Russians Push "Alien" Peruvian Mummy Narrative; Plus: Forgery Scandal Calls Ancient Luwian Inscriptions into Question
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post outlining Russian efforts over the past sixty or seventy years to use UFO and ancient alien ideas as political weapons to undermine the West. I therefore read with interest reports coming out of Russia this week that scientists in that country identified a set of three-fingered mummies from Peru as being non-human. The story ran in Sputnik News, a Kremlin-backed propaganda publication, before being picked up by one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids. The FBI and Scotland Yard have investigated Murdoch’s companies for their questionable Russian connections for years, including Murdoch’s interest in companies with ties to Russian Pres. Vladimir V. Putin’s United Russia party. Murdoch has also used his media businesses to support U.S. Pres. Donald J. Trump against allegations of Russian collusion with a soft line on Russian propaganda efforts.
While alien claims are the least important part of the Russia story, it is nonetheless interesting to see how Russian media are using absurd allegations about space aliens to create distractions and sew discord.
The claims for non-human mummies come from Konstantin Korotkov, a kook who believes that photographing auras can diagnose diseases, and that such photographs can capture the emotional state of a dead person post-mortem. Regular readers will remember Korotkov because Semir “Sam” Osmanagich, the kook who believes that mountains in Bosnia are prehistoric pyramids, relies on Korotkov’s “research” for his own cockamamie claims about the supposed pyramids emitting near-magical energies with healing powers. Osmanagich got the idea from the Russians.
Anyway, Korotkov is now working with Gaia TV, the for-profit subscription fringe history video service, and in such capacity he shot a documentary claiming that plaster-covered, three-fingered Peruvian mummies are non-human. Consider his fascinating evidence, as recorded by Murdoch’s Sun: “The tissue has biological nature and their chemical composition indicates that they are humans. Their DNA features 23 pairs of chromosomes, just like we have. All the four of them are males, each with a Y-chromosome. They appear human but they are not.” So, they are genetically human but therefore non-human because of unspecified reasons. Great! The reason is provided by Peruvian physician Edson Vivanco, whom we met last year in one of Brien Foerster’s videos: “To recreate a skull with these characteristics is a very difficult task.” He is referring to the fact that the skull appears elongated, but it apparently never occurred to the good doctor that the body’s hands and feet might have been altered without the need to alter the skull. Vivanco added that he saw no evidence of forgery.
Speaking of forgery, a major scandal is emerging in the world of archaeology over forged material. The story begins with Eberhard Zangger, whom regular readers will remember as a Swiss publicist turned geologist who came to fame claiming that Atlantis was really Troy and that it had been destroyed by the Luwian people. Well, Zangger made an important discovery. The British prehistorian James Mellaart, who discovered the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, died in 2012 and willed documents to Zangger’s Luwian Studies organization for further investigation, along with a request to publish his translations of what he had claimed were important Luwian inscriptions. Zangger reported this week that “An examination of Mellaart’s study in London has now provided clear evidence that the prehistorian invented these translations of allegedly 3000-years-old documents.” Zangger went on to report that he found prototypes and drafts of all of the “discoveries” Mellaart had made, translated, and published since 1976 in his London apartment.
Mellaart’s apartment had been sealed since his death and was only opened in February to permit the Luwian Studies team access to his documents and papers.
Zangger discovered that Mellaart had lied for decades about not being able to read Luwian and was in fact fluent in the language, allowing him to forge inscriptions that he passed to other scholars to translate, thus laundering his forgeries.
Mellaart’s discovery of Luwian documents related to the Trojan hero Muksus (or Moksus), sometimes identified with the Greek mythic character Mopsus, was revealed to be part of his fabrication. According to Zangger, there is no way to know if any part of the Luwian account of Muksus is real. I am embarrassed to note that I included a brief reference to this Luwian inscription in my Jason and the Argonauts through the Ages, though fortunately it has no impact on my argument.
Live Science has a much more detailed account of the fraud and forgery, and discusses questions that now arise about whether some of his research at Çatalhöyük is also a fabrication.
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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