Erich von Däniken is an Historical Figure

Erich von Däniken is an Historical Figure

Every so often, someone comes around who makes history in a way unlike anyone before them. Sure, there are those who get famous like everyone else, either through movies or sports or something, or they write a bestselling novel, but rare are those who gain their place in fame through actions and words totally unique in the world of cult and popular culture. If there is one individual who has raised a number of eyebrows (and stirred a few hornet’s nests), it is Erich von Däniken. For those of you familiar with his name, you understand what’s meant when it’s said he is nearly as mysterious as his subject matter.

With the arrival of his incredible book, The Chariots of the Gods, Von Däniken came into the spotlight with some incredibly unique claims. These claims, while bizarre, weren’t enough on their own to earn von Däniken so much fame and success. What has afforded von Däniken so much success is that his argument is so incredibly plausible. Is the idea extreme that so much of what we are in human history and culture is the result of the influences of ancient astronauts from other worlds? Of course, it is; the idea is one of the most extreme hypotheses in the realm of modern science. But what makes von Däniken’s claims so extraordinary is that he provides enough evidence to back them up. While he doesn’t have any absolute proof (if he did, you would already have known it, as that would have been the most significant discovery in the history of humanity), Erich von Däniken has an enormous sum of supporting evidence. Enough evidence, in fact, for him to have sold more than 60 million copies of his numerous books in numerous languages and for him to have given lectures around the world for many years.

Erich von Däniken is also known to be quite passionate about his work. He is completely convinced that he has brought to the world undeniable evidence that our ancient history is heavily marked by influences from extraterrestrial civilizations, and the evidence is compelling. One must assume he has to understand the skepticism of the world, what with us having almost nothing to support or even prompt such a claim for virtually all of history. In fact, it wasn’t very long before von Däniken came on the scene that the notion and mystery around the idea of UFOs and civilized beings from outer space came to the consciousness of the public. Well, the notions and suppositions have been around for perhaps a century or so, but the scientific theories supporting actual aliens that were more than the stuff of stories were at least avant-garde.

Sure, a lot of what von Däniken purports requires an open mind and more than a smidge of imagination, but it almost seems to be similar to the popular 3D posters, where the image cannot be seen unless one looks at the picture in the precise focus. Once the onlooker has the correct focus, a startling 3D image appears, stunning the succeeding onlooker and perplexing the onlooker who has never achieved the process. But von Däniken offers something that doesn’t require even as much effort as one of those four-dollar posters since the photographs and archaeological evidence demonstrate something profound. After all, the mysteries behind the world’s pyramids, the giant-headed statues of Easter Island, and the appearance of the creations in Nazca that can only be seen from the air (the enormous animal figures and what looks like airport runways) are more than enough fuel to feed the engine von Däniken has built in his quest to spread his theories far and wide.

But it seems that they will remain theories, at least for some time, and that von Däniken will have to accept that. Why? Almost none of the scientific community gives him any serious support. He is quite alone in many ways. Sure, he has caught the attention of the public at large, but the scientific community doesn’t find this good enough, as they claim the average citizen does not have the presence of mind or intellect to distinguish the differences between proper and improper scientific theories. Some go on to say that the only thing von Däniken manages to get right in any of his books is the proper spelling of his own name. While he has many fans, he has precious few colleagues.

His ardor, according to many, doesn’t help. According to his critics, von Däniken is utterly convinced he is absolutely correct and, therefore, a genius unparalleled in the world, and everyone else is a blind fool if they don’t see what he sees. It appears to bring everyone back to the 3D poster theory but with a wrinkle in the poster.

Yes, von Däniken, we can see the 3D image just fine, but that doesn’t mean that Martians created it. It is all reminiscent of the attitudinal theories that those who should breed the least or not at all are, unfortunately, those who breed the most, purportedly so many. Sure, the supporters of such theories and statements can throw out all the evidence they can muster, which can be a lot, it seems, but the true realm of science demands a higher standard. Science doesn’t want theories that cannot be proven.

A theory that cannot be proven is not a theory but just an opinion. And an opinion in the eyes of the scientific community is a complete waste of everyone’s time. So, people can point to the knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing heathens wandering across every corner of society like something from the movies, but high-brow judgment just doesn’t cut it, even with all the evidence those high-brow critics tend to provide.

Part of the problem may be that von Däniken is not at all alone in the forwarding of mysterious theory. TV and literature are chock-full of suppositions made by many, from UFOs to Nessie, with Bigfoot sightings galore, but evidence amounting to absolute zero. It appears that enormous sums of people have seen a flying saucer or at least some sort of alien spacecraft they cannot explain, but firm evidence has yet to be found. The only ones confident of the existence of UFO spacecraft are those who were brought aboard these craft and either experimented on or impregnated by aliens from other worlds and dimensions. Because there are so many people purporting something profound (including all religious organizations, in the eyes of unbelievers), it can be quite difficult for the onlookers to determine the pioneers from the cranks.

In this light, Erich von Däniken is a lot like someone akin to L. Ron Hubbard and his Scientology or even the Pope and his Catholicism. Sure, the faithful are convinced, but everyone else sees followers, from the blindly faithful to the doe-eyed Kool-Aid drinkers. Part of the problem is that the support of something intangible, to some degree, is virtually global. Everyone supports something that is difficult for others to accept, even the most stoic scientists.

Part of the problem with many accepting the lofty standards of science is that many claim the scientific standards are far too myopic. Science demands absolute proof for something to be considered scientifically true. This does harbor a degree of awkward difficulty because some things appear virtually impossible to prove in the die-hard scientific method. For so long, science claimed that animals, all animals, are nothing more than mindless automatons merely following and clueing into various perceived stimuli, while pet owners claim they know with no doubt that their dog shows a wide range of emotions and a lot of thought. But hey, because we cannot prove the dog shows love, it simply doesn’t, and therein lies the rub. Science is too quick to say something is untrue or false rather than admitting it is unproven. Any dog owner knows their dog can show incredible love, but love is something a scientist cannot measure in a beaker or analyze under a microscope. It’s something left to the philosophers, and just who are they, anyway?

We are analytical beings, but we are also spiritual, emotional, and philosophical. Therefore, it really is unfair for anyone to label von Däniken a kook or nutcase when the evidence he provides, nay, points out that is already there, is at least compelling. If there are no scientific explanations for the Nazca runways, then von Däniken still has a dog in the race. Because pure science is at least as myopic as faith and certainly only convincing according to its own advertised standards (how do you KNOW they walked on the moon), the only option remaining is the choice to entertain the claims. Can one read Chariots of the Gods or not read it? Dismiss it as a bunk or give it serious consideration. But if there is one thing nobody can do, it is to provide a claim to anything that is going to be universally accepted. We can’t even agree on a widely accepted definition of something as common as life.

Erich von Däniken was born on April 14th, 1935, so at the time of this writing, he has a birthday coming up in a few days. He may very well be celebrating his 75th birthday at his Switzerland home near Berne, which makes him so lucky as this is certainly one of the most beautiful regions on this planet (but then, how does one prove that for sure). Or, he might be out there on the lecture circuit, making the claims that have made him so famous and quite successful as a writer.

So, on that day, if you’re not a faithful follower of von Däniken’s theories quite yet, give them a few minutes of your time if you can. Take some time to browse through what you find on the search engine and consider the theories for at least a brief moment.

Erich von Däniken has been compelling and charismatic enough to prompt at least 60 million people to buy his books, and an untold number of people have taken the time out of their day to go hear his lectures in person. It does seem there might be something to the claims. So, take a look at what he brought to the table and give it a thought. Try to imagine the reality of the world if he is at least partially correct. Try to imagine the historical significance of our prehistoric past, influenced tremendously by intelligent beings visiting us from elsewhere and coming here to study and communicate with us.

For the skeptic, this is an acrid sample, but it is virtually impossible to openly dismiss the claims with genuine authority. On the evening of April 14th, step outside and look at the stars, and then take a minute to wonder. After all, if there is no other life out there whatsoever, that would be so amazing. Then, if there is life out there, smarter than us or not, that would also be just as amazing.

That’s right; either way, it is so amazing, just like Erich von Däniken and his assertions.

Author Gwen

Gwen is a freelance artist and writer for film, advertising, corporate projects, and web media. She feels his expertise in the entertainment industry provides a unique opportunity to engage the public through real-life stories and over a decade of experience and knowledge.