CAIRO (The Blaze/AP) -- Egypt's antiquities authority closed the largest of the Giza pyramids Friday following rumors that groups would try to hold spiritual ceremonies on the site at 11:11 A.M. on Nov. 11, 2011.
The authority's head Mustafa Amin said in a statement Friday that the pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning for "necessary maintenance."
The closure follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold "Jewish" or "Masonic" rites on the site to take advantage of mysterious powers coming from the pyramid on the rare date. Abram.org reports:
Some newspapers and websites as well as Egyptologists said that among the meditators were 1200 Jews who wanted to put a symbol of the Star of David on top of the Great Pyramid in order to confirm that they are the real builders of it, not the ancient Egyptians.
The Jerusalem Post continues:
Egyptologists have never proven whether or not Jewish slaves took part in the construction of the monuments, or even settled in Egypt in the time when Old Kingdom pharaohs commissioned their massive mausoleums.
Amin called all reports of planned ceremonies at the site "completely lacking in truth."
The complex's director, Ali al-Asfar, said Friday that an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called "hug the pyramid," in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure.
The authority declined the request a week ago, al-Asfar said, but that did not stop concerned Egyptians from starting internet campaigns to prevent the event from taking place.
"It has been a big cause now on Facebook and Twitter for many people to write about," al-Asfar said.
The closure was unrelated to the rumors, he said, adding that the pyramid needed maintenance after the large number of visitors during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday last week.
But the Telegraph offers up a very different description of what may have happened:
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities succumbed to pressure after protest groups behind the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February demanded that the Pyramids be sealed off for the whole of "Magic Friday".
The council faced a backlash after it reportedly gave permission to a Polish numerologist group that wanted to hold a ceremony to protect the world from "cosmic forces" intent on destroying the planet next year.
The group, calling itself Dar Swiatowida, called on people to attend a "Ceremony of Love" at the Great Pyramid during which "two interpenetrated pyramid-shaped crystals" were to be placed inside the structure to imbue it with additional powers.
According to the Telegraph, numerologists contend that November 11, 2011 is one of the most "potent days" in global history. Apparently, the group behind this alleged ritual believes that the crystals would help to create a shield of energy at all of the world's sacred sites.
This would essentially protect the world from "cosmic forces." Since the group believes that the earth will end on December 12, 2012 (based on the Mayan calendar), these actions were purportedly viewed as essential. Because this story was alarming to Egyptians, when the rumors began to circulate, angst increased and the event was allegedly cancelled. CBS reports:
While Khufu was closed, the rest of the complex, which includes two other large pyramids, numerous tombs and the Sphinx, remained open Friday, though security appeared to be heavier than usual.
Dozens of police officers and soldiers were posted throughout the complex. Some patrolled on camel-back. One soldier stood next to his machine gun near a souvenir shop selling miniature pyramids.
Speaking by phone from the pyramids after 11:11 had passed, al-Asfar said he'd seen nothing out of the ordinary.
"Everything is normal," he said. "The only thing different is the closure of the Khufu pyramid."
Khufu is credited with building the Giza complex's largest pyramid, now one of Egypt's main tourist attractions. Khufu founded the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.