Ancient Aliens s03e01 Episode Script

Aliens and the Old West

Cowboys with six-shooters covered wagons crossing the the plains, and Native Americans wearing war paint and feathers.
These are the images most people associate with America's Old West.
The Wild West as we know it tends to come from Hollywood movies.
And that's a very cleaned up, sanitized version of what the West was really like.
But might there be more to the story? Much, much more? When we think of the Old West, the last thing we think about would be Billy the Kid chasing a flying saucer across the desert.
From cowboys, to lawyers, to doctors, to housewives washing the clothes and taking care of the sheep-- people were seeing things in the sky they couldn't explain.
This is a replica of one of the bars that was in one of the light ships.
And they're guarded by the Star People.
Ancient aliens have been around for tens of thousands, if not millions of years.
Why would they avoid the American Southwest? Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings.
What if it were true? Did ancient aliens really help to shape our history? And did the cowboys and natives of America's Wild West actually come in contact with alien beings from another-- much more distant frontier? What kind of a man goes around blowing up other people's cows? You got to believe me.
There's white lights! There's bright lights! So there was this big light, and you fell in the river, and when you come back, two of my best hands has just disappeared.
There weren't no lightning this evening.
In the 2011 film, Cowboys and Aliens, a man awakens in the desert, with no clue to his past, except for a mysterious metal device shackled to his wrist.
This may provide the key-- not only to his identity but to his ability to protect the town of Absolution from a deadly attack by alien spaceships.
Based on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and directed by visionary filmmaker, Jon Favreau Cowboys and Aliens skillfully blends the conventions of the classic Hollywood Western with the futuristic effects of an alien invasion film.
But although Cowboys and Aliens it's the product or their creators imagination, there are those who believe this story might have a few roots in historical fact.
Aurora, Texas.
This rural southwestern town covers an area of just over three square miles.
Headstones at the local cemetery mark the final resting places of the area's hard-working ranchers and farmers.
But one body allegedly buried here has no marker at all.
The Aurora's cemetery was founded in 1861 right at the start of the war between states.
Texas' State Historical Commission has a marker here that states the cemetery is well known because of the legend that a spaceship crashed nearby in 1897, and the pilot killed in the crash was buried here.
50 years before, the United State's Army announced that a There was a report of a strange unidentified object that crashed on the property of a local judge.
On an April morning in 1897 an airship supposedly run into a windmill on the property of a gentleman named Judge Proctor.
The ship exploded in flame and was burnt to a crisp essentially.
There was an explosion.
In those days-- this is before television, before jet aircraft-- any big noise got your attention.
Plus, the ground shook, and so they knew something tremendous had happened.
A local reporter arrived on the scene; he reported that there was a large debris field, and also that there was the charred remains of what appeared to be to him an alien from another planet.
The occupant described as unworldly by witnesses was given a Christian burial and put in an unmarked grave.
In 1897, this was six years before the Wright Brothers actually made heavier-than-air craft work.
So, uh, this is why I consider the Aurora spaceship crash the smoking gun of the UFO controversy, because this occurred six years before there was anything manmade in the air.
Witnesses claimed that debris from the crash was recovered by local law enforcement and never seen again.
Others claim that Judge Proctor buried it at the bottom of a deep well.
For decades, the incident remained largely forgotten until, in 1945, a man named Brawley Oates, who had purchased Procter's land, reportedly was cleaning out the debris from the well when he later developed an extremely severe case of arthritis, which he claims to be the result of the contaminated water.
He believed that the water from the well contained some sort of element to it that gave him a severe case of arthritis.
It was a bad enough case of arthritis that it eventually killed him.
So a lot of people today wonder if the well wasn't contaminated with some sort of radioactive agents, which was the rationale agents, which was the rationale behind his, uh, his arthritis.
We find that people who are using that well actually got ill.
And so what happens at a moment in time, is that the descendants of these people actually decided to cement the well.
The incident at Roswell in 1947 also begins steering controversy about the Aurora incident.
This time, concerning the strange body supposedly still resting in an unmarked grave.
We, searchers, wanted to exhume the body, but the local cemetery association wouldn't let them.
My first question is, why not? What's it gonna hurt? As a historian it makes me suspicious when somebody is trying to hide something from you.
Tells you you can't, you can't do something.
I first got onto the Aurora story back in 1973, and was, uh, there before the tombstone went missing, and actually probably one of the few people around who still remember where the actual grave site was.
The grave was located right here.
It was a short little grave.
That of a child or a very small person.
And the teeny little headstone, the marker, was right about there.
A few years ago, scientifics with ground penetrating radar established that there really had been a short grave here.
Now, back in 1973, Bill Case was the aviation writer for the Dallas Times Herald.
I was working for the Star Telegram.
We met up here.
He had a metal detector, and we found three readings of metal in the grave.
A couple of months after the headstone went missing, Bill invited me to meet him up here.
We went over the grave, and there was no readings in the grave.
He showed me three little holes that had been drilled in the grave.
Somebody had extracted the metal out of the grave.
In recent decades, further investigation of the crash site has turned up inconclusive evidence, including unusually high traces of aluminum at the bottom of the now-sealed well where Judge Proctor had supposedly disposed of the wreckage.
Could the events that happened on a Texas farm in the early hours of April 17, 1897, really be evidence of an alien close encounter? Could it have been the first such event to occur in America's western region? Or was it only one of many? Adams Country, Ohio.
At the end of the 1700s, President George Washington awarded what was then the unchartered land beyond the Appalachian Mountains to Revolutionary War veterans-- in for their service.
But when the settlers arrived, they found much of the land covered with thousands of Indian burial mounds.
And one of these was very different from the rest.
Imagine when you're pushing west, and all of the sudden you find this gigantic ephic iman in a form of a serpent.
What you have is a gigantic structure but it just sits there in the middle of a fairy interesting landscape.
Serpent mound was one of the amazing mysterious mounds found by the first that came over the Apalachian mountains.
There are thousands of mounds, but Serpent mound must have been special.
Like the Nazca lines in Peru, Serpent mound is a giant prehistoric structure that looks as though is meant to be viewed only from the sky.
When you see the great Serpent mound in Ohio, is massively huge.
And it can't really be appreciated when you're standing there, looking at it.
What we have here is meant to be seen from the sky.
It's mysterious in the fact that it is on an elevated plateau unconcealed from the world.
Unless you're flying over in a plane, and it's on very uneven ground.
And really, to lay that out and make it right, you'd almost have to be above, looking down to get it right, which is a mystery.
This 1,330 foot long structure winds across the land and depicts a coiled snake, eating what appears to be an egg.
It is the largest effigy mound in the world, and curiously, unlike most Native American mounds, the Great Serpent Mound was not constructed for burials.
Serpent Mound had no burials.
It's one of those mysterious mounds that offered us no clue as who the builders were but on the property there were burial mounds dated from about very early period, nearly 3,000 years ago.
Another curious aspect of Serpent Mound is where the ancient Native Americans chose to build it-- on the outside swell of a five-mile wide meteor crater.
ago, a meteor came into this area and struck the Earth going about 50,000 miles an hour.
The Serpent Mound is built right on the very edge of the crater.
And there's magnetic anomalies and faults that go across the Serpent Mound and that the Native Americans could dowse them, and they could feel the positive energy that's coming out of the ground.
If you bring a compass to the great Serpent mound, there are certain spots were the compass needle just keeps going.
So, obviously, we have some weird magnetic fields there and also some gravitational anomalies.
The myth has it that the Native Americans, when they came here, could see birds similar to passenger pigeons, or homing pigeons, circling by the millions.
Because within the skull of the pigeon is a little piece of hematite, or magnetite, and that's how they navigate.
And they couldn't figure out where north was.
Can you imagine millions of birds flying in a circle five miles wide? In addition to creating magnetic anomalies, the meteor also deposited a number of elements not indigenous to the area, including one of the rarest elements on Earth-- iridium.
When we look at the location of the Serpent Mound, we find that not only that there is iron, that there is uranium, but also iridium.
Iridium can withstand temperatures up to 2,000 Celsius.
It is non-corrosive.
And it's actually been used in unmanned spacecraft.
A lot of iridium apparently comes from outer space rather than being found on the Earth.
There is a use of iridium for thermal electric circuits, These deep-space probes include actually a radioactive source, because it's the only thing that can provide enough power when you're out beyond Jupiter and there's no sunlight and there's no nothing.
We have iron, iridium and uranium, three substances which definitely should not be considered to be of any use to Native Americans.
The question then is, to who are they of use? Ancient astronaut theorists believe extraterrestrials may have come to this site to mine iridium for their spacecraft, and point to numerous caves found in the crater swell beneath the mound as evidence of this.
Right here, we can see one of those caves.
It's pretty large.
And since this site is believed to be many, many, millions of years old, there's a chance that there are many, many caves.
But if alien visitors really did come here to mine iridium and other elements, might this explain why the Serpent Mound was built on a scale that made its shape visible from the sky? The Serpent Mound is a marker for space according to the Shawnee Indians.
They're convinced that space travelers are using Serpent Mound as a marker.
According to Zuni Elder Clifford Mahooty, the Shawnee aren't the only Native Americans who believe Serpent Mound has an extraterrestrial connection.
The Star ancestors talked the American Indians about where they came from.
And how they're supposed to carry out their rituals.
The mound builders I believe were those indian tribes that had contact with the extraterrestrials.
It's the essence of our culture, and the mounds were a place where we would practice and learn from those beings that come in from outside of this world to visit.
Ancient astronaut theorists also point to the placement and shape of the Great Serpent Mound as proof of its extraterrestrial origins.
The serpent itself was aligned to a constellation that had its apex at the height of the night sky 5,000 years ago.
The constellation Draconis-- it was used to align the Great Pyramid.
In addition to lining up with the stars of Draconis, the coils of Serpent Mound also align with the solar events of the solstice and equinox, as well as the 18.
6-year lunar cycle.
Could these precise astronomical alignments suggest that the Serpent Mound served a greater purpose than just acting as a marker? Some believe that because of its magnetic anomalies, this site may also have been used to harness energy.
These magnetic anomalies, these faults, attract lightning.
The Serpent Mound is right on the edge of an outcropping of pure limestone or dolomite, which is even better than the limestone they built the Great Pyramid from, and it's highly semi-conductive.
This is what I call the Serpent Mound stone.
It's an unusual feature that seems to be made of a different kind of dolomite than what exists on the outcropping of the general serpent.
This stone could've been placed in the center of the oval.
Therefore, you wouldn't get a lot of random strikes, so much as you would a lot of strikes that would tend to come to the stone.
Could the Serpent Mound have been a source of great energy? Might it have held an advanced alien technology that was somehow lost? When I look at a history of building ancient monuments like Stonehenge, the Sphinx, the Pyramids, the Mayan temples, what it tells me is no matter how technologically advanced we are today we've lost a knowledge of something tremendous that came thousands and thousands years ago.
And it's a tragedy that not only have we forgotten how to utilize it, but we've relegated it to the realm of folklore and mythology.
When the lightning lamps were eliminated, the native culture fell into the darkness again, about 5,000 years ago.
But we know that if their prophecies hold true, the Serpent Mound will be reactivated again one day.
And when that re-activation occurs, that'll be the beginning of the restoral of the earth.
Was the Great Serpent Mound really a hub of ancient extraterrestrial visitation? If so, perhaps there is also truth in legends of other, even more bizarre, alien encounters in the American West.
Palmyra, New York.
September 21, 1823.
In the upstairs bedroom of a log cabin, just south of this small, rural village, vision of someone, or something, not of this world.
It was late at night, it was dark, and the room filled with a very very bright light.
And this personage was floating in midair, his feet was off the ground.
And he identified himself as Moroni.
After talking with Joseph Smith for a while, Moroni seemed to ascend into the air, completely leaving the room again dark.
The next morning, also, Moroni came back to Joseph Smith to show him the hidden golden book, which is what we know as the Book of Mormon today.
According to the Book of Mormon, Moroni identified himself to Joseph Smith as a man who lived in America in the late fourth and early fifth centuries.
But America was not Moroni's home-- he claimed to have much more distant origins.
Moroni claimed to be from the Pleiades star cluster.
So a church today, nine million members strong, believe that their church may have originated not of this world, but of another world.
According to Joseph Smith, not only the Moroni claimed to be from another planet he also directed him to dig up the golden plates from the hill Cumorah.
What Scholars believe is a reference to an ancient native american mound, much like the Serpent mound.
We have since found out that in burial mounds and other mounds across the Native American region we have such plates.
These written tables have been found, and not just in North America, but also in South America.
This entity tells Joseph Smith to go on a physical search for an object, which we know could have been an archeological finding.
But if Moroni was a spiritual or metaphysical being, why would he give Joseph Smith physical objects with which to translate the plates? According to ancient astronaut theorists, Moroni may, in fact, have been a Star Being-- an extraterrestrial whose mission was to pass down to Smith and his followers the advanced knowledge of the mound builders.
In Mormonism, actually a lot of their theologist is directly related to this idea of God and various angels and various spiritual beings live on different planets.
According to Native American legends, the Star Beings left Earth thousands of years ago, at about the same time ancient astronaut theorists believe extraterrestrials left Egypt.
But if Joseph Smith's vision of Moroni was real, might this have been not so much a spiritual encounter as an extraterrestrial one? If so, perhaps there were other such alien visitations-- ones, which in turn, fueled an increased interest in the stars throughout the 1800s.
In the 19th century, people were very interested in astronomy There was some thought that there might be life on other planets.
So, often times, lights in the sky were attributed to possibly visitors from another world.
Joseph Smith felt such a strong connection to the Native Americans that he believed they could help guide him to a new holy land, which he called "the new Zion.
" Although Smith died in 1844 the victim of mob violence-- his successor, Brigham Young, ultimately led the Mormons further west to Utah.
In 1849, when the Mormons arrived in the area of Parowan Gap, local Ute leader, Chief Wakara, told them they had entered "God's own house" and showed them proof in the form of petroglyphs dating back thousands of years.
All throughout Utah, petroglyphs depict hunters with bows and arrows going after buffalo.
Very ordinary, daily life occurrences.
But there are also some other depictions, which are very odd.
And they look like spaceships.
They look like beings with halos.
They look like beings with antenna on their heads, or beings that wear some type of a suit.
For all intents and purposes, they look like depictions of they look like depictions of spacemen.
Great Falls, Montana.
October 19, 1865.
Six months after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a fur trapper reports what might be the first documented UFO crash in the Old West.
In 1865, the Missouri Democrat reported that a trapper saw a light traveling through the sky at night.
It flew over his camp, broke apart and crashed in the forest some miles away.
The next day he tracked it down, found a large stone imbedded in the side of a mountain.
It was hollow, it was cracked open; he claimed there were chambers inside of it, and there were hieroglyphic markings on it.
And there was also some mysterious liquid spilled around the area.
But the newspaper, you know, went so far as to suggest that these were meteoric conveyances of aliens from Mercury or Uranus.
So, the whole idea of UFO crashes was explored in the 19th century almost a hundred years before Roswell.
But what makes this story even more intriguing to Ancient Astronaut theorists is the location of the sighting-- along the upper Missouri River.
This is the home of the Blackfoot Indians, a tribe whose ancient legends include strange tales of Star Beings visiting the region from other worlds.
The Blackfoot have very profound legends in myth relating switch quite clearly * to * come down from some kind of sky-* to Earth and in these sky vehicles.
And the way that they are described, these can be modern ideas of flying saucers or UFOs.
Could the object that the Montana fur trapper claimed to have found really have been one of the alien crafts described in Blackfoot legends? And might the markings have been the same as what Joseph Smith found on the golden plates? To some Native Americans, like Chief Standing Elk of the Yankton Dakota Tribe, Star Beings are still very much amongst us-- and they are still making contact with humans.
A lot of our relatives that come from the stars they speak on a telepathic level and there are some that came to me and showed me a bar with symbols on there.
They talked to me, and I understood them very, very well.
This is the replica of one of the bars that was in one of the light ships.
And they represent the universal laws.
And they're guarded by the Star People.
So these are universal laws.
Did early Americans really encounter what the natives called Star Beings as they crossed the frontier? And what other strange encounters might they have experienced as they made their way further west? Tombstone, Arizona.
In 1881, this mining boomtown was the home of Wyatt Earp and the site of the gunfight at the O.
Less than ten years later, it would become the location of one of the most bizarre UFO sightings in history.
According to a story in the Tombstone epitaph in 1890 two ranchers were out in the desert of Arizona when they saw some sort of monsters with a huge wings.
The body was described as being like an alligator and wings were described as memberness.
There's another version of the story told by the cowboys when they were very old, they never really, they just shot at the bird and it got away.
It was literally bullet proofed.
There were a number of reports of big birds that cowboys would shoot at or chase for great distances And they reported the bullets would bounce off the leathery skin.
But was the story of this giant bird simply a hoax, as many believe? Or was there some degree of truth to it? In the Old West, we have stories of these creatures that resided in mines.
The ghost rider, which was this cowboy that was flying across the sky, but also of ghost trains.
So, were all of those stories just campfire stories that were invented on the spot? Or were they based in some type of truth? For many Americans living in the early and mid-1800s, the vast western frontier offered both opportunity and profound sociological change.
Freed of the constrictions of European tradition and Judeo-Christian fundamentalism, the early pioneers could now experiment with political, social and religious philosophies which their Eastern counterparts had frowned upon.
One such newly emerging philosophy was called Transcendentalism.
Transcendentalism was perhaps the leading philosophy developed in America in the 19th century.
One of the founding figures in it was Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It was belief in extraterrestrial life that led him to depart from Christianity, and another author who is part of that is the poet Walt Whitman.
His most famous book 1855 was "The Leaves of Grass.
" And in "The Leaves of Grass," there are like 200 references to astronomy.
He believed strongly in extraterrestrials.
In a nutshell, transcendentalism reminded young America that all things are not knowable and that some things are knowable but not through the five senses.
So it opened up Easterners as they went west to new ideas and new sights.
Another strong influence on the way 19th century Americans viewed the world was the emergence of a new genre of literature, science fiction.
I think the image that has come down to us from lots of movies and TV shows, that the cowboy is kind of a rough, illiterate character.
Most cowboys were extremely literated.
Face it, there was a lot of entertainment out in the plains.
One of the first great American science fiction writers was Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce, who believed strongly in the possibility of life beyond our world.
Ambrose Bierce was an author of some very strange short stories.
"The Difficulty of Crossing a Field" was about an Alabama farmer who one day was taking a walk across the field when he just disappeared.
He was gone.
And years later, his wife would say that she could hear his voice from time to time, coming from the circle, but he wasn't there.
Ambrose Bierce was trying to show us that this man traveled inter-dimensionally to another place.
And while he was still there, he wasn't there.
It is thought by many scholars and historians that Bierce-- as well as other authors of early fantasy fiction-- had been influenced by Native Americans and their folklore.
In addition to belief in Star Beings, they believed in the existence of inter-dimensional gateways or portals, which would enable visitors to travel between time and space.
If you're thinking about like people suddenly disappearing through a hole in space time into another dimension at the surface of it when we think about out modern theory of relativity and that you can bend space and time it seems not so crazy, because we know mathematically how to describe holes in the space-time that connect different regions of space.
The mystery of whether such portals really exist may have been by Ambrose Bierce himself.
When he ventured south of the border into the Mexican desert.
At the very early part of 20th century Ambrose Bierce was in northern Mexico, in this area that's known for strange phenomenon, called the Keymay, this area too is thought to be another one these interdimensional portal areas.
One theory is that Bierce may not have traveled into Mexico alone.
Another very colorful figure by the name of F.
Mitchell Hedges may have traveled with him into Mexico.
Mitchell Hedges was a great British adventurer, most noted for his discovery of a Mayan crystal skull.
The ancient city of Paquime is just a few miles away from the Crystal Cave.
The largest crystal deposits in the world are found here.
Mitchell Hedges believed that his skulls were capable of psychically communicating with a person and interdimensionally transferring that message to an extraterrestrial being.
The theory is that Hedges, along with Bierce, may have discovered or mastered the method of speaking through the crystals or employing their power, and may have transported, as in his stories, to an interdimensional space, never to be heard from again.
While there, he sent his last communication that we know of, which was a letter, and that letter ended with this "As for me, I leave tomorrow for an unknown destination.
" The man who wrote about so many strange disappearances was never seen or heard from again.
Did Ambrose Bierce meet with foul play, or did he find an interdimensional portal, like the ones described in his stories? Perhaps the answer can be found in a mysterious lake in California, one thought by many to be an actual gateway to another world.
Elizabeth Lake.
Southern California.
This high desert body of water sits at the junction of the tectonic plates that form the powerful San Andreas fault.
The Mexicans who colonized California in the 1700s called it Laguna del Diablo, Lake of the Devil.
And it was said that the devil's own pet would come into this world through a portal at the bottom of the lake.
Local legend says that at the bottom is actually an entrance to the underworld.
They call it the Lake of the Devil.
And it's said that in the middle 18th century from upon 'till about which frightened locals.
Some of the rich land owners built ranches there, these ranchers claimed to have been harassed and tormented by some sort of monsters beast that would come out of the water and steal cattle and menace the locals.
The ranchers who claimed to have witnessed this beast called it, "The Thunderbird," and their description of it was nearly identical to that of the giant bird witnessed by cowboys in Tombstone in 1890.
Eventually, one of the landowners got it in his head that he was going to hunt this creature down and sell it to the circus, so according to the story, this rancher was able to actually fire a few shots at this creature, which seemed to be bulletproof and metallic.
The bullets bounced off.
And after that encounter, the bird flew east, never to be seen again in California.
Could this so-called Thunderbird really have been the same creature that cowboys shot at in Tombstone? And why was it referred to by locals as, "The Devil's Pet"? They didn't have the vocabulary that we have today.
So when things happened that they couldn't explain, there was called the Devil's Lake, there was called the Devils' this or the Devil's that.
Take it away from legend and you might find that this was a portal to another dimension.
Which locals knew about and might have something to do with the fact that this mysterious entity was present at that very specific location.
If a portal to another dimension or another part of the universe does lie at the bottom of Elizabeth Lake, might it also be possible that the Thunderbird was not really a creature at all, but something even more incredible.
The Thunderbird was enormous, it made enormous noises, so the thunder part of it, it could sound like a jet engine.
Was able to literally pierce and emanate fire.
We have this large flying wing creature which gives us a thunder sound, and lights fly from it's eyes.
That to me says it has to be dealing with some sort of craft.
Native Indians in North America they know of course the bird.
But now something different arrived.
An object which could fly, which is bigger than the eagle but at the same time makes tremendous noise.
So you have the creation of the Thunderbird.
Even when the airplanes started going out up in the sky here in the southwest, they referred them as metal birds, as a matter of fact, wen the first wing craft landed in, the indians that were there actually went out there and worshiped the airplane.
It makes me think of a concept called cultural tracking, which is the UFOs can mask themselves to appear as almost anything, you go back ancient China and they talk about the flying dragons, you go back to the ancient Egyptians and they talk about flying boats.
You go to the Roman times and they talk about flying **.
Perhaps that was just their interpretation or perhaps that's what they actually saw.
Did the cowboys in Tombstone, Arizona and ranchers at Elizabeth Lake witness an alien vehicle? One that may have been visiting North America for thousands of years.
The truth of the matter is there are some very interesting and incredible stories that come from the 1800s about flying objects and strange encounters and events.
The Old West was not only deadly, bloody, but it was also mysterious.
It was a time when people often encountered things that they didn't understand and had to make up stories to account for it.
And you see this in nearly every society.
How many things do we know today that were thought to be just impossible? I always try to keep an open mind when I hear a story and I may not believe, I don't disbelieve either.
Aliens invade a quiet Western town, and terrified residents scramble for their guns in a valiant attempt to defend themselves.
A mere product of Hollywood's high-concept imagination? Or are films like Cowboys and Aliens actually inspired by historical events? Stories that challenge everything we know or Stories that challenge everything we know or believe about ourselves? As we continue to explore the vastness of the universe and examine more and more of the mysteries of the Earth, are we getting closer to unlocking the secrets of our past, and opening a doorway to our future?
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