Graham Hancock's Website Runs Contributor Articles Alleging Egyptians in Ancient India and Secret Egyptian Knowledge of DMT
Graham Hancock has a regular feature on his website in which he invites fellow fringe writers to contribute promotional articles that serve as advertisements for their latest books, web projects, etc. This week, Hancock played host to two awful pieces of fringe literature that barely managed to conceal their uncritical worship of Hancock and his friends Robert Bauval, Robert Schoch, and John Anthony West, or to hide their heavy employment of the “looks like, therefore is” method of fringe reasoning
Regular readers already know that the Indian subcontinent plays host to a large number of fringe history advocates, many of whom are Hindu nationalists looking to place India at the fountainhead of world civilization. But Hancock found one who seems to be reaching back to one of the earliest mistaken ideas, which is that the Egyptians originated in India. That old idea came out of the mistaken eighteenth-century notion that Sanskrit was the oldest Aryan language and therefore India was the source of all civilization. The claim was popularized by Arnold Hermann Ludwig Heeren (1760-1846) and even shows up in the 1909 Grand Canyon hoax newspaper article alleging that an Egyptian-Tibetan hybrid civilization lived in ancient Arizona.
Anyway, Indian engineer Bibhu Dev Misra claims that a natural formation in Balochistan, Pakistan is actually an Egyptian Sphinx and temple located next to an ancient Hindu temple. He sees an outcropping as a Sphinx, eroded columns as pillars, and the visible layers of sedimentary deposit as carved registers for friezes. This conveniently ties Egypt to India and imposes both cultures on Pakistan, reclaiming the Indus Valley for India. Misra manages to avoid the most obvious question: If these buildings were meant as ancient Egyptian and Hindu temples, why do they lack interiors? They are sold rock, without doors or windows. Even if they were hollow, anything within would suffocate.
It’s not impossible that the rocky features might have been carved at one point, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it. It looks like a case of “looks like, therefore is.”
The weirder of the two articles comes to us from RN Vooght, who doesn’t hide the fact that his own book, The Spirit in the Sky, is little more than a distillation of books by John Anthony West, Robert Schoch, and Graham Hancock, along with Chance Gardner’s Magical Egypt series, endorsed by Joe Rogan, a supporter of Hancock’s, and The Spirit Molecule, about Rick Strassman’s research into DMT, a psychedelic drug: “The Spirit in the Sky seeks to tie Fingerprints of the Gods, Supernatural, Serpent in the Sky and The Spirit Molecule together in a way that our ancestors hoped we one day would; in a manner that re-introduces present-day humans with the inspiring ideas and belief systems of our ancient foremothers, whose stories have been hitherto lost to time and memory.”
Vooght’s research is about as compelling as you would expect from someone who is building a secondary argument atop crappy original arguments by poor researchers with old, outdated ideas. The centerpiece of his argument, and the one that appears on the cover of his book, is that the DMT molecule looks like the constellation Orion:
Do I even need to say that the conventional diagram of DMT does not represent the actual shape of the molecule but a schematic representation? A 3-D rendering of the molecule, in which the abbreviated groups of atoms represented by the methyl groups in the schematic are depicted in full, shows that the molecule itself bears no resemblance to the constellation without a heavy dose of imagination. How is it possible to write an entire book founded on the misunderstanding of a schematic diagram’s relationship to three-dimensional reality?
Similarly, he claims that Ganesh, the elephant god in Hindu mythology, emerged from the appearance of the brain when cut into horizontal cross-section, and Osiris (and the crucified Jesus!) from an attempt to anthropomorphize the brain stem around the pineal gland. It’s all ridiculous and a clear example of “looks like, therefore is.” But even if those gods were parts of the brain with eyeballs glued on, just as the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a plate of noodles with eyeballs attached, what would this prove? Ancient people could cut up dead bodies as well as anyone, and other gods were happily modeled on body parts—Hermes and Shiva in their phallic forms come to mind. It is an argument in want of evidence or purpose.
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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