Thursday, January 3, 2008

“Professor Fulcanelli” Fails Basic Logic Test

For several weeks in October and November, a negative review on by somebody calling himself “Professor Fulcanelli” hovered near the top of our customer reviews section. Leaving aside for a second the significance of the pseudonym, this person, whoever he is (and we think we know) has chimed in on our very successful book “Dark Mission – The Secret History of NASA” with a review pompously titled “Dark Mission fails basic fact checking.”

In his review he then lays out a series of “facts” that he claims “do not seem to stand up to a pretty basic fact checking.” In reality almost all of his claims of factual deficiencies are either not based on facts at all, but are simply his opinion (and we all know what opinions are like), or they are simply dead flat wrong. Based on this, subsequently removed the “review.” But, since James Oberg has cited it as if he considered it a substantive review, I couldn’t help but respond to the idiocy it contains.

Now, everyone has an opinion and “Professor Fulcanelli” is certainly entitled to his. But to pretend that his anti-Dark Mission diatribe is based on factual errors in the book is quite frankly laughable. Let’s go over his issues with the book one by one and compare his claims with objective reality:

First, he recites a few passages from page 251 of our book concerning Runway 33 at Cape Canaveral, then drags in a few more sentences from an article on the Enterprise Mission web site. Forgetting for the moment it is intellectually fallacious to use passages that aren’t even in the book to attack the book in a “review,” let’s examine what he then goes on to claim.

In the web article, we wrote:

“And the Cape itself, "Cape Canaveral" translates to English as the "Cape of Reeds." And what ancient Egyptian god was associated with reeds?

Osiris, of course. They may have just as well called it the Cape of Osiris.”

Professor Fulcanelli then goes on to make the following citation:

“According to Wikipedia, ‘The name "Canaveral" (Cañaveral in Spanish) was given to the area by Spanish explorers. It literally means "canebrake". The name can be interpreted as "Cape of Canes"

This is of course irrelevant in the extreme, since the passage he cites is from a web article and not our book, but he is still wrong. First off, the Wikipedia article he uses to bolster his claim does indeed contain the quote he included, but like so much of what is on the Wikipedia website, it is unreferenced. So his sole source for claiming that Cape Canaveral means “Cape of Canes” rather than “Cape of Reeds” is a sentence from an article on a web site that is well known for its inaccuracy that does not even contain a reference.

Now, to be fair, we do cite Wikipedia once in the 171 references and citations in Dark Mission, but that was a last minute addition and will be replaced in the revised edition. However, this does not change the fact that an unreferenced Wikipedia citation hardly qualifies as an authoritative source.

Had PF actually been interested in getting to the truth, he might have gone to any number of Florida history sites (like this one: which show that “Canaveral (as in Cape Canaveral) means ‘place of reeds or cane.’” In addition, if he knew anything about reeds or cane, he would know that they grow in identical environments, and are almost always found together, and in fact are from the same general family of flora. In short, where you find cane, you usually also find reeds.

So undeniably, our facts in this case are categorically correct, and his claim is completely wrong, not mention it’s not even in our book.

Next, he cites yet another unreferenced Wikipedia source to claim that the Cape was selected for NASA’s launch site simply because of its southern location. We find that amusing, since we never argued otherwise. However, NASA could have selected any number of spots along the Florida east coast to build their launch facility and still had the same benefit, and they (just by coincidence) selected an area that is symbolically associated with the Egyptian god Osiris.

Again, he is entitled to disagree with us as to whether this is significant, but that is still just his opinion, not a factual deficiency.

PF then goes on to make another spurious “factual finding” regarding the designation of Runway 33 at the Cape:

"The numbering depends on upon the compass headings. The same runway has two different numbers depending upon the direction of approach of the aircraft, in KSC's case, nos. 15 and 33. The entire complex (pads, mobile launch platforms, crawlers, roads, VAB) is designated 39. Unlike the other launch complexes (34, 37, etc.) 39 has more than one pad, hence A & B.

Runway information:

"Runways are identified by numbers that indicate the compass heading of the runway centerline to the nearest 10º. For example, a runway aligned on a heading of 183º (nearly South) would be Runway 18. Its opposite end would be Runway 36, representing the reciprocal of 180 degrees."

(The examples given below are the exact numbers of the KSC runway) "Number designations are painted on each runway. These are determined by the runway's magnetic direction. Assume, for example, that a runway is oriented in a southeasterly direction with a compass heading of 145°. This is rounded up to the nearest ten degree number (145° in this case becomes 150°) and the final zero is dropped.

This runway's number becomes 15. Similarly, if we consider the position that is 180 degrees opposite this, the resultant compass heading is 330°. Because this number doesn't need to be rounded upward, we simply drop the final zero and the runway becomes number 33. An aircraft using this runway would be taking off in the opposite direction from that in the first example." End of Quote.

In short, runways are numbered in reference to magnetic headings and launch sites go from number 1 to over 40, so 39 or 33 or any other number in that range has to come up somewhere. These are not some arbitrary numbers that are picked by NASA to fit some nonexistent Egyptian/Masonic/Nazi symbolism as implied in the book.

It was really great that he could do all that research, but again, it is completely irrelevant to a review of our book, since A) we never said that magnetic headings were not a factor in numbering runways, and B) the pad 39a and 39b references don’t even appear in Dark Mission.

Our point, or course, is that NASA built the runway with a magnetic heading of “33” deliberately, just as the launch pad at White Sands was designated “launch pad 33” deliberately. Once again, he tries to chide us for not fact checking something we never even said.

At least the next claim is about something that is actually in Dark Mission…

Now let's take a look at Page 249, quote: "In fact, throughout antiquity there is a pattern of paying special homage to the number "thirty-three." Clearly, the authors of the Old Testament believed that the number itself was the key to many things, that it somehow held tremendous power. Some Biblical scholars have referred to Jeremiah 33:3 as "god's phone number," the moment of darkness for Jeremiah, where God shows him how he can be reached and how the powers he possesses can be accessed: "Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know." End of Quote.

It is called cherry picking, fudging the data, and taking things completely out of context, if the quote above can be called "the data" to begin with. Throughout antiquity, one can find numerous numbers. No credible biblical scholar has ever claimed that number 33 is special in any way. The authors of the Old Testament believed in many things that are gibberish, including that the Earth is flat and that children should be stoned to death for misbehavior. But regardless of any of that, there is absolutely nothing in the Old or New Testaments that gives special treatment to 33 or 19.5.

Why didn't Hoagland and Bara mention that almost every book of the Old or New Testament has 19:5 and or 33:3 chapter/verse combination? Why not quote from those? Almost all of them talk either about God or prayers to God. The majority of text in the Bible is about God's promises, prayer to God, etc. Is this a big surprise? We are talking about the Bible after all. None of it, however, says or even implies that 33 is special.

Once again, in this section he expresses his opinion that the number 33 has no significance in antiquity, along with his obviously intense anti-Semitic bias. But once again, this is not a fact that can be disputed or is in contention; it’s just his ill considered opinion. We simply noted that the famous verse known as “God’s phone number” is numbered 33:3. As to the idea of looking through all the 33’s and 19.5’s in the Bible, that’s a project I’ve had in mind for years and will eventually sit down and do. The point is, this is not “fact” that is in dispute. “God’s phone number” is Jeremiah 33:3, period, just as we wrote in the book.

Now let's take a look at Page 250, quote: "So if "thirty-three" is a key code to figuring out how to access the "power of the gods," why do we see Sirius at 19.5- above the Apollo 11 landing site, instead of 33s? How do the two numbers connect--if at all?" End of Quote.

But 33 is not a key to figuring out how to access the "power of the gods." Where does God say in the Bible that 33 is a key number to anything? Where does God even mention number 33 in the Bible?

If one wants to make a case for access to the power of the God, it makes much more sense to quote Matthew 21:21, quote: "Then Jesus told them, "I assure you, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, `May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,' and it will happen." End of Quote. And Matthew 21:22, quote: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." End of Quote. But obviously, 21:21 and or 21:22 does not fit into the whole "33 is somehow significant" fantasy, so they cherry picked Jeremiah 33:3 and took it completely out of context.

Unfortunately, here PF really begins to break down. We never said anything in Dark Mission claiming that God said in the bible the number 33 is significant, nor did we make reference to any biblical passages as unlocking the power of the gods or God. The quote from page 250 is a reference to the earlier discussions of tetrahedral or hyperdimensional physics, not biblical passages.

Next, he goes after our reference to one of the mathematical connections between the numbers 19.5 and 33:

Page 250 Continued, quote: "Engineer and probabilities expert Mary Anne Weaver (who would later do some crucial probability work on Hoagland's developing "ritual alignment model") has studied the possible mathematical linkage between the two numbers. She first pointed out that one of the basic trigonometric functions of a circumscribed tetrahedron, the sine of 19.471--the canonical "circumscribed tetrahedral '19.5 angle" at Cydonia--is .3333. That would be merely interesting if it were the only mathematical link between the numbers, but there is another, even more "symbolic" link." End of Quote.

What Mary Anne Weaver said is irrelevant. And here is why. According to Weaver's website, she is NOT a probabilities expert and she has admitted - on that same website - that her paper (the so-called "crucial probability work on Hoagland's developing "ritual alignment model"") is flawed, because it contains mistakes which she does not have resources and or knowledge to fix. It states plainly on her website, quote "I am not a statistics expert." End of Quote, and, quote "THERE ARE ERRORS IN THIS STATISTICS PAPER THAT I HAVE NOT HAD THE CHANCE TO CORRECT. They do undermine the conclusions of this paper." End of Quote.

Of course, there is no mention of any of this in the book, which seriously undermines author's credibility, don't you think?

Sadly, here the “Professor” descends into self-parody. Once again, he cites facts which are indisputable, then seems to want to take issue with them. Whether or not Mary Anne Weaver is or is not a “probabilities expert” is irrelevant to the question of the mathematical link which is cited. The sine of 19.471 is .3333, exactly as we wrote in Dark Mission. Remind me again where this is a failure of “basic fact checking?”

As to Mary’s credibility as a probabilities expert, the fact is in her daily job she calculates probabilities all the time. As to her statement that she is “not a statistics expert,” we never said she was, as the quoted passage from Dark Mission clearly proves. She is however an engineer who does probabilities calculations on an almost daily basis.

Now, as to her quote regarding the conclusions of her paper, PF is right, we don’t deal with it in Dark Mission, but his characterization that her paper “is flawed, because it contains mistakes which she does not have resources and or knowledge to fix” is once again simply fallacious. She spent a great deal of time on the paper and simply doesn’t have more time to spend on a revised version of it.

Now, we actually disagree with her assessment that any minor mistakes she may have made “undermine the conclusions of this paper.” We have no doubt that it is a somewhat flawed piece of research, but the question is, how flawed? PF doesn’t tell his readers that her initial conclusions put the odds in favor of our Ritual Alignment Model being correct at 19 billion to one. Yes, that’s Billion, with a “B”. Or the number 19 followed by nine zeros.

So, let’s assume that her calculations were off by 50%. We personally think the error rate is far smaller than that, but let’s use it anyway. That reduces the odds against chance from 19 billion to one all the way to 9.5 billion to one. As Captain Kirk once memorably put it; those are pretty good odds, Mr. Spock.

But let’s take it further. What if she was off by 70%? Then, the odds drop all the way to 5.7 billion to one. 90%? Only 1.9 billion to one in our favor. I could go on, but you get the point. Even if Mary Anne was 99.999% percent wrong, we still are looking at odds of 19 million to one that the ritual alignments we cited are beyond any chance occurrence. And PF thinks there is something nefarious because we didn’t go into this in depth in Dark Mission? Now that he mentions it, I’m going to make sure I include this study in the revised edition.

Finally, poor Professor Fulcanelli steps into one last logical quagmire of his own creation…

But Hoagland and Bara don't stop there, they go on to claim that NASA has orchestrated two Apollo landings to coincide with, wait for it, Hitler's date of birth of April 20th. (Page 253). How can they prove that? They cannot, of course.

Of all the really stupid things he put in his “review,” this has to be the capper. First, we never said that two “Apollo landings” took place on Hitler’s birthday. On the pages he cites we clearly write that NASA landed two missions on the Moon on Hitler’s birthday, Apollo 16, and Surveyor 3. These are indisputable facts.

Obviously, this poor buffoon hasn’t even read the book, at least not closely. While the title of his review claims to be about fact checking, not one of the “facts” he cites are anything more than his opinion, and all of the actual facts that he quotes from our book are indisputably correct. In the end, his review simply points out his own lack of thoroughness and intellectual acumen, as he consistently misinterprets the obvious and fails to understand what he reads. In fact, it is so utterly stupid, so devoid of anything even approaching intellectual discourse, that I at first thought that expat must be the author.

As the saying goes, I’d match wits with him, but he’s only half prepared. I shall pillory him no further.


  1. "idiots"... "morons"... "bison breath"... "buffoon"...

    You're a spectacularly nasty person, aren't you, Michael Bara, and completely unfamiliar with the norms of scientific debate.

    Back in November you wrote: "Why is it that those who are so frightened and threatened by what we write attack us personally, rather than debating the data?"

    Wouldn't you agree that this was hypocritical, now, in light of the way you've conducted (and edited, and limited) this discussion?

  2. Jim,

    I don't know why Amazon removed the review. Probably because so much of it had nothing to with the book, but they do what they want.

  3. Expat,

    When someone A) calls me a liar without any evidence, B) compares me to a Holocaust denier, or C) just generally irritates me with a nonstop series of inspid insinuations, yeah I tend to lose it.

    But what do Dr. Phil's mendacious and very personal attacks on Richard have to do with the "norms of scientific debate?" Funny I don't see you holding him to the same standard, or even acknowledging the malicious nature of attacks.

    Big surprise.

  4. Is 40:22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
    He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

    Job 26:7 He is stretching out the north over the empty place,
    Hanging the earth upon nothing;

    and I could list more but you get the point...

    This guy should think before he shoots off his mouth. I think that the ancient Hebrews and their successors in scripture knew a lot more than what is attributed to them. And I know they spent a lot of time considering the visible heavens just as they did the invisible.(Job 38 makes mention of constellations, Kimah for one,which we know as the Pleiades. Much more could be mentioned, but time...) This person attributes superstitions from another age to people who deserve far better. He tries to make them look ignorant because it was so long ago and we are oh so much more enlightened.(right) Actually he only shows his lack accross the entire review for basing anything on clear truth. Therefore, firmly establishing his own ignorance.


  5. Mike,
    I noticed that review on Amazon and immediately pegged PF as an agent of dyzinformatzya. I also noticed, with dismay, how many others he sucked into his wake. He did 'sound' good. I laffed at the fact that some of those commenting on his review thought he was THE Fulcanelli.

    I made the observation that his 'review' was almost TOO timely, being mere days after the book release. PF must have been eating at his desk and wearing a NASA diaper to read the book and develop his critque so quickly...unless, of course, said critique was basically already 'in the can'.

    After THAT observation, it was fairly to see the kinda of bogus-fact-based hatchet job was being done.

    I was amazed Amazon had that review up for so long...and would have responded, but you had to join and buy a book and all that and there was nothing I wanted to buy at the time, so..........

    I was even MORE amazed when I went back a week or two later...and his review was GONE!

    So SOMEBODY must have seen thru PF and categorized the review for what it was....dyzinformatzya.

  6. I am very interested in learning about dark mission.. as currently my brother is an astronaut but honestly, reading white text on a black background is very difficult. I guess I'll have to bail out.

  7. Mike: "NASA could have selected any number of spots along the Florida east coast to build their launch facility and still had the same benefit, and they (just by coincidence) selected an area that is symbolically associated with the Egyptian god Osiris."

    I was waiting to see if any of Mike's other blog-readers choked on these historical or geographical inconsistencies, but nope, they all seem to have no problem swallowing them:

    1. The missile range on 'Cape Canaveral' was founded in 1949. NASA wasn't organized until 1958. How could it have had any influence on a choice made a decade before it even existed?

    2. NASA chose an area for its moon port (pad 39) on Merritt Island, adjacent to but not on the geographical entity known as 'Cape Canaveral'. Sure, the news media often simplistically calls it "Cape Canaveral" too (shuttles are still launched from there), but people concerned with geographical and cartographical precision ought to know better.

    So -- are these facts a 'surprise' to Mike?

  8. The one I find hilarious is "JPL is on a bearing of 333° from the great pyramid".

    So what are you saying, Hoagland & Bara? NASA made a deliberate choice of a site that was on this bearing, hoping that somebody decades later would figure it and get weirded out?

    It wouldn't be anything to do with the fact that this site was established as the Guggenheim Aeronautical Lab, 32 YEARS BEFORE NASA CAME INTO EXISTENCE????

    That's really funny, Mike.

  9. Expat,

    I'm sure your continued demonstrations of your own stupidity is very amusing to our readers, but I grow bored with your constant rehashing of issues that are quite adequately covered in the book. So...

    "So what are you saying, Hoagland & Bara? NASA made a deliberate choice of a site that was on this bearing, hoping that somebody decades later would figure it and get weirded out?

    It wouldn't be anything to do with the fact that this site was established as the Guggenheim Aeronautical Lab, 32 YEARS BEFORE NASA CAME INTO EXISTENCE????"

    Answer: It's in the book.

  10. Ok, Jim,

    "1. The missile range on 'Cape Canaveral' was founded in 1949. NASA wasn't organized until 1958. How could it have had any influence on a choice made a decade before it even existed?

    So Jim, who ran the missile range on the cape from 1949-57?

    "2. NASA chose an area for its moon port (pad 39) on Merritt Island, adjacent to but not on the geographical entity known as 'Cape Canaveral'. Sure, the news media often simplistically calls it "Cape Canaveral" too (shuttles are still launched from there), but people concerned with geographical and cartographical precision ought to know better."

    EVERYBODY calls the area Cape Canaveral. Please.

  11. Jim, as to the significance of an agency that was crawling with ex-Nazi's (led by SS Major Von Braun) landing a spacecraft named "Orion" on the Moon on Der Fuhrer's birthday: If that isn't obvious I'm afraid I can't help you any further.

    Or should I say "Fuhrer?"

  12. In my last comment, there are a couple of typo corrections to my last large paragraph, addressed to Jimo. In the first line, 'thought' should read 'though'. And down further, after the word 'circumstances' should be the word 'warrant'. Sorry.

    Thanks for responding. I agree with your points about scriptural verses and all that. That and your other comments make me think of how I feel myself, ofttimes, summarized by a qoute from Asimov..."in the knowledge of my ignorance".

    For instance, I don't know all about Jimo and I don't pretend to...all I DO know is the bits and pieces I've seen here and the impression I have...and that is based on the comments of others (e.g. PF) that makes me think there may be some organized effort to discredit going on here.

    That is also partially based on the assumption that if a given scientist was so entrenched in all things 'science', holding himself above the teeming masses, and would likely think that the work of RCH and Bara was hogwash... just how likely is it that he would BUY the book? Let alone read it and spend the time, in the case of PF, to write a detailed negative review? Or in the case of Jimo, a science journalist, to, over a period of over 2 months, devote the time and energy he has to debating the merits of Dark Mission...and not just on THIS blog, but in a variety of other venues, too...WITH VIGOR!?!?!

    If they think Dark Mission is such baloney, why not just let it flop on it's own merits? If it is so out of the realm of the "norms of scientific debate" (to quote expat), why lwer themselves to give it the time of day? I ain't that smart, but the level, the degree and the timing of such "attacks" (I wish I had a milder word here...or do I? 'Psycological manipulation'?) just doesn't add up...IMHO.

    AH! Weeeeell, just did some basic research on JimO. Interesting. It's almost like he and RCH had, somewhat, a parallel path, being science journalists and having involvement with NASA and all that jazz. Except maybe one took the blue pill and the other the red?

    After reading you profile page, Jim, I almost have the feeling you're merely trying to stomp on any potential competition in the space science journalism field rather than anything 'sinister'. Maybe.

    I also see you mention Nortwestern, but did not see any mention of any of YOUR academic degrees, of which I expected to see several, based on the roasting of Ken J. made a typo when you typed your profile page...sumpin's "missins"! ;)

  13. Hey Jimmy Oberg,

    I had THOUGHT you said that NBS was interested in interviewing Hoagland and bara in our dispute over the Ferrari email "NBC News permission" you said you had...but ALL the folks at NBC said...NOPE.

    Now I hear from Robin in her own words as she made therounds of the Press Conference:

    "I was at the press conference and personally asked each camera person, where they were from. Amazingly, they represented Russian media. We did NOT have American coverage."

    So really now Jimmy are SUCH a LIAR LIAR LIAR...NBC did NOT choose to cover the Press where was this NBC "interest"?

    Should we go back and try and resurrect that MEANSTREAM MEDIA thread at AboveTopSecret...or at least tell them the HONEST BRUTAL TRUTH that NBS didn't even COVER the Press Conference???

    Thanx for the link to that silly's a laugh I'll keep on file and use against someone another's already archived to my HD so any "changes" will be BLATENTLY obvious and prove the folks are frauds...which you seem to represent so well in that "authorization" debate we had going over you're permission by NBC NEWS to send Ms Ferrari that SPECIFIC email.

    You did did NOT admit you did fact in ALL your answers you slimed away from durectly answering it...WHY?

    Because you HAD no permission and that email was what ANYONE with some COMMON SENSE can see was a SLIME BALL aimed Ken Johnston. Who you did NOT investigate in 1996 when he FIRST came forward with these images and facts about being ordered to destroy film files.

    You want "positive feedback"....

    Try being HONEST...


    No more SLIMING away from questions.

    Admit you did NOT have NBS News permission to send that SPECIFIC email to Ms. Ferrari nor did you even have ANY permission to inquire about this subject form ANYONE at NBC News or MSNBC as Mr. Boyle and his boss claim in their emails to me.


  14. Jimo,

    Roger your working in the space program...partially what I was thinking of/referring to when I mentioned one of you took the blue pill and the other the red.

    Your nice response, however, does nothing to answer any of the issues I raised or allay any suspicions. Just for the record.

  15. This is only indirectly relevant to the book, but I notice that the enterprisemission web site is still proclaiming "Detailed Enterprise analysis -- with image close-ups -- coming soon". That's been up there for -- what? six months?

    It refers to this image from the HiRISE camera on MRO:

    Some of us are getting impatient to read this "detailed analysis", as the last vestige of credibility in what Hoagland has been saying for thirty years crumbles away. How about it, Hoagland?

  16. It's in the book, which you would know if you had actually read it.

  17. I don't think I'm going to bother with a rebuttal.

    First, the audience isn't one I care about. Their agenda is very clear.

    Second, I found most of the article pretty insubstantial. Jim has a habit of substituting his opinion for fact, then acting like he has exposed a crucial fact.

    Anyway, I have better things to do this week. My birthday’s coming up.

    Now, if wants to offer me the chance to pen a rebuttal of equal length and post it on their front page for at least a week, that’s another story.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

    BTW Jim, did you get paid for that piece?


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