Last week I mentioned the information about the Great Sphinx provided by the traveler George Sandys, who in 1610, so far as I know, became one of the first to link the Sphinx to the constellation of Leo, a claim which is today an article of faith among fringe historians such as Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval. At the time, I noted that Shaw doubted the religiously oriented claim that the Pyramids of Giza were either the granaries of Joseph or the remnants of constructions by Hebrew slaves. Today I’d like to note a very interesting variant that occurs in the work of another traveler, Thomas Shaw, who wrote in 1738 of his trip to Egypt. Mostly it’s interesting for what Shaw leads us to: the original source of the claim that the Sphinx represents the constellation of Leo.
A Book by a Zecharia Sitchin Acolyte Covered the Same "New" Material as "Sekret Machines" Many Years Ago
Since I was on the subject of Peter Levenda yesterday, I thought I would take a moment to remind everyone that Levenda has placed a lot of weight on what he claims to be his surprising and new approach to the ancient astronaut theory. Specifically, in their recent Rolling Stone interview, Levenda’s coauthor Tom DeLonge emphasized that his discussion of human religion as a sort of cargo cult inspired by space aliens is a quantum leap forward in understanding space alien interaction with humans. As I pointed out in my review of their book Sekret Machines: Gods, this claim is not new or even special; it was first used in the 1970s in the TV movie In Search of Ancient Astronauts.
Peter Levenda Attacks "Ancient Aliens" in "Rolling Stone" without Actually Watching "Ancient Aliens"
Last week I complained that I was getting tired of material that pretended to be new but was really recycled. It happened again this week. The Daily Mail breathlessly reported that a YouTube channel called SecureTeam10 posted a “new” video about the so-called Roswell Rock, which you will remember from its appearance on Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens several years ago. The video turns out to be mostly a summary of the Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens episodes, with worse visuals and worse voice over. The video doesn’t bother to even add new claims to those of the earlier shows.
Centralia College Offers Continuing Education Course Covering How Native Americans Bred Bigfoot to Battle Solutreans
The continuing education department at Centralia College of Centralia, Washington began offering an adult education course which claims that Bigfoot is a Native American and ape hybrid who was hugely “influential” in the culture of the Solutreans, whom educator Mitchel Townsend (a candidate for a doctorate in education) identifies as “the first Americans.” The course is called “The Old Ones, the Firsts Americans,” and it started running on Saturday, the first of four two-hour sessions. According to a newspaper article touting the course, it’s essentially a mishmash of various fringe archaeology claims woven together with the growing myth of Bigfoot
A couple of weeks ago, the History Channel presented a documentary in which the Vieira Brothers went in search of evidence that the colonists from Roanoke had gone inland instead of to Hatteras Island (formerly Croatoan), as is commonly accepted. While a new report doesn’t prove them right, it does cast doubt on the consensus of the past twenty years about the fate of the colonists, and could offer a lifeline to those who believe that the so-called Eleanor Dare Stone is an authentic Elizabethan document.
Today I’m going to try to finish my evaluation of Zena Halpern’s Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond, and you will forgive me if I summarize more than usual some of the sidetracks that aren’t directly relevant to the question of the Knights Templar in America. Before we begin, however, I need to address a couple of points that David Brody and Steve St. Clair, both friends of Halpern and active participants in her hunt for Templar treasure in the Catskills, made in comments on my blog.
Yesterday I began my look at Zena Halpern’s Templar Mission to Oak Island. Today, for better or worse, I continue. To refresh your memory: We previously discussed the supposed mystery of a brass box with alchemical and astrological symbols that a man named William D. Jackson claimed to have stolen from Bannerman Island in New York in 1969, a mystery that Halpern learned about from an alleged secret agent named Dan Spartan of the (likely fictitious) Spartan Agency who fed her information through typewritten letters sent from false addresses.
Regular readers will remember Zena Halpern, an octogenarian who claimed on The Curse of Oak Island to have access to copies of medieval maps that demonstrate what she believes to be evidence of a voyage by the Knights Templar to map Oak Island and other parts of North America. Halpern is ill with what her friends have described online as a very serious illness, though I have no knowledge of her current health status. Last week Halpern released her long-gestating project, The Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond: Search for Ancient Secrets: The Shocking Revelations of a 12th Century Manuscript. As you can tell from the multiple subtitles, the book has some problems with editing. It is self-published, and the rough, unfinished quality of the writing is at times distracting and sometimes infuriating when the author repeats the same thing several times in a row. It needed an editor.
I’ll be honest with you: The quality of fringe history claims has declined markedly over the last couple of years as the great fringe history boom of 2009-2014 finishes fizzling out. Some days, I don’t really have anything left to talk about. The clickbait websites have reduced themselves to cheating their own audiences. I can’t tell you how many times a Google News alert has keyed me to some “new” fringe posting about ancient aliens, Atlantis, or whatever, and when I click through, I find that it’s actually a reposting of a video (and it’s always a video!) from two, three, five, or more years ago. The amount of actually new content being produced is shockingly low.
A new study from Cornell University concluded that liberals and conservatives don’t read the same books, even when it comes to the very few subjects they have in common. The study did not, apparently, look at people who did not identify with an ideological extreme. As the Guardian reports, liberals tend to read books about science to learn about science, while conservatives read books that use science to support conservative ideology.
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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