It's fairly well established that the ancient astronaut theory owes more than a little to the wild speculations of the Theosophists, whose texts early ancient astronaut theorists mined shamelessly for nuggets to include in their books. This is no secret; Erich von Daniken among others specifically cites Theosophical claims and concepts by name, such as Madame Blavatsky's fictive Book of Dzyan.
Theosophy's influence was pernicious. I found today this fascinating text from an esoteric Rosicrucian group, the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, that aimed to marry Theosophy's ancient astronauts to the mysteries hinted at within the teachings of Jesus. The group was founded by the German Max Heindel, who wrote its key text, The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (1909), supposedly translated from a German original dictated by mysterious Elder Brothers in a cave along the German-Bohemian border.
The group's mystical claims about human evolution, spirituality, and the need to prepare for the upcoming Age of Aquarius are not particularly relevant here, but in Heindel's book there appears the following passage, obviously derived from and expanding upon Theosophy, that reads as close as one could imagine to a page from Chariots of the Gods, or even to the conspiratorial sections of Graham Hancock's works that claimed a forgotten brotherhood of adepts. A remarkable coincidence, wouldn't you say?
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