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Ancient Atom Bombs?

Some people claim that the ancients used nuclear weapons, but how good is their evidence? We take a look.

> Read more about this topic in THE CULT OF ALIEN GODS
> Read an update on the story HERE
> Get my FREE, expanded eBook Ancient Atom Bombs HERE
One of the key tenets of the modern ancient astronaut craze is the belief that ancient scriptures are the literal testament of what has gone before. For this reason young-earth creationists still claim that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and others take literally the harrowing adventure the Hebrew partriarch Enoch had in heaven. Oddly enough, none of these biblical or mythological literalists accept Greek mythology at face value. For them the voyage of the Argo was nothing more than a flight of fancy (or a retelling of a story written in the stars, as Sirius Mystery author Robert Temple would have it). There is no Medusa nor any Zeus hurling thunderbolts from on high. Yet these same people wish us to believe that ancient Indian Vedic literature is every bit as true as a modern-day news report. "Researchers" like David Hatcher Childress fervently argue that the Vedic flying machines and powerful weapons were actual airplanes and even nuclear weapons. It is this latter claim of ancient atomic warfare that we will examine now.

David Hatcher Childress is perhaps the most famous proponent of the atomic warfare theory at present. As this site reported in an article entitled "Archaeological Coverup?", Childress goes by the title "lost science scholar." He claims that pyramids, domes and spaceports are clearly visible on the moon and on other planets. He also believes that the Smithsonian is covering up a lost civilization in the Grand Canyon (see "Archaeological Coverup") and that the famous scientist Tesla invented a death-ray and time machine, which world governments conspired to keep secret.

To promote his latest opus, Technology of the Gods (2000), Childress released a chapter on ancient nuclear weapons to Nexus Magazine, the "alternative" magazine founded in 1987 to report unconventional and occult stories, or what owner Duncan Roads calls "suppressed information."

Childress begins his article by discussing a geological anomoly: namely that the same glass-like fusion of sand which occurs on the land beneath a nuclear blast can also be found in ancient strata dating back up to 8,000 years. Hatcher provides the scientific explanation, and then he rejects it: "The general theory is that the glass was created by the searing, sand-melting impact of a cosmic projectile. However, there are serious problems with this theory... ."
Childress rejects the theory because he says there is no evidence of an impact crater.  The 1988 work of A.A. Qureshi and H. A. Khan concluded that a crater would no longer be visible because the glass did not form 8000 years ago, as Childress would have it, but much longer ago: "Based on these studies a meteoritic impact, which caused the fusion of Nubian sand or sandstone and resulted in the formation of Libyan desert glass 28.36 m.y. [million years] ago, has been recognized." A 1988 study by A.V. Murali et al. found traces of the actual meteor in the Libyan glass. Childress also ignores another possibility. He himself admits that there have been impacts which did not produce craters, like the Tunguska Event of 1908, of which mainstream science holds that an asteroid hit Siberia and vaporized without leaving any trace except flattened trees and an explosion so loud it could be heard in Moscow and so bright that midnight was bright as noon in London.

A whole mythology has grown up around the Tunguska Event. Many explanations exist, ranging from the scientifically-accepted asteroid theory to the crash of a UFO and the resulting detonation of its nuclear reactor. How anyone knows whether UFOs are nuclear-powered is not explained. One fringe theory that fits well with Childress' conspiratorial view of Tesla is the Tesla ray. True-believer Oliver Nichelson says, "The idea of a Tesla directed energy weapon causing the Tunguska explosion was incorporated in a fictional biography (1994), by another writer, and was the subject of a Sightings television program segment."

Nichelson continues: "Given Tesla's general pacifistic nature it is hard to understand why he would carry out a test harmful to both animals and the people who herded the animals even when he was in the grip of financial desperation. The answer is that he probably intended no harm, but was aiming for a publicity coup and, literally, missed his target."

Nichelson then gives his version of how Tesla directed an energy-ray across the globe to blow up a relatively uninhabited section of Siberia. So what does the Tunguska Even have to do with ancient atomic warfare? Well, the answer lies in the literary career of David Hatcher Childress, author of books on both antediluvian nuclear weapons and the so-called Tesla Death-Ray.

Childress needs the Tunguska event to be something other than an asteroid to bolster his theories. As this site has reported, he has a profound respect for the scientist Nikola Tesla, who Childress believes invented anti-gravity, time-travel, death-ray and thought machines. Childress is also prone to seeing conspiracies, arguing in his book The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla that the U.S. government conspired to supress the discoveries made by Tesla to protect big business. Incidentally, Childress claims only to be the posthumous co-author of Fantastic Inventions with Tesla as the main author.

In the course of his work, Childress became convinced that Tesla had only "rediscovered" technology that had existed in ages past, much as Ignatius Donnelly asserted in his Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882). Therefore, Childress asks: "[I]s it possible that the vitrified desert is the result of atomic war in the ancient past? Could a Tesla-type beam weapon have melted the desert, perhaps in a test?"

Way back near the beginning of the ancient astronaut craze, the prolific author Erich von Däniken argued in Chariots of the Gods? (1969) that atom bombs destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the biblical cities of sin: "[s]ince the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, we know the kind of damage such bombs cause. . . Let us imagine for a moment that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed according to plan, i.e. deliberately, by a nuclear explosion." From his off-hand remark, asked as a question rather than stated as fact, a whole sub-genre of ancient warfare grew. In Gods From Outer Space (1970), von Däniken says "[I]t is the old Indian and Tibetan texts in particular that teem with science-fiction weapons. I am thinking of the divine lightning and ray weapons . . . and of the texts that seem to be referring to bacteriological weapons."

Childress built on this to develop his own "evidence" from the same sources: "If one were to believe the Mahabharata [one of the ancient Indian epics], great battles were fought with in the past with airships, particle beams, chemical warfare and presumably atomic weapons. . . [B]attles in the latter days of Atlantis were fought with highly sophisticated, high-tech weapons."

Childress also claims that Atlantis was not alone: "The Rama Empire, described in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, was supposedly contemporaneous with the great cultures of Atlantis and Osiris in the West. Atlantis, well-known from Plato's writings and ancient Egyptian records, apparently existed in the mid-Atlantic and was a highly technical and patriarchal civilization."

Needless to say, there is neither proof of Atlantis existing outside of Plato's mind, nor any evidence that the Atlanteans had high-tech weaponry. I know of no ethnographies describing the familial relations of Atlanteans. Osiris, we are told, is pre-dynastic Egypt. Childress' source? "Esoteric doctrine" unrevealed to the reader. As for the Rama Empire, Childress says it began with "Nagas (Naacals) who had come into India from Burma and ultimately from the "Motherland to the East"--or so Col. James Churchward was told." Churchward wrote about the lost continent of Mu in the early 20th century. His books sold well, but were quickly shown to be a hoax when he could produce no evidence of the tablets where he read of the continent or the monks who gave them to him.

Of course, this is good enough evidence for Childress. He identifies Mu with Lemuria and uses material from the Lemurian Fellowship lesson manual to tell how the Ramas and the Atlanteans fought a great war which resulted in nuclear holocaust. Never mind that Lemuria was a 19th century fiction designed to explain the appearance of lemurs in both India and Madagascar in the years before plate tectonics showed that the animals walked from one to the other when both were linked.

None of this made it into Childress' story, and he tells how the Atlanteans were angry that the Ramas had beat them in battle: "Assuming the above story is true, Atlantis was not pleased at the humiliating defeat and therefore used its most powerful and destructive weapon--quite possibly an atomic-type weapon!" As has been shown, the above story is not true and there was neither Atlantis nor Lemuria to fight with any weapons at all, let alone nuclear ones.

Childress cites L. Sprague DeCamp's assesment of ancient oil-based weapons like Greek Fire to bolster the claim of sophisticated stone-age weapons. DeCamp, it should be noted, was one of the disciples of author H.P. Lovecraft, whose mythos of Great Cthulhu spawned the ancient astronaut theory (see From Cthulhu to Cloning). Childress then brings in another ancient astronaut supporter, Robin Collyns, to testify that on the authority of another Indian epic, the Vymaanika-Shaastra, ancient peoples had plasma guns powered by electrified mercury.

If that were not enough, Childress brings in moldy 19th-century tales of vitrified ruins in Death Valley, California to say that ancient atom bombs melted the bricks in those buildings. However, he also says that he could not prove they existed, let alone were the result of a nuclear blast. Nevertheless, they form an important piece of evidence for the author.

Remember what von Däniken said about Sodom and Gomorrah, that they were destroyed by a vengeful alien race? Childress also makes this claim: "Probably the most famous of all ancient 'nuke 'em' stories is the well-known biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah." Childress apparently does not think it is that well-known, for he then quotes it in full. He then sets up a straw-man, smashing the paper-tiger arguement that the cities were destroyed by plate tectonics. Obviously, this is false, and Childress knows it. He then claims there is but one hypothesis to explain the disappearance of the two cities: "Therefore we come back to the popular theory that these cities were not destroyed in a geological cataclysm but in a man-made (or extraterrestrial-made) apocalypse that was technological in nature." Obviously, Childress neglects to recognize that there are other explanations, the simplest of which is that the cities and their destruction are the product of a fertile imagination.

The theory of Occam's Razor says we cannot accept this possibility without extraordinary evidence. Childress believes he has it. Quoting L. M. Lewis, the reader learns that Lot's wife (the pillar of salt) proves an atomic blast because the pillar still stood in the first century A.D. when Flavius Josephus saw it. Sodom, of course, was destroyed in 1898 B.C., according to Lewis. Therefore, had the salt pillar been anything but the remains of a nuclear blast, it should have vanished. Of course, he fails to note that the Dead Sea area produces new salt pillars on a regular basis. These are still called "Lot's wife" by the locals, but few are of any great age.

So where does this leave the theory of ancient nuclear activity?

On the one hand, there are scattered pieces of evidence that do not yet fit into the standard model. There are, Childress notes, radioactive skeletons that date back millennia. There are vitrified buildings in Scotland, India and elsewhere that have not yet been adequately explained.

On the other hand, there are ridiculous amounts of speculation, like the silly and childish stories Childress professes to believe: "If we accept the Lemurian Fellowship stories as fact, then Atlantis wanted to waste no more time with the Priest-Kings of Rama and their mental tricks. In terrifying revenge, they utterly destroyed the Rama Empire, leaving no country even to pay tribute to them." There is no basis in fact for these empty assertions, but they are repeated by so many who read authors like Childress that they take on a verisimilitude that endangers a rational view of the past. How can genuine mysteries be explored and the vast tapestry of ancient history displayed in its full color and glory when rampant and baseless claims throw dark stains on the delicate images of the past?

read the Childress article

© 2001-2002 Jason Colavito. All rights reserved.