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ARCHIVED NEWS AND VIEWS

Gantenbrink Door Update

In September 2002, the Egyptian authorities, in conjunction with the Boston company iRobot and the National Geographic Channel, drilled through the so-called 'Gantenbrink door' which blocked the end of the southern shaft in the Great Pyramid's Queen's Chamber. (Note: The door is an 8 inch by 8 inch limestone slab, fitted with copper handles, and was discovered by Rudolf Gantenbrink's robot in 1993).

A new cable-controlled robot, named Pyramid Rover, climbed the southern shaft and drilled a hole, 0.75 inches in diameter, through the 3.25 inch thick limestone slab.

In a live television programme entitled 'Pyramids Live: Secret Chambers Revealed', screened 16th-17th September 2002 by the National Geographic Channel, the robot inserted a fibre-optic camera into the hole, fitted with a small light. As the light was switched on, the world held its breath... as another stone 'door' was revealed.

What the robot actually revealed was a continuation of the shaft, blocked by another stone (no copper handles on this one), to form a hollow cavity measuring about 8 inches by 8 inches by 8 inches. The significance lies not in the cavity, of course, but in the continuation of the shaft and what lies beyond the new door (or, more accurately, 'stone plug').

The media reaction to the discovery has been disappointing. It has been widely dismissed as an anti-climax - a non-discovery. Some Egyptologists have criticised Zahi Hawass for commercialising archaeology and have even used the 'non-discovery' in an attempt to discredit the theories of alternative researchers. For example, Aidan Dodson, an archaeologist at Bristol University, England, told the London newspaper The Daily Telegraph, 18th September:

“The tunnel is a disused shaft. Most people expected this. This whole thing was blown out of all proportion by the lunatic fringe of alleged archaeologists and pseudo-scientists. These people have written best-selling books saying the Pyramid holds links to Atlantis behind this door, and that archaeologists have deliberately refused to examine this shaft because it shows civilisation was 10,000 years older than originally thought. It wouldn’t surprise me if Dr Hawass did this just to put these people down once and for all.”

On 21st September I gave a talk at the 21st annual UFO Magazine Conference at Leeds, England, in an attempt to correct some of the misconceptions about this new discovery (I had originally been scheduled to speak about another subject entirely, so the timing was a happy coincidence!). I told the audience there that this discovery is highly significant.

Firstly, it should be noted that the shaft is not terminated by 'the Gantenbrink door', as Aidan Dodson and other Egyptologists might like to think it is. In fact, the shaft is quite clearly continued. This is highly significant.

Secondly, the shaft is plugged by a stone block. As I explained to the UFO Magazine audience at Leeds, there is a clear precedent for this plugging of passages in the Great Pyramid's Ascending Passage, the bottom of which was originally plugged by three granite stones. When the mouth of the passage was opened in antiquity to reveal the lowest of those three stones blocking the passage, the discoverer could not have imagined that the stone plug indicated the gateway to an undreamed of system of passages and chambers above, i.e. the whole upper system of the Great Pyramid. Bearing this precedent in mind, I will be very excited indeed if the stone plug behind 'the Gantenbrink door' turns out to be made of granite. And I will be even more excited if it turns out that there are three plugs, installed one behind the other. Of course, I may be wrong, there may be only one plug, and it may be limestone as Gantenbrink thinks it is. But anyway, just in case I'm right, you read it here first!

Thirdly, as I argue in my new book 'Pyramid of Secrets', there is a pattern of concealment running throughout the Great Pyramid from top to bottom, and the shafts of the Queen's Chamber, with their concealed mouths (opened by Waynman Dixon in 1872) fit this pattern perfectly. The orthodox theory of the Great Pyramid being a tomb, and the Queen's Chamber shafts being ventilation shafts, or soul-shafts, or star-shafts or serdab-shafts, cannot explain the fact that these channels were sealed off at the time of construction.

At the Leeds conference 21st September, I urged exploration of the Queen's Chamber's northern shaft, in which Gantenbrink's robot had been thwarted by metal rods stuck in the passage. I predicted that future exploration of this shaft would reveal a second 'Gantenbrink door' with copper handles. I made this prediction live on camera (there are video recordings) and I had also put it in writing several weeks earlier in an article for a London newspaper. Two days later, 23rd September, the Egyptian authorities announced that just such a discovery had been made!!! I made the prediction with confidence because I know what these copper-handled doors are! All will be explained in my new book.

But the more imporant thing is what lies beyond the doors in these two shafts. As Rudolf Gantenbrink and others have pointed out, several clues combine to suggest the existence of a small chamber beyond the stone plug in the southern shaft (and perhaps, by implication, a second small chamber beyond the northern shaft). What might such a chamber contain? There have been many speculations, of course, but speculations have no theoretical basis and are of limited use. But in my new book 'Pyramid of Secrets', I will set down a complete theoretical basis, from first principles, as to why the Great Pyramid was built, and this will lead to an exciting theory and a testable prediction of what the builders concealed beyond these shafts.

My theory also paves the way for the retrieval of whatever objects may have been hidden in the seret chamber by revealing that the builders of the Pyramid wanted future generations of explorers to hack their way through the masonry inside the Pyramid. If the Egyptian authorities can be made to understand this point, then the hidden objects can be retrieved and examined in a matter of weeks.

Deep Space One, Comet Borrelly and the EPH

On 22nd September 2001, NASA’s Deep Space One spacecraft performed a close range flyby of Comet Borrelly. The spacecraft passed within 2,200 kilometers of the 10-kilometer-long comet and transmitted around thirty black-and-white photographs of its inner core (the nucleus).

See http://space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/ds1_photos_010925.html
DS1 also measured the types of gases and infrared waves around the comet, and how the gases interacted with the solar wind.

The images taken by DS1 surpass any previous photographs of comets, even those of Halley taken by Europe’s Giotto spacecraft in 1986. Scientists are in heaven, calling the results ‘remarkable’, ‘mind-boggling’ and ‘stupendous’. They are, however, in a quandary about the comet’s features, which contradict what they expected to find.
According to orthodoxy, comets are relatively homogeneous agglomerations of ice and dust (the so-called ‘dirty snowball’ theory). But the new images contradict this idea. Comet Borrelly’s 10-kilometer-long core, far from being a dirty snowball, turns out to be a rocky object comprising two mountainous peaks, hills, fault lines, deep valleys and smooth plains - all in the shape of an ‘upside-down bowling pin’. It is indeed more like an asteroid, albeit of a geologically active variety.

Dr. Laurence Soderblom, the leader of DS1’s imaging team, and a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at Flagstaff, Arizona, commented as follows:

“These pictures have told us that comet nuclei are far more complex than we ever imagined. They have rugged terrain, smooth rolling plains, deep fractures and very, very dark material... It’s a very strange geometry.”

A particular puzzle of Borrelly is the patches of very dark material, which Soderblom compared to dark, dark soot. These patches appear to be mingled with lighter areas and a chaotic mixture of all shades in between.

A further puzzle is the appearance of features which seem to resemble geysers, which are ejecting material from several different parts of the comet, most notably from the smooth plains. “This is not a ho-hum picture,” said Dr. David Young of the University of Michigan. “The formation of the coma is not the simple process we once thought it was... We've got some explaining to do.”

A further puzzle still is the comet’s anomalous disruption of the solar wind. It was expected that the solar wind would flow symmetrically around the coma, with the nucleus in the centre. Instead, they found that, though the solar wind was flowing symmetrically around the cloud, the nucleus and the cloud of charged particles emitted therefrom was off to one side. “Most of the charged particles are formed to one side, which is not what we expected.” said Dr Young.

One scientist not surprised at DS1’s findings is Dr Tom Van Flandern, who believes that comets such as Borrelly originated in an explosion of a former planet or moon that was once located in what is now the main asteroid belt. Van Flandern long ago predicted that comets would be found to be rocky, mountain-like objects, similar to asteroids, with the coma being produced not so much by the boiling off of water but more by an orbiting debris cloud from which material was escaping. The findings from DS1 are highly consistent with this hypothesis. Moreover, the orbiting debris cloud hypothesis (a corollary of the exploded planet hypothesis) would neatly explain the fact that the solar wind flowed asymmetrically around the comet’s coma. This would occur, as Van Flandern points out, because ‘Larger satellites in orbit produce the asymmetry both through their own comas and through the angular momentum of their orbital motions.’

Regarding the supposed geysers on Comet Borrelly, Van Flandern notes that they are occurring in the form of concentrated beams, originating from the smooth plains on the nucleus, and pointing towards the Sun. He is of the opinion that these features are not geysers at all, but rather beams of light produced by reflection of sunlight from bright spots on the nucleus surface (a phenomenon that is well known in photographs of asteroids).

In summary, Comet Borrelly appears to be a ‘flying mountain’, surrounded by an orbiting debris cloud, in line with Dr Van Flandern’s exploded planet hypothesis. It is surely time that mainstream scientists went back to the drawing board to reconsider their most basic of assumptions concerning the formation of comets and asteroids.

Artificial Structures on Mars - New Photographic Evidence

The Face on Mars controversy has been in the doldrums since April 1998, when NASA released that infamous MGS photograph ‘proving’ the Face to be a natural mountain. I was one of many people who were taken in by that photograph, though I never did reject the artificiality hypothesis out of hand as many other people did (I continued to suspect that the perimeter of the Face-mountain had been artificially levelled). As you will know if you have been following this story, it has recently been discovered that NASA’s subcontractor JPL used an inappropriate filter whilst processing the MGS data, and thus succeeded in blurring the image substantially. In fact, when the raw data was restored, the Face looked as artificial as it had ever done (see Meta Research Bulletin, June 2000). But it was too late, by then, to correct the harm that had been done. The blurred image had already been plastered all over the national media, and the story had become ‘old news’. Whether by incompetence or deliberate deception, the Case for the Face had been neutralised.

I mention this now as background to the release of some new and quite remarkable MGS photographs which provide compelling evidence of artificial structures existing elsewhere on the surface of Mars. These discoveries were reported to the media by astronomer Dr. Tom Van Flandern at a press conference in USA, 5th April 2001. To view these new, astonishing images of Mars, go to Van Flandern’s website, http://metaresearch.org, and check out, in particular, the enigmatic tube-like structures which resemble, in Van Flandern’s words, ‘an environmentally protected rapid transit system’.

In summary, Tom Van Flandern and I are beginning to wonder whether a race of human-like beings once lived upon Mars or another body in the original Martian planetary system (the evidence suggests that Mars was originally a moon of a parent planet that later exploded). If so, we can envisage a scenario in which that race of people abandoned their home planet when its environment was destroyed millions of years ago, and migrated to planet Earth. The investigation continues. Watch this space.

Alan F. Alford, 24th April 2001

Dating of Pyramids by Stellar Alignments

On 16th November 2000, an interesting article on the dating of Egyptian pyramids was published by Nature magazine.[1] In this article, Egyptologist Kate Spence argued that the Egyptians had identified true north, for the purpose of alignment of their pyramids, by using the polar alignment of two northern circumpolar stars, Kochab and Mizar. When a plumb line was set against the vertical alignment of these two stars approximately 4,500 years ago, it identified the exact point on the horizon which signified true north. The Egyptians could then knock a stake in the ground, in the distance, allowing them to mark out the pyramid’s axis with reasonable accuracy. In support of her theory, Spence demonstrated that the accuracy of certain pyramids’ alignments to true north had deteriorated progressively over time in exact accordance with the drifting positions of the two stars owing to the precession of the equinoxes.

This theory caught my attention owing to its potential ramifications for the dating of the Giza pyramids. In her thesis, Kate Spence included the Great Pyramid in her trend line, and thus suggested that it had been built in 2478 BC. This would, of course, support a construction by the 4th Dynasty king Khufu, and go against my own theory - argued in my book ‘The Phoenix Solution’ - that the Great Pyramid had been built centuries earlier by a predynastic culture, and was merely ‘adopted’ by Khufu.

There is, however, a fly in Kate Spence’s ointment as far as the Great Pyramid is concerned, and that fly is the Second Pyramid of Giza which is generally attributed to Khufu’s son Khafre. In her all important diagram of alignment deviations (her Figure 1a), the Second Pyramid of Giza stands quite apart from the trend line, as if its alignment to true north had been determined by a different method.
Kate Spence has a clever solution to this discrepancy. She supposes that Khafre missed the normal date for the orientation ceremony of his pyramid, and took the alignment against Kochab and Mizar six months later, when the stars had realigned in an inverted position. But this solution has the hallmarks of a convenient fudge, and Spence has, in fact, overlooked another intriguing possibility.

Spence’s Figure 1a, it can be argued, does not show one trend line but two. The first applies to the non-Giza pyramids, whilst the second applies to the Giza pyramids. While the first trend line exhibits a progressive deterioration in accuracy of alignment to true north, the second trend line (for the Great Pyramid and Second Pyramid of Giza) exhibits a consistent accuracy of alignment which is extremely impressive (just 3 and 6 arc minutes from true north respectively). This means that the two giant pyramids at Giza do not necessarily belong to the chronological pattern which Spence has identified (based on the polar alignment of Kochab and Mizar during the mid-3rd millennium BC). Rather, the two giant pyramids at Giza seem to have been aligned by some completely different method. Which hints, I might add, at their construction by a different, earlier culture.

On 22nd November 2000, I wrote to Kate Spence and highlighted the fact that the two giant Giza pyramids had not only the most accurate orientations to true north per se, but also an astonishing consistency of accurate alignment across both their western and eastern sides (as per her Figure 1). “I am surprised”, I wrote, “that you did not comment on this”, and highlighted her comment on page 321 (second paragraph) that the builders of the non-Giza pyramids had apparently experienced tremendous difficulty in making right angles!!! “Why” I asked her, “did this problem *not* beset the builders of the Great and Second Pyramids?” In her response, dated 25th November, Spence wrote: “Nature have very strict length limits. My original 16,000 words ended up as 3,000. It was not possible to discuss everything but I am hoping to produce a longer version.” Apparently, she did not wish to answer my question.

I also asked Kate Spence whether it was possible that the builders of the two giant Giza pyramids had used a method of alignment to true north that was completely different from the method she had suggested. Spence didn’t like the idea, but she admitted it was possible. “However”, she said, “You would have to explain why they chose to change and use a different method at this time and why they then abandoned it.”

Here, then, is my explanation. The ‘change’ in pyramid alignment method by the 4th Dynasty, to which Spence refers in her challenge, is entirely illusory. The Great Pyramid and the Second Pyramid of Giza do not date to the 4th Dynasty. They were built centuries earlier by a predynastic culture, and were merely ‘adopted’ by the 4th Dynasty kings Khufu and Khafre. This would explain not only the more accurate alignments of these two Giza pyramids, but also their marked difference in build quality and design (the latter particularly the case in the Great Pyramid).

In summary, Spence’s theory is a good one, but nothing in Egyptology is ever as simple as it first appears, and the giant pyramids of Giza remain misfits in their grand scheme of things. Meanwhile, my ‘adopted pyramids hypothesis’ continues to be a worthy rival to the orthodox pyramids chronology - for more details on it, see my 1998 book ‘The Phoenix Solution’, available here on this website.

Alan F. Alford, 24th April 2001

Ref [1] Nature 408:6810, pp. 320-24; 16th November 2000; the full text of this article is available online at http://www.nature.com/nature/fow/001116.html

When The Gods Came Down' Book Launch Post-Natal

As I reported to those on my Mailing List on 23rd May 2000, the response of the UK national media to the publication of 'When The Gods Came Down' has been extremely disappointing. To cut a long story short, not a single newspaper deigned to mention my book, let alone review it or serialise it. One of the most disturbing aspects of the whole experience was the media's purported concern over the sensitivities of their readers. This concern came to the fore when my publishers and I approached several national newspapers with a three-part serialisation (written by myself) which would have tied in nicely with the Easter celebrations. The serialisation discussed the story of Christianity in the context of older pagan legends and suggested - without giving the entire game away - that the gospels were based upon a Passion-play in which an actor had played the part of a sacrificed God-Christ. The Daily Mail were the first to decline this serialisation, commenting that it was 'not suitable for the eyes of our readers'. The second paper to turn it down was the Mail on Sunday. Finally, we ended up in the 'last chance saloon' with the Daily Express. But they too declined to publish the serialisation, saying 'it is not really suitable for our readers, many of whom would consider it to be blasphemous and distressing'.

My assessment of the problem is as follows: (a) the subject matter is far too complex for today's 'dumbed down' national media; (b) ancient mythology is not a sufficiently "trendy" subject in our society at the present time; and (c) the media just don't know what to make of either me or my argument.

Most of these problems, if not all of them, will evaporate over the next fifty years, and I thus see my role as getting on quietly with my business in order to provide a firm intellectual foundation for future researchers of the next generation. As for the current generation, I believe that only a small minority of us will succeed in breaking free of our religious programming to ask the right kind of questions about who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. My plan is to instigate this 'common sense revolution' to the best of my abilities, but I need *you* to support my ongoing research by buying my books and I need *you* to spread word to your friends about what is happening here at eridu.co.uk.

So, if you haven't yet enlightened yourself by reading 'When The Gods Came Down', then I recommend that you consider taking the plunge now. As a start, you might like to read the 'review comments' of earlier readers (the media excepted!) which can be found on the 'Reviews' page (Note: this book is not yet stocked in some countries, e.g. America, but you can go right ahead and import it directly from us via this website.)

Alan F. Alford, 20th July 2000

Exploded Planets - A Scientific Update

In my book 'When The Gods Came Down', I concluded that God was conceived by the ancients as the disembodied spirit of an Exploded Planet. Significantly, I found that this belief applied as much to Judaism and Christianity as it did to the older so-called 'pagan' religions. But such a conclusion inevitably raised a much more crucial question in my mind - did a planet actually explode in our solar system and, in so doing, seed the beginnings of life on Earth?

As my regular readers will know, there is an American astronomer, Tom Van Flandern, who has been arguing for more than twenty years that the comets and Asteroid Belt indeed constitute the evidence for at least one exploded planet in our solar system. In recent months, I have enjoyed the privilege of working closely with Van Flandern in order to prepare a detailed review of the scientific evidence for his EPH (Exploded Planet Hypothesis). I am pleased to announce that, after several hard months' labour, the results of this review have today been published on my website.

As a result of these enquiries - which go far beyond the brief study which I carried out during 1997/98 - I must say that I am more impressed than ever with the quality and quantity of Van Flandern's evidence. Consequently I am adjusting my estimated probability of his hypothesis being correct from 49% to 51% - a figure which still reflects the mighty ranks of the scientists opposed to Van Flandern, but nevertheless tips the balance of probability in his favour.

In view of the secret meaning of Judaeo-Christian religion (which has recently been revealed in my book 'When The Gods Came Down'), this latest review of the evidence for the EPH serves to demonstrate just how high the religious stakes have now been raised.

Readers are reminded that the over-riding purpose of this website is to monitor new scientific data, as it arises, in order to come to a definitive conclusion about the EPH. This scientific process may be resolved in just a few years or it may not be resolved for several decades. But it is not something to be rushed. On the contrary, I believe that we should be relishing these unprecedented opportunities to acquire scientific knowledge about religion. They are opportunities which have never been available, as far as we know, to truthseekers of earlier ages. We are truly living in momentous times.

Alan F. Alford, 20th July 2000


Pope Struck by Meteorite! (July 2000)

Britain’s leading art institution, ‘The Royal Academy’, has announced a new exhibition to be entitled ‘Apocalypse’. One of the leading exhibits, trailered by the UK press during May 2000, is a remarkably life-like sculpture of Pope John Paul II being struck down by a large meteorite. This controversial sculpture has been created by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, who is a practising Roman Catholic, and according to reports in an English newspaper it is supposed to symbolise the Pope experiencing a sacred revelation and enlightenment. The news of the exhibition created a storm of protest in the UK. David Lee, the art critic of the Daily Mail, dismissed the Pope-and-meteorite sculpture as ‘a publicity stunt’ and ‘a bad joke’, and implied that it was ‘crude’, ‘infantile’ and ‘blasphemous’. In actuality, of course, the joke is on David Lee and all of the other innocent and uninitiated folk who claim to be Christians and yet have not the slightest inkling of what their religion is all about.

Results of Tom Van Flandern's 'NEAR Challenge'

I am pleased to report the results of Tom Van Flandern's 'NEAR Challenge' to mainstream astronomy. The following anouncement by Van Flandern is extracted from his Meta Research Bulletin dated 15th March 2000:

"The NEAR spacecraft went into orbit around asteroid Eros on February 14. Most of you will be aware of our NEAR challenge, based on the exploded planet hypothesis. We predicted that the orbiting spacecraft would find at least three currently orbiting moons, or (if the gravity field is unstable) at least three former moons resting on the surface after a grazing touch-down from a slowly decaying orbit. The latter, we indicated, would be uniquely recognizable as former moons by roll marks that would result from the 10 m/s horizontal velocity of a former moon at the point of first touch-down. Friction is minimal in such a weak gravity field, so rolling boulders should leave long, tell-tale linear tracks on the surface.

The gravity field did turn out to be mostly unstable. However, the very first image of Eros from orbit... seems to show a linear track starting randomly on the asteroid's surface, then climbing up the outside wall of a crater, running down the inside wall, ending at a 50-meter boulder near the crater center. Many people have commented that this looks remarkably like what we predicted in the June 15, 1999 issue of MRB... Since that initial picture, dozens of additional trails, boulders, and trails ending in boulders have been found on the surface of Eros. Surprised planetary astronomers are now theorizing about boulders ejected from the interior of Eros during collision events. But this ignores that the exploded planet hypothesis, a model with a close-to-perfect record of successful predictions, also predicted this phenomenon in advance of discovery. It also ignores that trails without craters at their beginning, and going uphill from there, imply considerable horizontal momentum for the boulders that made them. That can only be true if they came from orbit. In view of these findings, we declare the 'NEAR challenge' won. However, what speaks even louder than another successful prediction for the eph is that no astronomer accepted our NEAR challenge despite it being widely publicized.

To his considerable credit, planetary astronomer Andrew Cheng, the spokesperson for the NEAR team (operating from the Applied Physics Laboratory instead of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a change), presented evidence that Eros originated from 'probably a planet-sized body that once broke up'. Under questioning at a NASA press conference, Cheng explained that little is known to constrain the parent body size, but that the current opinion of most astronomers is that it was Moon-sized or smaller. This evidence for a large parent body for Eros includes: (1) geological layering, which could not have been created directly on the asteroid because its escape velocity is so low, and material from any impact big enough to create layers would therefore escape. (2) diversity of composition, showing major spectral differences over the surface, and even within single craters. (3) evidence of chemical differentiation, which implies near-total melting sometime in the past with consequent separation of heavy and light elements by gravitational sorting - things usually associated with planets. (4) solidness implied by the density, as contrasted with the sort of rubble pile expected for an object formed by repeated impacts. Slowly, gradually, a recognition of the eph as a necessary ingredient to explain solar system history and evolution is getting around. Even the UPI coverage of the NASA press conference was kind enough to mention our prediction."

Reproduced by permission. For details of subscription to Tom Van Flandern's 'Meta Research Bulletin', please contact Meta Research, PO Box 15186, Chevy Chase, MD 20825-5186, USA. Phone 202-362-9176; fax 202-362-8279; email metares@mindspring.com

New Evidence for Mars as Moon of an Exploded Planet

Further to the article on Mars posted on this website in March 2000, we already have exciting developments to report. The following update is courtesy of Tom Van Flandern's Meta Research Bulletin dated 15th March 2000:

"According to mainstream uniformitarian assumptions, the southern hemisphere of Mars is old because it has so many craters, whereas the northern hemisphere crust and all its ancient craters were destroyed by some unknown cataclysm - perhaps a giant impact. If so, the southern hemisphere crust, being in original condition, ought to be roughly uniform in thickness; and the northern crust rather variable in thickness.
These relative ages are just the opposite expected by the eph. In that model, the northern plains of Mars are ancient and absent most cratering because of erosion, and because that hemisphere faced away from the explosion of the former parent planet of Mars. And the southern hemisphere is the young one, having been bombarded by enough material from the nearby explosion to produce a new crust perhaps 20-30 kilometers thicker than in the north, and to produce saturated cratering all over that hemisphere. So the eph model expects the middle of the southern hemisphere crust to be thickest, with the thickness of added debris gradually tapering off toward zero along the great circle 90 degrees away from the explosion sub-point. And we expect the northern hemisphere to have a relatively uniform crust thickness because it was undisturbed. (This difference of interpretation shows why it is so important when theorizing to know which prior conclusions come directly from observations: and which are theory-dependent.)

New measurements of crustal thickness by the MGS spacecraft have just been reported, as follows. 'Beneath the rough southern highlands and Tharsis volcanic province the crust, estimated at 50 miles thick, thins progressively from the South pole toward the North. In contrast, the northern lowlands and Arabia Terra region of the southern highlands have a crust of uniform thickness, about 22 miles deep.' Thus, the eph predictions are correct for both hemispheres, and the mainstream predictions are wrong for both hemispheres."

Reproduced by permission. For details of subscription to Tom Van Flandern's 'Meta Research Bulletin', please contact Meta Research, PO Box 15186, Chevy Chase, MD 20825-5186, USA. Phone 202-362-9176; fax 202-362-8279; email metares@mindspring.com

NEAR Mission to Asteroid Eros (February 2000)

As expected, NASA's NEAR spacecraft was placed successfully into orbit around Asteroid Eros on 14th February 2000. Since then, a stream of marvellous photographs has been appearing on the NEAR website at http://near.jhuapl.edu/

Although it will take months for all of the NEAR data to be processed, there are some very interesting preliminary results which are supportive of Tom Van Flandern's exploded planet hypothesis. In particular, we have noted the following comment by Andrew Cheng, of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, who serves as the NEAR mission's lead scientist:

"There are tantalizing hints that the asteroid has a layered structure, like a sheet of plywood... These layers appear to be very flat and appear to run end-to-end. This could come about if Eros was once part of a larger body, perhaps a fragment of a planet."

For regular updates by Tom Van Flandern on his 'NEAR Challenge' to mainstream astronomy, please see his website http://www.metaresearch.org

'Is Planet X a Planet-Ex?' (November 1999)

In the September 1999 edition of 'Meta Research Bulletin', Tom Van Flandern - an advocate of the Planet X hypothesis - commented as follows: '[The discovery of] Three more trans-Neptunian objects confirm the presence of a second asteroid belt in the region beyond Neptune. This probably indicates that the hypothetical Planet X is now an asteroid belt rather than an intact planet.' According to Van Flandern's exploded planet hypothesis, Planet X might well have exploded tens of millions of years ago, throwing out a wave of meteoric debris across the solar system. Van Flandern's research coincides with Alan Alford's latest research into the world's ancient mythologies, which suggests that the 'gods who came down from Heaven to Earth' were indeed conceived as meteorites from an exploded planet (NB Alan Alford does NOT suggest that mankind was necessarily around at that time to witness the explosion).

'10500 BC - The Nitpicking Truth'. (November 1999)

On 4th November 1999, British television viewers were treated to a Horizon special documentary, which examined the theories of Graham Hancock concerning a lost civilisation from 10500 BC. The documentary, entitled 'Atlantis Uncovered', focused on (a) the Giza pyramids and Orion's Belt alignment; (b) the temples of Angkor Wat and Draco alignment; (c) the age of the Sphinx; (d) the age of Tiwanaku; (e) the theory of a lost civilisation beneath the ice of Antarctica; and (e) the significance of the sunken site of Yonaguni in Japan.

Beginning with the Giza pyramids and Orion's Belt, Horizon interviewed the American astronomer/mythologist Dr Ed Krupp, who demonstrated that the alleged match between the pyramids and Orion was in fact upside down, or rotated through 180 degrees. If the Egyptians were commemorating the position of Orion at 10500 BC, why did they build the pyramids according to an upside down design?

In response, Hancock stated: "Ed Krupp's argument that the pyramids are somehow upside down in relation to the pattern of the stars in the sky is to my mind a very pedantic, nitpicking and ungenerous attitude." Unfortunately, Hancock failed to point out that the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with 'upside downness', along with the idea that the Sky was somehow upside down in the Earth (having fallen to the Earth); perhaps he was unaware of this.

In any event, Horizon then turned their attention to more serious matters, pointing out that of the sixteen stars in Orion, only three could be matched to the pattern of pyramids in Egypt, and that no other convincing correlations of pyramids and stars could be found. Hancock's response was: "I don't need every pyramid of Egypt to match a star - the people who built these monuments were making a grand symbolic statement, supposed to be understood on an intuitive and spiritual level."

Horizon then pulled a trump card, citing the astronomer Anthony Ferrell, who in June 1999 demonstrated that the match of the Giza pyramids and Orion's Belt in 10500 BC was nowhere near as accurate as claimed. Instead of a precise 45-degree angle from north in both cases, Ferrell found the pyramids to be at an angle of 38 degrees, with the stars at an angle of 50 degrees. Hancock did not appear to take issue with these figures, but instead admitted: "the [alignments] are NOT absolutely correct, and I don't care. I have to stress that in my view the ancient Egyptian priesthood was not staffed by anal-retentive bureaucrats. They were a group of creative and imaginative thinkers..." Earlier, Hancock had apparently backtracked on his accurate alignment hypothesis by claiming that the Egyptians were merely making "a pleasing symbolic resemblance to what they saw in the sky on the ground."

Having demolished Hancock's argument at Giza, Horizon then switched to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, where Hancock claimed that the match between the temples and the stars of Draco at 10500 BC was 'as close as possible to perfect', though 'by no means absolutely spot-on accurate". Horizon proceeded to interview Dr Eleanor Mannikka of the University of Michigan, who pointed out that there were very good reasons for the placement of every single temple in the pattern identified by Hancock, and these reasons had nothing to do with the stars of Draco. She added that, in all her experience of the ancient Cambodian culture, there was no mention whatsoever of Draco or dragons. Dr Mannika conceded 'a vague resemblance' between the temples of Angkor and the stars of Draco, but noted that the tail of Draco was very unlike that of the pattern of temples identified by Hancock. The Horizon producers went further, asserting that the match was 'not at all precise' (incidentally, we agree; the first researcher to criticise this was Alan Alford, whose opinion was expressed on 15th September 1998 - within weeks of Hancock's book 'Heaven's Mirror' being published; see his detailed critique elsewhere on this page). The nail in the coffin for Hancock's Cambodia theory was the fact that there were more than sixty temples in the Cambodia region, and yet he had included only ten of these temples in his claimed match of sky and ground. Horizon concluded that "his claim seems flawed" and proceeded to ridicule Hancock's less-than-scientific approach by identifying an amazing correlation between the stars of Leo and New York's Grand Central Station, Public Library, Macy's, Madison Square Gardens, Central Post Office, a theatre, a university, Times Square, the Rockefeller Center and a police station!!!

Horizon stated that: "This Leo masterplan does not account for every Manhattan landmark but using Hancock's criteria it doesn't have to. As long as you have enough points and you don't need to make every point fit, you can make any pattern you want."

The documentary then moved on to look at the Sphinx of Egypt and Tiwanaku in Bolivia, which were both crucial elements of Hancock's overall argument. On the subject of the Sphinx, the weathering evidence was dismissed (this part of the programme was very superficial and less than convincing, as were other parts where they tried to claim that the Great Pyramid of Giza was not an oopart), whilst at Tiwanaku the opinion of Posnansky (that the site was 12,000 years old) was rejected in favour of radiocarbon-dating evidence which suggested that the site had been founded c. 1500 BC - a long way short of 10500 BC. Why had Hancock failed to address this radiocarbon-dating evidence in his book? Hancock replied: "I am not required to be encyclopaedic. In 'Heaven's Mirror' there's no representation whatsoever of recent radiocarbon dates for Tiwanaku; I simply didn't discuss it in there."

Moving to the claim of a lost civilisation buried beneath the ice of Antarctica, Horizon cited evidence from ice cores which suggested that the ice had been in place there for more than 400,000 years. No Atlantis there. Hancock replied: "What I've come to realise, as my research has gone on, in a sense, is that I don't need Antarctica, and therefore I don't need to propose a radical revolution of geological ideas in order to explain the lost civilisation."

So how does Hancock explain the lost civilisation? The answer, he now suggests, lies in ruins which must exist beneath present sea level. Unfortunately, Horizon produced more bad news for Hancock by questioning his claims concerning the Yonaguni site in Japan. Hancock had invited Dr Robert Schoch (the geologist who has redated the Sphinx) to corroborate his view that the underwater site was a manufactured structure. Schoch, however, told Horizon that: "When I got there and got to dive on the structure I have to admit I was very, very disappointed because I was basically convinced that this was primarily, possibly totally, a natural structure." Hancock, however, refused to concede his argument, and suggested that the six or seven dives made by Schoch had been insufficient: "I really feel that before anybody pronounces definitively on this monument they should put in a minimum of fifty dives."

Hancock summed up his overall position with the assertion that: "I don't think that my arguments are ever going to be successfully destroyed by nitpicking." - as if to suggest that the points made in the programme had been nothing more than minor criticisms. On the contrary, however, the Horizon documentary, despite its simplistic approach in some areas, made some very telling points, and forced Graham Hancock to declare a very dramatic U-turn. It would seem that Hancock no longer claims that the alignments at Giza or Angkor Wat are absolutely precise. Instead, he now claims that the exact sky-ground match is in fact nothing more than 'a pleasing symbolic resemblance', which must be understood 'on an intuitive and spiritual level'. In other words, no 10500 BC scientifically - even though Hancock still seems to be wedded to this idea intuitively.

Here at Eridu Books, we would like to see an end to this obsession with 10500 BC. At the present time, there is not one single piece of evidence anywhere in the world to justify a belief that 10500 BC was being commemorated in stone by our ancestors. The idea has arisen, so it would seem, from the extinction events of that era, the prophecies of Edgar Cayce, and an obsession with the age of Leo (c. 11000-8800 BC), the latter being supported by the assumption that the Great Sphinx of Giza was carved as a lion - in the image of Leo. However, as Alan Alford pointed out in 'The Phoenix Solution' (pp. 365-7), the Sphinx does NOT bear the likeness of a lion, but rather some kind of dog-cat-human hybrid. Moreover, the geological evidence for an older Sphinx is more in line with 5000-4000 BC than with the extreme date of 10500 BC. In our view, this obsession with 10500 BC has done great harm, and continues to do great harm, to the cause of those who would make a serious challenge to official dogma on the origin of the Giza pyramids and the history of civilisation. Yes, there is a mystery which requires an explanation. But what if the answer to the mystery lies in 4000 BC or 5000 BC? The worst thing we can do is investigate the past with a preconceived dogma to rival that of mainstream academia. That is no way to win any argument. Rather, it is time to take account of ALL the scientific evidence and draw conclusions accordingly. Only then will we be spared the kind of humiliation inflicted upon Graham Hancock by Horizon on 4th November 1999.

'Water from the Stars - Astonishing Meteorite Find Lends Support to Exploded Planet Hypothesis'. (November 1999)

Dramatic new evidence for the explosion of a former planet in our solar system was revealed on 27th August 1999 with the announcement by American scientists that water had been discovered inside a meteorite. The meteorite - weighing 1344 grams - plunged to the Earth in the town of Monahans, Texas on 22nd March 1998, coming to rest inside a 2 foot-deep steaming hole. The meteorite (named ‘Monahans’ after the town) was quickly retrieved and taken into custody by the local police, and within 48 hours it was being broken open in a filtered air, clean-room at Johnson Space Center in Houston. For the past 17 months, Dr Michael Zolensky and his colleagues at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center have been subjecting the Monahans meteorite to detailed testing. Now, the results of their scientific investigation - announced in the prestigious journal ‘Science’ in late August 1999 - have made media headlines around the world.
When Zolensky and his team broke open one of the fragments from the Monahans meteorite, they found miniscule, purple spots of a mineral known as ‘halite’ (a crystalline form of sodium chloride, i.e. table salt), along with tiny drops of briny water. It was the first time ever that water from an extraterrestrial source had been found and examined. [Note: the same discovery has now been made with a second meteorite known as ‘Zag’, which fell in the Moroccan part of the Sahara desert in August 1998] The discovery of water inside the Monahans meteorite has been hailed as a sensation, because its parent body - a chondritic asteroid - belongs to a class of object previously regarded as dry and barren of life. As Dr Michael Zolensky, the scientist who led the study, made clear, the discovery implies that a large body of water once flowed upon the asteroid: “You need a lot of evaporating water to produce these amounts of [salt]... It takes a large body of water to make large halite crystals... This object got pretty wet... On the Earth, salt usually forms when you have seas evaporating - huge bodies of water.”

The reaction of scientists has been to suggest that the water was delivered to the asteroid by a collision with a comet. The odds against this, however, must be billions to one, especially since radioactive dating of the halite crystals has shown them to be over 4.5 billion years old. The discovery is, however, consistent with the exploded planet hypothesis advocated by the American astronomer Dr Tom Van Flandern.

What would happen to a planet’s water if the planet exploded? This was a question which Alan Alford asked Van Flandern when writing his book 'The Phoenix Solution' in 1998. The intriguing answer is that the water would continue to exist as globules of water, which would freeze in space. The Monahans meteorite, with its salt water, might thus attest to the explosion of a watery planet in our solar system millions, or perhaps billions, of years ago, raising inevitably the questions of whether this ex-planet might have harboured life - intelligent or otherwise - and whether the explosion of this watery planet might have seeded life on Earth.

An Exploded Planet Cult in England? (February 1999)

In January 1999, British archaeologists announced the discovery of a unique 'tree temple' just off the north Norfolk coast, where it has recently emerged from the sea. The 'temple' consists of on oval ring of 54 posts with an inverted oak-tree in the centre. It is believed to date to around 2000-1200 BC. The oak-tree in the centre is huge, and its roots reach dramatically up towards the sky. Alan Alford, the author of 'The Phoenix Solution', commented as follows: "This might well be the first prima facie evidence of an exploded planet cult in ancient Britain. My latest research (as yet unpublished) has traced the exploded planet cult from ancient Egypt into much of the ancient world, and established a direct connection with trees, particularly with oak trees, which were held to be highly sacred by our ancestors. This temple with its upturned oak-tree immediately struck me as a dramatic representation of the 'cosmic tree' and its fall from heaven, which is typical of the ancient way of thinking. It is a unique and very exciting find, and its obvious (to me) association with an 'exploded planet cult' offers support to Dr Duncan Steel's theory that the site of Stonehenge might have been used for observing the rising of the Taurid meteor stream c. 3600-3100 BC. Clearly the ancients were obsessed with comets and meteorites, not simply because of their threat, which was rare, but rather because of the religious nature of these objects, which were regarded with awe as 'divine messengers' from a planetary God that had been destroyed in a primeval Sky-battle in the Sky. See my book 'The Phoenix Solution' for details of the exploded planet cult in ancient Egypt from at least 3800 BC, whilst the sequel due out late 1999 will provide overwhelming evidence of the same in the Sumerian civilisation from approximately the same period."

Sleeping With the Enemy - A Personal Comment by Alan F. Alford (September 1998)

During 1997-98, the 'new-age' gang of Robert Bauval, Graham Hancock and John A. West negotiated a peace treaty with the Egyptologists at Giza (Zawi Hawass, Mark Lehner et al), and everyone now appears to be on surprisingly good terms. An ongoing dialogue now exists between the two sides, with RB, GH & JAW setting themselves up as a kind of unofficial 'Opposition Party'. The next phase of this dialogue will occur at the Mena House Hotel, Cairo, in January 1999, when both sides will debate the age of the Sphinx and the astronomical significance of the structures at Giza.

There is, however, a potential downside to this outbreak of cordial relations, and this is well illustrated by the 'personal tours' of the Great Pyramid which Dr Hawass has been giving to RB, GH, JAW and, in some cases, to their wives too. In particular, Hawass has gone to great lengths to erect the necessary ladders and lighting to enable GH and JAW to personally inspect the so-called 'Construction Chambers' above the King's Chamber (this is where the graffiti containing Khufu's names is found). This is a rare privilege indeed, which precious few mortals have ever experienced.

The outcome is intriguing - both JW and GH have now reversed their previous opinions and declared that the cartouches of Khufu's name are genuine. In other words, they are now certain that Khufu built the Great Pyramid. And yet it staggers belief to think that JAW and GH suddenly became experts on hieroglyphic writing and criminal detection the moment they set foot in those chambers. Did they lose their critical faculties? Or did they see some miraculous evidence that no-one has ever seen before? What could they possibly have seen or been told that was so persuasive? If it was (as is claimed) the masons' marks which can be seen between the joints in the stones, then this proves absolutely nothing about the Khufu cartouches on the face of the stones (these are entirely separate matters). So what on Earth has happened here?

Sleeping with the enemy is a dangerous game. Hard and objective thinking has a tendency to go soft and fuzzy when it plays second fiddle to personal rapprochement. Compromise is only a win-win situation for the egos of those involved. Truth is always the loser.

I therefore await with trepidation the outcome of the Giza debate in January 1999. I had previously thought that we could rely on Bauval, Hancock and West to kick butt against the Egyptologists, but now I question their objectivity. Personally I felt more comfortable when the two sides were spitting blood at each other. At least then we knew that the battle was real. But as soon as politics takes centre stage, no-one knows who or what to believe!

Alan F. Alford

Hancock’s New Book and TV Series - A Personal Comment by Alan F. Alford (September 1998)

The most significant part of Hancock's new book concerns the temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and their possible alignment to the stars of the constellation Draco.

Hancock claims an amazing correlation, which he further claims was exact at 10500 BC - the same date as deduced by Bauval & Gilbert for the pyramids-Orion correlation at Giza. If true, this discovery is of profound importance. And as with all important new 'discoveries', it simply won't do for critics to ignore it or 'sit on the fence'. So let's kick off this debate with some salient observations.

(1) One of the most distinctive features of Draco (the dragon) is its 'head' - a quadrilateral and irregular 'box'. On this most distinctive feature, Hancock's supposed correlation fails the test. There is no such head or box formed by the position of the temples at Angkor (see p.127 or p.130 or p.169 of his book).

(2) One of the stars in the 'head' of the dragon is Nu - a double star which is easily separable with binoculars. If the site of Angkor was mapped out by a race with the astronomical abilities hypothesised by Hancock, we would expect to see evidence of this double-star on the ground. But we don't (as above, so NOT below, in this case).

(3) The tail of Draco the dragon, as shown in Hancock's maps, turns away at an angle. This does not seem to match the temples which appear in what is virtually a straight line.

(4) It is not at all clear which two stars are supposed to match the temples of Neak Pean and Ta Sohm. Hancock is not justified in including these in his 15 correspondences.

(5) Of the 14 remaining 'correspondences', the 3 temples near Roluos stand separate from the others. Hancock matches these with 3 minor stars. These are three stars among numerous minor stars, and it is simply not scientific to claim a sky-ground match in this case.

(6) Of the 11 remaining 'correspondences', one star stands alone supposedly matching Deneb (the brightest star of Cygnus). But any possible correspondence is undermined by the lack of any temple matching a large bright star between it and Draco (see this unmatched star on p.169 of Hancock's book).

(7) Of the 10 remaining 'correspondences' in the head, body and tail of the dragon, the match-up is highly subjective. One is reminded of the Rorschach inkblot test - the image is in the eye of the beholder. It is, for example, possible to see one or two adzes (similar in shape to Ursa Minor), these implements being used in the ancient Egyptian ceremony of the 'Opening of the Mouth'. Other people will see other things.

(8) Not only is the head of the dragon missing, but there are 3 very important temples nearby - Bayon, Phimeanakas and Baphuon, that do not match the stars of Draco in any way whatsoever. Maybe someone stood on the head of the dragon and crushed it!

(9) In summary, I feel that Hancock's case is extremely weak, and by pursuing it with such vigour (claiming 'no doubt that a correlation exists' p.126, and then winding back the skies to 10500 BC to claim a 'precise' match) he risks bringing this kind of research into disrepute. He certainly does Robert Bauval no favours, for many people will now highlight the poor quality of Hancock's research to debunk the more plausible (though unproven) 10500 BC alignment at Giza. Why is Hancock so obsessed with the date 10500 BC? Perhaps the answer is revealed by his emphasis of the precessional cycle and the dawning 'new-age'. Those who are familiar with the occult will recognise that he is, wittingly or unwittingly, following a masonic agenda in this matter, with all of its emphasis on the Sun and the stars. And as I have shown in my new book 'The Phoenix Solution', the masonic agenda conceals the true inter-planetary meaning of the original Egyptian mythos.

Alan F. Alford

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