Author of the Month

Interview with Erich von Daniken on Ancient Aliens & Ancient Astronauts

May 2012, GHMB community interview

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Erich von Daniken, the Swiss author best known for his controversial work linking extraterrestrial influences to early human culture with books such as 'Chariots of the Gods?' Daniken is one of the main figures responsible for popularizing the "paleo-contact" and ancient astronaut hypotheses.

See Erich's site at:

Your questions for Erich von Daniken were collected in his thread on the messageboards. Thanks to all for your participation.

Enjoy! And if you would like to request anyone in particular to be a GHMB Community Interview subject, please put your name suggestion in the Name Suggestions thread.

Books by Erich von Daniken

Chariots of the Gods

CA - UK - US
JP - DE - FR - IT
The Eyes of the Sphinx

CA - UK - US
JP - DE - FR - IT
Twilight of the Gods

CA - UK - US
JP - DE - FR - IT


It's been about 48 years since Chariots of the Gods was published and much more is known about the ancients. If you were writing it today, what would you change, leave out or add in?

Author: carolb

EvD: If I had known in 1968 what I know today, >CHARIOTS< would be a volume of 1000 pages. And of course every error would be eliminated.


What led you to reject your catholic school teachings on God and the Bible and instead take an interest in astronomy and flying saucers?

Author: Mr.Ward

EvD: I was, and I still am, a deep believer in God. But God has to have some fundamental qualities: He is timeless - He knows the present, the past and the future and He is omnipotent, which means he would never use some vehicle to move from one place to the other. In my boarding school in Switzerland, led by Jesuits, we had to translate some parts of the Old Testament from one language to the other and by doing this I realized that the God of the Bible had none of these fundamental qualities. So I had doubts in my own religion, and I simply wanted to know what the communities in antiquity said about their God.


Hello Erich

Much respect for helping us to wonder, question, and think a bit about the mysteries that surround us .

Question is: Do you think it possible that ancient man advanced to the level and ability to travel off planet ourselves, perhaps exploring the solar system and further? Certainly the Vedas give many accounts of this as fact . As well as aliens visiting here, were we visiting other worlds too, making aliances and perhaps enemies?

Author: brucenyc1

EvD: According to the theory of evolution, we are the first intelligent race on this planet, but according to the old holy writings, there must have been some high civilisations in the deep past. This controversy is, at the moment, unsolvable.


What was the most convincing evidence you have encountered that suggested the presence of ancient astronauts? And what do you consider to be the oldest evidence of contact? And what is the best evidence out there that is best interpreted as being the product of extraterrestrials as opposed to being of the product of a technologically-advanced human culture in antiquity?

Authors: annj1123, cladking, Olver X, wordsmyth

EvD: First, we have to differentiate between archaeological facts and old holy writings. The thumb-stone of Palenque is absolutely convincing, although archaeology sees it different. The same thing is true for the plane of Nazca in Peru. There archaeology only looked for the existence of a cult, and yet never questioned the reason for its existence. Finally, it will come out sooner or later that the great pyramid did not belong to Cheops, but is actually much older. And in the pyramid we will discover some old writings. In the literature the best case is the book of Enoch, although theology sees it completely differently. Enoch is the only one who writes in the first person and who even gives the names of his extra-terrestrial teachers.


Hi Mr. Von Daniken, I read Chariots of the Gods as a child after seeing the episode with the same name on "In Search Of..." with Leonard Nimoy. One thing has always bothered me and hopefully you can explain. All researchers who believe in the ancient astronaut theory have one thing in common: they assume that our ancestors were such blithering idiots that they were intellectually incapable of engineering feats such as building the Pyramids on their own, so therefore ancient aliens theory is true. With the archaeological evidence piling up in favor of the ancients being anything but dumb cavemen, how do the AA theorists still believe that there MUST have been alien intervention? I'm not saying it's an impossible hypothesis, because it isn't, but I just don't see why it's necessary. It's a form of the god of the gaps argument.

Author: Aine

EvD: This is a misunderstanding. It is not my idea that extra-terrestrials constructed pyramids and other gigantic buildings. All these fantastic buildings were made by humans. The question is WHY? The traditional answer is: for the Gods. For which Gods? Traditional answer here is: The natural gods, like the sun, the moon, the lightening, the earthquake... and of course the humans of the past had many natural religions. But as soon as information comes from heaven to earth you can forget the natural explanation. The sun and the moon etc. do not speak to humans, and by speak I mean very exact information about the calendar, mathematics, and other planetary systems out there.


Since the release of your first book, have you ever reconsidered the origin of the world's mysteries to be from previous unknown civilizations rather than extraterrestrial?

Author: getClyde

EvD: Of course I am familiar with the story of ATLANTIS or MU. But again it is contrary to the theory of evolution.


What do you think about the theory that ancient astronauts were not physical beings coming here on physical spaceships, but may in fact be visiting here from another dimension?

Authors: michael seabrook, lukehancock

EvD: In the case of Enoch, Abraham or Ezekiel (and others) there is a clear stress on physical appearance; descriptions like smoke, fire, loud noise, metallic feet (Ezekiel) and wings are all physical.


In your opinion, what star system/planet are these extraterrestrials from? Sirius, as proposed by Robert Temple? Venus, as it was likely in the 'Goldilocks zone' before Earth? Or Mars, as it once had oceans (and thus probably had more atmosphere) and it seems to have evidence of ruins? Or what?

Thanks for letting us interview you.

Author: wordsmyth

EvD: In our solar system Mars is the only candidate. But I think they came from very far away in some sort of generation-spaceship. Although some names of strange planets are mentioned in old holy writings, they are not helpful to us. We don't know the names of the planets outside of our solar system.


You obviously believe we have had direct contact in the past. Do you think this contact could be cyclical and therefore we will have direct contact in the future? And if so, when? And do you have any important 'near future' events that you are anticipating?

Author: seaking, hansmittendorf, lukehancock

EvD: Practically every old culture was waiting for the returning of some gods. The same is true with our modern day religions. They all wait for someone to return. (See my book: >Twilights of the Gods<.) And they will return. According to the indications I have collected, we were visited approximately every 5000 years. And I expect the next visit within the next 20 years.


What advise if any, would you give the next generation of ancient intelligence theorist?

Author: MrCymatics

EvD: Do not only think in terms of Sir Francis Bacon, the >inventor< of scientific methodology, but also in terms of Professor Paul Feierabends: Anything goes.

Books by Erich von Daniken

Chariots of the Gods

CA - UK - US
JP - DE - FR - IT
The Eyes of the Sphinx

CA - UK - US
JP - DE - FR - IT
Twilight of the Gods

CA - UK - US
JP - DE - FR - IT

Join in the discussion of Erich's interview here

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