We open in Ireland with stock footage of the Emerald Isle and a potted history of Ireland, going back to the earthen mounds of the Neolithic. The show calls them some of the oldest structures on Earth, a strange claim given its previous coverage of Göbekli Tepe and its (false) assertions about the Egyptian pyramids and Puma Punku. The spectacular Newgrange mound is covered, again, as the show has done many times before, though slipping in some dubious ideas about the constellation Cygnus borrowed from Andrew Collins and hidden under the anonymous “researchers” they say claim the mound is modeled on Cygnus. This leads to fairies, elves, and leprechauns, or aos sí. Various myths about fairies and their fairy forts are discussed, with the narrator telling us they are “The Shining Ones.” However, as best I can tell, “shining ones” was not applied to the aos sí until after ancient astronaut theorists started using the term in in the early 2000s. The oldest version I could find was from a pair of Wiccan books from 2000, except for a few passing references, mostly figurative, in nineteenth and early twentieth century books.
The second segment covers the Tuatha De Danaan, which the show has covered before. They repeat claims about the Irish demigods from a 2013 episode, which I reviewed and debunked back at the time. Once again, the show tries to assert that these characters are space aliens. The show falsely links the Tuatha De Danaan to the Anunnaki, and Giorgio Tsoukalos presents Zecharia Sitchin’s linguistically impossible false etymology of “Anunnaki” alongside false stories about the Anunnaki that do not appear in Mesopotamian mythology. William Henry alleges that the Tuatha De Danaan were originally the Tuatha De Anu and thus the tribe of “Anu” of the Anunnaki. This seems to be a somewhat corrupt reflection of the myth that the Tuatha De Danaan were the descendants of Anu, or Danu, the fertility goddess. She is, contra Henry’s claim, etymologically unrelated to the Akkadian Anu, the Sumerian An.
The third segment claims that the Tuatha De Danaan gave “extraterrestrial technology” to the Druids, apparently eliding a few thousand years of history unless the Tuatha De Danaan space aliens were still hanging out into historical times, contrary to the Irish myths we apparently are supposed to take literally. Andrew Collins alleges that the story Geoffrey of Monmouth tells about Merlin moving Stonehenge from Ireland to England (History 8.10-11) has something to do with the Tuatha De Danaan, and Tsoukalos claims that the Tuatha De Danaan had technology to levitate stones. The show forgets that its Shining Ones were supposed to be fairy aliens this time and accidentally begins talking about Philip Gardner’s “secret society” of high-tech ancient wizards. This is all lies, of course, because the actual ancient source underlying this segment, the Lebor Gabála Érenn, states plainly that the Tuatha De Danaan learned their skills from the Druids (304 [redactions L & F] and 305 [F])!
The fourth segment claims that the Tuatha De Danaan moved underground after the Milesians conquered the island, and the Tuatha became elves. This is a somewhat simplified version of a complex mythology that found the defeated Tuatha reimagined as the aos sí inhabiting Neolithic mounds, though primarily with the aos sí serving as literary equivalents or substitutes for the former gods in stories where Christian sources have euhemerized the original Tuatha into mostly human figures but supernatural creatures were still required. That the Irish stories attributed to fairies are degraded reflection of older myth from a time when the Tuatha were pre-Christian gods has been recognized since the nineteenth century. The show ignores all the literary history to allege that Tara is haunted by elves.
The fifth segment introduces that 1920s fairy panic and alleges that the very silly outbreak of fairy sightings had some real basis in supernatural fact. William Henry rhapsodizes about Walt Disney joining a fairy investigation society and signing a declaration of belief in fairies. The show then connects fairies to Jacques Vallée’s assertion that fairy sightings are derived from the same phenomenon as extraterrestrial sightings, but it never quite explains why we should assume that fairies, ETs, angels, demons, and djinn are equally real instead of equally false. Instead, following Vallée, the show claims that supernatural beings live in a parallel universe and humans occasionally wander into areas where the dimensions bleed into each other.
The final segment describes the Bealtaine Fire Celebration on the Hill of Uisneach, held in May, to ring in summer. The show takes very seriously the traditional belief that this festival thins the veil to the other realm to allow contact with the fairies, but despite being a perfect opportunity to film some fairies, surprisingly enough, the show did nothing to test the hypothesis and film across the veil. Instead, Tsoukalos repeats that fairies are space aliens, while the narrator disagrees and claims that fairies are hybrid descendants of aliens that have become mysterious mole-people.
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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