Actress Megan Fox recently told US Weekly that she is reading the Book of Enoch because of her favorite TV show, Ancient Aliens, “and this book describes angels in a way that sounds extraterrestrial.” The passages she refers to are among those that I’ve included so far in the collection of ancient texts cited by ancient astronaut and fringe history writers that I’ve been working on. It sits alongside the passage that the late Ancient Aliens talking head Philip Coppens frequently called the “best” evidence for ancient astronauts, the Babylonian priest Berosus’ discussion of the magical fish-man Oannes and his fishy friends, who rose up from the sea to teach humankind the art of civilization.
The Telegraph has an interesting article published yesterday by scholar Dominic Selwood, author of a 1999 academic study of the Knights Templar as well as a new novel about them, pondering why the medieval order of warrior monks has captured the modern imagination. His conclusions are more or less exactly what I’ve taken so much criticism for pointing out. Selwood, who holds a PhD in medieval religious warrior orders, sees in the Templars a convenient focus for two distinct threads of alternative thought, which are not completely severable.
America Unearthed host Scott Wolter has started a blog to help correct the record about his investigations and beliefs. Called Scott Wolter Answers, the blog aims to provide a forum where fans of America Unearthed can interact in a way that uses “my own name to help get Google hits.” The blog is linked to his Google+ account and was promoted by Steve St. Clair, so it appears to be legitimate. According to Wolter, “There are certainly enough other bloggers out there hoping to sway opinion about me, my work and the show. It’s time Scott Wolter represented himself.” (He writes in a mixture of first and third person.)
I did a Google search to check this assertion, and apparently those other bloggers are me and … a few random sentences here and there. So, I guess it’s just me.
Apparently the most controversial thing I have ever written is the suggestion that America Unearthed is making use of nineteenth century imperialist and colonialist propaganda without recognizing the cultural and racial origins of the claims, specifically their origin in the Euro-American effort to obtain lands once held by Native Americans. This had led to accusations that I am “race-baiting” or otherwise obsessed with race.
I think that a thought experiment is in order, and I hope it will help readers to understand why the appropriation of Native American cultures and accomplishments in service of a Eurocentric narrative is an insult not just to Native Americans but to history itself. So, I am asking you to suspend your disbelief for a moment and put yourself in the position of someone tuning in to watch a show very much like America Unearthed, but just a little…different.
Last week meditation instructor and ancient astronaut theorist April Holloway posted on Ancient Origins, a fringe history website, an article suggesting that historians and archaeologists are working to suppress the truth about a large stone face allegedly discovered in rural Guatemala in the 1950s. According to Holloway, the stone face had “Caucasian features” and thus implied the presence of a lost white civilization that predates the Maya and the Olmec.
Monday is my busiest work day, so I’m a little pressed for time today. Therefore, I will leave you with a few random tidbits on ancient astronauts, Scott Wolter, and the British Museum.
As I’m sure most of you saw, I managed to complete my review of last night’s America Unearthed just two minutes after the show ended last night. I admit that I pushed myself to get it done especially fast because here in upstate New York we were in the throes of a snowstorm, and I correctly assumed that I would spend most of the morning digging out. With nearly a foot of snow on the ground, it took me a long time to dig the house out this morning, and with the snow continuing to fall, I’ll probably have to shovel again later this afternoon.
In short: Don’t expect me to be able to complete future reviews that fast. It was a one-time deal, made possible because I had already written about the history of the Rockwall rock wall and because the show was exceptionally light on facts. The first season was daffy, but at least it had enough going on each hour to keep the viewer’s attention. Last night’s episode was painfully boring and repetitive.
Those who support the work of Scott Wolter and America Unearthed have criticized my analysis of the program, especially when I have made mention of the show’s use of racist, colonialist, and imperialist ideas from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as though they were objective science. Specifically, I have received ample criticism that there is no room for discussions of racism when it comes to talking about history. I’m sure most of you have seen the recent exchange Wednesday on the Fox News Channel show The Kelly File in which Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly states that Santa Claus “just is” white and should not be depicted with any other skin tone, and that history and science validate the historical Jesus as a “white man.”
In my review of the Ancient Aliens episode about islands, I suggested in jest that they would start doing an entire series about geographical features. I said, and I quote, “We can look forward next season, I suppose, to ‘Aliens and Mountains,’ ‘Aliens and Really Tall Trees,’ or ‘Aliens and Pleasant Lakes.’” Ha! I was wrong. We didn’t have to wait that long. Just two episodes later we get Ancient Aliens S06E11 “Aliens and Mysterious Mountains.” Apparently the show failed to meet even my lowest expectations.
Do you remember David Brody, the novelist who has played an instrumental role in promoting the story of Scottish noble Henry Sinclair’s alleged 1398 voyage to America? Well, he wants everyone to know that after his low-budget movie about the Westford Knight, he’s back again with another novel that expands on his fictional universe. Like Dan Brown before him, Brody claims (and not just within his novels) that the artifacts and conspiracies he writes about are true, which crosses the boundaries of fiction into the world of pseudoscience.
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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