Yesterday, Martin J. Clemens of Mysterious Universe presented an article about the infamous photograph of a carved stone head in Guatemala, first publicized by Oscar Rafael Padilla Lara in 1987, that continues to circulate online as evidence of ancient stone-working, despite the clear evidence that the head is in fact a modern carving by a known individual. Clemens, indeed, speculates that these facts may be safely discarded in favor of a more exciting conclusion: that that Olmecs, c. 1200-400 BCE, were attempting to emulate the colossal stone heads of Easter Island, which were only carved after 1200 CE, on the basis of recent DNA evidence showing trans-Pacific contact between Polynesia and South America. “In light of this, does it not seem reasonable to suppose that Padilla’s colossal head, is in fact an attempt to replicate the look of the moai of Easter Island by an Olmec stone craftsman?” Clemens writes.
Since it has been almost exactly five years since I shared with my readers the real story of the Guatemala stone head, it seems like a good time to present again my 2013 blog post on the fake mystery, which here follows in slightly updated and adapted form.
Truth or Double Dare (TODD)
2018 | L.O.U.D. (Living Out Ur Dreams) Films | 62 minutes
Every day, publicity agents send me pitches to review new movies, TV shows, web series, concept albums, and books. As a general rule of thumb, if they are asking me to review something, it’s probably bad. I only watch about one in ten of the movies that I get asked to review. I review maybe one in five of those at best because most are vaguely competent but clichéd riffs on familiar themes, destined to cycle through a third-tier streaming service and be forever forgotten. They aren’t even worth hating. But once in a while I find a movie so staggeringly awful that it takes even me by surprise. And I have watched every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The Mutual Reinforcement of Dubious Templar Documents; Plus: Travel Channel Teases Megan Fox's "Legends of the Lost"
In an interview yesterday with Inverse to promote the upcoming Baltimore Alien Con, Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos … well, offered more of the same, actually. For someone who is supposedly an expert on … something … he is remarkably shallow in his interviews and rather repetitive in the potted anecdotes he parcels out. Perhaps it comes from too many years reciting prewritten lines for Ancient Aliens, or perhaps it reflects the dearth of originality behind the ancient astronaut theory. There were, however a few highlights worth mentioning.
The myth that Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, a vassal of the king of Norway, was mixed up in the European discovery of America a century before Columbus came to us from Johann Reinhold Forster, a German-born scion of a dispossessed Scottish noble family. Forster wrote in 1784 of Henry Sinclair’s involvement with the brothers Zeno (or Zeni, or Zen), whose story was told in the controversial account of their alleged voyage to Greenland and audience with fisherman who had returned from unknown lands beyond published by their descendant Nicolò Zeno the Younger in the 1500s, two centuries after the fact, and from non-existent documents that the younger Zeno claimed to have destroyed and then recreated from memory. Forster decided that the story’s fanciful manic pixie dream prince, Zichmni of Friesland, was none other than Sinclair: “This name of Sinclair appears to me to be expressed by the word Zichmni.” It was, however, a footnote which Forster labeled as “a conjecture” that struck him while contemplating the geography of the northern Atlantic.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, the local MUFON chapter puts on monthly programs to “educate” (I guess) the public about issues relevant to UFOs. Next week they present “The Night We Rocked the Pyramids,” in which local minister Annabelle Wood, a self-described student of quantum physics, will discuss her experiences searching Egypt’s pyramids for hidden truths. Here is what the news release promises for the Nov. 13 event in Strafford, Penn. Be sure to read all the way to the end, when the story takes an incongruous turn.
This week, U.S. President Donald J. Trump said that he would not be “surprised” if billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish, were paying hundreds of Hondurans to trek across Mexico to reach the United States. A week earlier, Soros had been the target of an attempted mail bomb assassination, and the man who committed the largest violent attack on Jews in the United States a few days later cited anti-Soros conspiracy theories among the reasons he believed that Jews needed to die. Writing these words is horrifying, and I struggle to understand exactly how our country has reached this point. It is almost like something out of the Twilight Zone, except that the Twilight Zone was created by a Jew, Rod Serling, who always made sure that in his stories the Nazis didn’t win.
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.
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