Good news, everyone! Robert Bauval, the purveyor of The Orion Mystery, has finally admitted to being an ancient astronaut theorist. I’ve suspected this for decades, ever since Bauval admitted in The Orion Mystery that his inspiration for the book was the ancient astronaut speculation of Robert Temple. His frequent appearances on Ancient Aliens were also a strong hint. But Bauval has long pretended to be interested only in Graham Hancock’s lost civilization. However, in December he will release a new book with panspermia advocate Chandra Wickramasinghe called Cosmic Womb: The Seeding of Planet Earth (Bear & Company, 2017) in which Bauval and Wickramasinghe argue that Earth life was purposely seeded from the stars by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization and that ancient people were aware of this fact. This is an early review of the forthcoming book courtesy of galley proofs made available by the publisher
Tonight’s episode, “A Spaceship Made of Stone,” focuses on the Ishi-no-Hōden (“Stone Treasure-House”) megalith in Japan, a large roughly cubic rock carved out of the side of a hill between 500 and 700 CE, and it is said to hold the spirit of the deity of the Jinja Shinto shrine in which it sits. It weighs about 500 tons, and its most impressive feature is the clever way its base was carved into a narrow pedestal to give the illusion that it floats above the water atop which it sits. The monument has been known to the West since at least 1832, when Philipp Franz von Siebold, a German who disguised himself as a Dutchman in order to sneak into an isolationist Japan, published a picture of it in the first volume of his Nippon. The monolith appears on tonight’s show because last year, when the current batch of episodes was being planned out, an article and video about the cube made the rounds of the fringe history message boards and spam sites, where Ancient Aliens gets all its ideas.
"The Atlantic" Chronicles American Unreason, Including Ancient Astronauts; Plus: "The Week" Condemns Americans for Eschewing "Realist Fiction"
I want to start by pointing to an excellent article by Kurt Andersen in the forthcoming edition of the Atlantic in which he traces the roots of American irrationalism back to the founding era, placing blame for our current explosion of insanity on the 1960s and the rise of the counterculture and postmodernism. It’s not entirely that simple—the weakening of elite institutions as part of a general hollowing out of civic culture in the name of capitalist profit plays a role too—but overall he is quite right. For our purposes, this paragraph is probably the most important, tracing the rise of conspiracy and even Trump to the forces unleashed by the spread of the darkest forms of UFO belief:
It’s been a good ten seasons since Ancient Aliens had an original idea, so it goes without saying that we’ve heard much of the material in tonight’s episode before. In this episode, the show is looking to go beyond its typical claim that humans were genetically engineered by aliens to extend the aliens’ plans to animals. We’ve seen elements of this in the past, from the time when Giorgio Tsoukalos alleged that space aliens made a peace treaty with coelacanths to protect them from a dinosaur-killing asteroid to the time that the show claimed that Bigfoot arrived on Earth in a flying saucer. But the real purpose of this episode is to cast doubt on evolutionary theory, a disturbingly common theme that the show has been pushing since its decision to adopt creationist claims and rhetoric.
Congressman Asks NASA Panel about Ancient Martian Civilization; Plus: Creationists Chide Flat-Earthers for Taking the Wrong Parts of the Bible Literally
In Congress, another depressing scene took place yesterday when Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) stopped a House Science Committee hearing cold by asking a NASA representative if Mars had an ancient alien civilization. Rohrabacher seemed to think that Mars was capable of supporting humanlike life within the past few thousand years (i.e. during the “ancient astronaut” timeframe) and at one point started to speak of “some people” who believed in a lost Martian civilization, but the NASA representative cut him off before he could offer a complete thought allowing us to judge how deep Rohrabacher’s involvement with the ancient astronaut theory really goes.
Wednesday Roundup: History Channel "Investigating" "Earhart" Photo; Plus: Gaia Claims New Alien Mummies and Marzulli Claims Demons Pretend to Be the Virgin Mary
According to a new poll from Pew Research, a clear majority of Republicans, 58%, now view higher education as bad for America. While the poll did not distinguish between Republicans who view education itself as bad and those who are angry at colleges and universities for being too “liberal” and therefore bad, the results are overall disturbing for anyone who cares about education and scholarship.
You probably saw the bizarre story this week, ably reported by Sharon Hill at Doubtful News, that the mummy of a space alien had been found in Peru. At first glance, the supposed extraterrestrial corpse looks more like a fake badly sculpted in plaster. However, I am more interested in the story behind the claim, notably the involvement of frequent hoaxer Jaime Maussan, who was involved in last year’s demon fairy hoax with L. A. Marzulli as well as the Roswell Slides fraud. The supposed discovery of the mummy was announced on none other than Gaia TV, the former on-demand yoga channel that now plays host to vanity projects from several of the Ancient Aliens talking heads as part of a corporate effort to be a subscription service for ancient astronaut believers, a strategy tied to its founder’s longstanding obsession with ancient astronauts.
Former Ancient Aliens talking head and self-described psychic Sean David Morton is today a fugitive from justice after he failed to show up for his sentencing for tax fraud. A judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Yesterday Ancient Origins published a new article by Ryan Stone claiming that “recently” scientists have begun to examine Flavius Josephus’ The Wars of the Jews for evidence of flying saucers. That claims sounded familiar, and it took only a few seconds to discover that Stone was baldly summarizing a 2007 article that had already appeared on Ancient Aliens and claiming the resulting paraphrase as new work. Maybe I’m just getting tired of the low quality of ancient astronaut material, but it’s really starting to annoy me how much material is simply copies of copies of copies.
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.
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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