Delphic Oracle's Lips May Have Been Loosened by Gas Vapors
In ancient times, people from all over Europe traveled to Greece to have their questions about the future answered by the oracle of Delphi. Legend has it that she got her powers from vapors. Now, a four-year scientific study supports that notion.
The oracle of Delphi in Greece was the telephone psychic of ancient times: People came from all over Europe to call on the Pythia at Mount Parnassus to have their questions about the future answered. Her answers could determine when farmers planted their fields or when an empire declared war.
The Pythia, a role filled by different women from about 1400 B.C. to A.D. 381, was the medium through which the god Apollo spoke.
According to legend, Plutarch, a priest at the Temple of Apollo, attributed Pythia's prophetic powers to vapors. Other accounts suggested the vapors may have come from a chasm in the ground.
This traditional explanation, however, has failed to satisfy scientists. In 1927, French geologists surveyed the oracle's shrine and