Professor Elkin’s secret masonic handshake

May 7, 2014

‘During 1931, Professor A.P. Elkin, then Professor of Anthropology at Sydney University, visited the north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia to make a field study of the Aboriginal cultures thereabouts. He came upon a strange tribe of Aborigines whom he soon found had never before seen a white man. Not only was the professor astounded when tribal leaders greeted him with secret Masonic hand signs, he was struck by the startlingly Semitic features present in the natives.

‘Prof. Elkin soon discovered that the natives worshipped the Sun, that they also had an Earth Mother and Rainbow Serpent cult, and that they practiced mummification of the dead. He recorded these and many other customs including the languages of the region. Only later did he discover that many of the words spoken by the tribes were of Egyptian origin.

‘These findings led Prof. Elkin to conclude that at some time in the distant past the Aboriginal culture of the north-west Kimberley had been influenced by visitors from outside Australia – that is, by visitors from the ancient Middle East, notably Egyptians’ [Gilroy 1995: pp. 248-9]

Could this be true? Could one of Australia’s most eminent anthropologists have discovered such convincing evidence of contact with ancient Egyptian sea-farers? And who kept it secret for half a century? What was the story?

In this post I want to look at the claim made by Gilroy about Elkin, but also mentioned by other explorers and travellers that they had met and exchanged Masonic hand gestures with Aboriginal people. It has some currency among secret visitor claims, and gets repeated often enough on the internet to merit discussing. Here are some other examples.

Atlantis Rising Forum – posted 10 May 2004

RBG Street Scholar – posted 25 Feb 2007

Above Top Secret Forum – posted 10 March 2012

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Society for American Archaeology Conference 2012

April 21, 2012

The 77th annual Society for American Archaeology Conference for 2012 has just been held in Memphis.  This is one of the largest annual archaeology conferences in the world.  The SAA’s membership is more than 7000 professional archaeologists working throughout North and South America, as well as many Americans with research interests elsewhere.  What made it noteworthy here was that it included a session on pseudoarchaeology, organised by David S. Anderson of Tulane University and Jeb Card of Miami University.

Even more notewworthy is that I presented a paper.  Well, I put in a paper and David Anderson did the always thankless job of having to read it out.  I would have loved to attend but as Sydney University is currently laying waste to its academic teaching staff in the Arts Faculty it would seem gratuitous to have sought travel money [and also here, here and here].

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Michael Terry

March 13, 2012

Michael Terry is little known now but was one of a small group of adventure-writers who helped to shape Australia’s self image during the 20th century.  A genuine explorer, who took advantage of motor vehicles to traverse some of the last desert areas crossed by Europeans in Australia, he helped to open up and map large areas of desert country.  In 1961 he discovered unusual rock art at Cleland Hills, west of Alice Springs, depicting stylised faces, which he thought may have indicated ancient foreign contact.  From that time on secret visitors became an obsession and he can be credited with collecting many of the stories that were later picked up by Rex Gilroy and others and have become part of secret visitor lore.

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