How Antigravity Built the Pyramids: The Mysterious Technology of Ancient Superstructures
Nick Redfern | New Page | Sept. 2022 | 241 pp. | ISBN: 978-1-63748-002-1 | $19.95
It’s telling that Nick Redfern starts his book purportedly covering supposed sonic levitation used to build the Egyptian pyramids not with the original medieval Arabic legend of self-moving stones but with ancient astronaut theorist Peter Kolosimo’s reference to it decades ago, in Timeless Earth (1964): “According to an Arab legend, the Egyptians used scrolls of papyrus with magic words written on them, on which blocks for the pyramids came flying through the air!” Redfern frames his story around Kolosimo’s speculative revision of Arab lore and Bruce Cathie’s strange ideas about levitation and antigravity (derived from his own UFO encounter and reluctance to believe lazy humans would drag big stones) rather than the actual primary sources that previous generations of kooks built upon, often secondhand, from still other summaries.
This is all the stranger since Nick Redfern knows what the primary sources are, because he reads my website and I have made nearly every single one of them available, in translation, for free, and wrote a book on the subject. The earliest comes from the Akhbār al-zamān, from around 900 to 1000 CE, and relates the construction of the two Giza pyramids before the Flood:
It is said that the builders had palm wood sheets covered in writing, and after having extracted every stone and having it cut, they placed over each stone one of these sheets; they then gave a blow to the stone, and it traveled far beyond the reach of sight. They came back close to it and did the same again until they had led it to its assigned place. Craftsmen then carved each slab so as to affix in the middle an iron rod; they placed over it another slab with a hole in its center, and the rod entered the hole. They then poured lead around the slab and into the hole so that the adjustment was perfect. (2.2, my trans.)
This story was quite at odds with the more common version, related by the great historian Al-Mas’udi, who heard I from an Egyptian: “They built the pyramids by stacking layers in degrees, like a staircase; then they polished them, scraping them from top to bottom” (Meadows of Gold 31, my trans.).
Without primary sources, however, Kolosimo, and then Redfern are left with a bastardized account and clouds of speculation derived from misunderstanding.
Like every Redfern book, How Antigravity Built the Pyramids is disjointed, repetitive, and hastily glued together from poorly explained parts, a collection of lengthy quotations from long-dead midcentury fringe writers with only the thinnest of gossamer commentary from the author linking the borrowed pages together.
Without making much of an introduction, Redfern leaps to Christian pastor and MUFON official Ray Boeche’s claim that a faction in the Pentagon thinks UFOs are demonic entities. Boeche’s claim that Pentagon researchers known as the Collins Elite tried to make deals with the demons via remote viewing psychic contact but fell ill, with some dying, sounds very much like a distorted secondhand account of the rumors that Pentagon-contracted remote viewing investigator Hal Puthoff and his Stargate (and later AAWSAP) team were in contact with interdimensional beings and the subsequent “hitchhiker effect” of poltergeist attacks on those who made such contact. Redfern’s story even includes brain scans just like those Kit Green and Garry Nolan claimed to be studying.
Thus, it is no surprise that Redfern also covers other special interests of the Puthoff-aligned team, notably their obsession with consciousness, psychedelics, and psychic powers. He relates this back to 1950s CIA experiments, some of which ended with remote viewers having fantastical visions of Egypt. With no particularly obvious connection, Redfern presents the speculative (and fake) history of the Sphinx as given by Robert Schoch and Graham Hancock (derived, ultimately, from Belle Epoque French archaeological errors and Renaissance-era astrological speculation). Once again, his information comes from other fringe books and websites, with nary a primary source to be found.
In another jarring shift, after saying that no one knows how Egyptians moved stones (their own carvings and writings about it notwithstanding), he catapults the reader to Easter Island, Baalbek, Uxmal, the standing stones of the U.K. (including Stonehenge), to discuss various myths and legends of stones that moved by themselves in response to spells, songs, whistles, etc. He argues that people could never move heavy stones unaided and therefore sonic levitation is logical. There are precious few primary sources, not even where easy to find. Instead of quoting Geoffrey of Monmouth, for example, on Merlin magically teleporting Stonehenge into place, pastes in a summary from a recent article in Antiquity, which he misleadingly identifies as the work not of the authors or the journal but of Cambridge University Press—and then, a page or two later, having forgotten that he just did this, he then quotes Geoffrey himself on the exact same material, but only by copying the excerpt given in an L. Sprague de Camp book. Unaware of many competing legends, he misses important stories, for example, about Nimrod and the Giants building Baalbek that might have tied his speculations together.
He also cites Ancient Aliens as a key source of information and quotes Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad (1869) for pages, stopping to marvel that “still have this amazing, old, journal-style book.” For fuck’s sake. I have a first edition sitting beside me as I write this. It is not amazing for a book to last 150 years.
Subsequent chapters cover Biblical stories of destructive weapons like Joshua’s trumpet and the Ark of the Covenant, ley lines, etc. His lack of familiarity with primary sources leads him to accept a misleading nineteenth century summary of Pliny’s Natural History about Ptolemy Philadelphus having an iron statue of his sister suspended floating inside a magnetic temple. The actual passage (34.148) reports that such a feat was planned but never executed. Most of the material is quoted directly from midcentury ancient astronaut books by Peter Kolosimo, Robert Charroux, Andrew Tomas, etc. Redfern is unfamiliar with any underlying sources, accepting the translators’ transliteration mistakes verbatim. He only stops briefly to complain that one ancient astronaut writer used the phrase “Master Race,” which he said was the “wrong way” to refer to the superior alien overlords who guided Aboriginal people from “cannibalism” to “civilization.” “Unfortunately, similar, such inflammatory terminology can still be found in today’s world of ancient extraterrestrials research. You probably know the sources I’m talking about,” Redfern writes. His issue, though, is with language, not alien civilizers.
We return to the pyramids only momentarily to remind the reader that mere humans would never have bothered to move the Great Pyramid’s 2.3 million blocks unaided, before he presents a bunch of old psychical research stories about levitating people, from Jesus to Buddhist mystics to D. D. Home. Redfern alleges that Coral Castle in Florida involved levitation rather than levers, and he profiles midcentury ufologist Morris Jessup’s speculation about UFOs using levitation technology to move large stones, through which Redfern implies a government conspiracy to seize the power of UFO levitation technology, thus making pyramid secrets into state secrets. He continues throwing in lengthy quotations from fringe figures on all manner of subjects swirling around legendary flying machines, with no reference to primary sources, sometimes accepting incorrect summaries of historical sources as facts.
At this point, about two-thirds of the way through the book, I despaired of Redfern ever actually providing any evidence of levitation building the pyramids. Instead, he continues a circular argument that the government investigates antigravity and the government investigates UFOs, so if ancient astronaut theorists say aliens are involved with the pyramids, therefore levitation built the pyramids. Everything rests on accepting imaginary versions of medieval legendry while worshiping the federal government as a possessor of supernatural truths, rather than, say, a rest home for aging cranks. He talks about psychic energy imprinting on haunted stones, various bits of local U.K. folklore culled from 1970s New Age and paranormal books, balls of light seen near British stone circles, CIA remote viewing of the Loch Ness Monster (it was one of Hal Puthoff’s projects, concluding the monster was “a dinosaur’s ghost”), U.S. government research into infrasound, Bigfoot and werewolves (they’re made of infrasound, or something like that), and sonic weapons.
None of this had anything to do with the pyramids. Nor does the final section, on ancient astronaut theory and undigested summary of Zecharia Sitchin, “white powder gold,” extraterrestrial Anunnaki, the Face on Mars, and other frauds of the 1970s–1990s. He is particularly interested in claims from Ancient Aliens talking head about various rocks on Mars that they fantasize look like Egyptian statues. He concludes that an ancient group of humans who had the power of antigravity and levitation achieved spaceflight and colonized Mars, citing Theosophy-inspired arguments Jessup made in the 1950s about ancient monuments and UFOs and a “colonizing civilization” 100,000 years ago.
Redfern finishes the book by noting that no evidence exists for any of these claims—no technology, no ancient Martian ships, nothing. Having admitted that his collection of 1950s–1990s fringe material is simply speculation, he nevertheless concludes that a lost race of Levitators existed because, at heart, he cannot believe that human beings could bring themselves to work together to move heavy blocks for no immediate personal gain. It’s so much easier to be lazy. After all, look at this “book.”
Ultimately, How Antigravity Built the Pyramids has almost nothing to do with the pyramids. Readers would be better off reading the older fringe books Redfern quotes at length; at least they tried to make coherent arguments. This book is the equivalent of an Ancient Aliens episode in print—but not one of the original ones, one of the clip shows made up of reruns and recycling.
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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