Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Last time we took a look at a newspaper article from 1909 about some amazing findings in the Grand Canyon.Today we will take a closer look and see what we know about this today. On April 5, 1909, a front page story in the Arizona Gazette reported on an archaeological expedition in the heart of the Grand Canyon funded by the Smithsonian Institute, which had resulted in the discovery of Egyptian artifacts. April 5 is close to April 1 – but then not quite… so perhaps the story could be true?

Nothing since has been heard of this discovery. Today, over five million tourists visit the Grand Canyon each year. You would thus expect that if anything was hidden in the canyons, it would thus since long have been uncovered. However, most tourists only spend around 3 hours of time at the canyon, usually visiting the legendary South Rim view around mile 89, where most of the best and oldest tourist facilities are located. Furthermore, some have said that the entire discovery has since become the center of a major cover-up, apparently in an effort to maintain the old status quo, which is that the ancient Egyptians never ventured outside of the tranquil waters of the river Nile.
The original story goes that the team found an underground network of tunnels, high above the Colorado River, containing various ancient artifacts, statues and even mummies. A major discovery, no doubt about it. Impossible to slip off the archaeological radar. Still, the Smithsonian Institute will report it has no records on the subject. So what happened? To find out, there is only one guide: the article itself. Though the article was anonymous, it did identify some of the archaeologists involved: “under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan", with Smithsonian-backed adventurer G. E. Kinkaid, who then relates his findings.
But the story gets weirder when the Smithsonian stated that it had no Kinkaid or Jordan on record. In one enquiry from 2000, the institution replied: “The Smithsonian Institution has received many questions about an article in the April 5, 1909 Phoenix Gazette about G. E. Kincaid and his discovery of a 'great underground citadel' in the Grand Canyon, hewn by an ancient race 'of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt.' The Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology, has searched its files without finding any mention of a Professor Jordan, Kincaid, or a lost Egyptian civilization in Arizona. Nevertheless, the story continues to be repeated in books and articles.” There is room for a cover-up, of course, as some have argued. The files do not necessarily have to set within that department’s and the reference to the Phoenix Gazette rather than Arizona Gazette could be a simple error, or an escape valve that is so often present in official replies engineered to debunk. Stories like “the CIA Division X has no record” often means that Division Y is the one who has that record.
So, there is no Professor Jordan, and Kinkaid himself was more than difficult to pin down. However, on March 12 of the same year, the Gazette had reported on an earlier phase of Kincaid's adventure: “G. E. Kincaid Reaches Yuma.” Here, Kinkaid is identified as being from “Lewiston, Idaho”; he “arrived in Yuma after a trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the entire course of the Colorado River. He is the second man to make this journey and came alone in a small skiff, stopping at his pleasure to investigate the surrounding country. He left Green River in October having a small covered boat with oars, and carrying a fine camera, with which he secured over 700 views of the river and canyons which were unsurpassed. Mr. Kincaid says one of the most interesting features of the trip was passing through the sluiceways at Laguna dam. He made this perilous passage with only the loss of an oar." The account is factual enough and seems to be just that: fact. The article concludes: "Some interesting archaeological discoveries were unearthed and altogether the trip was of such interest that he will repeat it next winter in the company of friends." Less than a month later, the same newspaper seemed to continue their story where they had left it off: Kinkaid was now talking about his “interesting archaeological discoveries”, which consisted of a series of tunnels and passages with a cross chamber near the entrance, containing a statue: "The idol almost resembles Buddha, though the scientists are not certain as to what religious worship it represents. Taking into consideration everything found thus far, it is possible that this worship most resembles the ancient people of Tibet." He also stated that he had found an unknown gray metal, resembling platinum, as well as tiny carved heads, scattered on the floor. Urns bore "mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute hopes yet to discover." In another room he found mummies: "Some of the mummies are covered with clay, and all are wrapped in a bark fabric."
Again, the account is quite factual. Idols “resemble” Buddha, rather than “are” Buddha. The worship “resembles” that of Tibet, not “is”… Kinkaid is trying to use analogies to explain his discovery. It is the anonymous author of the article who makes the connection with ancient Egypt and lets his mind float to one of the biggest discoveries of all time. Still, the newspaper apparently never followed up the story.
Though the Smithsonian involvement is therefore either proof of a cover-up (as some have claimed) or they are telling the truth, this does not mean that the entire story is a hoax, or that the newspaper fabricated the story. “Kinkaid” may have existed, and may have inflated his credentials. Alternatively, he may have made the entire thing up. It may be a hoax, but by whom? The newspaper reported rather factually about it. It may have been their hoax, in an effort to sell more papers, but if so, you would expect to hear more about it, including announcements like “more to come in the following edition”, whetting the public’s appetite.
The anonymous author may have fabricated the story, as he perhaps could not fill the entire newspaper. Perhaps… Which leaves Kinkaid. In his first account, we read how he stated that he has made archaeological discoveries, but these seem to have occurred all on his own. Furthermore, it is clear that he has made numerous photographs. We need to stress that the discovery of the underground network occurred before the first story was written. In fact, it appears that the discovery was made roughly four to six months prior the article. But in the second story, we learn Kinkaid apparently did not travel alone, but was helped by a professor from the Smithsonian. Also, it seems he did not make any photograph of his discovery. Though he claims that the access was very difficult, you would expect Kinkaid to have made some photographs of the general area.
In the Phoenix (Arizona) Gazette article of April 5, 1909 it is stated that Kinkaid "brought the story" of the "underground citadel" "to the city" (Phoenix and the Gazette) "yesterday" (April 4, 1909) after having "discovered" the site "several months ago". It is clear that as far as the newspaper was involved, they were reporting on recent information. But why Kinkaid had not included his discovery in his original account, back in March, is more enigmatic. Even though the newspaper may have wanted to wait to run it, it is clear that the delay is entirely Kinkaid’s.
With no traces of Kinkaid, though, did he actually exist? Jack Andrews has underlined that Kinkaid may have been a real person. In the newspaper report, Kinkaid mentions that he was “looking for mineral”: "I was journeying down the Colorado river in a boat, alone, looking for mineral." The Canyon was a known source of minerals, including copper. But, in 1908, the year of Kinkaid’s expedition, President Theodore Roosevelt had made the Canyon in a National Forest, closing it for any mining or prospecting activity. Andrews has furthermore shown that the area in which he had allegedly found the cave was a well-known area for prospecting. So he could be real… even though perhaps the newspaper got his name wrong… A spelling mistake could send any researcher off the right track, resulting in the conclusion that a person did not exist.
So, what about the cave? It is a fact that the Canyon has many holes and caves, most of which are discovered by hikers. A clear favourite for an Egyptian connection is the area around Ninety-four Mile Creek and Trinity Creek has sites with names like Isis Temple, Tower of Set, Tower of Ra, Horus Temple, Osiris Temple, etc. In the Haunted Canyon area are such names as the Cheops Pyramid, the Buddha Cloister, Buddha Temple, Manu Temple and Shiva Temple. One book, Ancient Secret of The Flower of Life (Vol. II, page 302), claims that two backpackers, on their way to Isis Temple, found a pyramid, made from the native rock. Once at Isis Temple, they claimed to have seen several cave entrances. They stated that the cave entrances were at a height of 800 feet, and the two climbed up, hoping to get into what looked like the most promising cave. But instead they found it had been sealed off with rocks. They felt the entrance was man made and that there was a 6 foot circular pattern hewn into the ceiling.It is unknown whether this is an actual discovery, or more “talk”. Irrelevant, Isis Temple is more than 40 miles from the location given in the newspaper article. Furthermore, it is but one of numerous buttes in the Grand Canyon named after ancient Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Chinese and Nordic gods and goddesses. The origin of the rather esoteric naming is nearly as mysterious as the canyon itself, and has given rise to more than a little speculation as to what early explorers may have found there. But it may also be a perfect memory of its time, when there was a major fascination with all things Egyptian-Indian.
Jack Andrews claims that he has known “of this [Kinkaid’s] location since 1972. I have held the secret since then.” In June 2001, he felt it was “the proper time to reveal the location.” But he later adds that he has never discovered the “physical location” of this claim. From his argument, it seems as if he has “seen” the site in a dream or vision, but has never set foot inside it. However, using Kinkaid’s scant information about the site, “forty-two miles up the river from the El Tovar Crystal canyon...” This is not very precise. Andrews believes that the cave is in a deep river gorge, known as Marble Canyon, which is accessible “by either arriving there in a boat or float trip, or on foot from the rim of the Little Colorado river gorge, on the Navajo reservation.” Andrews spells out some other options, all which seem quite manageable to get there… but not necessarily inside the cave. Kinkaid wrote that "the entrance is 1,486 feet down the sheer canyon wall." Definitely not for the faint-hearted, and the question is how Kinkaid himself succeeded in the task.
Andrews concludes: “I think the "cave" described in the headline story of the Arizona Gazette, April 5, 1909 and its fantastic underground installation was, and still may be, located above an approximate six mile stretch of the Colorado River in Marble Canyon, at the border of Marble Canyon and the Navajo Nation above an area near Kwagunt Rapids.” Is it possible that it remains to be discovered? One ranger said that "that area of the park is very remote and to this day [2000], our knowledge of the area is rather slim, and quite frankly, it is not an area we patrol regularly […] the area is seldom visited."
Though sceptics have given Andrews a lot of slack, others have just run wildly with the story. It is one thing to interpret the Smithsonian’s denial as evidence of a cover-up, what David Icke made of the story is quite another thing. In The Biggest Secret, he writes – verbatim: "In 1909 a subterranean city which was built with the presicion of the Great Pyramid was found by G. E. Hincaid near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was big enough to accomidate 50,000 people and mumified bodies found were of oriental or possibly Egyptian origin, according to the expedition leader Professor S. A. Jordan. My own resaerch suggests that it is from another dimension, the lower fourth dimension, that the reptilian control and manipulation is primarily orchestrated."The story continues to grow and grow, now harbouring a sizeable population. But Icke then adds his own “research”, using the story as “evidence” for his reptilian control claims.
So, where does this leave us? Perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle of this controversy. With so many caves, some must contain something. Kinkaid never said it was Egyptian – he just made comparisons. It could simply have been native… The first culture to occupy the valley were the Anasazi, who entered the region around 500 AD, hunting small game as well as raising corn and squash for their livelihood. By 1000 AD, their culture had advanced to the point where they had begun to develop their own distinctive pottery style, advanced agricultural methods, and a unique form of dwelling known as the "pueblo".
From Mankind’s most ancient past, we have favoured burials in caves. Furthermore, many cultures have made caves in sheer cliff faces, specifically if they are facing towards the setting sun, into highly sacred sites, often cemeteries. Examples of this exist in the French Pyrenees, but whether it is the Cretan canyon known as the Valley of the Dead or the African Dogon, it is a common denominator that caves in cliffs were favoured, since remote antiquity. Why should the Grand Canyon be any different? And if not, then it is entirely possible that human remains were found… and perhaps continue to be found.
But rather than Egyptian or Tibetan in origin, I would argue that they are most likely remnants of the Anasazi. Anasazi groups, widely scattered across the southern Colorado Plateau and the upper Rio Grande drainage, defined their similarities – and their differences – largely in terms of their multi-storied, multi-room pueblo "Great Houses" or "cliff dwellings". It is what tied them together, even though the individual groups themselves often bore more differences than similarities. The site is indeed close to a Navajo centre, which are one of the living descendants of the Anasazi, which means “ancient ones” in Navajo. In the Canyon de Chelly is the so-called Mummy Cave, the last known occupied Anasazi site in the area. Situated in a large, protected alcove about 300 feet above the canyon floor, the two adjacent caves harbour the remnants of a multi-storied dwelling consisting of around 55 rooms and four ceremonial circular structures, or kivas, possibly dating back to 1050.
It was for the two ancient bodies found entombed at this site that an early Smithsonian expedition named the canyon, "del Muerto" — "of the Dead" in Spanish. Here, we therefore have something that is virtually identical to what Kinkaid alleges: a cave, in a cliff, with a complex series of rooms, containing mummies… even the Smithsonian is involved. The one major difference is that this site is known, whereas Kinkaid’s isn’t. But what Mummy Cave equally proves, is that there is no need for Tibetans or Egyptians, but that the local Anasazi are most likely its occupants… if it existed… and why not ? Mummy Cave may look very different from what we imagine Kinkaid was describing… But with so little known about Kinkaid…

Though this story may or may not be reality, examples such as Mummy Cave have since proven that Kinkaid’s story may not be as important as many believe it is. Even if Kinkaid and Jordan were real people, the sensationalist flavorings of the report are all due to the anonymous author. And even if he was reporting truthfully, within the current climate, we can imagine why people could have easily mistaken an ancient culture with a local Indian culture. It is merely because the Indians were believed to have no level of sophistication whatsoever that almost de facto, the site had to be “Old World”… In the 21st century, we know better. Of course all of this could just be so much crud. Who knows, not me but it does prove that we live in a really WEIRD world!

I’m Average Joe

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