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Your antidote to cyber-twaddle and misguided research about the ancient world. Lots of people do research on the mysteries of antiquity. Some insights are valuable; others are insanely stupid. PaleoBabble exists because insisting that conclusions be drawn from data is a coherent idea, because conjecture isn’t evidence, and because appealing to conspiracy to validate ideas is intellectually lazy.

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The Mystery of Coral Castle Solved (No Levitation, Antigravity, or Aliens Needed)

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in _Paleobabble, Ancient (Non-Alien) Technology, Cult Archaeology | 0 comments

Once you see the home videos of its creator doing the work, the mystery evaporates. Nothing supernatural or advanced for its own time. Just simple, well-known tools and engineering.

The structures aren’t ancient, but the same sort of paleobabbling “explanations” used for Coral Castle are used for those structures, too. Enjoy!

Kudos to Chris White once again. Chris is the guy who created the free, three-hour documentary, Ancient Aliens Debunked, of which I was a part. Give that a watch, too (nearly five million people already have).


GAIAM TV Interview with Mike about the Biblical Prophets and Prophecy

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in _Paleobabble, Biblical History, Eschatology (End Times) | 2 comments

GAIAM TV just sent me a link to the show episode.  There’s a preview you can watch, but the episode isn’t free (this isn’t YouTube).

Keep in mind this interview with George Noory was for folks with little to no background on the Bible of biblical prophecy, and no theological / religious commitment was presumed. In other words, this is the normal Coast to Coast AM audience, which ranges far and wide, from what confessional Christians would call New Age spirituality to no religious inclination at all.

One trivia note: I had to do the interview without glasses. That was a first. Felt awkward (I could see George, but he was basically amorphous – my eyesight is terrible).

Mike Heiser introduces Prophets of the Old Testament with George Noory on Beyond Belief!

Interview on Conspirinormal on the Unseen Realm

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in _NakedBible, _Paleobabble, Biblical Theology, divine council, Unseen Realm | 25 comments

This was my second time on Conspirinormal. This one spends a little time on items in The Unseen Realm, but actually jumps around on a lot of topics.

Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods: A Review

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in _Paleobabble, Ancient Legends, archaeology, Bogus History, Cult Archaeology, Folklore and Mythology | 5 comments

I encourage all of you to read Jason Colavito’s lengthy review of Hancock’s latest tome devoted to alternative history. But if you want the short version, Colavito offers this summary thought:

Speaking as someone who found Fingerprints of the Gods to be entertaining and engaging, even when it was wrong, I can say that Magicians of the Gods is not a good book by either the standards of entertainment or science. It is Hancock at his worst: angry, petulant, and slipshod. Hancock assumes readers have already read and remembered all of his previous books going back decades, and his new book fails to stand on its own either as an argument or as a piece of literature. It is an update and an appendix masquerading as a revelation. This much is evident from the amount of material Hancock asks readers to return to Fingerprints to consult, and the number of references—bad, secondary ones—he copies wholesale from the earlier book, or cites directly to himself in that book.

I hope you all won’t settle for that, as Jason’s review includes some telling observations and critique of Hancock’s sources and method.

Review of Edited Volume of Papers Delivered at Jerusalem Conference on the Alleged Jesus Family Tomb

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in _NakedBible, _Paleobabble, Ancient Legends, Ancient Sites, Ancient Studies & Technology, Ancient Texts, archaeology, Jesus, Jesus Bloodline, Jesus Tomb, New Testament | 4 comments

The Society of Biblical Literature’s Review of Biblical Literature just published a review of James H. Charlesworth’s edited volume, The Tomb of Jesus and His Family? Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalem’s Walls (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013). The review is by Jodi Magness, who begins the review this way:

This  volume  contains twenty-six papers  (plus  an  introduction  and  conclusion  by  the editor)  presented  at  a  conference  that  was  held  Jerusalem  in  January  2008  on  “Jewish Views  of  the  After  Life  and  Burial  Practices  in  Second  Temple  Judaism:  Evaluating  the Talpiot  Tomb  in  Context.” Although  most  of  the  papers  focus  on  some  aspect  of  the Talpiyot (or Talpiot)tomb and its ossuaries and/or the “James ossuary,” they are written by scholars with widely varying perspectives and fields of expertise, including archaeology, epigraphy  and  paleography,  theology,  social  history,  biology,  statistics,  New  Testament, rabbinics, religious studies, geology, women’s studies, and mathematics.

For  those  who may  not  remember,  in  March  2007the  Discovery  Channel  broadcast  a documentary by  Simcha  Jacobovici in  which  he  claimed that  the  lost  tomb  of  Jesus  and his family had been discovered in Jerusalem (also published in a related book). This was none other than the Talpiyot tomb (so-called after the Jerusalem neighborhood in which it is located), which was excavated by archaeologists in 1980 after it was discovered during construction  work. A  final  report  on  the  Talpiyot  tomb  excavation  was  published  in ‘Atiqot in 1996. The tomb contained ten ossuaries, six of them inscribed (five in Aramaic and   one   in   Greek),   while   the   remaining   four   are   plain   (one is now   missing). Archaeologists  noted  that  some  of  the  names  in  the  inscriptions  (e.g., Yeshua  son of Yehoseph;  Marya;  Mariam/Mariame;  Yoseh  [apparently  a  diminutive  of  Yehosef])  recall individuals  associated  with  Jesus  in  the  NewTestament  accounts but  considered  this  a coincidence, as  these  were  common  names  among  the  Jewish  population  at  the  time. However, in the documentary Jacobovici claimed that the inscriptions identify this as the tomb  of  Jesus  and  his  family, marshalling an  array  of  supporting  evidence that includes statistical  and  DNA  analyses. The  implications  of this  claim  are  that  Jesus  was  not resurrected  (as  his  physical  remains  were  placed  in  an  ossuary), that  he  was  married  to Mary Magdalene (who supposedly is named in one of the inscriptions), and that he had a son  named  Judah  (as  one  of  the  ossuaries  is  inscribed  Yehudah  bar  Yeshua). Jacobovici also has attempted to prove that an adjacent, unexcavated tomb (the Patio tomb) contains the remains of followers of Jesus and that the James ossuary (which has no archaeological provenience but surfaced in a private collection) is the tenth (now missing) ossuary from the Talpiyot tomb.

The review isn’t long, but it’s informative. Highly recommended.

Mike Heiser on Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) Session Tomorrow

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in _NakedBible, _Paleobabble, _UFOreligions, Announcement, Unseen Realm | 11 comments

I’ll be on Reddit tomorrow at 12:30pm Pacific time for an AMA – “Ask Me Anything” – session. I’ve never been on Reddit before, so I can’t tell you much. This is a first for me. I’ve been told I’ll be for 1.5-2 hrs and will have to type my answers. Lexham / Faithlife social media marketers did the grunt work to set this up. We’re all hoping I’ll get some questions relating to content in The Unseen Realm, but folks can ask me anything.

To view the session click here.

More Evidence that So-Called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife was Forged

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in _Paleobabble, Ancient Texts, Apocryphal Literature, Dan Brown, Gospel of Thomas, Jesus | 5 comments

Hat tip to Mark Goodacre via Twitter for this update on the forgery. The post is by Coptologist Christian Askeland.

Podcast Interview with Mike about UFOs, ET, and Christianity

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in _Paleobabble, _UFOreligions, Alien Abduction, Aliens as Demons, Ancient Astronauts, ExoTheology, UFO Religions | 3 comments

Nice to have some change of (interview) pace. Check out the interview with the hosts of the Stary Time (not a misspelling) podcast.

A Word about the Angel Scroll

Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in _NakedBible, _Paleobabble, _UFOreligions, Apocryphal Literature | 15 comments

I’ve gotten a couple questions recently about the Angel Scroll. It seems a fair number of people out there think it’s real. If that’s you, get ready to be disappointed.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, over ten years ago (probably closer to fifteen as I was still in grad school) I saw an article in the Jerusalem Post about a new ancient scroll — termed the Angel Scroll. The article gave a brief description of an alleged scroll of unknown provenance but which had begun to circulate among a handful of scholars, one of whom was Stephen Pfann. That fall of the same year I went to Orlando for the November academic meetings. I bumped into a friend of mine who was living in Jerusalem. We chatted a bit and he introduced me to the man with him, whom I had never met. It turned out that the man was Stephen Pfann. We hit it off. Stephen was quite genial. I asked him about this alleged Angel Scroll. His answer took me by surprise: “Would you like to see it?” I said sure. He said he’d let me have a look while we listened to a session, so off we went (my apologies to Bruce Waltke here — I didn’t hear a word of your lecture that hour).

We sat down and Stephen opened his briefcase. There amid the candy wrappers, pens, and sundry papers was a hand-drawn transcription of a scroll. He handed it to me. It’s been so long that I don’t quite remember if Stephen said he’d made the drawing from a photo or if he’d been given the drawing in photocopy. At any rate, he explained that the hand drawing was all there was. He’d been shown that much by a couple men who told him they had the actual scroll. They wanted him to have a look and perhaps publish it. (Stephen lives in Israel. His expertise is the Dead Sea Scrolls and epigraphy. His dissertation was on cryptic texts from Qumran). Stephen told me he wasn’t publishing anything until he saw the actual scroll and examined it for authenticity.  I sat there and perused the whole thing. I couldn’t read it all at sight, but I could read enough of the content to have my attention caught. There was one specific line that was quite odd and memorable. The scroll was at least in part apocalyptic. Jerusalem was surrounded by “thousands of sun disks.”

I can’t recall at this point (and don’t have the old files) whether I mentioned this scroll (with a slightly altered name) in the original edition of The Facade. I think I did. I know I mentioned this scroll in at least one interview — and was careful to point out that there was no verification for its authenticity. I recall L. A. Marzulli asking me about it over the phone or email (again, I don’t recall which). He said he wanted to include it in one of his novels. I only read his first one, so I don’t know if he actually did that. At any rate, I was again clear that all I saw was a transcription, not the real thing. It could have been entirely made up, and I said so — and always have. (In any event, L. A.’s novels are fiction [!]).

I usually chat with Stephen each year at the meetings. Up until about 3-4 years ago I’d ask for updates on the Angel Scroll. The answer was always the same — the men who had contacted him, and of whom Stephen demanded to see the actual scroll, never produced anything. I say up until 3-4 years ago because the last time I asked Stephen told me he had washed his hands of the whole thing. He had concluded it was all bogus since no evidence (going on ten years) had ever been produced that the scroll from which the transcription he showed me actually existed. Anyone with reasonable artistic talent and a knowledge of Hebrew paleography could draw the transcription he had in his possession and which I saw. That’s how scrolls show up in journals — a photo that usually looks awful (things a couple millennia old tend to not produce great photos) along with a hand drawing done from tracing or a good eye. It’s normal procedure. (Same for how clay tablet inscriptions are hand drawn for easier reading).

So is there an Angel Scroll? No. There is no evidence that such a scroll is real. You’re hearing that from someone who held the transcription, read through it, and has had several conversations with the guy who possesses the transcription (the only one that has ever surfaced).  If you or anyone you know or have read is saying this is a real text and assigning any “truth” to it, you shouldn’t. Without someone bringing forth an actual scroll, this text is a fiction. But, unfortunately, people like to believe in things for which no data exist. That isn’t new. It’s just sad that Christians are among the gullible. The whole thing was likely a scam designed to extract some money from a scholar or institution who collected such things. If you don’t think antiquities forgery is a problem, think again.

Vaughn, Andrew G., and Christopher A. Rollston. “The Antiquities Market, Sensationalized Textual Data, and Modern Forgeries.” Near Eastern Archaeology (2005): 61-65.

This puts me in the mood to ask Stephen about the scroll again this year just to see him roll his eyes.


Mike Interviewed on the Alexxcast

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in _Paleobabble, Ancient (Non-Alien) Technology, Ancient Astronauts, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Sites, archaeoastronomy - astrology | 2 comments

You can listen to the interview here. The planned subject was ancient astronaut material, but the interview wound up going in all sorts of directions.

Toward the end I talk about the importance of peer-review in scholarly publishing. I mentioned Robert Bauval’s Orion correlation theory as an example of what ought to happen — someone from an alternative perspective submits their ideas to peer review. Experts are smart enough to know if what’s being submitted is worth talking about, and Bauval has been published in journals like Discussions in Egyptology. Bauval is living proof that (in the humanities at least) the peer review process doesn’t just reflexively reject alternative ideas. Most (all?) mainstream Egyptologists don’t buy Bauval’s theory, but it was still published and has drawn a lot of interaction. Most of the interaction has occurred in journals that are not freely accessible to the public (I’ve collected at least thirty articles). But here are two examples that are publicly accessible:

G. Magli, “Akhet Khufu: Archaeo-astronomical hints at a common project of the two main pyramids of Giza, Egypt” (Akhet Khufu = “the horizon of Khufu” in ancient Egyptian)

G. Magli, “On the possible discovery of precessional effects in ancient astronomy

No aliens needed, by the way. This is all naked-eye astronomy and math.