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22.1 The Temporocentric Delusion : The influence of Hoaxing in history

A main feature of the UFO Mystery is hoaxes. There is a lot of squabbling over what are true facts and what are hoaxes. This feature of UFOlogy needs to be taken into consideration of its historical context. Throughout history there have been hoaxes that have created major changes in our history, when they were mistakenly believed in at the time. At the moment an answer to the UFO mystery seems difficult, may be by looking at historical instances of hoaxes we might find a hint as to how to find an answer. For instance there seems a lot of hoaxing going on around the events of Columbus.

22.2 Introduction

Much of the UFO Mystery is tied into hoaxing. Certain people feel compelled by their nature to perpetrate hoaxes, making it difficult to access reliable data that could prove an answer to UFOs one way or another. Once evidence arises that cannot be explained by known science, there often remains the possibility that the evidence is someone's idea of a joke.

An interesting question is: could the UFO phenomenon in its entirety be a complete hoax? Could there have been a group or groups that have been hoaxing us throughout our history causing us to believe certain lies as truths? Or is the UFO phenomenon a true phenomenon. And then it is the sceptics that dismiss everything as hoaxes whenever possible, the people that are living a lie? 

This question seems unanswerable to us today. But it might seems interesting to look at a historical event: There was a lot of hoaxes around the historical events that led up to the discovery of the New world by Columbus and what happened after wards. Many historians like to try to erase the hoaxes from the official record, and present us with the facts devoid of the hoaxes. around that historical event. But that gives us a false impression of the past. These historians present to us their interpretation of the past, based on their beliefs as to what are hoaxes and what is truth, which is very different from what the people ate the time believed. We look at our past history with our conditioned beliefs, while the people in the past were often ‘taken in’ by hoaxes and such like, and had a completely different version of how to interpret events.

By comparing looking at the hoaxes, and what was presumably false beliefs of people in medieval times, given to them by hoaxes, we might gain an insight into UFOs. What we believe about UFOs at the present time, might be looked back in hindsight by later generations as meaning something different to that which we think it means today. 

Hoaxes have had a great influence upon historical events. The history lessons I remember at school about England was something like : Romans conquered England, then the Saxons and then the Normans. Between the Romans and the Saxons there was the legend of King Arthur. To the Celt- Romans : Arthur was a hero, but to the Saxons he was the enemy, the Anglo- Saxons gradually took over all of England, but then lost to the Normans. The Normans need some historical justification for taking charge, and reinstated King Arthur as a hero, making it seems like ‘they’ were continuing on that kingship line (in a sense) while it had been temporarily disrupted by the Saxons for a while. At least that was my impression of English history, that King Arthur was tied into some propaganda exercise conducted by the Normans, justifying why they had historical precedent for taking charge. It seems perfectly reasonable that history is a political tool. People in charge want justification for why they are in charge, and having history or any other means is a political propaganda exercise. And when true history is not sufficient for the task, then a bit of ‘spin doctoring’ is called for, by placing a different 'slant' on what happened in the past. at the extreme of this hoaxing of history is carried out to make the past appear the way that authority likes it to appear.

History is a ‘hot potato' and people want it to agree with their beliefs, then a lot of squabbling happens, similar to a lot of squabbling over the UFO Mystery. In this light, the UFO phenomenon is undergoing the same human socio-political- what ever forces that seek to shape the public’s perception of history. i.e. UFOs are a small part of a much larger phenomenon that of ‘reshaping history.’

I want to deal with a specific part of history- the events around Columbus’s discovery of America. To me its a complete mystery what happened. To many people there is no mystery, they are clear what happened: what the hoaxes are and what are the truths. To me these people seem to place their opinions of the historical events upon faith. I am open minded, different people say different things about what was the hoax and what was not the hoax. I see no way to decide between them. To me history gets lost. The actions of people in their normal activities of altering the facts to fit whatever they want to believe, means that our true history gets distorted under a mess of arguing as to what is the truth, leading to various groups forming deciding that they know the truth, why the other groups are lying or deceived. No one has come up with a scientific method to test what is ‘truth’ upon all of the issues that historians can squabble over, as consequence the normal actions of humans means that knowing the true history becomes lost. We are quite a pitiful species, to many of us the ‘truth’ does not mean anything, instead fantasy is preferable. But what is truth and what is fantasy? Our group actions often prevent us from finding out. 

The hoaxing that seems to have gone on in the Middle Ages pulls in too many directions and makes it very difficult to know what is going on. I will split it up as best as I can. 

The scenario I have :

1. According to standard history the Romans were not much interested in pure science, they were more interested in technology, especially with technology applied to winning wars. They managed to take over a lot of the Greek Empire that Alexander built up. 

2. The Greeks were very advanced in sciences and technologies, and were allowed to carry on in the Roman era. 

3. The Greeks seemed to know a lot of science. But different Greeks were advocating different theories. Conventional interpretation would have us believe that the wrong theories were adopted from the Middle Ages onwards, if not from the Roman Times.

4. When Christianity took over the Roman Empire, was there some sort of deliberate campaign set up to destroy ancient knowledge? The Library at Alexandria was set alight by Christian fanatics, who identified all non- Christian writings as pagan, heretical and should be destroyed whether they dealt with pagan religions or pagan science or whatever.

The rise of Christianity seems to have been a deliberate attempt to turn back the ‘clock of knowledge' and suppress certain knowledges.

When we look at the past, we like to think of things in terms of a straight line natural progression in knowledge, this is a temporocentric prejudice, whereby you erroneously believe that the further you go back the more primitive people’s knowledge was. But what you really seem to have is - the Romans had a vast knowledge base from their ancient world, which they apparently were not too interested in, and which a campaign by anti- knowledge fanatics set about trying to destroy. So, we have a sudden down turn in science, and then a rediscovery period of the Renaissance.

How advanced some ancients were is an unknown question, and certain people like to force a version of history upon us where there was no sudden dip in knowledge acquiescence, with a false steady increase in knowledge throughout history. Viewing history in this way seems to have psychologically appealing aspects to them. 

During the Middle Ages there still seemed to be a campaign in progress of suppressing this ancient knowledge, and certain unknown people were engaged in perpetrating hoaxes to maintain a false version of history and a false science upon the public. Presumably these people were working from a religious conviction that pagan ideas had to be removed general public thought? And was a progression of the earlier fanatics ‘book burning’ activities in the early stages.

It appears to me that in the West, we have inherited a big tradition of hoaxing to try to suppress certain truths.

22.3 The Ancient Greeks

When the Greeks began their map making , they had considerable experience to lean on - particularly from the Babylonians, who had already developed scales, cardinal points and the concept of global maps. A debt to both Babylonia and Egypt was acknowledged by the Ionian Greeks of the western coast of Turkey, who led the world in scientific research during the seventh and sixth centuries BC. While it is clear that the Greeks had already discovered that the world was spherical, the easiest way to represent it "on the flat" was by a circle. This led many geographers to idealise the shape of the continents to fit them neatly within a perfectly circular sea. Around 430 BC the great historian and traveller Herodoctus (an Ionian Greek) mocked this geometrical school of map making: "it makes me laugh when I see some people drawing maps of the world without having any reason to guide them; they show the Ocean running like a river round the earth, and the earth itself to be an exact circle, as if drawn by a pair of compasses, with Europe and Asia just of the same size." Herodotus was clearly aware of better work; he describes a realistic map of the Persian Empire (reaching from the Balkans to India) used in 490 BC. The geographical knowledge of the fifth century BC was well ahead of that shown in the earliest Greek maps transmitted to us by one means or another. [1]

The greatest geographer of Roman times was a Greek- speaking Egyptian, Ptolemy of Alexandria (c. AD 90 - 168). Ptolemy made some major blunders. He ignored the evidence given by Herodotus and joined up southern Africa to eastern Asia by a strip of land called Terra Incognita. Worst of all, he seriously underestimated the size of the earth. In the third century BC, the Greek mathematician Erastosthenes had already calculated the world’s circumference as 24,700 miles. Ptolemy, however, used an estimate of 17,800 miles. The real figure is 24,902 miles, meaning that whereas Eratosthenes was correct within an error of one percent, Ptolemy was way off the mark. Ptolemy’s error meant that the land mass well known to him, from the west coast of Spain to India, occupied much too great a percentage of the globe’s surface. This had far reaching consequences, influencing Christopher Columbus in making his own underestimate of the earth’s circumference - hence his belief when he arrived in the Americas that he had actually reached India. The "West" Indies ultimately owe their name to Ptolemy’s blunder. [ 2] 

All of this can get confusing. The Ancient Greeks knew that the earth was a sphere, even though the Greeks squabbled over a lot of theories, this seems agreed upon by them. There was a sudden dip in peoples’ knowledge in the Middle Ages. The centre of knowledge was the Library at Alexandria. When Christians took authority, this Greek learning was identified with paganism and attacked. The final blow to the library was when it was burnt in 640 by the Moslems. [3] The Christians adopted Greek theories that best fitted in with their beliefs, and the main Greek’s beliefs they adopted was Aristotle. We are often told that people in Medieval times thought the world was flat, but Aristotle held the belief that the world was round. When did the Christians decide to rediscover that the world was round? 

The Christians came up with a complicated reason why you could not travel all the way around a round earth. But the Christian mistaken beliefs, would not have been what the ancient pagans believed. So, what prevented a few of their adventurous explorers from mapping lots of it? 

Evidence that supposedly shows Roman presence in America is disputed. .[4] Maps that are copies from very ancient times are ignored as much as possible by the establishment [5] There are too many people who want to view the past as a natural progression of increasing knowledge, and it feels ‘nice’ to them that pagans before the Christian era knew very little about the world. But when you look at the facts there was this dip in knowledge/ science brought about by the christianisation process. 

The fate of Hypatia, the last mathematician of the Alexandrian school, is seen as representing the end of an era of knowledge. She refused to abandon her Greek religion, and Christian fanatics tore her limb from limb. This is seen as the end of Greek thought in the West for the many centuries of the Dark Ages. [ 6] 

It seems that Greek knowledge was elitism. Christianity appealed to the general public, that was ignorant of most scientific matters, who stirred up by their new religion decided to destroy the old science of the pagan past, by disposing of these pagan scientists. Greek science was not rediscovered by the West until the Renaissance. During the Dark Ages, the old knowledge was lost.

And we are now have our temporocentric prejudices, where we like to think of ourselves as being cleverer than an ancient peoples. People want to impose their version of what history should be like dependent upon what they like to believe. Based on a belief in evolution, certain people like to see a straight line increase in knowledge acquisition from ancient times, and do not like to recognize the fact that there were some very clever ancient peoples. 

Hoaxing appears to be going on by these squabbling people as they try to make history fit into their beliefs. People squabble over what were the hoaxes in past centuries and place new interpretations on the past. It appears our belief systems are being altered quite regularly as history gets rewritten.

I have stumbled onto an example of this in connection with Columbus’s discovery of America: was Columbus the first European to visit America? (N.B. Columbus did not get as far as North America, but he was close enough.) Some people are now saying that Europeans such as Romans, Egyptians etc., had got to the Americas, or in general crossed the Atlantic. There is heated argument over this and a skeleton called the Kenswick man etc.

22.4 Columbus

Kenneth Feder tells us about Greek Eratosthenes calculation for the circumference of the earth being nearly correctly. [7] And then tells us that most people in the 15 th century did not believe the world was flat, and there was little expectation that Columbus would sail off the edge of the world. [8] 

Giles Milton agrees that people did not believe the earth was flat, and says that it had long been disproved by the 14th century, and most geographers accepted that the world was a globe hanging in the filament. But there was a great geographical debate of this age concerning three questions: [ 9] 

1. Was there land in the southern hemisphere? 

2. If so, was it habitable? 

3. And most important of all, could it be visited? 

Giles Milton says that the majority of people, supported by church teaching, believed that sailing around the world was impossible, and Columbus’s crew had a real fear that their ship was going to topple over the edge when they crossed the equator. [10] So, he disagrees with the last comment by Feder. 

It strikes me as a bit odd that medieval people were thinking in terms of falling off of a sphere, instead of what my school days led me to believe that they feared falling off a flat surface. In Aristotle’s physics his idea was that the earth was the centre of the universe, and all matter wanted to be near that centre, so even matter on the bottom half of the world would be wanting to fall towards the centre of the earth, and not away from it. It seems odd that medieval people were not taking this version of Aristotle. So, presumably they were misunderstanding Aristotle? Anyway:

Milton says that few people in those days could countenance the idea of there being land in the southern hemisphere -arguing that because land was heavier than water it would obviously fall of the world -and even well - travelled and educated men did not believe in the possibility of circumnavigating the globe. The devout John of Marignolli had voyaged thousands of miles across Asia yet mocked the idea that it was possible to travel around the world, while the few that argued that there was habitable land on the underside of the earth were held up for public ridicule. Sceptics joked about men living upside down and rain falling upwards towards the earth. [ 11] 

Such ideas stemmed from the cloistered world of the Church which dismissed any theories that didn’t conform with the biblical view of the world. as far as the Church was concerned, all mankind descended from Noah and if Noah had never been ‘beneath’ the earth then how and where did people in the southern hemisphere spring from? This was not the only objection: since the offer of salvation had been promised to the whole of mankind, how could an entire section of the world be cut off from this message. For if the apostles didn’t go to the antipodes, that must surely mean that the antipodes could not exist. An inhabited southern hemisphere simply did not fit in with Christian teaching and fort this fact alone St. Augustine considered belief in the existence of the antipodes to be not only wrong, but heretical as well. [12] 

This religious belief system of the medieval times was a big handicap in scientific progress. There seems much more freedom of ideas in Ancient Greeks era, deduced from the few records we have left from them. They had no Biblical inspired idea of falling off the earth, whether it was a sphere or a flat surface, so what would have prevented some of them from finding out by exploring?

Herodoctus’ History includes accounts of the Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa (c. 600 BC) and of the voyage of Scylax down the Indus river, from this he concluded that the southern ocean extended from India to Spain. [ 13] 

Herodoctus thus knew that the Phoenician explorers did not fall off the equator, even if he thought of such a preposterous piece of speculation. The ancient Greeks and the Romans had none of the religious hindrances to their scientific knowledge. So, why do we still think it is impossible for them to travel across the Atlantic ocean, if they put their mind to it? It is our temporocentric nature!! We do not want to look for the evidence of such possibilities, because we are temporocentric. But as noted earlier the mediaeval people were basing themselves on Ptolemy’s map and he ignored a lot of Herodoctus’ data, and presumably he distorted his map so that there was no land below the equator on it.

The maps of the ancient Greeks were much more advanced than medieval maps: 

22.5 Ancient Greek maps

After the fall of the Roman Empire, in the sixth century AD, map making in the West, like so many other sciences, went into serious decline. The art of cartography also remained static among the Arabs. Only the Chinese made major strides in cartography during the early Middle Ages. In Europe the tendency to produce idealized maps fitting geometrical shapes returned, called ‘mappae mundi’ that conceptually were no more advanced than the Babylonian world map of 600 BC. However there exist extremely advanced maps from the Middle Ages, such as the famous Vinland Map. This map was discovered bound in a book of medieval manuscripts in 1957. It was drawn on fifteenth-century parchment but supposedly records much earlier information. The map shows the northern shore of Greenland, which became invisible after A.D. 1200, when it disappeared under the polar ice sheet. Surprisingly the coast of Greenland is drawn far more accurately than it is on the North Atlantic map prepared by Icelander Sigurdur Stefansson in AD 1590. It also shows Vinland, the farthest point of Henricus's journey and the Viking name for New England as we know from the Vinland Sagas, which record the discovery of North America by the adventurer Leif Eiriksson around AD 1000. [14]

The Vinland Map was first hailed by experts at Yale University as proof of the Vikings' familiarity with North America during the early Middle Ages. But in 1974 analysis of ink taken from the map appeared to show that it contained large amounts of titanium dioxide; ink pigments based on this substance were not manufactured until after 1920. The skeptics then proclaimed the map a modern forgery However, a study undertaken at the University of California in 1985 shown that the original chemical analysis was quite inadequate, and the levels of titanium dioxide were consistent with amounts found in medieval inks. This result has reopened the controversy over the Vinland Map. 

Sailors’ maps from the late thirteenth to fifteenth centuries known as portolans (from an Italian word for "sailing directions"), are also controversial, even though the authenticity has never been in doubt. When they first came to attention of modern scholars at the turn of this century, they were enthusiastically greeted as "the first true maps." The portolans generally concentrate on the Mediterranean area, but some range as far as the Black Sea to the east and Britain and the Atlantic islands to the west. The outlines of the Mediterranean coast shown on an early portolan dating from A.D. 1311 were not improved on until the eighteenth century.

The ‘mappae mundi’ maps are very naive and the ‘portolan’ maps are very sophisticated. Both maps were made in the Middle Ages. The difference between them was that the ‘mappae mundi’ were made by the Church, and the ‘portolan’ were made for sea farers who needed practical maps not idealized maps.

The ‘mappae mundi’ development can be clearly traced from late Roman times through the Dark Ages, but the ‘portolans’ appear, as if from ‘nowhere’, fully developed around A.D. 1270. It has been argued that the ‘portolans’ are derived from a few key originals. But who, made the original ‘portolan’ maps? Suggested answers range from the Knights Templars, the Chinese, the ancient Phoenicians etc., but have no sound evidence to back the suggestions up. 

The big clue comes from the Turkish admiral Piri, who also made portolan-style maps, stated clearly that among the sources he used were maps dating back to the time of Alexander the Great (336-323 BC.). But such a claim is disputed.

The temporocentrism of scholars leads to them having a prejudice from interpreting the evidence in the correct way, namely that the ancient world before medieval times was more advanced than medieval times.

The medieval world believed in Christianity and this laid them open to a hoax, the hoax of Ptolemy. The medieval Christians too readily accepted the information that came from Ptolemy, because it agreed with their beliefs. But the information from Ptolemy was wrong.

22.6 The Ptolemy hoax

Poseidonius indirectly exerted an extraordinary influence upon the science of western Europe until the Renaissance, belonged to an age lacking in creative genius. Many of the best minds were engaged in synthesising and reconciling the more plausible views of the earlier Greek philosophers and scientists. Of these compilers Poseidonius proved to be the most apt at assimilating the work of his predecessors and embodying their findings in readable compendiums of knowledge in many fields. The Greek compilations of this period provided the bulk of the scientific material of leading Roman intellectuals, who in turn transmitted this body of handbook information to the Latin middle ages. And so, whereas Greek science went on to reach new heights at Alexandria in the second century AD and to flourish at a high level at Byzantium and among the Arabs during the middle ages, scientific studies in the Latin West stagnated for 1000 years in the hands of bookish laymen who were satisfied to copy or revise stock material largely originating in Greek compendiums from the Poseidonian age. Poseidonius made a revised calculation of the circumference of the earth, which Ptolemy accepted instead of the nearly correct one. Ptolemy’s acceptance of a smaller figure of the earth’s dimensions and his enormous reputation as a geographer in the 15th century afforded Columbus encouragement to attempt a westward sailing to the Indies. [15]

Geographical and astronomical research reached its apex in antiquity in the work of Ptolemy, whose Geography (c. AD 150), in eight books, culminated the researches of his predecessors. Ptolemy appeared to the ancient world to have fulfilled Hipparchus’ scheme of constructing a map of the known world from geodetic positions located precisely upon a network of 360 degrees of latitude and longitude. Ptolemy’s theory was excellent but his practice was shoddy. Actually he had almost no scientific cartographic data - a few latitudes determined astronomically and a token attempt to ascertain longitudes by timing of eclipses. Instead he depended mainly on dead reckoning from reports of travellers. A modern reconstruction of his world map, based upon his 8000 coordinates reveals glaring defects. Despite its defects Ptolemy’s work had canonical authority for 1500 years. Maps in the "Ptolematic style" continued to appear in atlases more than a century after Columbus and Magnellan had disproved Ptolemy’s conceptions, and some of his errors persisted in maps even in the 18th and 19th centuries. [16] 

Some books are less favourable on Cluadius Ptolemy (c. 90 - 168) and call him a fraud, and accusing him of cooking the data to suit his theory, about the earth's position relative to the other planets. Goldberg calls him the most successful fraud in history, because he was believed for 1500 years before Copernicus, Galileo etc., claimed him to be wrong. [17] It seems strange that science at the beginning of the Christian era was based on a fraud, or if we are charitable upon a very big collection of errors. But the fact is: before Poseidonius, Ptolemy and all, the ancient Greeks had a much better science than in medieval times. Medieval science was based on a corruption of the ancient Greek sciences by many varied and complicated reasons, with the Christians all too ready to believe the corrupted versions because it seemed to be in agreement with their religious beliefs. I wonder if they were deliberately hoaxed? But it happened too long ago, to be able to find out? 

But our temporocentric prejudices now prevent many people from contemplating the possibility that the ancient Greeks were far more advanced than medieval science: another sort of belief system, that lulls us into trying to interpret history in only one certain way. 

When Galileo pointed his telescopic lenses at the night sky, he made many amazing discoveries. But consider this - according to Marshall Clagett: optics among the Greeks was a distinctly experimental and mathematical character. The geometrical aspects of optics were no doubt studied in the 4th century BC as Aristotle’s curious and erroneous treatment of the rainbow indicates. [ 18] 

Our temporocentric prejudices allow us to believe that these Greeks were ‘dumb’ enough not to think about using their optics on the night sky. So, that when we get evidence of may be ancient people had knowledge beyond what could be obtained by the naked eye, the orthodoxy can just ignore it by our prejudices. (I am thinking of Robert Temple’s book on the Dogon tribe - The Sirius Mystery.)

There are major inconsistencies with our version of ancient history, one moment we allow these ancient scientists a great deal of wisdom, but the next moment we have to assume that they were very ‘dumb’ and would not make the next step in their progress. Orthodoxy assumes: Yes, they had optics, but they were not clever enough to think about using optics to observe the night sky. Who is ‘dumber’ us or them? By believing them dumb we ignore the evidence to the contrary. Einstein said something like: a theory determines what is observed. The orthodoxy assumes the ancients ‘stupid’ whenever it can, and ignores evidence to the contrary, because it does not fit in with their temporocentricism beliefs.

And when we accept that the ancient Greeks were clever, then consider this from Plato:

It was the method of Greek philosophers such as Plato to write a dialogue between characters, so as to present two different points of view. One character would argue one perspective, and another character(s) would argue another. In Plato’s Laws, the two characters rapidly agree that there is truth in what was to them ancient stories of lost civilizations that had collapsed due to disasters such as floods, wars etc. The characters go on to discuss that it was natural that the survivors from these civilizations had lost the civilization's technology. knowledge etc. In another writing, Plato talked of Atlantis. [19]

The dialogues are supposed to be set up so that different characters argue different points of view. It was so obvious to Plato that there existed lost civilizations that he considered were as clever as his Greek civilization, that it was not worth arguing over.

We do not think it is so obvious, we like to argue over things. We argue over whether Atlantis was fiction or not, etc. But while we argue, we do not bother to look properly. The orthodoxy becomes the assumption that there were no lost civilizations, and searchers after the truth are discouraged from looking. 

Temporocentrism allows us to not have to believe the sad nature of the human race, of building up civilizations that crumble into dust and get forgotten. If we drop out temporocentrism, then the past becomes a complete mystery. Modern homo sapien sapien started c.40,000 years ago. When was the first civilization of the calibre of ancient Greece?

22.7 What were the Medieval Science beliefs?

Society is always made up of a cross section of belief systems, and so the question is - what was the prominent belief that people had about the world in the 15th century. I think, that may be most intellectuals believed the world was round in the 15 th century, while the ordinary person might have held erroneous beliefs like the earth was flat. But believing the world was round, instead of flat, still left people with the idea that ‘you fell off the other hemisphere of the globe.’ 

This point that people then believed that you might fall off the edge of the world at the equator, I find hard to believe. Does it mean that sailors were too afraid to follow the land mass of Africa around, in case they fell off? There surely should have been some sailors brave enough to try such voyages and report back their successes? 

When I looked at references to what people believed before Galileo, I found that the intellectuals based their ideas of physics on the great Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle believed erroneously that the earth was the centre of the universe, but he was correct in believing the earth was spherical. So, Europeans basing their beliefs on Aristotle from Christian - Roman times will have known that the earth was spherical. 

Now, Columbus based the plans for his sea voyage to the Orient based on Ptolemy's calculation, and so thought it was a far shorter distance to the Orient than it actually was, and also did not know that America was in the way.

I found it a mystery as to what caused Columbus to try his voyage, while other medieval people were not pursuing a similar line of thought. Then I found a book talking about Sir John Mandeville, and found that Mandeville was the inspiration for Columbus.

Giles Milton has written an interesting book about Sir John Mandeville who left England in 1322 for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and thirty four years later he returned claiming to have travelled half way round the world. Mandeville’s book The Travels was the most popular book in the Middle Ages, that influenced Columbus’s voyage to America and the great explorers who followed him. Yet in the 19th century what had been taken for ‘true’ for over five centuries was discredited by scholars who claimed that The Travels was an elaborate fabrication. [20] 

Mandeville wrote outrageous tales and humorous mishaps, which captivated his readers. The most important part of the book which made the book different from other travellers' books was a startling passage, where Mandeville claimed that his voyage proved for the first time that it was possible to set sail around the world in one direction and return home from the other. This passage altered peoples' perceptions and set the chain of events in motion leading to the great expeditions of the Renaissance. Columbus planned his 1492 expedition after reading The Travels. Raleigh studied the book and pronounced that every word was true; while Sir Frobisher was reading a copy as he ploughed his pioneering route through the North- west Passage. [21]

The whole story of Mandeville gets ‘bogged down’ in hoaxes, which I will discuss anon. But the point now is that Mandeville brought out a book that inspired explorers to set out on their journeys. there was about a hundred years difference between Columbus’s voyage and the date the book that inspired him, was published. Why did it not seem to inspire anyone else to try such a voyage, in those hundred years before Columbus?

A fairly simple strategy could be pursued sailors could then have at least taken a few trips to see what was out there. i.e.. gone a certain distance see if there was land, if they found nothing after a certain time, they would decide their rations were running out and return home, reporting no land seen within certain limits. Try again if you dare when more equipped. If the fear was of falling off the world at the equator, then the best place to try this method across the Atlantic, would be in the North. The Vikings appeared to have pursued such a strategy in the north Atlantic, travelling to Greenland, Iceland and most likely America also. [ 22] 

It sound odd that people in England, Scotland, Ireland etc., were not aware of America. The Scottish Chapel Rosslyn has plant motifs of aloe cactus and maize corn, both supposedly American plants that were unknown outside America, until well into the 16th century. This Chapel was finished being built in 1441, and Columbus did not take his 1492 voyage until 51 years later. [23] Things start look very peculiar with any official history, when one takes a little ‘peek’ below the surface.

If such a thing happened then it appears to have been covered up from official history. What is going on here? Could there have been different groups of people covering up their knowledge of a vast land mass across the Atlantic? And if ‘they’ whoever ‘they’ are can cover up something like this in the 15 th century, then who knows how much more sophisticated ‘they’ are today, if ‘they’ are still around.

Now let’s look at Mandeville:


22.8 Mandeville’s book

Mandeville’s book was divided into two halves with the first part dealing with a description of Constantinople..he claimed to have travelled south to Cyprus, Syria and Jerusalem as well as visiting St.. Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai desert. The second half of his Travels - as Mandeville journeys across India and China towards Java and Sumatra - that his stories enter the realms of fantasy. The further east he travels the more gruesome the creatures he meets until he is mixing with women with dogs’ heads, two-headed geese, giant snails and men with enormous testicles, which dangle beneath their knees... writes with relish about cannibals who eat babies and pagans that drink from their fathers’ skulls. [ 24] .[i.e.. It is easy to get away with adding fantasy to places where other travellers had not been to, because it could not be disputed.] 

Six centuries after he wrote his Travels, Mandeville lies discredited and forgotten, because Academics had demolished his reputation. His book was disputed as lies, and Sir John’s life was mysterious. There were rumours that he was an impostor, a dabbler in black magic etc. Mandeville was believed in medieval times, and his book was very popular. But as the world was charted by geographers, his stories of magical valleys were shown to be nothing but figments of his imagination until, by the 17 th century, he was being mocked in stage satires as the archetypal lying traveller. [ 25] 

Mandeville had a brief reprieve in Georgian London, when his revised tales appealed to the bawdy sense of humour. His story was stripped of its devotional material, and concentration was on the pygmies, monsters and cripples that Mandeville met in the east, with a lot more fantasy added. [26] The Victorians then dismissed it all as fabrication. 

A similar sort of procedure seems to happen with some UFO cases, they get added to and amended, until the whole case is dismissed as fabrication, in the same way as Sir John’s book and life was treated.

Mandeville’s reputation was destroyed by Victorian critics, who assumed that he hadn’t travelled at all and cited the tall stories as proof that his entire voyage was a fiction. But in doing so they overlooked the fact that even men who definitely did travel in the Middle Ages recounted marvels that they had clearly invented. They also ignored the fact that to sustain the fiction of having travelled - if indeed it was fiction - would have been no mean feat. Other writers who had attempted similar deceits have almost always come unstuck because of a simple error or foolish slip. Discrediting Mandeville’s name by accusing him of copying from other travel books was similarly unfair. Mandeville had copied vast chunks of other writers. But medieval writers had a very liberal attitude to plagiarism and it was deemed perfectly acceptable to lift interesting passages from other books and incorporate them into your own. Chaucer himself had few scruples when it came to borrowing stories from his contemporaries. [27] 

It is a situation of the establishment over looking the mistakes of the people they want to be their ‘heroes’ and condemning the people they do not want ‘heroes’ by exposing those self same mistakes. 

Little remains as trace of Mandeville’s life. History decided not to pick him as a hero, and has left no memorial, except an almost illegible inscription in St. Alban’s Abbey. [28] 

Britannica says that Mandeville was famous in the Renaissance as the greatest traveller of the Middle Ages, and also as the greatest liar. [29] Whether Sir john really made his journeys or not, is not that important, as the effect that of his short chapter in which he ‘proves’ that it is possible to circumnavigate the world had me scratching my head. For although he presents details of his theory and backs it up with scientific observations and astronomical observations, the passage is seemingly plonked into the book at random and, once discussed, is never mentioned again.[ 30]

Robert Clutterbuck, 1815 in History and Antiquities of Hertfordshire, claims that Mandeville’s account of his Travels, was falsified by monks who added in later editions with legendary tales and stories out of Pliny. [31] 

People adding hoaxes to a story, distorting it, sound like life of Jesus again? Anyway the hoax of Mandeville’s life was perpetrated by Outremeuse:

22.9 Mandeville’s hoaxed life

Giles Milton says : ‘someone, for some unknown but possibly sinister reason, had at one time had a vested interest in concealing Sir John’s true identity.’ There is an epitaph to Sir John’s epitaph in St. Albans Anney, and at one time there had also been an epitaph in a church in Liege, Belgium, with Liege claiming Sir John as a citizen of their town. [32] 

The chronicle has it that Sir John was living in Liege under the assumed name of John of Burgundy, with a string of titles. A story of Sir John that has been the basis of Sir John Mandeville from 16th century to the present day. Secret came out from John on his deathbed confession to Jean d’Outremeuse, who was the sole witness. Outremeuse was probably lying. d’Outremeuse was a romancer who wrote fanciful tales using imaginary sources. On the rare occasions he had reliable sources he used them. When he didn’t he made them up.[ 33] 

The real life of Mandeville seems hidden by forgeries and fabrications. Giles Milton describes it as if Mandeville’s detractors had deliberately scattered the path to find Mandeville’s real life story with misleading clues in the hope that researchers would lose their way. [ 34] Now does that not sound interesting? There are similarities to this case and the problems that some UFO researchers have. A case that might be genuine, acts like a magnet for hoaxes, and these hoaxes then detract attention away from the topic, as it then enters the next stage of being ridiculed. 

The added problem with Mandeville, is that it is very difficult to decide when Sir John himself is lying or telling the truth. By the 17th century people were beginning to recognize the anti- papal sentiments scattered throughout The Travels that helped spread across Europe the mentality that paved the way for the Reformation. Long after Purchas’s book was forgotten, writers and antiquarians were still quoting this speech in their accounts, and Mandeville’s criticisms of the Pope came to be seen as more and more important. Some Victorian scholars developed the idea that The Travels was nothing short of anti-papacy propaganda and came up with ever more startling theories to support their claims. Some went so far as to suggest that the alphabets scattered throughout his book were in fact a series of secret codes containing anti-papal messages. [35] 

If Sir John was anti- papal, may be he was fearful of danger and deliberately went into some sort of hiding, that’s why later researchers believed Outremeuse? Who knows? The rulers were trying to rule through religious beliefs, and just by saying something that was in conflict with those beliefs made you a rebel, so may be Sir John had something to be scared of and had a genuine need to hide, or may be he was just an imagined threat?

22.10 Mandeville’s Stories

To modern ears, Sir John’s fabulous tales about Java, Sumatra and Borneo sound more like fables than the eyewitness descriptions of a genuine traveller, but to his contemporaries such monsters were very real creatures. Giles Milton points out that it only requires a shift from the rational thinking to a lateral thinking to get some sensible explanations for many of Mandeville’s more outlandish descriptions. Giant snails for instance could really have been referring to giant tortoises, and dog-faced men could have been baboons which have a dog type face. [36] 

Witnesses of aliens might also be suffering from similar difficulties in describing the ‘new’. Sir John might have been trying to explain the ‘new’ in terms that he contemporaries were familiar with, and hence it was a very distorted account. But then some of Sir John’s accounts defy a sensible interpretation. 

And then Sir John makes a big mistake he falls for a hoax, which indicates he did not travel to the Far East and was instead cribbing from accounts from other travel writers, adding extra with his imagination. Sir John describes reaching India and visiting the vast Christian kingdom of Prester John, a Christian wise ruler who had seven kings serving under him. Unknown to Sir John, Prester John was a hoax, so Sir John could not have gone to India, and instead made that story up. [37]

Mandeville seemed to have fallen into the trap of believing a complicated hoax about Prester John, and this discredits his claim that he really went to the Far East to a large extent. i.e.. he was tricked into believing a hoax, and that reveals he was hoaxing.

22.11 The Prester John Hoax

Mandeville was not the only person to believe the stories about Prester John. All the aristocracy in medieval Europe believed that a Christian emperor called Prester John ruled over the Indian continent. This was based on a hoaxed letter sent to Pope Alexander III in 1177, claiming to be from Prester John - who planned to recapture of Jerusalem, for the Christians. The apostle Thomas was believed to have gone to India and preached there, and died a martyr, laying the foundations for the powerful Christian state then ruled by Prester John. [38] 

Prester John might have really existed, but not as a Christian king ruling a Christian empire but instead as a Mongol king called Gur-khan, who won a big battle in the Far East, and had Christian followers. Milton thinks that as news of Gur- Khan’s victory spread back to the West, the name got distorted first phonetically into Hebrew as Yohanan, then in Syriac as Yuhanan, and becoming in Latin Johannes - or John. So, foundations were laid for this hoaxed letter to the Pope that made it believable.

Mandeville acted like a magnet for hoaxes, the same as UFOs do nowadays. This distorts the whole picture. Giles Milton has pieced together the message that Sir John was trying to give to his contemporaries, never matter that the travels themselves might be hoaxes, the message seems to be genuine:

22.12 Mandeville’s Message

Mandeville’s book is split into two halves. In the first half of the book, this is about the Holy Land is fairly familiar ground to pilgrim travellers who made the effort in medieval times. Giles Milton reckons that Sir John was trying to get the reader in this half of the books to identify with the pious pilgrim of that half. After this half of the book, the second half of the book describes outlandish savages, pagans etc., in unknown lands that gets weirder and weirder. In doing this Sir John is throwing the spotlight back on the reader: showing the reader’s version of reality to be a distortion, when seen by these other cultures. [39] A similar effect was being achieved by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels, i.e. it was a criticism of the reader’s life style.

Sir John described these savages as far more pious than any Christian pilgrim could ever be, forcing the reader to see his own life as an ugly reflection of theirs. He even records a Moslem Sultan’s blistering attack on the lifestyle of the Christians, showing that from the Muslim’s perspective the Christian behaviour is not as pious, as Christians would like to believe. Giles Milton notes that the overall message of Mandeville is that love should be extended from just fellow Christians, to everyone : Muslims and pagans. As well as doing this Mandeville says that circumnavigation of the world is possible, in a believable way to the medieval mind set:

22.13 Mandeville’s evidence that the world can be circumnavigated

The importance of Mandeville’s book to medieval explorers, lay in the 175 lines in which Sir John explains why he believes it is possible to circumnavigate the world. Sir John’s Travels dismiss centuries of the Church’s teachings in a a characteristically down-to-earth anecdote and ‘proves’ the world is circumnavigable by telling a strange story of a man who inadvertently travelled around it: [40]

I have often thought of a story I heard, when I was young of a worthy man of our country who went once upon a time to see the world. he passed India and many isles beyond India, where there are more than five thousand isles, and travelled so far by land and sea, girdling the globe, that he found an isle where he heard his own language being spoken.. He marvelled greatly, for he did not understand how this could be. But I conjecture that he had travelled so far over land and sea, circumnavigating the earth, that he had come to his own borders; if he had gone a bit further, he would have come to his own district. 

Such a story is not Mandeville’s only proof. He includes calculations based on readings from the stars to demonstrate that the world is a globe, and suggests that he himself would have continued around the world if he had found the necessary ships. But most important of all is the theological proof that he offers to support his theory. For while travelling in India he stumbles across a tribe of pagans who, like Job in the Old Testament, have absolutely no knowledge of Christianity, yet worship God in a pure and simple way. For Mandeville, this is proof enough that God’s law operates on every part of the globe. And if God is everywhere, it necessarily follows that man is able to travel everywhere and that the only difficulties are practical ones. ‘So I say truly, ‘ he concludes, ‘that a man could go all round the world, above and below, and return to his own country, provided he had his health, good company, and a ship. And all the way he would find men, lands, islands, cities and towns.’ 

It is difficult to know where Mandeville might have formulated his theory of circumnavigation but there is every likelihood that the medieval records indicating a John of sancto Albano studying at the University of Paris do indeed refer to him. If so, he would have certainly come into contact with John Buridan, who was central to these debates about the globe and had just put the finishing touches to this important treatise on whether the whole world was habitable. 

Sir John was not the first to hold views about the possibilities of circumnavigation. But the writings by his contemporaries, in complex Latin, is technical, academic and extremely dull. John Buridan’s treatise, too, is weighty stuff. The work of his fellow academics is so obscure as to be largely incomprehensible. What sir John does is make it all sound plausible, arguing his point in a way that was accessible to the layman. 

Sir John’s assertion that it was possible to circumnavigate the globe, and the proof that he offered, had a profound effect on the young Christopher Columbus. Columbus had long held the view that there was a quicker route to the riches of the East than the long and dangerous overland journey... he delved into obscure and apocryphal biblical texts looking for support of his theory that it was possible to reach the riches of the east by sailing west. 

Sir John Mandeville’s book The Travels inspired Columbus to go after the riches of China and India, by trying to sail across the Atlantic. Columbus never found he gold he so hungered for nor did he reach China although when his ship finally touched land in 1492 he was convinced that he had proved Mandeville to be right after all, recording that he was among ‘the islands which are set down in the maps at the end of the Orient.’ He wasn’t. What Columbus never realized, to his dying day, was that Mandeville’s Travels had led him to discover America. 

Sir John gave a generation of explorers a justification, both theological and practical, for setting out into the unknown. But the second point that Sir John was making of tolerance was either misunderstood or ignored. within years of discovering the new lands, settlers were colonising them and pagan natives that Sir John describes with affection were being indiscriminately slaughtered.

22.14 The Mystery of Mandeville

My reading puts the interpretation that - there were too many objections raised by learned people to the possibility of being able to circumnavigate the world, in Sir John’s day. Some one hoaxed this book in the part about going to the Far East, cobbled together from reports from what the few travellers that had actually gone to the Far East, had reported. The intention was to get the reasons why circumnavigation of the world was possible across to the greatest possible public audience. The idea of circumnavigation was mocked in intellectual circles, and intellectuals then lost their reputations if they tried to pursue it. The book was presenting the case for circumnavigation to the general public in the most straight forward simplest terms possible, without all the intellectual complicated language that could distort the simplicity of the argument. 

Whoever Sir John was, he seems to have being trying to create hoax of a traveller that had evidence that it was possible to circumnavigate the world which the general public would pay attention to. But such a message was anti- authority of the Pope in its day, because it went against status quo version of beliefs. So, the author was presumably in fear of that? While the author was engaged in a hoax to get what the author perceived as the truth taken seriously by the general public, someone else seems to have been trying to create other hoaxes. Sir John attracted other people's hoaxes on him? 

The inheritance we have received from the Christanisiation of the Roman Empire, has meant that certain theories get squashed by the establishment for various political reasons. Certain intellectuals want to believe certain ideas for unknown reasons personal to themselves and take all steps possible in maintaining their ideas as the status quo. Hoaxing and other means, now seem a part of that tradition. If certain evidence comes to light that is too contrary to status quo beliefs, then it is subjected to ridicule and claimed to be a hoax etc. If it survives this ridicule, what can then happen is similar evidence then comes to light, but which turns out to be easily demonstrable as a a hoax. The original evidence then gets ‘tarred with the same brush’ and status quo beliefs are maintained. Are certain people engaging in hoaxing activities to maintain status quo beliefs? Are certain people engaging in hoaxing activity to destroy status quo theories? The answer seems to be that both types of people exist, as well as people who just like to hoax for entertainment purposes of seeing how gullible the general public is.

It leaves historians looking back at the past and squabbling over what is true and what is hoaxes, and placing their interpretations on the past, based on their present day beliefs. And their present day beliefs might themselves be the product of being deceived into believing certain hoaxes. This is the ‘sad’ history that we have inherited. 

Let’s look at another question of hoaxing in connection with ‘who discovered America.’:

22.15 Mounds in America

Feder talks about Mounds - earth works found in the Americas. He says that artefacts were found in these mounds in the 19th century by Americans, these artefacts had European alphabetic characters on them, such as Celtic, Greek etc. 

He now dismisses all these artefacts as being obviously faked, he does not seem to talk too much of scientific testing on all these objects. He seems to have valid reasons for explaining away why the other 19th century evidence for European mound building is wrong, but he seems to slip in the statement : the artefacts are obviously fakes, because they look like fakes, without describing any testing. 

In any case being sceptical, I wonder about ideas like - may be genuine artefacts with European characters were found and then later substituted for fakes. But never mind about that, for now.

Feder after saying the evidence for European mound building is all faked, then explains that the reason there was so much of this archaeological forgery going on in the 19 th century. He claims that it was because the forgers wanted American people to believe that they were simply reclaiming their land (America) back from the Indians, who had stolen it, i.e. justifying the bad behaviour of the Americans against the Native Americans. [41]

Feder then tells us - Europeans that we should be ashamed about our behaviour in the way we have so cruelly treated the Native Americans.

I believe Feder when he says that ‘we’ should be ashamed about what ‘we’ did to the Native Americans. But he seems to miss the main point: the reason why Americans were treating the Native Americans so badly in the past, was because some one was controlling the majority of peoples’ belief systems.

At the time, the Americans thought their actions were justified. And now from our modern perceptive, archaeologists such as Feder are telling us that the evidence that these Americans were working to was faked.

This I think is extremely astounding! It means that some unknown group had organized itself to forge evidence so that it could control the majority of peoples’ belief system.

Who was this mysterious group of forgers? How many such groups exist? And are they in operation today? 

These forgers control our beliefs, or seek to control our beliefs, and through our beliefs then control our actions.

If some genuine phenomenon happens such as say ETI contact, and this group was opposed to having the public believe such a phenomenon. All they have to do is swamp the subject with forgeries of the ‘real’ thing. Then investigators investigate all of these incidents, find explanations for most of them as hoaxes, leaving a few anomalies that are argued to be forgeries as well. i.e.. hide the truth within blatant lies.

To control our beliefs, seems incredibly easy, if some unknown group has organized itself to that end. 

And what do we get from sceptics such as Feder who dismiss what he would think as wild claims of ancient astronauts, we still get a wild claim from him, namely of a conspiracy by something unknown. Both believers and sceptics then have a common ground, they believe in the cover up. But both groups end up arguing over what is covered up. Why argue over that? It is more vitally important, for both groups to find out who is doing the covering up, because those who do the cover up know the truth that they are hiding.

We cannot solve the UFO mystery, because since early times, some group (or groups) within Europe has taken it upon themselves to hide certain truths from the general public.

They appear to have hidden the knowledge of the Americas from the general public, until Columbus rediscovered it. They have covered up other things.

It gives a whole new meaning to what the Catholic Church were doing when they went to the Americas and started destroying everything they considered pagan. The people doing the destroying were given the belief that what they were doing was right. The unknown group that got the destroyers to believe what they were doing was right, what did they believe? Who were they?

David Hatcher Childress reports a story that the Smithsonian Institute in America, allegedly took a barge of unusual artefacts out into the Atlantic ocean and dumped it. [42] (Childress makes other claims of cover up by the Smithsonian.) I wonder if the people doing the dumping were under the impression that they were dumping archaeological forgeries.

I also wonder if archaeologists like Feder, if told by his mentors -’oh that artefact is a forgery dispose of it,’ would then willingly do as told, because they believed what they were doing was right.

Who these forgers in archaeology are, I think is a more important subject to pursue in UFOlogy, than trying to chase after the elusive genuine case that can be 100 per cent proven to be genuine. Catching and cataloguing activities of hoaxers is far easier, and eventually should lead to determining what the hoaxers are trying to divert our attention from learning. Once we acquire an understanding of how to definitively determine if a phenomenon is a hoax, we are then able to look at other possible answers to the UFO mystery. It is only by the elimination of all possible answers bar one, can we know the solution to a mystery. 

How successful have hoaxers been in controlling our beliefs in the past? How are they doing it today? What have we been tricked into believing, is really false? And how much of what is true have we been tricked into believing is false? 

Hoaxes can be more interesting thing to look at than searching for genuine cases. Once we understand the nature of human hoaxers, we can ask whether there are alien hoaxers. I thought it was supposed to be: you can fool some of the people all the time, all of the people some of the time, but not be able fool all the people all of the time.

It now seems to me that it is possible to fool pretty much all of the people all of the time, because it is being organized. There is a pattern in these non- UFO books of history undergoing many anomalous revisions. (And these anomalous revisions of history seems to ensure that the solution to UFOs remains hidden.) 

It also seems that it is easy for this unknown group to make people believe one thing in one century, and change the belief system in the next. It seems that ‘they’ got the Americans to believe the mounds were built by Europeans in the 19th century, because 'they' wanted the land cleared of Native Americans. Now after having done such evil actions, ‘they’ want us to feel sorry about what we have done, and change our beliefs again. Somewhere in all of this is hidden the truth of what is really going on, and what is really our true history. History is a lie, it keeps changing as our beliefs are changed by whatever this ‘thing’ is. 

We thus have definitive archaeological evidence for a cover up, both sceptics (like Feder) and believers interpret archaeology in those terms. There is just disagreement over what is covered up. As long as we continue to argue over what is being covered up, and avoid looking for the hoaxers, we leave them to wander freely around and continue their games on us. 

I have looked further into the context of hoaxing and forgery in UFOlogy in the present day, and found disturbing signs that there is a large sub culture of people that are bored and like to engage in such activities as entertainment. There is genuine UFO phenomenon occurring, but there is now a large group of people going to the pub, and thinking of playing pranks. UFO investigation has become increasing difficult, and will become more so as this group is growing. 

I am becoming more and more discouraged with human nature, because of these pranksters. And if there is an organized group of forgers, then they now have plenty of places to hide behind this ‘pub’ sub culture.

22.16 Conclusion

History is arbitrarily decided upon by scholars and gets rewritten quite regularly. What was believed in one century gets changed into something else in the next century. 

Mandeville has been largely written out of orthodox history, Columbus has been given other reasons for why he took his journey. [ 43] It has taken a long time for Columbus to get properly written into the orthodox history books. It was not until 1892 that Columbus attained his modern status as a world hero. [44] Columbus’s public eclipse for almost 300 years was due to squabbling over money. He died complaining that he was cheated out of his money. People such as the Prinzon brothers came forward who claimed that they deserved the real credit for the discovery of the New World, that Columbus cheated etc. This meant Columbus’s heirs were engaged in a lot of legal issues that took a lot of sorting out, so that they could get Columbus’s money and proper recognition due to him. [45] Where there is money involved there always seems a lot of squabbling, causing different interpretations of history, creating an atmosphere inviting hoaxes. Around Columbus there seems a great deal of hoaxing. Hunter Davies notes that our view of what happened 500 years ago is different from a view taken 400 years ago, and will be different when we later look back from 600 years. [46] 

How many myths are there in the 20th century, that we now need to define differently? There seem hoaxers that create hoaxes that have very important influences on historical events. And other instances of scholars choosing to label certain events as hoaxes, without sufficient justification. The results of squabbling over what is hoax or true, leads to reinterpretation of historical events. It is because of our human nature subverting the truth, that we cannot know the truth, we end up just believing what some authority tells us, or get tricked by some deception, or whatever. We end up most of the time believing in myths, just because we are following whatever everyone else has been tricked into believing.

We are now in the 21st century and the time has started for historians to start squabbling over what were the hoaxes in the 20th century. Was the UFO phenomenon a hoax? Was it someone's attempts to make us believe that we were visited by aliens? Or were we visited by aliens, and someone made hoaxed alien visitations, at the same time ‘true’ alien visits were happening, so as to divert us away from the truth? It may be that the UFO mystery will continue to be an ongoing anomalous piece of history throughout the 21st century , and may require historians looking back from the 22nd century to make judgements as to what is truth and what is hoax?

The best guess I can find as an answer to how this sorry state of affairs has come about in the Western civilization is the following course of events:

The Roman Empire was ruled by military superiority and allowed freedom of different religious beliefs, so long as they did not interfere with the state.

Christians set themselves as superior to other religions, and were prepared to die for religious beliefs and oppose earthly ruler etc., so were dangerous from that perspective, plus they upset other religions by taking on stance of being superior.

However with the fall of Rome’s military might, Rome needed another way to keep control (or rather to try to keep control) and found the way was through religion. Rome seems to have adopted the religion that would best keep people under control. It was then ruling by a beliefs system, and was opposed to belief systems that were different to it, because that was a threat to its authority, thus started religious persecution of non conforming beliefs.

Constantinople was where the Roman Empire moved to for a while, and Constantine incorporated pagan ideas into Christianity, because he saw it as part of his sun god cult.

Intellectuals must have seen through Christianity as presented to the ignorant masses as being very naive. But they were no longer allowed the intellectual freedom in the new Holy Roman Empire that they had once held in the past in the old Roman Empire. Having to obey one belief system became a political issue, because it was through this that control was now being made instead of through military might.

If they wanted to disagree then they risked death, exile etc., and people in general (especially the non intellectuals) were used to just obeying authority's word for it rather than think for themselves, so it was very difficult to persuade ordinary people that they were believing nonsense:

1. Ordinary people obeyed their authority without question like they were hypnotised

2. Ordinary people were not used to independently thinking for themselves

3. If intellectuals tried to discuss anything with ordinary people, then they risked being denounced as heretic etc.

There was no intellectual freedom of pursuing speculative ideas, as had been the tradition from the ancient Greek philosophers.

Maybe such intellectuals were then reduced to hoaxing the authority? Trying to show the common people that events that happened in the world did not conform to the dictated beliefs system from authority? 

Those in authority must have realized that there was a subversive element acting against them causing hoaxes. But did not know who these subversives were. So may be this inspired the witch hunts and the like, to get rid of these subversives, it was deemed necessary to deal with people that were thought to be these subversives.

This tradition of hoax by one group and counter hoax by another group, has carried on into the present day world, and we now have UFOs. 

People are fighting over belief systems the same way they have always done ever since the formation of Christianity, and probably before that. Hoaxing seems a big part of this continuing fight over beliefs. 

I am not saying that Christianity or any religion is bad, or that its the Pope’s fault, or any other nonsense like that. The Pope has been subjected to a large number of hoaxes such as the Prester John hoax. He has been a victim of hoaxing like everyone else. When there is authority, there is fighting among people as to having the power of that authority. Hopefully good people are generally more in charge today, than the bad people. But it still remains the same ‘old’ struggle of good against evil. 

Christianity has done good and it has done bad, the same as any religion. On the whole it seems to balance out more in the good than in the bad. But from the roots of this history we have a bad tradition that has been opposed to gaining knowledge. People have been struggling to have their personal beliefs as the mainstream belief system of the masses for political reasons. 

It is just unfortunate that Christians have been more gullible than most when Christianity spread in the western world. Forgeries of holy relics and the like were epidemic, and Christians appeared very ready to believe any evidence that supported their beliefs. They were sceptical when evidence did not support their beliefs, but when evidence supported their beliefs, they were not sceptical and too readily accepted hoaxes.

As a result a lot of our two thousand years worth of historical beliefs are based on hoaxed evidence, where we have often been deceived into believing lies. It took a lot of effort by Galileo and others to break through the lies of Ptomley. Once lies become accepted as the truth, there is a great deal of resistance to having them exposed as lies. 

This atmosphere has been against the pure spirit of scientific inquiry. Human nature has added a corrupting effect on science.

In order to solve the UFO mystery, one needs to first know what is the correct science. It is only from knowing the correct science, can one then decide what is possible and what is not possible from theory. I have checked the history behind 20th century science, and found it deeply flawed. A false interpretation of history has been offered as justification for the false science of the 20th century.

I was amazed when I made this discovery, and very upset to find out that what much of what I had believed to that point, was really lies. But looking at the situation in the bigger context of the whole of Western history, the false history of 20th century science fits into a large tradition of this human activity of hoaxing. One likes to think that one lives in an age where things are getting better, but the truth is - the same sort of muddling is going on, the same as it has ever done, just that some people have become more skilled at muddling, making it much harder to ‘see through the mess’ that they have created. I am disappointed that Galileo and others managed to get through the hoaxed lies of Ptomley, only for all that effort to be undone as science was once again corrupted by human actions in the 20th century. 

If the history science was taught correctly, then we could get our science correct. The fictional Sherlock Holmes had some idea that if you eliminated the impossible, then whatever remained was the truth no matter how improbable. Well science is about telling us what is and is not possible. This ‘mess’ in science is there to prevent us from solving the UFO mystery. If we had the correct science, then we would have the means to find the UFO solution. Only someone has managed to muddy the waters’ a great deal with ‘red herrings’, and not allowed us to start with the correct foundations for a methodology. 

In the gossip (non substantiated) rumours there is supposed to be secret UFO bases in places like the remote areas of Brazil. David Hatcher Childress talks of this idea in connection with unorthodox science of Tesla. [47] Unfortunately he talks of many other possibilities, such as time travel. It is the ideas like time travel that act as a type of smoke screen thrown. Without the correct science we do not know if these ideas are more than speculation. i.e. cannot assess their validity. It is this that has prevented us from saying what is possible and what is impossible, thus preventing us from deducing the truth. 

There seems a lot of UFO activity in Brazil, that Bob Pratt writes about. [48] People there are being injured and killed by such activity. In countries like America, there are some people that think the UFOnauts are friendly and are here to protect us. But in Brazil, Bob Pratt reports that no one thinks in that way about UFOs. It could be Brazil is a big base for UFO operators, and people there can get too close to finding out the truth and are subsequently dealt with in more harsh terms.

22.17 Further information

Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy’s book The Jesus Mysteries claims that Jesus Christ was really a pagan cult based on mythology that became transformed into the Christian religion that erroneously took those myths to be real historical events. It seems that peoples' need to believe in a historical Jesus led to hoaxing of evidence to support such a falsehood. It may be that this was when Western civilization decided to adopt the habit of hoaxing so as to try to rewrite history into a form that agrees with whatever beliefs that they wanted to have?

What I particularly agree with Freke and Gandy is their point that whoever wins a conflict then rewrites history to suit their beliefs. This process is happening all the time, and I have found the same thing happening with respect to Einstein. In 1925 he lost an argument with mainstream physicists, and the mainstream physicists then decided to rewrite history etc., to match their erroneous beliefs. Nowadays the inheritors of this tradition will have naturally developed much more sophisticated methods.

There is a interesting book by Michael Baignet and Richard Leigh called The Inquisition, that explains the methodology of how this certain group had been able to impose its belief system on a large portion of Western people by the use of fear, terror, torture etc. A sort of prototype Nazi group that was far more successful. Nowadays the inheritors of this tradition will have naturally developed much more sophisticated methods. Dr. Robert Becker, a pioneering researcher, twice nominated for a Nobel prize reports that the conspiracy in science to maintain the scientific dogma of the establishment theories is to ridicule other contenders, withdraw their research funding and flood the media with disinformation whenever there is a threat. [49] I think the great Inquisitor Torquemada would have been pleased with how his craft has been perfected from physical torture into the psychological realm. In a society that has freedom of speech, and certain information is sensitive then disinformation is the most natural weapon for those who have national security issues to consider. If certain information gets too near to being the truth, then the subject under discussion gets flooded with false information to divert attention. 

The book Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, is written by respectable people in archaeology - they attack the ancient astronaut hypothesis, and lay the foundations for a bigger case for the existence of very advanced lost human civilizations. But I think you can protest such a stance too much, and end up with the possibility that humans are alien visitors to this planet. Peter James is a professional writer on ancient history and archaeology. Dr. Nick Thorpe, an archaeologist in prehistory. The blurb says: 

"A popular misconception exists that the builders of the pyramids or the cave painters were somehow less intelligent than we are. This simply isn’t true: there is no evidence that the human brain has evolved at all in the last fifty thousand years, at least."

On page xvii they talk of a mistaken view of history best described as temporocentrism -the belief that our own time is the most important and represents a "pinnacle" of achievement. The temporocentric view is a hangover from 19th century ideas of progress. The result of a crude version of Darwinian evolution, where there is always progression upwards never backwards. This has led to many misinterpretations of the archaeological evidence for ancient technological and cultural achievements. James and Thorpe talk of archaeological evidence that has been often dismissed as hoaxes, but is really evidence of how clever ancient man was.

Anyway, hoaxing seems to be ‘big’ business by some one. First these people try to destroy the true account (e.g. Christians destroying the records at the Alexandrian Library), next they try to replace it by a hoax, and finally they pretend that the ‘true’ history is a hoax, so ‘we’ end up totally confused about our history. It’s like something were trying to ‘wipe out our past’, preventing us from learning from our mistakes, so as to force us to make the same mistakes again and again. The history around which the UFO mystery sits seems subject to a very big reassessment at the moment by many people that are studying history. Major new perspectives seem to be on the horizon.

22.8 References

[1] Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, Michael O’Mara books, UK 1995, p 61

[2] Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, p 62 - 63.

[3] Mathematics in The Western Culture, Morris Kline, Penguin USA original 1953, my copy 1979, p 109 - 110.

[4] Every now and then you hear something about Romans or whoever having been in America. For instance Daily Mail Feb. 10, 2000 p 25 Did Roman Explorers discover America 1300 years ahead of Christopher Columbus by David Derbyshire: A terracotta head unearthed from a burial site in Mexico was made by a Roman craftsman in 200 AD. The rest is squabbled over, as to how to interpret. 

[5] Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: evidence of advanced civilization in the Ice Age By Professor Charles Hapgood- subjects Piri Re’is map of 1513 to scrutiny. Rejected by academics in its day due to temporocentric prejudices. 

[6] Mathematics in Western culture, Morris Kline, Penguin, USA, 1979, original 1953, p 109 -110. 

[7] Frauds, Myths and Mysteries by Kenneth L Feder, second edition, Mayfield Publishing company, USA, 1990, my copy 1996-very sceptical author, denouncing the ancient astronaut hypothesis, but protests too much. p 74

[8] ibid. p 73

[9] The Riddle and the Knight: In search of Sir John Mandeville, by Giles Milton,Allison and Busby UK, 1997, p 217.

[10] ibid. p 218.

[11] ibid. p 218

[12] ibid. p 218

[13] Encyclopedia Britannica vol. 14, USA 1971, p 828.

[14] Ancient Inventions p 67 - 70 

[15] Britannica vol. 14 p 829.

[16] Britannica vol. 14 p 829.

[17] The Book of Hoaxes. Stuart Gordon, Headline UK 1995, p 248 and The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, Robert Newton, John Hopkins University Press 1977. 

[18] Greek Science in Antiquity, Marshall Clagett, Collier Books NY 1955, my copy 1963, p 102.

[19] Greek and Roman Technology: a source book by John W Humphrey, John P Oleson, and Andrew N Sherwood, Routledge, London, 1998 p 5 - 7 : Plato, Laws: 3.677a - 679b. 

[20] The Riddle and the Knight - blurb

[21] ibid. p 3

[22] Columbus for gold, God and glory by John Dyson and Peter Christopher, Madison Press, Canada 1991 says: there can be little doubt that Norwegian Vikings ... landed in North America and lived there briefly before being chased off by Indians, at least 5 centuries before Columbus set sail. 

Standard history books sometimes just causally mention that Vikings went to North America, like: History of the World by Plantagenet Somerset Fry, Dorling Kindersley UK 1994, p 126.

[23] The Hiram Key by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Century UK, 1996 p 79: refer to freemasons in Scotland, and American plant imagery on the Scottish Chapel Rosslyn, put there before Columbus’s voyage. May be the information came from Vikings, so that there is no need for some of the elaborate freemasonry ideas that Knight and Lomas weave, or is there?

[24] The Riddle and the Knight p 4 - 5

[25] ibid. p 6-8, p 43 

[26] ibid. p 43 - p 44

[27] ibid. p 44 and p 49

[28] ibid. p 49

[29] Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 14., USA , 1971, p 772.

[30] The Riddle and the Knight p 52 -p 53

[31] ibid. p 54.

[32] ibid. p 82

[33] ibid. p 83 - 85

[34] ibid. p 123

[35] ibid. p 123 - 124, p 126

[36] ibid. p 199 - p201.

[37] ibid. p 203 - 4.

[38] ibid. p 20 5 - 207

[39] ibid. p 210 - 211

[40] ibid. p 217 - p 223

[41] Frauds, Myths and Mysteries p 135

[42] Suppressed Inventions and other discoveries by Jonathan Eisen, Avery publishing group, USA 1999: Archaeological cover ups by David Hatcher Childress p 217

[43] In Search of Columbus by Hunter Davies, Sinclair Stevenson, UK, 1991, see p 34 - 43 for some of these reasons.

[44] ibid. p 286

[45] ibid. p 281 - 282

[46] ibid. p xi

[47] The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla by Nikola Tesla, additional material by David Hatcher Childress, Adventures Unlimited, USA, 1993, talks of flying saucer base created in Brazil by Marconi, using Tesla technology.

[48] UFO Danger zone, by Bob Pratt, Horus House Press, USA 1996 - Bob Pratt was a sceptic until he investigated the facts about UFOs.

[49] Cross Currents by Robert O Becker, Jeremy P Tarcher, USA, 1990 p 299- 300.

RJAnderton c.2002

[1] Roger Joseph Boscovich S.J., F.R.S., 1711 - 1787 on the 250th Anniversary of his birth, edited by Lancelot Law Whyte, published by George Allen and Unwin, UK 1961 p 105

[2] ibid p 121-2

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