Yesterday, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch ran an article by journalist Alexander Zaitchik exploring the close connections between fringe history and hate, notably the way that white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and anti-Semites have incorporated claims as wide-ranging as ancient aliens, lost civilizations, and Bible giants into a narrative designed to promote a racist agenda. Zaitchik quotes me as an expert in fringe history’s darker themes, and I am pleased that he made good use of much of the information that I provided about some of the many ways hate groups have employed fringe history to craft narratives of racial supremacy.
UFO disclosure advocate Dr. Steven Greer’s recent documentary Unacknowledged is now on Netflix. In the documentary, Greer adopts the claims put forward by Donald Zygutis in 2016 that Carl Sagan was on the receiving end of a government effort to force him to become a debunker: “After he was threatened by the intelligence community, and blackmailed, he then began to debunk the issue.” It seems fairly clear that the claim was lifted from Zygutis, but it’s interesting to see the way a bad idea with zero evidence in its favor.
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.
David Wilcock Spins Anti-Government Conspiracy, Accuses Rothschild Banking Family of Threatening Him with Assassination
As 2017 comes to an end, Ancient Aliens star David Wilcock dumped one last steaming load to cap off a crappy year. On his Divine Cosmos blog, Wilcock alleged that evil aliens, liberal Democrats, and career civil servants in the U.S. government are finally receiving their comeuppance thanks to a coalition of good space aliens, conservative Republicans, and Donald Trump, though he did not name the president specifically. Wilcock alleges that the Trump Justice Department has placed more than 4,000 so-called Deep State actors under house arrest in anticipation of a massive purge of space alien collaborators. The 4,289 sealed indictments represent the total number of sealed indictments filed in America’s 94 federal courts in November. The number became fodder for right-wingers after Robert Mueller used sealed indictments in his Trump-Russia probe, and Wilcock has parroted the talking point.
Spiritual Guru Bentinho Massaro Folds "Ancient Aliens" Style ET and Nazi Conspiracies into New Age Belief System
I’ve often noted that the professional ancient astronaut theorists on the History Channel often sound like they’re trying to start a cult. Sometimes it’s good to remember that there really are people who use ancient astronaut theories to start cults, or a reasonable facsimile of one. I’m sure most readers are familiar with the Raëlism movement, which came to prominence decades ago when whey claimed that ancient astronauts had directed them to engage in human cloning. But I had never heard of Bentinho Massaro, a Millennial New Age guru in Sedona, Arizona, until I read an exposé of his cult-like movement in a Medium.com article yesterday. Frankly, I thought it was fake news until I researched Massaro and discovered that he is a real, ridiculous New Age guru with an ideology that combines a strange mixture of Theosophy, Eastern mumbo-jumbo, ufology, and world domination.
Happening Now in "Who Really Built That?" Templars at the Newport Tower, a Lost Ice Age Civilization at Giza, and Australian Aborigines at Göbekli Tepe
Late last week novelist David S. Brody, who is a close colleague of former television personality Scott F. Wolter, posted on his blog what he called new information about the origins of the Old Stone Mill in Newport, Rhode Island, popularly known as the Newport Tower. Brody presented a quotation from Pocasset Wampanoag chief Daryl “Black Eagle” Jamieson, a younger man who has clearly been influenced by modern fringe history claims. Jamieson spoke with the Wolter/Brody wing of fringe history in 2015, and it is on his authority that Brody and Wolter claim that Native Americans have a centuries-old oral history of the medieval Earl Henry Sinclair of Orkney coming to America in the late 1300s. Specifically, here is what Black Eagle had to say in his own words:
Longtime ancient astronaut theorist Erich von Däniken has a new book out this week called The Gods Never Left Us. However, it is being published by New Page Books, which has banned me from receiving review copies, so I am not able to review the book yet. I would be willing to bet, however, that I could completely make up a review based on von Däniken’s past work and no one would ever notice the difference. At the rate he churns them out, there can’t really be that much original material in any given book. This is especially likely since his next new book, Impossible Truths, is due out in January. The only thing special about The Gods Never Left Us is that it is being marketed as a direct sequel to Chariots of the Gods. And here, silly me, I thought his previous three dozen books on the same theme were sequels. The book description is unintentionally hilarious: “Can’t they leave us alone? And what makes it so difficult for us to acknowledge the existence of these extraterrestrials? That is what this book deals with.” Yes, why can’t they seem to leave poor old von Däniken alone? After all, he’s only gotten 34 volumes out of the “mystery.”
Yesterday the PR flak for a small press publisher asked me to criticize one of their new books, a conspiracy tome alleging that the Gospels are medieval fakes. I’m not going to give them publicity by naming the book or the author, but I was rather taken aback by the invitation to trash a text. I guess that falls into the category of any publicity be good publicity.
Review of "Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs" by Greg King and Penny Wilson
TWILIGHT OF EMPIRE: THE TRAGEDY AT MAYERLING AND THE END OF THE HABSBURGS
Greg King and Penny Wilson | 352 pages | St. Martin’s Press | 2017 | ISBN: 9781250083029 | $27.99
On a cold winter’s night at the end of January 1889, the heir to Europe’s most illustrious throne murdered his teenaged mistress, sat for hours with her naked corpse, and then put a bullet through his own head. The shock caused by the death of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was so great that nearly 130 years later, many still cannot believe that Rudolf would take his own life, despite his repeated and professed desire to do so. Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs, the new book by Greg King and Penny Wilson set to be released on November 14, explores Rudolf’s actions at his hunting lodge of Mayerling and reconstructs the end of the young prince’s tragic life. However, the authors ultimately exhume Rudolf’s corpse in a literary reenactment of the infamous Cadaver Synod, in which Pope Stephen VII propped up the rotten bulk of Pope Formosus’s dead body for a parody of a trial. They spin a conspiracy that is logically inconsistent, and driven more by a visceral dislike of Rudolf than a clear-eyed evaluation of facts.
Weekend Roundup: Marzulli's Vegas Shooter Freakout, Mathematician's Attempt to Google Noah's Flood into Existence, and More!
Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli has always been creepy with his weird combination of Christian extremism and recycled rightwing talking points, but he is slipping farther and farther into the realm of utterly, irredeemably paranoid. In his latest radio broadcast, he was unable to handle the fact that the Las Vegas mass shooter, Stephen Paddock, who killed more than 50 people last weekend, was a wealthy old white male. Because he didn’t fit Marzulli’s preconceptions about what a violent person should be (brown or black, Muslim, etc.), he proposed that Paddock was the victim of CIA mind control experiments, or else that there was a vast conspiracy fomented by the media to frame him. Marzulli turned the subject to himself and added that he is himself a former drug user who consumed copious amounts of LSD and other mind-altering substances, and he claims that the drugs he did before the age of 30 opened him to “the lower astral” where demons live. He then turned his radio show into a lengthy diatribe about the way the U.S. government is feeding drugs to mass shooters in order to take control of them and use them to shoot up America. He added that Islamic State has a “zombie drug” that removes free will, and he speculates that any conservative can fall victim to mind control from liberals, spy agencies, or Muslims.
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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