A few months ago, for the first time, I got cable television. Seeing the college football bowl games was nice, but apart from that, I have not found a lot worth watching. The only things I watch much that aren’t over the air are C-SPAN and the History Channel.
It was on the latter that I saw a program called “Ancient Aliens”. (On the former, one may only see modern imbeciles.) It is about the “ancient astronauts” hypothesis, which supposes that aliens visited humanity some time in the past. The episode I saw was about the idea that the Norse Gods were in fact alien beings who visited the vikings.
It’s both an amusing and an annoying show. Annoying because it couches everything in the following way (Not a quote, just a paraphrase):
Could it possibly be that Thor was actually real, and the stories of his fantastical hammer are true?
I kept waiting for someone to say, “well, you can’t actually disprove it, but it’s extremely unlikely.” But no one ever did. All they did was keep saying non sequiturs, like “well, we modern humans certainly can build things as powerful as the legends say Thor’s Hammer was.” They seem to be implying that this suggests Thor’s Hammer was a thing, when Occam’s Razor suggests it means that modern humans can make stuff the vikings could only imagine.
(Interestingly, I saw another program on the History channel about the Nazis and their interest in the occult and mythology. It claimed that SS leader Heinrich Himmler believed in similar ideas of the reality of such artifacts from Norse mythology. That program treated this as evidence of just how completely insane Himmler was.)
As I said, the show was kind of amusing, and it’s a cool idea for science fiction writers to play with, even if it’s a bit of a cliche at this point. But it was presented as a very plausible idea, not as a wild theory based on largely on “wouldn’t it be cool if…?”
It reminded me of the radio show Coast-to-Coast AM, and lo and behold, I see from Wikipedia that George Noory, host of that program, was in a few episodes. Both programs are rather entertaining in their way, and yet there is always the lingering fear that some people, somewhere may take them as established fact.