Last week I mentioned that I had watched UFOs: It Has Begun, a 1979 update of an earlier documentary hosted by Rod Serling about ancient astronauts and UFOs, in which ufologist Jacques Vallée provides thirty minutes of new material about cattle mutilations. In this added footage, Vallée makes mention of something I had never heard of, but which took me a few days to get around to researching. Vallée claimed that in 1897, a UFO abducted and mutilated a cow, the first such claim on record. This was certainly an interesting enough story that I had to look up the text of the alleged statement made by rancher Alexander Hamilton in 1897 and printed April 23 of that year in the Yates Center Farmer’s Advocate, a Kansas newspaper:
It’s hardly news when a celebrity discusses his or her love of Ancient Aliens, so it was no surprise last year when music producer (and onetime Scientologist) Skrillex gave Rolling Stone a semi-spiritual justification for why loves Ancient Aliens and the ancient astronaut theory, which seems for him to be a halfway stop on the road back from Xenu:
In lieu of a blog post today, please enjoy my appearance last night on The Rundown Live, where I discussed ancient astronauts, conspiracy theories, and giants. You can download an audio podcast here or watch the YouTube version below.
Before I begin, I want to remind everyone to tune in to The Rundown Live tonight at 9 PM ET / 8 PM CT. I’ll be appearing on the show to discuss fringe history topics.
Now, on to today’s material…
Ancient Aliens is everywhere, even in a seemingly arcane debate over politicians’ efforts to restrict media coverage of government. In Texas the state legislature is attempting to prevent citizens from shooting video footage of legislators within the state capitol grounds, and Democratic Rep. Terry Canales explained that he opposes the measure because he has nothing to hide: “If they want to waste their team (sic) filming me on the couch watching Ancient Aliens, they can come share a burger with me.”
Oh, do I have an “exciting” treat for all of you. I have a copy of “reformed Baptist” pastor Douglas Van Dorn’s 2013 book Giants: Sons of the Gods, which promises to teach you how viewing Christianity through the lens of the Nephilim can bring you closer to the true teachings of Jesus. As a text that explicitly seeks to explicate the connection between gigantology and fundamentalist Christian revival, I can’t wait to see how a Christian extremist spins the Nephilim into a reason to accept a conservative view of Jesus.
But before we begin, I can’t help but start with this endorsement of the book from 1970s-era NFL linebacker Tom Graham, which is just about perfect: “What do Buffalo Bill Cody and Katy Perry/Kanye West have in common? They talk and sing about ‘giants’ and ‘aliens.’ Maybe they referenced these subjects in ignorance, but now Doug Van Dorn has revealed the light of Biblical Truth on these matters in his book GIANTS: Sons of the Gods.” I think I shall never see so delightful an endorsement again.
I’d like to start today by briefly noting that there is a new interview with longtime fringe figure John Anthony West, 82, in New Dawn magazine. In it, West goes through his usual litany of fringe claims and his worship of occultist R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz and self-actualization mystic George Gurdjieff, but what is interesting is that both he and the interviewer all but concede that their interest in the ancient past and esoteric wisdom has less to do with finding the truth about prehistoric and early historic belief systems and more to do with their conviction that “Darwinism” is wrong, that capitalists and scientists are stripping life of its spiritual meaning, and that the wealthy elite are making life difficult for the underclass, who might otherwise benefit from esoteric visions of some vanished utopia. “You watch the Scorpions of Wall Street raping our lives and these disgusting billionaires absolutely destroying the planet. That’s the sort of thing you have to keep on top of, it seems to me.” West said that he is “contemptuous” of Western civilization and thus searches for a past (or, as we might say, invents a past) where a more congenial belief system gives his life spiritual meaning. Thus, West imagines that his discoveries will explode materialist paradigm and therefore transform Western civilization through a massive esoteric Renaissance.
The post has been updated to include the origin of quotation cited.
I was planning to take today off because it’s Memorial Day here in the United States, but then Andy White posted a link to a bizarre creationist paper from 2010 by a then Minnesota high school junior named Adam Schwartzbauer, who attempted to explain the history of the Nephilim and their influence, in part relying on Zecharia Sitchin’s fabricated Book of Enki as a genuine historical text. But leaving aside Sitchin’s fakery, the author said something I hadn’t remembered hearing before and I thought it was very interesting, interesting enough for me to do a brief blog post about it in lieu of a rerun.
There is an adage on the internet that if something exists, there is a porn version of it. Given that we live in a world where dinosaur porn is a viable subgenre, it shouldn’t surprise me that there are also Nephilim-themed “romance” novels like D. M. Pratt’s The Tempting: Seducing the Nephilim (2015), a book that begins with a description of a woman whose most intense orgasm leads to a concussion when she hits her head while writhing in ecstasy. I found it humorous to read Dennis Moore’s review of the book in which he described himself as being conflicted, torn between finding it sexy and sacrilegious in equal measure, at least until he realized that the Nephilim were found in Genesis 6:4 and therefore give Biblical license to supernatural romance!
I decided that there isn’t enough original content in the “new” Ancient Aliens: Ultimate Evidence reedits of earlier episodes to make it worth my time to re-review them, so I will forgo discussing the remainder of them unless there is something particularly astonishing that needs to be discussed. Instead, I’d like to talk about alien abduction, and before I do so I need to offer a word of disclosure: I am about to discuss a piece written by Theo Paijmans, with whom I have exchanged some collegial emails. My disagreement with his May 21 Mysterious Universe article on the African American contribution to alien abductions is, as is usual with my analyses, due to my disagreement with the premise of his piece and its evidence.
For those of you who keep track of such things, you will recall that one of the touchstones of the gigantologists’ claims for existence of giants is that the bones of these antediluvian monsters have disappeared as part of an intentional conspiracy by world governments, museums, and academics to sequester or destroy any evidence of the veracity of the Bible. (“The Smithsonian has been at the center of a vast cover-up of America’s true history since the 1880s,” Richard Dewhurst wrote in The Ancient Giants Who Ruled America.) To that end, where such information is available, gigantologists have pointed to cases where newspapers reported that “giant” bones were dispatched to the Smithsonian Institution or other museums and yet the same museums maintain that they have no record of the arrival or storage of any such remains of Nephilim.
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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