When America Unearthed presented its story of the supposedly ancient Mexican spearhead found on the island of Maui (S02E13), it included the testimony of the two men who claimed to have found the object in 2009, Trevor Carter and Brian Axtell. The two men told Wolter that the National Park Service took no interest in their artifact until the week before the production team was scheduled to come to Maui to examine the artifact. On Facebook and in media accounts published before the show aired, the two men said they had “repeatedly” tried to interest the National Park Service in the artifact between 2009 and November 2013, when Park Service officials seized the spearhead because it had been illegally removed from Haleakala National Park against federal law, which prohibits removal of artifacts.
The two men and show host Scott Wolter used this as evidence that the Park Service was engaged in a conspiracy to suppress or oppose Scott Wolter’s research, a conspiracy Wolter has been promoting since the pilot episode, when he accused the U.S. Forest Service of similarly working to prevent him from accessing ancient sites.
As it turns out, an interesting correction was later appended to one of the news articles about the alleged conspiracy that ran on Maui Feed, and that correction explains a great deal about what really happened: “This story originally reported that Axtell and Carter tried repeatedly to get the National Park Service to examine their spearpoint. In fact, they say they only called once, right after they made their find.”
In other words, the Park Service did not act in 2009 (probably because they either believed this was not a genuine artifact or, more likely, never acted on the report due to bureaucracy and inertia), but did act in 2013 when H2 and/or Committee Films contacted the Park Service and began asking questions about the artifact and planned to make the material public. There was therefore no conspiracy to leap into action at the mention of Scott Wolter’s name but rather an attempt to enforce federal law when informed of a violation of it. This does not necessarily excuse the way Park Service officials reportedly chose to enforce the law by seizing the spearhead through subterfuge, according to Axtell and Carter, but the men’s later admission that they did not actively try to contact the Park Service between 2009 and 2013 does expose the alleged “conspiracy” as nothing more than hot air.
I tried to get a statement from the National Park Service, but representatives did not return my requests for comment. Apparently it takes about four years and a TV show to get action from them, so look for a response sometime in mid-2018.
It might also be interesting to note that Carter believes that the spearhead, which appears to be a modern fake to judge from images of it shown on TV, is possessed of spiritual “energy” and New Age powers.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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