I used to wonder whether Prometheus Entertainment would try to enforce its trademark on the name Ancient Aliens, but it seems increasingly clear that they have never tried. Ancient Aliens guest Mike Bara has a line of Ancient Aliens on… books that are not endorsed by the company and continue to come out even when he’s working for competing TV shows. And Bruce Fenton published Ancient Aliens in Australia, whose cover apes the TV show’s title card in design and color scheme. If I were an attorney, I’d probably start suggesting that the term “Ancient Aliens” has become a generic synonym for ancient astronauts.
The Science Channel’s Unexplained Files paid Fenton to travel to Georgia to look for a lost race of pre-Flood giants for an episode to air sometime this season. Even though the format of each episode follows an expert investigator in exploring a mystery, Fenton denies being an expert on any subject other than the paranormal.
Fenton’s many claims run the gamut from unsupported to illogical, but that isn’t what interests me today. In an interview with the Altsider radio show transcribed on the Message to Eagle website, Fenton gives fascinating details about the way his interest in conspiracies rapidly grew into an all-encompassing paranoia about the hidden role of international financiers in controlling the strings of the world.
His story starts off almost identically to my own encounters with the unexplained, and the resemblance is startling:
…from the age of about 10-11 I took an interest in ancient mysteries and I covered, I would say, a high range from the pyramids to the crystal skulls and the Loch Ness monster, you know – pretty much anything a bit strange in Earth’s history I became sort of fascinated with and then when I hit 15 I started to have spontaneous psychic experiences in the form of telepathy. That led me on into an interesting psychism and the paranormal and the parapsychology, because I was personally experiencing it so I knew that there was a reality that we had not been taught about that was just as valid as the one that we had so I began to also study the paranormal and the occult as well as these other ancient mysteries.
For me, my first contact with the world of the strange came from television. In countless hours spent watching the Discovery Channel and A&E, I had encountered this strange idea of prehistoric visitation buried in the sensational documentaries that I could not have then known were less than faithful to facts. […] I believed whole-heartedly in the theory of ancient visitors, convinced that the powers that be were concealing a fabulous past from me. I wanted to believe and I needed to believe.
Fenton’s path and my own diverged markedly during our college years. Fenton maintained an active interest in the paranormal and in paranoia, which he considered a separate track that he kept isolated from first his schooling and then his career in finance, writing of “my passion and my job. The two have been fairly separate.” When I started college, I, too, had kept my interest in fringe history and unexplained mysteries separate from my degree path in journalism, but as I wrote in Cult of Alien Gods, I had always been plagued by doubt. Fenton is four years older than I, and for him fringe claims are a spectrum of far-out ideas basking the haze of the New Age. For me, though, these claims were not a spectrum of mutual support but were competing explanations that contradicted each other, most notably in the fact that Graham Hancock’s lost civilization theory explained differently the same evidence Erich von Däniken used to support ancient astronauts. Both could not be true, so was either?
While Fenton chose not to explore his “passion” academically, I did. In college I added an anthropology major to my degree and systematically explored the evidence for fringe history and ancient astronauts. The house of cards would not stand. I read Walter van Beek’s classic article in which he visited the Dogon and concluded that the so-called Sirius Mystery did not exist. Mountains of fringe history began to fall—including those explicitly drawing on Robert Temple’s claims from Sirius, especially Robert Bauval, who cited Temple as his inspiration, and Graham Hancock, who built on Bauval.
With that, I had to sadly conclude that I had been deceived. Even though I loved these books, I knew they were not true. Sure, there were anomalies worthy of investigation and even a possibility that somewhere in the distant past there was some sort of link between cultures or even a vanished civilization, but this evidence that these authors presented was not the answer. I had hoped that it was true; I had wanted it to be true. But I could not prove it, and neither could they.
Yes, it used to be quite funny and I would tell other members of the team about the paranormal and it began to become more and more a part of my day-to-day life and it was incorporated into that finance world and really the issue came with that when I really started to look more at the conspiracies that had to do with banking and finance themselves.
So what accounts for the difference?
Fenton describes himself in terms that in previous investigations of other claimants skeptical investigator Joe Nickell has identified as a “fantasy-prone personality.” He believes, for example, that he experiences spontaneous astral time travel, what the rest of us might term dreams or daydreams. Here’s one he claims to have had in 2002:
I had a spontaneous mystical experience when I was online talking to somebody in a chatroom and the next thing I would literally be out of my body, flying over a jungle, seeing towards a stepped Mayan temple, a pyramid.
In other instances, Fenton claims to have experienced strong feelings to travel to the sites featured on Ancient Aliens (and in most fringe mystery literature), particularly Giza and Angkor Wat, in order to see the remnants of what he calls the “Mu culture” that preceded Atlantis. He claims after 2012 to have had “shamanic” experiences communicating via a medium with a race of blue-skinned aliens in white jumpsuits, the Pleiadians—and because these Na’vi, er, Pleiadians—are seven-foot-tall giants, he became convinced that the Nephilim-Giants must also be real. He gleaned this information from his wife, who claimed to engaging in "trans-mediumship" with Lord Pacal of Palenque. Why him? Oh, right: He’s the “rocket man” whose coffin lid Erich von Däniken claimed represented a spaceship.
We should be worried, Fenton says, because “there is (sic) a lot of Pleiadian children that are looking to incarnate onto the Earth plane.”
It gets worse. He and his medium wife have had still more experiences: “We started seeing a Gray in the house so we have had interrelated experiences with other beings if you like.” He also says that while high on drugs during a shamanic ceremony he had a past life regression and realized he is the reincarnation of a space alien who came to earth in the distant past. He claims, from information gleaned from an Australian woman with similar visions, that his ancient alien self was involved in a Reptilian ambush, and in the interview states that most aliens died in the attack. In the comments below, Fenton specifies that "I did not say I died in the Reptilian ambush. In the experience the mother ship was destroyed but I was piloting a smaller ship towards Earth."
I don’t like to speculate about what goes on in other people’s heads, since an individual’s internal world belongs only to him—Graham Hancock has similarly claimed to battle invisible monsters, but when he’s high on drugs. I do draw the line when others try to tell me that a person’s internal universe should be mine, too. I am appalled that the Science Channel is giving air time—and paying!—a man who claims to have a Grey alien in his house and to hold séances with blue aliens to “investigate” Reptilian conspiracies. Regardless of what you think of Fenton’s mental universe, giving him air time and claiming him as an expert on the reality we share in the physical world is grossly irresponsible. The Science Channel’s Unexplained Files simply must—though I know they won’t from their failure to disclose past guests’ credibility problems—disclose that Fenton believes he is a psychic time traveler with an occasional Grey alien houseguest. To do anything less is to deceive the audience.
I say this, too, as someone who is supposed to be working with the Science Channel’s sister station American Heroes Channel this month for a different series, Codes and Conspiracies, knowing full well that criticizing the mother ship probably won’t go down well.