UFO Author Kevin D. Randle Says "America Unearthed" Makes Him Think the Smithsonian Is Suppressing Truth
America Unearthed strikes again! Prolific UFO author Dr. Kevin D. Randle, a retired U.S. Army veteran and Ph.D., watched his first ever episode of America Unearthed last week and became convinced as a result that the Smithsonian Institution is conspiring to suppress the real history of America. Although this conspiracy theory emerged only in 1993 as a result of David Childress’s misunderstandings and uncritical mystery-mongering, it is now a touchstone of fringe history conspiracy culture. The idea keeps reproducing as one uncritical conspiracy theorist after the next picks it up from earlier conspiracy works.
Randle bills himself as one of the world’s leading experts on the Roswell UFO crash of 1947. He claims to be one of the most skeptical UFO believers, dismissing most UFO sightings for lack of evidence, and most alien abductions as the influence of hypnotists. He has been studying UFOs for more than 40 years and was among the first to investigate so-called cattle mutilations.
Despite his self-described critical thinking and skepticism, Randle was already open to the idea of hyperdiffusionism before he watched the program. He already believed, for example, that the Chinese discovered Oregon before Columbus, that the Clovis people were European, and that Solutreans from southern France settled in Florida 20,000 years ago (though he mistakenly says 2,000). Since he already was in so much agreement with so much of what America Unearthed puts out, it isn’t hard to see how he could easily conclude that Scott Wolter must be right about the Smithsonian, too, when Wolter claimed that a woman who discovered (almost certainly fake) Viking rune stones should not send them to the Smithsonian because the museum would suppress them.
That set me to thinking. How many other discoveries, how much other evidence has been submitted in good faith only to be hidden away by those who believe they know best? How much evidence has disappeared into classified files, been buried deep in an archives, how much has vanished into files and locations that are misnamed, and how many documents have been destroyed to keep those secrets?
Here Randle is connecting Wolter’s distrust of the Smithsonian with his own “work,” which focuses on UFO conspiracies and his belief that the government is suppressing information about flying saucers. One of his books is titled The Government UFO Files: The Conspiracy of Cover-Up. It is hardly a stretch to see how he has transferred one conspiracy belief into a different area.
Randle, however, has obviously done even less homework on the matter before publishing his speculations than even David Childress had done, for he sees as a “precedent” to the conspiracy the so-called Bone Wars between Edward Drinker Cope of the Academy of Natural History and O. C. Marsh of the Peabody in the late nineteenth century, in which the two competed and sometimes stole from one another to furnish their respective museums with fossils. Randle misunderstands the 1800s as the “eighteenth century” and claims that the U.S. government seized Marsh’s fossils. “Ahh, nothing like having the federal government getting involved in science research and determining who would be the recipient of their generosity.”
This is only partially true.
Marsh collected fossils with government funds as part of the U.S. Geological Survey, which was and is a government organization. His nemesis, Cope, collected dossier of salacious material on Marsh and had it printed in the New York Herald, which resulted in a Congressional investigation of Marsh for misuse of government funds. Congress terminated the Survey’s paleontology program, and after Marsh was fired from the Survey the Smithsonian demanded that fossils collected with government money be turned over to the museum. While Randle says that the government “confiscated” Marsh’s fossils, they in fact remained with him until his death a few years later in 1899, at which point, in accordance with his will, they were divided between the Smithsonian and the Peabody. In theory, those acquired under government contract went to the Smithsonian and the rest to the Peabody, though as I understand it the records aren’t detailed enough to know if that worked out exactly right.
But all of this isn’t really a “precedent” for Smithsonian suppression of knowledge since (a) the fossils were not suppressed and (b) according to Smithsonian conspiracy theorists, the museum has been suppressing history since at least Cyrus Thomas’s 1892 conclusion that Native Americans rather than a lost white race built the earthen mounds of the eastern United States. But why attribute to financial concerns and legal title events that are more intriguing when couched in the language of conspiracy?
This all was sparked simply by the suggestion that had the Viking runes been donated to the Smithsonian, they might have disappeared into the basement. Maybe the Smithsonian would have put the runes into a public display. I don’t know. I just thought it an interesting observation by a fellow who had worked with the Smithsonian in the past. I thought of it as an interesting way of hiding alternative history without having to deal with the problems such history caused. I thought of it as a way of maintaining written history as we all have been taught it was rather than updating it when we learn something new.
The illogic of Randle’s ideas is made plain by the contradiction between his belief that the powers that be want to suppress paradigm-shaking discoveries at the end of a blog post in which he began by saying that “I believe that the Vikings reached Canada… that evidence seems to be solid.” And where did that evidence come from? Why was it not suppressed? That he places this alongside the Solutrean hypothesis and lost Chinese voyages as a “belief” suggests that he has little background in historiography outside of fringe history sources.
Special thanks to Graham Donald for calling this story to my attention.
After this post ran, Kevin Randle contacted me by email to request corrections because he felt that I had misrepresented his views. He would like my readers to know the following:
As always, I regret the errors.
6/25/2014 05:48:15 am
From what I've read on his blog, he has the typical UFOlogist veneer of logic & rational thought - very little of it stands up to honest criticism or refutation. He also hocks his wares on Science's (I wonder if that channel needs scare quotes yet) "Close Encounters" show. I think you may have reviewed it previously, at least in passing...it's the latest one to retell "classic" UFO stories with *heavily* CGI'ed reenactments. I mean "Oh, you say they saw "a light" above the road? Let's go ahead and make it 30 yards across, bright silver, and obviously an alien pew pew ship" kind of revision.
6/25/2014 07:20:43 am
>>>once you open yourself up to one of these stupid ideas, you lose the ability to shut the door on the others.<<<
6/25/2014 05:55:19 am
Aww, yis, da Smithsonian is SO adamant in suppressing history, it allowed the Eastern Band of the Cherokee to use the Bat Creek Stone as part of an exhibit! Nothing says suppression like hiding such an artifact *in plain sight*.
6/25/2014 07:13:30 am
In regards to the inconceivability of lost records & what not...I'm sure I've seen this here at Jason's blog, as well as other places...but basically there's a theory that intrinsically we, as humans, are "programmed" to seek equality between cause and effect. When the cause doesn't seem to match the event, conspiracy theories arise. The case-in-point was the JFK assassination - people couldn't, again at least in theory, accept that a great (or at least popular) President could be cast down by an obnoxious loner with an infatuation with Communism and a dime-store rifle. No, no, JFK was so amazing that clearly there *had* to be some massive clockwork machine behind the whole affair!
6/25/2014 07:56:00 am
Priceless. Just priceless. I give it two thumbs way up!
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
6/25/2014 08:15:57 am
Exactly. People want to see patterns everywhere and ignore Hanlon's razor. Although in the case of the Kennedy assassination, I think what really puts it over the top is Oswald's assassination and Jack Ruby's subsequent suicide. That looks an awful lot like a conspiratorial cover-up, even if that's not what it was. Ruby's mob connections compound the issue. Oswald's death used to be the one thing that made me suspect something bigger was going on, although I've always mocked the more outlandish theories and have never assumed any one hypothesis was definitive.
6/25/2014 03:05:49 pm
Jack Ruby did not commit suicide.
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
6/25/2014 03:27:21 pm
Well, damn, I'm ignorant. Sorry about that.
6/30/2014 02:31:33 pm
the Warren Report had its flaws. the recent NOVA episode
terry the censor
6/25/2014 02:27:45 pm
I am disappointed in Randle's credulity. He has been burned in the past by false claims and shaky methods -- he should know better, or at least know enough not to publish on subjects he hasn't researched.
6/26/2014 06:58:40 am
A proposed future blog heading taking a realistic look at the RFK conspiratorial murder will open the minds of many here, not pervert them.
An Over-Educated Grunt
6/26/2014 07:16:42 am
While Jason's background is in journalism, he's said many times he's not interested in modern conspiracy theories or ufology. An RFK-themed blog entry seems exceptionally unlikely.
terry the censor
6/26/2014 08:24:49 am
Gunn, there's big difference between skepticism of claims, which is premised on reasonable doubt of the evidence and arguments, and conspiracy thinking, which is an a priori denial of claims.
6/26/2014 02:05:52 pm
From the exact same evidence, Gunn, that you have presented, I reached a slightly different conclusion: not that Sirhan did it, but that one of the guards did. I can't conclude that the mob was even involved, or that there was a conspiracy before the murder. I only concluded that there was a cover-up after the murder. Mind, I can't rule out mob involvement, either; I just have yet to see evidence that either of the guards was connected to the mob. I admit to not having looked deeply into it, so I'm certainly open to there BEING such a connection.
6/26/2014 11:53:08 pm
Sirhan Sirhan's diary found during a search of his home stated, "My determination to eliminate RFK is becoming more and more of an unshakable obsession. RFK must die. RFK must be killed. Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated..... Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June 68."
6/27/2014 12:02:05 am
Edward Sanders, "America: A History in Verse, Volume 3 1962-1970", page 267 (Black Sparrow Books, 2004)
7/2/2014 08:19:44 am
Thanks Gunn...glad someone here said it. The idea that "if it's a conspiracy theory then it can't be true" is going too far in the other direction from the equilibrium of true unbiased reasoning....more often than not, it's the ego that does the reasoning, as may be evident in this thread. I saw someone say that "conspiracists already KNOW the truth". Funny thing that this same attitude is widely shared among skeptics all too often. Spouting off their opinions with little to no real knowledge of what it is they are talking about. I've seen this time and time again with Roswell, etc. over the years. They go out and gather those pieces that support their opinion but NEVER look at the evidence that does not. Do I believe there is a conspiracy to hide evidence of ET's in the Roswell case? YES. Is there evidence for such a belief? YES. Trouble is that opinions are dime a dozen yet real research is terribly rare.
6/26/2014 05:46:48 pm
To start, I have no desire to flood this thread with a debate on modern conspiracy theories, but since the RFK assassination has been brought up before, I'd like to offer only my own opinion on it and conspiracy theory, in general.
6/26/2014 11:45:03 pm
You were right, You should have held back your desire to comment on modern day conspiracy theories.
6/27/2014 07:13:46 am
When you have your own blog, then you can dictate which topics are up for discussion.
6/27/2014 02:21:02 am
The conspiracist believes his work so important and earthshaking that the government has to move against him to keep the public from becoming enlightened to his truth- setting up in himself a hero-myth of the unshakable will of a righteous man to achieve all goals. Yet a single man, just as convicted and probably more resourceful, cannot kill another in the street in broad daylight, or in a hotel kitchen, because the government is too powerful to be so easily penetrated?
6/27/2014 12:19:19 am
Randle's "The Roswell Encyclopedia" (2000) is without any footnotes or references, and does not have a bibliography
6/27/2014 06:25:23 am
The nasty tone of this article puzzles me. Snide remarks, scare quotes and rancor just don't read well, unless those are traits you prize. While the subject matter of this blog is something I would normally seek out, I feel this is a place best avoided.
6/27/2014 12:15:21 pm
Randle is sceptical about MJ-12 and the Santilli film footage
6/28/2014 01:20:30 am
Ah tone trolling. If you can't deal with the substance of a piece whine about its alleged tone. Frankly I do not find Jason's tone to be terribly snide, rude or full of rancor, but perhaps anything less than then absolute neutrality is just terrible.
6/28/2014 01:49:20 am
Promoters of Flying Saucers always either suppress or twist facts in order to present their case. Here lies their weakness.
7/3/2014 05:14:19 am
I think I heard somewhere that Jack Ruby killed Oswald because he wanted to kill the man who killed JFK...
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