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.