In which I catch EVD recycling heavily from his old books…
As we open the second chapter, Erich von Däniken (EVD) gives us a blustery, rather unfocused discussion of stem cells, therapeutic cloning, and the potential for genetically engineering man-cow hybrids. He calls such practices “outrageous” and “alarming,” again reinforcing the conservative positions staked out in Chapter One.
Let’s begin by acknowledging that this entire chapter is largely a condensed and very lightly rewritten version of Chapter 1 of EVD’s Eyes of the Sphinx (1996), following nearly word-for-word in places, specifically borrowing from the Eyes sections starting at “Manetho and Eusebius—Two Witnesses” (p. 49ff.).
In which we learn the aliens are conservatives…
As we open Chapter One of Twilight of the Gods and come to the book proper, we’re already more than 10% of the way through the book. This seems to be a pretty short effort, even by EVD’s standards. (I have the eBook version, so I can’t readily see exactly how long—thanks, Kindle!)
EVD starts his book with a preface, complete with a personal anecdote about his time at school in Switzerland where the young author-to-be pondered the story of Lucifer’s fall from heaven and wondered how discord could exist in heaven. EVD seems completely unaware that this is not an ancient myth but a Christian fabrication from a deliberate misreading of Isaiah’s “morning star” passage (14:12-13) in light of the rebellious Watchers story from the Book of Enoch, itself a Jewish reflection of pagan myths about the sundry and various gods like Prometheus and Oannes (whom the Jews saw as demons) who gave civilization to humanity in Near Eastern myth. We know this to be the case because Enoch’s companion volume, the Book of Giants names Gilgamesh and Humbaba among the children of the Watchers, and Gilgamesh was two-thirds god.
In 2009, Erich von Däniken (EVD) published his most recent book, Twilight of the Gods, which was translated into English with a preface from Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos in 2010. This is an interesting artifact because it represents the last major ancient astronaut book published before the Ancient Aliens television series changed the way the ancient astronaut “theory” was presented—making it more theatrical, more ridiculous, and more popular than ever.
Today, let’s begin by examining Giorgio Tsoukalos’ preface to Twilight of the Gods, one of his longest sustained pieces of professionally published writing.
In his most recent book, Twilight of the Gods (2009; English trans. 2010), Erich von Däniken (EVD) returns to the well he had previously drawn from in Odyssey of the Gods and again tries to rope the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts into his alien agenda. Again EVD displays remarkable ignorance of ancient literature and the subject he purports to discuss.
My book Knowing Fear has become one of the standard reference works on the horror genre, which I think is a pretty cool thing. In the new book Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus (Viking, 2012), Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy use my book to help define the appearance and the role of the monster in nineteenth century biological horror:
NBC announced an order for 10 episodes of a new series based on Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. The program, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Count, will offer a modern take on the story. This version of the vampire will arrive in London posing as an American (of course) and will promise to introduce modern science to Victorian Britain before his plans are thrown off track by his discovery of the reincarnation of his dead wife.
According to NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt, "The book is still really fresh. Hopefully this will be a cool new version of Dracula.”
Obviously, Greenblatt has never read Dracula. In Stoker's novel, Dracula does not pose as an American, is in fact the very antithesis of modern science (in the book he was once an occultist and alchemist), and has no reincarnated wife. As I discuss in my book Knowing Fear, Stoker's Dracula was a deep meditation on the nature of science, and I fear that this new version will reverse the message of the original and cast science as a villain against the apparently efficacious use of magic and reincarnated spirit powers to defeat the vampire.
Oh, and the wife thing? That's a shameless ripoff of Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula, which introduced the whole "reincarnated love interest" angle.
In Twelfth Planet (1976), Zecharia Sitchin first proposed his theory that there was a wandering planet named Nibiru. He seems to have based this entirely on a pair of weird misconceptions. The first was the translation of the word nibir or nibiru, which meant either "wandering stars" or "planets," not "wandering planet." This is because the ancients did not understand that the planets were distinct in substance from the stars, only that they were lights in the sky like the stars but which moved differently (i.e. wandered). George Smith understood this distinction as far back as 1876 in his Chaldean Account of Genesis:
This weekend, Ancient Aliens talking head Brien Foerster gave an interview to Examiner.com about elongated skulls in ancient Peruvian mummies, which Foerster sees as evidence of alien-human hybrids. Foerster is an outrigger canoe salesman and professional sculptor who was once a marine biologist and should therefore know better than to make stupid claims about bones. Foerster stated on Ancient Aliens that he also believes that Tiwanaku sculptures are accurate depictions of various alien species.
Now this is somewhat interesting. The “Hounds of Tindalos” are well-known to fans of H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos as the evocative creation of Frank Belknap Long, first appearing in the 1931 story of the same name and receiving a name-check in Lovecraft’s own “Whisperer in Darkness” that year. The Hounds are immortal inter-dimensional creatures that travel through angles and ruthlessly destroy any prey that attract their attention.
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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