I’ve mentioned before that a website called Ancient Code is a crappy, buggy, ad-laden load of clickbait written by an author with limited command of English, but it’s also a prominent source of frequently updated ancient astronaut claims. On Friday, the site published an article on a topic I wasn’t familiar with, despite it being 15 years old. The recycled clickbait summarizes a claim that’s apparently been cycling through the fringe community since late spring, and in so doing the author manages to mangle the original material out of sheer ignorance, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. But I get ahead of myself.
According to the claims, in 1988 a French archaeologist named Louis Caparat entered a secret room of the Great Pyramid and there discovered a transparent, crystalline chamber in which an alien rested, a container he interpreted as a hyperbaric stasis chamber. Alongside the crystal sarcophagus was a papyrus identifying the being as an extraterrestrial tasked with announcing the arrival of aliens to Khufu and his court. Ancient Code alleges that Egyptologists covered this up to suppress the truth. Egyptian officials allegedly turned away biologist F. de Braga, who flew to Cairo to study the alien.
Ancient Code identifies the source of the story as an article by Rose al-Yūsuf in the March 2000 edition of Egyptian Magazine. That made me laugh because Rose al-Yūsuf is an Egyptian political magazine named after its founder, who launched it in 1925. Needless to say, she is long dead; and since 1960 the publication has been directly or indirectly controlled by the Egyptian government. It’s hard to trust a writer who can’t distinguish between a title and an author. But our author mixed the up because he was merely recycling earlier online summaries, specifically this one from Locklip.com, which our author has mangled in an attempted to avoid copy-and-paste plagiarism despite repeating the article’s points in nearly the same words and in the same order. Our author apparently didn’t think that the citation to the Weekly World News was a clue that everything isn’t quite right with this story. The Locklip.com piece from earlier this year recycles material from internet postings going back at least to a UFO Roundup article from March 2000, almost all in the same words. The older reports, though, offer the added detail that the alien produced the plans for the pyramid. Just for kicks, this version even attributes the whole thing to the Nephilim.
Needless to say, there is no record that Louis Caparat actually exists. The whole story seems to be made up out of a few standard parts, but since I can’t read Arabic I can’t confirm what the Egyptian magazine actually published. However, in 2004 the Spanish-language writer Santiago Martinez Concha, writing about Nephilim in Atlantis, published the following photograph of the alien, which he says he obtained from the original article. I think you can see that there is a problem with the “alien” mummy.
This picture actually shows a (human) child mummy currently on display in a museum, as it was in 2000. The mummy was most recently famous as a comparison for the so-called Roswell Slides “alien,” which was another documented child mummy. Here is the same mummy appearing in the Express as a comparison for the Roswell Slides:
The rest of the parts that went into the story are pretty easy to find. In 1986, two French architects named Gilles Dormion and Jean-Patrice Goidin were given permission to drill holes into the wall of the corridor leading to the Queen’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid to look for a hidden chamber. They found a cavity filled with sand. A Japanese team led by Sakuji Yoshimura used noninvasive techniques two years later and also claimed to have found unexplained cavities near the Queen’s Chamber. And Egyptian authorities did halt further testing in both cases.
The remaining material echoes old medieval pyramid lore. Most versions of the “news” story cite Peter Tompkins’s summary of the Arabic legend that Caliph Al-Ma’mun found a sarcophagus wearing a breastplate when he opened the pyramid. The story appears in Al-Maqrizi’s Al-Khitat, from which Tompkins borrowed it, with some incorrect material. I compare the two below:
Peter Tompkins, in Secrets of the Great Pyramid:
Some Arabian authors have reported that al Ma’mun found in the sarcophagus a stone statue in the shape of a man. They say that within the statue lay a body wearing a breastplate of gold set with precious stones, an invaluable sword on his chest, and a carbuncle ruby on its head the size of an egg, which shone as with the light of day.
Maqrizi, quoting Alkaisi, who lived wrote around 1170:
It is said that a man who entered in Al-Ma’mun’s time discovered a small room therein where there was a statue of a man in stone green as dahang. This statue was brought to Al-Ma’mun. It had a lid that could be removed, and within they found the body of a man wearing a gold breastplate encrusted with all kinds of jewels. On his chest lay a sword of inestimable price, and near the head was a red ruby the size of a hen’s egg which shone like a flame, which Al-Ma’mun took for himself. The statue within which this dead man was encased was put up near the door of the king’s palace in Cairo where I saw it in the year 511 (1138 CE). (my trans.)
Maqrizi later repeats the claim under his own authority, and writes that the statue remained on display down to 1215 CE according to his sources.
Note that Tompkins was wrong about who found the statue. But never mind, our authors have all missed the more direct source, also al-Maqrizi, quoting an unnamed earlier writer who said that in a secret chamber somewhere within the pyramids some men found the objects described above as hyperbaric chambers: “They entered the central chamber in which were three transparent and luminous stone beds and on these three beds lay three bodies covered with three robes. Near the head of each was a book in unknown characters.” Interestingly, this legend doesn’t appear in the much earlier Akhbār al-zamān, where a parallel legend omits glowing beds in favor of a statue of a teacher instructing young boys—not nearly as dramatic! Murtada ibn al-Afif, writing between the two sources, agrees quite closely with the Akhbār, implying that the crystal coffins were a late innovation in the myth.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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