This week A+E Networks, the parent of the History Channel and H2, entered into an agreement with Vice Media to turn over a cable channel to the millennial-focused news organization. According to published accounts, that channel will be H2, thus explaining why History moved Ancient Aliens off the lame duck network, bringing its 1.4 million viewer back to the main History channel. But since we know A+E Networks’ agenda, I guess that only leaves us to study “The Alien Agenda,” the putative subject of this week’s instant-rerun episode of Ancient Aliens.
We open with the 2013 “Citizen Hearing on Disclosure” publicity stunt in which a grab bag of fringe figures told former U.S. congressmen, who appeared for a fee, that UFOs are real. The former Canadian cabinet minister who claimed UFOs were real, Paul Hellyer, served as a minister briefly in the 1960s but did not see any evidence of UFOs until, by his own admission, he watched Peter Jennings’s report on UFOs in 2005 and felt ABC News had proved UFOs existed. Utterly convincing, I’m sure.
After this the show revisits the Genesis passage on the Tower of Babel, and Ariel Bar Tzadok and David Childress describe the story as a technological story about humans aping the aliens, with William Henry telling us that the Tower was really a Star Gate and therefore the aliens destroyed it. It’s funny that the ancient astronaut theorists don’t really know their literature very well. They would be interested, I’m sure, to learn that Pseudo-Eupolemus, preserved in Eusebius’s Praeparatio Evangelica 9.17, wrote that the Tower of Babel was in fact built by the Nephilim who had survived the Great Flood! That really throws a wrench into their assertion that this was all about humans defying the aliens! (Pseudo-Eupolemus was adapting the Babylonian belief that the Anunnaki built the ziggurats of Babylon, as given in the Enuma Elish at 6.46f., identifying the Anunnaki with the Nephilim—something ancient astronaut theorists missed!)
Our second segment recounts once again the allegation that Mohenjo Daro was destroyed by nuclear weapons, last seen in S07E12 “Alien Messages,” but repeated many times over the years (all the way back to the 2009 pilot), down to some of the very wording used to discuss the city. In this version of the telling, the show sees no contradiction between asserting than only 43 (actually 37) skeletons have ever been recovered from the city and William Henry telling us that many bodies were found and some bodies were found arm-in-arm where they fell during a nuclear blast. (They were not; the bodies found were not contemporary with one another, and they were buried in graves.) We hear that the site was “vitrified” through supernatural or nuclear explosion, but as the video clearly shows, the buildings of the city are not all turned to glass. There is some vitrification, but it isn’t of building but fire-hardened pottery, from a dumping ground where vitrified pottery was buried. The nuclear explosion must have been pretty special if it left the entire city standing, and its mud brick buildings unburned, un-cracked, and still in good condition down to this very day.
Now we discuss the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in 391 CE, which they assert occurred at the order of Christian Emperor Theodosius I for containing blasphemous works. They blame the Catholic Church. Ancient sources attribute the first destruction of the Library to Caesar, by accident, in 48 BCE. Aurelian destroyed the main library in conquering the city in the third century. Theodosius actually ordered the pagan temples, not the library specifically, closed in 391. It did not involve burning.
After this, the show notes that NASA published a confirmation that the Romans saw UFOs, and they rehearse some of the citing I’ve previously covered in analyzing Jacques Vallee’s Wonders in the Sky, namely the “prodigies” of Livy, from which they select those that sound like ships over those that involve mutants, flying frogs, and other silly things. However, the article, “Unidentified Flying Objects in Classical Antiquity” by Richard Stothers, actually ran in The Classical Journal in 2007 before being reprinted on a NASA website. They also harp on Constantine’s vision of the cross, but they’ve covered this too often to warrant covering again here, except to say that the show takes a highly unusual and disturbing view that aliens control the Catholic Church and have used the Church to persecute the Library from around 300 down to 391 CE. Oddly, the show, speaking through Nick Pope, claims that the Roman Empire’s advancement “caught the attention” of the aliens but that the aliens were not responsible for Roman greatness. (Romans are white, so—duh!) Instead, the aliens are only responsible for the greatness of non-European peoples.
We return to the Disclosure Hearing and Paul Hellyer’s claim that four or more species of aliens are visiting us. Nick Pope assures us that Hellyer, now in his 90s, has a close and vital connection to classified information, but Pope forgets to tell us that Hellyer hasn’t been a government minister since the 1960s and didn’t become a UFO believer until 2005, when he saw it on TV. This leads us to a discussion of the Anunnaki (of course), which they explore through Thorkild Jacobsen’s taxonomy of the Sumerian gods, but it’s worth noting that the show uses “Anunnaki” as synonymous with “Sumerian gods” even though in the book they cite, Jacobsen’s Treasures of Darkness, Jacobsen mentions the Anunnaki less than a dozen times and specifies that they are not the same as the gods in general but are a special set of underworld and sky gods. (There is one ambiguous reference from a poem of Anu that can be read as calling the Anunnaki the “gods in their entirety.”) The narrator tells us that because the “Anunnaki” (actually Enlil and Enki) disagreed with one another we can therefore use this knowledge to understand why aliens have opposing agendas.
NAZIS! We start off with apocryphal claims that Adolf Hitler had meetings with “super beings,” which regular readers probably will remember best from the claim’s appearance in Morning of the Magicians. The narrator acknowledges that the claims are “widely questioned” (unlike any other ancient astronaut claim?), and then Nick Pope tells us that the aliens were deeply disturbed by the scale of World War II. We get repeats of some of the greatest hits from past episodes: Foo Fighters, aliens’ obsession with nuclear weapons, etc.
Weirdly, the show claims that Hitler and the Nazis were able to invent “superweapons” all on their own (being white Aryans) and that the aliens had to intervene to stop these Aryan geniuses from seizing the power of the alien-gods not meant for mere men. Meanwhile, in previous episodes the show told us that the non-white peoples of the earth needed alien help just to pile rocks on top of one another, and the Nazis’ hated enemy Albert Einstein, a Jew, had to have aliens pump relativity into his brain because the non-Aryan was too stupid to come up with it on his own. So, to recap: According to this episode, the Romans and the Nazis were able to build super-empires of high technology on their own, but non-Europeans need alien help to keep their weak little minds from leaving them scratching the ground for roots and berries. It’s a good thing we aren’t supposed to see these episodes as forming anything like a consistent or coherent argument! Oh, right: It’s also a good thing that the show reminds us that we Americans, having taken the Nazi scientists back to America after the war, are the heirs to Nazi genius!
What rehash would be complete without the Large Hadron Collider, the particular Ancient Aliens bugaboo that that, according to them in various episodes, is either a resurrection of ancient alien technology or a horrifying human affront to the aliens’ orders that will destroy the fabric of reality. This time William Henry tells us that the LHC is actually a recreation of the Tower of Babel, which was the first attempt at a Star Gate. (Again, weirdly, the Babylonians, as proto-white people, are allowed the dignity of having invented a Star Gate without alien assistance, while their non-white brethren were too dumb to heap dirt into mounds without alien plans.) Nick Pope tells us that the LHC leaves us at the “threshold of the final chapter” of human history, whatever that’s supposed to mean. The show concludes with some bromides about human “destiny” to fulfill the aliens’ agenda for us, which was to get us to a level of technology that would allow them to feel “comfortable” revealing themselves to us. I don’t understand this: They felt “comfortable” enough to have sex with humans back in the days of Noah (Genesis 6:4) but not comfortable enough to pose for photos until we invented iPads and cat videos?
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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