The onetime journalist and current ancient astronaut theorist Philip Coppens has an undeserved reputation as a “serious” ancient astronaut theorist due to his claim to apply solid research to his alternative investigations. As we shall see, Coppens is just another copyist who never lets facts get in the way of copying someone else’s bizarre claims.
So let's play another round of "Fake That Quote"!
Last week I wrote about Pierre Honoré’s falsified quotation form Pedro Pizarro, in which the author introduced non-existent references to the blond hair of “white” Peruvians. Another of Honoré’s claims, which immediately follows the falsified Pizarro quotation, also struck me as wrong, but I wasn’t able to track down an English translation of Garcilaso de la Vega to prove it. Well, now I have, so it’s time for another round of Alternative Authors’ Fake Quotations.
Intellectual laziness, scholarly shortcuts, and all-out fabrications aren’t unique to alternative historians and ancient astronaut theorists. But whoever takes the shortcuts, the result is almost always the same: mistakes are perpetuated, are accepted as truth, and corrupt the historical record. Today, let’s examine an object lesson in what happens when scholars rely on secondary sources and repeat earlier writers’ work uncritically.
The following is my own original research into a very strange sidelight of Greek mythology, and it was a gigantic pain to untangle thanks to more than three centuries of scholars copying each other. My thanks go to the great Hellenist M. L. West for his assistance in tracking down the origins of this weird little mistake.
Carlos J. Cortes is a Spanish thriller writer whose work is apparently praised far above its actual accomplishment, judging by his ancient astronaut novel A Perfect Circle (2008), which I have just finished reading. The premise is irresistible: Imagine the lost civilizations and jungle setting of Michael Crichton’s Congo crossed with the mysterious, powerful sphere of Michael Crichton’s Sphere along with the histrionic warning about ecological disaster from Michael Crichton’s State of Fear and the intergalactic threat from Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain, all wrapped up in the corporate espionage of Michael Crichton’s Rising Sun. But instead of taking the best parts of Crichton’s books, Cortes has instead paralleled their worst aspects: wooden characters, clunky dialogue, and a tendency to speechify instead of illustrating points through action.
Today I offer proof that members of government can be just as nutty as Ancient Aliens' theorists.
In June 1978, the British House of Lords prepared for a debate (which was delayed until 1979) on the question of UFOs at the instigation of ufologist William Francis Brinsley Le Poer Trench, 8th Earl of Clancarty, a believer in the existence of alien spacecraft and ancient astronauts. He was a UFO book author, magazine publisher, and an honorary life member in the original Ancient Astronaut Society. I found among the thousands of pages of declassified UFO documents released by the British government last month a memo prepared by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for K. E. G. Barber of the Department of Education to request Education’s help in preparing remarks for Lord Winterbottom, who was then scheduled to speak for Her Majesty’s government. (Lord Strabolgi would eventually do so in 1979.)
Yesterday we all learned the news of the death of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. Fans of alternative archaeology and ancient astronauts will also remember him as a member of the 1976 expedition that went in search of Tayos caves in Ecuador that Erich von Däniken claimed in The Gold of the Gods (1972) contained a vast library of metal books inscribed with the writings of an alien civilization. Von Däniken had claimed in Gold to have personally visited this metal library, but he was forced to admit that he had fabricated his account of the cave after its alleged discoverer, Juan Moricz, stated that he had never taken von Däniken to the cave.
There is an interesting sidelight to my discussion of David Childress’s “research” this past week that I’d like to talk about, and it involves more fake quotations. Childress wears many hats, and one of them is that of publisher of Adventures Unlimited Press, his private book publishing house. There Childress self-publishes his own work and republishes the work of other authors on alternative themes, in at least one case without the author’s permission.
Reviewing David Childress's "Technology of the Gods" (Pt. 4): He Didn't Even Pretend to Write Chapter 7
Today I bring my review of Technology of the Gods to a merciful close, but Childress saves his most spectacular acts of authorial laziness for last: nearly a whole chapter reprinted from another author’s book (with permission) and a few final acts of self-plagiarism.
I'm continuing my review of David Childress's masterwork, Technology of the Gods (2000). To the documented plagiarism, we can now add hoaxing and quote manipulation. Of course, this isn't Childress's fault, since he's merely copying and copying and copying others who hoaxed and manipulated well enough to fool him.
David Childress wasn’t kidding when he said that his Technology of the Gods (2000) would “recap” material from his other books. And by recap he means “copy and paste.” Here is the second part of my review, covering chapters 3 and 4.
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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