I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go. This episode of Ancient Aliens marked the end of its eleventh season (and seventh calendar year) on the air. This season was also the longest since season three, and the first I can remember to run almost uninterrupted. (It was off the day of the Olympic opening ceremony.) All told, this gave me Ancient Aliens fatigue, and it sapped some of the joy even out of pointing to such ridiculous missteps as citing the Weekly World News as a reliable source, as they did a few weeks ago. Fifteen episodes is just too much of a bad thing, but clearly History’s audience disagrees. Last week’s episode drew 1.12 million viewers, about even with its season average, a number that has rarely moved more than 10% up or down year after year.
It seemed fitting that the morning this episode aired, the Bizarro comic strip ran this:
This cartoon neatly encapsulates the stereotypes of the ancient astronaut theory, from the popular (though incorrect) shorthand that aliens built the pyramids, to the assumption inherent in the theory that ancient people were pretty stupid.
Speaking of stupid, we might as well discuss the show.
Our topic for this evening is the Hindu deity Shiva, who is thought by some to originate not with Indo-European mythology, as most Hindu gods, but from the Indus Valley Civilization, and thought by others to be a composite who subsumed aspects of a range of Indo-European gods and pre-Indo-European gods. The show ignores this to go back to the classic ancient astronaut claim that the Mahabharata describes the nuclear annihilation of a city and descriptions of alien spaceships, the vimanas. This is only partly true. Powerful weapons are indeed described, but they bear only a superficial resemblance to nuclear weapons—the more exact similarities are modern fabrications. There are also flying ships in the epic, but these are etymologically derived from earlier accounts of horse-drawn chariots that could fly, a clear literary projection of the ground world into the sky.
The show alleges that Shiva’s third eye isn’t symbolic but rather an energy beam that shot out of Shiva’s forehead. Giorgio Tsoukalos bizarrely identifies Shiva with Zeus, Viracocha, Quetzalcoatl, Odin, and other chief gods and civilizing gods of various mythologies. This is bizarre on many levels, not least of which is that Zeus has a Vedic analogue: Dyaus, the Vedic god who shares his name and originates in the same Indo-European deity.
The show also ascribes to Shiva the onset of Noah’s Flood, even though Hindu mythology does not. In the most ancient surviving Hindu versions of the Flood myth, such as the one recorded in the Satapatha Brahmana, it is Vishnu who takes the lead role in warning the first man, Manu, of the coming disaster.
The second segment reviews the rock-cut stone temple to Shiva known as Kailasa, carved entire from the living rock in the early middle ages. The show alleges that such rock carvings are impossible in the eighteen-year timeframe ascribed to it. The show also claims that the excavated rock “disappeared.” I can’t find any reference to the building taking eighteen years to build; it seems to be a misunderstanding based on the length of the commissioning king’s reign (756-773 CE).
The show also takes for truth the semi-fictional 1876 spiritualist text Ghost-Land, which claims that a cult had a secret headquarters in tunnels under the temple. They ascribe the text to Emma Britten, though she credited herself only as its translator, the work being that of the Chevalier Louis de B—. (The actual authorship is unknown.) The text is a common enough Western Orientalizing narrative, in which a Westerner travels to India, encounters holy men (in this case the fictitious Ellora Brotherhood) and receives spiritual wisdom from them. They lie, though, in saying that the leader phased in and out of existence; the author actually says in Chapter 21 that he came and went “like a spirit,” meaning that he was fast and silent. David Childress alleges that the temple is older than archaeologists let on, and that it was created in the Great Flood, which the aliens rode out in a city under the temple.
The third segment talks about Shiva’s stone penises, the lingam. The show rejects the phallic worship inherent in the stone penises and instead suggests that they are copies of “technological” devices. Kathleen McGowan Coppens, who believes herself to be Jesus’ descendant, claims that the stone represents “atomic energy.” The narrator calls it a “mysterious shape,” and a talking head called Praveen Mohan claims that it looks like a nuclear reactor, and the milk poured over it in ritual is coolant. It’s a dick. No points to guess what the milk represents.
The fourth segment describes pages of an undated text that describe the works of Sage Agastya, author of the Agastya Saṁhitā, laying out how to build a battery. David Childress and a physicist then reconstruct this battery and claim it has amazing power. If this sounds familiar, it is because I wrote about it last December, when I found the story in an old book of mystery-monger Andrew Tomas. It’s an old hoax, and rather surprising that producers for the show only got around to doing an episode about it after I wrote of it, coincidentally right around the time they would have been breaking episodes for this season. As I discovered, everyone who wrote about the text, including David Childress, who popularized it in 2000, pretended to have seen or know of someone who has seen a text that does not exist. Even the alleged “discoverer” of the text lied about it. The text comes from the December 1923 Vedic Magazine (vol. 21, no. 7), where it is given not as an ancient recipe for making a battery but an admitted modern interpretation of an alleged ancient poem! There is no actual ancient text describing how to make a battery.
The fifth segment discusses Mount Kailash, the mythological home of Shiva. The show follows a Russian claim that the mountain is actually an artificial pyramid, though there is no evidence of artificiality. The evidence seems to be that pilgrims to the holy mountain feel “energy” in the area. The show tries to link this to Mount Meru, though it is not always identified with the mythological axis of the world, and sometimes stands alongside it. Childress claims that the mountain is hollow, and that it contains nuclear waste from alien activities, though no radiation measurements have ever suggested such a thing.
And what a surprise that the last segment uses Nicholas Roerich’s UFO sighting at Mount Kailash, also from Andrew Tomas’s book, that I wrote about a month before discussing the Agastya Saṁhitā “battery.” Roerich actually saw a weather balloon, launched by Sven Hedin nearby. Either I am very good at psychically intuiting this show’s “research,” or could it be that someone at the show reads my blog? As Giorgio Tsoukalos likes to say, I’m just asking questions. (Best answer: They are probably just recycling Tomas via Childress.)
9/2/2016 10:19:04 pm
As a certain E. Von D. has said... "Nobody reads the question marks!" I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if some of the ideas were coming from your blog. I'd suggest trying to trap them by lacing the blog with a fake article or two and then suing, but that would be highly unethical. We all know what's going on and it's just a shame that they really can't be called on it. They could at least offer you a writing credit...
9/3/2016 12:10:02 am
"The third segment talks about Shiva’s stone penises, the lingam. The show rejects the phallic worship inherent in the stone penises and instead suggests that they are copies of 'technological' devices."
9/3/2016 02:17:47 am
Because making stuff up would take actual work.
9/3/2016 08:41:31 am
"David Childress alleges that the temple is older than archaeologists let on, and that it was created in the Great Flood, which the aliens rode out in a city under the temple."
9/3/2016 10:10:14 am
Nope, some had to stay behind to keep the nuclear reactor from having a premature critical mass episode.
9/3/2016 10:36:12 am
Critical mass ejection from the lingam
9/5/2016 06:40:02 pm
Nope. 'Cause when you're an ancient antediluvian soooper genius, you just know that the best place to ride out a flood is underground, somewhere in the vicinity of the local water table.
9/3/2016 11:46:18 am
Anyone else notice the narrator's pronunciation of "Shiva"? I was half way into the episode before I realized it was about a Hindu god and not the Jewish mourning period.
9/3/2016 12:11:55 pm
Watched only a portion of the episode. Two things stuck me as odd. If you were going to survive a flood, wouldn't you go high ground and not to some underground city, which would need an outlet to the surface to provide air circulation. I mean, the conventional idea to survive a flood is to move to higher ground.
9/3/2016 12:21:25 pm
Um,,, back in those days the world was still flat, so the excess water just poured off the edge of the world.
9/3/2016 12:34:35 pm
This is predicated on the belief that a man named Jesus Christ actually lived and was executed by the Romans. Even though an entire religion has been created around this man, there is no concrete historical evidence that he existed.
9/3/2016 12:55:24 pm
If you want concrete evidence, Scott Wolter is your man.
9/3/2016 12:34:43 pm
Next on Ancient Aliens, how the aliens could be related to the movie Sausage Party...Uhm...
9/3/2016 07:44:06 pm
How does it feel to be part of the conspiracy, Jason?
9/4/2016 04:01:38 am
I've been sitting back quietly observing the froth and fever of the fringers for a while. I've come to the conclusion that an awful lot of them are devolving from goofy conspiracy theory fans into outright foaming at the mouth cults. Several of the proponents of fringe theories are so locked into their suppositions that they're beginning to sound delusional. The least hint of disagreement sends them into a rage, and they respond with sarcasm, insults, and fabrications to gloss over previous fabrications.I'm giving the whole misagash a year, tops, to implode.
9/4/2016 04:07:01 pm
I sympathise with your wish to stop critiquing ancient aliens. In fact I'm surprised you stuck it out for so long.
9/4/2016 07:44:39 pm
No kidding, I watched part of this episode just because of Jasons comments on segment 3.First and last time I ever watch this show ! I am much more entertained by Jasons blog than I ever could be by the actual show.
9/6/2016 05:48:42 pm
You want entertainment, watch the show with the sound off. I do impressions of the talking heads while watching this way. Try it. NASA will have to find your sides too.
9/9/2016 01:46:20 pm
I like to watch the shows and read Jason at the same time.
Edith D. Thurman
3/21/2017 07:43:22 pm
OMFG I thought the same thing...please go ahead open the doors so people can fall in! LMAF. I personally don't see a down side. Hehehe
9/5/2016 05:35:04 pm
so, was shiva and alien or not? I did not see anyone here refute what the episode claims about shiva being an et.
9/5/2016 05:55:14 pm
It would be impossible to refute that Shiva was an E.T, just as it would be impossible to prove he wasn't a time traveller from our future or someone's epileptic hallucination. Simply because you can't know the origin of the myth and enter the mind of the person who created it. The burden of proof is on those who propose that mythology would not appear without actual physical "gods" flying around above the heads of our ancestors, because who would ever invent something fantastic or write an imaginary story.
9/8/2016 01:31:54 pm
This would have been the perfect episode to shed some ligth on the mystery behind the "CERN Shiva Ritual Video" from August 11, 2016. (The Shiva statue at CERN was a topic in S07E03 The God Particle: http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-ancient-aliens-s07e03-the-god-particle).
11/20/2016 02:48:06 am
Shiva is an inter dimensional being that lives in what I would call a kind of hyper space I had a unfortunate and completly horifing incedent where I interrupted him Influencing a group of people. He was just as suprised as I was that I could see him. Frankly at first and for a long time I dint really know what I had seen.
12/23/2016 06:27:09 am
"Lingam" also means a marker not just dick.
2/17/2017 11:40:00 pm
Lingam means symbol in sanskrit. In hindi linga means dick. So vedas written in sanskrit and shova lingam is the symbol of shiva.
6/23/2017 09:03:37 pm
You are wrong one thing that is Shiva Lingam doesn't represent phallus. This is spread my English missionaries to put Hinduism in bad light. The Lingam represents Infinite Consciousness and is elliptical in shape. There is a story where Shiva ask other two gods of trinity, Vishnu and Brahma to find the end of this infinite consciousness, but Brahma lies to have found the end, so there are no temples for Brahma and is not worshiped in Hinduism.
7/11/2017 10:11:52 am
You seriously need to do some research man.... The theories you have put forward is absolutely bullshit... You need to do research on agastya samhita.... It is the manuscript that dates back to more than 4000 years ago.....also the theories you have put forward on episode God particle regarding vedas on origin of universe as well... The hymn you have said is an incomplete one... Read the vedas fully
7/24/2017 11:52:20 am
Agastya samhita is a collection of different books, all by the mythical sage Agastya. So, which myth to read???
7/14/2018 04:46:32 am
The 'lingam' represents the formation, reproduction and maintaining the human kind. If Shiva form and destroy, then unless the most important part of human reproduction lingam and yoni which is seen in form of symbols in temples, human kind will cease to exist. There are evidences that could be linked that hindu's originated from Aliens or formations of Aliens because-
8/11/2018 09:31:05 am
One of the stories of Shiva is this. He was unborn and he did not die-his birth was prophesized by sages (sound similar!! to Jesus and Buddha). During his youth he was a cow herder and did normal things but was also in love with Radha, who was about 5 years older than him, and he wanted to marry her. However, he was dissuaded from doing so. But on insisting he was told that his mother was not his mother and that he was born for a much larger purpose. He was told of the prophesy by the sage. He resisted that idea and said that "he loved this land and the women and the cows- that he had no desire to be "the avatar" or "divine representation" on Earth". Following this deeply disturbing event he went to the top of the local mountaintop/hill. As he was standing for hours on the mountaintop he received enlightenment or "divine energy". When he came back down, his persona had changed from one of an immature man to that of a wise enlightened soul. His friends and family, noticed the change, and bowed down to him. Guess he had a "halo" - not the Beyonce kind. It was then that he grew into fulfilling his prophesy. He never had children, never aged. He had no father and mother. And the depiction of him is an all powerful being in human form. Not only that Hindu scholars have placed him living around 60-70,000 years back not the silly Western scientific idea of no real human civilization before Sumeria.
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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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