“What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” That was the nonsensical question that a mugger asked former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather back in the 1980s. Before that, hippies asked about the “vibe” and the Beach Boys sang about “Good Vibrations.” For a long time now there has been a New Age belief that vibrations and electromagnetic frequencies have a secret occult meaning connected to the underlying architecture of the universe. Without getting into unnecessary detail, the modern version seems to be a sort of marriage between modern scientific notions of the constant state of movement of subatomic particles with the ancient idea of the music of the spheres, the resonance through which the cosmos produced mathematical harmony, just as a vibrating string produces a note.
Ancient Aliens offered its own discordant hour of musical meltdown in an episode, “The Alien Frequency,” devoted to the “discovery” that monuments around the world all vibrate to the same imaginary frequency, a signal that they attribute to the operation of space aliens.
My son was none too happy trying to sleep last night, and so my review probably has extra typos this week because of my tired eyes. I am sure I probably missed a few crazy claims as well. Oh well. This week’s episode of Ancient Aliens, “City of the Gods,” is devoted to the city of Teotihuacan, which is not terribly original of them since they have been claiming the city to be evidence of alien involvement since the first season of the show. On the other hand, we had a Maya specialist and a (sort of) UCLA physicist on to trade their intellectual credibility for TV air time.
Before I begin today, I have an announcement: This past week, I welcomed into the world my son, and it has been an exciting and hectic time for everyone! He is a healthy and active newborn, and he weighed in at almost 10 pounds, which was quite a surprise, and as you can imagine, it has been a bit of a transition. As a result of my new arrival, I will no longer be able to review Ancient Aliens episodes in real time as they air. Depending on the baby’s schedule, I will try to fit it in sometime over the weekend, but I can’t guarantee it. Over the next few weeks, you will see the number of blog posts decrease while I take some much-deserved paternity leave, and also because I don’t think I can write on zero sleep.
Now, on to today’s discussion of the American Heroes Channel’s efforts to compete with Ancient Aliens.
L. A. Marzulli Weighs in on "Ancient Aliens" Elongated Skull DNA Test; Plus: Scott Wolter to Investigate Claims of Templars in New Mexico
On Monday L. A. Marzulli weighed in on last week’s Ancient Aliens, in which an elongated skull allegedly from pre-Contact Peru was said to contain DNA that most closely matched a Scottish person. Marzulli, who has chosen to match Ancient Aliens’ turn toward creationism with an embrace of the popular History Channel show, crowed that these results were consistent with his own DNA test on a different skull last year that found European and Middle Eastern DNA in the skull. He also said that the two skulls both show a lack of a sagittal suture, making them potential Nephilim corpses. However, Marzulli claims that all of this proves that the Nephilim emigrated from Israel after the Flood. He added, apropos of nothing, that Cahokia, the greatest Mississippian city, was not built by Native Americans but rather is thousands of years old, not hundreds, and was built by Nephilim using “Fallen Angel technology.”
Ancient Aliens had been getting more aggressive this season in terms of positioning itself as the honest broker in a world of conspiring elites. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the show attack the British and American governments, Egyptologists, and archaeologists, accusing them all of engaging in various conspiracies and cover-ups to prevent Ancient Aliens viewers from learning the truth about aliens. This week, they take their aggressiveness a step further by devoting an episode to claims put forward by scientists that have not achieved general acceptance. These the claims that two decades ago were filed under the rubric of Cremo’s Forbidden Archaeology or the goofily names OOPARTS (out of place artifacts). Many such data points have been covered before under the mantle of the subjects they apply to, but gathered together they are essentially meant to indict modern science for rejecting the ancient astronaut theory. But on closer examination, we see that this was the week that Ancient Aliens made common cause with Biblical creationists and joined forces with religious anti-science zealots in pursuit of fruitless mysteries. As I watched segment after segment ripped from creationists books and websites, I realized someone must have recognized that aliens and Nephilim are more similar than they are different, and thus Ancient Aliens became another arrow in the quiver of creationism. The show’s subtext of taking religious mythology literally had finally become outright creationist text.
Billionaire aerospace and Budget Suites magnate Robert Bigelow announced his belief that Earth currently is home to space aliens who have infiltrated our planet, and he claimed to have spent more money than any other private individual investigating UFOs. When CBS’s Lara Logan asked him if he was worried about being labeled crazy, he replied “It’s not gonna make a difference. It’s not gonna change the reality of what I know.” Oddly, despite all of the resources he had devoted to finding space aliens here on Earth and in space, he somehow had no proof. [Update: According to Skeptical Inquirer, Bigelow has been funding MUFON UFO research, and he told Coast to Coast years ago that he hoped to imitate UFO propulsion systems in his own spacecraft.]
Last year I investigated the secret origins of the so-called “Curse of the Pharaohs.” It is always disheartening to see a mystery one has solved turned into a zany romp on Ancient Aliens, but because this particular mystery is so close to my heart, tying in with projects to which I have devoted countless hours, I can’t help but feel particularly upset by the stupid, stupid, stupid bastardization of a very complicated story into the ridiculous claim that aliens were responsible for the curse.
"Contact in the Desert" Happened Again; Plus: Another Celebrity Pledges Allegiance to "Ancient Aliens"
This week on Twitter former television personality Scott Wolter announced that he had recorded interviews for an upcoming Science Channel documentary, but he could not say whether the network planned to use them. If they do make it to air, he would appear on the network sometime in the fall, just about two years after his last television series came to an ignominious end.
Las Vegas-based journalist George Knapp, who specializes in UFO coverage, interviewed ex-Blink-182 member Tom DeLonge about UFO disclosure, and in fluffing DeLonge with fawning praise, Knapp revealed that DeLonge has once again reframed his claims about the upcoming UFO disclosure announcement he promised months ago and has yet to deliver. That announcement, postponed first to June and now to “later this summer,” has also subtly changed in content as well. Once upon a time, DeLonge was promising a major UFO revelation that would change the nature of disclosure. Now he tells Knapp that he concedes that there will never be formal government disclosure of UFO information (“There will never be congressional hearings on this. I understand and accept that…”). Instead, his major announcement is actually going to be … wait for it … “some sort of announcement about his business plans.” Talk about lowering expectations!
The Mutual UFO Network found itself in a PR nightmare after its Pennsylvania director, John Ventre, went on a racist tirade on Facebook. Ventre, who appeared as the face of MUFON on H2’s Hangar 1: The UFO Files and was a featured speaker on an “Ancient Mysteries” cruise, denounced so-called anti-white bias and expressed his belief that “everything this world is was created by Europeans and Americans. F’ing blacks didn’t even have a calendar, a wheel or a numbering system until the Brits showed up.” He then asked readers to research the racial inferiority of Blacks in terms of IQ and violent tendencies. MUFON’s executive director acknowledged the situation with a weasel-like statement that minimized Ventre’s role in the organization, calling him a mere “volunteer,” and asking whether the “haters hating” are in fact worse than Ventre expressing white supremacist views. The fact of the matter is that white supremacy is so deeply enmeshed in ancient astronaut and other conspiracy theory claims that it is wholly unsurprising that in a moment of unintentional honesty a MUFON official would express it openly.
This is as good a transition as any to the subtler racism of Ancient Aliens, where the original claim that black and brown peoples couldn’t build their ancient wonders has been mitigated with claims that white people without alien hybridization couldn’t either. The current episode, “The Alien Architects,” attributes various ancient wonders to space aliens and continues the long and sad history of trying to deny that ancient people, predominantly (but today not exclusively) brown ones, were capable of producing the architectural feats associated with them.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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