After a great deal of hard work, I am not only a few pages away from finishing my book on the history of the Mound Builder myth, but in doing so, I ran into a couple of small issues that I haven’t been able to resolve, for all my efforts at research. I am going to present them here, and perhaps one of you reading this will have an answer.
Today I learned that no good deed goes unpunished. As most readers know, I maintain a growing library of important texts related to fringe history and pseudo-archaeology. Since there is no full public domain translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and I certainly wasn’t going to pay thousands in licensing fees to use a modern one, I put together my own version from public domain material and my own editorial emendations and additions based on more recent translations. I started from the base of William Muss-Arnolt’s translations, published in 1904, and added in translations of fragments that were discovered and translated in the 1910s and 1920s. Because Muss-Arnolt’s material was in the wrong order, incomplete, and often wrong, I took a pretty strong editorial hand, and about 50% of the text is mine, though I tried to echo Muss-Arnolt closely enough that it isn’t always easy to tell. I don’t claim it as my own translation because, obviously enough, I don’t read cuneiform to work from the primary sources. That’s also why I don’t sell it for a profit; I don’t feel it is enough of my own labor to charge for. But it also isn’t in the public domain. I wrote half of it.
Malta to Host Debut of New Atlantis Documentary; Plus: Harry Reid Gives Depressing Interview about His UFO Beliefs
I fell behind on work yesterday, and unfortunately ran out of time for a lengthy blog post. So I will give a couple of quick news notes. The first is about a documentary scheduled debut on Saturday in the island nation of Malta. The high-profile (for Malta, anyway) offering traces the fringe claims of Maltese artist Francis Xavier Alosio and was produced by Sprout Media’s Ed Hamilton. The 45-minute film claims that the temples of ancient Malta are far older than the Neolithic and are in fact the work of Atlanteans from 9,600 years ago or more.
POWER PLACES AND THE MASTER BUILDERS OF ANTIQUITY
Frank Joseph | 320 pages | Bear & Company | 2018 | ISBN: 9781591433132 | $18.0
Dear God, there’s another one. It’s only been a couple of days since I reviewed Xaviant Haze’s Ancient Giants, and now we have an even worse entry in the canon of ancient mysteries books to contend with. This one is especially appropriate because it comes to us from the pen of Frank Joseph, formerly known as Frank Collin, the ex-head of the National Socialist White People’s Party and the National Socialist Party of America. In a month when a former American Nazi Party leader is running unopposed to secure the Republican nomination for an Illinois congressional seat (which he will likely lose since it is a heavily Democratic district), it just seems right to see what the other former Nazi leader in the public eye is up to. Yes, he is still promoting white interests, just more subtly.
It turns out that I won’t be on In Search Of to talk about Atlantis after all. I spoke with a segment producer who informed me that the program’s director is an Oscar-nominated auteur with an uncompromising artistic vision for the program. Consequently, they will not accept as a talking head anyone who is unwilling to travel to Europe or a location somewhere in the United States to be filmed according to his exacting creative standards—on a date to be determined at the last minute, depending on the shooting schedule of Zachary Quinto, who will be squeezing the series in between movies. I offered to shoot talking head segments locally here in Albany, using a freelance crew as many shows typically arrange for, since I am not able to leave my infant son or my job behind on a whim, but the auteur said that any shoot where he has less than 100% creative control is unacceptable.
So, you heard it here first: This is the first time I’ve ever been rejected from a series for aesthetic reasons!
New Scientific Paper Offers Evidence for Younger Dryas Conflagration; Lost Civilization Believers Immediately Lay Claim to Findings
[Update: This evening Graham Hancock announced that John Anthony West has died. "He beat the cancer, but the fight took too much out of him and he has moved on now, with great dignity and style, to his next great adventure. I love him, I admire him and I consider him to be a great light in the world that has by no means gone out."] According to the Daily Grail, alternative archaeologist John Anthony West, 85, will be taken off a ventilator tomorrow when he is moved to hospice care. West had been in declining health for more than a year after forgoing conventional cancer treatments in favor of untested alternative care. West, who worked as a tour guide in Egypt for many years, came to prominence 25 years ago when his book reprising some of the claims made by occultist Schwaller de Lubicz about the age of the Great Sphinx earned him a slot on NBC’s 1993 documentary The Mystery of the Sphinx. While West made few original contributions to historiography, his passion for the subject helped to popularize a particular vision of ancient Egypt as the receptacle of wisdom from a lost civilization such as Atlantis.
I haven’t been posting on Mondays, but this weekend I saw a show on the Science Channel that made me mad enough that I thought I should make a brief posting about it. Apparently, the network has a series called Mysteries of the Missing with former Lost actor Terry O’Quinn narrates stories ripped from schlocky “unsolved mystery” paperbacks. The episode I saw originally aired in September, and it featured a search for Atlantis in Morocco. I don’t generally watch random crap on cable anymore since I have much less time for trash TV, so I missed it on its first airing.
As we approach the New Year, it’s time to take a final look back at 2017 in fringe history. This was a year when political news overshadowed almost everything else, but 2017 still managed to find new ways to use and abuse history, rivalling the historic low of 2016. This year in fringe history might not have been more extreme than last year, but it was certainly darker. It was the year when fringe historians rejoiced that they had an ally in the White House whose courtiers proudly flew the banner of “alternative facts,” but more than anything, it was the year of Tom DeLonge, the musician turned ufologist who published an ancient astronaut book, launched a UFO research company, was crowned UFO researcher of the year, and took credit for the year’s biggest UFO research flap. Let’s look back at what happened over the past twelve months.
The fictitious pseudohistorical Atlantis of Brasseur de Bourbourg, Augustus Le Plongeon, and Ignatius Donnelly has had a long and ignominious influence on the word. I came across a bizarre argument from 1914 and 1915 that the swastika is proof of the existence of Atlantis and that Atlantis is therefore also the garden of Eden from the Bible, for the four branches of the swastika symbolize the four rivers of Eden. In reality, the swastika is one of the most common shapes used in cultures around the world, due to its simplicity and symmetry. It is almost certainly an independent invention many times over, but Atlantis theorists have speculated that the shape, like the equally obvious pyramid form, could only have been invented by a race of lily-white supermen on a paradisiacal Atlantic island.
Yes, The Curse of Oak Island returned last night, but as it has dragged on, the program has become a reality show more than a documentary series, and the deaths of two cast members make it much less fun to criticize the increasingly rickety program. When and if they uncover anything worth mentioning, I might return to talking about it.
The Daily Mail ran another of its stupid clickbait articles, and it has earned quite a bit of play across the fringe internet for reasons that baffle me. The new article implies, without bothering to explain, that the city of Nan Madol, in the South Pacific, had something to do with the lost continent of Atlantis. The news peg is that the Science Channel took some satellite images of the city, which the internet quickly misunderstood as meaning that Nan Madol had been “newly” discovered. This, in turn, prompted the Daily Mail to write about the online speculation as though it had substance.
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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