Late Saturday night Anthony Bragalia, a ufologist who heavily promoted the so-called Roswell Slides as genuine evidence of extraterrestrials, apologized for his involvement in the fiasco after photo enhancement of high resolution images of the slide confirmed that a placard seen in the photograph states unequivocally that the body in the image is a human child mummy. The mummy had been unearthed in 1894 and displayed at the Mesa Verde Park Museum after 1938, when S. L. Palmer, Jr. returned the corpse, which had rested in his father’s collection in San Francisco as a morbid curiosity.
I learned something shocking and new today, and I learned it from a believer in giants. Before you get too excited, the believer in giants has been dead for almost 250 years. His name was Claude-Nicolas Le Cat (1700-1768), a physician, and in the mid-1700s he gave a famous address on giants to the Academy of Sciences at Rouen in an attempt to prove that giants existed. The address was translated into English and widely circulated through its appearance in the Encyclopedia Britannica, where it made up much of early editions’ account of giants, and was widely pirated in other encyclopedias. Here is Le Cat’s address:
I wanted to follow up on this week’s bizarre story about three people, including an aide to California’s attorney-general, who were arrested for running a fake Masonic police department, whose membership claimed a bloodline connection to the Knights Templar. A spokesperson for Freemasonry in California denied to the media that any of those arrested were connected to Masonry in California. “We are so not affiliated with them that I wouldn’t even know where to point you,” California Masonic spokesperson Emily Limón told the Sacramento Bee. However, contrary to these claims, one of those arrested, David Henry, appears to have been a Mason himself, if media reports are true.
First, a bit of business: Many of you likely have seen that the History Channel is promoting Ancient Aliens: Giorgio Tells All, airing tonight at 9 PM ET. Tonight’s episode is a rerun of last fall’s “Secrets of the Mummies” episode from H2 with additional commentary from ancient astronaut theorist Giorgio Tsoukalos. You will forgive me if I don’t sit through a rerun for an extra 90 seconds of Tsoukalos’s “enhanced” commentary.
Note: This post has been edited to protect the privacy of April Holloway after the pseudonymous author asked that her real name be removed from the article. This included removing comments she made in response to this post. I have also revised some material to better clarify the corporate relationship between Ancient Origins and its affiliated businesses. Finally, I have removed photographs at the request of Ancient Origins, which asserted a copyright claim. While I believe my use of the photographs to be fair use, I have removed them out of respect for the wishes of Ancient Origins and Stella Novus.
Update: Since this post was published, and due to its publication, both Ancient Origins and Novus Web Solutions have updated their websites to (a) identify John Christian Black as the pen name of John Syrigos, (b) identify April Holloway as a pen name, and (c) clarify on the Novus page that Ancient Origins is owned by Novus's parent company and is not an independent client of Novus.
First up: The Roswell Slides were unveiled in Mexico City on Tuesday, and to no one’s surprise the “alien” body in the slides was immediately recognizable as a child mummy in a glass display case, presumably in a museum. The most interesting thing about the whole episode, other than the crass commercialism of the “unveiling,” is Nick Redfern’s continued efforts to rewrite his views of the slides.
Sometimes you have to stop and wonder what goes through people’s minds. One of the questions often asked of critics of fringe history is “what’s the harm?” Why should we care if the History Channel pumps lies into millions of American homes, or if New Page Books spreads conspiracy theories hither and yon? It’s just fun, right? Well, in California the “fun” stretched right up to the California Department of Justice, according to the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department, which accused an employee of being part of a fake, fringe history-inspired police department.
Today I’d like to call your attention to Andy White’s blog post from yesterday about Steve Quayle and the reactionary agenda he masks behind his tales of giants. White noticed something in Quayle’s recent interview on The Rundown Live that I missed, probably because Quayle talks a mile a minute and I found it hard to keep up with his largely incoherent ramblings while also trying to take notes. White noticed that Quayle blamed homosexuality on the Nephilim. In Quayle’s words, as White transcribed them:
Yesterday I mentioned that Richard Stothers’s article on Roman-era UFO sightings led me to Samuel Rosenberg’s skeptical appraisal of ancient astronaut claims in the 1968 Condon Report, the University of Colorado investigation of UFOs conducted at the behest of the U.S. Air Force. Within the nearly 10,000-word-long chapter is a fascinating account of how ufologists’s horrible scholarship led to their uncritical acceptance of a fake medieval text and the wholesale creation of supporting details to back up their claims for it. It’s a great case study in the intellectual bankruptcy of those who would rewrite history on the flimsiest of lies.
On Friday’s edition of Ancient Aliens the show claimed that NASA published an “official” paper on ancient UFO sightings in the Roman era. As always, Ancient Aliens got it only half right. The paper was actually an article by Richard B. Stothers from the Classical Journal 103.1 (2007), which was reprinted by NASA because Stothers, who died in 2011, was a mathematician and astrophysicist who worked at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He came to the study of ancient history through his work investigating ancient chronicles to help document climate change. Since I had never heard of Stothers’s “Unidentified Flying Objects in Classical Antiquity,” it’s worth taking a look at Stothers’s argument and evidence.
This week A+E Networks, the parent of the History Channel and H2, entered into an agreement with Vice Media to turn over a cable channel to the millennial-focused news organization. According to published accounts, that channel will be H2, thus explaining why History moved Ancient Aliens off the lame duck network, bringing its 1.4 million viewer back to the main History channel. But since we know A+E Networks’ agenda, I guess that only leaves us to study “The Alien Agenda,” the putative subject of this week’s instant-rerun episode of Ancient Aliens.
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.