The annual “Contact in the Desert” meeting of fringe history and UFO fans ended in Joshua Tree last night after three days of zany speeches about conspiracies and aliens. According to Victoria Irwin of Fangirl Nation, who attended the event, the most notable part of the conference was the fact that the vendors who hawked their wares to the mixture of more than 2,000 conspiracy theorists and neo-hippies in attendance were mostly selling New Age holistic healing paraphernalia such as crystals, hippie clothes, organic food, and “natural” cures, all set to the tune of 1970s pop music—probably a conscious nod to the average age and cultural affiliation of fringe believers. Guests could also partake of ’70s favorites like aura photography, and they could see Nick Redfern, dressed like the teenager he was in the 1970s in a black t-shirt and bandana, both emblazoned with skulls. There was, by all accounts, copious amounts of marijuana being smoked, and every observer noted that the vast majority of attendees, as USA Today put it, “were united by their skepticism of common science, doubt of by-the-book history and distrust of the U.S. government.” Just like in the 1970s!
And to cement the feeling of a return to the heady days of the ancient astronaut theory’s 1970s glory, Erich von Däniken was on hand to give a speech about ancient aliens in the mysterious and exotic East, combining two 1970s New Age trends, fringe history and Orientalism. Anyway, according to the Ghost Diaries website, von Däniken’s speech discussed what he claims to be “secret” discoveries that occurred under the Great Pyramid in Egypt. These discoveries allegedly confirm the account of Herodotus that, according to Ghost Diaries, discusses “the existence of a lake underneath the pyramid that contained the remains of the ‘gods’ of Ezerius.”
Presumably this refers to the passage in Histories 2.124 where Herodotus writes of “chambers on the hill upon which the pyramids stand, which he caused to be made as sepulchral chambers for himself in an island, having conducted thither a channel from the Nile.” Note that Herodotus attributes this simply to the Giza plateau, not the pyramid itself. It’s possible that this refers to the Osiris Shaft, interpreted as a cenotaph for Osiris, and located belowground at Giza. I have no idea what the word “Ezerius” is supposed to refer to but sounds enough like Osiris that perhaps the author of our account misunderstood von Däniken’s heavily accented words.
According to the account of von Däniken’s speech in Ghost Diaries, Egyptologists have used radar to discover hidden rooms in the Great Pyramid filled with “red writing” different from the quarry marks found above the King’s Chamber. How radar would reveal “writing”—and its color!—is beyond me. They also allegedly discovered an “actual lake” below the pyramid, which he alleged might be the burial site of an ancient astronaut.
Among other breakthroughs at Contact in the Desert was the revelation by Marshall Klarfeld that the Anunnaki are also the giant Nephilim of the Bible since they are nine feet tall. Daniel Sheehan also claimed that the Catholic Church would announce the existence of aliens shortly. But are they really aliens if they are also Nephilim?
Paul Andrews, the cofounder of Contact in the Desert, told USA Today that at the conference researchers are not allowed to contradict or disagree with one another, and no “snickering” is allowed, no matter how ridiculous the theory—or, presumably, how wrong the evidence. Thus, USA Today talked to ancient astronaut theorists, believers in Atlantis, proponents of a flat earth, and other advocates of ideas that, logically, are difficult to reconcile. The only thing everyone agreed upon was that the United States government was all-powerful and able to bend history to its will, except, of course, for the History Channel and Contact in the Desert, where brave patriots take arms against a sea of lies and somehow have discovered the truth despite the best efforts of the government and interdimensional alien-Nephilim-Bigfoots.
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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