A Congressman and the Mummies of Nasca: When pseudoscience is worse than a horror movie

Article published on 19 February 2019

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Article written by Luca, member of the Sociedad Secular Humanista del Perú; the original in Spanish is published on the website http://descreidos.utero.pe/.

Humanoid mummy called "María" Photo: Courtesy of Fabrice Demeter

The congressman Armando Villanueva seems not to desist on his extravagant project of Law that seeks to declare of historical and cultural interest the investigation of the "mummies of Nasca". As many will remember, the congressman made the arrangements for a lecture that was held in one of the halls of the Congress of the Republic.

The Russian team

The stars of that morning were the Russian lecturers, the world-renowned pseudo-scientist Konstantin Korotkov and his friend, the odontologist Dmitry Galetsky.

Korotkov leads the investigation of the "mummies of Nasca" for the American producer GAIA, a sort of esoteric Netflix that funds the research. Since GAIA launched the pay-per-view series of the Nasca mummies, it received almost 30 million dollars in revenue, only in 2017.

Korotkov is also known in Russia as a pseudoscientist, as his data appear on the Russian website of pseudoscientists Freakopedia. In addition to collaborating with GAIA, Korotkov promotes a camera that, according to him, takes photos of the soul and whose price is US $ 1800 in its version 2.0.

Korotkov claims to be a professor at ITMO University in St. Petersburg. However, the university denies any relationship with him, information that can be corroborated by accessing the website of the same university, where Korotkov does not appear on the list of teachers.

Korotkov has more than ten years of relationship with GAIA, and he has interpreted several of the reports issued by the laboratories that received samples of the "humanoid mummies". His conclusions were so crazy, that well-known news networks like RT or Telesur were forced to edit the note or add a warning to the reader due to the questionable trajectory of Korotkov.

On the other hand, Dmitry Galetsky graduated from Saint Petersburg State University Pavlov First as a dentist in 1996, and currently works as a dental surgeon in a dental clinic in the city of Saint Petersburg. Galetsky’s intervention in the Congress hall reached its zenith when he spoke of embryology. That’s right: a dental surgeon talking about embryology, as well as anthropology and the physiology of the reproductive system.

The Mexican team

The other stars of that morning arrived from Mexico: Dr. José de Jesús Zalce Benítez and the biologist José de la Cruz Ríos López. Both professionals are questioned because of their close relationship with Jaime Maussan, because in the past they have endorsed the "ufological investigations" of who is considered by many to be the greatest promoter of ufological "mistakes". Everything that touches Jaime Maussan ignites the alarms of fraud, not for nothing the search engines have been associating their name to the word hoax for more than a decade in all languages.

And from Columbia

The interpretation of the DNA reports was in charge of Clara Martínez, defender of the tridactyle project in YouTube and agronomist engineer of Colombian nationality, who took an accelerated online course of forensic genetics for the occasion.

The few people attending the presentation that morning were ufologists and friends of Thierry Jamin, a well-known French adventurer based in Cusco, director of the Inkari NGO and initiator of the alien project that raised $ 44,393 in donations to "start the investigation" in March 2017.

The crux of the matter

The crux of the matter is that the supposed "humanoid mummies" are actual prehispanic looted mummies, which were modified in order to make them look like aliens, as demonstrated by the outstanding Peruvian paleontologist Rodolfo Salas Gismondi over a year ago. But it has not been the only debunk of the hoax.

In July of 2017, the British researcher and documentalist Steve Mera had access to all the "Nasca mummies" during his visit to Peru. After analyzing the DNA samples and reports, his team of professionals concluded that the largest mummy, called "María", is the only real body in the collection, but he assured that it had been professionally altered by huaqueros in order to increase its value in the black market. In August of 2018, Steve Mera released a documentary about the case.

In September 2017, Konstantin Korotkov, comrade mentioned above, contacted the team of anthropologists and paleozoologists of the Russian website Antropogenez.ru and gave them more than 1GB of material from all the mummies in the hope of obtaining a report favorable to the interests of GAIA The material delivered included x-rays, tomographies and photographs of all the mummies. A month later, the Antropogenez.ru team contacted Korotkov to deliver the results, but Korotkov ignored the report and moved on. The reason: the anthropologists came to the conclusion that they were modified prehispanic mummies.

In October 2017, Alain Froment and Fabrice Demeter, anthropologists of the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, France (one of the most important anthropological museums in the world), had access to more than 5Gb of material from all the mummies that contained radiographs , photographs and tomographies of the "humanoid mummies". They debunked the hoax live in the French BTLV program.

On November 19, 2018, the Peruvian Association of Astrobiology organized at the National University of San Marcos a scientific analysis of the "mummies of Nasca" . The team of Peruvian scientists was led by Dr. Flavio Estrada, forensic archaeologist and founding member of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of the Public Ministry of Peru. The material they analyzed was the same the anthropologists of the Musée de l’Homme, and the Russian anthropologists of Antropogenez.ru. The conclusions were the same: modified prehispanic mummies and small bodies armed with bones of neonates and animals.

Finally, on January 26, the University Archaeological Association of Burgundy, France, issued a statement, via Facebook , in which they repudiated the promotion of "humanoid mummies", which he described as "archaeological disaster".

This image shows the grotesque changes in the feet and hands of the mummy María. Photos: Courtesy of Steve Mera.

Where did the mummies appear?

There is no archaeological context. The mummies appeared overnight in Palpa, from hands of Leandro Benedicto Rivera Sarmiento, alias "Mario" . "Mario" was arrested in 2007 for falsifying bills and gold, and in 2010 for being part of criminal band "The Palpeños of Ica" , which was trafficking of mummies and textiles from the Nazca culture. Currently the exact whereabouts of the mummies are unknown, only the promoters of the case have access to them. The reasons are obvious: a rigorous analysis of the mummies would mean the end of the circus.
 
It is worth mentioning that Jaime Maussan and the team of "promoters of the case" have been demonizing the Ministry of Culture and all the people who are against the "mummies of Nasca", accusing them of trying to hide the truth. And as if that was not enough, Jaime Maussan offers $ 40,000 reward to anyone who can "build" a similar mummy. This announcement was harshly criticized on social networks for being considered an open incitement to desecrating the Peruvian cultural heritage.
 

The help of the Congressman Armando Villanueva

Faced with so many signs of fraud, and despite there is an investigation opened by the Public Ministry at the request of the Ministry of Culture for the crime against archaeological monuments - an investigation strangely frozen in the Palpa prosecutor’s office for more than a year - the congressman Armando Villanueva, has been managing several activities in favor of the promoters of the hoax. In November of last year, the congressman told the Peruvian news magazine Hildebrandt en sus Trece that he made the necessary arrangements so that the ct-scans were made to all the mummies, using the most advanced tomographs of a Social Security hospital in Cusco.

The last weeks, the promoters of the case have been announcing, by Facebook, new investigations in the National University San Luis Gonzaga of Ica, fact that caused the indignation of the Center of Students of Archeology of this university, that issued a statement where it reproves "the action fraudulent against our heritage". The professors of the School of Archeology of the same university also showed their indignation and rejection through a letter addressed to the public opinion.

Again, the Congressman was managing, with Jaime Maussan, ufologists, the NGO Inkari, and professors from the university, the possibility that this university researches along "scientists" of Jaime Maussan and Inkari the "Nasca mummies "
 

Congressman Armando Villanueva next to Jaime Maussan and some ufologists, leading the meeting with professors of the San Luis Gonzaga University of Ica. Source: https://bit.ly/2DjHH2u

It is schocking that a congressman uses his position to manage the use of public resources on behalf of private interests in a case that is seriously damaging the image of our cultural heritage. But it is even more worrying, from the point of view of the cultural level of society in general, that this fraud has so much progress among public opinion. It is the Ministry of Culture that is in the eye of the storm, but the Ministry of Education should worry as well.


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