Kewaunee Lapseritis: Bigfoot Told Me He Works the Mines for Inter-Dimensional Alien Environmentalists
This morning Jane-Anne Shaw, a PhD student in Classics in Britain, posted a five-star review of my Jason and the Argonauts through the Ages on Amazon.co.uk. Hers is, so far as I know, the first review of my book, and I’m glad it was a nice one:
This is an extremely readable new paperback volume on an old myth. To examine, classify and rationalise the ancient figure of Jason (aka Iason - no ‘J’ in Classical Greek) Colavito has amassed a huge amount of material from the archaic Greek Mycenaean period down to our own era. […] It is not a heavy read - Colavito is clear and lucid - albeit stylistically I would place it towards the academic end of the Classical Studies spectrum. This does not detract from it at all - it is not a specialist book, and I imagine it will be of use to students as well as any general reader interested in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts.
A bit of disclosure: Several weeks ago Shaw asked me to put her in contact with my publisher so she could request a review copy. We did not discuss my book or my thoughts on Jason before she reviewed the book.
First, a brief update: Yesterday I received the first proof copy of the hardcopy edition of Cthulhu in World Mythology. It’s undergoing a final set of corrections, and then it should be available for sale at Atomic Overmind and on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble shortly. So, if you’ve been waiting for the print edition to order your copy, the wait is almost over!
Linda Moulton-Howe and the Alaska Pyramid
Here’s a bizarre claim I didn’t know about. I have no idea how I missed it. In March the Humans Are Free fringe website reported a claim that Ancient Aliens pundit and fringe author Linda Moulton-Howe made in 2012 that a major pyramid had been discovered in Alaska. The Humans Are Free article appears to be derived, sometimes verbatim, from pieces that ran on Moulton-Howe’s Earth Files in 2012, but which are now locked behind a membership paywall. Similar articles appeared on numerous other sites such as Before It’s News in 2013, all derived from the same source.
It’s no wonder that Showtime sent two episodes of Penny Dreadful to TV critics for their review. As you will no doubt recall, I found the pilot episode to be disjointed and slipshod, but last night’s second episode was everything that its predecessor was not. The program shows much more control over its style, and individual scenes have a more rigorous aesthetic, extending from the improved set design to a more controlled set of color palettes. If the whole still doesn’t quite add up to more than the sum of its parts—there is still no unity in terms of color palettes, and the cinematography fails to rise much above standard TV blocking, with intermittent and obvious CGI backgrounds contrasting poorly with on-location shots—it is a marked improvement over the aesthetics of the first episode. All the same, the subject matter really could stand a bit more stylization in the visuals an a bit more epic a feel.
Robert M. Price: Colavito Probably Wrong on Lovecraft and Ancient Astronauts, Didn't Give Me Enough Credit
Biblical researcher and H. P. Lovecraft scholar Robert M. Price discussed my Cult of Aliens Gods (2005) on his Lovecraft Geek podcast recently (episode 11), and while he says that my book is “worth a look” he also complains that my book fails to adequately credit him and his colleague Charles Garofalo for their 1982 Crypt of Cthulhu article “Chariots of the Old Ones” in which they pointed to the parallels between H. P. Lovecraft’s fiction and the work of Erich von Däniken. After noting that their article appears in my bibliography, Price says that in the body text “he doesn’t give us any credit. His case, though more extensive, is so similar to what Garofalo and I said. I wonder if he even got the idea from there. But it doesn’t really matter. […] [Colavito’s] book certainly is interesting, but I don’t remember the title of it.”
I have always had the utmost respect for Price and his work on Lovecraft, and I have cited him repeatedly in my own work over the years, so this was a bit of a surprise. (Disclosure: We have never met, and Price has never responded to my intermittent efforts to communicate with him about Lovecraftian issues over the last decade.)
White Supremacist: Zionists May Try to Stop "America Unearthed" from Reporting Truth about White History
Note for the easily offended: Please note that I regularly report on what audience members have to say about popular fringe history claims. I recently, for example, discussed a woman who said Ancient Aliens convinced her she was abducted by aliens. Discussion of how audience members choose to use fringe claims and integrate them into their worldviews does not imply that the originators of the claims endorse said worldviews, only that they should be aware of how their readers and viewers approach and understand their claims.
Extremists tend to see what they want to see, but there are times when what extremists see shocks and surprises even me. That was the case today when I discovered some recent and shocking reactions to America Unearthed that point toward the contradictory ways fringe history claims can be woven into political ideology.
"America Unearthed" Guest Jim Chatters: New DNA Evidence Links Paleoindians to Modern Native Americans
Several alert readers sent me links to a variety of news articles announcing the discovery of a 12,000 year old skeleton in the Yucatán Peninsula, which was reported yesterday in the online version of the journal Science in the article “Late Pleistocene Human Skeleton and mtDNA Link Paleoamericans and Modern Native Americans.” The bones, which were discovered underwater along with the remains of Ice Age fauna, are among the oldest ever found in the Americas. Tests of her mitochondrial DNA, however, are causing even more of a stir, helping to pinpoint the origin of the first Americans—and suggesting that some of the wilder claims about their origins are wrong.
Last year I wrote a piece on the history of the Grave Creek Stone, also called the Grave Creek Tablet, a mysterious rock with alleged Old World characters found in Grave Creek mound in what is now West Virginia in 1838. As I discussed at the time, there is good evidence that the rock had been hoaxed by lost race theorist James W. Clemens, who had tried to exploit the mound as part of a money-making scheme and desperately needed an “Old World” discovery to help him make the dig a success. The Smithsonian’s Bureau of Ethnology reviewed the find and concluded it was most likely a hoax, earning the artifact a spot on the list of supposed finds that the Smithsonian took efforts to suppress.
Butler University religion professor James L. McGrath has an interesting article in the spring issue of the Phi Kappa Phi Forum in which he explores the connection between science fiction and religion. Given my own interest in the connection between speculative fiction and fringe history, I found his discussion to be engaging, if (understandably) somewhat incomplete.
Alternative and fringe authors have been arguing that white people dominated the Americas for hundreds of years, beginning with the clergymen who first visited the New World in the wake of the Conquistadors. A lively debate emerged in the 1500s and 1600s about whether the Americas had been visited by apostles of Christ, European priests, or various saints. St. Thomas was one of the most popular candidates for the great white civilizer of the Americas, and of course Gerónimo de Mendieta’s account of Quetzalcoatl in Historia eclesiástica Indiana 2.10 is the most important foundation for claims that Native Americans worshiped Caucasians as deities.
Surely there is something about fringe history beliefs that curdles even the most fertile of minds once faith supplants facts in the minds of the true believer. Have you ever heard of Richard J. Dewhurst? Dewhurst began his career producing legitimate work. He graduated from NYU with a degree in journalism and worked for ABC News, The Miami Herald, PBS, Fox, and many other outlets, including the History Channel. He also says he won an Emmy for his work on an HBO documentary about the Vietnam War, though his name does not appear in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ online records. According to the Academy, the Emmys were awarded to writer Bill Couturie and producer Thomas Bird for Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1988), although Dewhurst was a credited writer on the project according to IMDB.
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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