Spanish Man Earns PhD for Fringe Pyramid Claims, Tells Scientific Council Pyramid Honors Noah's Flood
There is a website called Jews News that publishes a lot of click-bait crap that straddles the line between real news and outright fiction. So, when I read today on Jews News that a researcher alleges that the Great Pyramid was once topped with a large golden sphere, I was skeptical that the article had any basis in fact. I was stunned to discover that not only is there really a researcher claiming this, but that it’s apparently a widely discussed idea about the pyramids in Spanish-language fringe literature.
The research in question comes from Spanish architect Miquel Pérez-Sánchez, who has been pushing this idea for the past several years. Pérez-Sánchez spent 10 years developing a detailed computer model of the Great Pyramid, and in so doing, he determined that the top of the pyramid did not terminate in a golden pyramidion as most archeologists assume but rather a sphere of about two meters in diameter, which represented a circumference of pi royal cubits and was called the Eye of Horus. At least that’s what I think he meant; the Jews News author has no understanding of math terms and said that the sphere had a perimeter. As I later discovered, the Jews News article is a bad translation of one that appeared in La Caja de Pandora in May.
According to Pérez-Sánchez, his computer reconstruction of the pyramid determined that its height of 277,778 cubits represented a million cubits divided by 3,600 cubits for reasons not explained. (It has something to do with sacred mathematics and fetishes for certain numbers.) The surface area, he said, was 100,000 times pi square cubits, with pi carried to six decimal places. Something was obviously lost in translation, as the 277,778 cubits would give a height of 476,000 feet, a thousand times bigger than reality. On the other hand, 3,600 goes into one million 277.778 times. The error occurs in both the English and Spanish versions of the article, but I imagine it was caused by a goof up with the convention of using decimals and commas differently in different countries. Thus, 277,778 to some people is what 277.778 is to Americans. It appears that the Spanish article had a typo that mistakenly replaced a comma with a decimal, and Jews News translated the error thoughtlessly without checking the math.
This was weird enough, so I thought I’d look at the Spanish language literature to see if I could find out more about Pérez-Sánchez and his weird ideas. I quickly discovered that in 2008 the Polytechnic University of Catalonia awarded Pérez-Sánchez a Ph.D. in architecture with his thesis, The Great Pyramid: Secret Key to the Past, in which he made the above claims, making him one of several people to earn a doctorate in fringe claims by going outside the disciplines of history or archaeology to sneak them in through the back door. When skeptic Luis Alfonso Gámez of the Spanish Magonia website questioned this, Pérez-Sánchez’s academic advisor, industrial engineer Dr. Gabriel Ferraté Pascual, sent him a three-page letter attacking him for questioning the honors thesis. He stressed that the thesis itself contained only solid mathematical calculations and did not refer to aliens, UFOs, or anything without evidence. “In any case, it is clear that everything that he proposes should not be construed as absolute truths, but as theories justified by an extraordinarily high mathematical probability” (my trans.). Ferraté has no training in archaeology, history, or Egyptology.
You can find all of the articles on this subject by Gámez here, from which I will extract a few key findings.
As a result of Pérez-Sánchez’s doctorate, the Spanish Ministry of Culture helps to fund his website, and the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Madrid Athenaeum helped launch his book about the pyramid, derived from his Ph.D. thesis. Indeed, earlier this year, Dr. Pérez-Sánchez gave a series of lectures at the Spanish National Research Council in Seville, one of Europe’s largest scientific organizations. In the speech, Pérez-Sánchez announced that the Great Pyramid had been constructed to mark the 1,000th anniversary of Noah’s Flood, and that it had served as a library of antediluvian scientific wisdom. Khufu, he said, “had a date with history, and this explains the effort of the architects of Khufu to include within the Great Pyramid the knowledge from the past” (my trans.).
I imagine that most readers will recognize these claims as being extremely similar to medieval Arabic pyramid legends, ultimately traceable to Late Antique lore codified in works like Abu Ma‘shar’s The Thousands, albeit with the events moved post-Flood rather than made pre-Flood. Pérez-Sánchez added that he believes that the Sphinx is 10,000 years old and that the Egyptians built all of the pre-Khufu pyramids as practice attempts to perfect the antediluvian plan they would encode in the Great Pyramid. Osiris, he added, was a foreigner who arrived in Egypt to teach them all of this wisdom.
Gámez reports that historian Mara Castillo Mallén called the claim about Osiris “a form of racism, nor is it original.” Indeed, it reflects claims made by fringe theorists going back to Ignatius Donnelly that Osiris was a white person from Atlantis.
Egyptologist José Miguel Parra, author of Pyramids: History, Myth and Reality (2001), told Gámez that Pérez-Sánchez’s work “is priceless in terms of the quantity of foolishness and nonsense that it contains, almost none of which is original, by the way.” Parra said that this did not surprise him since it “was coming from a man who regards as a mathematician John Taylor, the creator of pyramidiocy; he as the first to invent the notion that the Great Pyramid was full of hidden information. It’s a good thing that by this assertion he has disqualified himself, and thus all his supposed discoveries, because from no later than 1893 it has been known that Taylor’s claims were nothing but tales invented by a mystic” (my trans.).
John Taylor was a British writer who claimed in his 1859 book The Great Pyramid: Why Was It Built & Who Built It? that pi and phi were encoded into the Great Pyramid, which in turn was a divinely inspired building. The builders, he wrote, “imagined the earth to be a sphere, and as they knew that the radius of a circle must bear a certain proportion to its circumference, they built a four-sided pyramid of such a height in proportion to its base that its perpendicular would be the radius of a sphere equal to the perimeter of the base.” His work directly influence Charles Piazzi Smyth, the most famous pyramidiot, and author of Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid (1864), a key fringe text. Taylor went on to argue that the Pyramid’s divine measurements were the same used in British traditional measures, and therefore Britain should not adopt the metric system.
Isn’t it amazing how no fringe theorist ever has an original idea? Anyway, Pérez-Sánchez managed to recycle nineteenth century fringe ideas into a twenty-first century doctorate, and on that strength he now speaks about the pyramids, the Flood, and lost ancient wisdom to some of Europe’s most important scientific bodies.
The only good news is that he apparently hasn’t learned English yet, so we won’t be seeing him on the History Channel anytime soon.
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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