Sunday, November 13, 2016

Henrik Williams Still Doesn't Want To Get It

On November 1st, Swedish of Runology, Professor Henrik Williams, gave a presentation at the Minnesota History Center about Scandinavian Rune Stones and devoted a half hour or so to the Kensington Rune Stone (KRS).  As usual Professor Williams was noncommittal when asked by the audience about its authenticity.  He responded by saying he was 70/30 it was probably a hoax.  He then laid out a series of reasons that he believed supported its likely modern origin which were as follows:

1.There are no other rune stones in Europe that are like it.

2. There are no other messages like it on rune stones in Europe.

3. It's possible that relatives of Edward Larsson could have carved the inscription as they immigrated from the Dalcarlian region of Northern Sweden which has runes similar to the Kensington Rune Stone alphabet.

4. He believed it was likely the carver was inspired by the Chicago World's Fair "Vikings" Expedition of 1893.

To say this is weak evidence to support his opinion would be an understatement.  First, that there are no other rune stones like it is not evidence to support a modern origin.  Further, the same is true about his second reason.  The Kensington inscription and manuscript style of the message absolutely are unique and therefore, all the more rare and important.  To try to use these claims as evidence of forgery certainly isn't a scientific way of thinking at all and reeks of an agenda.  You'd think a one-of-a-kind medieval runic text would present an exciting opportunity to learn which a more clear thinking scholar would jump at.

Even a quick scan at the comparative table below that lists the Kensington and Dalacarlian runes proves Williams' third reason is sheer fantasy and begs the question why he would say something that he already knows isn't true?

Lastly, speculating that the 1893 World's Fair Exhibition somehow inspired a forger is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.  It also begs the question, why would somebody inspired by a "Viking" exhibition carve a stone with medieval runes instead of Viking Age runes? 

None of the reasons listed meet the bar as factual evidence against the stone, so why does Williams continue to say the Kensington Stone is probably a hoax when he knows it's 100% authentic?  This raises other questions as well.  Why does Williams continue to marginalize and ignore the geological weathering work myself and Newton H. Winchell performed on the artifact, work he is not qualified to comment on yet still does, that proved the Kensington Rune Stone is a medieval artifact?  Why does he continue to ignore the voluminous examples of the Hooked X, something he says is modern, in Icelandic manuscripts dating back several hundred years?  And why would he continue to ask for donations to pay for him to come to the United States and talk about all the "fake" rune stones we supposedly have here?  Does he really think we're that dumb?  Apparently so. 

The truth of the matter with the KRS inscription is it's a Templar/Masonic document that has nothing at all to do with the tradition of rune stones in Scandinavia.  Until Williams and the rest of the runologists stop trying to frame the discussion by trying to tell the KRS what it should be, instead of letting it tell them what it is, they have no chance of figuring it out.

I will give him credit for one thing.  That he hasn't completely closed the door on the authenticity is very telling.  After having worked with him for 5 years I know that he knows it's real, and by leaving open the possibility it could be genuine gives him plausible deniability should new evidence comes forward that even he can no longer explain away.  That new evidence is coming soon. Until it does, it's time for the History Center and the American Swedish Institute to wake up and hold this guy, and his personal representative, Loraine Jensen, accountable for their words and actions.  For those who missed it, I would ask you to read my February, 2016, blog posting where I detail the academic fraud Professor Williams, and the late Richard Nielsen, committed with the Kensington Rune Stone inscription.  It's a pretty good read and generated lots of discussion.  What do you think about all of this?      

 
On page 91 of my book, "The Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence", a table created by my now deceased co-author, Richard Nielsen, and peer reviewed by Professor Henrik Williams, has caption that says, "...the Kensington Rune Stone alphabet did not originate in Dalacarlia."    

18 comments:

  1. Is he really making the argument that the Dalecarlia runes are similar to the runes on the KRS? I'm obviously not an expert but the table at the bottom of your post makes it obvious that the scripts are dissimilar. And if he peer-reviewed Nielsen's work and did not find fault with it, that makes his current position even less credible.

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    1. Hi David,

      Yes, he is making that argument which anyone can see makes no sense at all. Williams is in a tough spot, because of the ‘KRS is a hoax’ mandate in Sweden, he can’t say it’s genuine even though he knows it is. That is why he, Jensen, and Nielsen tried for years to get him a professor’s position here in America so he could pursue research without fear of repercussions back home. The problem was while trying to undermine Newton Winchell’s and my own geological weathering work that proved its antiquity, along with the contributions I made to their understanding of the linguistic and runological aspects of the inscription published and reviewed by Williams in our 2006 book, it undermined their efforts to raise money. Why would any university spend a million or so dollars to create a chair for a runologist to study a bunch of fake rune stones?

      Unfortunately for them, in their desperate efforts to control the KRS discussion they crossed the ethical line with the 2008 3D study that served as the basis for the fraudulent papers they subsequently published. A 3D study whose data they refuse to share with any legitimate researchers. Academia the History Center appear to have closed ranks and are now enabling this fraudster to preach disinformation about the KRS to an unknowing public in America.

      Dick Nielsen did a lot of great work on the artifact and deserves credit for that work; and make no mistake about it, Nielsen was 100% confident the Kensington Rune Stone was authentic. Sadly, both he and Williams fell under the spell of a master manipulator and now their legacies will be forever tarnished.

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  2. Scott
    With Respect

    If we agree that Science must be the method by which knowledge becomes fact and truth be established...

    Then it is still you who does not get it. We have discussed this before (2014) and disagreed, but to begin again....

    The two competing strains here (simplified):

    1. The Kensington Rune Stone (KRS) is likely a Templar artifact
    2. The KRS is likely a hoax, or modern fabrication

    are NOT on equal ground, NOT on equal footing.

    From what I can gather (based on your re-telling) Williams' opinions, right or wrong, are grounded in science, not because the KRS REALLY IS A HOAX. We don't know it is a hoax; we simply must defer to the principles of science, which dictate that until much more evidence is unearthed to establish the likelihood that claim 1 could be true, we hold to claim 2.

    And further, Williams' first 2 qualifiers (that you cite) are perfectly good reasons to reject claim 1. I would add: "there are no credible examples in America (yet) either". However, maybe this will change

    The reason why we still hold to claim 2 is based on what Carl Sagan said (again, this has been brought up before):

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

    The weight of the available evidence to date (centuries of historical, literary, linguistic, documentary, physical evidence) does not support claim 1, therefore claim 2 stands (until such evidence overthrows it).

    This is the way science works and applies to any claim. Huge barriers must be surmounted to overthrow claim 2 above. Only the tiniest counter-argument is needed to overthrow claim 1.

    You don't have to be a Ph.D to know this, but I assure you that every Ph.D candidate gets his/her "original" hypothesis bombarded with skepticism (RELENTLESSLY BOMBARDED, ASSAILED, ATTACKED), so that the principle is learned solidly. No candidate survives this without scars.

    As long as there is a more likely scenario available (or a simpler explanation, ala Occam's razor), then the extraordinary claim is rejected, even if we "know" it is true. The point is we no longer live in an age where we "know" something, unless it is scientifically established per the above principle, which may take decades after the first evidence is analyzed.

    Doesn't matter the field: astronomy, biology, chemistry, paleontology, geology, archaeology, medicine, etc, etc, etc. This is not a court of law (like Pulitzer ignorantly promotes), and is not a trial by peers where every notion gets equal weight. These two notions do not have equal weight for the simple reasons just given. The huge mass of historical and established evidence must be overcome first.

    Again: a new or otherwise extraordinary hypothesis (claim 1) must scale a HUGE mountain of prevailing history and preponderance of evidence to be eventually proved and thus, accepted.

    You may think this is unfair (i.e., the unequal footing), but that is wrong. Sagan's statement is not a glib one-liner, it epitomizes scientific progress (which is painfully slow, but sure), adding great meaning and value to the work, as it perfectly encapsulates the scientific principle.

    What constitutes "extraordinary"? There are too many example in history to mention, and perhaps this is where scientific progress becomes somewhat dependent on personality, but there is not enough space here...

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  3. With respect Part II

    Suffice to say that the evidence you (and others) have brought forward does not rise to the level of extraordinary. Based on the history of scientific change in many fields, more is necessary; much more. In the coming years/decades, perhaps more evidence to support claim 1 will be unearthed. I genuinely hope so, as I myself am fascinated by this subject.

    It is quite possible that the "Templar hypothesis" (as it were) has merit, but up till now?

    Not enough evidence.

    I am also a brother Mason (16 years), so I truly would LIKE IT if it were true! Very interesting indeed.
    But new evidence you allude to in your comment above is required

    I admire your tenacity, and I truly wish you well, but I hope you will take a step back and consider carefully what it really means to scientifically establish what you are pursuing.

    Accept that the ground is uneven. You must scale huge mountains, jump many hurdles. Much more rigorous than a legal dispute. You must also be wary of Confirmation Bias. This is very difficult to overcome and gets even the best of us at first.

    Science must work this way, or we would have a very chaotic path forward in any field of endeavor.

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    1. Bro Scott,

      With all sincere respect my brother, in my view you have incorrectly framed the argument to what you believe the parameters should be when investigating this artifact. In short, this briefing is not what entails a true scientific investigation. Inserting Occam’s Razor as if it were a mandatory application isn’t proper scientific method. It may be what is done in academia, but in the professional world we start an investigation with zero assumptions and let the factual evidence lead the way to a conclusion, if and when, appropriate that is defendable in a court of law. To arbitrarily claim the evidence in this case must be “extraordinary” is your opinion, but is simply not true. It has to be accurate, consistent and conclusive.

      “The weight of the available evidence to date (centuries of historical, literary, linguistic, documentary, physical evidence) does not support claim 1, therefore claim 2 stands (until such evidence overthrows it).” This statement is completely false. In fact, the historical evidence of the medieval Knights Templar, mostly Scottish, can easily explain the land claim artifact, the runological, grammar, dialect, and linguistic aspects have all been found to be medieval, and the geological evidence is consistent with a 14th century origin. In fact, the Dotted R, on line six, proves the KRS is a medieval artifact all by itself. May I ask what evidence serves as the basis to claim the opposite?

      There is no factual evidence to support the hoax claim, period. And how could there be when the factual evidence is clear, consistent and conclusive? Soft science academia has weighed in on the artifact and, frankly, failed miserably.

      As a Freemason, I’m sure you can appreciate the symbolic and allegorical aspects of the message that could only have been crafted by a medieval Cistercian monk. He was likely a Master who had to have been trained in “herbal knowledge” to be able to craft this particular message. I don’t know of any runic scholar anywhere with the Masonic knowledge to be able to address even a little bit of this advanced esoteric information. In my view, this easily explains why they have struggled so mightily.

      Circling back to your original claim of how academia approaches this problem. I disagree this is how proper scientific method operates. An investigation starts with a blank slate and lets the facts, and logic, lead to the proper conclusion. The hard science geology of the Kensington Rune Stone answered the question of authenticity over a century ago.

      The "Templar Hypothesis" is the only answer that has any merit.

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  4. Williams tried to do away with a "dotted-R" on the KRS, too, and since dotted-R's were unknown until fairly recently, who in modern times (late 1800's) could copy it? Thanks to you, Scott, this singular attempt at history-fraud is now pretty well known about.

    Now it is also easy to see from the chart you provided that only two or three of the KRS runes match characters from the Dalecarlian runes…so, this does show some kind of weird desperation from Williams, to publicly make a speculation based on something that is so obviously not true. But, this is worse than Dr. Williams just feeling desperate over the thought of "fringe history" leaking into acceptable history, because it reveals actual attempts to distort the truth.

    This reminds me of attempts by so-called professionals to diminish the reality of medieval Norse stoneholes in Minnesota, by claiming they are the result of DNA-induced forgetfulness. I've always felt that stoneholes are the glue holding most of the Norse explorations and evidences together in this region, and over the last several years I've discovered firsthand that the concept of medieval Norse stoneholes is a real threat to those wishing to pronounce the KRS a fraud.

    Minnesota "academic" Tom Trow first came up with the notion of "forgetting to blast" many years ago after hearing one old man's opinion about stoneholes, and then this nutty idea was carried forward years later...to Jason Colavito's blog...and now most recently to Andy White's "Forbidden Archaeology" blog. Things got hot when he tried to superimpose this same lame idea over the issue of stoneholes. He ended up stripping many of the comments from his blogs when the truth became too painful to him, I think, and after the usual blog trolls began their putrid attacks against me there. (You were wise to avoid going to SC.) Andy ended up showing extreme bias to the very notion of “forbidden archaeology” ever being acceptable—which may be the very definition of irony there in SC.

    However, I did have an opportunity to show readers there quantitative and qualitative comparisons of "aged" and "modern" stoneholes, and from the same site, so that it is easy--even with the naked eye--to see the differences between medieval and modern stoneholes--both in type and in degree of mineral decomposition, as seen here in these alternating views:

    http://hallmarkemporium.com/kensingtonrunestone/id44.html

    Frankly, I was flabbergasted that Professor White would attempt to resurrect the dumb idea that says stoneholes, including the authentic medieval Norse stoneholes, are the result of not blasting. This shows the same kind of desperation to distort history-truth concerning the KRS as we are seeing from Professor Williams.

    I'm still feeling some distress over your most recent interpretation of the KRS's inscription, but I think you'll end up seeing this "numbers thing" as coincidence, eventually. We are at extreme odds because I take the message quite literally. (But I do accept the notion of "hidden" codes, such as with the double-dating.) Anyway, at least we both believe the KRS is 100% authentic...not a mere 70/30 chance.

    Dr. Williams (and Ms. Jensen, too) would do well to be more accepting of the obvious truth. But, they're apparently caught in this bind they must be feeling from the academic world, as with Andy, too. If some of these folks could adopt the correct position that the KRS is authentic, they might be able to add to the KRS discourse instead of detracting from it. What a shame.

    - Gunn

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    1. Gunn,

      Let's face it; academia blew it in the past and continues to blow it when it comes to the KRS. They argue they understand scientific method to the point of claiming a monopoly on it, yet fail to follow basic scientific principles and protocol.

      While the factual evidence regarding the stone holes has not proven definitely if they are old or not, it seems highly likely they could be. This is the position Andy and Tom (including the debunker in the discussion gives him credibility he doesn't deserve) should have taken, but are driven by negative bias that clouds their judgment.

      Williams had done all he can that is meaningful with regard to the KRS inscription which is published in our 2006 book. Offering silly "possibilities" that don't qualify as factual evidence and further muddy the already murky water is unproductive and unnecessary.

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    2. The stonehole question becomes confusing because there are different kinds, some from pioneering and settlement days--including expansion of railroads, and some from medieval times. Distinguishing one from another could be difficult, except that there are often visually obvious (and even factual) differences between them, both in aging and in type.

      In the case of those I linked to, above, they are all from the same location site, precisely, which makes comparisons easier and quite meaningful. But, as you stated, facts are hard to come by when dealing with these many stoneholes up here.

      If you don't mind me saying so, I think it would be important for someone like you, as a geologist, to come up with some scientific means to analyse the mineral decomposition of some of these stoneholes, to determine approximate aging...such as using time-frames rather than exact year dating, which would be impossible. For example, I think you (and Winchell, too) put the KRS into an age time-frame that effectively assigned the stone document to a period beyond the late-1800's immigrant period, unless I am mistaken. I'm thinking you might be able to do the same thing for some of these stoneholes, in certain locations.

      I have recently taken the position that it is fairly easy to visually ascertain a stark contrast between some "old" and some "modern" stoneholes, when comparing "types" of stoneholes and by noting the stark differences in mineral decomposition. For example, if you go to this page on my meager website, I've put up just two images to clearly show what I'm talking about...one image is of a good example of what I contend is a medieval Norse stonehole in the Sauk Lake (MN) Altar Rock, and the other "fancy" stonehole is of what I contend is a modern, late-1800's stonehole made by machine.

      http://hallmarkemporium.com/kensingtonrunestone/id42.html

      I had challenged Andy White to show these images to one hundred students to see which stonehole they might consider as being older...just by appearance alone. I didn't hear anything back about the idea. The problem, though, still, is that "seeing" the differences is not considered as being good enough to be scientific, or factual. This is why it might be a good idea for someone like you, as a respected geologist, to do some research in this area of determining approximate stonehole aging. I know it can be done.

      I believe that there are already some visually and factually obvious differences in the degree of mineral decomposition between stoneholes about a hundred years old, and those thought to be several hundred years old, as can be seen at the link I just provided. The problem, as you know, is that these individuals I've mentioned want to ascribe the authentic medieval stoneholes to "forgetting to blast," as though that would be the last word!

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  5. Scott:

    This blog post is alarming, misleading, and untruthful. I attended this presentation, and I didn't see you anywhere in the audience of 100 or so people.

    Where did you get your second-hand information from, and why aren't you willing to credit that original source?

    His presentation was over 90 minutes long, and the whole thing concentrated on the KRS. Other American runestones were discussed, but only from the perspective of how they compare to the KRS. Your four point summary of Williams' opinion is over-simplified and understated. What you call "weak" evidence is simply incomplete because you are working from someone else's notes or summary without any personal context. The 70/30 ratio you point out was never mentioned.

    Professor Williams never said that the KRS was written in Delacarlian runes. Instead, what he said was of all the known rune forms the Delacarlian runes come closest to matching those used on the KRS. He also mentioned that modified rune forms discovered recently in the Larsson papers, documents written in the late 1800's by residents from the Dala Province, come even closer to matching those used on the KRS.

    He hypothesized that the unique runes on the KRS are most probably of a local type that originated fairly recently (within a couple hundred years or so) from a single church somewhere in Dala and were used by the few local community members.

    We know that members of the Larsson family were aware of these runes. We also know that members of the Larsson family immigrated to the same general area where the KRS was found years prior to when it was discovered.

    The point Henrick was trying to make was that there is a direct late 1800's link between Dala, the area where these runes most likely originated, to Douglas County, Minnesota. We also know this link existed just a few years prior to when the KRS was discovered.

    If Larsson family members immigrated to Douglas County, could other Dala residents have also immigrated to the same area around the same time?

    As further evidence that you were not present, you skipped over Williams' most important announcement. Another hand-written document from the Dala province contemporary of, but unrelated to the Larsson papers has been found. This new paper also contains these local runes.

    This latest blog post is disappointing and reveals a lot about you, Scott.

    Bart

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    1. Bart,

      You’re absolutely right about this blog being alarming. What Williams said at the lecture was truly alarming and untruthful. Since I was unable to attend because I was traveling, I made sure that four close friends attended and took careful notes. As a known apologist for Williams and having made it crystal clear you believe the KRS is hoax, your comments are not at all surprising. I’ve heard Williams utter this same nonsense for years about the Dalacarlian runes and the Larsson Rune Rows. Neither claim holds any water and never has. When the Larsson papers were discovered, instead of admitting they conclusively proved the century-old claim the never-before-seen symbols on the KRS were invented by the carver were flat-out wrong, his immediate reaction, in 2004, was to claim the papers proved the mysterious characters, including the Hooked X, were modern. Never once has he acknowledged, in fact, they existed all along and could be many centuries old which has since proven to be the case. Here again, he has turned a blind eye to this fact and misleads people like you with silly speculation about Dalacarlian runes he said himself, in 2005, are not even close to the KRS runes.

      Further, I find it interesting you apparently think the academic fraud committed by Williams, and the late Dick Nielsen, on the KRS isn’t a big deal. Where is your outrage for this behavior that destroyed any credibility for him to comment about anything relating to the KRS? There is no 1800’s era link in Sweden or anywhere else to the KRS. The geological evidence has already proven this. Instead of being an apologist for a fraud, you should join the rest of us and demand he be held accountable. You won’t do this of course, because you have already chosen sides letting your personal feelings influence your judgement just as the good professor has.

      Once again, problems of the human condition rears its ugly head.

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    2. I don't know who you think I am, but as far as being a "known apologist for Williams", this was the first time I've ever heard the man speak. I didn't even know what he looked like until I sat in on this presentation. Let me make something else perfectly clear....I'll go on record right now and state my official opinion about the KRS. I don't know if it's a hoax or not. I'd love for it to be a real medieval document, but the jury is still out. I'm not a KRS detractor. it would be more accurate to call me a Scott Wolter detractor. Once again, you resort to personal attacks rather than offering up anything worth discussing.

      As far as academic fraud... To my knowledge, neither Nielsen or Williams have ever faked an academic degree or failed to give credit when the original ideas of others are used. Can you make the same claims?

      One other note, the part of Williams' presentation that I found to be the most interesting... He talked briefly about the Mustang Mountains Runestone, the one featured on an episode of America Unearthed. You pronounced this carving to be a genuine artifact (much like your claim about the KRS) from 1200 AD or thereabouts. Apparently Williams researched the carving, found out there are several more similar carvings in the area, and was able to track down the man responsible. The artist is alive here in the United States today. What does that say about your ability to forensically date rock carvings?

      Bart

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    3. Bart,

      Thanks for making your position about your personal feelings toward me clear. At least we agree about how we feel about each other.

      Second, it sounds to me like you’ve swallowed the online debunker B.S. and failed to pay attention to the facts. I was given an honorary Master’s degree by my professors, not officially by the University which I have never claimed, out of sympathy for my father’s accidental passing, and for the research in my first book on Lake Superior agates; fact. Now that I’ve answered that question, can you please comment on the academic fraud committed by these two or are will you continue to be an apologist for them?

      As far as William’s claim of discovering the carver of the Mustang Mountain inscription that you faithfully accept, he may very well have found the carver, and he may very well not have. Williams has made a claim and proudly given his opinion, but has yet to prove anything. You also need to get your facts straight about that particular episode. I said the inscription showed zero weathering since the geological evidence at the mouth of the cave indicated it has been buried until very recently. This means it could have been carved recently, or it could be many centuries old. The investigation by Alan Butler was made based on the translation provided by a person the production company found. We never had any interaction with this person and followed through assuming it was correct. Interestingly enough, we happened to locate a person of the same rare and unusual name in Europe who mysteriously went missing in the late 12th Century. Did we definitively prove the inscription authentic, no. Has Williams proved it to be modern, no.

      It remains an open question and my forensic abilities are still just as sharp as they’ve always been thanks!

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    4. Your claims about academic fraud are pretty laughable. I've read your argument. What it really boils down to, what you're really upset about is this....

      You, Nielsen, and Williams shared interest and enthusiasm in the KRS. As the three of you continued in your research they began to disagree with you on certain points. They changed their opinions as new information came to light. Your claim of "academic fraud" is really just spiteful name calling on your part.

      Real academic fraud might consist of things like stealing someone else's ideas and claiming them for one's self or maybe creating fake degrees out of thin air.....just as examples.

      Anyway, I look forward to your next unsupportable, unreferenced attempt at self-publishing that will promise to upend history as we know it....again. Good luck!

      Bart

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    5. Bart,

      So you think it’s funny these two “scholars” decided to remove documented physical features from the inscription, while adding others that don’t exist justifying their actions on a 3D study they refuse to share with anyone else? Surely you don’t really believe this is acceptable? Despite what you apparently want to believe, the stone didn’t put new dots and grooves in itself, and erase others that were previously there. Nothing has changed on the stone my friend. It was the inflated, yet fragile egos that did them in and you have bought into the deception.

      Whether you realize it or not, your own ego and disdain for me is now getting the best of you.

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  6. Hey Scott have you heard about the Egyptian mummies that were tested by a
    Forensic scientist who discovered both
    Tobacco and cocaine which would suggest
    very early travel between America and
    Africa ? happy hunting,Mark Marsh, England.

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    1. mark,

      Yes I have and find it very compelling and frankly, obvious. Why doesn't this get more air time and taken more seriously by academics?

      We know the reason...

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    2. Mark and Scott,

      From what I understand, the nicotine came from years of researchers smoking near and around the mummy. Apparently it used to be common for this to happen. The cocaine residue was supposedly a contamination of the researcher's own personal stash. These are the answers I get every time, I've asked the same question.

      Best regards,

      Anthony Warren

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    3. Anthony,

      These are BS comebacks from skeptics that don't want this obvious evidence to upset their precious paradigm. As if the people performing the laboratory testing didn't take such contamination possibilities into consideration. Are the skeptics who claim we are silly for embracing such "farfetched conspiracies" as pre-Columbian travel to North America (that’s already been proven), yet they try to claim an even more ridiculous conspiracy of nicotine as smoking residue and researchers offering mummies a couple lines of cocaine? How did these compounds get inside the bodies of the mummies?

      Sorry Anthony, I'm not buying these arguments for one second.

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