An Arab who got the shock of his life on the summit
Home :: General Articles

When you look up at the Great Pyramid, it's apex seems to be missing. It is flap topped and not pointed like a pyramid should be.

Usually, when a pyramid was constructed, the top part, or capstone (also called top-stone), was the last thing to be placed on it. It was considered the most important part of the pyramid and was made of special stone or even gold. The capstone was usually highly decorated.

An example of a capstone in the Cairo museum
Was the great pyramid always without a capstone or was it stolen, destroyed, etc? No one knows but the accounts of visitors to the pyramid from the ancient past (as far back as the time of Christ) always reported that the pyramid lacked a capstone. It is possible that it was never finished. Another possibility is that capstones were sometimes made of gold and maybe the first thing looted. The only problem is that this would be a very large capstone. If you climbed to the top, you could walk around very freely on the pyramid as many have done. It is about 30 feet in each direction. Thus, this capstone would have been huge and weighed a tremendous amount. Also on the summit you would see something that looks like a mast or flagpole. Actually it was placed there by two astronomers in 1874 to show where the Pyramid's actual apex would have been if finished.





On the back of a dollar bill, you can see a pyramid with a flat top. No one has been able to explain why the Great Pyramid would have been built without a capstone. This is an interesting story associated with a visit to the top of the great pyramid. Many tourists have climbed to the top, which is not an easy journey. One such person was Sir Siemen's, a British inventor. He climbed to the top with his Arab guides. One of his guides called attention to the fact that when he raised his hand with outspread fingers, he would hear an acute ringing noise. Siemen raised his index finger and felt a distinct prickling sensation. He also received an electric shock when he tried to drink from a bottle of wine that he had brought with him. Being a scientist, Siemen than moistened a newspaper and wrapped it around the wine bottle to convert it into a Leyden jar (an early form of a capacitor). When he held it above his head, it became charged with electricity. Sparks then were emitted from the bottle. One of the Arab guides got frightened and thought Siemen was up to some witchcraft and attempted to seize Siemen's companion. When Siemen's noticed this, he pointed the bottle towards the Arab and gave him such a shock that it knocked the Arab to the ground almost rendering him unconscious. When he recovered, he took off down the pyramid shouting loudly. What kind of natural phenomena on the top of the Great Pyramid could produce such an electo-static effect? It would be interesting to conduct additional physics experiments on the top of the Great Pyramid.