This is Part 2 of 2 of my interview with John Ventre, the Director of Pennsylvania MUFON. Part 1 can be found here.
I just discovered that this very old web page (2003) doesn’t live anywhere in my new website ecosystem. It’s an orphan of my old website. Consequently, I’m posting it here so it does. Sorry that this appeared on Twitter, but that’s automated. Anyway, I’ve been asked four times now to be on Ancient Aliens and a similar show (America’s Book of Secrets) for an in-kind episode on ancient astronauts. My answer is always the same: “I’d love to be on your show, but can you promise me in writing you won’t do this ….?” (This effectively kills the conversation for months).
History Channel Censors Facade Author Mike Heiser from its “UFOs in the Bible” Show
February 6, 2003
Well, if you’ve clicked here you no doubt by now have seen the History Channel’s special, “UFOs in the Bible” (aired 1/28, 29), or your curiosity was at least piqued by the front page blurb. Let me give you some brief background before I turn my attention to the telling and cowardly effort of Weller-Grossman Studios, who produced the show.
Last February (2002), Weller-Grossman Studios (hereafter WGS) flew me out to Los Angeles to be interviewed for the UFOs and the Bible special. The reason was simple: they had heard of me from Guy Malone (also interviewed) of Roswell, NM’s “Alien Resistance HQ”. They learned from Guy that I had academic credentials in biblical studies and biblical languages, and an interest in UFOs. The choice was natural.
When I received my list of questions from WGS prior to the interview, I noticed the questions were very stilted toward “confirming” that the Bible indeed gave evidence of ETs and UFOs, neither if which I believed. I called my contact at WGS, and told them up front that if they interviewed me, they would not get the answers they evidently wanted. I was told this was no problem, since they wanted to give all sides to the issue. I also sent Gabe the link to the ancient iconography behind the visions of Ezekiel 1, which obviously did not look like a flying saucer (ancient sculptures which account for all the “craft” details in Ezekiel’s vision – in effect, the polaroids of the day). I went to LA and had a great time. In fact my planned one hour interview was extended about half an hour at their request. They let me know that the show would likely air in January of 2003. I also got to meet my friend Lynn Marzulli (author of Nephilim) at the set, who had arranged his own schedule so he could take me back to the airport. It was a lot of fun. A month or so ago I got a courtesy call from WGS informing me of the airing time. I then relayed the information to my newsletter subscribers and others on my email lists. I hadn’t planned to watch it, but I was very curious as to how it would be edited. It was evident to all but Gabe (who sort of knew what to expect) that the crew was surprised that I didn’t gush about aliens in the Bible, but rather gave clear, coherent reasons that such ideas were bogus and completely contrived and inserted into biblical narratives. I expected that my part would be small, since I wasn’t following the party line (but at least, I thought, people like WGS were interested enough to do a show on the subject).
If you watched the show, you’ll know that my part WAS small – in fact, I didn’t appear in it at all. WGS completely cut my entire interview out of the production (at least Guy Malone made it into a few frames, but he and others were, pardon the pun, framed). Instead, the audience was treated to the wild, baseless speculations of pseudo-authorities on the Bible who told us things like:
- The three “men” who met Abraham in Genesis 18 were aliens
- Two of these aliens went to Sodom and Gomorrah, which city was destroyed by alien technology
- Elijah was taken to heaven in a UFO
- Ezekiel saw a UFO in his vision
I’ve had people ask me if I was upset at not being in the show. My answer is that, personally speaking, this worked out well, actually. Sure, it would have been nice to be on TV (providing I didn’t have to watch myself). No, I wasn’t afraid about my academic reputation being tarnished (I went on to demonstrate that ancient astronaut ideas were ludicrous, which would hardly damage me). Rather, this decision by WGS is powerful evidence at the utter falsity of the claim that they wanted to give their audience the truth, or even more than one view. I couldn’t have asked for more striking evidence that my own work matters – and so I say to the pusillanimous effort by WGS: thanks for the shot in the arm. I feel re-energized.
What do I mean by all this? Ask yourself some simple questions:
- Why is it that, in a show about UFOs and the BIBLE the only person interviewed with recognized graduate credentials in the Hebrew BIBLE and all the related ancient languages was excluded from the show?
- Why is it that WGS did not show the ancient artwork I sent them that SHOWS us what Ezekiel saw (his vision’s descriptions match these artistic representations of the throne-chariot theophany in every detail)?
- Why is it that other ufologists who have broad media exposure, like Whitley Strieber, refuse to interview me (There have been a few courageous exceptions, most notably the stellar staff and hosts of Coast to Coast AM).
- And, most telling, why is it that Zecharia Sitchin refused to debate me after I was asked by Art Bell on the air for such a debate?
The (longer) answer is pretty obvious: I’m the only guy in this game who (a) has taken real classes for real credits from real professors at real universities in the ancient languages of the Bible and its surrounding civilizations, which means (b) I can demonstrate from these texts, using sound scholarly methods and resources, that the ancient astronaut idea is an intellectual dogpile. The short answer is FEAR. These people, all of whom want to portray themselves as “digging for the truth,” are doing anything but that when it comes to analyzing the data of ancient texts. They refuse to look at the demonstrable ineptitude of Zecharia Sitchin’s work in the ancient languages (as well as those who defend him) because they WANT to believe his hypothesis. I’m the fly in their ointment, so censorship is the response. I have the goods on Sitchin’s bogus scholarship, and these individuals don’t want to be confused by the facts. The truth doesn’t make for good TV (and, more importantly, doesn’t help them get their intended message out to the public).
As I noted above, people like George Noory, now having taken Art Bell’s mantle on Coast to Coast, are the noteworthy exception. It is no secret that George is a fan of Sitchin’s views, but to his credit, he truly wants to engage all sides for his audience. He had me on recently about the James ossuary, and still decided on his own to bring up Sitchin. My guess is that his genuine journalistic curiosity got the best of him, and the thought of bias never occurred to him. I have to agree with Art Bell about George: he “gets it” when it comes to delivering for his audience. He deserves to be publicly commended, since his actions stand in such stark contrast to the super-evident bias and intellectual cowardice of others.
What’s especially energizing about all this is that this wholesale, gutless censorship will be duly noted by thousands who click to this editorial. Even more encouraging, those same thousands will get to read my not-so-amazing predictions and my open challenges below to other media cravens. If they had nothing to hide, if they had real scholarship on their side, they would have no trouble with interviewing me, inviting me to their conferences, and even taking it upon themselves to arrange a debate with Zecharia Sitchin. Don’t hold your breath.
This brings us full circle for now. Why exclude my voice? Because I can show the entire “aliens in the Bible” paradigm is a contrivance that lacks any substance or coherence.
It’s not about seeking the truth or presenting all viewpoints. It’s about money — titillate the audience, get viewers, sell advertising.