The motivation for publishing this study came from an unusual personal incident. It compelled me to fine-tune my life in many ways.
The Stargate Project was the code name of a commission by the U.S. Government to explore claims of advanced psychic functioning. It evolved from research conducted at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in the early 1970s. The chief investigators were Drs. Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ. Group participants reportedly included Uri Geller, Ingo Swann, Pat Price, Joseph McMoneagle and others. Author Jon Ronson gave out a picture of that concealed pursuit in his 2004 novel "The Men Who Stare at Goats." A Stargate objective of the 1970s called for the mobilization of potential remote viewers.
“On a cool and misty morning north
of the Nile, as I sat near the harbor of an ancient
isle, he walked by the
waterfront and watched me for a while.”
When in Ohio from 1977 to 1978, I experienced a series of restless vivid dreams that were illogical yet very affecting. They were so peculiar that I committed them to writing and shared them with friends. In those weird hallucinations, I found myself tied to a chair in the middle of what appeared to be some sort of nuclear appliance. Naturally, I spurned those dreams as hazy expressions of my own imagination.
I later learned that during the same period, other people had also reported comparable perceptions of being fixed to an ominous chair and experimented upon. The focus of those experiments was said to be an offshoot of the puzzling Philadelphia Experiment. The rumored sign was the Montauk Chair, an odd machine for “time vortex” tests that were allegedly conducted at Montauk Air Force Base near New York City.
* * *
In early 1980 I briefly stayed in a lower-level basement apartment opposite the British Council in Athens, Greece (Lycabettus - Kolonaki district). One day while cleaning, I detached a framed canvas that covered a metal entryway in one of the walls. It looked like a submarine door with an air lock. I called some friends over to help me open it. It took three of us to unfasten parts of the wooden floorboards. The concrete walls were a few feet thick. When we opened the door, we found evidence of what appeared to be a World War II torture chamber.
A chair with a hole in it was near a bloody mattress in a corner of the Lycabettus bunker. It reminded me of the chair I had envisioned years before in my uneasy dreams. Next to it was a pile of burnt newspaper pieces from the early 1940s that featured articles about the Nazis.
A small ball of clay or soil pasted around the foot of the chair bewildered us. We later concluded that "feet of clay" were used to psychologically torture a hostage tied to the chair, who was probably ordered not to move but to remain perfectly still and motionless.
Any movement of the chair would cause
the clay lump to crumble and break into smaller fragments. The guards could then
measure the slightest movements that had occurred while they were not in the
bunker and punish their prisoner accordingly. The puncture in the seat of the
chair may have been due to the action of severe violence or a malicious
This terrible find happened at an extremely awkward time. Tom Cacoliris, an American friend of mine who helped to remove the floorboards, was producing a music concert at the Hilton hotel with the legendary jazz star Dizzy Gillespie.
Tom wanted to use my basement apartment as a provisional telephone office. My other friend who helped to remove the floorboards, Australian George Georgison, was there to supervise the concert ticket sales.
The unearthing sent us into a state of angst. We were distressed in front of some of Dizzy Gillespie's quartet members who sat through our unexpected experience during their 1980 Athens Hilton performance.
Since I had briefly taken over the Athens apartment from a drifting companion, I had no legal rental lease. When the building’s janitor learned of my bunker discovery, I was told that I would be evicted. The spooky finding beset me with insomnia. I could no longer remain in the haunted residence. I found myself aimlessly wandering through Kolonaki Square.
One night I met two people on the streets of Kolonaki. One was an elderly gentleman, a Canadian artist called Paul. The other was an attractive young lady, a black model with London elegance. In those days Leonard Cohen, one of Canada's most influential singer-songwriters, had a house on the Greek island of Hydra. The two had just arrived into Athens after visiting their friend Leonard Cohen.
When I told them my fearful story of the bunker in my flat, I began to whine about the need for film to photograph the evidence. I also grumbled that I was being evicted. After a moment’s silence, the young lady reached into her purse and handed me a small bundle of money – enough to buy film and pay the month’s rent. The two travelers had suddenly appeared out of nowhere like caring messengers. I never saw them again.
In that way, I was able to buy time and photograph details of the bunker exactly as it had been uncovered. I mailed the photos to the Athens police department, but they arrived too late. When the authorities finally got there a few weeks later, I had been evicted and the evidence had already been removed.
The people who rented the basement apartment after me were chief members of the Greek TV news media who communicated with the Greek prime minister. Antonis Hadzaras was a national news director. His brother Vasilis Hadzaras was a TV news anchorman. Therefore, I cannot rule out the possibility that intelligence analysts may have examined the bunker before the local police arrived.
What finally became of the ghostly chair and mattress? Did they go to a forensic area or were they discarded as waste? Most of the bunker witnesses developed abnormal lumps or growth in their bodies. Antonis Hadzaras soon died of a brain tumor. Tom Cacoliris suddenly died in London years later and was cremated without family notification. When a swelling formed on the left side of my back, I had it surgically removed at an oncology clinic. Some time later, newspapers reported that an extremely radioactive substance had mysteriously turned up in a scrap metal junkyard near Athens. Throughout those days incredible reports of the Montauk Chair also began to leak to the media.
* * *
After several months, Costas Coutayar, a Greek-Turkish art director introduced me to Christos Lambrakis, the owner of Athens’ most influential newspapers. Mr. Lambrakis heard rumors of the ill-famed bunker and wanted to see the original photographs. The Lambrakis Press Group plays a prominent role in Greek publishing and Greek politics, mainly through its primary newspapers, To Vima and Ta Nea. But after some thought, Mr. Lambrakis determined that my bunker photos were not to be published because they raised too many questions. Since we didn't have a story, hasty publication of the photos might tip off principal perpetrators and allow them to cover their tracks. In other words, the police photos were classified material.
It troubled me for some time. The big question was: who was the hostage or victim of that Lycabettus torture chamber? I frequented libraries and bookstores looking for war photos that might resemble the Athens bunker. Then in 1997, I found an official war picture that matched.
The Lambrakis Press Group had published that picture, claiming it to be a photo of Hitler’s corpse. But it was later declared that it was a “double” of Hitler. It was part of film footage and other photographic details that were released by the Soviet KGB in 1992, after a policy introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev that called for increased openness and transparency in government. However, that particular photo was rather odd. It had been printed in reverse as a mirror image from left to right. Its contrast was fairly high, and background objects were not similar in other photos of the same scene.
The cropped picture was published in encyclopedias and schoolbooks throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkan Peninsula, and the Near East. With the help of the Chilean-born artist Phillips di Paola, I made a computer comparison of the Soviet print and the Athens bunker photos. To our astonishment we found several matches, too many to be attributable to a simple coincidence. We hit upon some good reasons to believe that the matches were not accidental, but probably due to a deliberate suicide mockup.
With this logic I commenced my independent inquiries into the knotty subject of Hitler’s doubles. Was this a case of identity theft or extraordinary rendition? How long was the victim held as a struggling captive? I also explored how the supposed flagship of the Philadelphia Experiment, the USS Eldridge, finally became the property of the Greek Navy in 1951 and was renamed the HS Leon. What did it actually have to do with the so-called Montauk Chair? How did the Nazis use the Lycabettus district of Athens during World War II? A war crime appears to have been committed in the Athens bunker. But why were the authorities not willing to find out who the victim was?
Albeit unconventional, this study is not intended to be a form of entertainment, but a reading of plain facts. Human life was lost. I had survived a train derailment with minor injury. A court case ruled that – if not sabotage – the train derailment was due to gross negligence. Workers failed to properly secure a large rail segment that recoiled into the air. When a known police informer told me that “the powers that be” wanted me to end my investigation, I paid little attention. That same person would soon entangle me in an indictment of made up criminal charges that sent me straight to jail. When I was at last allowed to openly state my case in court, the felony charges against me were dropped. But I had lost important years of my life being shoved like a parcel through the worst prisons of the Near East.
* * *
“The Unforgiven’ is a ballad by American heavy metal band Metallica. Its 2006 music video compilation features a "theatrical" version of the video, with several minutes of scenes filmed in 1991 by director Matt Mahurin. It shows a canvas covering a bunker’s entry, a lost wooden chair, a ball of clay, torn papers near one wall of the bunker, and a menacing drill.
- Peter Fotis Kapnistos (Icarian Sea, 2013)
- Peter Fotis Kapnistos (Icarian Sea, 2013)