Tonight is a real treat when it comes to Ancient Aliens. Instead of recycling from an earlier episode of the show, tonight they are recycling from an episode of their spinoff series, In Search of Aliens. Granted, they’ve already reused this material in an Ancient Aliens episode from 2014, which in turn built on other similar claims from another 2014 episode. So when S11E06 “Decoding the Cosmic Egg” tries for something new, it’s really just recycling material it’s already covered before, but with a few extra eggs thrown in for good measure.
Eggs are rather a common symbol because eggs are found all over the Earth, and ancient people were not unobservant and quickly realized that the egg gives rise to life. Thus, it is a symbol of new life. Why one would expect aliens to be hatching from eggs, I cannot imagine, but the ancient astronaut theorists cannot fathom why people around the world would all take notice of eggs. I am reminded of one of my favorite cartoon series, Count Duckula, in which the vegetarian vampire duck hero had a villain called The Egg, who was, yes, an egg who was plotting to take over the world. One might also recall the 1966-1968 Batman series villain Egghead, played by Vincent Price. Clearly these are “undeniable evidence that this was not simply a representation of fertility,” as the narrator says of eggs.
Symbolism is not a comfortable subject for ancient astronaut theorists, so they are a bit confused as to why ancient cosmogonies would imagine the creation of the universe as the hatching of a cosmic egg. Recycling material from 2014, the show alleges that the symbol of the cracking egg is really prehistoric knowledge of the Big Bang theory, and thus secret knowledge from aliens. The trouble is that global creation myths are wildly varied. Some mention eggs, and some don’t.
David Childress, for example, mentions the “Sanskrit texts” as referring to the Cosmic Egg as the Big Bang. But this isn’t the case, not always. Here is the Rigveda hymn 129, on the creation:
1. Then was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
I wouldn’t exactly call it a scientific description of the Big Bang. Worse, the image they show of what they claim is a cosmic egg from ancient England is actually an illustration from mythologist Jacob Bryant depicting a Greek Orphic cosmic egg.
It illustrates material from Aristophenes, in Birds 698f, also found in Proclus on the Timaeus and the Orphic Hymn to Protogonus, where the primeval egg is mentioned. Aristophenes’ parody version is the fullest:
First was Chaos and Night, and black Erebus and vast Tartarus;
The second segment recycles The Sirius Mystery, which William Henry only partially understands. The show alleges that eggs in the mythology of the Dogon people are flying saucers that brought aliens to Earth from the Sirius star system. Despite the Sirius Mystery being long debunked, the show assumes all of Robert Temple’s false claims and bad inferences are true. This allows the show to repeat old chestnuts about egg-shaped flying saucers from the heyday of ufology in the 1960s, in this case the 1964 Zamora sighting, which skeptics have dismissed as either a hoax or ball lightning or a mirage caused by the star Canopus.
The third segment recycles material from In Search of Aliens about a stone egg in Portugal bearing a curvilinear pattern. (The show says it is from 3500 BCE, but published accounts put its age at 600 BCE, possibly of Phoenician origin or influence.) The segment recycles footage from S01E01 “The Hunt for Atlantis” without acknowledging the reuse of material. You are welcome to click the link to read my comments on the footage from the first time it aired.
The show briefly asks whether Druid stones were truly magical but cannot sustain interest long enough to make a real claim. After this, the show proceeds to recycle material from a 2014 episode called “Treasures of the Gods” about the alien origin of the omphalos stone, an egg-shaped rock meant to represent the center of the world. This version of the segment is less specific than the earlier, but still hits the same fake claim that omphalos stones (of which many survive) were somehow technological devices that, in Childress’s words, “stimulated” the priestesses of Delphi.
The fourth segment offers some DNA conspiracy theories from 2013, namely the idea that DNA is artificial and programed by aliens with a secret code. This is evidence, the ancient astronaut theorists say, for panspermia, or the idea that life was seeded by comets or meteors that brought organic compounds or even microorganisms to Earth. The show then recycles material from In Search of Aliens S01E01 and S01E10, where the show declared the symbol on the Portuguese stone egg to be the DNA double helix, despite looking nothing like a DNA double helix, which, just for starters, does not have a straight staff line running through it. The same applies to the Mesopotamian art they show, none of which shows a true double helix, or “DNA spiral” as Erich von Däniken calls it. David Childress says that not only is the double helix represented by serpents but that serpents also represent “our sperm.” William Henry finds one Renaissance painting in which Gabriel is given the attributes of Mercury, including the caduceus, during the Annunciation, and on that basis declares the caduceus an attribute of Gabriel (it wasn’t) and proof that he was genetically engineering Jesus. In reality, Gabriel is typically seen holding a lily, symbolizing the purity of the Virgin and the spring timing of the event. The image the show uses, one version of Bartholomäus Bryun the Elder’s The Annunciation (c. 1520), uses the caduceus because it contains material influenced Hermetic mysticism, or so Joseph Campbell claimed.
The fifth segment talks about the Third Eye, but even this show doesn’t claim that humans have a literal third eye on our foreheads. Instead, it claims that third eye is the egg-shaped thalamus within the brain, which, following a popular Facebook meme, they declare to be the all-seeing eye of Horus because they think that the thalamus in cross-section looks like an eye with Egyptian eye makeup. The claim dates back at least to 2008, where it appeared in a novel and on internet chat boards for lovers of all things alien. It may be older, but I can’t immediately find earlier references. It is a variant of the much more common claim (equally false) that the Eye of Horus represents the pineal gland, a claim at least two decades older.
The sixth segment claims that auras (“pram,” “chi,” etc.) are shaped like eggs. The show attempts to relate this pseudoscience to the holographic universe hypothesis. David Wilcock falsely claims that it is “mathematically proven” that we are living in a hologram projected from a central egg. It is a hypothesis, but it isn’t proven, mathematically or otherwise. A 2006 suggestion that the universe is egg shaped leads the various talking heads to declare ancient people correct in using the egg as a symbol of “a higher state of existence.” Jason Martell says that the universe, auras, and the thalamus are all connected through eggs, and Henry says that such connections prove that all the universe is “connected” and “will one day reunify.” In other words, Ancient Aliens is creating its own version of the Orphic creation myth and is passing it off as science. Weirdly, this does not require aliens at all, since the universe’s shape needs no ETs to hold it up, rendering this episode another waste of time.
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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