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SA's Erich von Däniken?

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Description: Wayne Herschel
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« on: September 07, 2006, 18:16:13 PM »

Originally from Zimbabwe, Wayne Herschel now lives in Durban, South Africa, and gives the old "luminaries" like Erich von Däniken, Graham Hancock, Zacharia Sitchin, Robert Bauval, etc. a very crisp run for their money in terms of purveyed twaddle volume.  His book (The Hidden Records) is worth knowing about only insofar as it represents a nadir of critical thought.  It's a right royal pain to read not least because of its poor language.  Some of the reader reviews seen at the above link are worth reading, and it will be seen how polarised the book's readership is.

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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2006, 16:44:36 PM »

Know it's a bit late, but at least von Däniken had a good writer...... Grin
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 17:14:14 PM »

... at least von Däniken had a good writer...... Grin
Hmm, yes his prose is quite readable, but he, more than anyone else, is to blame for the prevalently sorry understanding of archaeology that one commonly finds today.  Herschel's book lists all three von Däniken books in its bibliography.  It is interesting to speculate what might have been if, à la Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code, von Däniken had presented his ideas in works of fiction, rather than as established fact.  Certainly, no one would dare cite him as a factual reference, and that in itself would be worth much.

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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 17:37:04 PM »

Yes, I enjoyed his books tremendously when I was younger.. but lost interest when I found out about the fraud charges against him... The I found out that he did not write himself, but actually had someone doing it for him... could be because of language or something... nevertheless his books was well presented, albeit misleading.. - a pity...

In those days, I couldn't wait for the next Charles Berlitz book!!!!  He had no language problem..   Grin
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 17:59:17 PM »

... I found out about the fraud charges against him... The I found out that he did not write himself, but actually had someone doing it for him...
Interesting.  I didn't know about that - I'll try Googling for a report.


In those days, I couldn't wait for the next Charles Berlitz book!!!!  He had no language problem..   Grin
Indeed, he didn't have a language problem.  Just about any language.  It helps when one's father is the owner of by far the largest publishing house of foreign language phrase books and traveller's companions.

After reading The Bermuda Triangle and being suitably intrigued, I delved into The Philadelphia Experiment.  This being before the days of the Internet, I searched multiple physics texts and encyclopaedias for the Biefeld-Brown Effect Berlitz mentioned in the latter book.  Not finding anything, I grew suspicious and, after further study and reading, concluded that Berlitz was merely a deluded sensationalist.  In fact, writing skill aside, Herschel has much in common with Berlitz also.

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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2006, 18:19:43 PM »

http://www.softwareartist.com/philexp.html
http://www.crystalinks.com/phila.html


Found a link or two about the experiment....
He co-authored that one with Bill Moore http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Moore

I found Berlitz to be quite in line with other authors on the same subjects.... I'm gonna have a look around - might still have the book lying round.. Cheesy

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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2006, 18:34:30 PM »


Thanks for the links - I'll look at them more closely soon (I fixed them in the above quote  Tongue).  Also, I've still got to search for the von Däniken story, but time is not on my side right now.

I've kept all my woo-woo books in a separate section of a bookshelf.  They can be very instructive in cases where someone shows a genuine interest in learning how to distinguish science from nonsense.

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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2006, 09:18:08 AM »

Erich von Däniken's theme park in Switzerland is about to close down.  See here.

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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2007, 10:11:17 AM »

Wayne Herschel and his wacky celestial woo-woo were featured in Cape Town's Sunday Argus recently.  Wayne's still punting his "star map" thingy - the one where, according to a reviewer of his book, any "any three-dot alignment must 'mean' something" - despite all contrary evidence and logical objections.  "Scale" and "orientation" are concepts that Herschel seems blithely unaware of.

Lately he's also chucked Stonehenge, Leonardo da Vinci (Dan Brown at least could distinguish between fact and fantasy, a skill that still seems to elude Herschel) and Vatican City into the mix as further "evidence," never mind that the Vatican is a few millennia younger than the 17,000-odd years he speaks of in his self-published book.  What is certain is that he'll have some way-out "explanation" for these additions to his curious mélange of claims that purports to show humans originated somewhere in the Pleiades from some ETs.  Simplicity does not seem to have a place in Wayne's cosmos, and Occam's Razor is good only for cropping colourful illustrations.

The Cydonia, Mars, "face" retains a central place in Herschel's array of extraordinary evidence, and NASA/ESA scientists are obviously still deluded some years after the "face" was scrutinised more closely a few times.  But thanks to Wayne's much clearer pictures, the truth is known, but he only says "image enhancement" about how he came by such clear photos.

The "vast collection of coincidences" Herschel talks about is overshadowed by a much more vast collection of known facts.  No one is contending that "we are alone" as an absolute article of knowledge, and few, I think, would venture such a claim.  However, to accept Herschel's "evidence" and "coincidences" as compelling is to "mock human intelligence."

Herschel will give a talk about his ideas at the MTN Science Centre, Canal Walk, Century City, on April 14 this year.  The organisers are obviously a bit out of touch with the meaning of the term "science," and vocal sceptics will, I expect, be unwelcome.

ETA: Why is it that black and gold always seem to feature so heavily with the astronomy/archaeology woo-woo brigands?

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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2007, 12:12:14 PM »

Wayne Herschel needs a cash injection to perpetuate his fool's foray into the swampy lands of Selection Bias:
Quote
Our article last Sunday about Melkbos author Wayne Herschel and his theories about the origins of Stonehenge and the pyramids was preposterous, according to one distinctly underwhelmed reader.

Well, maybe not as preposterous as he thinks. For buried deep inside Herschel's website at www.thehiddenrecords.com is the following.

"More books need to be printed urgently and new investors are invited to join the quest. Each new investor will be entitled to a royalty ad infinitum.

"An investment share of $25 000 in the project earns the investor a 17c per book reward. The investment is treated like a bank loan with interest. The return of the 'loan' amount to the lender is being targeted within a 12-month period.

"The offer may sound too good to be true, and because of the unique nature of this project, will only make sense to those who have taken the time to read the book! Dan Brown has sold over 40 million books. Even if The Hidden Records were to sell only a fraction of such a figure ... imagine the reward!"

Maybe so, but there's at least one crucial difference: Unlike Herschel, Brown doesn't pretend to write factual accounts, a point he (Brown) is adamantly clear on.  He writes lightweight fiction with lots of one-dimensional characters nonceing about against historical backdrops.  In contrast, Herschel insists that his fairytale is true, lending weight to the idea that once you have a theory, all you find is evidence to confirm it.

Also, the columnist does not explain how an ostensibly lucrative deal offer resulting from an apparent upsurge in popularity can in any way diminish the preposterousness of Herschel's contentions.  It's a non sequitur, unless the implication is that it is okay to bilk people with dodgy facts and dodgier reasoning as long as someone - anyone - makes a buck thereby.

And that's hardly unique.

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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2007, 15:31:52 PM »

Correction: Wayne Herschel's MTN Science Centre presentation is scheduled for 4 (not 14) April at 7:00 P.M.  R60.- at the door will get you a seat, though Barry Hilton would be funnier.

But only marginally so.  Grin

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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2007, 07:47:12 AM »

A few days ago, I found an article on Wayne Herschel in the Wikipedia and inspected the entry's history, which I saved for quick retrieval.  It turns out that doing so was fortuitous for reasons that will become clear shortly.  The original entry read thus:
Quote from: Wikipedia
Wayne Herschel is author of the book 'The Hidden Records'. He is an amateur archeo-astronomist who has dedicated his life to discovering the true origins of the human race. His most famous discovery is the perfect correlation of the star map of the Pleiades-Orion region of the sky with the numerous pyramid layouts on Earth and Mars, such as Tikal, Egypt and Cydonia.
A link to Herschel's web site was given.

The entry was amended once to present a milder, and perhaps truer, expanded account:
Quote from: Wikipedia
Wayne Herschel is author of a self-published book, ‘The Hidden Records.’ He is an amateur archeo-astronomer who has dedicated his life to discovering the true origins of the human race. Originally from Zimbabwe and presently living in South Africa, he is best known for his controversial hypothesis that several ancient pyramid and monument sites on Earth were purposely laid out to mimic the positioning of prominent night sky stars in order to highlight one specific sun-like star near the Pleiades. This special star is humankind’s point of origin some 17,000 years ago, according to Herschel.

Hershel’s work draws on and extends some of the proposals of writers such as Erich von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin, Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and Richard Hoagland, and his conjectures about the correspondences between stars and the ancient monuments encompass, among others, ancient constructions of Egypt, Angkor, Tikal, Stonehenge, Vatican City, and the Cydonia “face” region on Mars. Mainstream scientists and historians are unconvinced that Herschel’s speculations are adequately supported by evidence to warrant serious consideration.

The article was subsequently deleted in its entirety two days ago.  The reason?
Quote from: Wikipedia
(a7 nonnotable content was: '{{db-bio|non-notable, self-published author of pseudoscience}} … ').

Reason code "a7" is the Wikipedia equivalent of a summary execution.  It is obvious, then, that a small measure of sanity prevails.

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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2007, 09:15:43 AM »

Wayne the Brain is giving talks in Cape Town tonight, 6th June, and tomorrow night:
Quote
Cape Town - Peninsula Hotel - 4 course dinner - Star map Angkor night
                       Thursday 7th June 7pm.
                       Call Melissa for details and booking at 021 430 7777.

Cape Town - St George's Grammar School (Jenny Mallett Hall)
                       Richmond Rd, Little Mowbray
                       Wednesday 6th June 7:30pm

                       Tickets R40 at door or call 082 329 5277
In effect, this means that he's still soliciting support for his iffy fable from lay people instead of taking seriously others' criticisms and the fact that experts are still almost completely ignoring him after several years.  Also, it is telling that Wayne has dropped ticket prices by a third.  One suspects that this may have been done in response to attendance figures being somewhat less than crushing.

Perhaps ordinary people are also increasingly starting to wonder about your ideas, Wayne?

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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 13:26:05 PM »

Quote from: Wayne Herschel’s Sock Puppet
It was after reading this highly respected author’s [Robert Bauval] breakthrough finding [The Orion Mystery] that Wayne’s ideas became more focused, to the level where they became such an obsession that he eventually sat down to co-ordinate a manuscript of his own.
Bauval’s finding – i.e. the “correspondence” between the three stars of Orion’s Belt on one hand, and the three Giza pyramids on the other – is not respected by any scientific orthodoxy and is hardly “breakthrough,” being long on speculation and short on evidence.

Quote from: Wayne Herschel’s Sock Puppet
Wayne Herschel says his readers can rest assured: He has a very high regard for the source of all religious material and spirituality and he is highly motivated by what his years of research have moulded his belief into. There is without doubt an over whelming (sic) reality of the existence of an all knowing (sic) omnipotent Creator of the universe. Book one does not really explore this subject yet but a spiritual journey begins in his next book. It presents new research that reasons a single Creator as a spiritual life force nucleus in the universe and its mathematical design code. All life, exactly how we know it on Earth, seems apparently very abundant within the universe. It appears to be created within a very clever yet precise bio-diverse design code that is self adjusting to its environmental changes. We recognise the fundamental part of this as evolutional natural selection. Wayne will also focus on the commons of belief systems - highlighting equitable ethics, humility and purity, and above all, recognising the value that life is sacrosanct.
Source.

Despite stern disavowals of same voiced elsewhere on Wayne’s page, this smacks of an aspiration to some sort of hybrid New Age/traditionalist guruhood.  The jargon and “sciency” sounding prose coupled with touchy-feely smarminess add up to pure New Age drivel.  It seems that the less actual substance there is to an area of study, the more its proponents feel compelled to dolly it up with obscurantist claptrap.

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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2008, 14:15:06 PM »

Quote from: News @ “The Hidden Records” website
Wayne Herschel will be presenting a large screen slide show/talk in Cape Town at the Pinelands library on Wednesday the 19th of March at 7pm.

Titled - "the star of the gods - Origins of humanity challenged".

Parking facilities will be available on the Post Office side of the Howard centre (library entrance). Regular parking tickets are issued at the boom entry, however the parking will be free and the boom will automatically be opened after 8pm to allow cars to vacate at no cost. (Howard Centre is off Howard rd in Pinelands Cape Town).

Recent discoveries will also be previewed involving the secret star map of the Vatican, the US one dollar bill and the Solomon Key that famous author Dan Brown is apparently using for his new book titled The Solomon Key.

Entry - R60 per person admission at the door. Duration approximately 1hr. Signed books will be available. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

Call 082 329 5277 for more info or optional reservation of seats.
CaptainKlingon, a heads-up for you.

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