I’m not very excited for this episode of Ancient Aliens. We’ve done abduction episodes many times before, and I can’t say that I am more excited about rehashing that than I was about the fascinating material I learned from the FBI’s files on Amazing Stories editor Ray Palmer and Shaver Mystery author Richard Sharpe Shaver. Sadly, because of Ancient Aliens, I’ll have to postpone my discussion of what I have learned for another day.
We start with an account of the longstanding claim by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the autonomous Russian Federation republic of Kalmykia, first voiced in 2001, to have been abducted by aliens, which I covered last year. He believes, for example, that maize was created by space aliens. They name-check Betty and Barney Hill but don’t bother to talk about their abduction, lest they have to contend with its science fiction trappings. After describing a “typical” alien abduction, the show contradicts the idea that there is a template for such abductions by comparing them to the heavenly journeys of prophets, gods, and various heroes of myth and legend. None of them ever received an anal probe, despite the show’s claim that stories like those of Enoch and Ezekiel are “identical” to modern alien abductions.
To expand on this, the show tells us about the discovery of Angkor Wat in Cambodia because legend says that the architect of the temple rose up to heaven and returned with the building’s plans so that it could serve as a palace for the god Indra’s son Precha Ket Mealea. Giorgio Tsoukalos calls this the “best” story to prove the ancient astronaut theory. The trouble is that the architect of legend, Brah Bisnukar, is transparently a transcription of Visvakarman, a Hindu god of architecture repurposed for the new story. That his legend predates the existence of Angkor does not say much for its literal truth.
The second segment tries to convince us, based on the work of John Mack, that alien abduction is real because a lot of people believe they were abducted by aliens. This fallacious argumentum ad populum is not strictly speaking logical since many people believe in things like astrology and homeopathy despite their manifest untruthfulness. Abduction may be “real” in the sense that many people believe it happened to them, but their belief does not translate into objective reality, even if George Noory believes that hypnotic regression is a reliable method of recalling the past. Science tells us that this is not so, and Barney Hill’s recollection of The Outer Limits under hypnosis as his own abduction pretty much tells us that hypnosis isn’t going to lead us to aliens.
The show alleges that according to an International Community for Alien Research study of 34,000 abductees, people with green eyes and Rh-negative blood are more likely to be abducted, with 75% of abductees having blue or green eyes. The show returns to its fascination with Rh-negative blood from earlier episodes in this season, adding nothing to their earlier claims. Sadly, the ICAR study this is based upon is methodologically unsound, based as it was on online self-reporting conducted via a web survey on their website and Facebook and MySpace pages. Those self-reporting in an online forum about aliens are likely to share certain traits, such as being white people from Irish, Anglo-Saxon, or Northern European backgrounds, which over-represents blue and green eyes. Online poll takers are also more likely to lie.
The third segment has Whitley Streiber on to describe his abduction experience. He was famously anal-probed, and his probing inspired the 1990s wave of anal probing reports. The show doesn’t care about this, though, and instead tries to find evidence of alien implants in abductees. The various bits of metal and other debris are not terribly impressive, but the show alleges that the objects are of meteoric origin. I doubt that, honestly, and would need to see proof. In 2007, I cut my finger on a lamp, and a shard of metal became embedded in my finger. Doctors took x-rays and failed to find the shard. I continued to suffer pain, and a year later, the shard showed up on an x-ray, but the doctors said that surgery would likely cause nerve damage. It took three years, but the piece of metallic alloy finally worked its way out of my finger in a painful and creepy way. I had a small piece of metal cutting through my finger like a tiny claw. If I hadn’t remembered cutting my finger on the lamp, and didn’t know that’s what it was, surely this could have been passed off as an alien implant of strange unnatural metal.
The fourth segment had Linda Moulton Howe discuss her favorite 1990s abduction story, that of Jim Sparks, a man who claimed to have been abducted starting in 1988 and to have had visions of previous lives going back to pre-human times. As always, there is no evidence to support the story, but that’s par for the course with alien claims. Sparks offers a lot of claims, but talk is cheap. Surprisingly, the aliens managed not to provide him with actionable information that could prove communication with entities from another world, only the same drivel that anyone with an internet connection could Google. The segment concludes by teasing the next segment, about alien hybrids.
The fifth segment discusses last year’s bizarre story of Jeffrey Lash, the man who believed himself to be an alien hybrid in the government’s employ. Sadly, the show doesn’t admit that the man was mentally ill. They believe, for example, that he lacked fingerprints because he was an alien and not because he had purposely altered his fingers out of paranoia. The various talking heads are convinced that the entire Earth is lousy with hybrid aliens, though they don’t seem to be too bothered about it in real life. Surely, if they think that aliens are everywhere they would be a bit more worried. An “expert” tells us that hybrids are identical to humans but have sociopathic—sorry, telepathic—abilities to manipulate “real” humans.
An apparent joke that the prime minister of Russia told in 2012 about getting a folder with alien secrets in it is taken for a fact, with the talking heads telling us that Dimitri Medvedev’s dry humor is actually serious statements of fact. The talking heads suggest that aliens want to replace us through breeding us out of existence, which is a strange parallel to white Americans’ fear that ethnic minorities will outbreed the white race. Apparently the all-white cast of the show is just as worried as white nationalists that Caucasians are too fragile to continue ruling the world. There is always a political dimension, and here it seems to be a fear that the old ruling class is not in charge any more.
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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