In discussing Stan Gordon’s claims that Bigfoot is part of an extraterrestrial plot, I discovered that American conspiracy culture apparently has made the Sasquatch-UFO connection a standard part of the extraterrestrial conspiracy, and thanks to some insightful comments on yesterday’s blog post I see that science fiction apparently anticipated the development of the Sasquatch-UFO connection at each stage of its development.
This morning I read an interesting diatribe by the pseudonymous Annoyed Librarian in the Library Journal in which he criticizes the Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville, Penn. for inviting longtime UFO researcher Stan Gordon to deliver a presentation on flying saucers at the library. The presentation occurred on Saturday, and it isn’t really the kind of thing I’d comment on except that I couldn’t get over the title of Gordon’s book: Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook.
Before we begin today, there is a bit of news about America Unearthed.
When an avalanche claimed the lives of more than a dozen people climbing on Mount Everest this week, Committee Films was in the process of shooting segments on the mountain for a History Channel documentary as well as America Unearthed, according to producer Maria Awes, whose husband was among the climbers. He was at 12,500 feet when the avalanche hit. All of the Committee Films production team members as well as their Sherpa guides were unharmed and were able to descend.
If you’re at all interested in paranormal and historical mysteries, you almost certainly know the work of Joe Nickell, the resident investigator at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and one of the most frequent correspondents for Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptical Briefs. On his blog last week, Nickell related his experience with a television producer who had asked him to appear on TV to investigate an unnamed fringe mystery. According to Nickell, the producer complained that another skeptic he had contacted by phone was too negative and dismissive.
It’s Good Friday, so what better day to explore whether Jesus really died on the cross and rose from the dead? Scott Wolter did an interview with evangelical Christian author Karla Akins, who supports his findings despite disagreeing with his conclusions because in conspiracy culture what counts is your opposition to mainstream academia. In the interview he confirmed his belief that the Gospel narratives of Jesus are a conspiracy designed to hide the truth. If you remember Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers, he follows Ralph Ellis in believing that Jesus reigned as the king of Judea, as well as having been trained as the high priest of Amun, and sojourned in India to take training with Buddhist monks.
Today I’d like to talk about a crappy movie I just saw, but before I do, I want to share a little bit more about a recent flap over Nazis and fringe history.
I did it! I didn’t think I’d be able to squeeze my entire anthology of ancient texts used by fringe historians into the publisher’s limit of 125,000 words, but after completing the first draft of the full text, I clocked in at 124,800 words, which includes the texts, commentaries, book overview, and the chapter introductions. I’ll probably do some trimming here and there, but I thrilled that I managed to get everything in without having to sacrifice any texts.
Eclipses of the moon happen so regularly that even astrologers think of them as regular features of the heavens. However, the appearance of four “blood moons,” or eclipses where the moon seems to turn red, in an eighteen month period beginning early this morning have led to bizarre prophecies that this marks the end of the state of Israel or even the Second Coming of Jesus. According to Pastor John Hagee, who previously announced that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for a planned gay pride rally in New Orleans, the blood moons fulfill the prophecy of Joel (2:31), reiterated in Acts 2:20: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” There will be a solar eclipse on April 29. He isn’t sure that this is the Second Coming, but he believes a “world-changing” event is upon us and that it is intimately connected with the Jews.
This morning in a comment on my blog Brien Foerster accused me of libeling him for, essentially, taking him at his word. (The comment came from an email address associated with Foerster’s business, so I believe he was in fact the author.) In reporting that the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory refused to conduct destructive testing on a sample of rock allegedly from Puma Punku, I said that Foerster had chipped fragments from some of the stones at the site and had removed them from Bolivia. Foerster accused me of making false and libelous statements:
No artifacts were chipped from, nor were they taken from the Puma Punku site, as in, within the fenced area. Your allegations are both false and libelous...
Remember how I’ve been discussing the hallmarks of conspiracy culture? Well, according to Michael Barkun’s Culture of Conspiracy (2006), one of the most important markers of what separates a conspiracy theorist from your run of the mill zealous advocate of an unusual idea is the simultaneous rejection of mainstream academia while creating methods for appropriating its prestige and approval. The zealous advocate pushes his (and it’s almost always his) ideas through traditional channels and respects the foundations of scholarship (even if he is blind to his idea’s weaknesses), but the conspiracy theorist rejects the traditional channels and demands that his ideas be exempt from the types of review and scrutiny given to all others. Typically, this is due to a deep distrust of academia or the belief that there is a system-wide conspiracy designed to suppress the truth that the conspiracy theorist is somehow uniquely poised to reveal, if only the guardians of orthodoxy would let him.