As I mentioned not long ago, the history of the Habsburg Empire is of particular interest to me, though I rarely have the opportunity to discuss it here. I learned the other day that a new book is going to be released last month on the death of Crown Prince Rudolf, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, who committed suicide after murdering his teenage lover on a hunting trip in January of 1889. The reasons for his death have never been satisfactorily explained, and conspiracy theories surround the events at the hunting lodge of Mayerling. What cannot be denied, however, is that Rudolf’s death set in motion events that culminated in the outbreak of the First World War, because his absence left a weakness at the center of the monarchy and deprived it of its most important liberal voice.
Jason Josephson-Storm Has Controversial Ideas about Secularism, Disenchantment and Magical Thinking in Western Society
Self-described Christian prophet Mark Taylor told an evangelical End Times radio show that Satan used the Illuminati and the Freemasons to send out a “frequency” that would alter conservatives’ DNA so they would be shunned and punished for loving Donald Trump. “I believe what happened on November 8 is the enemy has literally sent out a frequency and it agitated and took control, basically, of those who have their DNA turned over to [Satan],” Taylor said. “That’s what’s happening. The Illuminati, the Freemasons, all these people, their main goal is to change the DNA of man and they’re doing it through these frequencies.” He added that news media broadcast at the Satanic frequency of 440 Hz, which transforms Christian conservatives’ DNA to match that of the “Illuminati bloodline.” I think we have hit peak fringe. But more to the point, conspiracy theories that were once so bizarre that they were on the fringes of even conspiracy culture are now a dime a dozen and afternoon entertainment.
The Nazis are history’s archetypical supervillains, and there has long been a tendency to ascribe to them supernatural evil. Members of the Nazi Party used the occult for a variety of purposes. The ridiculous World Ice Theory found favor mostly because it could be used as an alternative to “Jewish” science. Atlantis and Thule were potential Aryan homelands, and the Holy Grail was supposedly an artifact of Germanic history. Heinrich Himmler, perhaps the truest believer, hoped to infuse pagan ritual into the SS to give an extra layer of emotional power to Nazi ideology.
Peter Tompkins's Son Describes His Father's Hunt for Atlantis and His Own Belief in Sex-Crazed Demons
A few days ago I mentioned that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called for activists and government to stand up against professors indoctrinating students. Now in Arkansas a ridiculous new bill introduced by one extremist state legislator aims to ban all books by leftist historians Howard Zinn from public school libraries and classrooms for being, essentially, liberal. While likely unconstitutional, the bill is a reminder that government is never more than a minute from trying to legislate truth and corrupt history for political ends. Banning authors—and historians no less!—is the first step toward imposing official government truths. Fortunately, for now it’s just one legislator’s bad idea.
Since the advent of the Trump Administration, it’s like the craziness at the center of Washington has sucked all of the air out of the room and made it harder to find weird things that aren’t connected to politics. Fringe historians declared their political allegiances months ago, with characters like L. A. Marzulli, David Wilcock, and J. Hutton Pulitzer endorsing Donald Trump and others like Giorgio Tsoukalos and Scott Wolter risking their aggrieved audiences by opposing the House of Orange. Consequently, it was no surprise that again this year conservative extremists blasted the Super Bowl halftime show for promoting occultism, which seems to be conservative code for liberalism.
You might remember that a year and a half ago I discussed the story of the 85 statues that Hermes Trismegistus allegedly built at the Mountains of the Moon in order to regulate the flow of the Nile. In reading a book about the history of Hermes Trismegistus, I found that the author made reference to this story, but seemed to know it only from its appearance in the Picatrix, a Latin translation of an eleventh century Arabic text called Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm. The book has an odd history, having been written sometime in the 1000s before being translated into a now-lost Spanish text by order of Alfonso X around 1256-1258, and then from Spanish to Latin sometime thereafter. As a result of its retranslation, the book acquired some odd readings, but what is more interesting is that, like its near-contemporary, the Akhbar al-zaman, it is not an original work so much as a composite of older material.
Regular readers will remember geologist Robert Schoch, who has spent more than two decades advocating for the existence of a lost civilization that carved the Great Sphinx of Giza at the end of the last Ice Age. Since then, Schoch has grown increasingly fringe in his views, arguing at various times for a global pyramid-building culture, the catastrophic destruction of said culture by solar bombardment, and that the Easter Island moai are remnants of an Ice Age civilization. He also started a nonprofit, Oracul, to help fund his flights of fancy, and like many fringe figures, he now runs for-profit “ancient mysteries” tours of ancient sites. Anyway, he apparently now believes humans have psychic powers.
I am constantly amazed at the way Zecharia Sitchin’s ideas have so seeped into fringe culture that they appear in unexpected places. Today’s case in point is this bizarre rendering of a legend associated with Mt. Shasta in California from Dustin Naef, the author of two forthcoming books about the mountain and a one-time guest on a Travel Channel “mysteries” show. Here is how Naef presents the story in a recent Ancient Origins piece:
I received an eBook copy of David Wilcock’s newest book, The Ascension Mysteries: Revealing the Cosmic Battle Between Good and Evil (Dutton, 2016), which sold more than 5,000 copies in its first week and became a bestseller on the Nielsen BookScan sales list. I believe it is a public service to provide a review of a book from a major publishing house that outsells most major nonfiction hardcover releases. Just so we’re clear: David Wilcock’s publisher is a division of Penguin Books, one of the largest publishers on Earth. Penguin is in bed with a vile, reprehensible snake-oil salesman who feeds his audience a diet of paranoid fear trussed up in the glittering garments of Elohim and is happy to lend his dubious credibility to the most loathsome Russian anti-American propaganda. Penguin should be ashamed of themselves, but so long as Wilcock can push 5,000 books a week, Penguin is happy to give him a platform to spread his message of fear, anger, and hate.
I’m sure that many of you will have seen the story running this week in the Atlantic in which Sam Kriss explains the latest strange obsession of conspiracy theorists: Flat-Earth super-forests. I’m almost positive I mentioned the idea last month, but the gist of it is that a Crimean man is claiming that not only is the Earth flat, but that mesas and oddly-shaped mountains are actually the trunks of prehistoric trees, which were felled ages ago by a conspiracy. Somehow, according to Kriss, the Crimean man claims there was a nuclear war in the nineteenth century, lost civilizations had advanced technology, and giants felled the super-trees using powerful machines.
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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