The Reptilian conspiracy has roots in anti-Semitism and in Christian identification of serpent-worship with Satanism. David Icke created the modern version in the 1990s, but it was former Ancient Aliens star David Wilcock who married Icke’s Reptilians to the Satanic panic blood-drinking conspiracy to create the form of the Reptilian conspiracy adopted into QAnon in recent years.
These sad events are only the latest example of how a conspiracy theory featured on Ancient Aliens has done real-world harm by giving grist to the apparently disturbed, and it makes it all the harder to pretend to find humor in the exploitation of archaeology, history, and culture that makes up this episode’s top 10 list of “mysterious sites.” Somewhere, more people are taking these bad ideas far too seriously because irresponsible profiteers care nothing for the harm their dark fantasies can cause.
This episode begins by breaking format and starting with Giorgio Tsoukalos addressing the camera directly. He announces that the program is a clip show “looking back” at the greatest hits of the series’ seventeen seasons of travels to ancient sites.
Once you subtract the commercials, intros, and bumpers, the ten segments barely average three minutes apiece, not enough time to finish a thought before moving on. Since all of the segments in this episode are repeats from past seasons, there is no point in reviewing them. Instead, I will simply list the “top ten mysterious sites” on Tsoukalos’s list and any particularly relevant details.
10. The Nazca Lines. The segment lasted about 90 seconds, talked about the shapes being visible from the air, and barely mentions extraterrestrials before ending.
9. Easter Island. A longer segment suggests that there is no conceivable way stupid natives could move large statues on their own so they had to have been levitated with sonic power. It strangely claims no other civilization had ever erected so many large statues over so long a period, about 500 years. I’m guessing the Egyptians would scoff at that claim.
8. Malta. This segment recycles material originally filmed for the 2014 In Search of Aliens episode on Malta’s megaliths, which has previously been recycled for the mothership several times before. It repeats claims about sagittal sutures and elongated skulls we’ve covered many times before. Experts long ago discovered that the suture vanishes under early head binding and can even disappear simply due to old age, and in newer footage Tsoukalos tries to address this by claiming that even a fused suture was not visible on the skull. Tsoukalos might want to limit the use of these older segments. They highlight just how much his appearance has changed over the past decade, and how little he now resembles the “wild hair guy” who became an unlikely sex symbol in the early 2010s.
7. Göbekli Tepe. The repeat segment alleges that the ancient megalithic site commemorates a lost civilization destroyed at the end of the last Ice Age. This is simply asserted with no further thought.
6. The Carnac Stones. This segment is a repeat of a repeat. It replays bits from a very early episode of Ancient Aliens already included in the season 6 “best of” clip show “Mysterious Structures,” which was basically exactly the same as this episode but in a different order.
5. Stonehenge. This segment repeats allegations that Stonehenge is a model of the solar system, including Pluto (!). As I mentioned when this bit first aired in 2019, it isn’t. Planets, for example, don’t have perfectly circular orbits, so Stonehenge’s circles can’t be a perfect model in any literal sense.
4. The Giza Plateau. This segment is a condensed highlight reel from the 2018 episode “Earth Station Egypt” that boils down to claiming no one knows why the pyramids were built (false: everyone knew it was to house royal tombs, until medieval Christians and Muslims refused to accept the truth) and that the pyramids might have secrets remaining in them. Read my review for full details, or, better yet, buy my book about pyramid myths and legends.
3. Sacsayhuaman. Last week, Ancient Aliens berated archaeologists for refusing to believe that any pre-Inca culture was involved in building Sacsayhuaman. Now the show recycles past material in which they discuss how archaeologists attribute the oldest layers of the site to a pre-Inca culture. The segment alleges that Viracocha was an alien, reusing footage from a past episode whose outtakes were just recycled last week. Clips of Graham Hancock round out the segment, which ends with an allegation that “bird people” (i.e. aliens) melted and poured the stones into place. As I mentioned in a previous review, that would require a new mold for each rock, which would be even more work than just making standard-sized poured stones.
2. Baalbek. The standard claims are repeated here, in a segment from a very early episode, when Philip Coppens was still alive, especially the allegation that the three massive blocks known as the trilithon platform could not be the work of the Romans as traditionally assumed and therefore must be the work of aliens. It was Romans.
1. Puma Punku. The final segment is a condensed version of the program’s infamous 2012 episode on Puma Punku, which alleged it was the only genuinely extraterrestrial-built site on Earth. Weirdly, they choose to repeat some of the worst parts of that episode, including the embarrassment where David Childress holds a set square against a stone to prove its precision right angles, only to clearly show the camera that the blocks are not, in fact, perfectly square. Old clips of Tsoukalos have been subbed out for newly shot footage, I suppose to avoid jarring inconsistencies in his appearance over a decade. For the specific claims made and why they are wrong, see my review, linked above.
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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