After yesterday’s dramatic revelation that Peter Kolosimo was passing off the work of H. P. Lovecraft as an esoteric account of the true ancient alien history of the world, I had to add Not of the This World (1968; English trans. 1970) to my permanent library so I could have it for reference even after I have to return the copy I’m currently reading to the library. As we move into the second half of the book, things aren’t getting any better.
This has to be the most gloriously awful ancient astronaut book I’ve ever read. Picking apart its stew of fact, fiction, and fantasy is a lot more fun than slogging through the rather dull derivatives of modern writers.
This chapter begins the book’s second section, “Impossible Dimensions.” It opens with an attack on evolutionary theory (“Darwin has gone all to pieces”) based on a teleological misunderstanding of evolutionary theory as proposing a linear development of human beings from the apes. Kolosimo thinks that the existence of multiple species in the genus Homo at one time proves that humans could not have evolved since it would not have been an orderly succession of species one at a time. How then does he account for so many kinds of cats—lions, tigers, bobcats, lynxes, house cats, etc.? He instead presents “evidence” from the Popol Vuh that the gods destroyed all the other human species for failing to worship them properly. (He’s referring to the destruction of the wooden race by a flood, but he knows this only from Harold T. Wilkins’s Mysteries of Ancient South America.) He presents excerpts from the Popol Vuh’s opening passages, but it’s bizarre to read an English translation of an Italian translation of a French translation (Bourbourg’s) of the Quiche original. It’s almost right, but just a little off, in weird ways. I’m printing the correct text in my ancient astronaut ancient texts book.
He then cites Hans Schindler Bellamy, of whom I have never heard, but who apparently worked on a line parallel to Velikovsky, also arguing for planetary collisions and their record in the text of the Bible. He considered Revelation to be one such account, and he argued that Tiahuanaco was built before the Flood of Noah. This leads to more summary of the rest of the Popol Vuh, a comparison to Greek mythology, and the question of whether the myth is actually fact.
This chapter opens with paragraphs taken from Murray Leister’s 1954 science fiction novel The Forgotten Planet. Kolosimo does not inform readers that this was fiction, nor does he actually identify the novel except in a small footnote, trusting that his readers can separate fact from fiction without any guidance. He then proceeds to detail the account of “John Perkins,” who supposedly visited an underground cave full of gigantic bioluminescent flies. Even Kolosimo doubts this is true—and I suspect this is another pulp adventure story.
Following this he presents evidence for “giants” and even correctly recognizes that many such giant bones are actually those of paleomegafauna like wooly mammoths. Instead, he chooses to place weight on myths, legends, and travelers’ tales of giants, whom he views as evil, like modern Nephilim theorists do today. He also likes Victorian newspaper accounts of “giant” bones, like far too many modern fringe theorists. He then asserts that references to owls in the Popul Vuh refer to spaceships.
Having now retold the entire Popol Vuh from beginning to end, and having declared it on Soviet authority to be both factual and ancient, he concludes the chapter.
Oh, this is good. A year before American astronauts landed on the moon, Kolosimo decided that there were alien monuments on the moon. He first unconsciously recaps an episode of The Twilight Zone (S03E28 “The Little People”) by asserting that the giants demanded that we Lilliputian humans build monuments to their glory. These monuments, he says, are the standing stones of Western Europe. These he compares to the megalithic ruins of Lovecraft’s Old Ones (seriously). He cites from amateur ufologist Jimmy Goddard the English speculative thinker Douglas Chaundy as an authority on the true stellar purpose of Stonehenge, and summarizes Gerald Hawkins’s Stonehenge Decoded on the same. He says that Stonehenge was built by early Celts on orders from outer space, and that the Druids retained some record of these spacemen. He discusses other large stone structures from around the world, and he finds in Easter Island the solution: they were built by “bird-men” who must be space aliens traveling in a “bird,” or spaceship. He bases some of his Easter Island speculation on a novel by Donald Wandrei, a friend of H. P. Lovecraft, called Dead Titans Waken! (1932), revised as The Web of Easter Island (1948), which the translator mistakenly thinks was written in Italian and thus leaves untranslated. The Mythos novel tells about a secret connection between Stonehenge and Easter Island related to ancient aliens.
At this point I think it is far beyond the realm of coincidence that Kolosimo is promiscuously blending fiction and fact. This is purposeful, and Lovecraft would spin in his grave to know that an ancient astronaut theorist presented his Mythos as literally true.
After this we get to the moon. He presents Lucian of Samosata’s True History, a satirical ancient novel about a Greek voyage to the moon, as serious history, and he claims that there is an inscription on the moon commemorating astronauts from Atlantis, which I believe is a plot point from a science fiction novel I once read but can’t quite remember. He talks of shadows on the moon that can be interpreted as being cast by obelisks, pyramids, and structures. These claims, originally made by William Blair, were long ago debunked.
And that was it for moon monuments.
Now we’re off to Mu. It does not start well, with fictitious and racist claims from James Churchward that Polynesians believed that “white men” in “shining boats” ruled over the Ponape (Nan Madol) because the people of that place were “too lazy” to maintain civilization. Yes, that old theme: The “white” work ethic vs. lazy brown natives. The actual legend this refers to is the origin myth of the Saudeleur dynasty, when the tall foreigners Olisihpa and Olosohpa arrived in a large canoe and founded an autocratic dynasty. They weren’t white, however. Kolosimo believes Nan Madol to be an outpost of Mu, but in using material from James Churchward, he says that we should ignore his “theosophical speculations”! But that’s the whole ancient astronaut theory! Nevertheless, citing other Mu theorists, Kolosimo informs us that the Muvians were “white,” and from Soviet sources that Mu was actually headquartered in Mongolia.
On this slender thread he presents a variety of evidence for “white” explorers and/or rulers in various Asian countries, claiming the white men from Mu were the first rulers of India and China. This descends into a strange discussion of trans-Asian cultural diffusion, which really has nothing to do with ancient aliens. He claims that the foundation myth of the Persian city of Ecbatana says that sky men on metal steeds built the city, but Herodotus says that the foundation myth tells of how the first king built seven walls to surround his palace (1.96). He seems to be mangling Aeschylus’ description of Ecbatana in The Persae, where the warriors flood out of the city on their “fiery” steeds, bearing steel weapons.
After this we take a break from white people to look for what he thinks is a race of “cat people” who were the Sumerians and the Olmecs, and he asks whether there were once horned people.
In this chapter Kolosimo confuses the periodic reversal of the earth’s magnetic field with Hapgood’s proposed displacement of the earth’s crust. He assumes an asteroid is responsible for changes in the earth’s poles, and he borrows from Robert Charroux a mangled set of legends about Hermes Trismegistus or Xisuthrus recording all history on pillars to prepare for this event. Part of this is from the fragments of Berosus preserved in Eusebius (Chronicle 5, 8) and Syncellus (Chronicle 28), other parts are from Josephus (Antiquities 1.2.3) as read in light of Arab myths, particularly that of Said al-Lagawi as given in Al-Maqrizi (1.9). The Arab myth had Hermes record all knowledge in the Pyramids, while Josephus had the children of Seth do so on pillars in “Siriad” (Egypt—land of Sirius), which Kolosimo mistakes for Syria. Kolosimo clearly doesn’t understand much of what he writes, copying badly from secondary sources.
(Side note: Translating Al-Maqrizi is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s amazing how many fringe authors strip-mined his work for incidents, confident that few readers would ever be able to check the source.)
Kolosimo borrows from Charroux the idea that ancient texts prove the earth’s axis changed at least four times in the historic period, and that swastikas record the change by pointing their arms toward the rising place of the sun. Some point left, and some point right, accordingly.
Next Kolosimo presents the 1912 Atlantis hoax but has the good sense to admit that it was a journalistic stunt and not true. Instead, he proposes—and here he breaks from his usual obsession with white people—that the people of Atlantis were blue in color and came from the Pleiades. He attributes this information to Diogenes of Miletus, as preserved in Diodorus Siculus. Since Diodorus never discusses Atlantis, this must be a mangled reference to the “Atlantians,” the people of Atlas, who lived in Northern Africa around the Atlas Mountains (3.54). The details Kolosimo cites show that this is the correct passage, but these people are not those of Atlantis.
This leads into a reflection of whether we can or cannot take Plato literally on Atlantis, in preparation for several chapters exploring potential sites for the lost continent.
This chapter opens with Kolosimo asserting that Plato described the Lesser Antilles when writing of Atlantis, that Diodorus Siculus described South America when talking of the island of the Phoenicians off the coast of Africa (Library of History 5.19-20), and that Sargon of Assyria described the same when describing a land with lakes beyond the Mediterranean. On the authority of Serge Hutin he claims that the ancient Greeks had colonized South America. He then claims that the Greeks also colonized eastern Canada on the authority of Plutarch, though by this he seems to mean Pliny (Natural History 4.16), conflated with Plutarch’s discussion of Cronus’s island in the North Sea (De Defectu Oraculorum 18 with De Faciae 27).
Following this, Kolosimo reviews the evidence for—and I quote—“white men” who ruled North America prior to Columbus and were worshiped by the “redskins” as gods. This includes all of the familiar claims—the Grave Creek stone, the Newport Tower—none discussed in any detail. Kolosimo merely assumes the names are enough to assume the truth of the claims. He throws in the Victorian claim that the Chinese discovered America (“Fusang”) around 800 CE just for variety. Remember, he already claimed China was ruled by a white race, too. He asserts that Baalbek is not a Roman construction but offers no evidence.
He then tries to decide whether the “white men” of Atlantis or the people of Mu with “skins white as milk” were responsible for various Native cultures, and which are the true people of Hyperborea, the whitest of white people. He then quotes Hutin quoting William F. Warren’s idea that the Garden of Eden was at the North Pole, the font of the white race—which we’ve discussed before. He doesn’t even pretend to discuss this; it’s just a fun fact.
Now we’re on to Atlantis proper. I am dumbfounded that he chooses to describe Atlantis by quoting a Soviet summary of Plato rather than Plato himself. It’s as though Kolosimo never read Plato. He uses the work of René Malaise, whom he describes as a geographer, but who was actually an entomologist, to claim Atlantis’s last remnants survived until the time of Homer. Malaise believed that plate tectonics was a hoax and that bugs and animals crossed the Atlantic on the lost continent of Atlantis, as described in his amateur geology titled Atlantis, not due to the action of plate tectonics. Kolosimo uses Malaise and Soviet researchers to try to make the case that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge was actually a continent, citing the Periplus of Hanno as evidence that the Carthaginians saw bits of Atlantis. The translator doesn’t recognize this and leaves Hanno’s name untranslated as Ganone.
Following this he discusses various phantom islands from the Age of Exploration and assumes they really existed. He then says that Columbus was told of “white men” came from the sky, and that the Natives begged the great white men to take them with them to the land of the gods. He claims that Columbus wrote of this myth in his journals, but it doesn’t appear in the extant extracts made by Bartolomé de las Casas, though Columbus does make reference to seeing Native people with skins nearly as white as Spaniards’. The translator did an especially poor job with this section, and the key sentences are ungrammatical. Perhaps Kolosimo might have meant that the Natives saw Columbus as a white god, confusing Columbus’s words with the claim Cortes made after the Conquest of Mexico about the reaction the Aztecs gave him. I really can’t tell, though. I don’t think he read the original, and his grasp of the literature is weak enough that he could have misunderstood any number of claims.
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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