Over the last few days, the Irish fringe history writer and radio host E. A. James Swagger had a number of high profile fringe history guests on his Capricorn Radio YouTube series. I don’t have time to listen to all of them, so today I have chosen two of this week’s interviews to write about: David Hatcher Childress, from December 29, and Scott F. Wolter, from yesterday. It was something of a slog to get through two solid hours of conspiracy theories, badly sourced claims, and wild speculation, but I made it.
Some of you may have seen the latest ancient astronaut themed YouTube video making the rounds this week. The amateur clip, produced by a user called “Paranormal Crucible,” alleges that Flinders Petrie hid alien bodies and artifacts from Egypt in a secret room in his house in Jerusalem, and that the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum seized these pieces recently in a bid to cover up alien contact. The hilariously amateurish video was released earlier this month but achieved wider notoriety yesterday after the click-bait website Inquisitr.com published a poorly documented and badly written reaction piece about the video, which is based on an earlier summary of the YouTube video by conspiracy theorist Shepard Ambellas.
Regular readers will know that I hate leaving loose ends. One of the many things that bothered me about Saturday’s episode of America Unearthed was the claim that the French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye discovered a rock covered in “Tartarian” script, and that this script could be mistaken for Norse runes. This material the show apparently derived from Kensington Rune Stone investigator Hjalmar Holand, who as early as 1911 wrote:
After spending the day having Scott Wolter lecture me about why I am a basement-dwelling troll whose arrogance and close-minded bullying have only served to "harden [his] resolve" to oppose me, I'm not feeling particularly excited about spending another hour on one of Wolter's conspiracies. And yet here we are.
If you haven’t been keeping up with my conversation with Scott Wolter over on Wolter’s blog, please be sure to check it out. It has been an enlightening experience. So far, Wolter has revealed that up until I corrected him on it, he thought I was an ancient astronaut theorist. He has also announced that his program last week on whether the Chinese built the East Bay Walls near San Francisco wasn’t intended to suggest that the Chinese built the East Bay Walls. He further feels that I have hijacked the web traffic meant for his show through the nefarious plot of providing content related to the topics addressed on his show:
Scottish writer Scott Creighton claims to have discovered secrets about Egypt that will change our understanding of civilization. His new book, released yesterday, is entitled The Secret Chamber of Osiris: Lost Knowledge of the Sixteen Pyramids (Bear & Company, 2015), and it comes (redundantly) with an endorsement and foreword from Rand Flem-Aths, the Canadian author who believes that Atlantis was located in Antarctica. Before we begin discussing Creighton’s book, I’d like to take a moment to offer a comparison. Here on the left is Creighton discussing the pyramids, and on the right is Sir John Mandeville, the medieval fraud, writing around 1357:
Merry Christmas, everyone! For hundreds of years it has been the tradition to tell ghost stories at Christmastime, a tradition exemplified in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and memorialized when Andy Williams sang in “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” that “There’ll be scary ghost stories / And tales of the glories / Of Christmases long, long ago.” In keeping with that tradition, I present three (very) short horror films from the vast library that is the internet for this year’s Christmas scare.
As I reported yesterday, after reruns of Pawn Stars pulled in less than a million viewers following Tuesday night History Channel powerhouse Curse of Oak Island, the network decided to staunch the ratings bleeding by plugging in the episode of Ancient Aliens originally scheduled to air last week on H2, S07E13 “The Great Flood.” The nice thing about this is that History’s ratings are reported by Nielsen while H2’s are not. This means that when ratings are released around 3 PM ET today, we’ll have our first glimpse at how many people are watching original episodes of Ancient Aliens in a very long time. I’ll update this post when the ratings are in. [Update: Nielsen is delaying the release of the ratings due to the Christmas holiday.]
Back on Friday, I wondered what happened to the scheduled episode of Ancient Aliens, “The Great Flood,” that was supposed to air but was replaced at the last minute with another episode, “Alien Messages.” It turns out that H2’s parent network, History, is using that episode as a stopgap to help boost their lucrative Tuesday lineup—and promote their upcoming Bible-themed Revelation TV movie. Regular readers will remember that Curse of Oak Island has been doing gangbusters business on History’s Tuesday night at 9 PM ET, while its 10 PM follow-up, Search for the Lost Giants, routinely lost between a third and half of the show’s viewers. This past week, now that Giants is over, History tried plugging the hole with reruns of Pawn Stars, but this did even worse. Oak Island scored 2.47 million viewers at 9 PM, but Pawn Stars fell to 0.98 million viewers at 10 and 0.94 million at 10:30—a decline of around 50% from Giants’ last outing. It doesn’t take a genius to see why History is scrambling to staunch the bleeding on Tuesday with a known quantity.
Today I’d like to call your attention to a fascinating article newly translated into English over at Le site d’Irna on one of fringe history’s most persistent OOPARTs, or “out of place artifacts.” Known as the Dorchester Pot, the small bell-shaped jar was supposedly found buried in an ancient deposit near Dorchester, Massachusetts. This particular piece has been used as evidence for ancient astronauts, Biblical creationism, Hindu creationism, Fortean high strangeness, and numerous other flavors of fringe history. Most readers here will probably know it best from its appearance in Charles Fort’s Book of the Damned in 1919, from which most modern accounts are drawn:
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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