Over the centuries scholars have debated how certain large objects and structures, such as the pyramids of ancient Egypt, could have been built, given the technology believed available at the time. In cases where an answer is particularly elusive, some people speculate that the ancient architects who created them were influenced by extraterrestrials and/or the inhabitants of technologically advanced—and now lost—civilizations on Earth. For example, Erich von Däniken, in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? suggested that the stone figures on Easter Island were erected by ancient astronauts from another planet, while others have suggested that the pyramids of ancient Egypt were built with the help of people from Atlantis.
Supporters of ancient-astronaut theories note that many ancient monuments appear to be built with an eye toward the heavens, as they seem to be oriented toward the movements of astronomical bodies. To believers, this suggests that the monuments were somehow connected to space travel. But others argue that the location of most ancient monuments is based not on qualities of the heavens but on qualities of the Earth, suggesting that the monuments are meant to indicate places charged with mysterious energy. Believers in Earth energy say that such sites have a beneficial effect on the minds and bodies of anyone in the area, which is why ancient people would have wanted to mark them and perhaps also use them for religious rituals.
Sceptics dismiss the idea of Earth energy as well as the notion that ancient astronauts once visited Earth and built monuments. Ancient monuments such as the pyramids in Egypt, sceptics say, were built to honour the builders’ gods, to serve as a place of religious rituals, and—in cases where they are oriented in accordance with celestial movements—to act as astronomical calendars, marking times when the sun would be in certain parts of the sky, for example, for purposes related to religious worship or the planting of crops.
- Ancient Astronauts
- Erich von Däniken
- Easter Island
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning