Erich von Däniken Receives Award for "Integrity," Gives Keynote Speech Based on Decades-Old Mistakes and False Claims
This weekend Erich von Däniken was in California to give the keynote address to the Conscious Life Expo. At the event, he received the “Integrity Award” for his lifetime of investigation into the ancient astronaut theory. The layers of irony are thick, particularly since von Däniken’s “integrity” involves being convicted of embezzling money to fund his writing of Chariots of the Gods, admitting to fabricating his exploration of a cave full of “alien” artifacts, wholesale reusing of material from book to book while charging readers for “new” content, and the usual laundry list of false and misleading statements that demonstrate his lack of scholarly rigor or even a basic critical understanding of his own material.
There is an irony in giving an award “for telling the truth” to a man who claims not to make claims but to be “just asking questions.”
During his keynote address, von Däniken (henceforth EVD) touched on the truly important issues in life: “Did extra-terrestrials have sex with humans?” It probably says something that this question came first in the description of his address, but I am more interested in the fact that EVD is still repeating a demonstrably false claim about the Great Pyramid of Giza:
Cheops and the Great Pyramid
As regular readers know, I am currently writing a book about exactly this issue—the persistence of bizarre medieval myths about the pyramids down to the present. What astounds me, though, is that EVD happily repeats material—which he first published more than fifty years ago!—that is, by turns, false and misleading. Let’s take his points one by one.
It’s not a secret that the material EVD has based his claim upon is medieval in origin. He first learned about it from Col. Vyse’s Operations, written in 1840, which very clearly explains that the stories are medieval in origin and therefore unreliable. I’ve pointed out in this space and elsewhere many times how this story grew and developed from a stew of Enochian mysticism, Hermeticism, alchemy, astrology and Abrahamic religious fervor. I’m glad I’m writing a book about the subject since it is a bad claim that just won’t die.
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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