Nibiru was a Sumerian astronomical term used to describe a planetary body that periodically approached Earth. This account was hijacked by the late Zechariah Sitchin to construct his Planet X theory in which he claimed that this planet had an orbit which took it to the outer limits of the solar system returning every 3600 years to the vicinity of Earth. Sitchin claimed that during one of these visits some of its inhabitants came to earth and become the ‘gods’ of the Sumerians. However, Sitchin failed to explain how the inhabitants of this Planet X survived the lack of heat and light that it would have had to endure as it moved away from the proximity of the Sun. For us inhabitants of Earth a drop of just a few degrees is fatal.
However, Emilio Spedicato has a radically different and certainly more rational view of this Sumerian planet. He ascribes a much shorter orbital period of 20 years to Nibiru and claims that close encounters with this planet as having had a dramatic physical effect on the prehistory of our planet including the capturing of our Moon, the destruction of Atlantis and later the biblical Exodus! His scenario has elements that can be traced to Velikovsky, Ackerman and Hörbiger.
Professor Spedicato’s November 2012 paper, From Nibiru to Tiamat, an Astronomic Scenario for Earliest Sumerian Cosmology, can be read or downloaded from the excellent Diffusion and Migration website(1). A number of his other papers can be found on the same website and are certainly worth studying.
In sharp contrast to the serious work of Spedicato, for the past couple of years we have been subjected to a barrage of silly articles(b) linking Nibiru with the promised 2012 global catastrophes ‘predicted’ by the Mayan calendar.
A debunking of both Sitchin’s scholarship and the existence of Nibiru has been offered by a number of sites(c).
*However, some people, such as David Meade (a pen-name) who describes himself as a ‘Christian numerologist’ predicted that Nibiru would collide with Earth on September 23, 2017! When this did not happen he moved the event to October, but again nothing happened. But he persisted and subsequently moved our demise to March 2018, then April, with a final suggestion for the year of between May and December(d).*
Emilio Spedicato (1945- ) was born in Milan. He graduated in physics and is now working in numerical analysis and applied mathematics. He has held a full professorship at Bergamo University since 1984. In addition to his more conventional academic pursuits, he also researches ‘non-standard models of planetary evolution and non-standard interpretation of myth and ancient religions.’
Spedicato has developed a list(a) of ‘54 theses for reconstructing Earth and human history during the catastrophic period 9500 to 700 BC’. This list is partly based on the work of Velikovsky, DeGrazia and Ackerman and is intended to be the basis of a larger work in book form. Some of his ideas will be seen as highly controversial such as the genetic manipulation of humans by extraterrestrial visitors. He locates the Garden of Eden and the ‘creation’ of Adam and Eve in the Hunza valley of modern Pakistan(e).
He ventured into further controversial territory with his support for an updated version of Hörbiger’s moon capture theory(f) and endorsement for pole shifts(g) after long periods of stability following encounters with large extraterrestrial bodies. He considers the last of these to have taken place in the 10th millennium BC.
Spedicato, in a series of papers delivered to the Atlantis Conference on Melos in 2005, linked the biblical Exodus with the Flood of Deucalion, which he dates as 1447 BC(d). He contended that these events were connected with the explosion of a large extraterrestrial body over Southern Denmark remembered in Greek tradition as Phaëton.
Atlantis has not escaped Spedicato’s attention and he has put forward the Caribbean island of Hispaniola as the home of Atlantis(b), specifically suggesting that Lake Enriquillo in the Cul-de-Sac Depression, which runs from Haiti across the border into the Dominican Republic. Spedicato accepts the possibility of the destruction of Atlantis around 9600 BC and has written an interesting paper(c) that links its demise of Atlantis with a direct asteroidal impact or a close encounter with a planet-sized body.
Spedicato has contributed at least a dozen papers to the Migration and Diffusion website including one on a possible Indian inspiration behind the Giza pyramid complex(h) as well as a paper(i) on the planet known to the Sumerians as Nibiru and today sometimes referred to as Planet X. He controversially claims that a close encounter with Nibiru around 9500 BC ended the last Ice Age and brought about the demise of Atlantis! A difficulty with that idea, is that if the encounter with Nibiru destroyed Atlantis AND ended the Ice Age how could the location where Atlantis was submerged still be marked by mud shoals 9,000 years later when sea levels had risen by 300-400 feet?
In 2010 Spedicato published Atlantide e L’Esodo (Atlantis and Exodus) which is currently being translated into English.
In February 2015 Spedicato published another paper(j) with the radical proposal that the alignment of the three main Giza pyramids was not intended to be a reflection of the three stars in Orion’s belt, as proposed by Gilbert & Bauval, but instead were more closely matched to the arrangement of three volcanoes on Mars!*He claims that these volcanoes were visible from Earth during Mars periodic close encounters with our planet between 7000 BC and 700 BC, during a 54-year cycle.*
Later in 2015 the prolific Spedicato published another paper(k) in which he linked Mayan catastrophes with those of Hesiod, Plato and the Bible.
John Ackerman was born in Philadelphia and studied at the John Hopkins University, where he received a degree in physics. After 35 years concerned with satellites and lasers, he retired early to study the work of catastrophist Immanuel Velikovsky and is now a leading exponent of that school of thought.
Ackerman has developed with his own particular brand entitled ‘cyclical catastrophism’(b). This particular aspect is developed in his book, Egyptian Astrophysics, which explores the Egyptian texts relating to the cyclical close encounters of the Earth with Mars and Venus between 3700 and 687 BC.
*Velikovsky claimed a number close encounters with Mars in the 7th and 8th centuries BC. The idea was taken up by, among others, Donald Patten (1929-2014) and more recently expanded upon by Stuart Harris(c).*
He claims to have identified two celestial events that occurred some 11,640 and 10,340 years ago, which had a profound effect on the Earth and its in habitants. Students of the Atlantis question cannot fail to note that the older date coincides exactly with the date that was apparently given to Solon for the demise of Atlantis.
Excerpts from Ackerman’s books are available on his website(a) where he outlines a bizarre view of Atlantis that closely mirrors that of Alan Alford, marrying it with the more extreme ideas of Velikovsky, placing it on Mars during a close encounter with the earth, with “its location now buried under the northern icecap on Mars”.