Academic Journal Runs Article Claiming Göbekli Tepe Records Comet Strike, Misses Fact That Article Is Based on Speculative Andrew Collins Book
Last night the History Channel broadcast a FOUR HOUR (!) edition of a new show called Ancient Aliens Declassified in which old episodes are expanded with new scenes and commentary. If you think I’m sitting through four hours of Ancient Aliens reruns, you have another thing coming. The first episode covered “The Genius Factor,” and it wove together segments from shows on Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Tesla, and other famous figures that the show produced over the last couple of seasons. On the one hand, this proves that the show knows that it is retreading the same material over and over, but it also offers a sad comment on the History Channel’s opinion of its audience.
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.
Semir Osmanagic Claims Bosnian "Pyramids" Can Communicate with Aliens Through Faster-Than-Light Waves
My modem died. The modem had been getting inconsistent in its performance and needed to be reset with increasing frequency, and then it died completely. So, I had to waste part of the day swapping it out and setting up a new wi-fi network. The bad news is that I lost several work hours, but the good news is that my new wi-fi network is faster and stronger. But since I am behind schedule, my blog post today will have to be a bit shorter than usual.
John Anthony West Says That Pseudo-History Is a Means to Overthrow Capitalism and Western Civilization
When I was a kid, the Discovery Channel used to show dubbed English versions of ZDF’s Terra X documentary series. I have a great affection for the show (despite its frequent forays into fringe history) from that experience, and down to the present I have consequently availed myself from time to time of German archaeological documentaries, including those that DWTV dubbed into English. I was surprised and a bit dismayed to learn from László Matthias Simon-Nanko that ZDF purchased the German broadcast rights to the History Channel’s wretched Atlantis Found documentary from 2015 and will be airing an edited version of it as an episode of Terra X a few hours after I post this. To think: Two decades ago America had to import its sensationalist pseudo-archaeology from Europe in the form of Terra X, Erich von Däniken, and Graham Hancock, but now we are an exporter of pseudohistory and ignorance. Thanks, History Channel!
Minnesota Man Claims to Have Found a Medieval Norse Skull One Day's Journey North of the Kensington Rune Stone
A Minnesota man is requesting $10,000 to prove that a skull found in an old farmhouse is the remains of the one of the Norse men whose deaths were reported on the hoax Kensington Rune Stone. According to the fictitious story told on the stone, ten members of an expedition made up of eight Geats and twenty-two Norse died in 1362 while the others were fishing one day’s journey north of where the Rune Stone was found in 1898. As I learned from David M. Krueger earlier today, Elroy Balgaard, who is apparently the Minnesota graphic designer of the same name, posted a video to YouTube outlining his plans for a documentary to explore his unusual claim.
Jason Reza Jorjani Adopts Hancock-Schoch-West Fringe Claims about Egypt, Falsely Implies Nineteenth Century German Philosopher Believed Them
Since today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and also the planned launch date for the new altright.com website of white nationalist Richard Spencer and so-called “alt-right” “intellectual” Jason Reza Jorjani (which as of this writing has not happened), this seems like a perfect time to explore some of Jorjani’s views on Africa in his 2016 magnum opus, Prometheus and Atlas, which is based on his doctoral dissertation in philosophy. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), he doesn’t address sub-Saharan Africa in his universal theory of human achievement [update: I found a brief mention of West African weights and measures], but he does touch on the part of Africa most important to those who glorify the Aryan race, Egypt. Does it surprise you to learn that he casts his lot with fringe writers who don’t think that the Egyptians were responsible for developing their own culture?
I Talk Nephilim with Sharon Hill; Plus: The Radiocarbon Mysteries of Gunung Padang and My Adventure with a Cheap Chinese Watch
After a long holiday weekend, I don’t really feel up to doing any in-depth investigation today. So instead, please enjoy an interview I recorded with the always interesting Sharon Hill for her 15 Credibility Street podcast. We discussed the Watchers and the Nephilim, along with the long shadow they cast over fringe history claims, from lost civilizations to pyramid mysteries to the quest for giant human remains.
Happy New Year! As we start 2017, I thought I would continue my annual tradition and look back at 2016 in fringe history. It was probably one of the most depressing years for fringe history in decades.
Yesterday I began to review The Origins of the Sphinx by Robert Schoch and Robert Bauval, an odd duck of a book that collects a thin rewriting of Bauval’s Keeper of Genesis with two chapters by Schoch on Sphinx geology. Many of the images in the book appeared in Keeper and/or The Orion Mystery, and in my review copy they appear to have been scanned poorly from those books, with the text of the backing page visible through the picture. I hope the final version will use Photoshop to correct this. Today I pick up where I left off, with the fifth chapter, authored by Robert Bauval. But before I do, I should briefly note that it really doesn’t matter all that much to me whether the Great Sphinx was built by Khafre, or even in the Fourth Dynasty. I’m not convinced that it dates back to the Ice Age, but there is certainly room to argue it might be slightly older than the consensus maintains. It is really only when one starts to argue that it predates all known Nilotic cultures that things get a little hairy.
My Christmas gift was a review copy of the newest tome from maverick geologist Robert Schoch and eccentric engineer Robert Bauval entitled The Origin of the Sphinx: Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization (Inner Traditions, 2017). You can imagine how excited I was to find that particular lump of coal in my stocking! Before I get into the book’s contents, I should say a word about its unusual format. The two authors did not write the book together, but rather they divided the chapters among themselves, with each author credited with a few. Robert Bauval wrote chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6, along with the epilogue and appendixes 1-4. Schoch wrote the preface and chapters 2 and 7, along with appendices 5-9. The authors argue that the separate contributions “harmonize” in to a coherent whole. The fact that they needed nine appendices to explain seven chapters suggests that more editing was needed to turn this collection of essays revisiting old claims from the 1990s into a real book.
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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