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Archive for September, 2013

People are naturally skeptical of someone who claims to have had an unusual experience. That may be understandable, but it can also be very discouraging. Sometimes people who know something won’t talk about it for that reason. American soldier Ed Davis said that’s why his story of seeing Noah’s ark in 1943 didn’t surface for more than forty years.

Ed’s story was first recorded in Dr. Don Shockey’s 1986 book, Agri-Dagh (Mount Ararat) The Painful Mountain. In the interview Ed said, “Nobody seemed very interested. After I came back from the war, and would mention it, their first question was, did you touch it? Did you photograph it? I’d say no. They would then give me the impression that I was sharing something like a flying saucer sighting. I would just drop the whole thing.”

Besides not possessing a camera at the time, Ed didn’t think his guides would have wanted him taking photographs. Ed observed the ship, as he called it, from a distance, and studied it with binoculars. They waited a day, intending to descend a cliff on ropes when the weather cleared a little, but the rain turned to snow preventing them from reaching the ark. By the way, Ed Davis submitted to a lie detector test in 1988. The conclusion of P.G. Pierangel Polygraph in Albuquerque, New Mexico was that Ed was telling the truth.

Much of his story is verifiable history. In 1943, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was constructing a supply route from the Persian Gulf into Russia, and Sergeant Ed Davis was working out of Hamadan, Iran. In clear weather, from a work site somewhere between Hamadan and Russia, Ed said that Mount Ararat could be seen. He often talked with a young man working for him who had been raised in a small village on the Iranian side of Ararat. The young man named Badi told Ed that members of his family had visited Noah’s Ark, and Ed became interested.

In 1986, when Don Shockey told Ed’s story, Ed didn’t want to reveal how he had won the favor of Badi’s father, the patriarch of the family. This family is called Kurdish in most books about Noah’s ark. Ed said they were actually Lourdish, but he said that the Kurds and the Lourds were “kissing cousins.” These people are most often now called Lurs (ref. Luristan of Iran).

After Ed’s death in 1998, the story of how he helped to restore the water supply of a small village became known. The water supply had been affected by the road construction, and Ed apparently didn’t want questions to come up about some unauthorized work done to fix the problem. I’ve read that it might have involved the distribution of some dynamite. Anyway, Ed won the respect of Abas-Abas, Badi’s father who was nearly 80 years old at the time.

In an earlier post, I wrote that differences in various presentations of a story can often lead to misunderstandings over a period of time. In reply to questions, an eyewitness might try to supply details they are a little unsure of, especially if a long period of time has passed. A writer reporting on an event might reword a verbal communication, use the wrong punctuation, or an editor might make a change.

A few things like this can be found in the stories of those claiming to have seen the ark. Was Abas-Abas the father, or the grandfather of the young man who worked for Ed Davis? Some books have it one way, and some another. I’m not absolutely sure, but it isn’t a critical element of the account. Mistakes in reporting don’t render an entire account untrue, though they do provoke suspicions. At any rate, in mid-July when the ice melted back enough, Abas repaid the favor Ed had done them by leading him to see the ark.

In a recent post, “Explorers of Ararat,” I mentioned a book, The Unsolved Mystery Of Noah’s Ark, written by Mary Irwin. Her book is new (2012), and may have a greater current impact than some of the older books that I personally believe are better. Though there is worthwhile material in her book, there are incorrect statements that can serve to reroute the search away from Ararat. I believe this sort of mistake should be considered critical.

On page 97 of my paperback copy, she states that Mount Ararat doesn’t meet the biblical description of the landing-place of the ark because “…there are no other visible mountain tops to be seen…” She was making that observation from a campsite on the northeast face of Ararat at about 8000 feet, but the weather must not have been clear or she would have seen many mountains. It’s possible that she might have thought of nearby peaks at around 8000 feet as “hills,” and discounted them.

In the older book, More Than An Ark On Ararat, her late husband, astronaut Jim Irwin wrote of viewing Russia from Ararat. He said, “…snow-capped peaks towered up from the Soviet plains.” That statement is on page 57 of his book under the heading, “Not All Is as It Seems.” I have a topographical map showing mountains in that direction less than 50 miles away.

Mary Irwin believes Ed Davis’ account, but thinks he was actually led to a mountain in Iran, rather than to Mount Ararat in Turkey. It isn’t a bad idea to search other mountains in the area, but she goes to extremes in an effort to prove her point. She gives a few minor reasons for not believing George Hagopian’s story which, if true, clearly places the ark on Mount Ararat. He claimed to have seen the ark as a boy, and it is possible that Hagopian’s memory of some of the details might have become vague.

Some details of his knowledge of the Ararat area have been verified by ark researchers however, and he also passed a lie detector test. The type of test that he took is not considered as reliable as the test taken by Ed Davis. Like the Davis account, George Hagopian’s story of two visits to the ark, between 1900 and 1906, didn’t become known to ark researchers for many years. Though Hagopian had told his story to a few individuals much earlier, it was 1970 before one of them managed to contact ark researcher Elfred Lee.

The stories of the sightings of Noah’s ark are one of the most mysterious things I’ve ever studied. We can’t go back and ask George Hagopian, or Ed Davis, any further questions. Time has silenced them. Ed Behling, an American soldier stationed in Turkey in 1973, told a very similar story to that of Ed Davis. He may be the only publicly known person who could actually tell us more about the ark at this point in time, but he will no longer talk about his experience. Incidentally, he said that his guides didn’t want him to bring a camera.

Confusion seems to reign over Mount Ararat, just riding out the clock. In one way or another, time has dimmed the testimony of all those who have claimed to have seen the ark. A volcanic explosion on Ararat buried the Saint Jacobs monastery where witnesses said artifacts from the ark were kept. Armenians, who claimed to know the location of the ark, were killed or driven from the area during World War 1. Russian photographs and evidence, from the period of time that they controlled the mountain, are said to have “disappeared” during the Russian revolution.

The list is so long that it would take a series of books to deal with it. Ed Davis even received anonymous threats stating that, “the Black Hand of Allah was upon him,” because he had betrayed a clan secret. Attempts to silence, or discredit the witnesses seem to have come from every angle. I have to wonder how much we could actually learn if we believed in other people, asked honest questions, and actively sought the truth instead of doubting everything beyond the scope of our own experience. We might well have verified the existence of the ark long ago.

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