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Archive for October, 2013

I’ve studied information from several sources on the Noah’s ark sighting of Ed Davis, including some who think he was on some mountain other than Mount Ararat. Before Ed’s death, there were multiple interviews over a period of a few years, but they all took place more than forty years after the sighting of 1943. From time to time after his story finally became public, Ed would remember some other detail of his experience. We can tell from this that it was often on his mind. If someone had taken his story seriously soon after his return to the U.S. from World War 2, we would probably not be left uncertain of so many details.

Ed Davis’ journey and climb to see the ark, unlike that of Ed Behling (ref. my previous post) took several days. The Davis trip began in Iran where he was serving in the army. I haven’t read that anyone asked him the exact starting point of his journey. It may not have seemed too important when the story was first told, or maybe Ed wasn’t certain after so many years had passed. At any rate, planning a long trip, he hauled extra barrels of fuel on his army truck.

He was accompanied on this part of the journey by a young Lourdish man that he worked with (ref. my Sept. 2013 post, The Silent Witnesses). Abas-Abas, who was either the father of the young man, or the grandfather, may also have been with them at this point. After several hours driving, they got a little sleep at a village where some of the Abas family lived. They awakened long before daylight, and took a different truck for about eight hours.

I’m not sure at this point where the village of Abas-Abas was located. There is some confusion concerning the location in the accounts of various writers. I think the first village Ed spoke of was probably in Iran, and that his army truck wasn’t taken across the border into Turkey. Most of the drive in the second truck was during the night. This night drive, and poor visibility due to bad weather they encountered, are part of the reason Ed couldn’t give a more detailed description of the route taken to the ark.

Some writers mention Ed’s arrival around dawn at a second village where they were joined by other Abas family members. Some think this was the little Turkish village of Ahora. Visiting two separate villages, both inhabited by members of the Abas family, could easily become a source of confusion, either in the memory, or in the communication of the events.

Apparently, it was in a cave somewhere near the second village that Ed was shown artifacts found on the mountain near a broken section of the ark. They parked the truck somewhere in the area, and horses were provided for them. They rode horseback for another eight hours or more, quietly evading Russian outposts along the way. Most of their ride was in silence, through rain, fog, and a freezing wind. No doubt Ed’s group did not enter Turkey through a legal checkpoint, but sneaked across the border somewhere.

Leaving the horses, they roped themselves together and continued their climb. They sheltered and slept in caves along the way, trying to stay out of the worst of the weather. Abas told Ed that the trail they were on was not the trail most used by explorers searching for the ark, but one used by bandits and such. He called it a “backdoor route.”

Though some have questioned whether the mountain Ed was on was actually in Turkey, we can deduce from statements in his testimony that it most likely was Ararat. Negative statements that Abas made about explorers who came looking for the ark indicate that the main search has been conducted on the correct mountain. At a point where they viewed the ark, Abas told Ed that they couldn’t be seen from the main trail above them. I don’t know if he meant that the ark itself could not be seen from the upper trail, or only that their vantage point was hidden.

During short breaks in the weather, they studied two broken sections of the ark through binoculars, talking about the broken beams and compartments visible within. From Ed’s story, it sounds like they were on the north side, and toward the eastern end of the mountain. Then the ark was in a little valley to the northeast of the area where they stood.

Ed seems fairly certain that the main summit was behind them, so they must have been looking outward, in a direction away from the mountain when viewing the ark. Other than that, Ed was not able to give a lot of directions. The ark might be very difficult to see from the air, unless a craft were flying very close to the mountain, and at just the right angle.

Abas gave Ed a lot of information about the interior of the ark. Apparently they intended to actually take him inside. After viewing the broken ark from a distance, they spent an extra night in a cave thinking the rain was going to clear. The difficult climb to the ark would then be safer. A deep overnight snow changed their plans, and forced them to descend the mountain. In the deep snow, the climb down was even slower, and more treacherous than their ascent.

Even though they boiled the water they drank on the mountain, somewhere along the way Ed became sick. The hardship of his journey, as well as the passage of time, would have made it difficult to give more precise information than he did.

When he was first interviewed, he mentioned that he had written something about his trip inside a Bible that he carried with him during the war. Later on, he was able to locate the Bible, and Don Shockey published the note just as it was written using Ed’s spelling and wording. This is Ed’s note in Don Shockey’s 1986 book, The Painful Mountain.

Went to Ararat with Abas. We saw a big ship on a ledge in two pieces. I stayed with him at the big house. It rained and snowed for ten days. I stopped in Tarharan and got some supplys and got warm and rested up. Also some new clothes. Lt. Bert was glad I got back. He was scared for me. He was afraid I would get killed I think. I am glad I went. I think it is the ark. Abas has lots of things from there. My legs are almost healed from the horse back ride.

Some have questioned why Ed, if he had been on Ararat, would have gone to Tehran to buy clothes on his way back to his base. Tehran would be well out of his way, but there are several possible reasons why he would have done so. First of all, his commanding officer had been reluctant to let Ed make the trip. He finally told Ed that he could give him some R&R in Tehran, and that Ed could take the long way around. If questions arose, Ed may have wanted to be able to truthfully say that he went to Tehran. Also, Ed had ruined his civilian clothes on the trip, and Tehran may have been his best chance at that time to buy western clothing.

As fantastic as it seems, Ed’s story is hard to disbelieve, especially taking into account the note that he wrote in the Bible. Could Ed have been deceived about what he saw? Ed commented at one point about something that Abas had told him, “…the old man had no reason to lie to me.” It would make no sense whatsoever for Abas to lead that difficult climb up Ararat if he wasn’t sure that it was worth the journey. I think that Abas himself probably wanted to make one last climb to the ark while he was still able to do so.

In 2003, two grandsons of Abas accompanied Ararat explorer Richard Bright for part of his climb in search of the ark. Two sons of Abas had lost their lives on the mountain, and his grandsons promised their own sick father they would not go beyond a certain point. Richard Bright, and the other climbers continued on, but their group was ordered off the mountain by the Turkish military. They searched part of the area on a later expedition without success.

At http://www.noahsarksearch.com you can read Bright’s own unedited story. At that site, under “Book,” scroll down the long list of explorers, and click on Richard Bright. Scroll down near the end of his pdf. file to find this story, and that of a later, nearly disastrous expedition. The search for Noah’s ark continues, and at some point I may study the subject further. For now, I’m going on to look at some other mysteries of the Bible.

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Based upon multiple accounts of people claiming to have seen Noah’s ark on Mount Ararat, I believe the remains of the ark are somewhere on the mountain. It doesn’t seem likely that all those witnesses could have been mistaken, or have stretched the truth that far.

Someone might wonder why I’m including the story of Arthur Chuchian along with the accounts of more credible witnesses. Arthur Chuchian was an eccentric person. He believed things such as are found in supermarket tabloids. It appears that he must have been a very gullible person, but in spite of that, I don’t think his story should be rejected. I think it’s significant that Arthur didn’t claim to have seen the ark himself, but that his Armenian father, Jacob Chuchian, told him of seeing the ark as a young man. I don’t believe Jacob Chuchian would simply have lied to his son.

His story could be easily confused with that of George Hagopian, another Armenian who saw the ark as a young boy. I haven’t checked this out but the Chuchians must have fled from danger in Armenia around the time of World War 1, as did George Hagopian.

Jacob Chuchian lived in a small village close to Ararat, and his story fits well with those of other eyewitnesses. Jacob claimed to have visited the ark more than once, and that on one occasion, the ice was melted off of one end. At other times part of the ark could be seen only through clear layers of ice. According to him there were damaged areas in the front side, and bottom of the ark.

I haven’t been able to determine which of the sightings was supposed to have taken place first, the Chuchian or the Hagopian, but both happened only a few years before World War 1. The Hagopian story didn’t become public until 1970, and the Chuchian was five years later. George Hagopian only saw the ark as a boy, and probably due to his small size, he described the ship as being longer than the dimensions given in the Bible. He stuck with his impression of the great length of the ark, and wouldn’t change his story to conform to interpretations of the biblical term “cubit.”

The eyewitnesses I’m writing of in this post each spoke of a raised “catwalk” on the roof of the ark, with openings for light and air all along it. The individual accounts have several things in common, but are obviously not copies of the other stories. Hagopian thought the catwalk extended the full length of the ark, whereas Ed Davis, looking at the ark through binoculars, said that it terminated a little ways back from the end. The difference between the two stories is probably just a matter of perception, or a slight error of memory.

Abas-Abas, the elderly Lourdish guide of Ed Davis, told Ed that the window openings were about knee-high. George Hagopian, as a small boy walking on the top, thought they were larger than that, but I don’t see that as a discrepancy in their stories. A small boy, and a grown man, perhaps standing a different distance from the openings, would see them differently.

Hagopian said that he didn’t see a door in the ark, but that it could have been on the other side against the rock and ice. The only damage that he seems to have noticed was a big hole in the top of the ark. He walked on the ark, and looked into the hole, but it was too dark inside to see anything. Hagopian claimed to have seen the ark after several consecutive years of drought when the whole top of the ark was visible. Ed Davis said that the door couldn’t be seen from where he viewed the ark. Abas-Abas had seen the door, and told Ed where it was located on the other side.

Abas said that the ark was once a little higher on the mountain, and more upright, but that the ice had moved it downhill. The things that Abas told Ed Davis seem to tie the other eyewitness accounts together pretty good. Ed said of Abas-Abas that, although they were from different cultures and religions, they became  “friends.” The gifts given to Ed by Abas indicate that to be true. Abas wouldn’t part with any of the relics from the ark that were shown to Ed however.

Several artifacts were shown to Ed that Abas said were gathered from the mountainside when a section of the ark broke off. There was a large petrified cage door, and there were fragments of petrified wood that the Abas family had assembled to form crosses, even though they themselves were Muslims. Abas told Ed that the ark was pretty much in one piece when he was young (around 1900 or earlier), but that a piece of the back section had later broken off.

Through his binoculars, Ed could also see that section farther down the mountain. Abas stressed that they didn’t take anything out of the ark, but gathered some items that spilled out when the break occurred. Abas apparently thought that containers found with food in them belonged with the ark, but that idea has been ridiculed. Food, preserved for great periods of time, has been found in places such as the pyramids of Egypt, but there are other possible explanations for containers of food at the ark. The Armenians told of pilgrimages to the ark, and it’s possible that food could have been left there by some of the villagers.

Other things could possibly cause some confusion in the details of the ark sightings. There are stories that the Armenians once did some work on the ark, perhaps to strengthen a damaged area. That could account for the “young” Carbon-14 dates of wood found on Ararat. George Hagopian argued that wood found on the mountain couldn’t possibly be from the ark because the ark was petrified, yet he himself said that his uncle lifted him up to reach some steps to climb on top of the ark. He said the steps, which did not extend all the way to the ground, were not actually part of the ark. They must have been built when the surrounding ice was much higher.

That would be a strange thing for George to add to his story if he were simply making it up. If his account was not true, why would he claim that his uncle lifted him up to some steps that someone had attached to the ark? It would have been simpler just to claim that he had climbed on top from the ice at the back of it.

I wondered for a little while if American soldier, Ed Behling, might have copied his story from Ed Davis, but the Behling claim of a 1973 sighting actually came to light in 1981, four years before the 1943 story of Ed Davis was made public. Ed Behling was in the U.S. Air Force, and while stationed in Turkey in 1973, he was guided to the ark by the great-uncle of a Turkish soldier. He rode a four-wheel drive to a shepherd’s camp high on Ararat. The weather was good on their trip, though there was the usual fog, and they reached a section of the broken ark after a long day’s hike.

Both Ed Davis, and Ed Behling saw a long section of the ship, with a great, dark, gaping hole where it was broken. Ed Davis said the back was broken off, but Ed Behling said the front was gone. Behling saw only one section, possibly the piece farthest down the mountain. I think that “front,” or “back,” would be a matter of perspective unless there was something about the ark that allowed Abas, and Behling’s guide as well, to differentiate between the bow and the stern. Like Davis, Behling said that he did not see the door of the ark.

Behling saw his section of the ark from a cliff about fifty to seventy feet above it. His guides did not bring ropes, apparently planning to view the ark close-up without trying to climb to where they could actually touch it. They got another view of the ark from below, where they camped for the night before descending the mountain. The background stories of these witnesses have been verified.

George Hagopian’s family was from near the city of Van. Critics have questioned whether a small boy could have walked 15 miles or more per day on his two-week journey to Ararat and back. As a boy, I have hiked that far in a day, though not for consecutive days, but I believe that an active boy his age could have made the trip. I’m also not sure exactly where the starting point of their journey was.

The same is true of the starting point of the Ed Davis trip. Critics question whether he hauled enough extra gasoline in his Army truck to drive to Ararat and back from somewhere toward Hamadan, Iran. From what I’ve studied, I don’t see that as a problem. He left his truck in the village where Abas lived, and the other truck they took from there could have already had a full tank.

I haven’t seen any differences between these accounts that aren’t easily explained, though there are questions I would like to ask. In particular, Ed Davis tells a story that is hard for me to doubt. I’ll try to finish writing about the ark with my next post.

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