I have to say that I was quite surprised to look at the final Nielsen cable ratings for last Friday, when Ancient Aliens returned to the History channel schedule after three years in exile on H2. I imagine History was shocked as well. According to Nielsen’s published ratings, Ancient Aliens did not rank among the 100 most watched cable shows for Friday April 10. This means that fewer than 300,000 adults between 18 and 49 watched the program on Friday, since 300,000 18-49 demo viewers were the audience for the 100th most popular show. I’m not able to estimate the total number of viewers since Nielsen ranks shows based on 18-49 viewers, not total viewers. In its 9 PM time slot, the program lost big to Discovery’s Bering Sea Gold and reruns of The Cleveland Show and Full House. This is a dramatic fall for a show that brought in 1.5 million viewers (400,000 in the 18-49 demographic) when it aired after Curse of Oak Island in a couple of special presentations over the winter. Can it be that the age of Ancient Aliens is finally drawing to a close? I wouldn’t count on it, but it seems that History’s efforts to rebuilt their Friday night and challenge Discovery’s dominance of the evening among middle aged male viewers didn’t go according to plan.
But even if Ancient Aliens crashes like a Roswell flying saucer, it will hardly make a dent in the endless flood of conspiracy theories. As many regular readers know, outside of my blog I also have an interest in nineteenth century European history, and I am continuously surprised by how often I stumble upon outrageous conspiracy theories when reading about even the most anodyne subjects on the internet. It’s enough to make me give up on the open web altogether. I was trying to find a picture of an Austrian archduke whose face I couldn’t quite remember, and Google Images took me quite quickly to a website that did in fact have his picture—and then tied the Habsburgs to a crazy-quilt conspiracy that linked the devil and the Jews to the imperial family. Oh, and Hitler, too. And let’s throw in the Watchers as well because, well, you have to have the Watchers. What conspiracy is complete without them?
According to The Reformation Online, the Great Pyramid was built by the corrupt pre-Flood civilization to preserve its unholy scientific knowledge. You will of course recognize this as a form of the story of the Enochian Pillars of Wisdom built by the Children of Seth or the Watchers in Jewish legend, later applied to the pyramid when Enoch became associated with Hermes Trismegistus, the builder of the Great Pyramid in Late Antique and medieval mythology. The website specifically cites Flavius Josephus on the pillars. But Reformation Online also has creepier reasons for accepting this fairy story: “To attribute the technologically advanced Great Pyramid to the Ancient Egyptians is like claiming that the Hottentots of Africa, or the aborigines of Australia, built the Empire State Building.”
So anyway, the author connects the pre-Flood corruption to the “sinful” Roman Catholic Church, following the centuries-old slander that Rome is really Babylon. Our author hates the Habsburgs largely for being Catholic: “The very name is synonymous with Roman Catholicism, bigotry, absolutism and autocracy.” Our author goes on to claim that the Habsburg dynasty gave rise to the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers, and that all three families are “demonic.” Thus, because our author believes that a Baron Rothschild raped Hitler’s grandmother, Hitler is therefore a Habsburg and the Habsburgs somehow manipulated Hitler into power in Germany. This would be the same Hitler who hated the Habsburgs and wanted to steal the symbols of their power (particularly the Holy Lance) and build a new Austrian capital to supersede Vienna.
Our author goes on to discuss his hatred of Jewish financiers and his love for America as the Biblical New Jerusalem, fulfilling God’s prophecy.
Speaking of the Habsburgs, it’s probably worth exploring one more crazy claim made about the family, this time citing insufficient Catholicism for the dynasty’s downfall. In 1889 the thirty-year-old Crown Prince Rudolf von Habsburg, the heir to the thrones of Austria and Hungary, murdered his teenaged mistress and killed himself. The suicide shocked Europe and was rightly called the nineteenth century’s “most spectacular suicide.” His suicide also was indirectly responsible for sparking the First World War through a chain of events too confounding to list here, but the death of the most liberal member of the ruling family forever changed Austrian policy, and not for the better. The imperial family covered up as many of the details as they could, fabricating a cause of death and even driving the dead mistress’s body away from the site of the murder propped up in a carriage as though alive.
Anyway, the tragedy led to a number of conspiracy theories, but one of the oddest claims came from the Count de Soissons. In 1903, he wrote a generally glowing profile of the Habsburgs for the Pall Mall Gazette, and he explained that Rudolf’s disordered thoughts and acceptance of that awful doctrine of liberalism may have stemmed from skepticism:
He was very fond of reading [secularist poet Heinrich] Heine, whom he admired so much that he would pay any fancy price for his unpublished letters; he had thirty of them, and his thoughts may have been infected with scepticism.
Now, granted, the count wasn’t referring to skepticism in precisely the same way we do today, but he surely meant to imply that secularism, liberalism, and doubts about tradition and faith lay behind Rudolf’s “melancholy” (depression), exacerbated by a fall from his horse, which further disrupted his already taxed brain, a brain too consumed, he said, with “intellectual overwork” and “feverish activity.” Rudolf was the brightest intellect the House of Habsburg had produced in centuries; naturally, the count concluded that being smart, liberal, and skeptical led him to sexual debauchery and ultimately did him in!
4/16/2015 08:22:46 am
I've always wondered why no-one ever came up with a crazy theory about the Habsburgs, and I've finally found it though it's not exactly what I expected; given that in the XV° and XVI° century the Habsburgs entered a cycle of
4/16/2015 10:17:24 am
Ancient Aliens rating down on a Friday. I wouldn't put much credance to that. Friday's are when most males 18 to 49 have better things to do, like going out, and even if they happen to be home, they are probably watching Basketball. The NBA playoffs, which seem to last forever, are on.
4/16/2015 05:55:47 pm
I wouldn't discount the idea that there is fatigue around AA. Watching essentially the same thing over and over again will eventually wear on you and you will turn to other viewing options.
4/16/2015 06:08:41 pm
That makes it especially funny that they still lost out to reruns of sitcoms. =P
4/16/2015 02:58:15 pm
“To attribute the technologically advanced Great Pyramid to the Ancient Egyptians is like claiming that the Hottentots of Africa, or the aborigines of Australia, built the Empire State Building.”
4/16/2015 07:42:31 pm
I read the "Reformation" website. To be honest,I thought that the author of the site has A LOT of screws loose. There are people out there that are nuts. I think the "Reformation" website author needs some psychiatric attention and fast.
4/17/2015 04:19:43 am
That new episode was boring as hell. I have a pretty high tolerance for watching nonsense if it at least contains an interesting idea. I tuned out after 10 minutes. I have a lot less interest in "aliens in current events" (which includes anything in the Industrial Revolution) than "aliens in prehistory/ancient history," and I would guess I'm not the only one. What's ancient about the Civil War?
Jason --- HAPSBURG has no "B" in it...
4/18/2015 07:02:39 am
i stopped by to do a National Geographic link about Iceland and DNA that brings to mind a recent Disney bio-pic movie...
4/18/2015 02:18:10 pm
"Habsburg is a municipality in the district of Brugg in canton of Aargau in Switzerland. While Bronze Age and Roman era artifacts have been discovered, a village named Habsburg isn't mentioned until 1027, as Habesbur or Habeburch. This reference comes from a later (1114) copy of the original 1027 document. In 1114 it was mentioned Hauesborc. The documentation of the village in 1027 is contemporary with Count Radbot's construction of Habsburg Castle. It is believed that he named the castle after a hawk (German: Habicht) seen sitting on its walls. Some historians and linguists believe the name may come from the Middle High German word 'hab / hap' meaning ford, as it is located near a ford of the Aar River. Habsburg Castle became the originating family seat of the House of Habsburg, which went on to become one of the leading royal dynasties in Europe."
4/18/2015 02:52:29 pm
Well, the article does say that the Inuit carry no variant of this supposed genetic link, and that it "may have come from a Native American people that died out after the arrival of Europeans".
4/18/2015 08:41:12 pm
No Dorset mom in the Vikings, according to this:
4/18/2015 09:27:25 pm
"Or most likely, one Amazon or Patagonian woman was beamed up by the watching ETs and beamed back to Iceland because of a UFO glitch."
terry the censor
4/20/2015 04:10:46 pm
> the program lost big to ...reruns of The Cleveland Show
4/20/2015 10:54:11 pm
There are Japanese anime series that are FAR more interesting than "Ancient Aliens." If you guys want,I could tell you about them.
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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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