Only W.W. Knows
View of the Valley of the Kings
November 26, 1922
The place was Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Archaeologist Howard Carter, inspired by the desire to dig up old history, was close to achieving the dream of opening King Tutankhamun’s tomb. The event is recorded in his journal.
“Slowly, desperately slowly, the remains of passage debris that encumbered the lower part of the doorway was removed. With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left hand corner, and then widening the hole a little, I inserted the candle and peered in. The hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker, but presently details of the room within emerged from the mist. Can you see anything?”
The inner chamber of Tutankhamun’s was opened a few months after breaching the tomb on February 16th of 1923. The sarcophagus of Tutankhamun was opened February 12, 1924. Two days later, the sarcophagus was re-closed.
In May of 1923, The Geographical Journal published an article titled "Air Survey and Archaeology". Aircraft had not yet achieved the capability to carry precious historical artifacts safely. The share of any such treasure would need to use slower, safer, transport. However, seeing things from a bird’s eye view could help in the search to uncover the secrets of history.
Nearly seventy years later, James Sanborn, a sculptor with an interest in archaeological history and the hidden forces of nature chose to encrypt this journal entry passage from John Carter’s journal in to the sculpture named Kryptos. That sculpture is located outside the lunch-room of the Central Intelligence Agency, somewhere in Virginia. Those who work to solve the encrypted messages on the Kryptos sculpture refer to this particular passage on the sculpture as K3.
Why was this journal entry chosen?
They did not have computers to aid in encryption in those days. But …
Freemasonry existed, and a new printing of the masonic bible was published that year.
Students of history will tell you that some of the more well-known traditional methods for encrypting messages are believed to have been taught by the Masons. The Masons are also well-known for their interest in Egyptology and world history.
Books by Dan Brown such as the Lost Symbol and Angels and Demons leverage the combination of hidden messages and hidden histories to engage our interest in the story. These stories carry over in to books and movies. The most secure way to make people aware of a hidden truth is to do so in such a way that they automatically discard that truth as fiction.
Computers did not exist in those days, but the Masons did. I am not a Mason, so I can only ask, what new methods of encryption might be hidden or demonstrated in the 1924 publication of the Masonic Bible? Perhaps none. After all, worldwide, the Bible in its various forms typically is a year-to-year number-one best-seller.
But, back to Tutankhamun’s tomb ...
It took eight years to empty the tomb and transport its contents to Cairo. Some may believe that we never got the full story of what was contained in that tomb. Perhaps, for whatever reason, some of the contents never made it to Cairo, but instead remained hidden from us. Perhaps the contents were removed and moved to another location. Tantalizing hints available online through clever search suggest there was some minuscule opportunity to remove things without them being cataloged for the authorities. Perhaps, the implications to civilization were so serious that men responsible for guarding the secrets of history chose to hide even the fact that they were hiding something, by coming up with new encryption methods to communicate how the ‘information’ was transmitted.
In those days, the process of moving something from one place to another done by ship, a slow, desperately slow process. Eventually, our hypothetical cargo (something removed) would have been hypothetically transported to somewhere in these United States.
So, consider another decrypted passage from the sculpture Kryptos.
It was totally invisible. How’s that possible? They used the earth’s magnetic field. The information was transmitted underground to an unknown location. Does Langley know about this? They should, it’s buried out there somewhere. Who knows the exact location? Only W.W. This was his last message. Thirty eight degrees fifty seven minutes six point five seconds north, seventy seven degrees eight minutes forty four seconds west. Layer two.
Those who work to solve the encrypted messages on the Kryptos sculpture refer to this passage as K2.
The Church Hill Tunnel
1925 & 1947 News ArticlesClick thumbnail to view full-size
A work train was in a tunnel in Richmond Virginia when that tunnel collapsed, leaving that train trapped. A figure emerged from the tunnel and ran off into the dusk, with witnesses claiming to see a horrific creature. This horrific creature ran towards a local cemetery and vanished near a mausoleum. In later years, some claimed the mausoleum held the remains of a vampire.
Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of illusion.
Those who work to solve the encrypted messages on the Kryptos sculpture refer to this passage as K1.
There are two locations of interest in this story. One is the Church Hill Tunnel, located in Richmond, Virginia. The other is the mausoleum of one W.W. Pool, also located in Richmond, Virginia.
During a visit to the Church Hill area, I spoke with two gentleman who were attending the celebration of the day in a park near there, Earl and Bobby (and my apologies if I spelled your names incorrectly). They did not know the exact location of the tunnel, but, they were able to google it. It turns out the park we were standing in actually sits at the top of the hill over the tunnel.
In the discussions that followed, we talked briefly about recent history in that area. It turns out that the local Virginia Commonwealth University had sought to purchase the land near there, for the purpose of turning the space into a parking lot. Residents of the area objected. They regard the area as sacred ground. When I asked, they said slave laborers had died there while building the tunnel. I thought this odd, since the tunnel was built shortly after the Civil War which supposedly ended slavery.
The book ‘Hidden History of Richmond’, indicates a poem ‘The Train That Will Never Be Found’ was written by brakeman of the Southern Railroad to commemorate the loss of the train and the workers after the collapse of the tunnel.
W. W. Pool
The tunnel tragedy also gave rise to a local vampire legend associated with the mausoleum of W.W. Pool. The book ‘Haunted Richmond: The Shadows of Shockoe’ published in 2007 summarizes the Vampire Legend in the chapter ‘The Collapse of Richmond's Church Hill Tunnel’. This book indicates that because of the interest in vampires, and the vandalism that resulted, the mausoleum has been exhumed, and the remains moved to an unknown location. There are some claims that the mausoleum of W.W. Pool is covered in masonic and Egyptian symbols, so I went out to take a look. The name on the mausoleum is W.W. Pool. The mantle and a couple of other pictures are shown here.
The source of the legend is currently attributed to a worker running from the tunnel after the tunnel collapse in 1925. The account indicates the worker ran from there to the cemetery nearby. Wikipedia identifies the person who escaped from the tunnel as Tom Mason. The book does not name the worker who ran out of the tunnel. The news article above from 1947 indicates Mr. Mason was dug out from the tunnel October 10, 1925.
Between the collapse of the tunnel and the local legend of an ancient evil (a vampire) being awakened in the tunnel, it is no surprise that folks regard the area with respect. But in both cases, that respect appears to artificially leverage people’s fears. Years and years of watching Scooby Doo cartoons have convinced me that when a stories of the supernatural are invoked to encourage people to stay away from an area, that there is usually something else going on that people are trying to hide.
Mr. Pool died in February of 1922, so the K2 reference that declares ‘Only W.W. knows’ does not refer to a living W.W. Pool knowing about anything that might have hypothetically been removed from the tomb Howard Carter opened in November 1922.
However, it is well known that only the dead can keep a secret, and what better place to keep it than in a mausoleum in a graveyard?
The Mummy Room
1983 - Richmond
Back to the artist that sculpted Kryptos. We know that our sculptor was exposed at an early age to things not typically seen by the public, because his father held the position of head of exhibitions at the Library of Congress. We also know that he studied archaeology in England, the home country of Howard Carter. Did he develop an interest in Egyptology at an early age? Don’t we all?
In 1983, Artist Jim Sanborn developed an exhibit titled ‘The Mummy Room’ for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond Virginia. In his book, ‘Atomic Time’, Mr. Sanborn discusses how his work was influenced by Joseph Beuys. “Like Beuys, I employ natural objects and found objects and use them in large measure for their metaphorical content. For example, in 1983 I borrowed an Egyptian mummy from a university archaeology department and used it in an installation I did at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (fig 32). I continued the practice of borrowing and exhibiting museum objects throughout my career.”
To be honest, to this day, I still believe I first saw this display not at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts but at the Virginia Museum of Science nearby.
While building the sculpture in the courtyard of CIA, a truckload of granite was stolen. The CIA had to purchase an additional truckload to support completing the sculpture. Where did that granite go?
Mr. Sanborn completed his installation of Kryptos in the courtyard of the CIA, outside their lunchroom, November of November 3, 1990. Nearly sixty-seven years had passed since the original opening of King Tutankhamun's tomb.
When he talks to those who are trying to solve the remaining 97 characters of Kryptos (we call it K4), Mr. Sanborn will often provide the hint that the decoded message may refer to something he may have buried out there (at CIA).
In Richmond, Virginia, the train and its contents remain trapped in the tunnel. The tunnel has been sealed. The entrance is difficult to find, and research and review of on-line resources is recommended before going to take a look. Better yet, talk to someone in the area.
A recent visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has a mummy display, but it is a different display from the picture shown above.
In May of 2016 in the Valley of the Kings, researchers looked for a hidden chamber near the chamber of Tutankhamun. It is believed by some that the mummy of Queen Nefertiti is entombed somewhere nearby. So far, the search has come up empty, but the authorities in Egypt continue their search.
Around the world, the fourth part of Kryptos (called K4) remains unsolved. The sculptor indicates the part of K2 that says ‘Only W.W. knows’ is a reference to CIA director William Webster.
Speculating otherwise makes for a good story.
Blender Simulated Video by user k4hasgotme on YouTube
Further Reading - W. W. Pool
- Jim Sanborn
The home site for the artwork of Jim Sanborn. Check out the early interest in unseen forces, and the later interest in antiquities.
- The Yahoo! Group for Solving Kryptos
Kryptos is a sculpture located at CIA HQ containing an encrypted message. Three of the four parts have been solved. This group is for people interested in working together to find a solution to Part 4.
- William Wortham Pool - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
No, he is not a vampire. But with the remains moved to another location, one is inclined to ask, who is buried in Pool's tomb?
- Richmond Vampire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Church Hill tragedy eventually gave rise to legends of a vampire. This article on Wikipedia explains more.
- About Science and Art
This article is a quick introduction to the artist Jim Sanborn and his works.
The sculptor Jim Sanborn indicates the part of K2 that says ‘Only W.W. knows’ is a reference to then CIA director William Webster. He was director of CIA during the years 1987-1991.
The full courtyard that contains the sculpture Kryptos includes two pools. One pool sits at the base of the sculpture. The other pool sits next to and between tilted granite slabs.
William Downing Webster, described as a British collector of ethnographic art, died 1913. The wife of W.W. Pool died 1913. W.W. Pool died 1922, as noted earlier in this article. The date of his wife’s death is inscribed over the mausoleum.
A W.W. Pool resided in Horsey, Virginia during the late 1800’s.
The Egyptian word for hidden is yamanu. An internet search for the “Egyptian Word for hidden” returns, amongst a long list of interesting links, a discussion indicating “Amaunet (and Amun) … were regarded as protective Deities: They are addressed as "Amun and Amaunet, You Who protect the Gods, and Who guard the Gods with Your shadows". Though Nun and Naunet are described in a similar manner, it seems especially appropriate for Amun and Amaunet, who both represent the mysterious and invisible hidden forces of nature, to give protection through their shadows; implicit in the idea of a shadow is that things can be hidden there.”
The parents of Tutankamun (Akhenaten and Nefertiti) are noted for their efforts to make Aten the focus of worship for normal everyday Egyptians. The god they chose to be the one god was Aten, commonly thought of as the sun god.
“Girasol” in some languages is another form of the word girasol, or sunflower.
An online MIT website includes a resume indicating Mr. Sanborn studied Archaeology at Oxford University, roughly 60 miles from Kensington, England, home of Howard Carter.
Amaunet is also spelled Amonet, Amunet, Amentet, Amentit, Imentet, Imentit, and Ament.
© 2016 FitnezzJim