Can you believe we are now in the eleventh season of Ancient Aliens, and the seventh calendar year of the series? (History renumbered the episodes beginning halfway through season six, so what should be season 9 is now season 11.) The last new episode of Ancient Aliens aired an astonishing seven months ago, and I must admit that I have rather enjoyed the extended holiday from the program’s lackluster brand of quasi-historical fantasy. Indeed, it has been rather surprising how quiet the show’s stars have been over the last half of a year, with almost none of them making public claims or offering new books. Does that mean that they are now primarily professional Ancient Aliens pundits? I guess if one can be a professional political pundit or sports commentator, being a professional alien commentator is possible.
Every season I say that my reviews are going to be shorter and less detailed, and every year I end up being wrong simply because of the volume of bad information Ancient Aliens puts out in each episode. We’ll see how S11E01 (or S09E01) “Pyramids of Antarctica” works out.
The teaser is everything you want from the History Channel: Nazis! Antarctica! UFOs! Pyramids! Giorgio Tsoukalos with bigger hair and bad lighting that makes him look washed out and kind of puffy. Ancient Aliens is back and … well, not “better” than ever, but certainly bigger than ever. The opening titles have been reanimated with shinier new graphics, presumably to hide the ever tightening circle of lies that each season repeats on a faster loop as it circles the drain of oblivion.
The segment opens with a potted history and geography of the continent of Antarctica, and Andrew Collins is our first pundit of the season, saying nothing interesting. Jonathan Young, another series regular, and David Childress, in a new black wardrobe, both agree that Antarctica is mysterious. Tsoukalos says there’s a lot of ice there.
Anyway, the show gives us a recap of a number of internet stories, some serious and some hoaxes, that depict natural rock formations that, from certain angles, look like pyramids. The material was first published in 2012, and I covered it then. A man named Jonathan White shows us some satellite images of a random blob in a photograph that he interprets as being the ground plan of a pyramid, though again with no evidence to support the claim. It doesn’t even look square, let alone artificial. Collins claims that ancient humans originally lived in Antarctica, and we’re treated to a repeat of the claim that pyramids shoot energy beams into the sky to create a wireless energy grid. That’s an old claim from an earlier season of the show (originally told of obelisks but later amended to pyramids), but it allows them to recycle their “power grid” graphics. Yes, eight minutes into the new season we’re already recycling material.
Tsoukalos asks how people struck upon the idea of heaping stones in tall piles, and he asks whether the original world pyramid is in Antarctica, but no one on the show bothers to explain how the “pyramids” are somehow on the surface of the ice despite there being, as the show conceded, miles of ice between the continent’s land surface and the visible ice surface. Either the pyramids are as big as mountains or … they are really mountains! You can guess which one I believe.
This segment begins with the “mystery” of the flash-frozen mammoth that Michael Dennin, an actual scientist, accepts as true. I debunked the claim only a few months ago, pointing out that the claim is based on mistakes and translation errors where the “buttercups” allegedly found in the mouth of the mammoths were actually greens, not flowers. The show then goes on to endorse Charles Hapgood’s pole-shift theory, which suggested that Antarctica and Siberia slid from warmer parts of the Earth to the poles. His claim is dead wrong, and was disproved by the development of the theory of plate tectonics, but it remains a favorite of the fringe.
The show also uses the 1531 Oronteus Finaeus map of the southern continent to “prove” that an ice-free Antarctica was known in the 1500s or earlier. “How the hell is it possible that it could appear on this map,” Collins said. Well, the reason is quite clear: (a) it does not depict Antarctica accurately at all, and (b) Finaeus says quite clearly in the Latin legend that he did not use any ancient maps for it: “he presents for your gaze provinces, islands, seas, rivers, and mountains unseen before now, known neither to Ptolemy, nor Eudoxus, nor Eratosthenes, or Macrobius, but which have lain in shadows up to the present day.” It is unlikely to be an ancient alien map if the mapmaker claims to have drawn it himself, and which from other sources we know to have been wildly exaggerated from Magellan’s report of Tierra del Fuego. Ancient astronaut theorists aren’t into reading the texts they claim to cite.
The third segment shows that the producers of the show read Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods, since they, like him, choose to use the Edfu texts and their account of a disaster that they think struck Egypt in ancient times. The texts allege that Edfu was the first temple, built by the gods themselves (as all temple texts did for their temples), and we hear that the Egyptians believed from the texts that the gods retreated to a sacred island to ascend to the sky. I can’t confirm that since there is no accessible English translation of the texts, but the claim appears in Eve E. A. Reymond’s 1969 book The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple. The version Collins and his fellow pundits gives differs from that of Hancock, but the idea that a comet and/or star destroyed an island that housed an evil snake is close enough to a Middle Kingdom text called the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor that it must be the same thing, particularly since Hancock runs this story and the Edfu texts together. William Henry declares the story the basis for Atlantis, which Hancock ascribed to this same story, and Henry also identifies both with Antarctica, as Hancock did in Fingerprints of the Gods before rejecting the claim as unfounded years later.
The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor doesn’t really match Atlantis, or Antarctica, and it doesn’t match the version of the story given on Ancient Aliens, but I have a feeling that none of the pundits have actually read the tale in question. The Tale says that the ancient island was home to a race of snake men, and that the “fire of heaven” fell on and killed one of the 75 serpent-people. When the sailor left the island, it disappeared. John Gwyn Griffiths argued that it must be Atlantis, but the stories bear no similarity to one another in fact, story, or detail. By contrast, according to Reymond the Edfu texts say that the first island, the home of the Primeval Ones, was destroyed for no given reason but was recreated during the period of the creation of the land of Egypt.
In the fourth segment we flip over to Nazis because Ancient Aliens loves Hitler more than aliens. The show alleges that Hitler sent members of the Thule Society to Antarctica in 1938, during the Third Antarctic Expedition, returning in 1939. The various pundits allege that this single ship, with its crew of 24 and scientific staff of 33, somehow created an underground base in a couple of months. David Wilcock brushes this aside by assuming that the Nazis discovered Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness, in fact if not name, with dead “technological” cities of astonishing antiquity buried beneath the ice and which they repurposed as a Nazi colony.
We get some popular but false claims from Childress that the U.S. sent an expedition in the 1940s for the same purpose. I debunked this in 2014, and the bottom line is that it derives from F. Amadeo Giannini's book The Worlds Beyond the Poles (1957), which in turn claimed that used part of the script of the fictional movie The Lost Horizon (1937) as supposed transcripts of dialogue between aliens and Admiral Byrd.
During the break, a commercial advertised Alien Con 2016, which, aside from the appropriate pun in its name, used the official typefaces from Ancient Aliens and promised attendees would meet the creators of the show along with “sci-fi celebrities.” I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about how Ancient Aliens and ufology have sold out to science fiction culture. I will merely note that the presence of Ancient Aliens is due to the History Channel and its parent, A+E Networks teaming up with Famous Monsters of Filmland to put on the convention over Halloween weekend. They previously had dipped their toes in the water through sponsoring events like the Paradigm Symposium, but now they are outright creating their own, and purposely mixing pseudoscience and science fiction, inseparable as they are.
Yes, A+E Networks is making Ancient Aliens into a lifestyle brand, with its own convention to go along with the clothing line and video game they launched last year!
This segment claims that world governments are conspiring to keep visitors out of the continent, which they imply is due to hiding alien artifacts. The expressed reason for doing so is actually to keep the continent pristine and protect the environment, including penguins. Linda Moulton Howe then tells a bunch of secondhand stories about anomalous events that she claims happened to military personnel in Antarctica. She offers no evidence that any of the stories are true, so there is no reason to pretend as much. Childress links these events to more fiction about Admiral Byrd, in which he allegedly flew through a hole in the Antarctic ice to the underground world. Again, it’s a wacky claim from a book that conflated a movie with real life.
The segment begins with a weather report about the increase in Antarctic ice overall and the loss of ice in the western part of the Continent. Collins finds this situation “strange” and Wilcock alleges that the aliens’ underground cities are melting the western ice due to their heat. I get that fringe figures don’t like climate change and aren’t willing to research climate science, but seriously—underground cities that only now are melting the ice? What did they do for the past 12 million years? The show doubles down on claim of lost Antarctic cities but refuses to provide any evidence that they are real, only that they “might” be found if the ice melts. So… hooray for global warming?
5/6/2016 10:27:21 pm
Since Puma Punku and Baalbek and all the other cities that were proof-positive of ancient astronaut visitations didn't pan out, it seems Antarctica has become their last bastion.
5/7/2016 11:53:06 am
Until the Antarctic Treaty was negotiated, there was a real possibility of war breaking out over Antarctic resources.
I feel a bit responsable for playing iton the idea, but the truth is that Germany did have an interest in Antarctica during Hitlers Rule. No such proof of aliens have ever been concluded, but merely their presence. I used this suspicion in my 2013 sci-fi thriller, Manner of the Sundog. Which drew a few crazy fans to my attention claiming that Antarctica held may ancient Pyramids. I know its fun to flirt with such theories, as it helps us deal with a stressful reality, yet it is absolutely ludicrous to argue the point. Though none of us would be visiting J.C's web-articles if we didn't entertain the enigma of speculative theories ourselves.
5/9/2016 11:33:54 pm
The history channels series on Hitler, pole shift and project high jump and Project Argus in 1957 were fabulous exercises in fantasies or were they? I found these subjects believable after I found a photo of my father in the jungles of New Ginny during WWII. In the photo my dad was wearing a cassock/priest’s robe surrounded by ten headhunters. He was a major then working for MacArthur in logistic. I later found out that he was part of the OSS making payments to the headhunters for Japanese heads and assuring safe passage for down American flyers. These facts were only discovered after reading US Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s work on WWII, Korea and Vietnam. I give this example because my father never told me of this story and I only discovered it via an old photo from the 1940s. Rev. Jerry Maloney
5/8/2016 11:50:01 am
When was Puma Punku debunked?... Never heard that info...
5/8/2016 12:27:47 pm
Search for "Ancient Aliens Debunked". There's a whole segment dedicated to Puma Punku.
David Childress' Neckfat
5/9/2016 02:58:18 pm
Send them there? To hell with that! Have them tour all the US major convention centers as Ancient Aliens Ice Capades.
5/10/2016 09:49:51 am
Send an expedition and use technology to see if there are any hidden chambers or entrances as you see in the Giza pyramids.Get solid evidence if it is or is not a pyramid.
5/6/2016 11:13:07 pm
A discussion of the history of imagining strange things in Antarctica is never complete without talking about the fiction of Edgar Allen Poe and Jules Verne surrounding the character of Arthur Gordon Pym.
5/7/2016 12:50:21 pm
5/7/2016 04:54:57 pm
Does that mean something?
5/7/2016 05:13:21 pm
It is the cry of the men and birds of Tsalal (an Antarctic land) in the Edgar Allan Poe novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
5/7/2016 07:04:01 pm
Ah, I'd forgotten that.
5/7/2016 08:50:22 pm
Thanks for fielding that one, Buddhist. I didn't see the question until you'd already answered it.
5/7/2016 12:09:00 am
I take everything from media like a grain of salt but I worked a few months in The Ice. You said a claim "Pole-shift theory" is wrong by pointing out another Theory "the development of the theory of plate tectonics". If I follow that theory really don't explain why USAP in "the beakers" building have Petrified Wood that they found in The Ice. Sure a lot of stuff in that episode is just speculation/theory, but one can't discard them just because another theory fit your thinking. Linda Moulton Howe talked about second hand stories, strange that it was the same stories I heard during my time in The Ice by the old timers and maybe a few more that she may don't even know. But sure I take everything like a grain of salt until I see it with my own eyes. There is some good deposits of materials in The Ice, why you think some other nations want to build "research" stations in there. Not everything in The Ice is cover of snow search for "McMurdo Dry Valleys" is a beautiful strange place. Anyhow any stuff that happen in The Ice it get clamp down by USAP unless is to make them look good. What happens in The Ice stay in The Ice
5/7/2016 01:58:28 am
Antarctica didn't start to ice over until about 23 Ma; before then, it underwent several climatic changes as it broke away to become its own continent. No pole shift needed.
5/7/2016 10:32:05 am
The "pole shift" or "crustal shift" idiocy has its roots in theorsophism:
5/7/2016 06:26:30 am
"I guess if one can be a professional political pundit or sports commentator, being a professional alien commentator is possible."
5/7/2016 08:22:20 am
You missed one other thing that Ancient Aliens is going to have. Its own cruise, sailing to the Yucatan to view the Maya ruins. I would have signed up, but their going to be sailing across the Bermuda Triangle. If the ship is warped into another dimension of time and space, instead of spending only a couple of weeks with David Childress and Jason Martel, you would end up spending years with them, that would be a fate worse than death.
5/7/2016 08:33:19 am
Conventional Maya religious beliefs were batty enough.
Ginam M Torresso
5/13/2016 01:13:39 pm
Oh that wouldn't be so bad.
5/7/2016 11:14:52 am
At the risk of sounding like an Ancient aliens nerd, I think last night was the 1st episode of the 10th season (even worse).
5/7/2016 01:15:42 pm
It turns out that History renumbered all of the episodes going back to season 6, so by their new numbering, this is now season 11! It seems that the broadcast "premieres" and "seasons" don't align with the DVD releases, so they split the broadcast season 6 in half and added some of the "special edition" reruns as official episodes to carve out two extra "seasons" for DVD and download.
5/7/2016 12:09:12 pm
5/8/2016 08:06:06 am
Perhaps read the article where Jason asks his readers for money because he's close to being broke. There are no big bunks in debunking, whereas AA has plenty of people who make a very nice living indeed from peddling nonsense to the confused and credulous.
5/7/2016 12:52:58 pm
Yes, but if no one keeps track of, and documents the many threads of nonsense which multiply daily at an alarming rate, much of the more 'believable' nonsense will quietly become ingrained in the culture and eventually become 'truth'. (As in the capital of NY is NYC).
5/7/2016 01:53:54 pm
I am still disappointed that there was no mention of the Elder Things and Shoggoths
5/7/2016 05:55:23 pm
"The Tale says that the ancient island was home to a race of snake men, and that the “fire of heaven” fell on and killed one of the 75 serpent-people."
5/8/2016 03:36:11 pm
A us naval task force cut to ribbons by nazi flying saucers in Antarctica in 1947? Seriously that is so ridiculous. Somehow the give keeps 4 thousand naval officers and enlisted guys quiet and hundreds of next of kin of those killed supposedly are not screaming for congressional investigation? Operation high jump consisted mostly of icebreakers and Oilers and a few destroyers and aircraft carrier which had replaced its fighter and attack air wings with transport aircraft and helicopter. Hardly an invasion fleet ready for combat. I will say I did come across a Russian documentary on this that basically told the same story as thus episode sans the Egypt connection. As a former member of the us naval reserve I was insulted by this episode.
Gina M Torresso
5/15/2016 07:21:41 pm
Great points Titus
5/9/2016 12:40:21 am
5/9/2016 01:32:36 pm
Pretty soon your reviews of this useless program will be condensed to: Ancient Aliens, 'nuff said .
5/10/2016 12:23:48 pm
It would be tough to prove or disprove of an ancient civilization anywhere across Antarctica considering the miles of ice that cover 98% of the continent. Nothing survives below the moving/grinding massive weight. If there was anything there at any time in the past, its been shredded beyond recognition. Not a great place to begin looking for any artifacts of humanity...or aliens.
5/15/2016 11:09:46 am
"It would be tough to prove or disprove of an ancient civilization anywhere across Antarctica considering the miles of ice that cover 98% of the continent. Nothing survives below the moving/grinding massive weight. If there was anything there at any time in the past, its been shredded beyond recognition. Not a great place to begin looking for any artifacts of humanity...or aliens."
5/15/2016 05:18:02 pm
Your point is well taken that why if there were any traces of a previous cultures or outpost it would most likely be subterranean.
5/10/2016 05:21:46 pm
So many simpletons believe this garbage as fact. I got two cousins that were so excited this weekend to tell about this episode. But when I told them its trash and made up they scoffed. But showing them this site and the Ancient Aliens debunked left them dumbfounded. Now they are open to seeing the show as a bunch of lies!
5/10/2016 05:25:39 pm
Operation High Jump attacked by Nazi's! Hahahahahahahahaha!
5/10/2016 06:03:06 pm
How does that moron David Wilcox get away with such an big lie. The US Navy attacked and ships destroyed. They way he makes that statement shows he is such a dam liar. Operation High Jump came back intact with no drama at all. Only a Martin Mariner was lost and that was attributed to the heater overheating. A common problem thru the war on that plane.
Rev. Jerry Maloney
5/10/2016 10:10:23 pm
In general the premise of an ancient city that may exist under the ice cap that sits atop the Antarctic land mass would only be feasible if it were accessible from fresh water rivers flowing under the ice cap itself. The existence of fresh water rivers flowing into the oceans surrounding the Antarctic content is a reality but to the best of my knowledge there is no evidence that Hitler’s fourth Reich sailed submarines up such passages. In history there have been many subterranean cities built. In Switzerland the Alps houses a network large enough to shelter their entire population. Our ice core drilling shows that much of the glaciers are both moving and flowing spring water melt below them to the sea. Life exists in Lake Volstoc and the current biggest threat now is a massive ice calving off this continent. It was recently discovered that much of the ice cap is being undermining by salt-water intrusion reaching miles inland below the ice cap now sitting atop existing land mass calculated to be depressed into the globe upwards of 1200 feet. Could there be subterranean tunnels reaching below the mountains of the Antarctic connected to the open sea, “without a doubt”. Would such an underground facility be impenetrable by natural disaster or war for that matter, of course! Is there evidence that the Third Reich made statements that they possessed submarine pens under the Antarctic? That a big YES. Whether Space Alien or an advanced culture once lived below the ice cap that now sits atop this continent is highly debatable but truly possible. I find that people are in general too quick to discount possibilities because of their limited life experiences, education and failure to do research on their own!
5/11/2016 03:42:03 pm
I think it's too soon to rule out the possibility that those might be pyramids. Jason said: "Sadly, however, this is just internet hype, without fact.The photographs show triangular rocky outcroppings and broken pieces of ice. No pyramids. No Atlantis. Better luck next time." I think its a bit presumptive to rule this out completely, unless it's been proven as a hoax. Has it? And by that I mean, ALL claims of the possibility of pyramids in Antartica have been disproven?
5/14/2016 02:07:28 pm
Hey all, sorry if this has been pointed out before, but has anyone realized that Giogio's hairstyle is extremely similar to the Centaries of Bablylon 5? They walk among us! Ha! ;)
5/21/2016 05:28:11 pm
I watched that old show In Search Of when I was a kid....and now that I looked that show up...it was based off a three hour show called In Search of Ancient Astronauts and Chariots Of The Gods....Which to me is what AA is the successor to. Now that old show narated by Leonard Nimoy told us that they are speculating and only offer possible explanations and leave you to decide what is fact and fiction...in otherwords to make up your own mind based on the evidence they show you. Perhaps AA should or does it say that when it presents its evidence? Of course we all should know all good lies contains grains of truth...this is how propaganda works and how the Nazis work and even today how it works. But I feel AA lets you make up your own mind and does not claim all facts...it shows you what might or could possibly be true or false. Nice article.
7/12/2016 03:03:49 pm
Were they not talking about how, the ice seemed to be diminishing in one spot yet growing in others? I'm playing Switzerland here, but what if there is something that we cannot see that is affecting the ice? Then again. it could just be nothing.
12/20/2016 01:09:00 am
I watched this fantasy episode on YouTube. Firstly what the tin foil hat wearing loon said was a pyramid was a mountain, it even looked like a mountain. Lots of waffle about lost cities that ended up being reported as fact in an Australian newspaper renowned for publishing fairy tales, including David Wilcock's 7,000 year genetic change fairy tale that was in an earlier episode of Ancient Aliens. The whole idea of lost Antarctic cities came fro H.P Lovecraft novels, but the Ancient Aliens hosts seem to think that H.P Lovecraft, Robert E Howard and August Derleth were writing actual historic fact.
Fr. Gerald Maloney
12/21/2016 03:23:58 pm
People often refer to my belief in God and Jesus as fantasy and they are welcome to their opinion. I for one have faith and the jury is out on whether a submarine pen, city or alien base exists under the Antarctic. Facts show that specific conjecture is more than possible.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.