Unfortunately, we don’t have six years to wait to examine this episode of Ancient Aliens—not that I would want to spend six years thinking about what took them less than six weeks (or more likely six days) to cobble together from Google searches and recycling past episodes. This is, of course, not the first time Ancient Aliens has dealt with Tibet. It was only back in March, just before the pandemic struck, for example, that they devoted a chunk of an episode to claiming aliens from the Pleiades created Denisovans to pass along oxygen-regulation genes perfect for Himalayas living. Mandalas, of course, have occurred several times on both Ancient Aliens and the In Search of Aliens spinoff as supposed alien art related to the Nazca lines. Even Shambhala has been mentioned in passing over the years. Tonight’s episode is more of a collection of greatest hits about Tibet than an original production, but such is always the case now.
The show opens by describing Tibet and its Buddhist culture, albeit without any reference to the tensions between native Tibetans and its Chinese overlords, which might make it harder to sell History shows in China. The show takes less than two minutes before the first description of Tibetans as “exotic,” firmly aligning Ancient Aliens with a white, Western perspective. David Childress calls it “magical” and “mystical,” again exoticizing an actual country where there are real everyday people who live actual lives independent of Western fantasies of exploration and enlightenment.
Giorgio Tsoukalos alleges that Tibet became a religious center due to its ancient alien visitors.
The mythical kingdom of Shambhala gets a mention, but the show claims it is some sort of secret fantasy land, and no one mentions that it likely derives from the real Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh. That kind of takes some of the wind out of the Atlantis-of-the-Himalayas sails.
The second segment deals with Nicholas Roerich, the mystic who allegedly saw a UFO from Shambhala while traveling in Tibet in 1927. I covered that story back in 2015. He likely saw a silver-colored weather balloon launched by Swedish geographer Sven Hedin.
After this, we hear tell that Shambhala is located underneath the earth or in a hidden valley accessible only through tunnels, which is less an ancient legend than the plot of the 1933 novel Lost Horizon. Some UFO sightings in the Himalayas are alleged to be aliens buzzing Shambhala, and the show repeats a claim from season five that Buddhist stupas are stone copies of flying saucers.
After the break, we get a discussion of Helena Blavatsky and Theosophy, including Atlantis and Lemuria. The show has never read Blavatsky, so it confuses her discussion of human prehistory with later elaborations by her followers. Blavatsky had claimed that a spirit from Tibet had given her secret knowledge through a mystical appearance in her New York apartment, which lets the show make some sort of connection to Tibet. The show states that Blavatsky taught Gandhi about universal brotherhood, and the show takes this to an extreme by asking if Gandhi pursued Indian independence on orders from aliens. According to standard biographies, Gandhi did meet Blavatsky on her death bed, but it was not a moment that changed his life. He was actually more influenced by Blavatsky’s follower, Annie Besant, whose Hindu-inspired ramblings, along with one of Blavatsky’s confoundingly mixed-up books, made him curious about rediscovering his own Hinduism.
Following this, we get another recitation of the familiar story of Aleister Crowley claiming to open portals to other realms through knowledge channeled from a Tibetan adept with a giant head. Lynn Picknett claims this adept looks like a Grey alien, but it seems more likely that when Crowley drew his picture, he intended to suggest a massive brain.
The next segment involves, as it must, Nazis. Ancient Aliens loves Nazis, and in this case, the Nazis did travel to Tibet—in search of Atlantis and Aryan homeland. The show ignores this to focus instead on the examination of a statue the Nazis looted from Tibet which turned out to (possibly) be carved from a chunk of the Chinga meteorite, which hit Earth between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. David Childress asks if the meteorite was “part of a spaceship” that crashed in Tibet. The answer is so obviously no—the meteorite is, as you might suspect, something that has been studied and is patently not artificially created or worked.
The subsequent segment covers the fictitious Yeti and the people who claim to have seen it. The show claims Yeti are charged with preventing the impure from reaching Shambhala. I believe that is actually part of the plot of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and some Lovecraftian fan fiction, since it does not feature in standard accounts of the Yeti or any historical sources on Shambhala. Indeed, the images Ancient Aliens uses to illustrate this segment are the same images that appear on that Lovecraftian page I just linked to, and it appears that the researchers didn’t realize that the page was fiction and not history. The show claims Yeti are interdimensional beings that pop in and out of our reality, but this is not based in fact (or even authentic accounts of myth) so much as the show repeating claims from its Bigfoot episode but swapping out the name of a different fictional giant ape.
The final segment claims that meditation can give Buddhists access to other dimensions, and Shambhala exists in another dimension. How that is different from it being a fantasy in one’s head, or how we would ever determine the difference, they do not say. The show ends with the claim that Tibetan monks shrivel up and turn into beams of light when they die. They claim to have photos of a monk’s dying body shriveling to nothing and then becoming a beam of light, but it all looks so staged and fake that it’s hardly worth commenting on. If it were true, you’d think someone over the centuries would notice all these beams of light and wonder where corpses keep vanishing to.
11/21/2020 09:56:01 am
Hi Jason -
11/21/2020 05:07:12 pm
Arecibo hasn't collapsed, it's just lived its life. There's a lesson there.
Shambala and Atlantis are somehow contradictory and in a competition among mystic believers.
11/21/2020 04:01:06 pm
Hi T. -
EP Grondine, there is no such link. A few unimportant National Socialists were influenced by this, but neither Hitler nor Himmler, nor Goebbels nor Goering. Especially with Himmler this is almost funny since Himmler is the only leading National Socialist believing in mystic stuff of that kind but he never was under theosophic influence.
The Man From Atlantis
11/22/2020 12:26:54 am
The Nazis believed that Atlantis was located in Tibet and who cares about Atlantis - an example of moral philosophy turned into a pseudo-historical narrative by Plato, put into the mouth of a dead man.
11/22/2020 09:18:44 am
Hi T -
@The Man from Atlantis, your words: "The Nazis believed that Atlantis was located in Tibet".
11/21/2020 10:57:51 am
Thanks once again for review the episode. This will definitely be one I skip over based on the review.
11/21/2020 12:48:52 pm
Oops, just noticed this show cam out last spring so you may have already seen it.
11/21/2020 11:24:50 am
Wow. Fortunately this falls in one of my many wheelhouses. First, there probably was a time in the early 20th century where things Tibetan or allegedly Tibetan became cool among a certain set, just as things Egyptian had.
11/21/2020 01:40:38 pm
A couple followups:
11/21/2020 04:25:43 pm
Things Tibetan have been cool in various western sets for at least four centuries. You need to make room in your wheelhouse for a broader understanding of Tibetophilia.
11/22/2020 09:33:07 am
Yes, the time-traveling Templar Jesuits, notably Ippolito Desideri, the Matteo Ricci of Tibet. Grandmother, meet eggs.
11/25/2020 01:24:07 pm
"Kent" already lost this argument several years ago to someone who provided original sources demonstrating public interest in Tibetan culture and religion in Great Britain and the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries stimulated by articles in popular magazines and newspapers.
11/25/2020 04:02:02 pm
Yes I remember that, it was the Journal of the West Bengal Society or something and was an account of a westerner attending the installation of a previous Dalai Lama in the early 19th century.
11/25/2020 07:34:53 pm
No, try again. Hint: original sources from the relevant periods.
11/26/2020 12:55:56 pm
A keyword search on the Chronicling America search engine for American newspapers indexed in the data base shows 1898 hits for "Tibet" in the period from 1789 to 1875, starting in 1790. This includes, as just one example, an 1875 article in the Chicago Tribune that discussed Tibetan economy, religious practices, and marital customs in considerable detail. The polyamorous set of the time and pioneering feminist set of the time probably found polyandry to be very cool. Someone get Kent a side order of green bean casserole to go with his Thanksgiving crow.
11/27/2020 10:08:40 am
No crow involved. I remembered the incident and named the journal. A search of the same time period on chroniclingamerica for "rape" retuns 170,000 results. Are we to assume that rape was considered "cool"? "Incest" was a distant second at 18,000. Don't be a douche, dude.
11/28/2020 08:00:13 pm
Is there a full citation for the newspaper article? The Memphis Tourism Commission sponsored an exhibition on the town's Mardi Gras celebration that was started in the 1860s. It was part of their efforts in the 1980s to develop the area in the vicinity of the Peabody Hotel. One of the old black and white photographs in the exhibition from the 1860s or 1870s was of a Mardi Gras parade float dedicated to the "Great Tibetean Lama." I don't know if they got the idea from the Chicago newspaper or elsewhere?
John Wayne Obvious
11/29/2020 12:15:44 pm
11/29/2020 08:04:14 pm
Always nice to hear from the "there are so many reasons rape is popular" set. Take a run at incest next why don't you?
Starship trooper obvious
11/29/2020 08:28:12 pm
Further self defeating logic. As Paxton's character in the Aliens movie so eloquently put, "game over man, game over."
Icky but true
12/1/2020 04:36:36 am
Incest was also considered to be cool in certain sets like ancient Egyptian royalty, royalty in polynesian societies, and west virginia to name a few examples. How this character kent made the leap from Tibet to tape and incest is a disturbing turn.
The Real captain obvious
12/1/2020 01:28:46 pm
Liz Lefler, I only took the five minutes needed to google enough information to prove Kent wrong and get him to say something dumb. I was successful. I didn't take careful notes on the date or page number and you can find that as easily as I did.
12/1/2020 03:33:07 pm
How I made the leap is I used the Library of Congress source cited by another poster and suggested that tape and incest are not cool. If that's your scene I don't know what to tell you. Don't get your jammies in a twist.
Not captain obvious
12/1/2020 06:19:47 pm
Lots of things aren't considered to be cool except among certain people or groups. The fact that rape and incest were the first things to spring to mind when searching a database for material in this discussion is telling. Both poor taste and useless for supporting your argument anyway.
12/2/2020 07:08:18 pm
Yet again, the most entertaining comments are the ones that kent is no longer allowed to post at this point.
Kent, cit: "The German exploration of Tibet was largely a Himmler project and gave us Heinrich Harrar and Seven Years in Tibet. cf. Ahnenerbe."
11/22/2020 11:44:17 am
Do you understand that
11/21/2020 11:37:23 am
Say it isn't so, you hint at Scottie being a prevaricator. Just cause silver turns to lead, agate-gate, Richard Nielsen, about every episode of AU, Masters, and on and on ad nauseum? After all, Scottie NEVER tells a lie, just ask him. Scottie is a hard scientist and by definition, he can't lie, maybe it is because he is hard. As for AA, maybe without Burns around to pull strings, the puppets are losing initiative. D Hatcher Childress is done hatching. Just in it for the money and that is slipping. Here is an article I ran across the other day, it is dated but defines Childress. https://www.newcity.com/2017/06/29/the-world-capital-of-weird/
11/21/2020 05:48:55 pm
I just couldn’t stomach the entire episode today, especially after reading Jason’s review. I usually soldier through these tedious repeats, but I quit after segment two. It’s recorded so I might go back and finish watching, but probably not. I keep hoping for new/interesting/insightful material...just call me Steven Ambrose I guess.
11/22/2020 11:50:44 am
Boulanger is involved in a lot of high tech lithic analysis of authentic artifacts. Debunking an OOPA and probably having cretins like Wolter and his sycophants attack him for belonging to some conspiracy probably wasn't very high on his to do list.
11/23/2020 12:08:55 am
Totally dying of laughter over here.
11/23/2020 06:05:31 pm
So sorry! I'm whacky with laughter over the whole concept.
11/23/2020 03:42:47 am
Christopher Hale's Himmler's Crusade (pretty much THE book on the 1938 Ernst Schäfer expedition to Tibet) kind of overstates Blavasky's influence on Nazism so I don't know how accurate it is on her but it does claim that she visited India with the attempt to enter Tibet but that the British assumed she was a Russian Spy and wouldn't let her in.
AC: I had a look in the Amazon preview of the book and it looks quite convincing. Right on page 10 all the urban myths are debunked: Neither Atlantis, nor Tibet as the place of origin, nor Shambala. But the usual racism of the time. And Ernst Schäfer as an ambiguous character. Yes, this is it.
11/24/2020 10:30:57 am
Oh boy,,, What's this ?
11/26/2020 05:13:53 pm
Yet the BATFE cannot enact regulations according to the authority statutorily delegated by Congress. Because Canadians know better than facts.
12/5/2020 02:24:37 am
Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb. He perfected the first commercially viable lightbulb. It's like saying Henry Ford invented the automobile.
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