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1947

Colonel Maurice Sheahan, the Far Eastern Director of Trans World Airline, flies over Shaanxi Province and sees a large pyramid. It is about 40 miles southewest of Xi’an. His account was published in the New York Times on March 28 under the headline “U.S. Flier Reports Huge Chinese Pyramid in Isolated Mountains Southwest of Sian” [Si’an]. The report says:

From the air, Colonel Sheahan said, the pyramid seems to dwarf those of Egypt. He estimated its height at 1,000 ft and its width at the base at 1,500 feet. The pyramid, he said, is at the foot of the Tsinling Mountains about 40 miles southewest of Sian, capital of the province. A second pyramid, he continued, appears much smaller. the pyramid, Colonel Sheahan went on, is at the far end of a long valley, in an inaccessible part. At the near end, he said, are hundreds of burial mounds. These can be seen, he said, from the Lung-Hai railroad.

The implication is, of course, that the hundreds of smaller burial mounds are the same ones seen by Sowerby and Clark and possibly Franck and Creel. Which then suggests that there was something discovered that they did not talk about – or were not permitted to talk about. And that this something was discovered in 1908. Sheanah’s description of the position of the inaccessible valley containing the huge pyramid, when examined on a large scale map is actually very precise. A pyramid could be there appearing as a small mountain on satellite photos.

No photograph accompanied the New York Times report, nor was there a photograph in the report in the Los Angeles Times article: “Gigantic Pyramid in Western China Reported by Southland Air Executive.” (Marc 28, 1947, p. 5) The Chicago Daily News also covered the story the same day. The English language North-China Daily News carried a report on March 31 which added the info that the size of the pyramid had been calculated by comparison with the size of a nearby village. The New York Sunday News of March 30, however, printed a photograph which is cropped so that the sticker of the newspaper photo agency “NEA Telephoto” – which is left on other news photos of the time that were printed later – is removed. The early reports do NOT say that Colonel Sheahan took photos. Colonel Sheahan himself, interviewed by the New York Times, said:

When I first flew over it I was impressed by its perfect pyramidal form and its great size. I did not give it a thought during the war years partly because it seemed incredible that anything so large could be unknown from the world. From the air we could see only small footpaths leading to a village at the site of the pyramid.

This suggests that Sheahan had seen the pyramid earlier – during the war. On April 1, 1947, the Los Angeles Times published: China Giant Pyramid Report Called False.

Nanking, March 31 (AP) – A Central News Agency dispatch from Sikang said today the provincial government had announced following an investigation that the reported discovery of a giant pyramid in Shensi Province proved to be groundless.”

Three weeks later, the North China Daily News carried a lengthy report on a lecture on the history of Xi’an given at the Royal Asiatic Society on April 24. The topic of Sheahan’s pyramid was raised during the talk and dismissed.

According to Steve Marshall, writing for Fortean Times, (164, Dec. 2002) one of the sinologists consulted by the new York Times (March 28, 1947) – Arthur Upam Pope of the Asia Institute – wrote a follow-up letter to the editor dated March 30 (before the denials) in which he speculated that the giant pyramid could be a Xia dynasty royal tomb, and suggested that the knowledge of building pyramids might have spread from western Asia to Egypt. (No archeological evidence has yet been found to confirm the existence of the Xia dynasty, which is still presumed to be mythical.)

Pope’s letter – in the April 8 issue of the Times (p.26), appears to be the origin of the modern mythicization spread by Hartwig Hausdorf and David Hatcher Childress. In this letter, Pope quoted a description of another pyramids and the Han dynasty idea of five colors being related: “green on the east, red on the south, white on the west, black on the north, and all covered with yellow earth.” This became attached to Sheahan’s description attributed to a most likely non-existent flier named Gaussman by Childress, then quoted by Hausdorf.

The question of the photograph is important. The Rocky Mountain Newsreport of March 31, 1947 credited the photo to “army photographers.” This news story said “American scientists have been in the area.”

Julie Byron, writing an article about “Mystery Pyramids,” tracked down the son of the late Col. Sheahan – Donald Sheahan – and asked him about his father’s sighting. Donald Sheahan wrote that his father had indeed seen the pyramid once before, and added that some senior TWA executives were also on the 1947 flight, the purpose of which was to establish landing rights for the airline around the world. Don Sheahan believed that his father had taken the photograph, or that it had been taken by someone on the same flight. He went through his father’s papers, and was unable to find any photographs of the pyramid. He did find three unlabelled news clippings that specfically mention that Col. Sheahan flew low over the area to take photographs, and two of these clippings say that he has these photgraphs at home, which is also stated in the North China Daily News story of March 31. Some of these clippings collected by his father include the NEA photograph, but he was unable to confirm that his father did, indeed, take this photograph or whether it is actually a photo of the structure in question.

One clarification was discovered: Don Sheahan found a letter written by his father, Col. Sheahan, on January 31, 1961, to a Mr. E. Leslie Carlson, who had a theory connecting the Chinese pyramid to the ancient Sumerians. He had also asked for a photograph. Sheahan wrote:

The large pyramid is probably between 500 feet and 600 feet high and the reported 1,000 feet was exaggerated in several translations from the Chinese li to metric to feet.

In his thank-you letter of Feb 7, Carlson acknowledges receipt of letter, answers and news clippings, but makes no mention of having received a photograph. And here is where we come to something very “Fortean.” NEA Telephoto – Newspaper Enterprise Association – is only credited with handling one other photo – the famous “Roswell weather balloon” photograph.

President Harry Truman announces the so-called Truman Doctrine.

President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

– President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC -there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to “perform such other functions and duties. As the National Security Council may from time to time direct.”

Control of US atomic energy passes from the US Military to the civilian Atomic Energy Commission.

Colonel E.E. Kirkpatrick of the U.S. Atomic Energy Comission issues a secret document (Document 07075001, January 8, 1947) stating that the agency will begin administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects.

The CIA begins its study of LSD as a potential weapon for use by American intelligence. Human subjects (both civilian and military) are used with and without their knowledge.

United States. A letter dated 23 September 1947 from Lt. Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army to the Commanding General of the Army Air Force establishes of a study of flying saucers to be called Project Sign, and assigned a high priority in a letter dated 30 December 1947 from Maj. Gen. L. C. Craigie.

Brig. General George Shulgen “It is the considered opinion of some elements that the object may in fact represent an interplanetary craft of some kind.” From a Draft Intelligence Collections Memorandum by Brig. Geneneral George Shulgen, Oct. 28, 1947

General Nathan Twining “The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted … lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled.” Twining as Head of Air Material Command (AMC), 1947.

“The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious. There are objects approximating the shape of a disc, some of which appear flat on bottom and domed on top. These objects are as large as man-made aircraft and have a metallic or light-reflecting surface. Further they exhibit extreme rates of climb and maneuverability with no associated sound and take action which must be considered evasive when contacted by aircraft and radar.” Twining, in a declassified letter to the Pentagon. General Twining was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1957-1960.

Italy. An Italian artist by the name of Rapuzzi Johannis was taking a leisurely walk in the mountains between Italy and Yugoslavia. He saw just in front of him a red glowing saucer. This saucer was about thirty feet wide and it was accompanied by two small dwarf-like creatures. These creatures had very large heads with green faces, sort of resembling that of a fish. They also had a circle around each eye. Apparently one of the creatures had hit Johannis with an electrical ray which left him very weak and almost paralyzed. After this incident the creatures ignored the Johannis and left.

United States, Nevada, Lake Mead. While cruising at 6,000 feet, US Air force pilot Lieutenant Armstrong witnessed six discs flying in formation.

United States, Washington, Mount Rainier. Kenneth Arnold was on an aerial search for a crashed C-46 marine transport plane when he saw 9 objects flying in formation. He estimated their speed at 1,300 to 1,700 miles per hour, distance at 23 miles and length of formation to be 5 miles. Also in the air at the time was a DC-4, which Arnold used as a point of reference to estimate the size of individual discs. He estimated the size as two-thirds the size of the DC-4. This sighting was not corroborated by radar or witnesses but did attract media attention and public interest.

United States, New Mexico, White Sands. C. J. Zohn stationed at White Sands proving grounds in New Mexico watched a huge, silver, circular disc at a height of 10,000 feet above the installation. This sighting was just days after Kenneth Arnold’s sighting which publicized the UFO phenomenon.

United States, Spokane, Washington. Eight disk-shaped objects the size of a house, were seen flying at 1000 km/h. A civilian woman stated that the objects fell with a dead leaf motion and landed before ten witnesses on the shore of the Saint Joe River, in Idaho.

United States, California, Muroc Dry Lake, now Edwards Air Force Base. Four witnesses: 1st Lt. Joseph McHenry, T/Sgt Ruvolo, S/Sgt Nauman, and Miss Janette Scotte watched for an unstated length of time while two disc-shaped or spherical objects, silver and apparently metallic, flew a wide circular pattern, and then one of them later flew a tighter circle, moving about 300 mph at approximately 8,000 feet.” More officers gathered as a third object came into sight. A test pilot had reported seeing a round object at about 12,000 feet the day before.

Rahr was a convicted criminal with an extensive Nazi past. In September 1947, he conducted mind control experiments at Edgewood Arsenal, where such experiments flourished until at least 1966.

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