Peruvian Congressman Brings Ufologist and Fringe Scientists to Congress to Promote Nazca "Alien" Mummies
Do you remember the story about the supposed “alien” mummies in Peru that ate up so much air time over at Gaia TV last year? The ones that were chalk-white and had weird, long-fingered hands? Well, it turns out that the three-fingered corpses, which scientific investigation determined to be crudely manipulated human bodies altered to appear extraterrestrial, aren’t done causing trouble. According to Spanish-language media accounts, Mexican ufologist Jaime Maussen traveled to Peru to make a case at the country’s federal legislature on November 19 that the Peruvian government both protect the mummies and investigate their “mysterious” origins. A report by Victor Roman in N+1 this past week gives the following account:
Despite repeated denunciations by the international scientific community, Peruvian legislator Armando Villanueva [Mercado] ended up providing a platform to a ufologist, who presented at the Andean country’s own Congress an investigation lacking proper scientific rigor on a supposed “humanoid mummy.”
(All of the translations in this blog post are my own.)
Also at the presentation at the Peruvian Congress was Thierry Jamin, the French mystery-monger whom you may remember for his advocacy of the myth of Paititi and his efforts to seek permission to dig a hole at Machu Picchu in search of a “hidden door” to an Incan burial chamber. He was on Ancient Aliens a few years ago promoting the claim. Some other dubious “experts” were also present, including a geneticist who alleges that Stephen Hawking confirmed the existence of ghosts.
According to N+1, the presentation to Congress lasted for five hours and included claims that the Peruvian mummies’ DNA was inhuman, that there were mummies found with lizard heads, and that the long-handed creatures reproduced by laying eggs.
Peru’s Ministry of Culture and Council on Science (Concyntec) both declined to participate in the hearing despite being invited by Villanueva. The former head of Concyntec blasted Gaia TV, saying that their involvement and funding biases the results. “The financier has an interest in creating a phantasmagoria around the theme and dressing it up as science. But this is not how science advances,” Gisella Orjeda told the El Comercio newspaper.
The presentation was organized in part by Gaia TV, which funded the research presented at the hearing and filmed it for its channel. Gaia has profited handsomely from promoting the supposed “alien” evidence to draw viewers to its subscription streaming channel. It was not clear how many legislators were in attendance or whether this was an official Congressional hearing (the term used was mesa de trabajo), but it took place in the Congress Hall and was intended to inform debate on the passage of related legislation.
Villanueva introduced legislation, bill No. 3112/2017-CR, into Congress back in July to require a government investigation of the supposed alien mummies and declare them of special historical-cultural interest to Peru. The November hearing, tied to a day-long debate over the bill, was intended to help move that legislation forward. N+1 contacted Villanueva to ask if he understood the basics of science, given that Maussan made a number of claims that clearly contradicted established science and violated basic rules of scientific inquiry.
When N + 1 communicated with the legislator from the Popular Action party to ask him if he understood the scientific method and the processes that investigations should follow, Villanueva admitted not knowing about it.
That is rather dumbfounding. In a country as rich in cultural heritage as Peru, the very idea that “aliens” are needed to create interest in history is a sad, sad testimony to the utter failure of modern culture to make history and heritage a living part of culture rather than a commodity inferior to whatever is shiny and new.
There was a bit of good news, however. While real scientists refused to join Villanueva’s circus, a second presentation later in the day involved actual scientists who reported their findings about the “alien” mummies: namely, that they are fake “aliens” made by taxidermy from real bones, with a large number of plastic parts held together with glue and wax. That presentation occurred at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and involved a number of specialists in the fields of forensic archaeology, tomography, chemistry, etc., many of whom investigated the bodies at the behest of Peruvian prosecutors, who are looking into whether any crimes have been committed in the creation of these ersatz mummies.
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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