(Investigator 137, 2011
of Cairo stands one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great
Pyramid of Cheops at Giza its base covers 5.30 hectares, it consists of
nearly 2.5 million granite and limestone blocks of stone, each with an
estimated weight of 2.5 tonnes, and its sides are accurately aligned to
the four cardinal points.
many accept that it
was built as a tomb, others are not so sure. Why was it built and by
whom? are questions which, to some minds, have never been
otherwise known by his Greek name Cheops, was said to have been
responsible for its erection nearly 5000 years ago, but that raises the
question of the ability at the time of the ancient Egyptians to build
such an enormous structure with the primitive technology extant in the
first account of the
Pyramid comes to us from Herodotus, the Greek traveller who visited
Egypt in 440 B.C. He describes the four faces of the pyramid as being
covered with limestone facing, with joints so fine that they could
scarcely be seen. Unfortunately, all the details of the Great Pyramid's
history and construction were destroyed when the great library of
Alexandria was sacked in 389 A.D. by the Emperor Theodosius.
archaeologists' investigations in the late 17th and early 18th
centuries and among those who have speculated that the Great Pyramid is
other than an ancient tomb, was a retired publisher, John Taylor, who
believed that it had been divinely inspired by God, who had instructed
Noah to build it to his specifications. His belief was based on the
fact that certain dimensions of the Great Pyramid indicated that the
ancient Egyptians were further advanced mathematically than previously
Charles Piazzi Smyth, an Astronomer Royal for Scotland, who discovered
that one of the casing stones of the Great Pyramid was approximately 25
inches long and equal to an ancient measurement, the cubit. Smyth was
infatuated with measurements and ratios and came up with what he called
the “pyramid inch", one "pyramid inch" representing a calendar year.
This he used to correlate the distance from the pyramid entrance to
beyond the King's Chamber with historical events, the calibration
giving a time span of 6000 years from 4000 B.C. to 2000 A.D. At many
points along the corridor there are changes — uphill, down hill, left
fork, right fork and so on until the gallery is reached. While many of
the changes did coincide with historical events, most did not. He wrote
a book in 1864, Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid, in which
he details some remarkable correlations between various measurements
taken in and around the structure. The Great Pyramid, according to
Smyth, was a history of the world beginning in 4004 B C and a calendar
of future events.
this theory of pyramid prophecy? Not very, the much heralded
second coming for example was predicted for 1881, 1936, and again in
who was intrigued
by this great monolith was John Mitchell who, in his book, The View
Over Atlantis, says, "It was constructed for a magical and sacred
purpose, as a vehicle for transcending the material state, for travel
in space, through time, and into a further dimension."
theme has been taken
up and expanded upon by Eric von Daniken (1971), in Chariots of the
Gods? where he admits that even after a highly critical examination
of Charles Piazzi Smyth's theories, his book still contains some facts
that should stimulate reflection. "Is it really a coincidence that the
height of the Great Pyramid multiplied by 1,000 million corresponds
approximately to the distance between the earth and sun?" he asks;
"That a meridian running through the pyramid divides continents and
oceans into two exactly equal halves?" or that "the area of the base of
the pyramid divided by twice its height gives the celebrated figure =
3.14159 discovered by German mathematician Ludolf."
Daniken poses many
other questions that throw doubt on whether or not the Pharaoh Khufu
was in fact the inspirer and builder of the Great Pyramid at Cheops. He
asks how the great blocks of stone were cut so precisely, moved, and
fitted together to the thousandth of an inch; how blocks weighing as
much as 12 tons were raised to great heights without mechanical aids;
how the tens of thousands of workers were housed and fed; and argues
that to assemble two and a half million blocks of stone using only
manual labour would have taken well over 600 years.
revised interest in
pyramids came about this century when Karel Drbal, a Czecholslovak
radio engineer, was inspired by experiments carried out by a Frenchman
by the name of Monsieur Bovis. Bovis had discovered that animals that
had wandered into the Great Pyramid and died, hadn't decayed, but had
mummified. When he made a model of the Great Pyramid and put a dead cat
inside, the same thing happened and he concluded that the pyramid shape
stopped normal decay of organic matter. Further experiments showed that
razor blades when put under a small pyramid regained their sharp edges.
Drbal replicated these experiments which were so successful that he
applied for a patent. The patent (No. 91304) was eventually issued by
the patent office of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1959. If the
experiment only works when a pyramid shape is used, we must ask why? Is
some strange force unknown to man at work?
effort to answer
the question, American Scientists, members of the Atomic Energy
Commission, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Ein Shams
University in Cairo, conducted experiments with a machine developed
by Dr Luis Alvarez, a Nobel prize-winner, to measure the passage of
cosmic rays as they passed through another pyramid, the Chephren. The
purpose was to X-ray the pyramid to see if there were any secret vaults
inside. A detector placed inside would measure the cosmic rays as they
passed through the structure and if there were any hollow areas the
routes of the rays recorded on magnetic tape would indicate where they
were. When the two-million ray tracks were analysed using an IBM 1130
computer installed at the Ein Shams University, Dr. Amr Gohed,
who was in charge of the installations at the pyramid site admitted
that he was more than puzzled, "nothing made sense, the patterns were
never the same, it is scientifically impossible" he said, alleging that
there is some force at work in the pyramid which defies the known laws
of their age and
importance to archaeology, the pyramids have been the subject of both
scientific and pseudo-scientific study, the latter spawning
speculations resulting in the creation and perpetuation of enigmas,
myths and ephemeral cults. There can be little doubt if any, at least
in the minds of rational men, that the pyramids were constructed by
mortal man during the Old Kingdom... The history
of the pyramids can be traced from their predecessors, called mastabas,
which were small brick tombs. The methods and engineering principles
used in their construction are well known, and to suggest as Von
Daniken does, that an infusion of advanced knowledge from
extraterrestrial visitors was required is fatuous. The Egyptians were
not a primitive people and the simple technology available to them was
adequate for the purpose.
built in the first place is still a matter for debate. Among the
logical hypotheses — a tomb, a memorial, and a "stairway to the
heavens"; about their religious nature however, there is no
that God may have revealed the future to the chosen ones, and they in
turn recorded it in this marvel of masonry. Given that it took an
estimated 100,000 men and 30 years to construct, it seems to me to have
been a rather expensive and masochistic way to compile what can only be
described at best as an inaccurate calendar.
calculations, one can take any unrelated facts and figures and come up
with some correlation, albeit significant only in the mind of the
percipient. Not dissimilar in result to the false conclusion that can
be deduced from two irrelevant premises in logical deduction.
"pyramidology" was given a tremendous boost by Erich von Daniken's
books in the 1970s, his fantasies, distortions and inaccurate writings
positing mystery and magic where none existed, and usurping the more
mundane albeit historically accurate accounts with some extraordinary
theories. His arguments do not stand up to scrutiny however, he even
gets the distance from the Earth to the Sun wrong (93 million miles and
an error of 6 per cent. p 99), such calculations in any case being
meaningless for the reason already given. Other false claims include
"the Egyptians lacked the necessary technology to build the pyramids
and that conventional methods could not have been used since the
Egyptians didn't have ropes or trees to make rollers to move the
stones." This flies in the face of the known facts. Rope for example
was available in large quantities and examples are preserved in the
Cairo and other museums, and the methods used in both rope making and
pyramid building are recorded on tomb walls of the Fifth Dynasty. In
the case of the pyramid at Saqqara, the ramp up which the blocks of
stone were hauled is still in situ.
writings may be entertaining fiction in the eyes of some, his
pre-occupation with substituting extraterrestrial influences for man's
own ingenuity and inventiveness has served only to encourage irrational
and unscientific thinking — the belief in "pyramid power" — the
supposed ability of a pyramid shape, among other things, to preserve
food and sharpen razor blades, being prime examples. When it comes to
proving the claims however, the paranormalists invoke energies unknown
to science, thus eliminating the possibility of properly controlled
tests to give factual results and reducing the evidence to that of
interesting to note
too, that the whole concept of a unique shape (A polyhedron whose base
is a polygon and whose sides are triangles having a common vortex [a
pyramid shape] ) to sharpen razor blades as postulated by Karel Drbal,
was negated in his own patent where he says, "It (the container) may
consist of another geometric shape...regeneration of the razor blade
will take place too." (Edwards 1991).
tests have been
carried out using scientific methodology the results are conclusive — a
pyramid shape has no mysterious power nor does it exert any influence
other than that one chooses to believe. One such test was carried out
by the French Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Paranormal Phenomena (CEFPP) to determine the validity of a claim
that wine placed under a pyramid shape would mature in weeks as against
years using conventional aging in a cellar. The Salon of the
Unusual at the International Fair held in the city of Lille in
November 1986, provided the opportunity.
plexiglas model of
the Great Pyramid was set up by Pierre de Carello, a well known
specialist in pyramidology and seven bottles of wine less than two
years old were placed inside. They were supposed to age in a few days.
Seven other bottles of the same wine were put into the office of the
president of the Fair to wait for the last day of the Fair, when they
would be tasted along with the seven bottles in the pyramid by members
of the Wine-Waiters' Association. The wine tasters judged the colour,
the smell and the taste of the "pyramid" wines and the control samples
and then ranked them. The experiment was conducted twice, the
conclusions the same — the pyramid model had no influence of any kind
on the wine.
summed up the
pyramids as "unmeaning sepulchral piles", and Bertrand Russell (Gardner
1957) noted "that it is a singular fact that the Great Pyramid always
predicts history accurately up to the date of publication of the latest
book, after which it becomes less reliable!"
Castle, E.W. and
Thiering, B.B. (Eds.) 1972. Some Trust in Chariots. Westbooks.
Daniken, Erich von 1971. Chariots
of the Gods? Corgi. London.
Edwards, Harry. 1991.
"Pyramid Power or Sharp Practise?" the Skeptic. 11(1):23-25.
Edwards, I.E.S. 1961. The
Pyramids of Egypt. Pelican. Gardiner, A. 1961. Egypt of the
Pharoahs. London. O.U.P.
Gardner, Martin. 1957. Fads
and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Dover Publications, New York.
Kerrell, B. & Goggin,
K. 1975. The Guide to Pyramid Energy. Santa Monica.
Lucas, A. 1959. Ancient
Egyptian Materials and Industries. London.
Williams, Barry. 1988. "Pyramids, Pyramyths & Pyramidiots." the
Skeptic. 8(3): 14-20. Australian Skeptics Inc.
Edwards, H. A Skeptic's Guide to the New Age
Skeptics versus religion
and the paranormal,
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