Wednesday, 21 January 2015
CHARIOTS OF THE FRAUDS...
Forty-plus years ago, the theories of ERICH VON
DANIKEN were all the rage. Comicbook readers saw such
themes played out in the four-colour pages of JACK KIRBY's
The ETERNALS, and TV programmes mined the topic for its
rich seam of interest and controversy. In the late '70s, I read at
least one of Von Daniken's books and was unimpressed, and
later, while discussing the subject with a friend, he lent me
an abridged version of the book you see above.
It was written from a religious perspective, but that's by-
the-by and needn't concern us now. What I found interesting
was how it dealt with so-called 'evidence' that, on a superficial
level at least, seems quite persuasive. For example, according to
Von Daniken, there's an island in the Nile called Elephantinos,
which has been so named for centuries, and is shaped, apparently,
like an elephant. However, this shape can only be noticed from
the air - so who, Von Daniken wonders, went up to find
out - and how did they do it?
When one ponders the matter, it seems quite reason-
able. How could mere man, bereft of the later development
of flight, know that the island on which he lived was shaped like
an elephant, and was therefore why it was so christened? Surely
that's not such a ridiculous question, is it? However, its shape has
almost certainly changed over the centuries, and the Greek word
'elephantinos' doesn't translate as 'like an elephant' as Mr. Von
Daniken claims, but simply means 'ivory'. Guess what? The
island was once the site of an ivory market, hence,
unsurprisingly, the name.
Was Von Daniken (a convicted fraudster) ignoring the
facts and loading the dice in his favour for the purpose of
selling a few books, or was he serious in his speculations on
the origins of mankind? Whichever it was, upon piercing the
fragile surface of his so-called 'evidence', it would seem
that it simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Posted by Kid at Wednesday, January 21, 2015