J. Hutton Pulitzer Makes Scott Wolter Uncomfortable with Questions about Red-Headed Caucasian Pharaohs
Before we begin, I’d like to draw your attention to this blog post by religious studies professor James Tabor, who wrote to me this morning to inform me of something I didn’t know. There is apparently a rich evangelical Christian literature on the “true” biblical origins of the pyramids, including a section in the influential Halley’s Bible Handbook that asserted that the pyramids were Joseph’s granaries. When I read that someone actually argues that Khufu was the biblical Job, I was dumbfounded! Who knew modern evangelicals were less erudite in their effort to harmonize sacred and profane history than Late Antique Christians or early medieval Muslims?
Now, on to today’s topic:
Forbidden truth and hidden history! One man on the “cutting edge” of the “truth about history”! That’s how we’re introduced to treasure-hunting “Commander” J. Hutton Pulitzer, self-described as “one of the foremost inventors in modern times” (he invented a failed bar code reader and a way to start a web browser by audio signal), author of what he says are 300 books about the “truth,” and advocate of a range of impossible claims, in the opening minutes of his SoundCloud Treasure Force Commander Podcast. (I’m not running “Treasure Force” together as one weird word, though he does.) He claims that listening to his podcast will make you “the most interesting person in the world” to talk to, as long as you’re not one of the “whiny politically correct wimps,” as his bombastic opening narration asserts. Anyway, Pulitzer interviewed our friend Scott Wolter last night, and it’s really fascinating the way Pulitzer’s self-image, as puffed up by his professional narrator, contrasts so heartily with his nebbish delivery and lack of facility with words.
The podcast gets off to a rocky start with Pulitzer assuming that his listeners already know who Scott Wolter is and what he does, and the two men launch into a dull discussion of Wolter’s work on (what else) the Kensington Rune Stone. Wolter is in his regular form, complaining that he’ll lose his job if he lies, but academics have “no accountability other than their own personal pride.” He says that there “is nothing that keeps them in line.” He likens attacks on himself to “the n-word or calling a woman a whore.” He once again analogizes arguments over history to his long-ago experiences as a football player, talking about how combat should conclude with the combatants sharing a beer.
Pulitzer agrees, and he adds that the internet has helped people like him to bypass academia. He argues, bizarrely, that when he was young (he is currently 50 years old), had he discovered Bigfoot there would have been no way to report this because academics controlled all the methods of information dissemination until the internet broke their stranglehold. Say what? Is he unaware of the vast mainstream media which gleefully reported all manner of bizarre claims in his oppressed youth? Or the zines and newsletters that preceded blogs?
“The greatest thing that ever happened to me was to be attacked,” Wolter said, because it forced him to improve his research. (If this is an improvement…!) He also mentions that he plans to “Skype with some kids down in Texas,” which I believe is a reference to Andy White’s offer to have Wolter give a presentation to one of his classes in South Carolina next year.
Wolter demurred when asked what his next project will be, but he says that the Talpiot Tomb in Jerusalem is that of Jesus, “end of story.” He claims that the Knights Templar entered the tomb in the Middle Ages, yet surprisingly for an organization trying to suppress the truth, they didn’t cart away all of the Jesus artifacts. You have to love their inefficiency. You also have to love Wolter’s claim that the James Ossuary is part of the Talpiot Tomb because “it has been decided in a court of law” that it is so. More, you must love the way Scott Wolter praises Simcha Jacobvici for being “super-smart” and a “respected academic” while following those with a “but” to connect to his praise of him as “a really good guy.” Clearly he sees this as an almost oxymoronic combination.
Wolter says that DNA work on bone fragments from the Jesus ossuary will reveal a shocking new proof of… something… but he claims he can’t tell us what the alleged Jesus DNA revealed. This leads Pulitzer to tell Wolter that an analysis of King Tut’s DNA is being suppressed by “Hawass and Egyptian government” because, he claims, the Egyptian pharaohs were “red haired, fair-skinned, and tracking back to Europe.” (Zahi Hawass hasn’t worked for the Egyptian government for many years.) Pulitzer asks, “What is we find out the pharaohs were European and not quote-unquote Egyptian.” This race-based claim makes Wolter uncomfortable, and he tries to back Pulitzer away from the precipice by redirecting the conversation from racial supremacy to more general questions about the nature of science.
Egypt’s then-head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Gaballa Ali Gaballa, canceled planned DNA tests on King Tut’s mummy for a PBS show in 2000 after stating that the Japanese team due to study the DNA had been denied a security clearance. He did not explain why, but tests were later conducted under different auspices, published in a journal, and discussed on the Discovery Channel. Pulitzer, though, was referring to a claim by a Swiss company that Tutankhamun had European genes because of a “reconstruction” of his DNA which they performed based on a picture of Tut’s DNA from 2010 shown on the aforementioned Discovery Channel special. I wish I were making that up. Based on this claim, which was refuted by the actual geneticists who did the 2010 testing, the Swiss company launched a campaign in 2011 to find European relatives of Tut—charging white people in Europe and America just $179-399 per test. Gee, what a coincidence that the “findings” helped them make money from flattering rich white folks.
Pulitzer has run this all together to allege a conspiracy whereby Egypt is trying to stop geneticists from discovering the imaginary Lost White Race that ruled Egypt by somehow stopping testing that they then permitted but tried to censor, until an accidental TV release allowed brave entrepreneurs to discover the truth about Euro-Egyptians. (This is the claim circulating in white nationalist circles.) Neither DNA testing company alleged red-haired pharaohs, an apparent reference to the claims about red-headed Nephilim-giants from fringe literature.
Wolter concluded the interview by repeating more of his familiar claims about the Kensington Rune Stone, and since Pulitzer’s shows are badly produced, the whole thing sort of stopped when the music swelled and the narrator returned to promote Pulitzer’s 2014 book about King Solomon and Oak Island, offering a multimedia kit of books and recordings for 80% off the retail price. The package includes Commander’s Strike It Rich: 50 Lost Treasures You Can Find, to which I can’t resist adding But I Chose Not to in Order to Sell You This Crappy Book.
Did Treasure Force Commander J. Hutton Pulitzer ever actually find a real treasure? Although his website claims various successes, I can’t find any actual proof they’ve ever found the kind of buried treasure his books promise he is an expert in locating. So far, it seems like the only treasure I can confirm he found is the pile of money he’s collected from people who think his books will help them get rich quick and/or discover the true Caucasian and Judeo-Christian origins of history.
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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