Anyone attempting to investigate the thousands upon thousands of theories, factual nuggets, hoaxes and so on is facing an uphill battle.
One of the biggest problems is how quickly things go viral on the net. Churchill’s quote about shadowy groups having an influence on the French revolution can be found but it’s swamped by its mass adoption, erroneously, on hundreds of sites and, because of the nature of Google’s algorithm, those errors stay top of the rankings.
And as most people either have no time or are lazy or both, they’ll take the quote and not explore.
There’s just too much data out there now, all of which needs testing and weighting and who has time for that? Needs a team of researchers.
Especially when we get locked into this game:
Debunking the debunkers of the debunkers
We get into an endless loop when investigating, say, Snopes. For example, I picked this up long ago:
David and Barbara Mikkelson run Snopes and they started the website because of all the email hoaxes and conspiracies that were going on at the time. When they started the website, they didn’t have any formal background in investigations.
That’s an old snippet now and I don’t know who runs the site currently. She or they are in the business of debunking but on the birth certificate, my suspicions began.
While I’m not disputing much of the substance – it seems an elaborate hoax was perpetrated in much the same way as the Rennes-le-Château story connected to Dan Brown [clue in the name too] – it was the way they/she went about it which was wonky. Coming from a scholastic field as my former bread and butter, it was unfortunate because it raises a question.
Does careless concern for the fine detail negate all findings, by definition?
For example, were you to wish to see debunkers debunked, one of the most effective ways is to produce something in the idiom of fearless investigation, just as a debunker would do, only to have it struck down later by debunking warriors such as Snopes.
And if you made sure that Snopes debunking had flaws all over the place, is the effect on the reader not to dismiss it and go firmly back to the Snopes camp?
It’s the classic Witness for the Prosecution [Christie] ploy.
Years ago, when the deep distrust in the PTB made pundits explore Common Purpose, such as Brian Gerrish’s work, it was a brave person who would stick to his guns, the tinfoil hat accusations were tick in the air. Yet today, he is vindicated.
Coming back to Snopes, in fact it got to the point where the Democrat-weighted Snopes’s word was God, the last word on any topic in fact.
Why? Because they talk a good talk, no?
Yet there have always been issues with their way of doing business:
That’s but one example. On Sandy Hook, another snippet picked up along the way had:
Snopes dismisses the video’s contention that the car allegedly driven by the shooting suspect can be traced back to a “Christopher Rodia”.
Snopes says the mixup is attributable to the fact that one police officer had inquired about the suspect vehicle on the police radio at the same time that another officer had radioed in for information on “Christopher Rodia”, who had been stopped for a traffic violation. The transmissions overlapped on the same radio frequency, so it sounds like they go together, argues Snopes, citing an article in the CT Post.
However, Snopes and the CT Post claim that the car allegedly used by the shooting suspect to get to the school belonged to a “family member” of the shooter. The only way to confirm an owner of a car is to identify to whom the car is registered.
So, if it is a “family member”, we should be able to identify whether it was the mother, father or a relative, but strangely, nobody can do this. If the media is just assuming it belonged to a family member to write a story…well then, small wonder the public is reluctant to believe everything that is said about Sandy Hook.
From a different source:
Snopes admits that the memorial page for Sandy Hook was listed on Google with a creation date prior to the shooting. However, Snopes says that this was merely an archiving flaw on Google’s behalf. Snopes demonstrates how the same flaw can occur in the archiving of other pages on Google.
But a host of Facebook posts, web pages and even tweets on Twitter have been found memorializing the shooting on dates which pre-date the actual shooting. Would Snopes say an archiving flaw is responsible here, too?
The issue with Snopes is not so much about what they do debunk, as there are many truths they do come out with, but it’s the rest of it. And can you or I sort that out at first scanning?
There’s too much of it
You start looking at one topic and it leads to another and another and another. For example:
The Templars in Portugal simply changed their name to the Knights of Christ and went on to gain fame in their explorations of Africa and the West Indies with such names as King Henry the Navigator, (who was a Grand Master), Vasco da Gama, and Christopher Columbus’ father-in-law, who inspired Columbus to emblazon the red cross of the Templars on his three famous ships.
The financial centre of London known as Temple Bar is built on the foundations of the Templar preceptory from which it descends.
the flag was first used by a French order of militant monks known as the “Poor Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon”
As the Scots Guard continued through the years, two of the prominent families involved in its history were the Sinclairs and the Stuarts. Both families trace their lineage back to members of the Knights Templar, as well as to prominent figures of the New Testament. Hugues de Payns the first Grand Master of the Templars was married to a Sinclair.
The Sinclairs (or Saint-Clairs) castle near Edinburgh, was situated next to Rosslyn chapel, which was constructed by the Sinclairs according to the floorplan of Solomon’s original temple. Engraved in the masonry around the chapel are maize and aloe plants, which grew only in North America.
As the scepticism kicks in, given that this changes the historical record, one goes to a regular site for the chapel:
Judge for yourself.
Searching for the definitive, all-in-one authority
Armchair critics are hoping to find the definitive site which gives a simple yea or nay on the claim … a site perhaps such as Snopes?
I’d argue it doesn’t work that way. Facts or rather data are bitsy, fragmented, a case of gathered snippets – a myriad of those – and sorting all that out is far more than an armchair critic is prepared to do.
Is the sceptic truly sceptical?
We all have our gods and one of the most ubiquitous is quoting Science as a game-changer, as in: ‘It’s been scientifikally proven.’ How does Science evaluate this below?
The three assassins are referred to in Masonic lore as Jubelo, Jubela, and Jubelum and are known collectively as the three “Juwes”. Jubelo has been identified as the treacherous young priest who conspired with the assassins, while Jubela and Jubelum are believed to be Joseph’s bothers Levi and Simeon.
The Masonic researchers Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas came forward to identify the bodies of Seqenenry Tao II and Jubelo in the morgue in the Cairo Museum and the bodies on display are believed to be those of Jubelo, catalogue number 61023, and Seqenenry Tao II, catalogue number 61051.
The obvious starting point is to look at a bio of the authors but where does one go? Wiki of course, as a first stop … and often an only stop. But enough’s been raised about Wiki editorship to ring alarm bells.
Lomas’ main claim to notability is the authorship of several highly speculative works on the origins of Freemasonry. Positive reviewers admit that his works have attracted “a great deal of criticism and even outrage” but argue that his writing is “loaded with all sorts of interesting theories and information that seem emblematic of an insider’s point of view on the subject matter”.
Elements of his work have been described as ‘hoaxes’ by members of the Freemasonry community. For example, the redaction of a document called “The Masonic Testament” by Lomas and co-author Christopher Knight, in their Book of Hiram (2003), from fragments of old manuscripts and ritual, has been described as “An invention by the highly imaginative authors … which has no historical validity”. A review from The Square, reprinted on Lomas’ website states that Turning the Hiram Key “should be viewed as an invitation to think, rather than a prescriptive statement”.
Whilst writing The Book of Hiram and continuing his research into the cultural origin of scientific ideas, Lomas established an electronic database of Masonic material, as part of the University of Bradford’s Special Collections Library. Lomas also published an online version of William Preston’s Illustrations of Masonry.
And if all that is so, then why this?
Many Freemasons find Lomas’s work worthy of study, as shown by the Grand Lodge of Queensland, Australia requesting Lomas to write a history of Freemasonry for its ‘Masonic Training Module’.
And naturally, that leads to:
Order of the Rosy Cross dates to Pharaoh Thothmes III, who reigned in the 15th century BC.
Which leads to:
The Sion Revelation by Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett, states:
Even this short paragraph [Brown’s “Fact” statement] contains some startling errors. In fact, far from being romantic old parchments, many of the Dossiers Secrets are actually typewritten! The Bibliotheque Nationale did not “discover” them: the documents were deposited there by their creators, to be found later by researchers — and even then they were more or less directed to them.
And this happened in the 1960s, not 1975 … superficially at least, there is a good case that the Dossiers Secrets are an elaborate fabrication – in other words, that the Priory of Sion is a hoax.
But, as we shall see, nothing is certain about that tricky organization, which still has the power to surprise or even shock. …while the skeptics do undoubtedly have the weight of evidence on their side, in our view it is a serious mistake to dismiss the Priory for that reason alone – at least until certain major questions have been answered.
First and most obvious is simply why the perpetrators expended so much effort on their hoax. (pp. 8-9).
[Publishers Weekly synopsis of this book’s main thesis:
“In this book, they argue that the Priory is a hoax, but one that is carefully designed in the manner of misinformation leaked by intelligence agencies to achieve specific goals.
Behind the hoax, they say, is a network of European esoteric societies driven by the principle of “synarchy” and influencing the coalescence of the European Union, perhaps at the expense of democracy.”]
An example of the Google algorithm at work is this:
How many would read that, think: ‘Them’s the facts,’ it’s at the top of Google after all … and go away with that as part of their repertoire?
Paul Smith, who runs a website extensively documented the Priory of Sion, writes:
Pierre Plantard was a lifelong charlatan and confidence trickster – his 1937-1954 activities involving confidence trickery, anti-semitic and anti-masonic activities are provided in File Ga P7 which is available for public inspection at the Paris Prefecture of Police, 9 Boulevard du Palais, 75195 Paris.
References to Pierre Plantard’s criminal convictions are available for public inspection at the Sub-Prefecture of Saint Julien-en-Genevois, 4 Avenue de Geneve, 74164 Saint Julien-en-Genevois, Haute-Savoie (Monsieur Serge Champanhet, is the Secretary General of the Sub-Prefecture, for written enquiries – the letter dated 8 June 1956 by the Mayor of Annemasse to the Sub Prefect contained in File Number KM 94550 which holds the 1956 Priory of Sion Registration Documents must be cited in the written enquiry).
Pierre Plantard’s Judicial Archives are held in the Tribunal de Grand Instance de Thonon-les-Bains. But these unfortunately are not available for public inspection due to the French Privacy Law. (priory-of-sion.com, scroll down).
The version of the “Priory of Sion” involving Godfrey de Bouillon, the Knights Templars and the Merovingians was a figment of Pierre Plantard’s imagination dating from the early 1960s when he first met Gérard de Sède and began collaborating with him on the Gisors story, that was first begun by Roger Lhomoy (Lhomoy was Gérard de Sède’s pig-farmer at the time).
As for Rennes-le-Château:
Archaeologist Dr. Paul Bahn considered the various claims surrounding the village of Rennes-le-Château as pure myth “so beloved of occultists and ‘aficionados’ of the Unexplained”.
He ranks the stories among those of the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis and ancient astronauts as a source of “ill-informed and lunatic books”.
Likewise another archaeologist Bill Putnam, co-author with John Edwin Wood of The Treasure of Rennes-le-Château, A Mystery Solved (2003, 2005) has dismissed all of the popular allegations as pseudo-history.
What, all of it? Everything which has been written? Brave statement and one which has me a bit cautious over that account, in the sense that that is the language of whitewashes, e.g. the various Commissions and reports in this fair land.
And what to make of this?
There exists in the world today, and has existed for thousands of years, a body of enlightened humans united in what might be termed, an Order of the Quest. It is composed of those whose intellectual and spiritual perceptions have revealed to them that civilization has secret destiny.
The outcome of this ‘secret destiny’ is a World Order ruled by a King with supernatural powers. This King was descended of a divine race; that is, he belonged to the Order of the Illumined for those who come to a state of wisdom then belong to a family of heroes-perfected human beings.’ – Manly P. Hall 33° Mason, The Secret Destiny of America
Was he a Mason or was he not? And what of former masons who detail what is behind masonry, including Hall and Crowley?
And just as one dismisses them and the notion of a nefarious bunch behind the scenes controlling events, using mainly money but also ownership of the media and key posts in society, plus ye olde terror, along comes this:
The U.S. State Department in 1961 issues Document 7277, entitled “Freedom From War: The U.S. Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World.” It details a three-stage plan to disarm all nations and arm the U.N. with the final stage in which “no state would have the military power to challenge the progressively strengthened U.N. Peace Force.”
“The Future of Federalism” by Nelson Rockefeller  claims that current events compellingly demand a “new world order.”
He says there is: “A fever of nationalism…but the nation-state is becoming less and less competent to perform its international political tasks…These are some of the reasons pressing us to lead vigorously toward the true building of a new world order…Sooner perhaps than we may realize…there will evolve the bases for a federal structure of the free world.”
Both the idea of a federalized superstate [see EU] and the doings of the Rockefellers and their influence, not to mention Soros, is far less likely to be dismissed today than when that was written.
1975 – In Congress, 32 Senators and 92 Representatives sign “A Declaration of Interdependence,” which states that “we must join with others to bring forth a new world order… Narrow notions of national sovereignty must not be permitted to curtail that obligation.”
Congresswoman Marjorie Holt refuses to sign the Declaration saying: “It calls for the surrender of our national sovereignty to international organizations. It declares that our economy should be regulated by international authorities. It proposes that we enter a ‘new world order’ that would redistribute the wealth created by the American people.”
May 18, 1972 – In speaking of the coming world government, Roy M. Ash, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, declares that: “…within two decades the institutional framework for a world economic community will be in place…and aspects of individual sovereignty will be given over to a supernational authority.”
I quote Svali on that. Maybe I should have quoted Roy M. Ash.
Communism is a fiction? And where does masonry stand on that? Or the Bilderberg, or the UN for that matter? And what of Gore/Strong’s Gaia-based eco-tyranny?
Are these questions just my paranoia?
Now, I’m happy to be proved wrong on this matter or that, as humble pie for me is cheap and easy, it’s my prime directive to get at whatever really IS, not what people think it is, and so updates are par for the course.
But not from someone breezily waltzing in and trotting out the ‘tinfoil hat’ mantra or even assuming that conspiracy, by definition = kookery. What, every guild dedicated to its members is kookery? People above do nefarious things and cover them up – it’s kookery to expose them?
Or that a person bothering to do a bit of research out of a spirit of scepticism somehow transforms into a blind faither?
And there are popular favourites, aren’t there? And those no one goes near. For example, fine to quote David Kelly or Chilcott but one can’t go near Diana.
So some sort of Revolutionary Directorate here on the net decides which topics can be explored and which are off limits to journos? Who’s in this Directorate? What are their names?
Coming back to a quote above in this post:
Pierre Plantard’s imagination dating from the early 1960s
Fine but grouping under the heading conspiracy theory the entire history of the Merovingian dynasty as just a figment of Plantard’s imagination is chronologically inaccurate for a start.
In this book, they argue that the Priory is a hoax, but one that is carefully designed in the manner of misinformation leaked by intelligence agencies to achieve specific goals.
Behind the hoax, they say, is a network of European esoteric societies driven by the principle of “synarchy” and influencing the coalescence of the European Union, perhaps at the expense of democracy.
Anyone still willing to pooh-pooh that one today, given what we know of the EU’s gameplan?
Truths have their time and place
Just because they are not embraced now, does not mean circumstances will not one day provide the fertile ground for them to be spoken of again.
Conflating conspiracy theory [as crackpottery] with investigation is plain ignorant.
To try to apply weasel words to the process of looking into things – something all news journalists should be doing – is not dissimilar to throwing the word racist at anyone concerned about immigration en masse.
And it annoys me. It is the question of methodology which most concerns me, as distinct from the truth or otherwise of each statement, though clearly, the latter is what drives each of us in this field to blog.
What annoys me about Snopes is the casual, this-will-be-good-enough-for-a-credulous-public way of doing it.
What annoys me about those who trot out ‘tinfoil hat’, as if that covers anything they find uncomfortable, is that it is a scholastically untenable position.
‘Nuff for now.