A Night in the Pyramid
“From the heights of the Pyramid, 40 centuries look down on us.”
So proclaimed young General Napoleon Bonaparte to his troops as they stood before the Great Pyramid during his Nile expedition in 1798. While waiting for members of his party to scale the height of the Great Pyramid, Napoleon is said to have calculated that the structure contained enough stones to build a 12-foot-high wall around the entirety of France.
But the most amazing story of Napoleon’s visit to Egypt is that he resolved to spend a night alone inside the Great Pyramid. Napoleon ventured forth into the pyramid’s forbidding interior, navigating its narrow, bat-infested passages with only a flickering candle to light the way, and ended up in the King’s Chamber deep within the heart of the structure. He emerged the following morning, pale and visibly shaken, and refused to answer any questions about what had happened during his overnight stay. Napoleon remained silent about his experience for the next 23 years until finally he lay on his death bed. A friend asked him what had happened that fateful night in 1798. The great Emperor sat upright, preparing to speak, and then sank back. “What’s the use?” he said to his friend. “If I told you, you would never believe me.”
The only problem with this story is that… it did not happen. Napoleon’s private secretary Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne, who accompanied General Bonaparte to Egypt, insisted he never entered the pyramid.
There is another story that Napoleon converted to Islam while in Egypt. That never happened either.