In an interview yesterday with Inverse to promote the upcoming Baltimore Alien Con, Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos … well, offered more of the same, actually. For someone who is supposedly an expert on … something … he is remarkably shallow in his interviews and rather repetitive in the potted anecdotes he parcels out. Perhaps it comes from too many years reciting prewritten lines for Ancient Aliens, or perhaps it reflects the dearth of originality behind the ancient astronaut theory. There were, however a few highlights worth mentioning.
Chapman University Finds Continued Growth in Paranormal Beliefs, Including Rising Support for Atlantis, Ancient Astronauts
Each year, Chapman University publishes its annual survey of American fears, and each year the results get worse. In the two metrics that I have monitored over the past three or four cycles, we have witnessed self-reported belief in ancient astronauts and lost Atlantis-like civilizations climb to record levels, among the highest rates of belief ever recorded. Belief in Atlantis became a majority belief last year, and it now stands at 57%, up from 55% last year. Belief in ancient astronauts rose from 35% to 41%, representing a plurality of respondents. (The remaining respondents either disbelieved or were unsure—the latter category not exactly being great for the side of science.)
Did something happen to the pseudo-archaeology and pseudo-history writers over the past few months? It seems that one by one, the lights have gone out, and there is increasingly less to write about their follies and fictions. I don’t mean to imply that there is no pseudo-history on offer—YouTube, Sputnik, and the British tabloids see to it that this is never the case—but the high-profile, quasi-professional material seems to be slipping into a fallow period. If I had to guess, I’d say that the current political situation is sucking all of the air out of the room and leaving no space for other topics to gain traction.
Giorgio Tsoukalos Likens the Ancient Astronaut Theory to an Unfinished Puzzle in New Newspaper Interview
Yesterday, the Philippines’ largest-circulation newspaper published an interview with Ancient Aliens star and co-executive producer Giorgio Tsoukalos. In the interview, Tsoukalos described Ancient Aliens as a “beautiful show” and encouraged the paper’s readers to watch it in order to learn about the world. To that end, he spoke about the criticism that the show has received and why he feels it is wrong. (I assume the spelling and grammar issues are due to the newspaper’s errors.)
George Knapp Claims Pentagon Fears Demons in Flying Saucers; Plus: New Russian Video Game about Egypt Markets to "Ancient Aliens" Crowd
Editor's Note: I am taking a couple of days off this week as summer winds down, fringe authors are enjoying their vacations, and blog readership is low. Enjoy this rerun of a piece, lightly adapted, that first ran in October 2012.
In the fall of 2012, I told you how Rod Serling became involved in ancient astronauts as his Night Gallery series was in the process of being cancelled. Serling’s producer for the In Search of Ancient Astronauts documentary that launched the ancient astronaut “theory” in the United States was Alan Landsburg, who turned his follow-up documentary, In Search of Ancient Mysteries, into a book of the same name. So why did Landsburg fail as an ancient astronaut theorist?
The Same Russian Troll Accounts Tweeting Election Propaganda Were Also Tweeting about UFOs and Ancient Mysteries
I’ve received quite a bit of criticism for my conclusion that the Russian government has purposely promoted UFO and ancient astronaut beliefs as part of their propaganda efforts aimed at destabilizing the West. As part of that campaign, Russian trolls and bots made more than one million tweets to influence the 2016 election. Twitter recently deleted those tweets in an effort to clean up its service, but NBC News published a spreadsheet containing 200,000 tweets from Russian propaganda accounts sent in 2016 and 2017. A significant, though not overlarge, number of Russian propaganda tweets were about UFOs, ancient astronauts, and ancient mysteries.
Here are a few representative samples of the Russian retweets. I have stripped them of the linked articles to avoid promoting bottom-feeding clickbait and propaganda sites.
Editor's Note: I am taking today off to work on projects other than my blog. Please enjoy a repeat of a classic blog post from my archive. This piece originally ran in July 2012.
In Twelfth Planet (1976), Zecharia Sitchin first proposed his theory that there was a wandering planet named Nibiru. He seems to have based this entirely on a pair of weird misconceptions. The first was the translation of the word nibir or nibiru, which meant either "wandering stars" or "planets," not "wandering planet." This is because the ancients did not understand that the planets were distinct in substance from the stars, only that they were lights in the sky like the stars but which moved differently (i.e. wandered). George Smith understood this distinction as far back as 1876 in his Chaldean Account of Genesis:
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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