Earlier today I received an email from a reader who was upset that I had criticized the ancient astronaut theory because he felt that it was too hubristic of humans to imagine that we are the be all and end all of existence. “It must be hard to live in a world where a gray stone is just a gray stone,” my correspondent wrote. This was rather typical of the emails I get from believers, but it speaks toward the desire to find something grander and more exciting than the quotidian world. I disagree, though, and indeed I always find something new and fascinating in the real world.
A few weeks ago the History Channel’s spinoff network H2 turned into Viceland, a joint production of A+E Networks and Vice Media. A+E Networks is the owner of the History Channel, and in addition to being a co-owner of Viceland, it also is a co-owner of Vice Media. The new network is targeted at young adults aged 18-34, which means that after spending the last six weeks in the network’s target demographic, my opinion stopped mattering to Viceland when I turned 35 yesterday. That won’t stop me, however, from pointing out that A+E Networks is leveraging its ownership of Ancient Aliens and Viceland to create synergy in the hope of driving more Millennial viewership of its properties.
It’s my birthday today, and as a result I’ve now entered a new marketing demographic. Although I don’t feel any different, suddenly I’m no longer of interest to advertisers. Yesterday, I was in the 18-34 age bracket. Now I’m in the 35-54 age bracket, and if there is any benefit to it, maybe I’ll get fewer spam texts, calls, and emails. But somehow I doubt it. In fact I just received a scam call pretending to be Dell computer tech support.
If you’ve been reading my reviews of William F. Mann’s Templar Sanctuaries in North America, you’ll recall that our author believes himself to be one of the last descendants of Henry Sinclair’s Grail Guardians, charged with protecting the Holy Bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene during its six-century exile near Mann’s home in Canada. (Technically, he believes himself a Grail Guardian, while his wife is an indirect descendant of Henry I Sinclair, and they both share early Sinclair/Norman DNA since he and his wife are distant relatives.) In the first half of his book, he probed European hoaxes and conspiracies for evidence of his exalted status. In the second half of the book, his attention shifts to North America.
When last we left our hero, William F. “Bill” Mann, he had explained that thanks to a childhood obsession with midcentury fringe history books and close friendships with current Holy Bloodline conspiracy theorists, he had convinced himself that he was the last descendant of the Templar Grail Guardians who colonized America under Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, charged with protecting the descendants of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene from villainous agents of the Catholic Church seeking to suppress the truth about Jesus and the divine. This took up the first chapter of the book, leaving around 300 more pages of largely fact-free speculation, drawn primarily from earlier fringe history books. Along the way, our author reveals more and more about his psychology: At one point, he says that life “has been playing little tricks” on him since birth, and he doesn’t seem to be speaking figuratively.
You will forgive me if I point to a few of the highlights rather than trying to outline a digressive, aggressively nonlinear argument. Due to the book’s extreme length and the density of its claims, I think it will take me two blog posts to complete my review.
Well, isn’t this exciting! William F. Mann, a conspiracy theorist who claims descent from Templar Holy Bloodline Grail Guardians, is preparing to release his latest Knights Templar conspiracy book, Templar Sanctuaries in North America: Sacred Bloodlines and Secret Treasure, with a foreword by Scott F. Wolter of America Unearthed. The book is due out on May 30 from Destiny Books, but I have early access to the text. It’s not exactly going to change anyone’s mind, but it might tax your patience!
Last weekend was the twenty-eighth annual Ozark Mountain UFO Conference, held at the Best Western Inn in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This year’s speakers were the usual who’s who of Ancient Aliens, including series regulars Linda Moulton Howe, Jim Marrs, Nick Pope, and Richard Dolan. Whitley Strieber, the abductee who has profited handsomely from popularizing alien anal probes, was also a speaker. However, the biggest name on the list was also one of two keynote speakers for the event, Swiss author Erich von Däniken, whose speech was the only one important enough to garner local media coverage in Arkansas.
Not long ago I mentioned in passing that Ignatius Donnelly, in writing Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, had misquoted John T. Short’s North Americans of Antiquity (1880) in support of Atlantis. Short, who was open to diffusionist ideas, concluded, however, that Native Americans came from northeastern Asia and developed their civilization largely on their own. But it’s interesting to see that those who reviewed Short’s book had some ideas just as bizarre as Donnelly but from different perspectives. Today I’d like to share part of a review of Short published anonymously in the Methodist Quarterly Review in January 1880, which is both fascinating in its anticipation of Donnelly and surprising in its creationist take on the same theme.
I’m sure it’s come to your attention from time to time that I am interested in aesthetics. Although I am by no means professional grade in my graphic design skill, I enjoy creating new graphics for my website and exercising my artistic muscle. The down side to that is that graphic design trends keep changing, and the pages I last re-designed designed back in 2012 or 2013 are starting to look dated. According to what I’ve read, the hot new trends for this year are simplified graphics, bolder colors, and larger text sizes.
Regular readers will remember that I have no particular patience for people who proclaim that the Tucson Lead Artifacts are a genuinely medieval archive of records from Jewish colonists who fought the Toltec in eighth-century Arizona. That has not stopped generations of fringe theorists from proclaiming them proof of European diffusion into America during the European Dark Ages. The latest to make the claim is Donald N. Yates, whom regular readers will recall as the founder of DNA Consultants, a company that sells DNA testing kits of dubious value and which proclaims that DNA evidence proves that Yates’s Native American ancestors were actually Jews and thus America is, by implication, the new and true Promised Land of God.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.