Today I’m going to try to finish my evaluation of Zena Halpern’s Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond, and you will forgive me if I summarize more than usual some of the sidetracks that aren’t directly relevant to the question of the Knights Templar in America. Before we begin, however, I need to address a couple of points that David Brody and Steve St. Clair, both friends of Halpern and active participants in her hunt for Templar treasure in the Catskills, made in comments on my blog.
Yesterday I began my look at Zena Halpern’s Templar Mission to Oak Island. Today, for better or worse, I continue. To refresh your memory: We previously discussed the supposed mystery of a brass box with alchemical and astrological symbols that a man named William D. Jackson claimed to have stolen from Bannerman Island in New York in 1969, a mystery that Halpern learned about from an alleged secret agent named Dan Spartan of the (likely fictitious) Spartan Agency who fed her information through typewritten letters sent from false addresses.
Regular readers will remember Zena Halpern, an octogenarian who claimed on The Curse of Oak Island to have access to copies of medieval maps that demonstrate what she believes to be evidence of a voyage by the Knights Templar to map Oak Island and other parts of North America. Halpern is ill with what her friends have described online as a very serious illness, though I have no knowledge of her current health status. Last week Halpern released her long-gestating project, The Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond: Search for Ancient Secrets: The Shocking Revelations of a 12th Century Manuscript. As you can tell from the multiple subtitles, the book has some problems with editing. It is self-published, and the rough, unfinished quality of the writing is at times distracting and sometimes infuriating when the author repeats the same thing several times in a row. It needed an editor.
I’ll be honest with you: The quality of fringe history claims has declined markedly over the last couple of years as the great fringe history boom of 2009-2014 finishes fizzling out. Some days, I don’t really have anything left to talk about. The clickbait websites have reduced themselves to cheating their own audiences. I can’t tell you how many times a Google News alert has keyed me to some “new” fringe posting about ancient aliens, Atlantis, or whatever, and when I click through, I find that it’s actually a reposting of a video (and it’s always a video!) from two, three, five, or more years ago. The amount of actually new content being produced is shockingly low.
A new study from Cornell University concluded that liberals and conservatives don’t read the same books, even when it comes to the very few subjects they have in common. The study did not, apparently, look at people who did not identify with an ideological extreme. As the Guardian reports, liberals tend to read books about science to learn about science, while conservatives read books that use science to support conservative ideology.
If you live in the New York City area, you’ve probably at least seen Linda Stasi, even if you don’t know her name. Stasi is a New York Daily News columnist and an anchor on NY1, Spectrum (formerly Time Warner) cable’s local news channel. Stasi is also a novelist, writing thrillers with a fringe history edge, and she describes herself on social media as “well-read” and “a celebrated media personality.” To judge by a recent column, she is also startlingly ignorant of her subject matter but possessed of the stereotypical arrogance of the New Yorker who thinks she knows it all. This was on full display this weekend when Stasi published a column defending the ancient astronaut theory. It was one of the worst on the subject published in a major American newspaper in many a year, and it deserves special attention.
Steven Greer Claims UFO Disclosure Will Solve Climate Change and Create World Peace; Plus: Peter Levenda Is at It Again
Over the past year, Dr. Steven Greer has raised almost $700,000 to produce a documentary and companion book called Unacknowledged that claims to investigate questions surrounding UFO “disclosure.” I was surprised to see that Greer has hired Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul costar Giancarlo Esposito to narrate the film, according to Movie Web. We have been down this path before, of course. Greer produced Sirius a few years ago, promising disclosure then, too, and the results were underwhelming—a bunch of hearsay and a fetal skeleton.
Meet the Russian Political Scientist Who Wants to Restore Proto-Indo-European Social Castes and Is a Darling of the Alt-Right
In a case of some fake chickens coming home to roost, the author of the 1980 book The Demonologist, a supposedly true-life account of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s paranormal investigations, is suing Warner Bros. for almost $1 billion, claiming that the Warrens had signed over their rights to the author in 1978 and Warner did not have legal permission to use their tales in The Conjuring and its sequels. Attorneys for the author, Gerald Brittle, further claim that Warner is wrong to alleged that the movies are exempt from copyright infringement because they are based on true events rather than the book about them since the Warrens made up their stories, which Brittle claims to have added to and embellished for the book. In short, the court case will include efforts to expose yet another long-running set of fringe claims as a big scam designed to fool audiences. There are no winners here. Brittle was, by his own account, complicit in what he admits to be the promotion of false claims (which he continues to advertise as real for profit), and his moral problem is that he wasn’t paid enough for lying.
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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