HANKY PANKY AT THE GIZA PLATEAU 1994-1999

 From my book SECRET CHAMBER. Century Books 1999.

A fully updated edition will be published in 2014 by Inner Traditions. Vermont.

CHAPTER TEN

 

FAULTS AND CHASMS

 

“We sort of have 1996 set up for our little expedition to the Sphinx, with underground radar. 1996 was when Zahi (Hawass) said we’d be able to go. We’ll do more ground-scanning… and I figure that by 1998 we’ll hit something.”

Joseph Jahoda, February 1995 .

“…Certain people…acted as if the Giza Plateau, which contains the three Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, was their private property…” Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Bakr, President of the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation, Sunday Times July 1993

 

STRANGE SYNCHRONICITIES

 

In the early part of 1994, a few weeks after the publication of my book

 

The Orion Mystery, I received a letter from my good friend, the author Colin Wilson. Wilson, who was researching for his next book, From Atlantis to the Sphinx, he asked my opinion on John Anthony West’s geological dating of the Sphinx to a period much older than accepted chronology, and was also curious to know more about the astronomical connection of the Giza Pyramids and the date of 10,500 BC which I had briefly touched upon in my book. Oddly, although I had heard of the John West controversy, I had not known much of the man or his work at Giza. My focus was on astronomy and the Pyramids, not the geology of the Sphinx. My linking the Giza Pyramids to a date of 10,500 BC through astronomical reasoning had, by necessity of its implications, thrown me into the arena of the ‘Age of the Sphinx’ debate that was raging in the United States and Egypt. In a way, it was very much Wilson’s letter which prompted me to turn my attention away from the Giza Pyramids for a while and take a closer look at the other, perhaps far more symbolic monument of the Giza Plateau: the Great Sphinx. Secret Chamber Chapter 10

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At about that same time Graham Hancock and I had agreed to co-author a book which was to be an investigation into the Hermetic Tradition through the ages, I was waiting for Graham to finish his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, before starting on this new project. I knew that Hancock had met John West in Egypt, and therefore asked him more information on West’s work and how relevant it was to his own search for evidence of a lost civilisation. Hancock informed me that he was devoting a whole chapter to John West and his work, and offered to send me a proof. In brief, John West, with the collaboration of Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, has studied the geological erosion of the Sphinx and the walls of the enclosure around it. He had concluded that they were not caused by sand and wind, as archaeologists maintained, but by rainwater. The depth of the grooves and fissures cut by the flowing water suggested a date of at least 2000 years earlier for the carving of the Sphinx. And on the basis of geological and climatic evidence, John West had even implied that the age of the Sphinx could be as old as 15,000 BC. As extraordinary as it seemed, here was the hard science of geology, backed by an eminent Bostonian academic, that threatened to topple whole tenets of Egyptian chronology and the origins of civilisation as taught in schools and universities. It implied, of course, that a much older and far more technologically advanced civilisation had touched Egypt in prehistoric times –an implication that inevitably brought the ‘Atlantis’ issue back into the limelight. Schoch and West’s conclusion sent a wave of anger and controversy around the academic world, and the Egyptological and archaeological ‘experts’ came out in droves to defend their coveted turf. One of the most outspoken critics of the West-Schoch hypothesis was none other than Mark Lehner, now a visiting professor at Chicago University and tagged a leading expert on the Sphinx. The other was Zahi Hawass, now a doctor in Egyptology with a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, (and now Director-General of the Giza Monuments for the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation).

The ‘Age of the Sphinx’ controversy started when John West, in the late 1970s, read in a book by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz,

 

Sacred Science (1), that the body of the Sphinx appeared to be eroded by water. Schwaller had suggested that the Nile’s flood, which apparently might have reached the Sphinx upper levels in very remote antiquity, might have been responsible. Calculations, however, showed that flood water were unlikely to have been that high. When West took Robert Schoch to see the Sphinx in 1990, the latter quickly realised that the vertical fissures he saw were Secret Chamber Chapter 10

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not the result of flood water at all, but rainfall flowing over the body of the Sphinx and the walls of its enclosure. Schoch and West presented their hypothesis to the Geological Society in San Diego, and within a few days the news hit the press and a huge academic storm began to rumble, its echoes still felt to this day. The upshot was that the academics and ‘experts’ on the subject of Egyptian chronology and archaeology rejected outright any suggestion that the Sphinx could preceded dynastic Egypt, this in spite of the well-argued geological evidence presented by Schoch. Rather than review the thesis with a cool head, the Egyptologists in particular came out screaming and exhibiting to the media the hallmark of an orthodoxy and dogmatism that was long thought by the lay public to have been purged out of such scientific circles. The issue was not only whether Schoch and West were scientifically right, but whether they had the right to argue such ‘heretical’ matter being outsiders of the Egyptological profession. Dr. Peter Lecorvra of the Egyptian Department of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts put it this way:

“That’s ridiculous! Thousands of scholars working for hundreds of years have studied this topic and the chronology is pretty well worked out. There are no big surprises in store for us.” (2).

Dr. Lanny Bell, an Egyptologist at Chicago University, declared that although Egyptologists weren’t geologists, he nonetheless was ‘not willing to admit that we’ve lost 1500 years or more in our chronology (3). The Egyptological world was incensed. No words of encouragement or any suggestion of further investigations to confirm or rebuff the West-Schoch geological claim was offered by the establishment. As far as this particular profession was concerned the West-Schoch thesis was beneath serious consideration. The New York Times interviewed Mark Lehner who delivered this broadside:

“You don’t overthrow Egyptian history based on one phenomenon like a weathering profile. That is how pseudoscience is done, not real science!’” (4).

In February 1992 John West and Schoch decided to take their debate to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, where Mark Lehner led a group of sceptics to debate against the hypothesis. Present was Canadian author and journalist Paul William Roberts (5), who reported the event with his characteristic blend of humour and lucid

 

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view on human nature, calling it an ‘academic Armageddon’ (6). The debate, titled ‘How Old is the Sphinx ?’, attracted a huge audience and members of the media. On one side was Dr. Robert Schoch and Dr. Thomas Dobecki, a seismographer who had examined the Sphinx area with Schoch and West in 1991. On the other side was Dr. Mark Lehner and Dr. K. Lal Gauri, a geologist who had worked under Lehner during the ARCE Sphinx Project in 1982. John West was not allowed a place on the panel due to his lack of appropriate academic credentials.

The debate, which started on relatively amicable terms, degenerated into a heated debacle which ended up with shouts and accusations in the main lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the conference hall of which the panel debate had been organised. With Lehner snapping at West that he had no right to meddle in matters only PhDs were qualified to deal with (7). Meanwhile West was working with Robert Watt, a producing partner of Steven Spielberg, and Boris Said, a filmmaker from Los Angeles, on a documentary to present his thesis to the general public. There was, however, another aspect of the Schoch-West expedition at the Sphinx that had even more dramatic consequences if correct. The seismographer, Thomas Dobecki, had conducted acoustical tests all around the Sphinx with the help of West and Boris Said, and had pinpointed a large rectangular anomaly under the right paw of the Sphinx –just as Edgar Cayce had predicted (8). Dobecki described it as ‘a fairly large feature; it’s about nine metres by twelve metres in dimension, and less than five metres in depth.’ He pointed out that the regular shape of this rectangular ‘anomaly’ is inconsistent with naturally occurring cavities and, in his opinion, there was ‘some suggestion that this could be man-made’ (9). The news of this ran through the Edgar Cayce Foundation and its members world-wide like an electric current. But why was Dobecki looking for ‘anomalies and cavities’ with seismographs when the principal objective was to determine the age of the Sphinx by examination of the erosion of the limestone ? The seismographic data taken in the rear of the Sphinx’s terrace (the natural platform of limestone on which the Sphinx stands) proved useful for Dr. Robert Schoch in his geological argument for dating the Sphinx (10), but it was made clear by Dobecki himself that he was also looking for evidence of a ‘lost civilisation’ and, as well, evidence of a secret chamber under the paws of the Sphinx (11). It is perhaps interesting to note that much of the funds for the project were gathered from ARE members or supporters, including two individuals who not only had donated some funds, but were apparently appointed by the ARE to oversee their own interests at Giza. One

 

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individual we have already met: this was Joseph Jahoda, who had previously funded ARE projects at Giza and who was embroiled in the drilling fiasco of 1978. The other was the millionaire Dr. Joseph Schor, a life-long member of the ARE and a top executive with Forest Laboratories Inc. of New York (12). The latter was to be implicated in 1996 in a huge controversy over explorations at Giza which we shall review shortly.

Meanwhile John West and Boris Said managed to produce a full-length documentary which was commissioned eventually by one of America’s largest national channels, NBC. The documentary was titled ‘Mystery of the Sphinx’ and was broadcasted in November 1993 to a record 33 million viewers, and which was to earn West an Emmy Award for best research. The reaction by Egyptologists this time round was even more virulent. Dr. Hawass was particularly furious, and mounted a major attack in the press. One particular article, which appear in the Akhbar Al Yom newspaper in Egypt, was extremely scathing. With a banner title of ‘Stealing of Egypt’s Civilisation’, the newspaper accused John West and Robert Schoch of being ‘liars, science pretenders…adventurers playing with our antiquities and lifting their hands against our history.’ Dr. Zahi Hawass was quoted saying that he thought that this was ‘a sort of Zionist penetration’ (13) The undertone of the attacks, quite clearly, had become very political and plainly bordered on hysteria. There was also a gross distortion of the facts. The newspaper, for example, insinuated that West and Schoch (calling them ‘certain scientists’) had claimed that ‘someone had fallen from heaven to build the Pyramids and the Sphinx and created the civilisation of the Egyptians’ and that their ‘genuine owners are the founders of the elusive Atlantis civilisation…” (14). Neither Schoch nor West, of course, had ever said such a think, nor indeed believed it (15). Dr. Gaber Barakat, a professor at the Faculty of Science at Cairo University, accused the officials who had granted the Americans permits to work at the Sphinx, saying they were as much to blame for this controversy. Even Allah was evoked by Barakat, who exclaimed with indignation: ‘Thanks to Allah for not being involved in this crime which could have led to a horrible archaeological catastrophe!’. Dr. Hawass, in a curious display of blatant disloyalty to his superior, Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Bakr who was president of the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation at the time of the Schoch-West expedition, passed the blame to him by saying that:

 

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“…A key official in the Antiquities Organisation accompanied the mission and entered the area. He helped them obtain a permit from the ex-chairman of the Antiquities Organisation to shoot a profit-making propaganda film…attributing all the great antiquities of Egypt to other people. This is a sort of Zionist plot!…(furthermore) they indeed shot the film and recorded an interview by the ex-chairman of the Antiquities Organisation who said he was pleased the Sphinx is 10,000 years old, as he did in a similar statement given to a foreign newspaper in support of this thesis.” (16)

Hawass then directed his attack on Edgar Cayce, telling the Akhbar Al Yom newspaper that:

“The film indicates an attempt by these pretenders to prove that the Sphinx dates back to 15,000 years…and consequently the Pyramids and the great antiquities were not of the ancient Egyptians but other people of higher culture and education who came from the continent of Atlantis after its destruction and placed beneath the Sphinx the records of their lost continent! It is evident that John West represents nothing but a continuation of this cultural invasion to Egypt’s civilisation. Before him was Edgar Cayce in Virginia who pretended that he had lived in Atlantis 15,000 years ago and then fled with the records to Egypt which he buried near the Sphinx…”

When reading these allegations regarding John West and Edgar Cayce, I was perplexed. My investigation on the Edgar Cayce Foundation’s connection with the Egyptian authorities at Giza back in 1978, when Dr. Hawass was chief inspector of the Giza Plateau during the SRI/ARE Sphinx Project, clearly indicated that not only Hawass had been very well aware of the motives of the Edgar Cayce Foundation who were searching for the Hall of Records, but indeed had himself inspected the drilling operations that they had carried out toward that objective. On three occasions the Edgar Cayce Foundation had been the principal financial sponsors of explorations at Giza, two at the Sphinx area and one at the Pyramids –a fact that Dr. Hawass would surely have been well-aware of. Furthermore there was the question of both Mark Lehner’s education in Cairo sponsored by the Edgar Cayce Foundation as well as their alleged sponsorship of Hawass’s entry at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hawass, as we have said earlier, categorically denied this claim several times in public (17). But more perplexing was the

 

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occasional presence on site during the Schoch-West expedition of Joseph Jahoda, whom Hawass and Lehner knew quite well, and that of Dr. Joseph Schor, a well-known supporter of the Edgar Cayce Foundation. Both Lehner and Hawass had gone out of their way during 1978-1984 to accommodate the Edgar Cayce Foundation in their search for the Hall of Records at Giza and their attempt to vindicate the ‘Atlantis’ connection. Now, however, it was more than clear that they went out of their way to do just the opposite.

I was intrigued. I decided to get in touch with John West in the hope that he could enlighten me on this strange affair. West was temporarily residing in White Plains near New York at his sister’s home. As I was planning a trip to New York to see my US publishers in May 1994, West suggesting a meeting with him in White Plains. He also offered to arrange a meeting with Joseph Jahoda and Dr. Joseph Schor. At the time I was working with the author Adrian Gilbert, and we travelled together to New York. There we rented a car and drove to White Plains. The home of John West’s sister is set in a wonderful rural setting adjacent a forest with tall trees. They had prepared a barbeque and my first sight of John West was seeing him cook the most enormous T-bone steak. We took to each other immediately and have been friends ever since. West was at the time planing to resettle in the small town of Athens on the Hudson River, two hours train ride from New York City. We discussed, of course, the age of the Sphinx in terms of the geology and astronomy, but my main interest was to know more on the ARE’s involvement in Egypt and the role of Jahoda and Schor. West had much time for the Edgar Cayce readings and those who believed in them. He thought the ARE people were very nice but a little too much into weird ideas for his liking. He maintained a cordial and friendly relationship with them, but that was all. He was not too familiar with the events of 1978-1984, but confirmed that the ARE was indirectly supportive of his expedition in 1991-3, and that Jahoda and Schor seemed to act as their representatives in this matter (18). West informed me that Schor and Jahoda had arranged to meet us at the Edgar Cayce Foundation in Virginia Beach. Apparently the grandson of Edgar Cayce, Charles Thomas, would also be present at this meeting. Graham Hancock and his wife Santha had also decided to join us there. They were flying from Washington DC, while Adrian and I decided to drive along the coastal road.

 

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THE TWO JOES

 

The drive from New York to Virginia Beach takes about eight hours, with a dramatic crossing of Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake just before entering the county of Norfolk in Virginia. In the small beach resort of Virginia Beach we booked into a motel, then made our way to the Edgar Cayce Foundation. The complex consists mainly of two buildings: one is a wonderful colonial timber mansion that is, in fact, the refurbished ‘hospital’ in which Edgar Cayce had worked in back in the 1930s and which today serves as offices to the ARE executives as well as a massage and meditation centre; the other is a large, rectangular concrete structure –looking more like a blockhouse, really—which serves as library, bookshop and conference centre. The latter also has some classrooms where various subjects are taught to members and day visitors ranging from ESP, healing, meditation and dream interpretation to Gnostic studies and reincarnation. There was, we had to admit, nothing sinister about this place or the people that worked in it. Many were young and old volunteers who lived in the area. Adrian and I were greeted with a warm welcome by a group of young people who were assigned to show us around the centre. Graham and Santha were already there, browsing in the main library which is situated on the top floor (19).

We were told that our meeting with Charles Thomas, Jahoda and Schor would be over lunch, at the Ramada Ocean-Front Hotel across the road. There was an hour to kill, so we decided to familiarise ourselves with the organisation. We discovered that the Edgar Cayce Foundation has about 100,000 members world-wide and offices or representatives around the USA, South America, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Japan. It runs a press, the ARE Press, which issues several monthly or bimonthly publications, magazines, newsletters and also publishes it own books. The bookshop is well stocked with most books, as to be expected, by the ARE Press, but also a wide selection of associated titles, including books on ancient mysteries such as ours. The conference hall is of professional standard with a seating capacity for 500 people. The prize of the ARE is the large library that fills most of the top floor. It stocks a comprehensive range of books on esoteric subjects, mostly on Hermeticism, Gnosticism, mysticism, religious studies, astrology, Egyptology, and a panoply of New Age literature on healing, divination, channelling, reincarnation, ESP and so on. There is a staff of about thirty people, mostly volunteers on stipends, and the whole is managed by a board of executives headed

 

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by Charles Thomas Cayce. The latter, a graduate in Psychology, is a soft spoken man in his early fifties. He joined the ARE in 1970 and became its president in 1976. This was after his father, Hugh Lynn, had his first heart attack. Charles Thomas Cayce met us in the reception of the ARE. With him were two couples. They were introduced as Joe and Sherry Jahoda, and Joe and Laura Schor. Then Charles Thomas grinned at the two men and simply said: ‘the two Joes!’. The way their women were dressed and that ‘something’ that rich people have in their ways told us that what we saw here was, as the American says, ‘old money’.

Lunch at the Ramada was a pleasant and friendly affair. The two Joes were open about their activities at Giza. They way Jahoda referred to ‘Zahi’ made it clear that he was on very familiar terms with the Egyptian official. Jahoda explained that when Zahi had studied at the University of Pennsylvania, they used to see each other quite often and he had stayed here, at Virginia Beach, with the Jahodas when visiting the ARE. They referred to Mark Lehner affectionately as ‘young Mark’ and did not bear any grudge whatsoever about his changing camps nor, surprisingly, over Zahi Hawass’s media attack on Cayce and his beliefs. As far as they were concerned, it was all part of the unfolding ‘Atlantis’ story. Such tribulations were just temporary hitches which simply meant that the time was not yet right for the Hall of Records to be found. I was fascinated by these men’s confidence in the role they were playing and the way they approached it with such good nature. Charles Thomas kept silent and simply let the two Joes do the talking. What intrigued me most, however, was their utter certainty that they would soon get another opportunity to find what they were looking for at Giza, perhaps in a year or two. They now had to wait for the dust to settle a little, and then Zahi would arrange things for them. It was not so much a question of ‘if’, but more a question of ‘when’. As for us, they were intrigued at the astronomical dating we had derived for Giza. I offered to give them a little talk with slides back at the ARE complex. We then parted company with the understanding that although we, as authors, would remain impartial and reserved the right to report to our readers whatever we deemed fit, we nonetheless wished to maintain an open dialogue with the ARE and the two Joes on the matter of Giza and the Hall of Records.

Back in England I began to work on the manuscript for Keeper of Genesis. A few days later a letter arrived from Joe Schor dated 24 May 1994. It was addressed to ‘All the attendees of the

 

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joint meeting held at ARE Headquarters in Virginia Beach on May 21, 1994’. Schor commended my astronomical work and how, he felt, it ‘corroborated the Cayce records’. He then offered that he would like us ‘to work together to further delineate’ the civilisation Cayce had spoken of, and suggested we all kept in touch from now on. I sent a response through Charles Thomas Cayce thanking him for hosting the meeting, and stating that:

“As you can see, archaeo-astronomy is likely to add further weight to the belief that ‘something’ did happen around 10,500 BC at Giza which, if understood properly, could be of paramount importance to world culture. With the recent geological evidence of John West and now the archaeo-astronomical evidence to give it support, I feel that the search for whatever that ‘something’ was must go on.” (20)

A few weeks later I got a parcel from Douglas G. Richards from Virginia Beach. Richards had co-authored a book, Mysteries of Atlantis Revisited, with the son of Edgar Cayce, Edgar Evans, and the latter’s daughter, Gail Cayce Schwartzer. Enclosed was a copy of the book –which proved to be a real eye-opener regarding the involvement of the ARE at Giza—and also a two-page letter which basically tried to show how some of my conclusions supported the Cayce readings (21). Apparently they were publishing an update on their book and wanted to know if there was any further archaeo-astronomical material regarding 10,500 BC that could be useful to them. I did not hear from the ARE until a few months later, when they invited me to give a talk at their annual ‘Egypt’ conference at Virginia Beach scheduled for July 1995.

This time I decided take my family along –Michele, my wife, my daughter Candice and my son Jonathan. I gave a talk on the Orion-Giza correlation theory and also narrated the latest events at Giza, especially the now famous discovery of the ‘door’ inside the Great Pyramid by Rudolf Gantenbrink (which we will discuss in the next chapter). The audience –about 500 people—were enthusiastic and very receptive. The two Joes had come with their wives and we all went out for dinner in one of the excellent fish restaurants of Virginia Beach. This time I broached the issue of Dr. Hawass’s education at the University of Pennsylvania. Both Jahoda and Schor confirmed that Hawass was helped by the ARE in some way, but did not elaborate much further. They seemed as confident as ever that they were going to return at Giza and be allowed to conduct explorations for the Hall of Records. Sometime soon, they thought. I wished them luck but told them that I felt

 

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sceptical about their chances after the adverse media campaign that was waged in the Egyptian and American press. There also had been a huge controversy over the discovery of the ‘door’ in the Great Pyramid (22). No-one, not even the ARE with its good connections, I felt, would be allowed near the Sphinx or the Pyramids to look for hidden chambers. But the two Joes simply smiled. I figured it was best to let them have their delusions. There was no harm in this.

In February 1995, Jahoda had a telephone conversation with Graham Hancock in which he repeated his conviction that Hawass would soon arranged for them to resume their search at Giza. This time, however, Jahoda provided a rough schedule for an event:

“We sort of have 1996 set up for our little expedition to the Sphinx, with underground radar. 1996 was when Zahi (Hawass) said we’d be able to go. We’ll do more ground-scanning… and I figure that by 1998 we’ll hit something.” Joseph Jahoda, February 1995 (23).

In November 1995, just a few months after the ARE conference, I decided to go to Egypt with a group of friends. Graham and Santha also joined us there. We all stayed in the Movenpick Jolie-Ville hotel near the Pyramids. Everyone was in great spirits. In the early morning of our first night at the hotel we were rudely awoken by a strange rumble and shaking. It was an earthquake, and we heard later that it had caused some minor damage to the walls of the inner chamber of the Second Pyramid. Also a huge boulder had been dislodged from the Mokkatam Hills and had destroyed a small village, killing many of its inhabitants. Shaken by this experience, we all met in the breakfast room to plan the next few days ahead. There, to my surprise, were the two Joes. With them was also the filmmaker Boris Said, as well as a few other people I did not know. They turned out to be the crew for a TV film that Boris and the two Joes were planning to shoot. Schor informed me that they had seen the day before the president of the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation, Dr. Abdel Halim Nureldin, and had lodged an application for a licence to conduct a radar search around the Sphinx and the Pyramids.

With the recommendations of Hawass, the two Joes felt that there chances were very good for getting this licence. Apparently the licence would be granted to the Florida State University with

 

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full financial backing from the Schor Foundation, which Joe Schor had recently registered in the US to cater for this type of research activity (24). Dr. Nureldin had promised them a reply by early 1996 –just as Jahoda had informed us back in February. It was then that we realised that these men meant business. We wondered how much of this latest development John West was aware. Back in England I called West to let him know of the encounter with the two Joes. He was surprised and dismayed for having been kept out of the picture. It was then that he revealed that he was in litigation with Boris Said over financial matters regarding their 1991-3 expedition and the NBC documentary. He felt now that Boris and the two Joes had decided to hijack his research and use his data for their own end. I had to agree with West that this seemed unfair. I told him that Graham and I would support him in this matter, and would try to make Jahoda and Schor see the good sense of joining forces with West and his own team. West then wrote a letter to Schor outlining such a proposal (25). Other than the impressive academic credentials of Dr. Robert Schoch and his affiliation with Boston University, West had also managed to get sponsorship from the prestigious Princeton University’s Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, P.E.A.R. Laboratory for short, represented by Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne, who were also executive members of the cutting-edge Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) (26). He thus proposed that Schor’s planned expedition and his own could pool their academic resources as well as their experiences. In fact John West, through the academic front of Dr. Schoch at Boston University had already lodged a license application with Dr. Mohammad Bakr, then president of the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation, as early as April 1993 (27). Dr. Bakr, however, lost his job in July that year, and so a new application was lodged by the Dean of Boston University, confirming the University’s full support and co-operation to the proposal made by Dr. Robert Schoch (28).

Joe Schor, however, was not moved. Joe Schor was well aware of West’s eagerness to resume his research at the Sphinx, this had been made plain to him by West on several occasions, and at least once by Graham, West and myself during a dinner in New York with Jahoda also present. Schor sent a reply to John West which amounted to a polite rejection of his proposals (29). West took this rejection badly and decided to vent his annoyance and complaints to the original investors of the 1991-3 Sphinx expedition, of which Joe Schor was also one (30). In this letter West did not mince his words regarding what he interpreted as a sort of ‘covert hostile takeover’. West’s

 

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words could have been a little more diplomatic, but then he, himself, would admit that this is by no means his greatest asset. Unfortunately a copy of West’s letter ended up with Schor. This was to be the beginning of open hostilities between West and Schor. Inevitably, Hancock and I were drawn into it. Our first approach was to remain neutral. This way, we felt, would not only allow us to monitor the situation from both sides but also we would retain our freedom of action vis-à-vis our readers and the general public who, at that stage, relied on us for updates on the events taking place at Giza. We thus informed both Joe Schor and John West of our position. Meanwhile the Society of Scientific Exploration invited Hancock, West and myself as speakers at a major symposium called ‘Return to the Source: Recovering Lost Knowledge and Ancient Wisdom’ to be held at the University of Delaware. Other researchers, too, were invited to speak, including authors Colin Wilson, Paul Devereux, Rand Flem-Ath and Paul William Roberts, and mathematician Jay Kappraff and geologist Dr. Robert Schoch. Little did we know that an open debacle would take place there between us and the Schor team. It was around that time, too, that Hancock, West and I also received an invitation to participate in the ARE 1996 Egypt conference. There was something rather puzzling about the title of this conference, which boldly proclaimed the ‘Opening of the Hall of Records: The Return of the Ancient Egyptians –10,500 BC to 1998 AD’. There was, too, a talk by Ahmad Fayed, an ARE guide who was well acquainted with Dr. Hawass on a personal level, that baffled us even more. Fayed’s talk was titled ‘Searching for the Hall of Records: Current excavations at Giza’. Who, we wondered, was currently searching for the Hall of Records and excavating at Giza ? The only team we knew that might be doing that was the Schor Foundation/Florida State University; but this team was still awaiting approval of its license from the Egyptian authorities. This strange certitude that such a search was going to happen before the July 1996 conference uncannily mimicked the same confidence expressed earlier to us by Joseph Johada, Dr. Schor’s right-hand man in such matters. There could be little doubt that both statements were either connected or were based on the same source. Frankly, at this point in time, neither Hancock nor I believed that any team, let alone West because of the previous adverse public attacks from the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation or, worse, Schor and Jahoda with their obvious Edgar Cayce affiliations, would be permitted to conduct explorations at Giza, especially if this involved a search for the vexed Hall of Records. We were soon in for a big surprise.

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