Star Wars is undoubtedly an inspiration for Ancient Aliens, which frequently uses the movies as an aesthetic touchstone for the graphics they design to depict aliens, so why not actually do an episode on aliens fighting star wars and relate it to ancient myth, just like the movie? That’s the premise of S08E09 “Alien Wars,” though the end result is mostly paranoia and conspiracy rather than grand mythic narrative.
We open in Britain in 2002 to recount Gary McKinnon’s arrest for hacking the U.S. government in order to find information about UFOs. McKinnon claimed that he found on Pentagon computers evidence of a secret U.S. military space program, one that launched people and ships into orbit without a single telescope on earth noticing. The show gives great credence to Paul Hellyer, the former Canadian defense minister, who in his 80s—decades after leaving office—decided that he now believed in aliens, UFOs, and ancient astronauts after watching a Peter Jennings documentary on the same. The show uses his onetime government position to imply something that isn’t true: that Hellyer’s conclusions come from his government office rather than the TV show he admitted to be his source. David Wilcock further asserts that unnamed people have confirmed to him that America has diplomatic relations with space beings.
I’ll grant the show this: This is the first time I’ve ever heard the narrator say “ancient astronaut theorists say ‘no’” instead of “yes.” He says this in answer to the question of whether all twelve (!) species of space alien are in a “unified confederation.” Instead, the AATs believe that the aliens are fighting a war against each other for control of the earth.
The show makes use of the Indian Science Congress’s presentation on Sanskrit ancient astronaut claims from earlier this year—an embarrassment to Indian science I covered back when it happened in January. This sets up a recap of the claims about the cosmic battles and flying ships of the Sanskrit epic poems covered so many times, with no discernible difference. They continue to claim that the Mahabharata should be taken, for example, as literally true, a claim going back to the pilot episode.
The second segment opens at Dwarka, a coastal Indian city said to have been destroyed in a terrible war according to the Mahabharata (8.33-34), annihilated by flaming arrows from a flying chariot. Under the sea, archaeologists found sunken ruins they’d like us to identify as having been destroyed by this chariot. Another submerged Indian city is also discussed, the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram (of which one is above land, and the other six may or may not be mythical), and the logic runs like this: If there are ruins under the sea, and there are myths about these cities, then the myths must be true because the cities are. (Thus, for example, Spider-Man exists because New York City is real.) Tsoukalos describes the nearby stone rathas (literally, a chariot, of Persian origin) as spaceships, even though the stone monuments they show on screen have sculpted wheels to clearly indicate that they are meant to depict chariots, not spaceships. The graphics elide this by making the wheels dissolve into circular space stations.
It’s an article of faith among ancient astronaut theorists that there was a lost planet between Mars and Jupiter whose destruction gave rise to the asteroid belt, and the show discusses Zecharia Sitchin’s fraudulent “translation” of Mesopotamian texts to defend the notion that such texts tell us that the inhabitants of this lost world colonized the earth. The show confuses Sumerians and Babylonians, but at this point, is that even a surprise? Jason Martell, who also doesn’t know Sumerians from Babylonians despite claiming to be a world expert in Sumer, tells us that the aliens built a pyramid on Ceres, and that NASA photographs of reflections on Ceres are the lights of the aliens’ ancient technology.
From this, all of the AATs agree that all global myths involving a conflict between gods represent real battles between different groups of aliens. We humans, David Wilcock says, are the descendants of the “winners,” but some of the losers are still standing by to destroy us.
At this point the show teases an upcoming segment that will recap material from an earlier episode, and they don’t even try to hide it.
As we go to commercial, History announces that tonight’s extra special sponsor of pseudoscientific lies is Sonic. That seems about right. The ancient astronaut theory and Sonic are both outdated relics of the middle twentieth century, and they’re both filled with empty calories.
Are aliens obsessed with nuclear power? This was a pressing concern in the middle twentieth century, and the remains of that nuclear-obsessed era carry over into modern ancient astronautics. This segment comes to us pretty close to repeating exactly the material from the Unexplained Files last year and even features some of the same talking heads, but that episode was echoing the still earlier Ancient Aliens S06E13, which I covered back in February 2014, and don’t need to repeat here just because Ancient Aliens chooses to recycle the same material. After this, the show repeats material about vitrified Libyan desert glass covered back in S06E08, except that in that episode they explained the glass as the result of a meteor impact but now have decided that it’s the result of nuclear bombing by aliens. A different set of talking heads from the ones who were confident that the glass was meteoric in 2013 are now equally certain that the glass is nuclear in origin. David Childress was originally a nuclear glass proponent in the early 2000s before switching to meteors for S06E08. The producers don’t bother to give him a chance to contradict himself again, which is a shame, since it’s clear that the producers of this show don’t watch their own product and it would have at least provided a mildly amusing moment.
This segment reaches all the way back to September to repeat material from S08E07 about the Van Allen radiation belt and its protective function. They deliver an almost point-for-point repeat of the earlier claim that the Van Allen belt is an artificial alien construct. The program then accepts the fraudulent Majestic-12 documents are legitimate on the word of Ryan S. Wood’s MAJIC: Eyes Only (2005). The documents remain fake, and this is just irresponsible, even for Ancient Aliens.
Our final segment repeats material from S03E10 on alleged copper cauldrons found in Siberia. I didn’t mention them in my review, which is a shame since I have to do it now. There isn’t a lot of information about them, but the copper domes are certainly not coverings for lasers to blast UFOs out of the sky. There are no images of these cauldrons because the modern myth is a ufology-enhanced exaggeration of real but much less impressive archaeological find from long ago, a ring of copper seen in 1853 and assumed by R. K. Maak to be the edge of a big bowl; no such cauldrons have ever been documented in modern times. In 1936 another explorer claimed to have found a copper roof, but neglected to document it. Oh, well. The show finishes with some claptrap about the potential for extermination of the human race unless we reactivate the cauldron defense system and beam happy thoughts at the UFOs. No, that wasn’t it? Oh, well, it’s close enough, especially for a recycled episode that accepts Majestic-12 as real.
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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