This episode carries a banner announcing it was brought to you by Walt Disney World. Disney, which has long promoted the ancient astronaut theory for some bizarre reason, is half owner of the History Channel.
We start at the Israeli cave where a second-century rabbi once lived and where he claimed to have received wisdom from the long-dead prophet Elijah. Such is the mythic origin of the Zohar, otherwise written down in the eighteenth century. The text claims that there are seven earths, which the talking heads, including David Childress, insist must be taken literally, not metaphorically—except, of course, for the metaphorical interpretation they want to use, which is that these seven earths are seven layers of our planet, going down to the core. Ariel Bar Tzadok is the chief commentator here, and he wrote a book about hollow earth theory from a Zohar perspective a couple of decades ago. Giorgio Tsoukalos on the other hand dismisses the hollow earth theory as “absurd” (even he realizes science doesn’t support it) but then says that this should instead refer to “inner” earth, meaning secret caves and caverns.
The second segment explores the apocryphal idea of pre-Adamites and other forms of pre-human civilizations. This leads to a rehearsal of the familiar suspects. Lemuria is first, followed by Atlantis, and the Gilgamesh flood myth. Bill Birnes appears to say Atlantis is “in the Bible,” though this is not true. William Henry discusses the ancient idea of world ages in Greek, Hindu, and Hopi thought. The show falsely describes a 2019 paper by Gavin A. Schmidt and Adam Frank hypothetically speculating on what evidence of geologically ancient civilization might look like as “scientists” finding “anomalies” that indicate such a civilization once existed. Henry alleges that carbon levels 56 million years ago indicate a nonhuman civilization burned fossil fuels. In reality, the carbon layer in the geologic record was due to volcanism. Having misrepresented facts, the show moves on to some of the creationist OOPARTS greatest hits, including the London Hammer, covered in an episode last year, which they again lie about. This leads to a lot of assertion that multiple intelligent species colonized the Earth, with no evidence offered other than being told we should accept the talking serpent in Genesis as a Reptilian alien.
The third segment finally gets around to the topic of the show and rehearses familiar stories about various divine or semi-divine beings who live in caves, underground, or in the netherworld (including the Tuatha De Danaan from the previous episode and the djinn). I’d say more, but the show doesn’t really make a point. Instead, it simply lists different types of creatures from mythology, some of which live underground, but others are just creatures with some vague similarity to creatures the Zohar describes as existing on one of the seven earths, regardless of where the creatures are said to live in their own mythologies.
The fourth segment discusses interesting caves, including Vietnam’s Sơn Đoòng cave, the world’s largest, where a “Reptilian” being supposedly lives. William Henry claims that the cryptid is instead one of the Seraphim. (Seraphim are connected to serpents in Abrahamic lore.) This leads to a discussion of lizard-cryptids and then the Zohar’s nose-less beings, which the show claims are Grey aliens emerging from inner earth. The narrator asks if flying saucers come from inside the Earth, though no one bothers to note that this was Richard Shaver’s claim in the Shaver Mystery stories—the stories that Ray Palmer used to help shape the modern UFO myth. William Henry unconsciously carries out Palmer’s plan by alleging Kenneth Arnold’s UFOs flew inside Mt. Rainier to return to the inner earth. The show then summarizes the Shambala fantasies they covered two years ago.
The fifth segment repeats false stories about Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic expedition entering the hollow earth taken almost verbatim from a 2016 episode. As I said of the false story at the time, the “bottom line is that it derives from F. Amadeo Giannini's book The Worlds Beyond the Poles (1957), which in turn … used part of the script of the fictional movie The Lost Horizon (1937) as supposed transcripts of dialogue between aliens and Admiral Byrd.” The show just keeps on lying, presenting this false claim as true by alleging it came from Admiral Byrd’s actual diary, indicating only in passing that the text might not be authentic. (I discussed the claim in detail in 2014.)
The final segment is an apocalyptic collection of End Times prophesies from various religions, with some very strange claims—a big stretch of the source texts—claiming that various End Times saviors will come from the inner earth, not from the sky. The various talking heads titter about divine communion with other intelligences as the show becomes openly spiritual, mixing extraterrestrial and supernatural in pursuit of religious ecstasy.
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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