How else can we explain this stupid episode, focusing on a made-up “mystery” of a supernaturally puissant mountain in Italy whose primary attraction is that it required a paid vacation to beautiful Italy to shoot footage for this episode?
We open in Turin, Italy, and the mountain that overlooks it, Monte Musinè (or mont Musinè in the Piedmontese dialect). The show suggests that pagan respect for the mountain has to do ley lines, but they’ve covered ley lines before, including during this season, and they are still fake, so this is a waste of time on multiple levels. Medieval stories of dragons and wizards are added to the story that Constantine saw his vision of the cross at Musinè. Beats me where they got that idea since Constantine’s vision occurred before the Battle of Milvian Bridge, a bridge which crosses the Tiber River, the river that runs through Rome. It is nowhere near the Piedmont in the far north of Italy where Musinè stands. Then the segment talks about UFO sightings in the Piedmont and claims that aliens are drawn to ley lines and power places like the mountain. None of the talking heads can agree on how to pronounce Musinè, and at times it seems almost as though they are talking about different mountains because their pronunciations are so wildly different. You’d think the producers might have bothered to check since they took the trouble of flying William Henry out there for a free vacation.
In the second segment, Henry arrives in Val Camonica, 165 miles from Musinè, to see the famous rock carvings cited in Erich von Däniken’s old books of a stick figure that appears at first glance to have a space helmet on its head, though the image appears to be a shaman dancing with a headdress on. A four-pronged image often called a rose is here suggested to be an X-shaped UFO. A second version, not shown here, is more clearly a symbolic shape, since it is a swastika.
The show recognizes that an old myth suggests that Turin was founded by Phaethon, but it wrongly tells us that he was (a) a god and (b) “descended” to the earth in a fiery chariot. Um, no. He was decidedly not a god since he couldn’t control his sun god father’s chariot and crashed it into the ground, dying in the process. It is not the same as the narrative Ancient Aliens falsely states. They also weirdly pronounce his name feh-TAHN, as though that would disguise their lies. Just for the record, most recent sources for the Turin myth aren’t about this Phaethon, but a different one, a son of the goddess Isis, who founded Turin to worship the Apis bull. (Conflation occurred because the Greek Phaethon was sometimes thought to have crashed into the Po.) You see, the area later known as Turin used to be called Taurasia, after the indigenous word for mountain, which sounded like the Latin word for bull. The Romans named the colony that became Turin after the old city it replaced, thinking it to refer to a bull. It’s a syncretic myth, but Ancient Aliens doesn’t bother to recognize the difference. Scholarly literature traces the story to the 1600s. Not that you will care that much, but in Ovid, Phaethon is best buds with Epaphus, who is the son of Isis. This is transparently the Apis bull (confirmed by other ancient writers, including Plutarch), and this is the origin of the story told in Turin. In the 1600s, Emanuele Thesauro claimed that the real Phaethon was Pa Rahotep, who founded Turin and established the honors of the Apis bull there. Ancient Aliens mixes all this together without explaining the choices they made in picking and choosing from the various versions.
The third segment recounts a medieval vision of lights in the sky over Turin which allegedly inspired the construction of an abbey. It’s a standard myth of a heavenly vision that provides divine justification for a construction project, but the show simply assumes that the lights must be flying saucers. A bonkers writer from Italy named Gnomo Orzo babbles on about ley lines and earth energy, and then the show doubles down on the Phaethon of the crashed chariot surviving to found a city. Henry finally reveals why he is mispronouncing Phaethon—he wants it to sound like Ptah, the Egyptian god, to try to connect Turin to Hermetic secrets of alchemy. Everyone then agrees that before Turin’s predecessor city, Taurasia, was “technologically advanced” and that the “energy” from their super-tech was absorbed into Monte Musinè. The proof, we learn, is that ancient people drew some spirals on a rock. Henry agrees with the Italian idiot that these are not actually spirals but are instead diagrams of the behavior of light particles, magnetism, and earth energies. Uh-huh. I’d like to see them try to use those rough, uneven spirals for physics and see how far they get.
The fifth segment take seriously a modern myth that Mussolini’s fascist government recovered a crashed UFO in Lombardy. The show suggests that space aliens have a secret base under Monte Musinè, though this seems to be more of a case of late nineteenth and early twentieth century stories about an underground city beneath Mount Shasta in California being inhabited by supernatural Atlanteans being transferred to Monte Musinè. No evidence is presented to document any of the UFO encounters or other supernatural misadventures that the show alleges happened in and around Turin.
The final segment tells us that there are many mountains with secret alien bases that function, in David Childress’s words, as “embassies” to “contact people.” The show asserts that “high ranking government officials around the world” know this but are hiding the truth. The intimation of a Deep State conspiracy immediately called to my mind the show’s new advertising campaign, which weirdly apes Trumpian language in calling Ancient Aliens “your favorite show,” just the way Trump calls himself “your favorite president.” They know their audience.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.