Jim Mastro

Writing, and all things in between

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Have They Really Been Here Before? Part 5

I thought I was finished with this subject, but then another piece of evidence suddenly came to mind. I found myself pondering why people look so different from one another. I’m not just talking about differences between races, which are significant, but also differences in height, hair color, skin tone, and facial features within races. The differences are significant enough that even wild animals can recognize individual humans.

Yet wild animals all look the same. Yes, there can be small differences in color patterns and facial features, but a lion still looks like any other lion, one impala looks like another, elephants, chimpanzees, zebra finches, grey seals, wolves, giraffes, and so on — they all look pretty much exactly the same (within species). You certainly don’t see blonde chimps, red-haired chimps, bald chimps, super-hairy chimps, tiny chimps, giant chimps, big-eared chimps, small-eared chimps, long-nosed chimps, and squash-faced chimps. All chimps look pretty much the same.

But you know which species of animals don’t all look the same? The ones we have genetically manipulated through selective breeding. Look at dogs, for example:



Who would ever conclude that all of these creatures are the same species? Yet they are. There are other examples, too. Cats, rabbits, lab rats — pretty much every species we’ve genetically manipulated shows huge morphometric variation.

Just like humans.

One consistent meme in ancient manuscripts is that humans were altered by other beings. In the Sumerian “myths,” the Annunaki altered early humans to make them better laborers. In Genesis, the gods (yes, plural — look it up) made us “in their own image.” Could the variation among humans be evidence of such manipulation, just as the variation among domestic animal species is demonstrably due to our manipulation of them?

Since we have now sequenced the human genome, and since one group of researchers will soon attempt to recreate the human genome piece by piece through chemical synthesis, making it possible for us to directly manipulate our DNA, the idea that our ancestors were genetically manipulated is not so far-fetched.

In fact, as far as I can see it’s just one more piece of evidence indicating that we were, at one time in the distant past, not alone in the galaxy.





Have They Really Been Here Before? Part 4

In this final installment of my four-part blog, I’ll offer some final thoughts on the possibility that our planet was visited in the past by technologically advanced beings.

For instance, I find it interesting how archaeologists will comment that ancient cave paintings and petroglyphs  are so accurate and true-to-life that the animals they represent can be identified by species:

cave art1

cave art2

But at the same time, they claim images like these are purely symbolic:






Nor can they explain why some “purely symbolic” stone carvings so accurately represent space-suited individuals:





The fact that these petroglyphs and carvings are found all over the world, in cultures that had no contact with each other at all, makes them even more mysterious. Just as mysterious, in fact, as the similarity in megalithic structures all over the world (Middle East, Central and South America, Southeast Asia) and the precision in stone carving used to make them, even though the people who supposedly built these things, again, had no contact with each other.

There seems to be no end to the mysteries, such as these eerily accurate descriptions of apparent nuclear explosions from the ancient Indian text, the Mahabharata (a vimana is a flying machine):

“Gurkha, flying a swift and powerful vimana hurled a single projectile charged with all the power of the Universe. An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as the thousand suns rose in all its splendor […] The cloud of smoke rising after its first explosion formed into expanding round circles like the opening of giant parasols…

“It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas…

“The corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. The hair and nails fell out; pottery broke without apparent cause, and the birds turned white. After a few hours all foodstuffs were infected…A thick gloom swiftly settled upon the Pandava hosts. All points of the compass were lost in darkness. Fierce wind began to blow upward, showering dust and gravel….

The earth shook, scorched by the terrible violent heat of this weapon. Elephants burst into flame and ran to and fro in a frenzy… over a vast area, other animals crumpled to the ground and died. From all points of the compass the arrows of flame rained continuously and fiercely.”

Recent excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in India have uncovered flattened, highly radioactive skeletons. There is no apparent cause for the sudden death visited upon these people.

Or this from Genesis 19:

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;

And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Recently, archaeologists have been excavating a site (Tall-el-Hammam”) they believe to be that of Sodom and Gomorrah, and their research has revealed the cities were destroyed by an intense “heat event.” Not only that, but the area apparently remained uninhabitable for 600 years.

Couple this with the abrupt disappearance of Sumerian civilization, described thusly in a Sumerian text:

On the land fell a calamity, one unknown to man;
one that had never been seen before,
one which could not be withstood.
A great storm from heaven…
A land-annihilating storm…
An evil wind, like a rushing torrent…
A battling storm joined by a scorching heat…
By day it deprived the land of the bright sun, in the evening the stars did not shine…
The people, terrified, could hardly breathe;
the evil wind clutched them, does not grant them another day…
Mouths were drenched with blood, heads wallowed in blood…
The face was made pale by the Evil Wind.
It caused cities to be desolated, houses to become desolate;
stalls to become desolate, the sheepfolds to be emptied…
Sumer’s rivers it made flow with water that is bitter;
its cultivated fields grow weeds, its pastures grow withering plants.

This reads like a textbook example of the aftermath of a nuclear explosion to the west of the city, with its resultant radiation contamination and poisoning. When you consider it in light of Sodom and Gomorrah’s heat event and the discovery early in the 20th Century of Libyan Desert Glass, it’s even more intriguing.

Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) is the name given to a mysterious layer of green glass found in the Libyan desert (west of Tall-el-Hammam). The glass was somehow formed by an intense heat source that turned the desert sand into a greenish glass. There is no sign of a meteor impact, but even if there was, it would not produce the observed structure and distribution of the LDG. However, the LDG is almost identical to the trinitite glass formed at the Alamogordo, New Mexico site where the first atomic bombs were tested.

Obviously, this could all be nothing more than wild speculation – and I’m quite certain many people will see it that way. There is certainly no shortage of websites and books “debunking”  what is affectionately called the “ancient alien theory.” Some of these criticisms are valid, but I find most of them to be unconvincing, as though the writers are really reaching, as if desperate to “prove” this ancient alien theory wrong.

Frankly, I don’t see why. I don’t see anything absurd about it. To me, it’s simply another possible explanation for the many anomalies we have found, and as such it should be open to consideration and testing. There is no convincing reason why it should be dismissed out of hand.

Now, I will readily admit it is perfectly reasonable that all the things I’ve mentioned — the pyramids, the stone carvings, the petroglyphs, the jet-like gold trinkets, the ancient descriptions, the LDG, the “heat event,” and so on — have mundane, terrestrial explanations. But sometime the explanations put forth seem outlandish all on their own, and sometimes there simply is no reasonable explanation. The pyramid builders used ramps? Where are they? The jet airplane is really a fish? The spacesuit is a shaman outfit that just looks like spacesuit? The ancient Indians and Middle Eastern tribes had such amazing imaginations that they contrived flying machines and weapons that behaved exactly like nuclear devices? Ancient people built stone structures of such amazing physical and mathematical precision using stone or bronze tools, and moved 200-ton (or larger) blocks over great distances with manpower alone?

Maybe so. I can’t say either way. Here’s the thing, though: On the one hand, each of these anomalies and mysteries requires its own, separate (often unconvincing) explanation. On the other hand, one simple explanation covers them all at once: technologically advanced beings visited our planet in the distant past.

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best one.

Which brings me back to my original question: Could it be that some of the events I describe in my science fiction trilogy, Children of Hathor, actually be true? I thought I was just making it all up, but now I’m beginning to wonder…


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Have They Really Been Here Before? Part 3

In this third installment of my musings, I’ll look at a very large (literally) and imposing bit of evidence: ancient stoneworks.

The idea that extraterrestrial visitors are responsible for some of the more dramatic of the Earth’s ancient stone structures has been around for a long time. Its proponents and its detractors have been equally forceful in their arguments. Let’s put all that previous discussion aside and try to look at the concept objectively.

First of all, it’s not impossible that stone age or iron age humans constructed these imposing edifices found all over the world, from Egypt to Central and South America to Southeast Asia to Easter Island. Frankly, though, I consider that explanation highly unlikely. For one thing, how is it that neolithic peoples quite suddenly developed these very impressive abilities to quarry multi-ton blocks of stone, transport them over great distances, and use them to construct enormous and mathematically precise structures? Would you not expect to see early models, with the sophistication increasing with each iteration? And yet, these structures seemed to spring into being overnight, archeologically speaking. It’s as though we suddenly built the space shuttle without ever going through the early phases of propeller and jet aircraft development.

Even more puzzling, why did this ability just as suddenly vanish, even though people still lived where the things were built? In some cases, it was the same people. Structures built afterward, if they exist at all, are stunningly primitive in comparison. Pyramids built in Egypt after the great pyramids were small and shoddy, as though the builders were desperately trying to copy what their supposed forefathers had built.

I have never seen an adequate explanation for this.

And then, of course, there is the amazing precision and sophistication of these structures. It is not entirely certain that we could build some of these things today, with the most modern tools and techniques.

I will restrict myself to discussing just two specific examples, though there are many from which to choose. First, because I have been there, let’s look at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, near Cuzco, Peru. These impressive walls are composed of granite stones, some weighing up to 200 tons, and many of them fit together so precisely that you cannot slip a butter knife — or even a piece of paper — between them. Take a look:





The fortress and the city it once encompassed were (apparently) built by the pre-Inca Killke culture, about which little is known. I am dubious. Even with today’s precision tools and lasers, it would not be a simple task to re-create this structure. There’s another troubling aspect. As long as you had to painstakingly carve out granite blocks from a quarry, why not carve them all square? It would be so much easier to build a wall this way. Instead, the structure is built like a jigsaw puzzle. It is very difficult for me to accept that a primitive culture using stone tools carved these massive blocks to fit together so closely in such a dizzying array of shapes.

We are also expected to believe that the blocks were lowered into place by raising them on logs and them removing the logs one at a time. How does one do this in such a fashion that the block slips perfectly into place, married to the blocks on either side, all of which were carved separately, and so perfectly that a piece of paper won’t slip between them? Frankly, I don’t buy it.

Sacsayhuaman is far from being the only anomaly in this part of the world. There are unexplained megalithic structures in Bolivia, as well as the well known ruins in Mexico and Central America. The ancient and mathematically precise city of Teotihuacan near Mexico City is particularly mysterious. Even the Aztecs didn’t know who built it; it was abandoned long before they arrived on the scene.

However, now I want to turn to the other side of the world and what is probably the best known and most contentious ancient structure: the Great Pyramid at Giza.

The three major pyramids on the Giza plateau are the Pyramid of Khufu (the Great Pyramid), the Pyramid of Khafre, and the smaller Pyramid of Menkaure. All are named for the pharaohs for whom they were supposedly built as tombs between 4500 and 5000 years ago.


The problem is, they were actually built around 12,000 years ago. Evidence for this comes from the pattern of erosion on the Sphinx, which was built at about the same time. The erosion pattern on the limestone could only be caused by water, but rainfall in this area of Egypt is about the same today as it was 5000 years ago. That is, it’s not common. The periodic but rare downpours the area receives would not have been enough to produce the erosion we see. However, between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, the area was much wetter, with plenty of rainfall.



Then there is the matter of the pyramids’ construction. There have been a lot of theories put forth in an attempt to explain how it was done, none of them very satisfactory. One recent theory proposes that the Egyptians didn’t carve and move the limestone blocks but instead created a limestone slurry that they then poured into molds to create the blocks forming the pyramids. This theory does not take into account the white cement between the blocks (totally unnecessary if the blocks were poured) or the existence of quarries. Nor does it explain how they got the slurry to the top.

The most common theory is that the Egyptians built ramps upon which they could roll the blocks on timbers up to the the pyramid level where they were needed. The problem with this theory is that the ramps would have had to be as massive an engineering undertaking as the pyramids themselves, and there is no trace of any such constructions.

To my mind, though, the biggest mystery is the interior construction of the Pyramid of Khufu (also called the Pyramid of Cheops). An awful lot has been written about this subject, so I won’t go into it here in depth, but it’s worth looking into because the mysteries are numerous (such as how and why the massive granite slabs were carefully put into place above the so-called “King’s Chamber” or why that same chamber shows signs of intense heat). Instead, just take a look at the internal structure:

Inside Khufu8

Put aside all preconceptions, everything you’ve heard or read about this pyramid and just look at it. Here’s a closer look at the “King’s Chamber”:

Inside Khufu5

Inside Khufu6

And the “Grand Gallery”:

Grand Gallery4

Grand Gallery

Grand Gallery3

If you look at all this, it becomes very clear that this structure was never meant to be a tomb. There are no hieroglyphics extolling the virtues of the king who was supposed to be buried there. In fact, there are no hieroglyphics at all. Khufu’s name appears only once, as only as a bit of graffiti etched onto an obscure wall well after grave robbers had broken in. And those grave robbers never found anything: no bodies, no treasures, nothing. The chambers were empty.

The passageways have low ceilings and are uncomfortable to navigate. They were clearly never meant for humans to use. The Grand Gallery is tall enough, but it’s absurdly tall, and like the ascending and descending passageways, the slope is too steep to comfortably walk, either on the two narrow ledges on either side or the recessed center. That’s why steps and rails have been installed for tourists.

The builders would have had to dig the subterranean chamber before construction began, but then why leave it unfinished? They would have had to put all the interior structures in place as the pyramid was being built, but if you’re going to do that, why not make it sensible and navigable? If you’re going to have to carry in bodies and afterlife treasures, why make it so you have to climb up (or down) a 26 degree slope, bent over at the waist, and squeeze through a small opening at the end? And what on Earth is the purpose for those heavy granite slabs cantilevered against each other in layers above the “King’s Chamber?” What purpose could the Grand Gallery possibly serve if the whole structure is simply a tomb?

There are many, many other things about the Great Pyramid that don’t make sense. There is plenty of information on the web and in the many books written about the subject. Graham Hancock’s “Fingerprints of the Gods” is a good place to start. The bottom line is, it makes as much sense to call the pyramid a tomb as it does to say it was built to store grain.

But if the pyramid was never meant to be a tomb, then what was its purpose? Your guess is as good as mine. All I can say is, when I look at the bizarre design of the interior, it doesn’t look like something humans would build. It just doesn’t make sense from a human perspective. It is nothing like anything else ever built, anywhere, anytime. Frankly, it just looks alien.

Inside Khufu3

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Have They Really Been Here Before? Part 2

Following on the previous post, I’ll briefly discuss here why I think it’s possible that Earth may have been visited in the past by beings from elsewhere, most likely another planet.

First, let’s deal with the issue of traveling over vast interstellar distances. Science fiction writers (like myself) often invoke some heretofore unsuspected method for traveling faster than light. We all know, of course, that faster-than-light travel is impossible under General Relativity, and no one has yet shown that Einstein’s famous theory is false. As far as we know, it is not possible for a physical object to exceed the speed of light.

As far as we know.

Those are the salient words. We certainly don’t know everything there is to know about the universe. More than once, leading scientists have concluded that we pretty much knew everything except for some minor details, only to discover that we weren’t even close. I believe the current situation is no exception. We don’t know where the universe came from, or even if there is more than one. We don’t know where all the matter goes once it gets sucked into a black hole. We don’t know how quantum entanglement works. We don’t know whether there is or is not a faster-than-light particle called a tachyon.

People once thought it would be fatal for a human to travel faster than 25 miles per hour. People once thought powered flight was impossible. And if you asked anyone in 1900 if it would one day be possible to travel to the moon, they would have scoffed at you. It seems to me that there might very well be a way for a spaceship to travel superluminally (faster than light) through space, and we just don’t know about it yet.

Basically, I’m saying it is dangerous to state with certainty that anything is absolutely impossible, based on the limited state of our knowledge.

So, what evidence is there that might lead one to believe our little planet has had extraterrestrial visitors in the past? It turns out, there is quite a lot, far too much to describe it all here. As I mentioned before, there have been several books written about the subject, and each of them lists an abundance of evidence. (Not all of it is valid, mind you. For example, many books make a lot of hay over the 1513 Piri Reis map that supposedly shows a partial outline of Antarctica. Most scholars have concluded that it does no such thing, but even if it did, the knowledge could be attributed to Chinese explorers who apparently circumnavigated the world in 1421-1423.)

Let’s look briefly at three lines of evidence: Ancient writings, unusual artifacts and carvings, and ancient stoneworks.

Many ancient texts, including the bible and the Sumerian texts upon which much of the bible is based, speak of beings (gods) from the heavens who came to Earth, raised man up from the beasts, and took human women as wives. The bible speaks of the Elohim (plural) who came from heaven and took human wives. Gods are referred to in the plural many times in the old testament. That seems a rather curious thing for a supposedly monotheistic religion. Then there is Ezekiel’s description of a fiery chariot, which sounds just like a spacecraft seen through the eyes of a stone age person for whom advanced technology must have seemed like magic.

If you assume that space travel is impossible, or if you assume that we are the only semi-intelligent life in the entire vast universe, then you must come up with convoluted explanations for these texts that involve all sorts of mythological assumptions. If you assume that space travel is possible and that it is highly unlikely that we are the only civilization in the universe, then these texts are straightforward descriptions of spacecraft and technologically advanced beings. No convoluted mythologies or cultural assumptions required.

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best one.

There are many more examples of this kind of thing, but there is not enough space here to go into them all. A simple internet search will reveal many more, along with explanations that both support and refute the idea that the texts could be describing aliens and spacecraft. You can be the judge of which explanations seem most valid.

Then there are the stone carvings and other artifacts. For instance:

golden plane

This gold artifact from the Americas (dated to 500-800 CE) seems to depict, quite clearly, a jet aircraft. Attempts to explain it as a stylized bird seem to me to be rather desperate. And then there is this one:

stone rocket

This stone carving was discovered in Turkey and is dated to about 2500 years ago. It’s hard to see how this could be anything other than a representation of a rocket, complete with four engines in the back and a space-suited pilot in the cockpit. Even if the craftsman simply intended to create a carving of a mythical god, how on earth would he have come up with the idea to put the god in a mechanical contraption, and clothe the god in what can only be described as a space suit? It seems much more likely to me that the craftsman was simply re-creating, to the best of his ability, what he had seen.

Then there is this famous carving from the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Palenque:

King Pakal

The carving seems to show a man at the controls of an advanced vessel of some sort, presumably a spacecraft. The man is reclined at an angle strongly suggestive of sitting in a cockpit, and his hands are clearly operating some sort of controls. At least, that’s the way it looks. It’s hard to envision what mythology would have the craftsman carve this highly technical looking contraption, but it’s not hard to imagine him representing something he had seen.

And finally, there are these heiroglyphs from Abdyos, in Egypt:


Traditional Egyptologists claim (and reasonably so) that the glyphs that seem to resemble aircraft are palimpsets, meaning they are the result of new carvings placed over old carvings, and then some of the new plaster broke off, leaving these “hybrid” glyphs. Well, maybe so. But I find it rather curious and not a little coincidental that those seemingly accidental glyphs so accurately resemble a helicopter, a jet, and two other modern-looking craft. One of them looks like a ground vehicle with a cockpit. Maybe if it were just one craft here, I could buy it. But four at once, on the same panel? That seems to me very unlikely. One would think that palimpsets would be much more random. For that reason, I tend to give little credence to the palimpset theory. It seems to me more likely that these glyphs are intentional and depict what the observer saw.

As I noted before, there are many, many more examples of ancient carvings, neolithic rock art, and medieval paintings that show spacecraft, flying saucers, and space-suited figures, from all over the world. I think you really have to stretch to try and explain it all away as imaginative mythology. Not that early humans weren’t imaginative, mind you, but it just seems curious to me that these artworks so faithfully depict the kinds of air and space craft we see today.

I’ll discuss the third item, ancient stoneworks, in Part 3.

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Have They really Been Here Before? Part 1

I have long been fascinated by the way events (even apparently minor events) can reverberate through time, affecting subsequent events hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of years later. A recent example is when 19-year-old Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo, Bosnia on June 28, 1914, which triggered World War I. Events following that war led directly and (in retrospect) inevitably to World War II, which led directly to the Cold War and all the little proxy wars, coups, assassinations, and CIA covert operations to “stop the spread of communism” that the Cold War engendered. The consequences of all of those things affect us even today, particularly in the Middle East. One person’s actions, one bullet, literally changed the course of history for the entire world, resulting in millions of deaths — and the count keeps rising.

Granted, this example only covers decades, but I’m certain it would be easy to find single events hundreds or thousands of years ago that have led directly to the way things are today.

It is precisely this concept that I explored in the Children of Hathor trilogy. In that story, all the hundreds of human races in the galaxy are descended from an extinct progenitor race, the Hathor. 800,000 years ago. a single action by a single one of these Hathor altered the course of history for every race in the galaxy. As a direct result, some of those Hathor-spawned races visited Earth thousands of years ago, helped elevate early humans to civilization, and interbred with them. Now those actions have directly affected the life of 12-year-old Jason Hunter, and his subsequent actions define the future course of galactic civilization, affecting hundreds of worlds and trillions of people.

When I set out to write the trilogy, I was of course aware of the many books that claim ancient aliens visited Earth. I’m not sure I bought it, but it was a fun concept to explore in fiction. Since them, however, I have read some of these books, and I’m beginning to wonder if maybe there isn’t some truth to the idea. I’m beginning to wonder, in fact, if there isn’t as much truth as there is fiction in my trilogy!

Now, before you think I’ve gone off my rocker, let me first say that much of what is written in the aforementioned books is horse hockey. That is, the writers almost invariably take a few tantalizing facts and use them to launch into absurd flights of fancy. One book made the claim that the “starmen” were wise and benevolent, that we were a carefully watched colony, and that soon they would return and peace and beauty would reign over the Earth, or some other such nonsense. Even if aliens did visit Earth in the past, there is no reason to assume that they were any more selfless and benevolent than the Spanish Conquistadors. Why should they have been? The people here must have seemed to them as primitive as subsistence hunters in the Amazon jungle seem to us. They would have been as likely to enslave early humans as raise them up.

As for the notion that these aliens will return, well, that sounds just like the South Pacific cargo cults, or, frankly, any religion that insists its god or prophet or whatever will return someday soon (always soon!) to save us. These aliens, if they existed, might well be extinct by now. In fact, I’d lay heavy odds that they are. We’re talking thousands of years! If Earth history is any guide, no civilization lives for more than a few hundred years, tops. Odds are pretty much even that our “modern” civilization won’t survive for more than another century or two, based on how we are trashing our planet and how we are ever so eager to kill each other.

Still, there seems to be some pretty good evidence that human-like aliens did visit Earth millennia ago, and that their presence dramatically affected the development of human civilization. For all we know, there could be a vast galactic civilization composed of hundreds of races, just like in my trilogy, and we are no more aware of it than small Amazonian tribes deep in the jungle are aware of Western Civilization. Nor would those galactic races be any more aware of us than we are of those hidden Amazonian tribes.

It’s a tantalizing thought. In my next post, I’ll talk about some of the evidence that makes me think this is possible. And I’ll talk about why I think it’s premature to insist that space travel between star systems is impossible.