For years now, I have ended each trip around the sun with a summary of the preceding twelve months in fringe history, space aliens, and the weird. Most years, these summaries run into the thousands of words because so much happened. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the American presidential election severely curtailed the number of extreme claims made about ancient history, as conspiracy theorists turned their attention toward disease and politics. Last year, I said I was ready for a long, difficult year to end, and now those look like the good old days. This year I published a new book and wrote two more, and I look forward to what I hope will be big things next year when publishers get a look at my newest manuscript. In the meantime, we can look back in sadness and anger.
On December 12, former America Unearthed host Scott F. Wolter appeared on Mars conspiracy theorist Richard Hoagland’s amateurish podcast The Other Side of Midnight. It was weird. Much of it was the same repetitive blather about Wolter’s greatest hits, particularly the Kensington Rune Stone, but listening to him try to discuss his ideas with a man who thinks the universe is filled with ancient alien ruins makes it an unusual exercise in mutual delusion.
I feel like I need to take note of the bizarre statement from former head of Israel’s defense ministry space directorate made recently alleging that the United States is touch with space aliens and that Donald Trump considered breaking the news before the election. Haim Eshed is 87 years old and currently promoting a new book about the cosmos. He served as the head of the space directorate from the early 2000s to 2010. Prior to that, he worked on Israel’s satellite program, beginning in 1980, and was one of the founders of Israel’s space agency in 1983.
As most of you probably know, Tim McMillan has an article in the new online news site The Debrief in which he outlines the continued Pentagon interest in the question of flying saucers, or "unidentified aerial phenomena" as they have been known among the military on and off for the past seven decades or so. The article, which is a bit shaggy and at times somewhat unclear, contains some new details about previously reported interactions between the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and lower-level staffers for the U.S. Senate:
After so much work and so much effort, it’s hard to believe that I am closing in on the end of my new book. As I come to the end, though, I have a few areas where I have to come to some decisions about how to present contradictory information. One particular question that keeps coming up revolves around the role that books played in James Dean’s life. I’ve mentioned this before, but the insistence in the literature that he didn’t actually read books sticks in my craw. I’m not sure why. It doesn’t really make a lot of difference, but the insistence against what seems to me to be plain fact bothers me. Since I can’t reconcile quite clearly opposed testimonials, I had to decide which to throw out.
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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