Throughout history men have witnessed abounding curiosities. In this world we call home and the galaxy around us there are true anomalies. It is one thing to simply see such things, but to come to a true understanding of them is the ultimate goal. This goal, however, is not an easy one to achieve. For all our technological, philosophical, and scientific advancements we still have a very frail grasp on oddities observed in the typically mundane world. It is only with a great opening of our minds that we learn more about the universe and our place in it.

All of our greatest knowledge as a species is gathered by men (and women) with the audacity to question what is currently understood. Without these adventurers of the mind, so to speak, none of us would be beyond the dark ages. It is only with risks and challenges that we can begin to look forward. Take, for example, the most famous and successful men in the fields of science and philosophy. These inventors, Einstein, Curie, Nietzsche, Tolkien, and Beethoven, were those who did not fear to dare. It is through our brothers and sisters who give all their energies that we can prosper. New tenets of thought and belief are explored through decades and centuries of experimentation. Doubtless this is a fact already comprehended by most readers. I found it necessary, however, to lay a basic framework that reveals the shakiness of the ideas set down herein.

With previous statements in mind we forge ahead to the ultimate topic at hand. The theory I wish to discuss, as all other new understandings, is well outside the mainstream. It throws salt in the eyes of several indoctrinated schools of thought. Some might say it attacks history, science, religion, architecture, and many other areas of study or belief. To further supplement my previous disclaimer I would like to inform you that I do not hold to these beliefs personally. I am simply attempting to add to a discussion already begun by those who came before me.

Whether or not you have heard of these ideas previously they have probably crossed your mind at some point. Such thoughts were brought to light mainly through the efforts of one Erich von Däniken. When he published a book entitled Chariots of the Gods? in the early 1960s he cemented a new perspective on our world. He spent most of his life prior to the book's completion researching the phenomena that inspired its penning. The book was never received well despite what I would call an avid cult-following. Something it did accomplish was a stirring up of great controversy amongst archaeologists and other scholars. Religious leaders in particular took grave offense to such heresy.

"Chariots" laid a well thought out scientific hypothesis in a rather unassuming format. One thing that von Däniken is successful in doing is maintaining a somewhat tentative stance. He always states his new views in question format. Although it is doubtful that no one had ever come up with a similar question the author was the first to pose it in a published text. Those questions and these I am asking you my friends, are thus: (1) is it possible that some form of intelligent extraterrestrial life visited our ancestors in ancient days? (2) Is it altogether inconceivable that they came and might do so again? (3) Might ancient technologies, constructs, and religious beliefs have been, in part or in whole, inspired by such visitors? (4) Going beyond all that we know about our place in the universe, is it possible that we ourselves might be part of an extraterrestrial race perhaps stranded on Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago?

In addressing the first two questions I would like to first bring up a seemingly unrelated topic. The simple fact is that the universe is incomprehensibly and immeasurably large. We as infinitesimal specks in our galaxy much less the collection of galaxies in our celestial "neighborhood" cannot begin to understand the vastness of space. Beside that fact there is also the Einsteinian theory that the universe is continuously expanding outwards. The second closest star to our small blue planet is light-years away. A light-year is the distance light can travel in an entire year through a vacuum. Space is a vacuum and that makes such distances as inconceivable as the size of the universe to us humans. Light can travel around the earth seven times in one second. Multiply that by 31,536,000 seconds and you have a year. That adds up to 236 million, 520 thousand revolutions around our earth at its largest circumference in the same time period. Imagine that distance stretched out into a straight line through space and you have one light year. As mentioned above, the distance to the nearest star other than our sun, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light-years away from us. This is equal to approximately 24 trillion, 780 billion miles in our earth distance. Looking past the nearest stars we see that our galaxy alone is about 100,000 light-years distant and the closest galaxy (Andromeda) is 2,300,000 light-years out. For your sake I will not bother to convert these lengths into miles. As you can see, such size and distance is impossible to conceive in human terms.

Bearing these facts in mind it is not difficult to imagine that somewhere out in that vast nothingness that is space there are other living beings. This idea in itself is nothing new in anyway. Everyone in developed or developing countries has heard this. It takes but a simple grasp on probability that this is unequivocally a fact. No, it is not a proven fact that there are other life forms on other planets but it is true that it is distinctly possible and even probable that there are. Now, whether or not those living things are intelligent or not is a point of more heated debate.

With all of this background in hand we can move on to discussing what that information might mean for us. At this point we venture off the beaten path and into the rarely explored realms of speculation. Please, keep an open mind and genuinely reflect on the possibilities of such questions. Also, I ask that you move past my own points and question what such revelations might mean for our culture and species.

If there are intelligent species out there in our gargantuan galaxy and beyond is it not impossible that they may know more than we do? Just as the universe is infinitely large, the knowledge available concerning it must also be as large. As we cannot even grasp the universe's size how can we begin to say we know anything at all about it? Now, if these extraterrestrial geniuses learned how to travel large distances through space might they have stumbled upon or even pinpointed our small chunk of rock? It is not such a stretch to imagine that an alien race might attempt to contact or even cultivate a distant planet. We as humans have even made tentative plans for such attempts.

Now, moving on to our second question we must ask in a similar vein as the first if ancient visitors might come again. If they came once, or twice, or more in the past it is not a large leap to think they might come again. Particularly if these alien races had colonization in mind something had to draw them here and might once more. What does this mean for us? That remains to be seen, if not by we who now live, then by our descendants.

I feel it will be easiest to begin with a somewhat mundane topic in regards to the questions listed above. First and foremost amongst the evidences given by Erich von Däniken are those of architecture in ancient civilizations. Archaeologists are of the opinion that all seemingly fantastic structures built by our ancestors have logical explanations behind them. This is all well and good when we hold the view that we are an isolated accident in the galaxy and universe but begins to deteriorate if we drop that.

If it is possible that extraterrestrials of a vastly advanced civilization visited us in the past and had benevolent or passive intentions could they not have shared some technologies? Take first as an example the largest buildings of the ancient world. These are the pyramids at Giza, the ruins of Puma Puncu in Bolivia, and the temples of Aztec and Mayan Mexico. All of these monuments are indescribably fantastic. Even today they inspire and incite awe in our minds as those who follow the builders.

The pyramids of Giza are some of the most well known giant constructions of the ancient world. Just as their size and precision have surprised us the mystery behind their building have done the same. To this day we are still largely ignorant as to the techniques and technologies behind the Great Pyramid and its satellite tombs. Hypotheses on this anomaly abound. Most claim ramps were built alongside the pyramid. Rollers would then have been used to aid in lifting thousands of tons of sandstone up the outside edges of Khufu's crypt. This, of course, would require the hiring or enslaving of tens of thousands of people to achieve. The other theories incorporated in mainstream archaeology are essentially very similar to the above. Now, if we move beyond the mainstream we really do not stray far from this theory either. Ancient astronaut theorists are of the opinion that humans did indeed build the pyramids. The planning and tools used in the realization of the ultimate goal, however, were thought to be supplied by extraterrestrial visitors. It is in this way we explain the sudden and otherwise mainly inexplicable gaining of the knowledge needed to build such a gigantic monument. Looking past the Great Pyramid to the unexplained "bent" pyramid we also see with new light.

The bent pyramid was actually built after the other pyramids of Giza. What's particularly odd about this tomb is that it has a sharp change in its angle of ascent to its apex about a quarter of the way from the base. Now, it would make sense if such a miscalculation was made in the early stages of pyramid design, but this is not the case here. Theories about extraterrestrial intercession in ancient construction can also explain this phenomenon. If the alien race helped build the largest pyramids with perfect proportions and angles, why did the bent pyramid fail? This is one question with a rather simple answer: the planners and technological wizards left. Mainstream archaeologists have been largely unable to explain exactly what went suddenly wrong in one of the newest pyramids to be built in Egypt. This void in science, as the ways in which the pyramids were built, can be filled if we insert the idea that a super-intelligent race (compared to our ancient predecessors) helped in the process then suddenly left. These same explanations can be applied also to the temple complexes found in the Yucatan and central Mexico. Beyond that we see pyramidal structures in India and some Pacific islands. These similar and disparately designed buildings are all used for religious purposes and all extraordinary in size and complexity.

Along these same lines we move to another topic in this great debate. That is the question of the scientific advancements outside of construction. If we look at Stonehenge in southern England, another monumental anomaly, we see another example of extreme building. How were these megalithic stones placed and shaped precisely into interlocking circles? Just as with the pyramids of Giza archaeologists claim river flotillas along the Avon River and large rollers were utilized. Still, the carting of massive stones for many miles across hilly, tree covered country is a humongous achievement. Beyond the science of building such a compound, there is also the question of the astronomical implications of Stonehenge's layout. If viewed from above the concentric circles of this pagan temple of sorts exactly mirror that found in the orbits of the planets in our solar system. Also, the locations of the largest stones form a direct path for the setting sun at the summer solstice. These exact calculations may seem naught to modern men, but imply vast stores of astronomical knowledge. Such knowledge that there were eight planets moving around our sun would not be discovered for centuries during the renaissance.

If this configuration of the sarcen stones in Salisbury, England were an isolated occurrence one might conclude it was a coincidence. This, however, is certainly not the case. To the southwest of England in the "new world" not to be discovered for millennia after the construction of Stonehenge we see another, larger religious complex with the same curios arrangement. In the city of Teotihuacán in Mexico there is a large collection of precisely constructed pyramidal temples. These form concentric circles imitated perfectly the orbital paths taken by the planets. Just as Stonehenge, they indicate knowledge of astronomy vastly beyond even Europeans at the time they were built.

Beyond even these surprising facts there is also a collection of pyramids in the Mayan empire that astound archaeologists and astronomers. The jungle city of Tikal is home to temples that mockingly copy the orientation of the Pleiades and Orion configuration of stars. In a bizarre twist scientists have recently found a near exact copy of this temple complex on the surface of Mars in the form of rock formations. Again, this could all be coincidence, but it is quite amazing to see the preciseness with which the pyramids match the stars in the night sky.

In addition to these points regarding astronomy there are extremely precise navigational elements that are seen in separate and unrelated cultures. The pyramids at Giza in Egypt show knowledge of the precise compass points. Mind you, the compass would not be invented for hundreds of years after the pyramids were built. All the pyramids at Giza have their four faces aimed exactly towards the four cardinal directions. This is also true for the giant Temple of the Sun in Teotihuacán. Even more interestingly the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sun Temple are near perfect replicas of the other. Obviously their design and artisanship reflect that of their vastly different peoples, but in size and precise orientation of their bases the resemblance is uncanny.

There is a place in Bolivia that shocks all who look upon its mysterious ruin. Ancient astronaut believers and archaeologists alike decry the masterful quality of workmanship in the ruins of Puma Puncu in Bolivia. These ruins are a pile of exceedingly giant stones. The heaviest of these fallen beasts weighs upwards of 800 tons. Now if their size is not enough the perfect polishing and interlocking stonework evident on their faces and edges is mind boggling. These lines and grooves would be extraordinarily difficult to replicate even today with modern stone working techniques. All of the stones at one time fit perfectly together to form a sort of upright puzzle of massive proportions. The lines and grooves on the faces of these stones are so perfect that they are completely inexplicable. Some of the indentations are mere millimeters in declension. This is a feat utterly impossible to achieve with Stone Age tools and no written form of communication or planning. The proposed builders of these megaliths, the Imara people, were primitive and yet built magnificent temples at and around Puma Puncu. Grooves in the stones are perfectly straight. Beyond that in astonishing qualities is the fact that they are all the same depth from start to end. This is something, again, that we could not accomplish or would have extreme hardship achieving today without the use of modern computers. Even more impossible is the type of stones used in the construction of Puma Puncu. These inordinately large blocks are all granite or diorite. Diorite, besides diamond, is the hardest natural substance on planet Earth. This means that diamond tools must have been used in the indentations and markings on the stones.

The above listed feats of engineering and unexplained heavenly knowledge are evidence enough to merit an investigation of the theory that our ancient brethren had help from an outside source. Not to discredit human ingenuity by any means we must ask if these technologies could reasonably have been created by highly primitive peoples barely beyond stone tools. If we were not helped by intelligent beings from elsewhere than this earth, just how did we suddenly gain the knowledge needed for such titanic projects? Furthermore, what reasons could their possibly have been for the construction of all these monuments in completely vastly different cultures?

It is this last question that brings us to the next topic and that is one of a religious nature. Throughout ancient and modern religions we see examples of supreme beings descending from above to live among humans. This is evident in Hindu, Aztec, Mayan, Christian, and most, if not all, other religious belief systems found on our planet. Such phenomena as the coming of benevolent, but worshipful beings bear questioning, especially when it is a universal constant in human cultures. Although it is possible to chalk this up to the idea that all human ideas are innately shared and understood, this is a rather simplistic view. Jung may have had some interesting ideas, but that of archetypes was one of the most controversial. Even today it is not fully accepted in mainstream psychology. The questions ancient alien theorists, and I, propose are: why did these religions all carry similar beliefs about deity? Why were such large and impossible structures built in their honor?

Obviously, the idea is that ancient Gods and supernatural beings were really extraterrestrials. It is particularly interesting to note that the Bible, the most popular book on Earth, contains a few possible pointers that lead to aliens. In the Old Testament the prophet Elijah is taken "up" into heaven with the Angels and the Lord. The strangest element in this tale is the depiction of the "craft" that bears the angels down to earth. It is clearly described as a machine with spinning wheels. This is taken by ancient extraterrestrial believers as a signpost for alien technology and involvement in ancient religions. Beyond this there are countless potential evidences. In ancient Hindu texts and art the Gods and other spirits are often mentioned to be flying through the air. Their method of movement is not wings, however, it is by what can only be described as hovercraft or strange aircraft that they move. Most, if not all religions today and in years past have their own ways of describing what von Däniken claims are alien visitations. According to Chariots of the Gods?, the ancient peoples only explanation for beings flying through the air and coming out of the sky was that they were Gods. It would have been natural for these visitors to be worshipped, particularly if they shared information that increased the quality of life on Earth.

Another closely related curiosity in our world that also ties into the earlier topic of construction is the area of Nazca. In the high desert of Peru there is a region called Nazca. It is on this windless plateau that we find extraordinary designs in the desert sand created by a primitive ancient culture. The Nazca peoples etched perfectly straight lines for miles through the arid desert. Also, besides only lines there are various depictions of animals sacred to these ancient peoples. There is a monkey, a hummingbird, a few lizards, and a strange shape that some call "the astronaut." It is these shapes and the long rectangular and triangular markings that closely resemble airstrips that inspire much interest amongst any who see them. The most astonishing thing about these lines is their scale. They are so large that they can only be observed for what they are from the air. Von Däniken stringently cleaves to his conviction that these designs could only be intended to be viewed by someone from above. Skeptics claim they could have had purely artistic or religious purposes. Many say they were simply made for the art of making a vast depiction of a totemic object. Others say they could have been traversed for a meditative or trancelike ceremony. Still others claim they were devotions to the Gods. This then raises a further question: who or what were the Gods to these tribes? Perhaps they were, in reality, extraterrestrial visitors come to assist our early civilizations.

In the above text I have listed only part of the evidences claimed by von Däniken and his supporters. There are other examples that I have left out for fear of repetition or because I personally feel they are insignificant or too outlandish. While I have indeed presented but a portion of said information, von Däniken has published an entire book on his theory. If you have any questions or want to see my source for yourself, by all means, please, check out the book. However, my intent was not to convince anyone (as I am not convinced and will probably remain so). My only purpose was to raise a discussion and possibly a debate on the subject. I hope, also, that I may have opened your minds to a new perspective on our universe and our world. If I haven't yet I leave you with these questions: (1) if our ancestors were visited by extraterrestrials and were inspired in their construction, religions, and technologies by said beings, what does that mean for our understanding of our predecessors? (2) If they came before, will they come again? (3) If outside sources of intelligent life are out in the galax/y/ies what does that portend for our future? Might we seek them out or colonize our own worlds suitable for human life?