Fringe Believers Allege Russians Moved an Ancient Angelic Plasma Emitting Box from Mecca to Antarctica
“I love the poorly educated!” Donald Trump proclaimed at a recent rally, and it was perhaps a rare moment of unintentional honesty. As much as I dislike discussing politics, it’s hard not to see in the rise of Trump the culmination of trends that surfaced in fringe history before infecting the mainstream of politics. While for many Trump appears as a clownish combination of Dr. Evil, Lex Luthor, and Mussolini, it’s increasingly difficult to deny that Trump hold an enormous appeal to the discontented, the fearful, the xenophobic, and racists. A recent New York Times survey found that almost 20% of Trump supporters opposed the Emancipation Proclamation, and another third were unsure whether they supported freeing the slaves. White supremacist David Duke even urged his racist supporters to volunteer for and vote for Trump. “Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” Duke told his radio program’s predominantly white listeners yesterday.
It looks like the fluorescence of fringe history claims on TV, many of which track quite closely with racist, xenophobic, and white revanchist ideas, was the canary in the coal mine, presaging the growing voter base who are reacting to social changes with horror and fear and want to cleanse America of foreigners, Muslims, etc. The TV audience seemed almost like a proof of concept for a new and more hateful brand of politics, targeted at the fearful, the hateful, and the poorly educated. In other words, what surveys say are the key Trump voters.
Meanwhile, I’m sure most of you have heard about the bizarre new fringe claim that has a vaguely anti-Muslim and xenophobic cast to it. The claim involves the so-called Ark of Gabriel, a doomsday device that believers allege that the archangel Gabriel gave to Muhammad. According to the story, which has no trace in the literary record before the end of last year, Muhammad hid the weapon beneath the Grand Mosque in Mecca, where it was to be kept safe until Judgment Day. When the Saudis rediscovered the box last year, they informed the Russian Orthodox Church and Vladimir Putin, who took control of the box and removed it to Antarctica. According to conspiracy theorists, the crane collapse that killed 107 people at the Grand Mosque last year and the 4,000 people who died in a stampede at the same site a few weeks later were “really” caused by the Ark’s “plasma emissions.”
This prompted more recent speculation that the Russians have taken the Ark to the Nazis’ Antarctic UFO bases.
It should be obvious that the supposed Ark of Gabriel is modeled on fringe history claims about the electrical death rays writers like Erich von Däniken and Graham Hancock asserted came out of the Ark of the Covenant, or, more likely, the supposed nuclear power, UFO energy, and sonic vibrations attributed to it on Ancient Aliens.
While the facts of the claim are ridiculous on the surface, the underlying theme is quite clear: Americans need to fear Muslims and Russians unleashing unprecedented power against us, and even God himself has turned against America for being insufficiently strong and great.
Despite claims that there is an “ancient” manuscript that the Vatican (those evil Catholics!) gave to the Orthodox Church to serve as an operating manual, there is not a shred of testimony that the Ark of Gabriel is anything more than a conspiracy theorist’s fever dream. Strangely, though, if any of the intrepid “investigators” who claim to know so much about the plasma weapon had put a little more effort into research, they might have created a better documented hoax.
There is actually a tradition of angelic secrets associated with the Grand Mosque, and it goes back to medieval times. In the Akhbar al-zaman, composed sometime around 1000 CE and reporting traditional material at least several centuries earlier, Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) didn’t just speak to Muhammad but came down to Earth after the Fall of Adam and revealed to Adam 21 pages of divine wisdom. Adam’s body was allegedly buried near Mecca in the Cave of Treasures, taken from Jewish lore, and which was filled with gold and other valuables. The book goes on to say that Adam’s son Seth received 27 more pages of divine wisdom, and that he was ordered to build the first Kaaba, which Abraham restored after the Flood.
These pages were supplemented with further revelations, but according to the text, the book they comprised, the Book of Secrets, was never again read after the translation of Enoch and the death of the seventy Watchers (nuqabā’), here euhemerized into leaders of the Sethites, a faint echo of the older legend from the Book of Enoch on which this version is ultimately based. The pages of wisdom drop out of the story during the Flood, but we know from Jewish and Christian sources that the common belief in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages is that one of Noah’s sons either carried the wisdom on the Ark or else buried it to uncover later; however, in these versions the book of wisdom is more frequently associated with the fallen angel Watchers and with evil than with Seth and goodness.
Granted, that’s not a plasma gun, but we can bring things a bit closer. According to Islamic lore, Gabriel also provided weapons to the prophets of Islam. To Adam some said he gave the first bow and arrow, and to Muhammad (or sometimes Ali) he is sometimes said to have given the wonder-blade Zulfqar. (Fun fact: A picture of that sword appeared on the standard of the Turkish admiral seized by the victorious Don John of Austria at the Battle of Lepanto, where ufologists allege a UFO sighting occurred.) This sword was said to possess near magical powers to smite any whom its blade touched, but would not kill an innocent man.
It looks like our current story about a plasma-emitting box under the Grand Mosque is a modern bit of fake lore constructed out of a few scraps of Islamic tradition (namely the close relationship to Gabriel), a good chunk of Ancient Aliens (the nuclear Ark claims), and a big dose of xenophobic panic.
2/25/2016 01:14:58 pm
"“Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” Duke told his radio program’s predominantly white listeners yesterday."
2/25/2016 01:15:33 pm
Voting *against* Trump, sorry.
2/25/2016 01:37:55 pm
The origin of the Ark of Gabriel story is the website WhatDoesItMean.com, which attributes all its stories to Russian Ministry of Defense reports circulating in the Kremlin. Now that it's hit the big time I'm sure they start producing more "reports" along the same lines.
2/25/2016 01:52:27 pm
Oh, and I'm not sure the intent of the original WhatDoesItMean story was to make Russia scary. The site is generally pro-Russia, to the point of implying that all the bad things that happen are because the American government isn't listening to Russia enough. Sometimes they write about Russia being able to conquer America, but if you read beyond the headline they make clear that's a good thing because of the "deviancy" of America.
2/25/2016 01:58:24 pm
That's an interesting difference in how stories get interpreted, isn't it? What we here might read as frightening Russia taking advantage of American weakness can also read, from the opposite view, as a strong Russia retaking its place as a divine agent and world power. I hadn't read the Russian-oriented versions.
2/25/2016 02:58:59 pm
Another interpretation might be that a certain segment in Russia views the Kremlin and Russian military as weak an ineffectual, so a fantasy weapon of great power is invented, and they, of course, control this amazing weapon.
2/27/2016 12:04:08 am
There is more background on the source here:
7/1/2017 01:07:52 pm
America the government doesn't ever tell the truth about anything until all the criminals involved are dead and almost everything you hear about Russia, Iran, is because they stand up to America, unless that's all a huge conspiracy.
2/26/2016 03:52:38 am
WhatDoesItMean.com is David Booth's (a.k.a. Sorcha Faal) site, source of many hoaxes.
2/25/2016 02:10:35 pm
Yeah Jason, you probably should avoid being political as it only points to your own biases. I say this not as a partisan, but as a life long independent. Trump actually has broad appeal with many sections of society on opposing ends; including those educated. I was reading today of one relevant factor being how you raise your children, with authoritarians leaning more towards Trump. So I suppose you might argue that indulging your children and encouraging their rude behavior might make you more inclined to reject Trump. Or I could point out that you could find other undesirable demographics that tend to support democratic candidates... but it's all just politics. People take sides and reject reason in the name of partisanship. Would hate to see that happen here.
2/25/2016 02:54:40 pm
Right, because Trump is never rude and always behaves in a professional manner.
2/25/2016 03:11:58 pm
One man's rude is another man's bold. You see how politics work?
2/25/2016 03:20:53 pm
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. I see how politics works.
2/25/2016 03:37:43 pm
I don't disagree. Perhaps it's the relativist in me.
2/25/2016 04:18:45 pm
I agree, but it's probably the realist in me.
2/25/2016 05:14:32 pm
"As much as I dislike discussing politics..."
2/25/2016 07:07:02 pm
>>>xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic<<<
2/25/2016 07:57:35 pm
Bobo doesn't think Trump is xenophobic, racist, or misogynistic.
2/26/2016 12:47:34 am
It was Barack Obama's military ineptitude that gave rise to the popularity of Donald Trump.
2/26/2016 12:51:27 am
Putin isn't going to give a damn about Syrian hospitals belonging to rebels if babies and children were killed on that Russian plane.
2/26/2016 01:00:04 am
Trump will become the next US President because Barak Obama was a military sissy,
2/26/2016 10:23:16 am
2/25/2016 03:54:39 pm
I've disliked Trump since before he was a conservative. Even when he was a Democrat he was an authoritarian vulgarian, and my view on his "super-classy," "ultra-luxurious" brand of self-aggrandizement hasn't changed.
2/25/2016 04:03:10 pm
I've seen pictures of his estates and two words come to mind...tacky and tasteless.
2/25/2016 08:12:45 pm
What, ugly neogilded bankrupt hotels aren't classy?
2/25/2016 10:25:37 pm
Simply put, I'd reiterate that you could pick any politician and find something wrong with a portion of a population that might support them. Now if Trump personally is pushing fringe theory, then by all means go after him. Otherwise, it's just a political attack, pure and simple, no matter how you put it given the context of his current ambition. Whether or not you've always disliked him is irrelevant. Now if you truly wish to mix politics with debunking, that is your prerogative. It is an election year, and probably difficult to hold back. But in doing so you will turn off a great portion of people who might have been very open to the site otherwise.
2/25/2016 10:58:48 pm
The only current presidential candidate I can think of who has been a happy guest on the Alex Jones Infowars show is Trump. Ron Paul might have done the show, wouldn't surprise me. Rand Paul, I don't know.
2/25/2016 11:58:53 pm
Preaching diversity is easy, but ultimately empty unless living a truly diverse life. But there you go, getting me all political...
2/26/2016 08:51:08 am
But Joe Scales, that is exactly what we are talking about. It is not just Trump supporters. He has himself retweeted a post by racists organization WhiteGenocide in January. Also back in November he retweeted another inaccurate statistic about crime rates compared to race. With just these two pieces you could assume that he is irresponsible with his twitter account or he is trying to stir these racist sentiments.
2/26/2016 04:18:53 am
Every time I see that Trump geezer on the telly.......it reminds me of The Dead Zone.
2/26/2016 06:42:38 am
So we can discuss politics, but only in ways that are approved of by you first? Why not debate the issues rather than policing the terms of debate?
2/26/2016 10:50:40 am
2/27/2016 05:26:27 am
Again, "do it my way or it's a cesspool". Please. Political ideologies are part of intellectual debate - and I would bet every penny I have on me that you wouldn't be saying the same thing if Jason was espousing an opinion that you agreed with. Perhaps those other boards are a better fit for you, and you should stay on them?
2/27/2016 10:58:25 am
You should be more careful with your pennies Mark. Given the current candidates, I wouldn't be surprised if Jason and I favored the same individual over the rest. I of course would be so foolish to bet my fortune on it. I'll let you know where to mail yours...
9/20/2017 06:22:39 pm
Obviously Jason is a moron. That is CNN quality retarded column. Trump most certainly doesn't pander to racists,xenophobes or any other ignorant comment Jason made. From the looks of things, Jason is uneducated, a leftist and wouldn't know a fact orbthe truth if it bit him in the ass
2/25/2016 02:27:30 pm
“I love the poorly educated!”, he said reservedly, to get their votes...
2/25/2016 02:57:28 pm
I'm a little confused. If Gabriel gave Mohammad a super weapon, presumably on God's orders, wouldn't that mean Islam is the correct religion?
2/25/2016 03:09:03 pm
Shariah Law, man,
2/25/2016 03:25:17 pm
I will say this, Jason: the poll you're referencing is written in an obviously biased fashion. Because of the phrasing of the question, a sizeable chunk of that 20% may not oppose the end of slavery, but instead are expressing that they oppose the use of an executive order to do so. Which, in all truth, it actually didn't, seeing as how not one slave in the Union was freed, only slaves in the Confederacy. The 13th Amendment is what actually ended slavery.
2/25/2016 09:00:10 pm
For a more reasoned analysis than V's Snopes has been crunching the numbers, however they are still waiting for the raw data.
2/25/2016 05:45:32 pm
I'm not sure, but isn't pretty much any bizarre or fringe religious theory just as believable as any 'mainstream' religion dogma?.
2/26/2016 06:35:00 am
Well, I got in too late to add any original Trump bashing, so I'll comment briefly on the main point of this blog.
2/26/2016 02:55:35 pm
Exactly what I was thinking....Why would the Muslims let the Russians take away their very own doomsday device?
2/28/2016 01:45:56 pm
“I love the poorly educated!” Donald Trump
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.