Today’s cuppa: PG Tips tea (it’s British, so Olly might approve)

Solving_History_With_Olly_Steeds.jpgEverything
in the “Indiana Jones” movies is true. OK, not every single thing, but chunks
of it, and British journalist Oliver “Olly” Steeds wants to tell you all about
it.

At least
this investigation didn’t require hallucinogens.

Airing
Wednesdays on Discovery Channel since January, “Solving History With Olly
Steeds”
has seen the investigating adventurer, who also reports for the U.K.’s
Channel 4, tackle several ancient mysteries, from the lost gold of El Dorado to
the Nazca Lines in Peru – and that’s where the pharmaceuticals came in.

To
understand the mystical significance of the mountaintop carvings, Steeds downed
a solution made from the San Pedro cactus.

In an
earlier expedition in the Amazon, Steeds had tried another intoxicant and wound
up spending eight hours attempting to live out the “Monty Python’s Flying
Circus”
sketch “Confuse a Cat.”


“I saw
hundreds and hundreds of domestic cats in the jungle, who were being led by my
old pussycat, Octopussy,”
he recalls. “I was convinced that these domestic cats
were the keepers of the holy truth. … If only I could confuse them, they would
reveal to me this knowledge.”

Steeds
can’t remember if he succeeded, but his Peruvian experience turned out a bit
differently.


“I ended up
tripping for a lot longer than we thought,”
he says. “There was a group of
transvestite hairdressers in Nazca, at about 4 o’clock in the morning, who I
ended up drinking with, who looked after me, strangely.


“And I
wasn’t imagining it; they actually were there. It was quite surreal.”

Anyway,
back to Indiana Jones. As fans of the first movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,”
may recall, the Nazis were hot on the trail of the Ark of the Covenant (the picture below shows Olly near a church in Ethiopia on his own Ark search) because
Hitler was obsessed with the occult.

And then in
the third movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” archaeologist Jones and
Olly_Steeds_Seeks_Ark_ofthe_Covenant.JPG
his father, archaeologist Jones the elder, were trying to head off Nazis eager
to gain immortality from the Holy Grail.

According
to Steeds, who’s been called a real-life Indiana Jones, the Nazis actually were
mad for the occult, as shown in the Wednesday, Feb. 24 episode, “Hitler’s
Mummies.”

“Mummies,
not his mum,”
Steeds says, “His mum was called Clara, actually. She had nothing
to do with this but spawning the devil.


“We look at
it in terms of these mummies that were missing during World War II. They were
being used as part of the whole physical anthropology, eugenics movement.


“We explore
the role of the Ahnenerbe, this wing of the SS, this group of scientists and
academics whose job it was to basically rewrite ancient history. They had
expeditions all around the world. They sent an expedition to Tibet in the
’30s to go measure the heads of Tibetans.


“Hitler and
Himmler and others believed that there was this original master Aryan race, and
they believe Tibetans were some of the last. In fact, Buddha was an Aryan.”

As to
whether it bothered Hitler or Himmler that Buddha was likely not a blue-eyed blond,
Steeds says, “That was one of the problems they had. Someone once mentioned to
Himmler, ‘Hold on a minute; you’re not blue-eyed, blond-haired, super-Nordic.’
He’s like, ‘No, but I have an Aryan mind, an Aryan brain.’ Then he promptly
shot the guy for asking the question.


“So we look
at the role of the Ahnenerbe and how they rewrote history to present this
ridiculous justification for their racial policies that led to industrialized
murder.”

Also
upcoming on March 3 is an episode looking at the truth behind tales of escapes
from the infamous Devil’s Island penal colony off the coast of French Guiana, such as the one portrayed in the movie
“Papillon.”

No
mind-altering substances were required to investigate this tale, but Steeds did
have to swim across a river.


“Not a good
idea,”
he says. “I swam it, and it was full of crocodiles.


“To be an
adventurer, you need to be deluded,”
Steeds continues, “and have a very bad
short-term memory. Then you’ve got a chance of surviving, and you continue to
be motivated to carry on and do stupid things.”

Also on the
docket is an episode, shooting next month and airing in May (coinciding,
probably by design, with the release of the Russell Crowe movie, “Nottingham,”
directed by Ridley Scott), in which Steeds tries to track down the real Robin
Hood.

“There’s a
kernel of truth in all these stories,”
Steeds says. “We’ve just started
looking, and it looks like there is a connection to a Crusader archer who came
back and was p—ed off about something. He kicked off and started to rob the
rich and give to the poor.


“There’s a
theory that he was actually the Sheriff of Nottingham in his alter ego.”

Posted by:Kate O'Hare