The madness of the Pharaohs
People all over the world are still inventing stories about the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx that sometimes border on madness, writes Zahi Hawass
Many people today believe that the Sphinx lies on top of evidence about lost civilisations but that the Egyptian authorities and archaeologists are purposefully hiding it. Other groups even go as far as to believe that the Sphinx is 15,000 years old.
None of this is true. We are not hiding anything. There have been many requests from New Age individuals to drill under the Sphinx in order to prove our good intentions that Egypt is not hiding anything. But our answer has always been no, because how would anyone benefit from such drilling?
When the water table began to rise in front of the Sphinx, we bored 32 holes around the statue. Each went down to the solid rock, or about 15 metres underground, until the drilling had shown that the Sphinx sat on solid rock. Nothing is hidden under it.
Therefore, although we see many people who are eager to see what is hidden under the Sphinx, these same people do not want to believe that nothing has been found under it except for four tunnels re-opened for study purposes.
Tourists often attend tours with me at 7am in front of the Sphinx to see the smile on its face. Recently, I gave a lecture to an American group and told them the story of the Sphinx's conservation and how I had worked for 10 years to return the Sphinx to its original shape.
I explained that I did not believe that the Sphinx was just another statue made of stone. Instead, I believe that it is made of living rock. I told them the story of when the Sphinx lost its shoulder. I had often gazed upon the Sphinx; deep down, it had seemed to me that the Sphinx was crying because of the poor restoration work that my predecessors had carried out on it, especially those who had poured cement over its body.
A team of restorers carried out a beautiful restoration. When I gazed at the Sphinx after the restoration, I saw that it was smiling because it had been restored to a good condition.
I have often seen other groups that have received permission to be near the Sphinx early in the morning. One such group was bowing to the statue. The people who made it up were not praying, but they were looking at the Sphinx with great admiration as if they were also admiring ancient Egypt.
Many people want to get married in front of the Sphinx. Matt Lauer, the famous American TV presenter, once called me to say that Greg Norman and Chris Evert, famous for their achievements in golf and tennis, wanted to meet me and to get married in front of the Sphinx.
They came to Egypt, and after we had taken some photographs, I told Evert, jokingly, that the Sphinx could pronounce curses. "You will get divorced three months from now," I said. She said "no, I am in love with Greg." Nevertheless, they really did get divorced a few months later. It seemed as if the curse had come true.
I once met an American group that belonged to the Rosicrucians. They entered the Great Pyramid alone and meditated. However, many members of the group were also crying. When I asked the reason why, they said they were repenting for their mistakes and that they had come to Egypt on pilgrimage.
When the first of the Rosicrucians came to Egypt, he entered the Pyramid of Khufu. This group left the Pyramid at sunrise, and they happily stood in front of the Sphinx watching its face receive the rays of the sun.
Many expeditions have brought radar equipment to see if there is anything hidden under the Sphinx. They also did not find anything. Edgar Cayce, an American clairvoyant, had followers who believed that there was a box hidden under the right paw of the Sphinx. These followers believed that the box contained the science of the lost civilisation of Atlantis, and they got permission from the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation to drill under the statue.
The drilling took place near the right paw, and unsurprisingly it found nothing. A team from Waseda University in Japan also used radar to investigate the area around the Sphinx, but this proved to be to no avail. They also drilled under the right paw, but then changed their mind, claiming they needed to drill under the left paw instead.
Let us also not forget that there was a lot of noise in 2000 about archaeological evidence that would allegedly be discovered under the Sphinx. Again, nothing happened.
An American friend of mine once informed me that nine Americans, three ladies and six men, all New Agers who called themselves "psychics", were fascinated with ancient Egypt and had visited the country. They visited the Cairo Museum first and looked at the Old Kingdom objects.
One of them was a lady called Carol Amon. The psychics said that the Stanford Research Institute in the US had claimed that this lady could "break" laser rays with her bare hands. When she visited special places, she felt connected with them and her soul would fly out of her body leaving her unable to control it, they said.
When this lady stood in front of the Sphinx, she felt re-incarnated and connected with the past. She began to say that she was living in ancient times. The other eight followed her, each claiming to have his or her own miracle to perform. They said that Carol Amon had become unconscious, feeling that she was in the past and producing drawings depicting the construction of the Pyramids and the Sphinx thousands of years ago. Lo and behold, the ancient Egyptians were able to find the drawings and use them to build the Great Pyramid, she said.
An English writer also once described his visit to the Sphinx. He foretold that in November 1999 the sky would be full of shooting stars that would kill anything in the sky as a punishment. According to him, all communication through the air would stop, and the world would not be able to communicate.
However, nothing happened. The writer did not explain the reason for this failure.
Today, we are hearing about a group of Poles and Americans who claim that they will discover material under the Pyramids that can save the world. They are collecting money from people all around the world to do so, but once again they are engaged in deception.
From all this, we can see how many people have created stories that have nothing to do with the truth of the Pharaohs. I call this "Pharaoh madness".
This article was previously published in Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper under the title "The madness of the Pharaohs"
-- Sent from my Linux system.