“What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” That was the nonsensical question that a mugger asked former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather back in the 1980s. Before that, hippies asked about the “vibe” and the Beach Boys sang about “Good Vibrations.” For a long time now there has been a New Age belief that vibrations and electromagnetic frequencies have a secret occult meaning connected to the underlying architecture of the universe. Without getting into unnecessary detail, the modern version seems to be a sort of marriage between modern scientific notions of the constant state of movement of subatomic particles with the ancient idea of the music of the spheres, the resonance through which the cosmos produced mathematical harmony, just as a vibrating string produces a note.
Ancient Aliens offered its own discordant hour of musical meltdown in an episode, “The Alien Frequency,” devoted to the “discovery” that monuments around the world all vibrate to the same imaginary frequency, a signal that they attribute to the operation of space aliens.
We open at Baalbek in Lebanon, where narrator Robert Clotworthy falsely asserts that the Roman temple of Jupiter is 9,000 years old, a claim that goes back to local Abrahamic myths that the site was built by Nephilim just after Noah’s Flood. Other megalithic sites around the world make quick cameo appearances so the show can assert that they are too hard for “modern builders” to create, and the show recycles claims about how ancient people moved stones that modern equipment—which were not built to handle such weights—cannot.
We then hear claims that “ancient mythologies” claimed that sound waves were used to levitate rocks to move them into place. We’ve heard these claims before, back in the season 5 episode “The Monoliths,” and I wrote about them there. The claim that Stonehenge was erected by sound comes indirectly from Geoffrey of Monmouth, who implied that Merlin used magic to move the stones. But more ridiculous was the narrator’s conflated false claim that Herodotus wrote that the Egyptians “were given knowledge from the Guardians of the Sky on how to float the massive limestone blocks with which they built the Great Pyramid.” That wasn’t Herodotus and there aren’t any Guardians of the Sky. This is a mixed up false version of Erich von Däniken’s mangled account of the medieval Arab-Islamic story of how the Egyptians placed papyri with magic spells atop the stones, and the stones would then shoot across the desert as though weightless. Here is the Akhbar al-zaman giving an early version of the story:
It is said that the builders had palm wood sheets covered in writing, and after having extracted every stone and having it cut, they placed over each stone one of these sheets; they then gave a blow to the stone, and it traveled far beyond the reach of sight. They came back close to it and did the same again until they had led it to its assigned place. (my trans.)
The show then alleges that levitation technology being developed today is merely recovering ancient wisdom. Linda Eneix, an expert on Maltese archaeology and a past Ancient Aliens guest, gives away more of her credibility in marrying her research into how ancient people used sound to the show’s allegations of sonic levitation and magic frequencies.
Eneix returns in the second segment to discuss Maltese temples, and we return to the frequent claims about elongated skulls and missing sagittal sutures, revisiting claims about Maltese elongated skulls that previous appeared on In Search of Aliens, the spinoff show from a few years ago. We hear the story of a UFO believer who claimed to see “giants” in a Maltese temple, and then the show uses Eneix’s research to imply that the frequency of 110 Hz with which the Hypogeum of Malta “resonates” causes our body’s water to “tune in” to the magic vibrations, inducing visions. Eneix has spent much of the last decade alleging that 110 Hz is a special frequency (a claim going back to the 1990s) and that ancient sites used such vibrations to induce emotional states by affecting the brain. Other sites are then examined for the same frequency, but no one explains how rocks produce such frequencies, or how common 110 Hz resonance is in nature. The fact that pretty much every temple, cave, and tomb has the same frequency suggests that this is not a particularly rare effect. The show doesn’t bother to explain how the very same sites and same stones can both resonate with this frequency and also use the piezoelectric effect to beam energy to orbiting alien satellites, as the show claimed in 2013.
The third segment uses scientific experiments to claim that 110 Hz frequencies can induce out of body experiences when concentrated on specific parts of the brain. We then see the temple of Vitthala in Hampi, India where the thin colonettes surrounding the main columns make musical notes when struck. The show alleges that each of the 56 colonettes is tuned to a different note, but no one bothers to test this, and frankly they didn’t provide any sounds that would suggest that the colonettes play different notes.
The fourth segment retells the famous story of how Pythagoras discovered the connection between music and math, including his conclusion that the universe vibrated with the music of the spheres. The show compares this to the sounds recorded as being emitted from the planets of the solar system. The poverty of the show’s research is evident when they fail to support their own case with the well-attested European belief, found in early Freemasonic documents, that Pythagoras gained his knowledge of music and math from the Pillars of Wisdom carved by the Watchers, whom we of course know from Ancient Aliens to be space aliens. Instead, William Henry tries to reach the same conclusion by alleging that Pythagoras attended a school run by space aliens in Egypt, and the show then claims that Pythagoras’s study of how strings vibrate to produce musical notes and his speculation about the music of the spheres was actually secretly about modern string theory.
The fifth segment asserts that the Hindu sacred sound “Om” is actually a representation of all possible vowels and is therefore the secret sound of the entire universe. David Childress tells us that chanting sends mystical sound messages to “an extraterrestrial realm,” which is no longer another planet but some other dimension where beings that are no longer aliens but angels or gods live. William Henry tells us that when we pray or meditate, we are actually communicating with the “consciousness” of interdimensional beings that exist in the pat. Ancient Aliens is mysticism with a veneer of pseudoscience.
The final segment discusses mysterious sounds that have been detected deep under the ocean. No one knows what the sounds in the Marianas Trench are, so the show alleges that the sounds belong to a deep-sea-base built by aliens. This is phrased with the grammatical conditional: if we recognize the sound as technological, then it must belong to aliens. It is a non sequitur even if we accept the if clause. The show concludes by recapping everything yet again and claiming that our ears can lead us to communion with space aliens who aren’t really aliens but gods who communicate through mystical frequencies that nevertheless are spoken words from human worshipers, and none of it made any logical sense if you stop to think about it for more than a minute. Those aliens have really grown protean, to the point that they seem no longer to have any substance at all.
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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