And why should they? At the start of the show’s nineteenth season, the series is in the enviable position of creating their own reality, one that is simultaneously so ridiculous that no one could possibly take it seriously and yet, paradoxically, is therefore taken very seriously, especially in the halls of Congress. The show has been mentioned in the Congressional Record more than once. Several current and former government officials have appeared on its broadcasts, as have prominent media personalities and scientists, most of whom claim not to fully support the show’s various lies and fantasies, but, paradoxically, pretend to do so anyway. The fakery is the point—a show of loyalty to some profitable anti-elite ideology, a soft capitalist version of Big Brother’s famous redefinition of math:
In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?
There is no Party but profit, no ideology except opposition, but the reasoning is the same. If Ancient Aliens can make you believe—or pretend to believe—absurdities, to doubt any assertion of fact, then what else can wealthy corporations make you believe or do?
The theme of this episode is what makes particular spots on Earth most attractive to UFOs and other paranormal phenomena, but it’s really just an excuse to revisit some of the show’s most familiar UFO-based topics for yet another go-round. So slapdash is the assembly that the show’s title card read “The Hotspots Connection,” while the show’s episode description and official listing gives the title as “UFO Hotspots.” Nobody gives a shit.
We open with a rehash of the Navy UFO video in which an indeterminate blob is seen in the sky and disappears from camera view in a way that suggests to some that it disappeared into the ocean off San Diego. Despite the Pentagon asserting rather clearly that there is no evidence of aliens in any of their videos, the show rehashes some of the most popular videos, including Jeremy Corbell’s debunked bokeh triangle video, before listing “hotspots” like the Hudson Valley in New York, Marfa in Texas, and Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. That’s it. They just list them before recycling material about 1947 UFO incidents, including the Roswell “flying disc” crash. I would laugh at the assertion that the U.S. was gathering “huge” warehouses of UFO investigation files in 1947 (researchers at the time used shoeboxes to collect the handful of clippings and files), but Congress is so enamored of Ancient Aliens’ assertions that they passed a law last fall requiring the Pentagon to investigate them.
Based on this random grab-bag of half-assed repetition, it doesn’t look like “hotspots” is a concept the show is interested in defining or considering in any systematic way. Maybe they just had a bunch of scraps and excerpts and needed a title for it.
The second segment opens with a cave near Tel Aviv, Israel occupied by early humans 400,000 years ago. The show asserts that the Qesem Cave people lived there to be close to Mount Gerezim, which has had some reports of mysterious lights. The show claims Mount Gerezim was the home of Yahweh in the “original” Hebrew Bible, which seems to be a highly distorted version of the real fact that the Samaritans claimed the mountain was the site Yahweh first chose for his Temple, not Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. (The Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and a Qumran manuscript state that Moses first ordered an altar built on Mt. Gerezim after entering the Promised Land, instead of Mt. Ebal, in their versions of Deuteronomy 27:4, which seems to be the warrant here.) A bunch of ancient temples and sacred sites from Delphi to Stonehenge to Titicaca’s Island of the Sun are asserted to be “hotspots” where various ghost lights are seen, but nothing close to statistical evidence of UFOs’ attraction to these sites is presented, nor did the show bother to explain why ghost lights are alien spaceships.
The third segment discusses UFO sightings in the Hudson Valley, a series of sightings of “unexplained” lights in the sky (some were actually intentional hoaxes) for three years in the 1980s. Much of this is a direct repeat of material from a 2019 episode, and previously repeated in a 2021 clip show. The show asserts, without explanation or evidence, that UFO hotspots are only the surface manifestation of underground alien bases. This feints toward, but doesn’t care enough even to repeat, material from various previous underground alien episodes.
The fourth segment covers the French “flying cigar” UFO sighting wave of 1954. A French author, Aimé Michel, claimed (after advice from Jacques Bergier—but of course) that UFO sightings could be plotted onto a grid of ley lines, but the show offers no discussion, so we jet off to the Bermuda Triangle—that fake phenomenon mostly invented from whole cloth by paranormal writer Vincent Gaddis in a 1964 Argosy magazine article—though the connection to UFOs is sketchy at best. We hear about popular paranormal writer Ivan T. Sanderson’s claim that there are twelve such “Devil’s Graveyards” equidistant around the world caused by Earth’s magnetic field. However, when researcher Larry Kusche analyzed Sanderson’s data, he found that the reports of such “graveyards” were largely fabricated and the claim of twelve equidistant Bermuda Triangle-style vortexes was unsupported by statistical evidence. The show nevertheless asserts that such vortexes are actually alien portals to other dimensions.
The fifth segment is a cross-promotion for sister show The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, comprised of clips from the show. Brandon Fugal calls the ranch the most scientifically studied UFO hotspot in the world. That such a study has produced absolutely no published evidence demonstrating anything supernatural or extraterrestrial is telling; that this lack of credible evidence yields the show’s conclusion that Skinwalker Ranch is a portal to another dimension or a wormhole to the other side of the universe is kind of sad. Michio Kaku shows up to claim that physics allows for such a thing, but I do wonder: Even if you could link two spots in time and space with a portal, how does the portal move? The Earth doesn’t stay in one place, rotating and revolving, so how does the portal slide along with the Earth? It would seem difficult to do accurately when you are trying to aim at a ranch in Utah on a planet you have never seen from some unnamed star on the other side of the universe.
The final segment discusses John Keel’s claim that supposed aliens come from other dimensions, not other planets and were mistaken for gods or demons. Therefore, “hotspots” are places where Earth intersects with “higher” dimensional realities, though again that runs into the trouble of how these dimensions stay in sync while moving, supposedly, in their own dimensions, which are in constant motion. The show doesn’t care much about the physics of string theory or the multiverse but instead waxes poetic about how accepting multiple dimensions would lead to a change in our spiritual or metaphysical outlook, or some such.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.