Unfortunately, today I am suffering from a terrible migraine, one of the first really bad ones I’ve had in years, and I’m not going to be able to write as much as I’d like. In lieu of me suffering through an attempt to type, I’m going to direct you to Rick Flavin’s website where he has provided an update on the Burrows Cave affair, along with a recent addendum covering the America Unearthed broadcast about Burrows Cave. Full disclosure: Flavin emailed me to share the link, but he and I have never met nor discussed any of the material on his website.
Flavin offers an interesting take on the issue, made more compelling by the fact that he is very much open to the possibility of prehistoric trans-ocean contact (at least that’s the impression I get from his web page) but nevertheless actually wants to see evidence of this, evidence for which the Burrows Cave trove fails to provide.
There are a few interesting revelations. One of them is that the “replica” pieces of gold-painted lead shown on America Unearthed were purchased by Harry Hubbard from a Goodwill auction for scrap price after the Illinois attorney-general intervened to prevent the auction from claiming these were “collectibles.” Hubbard has never seen the originals but claims they must exist because of the “readable” Etruscan written on them, a language that has not been fully deciphered.
More interesting is Hubbard’s efforts to recruit Flavin for America Unearthed, considering that not long ago Hubbard wrote me emails with near-libelous claims about Flavin:
Harry claims to have Scott Wolter, the Minnesota geologist of Kensington Runestone infamy, on “speed-dial.” Over our many weeks of hectic telephone calls, Hubbard often mentioned Wolter as being interested in his “Alexander the Great is buried in Southern Illinois” theory. At one point, Harry alleged that Wolter inquired about me and “my” ability to be considered as an on-air “expert” in things fantastical, and I ...politely informed Hubbard that I wasn't interested. Okay, it wasn't like that... Actually, I declined by swearing like a drunken sailor.
Most disgusting of all is Flavin’s discovery that Frank Joseph, the ex-Neo-Nazi and convicted sexual offender who is intimately involved in the efforts to promote Burrows Cave, recently published an article in a children’s reference book discussing the “discovery” of a Tibetan-Egyptian lost civilization in the Grand Canyon, the other subject of that same America Unearthed episode.
The book is called Lost Cities and Forgotten Civilizations and was edited by Michael Pye and Kirsten Dalley for Rosen Publishing, a leading scholastic reference publisher for middle and high schools, providing textbooks and library books for kids in grades 7-12. This is wrong on so many levels, from the subject matter to the choice of a man convicted of sexual molestation of 10-year-old boys to write it. Worse is the description of the book, right out of the fringe history playbook:
Leading experts and authors examine the Egyptian pyramids, studying their astronomical implications. Evidence suppression and archaeological scandals and are also covered, including the Smithsonian's "loss" of Maya skulls discovered in the Aleutian islands. Possible links between the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life, the Great Flood, and the sinking of Lemuria are traced. What ancient civilizations knew about sound and resonance is chronicled, and how this knowledge may have been used to build megaliths and pyramids. Also revealed is the U.S. government's abiding and Indiana Jones-like interest in ancient civilizations, religious mysteries, and enigmatic artifacts. Whether you're a believer, a skeptic, or somewhere in between, this enthralling book is sure to entertain and educate.
Yes, let’s teach kids that the U.S. government is suppressing the truth, that a non-existent continent was real, and that it’s all connected to creationism. What. The. Fuck.
I love the way the skulls are now “Maya.” They were “giant” skulls when David Hatcher Childress wrote about them in 1993, and in any event, they are known only from a secondhand report from Ivan T. Sanderson that someone had written him a letter claiming that twenty years earlier the Smithsonian had made disappear some skulls that he thought were those of giants. (The provided measurements were actually within the normal range for humans.)
But if you look carefully, you’ll see something else. The book being offered to teenagers is a lightly edited (if that) version of Lost Civilizations & Secrets of the Past from—guess where—New Page Books. Kirsten Dalley is an editor at New Page Books, the company that publishes Erich von Däniken, Philip Coppens, and a host of other fringe authors. She claims to be a “credulous skeptic” who has had supernatural experiences. If you click the link, you’ll see the two editors (who are credited on both books) even reused the same promotional copy but made it seem more acceptable to schools and libraries by removing the names of ancient astronaut theorists, fringe writers, and Ancient Aliens from the copy.
Rosen Publishing should be ashamed, and schools and libraries ought to be warned about this fringe history nonsense being passed off as a reference work for teenagers.
I sent a question about this to Rosen Publishing, and I will let you know when and if they respond with a comment.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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