Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox dropped like a rock in the Nielsen ratings for its second outing this week. Tuesday’s episode, which featured Fox meeting with alternative history icon Graham Hancock and identifying Stonehenge as a prehistoric hospital, bagged just 325,000 viewers, down from 429,000 last week. The miserable ratings secured the show 121st place in the Tuesday ratings race, behind NatGeo’s Life Below clip show special, Animal Planet’s Lone Star Law, Motor Trend TV’s Bitchin’ Rides, and even Travel’s own 9 PM rerun of Expedition Unknown, which 90,000 more people watched than Fox’s 8 PM show, and its 11 PM rerun of Monster Encounters, which 50,000 more people watched.
The miserable ratings for Fox’s show contrast markedly with the extraordinary outpouring of media coverage for Fox, which extended to dozens more stories this week. All told, many times the number of viewers for the show have been exposed to Fox’s bad ideas and the corrosive fantasy of alternative history through media coverage of Fox’s unwatched show than the show itself has reached. As a result, this means that mainstream journalists are directly responsible for carrying alternative history’s water and purposely choosing to give a platform to Fox’s bizarre ideas about history where the ratings show the public is not otherwise interested in hearing about it. That is the power of the media’s bias for sensationalism and celebrity—agenda-setting in the face of facts.
This is really neither here nor there, but on a somewhat related note, I thought it was interesting enough to mention. Inner Traditions is one of the biggest independent book publishers specializing in fringe history and quack science books. I’ve reviewed dozens of their titles, not one of which has been worth reading. But in reviewing their catalog for the spring publishing cycle, I was struck by the marked decline in ancient astronaut, lost civilization, Bible giant, and other fringe history books in favor of a much larger contingent of tomes on chakras, astrology, and mystical healing. I can’t say that it’s part of a larger trend, but given the clockwork regularity with which they have put out books about Atlantis, ancient astronauts, and giants, it is a marked change. I’d love to think that the change came about because they realized how many of their authors, like Frank Joseph, are current or former Nazis and racists, or sympathizers of the same. But I am not so naïve at to think they actually care about that, except insofar as it can create bad publicity in a time when white nationalism is on the rise.
According to the catalog, there are still more than a few bonkers history titles coming out this spring. Here are the lowlights:
Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure: Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle isn’t due out until July but is sure to be the only one of these books I’m looking forward to reading. It’s the most batshit crazy of them all. In fact, I want to share the full description of the book because it is such a testament to everything wrong with History Channel-style pseudo-historiography:
The author explains how Jesse James faked his death and lived out his final years under the name James L. Courtney. He uncovers James’ affiliation with the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society that buried Confederate gold across the United States, and shows how the hidden treasures coded into James’ maps were not affiliated with the KGC but with the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, and the treasure of the Temple Mount. Using sacred geometry, gematria, and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life symbol, the author explains the encoded map technique used by the Freemasons to hide and later recover treasures, an esoteric template known as the “Veil”. He shows how the Veil template con-firms the locations of Jesse James’ recovered treasures in Texas as well as other suspected treasure locations, such as the Oak Island Money Pit and Victorio Peak in New Mexico.
The Knights of the Golden Circle didn’t just “bury Confederate gold.” They actively worked to undermine American democracy, promoted white supremacy, and hoped to create a slave empire ringing the Caribbean to be led by Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. Naturally we have another book celebrating the glory of bygone racists who are somehow blessed with the secrets of God.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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