On the history of connecting colonialism and conspiracies

Edward Guimont presents to a small audience during a talk about about colonialism and conspiracy theories in the basement meeting room of Wood Hall.Edward Guimont presents to a small audience during a talk about about colonialism and conspiracy theories in the basement meeting room of Wood Hall. (Maggie Chafouleas/The Daily Campus)

Various graduate students and staff members of the University of Connecticut history department gathered at Wood Hall for a presentation and talk on “Colonialism from the Cretaceous: Ancient Aliens, Modern Dinosaurs and the Lizard People Conspiracy” presented by Ph.D. candidate Edward Guimont.

The talk focused on the origins of many popular conspiracies and cryptids, and even built an argument about how they are tied to colonialism in many ways.

Guimont began with how “Sherlock Holmes” writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had written his novel “A Lost World” in 1912 and how its 1925 film adaptation had a lasting legacy on the idea of giant monster films. So much so, that it influenced the 1997 sequel to “Jurassic Park” with the very same name.

Next, Guimont mentioned the “King Kong argument” from Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” (2009). The argument states that the story of King Kong is an allegory for slavery. The plot of “King Kong” (1933) follows a group of filmmakers who capture a giant gorilla on an island filled with “savage” natives and bring him back to New York to showcase him as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

It was interesting to see there are many biblical conspiracies that have been attributed to expeditions and pre-colonial artifacts. Many ancient civilizations were explored because of such folklore. For example, the medieval city of Great Zimbabwe had been accepted as having African origins but many white settlers in the late 19th century continued believing it to be Orphis, the biblical gold mine of King Solomon.

In 1982, the International Cryptozoology Society (ICS) was founded for the sole purpose of researching and finding hidden animals, or cryptids, that have no scientific evidence of existing. An example of a particularly famous cryptid is “Bigfoot.” Guimont mentioned that a member of the ICS led an expedition to Republic of the Congo in search of a cryptid popular in folklore. Although the ICS was disbanded in 1998 because of financial problems, it has inspired The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

Before ending the presentation, Guimont talked about the famous, albeit most ridiculous, conspiracy: the lizard people. There are online presences who genuinely believe in the existence of a secret underground civilization of lizard people who have been in control of world powers from the beginning of time. Guimont cited David Icke as being the most prominent of theorists who believes that just about anyone in political office, whether it be the Clintons, George W. Bush or even the Queen of England, is a lizard person. Surprisingly enough, approximately five million Americans believe in the existence of lizard people, according to a Public Policy Polling survey that took place after the 2012 presidential elections.

“One of the most interesting things that he brought up was about people serving in our current government administration who fully back some strange conspiracy theories,” Margaret Chafouleas, a first-semester environmental science major, said. “(Apparently) Ben Carson thinks that the Great Pyramids were not meant to be tombs but that the biblical figure Joseph built them for grain storage.”

Regardless of whether lizard people exist or if cryptids indeed roam the earth, it’s interesting to see how humans have constantly been chasing after conspiracies in search for something more.


Brandon Barzola is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brandon.barzola@uconn.edu.