The Ragged Genesis of Ancient Alien Theory
The era of pulp fiction predates most of us. From before the turn of the nineteenth century (1896) to the emergence of television in the 1950s, pulp magazines were the rage of popular culture. Science fiction got its start within this widespread medium, although at first the genre wasn’t known by that label.
Instead, it was initially tagged scientifiction, an awkward name coined by pulp publisher Hugo Gernsback. Gernsback founded and edited a particular pulp magazine that survived the era and helped define it—Amazing Stories. As the adjacent cover of the April, 1926 edition of Amazing Stories highlights, this pulp fiction magazine featured stories from the likes of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allen Poe—names of which no doubt the reader is most familiar.
Pulps’ preferred publishing formats were “novellas”—long short-stories or short-novels, you pick—and serialized versions of longer works. Good examples would be H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Isaac Asimovs’ Nightfall.
These raggedy but remarkable periodicals were nicknamed pulps since publishers employed cheap wood pulp paper in their production, released them without trimmed edges, and sported no interior pictures or any other “eye-candy.” Just plain ol’ pulp. All they had in common with “the slicks”—the traditional polished periodical—was the glossy color cover. Back in the Twenties and Thirties, pulps sold for ten to twenty-five cents. Quite a bargain for entertainment in those days.
Many starving authors, in particular one thinks of the brilliant H.P. Lovecraft, made a thin-living by writing for “the pulps.” The periodicals Amazing Stories, Argosy, Detective Stories, and Weird Tales (for whom Lovecraft wrote) were among 400 other pulps published monthly at the height of the craze. Without “the pulps”, short stories might not have flourished to the extent they did and science fiction might not have gotten off the launching pad. A great pulp edition could sell a million copies. No wonder fabulous writers like Lovecraft were attracted to this pop media format.
Parodies of Martian Literature
Lying Wonders of the Red Planet, is my seventh book (sixth writing solo). My cover (I do them all myself—I’m a frustrated artist!) recalls the provocative cover art of pulp magazines—a style meant to grab attention and compel the customer to plop down a quarter of a dollar without giving a second thought.
Additionally, as with the works by great science fiction authors (Lovecraft, Asimov, Ray Bradbury and even earlier adventure authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs—one thinks of his popular series on civil-war-hero-cum-Martian explorer, John Carter), the lion’s share of this book was published in serial form. Spanning the last twelve months, I wrote most of the chapters initially as articles for LA Marzulli’s “eMagazine:” Politics, Prophecy and the Supernatural. You will see some traces of the serial nature of this writing as there is a bit of duplication from time to time. I hope that will not be a distraction but rather will allow you, the reader, to jump to the subjects of most interest without worry you will lose the flow of the book. My only caution would be the save the final four chapters until the end. These chapters were written after completing the serialization effort and created especially for this book. However, whether appearing in original form in the Marzulli Magazine or here for the first time, all deal with the “amazing stories” of Mars and its relationship to today’s burgeoning cult of Ancient Aliens Theory, promoted so favorably and in my opinion, unfortunately (because there is no counter-point) by Prometheus Entertainment and the History Channel.
With each article, I explain how fantastic claims about extraterrestrial influence has been the stock and trade of Mars’ enthusiasts for more than a century. In fact, the Red Planet has been the subject for all kinds of sensational assertions—for almost 150 years—shaping popular thought and breeding all manner of cultic expression. I chronicle these incredible accounts which blend science, spiritualism, space exploration, and the paranormal.
Now understand I believe only a few, if any, of the contentions within any specific subject taken up here. I do not intend to convince you these amazing stories are true—just that countless people have believed them to be so—and what they believed adds to what is so amazing about them. The fact that some of what I describe is true, only heightens the mystery and suspense.
Why Christians Must Address Ancient Alien Theory
On the other hand, I am not a full-on skeptic either. Nor do I dismiss today’s Ancient Alien Theory with a disparaging sigh or shrug like a disinterested historian. No, I take seriously the challenge of “space cults,” “extraterrestrial visitation,” and the belief that “life originated first on other worlds” (known today as The Panspermia Theory—a sort of outer space pollination process)—that dates back to Anaxagoras (Aristotle’s teacher) in the fifth century BC, and in modern times to Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius circa 1903.
Along with many other Christian authors today, I share the perspective that Ancient Aliens Theory stands as the primary candidate destined to compose a mesmerizing mess—an unwholesome concoction of you-know-what, about which Christian eschatologists have long warned civilization. For almost 2,000 years, Bible prophecy pundits have admonished disciples of Jesus Christ that there will be a final great deception promulgated by the man of sin, the Antichrist, along with the help of his False Prophet. Informed students of Bible prophecy know this deception as “The Lie.” It will be so illusive, so distorted, but nonetheless so compelling the whole world will be led astray.
Furthermore, there comes a time when the Lord God of heaven and earth allows all humankind to be “given over” to THE LIE. In effect, the Spirit of Christ stops striving with our species to restrict the work of The Adversary who seeks to capture the hearts and minds of humanity. What will happen when this restraint is taken away? The Apostle Paul gave us an earful about this frightening and imminent moment. With a “full disclosure” of a biblical sort, he sternly warned us to beware:
7 For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming.
9 The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders—
10 And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved.
11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,
12 In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness. [(2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 (shared here from The Amplified Version). Note: parenthetical comments in the original of The Amplified Version]
Finally, these “signs and lying wonders” (a phrase used more than a dozen times in the New Testament), will be so astounding that, if it were possible, even Christ’s disciples—His elect—would be utterly deceived (see Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22). If we who espouse this hypothesis are correct, that Ancient Alien Theory comprises “THE LIE’ of the Last Days” (and we’re quite sure it does), it constitutes nothing less than a doctrine of demons coming straight from “The Pit.” In other words: since the stakes couldn’t be higher for humanity, we had better understand what trouble is brewing right here, right now, in River City.
Mars Mythology and Ancient Alien Theory
But there is more.
I advance the thesis that Mars stands as a dominant bright red thread woven throughout a bizarre tapestry leading to this climactic moment in which we live. Indeed, I venture that Mars will play a key part in the deception (indeed, as will be chronicled here, it already has). For more than a century, millions have been led astray. Like lemmings, millions more are ready to follow.
In the “grand scheme of things,” what is the meaning of Red Planet? Mars stands as an icon of humanity’s desire for godhood and immortality apart from the God of Jews and Christians. I propose what may yet be uncovered on Mars will provoke an even greater apostasy, a total falling away or departure, from the truth as told in scripture, what my friend L.A. Marzulli calls the “cosmic chess match” that characterizes the underlying story arc, if you will, of the entire Bible.
Because I affirm the infallible inspiration of the Bible, I contend that humankind seeks an explanation for its origin and purpose other than what the God of the Bible declares. In effect, Mars represents humanity’s rebellious creed, an affirmation that we weren’t created in the image of Yahweh—but in the image of that challenger who has and still seeks our worship.
At this very moment the contest has reached a fever pitch. The anointed cherub Lucifer, who once “walked amidst the stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:14)—those brightly burning wandering stars we know as the planets—contends with Yahweh over the eternal destiny of all men and women. In context of the human species (at least since the time of Adam forward), given its brilliant red color, Mars has created the greatest curiosity, apprehension, and mythology among ancient humanity of all heavenly bodies (save perhaps the Sun). However, such myth-making thrives even today among both the scientifically enlightened and those less so, but all of whom should know better.
We saw this with the effusive language of cheerleader for all-things-astronomical, the late but still noteworthy Carl Sagan, who recognized that the meaning of Mars to humanity goes far beyond the mere quest to explore. In his 1980 best-seller Cosmos, he opined: “Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our earthly hopes and fears.” True enough. But keep in mind: when you dismiss God from the arena we call Life, mysteries like the mythology of Mars rush to fill the void.
Indeed, the “whole truth” transcends Sagan’s sanguine assessment. By providing the incredible history before you—so chock full of those amazing stories about the secrets of Mars (stories which their advocates ardently believed)—I hope to help you “read between the lines” to discern humanity’s most earnest yet misguided motive. For beneath our fascination with the Red Planet lurks the quest for divine enlightenment that will initiate the apotheosis of humanity, a “transformation into gods” that humankind’s religions have sought since time immemorial.