AN UPDATE (Paperback ed. SECRET CHAMBER, Arrow Publ. 2000)
THE MISSING CAPSTONE
One of the greatest mystery of ancient Egypt and there for all to see, is that the Great Pyramid of Giza stands like a headless giant with its capstone missing. Frustratingly, there is no reliable ancient or modern records to tell what could have happened to this mysterious capstone or, indeed, if it ever existed all. On the other hand there are many local legends that hint of a fabulous golden capstone shaped like a small pyramid and embossed with the mystical 'Eye of Horus'. Apparently so polished was this object that it gleamed like a jewel and could be seen from miles around. This enchanted imagery and symbolism has somehow travelled through the ages and has found its way in the most unlikely places such as on the cover of medieval Bibles, on the altar of Renaissance churches and cathedrals, on the Great Seal of the United States, on thousands of Masonic lodges and regalia and, most notably, on the back of the US dollar bill. Some even say that the very "Star of David" or "Seal of Solomon" is none other than the Benben symbol disguised as two interlocking triangles. At any rate, for these and other reasons there is today a widespread belief that when such a golden capstone will be replaced on the Great Pyramid the world will enter a new spiritual age or new world order. Indeed, some groups like the American based Association of Research and Enlightenment have even prophesied this event along with the Second Coming of Christ. Not surprisingly then, when in June 1999 the Egyptian authorities announced plans to place by helicopter at midnight on the 31st December 1999 such a golden, pyramid-shaped capstone on the summit of the Great Pyramid, expectations ran high. The international media began to prepare to cover the event with dozens of television channels poised to broadcast it 'live' around the world. As it turned out, however, the event never took place. Amid a huge political fuss and negative media the Egyptian government called it off at the last minute. The reason for this bizarre decision was partly explained in an article that appeared in the Cairo Times on the 13th January 2000:
"The Islamic bi-weekly paper Al Shaab had predicted an unabashed exhibition of Masono-Zionic-Satanic symbols during 'Jewish singer' Jean Michel Jarre's Twelve Dreams of the Sun (concert) and was not disappointed. The paper's 4th January edition featured a four-page in-depth expose of the going-on: stage lights behind Jarre that came together to form a six-pointed star, dastardly Satanic fires displayed during the performance, and the repeated, mysterious winks that Jarre was seen making seconds before the display of each new symbol… Al Shaab… asked its readers to consider the strange coincidence that led the millennium celebrations to be held at the same time that the Egyptian parliament is considering a draft of the revised personal status law… the paper alludes to the common goal of both the Masonic conspiracy and the personal status law: the sacralisation (sic.) of individuality and the destruction of the family."
But the origin of this story is even more confusing than that. Since early 1999, it had been claimed that the idea of placing a golden capstone on the Great Pyramid to celebrate the millennium should be credited to Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Under-secretary of State for the Giza Monuments. Hawass is the undisputed keeper of the Great Pyramid and generally acts as the media spokesman for all matters related to the Giza necropolis. Hawass claimed to have recently unearthed two ancient limestone blocks on which were found inscriptions and drawings showing workers towing a golden capstone amid scenes of jubilation and merriment which, he says, inspired him to proposed that Egypt should do the same for the millennium celebrations. But prior to this there had taken place a rather curious ceremony in Paris which could have indirectly influenced this idea for the millennium party at Giza. In May 1998 Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak along with the minister of culture, Dr. Farouk Hosni, and Egypt's Antiquities chairman Dr. Ali Gaballah attended this ceremony in Paris where, for reasons not so clear, a golden capstone was unveiled on the summit of the ancient Egyptian obelisk at the Place de la Concorde outside the Louvre Museum. This particular obelisk, as we shall see later, had a long history of strange Masonic connections (see prologue). At any rate, it was during this ceremony that Dr. Hosni made this peculiar announcement. Hosni told the French press that although,
"…we cannot rebuild the pyramids stone by stone, so we have chosen a symbolic event like the ancient Egyptians did when they used to cap obelisks like what the French did at the Place de la Concorde".
Dr. Hosni also confirmed that the French composer Jean-Michel Jarre, a famous pop figure of the 1970-80s, would perform a millennium concert at Giza entitled 'The Twelve Dreams of the Sun'. According to the official Egyptian information service:
"At midnight a helicopter will fly into the site and, hovering in a starburst of lasers and spotlights, will place a gigantic gilded capstone atop the Great Pyramid --all to the accompaniment of what is expected to be an unprecedented Jarre crescendo of electronic music. The gold cap, approximately 28 feet high (about the size of a two-story house) is being especially constructed to protect the pyramid structure. In place, it will catch the first light of the new millennium as the sun rises over Egypt. Capping pyramids with gold and timing important events to the setting and rising sun are very much part of the ancient Egyptian Pharaonic tradition, making this piece of Jarre theatre particularly meaningful."
Less than a decade earlier, in July 1990, Jean-Michele Jarre had in fact organised a quasi-similar event in Paris for the bicentennial of the French Revolution. A large metal-framed pyramid had been raised under the Grande Arche de La Defense to serve as a stage for the extravaganza performance of laser lights and electronic music. This makeshift pyramid was placed in direct alignment with the Concorde obelisk as well as the newly built glass pyramid which stands outside the Louvre. Interestingly. a few years later another show had also been organised by Jean-Michel Jarre at London's Canary Wharf, a modern tower block designed as a giant obelisk topped with an huge illuminated glass pyramid.
In June 1999 problems began to arise in Egypt when some members of the Egyptian Parliament first complained of the excessive costs for Jarre's performance and also that the proposed millennium celebration would coincide with the holy month of Ramadan, when devout Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. To counteract such potentially explosive problems, the culture minister Dr. Farouk Hosni assured the parliament that no alcoholic drinks would be allowed during the millennium celebrations and that the costs for the event would be recouped by the sale of tickets for the show and that Egypt would benefit from the massive publicity. However, when the radical Egyptian press, notably Al Shaab, found out that Jarre intended to project laser images which also included the so-called 'Eye of Horus' on the Great Pyramid (the latter reminiscent of the eye-in-the-pyramid symbol seen on the US one dollar bill) it accused the organisers of staging a sort of 'Masonic-cum-Zionist' stunt. These accusations were hotly denied by the Dr. Hosni and Dr. Hawass who complained that,
"..the suggestion is groundless! The celebration has nothing to do with Masonic beliefs. The design on the US dollar is a faulty imitation of the Pyramids of the Middle Kingdom."
In early December 1999 they began to show signs of caving in under the adverse press and began a face-saving exercise by deferred the decision to a 'special scientific committee'. Hawass also began to express second thoughts about the capstone because,
'…it could hurt the pyramid. Therefore if we find out that that putting this capstone will hurt the pyramid, then, we will not do it."
Oddly, hardly a few weeks earlier Dr. Hawass had expressed a totally different view:
"At twelve o'clock everyone has to wait for this moment, everyone has to open his eyes and don't drink, don't get drunk, because if you get drunk you will never see this moment! Five minutes before twelve o'clock a helicopter will come with the capstone and will put it in the top of the Pyramid. You know, you have to imagine, this will be the most exciting moment in history! The capstone is not really putting a capstone; it is a message from Egypt to the whole world!"
In fact many eminent scholars opposed Dr. Hawass's view. Encouraged by the media's attack on the capstone ceremony, a group of senior Egyptian Egyptologists joined the press's attack. On the 7th December 1999 a meeting took place at the headquarters of the Supreme Council of Antiquities to debate the issue. Dr. Abdel Hamid Zayed, professor of archaeology at Cairo University, complained that contrary to what Hawass believed, there was no historical evidence to support the placing of a capstone on the summit of a pyramid. Dr. Ali Al Khouli then warned that the pyramidion was also a "Masonic symbol". He pointed out that the Masons are believed to have 'Zionist connections' and that previously the Egyptian press has fuelled the idea that "Israel wants to assert its sovereignty over the Pyramids". Dr. Ali Radwan, a senior university professor, read a statement to the press on behalf of the University of Cairo in which he warned of "strange religious or Masonic rituals that might be practised on the millennium". This statement was signed by nine senior archaeologists, including Dr. Abdel Halim Nureldin, a former Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Under such fire, the minister of culture was forced to remove his support for the capstone and, on the 17 December, finally declared that the event would be cancelled to put a stop to the 'growing controversial rumours' in spite of the fact that the special scientific committee appointed by the minister (which included the Remote Sensing Authority, the architectural department of the Ministry of Defence and senior geologists, engineers and architects) had confirmed that the placing of this capstone on the Great Pyramid was very safe and feasible. This bizarre behaviour, needless to say, has not only deprived the world of a very significant millennium event but has also left the general public confused and frustrated. Few could comprehend these Byzantine politics and paranoia involved. It was as if the Egyptian authorities had been the victim of strange forces and hidden influences. But who or what could exert such forces or influences on them?
One of the main purposes of Secret Chamber is to attempt to answer such provocative questions. My many years of investigation at Giza left me with little doubt that behind-the-scene influences were at play which could be traced to powerful groups and individuals. But there was also 'something' else that was at play here; 'something' more powerful; something subtle and fleeting; 'something' that was, for lack of better definition, subliminal. It was if the pyramids themselves, their strange astronomical alignment to the stars and the occult ideologies they contained, had the power to exert an effect on the collective unconscious which could somehow motivate certain primed individuals to act in a predetermined way. In short, that the pyramids acted like some sort of prophetic machine originally designed and contrived to work for precisely such a purpose.
No matter how difficult it was for me to acknowledge such a possibility, I could not escape the nagging awareness that the ancient pyramid builders of Egypt had been the keepers of a powerful 'science' --a 'science' that had so far escaped detection possibly because we had forgotten or indeed lost the ability to fully and properly use the intuitive part of the mind. My previous studies based on the astronomical alignments and placement of the Pyramids strongly suggested that the main key to unlock the secrets of this mysterious 'science' was the visual connection between the Pyramids and the stars of Orion. But other than the stars of Orion, the single star that received the most reverence and attention was Sirius. In a curious way this special star, as we shall see, had a unique connection with the golden capstone of the Great Pyramid. But even more curiously, this connection was quite literally going to be unwittingly re-establish at midnight on the eve of the new millennium when the capstone was to be lowered on the Great Pyramid.
(continued in Secret Chamber)