I guess when a favorite piece of evidence for ancient astronauts is debunked as little more than a hoax, you have two choices: You can accept the verdict of reason, or you can fight it. Ancient Aliens has made the unusual choice to try to rehabilitate the fake Dropa Stones, a hoax that first appeared in a German vegetarian magazine in July 1962 before being popularized by books like Peter Kolosimo’s Not of This World. The Dropa Stone hoax became popular enough that Sputnik magazine used a picture of one such stone as part of the cover illustration for an article on Uzbekistan “alien” cave art that Erich von Däniken later mistook for the art itself. The stones, it goes without saying, have never been shown to exist outside of the imagination of ufologists. Ancient Aliens takes the lack of evidence as proof of a massive conspiracy to suppress the truth.
As might be expected from an episode on “The Alien Disks,” the show chooses to open in 1938, with the fictitious discovery of hundreds of the Dropa Stones alongside the bodies of Grey space aliens in a remote part of China. The narrator concedes that the first and only original report of the “discovery” was a “German magazine,” though its vegetarian and fringe nature is omitted. From this, the talking heads spin a wild tale of the translation of the stones’ tiny hieroglyphs and their story of how aliens crashed in China and could not return home. But all of this is a later invention, wrapped up in a conspiracy theory that the Chinese government seized the disks and denied their existence. “That means that at some point these disks were put away by museums, by archaeologists, who knows?” Giorgio Tsoukalos said. He assumes the disks exist and therefore declares that “archaeologists are afraid to investigate something just because the inscription on them reads that there was an alien visitation.”
The show then cuts immediately to a fake story about a village of dwarves. I covered this years ago, where I discovered that ancient astronaut theorists misrepresented and lied about the news accounts of “dwarf” Chinese that they assumed were Grey hybrids. The actual news article, which they distorted wildly, reported that a cohort of Chinese villagers contracted a waterborne disease as children and experienced stunted growth.
After accepting a hoax and a lie as truth, the show then decides that circles are evidence of aliens. Since the show has already declared triangles and the number three to be signs of aliens, they are beginning to run a bit low on geometric shapes. For those of you keeping track, the show already did an episode on circles as signs of aliens: Season Ten’s “Circles from the Sky,” though that one focused on crop circles.
The second segment continues the theme that circular objects have a connection to aliens. They start with the Phaistos Disc, an artifact found in a Minoan palace but whose language has not yet been identified. William Henry suggests that it is a computer disk meant to be read by a machine from space. It’s probably either Minoan or Anatolian, but Giorgio Tsoukalos claims, wrongly, that Minoan mythology begins with sky gods bringing civilization to Crete—an impossibility since nothing of Minoan religious literature or mythology survives except in fragments reflected in later Greek myth. For an “expert,” Tsoukalos doesn’t seem to know about his subject matter at all.
Following this, Tsoukalos goes gaga over a tablet showing the sun-god Shamash in a scene featuring the god, shown larger in hieratic scale (Tsoukalos mistakes him for a giant) sitting before a disc that in Babylonian faith stood for the god. You can see it yourself here, but I just don’t see an alien giving the little humans what Henry calls a “god button” for contacting space aliens. Conventional scholarship says that it represents a Babylonian king (far left) dressed as Shamash and receiving the symbols of the sun-god (far right), whom he represented on Earth.
The third segment deals with the Inca and a mirrored disc representing the sun that, according to later accounts of Inca myths, the emperor Pachacuti used as a totem of divine favor. Golden disks representing the sun god Inti were a symbol of the Incan royal family, so the idea that there was a divine prototype for them is a fairly obvious myth to explain and justify it. Tsoukalos says that worldwide, cultures used circles in their worship, so both Tsoukalos and David Childress claim that circles are technological devices, and David Wilcock adds that they functioned like smartphones. The talking heads all agree that using a golden disc can open an interdimensional portal in solid rock, thus answering a question I raised many years ago: If they are so confident that symbolic false doors are portals to another dimension, why don’t they run headfirst into them at top speed? Now we have the answer—they need a golden disc that they conveniently aren’t able to access! They add that the most famous of all the Inca sun discs, the massive and sacred royal image of Inti in the Coricancha temple in Cuzco, was really a kind of Skype or Facetime for aliens, on the basis of claims that the Inca thought they could communicate with the god through it. This is about like claiming that a crucifix is a radio receiver because Catholics kneel before it when they pray.
The fourth segment continues the Incan theme, sending David Childress to visit tunnels beneath Cuzco and Sachsayhuaman on the trail of the golden disc of Inti. But Scottish wannabe fringe history star Ashley Cowie tells a lie about the fate of the disc. In explaining three alleged fates, he says that many believe that that the disc was taken to the golden city of Paititi, which cannot possibly be a genuine Conquest era story since the Paititi myth is a fraud made up out of a laughably disappointing Jesuit manuscript, which I took the liberty of translating just to show how little truth here is to the myth. There is no golden city, or even much of a city. Anyway, the show suggests that the disc was returned to an interdimensional city under Titicaca, another modern distortion of an older story and sightings of the ruins of a temple build when the lake level was lower that I don’t really have time to get into because the show has already decided that it has had enough of the Inca and moves on into the silly idea that Guy Ballard was telling the truth about being taken underground to a mysterious Venusian city under Mount Shasta in the 1930s. I’ve discussed the Mount Shasta myths before, but there is no reason to suspect that there is a Venusian or Atlantean city under the mountain. Ballard’s version was an amplification and modernization of claims about Atlanteans first aired in Dweller on Two Planets half a century earlier. The story wasn’t true then, and it wasn’t true in the 1930s, or today
The sixth segment repeats material about crop circles from earlier episodes because, like some demented Sesame Street, the Muppet-like talking heads uniformly tell us that this week’s subject is circles. “It’s appalling that in many cases governments have confiscated these materials, these artifacts, and won’t let anybody know,” George Noory says. The other heads tell us that the discs, many of which are fictitious, will connect us to space aliens and, as George Noory said, “might be the extraterrestrials themselves.” And I thought that was cubes like the Gurlt Cube, that so-called alien spying device! No matter, we have learned in this miserable hour that circles are spooky, archaeologists are afraid of them, and governments will stop at nothing to hide circles from us, except when they let Hausdorff take pictures of them, or when (like the Spanish) they are actively pursuing discs for their treasury, or (as in the Babylonian Shamash tablet) they display the “secret” in the British Museum for all to see.
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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