Since there was no new episode of Ancient Aliens this week, I am left with a bit of space to fill. Here in Albany, we’re enjoying some unusual summerlike weather on this first weekend of fall. I will confess to feeling a bit lazy, and the fringe history crew seems to be unusually quiet this week. I guess I could write about David Wilcock’s recent claim that unknown forces attempted to murder him by cutting his brake lines, but then I’d have to discuss his claim that this was related to alleged UFO contactee Corey Goode’s allegation that these same forces are responsible for Child Protective Services investigating his admittedly unstable household—after all, he pretends that he spends half his time traveling from his living room to outer space while his kids are presumably sleeping upstairs. (Nothing resulted from the investigation, according to Wilcock, and both men allege that one of their many enemies made a false report to CPS as a malicious attack on Goode.) But the whole thing is just so sad in light of Wilcock’s discussions of his mental health issues that I do not feel comfortable giving this story too much space. Wilcock, for what’s it worth, also now claims that the Jewish world conspiracy tried to recruit him as a double agent against Goode, through the offices of the Rothschild Jewish world controllers. It just gets sadder and worse from there, and the folie à dieux of Wilcock and Goode two depresses me greatly.
Call it a case of motivated reasoning, if you will. Or maybe call it a case of opportunism married to capitalism. But whatever you think of Christian apologist and former chairman of the Texas Board of Education Robert Bowie Johnson’s merchandising motives, there is little to commend his half-assed, misunderstood idea that the ancient Greeks depicted Jewish mythological characters in their art. While it would be easy to simply dismiss Johnson’s entire thesis as the mad ramblings of Bible-drunk fundamentalist, his argument fails on a subtler level, by neglecting to include the actual research to help understand the real and complex relationship between Greek mythology and Near Eastern myths.
So, you will remember Jason Reza Jorjani, the so-called alt-right “intellectual” who loudly pretended not to support Nazism. I read his book, Prometheus and Atlas, and identified not just fringe history themes (including ancient astronaut claims) but an underlying pattern of Nazi and Nazi-adjacent material in it. Now, the New York Times reports on a Swedish student’s encounter with Jorjani when he thought no one was looking. The Swedish student went undercover as a member of the alt-right and caught Jorjani making exactly the kind of statements that I knew that Nazi-loving weasel would make as soon as he thought that he was speaking only to a sympathetic ear:
This morning the Daily Grail published an article describing an interview that writer Red Pill Junkie had with Jacques Vallée on Friday’s Grimerica podcast, and it was an embarrassing exercise in hero worship. RPJ, in fact, wrote that “I was just too 'starstruck' and intimidated by being in the presence of such a legend, anyway” to speak to him coherently. I swear I will not understand that. What I do understand is RPJ’s claim that his views on UFOs would change when “I would start rewatching the whole series of [Star Trek:] The Next Generation, available in its entirety on the Netflix platform.” The cross-pollination of science fiction and ufology, presence from the opening moments of the UFO era, is too well established to surprise
This season, Ancient Aliens has given one ancient astronaut theorist per week an episode spotlight. The talking head gets to go on an all-expenses-paid vacation to a tourist destination, and gets to be the featured on-location contributor discussing his favorite pet subject. While this might seem like a cute way to revitalize an aging franchise by shaking up the talking head formula a little bit, it is also an efficient way of squeezing more money out of the fringe history circus.
Next month, the Travel Channel is sending Expedition Unknown host Josh Gates on a “special event” in which he goes in search of “the mother of all questions.” Do I even have to say that he’s doing a multi-episode hunt for ancient astronauts and UFOs? While I have every confidence that Gates will fail to find ET (since he’s never found any other myth he’s looked for), the fact that the ancient astronaut theory—for which, read “ripping off the more popular Ancient Aliens”—is seen as a ratings-grabbing “event” is about as depressing as it gets in the shady world of unscripted cable TV. Almost a decade after Ancient Aliens debuted, it remains the platonic ideal of cable TV programming: lazy, cheap, and wildly popular. Stay on the air long enough, and every program ends up talking about space aliens.
And becomes repetitive. That, too. Ancient Aliens has covered the Stone Age Turkish site of Göbekli Tepe, a 12,000-year-old stone temple complex, many times in the past. Off the top of my head, I know of at least six episodes that discuss it, but I’m sure I am forgetting some. It should probably be obvious that the producers of the show were paying attention a few months ago when some Graham Hancock super-fans decided to try to cast Hancock and Andrew Collins’s speculations about the astronomical orientation of the ancient temple complex in academic language in an obscure academic journal, spawning a media frenzy among the uncritical who failed to realize that the academic authors basically just repeated Andrew Collins (though I am surprised that they did not mention the article by name). I give them this much credit, however: Ancient Aliens makes no bones about revisiting a well-worn topic. The title of S12E16 is “Return to Göbekli Tepe,” conceding that we have been down this path before.
Since I know that this post will only be at the top of the blog for a few hours until I review Ancient Aliens tonight (provided my son cooperates), instead of writing something long and complex that no one will read, I instead devoted my time to translating an interesting passage that illustrates the power of the myth of the giants in European scholarship
Today I thought I would share some historical material about a controversy that blew up over Atlantis in 1911. Regular readers will remember that a New York newspaper published a hoax in 1912 claiming that Heinrich Schliemann’s descendant had uncovered a trail of clues leading to Atlantis. One reason that the hoax seemed superficially convincing is that the previous year the New York Times had published a serious article announcing that another German, Leo Frobenius, had indeed discovered Atlantis, in Africa.
Daughter of Ancient Astronaut Believer Plans to Continue Father's Effort to Find Ecuadoran Cave of Alien Gold
Oh, joy… The Ecuadoran cave of gold is back again. More than 40 years ago astronaut Neil Armstrong joined an expedition to find and explore the supposed repository of extraterrestrial artifacts that had been brought to popular attention in ancient astronaut theorist Erich von Däniken’s 1972 book Gold of the Gods. In that volume, von Däniken claimed to have descended into a cave in Ecuador where he saw fabulous golden artifacts and books made of gold written in no earthly language. However, in an interview with Playboy magazine, he admitted that the story was false, that he had never gone down into the cave, and that the story of the golden library was “dramaturgisch Effekte” or “theatrical effect.” He then claimed that he lied because he feared that the Ecuadorian government would assassinate him should he actually do what he pretended to do.
On Friday, I reviewed the latest episode of Ancient Aliens, and in that review, I noted that new talking head Ashley Cowie, the erstwhile host of Syfy’s Legend Quest, stated that there were “legends” that a golden Inca sun disc had been removed from the Coricancha temple in Cuzco and taken to a “mountaintop village” called Paititi. Many readers likely remember Paititi from when Josh Gates sought it out in Expedition Unknown a few years ago. In most versions of the story, it is a city possessed of fabulous treasure, or even made of gold, but the oldest surviving documents fail to indicate any such connection to lost Inca treasure, though they do speak of having plenty of precious metals, so much that they make pots and pans from “precious metals,” though this probably refers to copper. The legend of the sun-disc being there, so far as I have been able to tell, does not date back before the twentieth century, so I described Cowie as “telling a lie” by implying, in context, that such stories go back to the Conquest. As it happens, my conclusion, while not wrong, is incomplete.
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.
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