History Channel Thinks Moe Howard Might Be Hitler; Plus: Micah Hanks's Confusing Views on Speculative Fiction
So, all season long the History Channel’s Hunting Hitler is investigating this photograph of “Hitler” to “prove” that the Führer was alive in the 1960s. According to clips shown in the season premier, they found extensive similarities! Sadly, this is all wrong. As a correspondent pointed out to me after the photo made a return appearance this week, in fact, it is a picture of Three Stooges member Moe Howard, taken in the 1970s, part of a series of snapshots taken apparently on the same day in front of the same car. There’s a degree of humor in this since Howard parodied Hitler in You Nazty Spy (1940).
Critics are really excited about the new season of Black Mirror, a show whose first two seasons I only occasionally sampled. But on the strength of the reviews I watched one of the new episodes yesterday, which TV Insider critic Matt Roush identified as the best of six-episode anthology: “Playtest.” It was, critics said, the closest that the series comes to pure and traditional horror, which happens to be one of my fields of expertise. I wrote the book on it, after all. The episode tells the story of an American tourist named Cooper (Wyatt Russell) who takes part in a video game company’s beta test of a neural implant that creates an augmented reality horror video game experience. If you haven’t seen the episode, you should probably stop reading because to criticize it is to give away part of the “twist” at the end.
PZ Myers is (humorously) “blaming” me for introducing him via Twitter this past week to the angry pseudohistory of the white supremacists who believe that a lost white race of Solutreans were destroyed by Native Americans in a “white genocide” in North America at the end of the last Ice Age. It doesn’t get much more disgusting than that, but I’ve learned that there is always a claim that is worse.
Today I have two topics to discuss: John Podesta’s Nibiru email and Syfy’s new horror series Channel Zero.
Yesterday I discussed the connection between Nephilim theories and the Trump campaign, so today, in the interest of balance, I’d like to share one of the further revelations from the Wikileaks publication of Clinton advisor John Podesta’s emails, which U.S. officials concluded had been hacked on orders from the Russian government. Fringe websites have gone into a tizzy after discovering that one of the emails Podesta received discussed Zecharia Sitchin, Nibiru, and ancient astronauts. This was not, however, an email sent by high ranking U.S. officials but instead was an email from a member of the public sent to several different officials, no different than the tens of thousands of crank letters that fill government archives.
Yesterday I read a very interesting but flawed argument in Slate magazine about the origin of haunted houses. Timed to the upcoming Halloween festivities, the article is an excerpt from the new book Ghostland by Colin Dickey, and I disagree with his evaluation of where haunted houses come from, pretty much wholesale. And as somebody who literally wrote the book on the horror genre, I have more than a little experience with the sources from which Dickey draws his argument.
Monday Round-Up: Frank Joseph Out, Dracula's "Jewish" Medallion, and Bob Dylan's Secret Roswell Knowledge
I have three brief things to discuss today. First, citing his wife’s illness, former Nazi party head Frank Joseph withdrew from the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society conference scheduled for next month, where he was to deliver a memorial speech and appear on a panel with the founder of Xplrr Media, LLC. It marks the first time in many years that the AAPS conference did not feature a speech from the former Nazi leader. Oddly, in making the announcement on Facebook, Judy M. Johnson declined to use Joseph’s name, referring to him only as “our first speaker.”
Micah Hanks Recycles Poe Conspiracy; Plus: Horror Movies to Be Made by Computer Data Analysis. Scary!
I ran out of time today thanks to a Kafkaesque nightmare spurred by a faulty lock. My garage door’s lock needed replacing because the key broke and to rekey the lock would cost ten times what it costs to replace the doorknob. I had replaced the lock last month with a Kwikset, and it seemed fine. Then last night the lock stopped working. The latch would only come out halfway and was drooping about 20 degrees from its correct position. I didn’t have the receipt, but I still had the original package and the “lifetime” warranty. Home Depot said they wouldn’t take it back, even though it had their stickers and barcodes on it, without either the receipt or the original credit card number used to purchase it.
Last week a writer for the Sydney Morning Herald discovered that Ancient Aliens is still on the air, and he called it “an embarrassment to our entire planet.” The paper must have something against ancient astronauts because this week another article in the Sydney Morning Herald by a different writer takes 30-year-old actor Megan Fox to task for her “weird” belief in ancient astronauts. Fox is a known fan of Ancient Aliens, and the paper quotes her as claiming that archeologists and museums are working to suppress the truth about space alien involvement in ancient history:
I’ve always enjoyed vampires as fictional creatures. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of my favorite Victorian novels, and I have more than a few anthologies of vampire stories. I even enjoy some of the nonfiction aimed at looking behind the myth of the vampire. I read and much like Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu’s In Search of Dracula (1972), even though it turned out that the authors vastly overstated Stoker’s knowledge of Vlad III “The Impaler.” So, it is not without a little affection that I hoped for the best when watching British TV personality Jamie Theakson and his team of fringe history’s C-list of talking heads go in search of “real” vampires.
I read a sad story today about a 16-year-old who shot and killed his father and brother two years ago and is currently on trial for the killings. According to media accounts, the teen’s father, who was addicted to pain medication, had become convinced that the zombie apocalypse was about to occur and had been training his son in the most effective ways to kill the undead, specifically with headshots and decapitation. The entire family, who lived in Idaho, had joined in the father’s madness and were making plans to escape to a rural and isolated area to ride out the coming rise of the dead, according to accused killer Eldon Samuel III’s mother, Tina Samuel.
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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