Perhaps more than any year in recent memory, 2019 was the year in which fringe history stopped being fringe and went completely mainstream. This year, we saw pseudohistory and conspiracy theories top the literary bestseller lists, multiply across cable channels like mushrooms on a rotten log, and attract record crowds to traveling carnivals masquerading as pseudohistory “fan” conventions. It perfectly captures the tenor of the times for the post-truth era that the very notions of fact and fiction ceased to have meaning. This was a long, hard year, both for the world and also for me personally. After dealing with family health problems, buying and selling a house (and still not being able to close on selling the old one until early 2020, nearly half a year after the sale), writing two books, and a knot of lawyers for many different developments, I am ready for this unpleasant year to end. Let’s look back in anger:
The FBI has officially designated belief in conspiracy theories as a domestic terror threat, according to a previously unreported document discovered and publicized by Yahoo! News this week. The FBI intelligence bulletin was published in May and specifically identifies fringe conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and QAnon as potential terror threats for the first time in the Bureau’s history. “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. The document lists conspiracy theories regularly featured on cable television and social media, such as the New World Order and HAARP mind control beams, as potential threats.
David Wilcock hasn’t been having a very good couple of years. Only a few years ago, he was the third most prominent ancient astronaut theorist on Ancient Aliens, behind Giorgio Tsoukalos and David Childress, and he was one of the biggest stars of the Gaia TV streaming service, which featured hundreds of hours of programming from him. He also had a lucrative line of books and DVDs and a speaking tour. But then Wilcock made the critical error of turning subtext into text. With the exception of Tsoukalos, nearly all of the Ancient Aliens crew and their colleagues are right-wingers, but they manage to keep their conservative ranting mostly confined to short asides in YouTube videos and tweets. Wilcock, on the other hand, has been outspoken in his embrace of the most extreme pro-Trump conspiracy theories, including both Pizzagate and Q-Anon, and he has proudly declared himself a recipient of Russian propaganda, which he repeats uncritically. Between this and his contentious departure from Gaia, even the brain trust behind Ancient Aliens finally cut ties with Wilcock, who has not appeared on the show since Wilcock refused to participate in their episode interviewing John Podesta, whom Wilcock considers part of an anti-Trump, child-raping alien death cult.
Due to prior commitments this week, some of my blog posts are going to be a bit on the short side. Today I want to discuss a recent presentation discussing the results of interviews with Flat Earth believers at two conferences in 2017 and 2018. Speaking Sunday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting, researchers who spoke with more thirty attendees placed the blame squarely on YouTube for creating a community of Flat Earth believers and providing the means for Flat Earth leaders to propagandize a credulous audience. An article in the Guardian summarized their findings:
America’s Lost Vikings didn’t make quite the splash that the Travel Channel had hope for. The debut of the series starring two ex-History Channel hosts hunting for evidence of Viking incursions into North America attracted just 457,000 viewers in its plum Sunday 10 PM timeslot, losing more than 150,000 viewers from its lead-in, a years-old rerun of Expedition Unknown. The next day, six-year-old reruns of America Unearthed, newly renewed by Travel for a fourth season, held about steady at 421,000 viewers. On Tuesday, over on Travel’s competition, the History Channel, The Curse of Oak Island drew 3.7 million viewers, while Project Blue Book, recently renewed for a second season, brought in 1.6 million viewers, losing more than half of the Curse audience.
David Wilcock Issues Apology to Gaia TV, Claims Conspiracy by "Dark Alliance" to Destroy Conspiracy Media
Former Ancient Aliens pundit and Gaia TV host David Wilcock issued a public apology to Gaia TV for the alleged resignation letter that circulated under his name last July. In the letter, Wilcock expressed dismay over his financial situation and domestic violence he said he had experienced, and he accused Gaia TV of unethical behavior, including poor treatment of employees and deceptive editing of programs to make it appear that Wilcock endorsed “Luciferian” beliefs, potentially exposing him, he said, to violence from conservative Christian fans. In his apology, he took back the claims.
Australian Government Facing Mounting Pressure to Ban Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Over Anti-Semitic Claims
The Australian government is under increasing pressure to ban conspiracy theorist David Icke from the country following complaints from Jewish groups and the opposition Labor Party about Icke’s anti-Semitic views. The Anti-Defamation Council raised the alarm last week, but the issue rose to national prominence after the Labor Party sent a letter to the immigration minister, David Coleman, decrying Icke’s “extreme antisemitic views, including campaigning for Holocaust denial to be taught in schools” and asking for Icke’s visa to be revoked ahead of his planned five-city Everything You Need to Know tour next month.
A member of the alt-right Proud Boys who also professes a belief in the pro-Trump Q-Anon conspiracy murdered his brother with a sword, prosecutors say, because he had become convinced that his brother was a Reptilian lizard person. Buckey Wolfe, 26, exhibited signs of mental illness, according to prosecutors, and had filled his Facebook page with images of conservative politicians and pundits as well as Pepe the Frog. Reptilian lizard people are best known from their appearance in the borderline anti-Semitic works of British writer David Icke, who is popular with far-right audiences because of his conspiracy theories about quasi-Jewish international banking elites. Wolfe made social media postings referencing elements of Q-Anon that endorse Icke’s Reptilians claim—ideas also repeated in media like Ancient Aliens and other “fringe” programs, which helped spread them beyond the fringe of the fringe—and he was reported a fan of Alex Jones, the InfoWars conspiracy theorist who has promoted ancient astronaut and Nephilim conspiracy theories on his far-right talk show.
David Childress: Aliens Living in the Hollow Moon Created Bigfoot to Serve as Missing Link Between Humans and Apes
I had to laugh when I read Inverse magazine’s admission that in a 21-minute interview with Ancient Aliens star David Childress, Childress spoke for 21 straight minutes, barely letting the interviewer get a word in edgewise and making it impossible, as Inverse writer Jake Kleinman said, to create a “coherent” story from his verbal ramblings. Clearly, ancient mysteries are the type of pet topic that allows Childress to monologue in unbroken streams, regardless of whether his listeners are interested, and one might speculate as to the reasons for that, but I would never offer an armchair diagnosis. Instead, I think it serves as a fair warning to future interviewers to be less open-ended in questioning him. In the interview, Childress made a number of statements that lacked the usual qualifiers that the producers of Ancient Aliens routinely force their talking heads to include to provide legal and ethical fig leaves.
David Wilcock Tries to Link Q-Anon Conspiracy, Space Aliens, and "Hamlet's Mill" While Promoting New Documentary
With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, my plan is to take off Thursday and Friday for the holiday. I will return this weekend with a new blog post. Depending on how fast I read, it may be my review of the new Curse of Oak Island tie-in book by Randall Sullivan, but to be entirely honest, I twice fell asleep reading it, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it through. The only thing duller than watching old men dig pointless holes is reading about old men digging pointless holes!
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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