the birds simply return to the vessel.    After several tries some of the captured birds fly in a well-defined direction and they follow.   Soon, the tops of mountains appear in the distance, then lower elevations, and then finally a shore where the waters seem to have receded.   They are saved in a new land.

    I haven't heard of this concept in reference to flood mythology, but probably someone has thought of this.   It is true that objects that disappear from the bottom up or reappear from the top down are at a great distance and the visual acuity of a person might cause this to be ignored.  Still if one were observant, and believed in a flat earth, this could be very unsettling and the only "explanation" would be a flood.   It seems about as plausible as any story I've heard of the prevalence of flood myths - particularly considering this kind of voyage may have taken place multiple times.

    FYI - I caught the following post in Craigslist "rants and raves" -

    "Show me proof that the world isn't flat. Some jackass will show a picture from "space" yeah, like anything has ever really been to "space" and is able to take pictures; gullible fools. There is so much evidence that the world is flat and no real proof that it is round. Go ahead and keep believing what you are told, dumbasses. "

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