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The Daily Grail - Science, Magic, Myth, History

The Daily Grail Turns 25

On August 30, 1998 – with little idea of what it would lead to – I made the first update to The Daily Grail. The site has since run largely uninterrupted, posting almost daily updates, for 25 years.

First post on the Grail, August 30 1998.

For those who haven’t run a website, it’s hard to describe the amount of effort and sacrifice required to post daily updates for that amount of time (along with all the other administrative duties required, from paying bills to answering emails and posting updates on the plethora of social media sites) – especially when it does not actually provide a wage to cover the time involved. There are very few websites existing today that were around in 1998, let alone independently run websites without the resources of big media companies backing them. I’ve seen a lot of websites come and go in an initial flurry of excitement and enthusiasm before inevitably shutting down when the cold realities of web publishing hit. Those that are still around can testify to what a milestone 25 years is in this industry.

Younger readers would probably not even ‘get’ the early versions of the Grail. There was no social media, so we kind of served that purpose, getting news and interesting links out to a community interested in these topics. Hell, there wasn’t even such a thing as a CMS back then – every single update to the website had to be created in a text editor on our home computer and added to a static duplicate of the webpage, which was then uploaded to the server via FTP and then copied over the top of the existing page. Updates were done late at night, and often into the early hours of the morning after midnight. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – here I am tonight, after a solid day of work doing my ‘real job’ that actually pays the bills, busy writing a story as midnight approaches, trying to publish it before the day runs out.

Looking back after 25 years I’m immensely proud of what I’ve achieved, and even moreso that we have stuck true to our mission, and our morals, for that entire time, despite the never-ending challenges related to time and financial resources: to provide a service to the community on topics that are at the fringes of science and history, and to educate and entertain without selling either ourselves, or our audience, out.

In an age flooded with ‘influencers’ seeking fame or fortune and growing their audience at any cost – from dishonest stunts to manipulating their followers with all the tricks of modern marketing – the Grail remains a website that chews through readership due to our lack of care about their BS (belief systems), and our core mission which is simply to share new discoveries (and possible discoveries) and seek after truth – all while maintaining appropriate levels of skepticism. If you are precious at all about a particular piece of scientific or historical knowledge, you have probably taken issue at some point with one of our stories or links. Think UFOs are bunk? You probably think we’ve posted too many UFO stories. Think UFOs are alien craft? You’ve probably been offended too by our skepticism.

That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Far too many online sources play to their audience, creating tribalism in order to ensure their popularity/income. It’s easy, and it’s a large part of the reason that the internet is currently unspooling into isolated pockets of outrage and hate. Instead, we try to serve the truth (as best we can manage), and make sure we are honest with our audience about the limits of our knowledge. I’m not sure if it is slowly pushing the Grail into irrelevance in a modern internet age where it’s all about style over substance, but hey…it’s what we do, and we’re going to continue doing it.

So if you are still here as a long-time reader, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing that there are people out there who are strong enough to chase after the truth, rather than simply have their BS affirmed. And you probably have a fair amount of patience, and a rocking sense of humour, to put up with those challenges to your BS (we all have our own BS…it’s a matter of how much you let it rule you, rather than just using it as a malleable worldview that you are able to modify as needed.)

The site is also not still here just because of my efforts. Over the years there have been a large number of volunteers and ‘Grail knights’ who believed in the site, and devoted untold hours of their own time to helping out simply out of the goodness of their own hearts (especially Miguel/Red Pill Junkie, who has done a mountain of work on the Grail, is still contributing), and without whom this site would not have reached the 25 year mark. They kept the site running at times I couldn’t, kept me sane, provided valuable feedback, and they deserve all the thanks in the world for their invaluable contributions to the Grail as it continues onwards.

The Grail’s first ever logo, designed by me (very badly) using Gimp.

Thanks also to the many people who have helped by linking to us, and spreading the word to their own friends/family/audiences. Special shout-outs (but certainly not limited to) The Anomalist, Graham Hancock, Blair MacKenzie Blake and Tool, and David Pescovitz at Boing Boing, who have for many, many years not only generously preached the Grail gospel to their own substantial audiences, but also provided assistance and support in many other ways.

And thanks too for those who have provided backing: the site would also not be still running if it wasn’t for our ‘voluntary subscribers’: those people who have sent funds via PayPal, or via a monthly Patreon subscription, to allow us to cover our monthly server bills and other expenses. My deep appreciation goes out to you all as true friends of the Grail. Your generous contributions help maintain the site as a free resource for thousands of daily readers – and that hopefully provides an honest and truthful perspective on these topics to them that is not offered in many other places these days.

Finally, thanks to my family. This site started before I was married, and before I had children (my oldest daughter coincidentally also turns 22 today). My daily workload on the Grail has cost them quite a bit of one-on-one time with me (and a lot of lost income) over the years, so I apologise to them for that, and offer my deep appreication for their patience and support. Much love to Tonita, Isis, Phoenix and Maya.

Thanks all, and happy birthday to the Grail!

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