A Strange History

David Calvert

euripides‘Time will reveal everything. It is a babbler, and speaks even when not asked’. So wrote the ancient Greek dramatist, Euripides. Certainly, it has revealed, in part, a human history replete with strange sights in the skies, powerful beings, and age-old artefacts that cast doubt on our understanding of archaeological, scientific and historical perspectives. Though we should perhaps view these aberrances with a healthy dose of scepticism, it would be unwise to ignore them out of hand.

Long before the advent of the written word, prehistoric man depicted scenes of everyday life through literal drawings or paintings. One such cave painting (circa 2000 BCE), discovered between the border of Russia and China is one such artefact. But what had its originator witnessed that caused him to paint images of what, to all intents and purposes, are a space suited entity standing beneath a saucer-shaped UFO emitting a plume of smoke from its underbelly, while in the foreground stands another entity holding what appears to be a disc-shaped device.

How do we square such imagery with orthodox science? Is it remotely possible for a prehistoric man to depict a scene of a modern day phenomenon by chance alone, or is Flying-saucers-Jungthe image evidence of the archetypal phenomenon Carl Gustav Jung wrote of in his 1959 book. Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth Of Things Seen In The Sky? His theory states that when a UFO (in its literal sense) manifests itself, its imagery is such that it stimulates powerful unconscious mental processes in the mind of the witness. These unconscious processes, in turn, are released into the conscious mind of the observer causing them to give meaning to what they have seen. Cultural and personal expectations colour the interpretation of the sighting. The projected meaning is then passed on, ad infinitum, to others and is perpetuated and strengthened over time. In this instance, however, the originator of the painting appears not to have ascribed it to any deity, but has merely depicted exactly what he/she saw.

The Hieroglyphs of Thutmose III

Hieroglyphics are one of the earliest known forms of writing and here, too, there are disconcerting and troublesome anomalies. The papyrus text of Pharaoh Thutmose III (1504 – 1450 BCE), found among the papers of a director of the Vatican’s Egyptian museum, recorded aerial phenomena reminiscent to that of the Mexican UFO wave of the 1990s. This is considered to be the first sighting on record.

It began with “… a circle of fire coming in the sky …it had no head (not a comet), the breath of its mouth had a foul odour. Its body was one rod (5 m) long and one rod wide. It had no voice“. After some days the UFOs began to multiply, becoming … “more numerous in the sky than ever.” and extending to …“the limits of the four supports of the heavens.” Eventually, they climbed high and headed south.

While it is possible that some form of hysterical contagion was responsible for the sighting there are, nevertheless, curious aspects to these UFOs that are noteworthy: their bright circular appearance, their peculiar smell, and their silent manoeuvres seem to mirror contemporary UFO accounts.


flying shieldsOccasionally, UFOs are seen to take a hand in human affairs. No lesser personage than Alexander the Great was allegedly aided in his conquest of the besieged city of Tyre by five “flying shields”, moving in triangular formation. The year was 322 BCE. The largest of the circling UFOs suddenly shot a beam of light at the city wall, breaching its defences. Alexander’s army then poured into the city whilst the UFOs hovered overhead. When the citadel was secured, they flew off.

Personal research, however, has cast doubt on the authenticity of these events and reflects on the credibility of an earlier account Alexander was supposed to have had with UFOs at Jaxartes, India. In his work ‘Anabasis of Alexander’, the second century Greek historian, Flavius Arrianus, attributes the cities downfall to an intricate siege work that made it possible for Alexander’s army to scale the150 ft high walls, with not a “flying shield” in sight.


ezekiel's wheel

Even the Bible is not spared the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis. The story of Ezekiel’s wheel (595 BCE) has become a testament to its proponents of things extraterrestrial. It is one of the most controversial theories in ufological circles. Here the biblical prophet portrays a craft that NASA scientist, Joseph F Blumrich claims we are all familiar with. Even allowing for some variation in Blumrich’s design, other commentators agree that Ezekiel’s description is that of a helicopter-like craft, comprising of a capsule supported on four legs, each containing helicopter units having folding rotors and retractable wheels. ‘Might Ezekiel’s description of the “living creatures” with four faces and four wings be his way of describing the legs and the four rotor units?’ Blumrich asks. He estimates that the spacecraft was 29 meters (95 feet) in width from rotor tip to rotor tip. If you add just 2 meters on each side for maneuvering room (13 feet extra). You have to ask yourself, who on earth has a house with an internal area at least 108 x 108 feet inside the house without internal walls or support beams.?

bloomrich's interpretaion

The explanation seems plausible only if we assume that Ezekiel had a limited vocabulary and was hard pushed to describe a seemingly superior technological craft. The ancient astronaut proponents would have us believe he interpreted his sighting in the only way he knew – as God. However, Ezekiel had an extensive vocabulary. Hebrew is one of the richest languages known to man. Ezekiel showed great skill in describing complex things in his writings. He certainly had the vocabulary to say things like: silver disc,  round window, big eyes, large head, etc.

Ezekiel 8:1  ‘And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.’

In the above passage we can see how just how meticulous Ezekiel was in his writings.

This itself begs another question: why didn’t any of the elders of Judah write about such an awe-inspiring event, or even mention it? Could it be that Ezekiel was – describing an epiphany – a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization – as opposed to a physically real event?

One might suppose, given all this alleged ancient superior technology, that something other than cave drawings and ancient texts survived the ravages of time; some tangible ‘nuts and bolts’ evidence of the supposed otherworldly intellects believed by some to have coexisted with man. Below are a few examples of technological discoveries  that appear to be ahead of their time.


baghdadbattery2The 2000-year-old Baghdad battery was discovered by archaeologists in Iraq in 1936. But is it evidence of extraterrestrial know-how, or just simply the remnant of a long lost human civilisation, whose greatness rivalled and exceeded that of our own? The battery consists of all the components that go to make up a working battery cell. When researchers made up a replica of it, substituting battery acid for fruit juice, it produced a half volt of electricity with enough power to coat artefacts with silver or gold, a technique known to us today as electroplating. Such a discovery points to a knowledge and advanced technology being in place millennia before the Italian physicist Alessandra Volta (1745-1827) invented the first modern battery in 1800.



antykithera mechanismParts of what is believed to be an early astrolabe (a device that is used to measure the altitudes of planets and stars) were recovered from a shipwreck in the eastern Mediterranean at the turn of the 20th century. Inscriptions on its workings dated it at around 80 BCE. Known as the Antikythera Mechanism, it was X-radiographed in 1971 and it revealed a remarkably sophisticated internal arrangement of dials, gears, and graded plates. Following an in-depth study of this unique instrument and its mechanisms, Professor Derek de Solla Price concluded that it must have been some form of computing device for studying the movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets. Whatever its function, it is a technology far in advance of its time. Babylonian priests possessed knowledge of Jupiter’s four largest moons, the phases of Venus, and seven satellites belonging to Saturn, long before Galileo (1564-1642) invented the telescope and made astronomical observations, finally establishing the Copernican theory of the universe.


However we interpret them, these and other anomalies have been with us since the earliest times. Only now are some beginning to seriously question their provenance. Labelling them as oddities, fanciful anecdotes, quirks, and hoaxes, simply because they challenge our worldview of history is unscientific. To ignore them is to deny our  heritage – whatever that might ultimately prove to be.

White, Michael (1997): The X Factor, issue 12, Marshall Cavendish Partworks Ltd. Brookesmith, Peter (1995): UFO: The Complete Sightings Catalogue, BCA.
Story, Ronald D (ed.) (2002): The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, Constable & Robinson Ltd.
Blumrich, Joseph F (1974): The Spaceships of Ezekiel, Bantam.
Watson, William H (March/April 1999): UFO Magazine, Quest Publications International Ltd.
Alford, Alan F (September/October 1997): UFO Magazine, Quest Publications International Ltd.

© David Calvert 2011

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