ERNEST Hemingway’s masterful sentence “For sale: baby’s shoes, never worn” conveys bottomless tragedy using just six words. “Indiana Jones IV” manages it in three. Despite what billionaire toymaker George Lucas believes, no pensioner can survive a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge. Or pull off a leather jacket.

It wasn’t even a notable lack of drive from the world’s most clapped-out Ford that infuriated fans of the franchise. To be fair, the actor attempted to mask his barely disguised contempt for the source material with a trademark masterclass in smirking – easy when you’re being paid $20 million simply to wear a hat and grow some stubble.

No, what was widely accepted as Lucas pulling down his solid gold zipper and urinating like a racehorse over our childhood dreams were the unfathomably pointless aliens in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And it truly takes an astonishing talent to make aliens look dull. Perhaps Lucas could have learned some dramatic flair from the folk behind a real-life alien mystery – the “Nazca mummies”. Curiously, these oddities bear more than a passing resemblance to Indy IV’s plastic protagonists.

Recently unearthed near the infamous Nazca Lines in Peru, these calcified corpses look even older than Dot Cotton’s lungs. Buried around 6,400 years ago, main mummy “Maria” has an unusually elongated head, huge eye sockets and three fingers and toes. She was allegedly discovered with some smaller, baby “aliens” which, to my eyes, uncannily resemble Mac from Mac And Me. Can’t remember that movie? Perhaps it was just a pneumonia fever dream after all. The excavators were from Gaia.com – a pay-per-view conspiracy video website where it costs around £70 to access films on angels, UFOs and the like. You’d be cheaper buying 12 boxes of Solpadeine Max.

Gaia first unveiled its mummies last year, and perhaps didn’t expect the global hilarity and cynicism that ensued. This reaction certainly seemed justified when Gaia’s own DNA results came back with a 100 per cent human match. This implied these mummies were indeed just ancient corpses either desecrated by grave robbers or deliberately deformed while alive.

Despite this setback, Dr Konstantin Korotkov, a scientist from the Russian National Research University associated with the Gaia.com team, was unperturbed. “They appear human but they are not,” he claimed this week. “They have three fingers, elongated skulls, missing nasal cavities and lower jaws which are not flexible.”

I’ve already Googled, and Daniella Westbrook has never been to Peru. Clearly on a roll, Korotkov then nuked any credibility he had left. “They could be extraterrestrials or bio robots.” It should be noted that the good doctor has previous, claiming in 2008 that he’d created a camera that could photograph the human soul. There’s an app for that now, no doubt. More credible scientists have been, understandably, outraged by Gaia’s claims – believing genuine human corpses may have been desecrated to resemble Lucas-style “aliens”.

Organisers of the World Congress on Mummy Studies – yes there is such a thing – have now demanded an official inquiry into whether archaeological crimes have been committed. Perhaps someone should give them the address for Skywalker Ranch and they’ll definitely find someone who is guilty of such misdemeanours.


POP music’s very own Mozart, the late Prince Rogers Nelson, once countered a denouncement of his diminutive stature with the quip: “Tiny? So is dynamite.”

And, perhaps definitively proving that the most explosive entities truly do come in small packages, is a mysterious wee skeleton called Ata. Indeed, this Chilean discovery has the potential to blow up the very foundations of biological science itself.

Discovered in the Atacama Desert in 2003, Ata is just six inches long. He was recently skewered as one of alien conspiracists’ sacred cows, with the body definitively proven to be of earthly origin. Yet, as Future Shock readers know, the truth is always wilder than any fiction.

Sober researchers initially believed Ata to be either a premature birth, a miscarried foetus or elaborate hoax. But now, the Stanford School of Medicine’s DNA tests – strap yourselves in – have concluded this was indeed a genuine Action Man-sized human who was around seven years old when he died. A short life rendered even more tragic by his rememblence to Beavis of Beavis and Butthead.

Ata’s tiny physique wasn’t the only thing that perplexed researchers – humans have 12 ribs, but Ata only has 10. The skull has a bizarre pointy appearance and his face was also disfigured. Yet, there were mature teeth in his mouth and the bones were well-developed. CAT scans also found the remains of his lungs and heart inside the chest cavity. Genetic testing also revealed Ata’s mother was local to the area where the remains were found.

So does a branch of mini-human exist somewhere in Chile? Was Ata a freak of nature kept secret from society by his traumatised family? Could he speak?

Paul Simon aside, the smallest person ever recorded was just 21.5in tall – a comparative giant to the minuscule Ata. Genetic testing is still ongoing, but little Ata could be a genuinely giant scientific revelation – and if discovered to be one of a new species, could save the producers of Downsizing 2 a fortune.


BLAME the curated, multi-screen personal nirvana provided by your laptop, tablet and phone, but that once-hallowed communal family experience in front of the telly is fast becoming a thing of the past.

TV may have replaced the fires we once bonded around but what will become of us now we have no shared magnetic north in our living rooms? It’s perhaps no wonder telly has lost its allure when you annex the remote and optimistically click through the guide.

As the channel numbers get higher, your thumb speed abates as muscle memory detects incoming adult content … but, before any gyrating flesh blinds the eyes of your brethren, there’s Hitler.

Ja, no matter how council your telly is, the Yesterday channel is always there to offer up some refried fascism. And there’s the +1 version too, just in case you stumble across Nazi Death Machines halfway through. Yet, Yesterday’s macabre Nazi obsession is indicative of a greater, deeply troubling trend in the last chance saloon of TV programming.

This is a shadow world to any recognisable reality, where speculative pseudoscience is served up as hard fact – even on once-respected documentary channels. It seems TV’s attempts to lure us back from our digital echo chambers have become as nauseatingly desperate as Supergran getting a boob job. Take the once-revered Discovery Science channel – now showcasing Ghost Asylum and Nasa’s Unexplained Files. Even Discovery Historical has sexed up its religious content – tonight it’s Jesus Conspiracies quickly followed by Biblical Conspiracies. Surely any conspirators who allow their conspiracy to be revealed by a conspiracy programme are not all that great at the old conspiracy business in the first place?

Turning to the cosy confines of Animal Planet for respite? There’s Finding Bigfoot in glorious HD, one hour building up to a grand reveal of ... a footprint someone faked in the 1920s. Yes, I watched it.

Switching to Nat Geo to feed your brain? More Nazis. If you’re binge-watching Nazi Megastructures or WW2: Hell Under The Sea to gain an insight into Hitler’s mind, then look no further – you are Hitler.

Bolder, brasher newcomers like truTV (sic) and H2 don’t even attempt to fluff us up with any veneer of respectability. TruTV’s line-up boasts such winners as Psychic Detectives, Paranormal Survivor, Conspiracy with Jesse Ventura, and, for some reason, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked!

H2 seems to run Ancient Aliens on a loop for eight hours until it is interrupted by something called Architects Of Darkness. You’ve guessed it, a Nazi documentary. Afterwards is something called Weapons Of War, which I’ll just assume is about Nazis. The evening then concludes with some casual xenophobia, China’s Wall Of Doom.

From rubbernecking at the horrors of Nazism to red-necking at UFO conspiracy theories, a whole universe of subversion lurks just above the safe confines of UK Gold and Dave. Talking of Daves, David Icke – who believes that we’re ruled by shapeshifting lizard Masons who eat babies and control everything from the moon – was once laughed off the BBC’s chat show Wogan for being a bit wacky. Looking at today’s schedules, it seems he who laughs last laughs longest.