The Curse of Oak Island had its season (and possibly series) finale last night, and after big promises about a major discovery, nothing much happened. The team found some colonial era materials, including a gold button, and that was that. No evidence of pre-Columbian expeditions came to light, and with that my interest faded to nothing. It’s what I expected. A real discovery would have prompted news coverage long ago. Such is life.
I am not particularly thrilled about having to discuss today’s topic, but I think it’s important to have something in the record for when it comes back to bite me later. A few days ago a man named Robert Burke contacted me. He was the Libertarian Party candidate for Wisconsin governor in the 2014 election and a 2016 House race, and he told me that he was writing a book. “I am working on a book and you have popped up in my research now a few times. I was wondering if you might have 15 minutes for a short interview,” he said. He told me that the book would look into the culture of the UFO disclosure movement.
I agreed to speak with him, and I called him on Monday afternoon. Burke worked in marketing communications and never asked that the interview be off the record. Consequently, I feel it is important to share it. He told me that he had read some of my blog posts and was impressed with the depth and quality of my research. He then proceeded to ask me questions about my impressions of a number of figures in the UFO, ancient aliens, and ancient mysteries fields. I shared with him my impressions, and I said nothing that I haven’t already put in print here on my blog, namely that many in the field speak without or beyond the evidence, that they complain about oppression despite having platforms with major publishers and TV networks, and that they cast themselves as victims despite many of them making massive amounts of money from a variety of revenue streams. I also mentioned that ufology is not my area of specialization and that I focus mostly on ancient history and archaeological questions.
Burke came across as a pleasant enough person, though some of his questions baffled me a bit, particularly his interest in something called the “plasma universe” theory, which I had never heard of. It is apparently a kind of speculative cosmology that suggests that plasma plays a major role in governing the physics of the universe. Burke seemed to see this as connected to the plasma flare hypothesis Robert Schoch offered to explain the end of the last Ice Age.
Anyway, I had assumed that this was, as Burke had suggested, a conversation to generate some ideas for his upcoming book. I didn’t think much of this until this morning when Burke sent me a message via Facebook to accuse me of being a government disinformation agent and suggesting that my blog posts are written for me by forces unknown in order to deceive the public. He even accused me of being “very crafty” in denying knowledge of plasma cosmology despite the fact that my 2005 book The Cult of Alien Gods contains a picture of a nebula, which has some connection or another to plasma.
His major complaint, however, is that when we spoke he felt I was being dishonest in telling him that I did not remember the content of a podcast interview that occultist Peter Levenda gave to Jason McClellan et al. back in December. That was almost three months ago, and while I recall the passage I quoted on my blog, the rest of it, being of no use or relevance to me, passed into the void, along with the hundreds of hours of audio and video I consume each month. I write about 400,000 words per year on this blog, another 100,000 in other published projects most years, and 500,000 or more in my regular freelance work. If you think I can recall not just all of that but also all of the research it was based on without notice and on demand, you have another thing coming. But that wasn’t sufficient for Burke, who felt that I should have ready recall of the specific material that interests him (even if it isn’t important to me):
No one else in the universe paid Levenda’s interview with McClellen even a wink. Zero. I couldn’t even find it with a search engine. Either you would have to be watching Jason McClellen's interviews (in which case you could legitimately recall both his name and even a piece of the interview and blog) or this was constructed for you.
Nope. I just didn’t care because it made very little impression on me. It’s like trying to recall who won Jeopardy! three months ago. You probably knew it right when it happened, might have a vague memory the next week, but by now it’s just a blur.
“No one is putting out the level of incorrect information at your pace,” Burke added. His definition of incorrect information is more accurately information that disagrees with me.
Anyway, the reason I bring all of this up is because Burke seems to see me as an important part of the story he is telling in his book. He previewed it for me:
Like I said, there is a small probability you are just a skeptic. Small. I don’t sense you are emotionally driven in your thinking which causes the disconnect. My book has not been about aliens. It is about disclosure and the elements that went into making it happen. At the tip of the spear debunking the work is you.
So, I learned a few things: (a) The Libertarian Party vetting process is not particularly stringent. (b) I need to stop trying to help people with their research. (c) … Well, I had best not say.
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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