[dropcap]T[/dropcap]imothy Green Beckley just keeps those hits coming! Like a favorite Golden Oldies radio station, the old days are never really gone, and new shades of meaning continue to accrue.
Beckley’s latest blast from the past is a greatly expanded update of Brinsley Le Poer Trench’s “The Sky People,” one of the earliest books to emerge on what is now the familiar concept of Ancient Astronauts. The new version is called “Legacy of the Sky People,” and includes contributions from Beckley’s stable of writers.
Most people nowadays consider Erich von Daniken and the late Zechariah Stichen to be the headliners for this ancient aliens show, but Trench, an Englishman who was also the 8th Earl of Clancarty and thus a member of the House of Lords in the British Parliament, was there ahead of both those distinguished gentlemen with his groundbreaking “The Sky People” from the early 1960s.
The story of Brinsley Le Poer Trench is close to Beckley’s heart. Beckley began to correspond with Trench in the 1960s when Beckley was just starting out as a UFO journalist and publisher. The two flying saucer enthusiasts exchanged their respective publications (“Flying Saucer Review,” published in the UK and Beckley’s “Interplanetary News Service Report” in the US) and shared a warm correspondence for many years. In the 1970s, Trench invited Beckley to speak before a special committee on UFOs at the House of Lords, and Beckley made the trip to London without hesitation. Over forty years later, Beckley still speaks fondly of the late Earl of Clancarty, who died in 1995.
It should be noted that Beckley’s Bizarre Bazaar/Conspiracy Journal publishing “empire” has not shied away from publishing works of great historical value on the arrival of interstellar beings throughout antiquity. He has previously published the works of the great Sir Walter R. Drake (i.e. “Alien Space Gods of Ancient Greece and Rome” and “Ancient Secrets of Mysterious America”) as well as the controversial George Hunt Williamson (“Other Tongues, Other Flesh,” “Ancient Secrets of the Andes and the Golden Sun Disc”).
But Beckley hasn’t merely repackaged Trench’s book. He has also added new material from some of the best writers in Ufology with their personal studies of ancient astronauts theory. For example, Nick Redfern, one of the top researchers in the paranormal today, contributes a longish chapter to the new book in which he discusses the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark.
Everyone is familiar with the story, taken from the Book of Genesis. But are you aware that the story – a great, world-destroying flood from which God spared only a handful of righteous mortals and two of every kind of beast – is also an integral part of other religious traditions, such as the Sumerian, the Babylonian, and the ancient Hindus? Redfern explains how the story of a human being instructed to build a ship to shelter a remnant of mankind from a looming world cataclysm is one of the most universal of religious myths, spanning the globe with its timeless tale of good triumphing over evil.
But Redfern’s examination of the Ark story doesn’t end there. Legend has it that Noah’s Ark came to rest on Turkey’s Mount Ararat. Redfern tells the intriguing story of how in 1949, a U.S. Air Force flight crew photographed an anomalous structure protruding from the ice and snow of Mount Ararat and started a decades-long effort by the military and intelligence communities to understand what the mysterious object actually is.
Working from declassified files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Redfern recounts how the anomalous object was thought to be something metallic, not the gopher-wood of Noah’s construction, and therefore possibly a crashed alien ship. The chain of documents uncovered by Redfern makes for fascinating reading.
When 1950s-era alien contactees like George Van Tassel also took an interest in the mystery atop Mount Ararat, they came under the watchful eye of the CIA and FBI. Information on the structure was at one point leaking like a sieve, according to Redfern, and the government was determined to plug those leaks. What was the government so determined to hide? Was the discovery of Noah’s Ark a national security issue? Or was it a case of another crashed UFO? Turkey’s own version of the Roswell Incident?
My own contributions to the new edition of “The Sky People” are a couple of chapters in which I speak to Brad Steiger, one of the most prolific writers on the strange and supernatural in the world, and Giorgio Tsoukalos, the official spokesman for Erich von Daniken in the English-speaking world and the personality with that wild-and-crazy-styled hair who regularly appears on “Ancient Aliens,” broadcast over the History Channel II.
Steiger recalls attending an Ancient Astronauts conference in the early 1980s at which the main speakers were Erich von Daniken, Josef Blumrich (author of “The Spaceships of Ezekiel,” written when he worked at NASA) and Steiger himself. Not in attendance was our man of the hour, Brinsley Le Poer Trench.
“He was probably generally neglected,” Steiger said, “because Erich von Daniken was the fair-haired boy at that time and was given a great deal of credit for coming up with the whole ancient astronauts concept. It was easier to do then. We didn’t have the media that we do now. And a book such as ‘The Sky People’ was read by a few individuals, but the great masses of people then were not interested. Then something comes out and gets a lot of attention, like ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ As people said, von Daniken just happened to be standing in front of the cosmic slot machine when it paid off.”
Stieger also praised Trench for his theories concerning the Planet Mars, specifically the idea that instead of Noah being an ancient Israelite, he was a great leader on Mars and the Ark was a giant spaceship intended to carry a surviving remnant to Earth.
“At the time Trench said it,” Stieger continued, “people weren’t prepared. But it’s been interesting to see that in most polls the idea of life existing on other planets or in other solar systems is now generally accepted by young people. Whereas back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was rejected by nearly everyone. More and more, the idea that life could have existed elsewhere in our solar system doesn’t get a door slammed immediately.”
Steiger said he has come to feel that, “We have met the Martians and they are us,” meaning we may have been genetically engineered by a superior race who originated on Mars and brought life to Earth for whatever unknown cosmic reason.
“I think, the more I study,” Steiger said