Among “ancient astronaut” theorists, inhabiting a realm somewhere between pseudo-science and science fiction (see my 2008 overview at The Smart Set), the most elusive and alluring is Zecharia Sitchin. The New York Times‘s Corey Kilgannon has just done us the service of profiling the man, even offering a glimpse into the Upper West Side apartment where he has lived for 54 years:
Born in Russia and raised in Israel, Mr. Sitchin studied economics in London and worked as a journalist and editor in Israel before moving to New York in 1952. Here, he was an executive at a shipping company and, with his wife of 66 years (she died in 2007), raised two daughters. He spent his free time studying, leading archaeological tours to ancient sites and spreading his unusual gospel.
Starting in childhood, he has studied ancient Hebrew, Akkadian and Sumerian, the language of the ancient Mesopotamians, who brought you geometry, astronomy, the chariot and the lunar calendar. And in the etchings of Sumerian pre-cuneiform script — the oldest example of writing — are stories of creation and the cosmos that most consider myth and allegory, but that Mr. Sitchin takes literally.
In his kitchen, Mr. Sitchin pulled two Danish out of a Zabar’s bag and began to explain. It starts with the planet Nibiru, whose long, elliptical orbit brings it near Earth once every 3,600 years or so. The planet’s inhabitants were technologically advanced humanlike beings, Mr. Sitchin said, standing about nine feet tall. Some 450,000 years ago, they detected reserves of gold in southeast Africa and made a colonial expedition to Earth, splashing down in what is now the Persian Gulf.
Read more at The New York Times.