What exactly can one say about an episode of Ancient Aliens dedicated to theodicy, the problem of evil? The show covered this topic in their episode on “Aliens and Evil Places” as well as their episode advocating Satan worship. They have an unsophisticated philosophy that imagines the existence of a cosmic evil, even though there is no objective reality to good or to evil, only a relative morality. Rocks and trees don’t care about murder and rape, and it’s almost certain that aliens, should they exist, would have a very different morality than modern Americans.
In this segment the show asks whether evil forces exist and have an objective reality in the form of demons, and whether these demons can infect humans and drive them to evil acts like murder. William Bramley, author of Gods of the New Eden, says that it’s “obvious” that there is good and evil in the world, and Giorgio Tsoukalos argues for a Manichean dualism where the universe is divided into good and evil forces. Once again, it’s important to remember that “evil” is relative to our cultural beliefs at any given time in history. It’s hard to think of any act that has not been declared good and bad at various times. Do the “good” and “evil” aliens switch moral allegiances as our cultural values change?
Following this, the show notes that Hesiod claimed to have received inspiration from the Muses to write the story of Pandora and her jar in the Theogony. Unfortunately, she is not discussed in the Theogony by name, and the story of her jar actually appears in the Works and Days. David Wilcock tells us that Pandora’s jar was a portal to a hell dimension that let aliens in. Next, David Childress cites the Arab legend of the djinn as evidence that interdimensional aliens appear on earth to work both good and evil. I’ll leave you to read about the djinn in the Akbar al-zaman to see that their stories are far too strange and diverse to fall into those boxes neatly.
The second segment looks at the medieval Cathars and their unconventional beliefs, which included a form of dualism. The various talking heads, including Kathleen McGowan-Coppens, who believes herself to be the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene, rhapsodize over Cathar dualism, which is discussed by Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay in the Historia Albigensis 10 from around 1218 CE: “First, it should be known that the heretics [the Cathars] propose the existence of two creators, one of things invisible, whom they call the benign God, and one of things visible, whom they name the evil God” (my trans.). The show compares this to the Mesopotamian Atra-Hasis epic with the help of Erich von Däniken and William Bradley, who are talking about material that appears both in that text and in the Babylonian Enuma Elish. William Henry claims that the Mesopotamian belief is that human bodies are prisons for the spirit of light. This does not appear in the texts, which claim that humans were jolted to life when the blood of a god soaked into a clump of mud. The Atra-Hasis epic adds the extra detail that the gods spit on the mud. The “light” seems to be a New Age gloss on the concept of a bit of the divine animating the clay.
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The segments of this hour seem to have nothing to do with one another since we jump to telling the story of Rasputin and his malign influence on the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia. McGowan-Coppens quotes an almost certainly hoax prophecy that Rasputin allegedly made before his murder, but which wasn’t published until many years after his death. Her other stories of Rasputin’s various visions and antics are similarly ill-sourced, often known only from Rasputin’s own claims to have been in contact with the Virgin Mary or other entities. Crazy people and con artists will say and do anything, so calling his self-developed claims “extraterrestrial contact” is ridiculous. It is, however, entirely in keeping with the purpose and goals of Ancient Aliens to taking the mad rantings of a con artist or crazy person as objective fact, based only on the claimant’s own word. The show concludes that Rasputin, as a poor person from the sticks, wasn’t smart enough to be a con artist, so he must have been a “puppet” of evil interdimensional aliens, which made it look like he was crazy. They believe that the evil aliens “protected” Rasputin until he was finally killed. (Aliens don’t like losers, so they gave up protecting him when he was shot for the second time during the night of December 16-17, 1916.) This segment appears to exist because the show had access to reenactment B-roll footage from a previous History Channel documentary on Rasputin that they could reuse for cheap.
The show asks whether dictators we currently describe as evil were in thrall to the devil. This includes Genghis Khan, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. This is interesting since Genghis is increasingly being reevaluated. The show says that the devil is really an alien, and these leaders made a pact with aliens. The show decides to discuss Nazi occult involvement, and here we get into some uneasy territory because many of the claims about Nazi involvement with space aliens or interdimensional beings were made up by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels in Morning of the Magicians, the book that this show indirectly rips off through Erich von Däniken’s appropriation of it in Chariots of the Gods, the inspiration for Ancient Aliens. The show, following Mike Fitzgerald, a frequent and often wrong writer on Nazi occultism (he also believes Noah sailed the Ark to America and that Obama is bringing about the End Times), greatly exaggerates the occult foundations of Nazism based on fringe literature claims for the Nazi occult, and they also argue that the Allies used psychics and magicians to combat the Nazi occult warriors. The show says Aleister Crowley was employed by Churchill (he was consulted by British intelligence as part of a disinformation campaign) and that Crowley invented the V for Victory symbol to counteract the swastika’s occult power. This is a claim Crowley made for himself in the last years of his life (when he took to dressing like Churchill to show his admiration), but no one at the time believed him, and no serious scholar since. David Ritchie of the BBC is usually credited as the inventor of the symbol.
The show warns us about the dangers of trying to summon dark forces, and George Noory claims that Aleister Crowley’s interdimensional contact, Lam, was really a Grey alien. Remember: Last week the Grey aliens were robots! Now they’re interdimensional demons!
The show rehashes the famous incident when Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard conducted occult Crowley rituals in 1946, in Pasadena, which David Wilcock tells us is at the same latitude as Roswell, New Mexico, where aliens allegedly crash landed in the next year. Therefore, he concludes that Hubbard and Parsons opened a hole into another dimension through which the Roswell aliens entered, because alien portals are apparently confined to specific latitudes. That’s good to know, especially since the earth wasn’t in the same position in space for the dimensional portal to lead to Roswell and I can’t see how a hole in space time would have anything to do with an arbitrary latitude line. In case you care, Pasadena is actually at 34º N and Roswell is at 33º N.
I stopped caring when Wilcock started claiming that aliens are really parasitic creatures that feed off of “negative” energy, which is why they foment violence and stress to hurt us. This is based on fringe claims that “positive” and “negative” “energies” can affect the crystallization of water—a goofy claim debunked years ago in Skeptical Inquirer and elsewhere. The show then tells us that Bible prophecies are real and that a battle is coming between good people and aliens and bad people and aliens. Angels, they say, are aliens, and, most importantly, THE BIBLE IS 100% TRUE, Y’ALL! BIBLE BIBLE BIBLE!
Ancient Aliens should drop the act of being pseudo-scientific and declare itself some weird brand of heretical Christian Gnosticism and save money by becoming tax-exempt.
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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