The brain trust over at A+E Networks revoked my journalistic credentials overnight and locked me out of their press site. Apparently it took them more than a week to realize that they still don’t like me. It’s good to know that their grand plan to generate better publicity for their programs is to exact petty vengeance. I’m sure that will make for kinder reviews of their upcoming slate of pseudoscience shows on the History and H2 networks, which kicks off with a week of outrageousness, starting with new Ancient Aliens on October 31, the return of The Curse of Oak Island and the premiere of Search for the Lost Giants on November 2, and the season premiere of America Unearthed on November 8.
So in honor of A+E Networks’ dedication to making sure Search for the Lost Giants will premiere without a preview on this site, I thought I’d discuss some of the highlights of “giant” scholarship over the next week as we move toward the show’s premiere.
Today, let’s examine the work of William A. Hinson, who last year published Discovering Ancient Giants (Seaburn, 2013), one of many works in the field of gigantology. Hinson says he is a public school history teacher in South Carolina who has devoted years to collecting accounts of the discovery of giant skeletons. Of course Hinson ties the giants to the Nephilim and the Anunnaki. It’s a bit bizarre though that Hinson bases his interpretation of the giants on the 1971 Living Bible, which was a paraphrase rather than a direct translation by Kenneth Taylor.
Hinson quotes Taylor’s paraphrase of Genesis 6:1-6 as his starting point. For comparison, I give the NIV on the right in parallel:
There’s something refreshingly honest about just giving up entirely and using a paraphrase, especially when the author is a history teacher! He also has some choice words for the Greek pantheon: “To the last one [the Greek gods] were violent, wanton, lustful, and promiscuous beyond restraint. They constantly engaged in sex orgies and seduction, and produced the strangest offspring.”
For Hinson, the Greek gods were demons, and the giants were the semi-demonic offspring of demons and human women. Yet he is also influenced by ancient astronaut theories, for he refers to the demons as “extraterrestrials” on more than one occasion, even while locating them in the realm of Biblical prophecy: “We are fast approaching a new period of God’s wrath. The return of these super creatures may even now be a threat to us.”
Hinson, almost by definition, has absorbed a wide variety of fringe history ideas and has woven them into an eccentrically literal view of Christian apocalyptic thinking. He also has more than a little racism woven into his ideas. For example, he recognizes a lost race of Mound Builders, and he distinguishes them from—and I am not making this up—“the red man.” Here I am not entirely sure what to make of the weird racial terminology, for the passage is a plagiarism from a nineteenth century text that he partially rewrote but left the racial language to stand. On the left is Hinson’s version, which is cited to the book quoted at right, but without quotation marks or block quotes to indicate direct borrowing:
To judge by the introduction to his book, Hinson must be a relentless plagiarist. The very next paragraph is yet another plagiarism, though with spelling errors:
And the whole thing, in turn, is a close paraphrase of material appearing in the main text and footnote to pages 418-419 of Harold T. Wilkins’s Secret Cities of Old South America (1952).
Hinson also published a book about Freemasonry and New World Order conspiracies. According to a 2013 press release, Hinson had a range of books planned for 2013 and 2014, which included Castle Werfenstein: The Wonder Women of Vril, The Anunnaki Guidebook: The Sumerian Gods Are the Greek Gods, and Iverson's Pits: 60 Confederates Who Bagged 500 Yankees. I find it difficult not to conclude that there is a connection between Hinson’s biblical literalism, apocalyptic condemnation of sexuality, adoption of the Mound Builder myth, and Confederate pride. None of the planned books appears to have been published.
I feel sorry for Hinson’s students in South Carolina. They do not deserve to be taught by a history teacher who seems unwilling to engage in careful historiography, nor an educator who is seemingly a plagiarist.
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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