Celebrate the Fourth of July with Fringe History's Craziest Claims about the United States of America
Editor's note: I'm taking today off for the Independence Day holiday. A version of the following post originally ran on July 4, 2014.
It’s the Fourth of July, and if you’re in the United States, you know that this is the day that America celebrates its independence from the United Kingdom. You also probably have heard that “The U.S. is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth,” as Fox News host Sean Hannity famously put it in 2008. Not to be outdone by conservatives, fringe historians have also adopted American exceptionalism and routinely argue that what is today the United States has always been at the center of a global—nay, universal—agenda by Altanteans, aliens, and Freemasons to control the universe, sort of like the way the villains on Doctor Who have the whole universe to work with but usually seem to end up trying to conquer the U.K.
Cynics might argue that fringe historians place so much emphasis on America—seemingly above even the ancient Near East and Puma Punku in Bolivia—because the U.S. is the single wealthiest consumer market for fringe history opinions (at least in the English language) in the world, producing and consuming more fringe history content than any other country, at least in gross tonnage. We even import it from other countries—including Giorgio Tsoukalos, Alan Butler, Graham Hancock, and their European brethren. North Korea may have crazier ideas about history, but they don’t have the population or the wealth to popularize their unicorn-riddled historiography.
So in honor of Independence Day, let’s dip into the archives to enjoy some of fringe history’s craziest claims about the “greatest, best country” the aliens, Atlanteans, or Freemasons ever gave humanity.
Was America named for the secret goddess-star of the Knights Templar?
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas imagine the existence of a star named “Merica” and deduce that the Templars followed it across the Atlantic—all without any primary sources! Later authors suggest “Merica” was an Atlantean name.
Were the Founding Fathers inspired by aliens?
A 2011 Ancient Aliens episode on “Aliens and the Founding Fathers” tried to make the case that America was founded on orders from extraterrestrials. Too bad they relied on a Civil War-era newspaper hoax to do it.
Were the Founding Fathers enacting a Freemason agenda?
America Unearthed tried to discover whether America’s capital city contains secret psycho-sexual symbolism imposed on it by goddess-worshiping Freemasons. Come for the vagina discussion, stay for the symbolic penile penetration on the National Mall.
Did Benjamin Franklin Believe a Comet Destroyed the Lost White Mound Builders?
An early hoax by a French plagiarist spawns an unlikely anticipation of Immanuel Velikovsky and makes its way into biographies of Benjamin Franklin.
Is America fulfilling God’s judgment through the Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Fox News host Mike Huckabee gasps in shock as a “messianic rabbi” tells him that the Bible proves that America is God’s chosen land, that God speaks through the stock market, and that America will be punished for sexual sins.
If you are in the U.S., enjoy the holiday! If not, happy Saturday!
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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