The search for
E.T.'s Smoking Gun
The ancient astronaut
hypothesis in today's culture
Delivered at the
Ancient Astronaut World Conference, Gelsenkirchen, June 26, 1999
We are at the end
of the millennium. Only 188 days to go.
The ancient astronaut theory (AAH) is, at this time marker, more than
30 years old. Since the popularisation of the concept by Erich von Däniken
at the end of the sixties, the world has radically changed. This has
also reflected on the AAH.
Should there be people who believe that the AAH is still a fringe theory:
Von Daniken is, in the eyes of many authors out there, often
an author who inspired many to think in novel ways but also the
one they use as the example that their thinking is not as
radical as von Danikens.
What this lecture
does address is the topic of the AAH amongst the general public; for
this theory is now leading a life of its own and has detached itself
from von Daniken. It seems the child has grown up and is about to lead
a life of its own.
But with each adolescent, perhaps it is best that from within the bellies
of the AAS, some guidance and discussion is given to the young
boy that is leaving its home.
First of all, the
AAH has now firmly found its place within the walls of science. Of course,
any mention of von Daniken will not be found in league with
Over the past 30
years, the AAH and von Danikens allegations have forced science
into reconsidering ancient enigmas. At the same time, the scientists
have finally been able to break through the psychological gap
of dating monuments before 4000 BC. It has been a long standing joke
that the year 4000 BC as the year of creation had been replaced with
the start of civilisation. The series of monuments now dated older include
the megaliths of Egypt and Carnac; the original structure of Stonehenge
has been dated to 8100 BC.
At the same time, the Nasca lines have been re-interpreted. Analysis
of inscriptions has shown the local population was in the possession
of hang gliders and hot air balloons; practical experiments have taken
place which have shown this was indeed the case. Though scientists have
not endorsed the ancient airport-theory, von Danikens
exposure of this little known enigma has actually created a sudden revelation
in the field of landscape art, particularly with such authors
and researchers as Tony Morrison, Paul Devereux et al. Though these
do not accept airport theory (for good reasons), they do
accept that the locals were in the possession of high technology. I
feel this is quite a vindication for both von Daniken and the AAH, as
at least they hinted at something which scientists ruled out, but which
nevertheless proved partially right.
Today, a battle
rages in the circles of archaeology, as scientists know that they will
have to endorse the notion that ancient civilisation used mind-altering
substances, at which time they depicted strange scenes on walls, such
as rock art. Clear lines of proponents and opponents have been drawn
in this field and, as mentioned, a battle is raging. If archaeologists
cannot even accept this fact, we can only wonder when they will accept
notions of the AAH. However, once again, time will tell and the passing
of time is often the first sign of the strength and durability of a
theory. So as long as the AAH can hang in there, the more
scientists will realise its strength
and the first signs of acceptance
will be found.
The best sign of
the The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence is The
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence or, SETI-project. Though it
is difficult to find continued and easy funding for this project, the
project has managed to stay alive I am sure the editorial staff
of Legendary Times knows how this feels.
Both SETI and the
AAH suffer from the same problem: many signals, but which one is the
In the case of SETI, signals of an extraterrestrial origin might be
overlooked or not understood as alien communications. With no framework
to reference against, any scientific thinking is largely impossible.
This is, in fact, the very reason why SETI is at the fringes of science
and UFOs and the AAH in its narrowest interpretation are outside the
interest of science.
One example: though
the lines of Nazca are anomalous and there is evidence for a high civilization,
it is not evidence that ET was there.
Another example: though current technology cannot build the Great Pyramid
in the manner it was built, it is clear that we ourselves are a space-faring
nation, yet we do not possess the required technology or rather:
the correct technology to build it today.
The same problem
might also apply to scientific evidence, as with the famous Martian
meteorite. NASA, whose research is probably the closest parallel to
those that would be labelled AAH-scientists, are today the chief proponents
who claim that life has developed elsewhere in the universe and that,
in fact, life might be found everywhere in the Universe. Clive Prince
and Lynn Picknett have illustrated this in their talk at this conference
To briefly recap:
NASAs research has revealed that DNA and life seem
nascently present in the entire universe. Chances are this was developed
elsewhere in the universe and somehow ended up on Earth, rather than
that it was an Earthly invention.
Was life seeded
on Earth from elsewhere? And was this knowingly or accidentally seeded?
labeled 97 percent of DNA junk DNA as they cannot understand
the importance of this material (attaching no role or function to it
whatsoever). Even if it were junk, one should ask the question:
garbage of what? Our garbage is material no longer in use,
but was once an object at some point before it turned into garbage.
So what use had junk DNA before it was no longer used? That
such an effective system as DNA by far the best photocopier in
the world would continue to carry 97% of useless material
at the same time noting that according to the evolution theory, this
junk DNA should become obsolete over the generations
is quite illogical. Here we therefore have something which is termed
as having an extra-terrestrial origin, but which is also anomalous.
DNA therefore such be a prime candidate to open up scientific debate
in the AAH-framework, which should not, however, result in wild guesswork
and sensational theories.
A central question is whether it is, indeed, garbage, or whether it
performs a function. Whatever the conclusion, I am quite confidant that
in the next few years, the evidence for the extraterrestrial nature
of DNA and the nascency of life in the entire universe from the
point of creation onwards will gather momentum in scientific
It is with the
result of DNA research that we, for the first time, come to something
that would suggest the possibility of an AAH-event is at least likely,
as it suggest the possibility for ET life out there is gigantic.
Carl Sagan himself had calculated that a spaceship would normally be
expected to cross our solar system once every 10,000 years. Whereas
many have observed that he later turned an arch-skeptic, it should perhaps
be stressed that Sagan did discern in what he considered to be evidence
that was worthy of AAH-consideration or material that was blindly used
to construct an AAH-event and became accepted as such.
It seems likely
that it will be unavoidable that the AAH will have to be more and more
integrated in science.
This, then, is the first trend: that science is slowly beginning to
accept strands of the AAH or find evidence to back up certain
At the other end, however, is a more damaging and even dangerous problem.
For the AAH has been hijacked by certain authors who claim to be scientific
about their approach to the subject sometimes using Erich von
Daniken as how they do not do it --, but who seem to go boldly beyond
the claims (or proposals) of Erich and seem to get away with
Because of the
potential pitfalls both for the AAH and the general public, I will go
into some examples of these.
The best example
is that of Oannes, the Babylonian civilizing god who gave mankind knowledge.
Sagan believed that the myth of Oannes, was worthy of consideration
as an AAH-event.
The story of Oannes has since been used and abused ever since. Robert
Temple merely quoted it and wildly speculated upon it, incorporating
it in his book The Sirius Mystery. A reading of the book will make clear
that the Oannes-story was merely introduced to serve as the best
evidence that was solely introduced to back up wild claims and
speculations on an AAH-event involving the Dogon and the ancient Egyptians.
Unfortunately, little if no research has been done in the Oannes-story
itself, which in itself is quit amazing considering Sagans signaling
of the story as of possible AAH-use occurred thirty years ago. What
has happened in the last thirty years was an almost endless series of
what the best evidence might mean in light of the AAH.
Both this story
and the AAH in general seemed to take, in 1976, a quantum leap forward
with the discovery of the so-called Face on Mars.
This included a semi-official report of the American think-tank SRI
(Stanford Research International), who financed a study by Richard Hoagland
into it. The photos were, however, quickly seized upon by various authors
and Hoagland himself that made the entire subject result
in a sensational series of claims, which did not stop in 1998 when the
new pictures became available. The way the face on Mars is a perfect
example of how we as a movement should not try to prove
Hoagland not only
used the Oannes-story, he also fused it with the Temple-developed (seemingly
scientific) methodology of analyzing words and linking these explanations
together, in the end drawing comparisons between Cairo (Mars) and the
Face on Mars and the Sphinx. More recently, he also used the so-called
pictures of drawings of helicopters in Egyptian temples
as evidence that the Egyptians were familiar with helicopters and other
high-knowledge material. Here it was actually Johannes Fiebag who had
to come to the rescue of the AAH and state that this was not the case.
Im sure that during question time, Jo will want to answer questions
on this topic should you have any.
I want to go into
some more detail here, as it is here that the prime problem of the adolescent
AAH is situated. Lest we deal with it, I am afraid that it will turn
into a criminal and will make a mockery of its parents and might
destroy the AAH for all of us.
One of the most
influential of books in this field is The Sirius Mystery by Robert Temple,
which was first published in 1976 and in an extensively updated edition
in 1998. As many of you will know, it homes in on the extraordinary
knowledge of a West African tribe, the Dogon of Mali. The Dogon religion
centres on the star Sirius. There is nothing unusual about that because,
as Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, many cultures have incorporated
it into their beliefs and mythology. However, what intrigued Temple
- and many others - was that French anthropologists who studied the
Dogon religion reported that they also believed that Sirius has a companion
- a very small and very heavy star that is invisible to the naked eye.
We now know that
this is true. Sirius is a binary star system, with a second, white dwarf
star - very small, very heavy - in orbit around the main star. Sirius
B, as it is called, was only discovered in 1842, and it was not photographed
until the 1970s. How, then, could the Dogon have known about it?
is that the knowledge of Sirius B originated from contact with extraterrestrials
from a planet in the Sirius system. Because of its apparently academic
and scholarly approach, Temple's book received a level of critical acclaim
and acceptance that set it apart from other 'ancient astronaut' theories,
such as those of Erich von Daniken.
The anomalous knowledge
of the Dogon - not just about Sirius, but many other things - does present
a genuine mystery. However, Temple was keen to link this with ancient
Egypt, and here, in my view, his case is less than persuasive, as major
parts of his argument are based on factual errors, and are often contrived.
For example, one
of the key points in his case involves the interpretation of myths connected
with Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead. His justification for
this is that Sirius is known as the 'Dog Star', so, by a process of
association we go from dog to jackal to Anubis. Therefore, when the
ancient Egyptians spoke about Anubis they were really talking about
Sirius, or rather Sirius B.
But there is a
major problem with this - the ancient Egyptians did not associate Sirius
with Anubis. For them, Sirius was the star of the goddess Isis, and
sometimes, by extension, her son Horus. It was the Greeks who called
Sirius the Dog Star, because it was in the constellation that they named
the Great Dog (Canis Major). The Egyptians never made a connection between
Sirius and either Anubis or dogs. Therefore, Temple's use of legends
connected with Anubis is based on an entirely false premise.
Another chain of
associations followed by Temple relates to the Hermetic literature -
the magical and philosophical texts ascribed to the legendary sage Hermes
Trismegistus - which he believes incorporates references to the 'Sirius
secret'. His justification for doing so is that - he says - the Greeks
equated their god Hermes with Anubis.
has (as far as we are aware) gone unchallenged on this point for more
than twenty years - even though it is just plain wrong. Hermes was the
equivalent of the Egyptian Thoth, not Anubis. Once again, Temple has
based an entire line of reasoning on a mistake. But such is his influence
that many people have simply accepted it.
There are many
similar examples in Temple's book, which in our view seriously undermine
his attempt to trace the 'Sirius secret' - and therefore the visitation
of beings from Sirius - back to ancient Egypt.
Temple makes another
mistake in The Sirius Mystery, which is a small slip in itself, and
of no particular significance to his argument, but which does - as we
will see - have some very important ramifications in another context.
Temple gives as
one of the ancient Egyptian names for the Sphinx of Giza the words arq
ur. Many others, using Temple as their authority, have since repeated
this as fact. Unfortunately, arq ur does not mean 'Sphinx'. It means
'silver'. The mistake arose because Temple misread the entry for arq
ur in Sir E.A. Wallis Budge's classic 1920 dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Against the entry
for arq ur, two English words appear after the hieroglyphs. One is 'silver',
the correct definition. The other reads 'Sphinx, 2, 8'. This is not
a definition, but a reference to Budge's source, a French Egyptological
journal called Sphinx. The '2' refers to the volume, and '8' the page
number. On page 8 of volume 2 are the hieroglyphs for 'silver' that
Budge used in his dictionary.
This mistake does
not carry any particular significance for Temple's overall argument,
as he mentions it only in passing - but it does turn up in some very
The revised edition
of The Sirius Mystery, published last year, contains some significant
In the original
1976 edition, Temple only argued the case for extraterrestrial contact
in the ancient past. In the new edition he has extended his argument
to the imminent return of these 'space-gods'. He now believes that they
did not return home to the Sirius system, but placed themselves in suspended
animation somewhere in our solar system, so that one day they would
awaken and return to see how the civilisation that they created has
developed. Temple suggests that their return is now imminent.
Also in the new
edition, Temple claims that The Sirius Mystery attracted the unwelcome
interest of both the CIA and the British intelligence services. In fact,
he says that the CIA tried to interfere with his research while he was
writing the book, and that after it came out they persecuted him for
the next 15 years.
is that the CIA wanted to hinder Temple's research for The Sirius Mystery,
which in turn implies that they wanted to stop him writing the book
- which implies that, for some reason, they didn't want us to read it.
This instils in the reader the idea that he is on the right track.
In fact, the knowledge
of their interest in, and apparent opposition to, The Sirius Mystery
only adds to its appeal. It actively encourages interest in the book,
on the grounds that, if the CIA don't want us to read it, there must
be something worth reading.
The above examples
of mistakes in Temple's book demonstrate the need for careful checking
of such claims. As with all genuine researchers, this is something that
you have to do : check primary sources.
Temple is not the exception : it is particularly in « Alternative
Egyptology » (or New Age history as some have dubbed it), with
Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock, that the main problem arises.
As most of you
will know, Hancock and Bauval's work centres on the importance of the
year 10500 BC. Around this time, they argue, some cataclysm took place
that destroyed an advanced, global civilisation. Some of its knowledge
survived and formed the basis of the ancient Egyptian civilisation.
They also argue that the survivors left us messages encoded in such
monuments as the pyramids and Sphinx of Giza.
This theory is today very much at the forefront of the publics
conscious. Let me illustrate by telling you that in February 1998 ,
I entered a Central London pub. Sitting down at a table, both Clive
Prince and I noticed that the people at the next table two regular
blokes have a pint of lager were talking about 10500 BC and Gizeh
as the earthly location of the Duat in an animated way. That such conversations
take place at all should be surprising ; that they are occurring in
a regular pub as a normal topic of conversation is even more bizarre.
On the face of
it, their idea seems exciting and even reasonable. But let's examine
their evidence more closely.
In The Orion Mystery
(1993), Robert Bauval argues that the three pyramids of Giza were built
to mirror the three stars of Orion's Belt. This, in itself, is fine
- it seems to work. But Bauval uses his 'Giza-Orion Correlation Theory'
to link the monuments to a much more ancient period.
His argument is
this. The three pyramids form an angle of 45 degrees to the north-south
meridian. To make the correlation perfect, when the stars cross the
celestial meridian they should form the same angle. However, when the
Great Pyramid was built - in approximately 2500 BC - they didn't. Because
of the precession of the equinoxes, the position of the stars changes
over time. Bauval reasoned that if he could find a period at which the
stars formed the same angle as the pyramids, this would pinpoint a significant
time - a time to which the pyramid-builders were trying to draw our
attention. When he used computer simulations to wind back the precessional
cycle, he found that Orion's Belt was in the 'Giza position' in 10500
However, when we
decided to double check this, things took a rather surprising turn.
We discovered that the geometrician Robin J. Cook, who actually produced
the diagrams for The Orion Mystery, although agreeing with most of Bauval's
theory, strongly disagreed with this part of Bauval's conclusions. We
decided to check for ourselves to find out who was right.
We found that the
Belt stars were not in the 'Giza position' in 10500 BC. To find the
stars in this position - according to the same computer program used
by Bauval - we have to go back to about 12000 BC at the earliest.
It seems that Bauval
had simply made a mistake, and miscaculated by a couple of thousand
Probably the most
famous development concerning ancient Egypt in the last ten years has
been the redating of the Sphinx by the erosion of the limestone out
of which it has been carved.
According to conventional
Egyptology, the Sphinx was carved out of the Giza plateau somewhere
around 2500 BC. However, many - most notably leading alternative Egyptologist
John Anthony West - maintained that it is, in reality, far older.
West believed that
the erosion of the Sphinx was not caused by the action of wind-blown
sand, but by water. He believed that this was due to a great flood -
the flood that drowned Atlantis - and argued that if this could be proven
scientifically, this would be an important step in not only establishing
the true age of the Egyptian civilisation, but also the existence of
Atlantis. Eventually, he succeeded in getting American geologist Robert
Schoch to take a look.
that the erosion was due to water - centuries of exposure to rain water.
But, as he pointed out, if this was the case, the Sphinx must have been
there during the last period of substantial rainfall in Egypt, which
occurred between about 7000 and 5000 BC. This means that the Sphinx
must be at least 2,500, and perhaps as much as 5,000, years older than
Egyptologists will admit.
John Anthony West
claims that Schoch's work vindicates his ideas. However, it needs to
be pointed out that West believed that a flood was reponsible for the
erosion - and that, by finding that it was actually due to prolonged
exposure to rainwater, Schoch has proven him just as wrong as he has
the academic Egyptologists.
that the Sphinx could have been built as long ago as 7000 BC. However,
both West and Graham Hancock have used his work in support of a much
earlier date - 10500 BC. They have been so succesful in this that many
people now regard this as virtually proven.
West and Hancock
argue that the wet period pinpointed by Schoch was not long enough to
cause the erosion we see on the Sphinx. Instead, they point to a wet
period that, they say, happened in the eleventh millennium BC - that
is, around 10500 BC. Graham Hancock writes in Fingerprints of the Gods
that at this time 'it rained and rained and rained.'
Imagine our surprise
when we checked the sources on the climate of ancient and prehistoric
Egypt - including the source cited by Hancock himself - and found that
there was no wet period in the eleventh millennium BC.
Like Robert Bauval,
Hancock and West appear to have made a simple mistake - but one that
also happens to come out at the date of 10500 BC.
In his recent book
Heaven's Mirror, co-authored with his wife Santha Faiia, and in the
accompanying Channel 4 television series, Hancock has extended his argument
in favour of that date to other ancient monuments around the world -
for example, the complex of Hindu temples at Angkor in Cambodia. (Although
these do not really qualify as ancient, as the earliest was built in
the eleventh century AD.)
that these temples were laid out to represent the constellation of Draco
- in the position in which it was found in 10500 BC. However, when we
looked into this we found that there really is no correlation between
the temples and the stars. There are temples which do not correspond
to any of the stars of Draco, stars for which there is no corresponding
temple - and, in any case, the pattern formed by the temples, as reconstructed
by Hancock, bears very little resemblance to Draco.
It seems that Hancock,
Bauval and West are, for some reason, keen to make sure that their research
pinpoints the year 10500 BC - whether or not the data actually fits.
This is about the
date given by the « sleeping prophet » Edgar Cayce as the
building of the pyramids by people from Atlantis.
the finding of the Hall of Records at Giza. It is interesting that there
have been many attempts to find the Hall of Records there in the last
25 years. It needs to be pointed out that the ancient Egyptians themselves
never mentioned any such thing in the context of Giza, nor is there
any archaeological evidence for it. The concept of the Hall of Records
comes entirely from Edgar Cayce.
find that it is present in the recent literature and is at the forefront
of the mind of Zahi Hawass, director of the Gizeh monuments.
Following last years rush to the « Hall of records »,
Hawass announced he would announce the discovery of a new tomb. This
is not material shown in Februarys Fox special, but rather the
« Tomb of Osiris », which Hawass claims to have located
near the Sphinx. Hawass whose education has been sponsored by
the Edgar Cayce foundation claimed that Herodotus had spoken
of this tomb as the resting place of Osiris. Hawass claimed it was only
a figurative manner of speaking. But why distort the rediscovery of
this underground tomb ? It had already been found in the 1930s, by Selim
Hassan. Nevertheless, Hawass pretends the discovery occurred in 1998.
Together with the wild claims of Larry Hunter about a possible body
of Osiris underneath the Gizeh plateau a theory no doubt falling
in popular ears after Bauvals Gizeh-Orion-Osiris correlation theory
--, are we supposed to believe Osiris is buried under the plateau ?
We have now also
been told that the Gantenbrink chamber will not be opened on December
31, but that a golden capstone will be placed on the building. Hawass
has refered to this as the idea that the building has now been finally
completed and links it to the Egyptian ideas that this means
an era has ended, and a new one has begun.
and Bauval also argue that Giza and Mars do not only have pyramids in
common - but both also have a Sphinx! This depends on whether you consider
the Martian Face to be a Sphinx. Well, they both have faces...
Then they fall
back on linguistics - or rather, as we have discovered, pseudo-linguistics.
For example, Hoagland, Hancock and Bauval make much of one of the ancient
Egyptian names of the Sphinx, Horakhti, which means 'Horus of the Horizon'.
They claim that there are two ancient Egyptian words, one meaning 'Horus'
and the other meaning 'face', that sound exactly alike: heru. So Horakhti,
they say, can be translated as 'Face of the Horizon'. Could this be
a description of the Face on Mars, which would be on the horizon when
viewed from some of the other features?
Well. no. For a
start, the thing that none of these authors tell us is that heru is
a plural form of the word for 'face', so it actually means 'faces'.
Besides, the hieroglyphs for the two words are completely different.
In any case, because hieroglyphs don't include vowels, which therefore
have to be largely guessed at, how can anybody say that any two ancient
Egyptian words sounded alike?
loophole involves the Arab name for Cairo - Al Qahira. This is also
an Arab name for Mars. Not only is this fact used to link Giza and Cydonia,
but Hancock and Bauval actually say that this is 'inexplicable'. But
far from being inexplicable, the reason that Cairo was given this name
is, in fact, very well known. Al Qahira literally means 'the Conqueror'.
The city of Cairo did not exist before 969 AD, when it was founded by
an Arab general who had just conquered that part of Egypt. True, Mars
does come into it, but only because at the time the city was founded
the planet was in a particularly auspicious position astrologically
- especially for a city built in honour of a conqueror. There is no
mystery about it - but Hoagland, Hawass, Hancock and Bauval have made
one. They have hijacked the ancient astronaut theory and are using it
for their own agenda. They are in a position to do irreparable damage
to this, and I hope the above « expose » has made some steps
in stopping this ever more clearly developing trend.
There appears to
be a genuine mystery about Mars. Perhaps there really are pyramids or
other artificial structures there. However, attempts to link Cydonia
with ancient Egypt simply don't work and have been contrived. Above
all : how dare some authors try to make us believe in an ancient astronaut
theory-like concept, but one that is based on false/fabricated evidence,
and nevertheless look towards other « AAS-authors » and
label them « cranks » or « crooks » ?
As mentioned, there
are genuine mysteries. And perhaps the adolescent AAH should look towards
those and find the answers there. The models of airplanes and gliders,
a study currently being undertaken by Algund Eenboom and his team, are
one such example. As they also presented their findings to date, Im
sure I do not have to go into their statements.
In the case of
the Great Pyramid or the Sphinx, the dating is irrelevant both to the
Ancient Technolgical Civilization Hypothesis (ATCH) or AAH. Various
authors have (and continue to do) pushed the age of this Pyramid and/or
the Sphinx back, in an effort to prove an ATCH or AAH-event. Veiling
it with the shrouds of time, however, does little for the scientific
mind who realizes that such endeavors merely wish to employ that the
absence of evidence is evidence of the presence of something that is
no longer present, such as an ET civilization ruling Egypt or Atlantis.
most striking event speaking for the Great Pyramid (and stone-core pyramids
of Egypt in general) as an ATCH-event is their very existence. The depth
and fineness of the skills involved (both the organization, the architecture,
the craftsmanship, etc.) clearly show the builders were ATCH. Furthermore,
this knowledge in itself is quite anomalous, though a definitive line
of evolution within these pyramids is discernable. Imhotep
is the one the Egyptians claimed as being responsible for its execution.
One could wonder whether Imhotep had an Oannes-encounter
(contact with a mysterious, non-human figure that imparts knowledge),
though the evidence for this is lacking. Therefore, in the absence,
the Pyramid Age, can merely be considered an ATCH-event, rather than
What should, above
all, be worked upon something that did not at all seems to have
happened in the 1970s with the AAS authors is that an AAH-qualification
should be the final conclusion that could be reached once all other
conclusions are not satisfactory. The almost immediate labeling of AAH-events
as soon as something is an anomaly, should forever have to be a thing
of the past if the AAH wants to attain the scientific status.
It is, of course, quite consistent with a new child, as the AAH was
back then. I am sure that for those bearing grudges for the mistakes
of the AAH at that time, they should look to the past and present
mistakes of science. All disciplines are rife with examples of
The AAH is, as
this lecture will hopefully show, the most difficult theory to prove.
The ETH-possibility of UFOs would be far easier to prove, as it happens
in the present, with people that can be interrogated, and interaction
with the phenomenon can occur. All of this is impossible with the AAH,
in which all the evidence, apart from that collected by future discoveries,
is already available. Precisely such future discoveries might prove
or disprove the AAH-possibility of e.g. the Great Pyramid. On the other
hand, failing absolute proof, these discoveries might give evidence
suggesting the AAH might be a possibility or not.
What about the
AAH as a scientific theory on its own then?
The framework for
this theory is lacking. Without the definition of a framework, it is
clear that the AAH will not receive major scientific interest. Therefore,
how can one define such a framework? Professor John Mack, when faced
with the problem of analyzing the abduction phenomenon, in which humans
claim to be abducted against their will by ETs, consulted philosophical
milestone Thomas Kuhn. He advised that Mack would not be bound by the
current understanding of science, which had turned into dogma, and which
had lost the push to explore where no-one had gone
This is, precisely, what the AAH tried to do: von Dänikens
original message was to question the then current thinking of history
and archaeology. He realized the given explanations did not confirm
the evidence. A larger framework had to been envisioned. This framework
was the AAH.
Unfortunately, what did not get defined was the framework of the AAH
itself. What features does something need to have before it can be classified
as a possible AAH-event? No-one has ever established such a list of
requirements, which is, no doubt, the main reason why the sudden boom
of AAH-books of the 1970s in a non-discriminating way labeled every
anomaly as either a possible AAH or the result of ET intervention. The
results of this were destructive for the scientific credibility of the
The AAH is a young
science, even younger than the study of the mind (psychiatry). It has,
above all, never been tested with the full resources available to scientific
institutions (read: lots of money to do research). It will, however,
largely depend upon the position of the AAH-proponents and their attitude
towards the subject that will be a decisive factor as to whether and
when the AAH becomes a scientifically researchable hypothesis.
Above all, the AAH-proponents should present well-argued, conclusive
points, rather than wild rumours and/or fabricated evidence, as in the
case of Temple, Hancock and Bauval.
In the mean time,
the search for the smoking gun of the AAH continues. One should not,
however, give way to the notion that the present absence of evidence
is complete evidence of absence.
Many inquisitive minds who believed in a heliocentric solar system fought
centuries against a religious dogma that claimed the Earth was central
in Gods creation and that Man already possessed all the knowledge
it required. One of these, Giordano Bruno, actually believed in the
existence of extra-terrestrial life and feverishly wanted a re-establishment
of the Egyptian religion. One can only wonder whether it was this Egyptian
solar religion, that preached (whether or not backed by evidence is
unclear) the existence of the sun as the center of our solar system,
also taught the existence of various stars with inhabitable planets
and living beings on them. And if Bruno did indeed get all that from
this Egyptian religion, where did the Egyptians themselves get it from?
Though there is ample room in this and other examples for an AAH-classification,
in this case, the possibility is not yet warm enough to classify it
as such. For if the proponents of an AAH really want to be scientific,
it should be that they never give up on a quest for scientifically testable
evidence. For otherwise, the AAH will become a dogma for few, benefiting
In summation: the
world has changed since the 1960s, of which von Danikens book
was a part of. It has influenced far more people than we might actually
In 1973, the American think-tank SRI reported that a new consciousness
had developed on Earth, which would lead to a new society and which
was a radical farewell to previous thinking and society. The signs of
this society are all around us. The recent movie THE MATRIX is a clear
example of a new form of cinema, in which artificial intelligence, aliens,
consciousness and not to forget entertainment and social values
and even reality are completely changed.
The old world instills this in each of us also: Egypt impresses respect
upon us and questions not only to what sentient beings either
terrestrial or extraterrestrial can excel to, but also forces
us to reconsider our position towards death and life in general.
It is in this world
view that the new age movement, of which whether
we like it or not the AAH is currently part of, is developing
as a new cultural paradigm, at odds with traditional values. The question
is who will be in control of this movement: will it be the false
prophets such as Bauval, Hancock or Temple? Or do we look for
another one, thus echoing the central image of the movie
the Matrix. And it is towards the message of this movie that I will
refer for the answer without me spoiling the plot for you.
Finally, in the
movie Contact, which I saw right after the end of the previous
Conference in 1997, perhaps we should take as motto the advice
Ellie Hathaway receives from her father: Small steps, Ellie,