Last week’s season premiere of Ancient Aliens opened a bit soft, with only 1.175 million viewers. It’s a little better than last year, when the show dipped below a million viewers for new episodes for the first time, but it’s still far below the show’s peak five or six years ago when around 2 million watched. However, the program has had a remarkable consistency over the past twelve seasons, rarely deviating more than 10% from week to week, an astonishing achievement for a show this late in its run.
This week’s episode, “Forged by the Gods,” examines alien artifacts on Earth. You might remember that years ago, the ancient astronaut theorists claimed that only Puma Punku was physical evidence of alien artifacts on Earth, but now, in need of ratings, they need to find something to sustain interest.
We open with questions about metallic spheres alleged to have fallen from the sky around the world. The photographs used in the segment sometimes resemble space junk, sometimes naturally occurring rocks. Longer consideration is given to the so-called Betz sphere, a 1974 “mystery” that caused a media frenzy. While the original ball is now missing, investigations determined it was just a piece of industrial junk, a ball valve used in pipes, its “mysterious” properties of self-movement the result of the Betz family’s old house and uneven floors. (Much to my cat’s delight, the same thing happens with balls on my uneven floor.) While David Wilcock claimed that the sphere has “artificially intelligent” technology, Skeptoid reported that identical spheres were for sale from Bell & Howell in Bridgeport, CT. Indeed, newspaper reporters determined that the sphere had been purchased by James Durling-Jones of Taos, New Mexico for use in a sculpture. He lost it when it fell off the roof of his VW bus in Florida in 1971.
The second segment doubles down on the Betz sphere and very briefly alludes to the above explanation of the sphere. Linda Moulton Howe denies that the sphere could have fallen from a truck, but she neglects to note that objects can travel far in three years, so its distance from the road (alleged to be 20 miles, though there is no proof of this) is hardly astonishing.
William Henry alleges that Christian depictions of the celestial sphere or the terrestrial orb are consequently actually artistic depictions of objects like the Betz sphere. Howe alleges that the government has seized the sphere, and that the sphere is “self-activating” and sending data back to another planet. While the show doesn’t always wear its influences on its sleeve, this claim is actually borrowed from Jacques Bergier, who first alleged in 1970 that the object known as the metallic Gurlt Cube (in reality a piece of meteoric iron) was a communication device monitoring the Earth and sending data back to another planet. Bergier described such meteoric lumps as “data collectors of the same type as magnetic bands, but much more highly perfected.” Bergier also alleged that the cube had been seized by a European government for undisclosed reasons. The point is that Howe’s claims for the Betz Sphere are more or less verbatim adaptations of earlier accounts of the Gurlt Cube.
The third segment reports the recent discovery of orichalcum (i.e. “mountain copper”) ingots in Sicily, a copper-zinc alloy. A geologist tells us that the Greeks could not have made this alloy because they could not refine zinc. This is disproved by Strabo, who in Geography 13.1.56 describes the making of exactly the alloy of zinc and copper found in the water: “There is a stone in the neighbourhood of Andeira which, when burned, becomes iron, and then, when heated in a furnace with a certain earth, distils mock-silver [i.e., zinc]; and this, with the addition of copper, makes the ‘mixture,’ as it is called, which by some is called ‘mountain-copper’” (trans. H. L. Jones). For discussion, see here. The show also chooses to conflate this metal with the orichalcum of Plato, though this is not clear. Roman orichalcum was a gold/copper alloy, but it is unclear what the Greeks meant by orichalcum and therefore what Plato meant by it in describing Atlantis. Regardless, the show ignores Strabo’s testimony and instead declares that the existence of the alloy proves Atlantis really existed.
The fourth segment discusses King Tut’s metal dagger. It is made from meteoric iron. This does not mean that the dagger came from outer space but rather that the iron was forged from the meteor. The show alleges that it is too difficult to work with meteoric iron for the Egyptians to have made it. This grossly underestimates how much time and effort the Egyptians were willing to put into luxury goods for the pharaohs. The show then discusses the myth of the Benben stone, the primordial original of the pyramid, which many have proposed was actually a meteorite. Giorgio Tsoukalos, however, considers it analogous to a “lunar module” because the lunar lander was vaguely cone-shaped.
After this, we visit a Transylvanian museum in Cluj to see a piece of aluminum industrial debris that was alleged to have been found among woolly mammoth bones and therefore dates back to the Ice Age. The so-called Wedge of Aiud was found in 1974 but achieved fame in 1995 when it appeared in a Romanian UFO magazine as a piece of a UFO’s landing gear. Western skeptics recognize it as the tooth of a modern excavator bucket, one that probably broke off in an earlier coal-mining excavation that had dug down to the mammoths’ layer and was only rediscovered years later when the site was being dug up again by locals looking for bones and artifacts. The locals mistook the site for undisturbed and drew a false conclusion, which our ancient astronaut theorists are happy to repeat for cash.
[5/9/17 Update: A Romanian correspondent informs me that English-language skeptical sources are incorrect and the first appearance of the object in the Romanian press occurred in a pair of 1983 books, and it was featured in Romanian fringe literature afterward. According to Romanian accounts from the 1980s, a Russian expert identified the object at the time as a piece of a World War II German aircraft, which German sources identified as a Messerschmidt Me 262 jet fighter.]
In the fifth segment, Erich von Däniken and Giorgio Tsoukalos travel to the Romanian museum to view the Wedge of Aiud, and they seem ready to orgasm over the piece of broken industrial machinery. “It’s very, very heavy!” von Däniken enthuses. “Giorgio, take it. It’s heavy!” Tsoukalos says it is “very strange.” The two men acknowledge that the object has been identified as an excavator tooth but they deny it could be one because such teeth are not made from aluminum. That is a lie, of course, and you can buy your own aluminum excavator teeth dirt cheap. Technically, the wedge is chemically identical to duralumin, an aluminum-copper alloy with increased hardness. A representative of the Transylvania National Museum claims that the object must be either a new tooth or an object of extraterrestrial origin, and she heavily implies that she favors the ET explanation. She is an idiot since that false dichotomy she presents forecloses on infinite possibility. Obviously the Nephilim of Atlantis used it in their cannibal feasts. Duh. Anyway, our two doofuses declare that “archaeology has a problem” because this object exists, even though our ancient astronaut theorists were too lazy to Google aluminum excavator teeth to test their own pompous assumptions.
The last segment describes the quasi-crystal found in a Russian meteorite. David Wilcock, whose appearance is disconcerting since only one side of his mouth moves (did he have a health problem?), alleges that the quasi-crystal shouldn’t exist, and he alleges that aliens sent the meteor to us so we could learn about it and therefore achieve super-technology such as anti-gravity. All of the talking heads claim that these various rocks, meteors, and garbage are teaching “us” the secrets of alien technology, even though many of these objects are allegedly either missing, locked up, or destroyed and therefore inaccessible in terms of offering help. Consistency is the hobgoblin of mediocre minds.
5/6/2017 12:15:52 am
Apparently, the same E.T.s that created mankind through genetic manipulation and taught us all we know—as everyone is aware of how important it is for your slave labor to be highly educated—came here aboard their own versions of Rickety Rocket. Of course, the obvious question would be: why did they need such technology if they are also incorporeal and interdimensional? What happened to the genius rays beaming directly into our heads?
Stop making fun of the gods of slaving monkeys. The god Mercurionissackaksak will tickle ur scrotal sack to death with multiple tickle rays unless you expand your sackeial pineal mind bland gland, iusiusis loobieloo, tickle my loo (that was god-speak from Arcturius I to not swing lightsabers at sacks the wrong way, like, don't point down, or, you could fall. And falling sux.
5/6/2017 01:06:55 am
You know, that could be a new program in the history channel lineup of crap. "Forged by the Gods", where a bunch of half-wits forge metal into totally useless objects, while the stable of talking heads from ancient aliens ooh and ah over them and speculate that the same thing happened when aliens visited the earth in centuries past.
5/6/2017 10:13:30 am
Minus the aliens, they actually already have that show. It's called Forged in Fire.
5/6/2017 12:10:23 pm
I know. I think next up for the History Channel is a show about stocking shelves at Wal-Mart. It's called, wait for it, Stocking Shelves at Wal-Mart.
Seed of Bismuth
5/6/2017 10:03:37 pm
Having just seen Forged in Fire it's more mentally nutrient than Ancient Aliens. though that is like saying fruit pebbles is more nutrient than pure corn syrup.
5/6/2017 10:46:27 pm
Unless you have actually forged a serviceable knife blade from some miscellaneous piece of metal, in only three hours (this will keel), don't criticize the participants on Forged In Fire. It's a lot more entertaining than the cooking shows where contestants get a "mystery" basket of grasshoppers, pickled oysters, and Ethiopian goat turds, and have to make lunch for a bunch of pampered divas.
5/7/2017 12:15:19 am
And unless you've done that, don't say "unless you've done that." Three hours to make a knife is not a problem.
5/7/2017 07:45:04 pm
You can make a blade out of a folded soup can In less than a minute. It will cur.
Dude, sir, I'm a master UFO and alien puzzle sphere maker. I personally asscrafted the Betz Sphere (true name: Thugius Glob Globe-ixifix), I even threw it at Earth and started that forest fire. 1. My sphere rocks, 2. It's truly puzzling, examine it, touch, tickle, dissect, crap on it even, even after that lick it, or kick it twice, AND? It's a puzzle, awesome in puzzling. 3. It's round, not a square. 4. Monkeys, tickle one. It sux.
5/6/2017 01:40:51 am
"alleges that the quasi-crystal shouldn’t exist, and he alleges that aliens sent the meteor to us so we could learn about it and therefore achieve super-technology such as anti-gravity"
5/6/2017 01:54:45 am
This show is crap. Its incredible how many idiots believe this nonsense.
5/6/2017 04:54:47 am
Anyone else noticed that their go-to talking head for anything generally 'sciency' these days is David Wilcock?!
5/6/2017 09:09:34 pm
Speaking of which, minor note: Wilcock claimed that Uranium was the heaviest naturally occurring element. This is not true; plutonium does occur naturally, albeit not in large quantities.
5/6/2017 04:39:01 pm
The museum sequence is particularly funny. First, we are told the museum does not keep this remarkable item on public display, but they apparently pull it out for visiting lunatics. This makes perfect sense if you consider that their regular visitors are not so stupid. But, hey, if it brings in a few bucks now and then, why, sure, let me get the box.
5/6/2017 07:24:49 pm
Again thank you to Jason for wading through the nonsense. I almost wish I'd seen this show. The review makes me treasure all the wasted nights I've listened to drunks babble in bars.
5/7/2017 08:57:13 am
Didn't you say you read wilcocks book a while back in an article bashing it ?... I'm pretty sure you did ... so then you would know why davids mouth is the way it is... but I guess you never read the book and like putting proof to those lies in your article . No one noticed that though ...
5/7/2017 12:08:10 pm
It seemed like this was something new. In his book he said he had a subtle facial deformity due to chronic thumb-sucking, but that "most people would never notice." This seemed more pronounced, which is why I asked. Nice of you, though, to use whatever Wilcock's health issues are as a cudgel to attack me.
9/6/2017 03:57:47 pm
And here, I thought that facial deformity was do to chronic suckling on Giorgio's Van DangleKin.
5/7/2017 05:23:52 pm
David Wilcock thinks he is Edgar Gayce reincarnated. His hold on reality is tenuous at best. At worst, his non-reality is presented to others who possibly buy into it and then are impacted in less than a productive way.
5/8/2017 07:29:22 am
When killer clowns start getting reincarnated we're in serious trouble.
5/8/2017 06:40:02 pm
John Wayne Gacy was the killer clown, but he wasn't from outer space.
5/9/2017 01:35:50 am
Jesus Christ, don't try to help. You're killing the bit.
5/29/2017 09:57:54 am
1. Stop making fun of American Negros, aka the big butt strong people of USAfrica aka Mexicomericaca
5/7/2017 05:38:51 pm
Certain spheres can be picked up in shops for 'massaging' purposes, and can also be used for tantric stuff. Maybe they should rename this one 'Forge of the Ben Wa balls'. They could go to modern Burmah and interview the people that make them, because of sure they must be space aliens with the knowledge of making pleasure devices, you know, for Nephilim masters, or something.
5/7/2017 11:38:20 pm
This is ENTERTAINMENT television. As a retired talk show host, I always reminded my listeners that my co-host and I were were "performance artists". If you believe that the King of Talk Radio (Rush Limbaugh) believes 1/10 of the nonsense he spews, than you're ripe to be a devotee of Ancient Aliens. This show is fun, intriguing and thought provoking. But it is NOT FACTUAL, just like Rushbo!!!
5/8/2017 02:00:53 am
It's not pitched as fantasy in any way, it's pitched as real, and shown on a channel that bills itself as educational. A large part of it's audience believes it. The same, sadly, goes for Rush Limbaugh. And Sean Hannity, etc.
5/8/2017 02:25:18 am
Limbaugh pitches himself as the harbinger of o truth, and on a network that promotes news, but anybody with common sense can read through his B.S. and realize he is tossing out hyperbolic meat to his moronic demographic.
5/8/2017 03:26:46 pm
Not meant as an insult but not well phrased. You're fooling yourself that people, a lot of people, don't believe Limbaugh, Hannity, or these shows on the History Channel. And they aren't stupid or morons, they see the world from a different point of view, and listening to these blowhards confirms their preconceived notions and leads them further away from examining their own beliefs.
5/8/2017 07:41:50 am
Rush believes what he says, but he is first and foremost a broadcaster. A D double E jay. Listen to to those pipes. And if you think he's on "a network" you don't know the business and you're sitting at the kids' table until further notice. Hannity on the other hand is simply stupid. The only radio host who is stupider than any of his callers. He is perceptibly mentally deficient. I think it's nice that people with his disability can find work.
5/8/2017 10:36:58 am
"Hannity on the other hand is simply stupid."
5/8/2017 03:32:33 pm
I don't listen to Limbaugh much, but one of the things that convinces me he believes what he says was his reaction when Osama Bin Laden was killed. He was crying and clearly emotional, but not because we killed Bin Laden, but because he was killed under Pres Obama's watch. He kept trying to convince himself that Pres Obama shouldn't get any credit for it, that it didn't matter that he had authorized the operation. Limbaugh was clearly crushed that it wasn't done by a Republican.
5/9/2017 01:51:18 am
I'd like to see tape of Limbaugh crying. There isn't any. Obama had to be dragged kicking and screaming (metaphor) into the final sign-off, and while the operation was happening he was upstairs in the Residence with his his "body man" the aptly named Reggie Love, playing.... Spades.
5/29/2017 10:05:02 am
I saw a black girl with a nice ass yesterday, very doable, hence, not all negrons are ugly, so, hence, Tesla made a UFO, I rode one, saw a bright flash, got hypnotized and programmed to believe I was a negro, oh, and schizo. The border between your world and ours has dark angels on one side who want to murder and beat you all into a muddy pulp and fill you with blackmand white worms to eat you and bite and gnaw you forever so you feel the pain we feel from God's curse, and also, when we zone out in despair.
5/8/2017 01:57:53 pm
Y'know, all the really prominent fringers seem to add up to a few dozen at best. Any chance they could get together and charter a cruise ship to the Bermuda Triangle? I have faith they could get lost there.
5/8/2017 08:39:28 pm
"The two men acknowledge that the object has been identified as an excavator tooth but they deny it could be one because such teeth are not made from aluminum. That is a lie, of course, and you can buy your own aluminum excavator teeth dirt cheap."
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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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