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Archaeological Coverup?

Rumors are rampant on the Internet that the archaeology is suppressing the true human past. We take a look at the origins of a modern myth.

> Read more about this in THE CULT OF ALIEN GODS
> Read more in my FREE, expanded eBook Mysteries of Ancient America HERE

Grand Canyon

In the April-May 2002 edition of Nexus Magazine, William Hart asked whether archaeology engaged in a coverup to suppress hidden aspects of the human past. Similarly, in the winter 2001-2002 edition of the pseudo-scientific magazine Ancient American, author Jack Andrews asks the question "Did Ancient Chinese Visit the Grand Canyon?" (vol. 6: i. 41)

Here now a LOST CIVILIZATIONS UNCOVERED exclusive, the side of the story that Ancient American and Nexus did not tell their readers.

On April 5, 1909 a Phoenix newspaper called the Arizona Gazette published an article in its evening edition which claimed the an Egypto-Tibetan culture lived in the Grand Canyon. Running on the front page under the headline "
Explorations in the Grand Canyon," the anonymous story claimed that the find was "not only the oldest archaeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most valuable in the world." Furthermore, the article claimed the project was "under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan" with Smithsonian-backed adventurer G. E. Kinkaid. The duration of the article is an account of the find by G. E. Kinkaid.

In his narrative Kinkaid described a series of tunnels and passages with a cross chamber near the entrance in which stood a statue: "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."

Kinkaid allegedly says that he found an unknown gray metal resembling platinum in the cave, and tiny carved heads were scattered on the floor. Urns bore "mysterious hieroglyphics, the key to which the Smithsonian Institute hopes yet to discover." In another room he said he found mummies: "Some of the mummies are covered with clay, and all are wrapped in a bark fabric."

Then we take leave of Kinkaid, and the anoynmous reporter offers an epilogue: "The discoveries in the Grand Canyon may throw further light on human evolution and prehistoric ages."

From this strange story written at the dawn of the twentieth century came a web of intrigue and deception that alternative historians say they have uncovered. This is but one aspect of a growing paranoia among alternative authors that sees conspiracies threatening to destroy the "true" history of man's past. We shall examine several aspects of this alleged coverup.


Off the bat, there are a few signs that point to a hoax on the part of the paper or Mr. Kinkaid. First of all, this is a one-source story without comment from Prof. Jordan or any other person, though some canyon mystery enthusiasts like
Jack Andrews point out that the Gazette rarely used bylines on its stories. "It was a unique story in an otherwise dull, routine mainstream paper," Andrews said. On March 12 of that same year, the Gazette had reported on an earlier phase of Kincaid's adventure. However, there is no documentary evidence to back up Mr. Kincaid's existence.

Secondly, the Smithsonian is an Institution, not an Institute. Anyone who really worked for them would know that. Third, when the article is read in full, it seems like a regurgitation of the 19th and early 20th century stories about Lemuria and Mu. In fact, even if the paper were blameless in the affair, the alleged Mr. Kinkaid, for whom no Smithsonian record exists, could easily have been a local liar who read all about the lost continent of Atlantis or Lemuria and spun it into a local tale bought by the yellow press still reeling from the Pulitzer-Hearst tabloid fever. How could even the most "dull, routine" paper pass on a story that seemed so good?.

Mike Mahanay comments on his Grand Canyon trek and exploration page, "Please remember that although this article was published in 1909, it is pure fiction, and has led many a fortune hunter to frustration and despair!" Mahanay has worked in the Grand Canyon for years and leads tours through the region.

However many people ignore this warning, and the story has a sinister aspect. The belief in this lost Egyptian/Tibetan temple has consequences today. Ever since unorthodox researcher David Hatcher Childress published the newspaper hoax as fact in his book Lost Cities of North and Central America, the story took on the trappings of truth, without regard for actual facts. In his web 
article about maverick archaeologist John Ora Kinnaman's attempts in the 1950s to prove a 35,000-year-old date for the Great Pyramid, Stephen Mehler writes:

"By virtue of the huge crystal stored in a chamber 1,100 feet below the bedrock of the Giza Plateau, Egyptian priests could send telepathic messages around the world! According to [Dr. Albert J.] McDonald, one of the places Dr. Kinnaman said these messages were sent was the Grand Canyon! Dr. Kinnaman may have known about the find in the Grand Canyon in 1909 and even known Professor S.A. Jordan, but we have no documentation of this as of yet."

For his part, Kinnaman claimed to have found the Atlantean Hall of Records beneath the Sphinx, where he said the Ark of the Covenant rested. Obviously, there is not truth to this, and Kinnaman sought to validate the Atlantis prophesies of alleged psychic Edgar Cayce.

Jack Andrews said that while he has no definite proof that any aspect of the Grand Canyon story is true, "I find that most outspoken critics of the 1909 story are generally slim to none in the 'evidence' to back their outrageous claims that the story is automatically a 'myth' or 'hoax'. I have not seen one piece of genuine evidence to back the claims."

Yet there is evidence that the story does not hold up. There once was a Prof. S. A. Jordon, with an 'o' not an 'a', but this Jordon was a European archaeologist, not an American one. Jordon did not work the Grand Canyon. On the Cyber Space Orbit website, John Winston comments:

"Several professional inquiries into this matter ten years ago made it clear that to Smithsonian authorities, this was indeed a hoax, and that the fact there is no record of any Professor S. A. Jordan ever existing, or ever being associated with the Smithsonian."

He then paradoxically cites the existence of Prof. Jordon as proof of a Smithsonian cover-up of the information in the Gazette article. More likely is the idea that Jordan with an 'a' never existed.

As for the Smithsonian itself, when asked by Peter Hay of the Sightings website, a representative for the Institution had the following comment:

"From: Smithsonian Information <Info@info.si.edu To: <pmh@direct.ca Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2000 8:16 AM Subject: Re: Fw: SIGHTINGS

"Peter Hay

"Your e-mail of January 11 has been received.

"The Smithsonian Institution has received many questions about an article in the April 5, 1909 Phoenix Gazette about G. E. Kincaid and his discovery of a 'great underground citadel' in the Grand Canyon, hewn by an ancient race 'of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt.' According to the article, Prof. Jordan directed a major investigation of the 'citadel' that was mounted by the Smithsonian.

"The Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology, has searched its files without finding any mention of a Professor Jordan, Kincaid, or a lost Egyptian civilization in Arizona. Nevertheless, the story continues to be repeated in books and articles.

"We appreciate your interest in the Smithsonian Institution."

Lost Civilizations Uncovered asked Ancient American writer Jack Andrews to write an article detailing why he believes the Grand Canyon story is true after he e-mailed us his detailed criticisms, some of which appear in this story. Andrews declined our invitation, saying: "I cannot, however, write an article stating why I believe the story is true, since I have not yet been convinced conclusively of the 'truth' of the story."


Nevertheless, many continue to believe faithfully in the story of the prehistoric cave, a story that has grown and metamorphosed into a subterranean city as the story is told and retold again and again. Author David Icke is typical of the true believers. From his book The Biggest Secret:

"In 1909 a subterranean city which was built with the presicion (sic) of the the Great Pyramid was found by G. E. Hincaid (sic) near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was big enough to accomidate (sic) 50,000 people and mumified (sic) bodies found were of oriental or possibly Egyptian origin, according to the expedition leader Professor S. A. Jordan. My own resaerch (sic) suggests that it is from another dimension, the lower fourth dimension, that the reptilian control and manipulation is primarily orchestrated (sic)."

In Icke's telling, the cavern tomb of legend becomes a precise city with a sizable population. Icke also names its inhabitants as reptiles from the fourth dimension, a concept first put forward in H. P. Lovecraft's fictional story "
The Nameless City," where a hapless traveler discovers a subterranean city in Arabia populated by the mummies of prehistoric reptiles. Except for a difference in location, Icke's version of the myth reads like Lovecraft warmed over, with a good dose of Robert Temple: "There were other extraterrestrial races at large on the Earth, and still are, as well as the extraterrestrial race which the Sumerians called the Anunnaki and other ancient texts called the serpant (sic) race." Once again, those pesky Annunaki make their way into the myth of lost civilizations. (see my article From Cthulhu to Cloning for more) Of course, Icke also believes that Princess Diana died as a result of an extraterrestrial cover-up.

The common thread running through all of these articles and posts is a common source: the David Hatcher Childress article hinting at a vast archaeological conspiracy to cover up Egyptian relics. Let us take a quick look at Childress and his ideas.

He claims that at the age of 19 he left on a six-year, around-the-world adventure in the style of ancient astronaut theory founder Erich von Däniken. He says he studied first-hand the ruins of cultures spanning the globe, and
WexClub.com called him a "real-life Indiana Jones" for his archaeological adventures.

Childress calls himself a "lost science scholar," and claimed in his book Extraterrestrial Archaeology that the moon and nearby planets contain pyramids, domes and spaceports visible by telescope and satellite. He has a profound respect for the scientist Nikola Tesla, who Childress believes invented anti-gravity, time-travel, death-ray and thought machines. Childress is also prone to seeing conspiracies, arguing in his book The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla that the U.S. government conspired to supress the discoveries made by Tesla to protect big business. Incidentally, Childress claims only to be the posthumous co-author of Fantastic Inventions with Tesla as the main author.

In his most recent book, Technology of the Gods (2000), he claims that ancient cultures possessed advanced technology far beyond what humanity can achieve today.

Childress also wrote a series of Lost Cities books in which he compiled anomolous, questionable and apocryphal stories to prove his thesis that extraterrestrials influenced early man and current governments are suppressing this fact. It appears that Childress discovered the story of the Gazette article while researching Lost Cities of North and Central America, in which he repeated apocryphal stories of pterodactyls alive in Texas. He took the official denials of the Gazette story as proof of a cover-up. He included the story and the denials in a chapter of Lost Cities, and he excerpted that chapter for the disreputable
Nexus magazine in 1993.

After publication in Nexus (volume 2 number 13), the article was posted on KeelyNet BBS on May 8, 1993 under the inauspicious heading of CANYON.ASC. KeelyNet issued the disclaimer that anything it published was free to copy, and an internet revolution was born. Soon the Childress article appeared all over the internet and hundreds of websites carried the news that ancient Egyptians lived in the Grand Canyon. (A Google search turned up 974 pages with the story.) By 2001, the story was firmly embedded in the alternative community as proof that the Smithsonian covered up parts of history.


Nexus magazine is a strange story all on its own. Founded in Australia in 1987, the magazine focused on unconventional and occult stories, often without second thought to the veracity of information. In 1990, Duncan Roads purchased the magazine and attempted to make it the paper of record for the alternative community:

"It was a magazine that addressed itself to the alternative fringe of society and thus it carried many 'alternative' points of view on the subjects of health, human rights, the environment, human potential and suppressed information. I revived this magazine by deleting all articles on the new age, the occult, environment and similar subjects, and by concentrating on what I call 'suppressed information.'"

In the April-May 2002 Edition of Nexus, author
Will Hart alleged that a massive archaeological coverup to suppress what he believes is the true history of humanity: "The conspiracy is global and there are many vested interest groups. A cursory investigation yields the usual suspects: scientists with a theoretical axe to grind, careers to further and the status quo to maintain." Hart reiterates many of the so-called mysteries of the human past, and he presents each as an attempt by mainstream science to "suppress" information.

For example, He alleged that scientists used fallacious logic and ad hominem attacks to discredit researchers challenging the orthodox view. Citing the Sphinx-weathering controversy, Hart charged that Egyptologists tried to hide evidence for a 10,000 year-old Sphinx (currently believed to be about 4500 years old) by attacking the character of the major proponent of the old-Sphinx theory, tour guide John Anthony West: "Shifting the focus away from the issues and 'personalising' the debate is a highly effective strategy--one which is often used by politicians who feel insecure about their positions."

Yet Hart commits the same offense, opining that evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins is a member of the "Brain Police" and smearing his intergrity. Notice more of Hart's own faulty logic. He claims that scientists cannot be trusted, saying, "Didn't those meek fellows in the clean lab coats give us nuclear bombs and biological weapons?" Yet he is quick to confuse to issues, folding archaeology into nuclear physics and conflating evolutionary biology with bioterror in order to paint one discipline with the bad brush of another.

Calling it "The Big Lie," Hart claims that Egyptologists are purposely suppressing the true age of Egyptian monuments to protect not just themselves, but the entire scientific world-view. If ancient monuments are more ancient than believed, then cultural evolution is not true.

"Since," Hart wrote, "the theory of 'cultural evolution' has been tied to Darwin's general theory of evolution, even more is at stake. Does this explain why facts, anomalies and enigmas are denied, suppressed and/or ignored? Yes, it does."

What we can clearly see here is a hidden agenda, a hidden creationist agenda that loathes science because it challenges the religious explanation of human life. Yet even if ancient cultures went a few thousand years further back in time, it in no way invalidates the idea of biological evolution. In fact, cultural evolution is no longer the favored theory, having gone out of fashion decades ago. Today most researchers believe that human culture is cyclic, with periods of great development and periods of decay. However, creationists, firmly rejecting any form of evolution seek to link the idea of cultural evolution to its biological counterpart so that attacking one can discredit the other.

"Are we hearing the faint echoes of religious zealotry?" Hart asks of science. Yes, but not from the scientists.

Like those who sought to claim the Grand Canyon as the nexus of an alien underground, those who claim archaeological coverups around the world routinely rally against the twin blasphemies of "credentials" and "peer-review," arguing that science perpetuates its coverups by the ridiculous idea of demanding its researchers to have an understanding of their subject and submit it for other scientists to comment upon and review. The alternative historian instead relies on single sources and questionable sources, like a 1909 newspaper article citing men who many never have existed. That one source, for these people, is worth more than all the reports of science. Unfortunately, no one bothered to check the source.

   POSTSRIPT 2002 
Jack Andrews wrote Lost Civilizations Uncovered on August 5, 2002 to take issue with our coverage of the 1909 Grand Canyon tomb story once again. He asked that we run a statement from him clarifying his position. "'Skepticism' does believe in fairness, right?" he asked.
AUGUST 5, 2002
I would guess that you will reduce all and any arguments for the possibility of the 1909 cave's existance to an "either or" "black and white" "true or false" scenerio.
You are correct. I "did" say "I cannot, however, write an article stating why I believe the story is true, since I have not yet been convinced conclusively of the 'truth' of the story."
I never said that I am convinced that the story is false, or a hoax, or an exaggerated fable. I am not convinced of that, based on my 250 miles of hiking experience in the Grand Canyon and several boxes of research information I have collected over the years and most certainly not convinced of the possible falseness based on the weak arguments for a "hoax" or "falseness" presented to me and presented on "skeptic" web sites based on shallow to no research on the 1909 story, the Grand Canyon's geology, hydrology, geography, history and history of human habitation, and arguments spoken by many with little to NO Grand Canyon hiking experience.
It all adds up to a slim poorly researched arguments from the "skeptical" community who appear to be to [sic] lazy to do any serious research into the 1909 story and it's [sic] relationship to the Grand Canyon .... and yes you "do" have to present convincing evidence that the story is false.
Armchair critiques, from my experience, generally contain the weakest arguments of all.
Mr. Andrew's research may be viewed at his website where the reader can also view his three dimensional artwork from "another cosmos," including his impressions of the supposed Grand Canyon 1909 cave.
   UPDATE 2005
In March 2005, Lost Civilizations Uncovered received the following letter:
I am a great niece of John Ora Kinnaman. He married my great Aunt Flossie. I spent time with him when I was young and my father was raised by John and Flossie in Georgia as a young boy. He was a very bright man and had many good qualities but unfortunately was not truthful about many things. He copied the works of others and took them on as his own. His biography is full of untruths, his travels to Europe and the Middle East for instance. My family and I are amazed at some of the things we have read. In his day people never checked facts: no computers, etc. When I log on to the Kinnaman Foundation and see how they are trying to get donations for this "research" it really bothers my family and myself. I hope all of these "theories" will be debunked. Thanks.
- Sharon Bochkay

© 2001-2005 Jason Colavito. All rights reserved.