Hype Authors Examples
There are several types of hype authors active in the field of historical mysteries. Some exaggerate the hype, some are quite entertaining and provide good reading. Here comes a selection.
As of May 2006 more than 60 Millions copies of this book were sold. It is thought to be the 8. best selling books of all times. The book is a novel but the author assures that it is based on facts. This alleged fact base was vital to its success so it must be allowed to check this claim. In a TV interview, when asked how much of it is true and how much not, he replied „It is all true.“ That is very wrong.
The fact base is very thin as far as the controversial topics are concerned. Of course it is true that a place named Paris exists, with a museum called the Louvre and paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci. Countless other mentioned facts are also true. But the main facts that created all that interest, the alleged survival of Jesus, his alleged marriage with Mary Magdalene, the depiction of Mary Magdalene on Leonardo's last supper, and, above all, a secret society (with known chairmans (of course), Leonardo among them) are all inaccurate. Readers wishing to learn more about this can chose from various fact books published in response and, no doubt, in hope to participate in the tremendous financial success of Mr. Brown's book that virtually created an industry of its own.
Primarily Mr. Brown is a novel writer who likes to incorporate not-so-well-known facts into his works. He is a skilled writer and novel architect and I liked to read his works. He knows how to create an exiting plot. „The Da Vinci Code“ I read from beginning to end though usually I do not read novels. So much so good.
What I do not like at all are the author’s claims of fact authenticity in spite of the very thin fact base. I find it very difficult to believe that the author is not aware how little substance the main theories in his books have. This gives this work an unpleasant taste. Without these claims Mr. Brown as a novel writer had all rights to ignore facts and to claim whatever fits into his story.
It seems when Mr. Brown does his research his only interest is to find interesting theories that might attract readers. Apparently, he stops researching immediately when facts emerge that disprove the found theory. For example, it is known for more than a decade that the „Secret Dossiers“ of the French National Library in Paris, mentioned in the fact sheet at the beginning of Mr. Browns work, are falsifications from the 1960s. The people who made them admitted this long ago. I think Mr. Brown most probably knew that.
These three authors are prototypes of hype authors. A wild claim, partly on the title, usually related to alleged church scandals, assures public interest. Within the book the claim is later not really substantiated though the authors provide good but not so spectacular information to related topics, e.g. early Christianity. The most widely known book of these authors is "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" from 1982.
The main thesis of this book was later used by Dan Brown in "The Da Vinci Code". It says that Jesus did not die at the cross but married Mary Magdalene and travelled to southern France. Descendants live to this very day. There is no evidence whatsoever to back up these theory, just vague hints of the kind that can be found for almost all theories. In my opinion, it is complete nonsense.
A very well known hype author is Erich von Däniken (spoken Daeniken) from Swiss. Like most hype authors he has no official education e.g. a finished course of study related to the field he writes about.
Mr. Däniken first work issued in the late 1960s, was a best seller right from the start. He offered it to 20 publishers who all refused it, the 21. accepted it. Mr. Däniken's theorie, or selling claim, is that aliens landed on earth thousands of years ago and influenced the humans at that stage. To substantiate this claim he uses vague oral or written traditions, or unsolved history riddles interpreted in his way. He never found hard evidence like a part of an alien, part of a space ship or anything else. In my opinion his books are enjoyed best if the reader just ignores this claim and enjoys the positive aspects of Mr. von Dänikens books.
What I like very much about Mr. Däniken is his curiosity that causes him to travel the world trying to find evidence. Often Mr. von Däniken was the first hype author to write about a certain place which showed he did his homework very well. His archive is impressive. I am sure that in decades of private study he has developed a thorough knowledge of many topics discussed in his books. Mr. Däniken searched for hints in the field and not just the archives, he spoke countless times in public concerning his theory, he did not avoid confrontation, he was even the creator of the mystery theme park in Interlaken in Swiss, a project that certainly required much energy. Unfortunately, after several years of operation it was finally not successful from the economic point of view.
I am convinced Mr. von Däniken feels genuine curiosity and passion to solve the unknown history riddles of this world. I do not know whether he has solved any of those but it is his credit to bring them to the attention of many readers in an entertaining and thus popular way.
Official scientists are often hampered by the de facto obligation not to make errors. This is bad for science. Private people like Mr. von Däniken are not subject to this. It is exactly this sort of private history investigation that is the focal point of this site. Mr. Däniken seems to be a very likeable person and I would like to meet him in person. His way of writing is very entertaining and I like to read his books. He has published some 30 books on this topic over the last 35 years and I purchased many of them though I do not believe single a word of his alien claims. For me they are just a necessary evil needed for his entertaining books to be published. Though Mr. von Däniken has reached a certain age by now I hope his curiosity will never die.
(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.