Ancient Apocalypse host Graham Hancock gave a lengthy, self-pitying interview to London Real in which he celebrated his own bravery while offering a series of oxymoronic and illogical arguments in a sustained attacked on Wikipedia, archaeology in general, and one archaeologist in particular.
The text of the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Pentagon to create a historical report investigating the U.S. government’s involvement with UFOs was quietly altered prior to final passage to change the dates covered by the report from 1947 to 1945 in order to force the government investigate ridiculous tall tales about miniature space aliens and an avocado-shaped flying saucer promoted by Jacques Vallée in his most recent self-published book, Vallée claimed in a Daily Mail interview after the bill was signed into law late last month. Vallée claimed that his “friends” in D.C.—by which likely means Chris Mellon, his top fanboy with government connections—pushed the change through on Vallée’s behalf.
This year wasn’t quite as bad as 2021, so I can’t be too upset at a year that, if nothing else, did not get appreciably worse. On the other hand, nothing really improved either. Between inflation and further work cuts in my failing industry, it’s been hard. When a prominent astrologer said this year would be the best of my life, I wasn’t sure whether that was a promise or a threat. It’s a good thing astrology is bunk, or else I would be painfully depressed to think this was the best things will ever get.
In a more general sense, this was a year devoted mostly to UFOs, which dominated the paranoid paranormal discourse for the first ten months, until Atlantis made a late run for the crown.
Here, then, is the year that was, edited and condensed from my blog posts and newsletter.
New Evidence Points to a 19th Century Origin for Kensington Runestone Alphabet
The probable origin of the Kensington Runestone's runes has been found: The runic alphabet from the stone, with its distinctive "hooked X," was taught in a mid-19th century Swedish calligraphy school and the textbook its instructor published. It includes "Masonic" characters like those used by the Larsson brothers, whose runic writing had previously been the only other known runic use of the "hooked X."
Magnus Källström of the National Antiquities Office in Sweden published the results of his investigation last week. The key was in an 1876 textbook published by Eric Ström, an itinerant calligrapher (!):
Sirius Mystery author Robert Temple has a new book out, A New Science of Heaven, claiming that 99% of the universe is plasma and that plasma is a sentient form of extraterrestrial life.
British journalist Graham Hancock’s Ancient Apocalypse has become a surprise cultural phenomenon since its November 11 release on Netflix. The archaeology-themed series garnered an impressive 24.62 million hours of viewing in its first week of release, landing in the streaming service’s top 10 in 31 countries. It has also sparked unparalleled outrage from archaeologists and journalists, resulting in dozens of think pieces decrying the show’s many false claims and illogical arguments, analyzing its racist implications, and declaring the series everything from “fishy” to the “most dangerous” show on Netflix. “Why has this been allowed?” asked Britain’s The Guardian. The answer to that seemed pretty obvious: Hancock’s son, Sean Hancock, is Netflix’s senior manager for unscripted originals.
Hancock’s show speculates that a crashing comet destroyed Atlantis, or a similar lost civilization, 13,000 years ago in a series of events remembered as the Great Flood. Ancient monuments and wisdom are therefore the legacy of Atlantis’s survivors, not Earth’s diverse peoples and cultures. Explaining all the reasons Hancock is wrong would take a whole book. Fortunately, I’ve written two. Reader, he is wrong...
Read the rest in The New Republic!
Former America Unearthed host Scott F. Wolter recently announced plans to deliver a lecture at February’s Conscious Life Expo in which he’ll be expanding his Templar conspiracy theories, fully merging them with his growing involvement with the ancient astronaut theory. Get a load of the lecture description, combining his previous false claims with Jesuit assassins, the hoax documents he promotes as genuine, and space aliens:
I am sure you noticed that I have been quieter than usual this week. That's because a magazine has commissioned me to write an article, so I spent my free time this week working on that project. The good news is that the piece is done and filed. If all goes well, it should run in the coming days, and I will post a link once it does.
Netflix released the first viewership figures for Graham Hancock’s Ancient Apocalypse, and the numbers were less impressive than I expected. Netflix reported that for the week of Nov. 14-20, the show’s first full week of release, viewers of Netflix’s English-language services worldwide watched 24.61 million hours of the show. By contrast, the comedy series Dead to Me had 30.3 million hours viewed in half the time (it was released mid-week) and Warrior Nun, released the same day as Apocalypse, had 27.74 million hours viewed. All of them paled before 1899, which had nearly 80 million hours viewed in its first few days of release.
The success of Graham Hancock’s Ancient Apocalypse surprised me greatly. The show reached #2 on Netflix’s viewership rankings in the U.S. and U.K. and was in the top 10 worldwide. Consequently, it has become the most-watched speculative history series in a decade, likely outstripping the viewership for previous ratings titans in the genre, like History’s Curse of Oak Island (3 million at its peak), Ancient Aliens (2 million at its peak), and America Unearthed (1.5 million at its peak) and easily leapfrogging similar series on the Discovery, Travel, and Science channels, which averaged around 600,000 viewers. (Netflix does not release exact viewership figures.) Part of the reason is likely due to Netflix itself. Cable channels narrowcast. Viewership for the History or Science channels is primarily older white men, while Netflix, which has found success with other New Age shows like the Gwyneth Paltrow Goop series, can put Ancient Apocalypse in front of all four quadrants: men and women, young and old. Thus, they can appeal to a wider anti-establishment audience that would not tune in on cable.
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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