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.
Last night Graham Hancock and fringe geologist Randall Carlson sat down with Joe Rogan for a three-and-a-half-hour podcast. It wasn’t terribly different from the pair’s first appearance on the podcast just about exactly one year ago. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was a rerun. Most of the interview recapitulates material from Magicians of the Gods, usually point for point and often in the same words as the book. Since I have already covered this material in my review of his book, I won’t bother to repeat all of my criticisms of Hancock’s claims about the monumental Neolithic site of Göbekli Tepe, the Roman temple site of Baalbek, and the rest of his usual stock of claims. My previous discussion of last year’s Joe Rogan Experience podcast with Hancock and Carlson offers still more evaluation. Therefore, I will focus my discussion here on material that is different. Sadly, the new material is mostly a sustained attack on skeptics.
On Saturday and Sunday, Andrew Collins and Hugh Newman put on the Origins 2016: The Origins of Civilization Conference at the Rudolf Steiner House in London. The even brought together a veritable Legion of Doom of B-list fringe historians, including Collins and Newman, along with Robert Bauval, William Henry, Graham Phillips, Greg Little, and more. The event didn’t receive a lot of promotion, and to judge by a search of social media, it didn’t generate much of an urge for attendees to post or tweet about the “news and revelations” promised for the conference. The Rudolf Steiner House in London did not list the event on its own event calendar for this weekend, and Newman’s Facebook links to discussion of the event were inaccessible by the time the conference closed last night. I found only a couple of tweets from attendees.
Many of you will remember that Ancient Origins, the clickbait fringe history website, developed a fascination with Ecuador after the site’s leadership decamped to the country’s expatriate community. Earlier this year, the site’s owners “investigated” the supposed golden treasures of Father Crespi with giant hunters Jim Vieira and Hugh Newman, and they refused to believe their own eyes that the accumulated treasures were nothing more than scrap metal badly forged into fake Old World artifacts. They are also pretty certain that the laser-carved caves at Tayos, Ecuador filled with a golden library are real, even though everyone involved in investigating the hoax conceded as much at one time or another. These, of course, were the “mysteries” at the heart of Erich von Däniken’s Gold of the Gods. This has only encouraged the Ancient Origins team to look for new ways to make their adopted home magical by accepting the Cuenca giant hoax and trying to prove Erich von Däniken’s Gold of the Gods correct, despite even von Däniken himself having admitted off and on in the 1970s that its stories of Ecuadorian mysteries were not true.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.