My 2001 article on this along with the 1909 report can be read here and was cited by Ken Feder in the Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology.
According to the 1909 article, the investigators found a large cavern housing an idol resembling the Tibetan images of Buddha along with unknown hieroglyphs. The article speculated that the works could be attributed to a pre-Egyptian high civilization originating in the Indian sub-continent and which later gave rise to Egypt. I thought I’d share another weird claim about the Grand Canyon that emerged shortly after the 1909 hoax and which can lead us to an interesting connection between them.
In 1913, Alexander M’Allan published the badly-written Ancient Chinese Account of the Grand Canyon which was, as it sounds, a weird attempt to prove that the ancient Chinese had visited the Grand Canyon. The book is all but unreadable for its incoherence, but you’re welcome to try. The basic argument seems to be that ambiguous references in old Chinese texts can be read as evidence of Chinese knowledge of the interior of North America, when read in the context of Mexican evidence about the “shared” mythic imagery of China and Mexico. M’Allan attempted to correlate vague geographical references in Chinese travelogues to American geography.
This, in turn, is M’Allan’s amplification of the still older work of Charles Godfrey Leland, Fusan; or the Discovery of America by Chinese Buddhist Priests in the Fifth Century (1875). This more ambitious (and coherent) work attempted to prove that ancient Chinese records recorded a voyage by Buddhist priests to Mexico and Peru via the Pacific coast of America. M’Allan moved the locus of operation from Mexico to Arizona but similarly relied on some of the same texts Leland had cited as evidence of early medieval Chinese voyages.
Notice Leland’s interesting passage in chapter 12:
The reader may recall that in the record of Hoei-shin he speaks particularly of the images of Buddha, in connection with the holy writings and religion of that great reformer, as having been taken to America in the year 458 by his five predecessors. I mention this, that in case any other inquirer may investigate this subject, he may pay particular attention to the discovery of such images, or to possible imitations of them, in America, and among its monuments. […] Images resembling the ordinary Buddha have been found in Mexico and Central America, but they cannot be proved to be identical with it.
Over a hundred feet from the entrance is the cross-hall, several hundred feet long, in which are found the idol, or image, of the people's god, sitting cross-legged, with a lotus flower or lily in each hand. The cast of the face is oriental, and the carving this cavern. 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.