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Dear Garrett,

Sorry but I don’t buy your “preciousness” over the privacy of our very lengthy email debate.

When you came into my life last year as the very personification of avenging orthodoxy -- full of huff and puff and righteous indignation -- it was with the announcement (your email to me of 10 November 1999) that you had been using my book “Fingerprints of the Gods” in a first-year seminar with your students at Penn State. You wrote (of course I may only quote brief extracts here because you won’t allow me to put your side of the debate up): “We have found that not only are your methods shoddy, they are on occasion fraudulent.” You then went on to give two examples, my treatment of the Palenque sarcophagus lid in “Fingerprints of the Gods” and my treatment of the Inventory Stela in “Fingerprints of the Gods”.

Come on Garrett. How private was that letter really? I bet you shared it, and probably my reply too, with your class. Can you put your hand on your heart and say you didn’t? Did you all have a good laugh about the way the gallant Prof Fagan had taken on the imposter Hancock? Or did you honourably keep it to yourself?

Because I would visitors to this site to know how seriously I took our debate, I will publish at the end of this post my reply to your first email -- but that’s the last of this piecemeal approach until you agree to the full publication of both sides of our debate on this site. After that we can consider extending the debate further, if that’s what you want, but I’m adamant about putting the original debate up first and not unnecessarily rehashing ground that has already been covered there.

I’m not asking you to do something impossible that no reasonable person could be expected to agree to. I think what I’m making here is a very simple request that is very easy to agree to and that it is you who is manoeuvring rather than me,

I make no secret of this. I want to get that debate up on this site since I put such a lot of effort and time into conducting it with you. What I say about carbon-dating in it is properly placed in a wider context of arguments and philosophy, and also against the background of your own freely-expressed feelings about the weaknesses and inadequacies of my approach and methods.

But what makes it really interesting is that it is a whole debate, nicely rounded and with both sides roughly equally represented in terms of input as I recall.

And above all else it exists now in electronic form and can be posted in a matter of days thus providing readers with a ready archive of reference on many contentious matters that you and I have discussed honestly between ourselves.

Finally, how many other “fraudulent” authors do you know who so willingly provide their critics with a free venue like this website on which to attack them? My request to publish our earlier debate is made entirely in good faith and simply out of a desire to waste no more time than necessary on matters that we have already covered.

Best, Graham
PS I note your continued silence on the Kate Spence matter and the bizarre concerted role of “Nature” (editor CSICOP member) and “New Scientist” (editor CSICOP member), and the simultaneous role of Ed Krupp (CSICOP member) in getting Spence’s wonderful “new discovery” about the alignment of the pyramids widely published and by feeding positive comments on her “discovery” to the press. Kate Spence remember is one of the hatchet-wielding Horizon lobby brought on to rubbish Bauval’s Orion correlation theory. How ironic therefore that a major part of her much hyped “discovery” was prefigured in Bauval’s published work years before (though not acknowledged by Spence) while the other major part of it now turns out to have been developed and published by a French astrophysicist Karine Gadre and others -- again years before (and again not acknowledged by Spence). See details on this site.

Have you joined CSICOP yourself, yet by the way? I know you’re an admirer of theirs.

Yours ever hopeful that you will allow me to publish our debate. [And if you really think this is just some sort of delaying tactic on my part then surely the best way to expose me is to allow me to publish the debate?]

Best wishes, Graham


Dear Mr Fagan,

Thanks for your mail of 10 November 1999 and sorry for the delay in replying to you. I was in the middle of a long research trip when I received it, risking my life – literally—diving in dark winter waters with strong currents, to check out rumours of an underwater temple off Malta. Nearly drowned on one occasion when the boat was unable to see us in high seas after we surfaced almost 2 miles from the shore. We didn’t find the site we were looking for but will return in the spring, when the weather is better, to try again.
I’m not a ‘pseudohistorian’ – your label for me. Indeed I’m not a historian at all, nor any kind of ‘scientist, and nor have I ever claimed to be. I’m just a journalist with an interest in the past and a willingness to take risks, intellectually and physically, to get a good story. Moreover, however repulsive you may find me, haven’t you noticed that I’ve awakened a lot of people -- who may hitherto have been a bit bored with the way history is taught -- to a real sense of curiosity about and enthusiasm for the past?
Before I started writing my books most people were rarely exposed to reasonably coherent and well thought-out alternative ideas about history and prehistory. Why should my few books be regarded as so wicked by you and your colleagues when hitherto all that the vast majority of people have had available to them, from the cradle to the grave, are the unopposed teachings of the ‘true church’ of science -- in textbooks, in encyclopaedias and in the vast bulk of media coverage? Why is it that you scientists so much hate opposition to your doctrines? Do you really believe that my readers are just impressionable children who will somehow be led astray if exposed to a few ideas and suggestions that don’t emanate from the true church -- and that are at odds with the church’s dogma?
You seem so determined to dislike me and write me off as ‘fraudulent’ that you don’t realise that my own ideas are always in evolution. When I was researching and writing Fingerprints of the Gods – up to 1994 – I was certainly open to the idea that the Great Pyramid might be much older than previously thought. Even in Fingerprints, however, I was also prepared to assign the Great Pyramid to the Fourth Dynasty (eg see US paperback edition, pages 497 and pages 449ff where Bauval and I discuss the possibility that the ground- plan of the pyramids may have been laid out in the epoch of 10,500 BC with the pyramids themselves -- including their ‘starshafts’ -- being built in the epoch of 2500 BC). If you go through my work you will find that my view on the antiquity of the Great Pyramid (though not of its function) has hardened in favour of the orthodox dating in Keeper of Genesis (1996) (called Message of the Sphinx in the US), and in my most recent book Heaven’s Mirror (1998). To summarise my position now, I suggest that what we’re dealing with at Giza is an older tradition—repeat TRADITION—involving a very ancient sky-ground religion, to which the Great Pyramid is connected. But I do think that the monument itself (or anyway most of it -- perhaps the subterranean parts are older) was built in the Fourth Dynasty. So my interest in the Inventory Stela doesn’t really concern the Great Pyramid but rather the reference to the SPHINX already being in existence in Khufu’s time —for obvious reasons since the Sphinx is not supposed to have been built until the reign of Khufu’s successor Khafre.
By the way if you want a quick check on my current position on the Great Pyramid go to my website ( and press the Features button. Read my Feature on ‘Writing about Outrageous Hypotheses’. In it there is a statement that I posted widely in 1998 reconfirming that I do regard the Great Pyramid as a Fourth Dynasty construction and drawing public attention to a serious mistake that I made in Fingerprints regarding the quarry marks in the relieving chambers. I do admit my mistakes and I’m not sure that such a ‘fraud’ as you believe me to be would be so candid.
Now, to return to the specifics of your letter, I would like to comment on your suggestion that I misrepresented the contents of the Inventory Stela in pages 303-304 of Fingerprints of the Gods (US edition pagination). At issue here is not my evolving view on the antiquity of the Great Pyramid – as outlined above – but rather whether you are right to accuse me of deliberately falsifying the Stela’s contents to bolster my ‘weak case’ thus making me guilty of ‘intellectual dishonesty’, ‘fraud’, etc (your words).
First lets look at what I actually said in Fingerprints (page 303) based on my reading of page 85 of Breasted: “The Inventory Stela… was something of a bombshell because its text clearly indicated that both the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid (as well as several other structures on the plateau) were already in existence long before Khufu came to the throne. The inscription also referred to Isis as the ‘Mistress of the Pyramid’ implying that the monument had been dedicated to the goddess of magic and not to Khufu at all. Finally, there was a strong suggestion that Khufu’s pyramid might have been one of the three subsidiary structures alongside the Great Pyramid’s eastern flank.”
You take exception to this and state: “We checked that text in Breasted’s edition. It says that Khufu found the House of Isis (the Temple of Isis). It then says (I quote directly): ‘He BUILT his pyramid beside the temple of this goddess’…”
So let us look at Breasted’s text again (I too can quote directly!): “Live the Horus: Mezer, King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Khufu, who is given life. He found the house of Isis, Mistress of the Pyramid, beside the house of the Sphinx of [Harmakhis] on the north-west of the House of Osiris, Lord of Rosta. He built his pyramid beside the temple of this goddess, and he built a pyramid for the king’s daughter Henutsen beside this temple.”
Setting aside for the moment my current view that the Great Pyramid probably is a Fourth Dynasty construction, I see nothing in this passage which tells us (as you seem to think) that Khufu was its builder -- and therefore nothing to support your claim that my interpretation of the passage is fraudulent. Follow my logic and tell me if you still think I was being dishonest: (1) The ‘House of Isis’ that Khufu supposedly found is said to have been ‘beside the house of the Sphinx on the north-west of the House of Osiris’. When we look at the geography of the Giza site, we find that the Great Sphinx does indeed lie to the north-west of an impressive structure – the so-called ‘Valley Temple’ of Khafre (known in Mariette’s time as the Temple of the Sphinx). Even Breasted accepts (his note ‘h’, page 85) that it was this temple to which the scribes of the Inventory Stela were referring when they spoke of the ‘House of Osiris’. (2) So a strict reading of Breasted’s version of the Inventory Stela justifies us in concluding that the ‘house’ or ‘temple’ of Isis referred to in the Stela must have been situated somewhere to the north-west of the structure presently known as the Valley Temple. (3) The Breasted version of the Inventory Stela also tells us that Khufu built his pyramid beside the temple of Isis and further that ‘he built a pyramid for the king’s daughter Henutsen beside this temple.’ (4) the ‘three subsidiary structures’, that I refer to ‘alongside the Great Pyramid’s eastern flank’ do lie to the north-west of the Valley Temple and thus, in my view, are fair game as candidates for the little complex of buildings described in the Stela: namely the temple of Isis, the pyramid of Khufu and the pyramid of Henutsen; (4) the northernmost of these three structures, all of which are pyramids with associated funerary complexes, contains no inscriptions that tell us who it was built for (Egyptologists assume it was for Khufu’s consort Mertiotes; but this is their opinion, not -- so far as I know -- a fact). (5) the central of the three structures likewise contains no inscriptions that tell us who it was built for, although queenly titles were discovered in the mortuary chapel on its east side. (6) the southernmost of the three structures again contains no inscriptions that tell us who it was built for, but it was in the mortuary temple on the eastern side of this structure that the Inventory Stela was found. From this Egyptologists deduce (again opinion, not fact) that the southernmost pyramid was built for Henutsen (and I find it odd that they accept the testimony of the Stela on this detail but do not accept it on others); (7) the title of the Goddess Isis as “Mistress of the Pyramid” is, in my view, extremely suggestive and argues against your notion that the Inventory Stela is referring to the Great Pyramid when it tells us that Khufu ‘built his pyramid’ beside the temple of Isis. Since Isis in the Inventory Stela’s scenario was the “Mistress of the Pyramid” before Khufu built his pyramid then which pyramid was she “mistress” of? Doesn’t this suggest a pre-existing pyramid on the site – perhaps the Great Pyramid – and the possibility that Khufu’s pyramid is indeed one of the three structures that the Inventory Stela describes as standing side by side – namely the temple of Isis, the pyramid of Khufu and the pyramid of Henutsen?
I am sure that you will disagree with me about this, perhaps for very good reasons, but I hope you can see now that a chain of logic – not fraud – lay behind my comments on the Inventory Stela on page 303 of Fingerprints of the Gods. What I gave my readers there was my honest interpretation of the Breasted material – an interpretation that differs from your own but that is nevertheless consistent with the material and that does not ‘misrepresent’ it. I have a point of view on this, Mr Fagan. I’ve thought about it, worked it through and attempted to convey my conclusions to my readers – whilst taking pains to refer them to my sources so that they can check me out and make up their own minds. In other words even if my conclusions are wrong – which remains to be demonstrated – I did NOT act in bad faith as you seem so determined to believe.
Regarding the other point you make in your letter concerning my treatment of Lord Pacal and the Palenque sarcophagus lid in Fingerprints of the Gods, please read my new book Heaven’s Mirror, particularly Chapter 2 around pages 36-37. I do not speak here of the Lid but I do speak of Lord Pacal and of another design in which he features – this time in the Temple of the Foliated Cross. You will see that my ideas about Mayan sacred art have evolved a great deal since I wrote Fingerprints and that what I have to say now is very much informed by the work of Linda Schele and others.
And I agree with you, by the way: only when the imagery of Mayan rebirth beliefs is properly contextualised within the culture that created it can we begin to understand the levels of thought at which these amazing people were operating.
I’m sorry that you feel the need to orient your students so negatively towards me and my work. We humans can also be generous towards one another and try to see the best, rather than the worst, in each others’ endeavours.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Graham Hancock [15 December 1999]

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Debate 402 Garrett Fagan 29-Nov-00 22:05
RE: Debate 290 Graham Hancock 30-Nov-00 01:37
RE: Debate 182 Geoff Stocks 30-Nov-00 01:56
RE: Debate 186 jameske 30-Nov-00 03:39
RE: Debate 173 Garrett Fagan 30-Nov-00 04:04
RE: Debate 205 Graham Hancock 30-Nov-00 11:32
RE: Debate 175 Dr E 30-Nov-00 11:52
WEAR SPECTACLES 173 Bryan 30-Nov-00 12:56
RE: WEAR SPECTACLES 167 Sharif 30-Nov-00 13:16
RE: WEAR SPECTACLES 180 Dr E 30-Nov-00 13:59
RE: WEAR SPECTACLES 234 Bryan 30-Nov-00 15:18
RE: WEAR SPECTACLES 156 Dr E 30-Nov-00 18:04
RE: Debate 213 Mark 30-Nov-00 09:57
RE: Debate 143 Geoff Stocks 30-Nov-00 19:54
RE: Debate 175 jameske 30-Nov-00 01:53

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