The strange circumstances that connects Zahi Hawass with a Psychic Organization, the Fulbright Commission, the University of Pennsilvania, the National Geographic Society, Dr. David Silverman, Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, the King Tut World Exhibition, the Attorney General of Egypt, the Public Funds Procecution (Egypt) and the White House.
In 1988 the journalist A. Robert Smith wrote the biography of Hugh Lynn Cayce (1907-1982), the son of the world famous American ‘Sleeping Prophet’ Edgar Cayce (1877-1945). In this biography, which is titled ‘Hugh Lynn Cayce: About my Father’s Business, Smith quotes Hugh Lynn Cayce (from tape recordings he made) as saying that he had arranged for the higher education of Zahi Hawass, the disgraced Egyptian ex-minister of State for Antiquities, and also for the eminent American Egyptologist Mark Lehner, visiting professor of Egyptology at the University of Chicago and also director of AERA (Ancient Egypt Research Association). Hawass and Lehner have been friends and colleagues since 1974 and have collaborated on many excavations and research at the Giza Plateau until 2011.
The quotes in question attributed to Hugh Lynn Cayce are:
(Regarding Mark Lehner in 1972): “He [Mark Lehner] asked if I though they’d take him at the [American] University in Cairo. He told me he had some good grades and some very bad grades, and he asked if I’d write him a letter of recommendation. I wrote to the Dean of Admissions who turned out to be somebody who had read all the ARE books. He said he’d love to help Mark.” (Smith, Chapter 19, p. 245)
The ‘somebody’ was Frank Blanning, the Dean of Students Admissions at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in 1972. The ‘ARE’ is the Association of Research and Enlightenment, the executive branch of the Edgar Cayce Foundation in Virginia Beach, Norfolk VA in the USA. It may be relevant to know that the AUC started in Egypt as a Christian missionary body in the 1920s, and it is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Frank Blanning ‘had read all the ARE books’ and was impressed by Hugh Lynn Cayce, whose father, Edgar Cayce, was seen as some sort of new age Christian prophet in America and around the world.
It needs to be pointed out that Mark Lehner has never denied that his education at the AUC was indeed arranged and funded by Hugh Lynn Cayce. The actual ‘funders’ who put up the money were Arch and Ann Ogden from Florida, who, in 1973-4, donated $ 3500 per year for Lehner’s fees at the AUC. Apparently Hugh Lynn Cayce told them: “It is very important, in my opinion right now for the ARE to have a man in Cairo.” (Smith, Chapter 19, p. 246)
Lehner primary mission which he himself admits: “I went to Egypt to study at the American University in Cairo and to search for the Hall of Records that psychic Edgar Cayce had prophesied lay beneath the Sphinx.” (AERA Website)
(Regarding Zahi Hawass 1980): “I got him a scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania in Egyptology, to get his PhD. I got the scholarship through an ARE person who happened to be on the Fulbright Scholarship Board. He [Hawass] had aided Mark [Lehner] to work at the Sphinx, and I am very appreciative.” (Smith, Chapter 19, p. 250)
The ‘person’ was again Frank Blanning who had now, in 1980, been appointed as Head of the Fulbright Commission in Egypt (an American funding organization for Egyptian students to study in the USA).
In Robert Smith’s book it is further claimed that the reason for helping Hawass get his PhD was for Hawass “to advance within the [Egyptian] government to further his own career and open doors for Hugh Lynn [Cayce]’s project, [and] he could do it best on the wing of higher education at an American Ivy League college.” (Smith, Chapter 19, p. 250)
But many years later, in 1998 to be precise, both Hawass and Lehner denied that Hugh Lynn Cayce had been instrumental in helping Zahi Hawass obtain a Fulbright Scholarship to study for a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. They made official statements to that effect in the KMT Journal (volume 9, Number 1, Spring 1998, pp.5-6). Here are extracts of what Hawass and Lehner say regarding this matter:
(Hawass): “The younger Mr. Cayce [Hugh Lynn Cayce] had absolutely nothing to do with my graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. .. The Hugh Lynn Cayce I knew would exaggerate things. Robert Smith, author of the biography, [Hugh Lynn Cayce] About my Father’s Business… sent me a fax apologizing having written the reference therein to Dr. Lehner and myself without having contacted us regarding the accuracy of Hugh Lynn Cayce’s statements. Despite his claim to Mr. Smith, there is no way Mr. Cayce could have had any role in obtaining for me a Fulbright scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania.” (KMT, vol.9, No.1, Spring 1998, p. 5)
(Lehner): “I gather from Mr. Smith’s prologue that he wrote much of the book, including Chapter 19, from taped interviews with [Hugh Lynn] Cayce. Smith never contacted either Dr. Hawass or me to verify or comment on those passages relating to us. Anyone who knew Hugh Lynn Cayce well would have to honestly agree that fact-checking is especially important in this case… I introduced the younger Cayce (Hugh Lynn) to Zahi Hawass. I also introduced him to Frank Blanning, who was the Dean of Students [Admissions] at the American University in Cairo… Later Frank became the head of the Cairo office of the Fulbright Council for Education and Cultural Exchange, in which capacity he met Zahi Hawass…” (KMT, vol. 9, No.1, Spring 1998, p. 6)
What Hawass and Lehner are saying is that what Hugh Lynn Cayce told Robert Smith is not true. In other words, according to Hawass and Lehner, Hugh Lynn Cayce had absolutely nothing to do with Hawass’s Fulbright Scholarship to study Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania. They then suggest that Robert Smith should have checked this matter with them. One would agree that there is not much point inquiring with Hawass and Lehner, not indeed with Frank Blanning or the University of Pennsylvania, Because if what Hugh Lynn Cayce said is true, then by admitting it, all these people would be incriminating themselves as well as their respective institutions.
To put it more bluntly, it the word of Hugh Lynn Cayce (who died in 1982) against the word of Hawass and Lehner.
Zahi Hawass is presently under investigation by the Egyptian authorities for various charges ranging from corruption, misuse of public funds and breaking the law regarding antiquities, which puts into doubt his integrity and credibility. Hardly a week ago, on the 12th April 2012, Zahi Hawass proved this when he told blatant lies on the front page of the Al Ahram newspaper, claiming that my parents and myself were ‘Belgian Jews’, and that a book I have written (co-authored with Ahmed Osman, and yet to be published on 15th August 2012) “attributed Egyptian civilization to the Jews” . Both these claims are outright lies.
As for the word of Mark Lehner, all that can be said is that he has been a staunch supporter of Zahi Hawass for 35 years. His comments in the KMT Journal about Hugh Lynn Cayce, however, are somewhat disingenuous, and the matter of who introduced whom to Frank Blanning. There is no question that Robert Smith truthfully reported what Hugh Lynn Cayce had told him on tape. But it cannot be up to Robert Smith, or anyone else for that matter, now to say whether what Hugh Lynn Cyce said about Hawass’s Fulbright scholarship was true or not. It is also hard to imagine that Robert Smith would willingly put into doubt the credibility and integrity of Hugh Lynn Cayce.
So, who is telling the truth in this matter? The answer to this pertinent question bears enormous implications to the many people involved, not least Zahi Hawass himself. For it clearly puts into serious question the validity of Hawass academic status and his reputation as an Egyptologist.
For the last 60 years, since 1952, the Egyptian people have been ruled by governments whose corrupt methods were to misinform and lie, to cheat and exploit, and to control and repress. Public servants, from the President to the lowliest government employee, thought of themselves as masters, and the ordinary people their servants. It was sad and humiliating to see and hear ordinary citizens treat and call government officials, police and army officers ‘Pasha’ and ‘Bey’, those titles used by their rulers of the past who literally owned Egypt and its people.
I believe that it is vitally important to all ordinary Egyptians, be they liberals or Islamists, that their public servants, from top to bottom, from the President to his cabinet, from Directors of government agencies down to their employees, should always be open and lawful, behave with transparency, and be truthful, and above all serve the people and the nation. Only then will Egypt be on the path of recovery, and towards its rightful place in world history as the Mother and Light of Civilisation.
[BOX: Zahi Hawass stayed from 1980 to 1987 in Philadelphia for his studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He lodged his PhD dissertation in January 1987. His main tutor at the university was Dr. David Silverman, a Jewish-American Egyptologist. Silverman was one of three ‘readers’ of Hawass’s dissertation. The two other readers were Dr. David O’Connor and Dr. William Kelly Simpson. In the acknowledgements of his dissertation Hawass gives “very special thanks…to fellow students, Janice Kamrin, Heidi Rancin, and Stacie Olson, for their help preparing the manuscript with their suggestions, typing and editing.” Hawass returned to Egypt in 1987, and soon was made Director of the Giza Pyramids. In 2002 he was appointed Director-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. In January 2011 he was made Minister of State for Antiquities in the cabinet of Hosni Mubarak. In July 2011 Hawass was fired for his post. During Hawass’s tenure Dr. Silverman and Dr. O’Connor, with their university, have been granted archaeological concessions in Egypt. Hawass and Dr. Silverman have collaborated on many projects and wrote a book together. Dr. David P. Silverman serves as the curator, advisor and academic content creator for the exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. in the New York and other cities in the USA. He was also put in charge for the exhibition Treasures of Tutankhamun at Chicago’s Field Museum.
Hawass and Janice Kamrin also wrote books together, and in recent years Hawass had appointed her as Director of Registrars at the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo. During his long tenure Hawass has also helped several times (in 1978, 1991, 1996 and 1998) senior members of the Edgar Cayce Foundation to search for the ‘Hall of records’ that Cayce claimed was under the Sphinx. These senior members were Joseph Jahoda and Joseph Schor two prominent Jewish-American businessmen. Laura Strumingher Schor, the wife of Joseph Schor, was the National Executive Director of the largest women’s organization in the United States, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.
In early April 2012 Egyptian General Prosecutor referred charges of wasting public money and stealing Egyptian antiquities against Zahi Hawass, former minister of state for antiquities to the Public Fund Prosecution office. Also Nour El-Din Abdul-Samad, Director of Archeological Sites, had filed the accusations against Hawass, and requested that the objects in question be returned to the Egyptian Museum. The Public Funds Prosecution office also received other charges accusing Hawass of wasting public money and exposing Egyptian antiquities to stealing in collaboration with former regime members. Hawass had made a 17 million dollar deal with the US-based National Geographical Society with regard to a Tutankhamun exhibition to raise donations for Suzanne Mubarak's charity, which is a private association not a state body, and as such Hawass was not legally allowed to do this. Apparently the man in National Geographic Society (NGS) who made the deal with Hawass for the King Tut Exhebition was NGS's Vice-President for for Mission Programs, Terry Garcia. Hawass and Garcia have been close friends for the last 15 years. On May 13th, 2011, four months after the Tahrir Revolution of 25th January, US President Barak Obama nominated Terry Garcia to be Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Commerce. A few days later, on May 17th, Zahi Hawass placed an article on his Blog titled "Terry Garcia" in which he refers to Garcia as 'one of the greatest friends that I have ever had in my life'. The article ends with a rather strange remark by Hawass: "I have faith that my two other good friends at National Geographic, John Fahey and Tim Kelly, will continue to support Egypt in the way that Terry has in the past." What happened next is, to say the least, rather odd. In July 2011 The New York Times revealed that Zahi Hawass had been receiving $200,000 each year from the National Geographic as a 'stipend' for being one of their 'Explorer in Residence'. A few days later, on 19th July, Hawass was fired from his post. Two months later, on September 28th, Terry Garcia announces that he does not wish to be nominated for the post at the US Department of Commerce. Alan Mairson, a member of the National Geographic Society, expressed his serious concerned regarding the connection of Hawass and Garcia and the 'deal' that was made regarding the King Tut Exhebition, but was unable to talk to either Garcia or Hawass. See here: http://societymatters.org/2012/04/05/zahi-hawass-is-back-in-the-news-and-so-is-our-society/ ]
Zahi Hawass and Terry Garcia c. 2009-10
Hugh Lynn Cayce with the Dalai Lama
Hugh Lynn Cayce with Prime Minister Nehru of India
Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass at Giza c. 1978
Mark Lehner reporting on the search for the Hall of Records at the Edgar Cayce Foundation c. 1979