A few weeks ago I noted that an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. suggested that the Hindu god Vishnu was an ancient astronaut, and I suggested that such claims, which appeared to be at odds with the typical way Marvel deals with ancient deities in the comics (though, as always, it is much more complex than that), presented ancient astronaut ideas to one of television’s largest audiences. As it turns out, Hindu activists were also outraged at the suggestion that one of their deities is an extraterrestrial being.
The Universal Society of Hinduism, a Reno, NV-based nonprofit that claims to provide outreach for the billion Hindus worldwide, released a statement demanding an apology from Disney, Marvel, and ABC for their insensitive suggestion that Vishnu was an alien rather than a god.
The next chapter of Erich von Däniken’s Remnants of the Gods concerns “False Doctrines.” Von Däniken (hereafter EVD) opens the chapter by repeated age-old speculation that the Osirion (Osireion) at Abydos is the “oldest” structure in Egypt, a claim that originates, apparently, with Edouard Naville in 1912 and was made famous by Graham Hancock in Fingerprints of the Gods, which EVD previously used for his liberal paraphrase Eyes of the Sphinx (1996). (Much, in fact, of this whole chapter is a close recapitulation of Eyes.) The structure is conventionally dated to Seti I’s reign, c. 1290 BCE, and was apparently designed in an archaizing Old Kingdom style as a semi-subterranean structure meant to represent the underworld, but EVD follows alternative ideas that the structure was built in the antediluvian past and the ground rose up around it.
Yesterday I complained that Erich von Däniken (hereafter EVD) has devoted too few resources to providing his ideas. I should have kept my mouth shut. I learned today that Ancient Aliens regular Brien Foerster is asking for donations to test a chunk of Puma Punku’s monumental stones that he claims to have smuggled out of Bolivia and intends to illegally export from Peru in order to prove the stones were quarried 12,000 years ago or more. If we take him at his word, he claims to have removed a piece of the monument, which either involves physically damaging a stone or, more likely, picking up a broken piece from the ground. According to the Bolivian Penal Code article 331, the intentional removal of an antiquity from Bolivia without government approval is subject to one to five years in prison.
I received a copy of Erich von Däniken’s newest book yesterday, and while it is more of the same material the author (hereafter EVD) has been peddling since the 1960s, it does boast one piece of proof that is more convincing than any other yet presented, at least by the low standards of ancient astronaut reasoning: The book was released in November 2013 and carries a 2014 publication date, along with an endorsement from Philip Coppens, who died in 2012. Clearly, the only possible explanation is that time traveling aliens brought the manuscript back in time from 2014 for Coppens to read and then dropped it off in 2013 en route back to 2014.
When America Unearthed began last year, it promised to use science to investigate the mysteries of North American prehistory. Science went out the window long before the production had dowsers scouring for giants with magic sticks, but the show kept its focus on prehistory for its first season. For this season, however, we have apparently slipped the surly bonds of history to touch the face of Alex Jones, or at least Jesse Ventura, spiritual godfathers to the show’s sudden turn toward contemporary conspiracies.
And there are just so many conspiracies! From Glenn Beck warning darkly of FEMA concentration camps for the coming Obama-run anti-conservative genocide to Jim Marrs proclaiming that Pres. Obama and the ancient aliens are conspiring with China to commit mass genocide to Alex Jones claiming that the United Nations is planning a global genocide to reduce the world population... there are just so many!
Hmm… Well, I guess, there’s a theme, at least. Oh, and happily it’s also the theme of our episode tonight: a conspiracy to commit global genocide. For all of you who hate when I mention politics, I am sorry that the show chose to explore a claim associated strongly with the right-wing paranoid fringe, but it shows that politics and history cannot be completely unlinked.
Last Saturday Scott Wolter went in search of the Ark of the Covenant, and the programming geniuses at H2 seemed to have missed a golden opportunity to pair that episode with this week’s Ancient Aliens, which also decided to take on the Ark as part of the History family of networks’ full-on slide into becoming the Christian heresy channel. From Jesus’ secret Freemason-Templar cult to Yahweh as an alien, from programs featuring Biblical analysis from one of Jesus’ alleged psychic descendants to a new horror series about Jesus’ wildest exorcisms, History and H2 are all heresy all the time. I miss the days when religion and history weren’t synonymous on TV.
Ancient Aliens S06E10 “Aliens and the Lost Ark” is a recycling of age-old ancient astronaut claims, but it certainly attacks the very foundation of the Judeo-Christian worldview since the Ark is the sign and the seal of Yahweh’s covenant with Israel. Do Jews worship aliens? A man claiming to be a Rabbi, Ariel Bar Tzadok, is on this episode to talk about how Judaism is all about venerating alien technology, and he is apparently well-known in the world of Judaism for his extreme and unsubstantiated claims that the Hebrew Bible supports reincarnation, that aliens are invading our world, and that many other races of intelligent creatures walked the earth before man. His ideas seem more Theosophical than Judaic.
It seems that complaints about my work come in waves, all offering the same criticism at the same time. Sometimes this is the result of a coordinated effort, as when Jason Martell orchestrated a hate mail campaign against me earlier this year. Other times it’s just coincidence. For whatever reason, I’ve been getting an unusual number of messages from white supremacists who find me insufficiently deferential to their views about white dominance of the pre-Columbian Americas. Interestingly, racist emails are not all from white supremacists; some Afrocentrists are also mad at me for allegedly supporting a Eurocentric agenda that denies the “truth” that sub-Saharan Africans colonized and reigned over America.
It’s all very confusing, but I guess I must be doing something right if white supremacists and Afrocentrists both think I support the other side.
Scott Wolter and Alan Butler Discuss Freemasons, Oreos, and the Ark of the Covenant in Radio Appearance
Last night Scott Wolter and Alan Butler gave an interview to Paradigm Unhinged radio, a UFO and paranormal program, speculating about various artifacts and sites for a more than ninety minutes. The interview followed up on the premiere episode of this season of American Unearthed, and Wolter began by telling listeners that “I highly doubt” that Ark of the Covenant has been destroyed, which of course implies his belief that the object described in Exodus existed. While destruction, he said, is a possibility, “until you have evidence to go down that road, we don’t have any reason to go down that road.” Wolter insisted that the rock art viewed in America Unearthed S02E01 was “out of place” and therefore must be the Ark. He claims that the zigzag pattern within the petroglyph “represents stairways to heaven,” indicating the Anasazi’s knowledge that the Ark communicated “a deity,” apparently. Alan Butler found this “very telling.”
Two topics for today: First, some bizarre news, and then more depressing crap about UFOs and ancient astronauts.
Deadline reported yesterday that the History channel has teamed up with producers of major horror movies to create a new drama series about the “lost years” of Jesus, in which the young adult Savior will battle the forces of darkness in a horror-themed exploration of exorcism. The producers involved are Eli Roth of the Hostel franchise and Eric Newman of The Thing, who both teamed up to produce The Last Exorcism. They will be working with Scott Kosar, who wrote the remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, and The Crazies. Kosar reportedly came up with the idea for horror-exorcist Jesus.
I keep coming back to the concept that ideas have consequences, and it seems to be a key concept that many “fans” of conspiratorial history theories don’t acknowledge or care about. Five times in the last two days, I’ve received messages telling me to stop analyzing America Unearthed because it’s “entertainment” that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. If it were true that TV were a consequence-free medium, we would all be in a happier place. But it isn’t. Consider the following four news stories from the past few weeks:
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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