Today we got up early and drove an hour to the city of Luzerne, Switzerland – beautiful times three here – water, Swiss Alps, old town! It’s been a really full day 1) walking, in a 2) car, in a 3) gondola, on an 4) alpine toboggan, down a 5) cogwheel train, on a 6) boat, and a 7) bus back to the car.
And it’s been a record breaking day times three… we first saw 1) the Guinness Book of World Record’s largest rolling ball clock in the world (that’ll be featured in the next post). We had a blast flying down the beautifully flowered mountainside of the Alps on 2) the longest summer toboggan run. And, we rode back down on 3) the world steepest cogwheel railway – 48% gradient!! I know Kaitlyn will be putting pictures up soon and Thomas has some video. It was a great day. I had a few God-moments in the toboggan.
Now on to the point of this post. All this transpired at Mt. Pilatus. This mountain is named for Pontius Pilate, you know, the one who gave the green light to crucify Jesus, the one who tried unsuccessfully to wash his hands of the shedding of innocent blood. Here’s a pic…
Most people know what happened to Jesus but few know what happened to Pilate. According to the ancient historian Philo, Pilate was “inflexible, he was stubborn, of cruel disposition. He executed troublemakers without a trial.” Philo refers to Pilate’s “venality, his violence, thefts, assaults, abusive behavior, endless executions, endless savage ferocity.” Three years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Pontius Pilate was exiled from his post as the Governor of Judea for cruelty to the Jews. The second century historian Eusebius tells us he was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide in Vienne.
Here’s where it gets interesting. His body was thrown first into the Tiber, but the waters were so “disturbed by evil spirits” that the body was taken to Vienne and sunk in the Rhône. Apparently he kept washing up ashore. The Rhône also rejected his corpse and it was then taken and sunk in the lake at Lucerne on, what we call today, Mt. Pilatus (its ancient name is fractus mons or “broken mountain.”). This is my new favorite example of the reality of all creations allegiance to our Lord, the ground kept spitting this guy out, the earth would receive him or give him rest.
For centuries Mt. Pilatus was haunted, feared and reputable people gave numerous detailed and collaborating eyewitness account of seeing dragons on Mt. Pilatus. In 1387, six clergymen were arrested for planning a journey to the lake and an ascent to the peak. Fierce thunderstorms and heavy flooding were common and confirmations that spiritual darkness loomed there. The government of Lucerne forbid locals and visitors to climb the mountain. Here’s a bit from my guide book;
Even shepherds were placed under oath to not approach the dark waters of the lake, where it was believed that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate had been laid to rest. Banished to this desolate wilderness, the man’s tormented spirit was said to surface every year on Good Friday, in a vain attempt to wash his bloodied hands.
Fireballs and flame-throwing dragons were frequently observed and described in minute detail by Europe’s most celebrated physicians and scientists. One such account is as follows: “While observing the night sky, I suddenly saw a fiery dragon emerging from a cave in a massive crag on Pilatus. It flew with rapid wing-beats to another cave called “Flue” on the opposite lake shore. It had a gigantic statue, with a long tail, a great neck, and a head with jagged, snake-like jaws. In flight, it threw off showers of sparks, not unlike a blacksmith’s hammer striking white-hot iron on an anvil. I first believed the phenomenon to be a meteor but, observing it’s limbs and bodily motion in detail, I could only conclude that it was a dragon.”
I have a little booklet with a dozen more of these wild stories and the spiritual mapper and prophetic prayer warrior in me about fell out of the gondola chair on the way up reading about the brave 16th century pastor who led a prayer mission to break the power of this demonic stronghold in the region. Note the prophetic acts!
In 1585, a parish priest of Lucerne led a courageous band of his church members on an exorcism mission. They prayerfully ascended Pilatus to challenge any spirits lurking there. They threw boulders into the lake, churned it’s surface, waded through the shallows. A supernatural counter-offensive failed to materialize and the spell was broken. To still the spirit’s thunderous habits for good, a sluice was dug in 1594 to drain the lake. Four centuries were to pass before the watercourse was dammed in 1980 and placid waters once more filled the lake bed. The spirits of Pilatus are at peace.
Here are a couple more pics – we have many others with more blue sky on Kaitlyn’s facebook, but I picked a couple here that better illustrated this foreboding, jagged-edged mountain with it’s bleak crevaces.