Egyptian Pyramids
Ben Carson says pyramids were built to store grainReuters

Ben Carson, a Republican candidate for next year's US presidential election, has made strange claims about the ancient Egyptian pyramids, saying they were built as grain stores and not as tombs for pharaohs. Bizarrely, he also claimed scientists have said aliens with special powers came down to somehow aided in their constructions.

Carson, 64, made the comments at a commencement speech in 1998 at Andrews University in Michigan, a college founded by the Seventh-day Adventists. His speech emerged after being published by Buzzfeed, and when CBS contacted him to ask if he still stands by what he said, he replied: "It's still my belief, yes".

The video of the speech shows Carson saying: "My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs' graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don't think it'd just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain."

He was referring to a story in Genesis that says Joseph stored up grain in huge quantities during the seven years of plenty in Egypt. With this grain he fed everyone for the seven years of drought that followed. Speaking to CBS, he went on to further justify his beliefs, saying the pyramids had been constructed in a way to have sealed compartments – and that this would be needed "if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time".

Ben Carson
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a town hall event at River WoodsGetty

Continuing with his unconventional theories, he said: "When you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they'd have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said: 'Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that's how.' You know, it doesn't require an alien being when God is with you."