Let’s begin with one of those face-palming moments where you lament the fate of humanity. Last month, social media lit up with claims of ancient aliens after a tourist at the thirteenth century Paisley Abbey in Scotland spotted a gargoyle that looked just like the alien from the Alien film franchise. Naturally, this led to all manner of speculation about prehistoric extraterrestrial visitors to time traveling stone masons. The BBC investigated and found that the gargoyle was carved in 1991 during renovations. The original gargoyles had eroded away.
But here’s the kicker: Faram has a unique take on the fake evidence. He believes that the Rune Stone’s creators were Templars and were forced into the Mississippi Valley when the Norse invaded Minnesota, thus triggering the Mississippian collapse (which actually started a century earlier). So unlike Scott Wolter and the other Templar conspiracy theorists, Faram wants to have multiple competing groups of Europeans washing over America in waves, none of whom left behind a single trace of having actually lived here, such as houses, tools, arms and armor, etc.
Faram argues—on what evidence I can only guess—that the Portuguese discovered “La Merica,” a word he wrongly claims means “Western Star,” and ceded the entire continent to the Knights Templar in 1362, as proved by the KRS. (Neat trick, I guess, since the Portuguese folded the remnants of the Templars into one of their own knightly orders decades earlier.) Further, he argues that the infamous Henry Sinclair lived in what is now Baltimore, Maryland!
I think, though, that the author gives the game away in a quotation he wrote for a press release explaining why he was “imminently” (sic) qualified to rewrite history: “What made the book even easier to compile is that my ancestors were deeply involved in major historical events which have occurred over the past 2000 years.” What a coincidence! His ancestors just happened to be part of the widespread Portuguese-Templar conspiracy and had a controlling interest in world history! To think, my ancestors made pasta and pressed olive oil in Italy and did squarely nothing remotely world-historical. I guess I am not privileged that way. Faram claims to be a leading purveyor of background checks, which makes me very nervous.
Since this book doesn’t seem to have anything in it that isn’t derived secondhand from older and already debunked conspiracy books, I’m not feeling the urge to give it a full review.
Finally, Slate had a piece on why we’ll never find Atlantis. It’s about as good as you’d imagine a piece by someone who isn’t a specialist in ancient history would write. The author recognizes that Atlantis was not widely believed to be real prior to Columbus, but she gives far too much credence to Richard Freund’s biblical literalist idea that Atlantis was southern Spain and thus also the biblical Tarshish, thus proving the Bible is true. The author also failed to note the controversies over Freund’s activities in Spain, or the dissent from the Spanish archaeologists who worked on the site Freund adopted as his Atlantis.