Ararat adventure and Ark sighting
as told to Robin Simmons:
Ed Davis Drawings
(Begin Davis statement)
"Something happened to me in '43 that's haunted me all my life..
I'm in the 363rd Army Corps of Engineers working out of a base in Hamadan (ancient Ekbatan
or Ecbatane), Iran. We're building a Way Station into Russia from Turkey. A supply route.
We can see it clearly on the horizon with it's year-round snow cap. 'Mt. Ararat, that's
where the Ark landed? I say. He nods.
'My grandfather knows where it is and has gone up there,' he says matter-of-factly. I
thought, Boy would I like to see that...
One day in July, his grandfather, Abas-Abas, visits our base and tells Badi the ice on
Ararat is melting to where you can see part of the Ark. Badi tells me if I want to see it
they will take me there. I had done a favor for their village that put me in good stead
with the Abas family. In fact, they now have water, where before they had to walk two
miles to get it.
So I go to my commanding officer and ask for a leave. He says, 'It's dangerous, you'll get
killed.' I tell him how much I want to go. He says, 'I can give you R&R in Teheran and
you could take the long way. I stock up on extra gasoline, oil and tires.
A few days later, we get up early and Badi Abas and I drive down along the border as far
as Casbeen until we get to a his little village (this was the settlement I had helped get
water). We spend the night there.
At dawn the next day, we reach the foothills of Ararat and arrive at another primitive
village. Abas tells me the name of the village means "Where Noah Planted The
Vine." I see grape vines so big at their trunk you can't reach around them. Very,
Abas says they have a cave filled with artifacts that came from the ark. They find them
strewn in a canyon below the ark, collect them to keep from outsiders who, they think,
would profane them. It's all sacred to them. That night, they show me the artifacts. Oil
lamps, clay vats, old style tools, things like that. I see a cage-like door, maybe thirty
by forty inches, made of woven branches. It's hard as stone, looks petrified. It has a
hand-carved lock or latch on it. I could even see the wood grain.
We sleep. At first light, we put on mountain clothes
and they bring up a string of horses. I leave with seven male members of the Abas family
and we ride -- seems like an awful long time.
Finally we come to a hidden cave deep in the foothills of Greater Ararat. They say it's
where T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) hid when he was doing reconnaissance. There's a huge pot
of hot food waiting for us.
We eat and then climb back on our horses and continue riding higher on the narrow trail.
They tell me we're going through the 'Back Door.' It's a secret route used by smugglers or
Along the way, they point out a pair of human legs sticking out of the ice and tell me he
shouldn't have been up there. I believe them.
I don't know how the horses are able to follow the route. In some places you can tell we
were riding along a high cliff but most of the time it's hard to see because of the rain
and fog. A freezing wind is blowing and it feels like it's going right through me. Soon,
Abas tells me to be quiet because we're at a place where Russian sentries, stationed
below, might here us.
We ride in silence for the rest of the day. Sometimes they'd communicate in their own
private code by short whistles.
Eventually we run out of trail. Someone from the Abas family is waiting for us, takes our
horses and we are roped together and climb on foot much higher to another cave. I can't
tell where we are. The rain never lets up...
After three days of climbing we come to the last cave. Inside, there's strange writing, it
looked beautiful and old, on the rock walls and a kind of natural rock bed or outcropping
near the back of the cavern. Another pot of food is waiting for us. Everything's prepared
for my visit by the Abas family. It rains hard all night.
The next morning we get up and wait. The rain lets up and we walk along a narrow trail
behind a dangerous outcropping called 'Doomsday Rock'. I guess it's called that because
it's a place you could easily die. and many have. Some not of their own doing. We doubled
back around behind the imposing rock formation and come to a ledge. We are enveloped by
Suddenly the fog lifts and the sun breaks through a hole in the clouds. It's a very
mystical sight as the light shimmers on the wet canyon. My Moslem friends pray to Allah.
They speak quietly and are very subdued...
After they finish praying, Badi Abas points down into a kind of horseshoe crevasse and
says, 'That's Noah's Ark.' But I can't see anything. Everything's the same color and
texture. Then I see it -- a huge, rectangular, man-made structure partly covered by a
talas of ice and rock, lying on its side. At least a hundred feet are clearly visible. I
can even see inside it, into the end where it's been broken off, timbers are sticking out,
kind of twisted and gnarled, water's cascading out from under it.
Abas points down the canyon and I can make out another portion of it. I can see how the
two pieces were once joined -- the torn timbers kind of match.
They told me the Ark is broken into three of four big pieces. Inside the broken end of the
biggest piece, I can see at least three floors and Abas says there's a living space near
the top with forty-eight rooms. He says there are cages inside as small as my hand, others
big enough to hold a family of elephants.
I can see what looks like remains of partitions and walkways inside the bigger piece. I
really want to touch it -- it's hard to explain the feeling. Abas says we can go down on
ropes in the morning. It begins to rain and we go back to the cave...
Next morning when we get up, it's snowing. It had snowed all night and it's at least belt
deep on me. I can't see anything down in the canyon. The Ark is no longer visible. Abas
says, 'We have to leave, it's too dangerous.'
It takes five days to get off the mountain and back to my base. I smell so bad when I get
back, they burn my clothes. And no one seems interested in what I saw, so I quit talking
about it. But I dream about it every night for twenty years.
There's something up there..."
(End Davis statement)