Editor's note: This post has been edited to correct a mistake about Lloyd Pye's biography.
Ancient Aliens S06E14 “The Star Children” is a riff on the “Indigo Children” craze from a few years ago, which is a very sad phenomenon by which parents attempted to create rationalizations for their children’s atypical behaviors—ranging from extraordinary intelligence and creativity to autism and hyperactivity—by attributing them to spiritual or genetic advancement, the next phase in evolution. There is, needless to say, no genetic or physical evidence of any otherworldly DNA in these kids.
This episode, though, demonstrates the real harm that shows like Ancient Aliens can cause. The program can lead parents to believe that their children are extraterrestrial beings. The show opens by profiling several child geniuses present and past, who nevertheless remain human beings. The show then asks whether aliens were responsible for the likes of Mozart and other prodigies via some vague “connection.”
David Wilcock leads off telling us that these children communicate with “non-physical intelligence,” though this seems to discount the idea of aliens. A man named David Weatherly, author of a credulous 2012 book on evil supernatural children, says that Star Children, who apparently are no longer defined solely as child prodigies, are going to usher in “a true New Age, a time of peace, a time of greater consciousness and greater prosperity for the planet.” Clifford Mahooty, the Zuni elder who travels the paranormal lecture circuit, claims that Star Children are a Native American concept and that they can “heal with their hands.” This seems like a testable claim, yet we don’t ever see a Star Child curing a disease and thus proving the claim. Truly a missed opportunity!
David Childress declares the Star Children a “new race,” but I would say that this show is coming very close to libel when it claims that “unusually gifted children” are hybrid extraterrestrials, especially since they named several living child prodigies just minutes ago. Is Ancient Aliens defaming specific individuals by calling them non-human? Does the use of a question format excuse this libel? Who cares since David Wilcock claims our DNA is changing so fast that we are becoming “smarter and smarter” with each passing year. He bases this on a 2007 study which says that “1800 genes, or 7 per cent of all those found in the human body, had undergone natural selection in the past 5000 years.” These changes were related to things like skin color and lactose tolerance, but Wilcock would like us to see this as an exponential increase in intelligence.
Richard Boyland, an author who makes money from imagining Star Children are real, says that these kids are psychic, have a world-historical mission, and “are compassionate.” Well, that settles it! They are clearly extraterrestrials since we all know that humans are opportunistic, self-interested ego maniacs. No, wait… That’s ancient astronaut theorists. Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot: Could they be ancient astronaut theorists?
We move to Greece in the sixth century BCE to hear the story of an infant who survived only on the mountain dew, called Astrasus or Astraios (it varies by author), whose name is related to the word for star. His story is given Porphyry’s Life of Pythagoras 10:
Diogenes, in his treatise about the Incredible Things Beyond Thule, has treated Pythagoras's affairs so carefully, that I think his account should not be omitted. He says that the Tyrrhenian Mnesarchus was of the race of the inhabitants of Lemnos, Imbros and Scyros and that he departed thence to visit many cities and various lands. During his journeys he found an infant lying under a large, tall poplar tree. On approaching, he observed it lay on its back, looking steadily without winking at the sun. In its mouth was a little slender reed, like a pipe; through which the child was being nourished by the dew-drops that distilled from the tree. This great wonder prevailed upon him to take the child, believing it to be of a divine origin. The child was fostered by a native of that country, named Androcles, who later on adopted him, and entrusted to him the management of affairs. On becoming wealthy, Mnesarchus educated the boy, naming him Astrasus, and rearing him with his own three sons, Eunestus, Tyrrhenus, and Pythagoras; which boy, as I have said, Androcles adopted. (trans. Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie)
What Ancient Aliens doesn’t tell you is that Antonius Diogenes, the originator of this story, was writing a novel, not a history. His Incredible Things beyond Thule was a romance, written 800 years after the events it describes. It is literarily dependent on Lucian’s sci-fi novel True History, which tells of an ancient Greek voyage to the Moon and battle with Moon monsters.
Interestingly, Porphyry seems to think the novel was history, while Photius, who preserved the longest excerpts of it, recognized it as a novel and praised it for making fiction seem so believable (Biblioteca codex 166).
This doesn’t stop Giorgio Tsoukalos et al. from speculating that Astraios was a Star Child who delivered to Pythagoras knowledge of triangles. (Aliens love math.)
Bret Oldham, who writes about how Grey aliens genetically engineers humans, asserts that in addition to the two “strands” of DNA that make up the double helix, there are other, “dormant” strands of DNA waiting for aliens to activate. So why does the show not show us these strands under the microscope? We then hear complaints that “junk” DNA is actually alien DNA and that “every human being is part alien,” in Tsoukalos’s words.
After the break we look at a hydrocephalic skull from Mexico, which the show dutifully acknowledges before asserting it is too “unique” to be hydrocephalic. Lloyd Pye, of the Star Child Project, discusses this from beyond the grave, having died on December 9. Why is someone killing ancient astronaut theorists? He is the third talking head from this show to die since its launch in 2010. What don’t the aliens want you to know? Mike Bara calls the skull a hybrid of a human and “something else,” and the Pye claims it looks like a Grey alien. Yale University Medical School’s Steven Novella determined that the child died of congenital hydrocephaly, and DNA tests in Vancouver in 1999 found normal human X and Y chromosomes. Suddenly, though, once Pye started trying to make money off of the skull after 2000, new tests “revealed” no Y chromosome, and then later no X chromosomes, making it first an alien-human hybrid and then a completely alien creature, as Pye’s developing claims necessitated.
I’m confused, though: How is it that this skull is an alien-human hybrid if child geniuses with normal skulls are, too? Did the aliens somehow get better at mating with humans? How, precisely, does that work if even animals as closely related as humans and chimpanzees can’t interbreed?
As we pass the halfway point, the show asserts that the 562 recognized Native American tribes in the United States (Canada apparently doesn’t count) have myths of Star Beings who fertilize human women to produce hybrid children. Interesting, isn’t it, that the show dances around the most famous “Star Child” of all. Who else do we know who was associated with a wandering star and was born of the mating of a human female with an otherworldly being who came down from the sky? You see, the Hopi and other Native Americans are possessors of “wisdom” but, being the Other, can’t be expected to understand their own religion and mythology the way “we” can. By contrast, the viewers of this show, who are almost all white and Christians, can be flattered that their Star Child really is a divine being. The hypocrisy is obvious but still startling.
This leads us into a discussion of the Blue Star Kachina, which I wrote about last year. The myth of the Blue Star and the extraterrestrials it is supposed to summon originates in 1963, in mystic Frank Waters’s Book of the Hopi, from which it entered into fabricated Hopi prophecies of the allegedly real “White Feather,” a fake created around 1980. I don’t give any truck to a prophecy that was made in 1963 as any ancient tradition, and I’ll repeat that I could find no reference to a Blue Star or Blue Star Kachina in any literature on the Hopi prior to 1963.
After this we go to Tibet to listen to the story of the first Dalai Lama and then that of the current Dalai Lama. Because the Dalai Lamas are identified as children they are supposedly Star Children, which presupposes that you subscribe to the idea that the Dalai Lamas are in fact reincarnations of one another and not just a religious belief based on coincidences and hope. David Wilcock introduces the idea that a “soul aspect that is from the gods” (here he corrects himself and rephrases that as “the extraterrestrials,” pointedly making the case that there is no meaningful distinction) descends from the heavens and couples with humans, and yet again no mention of Jesus to whose story this claim would apply even more perfectly than the Dalai Lama. Nikki Pattillo, who believes she converses with angels, asserts that human souls come from across the universe to take over human bodies.
After the commercial we listen to the story of a guy in Texas who encountered two adolescents who wanted money one night in 1996. The man says that the kids’ eyes were “solid black,” so he drove away. After he published his story on the internet, other people started imitating the story and ascribing their encounters with “menacing” youths to the “Black Eyed Kids.” However, as Snopes.com reported, the recent flood of activity dates only from February 2013, with the release of a video on the “Weekly Strange” MSN video site in conjunction with a horror movie called…wait for it…Black Eyed Kids. It sounds like people seeing things in the dark when upset or scared; at any event, even the most credulous observers say the phenomenon began in 1988, which is not ancient. Is it entirely a coincidence that the movie and the internet hype emerged right after Weatherly published his book on the Black Eyed Children in 2012?
After the break, we decide to bring up Edgar Cayce, the so-called “sleeping prophet,” who was, frankly, wrong about most of the world-historical claims he made, most of which were derived directly from Theosophy. Cayce announced the arrival of Theosophy’s Fifth Root Race, which he said would come in the 1990s or 2000s, the time when many of today’s “Star Children” were born. George Noory says that the Fifth Root Race are Star Children genetically manipulated by ETs for some unknown “future event.” So how do psychic powers fit into this? Do the aliens encode their secret plans in the akhashic record for Cayce to read, or is this some kind of occult knowledge that they didn’t realize he would be able to read and disclose? It seems sloppy, and I can’t really follow the logic. I thought the aliens controlled all of history and silenced all opposition. No, wait… that’s the Smithsonian.
As the show ends, it offers tips on how to recognize Star Children, drawn from alleged Chinese accounts of psychic children of the 1980s. Listening to Jonathan Young, Ph.D., “founding curator” of the “Joseph Campbell Archives” speak credulously about these paranormal events made me question exactly who this frequent Ancient Aliens talking head really is. I always thought he had some actual training in mythology and folklore. It turns out he’s actually a psychologist who studies the psychological functions of storytelling. He fell into Joseph Campbell’s orbit, but the fact that he apparently believes in telekinesis and psychic prophecy suggests to me that he has moved well past an academic understanding of mythology.
Weatherly finishes us off by telling us that Star Children “vibrate” at a “higher level of resistance” than other humans. Vibrations? Really? Childress rhapsodizes that alien genetic experimentation will lead to a Jetsons-style super-civilization “that the extraterrestrials have planned for us all along,” sounding like nothing so much as an overconfident preacher rhapsodizing about the Millennium and the coming of the New Jerusalem. There is no appreciable difference in the concepts.
I am sick to death of listening to Ancient Aliens becoming a crackpot cult of New Age religion.
So if you think that your child is actually an extraterrestrial hybrid, don’t listen to these idiots.
You need immediate psychological help before you do serious damage to your child. It cannot possibly be healthy for children to grow up thinking they are alien hybrids with supernatural powers. This is one episode that crossed from silly quackery to something more directly harmful.
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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