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   Coming Up : Inside Out - East: Monday February 27, 2006

The search for the Holy Grail

Search for Holy Grail
Mystery of mysteries - the Holy Grail

A book that claims to solve one of life's great mysteries and gives you the chance to win a million pounds sounds tempting - but is it too good to be true?

Inside Out investigates.

The book - called Maranatha - was launched last year.

It claims to have the answer to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.

Written in the form of a puzzle it promises that whoever solves it will win a million pounds.

Duncan Burden from Lowestoft is one of the authors.

He wrote the book with a group of friends and academics who want to remain anonymous.

He claims they'd been studying medieval history for years and stumbled across the Holy Grail almost by accident.

"This book will change your life in so many ways," he claims.

Mystery of the Grail

But what actually is the Holy Grail?

Some believe it's a cup which held the blood of Christ.

Others think the Grail is a living descendent of Jesus.

Many also think that a group of soldiers called the Knights Templar is involved in keeping the identity and location of the Holy Grail secret.

Not surprisingly there are sceptics, including Professor Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, retired Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University.

"The legend of the Holy Grail is just that - a legend," he says.

"It's a literary invention, albeit the most successful literary invention of all time.

"It was created by Chretien de Troyes in the 12th Century, who also created the Arthurian myth. The work was never actually finished."

Riley-Smith says that over the centuries people have claimed to discover the secret, but he questions how anyone would ever prove it even if they did.

The book's authors are confident the puzzle will be solved by the end of summer 2006.

They say they'll donate a third of all profits to charity, and that once somebody has solved the puzzle, it will be clear how to claim the million pounds.

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Sunday shopping

Shop interior
Shop till you drop - Sunday trading could be extended

What's Sunday all about? Is it still a special day?

It was 1994 when big stores were allowed restricted opening of up to six hours on Sundays.

Now many of them want to be allowed to open as many hours as they want.

It caused huge controversy the first time round - and the battle lines are already being drawn again.

Inside Out spends Sunday with a shopping addict from Norfolk, a family from Cambridge who avoid shopping on a Sunday, a small Norfolk shopkeeper, and visits Milton Keynes' new IKEA.

Sunday special?

Keep Sunday Special, based in Cambridge, fought the change in the trading law back in 1994, and aim to carry on fighting it now.

They even believe it is possible to reverse Sunday opening, once more forcing some big stores to close.

Shopping bags
Keeping sunday special or retail therapy?

Nigel Dowdney runs a convenience store in Stalham Norfolk.

He believes that if large shops like Tesco in the town were allowed longer opening, his business would finally go under.

He's a supporter of Keep Sunday Special - and has been since the 1990s.

As a small trader he says he didn't want to be forced into working all hours, which he says is exactly what has happened.

The Clark family from Cambridge agree believe that six days a week is enough for shopping - and the seventh day should be kept different.

Bekki Clark says:

"There's enough commercialisation in this country already. We do so much shopping.

"We've got six days we can go shopping. We don't need to go shopping on Sundays as well."

Spend, spend, spend...

Taz Burdett from Norfolk is just one happy Sunday shopper from Norfolk who disagrees.

She loves shopping and says work commitments make Sunday the best option for her.

Saturday is her day of rest - Sunday is the day she likes to shop.

Tesco Asda and IKEA are three of the stores pushing for longer Sunday opening.

IKEA in Milton Keynes serves around 5,000 people on a Sunday, making it their busiest day of the week.

Mats Kopka, Store Manager says:

"With the increase in hours (on a Sunday) I'm sure the customer will benefit from that."

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Alpha music

John Levine
Music over mind - the relaxing powers of music

John Levine, a composer from Cambridge, claims his music can alter your brain waves for the better.

But this is no ordinary music - it is Alpha music - and he claims it has remarkable mind bending properties.

John says his music is genuinely different to other music.

Indeed its relaxation properties are so powerful his CDs come with a safety warning.

The list of reported benefits include aiding concentration, reduction of anxiety and stimulation of creativity.

Madalyn Hempsted from Ely says John's music has helped her cope with stress and sleeplessness.

Brain waves

But what are Alpha waves?

When we are active, the brain is flickering with electrical impulses.

The resulting tiny voltages are beta brainwaves.

When you relax, the waves become more pronounced and slower. You are now generating Alpha brainwaves.

John Claims claims his music can make just about anything from babies and budgies go to sleep.

We tried it out on a few.

A couple of our budgies seemed to nod off - but this time most seemed no more chilled out than normal.

And then we tested it on Theo, an already sleepy 15-month-old baby.

He certainly liked John's music.

Oddly, it seemed to re-energise him for a while... until eventually he succumbed.

But according to Dr Duncan Banks, a brain expert, from the Open University in Milton Keynes, we don't generate Alpha waves until we're two-years-old.

Conclusion to this non scientific test… inconclusive.

Soothing music

John is by no means alone in producing music to soothe the mind.

Bungay in Suffolk is the headquarters of New World Music.

With 300 titles and 160,000 CDs in stock they supply hospitals and therapists all over the globe with relaxation music.

They say it can have the same beneficial effects as John's Alpha music.

It's a highly competitive industry, and certainly not an exact science.

But as our lives get busier anything that makes us slow down is probably a good thing.

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