Book Review | Chariots Of The Gods?
“As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.” – (Kings 2: 11-12);
The names and trials of ancient heroes like Gilgamesh, Moses, and Manu have been passed down for hundreds of generations. Yet these three men from different times, lands, and circumstances all share an eerily similar power, the ability to communicate with higher beings; and they were by no means the only ones. It would be easy, if not fashionable to dismiss these scriptures as little more than the foolish superstitions of primitive lunatics high on ayahuasca; but decades of astronomical data and archaeological discoveries have uncovered tangible evidence of a chilling possibility; the Earth was visited by aliens on multiple occasions – at least according to Swiss author Erich von Däniken in his 1968 best-seller Chariots Of The Gods?
While I did technically call this piece a review in the title, it’s only so potential employers reading my blog wouldn’t suspect me of being a fringe lunatic. It should have really be named, Three Reasons Why We Were Visited By Aliens. This article is merely to highlight what I believe to be some of the most irrefutable points that Chariots Of The Gods? raises, with a few more contemporary examples backed by empirical evidence rather than mere speculation thrown in for good measure. While the ancient-astronauts theory that this book proposes has fallen out of popular favour, it’s only been due the incessant stupidity of the History Channel which turned legitimate speculation based in reality into a borderline schizophrenic’s fever dream in their show Ancient Aliens. And don’t even get me started about that god-awful Indiana Jones movie with Shia Labeouf.
Before we look to the past, we must first look to the heavens, and indulge in the only kind of maths I as a media student feel comfortable with; simple division. The observable universe has upwards of one hundred billion galaxies. Our galaxy, the Milky Way alone is believed to contain one hundred billion stars, most of which are orbited by several exo-planets which are undetectable to our current instruments; but looking to our neighboring stars, we know that they’re far more innumerable than was believed when this book was written. Let’s average that out very conservatively to one planet per star in the Milky Way. If even 0.001% of these innumerable planets can play host to carbon based life, that still leaves us with approximately 1,000,000 planets. Now let’s imagine that of these 1,000,000 hypothetical planets which can harbour life, only 0.1% has evolved intelligent beings. This still leave us with 1,000 planets in our galaxy that have life comparable to what we have on Earth. That’s the premise with which Chariots Of The Gods? begins. In a universe as big as our own, the odds of complex life not arising from the dirt would be most unlikely; but the still question remains, did any of these beings ever visit our planet, and in doing so change the course of human civilisation? Here are three examples of mysterious places and objects, which in my opinion lend credibility to von Däniken’s theories:
The Piri Reis Map
Dating back to the 1510s, this map was created by an Ottoman admiral named Piri Reis who admittedly based his own illustrations on ancient sources from India and Arabia, which have unfortunately been lost to history. While the map’s details of the New World are extremely impressive for the time, what’s truly shocking is the remarkable degree of accuracy with which it depicts Antarctica, which wouldn’t be ‘discovered’ for another three centuries. This map even reveals in remarkable detail the topographical features deep within the Antarctic mainland, including mountain ranges buried under kilometres of permafrost that would not be discovered until 1952 using advanced sonar detection equipment. Perhaps most curiously of all, the Piri Reis map has a distorted view of South America, which sits on the periphery of the image. This not unlike the kind of distortions we can expect from satellite photographs, given the curvature of the Earth at such high altitudes. Are we truly expected to believe that a bunch of Turks using at best 16th century technology were able to take aerial photographs of entire continents and subterranean natural features?
The Antikythera Mechanism
Alan Turing is widely regarded as the father of computing, but a mysterious bronze device dubbed the Antikythera Mechanism, predates him by nearly 2,000 years; and is arguably even more technically impressive than his famed Turingery. While there’s much speculation about its exact purpose, the only thing that stands to reason is this device, pulled from the wreckage of an ancient Greek ship at the start of the 20th Century, should simply not exist. The level of engineering precision and technical knowledge required to create such an intricately complicated mechanical computer should have been impossible even two hundred years ago, let alone for an ancient civilisation of paedophiles. But it’s completely real. Scans of the device give us reason to believe that it may have been used as a kind of astronomical clock to chart the movements of planets and stars in the night sky; but the questions still remain; who really built the Antikythera Mechanism and why did they need such a precise map of Earth’s neighbourhood?
The Nazca Lines
If you walked through the deserts of Southern Peru you would see absolutely nothing of importance; but if you were to fly, you’d begin to notice a strange pattern; quite literally. The Nazca Lines are a series of intricate geometric structures carved into the soil, which can only be viewed at high altitudes; rather unusual given the fact that they were created at least 1,500 years before the invention of the airplane. So what are these mysterious patterns? What inspired the ancients peoples of this inhospitable region to drop whatever they were doing and invest their time and resources to create something no human being would ever be able to see? Is it a coincidence that they chose a region of South America not susceptible to the effects of natural erosion? We don’t really have the answers, but what I can say, is the runways that human beings carve into the Antarctic ice sheet look remarkably similar.
I don’t expect that this book will convince you that your great-great grandparents were buddies with a plasma cannon wielding little green man. All I can hope, is that Chariots Of The Gods? will open your mind to alternative possibilities on the origins of the human race. The current scientific consensus is as closed minded as it is elitist, and cannot convincingly explain so many of the great mysteries of the ancient world. The ancient astronauts theory could be completely wrong, but at least it’s a step towards acknowledging just how little we know about our own history.
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