Today I have some disconnected odds and ends to share.
Yesterday I reported on Newsweek’s “special edition” going inside the world of secret societies, and I discussed how slipshod and crappy the content was. I also mentioned that Newsweek’s ancient rival, Time, is also in the business of producing sensationalized supermarket checkout “special editions.” Well, what should I discover when I went to the supermarket this morning but that Time does in fact have an identical “special edition” under its Life brand! It’s another magazine about “secret societies” and promises the exact same revelations. This was too bizarre to be a coincidence, and upon further investigation it appears that the Life edition was first published in 2012 and was rushed back to store shelves to compete with the Newsweek version. What a “win” for readers!
Ancient Aliens viewers seem to have finally discovered that the series is now airing new episodes on the History Channel rather than H2. The ratings for Friday’s episode are in, and 1.382 million viewers watched the program at 9:00 PM, nearly rivaling the 1.430 million who watched Bering Sea Gold on the Discovery Channel at the same time. While that might seem like a dramatic turnaround for the show, Ancient Aliens drew just 300,000 viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, compared to 400,000 for Bering Sea Gold. The amazing thing is that Ancient Aliens attracts nearly the same audience no matter what day or time it airs.
Meanwhile, I received an unusual email yesterday from a woman who claims that she and her husband have signed a contract to produce a documentary for the History Channel about the Dare Stones, the twentieth century hoax inscriptions that purported to show the final whereabouts of the lost colony of Roanoke in Georgia. One might think that History had had enough of the Dare Stones, especially after Scott Wolter discussed them on America Unearthed, spawning one of the series’ most hostile and aggressive confrontations. But that isn’t enough, I guess. No fringe theory, no matter how ridiculous, is ever dead enough for the History Channel not to cycle through it every couple of years.
I’m withholding the woman’s name for now because I haven’t been able to confirm any of the details. The woman accused me of stealing her research in reviewing that episode of America Unearthed (she felt she was responsible for “90%” of the review and that she deserved credit for the historical background I derived from a 1941 Saturday Evening Post article and Brown’s Guide to Georgia, my acknowledged sources), and then she asked me to appear on the show because the show needs a “skeptic.” I’d never heard of the woman, but from I was able to gather she seems to be legitimate; however, I told her to have a producer or executive producer contact me since I have no way of knowing who is really behind the email. I have a hard time imagining this will be going forward.
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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