Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jenkins Family Road Trip Day 9, July 9

After a dark and rainy drive the day before, we woke up to clear blue skies in beautiful Rhode Island. We started our day by doing laundry after breakfast. I didn't take pictures of our dirty underwear. You can breathe a sigh of relief now. LOL

After we finished laundry we were going to do a quick stop at the Newport Tower, which is a landmark that has fascinated Dave for a while. There are many theories around about what this tower possibly was and who built it, from the Templar's, to the Chinese and everything else in between. Earlier I had said "we were going to do a quick stop", well.......Dave was studying the tower and I was wandering around the park trying to get some good shots of the tower and surrounding area. At one point I saw Dave talking to a gentleman and they were both obviously in a deep conservation about the tower. So I wandered over. Turns out the gentleman was Jim Egan, who lives and breathes research on the tower.

We started with an extensive talk with him around the tower about what he has found. And the various theories that abound about the tower. The outdoor talk was eventually followed by a PowerPoint presentation in his Newport Tower Museum .

Jim started to point out many idiosyncrasies with the tower. And its connection to Governor Benedict Arnold who was the great-great-great grandfather of Benedict Arnold the "traitor", who called it "my stone built windmill"

One reason Jim believes it wasn't originally built as a windmill is this fireplace that is on the second floor. Why would a windmill have a fireplace? Wouldn't that be dangerous to have a fire in a windmill? He also noted the different odd places that support beams would have been placed such as this one next to the fireplace.

At one point Jim had an astronomer from the Rhode Island university come and study the tower and see if there is an validity to Jim's theory that the windows in the tower, which again are oddly placed, are aligned with various astronomical events such as solstices and equinoxes. And based on the the astronomer's research yes, they are. In the museum, Jim has photos he has taken during different astronomical events that show how these windows are aligned.

Jim's museum is also a camera obscura, if you are unsure what a camera obscura is you can read more about it here . Not only is the museum a camera obscura he has also created a sundial on the floor that measures time for a whole year and has the different solstice and equinoxes marked on the floor.

Based on his research Jim believes that the building of the tower is connect to John Dee, who was a mathematician, cartographer, astronomer, and navigator in Elizabethan England and was one of Queen Elizabeth I's advisors. It is Jim's theory that John Dee sent the plans for the tower and where to build it with one of the first expeditions to the new world and that the tower was a giant timekeeper that was part of a fort designed by John Dee and built by Sir Anthony Brigham.

You can read more about Jim's research and theories here . It is lengthy, but he is thorough in his explanation and if you are a history buff you would find it quite interesting. Jim also has a number of videos on his website as well and was part of a documentary on the tower for the Discovery channel a number of years ago. Jim was a fascinating person to bump into in Newport and if you every happen to be in the area don't forget to visit the tower and the Newport Tower Museum across the street. A hidden gem amongst tourist traps.

After spending more time than originally planned at the tower, we made a slight detour to Warwick, Rhode Island on our way to Boston. In Warwick, is the office for The Atlantic Paranormal Society aka TAPS , founded by Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes and stars of the popular SyFy channel's Ghost Hunters and one of my favourite TV shows. Dave is an air and space geek, and I am a paranormal investigation geek. So I couldn't be in the area without stopping by the TAPS office for a photo op. Unfortunately, since it was around 6 pm on a Sat. evening in the summer, the office was closed. But Laura, Amanda and I did get a picture to say "we were here"

And then we were off to Boston for our next stop on our road trip adventures.

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