Chariots of the Gods

views updated

Chariots of the Gods

English title of a book by Erich von Däniken, published in 1968, that first posed the question, Was God an astronaut? and suggested that religions originated from race memories and legends of astronauts visiting the earth 40,000 years ago. Von Däniken had been given the idea of ancient astronauts from his reading of Jacque Bergier 's and Louis Pauwel 's The Morning of the Magicians (1960) and Robert Charroux's One Hundred Thousand Years of Man's Unknown History (1963) and had subsequently traveled to North Africa and the Americas to explore some of the archaeological sites. Chariots of the Gods? became a best-seller and popularized ancient astronaut ideas that had been surfacing in UFO litertaure for some fifteen years. Von Däniken and other writers produced a host of books on the theme over the next decade. In response, numerous books critical of these theories were published complaining of such a naive approach to both theology and archaeology. That criticism eventually led to the decline of a popular audience for ancient astronaut ideas, but not before an Ancient Astronaut Society had been formed and a cadre of followers organized. The writings of Ronald Story and Clifford Wilson make a case against von Däniken's theories.


Clark, Jerome. Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Phenomena. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993.

Story, Ronald. The Space Gods Revealed: A Close Look at Erich von Däniken. New York: Harper and Row, 1976.

Von Däniken, Erich. Chariots of the Gods?: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1960.

Wilson, Clifford. Crash Go the Chariots: An Alternative to "Chariots of the God." New York: Lancer Books, 1972.

About this article

Chariots of the Gods

Updated About content Print Article