This week, ancient astronaut theorist (AAT) Giorgio Tsoukalos tweeted that Ancient Aliens’ ratings are as high as ever after the move to H2. This isn’t entirely true. One of the two episodes that aired last week was simulcast on H2 and the original flavor History channel. That episode scored 1.4 million viewers and ranked eleventh for the night among total viewers across all cable broadcasts, on par with last season. The subsequent H2-only episode did not rank in the top 22 according to this chart. That means that its ratings had to be lower than the 22-ranked show, which had only 52,000 viewers. Either that or Nielsen does not report H2’s ratings. Either way, Tsoukalos’s statement is either dissembling (leaving out H2) or ignorant (not knowing H2’s ratings).
The move to H2 certainly hasn’t improved the quality of Ancient Aliens. In the opening moments of S04E03: "The Greys," David Childress falsely claims that elongated skulls (produced by the well-known ritual of head binding) are in fact “half alien, half-human” hybrids. This is stupid beyond words. But more on that later!
First we start with the Roswell “UFO” crash, which has been debunked so many times that even many ufologists don’t believe it was an alien spacecraft anymore. This doesn’t stop Ancient Aliens from asserting flatly that “alien bodies” were retrieved from a UFO in 1947, all of which is a complete and utter fabrication. Then we move on to the equally debunked Betty and Barney Hill abduction, retelling the Hills’ story at face value, with none of the troubling problems with their story ever mentioned. Following this, we have more warmed over recent alien abduction stories, including the alleged hybrid children, which, if I understand the blonde abductee correctly, involves two eggs and two sperm to make one hybrid child. What any of this has to do with “ancient” aliens I have no idea. This belongs to modern ufology and conspiracy theorizing rather than the ancient astronaut theory.
The takeaway is that the theorists on the show believe that if enough people say the grey aliens are real, they must be.
Finally we reach the connection to ancient astronauts: Giorgio Tsoukalos says some statues and cave drawings look like “grey” aliens because they have large, black eyes. This would, of course, make Puss in Boots from Shrek 2 a grey alien, too. Needless to say, this is another case of seeing what one wants to see in ambiguous images that could be read many ways. Many of the images the show presents as “greys,” incidentally, have white eyes rather than black, or eyes that were square or otherwise atypical for “greys.” Besides, didn’t we learn last week that aliens wore helmets and needed breathing apparatus?
Jason Martell claims that the Annunaki are partners with the grey aliens, but his claims are only warmed over Zecharia Sitchin. The actual Sumerian and Babylonian texts say nothing like what the theorists claims. The Annunaki are referenced only occasionally, and then in contradictory ways. As I noted before, the Annunaki are best attested as gods created by Marduk and who live underground. Only in Sitchin do they become space-faring conquistadors.
But this does give us a doozy of a quote from David Childress: “When you look at the evidence, it appears there were a number of different aliens species that were coming to this planet.” Now will he finally admit he’s an ancient astronaut theorist?
Hopi paatuwvota, or “magic flying shields,” are then likened to UFOs because they are round and transport shamans into the sky. But they left out the part that in Hopi culture these paatuwvota are small and woven from cotton in the manner of wedding dress. The Hopi also believe that certain types of gourds can fly when a supernatural being straddles them, too. Anthropologists believe these flying cloths and gourds represent the shaman’s trance state, where, in communion with the spirit world, the shaman feels he is able to fly. This is the same neurological reaction that can make people high on some drugs (ketamine, PCP, etc.) feel that they are flying. So unless aliens also are into PCP, it’s probably not a UFO.
Now we’re back to the elongated skulls, which Childress claims are alien hybrids because “recent DNA tests” prove they are “half human and half some other race.” I can’t find any evidence of these DNA tests. The best I can find is that one test on a mummy produced inconclusive results because there was not enough viable DNA to complete the test. Either that or he believed Nov. 2011 story that DNA tests were going to be conducted on an “alien” mummy from Peru. And what would non-human DNA look like? How would it mesh with the 23 human chromosomes the “hybrid” would have? In fact, these elongated skulls are produced by intentional (human) cranial deformation, which we know because it is still practiced today in places like Vanuatu, and was practiced and described in historic times.
Just for kicks, here is Hippocrates proving Childress wrong back in ancient Greek times (though, note, Hippocrates was apparently a Lamarckian):
Up next we pretend along with Erich von Daniken that Mars had a civilization 10,000 years ago and came to earth to do battle. Philip Coppens then claims our (alien) "DNA" drives us to go to Mars, which he says has always been seen as earth’s twin—impossible since most cultures did not recognize Mars as a planet in our sense but rather merely as a red light in the sky (remember: they thought the sun was a flaming chariot). Mars is associated with war not because evil aliens conquered earth from there but because it is red, the color of blood. But even that is not well-established. The Roman Mars was originally an agricultural and fertility god. In Mesopotamia, the planet Mars was associated with Nergal, a war god yes, but one associated with the setting sun—hence his association with the color red and Mars. But far from "earth's twin," in Babylon Mars was considered the planet of ill-omen and bad luck (it's Babylonian name means "death omen"), so it's doubtful these people—heirs of the Annunaki remember—wanted to go there.
We speculate next on life on other planets (sure, why not) before moving on to Teotihuacan, which Giorgio Tsoukalos fails to notice is the much later Aztec name of the site they called "the place where the gods meet", not the original one, so the name carries little weight as the meeting place of the aliens. Von Daniken repeats an old canard that Teotihuacan is a perfect scale model of the solar system, but it isn’t. Such claims work only by cherry picking buildings large and small, while leaving out many others. Similarly, the fake claim that ancient pyramids form of a perfect world grid pattern across the planet is also a fraud, one made by cherry picking sites to fit a predetermined idea. But we’ve been over the grid thing before on Ancient Aliens.
Oh yeah… we were supposed to be talking about grey aliens, weren’t we? Well forget about that! Now we need to talk about the “reptilians,” David Icke’s silly idea that lizard people have been running the world for a few thousand years. According to Ancient Aliens, the “reptilians” are actually grey aliens in disguise. Here we repeat all the same lies about Quetzalcoatl and other snake gods from the last two episodes. There is no need to review them again.
The added wrinkle is that this time, the greys were reproducing with dinosaurs or reptiles to make “reptilians.” This is Theosophy’s old root race lies recast in technological clothes. This whole story is simply taken from Blavatsky’s fraud. George Noory adds that Satan was a “reptilian extraterrestrial,” but you know, whatever. He has serpentine traits because he was, you know, the serpent from the Garden of Eden in Christian myth. Serpent worship emerges from, you know, serpents, not from aliens. The serpent was worshiped because the shedding of its skin made it seem as though snakes had the secret of immortality.
The programs kept promising specific myths that documented encounters with supernatural hybrid creatures “produced by grey aliens,” but they couldn’t really find one. Dragons are not lizard people. (In fact, the talking heads seem ignorant of the fact that the modern dragon is not terribly old. Prior to the Middle Ages, the “dragon” in Western thought was merely a giant snake. As mentioned before, the Chinese dragon is not a reptile.)
I fail to understand how an alien that the theorists claim is about 3 feet tall somehow has a head with a “brain capacity” far beyond our own, since even by the most generous estimates, at the size listed for the aliens, their heads couldn’t be much bigger than ours.
In the end, the talking heads can’t decide whether grey “space brother” aliens actually had sex with humans, genetically engineered us and several other species, or “altered” ape DNA to make humans as alien hybrids ourselves. The concluding speculation about evolution, aliens, and the future direction of the human race is rather pointless since there is no evidence for the existence of the aliens in the first place. But either way, futurism has nothing to do with ancient history unless the final silly claim is true: the aliens are time travelers from our own future! In which case, human history is one big incestuous loop from which apparently our DNA emerged ex nihilo as a result of a time travel paradox.
The biggest paradox is how one show can have so many discordant ideas and imagine it is telling a single coherent story.
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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