B.G. Hilton – Writer

In Search Of… S04E22 The Bimini Wall

Give me some vague blueish shapes, and I’ll show you Atlantis

I haven’t written one of these In Search Of… things in ages. Partly that’s a time issue. When I started these, I was underemployed and now I have a very demanding job, I spend a lot of time promoting my book and I have a toddler who (while very lovely) is also something of a free-time vampire.

But every now and then, I’ve tried to go on, and watched this episode about Bimini Wall. I’ve seen it about half a dozen times, and I’m heartily sick of it – but I’m also too stubborn to skip it and go onto the next one. And (possibly because of the In Research Of… podcast), Google analytics has been showing an increased interest in my In Search Of… stuff. So here I go, powering through…

We open on an aerial shot of water, cutting to a diver, then an undersea shot of a diver among some large, squared-off looking underwater rocks. Nimoy tells us that these are the waters off Bimini, and the structure ‘has not been explained by science’. We’re told that these rocks are linked to Atlantis, to a nearby ‘healing well’ and that a doctor found a crystal ball in a pyramid near there. It’s a lot packed into a one minute intro.

Quick travelogue of Bimini, usual patronising discussion of locals. Nimoy says that it’s not easy to believe that ‘these easygoing people’ could be the descendants of Atlanteans and, no, dude. They’re the descendants of enslaved Africans, for the most part.

From an aerial vantage point, we’re shown a figure of a fish ‘etched in sand’. We’re told that there is no explanation for this in local lore. And then the fish is never mentioned again. Cool fish, but.

And now we’re finally at the alleged reason for the episode: the Bimini Wall. This is a bunch of square looking rocks on the sea floor stretched out in a line. Now, here’s the thing: polygonal rocks happen sometimes. I was going to put some pictures in to prove the point, but know what? You can just do an image search fo ‘polygonal rock formations’ and you’ll see dozens of examples. Is the Bimini Wall cool looking? Hell yeah. Is it proof of Atlantis? God, no.

Just looking at the underwater footage of these rocks shows us this. You don’t need to be a geologist or an archaeologist to figure it out. Just look at the image and listen to the narration as Nimoy compares the ‘Wall’ to a Roman highway. The stones are vastly bigger than any stones I’ve seen used to pave a road. Or to build a wall.

There’s good reasons why old timey people used limited the size of the rocks they used for building. It made it easier to transport these stones, to fit them and much, much easier to replace them if one should break.

Ah, but what about a civilization with ‘advanced technology’? Well let’s have a look at a civilization with better road building technology than the Romans – ours. We probably could make roads with bigger stone blocks than the Romans used. But we make roads out of concrete and tarmac. In other words, we use much smaller pieces of rock than ancient peoples did — because it’s easier and cheaper than using huge rocks.

But, to my surprise, Nimoy suggests that the Wall is made of ordinary beach rock. He even admits that such formations are common! And we talk to geologist Eugene Shin. Shin makes his appearance swimming in the Bimini waters before being interviewed on a beach dressed in a t-shirt, before we see some cool footage of scuba-diving geologists taking core samples. Shin concludes that the Wall is natural phenomenon.

We then see something extraordinary – footage of similar rocks in the Tortuga islands, closer to the surface. Nimoy asks if the action of the surf makes these square-shaped patterns in the rock and you can actually see two sets of small waves washing over the rocks at right angles to one another. Looks like a slam-dunk here for ordinary geology

But…

There’s a minor issue with the actual depth of the rocks compared to the depth predicted by… someone? And naturally, if there is even the slightest incompleteness or ambiguity in the scientific case then we have no choice but to make a bizarre reach to an unwarranted conclusion

Nimoy, standing on a much greyer looking beach than the one Shin was on, says that the wall may have been made, which would mean that it was made with super tools, which in turn means people of ‘superior intelligence’. Next we’re talking about Edgar Cayce and the In Search Of… jump from ‘maybe’ to ‘definitely’ is complete.

Cayce, blah blah, Plato claimed that the Atlanteans possessed healing wells. Don’t remember that bit, but not going to bother looking it up. Let’s say he did. And now we’re talking to Ernest Hemingway’s brother Les, because of course we are. He and his daughter, Hillary, go into a weird inlet on Bimini that is supposedly this ‘healing well’. Is an inlet a well? Anyway, Nimoy says that Hemingway has no direct evidence that this is a healing well, but Hemingway claims that an underwater spring in this inlet is the Fountain of Youth. He claims that people who have soaked in this water have found relief from various ailments. The shots of Les and his daughter swimming in the inlet are actually pretty fun, though Les has his shoes on, which I find disturbing.

We cut to a Miami psychologist Adolpho Vilasouso (sp?) who claims that a large amount of lithium was found in the water. Nimoy goes on a weird tangent about the usages of lithium based drugs in psychiatry. Vilasouso talks about how in Roman times wells with high a lithium content were seen as curative of mental illness.

Interesting if true, but none of this tracks with Hemingway’s claims that the well cures gout, small skin cancers and inflammation. We’re back to Hemingway again, who claims that the spring is a well, in that it was deliberately cut. Precisely no evidence is produced for this before he begins wondering if the cutting was carried out by Atlanteans. He hopes it was.

As an aside: other than having a famous brother, Les Hemingway’s biggest claim to fame seems to be that he tried to found a micronation in the Carribean on an abandoned barge. The nation? New Atlantis.

Anyhoo, Nimoy claims that there are big lines all over Bimini pointing to the well and wonders if there’s more evidence of Atlantis.

And then we’re off into some In Search Of… boilerplate. Pyramids in Egypt and also in Mexico. Why good stonework? If it was made a long time ago, it should be bad stonework right? But it’s good so what’s up with that? We’ve seen this before, we’ll see it again. We bring it back home by comparing the Bimini stones to the dressed stones of Egypt and America (ie, they’re square).

And now we go on this weird tangent about a Miami disc jockey and a psychic went on a flight over Bimini to gather ‘psychic impressions’. They reenact themselves, and I refuse to even try to remember their names. The DJ wears some sweet jorts, though.

This bit is insanely dull, other than some nice visuals of the plane and the Caribbean. The psychic supposedly picked a site where there was a marble building underwater. Nimoy says that ‘for two years divers combed the sea,’ leaving me wondering who’s paying for this? A huge archaeological survey on the say-so of a friggin’ DJ? Nice stock footage of diver and fish before we’re told that a diver found a number of marble slabs.

Again, I’m no archaeologist, but these don’t look like marble slabs that have been underwater for centuries before the time of Plato. As is often the case, In Search Of… doesn’t give me enough information to track these down but if I had to guess I’d say — Spanish colonial era? Possibly late Spanish colonial.

But that episode just ends. And now we’re looking at a Dr Brown (not the cool Dr Brown) who claims to have found something interesting near Bimini. Well, a hundred miles from Bimini. But that’s kind of near Bimini, right?

We up the spooky music as we go underwater. Brown claims to have found ruined buildings ‘everywhere’ – but his photographic equipment was destroyed in a storm. Instead of his photographic records, we see underwater footage of Brown diving, intercut with footage of submerge columns, location unnamed.

Anyway, Brown claims he found the tip of a submerged pyramid. He claims it was four hundred foot tall based on the ‘shape and structure’ of the part he saw and… no. I have no better than a high school understanding of geometry, and that’s enough to call bullshit on this claim. Anyway, he claims that inside the pyramid was a crystal ball (and some even more unlikely stuff.) The ball looks very unlike anything that might have been submerged for any considerable time. I’d describe it as ‘brand new’, in fact.

Brown does than unconvincing magic trick with a springy rod around the crystal ball. Basically, he claims that the ball can move a metal weight, while pattering about magnets and ions and what have you.

Nimoy talks a little about how people discount Atlantis, and I assume this is summing up. But then he says ‘but what about Dr Brown’s crystal?’ So we end up with a silly little coda in which we talk to Dr Marcel Vogel (described as ‘an IBM researcher’) about crystals. He claims to have ‘felt a tremendous energy burst’ coming from the crystal and if that doesn’t convince you then what is your problem?

Over footage of the Wall, Nimoy speculates that misuse of this crystal ball caused Atlantis to sink. We finish with more underwater footage and deep-voiced speculation, and the claim that we will never know more about the wall until we know more about Atlantis.

I actually liked the first half of this one. The Wall itself is interesting, but clearly the makers of this episode disagree, devoting very little time to the structure itself. Les Hemingway is clearly a fascinating eccentric, and I would have liked to see them talk to him a little more. Maybe they could let his daughter have a word — I gather she’s a respected screenwriter now.

But the rest of the episode is a mess. The huge gaps in the ‘marble slabs’ part suggest that even In Search Of… could only make it interesting with judicious editing. Dr Brown is just such an obvious huckster that it’s not even funny. Meanwhile, from what I read, Dr Vogel sounds like a genuinely interesting character, so it’s a pity we didn’t hear more from him.

Anyway, finally made it through the episode – if you made it through this overlong summary, thank you.

Quotes

“There is however evidence that alludes to that fact.”

“Maybe the aliens knew more than we do about life forms and life forces.”

Summing up

Quantity of underwater footage: 10/10. Quality of underwater footage: 6/10. Interviews: 7/10. Nimoyness: 6/10. Fun: 2/10. Overall: 31/50 Credit.

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