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Home >> Mysticism

Known Unknowns

10 November 2006

On the night of November 10, 2005, one year ago today, a young Chinese man motor biking through an intersection on a green light was struck down by a high-speed red car running red light.

When the driver learned the deadly crash, instead of rushing the motorist to hospital, he fled the scene.

What he did?t realise was that the accident was faithfully recorded by a traffic surveillance video camera at the section.

The motorist died. And police hunt began.

In a bid to identify the culprit, the video clip went to air, and a number of phone calls from the audience were quickly received. It was not that they had identified the car or the driver. They did?t. But they detected the presence of a third party at the moment of the crash.

The driver was eventually captured, but not the third one. In fact, police did not even make an attempt to contact that thirty party. It was until ten months later, on September 17 this year, police went on the Beijing television to talk for the first time about this mysterious presence.

"There is no third party," said the police.

But just what had the audience seen in the video?

It was a human skull. And a skull with its jaw in motion as if trying to speak out.

The Motorist approaching the intersection, a skull in the background

The skull

The red car approaching the motorist,
with the motorist near the skull's left eye socket

The moment of crash,
the head of the car at the skull's left eye socket and the body of the motorist at its jaw

That is why the murmuring questions spread across the communities about the fate and destinations. And that is why the delayed official response was eventually delivered, claiming it must be the reflections on the computer screens and that to think otherwise would be superstitious.

It in a way makes one wonder if there is hidden wisdom in a much-mocked quote that reads:

"As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

Well, it does sound like a wise advice, even though the person who said this does just opposite and doesn?t know he doesn?t know.

An instance in which a man did know:

In the latest edition of Mao Zedong (1893-1976), newly released by Chinese authority, there is a passage proclaiming Mao had prior knowledge about his own death:

On October 1, 1975, Mao did not read or sleep, but leaned on the bed and fell into silent contemplation. Then, he said to himself, "This could be my last National Day, last October 1." A year later, on 9 September 1976, he past away.

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Where the known meets the unknown is where science begins.

Where the faith rejects the unknown is where cult begins.


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