Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. When Ancient Aliens started down the path of saying that all human genius was the result of human brains tapping into an alien internet signal, it stood to reason that eventually they would deny that even our own sense of self, our consciousness, belongs to us but rather is a projection from another realm, thus accounting for reincarnation and psychic channeling. This is similar to the New Age idea that the brain is really a receiver for consciousness from the spirit world—i.e., that consciousness is a projection from a realm beyond the physical into the material world. They just bastardize the idea down to its grossest level, which, frankly, is what Ancient Aliens always does. This is New Age religion for dummies, dummies who aren’t quite ready to commit full on to faith and still want to pretend that this is all either entertainment or science.
The title of the episode, “The Replicants,” suggests that the episode will focus on mind-control, soul-cloning, or something like that. The actual content never addresses the episode title at all. What a missed opportunity.
The first segment recounts the story of James Leininger, a young man who believes that he is the reincarnation of a World War II pilot who was shot down and killed. This story has been told repeatedly since ABC News did a report about it back in 2005. Then, as now, the media leave out a key fact: Leininger began talking about his reincarnation at age 18 months, only after visiting a World War II air museum and having nightmares from the scary imagery seen there. The Pittsburgh Daily Courier reported that inconvenient fact more than a decade ago. The show, though, ignores this, declares reincarnation to be similar to uploading data to the cloud, and moves on to Egypt.
The show notes that the Egyptians believed that gods and demigods ruled before the first dynasty, a set of rulers that mainstream Egyptologists believe to be fictitious. The show tells us that Osiris, one of those rulers, was a green-skinned alien from the Orion star system, and they wrongly state that Osiris reincarnated as Horus. In Egyptian mythology, Osiris was resurrected in the Netherworld. Instead, they are misremembering the fact that pharaohs considered themselves the embodiment of Horus in life and Osiris in death. From this mistake, the show concludes that aliens inhabit human bodies by controlling human souls, and all human souls—the immaterial essence of our humanity, which also happens to have no scientific basis—is really the gift of space aliens, from whom we merely rent them.
The second segment delves further into reincarnation and Ian Stevenson’s efforts to prove it through attempting to validate individuals’ memories of their supposed past lives. His research is interesting, but prone to a number of sources of potential bias. We also hear about Dorothy Eady, who called herself Omm Sety, an Egyptologist who believed herself the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian temple virgin. We get a mystery-mongering version of her life story, one in which her deep understanding of Egyptian language and intuitive understanding of Egyptian architecture has expanded into a semi-legendary story of how she could allegedly close her eyes and trace the outlines of ruins buried below the sand. We have only her word for many of these claims, and you are welcome to take them on as much faith as you have in the reality of the Egyptian gods. This segment had no aliens but happily reveled in New Age spirituality, all but promising viewers a type of immortality, fake faith wrapped in fringe science.
The third segment takes us to KV55, a stripped and unfinished Egyptian tomb often thought to belong to Akhenaten. The tomb once contained a curse condemning the interred not to experience resurrection in the afterlife. The show alleges that the Egyptians had a strong belief in reincarnation, but this is not true. The Egyptians mummified the dead because they expected a resurrection, not a reincarnation. Indeed, the belief of the weighing of the heart in funerary imagery shows that if the soul was adjudged bad, a monster ate it. That is not reincarnation. But it’s important to note that Theosophy wrongly assigned reincarnation to the Egyptians, and Ancient Aliens is cribbing its theology from Theosophy not from fact. After this bizarre claim, the show alleges that Christians believed in reincarnation until Justinian I forbade it. This is a rather unusual distortion of Justinian’s 543 AD letter to Menas in which he criticized Origen’s doctrine of successive spiritual trials, a position ratified in 553 by the Second Council of Constantinople. The West didn’t care much about that, or the Pope’s condemnation 200 year early. Frankly, since I am writing this late at night, it’s rather too complicated for me to pick through, but Origen’s heterodox beliefs revolved around many different points of faith, one of which was the belief that the fallen angels were placed in human bodies to atone for their sin.
The fourth segment discusses Tibetan Buddhists’ belief that their lamas reincarnate upon their deaths. They add that the original Buddhas were space aliens who rode around in lotus-flower-shaped spaceships. David Childress says that “the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of some kind of extraterrestrial god.” That’s probably news to the Dalai Lama. The show also presents Saddam Hussein’s nutty belief that he was the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. The show, though, doesn’t seem much interested in distinguishing between cultural beliefs and political propaganda on one hand, and actual evidence of reincarnation (should such a thing exist) on the other. Indeed, the show presents a false Jewish legend that Nebuchadnezzar was the “reincarnation” of Nimrod and the builder of the Tower of Babel, thus Saddam Hussein was the incarnation of epochal evil. This gives Saddam Hussein, a buffoonish figure of excessive cruelty tempered only by self-indulgent incompetence, far too much credit. Nimrod was not identified with Nebuchadnezzar except symbolically in ancient texts; occasionally he is named the latter’s grandfather. They can’t be the same man since one was a legendary figure from the time just after the Flood, and the other reigned in a known period of history (605-562 BCE).
The fifth segment tried to prove that the soul exists as an independent blob of quantum energy that enters and leaves our bodies through “microtubules.” Aliens allegedly designed our bodies as containers for these quantum souls, a claim they base on myths of gods breathing life into human bodies by placing a soul within. This is a Judeo-Christian reading (cf. Genesis 2:7), and the Mesopotamian myth they claim supports it, Enuma Elish 6.26, actually talks about blood, not breath or soul, animating the newly made man: “From his blood he (i.e., Ea) fashioned mankind for the service of the gods, and he set the gods free” (trans. Budge). Oh, well. Who expects them to read what they discuss?
The sixth segment tells us that the soul is consciousness and all are minor aspects of a single cosmic consciousness, which I guess means that we are all a little fraction of God. It’s a cute thought, but not one that has anything to do with space aliens, unless you imagine that extraterrestrials have the ability to manipulate the spirit world like powerful space wizard-priests. It doesn’t make logical sense to me, since the existence of “cosmic consciousness”—which seems to be God—would remove the need for aliens to bottle it, but I guess Ancient Aliens had to try to squeeze a few alien space wizards into the story somewhere.
8/4/2017 10:11:11 pm
Ancient alien theorists dress like losers. Sad! I didn’t see one tie on this entire episode, although admittedly I lost interest after 5 minutes and switched over to Casino Royale on VICE. Now that James Bond fellow, he knows how to dress! Maybe all these AA losers will be reincarnated with a decent taste in clothes!
8/4/2017 10:31:31 pm
Of course, none of this crap makes sense. It's impossible for it *to* make sense when there are multiple, often contradictory, reasons for why aliens are responsible for everything.
8/4/2017 11:27:00 pm
I'm not sure why I give the AA talking heads this much credit, but after they mentioned "the cloud" I half-expected them to talk about how souls upload to the "Akashic record" where they download their knowledge before being recycled into a body, thus ensuring that the Akashic record knows all of the things.
8/4/2017 11:42:21 pm
"they would deny that even our own sense of self, our consciousness, does not belong to us"
8/5/2017 12:33:09 pm
I've seen you use the term "pleasurable or painful gravy" a few times. I think "painful gravy" would make a great name for a band.
8/5/2017 07:02:54 pm
Catch Painful Gravy on tour this summer with The Drizzly Dowegers and The Stoned Holes. With special guests, The Sauk Lakes, the kings of alter rock!
8/7/2017 01:50:34 pm
Hi AN -
8/5/2017 12:26:04 am
When I saw the title, I thought we were in for some kind of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers type material. That at least would have been entertaining. A little.
8/5/2017 12:51:55 am
Jason, I think the title of the episode attempts to snare the forthcoming Blade Runner film fans into the trap. Replicants were crucial to the science fiction narrative of the original film of the novel...
8/6/2017 11:33:09 am
Yeah, Ridley Scott is finally gonna get what he'd been itching for since he directed the original; he's gonna ruin it and make Deckard a replicant..
8/5/2017 01:27:13 am
I at first thought the title was "The Republicans". It would be about a much of old, out of touch men who wished to return to the nineteen-fifties. When old men, like themselves, were in charge and women, foreigners, blacks, orientals, middle-easteners and hispanics all knew there places.
8/5/2017 04:17:48 am
Yeah, damn those old men (Republicans) that passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957. I'm glad they didn't follow that up in 1960, 1964 and 1965.
8/5/2017 08:24:34 am
Well, actually the Republicans of then are the same party as the Democrats of today. The parties switched platforms in the 1950s exactly because of this issue. The Southern Democrats of that time(LBJ's Dixiecrats) left the party precisely because of this act and Johnson's welfare programs, which he still managed to pass despite tremendous opposition from his own party. The party of Lincoln is not the same one as the Republican Party of today.
8/5/2017 10:30:56 am
That's the point, Tony. Neither party today is the same as they were prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Too many people today assume both parties have always had their current platforms. Too many people are ignorant and don't seem to care.
8/5/2017 09:00:33 pm
I completely agree, my friend.
The Greater Bundahishn
8/5/2017 10:08:46 pm
Perfect comment Clete. The next AA episode will "explain" how aliens brought politics to humanity and other nutty stuff. Don't mind Only Me, he gets triggered when someone criticises his party despite knowing full well that it actively denies Evolution, Climate change, sex education, etc. and even Jeff Flake isn't liking what the party has become. I'm in the left but when criticism, facts, and scepticism is due I listen and change my mind accordingly. So I promote rationalism and scepticism when some liberal is about talking new age, evolutionary psychology denial, etc. junk.
8/5/2017 03:08:46 am
Rebuilding Europe, internegrating the armed forces, getting OUT of Asian wars, making Beat literature, spawning rock and roll, Dream Whip, those darned out of touch old white men, constantly droning on about how we should beware of the military-industrial complex...Brown v. Board, the violent 1957 federal incursion into Little Rock Arkansas... The 50s were a nightmare and old out of touch white men were the Nazis.
2/4/2018 11:48:47 am
Why is your name AMERICANEGRO? I am Genuinely curious.
8/5/2017 11:40:27 am
"It’s a cute thought, but not one that has anything to do with space aliens, unless you imagine that extraterrestrials have the ability to manipulate the spirit world like powerful space wizard-priests."
8/5/2017 02:36:11 pm
An episode called "The Replicants" without Replicants? Activate the Clone Army immediately!
8/5/2017 06:10:54 pm
"The show alleges that the Egyptians had a strong belief in reincarnation, but this is not true."
8/6/2017 01:31:52 pm
I just remembered, I think I remember one of those quantum consciousness guys--not the guy they interviewed, but the anaesthesiologist--from the Beyond Belief talks. He gave his presentation about "microtubules" and Lawrence Krauss picked it apart for not making any fucking sense to an actual physicist, and for betraying the speaker's lack of understanding of quantum mechanics.
8/7/2017 12:38:35 pm
Now wait - if our conciousness is actually the channeled conciousness of Ancient Aliens then who taught the AA how to pile up stones & such? Are there AncientER Aliens?
8/7/2017 01:48:01 pm
Hiello Jason -
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
8/7/2017 11:14:53 pm
Ancient Aliens' ideas don't come from a single source, and it's wrong to read Jason's posts that way. Because fringe theorists copy so many of their ideas from other people, a lot of the show's ideas do ultimately derive from Theosophy. If I correctly remember Jason's posts on the subject, some Theosophical ideas related to extraterrestrials were used in Lovecraft's fiction and then returned to the fringe-theory sphere when Jacques Pauwels and Louis Bergier put them in The Morning of the Magicians. Erich von Däniken copied a lot of what they had written, and von Däniken was the single biggest influence on Ancient Aliens.
8/9/2017 09:41:52 am
For a detailed account of how those other theosophist concepts ended up in Ancient Aliens. read my story on Richard Kieninger (and Davdi Hatcher Childress) "He Walked Among Us". freely available on Dan Glenn's site "The Stelle Experience".
8/8/2017 05:55:56 am
Once read a story (a subject told it under hypnosis describing her past life as a witness) that ancient Egyptians mummified their dead because they witnessed aliens to perform it. The reason aliens performed it was that after destruction of Atlantis aliens tried to jump start human civilization again, but because so many people had died humans were in short supply. So they performed a procedure that would allow a soul to attach to a "dead" body again and hence kind of resurrection. Humans witnessed this and thought this was cool. After aliens departed the knowledge how to perform the procedure was lost, but humans tried nonetheless.
An Over-Educated Grunt
8/8/2017 02:17:39 pm
Substitute "cathedrals" for "pyramids" and see if you can still say that all with a straight face.
8/10/2017 03:29:44 pm
"Dark matter" and "dark energy" are made-up things made up to explain measurements that don't agree with theory. They do not really exist.
8/10/2017 03:17:00 pm
I appreciate your scrutiny of the show ,Ancient Aliens.The producers of that show has made a joke and a mockery of concepts that might have some validity.While i believe in a lot of 'alien stuff',I am appalled by the lies and misrepresentation that is perpetuated by that show.I am very glad that you take the time and trouble to inform the public.The show does more harm than good if they are trying to influence people into believing stuff about aliens.I hope you continue to bring thier lies out in the open.
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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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