MAKING THE CASE FOR CATASTROPHISM
EARTH CHANGES, SUDDEN AND GRADUAL
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
K-T boundary, the thin demarcation layer of clay between
the geological strata of two different, major epochs in Earth's
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.
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
Pursuing the thread of inquiry into sophisticated ancient
civilizations further led Schoch to confront the reputed existence
of the lost continents of
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
Schoch devotes more time to discounting their shared
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
LETTING THE FACTS SPEAK
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
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
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
"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."
WHAT THE ANCIENTS KNEW
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
The movement of these rocks by the floodwaters would have
been. in part. responsible for the aforementioned mountainside
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
And then he exclaimed his ice age theory to be scientific
Because no methodology can prove an idea, ideas have to be accepted
or rejected on the basis of the evidence they explain.
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
one of the earliest members of the Biological Society of
an organizer of the Geological Society of Washington
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
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
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
But the discoveries of flood evidence keep coming.
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
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
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
The most obvious source, of course, would be
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
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
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
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
7 - The Martyrdom of Immanuel Velikovsky
As Catastrophists Gain Ground. an Early Hero Gets Some Long Overdue
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Velikovsky went looking and came up with what is known as
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,
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
At Doubleday, the book went on to enjoy worldwide
success, success that was aided considerably by a public backlash
against the pressure tactics.
INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS; SCIENTIFICALLY DAMNED
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
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."
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.
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
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
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
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 SCIENTIFIC HERETIC
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."
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
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
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
Overnight, Velikovsky became persona non grata on college
campuses across the nation. and his work was vilified by mainstream
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.
the planet Venus moved on a highly irregular
course. passing very close to Earth within human history
electromagnetic and electrostatic forces operate on a planetary
scale. powerful enough to affect the motions and activity of
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
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.
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
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
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
And finally. the traditional theory cannot account for the invisible
remnant of a cometlike tail extending forty-five million kilometers
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
Other innovative theorists have thrown themselves
even more wholeheartedly into this line of research.
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
OPENING THE MIND TO THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE
By breaking from the pack and looking at observed facts with fresh
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
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
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
"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
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.
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
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?
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.
will change soon.
UNLOCKING AMNESIA THROUGH MYTH
David Talbott has already found himself the subject of a
ninety-minute documentary, titled "Remembering the End of the
Unlike Thornhill's work in the physical
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
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."
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
THE WEAPON OF THE GODS
In ancient traditions,
few images are more vividly presented than the thunderbolts of the
planetary gods, Talbott notes.
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.”
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,
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
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."
tradition has remembered well the lightning of the gods.
"The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the Earth trembled and shook."
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
These stories of cosmic battles provide much of the
content of the myths we know today.
"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.
ELECTRICITY AND ASTRONOMY
Unbeknownst to Talbott, the Australian physicist Wallace Thornhill
had been pursuing just such an investigation.
discovered Velikovsky's books shortly before starting his university
"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
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
"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.
electrical model provides a simple mechanism for reordering a
chaotic planetary system in a very short time and maintaining that
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.
PLANETARY PLASMA EFFECTS
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
across the surface of Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter
Furthermore, the rilles run uphill and
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
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
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
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
A six-stroke crater was machined into the top as
the arc narrowed and jumped to high spots on each successive rim.
THE LIGHTNING-SCARRED GOP
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
In early astronomies, this warrior archetype is
identified with a specific planet -
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
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
Is it possible. then. that the "wounding" of Mars refers to an
"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."
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."
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
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
"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.
THE LIGHTNING-SCARRED PLANET
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
"Could Valles Marineris have been caused by a thunderbolt?"
"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.
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
"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
He cites the research of Talbott that demonstrates that
ancient peoples witnessed an age when these now quiescent energies
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
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.
Back to Contents