Reality shows aren't exactly known for their... well, reality, but The History Channel's Ancient Aliens is another beast entirely. This series presents itself as a serious authority on all things extraterrestrial, with actual "experts" presenting their very best arguments for the existence of distant alien life and how said aliens have been directly responsible for much of the world's most important and historical moments.
Many dubious viewers have questioned the veracity of the show's incredible claims, and with good reason. As it turns out, many of the series' most outlandish theories are supported by fake evidence and straight-up lies told by fake experts with no real experience or education in their supposed fields.
Making matters even worse, many of the popular faces seen most often on the show have been proven to be frauds to a criminal degree. Yet, millions of viewers are tuning and believing these unbelievable theories every episode.
Creepy death reports, mythological creatures, and even Katy Perry put in an appearance in the 15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Didn't Know About Ancient Aliens.
15 Erich von Daniken Wrote A Book About Aliens While In Prison
Erich von Daniken was accused of fraud and embezzlement. A court psychologist gave an incredibly negative report of Daniken's frame of mind, saying that he was a liar and was criminally unstable.
However, Daniken tried to gloss over the events, saying he was framed in a bookkeeping incident that resulted in a hotel he was managing to go into debt. Daniken also claimed that this incident had hurt his reputation.
Daniken was sentenced to prison and spent that time writing Gods From Outer Space, a follow-up to the Chariots Of The Gods? which was frequently cited in Ancient Aliens.
The New York Times has since revealed many lies inside the pages of Daniken's books, including the claim of a visit to a cave filled with a "metallic library" that was really just a cave filled with birds.
14 Giorgio Tsoukalos Isn't Really An Expert
At this point, you may be wondering why a show made up of experts would be purporting so many false claims. Well, we'll tell you. It's because most of the shows "experts" aren't actually experts at all. They claim to be, but a majority of them are simply theorists and authors.
The series' main expert, Giorgio Tsoukalos (aka the guy with the hair), does not hold any sort of scientific or archeological degree. Tsoukalos actually attended Ithaca College, where he graduated with a degree in Sports Information Communication.
He worked as a sports promoter for the International Federation of Bodybuilding for years before finding his calling as Ancient Aliens' resident alien expert. Now we're starting to understand why real experts get so worked up over this show.
13 Katy Perry Loves The Show And Believes In Aliens
So, who exactly is a die-hard fan of a show filled with frauds and fake evidence? Well, some major celebrities, for starters-- like Katy Perry, who absolutely adores the series and totally believes in aliens. Perry told Rolling Stone that the show had "connected the dots" for her and that the theories about sky people and pyramid observatories "blew her mind."
Perry's belief in aliens is exactly why she wrote her 2010 space jam "E.T." Perry revealed that she had been wondering whether or not a planet full of "hot aliens" could exist... and whether or not she would ever meet one of these aliens, of course.
Weirdly enough, Perry has been the subject of multiple conspiracy theories, one of which accuses her of being a member of the Illuminati. The Illuminati are sometimes considered to be lizard people from outer space living amongst us... it's all starting to come together.
12 They Tried To Claim That The Loch Ness Monster Was A Spaceship
Maybe you think people who believe in aliens are silly, and maybe you think believing in the Loch Ness monster is bonkers. However, did you know there is a section of the population that believe both of these myths are one and the same?
Giorgio Tsoukalos put forward the idea that maybe Nessie is not a cryptid or some ancient, surviving plesiosaurus. Tsoukalos pondered whether or not the belief that the mysterious creature was actually some sort of alien craft might not have some merit.
As evidence, Tsoukalos pointed to large amounts of electromagnetic fields supposedly present near Loch Ness sightings. Tsoukalos then questioned the cryptid's ability to create wormholes that spacecraft would then be able to use to enter Earth. Nessie is a Stargate, basically.
11 Viewers Have Written Creepy Reports About Giorgio's Fake Death
Giorgio Tsoukalos is both universally beloved and hated at the same time. His fans are true to the end, but those who disagree with his principles become terrifyingly creepy on occasion. Both parody news sites and everyday Tumblr posts alike have published harrowing accounts of Tsoukalos' pretend demise.
Making matters worse, the fake death reports are eerily similar in their gory details. It seems the popular method of murdering Ancient Aliens resident expert is death by stabbing or assault.
Silly connections to the government and death conspiracy theories are incorporated into the posts, of course. One bizarre post claimed to have the hope that their violent imagining of Tsoukalos' passing would one day come true and insinuated that everyone's favorite science host, Bill Nye the Science Guy was responsible for the murder... totally twisted.
10 They Reported Fake Footprints As Evidence Of Aliens
A small fraction of the population has been pushing the belief that dinosaurs belonging to different periods actually existed at the same time. Still more take this theory even further, purporting that human beings and dinosaurs walked the Earth simultaneously.
Then there was Ancient Aliens, which tried to claim aliens caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. That's obviously a controversial stance, but the show took things even further when they attempted to fake evidence of proof of their theory.
The Glen Rose dinosaur footprints have long been known to be at least partially fake-- local residents and tourists carved footprints into the stone. Despite this being common knowledge in the scientific community, Ancient Aliens relied on the stones as evidence that aliens were somehow involved in the dinosaurs' mass extinction.
9 Real Archeologists Think The Show Is Full Of It
Real archeologists get just as wrapped in the dubious claims of Ancient Aliens as the rest of us. However, they have the knowledge and the know-how to realize when the show is simply making things up. Turns out... that's a frequent issue with the Ancient Aliens crew and real archeologists are not here for it.
Real scientists and archeologists with degrees and decades of experience in these fields constantly call out the series for presenting science as a form of magic while simultaneously ignoring proven scientific facts while presenting their argument.
Professionals have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of this and have warned of the dangers this kind of thinking could pose to the scientific community. We think it's safe to say that these people are not fans.
8 There's A Documentary Dedicated To Debunking The Show
So, Ancient Aliens has been accused of falsifying evidence and experts in the field find the theories proposed on the show to be problematic. Is it any wonder there's an entire three-hour documentary dedicated to debunking the series?
Ancient Aliens Debunked covers many of the topics discussed on Ancient Aliens, picking apart the theories and pointing out the alleged lies and misinformation behind the show's claims.
To be fair, the documentary was certainly a biased one, having been helmed by Chris White, author of several books prophesizing the Bible and exploring Christian beliefs.
White was also the leader of an evangelical non-profit organization. Sadly, White's clearly biased motives add a bit of a caveat to his attempts to put the claims of Ancient Aliens in their place.
7 David Childress Was Accused Of Creating A Conspiracy Theory
A conspiracy has come forward in recent years accusing the Smithsonian of covering up evidence of the existence of ancient aliens. David Childress, author and frequent guest on the show, was blamed for at least partially propelling that conspiracy into the spotlight.
Childress was the first to accuse the Smithsonian of hiding the real truth behind Tibetans living in the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, in his argument against the institute, Childress referenced a scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
The scene depicts the Ark of the Covenant being locked away in a government storage facility. Childress has used this movie scene as an example for his explanation of how the government has covered up the truth about the Grand Canyon, dubbing his conspiracy theory "Smithsoniangate."
6 The Show Was Only Supposed To Be A 2-Hour Special
Ancient Aliens was never intended to be the huge success that it was. Nobody was expecting this silly alien conspiracy theory show to become the cultural touchstone that it is today... not even The History Channel.
When The History Channel first signed on to air Ancient Aliens it was only as a two-hour special, clearly, it grew to be more than that.
Following the incredibly popular special, Ancient Aliens was given a full-series run... and another... and another. The first season was a short six episodes. The series' seasons have grown over the years, reaching to more than ten episodes per season.
Season 12 even got to 16, fans simply can't get enough of this show. The series has found its way into streaming platforms and DVD boxsets, allowing die-hard viewers access to their favorite conspiracies at any given time.
5 The Network Tried To Use It For Ratings On A Different Channel
Given the show's phenomenal success, it made perfect sense that The History Channel would attempt to capitalize on its popularity. The network took one of their most popular series and moved it to their fledgling sister channel, H2, in an attempt to boost viewership.
The gamble didn't exactly pay off. H2 raked in far fewer viewers than Ancient Aliens did when it was aired on The History Channel proper. The channel brought in an average of 392,000 prime time viewers... a far cry from Ancient Aliens' usual 3 million viewer audience, but an increase of nearly double what H2 had been pulling before The History Channel began shipping their most popular franchises its way.
Fans weren't exactly happy about the move, especially those without access to H2. They were even more displeased when H2 was replaced with Vice. Thankfully for fans, Ancient Aliens was moved back to The History Channel.
4 More People Are Starting To Believe In Ancient Aliens Than God
Katy Perry isn't some crazy celebrity outlier, more people have begun to believe in these ancient alien theories than in any god. In 2014, over 22 percent of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey admitted they did not subscribe to a particular religion. A good half of those did not feel the need to find a religion, choosing to rely on their belief in science instead.
Despite peoples' faith in science, a very interesting statistic has popped up indicating that many may be more inclined to believe in unproven science than anything else.
An estimated 35 percent of Americans believe that ancient aliens may have once visited the planet, while only 19 percent believe in evolution. A good 42 percent of respondents said they believed in Creationist theory... but that's a much lower amount than the 47 percent reported in the early '90s.
Despite a few upticks here and there, the number has been slowly but steadily dropping since the advent of the internet.
3 They Claimed That Crystal Skulls Were Real Knowing They Weren't
Crystal skulls are fake. Not only do they not hold the power to channel any sort of mystical energy, but they aren't even from the areas or time periods we believe them to be.
Even well-regarded institutions like the Smithsonian and the British Museum were scammed by fake crystal skulls that didn't hail from Mexico or Central America, the believed origins of the famous items.
Despite knowing that these artifacts are totally fake, not even made in the places of lore, Ancient Aliens claimed that the skulls did indeed channel energy and that there were a total of 12 real skulls out there. That simply isn't true, as none of the skulls that have been studied have proven to be the real deal.
2 Giorgio Tsoukalous Says He Saw Real Aliens... Recently
Ancient Aliens never actually answers the all-important question: are they out there? Every episode ends with a "maybe," or "some believe," or "could it be possible?" There is never a definitive decision made on the existence of extraterrestrial life. Yet, Giorgio Tsoukalos absolutely believes in aliens.
Not only does Tsoukalos believe that aliens are real, but he also says he's seen one personally, and not that long ago. During a Reddit AMA, Tsoukalos claimed to have witnessed a UFO while participating in the Contact in the Desert Conference in Joshua Tree in 2014.
Tsoukalos claimed that he and 25 other people had witnessed the Big Dipper hanging out in an unusual spot in the sky before stars began to fly away from the constellation.
1 They Once Claimed Aliens Were Around During The Civil War
This is a dark spot on America's history, a key event causing a rift between millions of people, and these guys are just going to go ahead and throw aliens at it. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
This theory proposes that aliens were indeed hanging out during the Civil War and that huge political figures, including Abraham Lincoln himself, had seen extraterrestrials shortly before making big decisions.
Is this meant to imply that aliens abolished slavery? Lincoln was also rumored to have had a vision predicting his own death (though, it's never been proven to have happened), the going theory is that aliens must have warned him about his death.
The theory goes on to claim that the ghost of George Washington was present in Gettysburg and that Ambrose Bierce had written about strange goings-on like people going missing and interdimensional travel.
Can you think of any other dark secrets behind Ancient Aliens? Sound off in the comments!
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