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 . It is worth noting that a decade earlier Arthur W. Orton wrote The Four-Faced Visitors of Ezekiel which was recently republished  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. 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. Richard Mooney speculated on a connection between Atlantis and ancient aliens four decades ago.
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! 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 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  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  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) has endeavoured to develop his ‘fame’, by offering by offering an alternative to the conventional explanations offered to explains 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.
(i) Atlantis, Volume 20, No.3, May/June 1967.
(m) Spaceship or God’s apparition? The Visions of Ezekiel – Mysteria3000 (link broken)
(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/
(ab) See: Archive 2098
Josef F. Blumrich (1913-2002) was an Austrian space engineer with NASA (1959-1974)(f). He is best known for his 1973 book, The Spaceship of Ezekiel, originally published in German. In my opinion, this single underrated book did more to scientifically underpin the ‘ancient astronaut’ theory than all the rather questionable output of Erich von Däniken. In 1974, Blumrich contributed(c) a synopsis of his ideas to the UNESCO publication, Impact of Science on Society.
Nevertheless, there are aspects of Blumrich’s book that have been criticised(b).
His lesser known volume, Kásskara und die sieben Welten (Kasskara and the Seven Worlds), was written in 1979. This book recounts the history of the Hopi Indians as told to Blumrich by Hopi chief White Bear Fredericks who tells of a war between Kásskara and Talawaitichqua, which White Bear identified as Mu and Atlantis respectively. He also dates the existence of ‘Atlantis’ to at least 80,000 years ago. While this may dismay or delight depending on one’s preconceptions, I would suggest that the introduction of Atlantis and Mu into White Bear’s narrative was a device to make the story more accessible to outsiders.
More can be read about White Bear and Hopi beliefs in an extensive article by Shawn Hamilton(d), a committed student of native American culture, who has recently published more on Graham Hancock’s website.
(a) https://www.cosmophobia.artelis.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=60 (offline April 2016)
(f) Ing. Josef Franz Blumrich | Steyr Pioneers (wordpress.com) (German) *
Martin Freksa (1945- ) is a German historian and the author of Das Verlorene Atlantis, a volume  that covers familiar ground but interestingly includes a comparison between characters in the Atlantis story and those of eastern mythologies, for example similarities between Zeus and Krishna. This book has now been translated into English and published under the title of Traces of the Atlantic Civilisation.
Freksa suggests that the apparent references to atomic warfare in the Mahabharata could be an allusion to a war involving Atlantis. He also suggests that this use of atomic weapons caused a rupturing of the earth, which led to the Biblical Deluge and the destruction of Atlantis. He dates this event to 3100 BC. The Atlantisforschung.de website has published excerpts from Freksa’s book relating to the war in the Marhabharata(a).
>Freksa also assumes that an earlier world catastrophe, caused by an impact in the western Atlantic, took place about 11,000 years ago. Atlantisforschung also includes a review of a book(b) by Lutz Gentes who recounts the instances of high technology that existed in ancient India.<
Freksa refers to the work of the Austrian writer, Josef F. Blumrich, who is best known for The Spaceships of Ezekiel. Blumrich, a NASA engineer also investigated the traditions of the Hopi Indians which retained a memory of flying machines and also a recollection of Atlantis going back at least 80,000 years.
For me, Freksa’s credibility as a historian was undermined by his acceptance of the hoax perpetrated by Paul Schliemann nearly a century ago.