Monday, November 7, 2016

What does fiction's alternative Egyptologist make of alien theories?

Alien Egypt stories on the Internet


“YOU WANT me to what?” Anson Hunter said at the meeting.

“Help us find what appears to be an ancient weapon,” she said.

“Ancient weapon?”

“I know it sounds incredible,” the academic said.

“It does, even in my alternative, parallel universe.”

“Yet, astonishingly, this is what our authorities have been forced to consider.”

“You’re going to have to unpack that a bit,” he said.

The man in the big blue suit, who bulked up the small meeting table, and who sat flanked by young, careful-faced men, spoke up.

“Very few of us believe in remote killing, of the kind you’ve been describing, anyway, but we all believe in remote listening. We have intelligence that something ancient, called ‘the mother of revenge’ is being levelled against our country from the land of the Nile.”

“Maybe it’s a pharaonic submarine,” Anson said helpfully.

“Why not?” Dr Melinda Skilling said with a mocking smile, “some alternative theorists seem willing to believe that the ancient Egyptians possessed helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and armoured tanks, but submarines probably weren’t of much use in the shallower reaches of the Nile.”

This Egyptologist could dig in more ways than one, he observed.

He understood her allusion.

“You mean those mysterious symbols under a lintel in the Temple of Osiris in Abydos that seem to show an arsenal of modern weapons?” he said. “I may be alternative, but I’m not a crank. Nor am I a fan of aliens, or of pyramid and sphinx builders from Atlantis, although I like the way they exasperate Egyptologists. I’m sure there’s a more mundane explanation for the symbols and so I’ll leave that to you.”

“I don’t do mundane, Anson. I’d rather be working on the exhibition I’m curating than doing mundane, but the intelligence wires are humming and it’s apparently alarmed our government enough to request professional advice.”

“Then why ask me?”

“You’re special, not only because of your grasp of arcane Egyptian knowledge and practice, but because of your standpoint. I must confess that mainstream academics, restrained by what has been termed the ‘agnostic reflex’, are somewhat in the position of outsiders looking in, careful to keep an objective distance from Egyptian religion, mystical texts and esoteric practices. You, on the other hand, are a phenomenologist, one who believes that you must grant value and credibility to the sacred and engage with it experientially in order to appreciate it fully. I have a certain sympathy for that position.”

A certain sympathy. Was she trying to be nice? Perhaps. She’d certainly earned points from him for her candour.

But the blunt instrument in the big blue suit didn’t try for points. His words came down on Anson like a mallet.

“Frankly, to many people you’re just a wild theorist. And that gives you a lot more freedom to operate in. Nobody listens to you - and nobody watches you. We can hide behind you.”

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