Seeing as it is Memorial Day weekend and we are facing down the gauntlet of several months stacked with multiple fringe history and UFO TV shows airing each week, I am going to give myself a break today and spend the day correcting copyedited chapter pages instead. I need to get something done before trying to review America Unearthed, Ancient Aliens, and possibly that To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science show all in the same week. My publisher has suggested three possible titles for my Mound Builder book but remains open to suggestions. In the poll below, let me know which you prefer, and feel free to share your suggestions for a better title in comments below.
The Pentagon Admits to Investigating UFOs, Plus: Graham Hancock Cleared of Josh Reeves's Plagiarism Charge
The usual characters from cable TV ufology are very excited this week because a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed that the military investigates when it receives reports of incursions into U.S. airspace by unidentified aerial vehicles. In response to a question from the New York Post that I would guess was connected to the upcoming History channel series following To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and their efforts to explore military UFO research, the Pentagon conformed that it investigated “unidentified aerial phenomena,” a fact that should have surprised no one.
To promote the release of his self-published book The Discovery of Troy and Its Lost History, historical researcher Bernard Jones published an article in Ancient Origins highlighting the book’s central claim, that the ancient city of Troy (Ilium) was not located in Asia Minor as has been assumed since ancient times but instead was located in the Celtic world. His evidence is Homer’s Iliad, whose poetic descriptions he takes as literal depictions of a voyage to the New World.
I received the copyedited chapter files for my mound builder book, which means that I now have to review and approve the changes. Because this takes a lot of time, I’m taking this weekend off to work on the review process. Therefore, I’ll leave you with a brief notice that the claim made this week that a researcher using “ingenuity” and “lateral thinking” had deciphered the mysterious Voynich Manuscript in less than two weeks has already descended into recriminations and claims that academics just don’t understand radical new ideas—you know, the standard. It is another case where a sexy claim got overblown through over-ambitious PR and sensational media coverage, aided by a claimant who seems to lack humility about the limits of his own claim.
This week, Vice visited the site for Erich von Däniken’s Mystery Park, his ancient astronaut theme park that went bust and reconstituted itself as Jungfrau Park, an amusement park operated by new owners, at which von Däniken maintains an office. Vice explored the park and talked to von Däniken, who, as is typical, is a bit phlegmatic about the changes that the new owners imposed on his vision.
I should begin today with a note in passing about the passing of Stanton Friedman, the UFO researcher who devoted more than four decades of his life to researching—and failing to find—evidence of an alien presence on Earth. A familiar face on the UFO circuit, the 84-year-old Friedman supported the authenticity of the hoax Majestic-12 documents and thus helped to promote a culture of conspiracy in the UFO community by dressing it up in scientific garb.
It’s been a bit of a slow week so far in the world of the outré, so today I’d like to dip into the archival record to share a strange incident that occurred in 1971 when Jacques Vallée and J. Allen Hynek went to visit esoteric researcher Manly P. Hall at Hall’s library at the Philosophical Research Society. The building impressed Vallée greatly because of its elaborate woodwork, iron staircase, and displays of cross-cultural bric-a-brac such as Chinese sculptures. What impressed him most, he wrote in Forbidden Science, was that Hall’s library was the first occult building he had seen that was not dilapidated.
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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