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"Chariots of the God", the 1972 documentary


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#1    scowl

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:08 AM

This was the classic scary documentary I saw as a kid forty years ago. Netflix dusted off the DVD for me. Let's put those fancy cable shows aside for a moment and go back to the old days when ancient astronauts seemed plausible until we forgot about them.

The credits start off passing over a star field much like the Enterprise did. Out of tune easy listening music hums over them. Suddenly we see a distant galaxy spinning while frightening sounds fill our ears, like a squeaking door with pounding tympany. We get closer and closer until we suddenly cut to the telescope at Mount Palomar. We learn more and more about this telescope. It can see a point four billion light years away. A light year is "six by twelve zeros" in case you need to know that.

Suddenly another galaxy fills the screen. We see more pretty pictures of nebula. Then we go right to the point: "On how many of these stars could life exist?" I'll assume they mean the planets that orbit around them. As many as 50 millions stars in our galaxy could support a "highly developed form of life". Trust us on that and we'll give you a better factoid:  "It's quite possible that our own planet at some remote moment in its past had a visitor from one of these 50 million stars." Buying this so far?

Hold your skepticism because they quote a bunch of eggheads. Exobiologist, I mean, rocket engineer Warner Von Braun has stated that it's a "definite probability" that intelligent life is somewhere else in the "infinite reaches of the universe." Hermann Oberth, who they claim is "the father of interplanetary travel" by writing about it in the 1950's says he "I believe that it's possible" for intelligent beings to have visited Earth "at a remote point in time." Would you believe this documentary was produced in Germany?

Now we have the "believe our eggheads, not the other eggheads" part. Scientists are whiny babies when it comes to new ideas. Did you know that scientists didn't believe trains were practical because "humans were incapable of withstanding speeds of over twenty miles an hour." Odd that humans had been riding horses at speeds over thirty miles an hour for centuries but no time to think. A smart looking Russian scientist (horn rimmed glasses and goatee -- he would pass as a hipster where I live) with a name I can't google but is from the Moscow Academy of Natural Science and replies "in the affirmative" that aliens have visited Earth. Yet another Russian scientist with a name I can't google from The Academy of Science in Minsk (apparently now the Belarus Academy of the Sciences) is absolutely convinced aliens have been here because of "the many traces they have left behind". Unfortunately "we have not yet learned how to interpret their traces." So maybe they're not extraterrestrial? I guess I shouldn't jump to conclusions.

Grainy footage of a Saturn V launch tells of man's desire to rise above the Earth. Wow, awesome footage of three rockets blowing up on the launch pad or being detonated in the air! We humans sucked at space travel until we got to the Moon. That "put the entire heavens within our reach." Isn't that kind of exaggerating a 200,000 mile trip? Why no it's not. "In the course of this century, man will land on Mars." Copyright 1972, so it must mean last century. "In the next one, on Venus." Man on Venus? We can't even get probes to last two hours on that hell hole! Well, more stock footage of rocket launches.

Then it gives us a non-sequitur question to ponder. "How will our astronauts be welcomed when they set foot on another populated star? As enemies? Or as gods?" I guess we're jumping ahead to the 22nd or 23rd century, and I'll assume star means planet again. Now we have the false stories from World War 2 that we Americans built airfields on "remote South Pacific islands" (carefully not saying the names of these islands). "The inhabitants of these islands, isolated from the outside world, lived virtually in the Stone Age." Actually we built air fields on fairly large populated islands that already had a modern infrastructure. Anyway, we Americans split and "very soon afterwards the natives began making straw and bamboo fetishes resembling airplanes to tempt the visitors back." Aw, they missed our violence! "They scanned the heavens, day and night. Watching... and waiting!" Stock footage of Africans in costumes staring up at the sky in unison and dancing around fires. Look, there's a plane made out of straw! That must have taken the crew a whole day to build. So they thought we were gods, just like in those Gilligan's Island episodes.

This resulted in a new unspecified religion. The "Russian scholars" (not even scientists!) Zaitsev and some other guy (google fails me again) proposed that all religions began in just this manner. Wars? Visits from advanced societies? More footage of natives staring up to the sky. Their necks must be getting sore. Oh well, they torch the awesome straw airplane, I guess they were pissed at the film crew.

More stock footage of religious ceremonies lead us to this: "In Mexico and South America, from Egypt to India, throughout the world, people have legends, fables, and even religions which center around visits from foreign astronauts." What? "Of course they don't call them astronauts but gods who came to Earth in miraculous sky vehicles." Whew, he had me going there! Back in the 80's I met Al Worden who flew the Command Module on Apollo 15. He didn't seem like a god.

We have to accept these accounts because they're everywhere. Wow, specifics follow. Tibetan Lamaism has about a thousand books. "The secret code of these texts is most complex devised by man." Looks like some loose interpretation of this code means they talk about god appearing in the sky living in luminous transparent spheres in the sky.

On to the Indian Mahabharata. They say it's 6,000 years old but it's more like 2,300. Check out the descriptions of "vimanas" from it. A little imagination and you'll see they were powered with jets, depending on how you interpret "propeller". The doc says that Bhima flew on a beam of light but interpretations now say the sky just brightened. The "beam of light" is important because we immediately see a Russian Proton rocket. Get it?

Onto Baghdad. They take us to the Iraq Museum which unfortunately was looted during our advance on the city in the war. 5,000 years ago creatures appeared burst of smoke and noise. Ah, they're referring to the Gilgamesh. They got the date right! Unfortunately they say it has a creation story just like Genesis which shouldn't be possible since the Bible was written thousands of years later. They have never heard of plagiarism? Anyway Gilgamesh flew in a space chariot for twelve hours and looked back at Earth and gave vague descriptions of land and water. "The American moon men (?) used very much the same words to describe their impressions of the Earth from high in space." At least Gilgamesh did better than Billy Meier.

We've got Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Troy, atom bombs and multistage rockets in the Bible, spooky drawings, etc.

They bring up the Piri Res map. They want you to believe that this map was drawn from above the Earth. It's actually a compilation of maps placed in an arrangement from one perspective giving you that impression.

The pyramids. About time! Of course all this has been explained in recent years. They do the usual numerology with arbitrary numbers and they align with astronomical value. If you use the correct arbitrary numbers. The mummification was of course developed by aliens.

Well, that's just the first half hour. I'll post more later!


#2    Mallaliak

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:56 AM

Thank you Scowl, you're saving everyone time and a nasty headache. Looking forward to hearing more!

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#3    msm57

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:56 PM

I actually fell asleep last night before I finished reading this, lol.  Hilarious stuff from 1972 documentary. I may have actually seen this myself back in the day. :P


#4    scowl

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:27 PM

View Postmsm57, on 09 February 2012 - 03:56 PM, said:

I actually fell asleep last night before I finished reading this, lol.  Hilarious stuff from 1972 documentary. I may have actually seen this myself back in the day. :P
I was getting quite sleepy myself watching this because it really slows down in the second half. Maybe I can just sum it up now...

It becomes little more than a tour of the most incredible ancient constructions telling us that "Aliens did it! No other explanation!" In recent years we've been able to duplicate the techniques that had been used to move gigantic blocks of stone over long distances. Never underestimate what 30,000 people and clever systems can do over several years. Once cement and powered tools were invented and people found other things to do, these clever masonry techniques were no longer necessary.

A few cases were misleading of course. One case was stone heads which had been discovered in remote jungle areas where there are no roads. No roads? How did they get there? Easy. They had been placed there hundreds of years ago so the roads used to transport them have long since been overgrown and washed away. :rolleyes:

They also showed the incredible masonry at the City of Great Zimbabwe. The granite stones are said to all be exactly the same size. I don't know why they showed a close up which clearly showed they aren't all the same size. It's now known that the natives split the granite by building fires under granite outcrops and hitting them with stone axes. Granite is brittle and will split cleanly. Also they purposely didn't mention the age of the city (Iron Age, just a few hundred years old) because this didn't fit in with "ancient" constructions from thousands of years ago.

It also tries very hard to find any ancient drawing that looks anything like a creature doing something like flying a spacecraft or wearing a spacesuit. One shows a spooky creature leaning forward and using some tool. This has to be an ancient astronaut steering his spacecraft! Any drawing of an animal or person that appears to be a bulky or have been drawn with straight lines is clearly an alien wearing a pressure suit. One even appears to be wearing, and this is straight from the film, "an oxygen mask". When visiting Earth, be sure to wear an oxygen mask! Surely these drawings of frightening creatures (and they are frightening!) were created by those in power to keep the tribes spooked and obedient.

One interesting theme is that these drawings are supposed to represent spacecraft similar to the ones used in our primitive space program. There is no mention of spacecraft with no visible means of propulsion like the UFOs of today although they do show one classic flying saucer. The rest are all alien equivalents of giant rockets of the 1970s with huge plumes of fire coming out of exhaust nozzles. The doc constantly cuts to Saturn and Proton rockets so you can see how similar they look to the ancient drawings (you have to use your imagination). I guess with the space program in full swing at the time of this documentary, more viewers could relate to giant rockets than flying saucers.

They go too far when they say that the "perfectly circular" Sacred Cenote in Mexico could only have been formed by the exhaust of a giant rocket. First, it ain't perfectly circular. Second, a rocket that size would have left far more destruction than a neat hole in the ground. Third, Cenotes are formed by limestone dissolving from underground water sources which tend to leave circular holes. There are many examples with caves below them which have also been formed by water dissolving limestone.

I'll have to post again to cover the ancient religions part. The hip Russian scientist comes back again to tell us that many religions say some white dude came from the sky, taught them some stuff, and flew back into the sky. We're supposed to think this is Jesus hence Jesus was an alien, but wise people know that Jesus was not the white bearded guy with Nordic features depicted in European paintings.

And I have to post when I get to the big finale, the very foundation of the "Chariots of the Gods" book. Yes, I'm talking about the "ancient alien airports"!


#5    Oppono Astos

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:54 PM

Strange now looking back and thinking COTG was going to be a world-changer... though I was still young and impressionable in those far off days!

Who is the skeptic: the realist who won't accept belief, or the believer who won't accept reality?

#6    scowl

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:25 PM

Lots of people were. It was the first ET book that the general public bought by the millions.

It wasn't just another collection of "Believe it or not!" UFO stories with blurry photos and no conclusion. This book had answers in black and white that seemed to many people to have scientific merit. Instead of blurry photos there was a glossy photo insert that showed ancient drawing of aliens and the ruins of alien airports as plain as day. It seemed like Von Danikin was describing a revolution that would rewrite human history. Sure, some scientists would dismiss it but they would be a grumbling minority soon enough.

Not only were these ideas rejected by historians and scientists, they had been hearing about them for years. Many "ancient" artifacts mentioned in the book were proved to be modern. Von Danikin even went to jail for fraud unrelated to the book.


#7    Mike G

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:32 PM

The 1970s were an amazing time for open-minded scientific exploration into the paranormal and unknown. Perhaps one day the pendulum will swing back.

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#8    badeskov

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:42 PM

View PostMike G, on 09 February 2012 - 11:32 PM, said:

The 1970s were an amazing time for open-minded scientific exploration into the paranormal and unknown. Perhaps one day the pendulum will swing back.

Posted Image

You call complete disregard for science and outright fabrication of evidence for open minded?!?!?! I have a completely different word for it and I shall certainly not hope that the pendulum swings back....

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#9    Mike G

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:52 PM

View Postbadeskov, on 09 February 2012 - 11:42 PM, said:

Posted Image

You call complete disregard for science and outright fabrication of evidence for open minded?!?!?!

I don't believe any of those words are in my previous post, so...no, that's probably not what I meant by open-minded.  :blush:

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#10    badeskov

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 02:06 AM

View PostMike G, on 09 February 2012 - 11:52 PM, said:

I don't believe any of those words are in my previous post, so...no, that's probably not what I meant by open-minded.  :blush:

I am sorry, it was certainly not my intention to attribute such to you and if it came across like that, I profusely apologize Posted Image I was merely responding that way since your words were spoken in a thread specifically about Erich von Däniken's book (Chariots of the Gods), and he has been fabricating evidence to support his case and sell his books. He even admitted to such behavior in interviews.


Unfortunately he was not the only one in that era, hence I personally feel a bit weary about the whole upturn in paranormal research in that era. I hope that explains my position :)


Cheers,
Badeskov





"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!! What a ride!". Said to to Dean Karnazes by a running buddy.

#11    DONTEATUS

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:32 AM

I too feel its time to ground ourselfs into real science and research ! All the movies and books we can ever create out of our vivid minds.
We should Look at the actual universe and physics in our reality. Then maybe we can grow enough to over come our differences on this world,that only has limited resources
to support us for a very narrow time frame. As far as our time here goes. I know I look up every night into the wondrous  stars to gain my prespective on where I believe I am.
We all could use some real grounding to whats really  for us to Do. Keep Looking Up ,For thats where it mostly all is ! Mostly ! :tu:

This is a Work in Progress!

#12    scowl

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:06 PM

View Postbadeskov, on 09 February 2012 - 11:42 PM, said:

Posted Image

You call complete disregard for science and outright fabrication of evidence for open minded?!?!?! I have a completely different word for it and I shall certainly not hope that the pendulum swings back....
I agree that the 70's were a time when suddenly a lot of terribly flawed paranormal research ended up in the mass media without any journalistic skepticism. We regularly saw news stories about ESP as if it had already been proved to be an undeniable scientific fact. My gosh we were just beginning to understand the amazing powers of our own minds!

There were charlatans like Uri Geller hitting the talk shows living off the public's desire to believe in just about anything. There were also borderline charlatans like the Amazing Kreskin who didn't say outright that they had paranormal powers but let everyone believe it (he claimed to be a "mentalist"). We heard about psychics that had been called in to solve murders so it was clear they were the real deal.

We didn't see any stories that revealed that the supposedly scientific ESP studies were done under very casual conditions (the only conditions where they got the results they wanted!) and sometimes falsified. We didn't hear that many of these apparent demonstrations of ESP were nothing more than old magic tricks or how they always failed under strict scientific protocol. We never heard that those psychics who "solved murders" didn't really contribute anything to the investigations. No one asked why psychics couldn't predict anything important. These were not what people wanted to hear.

Yeah, after the social revolution of the late 60's the public's mind was open to new things in the 70's but we also saw that the public badly wanted to believe almost anything. Telepathy, pyramid power, psychic communication with plants, speed reading... all these are jokes now but were serious cocktail party material back then.


#13    bmk1245

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 08:23 PM

View Postscowl, on 10 February 2012 - 06:06 PM, said:

[...] Yeah, after the social revolution of the late 60's the public's mind was open to new things in the 70's but we also saw that the public badly wanted to believe almost anything. Telepathy, pyramid power, psychic communication with plants, speed reading... all these are jokes now but were serious cocktail party material back then.
Ain't that the same nowadays? Just to clarify: from what I do see, things are worsening... Just enough to see whats going-on on certain UM topics...

Arguing with fool is like playing chess with pigeon: he will scatter pieces, peck King's crown, crap on bishop, and fly away bragging how he won the game... (heard once, author unknown).
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#14    Mike G

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:26 PM

View Postbmk1245, on 10 February 2012 - 08:23 PM, said:

Ain't that the same nowadays? Just to clarify: from what I do see, things are worsening... Just enough to see whats going-on on certain UM topics...

Precisely. The only difference between then and now is that the scientific field has, as a whole, turned a complete and blind eye to the paranormal and any serious study concerning it. So essentially these days, most, if not all, "research" carried out is by uneducated laymen. The loons are basically running the hospital, if paranormal research is the hospital and the loons are self-described professionals.

As I said, perhaps science will once again find some substance in this line of research and opt to once more step in and empirically mediate exploration into these type of topics.

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#15    bmk1245

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 11:12 PM

View PostMike G, on 10 February 2012 - 09:26 PM, said:

[...] The only difference between then and now is that the scientific field has, as a whole, turned a complete and blind eye to the paranormal and any serious study concerning it.[...]
Science never turned blind eye on this stuff. Just those (paranormal) claims never survived till the end. Just imagine your enthusiasm digging the trench, just to fill another one, and the other day doing that backwards. And thats going endlessly, back and forth. Paranormal will stay paranormal.

View PostMike G, on 10 February 2012 - 09:26 PM, said:

[...] So essentially these days, most, if not all, "research" carried out is by uneducated laymen. The loons are basically running the hospital, if paranormal research is the hospital and the loons are self-described professionals.[...]
Agree with that, and it will continue with increasing pace. Sad, but thats reality, as far as history (well... in my opinion) shows.

Arguing with fool is like playing chess with pigeon: he will scatter pieces, peck King's crown, crap on bishop, and fly away bragging how he won the game... (heard once, author unknown).
Zhoom! What was that? That was your life, Mate! Oh, that was quick. Do I get another? Sorry, Mate. That's your lot. Basil Fawlty (John Cleese).




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