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A Haunted Venue
On the western end of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea is the fortress of Masada. Masada is located atop a rock cliff and was rumored to have been built by Herod the Great sometime between 36 and 31 BCE. The Masada was said to be massive with large cisterns that filled with rainwater, storehouses, palaces, barracks and an armory.
About 75 years after Herod died the revolt of the Jews against the Romans began and a group of rebels were able to beat the Romans out of Masada. When Jerusalem fell zealots and their families fled Jerusalem and joined those at Masada where they would then make raids against the Romans for two to three years. The Romans declared war upon the people of Masada and camped at the base of the massive fortress, it took them over a year to build a ramp that would enable them to reach the fortress at the top. In 74 CE the Romans made their way up the ramp and battered the wall breaching the fortress.
The Romans were to find almost 1,000 people dead, women, children, men, everyone. The site today is said to be haunted by those restless spirits that took their lives rather then be subjected to Roman rule.
Elazar ben Yair is said to have been the Zealots’ leader and it is told that he decided that all the Masada Fort inhabitants should commit suicide. Of course for some this seemed unreasonable but once it was decided there was no escape from death high above the Dead Sea. Unbelievably it was said that somehow two women survived and were able to describe what happened that fateful day. The women told a harrowing tale of how whatever could be burned down was set ablaze while a mass murder was also taking place, neighbor slew neighbor, father struck down wife and children alike. In the end 10 men were chosen to search the fortress and kill any remaining survivors, and then they would either kill each other or themselves. It is said that the last speech given by Elazar ben Yair incited the deaths on the Masada that day. Here is the speech taken from the “The Jewish War” written by Joseph Flavius.
"Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice ...We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom."
Voices heard on Masada are being attributed to the echoes that come back and travel for miles in this desolate area, but is it echoes from people miles away that are supposedly heard atop Masada, or is it the spirits that linger there? Shapes and shadows are seen there and a feeling of dread and sadness seems to permeate the air. In essence it was a mass murder of 1,000 people, the amount of blood alone would be enough to give the invading Romans nightmares, and who disposed of the bodies? Where did they dispose of them? Could they all still be lingering atop the fortress?
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