You might remember the whole controversial documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” by James Cameron which was based on a book co-authored by Dr. Charles Pellegrino. The book and documentary strongly stated that a tomb discovered in Jerusalem contained the bodily remains of Jesus and possible family members including possibly Mary Magdalene.
Their evidence pretty much amounted to: “It Said Jesus on it so we kinda figured it was THE Jesus.” The problem was that Jesus was a pretty popular name back then in Israel. In fact, I’d bet there were more Jesus’ in Israel than there are Jesus’ playing shortstop in AAA baseball right now. But the book and it’s associated documentary is now infamous for all sorts of guesswork masquerading as fact. But that didn’t stop it from being hailed as an important new work when it came out.
There was a big hubbub and the Discovery Channel hyped it and had the class to show it with much fanfare right before Holy Week more often than TNT runs “A Christmas Story” in December.
Well it turns out that Dr. Charles Pellegrino, the co-author of the book, may not be completely wedded to facts. You’re shocked, I know. Take a breath.
Firstly, Doctor Pellegrino may be pulling at George O’ Leary and might not actually be a doctor at all as Victoria University is saying they have no evidence of such a degree. And now (formerly Doctor but now just plain old Mr.) Pellegrino is getting in a bit of hot water for playing it fast and loose with facts in his newest “non-fiction” book about Hiroshima. In fact, it turns out that the non-fiction book might be kinda…well…fictional. As in made up.
The AP reports:
Charles Pellegrino’s “The Last Train from Hiroshima” had received strong reviews and had been optioned for a possible film by “Avatar” director James Cameron. But publisher Henry Holt and Company, responding to questions from the AP, said Monday that Pellegrino “was not able to answer” several concerns, including whether two men mentioned in the text actually existed…
Doubts were first raised about the book a week ago after Pellegrino acknowledged that one of his interview subjects had falsely claimed to be on one of the planes accompanying the Enola Gay, from which an atom bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945. Holt had initially promised to send a corrected edition.
But further doubts about the book emerged. The publisher was unable to determine the existence of a Father Mattias (the first name is not given) who supposedly lived in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, and John MacQuitty, identified as a Jesuit scholar presiding over Mattias’ funeral.
“I read a number of books on this period of time and none of them mentioned Mattias or MacQuitty. I knew there was no way those people could have been omitted if they were real,” said history professor Barton Bernstein of Stanford University.
Note to publishers. When your non-fiction author pushes characters on you that only have one name and it’s not in a book entitled “Charo – The Rise and Fall of Coochie Coo” that may be a red flag to spread a little green around for fact checking.
Things have gotten so bad for (formerly Doctor but now just plain old Mr.) Pellegrino that the publisher of the book has halted publication. Hey, maybe because of the controversy the Discovery Channel will question the legitimacy of the “non-fiction” scholarship in “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” and maybe they won’t show it every Easter ad infinitum. Yeah, I doubt it too.