Update: A reader in Malaysia claims to have known James Lunn and provides what sounds to me like a very credible explanation about who he was and how he ended up in Egypt — a tragic story:
Jim Lund was a retired truck driver from San Diego, living in Malaysia. Some years ago Jim was in a bad car wreck and suffered organic brain damage. For years he has pretended that he is an ‘undercover’ US Army general and had written his name in his passport as ‘Gen. James Lunn’. For some years he has had delusions that he would save the world. Two years ago Jim ‘invented’ a hundred-mile-long seagoing device that could transport water to dry climates. In August he left for Egypt with a small model of the device to ‘give to the Palestinians’. That was the ‘unknown electronic device’ he was carrying. A harmless nut but one who loved to be thought of as a secret agent.
A further note: The James Lunn dead in Egypt is definitely the James Lunn living in Malaysia. I read the quote from his web blog that you published and noted the reference to the arc of the covenant. That was one of his obsessions. If you read further you might find references to an asteroid that will hit the earth in 20 years. That was another of his obsessions. Egyptian Jim is Malaysian Jim is San Diego Jim the head-injured truck driver.
The Guardian reports: A US citizen has been found dead in a provincial Egyptian jail, six weeks after being arrested in Egypt’s restive north Sinai peninsula, Egyptian officials have confirmed.
James Henry Lunn, 66, is the second foreigner to die in police custody since the July overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, and one of several to have fallen foul of Egypt’s brutal and labyrinthine judicial system this summer.
Lunn was first detained on 29 August in Sheikh Zuweid, North Sinai, an area in which the Egyptian army is currently waging a controversial counter-insurgency against Islamist extremists.
Lunn aroused suspicion because he had allegedly broken curfew, and because he was carrying “a map of Egypt and a very hi-tech electronic device”, said Badr Abdellatty, a spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry.
Following his arrest, Lunn was taken to a jail in Ismailia, a city on the Egyptian mainland, where he had been detained without trial ever since. Thousands of Egyptians also remain detained without charge following this summer’s mass arrests of Morsi supporters.
Egyptian prosecutors said Henry was found dead in a prison bathroom on Sunday morning, and appeared to have taken his own life.
Lunn’s death will naturally provoke all kinds of speculation. Was he a spy? Was he simply a victim of the xenophobia now rampant across Egypt? Did he kill himself or was he murdered?
The only clues that might suggest possible answers to any of these questions can be found at Amazon where Lunn published three e-books. Descriptions of those books make it sound like whatever mission Lunn was on had nothing to do with any government and perhaps nothing to do with this world.
His description of Blogging with Muhammad says:
The following anthology is composed of a variety of blog comments and stories which were posted over a two year period (2008-2010) under my Islamic name Muhammad on the My Space page entitled Flying Puppet. The general thrust of these threads was to provide for myself a platform where I could give voice to the most glorious news that I have had the good fortune to receive…this being that the Ark of the Covenant of Moses existed still and was well and truly enshrined within the Kaaba in Mecca.
Along with this revelation came a sense of purpose and euphoria which would be most commonly identified as a messianic delusion. I must admit that even though this news came to me through diplomatic channels from the office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia in the scope of my duties as an intelligence officer of the United States Army, I was not really prepared to receive it and the emotional response that it provoked lays, still today, just under the surface of my demeanor. Indeed, I tremble at the magnitude of this disclosure. Who am I to manhandle the cross of Jesus Christ, for heaven’s sake?
In the intervening years I have tried to pass the burden of this knowledge off to others better placed to reveal it…those more educated and better trained and with greater credibility than me, to no avail.
I am left, after many attempts and with the most profound apologies for my many shortcomings, with the following mismatched jumble of attempts to keep a grasp on reality with one hand as the other reached for the stars: