Book: Strange Creations: Aberrant Ideas of Human Origins from Ancient Astronauts to Aquatic Apes
Author: Donna Kossy
Type of Book: Non-fiction, aliens, bad science, utter insanity, conspiracy theory, evolutionary theory, whacked theory
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: AQUATIC APES!
Availability: Published by Feral House in 2001, it appears to be out of print, but you can still get a copy here:
Comments: I know absolutely nothing about Donna Kossy aside from the fact that she clearly revels in bizarre ideas and has more knowledge on the topic of strange people and crackpotology than I can safely absorb in one sitting. Just reading the bibliography for this book was vaguely exhausting. I have extraordinary respect for anyone who has read Helena Blavatsky from cover to cover, even if it was abridged. I have similar respect for anyone who managed to make it through Atlas Shrugged in one go. Such people are made of sturdier stuff than I am.
I wanted to read this book because it discusses one of my all-time favorite whacked theories, that of the aquatic ape. As I read, I discovered an entire world of bizarre, unique, unnerving and upsetting theories of the way humans evolved or came to be. In fact, this book made it look easy, reading such dense and lunatic theories and making sense of them, that it was the inspiration for my now-aborted “Alien Intervention Week.” As much as I love the strange, I have my limits.
But Kossy is an intrepid woman and possesses not only the skills to make the most extreme idea accessible to her readers, but is a writer skilled in revealing the humanity and humor in some of these beliefs. I will admit I never want to read the phrase “root race” ever again, but aside from that, I found the surveys of belief in this book fascinating and utterly readable. I was disappointed when, after a search on Amazon, I realized Kossy has only written two books and I already own the other, entitled Kooks. I comfort myself that even though there is no more Kossy for me to read, she led me to some superb and lunatic books. I will totally be discussing Behold!!! the Protong here at some point.
Chapter one begins by discussing that topic which so utterly thwarted me when I set out on my own: alien invaders shaping the Earth. Her distillation of the the topic made it seem very accessible, though it is an incredibly dense read. Because he was the most unknown to me, I was very interested in her discussion of Zecharia Sitchin‘s ideas. His ideas, riffed on by Paul Von Ward, seemed very intriguing to me but after slogging through Von Ward, I am unsure when I am going to be able to stomach Sitchin in an entire book. But despite how daunting he seems, Kossy cut his strange interpretations down into small, easily chewed bites.
Since the first specimens of Homo sapiens were created as hybrids – like mules – they were infertile. It was only through genetic engineering that our ancestors were given two sets of sex cells so that they could reproduce. This is what the story of Adam and Eve is about. In the story, eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge is a symbol for the primeval pair’s newfound ability to reproduce.
And that is what is so tantalizing about this for me, because I cannot get enough of alternate history (most of the time). But Kossy has no problem calling a spade a spade and is less amused by Sitchin and writers like him than I am.
Obviously, Sitchin’s popularity comes not from the strength of his arguments. He’s more concerned with “proving” his alternative history by bending the available evidence than altering his theory to fit the facts. Like von Däniken, he has tapped into the imagination of the popular mind which is disillusioned and distrustful of hard science, even while embracing many of its accomplishments.
Ironically, Sitchin’s interpretations of myth are embedded in a stubborn materialism usually identified with science. To Sitchin, myths don’t depict anything spiritual or intangible at all; they depict only hard, historic events. Ea wasn’t the god of wisdom, he was the god of mining. Though Sitchin’s conclusions seem imaginative, they stem from a lack of imagination shared with some fundamentalists, an inability to connect with the cosmos and its mysteries in any but the most literal way.
This was not a perspective I would likely have considered without Kossy pointing out the obvious. Because even as I am charmed by this strangeness, it very definitely mirrors some of the more detestable elements of fundamentalist religious interpretation. I still find it exotic and very interesting, but I didn’t really see the complete lack of intellectual subtlety until Kossy had pointed it out.
The next chapter covers de-evolution and was fun, fun, fun to read for this former SubGenius:
Broadly speaking, de-evolution – the idea that humanity is in a decline, be it spiritual or physical – is a universal concept, common throughout history and among diverse culture. According to historian J.B. Bury, the modern notion of “progress,” from which sprouted the theory of evolution, is a historical anomaly. Diverse peoples through the ages more often viewed life and history cyclically, with humanity sliding down the declining arc of the cycle.
With the veneration of antiquity goes the denigration of the present.
But never fear, Kossy takes a look at those who have made the theory of man’s degeneration their life’s work. But then again, maybe you should be afraid because part of it involves Madame Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. I cannot even begin to tell you how tiresome I find HPB and Theosophy in general but Kossy explains well and in a manner that doesn’t necessitate clawing out my eyes:
In Blavatsky’s cyclic version of Earth history, humanity proceeded through seven “Root-Races” on seven primeval continents, each Root-Race representing a step down – spiritually – from that which preceded it. In the process, matter attempted to triumph over spirit, but failed, and humanity both “evolved” and de-evolved.
During the first epoch, lasting millions of years, a race of immortal giants with ethereal bodies lived in the Imperishable Sacred Land at the North Pole. The second race – giant androgynous semi-humans – resulted from the first attempt at material nature; they lived on a continent called Hyperborea, south of the North Pole. The third race represented the “fall of man” because they were divided into two sexes; they lived during the Golden Age, 18 million years ago, when the “gods walked on Earth and mixed freely with mortals” on the continent of Lemuria. The fourth race lived on Atlantis, and the fifth, called “Aryans,” lived in Europe. Two more races are supposed to follow before the end of this cycle or “Round.”
So yeah, this makes perfect sense on every level and there’s nothing to discuss, really. However, you know that when you read the word “Aryan,” in nine contexts out of ten it’s not gonna be good, and since it’s been at least two decades since I was foolhardy enough to try to read Blavatsky, I don’t recall how overtly racist she was. Doesn’t matter that much because she has all the key words. Where there are references to degenerate men and the North (or in some cases South) Pole, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to repellent racist theories:
Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829) first used the term “Aryan” to denote an aristocratic race of ancient Indians, purportedly the ancestors of the Germans. Thus some of the early freethinkers who rejected the biblical Eden replaced it with an Asian one, populated by Aryans. The Aryan myth, which developed during the first half of the nineteenth century, was first embraced by the German Romantics, then by Theosophists and occultists, and later, by the Nazis.
It goes on further:
Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874-1954), founder of “Ariosophy,” was among many in pre-Nazi Germany who adhered to more esoteric versions of the Aryan myth. Calling the Aryan homeland Arktogaa, which is Greek for “nothern earth,” von Liebenfels taught that non-Aryans were the result of bestiality between the ancient Aryans and beasts. One of his disciples lectured that humanity was the result of a forbidden mixture of angels and animals and used the Bible to back it up. Each race, he said, represented a different percentage of angel and beast, the Aryans coming out on top, with one percent angel.
Yeah, nothing says de-evolution like angel-animal hybrids.
And we sink further down into the sewer:
The Nazis adopted their Aryan myth from Alfred Rosenberg, author of the 1930 best-seller Myth of the 20th Century, and through the revisionist science of Herman Wirth. In his 1928 book, The Rise of Mankind, Wirth wrote that humanity began at the North Pole, having split from the apes millions of years ago. After shifting continents and poles made the nether regions uninhabitable, the Arctic Aryan wandered South. The remnants of Aryan high culture survive to this day only in the blind, bearded Eskimos found by the Danish “Thule Expedition” of Knud Rasmussen. Implicit in all of these stories is the idea that much of present humanity has degenerated (for various reasons such as mixing with Jewish blood) from its former superiority and purity. Only Aryans retained the former glory.
Kossy goes on to discuss the works of the man who, after Nietzsche, is most quoted by “racialists” and those who attempt to give their racism a tinge of intellectualism: Julius Evola. I cannot even bring myself to discuss him because I have spent far too much time in my life talking to people for whom Evola is a god, whose writings are a means by which they can assign their race hate an esoteric definition and therefore rarefy their motives. I tire of such things these days. That’s largely why I find little interest in most origin stories, from the Bible to evolution. Sometimes it seems like even the kindest mind is able to take an origin story and twist it into evidence of his or her superiority.
So with the above stated, let’s just skip chapter three, wherein the Bible, the Koran and elements of evolution are used to prove that blacks and Jews are the devil, that Caucasians are the devil and people from Asia and Africa are closely linked to simians, which means they are not godly and are therefore the devil. Yeah…
I almost don’t want to discuss the next chapter on eugenics but there were elements of this chapter that were new to me. For example, I had always attributed the phrase “survival of the fittest” to Darwin, when it was really Herbert Spencer, a Darwinist philosopher, who created the phrase. I wonder how many of the Tea Party quasi-Libertarians with their heavy reliance on the Bible would respond if they realized that much of their tenets were shared by an evolution proponent (politics, strange bedfellows, etc.):
To Spencer, biological evolution implied moral progress. “Progress,” he wrote, “is not an accident, but a necessity. Instead of civilization being artificial, it is a part of nature; all of a piece with the development of the embryo or the unfolding of a flower.” Thus, the state was foolish in supporting welfare for the poor and diseased, tampering with the natural process of evolution. Instead, the unfit should be eliminated: “The whole effort of nature is to get rid of such, to clear the world of them, and make room for better.”
And it goes in a similar but uncomfortable vein. But then Kossy discusses the Oneida Community, which I had heard of before but not in any detail, and it was utterly fascinating. The brainchild of John Humphrey Noyes, the Oneida Community was a commune of sorts in New York. Based on bits and pieces of the Bible, the commune practiced “complex marriage” (which reads to me like a strange way for the middle-aged and older to prey sexually on the young but perhaps there is more to it than that) and “Stirpiculture,” which was a form of selective breeding. The whole thing was bizarre, with couples having to seek permission to have sex, male continence and in the mid-1800s, the commune produced 58 children, all of whom presumably were scientifically superior to kids whose parents didn’t practice eugenics.
Interestingly, the superior children the Oneida Community claimed to have produced (who were called “stirps”), were likely better off because of the child-centric mindset under which they were conceived. Sadly, the community disbanded before any real scientific measure could be made of the children produced with “barnyard ethics.”
Then the chapter on eugenics takes a dark turn and we move from positive eugenics, wherein people breed with an eye to excellent offspring, to negative eugenics, wherein those considered unsuitable are prevented from reproducing and in extreme cases are killed off entirely. The usual “academic” studies are mentioned, including the Jukes and Kallikak family, which led “to the public crusade against what became known as the ‘Menace of the Feebleminded.'” But then it exploded into the belief that things adults engaged in, aside from the obvious ringers like drinking when pregnant, could make them a potential threat not to just the moral fiber of the country but the overall genetic health of the nation. After urging the youth of 1920s America to avoid victims of VD and the mentally retarded as their spouses, the advice just got more icky, as psychiatrists were sure that masturbation was “one of the great causes of insanity.” So you’d have to be sure to avoid masturbators, too. Good luck with that.
As I read chapter four, I had a hard time understanding how it was that eugenics could be considered an origin theory. Kossy cleared that up for me:
Indeed, many scientists, educators and authors believed in eugenics with a religious faith: they replaced Jesus Christ with Charles Darwin, brotherly love with better breeding, and the Second Coming of Christ with the prospect of a perfect race. Though many mainstream clergymen – especially Catholics – bristled at this new religion, some accepted, and some even embraced it. In 1926 the American Eugenics Society sponsored a eugenics sermon contest. Three hundred sermons of various denominations were inspired by the contest, and 60 were submitted for judging. Protestants reinterpreted the Bible as a eugenics book, claiming that Jesus was born into a family resulting from “a long process of religious and moral selection.” Jews accepted eugenics as just another commandment of God: as one Rabbi put it, “May we do nothing to permit our blood to be adulterated by infusion of inferior grade.”
And of course, as it does with all origin theories, it breaks down into an us versus them wherein people decided they were the best example of genetic purity, aligning themselves with racial ideals of racial superiority, with some interesting and borderline humorous results. Kossy quotes from the 1937 book Apes, Men & Morons by Ernest Hooton, who attended a genetics conference to hear speak a man whom he had never met but was evidently one of the best examples of the Nordic race:
From my obscure and remote table of uncelebrities, I peered myopically to catch a glimpse of this dolichocephalic, blond Viking who was to embody the physical, intellectual, and scientific ideals of the “Great Race.” At first I got the elevation of my sight too high and saw no one standing at the speaker’s table except the blandly smiling president who had made the eloquent introduction. Then I heard sounds of broken English, and, lowering my gaze a foot or two, I was able to discern its source. It was a sawed-off, rotund person with a head round as a bullet, black hair, a blobby nose and a face reminiscent of the full moon – in short, the complete Alpine. I thereupon decided that every man is his own Nordic, and I am afraid that I leaped to the conclusion that eugenics is a lay form of ancestor worship…
And anyone who has ever been sucked into the practice of Asatru can holler a hearty, “Amen!”
From there we slide into Hitler, Mengele, Nazis, Nazis, Nazis… Yep, almost all origin myths seem to result in genocide. That’s why I so love the Aquatic Ape theory because as of this writing, it has only resulted in anti-Aquatic Ape smuggery and nary an instance of race hate. But for now, let’s have a look at chapter five. Creationism.
Sigh… Yeah, yeah, dinosaurs and man walked together. The Earth is 6,000 years old. I have little sympathy or affinity for those who espouse this utter bullshit but Kossy explains them in a manner I would find impossible:
Today’s fundamentalists seek to convince themselves and others that their conception of natural history which relies entirely on a literalistic reading of one sacred text – is consistent with current observations of the world – and they’ll do anything to defend it. Rather than endure a soul-testing crisis of faith, fundamentalists prefer to think that their creation myth is somehow different from all the other creation myths in the world. It’s unique, it’s literally true, and what’s more, it’s scientific.
Kossy then goes on to discuss that various amounts of science that these creationists, mainly Christian, have to ignore or warp in order to ensure their version of events remains true to them.
There was not a lot that was new for me but there were some issues that are of concern for those of us who have been standing on the sidelines as pseudoscience has been taking more and more ground in public discourse and education:
The scientists slowly noticed that science education was under attack, and have been actively combating the creationists ever since. While the Tennessee law challenged by Scopes forbidding the teaching of evolution was obviously a draconian measure, the legislation introduced by creationists in the ’80s looks much more benign. All they want, they say, is “equal time.” If you teach evolution, they argue, then to be fair, the public schools should also teach creation. By this argument, the Aquatic Ape theory, various alien intervention theories, de-evolution, and countless creation myths and alternative theories of evolution should also be given “equal time” in the classroom. “Equal time,” in fact, is just a device creationists use to ensure their own voices are heard over the threatening sounds of secularism they hear in the schools, on television, and at the movies.
I would go further to say that equal time is a ploy wherein creationists hope to replace all other theories with their own – that’s why the Aquatic Ape theory is not taught because it’s not about equal time. It’s about wriggling into the system and eliminating all other educational options. And it’s worked. In the face of all reason, it has worked, and even though evolutionists and scientists have worked hard to dissuade the public from adopting methods of pseudoscience, it seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Explaining the subtleties of current evolutionary theory to people who get their history from docudramas and their science from the Discovery Channel isn’t easy; evolutionists might do better if they simply accused creationists of molesting children.
It rankles people to read this, to realize that this is all boiling down to a lowest common denominator argument. But people who don’t see creationism as dim should realize that creationists do, in fact, appeal to emotion and poor thinking and analysis skills.
The creationists want to have it both ways: when defending creationism, it’s just a matter of philosophy, but when attacking evolution or demanding “equal time” in science education, it’s a matter of scientific evidence. The authors are chained to Scripture, but refuse to admit it.
But it gets far worse than just engaging in spurious reasoning. Some creationists take it to that next, repellent level.
But fossils that turn out to be genuine after all are not allowed as evidence for evolution, but instead “might well represent disease or degeneracy.” And if that argument doesn’t convince you to abandon evolution, try this one: evolution causes racism. “It is important to recognize,” say the authors, “that racism in its virulent forms is mainly a product of evolutionary thinking,” because even recent history can be shaped to fit the creationist mold…
Then the name Hitler is invoked and it goes downhill from there.
But the hell of it is, in some respects the creationists are right. Of course racism existed long before Darwin came onto the scene and the existence of the Christian Identity movement show that Christians don’t really have clean hands. But all creation theory lends itself so well to this sort of thinking.
The creation chapter, like all the others, descends into a look at some fascinating and completely lunatic methods of proving the Earth was made by some divine creator. Reinterpretations of time as it is presented in the Bible. Genesis denizens in space. Proof positive dinosaurs walked the Earth alongside men. Some of it is amusing, some of it is horrible, but all of it is interesting.
And finally we reach chapter six and can discuss AQUATIC APES. I have no idea why I love this theory so much but there you go. Life is strange. One day I will discuss the book, The Aquatic Ape. Until then Kossy’s take on the book will have to suffice. Anyway, Elaine Morgan, a feminist writer, came up with the Aquatic Ape theory and perhaps one of the reasons I love this theory so much, other than just how awesome it feels to say AQUATIC APE over and over again is because the theory, at first glance, seems so reasonable.
Its ideas were irresistible. The Aquatic Ape turned out to be one of those books – one of those theories – that fits everything together so well you feel it just has to be true. For weeks after reading, I pondered the theory. Soon I found myself preaching the gospel of the Aquatic Ape to my friends.
That was more or less my experience. Of course, after a while reality sets in and holes in the theory become apparent, but there are holes in all theories so I didn’t get as hung up on them as I perhaps should have. Regardless, AQUATIC APES is the most charming, inoffensive origin theory I’ve been exposed to in about 15 years or so.
So here’s the Aquatic Ape theory (AAT):
The Aquatic Ape theory observes that various human traits, such as bipedality, speech, lack of body hair, subcutaneous (under the skin) fat, weeping, face-to-face copulation and sweating are unique among primates and therefore hard to account for by conventional theories of human evolution. But if humanity was at one time aquatic or semi-aquatic, these traits could be easily explained. The AAT tells us that we share many traits with aquatic mammals which we don’t share with our closer relatives, the primates. Therefore, says the AAT, we acquired those traits in an aquatic environment. The beauty of this theory is that is seems to solve, in one fell swoop, all the mysteries of human uniqueness. It’s also championed by a skilled writer, unencumbered by the stringent guidelines of scientific research.
Yep, Elaine Morgan was no scientist. She was not an anthropologist, but rather she was a feminist writer, and from my perspective, the whole AAT was a feminist reaction to a lot of evolutionary theory that was macho-man oriented that didn’t have a whole lot to back it up. Kossy was on the same page as me. Observe:
The Aquatic Ape began as an essentially female version of human evolution, an antidote to what Elaine Morgan then called “The Mighty Hunter” – a brutish ape-man who used to dominate popular stories of human evolution. The Aquatic Ape, by contrast, emerges from the sea, like Venus or an aquatic Madonna-and-child. Some of the appeal of the AAT might stem from Morgan’s depictions of what is essentially a mother goddess.
Before Morgan presented her take on the AAT, a British marine biologist called Alister Hardy presented the idea and it even has a mention in Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape. But it was not until Morgan infused the theory with her feminist challenge to male-dominated theories of evolution that the AAT really got its controversial legs.
Riffing off Hardy’s ideas and adding her own interpretations, Morgan postulated that resource scarcity forced early hominids from the forest out into the savannah. These hairy apes found life hard and were often fodder for predators. Then one day, a former tree-climbing ape carrying her child fled into water to escape a quadruped predator and thus became the progenitor to aquatic apes. Fleeing into the water when in danger caused these hairy apes to undergo the same evolutionary changes that oceanic mammals underwent – becoming more hairless, developing subcutaneous fat, among others. Standing in the water aided walking erect posture and having to spend long periods of time in the water caused the apes’ fingers to become more dexterous and led to effective tool use. But one of the reasons why this theory was so compelling to me was how Morgan took Hardy’s assumptions and added her own in her book, The Descent of Woman:
Hardy had explained hair on the aquatic ape’s head as protection from the sun while wading, but Morgan explained it as a way for the aquatic ape baby to cling to its otherwise naked mother… This also explained male baldness because “in communities where the males took no part in the bringing up of the offspring, there would be nothing to prevent their heads going bald as their bodies…”
She later refined these ideas in The Aquatic Ape and The Scars of Evolution. The media and the general public rather liked the AAT but the academic and scientific communities were not impressed, almost universally dismissing it.
Much of the chapter deals with scientists discussing the AAT and proving that it is false, that the fossil record does not support it, and Morgan insisting that the fossil record does, in fact, support her theory. Frankly, as a non-scientist I tend to think the fossil record does not support the AAT as the bulk of the examples of hominids walking erect were found in dry places, whereas if Morgan was correct, we would expect to find them near the water. But reading that Kossy, a writer who clearly has more discipline than I do, found the theory as embraceable as I did when I first read about it, makes me want to get all of Morgan’s books and read them in sequential order and see what I think once I am finished.
Chapter seven was sort of a trashcan chapter, with all the odd origin theories that could not fit into the proceeding chapters. Kossy called these the “aberrant anthropologies” and begins with the strange anthropology found in The Urantia Book. Those of you who are debunkers or fans of the late Martin Gardner may find the name Urantia rings a bell. The Urantia believers, whom I have to give their due for slogging through that brick of a book (over 2000 pages), believed William Sadler channeled space aliens in his sleep. There’s a whole lot more to it but just know that the Urantia theory was a strange Seventh Day Adventist shoot off that included some members of the Kellogg family and theories of eugenics as appalling as all the others discussed in this book. Add in some alien intervention urging human kind via the sleep trances of William Sadler to achieve racial purity and it’s just bleah all over again. I think the section on Urantia was most notable because the followers in this weird cult were puritanical in their approach to life and their work ethic and nothing in their lives seemed like it was the least bit enjoyable.
This chapter also discusses the Heaven’s Gate cult, the group of mild and meek cultists who believed the mothership was coming for them behind the Hale-Bopp comet. They committed suicide en masse in California in 1997 and an appalled nation got all kinds of unseemly details as we learned most of the men had castrated themselves.
But the best part of this chapter was the section that dealt with Stanislav Szukalski. Oh good lord, this small section of a very involved book just revved up that part of my brain that loves the strange but has no desire to engage in dogma. Szukalski, I suspect, is perfect for my undisciplined mind because he is less strange religion than he is rogue ideas filtered through the brain of a genius or madman. Szukalski was a Polish artist who emigrated to America and became friends with people like Clarence Darrow and Sherwood Anderson. His return to Poland to create art for the goverment was cut short when Poland was invaded during WWII, forcing Szukalski to return to the United States, where he begin to refine his theory, researching languages and archaeology.
Szukalski’s origin theory involves humans, apes, and de-evolution but is still somehow wholly unique in its own bizarre right:
According to Szukalski, our blood has already been mixed; not with inferior human blood but with that of apes – human history is the story of the struggle between the true humans and the a-human Yetinsyny, who even now live among us in human society. They speak our language and they sometimes even take over our nations, but a few of their physical features give them away as the gluttonous anthropoids they are.
During his studies of language in California, he made a major discovery:
His studies of pictographs and illustrations of archaeological finds culminated in the discovery of what he called “Protong,” or the “proto-tongue.” Protong, claimed Szukalski, is the mother of all languages, a pictographic language common to all cultures before the Tower of Babel.
He died not long after he wrote up his theories and his works were discovered by underground artists who exhibited his art and published his treatise on “Zermatism,” the science that evidently explains all of his theorizing.
Szukalski’s belief that humans had been sexually mixed with violent, rapacious apes, can be seen illustrated throughout history. To him, the Greek god Pan was an ape variant that raped women. Some of the ape women were seductive enough to attract men and the offspring of these interspecies unions have ruined the world, creating a de-evolving race that is overwhelmed by war and strife. (Also, please note the random capitalizations. That is a sign of quality in crackpotology.)
Szukalski enthusiastically identifies the descendants of these couplings by such traits as an “undercut nose,” long upper lip, long torso, short upper arm, wart nose, pot belly, and sometimes even a tail. These bastards typically end up as dictators, political subversives, and communist agents in all nations. Their compulsive opposition to human decency is the cause of all our troubles, past, present and future…
According to Szukalski, these Yetinsyny, once identified, should never be allowed to enter politics or the the military service, for they are “devoid of all the genteel traits of [humanity] but retained all the avaricious, vengeful, ferocious traits.” They only enter public service “for the purpose of attaining positions that allow them to gloat in Vengeance for their obsessive psychosis of Inferiority.” And there they bide their time until they get a chance to “exterminate Handsome mankind by the millions.” Politically dangerous Yeti have lately included such historically influential characters as Karl Marx, Mao Tse Tung, Nietzsche, Bakunin and Kropotkin.
Behold!!! The Protong contains many of Szukalski’s drawings and his theory, Zermatism. I have it on my shelves, ordered after reading this book. I hope I get to read and discuss it sooner than later.
Kossy’s book, aside from simply being an entertaining read, was important for me because it ultimately showed me why my innate atheism is the only rational choice I have. I have often wondered why it is that, given my predilection for lunacy, I have never been able to embrace for long any of the ideas that so enthrall me. I can dip my toe in the water but I can never go for a swim, and in my attempts to find some truth, I have tried to open my mind to ideas uplifting and despicable, but none ever stuck. I had always been able to see the threads that run common in all the major religions, but I couldn’t see the common threads in the more crackpot ideas that I, by all rights, should have adopted by now.
Perhaps I knew it subconsciously, but Kossy lines up clearly for me, all the commonalities. Alien intervention, eugenics, race hate, rampaging apes, bizarre castes of human existence – it seems that with the exception of the AAT, all of these origin stories wove at least two of the above threads into tapestries that ultimately do not look that much different from each other. With so many common elements, it’s clearer to me why I, a borderline lunatic, have never completely descended into solidly odd beliefs. I find all the offerings at the crackpot buffet to have come from the same cookbook.
But as much as I cannot embrace the bizarre, these ideas that Kossy examines puts into perspective the less strange creations on the landscape. With precision, a love of the strange yet with a distance that enables her to dissect and analyze dispassionately, Kossy’s book is a masterpiece of crackpot beginnings and crazy origin theories. I highly recommend this book and hope that when you read it, you come back and tell me the origin theory that made you log onto Amazon and order a book so you could find out more. Then mourn with me that we have only the two books from this writer.
6 thoughts on “Strange Creations by Donna Kossy”
This is a wonderful appraisal of a fascinating book. I too own both of Kossy’s books and wish there were more. Surely it can’t be due to a lack of material. I seem to recall more interest in this sort of stuff back in the 70’s (Leonard Nimoy, Real People, etc). The thing that struck me about the theories in both books was the sincerity of the believers. Scientifically, I’ll take Stephen Jay Gould and Louis Leakey over Szukalski and Morgan but there is a point when disproved science and pseudoscience become art and sometimes that art can be more personal and spiritually rewarding than a dry fossil bed. I think so, anyway.
I can’t wait to read your thoughts on Behold!!! The Protong.
I have a sick ability to turn off my brain and adore the science, the lunatics and the debunkers all at the same time. But deep down I prefer men like Szukalski most of all because I just love deeply those who create their own mythos.
Behold!!! The Protong was so strange and alluring that Mr Oddbooks, who is mostly given to tales of the high sea and military history, had to sit down and have a look. That should have been a sign then and there to get off my ass and read the book posthaste.
Ha! I was just talking (okay, ranting) to my wife the other day about the Aquatic Ape theory, which she hadn’t heard of before. While I’m not an anthropologist, so my opinion is useless, what I’ve read in favor of the theory is pretty compelling, while the counter-arguments are much less so — I see a lot of shooting down of points in the theory, but not really any convincing explanations taking their place to account for the gigantic holes in the prevailing theory. That, plus the thick layer of (male) condescension and/or anger in every critique of AAT I’ve read, makes me look askance at the skeptics’ camp. The scientific community despises outsiders and dismisses ideas that don’t come from within their ranks, while worshipping at the altar of their own supposed objectivity.
Hey Edward! I knew you were my kind of guy: willing to discuss extreme horror in depth and well-versed in the Aquatic Ape!
I wish I had the scientific background to discuss the AAT in depth and have any assurance that I know what I am talking about but to my liberal arts brain it makes so much sense and answers so many questions. I don’t understand all the dismissal Morgan has received and since I don’t fully understand it I cannot counter it and likely should not, but I’m itching to read all three of her books with careful attention. She would not be the first person insiders dismissed because she married good science with social commentary. I have to think her feminist slant on anthropology has to gall many people who see no merit in it or resent how it shows innate bias in those who look at the fossil record.
Haven’t read this one, book I read her book,Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief, long ago. This one sounds very similar.
Kooks is awesome. It covers similar ground as Strange Creations but Kooks was an overall look at strange beliefs and wasn’t nearly as topically focused as SC. Both are excellent books, though Kooks reads more dated now.