First, a brief update: Yesterday I received the first proof copy of the hardcopy edition of Cthulhu in World Mythology. It’s undergoing a final set of corrections, and then it should be available for sale at Atomic Overmind and on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble shortly. So, if you’ve been waiting for the print edition to order your copy, the wait is almost over!
Linda Moulton-Howe and the Alaska Pyramid
Here’s a bizarre claim I didn’t know about. I have no idea how I missed it. In March the Humans Are Free fringe website reported a claim that Ancient Aliens pundit and fringe author Linda Moulton-Howe made in 2012 that a major pyramid had been discovered in Alaska. The Humans Are Free article appears to be derived, sometimes verbatim, from pieces that ran on Moulton-Howe’s Earth Files in 2012, but which are now locked behind a membership paywall. Similar articles appeared on numerous other sites such as Before It’s News in 2013, all derived from the same source.
So, here’s the story as given on fringe websites: On May 22, 1992, the Chinese detonated a nuclear bomb as part of its largest-ever nuclear test. (This is true.) American scientists allegedly used the occasion to study the earth’s crust by setting up monitoring equipment in Alaska. (This is not true since the explosion took seismologists by surprise.) As a result of this, the scientists discovered a large cavity fifty miles from Mt. McKinley within which was a pyramid larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. (This is complete fiction.)
Allow me to let Moulton-Howe share the extensive evidence she compiled for this pyramid in 2012:
A retired U. S. Army Counterintelligence agent, Doug Mutschler, says that when China exploded its largest underground nuclear test on May 22, 1992, geologists and seismologists used the event to study the Earth’s crust and discovered a large pyramid-shaped structure underground in western Alaska between Mount McKinley […] and Nome on Norton Sound. Allegedly, Anchorage Channel 13 broadcast one news story in the fall of 1992 about the China nuclear test and subsequent pyramid discovery. The Army agent says he learned the news report was ordered erased.
“Anchorage Channel 13” is ABC affiliate KYUR-TV, but Moulton-Howe, a former television journalist, apparently did not bother to take even the rudimentary step of contacting the TV station or examining transcripts from independent transcription agencies to confirm anything about the story. But she doesn’t have to because the Mutschler asserts that the story was “erased” and therefore its absence becomes proof of its former presence!
Mutschler claims to have joined the military in 1981, served as a chief warrant officer in military intelligence, and left the service in 1995 due to physical disability. Moulton-Howe requested his discharge papers and posted them online, confirming that he did serve in counterintelligence in southwest Asia.
However, Mutschler waited twenty years to “reveal” the pyramid. Actually, she doesn’t say this at all. She shared the original email Muschler sent to her:
From: Douglas A. Mutschler
It’s interesting that the initial email made no mention of the Chinese detonation or a TV news story, and in fact Mutschler implies (though with an ambiguous passive construction) that the Army tried to suppress information from the soldiers, not from the media. But this isn’t what he said when asking Ask.com for help finding the news footage, where he attributes the story entirely to his memory of a news story about the Chinese detonation from November 1992. I am not able to determine which version came first.
Here he is again talking to Moulton-Howe by phone later in 2012, where he repeats the same:
Doug Mutschler and I talked on the phone in-depth about how he had come to learn about the China underground detonation and an alleged crustal study that revealed a pyramid structure larger than Cheops that was reported six months later on Channel 13 (NBC) in Anchorage with graphics and scientific analysis of the large discovered structure. Doug Mutschler was in the Fort Richardson Orderly Room with 39 other men in the last week of November or first week of December 1992 when they all listened with amazement to the in-depth TV news report about the extraordinary large pyramid discovery underground in Alaska. Afterward, Doug went to his room to program his VCR to tape the next news cast because he wanted to study the news report. But nothing was broadcast. He called his father in Fairborn, Ohio, who always watches morning, noon and night news, but the father said there had been nothing about a large pyramid structure discovered in Alaska after Earth crustal studies during the May 22, 1992, one megaton underground nuclear test in Lon Por, China.
The differences are rather striking. In the initial email, Mutschler says that the information “was reported to us in 1992” and was “brought to my attention,” apparently through Army channels. But then he changed his wording and instead claimed to have seen the story on TV six months later. He went on to assert that TV station employees at first denied broadcasting the story before a technician told him that the story had been suppressed and destroyed. So why did only one Alaskan TV station find out about the pyramid? Moulton-Howe is silent.
Given this, I at first wondered if Mutschler wasn’t misremembering the November 10, 1993 NBC-TV special Mystery of the Sphinx, which suggested that there had been a pyramid-building super-culture around 10,500 BCE. As we shall see below, there is a still better explanation. At any rate, given that none of the other alleged 39 witnesses or the thousands of Alaskan TV viewers have any memory of this story, and the entirety of the evidence is one man’s twenty-year-old memory of what he thinks he saw on TV, it seems there is cause for doubt.
Ghost Theory’s Harry Paterson tried to get to the bottom of the story in August 2012, though he was operating on the assumption that Moulton-Howe (who provided him with research materials and recommended the story) and Mutschler were accurate in their claims. He contacted the U.S. Geologic Survey in Anchorage and asked about the 1992 crustal survey Moulton-Howe mentions, and he learned that there was no earth crust survey going on that year, directly contradicting Moulton-Howe’s version of events. Nevertheless, he decided to side with Moulton-Howe because he believed Mutschler to be incapable of telling a lie, or even being wrong, since he was military intelligence.
Leaving aside the fact that memory is notoriously inaccurate and inexact, why would believers trust a member of the same organization they had just accused of a global conspiracy to suppress archaeological evidence? Did they not just admit that they believe them to be proficient and capable liars capable of creating believable cover stories?
Moulton-Howe discovered that the phone number Multscher gave her did not work when she tried to follow up with him, and when he finally called her back, he asserted that the government was manipulating the phones to prevent him from calling her. Satisfied with this conspiracy, the two then recorded an interview.
In this interview, the story gets more convoluted. Here are Multscher’s most developed claims:
…it was in late November to early December  – and I’m sitting there in the Orderly Room with about 40 other people and we were waiting for the last formation of the day. We’re watching the TV, a news program was on and they started talking about this Chinese detonation of an underground nuclear bomb that was set off earlier that year. […] And the story was about geologists around the world had been informed through the U.N. because China had told the U.N. they were going to do this. And so these geologists got together and said let’s get the best recordings of the Earth’s crust and mantle using the vibrations from this explosion. What the geologists said they found in this byline news story was under Alaska, they found a pyramid bigger than the one in Egypt. They said they did not know if it were solid or hollow. They could not tell that, but they had the distinct outline of a pyramid.
Note that Moulton-Howe has paraphrased these claims with greater exactitude than the original: “About 40 other people” becomes exactly “39 other men,” for example.
I have been unable to find any indication that the UN provided information to seismologists about the nuclear tests. In fact, the June 1992 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (published several weeks earlier than its cover date) betrayed no awareness of any planned tests, noting that China had conducted no tests since 1990. However, there was in fact a series of Chinese nuclear tests between May 1992 and October 1993, so it is unclear why a news broadcast would be covering a six-month-old event so breathlessly.
A Lexis-Nexis search finds no news coverage of Chinese nuclear testing or seismology in Alaska in the fall of 1992—but there was coverage of the Egyptian pyramids around that time! A major 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit Cairo on October 12, 1992. It shook the pyramids and the Sphinx and damaged hundreds of medieval Islamic structures. It was the largest earthquake ever to have struck the area. It was immensely damaging, and the epicenter was only a few kilometers from Giza, near Dahshur. Inspectors were sent to the pyramids to make sure they were OK after a large block fell from the Great Pyramid. More than 500 people died. There is also a UN connection: The UN monitored the 1992 quake and helped coordinate disaster response.
It seems likely that Multscher misunderstood or misinterpreted coverage of the 1992 Cairo earthquake, most likely regional Alaskan coverage of local seismography and preparedness work, since Anchorage suffered massively in the 9.2-magnitude 1964 Alaska earthquake and has always been understandably worried about a future quake of that magnitude. If that’s the case, a local expert might have mentioned how seismographs in Anchorage picked up the Chinese explosion and its seismic signature as well as the Cairo quake. In a crowded room with forty soldiers, many of whom were presumably talking and making noise, it’s easy to see how Multscher could have half-seen, half-heard and partially misunderstood a news report, looking only at the images on the screen and misinterpreting a seismic spike for a geophysical outline of a pyramid, especially if he was already a believer in fringe ideas. Even the exact wording about something being “bigger” that Egypt might have come from a comparison between the seismic signature of the Cairo quake and the much bigger seismic signature of the 1964 Anchorage quake. (The 1964 quake was the second most powerful ever measured by seismograph.)
To confirm this version, we of course would need someone to go through the tapes of 1992 Alaskan local news reports—but that’s the genius of fringe thinking: even if you found exactly what I just described, they’d still say the government suppressed the originals.
Multscher’s story quickly took on a life of its own, bouncing from one credulous website to the next. By December 2012, the pyramid story was now subject to elaboration. Believers now claimed that the Russians reported that a subcritical American nuclear test conducted on December 5 of 2012 was designed to prevent the Alaskan pyramid from being uncovered before the Maya Apocalypse of 2012! Subcritical experiments do not involve nuclear explosions, so I have no idea how that might have worked. When the Maya Apocalypse fizzled, the Alaskan pyramid of doom gradually faded in popularity, but apparently it keeps resurfacing on various fringe websites, referring back to Moulton-Howe’s uncritical “investigation” of one man’s twenty-year-old memory of a brief TV news report.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.