Israel: Mysterious religious ceremony at Solomon’s Pillars

Hundreds of passport photos, human hairs laid out in circle, an endless amount of requests to God, a prayer shawl, and an Israeli flag were found scattered at Solomon’s Pillars in Timna National Park near Eilat Thursday night.

Park officials speculated that a Christian group visited the site and, thinking it was a sacred site, preformed a head shaving ceremony, and left offerings to God.

The mystery began when park officials received a message saying hundreds of photos and crucifixes were found at Solomon’s Pillars. “The place looked like a cult of some kind had been there and preformed a ceremony,” one park official told Ynet.

Park Director Aharon Lavi said the site attracted many believers each year, including pilgrims. “I believe this was a one time thing, a cult of believers, or a crazy individual,” Lavi added.

After finding numerous prayer notes and letters, park officials estimated that the worshippers were Christians who were told by their priest that the site was actually the Western Wall.

The people in the passport photos appeared to be of Hispanic descent, and the requests on the postcards found at the site were written in English and Spanish.

“We are checking to see which travel agent brought the group here, and we will demand compensation for the hours our workers put in to clean up after the group,” Lavi said, adding that he feared the tourists were deceived as to the park’s true history.

“I recently visited Mexico and I saw how a priest gets the locals all worked up about coming to the Holy Land,” he said. “These people save every penny to come here. They are lied to and cheated out of their money with fictional stories of the site’s sanctity.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 29, 2007.
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