Erich von Daniken
Bananas were introduced into the Atlantis debate by Ignatius Donnelly who adapted the views of Otto Kuntze and questioned[021.57] whether “it was more reasonable to suppose that the plantain or banana was cultivated by the people of Atlantis and carried by their civilised agricultural colonies to the east and the west?” Over a century later it was still being suggested that only the existence of Atlantis could explain global spread of the seedless, sexless fruit that we enjoy today(a). David Hatcher Childress in his Lost Cities of Ancient Lemuria and the Pacific suggested that ancient genetic engineering led to the banana we have today. Apparently, Theosophical belief is that “the banana was developed from a melon on the lost continent of Atlantis.”(d) Not to be outdone, Erich von Däniken claimed[0272.202] that the banana has been brought to Earth by extraterrestrials(e)! At the other end of the belief spectrum, some creationists claim that bananas are proof of God’s intelligent design of the natural world because ‘the banana and the hand are perfectly made, one for the other’!”(f)
A more sober view of the diffusion of the banana from south-east Asia is to be found on the academia.edu website(b).
*(a) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.ie/search/label/Bananas (link broken July 2018) See: Archive 3586*
Pumapunku is a terraced earthen mound, faced with blocks and an important part of the Tiwanaku archaeological site on the Bolivian Altiplano. It has unique architectural features including the use of building blocks with up to 80 faces on them. The Tiwanaku site is pre-Inca and has given its earliest radiocarbon date as 536-600 BC and was in use until circa 1000 AD(a), which is a far cry from the flawed 12,000-15,000 BC date claimed by Posnansky(e)(f).
As with so many other enigmatic ancient sites, various members of the ‘lunatic fringe’ have attributed the construction at these location to either ancient astronauts or atlanteans or an exotic combination of both, based on either over fertilised imaginations or flawed data or again, both. Jason Colavito has written a critique of some of the more silly suggestions(b).
Ancient astronaut advocate Von Däniken[1147.221] and Brien Foerester(d) among others, have claimed that the stones of Pumapunku were composed of diorite, an exceptionally hard stone, which would have required a modern diamond-tipped drill to work it. The implication being that only Atlanteans with their advanced technology or extraterrestrials could have worked the stone with such precision.
However, Colavito and Michael Heiser(c) have pointed out that this identification is untrue and that in fact they were composed of the softer andesite and red sandstone. Apart from which, the Code of Hammurabi was incised on diorite, without Atlantean or extraterrestrial assistance, 2,000 years before the development of Pumapunku!
Javier Escalante Moscoso is an architect with a degree in archaeology who has extensively excavated and surveyed the Tiwanaku monuments.(see map above).
Richard E. Mooney was one of a number of authors who followed in the footsteps of Erich von Däniken with a couple ‘ancient astronaut’ books. His first, Colony: Earth, has a chapter devoted to Atlantis in which he gives qualified support to the Minoan Hypothesis.
In his sequel, Gods of Air and Darkness, he again touches on the subject of Atlantis, although in a slightly more muted fashion. Nevertheless, he refers to the Greek legends of Atlantis and Hyperborea as being “both obviously based on fact.” (p.183)
W. Raymond Drake (1913-1989) was a British writer who began the publication a series of books about ancient astronauts years before the better known work of Erich von Däniken. From the start Drake has included frequent references to Atlantis in his books. However, much of what he has written on Atlantis seems to have originated from the dubious outpourings of Blavatsky and Cayce. An example of his conclusions is “The Atlanteans probably developed electronic even telepathic techniques, radio, radar, television, for communicating with their armed forces, far-flung Empire and the near planets, abode of their Teachers.” [1038.61]
Baalbek, situated in the Bekka Valley in Lebanon, undoubtedly presents us with what I consider to be one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. It was the site of a most impressive Roman temple complex dedicated to Jupiter. However, the very name Baalbek suggests an earlier connection with the Caananite/Phoenician god Baal.
Velikovsky(i) and others have supported the idea that Baakbek was in fact the location of the biblical Dan, recorded as the most northern city of ancient Israel.
One commentator has suggested a link with Indian yogis!(t)
Although the Roman remains are still impressive, it is some blocks in the lower and presumably earlier courses(d), that have continued to stump archaeologists, three of which are of cut limestone and are estimated to weigh up to 800 tons(c). (compare with content of link(k))
An article(q) by Gian J. Quasara regarding this strange masonry is worth a read.
Even more disturbing is a block still lying in a nearby quarry, where it was cut, and which has been calculated to exceed 1000 tons and named The Stone of the Pregnant Woman. Another block, in the same quarry, was only discovered in the 1990’s and is thought to be even heavier at 1200 tons(g).
Hugh Newman, a self-described ‘megalithomaniac’(r), has produced a paper(s) on the enormous Baalbek monoliths, in which he cites Graham Hancock speculatively dating the Baalbek megaliths at 12,000 years or more old.
In March 2014, it was widely reported(e) that even heavier megaliths had been identified on Siberia’s Mount Shoria. However, the images I have seen suggest to me a natural origin(f). A short video clip is available(j).
We do not know how such huge objects were made or moved in ancient times. I often think that the bigger question is why did they bother to cut such large blocks! An online article(b) tells how the ingenuity of our ancestors produced the most powerful hand crane in history which multiplied the force of its operator 632 times. However, just because we do not yet know precisely how the Baalbek blocks were manipulated, does not justify wild claims that they were moved by high-tech Atlanteans or extraterrestrials. I may not know how stage magicians saw ladies in half, but that does not compel me to label them Atlantean or alien.
The most persistent question relating to all megalithic structures is “how did they manage to build them using such large heavy rocks and blocks”? Many ingenious solutions are on offer, but perhaps the most remarkable is that proposed by W. T. Wallington who has demonstrated that using basic materials, which were available to the Egyptians, one individual can manipulate a 4500kg stone block. His website includes a remarkable video clip of his method. A review(n) of this video is worth a read. Another or comparable technology may have been used by Edward Leedskainin when he single-handedly built Coral Castle in Florida City(o). What is certain is that Leedskainin had no help from intergalactic visitors.
December 2014 found the latest estimate for the weight of the largest dressed stone found at Baalbek calculated to be 1650 tons(h).It is clear that some explanation is required, hopefully, something better than the implication of extraterrestrial intervention. I would like to think that if we had alien visitors that their technology would be in advance of the ‘stone’ age. Surely they would have something better to produce than enormous foundation stones, which to my puny mind does not smack of the best that a civilisation capable of travelling across the cosmos would have to offer! I find the claims of Graham Hancock or Erich von Dániken equally unconvincing in this instance.
A sober well-referenced article outlining the arguments in favour of identifying the megaliths as Roman is available online(k) as well as supportive blogs from Frank Dörnenburg(m).
A UNESCO sponsored hitech survey of the Baalbek site as part of a Risk Preparedness Strategy is now proposed so that the most appropriate remedial action can be taken in the event of natural deterioration or even war damage(l).
Brian Foerster’s website(p) has some remarkable images of the Baalbek masonry.
(a) http://www.eridu.co.uk/Author/Mysteries_of_the_World/Baalbek/baalbek2.html (7 parts) (link broken June 2018) See: Archive 3414
(k) See: Archive 2653
*(s) See: Archive 3409*
Nan Madol is a large stone city on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei. The city has a series of canals connecting the structures, which were built on nearly a hundred artificial islands. It has been called both the ‘Venice’ and the ‘Atlantis’ of the Pacific. Conventional archaeology dates the site to around 1200AD.
James Churchward claimed Nan Madol as part of his concocted Mu. David Hatcher Childress has claimed that the site was part of Lemuria, another invention. Erich von Däniken in his The Gold of the Gods was happy to claim that as a result of extraterrestrial intervention, the ancient Micronesians, had mastered flight and used this ability to transport the stone for the construction of the city!
*Recent archaeological research in 2017, led by Mark McCoy from Texas Southern Methodist University, has, not unexpectedly, regenerated foolish speculation that the remarkable site might in some way be connected with Plato’s Atlantis(a) .
Ancient Astronauts and their technology is often promoted as the inspiration behind aspects of many ancient religions such as the vimanas of the Hindus, the flying chariots of Ezekiel as well as the gods of Mesopotamia. The most widely known proponents of these ideas are Erich von Däniken and the late Zecharia Sitchin.
However, before von Däniken, Harold T. Wilkins was already suggesting prehistoric extraterrestrial visitors in the 1950’s. He also wrote a couple of books about Atlantis. R. Cedric Leonard is another Atlantis researcher who has written about Atlantis and ancient technology(aliens). The most recent attempt to link Atlantis with ancient astronauts is Kevin Falzon, who closely follows Sitchin while locating Atlantis in his native Malta. Richard Mooney speculated on a connection between Atlantis and ancient aliens four decades ago.
Nevertheless, the idea of visitors from other worlds is often traced back to the 18th century and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)(e), who not only argued that extraterrestrial beings had visited our planet, but that he had actually met them! Greg Little has also recently(g) credited Swedenborg as the originator of the alien visitors idea, but Jason Colavito has rubbished Little’s article(f) and traced the concept of extraterrestrial encounters back to Lucian (125-180 AD) together with a few others before Swedenborg. Colavito and Little are not ‘best friends’, so I can only conclude that Colavito simply wished to undermine Little’s credibility as a researcher.
Jason Colavito has also drawn attention(a) to an exhibition to be held in Beijing in July 2012, which purports to offer evidence of these ancient visitors, and has published(b) the official U.S. Government view on ancient astronauts. He also offers an overview of alien theories and scathingly criticises their proponents(c).
Colavito has also an interesting blog for 29/08/14 which quotes from a 1977 magazine that has an article suggesting that Jesus was an American astronaut who came back from the future, no doubt inspired by Planet of the Apes!(d)
Perhaps even more disconcerting is the results of a survey(h) carried out by Chapman University that show 20% of Americans believing in ancient astronauts!
Also See: Extraterrestrials
*(e) http://www.swedenborgproject.org/2007/09/08/the-life-on-other-planets-question/ (link broken Oct. 2018) See: Archive 2262*
Lake Izabal is the largest lake in Guatemala and nominated by at least two ‘researchers’ as the location of Atlantis. Duane K. McCullough has been a supporter of the Guatemalan site for a number of years(a). His views(b) are contained in his book, Spirit of Atlantis.
An even more colourful advocate is the retired German schoolteacher, Joachim Rittstieg. On March 1st 2011 it was reported(c) that an expedition, sponsored by the German tabloid newspaper, Bild, and led by Rittstieg headed for Guatemala in search of the gold. Unfortunately all they found was a pot(e), following which Rittstieg managed to declare the expedition a ‘success’(d). Rittstieg has combined information he has gleaned from the Icelandic Eddas, Plato, Mayan calendars as well as oral sources and concluded that the capital of Atlan can be found submerged in Lake Izabal in Guatemala along with over 2,000 gold tablets(f).
The indefatigable Erich von Däniken(g) has added some support for Rittsteig’s claim of a sunken city in Lake Izabal although commenting that the treasure there is not gold, “just engraved messages from the past”!
http://web.comporium.net/~duanemcc/intrvw14.htm (offline June 2015, see (a))
(d) http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2011/03/30/search-mayan-gold-bild-findsa-pot-stirs-outrage/ (offline April 2015)
Lambertus (Bert) Thurlings is a Dutch electrical engineer who is particularly interested in the study of ancient mysteries from a technological point of view. This led to the writing of a two book set, in Dutch, entitled Verborgen Geheimen van de Mensheid (Hidden Secrets of Mankind). Unfortunately Thurlings, like von Däniken, is keen to suggest prehistoric astronauts as the source of ancient technologies, rather than of the inherent ingenuity of man. He expands on this in a short e-book(b).
He also proposes 7910 BC as the date of the destruction of Atlantis. He promotes his ideas with a Dutch/English website(a).
*(a) http://www.ancientmysteries.eu/index.html (English version now closed)
Jason Colavito is an American sceptic who has written on a number of subjects such as alien gods, ancient Egypt and of course Atlantis(a). In spite of his scepticism, I have found many of his blogs very interesting, particularly his book critiques, which I have frequently referred to in Atlantipedia (See: Gavin Menzies, Erich von Däniken, Frank Joseph, and John Kinnaman).
*However, regarding Plato’s Atlantis, he also wrote (d) that “once you start admitting that parts of the story aren’t literally true, there’s nothing to suggest any of it is.” To me, this seems somewhat extreme as Colavito must know that the ancient Greek writers, in conformity with the literary conventions of the day, frequently mixed actual historical details with mythology. Sometimes distinguishing between the two may be difficult, but that does not justify ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’.*
In spite of being a professional sceptic, Colavito describes Atlantis as a lost continent that is almost certainly fictional.(b) Colavito’s review(c) of 2017 is in turn both amusing and depressing, but definitely worth a read.