I get a lot of strange mail, often from people who have formed a strong attachment to a particular fringe figure they follow on TV (what communication theorists call a parasympathetic relationship) and have become quite defensive of that person. Today was the first time I’ve ever gotten an angry letter from someone incensed that I applied literary analysis to the work of a long-dead fringe theorist. A fellow named Bob Newton, who goes by the sobriquet “the Rogue Researcher,” wrote me a vulgar and somewhat threatening email promising to investigate me and “strip that façade down around your pompous ass” because I had suggested in 2013 that James Churchward, who died in 1936, had borrowed themes and leitmotifs from Helena Blavatsky in the creation of his lost continent of Mu on the model of Blavatsky’s Atlantis and Lemuria.
Man this article really sucks and it looks like you haven't done any research other that what someone told you. (Or you read it on a bathroom wall) I knew from previous conversations you were a bit off in the head but this one proves it. You need to stick to writing about something you know something about and from what I have read from you ,,,, you actually don't know anything. Well you do know how to write False information and stir up a bunch of lies and bull shit on people. Suggesting Churchward copied Blavatsky....
In the original 2013 blog post, I had traced the origins of Churchward’s ideas to their literary roots. For example, his Naacal tablets originated in Augustus Le Plongeon’s assertion that the priestly elite of the Maya were called Naacal, and the lost continent of Mu takes its name from Le Plongeon’s fictional Atlantean queen of the Maya, Móo. I also noted that Churchward’s almost certainly fictitious account of finding the Naacal tablets in India (later moved to Tibet), in a secret repository and miraculously translating them from an unknown prehistoric language was a close parallel to Helena Blavatsky’s claims for how she discovered and translated the Stanzas of Dzyan the same way. I finished by presenting evidence from Churchward’s own writings that he was familiar with Blavatsky’s account and actively sought to discredit it. I compared the accounts on the basis of their thematic and structural similarity and offered a disclaimer: “I can’t confirm that Churchward was directly copying Blavatsky.” Indeed, both authors’ stories are very similar to Joseph Smith’s account of finding lost ancient texts in upstate New York and then translating the Book of Mormon through magic.
So why would Bob Newton be upset about this? As it turns out, he’s a true believer in Mu and is working to harmonize root races, Muvians, and the growing fringe history consensus that the suspected comet impact at the start of the Younger Dryas destroyed a lost civilization. Obviously, if you assume Mu existed, then you will be upset at the idea of drawing literary parallels between Churchward and what I presume to be his sources. He really shouldn’t be that upset since Newton’s own idea of Mu is no longer closely connected to Churchward’s; according to an August radio appearance, he now believes that all of Pleistocene Earth was Mu, so he is essentially just applying the name to Graham Hancock’s Atlantis-like, comet-destroyed culture.
Newton concluded his email by offering me additional information “before you come after me,” presumably so I would write about him to help promote his new book and online radio presence, neither of which I will name here. He also asserted that my “claim” to be an “author” is false. “You are kidding me correct? (sic).”
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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