The city was modern Alexandria, built on the ashes of countless earlier Egyptian civilizations. A dusty hot car sped along under the sweltering Mediterranean sun, the passengers chatting amicably. Suddenly one of them exclaimed: “We just drove over the top of Cleopatra’s palace.” Their minds on other matters, his companions paid him little attention. But two days later they drove over the same ground and George McMullen again said, “There’s Cleo’s palace.” He excitedly began describing a palace and insisted that it had extended out into the sea.
“See the lighthouse out there?” Nobody else did, since McMullen was describing a building that existed more than 1,000 years ago. He went on to predict that divers would find columns, statues and large, unusual beads at a specific site in the harbor. Later, divers did find just what McMullen had described. The statues and columns have been identified tentatively as part of a Ptolemaic palace complex, and a huge floor found where McMullen saw “Cleo’s palace” does appear to be a palace floor, Alexandrian archeologists say. And author-ex-
plorer-historian Stephan Schwartz of Los Angeles, working with McMullen on the project, says his companion’s depiction corresponds closely to a description of the Ptolemys’ palace complexwritten in 24 BC by the historian Strabo.
That discovery, last year, was all in the day’s work for McMullen, 60, of Nanaimo, B.C. Schwartz calls him “the world’s greatest archeological psychic.” But after about 10 years in the field, McMullen still balks at the term “psychic.” “I hate that word,” he grimaces. “To me, you link those with mediums and fortune-tellers. I don’t do those things. I’m an intuitive.” An engaging blend of arch-conservatism (“My family calls me Archie Bunker”) and unconventionality, McMullen has been “intuitive” ever since he can remember. One of five children in a fatherless home, McMullen was always considered “funny.” He recalls picking up First World War souvenirs at the age of 5 and seeing pictures in his mind of where and how they had been used. Growing up in Mount Dennis, Ont., he excelled in geography (“I knew every country and its capital city without being told”). His education ended with Grade 9, and McMullen took on a series of jobs, including carpentry and real estate sales and speculation. But his life took a new direction in 1969 when, at the age of 49, he met Norman Emerson, chairman of the department of archeology at the University of Toronto and a specialist in Iroquois Indian history.
Emerson learned through his wife, Ann, that the husband of her friend Lottie could hold objects and tell about their past. His curiosity aroused, he arranged a test. Sitting at McMullen’s kitchen table in Peterborough, Ont., one day, Emerson handed him a relic and asked for a description. Although he had no formal knowledge of archeology, McMullen described the object as a pipestem, made a drawing of its original shape and described not only the maker of the pipe but also the living conditions at the time. “It was found within 100 miles [160 km] of Toronto,” he added. The pipestem had been dug up near Toronto at Black Creek Pioneer Village, and the drawing was of an Iroquois pipe of the correct time period, between 1470 and 1670 AD. Emerson was amazed: “George had pinned down and located a very small needle in a very large haystack,” he wrote later.
And so a close working friendship began. For the next seven years, the PhD and the Grade 9 graduate worked together on sites throughout Ontario and Quebec. Word of McMullen’s abilities spread in the archeological world. For three years he worked on and off with Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of famed psychic Edgar Cayce, in Israel, Iran and Egypt
to investigate some of his father’s psychic readings. In 1978, the year Emerson died of a stroke, McMullen was contacted by Schwartz, a writer interested in psychic archeology. In his book The Secret Vaults of Time, he described Emerson’s work with McMullen. He had recently formed The Mobius Group, a research team of scientific and parapsychological experts to explore archeological sites, and asked McMullen to join them on some probes. After initial trips in North America the team arranged a coup—permission to explore Alexandria and to try to find the lost city of Marea, once a thriving port near Alexandria.
Marea’s location had long stumped archeologists. Standing in nearly 38^ of desert heat south of Alexandria, McMullen was told only that the city of Marea lay buried somewhere within 225 square miles (just over 11 times the area of Manhattan Island). McMullen went to work. He trudged for three hours over the sands before deciding that the city lay just some five kilometres away. At the next site he swiftly clambered up a nearby hill—of no particular distinction in the eyes of the rest of the team. But through that strange faculty which baffles science, arouses cynics and amazes most observers, McMullen could “see” into that hill. He began to describe a building that lay beneath the surface. It was used for commerce during the Byzantine era, he claimed, and before that as a place of worship for Christians. “Impossible,” protested the Egyptian observer. “This was obviously the site of the Roman acropolis, since this is the highest hill in the area.” McMullen insisted the building was Byzantine, but one thing puzzled him. “I don’t understand it,” he kept saying. “There’s a floor, but no floor.” He “saw” black, red and white tiles between six and eight feet [1.8 and 2.5 metres] below the surface. The tiles, when excavated, were found at seven feet [two metres] and were black, red and white. The floor had indeed been stripped away, with only the tiles remaining. These were taken to Alexandria for analysis, where Professor Mieczyslaw Rodziewicz of the Polish Archeological Mission confirmed they were rare Byzantine mosaics. The final discovery of a red Coptic cross on the foundations underscored the building’s Christian origins. During the Byzantine era, a building’s foundations were consecrated with a cross to ward off pagan vibrations from below.
McMullen had erred on only two counts: he had seen square, not round, tiles and had estimated them at 5/s inches [6.25 mm] instead of the VA inches [27.9 mm] they turned out to be. “No psychic is 100-per-cent accurate,” emphasizes Schwartz. “Working with a
psychic isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many things can’t be checked. Others may have been once correct, but now aren’t. When George tells me, for example, there are tiles on the wall of a building, and they’re not there, it doesn’t mean they weren’t at one time.” McMullen’s intuition was still in high gear, and later on that expedition he found the socalled Cleopatra palace.
How does McMullen locate his sites? “When they ask me about a certain place,” he says, “I can see it in my mind. Then I try to place it on a map.” The job wasn’t too difficult, McMullen said, be-
cause the land mass had stayed fairly constant, and he could use rock formations and hills to locate the area in question. Once he finds a site, he leaves it to the archeologists to dig up. “I’m not interested in all that. I’ve seen it already.” He doesn’t always like what he sees. Schwartz took him to one site in Alexandria that visibly upset him—the reputed site of a Roman prison, where McMullen “saw” slave children being tortured. On another occasion he “saw” animals racing through a tunnel but refused to tell more. Later, he recalled that they were bulls pursuing humans as part of a Greek ritual.
While in Egypt, Schwartz asked Rodziewicz to offer McMullen an experiment in sériation, a classic archeological problem in which objects are sorted according to their age. The experiment was filmed and witnessed by Rodziewicz, Professor Daoud Aboud Daoud of the University of Alexandria and Schwartz. Rodziewicz, who had been asked to give McMullen six pieces of pottery at least 300 years apart, instead included some pieces of the same age, but from different sites. Others were the same age, from the same site. Two
were more than 300 years apart. Because the four middle pieces were less than 200 years apart, McMullen found himself putting them in groups of 1, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b and 4, rather than 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Rodziewicz was stunned and, shaking his hand, told McMullen, “What you have done in these few minutes took an archeologist three years to work out!” It had taken McMullen 18 Vz minutes to sort the pieces.
McMullen, who has no objection to tests, says he has never doubted his own knowledge, and that archeology is an ideal area in which his abilities can be
tested. “I always said right from the beginning that I wouldn’t do anything if it couldn’t be proved. And, as Doc Emerson used to say, ‘the truth’s in the digging.’ ” McMullen is preparing to work on a project in Hawaii involving human communication with killer whales; then projects in Italy, Japan and an Atlantis probe. A family man, he takes his wife, Lottie, and daughter, Cindy, 18, along when possible. Cindy already has plans to become an archeologist when she graduates, and hopes to spend more time in the field with her father.
After films of his work were shown on Dinah Shore’s interview show and Good Morning, America, one American reporter called McMullen and asked why he didn’t move to the U.S. and capitalize on his abilities: “You could make a fortune down here.” But McMullen replies, “I’m not interested in all that.” And, as he looks around his lakefront backyard in the peaceful Nanaimo countryside, his favorite cat purring at his knee, his wife and daughter nearby, he radiates contentment. It takes no special “sight” to see that,
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