4 - In Defense of Catastrophes


Pioneering Geologist Robert Schoch Challenges the Conventional Wisdom on Natural History

William P. Eigles

When the maverick Egyptologist John Anthony West went looking in 1989 for scientific validation that the Great Sphinx of Giza (and possibly other monuments of ancient Egypt) was of a greater antiquity than alleged by orthodox Egyptologists. he found it through the person of Robert M. Schoch. Ph.D., a young but very well-credentialed associate professor of science and mathematics at Boston University.


Schoch's specific expertise lay in geology and paleontology. and he possessed just the corpus of scientific knowledge and analytical techniques that West needed to verify the hypothesis, first proposed by the independent archeologist R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz in the 1950s. that the weathering observable on the Sphinx and its rocky enclosure was due to chronic precipitation from the sky rather than long-term exposure to windborne sand.



R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz

What Schoch found. using accepted geological methodology. is now a matter of public record. popularized in the controversial 1993 television special "The Mystery of the Sphinx," in which he was featured.


His findings were that the erosion on the Sphinx and its enclosure incontrovertibly reflects the effects of streaming water, which means that the oldest portions of the ancient statue must date to at least 2.500 years earlier than heretofore posited, or to the period between 7000 and 5000 B.C.E., the last time when large quantities of rain fell in that area of the world.


Dr. Robert M. Scboch in Egypt


Schoch's finding was tantamount to setting back the conventionally accepted timetable for the development of human civilization in the Middle East by two and a half millennia - and maybe much more.


This propelled the geologist headlong into a vehement debate with the traditional Egyptological establishment, which summarily rejected the overwhelming evidence in favor of his much older date for the Sphinx's construction.

The experience, however, also served to rekindle and amplify a long-standing, if dormant, curiosity in the author to examine the even larger issues of how and why civilizations have come and gone on our planet.


As a result of the inquiry thus spurred, Schoch found that his own trained, unquestioning allegiance to the prevailing scientific paradigm of uniformitarianism, which governed his geological fields of interest, began metamorphosing in favor of catastrophism as the theory of choice for explaining past - and perhaps even future - planetary changes of the epochal kind.

This personal intellectual journey informs Schoch's first nontechnical book, Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes and Ancient Civilizations, coauthored with Robert Aquinas McNally, a professional science writer. In it, they survey the evidence and convincingly argue that instead of evolution and cultural change being a gradual process over many millennia (the uniformitarian viewpoint), natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, and extraterrestrially sourced impacts (asteroids, comets, meteorites) have significantly and often abruptly altered the course of human civilization (the catastrophist perspective).

Indeed, research conducted and reported by Schoch and many others strongly suggests that cataclysmic natural events have obliterated civilizations in the past and could well do so again. Schoch admits that he went "screaming and kicking" toward catastrophism, without any prior seeding by professional mentors or university teachers who were closet proponents of the alternate paradigm.


But, he says,

"I just followed the evidence, and in so doing, it just didn't take me to where I was taught it would. As a scientist, I couldn't dismiss the evidence out of hand, and so another theory was needed to account for it."

In proposing catastrophism as an alternative working model for past events, Schoch's book also sends a clarion call about the need to address various modern environmental issues such as global warming, ozone depletion, and the threat of large terrestrial impacts from outer space, any one of which may portend a disaster of global proportions.

Schoch and McNally begin their book with an overview of the scientific process and, specifically, an examination of how science progresses, including the concept of thought paradigms and how they shift as the world actually changes (or at least human perceptions thereof).


By way of example, they note that the ancient worldview of the heavens as being a dangerous place populated by angry gods may not have been mythological fantasy after all, but rather a paradigm using religious language to explain the observation of actual phenomena, such as would occur if and as Earth's orbit carried our planet through a dense meteor stream in space.

After Earth's orbit took it out of that meteor stream and, after time elapsed, this paradigm would eventually become irrelevant and would be superseded by one that reflected the subsequently calmer skies, such as the Earth-centered series of concentric planetary orbital rings later proposed by Aristotle.

The authors claim that the same paradigm-shift phenomenon is at work today concerning geology, the evolution of the species, and human cultural change, with secular catastrophism gaining ascendancy over uniformitarianism. This change is based principally on the abrupt shifts in the fossil records of plant and animal communities in the earth that have been observed by various researchers, indicating relatively rapid mass extinctions of life on the surface of the planet at various points in the past (such as the disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period sixty-five million years ago).

In particular, the work begun in 1980 by the father-son team of Drs. Luis and Walter Alvarez, and repeated by others, identified the presence of higher-than-normal concentrations of iridium in the so-called K-T boundary, the thin demarcation layer of clay between the geological strata of two different, major epochs in Earth's history.

After eliminating volcanic activity as a possible source of this anomaly, the researchers concluded that the only other explanation for such high concentrations of iridium would be an asteroid, or, more precisely, the collision of one with Earth. Confirmation of this theory seemed to appear with the discovery, in 1990, of a large impact crater at Chicxulub in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, dated as being of the same vintage as the K-T boundary.

These findings helped give rise to a new model of Earth - and species - change, known as punctuated equilibrium.


This theory proposes that our planet's chronology can be likened to a sequence of steady states regularly interrupted by periods of rapid, often radical, change, caused by such catastrophic events as massive volcanic activity, an asteroid impact, and a change in planetary temperature occasioned by various means.

Schoch's personal work in redating the Sphinx to the Neolithic period (which encompasses the 7000-5000 B.C.E. time span, an expanse of time conventionally associated with only very rudimentary societies and building skills), led him to question traditional notions of the linear, uniformly progressive rise of human civilization from approximately 3100 B.C.E. forward, and to postulate the existence of sophisticated cultures far earlier than had been previously supposed.

Countering the claimed absence of evidence for any such notion, he cites some intriguing evidence of technical flint mining from 31,000 B.C.E.; sophisticated Neolithic villages in Egypt dating to 8100 B.C.E.; and, most recently, the astronomically aligned Nabta megalith circle found in the Nubian Desert of the southern Sahara dating to 4500 - 4000 B.C.E.. Remains of ancient cities elsewhere in the Near East, such as

Jericho in Israel from 8300 B.C.E. and Aatal HAyAk in Anatolia, Turkey, from the seventh millennium B.C.E., serve to buttress his argument that peoples of even earlier antiquity possessed impressive organizational skills, technical knowledge. and engineering prowess.


Additional evidence exists outside of Egypt - in the Americas and Europe - as well: in particular. the astronomically correlated painted imagery discovered on cave walls in Lascaux. France. which has been dated to ca. 15.000 B.C.E. -  stunningly earlier still.

Pursuing the thread of inquiry into sophisticated ancient civilizations further led Schoch to confront the reputed existence of the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria (or Mu).


In his book, he makes short work of Lemuria. dismissing it as pure fantasy after a short review of the associated literature. Reviewing at greater length the accounts of Atlantis proffered by Plato in his dialogues, and the later accounts of the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus. Schoch finds them thoroughly lacking in their ability to help us locate that sunken continent today.

In surveying the list of supposed sites for the sunken landmass. he deftly and methodically disassembles the arguments supporting claims for Atlantis existing in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. on Minoan Crete. or in the South China Sea. With respect to the claim for Atlantis being situated under the ice cap in Antarctica. advanced by such writers as Professor Charles Hapgood, Graham Hancock. and Rand and Rose Flem-Ath.


Schoch devotes more time to discounting their shared theory.

Ultimately, Schoch finds no evidence to support the notion of Antarctica being ice-free during the period claimed by Plato for its existence, and notes further that. denuded of the massive weight of its icy covering and surrounded by higher water levels. Antarctica would look a lot different as a geological landmass than has been posited by the modern authors cited.

Last. he marshals evidence that disputes the accuracy of the maps on which these authors rely for their suppositions of advanced cartographic knowledge on the part of prehistoric ancients.


In the end, Schoch subscribes to the claim, advanced by Mary Settegast in her book Plato Prehistorian: 10,000 to 5,000BC in Myth and Archeology, that Plato's account refers to the Magdalenians. a western Mediterranean Paleolithic culture that existed and warred chronically in the ninth millennium B.C.E.. and whose demise was occasioned by the melting of the glaciers of the last ice age and the probable swamping of their coastal settlements.

Schoch's quest for hard evidence led him to personally explore an underwater cliff cut in a series of immense geometric surfaces that were discovered in 1987 off the coast of Yonaguni, an island in the same Japanese chain that includes Okinawa. The architecture of broad. flat surfaces separated by sheer vertical stone risers appeared to suggest antediluvian human workmanship.

However, after diving the site repeatedly - observing. scraping. and taking samples of the rock - he became convinced that the Yonaguni Monument was a natural formation of bedrock, shaped entirely by natural processes and too imprecise in its shaping and orientation to be the work of human hands.


Schoch's scientific training and background also causes him to write off. after some earnest consideration. the recent claims of sentient handiwork for the Face on Mars and other putatively artificial structures in the Cydonia region of the Red Planet.

The potential for pole shifts. tectonic movements. and other Earth-originated catastrophes to change human history is also explored at length by Schoch.


Seeking an explanation for the mysteriously widespread demise by fire of scores of settlements in the eastern Mediterranean region outside of Egypt and Mesopotamia at the end of the Bronze Age. around 1200 B.C.E., the author initially considers and then rejects the possibility of volcanic action (there was no known eruption at that time) or a devastating earthquake (none at that time is known to have led to a major conflagration).

While stories of floods of biblical proportion exist in the myths and folklore of cultures all over the world and. together with some scientific evidence. might suggest some watery global destruction in the distant past. they cannot account for the inferno that appeared to engulf the numerous Near Eastern communities extant at the end of the Bronze Age. Schoch also reviews the comings and goings of ice ages and ponders whether forces of nature or Earth's rotation might be responsible for the temperature changes that caused them.

He notes only in passing. but at least with suitable astonishment. the apparent coincidence of a scientifically validated incident of dramatic global warming around 9645 B.C.E. (a rise of fourteen degrees Fahrenheit in fifteen years) with the scientifically postulated scenario of a massive freshwater flood pouring into the Gulf of Mexico at about the same time and coincident with the date that Plato ascribed to the sinking of Atlantis.


Although of seemingly great significance. Schoch does not pursue the matter.

Schoch's review also covers the possibility that pole shifts accounted for alterations in the surface conditions on Earth, whether gradual or rapid. actual or only apparent. He examines the work of Dr. Charles Hapgood. who asserted that Earth's crust has slipped over the inner layers and moved the poles at least thrice, by about thirty degrees of latitude, in just the last 80.000 years. with the last movement being completed ca. 10.000 B.C.E. (shades of Atlantis's demise again?).


Schoch discounts Hapgood's work, however. on the basis of. among other things. "new and better [paleomagnetic] data" having been collected since the late professor conducted his research.

Schoch also disputes the related "soon-to-be-slipping-polar-ice-cap" thesis of the successful catastrophist author Richard Noone. who wrote 5/5/2000 Ice: The Ultimate Disaster, asserting that the planetary alignment which occurred on May 5. 2000. would be of very little moment because of its occurrence on the other side of the Sun from Earth.

Still. in seeking an explanation for the so-called Cambrian explosion of wildly diverse and numerous new life-forms over a ten-million-year period more than five hundred million years ago. Schoch is somewhat more sympathetic to the later work of the Cal Tech geologist Joseph Kirschvink and his colleagues. who. using more varied and more reliable data than Hapgood had access to. have proposed that "true polar wander," an entire crustal and mantle displacement of ninety degrees over the earth's core during the Cambrian period. somehow helped make the generation of so many new life-forms possible. Exactly "how" this happened. however. remains a mystery.

Schoch finally turns his attention to the heavens and the possibilities of drastic change owing to impacts on the earth of asteroids. meteorites. and comets (generically called bolides).


Since 1957, when scientists finally agreed that the meteor crater in Arizona was the result of an asteroid impact 50.000 years ago. approximately 150 impact craters have been identified around the world. and the number grows annually.

With the discovery in 1993 of the comet known as Shoemaker-Levy 9 and the observation of its striking Jupiter in 1994, science was forced to acknowledge the possibility that a comet could indeed, even in contemporary times, collide with a planet and do so with a force sufficient to cause global extinctions.

Whether the Tunguska explosion of 1908, which occurred in Siberia, was the result of a similar impact or that of an asteroid or even an extraterrestrial space vehicle is unknown, but the massive devastation caused by whatever collided with Earth on that fateful day is a sobering portent of what could occur if and when it happens again in or around a highly populated area. Schoch intimates that even a shift in the polar spin axis is possible as a result of such a major collision, if the hypotheses of other researchers are correct.

In any event, two other reputable scientists have cited evidence for a significant bolide impact on Earth circa 10,000 B.C.E. that they claim caused the sudden end of the last ice age and probably led, in turn, to a great flood (Atlantis again?).


And in 1996 and 1998, two chains of craters were identified on Earth, chains that can be correlated, in time, with past major extinctions of life on our planet. Whether such phenomena suggest some periodic pattern of destructive hits - for instance, that of an asteroid or comet crossing Earth's orbit on a collision course sometime in the future - is currently a matter of much conjecture and theorizing on the part of scientists.


In this vein, Schoch postulates that with respect to the fiery end of the Bronze Age in 1200 B.C.E., a serial stream of hot bolides, fragmenting upon entry into Earth's atmosphere and detonating there with much force and heat, could well account for the widespread devastation recorded for that period.

In terms of the immediate future, in addition to taking steps to preserve the atmospheric ozone layer and counter the environmental trend toward global warming, Schoch advocates protecting our planet against colliding asteroids and comets. According to him, the first action to meet the threat of space-sourced objects would be to create a dedicated system that would locate all objects in space that are in relative proximity to the earth and to determine which ones pose a risk of collision.

The second step would be to find a way to better understand the composition and structure of these objects, information necessary in deciding how to deflect or destroy any threatening object heading our way.


And the third activity would be to develop non-nuclear technologies to perform the actual deflection or destruction of these objects should that become necessary, without the attendant risk of collateral harm to human and other terrestrial life.

Schoch believes that we have a sizable window - perhaps until 2200 C.E.. - until the next likely swarm of bolides appears and descends on Earth. Of one thing he can be sure: We all hope he's right.




5 - Cataclysm 9500 B.C.E.

Two New Works of Immense Scholarship Throw Orthodox Ice Age Theories into Question and, in the Process, Corroborate Plato and Many Other Ancient Sources
David Lewis

In recent prehistory, possibly as late as 9500 B.C.E. (the date ascribed by Plato to the sinking of Atlantis), a profoundly traumatic phenomenon plagued the earth.


This event, the result of a distant cosmic explosion, caused severe volcanic eruptions, massive earthquakes, catastrophic flooding, and the upheaval of the world's mountain ranges. Earth's axis may have tilted or its crust may have been violently displaced. Continents rose and sank. Mass extinctions of plants and animals followed, as did a period of eerie global darkness.

The catastrophe struck suddenly, researchers report. Those humans who survived sought refuge in caves and high mountains, the record of their plight preserved to this day in hundreds of ancient deluge/conflagration myths from virtually every cultural tradition.


In the last century as well as more recently, scientists gathered the evidence for such a catastrophe, but explained away parts of it through "ice age theory," which is now known to be fundamentally flawed. The rest of the evidence, until now, science has been unable to explain.

No, this is not the synopsis of Hollywood's next disaster extravaganza, nor a rehashing of Immanuel Velikovsky's catastrophe theory, but rather the product of serious research and the subject of two books written by independent experts in the field of recent prehistory. The compelling evidence assembled by these authors reveals the existence of a prehistoric reality that casts orthodox notions about early man into the realm of mere guesswork.


The books are Cataclysm! Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C., by D.S. Allan and J.B. Delair, and Earth Under Fire: Humanity's Survival of the Apocalypse, by Paul LaViolette, Ph.D.


With its long-standing preference for uniformitarianism (the doctrine that nothing sudden occurred in prehistory, but instead only slow evolutionary and geological changes occurred), modern science has discounted what was taken for granted in the last century based on the hard evidence that was uncovered at that time: A global catastrophe occurred recently on Earth.


That bias for uniformitarianism, coupled with the dogma of scientific materialism - the presumption that all existence, even consciousness, evolved from matter alone - remains the unproven basis upon which conventional theories of human origins rest.

Ice age theory was born about 180 years ago in connection with studies carried out in the Alps. Geology was then only just being born.


Pioneers of the day took most fossil evidence as having resulted from the Great Flood of tradition - the benchmark in world history before the birth of modern science -  promulgated by Classical writings and religion and tied to beliefs that the world is a mere four thousand to six thousand years old.


Geology, however, as a systematic science, found that Earth is millions of years old and that rain-induced flooding could not account for much of the geological devastation that occurred at the time of the mass extinctions. As the scientific movement adopted its uniformitarian dogma, it sought to explain away all prehistory in purely materialistic terms, discarding anything that smacked of

superstition or catastrophism. Scientists of the day. in effect. threw out the baby with the floodwater. adopting prejudices about human origins and past civilizations that dominate to this day.

Within this skewed climate. science ascribed some of the hard evidence of a great cataclysm in recent prehistory to the movement of glaciers. which undoubtedly took place in some areas.


But relying on this theory alone necessitated a full-blown ice age. an ice age of greater duration and severity than anything that had come before, to account for burgeoning evidence that something extraordinarily severe had struck the planet and had wiped out most of the world's mammals, uplifted mountain ranges. caused widespread volcanic explosions, carved valleys and fjords. and left massive deposits of stone and gravel strewn across the globe's landmasses.


To understand more fully the story told by the scientific record. rather than what may be described as the contrived positions of orthodoxy, we spoke with J. B. Delair, a longtime researcher in the field of recent prehistory and coauthor of Cataclysm! Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C.


Delair told us that in his career as a researcher he had come upon many "very strange anomalies." including massive fossil records in "bone caves" where the remains of countless numbers of incompatible prehistoric animals such as saber-toothed tigers. lions. wolves. bison. rhinoceroses. and mammoths were found washed into deep subterranean recesses. These were the remains of animals that perished in recent prehistory all over the world.

Human beings. in many instances. were found in similar conditions. radiocarbon-dated to times consistent with the animal deaths. and from ethnic groups as diverse as European. Eskimo. and Melanesian (as in the case of a find in China). Similar finds have been recorded in India. Brazil. North America. and the Balkans.


Geologists have also recorded finding the remains of hundreds of humans who died from natural causes in caves. apparently seeking refuge from the catastrophe.

"As a result of this. I wasn't at all happy with some of the explanations." Delair said. "one of these being the ice age. another being the chronology."

The key to unlocking the problem of the anomalies proved elusive.


But Delair discovered he was not alone in his quest. He received a phone call from Dr. D.S. Allan, a biologist and researcher in the field of Earth severance (shifting landmasses) who shared similar interests. and a partnership was born. Coupling their talents and interdisciplinary backgrounds. they labored for years and found what appears to be the missing link that unlocks the secret of recent prehistory - "global cataclysm."

Allan and Delair discovered that. contrary to scientific dogma. certain events took place very rapidly in Earth's prehistory. such as the shifting of landmasses. as in the case of their own British Isles -  which detached from the European mainland just six thousand years ago.

Allan, a Cambridge University doctor of philosophy. versed in physics. chemistry. and biology. had already discovered that many of the same types of plants and animals have existed in different parts of the world when they should not; they are separated by deserts or water. Delair characterized his knowledge of anomalous fossil evidence and Allan's of anomalous biological evidence as "two sides of the same coin . . . bits and pieces of the same puzzle."

After years of work. those pieces would fit together. buttressed by an ignored scientific record that when fully revealed proved stunning. As Delair told us when asked about the implications of his work. "It throws a monkey wrench into almost everything. even evolution. Evolution cannot always be a question of the survival of the fittest. You can have a sudden event that can wipe out the best and worst - the survival of the luckiest in those instances." he said.

Using carbon dating. the resources of the British Museum. and those of the Cambridge University library.


Delair and Allan established a time frame for the anomalous fossils, which in turn set a time frame for the event that caused their sudden demise.

"The main thing is the dating of the fossils." Delair said.


"They are very. very recent in geological parlance. although quite old in human history. The changes they signify are enormous because there are dislocations in entire faunas and floras by thousands of miles.


There are also a lot of very abnormal burials. You get sea animals alongside birds and land animals. coal alongside tropical sea urchins. and all sorts of funny things."


"It [the ice age] was an invention." Delair stated flatly.

In part, it was a reaction to what early geologists and the scientific movement as a whole considered superstition - the flood/conflagration legends.

"The original idea of an ice age going back millions of years. ebbing and flowing across the northern and southern hemispheres near the poles. just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. as you can see from our writings. We've drawn upon the literature. which was. in fact. full of objections [to ice age notions]. on geological and biological grounds."

Many Norwegian fjords. for example, thought to have been carved by ice sheets sliding down from mountains. are open-ended.

"There is nowhere for the glaciers to have come down from," Delair said. "The fjords were gigantic fissures. filled up with ice at some later time and smoothed by some ice action but not caused by ice."

So-called evidence for an ice age having occurred. moreover. such as striation (grooved or ridged rocks) and erratically strewn boulders - supposedly the result of glacial movements -  occurs in parts of the globe where an ice age is known not to have taken place.

Research funding that rewards conventional results. Delair told us. is partially responsible for perpetuating erroneous assumptions. along with trying to fit all the evidence into the same worn-out theory. necessitating longer. geographically broader. and more numerous ice ages.


Also, Delair notes, fitting together the pieces of this grand puzzle of prehistory requires expertise in a variety of fields. Dr. Allan. what's more. devoted his retirement to this study. a concentration of effort that few. if any. conventionally employed researchers would be able to accomplish.

The picture that Allan. Delair. and others paint. supported by a great deal of field evidence. resembles a catastrophe of mythic proportions. Ice age theory. on the other hand. fails time and again to account for the overwhelming field evidence. The devastation proves to have been so great. in fact. that nothing of earthly origin could have been responsible. Not even a comet or an asteroid.


Allan and Delair say, could have wreaked such severe damage.


The destructive agent. they tell us. would not necessarily have been very large. but it would have been magnetically powerful. such as an exploding star. a supernova that hurled one or more pieces of its fiery mass our way. upsetting the axes and orbits of various planets through magnetic influence as it moved like a pinball through our solar system for about nine years.


The event wreaked horrific trauma upon various planets and caused Earth to convulse, they say, but amounted to nothing more than a minor incident in cosmic terms.


Evidence of a supernova explosion in the form of aluminum 22 (along with other scientific and mythological evidence) found in concentration at the edge of our solar system helped Allan and Delair conclude that a stellar blast probably caused the massive destruction.


Iron ore in the earth from 11,000 years ago, its magnetic polarity violently reversed, also testifies to a powerful, extraterrestrial encounter with a magnetically powerful agent at the same time period.

Paul LaViolette, Ph.D., author of Earth Under Fire: Humanity's Survival of the Apocalypse, discovered evidence of a different sort of cataclysm - a volley of cosmic waves resulting from an explosion in the galactic core. Entering our solar system, this "galactic superwave" (the most powerful energetic phenomenon in the galaxy) would have interrupted the solar wind's ability to repel most intruding cosmic dust particles, letting the interstellar wind, in effect, have its way with us.

LaViolette, a systems scientist and physicist, found high concentrations of cosmic dust at ice age depths in undisturbed polar ice from Greenland.


He determined the amount of cosmic dust in the ice samples by measuring the amount of iridium, a metal that is rare on Earth but abundant in extraterrestrial material. The old uniformitarian assumption was that the rate of cosmic dust depositing in the earth would not have changed over millions of years, but LaViolette found unusually high concentrations in his samples, as well as other evidence of a cosmic visitor during ice age times.

In Earth Under Fire, a synthesis of astrophysics and ancient mythical and esoteric traditions, LaViolette details the case for the superwave phenomenon having recently passed through our solar system.


He includes in his body of evidence the discovery by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft of narrow grooves, like those of a phonograph record, in the rings of Saturn - which, if they were indeed millions of years old, as uniformitarians maintain, would have banded together by now. LaViolette explains how the superwave would have caused the rings to appear as they do, while Allan and Delair describe how a supernova "chunk" would have disrupted the orbital paths and axial rotations of neighboring planets.


Some researchers stated, even before the Voyager visit, that Saturn's rings may be a mere 10,000 to 20,000 years old, within the time period LaViolette, Allan, and Delair say the cataclysm took place.


Dr. Paul LaViolette


Within months of the event, LaViolette says, a shroud of cosmic dust would have caused severe climatic changes on Earth, periods of darkness, severe cold and then extreme heat, massive flooding, and incendiary temperatures as the dust interacted with the Sun,

"causing it to go into an active, flaring state," LaViolette said.


"If you could imagine the worst solar storm that's ever occurred and beef that up a thousand or hundred thousand times - that would be going on continuously... And then you have the possibility that a flare event could engulf the earth."


LaViolette builds a scientific and mythological foundation for cataclysm as a cyclical event, a recurrence of galactic core explosions in 26.000-year cycles - a period that relates to the precession of the equinoxes.


This is the duration of one Great Year. recognized by the ancient Greeks. Zoroastrians. and Chinese. Hindu scriptures recognize the same cycle. a succession of declining and advancing ages that seem to relate to our solar system's orbit around the galactic core.


This is the apparent astrological focus of the "Central Sun" of existence, Brahma, conscious experience of which results in transcendental ecstasy and liberation from cycles of mortal suffering, or karma.

"The galactic core explosion cycle is another important cycle that Earth must reckon with," LaViolette says, citing numerous ancient traditions, many of which reveal that advanced astronomical knowledge. and therefore advanced human beings, existed in precataclysmic times.

The zodiac, in fact, LaViolette says. probably came down to us as a cryptogram - a time capsule - designed to alert us to the ongoing emanations from the galactic core, and the sphinx and pyramids of the Giza plateau stand as an astronomical memorial to the great catastrophe.


The figures of the zodiac. Delair told us. appear in most catastrophe myths. And the universality of this time capsule's message. the knowledge of cosmic cycles. is difficult to ignore.

LaViolette and others find it encoded in numerous myths. in cultural and mystical traditions. and in the world's megalithic architecture (see The Orion Mystery: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids, by Robert Bauval; Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization, by Graham Hancock; and The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind, by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval).


As these commentators point out. the ancient myths speak universally of a seafaring people who seem to have been the guardians of advanced knowledge. Their universal message. apparently passed down from a forgotten precataclysmic world. urges human progress. and harmony with the source of all creation.

Almost unavoidably, then, LaViolette, Allan and Delair, Hancock and Bauval (as well as Thompson and Cremo in their book Forbidden Archeology) reveal that recent prehistory was not at all what modern science. burdened by its prejudices. has assumed. A past cloaked in mystery comes objectively to light.


This accumulated rich. diverse body of work. interdisciplinary in nature, is filled not only with ancient lore but also with hard evidence that supports timeless traditions, the result of it being that the way mankind sees itself must profoundly change.



6 - The Case for the Flood

Exposing the Scientific Myth of the Ice

Age Peter Bros


Those people who are not satisfied with the paradigms supported by the scientific establishment regarding the creation of the universe are naturally interested in Plato's story of Atlantis, a prehistoric civilization destroyed in a flood.


We are all aware of the degree of opposition the story creates in the scientific community. Atlantis is up there with flying saucers and free energy devices as targets for the professional skeptics (who are organized to perpetuate entrenched scientific dogma), because it raises the specter of an actual source for the thousands of seemingly impossible megalithic remains, including the pyramids, that dot the surface of the earth.

Graham Hancock, in his book Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization, visits the remains of a prehistoric, worldwide civilization using the monuments it left behind. He posits that this worldwide culture was brought to an end by superfloods.


Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D. contends in Voyages of the Pyramid Builders: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America that the geological, linguistic, and geographical evidence associated with the worldwide megalithic monuments demonstrates the actual existence of such a prototype civilization, a civilization that was dispersed around the globe by rising sea levels caused by a flurry of comets.

While the edges of evidence appear to support the notion of Atlantis as a worldwide civilization lost in a catastrophic flood, many authors have sought out Atlantis in specific locales because the scientific establishment unknowingly cast its lot against a prehistorical civilization before the evidence began showing up.


It did so by enforcing the eighteenth-century rule of reason which stipulated that God could not be used as an explanation for physical reality, thereby rejecting out of hand the possible validity of all biblical accounts and, in the case of a worldwide prehistoric society, the possibility that a flood of biblical proportions destroyed all but the megalithic evidence for that civilization.

Making the world of science safe against Bible-thumpers became the overriding goal of nineteenth-century science.


Pierre-Simon de Laplace had barely finished banishing God as the source of Newton's perpetual motion of the solar system (by creating his swirling mass of gas out of whole cloth) before evidence for the worldwide flood described in the Bible began to accumulate. Science, at this time, was unaware that accounts of a universal flood appear around the globe, the universal flood being a part of the myths and traditions of more than five hundred widely separated cultures.

As explorers started to bring home descriptions of the world from afar, science was horrified to see a picture emerging of a planet scarred by massive movements of water, generally from the northwest to the southeast, over its surface.


The northwestern sides of whole mountains were scored as if they had been subjected to fast-moving waters containing gravel and boulders.


Floodwater was unmistakably the source of the scoring because science could see the same effect from fast-moving rivers. Furthermore, those same sides of the mountains were also home to massive buildups of drift materials, detritus presumably left behind by receding waters. Again, this was an effect that mimicked natural actions in the real world. These drift deposits even contained the remains of animals, including the woolly mammoth.

More horrifying to nineteenth-century scientists than the evidence of water damage and silting were the gigantic boulders exposed to public view all over the European countryside in places where they clearly didn't belong. These oversized rocks. many weighing thousands of tons. could have been moved only by massive floodwaters carrying them along and then depositing them when the waters receded.


The movement of these rocks by the floodwaters would have been. in part. responsible for the aforementioned mountainside scouring.

What to do with these discoveries that constituted irrefutable evidence of a worldwide flood? If science had been true to the evidence and concluded that the evidence had. in fact. resulted from a worldwide flood. religious crazies would have filled the pulpits and newspapers with cries that the biblical story of the flood. and thus the entire Bible. had been scientifically confirmed: not a desirable result.

The only thing science had going for it was the lack of an apparent source for the floodwaters. Arguments that its waters had originated from the visible seabeds and ocean floors of the moon were easily squelched by referring to Newton's theory of gravitation. which holds that gravity is proportional to matter. All the matter in the Moon that has ever been there appears still to be there.


Thus, there could have been no lessening of the gravity and thus no way for the Moon's apparent seas and oceans to have escaped its gravity and move the quarter of a million miles across space. in response to the earth's stronger gravity. and produce a worldwide flood.

Science. however. is an enterprise that turns beliefs into facts. and it accomplishes this feat so well that its myths become more real than actual facts. It takes hypotheses. mere notions. and crafts a methodology designed to do the impossible - to turn those notions into facts. Science holds that hypotheses that predict facts that are later found are as good as fact.

The scientific landscape is littered with hypotheses that have been accepted as scientific fact even though the term scientific fact is an admission that proven hypotheses are not facts. There is nothing that can be done to turn an idea into a fact. The scientific process merely accepts theories as scientific fact so long as they have not been disproved.


Of course. what we have when we accept as fact ideas that have never been disproved are a bunch of ideas that have never been disproved. Laplace's swirling mass of gas. light as water waves. the oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle. the electron. even Newton's mass/gravity are scientific facts. ideas capable of neither proof nor disproof.

The task that faced science when it was confronted with the incontrovertible evidence of a worldwide flood was to create a scientific fact that would provide a substitute for the already existing evidence left behind by the actual flood. In the early 1820s, a Swiss engineer, Ignaz Venetz, focused on the remains of woolly mammoths found in the drifts. pointing out that as the same animals were being found in the frozen Siberian wastes. the area in which the drifts were found must have at one time been covered with ice.


A chorus of experts joined in, positing the slow descent of glaciers from the north, a process that, because it visualized the inexorable creep of ice over eons. deftly captured the spirit of uniformatiarism Charles Lyell's theory, published in the 1830s, which maintains that geologic processes occur gradually rather than catastrophically.


Lyell's own reconstruction of the earth's history. focusing on the layers of sediment left as the floodwaters receded, pictured the sediments as deposited over eons so they could be used to produce a fictitious dating system for the earth to counter the biblical creation story.



Charles Lyell

A decade later, the Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz consolidated the speculations of Venetz and his chorus of approving voices by enthroning himself as the inventor of the ice age.


Agassiz's creation. for scientific and public consumption. was a distinct reversal of the scientific process. Instead of taking an idea and using unknown facts to prove it to be a scientific fact.


Agassiz took disparate facts that led inexorably to an uncomfortable conclusion - a worldwide flood - and then created an idea - the ice age  - that could be used in place of the uncomfortable (flood) idea.


And then he exclaimed his ice age theory to be scientific fact!


Louis Agassiz


Because no methodology can prove an idea, ideas have to be accepted or rejected on the basis of the evidence they explain.


The glacier theory did not explain why the scoring. labeled striations that supported glacier theory appeared only on one side of the mountains or why the drifts, called moraines to tie them to glacier theory, contained the remains of animals that were found only in equatorial regions. insects that were found only in the southern hemisphere. and birds that were native to Asia.


The glacier theory did not explain why the giant boulders, named erratics to accommodate glacier theory, were found in desert regions where no glacier could possibly go.

But these discrepancies were small potatoes compared to the scientific reality of glaciers themselves.


Glacier theory simply ignored the basic facts of glacier movement. Glaciers are flows of ice that. like rivers. respond to gravity. Glaciers do not climb hills and they do not travel across level land. However. because scientific facts are merely notions. ideas that cannot be disproved. those who present strong visual confirmation of their truthfulness are always both widely and wildly accepted.


Even though glaciers could not have carried the erratics the thousands of miles required to reach (and cover) the European countryside, the fact that the North Pole was north, which was "up there" on the globe, was more than ample scientific proof that gravity could cause the glaciers to inch "down" over the sides of the globe.


Pierre-Simon de Laplace


No one proposed that ice fields covered the southern half of the planet because that would require the glaciers to defy gravity and travel "up" the sides of the globe from the South Pole.

Such is the stuff upon which empirical science bases its notions of reality.

Like Laplace's swirling mass of gas, which was proposed four decades before Agassiz's ice age and provided the template for turning theories about existing facts into scientific facts, the ice age is no more than a proposition, a possible explanation for the reality that we see. Science saw the evidence of the flood described in the Bible and created the ice age to avoid the appearance of verifying an event described in the Bible.

Once the ice age was accepted as a reality, the only problem that science encountered was its need to produce a model that would explain how the earth could undergo vast temperature variations, a task at which it has failed so far. In the meantime, subsequent discoveries continued to verify the existence of a worldwide flood and mirrored the hundreds of newly encountered myths and traditions attesting to the flood's actuality.


The very drifts that contained the bones of the woolly mammoths that gave rise to the idea of the ice age contained, along with the remains of exotic animals, insects and birds that had never lived in the same location and vegetation that could never have been local to where the drifts were found.


There was no way to explain this admixture of life by glacial movements.

It was as if all the creatures, all the trees, all the vegetation of the earth had been caught up in flowing whirlpools, mixed together, and then deposited wherever the water settled.


In addition to the drifts at the northwest bases of mountain chains, these jumbles of diverse life-forms were also found in drifts that filled isolated valleys and made up entire islands in the Arctic whose boneyards contained not only the remains of animals from warmer climes, but also uncountable tree trunks extirpated with their roots intact - trees that could have grown only below the Arctic treeline.

Science did not rush to proclaim the existence of a warm age!

Instead, as soon as the ice age became a scientific fact, the fossil remains of life that had been found in the drifts, including the woolly mammoth that gave rise to the myth of the ice age, disappeared from scientific discourse and the newly named moraines became a simple admixture of sand and rock.


When the same admixture of bones and plant life was found stuffed deep in caves, a process that could have occurred only if it had been carried into the small cracks and crevices by the recession of massive floodwaters, the caves were deemed an anomaly that explained nothing, and the evidence was allowed to be mined into nonexistence.

Then came evidence that the scattered islands of the Pacific had once been home to a civilization that had stretched from the shores of Asia to the coast of South America. Plato's accounts of a lost civilization in the Timaeus and Critias had always been the subject of debate, but the debate had not arisen because of physical evidence on the face of the earth.


The pyramids, impossible structures, had always existed, but there was never a context in which to place them until the discoveries of ancient cities in the Pacific and then in Central and South America started coming to light.

Similarities among the various megalithic societies being uncovered led to the application of the word diffusion to describe the way culture passed from one group of people to another. With cultural diffusion again pointing clearly to an antediluvian civilization, the scientific establishment reacted with archeology's first rule: the ironclad law that cultural transfers could not extend beyond the shores of the oceans.


At the same time, a social movement was forged that was designed to preserve the dignity of indigenous populations in the face of the encroachment of modern technology.

In the United States, the late-nineteenth-century job of establishing that native populations had never been influenced by foreign contact fell to Major John Wesley Powell, who was,

  • the creator and director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian

  • a founder and president of the politically influential Cosmos Club

  • a founder and president of the Anthropological Society of Washington

  • one of the earliest members of the Biological Society of Washington

  • an organizer of the Geological Society of Washington

  • a founder of both the National Geographic Society and the Geological Society of America

  • president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

During the nineteenth century, evidence of both European presence and the existence of a prehistoric civilization was being uncovered all over North America, primarily in the mounds that dotted the countryside east of the Rockies.


Powell sent out his ethnology emissaries to systematically destroy the mounds and any evidence they contained that pointed to nonnative origins, thereby successfully eradicating the history of the North American continent.

Powell's prestige and fanaticism, together with the law against cultural diffusionism, translated into a worldwide rule of science that megalithic structures, no matter where found, were the product of whatever local inhabitants happened to live around the megaliths at the time of their discovery.


Thus the world was taught that the pyramids sprang from the hands of hunter-gatherers who had discovered farming on the shores of the Nile, the massive megalithic complexes in the Americas were the product of the ancestors of the natives Cortez had quickly defeated, and the megalithic monuments dotting the islands of the Pacific were built by the natives' ancestors who had set aside their fishing spears long enough to craft cities out of fitted slabs of fifty-ton rocks!

There was no room in the past for a megalithic society, a worldwide, antediluvian civilization that would easily explain both the physical remains of such a civilization and the flood that brought that civilization to an end. The past was dominated by an ice age created to explain the evidence for the flood that destroyed the worldwide civilization.

Today. we are stuck with the scientific fact. the myth. that ice can creep down from the North Pole and cover Europe and North America. Once the scientific community has accepted a theory as fact. any evidence is acceptable so long as it is cast to support the theory and no evidence is sufficient to disprove the theory. Without opposition. the theory becomes part of the founding principles of whole new fields of inquiry. There can. then. be no Agassiz speaking into a void created by an overwhelming desire to discredit an event described in the Bible. nor a Powell powerful enough to undo the damage done by Powell.

This is because there is no longer a steward overseeing the entire field. given that the field itself is now fractured into dozens of disciplines whose disciples can all take responsibility for claiming the theory to be wrong. If and when people in the individual fields who have adopted the scientific fact of the ice age attempt to challenge the theory. they are charged with operating out of their area of competence.

The ice age is more real than the striated rock. the moraine-buried mountains. and the erratics it was crafted to explain. a nonexistent vision that is more a visible fixture of the landscape than the landscape itself.

But the discoveries of flood evidence keep coming.


The breathtaking ruins of a submerged city off Yonaguni Island in Japan have produced a storm of controversy, which has been drowned out by the cries of rage against the later discovery of the remains of a huge underwater city lying off the western tip of Cuba just east of the Yucatan.


Before critics could scream themselves hoarse at this discovery. another startling find. of a sunken city in India's Bay of Cambay. sent establishment delusionists like the Harvard archeologist Richard Meadows scrambling for an international commission to gain control of the nature of the knowledge permitted to come out of these finds.

Any researcher attempting to come to grips with the emerging facts of the past is faced with the scientifically unassailable reality of the ice age in trying to explain the facts and. by acknowledging the ice age. ends up further distorting our view of reality. Some seize on the "crustal displacement" theory suggested by Charles Hapgood and fleshed out by the Flem-Aths, the notion that parts of the earth that are now at the poles were farther toward the equator. speculating that such an event would have caused massive movements of the world's oceans.


Others favor the idea that giant comets or meteors caused the earth to tilt on its axis. thus displacing the oceans.


Still others believe the encroachment of black holes caused the oceans to heave. The most effective proponent of a worldwide civilization. Graham Hancock. perceives that the melting ice sheets created massive water dams in accordance with ice age theory proposed by the late professor Cesare Emiliani. These dams. Hancock posits. broke and produced the superfloods that inundated what became the underwater cities.

Because these explanations accord reality to the scientific myth of the ice age and do not explain where the waters of the flood came from - the waters whose weight submerged the landmasses of the Pacific and the Atlantic. forcing up mountain peaks at their margins - I prefer to look elsewhere than the earth for the source of the floodwaters.


The most obvious source, of course, would be the Moon, whose seabeds, outlined on its surface, have long been recognized by their names as being the remnants of seas and oceans.

Let us speculate for a moment and say that the scientific fact of gravity. rather than being the static result of mass. is the dynamic product of what the matter is doing - that is. cooling.


This is a conclusion that is supported by the fact that the measurement of the product of cooling. the electromagnetic emissions such as light. is identical to the measurement of gravity. and both diminish inversely with the square of their distance. Given this. the Moon. being smaller than Earth. would have cooled off first. lessening its gravitational field and allowing the still-hot Earth. with its still-strong gravitational field. to attract the Moon's oceans across space.

Attempting to disagree with the nature of the static gravity that causes the masses of ice to slip slowly down the sides of the planet. in our view. is a bigger sin than claiming that the billion pounds of copper mined in upper Michigan during the Mediterranean Bronze Age produced the Bronze Age. Gravity is a property rather than a dynamic process. and North American copper could not have crossed the ocean.


We're faced with a scientific process that turns ideas into facts that. once accorded consensus reality. are beyond challenge because with no evidence for their validity, there can be no evidence for their invalidity.

The ice age was crafted out of whole cloth to counter the possibility that evidence turning up all over the world could be used to support biblical interpretations of the world. No one wants to go back to the days of feudal science. when decisions about reality were filtered through belief systems designed to provide for our salvation.


However, we have created a scientific system that enshrines off-the-cuff ideas of men who lived before we knew about the atom. electricity. or even that some stars were galaxies - in short. we are allowing our views of reality to be controlled by the unverifiable notions of dead men who knew relatively nothing.

Because the project of science is no longer unified. but is instead splintered among a thousand different disciplines. these embedded ideas creep into diverse disciplines unchallenged. and in doing so become unchallengeable.


If we don't consciously challenge basic assumptions at every step of the way, those of us involved in seeking explanations for the actual reality of our existence - in this case the evidence for a worldwide antediluvian civilization - will find ourselves trapped in the very paradigm we are attempting to penetrate.




7 - The Martyrdom of Immanuel Velikovsky

As Catastrophists Gain Ground. an Early Hero Gets Some Long Overdue Credit

John Kettler

We may not realize it. but we're going through the death throes of a fundamental geological doctrine, a doctrine called uniformitarianism, which holds that the geological processes we see today are the same ones that have always existed, and that while changes do occur, the process is gradual. unfolding over eons.

Right. Try selling that one to your children. They've been steeped in classes, through TV and movies. in an altogether more radical view of how things work, geologically speaking.


That model is called catastrophism and is exemplified by the now famous "asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs." Yes. we're talking about the Chicxylub crater in the Yucatan and an asteroid strike some sixty-five million years ago.

In 1950. this was the rankest sort of scientific heresy. The chief heretic was a man named Immanuel Velikovsky. a man who made vast contributions to a variety of disciplines. but who today is all but unknown. even to many who benefit directly from his pioneering work.

Immanuel Velikovsky was a Russian Jew, born June 10, 1895, in Vitebsk.


He mastered several languages as a child and graduated from gymnasium (high school) in 1913 with a gold medal. having performed exceptionally well in Russian and mathematics. He then left Russia for a time. traveled to Europe and Palestine. and took natural sciences (premed) courses at the University of Edinburgh. He returned to what was then czarist Russia before World War I started and enrolled in the University of Moscow.


Somehow he was not swept up in either the slaughter on the Eastern Front or the civil war when the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917. and he emerged with a medical degree in 1921 and also a strong background in history and law.

Shortly thereafter. he moved to Vienna. where Cupid's arrow found him. resulting in his marriage to Elisheva Kramer. a young violinist. While in Vienna. he edited the Scripta Universitatis, a major academic work to which Albert Einstein contributed the mathematical-physical science section.


He also studied psychoanalysis under Sigmund Freud's pupil Wilhelm Stekel and studied the working of the brain in Zurich.


Moses and The Seventh Plague of Egypt


By 1924, Velikovsky and his wife were living in Palestine, where he practiced psychoanalysis. He continued his academic editing work by taking on the Scripta Academica Hierosolymitana, a major Jewish piece of scholarship.


The year 1930 saw his first original contribution in the form of a paper that argued that epileptics are characterized by pathological, distinctive encephalogram patterns.


A portion of his writings appeared in Freud's Imago. It was Freud's Moses and Monotheism, though, that would plant the fateful seed that led Immanuel Velikovsky from the quiet pursuits of healing minds and organizing great thoughts to worldwide fame, ten years of academic ostracism, and a subsequent lifetime of vilification and scorn.

The "seed" was a nagging wondering whether Freud's hero, the monotheist iconoclast pharaoh Akhnaton, might be the real-life model for Oedipus, the legendary individual whose strange desires and worse acts were said by the Freudians to underlie the psychology of all young men.


Velikovsky later argued in Oedipus and Akhnaton that Akhnaton was indeed the real-life model for the tragic and legendary Oedipus. In 1939 Velikovsky went on sabbatical for a year, and took his family with him to the United States only weeks before World War II began. He spent the next eight months doing research in the great libraries of New York.

April 1940 brought another key question to the fore of Velikovsky's questing mind, a mind well trained in ancient history and steeped in the Hebrew faith. Was there any evidence in Egyptian records of the great catastrophes that were depicted in the Bible as preceding the Exodus?

Velikovsky went looking and came up with what is known as the Papyrus Ipuwer, a set of lamentations by an Egyptian sage by the name of Ipuwer that describe a series of disasters that befell his beloved country, disasters that matched those described in the book of Exodus, the source of the well-known description that first appeared in the King James version of "hail and burning hail" that destroyed Egypt's crops.

This rather amazing bombardment is the result of human interference, you see.


The King James version of the Bible dates back to the 1600s, and it wasn't until the middle to late 1700s that a scientific concept for meteorite even existed.


Thus, when the translators encountered the Hebrew barad (stone) in early manuscripts, they elected to render it as "hail." Velikovsky noticed description after description in myths and legends and historical accounts of "burning pitch" falling from the heavens, and from this he proceeded to develop deep insights into the nature and structure of Venus (more on this later).

The discovery of the Papyrus Ipuwer launched Velikovsky on nothing less than an attempt to reconcile the conflicting Hebrew and Egyptian chronologies, an effort that eventually led to academic war with Egyptologists, archeologists, and ancient historians when he published Ages in Chaos (revised chronology) in 1952 and Earth in Upheaval (wherein he presented geological and paleontological evidence for Worlds in Collision) in 1955. A titanic clash with the full force of astronomers, cosmologists, experts in celestial mechanics, and academicians ensued when Velikovsky presumed to upset their tidy model of an orderly, highly stable cosmos by publishing his bombshell, Worlds in Collision, in 1950.

The key idea from which the book arose came about in October 1940 when Velikovsky, reading the Book of Joshua, noticed that a shower of meteorites preceded the Sun's "standing still."


This made him wonder whether this might be a description not of a local event but of a global one. He went looking for evidence in history and archeology and also in the myths, legends, and repressed memories of all humanity, his psychoanalytical training standing him in excellent stead here.


What he found indicated to him that the planet Venus had been the major player in a series of global cataclysms recorded all over the world. It also made him wonder whether Venus could be related to the upheavals preceding the Exodus.

For ten years Velikovsky, now a permanent resident of the United States, continued to research his two manuscripts, meanwhile trying to find a publisher for Worlds in Collision. Two dozen rejections later, the Macmillan Company, a major publisher of academic textbooks, agreed to take on his book.


The scientists who wrote Macmillan's books and the academics who bought them applied blatant pressure tactics in an attempt to prevent Macmillan from publishing the book, but Macmillan was not dissuaded.

And yet by the time that Worlds in Collision had become Macmillan's number one best seller, the pressure had become so great that Macmillan ended up transferring the book to its competitor Doubleday.


At Doubleday, the book went on to enjoy worldwide success, success that was aided considerably by a public backlash against the pressure tactics.


Worlds in Collision was a bomb detonated in the china shop of astronomy, whose tidy model of the stable solar system in no way provided for planets departing their orbits and wreaking worldwide havoc even once, let alone several times.


In briefest form, Velikovsky's argument was that Venus hadn't always been a planet. Instead, he posited, it had been ejected as a comet from the body of Jupiter and had a highly eccentric orbit that had either caused it to collide directly with Earth or had several times brought it close enough to Earth to trigger cataclysms that laid waste to entire kingdoms all around the globe before "settling down."


The arguments in the book also maintain that there were records of this having occurred within historical times.

Consider why the controversy regarding the book's publication erupted. It was 1950, and the United States, having triumphed in World War II, was enjoying incredible prosperity and optimism.


The people, perhaps reacting to all the chaos and horror of the recently ended war and the perceived rising menace of global Communism (Soviets had suddenly gotten the bomb in 1949), largely closed ranks, went back to work, and resumed their lives or started new ones. Emphasis was on patriotism, conformity, and consumption. How ironic. then. that the public (in its backlash against the book's suppression) turned out to be more open-minded than what were presumed to be the open minds of academe and science. That's how it was. though.

Reader's Digest, that citadel of American conservatism, said of Velikovsky's seminal work:

"Fascinating as a tale by Jules Verne. yet documented with a scholarship worthy of Darwin."

The New York Herald-Tribune called it,

"A stupendous panorama of terrestrial and human histories," and Pageant beautifully summarized the public reaction by saying: "Nothing in recent years has so excited the public imagination."

The above are all review excerpts taken from the back cover of the Dell paperback edition, in its eleventh printing by 1973, the date of the writer's copy.


The Dell paperback first went into print in 1967. some seventeen years after Worlds in Collision was first published in hardcover.

The scientific and academic reaction to the book was generally presaged by the extortion. practiced prior to and after publication. against the Macmillan Company. As the book began to garner public and -  in some circles even scientific - interest and acclaim. all pretense of genteel discussion went by the boards.


Out came the mailed fists. the naked threats. and oceans of mud and offal. The attacks targeted three main groups: the public. the scientific and academic community. and Immanuel Velikovsky himself. Nor were such niceties as actually reading the book before denouncing it and its author employed.

Even before the Macmillan Company published the book. the renowned astronomer Harlow Shapley arranged multiple intellectual well poisonings in a learned journal. by an astronomer. a geologist. and an archeologist. not one of whom had read the book. This was a pattern used over and over again.

Shapley and his minions also engineered the sacking of the veteran senior editor (twenty-five years at the Macmillan Company) who had accepted Worlds in Collision for publication. Shapley was also responsible for the director of the famous Hayden Planetarium being fired for the high crime of proposing to mount a display at the planetarium on Velikovsky's unique cosmological theory. Meanwhile.


Velikovsky was systematically attacked in the scientific journals via distortion. lies. misrepresentation. claims of incompetence. and ad hominem attacks. while there never seemed to be space in which he could reply in order to defend himself.

Interestingly, one of Velikovsky's attackers was the astronomer Donald Menzel, since identified through the UFO researcher Stanton Friedman's digging to be a highly cleared disinformation specialist during World War II.


Donald Menzel was a major UFO debunker, but his name is one of those on the famous/notorious TOP SECRET (Codeword) MJ-12 document, where he is listed as composing part of the super-covert investigative team for the July 1947 Roswell crash, alleged technology from which was discussed in an Atlantis Rising magazine article entitled "The Fight for Alien Technology: Jack Shulman Remains Undaunted by Mounting Threats."

Let's look now at some of Velikovsky's then shocking claims. and see whether he got anything right. (Velikovsky's claims are in bold.)

Venus is hot.
Correct. Velikovsky argued that Venus was incandescent in historical times and would therefore still be hot. Venusian cloud temperature measurements in 1950 showed temperatures well below freezing day and night. In 1962. NASA's Mariner II satellite showed the surface temperature to be 800 degrees Fahrenheit. more than enough to melt lead. Surface probes later determined the true value to be about 1.000 degrees Fahrenheit.

A large comet was in collision with Earth.
Correct. Even before the famous Chicxylub story became public knowledge. researchers had found. in August 1950. rich deposits of meteoric nickel in the red clay of ocean bottoms and in March 1959 had found a layer of deep sea white ash. deposited in a "cometary collision" or "the fiery end of bodies of cosmic origin."

Some cometary tails and also some meteorites contain hydrocarbons.
Correct. By 1951. spectral analysis disclosed hydrocarbons in comet tails. By 1959. hydrocarbons in meteorites were found to be composed of many of the same waxes and compounds found here on Earth.

Evidence of petroleum hydrocarbons will be found on the Moon.
Correct. Samples brought back by the Apollo XI mission had evidence of organic matter in the form of aromatic hydrocarbons.

Jupiter emits radio noises.
Velikovsky made this claim at Princeton in 1953. Eighteen months later. two scientists from the Carnegie Institute announced receiving strong radio signals from Jupiter. then considered a cold body enshrouded in thousands of miles of ice. By 1960. two Cal Tech scientists had found that Jupiter had a radiation belt around it that was emitting 1.014 times more radio energy than Earth's Van Allen belt.

Quite a few "lucky guesses" and "coincidences." wouldn't you say?

Let's now turn to Velikovsky's single greatest "crime." which not only put him in the soup but also kept him there: his interdisciplinary investigations.


Dr. Lynn Rose, writing in Pensee: Velikovsky Reconsidered, in an article entitled "The Censorship of Velikovsky's Interdisciplinary Synthesis." noted an automatic tendency toward uniformitarianism in all the scientific disciplines.


This condition was born of a profound ignorance concerning evidence of catastrophism found by other disciplines. leading to the ignoring or rejecting of such evidence within any particular discipline.

As Dr. Rose put it:

"Each isolated discipline tends to remain unaware of the catastrophic data hidden away as skeletons in the closets of other disciplines. Velikovsky has removed those skeletons from various closets and has been rattling them loudly for all to hear.


His suggestion is that when one looks at all the evidence without restricting oneself to the limited number of 'facts' usually considered by one group of specialists. it becomes possible to make a strong case for catastrophism."


Immanuel Velikovsky



To say Velikovsky's skeletal music was unwelcome to many would be putting it mildly.


Said Dean B. McLaughlin, professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan, in his May 20, 1950, letter of protest and threat to the Macmillan Company (as quoted by Dr. Rose):

"The claim of universal efficacy is the unmistakable mark of the quack... There is specialization within specialties... But no man today can hope to correct the mistakes in more than a small subfield of science. And yet Velikovsky claims to be able to dispute the basic principles of several sciences! These are indeed delusions of grandeur!"

Does this explain in part why Velikovsky was essentially crucified, then ostracized, by most of the scientific community?

Does this explain why he was harangued ad nauseam at his "day in court" twenty-four years after Worlds in Collision was published? This "day in court" took the form of a special meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in San Francisco on February 25, 1974.


It was arranged by Carl Sagan and had been promised to be a fair forum. Instead, it turned into a snide dismissal of Velikovsky, an unprincipled, many-on-one attack on a slow-speaking, seventy-nine-year-old man deluged with objections and assertions and given near zero time to respond.


Velikovsky endured two sessions of this abuse, which lasted seven hours, and while he managed to score some good points, to many who participated in this rigged event he came across poorly. Nor was a key paper by Albert Michelson (of speed of light measurement fame), which supported Velikovsky's arguments, allowed to be read before reporters left to file their stories.

The stunning findings of planetary probes ended Velikovsky's college exile and overloaded his schedule.


Velikovsky died, still researching, in 1979, leaving us a rich published and unpublished body of work.



8 - The Perils of Planetary Amnesia


As Evidence of Ancient Cataclysm Mounts. the Legacy of a Rejected Genius Is Reconsidered

Steve Parsons

At one time, Immanuel Velikovsky was known and respected as a world-class scholar.


After studying at Edinburgh. Moscow. Zurich. Berlin. and Vienna. Velikovsky earned a reputation as an accomplished psychoanalyst and enjoyed close ties to Albert Einstein and Freud's first pupil. Wilhelm Stekel.

But with the 1950 publication by the Macmillan Company of his bestselling book Worlds in Collision, Velikovsky's reputation in the halls of science plummeted all the way to the basement. His stature as a researcher and scholar would not recover for the rest of his life.


Overnight, Velikovsky became persona non grata on college campuses across the nation. and his work was vilified by mainstream astronomers.

How did this Russian-born Jewish scholar. educated at the world's most respected centers of learning. bring such a firestorm of criticism upon himself? What caused powerful men of science to denounce Velikovsky as a liar and charlatan on the basis of hearsay. swearing never to read his popular book? Why have respected professionals lost their jobs for committing the crime of recommending an open investigation of Velikovsky's conclusions?

After examining the ancient records of cultures around the world. Velikovsky made three unusual claims in Worlds in Collision.


He postulated that,

  1. the planet Venus moved on a highly irregular course. passing very close to Earth within human history

  2. electromagnetic and electrostatic forces operate on a planetary scale. powerful enough to affect the motions and activity of planets

  3. the planet Venus took the form of an immense comet in the ancient sky. inspiring great awe and fear in the hearts of our distant ancestors

Velikovsky's conclusions were controversial. but this alone cannot explain the intensity of the response from the halls of academe.


Controversy alone cannot explain why. over many years. the popular Carl Sagan mounted a personal campaign to discredit Velikovsky. Normally. the marketplace of ideas will accommodate a broad range of thought. from the weird to the boring. but not this time.

The sheer novelty of Velikovsky's work cannot explain why Dr. Harlow Shapley. director of the Harvard Observatory. along with ranking astronomer Fred Whipple and other powerful scientists. would force Macmillan to cease publication and fire its own editor, James Putnam, even though Worlds in Collision had soared to the top of the best-seller lists.


Some have speculated that only the power of truth touching the raw nerve of mass denial could cause grown men to go ballistic like this.

Only a deeply buried trauma in the mass consciousness could erupt with such irrational fury. In the case of the "Velikovsky affair," the organized. frantic defense of entrenched belief produced one of the most pathological episodes in the history of science.


Had Immanuel Velikovsky penetrated the veil of "planetary amnesia"?

As a psychoanalyst. Velikovsky was well qualified to recognize pathology in human behavior. In a later book. Mankind in Amnesia, he claims that the ancient sages exhibited a frightened state of mind. haunted by a particular fear based on terrible events their ancestors had experienced when the world was ripped apart by monstrous natural forces.


He describes the means by which this deepest of collective traumas was gradually buried and forgotten over the years, but not eliminated.

Aristotle's cosmology. which dominated scholastic thinking for two thousand years. acted with surprising precision to suppress all lingering fears of planetary disorder. Then in the 1800s. modern science agreed that the solar system. Earth. and all forms of life on Earth had absolutely never passed through any kind of wild or disorderly phase in the past.


This idea, known as uniformitarianism, became established dogma in science. The tide of human thought has successfully driven the memory from conscious awareness, but the evidence indicates it is still alive in the collective human psyche.

Velikovsky understood our tendency to suppress trauma but also to express and repeat trauma in peculiar ways. For example. the early wars of conquest were deliberately conducted as a ritual exercise to reenact the havoc and destruction brought by the planetary gods of old.

In today's world. we barely recognize our own violence and certainly don't associate it with ancient roots. That's the nature of buried trauma. One doesn't see one's own shadow.

Immanuel Velikovsky initially believed that the checks and balances of science would encourage others to examine his conclusions and perform their own investigations along the same lines. Unfortunately. however. by the time he passed away. in 1979. he had come to believe that his ideas would never be taken seriously by mainstream science.


Though the early seventies saw a renewal of public interest in Velikovsky's work. the doors of science have remained tightly shut on it to this day. Only the most highly motivated individuals with independent financial support have been able to continue the research where Velikovsky left off.

Interestingly. recent findings by the space program have confirmed much of what Velikovsky said. Consider the following Venusian puzzles.

Venus spins in a direction opposite that of the other planets and its temperature of 1.000 degrees Fahrenheit is much hotter than expected for an object in its orbital position. The chemistry of Venus violates the established theory of planet formation. The upper atmosphere of Venus is marked by extreme. faster-than-rotation winds and the calm. lower atmosphere displays continuous lightning discharges. The body of the planet is covered with 100.000 volcanoes that have completely resurfaced the planet in recent geological time.

And finally. the traditional theory cannot account for the invisible remnant of a cometlike tail extending forty-five million kilometers into space.


The Venusian tail was detected by the Earth-orbiting SOHO satellite and reported in the June 1997 issue of New Scientist. The Venusian puzzles make sense, it can be argued, if we believe what ancient people actually said about Venus.


They said that Venus was a comet. They called Venus the long-haired star, the bearded star. and the witch star. They said Venus took the form of the goddess in both her beautiful aspect and her terrible aspect, that she was a fierce dragon who attacked the world. A newly arriving body that has not yet achieved thermal and electrical equilibrium with its environment could present such a display in the sky.

Apparently Velikovsky opened the door to our buried collective memories by regarding the testimony of ancient peoples as credible evidence for unusual natural events in our past.

His journey began when he studied the Egyptian and Hebrew accounts of the disasters and wonders that accompanied the Old Testament Exodus. dated at approximately 1500 B.C.E. He discovered close parallels in the historical writings of other cultures. suggesting that the same sequence of catastrophes beset the entire globe and was experienced by all people simultaneously.

In 1950. science was not yet ready to accept the testimony of ancient peoples as credible evidence for unusual planetary events. The physical sciences would not tolerate an intrusion by an outsider who drew conclusions that crossed academic boundaries. But nearly fifty years later. science has opened the door a crack.

Two innovative theorists in the scientific establishment have recently published a book bearing a distinctive Velikovskian tone.


Dr. Victor Clube, dean of the department of astrophysics at Oxford, together with his colleague, Dr. William Napier, has developed a thesis of cometary catastrophe that draws upon mythical themes as primary evidence. Though Clube and Napier's cometary visitor was not a planet, the story is surprisingly close to that of Worlds in Collision.

Other innovative theorists have thrown themselves even more wholeheartedly into this line of research.


The comparative mythologist David Talbott and the physicist Wallace Thornhill independently recognized the power of Velikovsky's discoveries and have followed up with forty-five years of combined research of their own.


By breaking from the pack and looking at observed facts with fresh eyes.


Wallace Thornhill has become convinced that planets and stars function in an electrically dynamic environment. The Venusian tail. discovered last year. retains its ropelike or filamentary structure across forty-five million kilometers because it is a current carrying plasma.


These plasma structures, Birkeland currents, are well known to plasma physicists but remain unrecognized by astronomers. The very existence of Birkeland currents in the solar system demonstrates the existence of a flow of electric current in the plasma that fills the solar system. And this opens up a whole new way of seeing things.

Thornhill says that stars do not produce all of their light and heat by thermonuclear processes. Instead. our Sun and all other stars resemble great spheres of lightning. These spheres receive energy externally rather than from nuclear fusion at their core, he says. The accepted theory that stars produce energy by nuclear fusion suits the mind-set of the atomic era but does not conform to actual observations.

Sadly, the general public has no way of knowing that the behavior of our Sun does not fit the conventional theory.


We observe a lack of neutrinos; temperature reductions rather than gains as one approaches the surface; accelerated solar wind; strange rotation behavior and holes in the surface that reveal a cooler, rather than hotter, interior.

"You have to observe what nature actually does," he says, "not what you think it should do."

Thornhill's empirical approach does allow ancient human testimony to count as credible evidence.

Fables, legends, and myths don't prove Thornhill's ideas, but they provide clues. For instance, the mythical gods hurled great thunderbolts at each other when they battled in the heavens. The flashing thunderbolt was their weapon of choice.


And the earliest written records of the ancient sages and stargazers confirm that the gods who battled in the sky were named with the same names as our most familiar planets.


Ancient catastrophes


If (1) the mythical gods were the planets, and if (2) the planets moved so close to each other in the sky that they exchanged colossal electrical bolts, and if (3) this took place within human memory, then where are the scars and the craters?

Actually, the scars of colossal electric strikes literally cover the Moon and most of the planets.


These scars are fresh and abundant, just waiting to be studied from a new perspective. Specific patterns in these scars bear a remarkable similarity to the patterns left behind by natural lightning strikes and arcs produced in laboratories on Earth.

Planetary geologists speculate that the long, tapering "sinuous rilles" found on the moon and Mars, which travel both uphill and downhill for hundreds of kilometers, are collapsed lava tubes or dry riverbeds or cracks in the crust. But conventional experts are grasping at straws on this one. The electrical signature is unmistakable.

Such hard evidence is dangerous to science.

  • What if Thornhill's claims are taken seriously?

  • What if the glass collected from the bottom of small craters of the moon and brought back by the astronauts were really heated and melted by electrical discharge rather than meteor impact?

  • What if the Valles Marineris was actually caused by a giant thunderbolt that ripped across the face of Mars, leaving a gaping chasm that could swallow a thousand Grand Canyons?


Wallace Thornhill



If thousands of marks and scars on the planets were caused by powerful electrical discharges - the thunderbolts of the gods - then astronomy is left with more than egg on its face. We're talking about an omelet!

Fortunately for Thornhill, he has not suffered persecution for his unusual views. at least not yet. Perhaps this is because the views of this unassuming Aussie have not received much exposure.


But that will change soon.


David Talbott has already found himself the subject of a ninety-minute documentary, titled "Remembering the End of the World."


Unlike Thornhill's work in the physical sciences. Talbott's work rests upon unusual and unexpected patterns found in human memory. And what a memory!

Imagine a global event of extreme drama. experienced by the entire human race. involving great wonders in the sky. Imagine the intensity of the experience and its memory to be so great as to alter the course of human development. For the first time ever. entire nations began to erect grand monuments to the gods and perform passionate rituals in a futile effort to relive the earlier experience, to magically restore life to the way it was before the great collapse.

At the dawn of civilization. perhaps five thousand years ago. says Talbott. every dimension of civilized life pointed to the earlier time when things were better. when heaven was close to Earth. before the gods went away. The arts. the songs. the stories. the architecture. the religious beliefs. the military affairs. and the meaning of words and symbols all provide us with lasting evidence of what people experienced then.


And according to Talbott, people used every device known to keep alive the memory of a glory that once was. That glory and its violent collapse involved catastrophic displays in the heavens as planets moved close to Earth and appeared huge in the sky.

But just as the fabled gods had gone away. the memory of the golden time would eventually go away. The memory of the violent collapse of the golden time would also go away. but its scars would not. Those scars of massive collective trauma. of doomsday. dwell within every human being alive today and powerfully affect how we relate to the world and to each other.

Velikovsky understood the way by which an individual suppresses the painful memory of trauma in the psyche. He reasoned that the entire human race has collectively suppressed the trauma of its expulsion from the womb-like golden time. Yet that suppressed trauma keeps expressing itself as human violence and alienation. We accept the background pain as a normal state of existence, because that's what everyone has always felt, going back as far as anybody can remember.


But Velikovsky would say that this state is not "normal."


We collectively suffer a distorted view of life because of this greatest of all traumas, when the Time of Perfect Virtue (as the Chinese call it) came to a cold and bitter end.

Talbott has extended Velikovsky's work by showing, in exquisite detail, the way that Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus were intimately tied to human experience during primordial times. These planets traveled very close to Earth, actually assuming a stable and symmetrical, colinear configuration immediately prior to the myth-making epoch.


The "Age of the Gods," according to Talbott's astonishing story, harkens both to the stable/peaceful period and to the violent/dramatic period when the colinear configuration destabilized and collapsed completely.

Throughout the world, people have drawn images and symbols bearing a distinctive crescent. Laypeople and experts alike always assume that the crescent represents the Moon. Sometimes the crescent has been drawn with a star in its center, but think about it. No star will ever be seen within the crescent of the Moon, as the body of the moon occupies that space. And no orb sits squarely in front of the Moon that we see today.

Talbott could speak for hours on this symbol alone to show that we are confronting an image whose imprint is far deeper in human consciousness and far more awesome than our familiar Moon. In fact, Talbott found no astronomical records of a moon prior to about 500 B.C.E., even though the people of early times were nearly obsessed with observing the activity in the sky.

The crescent was cast by our Sun on Saturn when Saturn occupied the pole position in the sky so close as to subtend up to 20 degrees of arc or more. The small orb in the center was Venus in her dormant phase. Venus appeared as a shining star when in her radiant phase.

Wallace Thornhill's understanding of plasma-discharge phenomena allows even the nontechnical mind to visualize the way a young Venus might have produced the radiating luminous streamers found in ancient representations of the planet.

Using research methods borrowed from Velikovsky, Talbott examined the mythology of every major culture in the world. Since mythical stories become more locally embellished with the passage of time, he traced the stories back to their oldest and purest forms. This led him to the earliest writings from the cradle of civilization in the Middle East and ancient Egypt.

The great pyramids, according to Talbott, are filled with human writings that describe a world that we do not see today, a sky that we do not see today. That's why the meaning of the hieroglyphs bewilders our best experts. These inscriptions don't answer to our world. This is an important clue.

With support from Thornhill and a growing number of accomplished scholars, David Talbott is mounting a heresy even more radical than Velikovsky's. He claims, with complete assurance, that Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter traveled very close to Earth within human memory. He says that together these planets presented a stupendous form in the sky, at times peaceful and at times violent.

The people alive during this "Age of the Gods" felt a deep kinship with these familiar forms. That's why the battles of the gods in the sky and the departure of these gods caused such confusion and trauma. The emotional climate for those people might have resembled that of innocent children whose reliable and loving parents suddenly turned into capricious tyrants before finally abandoning them.


For the first time, people began to experience the illusion of separation and all forms of human violence.


The rest is history.



9 - Thunderbolts of the Gods

Does Growing Evidence of an Electric Universe Reveal Previously Hidden Meaning in Ancient Mythology?
Mel and Amy Acheson

Who would have guessed that the myths of ancient cultures could throw new light on the mysterious surface features of planets and moons?


Or give new meaning to current work in artificial-lightning laboratories?


If the mythologist David Talbott, of Portland, Oregon, and the physicist Wallace Thornhill, of Canberra, Australia, are correct, then ancient myths and symbols are a key to an expanded and holistic understanding of both history and the physical universe.

Yet in our age. world mythology seems a most unlikely source of discovery.


Until recently. mythologists sought to explain the ancient stories with references to events in everyday life: to the seasons. to the power of a storm, to phases of the Moon, or to movements of the Sun.


But their efforts have produced a morass of contradictions, reinforcing the popular belief that myth is fiction pure and simple -  anything but a dependable guide to the past.


In contrast, David Talbott, inspired by Immanuel Velikovsky's theory of interplanetary upheaval. developed a method for comparing the myths of far-flung cultures.


His objective was to discover whether reliable memories were embedded in the different stories. This method is similar to the reasoning of attorneys in a court of law. questioning witnesses who may be lying. or incompetent. or remembering incorrectly. When statements from independent witnesses converge on unique details. they tend to corroborate each other. even if the witnesses are not reliable in other things they say.


Similarly, according to Talbott, there are hundreds of common themes in world mythology in which different words and different symbols point to the same remembered events. The more peculiar the points of convergence. the more unreasonable it is to dismiss them.

When allowed to speak for themselves. these universal memories tell a coherent and detailed story, Talbott claims.


But it is a story that seems preposterous from today's worldview: According to Talbott. what the ancients worshipped and feared as powerful gods were planets positioned extremely close to Earth. This close congregation of planets appeared as huge powers in the sky.


Their instabilities and unpredictable movements gave rise to one of the most common themes of myth - the wars of the gods. In these dramatic stories. the gods pounded each other with cosmic lightning while fire and stone descended on Earth.


In ancient traditions, few images are more vividly presented than the thunderbolts of the planetary gods, Talbott notes.


Consider the gas-giant Jupiter, whom the Greeks remembered as the ruler Zeus, the victor in the celestial clash of the Titans.

"Jupiter is just a little speck of light in our sky. but ancient peoples recalled the god Jupiter as a towering form in the heavens. wielding lightning as his weapon of choice. What does this mean? If the gods were planets, then the thunderbolts of the gods were nothing less than interplanetary lightning discharges.


The lightning-bearer Zeus, Greek god of the planet Jupiter.



In Hesiod's Theogony, we read of Zeus,

"From Heaven and from Olympus he came immediately, hurling his lightning: the bolts flew thick and fast from his strong hand together with thunder and lightning, whirling an awesome flame..."

When the dragon Typhon attacked the world, there was,

"thunder and lightning, and... fire from the monster, and the scorching winds and blazing thunderbolt."

Destroyed by a lightning bolt from Zeus, the world-threatening dragon came to be known as the "thunderstricken." Indeed, it is remarkable how many mythical figures are struck down by lightning.

In Classical myth alone, these figures include Enceladus, Mimas, Menoetius, Aristodemus and Capaneus, Idas, Iasion, and Asclepius.

"The biggest mistake a scholar can make," Talbott says, "is to look for terrestrial explanations. The earliest forms of these stories are cosmic. The gods, the great heroes, and the thunderbolts that fly between them are celestial through and through."

Hebrew tradition has remembered well the lightning of the gods.


Psalm 77 proclaims:

"The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the Earth trembled and shook."

From India, the Mahabharata and Ramayana relate that lightning of the gods filled the heavens like a rain of fiery arrows. From ancient Egypt, Babylon, Scandinavia, China, and the Americas, myths and legends describe conflagrations attributed to thunderbolts from the gods.

These stories of cosmic battles provide much of the content of the myths we know today.


Talbott writes:

"If we've failed to recognize the celestial players, it's because the planets which inspired these stories have receded to pinpoints of light. In modern times, we see no interplanetary lightning arcing between them."

But Talbott reminds us that if there is anything to these global memories, the physical evidence should be massive.


This amounts to a call for objective investigation of the surface features of planets and moons, to see if the telltale markers of interplanetary discharges might be present.


Unbeknownst to Talbott, the Australian physicist Wallace Thornhill had been pursuing just such an investigation.


Thornhill had discovered Velikovsky's books shortly before starting his university career.

"I was the only physics undergraduate to haunt the anthropology shelves of the university library," he says. "The result was a strong conviction that Velikovsky had presented a case that required further study."

But his next discovery was the reluctance, even hostility, of scientists to question the assumptions underlying their theories.

One of those assumptions that Thornhill questioned was the insignificance of electrical phenomena on astronomical scales. The Nobel laureate Hannes Alfven, a pioneering investigator of the properties of plasmas in electrical discharges such as lightning, had admonished theoretical physicists that their models were wrong. Real plasmas didn't behave the way mathematical deductions predicted.


They are not superconductors, Thornhill explains, nor can they be treated as a gas, as is implicit, for example, in the term solar wind. Electrical currents flow in them, pinching into long filaments and then braiding themselves into ropelike structures. These long, twisted filaments are visible in solar prominences, galactic jets, and comet tails.


They were detected as "stringy things" in the forty-million-kilometer-long tail of Venus last year.

Following the suggestion of Ralph Juergens, an electrical engineer who studied Alfven's work, Thornhill began to amass evidence showing that most features now being photographed on planets, satellites, and asteroids are scars of plasma discharges: interplanetary lightning.

"By scaling up electrical effects seen on Earth and in the laboratory, I can provide stunning support for the ancient imagery of a different sky and hence the likelihood that planets and moons did move in close proximity in the recent past," he claims.


"An electrical model provides a simple mechanism for reordering a chaotic planetary system in a very short time and maintaining that stability."

One of the laboratory effects is produced by moving a high-voltage pointed rod just above the surface of a powder-covered insulator placed on a grounded metal plate.


The spark forms characteristic patterns in the powder. A long, narrow main channel of fairly uniform width will have a narrower, more sinuous channel engraved along its center. Tributary channels run parallel to the main channel for a distance, then they rejoin it almost perpendicularly.

Thornhill points out that these same features are seen on a larger scale in lightning strikes to Earth, such as on golf courses. Trenches of constant width are created, with narrower furrows snaking down their centers. The soil blasted from the trench is deposited along both sides.


Secondary channels may run parallel to the main channel, and tributary channels join at right angles.


Thornhill describes how the same effects are repeated on a planetary scale in features called sinuous rilles. Long, uniformly narrow channels snake across the surface, often with levees of material deposited along each side.




The more sinuous inner channels often have chains of small, circular craters precisely centered along their axes, or the craters overlap to produce fluted walls.


There is generally no sign of rubble from collapsed roofs. as would be expected if the conventional "lava tube" explanation for rilles on the Moon were correct. Nor is there evidence of the outwash that would result if the channels had been formed by water, as has been proposed for rilles on Mars.


The characteristic "corkscrew" form of a plasma filament

arcing across the surface of Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter

(NASA rHtviofiRATHj


Furthermore, the rilles run uphill and down.


Thornhill points out, following an electrical potential rather than the gravitational potential, as water and lava do. Where rilles intersect, the younger channel and its levees continue uninterrupted across the older as though the older channel weren't there.


This is especially obvious on Europa, where the levees are often darker than the surrounding terrain.


They are also darker than the central channel. which creates a problem for the accepted explanation that they are darker material welling up through cracks in the ice. Thornhill surmises that the electrical forces of the arc altered the chemical or. possibly. the nuclear. composition of the debris.

Particularly remarkable is the series of looping rilles on Europa. Ice cracking in loops is unheard of, but the characteristic corkscrew form of a plasma filament arcing across the surface easily explains it.

Thornhill also notes the similarities of craters on the planets and moons to those created in the laboratory. Both tend to be perfectly circular because an electrical arc always strikes perpendicular to a surface.


Walls are nearly vertical and floors are nearly flat as the circular motion of the arc machines out the crater. Impact and explosion craters, by contrast, tend to have a bowl shape: Instead of being lifted from the surface, excavated material undergoes shock displacement, shattering and flowing in a manner similar to that of a fluid for the duration of the shock.

Another common feature of electrically generated craters, Thornhill explains, is terracing along the sides, sometimes corkscrewing down to the floor, following the rotary motion of the arc. The Moon and Mars both provide many examples of terraced and corkscrew craters.

Central peaks tend to be symmetrical and steep-sided, similar to the central "nipple" left by plasma machining as the rotary corkscrewing motion of the arc cuts out the material around it. Thornhill contrasts this with the irregular mass of the so-called rebound peak in a lab-produced impact or explosion crater.


In a number of craters on the Moon, the central peak connects to the surrounding terrain with an "isthmus," just as in a plasma-machined crater when the arc is quenched before completing a full rotation.




A telling characteristic of electrical origin, Thornhill says, is a crater centered on the rim of another crater. This is a common sight on the Moon and some planets. It's an expected effect of the arc jumping to or striking the highest elevations.

Finally, many volcanoes are more likely scaled-up versions of fulgamites, Thornhill claims.


Fulgamites are blisters of material raised on lightning arrestors during a strike. Typically, a fulgamite has a steep, fluted outer edge and a crater at the top, formed as the more diffuse discharge that raised the fulgamite pinches down to a narrow arc.


The most impressive example is Olympus Mons on Mars, six hundred kilometers across and twenty-four kilometers high.


A six-stroke crater was machined into the top as the arc narrowed and jumped to high spots on each successive rim.


The possibility that human memories could explain some of the great surprises of the space age does not come as a surprise to Talbott. As an example. he describes the ancient Scarface Motif.

A theme that occurs in many cultures is that of the warrior-god who. at a time of upheaval. receives a gaping wound or scar on his forehead. face. or thigh. At first sight. this is hardly surprising. because warriors and wounds do go together. However. this is not the story just of a warrior, but of the celestial archetype of warriors - the god whom human warriors celebrated as their inspiration on the battlefield.


In early astronomies, this warrior archetype is identified with a specific planet - Mars.

It was said of the Greek Mars. named Ares. that this celestial warrior received a deep gash. as in his encounter with Diomedes; then the god lets loose the howl of a thousand warriors and rushes to Zeus to bemoan his gaping wound.


An alternative Greek name for Mars was Heracles, and this god too suffered a harsh wound, in his thigh.

The Blackfoot Indians do not appear to have preserved any astronomical associations with their legendary warrior Scarface. Nor do the Aztecs appear to have remembered any planetary connection for their famous scarred god Tlaloc.


But Talbott insists that a comparative approach can demonstrate the common roots of such mythical themes.

Is it possible. then. that the "wounding" of Mars refers to an actual event?

"I remember looking at one of the first Mariner photographs of Mars," Talbott recalls. "It displayed a stupendous chasm cutting across the face of the planet. Even from a considerable distance. the chasm looked like a scar."

Astronomers christened it Valles Marineris - its size was such that it would swallow a thousand Grand Canyons and more.

"At that moment I realized that of all the planets and moons in our solar system. Mars alone bore the likeness of the warrior-god's wound."

This comparative method can also account for numerous details that the experts have missed.


Most dramatic is the connection between the Scarface theme and the lightning of the gods. Talbott gives as an example the god Enceladus. struck down by a thunderbolt of Zeus. The god was remembered as "the lightning-scarred god."


Enceladus appears to be a counterpart of the monster Typhon, the "thunderstruck" god. Both can be identified as the terrible aspect of the celestial warrior. according to Talbott. for it was in his "man-slaying" rampage that Ares received his wound.

Talbott was the first to connect the highly visible scarring of the Aztec Tlaloc to lightning.

"That's entirely due to the fact that the experts have not looked at the worldwide theme." he tells us.

Tlaloc was, in fact, directly linked to lightning, and it was through lightning that he dispatched souls to the Aztec heaven. In Aztec mythology there is a special afterlife world reserved for people who are killed by lightning.


It is ruled by Tlaloc and is called Tlalocan.

"Could something as massive as Valles Marineris have been carved by interplanetary lightning?" Talbott wondered.

As it turned out. he had the opportunity to pose that very question to Wallace Thornhill.


Thornhill and Talbott met nearly a decade after the first images of Valles Marineris were returned.

Talbott summarized his investigation of the lightning-scarred god theme.

"Could Valles Marineris have been caused by a thunderbolt?" he asked.

Thornhill replied,

"It couldn't have been anything else."

At four thousand kilometers long, seven hundred kilometers across in places, and up to six kilometers deep, it's comparable to scaling up the Grand Canyon to stretch from New York to Los Angeles.


Approximately two million cubic kilometers of the Martian surface was removed with no comparable debris field apparent.

"Valles Marineris was created within minutes by a giant electric arc sweeping across the surface of Mars," Thornhill claims.


"The rock and soil were lifted into space. Some of it fell back around the planet to create the great, strewn fields of boulders seen by both Viking Landers and Pathfinder."

He points to the steep, scalloped walls of the canyon and the central ridges as typical of plasma machining.


The side gullies often terminate in circular alcoves and are left hanging with no debris apron in the main channel. They tend to join at right angles.


Smaller channels and crater chains run parallel to the main channels.

"The arc probably began in the east in the region of chaotic terrain," Thornhill speculates. "It then swept westward, forming the great parallel canyons. It finally terminated in the huge rilles of Noctis Labyrinthus."

Thornhill has published The Electric Universe, which describes these and other electrical phenomena on an astronomical scale.


He cites the research of Talbott that demonstrates that ancient peoples witnessed an age when these now quiescent energies were dominant.

All the planets associated with the deities of myth are covered with scars that are best explained as plasma-discharge features. The craters, volcanoes, and canyons, when examined in detail, show essential differences from terrestrial counterparts.


Yet those anomalous features do correspond with the features of lightning scars. Talbott's prediction that the reconstructed themes of myth should be verified in massive physical evidence on the planets gains support with every image returned by space probes.

Valles Marineris bears the most striking correspondence with the mythical warrior-god's wound. This mighty chasm represents the confluence of two worldviews:

  • the dramatic, historical worldview of mythology

  • the objective, physical worldview of science

If Talbott and Thornhill are correct, the accepted understanding of both myth and science must be rebuilt on a new foundation that will support both the historical past and the electrical future.

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