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Noah's Ark Newsletter, part 7


In February 1987, a meeting was arranged between Ron and the Governor of the Agri District, Mr. Sevket Ekinci. The December 1986 decision was positive - it was the official decision of members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of Internal Affairs, and researchers from Ataturk University, among others, that the "boat-shaped formation" did indeed contain the remains of Noah's Ark!

At the February meeting, plans were discussed for the official dedication of the site, which would include Ron as guest of honor. It had been 10 years since his first trip out there, and 27 years since he first read the LIFE Magazine article. He was being honored, NOT as the discoverer of the site, but as the "discoverer" of the fact that it was truly the remains of Noah's Ark.

Thus far Ron had made one trip in 1977, one in 1979, two in 1984, six in 1985, three in 1986, and in 1987, he would make five trips. It was beginning to almost seem like home to him. But more importantly, he had accomplished what he set out to do, with the invaluable assistance of Dave Fasold.

But Dave was no longer involved, he said. He had submitted his report independently and would eventually ally himself with one of the researchers from Ataturk University, although he remained a friend.

More Complete Radar Scans

The thing that Ron still had to do was complete scans of the ship. As a believer in striking while the iron is hot, he returned in both April and again in May, doing complete scans of the site. Covering every square foot, either Dilaver or his Turkish accomplices pulled the antenna while Ron notated the locations on the printout. By adjusting the length of the wave sent out, he scanned the same sites over and over, recording the structure at various depths. In this manner, he was able to see what was at 3 feet, or five feet, or 10 feet or 15, etc.

The picture was emerging of a massive ship with chambers still evident; with one outside door which had a ramp system which led to each level; with long, massive timbers extending out from back of the ship, something which he still does not understand.

A Mystery Now Solved

He discovered that the hull had a very large void down its center, the same approximate size as the strange section of ground he had found above the ship with Orhan Baser in 1984. Dave had made this determination in 1985 with his MFG, and now the radar confirmed it. The MFG was and still is under constant attack by critics who claim that it is like a "divining rod", simply because the rods used are similar in appearance. But to Ron, Dave's discovery of the void in the hull with the MFG proved its reliability - at least, in the hands of a skilled user.

When Ron and Orhan had found the strange section of ground which appeared to be rimmed with petrified wood, and contained a large amount of the strange material scattered over and around it, Ron suspected it was something significant. When the lab analysis of the specimen Ron had taken from this site matched the analysis of the material he had found falling out of the hull, he had theorized that this section of ground above the site with the strange rim of petrified wood was a portion of the hull of the ark.

He believed the ark had originally landed at this higher location and as the water dried, the hull was embedded in the earth. Then, a volcano over what is now the Iranian border to the south, he theorized, erupted and ejected a massive amount of lava which reached the ark, and then ripped it from the embedded portion of the hull, carrying it down the mountainside. When it struck the very large limestone outcropping, which extends into its midsection, the ark swung around in line with the lava flow and was covered completely. This theory was confirmed when the scans also showed a void along a portion of the hull.

In 1985, Ron had taken Dave and John above the site to show them this section, but the immense amount of villagers accompanying them caused him to change his mind. By now, he was paranoid of showing any interest in anything because of fear that the villagers would destroy it as had happened to the tombstones and grave. And without this information, Dave interpreted this void in the hull to be a "moon-pool", which is a logical conclusion without all the facts.

It has been a constant stream of amazing circumstances which has accompanied Ron's work here - after all, it was the specimen from the above location that Jim Irwin sent to Los Alamos, which resulted in John Baumgardner's involvement. The specimen displayed evidence that it was slag, or waste product, from some type of metal production.

June 20, 1987- the Dedication of Noah's Ark

The dedication was set for June 20, 1987. In March, Ron signed an agreement with a local movie producer to make a documentary about the ark and his research. Arrangements were made just in time to get a crew to the dedication. But to be sure, Ron took his own video camera and had Dilaver film the events he couldn't personally film. Ron believed that God preserved the remains of the ark for a purpose, and it was certainly for more than just his own knowledge. But with the attacks both he and the site had received, he needed careful documentation. The dedication would just be another "story" without the event recorded.

They arrived several days before the ceremony and filmed as much of the region as they could, including the "Village of Eight" with the anchor stones. Then came the dedication. There, on the mountainside overlooking the "now - official" ark, were gathered a large number of dignitaries, from the local level to the national level, as well as high ranking military and many journalists. The plans were made public for a visitors' center to be erected on the spot where they stood.

The governor spoke the dedication in Turkish and then he lifted the first shovelful of dirt - the groundbreaking of the new visitors' center. Ron was next, and after him, others. Banquet-tables had been set up in the grass beside the ark and they retired here for a while, as Ron conversed with the Governor, Mine Unler translating. As things began to break up, Governor Ekinci asked Ron to do a radar scan on the site to demonstrate for the journalists the unseen structure beneath the earth.

A Timber on the Radar

Governor Ekinci issued instructions that the American crew was to stay upon the hill. They were not to film this event- it was his. He allowed some journalists, a Turkish cameraman, some members of the military, and other dignitaries only, to witness the next events. Setting up the radar, Ron made several passes. Explaining the printout to the group with Mine translating, he noted that one particular reading appeared to be very near the surface. The Governor then order one of the soldiers to dig at the location Ron had indicated, which he did. There soon emerged what looked like a flat rock. As more dirt was removed, it could be seen that it was about 18 inches long and it was then removed.

All captured on film, it was obvious that it was a petrified section of a hand-hewn timber! Everyone was stunned, but most of all, Ron. For 10 years, he had wanted to excavate but had never been allowed to retrieve anything that was not on the surface. His dream had come true! Not only was it a section of a timber, but it was almost perfectly preserved, showing the wood grain and perfect symmetry.

The Governor then did something that could only be directed by a Divine Hand - he told Ron to take it to the States and have it tested. He then placed it in the radar case, which would protect the extremely valuable specimen during transport. The entire event was shown throughout Turkey on TRT (Turkish Radio and Television). It was a day Ron will never forget- not in a million years.

July 1987- MORE Scans

He returned again in July, again, less than a month after his last trip, and did even more radar scans. He now had enough data to begin construction of a small model of what the metal detector and radar scans revealed. The top 2 decks could not be reconstructed with certainty. They had collapsed and it couldn't be determined if they had slanted or straight outer walls. It was possible to determine where they began (they did not run the entire length of the ship) by locating the point where the deposit thickened.

Interior walls were seen on the scans, but only to some degree - Ron assumed some symmetry and sometimes reconstructed identical sections when the east portion, for example, was destroyed but the west portion was intact. The bottom deck, however, was better preserved and an immense system of small chambers could be determined. There was a double section which extended along lengthwise, with other chambers along the walls - a walkway separated these.

To the chagrin of the "traditional ark-hunters", it wasn't barge-shaped. The upper end was definitely pointed, and the radar indicated that the lower end was at the least, rounded. But even with all the evidence, it still didn't look like a ship just coming out of the ship-yard, and the "learned men" weren't about to accept it. The Turks, on the other hand, were very matter of fact - the evidence spoke for itself. What else could it be?

The Deck Timber Analysis

On Sept. 16, 1987, he took the section of petrified wood that had been dug up on June 20, to Galbraith Labs in Knoxville, TN. By now, everyone there knew him pretty well and whether they believed in Noah's Ark or not, they are a superb laboratory and were very painstaking in all their analyses, including Ron's. He videotaped everything they did, including their taking the sample from the specimen, and the actual execution of the analyses.

The important thing to determine was if the specimen contained organic carbon. A rock doesn't, but petrified wood does. To run a test for organic carbon is extremely costly and complicated, so Gail Hutchens, Vice President of Galbraith, suggested another route. They would run an analysis for total carbon content. This would include both inorganic and organic. Then, they would test for inorganic, which is a much simpler test. Then, the two tests would be compared. By subtracting the amount of inorganic from the total amount, the amount of organic carbon would be determined.

The result was that it contained .71% total carbon. Inorganic carbon totaled .0081%. It contained .7019% ORGANIC CARBON- almost 100 times more organic than inorganic! It passed the test - but a new phase was about to be entered.

Why Didn't The Ark Make Headlines?

The evidence was there. It was beyond the realm of simple coincidence that every detail was consistent with the object containing the remains of a ship which could only be Noah's Ark. But the world wasn't about to accept it. The traditional ark hunters continued to search on Mt. Ararat even though Turkish scientists and archaeologists had determined that it was a ship in the mountains of Ararat - a very ancient ship - and that it could be nothing else except the ark of Noah.

The main problem is that it was a phenomena that is "one of a kind"- no other object comparable to it has ever existed. A 4,300 year old wooden ship simply could not survive without a means of preservation such as the lava which covered it so many years ago. This lava effectively hid it from the world for perhaps several thousands of years; therefore, there was no knowledge of its location during this time.

Some of the names of various locations in the region still retained the connection to the ark, such as "The Place of the Eight", "Doomsday Mountain", etc., but the local inhabitants admitted, when questioned by Orhan Baser in 1984, that they had no idea where these names came from. In the early 1900s, the local inhabitants of the region were attacked and completely removed from the area by people who came in and replaced them. They took over their villages, moved into their homes and plowed their fields. All knowledge that the original inhabitants may have had of the history and legends of the region were lost when this occurred. This war was so bloody and devastating that the museum in Erzurum has an entire floor dedicated to it.

IF the ark had landed on Mt. Ararat, it would have had to have been a much smaller mountain at that time, because it would have been impossible for all of the animals to have walked down off the mountain as it is today. And if THAT did happen, then the ark would surely have been destroyed in the passage of time and numerous explosions of the, at times, extremely active volcano throughout history.

The logical place to look would be in the cretaceous mountains of the region - mountains that were NON-volcanic and within the altitude that scientists have determined would be the maximum depth all of the water in, on and above the earth, would attain if all was on the surface at one time.

When Ron was investigating the site with the radar, he noticed that the internal "lines" all converged at each end, consistent with the timbers of a ship. But to be sure it wasn't just a very rare geologic "quirk" that he wasn't familiar with, he took the radar OUTSIDE of the perimeter of the object and performed scans above it, below it and along each side.

He found nothing other than random loose stones in the soil. Earlier, in 1985 when Dave, John and Ron did the metal detector scans, they too checked the adjacent terrain for similar readings. However, they too, found none. In the live interview John Baumgardner did with CBN's "700 Club" back in August of 1985, he confirmed this when asked if the formation was unique: "We feel that the formation is quite unique. There's several formations that have a superficially similar shape and we've investigated several of them. And they, uh, as we investigate them, we find they do not have the special characteristics we find in the site we've been focusing on."

The world at large doesn't WANT to know the ark really existed, and therefore that the Bible is true. Just recently, when an Australian film crew visited the site and personally saw the metal detector scans performed, they didn't even film it. An eye-witness to the event said they only filmed what they thought would serve to discredit the site. It IS possible to twist and omit truths in a way which presents an overall picture that looks convincing, but is, in fact, a lie. Look at all the people who proclaim with a bold-face that men have never walked on the moon.

I Hear About Noah's Ark for the First Time

And this brings us to another phase in Ron's life. In April of 1988, a salesman in the brokerage firm where I worked told me that he knew the man who had discovered Noah's Ark. I had only recently renewed my faith in the Biblical account and become a dedicated believer. Even so, I met Buford's statement with, "Sure, Buford". But he insisted that it was true. I asked him to call this man and see if he had any books or anything - I had lived in Nashville since 1977, but I didn't recall hearing about this man.

To make a long story short, in a few weeks, Ron came to my office after Buford had told him that he had some co-workers who were interested in hearing about Noah's Ark. He spent a couple of hours telling us about the ark and some of his other discoveries, but the thing that stood out in my mind was that I had never heard anyone speak so openly about Christ and "the Lord" as he did. Anyhow, with only a couple of photographs (small ones at that) I was convinced he was telling the truth.

After he left, I decided that evening - I was spending my summer vacation visiting Noah's Ark. Ron had told us it was official and about the visitors' center, so I began to call travel agents, only to discover that their reaction was about like mine when Buford told me he knew the man who found Noah's Ark. So, about a week later, I had Buford call "Mr. Wyatt" for me and get directions to the ark. Buford began writing down strange foreign names of cities, and finally he said, "Here, you talk to her."

When I got on the phone, Ron was surprised to learn that the person wanting to go was a female, and he told me under no circumstances could I go there by myself. I was crushed - I had a video camera and had planned to tape the ark to use as a means to prove the validity of the Bible to others. But, he hesitantly told me that if I could afford it, if I could take directions and stay out of the way, he guessed I could go with his next expedition, which would go the next month. I was thrilled, and was able to quickly make the arrangements. But NEVER did I suspect how my life was about to change.

June 1988 - to Turkey, Again

Dr. Nathan Meyer accompanied us, and the other member had cancelled out at the last minute. When we arrived at the ark, Hasan Ozer, the villager from Uzengili which is right above the ark, met us at the bus and showed us the new visitors' center which was still under construction.

The ark in person is incredibly breathtaking. As we walked down to it and got closer, the indentions where the rib timbers were deteriorating away and leaving voids were extremely visible. Ron walked the entire site with us, explaining every feature, showing us the deck joists that extended out from the interior sides where the decks had collapsed. He showed us deck support timbers that were protruding from the earth- timbers that had once held up the decks much like the poles in a basement hold up the floor of the house. He took us around to the side and showed us where the 1960 team had blown several holes in it with dynamite, and from which he had obtained numerous specimens of petrified wood.

Rifles Pointed in our Faces

Then, he wanted to take Dr. Meyer and I up the mountain to see the broken stele which had the pictographs of the ark with 8 faces in it, and the ravens, etc. As our taxi drove up, a whole gang of soldiers met us at the car, their rifles pointed in our direction. For the first time, I realized Ron had been telling the truth about it being dangerous.

Anyhow, Dilaver, the taxi driver and Ron's long-time friend, smoothed things over and we soon found ourselves inside the crude military building, having terrible tea. The soldiers presented me with a macrame necklace they had made which had a bullet hanging from the intricate pattern of the thread, which reminded me of thick dental floss.

It was raining a bit and we stood outside in the drizzle, just staring down the mountain. The ark was down the mountain, mostly hidden by the rugged hills, while off in the distance we could see the structure which had incorporated in it the broken pieces of the stele. And we weren't allowed near it. As we stood around, I mentioned to Nathan (Dr. Meyer) that since we were here, where the first rainbow in history was ever seen, wouldn't it be something if we could see one now? After all, it was raining.

With that, Nathan spoke a most beautiful prayer, requesting that if it was His will, we would like to see a rainbow (I don't remember the exact words). Within 5 or so minutes, there appeared in the sky a double rainbow which seemed to start at the stele and extended across the sky, ending about where the ark was. I cannot express how that made us feel, and I rarely have told others about it. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but you'll never convince any of us that that's the case. We treasure our photos of this rainbow.

Ultraviolet Painting

Three young travelers from Australia that we had met in a Cairo ticket office joined us the next day. Before the trip, Ron had enlisted me in helping him with an experiment on the anchor stones. The "Ararat Report" article had claimed that the "Armenian specialist", (who claimed that the anchor stones were actually made by the Armenians as pagan objects), claimed that when the Armenians converted to Christianity, they chiseled away the original inscriptions and replaced them with Christian crosses.

Ron had learned about a procedure the Egyptologists used in determining if earlier inscriptions had been removed from monuments and others chiseled on top of them. This involved "painting" the surface with an invisible liquid that is only visible in ultraviolet light. After a length of time, this liquid seeps into the tiny cracks and crevasses which are not visible to the naked eye, but which can be seen with the ultraviolet light.

My brother-in-law works in research and development for Kodak in Rochester, NY so I called him. He referred me to a certain department at Kodak where I explained what we wanted to do. They sent me information on the procedure. We were able to find the liquid and a portable ultraviolet light. With the help of everyone, we painted the crosses on the anchor stone that is standing in the village during the day, as well as a couple of other objects with crosses. We had done a practice run on a head-stone in a private cemetery just outside of Nashville and knew we needed to wait several hours before observing the results.

We returned that night with the light and none of the eyes we had with us could see any evidence of any earlier inscriptions- everything was clean with no small cracks. And the villagers were quite fascinated with the whole thing.

Nathan's Discovery

Back at the ark, after the Aussies were with us, Ron told us about the ballast material and described what it looked like. Before long, Nathan appeared with a very large "rock" and asked Ron if this was what he was talking about - and sure, enough, Ron's eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets. Yes! And it was a beauty! It was the best specimen Ron had seen yet for displaying the unique appearance that slag has.

Ron's Permanent New Assistant

It was a wonderful trip and I could certainly see how Ron had become what some would call "obsessed" with the ark. Incidentally, we were married a few weeks after we returned, on July 5, 1988. But my excitement was soon to become tempered with the frustration I would suffer when I learned the extent to which the personal persecution would go. Ron was used to it, but I'd never experienced anything like it. In fact, in my wildest dreams, I would have never believed that people who go by the name of Christian, would or even could be so vicious. "Who" was my husband that these people would want to say such terrible things about him? But I soon understood - they couldn't discredit the ark, so they were trying to discredit Ron.

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