The Credible, Creative Conjecture(s) of Erich von Däniken
Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.
Von Däniken’s most recent book – Evidence of the Gods – which I noted earlier here, is a photographic pastiche in support of his Alien Astronaut theory.
While von Däniken and his AA minions are maligned for the imaginative hypotheses about visitors from space interacting with early human beings, one can see the reasoning behind the AA scenario.
For instance, in Evidence…like his other books, von Däniken provides written and oral tales (mythologies) of primitive tribes and their present-day members.
In Evidence, on page 23 ff, he relates a creation story promulgated by the native inhabitants of the Kiribati islands in the South Pacific: The Story of Nareau.
The creator god Nareau, traversing space, espies the Earth (Te Bomatemaki), and discovering the absence of life proceeds to endow it with means for life – water, seeds, life forms.
Von Däniken equates the story with that in the opening Chapter of The Hebrew Bible, The Old Testament: Genesis.
On page 45 von Däniken offers the Maori legend of the god Pourangahyua who “flew on a ‘magic bird’ from Hawaiki to New Zealand” and said “I [Pourangahua] come and an unknown earth lies beneath my feet. I come and a new sky revolves above me. I come and the earth is a peaceful resting place for me.” [From John White’s Ancient History of the Maori, Volume 1. Wellington, New Zealand, Government Printer, 1887]
Now I’m not going to list any of the other materials that von Däniken and his acolytes use to bolster their AA theory.
But I am going to aver that AA’s conclusions or hypotheses that beings from the skies appeared to Earthlings – early humans – causing the myths and legends that bespeak visitors or gods from above is not outrageous.
There are, for the well-read among you, a plethora of myths and legends which indicate Gods came to Earth and intermingled with the human species.
The tales appear in the literature and texts of the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Polynesians, the Maya, the Inca, the Olmecs, the Inuits, the Amer-Indians, the sub-continent Indians, and various African tribes, among other indigenous societies.
That is, there are so many stories of gods descending to the Earth and interacting with humans that one has to accept – that something of the kind occurred.
That doesn’t mean that supernatural beings or extraterrestrials are the source of the mythical seeds.
But one can come to accept that the possibility exists.
Early man didn’t, generally, talk of gods or beings springing forth from the Forests or rocks. The gods came from the skies.
That’s the premise from which von Däniken works.
It’s not an unreasonable hypothesis.
Te AA hypothesis doesn’t seem to explain the UFO phenomenon, as those encounters with entities from UFOs in recent times are hardly god-like, even to the primitive mind of the hoi-polloi to whom such encounters have happened.
And the primitive legends may also be a misconstruction or misunderstanding of early visitors by the unsophisticated minds of early man, but one sees a profundity in the activities related in the legends that von Däniken uses or those that we’ve read, outside of von Däniken: the Greek myths, the Bible, the story of Gilgamesh, et al.
One doesn’t find such profundity (or poetical nuance) in modern UFO sightings and encounters.
So, perhaps the gods came in the past, but do not come now.
Are today’s UFO entities related to the gods of old? Or are the modern UFO beings and/or their craft a whole other intrusion?
Or are today’s UFOs discrete hallucinations, uncommon among early cultures but endemic to “modern man”?
Whatever UFOs are, von Däniken’s alien astronauts or his gods from outer space are not part of the UFO phenomenon as we’ve come to understand it.
But that doesn’t refute von Däniken’s AA theory or proselytizing.
Von Däniken’s gods did appear to early man. Were they extraterrestrials? More likely that than ethereal beings of a divine nature or creations of febrile primitive minds.
But let’s not extrapolate and give credence to the ancient myths as an explanation for today’s UFO experiences.
The gods were. They now are dead. UFOs live on…..whatever they may be.