Would You Believe Yoga Can Prove the Olmec Came from Vedic India? This Man Does, and Graham Hancock Wants You to Meet Him
After a week of heavy political material, I imagine we can all use a break with a case of classic ridiculousness. No, I’m not talking about Scott Wolter’s bizarre tweet in which he speculated that the light fixtures around the U.S. Capitol are secret copies of the Ark of the Covenant, or the one later in which he imagined that the Lincoln Memorial, modeled on a Doric temple, is also the Ark. Instead, I am talking about the special guest article by Bibhu Dev Misra on Graham Hancock’s website in which the Hindu nationalist speculates that the Olmec are in fact secret descendants of Vedic Indians because of yoga!
Stephen K. Bannon Believes We Are Heading Toward a Global Cataclysm Because of a Pseudo-Historical 1990s Book about Cyclical History
From the world of alternative facts, a fake news story going viral on social media claims Giorgio Tsoukalos of Ancient Aliens appeared on L. A. Tonight, a local Los Angeles talk show, and alleged that space aliens used a brainwashing device that deploys sound waves to reprogram human brains in order to elect Donald Trump president. The program doesn’t exist, the screenshots of his appearance are actually from his guest spot on a 2011 episode of The Mo’Nique Show (with Mo’Nique misidentified as “Latifa Johnson”), and Tsoukalos had to take to Twitter on Saturday to deny that he claimed an alien space ray reprograms voters’ minds with pro-Trump propaganda.
If only every intersection between Trump and fringe history were so humorous.
Newsweek Profiles Man Who Believes an Ancient European Ship Is Buried in California. Big Surprise: Two Cable Channels Are Doing Shows About It
Newsweek has a fascinating piece about the people who believe that there is a lost Viking or Spanish ship in the deserts of California, somewhere between Coachella and Baja. It’s a modern myth, one born of some tall tales spun in the 1800s and especially after the 1930s, but it is a story that continues to fascinate believers, often treasure hunters, down the present. The most popular version of the story, from 1939, is a secondhand account of a man who claimed to see a stereotyped Viking vessel in the desert, complete with round shields attached to the sides, just like in the picture books. The present Newsweek article takes the form of a profile of the adventures of former mattress salesman John Grasson, a man born in 1957 and currently living on disability, who is both a treasure hunter and a believer in the UFO crash at Roswell.
Did Henry Sinclair Inspire the Creation of Ice Hockey During His Fictitious Voyage to America in 1398? These Self-Described Hockey Historians Say Yes!
The CIA has released online some 13 million declassified files, most of which were declassified a decade or more ago but which were previously unavailable in digital form. One document stood out as potentially interesting, but sadly there wasn’t enough information in the file to do more than tantalize. A memorandum for the Office of Special Activities from February 12, 1963 is entitled simply “Egyptian Pyramids” and indicates only that a set of “duplicate positives” had been forwarded. It looks like it was a request to forward some photos of the pyramids, possibly aerial photos like those referenced in 1952 CIA documents, but wouldn’t it be fun if it were something else? The Special Activities Division is the CIA’s covert operations division.
Turkish Government Funds Documentary Claiming Göbekli Tepe Was Built by Abraham’s Father and Destroyed by Abraham
Remember how fringe writers including Andrew Collins and Graham Hancock have heavily implied that the ancient Turkish site of Göbekli Tepe had been constructed by a lost civilization related to or identical with the Nephilim and/or Atlantis? Well, it turns out that the Turkish government has done them one better by funding a documentary that claims the ancient temple site to be the work of the patriarch Abraham’s idol-worshiping father Telah, according to an account from the Turkish Hürriyet Daily News newspaper, the country’s oldest and most respected English-language news source.
Why Is the Alt-Right Into the Middle Ages? Plus: Scott Wolter Claims Ice Age Peoples Held Intercontinental "World Conference" Meetings
The Economist had an interesting blog this week speculating on why far right Americans have come to embrace the Middle Ages. Specifically, the blog post – anonymous, like most Economist pieces – looks at why far right advocates seem to have moved the center of their intellectual interest from Classical Antiquity to medieval times:
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.
Stephen C. Jett Argues for Multiple and Repeated Pre-Columbian Contacts with the Old World in New Article
Stephen C. Jett, a retired professor of geography, has been an advocate for hyper-diffusionism for most of his life. A quarter century ago, he appeared in the New York Times as part of an article profiling the “America Before Columbus” convention alongside the usual suspects, who, all these decades later, remain advocates of the same claims with the same evidence and the same arguments: J. Huston McCulloch, Carl L. Johannessen, Nancy Yaw Davis, etc. It’s rather astonishing than in 25 years, the ambiguous evidence and inconclusive arguments have changed nary a lick. Anyway, this is a long way around saying that Jett has a new article in the current edition of EdgeScience to promote his new book Ancient Ocean Crossings in which the 78-year-old editor of the diffusionist journal Pre-Columbiana claims that science is shackled by what he calls “blinder beliefs” that prevent mainstream historians and archaeologists from accepting the truth about pre-Norse transoceanic cultural diffusion.
This weekend I suffered a shoulder injury that has left me with some arm pain and an inability to fully move my right arm. Doctors tell me that the x-rays show that I have a calcium deposit in my shoulder that is pressing down on a tendon and causing a great deal of pain. Today I am seeing an orthopedic specialist to see what can be done to help restore my arm. The downside is that I will have to take a it a bit easy in terms of blogging because it’s a bit painful for me to type.
Last night on The Curse of Oak Island, the program name-checked “forensic geologist Scott Wolter” as one of “a growing number” of “scholars” who allege that the “so-called ‘hooked X’” is a Templar symbol. The team examined a piece of sandstone with an X with a “hook” intentionally scratched into it. Anyone, of course, could have created it at any time. Naturally, this excited the show about Templars again because the producers decided that Templars are the main through-line of the season. It’s still a show about digging holes, and I still find it painfully boring. I will be interested, though, to see whether Wolter’s outrage from last week about having his pet fantasy coopted continues now that the producers have paid him obeisance. In a tweet this morning, Wolter claimed that an X had been scratched atop a natural formation, with the “hook” being natural. “NOT Templar IMHO,” Wolter tweeted.
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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