Monday, April 22, 2024


When Erich von Däniken published his controversial Chariots of the Gods? in the early 1970s, many dismissed him as a sensationalist crank. Von Däniken’s chief contention was that the Earth had been visited and colonized by extraterrestrial races who had long mastered interstellar travel. Unfortunately, von Däniken’s fondness for exclamation points and his literary inelegance detracted from his otherwise well-documented theses. He had poured a large part of his personal fortune, and many years of field research, into his obsession with mysterious and colossal artefacts that abound all over the planet - from the Pyramids of Giza and Central America to the gigantic geoglyphs of Nazca, and the megalithic monuments of Rapa Nui.

Von Däniken may have achieved instant international notoriety with his hard-hitting best-sellers, but he was certainly not the first to delve into this taboo area of paleoanthropological and exobiological conjecture.

Indeed, as early as 1953, Desmond Leslie had co-authored a book with George Adamski (right) who claimed to have had personal contact with space visitors. Their book, Flying Saucers Have Landed, was reissued as a paperback in 1970 and became a cult classic among ufologists, along with the writings of George Hunt Williamson (Secret Places of the Lion, Road in the Sky) who forged a potent link between ETs and esoteric lore. Another important early work on the subject was The Sky People by Brinsley Le Poer Trench (published by Neville Spearman in 1963).

Worldwide interest in UFO phenomena spread at lightspeed. The noted psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung commented on the archetypal significance of UFOs in his journals. Award-winning novelist Doris Lessing incorporated the ET question into her Canopus in Argos trilogy in the late 1970s, written from the perspective of a Sirian colonial agent. Along came Uri Geller, the Israeli spoon-bender, whose collaboration with Dr Andrija Puharich resulted in a series of astonishing books revealing the presence of interstellar entities proactively involved with earthly affairs.

Despite the best efforts of academic status quoists and business-as-usual lobbyists, the Little Green Men From Mars refused to leave the limelight. In 1994, respected Harvard psychiatrist John E. Mack (left) published his findings in a level-headed book called Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens – investigations into some 200 cases of alien abduction. Mack was prepared to stake his professional reputation on his personal conclusion - the abductees were reporting true experiences; and there is a great deal more to mundane reality than meets the eye.

What evidence, if any, can we find that might ground these notions in the realm of common sense and reason? How about written records, engraved on clay tablets in cuneiform script, some 6,000 years old?

Zecharia Sitchin (right) spent more than three decades studying the Sumerian clay tablets and soaking up Mesopotamian lore. Sitchin has the unique advantage of being a multilinguist with a handful of dead languages at his command. His laborious Mesopotamian research was published in a series called The Earth Chronicles, beginning with The Twelfth Planet in 1976.

Sitchin’s interpretation of the Sumerian records boldly crosses the boundary between history and science fiction. The stories engraved in ancient clay spoke of Sky Gods who established a colony on Earth to prospect for precious metals, particularly gold. Described as “the ones that descended from heaven” (Anunnaki in Sumerian and Nefilim in Hebrew), these creator gods claimed to be sons and daughters of ANU, the King of Heaven. According to the Sumerian chronicles, the Sky Gods’ first terrestrial encampment was called E.RIDU – meaning “cultivated place away from home” – and the word subsequently went through various permutations as Aratha or Ereds in Aramaic, Eretz in Hebrew, Erde in German (Erda in Old High German), Jördh in Icelandic, Jord in Danish, Airtha in Gothic, Erthe in Middle English, and Earth in modern English.

The first wave of Anunnaki settlers were under the command of ANU’s firstborn, the Lord E.A (whose mother was of a serpent race that had earlier arrived on the planet and had now gone subterranean). Soon E.A, Lord of the Waters, became known as EN.KI – Lord of the Firm Lands – and he was an avid engineer and scientist who embarked on a thorough study of terrestrial flora and fauna. The earliest gold mines were located in AB.ZU (southeastern Africa) and as work progressed, more workers arrived to tunnel and dig. ANU then sent his second son, EN.LIL, Lord of the Winds and Regent of Heaven, to govern the growing Earth colony. After 40 Anunnaki Years (about 144,000 terrestrial years), the goldminers began to chafe at the harsh conditions on Earth and there was mutiny in the air. The incipient sibling rivalry between EN.KI and EN.LIL flared up in their differing perspectives on the problem of striking workers. EN.LIL wanted to punish the workers for insubordination, while EN.KI (who had been among them from the outset) was sympathetic to their plight and argued on their behalf.

Finally EN.KI proposed a scientific solution to this archetypal rift between labor and management: he would enlist the aid of his half-sister NIN.TI - a brilliant geneticist whose name means Lady of Life (or Lady of the Rib, because the word TI also denotes the rib) - and attempt to create a semi-intelligent slave race to perform all the menial tasks. After much trial and error, EN.KI and NIN.TI succeeded in manufacturing and cloning a modified primate which they dubbed the A.DAMA (“created from red clay”). It was smart enough to be taught the use simple tools, but not sufficiently intelligent to notice what a raw deal it was getting. The experiment succeeded to the extent that the Anunnaki workers were relieved from the arduous hazards of digging and tunneling. However, cloning these A.DAMA was a time-consuming procedure.

Consequently, EN.KI and NIN.TI decided to contribute their own genetic material and create a self-replicating new breed of A.DAMA in uterus, thereby facilitating sexual reproduction. This led to a dilution of the Anunnaki bloodlines over time, as many of the Earth-based Sky Gods became enamored of their pet slaves, which they affectionately called the LU.LU. The Book of Genesis (chapter 6, verses 1 and 2) coyly skims over this era of genetic confusion: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”

Sitchin gives a detailed account of the Great Deluge as recorded in the Sumerian epic called Enuma Elish (literally, “When the gods walked among us”). EN.LIL was worried about the rapidly reproducing Adamic-Anunnaki strain of human and wished to obliterate this genetic aberration before it got out of control.

When the I.GI.GI (“Watchers in the Sky”) stationed in the orbiting mother ship reported to Ground Command that a major wobble in the planetary axis was expected in a matter of months, EN.LIL summoned all ranking officers to an emergency council and made them swear an oath of silence about the impending catastrophe. The Anunnaki would prepare to evacuate Earth just before the axial wobble, leaving the A.DAMA and all genetic monstrosities to perish. There could be no extermination program more elegant and efficient – as well as convenient, that is, morally acceptable to Sky Gods who preferred to keep their hands clean and their conscience clear.

Now, EN.KI had also sworn complicity to EN.LIL’s plan to cleanse the planet of genetic mutations – but he was deeply attached to the semi-sapient creature he and NIN.TI had spawned in their laboratory. Indeed, EN.KI had been secretly enhancing the A.DAMA strain to produce a small number of A.DAPA – an adaptable new breed with enough brain capacity to learn astronomy, physics, and mathematics, thereby trainable as an elite priesthood to the Sky Gods. Perhaps the term “Adept” as it occurs in magical traditions etymologically derives from “Adapa.”

Among the A.DAPA, EN.KI had a particular favorite named Ziusudra whom he summoned to his abode near the source of the Nile. Ziusudra entered the Temple of EN.KI, only to find himself alone... except for a pre-recorded message from his Lord advising him to construct a seaworthy vessel according to a specific design, gather his extended family about him, along with a digitized and compressed genetic database covering a wide spectrum of terrestrial flora and fauna (encoded and recorded in what might today be described as blueray DVD discs, but which in Sumerian were called MEs.)

The Voice of The Lord commanded that when the sky was seen to glow, it would be Ziusudra’s cue to enter the craft and batten down the hatches securely. Accompanying Ziusudra and his family would be experienced navigators with instructions to steer the craft towards Mount Ararat, where they would drop anchor and wait for the turbulent seas to subside.

The same legend is found in Babylonian mythology - specifically in the Epic of Gilgamesh - though Ziusudra’s name appears therein as Utnapishtim, from whom Gilgamesh claimed direct descent. Many millennia down the line, Hebrew scribes transformed his name to Noah, in what is now known as the Old Testament.

As the Sky Gods lifted off from Earth en masse, the heavens glowed with the radiance of their spaceships. Ziusudra knew it was time to board the vessel, fully provisioned with supplies for several weeks, and await the tidal waves that would soon sweep all traces of civilization from the face of the Earth.

For forty days and forty nights, as the tale has passed down from generation to generation, there was no dry land in sight. Terrestrial flora and fauna were wiped out instantly, along with the Adamic populations – except, of course, for Ziusudra and crew, who eventually alighted from their vessel atop Al Judi peak in the vicinity of Ararat, and surveyed the horrific desolation around them.

Meanwhile, safe in their orbiting spacecraft high above the earth, the Sky Gods felt the pangs of remorse and profound sorrow at the sight of the wholesale devastation below. They had seen the terrified faces of the LU.LUs as the raging waters engulfed their homes, and heard the piercing screams of women and children as they drowned by the thousands, by the millions. They saw priests and priestesses stoically seated in prayer and meditation, calmly awaiting oblivion. But to whom were they praying; on what were they meditating? Their Makers were high and dry above them, documenting their demise for their own scientific archives, seemingly indifferent – or powerless to save them. Even so, devotion and faith registered on the serene faces of the supplicants as they clung to the disintegrating pillars of their temples, and then vanished abruptly into the murderous maw of the murky maelstrom. The disturbing memory of this cataclysm was forever etched in the minds of the observing Sky Gods.

Even EN.LIL, aloof in his divine splendor, was beginning to regret his decision to exterminate the hominid slave species. And so, when the Sky Gods returned to Earth after her magnetic field had been reinstated, and a measure of stability had been restored to the planet’s orbit, they were overjoyed and relieved to discover that a tiny remnant of humanity had actually survived. No questions were asked, although it was fairly obvious that an early warning had been leaked to Ziusudra. The sibling Lords EN.KI and EN.LIL agreed to cooperate in the task of rehabilitating earthly civilization and, in record time, cities populated by the illegitimate descendants of the Sky Gods sprang up seemingly overnight like mushrooms, and human civilizations once again began to proliferate across the continents.

The Great Deluge is a recurring theme in all mythologies. In the Malayan Peninsula, aboriginal tribes speak of how the land was repopulated after a massive flood which destroyed everyone except their divine ancestors. Similar accounts can be found in folkloric traditions from almost every indigenous culture around the globe. Paleoanthropologists speculate that this period of regeneration probably dates from around 10,800 BCE – coinciding with the end of the last glacial era, which reshaped land masses and radically altered climatic zones.

And what became of the Sky Gods – the Anunnaki or Nefilim who colonized the planet approximately 430,000 years ago? The Enuma Elish speaks of divine kings and queens whose reigns apparently endured over thousands of terrestrial years – and how their human progeny eventually were granted rulership of the lands, while the gods themselves retired into obscurity (lurking in the astral?), or perhaps they were repatriated to their home planet.

Nevertheless, the Sky Gods seem to have left us a genetic legacy of sibling rivalry, warlordism, and destructive technology – a lethal combination indeed. They also implanted religious belief systems designed to remotely control us through superstitious terror – exposing our ancestors to extreme degrees of shock and awe, while flaunting deadly weapons in perpetual cycles of warfare, using their slightly retarded progeny as cannon fodder.

Thus was the absurd notion of righteous war (call it a crusade or jihad) seeded in the human psyche – along with the insane belief that anyone dying in such a noble cause automatically attained martyrdom, and was thereby assured a place in heaven.

[Excerpt from an unpublished work titled THE (UNFINISHED) BOOK OF JOHN: Confessions of a former Christian fundamentalist by Antares, adapted from an original manuscript by John Chin. First posted 15 February 2009, reposted 21 November 2014 & 17 March 2016]