Many have complained over how the History Channel seems to have forgotten its first name. The network has gone from serious history stuff like documentaries and specials, to some rather goofball bits involving ice truckers, storage stuff, and even ghosts.
But to many, nothing speaks more to how badly the History Channel has lost its way than Ancient Aliens. The show explores the idea that aliens influenced Earth's history and the first seasons played it mostly straight. But since then, it has turned into a series that seriously tries to argue that nearly every major part of this planet has been influenced by aliens. This has led to huge criticism from scientists and scholars, as the “experts” brought on are rather dubious, to say the least. The most notable is undoubtedly Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, whose bizarre hair and “it was aliens” lines have inspired several memes.
The issue many have with the show is that it is not just goofy in its ideas of alien life, it also goes about messing up evidence, drawing nutty conclusions, and even flat-out lying. Yet it’s a huge hit, well into its 12th season, and continues to have fans who mistake their statements as fact. Often, the “ancient” cultures they talk about are not really that old, and so many of the wilder antics of the show are just unbelievable. There is stuff there that no sci-fi writer would touch, and you almost think it’s a parody of what alien believers think.
Here are just 15 things from Ancient Aliens that make no sense at all, but that the show pushes as fact, and why this show has no place on the History Channel.
15 They Admit Crystal Skulls Are Fake… But Still Made By Aliens
Contrary to what some may think, crystal skulls weren’t made up for an Indiana Jones movie. No, they go back a long way, revered as a major bit among alien buffs as proof of long-time visitation by aliens to other cultures. But ever since they appeared, they have been debunked time and again by geologists, historians, and other experts as nothing more than expertly crafted frauds meant to milk a gullible rich person. Not one has ever been documented as having actually been found in some cultural site; just by random folks. An episode of AA openly acknowledges all that… then somehow goes right into the skulls being real. They touch on them being used by everyone, from the Mayans to the Nazis, and coming from Atlantis. They even mention how they're “linked” to how survivors of Atlantis moved to Tibet like it’s historical fact. The nuttiest bit is how so much of this talk goes on “ancient records” and myths of power, when the fact is that it wasn’t until the 20th century that the skulls went from some minor bit to suddenly having “great power”. So the show can acknowledge a fraud, but then gives it life. This sums up the series perfectly.
14 Excalibur Was An Alien Weapon
The King Arthur legends are debated hard today. Some contend there was a king by that name and that the myth of Camelot grew from it, while others say it’s all bunk. So maybe it’s not too much of a shock for AA to say that not only was King Arthur alive and real, but aliens influenced him. They contend that Merlin was… wait for it… an alien giving his input, and that his “magical powers” were just technology. Ignoring how there’s no evidence that Merlin ever existed in the first place, to jump to him being an alien is just nutty. This leads us to Excalibur, which at first they contend might have been a “biometric security lock” concealing Merlin’s secret stash of alien technology. They then move on to how it could fire off laser beams and was basically a medieval lightsaber. This is used as part of a huge talk on how aliens granted weapons like Thor’s hammer and even created a super nuclear bomb — cited as the explanation for a crater most scientists agree was caused by a meteor. Merlin as an alien teaching a laser-sword wielding Arthur: might make for a cool movie, but it’s ridiculous.
13 The Great Flood Was Real And Caused By Aliens
There’s a serious argument over the Great Flood. Many faiths take the entire story as just an allegory and not real history. Others believe it totally; that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that God flooded it all, except for Noah and his animals, to cleanse the Earth. Most scientists agree there was some sort of huge event long ago, but nowhere near “ the whole world flooded”, and the legend grew from there. AA tackles this in an episode by treating the Flood as if it’s a well-established scientific and historical fact, which is already a red flag. They then state how aliens used their technology to drag asteroids to strike the Indian Ocean, causing a mega-tsunami that flooded the known world. This includes “evidence” of two ships that are stated as being thousands of years old, but are actually far younger.
Of course, this brings in the show’s favorite bit: how Atlantis was real and had the most advanced civilization ever seen, one so powerful it terrified aliens enough to wipe it out. That Atlantis was a myth Plato made up out of thin air doesn’t seem to occur to them, as the show (which often mocks Biblical stories) actually uses one as proof of alien life.
12 The Hoax Of The Tibetan Temple In The Grand Canyon Is Real?
In 1909, an Arizona paper printed a joke story about the discovery of a temple of Tibetan monks in the Grand Canyon. It’s long been derided…yet AA takes this as absolute fact and mixes up India, Tibet and Egypt somehow in the talk while saying the treasures found there are held in Washington despite zero evidence. The Crystal Skulls, long derided as false, are treated as real too. They continue to push the idea that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012 when they never did. They push the long-standing myth that the Nazis helped form NASA and most of their “experts” have long been debunked by serious scientists as everything from false scientists to outright loons. They treat movies or TV shows of the past as if they’re documentaries but it’s astounding how they’ll take something clearly made up (and even proven to have been made up) and then use it as “evidence.” Somehow the show manages to get away with it when the fact is, roughly 90 percent of what you see is stuff pulled out of thin air.
11 The Royals Of Japan And England Are Descended From Aliens
You have to wonder what criteria the show has in picking their “experts”, as they often have little understanding of history, religion, or science. One episode seems to showcase this as they talk about how the royals of England are bathed in holy oil, making it sound like an alien connection instead of Christianity — the main religion of England. They also talk of how the pharaohs were inspired by aliens posing as gods, when the truth was the pharaohs often pushed themselves as gods on Earth. This leads to Japan and the talk of how an alien entity passed its “seed” and "aura" down the line of emperors. Thus, basically, every Japanese emperor has been bestowed with power and an alien force on Earth. This is laughable, considering the fact that the Japanese emperor is a purely ceremonial position and hasn’t had legitimate power of any sort for centuries.
But that’s nothing compared to the claims of how the House of Windsor “is one of the oldest and most powerful families in English history”. This will be a great surprise to the British, as the family originated in 1714 and the entire line has been massively shifted over the years. Yet, somehow, they claim Queen Elizabeth II is descended from Odin (really an alien) and that there's DNA evidence that the royals are uniquely bred to rule. So next time you see a royal, know the show contends they’re all alien manipulations.
10 Every Structure Is A Landing Pad
You look at so many ancient structures and you have to be impressed. Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Nazca Lines, The Great City of Teotihuacán; these are fantastic feats of engineering in any era, let alone ancient times. So of course, the show takes as absolute fact the idea that these were not done by humans. Nope, they were all created by aliens who used them as landing pads for their ships. This means that a variety of different cultures all over the world were visited by aliens who created these structures, ignoring the tiny detail that each structure is vastly different. It’s obvious that the same people who made Stonehenge couldn’t also create the pyramids or those massive land drawings. Yet somehow, aliens were able to put together this vastly different series of places with vastly different styles and used them equally for whatever craft they had. And this ignores how there are records of how these things were created (one person seriously says Egyptians couldn’t build the pyramids because “there are no trees in the desert”). To brush off such great works as “alien pads” is just idiotic.
9 Aliens Come To Earth Because Gold Only Exists Here?
There’s a big question skeptics have over aliens visiting Earth: Why? Why would a race advanced enough to travel across space come to a planet so backward and behind them? The show touches on it with ideas of using humanity for experiments or slave labor or just for jollies. One episode tries to give a “logical” explanation that there are materials on Earth that aliens need. Water is an easy answer given how plentiful the Earth is, but one segment gives a serious talk that it’s gold aliens want. That’s right, they travel across the universe to mine a planet for gold. Let’s put this in perspective, as in 2011 (when that episode aired), it was judged that the total amount of gold mined in Earth’s history was about 171,300 tons. That’s just enough to form a cube roughly 65 feet tall. Of course, some of the show’s followers can claim it as proof that much of the gold was mined already by aliens, but that ignores how satellite imaging shows gold is plentiful in asteroids in our own solar system, so it exists elsewhere. Of all the reasons for aliens to visit Earth, a galactic gold rush is among the nuttiest.
8 Aliens Are Every God Ever
This has been a common belief among UFO nuts, so it only makes sense the series would tackle it. It’s been used in various episodes; how the drawings of angels, demons, and other deities are quite obviously aliens taking on different forms. They use evidence that there’s no other way so many different faiths from around the world could have been inspired to create these religions unless it was aliens. This leaves off issues such as how these aliens could look so different so often; some as destroyers, others as saviors. They take the long-standing myth of the Buddha teleporting as not only utterly true, but proof of alien teleportation technology. They then jump to aliens transmuting people into animals, inspiring the Greek myths, ignoring how it's physically and genetically impossible to turn a human into an animal and back. They also throw in how aliens were the ones behind everything from Moses leading the Exodus, to Joan of Arc’s victories. There’s a lot about religion and history to mess up already, but claiming that aliens are behind so many “holy” events and people is a bit hard to swallow.
7 Leonardo Da Vinci Was An Alien
A major beef serious scientists have with the show is how AA often presents the idea that humanity is incapable of doing anything on their own without alien influence. It’s one thing to say cultures had to get help to do all this. It’s another to suggest that almost every great inventor in history has somehow been influenced by aliens. A famous bit is when they suggest that Harry Houdini had special powers, a statement that would make the real Houdini (a noted skeptic) slap them. In some cases, it’s just a subconscious influence from aliens, but with others, they have open partnerships: from Edison to Einstein to Steve Jobs. But they take it to a new level with Leonardo da Vinci.
The man was so ahead of his time with thinking up things like flying crafts and such, that the show naturally takes the idea that he was somehow inspired by alien technology he encountered. They then jump to the next step that da Vinci was an alien on Earth, hiding in human form and trying to push our society. That’s backed by a blatant manipulation of a painting to make it look like there’s a huge UFO there. The series just seems reluctant to give human beings their due and this is a key showcase of how any “genius” must be alien.
6 The Exodus Happened Because An Alien Device Broke Down
The Exodus is a historical fact. Moses did exist and did lead the Hebrews out of bondage from Egypt to freedom. It’s debated in religious aspects, like the idea of Moses being chosen by God to do this, and some faiths differ on how it all fell out. But leave it to AA to come up with an even more insane explanation. The term “manna from heaven” comes from the idea that when the Israelis' food ran out, God gave them some to help their journey. Most scholars believe it was simply some food found from trees and the idea that it was a blessing grew into this belief. But the series presents the idea that the “manna” was from a special device aliens granted the Egyptians to feed and control the slaves. This, of course, ties into how the entire Egyptian culture was some sort of alien “farm system”. So when the device broke down, the slaves had no choice but to leave. Naturally, this ignores why the Egyptians couldn’t keep them there, why the aliens simply couldn’t fix the “manna giver”, and of course the whole four hundred years of bondage thing. There are so many theories about the Exodus already, but this just takes it to a new degree of nuttiness.
5 Ancient Civilizations Had Help From Aliens
This is frankly a really insulting idea. The constant bit on the show is that just about every ancient culture had to be influenced by aliens because it was impossible for them to come up with all this on their own. The first major issue with this is judging these cultures by the standards of today, somehow convinced that without anything close to modern technology, it’s impossible to do anything. That ignores centuries of historical records and progress that allowed us to get to this level of technology in the first place. It can also come off just a wee bit racist to say these cultures just couldn’t do what Western cultures are able to achieve, unless they had help from outside the planet. More than once, an “expert” talks while openly laughing, saying, “Yeah, right, they were smart enough to build their own cities and systems!” It’s completely insulting, ignoring so much recorded evidence of them doing their own stuff and discrediting the hard work and pioneering spirit of these cultures for an “aliens did it” idea. So many bits of the show are crazy, but this is just terrible on multiple levels.
4 Aliens Created And Then Killed The Dinosaurs
Do you remember that as a little kid, it was easy to buy the idea that humans and dinosaurs existed at the same time? Well, somehow, supposedly educated adults want you to think that happened. But even crazier is the show’s fourth season episode revolving around the idea that the reason for dinosaurs going extinct had nothing to do with a massive asteroid. It starts getting nutty with the serious statement of “we don’t know where dinosaurs came from”. This leads to the speculation that aliens created the dinosaurs as some sort of experiment, but then wiped them out when it was done. This, of course, ignores so many facts of how dinosaurs evolved over millions of years into a slew of different species, and how it wasn’t just one huge strike wiping them out at once. This ties into how the Mayans somehow built their civilizations and remembered those events, ignoring how that was millions of years before humans even existed. The entire episode has been trashed by paleontologists as utterly ridiculous, and makes Jurassic Park look like a documentary.
3 The Black Death Had Alien Reapers
For nearly a decade in the 14th century, Europe was ravaged by one of the worst plagues ever seen. By the time it was done, nearly 200 million were dead and the effects would forever shift the continent and the world. It’s believed that rats brought the disease from ships and that it got out of control, not helped by the superstitious beliefs of the time which made it harder to treat. But the series has a much more unique explanation: the Black Death was an alien virus. The idea is that the aliens were “culling” the Earth, or maybe just testing out some deadly bacteria to see how we’d react. As “evidence”, they cite classic drawings of a tall and thin figure with a scythe. That’s right: the show is claiming an alien dressed like the Grim Reaper was using his weapon to kill people That this is accepted as even partly true is wild and dismisses one of the greatest mass deaths in history as just another alien bit.
2 Aliens Are Behind The Curse Of The Pharaohs
For decades, people have loved to talk about the supposed “curse” revolving around the ancient pyramids. They use the long list of bad stuff that’s happened to those who open tombs to believe that pharaohs used curses to ensure that those who disturbed their eternal rest paid the price. It’s inspired slews of movies and such, and folks enjoy it for its folklore. Frankly, it’s all a bunch of hooey with no real evidence. Leave it to the AA series to make it even more insane. They tie it in with an old idea that some books of the Egyptians were really alien technology, and that activating it causes a booby trap, killing those around it. How it claimed only a few lives is left up in the air.
This leads to another claim in the show, that King Akhenaten was an alien because drawings have him with a long and thin body (there’s also one loon claiming King Tut was really Jesus Christ, but that’s a whole other insane road). It then jumps to how the Ark of the Covenant is an alien weapon of some sort. The show is just totally wild somehow, making so much of Egyptian history the work of aliens.
1 A Toy Proves Egyptians Had Aircraft
The show really has an issue with how ancient cultures had to have been influenced by aliens in some way. They also have a tendency to look at artifacts with a modern eye to believe they must be far more than what they seemed. In this case, they look at a toy as proof positive that ancient Egyptians had aircrafts. The idea that this could have been influenced by, say, a bird, seems completely out of the realm of possibility. Also, it ignores how so many of these toys were designed more like fish. No, it’s far more credible that this is proof that aliens bequeathed the ancient Egyptians with aircraft centuries before such technology could even be possible. They use talk of “winged demons” and drawings to back up these claims, ignoring how there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of this stuff having ever existed; no artifacts or ships remain. Ah, but they have a logical answer to that: The aliens took them all away when they left Earth and somehow the Egyptians never made permanent records of having flight a few thousand years before the Wright Brothers. And it’s all this little toy that proves it.