After Watching Me on AHC's "Codes & Conspiracies," Here's Some More to Explore about Ancient Astronauts
Tonight at 10 PM ET (9 PM CT / 10 PM PT) I will appear on the American Heroes Channel documentary series Codes & Conspiracies to discuss the ancient astronaut theory as part of an episode devoted to discussing the life and times of Erich von Däniken. The documentary will explore von Däniken’s popularity and some of the sources he drew upon in creating Chariots of the Gods, including Louis Pauwels’s and Jacques Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians (1960), and through it the extraterrestrial mythology of H. P. Lovecraft. I have it on good authority from the writer and director of the episode, James Goldin, that I appear throughout the hour and my views are well-represented.
If you’re fortunate enough to be watching the international version of Codes & Conspiracies broadcast outside the United States, you’ll see an additional three minutes that include my discussion of how the mythology of angels has been secularized in the ancient astronaut theory.
I’ll post my thoughts about the episode tomorrow, after I’ve had a chance to see it along with all of you. However, I’d like to use this post to welcome new readers who may be visiting my site for the first time after seeing the episode. If you are wondering who I am, be sure to check out my biography page. If you’re coming here after watching the show, may I suggest following up with my Dark Lore 7 article on the “Secret History of Ancient Astronauts”? This piece offers an overview of the ancient astronaut theory and the deep origins of the idea not seen on the TV show.
If you enjoyed that, please be sure to check out my books The Cult of Aliens Gods (Prometheus, 2005) and Faking History (JasonColavito.com Books, 2013), which have much more on the ancient astronaut theory and its connection to science fiction and other extreme clams about history, such as Atlantis, Afrocentrism, and creationism.
Click a cover to learn more about these books, and I have many more to choose from in my Books section:
Since the Codes & Conspiracies episode focuses largely on Erich von Däniken, I thought I’d share a few of my best pieces on the man and his work. A great starting point is my Erich von Däniken page, which offers a brief biographical overview and links to some of my coverage. You can also read Erich von Däniken’s 1976 letter to then-president Gerald Ford in which he tries to advise the president to use UFO beliefs to win reelection and in which he presses his case that socialism is the enemy of civilization.
Be sure to also check out my piece on von Däniken and his shocking use of racist language to describe African people as a flawed prototype later corrected by the aliens when they made white people.
Because Chariots of the Gods achieved its greatest popularity in the United States as a result of the 1973 NBC documentary about Chariots of the Gods hosted by Rod Serling (which wrongly described von Däniken, a Swiss hotelier and trained chef, as “German” and a “professor”), please enjoy a history of how Rod Serling came to host the show.
My two posts on the alleged golden alien library von Däniken claimed to find in Ecuador are a good introduction to some of the lies and fraud perpetuated in the name of ancient astronauts. A recurring theme in my work is uncovering the shoddy research, repetition, and outright plagiarism that forms so much of what passes for ancient astronaut “research.” I have a section devoted to Ancient Alien Fraud you can check out.
It is well known that Erich von Däniken was accused of plagiarism when similarities were noted between Chariots of the Gods and nearly identical themes and even phrasing in the works of Robert Charroux, a French writer of ancient astronaut and ancient mysteries pseudo-history books. The story was reported in Der Spiegel in 1969, and it’s rather interesting to see how von Däniken addressed accusations of plagiarism: Von Däniken claimed that he could not have plagiarized Charroux because Charroux was plagiarizing Pauwels and Bergier! He told his German publisher at the time: “I often had the impression while reading Charroux that he had cribbed from Pauwels and Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians” (my trans.). Nevertheless, his publisher was concerned enough about the similarities that “we have placed the Charroux titles in the bibliography of the new edition of Däniken’s book.”
Here we see that the author admitted that he wasn’t just citing Pauwels and Bergier for credibility but because he was familiar with their work. So, when von Däniken has told interviewers that he is not familiar with H. P. Lovecraft, he may only be half right, since Pauwels and Bergier discuss Lovecraft in Morning of the Magicians. Von Däniken may not have known who Lovecraft was, but he felt his influence, at least secondhand.
I’d like to invite new readers (and regular readers, too!) to take a look around my website. There’s a lot of great information here. And if you like what you see, feel free to buy a book or make a donation using the PayPal button in the right hand column to help me continue to produce high quality content like the kind you see here and heard on Codes & Conspiracies.
Again, welcome to new readers, and I hope you stick around! There’s a lot more to come!
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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