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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 well?

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 Dead Sea. 

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 structure. 

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 Bible. 

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. 


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