It's an obsession. Something flaring and at other times lying dormant within one's soul.
Since 1990, the obsession has been to search for the original Ark of the Covenant, which has taken me from the depths of the African nation of Ethiopia to being a resident in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Tor, where according to the Bible, King David, brought the Ark.
However, although I've done a 10-part series called The Glory of the King and probed the minds of such scholars as Graham Hancock (The Sign and The Seal), it wasn't until Monday of this week , the obsession grew into a flame again.
It came in the form of an e-mail from an Ethiopian in Virginia, who said that Prince Stephanos (Stephen Mengesha), the once "pet" great-grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie I, was trying to track me down. The writer claimed the Ethiopian prince was on a temporary visit to Canada.
Then after reading and re-reading the e-mail, I decided to look through my past files concerning Mengesha, for he was the one, who first made me aware of Ethiopia's claim it possessed history's most important historical, powerful and religious artifact in the small northern town of Aksum.
In the third of a five-part series entitled The Searchers for World Net Daily, this is a condensed version of what I wrote:
"If it's found, and if it's such a sacred item for the Jewish faith, what's to stop Israel from waging war to get it back? It's not a matter of diplomatic negotiations or going to the United Nations. This is something the world Jewry around the globe believes it's necessary to build the Third Temple and if that's how important it is, the chances of Israel going to war to get it (are greatly increased)." -- Prince Stephanos (Stephen Mengesha), April 6, 1990.
He was unpretentious.
A smiling, affable man, who introduced himself as Stephen Mengesha, was a Toronto car salesman.
"Steve's my name."
In early 1990, while doing research for a series of newspaper articles on the Ethiopian famines, he became a friend, and would relate that the Ark of the Covenant was the Horn of Africa nation's greatest treasure.
It was a blockbuster.
Of course, I'd earlier read in Grant Jeffrey's paperback, "Armageddon - Appointment With Destiny," of his conversations with Prince Stephanos, the favorite great-grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie, who was murdered by dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and his thugs in 1975.
He also related to this investigative reporter of how the original Ark, constructed by Moses' chief carpenter, traveled from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem to Ethiopia with one of Solomon's offspring, Menelik I. It has been in Ethiopia ever since, according to the Ethiopian royal chronicles, and its holy book, the Kebra Negast.
On Saturday, April 28, 1990, the Prince spoke about the searches for the Ark, which have ranged from Mussolini to the Israelis:
CORBETT: What's the importance of the Ark?
PRINCE: The building of the Third Temple is the cornerstone of the Jewish faith and the coming of all Jews to Israel. Finding the Ark of the Covenant is paramount for this to happen and the coming of their Messiah. So even though it's unspoken, they're on the look out for it, and many times they have explored the possibility of the Ethiopian claim. It has been pursued by various people throughout history prior to the Italian occupation (through the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church), and after the restoration of the Emperor to the throne (in 1941). Even today, they're still looking for it.
CORBETT: Is it possible there's an Ark on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem?
PRINCE: The lack of an Ark being mentioned in the book, "In The Shadow of the Temple," isn't evidence the Israelis don't care about it. After all it's the cornerstone. If you're going to build a temple, you have to have something to put in it and no where in the Jewish traditions does it say that God is going to bring it down from heaven. There's nothing of that nature being mentioned in prophecy. The building of the Third Temple I just mentioned requires the Ark inside it or else it would be a meaningless building.
CORBETT: I've read, probably in one of Grant Jeffrey's books, that during the excavations underneath the Temple Mount that they've spotted something that looks like the Ark. Is this a duplicate.
PRINCE: There is a duplicate Ark. The rabbinical council knows about it.
CORBETT: There are lots of duplicates around. Isn't that true?
PRINCE: Yes. Finding the original Ark of the Covenant is an interest by the Catholic Church and the Pope during the 1936-1940 Ethiopian occupation by Italy and Mussolini and there's good indication that the Catholic Church was looking for it.
CORBETT: Was that one of Mussolini's aims?
PRINCE: Not Mussolini's, but he was persuaded by the Pope and, of course, the Pope has been criticized for blessing Mussolini's mission to Ethiopia because of that.
CORBETT: Describe the church where it's supposedly buried?
PRINCE: I have been to the church, but I haven't been to the basement, in fact if there's a basement, which contains the Ark, that would be a secret.
In 1993, Prince Stephanos returned to Aksum and was able to photograph the stairwell leading to the Ark.
Even though others have claimed to have seen the Ark, such conjecture is certainly untrue.