Ancient humans had the natural urge to document the world in which they lived, a fact that is evident in the cave paintings and carvings that still exist today. Why do rock paintings from various sites around the world all seem to depict the same things? Did the peoples of the prehistoric world have contact with each another? Is it possible that some were transported to far-flung locations in what our ancestors could only have described as “flying chariots”?
Erich von Däniken, one of the best-selling authors of all time and regarded by many as the father of the ancient alien theory, continues his mission to uncover Earth’s ancient past—this time with more than 150 extraordinary full-color photographs—in Evidence of the Gods.
This extensively illustrated book features never-before-seen photographs from his unique archive, compiled throughout decades of searching around the world for traces of the cosmic gods whom he believes came to Earth thousands of years ago. Evidence of the Gods offers the best and most impressive evidence to date, along with concise explanations for the images, to bolster the case that von Däniken has already been making quite convincingly for years.
Evidence of the Gods is his most convincing—and thoroughly entertaining—work yet.
Did extraterrestrial visitors really leave their unmistakable traces on our planet thousands of years ago?
The images will speak for themselves.
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About the Author
Erich von Dä niken is arguably the most widely read and most-copied nonfiction author in the world. He published his first (and best known) book, Chariots of the Gods, in 1968. The worldwide bestseller was followed by 40 more books, including the recent bestsellers The Gods Never Left Us and Eyewitness to the Gods. His works have been translated into 28 languages and have sold more than 65 million copies. Several have also been made into films. Von Dä niken’ s ideas have been the inspiration for a wide range of television series, including History’ s hit Ancient Aliens. His research organization, the A.A.S.R.A./legendarytimes.com (Archaeology, Astronautics & SETI Research Association), comprises laymen and academics from all walks of life.
Read an Excerpt
ISLANDS IN THE PACIFIC
Aside from where the tourists go, there are buildings whose origins are riddles and whose purpose is still not understood, such as those in the expanses of the blue Pacific. That is where Pohnpei is located, which is, at 540 km, the largest of the Caroline Islands. Various small islands surround Pohnpei, and one of them, a mere 0.44 km in size, is called Temwen. This diminutive, tropical islet is a little bit smaller than Vatican City, yet it bears a monumental riddle: the ruins of Nan Madol.
These buildings consist of tens of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns stacked on top of one another, block house style, like heavyweight matches. Is there historical information about Pohnpei and its island satellites? (Image 1)
In 1595, the first European man, the Portuguese Pedro Fernandes de Quiros, circumnavigated the island group in the San Jeronimo and dropped anchor off Nan Madol. The walls of Pohnpei appeared in the faint light like an otherworldly palace. Not a human soul anywhere.
In 1826, the Irish seaman James O'Connell was shipwrecked off Pohnpei. He succeeded in reaching the safety of land with six other survivors. He married the 14-year-old daughter of the king of the island and remained there for 11 years, until a ship picked him up and took him back to Ireland.
In 1851, the indigenous people massacred the crew of an English ship. In response, the British navy created a bloodbath on the island.
From 1880 onward, Christian missionaries from various groups traveled to Temwen. Stone tablets with unfamiliar writing were destroyed in the ruins of Nan Madol; the ancient customs were forbidden.
In 1886, the whole island group was annexed by Spain. The new owners called it the Caroline Islands, because Charles II was on the throne.
In 1899, Spain sold the Carolines to the German Empire.
In 1910, the native inhabitants rebelled. Missionaries and officials were murdered. Only a few Europeans escaped the massacre.
In 1911, the German cruiser Emden shelled the islands. The rebels were slaughtered without mercy, their leaders hanged from palm trees.
In 1919, Germany had lost the First World War, and Japan received a mandate to administer all the Caroline Islands.
In 1944, during the Second World War, the American navy occupied the islands. Wealthy Japanese were expelled.
In 1947, the islands were declared a trust territory of the United States.
What Was Nan Madol?
Anyone who visited the ruins of Nan Madol in their checkered history was faced with a riddle. How did the tens of thousands of basalt blocks arrive on the tiny island? What methods were used to lift the blocks, weighing up to 20 tonnes each? The highest wall still stands at 14.3 meters high, higher than a three-story building. (Images 2–5) What did the ground consist of? A substrate of coral will not bear heavy buildings of the dimensions of Nan Madol. Indeed, what was the purpose of the complex? What was there to defend on a tiny island very distant from any civilization in the South Pacific?
Basalt is cooled lava, and there is, indeed, a basalt quarry on the north coast of Pohnpei. It is about 25 kilometers distant from Nan Madol. Basalt can come out of the earth in various forms — in Pohnpei, it is in the form of polygonal columns. It is thought that the builders of Nan Madol suspended the basalt columns under their canoes or rafts to reduce their weight. Then they waited for high tide and rowed the heavy cargo to Nan Madol. Why were the buildings not erected directly on the "basalt island" of Pohnpei itself? What was so important about Nan Madol? Furthermore, Nan Madol consists of numerous canals, some of them as small as 2 meters in width. How were the basalt transporters supposed to have been maneuvered around the bends into the canals? This transport method relied on the alternation of high and low tide to work. The workers had to wait for low tide to attach the basalt columns under the rafts, then for high tide to transport them. How many rafts might have been in use at the same time in this endless exercise with low and high tides? How many ropes made of coconut fiber were required; how many trees were felled for the rafts?
Nan Madol is a mighty complex consisting of canals, ditches, tunnels, staircases, earthworks, and walls. (Images 6–13) The rectangular main district is stepped in terraces and surrounded by more than 80 smaller sub-districts. I took the trouble to count the basalt blocks on one side of a building. There were 1,082 columns.
The complex is square, which means that the four walls are made up of 4,328 columns. Then there is the floor, also made of basalt, the staircases, and terraces. In total, there are about 10,000 blocks for a single structure. An estimate for the total Nan Madol complex produces about 180,000 blocks — not including the substructure lying under water.
Nan Madol is not a "beautiful" city, although today it is described as "the Venice of the South Pacific." There are no reliefs, no sculptures, no statutes, and no paintings. The architecture is cold, forbidding, in some ways raw and threatening — not something we associate with a royal palace. Was the whole thing a defensive complex? Why, then, do broad staircases send out exactly the opposite message? Welcome! At the center of the complex, there is a "well," which isn't one. A well in this location, surrounded by salt water, does not make any sense at all, because it could only supply salt water. The native inhabitants describe the "well" as an entrance to the start or end of a tunnel. Today the opening lies almost 2 meters under water, even at low tide. Where is this tunnel supposed to have gone? How were the native peoples supposed to have built it under water? Everything in Nan Madol is a contradiction.
I read in Herbert Rittlinger's book, Der maßlose Ozean, that, thousands of years ago, Nan Madol formed the center of a glorious empire. The reports of fabulous treasure had attracted pearl fishers and Chinese traders to explore the ocean floor secretly. The divers had returned from the depths with incredible tales of "streets and stone arches, monoliths and the remains of houses."
In 1908, a German expedition explored Pohnpei and Nan Madol. Dr. Paul Hambruch focused his work particularly on Nan Madol and the indigenous sagas and myths. According to Hambruch, two young magicians once wanted to build a large cultural center for gods and spirits. They tried at various sites on the coast, but each time the wind and waves destroyed their work.
Finally, they found the right place on Temwen. In response to a magic incantation, the basalt columns flew by themselves from the island of Jokaz to Temwen and put themselves in the right order without any human intervention. That was how Nan Madol was created. (Images 14–21)
Ancient Truths From the South Pacific
Originally, the German ethnologist Paul Hambruch writes in the second volume of his Ergebnisse der Südsee-Expedition, a fire-breathing dragon had been the symbol of Nan Madol. The mother of the dragon had scooped out the canals with her mighty snorting. A magician had ridden on the dragon. When he spoke a particular incantation in verse form, the basalt columns from the neighboring island had flown there by themselves and had formed themselves into the walls.
Dragons? Fire-breathing? Magic incantations? Total nonsense at first sight. But how were Stone Age peoples supposed to have imagined a noisy monster, as excellently demonstrated in the science fiction film Avatar? A technical monster for which their language had no words? Incidentally, the dragon motif is a global element of many myths. The most ancient sagas of the Chinese refer to fire-breathing dragons, as do the Maya in Central America, the pre-Inca tribes in Bolivia, the Tibetans in their highlands, and even the Swiss in the Bernese Oberland. Excuse me?
I live in a small village, Beatenberg, a delightful place in the mountains above Lake Thun. There is a limestone cave below me in the rock: the dwelling of the former dragon. So an artificial dragon was put at the end of the cave, with dramatic lighting for the tourists. And the emblem of my village shows a picture of the dragon. Other legends about Nan Madol say that the ruins were the remains of the fabled kingdom of Lemuria.
Before the Second World War, Japanese divers are said to have discovered sarcophagi with platinum bars in the depths under Nan Madol. Tall tales? It has not, to date, been possible to solve the riddle of Pohnpei with the ruins of Nan Madol. And there is a connection with legends and structures on various islands in the South Pacific. ("South Pacific" is used here only as a collective term; it refers to the gigantic area of the Pacific south of the equator.)
As long ago as 1880, the ethnologist John White collected traditions from the South Pacific, which take on a completely new meaning when looked at from a modern perspective. Thus the Rongomai legend refers to a tribe called Ngati Haua, which sought protection against attack in a fortified village. Finally, they asked for help from their god Rongomai: "His appearance was like a shining star, like a fiery flame, like a sun."
Rongomai descended to the village square: "The earth was churned up, clouds of dust obscured the view, the noise was like thunder, then like the murmur of a sea shell."
Compare that with a legend from a completely different geographical area:
... strike down the enemy before you in the briefest time. Thereupon Hor-Hut flew up to the sun in the form of a sun disc with wings attached ... when he saw the enemy from heavenly heights ...he charged down upon them with such might that they neither saw with their eyes nor heard with their ears ... Hor-Hut, shining in many different colors, returned to the ship Ra Harmachis in his shape as a large, winged sun disc.
Is that allowed? To compare an ancient Egyptian account with a legend from the distant South Pacific? We have to! We no longer live in an age of isolation.
On the island of Raivavae in French Polynesia, the ancient temple of Te Mahara is still today deemed to be the point at which the mythological god Maui landed after his space flight. The same applies to the original inhabitants of Atuona, a small island in the Marquesas group. There, mount Kei Ani is considered to be a temple, although there are no buildings at the site. The original Polynesians called the mountain Tautini Etua, literally, "mountain on which the gods landed."
It is said about the creator god Ta'aroa of the Society Islands in the Pacific: "Ta'aroa sat in his sea shell, in the darkness for all eternity. The sea shell was like an egg which drifted in endless space. There was no heaven, no land, no sea, no moon, no sun, no stars. All was darkness."
And on the Samoan islands this is reported about the original god Tagaloa: "God Tagaloa swam in the void; he created everything. Before him there was no heaven, no land, he was all alone and slept in the expanses of space. Neither was there any sea, nor was the earth at that time. His name was Tagaloa-fa'atutupu-nu'u, which means 'Origin of Growth.'"
Does the Bible say anything different? Genesis 1:1–3 says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light ..." Later the Biblical god created plants, animals, and the human being. Growth only came after the landing. No different from Tagaloa-fa'atutupunu'u.
The originator of Melanesian culture, Suganainoni by name, is said to have descended from heaven in "smoke and fire" and to have disappeared again in an equally spectacular fashion. At the time, giants are said to have tried to build a giant stairway to heaven, an endeavor that was thwarted by the god Suganainoni. Is this a parallel to the Tower of Babel?
The South Pacific Islands are full of similar legends, and it is always possible to find a connection with the traditions in other parts of the world. Such a job was actually undertaken several decades ago. In an extensive tome, the ethnologist Karl Kohlenberg published hundreds of mythological links spanning the world. No discipline in ethnology has ever shown any interest in this. Ethnology appears to have become stuck in the century before last.
Thirty years ago, I spent some weeks on Kiribati, a group of 16 islands which, until 1977, were part of the British crown colony of the Gilbert Islands. Then the islands became independent and changed their name. Even today, the native inhabitants mostly live in simple straw huts with roofs made of palm leaves. (Image 22) At only about 973 km, the Kiribati islands ride the Pacific and provide solid ground underfoot for about 60,000 Micronesians. According to the latest research, Kiribati has been inhabited for at least 3,000 years. Three thousand years without written records is a long time. In Tarawa, the main city of the islands, I immersed myself in the legends. They were not collected and published until the last century by indigenous researchers. And once again, it all started in space.
The Story of Nareau
A long, long time ago, there was the god Nareau. No one knows from whence he came or who his parents were, because Nareau flew alone and sleeping through space. In sleep he heard his name being called three times, but the caller was "nobody." Nareau woke up and looked around. There was nothing but emptiness, but when he looked down, he saw a large object. It was Te Bomatemaki, meaning "Earth and sky together." Nareau's curiosity led him to descend and carefully set foot on Te Bomatemaki. There were no living beings there, no animals, no humans. Just him, the creator. Four times he circumnavigated the world he had found from north to south, east to west, and he was alone. Finally Nareau dug a hole in Te Bomatemaki, filled it with water and sand, mixed both into rock, and ordered the rock and the void to give birth to Nareau Tekikiteia. Thereupon Nareau created the plants, animals, and human beings, whom he taught language. Then he decided to separate heaven from earth.
The ethnologist Arthur Grimble provided an important addition: "And when the work was done, Nareau, the creator, said: 'Enough! It has been done! I go, never to return!' So he went, never to return, and no one knows where he has been since then."
The first beings endowed with reason had to memorize words, which give us food for thought:
Nabawe meaning "the essence of age."
Karitoro meaning "the essence of energy."
Kanaweawe meaning "the essence of dimension."
Ngkoangkoa meaning "the essence of time."
Auriaria meaning "the essence of light."
Nei Tewenei meaning "comet" or "movement in the sky."
I keep hearing arrogant critics who don't know anything — or at best might have studied a few semesters of ethnology, and then only in relation to a restricted geographical area — say that common features are of no significance. They can be explained psychologically. Here Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) is always cited to lend support. He saw the myths of ancient civilizations as "archetypical developments of consciousness" in which the "collective unconscious" found its correspondence of good and evil, joy and punishment, life and death. For his theories of "individuation" and the "archetype," Jung has to fall back on innate behaviors. Human beings had always wanted to be like birds. So the legends about flying had arisen.
What age are we living in? These psychological explanations not only stick in my craw, they are also totally divorced from reality. They attempt to destroy the common narrative of ancient peoples with the drip of psychological acid. All that remains is meaningless smugness.
On the basis of the knowledge we have today, the pattern associated with the creator Nareau (and others!) makes sense. Imagine a spaceship in which the pilot (presumably with the whole crew) lies in deep sleep. This option of deep sleep to keep astronauts alive over long distances has long been the subject of discussion in space medicine. At some point, the ship's sensors determine that a solar system has been reached and the on-board computer wakes the pilot. Nareau flew alone and sleeping through space, in sleep he heard his name being called three times, but the caller was nobody.
The commander, who has now awoken back to life, still sees the blackness of space around him but below him also a planet. Nareau awoke and looked around him. There was nothing but emptiness, but when he looked down he saw a large object. It was Te Bomatemaki, meaning "Earth and sky together."
Nareau risks a landing, and examines the ground and the composition of the air. He determines the absence of any life. Nareau's curiosity led him to descend and carefully set foot on Te Bomatemaki. There were no living beings there, no animals, no humans. Just him, the creator. The initial exploration is insufficient. What do the other continents look like? So he circumnavigates the whole planet several times to assure himself that he has not invaded foreign sovereign territory. Four times he circumnavigated the world he had found from north to south, east to west, and he was alone.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Evidence of the Gods"
Copyright © 2013 Erich von Däniken.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Author's Note 5
Chapter 1 Islands in the Pacific 7
What Was Nan Madol? 9
Ancient Truths From the South Pacific 15
The Story of Nareau 24
Taboo Points and Navigation Stones 29
Yesterday's Opinions 39
Ceremonial Stuff and Ritual Masks 45
Questions About Easter Island 48
Boulders on the Beach 59
Impossible, Yet Real 63
Chapter 2 Saluting the Gods 67
Connections Between Continents? 69
Rock Drawings of the Hopi 83
Painters' Convention in Brazil? 95
Saluting the Gods 113
Symbols for Eternity 119
Senseless Theories 127
And They Did Fly! 130
Any Other Questions? 132
Sensation in Palpa 134
The Forgery That Isn't 141
Giant Salute! 146
The Avenue of Pockmarks 151
Serpents and Mica 156
Chapter 3 Stones Can Talk 163
Underwater Rock Drawings 165
Climate Change 166
Math Exercise in Stone 176
A 5,000-Year-Old Miracle 181
Planned Lightshow 184
Compelling Conclusions 188
The Trick With the Line 192
Poor Pythagoras! 195
Questions No One Wants to Read 204
Moral Courage in Demand 205
About the Author 221