By Charles R Mallett.
As far back as I can remember I was fascinated and mystified by the great pyramids – and knew Egypt was one of those places that I had to, needed to visit at some point in my life. In September 2002 the opportunity presented itself to actually fulfil that long held dream or ‘need’ – to go to Egypt and experience the Great Pyramid first hand!
It was at the end of a long hot summer here in the UK – and as it happens during that summer I had developed a serious case of ‘Trench-Foot’, a condition that left the soles of my feet – especially my heels – with huge sores and splits across them, making it very painful to walk – so I was hobbling around in a lot of pain. It was my fault really as I had been wearing heavy duty army boots all summer and doing a lot of hiking and related activities which caused my feet to sweat and then crack up.
The idea of going to Egypt – and in particular the Great Pyramid – at that time pretty much sprang into my head from nowhere in particular but I was suddenly gripped with the notion, so purchased a ticket to fly the same day and within a week was sitting in the aircraft at London Heathrow filled with anticipation. I had just one goal – to get some time alone in the ‘King’s Chamber’ of the Great Pyramid. I was totally focused on that one goal but had no idea how to specifically achieve it.
Prior to departing I had found (via a friend) contact information for an Egyptologist who lived in my local area and made arrangements to meet her. I wanted some professional thoughts on my plan, not to mention some solid advice on how not to get ripped off at every turn whilst in the country. I met her and she told me right away that it was near impossible to get the King’s Chamber alone, unless one had big piles of money to either the bribe guards directly or hand over to Zahi Hawass considered by many to be somewhat gelatinous and close to the ground, he was at the time in charge of the Plateau. I decided against both options and said “I’m going to try anyway – and thanks for the advice on how not to be cleaned out economically by the end of my first day in Cairo”.
I landed in Cairo and got the cheapest room in in the cheapest hotel I could find, The Magic Hotel, (what a sweltering rat-hole that turned out to be) was situated just around the corner form the Cairo museum and close the most manic road-junction I have ever seen. The next day I went out in the street and haggled a deal with a local taxi driver. He would be my driver each day I was in town and the deal was good!
On day one I got my driver to take me to a local stable. I hired a horse and guide and went out into the desert a bit and around the three primary pyramids on the Giza plateau – and just generally got used to the 100 degree temp and the general vibe of the whole situation on the plateau and surroundings: masses of tourists, local traders selling all sorts of crap and well armed police and military people everywhere – but I enjoyed the whole flavour of the area nevertheless and felt pretty relaxed. After a few hours on horseback I asked my driver / guide what was the possibility of getting a night alone inside the Great Pyramid? He very quickly said in a stern fashion “It is not allowed, it’s impossible”. The only thing I could do was visit in a regular tourist fashion, he said. This meant going in with around 25/30 random people for 20 minutes for £12 (local currency), which was useless as far as I was concerned – so I hatched a simple plan there and then, to be set in motion early the following morning.
Back then the antiquities authorities would allow just two groups of tourists into the Great Pyramid each day and no more, the reasoning being that the interior of the structure was subject to erosion damage due to the perspiration and moisture of breath generated by hoards of visitors – so these restrictions were put in place to preserve the monument.
I had decided that I would go along at 8am, buy a ticket and go into the Pyramid with the bunch of other ticket-holding tourists for the early entry – then hide until everyone had left. I duly queued up, purchased my ticket (£12 local currency, around £1.50 UK, a hell of a good deal, I thought).
We all climbed the rough steps leading to the bomb-blasted entrance and filed into the pyramid in single-file. I noticed the guard counting us as we passed him, a standard procedure I presumed. I just tried to look small and not make eye-contact as all I could think about was where the fuck am I going to hide, it’s pitch dark in most of the interior. I made my way up the Grand Gallery towards the King’s Chamber with all the other tourists – all the while taking note of the internal structure and being amazed at the unreal precision of everything being illuminated by my small torch. I remember feeling as if I was inside a huge machine of some sort, like something very alien to all of my experience. It was (and is) very hard to reconcile what I was standing in, relative to the notion that all this was a tomb for a king with a big ego problem. Even as a child I had a problem with buying into that story! As the Queens Chamber was closed (I later found out there was some covert digging going on in that part of the pyramid) everyone filed up the Grand Gallery and into the King’s Chamber – so it was crowded, noisy, and obviously totally impossible to sense or feel anything of worth. After the climb up the gallery I was sweating like mad and very uncomfortable in many respects. All the tourists seemed interested in doing was seeing who could make the loudest echo and silly stuff like that. As far as I could tell in the dimly lit chamber there were no guards or other security people with us. Everyone was just standing around, making a lot of noise and waiting for their turn (for whatever reasons) to get a few moments of sitting or lying down in the sarcophagus.
While that frenzy was taking place I made my way through the crowd and back to the entrance – it was time to go and hide. I bent down to leave and bashed my head on the low stone of the entrance doorway as I exited, which hurt a lot. Without putting my torch-light on, I swiftly made my way back down the Grand Gallery, hopped over some sort of scaffold arrangement at the bottom and instead of heading back out toward the entrance of the Pyramid, made my way in the pitch-dark as far as I could along the passage that led to the closed off Queen’s Chamber. At some point along the way I came to some equipment and rubble bags, so I got behind that lot and crouched down and waited. Fortunately for me all the guards were some distance away at the main entrance and nobody had seen me move into my concealed position. Over the next ten minutes or so the crowd from the King’s Chamber noisily trickled down the Gallery and left the Pyramid. I was hoping that the guards were either distracted or not bothered enough to be counting the people as they left.
At some point around 15 minutes after I had taken up my position behind the rubble sacks it became pretty clear that all the tourists had left (determined by the cessation of all noise). I then heard the moving / grinding of what I presumed to be the iron grate that blocks the main entrance to the Pyramid – then all went quiet. A few minutes after that I quietly got up and groped my way along the dark passage until I came into the dimly lit area at the bottom of the Grand Gallery. As quickly and as quietly as I could, I climbed back up to the King’s Chamber, sat down in the darkest corner for a moment, caught my breath and calmed myself down. When I was satisfied that I was fully alone in that space I padded over to the sarcophagus and climbed in and lay down. I put my hands evenly across my chest and closed my eyes. I noticed right away that as opposed to just standing in the chamber where the fans were pretty quiet, the noise, the hum created by the ventilation fans (set within the so-called ’star shafts’ in the walls) became massively amplified when lying inside the sarcophagus. To my perception this amplification seemed intense and was something that was physically, audibly very loud – like maybe 10x louder than previously noted from outside the sarcophagus, which implied to me right away that the sarcophagus was adjusting some frequencies in that particular space for whatever reason. I relaxed into this situation and drifted with it for what seemed like no particular amount of time.
The next thing I knew there is a couple of military types standing over me shouting some stuff which I did not understand, but they were pointing their guns in my general direction at the same time, which garnered my full attention very swiftly. They were shouting in bad broken English “What you doing here? You be here many hour. What you doing? What you doing?” They seemed REALLY pissed off and rather threatening! I jumped up out of the sarcophagus and looked at my watch, it told me that my whole time inside the Pyramid was almost exactly two hours. I said I was very sorry (acting dazed, confused and as innocent as I could) and that I had fallen asleep by accident or something – and I had been there only two hours, not ‘many hour’ as they had insisted. One of the men looked at his wrist watch and shouted in my face. “You here three hours, what you do? What you do here?” I insisted that I had been there just two hours and the whole thing was a big misunderstanding, playing the dizzy tourist card for all it was worth. In reality I was pretty anxious as they were really jabby with those guns and I just wanted to leave and get out of there ASAP. I offered them a handful of £s I had in my pocket and just walked out with them babbling behind me.
I got outside and was dazzled by the super-bright sunlight and the wall of heat that hit me. I pretty much stumbled down the steps and half ran to a row of taxi cars parked a few hundred meters away and jumped in the first one I came to and said “Take me to the Magic Hotel.” (I wanted to say “Magic Rat-Hole). Once safely driving down the road I asked to look at the driver’s watch – and to my amazement his watch concurred with the guard’s. I HAD actually been in the Pyramid for three hours! I got to the Hotel and checked the wall clock – and that was the same as the taxi driver’s. I had to adjust my watch accordingly. I had lost an hour or so whilst in the sarcophagus.
I went to my sweltering room and lay down on the bed, untied my boots and threw them on the floor. I then ran over the previous few hours in my mind and suddenly realised that my feet were not hurting – and that I had RUN to that taxi – and climbed the stairs at the hotel WITHOUT hobbling. I peeled my damp socks off and looked at the soles of my feet…to my total amazement ALL the Trench-Foot cuts and scarring were completely gone, my feet were as good as new!
That was impossible!
Over the next couple of days I did some hiking and horse-riding out in the desert, out to Saqqara and a few other places. Broadly speaking I was pleased with myself and had some really strange stuff happen that left me with the very clear impression that the Great Pyramid was something of a transportation and communications system that operated with the body and soul in ways that have been lost to time in many respects. Something happened there to me and at the very least it did actually distort the linear nature of time in a tangible way and it did produce a physical healing effect in me that is not explainable in any conventional sense.
One final thing. .. Prior to the Egypt trip I would catch colds, flu and whatever occasionally, much the same as anyone else. After the Egypt trip, from September 2002, up until December 2016 I had not a single cold, flu, virus infection nor anything else that would classify as an illness. I have been around people coughing and spluttering all over the place (and me) and never did I catch anything. Did I get an immune-system upgrade courtesy of what/whomever I interacted with whilst inside the sarcophagus?
I hope to go back for the all-nighter at some point in the future.
I kept in regular contact with the lady Egyptologist who I met for some advice back in 2002. In 2006 she took one of her regular trips to Cairo and got the opportunity to spend a whole night alone in the Kings Chamber. She has some astounding experiences over the course of that night that go way beyond my own.