Hello, and welcome back to another Gaming: For Official Use Only.  I decided to finally cover a topic that a lot of people have asked me about – the ancient aliens theory. The hard part about this wasn’t the conspiracy itself, or even refraining from using the memes of the guy from the show, but finding a game that addresses the theory.  It turns out I was just looking over the most obvious choice: Assassin’s Creed.  As always, I’m throwing up SPOILER ALERT since most of what I’m going to detail will be spoilers if you haven’t finished the games.

While the AC games ostensibly are about the conflict of the Templars and Assassins behind the scenes of history, the conflict actually involves the two groups’ race to collect artifacts known as “Pieces of Eden,” which were left behind by the First Civilization millenia ago.  The First Civilization, sometimes called Those Who Came Before, were a highly advanced race who ruled the planet thousands of years ago. They were so advanced that they created homo sapiens – that’s us if you don’t know – and homo neanderthalensis to be docile slaves and soldiers, respectively.  They did this by genetically engineering existing species to be more like themselves, who the uplifted hominids would worship as gods.  The Pieces of Eden were actually technological items designed to interact with a neurotransmitter in the brains of mankind that could control them, keeping them subservient. The problems arose when some humans were born without this transmitter, who might have even been First Civ-Human hybrids.

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Leonardo DaVinci observes a Piece of Eden. Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael not pictured.

As more humans who were immune to the Pieces of Eden were born, friction began to arise between the First Civilization and their human slaves.  The rebellion – no relation to this site – began in earnest when two hybrid humans, Adam and Even, stole an Apple of Eden and fled captivity.  This allowed humanity to rise up against its masters.  The First Civilization had the advantage in technology, but humanity had the sheer force of numbers, allowing them to take the upper hand in the war. However, the First Civilization had one other large disadvantage: they were dealing with ways to minimize the damage from an upcoming solar flare, which would wreck their technology, so they were a bit distracted. Even with their mind control tech, the First Civilization were losing to humanity, until a group of them developed a super weapon. It was called the Eye, and it worked by affecting the base probabilities underlying reality.

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Behold, a truly cosmic “YOINK”

Breaking out here to do actual science content, but some that is necessarily shortened. The reason that a probability weapon would be so devastating is that it could potentially rewrite reality itself.  In quantum mechanics all particles exist as probability waves in a base state of matter.  When the probability gets strong enough, a particle appears at a specific location.  By messing with the probability, depending on how much effect you can have, you could essentially rearrange matter as you see fit.

Also, due to a process called quantum tunneling which allows matter to go through other matter like the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde, there is an admittedly tiny, but non-zero chance that large items could randomly disappear and reappear anywhere else. Yes, there is a small chance that any second you could disappear and then immediately reappear in whatever vacation destination you desire – but the chance is so small you’d likely have to wait longer than the lifespan of the universe for it happen.  This is how the starship “Heart of Gold” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe beats the lightspeed barrier.

So theoretically, this weapon could not only collapse items due to removing particles via changing probability, it could simply remove enemies from the battlefield via quantum tunneling or even teleport explosives in the midst of enemy armies. You can see why the Eye would be “game over, man, game over” for humanity. Luckily the humans didn’t have to worry about it, as the First Civilization ruined it themselves.

It should be noted, however, that this probability-changing weapon would violate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which states the simultaneous speed and location of a particle can’t be known, so such a weapon wouldn’t be possible in reality…we hope!

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That is the wrong Heisenberg and you know it.

Three high-ranking First Civilization members formed the Capitoline Triad with the aim of finding a way to win the day. Two of the three, Minerva and Jupiter, worked to both stop the solar flare and end the war, while the third member, Juno, secretly was working on a way to end the war, with herself in direct control of the earth.  Upon finding that Juno had messed with the Eye for this end, Minerva destroyed it, and the solar flare hit the planet hard. Earth’s magnetic field reversed directions, polarity flipped, dogs and cats lived together, and the planet was wrecked.  The survivors of both species began working to rebuild the world, but the First Civilization’s numbers were too far depleted and they faced extinction. Their DNA lived on in hybrids with humans, but the First Civilization eventually went extinct.

Extinct, that is, everywhere except for in the collective memories of mankind.  The stories of their former masters, the First Civilization, faded into myth and legend, with the very names of many of the important members of the Civilization becoming the names of the gods of ancient mythologies.  The very names that so many of us associate with the beginnings of mankind, Adam and Eve, filtered down through the mist of history to become legend as well.

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Um, is that the Temple of Zuul?

Does this sound familiar, “beings who created man from its earliest beginnings, who are remembered only as the gods of mythology from our prehistorical times?” The First Civilization are the best example of the ancient aliens theory, often called “ancient astronauts” theory, that exist in games, except for one major quibble.  The First Civilization are of earthly evolution, not alien. It’s an interesting subversion of the conspiracy theory, which also makes an excellent segue.

The ancient aliens theory has become very popular in the last few years, thanks to the eponymous History Channel show which features the now legendary Giorgio Tsoukalos, and his hair. This article will go over the main points, but is not by any means comprehensive.  The relevant wikipedia article, as always, is a good start. I also recommend the History Channel show, as even for a skeptic like me, it is a fantastic show to watch. It’s my favorite science fiction show on TV.

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It’s not Aliens… But I’m almost certain that it’s Aliens.

The theory postulates that in ancient times, aliens visited earth and interacted with early humans, leading to the gods of mythology. The very myths of early civilizations show aliens helping early mankind, and explain the rise of mankind from bald ape to dominion over the planet.  The main argument for the theory is that much of early man’s megastructures required technology he did not possess, along with an advanced grasp of engineering, mathematics, and other sciences.  They also argue that the similarities among images from various cultures that never had contact with each other shows a common experience of these aliens, as do strange images that seem to be of modern day tech such as the famous hieroglyph of what seems like a helicopter.

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In the top of the middle section you see the helicopter. Is that a land speeder next to it?!

The beginnings of the theory actually have roots in anti-evolution works.  Alfred Russell Wallace, a contemporary of Darwin himself, who believed that Darwinian evolution couldn’t completely explain life on earth. He theorized that a creative spirit intervened in the evolution of life three times: creating life from organic molecules, creating consciousness in animals, and finally giving man sentience. He argued that this spirit was unseen, but had to have done so since life could not have happened earlier. This is fairly similar to how some deists view the work of the deity in evolution, interestingly enough.  Later writers expanded upon this idea with the spirit being replaced by extraterrestrials.

The most potent force in the modern version of the theory is the work of Swiss author Erich Von Daniken. Starting with his book Chariots of the Gods?,  he began advancing the ancient aliens theory in the form we are familiar with today.  Von Daniken believed that early man had progressed just enough technologically to construct the wonders of the ancient world, and stated that famous landmarks such as the Great Pyramids and the Moai heads of Easter Island were either constructed by aliens or by humans with alien assistance.  He theorized that early humans viewed alien technology as supernatural magic while the aliens were viewed as gods, because they were so far beyond humanity.

This has an actual analog with the cargo cults of the Pacific Island.  These cults arose when island cultures that were basically at the hunter-gatherer level met with WWII soldiers who gave them the aforementioned cargo, in the form of material assistance. The cults arose when they began to worship the advanced humans as gods, going so far as to create costumes similar to the soldiers to try and convince their gods to return. They created elaborate rituals, even using wooden replicas of the technology the soldiers used, hoping to earn their favor. Hilariously, a long-running cargo cult currently exists that worships the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip.  When the locals saw the respect given to the visiting queen in the 1970s, they assumed Prince Phillip was the divine being of legend who married a powerful woman from across the seas.  Prince Phillip sent them an autographed picture, which they reciprocated with a ceremonial club. To his credit, Philip sent a picture back posing with the club, and has met with the villagers on several occasions.

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A few images of cargo cult worship and paraphernalia.

Other writers continued expanding on the theories of Von Daniken, adding in their own “revelations.”  One of the most influential was Zecharia Sitchin, who declared that aliens interacted with the early Mesopotamian peoples, becoming the gods of their religion.  Sitchin claims that the Mesopotamian myth Enuma Elis, which details the gods or “annuaki” created mankind as servants, was in fact describing the work of aliens.  These aliens came from the planet Nibiru to mine raw materials, but decided to have others do the work. To this end, they engineered the early humans they found to what is now modern man, homo sapiens sapiens, creating what they called “adapa,” or model man. This is where the name of the first man, Adam, comes from, according to Sitchin.  These “annuaki” were directly involved with human civilization, until the destruction at the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago, which is often theorized to be the basis of the myriad flood myths of world cultures, most famously that of Noah and his ark.

Later authors made mention of the curious tribe of Dogon in Mali, who have detailed legends of amphibous Nommo who helped their ancestors. The curious thing is that supposedly, before the Dogon met modern civilization, they claimed the Nommo came from the star Sirius, which they maintained had two companion stars. Interestingly, modern science did not discover the second companion until 1915 due to its faintness. The theorists claim that the Dogon also had knowledge of the rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter, despite the lack of telescope technology.  The Dogon use elaborate costumes and rituals that they claim are based upon the appearance of the Nommo. Today, there is a lot of debate as to whether or not the Dogon, who are avowed syncretists who incorporate new information readily into their religion, gained their astronomical knowledge from Western sources.

Most of the evidence cited by the theorists is speculative at best. The Nazca Lines, gigantic ancient structures which reveal drawings of various animals when viewed from high in the air, are cited as being signals for aliens, who could properly view the drawings from their flying machines. Hindu mythology is often cited as well.  The Hindu holy work the Ramayana depicts the gods using fantastic vehicles called Vimana which had silver wings and flew through the air. These Vimana were said to fly on a beam that was as “brilliant as the sun and made a noise like the thunder of a storm” which does sound quite similar to a rocket-powered vehicle.  Even a war among the gods is depicted by theorists as being an actual nuclear war between groups of ancient aliens for dominance.  The Bible even gets used quite a bit. The Nephilim of the Old Testament, offspring of man and angel, are claimed to be alien hybrids who dominated mankind until humanity rose up and destroyed them. The Nephilim are described as giants who used the skills given to humanity by angels, called Watchers, until the Deluge destroyed the civilization.  Even the famous vision from Ezekiel of the Wheels in the Sky are claimed to be sightings of ancient UFOs, and of course the basis of excellent songs by Journey.

Amazingly, one of the greatest skeptics to ever live, Carl Sagan, stated that science should look into the theory.  In his book Intelligent Life in the Universe, Sagan and co-author I.S. Shklovski argue that aliens using sublight speed interstellar travel could have plausibly found earth and interacted with humanity. They did point out that such claims were unproven and just speculation at best, but were interesting enough to be investigated.

I suppose this makes sense, but I still don’t believe it.  Sorry, theorists, but I’m about to rain on your parade like a Godzilla-sized R. Kelly. I’ve stated in a previous FOUO that I disbelieve that aliens have visited earth due to the lightspeed barrier, and that any species who are capable of any speed interstellar travel would likely just curb-stomp us and take over. No less an authority than Stephen Hawking, who has the same belief, and I tend to think he knows what he is talking about. Some of the fringes of this theory are even more easily debunked, such as humanity being brought to earth. We share 70% of our DNA with bananas, not to mention 99% with chimpanzees. We are from here, well most of us..some people make me wonder.

However, there is a related theory, based greatly upon the work of Graham Hancock, which states people of an advanced human culture were the ancient benefactors.  Very similar to the Assassin’s Creed backstory, a race of advanced humans built a mighty civilization in ancient times and helped other cultures to evolve with gifts of knowledge and technology. This “mother culture,” as Hancock terms it, was destroyed in some form of cataclysm millenia ago but lives on as the legends of lost places, such as Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu.

I actually find this theory far, far more plausible than anything alien related, since examples such as the Antikythera Mechanism and the Baghdad Battery show ancient civilizations were often far more advanced than we think today. The idea of more advanced humans helping others who aren’t as advanced is just simple human charity, which is one of our greatest inventions. It’s still far-fetched, but at least it is in the realm of possibility. Graham Hancock himself does quite a good interview, and his podcast discussions with Joe Rogan are absolutely worth your time.

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One of the most throughly enjoyable podcasts on a wide variety of topics.

As always, readers, I’d rather you not just take my word for it, but read up more and use your own reasoning to decide.  At the very least, I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece, and I hope it made you think a little bit. I usually try and offer some reading, so if you want killer fiction that covers this topic, check out the trilogy of trilogies by Ian Douglas known as the “Marines In Space” series. These 9 books cover a single storyline across centuries as the US Marines fight to uncover the truth about aliens in mankind’s past.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them below or contact me on Twitter. Until next time.