The History Channel is building a record for spreading bogus history.
In their former program American Experience about Jesse James, they falsely linked Jesse to the Ku Klux Klan. Worse yet, they put that false information in the materials they distribute to schools to be used with schoolchildren in history classes.
Now comes their production Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure. Also comes more bogus history.
The fake history starts with the opening lines, which claim Jesse stole $5 million. Detailed analysis by reputable historians account a total under $250,000.
From this point on, the History Channel falls off the foundation of factual history into the fantasy lives of treasure hunter Ron Pastore, and Hollywood hopeful Ralph Ganis, who represents himself as an historian.
Pastore’s record of treasure hunting includes digging up a deceased individual to prove he is the real Jesse James, grabbing the deceased’s dna to no avail, and operating a small town museum filled with fake artifacts, that his Oklahoma neighbors ruefully call his “fifteen minutes of fame.”
Ganis is a former career Air Force serviceman, with a claimed service record that doesn’t jibe with Air Force verifications. He was a mercenary in the unjustified Iraq War. He, too, has put fake and questionable artifacts in museums. Now, Ganis hopes to cut a swath in Hollywood as a Jesse James authority, based on two books he’s self published that are debunked by professional historians.
Pastore and Ganis are made for one another. Hardly a line in the History Channel script doesn’t begin with the phrase “Pastore believes…” The books by Ganis are filled with phrases like “It is believed…” and “It is possible…” To these two, facts are irrelevant. Truth requires no logic, nor explanation. Just take their word for it.
For all that Pastore and Ganis present, everything is secret, or a former secret, apparently known only to them. Astoundingly, all of the secrets they know have eluded the most intense scrutiny and investigation by professional investigators, criminologists, forensic scientists, historians, writers, and educators, for over 125 years.
Once more, Ganis introduces his fantasy of Jesse being part of the KKK. But no explanation follows. Just like Pastore, who doesn’t explain his fantasy of why Jesse hides treasure in Kansas, or why and how Jesse buried and hid gold coins in jars manufactured after 1910, thirty years after Jesse died. Logic? They don’t need no stinkin’ logic!
The failures and inconsistencies in the multiple fantasies of Pastore and Ganis are cumulative and monumental, if not pathetically pathological. Their script is expected to be debunked, dismantled and de-constructed, line by line, in a different kind of forum, yet to come.
When the message is so bad, the usual caveat warns against shooting the messenger. In this case. the lie that is being put to factual history is so egregious that The History Channel well deserves to be shot, as do their guns for hire.
DOWNLOAD a .pdf transcript of the program
Techniques of Jesse James Con Artists