Dropa Dopiness Debunked

Back in March I had blogged about the Dropa Stones, another insipid argument for ancient astronauts. Supposedly these stones, discovered on the Tibet/China border, contained “etchings” that told the sad tale of marooned extraterrestrials. That earlier post directed readers to a worthwhile discussion of the stones on the Bad Archaeology website.

Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog recently produced another worthwhile debunking of these alleged ancient alien artifacts. Johnson’s post references the Bad Archaeology post but goes beyond its rebuttal with respect to several aspects of the tale.

Truth be told, the Dropa Stone story is a contrivance across the board, one full of unverifiable details, like studies performed on the stones, museums supposedly involved, etc. It’s hearsay on steroids.

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Extraterrestrial Hippies? New Research on Egyptian Technology Tries to Get Noticed Online

A few days Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) posted a link online to an article entitled, “Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment.” Ancient astronaut believers (and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ hairdresser) no doubt saw the title and got pretty excited about the possibilities.

Sounds startling, doesn’t it? The word “elements” conjures up mental imagery about physics, metallurgy, and “space age” technological knowledge on the part of the Egyptians. It’s nice titling if you want to generate hits online. At least someone working at BAR isn’t a crusty field archaeologist in their seventies. But when you actually read the article you’ll find out it’s about iron beads.

You read that correctly. Beads.

The focus of the essay is about the extraterrestrial source of the iron in certain Egyptian beads. No, the iron didn’t come from a UFO crash, or alien gods trading advanced material in exchange for . . . something. Rather, the iron came from meteorites.

Rocks that the Egyptians saw fall from space, not intelligent visitors from space. But still interesting.

 

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Mike Heiser Lecturing on PaleoBabble and Ancient Alien Myths in Nashville

Just thought I’d let everyone know that I’ll be speaking in Nashville, TN this coming October at the second “Christian Symposium on Aliens” – otherwise known as Ancient of Days 2013. The event is scheduled for October 3-6. I’ve been assigned two lectures that will occur on Friday, Oct 4:

“The Divine Council, Giants, and a Return of the Nephilim?” (please note the question mark)

“Paleobabble! The Role of Pseudo-Science and Bad Theology in Today’s Popularized Alien Mythos”

I’ll also be participating in a lengthy symposium and Q & A sessions on Sunday, Oct 6. I’ll come up with abstracts a little later and post those. Here’s the schedule as it stands now.

I’m not promising anything, but I’ve alerted the organizer, Guy Malone, that at my present writing rate, the first full draft of The Portent, the sequel to my paranormal / theological thriller, The Facade, should be in the can by the end of summer. That means it’ll be in the editorial stage at the time of this event. That in turn would mean (again, this is all guesswork) that the sequel would be ready for Christmas. If things follow this scenario, I’m considering the idea of taking pre-orders at this event for signed copies of The Portent. (I haven’t talked to the publisher about that yet, but it’s on my radar). This is the only event I have scheduled for the fall, so if such a pre-order offering emerges, Ancient of Days 2013 is the only place it’s going to happen.

Stay tuned.

 

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Moving the Stones at Baalbek: No Aliens Needed

I can second Jason Colavito’s thoughts on Aaron Adair’s recent post on the very human technology used to move the trilithon stones at Baalbek (and other such stones at other locations). It’s a very good post and, for critical thinkers at least, lays to rest the myths about alien participation at Baalbek.

 

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Chariots of the Frauds: The Real Erich von Daniken

Kudos are once again in order for Jason Colavito for his review of the Ancient Aliens episode entitled “The Legacy of von Daniken.” As part of his review, Jason summarizes some of the material that can be found in his book The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft And Extraterrestrial Pop Culture. That book demonstrates that von Daniken is a person of low moral character and little intellectual originality. In a nutshell,  he’s a clever crook. Sound harsh? He has the prison record to prove it. Here’s an excerpt from Jason’s essay:

Erich Anton Paul von Däniken was born in Switzerland in 1935, raised a strict Catholic, and in Catholic school developed an interest in UFOs, like many youths in the early 1950s. He had a criminal record. He was convicted of theft when he was 19, and he left school to become a hotelier. He was convicted of embezzlement after leaving that job. He took another hotel position, and he stole money there, too, by falsifying records in order to obtain tens of thousands in fraudulent loans to finance his interest in space aliens and what the court later called his “playboy lifestyle.” The court psychiatrist declared him a pathological liar. Eventually, he would be convicted of embezzlement and fraud yet again, serving a year in prison.

In 1960, two French authors who were interested in the occult, Nazis, UFOs, and H. P. Lovecraft put out a book called Morning of the Magicians in which they tried to show that Lovecraft’s vision of ancient astronauts could be correlated to the “occult” truths of Theosophy and the UFO movement. Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels put together the entire case for ancient astronauts as we currently know it—from the claims about ancient atom bombs to the claims about “impossibly” precise and heavy stone architecture. Their book inspired several by Robert Charroux, who presented Bergier’s and Pauwel’s discursive, disorganized ideas in a more popular and readable format.

In 1964, von Däniken simply appropriated this material wholesale for a magazine article, and on the strength of the magazine article, he received a book deal for what became Chariots of the Gods … 

I’ve blogged about von Daniken’s history of deceit before. Readers might recall this telling post to which I linked maybe moons ago, where von Daniken is caught on video acknowledging making up his “evidence” and admits to Playboy Magazine that he contrived the material for the literary fabrication that made him rich.1

I have Jason’s book and recommend it to everyone who’s actually interested in the truth behind the intellectually bankrupt thing called the ancient astronaut theory. To whet your appetite, click through and read Jason’s post.

Postscript

As a side note to Jason’s post, readers will note that he references “America’s Book of Secrets,” a show on the History Channel 2.  I was contacted maybe a year ago – too lazy to look right now – about being on that show. I’m guessing now, in the wake of Jason’s post, that their interest was in regard to ancient astronauts. This isn’t new. I’ve also been contacted in the past about appearing in Ancient Aliens. My response, as it always is, was to send a link to whoever emailed me describing my account of how the History Channel censored my interview in 2003 for a “UFOs in the Bible” show, which was long before Ancient Aliens. That usually gets me dropped from consideration, which is fine with me (read the post and you’ll understand). That “America’s Book of Secrets” would put out another “love fest” (Jason’s words – and he reviewed that episode as well) for ancient astronaut nonsense is yet another testament to prove that the History Channel is not interested in objective programming. They don’t want any sort of critical material included in their “investigation” of ancient aliens. It’s about viewership and money, pure and simple. If peddling deception makes them cash, then that’s what matters.

  1. A full scan of the Playboy article can be found here.

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Ancient Aliens Debunked: Some Impressions on the Documentary

I just finished watching the whole (free) three-hour Ancient Aliens Debunked movie on YouTube. Took me quite a while, as it’s hard to find three hours of free time. But it was worth the here-and-there effort. I’m not going to write a full review, just share impressions.

I’ll start with some mild criticisms. There were a few points where I would have aid things differently, or added a different perspective, that would have taken a different trajectory than the director (Chris White). One was the nephilim segment toward the end. While filming there were things I added that got edited out. But so what? It wasn’t not my film (and any film I’d make would be unwatchable). There was also one place where Giorgio Tsoukalos has ”Moses” being shown the “roundness of earth” by God in an effort to (I guess – it’s hard to tell what Giorgio is thinking sometimes) say Moses went to space or something. This “verse” is not in any translation I can find, and I’ve done software searches through dozens of them. Giorgio (like his mentor Zecharia Sitchin) gave no actual verse reference. Moses was never vaulted above the earth in the Bible. Basically, he made this up. Christ should have called him out on that, but didn’t. Lastly, Chris should have credited Jason Colavito more prominently. Jason has done a lot of work in this area, and it’s all good stuff.

All in all, though, this is a terrific video. Chris did a lot of research for this and was able to make it digestible to the average viewer. He also (unlike the Ancient Aliens crowd) makes his sources accessible and gives actual citations of ancient texts.

I’d only seen a few pieces of Ancient Aliens on TV. I don’t watch much TV as it is, and spending any of my valuable time on that would be a true waste of time. Having seen a good number of scenes now via the Ancient Aliens Debunked documentary, I know that decision was the right one. This documentary demonstrates that the Ancient Aliens material is not only pseudo-scholarship, but borders on the simply stupid. The researchers presented on the show (I speak here of the people presented as authorities: David Hatcher Childress, Jason Martell, Erich von Daniken, etc.1) are some of the poorest thinkers I’ve ever heard. It’s disturbing that so many people can be persuaded by “researchers” who can’t apply simple rules of coherent thought or logic to what they do. The claims are absurd, and their defense is inept. Katy Perry thinks Ancient Aliens is “thought-provoking,” so here’s a suggestion: cast her as a researcher in future episodes. None of the present ones are any smarter. She’d at least be easier on the eyes.

Those who had a hand in making the series are even more blameworthy for the deceptive nature of the material. I lost count of the times when Tsoukalos would talk about “ancient texts” with visuals of some odd artifact or wall painting appearing, creating the impression that those artifacts SAY what the narrator is claiming, as though they were inscribed with the words. This is sheer dishonesty that goes beyond ineptitude. The textbook example is the Anunnaki material. The images of winged creatures and reptoid artifacts used to talk about the Anunnaki have nothing to do with them. They either come with no text at all (like those from the Ubaid period in Sumer) or texts near the images (the “winged men”) are well known and contain no content at all about the Anunnaki (and originated centuries after Sumerian culture had died out). The show repeatedly deceives the viewer in these ways. It’s about milking the audience for cash in DVD purchases.

I’ve often said that NONE of the ancient astronaut “evidence” is persuasive to anyone in the relevant fields. It is only persuasive to amateurs, people who don’t know the material. Chris White has demonstrated how the Ancient Aliens’ series claims are easily overturned and shown to be the nonsense they are with a little bit of serious research.

 

  1. I’m excluding people presented as curious inquirers brought into the show for variety and interest. Curiosity and asking questions are virtues. It’s just too bad people often base their beliefs on material that is demonstrably wrong because they depend on “researchers” instead of real scholarship.

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Guess the Title of the Sequel to The Facade and Win

Yesterday I announced that a special edition of The Façade is being released. You can get it for 25% off from Vyrso. Along with some never-before-seen bonus content, the special edition includes the first five chapters of the sequel.

So what is the title of the sequel?

Use the hints below and post your guess in the comments section for a chance to win a free copy of The FaçadeSpecial Edition.

The sequel title has two words. The first is “the” so you’re half way there. For those who have access to the normal edition of the book as it’s been sold to this point,  the second word of the sequel title can be found somewhere in chapter 66. The word occurs only once in the chapter (its only occurrence in the entire book).

Be the first to guess correctly and you’ll win a free copy of The Façade: Special Edition from Kirkdale Press and Vyrso. Post your guess in the comments!

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Pre-Order the Special Edition of the Facade and Get a Sneak Peek at the Sequel

Today marks the release for pre-order of the special edition of my paranormal-supernatural thriller, The Façade. The novel includes some ancient astronaut threads, and the sequel will pick up them as well. The special edition published by Kirkdale Press contains some great bonus content:

  • Behind The Façade: A look into how and why I wrote The Façade.
  • Resources for Further Study: An annotated bibliographic guide to the government documents, covert military programs, religious ideas, and UFO controversies that are part of the plot of The Façade.
  • The first five chapters of the highly-anticipated sequel!

The special edition is freshly edited and formatted for your ereader, mobile phone, tablet, and computer. Click here for a synopsis. Readers get 25% off when they pre-order it on Vyrso.

I’ll be revealing a hint about the sequel’s title tomorrow on the blog. Be the first to guess correctly and you’ll get a free copy of The Façade: Special Edition.

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Doodling and Chicken Scratch of the Gods

It’s been a while since I posted anything about the Nazca lines. Fortunately, some thoughtful material has appeared this year online that I thought worth sharing (translation: the analyses at the links below didn’t come from the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series).

The Archaeological Fantasies blog recently posted two items on the Nazca Lines (no idea why the author varies the Nazca spelling):

Between the Nazca Lines: Evidence vs. “I Wanna Believe”

Between the Nasca Lines: What are the Nasca Lines?

The essays are interesting and informative. Producing these symbols on the ground does not take high alien technology or alien foremen guiding the primitives from above in a UFO (see the first post — Joe Nickell, with three helpers, produced a 440-foot condor image like the original in just over a day, using nothing but “a knotted rope, stakes, and a T-square they constructed from two pieces of wood”). Nickell’s own article on the lines is footnoted in the post, but here’s a link: “The Nazca Drawings Revisited: Creation of a Full-Sized Duplicate.”

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Baghdad Battery, the Saqqara Plane, and Other Not-So-Mysterious Artifacts

I just discovered the Archaeological Fantasies blog, a site that warmed my PaleoBabbling heart. The author has a short series entitled, “The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts” in which many of you will be interested. Two caught my eye right away:

1. The so-called Saqqara plane

I’ve posted about this and other mis-identified objects elsewhere on my homepage, but it’s worth a re-do here, especially since the blog’s author also posted this picture of the Egyptian Opet procession, which features the “plane” (it’s a bird, not a plane) on the masts of sailing ships:

Here’s a close-up of one of the masts:

2. The Baghdad battery

Clever, but not evidence of alien technology.

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