The first segment discusses the recent Navy guidelines for reporting UFO encounters, and it falsely alleges that the guidelines are a sea-change in government policy. The guidelines weren’t intended as such, and the opening gambit has no connection to anything that follows. Instead, we start talking about the early stages of the U.S. nuclear program, followed by the results of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, which at one point they illustrate with a computer-generated illustration of Hiroshima’s ruins on fire. The talking heads discuss how strange lights in the sky were seen around nuclear test sites, and it relates Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of nine arc-shaped small objects (wrongly described as discs) to the Hanford plutonium processing center. It claims that this center was “near” the Arnold sighting, but their own map shows it being hundreds of miles away. After this, the show returns to the fake Roswell Incident, which has been debunked too many times to deal with here.
Next, the show repeats material from their show about Soviet UFO encounters, and their claims about the “Russian Roswell” are no more convincing this time than the last two or three times they made them.
My critics might scream bloody murder that Ancient Aliens isn’t meant to appeal to old conservative men, but why then are all the commercials for pick-up trucks, “made in America” pick-up truck accessories, beer, dress suits, meat, and hunting goods?
Anyway, the second segment begins with Soviet nuclear research and the subsequent Cold War nuclear competition between the superpowers. An old Look magazine article from the 1950s claiming that the Air Force gave out cameras to help servicemen capture UFOs on camera near nuclear sites is cited as proof that aliens are obsessed with nukes, but it’s really just evidence that the Air Force tried to determine whether the reports the public made about UFOs had any reality to them, and if that reality was a national security threat. When they figured out it wasn’t, they stopped.
Relating a story from the 1960s about a UFO supposedly caught on a military film of an ICBM launch, the show realizes that they had to actually label their video a “recreation” because it would be unethical to pretend otherwise. No such video exists in reality, according to the Pentagon, but the show tells us that it must because somebody once said it did. It’s thin gruel to build a case on.
The third segment covers the 1967 incident at Malmstrom Air Force Base, a story that has expanded in the telling over the decades. The modern version is that UFOs disabled the nuclear weapons site and shut down its nuclear missiles. Skeptics claim that the event was actually due to an electrical failure. Giorgio Tsoukalos goes out to the Minuteman National Historic Site, a museum preserving a 1960s-era nuclear site, in order to “investigate” the incident by listening to the testimony of a UFO believer who was a member of the Air Force working at Malmstrom in 1967, some 52 years ago. Not to put too fine a point on it, but as I discovered this week, even those of us with sharp, clear memories can be blindsided to discover that our memories don’t match the past. After five decades, I credit his testimony less than I do my own memory of just two decades ago—and I apparently remembered only partial, whitewashed versions of events I thought I knew backward and forward. The segment ends by alleging that the government conspired to cover up the story.
The fourth segment continues the story of Malmstrom, alleging that an investigation found no electrical problem and that the government ordered everyone involved to stay silent. Honestly, all I could really think about during this dull segment of evidence-free walks down memory lane was that Giorgio Tsoukalos has put on weight and his hairline is retreating faster than a UFO in the presence of a video camera. I say this as someone who went nearly bald at 30. Anyway, the show claims that Malmstrom might have been an “attempt” by aliens to force us to abolish nukes.
Then the show repeats material about the Rendelsham Forest incident and the Byelokoroviche, Ukraine incident, a weird story first reported by ABC News in 1995. As I discussed when Unexplained Files used these exact same examples in their episode on the same topic, “The first version of the story made the UFO 2,900 feet wide (yet somehow unseen except by about four people) but said that just one missile had a signal light briefly light up for less than 15 seconds, indicating that a launch code had been entered; now the story has grown into a much more frightening myth of imminent nuclear catastrophe.”
The fifth segment revisits the very familiar claim seen in episodes stretching back to the 2009 pilot that Mohenjo Daro was destroyed by nuclear weapons, its buildings vitrified into glass, its people massacred. As I wrote in my review of a 2017 episode on the same topic:
In this version of the telling, the show sees no contradiction between asserting than only 43 (actually 37) skeletons have ever been recovered from the city and William Henry telling us that many bodies were found and some bodies were found arm-in-arm where they fell during a nuclear blast. (They were not; the bodies found were not contemporary with one another, and they were buried in graves.) We hear that the site was “vitrified” through supernatural or nuclear explosion, but as the video clearly shows, the buildings of the city are not all turned to glass. There is some vitrification, but it isn’t of building but fire-hardened pottery, from a dumping ground where vitrified pottery was buried. The nuclear explosion must have been pretty special if it left the entire city standing, and its mud brick buildings unburned, un-cracked, and still in good condition down to this very day.
Childress repeats the lie that archaeologists found thousands of people dead in the streets. As mentioned, only 37 skeletons had been found, and they weren’t lying dead in the street, holding hands, as Childress claims. His claim that the skeletons were radioactive was Russian propaganda, which the show repeats uncritically because Ancient Aliens has a long history of displaying love for Russia.
The claim that Sanskrit texts provide accurate descriptions of nuclear fallout and radiation poisoning is a lie that I exposed almost a decade ago by actually reading the real texts. Ancient Aliens is repeating Soviet propaganda and lies from Morning of the Magicians that should have been obviously false even in the 1960s.
The final segment repeats material from “The Alien Agenda” episode from 2017, giving credence to Paul Hellyer’s paranoid ranting. He may have once been a Canadian government official in the 1960s, but he didn’t become a UFO believer until the 2000s, when he saw a Peter Jennings UFO special and decided that Earth was involved with multiple species of alien. Linda Moulton Howe confidently asserts that aliens are mad because nuclear weapons are “tearing into other dimensions” where “intelligences” live. I’d love to hear what her source is for that bit of fact-free garbage is. Did she interview an alien? Or did an intelligence from the Phantom Zone tell her to kneel before Zod?
I don’t know about you, but I will take the next month away from the show to enjoy my Friday nights. If last week’s audience of just 869,000 live plus same day viewers is any indication, the fact that fewer than 900,000 people have been watching the show for the past month suggests that a third of the show’s usual audience of 1.2 million have already preceded me in taking an Ancient Aliens holiday.
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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