Twelve Red Flags for a Historical Hoax

David Meadows at Rogue Classicism has put together a list of twelve warning signs that set off his skeptic senses:

  1. Claim is made by someone who is not a specialist (i.e. with a degree) in the discipline
  2. Claimant has an “Indiana Jones” type epithet, often self-imposed
  3. Topic of claim is one of the long-standing mysteries (e.g. Cleopatra’s tomb, Alexander’s tomb, anything related to Atlantis, the Ark of the Covenant, something biblical, etc.)
  4. Claim is initially made on a press release site and later picked up by mainstream media
  5. Claim has not appeared in a scholarly journal nor is ‘in press’
  6. The word “decode” is used at least once in the claim
  7. The phrase “years of research” figures prominently
  8. Claimant justifies position with references to the Trojan War or Galileo
  9. Claimant suggests a “coverup” of some sort by academics
  10. Claim is made on a significant date (especially if related to early Christianity … Easter and Christmas are the big dates)
  11. Newspaper report doesn’t actually ask a specialist for a contrary opinion
  12. Mention of a documentary to come is made in the concluding paragraphs

Pretty good, but needs a mention of invisible watermelons.

The Great Commoner
Being Agent Scully
The Dome Overhead
Martyrs for Science

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