I’m not really digging (pun intended) the new treasure-hunting format for this season of America Unearthed. Two weeks ago Scott Wolter failed to find the gold of the Lost Dutchman Mine. This week he fails to find Montezuma’s Gold. Next week, he’ll fail to find George Armstrong Custer’s lost gold, and the week after that he won’t find Captain Kidd’s lost gold. I know that for a variety of reasons, ranging from the success of Curse of Oak Island (Tuesday’s top original cable program, with 2.1 million viewers) and Gold Rush (Friday’s top cable program, with 3.7 million viewers) to cable networks’ sponsorship by companies that sell gold to consumers, treasure hunting is one of cable TV’s hottest nonfiction trends; but Scott Wolter’s drive-by, scattershot research methods are ill-equipped to mimic the obsessive-compulsive format of the more successful treasure hunting shows. The one thing he does have in common with them, though, is the failure to find what he’s looking for.
On the plus side, at least he’s not the Vieira brothers, whose obsessive Search for the Lost Giants lost viewers again this week, falling to just 1.448 million viewers, of whom just 400,000 are under the age of 50. If only those giants were buried with gold!
Normally I don’t post an extra time between Ancient Aliens and America Unearthed, but I want to call everyone’s attention to a blog post yesterday from archaeologist Andy White, who disputes the claims of the gigantologists that there is anything special about the “double teeth” of the giants. I’ve received almost a dozen (!) notices of this blog post this morning, so I figured I’d better say something about it.
I’ll be honest: I just wasn’t feeling this episode. Maybe it’s because I’m not quite back to full speed after the Thanksgiving holiday, or maybe it’s because I’ve never really felt comfortable exploiting human corpses for entertainment, but Ancient Aliens S07E10 “Secrets of the Mummies” just bothered me. To judge by the subdued tone and the relative lack of aliens, the producers were not too enthused either. I was, though, intrigued to note that the show reverted back to its old pyramid-style title card.
You will recall that not long ago the president of Turkey resurrected claims that Islamic sailors had reached America long before Columbus. In previous blog posts, I’ve shared many of the texts on which this fictitious belief rests, so I thought I’d provide one more, which forms a sort of missing link connecting some of the other texts I’ve previously examined. First, let’s review what Islamic writers have to say before I share the text itself.
"Lost Giants" Guest Terje Dahl Claims Ancients Were Ruled by Separate Species of Blond Nordic Geniuses
I wasn’t planning to post anything today since it is a national holiday, but I had a hard time resisting after gigantologist Terje Dahl from Tuesday’s Search for the Lost Giants stopped by my blog to promote his website. The Norwegian explorer wanted my readers to view his web pages on the dangers of gigantology and the advanced technology of the Denisovans, the ancient human species that occupied parts of Asia down to about 40,000 years ago. I was being generous when I excused Dahl’s references to the advanced technology of the Densiovans as a relative comparison between the Denisovans and contemporary Cro Magnon humans in Europe. It turns out that I gave him too much of the benefit of the doubt.
According to my on-screen cable guide and the History.com episode guide, this episode of Search for the Lost Giants, S01E04, has no title. It is simply “#5,” even though it is the fourth episode to air. History.com lists the show title as “The Giant Curse” elsewhere on its website, so we’ll go with that.
India's Prime Minister, Top Historian Claim Ancient India Had Airplanes, Automobiles, and Plastic Surgery
First, I want to thank everyone who contributed toward my fundraising efforts to pay for the renewal of my website hosting services. Your generosity is humbling, and I am touched by how many people—many whom I have never met or spoken to—helped contribute. Thank you all. I am deeply appreciative.
Oreo Conspiracies on NatGeo, Moses Founds American Democracy in Texas, and a Call for Donations
One of the criticisms I receive all of the time is that it isn’t worth explaining what’s wrong with fringe theories because they’re just entertainment and are confined to fringe books and TV shows. Two events from this week show just how wrong this view is. Let’s start with the smaller and sillier story. It comes to us from the National Geographic Channel.
In America Unearthed S03E03 “The Appalachian Giant” we offer a nod in the direction of Search for the Lost Giants and the current craze for hunting for giants across America. But the heart of the episode is about investigating rock art, particularly two petroglyph sites, Judaculla Rock in North Carolina and Red Bird Petroglyphs in Manchester, Kentucky.
And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all the records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. […] All that was needed was a series of unending victories over your own memory.
Ancient Aliens, in its decadent phase, has been reduced to recycling its own waste products, but in so doing it asks us to forget that we ever saw the older versions, for each episode is a fresh start, simultaneously detached from what came before and yet also serving as a repetition of past claims that reinforces the idea that the lies told in earlier episodes, by dint of repetition, have taken on the storied air of Truth hoary with age.
This episode, S07E09 “The Genius Factor,” draws heavily on claims made in S04E08 “The Da Vinci Conspiracy,” S05E05 “The Einstein Factor,” S06E14 “The Star Children,” and S07E02 “The Tesla Experiment,” all of which share the same claim, that human genius is not the product of individual effort but rather a boon beamed into adepts’ skulls from interdimensional aliens who have chosen them as vessels for communication from beyond. The current episode even repeats some of the stock photos and footage from the earlier episodes.
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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