Cthulhu-Ancient Astronaut Connection

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Jan 19 23:17

Establishing a Cthulhu-Ancient Astronaut Connection Jason Colavito 2012 (updated 2014) In The Cult of Alien Gods, I outline a series of mostly uncontested facts that demonstrate the direct connection between the horror author H. P. Lovecraft and the ancient astronaut theory as developed by Erich von Däniken and those inspired by him. These facts are as follows: Many modern ancient astronaut theorists were directly inspired by Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods (1968), though this was not the first or only ancient astronaut theory, merely the most popular. Most others took inspiration from Morning of the Magicians (1960) by the French writers Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier. Most acknowledge this debt. In writing his book, Erich von Däniken drew on Morning of the Magicians to such a degree that he was forced by threat of lawsuit to acknowledge his borrowings in later editions of Chariots of the Gods. Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier were both fans of Lovecraft and found inspiration for their ancient astronaut theory in Lovecraft's writing. Really, that's it. Everything else is window-dressing around these three key facts. However, critics who disagree with my theory have frequently contested that I have failed to sufficiently demonstrate that Pauwels and Bergier were inspired by Lovecraft to create their ancient astronaut theory despite the well-established connections between the French authors and the American horror writer. For these critics, Lovecraft is merely a side-light in a story that travels exclusively through non-fiction works, from Charles Fort and Theosophy to Pauwels and Bergier and thus to modern theorists. But this ignores the evidence. Bergier, for example, asserted throughout his life that he had been a correspondent of Lovecraft (no letters survive). He had discovered the works of Lovecraft in Weird Tales at the Gibert-Joseph book store in the early 1930s, and two letters from him were published in Weird Tales in 1936 and 1937. The first praises Lovecraft and other weird authors for their work. The second makes plain the debt Bergier owed to Lovecraft for shaping his cosmic thinking: Lovecraft, he wrote in honor of the author's March 1937 death, "has been so well received in France, because he was crying out against the absurdity of a scientific civilization encroaching upon man. [...] The passing of Lovecraft seems to me to mark an end of an epoch in the history of American imaginative fiction." Both Bergier and Pauwels, inspired by Lovecraft's philosophy and vision, published some of the first French editions of Lovecraft's work. In 1955, Bergier published an edition of Lovecraft translated by Bernard Noël in which he included his own preface, titled (in French) "Lovecraft: The Great Genius from Elsewhere." This same piece was recycled later as the first story in Planetè, the magazine published by Pauwels and Bergier. Nor am I the only writer to have noted such a connection; in Lovecraft: A Study in the Fantastic (1984), Maurice Lévy took issue with the French writers' implication that Lovecraft considered reality to be plastic when he was in fact a scientific materialist. In 2003, Gary Valentine Lachman discussed in Turn Off Your Mind how Bergier championed Lovecraft in the 1940s and 1950s. Both of these works predate my own. If this is not enough, in his 1970 book Extraterrestrial Visitations from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Jacques Bergier refers to "the myths created by H. P. Lovecraft" when discussing possible extraterrestrial intervention in the Near East: This book is as much a factual accounting as possible. However, among its readers there will certainly be some science-fiction fans who would like to know what the connection is between the mysteries we have described in this chapter and the myths created by H. P. Lovecraft [...] Much of [Lovecraft's work] relates so directly to the mysteries we have just described that there are still people who go to the Biblioteque Nationale or to the British Museum and ask for the Necronomicon! [...] It is not impossible that at least a part of Lovecraft's myth may be verified when the Empty Quarter is opened to exploration. (pp. 94-96, 1973 American edition) Clearly, Bergier well understood that there was an obvious parallel between the Cthulhu Mythos and the ancient astronaut theory, one striking enough that he felt he had to address the question in his 1970 work. I believe that a direct quotation from the earlier Morning of the Magicians should settle any lingering doubt about the connection and firmly establish once again that the two French writers not only knew Lovecraft prior to writing Morning but drew on his work in developing their own. As an example of militant action in favour of the greatest possible degree of open-mindedness, and as an initiation into the cosmic consciousness, the works of Charles Fort have been a direct source of inspiration for the greatest poet and champion of the theory of parallel universes, H. P. Lovecraft, the father of what has come to be known as Science-Fiction to which he has contributed some ten or fifteen masterpieces of their kind, a sort of Iliad and Odyssey of a forward-marching civilization. To a certain extent, we too have been inspired in our task by the spirit of Charles Fort. (p. 104, 1961 American edition) From this passage, we can clearly establish a few key facts about Pauwels and Bergier in 1960: The two authors both knew of and thought highly of Lovecraft prior to writing Morning of the Magicians. The two authors considered Lovecraft to have embodied real theories ("greatest...champion of theory") in his fiction. From Lovecraft, the authors explored Lovecraft's own sources, including Charles Fort, and from those sources and Lovecraft therefore developed their own version of the earlier authors' ancient astronaut theories. Had they come to Fort unmediated, there would be no reason to acknowledge the connection to Lovecraft, which they again make when discussing Arthur Machen, another author whose work the two French writers encountered via mentions in the work of Lovecraft. This should establish the connection between Pauwels and Bergier beyond doubt. The French writers did not rely on Lovecraft as a primary source in Morning of the Magicians because they were (or believed they were) writing non-fiction and recognized that Lovecraft's work was fictional. They did, however, acknowledge his inspiration for leading them back to the sources he drew upon, including Fort and Theosophy, which the French writers used as Lovecraft had to develop their own work. Unlike Lovecraft, they thought they were creating fact, not fiction. As Bergier's later book demonstrates, he clearly saw a connection between ancient mysteries and the "myths created by H. P. Lovecraft," and saw Lovecraft as having led him to the ancient mysteries he wrote about.

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