Re: Pyramidiocy (was Re: Strange Maths)

Paul Schlyter (
18 Jul 1995 13:54:59 +0200

In article <>,
William E. VanHorne <> wrote:

> In article <3uc0vi$> (Whittet) writes:
>>The pyramid is also located so that an arc swept from its center and
>>intersecting its diagonals neatly encloses Egypts delta.
> And points *directly* and *unmistakably* to a point in Europe that is
> pointed to by a line bisecting the line drawn from Rennes le Chateau to
> a real big rock somewhere. Astounding!
>>The number of feet in a mile can be obtained from the number of days in a
>>millenium divided by the number of miles in a degree of the earths
>>circumference at the equator 365240/69.17424... = 5280
> The Egyptians not only knew the circumfrence of the earth but could
> acurately predict the *exact* size of the English mile *before* there
> was an England. Time! Space! Synchronicity!
>>The pyramid idiocy part comes from the fact that the more correlations you
>>want to get the more sophisticated the model you have to use. The mere Pi
>>relation is dwarfed by the derivation of the mile as a ratio between measures
>>of time and space.
> Have you ever done the calculations that reveal the hidden message encoded
> in the Washington Monument? No, not that stupid thing in Washington, D.C.
> The *real* Washington Monument that is (can it be mere coincidence?) located
> in <pause for effect> *Alexandria*? Templars! Cathars! Freemasons!

It's interesting that you should bring up the Washington Monument. Read the
piece below, from Martin Gardner's excellent book "Fads and Fallacies in
the Name of Science" (still available from Dover Books), chapter 15
"The Great Pyramid":


To begin with, Charles Piazzy Smyth (prof. of Edinburgh University,
Astronomer-Royal of Scotland) discovered that the base of the Pyramid
divided by the width of a casing stone, equaled exactly 365 -- the
number of days in a year. Casing stones originally composed the
outside surface of the monument. The stone measured slightly more
than 25 inches, and Smyth concluded that this length was none other
than the sacred cubit. If we adopt a new inch - Smyth calls it the
"Pyramid inch" -- which is exactly 1/25 the width of the casing
stone, then we obtain the smallest divine unit of measurement used in
the monument's construction. It is exactly 1/10,000,000 of the
earth's polar radius. Somehow, it had been passed on through the
generations, the Scottish astronomer believed, until it became the
Anglo-Saxon inch, but in the process altered slightly, making the
British inch a trifle short of the sacred unit.

Many years later a number of other casing stones were dug up. They
had entirely different widths. By that time, however, the Pyramid
inch had become so firmly established in the literature of
Pyramidology that devotees merely shrugged and admitted that the
first casing stone just "happened" to be a cubit wide.

With incredible zeal, Smyth applied his Pyramid inch to every
measurable portion of the Pyramid, inside and out, to see how many
scientific and historical truths he could discover. These he found
in great profusion. For example, when the height of the Pyramid is
multiplied by ten to the ninth power, you obtain a distance which
approximates the distance from the earth to the sun. Similar
manipulations of Pyramid lengths give you the earth's mean density,
the period of precession of its axis, the mean temperature of the
earth's surface, and many other scientific facts only discovered in
recent times. In addition to a system of sacred measuring units for
lengths, weight, volume and so on, Smyth even proposed a "Pyramid
thermometer". It used freezing point as zero, and a 55 degree mark
based on the temperature inside the King's Chamber, which was on the
50'th level of the monument's masonry.

Smyth's most spectacular contribution, however, was the elaboration
of a theory proposed by one Robert Menzies -- that there is a great
outline of history symbolized by the Pyramid's internal passageways.
When these passages are properly measured in Pyramid inches, counting
an inch equal to a year, and the symbolism correctly interpreted, you
emerge with the principal dates on the earth's past and future. You
discover, for instance that the world was created about 4,004 years
before Christ. The Flood, the time of the Exodus, and the date the
Pyramid was built are also indicated. The beginning of a sloping
passage called the Grand Gallery marks the birth of Christ. Other
features indicate the Lord's Atonement (after 33 inch-years of life),
his descent into Hell, and final Resurrection. Continuing upwards
along the gallery, one discovers that it terminates at a point
between 1882 and 1911, depending on how the length of the Grand
Gallery is measured. To Smyth this 29-year period is the great
Tribulation which will precede the Second Coming of Christ.

It is not difficult to understand how Smyth acheived these
astronishing scientific and historical correspondences. If you set
about measuring a complicated structure like the Pyramid, you will
quickly have on hand a great abundance of lengths to play with. If
you have sufficient patience to juggle them about in various ways,
you are certain to come out with many figures which conicide with
important historical dates or figures in the sciences. Since you are
bound by no rules, it would be odd indeed if this search for Pyramid
"truts" failed to meet with considerable success.

Take the Pyramid's height for example. Smyth multiplies it by ten to
the ninth power to obtain the distance to the sun. The nine here is
purely arbitrary. And if no simple multiple had yielded the distance
to the sun, he could try other multiples to see if it gave the
distance to the moon, or the nearest star, or any other scientific

This process of juggling is rendered infinitely easier by two
significant facts. (1) Measurements of various Pyramid lengths are
far from established. Competent archeologists in Smyth's day
disagreed about almost all of them, including the most basic of all,
the base length of the Pyramid. Later archeologists, after Smyth,
made more accurate measurements and found still different figures. In
many cases Smyth had a choice of several lengths to pick from. In
other cases he used measurements made by himself. And sometimes he
added together conflicting measurements and used the average. (2) The
figures which represents scientific truths are equally vague. The
distance to the sun, for example, was not known with great accuracy
in Smyth's day, and besides, the distance varies considerably because
the earth's orbit is not a circle but an ellipse. In such a case you
have a wide choice of figures. You can use the earth's shortest
distence, or the longest, or the mean. And in all three cases, you
can choose between conflicting estimates made by different
astronomers of the time. The same ambiguity applies to almost every
scientific "truth" employed by Smyth.

The only Pyramid "truth" which cannot be explained easily in terms of
such juggling is the value PI. The Egyptians may have purposely made
use of this ratio, but it seems more likely that it was a by-product
of another construction. Herodotus states that the Pyramid was built
so the area of each face would equal the area of a square whose side
is equal to the Pyramid's height. If such a construction is made, it
fits the Pyramid perfectly, and the ratio of height to twice the base
will automatically be a surprisingly accurate value for PI.

Smyth made a great deal of the fact that the number five is a key
number in Pyramid construction. It has five corners and five sides.
The Pyramid inch is one-fifth of one-fifth of a cubit. And so on.
Joseph Seiss, one of Smyth's disciples, puts it as follows: "This
intense FIVENESS could not have been accidential, and likewise
corresponds with the arrangement of God, both in nature and
revelation. Note the fiveness of termination of each limb of the
human body. The five senses, the five books of Moses, the twice five
precepts of the Decalogue.

Just for fun, if one looks up the facts about the Washington Monument
in the World Almanac, he will find a considerable fiveness. Its
height is 555 feet 5 inches. The base is 55 feet square, and the
windows are set at 500 feet from the base. If the base is multiplied
by 60 (or five times the number of months in a year) it gives 3,300,
which is the exact wieght of the capstone in pounds. Also the word
"Washington" has exactly ten letters (two times five). And if the
weight of the capstone is multiplied by the base, the result is
181,500 -- a fairly close approximation of the speed of light in
miles per second. If the base is measured with a "Monument foot",
which is slightly smaller than the standard foot, its side comes to
56.5 feet. This times 33,000 yields a figure even closer to the
speed of light.

And is it not significant that the Monument is in the form of an
OBELISK -- an ancient Egyptian structure? Or that a picture of the
Great Pyramid appears on a dollar bill, on the side opposite
WASHINGTON'S portrait? Moreover, the decision to print the pyramid
(i.e. the reverse side of the United States seal) on dollar bills was
announced by the Secretary of Treasury on June 15, 1935 -- both date
and year being multiples of five. And are there not exactly
twenty-five (five times five) letters in the title "The Secretary of
the Treasury" ?

It should take the average mathematician about 55 minutes to discover
the above "truths", working only with the meager figures provided by
the World Almanac. Considering the fact that Smyth made his own
measurements, obtaining hundreds of lengths with which to work, and
that he spent years mulling over these figures, it is not hard to see
how he acheived such remarkable results.

The prophetic portions of Smyth's work appealed strongly to
Protestant fundamentalists of all demonitions, especially in England.
One of the most popular early books, "Miracle in Stone", 1877, by
Joseph Seiss, ran through 14 editions. A Col J. Garnier produced a
book in 1905 which proved by the Pyramid that Christ would return in
1920. Walter Wynn, in 1926, issued a similar work. Undaunted by the
failure of its prophecies, he wrote another book in 1933 containing
equally bad predictions.

Bertrand Russell, in one of his essays, summed up this literature as
follows: "I like also the men who study the Great Pyramid, with a
view to deciphering its mystical lore. Many great books have been
written on this subject, some of which have been presented to me by
their authors. It is a singular fact that the Great Pyramid always
predicts the history of the world accurately up to the date of
publication of the book in question, but after that it becomes less
reliable. Generally the author expects, very soon, wars in Egypt,
followed by Armageddon and the coming of the Antichrist, but by this
time so many people have been recognized as Antichrist that the reader
is reluctantly driven to scepticism."

An American preacher enormously impressed by Smyth's researches was
Charles Taze Russell, of Allegheny, Pa, founder of the sect now known
as Jehovah's Witnesses. According to Russell, the Bible and Pyramid
reveal clearly that the Second Coming of Christ took place invisibly
in 1874. This ushered in 40 years of "Harvest" during which the true
members of the Church are to be called together under Russell's
leadership. Before the close of 1914 the Milennium will begin. The
dead will rise and be given a "second change" to accept Christ. Those
who refuse are to be annihilated, leaving the world completely
cleansed of evil. Members of the church alive at the beginning of the
Milennium will simply live on forever. To the great disappointment of
the Russelites, 1914 ushered nothing more dramatic than the World
War, and the sect lost thousands of members. New editions of
Russell's Pyramid study were issued - where the 1910 edition had read
"The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before
1914", in the 1923 edition the same sentence read "The deliverance of
the saints must take place very soon after 1914". Morton Edgar
produced a series of booklets in the 1920'ies which followed the then
current Russelite line, namelt that in 1914 Christ (already on earth
since 1874) had begun an INVISIBLE reign of righteousness. Judge J.F.
Rutherford, who succeeded Russell after his death in 1916, eventually
discarded Pyramidology entirely. In "The Watch Tower and Herald",
Rutherford released a double-barreled blast against it, and advances
many ingenious arguments that the so-called Altar in Egypt was really
inspired by Satan for the purpose if misleading the faithful. Did
Jesus ever mention the Pyramid? Of course not. To study it, the Judge
writes, is a waste of time and indicates a lack of faith in the
all-sufficiency of the Bible. The Judge did not remind his readers in
these articles that he too had been guily of prophetic error. For
many years he had taught that 1925 would mark the beginning of the
great jubliee year. Alas, it also had passed without perceptible
upheavals. The sect now discourages the sale and reading of Russell's
writings, and although members still believe the Milennium is about
to dawn, no definite dates are set.

There is also a vast occult literature dealing with the Pyramid,
expecially in Rosicrucian and theosophical traditions. The Biblical
prophecies of Smyth are rejected but the authors find in the monument
a great deal of mathematical, scientific, astrological, and occult
symbolism which varies widely with individual writers. According to
Madame Blavatsky, the interior of the Pyramid was used for the
performance of the sacred rituals connected with the Egyptian "Book
of the Dead", and most theosophists today assume there are vast
mysteries of some sort connected with the stone monument that are
known only to initiates.

As worthless as all this literature is, it is not entirely worthless
if we can see in it an important object lesson. No book has ever
demonstrated more clearly than Smyth's (the other Pyramid books, of
course, to a lesser degree) how easy it is to work over an undigested
mass of data and emerge with a pattern, which at first glance, is so
intricately put together that it is difficult to believe it is
nothing more than the product of a man's brain. In a sense, this is
true of almost all the books of pseudo-scientists. In one way or
another, they do not let the data speak for themselves. Consciously
or unconsciously, their preconceived dogmas twist and mold the
objective facts into forms which support the dogmas, but have no
basis in the exterior world. Sir Flinders Petrie, a famous
archeologist who made some highly exact Pyramid measurements, reports
that he once caught a Pyramidologist secretly filing down a projecting
stone to make it conform to one of his theories!


Paul Schlyter, Swedish Amateur Astronomer's Society (SAAF)
Nybrogatan 75 A, S-114 40 Stockholm, SWEDEN