It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached the first season finale of In Search of Aliens, or that the show already has a December DVD release date—just in time for holiday gift purchases. That doesn’t, however, mean that this unusual final episode, S01E10 “The Alien Code,” took any break from the show’s usual half-truths and distortions. The opening line is itself a half-truth: “The ancient astronaut theory has been around for over 45 years in popular culture.” Here show host Giorgio Tsoukalos is dating the ancient astronaut theory to Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods (1968), even though (a) the ancient astronaut theory has been around since the 1950s in its modern form, and the 1800s in earlier forms; and (b) von Däniken’s version wasn’t a popular culture sensation in the United States until after 1973. But to admit (a) or (b) is to damage the myth of Erich von Däniken as prophet, and of Giorgio Tsoukalos as his apostolic successor.
We open this episode at Jungfrau Park in Interlaken Switzerland, Erich von Däniken’s failed ancient astronaut theme park that was later repurposed as a children’s amusement park. Here Tsoukalos tells us that he has dedicated his whole life, from his childhood in Switzerland, to searching for ancient astronauts. He then gives us the highlights of the last nine episodes of the show, which he misrepresents as all involving beings that descended from the sky. In truth, it’s difficult to find many unambiguous myths of gods who descend from the sky in craft; most polytheistic faiths envisioned the gods as imminent and inhabiting nature, not just the sky. That’s a Christian reading derived from the idea of God in heaven. But in polytheism, the god of the heavens was one among many, and rarely the most important.
Tsoukalos seems to be speaking directly to me and my fellow skeptics when he says that the evidence for aliens is overwhelming and that he “can’t understand why they (the skeptics) continue to deny it.” Skeptics charge that there is no evidence for aliens. “But to them I say, ‘Look around you!’” Then Tsoukalos begins to play clips from earlier episodes. Repetition of failed earlier claims does not make them more convincing.
So, in short: Episode 10 is a clip show! Yes, a program that recycles material from Ancient Aliens that in turn recycles material from Chariots of the Gods is recycling itself for the last episode!
I hate clip shows.
Therefore, since I’ve already covered all of this material in previous reviews, you can read my analysis of each repeated claim in the original reviews linked below. I will reserve my comments for the scattered bits of new material and in analyzing the way the clips have been organized.
The first clip comes from S01E06 “The Mystery of the Cyclops” in which Tsoukalos claims that genetically abnormal skulls on Malta that lack sagittal sutures are not, as medical professionals assume, the result of birth defects but are in fact the skulls of aliens. Tsoukalos then plays a clip of skulls in Peru that also are lacking the sagittal suture from S01E09 “The Mystery of Nazca.” Tsoukalos repeats the claim that the Peruvian skulls are those of Northern Europeans (based on unpublished DNA results I have not seen) and then repeats the assertion that Northern European DNA is actually of divine extraterrestrial origins. This is the only possible conclusion we can draw from his reaction to the European DNA results, in which he excitedly says that this means the skulls may actually be those of extraterrestrial beings. Again: DNA results indicating Northern European (Aryan) racial identification also indicate extraterrestrial origin in Tsoukalos’s view because, for some reason, aliens and white people share a divine spark lacking in non-Aryan peoples, such as Peruvians.
But look at how he and Childress respond to the suggestion that they are in the presence of actual aliens. Is this how you would react if you thought you had proof of aliens? If you thought you were in the presence of real bodies of space aliens, would you react with awe and wonder, or even fear, or would you do like Childress and Tsoukalos and greet the experience with smirks and giggles and think about how wonderful it is that those evil “mainstream” scholars will be shown their place?
Next, we review the stone egg bearing a geometric carving from the pilot episode, S01E01 “The Hunt for Atlantis,” and Tsoukalos plays a clip of him and Peter Daughtrey that was later condemned by Daughtrey as misleading as it shows him nodding in agreement with Tsoukalos’s ancient astronaut theory. The carving of several circles with a line drawn through them is compared to a DNA double helix, even though DNA has no central rod.
After the break, we dip into the Ancient Aliens archives to start talking about the Ica Stones of Peru, the 15,000 cartoonish carved rocks showing humans and dinosaurs living together that archaeologists have all but unanimously declared modern fakes. Some of the artists who worked on the Ica Stones have confessed to fabricating them, and even Tsoukalos admits that “some” of the stones “have been exposed as forgeries” but says we can’t dismiss them all simply due to their numbers. I see you your Ica Stones and raise you the Burrows Cave artifacts. Numbers are no indication of authenticity.
Tsoukalos drops the subject and moves on to the Fuente Magna bowl, covered both on Ancient Aliens and in the “Mystery of Nazca” episode of this show. The clip from “Nazca” is dropped into the show wholesale. As discussed at the time, the bowl’s provenance is uncertain—its location wasn’t recorded, and there is no way of knowing where it came from or how it ended up in Bolivia.
This leads us to a clip from the “Mystery of Puma Punku” episode, dropped in here for no other reason than Prometheus Entertainment paid for one junket across Peru and Bolivia, so geographical proximity substitutes for proof of a connection. Tsoukalos concludes that the “precision” blocks of Puma Punku and the Fuente Magna bowl prove that something “extraordinary” happened in Bolivia. Given that he believes that aliens have Caucasian DNA, and the Sumer is recognized as one of the wellsprings of Western civilization, it appears that his conclusion is that Space Aryans once ruled over the native peoples of Bolivia.
After the next break, we revisit the stone wall of Thera from “The Hunt for Atlantis,” a cyclopean construction he attributes to alien engineering skills. Ancient legend attributes such architecture to the Cyclopes (as Pausanias reported—not that Tsoukalos knows this), a race of one-eyed giants. Tsoukalos is really stretching for material when he suggests that the Cyclopes were War of the Worlds-style stilt-walking machines “that may have appeared to be giants” to ancient people. Another clip, this time from the “Cyclops” episode, very thinly connects to the preceding clip in connecting the megalithic architecture of Malta to astronomical alignments. An outtake from the “Cyclops” episode has self-described “Professor of Atlantis Research” Hubert Zeitlmair show off a replica of a rock carved with star patterns that he calls “pre-Sanskrit writing”—whatever that is supposed to mean! Generously, one might suggest that he simply means it’s old; but since Sanskrit is an Indo-European (i.e. Aryan) language, one might wonder if he is suggesting that this is yet more evidence of those Space Aryans Tsoukalos seems to believe in now. As Zeitlmair tells Tsoukalos that “pre-Sanskrit” (i.e. Proto-Indo-European) was the “one language” spoken “around the world” in the time of the aliens, it’s apparently Space Aryans.
Zeitlmair claims that the star symbols, translated from “pre-Sanskrit,” state that the solar system has an additional planet, Planet X, from Zecharia Sitchin’s books. How convenient! We’ve been over many times that there is no evidence of Planet X, either in terms of direct observations or in terms of the effects the gravity of such a planet would have on other heavenly bodies. Zeitlmair, however, says that the “pre-Sanskrit” Space Aryan texts show that the Maltese temples were laboratories for genetic experimentation. As we know from Erich von Däniken’s Signs of the Gods (1979), their first genetic experiment, the Black race, was a “failure,” prompting them to use more of their own genetic material and create white people, whom he calls “the Chosen race.”
After the next break, we dump in a large chunk of material from last week’s “The Mystery of Nazca” regarding the Nazca lines and the astronaut figure, which as I have discussed, was identified by Czech researchers as a fisherman, complete with fish, not an astronaut. The clip repeats the material about crop circles from that episode and then segues into a clip from S01E04 “The Roswell Rock,” in which a small rock found in 2004 bears a carved symbol repeating the design of a 1996 crop circle, though more crudely. The rock, if genuinely extraterrestrial, ought to be equally or even more precise than the crop circle, not less.
As we move into a break, Tsoukalos promises that showing all of these clips will begin to add up to something. When we return from the break, Tsoukalos informs us that the key to understanding ancient history is “the shape of a circle,” which he says recurs “over and over” in prehistoric architecture. As one of a handful of basic geometric shapes, it would seem a virtual certainty that circles would recur, but apparently it’s due to aliens. “How come circles and circular motifs are so prominent in geoglyphs and petroglyphs found all over the globe?” Tsoukalos asks. “Is it possible that these designs are messages or perhaps even signals to the sky gods?” Funny, back on Ancient Aliens, in episode S06E01 “The Power of Three,” Tsoukalos and his friends, particularly David Childress, told us that the secret shape beloved by aliens was the triangle, not the circle! That episode aired on September 30, 2013. What changed over the last year?
Oh, right: Using circles lets him dump in another clip from “The Hunt for Atlantis” and reuse some rather expensive computer graphics illustrating the island continent as a series of concentric circles, following Plato’s description. It also lets us revisit the clip from that episode in which we connect Atlantis to the Watchers from the Book of Enoch by identifying Poseidon as one of the Watchers, who in turn are identified as Space Aryans. Tsoukalos compares the concentric circles of Atlantis to the concentric circles of Rujm el-Hiri, a 5,000-year-old stone monument found in the Golan Heights near Mt. Hermon in the 1960s. But at just 520 feet across and lacking any canals, the ancient site (believed to have been a calendar) was not a city or an island, let alone a “perfect match” for Atlantis, as Tsoukalos claims.
In an outtake from “Mystery of Nazca,” Childress tells Tsoukalos that one of the Nazca lines, a glyph of squares and circles, is actually a Hindu or Buddhist mandala, and Tsoukalos calls the similarity incredible. Both fail to note that the mandala they show on screen places the circle within a square, while this geoglyph places squares within a circle.
As we go into the final break, Tsoukalos claims that he will finally start to “crack the alien code,” more than 50 minutes and a dozen clips after he supposedly started. There’s really precious little time left for somehow decoding the Space Aryans’ entire symbolic language, but he has five minutes. Surely that’s enough to rewrite all of human history, no?
To solve the mystery, Tsoukalos turns to none other than “my good friend and mentor, Erich von Däniken,” but all von Däniken can do is to tell us that heaven is a space station of mother ship. He and Tsoukalos agree the mainstream scholars are leaving out large parts of the truth from the “textbooks” and that there is an alien code, even though they don’t understand it. But Tsoualos offers a hint: Proof can be found in the Bible—of course! Tsoukalos tells us that the New Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48; Revelation 20-21) is also part of the code. You see, the city is in the shape of a square (Rev. 21:16) but a British guy instead believes that it was really an elaborate set of circles and stars, so naturally it has to be an alien mandala.
“I refuse to accept that this is all coincidence,” Tsoukalos says. Here therefore goes back to the Ancient Aliens well and drags up the Large Hadron Collider in one of his stupidest comparisons, one he’s been making for years. He says that if you look down the long tube of the collider and reduce that view to two dimensions, it looks like a series of concentric circles and therefore the New Jerusalem, Stonehenge, and geoglyphs all symbolize particle accelerators.
That is apparently the dramatic revelation of the “alien code.” All of the symbols apparently point to a two-dimensional view of one angle on the inside of a particle accelerator. I guess human technology circa 2008 is the measure of all things—kind of like the way 1960s Saturn V rockets were the key to understanding all of the same mysteries in 1968. Funny how that works. Those aliens, they think of everything!
So what have we learned from this exercise in producing a final episode on the cheap from outtakes and clips?
Well, it’s refreshing that he’s happy to make those claims so baldly, even if he is not apparently aware of his own conclusions. He truly is the apostolic heir of his mentor, Erich “Was the Black race a failure?” von Däniken.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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