An aerial photo of The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: June 11, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY – A few days after talk-show host Alex Jones posted a classic video “rant” against “The Pyramid” in Memphis, Tennessee titled *"Devil Pyramid Rotting in Memphis." Jones had been in Memphis after returning from bullhorning the globalist Bilderberg gathering in northern Virginia and was on his way back to Austin, Texas.
This Internet video received a lot of attention, including a segment on Memphis WMC-TV 5 several days ago where the news anchor blandly counters Jones’ rant agains the “Devil Palace,” hoping it falls down and says, “Memphis leaders, of course, hope the Pyramid does not fall but it instead rises as a beacon for outdoor enthusiasts and good family fun when Bass Pro sets up shop."
You heard it right. Bass Pro Shops is giving the now-closed Great American Pyramid a new lease on life when the former concert and sports arena opens as an enormous, pyramid-shaped Bass Pro Shop, scheduled for an August 2013 opening, according to the Memphis Business Journal.
The Springfield, Mo.-based company, which has a large store here in Oklahoma City, signed a 55-year lease for the Pyramid, which the company hopes is transformed into a “retail, entertainment and tourism destination,” notes the Memphis Commercial Appeal. We should add that the photo accompanying this story features the Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Bass Pro Shops President Jim Hagale standing next to an artist rendering of the Pyramid with other buildings around. From the Pyramid a beam of light is shown shooting from the capstone, not unlike the recent images of pyramid energy beams photographed in Mexico and Bosnia.
Currently, the interior of the Pyramid, which hosted everything from a Grateful Dead concert to a Cher concert , a Christian "Promise Keepers" rally and more is being cleared out for Bass Pro. Years ago, even Michael Jackson showed up for an Elvis-related event with Lisa Marie Presley. The structure opened in November 1991 and was shut down in 2007 following a concert by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. Driving east along I-40 it stands out as one crosses the Tennessee state line over the Mississippi River into the city of Memphis. Great barbecue at the Rendevous!
But it is its curious history that garners the most attention from people looking beyond municipal infighting, money woes and lack of forward-looking leadership.
Some say the Pyramid is cursed. Flooding problems, a person died, bad acoustics and a county official going so far as to call the structure “evil.” Of course one would expect such reactions from someone unfamiliar with the sacred geometry and ancient knowledge that the ancient Egyptians used to build the original pyramids.
That view would likely be shared by Isaac Tigrett, the Jackson, Tenn.-raised businessman and New Ager who founded both the Hard Rock Café and House of Blues. Of course the Hard Rock Cafe incorporates a sun image, indicating sun god worship. And in Texe Marrs's informative book Mysterious Monuments: Encyclopedia of Secret Illuminati Designs, Masonic Architecture, and Occult Places (2008, RiverCrest Publishing) a picture of Tigrett, sitting in the lotus position in front of the Pyramid, is featured from the November 1990 cover of American Way, the American Airlines in-flight magazine.
Tigrett, son of Pyramid founder John Tigrett, was heavily involved in seeing to the building of the Great American Pyramid near the Memphis’s Mississippi River riverfront. John Tigrett and Sidney Shlenker were initially the men behind the “Grand Plan” of the Pyramid, although Shlenker was not keen on the crystal skull angle.
Deeply involved in eastern mysticism, eastern religious beliefs and esoteric beliefs, Isaac Tigrett (who married Beatle drummer Ringo Starr’s ex-wife, Maureen Cox Starkey, who would die in 1994) became a follower of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba.
Tigrett, it should be noted, worships this “secret swami” and he has publicly acknowledged that Sathya Sai Baba “gave him a crystal skull at an interview where the object just appeared in Sai Baba’s hands,” as noted at Sai Baba critic Robert Priddy’s website. Priddy also notes that Tigrett “believes in the supernatural power of this skull and that cosmic balance depends on it (somehow) and that it carries a cosmic curse which can destroy the earth.”
So, during the construction of the Pyramid (1989-91), Tigrett secreted away a crystal skull and other items in metal box which was welded at the apex (top) of the Pyramid.
As Memphis Flyer reporter John Branston noted in 2010, “In late 1991, The Pyramid was new and exciting. Befitting the weird building, there was a weird rumor that, during construction, workmen were paid to weld a metal box inside the apex. The installation supposedly took place late at night, with the mysterious box carried by persons dressed in black and carrying a transit pointed the North Star.”
Branston writes that the box, high in the Pyramid, was retrieved by workmen and Shelby County officials and later opened. “There was a wooden box inside the metal box and a black velvet box inside the wooden box. Inside the velvet box was a crystal skull about the size of a man’s fist, with sunken eyes, a sunken nose, and elongated teeth.”
Tigrett would acknowledge placing the skull in The Pyramid “as part of a time capsule to generate future publicity for the project. The skull was eventually returned to him. He said it was intended to be part of a promotion called ‘The Egyptian Time Capsule.”
Isaac Tigrett was not pleased about the removal of the crystal skull, telling city officials that “You don’t have any idea what you have done” and saying htat the “cosmic balance” of the Earth could be disturbed. Native Americans warned the operators of the Pyramid that things were askew and a Texas New Ager said taking the crystal skull would prevent the Pyramid from becoming fully operational. It is suggested by one writer that “Masonic-leaning politicians … believe tha the remaining crystal skulls in the Pyramid are still ‘working’ energetically.”
And despite accusations of sexual abuse and other crimes against Sai Baba, Tigrett comes to his guru’s defense, explaining that he “had a special debt to the Indian mystic, who protected him during a devastating car wreck in California.” The story is that Sai Baba appeared in his car as he hurtled off the road in his sports car and that Sai Baba “put his arms around him and protected him from harm” while the car was destroyed. So, when Sai Baba made a crystal skull appear in his hand, it made perfect sense to Tigrett to place it in the apex of the Great American Pyramid.
Working with Tigrett was a well-known California architect named Jon Jerde. In a 1992 Commercial Appeal series called “Pyramid Dreams, Pyramid Schemes” by Louis Graham, notes how Jerde had been successful in design work for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles (the Olympics that ended with the eerie appearance of a large “UFO”) and had come up with dark, ancient Egypt-themed rides that were called “Rakapolis” and “a dark ride named ‘The Netherworld.’” Both Tigrett and Jerde had recently been in Egypt observing the Pyramids at Giza and on The scary “Netherworld” ride, Jerde suggested “a god looms on the other side. He holds two living eyeballs in his outstretched hands.” High costs prevented the ride from coming to fruition.
The Smart City Memphis blog addressed the Pyramid controversies and crystal skull mystery back in 2008 noting how maybe "the truth is that The Pyramid is just cursed ... The Pyramid has been a reliable tomb of doom for any big ideas for its use." The site also notes that maybe the city should have capitalized on the crystal skulls, considering that during 2008 you had the release of the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, directed by Steven Spielberg and more talk of crystal skulls in relation to the Mayans and 2012 being the supposed end of the Mayan calendar.
Memphis decided not to embrace the skulls back in the early 1990's, as we all know. Talking to a friend who lived there at that time she told Red Dirt Report: "There was a general theory making the rounds that the Pyramid was a Masonic conspiracy. I had heard about the skulls. I saw a lot of ballgames and concerts there - never seemed to have any mystical powers."
Memphis Mayor AC Wharton said, in a WMC-TV article that no local tax dollars are being spent on the Bass Pro project. Still, the city council has authorized the city to “get bonds to fund the project, including 25-million for seismic retrofitting,” since there are earthquake concerns in the area.
One website critical of the city’s involvement with the Pyramid asks “How effective will the retrofit be in resisting an earthquake. Will the Pyramid really be safe or is this just an expensive band-aid fix?”
And those bonds? They will be repaid with state sales tax dollars generated by the project.
Of course Bass Pro expects to draw as many at 3 to 4 million visitors to Memphis. WCM-TV reports that inside the Bass Pro Pyramid will be "a cypress swamp that goes to about 9-feet in depth in some places ... along with a network of bridges and wharf-like docks." The interior of the Pyramid has been hollowed out now, leaving the skin, primarily.
Speaking of pyramids, Red Dirt Report just received a copy of Nick Redfern’s new book The Pyramids and the Pentagon. We hope to have a review of this exciting new book posted very soon.
*UPDATE (10:45 a.m. June 12, 2012)
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report
This image was taken of Isaac Tigrett, as featured on the cover of a 1990 copy of an "American Way" in-flight magazine. Tigrett was behind the crystal skulls being placed in the Memphis Pyramid in the early 1990's.