Friday Roundup: Alien Hybrid Follow-Up, Fictitious Treasure Hunts, and the Sad Fate of a Neolithic Tomb
Since I’ll be reviewing Ancient Aliens later tonight, I have a couple of brief topics to discuss today in the few hours between then and now. First, in a follow up to a July story about a dead man whose fiancée and her assistant believed him to be an alien-human hybrid working for the CIA, legal documents obtained by the media reveal that the man was (surprise!) not an alien-human hybrid, and was not working for the CIA. I have a hard time understanding how someone could meet a man, become convinced that he was a space alien, and nevertheless decide to marry him. It is astonishing what people are willing to believe, and I hope that the History Channel is paying careful attention to this tragic and disturbing story—and not to turn it into a documentary!
In the September issue of Boston magazine there is a fascinating article about controversial Maine treasure hunter Greg Brooks and the more than $10 million he raised from investors to recover a fictional treasure from a World War II-era transport ship named the Port Nicholson that sank in the Atlantic in 1942. Brooks promised his investors—middle class, small town people giving him their life savings—that the sunken vessel was filled with $3 billion in platinum and gold, and that they would quickly become rich. Many years later, the money is gone and lawsuits are sprouting like barnacles. According to the article, the historical documents used to convince investors that the ship carried precious metals were fake. The documents had claimed that the ship carried 1.7 million ounces of platinum, more than all the mined platinum in the world at that time.
Brooks blames his researcher, Ed Michaud, for fabricating the documents but refuses to give up hope that the ship contains enormous wealth, even though the genuine records show it was transporting nothing more than old auto parts, scrap metal, and tires. A judge has forbidden Brooks and Michaud from trying to salvage the ship ever again.
Brooks and Michaud had previously sought $3 billion in gold from a Spanish galleon Brooks claimed to have found and which Michaud pretended to discover cargo records for. Nothing had come of that attempt either.
A lawyer hired by the British government to lay claim to any salvage from the ship expressed his views on Michaud and his frequently changing stories about his research and “discoveries.” “It seemed to me, by the end of that day, that Michaud fit the profile of a pathological liar,” Timothy Shusta told Boston magazine. “He could instantly, without any noticeable difference, make up an answer that was an absolute lie that made no sense.”
You can read the entire saga in Boston magazine, but it is hard not to see a parallel to the frequently changing claims and outright fabrication of sources used by many fringe historians. At some point, lying simply becomes second nature, an in extremis one almost begins to believe the lies.
And, on a final depressing note, village workers in the Spanish region of Galicia mistook a protected Neolithic tomb for a broken picnic table and replaced the ancient cairn with a concrete bench.
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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