The "Lost Tombs" Revisited

"Success Has a Thousand Fathers ..."


Part II

So, let’s look at this "credit thing" a little closer ...

Prior to the World Wide Web, assigning priority to "who discovered what ... and when" was somewhat easy: the scientist who published first became the title holder. Where he published (and it was almost always "he") was also critical - because an obscure scientific journal, or a "popular" pioneering article published in a non-scientific newspaper or magazine, as opposed to "one of the big five" - like Science, or Nature-- was just far less likely to be read by other scientists, and thus a prior discovery announcement could easily be missed ...

And citation of your paper in the papers of other scientists within your field - if you thought you had noticed something different than anybody else, before they noticed it - was (and is) the key objective of the well-known "publish or perish" scientific syndrome in all fields.

The Web has changed all that ... at least, outside the traditional scientific establishment. On the Web now, anyone can set-up his or her own "journal" (they’re called "Home Pages"). And, they can post news (and pictures!) about any "discovery" they want. So what?

Going through literally hundreds of thousands of web pages, searching for a "prior claim" - as opposed to reading through a score of well-known, published, monthly journals - is just impossible. And, the key to public and scientific acceptance of such claims lies in independent, institutional verification of the process. On the Web, dates can easily be changed, and even so-called "witnesses" ("oh, I saw that on his Website back in 1992 ...") can easily be bought or manufactured. Remember: on the Web, no one knows you’re a dog ...

So, how is "priority" (outside of peer-reviewed, scientific journals ) now to be established?

By doing what we did with "Abydos" - convince some independent, major, neutral institution to spend the time and money to go and examine the evidence first-hand. And then, publish the results - like the March 2nd Special on Fox Television.

Until that actually occurred at Abydos, "the Glyphs" were simply one more "fantastic claim" spreading like a virus through the World Wide Web ...

The situation is a little analogous to Einstein’s famed Theory of General Relativity itself.

Even after publication in 1915 (in a recognized scientific journal), no one wanted to believe an obscure Swiss patent clerk’s "peculiar" Theory of Time flowing at very different rates within the same Universe, depending on whether or not you were standing still! It was a relatively unknown British astronomer, Arthur Stanley Eddington (left), in leading an entire "eclipse expedition" to South America in 1919, who first put Einstein "on the map."

Eddington’s subsequent announcement before England’s prestigious Royal Society, of the successful photographic verification of one of Einstein’s key predictions - the tiny gravitational deflection of starlight as it passes by the Sun (below right) - became the first apparent confirmation of the far-out Theory.

Both the scientific community and the world at large, until that happened, had simply ignored Einstein’s revolutionary concepts; after Eddington’s astronomical success ... both men instantly became world famous: the "discoverer" ... and ... the scientist who announced that he had verified a major aspect of the Einstein Theory ...

Based on the fame achieved with this accomplishment alone, Sir Arthur Eddington went on to become essentially "the Carl Sagan" of the early 20th Century, writing (among other things) scores of astronomical "best-sellers." He ultimately even got a Knighthood for his efforts (something even Einstein never got!) ...

Only now, literally decades later, has the scientific community begun to seriously question whether Eddington could technically have achieved the results he claimed he got; in terms of Eddington’s example, then, as with Pierre Salinger’s before, I didn’t wish our own attempted verification of the controversial "Glyphs at Abydos" to follow the same plot ...


One of the first things I discovered in my continuing Abydos research was that, in terms of the Egyptological community itself, the so-called "Abydos Glyphs" had only been a topic of discussion (and then, only briefly - see below!) since early 1998 - only a few months before I got hold of them. They apparently had been e-mailed (like mine) to an on-going, professional Egyptology discussion group - the "Osiris List" - Which instantly dismissed them.

I determined this by eventually finding a French archaeological site devoted to the topic. There on the site were reproduced three different images of the controversial glyphs - two "wide-angle" (one obviously "frame-grabbed" from a video - see below), which were attributed; the other was the same anonymous "close-up" I’d received!

Note the caustic comments:

" ... this very same picture was discussed on the "Osiris List" just a few months ago. I assume you know of the list? Its address is: Please write to the list and ask that somebody point you to this topic. I am sure that scholars on that list will be able to aid you better than I can.


Professor M. A. R. Barker."

Or, the following - primarily in French, though the English part is very clear indeed:

"Le premier mail reçu fut celui de Peter Manuelian, du ’Museum of Fine Arts’ de Boston : ’What you are looking at is nonsense; hieroglyphs that have been digitally altered by someone.’ Réponse laconique. Ce monsieur ne connaissait apparemment pas le problème... Toutefois, il est vrai que la photo la plus souvent diffusée (voir bandeau) a été retouchée mais pas es autres. Mais on peut comprendre le ton de Peter Der Manuelian ..."

And this:

click to enlarge


"If you take a look at the second image [lower], that gives the context of the "mystery text", you will notice that the text is written in sunken relief (signs are carved in the stone). If you compare that to the first image (the detail - [upper]), you will see that it is in raised relief (signs are lying on the stone). In the first image [upper], the stone looks more like copper or bronze then like stone. Compare in the first image the sign that looks like a helicopter to the corresponding sign in the second image. You will see that they are not completely the same.


The sign in the second image shows three hills and doesn’t look like a helicopter. The three sets of three strokes in the second image are not entirely alike to the first image either. The second image allows us to identify the text as part of the titulary of Ramesses II and can be translated as "The one of the Two Ladies, who surpresses the nine foreign countries". Conclusion: the first image has been tampered with. It is a hoax, a fake, a fraude. The person who created this fake didn’t even take the time to cover his tracks and left some very obvious traces of his ’work.’"

Kind regards,
Jacques Kinnaer

This conclusion - that one of the Abydos images somehow had been "altered" - not only fit perfectly with my own initial instincts, it was "the thing" that I’d subliminally noticed March 2nd, regarding the Fox crew’s video inside the Temple compared to the anonymous graphic I’d received several months before ... they were subtly different!

So: someone had digitally "retouched" the close-up of the glyphs. The question now was: whom!? And ... for what reason?

My now-intensifying search for Abydos-related "Webstuff" soon led me to another Website, sponsored by a radio competitor of Art’s - talk show host, Jeff Rense. Under the title, "Hoagland’s Abydos Photos? NO...They Are Mine and Ruth Hover’s, an individual named Richard Motzer had posted on March 9th - three days after my heart attack (when I was clearly in no condition to respond!) - another in the sudden "cottage industry" of fevered accusations against me over "Abydos" and "Fox." This one stated:

" The pictures on Richard Hoagland’s ’Enterprise Mission’ website of ABYDOS are Ruth & Harry Hover’s ... not Richard Hoagland’s. The clear one is my own graphic clean-up of the Hover’s second photo ..."

Now, this was interesting ... not only because I never claimed ownership of the mysterious, anonymous images of Abydos ... but because Motzer went on to "explain" how he himself had screwed up the "clean up" of the close-up photo (!), ostensibly taken by "the Hovers." According to Motzer’s March 9th posting on Jeff Rense’s Website,

"... The Hovers took two photos at ABYDOS, one of which shows the ceiling and pillars, plus the panel. It has good focus, and exposure, but is taken some distance back.

"The second picture is a close-up with good focus & exposure but she moved the camera up and to the right, causing a ghost-like shadow. They asked me if I could remove this flaw, and I said I could, using the good picture as a reference.

"Now, the next part is very inportant [sic]. I made several mistakes by removing icons from this photo. It was a judgment call on my part, and the ABYDOS site caught this right away. They thought I had created a HOAX but that was certainly not the case... it was just an ’over clean-up’ of a legitimate photo ... "

Now let me get this straight: Some friends of yours go all the way to Egypt, find a set of carvings in an ancient Temple which look stunningly like "helicopters" and other completely off-the-wall "high-tech" ancient Egyptian "stuff" ... and they only take two photos of these amazing graphics; one of which (the crucial close-up), somehow turns out "smeared" when they get back?


So you, Richard Motzer - proclaiming yourself a "computer imaging expert" - in attempting to restore details of the original, leave such heavy-handed "digital fingerprints" all over your attempt ... that everyone who subsequently sees it immediately dismisses it outright as "just another hoax!"

"... Conclusion: the first image has been tampered with. It is a hoax, a fake, a fraude. The person who created this fake didn’t even take the time to cover his tracks and left some very obvious traces of his ’work’..."

Question: given the obvious importance of an unsmeared image, and (considering the subject matter!) one that wouldn’t be so easily dismissed - why, for God’s sake (if, for nothing else, than to protect your reputation ...), didn’t you try again ... until you got it right!

The next part of Motzer’s strange "confession/accusation" seems to hold the answer to this crucial question:

" ... A well-known UFO researcher posted these photos on the internet without permisson [sic] from either of us quite some time ago. We had forgoten [sic] this until the FOX special. After the show, I went to Richard Hoagland’s ’Enterprise Mission’ website and I was stunned to find our picture there.

" Mr. Hoagland has been caught in a big one this time ..."

No, sir, I’m afraid you have ... Because, the answer to my original question lies in those two lines ...

"... A well-known UFO researcher posted these photos on the internet without permisson [sic] from either of us quite some time ago. We had forgoten [sic] this until the FOX special ..."

We are to believe, from Richard Motzer’s posting on Jeff Rense, that the sole reason he has "gone public" over this is because he was "stunned" at a fundamental miscarriage of justice carried on the "Enterprise Mission" Website: I have stolen "credit" for his work (and by inference, the "Hover" photographs as well).

Yet, we are also told in these two lines that another individual, a "well-known UFO researcher ..." did essentially the same thing to him and to "the Hovers" ... yet, this "low life" is never named for his "transgressions!"

And then there is the matter of the "French Connection."

As noted earlier, in searching for evidence of previous discussions of the Abydos Glyphs, I came across the French archaeological site filled with very "illuminating" information. At the top, blatantly in evidence, is "Motzer’s altered close-up" (now, by his own admission).


Though I looked hard (and don’t read French - below), I could find nowhere on the site an attribution of the graphic - the central aspect of the author’s site in France. Thus, I can only conclude one of two things: a) he "stole" it, or b) it came to him as it had come to me ... anonymously ... without an attribution.

But ... where was Motzer’s righteous anger at this author? Where were the libelous accusations of "outright theft" against this Website?

What is this: some kind of "Motzer double standard" when it comes to "stealing" altered glyphs from Abydos?

Then, there is the matter of "importance."

In my opinion, the obvious reason Motzer botched his clean-up job on photo # two, and never bothered to "correct" it ... or, the fatal impressions it inevitably created for this entire issue as a "hoax," was because the issue of "authenticity" was apparently never of critical importance to Motzer in the first place ... or, equally, "the Hovers!"

If I had taken such extraordinary photos, six thousand miles away in Egypt, and then someone "blew it" on the so-called "clean-up," I’d scream bloody murder ... until they got it right. I certainly wouldn’t continue to allow my photos to be spread around the world on various Egyptological Websites, giving the obvious impression (judging from the highly negative reactions ...) that I’d created (or was willingly participating in) a major hoax!!

And I certainly wouldn’t "forget" about the entire incident - the original unlawful postings on the Internet ... the global accusations of a major fraud ... the "trashing" of a discovery I thought of fundamental significance, in my own photographs ... until reminded (ostensibly) years later ... by a television show.

So what are we to think? Were the "Hovers" the true "discoverers" of the Abydos glyphs? Did they fully recognize when they took the photographs (but, only two!!) the potential, extraordinary nature of what they were looking at in the ceiling, there in Egypt?

Or, is their (and Richard Motzer’s) new awareness of the possible "importance" of these photographs, and of "the Glyphs,’" a relatively recent "insight" - triggered by my and Debra Gussin’s strenuous efforts at on-site verification ... and on a major television network ..?

"Success has a thousand fathers ..."

Judging by the "Hovers" long-term, cavalier actions on the non-trivial matter of the "imaging enhancements" applied by Motzer to those photographs, as well as the apparent lack of any written protests from "the Hovers" in the face of continued worldwide accusations of a major "hoax" (let alone their new claim of "lapsed memories" of the entire matter), obviously-- Not!

Like so much else in the UFO/ET/Internet community, it seems the claim alone - and the fleeting "recognition" that goes with it - was (and still appears to be) the ultimate "reward," not the search for "what" is truly recorded in the ceiling there at Abydos ...


One final question: the small matter of the "proof":

Why didn’t Mr. Motzer post his originals of the alleged "Hover/Motzer Abydos photos" with his "Hoagland accusations" on the "Sightings" Website - to truly prove his claim? Or, if that was technically infeasible, send hard copies of the original images to Rense himself? Or - is this the major hole in Motzer’s entire, rambling allegation ..?

That he can’t - because then it would be revealed that Mr. Motzer could easily lay hands on images he allegedly had "totally forgotten" years before ... because - Motzer could be the guy who - anonymously - recently sent his own "doctored" version of the glyphs to me (and to the other Websites) in the first place ...


The distinct possibility that this was a "sting" operation all along, suddenly leaped out.

Who was "Richard Motzer," anyway?

Years ago, Motzer had written me inquiring about "the Mars Project" (the long-defunct name for our initial Cydonia Investigation). Later, someone handed me a business card from Motzer - who had printed them up without asking and without my knowledge, appointing himself head of the "Phoenix Mars Project" ... all without permission.

Later, Motzer became a "UFO investigator" - attached to MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) in the Phoenix area.


During the controversy that erupted over the March,1997 "Phoenix Lights Affair," Motzer had publicly resurfaced: loudly proclaiming that the "Lights" were "flares" - despite overwhelming eyewitness testimony regarding an immense, triangular "craft" seen moving slowly over the Phoenix area that night (see artists’ rendering - above); and systematic experiments carried out by other UFO investigators and military experts, excluding "military flares."

Curiously, for someone supposedly interested in unearthing bonafide evidence on "ETs" and "UFOs," Motzer’s positions on a variety of sightings in the Phoenix area over the years haven’t seemed that different from classic "debunkers" in the field - like Kal Korff (with whom Motzer is associated). Raising the suspicion among some ... that he might be some kind of "double agent."

Now, at a crucial time - but without offering a shred of actual proof of his involvement - Motzer was suddenly putting himself squarely in the middle of the continuing controversy over the "Glyphs at Abydos."

So ... what better way to derail any and all public interest in "the Glyphs," than to pass around the Internet images so easily (too easily!) dismissible as "fakes?" It had apparently worked with Whitely Strieber’s initial posting of the images: Whitely ultimately denounced them as "a hoax." And, judging by the professional reactions quoted earlier, it worked on several of the Egypt sites as well. And-- Apparently, not even once, did Richard Motzer (or "the Hovers") officially protest this reaction as "unfair"... If not - why not?

The conclusion seems almost unavoidable: because they ("the Hovers") ultimately didn’t think it that important; and Richard Motzer ... he had other plans ...

All derailed, of course, with the sudden surge of renewed interest in the "glyphs at Abydos" - after their dramatic, startling reappearance on a world-wide television show ... followed by my appearance on Art Bell ... and simultaneous comparisons with well-known "high-tech" objects presented on "Enterprise" itself.


Of the few Egyptologists who had actually seen the glyphs within the Temple (and thus, already knew of their reality - long before I did), there was a similar - though more "sophisticated" - negative response.

The only problem ... it reminded me, when I finally got to read it, of a lot of NASA’s initial, equally negative reactions to "the Face!"

"Quelques instants plus tard, c’était au tour de Mike Dyall-Smith de l’Université de Melbourne : "We dealt with this on the AEL discussion list over a year ago. There is a much more mundane explanation (that is historically interesting in itself). These pictures have gained some notoriety because they have been promoted by "new-age or ufo buffs ".


Egyptologists easily recognize that the apparent strange craft are just illusions produced by:

"a) erosion of the stone surface (look at the damage over that roof area!)

"b) a process of re-carving and filling in the stone to replace some of the hieroglyphs. When the filling falls out bits of the old and new glyphs overlap and form ’strange signs’. The technical term used is ’palimpsest’.

Anyone well versed in egyptological inscriptions would tell you lots of recarving of inscriptions went on in ancient Egypt as ruling kings sought to acquire the work of previous pharaohs, or to discredit them.


Mike Dyall-Smith"


":.. I am afraid that you have been subjected to the famous "Abydos helicopter" mania, here. There is a simple explanation to what you are seeing, at least, as we see it in Egyptology. There is no mystery here; it’s just a _palimpsest_ (though without the use of that term, and which is defined as "... A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely erased and often legible" AHED). It was decided in antiquity to replace the five-fold royal titulary of Seti I with that of his son and successor, Ramesses II.


In the photos, we clearly see "Who repulses the Nine Bows," which figures in some of the Two-Ladies names of Seti I, replaced by "Who protects Egypt and overthrows the foreign countries," a Two-Ladies name of Ramesses II.


With some of the plaster that once covered Seti I’s titulary now fallen away, certain of the superimposed signs do indeed look like a submarine, etc., but it’s just a coincidence. What is happening in the photographs is quite clear; just consult Juergen von Beckerath, Handbuch der aegyptischen Koenigsnamen, Muenchner aegyptologische Studien 20, pages 235 and 237. This issue comes up from time to time on such academic e-mail lists as the Ancient Near East (ANE) List and so on, so we’re all pretty familiar with it.


Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Member, American Research Center in Egypt
International Association of Egyptologists
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Special Studies

And, perhaps the most revealing:

"Dear M. Wathelet,

"Thank you for your letter. My only advice regarding the "strange" hieroglyphs at Abydos temple is that:

"the Egyptians did not have helicopters, floppy disks or any of the other ridiculous suggestions - and if they did, why is Abydos the ONLY place where they are supposedly represented? NO archaeological evidence has been found to support the existence of any of these items in ancient Egypt. This includes evidence of helicopters, computers, etc. in tomb paintings.

"Moreover, the idiots who wrote that piece do not read Egyptian or understand the manner in which the language was written.

"The date ascribed to the "temple of Ramses II" in the internet piece is totally incorrect. Ramses II lived about 1200 BC, not ’5,000 years ago’

"The temple of Ramses II at Abydos is in ruins and not all that much remains of its inscriptions; the small number of extant inscriptions includes a list of subject cities in Asia, etc."

Lyn Green
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

It appeared, then, that the professional Egyptologists’ cavalier dismissal of the "Abydos Glyphs" rested on essentially the same foundation as NASA’s main argument against "Cydonia":

That, since they were "impossible"-- ... the Egyptians did not have helicopters, floppy disks or any of the other ridiculous suggestions ... - there MUST be a more rational (i.e. "mundane") explanation. And the "palimpsest" idea - the well-known Egyptian penchant for filling old hieroglyphs with plaster, then recarving over the originals with later hieroglyphs - seemed the most eminently logical.

But was it true ... in this case?

Notice that not one respondent ever said,

"I went up there on a ladder ... and physically verified that the plaster of the old hieroglyphs had fallen out ..." The closest comment was that the images were the result of - "... erosion of the stone surface (look at the damage over that roof area!) ..."

So, what we are left with is essentially the "NASA argument," applied to Abydos - there can’t have ever been intelligent life on Mars ... so "the Face" must be mere illusion; there can’t have ever been representations of "high-tech" stuff in Ancient Egypt - because the Egyptian’s didn’t have any!

Notice that even the language is the same ...

"Egyptologists easily recognize that the apparent strange craft are just illusions ..."

Yeah - but did anyone ever physically go up there and check?!  Again ... apparently not.

(Continued in Part III)