Note: The are likely to be many problems with the blog over the next few days. Weebly has changed its entire blogging platform without notice overnight, and it does not work well. It will not, for example, allow me to paste from Word anymore. It will only accept plain text. I am doing my best to work around the problems.
If you’re a fan of Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (and I get more than enough Freemason conspiracy theories during the day to really enjoy more at night), you might have noticed an allusion to H. P. Lovecraft in last night’s episode. Ichabod Crane recites Lovecraft’s famous couplet “That is not dead which can eternal lie / And with strange aeons even death may die” to give life to an undead warrior. I imagine it was meant to be a cute reference, but I can’t think of anything more diametrically opposed to Lovecraftian horror than to use a Necronomicon couplet as part of a ritual to raise a Christian warrior to fight Satanic demons in order to prevent the Apocalypse of Revelation.
I'm a bit pressed for time today, so instead of a lengthy blog post, I'd like to share with you the following advertisement I received last night via email from Harry Hubbard, of the Burrows Cave affair, claiming to offer for sale a genuine ancient piece of art straight from one of the alleged Greco-Egyptian caves of Illinois. Apparently I am on his mailing list and he figured I (along with an undisclosed number of other recipients of his email) might be interested in his latest attempt to profit off the alleged patrimony of Hellenistic Egypt. As you can see from the advertisement and the accompanying photograph, there is a lot of money to be made from what for all intents and purposes appears to be banking on uncritical fringe history believers, to judge by Hubbard's slipshod authentication process and the poor quality of the "art."
H2 Host Scott Wolter and Former American Nazi Leader Frank Joseph Speak at Fringe History Conference
Last night America Unearthed host Scott Wolter was scheduled to give a presentation to the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society at its annual fringe history conference at the Holiday Inn in Marquette, Michigan. This is the same conference where in 2011 Wolter and Frank Joseph, the former Nazi party leader turned fringe history writer, carpooled with diffusionist author Wayne May, who is also in attendance this year. Last night Wolter was to focus on discussing the impact of 3D microscopes on the study of allegedly anomalous pre-Columbian North American artifacts.
Frank Joseph was also in attendance this year and was again a featured speaker on Friday, offering his views on Atlantis.
True story: We owe the popularity of the ancient astronaut theory to Rod Serling’s love of airplanes. Serling was a parachutist during World War II and spent the rest of his life fascinated by air travel. It’s impossible to watch The Twilight Zone without seeing Serling’s fascination with every facet of flying. As he recounts in his foreword to Alan Landsburg’s In Search of Ancient Mysteries, when Landsburg (who, sadly, died last month) came to Serling to propose dubbing a German documentary about Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods for American television, Serling was skeptical of ancient astronauts—until he saw the Nazca lines. Landsburg told Serling he could prove aliens had visited the ancient earth with a photograph, one that he had learned about from Chariots of the Gods. Serling remembers his conversation with Landsburg on the Universal lot in late 1972:
Before we begin today, I want to let everyone know that Aaron Adair, the author of The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View, will be appearing on Paranormal Review radio tonight at 10 PM to talk about ancient astronauts. Many of you will know Aaron from his blog and from his occasional comments here on my blog. Be sure to check it out. I was asked to be on the show, too, but I can’t make the broadcast tonight. Aaron will undoubtedly do a great job!
Now on to more depressing news…
Today I have a few brief topics to discuss.
Early this morning, Scott Wolter announced (if I am to read his possessive case usage as written) that I am trying to confuse the issue of whether Europeans colonized America and ennobled the Native Americans with Jesus genes: “I think the word that sums up some of the skeptic’s personal attack strategy is ‘obfuscation.’” I know! All of those texts I examine and the facts I muster to critically examine specific claims from fringe figures’ published works, it’s all a personal attack strategy, unlike Wolter’s much more serious strategy of claiming that he doesn’t read my work but rendering judgment on it anyway, and then threatening to sue over what he imagines I might do. Of course, Wolter might have meant plural skeptics, but that isn’t what the singular possessive implied. I’m still astounded that he confuses a single blog post in 2013 about his own claim of an honorary master’s degree for a widespread multimedia strategy to harp on it for 21 straight months.
In comments on an earlier thread, EP asked a great question: Who invented the conspiracy theory popularized by Scott Wolter that Oreo cookies contain Templar-Freemason symbolism, particularly the so-called Cross of Lorraine. I will confess that when I first read the claim in Wolter’s Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers (2013), I assumed that it was of his own invention, and he gave no indication otherwise. I should have known better than to credit him with an original conspiracy theory. It turns out that the story had been published in Time magazine and The Atlantic in 2011, based on still earlier internet sources.
A Wiccan doomsday-prepper (a phrase I have never before written) has high praise for America Unearthed, a show that fits comfortably into an unusual worldview that sits partway between New Age spirituality and anti-elite paranoia:
Today I’d like to talk a bit about S. T. Joshi’s continued freak out over H. P. Lovecraft and racism. I know I shouldn’t keep talking about it, but I just can’t look away. I’ve never seen a literary critic implode so dramatically.
You will recall that Joshi’s dander rose up when Daniel Older suggested that the World Fantasy Award not take the shape of H. P. Lovecraft because Lovecraft was a racist who is not representative of current fantasy authors. He wrote a lengthy screed accusing Older of improperly going beyond his station by questioning his betters, prompting criticism from several quarters.
In the trailer for a forthcoming documentary called Ancient Aliens and the New World Order from Sector 5 Films currently running on Yahoo! News, conspiracy theorist Jim Marrs asserts that extraterrestrials and the U.S. government “want you dead” and that the Smithsonian is conspiring to cover up the secret alien bloodline of the U.S. presidents. The documentary will assert that the aliens intend to create an “Orwellian” society based on fear, panic, and fascist-style military control.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, 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.