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Say What?

Table of Contents
What Color is Mars? The Green Planet? The Glass Worm
Face the Face City Slicker The White Bunny
Bizarre Image Analysis Say What? (Updated March 24, 2004) Hoagland's Credentials
NEW! (March 13, 2004) Some fallout: Hoagland discusses these pages on C2C
Links of Interest

Reading through Hoagland's website, I was amazed at the level of silliness of much of what I was seeing. Several times, I found myself wondering if Hoagland is just making stuff up. I mean that literally; is he just looking at pictures and trying to come up with the most ridiculous assertion he can? It's certainly possible that, like many fringe pseudoscientists, he is sincere in his beliefs. But it's impossible for me not to wonder if Hoagland is trying to make his claims as silly as possible, just to see how far he can go and still have people believe him. My evidence? Here is a short, very incomplete list of things I dug up on his site that are so bizarre they made me say, "Say What?"

Added March 24, 2004:
Not all of Hoagland's pages are about Mars. One is about Egypt!
On this page, he claims an ancient Egyptian glyph (found in Abydos) depicts modern technology! He says:

These impossible figures, perched high under the several hundred-ton roof ofSeti-I's [sic] stunning Temple, depict astonishingly modern looking "flyingmachines" [sic] and other "high-tech" objects ... and are, as we haveseen [sic], rightly viewed as "completely impossible" by the professionals-- under any current archaeological views of ancient Egypt!

You may not be shocked to learn Hoagland is wrong. Twice actually; once in his interpretation of the glyphs, and once by saying the professionals can't explain it. I did a Google search on the words "abydos helicopter" -- no more words than that -- and on the first page of returned hits was this page at Above Top Secret (also, another page had similar information). It features a brief description of the symbols, and then an explanation by a professional archaeologist... with a reference. It explains the odd symbols are part of a "palimpsest", basically, new symbols written over old ones (kind of like writing a message on a piece of paper over an incompletely erased message). When the different symbols overlay, they appear to make different shapes. Our modern eyes see them as helicopters, or submarines, or boats. But to the trained eye, they appear to be what they are: superposed symbols. Once again, Hoagland has suffered from pareidolia.

Added March 21, 2004:
Hoagland's insight into Mars imagery extends to the, well, the bizarre (I hate to use that word so much, but what the heck-- it fits). For example, he claims to see evidence of not only an anti-gravity device on Mars (sent by us!) but also tanks, yes, treaded war-machine tanks, on Mars.

Here is a truly weird page using numerological mumbo-jumbo to try to make tenuous connections between NASA, Freemasons, and the number 33. Yes, you read that correctly.

On this page, he talks about someone he calls "Bamf" who Hoagland thinks deceived him, faking some of his image processing. [Note added March 31, 2004: I originally said Bamf worked for Hoagland, but this was pointed out to me to be incorrect. I have corrected it, and I note this does not change the point of this section in any way.] On that page, Hoagland talks about how deceptive Bamf was, saying that an image was labeled as being taken using a 12.58 micron (infrared) filter, and then a later image using the same filter was labeled as being 12.57 microns. Here is what Hoagland says:

So, what's the point? Is this just another example of Bamf's continuing propensity to spread disinformation, cited previously? Or, is this part of a more calculated, larger plan: a deliberate, carefully designed effort by the entire THEMIS team to confuse everyone... about all aspects of the real THEMIS mission?!

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill! What he is talking about here is a really trivial thing. Every color filter has a series of characteristics that define it. One of these is called the "central wavelength", which represents the wavelength of light (you can think of it as the specific color) that is in the middle of the filter's color range. In this case, the central wavelength of the filter is something like 12.58 microns (a micron is a millionth of a meter, and 12.58 microns is in the infrared). Usually, filters are called by their central wavelengths; I worked on calibrating many filters on board Hubble, and we would commonly call them by their central wavelengths (like, "How's the work on that 1404 filter coming?"). But 12.57 microns is so close to 12.58 that it makes no difference. Neither would be wrong. Hoagland's bizarre rant about this is indicative, once again, that he is either making this stuff up, or has lost touch with reality. After all, he talks about color quite a bit, and he should know that this is a completely trivial point.

On this page he has links to where he has seriously magnified image noise -- similar to static on your TV screen -- and is claiming with a straight face that it represents the ruins of a city on the Moon.

In this image, he overly magnifies an Apollo image and then claims it's a mile wide sheet of glass. This is pretty silly; just because something is bright doesn't make it either shiny or glassy.

Perhaps the silliest thing on Hoagland's site (which is saying a lot) is this bit of nuttiness where he claims a vast NASA conspiracy based on... wait for it... a cheesy 1950's TV show! This has to be read to be believed. Or not believed. I couldn't make this up.

And not leaving well enough alone, he tries to outdo the Tom Corbett zaniness by adding some nonsense about "The West Wing", claiming that Aaron Sorkin, the show's creator, put in hints about a government coverup in the dialogue of the show. Hoagland ties in that bizarre numerological mumbo-jumbo mentioned above into this as well.

Hoagland's silly numerology goes even farther, taking on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Hoagland's claims are really, really silly. He asserts that there are lots of 11's associated with this event:

  • "New York City (where the major attack occurred) consists of 11 letters"
  • "New York was the 11th state admitted into the Union"
  • "Each WTC Tower had 110 floors, which is a multiple of 11"
... and other similar claims.

Still with me? Now, as I recall, the planes didn't hit in Brooklyn, or the Bronx, so using New York City's letters isn't fair. But then, those borough names don't have letters that add up to 11! Also, as I recall, a plane went down in Pennsylvania (12 letters, and the second state to be admitted to the Union) as well as Virginia (8 letters, tenth state). Why did Hoagland leave those off? I was born in Virginia, is this a conspiracy against me? That logic is just as silly as his.

Clearly, Hoagland is just doing whatever he can to find numbers that somehow pertain to 11, and ignoring those that don't. That's a big nono. Of all of his silliness, it's stuff like this that makes me wonder if he's really serious. After all, it's not a great idea to be agreeing with known charlatan Uri Geller.

But maybe you want more? I decided to think about how "Coast to Coast AM" might also have numbers like this. So let's pick 7. Why? Why not? It's just as random as 11.

  • There are seven letters in "Art Bell"
  • If you let the letters in the alphabet represent numbers, with a=1, b=2, and so on, you get:
    • c+o+a+s+t + t+o + c+o+a+s+t = 151, and 1+5+1 = 7
    • a+r+t + b+e+l+l = 70, and 7+0 = 7 (and 7 letters in his name too!)
    • Alan Corbeth helped create "Coast to Coast AM" with Art Bell. a+l+a+n + c+o+r+b+e+t+h + a+r+t + b+e+l+l = 169, and 1+6+9 = 16, and 1+6 = 7
    • g+e+o+r+g+e + n+o+o+r+y + a+r+t + b+e+l+l = 214, and 2+1+4 = 7
    • h+o+a+g+l+a+n+d + c+y+d+o+n+i+a = 133, and 1+3+3 = 7
Get the point? I actually tried a lot of combinations, but I only show you the ones that add up to 7. Most of the words I tried didn't work. Hoagland has done the same thing with 9/11, and he also does it with the city he claims has mathematical relationships.

Here's another one: h+o+a+g+l+a+n+d + i+s + w+r+o+n+g = 167, which has a 7 in it, and the remaining two numbers are 1+6 = 7. Perhaps that one can be paired with this one: t+h+e + b+a+d + a+s+t+r+o+n+o+m+e+r + i+s + r+i+g+h+t = 268, and 2+6+8 = 16, and 1+6 = 7! Ain't math grand?

Oh one more thing, because I love irony: m+a+n+h+a+t+t+a+n = 92, and 9+2 = 11. He missed this one. Maybe I'll send him an email.

I could go on and on. A random search of Hoagland's site turns up some really ridiculous stuff besides his usual really ridiculous stuff. Take a look and decide for yourself.

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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