It’s that time of the year again: The Ancient Artifact Preservation Society has announced its lineup of speakers for one of the Midwest’s largest conferences of fringe historians. Would it surprise you to learn that once again this year Scott Wolter of the History Channel and H2 program America Unearthed has agreed to speak at the same conference as Frank Joseph, the former head of an infamous American Nazi Party and a convicted child predator? Wolter’s lecture topic has yet to be announced, but Joseph will be speaking about the Ice Ages and prehistoric civilizations he believes (pace Graham Hancock and Ignatius Donnelly) were destroyed at the end of the glacial period. No word on whether Joseph intends to link these to Thule, the imaginary Aryan homeland SS commander Heinrich Himmler vainly sought in the 1930s.
Wolter had previously announced that Frank Joseph’s name would not be mentioned on America Unearthed, even when the show explicitly adapted Joseph’s ideas, such the supposed “Phoenician” connection to a Chicago sculpture, a claim Joseph invented. Wolter has no problem appearing alongside Joseph year after year at the AAPS conference, and a few years ago he and Joseph even carpooled to the AAPS conference with Ancient American publisher Wayne May, who is the cohost of the event.
Christopher Dunn, the fringe author who believes the Great Pyramid was a power plant, and who appears frequently on Ancient Aliens, will also be on hand to present.
The conference is schedule to run October 9-11 at the Island Resort Casino and Convention Center near Escanaba, Michigan.
I hope the History Channel enjoys having its logo hovering over the face of Frank Joseph.
While I am on the subject of Frank Joseph, I also need to discuss Richard Flavin, who was the first person to identify the fringe history writer Frank Joseph as the ex-Neo-Nazi Frank Joseph Collin, and to document that Collin changed his name after his release from prison in order to start his new career as a fringe history author, later rising to editor of Mays’s Ancient American magazine, where he is still employed as a special correspondent. Flavin published his findings in 1997, and Frank Joseph has since told others privately that the information is correct. The details of Frank Collin’s Nazi career and subsequent child sex charges are well-known and have been in print for many years before Flavin linked them to Joseph. The History Channel even featured Collin in a documentary on American Nazis.
As some of you who are Facebook friends with me have already seen and have asked about, Flavin has been posting accusations on Facebook in response to my posts, accusing me of plagiarism for what he believes is my insufficient credit to him for writing about Joseph. (I have cited Flavin many times over the years.) Flavin asserts that the identification of Joseph with Collin is his intellectual property and that it is plagiarism to identify Joseph as Collin, or to discuss Collin’s biography, without crediting Flavin. He further asserts that my April 29, 2014 blog post on “Fringe History’s Frank Joseph Problem” was entirely copied from his own work, despite it sharing nothing in common with his articles on Joseph except for the link between Joseph and Collin and the bald facts of Collin’s life, which are readily accessible from many sources, including Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database (!). “All work was done by me, yet I’m not mentioned,” Flavin wrote to me on July 25. “Teachers run software to detect students stealing others’ work… Shall I run that same test on your article?”
In 2014, Flavin commented on that very blog post and did not mention his upset or concern, waiting 15 months to accuse me of stealing his work. The blog post in question contains material I researched myself, including my communications with Rosen Publishing, one of Joseph’s publishers, as well as my own research into which fringe authors have worked with Joseph, gathered from Joseph’s own books.
Plagiarism is a very serious accusation, but merely citing well-known facts (even if a particular person helped make them well-known) is not the same as plagiarism. My blog post is different in information, organization, theme, content, and presentation from anything Flavin has written. As happy as I am to credit him (as I have done on the past) for his work in exposing Joseph, at this point, nearly two decades later, the mere fact that Frank Collins and Frank Joseph are the same person is not proprietary information.
Update: Late this evening, Richard Flavin announced on Facebook that he is starting treatment for a serious illness and was advised by his doctors to put his affairs in order. I of course wish him the best in his treatment.
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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