- On April 5, 1909, the Arizona Gazette published an article
detailing the discovery of a "great underground citadel" located
in the Grand Canyon. The discovery was purportedly made by G. E Kinkaid
(or Kincaid as both spellings are used), while he was traveling down the
- The southwest is home to many ancient ruins from cultures
such as the Hopi, the Chumash and the Anasazi, but the city described in
the Gazette article is clearly different. The article states that the race
who once inhabited the cavern were of "oriental origin, possibly from
- Upon entering the cave, Kinkaid describes finding mummies
as well as a shrine containing: "the idol, or image, of the peoples
god, sitting cross-legged, with a Lotus flower or Lily in each hand. The
cast of the face is Oriental, and the carving shows a skillful hand, and
the entire is remarkably well preserved, as is everything in this cavern.
The idol most resembles Buddha"
- Kinkaid also finds what he believes to be hieroglyphic
writing similar to that "found in the peninsula of Yucatan."
Two animals are depicted in the pictorial writing. Curiously, "[o]ne
is of prehistoric type."
- An idea of the scale of the discovery can be determined
by Kinkaid's estimate that upwards of 50,000 people could have once lived
in this system of tunnels and caves.
- Was the story faked?
- So, could this article be for real or was it just a late
April Fool's joke? Arguments can be made for both cases.
- The article mentions two people by name: G. E Kinkaid/Kincaid
and Professor S. A. Jordon from the Smithsonian Institution. I searched
through records from the Smithsonian from 1900 to 1914 and could find no
mention of either individual. Inquiries posed directly to the Smithsonian
by other researchers have yielded consistent denials of any records of
a G. E. Kinkaid or a professor S. A. Jordan ever having worked for the
- The 1909 article also describes G. E. Kinkaid as "the
first white child born in Idaho." I followed up on this lead with
the Idaho State Historical Society and received the following response:
- "Regrettably, we find no word of a G E Kincaid in
any of the pre-1900 federal, state (Idaho) or local (Idaho) records we
- There appears to be some confusion about Mr. Kincaid's
status as the first European American child born in Idaho. That distinction
belongs to Eliza Spaulding, the daughter of missionaries Henry Harmon Spaulding
and Narcissa Spaulding, who was born at Lapwai, Idaho, in 1837."
- It is possible that Kinkaid believed he was the first
Caucasian child born in Idaho and he was merely mistaken. It is also possible
that further research will reveal additional details of Kinkaid's past,
but so far this lead has turned into a dead end.
- Could the Story be True?
- There are a few points that would seem to indicate that
the 1909 article describes a genuine discovery. If the article were a late
April Fool's joke or merely a fictitious article created to fill space
on an otherwise slow news day, one would assume that the mention of the
story would be a one time occurrence.
- The article begins: "The latest news of the progress
of the explorations of what is now regarded by scientists as not only the
oldest archaeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most
valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in the Gazette"
Indeed there was a previous story printed in the Gazette about the explorations
of G. E. Kincaid. On March 12, 1909 a short, mundane description of Kincaid's
journey is given. Only the last sentence, "[s]ome interesting archaeological
discoveries were unearthed..." gives any indication of the fantastic
discoveries made on his trip.
- It seems unlikely that such a short, straightforward
article would have been fabricated to set up a fictional story that would
not be printed for another three weeks.
- The March 12 article states that Kincaid traveled the
entire length of the Colorado River and that he was "the second man
to make this journey." So what of the first man to make this journey?
That honor goes to John Wesley Powell who explored the Colorado River and
the Grand Canyon from 1869 to 1872.
- In his book Exploration of the Colorado River and its
Canyons, Powell describes his journey through the Grand Canyon. As he is
passing through an area known as Marble Canyon, Powell sees in the canyon
walls that, "great numbers of caves are hollowed out, and carvings
are seen which suggest architectural forms, though on a scale so grand
that architectural terms belittle them." Powell may be using the term
"architectural forms" to describe the beauty of the natural formations,
but the fact that he includes mention of a great number of caves in the
same sentence is certainly curious when viewed in the context of the 1909
- Later on, Powell describes a curious discovery:
- "I walk down the gorge to the left at the foot of
the cliff, climb to a bench, and discover a trail deeply worn into the
rock. Where it crosses the side gulches in some places steps have been
cut. I can see no evidence of its having been traveled for a long time.
It was doubtless a path used by the people who inhabited this country anterior
to the present Indian races-the people who built the communal houses of
which mention has been made.
- "I returned to camp about three o'clock and find
that some of the men have discovered ruins and many fragments of pottery;
also etchings and hieroglyphics on the rocks."
- Compare Powell's discovery to the entrance described
by G. E. Kinkaid:
- "There are steps leading from this entrance some
thirty yards from what was at the time the cavern was inhabited, the level
of the river." Both accounts describe stone steps carved into the
rocks. The Gazette article also describes Kinkaid's discovery of "tablets
engraved with hieroglyphics."
- Powell also speculates that the creators of the steps
he found were a race of people who came before the Indian races. He does
not speculate on their origin, but it appears possible that both Powell
and Kinkaid are describing discoveries that point to the same culture.
- The Smithsonian
- The 1909 article clearly states that the Smithsonian
is involved with studying and excavating the site. However, the Smithsonian
denies that any such discovery ever occurred. This brings up the larger
question that if this was a true story, why would the Smithsonian have
covered up what certainly would be one of the most significant archeological
finds of the twentieth century? Believe it or not, there is precedence
for the Smithsonian "losing" information about discoveries that
are deemed to not fit in with currently accepted dogma about the history
of America and its interaction or lack thereof with other ancient civilizations.
- In his book, Lost Cities of North & Central America,
David Hatcher Childress also covers the 1909 Arizona Gazette article and
relates three instances where the Smithsonian has "lost" or covered
up finds that go against orthodox isolationist views.
- In the first instance, a story is related from the winter,
1992 issue of The Stonewatch Newsletter that describes stone coffins being
discovered in 1892 in Alabama and then sent to the Smithsonian and subsequently
"lost." The coffins were especially curious because "Indians
in North America never used coffin burials, as Europeans did." The
newsletter concludes by saying, "This all seems to be another instance
of possible pre-Columbian evidence neglected and lost."
- The second example comes from the research of Ivan T.
Sanderson who received a letter detailing the discovery of giant human
remains beneath the site of an airstrip on the Aleutian island of Shemya
during World War II. The remains consisted of leg bones and crania measuring
22 to 24 inches from base to crown. This is astounding when compared to
a normal human skull with measurements of only eight inches. Sanderson
confirmed the report by contacting another member of the unit who was present
during the discovery of the remains. Both contacts indicated that the Smithsonian
Institution had collected the bones, yet the Smithsonian has released no
data from any such find.
- The last example that Childress relates is from a 1970's
documentary in which a former Smithsonian security guard describes how
he saw relics retrieved from Mount Ararat in Turkey, allegedly from a giant
ship. Many people believe that Mount Ararat was the resting place of Noah's
Ark as described in the Bible. The guard goes on to say that an expedition
was made to this site in 1969, but "the artifacts were suppressed
and never released to the public."
- Further information regarding the Smithsonian's policy
in dealing with the discovery of artifacts and information that might contradict
an isolationist point of view can be found in an article published by Ross
Hamilton at http://greatserpentmound.org/articles/giants3.html. In the
article, Ross details many examples of unusually large bones discovered
within the burial mounds along the east coast of America. The Smithsonian
investigated literally thousands of these mounds and recovered from them
bones and artifacts. Unfortunately the more intriguing contents of the
mounds have been "lost" within the Smithsonian keeping them safely
out of the hands of researchers who might want to study them using modern
- There does appear to be a pattern of the Smithsonian
covering up information that might contradict the prevailing view that
Columbus "discovered" America and that prior to this "discovery"
the only inhabitants of this land were the Native Americans.
- The Search
- It is my intention to search for the site of the cave
described in the 1909 Arizona Gazette article. I will be hiking down into
the canyon in mid-October with a number of clues that I hope will help
lead me to the site described by Kinkaid.
- Of course it is possible that the discovery never occurred
and that there is nothing to find. If that's the case, then at a minimum,
I should have a beautiful hike into an extraordinary part of America.
- If anyone has any information on the veracity of the
1909 article or the existence of the cave described in it, <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>I'd
love to hear from you. Any information received will be kept strictly confidential
- © 2003 Chris Maier