This week, Vice visited the site for Erich von Däniken’s Mystery Park, his ancient astronaut theme park that went bust and reconstituted itself as Jungfrau Park, an amusement park operated by new owners, at which von Däniken maintains an office. Vice explored the park and talked to von Däniken, who, as is typical, is a bit phlegmatic about the changes that the new owners imposed on his vision.
In the interview, von Däniken claimed that the owners of the park removed an exhibit claiming that the Jewish prophet Ezekiel saw an alien spacecraft because “religious critics” were insulted at the challenge to Biblical truth. These same critics didn’t care if non-Judeo-Christian religious material was attributed to space aliens, so long as the Bible was exempt. The exhibit was replaced with a Segway rental station.
“I was of course very disappointed but I’m happy that the park at least is still open in some way,” von Däniken told Vice.
But that is just an amusing aside to the most disturbing part of the article:
Recent Tripadvisor reviews of the park paint a bleak picture, with visitors complaining that the attraction is overpriced, rundown, and devoid of guests. Though von Däniken fans seem to be happy with it.
Reichart went on to explain that Mystery Park wasn’t “fun” and that the new venture would prioritize “fun” over education. He compared the new park’s themes to superheroes and Hollywood movies—not typically the comparisons one would make for a “history” book.
After all these years the Chariots of the Gods theme park is finally being built, but it is telling that it is not the “educational” resort destination von Däniken first envisioned for Mystery Park but rather a sci-fi entertainment venue that treats ancient history as amusement fodder and von Däniken’s borderline racist view of the past as little more than a subject of amusement. I couldn’t help but be depressed that the people of Blackpool raised no objections to an ancient astronaut propaganda outpost being built in their backyard, a fact which surprised even Reichart, who told Vice that he had anticipate opposition, but none materialized.
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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