The first segment briefly reviews recent headlines about government UFO nonsense, from Congress mandating a report on historical UFOs back to 1945 to various officials talking about space aliens. Naturally, the New York Times serves as the warrant for why this is a serious topic. George Knapp literally says this—that the Times provided “political cover” to allow Congress to push through UFO legislation. As you, of course, recall, the Times stories from 2017 to 2022 were largely the work of alien abduction believer Ralph Blumenthal and paranormal enthusiast Leslie Kean, both pretending not to be advocates for ufology. Travis Taylor shows up the flaunt his credentials as (unofficial) “chief scientist” for the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force, and then the show throws the story back to “the man who held Travis Taylor’s position sixty years ago,” J. Allen Hynek. (He did not hold the same position since Taylor’s “chief scientist” job wasn’t a formal position; Hynek was a scientific consultant to Project Blue Book.) Hynek’s favorite UFO encounters are listed, followed by a discussion of Hynek’s “Close Encounter” categories 1 to 3. After Hynek, categories 4 (alien abduction) and 5 (interaction with aliens) were added to the list. The show pays lip service to the idea that ancient gods were aliens communicating with humans and the segment ends with a promise to discuss parlays with ETs.
We start with the alleged crash of a UFO and its four aliens in Kingman, Arizona in 1953, seized by the government and sent to Area 51 and claims that one of the aliens, named J-Rod, joined the U.S. government to work on reverse engineering the flying saucer. This story is one of Frank Scully’s from Behind the Flying Saucers. This leads, just as it did in American Horror Story, to the tale of Valiant Thor. Ancient Aliens did a segment about the hoax of Valiant Thor back in 2016, and this time the show doesn’t bother even to give the cursory details it did then. It simply assumes you accept that a space alien and Dwight Eisenhower were hammering out American policy together. Tsoukalos claims Thor was secretly guiding global politics.
The third segment repeats material from a 2022 segment about Prince Philip’s interest in UFOs. Philip supposedly employed his equerry, Sir Peter Horsley (served 1953-1956), to look into UFOs for him, and Horsley claimed that in 1954 he met with a psychic space alien disguised as a human with unnatural knowledge of Britain’s UFO secrets—or so he claimed in his autobiography, 43 years after his “alien” encounter. Horsley, like Philip, was apparently paranormally inclined and gullible. A rapid list of alleged UFO sightings at nuclear bases, with no description or factual evidence, leads to David Childress alleging aliens want to stop nuclear war in what we can only describe as the most efficient way possible—shining silverly lights around military bases and holding ambiguous, indirect interviews with figurehead royals’ assistants.
The fourth segment recalls “contactee” George Adamski’s weirdly homoerotic encounter with Orthon, the androgynous alien twink he later claimed to be unnervingly attracted to. The segment discusses Adamski’s messages from the aliens, but the show depicts them as Greys instead of the sandy-haired, fine-featured white boys Adamski described, like the teenagers his biographer said he paid for sex on his lecture tours and passed off as Venusian ambassadors when fans noticed. Whitley Strieber’s 1980s alien anal probe comes up next, and it’s still clear that after all these decades, Stieber can’t tell the difference between dreams and reality. Strieber claims to have an alien implant in his ear that projects text into his right eye and gives him superhuman research skills. Trust me, Whitley, it doesn’t show in your work. George Knapp claims to believe that aliens are in “direct” contact with “certain bloodlines,” which suggests some fairly gross eugenics territory that the show skips over as it rushes to commercial.
Hacker Gary McKinnon, who hacked the U.S. government in 2002, claims to have found evidence that the U.S. government has a secret space program interacting with aliens. Even the show admits that many outside UFO circles doubt this. The late Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer’s late-in-life UFO claims are presented, with no acknowledgement that this was based on an ABC News special and not his Canadian government service. Similarly, the elderly Israeli ex-space official Haim Eshed bonkers 2020 claim that aliens have a written contract with humans for joint experiments is treated as serious.
The final segment celebrates the “proof” provided by internet UFO videos but asserts that the U.S. government has incontrovertible proof of space aliens and is hiding it from us. Again, the New York Times Blumenthal-Kean reporting is referenced to give credibility to the fantasies. The narrator says “another authority” is “controlling the narrative” while articles about Israeli officials pass over the screen—not a good look, given how much the show borrows from old anti-Semitic conspiracies to begin with. In this case, the show claims the “authority” is the space aliens themselves, not Jews. The talking heads excitedly indicate that “complete disclosure” is about to occur through a gradual revelation planned “not by government agencies but by the extraterrestrials themselves.”
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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