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Pyramid Power

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There's fear amidst the Fearamid...

In the distant past, many civilizations built pyramids as monuments. The most famous are those of Egypt, followed by the Mayan pyramids in Mexico and Central America. They have also been found in Sudan, Iran, and China. The reason for the pyramid shape is practicality - 80% of a pyramid's mass is in the lower half, meaning that it is the ideal shape to support a large building. It's the form of stone building most likely to still be standing in a recognizable state when the archaeologists show up a thousand years later.

However, due to a mixture of the distinctive geometrical shape and the immense labor required to build them, a lot of people have assumed there must be some special significance to the shape. Or that they were built by aliens, because they think people with Bronze Age tools could not have designed such accurately geometric monuments. Predictably, this also shows up in fiction. During the 70s there was an actual fad about the pyramids serving as a focus of cosmic energies ('pyramid power') and that resting in houses or boxes shaped like them could grant many physical and mental benefits. And sharpen razor blades.

There is also the incorrect belief that the Egyptian Pyramids were built by slaves. In actuality they were most likely built by volunteers who believed that, by participating in the creation of the Pyramids, they can get a share of the Pharaoh's luxurious afterlife, sometimes working along with native Egyptian peasants who had no work to do during the Nile's flood season; they may have been press-ganged into it, but it's just as likely that they were enticed with offers of food (grain, veggies, and beef) and beer in exchange for their labor (the invention of currency was still 2,000 years in the future, so that was the equivalent of paying wages). They also could have been conscripted peasants, like the corvée of pre-Revolutionary France or the Czech Robot.note  It was still quite a feat of engineering, organization, and patience, but not necessarily the result of blood-soaked tyranny Hollywood History would present. Not related to the other kind of pyramid of power, or the pyramid used by the Illuminati, or the pyramid that offers cash, or the other kind of pyramid that offers money.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Millennium Puzzle in Yu-Gi-Oh! is in the shape of a pyramid, as well as the aptly-named Pyramid of Light from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light.
  • From Shaman King we have Egypt-themed Team Niles. One of its members is Nakht Pitrah, a man wearing a giant helmet resembling an egyptian pyramid which helps his teammates giving them Soul Power.

    Comic Books 
  • The Cartoon History of the Universe: The chapter on Ancient Egypt briefly mentions Pyramid Power, with an alien saying "Why build a pyramid when you can sharpen a razor blade in five minutes on a wet rock?"
  • D.R. & Quinch: Subverted. Two alien time-travellers indeed visited Ancient Egypt, but they still cannot understand why the locals believed that the aliens wanted them to build pointy buildings.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Osira flits around in a pyramid shaped force field and claims that as an ancient powerful alien she was worshiped by the Egyptians as a god. There is some evidence that goes against her self-centered telling of history, given the Ancient Egyptians managed to seal her away when they couldn't kill her in a way that was obviously intended to be permanent.

    Fan Fic 
  • "Pharaoh Andrew", an episode of Script Fic Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, has the gang going to the Pyramids of Giza for Calvin's school report. They end up having to fight off some mummies.
  • In the Good Omens fanfic I shall endure... Azirapahile and Crowley deconstruct the concept of pyramids whilst providing additional background detail to several Bible stories, with a courtesy dash of Erich von Daniken thrown in for free.
  • In Sword and Claw, an ancient pyramid serves as the setting for a couple of chapters. It's a relic from an ancient civilization, and is still inhabited by a pharaoh. However, said pharaoh self-destructs the pyramid in order to take out an attacking apophis.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Played with in National Treasure. Upon finding a complicated, ancient structure under a city, one character wonders how it was built. The protagonist replies that it was built the same way the pyramids were, and his friend confuses his intention, and assumes that he means that the aliens built them.
  • Sports film Semi Tough has people using all kinds of fad religious getishes to win at the game. One team actually does use "Pyramid Power".
    • Note that when Billy Clyde Puckett attempts this to improve his sexual performance, it fails completely, to his disgust.
  • Pyramids are Forgotten Superweapons in Stonehenge Apocalypse, which is some kind of alien device that is a countdown till The End of the World as We Know It. ... for some reason.
  • Because giant alien death robots who turn into cars wasn't enough, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen had them building and destroying the pyramid at Giza, which houses a solar power collector.

  • Area 51: It turns out that the Pyramids were built to be beacons by an alien species called the Airlia. Their computers are pyramid-shaped too.
  • In Mary Gentle's masterwork Ash: A Secret History, the pyramids are revealed to be sentient static golems who are manipulating the planet's timeline so as to take over Earth for their own ends. The sheer amount of energy needed to do this explains why Europe has fallen into a state of perpetual night wherever their armies have conquered.
  • The Cat Who... Series: In book #17 (The Cat Who Blew the Whistle), Elizabeth Hart is big on the idea of pyramid power. Unannounced, she and her boyfriend pop over to the Qwilleran's apple barn and set up a makeshift portable pyramid. After they leave, Koko makes his way to the very center of the pyramid, and there is a blackout across all of Pickax that doesn't stop until he exits the pyramid (and Qwill promptly disassembles and disposes of it to prevent such a thing from happening again).
  • Discworld:
    • In Pyramids, the pyramids act as "time dams", preserving the Old Kingdom unchanging for thousands of years. They don't sharpen razor blades, though ... they take them back in time to before they were blunt.
    • Mentioned in The Light Fantastic, the scholarly tome Iyt Gryet Teymple hyte Tsort, Y Hiystory Myistical describes the Great Pyramid of Tsort. A copy was located in the Unseen University Library.The book described the effort that went into building the Great Pyramid; it comprised 1,003,010 blocks of limestone, built over 60 years and cost the lives of thousands of slaves. It was apparently done as a way of sharpening razor blades (as opposed to burying Kings). People got very excited about the significant mathematical fact that its height plus its length divided by half its width almost precisely equalled 1.67563, or precisely 1,237.98712567 times the difference between the distance to the sun and the weight of a small orange. It was held that something like this could not possibly have come about by chance.
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel SLEEPY by Kate Orman, the planet Yemaya has pyramids that seem to focus psychic powers, with a Continuity Nod to the Osirians (the Ancient Astronauts who influenced the Egyptians in "Pyramids of Mars") and the Exxilons (Space Mayincatecs from "Death to the Daleks"). This is partly because her previous two NAs, which happened to be set in Mexico and Egypt respectively, had both had a pyramid on the cover and she wanted to maintain the theme. (Her fourth NA, Return of the Living Dad, is largely set in a New Age bookshop/café called The Pyramid.)
  • Pat Flanagan's 1973 book Pyramid Power. It popularized the notion that the shape of a pyramid, in and of itself, has mystical properties — from preserving food to sharpening razor blades.
  • Pyramid Power is a book by Eric Flint, the second in a series. It involves a five sided alien pyramid landing in Chicago.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Step pyramid is an architectural characteristic of the Slaver's Bay cities: Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen. This is inherited from the Old Empire of Ghis, with Meereen's 33 stories-high Great Pyramid being specifically styled after the Great Pyramid of Ghis. Unlike in real life, these pyramids are not used for burial or religious procession, but as living quarters for the nobility.
  • The late bible scholar Zechariah Sitchin wrote in his book The Stairway To Heaven that the Giza pyramids were in fact constructed as Navigation facilities (like those used in airports/space centers), by Ancient Astronauts no less.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The original Battlestar Galactica had the heroes find the lost planet of Kobol. The ancient pyramids on that planet looked suspiciously like the ones in the Giza Plateau. They contained a written account of the Lost 13th Tribe, and where they went. So, of course, the writings had to be accidentally destroyed by a Cylon air raid before Adama could read them.
  • Chouriki Sentai Ohranger had one of these from an ancient Pangean civilization as the source of the Ohrangers' power. King Ranger also has a pyramid Humongous Mecha named King Pyramider. Its adaptation Power Rangers Zeo keeps the mecha pyramid, this time called Pyramidas. Also in both shows, the Blue Ranger's sphinx mecha can equip the Ohranger Robo/Zeo Megazord with a pyramid-like helmetnote .
  • Doctor Who:
  • Mythbusters did an episode exploring the notion that a pyramidal shape can preserve food and sharpen razor blades. In the end, no significant difference between items stored in a pyramid and items stored in some other shape could be detected, and Adam admonished his cohorts against testing "oogie-boogey myths" like this again.
  • One of The Sifl and Olly Show's fake "Rock Facts" claimed that the pyramids of Egypt were built by humans, but it was in anticipation of the prophecied arrival of... David Bowie.
  • Stargate SG-1, apart from having the real pyramids in Egypt turn out to be ancient landing pads for Goa'uld spacecraft, also had Goa'uld-built pyramids appearing on alien planets as Supervillain Lairs and the like. The Goa'uld were the ancient Egyptian gods, after all. Their Cool Starships are also basically giant flying pyramids with extra high-tech superstructures added (which explains how they fit onto their "landing pads").
    • The episode "Crystal Skull" featured a pyramid that was orders of magnitudes larger than any pyramid on Earth. It was not built by the Goa'uld, but by another alien race.
  • Done in the Nineties revival of The Tomorrow People. The plot is that an immortal Egyptian pharoah is trying to recreate the circumstances required when the stars align to give him great power, which requires him to move a bunch of obelisks all over Europe (supposedly explaining why they were brought to London, Rome etc in the nineteenth century). The protagonists point out that this would mean he would have to have built a central focusing pyramid in the middle of them, in central London... they then look behind them and see the pyramidal top of the Canary Wharf Tower. Note this was years before it was used as the Torchwood Tower in Doctor Who.


  • A prominent feature of Twilight Zone pinball game is The Power, a one-eyed pyramid with a deep voice. It mocks you during the game, but defeating it yields a decent score bonus and a Door panel.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Illuminati: The Bavarian Illuminati's Eye-In-The-Pyramid logo is used as Sigil Spam in all of the card illustrations. If you can't see the pyramid in some of them, you're not Illuminated enough.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Arabian Nights expansion features Pyramids as an artifact in which mana can be channeled through to protect lands. The egyptian-inspired Amonkhet set naturally also has plenty of these, rather metallic-looking and often with floating components.
  • Rifts: Pyramid Power is a major feature of the Atlantis sourcebook. They're like Ley Line dams, basically, and they were/are used both by the ancient Atlanteans and the Splugorth for things like dimensional travel.
  • Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization: The Pyramids grant you one extra civil action per turn.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Clan Tremere is obsessed with this trope, incorporating pyramid symbology into the design of their rigid organizational structure in hopes of attaining greater mystical power.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Though the Tomb Kings In Space aspect came about much later, Necron Monolith are massive, floating, truncated pyramids that spit death at the living and summon even more Necrons.

    Video Games 
  • In the Civilization series of games, the Pyramids are one of the World Wonders which you can build for a powerful effect on your civilization. In the first game they allowed a change to any government type in the game. This was very powerful, as you could change to the governments available late in the game in the very beginning and have a great advantage over the computer civilizations. This was changed in the second and third games so that Pyramids grant a free granary to every city (which may be a reference to the old belief that the pyramids were "Joseph's Granaries" from the Genesis story), letting your civilization grow more quickly. In Civ 4, they again unlocked advanced forms of government long before you could otherwise attain them. In Civ 5, they make your civilian units work harder.
  • The Temple of the Ancients of Final Fantasy VII did not produce or direct power, it was power — being a giant maze which when solved would shrink into its smaller form, the Black Materia that would summon Meteor and bring about the End of the World as We Know It.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past features the appropriately-named Pyramid of Power, which sits at the center of the game's Dark World, being the site of the game's final boss battle and containing the plot's MacGuffin, the Triforce.
  • A few planets in Mass Effect have Prothean-built pyramids on them. No word on whether the pyramids on Earth have a similar story.
  • Minecraft allows the player to build a pyramid of power themselves by using resource expensive materials like blocks of iron, gold, diamond, emerald, or netherite if you're masochistic enough. By building a pyramid out of those blocks and placing a beacon block on the top, the entire structure glow brightly and shoots out a beam of light to the sky. If the player places an iron bar, gold bar, emerald, diamond, or netherite bar into the block, they can make the pyramid generate powers like increased speed or strength to anyone that stays in its radius.
  • In La-Mulana, the "male" pyramid in the Egyptian-themed Temple of the Sun has a hidden link to the inverted "female" pyramid in the Temple of Moonlight. Using any weapon in the "female" pyramid is punished with a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
  • In Roots of Pacha, a mysterious pyramid is buried deep inside the Jungle, which Vuak meditates on top of to uncover the myth of the Yakuans and the Mograni. It's raised by three levels as the protagonist fulfills the prophecies by making progress in the village, which rewards them with stat-boosting charms and leads them closer to understanding the conflict between the two tribes.
  • Serious Sam has the ancient Egyptian civilization having taken their aesthetic from the Sirian race, with the Great Pyramid serving as a communications device to summon a starship once the player takes the Sun Orb to it.
  • Super Snail from QCPlay Limited, actually has pyramids as a power! When you first enter the kingdom/country of Kemet, you have no country-specific power. So your friend Chan-Hee builds you pyramids that will help out: First is the Modern Pyramid which gives you a stat boost in duels and in pyramid battles it's a steel fortress with lots of artillery and a machine gunner who will deal with flying foes. Get enough research then you can get the Past Pyramid. This is a magical but primitive pyramid that curses enemies for duels and zaps foes with supernatural lightning. Finally after enough research in the Past Pyramid, you can get the Future Pyramid, this is a Magitek construct made of nanotech materials and powered by fusion reactor. In duels and the pyramid battles, the Future Pyramid will burn enemies with its Super Beam.
  • Purple tetrahedral pyramids are a recurring design feature of Kha'ak ships in the X-Universe series. In fact with the fighters, the pyramid is the entire ship.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the shrines of Julianos, the Aedric Divine God of Wisdom and Logic, are in the shape of a pyramid. The symbol of Julianos is also a simple triangle.
  • Naturally, the mission to Egypt in The Secret World features the decidedly eldritch Black Pyramid of Akhenaten. Built to house the remains of the Black Pharaoh himself, the rules of physics behave very oddly inside the building, including rooms that shouldn't fit inside the structure and a literal bottomless pit; also, there's a massive ethereal manifestation of Aten himself hovering above the tip of the Pyramid... and Akhenaten might not be as deceased as he was in eons past.


    Web Video 
  • THE MONUMENT MYTHOS: Thanks to an excavation project ran by the USA, the world finds out the Pyramids aren't wholly pyramids... rather, they're the pointed tips of a bigger structure, like the Washington Monument. And just like the Washington Monument, they're housing Special Trees within them. Their true size is unknown, the excavation never finished, because it was bricks all the way down until they wrote them off as infinite. And at some point, they start rising from the sand and into the sky...

    Western Animation 
  • Danger Mouse had to deal with "A Plague of Pyramids" (episode title). Baron Greenback scarfs up sand from the Sahara Desert and uses it to create pyramids throughout London thus causing it to sink below sea level from their collective weight.
  • In Detentionaire, there is a giant mysterious pyramid hidden underneath the school, guarded by Tazelwurms. It can only be opened using two special keys and during the solar eclipse, and the inside is inscribed with ancient runes that hold many secrets. The pyramid also houses a huge army of Lizard Folk.
  • In the Italian animated series Egyxos, the ruler of Egyxos, Kefer lives in a golden palace built like a pyramid.
  • Futurama:
    • One episode has an inversion. When the cast lands on an ancient Egypt themed planet, it's revealed that the Egyptians traveled to space and built pyramids on alien planets.
    • "That Darn Katz!" plays it straight: it turns out that the pyramids were built as antennas to beam the Earth's rotational energy to the planet Thuban 9 (which is the original homeworld of cats).
  • In Gravity Falls, after Bill is out of the dream world and takes over the real world, he creates a giant pyramid as a dominion for him and his Henchmaniacs.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz thought that the PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT!!!!!! was built by aliens, when the Egyptians used music to command the aliens.
  • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, one of the O-Parts and the Orb of Sigma were both hidden in different pyramids.
  • In the fourth season of X-Men: Evolution, Apocalypse attempted to use three pyramids located in Egypt, China and Central America to change every human on Earth into a mutant (not unlike Magneto's plot with the diplomats in the first X-Men film) by launching lots of smaller pyramids into the outer atmosphere and surrounding the planet with an energy field.

    Real Life 
  • Pyramidiology
    • Pyramidiology, for the uninitiated, loosely covers all those, er, cultural misperceptions, that have crept in over the years concerning the purpose and role of the Pyramids in Ancient Egyptian society. The sort that have professional Egyptologists grinding their teeth in fury (an alternative theory suggests the idea was circulated by the in-house dentistry departments serving universities with Egyptology schools). Strictly speaking, it covers the idea that the measurements and dimensions of the Great Pyramid were done with such fiendish exactitude, that it is absolutely self-evident, that the builders were programming in arcane occult knowledge, only to be decoded by those with the eyes to see and insight to realize. In this world view, the whole future timetable for the world was laid out in stone by God (naturally: Moses and the Hebrews coded it in when slaves of the Pharaoh - they of course built it). Therefore the internal and external dimensions, when decoded, predict everything.
    • This caused alarm when Victorian "scholars", guided by a tape measure and a selective reading of the Bible, divined the world was going to end in 1914. This became the USP of a then-obscure Christian sect called the Jehovah's Witnesses, who worked it into their theology... they've back-tracked a little on this since, though. They don't wish to be reminded what else, apart from the Bible, they used to create God's ineffable timeline...
    • This does not appear to be solely a Watchtower Society aberration. Quite a few streams of thought in Christianity bought into pyramidiology, and the eschatological logic for the end of the world used by many millennial denominations appears to be an unholy mix of pyramidiology and a cobbled-together set of oddly-interpreted justifications drawn from prophetic books of The Bible such as Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation.
    • Pyramidiology also covers things like:
      • Placing your razor blade inside an accurately scaled model of the Great Pyramid of Cheops keeps it sharp;
      • The notion that human beings couldn't possibly have built them unaided and needed to call on extraterrestrial assistance (good old Erich von Däniken here).
    • Egyptian pyramids were essentially designed to look like sunlight (imagine the top as the sun, and go down from there), and originally had incredibly bright, reflective surfaces. They are rather poetically described as "resurrection machines" in The Other Wiki.
  • A well-known Japanese manga artist had a pyramid built as a study in his home in the hope of increasing his creativity, but admitted he spent most of the time under it drinking sake and looking at the stars.

Alternative Title(s): The Pyramids