When I was a wee lad of 11, a television version of a movie that was based on a speculative book by a fellow named Erich von Däniken was aired on NBC one night. It just so happened that on this particular night, there was quite a crowd gathered around the television. Myself, mother, father, brother, and my grandmother sat in the living room in front of the ol’ B&W Zenith console TV and watched this enthralling documentary together. I remember it very well.

This one program started me on a years long journey through every weird and unexplained event in human history, it seems. There was a section in my local public library (the main downtown branch) that was labeled .001 – Transient Events. In that section was everything from raining frogs to alien encounters. I don’t know how many books were in that section, but it was quite a few. I read them all.

I could not get enough of this subject matter. I gobbled up everything I could get my hands on back then… aliens, Stonehenge, Easter Island, etc. You’d be amazed at how much of this type literature was out there during this era (late 60s – early 70s). My older brother even took me with him to the university, where he was an engineering student, where I found another large collection in that library. I read all the books on these weird subjects that were available there.

What actually got me thinking about Chariots of the Gods and all this was an episode of The X Files that I watched last night. Don’t laugh, but I had never seen an episode of this program in my life up until a couple weeks ago. A local (over-the-air) broadcast TV channel that I get called Comet recently started showing this program M-T evenings for three hours a night. They’re showing them in order. I was thumbing through the dial and happened to catch the very first episode (1993). I must confess that Gillian Anderson may have had something to do with me stopping on that channel that night.

The truth is out there.

Anyway, last night’s episode was about Aliens, and it got me thinking about von Däniken’s book and TV program from my childhood. From there, my thoughts went back to my intense studies back then of all these type of transient and mysterious events throughout human history. And while von Däniken, and others like him (Velikovsky) were thoroughly debunked by real science, they remain quite interesting to me.

Oddly enough, or maybe not odd at all, my studies of these topics and my understanding of how they were systematically debunked actually developed in me that same skill that I utilized to analyze world religions a few years later. I’ve always been of a skeptical nature. I don’t know where I got that from, really, but it is what it is. My interests in combination with my skepticism and the critical thinking that my Catholic school education taught me have resulted in my current atheism and extremely doubtful thoughts about alien visitors to this rock.

I still enjoy a good mysterious enigma, though. Some books and programs about these things are just downright silly, but others… can be interesting. And so it goes…

Live long and prosper! 🖖

Image credits:

  • Chariots of the Gods (book) – Wikipedia.org
  • UFOs/Earth – public domain clipart
  • X-Files – image copyright unknown
  • Worlds In Collision (book) – Wikipedia.org

About V. T. Eric Layton

vtel57, Nocturnal Slacker

6 responses »

  1. I grew up in the same time and oh I love this stuff. I dearly loved “In Search of…” I also remember being taken to see “The Late Great Planet Earth”. And I still occasionally find myself watching ancient aliens , just to see what the latest weirdness is.

    Peace and long life!

  2. About the same time that chariots came out in the late 60s a religious author wrote a rebuttal called “ crash go the chariots“. Here 60 years later I still occasionally think about the battery that Von Dankin wrote about in the book. I wonder if any of the artifacts that he wrote about have any current validity. I hope so. I love this stuff. Valid or not. I mean how can you not believe in area 51 and the recovered aliens. And the ones amongst us now!!!

  3. arjaybe says:

    I read that Velikovsky book. I was not impressed when I saw that he didn’t know the difference between carbohydrates and hydrocarbons. I have had to explain the difference to a few “Yabbut, how do you know it’s not true” people since.

    I think that’s a major difference between believers and doubters. The first want you to prove it’s not true and the second that it is.


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