Last December, in response to a blog post I made about Graham Hancock’s foreword to Glenn Kreisberg’s book about an alleged megalithic culture in North America, a commenter posed as Graham Hancock and insulted the intelligence of other commentators, giving the impression that these insults came from Graham Hancock. This commenter was not Hancock, and the words did not belong to Hancock. I was not aware of the comment until the real Hancock called my attention to it this past weekend. The comment, and all responses to it, have been removed from the relevant page for violating my site’s terms and conditions. It is reproduced here as a screenshot, however, so that the context is entirely clear. I condemn in the strongest possible language any comments that attempt to mislead readers into believing they came from someone else, and I apologize to Hancock for the distress that the fraudulent posting has caused.
I wanted to take a moment today to talk about In Search Of. Regular readers will have read my review of the show and know that I wasn’t too taken with the rebooted series’ approach to mysteries, or host Zachary Quinto’s off-brand Leonard Nimoy impression in a program that reinvents the old documentary series as a personality-focused reality show. But I was surprised to see that audiences seem to agree. Despite the massive promotion the History Channel gave the series, and a comfortable berth with an Ancient Aliens lead-in, the show seems to be performing modestly.
After a great deal of hard work, I am not only a few pages away from finishing my book on the history of the Mound Builder myth, but in doing so, I ran into a couple of small issues that I haven’t been able to resolve, for all my efforts at research. I am going to present them here, and perhaps one of you reading this will have an answer.
Some of you might have seen that Graham Hancock posted on his social media accounts yesterday that he is currently writing his new book on prehistoric America and is deep into creating alternative explanations for the alignments of the Newark Earthworks in Ohio. This amused me because I am also writing about the Newark Earthworks for my own book this week, though in a very different way. Hancock is analyzing the mounds themselves for secret alignments and their connections to astrology and Atlantis, while I have been investigating the people who invented these claims, many of whom never actually studied the mounds in person or conducted any scientific surveys. Hancock is particularly interested in the Great Serpent Mound, which has quite the colorful history of attracting misinformed views, including the bizarre claim that it is a duplicate of a mound at Loch Nell in Scotland, which is actually a glacial deposit and not a serpent-shaped mound. That claim had a good run of 140 years, and none of the early advocates of the claim, including famed archaeologist Frederick Ward Putnam, had actually visited both sites.
Earlier this week, I briefly discussed a book I have been working on for the past few years, which will tell the story of the mound builder myth and how it affected the growth and development of the United States. As I described in my earlier blog post, so far no agent or publisher has expressed interested in the book. In lieu of a blog post today, I would like to share the first few pages of the book so you can get a sense of my approach to the topic. The book opens with a brief preface providing a factual overview of the history of mound building in North America, after which our story begins. The pages below are, of course, a draft, and they will likely undergo further revision, fact-checking, and correction should the book ever proceed to publication.
Yesterday I reviewed Andrew Lawler’s new book The Secret Token, and to be entirely honest, it was a bit of a depressing experience. That’s because the book’s first half is set up much like a book I’ve been working on writing for several years now, though on a different topic. My book is a narrative history of the “white” mound builder myth, starting with the Spanish explorations and proceeding down to the famous Bureau of Ethnology report that closed the subject as a legitimate scientific question. The structure and approach are remarkably close, though, in my obviously biased opinion, I feel that I have done a much better job mining my subject for the kind of rich, novelistic detail that helps to bring the past to life. I wrote it basically as a nonfiction novel. My cast of characters is also richer and more compelling, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Constantine Rafinesque, all of whom left elaborate paper trails that help to tell a fascinating story in an engaging way.
I have some good news to share today. My critical review of alt-right philosopher Jason Reza Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas is about to be published in The Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture. The Autumn 2017 edition, which was supposed to have been published last fall, has finally come back from the printers and will be in your favorite academic library and electronic database in the next few weeks. I have some more good news, too: My article providing a historical overview of Rothschild conspiracy theories has been accepted for publication by Britain’s All About History magazine and will be appearing in an upcoming issue this spring. It’s a major feature with a 2,500-word article and two supplementary info-boxes with 1,000+ words of additional information.
Since this is the weekend before Christmas, I trust you will forgive me if I have nothing particular to discuss today. In a week where the Pentagon’s UFO research dominated fringe news, and where holiday preparations saw even the biggest mouths in fringe history going silent, this weekend is a time for a much-deserved rest. As I prepare to celebrate the holiday, however, I thought I would share with all of you that a British history magazine has commissioned me to write an article on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding the Rothschild banking family. So, if over the next few weeks my blog posts are shorter than normal or perhaps more sparse, it will be because I am busy working on my Rothschild article for publication. In the meantime, I wish all of you who are celebrating Christmas a very merry holiday, and a festive solstice season to everyone else.
And remember: There is still time to donate this weekend to my end of the year fundraiser to help keep this site up and running.
In the new economy, online services increasingly rely on the generosity of their patrons to continue, mostly because nobody watches or reads ads anymore. In a couple of months’ time, this site will turn eight years old. It is my second website; I have been posting online content since 2001. But as you know, it takes money to maintain a website and to afford to spend the time needed to write, research, and expand the content found here. As we close in on Christmas, I am launching my end of the year fundraising campaign to help me make it possible to deliver the kind of quality content that you have come to expect from this website. I have run this campaign every holiday season since 2014, and each year I have been touched by the generosity of my readers and the exceptional support you have provided to help me keep this site up and running for another year.
This year, I have two options for contributing. You can use the yellow donation button to make a one-time donation to my website, or you can use the orange (burnt sienna?) Patreon button to become a patron with a recurring voluntary subscription in the amount of your choice.
Today I’d like to call your attention to a change I’ve made to my website and my branding to help keep up with the evolving fringe history field. On my homepage, you’ll see that I’ve replaced the old moniker “skeptical xenoarchaeologist” with a new one, “historical researcher & skeptic.” I’d like to explain the reason for the change.
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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