Mysteries of the Sacred Universe; “Ancient Cosmology” Interview
Thompson discusses with Bell, the nationally syndicated radio show host, Thompson’s recent publication, Mysteries of the Sacred Universe (2000). He begins with an examination of a series of mathematical analyses comparing the rings of the Bhu-mandala presented in the Bhagavata Purana, with contemporary calculations of planetary orbits. Thompson then presents evidence from the ancient world for sophisticated measurement systems and other technologies, which suggest that a number of traditional societies may well have had access to a complexity of natural knowledge.
TRANSCRIPT: Mysteries of the Sacred Universe; “Ancient Cosmology” Interview: Broadcast Interview with Radio Host Bell – March 3, 2001 / (311)
Art Bell: Coming up in a moment. Mysteries of the Sacred Universe is the book. That sounds pretty good huh? Mysteries of the Sacred Universe. Dr Thompson is going to be my guest. I think... Dr Richard L Thompson, in fact, is a mathematician who received his PhD in Probability Theory and Statistical Mechanics from Cornell University in 1974. He has written over twenty five academic papers, scripts for several video productions and several books on science and philosophy including Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy, Alien Identities, Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science. With Michael Cremo, Forbidden Archeology, he was co-author, and The Hidden History of the Human Race. He also has a number of published works in the field of mathematical biology. But in a moment, for the most part, we're going to talk about Mysteries of the Sacred Universe coming up next. Alright Dr Thompson, welcome to the program.
Richard L. Thompson: Well thank you.
AB: It's great to have you, and it's hard to even know where to begin. A lot of your work is very technical. You're a mathematician. And a lot of the research is very technical. I guess I would begin by asking you: Your title, Mysteries of the Sacred Universe. What exactly are the mysteries?
RLT: Well, what happened is that I was involved in studying an ancient text which describes the universe. And at the first glance, this looks like a mythological description. It talks about the universe in terms of geography. It appears to describe what you could call the flat earth. But what I found on looking more closely at this ancient document is that it's actually giving a very sophisticated description of the solar system and of a number of other features of... which are only known in modern astronomy. So this is somewhat mysterious. I also found that the basic geographical description of cosmology which is given in the text is found all over the world. And this is also a bit mysterious in that it indicates that certain ideas were apparently spread all over the world long before Columbus and modern exploration.
AB: How much earlier?
RLT: Well the traditional date for the text, of course, is something a bit controversial. The text traditionally is dated to be about 3000 BC and I can tell you a story about that date also...
AB: 3000 BC
RLT: ... but in terms of modern excepted scholarship, the text dates back from anything to 1000 years ago to 2000 years ago.
AB: All of this is leading up to evidence, you feel, for a scientifically advanced civilization in the distant past. How distant?
RLT: Well the... what basically I ran into in studying this text is what you could call a serendipitous discovery. I was looking at the description of this flat earth which is in the text. And I found evidence that it contains a map of the solar system.
AB: In other words, we all know that long ago people thought the earth was in fact flat. And you thought that's what you were looking at was a description of a flat earth.
RLT: Right. That's what it certainly seems to be. I mean literally, it says that. We're dealing with the earth as a disc...
AB: Okay. Right.
RLT: ... and it's flat which is what people supposedly believed...
RLT: ... long ago before they had the scientific knowledge that the earth is a globe.
AB: Only you have determined it was not that at all, but rather a description of the universe?
RLT: Yes, of the solar system. In fact, you see one interesting thing about the solar system: The planets orbit all in just about the same plane. I'll use the word ecliptic a lot probably. The... if you take the earth as a fixed center point for reference purposes, the sun seems to go around the earth in a big orbit.
RLT: And the plane of that orbit is called the ecliptic. And all of the planets orbit in nearly the same plane. They're... They orbit in planes that are tilted by maybe, let's say five degrees at most from the ecliptic plane. So if you look at all the planetary orbits, basically that is flat. And it turns out that the flat earth actually was that plane of the solar system. So to get back to your original question: What does this have to do with an ancient, more scientifically advanced civilization? Well the dimensions of the orbits as indicated from the text, and I'll tell you how you arrive at this... But the basic conclusion is that these dimensions are quite accurate from the point of view of modern astronomy.
AB: And how could they possibly, possibly have known?
RLT: Right. How could they have known that? Either it's all a coincidence, just the numbers happened to come out that way...
AB: What are the odds? You're a mathematician.
RLT: Well the odds are very small. We can talk more about the whole topic of coincidence in these kinds of studies too. But just briefly the odds, I calculated about 1 in 20,000.
AB: About 1 in 20,000 that they would match.
RLT: That things would match as closely as they did.
AB: Alright, you were the co-author of Forbidden Archeology. Forbidden Archeology seemed to suggest that early man was using more scientific tools or tools earlier than he should have been, that there was knowledge back then that should not have been. And there are artifacts that have been recovered from the earth that would certainly suggest there were things going on back there that should not have been in the time of early man. Is that roughly correct?
RLT: Well yes. Forbidden Archeology gives evidence that, at least tool making human beings, or hominids as they call them, were in existence long before the accepted time frame.
AB: How much longer? Roughly.
RLT: Well that gives evidence going back for millions of years.
AB: Millions of years?
AB: Alright. In your new book, you're looking at the possibility of a scientifically advanced civilization that would go back how far?
RLT: Well we're talking about thousands of years. We don't have an exact figure for the date but the basic argument goes like this. Let us suppose for the sake of argument that people really did have a more accurate knowledge of the solar system at some time in the past. Well you can ask, when?
If you go back say to the Middle Ages, it's known that astronomical knowledge at that time was pretty crude. And in fact, they didn't have a very good knowledge of the solar system. So it couldn't have been then. Then you have to go back further. You can take it back to the time... Well the best astronomer of antiquity that is known is Ptolemy who lived around 200 AD. So in those days they couldn't have had the more advanced knowledge because his knowledge wasn't so advanced. And then supposedly things get more primitive as you go back to the early Greeks and so on.
RLT: We can trace things back let's say to the Babylonian astronomy. You go back to around 700 BC or so with that. And that was pretty crude. So you have to go back to an earlier time in order to find a period in which the more advanced knowledge could have been known.
AB: How much earlier? I mean here we're already talking about long before Christ.
RLT: Yeah. Well the indications that I found would put it back around 3000 BC or let's say 2500 BC.
AB: 2500 years before Christ came to earth.
AB: Doctor, but that... To go along with that... To go along with this advanced scientific knowledge, there would have to be, or you would imagine there would be an advanced civilization of some sort that would benefit from all of this advanced knowledge that was there then. Wouldn't that make sense?
RLT: Well, yes it would seem that knowledge can't exist in a vacuum. People had to have institutions both for doing the research, making measurements, and supporting the scientists. And then they would have to have institutions for teaching that knowledge and passing it down...
AB: Precisely. Precisely.
RLT: ... and so forth.
AB: Precisely. So does this mean, doctor that it's likely that advanced civilization has come and gone, and possibly come and gone in long cycles of some sort that we don't know about?
RLT: Well the indication as far as I can see is that if there was a more advanced civilization, what we have now are merely fragmentary indications of it.
RLT: So we really have to do a lot of research in order to pin down the evidence that it even existed. So what I've proposed in the book is that in fact, civilization has been interrupted by dark ages. In other words, instead of a gradual ascent from primitive times up to more advanced developments culminating in modern civilization, which we then expect to continue going up and up and up, civilization has had its ups and downs over many thousands of years
AB: Kind of like the stock market.
RLT: Well, yeah.
AB: Everything has it's cycles and you're saying that includes civilization. Do you have any idea what these down periods might have been? I mean it would have to be something that would literally come along and almost knock it down to zero.
RLT: Well there's evidence that that has happened. For example, I've proposed that around 2500 BC would be a time when this civilization we're talking about did exist. That would correspond pretty much to the Old Kingdom in England... in India... Egypt, excuse me.
AB: Egypt. Okay.
RLT: Yeah. And in India there is what was called the Indus Valley civilization which flourished around let's say 2300 BC, in that vicinity. So what happened is: We know historically the Indus Valley civilization apparently died out. And it died out to such an extent that city life basically stopped in the area of India and Pakistan where that civilization flourished. So ... and that civilization is famous for having very well laid out cities. Instead of just sort of higgledy-piggledy streets going every which way like you find in old Medieval towns, they had cities that were laid out geometrically in a very precise way. But city life itself seems to have stopped for a period of centuries. And then maybe around 800, 700 BC or so, it began to start up again and continued up to the present time in the India/Pakistan area.
AB: Well... But if ancient people had knowledge of the construct of the solar system, that would really indicate a rather high level of scientific knowledge.
RLT: Yes, the remarkable implication is that at least if they knew in the same way that we know today, they had to have the technology of telescopes and various scientific ideas based on how to use them and how to measure distances in the solar system.
AB: All of this would give, I would think, religious scholars and fundamentalists a bit of a difficult time because of course they have their own way of looking at all this you know. Adam and Eve, garden of Eden, and the ejection and on from there the whole story told in the Bible. I mean this would... This predates that so far that it would be a problem wouldn't it for religious institutions to grasp what you're saying.
RLT: Well in one sense I suppose some religious institutions would find it to be more or less in agreement with their views.
RLT: I mean, even if you look at Christian fundamentalism which just, since you mentioned that: They have the idea that before the flood there was a more advanced civilization that got wiped out. So ... and I'll just mention off hand... It's sort of a coincidence but the story of the flood comes up in talking about this date of 3000 BC which is something we can also come to. But the real objection to this kind of idea concerning ancient civilization really comes from modern scholarship. The basic standpoint of modern scholarship is that if you go back let's say to the known Classical period, the time of the Greeks and the Romans and...
RLT: ... the Babylonians and so forth, people were pretty scientifically undeveloped in those days. And then if you go back further, they must have been even more scientifically undeveloped. So there's a tendency to argue that: If there is evidence that they were more advanced, there must be something wrong with that evidence.
AB: So it argues.... It's like Forbidden Archeology then, it... It's the scientists who would be most upset if they had to come to terms with what you believe to be true?
RLT: Yes, basically. And there are political factors involved in this too. You know in Forbidden Archeology we introduced the concept of the knowledge filter which is that knowledge that disagrees with the predominant paradigm tends to get filtered out.
RLT: So we're dealing with something similar in this case. And from a political standpoint, one of the motives behind the filtering process in this case is the tension between the cultures of the East – India and so forth – and of the West. So there's a tendency, for example, from people on the side of people in India to say: Well our civilization is very glorious and it goes back a very long time. Whereas there's a tendency to say: Well this is actually just due to their national pride and it doesn't really go back so far. In fact, it doesn't go back as far as our civilization.
AB: Well if we go back to the religious discussion for a moment: I think that they.... It is widely believed that the flood was a result of angels down here messing around with earth women and God getting upset and saying, "Pshhh okay flood! That's it. Everybody out of the pool." Whatever. That's kind of what's believed right?
AB: And so that is not I think necessarily what you believe occurred, or is it?
RLT: Oh no. As for the cause of this Dark Age period that I mentioned?
AB: Yes. Yes.
RLT: I'm not really saying anything about what that cause was. As far as I'm aware, perhaps the most likely argument for it is climatic. Of course a flood is a climatic event.
AB: And one could guess that the hand of God could cause a big flood or a climate change depending on how you look at it right?
RLT: Yeah. Climate change might be something as boring as a drought that lasted for a long time. There is evidence for that. By the way, this cessation of city life in the Indus Valley area is paralleled apparently by a similar interruption that you find in Babylon, Ancient Greece, and so forth.
AB: Alright Doctor, hold it right there for a moment.
AB: Dr Richard L Thompson is my guest and we're talking about his brand new book. And we're gonna keep talking about it for as long as we can keep Dr Thompson here. He may not be with us too long tonight but I want to get in as much as I can. This is so intriguing. So Doctor, you think it might have been a vast climate change, the Biblical flood, whatever you want to call it? Something... Something that occurred that just knocked everybody back.
RLT: Well we're not sure how a flood comes into it. We know that people in ancient times were rather preoccupied with the idea of a flood. As for climate change, you'll find that many scholars have argued that in fact there were periods of very intense drought in which civilization just couldn't keep going because the agricultural base was lost and...
AB: There goes the ... No food.
RLT: No food. People had to revert to a nomadic way of life. So there's evidence for that.
AB: Doctor, just for... just for the fun of it, a lot of us have noticed that we seem to be going through a climate change right now... or at the beginning of one. Could another or a similar thing occur today? And if it did, would it knock modern civilization back quite a few steps should it occur? If a vast drought or a vast flood or a global warming came along, the temperatures came up, the oceans began to inundate coastal cities? That sort of thing. Could it know mankind back again?
RLT: Well, presumably it could. That's just...
AB: That's what I thought. Alright, how convincing is the evidence that supports your contention here?
RLT: Well there's a lot of interlocking evidence. The evidence that I'm focusing on is mostly quantitative. It's a matter of numbers. For example this map of the solar system that I was talking about: You find that this ancient text, the Bhagavata Purana is the name of it... but in any case, this ancient text describes this disk of the earth, and it gives numbers for the dimensions of the disk. And in the surface of this disk there's a series of rings and numbers are given for the dimensions of those rings. Now those numbers are in a certain unit of measurement and we have some evidence as to how long that was. So given that, you know how big the rings are, and you compare those with planetary orbits, and you find that things match up. So it's a question of the numbers matching up which indicates that well, either they've matched up just by chance. It's just a coincidence or somebody must have known something.
AB: What did you say, 1 in 20,000?
RLT: Yeah. For this solar system map, I came up with an estimate about 1 in 20,000 that the match would be that good.
AB: How... Of course we sit here and we say... How could they have known all of this then? How?
RLT: Well let's give an indication of what they... what kind of knowledge we're talking about. Maybe I could... since we mentioned floods, I could tell the story of that... the date of that flood. I've mentioned 3000 BC.
RLT: The traditional date is February 18th, 3102 BC. And to some people that may sound a little bit silly. You know, why February 18th? In fact, it's midnight on February 18th. Well, the tradition goes that there was an alignment of planets at that time.
RLT: Yeah. Now if you go to India you'll find that there are astronomical texts which are basically traditionally used by astrologers for calculating horoscopes. They give you a way of saying, for a given date, where do the planets line up around the ecliptic, in what are called the signs of the zodiac. So these texts all assume that on February 18th, 3102 BC that the planets all lined up just like the horses at the start of a race. Now...
AB: Is that confirmed by astronomers? In other words, we can... you can mathematically back up, I would presume, almost forever, can you not? And move the planets in reverse with a computer until you get to 3102 BC, February 18th right?
AB: And in fact of you do that you find that all the planets were in fact aligned on that date?
RLT: Well, you don't, but you find a thing that's equally interesting. What you find is, they were as closely lined up on that date as they ever get.
AB: Okay, well that's good enough. As closely lined up as they ever get.
RLT: Yeah. Well you see the interesting thing is, the planets, at least if you run back the positions of the planets for thousands of years, like I did it for the span of time from 4000 BC up to 2000 AD – 6000 year period.
RLT: ... using a modern computer program for calculating the positions of the planets.
RLT: And I looked at how closely they... the planets line up. Well they never line up exactly during that entire time. Probably they never do exactly. But if you look at how close they line up at that date and ask how many other dates there were in which they lined up equally closely or even more so... In that entire period, going day by day, there was only two other dates in which they lined up that closely.
AB: The reason I ask about this is because we had a planetary alignment; I can't remember how long ago it was. Everybody ran down to Sedona and chanted and everything. But the reason I'm asking is because nothing really happened then or maybe it did and I didn't... we all didn't recognize it. I have no idea. But astronomers generally will tell us that it's all silliness, that planets lining up virtually means absolutely nothing. The gravitational influences are so weak that to imagine any effect from the planets simply lining up is ludicrous. A lot of astronomers will say that.
AB: What do you think?
RLT: Well, that may be true or may not.
AB: Or may not.
RLT: In one sense it's not quite relevant to the question we're facing here. What we do know is that in ancient times people attached a lot of significance to planetary alignments.
RLT: Now whether they were right in doing so or not is another question.
AB: Well if in fact they had a giant flood 3102 before Christ. Three thousand one hundred and two years before Christ, February eighteenth.... then you could imagine they would begin to attach a significance to it.
RLT: Well, perhaps that's how the traditions came up. But you see the interesting thing is the significance of this date. As I say, if you look at a modern calculation taking into account the planets and.... which were, you know, considered to be part of this alignment, you find that that date is right on the nose to the day for one of the closest alignments of planets to occur in an entire 6000 year period. And you might ask: Well hey, how did that tradition come about? Well we know that that date was talked about as far back as 500 AD. There's a famous astronomer named Aryabhatta who talked about that date, for example, and that's when he lived. So in 500 AD, what did they know about astronomy? You see, I calculated backwards using a modern computer program.
RLT: What could they do in 500 AD? So...
AB: Not that.
RLT: Not that, for sure. Well the question is: Well how did they arrive at that date? Now there's a standard story of how they did it. Now, interesting thing, if you go to Oxford University in around the late Middle Ages, you'll find that that very same date was given as the date for the flood. Now...
AB: So maybe the astronomers are correct and there is no effect from the planets lining up. However, to the people who experienced the synchronicity of the planets lining up and the flood occurring... That could be how it all began and that could be why we're all concerned about when the planets line up today.
RLT: Yeah well, what the scholarly assessment of this is that what was happening.... They trace all of this back to Persia in a few... couple of centuries BC or so. And they say that there were astronomers in Persia who wanted to know when the flood occurred. They were concerned about that and they believed that the flood was caused by some alignment of planets. So the story goes that they were calculating backwards trying to find when all the planets lined up because that would tell them when the flood was. So the idea is that they looked at conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. That's where Jupiter and Saturn line up. That happens about every 20 years. And they were going back by 20 year jumps checking the other planets to see when everything lined up.
RLT: And that's how they arrived at the date. Well, the interesting thing about that story is that if you use the parameters that we have historically for how long it takes a planet to go around once in its orbit, you do find an alignment at that date. In fact you find an exact alignment. But how did that come about? The parameters of course had errors in them. That is... We're talking about the parameters that they used back around 2000 years ago roughly.
AB: Sure sure sure.
RLT: So those parameters had errors. So the errors just happened to point to an alignment on that date. But if you look at errors of the size that they had in those parameters and you go back to 3000 BC or so, you're gonna be off by plus or minus a couple of years. But they hit the... this best alignment date right to the day which means the chance of doing that would be one in... you know... a couple of times 365. It'd be very unlikely that they would hit that exact date.
AB: It sure would.
RLT: So the indication is that the reason their parameters point to that date is not that they were taking their crude parameters and working backwards but they already had that date and they adjusted their parameters to fit it. And that's why they point to that date. So the whole indication is that somehow or other that date was known. And basically it means one of two things. Either, let's say, there's a historical tradition coming back... coming down from that time, which means there's a civilization to transmit that all the way from 3102 BC down to the present and that's how people knew. Or you'd have to say they had better ways of calculating backwards just as we do today. But either way it's a bit of an extraordinary claim.
AB: It certainly is. The odds get to be awfully big don't they?
RLT: Yeah. By the way, there's a funny thing about that alignment of planets that occurs on that date. When we're talking about planets, basically we're talking about, of course, the moon. Of course the moon is not a planet but it's a celestial body.
RLT: One should say perhaps celestial bodies instead of planets. But... and we're talking about Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto supposedly weren't known back in those days. In fact they weren't discovered until recently. But curious thing is that Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto also are part of that alignment.
AB: You mean this flat earth, whatever it is, that really isn't a flat earth description at all. Your telling me it includes those three planets?
RLT: Well I'm saying that alignment does.
AB: That alignment does.
RLT: That alignment...
AB: That would have occurred at 3102 BC.
RLT: Right. On February 18th. If you look at the positions of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto; they're in there too. The planets as I say aren't exactly lined up. They're sort of clustered. But Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto could theoretically be anywhere around the whole circle of the ecliptic.
AB: So if you had to lean toward one explanation or the other, between the planets or the alignment of the planets actually was the causative agent and the other explanation which is that it was a grand coincidence that they were clustered and noticed by a civilization... an advanced civilization at that time and then sort of mythologically carried forth as "Look out when the planets align!" Which explanation would you lean toward?
RLT: Well I would lean towards the historical explanation. Namely saying that we're dealing with a tradition actually coming down from that time period. And there's a number of reasons for that. Basically the way all the evidence fits together suggests to me that there's something historical. Now one thing I mentioned in the book is this align... this solar system map, going back to that topic. That involves a unit of length. It's called the yojana. But it's about 8 miles and all the distances are given in terms of that unit. The interesting thing is that the... this map of the orbits tells you exactly how long the yojana should be. The traditional information that I started out with said the yojana should be 8 miles and it actually comes out exactly to about 8.5... 8.49 something miles. Well the interesting thing is that this opened up a whole avenue of exploration. Because I asked: “Well, is there any historical evidence for the use of a unit of that length?” And it turns out there's a lot of it. In fact... And that points towards ancient Egypt as it turns out.
AB: Egypt. Here we go again.
RLT: Yeah. Here we go. Basically the... this yojana unit is made up of subdivisions and one of the smallest subdivisions – it's called a hasta in Sanskrit – but the meaning is basically the same as a cubit.
AB: A cubit.
RLT: Yeah you know the cubit is like the distance from the tip of your elbow to the end of your fingers.
AB: Yes. Yes.
RLT: Now these... In ancient times or just like today, these units are... tend to be based on human body parts. And sometimes you hear it said: Well people had a very crude way of measuring back in the old days and they would just use a person's arm or their foot to measure things. But the actual fact is, these units were always more exactly defined, but they just conveniently related to body parts, just like the foot today.
AB: Alright, but it wasn't actually a measurement of a human body part. It just happened to align with that. Alright Doctor, hold on. We're at the top of the hour. We'll be right back.
Once again, Dr Richard L Thompson. Doctor, a lot of people say: Look, in fact I've got this message from somebody in Carson City, Nevada. Any high tech civilization would leave behind lots of high tech trash. Where's the advanced building materials? Where are the titanium tools? There would be a lot of this kind of stuff left behind. If not that high tech, then certainly high tech enough that we'd be able to dig it up and find it.
RLT: Well, that's a good question. However you can't assume necessarily that when we talk about a more advanced civilization, that it was like our present civilization. I mean, where's the New York City of 3000 BC? New York City should leave quite a...
AB: Quite a mark.
RLT: ... trash on the ... in the environment. All those huge steel girders and so forth. A few thousand years from now, that should still be laying there so that people could look at it.
AB: Unless it was a very different kind of high tech civilization. But it's hard to imagine how you would accumulate the knowledge that you're talking about tonight without some of the high tech toys it would take to do it.
RLT: Yes, that is hard to understand. Basically what we've got is, on the one hand, evidence that people did know. They did have more advanced knowledge. And we're then we faced with the question of trying to understand: Well how they could have known? It's quite true that we don't have all kinds of high tech debris left over from thousands of years ago. We don't see that.
AB: There is one possible answer. Let me ask you about this. Are you familiar with the work of Sitchin? Zachariah Sitchin.
RLT: Yes. Well, now that's the ancient astronaut theory. Lets just consider the possible explanations for how people could have known.
RLT: Either they did it on their own, the way we did. Now what is the minimum thing you would have to do? We're talking about advanced astronomy and I can still go in later... in to the story about the connection with Egypt that we just mentioned...
RLT: ... before. But there you're talking about earth measurement which in modern terms, basically what you need are good telescopes. You have to make a telescope and you have to have some kind of calibrated device for sensitively measuring what direction it's pointing in.
RLT: So if you've got that, you can do surveying. And you can figure out the dimensions of the earth accurately.
RLT: You can also aim your telescope at the sky and by making careful observations, you could deduce Kepler's laws. Just like Johannes Kepler. He just lived in medieval Germany basically, Renaissance Germany. He didn't have very much in the way of high tech equipment. But he figured out Kepler's laws based on naked eye observations by another fellow named Tycho Brahe. So it can be done without too much technical equipment at hand. But then to make the accurate measurements, you need good telescopes. So all you have to do is posit a civilization sufficiently advanced so that you have people with the leisure to figure out those things. And you have the... at least the telescope. So that's one way it could have happened.
Now another way, like you mentioned, is the ancient astronaut theory which in various forms says that: “Well, people were told by members of some more advanced extra terrestrial civilization.” Now that theory.... You can sort of shift that in different directions. You can either shift it in the direction of a material extra terrestrial civilization with spaceships like in science fiction and so forth...
RLT: ...and that gets you in to the whole UFO topic and so on.
RLT: Or you can shift it towards the more spiritual side and say: “Well, there could be a higher civilization of some kind on a spiritual level.”
AB: Either way, they either had to figure it out on their own... And absent the evidence of the hardware that would have allowed that, doesn't that make it more likely the intervention scenario, whether it be spiritual or extraterrestrial?
RLT: It's possible. To me though, the intervention scenario... The thing that really sort of indicates that people could do it by themselves is that there's a lot of evidence that in fact, they were doing it by themselves. Although you can still say: “Well, maybe the key information that's hard to get came from some external source.” That's hard to say. But if you go to this ancient Egyptian evidence that I mentioned...
AB: Alright, let's talk a little bit about that. We know that the measurements at the pyramids for example, are astoundingly accurate. They way the pyramids were put together defies explanation to this very day. We don't know. I went and talked to the curator of Giza and the bottom line is that he doesn't have the slightest idea of how it was all done.
RLT: Yeah. Not only were the pyramids built with great accuracy, but the interesting thing is, the units that were used in measurement are related to earth measurement, mainly latitude. If you have a unit of measurement, the question is: How do you define it? We were talking earlier about defining a measurement unit based on body parts like the foot.
AB: That's right.
RLT: Well… or the cubit. Well, the more standard thing we have is there's some rod which is kept in the king's palace or the government buildings which is the standard. And everyone refers to that, so that's the standard foot let's say. But how do you get your standard in the first place?
Well, one way to do it is to say: “Take the length of the degree of latitude and subdivide it, and that gives you your unit.” That way you refer your unit to the dimensions of the earth. So you've really defined it, because later on if somebody wants to know what it is, if they measure the earth, then they can find out what the unit is.
So that's done today. Well that's the origin of the metric system for example. The meter was defined as 1/10,000 [should be 10 millionth] of the length of the meridian from the equator to the north pole. That's the original definition. Of course now they use atomic measurements and so forth to define it. But originally that's how it was done. Well, the indication is that if you go back to the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the units that were being used and as you say, the great pyramid for example was laid out in a very precise way. So you can tell very precisely what some of the units were that were involved in that. And they turn out to be subdivisions of a degree of latitude. And that's the start of a whole long story.
There's a fellow named Livio Stecchini, who I think deserves to be better known. He reported on a whole study of ancient units and his basic argument was that the units going back as far as this time period, let's say Old Kingdom of Egypt, were in fact based on accurate earth measurements. So units of length, volume and weight were all based scientifically on measurements of latitude.
AB: Yeah but we didn't have the technology to do that.
RLT: Right. So... but if the units are laying around, then it's either a coincidence that they relate to units of latitude or people had to know something. There's another person who's written a lot about this, who deserves to be better known too. His name is Schwaller de Lubicz.
AB: Never heard of him. There you are.
RLT: Well his name came up to me initially... you know... no doubt you know the story about the Sphinx, about how it may be a lot older?
AB: Oh yes.
RLT: Well, Schaller de Lubicz was the person who first pointed out the erosion marks on the Sphinx. And John Anthony West picked up on that and of course investigated it further. So this Schaller de Lubicz lived in Egypt for a long time and he made lots of measurements of the different monuments there. And he's written extensively on that subject. But basically what he found was that the units of measurement were, as others have also claimed, based on accurate earth measurements.
AB: Oh okay. Let's nail that one down. You say here the Egyptians not only knew the diameter of the earth, but they also knew the magnitude of the earth's equatorial bulge, which is not easy to measure even today. I mean, how in God's name... I guess I'll say that... could they possibly have known the diameter of the earth? How could the Egyptians possibly have known? There's no way they could have known and yet you're saying they knew.
RLT: Well the.. just to say... Why would you say that they knew? Well, I'll give you an example from Schaller de Lubicz. This illustrates the kind of thing that you're dealing with. So he was measuring this temple at Luxor, as a matter of fact. Okay, there's this big room inside the temple orientated north-south. So you measure the northern wall of the temple and you find that it's twelve fathoms. Now a fathom, of course that's the English word for it... in terms of body parts, if you stretch your arms out, that's the distance from one fingertip to the other. But again, that had an exact definition. It turns out that the fathom is 1/1000th of a minute of latitude. So using modern figures for latitude and taking 1/1000th of that for the fathom, you find that the northern wall of the... of this room in the temple is 12 fathoms. And the southern wall, the length is twelve fathoms – but there's a trick here. The two lengths are not exactly the same because when you speak of a 1/1000th of a minute of latitude, what latitude are you talking about? If the earth was a perfect sphere, that would be the same anywhere from the Equator up to the north pole.
AB: But it's not.
RLT: But it's not, because the earth bulges out at the equator.
RLT: So it's slightly different. Well, what he found was, the northern wall was twelve fathoms using the fathom as defined at the north pole. The southern wall was twelve fathoms as... using the fathom that's slightly different defined at the equator. And he said: ”Well you can call it a coincidence.” But then he said: “But I've made many measurements of various monuments in Egypt and I've found this kind of thing coming up again and again. So let's call it a repeating coincidence.”
RLT: So this is an example of the sort of evidence that is there. It comes down to making many different measurements and finding this kind of thing coming up again and again. Now another curious point has to do with the meter. As I mentioned, the meter is defined as... originally as a 1/10,000,000th of the meridian quadrant, that is from the equator up to the north pole. But the Egyptians used the meter and... Well how accurately did they use it? Well again, he based this on measurements of different buildings. For example, one wall comes out to 25 meters with an error +/-1 centimeter. Another height of a wall comes out to 2 meters with a similar kind of very small error. And there are a lot of measurements like that which all seem to suggest that they were using the meter as a unit. But then again, why did they come up with that particular unit? I mean if you're just going to come up with a unit arbitrarily, it could be anything.
RLT: So... But that unit is defined in terms of measurements of latitude. So the indication is that the Egyptians did know about these things. And it's... you can get some insight in to the way they approached science. It's rather interesting. For example, to us, numbers are expressed in a pretty utilitarian way. Like you say 7.34 or whatever and that's it. That's the number. The numbers that Schwaller de Lubicz was talking about were... first of all they tended to be defined by geometrical construction. And furthermore they tended to have philosophy associated with them. So what you're seeing is a whole different approach to numbers. It's often said that the Egyptians had very crude ways of representing numbers.
AB: But the bottom line, doctor, still is the Egyptians were aware of the diameter of the earth, something that they could not possible have been aware of.
RLT: Right, and aware of the equatorial bulge which they couldn't have been aware of.
AB: Okay. Well again, absent the scientific evidence of tools that would have allowed this... for the Egyptians or anybody else way back when. I mean what happens when a mathematician meets the metaphysical, which is sort of what might be happening here?
RLT: Well as I say, the approach I take is empirical to these things. In other words, let's look at the evidence. Now the thing that came up in Mysteries of the Sacred Universe, which is the thing that got me interested in this whole thing, is that you have there a confirmation. In other words, if you go to Egypt and you find there evidence they could measure latitude accurately and so forth,...
RLT: ...okay that's one thing. You go to India. You look at this old text and you say: “Well I can discern here a map of the solar system. And they had accurate knowledge of the... the size of the planetary orbits.” But then you find that those two things mesh perfectly. In other words, the way they mesh is this unit called the yojana and the different subdivisions called hastas or what we... we use the word cubits. They completely match units that were being used in Egypt. So you have...
AB: That's just... It's not possible though.
AB: I mean they weren't communicating. They weren't traveling.
AB: It just was not possible.
RLT: Well, they must have been traveling. Now speaking of traveling.
RLT: There's another whole category of evidence that indicates that people were not only traveling between India and Egypt, which isn't so far fetched. I mean they had camels in those days too. You could go from... basically from the Pakistan, northern India area over to Egypt. It would have been a long trip but it was possible. But there's indication of transoceanic travel also involved with this ancient cosmological system. I can tell you that story briefly. Basically the way it works is if you look at this system of cosmology... As I mentioned, it talks about astronomy in geographical terms. Just as I was saying, one thing we started out with is the whole idea of the flat earth. This cosmology has a flat earth but it turns out to be the solar system.
RLT: So... and there are a lot of details as to how it's defined. There's this central mountain which is called Mount Meru. There's the idea of a Tree of Life associated with the mountain. There are four rivers that go at right angles. There's a whole series of features of this cosmology. You find them all over the world. In fact you even find them among Indian tribes in South America. You find them in Africa, and of course in ancient European cosmology. You find them among Indian tribes in North America also.
AB: Yeah, but that implies global communication or transportation.
RLT: Right. It does. There are so many details which are there in common that it's hard to believe that people independently invented them. Because you can say: “Well okay, people living in different places, being psychologically and culturally more or less on the same level...
AB: ...had ideas at about the same time.”
RLT: Yeah. They had the same kind of idea at about the same time.
AB: Alright alright. We've got to hold it right there. We're at the bottom of the hour already.
Once again here is Dr Richard L Thompson. Ben in Indianapolis Indiana writes, "Doctor, if all this is true, then where are the global communication satellites. They'd have needed them for global communications. Global communications is necessary for a global society which you're describing. Did they rust in space?"
RLT: Well if you look at the British... Are you there?
AB: Oh yes.
RLT: Yeah. If you look at the British Empire, you'll see: Well they didn't really need communication satellites to run that. You know the sun never set on it back in the 19th Century and they were using ships and sometimes it took, you know, years to say, go from London to Australia.
AB: Absolutely true. But look back a little further, to say 3102 BC or even any where near that date, they didn't ... at least we didn't think they had ships to do that kind of traveling in and communication.
RLT: We don't think so? Let me just give you a simple example of that cultural evidence from around the world that I was mentioning. Take the Sioux Indians for example, who live up in the Dakota area. Now in the ... this cosmological system from India, there's also a chronology of what's called yuga cycles. Basically the idea is, there are four periods of time in the history of the earth and one goes through a cycle in which these repeat. And the story from India is that the first of these periods, things are very nice. It's like a Golden Age. In fact, the Greek idea of the Golden Age, Silver, Bronze, and Iron corresponds to this. So the Indian story is that the bull of dharma, or religious virtue, loses one leg during each successive period. So that's a way of expressing the idea that the periods, the successive periods in this group of four become more and more degraded until finally you come to the last one which is called Kali-yuga, or the Age of Quarrel, and the bull has only one leg left. He's tottering on one leg and that finally collapses. So you go to the Sioux Indians living in the plains of America – they have a story about four ages that go in a cycle. And there's a buffalo, a sacred buffalo and it loses one leg during each of the four Ages. And finally in the last Age it's left on one leg and when that finally collapses, there is oddly enough a flood and the whole cycle starts over again. So the parallel is pretty close. So that would seem to indicate that somehow or other, the same tradition wound up there in North America in this Indian tribe that was there in India. And of course the connection is there with Greece. So you see evidence that somehow people did get around.
AB: Well okay, but... but how?
AB: Somehow they got around or information got around.
RLT: Yeah they could have... Of course, you know, the really slow way to do it is to...
AB: ... walk
RLT: ... to walk and, you know, take boats over small stretches of ocean. In a way it's not so surprising. Just to mention something a little bit off the theme: There's evidence of an Indian tribe up in the Yukon area of Alaska and Canada that had traditions of being driven out of their homeland by a certain warrior. And they had a lot of information about this warrior. Well somebody investigated this and they found that the descriptions of this warrior really match the life history of Genghis Khan very nicely. And the indication is that well, this tribe was living in Asia somewhere and when Genghis Khan expanded his conquest, they took off for America, which supposedly wasn't discovered yet, but perhaps they didn't know that. So they managed somehow to travel by boat and they wound up in Alaska. So it is possible for people to get around.
AB: Well alright, I suppose so. But for the knowledge to be similar and scattered as far as you suggested, that's a lot of walking.
RLT: Yeah. Well you need ships too.
AB: And you need ships too.
RLT: You gotta have good ships at some point.
AB: Because we're talking about continents away at a time when... Well I don't know. I guess the evidence is pretty strong that it happened. The overriding question is how.
RLT: Yeah. Well you see, I mean, to take the British Empire as an example: That was based on wooden ships and, of course, chronometers for navigating. And they had the technology to, at a certain point, make accurate astronomical measurements. For example....
AB: Yes but we have lots of physical evidence of all of that and to have that much knowledge so long.... thousands of years ago, there should be at least some physical evidence left of how that was achieved scientifically and then transported or communicated worldwide.
RLT: Right. Well let me give you another example of what can happen to physical evidence.
AB: Ah good. Yes.
RLT: This one's pretty well accepted. It's called the Antikythera computer. Now I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that correctly. It's the name of a Greek Island off the coast of Greece.
AB: Computer did you say?
RLT: Computer. Well it's a very curious thing. This was found in a shipwreck and it consists of brass plates, shafts and gear wheels that mesh together.
RLT: And apparently it was a device for telling where the planets are at any given time. There's a central dial, you set that to the date, and you look in a series of little windows, and there'll be a window for each planet. And what comes up in the window would be an indication of what sign of the zodiac that planet is in at that time.
AB: When was this found?
RLT: When was it found? A few decades ago.
AB: A few decades ago. And when was it dated?
RLT: Well they date it pretty accurately I think to about 64 AD.
AB: 64 AD.
RLT: AD. In the Roman period. It was a Greek ship, a merchant ship, and it had trade goods which they can date based on, you know, the kind of trade goods that were there.... Different...
RLT: ... pottery styles and things like that. So on that basis they get the date. So the interesting thing is, this was apparently a pretty sophisticated device. It was a bit hard to figure out exactly how it was constructed because the different plates of metal were fused together by corrosion. But they X-rayed it and they were able to determine basically what it was. And it used a very sophisticated system of gear wheels and shafts.
AB: At 64 AD?
RLT: Right. Now technologically that was certainly as advanced if not more advanced than a good clock, a good mechanical clock.
RLT: And... more advanced because a good mechanical clock merely gives you hours, minutes and seconds but this gave you the position of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And I presume the Moon also. So the question is: “Alright, did this thing just exist in a vacuum?” You see the interesting thing is, there is, as far as I'm aware, no documentation from ancient times talking about anything even remotely like this. There are no other physical examples of anything like this.
AB: Well alright, fine. How are archeologists or astronomers explaining this? Or are they not bothering to?
RLT: Well, one just has to say, logically, that obviously there were people who did build these things. Presumably it's not just one of a kind.
AB: Although only one has been found.
RLT: Only one has been found and that was purely by chance.
AB: And you believe that it was accurately dated. Is that correct?
RLT: I have no reason to doubt the date. I mean, that's pretty standard conventional dating based on the, you know, the goods on the ship. So yeah, the date is pretty clear. The fact that it's one of a kind is, you know... That's factual. So what one has to infer is, there must have been some body of knowledge involved, first of all of the theory in how the thing works. And secondly in the technology of how you actually do that with gear wheels to make a machine like that. And there must have been a market for it too. In other words...
AB: It was on the way to go somewhere.
RLT: It was going somewhere. And we know, of course, why people would have been interested because astrology was very important in ancient times.
RLT: So people had a reason for having a machine like that. It would certainly make it easy. You just set your dial and you have your horoscope. So in any case... but the... apart from that one example, all the evidence has disappeared including any reference to such a thing.
AB: And how would you account for that disappearance? If there was one machine, there should have been many machines unless it was a prototype being transported somewhere but I mean... that's a reach. There must have been a lot of similar technology to support that, to get to that point. Where has all that gone?
RLT: Right. It disappeared. And that seems to be one observation to make about the past. A lot of things do disappear. And there are probably a lot of things which we don't know about at all because the one surviving example is still sitting on the bottom of the ocean somewhere and it hasn't been found.
AB: That's a good point. So the evidence may be there and we just haven't found it yet. There's a lot we haven't done.
RLT: Yeah. So it's possible that many things could be lost. Now another thing concerning science is the whole question of technical knowledge and secrecy. Of course there are traditions saying that in ancient times there were schools of knowledge that were kept secret. And the fact is that a lot of scholars will tend to basically criticize that idea... say: “Well that's a very likely story.”
AB: You're not one of them I take it.
RLT: Well the point I'd like to make about secrecy, two things: One is, there are traditions of secrecy and knowledge. I know in India, if you look at the astronomical texts, you'll find actual statements in them saying that this is only to be taught to, you know, a student of the guru who has been...
AB: That's right.
RLT: ... loyally serving for so and so many years and so forth.
RLT: In other words, the knowledge was restrained. It wasn't just let out...
AB: Well Doctor, if human behavior is something of a constant, I mean we're still doing that today.
AB: So no surprise there. I guess then, you're right. It could have been knowledge that was passed down to an elite few for literally thousands of years
RLT: That's quite possible. And then the other point is that technical knowledge tends to be an open secret simply because it's so technical. It's not easy to assimilate. How many people really want to get in to all the technical details of how you measure an orbit?
AB: Not too many, but you have to do that to begin to make the claims that you've made here.
RLT: Right. You need some small elite, as you say, school of scientists. It wouldn't have to be a large number of people. And then the danger is that, if it's a very small group, and then there's a disruption of the society, then that knowledge can be lost.
AB: Now some things have changed Doctor, because a mathematician talking about the things that you're talking about now, just a very few hundred years ago, would have been, you know, roped up on a stake and burned. So times are better.
RLT: Well yeah. It is good.
AB: I mean really it's absolutely true. You could not have talked this sort of heresy with regard to everything we thought we knew was right, which now may all be wrong without getting yourself killed.
RLT: No. Now we have outlets for talking about it, such as your show.
AB: We do. That's true although I... it's been a little strange here lately, frankly. But yes, we do have outlets to talk about this sort of thing. So what you really are saying is that everything we thought might be true about how man progressed might be all wet, all wrong.
RLT: Well, there might be a few things to learn about it. Let me mention another far out story.
RLT: This has to do with robots.
RLT: Robots. Automata. Well, there's, of course, in modern times we have a science fiction, you know, genre having to do with robots. And we don't have very many real examples.
AB: No we don't. We have not come as far with robotics as we were supposed to have by this time.
RLT: Right. So, interesting thing is, if you go to Medieval India, go back to say, 1100 AD...
RLT: ... there was a very flourishing science fiction literature then about robots.
AB: Was there really?
RLT: Yeah, quite detailed. I mean at least as imaginative as Isaac Asimov or... and so forth.
RLT: So yeah, there were novels in which robots figured. There was even one novel in which it was postulated that there was a whole city in which all the people were robots. There was no actual live person in this city, but there were all these people going around there, going about their business but they were all machines.
AB: My my my.
RLT: Well, going further: The literature contains some references to machines that could have been built. You see, just like you have on the one hand, science fiction, where the claims tend to get pretty wild, like robots that can actually talk and think and so forth.
AB: But without the technology, at least the basic technology to imagine such things, how... how... they had no reference point from which to imagine such things even in science fiction.
RLT: Yeah. Well that's where you get to this other aspect of the literature. You see, there's a lot of literature about automata in the palaces of kings. Now just to give you an example, one is an automatic door opener. It's sort of...
AB: An automatic door opener?
RLT: Pardon me.
AB: An automatic door opener, I said. I repeated what you said. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it.
RLT: Right. It's sort of like what you have in supermarkets. Well the way this one worked...
RLT: This is plausible. You could see how someone could build it.
AB: How did it work?
RLT: Well, you walk towards the door...
RLT: ... and your weight presses on a slab which opens a valve, then hydraulically this figure of a guard which is powered hydraulically ...
RLT: ..., a mechanism, reaches over and opens the door for you.
AB: You... Are you saying that existed or you theorize it existed?
RLT: All I'm saying is, it's described.
AB: It's described, so it probably existed. That's incredible.
RLT: Well, you know, I mean I can see how, you know, given a clever person and given the funding the king would have,...
RLT: ... you could build something like that.
AB: Work me up an automatic door opener. Right. Listen Doctor, we're at the top of the hour and I can give you a choice to stay on or I know you had a limited amount of time. So I'll let you make the choice.
RLT: Well I could stay on for a bit.
AB: Okay. Then in that case, when we come back, I would like to open the lines after I finish thinking about an automatic door opener and let some people ask questions. How would that be?
AB: Alright, stay right there.
Once again, Dr Richard L Thompson. We're going to go to the phones shortly but Doctor, a few things occurred to me. As we were thinking about how, you know, culture or science of a certain period might be erased. I was watching TV the other day and I was watching... I'm sure you saw the Taliban in Afghanistan taking two gigantic statues of Buddha, gigantic things, built in to the side of mountains, and blowing the hell out of them with dynamite or whatever they used... Just absolutely destroying every artifact in Afghanistan that they thought would be some sort of false idol. I mean just destroying it, erasing it, erasing history. And it's enough to cry about. It's like, why didn't they burn some books while they were at it.
Then.. or you can go back not all that far and recall Mao's cultural revolution where everybody with eye glasses was shot. And anybody who was thought to be smart or have knowledge was killed. And then go back and look at what the Germans were up to. And so, you know really, humanity's been doing this for a long long time and one can imagine there were some pretty sick periods in humanity's history where we decided we were going to erase something we didn't like. Right?
RLT: Yes indeed. I mean that's one factor as to how knowledge could get destroyed. One is also reminded of the burning of the library in Alexandria.
RLT: I guess it was burned three times. One accidentally in the time of Anthony and Cleopatra, and then the Christians burned it and the Muslims finally finished it off. So... and that library contained a vast number of ancient documents. Actually many of us don't realize how fragmentary our knowledge of ancient times really is. A lot of references we have to ancient authors are only contained in the works of other authors in which they just referred to them or summarized what they said. But we don't have the actual original works.
AB: Alright. I'd like to go to the phones and let a few people ask questions. On the first time caller line, hello there, you're on the air with Dr Thompson. Hello?
Caller 1: Hello. Hello.
AB: Hello. Yes hi.
Caller 1: Hi. This is Leslie in Portland.
AB: Hi Leslie.
Caller 1: I just wanted... Actually I've been... I read a lot about Egypt. I'm really interested in that, ancient Egypt. And I do know they found a couple of boats buried there that are about, you know, 143 feet, I believe, long. Anyways I've read a little bit and I've heard that they can... they would actually be sea worthy. The prows are high enough and they could actually be sailed on the sea. So I thought that might, you know, kind of go along with what you were saying about how the information is spread out so far.
RLT: Yes, quite possibly. There's certainly evidence that people did have sea faring boats at a fairly early time in history. There are the Phoenicians for example. It's pretty... of course, this is still controversial from the scholarly point of view. But there's a substantial amount of evidence indicating that the Phoenicians visited the New World. There are Phoenician inscriptions, for example there's the Paraiba Stone, a Phoenician inscription in Brazil, and so forth. So in ancient times, people probably were able to cross the various oceans.
Caller 1: Yeah. That would explain it. I also wondered what you might think about... There's a map, ancient map of Antarctica that shows it as it might have... as it would have been without the ice. And we're just now finding out with our tests that we're doing now that that actually is, you know, an accurate representation.
RLT: Well, there's a whole story there about ancient maps. There's a fellow named Charles Hapgood who wrote a book called "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings" and he talks about that one. I think you're referring to... probably to the Piri Re'is map...
Caller 1: Yes.
RLT: ... which was... Piri Re'is was a Turkish admiral in the Ottoman Empire back I guess... I think it would be about the Renaissance period. But Hapgood analyzed that map and he found that a section of the coastline corresponded to Antarctica. Then again there's another map by a Renaissance map maker named Finaeus, I believe, which shows the Southern Continent which has coincidentally perhaps, pretty much the shape of Antarctica accept that it's rotated. It's not in the same orientation.
Caller 1: Right.
RLT: So that's interesting evidence. Actually in Hapgood's book, the most amazing thing that struck me had to do with what he called the... what are called the Portolano maps of the Mediterranean Sea. These maps are extremely accurate. They date from about 1300 or 1200 AD. Now in those days, people didn't have a good method of measuring longitude.
Caller 1: Right. They didn't have the chronometer.
RLT: Right. Yeah. The chronometer came about in the 1700s. So back in those days they couldn't really measure longitude very well.
Caller 1: And yet they did.
RLT: Well, the official sort of scholarly accepted maps of the Mediterranean in those days looked horrible. They were completely distorted. But these Portolano maps which were used by the uneducated sailors were highly accurate. And so you can ask: “Well how did that come about?” I actually did a computer study of those Portolano maps in which you map the... match the Portolano map with a modern map and see how accurate it is. And they're quite amazing.
AB: Alright thank you very much caller. Doctor, Brian from Covina, California brings up an interesting point too. He says: “What if diseases are what wiped out old cultures and archeology is what brings them back to us?” “After all,” he says, “diseases like AIDS, Mad Cow and so forth always spring up out of nowhere. Right?”
AB: That is right.
RLT: Well, as far as we know.
AB: Or seemingly spring up out of nowhere. Even with the best of medical science that we have right now, we still have AIDS and no cure. We still have Mad Cow and no cure in sight.
RLT: Yeah. We can only speculate as to how it originated. Perhaps from monkeys or whatever.
AB: Precisely. That's all we're doing is speculating. It's still here killing people and so that could have occurred and certainly could have wiped out civilizations. It could have wiped out entire continents if not more if they really had that kind of travel. And archeology is the only thing that we can go back and even sort of piece together what might have been.
RLT: Well certainly disease could have been a factor. The Black Death, of course, set back Europe for a couple of centuries although it didn't wipe out the culture. You'd need a pretty strong epidemic to really destroy culture. But when we're talking about scientific knowledge, as I mentioned before, you're talking about perhaps a very small elite group. So even though the society as a whole may go on – the basic social structure – you can easily disrupt the conditions in which science could flourish.
AB: Alright. Well, caller on the line, you're on the air with Dr Thompson. Good morning.
Caller 2: Good morning.
AB: Where are you?
Caller 2: Portland, Oregon once again.
AB: Yes sir.
Caller 2: This is Eric calling out of Portland
Caller 2: The first comment is for you, Art. Quite an amazing thing that happened earlier today. Wasn't it? Or yesterday?
Caller 2: I do have to comment because I am a former resident of Las Vegas. And I was actually in contact with people down there and we're having more than one affirmation as to something strange. And secondly to you Art, if you actually leave the office today and get out in to the open desert, you might find that glow you're looking for.
AB: Right. Do you have a question for my guest?
Caller 2: I do absolutely. Dr Richard, I have a question. Regarding this... first of all, the Sphinx and the predating of Old Kingdom Egypt, frankly... funny thing is that you had an earlier caller, which Art, I think is a very good colleague of yours, Richard C Hoagland, that made quite a few references to back dating Old Kingdom Egypt and the Sphinx as well to prior to the flood, which was according to Carbon dating, which Carbon dating is not really a good theory for basis of anything any more, but quite frankly... that the erosion of the Sphinx had to have come from water that had settled within the region that couldn't happen anywhere before the flood, which would make the Sphinx far more back dated than 3000 BC. Secondly, quite frankly, in relation to cultures visiting this earth, we'd have to look to Cydonia and kind of wondering, maybe is it pre-planetoid visitors from Cydonia that actually came to this earth. Simply put, were we simply spawns of Martian civilization?
AB: Alright. I don't know. Were we spawns of Martian civilization or of some other alien civilization? It's one possibility, right Doctor?
RLT: Well let's see, to respond to those two questions: First of all, regarding the Sphinx. Now as I understand it, the story there is that the Sphinx has on its back side, erosion marks of the kind that would be produced by flowing water.
AB: I saw them in person. Yes.
RLT: Yeah. As opposed to the kind of erosion marks produced by wind blown sand...
AB: That's right.
RLT: ... which has a different appearance.
AB: That's right.
RLT: So... And a geologist... Let's see... As I mentioned, Schwaller de Lubicz first noted this and then John Anthony West followed up on it. And he got a geologist whose name I forget at the moment from Boston University who confirmed that this really does seem to be what any geologist would call effects of water erosion. And of course, the point is that this is a desert region and the last time that it rained there would have been in what was called the pluvial period toward the end of the last Ice Age at which time the Sahara Desert region would have been well watered and with flourishing vegetation and so forth. So the indication was, well, the Sphinx must date back that far if it has these erosion marks because where could the water come from?
AB: Is there another answer?
RLT: That's the basic answer as far as I'm aware. It seems to push the Sphinx back. Now the conventional dating dates the Sphinx, I seem to recall, to Khufu or Chephren. I forget. One of those pharaohs associated with the pyramids. But the link there is a little bit circumstantial. So it may be that this pharaoh merely renovated the Sphinx instead of actually building it in the first place. So that could be a much older monument. So the... there are indications there of the culture going back a lot further than is thought. Actually the curious thing is, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the dynasties of the pharaohs and so forth are dated back to 3100 BC. That's when the predynastic period ended and the dynastic period began which is a date we've come up with in another context also. But in any case, going to the second point concerning the... you could call the ancient astronauts theory...
RLT: ... The idea that we've gotten information from some extraterrestrials or something like that. Let me just give you a perspective on that that's a little but different from, I think, what is usually described.
RLT: I was mentioning the literature about the automata. Well one aspect of this literature is that it talks about flying machines.
AB: Flying machines!
RLT: Yeah, called vimanas. That's the name for them. Well it turns out, there's... just as there's Medieval literature about robots which is pretty clearly fictional plus some evidence of robots like that door opener which you could build... so.... and which a king might, you know, like to have in his palace just as, you know, for ostentation and so on...
AB: If not his garage door.
RLT: Right, for his chariot. So also there's literature on flying machines with stories involving a flying machine. You know, the young couple elopes and they take off in the airplane basically. There are stories like that.
AB: Now see, I always thought it was Orville Wright and company.
RLT: Right. Well this predates that by a bit.
AB: A bit.
RLT: Certainly the literature is there whether they actually built such things or not.
AB: Well, is there anything in literature that describes something that would be aerodynamically sound? That could fly? Or is it more descriptive of something that would have a system that we don't even understand today to achieve...?
RLT: Well curiously enough there are two categories of flying machine accounts. Now one of them, quite frankly, sounds like the modern day UFO reports.
RLT: Something that flies in a way that we don't understand. For example the... just briefly to mention, the vimana associated with king Salva in some of the Indian historical literature. It was brightly glowing. It danced through the sky like a firefly in a wind. It could sometimes make multiple images of itself. Sometimes it would disappear.
AB: That sounds a lot like the stuff I had described to me today in Ufology.
RLT: Right. And there are a number of accounts like that, so one category is, you could say, the UFO-like ancient flying machine or vimana.
AB: And the other?
RLT: The other is the human manufacturable type of vimana. Now, for example, there's a description of the light wooden vimana – laghu daru vimana actually. It has wings; it's made of a light wooden framework.
AB: Wings as in an airplane fixed-wing aircraft or wings as in a bird?
RLT: Well the description, may sound like a bird or a fixed-wing aircraft. It's a little bit ambiguous. But wooden wings.
AB: Wooden wings.
RLT: That much we know. And it's said to be powered by something involving heating mercury in a vessel. And I really don't know how that would work, but there's a description like that.
And furthermore, whatever this propulsion device was, it made a lot of noise because there's the story that one would use this to sort of swoop down over war elephants and make them stampede because of the very loud noise that it made. So it sounds like something human beings could build except of course, obviously, one thinks they couldn't build it, you know, before Orville and Wilbur.
AB: Alright Dr Thompson, let's do one more segment and answer some phone calls. We've got so many people who would like to talk to you.
AB: First time caller line, you're on the air with Dr Thompson. Hello?.
Caller 3: Hi, this is Mike calling from [unclear], California...
AB: Hi Mike.
Caller 3: ... listening on KFI 640 am, more stimulating talk radio.
AB: Boy, that's how you do it.
Caller 3: Okay. Dr Thompson, some years ago I bought a copy of your book, Vedic Cosmology. And I want to compliment you on your obvious command of the ancient sources. It appears at that time you were affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and I was wondering if that was still the case?
RLT: Yeah, it is.
Caller 3: Oh okay, very interesting, okay. Have you found that you find yourself making common cause with, say, Christian creationists because they take... they have similar questions about inconsistencies.
RLT: Yes, there's some common cause there.
Caller 3: I had the pleasure of recently attending one such and they were pointing out such things as what they call interstriae fossils, in other words, where one fossil goes across what supposedly is several million years of strata in geological time and that sort of thing.
RLT: Well of course, the... one school of Christian creationism wants to make everything very young.
Caller 3: Yeah, that's the young earth approach.
RLT: The young earth approach. Basically in the work I've done, I have more or less assumed the broad validity of the geological timescale.
Caller 3: Okay.
RLT: And I haven't really seen much reason to doubt that. Now, of course, you could say there's a motive there because in the Indian...
Caller 3: In the Vedic scriptures, yeah.
RLT: ... Vedic cosmological system, they speak about very long time spans, like the day of Brahma is a bit more than 4 billion years in length so that's compatible with the geological timescale although the events that occur during those time periods, as described in the Vedic literatures would be different from the events in the geological history.
Caller 3: Okay.
AB: Alright. Thank you. Wild card line, you are on the air with Dr Thompson. Good morning.
Caller 4: Good morning Art. Good morning doctor. This is Christopher calling from Honolulu, Hawaii, listening on KHVH, the big 8.30am.
AB: Once you get it started, people do those promos. It's great!
Caller 4: Well, that's what you wanted.
AB: Yes sir.
Caller 4: I try to remember every time. Well, two things Doctor, I'd like to talk to you about: The first subject you touched on and then the next subject. I'll try and make it brief so hopefully somebody else can get on.
Art, I just want to say: Last night I got in at the last minute. I didn't get a chance to finish what I wanted to say. What I really wanted to say at the end was, I thought you were magnificent, last night, the way you handled that debate as a moderator.
AB: Thank you.
Caller 4: And unfortunately you were untimely interrupted. But you were just fantastic.
AB: Thank you. They always get us at the most dramatic point, as where we have these incredible occurrences. Anyway, if you have...
Caller 4: Absolutely. Okay. Well as far as the planets effecting, you know, the changes on the earth, the only thing I'd like to point out... Scientists for some time now have had a real fixation on astrology like it's some kind of, you know, bad boy. And they've divorced themselves from it and now they're persecuting it the way they themselves were persecuted a few hundred years ago by religion. Unfortunately they're overlooking data that's right under their nose. Physicists have recently... astrophysicists have recently discovered planets around other stars by the effect those planets have on those stars causing them to wobble. That effect is generated by gravity wave. You know gravity, what they used to call the weak force... The other thing which I might point out about that is we have black holes in the center of all our galaxies apparently. And those black holes are sucking in whole galaxies. And it's not because are falling in to the holes. It's because they generate a gravity wave. So gravity and electromagnetism do effect, you know, these planetary movements. It's like they're trying to say, as if ... Well the planets can effect a star and make it wobble but they can't effect each other. Like how's that work? I don't understand that.
AB: Doctor? No, let's ask the Doctor. It's a very good question.
RLT: Well, of course, I haven't really done any extensive research into astrology. I know there's some controversial points there. People will argue that if you calculate the gravitational effect of, say, the planet Jupiter on a human body, you get a very, very tiny quantity. Of course, even if there is some effect, it doesn't necessarily have to be gravitational. It could be something else.
So it's really an empirical question. First of all, is there some effect to be explained and then secondly, then what is the explanation? Just like in this whole discussion, the argument has been, there is evidence for a more advanced ancient civilization. But then one has to explain: Well okay, what became of, say, the physical evidence?
AB: All the stuff.
Caller 4: Doctor. In fact, that's exactly the point, the second point I wanted to touch on. And I'll try to make it real brief and then I'll get off and listen. You know, if... we've had so many earth upheavals. Okay. And I can tell you right now... You mentioned earlier about the big iron beams, steel beams and girders from the skyscrapers and what not... You know, they wouldn't last very long if an Ice Age came along and giant glaciers ground them in to nothing. But even if you leave girders, steel girders out 20 or 30 years, they're already rusting away to nothingness. The only thing that would be left would be the big concrete foundations. And that's what we see in these ancient civilizations. We see huge... like the big block at Baalbek... I mean these giant, inexplicable foundations of what we assume were pyramids or maybe they were skyscrapers for all we know. But the fact of the matter is, there's not much left. And even if our civilization stopped today because of something, the people who are surviving in the jungles of Borneo, South America and Africa are living precisely the way they've lived for the past 500,000 years. They haven't been touched by these changes.
So that's the point I'd like to make is that... We're too arrogant. We think that our civilization, you know, if we have satellites, that makes us special but hey, meteors falling on our head right now. If there was satellites up there 10,000 years ago, you think they're still orbiting when gravity is pulling them inexorably in. So that's my point and I'll bid you goodnight again.
AB: Alright. Thank you very much. It's actually a point well taken.
RLT: Yeah well...
AB: There could... He just raised a pretty good point. There could have been satellites orbiting the earth and then they would have long since crashed back and burned up.
RLT: Yeah they would have crashed. Yeah well the mention of Baalbek is interesting. There you have extremely large stone blocks. Let me see, I forget the dimensions exactly but I think no one has technology today to move those around especially through somewhat rugged terrain which they have there.
AB: And yet they did that, and who knows what they supported.
AB: ... as he pointed out. We don't know and it would have been long since gone.
RLT: Yeah. All kinds of things could have disappeared.
AB: Alright. East of the Rockies, you're on the air with Dr Thompson. Good morning. Hello?
Caller 5: Hello?
Caller 5: Oh okay. Hi I'm calling from Miami.
AB: Yes sir.
Caller 5: I had a couple of questions actually. As far as...
AB: You've forgotten your question?
Caller 5: I sure have.
AB: Just relax. It'll come rushing right back to you.
Caller 5: As far as ancient people, we know that scientists were pretty much taboo I guess, and they were really spiritual people also. What do you think of the possibility that all the... They didn't have technology as we see it today, per se. But if they didn't need the technology because they were spiritual and they had a form of remote viewing and this is how they...
AB: ... transmitted information. Yeah okay. I think I've got it. I don't know that science was always taboo. I think that it's gone through periods when it's been taboo as I explained a little earlier, where we have tried to erase a certain science or a certain knowledge. We've killed people for it. We've blown things up as they're doing in Afghanistan today. You don't have to look very far back to see the efforts that have been made. So science has not always been taboo. It appears to have come and gone. Wouldn't that be closer doctor?
RLT: Well yes. And the approach to science wasn't necessarily the same as it is today. I mentioned earlier regarding the units in Egypt. If you look at this book by Schwaller de Lubicz, for example, he explains how the numbers were treated geometrically and philosophically. So the people were thinking about things in a different way. But yet they were just as intelligent as we are. And they were able to make scientific observations and analyses but their whole perspective was different.
AB: Now he did raise one interesting point and that was that perhaps people had skills... Today we talk about remote viewing and various ways of knowing things at great distances, actually being able to describe physical things at a great distance, things that were... are sort of cutting edge technology today that may have been common place thousands of years ago. That's certainly a possibility isn't it?
RLT: Well I could tell you a story relating to that. I was going to mention another perspective on the ancient astronaut theory.
RLT: And I got in to vimanas but what I was leading up to was: There's this book called Vimanika Sastra. It's a Sanskrit text. And there's a very interesting story about that. It's a book about how to build airplanes. Now if you read this in English translation, it sounds pretty lurid and fantastic, like you know, some science fiction. But two interesting points concerning it: Number one is, very briefly, where it came from. The story is, this was transmitted psychically. This relates to what you were saying about remote viewing.
AB: Here we go. Sure.
RLT: Yeah. What happened was, there was this guy, Subharaya Sastri, who was a fairly ignorant village boy in India. No education particularly. And the story goes that a yogi cured him of small pox. He was nearly dying of it. The yogi cured him and he stayed with the yogi for about a year. And at a certain point, the yogi, the story goes, asked him: “Well young man, what do you want to do in life?” And he said: “Well I would like to be known as a very famous learned person. But I want to know the material scriptures, not the spiritual scriptures. Because so many people know the spiritual scriptures but I want to know the material texts from ancient times.” So the yogi supposedly said: “Well okay, so be it.”
Well anyway, the story goes that Subharaya Sastri came back into regular society and he would go in to a kind of trance state and start speaking Sanskrit at a normal conversational pace without any pauses which he... a language he had not studied, and it's a very difficult language at that. And people, some people would write down what he was saying. Well he recited whole texts and one of them is this Vimanika Sastra. And we at least know it's a fact that he did recite that. The text exists. It's written not only in Sanskrit but a very archaic Sanskrit. It would be like writing in old English or something like that. So that's one part of the story.
Now the other part is, in India I met a man who'd been investigating Vimanika Sastra. He tried to translate it... He said the English translation that exists now is practically worthless. You can forget about it. But he said, in the text there are descriptions of how to make certain metal alloys which were to be used in building the vimanas.
AB: Oh boy.
RLT: And he went to great efforts to translate them correctly. And he had to look up in very old obscure books to find out the meanings of some of the words. But he was successful. And he said he went to a laboratory – he was an engineer by profession – went to a laboratory and had these alloys made in the lab according to the instructions of what you do.
RLT: And in fact alloys were produced that corresponded to the descriptions in the text. And not only that, they had unique properties and in fact he was trying to get patents for them. I'll just mention one of the properties. There's one alloy which was used to make the vimana invisible.
RLT: Yeah. Well he had this made. It's a metal alloy which turns out... It absorbs light very strongly. You could shine a laser at it and practically no light reflects back. It's a sort of stealth technology.
AB: I was going to say.... kinda like the F1-17 technology.
RLT: Yeah. So this is rather interesting. So okay, the story then is, you have this guy coming out of nowhere, reciting all this stuff which sounds totally fantastic. And then an engineer studies it, translates it, finds formulas for alloys that really work, and give, you know, metals that have unusual properties as described in the text. So...
AB: Yeah. That sends chills down my spine actually... to listen to that.
RLT: So, I mean... You might say the most obvious, face value interpretation would be that there exists another dimension or level at which knowledge is being pursued and this fellow tapped in to it through the arrangement of this yogi.
AB: Which could be said to be psychic ability or remote viewing or you know, whatever you wanna... whatever stamp you wanna put on it.
RLT: I guess channeling would be the... probably the most likely word. Because people do that sometimes. There's so many channeled books. A person will sit down and start talking and produce this long piece of writing which is a bit difficult to explain.
AB: I've always been very suspicious of channeling.
RLT: Well rightly so. You don't know where it's coming from. Is it the subconscious or what is it? So the interesting thing about this case.... and of course it can be various things. It doesn't have to be the same thing in all cases. But in this case, the unusual thing was, first of all, he was speaking in Sanskrit which wasn't a language that he normally knew. Second of all, it turned out to be archaic Sanskrit. So even if he had secretly gone to College to study Sanskrit so as to fake people out, how did he learn all this archaic stuff.
AB: Utterly impossible.
RLT: You'd have to say: Well you know, he thought, I'll really fake them out so then he did a really deep study to learn all kinds of archaic language.
AB: Doctor we are coming to the end of the hour. Where is your book available?
RLT: Well we have a website, sacreduniverse.com. The book is available there. And apart from that, book stores like Borders Books, Amazon.com...
AB: All the usual suspects.
AB: Book stores, Amazon, website... we've got a link on our website to yours. It has really, really been a pleasure to have you here tonight. You've opened up my mind to all kinds of things and, I'm sure, many minds out there. And I hope that you will come back and visit with us again.
RLT: Okay, well thank you.
AB: Doctor. Thank you and goodnight.
RLT: Yep. Bye.
AB: Goodnight. Dr Richard L Thompson. And that should have opened up your mind a little bit. Brother! Robots, automatic door openers, computers... Somehow we've all done it before and I guess we're all destined to do it again. I'm Art Bell and this is Coast to Coast AM.
[1:48:51 – 1:51:39] music, plus a final call-in comment