The 50th Anniversary of Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods

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The 50th Anniversary of Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods

 

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Erich von Däniken’s seminal work, Chariots of the God; a book that introduced millions to the novel idea that the deities of ancient religious scripture may have actually been advanced ancient astronauts from another part of the cosmos. Now, after half a century of criticism and scrutiny, von Däniken’s work has stood the test of time, spreading curiosity, wonder, and a message of modesty, that maybe there is more to our reality than we claim to know.

Originally released in 1968 under the title Erinnerungen an die Zukunft, or “Memories of the Future,” von Däniken’s book would be rechristened Chariots of the Gods, after an English publisher read his interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision in the Old Testament.

The title would go on to sell 16 million copies, laying the groundwork for 40 sequels that sold 72 million books worldwide. Von Däniken’s work inspired a number of eminent Hollywood productions, television series, and written works that challenged archeological and theological tenets, much to the chagrin of mainstream scholars.

He prefaced Chariots of the Gods with the sentence, “It took courage to write this book and it will take courage to read it,” knowing he faced detractors who would dismiss his theory as sacrilege.

After Chariots of the Gods found success in its paperback sales, it became the impetus for a television series called In Search of the Ancient Astronauts. The series featured interviews with such names as Carl Sagan and Werner von Braun, and was narrated by Rod Serling and Leonard Nimoy.

This set the stage for the popular, contemporary series Ancient Aliens, on History Channel. And now, the legacy continues with Erich von Däniken: Beyond the Legend, on Gaia; a series dissecting his theory and its implications on modern society.

But despite a lifetime of success, von Däniken continues to fend off cynics, maintaining his intention to instill a sense of humility in scientists and theologians who often believe we are alone, or at the top of the universe’s evolutionary chain.

Over decades of welcomed critique, von Däniken has admitted when he was wrong, revised his ideas when necessary, and accepted adversity when presented to him. And in the face of it all, he remains steadfast in his overarching theory that has found increasing support and evidence to boot.

Click here to watch a free episode of Beyond the Legend and enter for a chance to win a 50th anniversary edition of von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods

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Was The 1977 Southern Television Broadcast Interruption A Hoax?

Government agencies that regulate television and radio signals are pretty astute when it comes to maintaining the security of the airwaves. But just after 5 p.m. on Nov. 26, 1977, unsuspecting viewers in England who tuned into the nightly news experienced a Southern Television broadcast interruption by a ‘voice from space.’ To this day, no one knows for certain who was behind the interruption.

Southern Television Broadcast Interruption a Hoax?

On this particular Saturday evening, unbeknownst to those working at an independent television station in Southern England, thousands of viewers were subjected to a six-minute message from an entity referring to itself as Vrillon of the Ashtar Galactic Command.

During the broadcast, Vrillon warned his unassuming audience of the dangers humans were getting themselves into by using weapons of mass destruction. Vrillon also confirmed the UFO phenomenon and his race’s presence “seen as lights in the skies.” Vrillon warned humanity to be wary of false prophets and the evils of money, before imploring his audience to live in harmony and put down its weapons.

The transmission returned to the evening’s normally scheduled programming of Looney Tunes before viewers were assured by news broadcaster, Andrew Gardner, that everything was alright and that it was simply a hoax. But some began to panic, frantically phoning the station under the assumption that the apocalypse was upon them, despite Ashtar Command’s seemingly peaceful dispatch.

 

1977 Alien Broadcast

 

News stations distorted the story, reporting different names and versions of Vrillon’s message. This added to the confusion creating a War of the Worlds-type anxiety among those who couldn’t fathom the possibility of a hoax. Adding to the conspiracy is the fact that the culprit of the transmission has still never been discovered.

Many believed the broadcast to be the doing of the Raëlian community, the UFO church founded just four years earlier by Claude Vorilhon, whose name sounds and looks uncannily similar to the Ashtar Commander, Vrillon. Was the name Vrillon just a misconstrued pronunciation of Vorilhon?

The Southern Television broadcast is often compared to the Max Headroom Chicago broadcast interruption of 1987 or the Captain Midnight HBO interruption a year earlier. Though the culprit in the latter case turned out to be a disgruntled employee.

The particular broadcasting system that was being used by the Southern Television station was unusual in that it bounced one signal to another transmitter on the Isle of Wight, rather than using a direct landline like most television transmitters at the time. This allowed the signal to be interfered with, though it would take someone well-versed in the technology to intercept and interrupt it.

What is strange about the Ashtar Command broadcast is that not everyone heard the name “Vrillon” that night. Some say they heard the name “Asteron,” some heard “Gillon,” and others heard “Bramaha.” Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the only audio or video evidence of the message is a reenactment.

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