Chris Aubeck’s previous book, co-authored with Jacques Vallée, was entitled Wonders in the Sky, published in 2010. It was a comprehensive examination of aerial phenomena reports from antiquity to the year 1879. His new title is Alien Artifacts: From Antiquity to 1880: The Forgotten Story of How We Came to Believe in Visitors From the Stars. The book describes the long and intricate history of ideas about extraterrestrial worlds and their inhabitants. The examples stretch back to ancient Greece and include the first speculations on the origins of the ancient alien theory, the first ideas of extraterrestrial craft, original accounts of what we would know today as flying saucer contactees, and even the racist origins of ideas about superior beings. Chris says he’s been told that his research is “like drawing back a curtain to reveal a long forgotten history of an obsession we thought was new.”
In his first appearance on the show in over 6 years, Chris described his research into the history of ideas about extraterrestrials in archives. libraries, and the internet, and how he has discovered that “we’ve read so much into it based on our expectations.” Many UFO stories in the 19th century and before were invented as fiction or to sell newspapers and other printed media, but many of them contain quite modern elements, such as ideas about alien artifacts and writing, and even elements of abduction stories. Aubeck says that this is not proof that UFO sightings and encounters are made up, but that we need to look at cultural contexts and antecedents for them to gain perspective. We also discussed the writings of 18th century Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, and his descriptions of people from other planets that contain many elements that would appear in 20th century UFO contactee literature. Another fascinating tangent was the strange (to us) theory beginning in the 19th century, that meteorites had arrived from other worlds carrying flora and fauna, sometimes still living.
(Song credit: “They’re Here” by Boots Walker)