Today I have two short pieces to discuss. The first is an update on a story I’ve been following for what seems to be years now, and the second… is also very depressing.
Nephilim DNA Madness!
Remember when Ancient Aliens pundit and professional tour guide Brien Foerster took to the internet to ask for funding to conduct scientific tests on pieces of Puma Punku that he strongly implied he smuggled into the United States without the proper export permits? That was only the beginning! Foerster has been working with Melba Ketchum, a creationist veterinarian who claimed to have isolated Bigfoot DNA. Ketchum also believes that Bigfoot is a descendant of the Nephilim from Genesis 6:4. She believes that the Nephilim are closely related to—and I am not making this up—“cone heads of Peru, Sasquatch, and the red headed giants of North America that are famous in Native American legends.” Those last must be the all-male tribe of giants that had their public homosexual sodomy orgies in Peru, as Native American legends tell:
After a few years of these giants being yet in these parts, either they began missing their own women and the natural agreement of their bodies for their height, or perhaps it was due to the counsel and inducement of the accursed Devil, but they began to indulge in vice, including using one another for the heinous sin of sodomy, both grave and horrendous, which they performed and committed publicly and openly, without fear of God and little ashamed of themselves. (Pedro Cieza de León, First Part of the Chronicle of Peru, Chapter 52, my trans.)
Since God blasted them all to atoms for having too much gay sex according to this same legend, it is truly amazing that Ketchum was able to get hold of their DNA from the couple of charred bones and skulls that legend says remained!
As I reported before, the claim that Native Americans told of a race of red-haired giants stems from a single point of origin, a semi-fictitious oral legend of the Paiutes, which was manufactured out of an old book:
The original claim comes from an 1882 book by the Native American author Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins called Life among the Piutes (sic) where she describes having a dress with sewn-on locks of old red hair. There was a myth that explained this red hair, almost certainly derived from ignorance of the fact that old hair turns red or light brown with age, tied to a story of prehistoric genocide in response to cannibal attacks: “My people say that the tribe we exterminated had reddish hair. I have some of their hair, which has been handed down from father to son. I have a dress which has been in our family a great many years, trimmed with the reddish hair.”
As Adrienne Mayor showed, to this became attached supposed proof in the form of the reddish hair of the bodies found in Lovelock Cave, whose hair had faded from black to red with age, something the Paiutes took for evidence their ancestors had red hair.
As Sharon Hill of Doubtful News reported on Saturday, Ketchum is looking for $9,000 to test the DNA of “museum specimens” of elongated skulls, Sasquatch, and red-haired giants. Leaving aside the fact that the latter two haven’t been shown to exist, it remains illegal to export human remains from Peru without government permission, so where did Ketchum get the “DNA samples,” which typically require removing a tooth or bone fragments? Where is the paperwork to demonstrate that the bone fragments undergoing destructive testing entered the United State legally?
Take a look at the picture she uses to illustrate the “giants.” The lower part of the image is a mandible, which she is comparing to a dental impression of teeth and gums. They are not the same thing. One includes much more material than the other.
Watch what happens when I drag the dental impression down onto the jaw bone. While the jaw bone’s teeth are fractionally larger (not orders of magnitude larger), both are well within the normal range for humans, roughly as different as my teeth from those of my brother, who is several inches taller than I am.
David Childress tried this fraud on Ancient Aliens, and I called him on it in 2010. I’m doing it again now: Dental impressions of the teeth and gums are not the same as the entire human mandible.
Afrocentrist Ray Hagins and His Mysterious PhD
If you aren’t interested in the world of Biblical flimflam, you may not be familiar with Ray Hagins, an Afrocentric pastor with unusual claims about Christianity and ancient history. Hagins claims, for example, that Christianity is a hoax that emerged from Egyptian religion, particularly the worship of Serapis, a claim he basis on the so-called Serapis Letter from Hadrian to Servianus in 134 CE from the Historia Augusta (Vopiscus, Life of Saturninus 8), a fourth century forgery. The quotation Hagins uses (here at 20:48), and the background for it, come verbatim from a work by Richard Proctor—whom you will remember as the astronomer who invented the myth that the Great Pyramid’s Grand Gallery was a telescope and that Proclus had recorded such facts (he did not). Here’s Proctor’s version:
“Egypt,” he [Hadrian] says in a letter to Servianus, A.D. 134, “which you commended to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconstant, and continually waited about by every breath of fame. The worshippers of Serapis (here) are called Christians, and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find) call themselves Bishops of Christ.” It adds to the interest and oddness of this passage that it was written about four years after the probable date of the Gospel according to Mark, twenty years or so after the probable date of the Gospel according to Luke, and probably about thirty years after the time when the Gospel according to Matthew was written.
The standard translation is that of the 1932 Loeb edition, and while there is no substantive difference between them, it is telling that Hagins cites a fringe writer’s translation. The Loeb edition, better translated from the Latin, and without Proctor’s interpolations, makes the true context clear: “There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. […] Even the Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis…” In context, it’s quite plain that pseudo-Hadrian isn’t saying that the Christians emerged from Serapis worship but rather had fallen into it due to corruption.
Hagins also believes that because God made magnets with opposing poles to attract homosexuality is therefore evil, as the Egyptians (!) allegedly proclaimed. He bases this on the 42 Negative Confessions, which in the version of the Papyrus of Ani lists this alongside adultery in confession 11: “I have not lain with men,” right before confessing that the deceased caused no one to cry.
Anyway, Ben Stanhope tried to find out where Hagins earned his claimed PhD in cognitive psychology. As his interesting blog post shows, there isn’t any evidence that this PhD actually exists. Stanhope ties this to a recent Inside Higher Ed article posted at Slate that I wanted to share anyway, which found that at least half of all people claiming new PhDs in the United States each year have worthless or outright bogus degrees from unaccredited schools or diploma mills, or simply fabricate the degree from whole cloth. (Cough… Sean David Morton… Cough.)
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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