First things first, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2020 was a nightmare year for many reasons, and while 2021 won’t immediately change things (let’s be completely honest about that) it is, at the very least, a fresh new year. That I am going to remain hopeful about.
If you’ll remember, a couple of years ago now I ran the Survey of Canadian Beliefs. This survey, which I modelled after the Chapman Survey of American Fears, was designed to give us some insight into what Canadians think regarding the paranormal, supernatural, and generally pseudoarchaeological. The results, which I used for my Shannon Lecture Series talk about pseudoarchaeology, showed some interesting comparisons to the Chapman survey. I’ll be upfront and say I only got a smidge over 200 responses compared to Chapman’s 1500+ responses, but 200 is still a great number to work with. For the most part, our believes trended similarly to American beliefs. Our highest belief is in the paranormal, followed by aliens, then ancient highly advanced civilizations, and eventually down to people being able to move objects with their minds. I did add a couple of questions about Oak Island for some more specific Canadian content and I added some questions related to general “are *blank* hiding info” conspiracies. Because in the pseudoarch world we’re (archaeologists, museums, institutions, etc.) are often accused of hiding info.
Now, 2 years later, the time has come for me to open the survey for responses again. To be honest, I meant to run this survey every year but life, uh, gets in the way. So why now? Why did I choose this moment to open the survey again? For a few reasons. Firstly, I’ve been invited to give a virtual (because the COVID-19 pandemic still continues) lecture for Ottawa’s AIA chapter and I think it would be really great to have some fresh results I can compare to the last results. I’m interested in seeing if our beliefs have changed over the past couple of years. Especially with the on-going pandemic (paranormal reports have increased during the pandemic, for example), although right now I have no way to know for sure if the pandemic has affected our beliefs. But it is something to think about. Another reason I’m running the survey again is because it’s going to give me some great insight for my PhD research and help me possibly develop some additional surveys down the road.
A third reason I’m running this survey again is because of recent, tragic reminders as to why we have to keep an eye on the beliefs and conspiracies that this survey touches on. On December 25th, 2020, Anthony Warner set off a huge explosion in downtown Nashville TN, killing himself in the process. Fortunately no one else was killed. A short time later it was revealed that Warner strongly believed in aliens, reptilians/lizard people, and altered DNA. These themes are extremely common in many pseudoarchaeological theories, and they’re also connected to a very popular and broad conspiracy theory referred to as the New World Order. I say broad because the NWO is a common part of many different theories. Or, depending on how you’re looking at it, there are many versions of the NWO and one of those versions includes aliens and reptilians. The very basic idea is that there is a secret group of elites around the world conspiring together to create an authoritarian world government to rule the world. The NWO is also a very popular theme in pop culture. Take, for example, the images I’ve included from a comic series I have called “Conspiracy”. The first subseries of 5 issues is about the reptilian version NWO, wound into current society (the second subseries is about aliens). At the surface, the idea of a shadow government run by extraterrestrial reptilian people seems ridiculous and silly and something to be ignored. But an estimated 87 million Americans believed in the NWO, and an estimated 12 million believe in reptilian/lizard people. This also is not the first time in recent memory that aliens, reptilians, and the NWO have been connected to violence. In 2019 Barbara Rogers was sentenced to 15-40 years in prison for the murder of her boyfriend, Steven Mineo. Rogers and Mineo were both followers of Sherry Shriner’s online cult and the murder was connected to the cult’s beliefs in aliens, reptilians, and the NWO. We need to pay attention to these beliefs, not ignore them. (Update: since publishing this post we’ve also seen another extreme example of why we need to pay attention to pseudoarchaeology)
Image descriptions (because it won’t let me add a caption) L: The 5 issues in the New World Order Conspiracy subseries by Zenescope. R: The final page in the final issue (the lizard people issue) from the NWO Conspiracy subseries, featuring a reptilian character looking over images related to the NWO’s control.
So that’s why the survey is now open. I’m hoping to, at the very least, reach 200 responses again to keep relatively consistent with the last time (at the time of writing this post I have already reached 73 responses). All of the questions are the same and I have added one more question related to Vikings travelling through North America. If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to fill out the survey. All responses are completely anonymous – I cannot see anyone’s names or contact details at any point, nor are they connected to your results. Please also share the survey with your networks! My network can only spread so far, I’m relying on your help too. Thank you so much for your help, and keep your eyes open for the results in the near future!