spirit

Detail of two ancient Egyptian 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the ‘gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter the 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant underworld protectors.

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other...
Trailer for Ouija Movie. (BagoGames/CC BY 2.0) Insert: Ouija board on your skull: noe valley, san francisco (2015).

Talking Boards: Terrifying Tales of Ouija Boards and Demons, Possession, and Death

Ouija boards, also known as talking boards or spirit boards, are a relatively modern tool/game that strikes fear and wonder in the hearts of many people. Almost everyone has heard stories of someone...
Ketchikan, Alaska. Native American totem pole

Witchcraft, Worship or Public Shaming? The Puzzling Purpose of Totem Poles in North America

Totem poles are a type of monumental structure carved from the trunks of huge trees, especially the Western Red Cedar. These monuments are found in North America, specifically along its north-western...
Navajo Yebichai (Yei Bi Chei) dancers. Edward S. Curtis. USA, 1900. The Welcome Collection, London

Can a Ghost Make You Ill? The Ghost Sickness Belief of the Native American Indians

Ghost sickness is the belief that ghosts are able to cause a living person to fall ill. This particular term is used by the Native Americans, especially amongst the Navajo people. Nevertheless, this...
The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch’ (1892) by Paul Gauguin.

Ghost Beliefs in Polynesia: When Spirits Return and Possess

A belief in ghosts is held by many cultures (both modern and ancient) around the world. Some of these ghost beliefs are well-known, whilst others, such as those held by the Polynesians, are less so...
Statue of Persephone, circa 525 BC and painting The Deluge

Hell on Earth? Is the REAL location of the Ancient Underworld Right in Front of Us?

The myth of the underworld, much like the myth of the lost paradise and the worldwide deluge, is a universal one. Cultures from all across the world, past and present, widely separated and with...
Not Just an Urban Legend: The Terrifying Ghostly Tales of the Lady in White

Not Just an Urban Legend: The Terrifying Ghostly Tales of the Lady in White

There is a famous “ghost” of a long-haired woman in a white dress in Quezon City, Philippines. According to legends, she died in a car accident while driving along Balete Drive. Her stories usually...
Wailing Out the Lament-Filled Legends and Origins of Irish Banshees

Wailing Out the Lament-Filled Legends and Origins of Irish Banshees

To hear her harrowing wail tear through the night sky was an omen of certain death. The cry of the banshee implied that someone in your family had died or was about to– or, that you were about to...
Naupa Iglesia: An Egyptian Portal in the Andes?

Naupa Iglesia: An Egyptian Portal in the Andes?

Halfway up a near-vertical ravine in the Andes, someone carved an inverted V-shaped entrance into the mountainside. Then they sliced the bedrock with great precision to create a shallow door that...
A Heart as Cold as Ice? The Japanese Legend of Yuki-onna, the Beautiful Yet Dangerous Snow Woman

A Heart as Cold as Ice? The Japanese Legend of Yuki-onna, the Beautiful Yet Dangerous Snow Woman

The legend of Yuki-onna (the snow woman) comes from The Land of the Rising Sun. This beautiful but dangerous character may be a personification of death in a severe snow storm. Japanese legends do...
White Buffalo Calf Woman – Healer, Teacher, and Inspirational Spirit for the Lakota People

White Buffalo Calf Woman – Healer, Teacher, and Inspirational Spirit for the Lakota People

Goddess cults have existed in every part of the world. The myths and legends of the Lakota people discuss a powerful female figure in the stories of White Buffalo Calf Woman. She is a supernatural...
She Brings Bad News: The Scary Slavic Household Spirit Called Kikimora

She Brings Bad News: The Scary Slavic Household Spirit Called Kikimora

Some spirits are thought to be dangerous even by people who don't necessarily believe in them. One of the scariest creatures in world mythologies is the spirit from the Slavic culture known as...
Spirit Cave Mummy: The Incredible Discovery of Kennewick Man

The Incredible Discovery of the Spirit Cave Mummy

Many cultural traditions surrounding death are meant to preserve a person’s legacy. Yet few souls could ever have expected to be remembered for so long. Nor could they possibly imagine the amount of...
Kuman Thong amulets.

Child Angels, Golden Boys, Supernatural Dolls and Necromancy in Thailand

Recently, reports of a Thai doll craze have been featured at the end of news hours, a spot typically reserved for pop culture tidbits like hijab wearing Barbies (“hijarbies”) or the birthday of the...
Macbeth seeing three witches. Engraving after Reynolds c. 1786

Witch Familiars, Spirit Guardians and Demons

The folklore of the wicked witch and her diabolical animal familiar is a well-known and often repeated tale. When the seasons change and the nights get long it’s not uncommon to see images and...
Terror of the toilet

Beware the Supernatural Bathroom Spirits, Toilet Deities, and Dung Demons

Every place in the world has its own legends and superstitions. These led to beliefs about gods, demons, and spirits which haunt a certain location. Even toilets have their own otherworldly beings...

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Top New Stories

The old packhorse bridge in Carrbridge, Scotland
The oldest surviving packhorse bridge in the Scottish Highlands, the "coffin bridge" at Carrbridge in Inverness remains one of the most significant. Built in 1717, this packhorse bridge is located near the city of Inverness, capital of the Highlands, and was erected in an arch from "tooled rubble…springing from natural rock abutment".

Myths & Legends

Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?
This passage may read like a passage from the Old Testament of the Bible; but, this is a quote from the Hymn of Aten, a work by Pharaoh Amenhotep IV better known as Akhenaton. This so-called heretic king was the only known Pharaoh in Egyptian history who believed in a monotheistic doctrine when most of the ancient world adhered to polytheism.

Human Origins

Was the Heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton in Fact the Father of Modern Monotheism?
This passage may read like a passage from the Old Testament of the Bible; but, this is a quote from the Hymn of Aten, a work by Pharaoh Amenhotep IV better known as Akhenaton. This so-called heretic king was the only known Pharaoh in Egyptian history who believed in a monotheistic doctrine when most of the ancient world adhered to polytheism.

Ancient Technology

Left side view of the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings, a television special, took an hour long look at the great city, its inhabitants, and the excavation of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, (also known as the Feathered Serpent Pyramid.) The program revealed evidence of advanced engineering built into a tunnel system, and placed directly underneath the Pyramid.

Ancient Places

The old packhorse bridge in Carrbridge, Scotland
The oldest surviving packhorse bridge in the Scottish Highlands, the "coffin bridge" at Carrbridge in Inverness remains one of the most significant. Built in 1717, this packhorse bridge is located near the city of Inverness, capital of the Highlands, and was erected in an arch from "tooled rubble…springing from natural rock abutment".

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)