An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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    September 2023. Hi Atlantipedes, At present I am in Sardinia for a short visit. Later we move to Sicily and Malta. The trip is purely vacational. Unfortunately, I am writing this in a dreadful apartment, sitting on a bed, with access to just one useable socket and a small Notebook. Consequently, I possibly will not […]Read More »
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    Joining The Dots

    I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato’s own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.Read More »
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Chapman University

Ancient Astronauts and Atlantis *

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, I must also include Josef Blumrich who proposed that the biblical Ezekiel had encountered an alien spaceship in his 1973 book [0692]. It is worth noting that a decade earlier Arthur W. Orton wrote The Four-Faced Visitors of Ezekiel which was recently republished [1735] and offers similar ideas as Blumrich. Ulrich Magin has written a critical review of Bloomrich’s interpretation of Ezekiel’s visions(m).

Extraterrestrial visitors have been suggested by a few of the more imaginative and sometimes unscrupulous authors and their publishers, as the source of an advanced civilisation in the past, remembered today as Atlantis. Martin Brady makes such a claim in a brief paper available online(s).

Another example of this genre of b.s. is offered by Tricia McCannon, who delights us with an account of Atlantis as “the seat of a Great Galactic Empire, with many extraterrestrial races coming and going from its shores”, with lots more of the same(t).

Decades before von Däniken, Harold T. Wilkins was already suggesting prehistoric extraterrestrial visitors in the 1950s. He also wrote a couple of books about Atlantis[363][364]. Not long after that, Egerton Sykes wrote some short articles for his Atlantis magazine(i) that were sympathetic to the idea of ancient astronauts.

R. Cedric Leonard is another Atlantis researcher who has written about Atlantis and ancient alien technology. A more recent attempt to link Atlantis with ancient astronauts came from Kevin Falzon, who closely follows Sitchin while locating Atlantis in his native Malta[869]. Richard Mooney speculated on a connection between Atlantis and ancient aliens four decades ago[842].

However, Professor Emilio Spedicato may have added some degree of respectability to the concept when he wrote(u) “There are significant indications in worldwide traditions that intelligent people from planets within a few hundred light-years from Earth visited our planet and intelligently interacted with our biosphere”. He went on to claim that around 5500 BC some of these visitors landed in the Hunza valley of Pakistan where they engaged in a little genetic engineering which led to the ‘creation’ of Adam and Eve!

It should be noted that Plato’s account does not relate any technology beyond that of a Late Bronze Age society, whereas any civilisation founded by alien astronauts should offer some evidence of technologies at least equal to if not more advanced than that of our present-day capabilities. 

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 met them[1583]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.

Ever since Kenneth Arnold saw ‘flying saucers’ near Mt. Rainier in 1947, his report paved the way for the ancient astronaut idea to evolve into the prolific writings of W. Raymond Drake and later Erich von Däniken, among others. In turn, this seemed to lead naturally to speculation of a possible linkage with Atlantis.

Jason Colavito has also drawn attention(a) to an exhibition held in Beijing in July 2012, which purported 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). In 2011 Colavito published a free ebook with the self-explanatory title of The Origins of the Space Gods(j).

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 the film Planet of the Apes!(d)

Bill Hanson and Bert Thurlings are some of the more recent promoters of this idea of an alien origin for Atlantis. Hanson has been joined by the German researcher, Dieter Bremer, who claims(v) that the winged disks found in Sumerian art represent a space station, which crashed! Bremer also provides a spirited defence of The Manna Machine[755]  by George Sassoon (1936-2006) and Rodney Dale, combined with some bizarre theories regarding Christ. Incredibly, Bremer was invited to deliver a paper to the 2011 Atlantis Conference on the concentric circles of Plato’s Atlantean capital. He has published two books on his view of Atlantis[1022/3]. A more rational review of The Manna Machine is offered by Frank Dörnenburg(w).

The late Flying Eagle and his partner Whispering Wind specified the planet Xylanthia((aa) in the Sirius star system as the original home of a visitor who fell in love with an earthling and later became known as Poseidon!

The History Channel’s series entitled Ancient Aliens(y) has been heavily criticised on the Bad Archaeology website(x) and elsewhere. October 2011 saw another claim that the Maya had contact with extraterrestrials and that a documentary providing evidence is planned(z).

A sceptical review of extraterrestrial visitations was published in the 26th January 2014 edition of Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch(ab).

I feel compelled to include a quote from the Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson who wrote “The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that they have never tried to contact us.”

Perhaps even more disconcerting is the results of a survey(h) carried out by Chapman University that show 20% of Americans believe in ancient astronauts!

In 2020, we had a bizarre tweet from the billionaire, Elon Musk, claiming that “aliens built the pyramids”(l), I hope that this was a tongue-in-cheek comment!

Nevertheless, there are still (2021) attempts to promote the ancient astronaut idea using the same material that has failed to convince in the past(k).

An example of this is the 2023 book, Prehistory Explained [2007] by Shane Leach, who recycled some of the ideas of von Däniken and Sitchin and then for good measure threw in the old suggestion that our Moon and the Martian moon Phobos are artificial. Of course, Atlantis was not ignored, which he placed in Antarctica and deemed that Stonehenge had been laid out like the Pleiades constellation!

More depressing is the study by Graham E.L.Holton, which surveyed the ancient astronaut literature and found nothing but superior white blond ‘gods’, usually male, such as Quetzalcoatl(n). This theme was continued in later UFO reports. Erich von Däniken is arguably the best-known of the ancient astronaut proponents, but he was not the first and certainly not the last(n). Jason Colavito has reviewed the racism expressed by von Däniken(o). Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews was equally critical of Däniken’s racist views(p).

2023 also saw the publication of Gods of the Bible [2059] by Mauro Biglino, who also wrote a paper as ‘Author of the Month’ for Graham Hancock’s website(q). In both, he explores the Bible for evidence of ancient extraterrestrial visitors who interacted with humans, just as Zechariah Sitchin had done nearly half a century ago using Mesopotamian texts.

There are also some who have endeavoured to use the Palermo Stone as evidence of extraterrestrial visitors in our ancient past(r)!

Avi Loeb who is probably better known as a contributor to the Ancient Aliens TV series has recently (Nov. 2023) endeavoured to develop his ‘fame’, by offering by offering an alternative to the conventional theories offered to explain UFOs, now redesignated UAPs (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena). Jason Colavito(ad) has drawn attention to an attempt by Loeb to suggest that UFOs, sorry, UAPs, might be remnants from a very early highly technologically advanced civilisation.

“Any technological infrastructure left on the surface of Earth from that early civilization could have been demolished by geological activity including subduction, covered by water or tarnished by meteor impacts and weathering.

However, functional relics could have been preserved in space. Within the past century of modern technology, our civilization has launched many thousands of functional devices in orbit around Earth. A more advanced or longer-lived technological civilization could have used more sophisticated devices. Are there unfamiliar technological relics in our sky?” (ac).

For those interested in having a look at other entries touching on the subject of Atlantis and ancient astronauts see: Jack Countryman, Christos A. Djonis, Andrew Greig, Kurt Jurgen Hepke, Marius Lleget, Louis Millette, Semir Osmanagic, Hubert Zeitlmair.

 

(a) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/1/post/2012/07/chinese-government-endorses-ancient-astronauts.html

(b) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/the-von-daniken-letter.html

(c) http://www.swans.com/library/art18/jcolav01.html

(d)  https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/a-bizarre-1977-article-on-jesus-the-ancient-astronaut 

(e)  https://web.archive.org/web/20200731011955/https://www.swedenborgproject.org/2007/09/08/the-life-on-other-planets-question/  or  See: Archive 2262

(f) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/greg-little-claims-to-have-found-the-first-ancient-astronaut-theorist-except-that-he-didnt

(g) https://apmagazine.info/index.php/component/content/article?id=570

(h) https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/2015/10/13/this-haunted-world/

(i)  Atlantis, Volume 20, No.3, May/June 1967.

(j) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/origin-of-the-space-gods.html  

(k) Evidence of Aliens and Ancient Astronauts – Strange Unexplained Mysteries (archive.org) *

(l) Weekend Omnibus: Younger Dryas Volcano, Elon Musk’s Ancient Astronaut Tweet, Steve Quayle’s Plagiarism, and More! – Jason Colavito

(m)  Spaceship or God’s apparition? The Visions of Ezekiel – Mysteria3000 (link broken)  

(n) https://www.academia.edu/30755438/Ancient_White_Astronauts_Race_and_Religion 

(o) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/1/post/2014/01/the-astonishing-racial-claims-of-erich-von-daniken.html 

(p) https://badarchaeology.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/is-pseudoarchaeology-racist/ 

(q) https://grahamhancock.com/biglinom1/ 

(r) Reddit – Dive into anything (archive.org) 

(s) Earth, Aliens and The Universe | PDF | Atlantis | Calendar (archive.org)

(t) https://web.archive.org/web/20200219183927/http://triciamccannonspeaks.com/atlantis-the-lost-civilization/  (link broken) See: https://www.triciamccannon.com/dvd-time-travel-ufos-atlantis-and-world-changes/

(u) https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-2090/

(v) https://www.atlantisbremer.de/

(w) https://web.archive.org/web/20201021072640/http://fdoernenburg.de/alien/alternativ/manna/man01_e.php

(x) https://badarchaeology.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/i-remember-why-i%E2%80%99ve-never-wanted-satellite-television/

(y) https://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/episodes/season-3#slide-9

(z) Mayan Filmmaker Offers Photo as Proof of Aliens, Says Hawking Agrees (Exclusive) (archive.org) 

(aa) https://atlantis-today.com/Great_Atlantis_Flood.htm

(ab) See: Archive 2098

(ac) https://avi-loeb.medium.com/are-uaps-relics-from-an-earlier-civilization-on-earth-86d1190c6539 

(ad) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/avi-loeb-embraces-lost-prehistoric-civilization-as-possible-ufo-explanation 

Sceptics

Sceptics regarding the existence of Atlantis have been around since the time of Plato. The first such critic was assumed to be Aristotle, a pupil of Plato’s, who apparently denounced the Atlantis tale as an invention. However, this presumed scepticism of Aristotle has now been seriously challenged by Thorwald C. Franke in a 2012 book, Aristotle and Atlantis[706] specifically dealing with the subject. Nevertheless, Aristotle does record the existence of a large island in the Atlantic known to the Phoenicians as Antilia, inadvertently supporting Plato’s story(i).

Franke has recently outlined the extensive support for the existence of Atlantis from the earliest times in his recent German-language book[1255]. He has followed that with a YouTube video(j) in which he relates how scepticism became more extensive in the 19th century.

Sprague deCamp was probably the most quoted Atlantis sceptic of the second half of the 20th century. He offered the blunt declaration that Plato concocted the whole story, basing the tale on a mixture of the wealth of Tartessos in Spain, and the destruction of the Greek island of Atalanta all intermingled with the mythology of Atlas.

One of deCamp’s most quoted extracts is that “you cannot change all the details of Plato’s story and still claim to have Plato’s story.” While I fully endorse this comment, I must point out that there is a difference between changing and interpreting details. For example, when Plato refers to Asia or Libya, even deCamp accepted that in Plato’s day ‘Asia’ was not the landmass we know, stretching from the Urals to Japan, but interpreted Plato’s ‘Asia’ as a reference to a much smaller territory [0194.27].

Many modern commentators believe that in the interests of dramatic effect Plato heavily embellished the core truth underlying the story, namely that of an ancient submerged civilisation.

A claim frequently put forward by sceptics was echoed by Ian Alex Blaise, who wrote(l) that “we can summarise the ‘Timaeus and Critias’ as a parable of good (ancient Athens) triumphing over evil (Atlantis).” This, however, would appear to run counter to Plato’s narrative that records that both vanquished and victorious armies were destroyed, which is not what you would expect from a morality tale.

Commenting on the suggestion that the story of Atlantis was intended as a morality tale Eberhard Zangger noted that “the description of the natural disasters also contradicts the occasional speculative conjecture that Plato did not mean to illustrate the ideal state with Atlantis, but with archaic Greece. After all, he says Atlantis was punished for its gradual moral decline by being destroyed (Vidal-Naquet, 1964). But if the story is supposed to be a moral parable, why is the “good” Greek side first punished with natural disasters? And why does Plato mainly describe the “barbaric” enemies instead of the old Hellenic civilisation? The traditional attempts at interpretation offer no answers to these questions.”(o)

Another critic, Joe Garcia, offers a paper attacking both the Minoan and Spanish location theories(m).

However, when we consider modern sceptics we find that they have been provided with unlimited ammunition by the poor scholarship of many Atlantis supporters and the outright ravings of the likes of Blavatsky, Steiner, Cayce, and a profusion of other authors, who claim to have channelled information regarding Atlantis.

Edwin Ramage, in his essay[522] on Atlantis, makes the interesting comment that “believers tend to overshadow the sceptics for the simple reason that a positive theory, whether it is simple or elaborate, tends to be more attractive and to make better reading than any attempt at refutation, no matter how well taken it may be.” This is probably akin to referenda questions being framed by governments in a manner that favours a Yes vote that will provide the outcome that they want. This is because most people prefer to say Yes rather than No.

However, if the Atlantis narrative has any truth in it, the legitimate criticisms of sceptics must be given due consideration. One such sceptic is Paul Jordan who has produced a highly critical work[418] on the subject. Jason Colavito is another vocal non-believer and has written a considerable amount on the subject(d). Several other websites(b)(c)(e) can also be recommended, in particular,  a seven-part offering by Pat Linse(b).

I recently came across a sceptic review of Atlantis theories by Justin Spring which I thought contained some novel views and although I totally disagree with his conclusions, I feel it should be given a reading(g).

While I expect that few sceptics will be reading this entry, I would recommend to anyone a paper by Karla Mclaren, a former New Age ‘believer’ who developed into a sceptic(f).

A 2015 survey by the Chapman University of California was repeated in 2016, which suggested that nearly 40% of Americans believe that an advanced prehistoric civilisation, such as Atlantis, existed, causing consternation among sceptics(h). Why they found it so depressing is hard to understand since popular belief is no guarantee that it is supported by reality. After all, it was once commonly thought that the sun revolved around the earth!

There are times when I regret that I have not had a university education and then along comes a qualified academic who manages to remove any such feeling. One of those is Seth Stein, a professor at Northwestern University, who specialises in plate tectonics, who was reported in early 2018(k) to have proposed that “one of the strongest reasons to dispel Atlantis as a true ancient civilization is the fact that we haven’t found it.” This asinine comment shows a total abandonment of critical thinking because he seems to think that because something has not been found, proves that it does not exist. For example, before Heinrich Schliemann, Troy did exist but had yet to be located. Professor Stein’s stupid statement is also built on a flawed understanding of what Plato said or more correctly, did not say. Plato never described Atlantis as a continent, as assumed by Stein and it can be reasonably argued that our Atlantic Ocean where he sought Atlantis was not the Atlantic ‘Sea’ referred to by Plato. I suggest that Stein sticks to earth sciences and leave Atlantis to others.

In October 2021, Franke published an essay on what he calls the ‘dark side’ of Atlantis scepticism, which offers an interesting overview of anti-Platonism since the time of the philosopher(n).

>Some years Rod Martin wrote a short paper(p)  in which he grades the arguments of a number of the better known Atlantis sceptics, such as, Kevin Christopher and Michael Shermer.<

(b) Skeptic » Junior Skeptic » The Search for Atlantis (issue #10)   

(c) The Wild Side of Geoarchaeology Page (archive.org)

(d) https://searchatlantis.blogspot.com/2007/08/atlantis-mu-and-maya.html

(e) https://web.archive.org/web/20190530104546/https://www.skepticssa.org.au/html/atlantis.html

(f)  https://web.archive.org/web/20180605101330/https://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridging_the_chasm_between_two_cultures/

(g) https://scyllasoulspeak1.blogspot.ie/2011/06/atlantis-what-was-plato-really-up-to.html 

(h) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/chapman-university-survey-finds-astonishing-levels-of-belief-in-ancient-astronauts-and-atlantis

(i) Strabo, II, 102 and XII, 598. Cf. Proclus In Timaeum 61a (Diehl I, p. 197).

(j) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF62FLucvQk

(k) https://www.newsweek.com/could-lost-city-atlantis-exist-ocean-mapping-reveals-likelihood-legendary-city-828457

(l) https://www.oocities.org/debunkinglc/atlantis.html (link broken)  

(m) https://www.academia.edu/8064249/Did_Atlantis_Exist 

(n) The Dark Side of Atlantis Scepticism – Atlantis-Scout 

(o) Wayback Machine (archive.org) 

(p) Mission: Atlantis, by Rod Martin, Jr. — Grading the Skeptics (archive.org) *