Review of Ancient Aliens S06E23 "Faces of the Gods" (Special Edition) and S07E01 "The Reptilians"
The H2 network knows where its bread is buttered, and there is a good reason that so much of its schedule is devoted to day-long blocks of Ancient Aliens reruns. Tonight H2 makes explicit the network’s almost complete dependence on fringe history programs to sustain itself as an independently profitable arm of its parent, History, and their shared overlord, A+E Networks. In the course of the three hours of primetime, H2 showed a new episode of Ancient Aliens: Special Edition followed by the seventh season premiere of Ancient Aliens and the first entry in Ancient Aliens star and consulting producer Giorgio Tsoukalos’s new ancient astronaut series In Search of Aliens. This is too much even for my seemingly boundless patience for fringe history.
This blog post will review Ancient Aliens S06E23 “Faces of the Gods” (Special Edition) briefly and then Ancient Aliens S07E01 “The Reptilians” in a bit more depth. A separate post will review In Search of Aliens, but tomorrow. I can only take so much at once.
Faces of the Gods
“Faces of the Gods” is the latest Ancient Aliens “Special Edition” clip show made up of parts of earlier episodes from the show’s first six seasons. In my previous reviews of the Special Edition episodes, I took the opportunity to comment on some of the material I had not covered in earlier reviews, particularly claims from the show’s first two seasons, which I did not review at the time that they aired. (It was before I was blogging regularly.) Since “Faces of the Gods” is yet another clip show, there isn’t really a lot of new material to comment on.
The show looked at the Nazca culture from an early episode and asked why elongated skulls exist. We all know about head binding, which has existed for millennia and was still practiced in historic times. Even the old segment notes this. This leaves only the claim that skulls were bound in honor of the aliens, specifically the Greys, which is unprovable. Robert Schoch thought that the skulls were elongated to indicate greater mental powers, which implies an understanding of the brain as the seat of thought that did not necessarily exist in every ancient culture. (The Egyptians thought we think with our hearts, for example.) He also doesn’t believe that humans can come up with ideas independently; therefore, everything is connected somehow.
Nick Pope is seen in this episode from a clip from an early appearance. He’s reused here shortly after he claimed that the show was “borderline racist.” What does that make his participation?
After the break, we discuss the Lovelock “giants,” which I have written about before. As always, the claim is less than Ancient Aliens claims, particularly in the fact that there were no “red haired” Caucasian giants, and the actual skeletons excavated at the cave were normal sized. We see again the infamous clip in which David Childress compares a normal sized skull to a dental impression of teeth, not recognizing the jaw bones and gums are not the same thing. I’ve criticized this segment before. The show then discusses other giants, such as Goliath.
After another break, the show discusses whether angels are really aliens since they can fly. Funny how ancient aliens can float about in the air, but modern aliens need spaceships with doors and ramps. Angels, the show said, had jet packs. This segment was filmed before the show discovered antigravity conspiracy theories.
The next segment after the commercial takes up Dean Winchester’s mantra that “angels are dicks” and explains various conspiracy theories about why evil angel-demon-aliens like Lillith want to do us harm. To do this, we cover various gods who demanded human sacrifice and blood rituals. I was surprised to see David Skal show up to discuss one of these blood gods. Skal wrote The Monster Show (2001), a history of the horror genre founded on Freudian sex claims (werewolves as masturbation panic—hair palms—for example) that enraged me enough that I wrote Knowing Fear in response to it. The show decides vampires are aliens, too. It’s all in my review of the episode from which this came.
After the break, we talk about mermaids and fish people. One might think fish people from under the sea wouldn’t be associated with aliens from outer space, but you’d be wrong. You see, Poseidon was a horny fish alien, and fish people are his hybrid offspring. The show claims that the myth of Kronos vomiting forth the Olympians refers to the aliens (i.e. the Watchers) who had sex with human women (Genesis 6:4) being expelled from the starship Kronos, with Poseidon being among these Watchers. Go figure. The story of the Telchines, metallurgist sea creatures destroyed for misusing magic, is told most fully in Ovid, Metamorphoses 7 but can be found in many other sources, with the oldest allusion (though not by name) in Pindar in Olympian 7.
The show concludes by talking about fallen angels and djinn and discussing, in Tsoukalos’s words, the fact that good and evil “permeate the entire universe” in a Manichean dichotomy. Apparently our ethnocentric view of the world is shared by space aliens. Oh, and genies in bottles are really holograms.
Now we can turn to the first episode of Season Seven, “The Reptilians.” It’s strange to think that that Ancient Aliens has aired seven seasons over five calendar years, but as I learned from the History networks themselves last year, the public can’t get enough of the show. Even if ratings for original episodes have declined more than 50% from their season two peak (when the show aired on the History channel proper), it’s still the most consistent draw on H2. However, the show’s audience has apparently solidified into a consistent core, and this means that fewer curious viewers are coming new to the show, and fewer are seeking out my reviews of the show. In fact, as Ancient Aliens has grown long in the tooth and foolish in its claims, my reviews of the show have declined steadily in readership.
As a result, I don’t feel it’s really worth the effort to discuss each new episode point for point as I have done in seasons past. It takes a long time, and with fewer people reading these reviews, it doesn’t make sense to devote so much effort. Instead, for this season, I’m going to try to summarize more and focus primarily on claims and material that I have not covered before in reviewing the series. If I do it right, it should mean shorter but sharper reviews. Of course, I tend to overdo everything, so chances are the reviews will still come out longer than I want. We’ll see.
Before we begin, I’ll point to an earlier essay I wrote about the history of the Reptilians to save myself the trouble of repeating material about how the claims originated in Victorian ideas about global serpent worship as filtered through Theosophy’s root races and Robert E. Howard’s pulp fiction. It’s worth noting at this point that episode S04E03 “The Greys” had a lengthy segment on the Reptilians, which the show at that point claimed were the hybrid offspring of Greys and dinosaurs. In both episodes we get David Icke himself opining on the lizard people. Funny how their control of the media fails to stop him from appearing on TV.
We open with a creature encounter story from South Carolina in 1988, which touched off a Lizard Man scare. This is probably just as credible as the Mothman scare and other similar claims. No Lizard Man or evidence of one (footprints, scales, bodies, etc.) were ever found. The show notes that similar stories have been told recently all over the world—not coincidentally after the rise of Reptilian mythology in UFO circles and science fiction.
Jason Martell and Giorgio Tsoukalos tell us that this is somehow connected to serpent gods like Quetzalcoatl and Medusa. The show does not care to distinguish between anthropoid lizards and giant snakes—or just plain snakes, frankly. They mix and match at will without establishing the criteria for declaring various snakes as “Reptilians.” Tsoukalos also falsely asserts that the snakes came from the sky when in fact most myths have them come up from the earth. The show claims that the Serpent of Genesis was a Reptilian alien, and the djinn are also asserted to be Reptilians although Islam considers them fiery spirits (Qur’an 15:27). The show’s experts are right that snakes were considered magical, but this is usually explained as deriving from the fact that snakes shed their skin and therefore appeared to rejuvenate themselves.
After the first break, we talk about G. Warren Shufelt, a hoaxer who claimed in 1934 to know the location of the lizard people’s underground city after talking to a Hopi elder. He convinced the city of Los Angeles to let him dig under the city for the lizards’ tunnels, finding nothing. Shufelt attributed the story to the wrong Native people, however. There is nothing in Hopi myth about Reptilians, as Brian Dunning found in trying (and failing) to locate the origin of the story. The story, as I reported, is first seen in a book about the Zuni, who explained their myth this way:
Men and creatures were more alike then than now. Our fathers were black, like the caves they came from; their skins were cold and scaly like those of mud creatures; their eyes were goggled like an owl’s; their ears were like those of cave bats; their feet were webbed like those of walkers in wet and soft places; they had tails, long or short, as they were old or young. Men crouched when they walked, or crawled along the ground like lizards. They feared to walk straight, but crouched as before time they had in their cave worlds, that they might not stumble or fall in the uncertain light.
No one explains what this has to do with aliens from the sky, but the show likens this story to the naga serpents of Indian myth, who are snakes, not anthropomorphic lizards. At this point, we get a classic ancient astronaut claim—they show Sumerian figures with slanted eyes that Erich von Däniken likened to aliens decades ago. The trouble is that such claims are plausible only if one denies that Sumerians were capable of drawing on natural imagery in anything more than literal copying of what they saw. Did the Egyptians literally see ibis-headed people? Only Erich von Däniken thinks so.
After the break, the show revisits its earlier discussion of aliens and dinosaurs from S04E10 and suggests that dinosaurs could have evolved into humanoids, all without leaving a trace in the fossil record for 65 million years. Nick Redfern even goes so far as to say that the Reptilians are not extraterrestrials! Then what are they doing on this show? The show wants us to believe that because dinosaurs evolved into birds, then they could also have evolved into humanoids. So why did the bird ancestors leave fossils but not the Reptilians? One suggestion given is that the Reptilians evolved on another planet from dinosaur samples taken from the earth. All of this crap was discussed in S04E10 “Aliens and Dinosaurs,” and I am disappointed that in the first episode of the seventh season, they are blatantly repurposing earlier material.
Jason Martell tells us that the Reptilians have an “agenda,” though he doesn’t say what it is, and the show goes to commercial asserting that human DNA could contain alien-reptile secrets.
After the break, the show examines human vestigial tails and, in what I guess is progress, accepts the idea of evolution. Humans and reptiles shared a common ancestor 320 million years ago, but the show more or less decides that genetic errors that lead to the occasional human with webbed fingers or scaly skin could have Reptilian ancestors. The show falsely claims Alexander the Great was sired by a dragon. That is not quite true; Alexander himself claimed his father was Zeus—not a snake. The dragon myth is a very late version from the Late Antique and medieval Alexander Romances. The point of all this is to get David Icke on screen to claim that royal families and superior bloodlines have hidden Reptilian blood. But this is more repeat material, this time from S04E03 “The Greys,” and the show does nothing with the claim. Apparently even Ancient Aliens shies away from claims of pure and impure bloodlines.
After the break, the show talks about the “reptilian brain,” the primitive part of our own brain, which is thematically connected to the Reptilians only in name. The show seems to want to situate the Reptilians—now long forgotten—millions of years in the past, but basically the show is pretty much just talking about reptiles at this point. There is an uncomfortable part where we hear from a woman whose name I missed that the reptilian brain would have men raping women for sex because, apparently, rape is an “instinct.” The narrator, ignoring this, asks if reptilian parts of our brain mean that there were Reptilians who had whole reptile brains. You see, the show seems to think that the “reptilian brain” is actually derived directly from reptiles and represents the cold, unemotional, evil nature of the Reptilians, or Rape-tilians, if we believe what we’ve heard tonight. David Icke asserts that this reptilian brain was “infused” into us by the Archons, Gnostic servants of the Demiurge, whom Icke says were Reptilian, though this is not at all clear from Gnostic texts where they are spiritual beings associated with the stars and the spheres.
We finish the hour with additional recent alien abduction stories featuring Reptilians. As Nick Redfern accidentally makes plain in describing the contactees as waking up in the middle of the night paralyzed while lizard people look at them, these encounters are almost certainly waking dreams during periods of sleep paralysis. I encountered this once myself. Many years ago I woke up paralyzed and saw a reptile-like “alien” crawling on me. But being somewhat less convinced of the reality of monsters than this crowd, I forced myself to touch the creature, which vanished. And then I woke up. It was a realistic dream, but a dream nonetheless, unless the alien had the courtesy of replacing the blankets I removed in the dream as it vanished.
Icke and Childress tell us that the Reptilians want to take over the world, but Redfern thinks we are cattle being farmed for their use. Tsoukalos doesn’t believe we are the Reptilians’ slaves and opposes claims of an evil Reptilian agenda, which is rather self-serving since Icke’s paranoid, dark version of events competes directly with the Tsoukalos-Von Däniken sunnier horny-alien hypothesis whereby the aliens are our friends, not our enemies. We are meant to worship the aliens and pay their high priests (i.e. ancient astronaut theorists), not fear the aliens! Who would pay money for that?
7/25/2014 03:49:47 pm
Jason --- Luv --- good review --- toss in a few LYSERGICs
7/25/2014 03:58:28 pm
BABYLON FIVE as a TV series was very well written by JMS.
7/25/2014 04:39:59 pm
It's bad enough when fringe types take legitimate scientific concepts and misinterpret or exaggerate them for their own purposes, like quantum mechanics or "Mitochondrial Eve." But when a scientist says something kinda stupid, like Dale Russell and his "dinosauroid," it's even more frustrating to me when it becomes such a standard part of fringe scholarship.
7/25/2014 05:52:53 pm
Pardon me, sir. But I hope you used the word "scholarship" lightly here.
7/25/2014 05:26:59 pm
Those damn "extah-terrestrials"!
7/25/2014 06:48:38 pm
Fear the Rape-tilians of Uranus!
7/26/2014 08:08:58 am
He's climbin in your windows
7/25/2014 06:18:13 pm
"Robert Schoch thought that the skulls were elongated to indicate greater mental powers, which implies an understanding of the brain that did not exist until modern times."
7/25/2014 08:11:22 pm
I believe the bit about "an understanding of the brain that did not exist until modern times" is an allusion to Egyptian burial rites in which the brain is essentially discarded as a useless lump and emphasis is placed on the heart as the center of thought and seat of the soul.
7/26/2014 12:56:36 am
Yes, that was what I was referring to. I've clarified it in the post above. It was late, and I was writing fast and wasn't as clear as I could have been. Two hours of Ancient Aliens will do that to a person.
7/26/2014 05:46:25 am
That's not quite what's giving me trouble. I assumed Jason had something like this in mind. What's giving me trouble is how one goes from that to the claim that association of intelligence with brain or skull features implies modern understanding of the brain.
7/26/2014 06:23:54 am
Since Schoch was describing brain power as producing psychic phenomena and/or alien wisdom, I'm not sure there is a serious way to critique his idea. Nor is it clear that anyone in those days believed a "bigger" brain led to greater mental powers.
7/26/2014 07:08:21 am
Something along the lines of "Schoch's attempt to conntect skull shape to psychic powers or alien wisdom is supported neither by what we know about the Nazca nor by what we know about the brain", perhaps?
7/25/2014 06:38:24 pm
"denies that Sumerians were incapable"
7/26/2014 12:53:19 am
7/26/2014 07:57:43 am
If you're talking about heads and Nazca, you should look at the work of Proulx and others on trophy heads as material elements of farming fertility rituals.
7/26/2014 08:52:40 am
You know what bugs me about his discussion? He doesn't really motivate the suggestion that a central purpose of warfare for the Nazca was acquisition of trophy heads for propitiating nature spirits. In fact, he doesn't really give any argument for their use in fertiluty rituals other than that shamans are sometimes depicted handling them.
7/26/2014 02:59:22 pm
If I remember correctly, Proulx's work is primarily based on iconography. I also don't remember mass burials of Nazca heads, though I could be wrong about that. They're associated not just with shamans, but with the elongated beasties in the iconography.
7/26/2014 03:02:49 pm
Here, for example, he does in fact suggest that actual heads were used as trophies, as amulets, and so on. But that they had a meaning informed by association with fertility, as seen in the iconography.
7/26/2014 03:21:44 pm
The Meso-American analogy is with the role of war, not with the use of heads. The Nazca treatment of heads is quite specific. (And Prolux himself discusses mass burials. Indeed, in at least some of his work, it is an important part of the case for the fertility association.)
7/26/2014 11:19:08 am
"Tsoukalos also falsely asserts that the snakes came from the sky when in fact most myths have them come up from the earth."
7/26/2014 12:01:05 pm
E Wallis Budge 101 --- Horus's head is like that of a falcon
7/26/2014 12:11:32 pm
random thought --- itz a SNAKENADO instead of Sharknado?
7/26/2014 12:17:33 pm
The History Channel itself just sunk to an all time low by putting David Icke on there.
7/26/2014 01:46:56 pm
I've always seen David Icke as being like the Ed Wood of the fringe community. Anytime he comes on screen I just crack up.
7/26/2014 03:24:54 pm
Unlike Ed Wood, David Icke manages to make money in spite of being the bottom of the barrel.
7/26/2014 03:39:45 pm
Thats a bit harsh on Eddie Murphy. At least he at one point in his career was a top comedian. If I'm going to base it on him still making money while being at the bottom of the barrel, then comparing David Icke to Tyler Perry is the better analogy.
7/26/2014 03:55:32 pm
David Icke used to be a decent sports announcer (or something).
7/26/2014 11:23:29 pm
i am thinking over the intense eruption of Santorini, the fall
7/27/2014 02:14:51 am
VeliciRaptors are kind of already close enough to the basic Humanoid Shape. 4 limbs but only walks on 2.
7/29/2014 06:48:05 pm
Holy_XXXX I have stopped watching at the middle of season 4 as the show has clearly ran out of idea and they can only milk so much out of all the 'evidences'. So a season 7 is really to me insult to audience intelligence by repackaging stuff covered before again...
8/25/2014 06:56:26 am
You know, I thought one of the premises of this show was to open up Erich von Däniken's library of research for in depth analysis and review? Perhaps I'm mistaken. All personal feelings about him put aside, wouldn't that make for much better programming versus the crap were being fed now, case in point The Reptilians episode?
8/25/2014 07:16:32 am
Expanding on this thought: Wouldn't our time be better spent as a viewer pouring over research materials EvD has gathered for over 40 years, examining it's authenticity and possibilities from all angles, be much more interesting and thought provoking than this complete pile of Reptilian crap?
8/25/2014 07:31:43 am
Just to illustrate how much the show has changed since its inception in my world. Whenever I'd talk with friends and co-workers about the show when it first aired, there was quite a bit of water cooler talk discussions. Episodes like Season 2's Unexplained Structures or Season 3's Ancient Engineers sparked a lot of talk, debate and individual research. It was fun and we couldn't wait for more.
9/5/2014 02:09:41 pm
I live in South Carolina, and there's something people don't seem to get about our Lizard Man legend or whatever you want to call what happened in 1988. He's not actually a humanoid reptile! He's more of a Bigfoot-like creature.
12/4/2014 01:15:11 pm
Am I the only one who keeps misreading the title as "Feces of the Gods"?
1/17/2016 10:35:48 pm
Go to my youtube cecil alma and I will show you something you have never seen before caught on video! Uoy won't be dissappointed
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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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