by Robert Bedrosian
received a Ph.D. from Columbia University's Department
of Middle East Languages and Cultures in 1979.
"Method, you comprehend! Method! Arrange your facts.
Arrange your ideas. And if some little fact will not
fit in - do not reject it but consider it closely.
Though its significance escapes you, be sure that it
in Agatha Christie's
Murder on the Links (1923).
Ancient primary sources contain a
suggestion that extraterrestrials or intelligent non-humans had some
role in early human history.
It is a suggestion which derives from
circumstantial evidence. Based on currently available written
sources, a proof is not possible. The nature of the primary sources
themselves is responsible for this situation, since all written
literary sources relevant to the topic describe the early days of
humanity and are of a legendary or mythological nature.
The relevant primary sources, moreover,
are few in number. Nonetheless, within these few sources there are a
handful of passages which stand out, seeming to suggest an
extraterrestrial or non-human interaction, or at least a presence.
The question of
ancient extraterrestrial interaction
with humanity is a fascinating one and has been the partial focus of
many books and articles.
The topic received an early and
excellent treatment in Intelligent Life in the Universe
(1966) co-authored by the noted astronomers I.S. Shklovski
In Chapter 33 of that work, "Possible
Consequences of Direct Contact," Sagan suggested some criteria for
evaluating relevant material of a mythological nature:
"What guise may we expect such a
contact myth to wear? A simple account of the apparition of a
strange being who performs marvelous works and resides in the
heavens is not quite adequate...
Such an unusual occurrence [as
extraterrestrial contact] would certainly be described in the
legends and myths of the people who came into contact with space
voyagers. The astronauts would probably be portrayed as having
godlike characteristics and possessing supernatural powers.
Special emphasis would be placed on their arrival from the sky,
and their subsequent departure back into the sky.
These beings may have taught the
inhabitants of the Earth useful arts and basic sciences, which
would also be reflected in their legends and myths". (1)
A quantitative and qualitative advance
in scholarship on the subject was made by the polymath
Jacques Vallee, who holds a
master's degree in astrophysics from the University of Lille and a
doctorate in computer science from Northwestern University.
Passport to Magonia
(1969) Vallee provided
data from historical sources dating from about the 5th century B.C.
to the end of the 19th century, as well as earlier mythological
material suggesting a continuous extraterrestrial presence on Earth.
The subtitle of Passport to Magonia, "On UFOs, Folklore, and
Parallel Worlds," reflects other areas explored by Vallee, and by
his predecessors, and successors.
Vallee and others from the 1960s onward
have suggested that psychosocial causes may explain some of the
sightings of extraterrestrial beings and UFOs.
An additional view which has been
advanced is that we are not dealing with extraterrestrials but "ultraterrestrials,"
entities resident on the earth with us, but which we are unable to
catch more than glimpses of due to our limitations as humans, and/or
the reluctance of these entities to interact with us.
In any case, looked at from these
different and fascinating perspectives, potential areas of
investigation have expanded to include folklore, "Wonders" books
produced in the Middle Ages, Lives of the Saints, and other similar
Both the data and the method were
refined in Vallee's recent Wonders in the Sky (New York,
2009), co-authored by Chris Aubeck. In that book, the authors
revisited the data presented in Passport to Magonia, eliminating
some material and refining and/or adding other material.
Especially significant was the expanded
attention Aubeck and Vallee devoted to a discussion of method,
including rules of inclusion and exclusion of material, and the
development of useful descriptive icons or labels for the categories
and episodes in the display of their data (2).
Another important pioneer in the study of early human contact with
extraterrestrials is the distinguished scholar Thomas E. Bullard,
who holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University.
In his excellent article "Anomalous
Aerial Phenomena before 1800" he notes that from remote
antiquity to about 1800, a supernatural worldview prevailed in which
anything out of the ordinary could be attributed to supernatural
These included many now-familiar
astronomical or meteorological phenomena such as comets, meteors,
and parhelia (atmospheric halos).
However, he also observed some accounts
of phenomena of unusual character and less certain identity:
wildfire, apparitional phenomena,
aerial phenomena associated with the births and deaths of
rulers, heroes, and great events, aerial phenomena associated
with gods and saints, death-omen lights, supernatural beings
including ghosts, witches, will-o'-the-wisps, the Wild Hunt,
Fairies, aerial vehicles, and UFO-like phenomena. (3)
Bullard notes that the priesthoods of
the Greek and Roman world, like their Babylonian predecessors, were
always interested in oracles and divination. The surviving texts of
some of these oracles are replete with observations of various
Unlike the priests, however, reliable
Greek historians such as,
...did not concern themselves with
prodigious events, and/or anomalous phenomena.
This situation was reversed with later
Roman historians such as,
...and non-Roman historians in the Roman
world such as,
...whose works include unusual phenomena
as a matter of course. (4)
Bullard's important general categorization of the early material was
enhanced by his illuminating description of the spirit-filled
universe of early and medieval humanity:
"A common cosmology of the
supernatural era envisioned a tripartite universe.
An upper or heavenly level belonged
to the gods or powerful high spirits; the middle level was the
earth and belonged to humans; the lower level or underworld
belonged to the dead or lesser, often malevolent spirits. These
levels were never far apart and intersected at some points, such
as a mountain or cave.
A sacred tree might have its roots
in the underworld and its upper branches in heaven. Some spirits
shared the earth itself, inhabiting every tree, rock, or stream
and interacting with human beings on occasion.
Normally invisible or imperceptible
beings such as fairies might cohabit the earth in a sort of
alternative universe but occasionally appear to mortals. Traffic
to and fro between one level and another was also a common way
for humans to meet supernatural beings.
A vehicle was seldom required for
these otherworldly visitors, but the supernatural world view
allowed the gods to descend or the dead to arise and exercise
influence on earth as a normal, even predictable state of
Contact between humans and the
otherworld took various forms including direct meeting, visions,
apparitions, signs and wonders, "prodigies", and "divine
Bullard's general conclusion is that,
"pre-1800 anomalies do not make a
case for long-term alien visitation, nor do they necessarily
A classification system which is widely
used in studies and discussions of extraterrestrial-human
interaction in the modern period was proposed by the astrophysicist
J. Allen Hynek in 1972.
Hynek described three types of contact
with extraterrestrials: close encounters of the first, second, and
third kinds (CE1, CE2, CE3), the last being the most extensive.
All three categories included an
unidentified flying object or aerial phenomenon of some type.
Parallel to the scholarly works mentioned above, many popular works
of a pseudo-scientific nature appeared especially from the mid 1960s
on. In some cases, these works were spawned by the more serious
Characteristic of this genre are the
writings of Erich von Däniken, Immanuel Velikovsky, and Zechariah
These works, which have a broader and
often eclectic focus, usually devote some space to the topic of
extraterrestrial interaction with early humanity. However, much of
this material is written from the standpoint of advocacy and is
characterized by an unwillingness or inability to distinguish
between primary and secondary sources, the intermingled presentation
of data, speculation, and conclusions, as well as the amalgamation
of information on a variety of unexplained or unusual phenomena into
an investigation that purports to examine a single topic.
Often these works lack primary source
references and cite other secondary sources for their evidence, and
not infrequently the ultimate reference turns out to be a
"crypto-reference," based on nothing at all.
This lack of method and reliability
fatally compromises these works for anyone interested in conducting
an impartial examination of the topic of extraterrestrial
involvement in ancient human history. Indeed, it was our
dissatisfaction with the caliber of such popular secondary sources,
as well as our familiarity with the primary sources, that prompted
us to write the present essay.
Other motivations included a desire to
investigate some materials not considered by others, and the
excitement of an adventure.
Aubeck, Bullard, Sagan, Shklovski, and
Vallee all called for professional historians, anthropologists,
philologists, folklorists and others to give serious attention in
their research to the question of extraterrestrial involvement with
Though this has not happened to any
great extent, it is important to note that regarding the most
ancient period, the treatment already provided by these scientists
and scholars, though abbreviated, is of the highest order. They made
use of the best translations of the primary sources then available
and provided full references for the secondary source material.
Their classifications, analyses,
conclusions, and even their musings are important and constitute
examples of innovative investigative research and scholarship at its
best. We benefitted enormously from their works, and also from the
important writings of author and encyclopedist Jerome Clark.
The Western metaphor of "dwarfs,
standing on the shoulders of giants" certainly applies to the
present writer - in its "non-extraterrestrial" sense.
Even though our topic is a narrow one, because it has become linked
to a welter of non-standard phenomena, it unfortunately has acquired
the aura associated with them. It is for this reason that graduate
students and non-tenured professors who are interested in academic
employment in disciplines such as history and anthropology avoid the
Regrettably, the avoidance of the topic
by academics denies us the fruit of their expertise, and also denies
such qualified specialists themselves the opportunity to reflect on
matters of methodology.
For it is in considering the most
elusive topics seriously that historians and others may hone and
develop their analytical skills. This fruit, though hard to reach,
is especially delicious. The work involves conducting an
investigation, not attempting proofs.
The material needs to be treated with
exactly the same rigor and respect accorded to more conventional
Because the topic itself is so
unorthodox to the scholarly community, the methodology employed for
studying it must be entirely orthodox - that is to say, it must
comport with the rules of evidence found in traditional scholarly
Any conclusions presented must be based
on a reasonable interpretation of the evidence examined in the
study. Speculative implications, when advanced, should be clearly
identified as such and expressed in the most cautious language.
Concluding that nothing can be concluded
is a valid conclusion, and one worthy of respect if the
investigation is fairly and properly conducted.
Before proceeding to a discussion of the relevant primary sources, a
few general remarks about the sources are in order. On what bases
are we including or excluding material? Let us start with the
As we are dealing solely with written sources, we exclude
archaeological material, interpretations of which can be highly
We have excluded sources of questionable provenance/authenticity and
interpretation. The so-called Tulli papyrus is an example of the
first type: it is an illegitimate "ancient" source, a 20th century
The Popol Vuh, a tantalizing Mayan
legend about visitors from the stars, has been excluded because of
likely contamination by contact with Europeans.
story of Atlantis also has been
excluded, in this case because of questionable interpretation.
Though found in authentic sources (Plato's dialogues Timaeus, and
Critias, ca. 360 B.C.) the texts themselves do not mention
extraterrestrials of any kind, or even superhumans.
Atlantis' cities were guarded by towers
and gates, not unlike the cities of Greece. Ultimately, it actually
was defeated in battle by the Athenians, assuming that this is
history and not legend. Suggestions that Atlantis was a
technologically advanced society with deadly weapons were advanced
by 19-20th century psychics such as Helena Blatavsky, Ignatius
Donnelly, and Edgar Caycee, and are not at all supported or even
suggested by Plato's text.
We have here a legitimate ancient
reference adopted by a later era and imbued with a meaning not found
in the original text - a not infrequently observed phenomenon.
Written primary sources which have been included in this study were
selected because their narrations involve non-human, superior
entities and contain unusual details. The
presence of UFOs could not be a
selection criterion here (as it is in more extensive works), since
requiring a spaceship would entirely eliminate the earliest written
Requiring a spaceship would also rule
out much of the folkloric material, which may suggest cohabitation
with us of non-human, superior entities (perhaps ultraterrestrials)
rather than the arrival on Earth of extraterrestrials.
Among the sources included in this study are:
Berosus' account of the Oannes
entities, and Mesopotamian and Biblical narratives on the
creation/destruction of humanity, including mention of
interbreeding with the creator entities.
For the sake of completeness, the
airship supposedly described in the book of Ezekiel is briefly
introduced and referenced.
This material must be used with the
greatest caution for several reasons. First, though some of these
sources concern themselves with the "history" of early humanity, its
creation and earliest period, they are not history in any verifiable
All the examples selected have an
undeniably legendary and mythological cast. Second, the sources are
relatively late with respect to the events they purport to describe.
Berosus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., is describing a
time long anterior to his own. Indeed, Berosus' own information
about Oannes has survived most fully only in Eusebius'
Chronicle, written in the 4th century A.D.
The Old Testament, in its current form,
dates from about 400 B.C., even though individual books may have
existed hundreds of years earlier in oral or written form. The
lateness of the source relative to the event it describes always
increases the possibility of extraneous accretions.
Following exhortations in the writings of Aubeck, Bullard, and
Vallee, we will also investigate some folkloric material from
Armenia, Iran, and India - but in a second essay. In the case of
mythology and folklore, we are faced with a methodological problem
which Sagan and others raised and which needs to be restated - even
if we are unable to resolve it. This deals with additional criteria
for the selection or rejection of such material.
For example, it is the nature of a god
to have extra-human powers. Thus, Zeus hurling a lightning bolt, or
a giant flattening a house, need not be extraterrestrial figures
using weapons of mass destruction.
To paraphrase Sigmund Freud,
sometimes a giant is just a giant.
The peculiar nature of the subject and
its sources requires a methodology which examines myths, legends,
and folklore on an individual basis. The all-or-nothing approach -
either complete incorporation of "the gods" as extraterrestrials, or
their complete exclusion - will not do.
With these considerations in mind, let us proceed to an
investigation of the primary sources.
The Oannes creatures were talking amphibians which are described as
instructing humankind in all the essential arts of civilization over
a period of time.
The fullest account appears in the
Chronicle of the Christian cleric Eusebius (ca. 263-ca. 339), which
has recently become available in English translation. (9)
In his sections How the Chaldeans
chronicled [their past], from Alexander Polyhistor; about their
writings and their first kingdom, and Abydenus on the first Chaldean
kings, Eusebius describes material found in Books One and Two of the
4th century B.C. writer Berosus.
Eusebius' account itself derives from
summaries of Berosus made by early authors such as Alexander
Polyhistor (first half of the 1st century B.C.) and Abydenus
(perhaps 200 B.C.), and not from Berosus' text itself, which may or
may not have been extant when Eusebius was writing.
In the passage below, Eusebius describes
the appearance of the Oannes entities and their activities.
The Chaldean Chronicle
How the Chaldeans chronicled [their past], from Alexander
Polyhistor; about their writings and their first kingdom.
Here is what Berosus related in Book One, and in Book Two what
he wrote about the kings, one by one. He mentions the period
when Nabonassarus was king, but merely records the kings' names
not saying anything precise about their deeds, perhaps because
he did not consider that they had done anything worth recalling
- beyond [providing] a list of their names.
This is how he begins. Apollodorus
says that Alorus was the first Chaldean king to rule in Babylon,
reigning for 10 sars. A sar consists of 3,600 years, and this
[figure may be] broken down into [units called] ners and soses.
He says that one ner is 600 years, while one sos is 60 years.
This is how the [Chaldean] ancients reckoned [periods of] years.
Having stated this, he proceeds to enumerate the kings of the
Assyrians, one by one.
There were 10 kings from the first
king, Alorus, to Xisuthrus. He says that during [the latter's]
time the first great flood occurred, which Moses also mentions.
He states that the reign of those kings consisted of a total of
120 sars, making a total [in our denomination] of 2043 myriad
years. He describes them one by one thusly.
He says that on the death of Alorus, his son, Alaparus, [ruled
for] 3 sars; after Alaparus, the Chaldean Almelon, from the city
of Pautibiblon [? Bad-tibira], ruled for 13 sars; after Almelon,
Ammenon, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 12 sars. Now in
his day a creature called Idotion, having the [composite] shape
of a man and a fish, emerged from the Red Sea [Persian Gulf].
After [Ammenon], Amegalarus, from
the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 18 sars, and after him, the
shepherd Daonus, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 10 sars.
In his day, once again there emerged from the Red Sea four
hybrid beings of the same man-fish type [as Idotion]. Then
Edovanchus, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 18 sars.
During his reign once again another
sort of man-fish being emerged from the Red Sea, called Odacon.
He says that all of them were from Oannes, [and] he concisely
describes them, one by one...[king list]
This makes a total of 10 kings [ruling for] a total of 120 sars.
And they say that 120 sars equal 2043 myriad years, assuming
that a sar consists of 3,600 years.
Such are the figures related in Alexander Polyhistor's book. And
if a person regards this as accurate history, and accepts as
valid [reigns lasting] for such myriads of years, then [that
person] would have to believe other incredible material found in
the same book.
Howbeit, I will relate what that
same Berosus relates in the aforementioned historical romance,
and will resume their previous [thread] which [Alexander]
Polyhistor has put in his own book. One after the other he
recounts these types of things.
More apocryphal Chaldean history [taken] from the same book of
Alexander Polyhistor about the Chaldeans.
In the first of [his] Babylonian books, Berosus claims that he
lived in the time of Philip's [son] Alexander, and that he wrote
based on numerous books which were kept carefully in Babylon
[describing a period of] 215 myriad years, [such as]
chronologies, historical accounts, the Creator's making of
Heaven and Earth and the Seas, and [information] about kings and
Now it happened that in the first year, in the confines of
Babylonia, there emerged from the Red Sea an awesome creature
which was named Oannes. As Apollodorus relates in his book,
[this being] had the complete body of a fish. Yet by the fish's
head was another appropriate [human] head, and by the tail were
[a pair of] human feet, and it could speak human language.
A picture/likeness of [Oannes] has
been preserved to this day. He further states that this creature
kept company with humans during the day, completely abstaining
from any kind of food, instructing people in letters and the
techniques of different arts [including] city and temple
[building], knowledge of laws, the nature of weights and
measures, how to collect seeds and fruits; indeed, he taught
humankind everything necessary for domestic life on earth. From
that time on no one [individual] has discovered more.
Now when the sun went down, the
Oannes creature once again returned to the sea, remaining until
morning in the vast expanse of the waters.
Thus it lived the life of an
amphibian. Subsequently other similar creatures came forth, as
the book of the kings makes clear. Furthermore it is said that
Oannes wrote about deeds and virtues, giving humankind words and
Eusebius' other passage concerning the Oannes entities is his
summary of the account by the writer Abydenus:
Abydenus on the first Chaldean
So much for an account of Chaldean wisdom.
Now it is said that Alorus was the
first to rule over the land of the Chaldeans as king. He claimed
that the most provident Lord had designated him as shepherd of
[his] people, and he ruled for 10 sars. A sar is 3,600 years, a
ner is 600 years, and a sos is 60 years. Alaparus ruled after
him, followed by Almelon from the city of Pautibiblon.
During his reign the second
Anidostus emerged from the sea. [He was a being] like Oannes,
who had the appearance of a semi-divine hero. [Almelon] was
followed by Ammenon, then by Amegazarus. Next the shepherd was
Daonus. During his reign, four amphibious beings came on land,
emerging from the sea: Iovdocos, E'newgamos, E'newboghos, and
Anodap'os [, another sea-creature,
appeared] during the reign of Edorescho who ruled after [Daonus].
Other [kings] ruled after him, until Xisuthrus. These are also
recalled by Polyhistor. (11)
It is not possible to categorize this story according to J. Allen
Hynek's three grades: Close Encounters of the First, Second, or
To begin, there is no arrival by UFO.
Oannes and his kind are not described as coming out of a spaceship,
nor do they depart. On the contrary, these beings are described as
resident on earth - at least in Eusebius' summary - and engaged in
tutoring humankind for several generations. They are shown as
raising humanity up and also telling it about its origins (see next
They also provide information in written
form, which the humans bury to preserve from the Deluge. This
material is later retrieved and, presumably, helps humanity to
Carl Sagan described the Oannes
"...a legend which more nearly
fulfils some of our criteria for a genuine contact myth... Taken
at face value, the legend suggests that contact occurred between
human beings and a non-human civilization of immense powers on
the shores of the Persian Gulf, perhaps near the site of the
ancient Sumerian city of Eridu, and in the fourth millennium
B.C. or earlier. (12) ...
Sumerian civilization is depicted by
the descendants of the Sumerians themselves
to be of non-human origin.
A succession of strange creatures
appears over the course of several generations. Their only
apparent purpose is to instruct mankind. Each knows of the
mission and accomplishments of his predecessors". (13)
Oannes is described as a creature/animal
(Armenian gazan) but - like a robot - does not eat, at
least when on land.
It is tantalizing to speculate that if
this story reflects reality, entities of the Oannes type may have
been teaching land mammals during the day and sea mammals during the
Beings in some way similar to Oannes are known from neighboring
areas. The Phoenicians of the western Levant worshipped a god,
Dagon, which was half-man and half-fish. (15)
The first ruler of the city of Athens,
Cecrops, was described as half-man and half-fish. (16)
Of course, these stories from lands not
so distant from Mesopotamia may derive from the Mesopotamian account
of Oannes. Farther east in Iran, India, and China, we encounter
similar myths of founding culture-figures who likewise are described
as part-human and part-fish. (17)
If these unusual stories reflect
reality, then the implication is that at some point early in human
history, creatures/entities of the Oannes type were active in
different parts of the Aegean, Mesopotamia, West and East Asia, and
played a crucial role in the development of human civilization.
and Biblical Narratives
...about Human Origins, Exterminations, and the
Intermarriage of Humans with Their Creators
Accounts of the creation and early days of humanity appear in two
related traditions, Mesopotamian (Sumerian/Babylonian/Assyrian) and
Though some of the stories in Genesis
may derive from the earlier Mesopotamian legends, for convenience we
will discuss them separately. The Babylonian account of creation is
given by one of the Oannes entities in a lecture to its human
The passage below is from Eusebius'
There was a time, he says, when all
was dark and water. And there were other sorts of creatures [on
Half of them could reproduce
themselves [asexually], while there were others which procreated
and bore humans with two wings, others with four wings and two
faces, with one body and two heads, male and female, and
[others] having both male and female natures [combined].
Other humans had the legs of goats,
horns on their heads, others had horses' hooves. Others had the
rear half of a horse and the front half of a human. Some had the
hybrid appearance of a horse and a bull. Also born were bulls
with human heads, dogs with quadripartite bodies having the
flippers of a fish and a fish's tail sprouting from the
[There were] horses with dogs' heads
as well as humans and other creatures with horses' heads and/or
human forms and the extremities of fish. In addition there were
diverse sorts of dragon-shaped creatures, hybrid fish, reptiles,
snakes, and many types of astonishing creatures of differing
appearance. The pictures of each of them are preserved at the
temple of Belus.
All of them were ruled over by a
woman named Markaye' who was called T'aghatt'ay in Chaldean. The
Greek translation of T'aladday is "sea". Now while all of these
mixed [creatures] were arising, Belus attacked. He cut the woman
[i.e., the sea] in two, making half the sky and the other half
the earth, and he killed the creatures in it.
Thus [information] about the natural
world is expressed in the form of an allegorical fable which
means that initially there existed only water and moisture and
the creatures in it. Then that deity cut off its head and
another deity took the blood which dripped from it, mixed it
with soil, and created humankind.
Thus they became wise and partook of
the thoughts of the gods.
As regards Belus, which translates into Greek as Dios and
into Armenian as Aramazd, he split the darkness in two,
separating heaven and earth from each other, and then smoothed
and fashioned the world. [Those] creatures which could not
endure the strength of the light perished.
Then Belus looked at the world,
[both] the desert [parts] and the fruitful [parts], and gave an
order to one of the gods to take [some of] the blood which was
dripping down from his own severed head and to mix it with soil
and to create humans, other animals, and beasts which could
withstand this air.
Belus also established the sun, the
moon, and the five wandering stars. According to [Alexander]
Polyhistor, this is what Berosus relates in his first volume. In
the second volume he provides [information] about the reigns of
the ten kings individually, which we have already treated.
[This portion, from Oannes to Belus,]
extends [the account back] more than 40 myriads. (18)
According to the account above, prior to the creation of humans in
their present form, and apparently before the creation of dry land,
other beings existed.
These were hybrid or composite entities
having parts similar to a variety of mammals (including humans),
birds, reptiles, and fish. This group was destroyed by a deity named
Belus, who then created the Earth. Next, humanity was created from
an admixture of soil and divine blood.
A second destruction of life -
"creatures which could not endure the strength of the light" - seems
to be indicated after Earth's creation, followed by another creation
of humans and animals "which could withstand this air." Thus,
according to Oannes' account, humans were a deliberate creation of
at least one god.
The first creation was destroyed as the
god(s) fashioned animals better suited to the Earth, which also was
Sumerian mythology, which in many ways parented Babylonian
mythology, describes a subsequent attempt to destroy humanity (the
Flood), a theme shared with the Biblical account in Genesis, which
probably depends on it. (19)
the Sumerian epic Gilgamesh, one
god was displeased with humanity for "making too much noise"
(20) and resolved to exterminate the entire species. One
dissident deity, Ea/Enki, informed the "Sumerian Noah" about the
impending disaster, and it is through his efforts that a group of
people of various professions board an ark taking along "the seed of
all life" and survive. (21)
Intermarriage between gods and humans is suggested in a later
episode taking place generations later. In that period the epic's
hero, Gilgamesh, is described as partly divine, which probably
accounts for his great size and strength. (22)
Two non-human entities who guard a
strategic resource are able to recognize this semi-divine quality in
the hero, and it is this quality which gives him access.
Sumero-Babylonian myths summarized
above describe humanity as a creation of gods. The creators became
disenchanted with their creation and would have destroyed it but for
the interference of a dissident god.
These tales also suggest interbreeding
of some of the gods with human beings. It is interesting that the
purpose given in these myths for the creation of humankind,
apparently, is to have servants "to do our work", (24)
though the nature of that work is not stated. (25)
The Biblical narrative, contained in Genesis 1-4, describes humanity
as the creation of one or more gods.
Yahweh, who later became the sole god of
Judaism, was not alone at the creation of humankind or
subsequently, since in Gen. 1.26 he is speaking to one or more
entities when he says:
us make man in our image, after our likeness..."
He addresses this same group just prior
to expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden:
"Behold, the man has become like one
of us, knowing good and evil".
The presence of Yahweh's divine
colleagues who surround him in a heavenly court is suggested in
several other passages (Gen. 11.7; 1 Kg. 22.19; Job 1.6; Is. 6.8;
Although subsequently declassed as
angels, members of this group (the "Heavenly Host") initially seem
to have been Yahweh's equals.
The Biblical accounts of the creation of Adam and Eve and their
subsequent nurturing have elements of an experiment.
"...then the Lord God formed man of
dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath
of life; and man became a living being".
Adam, who is alone, is placed in a
comfortable environment, Eden, which is stocked with vegetation,
where his purpose - to the extent that humans have a purpose - is
"to till it and keep it" (Gen. 2.15).
There follows creation of "every beast
of the field and every bird of the air" (Gen. 2.19) as company for
Adam. Apparently, it was the expectation of the Yahweh-type entities
that Adam would find in one of these animals "a helper fit for him"
The animals are brought to Adam for
"but for the man there was not found
a helper fit for him".
The procedure for the creation of Eve
differed from that used for the creation of Adam, the other animals,
or even vegetation, all of which were made "out of the ground" (Gen.
"the Lord God caused a deep sleep to
fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and
closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God
had taken from the man he made into a woman..."
The Biblical narrative contains an
interfering dissident entity: Satan (Lucifer), or the Serpent.
Though subsequently described as a rebel
angel and even a creation, this entity's formidable powers suggest
that it, like the beings of the "Heavenly Host," was initially
Yahweh had told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the
fruit from a certain tree.
But the serpent said to the woman,
"You will not die. For God knows
that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like god, knowing good and evil".
The reason for the expulsion of Adam and
Eve from Eden was unrelated to their disobedience to Yahweh, since
in Gen. 3.21 Yahweh himself is described as making clothing for his
creations, who are suddenly embarrassed by their nakedness.
Rather, the expulsion took place as a
prophylactic measure. Yahweh was concerned that Adam and Eve might
eat another fruit that was forbidden to them, from the tree of life:
Then the Lord God said,
"Behold, the man has become like one
of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his
hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live
forever" - therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the
garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
He drove out the man; and at the east of
the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which
turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen.
Eventually, Yahweh rued the day he created humanity, and decided to
And the Lord was sorry that he had
made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
So the Lord said,
"I will blot out man whom I have
created from the face of the ground, man and beast and
creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I
have made them".
Noah, like his Sumerian counterpart,
boards an ark with various animals, survives the Flood, and
repeoples the earth. The Biblical narrative mentions a species which
was part god and part human.
This was the group
known as Nephilim.
When men began to multiply on the
face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of
God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to
wife such of them as they chose...
The Nephilim were on the earth in
those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to
the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were
the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
There are important similarities in the Mesopotamian and Biblical
accounts of the creation of humanity.
According to these two related
traditions, humankind was created by non-human entities possessing
great powers. The initial creation was inadequate for some reasons,
and so additional attempts were made. The "final product" after a
period in a controlled environment, was released into the world, to
shift for itself.
Both traditions suggest that humans
looked like their creators. The creator entities, after a period of
time, became displeased with their "experiment" and attempted to
destroy humanity with a Flood, and by other means.
This was barely prevented by a dissident
god, faction, or entities with powers comparable to those of the
creator entities, or by the selective benevolence of one god,
because of the goodness of one man.
The Airship in the
Book of Ezekiel
In preceding sections of this essay the primary sources describe the
possible creation of humanity, and its civilization (or
domestication) by non-human intelligent entities. In this section a
primary source describes the possible presence of non-human
Passages from the Book of Ezekiel are often cited as evidence of
flying saucers and extraterrestrial presence in antiquity. The topic
has been explored in some depth by others, in print and on the
Internet. Here we shall present the relevant passages for
documentation purposes, with little comment.
As mentioned earlier, the extant text of the Book of Ezekiel dates
from around 400 B.C. Thus it is describing an event occurring more
than one hundred and fifty years earlier.
Ezekiel was an historical figure, a
spiritual leader who ministered to the Jews of parts of Mesopotamia
during the Babylonian Captivity. This ministry, which extended from
about 593 to 563 B.C., is also the thirty-year period during which
the incident described below occurred. It seems likely that Ezekiel
himself authored much of the book, despite later editing.
The material from Ezekiel has been interpreted to describe:
its crew (organic, robotic,
Ezekiel's contact with them
his abduction by them and
transportation to another locality in Mesopotamia, an
experience which left him stunned for seven days
The Airship (1.4)
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind
came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round
about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst
of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze.
The Crew (1.5-14)
And from the midst of it came the
likeness of four living creatures. And this was their
appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces,
and each of them had four wings.
Their legs were straight, and the
soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf's foot; and
they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their
four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces
and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; they went
every one straight forward, without turning as they went. As for
the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in
front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side, the
four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had
the face of an eagle at the back.
Such were their faces. And their
wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each
of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their
bodies. And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit
would go, they went, without turning as they went.
In the midst of the living creatures
there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like
torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; and the
fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
And the living creatures darted to
and fro, like a flash of lightning.
Crew and Ship(s) (1.15-24)
Now as I looked at the living
creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living
creatures, one for each of the four of them.
As for the appearance of the wheels
and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming
of a chrysolite; and the four had the same likeness, their
construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel.
When they went, they went in any of
their four directions without turning as they went.
The four wheels had rims and they
had spokes; and their rims were full of eyes round about. And
when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and
when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose.
Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose
along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in
When those went, these went; and
when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the
earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the
living creatures was in the wheels.
Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of
a firmament, shining like a crystal, spread out above their
heads. And under the firmament their wings were stretched out
straight, one toward another; and each creature had two wings
covering its body.
And when they went, I heard the
sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the
thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a
host; when they stood still, they let down their wings.
Controller Entity (1.25-28)
And there came a voice from above
the firmament over their heads; when they stood still, they let
down their wings.
And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness
of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the
likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form.
And upward from what had the
appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like
the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from
what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the
appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.
Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day
of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.
Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the
Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the
voice of one speaking.
Abduction and Disorientation (3.12-15)
Then the Spirit lifted me up, and as
the glory of the Lord arose from its place, I heard behind me
the sound of a great earthquake; it was the sound of the wings
of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the
sound of the wheels beside them, that sounded like a great
The Spirit lifted me up and took me
away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the
hand of the Lord being strong upon me; and I came to the exiles
at Telabib, who dwelt by the river Chebar.
And I sat there overwhelmed among
them seven days.
Whether the sources examined in this essay are considered
"historical" or mythological, the story they tell is the same:
humanity was created by intelligent
The Mesopotamian account of creation was
told to a human audience by a talking amphibian, one of the Oannes
creatures described in Eusebius' summary of earlier historians.
According to this account, humankind was
the product of deliberate creation. Earlier experiments had failed,
and their products - hybrid and composite beings - died and/or were
The gods were dissatisfied with the
resulting humans as well and tried to destroy them, though a
dissident deity managed to prevent total annihilation.
Cases of non-humans intermarrying with
humans appear in the Mesopotamian myths. Created by gods to "do our
work," and then almost exterminated for "making too much noise,"
humanity was not well regarded by its makers.
However, this account itself was
narrated by a very caring being, one of a series of amphibians which
at some point emerged from the sea and instructed humans over many
The Biblical account of creation in Genesis also shows humanity as a
result of extraterrestrial experiment. These extraterrestrials were
not especially impressed with their creations, and they did not want
them to learn too much, become too aware, or live too long. A
dissident god tried to interfere, in this case to educate the
humans. Yahweh eventually destroyed his creation, sparing only one
The Bible, like the Mesopotamian
sources, also describes cases of non-human intermarriage with
Earlier we quoted a conclusion made by Dr. Thomas Bullard,
"pre-1800 anomalies do not make the
case for long-term alien visitation, nor do they necessarily
refute it". (27)
In the case of the earliest period which
is the subject of the present essay, the situation is somewhat
Here, all the relevant earliest written
sources ascribe the creation and development of humanity to
intelligent non-humans with immense powers. These entities are
described as preexistent and the creators of the planet itself with
all its life forms.
At some time after the creation, other
intelligent non-humans - amphibians - are described as educating
humanity. The various creators and/or educators do not arrive in
spaceships and do not depart, either.
The implication is that they were
present before the creation of Earth, and were still present when
the sources were composed.
S. Shklovski and Carl Sagan, Intelligent Life in the Universe
(Boca Raton, Florida, 1998), pp. 453-454. An important
predecessor to the authors mentioned in this essay was Charles
Fort (1874-1932). Fort's Complete Works are available
online at sacred-texts.com, and are well worth investigating:
Complete Works of Charles Fort.
Fort's works are available as pdf downloads here:
Book of the Damned (1919);
New Lands (1923);
Wild Talents (1933).
2. Two extracts dealing with remote
and classical antiquity from Vallee's and Aubeck's important
book Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from
Antiquity to Modern Times (New York, 2010) may be downloaded
here. This material is not in the public domain and is presented
solely for non-commercial educational/research purposes. Both
extracts deal with the earliest periods only. The first is a
selection of what we consider the most convincing
myths Vallee and Aubeck
collected which suggest extraterrestrial contact. The second
extract is a selection of the most convincing
historical events from their
extensive Chronicle section.
3. Thomas E. Bullard, "Anomalous
Aerial Phenomena before 1800" in Jerome Clark's UFO
Encyclopedia (1992), p. 55-62. The full article may be
Anomalous Aerial Phenomena before 1800.
4. Ibid., pp. 52-53. For
another excellent study of early aerial phenomena and possible
UFOs, see the writings of the late Richard Stothers, an
influential scientist at the Goddard Center at NASA. His article
"Unidentified Flying Objects in Classical Antiquity," from
The Classical Journal, vol. 103.1, 2007 pp. 79-92 with
important bibliography may be downloaded here:
Unidentified Flying Objects in Classical
Additional excellent bibliographies
are available at the website
Archives for UFO Research in
Sweden. Their material on antiquity is here:
Ancient Cultures, Archeology and Ancient
Myths. Additional reliable and thought-provoking
material is available at Dimitris Hatzopoulos' Best UFO
Resources website. See especially his
Literature pages. There is an
interesting article at Wikipedia on
Ancient Astronauts, which
includes much material we excluded from this essay.
5. Bullard, op. cit., p. 50.
6. Bullard, ibid., pp. 50-51.
7. Bullard, ibid., p. 67.
8. J. Allen Hynek, The Ufo
Experience: a Scientific Inquiry (London, 1972; reprinted
many times), Part II, chapters 8-10. Hynek's study may be
The Ufo Experience: a Scientific Inquiry.
File size: 14.3 MB.
9. Eusebius' Chronicle,
translated from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (2008) is
available on another page of this website and may be downloaded
10. Eusebius' Chronicle,
op. cit., pp. 3-4.
11. Ibid., p. 10.
12. I. S. Shklovski and Carl Sagan,
op. cit., pp. 455-456.
13. Ibid., p. 459. Sagan's
remark that "Each knows of the mission and accomplishments of
his predecessors" is based on a fragment of the Greek original
of Eusebius, preserved in a much later work of George the
Syncellus (died after 813). That fragment adds "All these [Oannes
creatures], says Apollodorus, related particularly and
circumstantially whatever Oannes had informed them of: of these
Abydenus has made no mention," I. P. Cory, Fragments ...
(1832 edition), p. 31. An English translation of the fragments
is available online at sacred-texts.com
Fragments. The quotation referenced above is
here. An expanded version (Cory's
Ancient Fragments of the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Babylonian,
Egyptian and other authors) appeared in London, 1876, by E.
Richmond Hodges. A pdf download of this edition is available
here. The quotation is on page 52 of this edition.
14. The detail that the Oannes
creatures did not eat while on land is interesting, and suggests
the possibility that they were intelligent machines, assuming
they did not eat in the water either. In other words, though the
source describes them as being part human and part fish, they
may have been neither.
Dagon from the Jewish
Encyclopaedia (1906). The entry is available in pdf format
16. Entry "Cecrops" from William
Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
(London, 1850; reprinted several times), volume 1, pp. 657-658.
A download of the article is available in pdf format
here. Several of Smith's
encyclopedic Dictionaries are available on another page
of this website, along with other useful reference materials for
mythology, such as the Mythology of All Races series, and
the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. See our
Folklore, Mythology, and Heterodox Beliefs
17. For Persia/Iran, the guardians
are fish, not half-human half-fish. Ten kar fish who do
not eat and are spiritually fed, protect early creation. For a
discussion see S. N. Kanga's article in the Spiegel Memorial
Volume (Bombay, 1908), pp. 1-11. The article may be
The Homa Tree and the Ten Kar-fish of the
Bundahishn and the Trees of Knowledge and Life and the Serpent
of the Bible: A Comparison. For India,
Vishnu/Matsya (from Wikipedia);
18. Eusebius' Chronicle,
op. cit., p. 5.
19. Stephanie Dalley, Myths from
Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and others
(Oxford, 1989), paperback 1991 (the edition cited in this
essay), Introduction, pp. xv-xix and passim. This
is an excellent and accessible translation of some important
Middle Eastern myths with scholarly notes and bibliography by S.
Dalley, a renowned archaeologist and cuneiformist. Dalley
explains how aspects of Sumerian culture, including mythology,
were adopted by other later peoples such as the Hittites,
Babylonians, and Assyrians.
myths about Creation and the
Flood are generally the same, with local place names, mountains,
rivers, etc. substituted in the different versions, though there
are important variations. All the myths in Dalley's book were
translated from the Akkadian language. For our purposes, the
variations in the different versions are not crucial, since all
the versions contain the same information about the specific
points we raise here. For Dalley's discussion of the differences
in the myths of Creation and the Flood in Mesopotamia, the
Bible, and the Greek world, see op. cit., pp. 4-8.
20. Ibid., pp. 18-28, 286,
21. Ibid., pp. 22, 27, 29-30,
22. Gilgamesh is described as 2/3
divine and 1/3 mortal, son of a mortal king, Lugulbanda, and a
divine mother, Ninsun, ibid. pp. 40-41, 51, 96, 99, 107.
His comrade, Enkidu, was created from a lump of clay, pp. 52-53.
Two other figures who were originally mortals, Utnapishtim/Atrahasis
and his wife, were granted immortality by the gods as a
reward, pp. 116.
23. Ibid., pp. 96-97.
24. Ibid., pp. 4, 14, 228,
25. The gods are mentioned as
inhabiting and travelling back and forth in four zones: Heaven,
Earth, the Underworld, and a watery deep called the Apsu. Ea,
the chief deity and the wisest, resides in the Apsu (ibid.,
pp. 210, 223). Oannes-type entities appear as the Seven Sages or
Seven Craftsmen who were believed to have been responsible for
massive or cyclopean building (ibid., pp. 50, 120, 182).
At some point the chief deity became displeased with these
teachers and banished them to the Apzu (ibid., p. 291).
The Seven Sages are sometimes
referred to as "holy carp" (ibid., p. 292). Dr. Dalley in
the Glossary entry for the Seven Sages writes:
"According to cuneiform
traditions, known only from indirect references and from
Berossus, Ea sent seven divine sages, apkallu, in the
form of puradu fish (carp?) from the Apsu to teach
the arts (Sumerian me) of civilization to mankind
before the Flood. They were: Adapa (U-an, called Oannes by
Berossus), U-an-duga, En-me-duga, En-me-galama, En-me-buluga,
An-Enlilda, and Utu-abzu. Each is also known by other names
or epithets, and is paired with an antediluvian king, hence
their collective name 'counsellors', muntalku. In
this capacity they were credited with building walled
Responsible for technical
skills, they were also known as 'craftsmen', ummianu,
a word which puns with Adapa's name U-an. They were banished
back to the Apsu forever after angering Ea. After the flood,
certain great men of letters and exorcists were accorded
sage-status, although only as mortals. Deities other than Ea
- Ishtar, Nabu, and Marduk - claimed to control the sages.
In iconography sages are shown either as fish-men, or with
bird attributes appropriate to Underworld creatures."
ibid., pp. 327-328.
In the Mesopotamian myths, the gods
seem to comport themselves with the decisions of their assembly.
See, for example, the outrage of the gods at Ellil for
unilaterally ordering the Flood without consultation (ibid.,
The weapons of the gods consist of
natural disasters such as floods, drought and disease (ibid.,
pp. 18-20). But the gods also possess rays and radiances which
serve as weapons and, if lost, can hobble the god who loses
them. The "Tablets of Destiny" may also serve as a shield of
sorts, since when held against the chest, they will deflect
weapons hurled at whoever holds them (ibid., pp. 215,
225, 237, 251, 293). Another weapon is the ability to change
people's minds (ibid., 298-299).
A number of intelligent composite
creatures appear in the Mesopotamian myths. These include
Scorpion-men (ibid., pp. 96, 212, 224), fish-men,
bull-men (ibid., 237) shape-shifting gallu-demons
(212, 224), and others (see the drawings on p. 316). The god
Marduk, though not composite, is described as having four eyes,
four ears, and five fearsome rays (ibid., p. 236).
half-divine half-human Nephilim
are mentioned as being present after the Flood as well (Numbers
13.33). Yahweh also attempts to hobble humanity again after
the Flood. In Genesis 11.1-9, humans were building a city "and a
tower with its top in the heavens."
"And the Lord came down to see the
city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the
Lord said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one
language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do;
and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for
them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language,
that they may not understand one another's speech.'" The Bible
we use is The Oxford Annotated Bible, revised standard
version (New York, 1962).
27. Bullard, op. cit., p. 67.