It’s funny to me that people like novelist David Brody accuse me of being obsessed with Scott Wolter to the point of irrational madness, but so far no one has ever accused me of being obsessed with Ancient Aliens, despite having reviewed every episode of this crazy quilt patchwork of New Age mysticism for three years running. I wonder sometimes why I bother reviewing this show since it is so utterly stupid. But then I read reports like the news out of New Zealand that the country’s Prime Minister, John Key, was forced to prove he was not a shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptile after a UFO researcher filed New Zealand’s equivalent of a Freedom of Information request accusing the prime minister of being one of David Icke’s reptilian monsters, ostensibly as a joke. These idea just keep spreading.
Worse, a producer for a major cable channel—I can’t say which one right now, but it isn’t H2—asked me if I would be willing to appear as a guest expert on a one-time special modeled on Ancient Aliens that would explore xenoarchaeology. I told him that I would only do so if they intended to present my skeptical viewpoint fairly. The producer told me that he would have to get a ruling from the network’s executives about “how skeptical” guests are allowed to be. Here’s my promise to you: After the production team makes its decision, if it goes the way I think it will, I will let you know which channel it is.
This week’s episode of Ancient Aliens, S06E15 “Treasures of the Gods,” is another rehash of the same material we’ve heard countless times. In this outing the ancient astronaut theorists go in search of the One Ring to Rule Them All… Oh, I’m sorry: Solomon’s Ring. Well, they’re equally fictional either way.
The theme of this episode is gold, and whether the aliens are hiding treasure from us. This is rather odd since I thought the whole point of the Anunnaki was that they wanted to strip mine our planet and offload the gold to Nibiru. Aliens just aren’t efficient.
We open with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the inventory of treasures listed on the Copper Scroll. It’s “possibly the greatest treasure map in human history,” says Jesus descendant Kathleen McGowan-Coppens, whom even this show can only label as “author/researcher” since she has absolutely no credentials, not even fake ones, related to ancient astronauts or archaeology. Robert Feather, a metallurgist, claims to have decoded the Copper Scroll from the unusual premise that the Israelites were incorrectly measuring gold in kilograms, a unit of measurement that had not been invented yet, so he tried to find a code that would give him proper units of measurement—based entirely on our conventions for measuring gold, not those of the people of Qumran. He asserts that the Copper Scroll is 99.9% pure and therefore had to be Egyptian (clearly he hasn’t met Scott Wolter—Michigan’s copper is that pure!), so the Temple treasure is in Egypt. Feather, however, is a fringe thinker of the worst order: He believes in a conspiracy of academics to hide the fact that Akhenaten invented Jewish monotheism and that Jesus was part of the Egyptian-Essene cult. He derived this from selecting ten Greek letters from the Copper Scroll and then rearranging them into an approximation of Akhenaten’s name. This would be news to Greek-speakers, who, if Manetho can be believed, would have referred to him as Amenôphis, as preserved by Josephus, Africanus, Syncellus, and Eusebius. I suppose heretics might have retained his other name, but it isn’t attested in ancient Greek, let alone as a Greek anagram in a non-Greek text. Akhenaten’s capital was long gone by the time of the Essenes, and the man himself was all but forgotten, not listed in any of the extant king lists, stricken from the official records. His self-given name wasn’t even known until the nineteenth century.
The show repeats its frequent complaint that Akhenaten’s sun disc god, the Aten, was a spaceship, as though the Egyptians couldn’t recognize the sun. McGowan-Coppens falsely asserts that the pharaohs were not viewed as “god incarnate” before Akhenaten, something belied by the Pyramid Texts, a thousand years older, which specify that the living pharaoh is the incarnate form of Horus, and the dead pharaoh Osiris. Giorgio Tsoukalos takes Akhenaten’s statuary, with his oddly-shaped head and “chicken legs,” as evidence that the king was an alien. The discovery of what was identified as his body in KV55 in 1907 would imply that the statues were just stylized art; however, Ancient Aliens plays up the uncertainty over whether the body, which genetic tests confirm is related to Tutankhamun, was actually Akhenaten himself in order to suggest that the king simply vanished into the stars. Yet his family were not space aliens, so this is confusing; are they arguing that Akhenaten’s family simply pretended to be his family as cover for space aliens?
Jason Martell and McGowan-Coppens tell us that the aliens genetically engineered humans for mining gold, and then the show connects this to interstellar travel because gold is good for space ship electronics. This is not what Zecharia Sitchin, the acknowledged source, claimed. He was all about using gold to fix Nibiru’s atmosphere. So are the “texts” as translated by Sitchin wrong? If so, then how do we know any of them should be believed?
This episode is unusually repetitive. A quarter of the way through they have made about one claim.
After the break we go to Jerusalem in summer 2013 where an earthenware jug was found from the time of Solomon, spurring interest in whether the Temple treasure is buried beneath the Temple Mount. This leads to an overview of the Temple and its treasures and an “extraterrestrial” artifact called Solomon’s Ring. McGowan-Coppens explains the legend of the ring, but no one explains that the ring is not attested before the Middle Ages. The story begins with a reference to a different ring that was used in the exorcisms of Eleazar in the work of Josephus (Antiquities 8.2.5), which the Arabs expanded into a mystical ring that controlled the djinn. It is not a part of the Qur’an as the narrator claims, though a ring engraved with the name of God appears in the Tractate Gittin (folio 68)—but there the ring’s magic was that it held God’s name, so when Asmodeus swallowed it he was compelled to do Solomon’s bidding. This was due to the name of God, not the power of the ring; any object so inscribed would do. In fact, only in the Middle Ages did take on an independent power of its own associated with Solomon, when Solomon’s legend expanded to make him the patron of alchemy. It’s all rather straightforward when the texts are placed in chronological order. But Ancient Aliens conflate the ring with the shamir, a “worm” that could cut stone in rabbinical literature. However, it could not be a laser tool as Tsoukalos suggests if we accept the texts at face value since the authorities—Rashi, Maimonides, etc.—assert that it was active, implying it was a living being. At any rate, the two items are not related.
This leads us into, yet again, the “mysteries” of the Knights Templar and their alleged involvement with the Temple treasure. Mike Bara, ignoramus, asserts that Solomon’s ring is the second most powerful weapon “of the Bible,” to which: Find a reference to it in the Bible, Mike. You can’t make wacky claims about a book you’ve never read. McGowan-Coppens claims that the Templars were in communion of the aforementioned Asmodeus, which has barely a basis in fringe conspiracy literature, let alone fact. The Templar-associated church of Rennes-le-Château does have a statue of a devil often identified as Asmodeus, but many churches had illustrations of demons; there is no evidence of actual contact with a supernatural monster—even the pope only accused the Templars of worshiping Baphomet. In fact the Rennes-le-Château devil was installed in 1897 (when most of the modern church was built) and is not in any way associated with the Knights Templar. It wasn’t even identified as Asmodeus until a French author of Templar conspiracies asserted it in recent years. This is all a big con job crafted from faulty parts.
After the break we travel to Kanab, Utah in quest of the lost treasure of the Aztec emperor “Montezuma” (Moctezuma II), the ruler before the Conquest. Two treasure hunters and the ancient astronaut theorists believe that the mythical Aztec homeland of Aztlan was in Utah. Tsoukalos asserts that an Aztec creation myth, which tells of a flint knife that fell to earth, spawning 1600 gods, is an account of a spaceship landing with colonists. In case you care, here is the actual text, as translated by me from the original Spanish of Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta (Historia eclesiástica indiana 2.1), summarizing what he heard from Fray Andres de Olmos:
… But while the people of each province gave their accounts (of the creation) in various ways, for the most part they came to the conclusion that in the sky there was a god called Citlalatonac and a goddess called Citlalicue, and that the goddess gave birth to a large knife or flint (which in their language is called técpatl). On seeing this, her sons were frightened and agreed to cast the large knife from the sky, and so they undertook this action and the knife fell to a certain part of the earth which is called Chicmoztoc, meaning the Seven Caves. They say there emerged from it 1,600 gods (which seems to be an attempt to explain the fall of the evil angels), and they say that these beings, seeing themselves thus fallen and banished and without servants, agreed to send a message to the goddess their mother saying that because they had been cast out and banished it would be good if she were to give them permission, power, and a way to create men who could provide service for them.
These gods then obtained the bones of the dead and used the ash to fashion humans by mixing it with their blood. Had Tsoukalos bothered to read the whole text, he’d have seen that they wanted to do this because they needed servants—just like the Anunnaki! (Actually, in reality, the Babylonian gods in the Enuma Elish.) Here the failure to read through the source actually leads to a missed opportunity to support the ancient astronaut theory.
This leads to questions of whether Quetzalcoatl was really a space traveler since statues of a man with a snake on his head look, as Erich von Däniken claims, like a man in a space suit. But I thought that Akhenaten was an alien—and he wasn’t wearing a helmet. So do the aliens breathe air? Supposedly the Aztecs took the treasure to Utah to give it to Quetzalcoatl so he could smite the Spanish, but this seems odd since the texts that they use as proof all say that the Aztecs thought Cortes was Quetzalcoatl. There is no evidence of Aztecs traveling into Utah in the 1500s.
Mike Bara is worried that finding the treasure could unleash horrific consequences if the alien seal is broken from the gates of Aztlan. This is a new one on me: Don’t try to find proof of the aliens because it might hurt us all! Just give me your money to speculate about it!
After the break we return to the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi in Greece, one of the show’s favorite sites. We repeat information about the Oracle at Delphi that we’ve heard about a dozen times on Ancient Aliens over the years. This involves a discussion of the omphalos, a stone that marks the navel of the world. Tsoukalos asserts that the Greek gods were extraterrestrials and that the omphalos was a “transmitter,” and Wilcock suggests that the surviving stone is a symbolic representation of a piece of technology from long before. They refer to the story of Brennus, the Celtic king whose attack on Delphi was thwarted by a storm attributed to the intervention of Apollo (Pausanias 10.19-23), much the way victors routinely attribute their victories to their god worldwide. This is a lead-up to a bizarre sequence in which Mike Bara and David Wilcock appear positively giddy about discussing Nazi archaeology and the hunt for what one of them calls “Aryan gods” in Greece. The Nazis excavated in Greece in hopes of proving that the ancient Greeks were Aryans and thus forerunners of the Nazis. (Hitler loved Greek art and wanted to appropriate Classical civilization for Germany.) I am uncomfortable with how much the two men seem to really, really like talking about the Nazis. Bara lustily gushes that if only the Nazis had successfully found the true omphalos, they might have been able to use the Aryan aliens’ power to win World War II. He seems almost to imply that this would have been a good outcome.
So the aliens are Nazis? And we are supposed to want to meet and worship these aliens?
The consequences of this line of speculation are quickly forgotten and dropped as we go to commercial and return to discuss secret vaults in a Hindu temple, where $22 billion worth of gold and jewels was discovered in 2011. We hear about a curse placed on one of the temple’s rooms, followed by claims that the gods were angry the chambers were opened. Based on nothing but hot air and speculation, the show claims that the room may hold the powerful weapons of the Mahabharata. None of the talking heads has any idea what’s in the chamber, and this discussion could just as easily replace Mahabharata weapons with the mummy of Jesus, a UFO, or a unicorn breeding program without changing anything at all. Mike Bara darkly warns that knowledge is dangerous and that we are not meant to know the secrets that, presumably, Mike Bara sells you in each of his books about the aliens. Why tempt fate, Mike? Quit now before the aliens get to you, too.
So, bottom line: Ignorance is bliss, aliens are hiding the truth from you, and your reward for solving the puzzle they designed to take “centuries” to unravel is illness, genocide, and death. Oh, and the Nazis are somehow super-cool and should have won World War II because: aliens.
Did I get everything?
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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