You probably saw the bizarre story this week, ably reported by Sharon Hill at Doubtful News, that the mummy of a space alien had been found in Peru. At first glance, the supposed extraterrestrial corpse looks more like a fake badly sculpted in plaster. However, I am more interested in the story behind the claim, notably the involvement of frequent hoaxer Jaime Maussan, who was involved in last year’s demon fairy hoax with L. A. Marzulli as well as the Roswell Slides fraud. The supposed discovery of the mummy was announced on none other than Gaia TV, the former on-demand yoga channel that now plays host to vanity projects from several of the Ancient Aliens talking heads as part of a corporate effort to be a subscription service for ancient astronaut believers, a strategy tied to its founder’s longstanding obsession with ancient astronauts.
If the scans of the corpse showing a skeleton within are genuine, I fear that someone has intentionally desecrated a corpse to make it look “alien” by amputating fingers (to create an analog to the similar three-fingered alien “claw” that made headlines a few months back) and creating a fake death mask to give the relatively normal-seeming skull a non-human appearance.
I suppose claiming that the body belongs to a space alien is a good way of avoiding prosecution for mishandling human remains.
I also want to point out a strange story that I saw linked this morning at Mysterious Universe. Last week, archaeologists announced the discovery of a medieval Ethiopian city famed for its far-flung trade network, which stretched all the way to India and China. However, the city is more interesting to us because it is yet another example of the widespread phenomenon of local people attributing the works of collapsed prior cultures to giants.
According to Prof. Timothy Insoll of the University of Exeter, the locals had developed a legend of giants because the stones used in the ruins of the old city were quite large:
The archaeological findings suggest this place was home to a very mixed community. Local people were extremely keen for us to solve mysteries. Farmers had been finding strange objects, including Chinese coins, as they were working on their land, and a legend began that the area was home to giants. We have obviously disproved that, but I’m not sure they fully believe us yet. Some people have said the bodies we have discovered are the children of giants!
The most surprising thing about this is that such claims still exist in the present, when even the most remote area of the world have cellphone service. But in all other respects, this story is virtually identical to claims found all over the world. Pausanias reported that the residents around Mycenaean ruins attributed those ancient works to the Cyclopes, a mythic race of giants. Along the fringes of the former Roman Empire, Roman walls, forts, and other material remains acquired an association with giants and/or the devil. Geoffrey of Monmouth attributed Stonehenge to giants for similar reasons.
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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