Sunday, March 3, 2013

History Channel’s Ancient Aliens Can Make You Lose Sleep

Article first published as History Channel’s Ancient Aliens Can Make You Lose Sleep on Blogcritics.

Anyone familiar with History Channel’s series Ancient Aliens can understand the double-edged sword that is presented to us: we are set up to believe that beings from other worlds came here and either altered history or actually calculated it for us. On the surface this may not be any more disturbing than thinking, “Okay, so the Egyptains pyramids were built by guys from Orion” ; however, it does, upon deeply thinking about, change the very fabric of what it means to be human beings on this planet.

Let us suppose that these “ancient alien theorists” (as they are constantly referred to on the show) are correct. Long ago aliens came to earth and manipulated our DNA; they let themselves be worshipped as gods; they taught us how to do things like metallurgy and masonry; they gave us language and alphabets; they showed us how to build things (some of them very big things); and basically changed the course of human history. If we accept any or all of these things, then the whole notion that we rose above the beast of the fields on our own is a lie; furthermore, the concept that some of us believe from the Bible (that were chosen by God to be special among the creatures of the earth) is incorrect.

All of this can keep you rather sleepless at night if you start thinking about it. The show is very adept at getting under your skin and making it crawl. They dig up these so-called experts, among them Erich von Daniken (author of the famous book Chariots of the Gods), who is either crazy as a loon or as sly as a fox. He has been promoting his theory of ancient visitations by the aliens for years, and this is the ultimate forum for him and others like him who want to stoke the fires of these theories.

If you watch the show even for a few minutes, it is easy to get sucked in. They take you to exotic locations in pursuit of these places where the aliens may have been. It is easy to look at things and think, “Humans could have never done this alone,” which is basically what the show is about in every episode. It also makes us seem ineffectual, that had Zodor and his minions from Orion’s belt not visited the earth, we would still be walking around in loincloths and bopping each over the heads with clubs.

My biggest question as I watch this is why, if they came and were so interested in human affairs, did the aliens leave? Why did they not stay to see the seeds they planted grow? In some episodes (like “Roswell,” “Strange Abductions,” and “Aliens and Cover-Ups”) there are answers to this to some degree. The theory ends up being that aliens may have never left, that they are still watching us, and they may even walk among us.

Ancient Aliens isn’t for everyone, but if you have enjoyed science fiction or movies like Prometheus or Predator, this is probably the show for you. It is a slick production, and the commentators will send a chill down your spine if you listen long enough. I know when I go outside at night, I look up at the stars and think about what they are saying on the show and wonder if the aliens will come back and make themselves known in a significant way. I mean, if they helped the Egyptians build the pyramids, why don’t they help us build spaceships that can go to their planet at the speed of light, or better yet teach us how to end hunger, cancer, and wars. Then they would be seen as benevolent beings who really love us.

The problem is the Prometheus factor. As that film portrays it, the aliens did plant the seeds, go away, and didn’t like what grew here. That scary proposition is in my mind as I look at the stars, making me wonder if they do come back if we will get E.T. or The Thing. No wonder I am losing sleep at night!

Photo credits: pyramids, Erich von, ET -

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