Last week Scott Wolter appeared on Jimmy Church’s Fade to Black podcast (October 8), but the episode was not made available online for download until yesterday. Clocking in at 178 minutes, it is a bit of a slog to get through. Wolter’s claims are mostly the same as always and don’t really need to be reviewed in great detail.
He starts by recounting how “pissed off” he is that mainstream scholars don’t accept his findings about the Kensington Rune Stone. He then relates his belief that there is a hidden code in the Rune Stone, one encoded by the Knights Templar to claim the Mississippi watershed. Later, he asserts that the Rune Stone’s only relationship to northern Europe is that the “carver was educated in Sweden.” He believes, based on no evidence other than his own conspiracy theory, that the remainder of the party—despite the plain meaning of the Rune Stone text (“8 Götalanders and 22 Northmen”)—was not from Scandinavia.
“This isn’t some Da Vinci Code pipe dream that I made up,” Wolter says without irony, despite several times having his own show compare his research to the Da Vinci Code. He added that his research is “a mushroom cloud of an atom bomb of evidence.”
Wolter recounts again that his experience testifying in court should be used as evidence that his geological conclusions are correct. He emphasizes the importance of court cases and using the standards of the court to rule on scientific findings. Presumably this does not count the case of Albert H. Peterson v. Scott Wolter (1989), a case he lost based on a judge’s findings about Wolter in his capacity as an expert geologist. The details of that case are publicly available by contacting the Benton County Courts. I keep trying to be the better person and not publish details about the case, lest they damage Wolter’s day job, but somehow he keeps doing his damnedest to make it directly relevant to his fringe history work.
Church expresses his upset that when he took a course in Indiana history, the textbooks refused to acknowledge any history for the state of Indiana before the colonial era “except American Indians,” as though they were not actual historical people who had millennia of history. “And that’s what was taught in school!” he shouts, oblivious to his own implication that white people are history-makers while non-white people are anthropological specimens. Wolter, to his credit, tells Church that tens of millions of people were living in America in the Middle Ages and that they have history. However, he falls back on the idea that scholarship still follows mid-twentieth century norms and blasts scholars for talking of the “discovery” of America, rather than the more modern understanding of the initiation of European contact. He calls his childhood history classes “brainwashing” and explains that what he learned in junior high history class in the 1960s has stayed with him for life.
Wolter then repeats his now-familiar line about Manifest Destiny, which he continues to misunderstand as an official government program—and which he constantly references through the lens of “what we were taught” in Minnesota schools in the 1960s.
Following this Wolter outlines his beliefs about the Hooked X®, his trademarked name for a variant of the rune for the vowel A, which he believes is a secret sigil providing a schematic diagram of the moment of conception when Jesus’ sperm impregnated Mary Magdalene.
Wolter asserts that there is a stone object outside the United States that proves his Hooked X® theory and will blow the minds of skeptics and doubters, but he refuses to give details until they are revealed on America Unearthed. Wolter will only say that the object is related to the Mediterranean and to a tomb. He says that the object was brought to him and he helped its owners to understand its true purpose. It sure sounds like he thinks he’s discovered a Biblical artifact. He says in response to Church’s implication that the Smithsonian will try to suppress the artifact, “they’ll never get their grubby hands on it.”
Church delivers a monologue on fringe figures’ efforts to assert personal freedom in the face of “orthodoxy” and governmental and academic elites. Wolter asserts that the government has “stymied” his efforts to investigate, particularly at the Grand Canyon. Wolter also claims that the Smithsonian has tried to sabotage him by declaring the Bat Creek Stone a hoax on the very day that it arrived at the Cherokee museum on loan. “Don’t we as the American people just assume they’re doing things the right way, they have integrity?” Wolter sneers—and sneer is the correct description of his tone of voice. He calls the Smithsonian’s research methodology “B.S.” and calls mainstream researchers into the stone “academic hit guys” for the Smithsonian.
“This is a scam. This is a crime against our history, and I’m going to hold them accountable!” Wolter becomes very animated at this point and is clearly perturbed.
Church asks Wolter if he has been threatened by the Smithsonian, and Wolter admits that no one has threatened him and that the Smithsonian conspiracy is really only the work of “a few selected individuals” whose major crime is disagreeing with Scott Wolter’s conclusions. “My point is, I try to be respectful when people deserve the respect, but when they don’t, they’re going to hear about it.” He says that the percentage of academics who are “not doing their job” by suppressing the truth is “way higher” than it should be. Again, he seems to take disagreement with his conspiracy theories as evidence of a conspiracy against him and the truth, which are apparently for him the same.
Even Church notices that Wolter’s qualifying statements here contradict what he just finished saying about the Smithsonian as an institution suppressing the truth about the Bat Creek Stone, but despite raising the point, Church declines to follow it to its obvious conclusion.
After this, Wolter reviews some of his greatest hits from America Unearthed, adding nothing new.
When listeners start sending in their questions, things get weird. One question asked Wolter his opinion on the “one language” from before the Tower of Babel and whether it was spoken or psychic. Wolter says he doesn’t know, but I guess this implies that he believes in the Tower of Babel and a single world language. “I’m open to anything,” he says. Another listener says that after listening to Wolter, he now thinks that a gravestone he saw in Kentucky thirty or forty years ago, but admits to not remembering well, must have had a Hooked X® and be related to the Templar conspiracy. Wolter then talks about the Georgia Guidestones and various numerological conspiracies involving the fact that someone added a block labeled “2014” to the modern monument at the end of September, prompting conspiracy theorists to wonder if the population control protocols of the New World Order have been put into effect. Wolter thinks it’s a publicity stunt and a tourist-oriented cash grab, and he’s probably right.
The first phone call for Wolter is—of course—about giants, specifically the ones investigated on America Unearthed in its first season. The caller wants to know why “y’all didn’t just dig the bones up.” Wolter notes that digging up human remains is against the law in Minnesota and he implies that the state archaeologist was lying in wait to press charges against Wolter as part of a gleeful effort to suppress Wolter’s research. Wolter says that he has “to be careful” about what he says about the giants because “I got kind of aggressive” with the state archaeologist, who in turn has “stonewalled” Wolter’s efforts to find giants. Wolter further states that “the way they write these laws are (sic) very clever” and designed to suppress amateur research (i.e., looting). Despite claiming the laws are clever, he, of course, doesn’t know the relevant laws and wasn’t able to distinguish between federal law (NAGPRA), which does not apply to private property, and Minnesota state law, which does.
The next caller says he’s never watched Scott Wolter’s show but is convinced that the Smithsonian conspiracy to suppress Wolter’s work is related to the government conspiracy to suppress knowledge of “the extraterrestrial phenomenon” and academic efforts to suppress Bigfoot research and knowledge of the Jesuits’ efforts to colonize Japan in the Middle Ages (?). Wolter replies that academics aren’t able to speak freely about the dark forces that are threatening them into staying in line with the official story. Wolter states that it’s possible that there are “guys in black suits who go around” intimidating those who dissent from the orthodoxy. Except for Wolter, of course, who earlier said no one has threatened him. He then backs off on this and says that he doesn’t think this is likely happening.
Church returns to the idea of giants and also the Grand Canyon in order to discuss the Smithsonian conspiracy yet again. Wolter takes the question in a different direction and discusses the fantasies he and his friends share about what they would do if they found the Templar treasure, including the Ark of the Covenant, possibly in the Grand Canyon. “Who owns that?” he asks before speculating on the Ark’s “magical powers” and “unlimited energy.” He is worried that “the government” would exercise “eminent domain” on the Ark, which is wrong on two counts: Eminent domain refers to seizing private property for public use, and archaeological materials found on public land belong to the American people under longstanding U.S. law. Antiquities found on private land are a different story, and the laws vary by state.
Wolter says that he will not reveal any ancient treasures for fear that the government would take control of them. He says he would look at them and then reseal any burial chambers forever. “What are you going to do with it?” he asks. This reminds me of Erich von Däniken who famously said he was no longer interested in finding the library of alien wisdom he was so certain existed in Ecuador.
Wolter calls on the audience to put pressure on politicians to use their authority to open the Smithsonian archives, reveal the truth, etc. because we are an open country where information should be public. But in response to the next question he also says that the government has the right to keep some things secret to keep us safe. If the Ark has magic powers that Wolter fears to find, which category does it fall under?
He then promises that this season of America Unearthed will look at claims of Chinese visits to ancient America. He darkly hints that this might be the final season of America Unearthed (we can only hope!), though he says he would be honored if “they” (the H2 network) renew the series. He also says he’s writing a new book and has booked speaking engagements. He sounds, frankly, like someone preparing for the next stage of his fringe history career. If that’s the case, he needs better branding to differentiate himself from the TV show so that once it’s over he won’t fade as quickly as memory of the series.
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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