Controversial author to speak on ‘forgotten wisdom’ of ancient civilizations

Author and speaker Graham Hancock. — Photo by Santha Faiia

Bestselling author Graham Hancock, whose unconventional theories on prehistory have made him the subject of much controversy and a huge Facebook following, is currently on a worldwide tour in support of his latest book, “Magicians of the Gods.” Thanks to the efforts of Bryan Daigle and Nyama Wingood of Oak Bluffs’ Gallery Josephine, the much-in-demand speaker will make a one-night stop on the Vineyard for a talk on Saturday, Nov. 28, at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

As evidence of the British author’s popularity, a recent talk by Mr. Hancock in New York City attracted a sellout crowd, plus 500 more who were turned away at the door.

Mr. Hancock has written 15 books in which he has expounded upon his revolutionary theories surrounding ancient civilizations, ancient myths, and astronomical and astrological data from the past. His TED Talk, titled “The War on Consciousness,” was censored and removed from the TEDx YouTube channel.

The author’s most recent book, “Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization,” is a follow up to an earlier book published in 1996. The Amazon website states, “Graham Hancock’s multimillion bestseller “Fingerprints of the Gods” remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth’s lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returns with the sequel to his seminal work filled with completely new scientific and archaeological evidence, which has only recently come to light.”

The upcoming talk, “Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization,” will explore recent discoveries and their possible implications. A description of the talk on the Gallery Josephine website reads, “For over 20 years Hancock has challenged modern belief systems. Our ancestors, present consciousness, and society’s future, might differ greatly from our current expectations. Introducing alternate realities to the rigid status quo, Hancock proves conventional theories erroneous and damaging.”

Mr. Hancock’s TED Talk focuses on the value of hallucinogenic states in mining human consciousness, a process Mr. Hancock believes is necessary to ensure the survival of the planet. Backed up by extensive research on ancient civilizations, as well as modern societies where plant-based hallucinogens are used ritually, Mr. Hancock speaks with clarity and intelligence on a subject about which he is clearly passionate.

The censored talk is a very good example of how Mr. Hancock will fearlessly tackle risky topics and how, through his combination of erudition and eloquence, he is able to make a convincing case for viewpoints which others might see as too fantastic or flighty to be taken seriously. (The TEDx Talk in its entirety can be found on the Gallery Josephine website.)

Mr. Daigle and Ms. Wingood became interested in Mr. Hancock’s writings after viewing his talk. “We contacted him because we had seen his TED Talk, and really liked his message,” said Mr. Daigle in a recent interview. “We read his books, and we really think that he’s pushing the boundaries about what we know about our past and how it applies to our present and our future.”

The Gallery Josephine co-owners contacted Mr. Hancock and discovered that he would be giving a talk in Boston on Thanksgiving. So the couple invited him to make a stopover here.

The gallery only opened its doors this past August, taking over the space previously occupied by the Dragonfly Gallery. Ms. Wingood and Mr. Daigle hosted two shows last summer, both featuring artists with a political and/or social message. The gallery, named for entertainer/activist Josephine Baker, has a mission of presenting thought-provoking work. According to their website, “At this time in history, political and societal renovation is necessary. Gallery Josephine endeavors to further artists engaged in the struggle for righteousness and who defy the status quo through expert expression.”

The gallery co-owners have planned all along to bringing speakers to the gallery. This will be the first in what they hope to be an ongoing series of lectures and presentations. The anticipated crowd, however, made it necessary to book a larger venue for the initial event. A small reception will be held post-talk at the Gallery Josephine.

Mr. Daigle believes that Mr. Hancock will be a good fit for the gallery’s mission, as well as for a Vineyard audience. “The Island is a safe haven for alternative thinking, and has been for decades,” he said. “We think people here will be very receptive. We’ve already sold several dozen tickets. We’re hoping to show a lot of support for him, and fill the theater.”

Talk by Graham Hancock: “Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization.” Saturday, Nov 28, 2015, 5 to 7:30 pm. Katherine Cornell Theatre, Vineyard Haven. Early-bird tickets $15, available through the Gallery Josephine website. Tickets sold at the door for $25. Golden Tickets, which include preferred seating, signed copies of Mr. Hancock’s book, and a catered meet-and-greet at the gallery are available for $100.