Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Erich von Daniken & the VMs...

For those of us who suspected that Erich von Daniken had been silently abducted by aliens at some point in the last couple of decades (but without bothering to look up his Wikipedia entry to find out that this was [probably] not true), a new von Daniken book may come as a bit of a surprise.

Released in German in September 2007, "Falsch Informiert!" promises the reader a thoughtful reappraisal (and a combative intellectual defence against countless assaults) of von Daniken's claims from all those years ago, such as Father Crespi's "Metal Library" and the Nasca lines and... oh, you get the general idea. (Personally, I'd be more interested to read Stan Hall's (2007) book "Tayos Gold: The Archives of Atlantis", but there you go.)

As ever, von Daniken's roving eye remains alert for anomalous objects that might just have been placed into an inappropriate historical stratum by careless alien visitors: the Piri Reis map (debunking courtesy of the ever-reliable Map Room blog), the splendid Antikythera Mechanism, and so forth. Both of which seem perfectly sane artefacts to me, with no huge (or even small) need to introduce extraterrestrial visitations to explain their basic existence.

But wait: in "Falsch Informiert!", von Daniken has also picked up on the Voynich Manuscript as an object apparently inserted out of the correct historical sequence. Now, while I don't believe that the VMs requires a deus ex machina (a chariot-driving deus, in Daniken's case) to explain its very-probably-Quattrocento art history, I do think it will be interesting to see what our Swiss chum has to say about it.

As you'd expect, his account may well turn out to be nonsense: but even so, it will very likely be well-argued and well-read nonsense. Which, compared to a lot of the Voynich babble out there, should at least be a bit of fun to read. Just remember not to inhale. :-)

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