New Book Reviews
By Brent Raynes
The Ancient Alien Question:
A New Inquiry Into the Existence, Evidence, and Influence of Ancient Visitors
By Philip Coppens
New Page Books
A Division of The Career Press, Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12
Pompton, Plains, NJ 07444
2012, 320 pages, US $19.99
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
With an introduction from Erich Von Daniken, the Swiss author who initially focused popular media and public attention on the “ancient astronaut” question with his run away best seller Chariots of the Gods in 1968 (a book that sold more than 63 million copies!), noted investigative journalist Philip Coppens painstakingly wades and sifts through the evidence in an effort to interject some semblance of logic and reason regarding key questions and issues that revolve around the central core of such conjecture and speculation, where all too often emotional and subjective extremes and controversy have been generated by too many authors in the past.
Coppens covers a great many thought-provoking and significant details and aspects in his riveting book, presenting the reader with critical information that is carefully researched and whose implications are intellectually meaningful, relevant, engaging, and challenging.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Ancient Alien Question for anyone who is basically not that familiar with the “ancient astronaut” theory, who has perhaps never read a book of this type, as the evidence presented herein is a very thorough, balanced and objective review of the key evidence in support of this theory that has been presented, down through the years, by a good many different researchers and authors throughout the world. As for the seasoned ufologist or “ancient astronaut” theorist already pretty well familiar with such literature, this book still deserves an honored spot on one of their book shelves as it is a fairly comprehensive encyclopedic reference source for a multitude of ancient anomalies and, as I already indicated, the information contained in it is factually presented, with well-researched and well-written contents, and well-reasoned and objective conjecture and speculation.
Coppens even included our co-editor Dr. Greg Little’s past observations made in this magazine and in his book Grand Illusions (which I included in my book Visitors From Hidden Realms) about the Hebrew edition of the Book of Enoch’s reference to the Watchers and how these beings (the guardians of Sheol) were described as being “gray of color, small as children, with a shape that is somewhat similar to the human form.” Greg Little compared these entities to our modern “grays.”
Coppens also explores the ancient accounts from India of flying machines called vimanas. The ancient detailed accounts certainly contain some incredible and thought-provoking parallels with modern aircraft technology, as well as descriptions of powerful weapons that could cause tremendous destruction comparable only to descriptions of modern nuclear warfare. The author even provides us with a description of one such location in India where an ancient nuclear detonation may have occurred, with highly radioactive ancient human remains still buried in the earth and thousands of fused lumps of clay that were said to have been created by an unknown heat source estimated at somewhere around 2,550-2,910 degrees Fahrenheit!
Coppens explores all of the classic anomalies we know about from the ancient world from the enigmatic Dropa disks of China, the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull, the Piri Reis map of the early 16th century, the Metal Library of Ecuador, the Baghdad Battery, Palenque’s ancient astronaut slab, and so many more, with descriptions and pictures of such remarkable sites of mystery as the pyramids of Egypt (the advanced mathematics and science that went into their design and construction; and were they made of a kind of cement rather than quarried stones?), the temple complex of Baalbek in Lebanon, France’s Carnac, the Temple of Teotihuacan, the Nazca lines, Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, Macchu Picchu, Cuzco and other remarkable places on the Peruvian landscape, and so many other fascinating places you’ll want to write down on your kick the bucket list to visit before you shuffle off of your mortal coil.
I was quite intrigued by The Chief Fetish, as it is called, which was discovered in Panama by Mitchell-Hedges, the same explorer who discovered the famous crystal skull mentioned in the last paragraph. There is also a picture of this anomaly, an anomaly that to this day still remains in the British Museum. Mitchell-Hedges donated it to the museum after he was told by experts that this artifact was probably the only specimen of its kind in the world! The key points that make it so enigmatic is that, according to expert medical testimony, it was removed from it’s mother’s womb and preserved in perfect detail, that whoever did this, by some means unknown, had to possess scientific knowledge of the highest order. Also the skull formation was an anomaly too, of a shape totally unknown before this. The fetus appeared to be only 5 or 6 months old.
Though I was well familiar with the late Dr. Andrija Puharich’s legendary parapsychological studies of Peter Hurkos, Uri Geller, and other noteworthy psychics, and of his fascination with the effects and potential psychic boosting power of certain hallucinatory mushrooms, this book threw a twist or two into the story that I wasn’t familiar with. Now I knew that Dr. Puharich had been involved with people who had channeled a group of extraterrestrials called The Nine and he felt that he had connected with this group through experiences with Uri Geller, it seems that an entranced psychic named Harry Stone, years earlier, had put Dr. Puharich onto the mushroom path as the psychic revealed how the Egyptians used such mushrooms in ceremonies that enhanced their psychic abilities and allowed them to open their minds to access another dimension. The Nine, according to Coppens, even turn up it seems in an ancient Mayan inscription on Monument 6 at Tortuguero, in the Mexican state of Tabasco (a monument erected back in 669 AD we are told) whose most common translation read: “At the next creation [i.e. December 21, 2012], the Bolon Yokte Ku, or Nine Support Gods, will return.”
Also, on a similar note, when it comes to the ancient use of hallucinogens in ceremonies to boost psychic potential, Coppens also delves into Terrence McKenna and Jeremy Narby’s now famous experiences with DMT, dimethyltriptamine, a drug of choice by Peruvian shamans. They felt that they were opened up to other worlds, other beings, in their use of DMT. Though it would have been a good place to have also touched upon the work of Dr. Rick Strassman, the author of DMT, The Spirit Molecule, Coppens did not include mention of his relevant work in this regard. He may have been familiar with it and simply didn’t want to stray any further into the business of ancient shamanic hallucinogens.
At any rate, I am of the opinion that this book can be highly recommended for presenting a comprehensive global and historical compilation of ancient anomalies in suggestive support of the “ancient astronaut” theory. It gets you to thinking about strange things that have been reported from around the world, just as it had me pondering about The Chief Fetish and Puharich’s Nine while I was reading this book for this review.
Awakening the Planetary Mind:
Beyond the Trauma of the Past to a New Era of Creativity
By Barbara Hand Clow
Bear & Company
A division of Inner Traditions International
One Park Street
Rochester, VT 05767
2011, 352 pages, US $18.00
[Ebook ISBN: 978-1-59143-938-7]
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
This book is a melding of ancient and modern knowledge and wisdom. It encompasses information from numerous worldwide sources, while explaining and expounding in great detail upon thought-provoking ideas, concepts and knowledge that reaches beyond the physical landscape of planet earth into what can only be best described as cosmic and etheric planes of reality.
Barbara Hand Clow certainly presents us with some thought-provoking and intriguing matters to ponder. For example, she comes down on the side of British historian and author Andrews Collins in that the ancient Watchers and the Nephilim, rather than being “ancient astronauts” were simply a strong race of people who possessed great shamanic skills and who appeared in great numbers after a terrible flood. She sites an ancient text from Iran that details a story called the “Birth of Zal,” about a king named Sam who had a son who was named Zal, a child who was tall and shining with white hair and skin. The king was disturbed by his son’s appearance, suspecting that he was in fact the son of a daeva, Magi, or perhaps a demon. Thus fearing the worst he placed his son upon a mountain to be devoured by wild beasts and birds of prey. However, the story goes, the mountain was also the abode of a legendary mythical and noble female bird named Simurgh, who took favor upon young Zal, protected and raised him. She taught him many ancient secrets and he became a fine young man. Then he returned to his people again and married a foreign priestess who, while giving birth to their first child, had great difficulty in delivery and was in much danger. Simurgh had give Zal one of her wing feathers to summon her if he ever needed to. So he did and Simurgh appeared, gave Zal’s wife a drug to free her from the pain, recited some incantations, and delivered the baby by cesarean section. Collins was quoted as saying that “the Birth of Zal was almost identical to the miraculous birth of Noah presented in the Book of Enoch.” Collins connected Simurgh with vulture shamanism, a fascinating subject he has written much about elsewhere.
I am always excited by any reports wherein we may rediscover ancient truths that may have potentially useful and practical applications in our modern world. Such was the story of Dr. Felicitas Goodman of New Mexico’s Cuyamungue Institute. Quite by accident (isn’t that how many great discoveries are often made?), Dr. Goodman suddenly realized one day back in 1977 that many figurines and figures depicted in ancient rock art from around the world were not just creative expressions but were also actually ritual instructions! She found that if the postures depicted by these figures were assumed along with “rhythmic stimulation,” certain dramatic neurophysical changes occurred and that visionary states would manifest that were even specific to whatever posture was being adopted! Some of these postures, like what is called the Bear Spirit posture or the Venus of Galgenberg posture take us back to a Paleolithic psychic influence, so to speak. Up to the present time, the Cuyamungue Institute teaches students how to use well over 100 different postures for achieving these altered states of consciousness.
Clow writes: “The postures access nine different realities: healing, divination, metamorphosis, spirit journeys to the upper or lower worlds, death and rebirth initiations, living myths, and celebration. For example, if you or someone you love is ill, you can assume the Bear Spirit posture or six or seven other healing postures, each of which have special spirits attached to them that are known by the institute’s research.” It seems that the road to Eden may go back at least 40,000 years, back to our days as hunter-gatherers, when we lived in balance and harmony with the natural world. Dr. Goodman says that modern mankind lives in a state of “ecstacy deprivation,” that we’ve been cut off from our ancient spiritual roots and influences, and that we’ve lost our ancient knowledge and use of the “ecstatic body postures” just described, which also has become the name of a book written by Belinda Gore, a psychologist who directs the Cuyamungue Institute. The book is supposed to explain these postures and technique descriptions.
Clow takes us down many fascinating, thought-provoking pathways of knowledge. I’m not altogether sure what to make of all of them yet, but she certainly gives the reader a great deal to mull over and look into further if they so chose to. I’m still a bit on the fence about the Peruvian Ica Stones that the author also goes into. Some smell hoax and question their authenticity, though one very serious and credible research who had been to Peru and looked into the matter personally while there, told me that he felt that while part of the collection may have been modern creations, a lot of them he felt were authentic. So on that I am keeping an open but cautious perspective. Indeed, if a good portion of this collection is indeed authentic then the implications look quite profound and significant.
At any rate, though I may be a bit undecided over how to take some facts and concepts detailed in this book, I certainly give it high marks for pushing me to think outside the box, so to speak, as with the ecstatic body postures. Clow also got me to rethinking about how we may be reawakening the so-called bicameral mind, a mindset that once allowed us to hear the “voices of gods,” a faculty that began to breakdown many moons ago, especially since back around 1500 BC it seems. Clow speculates that with the world of modern technology that generates microwaves, radio and TV waves, cell phones and internet, that this wave technology is “stimulating latent cranial” widening of our EM awareness and perceptions, and as a result awakening bicameral perceptions in us once again after a long, long historical slumber.
This book is filled with numerous little thought-provoking pathways of alternative knowledge for the open-minded reader who is up to the challenge and intellectual adventure of exploring different ways of looking at and interpreting us, our world, and our place in this vast cosmos.
Ancient Secrets of Mysterious America:
Revealing Our True Cosmic Destiny
By W.R. Drake, with added material by Timothy Green Beckley and Sean Casteel, with Joshua Shapiro, Brent Raynes, and Angela Sangster
PO Box 753
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
2011, 172 pages, US $
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
It may be considered wrong and a bit biased for me to review a book that I’ve contributed to, but I’ll do my best to stick with the facts and not pat myself on the back too much for my contribution and tell you that it was the best part of the book.
Truthfully my ego is not that inflated as this once again is yet another book that long time paranormal researcher and publisher Timothy Green Beckley has rescued from the out-of-print status bin and revived new life into the works of many previous authors, and so like the proverbial phoenix their works once again rise from the ashes and live on! Tim is fond of rescuing many such great works by authors who, in their day, contributed important pioneering works that still contain many relevant and noteworthy insights for us today. W. Raymond Drake was a British historian who years before Erich von Daniken’s popular 1968 classic Chariots of the Gods had long been researching and writing about “ancient astronauts.” Better yet, this particular manuscript of Drake’s originally came to Tim many years ago for publication consideration, and at the time he was a very small and under staffed operation and he passed it along to another publisher. It never was actually published, with only a few copies printed and circulated to a select few, for publication consideration I gather. So now Tim has published this “lost manuscript” for everyone to read, as Drake had originally desired, even though it may be a couple decades behind schedule.
This book focuses on “ancient astronaut” evidence of the Americas, which is certainly one of my favorite places to look for such historical anomalies. Drake also pondered the possible influences of the ancient Atlantean culture at various sites in the Americas, and in my own little contribution to this manuscript that revolves largely around my own investigation of an ancient, enigmatic and huge earthen complex in and around Portsmouth, Ohio, there is a connected site nearby that Dr. Greg Little has written about and how it resembles Plato’s description of the central city of Atlantis.
So I feel honored to be among several authors to contribute supplemental and updated material to Drake’s manuscript. Drake’s writings certainly flow smoothly and entertainingly, the contents consistently captivating and always peppered with plenty of detailed information. Whether you’re on or off the fence on the “ancient astronaut” question itself, Drake gives us plenty of challenging and thought-provoking data and ideas to get us to thinking and pondering over the question a little deeper. Drake’s chapters include such revealing titles as Ancient America, Spacemen in Ancient North America, Space Gods of the Aztecs and Mayans, Space Gods of South America, Incas – Sons of the Sun, and Lost Civilizations. Drake certainly tried to leave virtually no stone unturned in the Americas in his well-researched efforts to try and validate his theory of an ancient ET presence and influence here in our ancient past.
The other and of course recent contributors to this book are Angela Sangster, her chapter entitled The Native American Kachina and the Extraterrestrial Relationship, plus Mystery of the Crystal Skulls and Their ET Connection by R. Joshua Shapiro, Are You Prepared for the Return of The Ancient Sky Warriors? By Sean Casteel, along with Tim Beckley’s Unsolved Mysteries of the Americas: What Is To Come? Also Tim prepared a special report entitled Crystal Skulls: The Extraterrestrial Connection (including several pictures of crystal skull displays), that details how last year Mayan elders were in New York City on 10-10-10, visited the United Nations to give them a message about 2012 and a new spiritual awakening that is coming (as well as a return of the sky visitors), and how they also presented a seminar with their crystal skulls at an ARE (Association for Research and Enlightenment) hosted event in the Chelsea section of the City, wherein UFOs were reported coincidently outside (reported by several attendees).
Just a note of interest about this: Thirteen Mayan elders have returned to New York again this year to do a ceremony with 13 crystal skulls on October 27th, and are crossing the nation now, visiting ancient sacred sites across the U.S. to do ceremonies at such places as Ohio’s Serpent Mound, Cahokia, Crestone, Colorado, with a private meeting scheduled in Kaatsi, Arizona, with a Hopi and Tibetan monks, of course ceremonies in Sedona, eventually ending up in LA to celebrate the arrival of 11-11-11. So watch out LA!