NOTE: If you’ve been waiting for a conversation about popular ancient alienism, your wait is over. So let’s get right into it:
Don: Molly, Erich von Daniken’s popular ancient alien book: Chariots of the Gods, was published in 1968, five years after Carl Sagan’s scientific ancient alien paper was peer reviewed and published in a leading space journal, and two years after Carl’s: Intelligent Life in the Universe was published in 1966, a book with several chapters devoted exclusively to ancient alienism. So my question to you is: Who is the true Father of Ancient Alienism?
Molly: Well, based on universally accepted rules of literature grounded in law, it has to be Carl. He introduced ancient alienism to the world in a published technical dissertation, as well as in a published book highly praised by the astronomical community, years before Erich wrote Chariots of the Gods.
Don: So what would you say about the following promotional description of Chariots of the Gods:
“The groundbreaking classic that introduced the theory that ancient Earth established contact with aliens.”
Molly: Factually, it’s a lie. It’s not true.
Don: So can we both agree that Carl Sagan, not Erich von Daniken, is the true Father of Ancient Alienism?
Direct Contact Among Galactic Civilizations By Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.
Received on December 16, 1962, by the Department of Genetics at Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California and, after peer review, published in 1963 in Space and Planetary Science.
1966: Intelligent Life in the Universe
The fact that Carl Sagan published, not one, but two literary products on the subject of ancient alienism - years before Erich Von Daniken wrote Chariots of the Gods, exposes Erich as a plagiarist and imposter who, to this day, falsely claims to be the Father of Ancient Alienism.
Plagiarism definition: “To steal or pass on the ideas or words of another as one’s own without crediting the source; to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”
Von Daniken’s Confession – Guilty as Charged
Two things need to be noted. First, the theory that intelligent beings from other worlds exist and visited Earth in antiquity has never been a “secret.” It’s an idea that’s been around for centuries. Second, credit for being the “Father” of a theory goes to the one who first publishes that theory, not to the one who had it and kept it a secret.
If Erich were a man of moral and ethical integrity, he would have credited Carl Sagan as being the true Father of Ancient Alienism in Chariots of the Gods, and referenced Carl’s two published works on the subject.
But he didn’t, not in his text, and not in his end notes. Erich took all the credit for himself, which makes him a liar and a cheat.
Don: Molly, Chariots of the Gods was a smashing success. Millions of copies were sold, making Von Daniken rich and famous.
Molly: So why didn’t Carl take Erich to court? It sounds like he had an open and shut case of plagiarism.
Don: He could have, but had he done so it would have cost him his career as a working scientist.
Molly: You lost me. What are you talking about?
Don: Carl’s ancient alien theory, solidly grounded in science, history, and logic was perceived as a major threat by the Pentagon and NASA, who, in the 1960s, were developing space exploration technology for scientific and military purposes. If it was ever scientifically confirmed that aliens exist and have visited Earth, then why should “we go where no man has ever gone before” when it would make more sense and be far less costly to look for a Message that aliens may have left for us to find?
Molly: So you’re saying that NASA and the Pentagon intentionally suppressed Carl’s work on ancient alienism?
Don: They not only suppressed it, they let Carl know in no uncertain terms that the consequences for him bringing public attention to his theory would result in him being banned for life from the scientific community. He would have no future.
Molly: Sounds like a wild conspiracy theory. Can you prove it?
Don: I already have, in my book: The Sagan Conspiracy.
Molly: You have a published book on Carl Sagan’s model of ancient alienism?
Don: I do, and after The Sagan Conspiracy was published it shot up in sales until it was only a few slots from making the New York Times Bestseller List, and then the bottom fell out.
Molly: What happened?
Don: Erich Von Daniken and his henchmen did to me what NASA and the Pentagon did to Carl. Through verbal and physical intimidation of my publisher, New Page Books, they forced the suppression of my work that effectively took it out of circulation.
Molly: Tell me more.
Don: I will, but first I need to explain how The Sagan Conspiracy got published in the first place, which is a story in itself.
By 2015 I had amassed a huge amount of research on Carl Sagan, the Sagan Signal, and ancient aliens. I decided that I needed to unload, so I contacted a literary agent, Rita Rosenkranz, who I thought, based on her profile, specialized in fringe science manuscripts. My research, objective and evidence-based, was nevertheless highly controversial, placing it on the fringe of mainstream science.
I sent Rita a proposal and her response was that, while my research was fascinating, it was too much, I needed to whittle it down. So I sent her a second proposal letter that focused on Carl Sagan being the true Father of Ancient Alienism, research that proved that Erich Von Daniken and his cohorts had stolen the concept and then turned Carl’s serious science into an aberrant form of what Carl intended it to be.
Rita ran it by New Page Books, and the editorial board loved it!
Only later did I learn that Rita and New Page specialize, not in serious science, but in pseudoscience! Had I known this at the beginning, I would have sought a different agent. But, what the hell, I had a publisher eager to publish my book, so I went with it.
Molly: But I don’t get it. Why would a publisher of paranormal ancient alienism be interested in a book that slammed Von Daniken and other popular ancient alien advocates? It makes no sense.
Don: Actually, it does. In writing Chariots of the Gods, Erich, understandably, cherry-picked all the best rocks:
Pyramids of Giza
Seeing gold easy for the taking, it didn’t take long for opportunists to jump in, join Erich, and write their own ancient alien books. But when Erich and his cohorts started running out of interesting rocks to investigate, it left them no choice but to “investigate” less interesting rocks. It wasn’t long before every large flat rock on Earth became a UFO landing zone:
UFO Landing Sites? Ancient Alien Theorists say “Yes!”
Ancient alien books flooding the market quickly became repetitive and boring, and, as every publisher knows all too well, boring doesn’t sell.
To rejuvenate the genre, Von Daniken turned to television, where Ancient Aliens on The History Channel instantly turned into a big hit. Viewership was high and book sales rocketed back up. But the problem of quality content erosion didn’t go away. The TV series started with the same sexy rocks featured in Chariot of the Gods – and then, gradually and inevitably, went downhill as the rocks being investigated became less interesting.
For guys like me, after a tough day, we just wanted to shed the threads, grab a cold one, and zone out on TV. Early AA episodes on The History Channel were perfect, as Homer can testify:
Ancient Alienism, circa 2003
But sadly, from its blockbuster beginning, things began to wind down. After a decade of excitement, TV ancient alienism had morphed into something else:
Ancient Alienism, circa 2015
Viewership started dropping, and, even more disconcerting for publishers of AA manuscripts, book sales plummeted. The brain trust at New Page Press, a leader in AA publications, knew that the genre needed a shake-up, and how better to shake things up then a sensational conspiracy theory that challenged Erich Von Daniken’s claim to being the Father of Ancient Alienism?
When my book, The Sagan Conspiracy was published, it exploded across the ancient alien landscape like a hydrogen bomb! I was immediately inundated with requests for interviews from paranormal radio stations all over the country, which I gladly accepted. Reaching out to millions of ancient alien aficionados, it was my opportunity to tell stunned listeners the truth: that Carl Sagan, the man widely considered the arch-enemy of ancient alienism, was actually the Founding Father of the genre, and, not holding anything back, I exposed Erich and his proselytes as being little more than blood-sucking parasites!
I knew my radio indignations wouldn’t last, and they didn’t. It was while I was being interviewed on the popular Midnight In the Desert broadcast out of Las Vegas when the moderator, half way through the one hour broadcast, suddenly cut me off, and then told her audience that I had hung up on her!
Things went quickly downhill from there, culminating at the Washington D.C. Book Fair where New Page had purchased a booth specifically to promote The Sagan Conspiracy. Out of nowhere, the folks staffing the booth were suddenly and violently assaulted by Von Daniken goons who threatened to put New Page out of business if it didn’t immediately stop all promotions of my book.
The fateful decision of New Page Press to openly challenge Erich’s claim to be the Father of Ancient alienism secured its demise. After publication, when the shit hit the fan, the only hope New Page owners and editors had of surviving was if I would be willing to join them and fight back. Knowing that to do so would have put me in a camp I didn’t want to be in, with individuals who had no knowledge of, or interest in, legitimate science and the scientific method, I turned them down.
The goons made good on their threat. All promotions and interviews stopped. It was as if my book didn’t exist. But that wasn’t enough. New Page was forced to sell rights to my book to a shell company owned by Von Daniken interests. Since that time, though my book has quietly gone through multiple printings, I have received no royalties or reports as promised in my contract. Thankfully, by then, news of my book was floating around on the internet. People were talking and, to this day, the shock waves are still reverberating.
It may sound weird, but I’m neither angry nor bitter. The truth is that I was never that interested in the money side. My goal, more long-term, was to get the word out that Carl Sagan is the true Father of science-based Ancient Alienism, and that it was government suppression of Carl’s writings on the subject that created the vacuum that allowed Von Daniken and his protégés to implement, what turned out for them, to be a lucrative and long-running business.
Von Daniken’s scam was beneficial in the sense that it kept alive Carl’s theory that aliens exist and have visited Earth in both pre-historic and historic times, albeit in a grossly distorted and unscientific fashion – waiting for the day when the truth would come out. That day has finally arrived.
Molly: Don, I’m wondering if you would consider holding a mock conversation with Erich?
Don: Of course! Let’s do it.
Don: Erich, thanks for your time. I’m wondering why you claim to be the Father of Ancient Alienism when you’ve known from the beginning that Carl Sagan had science-based writings on the subject that were published years before you wrote and published Chariots of the Gods?
Erich: While it’s true that Carl published first, it’s also true that his thoughts and writings on the subject were censored by scientific and governmental agencies. It was within the context of the vacuum that was created that I wrote my book and staked my claim. I did nothing wrong.
Don: You make a fair point, but as a matter of personal integrity, wouldn’t you agree that Carl deserves the title of “Father of Ancient Alienism?”
Erich: If Carl had wanted to challenge me in court, he had every right to do so. But he didn’t. That says a lot.
Don: I think what it says is that if Carl had taken you to court, NASA would have booted him out on the street. He would have been barred from doing the science he loved, so he chose to keep silent.
Erich: That was his decision to make, not mine.
Don: Okay, let’s talk about my book The Sagan Conspiracy. You did to me and my book what the government did to Carl and his writings on ancient alienism. You had it censored, did you not?
Erich: I had built a very successful empire and your book threatened to bring it down. Running a large business is not for sissies. To stay competitive, there are times when you have to make tough decisions. I made a tough decision. Like Carl, you had the right to take me to court, but you didn’t.
Don: You’re right, I didn’t, but now that I’m telling the world the truth about what happened, are you going to take me to court?
Erich: Why would I tell you? You’ll know when and if you get a registered letter from my attorney.
Don: Got it, Erich. Now let’s change the subject. What do you think about Ray Kurweil’s Singularity?
Erich: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Don: You know, artificial general intelligence, converting humans into a new species that, when it happens, will make your ancient aliens look like cavemen.
Erich: I don’t believe that will happen, at least not for a very long time.
Don: Possibly so, but if it’s possible, don’t you think long-lived extraterrestrials would have evolved to Singularity status long before they reached Earth?
Erich: You can’t fool me, I see where you’re going. This interview is over. Good-bye.
Don: Thanks for your time, Erich. By the way, you may want to know that I’ve downloaded The Sagan Conspiracy at the bottom of this essay so people can read it for free.
HAIR ON FIRE!
While Von Daniken might have been successful in suppressing my book, he still had the problem of what incited New Page to publish my book in the first place – content erosion. There was no denying that the genre he created was growing ever more stale and even more boring.
It was time for Georgio to stick his finger in a light socket:
Giorgio, circa 2009
Giorgio, circa 2017
When content is diminishing, when viewers are getting bored, what do you do? Light your hair on fire, of course!
And, lo and behold, it worked! People fell in love with Giorgio, couldn’t get enough of him! His charm, his persona, his hair. It all led to a revitalization of the genre. There were ancient alien conventions, book signings, t-shirts, trinkets, posters, you name it. Von Danikenism was once again riding high, and at the top was Giorgio, the new poster child of Von Daniken ancient alienism.
Don: Molly, want to hold a mock interview with Georgio?
Molly: Sounds like fun. I’m ready!
Molly: Giorgio, thanks for meeting with me. I’m not going to ask you who you think the Father of Ancient Alienism is, I think I know how you’d answer. What I want to know is if you’re serious about searching for evidence from the past that aliens have been to Earth?
Giorgio: I’m offended that you would ask such a question. As an ancient alien theorist, of course I am!
Molly: And are you open to the possibility that extraterrestrials may have encrypted a secret code into the Bible?
Giorgio: Erich and I think it’s entirely possible. In fact we’ve addressed that possibility in several of our episodes.
Molly: So why haven’t you yet featured the Sagan Signal, a code in the Old Testament that’s been independently tested by experts and confirmed to be non-human in origin?
Giorgio: Listen, the cast of Ancient Aliens aren’t stupid. While Bible codes that predict apocalyptic events are always in vogue, no one wants to hear about a code that proves that JC is an ET, not religious people, not atheists, not the heirs of Carl Sagan, not the government – nobody. So why would we feature Don’s discovery of the Sagan Signal when there’s a good chance that it would wipe out everything we’ve worked so hard to build?
Molly: So you’re suggesting that Don just forget about the Sagan Signal?
Giorgio: I am. Why doesn’t he just leave well enough alone?
Molly: I think if you asked Don, his answer would be that “well enough” isn’t “good enough.” Don’s a truth seeker, and truth seekers are never satisfied with “well enough.”
In 2020, with Giorgio and his hair on fire, and upgraded scriptwriting and cinematography, Ancient Alienism was once again riding high.
And then covid struck.
Call it karma if you want, but the poor bastards couldn’t catch a break! In an instant, all public appearances, all conventions, and all book signings were wiped out.
But Erich and company, if nothing else, are resilient - so time to reinvent themselves once again. The Homer Simpsons of the world, now isolated in their homes with nothing to do but watch ancient alien reruns in their underwear, were suddenly besieged with narratives of ghosts, UFO sightings, cattle mutilations, abductions, and other content that had nothing to do with what the show was originally supposed to be about: ancient aliens.
Once again it seemed to be working. Ratings were holding steady and sponsors were buying time.
And then, lo and behold, Ray Kurzweil comes along!
Giorgio with his Ancient Alien
Ray with his Singleton
From the scientific perspective, the Von Daniken Model of ancient alienism is fatally flawed in that it assumes that extraterrestrials somehow managed to get from their home planet to Earth without ever having developed the Singularity.
With the advent of Singularity theory, every demonstration of advanced alien technology featured on The History Channel was suddenly exposed as old school linealist thinking from the 1950s. Indeed, our species is already doing things that make Giorgio’s ancient aliens look more like Neanderthals than a superior species capable of eye-popping feats of advanced technology far beyond what humans are capable of today or any time in the near future.
The bottom line is that if, as both Erich Von Daniken and Carl Sagan both insist, aliens were here in antiquity, they would have been here as Superintelligences, not as ETs that come across as Marge Simpson might see them:
In conclusion, though Erich continues to present himself as the Father of Ancient Alienism and a pioneer in AA research – accolades that properly belong to Carl Sagan, I have to say, in all honesty, that I’m glad he came along! If it were not for his book, Chariot of the Gods and The History Channel’s effective promotion of bogus ancient alienism, plus my discovery of the Sagan Signal and Carl’s Contact paper, the truth would likely still be hidden.
So, thank you Erich, thank you Giorgio. The ancient alien writings of Carl Sagan that you ignored, and my ancient alien book that you suppressed, are now known and owned by the world!
To read the book that Erich and Giorgio don't want you to read, press: HERE