5.10 – THE VON DÄNIKEN LEGACY (4.5.13)


Minneapolis, Minnesota. October, 2012. Hundreds gather to hear iconic author and researcher Erich von Däniken speak at the Paradigm Symposium, a four-day event focused on exploring ancient cosmology, anthropology, archaeology, and science fiction.

“Maybe we have been visited from outer space. Where’s the proof? What can we find?”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

His books have sold over 65 million copies worldwide. He is a hero to some and a heretic to others, but Erich von Däniken’s controversial theories have captured the attention of the world and ignited a movement known as Ancient Astronaut Theory.

“The scientific community, they were always afraid to think in this way. We have to change our thinking.”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

Von Däniken’s research has taken him all over the world to investigate the unexplained mysteries of ancient cultures. He has spent his lifetime daring to question what mainstream scholars hold to be true.

“We are the descendants, ladies and gentlemen, we are the offsprings of these extraterrestrials, and it’s not by coincidence.”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

Erich von Däniken’s rise to notoriety began in February, 1968, when the Swiss hotel manager-turned-author published his groundbreaking book Chariots of the Gods?. In it, the young writer theorized that intelligent extraterrestrial beings visited Earth in the distant past and made contact with mankind. It caused a sensation, selling an impressive 500,000 copies in its first year of publication.

“When the book first appeared was the year where we landed a man on the moon, and so there’s a whole belief now that it was possible to travel into space, that we would send people to space.”

– Robert Bauval (Egyptologist),
(Author, The Egypt Code),
(Author, Secret Chamber Revisited),
(Co-Author, Black Genesis)

“Many people were very excited about this whole new Ancient Astronaut Theory. They thought it made sense. We were coming ourselves into the modern space age.”

David Childress (Author, Technology of the Gods)

“People were really, really interested in these kinds of subjects and wondering if maybe there had been something that we had secretly discovered on the moon that may have pointed towards extraterrestrial origins for man.”

– Michael Bara (Author, The Choice),
(Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA),
(Ancient Aliens on the Moon), (Ancient Aliens on Mars),
(Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies)

“Although the phenomenon of Ancient Astronauts has been around since the ’50s, it was really von Däniken who opened the doors to where it became part of the popular culture.”

– Nick Redfern (Author, Memoirs of a Monster Hunter),
(The Real Men in Black), (Final Events),
(The World’s Weirdest Places),
(Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind),
(Bloodline of the Gods), (The NASA Conspiracies),
(On the Trail of the Saucer Spies:
UFOs and Government Surveillance)

“Chariots of the Gods? was a very crucial book for me because it opened my eyes up to the possibility that ancient cultures may have been in connection with or interacting with some sort of off-planet intelligence.”

– Chris O’Brien (UFO Investigator),
(Author, Stalking the Trickster)

“I was mesmerized by it; I couldn’t put it down. It might’ve been the first book I read cover to cover in one day. His theories were just phenomenal where he talked about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitations.”

  – George Noory (Radio Host, Coast to Coast AM)

By using rhetorical questions, von Däniken suggested that evidence of alien close encounters could be found in everything from ancient religious texts and mysterious stone carvings to monumental structures and monoliths located all over the world.

“What he basically says is, you can no longer look at the traditional interpretations of historical events, historical monuments, historical structures, historical cultures at face value. You have to look at this in a much broader context of what could be perhaps extraterrestrial intervention.”

– Michael Bara (Author, The Choice),
(Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA),
(Ancient Aliens on the Moon), (Ancient Aliens on Mars),
(Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies)

“One of the things that Erich did was to take very familiar Bible stories and reinterpret them where people are interacting with angels. They’re even taken up into space in fiery chariots and things like that, and what it was, was a re- examination of what we’re taught.”

David Childress (Author, Technology of the Gods)

But despite being well received by the public, scholars and scientists regarded von Däniken’s claims as pseudoscience.

“I expected to be ridiculed, but I did not expect the unfair way in which the ridiculing happened in the media. I was at that time attacked. “Erich Von Däniken said…” In reality, in Chariots of the Gods?, I had 238 question marks. Nobody read the question marks.”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

“Trailblazers tend to become targets, and so academia for many years has slagged von Däniken, saying it’s sloppy research, it’s sloppy thinking, it’s sloppy analysis. However, as the years have gone on, more and more of his early work has now kind of been vindicated by other people, and I think we can all trace back this interest in this subject to von Däniken’s groundbreaking work.”

– Chris O’Brien (UFO Investigator),
(Author, Stalking the Trickster)

“All the great thinkers of our time and in the past have been people who challenged the norm. So, Erich von Däniken really challenged the norm of academia to show that these things that we thought of as just religious myths actually have scientific merit, and we need to look into them further.”

– Jason Martell
(Founder, AncientSchool),
(Author, Knowledge Apocalypse)

But what was the source for Erich von Däniken’s groundbreaking theory? Where did the notion of alien astronauts visiting the earth in the ancient past come from?

“I was educated in a boarding school led by Jesuits. Three years, we had to translate parts of the Bible from one language into the other. In the first Book of Moses the Lord descends from the heavens down to Earth on a holy mountain. With smoke and fire and loud noise and trembling, and everyone was afraid. That was the moment when I said, “This is not God”. What are we talking about? My God does not need a vehicle in which to move around, which trembles and makes smoke “and loud noise.”  And it was the Jesuit priest who said, ‘Erich, maybe you should “read a Book of Enoch.’”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

The Book of Enoch was excluded from the Bible and is still considered controversial by many theologians. But for von Däniken, it was proof of something much greater.

“It says that Enoch was taken away from our planet Earth by the Lord in a fiery chariot. Now, we knew nothing in the past about flying machines. So, in religious terms, they say now he has his flight into the heaven. But in my eyes, Enoch, he sees something which in reality it was a spaceship.”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

This omitted account of Enoch’s journey only raised more questions for von Däniken. He turned his focus to the story of the biblical prophet Ezekiel. Like Enoch, Ezekiel is also taken away in a fiery vehicle, a vehicle he describes in great technical detail in the pages of the Old Testament. Von Däniken brought the strange texts to the attention of his priest.

“So the priest said, “Ezekiel has a vision.” I said, “No, that’s not the vision because he describes “the noise.” He compares the noise with the thundering of a waterfall. It’s not a vision. It’s something different. Something like rocket engines. Now we are talking about contact with extraterrestrials, space travel, so it all came together.”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

“Erich wasn’t completely rejecting religion or the idea of God. Or even angels for that matter. He was looking at things differently but still keeping a certain spirituality and knowledge of universal truths.”

David Childress (Author, Technology of the Gods)

“I have grown up as a Catholic, a Christian, and I clearly say I am still one of these believers in God. I pray every evening. We will never lose God, never, when we deal with Ancient Astronauts.”

Erich von Däniken (Author, Chariots of the Gods?)

Is it possible, as Erich von Däniken and other Ancient Astronaut researchers suggest, that the evidence for real-life close encounters can be found embedded in the pages of the Holy Bible? It was a question that the Swiss teenager was determined to answer. And his search now took him to the Egyptian desert and the mysterious structures known as the Great Pyramids.


Previous: Introduction | Next: Von Däniken’s Spiritual Journey



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[18] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.17 – The Satan Conspiracy. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 28, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

[19] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.18 – Alien Operations. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: November 1, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

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Who were they?… Why did they come?… What did they leave behind?… Where did they go?… Will they return?…

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