Erich von Däniken: Twilight of the Gods

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i-ec18f5e68f33877a4828c3a86f09a19a-figure0.jpgIn this guest entry, German SciBling Florian Freistetter of Astrodicticum Simplex offers a translation of his report from a recent lecture by a spaced-out visionary. Now if only I could say that I've never been fooled by this sort of thing...

A few weeks ago, on 17th October, I had the dubious pleasure of attending a lecture by Erich von Däniken with the title Götterdämmerung, "Twilight of the Gods". The great hall in Jena's Volkshaus was rather full: I believe there were 650 to 700 people there. It was a strange feeling, being in the same room as all those people and knowing that most of them would probably believe what Däniken was going to tell them.

The Theory
"Today we will talk about something fundamental!" is the opening statement of Däniken's lecture. He also confidently mentions his dubious reputation: "People say a lot of nonsense about me". After that, he starts with some "theory" (as he calls it). Apparently "the scientists" do not believe what he says. By the way, during his whole lecture, he is always talking about "the scientists" or the "wise guys" without mentioning any names -- in contrast to his supporters who are always introduced by name and in detail. However, those unbelieving scientists apparently say that

  1. Aliens do not exist,
  2. Aliens would look completely different from humans, and
  3. Even if they do exist, they could never reach Earth because of the large distances.

Däniken wants to rebut those claims and thus talks about space travel. He rather cryptically mentions some "engines of the future" and then goes on to explain how we could travel to other stars even with today's technology. One only has to bring enough material into orbit (50 shuttle missions per year should be enough, according to Däniken) to build a large spaceship that rotates and produces its own gravity. Such a spaceship could reach 2% of the speed of light and travel 10 light-years in 500 years. Such a "generation ship" could be used to travel between the stars while people on board prepare for building a second ship. If they reach a habitable planet they will colonize it and immediately send the second ship on its journey. With such a "snowball system", mankind could spread out over the whole Milky Way in just 10 million years (according to Däniken).

Däniken also has an explanation for the similarity between humans and aliens: panspermia! This theory, proposed by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, states that life on Earth came from space. Simple life forms may survive even in space and travel to Earth e.g. with meteorites. Däniken specifically stresses the point that Arrhenius won a Nobel Prize (which in fact he received for other achievements). However, Arrhenius never mentioned any aliens involved in panspermia. Däniken would have done better to cite another authority: Fred Hoyle, who believed in "directed panspermia". Aliens have purposefully sent seeds of life into space to spread life to as many planets as possible. This is also Däniken's claim. He then states that evolution will proceed in the same way in similar environments and thus it should be not surprising that aliens look similar to humans. One thing Däniken cannot answer is where this first alien civilization came from. He makes some strange statements about "black holes that emit energy and create a new Big Bang" - but I have no idea what this meant and how it would be related to the creation of life.
Thus far, the lecture was strange - but not totally stupid. Generation ships and panspermia are very improbable, but theoretically possible. If humankind really wanted to, we could build such a large space ship. It would be unbelievable complicated and expensive - but doable. Maybe even the theory of panspermia is correct.

Ancient traditions
After making it clear that aliens may in fact exist, Däniken is now going to "prove", that they regularly visit Earth. According to Däniken, they come here to look after us humans, help us and give us an evolutionary kick in the butt now and then. For this hypothesis, Däniken claims to have "evidence that can not be disproven".

This part of his lecture includes what Däniken does best: interpretations of ancient religious texts and archaeological data in such a manner as to make them fit his theories. He starts with Stonehenge. According to Däniken, there are many theories that seek to explain the meaning of Stonehenge, "and the one with the calendar is the most stupid of all". In his opinion, Stonehenge is a model of our solar system, true to scale, including the asteroid belt (which of course could not have been known to the builders of Stonehenge). Däniken is switching the images on the screen so fast that I was unable to take notes, and thus I cannot check where he got this idea from. But he states that there are 16 other prehistoric models of our solar system all around the world.

After that, Däniken tells us about his famous lines and circles. On maps he shows various locations that can be connected with a straight line. All these locations are places where one can find prehistoric buildings, which is apparently proof of an alien influence. Now Däniken starts to get a little confusing (or rather: starts to get more confusing). He speculates about ways to signal our existence to possibly watching aliens. Apparently, other people had the idea to create large corn fields shaped like a triangle. If viewed from space, this would prove the existence of intelligent life on the planet. According to Däniken, the mysterious ancient lines fulfill the same purpose.

However, I do not understand what Däniken is talking about. Even aliens have to obey the laws of physics and cannot build telescopes that are able to view corn fields or lines from a distance of light years. And Däniken's "lines" are of course no big brush strokes on the surface of the planet, but virtual connections between sites. How could aliens observe those? To observe anything on the surface of Earth, they have already to be in orbit - and then the whole effort is useless. I also thought, the aliens have helped the humans to build all those prehistoric sites - why would anybody need to signal anything into space?

At least for Däniken everything is clear and he introduces example after example. All of ancient Greece seems to be full of triangles, representations of the golden ratio and circles - one only has to connect the positions of various ancient cities. Again the images switch much to fast for me to take proper notes. But I managed to copy one of his examples: if one takes Knossos on the island of Crete as the center then one can draw a circle which connects the ancient cities of Sparta and Epidaurus. Even if this fact would have any special significance (which I do not see) it is a good example of Däniken's "pyramidology". If you search long enough, you always find places arranged in geometric patterns. If you measure the dimensions of pyramids or other buildings, you can always find "important" ratios and numbers.

Däniken however thinks that the geometric patterns on the map of Greece are of great importance. He also states that the "the wise guys who are always blathering should just take a map of Greece and a compass and prepare to be astonished". Däniken does this throughout his talk: he invites the audience to check and recalculate everything he says. All arguments can be checked by everyone and nobody has to trust his word. This sounds reassuring - but Däniken asks the listeners to check his facts especially on occasions when an actual check is not as easy as one thinks (more about this later).

But since I am definitely a "wise guy" who is "always blathering" and always look out for opportunities to "be astonished", I took a map of Greece and set to work. But - is there a reason to check the obvious facts? The pictures shown by Däniken were apparently clear and unambiguous. I couldn't take a photograph - but they looked more or less like this (maps by Google Maps):


No check needed - clearly, Sparta and Epidaurus are on a circle with Knossos at its center. But are they really? I could not resist and looked at the map in more detail. Despite what Däniken said, a normal map of Greece is not sufficient for this purpose. The ancient cities of Sparta, Knossos and Epidaurus do not exist any more. But with some simple research one can easily find their positions. I then tried to reconstruct Däniken's map - but at a different scale. I also used smaller points to identify the positions of the cities. And then it looks like this:


Well... Not an "exact circle" anymore. But this is typical for pseudoscience. If you search long enough, you always find something that seems to support your hypothesis. And if it does not fit perfectly, it can be made to fit. I do not mean to imply that Däniken cheated on purpose. But if a pseudoscientist has found something that seems to back up his hypothesis, he often "forgets" to make a detailed examination.

The gods are aliens!
Now Däniken is getting to the ancient religious texts. He speaks about the natives of North and South America; about India and the Bible. Everywhere he finds "evidence" for his theory that aliens have visited Earth. He is especially impressed by the Hindu epic Mahabharata. This old story tells the tale of Arjuna. According to Däniken, "alien teachers" took him from Earth and brought him to a large space ship in orbit around Earth. Däniken was even able to "reconstruct" the space ship, using information from the Mahabharata. Here is what it looked like:


Wow! I do not speak or read Sanskrit and thus cannot read the original text. But somehow I doubt that one can find information in that text describing a space ship in such a detail!

The next topic in Dänikens chain of "evidence" is an analysis of the biblical apocrypha. These are Christian texts that were not included in the final version of the Bible. The Book of Enoch tells how Enoch was taken to Heaven by angels and brought before the throne of God. For Däniken of course, the angels were aliens and Heaven was the interior of a space ship.

Another example that Däniken discussed at some length was the "Apocrypha of Abraham". Here Abraham apparently tells the tale of how he was abducted by aliens and brought to their space ship. Re-telling the story, by his way of speaking Däniken often suggests that he is quoting directly from the text. And those quotations really sound impressive! Abraham saw beings "who did not have the breath of a man": they were wearing spacesuits with helmets, as Däniken explains. Abraham wished "to fall back down to the Earth": so if he wants to fall "back down" he has to be in space! And there were many more of those quotations that really sounded strange and did not fit into an old Christian text. What does this mean? Even Däniken couldn't be so bold and just invent such a story?

Of course, he again stated that he is not inventing anything. He told the audience, that everybody can just get a copy of the text and read the story for itself. So of course I tried to do that!

But again, this was not as easy as Däniken makes it sound. First of all, the "Apocrypha of Abraham" is not strictly one of the apocrypha and thus cannot be found in popular compilations. Even the name is not correct. What Däniken means is the Apocalypse of Abraham, a pseudoepigrapha written in the 1st century. The original text is lost and only survives as a translation into Old Church Slavonic. However, I found an English translation (but I do not know where Däniken obtained his alleged German quotations).

If one reads the Apocalypse, one can recognize the passages Däniken was talking about:

"And it came to pass when I heard the voice pronouncing such words to me that I looked this way and that. And behold there was no breath of man. And my spirit was amazed, and my soul fled from me. And I became like a stone, and fell face down upon the earth, for there was no longer strength in me to stand up on." (Chapter 10, 1-2)

Däniken reads this as an alien abduction. In his talk, he suggested that the whole Apocalypse consists only of the parts he read to the audience. In truth, Däniken's mined quotes are littered over the whole text. If read in context, they lose almost all of their "evidentiary weight" concerning aliens. Like the mysterious circles in Greece, Däniken just took what seemed to fit his theories and ignored the rest.

My Old Church Slavonic is not what it used to be. So I cannot check the original and deliver a thorough analysis of the text. But I think it is safe to assume that Däniken's story involves very much fantasy and very few facts.

In a talk by Däniken, the famous story of the space ship of Ezekiel cannot be missed. Däniken talks for almost half an hour about this particular piece of exegesis. Again, a biblical prophet is taken away in an alien space ship. This time he is brought to a space port which he is supposed to measure, then to report the results to later generations. At least, that is Däniken's opinion.

He tells the audience that 30 years ago he gave a "secret talk" to NASA and there meet an engineer named Joseph Blumrich. Blumrich, impressed by Däniken's tale of the biblical space ship, tried to "reconstruct" the ship, based on the text of the Book of Ezekiel. Däniken stresses, that "not a centimeter was omitted or added" - everything is based strictly on the Bible.

This is an extract from the relevant first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel:

"And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning."

For Däniken and Blumrich, this strange text translates directly into this:


Image from The Spaceships of Ezekiel (Bantam, ISBN 0553083783) via Skeptic.

Impressive! Especially Blumrich's imagination - because I see now how he could construct such a space ship out of this biblical text without "adding or subtracting a centimeter". Ezekiel may sound strange - but there are much more rational explanations than aliens (e.g. here).

Ezekiel also talks a lot about the "new temple". Again, based on his measurements written down in the Bible, apparently it is possible to make an "exact reconstruction". And the result is no temple - but a space port for Blumrich's ship! According to Däniken, this is no longer just "evidence" but "definite proof" that aliens have visited Earth.

In the talk, a very funny moment followed, when Däniken criticized theologians. They are "adulterating the ancient texts" and "make them fit their own theories". I had hard work to refrain from laughing out loud.

But why!
But why? Why would aliens take it upon themselves to inspire religious texts and buildings all around the world that contain encrypted messages revealing their presence on Earth?

According to Däniken, those are "messages to the future". The aliens have left some "definite proof" of their existence and want them to be found by us humans. But we are not allowed to find them until we are ready. Thus we were sent on this "paper chase". And if people (especially scientists) were not so stupid and ignorant, we could have found them by now. But luckily we have Erich von Däniken, trying to persuade the unbelievers. "Herr Däniken, we didn't know about all this!" is the answer he claims to get "every time" when he confronts a scientist with his theories. The stupid scientists with their heads in the clouds fail to see the obvious - until Däniken comes along and sets them straight!

Then Däniken poses the big question: "Where have the aliens hidden the proof of their existence?" Unfortunately he leaves the topic completely immediately after this question and never talks about it again. (If I were an alien, I would hide such proof on the dark side of the moon. I would just burn "We were here!" with big letters into its surface. Humans could then only read those words after inventing space flight. Hmm - maybe I could find something in the Bible to support this.)

Däniken now wants to talk about the Mayan Calendar. They had two different systems: there is the Haab-calendar that was made for everyday use and has 365 days (much like our calendar with 365.25 days). And then there is the Tzolkin calendar, made for religious use, with 260 days. According to Däniken, that is definite evidence for alien influence. Why else should there be a calendar with 260 days? Those two calendars keep looping in parallel, and every 52 years both cycles end at the same time. Additionally, there is the long count: another calendar used by the Maya for astronomical purposes and to uniquely record historical events older than 52 years. All together, these three calendars produce epochs, each with a length of 5125.36 years.

The currently running Mayan epoch ends on 21 December 2012. Däniken's interpretation is as follows: at the beginning of the current epoch (probably 11 August 3114 BC), aliens landed on Earth. And if this epoch ends in four years, the aliens will return! Of course Däniken is immunizing himself and mentions unspecified problems concerning conversions between our calendar and the Maya one. So if nothing special happens on 21 December 2012, his theory "is not disproven!"

Bad Astronomy

i-94df7dc1c68af27ffc7c3e4cf52145f9-precession.gifBut Däniken is very confident that 21 December 2012 is a special date. He even has astronomical "proof" for it. He tells us about the precession of the Earth's axis. That is the term astronomers use to describe the changing orientation of our planet's rotation axis. Today (in the North) it is pointing, more or less, towards star Polaris. But the Earth wobbles a bit - like the spinning top in the figure on the right. The reason for this behavior is the gravitational influence of the Moon. The rotation axis completes a circle once every 25,800 years.

Däniken now claims that on 12/22/2012 at exactly 00:00 "the precession ends". It will start again, afterwards - but at this time the axis of the Earth will be aligned in a very special way. It will be pointing directly at the center of the Milky Way. And because ancients text apparently also state that the aliens came from there, this alignment (together with the end of the Mayan epoch) is definitive proof that aliens will return to Earth on 21 December 2012 to "reorganize what they once created".

That sounds impressive! Nevertheless it is simply wrong. The center of the Milky Way lies (seen from Earth) in the constellation of Sagittarius which itself is placed along the ecliptic. The ecliptic describes the apparent path of the Sun around the Earth which corresponds to the real path of the Earth around the Sun. Thus the center of our galaxy lies very close to the orbital plane of Earth. Däniken claims that in four years' time, the rotation axis will also lie in this plane and point at Sagittarius!

What would this mean? If the axis of Earth were to lie in the orbital plane, we would be in the same situation as the planet Uranus (where the geometry is like what Däniken is proposing). Half of the year, one hemisphere of Earth would always point towards the Sun and the other six months it would always point away from it. On Earth, we would have a "day" that lasted 6 months, followed by half a year of night! Luckily, that cannot happen. The Earth's axis does not lie in the orbital plane - it has an inclination of 66.5 degrees above the plane. Thus the axis can never point towards the center of the Milky Way.

But Däniken is completely convinced. He even shows a dramatic animation where the audience can observe how the Mayan calendar is expiring and the axis of the Earth is slowly pointing towards the center of the Milky Way.

Spread the word!
The conclusion of his talk is even more terrific than this astronomical nonsense. If the aliens return, Däniken fears a "god shock" and probably "millions of suicides" - simply because people are not prepared for the return of the aliens. But Däniken knows a way to change this! We only have to tell as many people as possible about his theories! But maybe there are a few skeptics who do not want to believe such nonsense? That is no problem - because Däniken has demonstrated the validity of his theories where everything is supported by evidence and can be rechecked. There is only one problem left: maybe some audience members have already forgotten part of what Däniken has said? This can be easily remedied: everyone should just buy one of his DVDs of the talk. We can then watch the whole lecture over and over again, we can invite friends to watch the DVD, and those friends could then also buy the DVD and spread the message. Then, on 21 December 2012, mankind will be ready for the arrival of the aliens!

I declined buying Däniken's DVD (which costs â¬20). I was taking notes throughout the lecture and had no problem remembering everything Däniken was saying. But of course I will fulfill his assignment and, in this manner, propagate everything I heard during his lecture...

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Nice read! I've always had a soft spot for Dönicken, though. He definitely has a very rich inner life.

I read his books when I was in high school. I still remember the asteroid belt, the calendars, the crop circles, etc. Phew. Somethings don't change.

I'll see your von Daniken and raise you Bruce Cathie.

By Flying Embers (not verified) on 07 Nov 2008 #permalink

Von Däniken will never die! When December 21 2012 comes, the aliens will come and take him to the center of the Milky way and sacrifice him to the Black hole, who of course is not a black hole, but a Stargate so he can go....
Whatever, old nutcases die hard.

But I tell you this. He earns more money than we can dream of doing honest science.
Martin, I wonder if Bob Lind would not find Däniken a nice partner? Or maybe they dispute over some important fact of when the aliens landed and Von Däniken claim Bob Lind would be a complete nutter because he belives Ale stenar is a calendar, when it is of course a landing strip for the space ship!

What a moron! Maybe you and Däniken could become sort of enemies enemies in the battle against Bob Lind.

By Mattias Niord (not verified) on 07 Nov 2008 #permalink

I loved "Chariots of the Gods" when I was young. It's impressive that he's selling the same woo 40 years after it was published.

But... but... what about Jesus???

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2008 #permalink

Cthulhu is pissed by Von D's neglect.

And he has the time of the singularity wrong; it happens at 2012 hours so we can relax. :)

By Old Bogus (not verified) on 07 Nov 2008 #permalink

I liked he text very much - thank you, Martin.

Two comments:
If the axis of Earth were to lie in the orbital plane, it would not exactly have the effects which Florian describes.
Twice a year - let's say on december 21st and june 21st the axis would point towards the sun with the effect that he describes.
But when the axis is perpenticular to the line connecting the earth and the sun - which would be the case on march 21 and september 23th (all dates approximately) - day and night would last 12 hours each.
In other words: The polar circles would be identical with the equator, and the norther and southern tropic will become the north and south poles, resp.

The second comment is about points on earth situated on circles around other points on earth.
As you cannot flatten the surface of a sphere you have to choose between different mapping schemes, some preserving areas or angles or distances, if I remember correctly.
I think, if you want a circle around a city to be a circle on the map, you have to have the city as the projection point.

Thank you
- Eddie

It's really too lame. What Däniken has noted doesn't even have anything to do with circles, being simply that that two towns on the Greek mainland were roughly located at the same distance from Knossos, which had anyway already been abandoned for centuries in their heyday.

Thank you for the (guest) post, Florian! I have noticed that Astrodicticum Simplex pops up all the time in "most german" sidebar, but, to paraphrase, my German is not what it used to be and it is interesting to see what it is that I have been missing.

Now that my German-Swedish dictionary has found a place in the new bookshelf, perhaps it is time to give it a try.

That was a great read, thanks.

Anyone even vaguely interested in "alien technology" or "alien abduction" would do well to read the following book:…

It is a fascinating account of a scientists real and proper clinical study concerning the molecule dimethyltryptamine and its effects on humans. It seems almost everyone has neglected one very important place in the search for alien life forms, but perhaps this book can explain it better than me ;)


By Sonic Head Hog (not verified) on 08 Nov 2008 #permalink

In my teens I read von Däniken, Velikovsky, et al. (who's the guy whose name starts with Z, who's nutsycuckoo about a 12th planet? I forgot, maybe on purpose. His stuff was really bad, even for woowoo.) But I treated them as sci fi. (Who knows, maybe some sci fi authors may have gotten some good story ideas out of them.) OTOH, most of my friends and my kid bro took them seriously. Bunch of feckin' eedjits. I wanted to smack 'em.

By Mad Hussein LO… (not verified) on 08 Nov 2008 #permalink

Do landing pods for Ezekelian space vessels look like trombones, by any chance?

Interestingly, if one goes to Amazon and clicks to look inside Däniken's Chariots of the Gods (Berkley Trade 1999, ISBN 0425166805), the copyright page states:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

I guess that's the publisher's opinion.

And now I have to go to roll on the floor laughing.

Däniken now claims that on 12/22/2012 at exactly 00:00 "the precession ends". It will start again, afterwards - but at this time the axis of the Earth will be aligned in a very special way. It will be pointing directly at the center of the Milky Way.

Either Daniken misspoke or you misinterpreted what he said.

Solstice 2012 (or thereabouts) does in fact mark an interesting twice-in-a-precessional-age astronomical event.

It's not that the axis of Earth is 'aligned' with the center of the Milky Way, it's that the position of the Winter and Summer Solstice points in the sky lie on the galactic equator.

One of the two primary observables of precession is the drift of the equinotial and solstitial points once around the ecliptic in a 25920-year cycle.

As the great circles of the ecliptic and the galactic equator intersect there will be two times in each Precessional Cycle when a particular solstice or equinox happens to lie on one of the two intersection points in the sky.

In our time the Winter Solstice has lain on the intersection point which is in the general direction of the centre of the galaxy and the Summer Solstice has lain on the intersection point 180deg away on the opposite side of the sky.

This occurred (with astronomical precision) in 1998/1999 - but since it takes 72 years for the cardinal points to drift 1 degree, and the solar disc is 0.5 deg across, perhaps we can forgive the Mayans their getting the end of their calendar 13 years out.

We should also bear in mind that we are not aware of all the other symbolism that may have informed their choice of the Sun's position at Winter Solstice 2012 in particular.

There are astronomical truths, and there are human interpretations of those truths. We all should endeavour to isolate the one from the other, for the former are harmonious and beautiful while the latter are the seeds of discord.

M htp.

By akhen3sir (not verified) on 09 Nov 2008 #permalink

"evidence that can not be disproven".

This is perfect of course. "I am going to make a series of unfalsifiable assertions, and that will prove that I am right."

Fascinating stuff. Unbelievable, but fascinating.

By Trin Tragula (not verified) on 10 Nov 2008 #permalink

Däniken now claims that on 12/22/2012 at exactly 00:00 "the precession ends".

At exactly 00:00 where?

Well you folks have socialized medicine, but you also have to deal with Daniken, so i guess it balances out.

Who funded this talk?

I enjoyed the link from the spaceships of von Daniken to the Assyrian "angels" or cherubim, which I'd already suspected. But tell me, where is this Daniken place that Erich is "von"? Or is that a snobbish misnomer that he tossed in to make himself sound aristocratic?

And by the by, I always thought Ezekiel was having a bad migraine, since I see lightning bugs zipping from side to side and occasionally wheels within wheels turning round and round with funny-looking critters peeking out the rims when my migraines get particularly monstrous and my left side goes to jerking spasmodically -- though the doctors helpfully tell me this is not a true seizure. Isn't that nice?

By DianaGainer (not verified) on 11 Nov 2008 #permalink

I agree! But if you got into that event free, somebody was paying for the space to be open . Maybe he just paid for it himself? I can't believe how many people attended, eep.

Well, as regards the Long Count, it is only believed that it ends on December 21 2012. That is a common assumption, particularly among people like Däniken or the Swedish equivalent: Carl Johan Calleman (or why not Heyerdahl who believed that the beginning of the Long Count calendar coincides with the first pharaohs of Egypt...). What we know is that this current era began at 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk'u, the day after the last cycle ended ( The GMT correlation puts this back in 3114 B.C. Since the last cycle lasted 13 baktuns (5126 years) it is usually common to believe that the current one will have the same length. There is absolutely no evidence for this. For example, among the Aztecs there were different lengths for their "suns"/periods of creation and destruction. As far as I remember, an inscription at Palenque mentions a future event sometime in the year 4000 something. The only thing that will happen on the 21st of December is the transition to Baktun nr 14 which will end on the 28th of March 2407.

By the way, today it is 10 Etznab 1 Keh and according to the auguries of the Book of Chilam Balam at Mani this is a bad day. G1 is also the lord of the night (there are nine lords of the night), 15 days have passed since the last new moon. Only 1502 days until the end of this Baktun, until the aliens come then, so be aware.

Why not Heyerdahl as a Swedish equivalent? Because he's Norwegian. Otherwise you're right, he also had a streak of delusion in his teachings.

People like von Däniken never seizes to amaze me. How anyone that is not truly mentally ill can come up with such idiocy, and manage to hold on to their claims even when thoroughly mowed down by opposing arguments, escapes my understanding sometimes. Whether it's Von Däniken, the Scientologists, Mr. Icke or the Christian churches doesn't really matter. They all defy even the most basic rules of science, yet claim to be science incarnated. And they all claim to possess the truth (whatever that is)...

If you understand Swedish, you can read the blog Medvetenskap's entry on how a student with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU, my university, alas) could pass the gardening engineers' exam on an article on spititual gardening. They also provide a link to download the paper (NB! PDF), since SLU has removed it from its libraries.

The comment about the end of the age being 20:12 (pm), not 2012 (AD) is of course entirely correct - as everyone knows, THE END(tm, all rights reserved) is sponsored by Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. A few minutes past eight seems a very civilised time to sit down to dinner.

If Douglas Adams was looking down on Mr von D. now, he wouldn't give a fetid dingo's kidney.


Why shouldn't lots of people believe what this "living prophet" Erich says. Millions upon millions believe what a "never-lived prophet" Jesus was once supposed to have said! Not to mention other dubious prophets. And nothing you say or even prove [if you could] will change their illusionary mindset. People simply believe what they want to believe, and not even multi-years of education will dent that. If this were not true, you would not have so-called scientists professing to believe in ghosts and spooks who watch over us. That is the sorry state of this planet. Now, on the other hand, aliens may well be watching us, but -- hey -- they are not stupid enough to try to make contact with what seems to them to be a few, very few, functioning brain cells. As Douglas Adams wrote, the real brains on planet Earth sure ain't us.

By Koltrasten [Tu… (not verified) on 17 Nov 2008 #permalink

You don't have to believe the man--but you have to admire him. He has been pontificating on and profiteering from this rubbish for the past 40 years.

You lot are just jealous because you didn't think of all this nonsense first and can't get £20 a head out of folks to come and listen to you ponitficate on it.

So am I.

This is a cool discussion. I was happy about the human abilities that were first brought up, about taking over the galaxy in 10 million years (gross underestiment, but the principle is more fascinating than the practice), but from there it gets really silly. Aftyer all, how would we even know aliens have DNA? What reason is there to suggest that the same abiogenesis events occur everywhere. Dunce.

Anyway, that's all for now. Bookmarked!

Entertaining maybe...
But to be honest I have my doubts about both sides..
A few years ago I was volunteer on an archeologic site here in flanders.
At some moment a few terracotta like piece's where found.
The things where immediatly datet as roman earn fragments, a few hours later when an other similar piece where found it revealed a stamp of a glazed rooftile ,not even a medievil one.
I only mean by this all our ancient theory's, and this on both side's..are so unscientific.
That's why I dont think no one has the right to mock with the idea's or taughts of the other.
I have seen countless remarks on the work of Zacharia sitchin ( BTW this is the name you where looking for)and none of them , cant read the sumerian texts ,he get his idea's from.
And that should be science...

I think the worst thing is... That with the internet we have an amazing opportunity to share knowledge...
And all I can find, is people on a quest for attention, or others who mock the first to get their attention.

What I learned in all these years on the net is that, the posting always says more about the poster then about the topic he speaks.
And I think its best to start having doubts about your own theory's to get the freedom to accept you can be wrong.

Maps should be used to travel to a place to do research, not to prove anything.

Some people just can't accept the truth being presented before their eyes...

By D. Fausto (not verified) on 27 Jan 2009 #permalink has posted a lot of info about 2012 and the possibility of a future global cataclysm, if anyone's interested. It also has a huge compilation of article links and the websites of authors like van Daniken. For a direct link, click on my screen name.

!!!! why do cristians need to study these things so closely,,is there something about there own beliefs that get shaken,i quote,,jesus said if you follow my teachings that you will do what ive done and more,,well i dont know any christian that has been able to deliver that of what he said,its time to move on guys ,,erich may be wrong on the detail scale,,but he may have left some good clues to actually find what jesus was talking about,,and no it wasnt the god of the hamburger universe!!

If Caesar thought of a time machine, and we are doing it too, then Däniken has the right to point out that we live out of time, together, at the same time. When Tellus someday get threatened by a final disaster, it will be an archetypical human way of thinking that we put our genes into a spaceship. Däniken is really important in the big mind-game-of-time following Einstein, and by talking of his arch he brings the future to history.

By Knut Anders Løken (not verified) on 06 Sep 2009 #permalink

This man is very wise and his theorys should not be laughed at and should be taken very seriously. Sumerian hyroglifics support this and the egyptians had no way to build the great pyrimaid. The mayans also predicted 2012 to be the end or something catacalizmic was going to happen. The worsed sun spot ever recorded by man is predicted to happen this year and they have been on the increase for the past 60-70 years. Government surveys of this will support that. This is what happens before stars have major ruptures or burst. These sun spots that have been on the increase may also be contributing to global warming and the disappearence of the ice caps. The aliens who contacted and helped the early civilization probably do know whats about to happen and have even before the myans predicted it. It is very plausable that they are making preperations to save and evacuate people and animals from this earth like an arc in the bible and then repopulate when the earth is back to normal again. Thats why if we are as smart of a race as we think we are we should see and know that this earth is not going to be here forever and we need to have these capiblities. We need to be able to leave this planet. We need to be prepared for anything. We should already have a huge ship like an arc to leave the earth incase something wild happens. Im honestly sure that the governments of the western world have already thought about this and are prepared and everyday ppl like you and me have no idea and they like to keep it that way. I once said people only know what they have been told or what they have learned through their lives and what they have seen for themselves and only believe those things. Its the people who think beyond that outside the box and want to learn more than what is known that will help us like this man.

By Chris Athey (not verified) on 15 Nov 2009 #permalink

Its just so disappointing that no matter how hard I look I can't find any real logical proofs on either side of this. I remain both open minded AND skeptical, as logic demands this of me.


are these theories really real?

i do know there is a lot of truth to it. people also disregarded velikovsky, but in the end, people laughed at Ford too...or the wright brothers!!

By adrian simoes (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Well, you know, cars and aeroplanes actually work. You can see them every day. Have you ever seen a piece of alien space tech in an archaeological museum somewhere?

obviously a skeptic out there to explain away von daniken rather than explain von daniken. Just say he is talking a load of BS rather than make us read a whole book before you come to the conclusion! lol.

By john mcadam (not verified) on 06 Jun 2010 #permalink

okay so what makes you so right ? what, just cause you're an archeologist it makes you right ? lets not forget all the things out there thru out the world that cannot be explained. there are way too many incidents and well educated people just like yourself coming out and putting all these theories together , we can' burn them all or lock them away in the tower can we? do you think all archeologist are right and if there sometimes wrong then why can't they have some truth in what they say ? oh i forgot because DARWIN's theory has already establish our history and as soon as we find the missing link we'll be able to prove it ! give the guy a break we're not in the center of the universe or is the world still flat . try answering some of his questions instead!

Erich von Däniken a rhetoric fantast or a preacher of the truth?

von Däniken initially inspired me as well, searching for answers, to think different and question the dogma of century old institutions, their preachingâs, articles of faith and theories of life.

Those who have no own imagination, those who need someone to make them believe into the reasons of life, surely fight von Dänikenâs ideas how things could be different than they have get thought. Their world would collapse if they had to admit, that their believes are may be just a fantasy.

Reading how so called theologes and believers of some initial great idea but malformed through centuries and guided by greed, try to rebuff von Dänikenâs ideas, how things could be, is pathetical.

Hypocrites by themselves they mostly focus with cheap rhetoric on the person of von Däniken and have actually only very little to say or cannot even present actual facts, except their believe.

Fact is, âbelieving,â means not knowing and have some faith that what they hear or read is the truth. Faith is evidently through known history the subject of manipulation to make others to do what some self-centric individuals though, is the best mains to scare people and get from them whatever they want. Any con artist works that way.

Hypocrites, who through the manipulation of faith made believe that their theft and killings where justified, and the right thing to do, and therewith had great excuses for it and could go on with their atrocities are those who manipulate people. Now, and therefore, these supposedly so intelligent critics of von Dänikenâs theories, are mostly hypocrites who have less rights than von Däniken to make us believe their malformed rhetoric and clinging on an outdated credo. von Däniken challenges this believes of historic dogmas and views and that is good. Whether his theories are right or wrong is actually not important, the inspiration to think free and consider that things are maybe different than our elders thought us is important.

Gladly the mainstream population has picked up on von Dänikenâs concepts of a different history than we get taught over centuries. But why stop here? Be free from such restrains and have your own imagination. Be logical and consider facts of findings not as absolute but as potential inspiration that things could be differently tan initially being interpreted.

Man has searched for centuries through geological findings, through advancing technology and through ever expanding knowledge, what the history of man is. Great mythologies have formed over time; religions have come and are gone or have changed. Mostly religions have strongly manipulated the believe of man and have created dogmas to manifest their greed and justifications of atrocities as the right thing to do.

Jesus Christ, a Jew created uproar in Jewish society, trying to be not bound on greed and material things rather on respect for and of life. Christians have manipulated that concept over two millenniums to justify their inhumanity and greed. Islam has adapted that same concept to fit its cultural upbringings and environment. Conceptual they all are the same. Making theft, killings and other atrocities, based on the greed and obsession of power, legal through the manipulation of faith through bending something, initially good, people want to believe into and have a reason for life.

Joseph Goebbels did the same for Adolf Hitler âbending the faith and believes, and todayâs politicians and their PR Agencies conceptual do the same again, manipulating the truth to be accepted by the public, means, they bend the truth to accommodate their selfish concepts of life. If we believe in Jesus Christ, that is the same concept he revolted against and the dogmatists of his time put him on the cross, labeling him as a terrorist a man who questioned their concepts of a good life.

Read history, this kind of behavior can be found in all stages of our evolution. What has all that to do with von Däniken and his ideas of how the past may was? Simple, the above layout shows you how questionable these critics are by themselves, who try to dismount von Dänikenâs theories.

But what if von Däniken is still wrong all along? What other theory could replace his? What other concepts of life are there? What evidence could guide into a different concept of life and understanding thereof?

I believe (meaning, I do not know either, but assume that a different theory could be feasible) that human kind exist on this planet much longer than being made us believe by religious dogmatists and also the scientific community.

Evidence? Either our technology is flawed or not reliable, otherwise how can we explain that latest geological findings seem to indicate highly developed civilizations older than 50,000 even 100,000 years ago? Aliens? I do not think so. Civilizations who have grown up and then collapsed for reasons we have just not figured out yet.

Not knowing what has eradicated such highly developed civilizations made them vanish without a trace of their real culture and believes that leaves room for speculation and potential theories. All of them are theories, and should be token as such, meaning they should inspire to look deeper, trying to find evidence just under a different concept, with eyes wide open and not hampered by stringed ideologies or other may good sounding theories.

What if there have been cultures before us highly developed ones and not aliens? How to go into that concept, consider this; Due to environmental development (actually due to total normal development of nature on this planet), we get stroke with extreme sun flares and the magnetic poles changing⦠As result, earthquakes happen, continental plates shifting and Volcanoâs erupting (this happens supposedly already several times on this planet, according to several cultures teachings and evidence we found, so it would be nothing newâ¦) and now consider possible results.

Can you assume what kind of impact such events could have to our society? Food shortages, water shortages and most important, the electricity as we know it today is off. No communications, no gas pumps, nothing. We would be thrown back into the stone age in less that one decade and those who where lucky to survive would have other things to worry about than a PDA or a car, not trained to grow food and cultivate it, many would die and only few would repopulate this world.

Their future society would develop again some theory about life and some Gods are borne. Maybe some ones, fortunate enough, are able to maintain some technology and could survive as well. Donât they would appear to those who have nothing for centuries as Gods? Surely some theory would be borne and the cycle would begin again. Maybe different in some ways, with different languages different believes and different technology. Past history would be past on to the young and again legends are born.

Now, some millenniums down the road these new culture makes geological findings of our current society. What would they think? We where Aliens, from a different planet? They may need also one other von Däniken to wake up and see the past with different eyes.

Now I am asking the question, what is wrong with this theory? Please prove me wrong with sound logic and a really good concept.

But keep in mind, that all are only theories, we understand that we all are only guessing based on our knowledge but have to be aware that things are maybe totally different because, again, some âleadersâ needed to bend the truth to make their concepts working. Take an example and see that on the moon one pound is not one pound and that every generation makes new findings, therefore NOTHING is absolute, everything is changing and we have to learn daily new situations and concepts. Therefore, answers based on old outdated dogmatism are the last base for anything.

Be free and let your imagination guide you. What is for you logical is not for some else logical, it is always in the eyes of the beholder.

Just a couple centuries ago, people believed that the world is flat, different thinkers where burned on the stake as heretics, wars where fought because of twisted believes and, sadly enough, all that happens conceptual even during our time right now. What have we learned from the past? Realize how fragile and questionable right and wrong are, even in todayâs world. Opinions change, politics change, laws change and being quietly adapted to new concepts. Makes that everything right? Where is true absolute truth? I do not preaching anarchism here, we need laws but we also have to have tolerance and a free mind and be tolerant to different ideas and concepts.

von Däniken did us a favor by publishing his theories and any critic should know that it are theories, but to make them heard and discussed sometimes, in our society, they have to be strongly stated otherwise no one listen at all and we be still in the dark ages.

I would be very interested in the opinions of readers, only a good dialog can form a future we may can accept.

Wow, so you sat through that lecture for 3 hours, or however long it was, just to write a blog about how it was nonsense? Sounds like your the dumbass who wasted your time.

Yeah, scholars often read or sit through a lot of rubbish in order to be able to make informed comments on it. It's actually a show of respect. For truth.

Just a small point here. You say "Even aliens have to obey the laws of physics . . .". - are you trying to say we as humans have completely discovered ALL of the laws of physics that govern over the universe and there is no more left for us to find out. Therefore if it doesn't fit into the boundaries of our current knowledge then it must be untrue.
Science always likes to tell us that we know everything there is to know about how the universe works, yet every so often new discoveries (quantuum physics etc) seem to contradict many of these 'laws' suggesting that maybe we don't quite know everything yet and maybe we should have a more open mind when we a talking about what is and isn't possible in this universe.
The certainty that you seem to have with your current level of knowledge make me think you are the one who is misguided/misled and not Mr Von Daniken.


are you trying to say we as humans have completely discovered ALL of the laws of physics that govern over the universe and there is no more left for us to find out.

No one is claiming that. Read for comprehension.

Science always likes to tell us that we know everything there is to know about how the universe works

No one is claiming that. Read. For Comprehension.

maybe we should have a more open mind when we a talking about what is and isn't possible in this universe.

Our minds are evidence of new things possible in the Universe. Provide intersubjective evidence and we can proceed with investigations in detail. But as noted in the OP:

But if a pseudoscientist has found something that seems to back up his hypothesis, he often "forgets" to make a detailed examination.

As I stated, we have open minds, just not so open that our brains have fallen out. You seem to be missing that last caveat, so look around on the floor behind you.

Afraid Hans is not of this World,I was blown away when I read his book..Was God a spaceman,he has imagination beyond belief , but as long as he is happy in his little world,let him wander about in his own dreams,if it makes him happy, so be it.

By Paul Campbell (not verified) on 21 May 2012 #permalink

I just want to say whoever that guy was that wrote that huge article about all these comments ....... he is so cant go into an Erica Fontana can lecture already biased I mean he said himself he was apparently 1 of those white guys well sorry but you can't be a wise guy and go to Erich von Daniken lecture because that means you're automatically biased before you even walk in that lecture so all you f****** idiots shut the f*** up

That's excellent reasoning man, you really convinced me there!

anyone who thinks the pyramids were built solely by humans with sticks and stones deserves to be laughed at.

A creative and open mind is the root to science and the way to finding new, better answers.
To "worshipers of science", whom every so often shouts out; "it is not science - show me the evidence!?" I would like to say; "find them yourself!"...
1) Have you seen massive amounts of evidence of science yourself or have you just read some of the material you have been presented (note: could be pre-selected and quite main-stream, since all scientists not always agree on the same ''THEORY")?
2) Have you carried out any experiments and calculations yourself?
3) Have not "scientific truths" been proven wrong many times over throughout our history?
4) If we treat theories as truths or other people with other, maybe non-main-stream ideas, like idiots, should we then have the right to claim that we can do ANY good in scientific means or should we wait until we can consider other possibilities - because up until then, are we not just a different kind religious followers, instead of scientific thinkers?