DISCOVERING THE MAMMOTH: A TALE OF GIANTS, UNICORNS, IVORY, AND THE BIRTH OF A NEW SCIENCE
John J. McKay | 256 pages | Pegasus | 2017 | ISBN 978-1-68177-424-4 | $27.95
More than a century ago, every educated person understood that the bones of giants were actually the remains of fossilized elephant species, including the woolly mammoth, the mastodon, the dwarf elephant, and their various cousins. This information was readily available in most books of natural history, and even churchmen, who considered giants to be an article of faith, felt the need to acknowledge the obviousness of the fact before trying to argue why their particular giant was the exception to the general rule. Yet after the Second World War, this connection between fossils evidence and mythological fantasy no longer seemed obvious, and when Adrienne Mayor reintroduced it around 2000, the suggestion that fossils had a relationship to mythology was greeted as fresh and new.
Micah Hanks Bungles Search for Pre-Columbian Elephants, Accidentally Leads Me to Fascinating Mexican Investigation of a "Giant's" Bones
This week offers us a second round of Micah Hanks’s efforts to imitate what I do in investigating ancient mysteries. Earlier this week we saw him try and fail to explore the “telescopes” of the ancient world, and now we can watch him try to examine whether there were elephants in pre-Columbian America. If the latter claim sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a very old one, born hundreds of years ago, popularized in the Victorian period, and copied by innumerable fringe historians, creationists, and Mormon apologists ever since. His evidence, as you would expect, is somewhat disappointing. However, in his lazy reliance on secondary material, he accidentally uncovered a fascinating case study in how science is distorted by the media and new proof that “giants” are often misidentified megafauna fossils. Of course Hanks completely missed the real story in his simplistic pursuit of typical fringe material.
L. A. Marzulli Blasts YouTube for Not Monetizing His Videos, Claims Horny Fallen Angels Are Seducing Men into Transgender Identity
Earlier this week, the Express reported the exclusive news that Gaia.com has been making a ton of money off a fake mystery concocted from the mutilation of human corpses to feed the internet’s and cable TV’s obsession with ancient astronauts. Or, to be more exact, the Express reported that DNA tests on the so-called three-fingered Nazca mummies promoted on Gaia.com as evidence of alien contact with Earth confirmed that the bodies are human, or at least started out as real human corpses before they were manipulated to appear like stereotypical space aliens.
Attack of the Nephilim! "Skeptic" Takes on Graham Hancock's Watchers, While Jim Vieira Explores Psychic Connections to Giants
This week eSkeptic and Skeptic published the final version of Mark J. Defant’s review of Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods, an earlier draft version of which stoked Hancock’s ire in a radio debate featuring Hancock, Defant, and Sketpic publisher Michael Shermer on Joe Rogan’s podcast earlier this year. The review, while very good, represents one of the major problems I have had with skeptical activism: Graham Hancock published Magicians of the Gods almost exactly two years ago, and at this point the criticisms and the arguments lack a certain impact, largely because fringe history has already moved on (Hancock is working on a new book about North American “mysteries”) and anyone who might have stood to gain from reading the review has already read Magicians (or never will), and the damage has been done. That’s one reason that I worked my ass off to review the book in time for its initial release. Two years on, it has almost become moot. Almost.
Since I know that this post will only be at the top of the blog for a few hours until I review Ancient Aliens tonight (provided my son cooperates), instead of writing something long and complex that no one will read, I instead devoted my time to translating an interesting passage that illustrates the power of the myth of the giants in European scholarship
Victorian Scholars Already Knew about the "Mystery" of the Missing Sagittal Sutures on Elongated Skulls
To briefly follow up on yesterday’s post: Ancient Origins has now posted the second part of Hugh Newman’s article on giants in Egypt, and it is worse than the first. The thrust of the article is his belief that hieratic scale in art—in which the artist depicts more important people as larger than less important ones—proves that the pharaohs were giants. This makes about as much sense as arguing that Abraham Lincoln was an ogre because his statue in the Lincoln Memorial is 19 feet tall, representing a man who would stand 28 feet in height. Clearly the artist meant to imply that Lincoln was bigger than a barn. The real Lincoln stood six foot four inches—tall but not Nephilim tall.
Hugh Newman Discovered My Translation of the "Akhbar al-zaman" and Thinks It Shows Giants Ruled Egypt before the Flood
I was disappointed to discover that I have accidentally introduced more bad ideas into the world of fringe history. It seems that almost two years after I translated the Akhbar al-zaman, the availability of the text in English has now led to it becoming more grist for the fringe history mill. But such is the way when it comes to Hugh Newman, the co-author of Giants on Record (2015; review here: Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4) and a frequent guest on bad TV shows like Ancient Aliens and Search for the Lost Giants. In a new article for Ancient Origins, it is painfully evident that it is only due to the convenience of my English edition that he discovered my translation of the Akhbar al-zaman, which he proceeds to use as evidence for giants without ever really managing to understand the nuances of the text in question.
Joseph Scaliger, Samuel Purchas, and the Renaissance Encounter with the Watchers and the Book of Enoch
In all of the time we have spoken of the Book of Enoch and the Watchers and their ilk, I hadn’t quite gotten around to discussing the reactions to this myth across Europe. As you know, in the East, the story was adapted into Byzantine Christian and Islamic mythology by equating the Watchers with the Sons of Seth and making them human. In the West, scholars had a much more limited version of events, inherited almost entirely from Josephus and Methodius, that knew of the sons of Seth but attributed all of the sin to “excessive fornications” rather than the forbidden knowledge of the Watchers myth. Therefore, when Joseph Justus Scaliger started working on an edition of Jerome’s Latin translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle around 1600, he was in for quite a surprise.
Academic Journal Publishes Historical Review of Gigantology, Gets Taken in by Renaissance Era Forgery
The journal Historical Biology has a new article by Marco Romano and Marco Avanzini that should be pretty familiar to anyone who has ever read through my website’s section on “Giants in the Earth.” While the article is generally good, it has some very significant weaknesses that deserve to be pointed out. Here’s the abstract to “The Skeletons of Cyclops and Lestrigons: Misinterpretation of Quaternary Vertebrates as Remains of the Mythological Giants,” which was printed a couple of weeks ago:
L. A. Marzulli Weighs in on Peruvian "Alien," Claims So-Called "Deep State" Is Plotting to Destroy Nephilim Researchers Like Him
Yesterday I mentioned that the story promoted by Gaia TV about the preserved remains of an “alien” corpse found in Peru has created a great deal of controversy because it has not been examined by qualified experts and appears at first glance to be a rather crudely sculpted statue. But more importantly, it has created a rift in the fringe community between those who want to embrace the “alien” as proof of extraterrestrials and those who are wary about embracing yet another in a long series of hoaxes. This week Nephilim researcher L. A. Marzulli tried to have it both ways but was clearly covering his bases for when this thing inevitably goes south. That wasn’t as interesting, though, as his new claim that the so-called “Deep State” is actively working to destroy him and other Nephilim theorists.
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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