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Secret Chamber | Thunderbird Sighting? | Dinosaur "Mummy" | Red Desert | Books

Barbury Castle, Wiltshire Formation May 31, 1999

An image of the Gantenbrink Door from iRobot's "Pyramid Rover" robot, designed to search the shafts in the Great Pyramid's "Queen's Chamber". This image shows the robot about to insert a camera into a hole that had been predrilled in order to expedite the live telecast, which took place worldwide on September 17, 2002. Unfortunately, the camera revealed neither golden treasure nor ancient papyri, but yet another "door". Image copyright � 2002 National Geographic Channel/APTN.

On September 17, 2002, the saga of the so-called "air shafts" in the Great Pyramid took yet another tortuous twist. National Geographic, in conjunction with Egypt�s Supreme Council of Antiquities headed up by Zahi Hawass, aired a live, global telecast of the opening of the "door" in the southern shaft in the so-called "Queen's Chamber", one of three known chambers in the Great Pyramid.

Discovered by British engineer Waynman Dixon in 1872, the shafts in the Queen's Chamber, one on the north side of the chamber, and one on the south side, are a bit of a mystery. The "King's Chamber", another, larger chamber inside the pyramid above the Queen's Chamber, also has two shafts proceeding from it pointing north and south, but these, unlike those discovered in the Queen's Chamber, go clear to the outside of the pyramid, which led some to believe that they were intended to be airshafts.

In 1991, over a century later, a German engineer by the name of Rudolf Gantenbrink teamed up with the German Archaeological Institute to investigate the largely unexplored shafts in the King's and Queen's Chambers. As part of the agreement with the Egyptian authorities, Gantenbrink agreed to clean out the King's Chamber's shafts of all the debris that had accumulated there, and to install a ventilation system to decrease the temperature and humidity within the pyramid that had been greatly elevated by the huge number of tourists within the pyramid.

Having completed this part of his task, Gantenbrink built a robot specially designed to measure and videotape the interior of both the King's Chamber and Queen's Chamber shafts. The first version of the robot, posthumously dubbed the "Father of Upuat" was a failure, as it was made of inadequate materials. However, the second version, "Upuaut" (lit., "Opener of the Ways") was, with some modifications, successful. It was on this third attempt in 1993, with the modified Upuaut robot named "Upuaut II", that Gantenbrink discovered the mysterious door in the southern shaft of the Queen's Chamber that was featured on the National Geographic special on 9/17/2002.

However, after the discovery of the door, there was a sudden deterioration in the relationship between the GAI and the Egyptian authorities. As a result, Gantenbrink became disheartened, and he abandoned the project until such time that the situation improved. Unfortunately, politics then replaced the search for truth in the archaeological equation, and the Egyptian authority refused to allow Gantenbrink to return and finish his research, so tantalizingly close to what might have been a major discovery.

As was discussed in Part III in our 1998-1999 series of articles on The Riddle of the Sphinx, these so-called "air shafts" are actually part of an extremely sophisticated astronomical calendar that the ancient Egyptians used to fix the date of the building of the pyramids, among other things. However, mainstream archaeologists disagree, particularly Mr. Hawass, whose vitriolic attacks against alternative historians such as Robert Bauval, Graham Hancock and John Anthony West have become legendary. Fortunately, Mr. Hawass is a highly responsible individual, and has promised to make all of the discoveries inside the Great Pyramid and elsewhere publically available which, in the end, is what is most important. One question remains, however: why was Gantenbrink not allowed to open the door way back in 1993? Moreover, why was it not opened until almost a decade later, why was Gantenbrink not the one hired to open it, and why was it opened on Yom Kippur? Many questions remain unanswered, as the story behind the search for the secret chamber becomes as mysterious and intriguing as the secret chamber itself.

Egypt is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and the Giza necropolis in particular is probably the most famous tourist destination in the world. There are numerous excellent sites that offer travel tips and information on types of travel to Egypt. For more information, contact the Egyptian Tourist Authority at +20-2-2853576 or +20-2-2859658, or visit Tour Egypt, Egypt's official tourism site. - Click here to travel right!

The Upuaut Story
(Point) The Daily Grail: Doors of Deception
(Counterpoint) Middle East Times: Egypt Strikes back at Pyramid Theorists
The Dramatis Personae:
Rudolf Gantenbrink
The Plateau: The Official Website
for Dr. Zahi Hawass

Robert Bauval: Official Website
The Official Graham Hancock Website
The Official Website of
John Anthony West

Mark Lehner, Archaeologist
Guardian's Egypt: Egypt Team Finds New Mystery Door in Pyramid
Ancient Egyptian Chambers Explored
Third "Door" Found in Great Pyramid
National Geographic: Secrets of Egypt
Pyramid Robot Finds Another "Door"
Egypt Plans New Hunt for Clues to Pyramid Doors
Al-Ahram: The Pyramid Mystery
TV's 'Pyramid Scheme' Comes up Dry
Guardian's Giza: The Queen's Chamber
MSN: Pyramids (Egypt)
University of Chicago's Virtual Giza
Crystal Links: Great Pyramid Schematics
The Sphinx Temple: Interactive Movies
NOVA/Pyramids: The Inside Story
Tour Egypt: Egypt's Official Tourism Site
TourismNet: Egypt
Five Star Egypt Tourism
Egyptian Tourist Authority
Map of Egypt

A Steller's Sea Eagle, one possible candidate for the mysterious large, black bird recently seen in Alaska, which some are calling a reappearance of the Thunderbird. Image from Foundation for Agrarian Development Research (Russia).

A large, dark, flying creature has been seen soaring high in the skies over southwest Alaska in recent months. Residents say that the creature is exceptionally large, much larger than even the bald eagle, which has a wingspan of 6-7 feet. Bald eagles are found all over the United States, but are most common in the Pacific Northwest and particularly common in Alaska, so residents of Alaska are unlikely to mistake it for something as large as the creature that has been reported.

This "massive bird" was described by the residents of Togiak and Manokotak as "like something out of 'Jurassic Park,' " with a wingspan easily 14 feet wide, possibly even wider — much bigger than anything else they have seen before. A heavy equipment operator working in the field by the name of Moses Coupchiak was one of the people who spotted the creature, thinking at first that it was a small airplane. "At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes," Coupchiak said. "Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and that's when I noticed it wasn't a plane." The mystery creature was also spotted by the pilot of a Cessna 207 who estimated that the creature's wingspan was approximately the same as one of his plane's wings, which is 14 feet — twice as long as that of the typical bald eagle. Passengers on the plane were also astounded by its size, and one passenger described it as being large as "a little Super Cub" airplane.

Scientists are of course skeptical that such a huge bird could exist, though birds of such size did exist in ancient times. Federal raptor specialist Phil Schemf was quoted as saying "I'm certainly not aware of anything with a 14-foot wingspan that's been alive for the last 100,000 years." The prehistoric bird that Schemf was likely referring to is the Teratorn, a type of giant vulture related to the California condor. The teratorn went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene Age, most likely due to the decrease in large carcasses � such as the woolly mammoth � that it needed to feed on, as its massive beak was unsuitable for predating smaller carcasses. The teratorn's 14-foot wingspan, however, makes it a good candidate for the "massive bird", though it of course has been extinct for thousands of years.

Another possible explanation for the mysterious, massive bird is that it was a "Steller's sea eagle", a type of eagle common to the northern Pacific, and which had been recently spotted in Alaska. However, though the Steller's sea eagle, with its 8-foot wingspan, is larger than the typical bald eagle, it is still far smaller than the dark creature witnesses described. Moreover, the Steller's sea eagle is not completely black as the eyewitnesses had described the mysterious creature, and it has a very distinctive, bright yellow beak, which was not mentioned by any witnesses. And at 8 feet, its wingspan is large, but not large enough to be described as "really, really big".

In our Autumn, 1999 issue of Mysterious World, we published an article entitled "The Fabulous Thunderbird", about a similarly large bird that is prominent in the Native American myths of the Winnebago Indians of the northern Midwest and Plains states, from the Passamaquoddy Indians of Maine, and of the Quillayute, who lived near Seattle, Washington. In their myths, the Thunderbird was described as a huge, powerful creature, so strong that it could carry a small whale in its talons. The Thunderbird of the Native American legends was more than just a bird, however � to them the Thunderbird was a semi-divine creature which displayed supernatural characteristics. In their myths, the Thunderbird was the cause of thunder and lighting, using lightning to kill and devour its prey on earth, the following thunder caused by the loud flapping of its enormous wings. The Thunderbirds's favorite prey were the Waterspirits, which looked and acted much like the mythical Piasa Creature spoken of in other Native American myths.

Based upon the description of the Thunderbird in the Native American myths, we suggested that the Thunderbird may have actually been another prehistoric creature known as Quetzalcoatlus Northropi, the largest known flying creature ever to stalk Earth's skies. Quetzalcoatlus is a good candidate for the Thunderbird, as its 35-foot wingspan would allow it to actually carry off a small whale, as was described in the Quillayute myths. However, the sightings tended more towards the idea that the creature is a more like a "giant eagle" with no distinctive characteristics other than its great size.

For more information on what to do and where to go to find this mysterious creature, or if you are simply interested in visiting one of America's most scenic states, please visit the Alaska Travel Industry Association, or contact them at the following address: Alaska Travel Industry Association, 2600 Cordova Street, Ste. 201, Anchorage, AK 99503; email:; website: - Click here to travel right!

Southwest Alaskans See Bird They Say is Super Cub-Sized
Massive bird spotted in Alaska
A Super-Sized Bird in Alaska
American Bald Eagle Information
Teratorns (Teratornis spp.)
California Condor
Species Synopsis: Steller's Sea Eagle
Ecophoto: Steller's Sea Eagle
Quetzalcoatlus Northropi
Thunderbirds or Thunders (Wak'�dja, "The Divine Ones") [Winnebago Version]
"The Origin of the Thunderbird" [Passamaquoddy version]
The Thunderbird [Quillayute version]
The Dinosauricon: Quetzalcoatlus Northropi
Wierd Predators: The Thunderbird
Alaska Travel Industry Association
Alaska Division of Tourism
Alaska Tourism and Travel Guide
Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association
State of Alaska: Official Site

An unusually well-preserved specimen of a brachylophosaurus, recently discovered in Montana. Nicknamed "Leonardo", the find is the best preserved dinosaur fossil found to date. Above is an onsite restoration drawing of how Leonardo may have looked before burial based on observations of the specimen and stratagraghic, taphonomical data. The drawing was done by paleolife artist Greg Wenzel. Copyright 2001, Judith River Dinosaur Institute.

On July 27, 2000, a very unusual dinosaur fossil was discovered near Malta, Montana. This specimen, that of a duck-billed herbivore called a "brachylophosaurus", was unusual in that the dinosaur appears to have been "mummified" by natural processes before fossilization took place, resulting in a fossil of exceptionally high quality. Not only are almost all of the bones intact and preserved, but most of the vital organs, skin and even the contents of the stomach are preserved. As Nate Murphy, the Curator of Paleontology at the Phillips County Museum, where Leonardo is on display, explained, "For paleontologists, if you can find one complete specimen in a lifetime, you've hit the jackpot ... to find one with so much external detail available, it's like going from a horse and buggy to a steam combustion engine. It will advance our science a quantum leap."

Leonardo had been discovered during one of the Judith River Dinosaur Institute's expeditions, and became the focus of the Institute's 2001 season. As they excavated the dinosaur, they confirmed that Leonardo was a 22-foot-long subadult, weighing between 1.5 to 2 tons, and that the diet at the time of his death consisted of ferns, conifers, and magnolias. The skin was also well preserved, and showed evidence of scales ranging in size from a BB to a dime, as well as a sail frill running up his back. To understand the extremely high quality of this find, one need only understand that less than one-tenth of one percent of all fossilized dinosaur finds have any soft tissue remains, let alone the 90+ percent coverage present with the Leonardo discovery.

The environment and circumstances under which this sort of "mummification" process can take place are also extremely rare. Leonardo's body had to be in an area that was safe from predators and that caused a rapid burial so that the body could be protected from the elements. Paleontologists have come to the conclusion that the brachylophosaurus died on the edge of a river or perhaps on a sand bar, as the body appears to have been buried very rapidly.

Leonardo is currently on display at the Phillips County Museum located in Malta, Montana. For more information and directions on how to visit Leonardo, contact the Malta, Montana Chamber of Commerce at (406) 654-1776, or email them at - Click here to travel right!

Dinosaur Fossil Shows Some Skin
The Judith River Dinosaur Institute
Phillips County Museum
(Leonardo Exhibit)

"Mummified" Dinosaur Discovered
In Montana

Fossil in the Flesh: A Spectacular New Dinosaur Mummy
The Dinosauricon: Brachylophosaurus
DinoData: Brachylophosaurus
Skin Impressions from the Tail of a Hadrosaurian Dinosaur
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center
Malta, Montana: Chamber of Commerce
Online Highways: Malta, Montana
Malta, Montana: Lodging
The Mummy Tombs: Dinosaur Mummies
Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado)
Dinosaur World
The Dinosaur Depot
Smithsonian National Museum
of Natural History

The Dinosaur Museum
The Dinosauria
Dinosaur State Park

The "Red Desert", located in southwestern Wyoming, is the largest area of unfenced area of land in the United States, where a man can ride for three days and never open a gate. A classic, high plains "cold desert", the Red Desert is anything but deserted, supporting an amazing variety of wildlife, and is literally "where the deer and the antelope play". Image by Scott T. Smith, adapted from Llander Llama Company.

The words "Red Desert" may conjure up visions of an exotic region on the red planet Mars. Yet, there is such a place here on earth, and it's in America's own backyard.

America's Red Desert can be found along both sides of Interstate Highway 80 in southwestern Wyoming. This vast expanse of dry, red soil and moving sand dunes covers much of the 108 miles between Rawlins and Rock Springs and extends some 30 miles north and south of I-80.

The area is harsh but is filled with stark beauty and many places of interest. There is, for instance, an impressive volcanic monolith called the "Boar's Tusk", which rises 400 feet above a valley floor 28 miles north of Rock Springs. And there are the "Honeycomb Buttes", one of the red desert's more scenic areas, where wild horses have been seen.

Canyon walls in the Red Desert contain strange petroglyphs and pictographs. There are additional inscriptions at a place called Castle Gardens 60 miles to the north. Petroglyphs and pictographs at this site, which is near the town of Moneta on Highway 20/26, have been said to resemble features on ancient Roman coins. And, finally, there is evidence that an unknown people lived in the region 7,000 years ago.

There is much to see and wonder about in this unique land. In some ways, the "Red Desert" is as mysterious as the "Red Planet" Travelers planning to visit sparsely populated areas, such as the Red Desert, should determine in advance the kind of vehicle, clothing, equipment and supplies needed to ensure a safe and pleasant experience. For further information, contact the following offices:

Rawlins Chamber of Commerce/Carbon County Visitors Council
519 W. Cedar, P.O. Box 1331
Rawlins, Wyoming 82301
(307)324-4111 or (800)228-3547

Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce
1897 Dewar Dr., P.O. Box 398
Rock Springs, Wyoming 82902
(307)362-3771 or (800)463-8637
Website: - Click here to travel right!

Mapquest: Red Desert Region
National Wildlife Federation: Red Desert
OnEarth: The Last Lonesome Place
Wyoming Outdoor Council: Red Desert Dreams
Wyoming Outdoor Council: Wyoming's Red Desert (Photos)
The Red Desert: Wyoming's Endangered Country
The Wyoming Companion
Carbon County, Wyoming
Lodging in Carbon County
Red Desert, Wyoming - What A Place!
Online Highways: Red Desert
Online Highways: Red Desert: Natural Features
Wild Colorado: Wyoming's Red Desert
Bed & Breakfast Inns and Ranches of Wyoming: Red Desert
Western Encounters: Wyoming Horseback Riding and Camping Adventures
Lander Llama Company: Wilderness Hiking Adventures
Wyoming History at Western Wyoming College

Secret Chamber | Thunderbird Sighting? | Dinosaur "Mummy" | Red Desert | Books

Editorial | Fragments | Effigy Mounds I | Sea Serpents III | Atlantis III
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Secret Chamber: The Quest for the Hall of Records
Robert Bauval
Robert Bauval was the first to truly begin to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx in his classic book, "The Orion Mystery." Since then, other prominent authors, including most notably Graham Hancock, have picked up the ball on the question of the Riddle of the Sphinx, focusing their efforts not only on defining what the Riddle means, but what its answer is. Inevitably, all come to the same conclusion, that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is that the pyramids and Sphinx form a vast, three-dimensional treasure map, where X marks the spot on a mysterious Secret Chamber somewhere in the Giza necropolis. This chamber is believed to house an ancient Hall of Records which contains knowledge of the ancient world before the Flood, so naturally archaeologists, historians, and those interested in history in general are keen to discover the ancient Secret Chamber, if it truly exists. Bauval performs an admirable job of chronicling all the major and many of the minor players who have taken part in the quest for the Hall of Records, though I would have preferred more revelations concerning the current search for the Hall. Unfortunately, the recent lockdown by the Egyptian government on additional archaeological research in the Giza plateau has made this impossible. So, rather than relying on speculation to fill out a new book on the subject, Bauval decided to pause and chronicle all the relevant research to this point, a decision that was not only necessary, but appropriate.
Click here to buy this book.

Lonely Planet Egypt
Humphreys Andrew, Siona Jenkins, Andrew Humphreys
Whether you want to cruise down the Nile, explore ancient sites or soak up the sun in Sinai, this guide is the perfect companion for exploring Egypt - a land that has tempted travellers for centuries.
104 detailed maps, including a full-colour country map
Special section on Pharaonic Egypt, including a who's who of gods & goddesses and a user's guide to reading hieroglyphs
The lowdown on camel trekking in Sinai, desert safaris and felucca trips
Up-to-date advice on where to stay and eat on any budget
Hot tips on where to dive and snorkel in the Red Sea
(Review by
Click here to buy this book.

Shadow of the Thunderbird
D. L. Tanner
For the Past 160 years, giant birds have been sighted in the skies above the Black Forest region of northern Pennsylvania. Now, it's up to one man and one woman to find out where they came from and where they've gone ... In the tradition of Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Childs' "Relic", "Shadow of the Thunderbird" is the story of fledgling cryptozoologist Ian McQuade. A professional student well into his twenties, he alienates his Ph.D. advisor by attempting to submit a doctoral disseration on the reality of Thunderbirds. The symbolic totem of many Native American cultures, he finds no support for his theories and ends up taking a low paying job as the assistant curator of a lesser known museum of natural history. When the opportunity presents itself, he takes his vacation time and life savings to conduct an expedition into the deforested Amazon Basin of western Brazil. Hoping to discover and classify a rare breed of giant crimson spider, he finds himself instead broke, lost and utterly stranded without a job in South America. Rescued by a beautiful Peruvian cartographer and archaeologist, Ian accompanies Alma Del Nephites to New York for a meeting with her employer, the enigmatic CEO of a secretive philanthropic organization. Hired to search for the legendary birds in the Black Forest region of northern Pennsylvania, together they will embark on a mission that becomes a quest to follow the diary of a madman into the heart of an 800 year old mystery. Pursued by the agents of a sinister competitor, Ian is forced to confront his past to believe in a future that couldn't possibly exist.
Click here to buy this book.

Alaska Off the Beaten Path
Melissa Devaughn
Whatever you do when you travel, get off the highway. Who needs more bland rest stops and fast food? Get into the heart of things with Globe Pequot's Off the Beaten Path series. Devoted to travelers with a taste for the unique, this easy-to-use guide helps you discover the hidden places in Alaska that most tourists miss - unsung, unspoiled, and out-of-the-way finds that liven up a week's vacation, a day trip, or an afternoon. (5 1/2 X 81/2, 240 pages, maps, illustrations) (Review by
Click here to buy this book.

National Geographic Dinosaurs
Paul M. Barrett, Kevin Padian (Introduction), Raul Martin (Introduction)
Paul Barrett's National Geographic Dinosaurs, illus. by Raul Martin, catalogues more than 50 of the "terrible lizards." A "time bar" running along the outside of the page indicates the period for each particular dinosaur; a "Fact File" provides the animal's genus, classification, weight and measurements; and a graph compares the dino's size to humans. Other sections focus on the Mesozoic through the Cretaceous period, paleontology and dinosaur behavior. Over 300 full-color photographs and 90 photorealistic illustrations add dimension. (Review by
Click here to buy this book.

The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs
Gregory s Paul (Editor)
Discover how dinosaurs evolved, how they looked, where they lived, how they behaved, and why they died: the current state of knowledge about the Monsters of the Mesozoic, complete in one volume. Acclaimed dinosaur paleontologist and paleo-artist Gregory S. Paul conducts this definitive tour through the 140-million-year existence of the most exotic and interesting group of animals ever to walk the earth, assisted by the world's leading dinosaur experts. Here you'll find remarkable stories about the first discoveries of dinosaur fossils, the beginnings of dinosaur paleontology, how the field has changed with modern technology, the most sensational finds, and the latest theories. (Review by
Click here to buy this book.

Atlas of the Prehistoric World
Douglas Palmer
The earth is not the spring chicken it was 4.6 billion years ago. With the passing of the millennia, earth's face, weathered by heat and ice and subject to tectonic friction, has erupted, wrinkled, and sagged, as do all our faces ultimately, only more so. Continents have shifted, merged, and split apart. Seas have turned to land and land has been submerged by seas. And microorganisms have evolved into the vast diversity of flora and fauna that exists today. Douglas Palmer's Atlas is a digest of what is known so far about the history of the earth, enhanced with brilliant maps, photographs, and illustrations, and explained in lucid, enjoyable prose. (Review by
Click here to buy this book.

Off the Beaten Path Montana: A Guide to Unique Places
Michael McCoy, Carole Drong (Illustrator)
A fascinating mix of attractions awaits the Montana traveler, from the Big Montana Sheep Drive to the Little Bighorn Battlefield. 6 maps, 12 illustrations (Review by
Click here to buy this book.

Wyoming Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places
Michael McCoy
Whatever you do when you travel, get off the highway. Who needs more bland rest stops and fast food? Get into the heart of things with Globe Pequot's Off the Beaten Path series. Devoted to travelers with a taste for the unique, this easy-to-use guide will help you discover the hidden places in the Wyoming that most tourists miss - unsung, unspoiled, and out-of-the-way finds that liven up a week's vacation, a day trip, or an afternoon. Native or newcomer, use this guide to find historical and cultural information, detailed maps and driving directions, admission fees and hours of operation, restaurants, places to stay and much more. (Review by
Click here to buy this book.

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Editorial | Fragments | Effigy Mounds I | Sea Serpents III | Atlantis III
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