Tales of ancient mythology, across different cultures, are indeed spectacularly brilliant in their stories; as far as the appeal of the incidents described therein, are concerned. Forcing their readers to marvel at an enigmatic bygone era, they have evoked different reactions from different people in different strata of the society. From intense awe & extreme devotion, to sceptic disbelieve and finally to outright rejection, there have been many different reactions, that these ancient literatures have evoked among the different people.
Most people know and believe that, flying machines developed in early 20th century, when the Wright brothers invented, the first aeroplane. However, flying machines has been described from time immemorial in historical text & mythology of people of different cultures, spread across the globe. Are these just a figment of imagination of a creative mind, or they had some truth in them? A closer look, would show that some of these stories, did have an astounding amount of truth in them.
The Book of Ezekiel in Hebrew Bible, which is believed to have been written by the priest Ezekiel almost 2500 years back, describes the vision of the Prophet. Some of these (in chapter 1, of Book of Ezekiel) also described a flying object, which had the appearance of “Circular wheel inside wheel.” A lot of people, believe that this incident, described in the Bible – is one of the first mentioned incidents, of interactions between humans and UFO/Spaceships.
Although the fact is true, that the mention of a flying machine in religious text is not exactly a scientific evidence, but still the details of the event described, certainly merits a closer look. The book mentions that the flying machine descending from sky above appeared to be made up of incandescent metal that emitted, bright light with fire flashing back and forth & was associated with a vortex of strongly rotating winds. The fire chariot’s landing in “Book of Ezekiel” closely resembles the landing of modern-day spaceships.
Although these descriptions, have been interpreted differently by different people. Scholars and experts of Bible, believe that the descriptions were not about any flying machine as such, but represented enemies of Israel, symbolically.
The people of the scientific community, were also very sceptical about the relevance of the facts described. Joseph Blumrich was one of such scientists, who worked for NASA. In spite of initial scepticism & outright disbelieve, he studied the – Book of Ezekiel, thoroughly. After extensive research, he concluded that, Ezekiel’s description indeed fitted the actual description of a real spacecraft; this led him to write the book called – The Spaceships of Ezekiel and patenting a design (in 1974) for a wheel, moving equally well in all directions, which was reversed engineered from Ezekiel’s description.
These ancient flying machines, have been extensively mentioned in old Sanskrit & Hindu texts. The most famous description, is perhaps the one found in Hindu religious epic – Ramayana. The main villain -Ravana uses his flying machine, called Pushpaka Vimana, to abduct the wife of the main protagonist – Lord Rama. This “Pushpaka Vimana” was created by the chief engineer of gods – Vishwakarma.
Literally meaning – measuring out, the word Vimana was used to describe – flying chariots of gods, in ancient Hindu mythology. Some descriptions, also mention these as flying structures, which were multi-storeys high. Even in modern day India, many Indian languages (India has 22 official languages), describe Vimanas as an Aircraft.
“Vaimanika Shastra” (meaning science of aeronautics) – is a Sanskrit text containing 3000 verses (which are arranged in 8 chapters), which was written in early part of last century, by an Indian scholar – Pandit Subbaraya, who said that he was psychically instructed by a Vedic sage to write about the technical intricacies of these ancient Vimanas. However, a 1974 study by aeronautical and mechanical engineers, of the respectable Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India) found that the designs described in the text were not practically applicable for flying purposes.
In spite of rightly placed sceptical views regarding authenticity of ancient vimanas, public fascination regarding these ancient flying machines from India still remains in the modern world, transcending geographical barriers. The science fiction horror film of 2008, “The Objective” – describing the adventures of an American Special Forces team, searching for ancient Indian mythological vimanas in Afghanistan is a testimonial of this fact.
Pakal the great, was the lord of the ancient Mayan city state of Palenque (in ancient Mexico), during 7th century AD, who ruled for an astounding period of 68 years, which is the longest period of rule for any monarch in the entire continent of America. It is his tomb, which has been associated, with ancient astronaut hypothesis, which in plain language is an idea supporting the view, that in ancient times Earth was visited by intelligent life forms from other worlds.
King Pakal has been called the – “Astronaut of Palenque”, mostly because of the engraving found on the lid of his stone coffin, which is believed by experts, to represent a man inside a spaceship, sitting on a chair. He has a mask on and is using his arms to control specific instruments. The left foot of the man is on a pedal and an exhaust like flame is seen to be emitting from back of this entire frame.
The above observations have prompted many to believe, that the ancient Mexican king was somehow an ancient pilot (or astronaut), who rode a flying machine (or spaceship) of some kind. The fact that temples & other buildings built by the ancient king, certainly were made by technical skills which was not available at that time, further increases the mystery regarding the ancient king. However, their existence is a testimonial to that fact that, there is still a lot of things, we do not know or understand, about our history.
Finally, no discussion of ancient world is complete without discussing ancient Egypt. Mention of flying machines in Egypt comes from diverse sources. An attempt to explain them, has been made by many different experts over the years. The most common of these have been described here.
Hieroglyphs describe images of an object, which represents syllable or words, and these were widely used in writing system of ancient civilizations like Egypt. This kind of carving, found in Temple of Seti 1, situated in one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt – Abydos, have shown structures, resembling modern day helicopters and aircrafts (and even flying saucer). This made many amateur archaeologists and other related people, to believe and claim that ancient Egypt had flying machines, that resembled modern day means of aviation.
However, this claim is grossly wrong and stemmed from the ignorance of the people involved, who had very superficial knowledge about ancient Egyptian architecture. Studies done by experts have proven beyond doubt that, the artefact has been produced, because of a kind of overwriting (technically over carving), when the epithet describing the attributes of Pharaoh Seti 1, was overwritten & modified during the reign of his son – the great Pharaoh Ramesses II, to praise and describe his attributes. However, this kind of images, continue to circulate in the internet, with many believing that the ancient Egyptians to be one among the many lost great civilizations, which had technical advancements, to fly in the air.
Another artefact, which is reason for misunderstanding for many is the Saqqara Bird, which is a small bird like statue, made up of wood. This ancient artefact, which is almost 2200 years old, resembles a falcon in flight, in which the bird’s wingspan, are spread apart, extending to almost 18 centimetres. Some people believe that this ancient artefact, may have served some role in aviation, akin to modern day glider. However, the expert Egyptologists refute this artefact, as being a model of ancient flying machine. They believe that the Saqqara Bird is modelled on sacred falcon, and may have something to do with religious background. Many other possibilities, have been postulated to explain this ancient artefact. They range from – being a toy of a rich kid of the time, instrument for showing the direction of the wind and finally a boomerang – used for hunting small animals.
Although Ancient Egypt, was certainly one of greatest ancient civilization, to have ever existed on earth, but the misunderstood Helicopter Hieroglyphs, or Saqqara bird, were not certainly a reason for this, at least not in any direct way, which has been highlighted many times in recent times.
It is a part of human nature, to view artefacts of ancient civilizations with awe, and even more so, if the knowledge about them is very limited. The four examples from 4 different parts of the world, are testimonial of this fact. However, in these moments of awe and inspiration, people should not lose contact with the reality. Although some findings have shown unidentified facets of ancient civilizations, which certainly surpasses all believed sophistications and advancements expected of these civilizations, but some others were found to be just damp squib of the facts believed.