The ancient astronaut theory draws heavily on the spiritualist nonsense of the Theosophy. In 1906, a fake Hindu swami addressed something called the "Astral Camera Club," a group founded in 1895 to conduct psychical research through photography. The swami convinced the president of Stanford, David Starr Jordan, that he was lecturing on Hinduism, when in fact he was giving an account of Theosophy's belief in spirit beings that live on other worlds (we know this because the swami talks about Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, with which Jordan was apparently unfamiliar, referring to the author as a "he." Here is how Jordan reported the swami's speech in 1906 edition of Popular Mechanics Monthly:
Still worse are the vampire and the were-wolf, which we of the Fifth Root Race now seldom encounter, but which, to Slavic and Germanic adepts of the earlier centuries were objects of fear and danger in the astral regions and even as high upward as Devachan. All these are human in their origin. Not so the fifth class, the occasional visitors from other planets. Of these wonderful creatures we know nothing, for only the highest of high adepts have the power of moving from planet to planet, and even I do not understand how it is performed. When these visitors appear, they choose a body temporarily created out of unused ethereal matter belonging to the earth. Over this they wear a distinctive badge, a ring indicating Saturn, a series of belts indicating Jupiter or a tiny flaming spear and shield for Mars and a silver mirror in a golden necklace for Venus. In Shushup, it is said, guests for all the signs of the zodiac are received—but of these I have seen but two, a charming young lady from Virgo and a mahatma from Sirius who bore the badge of a great dog or wolf.
Convenient that they wear badges corresponding to modern astrological/astronomical symbols so we can identify them more easily! These ancient astronauts think of everything.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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