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No. 109: Jan-Feb 1997

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Riddles Of The Sphinx

To answer both riddles, R. Waters suggests that the original Sphinx was actually carved as a complete lion several millennia before the Giza pyramids were erected. It was these later pyramid builders -- those master craftsmen in stone -- who recarved the head into human form, necessarily reducing its size relative to the body.

(Waters, Richard; "The Lion King," Fortean Times, p. 54, no. 91, October 1996)

Comment. Waters is not the first to reinterpret the Sphinx's head. Others have noticed that the surviving facial features of the Sphinx do not match those of the Pharaoh Chephren, the supposed builder of the adjacent Great Pyramid. J.A. West, in his 1979 book Serpent in the Sky, advances this idea. The lion-head surmise has also been mentioned in the recent TV documentary Mystery of the Sphinx. Another suggestion is that the surviving features more closely resemble those of Subsaharan Africans. (SF#83)

The sphinx today. Was the original a lion? (Top) The sphinx today. (Bottom) Was the original Sphinx really a lion?

From Science Frontiers #109, JAN-FEB 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987