The three pundits claim that Ancient Aliens is itself the engine driving a cultural shift toward acceptance of and belief in space aliens visiting Earth. Tsoukalos adds that it has shifted the “zeitgeist” so that it is “in our favor.” They are right, but I don’t agree that this is a good thing, when fantasy supersedes reality.
Only a few minutes in, the show tells its first lie, falsely identifying an 1870 photograph of a frost formation on Mount Washington in New Hampshire as a cigar-shaped flying spacecraft.
The first “pioneer” profiled is Charles Fort. Unable to sustain interest for a full thirty seconds, the show inserts an irrelevant discussion of Roswell before moving on to discuss Coral Lorenzen, a midcentury collector of UFO sighting accounts. More interesting is the people left out—no mention of Richard Shaver or Raymond Palmer or George Adamski. Apparently, they are too embarrassing, too obviously making things up, to be worthy of the Ancient Aliens pantheon.
The next segment discusses J. Allen Hynek, the onetime skeptic who became convinced that UFOs were something more than merely natural phenomena. Again, unable to sustain interest very long, they jump to Jacques Vallée, whom they wrongly credit as being much more original a thinker than he was. Earlier writers had pioneered his supposed insights, and Vallée, as we well know, misunderstood or falsified many of the ancient texts he claimed to analyze. A worshipful profile of Vallée talks of him as though he had made actual discoveries about interdimensional UFOs and didn’t merely speculate. He speculated so widely about so many different possibilities that something was bound to match whatever the current flavor of the month in ufology currently is.
After the break, a segment covers a Rod Serling-narrated 1974 documentary, which originated in 1972 as a Nixon campaign propaganda effort aimed at discussing Nixon’s record on science. The final version, now independent of Nixon, went full UFO and claimed an alien landing at an Air Force base. I described it years ago. There is no documentary evidence that the story is true.
Stanton Friedman is up next, but the show doesn’t even pretend to profile him. Instead, we get a second discussion of Roswell. After the break, Linda Moulton Howe visits by video call to discuss her career, particularly her obsession with cattle mutilation, a “phenomenon” experts attribute to natural causes and predation, not space aliens. A repeat mutilation segment follows.
After another break, the show discusses Bob Lazar with material from its recent previous episodes about Lazar, particularly this one and this one. It does not acknowledge the various controversies over Lazar’s absurd claims about space alien research at Area 51, but it does reuse footage from Jeremy Corbell’s Bob Lazar documentary for what, as best I remember, is now the third time.
The final segment describes former CIA director John O. Brennan’s recent claim that he personally does not know what UFOs are, a claim that ufologists have alleged has some relevance to the U.S. government’s alleged conspiracy to suppress the truth and/or stage-manage disclosure. It’s both and neither, so take your pick, according to Tsoukalos.
The show literally repeats itself by ending with the same clip of Tsoukalos talking about Ancient Aliens changing the zeitgeist “in our favor” and fomenting the disclosure that it used earlier in this episode.
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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