Ancient Aliens: Part Two of Two

Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

Ancient Aliens: Part Two of Two


HELLO!

I'm Daniel, the Editor of JUNIOR SKEPTIC. Welcome to Part Two of our look into the claim that aliens built the great monument of the ancient world.

Last time we saw how this idea became popular in the 1960s and 70s, through the books of a guy named Erich von Daniken. This time we'll look at more of the specific cases used to argue that aliens once walked the Earth. Is there anything to this idea, which we still see in movies, books, and TV shows like Stargate: SGI?

Let's Find out!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ANCIENT JET PLANES?

Did the ancient Indians of South America see high-tech aircraft piloted by creatures from outer space? Some people claim they did, because small gold sculptures found in Columbia look like modern jet airplanes--but they were made 1500 years before the Wright brothers flew!

These pendants do look like something that could fly, but it's hard to tell exactly the sculptors did not make realistic art. They worked in an "abstract" art style (this just means simplified or exaggerated), so their work has to be interpreted.

The people who wore this jewelry would've known exactly what it was supposed to be, but we have to look at what else the sculptors made to discover what the "aircraft" pendants were originally meant to represent.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

We know they made jewelry in the shape of various animals, including birds. But the little extra wings on the tail don't rightfully belong on birds. Also, birds' tails have a flat, side-to-side shape. The tails on the pendants have an upright shape.

A mystery? Not really. It turns out there's another kind of real, local animal that matches these strange details of the pendants very closely: flying fish! The ancient Colombian sculptors definitely knew about these wonderful fish. We know this because they very clearly sculpted other gold jewelry in the shape of flying fish!

RUST-PROOF IRON?

Chariots of the Gods? tells of an ancient pillar in India which is made of iron--yet it has withstood long centuries of weather "without showing a trace of rest." Mysterious indeed! It certainly does sound like it could be some sort of incredible alien technology. As von Daniken put it. "Here we have an unknown alloy staring us in the face."

The pillar really does exist, and it is astonishing--but it isn't mysterious, It is an Indian cultural treasure, which a king had erected as a religious monument about 1600 years ago. However, it actually does rust. Still, considering that it's been sitting outdoors all that time, it really is in great shape. But this isn't a mystery either.

How come the pillar hasn't rested away to nothing? Well, it turns out there are several reasons--beginning with the dry weather. There is very little rain in that area of India, and the humidity (the amount of water vapor in the air) is very low. Also, the dark-colored iron pillar soaks up so much sunlight during the day that it stays warm through the night, which keeps dew from forming on it. Finally, we know from chemical analysis of the pillar that the ancient ironsmiths made it using a technique that results in especially high-quality, rust-resistant iron. No mystery, just good skilled craftsmanship. Furthermore, scientists knew all this before von Daniken wrote Chariots of the Gods?

In the early 1970s, a magazine reporter confronted von Daniken about his false claim of a rest-proof "unknown alloy." The reporter pointed out. "In fact, that column does have rest on it, and the process by which it was made is well understood. Do you still find it mysterious?"

"No," von Daniken confessed "not anymore." He said that he didn't know about the real scientific investigations before he wrote his book, but admitted "they came to quite different results, so we can forget about this iron thing."

That's that, then: the claim that it was an "unknown alloy" that didn't show "a trace of rust" was untrue, and von Daniken admitted it. …

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