Before we begin today, I wanted to share that it is my birthday, and this is what the universe decided to get me: Former television host Scott Wolter is going to be coming to my city of Albany next month to give a lecture to the local Masonic lodge. According to an advertisement that a reader shared with me via Twitter, the $15 entry fee to the three-hour event includes dinner. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Wolter won’t be making good on his promise to buy me a beer when he arrives in town for the May 19 lecture.
Alex Jones's Lawyer Says He's "Playing a Character"; Plus: "TruNews" Host Rick Wiles Calls Ivanka Trump "Kabbala Practicing Evil Woman"
The lawyer for InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones argued in a court filing that his client is “playing a character” and that his poisonous conspiracy theories (which range from ancient aliens and Nephilim to Pizzagate) are part of his act as a “performance artist,” not a truth-teller, according to news reports published yesterday. I wonder how many of his fans would be surprised to learn that Jones is not actually a rightwing truth warrior but instead now admits to being a false-flag fake-news crisis actor making things up for cash payments. It does make one wonder how many more of his ilk are intentionally engaged in profitable “performance art” vs. having true belief in the lies they inculcate among their devoted followings.
Remember how I said that so much “new” fringe history content is really reposted material from the last few years? The Express took the cake this weekend when they published an article on the Piri Reis Map that simply summarized Erich von Däniken’s chapter on it from Chariots of the Gods, complete with quotations from that volume. That book was published half a century ago. In what world is that news? To this, they added a video of Graham Hancock discussing the map, and that video was an excerpt from the 1996 NBC special The Mysterious Origins of Man, more than two decades ago!
An article in Salon magazine reports that Glenn Beck has started a training camp to indoctrinate incoming college students in fringe views of history. Working with pseudo-historian David Barton, Beck plans to hold a two-week, $375 per student camp to teach students a fundamentalist Christian version of American history so “they can then set their ignorant professors straight on the ‘real’ history of America.” Beck, as you will recall, is a Mormon who has used his media outlets to promote hyper-diffusionism and fringe history views about Mound Builders and other “mysteries” of ancient America in a bid to support the fantasies of the Book of Mormon. Barton believes that the Founders were fundamentalist Christians who ensconced creationism in America’s founding documents because they somehow intuited the theory of evolution and rejected it as ungodly before it had even been proposed. Both men prefer a version of history that places white men at the center of events. Beck’s camp seems to hit all the fringe history sweet spots: fundamentalism, anti-elitism, white nationalism, etc.
Today I am doing something a little different. After writing about Sphinx mysteries yesterday, it reminded me that I never got around to creating an online version of James Bonwick's 1877 book Pyramid Facts and Fancies, which for better or worse remains one of the most important collections of viewpoints on the Great Pyramid every produced. While the book is a useful compendium, it has many, many flaws. In 2012 I published an annotated version as Pyramidiots, and I always meant to get around to making that available online but never did because it is such a pain in the neck to format. So, today I present an online version of my annotations to Pyramid Facts and Fancies, outlining the sources behind 47 of the most popular theories about the Great Pyramid. The fascinating thing about it is that since 1877, we have not really added anything to the initial list, just variations on the same. As I wrote in my introduction to the book in 2012:
Last week I mentioned the information about the Great Sphinx provided by the traveler George Sandys, who in 1610, so far as I know, became one of the first to link the Sphinx to the constellation of Leo, a claim which is today an article of faith among fringe historians such as Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval. At the time, I noted that Shaw doubted the religiously oriented claim that the Pyramids of Giza were either the granaries of Joseph or the remnants of constructions by Hebrew slaves. Today I’d like to note a very interesting variant that occurs in the work of another traveler, Thomas Shaw, who wrote in 1738 of his trip to Egypt. Mostly it’s interesting for what Shaw leads us to: the original source of the claim that the Sphinx represents the constellation of Leo.
A Book by a Zecharia Sitchin Acolyte Covered the Same "New" Material as "Sekret Machines" Many Years Ago
Since I was on the subject of Peter Levenda yesterday, I thought I would take a moment to remind everyone that Levenda has placed a lot of weight on what he claims to be his surprising and new approach to the ancient astronaut theory. Specifically, in their recent Rolling Stone interview, Levenda’s coauthor Tom DeLonge emphasized that his discussion of human religion as a sort of cargo cult inspired by space aliens is a quantum leap forward in understanding space alien interaction with humans. As I pointed out in my review of their book Sekret Machines: Gods, this claim is not new or even special; it was first used in the 1970s in the TV movie In Search of Ancient Astronauts.
Peter Levenda Attacks "Ancient Aliens" in "Rolling Stone" without Actually Watching "Ancient Aliens"
Last week I complained that I was getting tired of material that pretended to be new but was really recycled. It happened again this week. The Daily Mail breathlessly reported that a YouTube channel called SecureTeam10 posted a “new” video about the so-called Roswell Rock, which you will remember from its appearance on Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens several years ago. The video turns out to be mostly a summary of the Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens episodes, with worse visuals and worse voice over. The video doesn’t bother to even add new claims to those of the earlier shows.
Centralia College Offers Continuing Education Course Covering How Native Americans Bred Bigfoot to Battle Solutreans
The continuing education department at Centralia College of Centralia, Washington began offering an adult education course which claims that Bigfoot is a Native American and ape hybrid who was hugely “influential” in the culture of the Solutreans, whom educator Mitchel Townsend (a candidate for a doctorate in education) identifies as “the first Americans.” The course is called “The Old Ones, the Firsts Americans,” and it started running on Saturday, the first of four two-hour sessions. According to a newspaper article touting the course, it’s essentially a mishmash of various fringe archaeology claims woven together with the growing myth of Bigfoot
A couple of weeks ago, the History Channel presented a documentary in which the Vieira Brothers went in search of evidence that the colonists from Roanoke had gone inland instead of to Hatteras Island (formerly Croatoan), as is commonly accepted. While a new report doesn’t prove them right, it does cast doubt on the consensus of the past twenty years about the fate of the colonists, and could offer a lifeline to those who believe that the so-called Eleanor Dare Stone is an authentic Elizabethan document.
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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