In this day and age, some 135 years after Ignatius Donnelly wrote Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, it is strange to see someone actually accepting Donnelly’s claims as factual, much less working from Donnelly’s book to propose a research program to find Hell. Yes, you read that right: Brad Yoon of Ancient Origins actually claims that using insights from Donnelly’s Atlantis, we can find the real-life inspiration for Hell, which he places in the Caribbean Sea. The argument is one of the odder ones I’ve heard in a while. “I shall extend Donnelly’s thesis and undertake an in-depth analysis of the underworld and where it may have been, and how a real and physical place might have become transformed into the final resting place of souls departed both in the physical and the mythological planes.”
A New Book on Nephilim-Government Evil; Plus: Scott Wolter Speculates on the Numerology of American History
I came across a press release yesterday for a recently published book called The Return of the Nephilim by Alan Dean Paul. The book blames the “merchant” class—i.e., international bankers—for all of humanity’s problems since the dawn of time, and it identifies these bankers as Nephilim. But I found it particularly interesting that Paul has absorbed more than a little of the right-wing paranoid view of history, and in so doing has created a Nephilim-centered conspiracy that is hardly any different from David Icke’s Reptilians, or the anti-Semitic claims of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
Disclose.TV Attacks Me Over Giants; Plus: Peter Levenda Tries to Explain Why Fiction Is the Key to Understanding UFOs
On the Disclose.tv website, writer Lukas Magnuson complains that skeptics like me devote too much time to investigating the origin of claims for gigantic human skeletons. After praising Jim Vieira for devoting literally every single day for several years to posting articles about giants, Magnuson suggests that it is somehow inexplicable that a couple of times per month I would return to the subject to understand how and why people came to believe there were giants in ancient times:
In October of 2015, the History Channel broadcast a documentary in which Jim and Bill Vieira, who came to prominence on the channel in a series documenting their fruitless search for Nephilim-giants, evaluated whether the so-called Dare Stones were genuine artifacts of the Roanoke colonists’ dramatic flight from a bloodthirsty tribe of Native Americans as they escaped into the heart of Georgia. In that show, the brothers concluded that the Dare Stones were forgeries, though they held out hope that the first stone uncovered near Edenton, NC in 1937 was the one and only genuine Dare Stone, carved by the hand of Eleanor Dare herself. That was eighteen months ago.
Last night the History Channel—which, for those of you keeping score, plans to begin a new season of Ancient Aliens on April 28—devoted three hours of prime time to a new installment of the giant-hunting Vieira Brothers’ ongoing quest, first broadcast in 2015, to investigate the “mystery” of the Dare Stones, a Depression-era hoax meant to explain where the colonists of the abandoned English settlement at Roanoke had gone to. While we have pretty good evidence today that they joined up with Native Americans on Hatteras Island, believers in the Dare Stones maintain that these rocks prove that they ventured into Georgia. Unfortunately, History did not make a screener of the show available (all A+E Networks properties are stingy that way), and I had better things to do than spend three (!) hours watching Return to Roanoke: Search for the Seven, a sequel to 2015’s dull outing, Roanoke: Search for the Lost Colony. As I understand it, the first hour was a condensed rerun of the 2015 escapade, with further developments occurring in the two-hour sequel. I will try to watch and review it for tomorrow.
On Friday, conspiracy theory Alex Jones, whose InfoWars website is reportedly under investigation for ties to Russian propaganda, apologized to the owner and staff of the pizzeria he fingered as the centerpiece of the fictitious “Pizzagate” anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy. The man who fired a gun inside the pizzeria while “investigating” Jones’s claims cited Jones as the reason for his actions. Jones did not admit to being wrong about Democratic politicians operating a child sex slave ring out of the non-existent basement of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, but instead apologized only insofar as “our commentaries could be construed as negative statements” about the pizzeria, its owner, or its employees. Jones encouraged those who repeated his false claims to apologize as well, but as of this writing ancient astronaut theorist David Wilcock, who made Pizzagate the centerpiece of his ramshackle cosmology and the promise of the anti-liberal, anti-alien liberation to come, has not retracted his extremist views about the pizzeria. Meanwhile, according to The Hill editor Will Sommer, a small Pizzagate activist rally in Washington this weekend descended into mutual recriminations as participants argued over Christian angelology, clashed over whether Jews are behind the pseudo-scandal, and could not decide how many other right-wing conspiracy theories to endorse.
Washington University in St. Louis publishes a magazine called The Ampersand, and last week it offered up an interesting article in which archaeologists from the school discussed the archaeological fantasies and hoaxes that lead the public astray. It should surprise no one that the leading bit of fake history was none other than the ancient astronaut theory. Among the other usual suspects were the lost continent of Atlantis, the myth of the Mound Builders, Indiana Jones, and Eurocentrism, or, in other words, the entire line up of cable TV “history” documentaries. I encourage you to read the whole thing, so here I will highlight one particularly interesting point.
I saw a meme a few times on social media this week in which it was claimed that the Mormons believe that Bigfoot is actually Adam’s son Cain. This was weird enough that I thought it was worth looking into. Apparently the claim goes back at least to a 2001 novel by Shane Lester called Clan of Cain: The Genesis of Bigfoot, which more or less equated Sasquatch with the Nephilim and pretended to present secret truths under the guise of fiction. (Gee, where have we heard that one before?) According to some Mormon websites, there was talk of Cain as Bigfoot among Mormons in South Weber, Utah as early as the 1990s, but I am not aware of much by way of published evidence for a larger belief in the Cain-Bigfoot connection at that time. The novel, however, is founded on an actual but obscure bit of Mormon lore tied to the Church’s early history of racism.
This week we learned that ancient astronaut believer Rob Lowe signed on with A&E, a corporate cousin of Ancient Aliens broadcaster the History Channel, to star in a reality series in which he and his 20-something sons will travel around solving Scooby-Doo-style supernatural mysteries – if by “solving” them you mean standing out in a field in the middle of the night and gawking at whatever skitters before their night vision lenses. Lowe said that he has long been obsessed with aliens, monsters, and ghosts: “When I became a father I shared those tales with my two sons. Together we bonded over Bigfoot, UFO’s, and every creepy and bizarre story we could find, passionately debating if they were real … or not.” The Lowe Files, according to A&E, won’t be as much about the “truth” as it will be about the Lowe family bonding through doing activities together.
FBI Investigating Russian Connection to InfoWars: Why Do So Many Outlets Tied to Russia Back Ancient Astronaut and UFO Conspiracies?
A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Review of Books published a brief summary of the contents of a 2016 volume called The Age of Lovecraft, but it was reviewer and Ph.D. candidate Alison Sperling’s opening line that caught my attention: “As a feminist, I am reluctant, at times, to admit to friends and academic colleagues that I appreciate H. P. Lovecraft’s work.” I found that to be a bit of an astonishing statement, largely because it, and the sentences decrying Lovecraft’s racism and sexism which followed, suggest that even among academics who should know better there is a sort of perverse identification of reader and writer, as though one’s choice of literature reveals the darkest part of one’s soul. I’ve always found that to be strange because so many of works of great literature came from the pens of people who were, by contemporary standards, miserable human beings. But even leaving that aside, could you imagine an archaeologist, for example, saying that “As someone who values human life, I am ashamed to admit that I enjoy researching Aztec culture” because of their record of human sacrifice? Of course, on the other hand we might look askance at a film student who professes not just technical admiration but love for the works of Leni Riefenstahl.
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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