Note: Due to technical problems, half of this review did not display properly. I have (finally) fixed the technical errors.
Perhaps not wholly coincidentally, these claims have long been in the rotation on Ancient Aliens, which returns the favor with yet another episode about recent U.S. government UFO investigations—a tacit admission that flying saucers have muscled ancient mysteries out of the pop culture spotlight. Indeed, UFOs and QAnon have sucked up so much conspiracy attention that there has been no major new work of fringe archaeology or any major new pseudo-archaeological claim since Graham Hancock’s America Before and its psychic Native American Atlanteans in 2019—and that book made hardly a dent in pop culture, unlike Ancient Aliens, America Unearthed, or even Hancock’s own prior volumes.
This episode recycles past episodes’ claims that ancient people recorded the appearance of alien spaceships and compares these (often fabricated) ancient accounts to U.S. Navy UFO descriptions.
The first segment opens with a description of the infamous “swarm” of UFOs reported by the Navy’s Strike Force 9. Usually explained as drones by non-ufologists, Jeremy Corbell alleges—without evidence—that they were instead “floating pyramids” that the Pentagon has no weapons capable to working against them. (The “pyramid” shape is simply a triangular camera distortion of a point of light.) The show then compares the fake pyramid UFO to the pyramid-shaped benben stones from Egypt, used as pyramidions atop obelisks or pyramids. Often claimed to be modeled on a meteor, the show instead claims it was a pyramid-shaped alien spaceship, as seen in the 1994 movie Stargate. David Childress claims “many cultures around the world” have similar stories, but the show provides no evidence of other pyramid-shaped myths of flying objects
The second segment compares the famous “Gimbal” Navy UFO video, a frequent subject for Ancient Aliens, to the vimana of ancient Vedic texts. The show falsely claims vimanas were shaped like acorns and therefore are similar to the Gimbal video, even though vimana came in many different shapes and originated as chariots, later mythologized into more elaborate flying vehicles—flying palaces, in fact. Illustrated texts from India, as seen even on Ancient Aliens, clearly depict shapes other than acorns. The show accepts false stories about vimanas from the modern era as evidence of ancient capabilities (the claim that they were spaceships originates in Hindu literalism of the 19th century), and the narration claims Navy UFO videos depict vimana “technology.”
The third segment tries to suggest that artistic conventions are evidence of spaceships. Egyptian pharaohs were sometimes depicted inside a circle that highlights him, and the show claims all instances of circles surrounding divine figures across cultures isn’t simply a numinous halo of light but an energy bubble for traveling through a vacuum faster than the speed of light. Travis Taylor claims that the Gimbal video depicts exactly this sort of divine bubble around the UFO, though Mick West has explained that Taylor’s claim that it is a “warp bubble”—a hypothetical method for traveling faster than light inspired by Star Trek, is, at best, unnecessary.
The fourth segment again returns to Jeremy Corbell to discuss a USS Omaha video of a black blob descending from the sky and appearing to disappear upon touching the water. The show claims that a warp bubble pushed the craft through the water, though I imagine that a balloon popping would produce a similar “transmedium” visual. This lets the show repeat material from their episode about underwater UFOs, and Nick Pope claims that “it makes a good deal of sense” to believe space aliens have underwater bases for their flying saucers and have had them for “millennia.” William Henry alleges that the Babylonian fish-man culture hero Oannes and his Apkallu priests are “transmedium” because Oannes lived in the sea and crawled up on land. Hey, that makes frogs transmedium too! The show then falsely claims Oannes as one of the Anunnaki, even though he is a culture hero. They repeat an early episode reference to a light Columbus claimed to see in 1492 before reaching land, alleging it was an undersea UFO base. The light, discussed on the show since 2012, was probably a Native fire of some kind.
Jeremy Corbell and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) claim that modern UFOs are similar to Ezekiel’s vision of the divine throne. Burchett, sitting for an interview with Ancient Aliens in an apparently sincere act of devotion to the faith, claims God’s throne was in fact a spaceship—an extraordinary statement for a congressman. The claim that the rather plain description of a Babylonian-style divine chariot in Ezekiel is a spaceship is too familiar to discuss here, but goes back to Josef F. Blumrich’s efforts to provide Erich von Däniken right, but it required a lot of special pleading and sci-fi speculation. Burchett, who apparently lacks even von Däniken’s limited critical thinking, happily blathers on to Ancient Aliens about his bonkers UFO conspiracy theories and full-bore acceptance of the Ancient Aliens lifestyle. A sitting conservative Republican U.S. congressman happily proclaims himself an ancient astronaut theorist, with all that implies.
The final segment returns to the warp drive claim to allege that America is developing the warp drive from crashed alien vehicles. Burchett endorses Roswell conspiracy theories, and then the show endorses Bob Lazar’s lunatic claims about a hangar of captured UFOs at Area 51, with Jeremy Corbell’s enthusiastic endorsement. “It’s backed up time and time again!” Corbell says, unaware when he shot this that Lazar’s claims blew up this week when Lazar’s colleagues exposed his lies. The show then offers some ill-advised Putin reverence, alleging Putin has ET technology “thousands of years in advance” of any other earthly technology.
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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