We open in Bethesda, Maryland in 1960 and Paul MacLean’s idea that the oldest part of the human brain is descended from the “reptilian” brain. The show uses this to note that humans share traits with modern reptiles from a common reptilian ancestor. This is not controversial, but the narrator immediately proceeds to misunderstand this concept and states that Darwin could be wrong and humans did not inherit their traits from primates but from alien reptiles. Giorgio Tsoukalos then contradicts then narrator by claiming that humans were genetically engineered by space aliens from primates—not reptiles.
William Henry then goes on to discuss the Mesopotamian god Enki, whom he calls a serpent god and credits with knowledge of DNA. There was no DNA knowledge in ancient times, and the “serpents” shown on Enki were actually water spouts representing rivers. (Interestingly, fringe books are filled with references to Enki as a snake-god, but it seems to be based on a single reference in one ancient magical incantation to “the snake of Enki.”) The show also discusses other reptiles and snake-men from mythology, most of whom have appeared in earlier episodes. We also look at Mesopotamian figurines seen in old ancient astronaut books from the 1960s that have serpent heads.
The second segment takes us to Vietnam to view a cave that extends three miles in length and has modern folklore associated with it claiming that a reptile-type beast-man lives within. Other caves also are associated with reptile-beings. Ancient astronaut theorists and “the UFO community” accept that these beings are Reptilians of possibly alien origin, though there remains not a shred of evidence that such creatures are anything more than fantasy. The show falsely asserts that the Inca believed that reptile creatures built megalithic structures like Sacsayhuaman, but this claim does not appear in any of the historical sources recording Andean mythology before modern times. Nevertheless, the show sends David Childress and Hugh Newman on a paid vacation to talk about it anyway and to claim that the builders of Sacsayhuaman were a lost race of sentient lizards. They allege that the cyclopean style of architecture worldwide originated with lizard people. It’s hard not to think of H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Nameless City,” the most direct precedent for this episode’s false claims.
The show keeps repeating the idea that there is a global mythology of lizard people, but it defends the assertion with intentional misrepresentations. Childress, for example, cites the South American mythic creature known as the Amaru, but this creature is not a lizard person. Instead, it is a two-headed snake, sometimes seen with bird’s wings, that lives underground. It is not a “humanoid” as the show asserts.
In the third segment, we travel to India to view carvings of naga serpents, the semi-divine half-human, half-cobra creatures of Hindu mythology. The show compares their banishment by Vishnu to God’s crushing of the Serpent in Genesis. This serpent could stand and speak and was apparently humanoid before God crushed him. They then talk about the pre-Adamites, the Jewish myth of an earlier creation, but the show falsely implies that the pre-Adamites are mentioned in the Bible. They are not. We hear about a “war” before Adam, and William Henry suggests that God is a space alien who launched a war against the Reptilians, represented by the Serpent in the Garden. The show seems vaguely aware of Jewish and (primarily) Islamic traditions of the pre-Adamites, but they have hopelessly mixed up medieval traditions with Theosophical and Lovecraftian reptile-alien lore. It would take too much effort to disentangle how it happened.
Childress claims that various sites around the world look like they were destroyed by missiles, so therefore good space aliens killed evil reptile aliens. The narrator supports this with various Indo-European myths of the slaying of a dragon. I can’t get into the story here, but Calvert Watkins wrote a whole book about the origin and development of the dragon-slaying myth, and it has nothing to do with space aliens. For our purposes, it suffices to know that the various “independent” stories cited from across Europe and India are in fact reflections of a primeval Indo-European myth (or, rather, poetic form) that developed in a number of directions in different daughter cultures. The story originates not with humanoid reptilians but with simply stories of the killing of a big snake. A snake is not the same as a humanoid.
The fourth segment discusses modern individuals’ alleged encounters with Reptilians, and the show claims that Earth plays host to at least three “races” of aliens: Reptilians, Greys, and Nordics. We are told that these three races fought for control of the Earth and control of the human race. Jason Martell claims that all three likely experimented on human DNA. No evidence is provided for any of this, and the speculation owes more to Theosophy and Scientology than it does to the ancient history and myth they imagine stands behind their claims. Linda Moulton Howe claims that the U.S. government monitors space alien “territorial disputes” and is aware of genetic manipulations from three alien races. The Reptilians were the losers in the great war with the Greys and Nordics and are biding their time within the Earth until “the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth.” No, wait. … That’s “The Call of Cthulhu.” It’s so hard to keep everything straight since this episode borrows shamelessly from “Cthulhu,” “Nameless City,” and “At the Mountains of Madness” to flesh out the fantastical history of its aliens. Ancient Aliens proposes a history of aliens closer to the Cthulhu Spawn and the Great Race from “Madness” than it does to Theosophy’s history of the world with its various root races, which might otherwise have seemed to be their model.
The fifth segment takes place in Dulce, New Mexico, where we hear stories from Native lore about Ant Men and Star People. They have been a popular feature of ancient astronaut lore for a decade and have appeared on Ancient Aliens regularly since 2014. This time, though, the show connects the underground Ant People to U.S. military underground bases in New Mexico, including dubious claims from Phil Schneider that in the 1990s dozens of American military and law enforcement personnel died in a firefight with space aliens at Dulce Air Force Base. Schneider killed himself in the mid-1990s, but the show alleges that he was assassinated to cover up an agreement (!) between America and space aliens to allow a limited program of abduction and genetic experimentation to produce a super-race. Now, since abductions are overwhelmingly associated with poor, rural whites, and these people are now being reimagined as a master race in waiting, I’m not entirely comfortable with the implications that undergird a seemingly silly claim. The U.S. government is working with aliens to super-charge rural white people to become a master race?
The final segment relates another dubious story, this time of a woman who was asleep and had a bad dream about being touched by Reptilians and turned into a lizard. The show takes this very seriously and pretends that this could be a real encounter with lizard-creatures. The woman tells us that “certain groups” are receiving lizard DNA to create a master race. Linda Moulton Howe feels that space aliens are fighting for territory on Earth, though she can’t quite explain what they hope to do with it. The show compares lizard people to Jesus and Muhammad and Tsoukalos claims that they were the original of the claim that a divine figure will return in the future. (He seems to misunderstand Islamic belief, conflating Muhammad with the Fifth Imam, but whatever.) The show peters out with words about how reptile-people can offer us “profound understanding” of our future, and it ends.
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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