Peter Levenda Attacks "Ancient Aliens" in "Rolling Stone" without Actually Watching "Ancient Aliens"
Last week I complained that I was getting tired of material that pretended to be new but was really recycled. It happened again this week. The Daily Mail breathlessly reported that a YouTube channel called SecureTeam10 posted a “new” video about the so-called Roswell Rock, which you will remember from its appearance on Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens several years ago. The video turns out to be mostly a summary of the Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens episodes, with worse visuals and worse voice over. The video doesn’t bother to even add new claims to those of the earlier shows.
The fact that the Daily Mail even noticed that Tsoukalos had previously done a show on the stone but didn’t actually watch it to see what was lifted from it is rather depressing, not least because the Mail happily lifted from it, too, for their article.
This sort of daisy chain of repetition and ignorance is annoying when it comes from amateurs and click-bait journalists, but it is downright obnoxious coming from so-called professionals in the field of ufology and ancient astronautics. Tom DeLonge and Peter Levenda decided to opine on the subject again to promote their book Sekret Machines: Gods, this time in Rolling Stone, and they repeated their own ignorance for a mass audience, recycling a debunked assertion that they have an approach to ancient astronautics ignored by Ancient Aliens.
Now, to start with, I am annoyed that Rolling Stone writer Elisabeth Garber-Paul purposely conflated the scientific conclusion that extraterrestrial life is likely on other planets with the fringe claim that said life likely or even definitely arrived here on the Earth, something that seems statistically improbable given the size of the universe. It’s kind of important to note the distinction between the probability that extraterrestrial life exists and the probability that it visited the Earth in historic times.
Anyway, Levenda continued his ignorant claim that he and DeLonge are forging new ground untrammeled by the ancient astronaut theorists of Ancient Aliens:
But, as the authors point out, they're not claiming that everything you've seen on shows like Ancient Aliens is real. "Humans are responsible for building the pyramids, for instance," says Levanda. "I think we can agree on that. But what was the impetus behind it? What we're saying is the initial contact is what prompted all this. Not that there were aliens out there telling us how to build pyramids. I think that just devalues the entire conversation, and we're trying to get beyond that."
Yes, Rolling Stone spelled Levenda’s name wrong.
The ancient astronaut theorists of Ancient Aliens haven’t claimed aliens built the pyramids, and even Erich von Däniken stopped short of saying it in Chariots of the Gods. Take, for example, Giorgio Tsoukalos’s infamous 2011 tweet, the one that launched me on the path of translating medieval Arab pyramid legends: “Repeat after me: The pyramids were NOT built by aliens. According to ancient Egyptian texts, the pyramids were built by humans WITH THE ASSISTANCE of the ‘Guardians of the Sky,’ or the ‘Teachers from Heaven,’ the ‘gods,’ who descended from the sky in ‘flying barges’... (If you're wondering what ‘texts’ I’m referring to, check out the AL-KHITAT by Al-Maqrizi.).”
So how does Levenda’s methodology differ from Tsoukalos’s? He does not have aliens coming quite as often, I guess, and he also prefers to use Aztec examples rather than Egyptian:
"Religions around the world consistently say that beings from the heavens came down and taught us this or gave us that," says Levanda. "In Gods we go into the nuance of this, from Aztec blood sacrifices to various creation epics that say we were created as servants to some other race of beings." For this volume, they went back and looked at original texts from various civilizations to see what information they could glean. "We don't create myths out of whole cloth," says Levanda. "Something happens and we create a myth around it. We're talking about events that are being described by people using the vocabulary they had."
This just makes me angry because Levenda is pretending as though he has a whole new approach that those cretins on the History Channel never considered, and yet there he is saying exactly what they have said, year in and year out, decade after decade, with the only real difference being how much time he allots between contact and building construction.
And just for kicks: Reddit users have been discussing whether this man who appeared in an OTO occult ritual as a member of the OTO in a 2013 episode of Secrets of Secret Societies that aired on Discovery and later AHC is in fact Peter Levenda, who claims not to be an occultist. The resemblance is uncanny. While I can’t say whether he is or isn’t the man in the video, it would hardly surprise me if he is, since he is also the man who swears he is not Simon, the author of the Necronomicon, but is happy to have HarperCollins warrant and vouchsafe in a legal document to the federal government that he is “Peter Levenda, whose pseudonym is Simon.” Surely, if he is not Simon, he must be thoroughly horrified to know that his publishers at HarperCollins lied to the federal government on his behalf and will forthwith correct the legal paperwork.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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