And now another installment in my ongoing series The Farce of Hoax Island...
Yesterday afternoon J. Hutton Pulitzer appeared on the Earth Ancients podcast to discuss what he claims is his new, overarching thesis of “great things happening in the Americas” in the prehistoric past, great things that did not involve Native Americans, of course. Pulitzer told host Cliff Dunning that he plans two different reports, a small and specific report next week only on the Roman sword (to “teach the public” and “train” their minds), followed by a later report in early summer that uses a “new” theory to explain how anomalous archaeological mysteries across the Americas connect to one another and a broader overarching historical mystery.
(Disclosure: On Thursday Pulitzer and I had a lengthy telephone conversation in which we discussed the sword, but in it he produced no new information about his claims beyond what he has already said publicly, referring me instead to his upcoming reports.)
On Earth Ancients Pulitzer promised that there is a second “smoking gun” artifact whose laboratory testing he plans to stream live over the internet. He did not explain how he knows the artifact is a smoking gun if it has not yet been tested. This artifact is not the supposed Roman “crossbow” bolts he promoted last month as proof of Roman visitation to Canada, though he asserts that these bolts cannot be colonial-era or Victorian logging tools as critics suspect because the family of a firm that made logging tools in the area in the 1800s denied that the tools were theirs. Strictly speaking, this is not a logical conclusion to follow from the evidence.
Pulitzer added that the History Channel and “governments” don’t want the public to know the information that Pulitzer claims his artifacts will provide. He claims that these forces, in conjunction with the Lagina Brothers, owners of Oak Island, are actively attempting to suppress the truth for some obscure purpose he chose not to reveal but which is tied to the Curse of Oak Island television program. Thus, he alleges that Curse fabricated and faked tests on the “Roman” sword to make appear modern. He seems to think that television would purposely prefer bad and boring shows rather than an exciting “discovery” that would change history, so clearly he’s never seen Ancient Aliens or America Unearthed. It is also unclear why the History Channel or Prometheus Entertainment would purposely produce a program about Oak Island if they considered the facts too dangerous to expose to the public.
To take another example: When the Sci-Fi (now Syfy) channel’s Destination Truth thought it had discovered a Yeti footprint in 2007, host Josh Gates promoted the hell out of the evidence, talking about it in major newspapers, and turning it into a media circus before the whole thing collapsed into nothing. (The cast of the track is now in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, owned by the Walt Disney Company, a co-owner of the History Channel’s parent company, A+E Networks. Disney describes the track as “anatomically legitimate” and “the first 21st century evidence of the Yeti.” What? You expected science from Disney?) Similarly, when the History Channel—the same network that broadcasts Curse of Oak Island—thought Barry Clifford had found Captain Kidd’s silver treasure, they held a news conference with the Madagascar government and pushed the story through all the major news outlets before UNESCO threw cold water on their “find.” (The History producer accused UNESCO of a conspiracy, but the resulting show ended up buried on a Saturday afternoon due to the controversy and resulting poor ratings.) Overall, the evidence is clear: When TV shows find something they think is sensational, they promote the hell out of it to drum up ratings. The “Roman” sword must be especially disappointing if even the producers behind Ancient Aliens, who also run Curse, want nothing to do with it.
Here is one of the issues that makes Pulitzer’s claims a bit difficult to swallow: He has hitched his star to The Curse of Oak Island to the point where the program has become part of his imagined conspiracy to suppress the truth, alongside the U.S. and Canadian governments and “academia.” This seems ridiculous given how much cable TV and its corporate masters work to sensationalize everything and promote any crazy speculation that they think will attract viewers, not to mention how many scholars and scientists have spoken out against cable TV and its methods.
As Pulitzer explained on Earth Ancients, he seems to see these forces in league with one another, and he is says that he wants to cut academics out of the equation by releasing his reports directly to the public, so as to avoid the suppressive power of peer review. Yet at the same time these reports supposedly rely on “five hundred” peer-reviewed academic studies, are supported by his team of alleged scientists (I say alleged because their names are secret until the papers are released), and are, in his words, based on “science, not theory.” (Pulitzer clearly does not accept the scientific definition of “theory” and seems to see it as equivalent to a “hypothesis.”) Pulitzer reminds me a bit of Scott Wolter in that he both wants to be seen as possessing the authority of science and academia (Pulitzer now claims to be a “forensic historian”) while simultaneously attacking academic scholarship as an enemy of the truth.