The Search for Noah's Ark with Dr. Don Patton
Joint Paper by Randall Price and Don Patton on NAMI fraud Nov 20, 2010
Noah's Ark Ministries International Fraud exposed! (NAMI)
Indiana: "Balloq's medallion only had writing on one
side? You sure about that?"
Noah's Ark Ministries International Fraud
NAMI: "Made in China" Fraud Exposed
Our critique of NAMI and their response
2. Joint Paper by Randall Price and Don Patton on NAMI fraud: Nov 20, 2010
3. Don Patton's critique of 1st NAMI response: Dec 3, 2010
4. Don Patton's critique of 2nd NAMI response: Dec 10, 2010
5. Don Patton's exposes the fake wood photos: Dec 7, 2010
A Critique of the Claim by Noah's Ark Ministries
of a Discovery of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat
By Randall Price, Ph.D. and Don Patton, Ph.D.
20 November 2010
Introduction to the Critique
Noah's Ark Ministries International (NAMI) announced that on October 2009 it had reached the remains of a large wooden structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey. The organization has declared 99% certainty that the structure is Noah's Ark and has claimed Turkish academics and the local government of Ağri province support this conclusion. The location of the site has been kept a secret, but NAMI claims it has applied for it to be given the status of a World Heritage Site to protect it from possible looters. NAMI has conducted an extensive media tour in China to raise millions of dollars in funds with the stated goal of mounting a "scientific expedition" to thoroughly explore the structure.
History of the Discovery and NAMI Release of Information
NAMI has stated that they have been involved with the search for Noah's Ark for seven years. They have discounted the efforts of other researchers because they believe they have not spent sufficient time to establish the trust of locals and because, as Yeung Wing-Cheung said in the Amsterdam Press Conference Q&A: "no other organization found anything, any evidence." In the spring of 2008 NAMI's Kurdish guide Ahmet Ertuğrul (Baba Paraşüt) or Paraşüt (pronounced "parachute") first announced the discovery "the Ark" on Mt. Ararat to NAMI.
Business card and 2008 photo (by Dr. Price) of Ahmet Ertuğrul (Paraşüt)
An expedition with Paraşüt to reach the structure was mounted jointly by NAMI and an American team (of which Drs. Price and Patton were members) in August-September 2008. However, Paraşüt changed his mind and refused to lead either group to the site at that time. Nevertheless, in October of that year he produced photos of himself inside the structure, which were given to the joint expedition team. An attempt in the winter of 2008 by a NAMI technical climber failed to reach the site, but, in April 2009 Clara Wei, a hired worker (not part of the NAMI staff) who served as the liaison with their foreign contacts, reported that the climber had reached the outside of the site and found a 60-foot long wood beam in the snow and had found wood at the entrance of a "cave" similar in appearance to that in the photographs issued by Paraşüt. In October 2009 the NAMI expedition team (without the American team) as well as a Chinese media personality was taken to the site. According to Dr. John Morris, President of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), he was contacted by Clara Wei (NAMI's hired laision) and shown some of the NAMI film footage and asked for his counsel [NAMI's statement on their website declared that they never officially invited Dr. Morris as the consultant for the ark search even though they did have a meeting with him in 2005]. Below is an edited copy of Dr. Morris' statement of his contact with NAMI:
Here's my involvement as I remember it. I got involved with the forerunner of NAMI in the early 2000's. I spoke at a series of meetings in Hong Kong, and subsequently attempted to help a group of local pastors and scientists start a creation ministry. They came up with the idea of a Christian theme park with a Noah's Ark replica as the center-piece. I met with the main financier and architect and "consulted" on design and museum exhibits and was in on the island property acquisition (http://www.icr.org/article/noahs-ark-remains-news/).
Later they visited me in San Diego. I was fully involved, although not vocationally involved nor was I a paid consultant. They "consulted" with me as needed. Later, as the filming group gained control of the project, a large contingent traveled to ICR for advice, on both expedition plans and Ark design. I contacted the group of pastors about their claims and they knew nothing. Investigations confirmed the shift and the original group withdrew. I remained willing to help as I could.
Clara's forerunner, a lady named Angela occasionally consulted with me as things progressed. Now she is out and Clara and the others hardly remember my participation. So when I say I have been a "consultant" to the project, it is in this context. When the current group was looking for scientific info and backing they contacted me at ICR and were surprised at the thickness of my file.
On February 5th Clara came to visit with me at ICR. She showed me the short video clip on her laptop. I was surprised and enthusiastic about the possibilities. I noted several weaknesses in her story, but had never seen anything better. I had a few others look at her video, and with nothing more to go on, they were impressed. I wanted to see more for confirmation, but was told it was not available until the film was released. I forget the details, but was subsequently informed of and invited to participate in the press conferences in Holland and in Dogubayazit.
I arranged for some creationists scientists and filmmakers to attend the one in Holland and they reported their skepticism. I had in a former year arranged for former ICR geologist Dave McQueen to meet with Don Patton in the earlier press briefing in Dogubayazit. On June 11th Clara and a cameraman came to ICR to film my impressions of the "discovery" for the upcoming film. She refrained from showing me any more evidence than she originally showed and what in readily on the Internet. As always I was supportive of future work, but unconvinced as to the discovery, and instructed her not to portray me as if I were.
Over the spring and summer I and Nev from Hong Kong tried to arrange for a group of leading creationists, all of whom would be delighted if the Ark were found, to journey to Hong Kong to see the evidence, be convinced and then help promote it. There were a few phone conferences an aborted attempts, but the only one who actually went was Carl Wieland of Australia, and he came away absolutely convinced they had not found the Ark. (Correspondence from Dr. John Morris received 10-10-10
In the spring of 2010 NAMI released Paraşüt's photographs as well as film clips and photos of their expedition. These showed an entrance passage in a glacier allegedly leading to the structure and of the interior of the structure. NAMI showed these photos and exhibited samples of materials allegedly taken from inside the structure at international press conferences held in Doğubayazit, Turkey and in Amsterdam, Holland. They also posted the film clips and photos on the NAMI website. During the summer and fall of 2010 NAMI presented their discovery in large public gatherings throughout China and in October 2010 were included in the program showed of the National Apologetics Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Response to NAMI's Claims
NAMI has submitted evidence for their claim in the form of material and media documentation, has raised untold sums of money from churches in China, and has been afforded credibility by an American institution (Southern Evangelical Seminary). An independent examination and analysis of the NAMI site by competent experts has been lacking to this point, since the location of the NAMI site has been kept secret and official permission from the Turkish authorities (rarely granted) has been necessary to access the site which lies in a restricted area of the mountain. The international media has been generally careful to report the NAMI claims while noting the reservations of various spokesmen for both secular and Christian institutions and organizations. Some evangelicals have supported the NAMI claims, while others have cautioned premature support while criticizing the failure of the expedition to include competent professionals and the lack of documentation supporting the NAMI claim to testing wood samples and their alleged dates.
The Background of the Authors of the Critique
NAMI leaders with Drs. Patton and Price (part of U.S. geologic team) with "wood" sample in 2008
Dr. Patton went to Hong Kong (with geologist and veteran Ark researcher Dr. Don Shockey) to deliver a 25-page geologic report and to offer private satellite data for a joint-expedition planned for the summer of 2008. Drs. Price and Patton went to Turkey in August-September 2008 as part of the joint NAMI-American team with the intention to explore the sites provided in their satellite data. However, Paraşüt claimed to have already discovered the Ark inside a cave and demanded €60,000 (approximately $100,000 a the time) from the American team to participate in the expedition. Although Paraşüt did not deliver, in October 2008 they were given photographs by Miss Clara Wei (a NAMI employee) of the interior of the structure allegedly taken by Paraşüt's photographer Müş and were told if they did not seek a refund of the entire amount of their investment and remained a part of the joint-team they would accompany the NAMI team to investigate the site later in 2008 or in 2009. NAMI also pledged to refund half of the U.S. team's investment at that time. The U.S. team also pledged to keep the photos confidential (a pledge they honored). However, NAMI did not refund any monies, and although the U.S. team remained invested partners, when Paraşüt took the expedition team to the site(s) in 2009 he allowed only the NAMI media to go the site. Subsequently, on April 28, 2010 Drs. Price and Patton were told by Clara Wei (see letter below) they were no longer part of the NAMI team and were returned 25% of their original investment (claiming the rest was used for their hotel, meals and flight to Van while waiting to climb in 2008). As a result, Dr. Price informed Clara Wei that being released from the partnership he would and others would now be free to share the information they possessed on NAMI and to pursue the truth of their claim. Dr. Price soon released information concerning his information on Paraşüt and contacts with individuals associated with the Paraşüt Project, and in the summer of 2010 Drs. Price and Patton went to Mount Ararat to investigate the NAMI claim and sites. In August Dr. Price interviewed one of Paraşüt's Kurdish worker's and several others with private knowledge of the "Ark" site(s) as well as a government official and sent videographer Pedro Venegas to the site(s) on Mt. Ararat with the Kurdish worker. He took GPS readings of the two most accessible NAMI sites as well as photos and film footage. In September Dr. Patton personally reached the NAMI site(s) and obtained a wood sample as well as photographs and conducted a separate recorded interview with the Kurdish worker.
Why Should We Critique NAMI's Claim?
It might be asked why we as Christians would seek to critique the claims of other Christians, especially those who say their purpose is to bring evidence that supports the truth of the Bible? Is this an unloving thing to do? Are we aiding those who criticize the Bible? The answer to these questions of motive can be answered as follows:
1. Truth cannot be supported by a lie: "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth" (1 John 2:21). If the claim of NAMI stands the scrutiny of independent investigation and analysis, then it's claim will be strengthened and it will gain wider acceptance than it enjoys at present. However, if it cannot and proves to be false, then the Christian community and its truth claims will be strengthened as it is warned of error and deception: "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith ... reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths" (1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:2-4).
2. Christians are responsible to critique other Christians: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?" (1 Corinthians 5:12). "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good..." (1 Thessalonians 5:21). If Christians do not critique other Christians, especially those who make sensational claims, then those who are not Christians will do so. If the claims prove false, non-Christians will wonder why Christians, who profess to love the truth, did not love it enough to correct their own. They will accuse us of covering up such affairs in order to protect our own. Our collective witness to the world demands that we hold our own accountable.
3. Facts of independent investigation and analysis are required for proper discernment of this claim. Every responsible Creation Ministry and Christian organization that has heard the NAMI claim and looked at the film evidence has asked for an independent investigation of the evidence and of the site before accepting NAMI's claim outright. The fact that NAMI did not take any professional archaeologist or geologist to the site (but Paraşüt actually prevented those on their team from going) makes suspect the film evidence since it has come to the public only through a media ministry (professional filmmakers). Heretofore, no such independent investigation and analysis has been offered to the public. We have therefore undertaken to examine the evidence and its sources from claims published in the past to the present site.
4. The NAMI claim has affected churches, Christian schools, and Creation ministries in China and U.S. We have letters (copies available on request) from church pastors, seminary presidents, and missionaries in China who are opposed to NAMI raising large sums of money from Christians through their film and testimony without providing the evidence necessary to prove their claim. NAMI has not submitted their samples for testing to independent and qualified laboratories nor made these results public. They have not disclosed the location of their site(s) so that professional researchers and scientists can investigate the evidence in situ (in its original place). NAMI claims that they intend to do this, but until this is done, fund-raising with the claim that they have discovered Noah's Ark, has been deemed inappropriate and disruptive to many churches in China. This has also been the case in the U.S. as NAMI has presented its claim at the National Apologetics Conference at Southern Evangelical Seminary (October 16, 2010) and via the English language version of its website.
5. False claims will undermine and diminish an actual discovery of Noah's Ark. In the past, claims to the discovery of Noah's Ark that have proven false have affected the faith of Christians and eroded the confidence of the general public. Every false report undermines the potential of a true discovery by bolstering the critical view that Noah's Ark is a myth and therefore cannot be found. Every false report further diminishes the potential of a true discovery by constantly exciting the public consciousness with a sensational claim that fails to deliver. The "Cry Wolf Syndrome" then takes effect in society so that no one really cares even when the real thing is finally found.
6. Published Claims require a published response. NAMI has published their evidence and as such it warrants a published critique. Because "the greater the claim, the greater must be the evidence to support it," the only responsible position of researchers, scientists and scholars is to examine, test, and to make available contrary views and reviews so the public may have alternative information to make a proper evaluation with "all of the available data." However, both of the present authors do not view this as a personal attack on any individual or organization, regardless of their own experience, but engaging the claims and data that has been presented to the public and to present the data at our disposal and that is the result of our experience as well as personal research and investigation.
7. The sensational manner in which NAMI has publicized its claim will have dangerous unintended consequences. In October 2010, 47-year old British Ark explorer Donald Mackenzie went looking for the NAMI site and was reported missing on October 14th. His mother Margaret Mackenzie said "he was keen to return this year after a Chinese group claimed to have found the remains of the boat" (Richard Williams, "British Man Goes Missing On Noah's Ark Search" Sky News Online November 9, 2010). Although Mr. Mackenzie regularly climbed Mt. Ararat, the NAMI site(s) is impossible to locate because it is not a natural cave, but constructed inside the crevasses of the glacier and hidden by rockslides and snow. Thus, the sensational way NAMI has handled their claim may have now contributed to one man's death with others to follow.
As to Drs. Price and Patton's personal motives for authoring this critique, the best expression of their views can be found in the words of Scripture:
"For, 'Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile. And let him turn away from evil, and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.' And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. 'And do not fear their intimidation and do not be troubled,' but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:10-16)
Overview of Evidence Against NAMI Claim
The evidence against the NAMI claim is six-fold: (1) NAMI's fraudulent reporting in its published article claiming the discovery of a wooden structure on Mt. Ararat in 2007, (2) NAMI's failure to disclose the conclusions of a report by an American geologic team invited by NAMI to examine and analyze their "wood" sample in 2008, 3) intentional deception by Paraşüt in obtaining funds from the joint NAMI-American expedition team and claim to the discovery of Noah's Ark in 2008, (4) testimony by Kurdish workers with private knowledge of the construction of the NAMI sites, (5) independent investigation of the sites and analysis of a wood sample collected at the site by Dr. Patton, and 6) analysis of the published NAMI photos by a professional scientist.
1) Fraud in NAMI's Previously Published Claim of the Discovery of a Wooden Structure on Mt. Ararat.
In 2006 the first International Symposium of Mount Ararat and Noah's Ark Research was convened in Doğubayazit, Turkey. The proceedings of this symposium were co-published by NAMI in January 2008 at the occasion of NAMI's international press conference, also held in Doğubayazit. The book was edited by Istanbul University professor of Archaeology Dr. Oktay Belli and given the Turkish title Uluslararası Ağrı Dağı ve Nuh'un Gemisi Sempozyumu ("International Symposium of Mount Ararat and Noah's Ark").
Book co-published by NAMI
In this book (jointly published with NAMI) NAMI wrote an article entitled "New Evidence In The Search For Noah's Ark, pages 22-33. This article described their 2006 expedition with Paraşüt and claimed the discovery of a wooden structure inside a cave on Mt. Ararat. The visual evidence offered to support this claim were photographs of Paraşüt inside a cave, the "wood" inside the cave, and a wood sample allegedly taken from the cave. It is with respect to the photographs of the cave researched by Paraşüt and of the sample from which a cross-section was taken, that a charge of fraud may be leveled.
a) Fraud with Respect to Photos of "A Cave Researched on Mt. Ararat"
The article reported the exploration of caves on Mt. Ararat by Paraşüt and his team and contained two photographs on page 27 with the caption: "A cave researched on Mt. Ararat."
The matter of fraud lies in the caption that claims this is a cave researched on Mt. Ararat. In fact the cave pictured is not on Mt. Ararat and not even in the vicinity. The cave is actually located about 50 kilometers west of Mt. Ararat at the Hot Springs (Kaplıca) in Diyadin. This river and the hot springs that empty into it is a popular attraction for locals and tourists. Both Drs. Price and Patton went to this site and photographed the site in relation to the book photos (see below).
The cave at Kaplıca (Diyadin) identified by NAMI as "on Mt. Ararat"
Dr. Patton on calcium formation above river flowing into NAMI cave
Dr. Price showing cave published in NAMI book at Hot Springs
Dr. Price at the entrance to the NAMI "cave researched on Mt. Ararat"
There can be no mistake of the location claimed and the actual location of the cave. Those who know Mt. Ararat know there is no such river that flows into a cave on the mountain. Therefore, this is not simply an "inaccuracy," but a fraudulent attempt to deceive those who attended the first international symposium as well as the audience of the book. We do not know if Paraşüt provided these photographs to NAMI or if someone connected to NAMI took them. Whether or not NAMI was involved or was aware of the fraud is inconsequential, as it bore responsibility for the content of its own article, as well as for every article in the publication it co-sponsored. Moreover, if Istanbul Professor of archaeology Oktay Belli personally edited this material, as the book states, then he should have checked out the accuracy of this statement, especially because of the sensational nature of the claim made by the article and because this material and the photographs were first presented in the symposium of which he was a part and during which he and others question the presenters. It should be noted that this photo of Paraşüt in the cave has been used by NAMI in their promotional posters and on their website from 2007 to the present day.
NAMI promotional poster (see arrow) showing Paraşüt in the cave "on Mt. Ararat"
b) Fraud with Respect to a Photo of "Wood" Allegedly Taken from Mt. Ararat
The NAMI article also displayed a photo of a piece of "wood" that was allegedly taken from Mt. Ararat by Paraşüt. The "wood" is shown at the cut where a cross-section was collected for analysis by laboratories at Hong Kong University (which concluded it had the traits of petrified wood). This photo was included as evidence of the claim that a wooden structure had been discovered on Mt. Ararat. The photo clearly depicts a dark brown sample that looks remarkably like wood.
Page depicting the "wood" sample as it appeared in NAMI's article
As with the previous photographs, this photo is a fraud. While it is a photo of the sample allegedly taken from Mt. Ararat by Paraşüt, color of the actual sample is not brown, but white (see photo below taken by Dr. Price). Its white color made it look like a rock, so someone "enhanced" the photo to give it a "wood-like" appearance.
Side-by-side comparison of NAMI photo and Dr. Price photo of same sample
Even though their article also depicts a photo showing the larger sample in its original white color, it is not identified as the sample of interest and is lost in the foreground of the general context depicting the symposium speakers and local officials. Therefore, the reader would not naturally make the connection and realize the incongruity with the smaller sample labeled as "cross-section of a sample taken from wooden [sic] on Mount Ararat." Dr. Price pointed out this "problem" to the NAMI leadership in January 2008 at the time the sample was examined by the U.S. geologic team, and again in September 2008 during the expedition in Turkey. To date NAMI has never acknowledged this photo as being retouched and have continued to circulate the photo in their promotional material.
On page 24 of the NAMI article "New Evidence in the Search for Noah's Ark" it is stated that a petrographic examination by the University of Hong Kong of this (small) sample was determined to be petrified wood. Our U.S. Geologic Team tested the large sample in Doğubayazit in January 2008 with the permission of NAMI, though the sample was carefully guarded by Paraşüt who had it in a specially designed box that was stored in some undisclosed location and brought in and out only at his direction. This, of course, added the kind of suspense necessary to keep the drama going and convince the crowd that this was a precious artifact. Once the sample was sequestered in a back room of the hotel where our team was lodged, it was brought out for our team to test. NAMI filmed the entire process, hoping to be able to claim the "American experts" confirmed their discovery as genuine.
Drs. Price and Patton examine NAMI "wood" sample in Doğubayazit
Photos of the 2007 NAMI "wood" sample from different angles (2008 Photos by Dr. Patton)
The U.S. Geologic team returned home and members Dr. Patton and David McQueen prepared an official report (see Report pdf) entitled "Report On The Petrology and Mineralogy Of The Hong Kong Object Observed In Eastern Turkey, January 2008. The report indicated that the object was "an extrusive igneous rock." In places, one could observe "fibrous wisps of crystals that have an asbestos-like appearance." Under magnification, these crystals revealed a feldspar luster and cleavage planes, making it quite obvious to anyone who has studied Petrology, that the object was a volcanic rock.
The conclusion of this report has been supported by other geologist after an examination of the close photographs of the sample such as Dr. Steve Austin, Dr. John Morris (Institute for Creation Research), and Dr. Andrew Snelling (Answers in Genesis). Dr. Andrew Snelling stated, in an e-mail dated February 10, 2008:
Having seen samples of petrified wood under the microscope, I concur with you that the samples claimed by the Chinese group to be 'petrified wood' from a cave on Mt Ararat is NOT petrified wood. If it were, then the photomicrograph should clearly show the cellular structure of wood. It doesn't. Someone else has asked me about the same photomicrograph and has told me that Dr. Steve Austin and Dr. John Baumgardner at ICR tentatively identified the sample from the photomicrograph as possibly volcanic tuff. I am inclined to agree with them ...
According to local Kurdish guides who had some knowledge of the affair, the material itself may not have come from Mt. Ararat, but from the region of Tendrik. Whether or not this is the case, the photos presented by NAMI of a formation inside the wall of a cave (no context shown), from which the sample was allegedly taken, do not visually match the samples our team examined in color or texture.
NAMI photo of "wooden structure" in the cave Close-up of alleged NAMI "wood" in situ
2) NAMI's failure to disclose the conclusions of a report by an American geologic team.
Dr. Patton and David McQueen were invited by NAMI to travel to Turkey, specifically to examine the object, with a view to applying their expertise in Geology and Petrology. They were graciously granted special and unique access to the object (over the objections of Paraşüt). They voiced their reservations about the sample, yet postponed their final verdict on the sample until they had reviewed their data and done further research for their report. Despite the tentative nature of the reporting, NAMI printed a picture of David McQueen and Dr. Patton on the front page of their magazine and quoted them as scientists supporting their claim. Dr. Patton noted: "This was untrue. We prepared a 25-page report, respectfully detailing our reasons for disagreeing with their claim. Their wood is definitely not wood, petrified or otherwise. It is quite obviously a fibrous pumice (volcanic tuff)."
It is difficult to appreciate the integrity of NAMI's claims that Dr. Patton and McQueen supported their conclusion that this sample was petrified wood from the ark, when Dr. Patton and McQueen clearly stated their reservations to that conclusion. Then, added to this problem, is the fact that they have never made mention of the detailed report, though Dr. Patton personally traveled to Hong Kong, at his own expense, to present the report to them. Is this silence honorable?
Large NAMI sample tested by U.S. geologic team and found to be rock (photo: Dr. Price)
3) Intentional deception by Paraşüt in obtaining funds from the joint NAMI-American expedition team and claim to the discovery of Noah's Ark in 2008
In July of 2008 Paraşüt claimed to have discovered the Ark. Below is the first announcement of this from Clara Wei (NAMI's worker and negotiator with Paraşüt sent on July 25, 2008:
I would like to share some confidential information here and everyone please keep it to yourself. Parasut has climbed Mt. Ararat since last weekend. He said the ice melt was up to 5,000m. He is convinced that he finally found the Ark. We had brief communications by SMS and telephone over the past few days. He is still on the mountain now. He told me he found a large wood structure on 4,900m and also ventured inside for several times. According to him, he found a lot of stuff inside, including pots, 2 meter long stick, food and etc. He said the structure was not horizontal but sliding downwards. To his puzzle, lot of the pots were half full of food. He asked me why but I was unable to answer. I warned him not to take anything away and he agreed. From the earlier communications, I found him rather shocked and excited. He has not decided what to do next. I asked him whether I could share the information with you and he said alright. But he refused to show any photos.
I am not sure the direction of the location but he said is in the region the Americans applied for permit (he meant ArcImaging). I think this location is higher than your one.
The next letter from Clara Wei (sent July 28, 2008) confirmed that Paraşüt had not gone to the site indicated by the satellite data provided by our U.S. team and demanded in advance a total of €120,000 from the NAMI and American teams:
Parasut is now back in Dogubayazit. I talked to him and it was really a difficult task. Now, he requests to double the fee (Euro 120,000) because he said that it is not the same deal. He said that we no longer go to "your" location but "his" location. I argued with him but failed. Here is his idea:
1. He can take four to eight persons to the mountain. Some more people can come and wait in Van. From the campsite to location is risky, he can only take four at a time. So, if more than 4 in the group, he has to split the group into two trials.
2. The team is not allowed to film, but they can take photos. The photos can only used for internal fundraising purpose for a second full search, with helicopters taking equipment and all that. He wants the second search asap, not to wait another year. The team cannot disclose anything public without his consent.
3. He refused to send any photo yesterday. But today, he called me saying if we can give guarantee of Euro 9,000, he can send a photo of pottery.
4. If we can make a deal, the team can climb the mountain next Monday, in condition that passport copies available and all money sent to him.
I know the budget you prepare is only Euro 60,000. Of course Yuen wants to join the expedition. If so, he will bear the another half. Problem will be solved. This morning he said he would give a reply today. But in the evening, he said he need some more time and will reply tomorrow.
Dr. Price replied to Clara Wei on July 28, 2008 with respect to the discrepancy on Paraşüt's site with respect to the satellite data and the need to verify his claim with photographic evidence:
Of course we are not convinced that his site is not our site as our satellite data shows no other structure on the mountain than where we located it and he seems to be quite near that location. However, he has made the discovery and is calling the shots at this point. We have to keep in view the historic nature of this opportunity and the impact it will have for the future as we proceed. Again, it is essential that from the beginning professionals be involved so when the information can be released that it will be understood that this is a "scientific" discovery and therefore convincing to the world. For this reason, an archaeologist must be included in the initial climb with Parasut.
I believe that receiving photos of the pottery is acceptable for his price of 9,000 EU, but he should agree that this will be part of the 120,000 EU and not in addition to it since he is only providing the evidence necessary to make the deal. It is most important that his photos not only show the pottery but the context of the pottery. This means he must provide a photo of what the inside of the structure looks like as well as a photo of the pottery inside the structure. Otherwise, the pottery could be in any context (cave, another building, etc.) and we would not know for sure if it was inside the Ark on Ararat. He has to provide photos that will convince s that he has found the Ark and of the pottery so I can estimate a date the structure. On this basis we can proceed on his terms.
I would like to argue that for 120,000 EU that a helicopter be employed initially to insure that those who need to get to the site to properly document it for fundraising can get there. This is not for the purpose of carrying equipment but people who may not be physically able to make the full ascent but are needed for the purpose of professional verification. However, if this cannot be done then the effort will still be made - we will have to pray for strength!
If Parasut will immediately release to you, and you to us, the photos needed I will try to make contacts to help on our end with the additional funds. He needs to know that no one is going to make the effort to raise money or come to climb without first getting confirmation by the photos (which I can provide once I have seen them). If he is insisting on the money for these photos upfront we will need to find a way to get the money to him, however, I would think he would accept this as a necessary condition for getting the rest of the funds he has requested.
Paraşüt's reply through Clara on July 28, 2008 reveals his original plan to deceive on a grand scale:
About the location, I argued with him they should be the same one. But he just said "no, no, no, no, no". He even said he could take you to "your" location at the original price. But I am afraid with his location in mind, he will intentionally lead you to the wrong place!
Euro 9,000 is part of the grand total. When I reach him, I will see how to proceed and also will ask Yuen to share.
I hope Yuen will give a positive answer tomorrow. I know his organization is out of money for the moment.
He welcomes the involvement of an archeologist in the trip. In the early communications with him when he was still on the mountain, he wanted me to send invitation to all Ark researchers around the world for a joint expedition. And every team has to pay. But Yuen rejected this idea. Though Parasut does not allow us for filming, I suspect he would bring a cameraman with him and keeps the tapes for himself. But I think if we continue the search in the future, he will release the film to us later. To my understanding, when the right moment comes, he wants to disclose the finding and give it to the government for protection. Of course, after he has earned enough money.
3) Fraud with Respect to Photos of 2008 "Ark Discovery"
When asked for evidence of his discovery to justify the advance payment, Paraşüt said he could not send anything over the Internet for security reasons, but would show us photos of his discovery once we arrived in Turkey. However, since Clara Wei, employed by NAMI as an advance person to negotiate with Paraşüt and prepare details for the expedition was in Turkey Paraşüt agreed to show her the photos and she would send us verbal details. Clara wrote that she clearly saw photos of a cave and of a wooden structure with a door in it (see letter below sent on September 9, 2008):
Sorry for keeping you in the dark for so long. I don't want to bother you with the trouble until things are more clear. Now, I can only update you with three things:
1. I saw a few pictures. They are not professional cameramen, so some of them were poorly taken. Anyway, there are three very significance. It really shows artificial wood structure. But don't be mistaken, I could not see a large structuce since they did not have lighting equipment. They only used flashlight of the camera. So the viewing distance is very limited. With this limitation, I believe the structure has somekind of partitions/ rooms. Because I see something like a "doorway", which is artificial wood for sure. The "doorway" is like a wood frame, higher than a person (they did not show person as reference, it is only told by Parasut). What behind the "doorway" is very dark. And Parasut said this is the corridor leading to other placec.
In another picture, I see another artificial wood frame of smaller size (it is not to the ground like the previous one, but like a window opening yet connecting to another "room". Again what beyond/ the connecting "room" is not clear because of darkness.
Why I am sure it is artifical wood? The frames are clearly very straight and the opening is rectangular/ square. The texture is surely wood.
2.The picture of a pot with background enhanced sent by Dr. Price to me. I checked with Parasut again for the timber-like background. Finally he confessed it was taken inside. So the structure is the same all around.
3. There is another picture that Parasut said it is the entrance of the structure. I saw some stone column-like things. He said the surface is dust/sand, which deposited on the surface over long time. After he rubbed the dust/sand away, [he saw] wood underneath. From the picture I can come into one conclusion, this "entrance" is exposed to outside because I can see it clearly because of enough daylight.
When the teams met in Istanbul ready to see the photos, Paraşüt deferred to the next day when the teams were in Van. However, in Van, Paraşüt deferred until later in the evening to bring out the photos. When the photos were finally shown (on Clara Wei's computer) we asked Clara if these were the photos she had been shown and described to us. She admitted that they were. It is important to note that these photos (see below) were what Paraşüt initially presented to both our teams as evidence of his discovery We were already concerned that this was a cave. How could the Ark be inside a cave? The only way would be if it were not a natural cave, but formed over the Ark by landslides and accumulated debris, perhaps moraine from a moving glacier? However, when the photos were finally presented, they showed a natural cave with a large tree and bushes growing around the entrance. This cave, if it is on Mt. Ararat, could only exist at the lower elevations and could not have been high on the mountain as Paraşüt claimed for the site of his discovery. To make matters worse, Paraşüt had included numerous other natural cave photos, none of which could have been a candidate for an Ark site and some did not even fit the geology of the region! These photos could have just as easily been downloaded from the Internet as taken on Mt. Ararat! However, the most damning photos were those showing the "wooden structure" of the Ark with a door that Clara had assured us (after conferring with Paraşüt) was the Ark Paraşüt had entered. Even to a untrained eye, the object in the photo could be seen to be nothing but a rock-cut tomb, but to us as an archaeologist and geologist respectively, there was no doubt! Later, asking Kurdish guides who have grown up on the mountain, they told me that no tombs like this exist on Mt. Ararat. It was Clara's description of these photos that got us to send the money and to get on the plane, but even if she is not an archaeologist or geologist, it is hard to understand how she could be so ignorant as to believe these photos were evidence of Noah's Ark!
Photos Claimed by Paraşüt and Clara Wei to be of the Ark on Mt. Ararat
(Original photos shown to the Joint NAMI-U.S. Expedition Team by Paraşüt in September 2008)
Photo of outside of "Ark cave" "Wooden" door inside "Ark" Close-up inside door of "Ark"
Additional Photos Originally Stated by Paraşüt to Be the "Ark Cave" on Mt. Ararat
Once Paraşüt saw our reaction to these ridiculous photographs he went off and refused to speak with us directly. Clara said that we had embarrassed him and that sometimes he acted like a child. However, he didn't trust us and would now only communicate with us through her. The next morning our U.S. team asked for the return of their €60,000 (then the equivalent of $100,000) since the photos showed nothing and Paraşüt had the deal was that if we didn't like what we saw we could have our money back. To make matters worse, earlier in the day Paraşüt had said that we would have to be "tested" to see if we could climb, and then, without testing us, had said that he didn't think we were fit enough. This was clearly an attempt to avoid his previous promised to take all of us to the site. Most of our team was fit and had some experience climbing. Moreover, his cameraman, Müş, who had supposedly taken the photos inside the Ark, was quite overweight and hardly looked like he could have made a climb (After five climbs up Mt. Ararat, I have personally never seen someone in his condition on the mountain!). So, we (rightly) assumed that Paraşüt was not going to take us to his Ark site anyway. However, the NAMI leadership came to us and asked that we give their videographer a chance to go with Paraşüt and his men to the site and bring back footage of the site. Again, if we liked what we saw we could continue, but if not then they would see the money returned. We agreed and waited for the Chinese videographer to return. When he returned he told us that Paraşüt and his men treated him poorly and refused to let him go to the site. So he had nothing but footage of blowing snow! Our teams stayed for one month in a hotel in Van, waiting on Paraşüt, but were never shown any other photos or taken to the mountain - and were never given a refund on our money despite repeated demands. Paraşüt eventually came up with other photos after a trip to the Black Sea, and these are the photos now being distributed by NAMI. However, these only came after the original photos were presented as part of Paraşüt's fraudulent scheme to get our money. It has been suggested that Paraşüt was deliberately showing us photos he knew were fake because he wanted to keep things secret and didn't trust anyone. This might make sense if he was showing them to someone unrelated to his team, but these were shown to his trusted Chinese sponsors for many years and the Americans who had together paid €120,000 on the basis of these photos showing the Ark he had described and had promised to take the team to see. Why deceive your sponsors and team members? Why keep things secret from those who you have invited and promised to reveal the secret? The only reasonable explanation is that Paraşüt had been deceiving us all from the beginning and thought nothing of continuing to do so. Keeping things "secret" can also be for the purpose of hiding the facts of deception. We pointed out this "violation of trust issue" to the NAMI leadership while with them in the expedition in 2008, but they continued to cling to the hope that Paraşüt was right and we were wrong. It must be remembered that NAMI had rejected our U.S. geologic report and continued to believe the volcanic tuff was really a wood sample from a wooden structure on Mt. Ararat discovered by Paraşüt, so they felt he had "come through" for them even though working with him was difficult.
Parasut's Later Photos of the Ark
Drs. Price and Patton left Van and went to Doğubayazit to participate as invited speakers in the Second International Symposium on Noah's Ark and Mt. Ararat Research.
The last invitation to the U.S. Team to a joint-expedition was issued by Clara in December 1, 2008:
Dear Dr. Price,
Parasut forbade us to collect wood sample and take photos home because he was afraid that we would announce the discovery rightaway. It was the deal with him that the team would go there, document the process and collect the sample. We have also agreed to work together for announcement when we finished all filming and laboratory analysis.
I discussed your concern with Andrew today. If you find it difficult to explain to the donors why the expedition seemed fruitless up to now, we could ask Parasut to refund money to your team as he promised to do so. However, he is very busy now and it would take some time. Meanwhile, since Andrew promised you 50% money guarantee, he could arrange that money refund to you first and then we would get back that money from Parasut and another half for you. But Andrew said it would take about one to two months because of the current financial situation and also we are spending more money on the project. When the situation in Turkey becomes favorable, we shall invite you as experts to join the team for expedition. We want to relieve you from donors' pressure and wait for Parasut's schedule. We don't know how long we have to wait, but we are willing to wait until summer.
To set the record straight, our team did request the 50% refund be sent immediately and we agreed to help with the expedition in any way possible. NAMI has stated in their video response to Dr. Price's statements posted on their website that he and other U.S. team members were only part of the NAMI expedition "for two weeks." That may be the time we were together in eastern Turkey, but we were invested partners and members of the expedition team until April 28, 2010, at the time they wrote that we were no longer a part and refunded a portion of our money:
Since winter 2008, we have continued the search with Parasut and tried to make things work between you and him. We would like you to be an archeologist in our team and helps us in scientific study of the site. But Parasut is reluctant to compromise. Even right before the press conference, I asked him once again. Now the news has been released and he is still firm. I think we better return the money to you. Since some of the money has been spent by your team during your stay in Turkey, it would be fair that we just refund you 2/3 of the amount. That is Euro 40,000. Since half of the money belongs to Dr. Patton, we will wire Euro 20,000 to you on Monday.
In October 2008, Drs. Price and Patton were given copies of photos just released by Paraşüt. Clara claimed these were taken sometime after the spring of 2008 because in the photos Paraşüt is wearing the expedition jacket he purchased at that time while he was with NAMI in Hong Kong. Most of these photos are now in circulation, but some (to pour knowledge) have not been shown online so the public is unaware of them. In particular, the photos showing a profusion of cobwebs, clumps of weeds, and straw strewn in bowls and on the floor. While it might be possible for such things to exist at this elevation if the site was exposed to the outside and undisturbed over time, this is not the case for the site(s), as will be shown below and as Paraşüt himself testified in the Q&A during the Amsterdam Press Conference when asked why they didn't enter the site in the summer months when most expeditions go to the mountain. He explained that the site fills with water - a fact we discovered during our own investigation - and is subject to falling rocks and other disturbances, since it is within an active and moving glacier! Take a look at the material in question in these photos and ask yourself whether they could exist, much less have remained in this position for thousands of years if the spaces in which they now exist had been flooded annually and re-frozen and also subjected to violent movement within the glacier.
2008 Paraşüt Photographs showing cobwebs, straw, and clumps of vegetation
In October 2008, Drs. Price and Patton were given copies of photos just released by Paraşüt. Clara claimed these were taken sometime after the spring of 2008 because in the photos Paraşüt is wearing the expedition jacket he purchased at that time while he was with NAMI in Hong Kong. Most of these photos are now in circulation, but some (to pour knowledge) have not been shown online so the public is unaware of them. In particular, the photos showing a profusion of cobwebs, clumps of weeds, and straw strewn in bowls and on the floor. While it might be possible for such things to exist at this elevation if the site was exposed to the outside and undisturbed over time, this is not the case for the site(s), as will be shown below and as Paraşüt himself testified in the Q&A during the Amsterdam Press Conference when asked why they didn't enter the site in the summer months when most expeditions go to the mountain. He explained that the site fills with water - a fact we discovered during our own investigation - and is subject to falling rocks and other disturbances, since it is within an active and moving glacier! Take a look at the material in question in these photos and ask yourself whether they could exist, much less have remained in this position for thousands of years if the spaces in which they now exist had been flooded annually and re-frozen and also subjected to violent movement within the glacier (see photographs below of the moving glacier in which the NAMI site(s) exist).
4) Fraud with Respect to the Claim of Having Military Permit to Access their Site
When our joint team arrived in 2008 Paraşüt took us to a fancy restaurant beside the Bosporus and presented all of us with clothing we would need for the climb. This consisted of an orange t-shirt and a blue vest that said in Turkish "Doğubayazit Rescue Team."
Vest and shirt given to NAMI-U.S. Expedition Team members to wear on climb in 2008
The purpose of this clothing was never explained, but the probable explanation is that Paraşüt did not have an expedition permit (other than for the Federation Trail) from the government and military and that this was some sort of disguise to prevent us from getting arrested if we made the climb off the tourist route. However, we had been instructed to pay €120,000 in advance (see previous letter from Clara Wei above) for an official permit. This was never put to the test since none of our team (except Fai, the NAMI videographer) was allowed by Paraşüt on the mountain at the time of the 2008 expedition. However, the letter below from Clara (received on December 28, 2008), may support the view that NAMI may not have had an official permit for work off the Federation Trial as it reveals that climbing done by NAMI subsequently was done constantly "hiding and escaping":
There has been no much progress since our climber went to the mountain and confirmed the claim. Fai and I were hiding and escaping all the time. By the meantime we were waiting for the news from the mountain. The team was working hard to open the entrance. Our plan was when they sent the news that the entrance was accessible, the whole team would come back. But things did not go very well. The political situation hindered any progress. Parasut is very secretive. He did not always let me know what was going on as he was afraid that news would leak out. I believe something happened and put him in very stressful situation. So he did not talk much. Sometime I talked to other team members and tried to extract some information, they seemed to know even less than me. He also forbade me to communicate with anyone, even the Hong Kong team. So they have been also in total darkness for weeks.
Last week, some fighting occurred in the region. I read it from newspaper that something terrible happened in Agri. Parasut believed that we had to wait longer time as unexpected things occurred. So Fai and I moved back to Hong Kong yesterday.
Now, we have to wait for his instruction. We believe him as always. So please also believe him because of us. When he is under stress, he would say that he wants to return money to your team and we do our work. Every time I tell him, this is the last thing we want.
Things are still going on, though not at a fast pace as we expect. Please do not check him up from other people. He has been doing some misleading moves. Anything you hear may only upset you and at the same time it would do no good to anyone.
Since the time of year they were on the mountain was after the sport climb season had ended, they were either avoiding locals to protect their secret site(s), however, locals are only at the elevation of the high camp when they service groups, or avoiding the Turkish military. They could not have been hiding from the PKK because they are not active on the side of the mountain where Paraşüt's site is located.
This situation can be compared with that of our own expedition which has full government and military permission to work in our designated sites. We have not had to hide from anyone, but have had to avoid or abandon our lower site since it is located in an area of high PKK activity. However, our upper site, which is located on the same side of the mountain as Paraşüt's site, has not required any interruption, and we have carried generators, construction materials, and other heavy devices to our site with full knowledge of the military who monitored our every move and allowed us safe passage. If Paraşüt is acting with similar permission in an area under the control of the Turkish military, why is there such a concern for secrecy? If NAMI is operating with military permission (not just the standard government-issued sport climb permit from Ankara) then why the concern for such elusive behavior?
5) Fraud with Respect to Announced "2010 Discovery"
Before we present our investigation of the Paraşüt/NAMI site(s), it is important to observe at this juncture that if Paraşüt has been deceptive to this point and NAMI has been gullible (and even willfully ignorant) of the contradictions and errors in the research and data, that the situation will not be improved by the claim that a real structure has now been discovered on Mt. Ararat. Nothing in the character or conduct of Paraşüt has changed and the NAMI leadership was obliged to follow his every dictate or risk losing their investment and the promise of making, as their literature declares, "the greatest discovery in modern Ark-search history." It should be pointed out that at the crucial point where Paraşüt was finally prepared to take them to the site(s), he excluded the professionals on the team (the American contingent), but only allowed NAMI media and their media guest to participate. After years of NAMI preparing for this moment, how is it that they allowed the exclusion of the very people that could confirm their discovery to the world? They will say that they were simply gathering the evidence and that the intent remains to launch a full-scale professional investigation of the site(s). As we will show, these sites are presently inaccessible, but Paraşüt's workers returned to the site(s) in October-November 2010 and to build new site(s) so additional "discoveries" can be made. However, let us take a look at the secret site(s) to which Paraşüt took the NAMI media people in October 2009.
NAMI's Secret Location(s)
Paraşüt and NAMI have assiduously protected the location of their site(s). However, they do not have the right to such exclusion, especially in view of the nature of their claim and lack of independent verification to support it. We became aware of the location of the site(s) in the spring of 2010, but conditions on the mountain precluded an expedition until the late summer. However, on August 8-10, 2010, our Ark Search LLC expedition videographer Pedro Venegas was taken to the NAMI site by two Kurds who had personal knowledge of the site. Because of the degraded condition of the site(s), their being filled with water, and the danger of collapse, he could not enter. He did extensively photograph the location, which was accessible from off the 4200 meter high camp on the Federation Trail.
Below are the photographs showing the precise GPS location of sites (spaces) #1 and #2 taken on August 9, 2010. Further down the page are additional photos of the wider context in the glacier. We offer this information with an invitation to any who are able, and can obtain the required government-issued permit, to investigate the site(s) for themselves.
Site (space) #1 (narrow entrance shown on the NAMI film clip)
Site (space) #2
The Making of a Movie Set
During the last year and a half, several members of the Ark Search LLC Expedition and their Kurdish agents and guides made direct contact with Kurds who worked for Paraşüt at his sites on Mt. Ararat. Their united and unambiguous testimony is that they carried wood to these sites and constructed an Ark site. They were told they were building a "movie set" and that the movie people would arrive to film what they made. According to them, Paraşüt himself never actually went to the site, but continually asked them for details to be sure everything was looking good. They only came forth to tell their story once they learned that the movie makers were claiming their "movie set" was the real thing! They did not want to be considered "a liar like Paraşüt." They did not want to be thought of as "bad people." However, because they live in close proximity to Paraşüt and continue to work on Mt. Ararat, they have asked that their identities not be revealed. This is a dangerous part of the world and there is a lot of money at stake and Paraşüt is not someone to be trifled with. Therefore, although we have in our possession photographs and recorded testimony of these individuals, we can only present an edited version of their accounts.
Testimony of NAMI "Ark" Site Construction Workers
In August and September 2010 members from our team (Pedro Venegas, Dr. Price and Patton) interviewed a Kurdish worker (and others with personal knowledge) about the Paraşüt/NAMI sites. These interviews were taped, but we are only able to release the transcript (see below) since an audio recording would compromise the identity of this individual whom we have agreed to protect.
Transcript of the Interview with One of Paraşüt's Kurdish Workers
This transcript was recorded in Doğubeyazıt on September 2th 2010. It has been [edited] for sense in the English translation (from the Kurdish original) and to protect the identity of the speakers. We realize that we compromise our credibility by not publishing names, dates, and other information that may lead to a disclosure of the identity of our sources. However, in order to maintain our trust with these individuals as well as to insure their safety in an environment where they have taken a personal risk to share their information, we are willing to make this compromise. However, to Creation Ministries and others who might require verification of our sources we are willing off-the-record to provide this information, provided we have a guarantee of confidentiality.
1. Question: "How long have you worked for Paraşüt?"
Answer: "For [many] years I work for Paraşüt.
2. Question: "How long did Paraşüt work on building site?
Answer: "They work on this Project for 4 years but building started 2 years ago.
Paraşüt never came to work. He came only one time to Mt. Ararat to make the
movie and he went back after we worked on the place. Paraşüt didn't come
again. [Another] man took the pictures which are on the website."
3. Question: "From where did they bring the wood?"
Answer: "I'm not sure, but I heard they brought it from the Black Sea."
4. Question: "Did you know what you were building?"
Answer: "No, I didn't know. I thought this was only for a movie, but when I saw the
news on TV, at that time I understood everything."
5. Question: "What will be done next?"
Answer: "Until now we have made 20% of the Ark and this year we will build another
30% and other [things]."
6. Question: "When will this work begin?"
Answer: "The Hong Kong people think we are working now, but we will start to work
in couple days and later they will come to join us."
7. Question: "How many people will work this year?"
Answer: "Six persons: two local people, two people from Black Sea (Selçuk and Ugur)
and two cooks will work this year."
Composite Account of the Construction of the Site(s) Based on Interviews with Kurdish Workers and Others with Private Knowledge of the Paraşüt Project
The plans for this project started four years ago. The caves were created by melting the snow and glacial ice with fire and gas. Once they melted out a part of the snow they inserted the wood. In one cave they put wood in and photographed it in the cave and then took it out. The wood that was left outside in the snow was three meters long. Three of these cave are located just off the Federation Way (Trail) at the 4200-meter camp area, although others are a distance from these. The big room never existed.
According to our Kurdish sources Paraşüt has four partners: two Chinese (one woman, one man) and two businessmen from Black Sea area. About a year and a half ago Paraşüt hired Kurdish workers to start working on building the sites. They employed 30 workmen who were not told what they were doing - just do the job and get paid - ask no questions and tell no one anything. Nine people were working at any one time and worked for a period of two weeks every year (and will work again two weeks before Hong Kong people come this year). They started after it got too cold for tourists to climb the mountain and they could work alone. According to one source some of the wood came from an old barn, however, other sources said the large wood came from an old ferryboat from the city of Trabzon near the Black Sea that Paraşüt bought with the Chinese. The workers also brought some things from the Hot Springs at Kaplica (at Diydan).
The wood was carried by large trucks to 2,500 meters and then by horses to 3,700 meters. Then each worker carried two pieces of wood until all of it was at the site. They started by putting the wood on the ground to make floors. Then they made sides and finally a roof. There is a ladder in one cave that leads down to the wood. The workers took ash (see photo of a sample of this ash) and rubbed it on the wood to make it look old.
Bag of ash (soot) used by workers to coat wood used at "Ark site"
They piled up snow against the wood frame they built and let the rain, ice, and snow cover everything inside and out. Rocks and other things fell on the roof and one caved in. The government may or may not have known about the transportation of the wood and the construction of the structures, but, as our source said, the government is only interested in furthering tourism since the economy is so poor, so they probably wouldn't care or say even if they knew. The workers said they worked on the inside for one month from around November 1 to December.
Parasut took many old things to put into places in the structure like stone bowls, seeds, and a rock. The piece of old wood that the Chinese gave to be tested was just a single piece that came from Alamut, a 3,500 year-old castle located 20 km from the city of Esfahan, Iran. Paraşüt also put straw and other things on the floors.
When the people heard on the news that Paraşüt claimed to have found the Ark many of them laughed, but others said they would keep quiet because it would be good to bring in the tourists.
Paraşüt will not try to go inside until after the Sport Climb (Federation Way) route is closed and the site is frozen up again. The workers plan to return in October to work again, this time building the "house of Noah." They said that Paraşüt told them this project would continue for many years and that he would continue to put more old things inside. He said that Paraşüt planned to open a museum in Doğubayazit to exhibit the things the people would bring out from inside.
According to Hale Ibrahim Sahin, second in authority in the government of Doğubayazit (like a Lieutenant Governor), the majority of the local authorities know about Paraşüt's hoax, but few will say anything because any focus on the city will boost tourism which is sorely needed. He mentioned one official who went on television to denounce the discovery of the "Ark" as a local man's scheme. At first, quite a number of officials and locals believed the account, but once some of the local workers began to talk the word spread of how the site was built and most people changed their opinion and now know the story is not true.
When one of Paraşüt's Kurdish workers saw Paraşüt interviewed on TV, claiming that he had found and entered the ark, the worker realized Paraşüt was talking about what he, himself, had helped build. Paraşüt paid well and the worker needed the money to support his family, but he did not like being part of a fraud. One of his Kurdish friends was part of the team that worked with Dr. Price and Dr. Patton. Through this friend's influence he agreed to guide Dr. Patton his friend to the "Chinese" sight and reveal to him what they had been building.
Don Patton's Investigation at NAMI "Ark" Sites #1-2
"We climbed together to about 14,000 feet, below the normal 14,400 foot base camp where a number of Kurdish workers and sport climbers would be camped. We camped that night in an obscure location to avoid being seen. Early the next morning before the sun began to melt the ice and loosen the boulders, we began making our way over a very difficult course to the glacier where the work had been done. About 200 hundred yards from the glacier, we passed the location of the workers campsite, somewhat cleared of boulders and relatively safe from falling rock."
"The glacier was full of rock typical of a glacier which moves like a tractor tread, plucking up and sampling rock fragments along it's way. Almost a third of it was covered with detrius and boulders. Large and small crevasses were everywhere. It shouldn't take a Geologist to know this was not a good place to build anything. By the time we arrived on the site, most of the construction had been demolished and debris from the structures was scattered across the landscape."
Top: L to R: The NAMI site(s) showing moving glacier, workers campsite Bottom: L to R entrance #1
"The boulder had crushed the cave and made entrance into it impossible (even for this experienced spelunker). However, it was possible to see under the boulder and determine that this was the location of the Ark "movie set." (confirmed by the Kurdish worker that helped build it). As we were walking away from the sight another boulder came crashing down landing on the very spot where we had been standing moments earlier, underscoring the temporary nature of any structure in or on a moving glacier."
Dr. Patton (next to fallen boulder) standing inside the entrance to NAMI site 1
Wood floating in melt-water at crevasse in glacier (covered by dirt) at one site at which NAMI "Ark" was constructed
Dr. Patton displaying wood taken inside glacier at the NAMI site
The Sample of the Wood from Sites #1-2
Dr. Patton holding the wood from the NAMI "Ark" site showing cross-section
The wood is not quite as light as balsa wood but close. Just what you would want to use for a movie set. It was carefully burned, blackened on the surface, to appear old when photographed. Dr. Patton sawed a three-inch slice off one end for dating analysis. Dr. Salih Bayraktutan, a Turkish Geologist had agreed to arrange for with C14 dating but when he saw the wood he laughed and said, "This is obviously fresh, modern wood. Dating would be foolish."
Four thousand year old wood from the Ark would have to be hard and tough. The distinctive covering of pitch would penetrate below the surface like creosote, an excellent preservative. The "movie set" wood found at the site of the "made in China" ark is about as far from what would be expected of ark wood as one could imagine.
Wood from NAMI site showing intentional charring to give appearance of age
NAMI wood plank showing modern (new) wood at end (chip at upper right)
Cross-section of NAMI wood plank showing modern (new) wood core
As stated above, other large pieces of older (still modern) wood was transported to the site(s) by truck from the city of Trabzon near the Black Sea. The remains of an old boat, this wood has a convincing look to an amateur eye, especially when seen covered by ice and in situ within a glacier on Mt. Ararat. However, no piece of this wood was offered for testing, but only a sample taken from a 3,500 year-old structure in Alamut near Esfahan, Iran. Only such a sample could give an age within the range allowable for the Ark, even though 3,500 years by most estimates is still too young. The announced age of 4,800 years is allegded to be supported by a report, but this has not been released to the public (why not?). Nevertheless, if our trusted sources are correct, this wood sample is part of the same plot to perpetrate fraud.
Transporting Wood to Mt. Ararat
NAMI has stated that wood such as that in their site could not have been transported to an elevation of 13,000 feet. They have claimed that no one carry more than a backpack above 12,000 feet! The photo below shows horses carrying wood to build a replica Ark on Mt. Ararat by Turkish and German volunteer carpenters working for the Greenpeace organization. It demonstrates that such transportation of wood has occurred previously. However, our own expedition team has transported (in 2009) a generator weighing hundreds of pounds to the 4200-meter camp and strung over a mile of cable over the top of Mt. Ararat (see photo). Also in 2009 our team carried to the summit of Mt. Ararat a building that housed as many as six people and equipment and reconstructed it on the eastern plateau (see photos). In addition, in both 2009 and 2010 our workers carried two generators to the summit as well as chain saws, a jackhammer, and ice chisels. We also transported (in 2009 and 2010) a bulldozer and a backhoe to the 13,000 feet on the western side of the mountain. These feats demonstrate that more than a backpack can be transported up Mt. Ararat between 13,000-17,000 feet.
Photo Credit: Associated Press: Manuel Citak/Greenpeace/ HO/AP at: Greenpeace Ark replica (Photo by Dr. Price)
Structure constructed for transport to summit Structure rebuilt at summit camp (16,800 feet)
One of two generators transported to summit Electrical cable from 4200m camp to summit
Timing is Everything
Paraşüt did not send workers to build the movie set or take the NAMI expedition team to the site in the summer, when the glacier has receded and temperatures are optimum for work on the mountain, because the construction of his site was within a moving glacier. This creates a landslide effect during the summer months when the ice is melting. The site fills with water and the rocks are constantly falling. However, by October the winter has set in and the rocks are held in place by the ice. In addition, the water that filled the site in August and partially drained off in September has now left the wood within the crevasse, where the movie set was built, covered in ice, giving it the appearance of having been there for ages. The fact that the site is only accessible from October makes Paraşüt's call to the joint NAMI-American team to climb in September 2008 all the more curious. Apparently he did not have the set fully constructed (our contacts said it took about two years to finish the work).
Why Didn't Paraşüt Fake the Ark After His First Contact with NAMI?
Creationist Dr. James I. Nienhuis in his blog site "Dancing from Genesis" (http://dancingfromgenesis.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/background-real-name-turkish-guide-parasut-ahmet-ertugrul-noahs-ark-discoverer-mount-ararat-turkish-mountain-exploration-first-time-discovered-nami-documented-wooden-wreckage-noahs-ark-climb-2008/) asks (and answers) the question of why Paraşüt did not fake the Ark from the beginning of his relationship with NAMI instead of waiting ten years? Below is Dr. Nienhuis unedited statement:
The guy who Randall Price said hauled all that wood up to 13,000 feet on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey to fake the remains of Noah's Ark is known as Parasut, his real name Ahmet Ertugrul, mountain guide and Noah's Ark researcher for two decades, so Randall, why didn't he fake it say ten years into his hard work, and what kind of gratification would he have attained by that, after ten long years of trying to find the real deal? Of course, that would make no sense, and since he is the one who reported the wreck to Noah's Ark Ministries International in Hong Kong after his discovery of it in the summer of 2008, and not to Randall Price, it's no wonder Price is miffed.
Setting aside Dr. Nienhuis' contention that Dr. Price is "miffed" because the discovery was not reported to him in the summer of 2008 (in fact it was - see "history" above), it is necessary to point out a few observations about Paraşüt's abilities as an alpinist and his experience on Mt. Ararat. One Kurdish resident of Paraşüt's hometown, a professional climber and guide on Mt. Ararat for many years, wrote the following about him in response to a question about experience and reputation as a climber and Ark explorer (Correspondence received 11-14-10 - edited to protect the identity of the writer):
About Parasut, he is not an alpinist (he doesn't have a license), as far as we know, he has been on Ararat only four times and not even in places that are difficult to climb. He cannot go high, because he has lungs problem, he needs to take medicine all the time. Also because alcohol. He's an alcoholic and for that he has been in hospital many times.
It's been 15 years since [my family] started [looking for] for the ark ... and [we and] many others sacrificed a great part of their lives to find the real ark. If it was so easy to find, they would certainly have already found it. And Parasut with Chinese came to the mountain one time and after this one time they claimed they found the ark. Our whole family has lived in this area for many years now, and we've joined the ark searcher's expeditions many times - usually around ten times a year. Until now we haven't seen any wood that could be the part of the ark.
We know Parasut and we know very well what he is doing. He is working with Chinese. He bought some old wood from Black Sea and brought it by trucks, then by horses to the mountain. Then they made a cave in the ice and with this wood they are building something there. The place is not very high, 3900m ... There are two people from Black Sea area and six from Dogubayazit on Parasut's team now. They are still working on Ararat now, they put the wood in different places, so they could find a piece every year and make more money.
People in Dogubayazit and Turkish people in general, all know Parasut is lying. Nobody believes the wood he claims to have found is a part of the ark. Turkish newspapers are laughing about him and his "discovery". Agri governor also knows about what Parasut is doing but he supports him, cause he thinks it will help to develop tourism in the area. Parasut paid the geologist Oktay EKŞİ a lot of money so that he told everybody, the wood they found is actually the original part of the ark. Salih Bayraktutan, another Turkish geologist ... checked the places the wood was found and he said it cannot be a part of the ark.
There are some photos of Paraşüt in his younger days on Mt. Ararat posted on the wall of his brother's restaurant near the tourist site of Ishak Pasha. However, when Drs. Price and Patton were with a considerably older Paraşüt during the NAMI-U.S. Team, they often observed Paraşüt drunk, and, of course, he did not take them to the mountain during the time they were on the expedition. We have also heard from stwo of the workers that built the NAMI Ark site(s) that Paraşüt never came to the site(s), but simply directed their work by cell phone and quizzed them when they came down. Therefore, if these testimonies are true, and nothing in our experience contradicts them, Paraşüt's reputation as an alpinist and long-time explorer on Mt. Ararat to the media is yet another case of fraudulent behavior.
6) Missing Artifacts from the Paraşüt/NAMI "Ark"
None of the Press Conferences have mentioned (to our knowledge) the claim by Paraşüt that a large assemblage of pottery filled some parts of the "Ark". In July 2008, when the U.S. team was asking questions of Paraşüt through Clara Wei before agreeing to send their part of the required fee of €60,000, the sum of $17,000 was paid to Paraşüt for photographs (see below) of these pottery artifacts because it was hoped these photos would provide proof of the antiquity of the structure. As an archaeologist, Dr. Price felt he might be able to determine the age of the pottery once he studied the photographs. When the photographs were received Dr. Price looked them over and also sent them to an expert in regional pottery in eastern Turkey. His conclusion was that the pottery came from Iran, and Dr. Price, as well as two Israeli archaeologists who looked at the photos, agreed that many of the pieces were wheel-made, and therefore of a much later period that that of the biblical Ark. Paraşüt also provided a photo of an animal figurine (see below) he said was with the pottery. Despite the later date of the pottery, it was supposed that the animal figurine, as well as the pottery, may have been votive objects brought to the site by those in past centuries that revered the site. The figurine may have been to commemorate the people or animals preserved on the Ark, and the pottery may have contained food offerings. This, of course, was speculation, but we were trying to explain to ourselves what its purpose might have been given it was on the structure Paraşüt identified as the "Ark". However, it was the appearance of old, gray, wood planks in the background of the pottery photos that seemed more persuasive. Although Paraşüt told us that he had taken much of the pottery to his home, Clara said he admitted that the photos were taken inside the "Ark." Paraşüt also gave us in October 2008 photos of himself inside a wooden structure (some of the same photos being circulated by NAMI today). Two of these show an old stone vessel filled with "food" (according to Paraşüt) and Paraşüt kneeling beside this vessel (see photos below). Where are these objects and why have they never been shown by NAMI. Why was the stone vessel with "food" not shown in the NAMI film? The answer must be that if they were displayed, they would reveal to archaeologists that the objects were planted (if they were ever there).
Wheel-made pot (side view) Wheel-made pot 1 (top view) Wheel-made pot 1 (bottom view)
Hand-made bowl 1 (side view) Hand-made bowl 1 (top view) Hand-made bowl 1 (bottom view)
Figurine (heads missing) Stone vessels inside wooden structure Paraşüt and vessel with "food"
7) Analysis of NAMI Photographic Evidence
Drs. Price and Patton received Paraşüt's photos in 2008. Many of these are the same photos recently released by NAMI as photographic evidence of the site on Mt. Ararat. During the two years we have studied these photos we noted the obvious problems with the wooden structure portrayed: (1) the wood is not coated with "pitch" as the biblical text requires. Genesis says that all of the wood that made up the Ark was coated inside and outside with "pitch" (probably a tree resin). It may be argued that his only applied to the exterior of the Ark and that the "rooms" portrayed is the Ark's interior, but there is no evidence in the photos that these are interior rooms and not the inside of the exterior which would have been coated with "pitch," (2) the wood has not been identified as to its type, and no point has been made of this by NAMI which should be the case if this were the ancient "gopher wood" which was a unique and now unknown type of wood, (3) the entire structure is deep inside a "cave," not simply collapsed rock and glacial ice over the structure. Paraşüt's own testimony was that the Ark was in a "cave" and originally showed us photos (see above) of natural caves. Later the story changed to a structure "slanting downward" inside a "cave," but it was still a cave. How could the Ark get inside a "cave," and how could its remains have ever been witnessed by any of the scores of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen it through the years?
Although we have above already given our analysis of some of the curiosities in the 2008 Paraşüt photos, which again we point out are the ones currently being shown by NAMI (rather than their own exclusive and newer 2009 photos), let us point out one of the most questionable features in NAMI's claim that they explored "seven spaces" inside the wooden structure they entered on Mt. Ararat.
NAMI's Largest Space in its "Seven Spaces"
NAMI's diagram (see below) of the "Seven Spaces" inside the Ark depicts the largest of these spaces as a wooden room at least 15 feet high. This height is estimated from the size of the figure of a NAMI expedition team member shown standing inside this room.
Largest "space" (second from right) alleged by NAMI to be a part of the wooden structure on Mt. Ararat
But NAMI admits that none of their team ever entered this room; only a camera was lowered into it for a photo. However, NAMI (to our knowledge) has never shown this new 2009 photo, but uses only the old photo provided by Paraşüt in 2008. Upon examination of this photo (see below) one can see tiny holes in the floor, consistent with a close-up of a cross-section of wood with splinters of wood in the sides. When Drs. Price and Patton first examined this photo in 2008, their judgment was that it was only a small piece wood, maybe a foot or more in size. Therefore, the figure placed in the NAMI photo of this original photo to show scale is purely conjectural and, in fact, the workers who constructed the site(s) on Mt. Ararat have sworn to us that this "space" never existed!
2008 Paraşüt photo of wood given to Drs. Price & Patton now used by NAMI as "Space
The Analysis of NAMI's Photographic Evidence by Dr. David Liang
Now that NAMI has released the photos on the internet, experts have began to study them and voice their concerns. One of these is Dr. David Liang of Ottawa, Canada, who has done his own independent analysis of the photographic evidence. Before retirement in 2003, Dr. Liang was the Head and Thrust Leader of Space Systems and Technologies within the Canadian Department of National Defense. He was a civilian scientist with equivalent military rank of one star General in charge of all research and development activities within Canadian Department of National Defense for Surveillance of Space, Surveillance from Space, Ballistic Missile Defense as well as Nuclear radiation activities.
We have attached to this report that of Dr. Liang because even though it is our contention that the site is manufactured and the materials inside modern, based on our interviews and investigation, Dr. Liang's analysis of the structural features in the Paraşüt photographs reveal inconsistencies with what would be expected of the real Noah's Ark.
Please go to the Report of Dr. David Liang.
NAMI and Its Representatives Say:
1. "There's a tremendous amount of solid evidence that the structure found on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey is the legendary Ark of Noah" - Dutch Ark researcher Gerrit Aalten Aalten (Fox News Report)
2. "We know Randall Price and we can assure you that he is totally wrong." - Mrs. Gerrit Aalten, Moderator, NAMI Amsterdam Press Conference (during Q&A Session)
1. We have presented to the public the facts as we have been able to gather them. Additional research is on-going and in mid-November 2010 plans were made to obtain photographs of the exterior location and interior structure of the newly-constructed site(s) on Mt. Ararat. Our intention is to publish this material before Paraşüt can take NAMI to the site this winter and they can release yet another round of evidence for the "Ark." However, we hope that the evidence we have supplied in our critique will give sufficient cause to question, if not wholly reject, the claims being made by NAMI. We regret that we have had to issue a negative report on the search for Noah's Ark because we share with NAMI and many all other Ark researchers the conviction that the biblical account is historical truth and that the remains of the Ark exist and can be located. Also, we have no reason to believe that the NAMI leadership itself is not a victim of Paraşüt, even though we have heard from our sources that at least one person in NAMI's trusted employ has been involved with the hoax with Paraşüt from its inception.
2. We believe that our own expedition team that has spent the past two years on Mt. Ararat pursuing scientific data and conducting a ground-penetrating radar survey (2010) has successfully located a large man-made structure (we believe to be wood) at the 16,800 elevation. This data will be made available at the time we have completed our next expedition which will conduct an archaeological excavation of the structure. We mention this in closing simply to remove the frequent accusation that we are jealous of the NAMI team for having made a discovery. Our motive has only been to set the record straight with respect to the private knowledge we possessed concerning Paraşüt and the NAMI research so that the Christian faith may not be tarnished as the result of a fraudulent scheme.
By Dr. Randall Price and Dr. Don Patton
The Search for Noah's Ark with Dr. Don Patton
You Have Seen the Evidence - You Decide!
Noah's Ark Ministries International Fraud exposed! (NAMI)
Indiana: "Balloq's medallion only had writing on one
side? You sure about that?"
Noah's Ark Ministries International Fraud
NAMI: "Made in China" Fraud Exposed
Noah's Ark Ministries International
Video by Don Patton exposing the NAMI fraud:
Our critique of NAMI and their response
2. Joint Paper by Randall Price and Don Patton on NAMI fraud: Nov 20, 2010
3. Don Patton's critique of 1st NAMI response: Dec 3, 2010
4. Don Patton's critique of 2nd NAMI response: Dec 10, 2010
5. Don Patton's exposes the fake wood photos: Dec 7, 2010
NAMI's fake "Noah's Ark" wood Exposed!
Dr. Patton was guided to the NAMI Ark site by the man
who hauled the wood up Mt. Ararat to build it! He recognized the wood that
was recovered at the 13,000 foot site and gave the piece to Dr. Patton as a
1. The "Chameleon wood sample"
2. The "Easter Egg wood sample"
3. The "Pinocchio wood sample"
examination of Nami's fake Noah's Ark wood recovered