The Paleocontac theory: between Ancient Astronauts and OOPArts

Since the mid-twentieth century, a myriad of theories have spread regarding an alleged contact between extraterrestrial civilizations and populations of antiquity. These ideas collected under the name of Paleocontact theory or Paleoastronautics and better known to the general public as the "Ancient Astronaut Theory", are generally rejected by traditional science and therefore framed in the cauldron of the so-called "Mysterious Archeology" also known as Pseudoarchaeology, coming to interest also a UFO context, in the field of paleoufology or clipeology.

In 1954 the British journalist and writer Harold T. Wilkins used the expression "Ancient Astronauts" for the first time in his book "Flying Saucers on the Moon", along the lines, in 1955 Morris Jessup also published "UFO's and the Bible" in which it highlights a correlation between ufology and ancient texts but it is only in 1960 with a publication by the mathematician Matest Agrest that the birth of Paleoastronautics is sanctioned which will become popular especially in the 70s with the works of Jean Sendy, Erich von Däniken and Peter Kolosimo. Immediately after the 1950s, in fact, the first documented evidence of UFO sightings was joined by the theses already elaborated by Charles Fort on the apparent chronological inconsistency of some artifacts (OOPArts) and the renewed popular interest of people in the myths and history of ancient civilizations.

Ancient Astronaut Society

On September 14, 1973, the lawyer Gene Philips founded the Ancient Astronaut Society, an organization that brings together individuals eager to determine the veracity of the theory and with the aim of coordinating all research in the field of the theory of ancient astronauts, seeking to demonstrate the existence of a first contact between aliens descended from spaceships and humans which occurred thousands of years ago.

Ancient Astronaut Society

The company opened with a conference in Chicago and has held annual conferences leading expeditions around the world. Each year the Society organizes at least one congress in which ufologists and scientists from all over the world participate. The first took place in Chicago from 26 to 28 April 1974. The AAS publishes the Ancient Skies bulletin.

The Ancient Astronaut Theory

The Ancient Astronaut Theory believers argue not only that there have been alien visitors in past centuries, but also that they have substantially influenced the development of civilization and the human species, questioning, in whole or in part, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and often favoring creationist theses, according to which the human species was genetically created by higher entities.

Alien species would therefore have landed on Earth and through numerous and remote contacts with local populations they would have initiated and guided the evolutionary path of the human species, influencing the development of some of them such as Sumerians, Egyptians, Indian and pre-Columbian civilizations. Among the main popularizers of the theories of the ancient astronauts besides Kolosimo and Von Däniken there are Zecharia Sitchin, Robert KG Temple and the pseudoscientist Edgar Cayce and there are numerous authors who have theorized the reference to alien visits in sacred texts: George Adamski, Mario Pincherle, Mauro Biglino, father Enrique López Guerrero, Claude Vorilhon, Lloyd Pye, Corrado Malanga, Biagio Russo and Paolo Navone.

There are three different hypotheses on paleocontact

  1. in accordance with Darwin's Theory and therefore, in this case, without any apparent contradiction with it, the human species would be the result of a creation programmed through genetic experiments conducted by extraterrestrials on hominids that up to that point would have evolved spontaneously on earth.
    The aim of these alleged aliens would have been to accelerate the spontaneous evolution of the human species: evolutionary adaptation and neo-creationism therefore both would be true.
    The main argument in support of this theory is the relatively short time (300,000 years) taken by Homo sapiens to reach an evolutionary level never reached by other organisms, even though they have been present on Earth for hundreds of millions of years.

  2. the human species would have had contact with extraterrestrials since the most ancient eras.
    These aliens would be the deities of ancient civilizations (Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, peoples of Mesopotamia, Romans), depicted in their works of art.
    Other indications of the presence of extraterrestrials in past ages would be hidden in religious texts, such as the Bible and the Rāmāyaṇa, or in literary works of an epic nature.
    The extraterrestrials would also manifest themselves in later times: medieval and Renaissance paintings, especially of a religious nature, would show spacecraft in the sky, sometimes even with angels driving.

  3. Man on Earth would form a mixed colony consisting of:

    • Caucasian-Pleiadians
    • Middle Eastern-Syrians
    • Chinese-Hybrids Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Orange
    • Pleiadian Black-Hybrids and Homo Erectus plus "crossover ethnicities": Black-Caucasian Brazilians, Middle Eastern-Caucasian Indians ...
      In Sitchin's vision, the entire human race would be the product of an Anunnaki-Homo Erectus hybridization that occurred 300,000 years ago in South Africa while other ufologists believe that only the black African ethnicity derives from this hybridization.

What would be the evidence for this? One of the key arguments used to corroborate these theories would be the discovery of OOPArts, especially inconsistent from a technological point of view with respect to the timing of canonical archeology. Furthermore, many elements of architecture and ancient art would testify to the use of alien technologies that would justify the constructive expertise of the times: the Giza complex (see also Aliens built the pyramids), Baalbek, Yonaguni, the Nazca Lines, the monoliths of Stonehenge, Pumapunku ...

The Paleocontac theory: rock carvings

The rock carvings and statuettes found in the Americas, in the Pacific islands, in Australia, in European areas such as Scotland and in alpine areas, such as Musinè or Valcamonica, would demonstrate that primitive human populations would have seen alien life forms as "angels", "spirits","gods" or "demigods".
There would also be evident references in epic literature and sacred texts such as the Epic of Gilgameš, the Rāmāyaṇa (which speaks of flying chariots called Vimana), and some books of the Bible, such as the Book of Ezekiel in which there seem to be descriptions of technologically advanced objects.

The view of the scientific community

According to the scientific community, there is no recognized evidence to support the ancient astronaut theory. References in epic texts are interpreted as mythological elements or poetic metaphors; those in religious texts such as mystical visions or allegories. The presence of "unidentified flying objects" in Renaissance works of art has been refuted on the basis of Christian iconography. In the same way there would be rational explanations and absolutely "not alien" to all the findings of "mysterious" artifacts brought as irrefutable proof of the theory.


"I don't expect that the scientific community now embraces and kisses me 'Oh wonderful, great you did!' we have to live with critics, this is normal.
Chariots of the Gods was full of speculation, I had 238 question marks. Nobody read the question mark. They always said: Mr. Von Daniken is saying... I did not say, I asked the questions, would that be a possibility? In Chariots of the Gods, I made clear difference between a speculations and facts."

-Erich von Däniken


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Cover image by Stefan Keller

Article image by Ancient Astronaut Society, Emblema de Diploma e Sociedade

Article image 2 by SeriousTux



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