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
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. THE TESLA DEATH RAY
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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?" ANCIENT ATOM BOMBS?
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
, 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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?