History Channel Launches "Ancient Aliens" Companion Volume and Coloring Book; Plus: An Ancient Alien Coin?
Note: This post has been updated to include the solution to the alien coin mystery.
Regular readers will remember that last year the History Channel (or as it now bills itself “HISTORY™ network”) put out a children’s book to teach tweens about the ancient astronaut theory. This year, they’ve set their sights slightly higher. In partnership with HarperCollins, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., History is launching a companion book to the TV series Ancient Aliens, along with an adult coloring book of the same. The two volumes are scheduled for publication next month, in time for the lucrative holiday buying season.
The more interesting thing to note is that the ancient astronaut theorists who make up the Ancient Aliens crew couldn’t be bothered to contribute anything resembling scholarship to the volume that supposedly represents a flagship presentation of the ancient astronaut theory. Instead, the description states that the book is cobbled together from “in-depth interviews with [the show’s] most popular experts, specially selected by the show’s producers.” In other words, they seem to be saying that they built the book out of interviews they already had signed releases for, and the rest of the text, like the children’s book last year, was farmed out as work-for-hire.
You needn’t take my word for it. The book’s table of contents states explicitly that “the content of this work is derived in part from prior interviews with the named contributors to the Ancient Aliens® series.”
Each chapter of the book will cover one of the most frequent topics discussed on Ancient Aliens—Ezekiel’s vision, the pyramids, Puma Punku, Roswell, star gates, etc.—in the form of an interview with one “expert” per chapter: Erich von Däniken for Ezekiel, Giorgio Tsoukalos for the pyramids and Puma Punku, Linda Moulton Howe for Roswell, etc. This includes even the dead. Philip Coppens, who died four years ago, somehow contributes a chapter. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re just transcribing old interviews that you’ve already paid for.
The final thing to note is that the book doesn’t promise any new evidence or any new claims. The publishers seem to admit that the book is just a collection of recycled content and stock photos, packaged to exploit the show’s most loyal viewers, and the relatives who are looking for a Christmas gift.
This is pretty sad, considering that the children’s book version managed to have original (albeit false) content. After seven calendar years and eleven seasons on the air, you’d think that the show would have managed a book with more substance. On the other hand, even HarperCollins’s photograph of the book seems to be a computer-generated fake, and that seems just about right.
The less said about the coloring book, the better, but I would be remiss if I did not point out that the altered ancient images used within run the risk of misleading colorists into thinking that the original ancient art contains more explicit visions of space vehicles and aliens than they really do.
But before I conclude today, I wanted to point out a somewhat ridiculous claim that has been going around the internet the past week or so. Recently, websites have been posting pictures of what they claim is an ancient coin from Egypt depicting a space alien, and the claims filtered up to newspapers like Britain’s Sun. The image, which has been online for at least four years, is suspect for many reasons, including the fact that most ancient coins did not (and could not) depict their subjects in three-quarter profile. The inscription, which seems to be in Greek, is not cast in the ancient Greek style but looks later. The coin appears to have been altered, though I am not familiar with the underlying coin (or medallion, or token). I’m not even sure that there is a real and altered coin; a computer could have drawn the alien head onto a coin, accounting for the soft, brush-like strokes of the “face.”
I am amazed, however, that all of the advocates who claimed that the coin was real did not attempt to confirm this by reading the inscription on the coin. Surely this would give an indication of where the coin came from.
Update: My amazing readers, especially Ralf Buelow, solved the mystery of the alien coin in just minutes! The inscription on the coin reads BIΘΥΝΙΕΩΝ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΩΝ and the original coin was issued by Hadrian to commemorate his passage through Bithynia. The original coin featured the image of his lover, Antinous. The fake coin was computer generated from this real one, in fact, from this very photograph of it:
It is astonishing that my readers were able to find in minutes what fringe historians and even journalists could not uncover in four years.
10/19/2016 11:08:50 am
There's nothing wrong with this sort of thing. After all. "Argonautica" by Apollodorus has been available for centuries and that's fantasy dressed-up as history. Without having to mention more controversial examples.
10/19/2016 11:22:53 am
It says "Alien Con MCXLII" It is written in SnarxDom - sort of an early version of a made-up pop language not unlike today's Klingon. It was a huge fad (mostly among Greco-Roman nerds) back around the turn of the (first) century.
10/19/2016 11:28:40 am
Make that the first millenium, not century.
10/19/2016 11:28:00 am
Hi Jason -
10/19/2016 11:42:57 am
"Argonautica" is not fringe...
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
10/19/2016 08:50:38 pm
No, but it is one of Jason's interests, given that he wrote an entire book on the myth of the Argonauts.
10/21/2016 09:30:18 am
That is "myths" of the Argonauts, in the plural, and perhaps AI could be used to sort them out..
10/19/2016 11:45:13 am
If this is not just a CG image, this looks more like a medallion, or more likely a seal for wax, photographed from above. The alien appears to have begun as a female, the "swan" neck and the flow of the robe also tends towards this. The both the inscription and the alien also show very little sign of wear.
10/19/2016 12:00:40 pm
This is the coin the "alien" was added to: http://www.antinopolis.org/gallery/icons/antinouscoin1.jpg Additional information: http://www.antinopolis.org/gallery/icons/coins.html
10/19/2016 12:36:22 pm
Found it, thank you.
10/19/2016 01:37:31 pm
Thank you so much, Ralf!
10/19/2016 01:05:27 pm
I believe he Greek on the outside of the coin says BIΘΥΝΙΕΩΝ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΩΝ commemorating the travels of the Emperor Hadrian to the province of Bithynia.
10/19/2016 01:14:23 pm
The link above indicates the face is that of Antinous, Hadrian's lover, so that makes sense.
10/19/2016 01:15:16 pm
On the original unedited coin, that is.
10/19/2016 01:17:42 pm
Ah! I misread the alpha as a lambda in Hadrian and couldn't make sense of the word.
10/19/2016 01:20:53 pm
It seems your expectations for a "companion book" to a television series are higher than mine. I consider this a collectible volume for fans of the show, a synopsis of what has aired *only* on the show, not a textbook for any external body of scholarship for the AA Theory. I would not expect any new information, insights, interviews, or anything which could become content for a future episode of the show. If you compare it to the extras which come on a DVD of any TV show, you wouldn't expect unaired plot lines, but might treasure a record of the late Mr.Coppens' words.
10/19/2016 01:45:16 pm
For you, K.DeFlane...
10/19/2016 04:08:48 pm
That's no alien, that's the Red Skull. Damn, Kang the Conquerer is being funny again.
10/19/2016 05:12:02 pm
Blogs like this don't achieve anything - even if they were rationalist blogs
An Over-Educated Grunt
10/19/2016 05:34:40 pm
Then why do you read, and once read, comment?
10/19/2016 05:45:38 pm
Because I like to gloat
10/19/2016 09:33:58 pm
Just because you are impervious to logic and reason doesn't mean everyone else is.
An Over-Educated Grunt
10/20/2016 06:25:26 pm
So you enjoy doing things that you feel are a waste of your time. Got it.
10/20/2016 02:04:37 pm
Nice to know Alien Con is still a thing. "Alien Convention" started with all that Streiber stuff, and some others, in the early 1990s. I went to one in the mid 1990s. It was hilarious how completely committed they were to aliens having probed them or something. The only commitment they likely needed was the then closed down local funny farm. It was still interesting meeting the guy who did Communion, but I don't think he made coins. That's interesting. Must be a later thing from the early 2000s, like some of you said. Alien Con is still around in some form.
10/26/2016 03:40:19 am
Hello Jason & All,
11/24/2016 12:28:52 pm
Thanks for the post. There isn't actually too much info on the book out there. Free advertising....I said it before, and I'll say it again. Are you sure you don't secretly work to put more information out there on the subject, just to get more people interested? Free advertising my friend. Take away your personal views and it sounds like a good book, a companion of sorts. As in the title, something you can hold and reference to, while watching the show.....And I didn't even know they made a children's book but I do now, thanks to you, and I have children and Christmas is coming up. Well that completes that list. Thanks for the valuable information that I was able to take away from your post.
4/7/2017 12:44:36 pm
I am the one who photoshopped the "alien coin". It was done for a photoshop contest at the now defunct Worth 1000 under the name of Kryptomaniacle. Worth 1000 has since become Design Crowd, and they show my entry here: http://www.designcrowd.com/design/8862756
4/8/2017 11:37:20 pm
Here is the video exposing the alien coin: https://youtu.be/eWiNZ1uW7jo
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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