I’m Not Saying It Was Aliens, But…

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.” – Stephen Hawking

I believe there are many influences we have at a young age, particularly some books and movies that might be too much for our young minds to comprehend much less fully rationalize yet I wouldn’t discourage the practice provided they are discussed with an adult. Through my parent eyes, I do have some exceptions to this thought process that would include certain books and movies. There is an age appropriate criteria that should be set for some content or subject matter. That’s my job as a parent.

When I was young, I read two series of books that I was probably too young to read. One was a series of books by Carlos Castaneda in which he wrote about his training in shamanism under the tutelage of a Yaqui man named Don Juan. Some of this training introduced Castaneda to the use of psychotropic plants such as mushrooms and peyote in order for Castaneda to enter a reality in which he could better understand Don Juan’s teachings. My mother had been reading these books for a college class and talked openly about the books. She was convinced that Don Juan lived somewhere along the Mexican border where we lived (the Mexican state of Sonora having many border towns adjacent to small towns in Arizona). I didn’t find out until years later that much of what Castaneda wrote was questionable and disputed in some scholarly circles but by then, I had long forgotten much of what I had read. I would like to re-read the books as an adult and see if I feel differently.

Nasca - Parrot

Nasca – Parrot

The other series of books I read were by Erick von Däniken suggesting alien influences on earlier cultures. These books fascinated me then, and admittedly fueled an interest in ancient cultures. Had it not been for these books, I might not have been introduced to some of the amazing feats of construction that are prevalent in both Central and South America. Sure, we were all taught about the Great Pyramid of Giza and other wonders in Europe and Asia in grade school but not much was taught about many of the same wonders that existed directly south of us. I was twelve years old when I read Chariots of Gods? and thirteen when I read Gods from Outer Space.  Erick von Däniken tried to connect it all in his books and for a young reader, the theory was plausible. Did I believe aliens influenced or supervised these cultures, allowing them to accomplish things that were supposedly not possible with the technology and tools of that time? Absolutely.  Do I believe this now? Read on…


During my later teens, I camped out in the desert near my house. While on a peyote induced trip to find my spirit animal, I had the chance to seek answers to many of the questions the books I had read a few years earlier had left me with. While flying, and I’m not sure what type of bird I was, I was abducted by a passing aerial craft of some sort. To my surprise, it was manned by aliens. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to have my questions answered, I asked them if they had anything to do with all the great mysteries I had read about only a few years earlier and they said they hadn’t but did admit to crashing at Roswell. So there I had it, firsthand knowledge directly from my abductors.  Alright, before you think I’ve completely lost it, yes I am just kidding. Actually, they couldn’t understand my question because I was bird and couldn’t speak (yes, maybe I was too young to read Castaneda or von Däniken).

Enough funny business and I will get back to the question: do I believe this now? I do believe that in a universe as vast as the one we are in, or other universes that exist, both known and unknown,  we would be very vain and naive to think we are the only intelligent life form. It comes down to numbers as Hawkins suggested in the quote I shared at the beginning of this post. Having said that, do I believe aliens influenced or helped the cultures of the past. No, I don’t. Not because it isn’t possible but because there is no proof. That doesn’t diminish my fascination with the possibility that it could have happened but the technical side of me demands proof and to my knowledge, there is none. The technical side of me knows enough to understand that many of these mysteries exploited in such books or television shows are easily disputed by an understanding of math, which we now know many earlier cultures were very proficient in.  A basic understanding of geometry for example, allows the construction of very detailed and exact shapes. Take a crop circle, or some other seemingly perfect geometrical shape, that supposedly could only be done with access to an aerial view. A group of people with a few stakes, long ropes to construct lines, and an understanding of right angles and arcs, could theoretically create most any shape. This has been proven numerous times by hoaxers. Toss in an understanding of astronomy and agriculture and it should be no surprise that ancient civilizations were able to accomplish many of the engineering feats we are fascinated with today.


What I love about books that make us question things, both fictional and non-fiction, is the fact that they should spark interest in learning more. I can honestly say I am fascinated with ancient civilizations and the engineering feats they accomplished.  I believe I can attribute that fascination to a few of the more controversial books I read as a kid along with the not so controversial follow up reading found in other more scholarly books or magazines such as National Geographic. Thankfully, my mom encouraged both.

It’s all good.


Photos courtesy of Pixabay and Google images 


  1. philosophoenix

    I’ve tried three times to leave a tactful and considered response, now. It keeps timing out, so I’ll say it quick and dirty. Drake’s Equation in no way validates or excuses the blatant spreading of fact less codswallop that serves an imperialistic view of indigenous peoples.

    You’re the exception, not the rule.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      I’ve had that problem numerous times as of late when trying to comment from my phone. Now for a quick and clean reply… Drake’s equation is subject to many parameters that are open to different interpretations or assumptions, which in itself is flawed, yet still arrives at a number greater that one. Still, without some sort of proof, it only remains a statistical probability. As for the fact less nonsense that serves an imperialistic view of indigenous people (and yay Me… I only had to look up codswallop), I think a lot of this was based on fear. We have numerous groups throughout history that have spread nonsense of other cultures, ideas, and beliefs based on fear then purged anything contradictory to their own beliefs or accepted practices.

      Is I’m “the exception, not the rule” a compliment or are you politely shhhh’ing me again? 🙂

      As a side note, I was going to add some really cool CAD sketches to this post to show how easy it is to construct things/shapes following basic geometry rules.

      • philosophoenix

        It was a compliment. I’m not sure is purge these…alternate musings. I think they have their place: as fiction. They simply have no place in the scientific inquiries section of the human library.

  2. DenaRogers

    You had me for a second there. I thought, boy Bill is a bit more off than I thought 🙂 Kidding of course. Great post. Makes you think. You and my hubby sound like you think a lot of like. He often says he thinks we are someone’s ant farm. A small part of a bigger place. Completely agree about good books should make us question things or want to know more. As for reading things at a younger age than when we should, oh yes! I definitely can relate. A friend loaned me one of her mom’s romance books one summer. The kind that had Fabio on the cover. I was waaaayyy too young for that kind of stuff and stayed confused about the happenings for the most part. I didn’t pick another one up until I was in my mid-twenties. And now … well, go figure! Anyhow, enjoyed the post!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      I am a little off but I’m OK with that. The first series of books I read I would consider good books that made me want to know more. The second series of books, would be considered bad books by me (now) but still had me wanting to know more which eventually gave me a fascination and appreciation for all these feats that were accomplished so many years ago. I would still like to believe there is something out there but not at the expense of giving credit where credit was do to some of these civilizations. As for the ant farm, lol, yeah, I wouldn’t rule that out. But… like finding the remains of Bigfoot… we need some proof 🙂

  3. Silver Threading

    I simply love the fact that you open your mind to the possibilities! Never stop questioning. When we view our world with eyes that are static in nature we are missing the big picture. ?

    • W.C. Cunningham

      I’ve been quite inquisitive since a very young age so i don’t see that changing now. And I find the possibilities endless. Thanks so much for reading. 🙂

      • Silver Threading

        I truly enjoyed your writing. Thank you.

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