Prime Time America - Hosted by Greg Wheatly
Date - November 2000
Interview with Michael Sanders. Director of Expeditions, Mysteries of the
Bible Research Foundation.
Greg - Is it possible to take a submarine to the bottom of the Dead
Sea? Well it is possible and we'll explore, so to speak, that possibility, just
now as we visit with Michael Sanders. Michael is the Director of
Expeditions for the Mysteries of the Bible Research Foundation and it was just
about a year ago, last November, as a matter of fact, that their foundation
undertook two expeditions and one of them…well …
Let's get the story from Michael. Good afternoon, Michael.
Michael - Good afternoon Greg, how are you?
Greg - I'm fine. You took a submarine down to the bottom of the Dead
Sea as I understand and parenthetically before we get into your findings…that's
kind of a tough thing to do, isn't it?
Michael - Ah…very, we actually flew the submarine from California
to Israel which was a major undertaking in itself, although it's a small
submarine. And it had taken me oh, a year and a half to raise the funds and get
the television people onboard. It was a very complex and complicated project
because the Israeli government were involved and the Jordanian government were
involved. We had to get permission from everyone, including Yasser Arafat. And
funily enough, five days before we were to due dive, the Israeli Army let off a
massive explosion right in the center of the Dead Sea. The first time they had
ever done that, causing a 4.2 blip on the Richter scale.
Greg - Hummm
Michael - So, we had to over come a lot of difficulties. Yes.
Greg - Now I understand as well, Michael, that the Dead Sea, a lot of
people know, has so much mineral content, I mean that you can float on that body
of water very easily. Does that make it hard to get a boat under the water as
Michael - Yes, it is true, it is very difficult. We had to add
over a thousand pounds of lead weight to the submarine to get it to go down to
the bottom. So there was nothing easy about doing it and of course that's why it
had never been done before. We were the first to ever reach to bottom of the
Greg - How deep is it?
Michael - It slopes down from the northern end to about probably
maximum of 1200 feet. We couldn't dive below 700 feet because of the pressure on
the submarine. So we did our dives between 250 and 700 feet.
Greg - Did you go then…I presume you did…you must have gone into this
expedition looking for something. What was it?
Michael - Well, we had by accident found a satellite image of the
Dead Sea, which when our people played with it, brought up some very interesting
anomalies which just shouldn't have been there. They were ahhh, one was in the
shape of Orion and the other was in the shape of a pyramid. That appeared to be
something at the bottom of the Dead Sea and it appeared also that there had been
a delta area that was still visible on the satellite images. And so, that's how
we first got interested in exploring further and we had been in contact with the
Dead Sea Research Center at Tel Aviv University, who are the world's leading
experts on the Dead Sea. We showed them the image and they got very excited and
they wanted to collaborate in this expedition with us. And then we funily
enough, again by accident, we came across a map that was published in 1650 which
showed the cities of the plain beneath the Dead Sea in flames and in very
specific places. And funily enough, that map of 1650 proves to be more accurate
about what we found than even the satellite photograph.
Greg - Hummm. Well what did you find? Something down there lead you to
believe that you might have found Sodom and Gomorrah. Is that right?
Michael - That's correct. When we dove down to the bottom of the
Dead Sea, it looks very much like the terrain of the North Pole. It is all
crystalline, white, salt and flat as the lights of the submarine can see. And
the flatness is throughout the whole of the Dead Sea where we dived. Except one
area. And parenthetically I have got to say that at the last moment the
Jordanian Government withdrew their permission. So we could only dive in the
Israeli half of the Dead Sea. So some of the anomalies that we wanted to
investigate on the Jordanian side, the Jordanian Army went on the alert when we
tried to sneak across the border and forbid it there was and international
incident between the Jordanian Army and the Israeli Army. So, we spent a number
of day diving and we investigated one anomaly spot and found nothing there. And
then we went further north and at a spot where there was an anomaly on the
satellite image. And in fact the Dead Sea Research Center had produced a
Magnetometer Scan that had also showed a square area that also looked somewhat
peculiar. There, we found a massive series of mounds. About 700/800 Meters
exactly square. Each mound was covered with a little dab of some red material
which we still don't know what that is. The sides of the mounds were not covered
with the red stuff. Between the mounds was not covered with the red stuff, only
on top of the mounds.
Greg - Humm
Michael - And in one particular area, which we didn't think we had
filmed, because I, in fact never saw this, it was seen only by Zvi Ben Avraham …
who is the Director of the Dead Sea Research Center. He described a perfectly
straight line of blocks. Which were sheer and perfectly flat … was unusual
because everything is incrusted it is not …when I say it is flat it is like
snow…it is crusty. The sides of these blocks were perfectly sheer and looked
like marble. And we didn't think that we had got those on film. They got Zvi
extremely excited. When he came up he was prepared to swear that they could not
have been artificially made, because they were at an angle to the normal. This
is a …let me explain…this is a tectonic zone, this is an earthquake zone…so
there could be anomalies in positions that are parallel to those earth quake
lines. This was at an angle to it. So it couldn't possibly be anything to do
with earthquakes. It had to be a natural…ahh …a man made or an unnatural
Greg - Hummm… Michael, are there other reasons. I'm assuming you're
leading up to the point that perhaps that this was ahhh caused in the
destruction in the Cities. Are there other…are there geographic reasons. Is this
where Sodom or Gomorrah should be geographically.
Michael - Absolutely. There is a portion in the Bible that states
quite categorically that when Lot and Abraham came back from Egypt and they had
their feud and Lot was given first choice of the land. They viewed the area from
Bethel and although there are some scholars in recent years that have tried to
suggest that the Cities of the Plains were in the south of the Dead Sea, because
it is much shallower and it makes or it had made more geological sense. The
south of the Dead Sea cannot be seen from where Lot and Abraham had stood. You
can only see the northern tip of the Dead Sea. And if there had been cities
there, then Lot could certainly have seen over from Bethel a plain, which of
course is not there now, which is describe in the Bible as being as fertile as
the Nile plain. Like, in fact the garden of Eden as it is so described in the
Greg - I know, Michael that you went there thinking to produce a
special …a television special…and I know there are some legal matters and I
don't know how much you want to talk about there. Is any of this going to be
seen by the public?
Michael - (Pause) A very peculiar version of the events were
produced by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom in collaboration with NBC in this
country. For some unknown reason the director of that documentary just didn't
tell the story. And we've had all sorts of problems in trying to get the 170
hours of film which was shot so that NBC who have the right to show it and who
have revised both the expeditions specials for showing in this country, could
show the accurate version. I have tried to get them to edit it and NBC even
don't want to edit it . So there is a very good chance that it will be seen in
this country but whether it will be seen in the correct form is something that
we are still fighting for.
Greg - Hummm. Do you have plans to go back or have you filmed enough
there for now that you think the other…the other…the battle has to be fought on
getting it shown…I suppose.
Michael - Well there is some very important film that we want to
have shown. And of course we are now…there is very severe political problems.
You cannot drive to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem any more,
because of the problems between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And we don't
know how long that will last. We have another expedition regarding the Ark of
the Covenant, which we did at the same time, in a village in the Jordanian
Hills, which is totally cut off. It a Hamas stronghold. So we've been wanting to
go back there to actually open the foundation deposit of an Egyptian Temple
which we found. The Egyptian Temple where Shishak the Egyptian King received all
the treasures of Solomon's Temple. We found that. We can't go back there because
of the political events. So, there are a lot of problems involved. We keep
people updated on our site Bible Mysteries.com of all these events. We have
actually the still photographs of the walls of the …of what ever it is beneath
the Dead Sea. Which the map of 1650 actually describes as Zeboim, which is one
of the Cities of the Plain. But it is in exactly the same position.
Greg - Well let me direct people to your website, and there is more
information there and it is www.biblemysteries.com. Is that correct?
Michael - That is exactly right.
Greg - All right. Bible Mysteries.com. Michael Sanders is the Director
of Expeditons for Mysteries of the Bible Research Foundation. Michael, good to
talk to you.
Michael - Greg. Thank you so very much. I do appreciate it.