Rasputin, the Black Sun and Serial Killers

An archaeologist discussing Rasputin, the famous scapegoats from the Russian Revolution, Nazi symbology, and the stigmatization of mental health in pop culture? Yes, you do want to hear this.

First, we will talk about how Ancient Aliens and similar shows add to the stigma of mental health with the claims they make in their show. Then we move on to talk about the Rasputin myth, and while finding out who he really was, we learn that many of the pop myths about him are incredibly unfair. Last out, we will deal with the Nazi Symbol called the Black Sun. Some claim it's drawn from Norse sources. We will discover that's far from the case and that the neo nazi mythology circulating about it originates from a 1991 novel.

In Digging up Ancient Aliens, our host Fredrik uses his background in archaeology to discover what is genuine, fake, and somewhere in between in popular media, such as Ancient Aliens, Ancient Apocalypse, and many other places.

In this episode:

Mental health and pop culture 3:05

Rasputin - man, myth, and alien? 17:15

The Black Sun - a Neo-Nazi Myth 39:06

Sources, resources and further reading suggestions

Hi, hello, and välkommen to Digging Up Ancient Aliens. This is the podcast where we examine strange claims about alternative history and ancient aliens in popular media. Do their claims hold water to an archeologist, or are there better explanations out there?

We are now on episode 48, and I am Fredrik, your guide into the world of pseudo-archaeology. This episode premieres on the day of Halloween, and could it be that we're in for another spooktacular? To some extent, but not really, to be honest. While the episode "Dark Forces" from season 10, episode 4, does its best to be perceived as scary or spooky, I find many problematic things. This episode will not deal much with archaeology, to be honest, but we will have some thrilling discussions. First, we will talk about how Ancient Aliens and similar shows add to the stigma of mental health with the claims they make in their show. Then we move on to talk about the Rasputin myth, and while finding out who he really was, we learn that many of the pop myths about him are incredibly wrong. Last out, we will deal with the Nazi Symbol called the Black Sun. Some claim it's drawn from Norse sources. We will discover that's far from the case and that the neo nazi mythology circulating about it originates from a 1991 novel.

Remember that you can find sources, resources, and reading suggestions on our website, diggingupancientaliens.com. And if you like the podcast, I would appreciate it if you left one of those fancy five-star reviews I've heard so much about.

And if you want to learn how to support the show and the Archaeological Podcast Network, I will tell you more at the end of the episode. Books and stuff aren't free, you know.

Before we start the show, I just want to say that while discussing mental health, it will be a more academic discussion. But if you struggle and need someone to talk to, you can call the US hotline 988. If you listen from another country, I've added more resources in the episode description here in your podcast app.

Now that we have finished our preparations, let's dig into the episode.

Mental health and popculture

I've repeatedly said this show is dangerous, and I'm prepared to sound like a broken record here. Let's just listen to the first claim of the show.

"Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker." Found guilty of killing 13 people. He claims to be "a minion of Satan sent to Earth to carry out atrocities for the Devil." David Berkowitz, "Son of Sam." Charged with killing six people and wounding seven others. He stated that he was a "soldier in a Satanic army." Ted Bundy. Serial killer and rapist. Arrested in connection with over 36 murders. He alleged that something overtook him while committing the crimes. He called it "the entity." Were these men simply delusional, or could their claims that they were compelled to violence by dark entities actually be true?"

I'm going to be blunt here. There's nothing scary, dark, or spooky here. Or rather, the frightening thing is how the showwriters again try to demonize mental illness. I know we covered this in part while exploring the myths surrounding the Aikogohara Forrest, but I will continue here on a bit of a different track.

While I can somewhat understand the fascination some have for serial killers, I don't really get it. However, I see a danger in how they are portrayed here, both that the diagnoses are speculations and the connection between satan and disorders. I've not found that these three were officially diagnosed, and most of the assumptions about their conditions are from people who have never met them. While understanding their mental health can be significant, it's most interesting because we could potentially help people before it's too late. That's what I'm going to say about these men.

You might wonder what the issue here is, and that's fine; some of you might know where this conversation might go. There is an issue of stigmatization around mental disorders in our society. Ancient Aliens manage to contribute both toward the religious stigma of mental health and the idea that people with mental health are evil and dangerous.

That people within the religious communities have a built-in stigma originating from their fate should not come as a considerable surprise. Several studies have been published in the area, both from religious and secular publications. Most of the studies in the English language tend to, no surprise, focus on the Abrahamic religions. That includes Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. This is a fact I just wanted to highlight, so the discussion we're having here is slightly skewed toward the Western world. I just wanted to point out this lack of data in case you have questions or wondering why I don't bring other cultures up here.

But as I mentioned, studies have been done on the connection between mental illness, religion, and stigma for some time. Many point out that connecting mental illness with sin and immorality leads to the symptoms being viewed as something the individual is responsible for and has caused on themself. As Lloyd and Panagopoulos (2022) point out, there is "harmful to individuals as they confate sufering with individual responsibility, such as by blaming the person's lack of faith or sinful behaviour." Blaming the cause of mental illness on an outside force leads to the idea that the individual could have prevented this by acting differently. In a 2023 article, Lloyd and Panagopoulos state that these ideas "lead to diminished treatment-seeking and unhelpful interventions which view the individual as at fault for their illness and position them as a passive recipient of spiritual intervention."

We don't fare better in the Muslim communities where mental illness to this day is blamed in many communities as being possessed or caused by the Jinn. Authors within the Muslim world point out that while there is no connection between mental illness and jinn possession in the Qur'an, the belief is firmly rooted within folk superstition. Islam and Campbell write in a 2012 article the rather sad statement that "self-stigma because he/she has grown up believing that the devil causes madness and community/family stigma, because they too have grown up with this idea. Such shame and stigma understandably results in Muslims either failing to seek or significantly underutilizing much-needed mental healthcare treatment."

What we see here in the religious context we also see within the Alien sphere. It's not unknown that people believe to have been abducted by aliens, encountered them, or, in cases they think to be possessed of them, often don't seek medical treatment. Or maybe even worse, go to memory regression therapy, hypnotists, and support groups where their beliefs are confirmed and aggravated. While they don't necessarily face the stigma as their religious counterparts, they still hesitate to seek out medical professionals. For example, we brought up these things in episode 44, "Alien abductions, kachinas, and Peru's elongated skulls."

There's also ample evidence that the portrayal of mental health in popular media affects how we view disorders and treatments. So a lot of responsibility falls on the writers here, but unfortunately, they decide to use to portray mental illness as something evil. Something dangerous and violent. Worth pointing out is that Ancient Aliens are not the only popular media that engage with this trope and try to make content out of it. It's been around for a long time. The first time the "scary doctor" trope appeared on film was in 1914 with the movie "Andy and the Hypnotist." In which a young man is put under the control of a nefarious doctor by hypnosis. But the hypnotist, named Mysterio, is arrested by a Children's Society agent, and Andy ends up on an intended murderous spree acting as a Native American. With this, a new genre was born.

The phenomenon has been quite well studied, and Hayden et al. have classified the negative stereotypes as follows. First, we have the homicidal maniac that appears in films such as Psyco, american psycho, and the exorcist. Then we have the rebellious free spirit labeled mentally ill by society, but in the end, they are vindicated since nice characters can't be mentally ill. Moving on, we have run-of-the-mill enlightened members of society, as depicted in King of Hearts. The female patient is a seductress, the narcissistic parasite, and lastly, the zoo specimen.

If you think back about a movie depicting someone with mental health, I'm sure you can start to see how that character is problematic. Even if they are not shown as dangerous, the stereotypes are still harmful, even if it's the lovable free spirit portrayed as a trope leading to destructive ideas about mental illness and health. There is a clear link between the stigma around mental illness and the discrimination of these people in areas such as housing, employment, relationships, and even funding for treatment centers or mental health equality. Leading in the end to a loss of status, low self-esteem, shame, withdrawal, and less likely to seek professional help. Much of this seems, unfortunately, rooted in the media's portrayal of mental health.

In 2002, six out of ten of the most popular violent movies included someone suffering from mental illness. The characters are often referred to with derogatory terms and often have the villain reported to be mentally ill, as we see in the Halloween movies. Among the top 100 films from 2016 and 2017 and the 100 top-rated series, in 46% of those involving a mentally ill character, this character was the perpetrator of violence.

Perciful and Meyers published a study in 2016 where they aimed to see how movies affect a person's attitudes toward people with schizophrenia. When shown films with a fear-based portrayal, the subjects supported stigmatizing attitudes such as "I would be afraid to meet somebody who has schizophrenia" and "People with schizophrenia need to be supervised at all times." Compare these results with the control group and the group who saw positive presentations of schizophrenia, where the attitudes improved.

The media representation not only affects society's view about mental health but can also skew and hinder advancing knowledge about mental health. Further, as we touched on, the stigma born from these portrayals leads to people not seeking medical help even if they feel that they would need it. It's also been demonstrated that even if help is sought, people don't stick with the treatment due to the stigma enforced by films directed at adults and children. The health care portrayed in the movie also sets unrealistic expectations on how the treatment will be and how a mental facility will look and work. Again, this hinders people from seeking treatment due to being afraid of being "turned into a zombie" or getting shock treatment, a treatment that, in some cases, might help alleviate some symptoms. But if your picture of how a mental facility operates is influenced by movies, you might not want to seek it out, fearing becoming Jack Nicolson's character in A Flight over the Coco Nest. A common trope is that you will be locked up indefinitely if you don't do what the medical professional wants.

Even less extreme examples of mental health professionals often set unrealistic standards where the cure often is love and family. Two things that can benefit someone undergoing treatment but should not be deemed the only cure. Media also tend to cultivate a myth that psychiatry can be anything and therapy can be anything.

So, to round up this segment, we have demonstrated how movies and religion affect our views and often in a way that increases the stigma around mental health. While there are, of course, potential upsides if used positively, this is not really the current case. And even if Ancient Aliens is not the most prominent show out there, they still contribute to these ideas and need to take responsibility for this. Because this is not the first time we have seen this depiction, and from the look, this will continue in later episodes. This is something I've mentioned and certainly will do in the future. Ancient Aliens are a harmful show in more ways than promoting alien theories; they stigmatize people suffering from mental health issues. On that very upbeat note, I'll go and cool off the nerves with some whiskey while you listen to a couple of messages.

The maybe not-so-mad monk Rasputin

Welcome back. We have now moved from the demonic realm to Russia, where we will encounter perhaps one of the more famous and most misunderstood figures from the Russian Revolution. Grigori Rasputin. A name that has become almost a synonym for evil and villainy. He even appears as the main bad guy in the, well now, Disney movie Anastasia. There is so much legend about this man that scholars, as we will learn, have difficulty separating truth from fiction. Very little academic work seems to have been written about Rasputin, especially in English. There are, however, tons of popular science books and articles on him with a wide variety of quality. More has been published in Russian, of course, and Rasputin seems to appear in several memoirs of people from the era. The drawback is that I don't read Cyrillic and translate it well, even transcribed to Western letters; it would take me quite some time to translate. But with some grit and patience, I believe I have unlocked some of the real Rasputin hiding in this mess.

Most things regarding Raputin's life have been mythologized to a point where I believe most of us most likely consider some of these as facts. From death to birth, stories about Rasputin's life are repeated even by historians, like in this case, Dr. Dan Healey.

"From the memoir of Maria Rasputin, Rasputin's daughter, she wrote that when he was born, there were other omens and portents things like a dog with six legs being born, babies with deformities, that kind of thing." - Dan Healey, Ph.D.

Maria Rasputin has indeed written three memoirs. That is "Rasputin: The Man Behind the Myth," published in 1977. The second I've managed to track down is titled "My Father," published in 1934. And lastly, we have the first book, "The real Rasputin," published in 1929. None of these books mention these things Dr. Healy says, and it would be out of character for Maria to describe her father this way. In all these memoirs, she paints an almost saintly picture of her father, whom she seems to have loved. Reading these books, it becomes evident Healey was either mistaken or might have bought into the Rasputin mythos. The closest I get to some sort of miracle associated with Rasputin's birth is that Maria claims a comet was visible on the day of her father's birth. The issue with that claim is that she got the date and year wrong. According to the official records, Grigori Rasputin was born on January 9 and baptized on January 10, 1869.

So Grigori was born in Pokrovskoe, a small village in the vast Siberian landscape. He was the first child of his parents, Yefim Rasputin and Anna Parshukova, to survive infancy. While the family had some money, it seems to have been tight. Yefim was at least once jailed for not paying his taxes. The sources seem split about Yefim; he was serving as an elder in the village church, and some have described him as learned, while others remark more on Yefim's fondness for Vodka.

The family had been in Siberia since 1643, one year after the founding of Pokrovskoe village. An Izosim brought the family there, who then had no last name, and Izosim was only known as the son of Fyodor. Izosim's son, Nason, took Rospotin as his last name, which would later be spelled more modern as Rasputin. There are many strange tales about the name's origin, and few seem trustworthy. Rasputin was a quite common name in Siberia, and a possible source of it might be rasputa, a word that would be translated to crossroads in English.

The early life of Rasputin was definitely shaped by Siberia; the land and its toils follow its people. Grigori helped his father with farmwork in the spring and summer while trying to shelter from the elements during the winter. Rasputin was illiterate until his adulthood, something that is far from surprising. According to an 1897 census, his whole family was illiterate, and only some 20% of the population could read at this time. But very little is known about Grigori Rasputin's youth. This period of his life is a little bit of a black hole; as historian Douglas Smith put it, this has left room for some fanciful stories. My favorite depiction of the young Rasputin tells us, "In his youth, Rasputin was uncommonly hapless. With a foul mouth, inarticulate speech, driveling, dirty as one can be, a thief, and a blasphemer, he was the fright of the village." The quote is from the Petrograd Leaflet in 1916. While accounts of Grigori Rasputin often depict him as a die-hard criminal and horse thief, this seems to be a bit of an exaggeration of the reality. A gendarme report from 1909 interviewed the people of Pokroskove and Rasputin, then is reported to have had various vices, liked getting drunk, and committed some minor theft. He then left and returned a changed man.

The leaving part is also something that's often played as a big thing, but at the same time. Do you really need more reasons than living in the middle of Siberia in a small village? Rasputin told his acolytes about his early life, who documented it in "The Life of an experienced pilgrim." About why he left, he said:

"I had many sorrows, too: whatever misstake was made somewhere, I was blamed although I was not involved. Workmen from teams mocked me. I plowed hard and slept little and I kept asking my hearth how to find a way to be saved."

There are several stories on why Rasputin left, and among the alternative historians, there's one in particular that's often repeated.

"One day while plowing his fields, Rasputin sees a strange light in the sky, and out from the middle of this light emerges a vision of the Virgin Mary. And she doesn't speak to him, but he watches her gesture to the horizon and Rasputin takes this to mean that he is being told by the Mother of God that he must go and find himself on a spiritual pilgrimage. And this begins the huge shift in Rasputin's life." - Kathleen McGowan Coppens.

This account is from one edition of Maria Rasputin's memoirs. Grigori Rasputin also mentioned that he made the pilgrimage to atone for his sins or that it was commanded by Saint Simeon of Verkhoturye. Another reason could be his meeting with theology student Melity Zaborovsky. Others have claimed that the pilgrimage was undertaken to escape hard work or avoid punishment for crimes committed. Rasputin also gives us two years for when he embarked on the travel, either in 1893 or 1897. According to historian Douglas Smith, the later date that he gave to Father Yurevsky seems more likely. We know that Grigori Rasputin undertook the 500-kilometer journey from Pokrovskoe to the St. Nicolas monastery in Verkhoturye, which would change his life.

Grigori Rasputin seems to have been quite the charismatic character, and shortly after his reformation and return to Pokrovskoe. Now, he started building a small following in the village, which would soon grow and expand as Rasputin continued his pilgrimages. The rumors would, of course, not stop, but they took a different style, accusing Rasputing of being part of a sect called Khlysty and engaging in, according to the morality of the time, lude acts with his followers. Khlysty was a heretic sect founded around 1640 in Russia when the Russian Orthodox Church started to crumble. Many fanciful stories surround this cult, that they would whip each other, engage in ritual orgies during worship and cannibalism. While the whipping part might be genuine, Khlyst means whip. The other claims lack credible evidence and are more likely to attempt to vilify the cult. I also want to point out that Khlysty might be a clever play on Kryiti or Christ in Russian.

With Rasputin's growing influence, he met Tsar Nicholas in November 1905, something that the tsar recorded in his diary. The royal couple liked Rasputin, and he often seemed to have visited them. Skeptical officials launched Investigations into Rasputin, but nothing turned up that would remove him from the capital. But it was not until 1912, and the so-called miracle in Spała, the tsar hunting grounds in today Poland, that Rasputin's reputation as a healer was cemented. Prince Alexi, who was suffering from hemophilia, developed a hematoma. It quickly got worse, and it's claimed that the prince was close to death. At this time, Queen Alexandra sent a telegram back to Rasputin in Russia, who answered quickly with a now-lost telegram. It's often claimed it goes as follows:

"God has seen your tears and heard your prayers. Do not grieve. The Little One will not die. Do not allow the doctors to bother him too much."

After this, it's claimed that Alexis made a miraculous recovery. Not to throw shade, but if you had the option of receiving medical help in the 1910s and not, you might want to opt for not. It was not uncommon to administer aspirin to hemophiliacs. As you might know, aspirin is blood thinning and is not recommended to give to someone whose blood doesn't clot. So it's suggested that this advice is basically what saved the prince.

Let's fast forward to 1916 and the death of Rasputin. An end that is not to anyone's surprise is surrounded by speculation and rumors.

"Rasputin wrote an open letter to Russia. And within this open letter, he states, "If I am murdered by the royal family or by someone related to the royal family, 'within two years every member of the royal family will be dead.'" - Kathleen McGowan Coppens.

This claim's origin is from Aron Simanowich, and from the evidence we have, this seems to be made up. Simanowich, however, never claimed it was an open letter but a letter to Rasputin's lawyer to be added to his testament. Aron Simanowich might have been inspired by a letter Rasputin sent his family. In it, Rasputin claimed that disaster and misfortune were coming. Not really a prediction at the end of 1916, two years into World War 1, and the February Revolution would start on the 8th of Mars. No, the Russians were not late to their own revolution, but they used the Julian calendar still at this time. In this letter, there are no claims from Rasputin on his death.

The commonly told story of Rasputin's death is that Rasputin was invited to Prince Yussupoff's palace on 94 Moika. That part is not really debated, but what happened after. According to Yussupoff, Rasputin was taken in through the side passage of the palace and down into the cellar, where they had tea. There, Rasputin was offered cakes laced with cyanide; while declining the cakes at first, Griegory then ate several of them. Since the poison did not work, Yussupoff offered some sweet wine with some potassium cyanide. When the wine didn't work either, Rasputin started to become agitated. Yussupoff then ended up shooting Rasputin in the chest with a revolver. Yussupoff's accomplices heard the shot and came down and declared Rasputin dead, and they set their other plan in motion, pretending to drive Rasputin home. But in the meantime, Rasputin is claimed to have come back to life shouting like a wounded animal and behaving like a demon he is trying to escape. The assassins hear this and follow with guns, shooting Rasputin several more times and throwing him into the river.

What really happened on that night is hard to tell. It does not make it easier that people involved in the plot have later suggested that parts of the story can't be true. For example, Yussupoff claims to have gotten the potassium cyanide from Vasily Maklakov, a later ambassador. Maklakov claims to have only given some harmless powder. But even if poison was obtained, the one lazing the cakes, Doctor Stanislav Lazovert, changed his mind at the last second and did not want to break his Hippocratic oath. Lazovert might have used aspirin instead. The autopsy could only confirm the gunshot to the head as the cause of death. No sign of drowning or poison seemed to have been visible.

Maria Rasputin also claims in her memoirs that her father didn't enjoy sweets, so the poison part would be out of the question. While we might not be able to fully confirm the story, I think it's important to note that it primarily builds on Yussupoff's claims. He wanted to eliminate Rasputin due to his influence over the tsar. So, using the rumors surrounding the religious man, he tried to portray him as someone in league with the devil. A satan incarnated set out to destroy Russia. It's important to remember that tales can come with an agenda.

Interestingly, nationalists have picked up the story and reversed it. In it, Yussupoff is portrayed as a decadent bisexual who has been influenced to become a secular Westerner. Yussupoff is then trying to kill the protector of Russia, Rasputin, who gets some protection due to his true Orthodox belief in the one almighty God.

The alien proponents, in turn, claim that Rasputin possessed or channeled the alien beings, which protected him and gave him all these powers. Tying their segments back to the idea that extra-terrestrial beings can take over a person and make them do evil things. Again, this adds to the stigma around mental health in this. While Rasputin was not mentally ill, the Ancient Alien people still wanted to make this type of connection. In the end, Rasputin was not an evil magician who tried to take over Russia but a convenient scapegoat during turbulence.

And I find the connection that the show tries to make that Rasputin was possessed by evil aliens quite harmful. It does tie into the idea of stigmatization we talked about in the first part of the show. And out of the oven and into the fire, we travel to Nazi Germany for this last part, after these few messages.

The Black Sun of Wewelsburg

Welcome to the Renaissance castle Wewelsburg outside a small village in Germany. We have been here previously in our episode Aliens and the Third Reich, but it seems to be time to revisit the site. The castle that was built in 1603 was acquired by Himmler in November of 1933, who wanted to expand the palace to become a cult place for his ariosophic ideas. One symbol in the castle has been the center of many theories and speculations. Mike Fitzgerald describes the Black Sun symbol like this.

"Wewelsburg Castle was acquired in 1933 by Himmler. He intended to make that the spiritual center of the world. The Black Sun symbol symbolized an invisible sun or a dead sun, and consequently it was believed that there was hidden power that resided in that, that could be tapped, that would link you into a completely different source of energies from the ordinary ones that you would get." - Mike Fitzgerald.

In what was formerly known as the SS Obergruppenführer Hal, located on the first floor, we can find a round room with twelve pillars, a type of sun symbol with twelve spokes created from tiles. Each spoke almost like a sig rune connected in the center in what could be a shield. There have been speculations that this symbol might have taken inspiration from older sources. While it's often suggested to be a Norse symbol, it is not. What we know today as the Black Sun seems to be modeled after French disks with a similar design. We find these in graves, especially women, as disks that have been part of a belt or brooch for tunics during the Merovingian period in France. While there are older examples from the Bronze Age, the ones we find during the 5th-8th centuries and early Middle Ages are more analogous to what we see at Wewelsburg.

But why did Himmler add this symbol to the floor of this castle? As usual, we can thank our three usual suspects within Nazi symbolism, Guido von List, William Landig, and Helena Blavatsky. In her most influential work, The Secret Doctrine from 1888, Blavatsky describes "a point unseen and mysterious, the ever-hidden center of attraction of our Sun and system." With this, she makes a distinction between Semitic and Aryan cosmology. An idea that was picked up by the völkish movement in Germany. Guido von List often talked about a "primal fire." But the most influence over the Black Sun as a modern Neo-nazi idea could be credited to Wilhelm Landig. A former SS member and occultist who, in large, preserved the idea of Ariosophy and introduced it to the later generations of Nazis. Landig wrote the Thule trilogy to attract younger people to the esoteric nazism he promoted. In this fantasy for right-wing radicals, former SS officers are heroes fighting a Jewish conspiracy. He mixes Atlantis and the origin of Aryans with the neo-nationalistic mythos of hidden nazi UFO bases in Antarctica, Nazi-Tibet connections with ancient masters, grail mythos, and alchemy.

It makes sense that Himmler would have found this concept about the esoteric light fascinating and, most likely, why this symbol is found where it is. Himmler is one of the few top Nazi officials who were active in the esoteric movement during Nazi Germany. But something worth noting here is that the Nazi Germans did not have a concept referred to as the Black Sun or Schwarze Sonne, the symbol we find in Wewelsburg was only referred to as a Sonnenrad or sun wheel. SS officer and folklorist Bernhard Frank, who spent time at the castle around 1935, had never heard of the term Black Sun being used to reference the sun wheel. He claims that this is a postwar idea. This claim seems to be correct. The first connection made between the concept of the Black Sun and the sun wheel at Wewelsburg is in the book "The Black Sun of Tashi Lhunpo" (Die Schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo) by author Russell McCloud, released in 1991. In the book, McCloud links the sun wheel to the esoteric myths of Karl Maria Wiligut and Guido von List. The book is an occult-Nazi thriller that utilizes the nazi mythos about Tibet, Thule, and Mongolia.

The Nazi Mythos incorporated Blavatsky's ideas about Shambhala, a concept she borrowed from Tibetan Buddhism. Within this branch of Buddhism, Shambhala is a spiritual kingdom. Within Theosophy, this spiritual kingdom became an invisible land where the hidden masters who spoke to the theosophic prophets resided. The Nazis also added the idea of Agarttha to their legends, an invention by Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre. It was claimed that Alexandre was visited by higher masters in 1885 from Agarttha, a part of a hollow earth. In the past, they had been a part of a world government that, around 3200 BCE, had been transferred to reside within the Hollow Earth. One of the entrances to the invisible earth and Agarttha could be found in Mongolia.

All of this became part of McCloud's story that would come to heavily influence the Neo-Nazi movement in the 90's. Since then, the Black Sun of Wewelsburg has become a key symbol among Neo-Nazis and is today one of the most frequent symbols you might encounter. But as we see here, the symbol is not connected to the Vikings or symbology used within the Scandinavian Viking societies. So, the Black Suns with Norse runes around are very anachronistic.

Also while Fitzgerald is correct regarding the idea of an invisible sun as part of the esoteric legacy of Nazi mystics. He, like many others, gets the connection between the idea and symbol wrong, as we see here. I also want, as in our Nazi episode, to bring up the problematic aspect of connecting the horrible ideas and crimes of Nazi Germany with aliens. As we saw back in episode 19, they alluded to that the Germans did what they did, not due to cultish following, bad people, and a horrible view of people, but due to alien influence. These claims take away some of the individual autonomy and shift the blame from the nazis to aliens. I also find it highly problematic that they allude to the mental illness and crimes of people in Germany during the Nazi regime. While what Ancient Aliens do is not really holocaust denialism, it's darn close, to be honest, and does add to the misinformation about the cause and ideas of nazism. As we have seen in the past, Ancient Aliens are not beyond directly quoting and using neo-nazi writers as sources in their material.

On that bombshell, I'll close out this episode. While we did not talk that much about archaeology, I think we had an exciting discussion and probably managed to remove some misguided ideas we might have had.

But till then, remember to leave a positive review anywhere you can, such as iTunes, Spotify, or to your friend at the trench. I would also recommend visiting diggingupancientaliens.com to find more info about me and the podcast. You can also find me on most social media sites, and if you have comments, corrections, suggestions, or just want to write an email in all caps, you can find my contact info on the website.

You will find all the sources and resources used to create this podcast on our website. You will often also find further reading suggestions if you want to learn more about the subjects we bring up.

Sandra Marteleur created the intro music, and our outro is by the band called Trallskruv, who sings their song "tin foil hat." Links to both these artists will be found in the show notes.

Until next time, keep shoveling that science!

Sources, resources, and further reading suggestions

Blavatsky, H.P. (2016). The secret doctrine : the synthesis of science, religion, and philosophy. Vol. 1, Cosmogenesis. New York: Penguin.

Butler, J.R. and Hyler, S.E. (2005). Hollywood Portrayals of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Treatment: Implications for Clinical Practice. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 14(3), pp.509–522. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2005.02.012

Cook, A. (2013). To kill Rasputin : the life and death of Grigori Rasputin. Gloucestershire: The History Press.

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“Folie hatt” by Trallskruv

Lily of the woods by Sandra Marteleur