More than three years after Yale University announced that it would put the infamous Vinland Map through a through a series of high-tech tests to determine once and for all whether the allegedly medieval depiction of Greenland and the Canadian coast was in fact a fake, the results are in. It is, in fact, a fake, as has long been suspected. New analysis of the ink used to draw the map found that, as earlier researchers has concluded, the ink is modern. It dates no earlier than the 1920s. While the identity of the forger is not known, and the exact time of forgery hasn't been determined, the new evidence should (but probably cannot) put to rest claims that the map is the oldest cartographic depiction of part of North America in European history.
Last week, viewers fled Hunting Atlantis, with the show's ratings falling even as its lead in, Expedition Unknown, gained viewers. Last Wednesday's episode drew just 605,000 live plus same-day viewers, down 45,000 from the week before. The demo collapse was worse. Only 90,000 adults 18-49 watched. By contrast, Expedition Unknown rose significantly, to nearly a million viewers. It's clear: Viewers aren't into Atlantis.
Another discontented viewer of cable pseudo-documentaries was none other than Erich von Däniken, the Chariots of the Gods author who is feeling a little ignored these days, as his protégé Giorgio Tsoukalos reported:
This week, Discovery launched a new series called Curse of Akakor, in which a team traveled to South America in search of a supposed underground lost city and the explorers who died in the 1980s in quest of it. I was surprised to learn that this “new” show was in fact originally produced in 2019 for Facebook Watch and is now being recycled for Discovery. I have not seen the original 2019 broadcast to know what, if any, changes were made, but the titles, cast list, and episode storylines are the same. The “lost city” of Akakor is quite patently a fake, and it’s rather annoying that the show plans an entire series to get to a point that can be made in a couple of paragraphs.
This week, Graham Hancock appeared alongside his self-described protege, author Brian Muraresku, on The Joe Rogan Experience to discuss spirituality, archaeology, and psychedelic topics. Truthfully, I don’t really have a lot to complain about in the general thesis that ancient people were aware of and used mind-altering substances, or that such substances may have impacted their experiences of the divine. However, I feel like Muraresku overstates the case, particularly when he argues that scholarship has forbidden any discussion of the subject since a damnatio memoriae pronounced on the 1978 book The Road to Eleusis and its argument about psychedelics in Greece. For decades, dozens of books have covered the subject, so it is not a forbidden topic, or at least hasn’t been in thirty years.
Janet Wolter and Alan Butler Make False Claims about Templars, Pyramids, Gothic Architecture, and More in Podcast Interview
If you can believe it, this is my 3,000th blog post. What better way to mark this milestone than with an episode of a cable TV pseudohistory show featuring ancient astronauts, lost civilizations, Nephilim, the occult, and glowing descriptions of Nazis? It’s everything we have criticized and debunked over the past ten years in capsule form.
During the nineteenth century, a craze emerged for claiming the medieval Norse as the first Europeans to visit the Americas, long before Columbus. The core of the claim turned out to be true. Vikings reached eastern Canada around 1000 CE, though the Victorians had no real physical evidence of this, only a few medieval texts and some hoaxed stones. But advocates soon expanded the claim beyond the evidence and beyond logic, turning the Vikings into an early version of European imperialists, imagining them colonizing both North and South America and bequeathing European culture to the natives. The French writer Eugène Beauvois was perhaps the most extreme advocate, imagining the entire civilization of ancient Mexico the work of the Norse. In South America, the twentieth century Nazi sympathizer and Peronist collaborator Jacques de Mahieu pushed a narrative that Vikings were the first Aryan colonizers of South America, and their early efforts paved the way for the Knights Templar.
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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