Since it was a rather slow day today, I thought it might be a good idea to mark the fortieth anniversary of a seminal moment in fringe history. 1976 saw a wave of epochal fringe events that set the course for the world of aliens, Atlanteans, and other unusual material we are dealing with today.
Senator Wants to Replace History Professors with DVDs; Steve Quayle Claims Trump Is God's Divine Agent
It hasn’t been a very good week for the people who like the truth, or education, or history, or any of those sorts of things. Perhaps the most depressing challenge to education this past week came from Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a Republican facing a tough reelection campaign. According to a recent article from Inside Higher Ed, last Thursday Johnson called higher education a “cartel” and said that it is wasteful to pay professors to teach history courses when we could simply show students Ken Burns documentaries.
In the world of fringe history, bad arguments never die. It’s been almost 135 years since Ignatius Donnelly argued that the similarity between Egyptian and Mexican pyramids argued for a common source, and somehow that claim of a connection continues today despite the complete lack of evidence to support it. The pyramids are neither from the same time period, of the same shape, or served the same purpose. Indeed, the only thing they have in common is that they taper as they rise, an inevitable consequence of premodern construction techniques that prized stability and had to deal with gravity.
Well, this is an interesting test, isn’t it? This weekend Xplrr Media, LLC, formerly USGS Mining and Exploration, LLC, released the latest installment in its ongoing series rehashing old episodes of America Unearthed. We all remember what happened the last time they did this. Because Xplrr Media asserted in its description of the review that it would include “WHAT TV WOULD NOT SHOW,” this otherwise pointless repetition of material originally broadcast in 2013 rises to the level of a matter of public interest. The current Xplrr production reviews S01E05 “A Deadly Sacrifice,” from January 2013. My review of the original episode can be found here. The episode discussed the 2010 discovery on the Arkansas river of a stone bearing a carving of a bull, and the program concluded that the carving was likely made by a Mithras-worshiping cult of Celts who colonized Oklahoma two thousand years ago and left symbols in a place called Anubis Cave that aligned to the sun beams of the equinoxes.
In light of continued claims that the remains of “giants” could not be those of Ice Age mammals because scientific men would not mistake one for the other, I thought I would share this passage I discovered in the September 1869 edition of the Canadian Naturalist summarizing a presentation that the famous paleontologist O. C. Marsh gave to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s eighteenth meeting in Salem, Mass. that August. The presentation focused on bones found in Nebraska:
If tonight’s episode seems familiar, it’s only because the topic is so shopworn. The topic of the pretended 1947 Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash is so frequently discussed on Ancient Aliens that I could not begin to list all of the episodes that touch on it, though I will note that back in Season 4 the show pretended that the Roswell aliens were actually time travelers who teleported to New Mexico. This episode is more of the same, but it attempts to offer a slightly different take on the familiar by expanding the narrative to encompass other alleged UFO crashes. As most of you know, I am not terribly interested in modern UFO reports, so the lack of ancient astronauts rendered this a rather dull exercise in ufology.
Janet Wolter Makes Solo Radio Appearance, Offers Conspiracies about Goddesses, Templars, and America
Last night Janet Wolter, the co-author of America: Nation of the Goddess, appeared on the Euphomet podcast in order to promote their book. (You can find my multi-part review linked on my Book Reviews page.) There was rather little new material in the interview, which covered the claims made in the book, often in the same words as the book itself. For example, the first section of the interview recapitulates their allegations about the Grange, just as the book had done. She even repeats false claims from earlier radio appearances, like the alleged importance of the date September 17 (Constitution Day, which is not the same day as the Eleusinian Mysteries), and false claims from her husband like the claim that the letter M is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet and thus symbolizes Mary Magdalene, the thirteenth apostle. (In the Roman alphabet, before the addition of the letter J in 1524, it was the twelfth letter.)
I don’t make a habit of reading World Net Daily, but the news aggregator site has a prominent place in the world of conservative opinion. It was therefore a bit surprising to find that WND, as it styles itself, ran a lengthy article repeating L. A. Marzulli’s claims about the U.S. military capturing a living giant in Afghanistan and transporting the monster to Ohio. (The article, as you will see below, is a summary of a YouTube broadcast from earlier this week.) The details have changed in the telling since gigantologist Steve Quayle began flogging the story at least as far back as 2005.
Last week I discussed my discovery of the 1902 French journal article by Eugène Beauvois that introduced to the world the claim that the Knights Templar colonized North America. You will undoubtedly recall that this story was based on linguistic word play, identifying the Nahuatl term Tecpantlacs (“Residents of the Palace-Temple”) with the Knights Templar. To this, the author added more than a little racism, with just a soupçon of French nationalism thrown in for good measure. In researching the story, I found that very few Templar conspiracy fringe writers seemed aware of where their own ideas came from. Frederick J. Pohl, for example, the man who invented the myth that Henry Sinclair was a Micmac god, knew of Beauvois but did not know of this article, citing a different article in his 1974 book on Sinclair. The exception seems to be Steven Sora, who discussed Beauvois’s claims approvingly in a 2009 article for Atlantis Rising magazine (reprinted this year in the Atlantis Rising collection Missing Connections), though he does not use Beauvois’s name:
Graham Hancock Blasts Academia for Linear View of Progress, Claims Ancients Had Superior Spirituality
RT, formerly known as Russia Today, is a Kremlin-funded propaganda channel that beams Russian president Vladimir Putin’s favored views into countries around the world. Recently, its program Going Underground had Graham Hancock on to discuss an “academic coup” going on at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. Host Afshin Rattansi got things off to a bad start by falsely informing viewers that academic elites claim that the culture responsible for the ancient Turkish temple site, which dates back to around 9000 BCE or so, “emerged fully formed, as if by magic.”
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.