Today I’d like to direct your attention to this book review by Will Banyan of Jim Marrs’s Our Occulted History (2013) at Conspiracy Archive. I have only read about half the book myself, it being too terrible to put up with since it lacks any of the delusional goofiness of better fringe books. The review offers an excellent and extremely thorough evaluation of Marrs’s slipshod scholarship, poorly-reasoned arguments, and dearth of factual evidence in support of his claims that the ancient astronaut theory is true and that the New World Order is covering up our alien heritage. Thankfully, a full year after publication it appears that his book was a commercial failure (or at least not enough of a success to have garnered much popular attention), but a good debunking is always in order.
Let’s stipulate right now that Will Banyan is not a dedicated skeptic, or an expert in ancient history. Instead, he is a self-described New World Order researcher who prefers to see the New World Order as less of an organized and unified plan than overlapping principles of moneyed elites. He writes primarily for such fringe history stalwarts as Nexus magazine and Paranoia magazine. However, he is also openly critical of the poor research methods of many fringe theorists, and unlike them is capable of doing a literature review. His review of Marrs should be read in full, and below I have a few points to build on.
In the review, Banyan presents an interesting quotation from an editorial lamenting the influence of Chariots of the Gods published in Science back in the 1970s (the exact date isn’t given) but which has a surprising prescience:
The top sellers at campus bookstores have included such books as Chariots of the Gods, Gods from Outer Space…and others like them… The popularity of pseudoscience books at universities should be a source of concern to academic people particularly scientists….It is not pleasant to contemplate a situation in which our future leaders are steeped in fantasy and exposed to a putdown of science without effective response.
Those college students are, of course, now today’s leaders, and we have seen a shocking turn toward anti-science positions in government since the last generation of leaders gave way to the current crop who grew up amid the fringe history and New Age milieu of the 1970s. The editorial immediately reminded me of last week’s House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on astrobiology, which prompted questions about whether Ancient Aliens is telling the truth.
Another interesting factoid from Marrs’s book (which opens, blasphemously, with a quotation from “The Call of Cthulhu”!), as given by the reviewer: Marrs attempts to discredit Dr. Michael Heiser’s criticism of Zecharia Sitchin’s claims by asserting in print, sourced only to an anonymous internet comment by a person naming herself “Christie,” that Heiser’s colleagues are “government funded,” are using incorrect databases (?) to translate material, and are therefore carrying out government orders to deny alien intervention. Marrs implies this is evidence Heiser is part of a conspiracy.
I really appreciated Banyan’s efforts to trace back Marrs claims about the Dropa Stones. It’s the kind of research I love (as regular readers know): Marrs in Occulted History cites his claims only to himself, in his earlier book Alien Agenda. There, Marrs attributed the same claims to Erich von Däniken’s Gods from Outer Space, where in turn von Däniken attributed the claims to his “helpful friend,” the Soviet science fiction writer Alexander Kazantsev—whose work, regular readers will remember, peppers the gonzo pseudo-history of Peter Kolosimo’s Not of This World. He is most famous for having proposed that the Tunguska Event was caused by an exploding alien spacecraft. He also carried on a correspondence with Jacques Vallée in which he expressed his upset that the Soviet Union rejected the ancient astronaut theory as anti-science in 1968. (Frankly, Vallée’s journals are very strange, alternately reflecting a martyr complex and a warranted skepticism about why Kazantsev makes claims about Soviet UFO interest that never seem to be backed by facts…)
If you’ve followed my occasional discussion of Jim Marrs, you know that I’ve pointed to his strange racial claims, particularly his paranoia that Barack Obama and the Chinese are conspiring to destroy white America. I, too, have noted that Marrs makes disturbing references to gold-hungry Jews who control world finance. Banyan similarly finds a shocking streak of anti-Semitic material running through Marrs’s book, particularly his adoption of the anti-Jewish talking point that Ashkenazi Jews are not actual Chosen People because they only converted to Judaism in the eighth century; therefore, opposition to them is not anti-Semitism because they are not Semites. Marrs adopts the anti-Semitic talking point wholesale: “These people were never connected to the Hebrews or Palestine, although they were originators of Zionism, a political movement that began in nineteenth century Russia for the purpose of securing a Jewish ‘homeland’ in the Middle East.” In Occulted History, Marrs concludes that Ashkenazi Jews control Hollywood and the media and are pushing a globalist agenda because of a hunger for gold inherited from their “Annunaki ancestor Nimrod.” (This seems to refer back to the anti-Catholic conspiracy tract The Two Babylons.) According to Marrs, America’s wars of the past decades were selected to target countries like Afghanistan and Iraq that were “free of Rothschild-dominated Western banks” in order to enforce a Jewish financial agenda.
According to Banyan, Marrs doubles down on his stupidity by speculating that Hitler (!) was part of the conspiracy because he may have had Jewish and Rothschild (!!) blood. Also secret Jews: The Habsburgs. Here I had to return to Marrs’s book for myself because regular readers will remember that outside of fringe history, my other area of interest is the Habsburg Monarchy, and I rarely get the chance to combine the two.
Marrs claims (and just try to follow this) that in 1908 the Emperor Franz Joseph (reigned 1848-1916) “self-published” (!) five copies of a secret family a history that stated that the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (crowned in 1155) had a sickly son named Albrecht by his wife Margaret and then took a Jewish wife in secret by whom he had Albrecht II. Swapping the two Albrechts after Albrecht I was assassinated, this latter Albrecht gave rise to Albrecht III and Albrecht IV, whose line eventually yielded the Habsburg emperor Maximilian (and presumably the other Habsburg emperors of whom Marrs is unaware). Therefore, “the Habsburgs and the Rothschilds share the same Jewish ancestor. This part of Habsburg history was carefully hidden…” Franz Joseph’s desire to reveal this information was limited just to the immediate imperial family, but secret Rothschild knowledge of this connection helped convince the Rothschilds to support “German regimes.” Apparently a single Jewish ancestor can change your bloodline and influence your political allegiances for at least 750 years (1155-1908).
So important is this to Marrs that he has posted this section of his book on his website and calls it “essential reading to (sic) understanding how the Zionists could control Hitler and his Nazis as well as other monarchs.” That understanding, he says, comes from the revelations of David Icke.
I can’t make heads or tails of this, and not just because of its blatant recycling of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The book in question, An Ehren Und An Siegen Reich, was printed in 1908 to celebrate Franz Joseph’s diamond jubilee and was a reprint (with updates) of the 1898 edition created for his golden jubilee. In fact, it remained steadily in print from 1898 to the end of the Empire. It was not “self-published,” nor did the emperor write it himself as Marrs seems to think. It was not limited to five copies, as Baynard quickly noted in cataloging how many U.S. libraries hold this “unique” volume that Marrs claims was a Habsburg family secret. Marrs seems never to have consulted the book, and his chapter notes say he gained all his information from interviews with other conspiracy theorists, particularly ufologist Jim Delittoso.
Marrs makes much of the title, which he gives in English as “Toward an Honorable and Victorious Reich” to better link it to Hitler’s Third Reich, but the line is actually half a sentence from an 1813 German patriotic song, “Des Deutschen Vaterland,” by Ernst Moritz Arndt. “Reich” is better translated as “Empire” or “land” in this context, where the relevant lines read (in translation): “Certainly it (the fatherland) must be Austria, a land of victories and honors.” Hitler, it should be remembered, hated the Habsburgs vehemently and wanted to appropriate their Germanic glamor and prestige for himself. That’s why he stole the Habsburg treasures when he annexed Austria, all the better to cast himself as the true German emperor.
Frederick I did not have a wife named Margaret. His two wives were Adelheid of Vohburg and Beatrice of Burgundy. None of his children was named Albrecht. Marrs appears to be referring to Albrecht I, King of Germany (an uncrowned Holy Roman Emperor), but this Albrecht was born in 1255—a century after Frederick’s reign! Albrecht I was the son of Rudolf I, the Duke of Austria, and as Marrs claims was in fact assassinated—but in 1298. Marrs does not explain whether his other Albrechts were supposed to be dukes of Austria or Holy Roman Emperors. The next Albrecht to reign in Austria was Albrecht II, Duke of Austria in 1330 (son of Albrecht I), while the next Albrecht to reign as King of Germany didn’t do so until the 1400s.
How any of this matters is beyond me, since the House of Habsburg’s male line went extinct a century before Franz Joseph was born, and the Habsburg lands passed to the new house of Habsburg-Lorraine through the female line of Maria Theresa, according to the Pragmatic Sanction of Emperor Charles VI. So far as I can tell, Marrs traces Jewish-alien bloodline lineage through the male line (though Judaism does not), so I’m not sure how this fits into his Jewish-alien conspiracy. Marrs himself spends no time on the matter; having established an alleged Habsburg-Rothschild Jewish cabal he merrily skips ahead to speculating that this “cabal” of “blue bloods” feels it has the right to rule over others and may have done so since the Pleistocene.
5/31/2014 06:57:41 am
"... comes from the revelations of David Icke"
5/31/2014 07:43:05 am
On the one hand Marrs is an example of how futile education can be, since people end up believing what they want. On the other hand, much of mainstream scholarship is spurious in nature, with various academics slugging it out against each other in various outlets such as conferences, specialist journals and published books, official and self-published
5/31/2014 10:23:18 am
Jim Marrs couldn't function properly if he had to apply the scientific and historic method. He would lose all interest in life.
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
5/31/2014 10:28:19 am
The reason academics spend so much time "slugging it out against each other" is that it's part of their job to point out holes in each other's arguments. It can get stupid and petty, especially in fields like economics or (shudder) biblical archaeology, where broader public controversies fuel the fire. But the debates are supposed to weed out the most spurious hypotheses, modify the imperfect ones, and build on the ones that are best supported by the evidence.
5/31/2014 10:36:37 am
Only mathematical facts stand still. Every other subject matter is a living thing subject to change reflecting the perceptions of relevant scholars
5/31/2014 05:22:35 pm
An Over-Educated Grunt
5/31/2014 10:31:16 am
It certainly does go to prove the futility of education when you're typing a comment, which requires literacy, online, which requires the entire infrastructure and communications backbone to support it, which requires an incalculable number of operator-hours of training and education first to develop, then to implement, then to support, and is itself an outgrowth of DARPANet, which was meant to make information sharing in an admittedly isolated part of that ivory tower easier.
5/31/2014 10:38:01 am
"requires literacy, online, which requires the entire infrastructure and communications backbone to support it, which requires an incalculable number of operator-hours of training and education"
An Over-Educated Grunt
5/31/2014 11:02:47 am
You've said something so ridiculous I question whether you yourself believe it. Actually, you've said two things that are so ridiculous I question whether you yourself believe them. First, that there is no purpose in education, since people will believe what they choose. All right, let's perform a little thought experiment to test this. Education consists of the communication of information. You can't force it to be absorbed, but you can control whether it is delivered. So let's stop the delivery. You are no longer allowed to write, speak, gesture, or, so far as anyone outside your head can tell, think. Very well. How much functional knowledge do you think is passed to the next generation under this total communication blackout? By your position, the answer must be "just as much, because people will believe what they will anyway." Reality doesn't bear this out.
5/31/2014 11:08:26 am
It's not a question of "believing it" but witnessing it
An Over-Educated Grunt
5/31/2014 11:15:19 am
I've been at this long enough to recognize when someone's arguing just to argue and doesn't actually have a point. You want to engage in sophism, be my guest, but I don't have to answer.
6/1/2014 03:35:57 am
Grunt --- there are posters here who might or might not
Educational standards are dropping
6/1/2014 04:12:25 am
Marrs began teaching a course on UFOs at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2000
5/31/2014 12:13:51 pm
Marrs jumped on the JFK conspiracy band wagon early and made some cash as well as a name for himself in certain circles. Since no one is buying JFK Assassination books any more, Marrs has gone on to other things. That's the thing about fringe writers, like sharks they have to keep moving (on to the latest nonsense, as their audience has a short attention span) or they die.
6/1/2014 03:43:05 am
like a good "shark" he did sense actual blood had been spilled.
6/1/2014 04:01:09 am
"Since 1976, Marrs has taught a course on the assassination of Kennedy at the University of Texas at Arlington."
Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange
6/1/2014 04:08:11 am
"Since 1976, Marrs has taught a course on the assassination of Kennedy at the University of Texas at Arlington."
6/1/2014 04:26:52 am
Wiki needs to be updated? how fitting!
6/1/2014 05:06:55 am
Wikipedia - LOL
6/1/2014 05:10:15 am
And then get accused of "vandalism"
Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange
6/1/2014 05:11:53 am
Yeah, that's where I got the info from about Jim Marrs that wasn't found on Wikipedia
Stan the man
6/1/2014 05:55:00 am
It helps living next to the Library of Congress
6/1/2014 04:18:11 pm
Worse, Wiki's accuracy level is either greater than
5/31/2014 08:16:00 am
I was recently thumbing through "The Mummy's Curse", a book by Daniel Cohen that I got when I was a kid. It seems a lot more sceptical than I remembered it, with the section on Ancient Astronauts informing the reader of Erich von Daniken's fraudulent activities.
5/31/2014 08:19:48 am
The quote from Science has this date:
5/31/2014 11:23:46 pm
Thanks for the kind words about my review of Jim Marrs book. I don't disagree with your description of me as no expert in ancient history - I'm not, I last studied it in high school. I have a large collection of cult archaeology/ancient astronaut literature and it can be very entertaining, but I also know it's all bullshit which is why I like reading this site and others like for both factual corrections and to see dubious research techniques exposed. My concern with Marrs' book was its combination of its rank cynicism and sloppiness with facts. In the case of the latter, they did not matter at all.
6/1/2014 04:08:42 am
he actually was a cub reporter for a short time, but it sounds like
6/1/2014 04:17:37 am
Nearly everything he topically wrote later on is after
6/1/2014 09:40:35 am
Zionism is the term given for Jewish nationalism--the desire to establish and keep a homeland for the Jewish people in Zion--Israel. It has absolutely nothing to do with any attempt at "world domination." Actually, it's the Arab Muslims who seek to dominate the world and establish a world-wide caliphate. Judaism teaches the Golden Rule, which means justice and freedom for all.
6/1/2014 12:05:54 pm
"Zionism is the term given for Jewish nationalism--the desire to establish and keep a homeland for the Jewish people in Zion--Israel. It has absolutely nothing to do with any attempt at "world domination."
6/1/2014 02:14:45 pm
"Actually, it's the Arab Muslims who seek to dominate the world and establish a world-wide caliphate."
6/1/2014 08:12:00 pm
"Because Christianity has NEVER tried for empire before. EVER."
6/1/2014 08:13:50 pm
The Vatican only asked the conquistadors to bring some of the South American Natives before them - so they could argue and discuss whether or not they "had a soul"
1/25/2016 08:55:40 pm
Varika, you have to be kidding!!
6/1/2014 09:43:33 am
Grunt...best post on this site in a long time. Well said. I am a professional academic. I visit this site every day but have only posted I think twice before. Partly because that's my nature, but mostly because what I read in the comments section here is usually highjacked by utter childishness. I could name names but we all know who they are. What guts me the most in my day-to-day world is what I see from my courtside seat. I have to not just watch but deal with the decay of reason and the fact that willful ignorance is now put on a plinth. Its tough realizing that expertise and rigor and just plain old mental elbow grease and hard work are now considered in some quarters as something that generates distrust.
An Over-Educated Grunt
6/2/2014 03:04:21 am
Don't thank me too much, I mostly got the idea from Herman Wouk and Neal Stephenson. There's a scene in "The Winds of War" where Wouk, through one of his characters, explains that, even in the world of philosophy, you can tell a lot about the general thinking of a culture by reading its "university gas." Stephenson's contribution was writing a long-winded adventure series that also includes the Newton-Hooke rivalry and the Newton-Leibniz rivalry. I'm a terrible student who had the misfortune of understanding most basic concepts in most disciplines very quickly, and therefore thinking that the advanced concepts came just as quickly. That said, I spent my time in the academic mill, I've had conference papers published at conferences I didn't organize myself, and my natural sympathies don't lie with people who didn't put in those hours because "it just comes naturally," they lie with the people who put in week-long days just to prove a point no one outside their discipline knows about, never mind cares.
6/1/2014 03:55:15 pm
Jason could have also pointed out that Emperor Frederick I was not a Habsburg at all.
6/1/2014 09:30:58 pm
One has to remember that a great many so-called progressives have happily done so, now that they have a politically correct acronym to hide it behind.
6/1/2014 10:38:03 pm
" It is one thing to cite and hobnob with neo-Nazis and other racists, but it is quite another to embrace illogical racialist anti-Semitic fantasies, as Marrs does."
9/27/2015 08:05:35 am
9/27/2015 08:11:21 am
Right. But see, he'll "think" your "agreeing" with him. That's the problem with people with severely damaged DNA. They think they're perfect and form little mutually supportive RiGHT THINK masturbation co ops, like this "blog". Cheers
1/25/2016 08:45:24 pm
Harry, I've recently come across much revisionist history about the topic:
I have only read one of Marrs books and it was Rule by Secrecy. The only point I took from the book as I recall was the description of Calvinism as a element of social control. Ironically, this brought up questions of how Christians interpret what constitutes 'paganism' due to the premise of free will that supposedly is the province of Christian traditions that value arminianism. Yet again, it's a bait and switch.
9/27/2015 08:04:00 am
So your criticism of Marrs is he does "shoddy research", yet your own review is simply a straw man set up to knock down his theories and your quotes and criticism aren't even accurate nor complete- also this is the only blog I've read about these subjects where everyone agreed except some boarding and equally inane incomprehensible and self interested masturbation swapping by two more trending information challenged unimaginative status quo robots. Ever hear of Tom Van Flandern? Ever watch New Scientific Evidence of Life on Mars, or The Disclosure Project, or any documentaries by leading economists who have completely blasted the .0001% and their sick Nazi Multinational Corporate Bankster Neo Fuedal oligarchy which you probably still believe is a capitalist democracy, along with all the other mindless web police bots who joined in on your little circle jerk of self congratulatory mutual appreciation RIGHT THINK. Don't read Jim Marrs or Joseph Farrell - whom I'm sure since he has come to the same conclusions as Jim in most instances of his, also, copiously researched books that along with the works of others like those I mentioned above, removing the veil and wall of ignorance they've kept us surrounded by and are together along with the millions and millions of readers and viewers of this paradigm altering material, doing away with closed minded brain washed ignorance championed by little men like you on their insignificant and pathetic little blogs. I love your absurd failed attempts to cast Jim as a Jew baiting bigot are your main criticism, but as they're quite as patently false and insipid as your other illogical attacks, they only serve to underline the fact that this is a non blog about non issues filled with nonsense for nobodies. Your putting a finger in a ship killing hole, hoping you'll stem the tide but the wreck is going down and an honest world run by enlightened people who no longer wish to be their own thought jailers is dawning. Mahalo Corporate Media Whore Mutha F_*^r's!
5/31/2018 01:02:18 am
I've known for years that Jim Marrs is a piece of shit disinfo agent but this Bill Bunion (or whatever his name is) clearly cannot be trusted either, since he's also saying things that raise multiple red flags for me.
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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.
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