Bhaktivedanta Institute, San Diego, California, 1993, 994 pp, hardcover, $39.95. Available from Strange Bookshop
In this book, religion-inspired bashing of mainstream science and something resembling fortean inquiry meet--but not in anything quite like the Christian version of Creation Science.
The guiding forces here are Hindu.
At the behest of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the authors endeavor to disprove the usually accepted theories of man's evolution. With exhaustive--and exhausting--thoroughness, they comb the history of science for anomalous evidence discarded by the leading paradigms, past and present.
Their vested interest is to show that modern humans were historically present much longer than assumed--and that they coexisted with the animals deemed to have been their ancestors. This is in line with the long cycles of Indian cosmology.
The sketchiness of the fossil record has always been a stumbling block in the proving of biological lines of descent. Additionally, methods of dating artifacts are not precise enough. Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson contend that much evidence is dismissed mainly because it does not relate to scientific opinions of its time. In this regard, they bring to light many forgotten disputes over the recent centuries, and speak of the "knowledge filter."
Among the subjects covered in this fashion is "intentionally modified bone." They describe such toolmaking on bones from Miocene, Pliocene, and Early Pleistocene formations, long before the craft has been conceived to exist. More startlingly, a piece of wood, sawn at its right end, was found in Cromer Forest Bed in England--and dated as circa middle to early Pleistocene.
Conspiracy researchers will have a good time with this book, as it deals with endeavors to discredit and/or otherwise destroy efforts not in line with the established. When no other methods work on them, nonconforming scientists are sometimes accused of cheating. E. Boman in 1921 tried to disprove the authenticity of an animal fossil with an arrow point in it: "In the Museo de La Plata, I have made an experiment of a similar nature, relative to a specimen discovered in the Chapadmalalan of Miramar--the femur of toxodon which has embedded in its trochanter the point of an arrow made of quartzite." In this experiment, he imbedded a similar point in a like bone, and the secretary of the museum could not tell the difference. Boman tried to show that the arrow was put in the bone after it had become a fossil, plus also attempted what appears to be character assassination: "Nevertheless, the manner in which the discoveries were made, and above all, the continuous involvement of a person such as [Lorenzo] Parodi [a museum collector], necessarily give rise to suspicions." In this way, Boman lessened consideration of "the existence of humans in South America during the Tertiary Epoch."
There are many ways to cast doubt: on the site, the excavation techniques, the people involved, the interpretations, etc. And thus, heretical scientists find themselves in career trouble.
Even when the people in a case are credible, one way of casting doubt on an anomalous object is by speculating whether the deposit from which it came was made of loose materials which recemented or resetted.
Turning the tables, so to speak, the book endeavors to cast doubts upon widely accepted objects, including Franz Weidenrich's reconstruction of Pithecanthropus robustus (Java man), which is deemed here to have incorporated a spurious ape palate.
Forbidden Archeology's overall position is "that anatomically modern humans have coexisted with other primates for tens of millions of years." So it is only natural that the authors look into present cryptozoological concerns that modern humans still coexist with apelike wildmen. Reports and evidences of such creatures as Yetis, Sasquatches, Almas, and even the wildmen of China fill a long chapter.
Appendixes colorfully cover some very perplexing objects that fit well outside most theories. Perhaps the weirdest is a "Partial shoe sole in Triassic rock from Nevada..." as per a photo caption, "dated at 213-248 million years...." Consulted shoemakers recognized a hand-welted sole.
The book contains a useful and extensive bibliography. The usefulness of Forbidden Archeology to forteans will be extensive, whether or not they agree with the author's contentions of a history for man related to Hindu beliefs. A later volume from Cremo and Thompson (and another co-author), Origins, reveals the authors' intentions to promote the concept of "inverse evolution" in which the common ancestor of mankind and similar creatures is a superior being, and some steps of the evolutionary process occur outside the Earth. In the present book, the motivating Vedic ideas are briefly alluded to.
Assumedly, the intention of all this is to create doubt about the established order in one book, and in the next to build up reader acceptance of the Vedic world view.
That Forbidden Archeology is propaganda may not matter to forteans. It is so jam-packed with rarities of many varieties (reports, clippings, unconventional opinion, etc.) that it will be a much-consulted addition to their libraries. Cremo's and Thompson's railings against various entrenched institutions of science will be quite familiar, even if they are, as the writer of the introduction, Pierce J. Flynn, Ph.D., puts it, from a "parallax view."