by D. Trull
The island of Bimini in the Bahamas has long been a favorite hotspot in the search for Atlantis. Speculation has centered around a supposed "Bimini Road" (or "Bimini Wall"), a structure often said to have been paved on the ocean floor by Atlanteans, which is actually a natural formation of limestone. There have also been unfounded reports of stone columns and giant pyramids in the island's waters. Now another claim has surfaced of a great discovery at Bimini, and it appears that it will prove just as insubstantial as the Atlantis theories that have come and gone before.
Aaron Du Val, president of the Miami-based Egyptology Society, recently announced that a team of underwater explorers has found the ruins of 12,000-year-old temples off the coast of Bimini. Du Val claimed the structures bear markings and architectural specifications that match well-known megaliths in Egypt, South America and other parts of the world. The noted similarities to Egyptian ruins included distinctive quarry marks on the rocks and the same geometric angles present in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Other markings were said to match the Altamira cave paintings of Spain. To make his claims even more fantastic, Du Val said the Bimini ruins contained "exact orbital plots of the planets and what seem to have been intricate star shafts, metal-coated walls, and intermingled stones of various colors."
In the initial press release, dated July 6, 1997, Du Val made no specific reference to Atlantis. Later, in an interview conducted by a new age organization called New Heaven New Earth, he stopped short of claiming that these ruins were evidence of the legendary sunken city, although he seemed to relish the possibility.
"Atlantis is a pretty touchy subject," Du Val said. "Maybe this will be the trigger to bring more people forth to explore ideas that have been taboo in the past. Megalithic structures are not supposed to be in the Bahamas. These are closer to what you would find at Giza than what you would find in Mexico or Peru, which is very strange. People are saying unbelievable things like it could force the re-interpretation of the course of human history."
Du Val was quick to agree when the interviewer noted how his announcement seemed to fulfill the predictions of alleged prophet Edgar Cayce, one of the top Atlantis advocates of all time.
"This discovery fits right with his predictions," Du Val said. "Now we are not saying it is Atlantis, but it sure is strange how these findings not only match Cayce's predictions but Plato's writings as well, even to the metal-coated walls."
In fact, Cayce actually prophesied -- among other things -- that Atlantis would rise again to the surface in 1968 or 1969. Plato's description of Atlantis was most likely a reference to the Minoan island of Santorini, near Crete, which was devastated by a volcano.
Du Val remained tight-lipped on crucial details of the Bimini ruins, including the exact location of the findings and the names of the explorers who found them. He explained that he needed to work out arrangements with museums and the Bahamian government to protect the site before its location was made public. Du Val planned a press conference for July 25, promising full disclosure and presentation of video tapes and photographs of the ruins. He also stated that he had never claimed the ruins were Atlantis, apparently to combat the "Atlantis fever" word of his announcement had triggered on the Internet.
Du Val's claims garnered a stern rebuke from Dr. Paul Pettennude, an underwater archaeologist with the Maya Underwater Research Center, who is intimately familiar with the waters around Bimini. In a statement issued to New Heaven New Earth, he listed several reasons why nothing like the ruins Du Val describes could possibly exist. Among the points of Pettennude's argument:
-- "Bimini is not the lost world. It is a very, very popular resort destination and thousands of divers visit it every year. Every available reef is dived frequently and nothing else has turned up."
-- Equipment used by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Melbourne, Florida, and the Rosenteil School of Oceanography at the University of Miami "is very sophisticated and there is nothing but known wrecks being found."
-- "In 1986, NASA had the Navy scour everything north of Cuba to north of North Carolina looking for pieces of the exploded Challenger shuttle. Every square foot of bottom down to 6,000 feet was examined and every piece of the wreck larger than a dinner plate was recovered."
-- "The U.S. Navy maintains a system called SOSUS which cost $16 billion to secure the ocean floor from foreign subs. It paints a picture of everything from the bottom up."
-- "The reefs off Bimini from 300 feet up to the surface are less than 14,000 years old. This is the level to which the water rose at the end of the last ice age. There could not be a sunken city because the Bahama Islands are not shrinking but actually growing inches per year. This would have made any ancient city unstable."
-- "Divers could not have found a city below 250 feet without special diving gases. ... There are only a handful of people in the world trained and certified to dive these research blends. I am one of them and the group is a close knit family. No one has any knowledge nor has been asked to find an ancient city."
Pettennude also mentioned the spurious "Bimini Road" and noted that the man who discovered it in 1968, J. Manson Valentine, was one of his professors at the University of Miami. Another red herring that has thrown off Atlantis seekers at Bimini are stone pillars on the ocean floor that resemble shattered marble columns. These artifacts were actually formed by barrels of cement and similar materials that sunk from ships and hardened underwater, leaving stone casts after the wood staves of the barrels rotted away.
The weight of the evidence certainly seems to be stacked against Du Val. As it turned out, he canceled the July 25 press conference at the last minute. He indicated that more time was necessary to ensure the safety of the ruins, lest they fall victim to looters and vandals. Du Val rescheduled the press conference for August 8, but it was postponed a second time.
After extensive research, ParaScope has found no further information on this supposed discovery or any subsequent public remarks from Du Val. Obviously, the mass media has made no announcement on the discovery of Atlantis. The only news outlet that seems to be following the story is the web site of New Heaven New Earth, whose news bulletins are available to members only -- at a cost of $100 a year. News concerning the Bimini discovery is to be posted by NHNE "four weeks after our subscribers have received it." At ParaScope, where we believe the news should always be free for everyone, we may have more to report on this story after all the details have surfaced.