Captain Kirks Alien Mysteries
June 10, 2008 10:00 PM   Subscribe

With all the crystal skulls, nazca lines and such at the box office these days now might be the ideal time to reacquaint yourself with the theories of Erich von Däniken. What better way to do it than by watching William Shatners Mysteries of the Gods ( Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6, Pt. 7, Pt. 8, Pt. 9, Pt. 10)(MULTI LINK YOUTUBE SHATNERFEST)
posted by Artw (28 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
He has no theories. He just follows the same logic as ID proponents, but with aliens.
posted by 2sheets at 10:07 PM on June 10, 2008

Denny Crane.
posted by RavinDave at 10:10 PM on June 10, 2008

I would recommend Jason Colavito's Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture, which actually comes up with a plausible argument for tracing all the ancient astronaut stuff back to Lovecraft's fiction, but it's so annoyingly written that I really can't.

The author, who's a contributor to Skeptic magazine, is some sort of cross between Comic Book Guy and a rightwing-libertarian nutcase, who blames all this New Age superstition on the decline of western civilization, as exemplified by the existence of queer studies in universities. Or something. It's really very pedantic and annoying.

If anyone's interested, I reviewed it on my blog here. If you can stand the annoying tone, it might still be worth picking up, though. The central idea isn't too implausible, although there's little hard evidence.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:12 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

He has no theories. He just follows the same logic as ID proponents, but with aliens.

Yes, but it's so much fun! I love the crazy non sequiturs in his books. "No one knows how the Mayans could have climbed such a tall tree without modern steel ladders. Could they have had extraterrestrial assistance?" etc.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:13 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

2sheets - Watch part 6 and tell me that - theres no denying form those images that the Aztecs had to be expert heart surgeons - there's simply no other reason that they might have such precise knowledge of the anatomy of the human heart. And who gave them these advanced heart transplant techniques? ALIENS!
posted by Artw at 10:15 PM on June 10, 2008

Joakim Ziegler - The lecture Chariots of The Dark Gods, (which was linked from this FPP), covers some of that ground, but without the weird political angle. The Morning of the Magicians by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier might be a bit of a link between Lovecraft and Daniken.

Personally I'm a bit of a fan of the Kirby version.
posted by Artw at 10:23 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

25th December 2011

Watch the skies people, watch the skies.
posted by mattoxic at 10:27 PM on June 10, 2008

Artw: The Morning of the Magicians is definitely mentioned in Cult of Alien Gods. The lecture looks very interesting, though, thanks.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:47 PM on June 10, 2008

Google video link of the entire video, for those that don't want to click through all the Youtube links.
posted by Artw at 10:52 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

Speaking of danniken, I went to the Mystery Park, while it was still open: the swiss version of batshitinsne creation museum. It was like an exploratorium in central switzerland.

Every question had one answer: aliens.

It was also a shitload of fun. Note the crop circle themed pastry on sale in the cafeteria.
posted by lalochezia at 10:54 PM on June 10, 2008

A great deal of Von Daniken's material comes from interpretation of art, and so falls under what professional skeptic Ben Radford calls the "Bangles Fallacy", which is an allusion to the video "Walk Like an Egyptian", in which the body postures seen in ancient Egyptian art are taken as literal representations for humorous purposes.

Von Daniken's material is all nonsense, misinterpretation, and outright hoax, of course. But I'm betting Artw is providing us with these links in the spirit of 70's kitsch, especially with the Shatner angle.

Personally, I'm more of the Bigfoot fan, and as such more enjoy the Sasquatch themed "In Search Of", hosted by Leonard Nimoy.
posted by Tube at 11:21 PM on June 10, 2008

25th December 2011

Watch the skies people, watch the skies.

You're a year off - try 2012. (and yes, people, watch the skies then)
posted by zardoz at 11:30 PM on June 10, 2008

From the first link:

Workshops: This is an opportunity to work with the Mitchell-Hedges “Crystal Skull of Love”, (MHCS) in workshop format. This workshop intensive is a powerful tool for transformation on both the personal and collective soul level.

The workshop allows quality time with the MHCS.

posted by LarryC at 11:33 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Erich von Däniken - wow, that really took me back. I could practically feel my trousers flaring.
posted by Phanx at 2:01 AM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

I used to find Von Daniken's theories entertaining, now I find their racist subtext rather distracting. It's only ever the brown folks who need outside help to attain civilisation. But I read Chariots of the Gods at an early age and it is rather magical stuff. Also Andrew Tomas's Daniken-alike We Are Not The First, which is very similar. That's what comes of living neaer a branch of Oxfam well stocked with tatty second-hand books - with wisdom of the ancients could be rediscovered at 10p a throw.
posted by WPW at 2:02 AM on June 11, 2008

However, it is known that the Celestials have visited many other worlds in order to perform genetic experimentation... The Celestials have returned to judge many of these worlds, and Earth is apparently the only one of these that they judged favorably and hence did not destroy for posing a potential menace to the universe.
(from the Kirby link)

Wow. Celestials sure are easy to trick.
posted by rokusan at 4:44 AM on June 11, 2008

Have apostrophes gone out of fashion?
posted by wastelands at 6:37 AM on June 11, 2008

I used to find Von Daniken's theories entertaining, now I find their racist subtext rather distracting.

In the nineteenth century the prevailing theory was that the Mayan and Aztec ruins were positive proof that the Romans and/or Egyptians must have traveled to the new world, since there was no way the natives could have been responsible. Van Daniken is the updated version of that lovely bit of racism, though he was never the orthodox view (thank god).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:56 AM on June 11, 2008

Dude, YES.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:08 AM on June 11, 2008

I read Van Daniken's Chariots as a teenager and was totally buying it until I saw a film clip of Thor Heyerdahl and some others just tearing the shit out of it. If I remember correctly, the stone figures on Easter Island were part of Van Daniken's mythos with the islanders claiming they had no idea how the figures were erected. Heyerdahl offered the islanders American dollars (this was back when the American $ was worth something) and they happily showed him how simple it was using levers and weights. Van Daniken, pwned.
posted by Ber at 7:17 AM on June 11, 2008

posted by owhydididoit at 7:26 AM on June 11, 2008

My review; Shatner doesn't mention it, but he believed at the time that he was abducted by aliens, which instigated this project.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Let's not forget the 90's iteration of Daniken, Graham Hancock.

Funny story about Chariots of the Gods. In the house where I grew up, my parents had books all over the house, books about everything from economics to classical greek and latin, history, archaeology, culture, philosophy etc. And not just books about the subjects, but rather the primary sources of the books written by the famous thinkers, researchers themselves. And these were'ent for show. These were their books that they studied from, and had notes in the margins, old pieces of paper with summarys and thoughts written on them etc.

When I was a wee bagel I would explore their offices and their stuff, and rifle through some of these books. I was always hoping for a book or even a chapter in some book about magnets, but my parents interests never really ran to the sciences. Among these books, I found a tattered copy of the paperback versions of two books, None Dare Call it Conspiracy and Chariots of the Gods. Those two books alone constitute a survey course in tinfoil hat lunacy.

In one of the many dinnertime seminars/lectures about ancient history, I brought up the theories of Daniken's book, that maybe the egyptians met aliens etc. My parents couldn't believe that I read this in one of their books. So they wanted me to tell them all about the scientific research from their book that talked about this. So I went on and on about technological advancements that the ancient cultures had that were ahead of their time etc, and my parents were incredulous.

And here's the best part - they started to debate with each other about ancient techonological anachronisms not discussed in the books or that I didn't mention that historians didn't really have an explanation for, like Baghdad batteries, the Greek clockwork mechanisms, and the animatronic statues of byzantium, etc. They refused to believe it was aliens, but I could see they were intrigued by the mysteries.

When I told them the name of the book of theirs that I read, the lecture quickly revert to the tried and true "Don't fill my head with nonsense" lecture that I could recite to you word-for-word. It turns out that they had unknowingly bought the books as part of a box lot of kids books they got at a yard sale. They had briefly perused these two, and deeming them too stupid even for our consumption, they had hidden them among their books (throwing away a book was a no-no), assuming I'd never find them.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:52 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

I read way too much of this sort of stuff as a kid. Though to be fair I also read all the 'science' books in the libraries 'science, mystery and folklaw' section as well as all the UFO/Bigfoot/Nessie ones. So my auto didactic education was fairly well-rounded.

A friend of mine actually did the 'a pyramid preserves food' experiment, with proper controls and everything. His conclusion - no, it doesn't.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:31 AM on June 11, 2008

I worked in a bookstore back in 1973-75 when von Daniken's stuff was hot, and let me tell you, those things flew off the shelves. We had to restock them all the time. Real science? Even Isaac Asimov's popularizations? Not so much.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2008

I recall watching Rod Serling in In Search of Ancient Astronauts (based of the Daniken stuff). I recall watching it in school. I don't remember the exact context -- but then, I can't really imagine any context where it would have been appropriate to show that in a Junior High School.
posted by RavinDave at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2008

I could practically feel my trousers flaring


posted by flabdablet at 5:21 PM on June 11, 2008

Weird coincidence - I got a nice suprise at the comics store today when I found out Marvel has just put out an affordable Trade Paperback of Jack Kirbys The Eternals, complete with the original editorials suggesting that though the comic is fiction the stuff about alien astronauts MIGHT ALL BE TRUE(!!!). I'm loving it, now I need a collection of Fourth World stuff that doesn't require me to pull of a bank robbery to buy it.

There was also issue 1 of some new Eternals series, based off the Neil Gaiman mini, but it was utter shit.
posted by Artw at 10:46 PM on June 11, 2008

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