First, a bit of news: America Unearthed was in Wisconsin last Friday to explore the Rock Lake, Wisconsin underwater “pyramids” near the mound site at Aztalan State Park. Any guesses what they’ll attribute the Mississippian ruins to? Giants? Aztecs? A Lost Tribe of Israel? All have appeared as explanations in the alternative literature.
Anyway, on to today’s topic.
Yesterday I discussed a bit about Vikings and Vinland, and I talked a moment about the origins of the wine-producing grapes of Vinland in medieval ideas about the Fortunate Islands. I thought it was worth expanding on this to bring together the textual evidence for a tradition of a grape-filled land beyond the Western Ocean that I think played a big role in creating the literary vision of Vinland.
I recently learned about a book published last year by literary critic Annette Kolodny called In Search of First Contact, which explores many of the issues recently brought up by America Unearthed and other efforts to propose white pre-Columbian visitors to America. Kolodny traces the Anglo-American interest in white Viking discoverers of America as a manifestation of racial pride and racial panic between 1837 and today. Or, at least I think that’s the point. The book also wants to explore on literary and oral history grounds a new theory of Viking colonization stretching as far south as New England. I’ll let Duke University Press describe the book in typically overblown marketing language:
Yesterday I presented some comments from online writers who came to embrace the ancient astronaut theory thanks to continued exposure to Ancient Aliens on cable television. Today, I’d like to look at the opposite situation, where some commentators have discussed how Ancient Aliens has left them feeling duped and brainwashed.
The Experience Project describes itself as the “premiere passions-based network,” a website where individuals share blog posts about their life experiences in order to connect with others who share those experiences. One of the topics at the Experience Project is “I Watch Ancient Aliens,” and it is as sad as you could imagine such a category would be.
But amidst the standard internet blather, a familiar refrain keeps manifesting, one that I’ve pointed to several times in the words of the Ancient Aliens cast members themselves: a spiritual longing that the aliens serve to fill. Here we have evidence from actual audience members (self-selected though they may be) that this religious impetus is not confined just to television alien speculators looking to fill air time.
I know I don’t write about it as much as I should, but in addition to alternative history I am also (and started out as) an expert in the horror genre. I’ve literally written the book on the subject (as well as its crossover with ancient astronauts), so I like to think I know a thing or two about horror. As it turns out, the Chiller channel, from NBC Universal, parent of Syfy, says I’m wrong.
Coming up next Friday is the event you didn’t even know you were waiting for. Rebecca Jannigan is going to be interviewing the husband and wife team of Sitchin scholars Sasha “Alex” Lessin and Janet Kira Lessin about the Anunnaki, which they insist are extraterrestrials from Nibiru who created humanity as a slave race of gold miners and prostitutes. I’d never heard of the Lessins, so I decided to research them a bit. What I found was surprising.
I can’t say why some of Richard Thornton’s revisionist claims are cycling back around again, but I’ve come across a couple of web postings related to a 2011 article Thornton published claiming that the Irish had a colony in South Carolina, and he later described the people of this colony as “hybrid Gaelic” people who had mated with Native Americans and produced biracial offspring. Yes, he actually describes them as racial hybrids.
Thornton, you will recall, is the leading advocate of the evidence-free claim that the Maya had a mining colony in Georgia.
Paranoia knows no bounds, and it shouldn’t surprise us that the internet is full of the paranoid. On Facebook, creationists have been sharing a “suppressed” photograph of an alleged biblical giant supposedly recovered in Loja, Ecuador. The photograph passing under this giant’s name is admitted by the photographer to be a “reconstruction,” based on alleged “giant” bone fragments that were uncovered long before. According to mystery-mongers, seven fragments were found, each seven times the size of a “normal” human bone. Somehow, despite claiming that many of the fragments were sent to the Smithsonian for analysis, they were also used to make this reconstruction under the supervision of Alex Putney, a true believer in all manner of bizarre material, from Sanskrit fundamentalism to Atlantis to ancient magic powers.
My brief mention on Monday of online feuding over the Sinclair family’s DNA heritage certainly sparked quite a bit of conversation. One interesting question that arose asked who was responsible for proposing that the Sinclair family was part of the Holy Bloodline of Jesus and brought said bloodline to America in the Middle Ages when Henry I Sinclar, Earl of Orkney traveled to Nova Scotia in 1398. Steve St. Clair suggested the Masons, so I think it’s probably a good idea to lay out exactly how this modern myth came together. It involves several different threads which can be a bit difficult to follow. Therefore, I would like to try to lay them out as clearly as I can.
The three sections of the myth—the Holy Bloodline, Henry Sinclair’s voyage, and the Knights Templar—were originally separate and only gradually became conflated. Understanding this helps us to recognize just how fictitious this myth is.
Before we start, let me stipulate: There is not one single authentic medieval document that (a) confirms a Holy Bloodline of Jesus, (b) links Henry Sinclair to the Knights Templar, or (c) documents any voyage by Henry Sinclair to anywhere outside of Europe.
I hate September. I always have. I never liked going back to school as a kid, and now as an adult I have whole new reasons to hate September. As a freelancer, my income is dependent on clients, and August is the slowest month of the year. It’s when many businesses take time off for vacation or otherwise slow down in advance of preparing for fall. So immediately following my slowest month of the year, I am of course bombarded with taxes come September. School taxes are due—which currently rival actual tuition in size—and quarterly income taxes are due, too, which are particularly onerous because the U.S. government requires the self-employed to bear the full burden of Social Security taxes. Add to that regular mortgage payments, utility bills, the water bill, etc. and it quickly becomes unmanageable.
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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