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Frank Gray


Ancient puzzles get local forum

Bruce Cunningham is one of those guys who likes to watch shows on the History Channel and Discovery Channel about ancient civilizations and UFOs and that.

He acknowledges that some of the propositions presented on the shows are a little goofy – to him at least. He doesn’t buy into remote viewing or the idea that ancient aliens engineered modern humans.

But you never know.

If you approach some odd concepts with an open mind, they prove to be, if nothing else, interesting to ponder.

For example, ancient Troy was just a myth – until it was discovered in the 1800s.

A giant meteor crater in Arizona was considered to be an ancient volcanic crater until some crackpot suggested it was the result of a giant meteor hitting Earth. Until then, people didn’t necessarily believe that big meteors and asteroids hit the earth.

Then there is speculation about how the Great Pyramids were built, how early man traveled to North America, and how ancient abandoned cities in South America were built.

Cunningham has actually looked up some of the authors who have appeared on these shows. He’s attended conferences where they spoke and traveled to see some of the world’s wonders, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Cunningham lives in the Philippines part of the year, so the trip to view the massive temple city in Cambodia cost him only $300.

But most people can’t afford to travel to see some of the leftovers of mysterious civilizations.

In fact, most people can’t even afford to attend the conferences he’s attended.

“You go to a big city and it costs a fortune,” Cunningham said.

So Cunningham came up with an idea. He discovered that the authors that show up at these conferences about ancient mysteries really don’t charge much to show up. Many don’t charge anything. They just like being able to promote their ideas and sell their books, Cunningham said.

It occurred to Cunningham that Fort Wayne is a perfect location. It’s centrally located, easy to get to, and it’s cheap.

Why not, Cunningham thought, make Fort Wayne a sort of weird-science central, a convenient location for more people to attend conferences with archaeologists and geologists and historians with different ideas?

Saturday, he will hold his first such conference at the Marriott on West Washington Center Road. He’ll have four speakers who will talk about lost ancient technologies, lost civilizations and a large meteor crater in Ohio.

The fee to attend the conference isn’t exactly cheap, however. An all-day pass is $45 (you can get one by calling Hyde Brothers Books), but Cunningham doesn’t expect to make money on the conference.

Attendance is limited to about 40, and ticket prices will go to pay for the transportation costs and hotel rooms for the people who will be presenting at the conference.

“If I lose money, I’m not going to be upset,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham hopes to hold regular conferences here, a couple times a year.

“I just want to be involved,” he said. “I’m not an archaeologist, I’m not an author. It’s just a way to be involved.”

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.