Charles Garofalo and Robert M. Price (see their article Chariots of the Old Ones?) are two more in the long line of people who recognize that Erich von Daniken, “may be guilty of the worst case of pseudoscientific overkill in the twentieth century” as he asserted that “beings from outer space once visited the Earth and inspired all the myths of gods and heroes” and that humanity “rode to civilization on the backs of more advanced races.”
What they specify is that “There are some remarkable parallels in Von Daniken’s and Lovecraft’s work” as “H. P. Lovecraft expounded the same theories in his Cthulhu Mythos stories back in the nineteen thirties.”
Charles Garofalo and Robert M. Price note:
In Lovecraft’s first major Cthulhu Mythos story “The Call of Cthulhu“, a researcher discovers the cult of the Old Ones, a star-spanning race that once ruled the world, and now sleeps in sunken cities and underground caverns….Later Mythos tales (“The Dunwich Horror“, “The Whisperer in Darkness“, “The Curse of Yig“, “The Mound”, “Medusa’s Coil“, and “Out of the Eons”)…Cthulhu and similar Old Ones are supposed to have influenced…religions…Lovecraft also believed the alien races could be reproductively compatible with humanity. Hybrid offspring…Cthulhu and his kin are one of many races from many planets.
Some descriptions of Lovecraft’s creatures are that Cthulhu is “a giant man with an octopus for a head, scales like a dragon, huge claws, and vestigal [bat-like] wings” (possibly the inspiration for the Davy Jones character in Pirates of the Caribbean).
The Mi-go are “winged lobster-like critters,” there are also the “star-headed Old Ones” there are also “spawn of Dagon and the Deep Ones, semihuman fishmen” and many more.
Charles Garofalo and Robert M. Price point out that:
Von Daniken and other proponents of the “ancient astronauts” hypothesis…are quick to seize upon fortuitous passages in the Bible and other ancient texts…In pretty much the same way, Zecharia Sitchin plays fast and loose with ancient Babylonian, Akkadian, and Sumerian texts
And yet, with regards to the H. P. Lovecraft connection:
Von Daniken and Sitchin force us to raise the question of who influenced whom.
Von Daniken was once actually asked if Lovecraft had been the source of any of his ideas. He not only denied it, but seemed never to have heard of HPL.
It is not, shall we say, required that Daniken plagiarized, or was merely influenced, by Lovecraft but his mere denials do no suffice as they are coming from a thice convicted of embezzlement, fraud and forgery. Of course, that he has been thice convicted of embezzlement, fraud and forgery does not guarantee that he is being dishonest in this case.
Thus, as this point we should consult with Jason Colavito who researched this specific point in his book The Origins of the Space Gods – Ancient Astronauts and the Cthulhu Mythos in Fiction and Fact (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives License, 2011 AD):
ONE OF THE MOST dramatic ideas found in the Cthulhu Mythos is the suggestion that extraterrestrial beings arrived on earth in the distant past, were responsible for ancient works of monumental stone architecture, and inspired mankind’s earliest mythologies and religions…
Lovecraft provided a number of different explanations for the arrival ancient visitors on the primeval earth…In At the Mountains of Madness, Lovecraft presents his most complete vision of the extraterrestrial origins of human life…Lovecraft described his ancient visitors as maintaining a presence on the modern earth, and like the Nephilim of the Bible, they begat children with earth women…
Human knowledge of these aliens is fragmentary and obscure. Evidence exists in the form of anomalous ancient artifacts of pre-human manufacture, garbled folklore and mythology, and written texts.
It is also noted that Jacques Bergier, chemical engineer, former Resistance fighter and practicing alchemist, and Louis Pauwels editor, publisher, and self-confessed mystic:
…wrote Le Matin des magiciens (1960) (published in English as The Morning of the Magicians) and presented the first fully-fledged modern ancient astronaut theory. In it, they presented the themes found in Lovecraft as nonfiction, speculating about such alternative history touchstones as the “true” origin of the Egyptian pyramids, ancient maps that appear to have been drawn from outer space, advanced technology incongruously placed in the ancient past, and the other staples of later ancient astronaut theories. They note that ancient mythologies are replete with gods who visit earth in fiery chariots and return to the sky. These, they state, may have been alien visitors in spaceships.
Here is the key point:
Morning of the Magicians became one of the most important sources for Erich von Däniken…a lawsuit forced him to disclose the sources he closely paraphrased in Chariots.
Also, “Other authors were inspired by von Däniken’s theories, including Robert Temple…and Zecharia Sitchin.”
Richard L. Tierney also mentioned:
…the potential correlations between Lovecraft’s story “The Mound” (with Zealia Bishop) and actual Mesoamerican and Native American legends and traditions, and he identifies Yig, father of serpents, with the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. At Teotihuacan, the Mexican city so old and mysterious that even the Aztecs themselves knew it only as a ruin belonging to the gods who descended from the sky, Tierney humorously identifies the sculptures of tentacled Tlaloc the rain god and serpentine Quetzalcoatl on Quetzalcoatl’s temple as representations of Cthulhu and Yig.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ These viscous masses were without doubt what Abdul Alhazred whispered about as the “Shoggoths”
in his Frightful Necronomicon, though even
that mad Arab had not hinted that any existed on earth except in the dreams of those who had chewed a certain alkaloidal herb
—H. P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness 1931 AD
The self-confessed possessed professor Jeffrey Kripal offers some more background on Bergier and Pauwels (Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal, p. 179—see my review of the book here):
It was Jacques Bergier’s alchemy and his enthusiasm for quantum physics that made Pauwels finally realize that traditional mystical ideas could be married to modern science, that modern physics is modern magic-in short, the mytheme of Radiation.
It was physics again that convinced him that the fantastic was not “out there” in some other transcendent world, but right here, in the very heart of matter and the world as it evolved toward a future superconsciousness and what the two authors called, rather beautifully. “That Infinity Called Man.”
Significantly, The Morning of the Magicians was rooted in the authors’ own mystical experiences of the fantastic as real, or, better, the real as fantastic. Pauwels thus freely confesses that the book would not likely have been written “if Bergier and I had not on more than one occasion had an impression of being in contact-actually, physically—with another world.”
This certainly helps explain their attraction to such impossible ideas as contact with alien intelligences and the existence of parallel universes. This also explains their obvious affection for Charles Fort, science fiction, and Superman allusions. The book positively swims with traditional Fortean, sci-fi, and superheroic themes.
Incidentally, it is also note that it is also noted that “Admittedly, in his earlier stories, HPL treated the Old Ones as demons or evil gods.”
In short, the bottom line is that this story has been told and retold and revamped and updates, etc. ever since the events recorded in Genesis 6:2, 4 took place:
…the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose…
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
It appears that, as time progressed, these mighty men of old renown were misidentified as gods or aliens (or alien gods), passed themselves off as such, etc. and eventually we end up with the modern day ancient alien / ancient astronaut theories / theologies:
Von Daniken makes much of the recurrent theme of a powerful god who uses a lightning bolt as a weapon and begets demi-gods on mortal women. He believes the being was a more human-looking spaceman who was somehow reproductively compatible (perhaps because of some artifice) with Earth women.
He must have been trying to improve the human race by begetting superior hybrids, as mythical demi-gods are usually depicted as incredibly strong, smart, magical, and given to discovering fire, founding cities, developing the art of weaving and similar useful things.
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