This has to be a joke, right? Like when South Park had Ancient Aliens and Thanksgiving on their “Very History Channel Thanksgiving” episode?
I guess not. “Aliens and Bigfoot” really is about the possibility that Bigfoot—and other cryptids—are extraterrestrial species that came to earth with ancient astronauts.
We start off with the supposed, and frequently debunked, evidence for the Yeti, Bigfoot, etc., including graphics apparently lifted from Monster Quest and testimony from cryptozoologists. There isn’t much worth discussing here since the remote possibility that large, apelike creatures exist has no bearing on the question of extraterrestrials or ancient history.
Freelance music journalist and Fortean author Nick Redfern suggests that Bigfoot is in fact a “phantom” (some kind of transdimensional being), and from there we hear speculation about whether Bigfoot has “ghost powers,” invisibility powers, or the ability to teleport when confronted by humans and/or bullets.
David Childress, who, unbeknownst to me, wrote a book about Bigfoot, asks: “You have to wonder if Bigfoot himself isn’t some kind of extraterrestrial.” Remember: Childress is not an ancient astronaut theorist.
From here, the program talks about some actual history: widespread myths of “wild men” at the edge of civilization. While these are clearly stories of savage, uncivilized tribes, “ancient astronaut theorists” (AATs) say these are really encounters with Bigfoot—even though many of the wild men are traditionally described as small or misshapen. (Baby Bigfoot?)
Philip Coppens then suggests that the Nephilim, the fallen angels of the Bible (Genesis 6:4) and the Book of Enoch, are in fact Bigfoot. The Nephilim had sex with earth women and produced “giants,” but there is absolutely no connection between these giants (large-sized humans) and Bigfoot, an ape. In fact, in the King James version of Genesis 6:4, the word “giants” is a mistranslation of Nephilim, and there aren’t giants at all. Even the editors seems to recognize this, jamming in a Giorgio Tsoukalos statement that has been repurposed from an earlier episode to falsely support this weird theory. In the last centuries BCE, Jewish apocalyptic tradition demonized the characters of Mesopotamian myth as monstrous Watchers (fallen angels). In the Book of Giants, both Gilgamesh and the giant he slew, Humbaba, appear as giants/Watchers. This is hardly independent confirmation of alien genetic engineering, only that the Jews set themselves apart from their neighbors by turning their neighbors’ myths into Jewish demons.
We then discuss Enkidu, the wild but human companion of Gilgamesh, though the program shows an image of Humbaba, with his characteristic face made of coiled intestines, instead. Tsoukalos conflates the hairy Enkidu with the giant Humbaba (two very different figures) and claims that Enkidu was an extraterrestrial giant (he is never called a giant in the Epic of Gilgamesh), and Childress states that Enkidu is a “monster.” Jason Martell, a web designer and self-proclaimed expert on Sumer and its “advanced technology” from “Planet X,” falsely states Enkidu is the “first fashioned being by the gods”—he is not. The gods made humans much earlier, from blood and clay, as I will discuss more below. Where does he think the prostitute Enikidu sleeps with comes from? Or all the people of Uruk, the city beside his forest? Also worth noting: the Epic of Gilgamesh and the creation myth are not Sumerian texts, but later Assyrian and Babylonian texts that in turn drew on, combined, and embellished earlier, disconnected, and fragmentary Sumerian stories. This does not bode well for an “expert” on Sumer.
Enkidu is quite clearly a symbolic figure meant to represent humanity in its wild state, before civilization and religion. Just as Gilgamesh is two-third god, Enkidu is his opposite and equal, two-thirds wild. Here’s how we know that, from the epic’s first tablet:
Enkidu only becomes fully human when a prostitute seduces him and civilizes him.
We then hear tell that Bigfoot is a devolved leftover of an alien slave-race who were of giant stature. Goliath from the Bible was probably an E.T., and apparently also the wizard Merlin. This is because they are described as large, wild men. I fail to see the connection to aliens, and worse the oldest manuscripts (Dead Sea Scrolls) give Goliath’s height as 6’7”; only later did he get exaggerated to nine feet. But the racial/ethnic/spiritual Other is always described as monstrously large. Not to be too earthy about it, but even today many white people insist on viewing African Americans, especially males, as hulking, bestial, and possessed of outsized body parts. This does not make them aliens, only the objects of racism and xenophobia.
Next up, documentary filmmaker Linda Moulton Howe and some other “investigators” talk about the astounding connection between UFO sightings and Bigfoot. Could Bigfoot ride to earth on UFOs? Well, no. The connection is simpler: UFOs and Bigfoot sightings tend to take place in the backwoods, for two reasons: 1) there are fewer people around to contradict witnesses’ testimony, and 2) this is where there is a greater concentration of less educated, more credulous people.
At this point, halfway through the show, I became extremely bored. I don’t believe that the aliens, who earlier in the hour had their pet Bigfeet (Bigfoots?) engaging in battles and mating with humans, now intentionally hide Bigfoot from us in vast, worldwide underground cave systems because we can’t handle the truth. But ancient Israelites could?
When some cryptozoologist or another suggests that Bigfoot’s “sulfur” smell is the same as Lucifer’s and that Hell derives from Bigfoot’s underground alien caves, I gave up. But then when Giorgio Tsoukalos tells us that Greek mythology contains a race of “troglodytes” I nearly lost it. There are no troglodytes in Greek myth, much less troglodytes who “came down from the sky.” There are only a couple of mentions of troglodytes in ancient literature, and they are from history, not myth. (Not that Tsoukalos knows the difference.) The Troglodytes are the (human) inhabitants of Troglodytis, a city, in Flavius Josephus (Antiquities 1.15.1) and are otherwise people who live along the Red Sea coast.
The term originates as trogodytes, whose exact meaning is unknown, but probably reflected a Greek attempt to transliterate the name of a people of the Red Sea coast such as the Tuareg. This was later altered by the Greeks to troglodytes based on a folk etymology from trogle, or cave. Hence, cave men. The word was used in ancient times to refer to the peoples of the Red Sea. Only much later did it become a catch-all term for ugly, little cave-dwelling monsters.
But, no matter, we have Soviet chimp-human hybrids to discuss! There was a Soviet experiment to see if humans and chimps could be hybridized, and Philip Coppens doesn’t seem to understand that Illya Ivanovich Ivanov’s experiments failed and it isn’t possible to hybridize humans and chimps through sex—thus, in the “remote past” “our ancestors” weren’t having sex with chimps to make monkey warriors.
Tsoukalos next claims that artistic depictions of hybrid creatures, such as animal-headed gods, are evidence of alien genetic engineering since, as is well know, human imagination was born only with Erich von Däniken in 1968. (Apparently, the aliens are all Elder Things from At the Mountains of Madness, releasing shoggoths on a benighted world.) He is blissfully unaware that Medusa, with her snakes, cannot be traced back to a primeval snake-headed hybrid, but is instead a complex and multivalent image, sometimes drawn after the head of Humbaba (whose face of intestines becomes the writhing snakes of the Gorgon), sometimes drawn as a dragon, and sometimes as a horse. The woman with snake hair image is very late, the result of an attempt to tone down the monstrousness of Greek monster in the Classical and Hellenistic periods.
Serious question for ancient astronaut theorists: When did the aliens give us imaginations? Since AATs claim that the “ancients” recorded alien encounters uncritically right up until 1900, as stated in episode S03E01 “Aliens and the Old West,” it must have been after that. Since Erich von Däniken claimed that he used his imagination to fancifully embellish The Gold of the Gods (1972), it must have been before then. Is that what Roswell was all about?
The solution for why the aliens made or brought Bigfoot can supposedly be found in “the Sumerian stories of the Anunnaki,” which is ridiculous because there are no Sumerian stories of the Anunnaki. They are a collective of gods invoked as a group, with no mythology of their own, no epics, etc. And it is utterly false to claim that the Anunnaki made Bigfoot as a slave race because they didn’t want to work, for in their only major appearance in ancient texts (the Babylonian Enuma Elish), the Anunnaki themselves work to build the city of Babylon brick by brick, making the mud bricks one by one with their own hands. They are not lazy plantation owners. That’s just Zecharia Sitchin’s false translations and fantasies repeated uncritically.
Speaking of uncritical thinkers: “Right after we shed out furs, for millennia we had to keep warm by wearing furs … Something doesn’t make sense,” Tsoukalos exclaims, blissfully unaware that humans evolved in tropical sub-Saharan Africa c. 150,000 BCE, not, as the images on-screen suggest, Ice Age Europe of 10,500 BCE. Jason Martell seems to think that the “missing link” doesn’t exist because aliens skipped over it in genetically manipulating us. He says that Sumerian myths say that the gods found an apelike creature and realized they could transform him into “our likeness.” I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about. Enkidu is not genetically modified, and the Mesopotamian creation myth has men made from clay and blood, not apes. Here are the relevant passages:
For comparison, here’s Berossus, the late Babylonian priest, on the same topic:
Yup, that sure sounds like genetically engineering humans from apes to me. It does to David Childress, anyway, who says:
But everyone agrees that nobody has ever found or captured a Bigfoot. This, naturally, does not mean the obvious, but rather that Bigfoot is either transdimensional or protected by aliens.
Why is Bigfoot so elusive? the program asks. That’s easy: because it doesn’t exist.
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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