At this point in the run of Ancient Aliens, more than halfway through its third season, it has become clear that the producers never expected the series to last this long. Where the early episodes of the series moved quickly and covered the “classic” ancient “mysteries” of the ancient astronaut theory, more recent episodes have slowed the pace considerably and spend increasing time talking to people other than ancient astronaut theorists. This seems to be a confession on the part of Prometheus Entertainment (who, as of this writing, has still refused to speak with me about the show) that they are running out of material.
How else to explain last night’s embarrassing hour of television, “Aliens and Evil Places,” which even by the low standards of cable mystery-mongering failed the first function of television: to entertain. Since the production was so lazy, I find it difficult to muster up the energy to watch it again to pull out quotations. I think I’ll just wing it. Heaven knows they were.
The premise of “Aliens and Evil Places” is that some places around the world “feel” charged with evil energy, and this evil energy comes from the long ago presence of extraterrestrials (or as Giorgio Tsoukalos puts it, “extraterrestrials”), preserved in folk memory as frightening, scary creatures. Or maybe it has to do with alien uranium mines, or alien missile defense shields. One of those, definitely. But mostly the “feeling” part.
Now, it wasn’t that long ago that Ancient Aliens claimed that alien visitation made places sacred (S03E03, “Aliens and Sacred Places,” August 11, 2011), so it is somewhat disconcerting to see the same “experts” argue with equal vehemence that ancient people thought aliens (whom, we must remember, they are supposed to have viewed as “gods”) made places “evil.” The apparent explanation is the un-evidenced supposition that there are multiple groups of aliens, some good and some evil, and usually at war. To put this in even geekier terms, this is something like discussing the battles of the war between the Green Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps without ever bothering to establish whether Green Lanterns exist (hint: they don’t).
But no matter; because the criteria for judging an alien presence has been downgraded from physical evidence or even textual evidence to merely a “feeling” that a place is “creepy” or “evil,” ancient astronaut theorists are now free to see aliens everywhere without fear of having their alleged evidence actually examined. How can one argue with a feeling?
Of course, if a creepy feeling is all it takes to prove aliens were involved, then nearly every town in America must be infested with extraterrestrials.
Every town has a house like the one above, an abandoned old place usually known as a “ghost house” or a “witch house,” the alleged site of eerie events. Such houses are found everywhere, and they certainly cannot all be built on the sites of alien encounters. Instead, the answer is to be found in Edmund Burke’s 1756 treatise On the Sublime and Beautiful, where he argued that large, imposing ruins and dark, eerie nights are elements that induce a feeling of the sublime. In other words, sites have stories attached to them because they make us feel a connection to the sublime; they do not become sublime through the stories circulating around them. This is the feeling that the ignorant “experts” on Ancient Aliens tried and failed to describe, for they had not the words to express a philosophical concept at odds with the dull literalism of the ancient astronaut theory.
Finally, the whopper of the week: In discussing Australian aboriginal mythology, the narrator of Ancient Aliens asked whether the “rainbow serpent,” a flying Aboriginal mythic figure, was in fact an alien spaceship. A clue to why this is not true can be found in the name of the creature.
The rainbow serpent is actually believed to live underground, not in the sky. He can be found primarily in waterholes and derives from the rainbow formed when sunlight strikes the water, making little ripples that look like the body of a Technicolor serpent moving beneath the surface. This serpent is a creature of deep water, not deep space, and is obviously immensely different from flying saucers, rocket ships, and other things that streak across the daytime sky.
Of course, if we seriously hold that Aboriginal people cannot distinguish between a rainbow in a puddle and a flying saucer in the sky, then quite clearly the famous internet meme Nyan Cat is also a symbol of ancient aliens. Think about it: The cat bears an uncanny resemblance to the “gray” species of alien. His pop tart is quite clearly an ignorant artist’s attempt to depict a flying saucer, while the rainbow emerging from behind Nyan Cat (flying through space no less!) clearly represents the light trail burned into the eyes of those who dare stare at the quick-darting brilliance of the extraterrestrial feline traveler. On what grounds can we deny that Nyan Cat is clear and unambiguous evidence of extraterrestrial intervention in cyberspace?
3/26/2013 09:39:48 am
as much as i enjoy your blog you left out a refutation of the only thing that is actually compelling evidence for ancient aliens. and it was in this episode, the metal cauldrons in siberia russia, well documented metal cauldrons, that the explorers actually find in this episode, why can you do with that?
8/11/2014 05:35:25 pm
So called skeptics avoid truth.
1/31/2015 10:12:10 am
See below, they are a story that has no evidence of being true (they were never found). If I tell people there is a crashed UFO in my shed, but never provide evidence, it doesn't become true no matter how much time passes.
1/6/2014 09:30:51 am
I was hoping that you'd talk about the Siberian portion as well. I didn't find much on them when I went looking (admittedly, I didn't look for very long) and I was hoping that you had more information or credible sources that you could link
1/6/2014 09:47:32 am
I wish I could help you out, but no one has proved these cauldrons actually existed (they are first mentioned only in the 1930s, after the beginnings of science fiction literature), and even if they did, they are not beyond the metal-casting talents of the Asian peoples. Back in the 1930s and 1940s the Soviets were keen on promoting these kinds of legends, going so far as to fabricate them, in order to promote secularism and their version of science. Magic metal cauldrons that kill people who get too close? Why the Ark of the Covenant isn't so special! See, our communist science found that God isn't behind it at all!
6/28/2014 03:04:49 am
All anybody has to do when they watch these things, is to not listen to the opinion that are given, just weigh the evidence for yourself, research it and then form your own opinion. Some of these things I believe to be fact but
10/30/2015 04:52:30 am
Funny outlook on them not expecting the series to last this long. To be honest I've always had trouble with the majority of reaching that's done and then chalked up to aliens. I was shocked to realize that there was a relatively intelligent guy I met who believed our ancestors were actually slaves of aliens, siting different developments that are out of the realm of human thinking such as the Pyramids but avoiding Stonehenge or other Ancient Womders like the Hanging Gardens...I guess those weren't out of comprehension at least in the area of use; a garden in a calendar right? But the pyramid could have been an accent power plant! Okay, yea. He never went there I just knew a little about it. It's amazing how dumb humans apparently were previous of the 20th century!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.