What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Under the Floor - The Skulls of St. Cuthbert’s

July 19, 2011, 9:10 AM
Cuthberts

When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I spent many pleasant years renovating old houses. It’s a fine way for a semi-employed writer to remain semi-employed. One of the simple joys of this work is the discovery of odd things under the floorboards. Old newspapers, empty cans. I never found anything of note, just the occasional playing card, marble or key. We usually kept a jar on site for such items and by the end of the job it was usually filled with a variety of objects.

 

But stranger things may be hidden under the floorboards.

 

Like the thousand skulls found under the floor at St. Cuthbert's Church in Corsenside, England during the 1880s. There has probably been a church at this location since the 800s and it is believed to be one of the places visited by the body of St. Cuthbert in 875 despite the fact that he’d been dead for 188 years.

 

Cuthbert was an Anglo-Saxon mystic, monk, aesthete, healer, missionary, hermit, bishop and eventual saint. His powers of healing were such that he was given the nickname the "Wonder Worker of Britain” and he was quite famous in his lifetime. He once performed an exorcism by his mere presence and is reputed to be the first human inhabitant of the devil and snake-infested Farne islands.  He died in 687 and was buried at Lindisfarne.

 

Eleven years after his death his body was exhumed and the monks were astounded to see no corruption of the corpse. Catholics are big on incorruptibility. Soon Cuthbert was being credited with miracles and eventually became the Patron Saint of Northern England. He's also getting the 2011 Big Think Award for Most Traveled Corpse.

 

In 875, Vikings raided the monastery (because that's what Vikings do) and the monks fled with Cuthbert's we-hope-still-uncorrupted body. They traveled the countryside with Cuthbert's remains for seven years and eventually settled in Chester-le-Street. Where they were later driven out, again by Vikings. The body was then relocated to Ripon. Finally, Cuthbert's corpse told the monks he wanted to stay in Durham (seriously, that's what happened) and a church was built there to house the body.

 

Cuthbert had found a home. Maybe.

 

Legends persist that the monks moved the body once more to protect it from the anti-Catholic commissioners of Henry VIII and it is secretly buried on the grounds or in an another location inside the church.

 

I think they should look under the floor.

 

 

Under the Floor - The Skull...

Newsletter: Share: