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Ancient History Smithsonian Institute The Benjamin Franklin Effect alternative history destruction

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#11 status - jlgg

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 09:04 AM


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#12 Digger


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Posted 17 October 2016 - 06:32 PM

The Smithsonian destroying or hiding artifacts? Why doesn't this surprise me. It doesn't actually. Consider what the Vatican has got hidden away in their underground catacombs. Besides, don't those who hold power try their damnedest to destroy anything that goes against the belief system they want to propagate? 

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#13 status - Ghost

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 12:52 PM

I frankly have had a hard time tracing the origins of the conspiracy theory that holds that the Smithsonian has been collecting anomalous ancient artifacts and shipping them off to Washington to be destroyed or otherwise purposely lost. This conspiracy theory surrounding the Smithsonian is so disorganized that it failed even to make it into Peter Knight’s 2003 Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia. But I have been able to pinpoint an origin point through a literature review and the process of elimination.
We know that the conspiracy theory did not exist in 1909, when the Arizona Gazette published its famous hoax that had Smithsonian officials openly and publicly discussing excavating a Tibetan-style tomb in the Grand Canyon. Had the Smithsonian conspiracy been a common belief back then, the hoax could not have been written. Similarly, there is no hint of a Smithsonian conspiracy in the 1932 book Death Valley Men by Bourke Lee. In that book, Lee describes a conversation with Death Valley residents who claimed to have found an underground city of caves filled with gold statues and gold-clad mummies, all lit by natural gas lamps. (This seems to be derivative of Frederick Spencer Oliver’s Dweller on Two Planets and works inspired by it, which posited a similar cave city beneath Mt. Shasta, as well as the highly similar pulp fiction stories of the era such as H. Rider Haggard’s archaeological thrillers and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s hollow-earth Pellucidar novels.) The men told Lee that they attempted to show the treasure to agents of the Smithsonian Institution, but that the Smithsonian refused to listen to them when a friend stole the treasure and a freak rainstorm, they claimed, rearranged the entire landscape of Death Valley, hiding the cave forever. Again, if the modern conspiracy theory existed at this point, we’d expect to read that the Smithsonian had actively sealed the cave and seized the treasure.
Therefore, we can establish that the conspiracy theory—and the conspiracy itself!—can’t predate 1932.
So when did it start?
What changed?
I think that Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) began the process of laying the groundwork for anti-Smithsonian conspiracies, not because it was so convincing but because of who watched it. At the end of the film, the Ark of the Covenant is locked away in a government warehouse, never to be seen again. David Childress cites this scene in his very first Smithsonian conspiracy piece, and he identifies himself as a “real-life Indiana Jones.”

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#14 status - yueqin

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 12:53 AM


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