Contact in the Desert II: "Ancient Aliens" Stars Are "Experts" Because of the History Channel
Last year the ancient astronaut community held a get-together called “Contact in the Desert,” and apparently the event was enough of a success that a second edition is in the works. The organizers of the event sent out an email press release last night announcing the upcoming lineup for the gathering, which is set to take place from August 8 to August 11, 2014. I think you’ll notice that there is an interesting emphasis in the opening lines.
JOSHUA TREE, CA - This August star experts featured on the top-rated History Channel shows Ancient Aliens and Hangar 1 along with an array of respected scientists and researchers from around the world will convene in Joshua Tree for the 2nd annual CONTACT in the DESERT, a 4-day conference exploring mounting earthly evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial origin.
Yes, indeed, ancient astronaut believers place their advocates’ affiliation with the History Channel (technically H2) as the single most important fact, coming first in their promotional materials. “Oh,” you might say, “they just put it first because of the sentence structure.” Maybe. But then how do you explain the headline attached to the release?
History Channel star experts to decend (sic) on Joshua Tree for conference exploring earthly evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence
The History Channel’s H2 network is also a financial supporter of the Paradigm Symposium, a competing fringe history gathering featuring many of the same speakers. It was at that gathering last year that Scott Wolter publicly proclaimed his belief that Oreo cookies contain secret messages from the Knights Templar about the real history of Jesus. H2, as far as I know, has no financial involvement with Contact in the Desert.
But what is more disturbing is that Contact in the Desert bills itself as scientific when it is anything but. In fact, the conference purposely dissociates itself from “tinfoil hat” conspiracy theorists through its appeal to the History Channel and to science:
In stark contrast to UFO conventions famous for attracting fanatics in foil hats, CONTACT in the DESERT offers four full days of science-centered lectures, workshops, intensives and fieldwork that explore ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial life, human origins, crop circles, UFO sightings and contact experiences.
So what science-centered lectures are attendees going to experience?
According to the conference’s website, they will hear from Erich von Däniken, who will assert that the sarcophagi of the Apis bulls contained cross-species genetic hybrids, based on a mistranslation on his part that I exposed and debunked years ago. Giorgio Tsoukalos, misidentified as the “host” of Ancient Aliens, will present his famous PowerPoint presentation on ancient astronauts. Jim Marrs will assert that the U.S. government invaded Iraq in 2003 in order seize control of Anunnaki sites and artifacts, including “50,000 artifacts and tablets” missing from Iraqi museums. He will also assert that “certain individuals” (read: Jews) control world finance, that these financiers killed Lincoln and Kennedy to stop them from freeing America from this financial system, and that fluoridated water is a conspiracy to keep Americans docile. You know, science!
But it gets worse. Linda Moulton Howe will tell attendees that Göbekli Tepe, the world’s oldest temple, and most world pyramids are “self-activated machines” designed to terraform the Earth for “non-human intelligences.” Since such structures contain no moving parts, this must occur through vague appeals to “energy.” John Anthony West will tell audiences how academics have bombarded him with “abuse” for proposing an older date for the Sphinx (decades ago!), and he will announce an unnamed “smoking gun” that leaves the very idea of “Progress disintegrating before our eyes.” West continues to rail against Victorian anthropological theories of linear progress that were obsolete before the moon landing. There will also be an “intuitive astrologist [and] global alchemist” on hand to make predictions, thus proving that progress has always been a lie.
South African fringe writer Michael Tellinger, who works to validate the work of Zecharia Sitchin, accidentally exposed the underlying panic and paranoia behind fringe history. According to the website, he plans to talk to attendees about how to create a cultural revitalization movement based on appealing to alien secrets, one that is suspiciously similar to communism:
Only by understanding our mysterious past, the origins of money and the rise of the royal bloodlines, can we make sense of where we are heading today. Why life is so hard and why we have to struggle so much to stay alive. Tellinger presents a model for a new social structure called CONTRIBUTIONISM – A World Without Money – based on the African philosophy of UBUNTU and proposes how we should move from a money-driven society to a society driven by people, their talents and their passion for life. Where everyone contributes their natural talents or acquired skills to the greatest benefit of all in their community – and money has no meaning.
You know that Tellinger means what he says because he offers this lecture for only $39.95 per ticket, proving that money has no meaning for him and he’s all about sharing the wealth. Remember, folks, money has no meaning, so give it all to Tellinger!
Tellinger’s version of Ubuntu differs from that of other South Africans. While it is a communitarian belief system, Nelson Mandela noted that “Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves.” Note carefully how Tellinger’s ideas, wrapped in an appeal to African wisdom, are actually old-style Marxism-Leninism, with a dose of Victorian propaganda about the secret bloodlines that control finance. The last quoted line is a clear paraphrase of Louis Blanc’s famous phrase—popularized by Marx—“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Tellinger now runs a political party in South Africa dedicated to pushing his beliefs. He calls it the Ubuntu Party. There is so much to unpack here about a white man appropriating black African beliefs in service of a post-colonial ideology with Marxist overtones... Let me be clear: A Zecharia Sitchin super-fan started a political party to promote the idea that all humans are born as slaves to a shadowy international financial system because of gold-hungry aliens who secretly run the world.
The sub-theme at this year’s Contact in the Desert seems to be anger at bankers and an inability to come to terms with the idea that actual humans are responsible for the political choices that led to income inequality and the modern financial system. Therefore, they project into the sky a nefarious cabal of all-powerful conspirators, for this is the only way to make sense of the otherwise terrifying notion that the problems of the modern economy are the fault of voters, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and officials who made bad decisions and refuse to institute reforms. Better to wait for the aliens to come back and explain what went wrong.
It’s interesting how at this conference the ancient astronaut theory isn’t really “about” aliens; indeed, their existence is seemingly taken for granted. Instead, the speakers are interested in what the aliens have to say about modern political and social issues—income inequality, political corruption, the environment, spiritual development, etc. It’s funny how far this is from the ancient astronaut theory of the 1960s and 1970s, which was preoccupied with rocketry, atom bombs, secret scientific knowledge, sexuality, and questions of whether the aliens supported socialism—the political and social questions of that era. In fact, the only theme the two really have in common is paranoia about alleged government conspiracies, which probably reflects that fact that the people of the 1970s and today share a disillusionment with politics.
But you don’t need to take my word for it. Conference co-producer Victoria Jennings said as much in the press release. She’s quoted thus: “Our governments and the corporations that control them may not be willing to tell the full truth yet, but their former employees and officials are.” Again: Not just political paranoia, but also a deep distrust of businesses manifesting as accusations of alien involvement. A different age might have channeled such feelings into efforts aimed at reforming the system rather than all but literally praying to higher powers to take mercy on us.
Conference co-producer Paul Andrews offered a more traditional summation of ancient astronautics, but in the press release even his quote is tainted with a vaguely apocalyptic tone:
Our ancestors passed on oral traditions and stone carvings to make sure that their experiences with 'people from the sky' would be remembered forever. No one alive today can tell you how we could make, or even move, many ancient megalithic structures with modern technology. So, how did our ancestors do it? We must find answers to these and myriad other mysteries if we are to discover the missing chapters in early human history and be around to write the rest.
I’m not sure what part of any of this is “scientific,” but I’ll give them this: It certainly is ready for prime time on the History Channel.
6/11/2014 06:40:08 am
At least by saying "star experts" and "respected scientists and researchers", they're tacitly admitting their experts aren't respected.
6/11/2014 03:52:21 pm
For guys who've made their claim to fame through the Ancient Aliens series, they certainly don't have much "star" power.
6/11/2014 10:33:21 pm
Aye, the inspiration of the Lord is not upon them
And then there's Mike Bara, a laid-off CAD technician with no training in planetary astronomy, showing pictures from his forthcoming book <i>Ancient Aliens on Mars II</i>. It will certainly be 45 minutes of "Look at this rock. Doesn't it remind you of a skunk?"
6/11/2014 07:11:17 am
Hmm... I'm South African and have spent my entire life here, but never heard of Michael Tellinger until now. I wonder if anybody was stupid enough to vote for him.
6/11/2014 08:25:50 am
Well, if he's charging $40 a ticket, then he must be bigger than Journey, because I saw them for seventeen!
An Over-Educated Grunt
6/11/2014 07:36:23 am
Funny, every government employee I've ever known has been over-worked and under-resourced. Even the ones who like their jobs don't do it for the paycheck. This idea that "the government" has all the resources in the world is silly and ignores just how thin those resources are spread in real life.
6/11/2014 11:58:29 am
6/11/2014 08:42:13 am
"what the aliens have to say about modern political and social issues"
6/11/2014 08:58:51 am
I wish I could go just to find out what an "intuitive astrologist" and a "global alchemist" are. Are there scientific astrologists and local alchemists? Is it like a east coast/west coast rivalry thing, where they get into fights over whether lead turns into gold in Topeka area code 785 or not?
6/11/2014 09:09:29 am
"lead turns into gold"
6/11/2014 01:00:12 pm
Well, they do need to keep this gravy train rolling, not telling when this fad will peak and start to fade back into the woodwork again. Also, they might be short for the "new" season of AA on H2 and phishing for new ideas from the collective peanut galleries who attend this show.
6/11/2014 08:26:38 pm
I presume he's had to pay to rent the room, which might explain why he needs to charge for tickets. Also, even though he doesn't believe in money, the rest of the world does, and he lives in that world and needs money to survive in it.
6/11/2014 02:23:38 pm
Real Americans believe in individual liberty, self-responsibility, small government, free enterprise, and a strong defense. The closest we came to such a society was from 1865 to 1900, the so-called "gilded age." Since 1900, the "progressives" have been attempting to collectivize the country; it's crazy to blame businesses or banks for our current situation. Given that the government now has so much power, it's no wonder that businesses and banks have to have their "man in Washington." But we wouldn't have this crony capitalism to begin with if we didn't have big government. Ultimately the only solution to our current predicament is to go back to our Constitution. Blaming the mess on "conspiracies" will get us nowhere.
An Over-Educated Grunt
6/11/2014 02:37:44 pm
6/13/2014 04:32:43 am
Of note, the 3/5ths clause provided for more white, southern men, supporters of the slave industry and economy, to be sent to Washington D.C. as representatives in the U.S. House --- ostensibly, working and legislating against the basic human needs and rights (or more accurately, lack-of rights) of the African-Americans they were supposed to represent. So, in effect, the 3/5ths clause is not a partial affirmation of the slave's humanity, but rather a mechanism designed to ensure the continuance of slavery.
6/15/2014 02:30:09 am
We must not be "real Americans," whatever that means. I'm really not sure if that guy's being serious; if not, it's good satire. It's baffling to me that there are people out there that hold up the Gilded Age as one of the best periods in American history. Then again, it's just as perplexing that people subscribe to ancient aliens, astrology, and all that lot as well.
6/11/2014 08:30:59 pm
I believe in actually helping other Americans out, Ronald. What sort of horrible America do you want to live in?
6/11/2014 10:31:47 pm
No definition on what is meant by helping Americans out
6/12/2014 12:40:08 am
I hoped you'd have grasped, from my opposition to the post from Ronald Satz, what I was on about. And from another comment on this article where I discussed my political beliefs. But evidently not. Sorry!
6/12/2014 01:17:07 am
Ah yes, that narrows it down. Thanks.
6/15/2014 01:27:26 am
No, Mark L., you believe in stealing from some Americans to give to other Americans by governmental force. The government is supposed to protect our rights to life, liberty, and property, not to trample on our rights. You and the others here are in utter violation of the basic principles of our country. If you want to "help" other Americans, you can work with any of the zillion of volunteer organizations. Socialism has been tried many times and has always failed, ending in the bankruptcy of numerous countries.
An Over-Educated Grunt
6/15/2014 07:29:25 am
And you're a chickenhawk. You want "a strong defense," but you don't want the government interfering in private life in any way, because soldiers clearly pay for themselves, right? No. A strong defense costs money. Government money means taxes. You don't want to pay taxes, you don't want a strong defense. You want to have something for nothing. You, sir, are a chickenhawk.
6/12/2014 03:54:23 pm
You mean the time period when the wealthy elite ruled over the vast majority of the nation with fists far more iron than is even possible today? The days of the rail barons and the mine-owners? The days of Rockefeller and Carnegie, Edison, Pinkertons? Of tenements and oppression of the working class? THAT gilded age?
6/11/2014 03:03:19 pm
I noticed that our favorite troll Steve St Clair didn't make the cut for this year's conference. Better luck next time, Steverino!
6/11/2014 10:30:28 pm
The Snarkomatic, believer in simple-minded conventionality, where would we be without coffee table books
6/11/2014 03:27:55 pm
I'm not at all surprised that H2 is supporting Paradigm Symposium. Nor am I surprised by the claims these various self proclaimed experts make for themselves, or that are made on their behalf. Look at John Ward, for example. Scotty Roberts' best friend, business partner, and co-author is presented as "Dr." John Ward, as well as an archaeologist and Egyptologist. The truth of the matter is, he is none of the above. False claims, fallacious "facts", and lots of hubris are what fuels such people, not any real desire for truth. I sincerely believe that some of these people have lied so much they now believe their own publicity. I believe just as firmly that most of them would sell their grandmother for a buck. My experience of them is that they are an ethically challenged and disreputable lot. I'm glad Jason is here to continually expose them.
6/11/2014 10:25:03 pm
"I'm not at all surprised that H2 is supporting Paradigm Symposium"
6/12/2014 12:48:40 am
It's a pretty slick website. However, I didn't see David Childress anywhere on the program. Surprising.
6/12/2014 01:52:26 pm
Anyone else notice that "Contact in the Desert II" is what you'd call a boxing/MMA pay-per-view?
6/12/2014 03:55:51 pm
I think it sounds like a more x-rated type of pay-per-view, personally. A porno version of that desert Kia commercial, perhaps?
6/12/2014 03:56:15 pm
Sorry, Fiat. My bad!
6/12/2014 09:07:08 pm
"This Ain't Ancient Aliens - The XXX Parody"
6/15/2014 04:07:17 pm
my local "on air" tv station is really pitching EXTANT.
6/15/2014 05:48:20 am
Uh, I thought the default stance of the fringe theorist was that we invaded Iraq for her oil.
6/15/2014 04:09:18 pm
someone may YouTube it either
6/15/2014 06:03:41 am
It's been my observation that throughout civilized history almost every (if not all) attempt to upheave a sitting political system by a system intended to improve things, usually results in the latter eventually becoming very much like the former.
Richard "Dick" Neimeyer
6/15/2014 10:49:09 am
"...belief that Oreo cookies contain secret messages from the Knights Templar..."
6/15/2014 11:50:57 am
Click the link in the sentence. It's not only true, it's one of the central arguments of Wolter's book, "Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers" (2013).
6/19/2014 12:23:40 am
6/15/2014 01:35:00 pm
Reminds me when Steven Greer used to charge fools $600 to "vector in
10/31/2014 01:49:03 am
Man, don't you ever get tired of doing this?? I mean, everytime these "star experts" hold a conference or release anything, you automatically have to say something about it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you are not allowed to express yourself, but c'mon man! It's been ages since you and Giorgio held grudges with each other. If you're not happy about it at least show them some respect. Look at them, with all those debunking, challenging, and whatnot, that you and Chris White have done, they remain the same, many people still believe them. They still have shows, conferences, they still go out and look for new evidences. Unlike you..just waiting for them to show up again to say something bad about it just like this article. And let me repeat, you are entitled to have your own opinion, but if it's just an opinion full of jealousy and hatred, better not publish it. You're better than that.
11/22/2014 10:03:35 am
duckie... truly thah
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