Alternate Perceptions Magazine, November 2014
Giants in American Mounds, Whitley Strieber on the Path of Souls, & the Minneapolis Paradigm Symposium
by: Dr. Greg Little
The initial part of the trip through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota included stops at many mound sites I had not seen before. We visited one site that had over 60 mounds and several other mound complexes on high overlooks along the Mississippi River. Several of these mounds were locations where “giant” skeletons had been recovered by the Smithsonian during excavations conducted in the 1880s. Many of these were detailed in the recent book Path of Souls.
In South Charleston, WV we visited the Criel Mound and the local museum, which focuses on artifacts recovered from nearby mounds during the Smithsonian’s excavations. At the museum, Andrew Collins filmed the museum’s curator while she told of the recovery of a skeleton measuring 7 feet, 8 and ¾ inches in length. The measurement of the skeleton was simply stated as a fact. Andrew subsequently posted this video clip on his Facebook page. While driving to Virginia Beach, Andrew and I also recorded a phone interview with Whitley Strieber, which is posted on his website (unknowncountry.com) for his subscribers. Whitley’s earlier interview with me on the Path of Souls should still be available for nonsubscribers for a few more weeks: Link. There is also a more detailed interview on the giant skeletons Whitley did with me on his “subscriber’s page.”
In essence, the Smithsonian and various later mainstream archaeological excavations (detailed in journal publications) excavated around 30 large skeletons from mounds; the skeletons ranged in height from 6’ 7” to 7’ 9”. These primarily came from Adena Era and Hopewell mounds. The average height of the Adena people was 5’ 4” and the Hopewell averaged 5’ 6”. These height figures come from statistical averages from mainstream archaeology. From a purely statistical standpoint, based on the actual height of the Adena and Hopewell people, about 30 million skeletons would have to have been excavated from mounds to find that many large skeletons by chance. The large skeletons are a genuine mystery. It can be concluded from various sources that a hereditary group of unusually tall people served as the elite society members of those ancient cultures. That is a trail that Andrew and I are following.
During our trip, a Spanish version of my article on the Path of Souls was been posted: Link. In addition, I had an article on the giants just published in the magazine Atlantis Rising (www.atlantisrising.com).
One purpose of the trip was to gather material for a revised and expanded version of my earlier “Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds and Earthworks.” The 9 X 12 hardcover Encyclopedia was released in 2008 and it contains 342 pages with 515 photos covering 1000 mound sites. Amazon sells the book for $25.99. The book is mainstream and steers clear of controversy. It simply details mound sites in America that can be visited. Details about the number of mounds at various sites, the sizes and dates of construction, and a summary of excavation findings of the sites is presented along with many site reconstructions by a well-known archaeological reconstruction artist. Compare that price ($25.99) to Ken Feder’s 2010 “Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology,” which is a much smaller 7 x 10 and 292 pages. Feder’s book sells for a whopping $80.75 and focuses on what Feder asserts is NOT true. I know that archaeologists complain that their books have “limited” sales but pricing makes a difference as does content. Many years ago I learned from my psychology professors to focus articles and books on positive things: in essence, I was told to write about what is known—not focus on how wrong others might be. My Encyclopedia of Mounds has sold extremely well and is now in a lot of museum stores, which is a pleasant surprise, but I now know of many, many more mound sites that can be visited and have amassed many more photos. Thus I’m gradually working on a revision. The West Virginia site detailed in another article in this issue of AP will play a much more important role in the next Encyclopedia of Mounds.
The Minneapolis Paradigm Symposium—Ripping Off the Public?
As I related earlier, I didn’t attend the Minneapolis Paradigm Symposium, but I read a “review” of it posted by the online “Twin Cities Daily Planet.” A couple things in the article struck me as odd. The author of the review, Caleb Baumgartner, primarily reviews music and wrestling for the online publication. Yes, wrestling! In his review he basically asks several times: “Who would attend such a conference?” His answer to the question isn’t really an answer, but he replies to his own question by relating that the attendees didn’t have tinfoil hats and that they appeared to be of all ages and all walks of life. It seems odd that he didn’t seem to have the time to just ask a few people who attended the FOUR DAY LONG EVENT a few questions. I would think that a journalist who is befuddled by a conference should actually ask a few attendees why they came and what they might be looking for in the presentations. But no, why should a journalist delve a bit into the reasons why people want to go to such event when he appears to have assumed the entire event is a way to rip off the public? Baumgartner attended the conference on a free press pass, but he related that it took “serious dough” for people to attend and that the $250 fee was “cost prohibitive.” Yet it was sold out. What might have happened if the 4-day event was advertised as having a cost of only $10? In his summary Baumgartner relates that the attendees seem to be “gullible sheep” and “ill-informed rabble” being taken advantage of by the “wolves.”
As a simple comparison, this past July a 4-day event was held in Las Vegas by skeptics. The annual event is called “The Amazing Meeting” and is a way for the novice skeptics to see such notables as James the Amazing Randi and other skeptics who represent the small but very vocal group of people who claim to represent scientific facts. The cost of their 4-day event, not including travel or room costs ranged from $549 to $999. (More than twice the cost of the Paradigm Symposium.) Chances are that you don’t know much about Randi and others in the skeptic’s groups—other than what the skeptics who control wikipedia want you to know. But here are a couple links that may be of interest and I can’t say that I have verified any of what is claimed: here, here and here.
There are a lot of online articles that allege sexual bias and harassment at skeptical events, but I’ve never attended one and I doubt that I ever will do so. And I really don’t think that skeptics wear tinfoil hats, either. They certainly have the right to hand Randi or his various associates however much money they can to buy the privilege to rub shoulders with the skeptical elite. I would suggest to Baumgartner that, to be fair, he needs to go to one of these higher-priced skeptical conferences to assure himself that the skeptics aren’t wolves who are taking advantage of gullible sheep and their own ill-informed rabble of naysayers.
In essence, a 4-day long event like the Paradigm Symposium allows people to interact up-close and very personally with the authors and speakers they admire. It’s not a rip off at all and I know that the speakers are not getting rich from such “alternative” events. On the other hand, I’d argue that some mainstream archaeology books that cost $50-$80+ are rip offs. Some, if not most of them, are written by state government employees, on state computers, on state time, using state purchased resources, and then sold to students who have paid the state large tuition fees—who are forced to buy the books. An author doesn’t have to sell a lot of $50-$80 books to make a lot of money—especially if the author was paid a salary by the state to write it. And there are quite a few factual errors in many of these expensive texts. In some cases, opinions are written up as “facts” in these books. Archaeologists complain about alternative writers “defrauding the public” but it would be wise for them to clean up their own playpen first. (Of course, I already know their answer to this and it involves them as the holders of scientific truth.) There is one and only one reason why textbooks that are a few hundred pages long cost $50-$80 or so. That is greed. Pure and simple: greed.