Before I get into today’s topic, I thought I’d share this letter to the editor a Minnesota zooarchaeologist wrote to the Star Tribune complaining about the uncritical and fawning profile of Scott Wolter that ran in the paper was the subject of my blog post yesterday.
I also want to let you know that I received a review copy of a major new academic anthology on The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions, which promises to be a fascinating look into mainstream ideas about the semi-divine beings so beloved by ancient astronaut theorists, lost civilization scholars, and Nephilim researchers. I can’t wait to read it.
Officials in Jackson County, NC approved a request from Committee Films to shoot a segment of America Unearthed at the sacred Cherokee site of Judaculla Rock, over the objects of a state archaeologist and a descendant of the rock’s former owner. The decision came earlier this week but was only made public yesterday afternoon. Shooting is scheduled to occur today and tomorrow, according to a report in the Sylva Herald.
Scott Wolter has been on quite a media tour for someone who doesn’t have anything new to promote between seasons of his H2 program, America Unearthed. He’s taking the opportunity, though, to push his more extreme speculation about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and secret Holy Bloodline and Knights Templar conspiracies in advance of the show’s third season, which he had previously announced would return to Templar Bloodline conspiracies, specifically in France.
What I find most interesting is Wolter’s assertion that his speculation is somehow changing the historical record and rewriting the past. Wolter told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he views each America Unearthed investigation as an “opportunity to get the history of the country corrected … that doesn’t come along very often.”
In working on Arab pyramid myths for my book of ancient texts used by fringe theorists, I have developed a better understanding of Islamic historians of the Middle Ages. In so doing, I’ve revised my translation of al-Maqrizi’s passages on the pyramids of Egypt to better transliterate a bunch of names I didn’t recognize when I translated the material back in 2012. I’m still not sure who some of the people are, but I think I’ve gotten most of them right.
Last night the Chiller channel showed a two-hour documentary called Killer Legends. The press materials for the program described how the two filmmakers behind the documentary, Josh Zeman and Rachel Mills, traveled the country in search of homicides that inspired or paralleled famous urban legends. Mills had contacted me several months ago requesting that I interview her and Zeman for my blog to promote the film, but for a number of reasons (including time commitments and the fact that I don’t generally promote something I haven’t personally viewed), I did not go forward with the interview. Still, I felt bad, so I tweeted this past weekend that some readers might find the film interesting in its effort to search out the “truth” behind urban legends.
Sodom and Gomorrah have been much abused in fringe history, going back to the early suggestion dating back to the Soviet sources cited by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier that the biblical cities of sin were destroyed by a nuclear bomb, speculation repeated in Erich von Däniken and his successors, sometimes substituting an alien death ray for a nuclear bomb. The tale of cities felled from the sky is not just an ancient one, but one far more widespread than the Bible. The Arabs had a parallel myth of the destruction of Iram of the Pillars in a great explosion of sound from the sky (Qur’an 89:6-14 with Arabian Nights 276-279), and Vedic literature tells of the destruction of the triple city of Dwarka in a tremendous burst of energy from the sky (Mahabharata, Karna Parva 34).
What is there to say about Ancient Aliens S06E19 “Alien Breeders”? It’s all about sex, and it claims that any reference in myth to humans and gods mating refers to space aliens sexing up human beings. This, of course, would seemingly be in contradiction to earlier claims that humans were the genetically engineered creation of the Anunnaki, but whatever. I guess they stopped using genetic engineering and simply switched to eugenics because it was easier and more fun.
Fringe history might be good for TV ratings, but it isn’t good for convincing the guardians of America’s historic sites to let you use those sites to support outrageous ideas. That’s the lesson America Unearthed executive producer Maria Awes learned this week when she applied last week for a permit to shoot at Judaculla Rock, a sacred Cherokee site in North Carolina. The site has been the property of Jackson County since 1959, and while open to the public free of charge, government permission is required to film on the site.
This morning I received a strange email from a concerned reader who would like to know why I have criticized ancient astronaut theorists. My correspondent described himself as a blue collar worker and asked if I had a personal vendetta against ancient astronaut theorists because they “have just as much right” to their opinion as anyone else, as though it were right for them to criticize science in vitriolic terms but wrong for me to criticize them on facts. But what I found interesting was a piece of criticism buried in his missive: “Mainstream archeology appears to try to be keeping it all to themselves unless you are willing to pay outrageous sums to hear what they think, which makes it tough on those of us who work normal jobs.”
I can’t help but begin with the crazy claim made by self-proclaimed “spiritual archaeologist” John Benefiel (actually an evangelical pastor) on God Today this week. Benefiel cited Barry Fell’s pseudohistorical claims of Old World writing in America as proof that the Phoenicians and the Egyptians had brought an idol of the god Baal to America and thus made a land claim for the Devil encompassing the current United States: “They were Baal worshippers, that was their god, and they left their petroglyphs, their rock art, as they went along the waterways claiming the land – literally claiming it for Baal.” Benefiel considers Baal the son of Satan, and thus his worshipers as preserving the satanic bloodline of Baal. Surely you see the similarity to the parallel claim that the Knights Templar claimed all of the Mississippi watershed for the descendants of Jesus. According to Benefiel, even a single dedication to Baal is enough to corrupt the whole continent for millennia and give Satan legal title to the land.
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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