[This is the text of a lecture delivered at the Questing Conference in London on 3 November 2001]

As my research has progressed over the years, I have noted two major trends in alternative history research that I believe are both holding it back and, to some extent, sending it down the wrong path.

The first is the lack of respect that so many alternative writers show towards orthodox scholarship. The second is the continuing lack of any sort of effective peer review in the alternative history movement, allied to a lack of open debate that seriously impedes the path of progress in this sphere. Indeed, in this talk I will be deliberately having a go at some big names, not because of any jealousy or desire to create controversy, but because in my view the more successful alternative authors are the greater their responsibility becomes. Of course, I do not expect to win many friends with some of my observations, but I do believe that it is time someone stood up to be counted in this area of research about which I, and I am sure many of you, care deeply.

Having discussed these two major weaknesses in some detail, we will then turn our attention to the effect they have had on the alternative history movement in general, and then finally I will have a few words to say about the future, and what I believe can be done to improve the situation.

Lack of Respect for the Orthodoxy

If we commence with the first major weakness of our movement, that of lack of respect for orthodox scholarship, there are three main areas in which this manifests itself most blatantly in alternative works, and they are:

* evolutionary theory

* archaeology

* and the role of Mythology and linguistic studies

We will examine each of these in turn.

Evolutionary Theory

This whole area of study is extremely complex, and you will all be aware that serious and heated debate continues within the orthodox camp about whether life on earth in general could have arisen and evolved by pure chance, or whether the “hand of god” lies behind it. However, although some of those scientists that favour the latter proposition do sometimes use human evolution specifically to illustrate and support their case, they do not go on to suggest that the rapid evolution of homo sapiens in, say, the last half a million years, cannot be adequately explained by evolutionary mechanisms. Nor do they suggest that modern humans were somehow “created” millions of years ago outside of these mechanisms. These propositions are, however, made by two schools of alternative thought.

The first school I refer to as the Interventionists, and they argue that the rapid evolution of modern homo sapiens can only be explained by the intervention of extraterrestrials. The standard interventionist proposition is that they created us by genetically splicing their genes with those of our hominid predecessors. Of course, most of you will be aware that the most forthright advocate of this school is Zecharia Sitchin, whose “Twelfth Planet” was first published in 1976 and has been followed by a number of sequels in his “Earth Chronicles” series. However, in fact Sitchin himself has never even attempted to argue against orthodox evolutionary theory in any of his books, and merely uses his own interpretations of ancient Mesopotamian texts, and the evidence of modern genetic engineering experiments, to support his claims. And, as we will see shortly, his interpretations of the texts are severely flawed.

Others have picked up his baton however, and attempted to use certain apparent anomalies of human development – in particular its apparent rapidity and the extent to which it has accelerated way beyond the requirements of mere survival of the fittest – to support Sitchin’s claims. However, it is quite clear that these authors have never bothered to read the wealth of orthodox literature that explains that the cultural impetus that is relatively unique to the human race has had a massive impact on human evolution, and requires a significant alteration in neo-Darwinian thinking. Orthodox scientists are not attempting to duck these issues, but instead are working extremely hard to attempt to explain them in all their complexity.

Let us now turn our attention to the “creationist” school, and while for the most part Christian creationists are no longer taken very seriously, Hindu creationism is gaining in popularity. This approach is based on the principle of “world cycles” of immensely long time frames, with emergence into manifestation occurring during a “day of Brahma” and subsequent reabsorption of everything back into the “original source” during the “night of Brahma”. Having studied these ideas at some length, not only in the Hindu literature but also in its counterparts in various other cultures, I am firmly of the view that this is a highly philosophical framework for understanding the universe as a whole – and indeed one that places “big bang” into its proper perspective as what we might call a “dawn of Brahma”. However, I am equally convinced that the attempts of the Hindu philosophers to apply this framework specifically to human life on planet earth is a distortion of the universal esoteric wisdom from which it and many other ancient philosophies were originally derived.

However, this has not deterred some researchers from attempting to identify apparently anomalous anatomically modern human remains, that supposedly date back in some cases millions of years, in their attempts to support the Hindu creationist position. Of course Michael Cremo, who spoke at this conference last year and whose book “Forbidden Archaeology” is widely praised in alternative circles, is at the forefront of this line of research. However in my view, not only is his prime motivation based on the distorted Hindu interpretation of the esoteric doctrine of universal cycles, but also his own approach to the archaeological evidence is far more flawed than that of the orthodoxy.

In particular, the extent to which he claims that members of the orthodoxy would have had to conspire to suppress anomalous evidence for decades plays well with an audience primed to view all orthodox scholars as both bumbling incompetents and devious liars, but does not fit well with the evidence of the ability of any professional discipline to use peer review to “self-right” itself in the medium to long term. This does not mean that some false interpretation of evidence based on a preconceived paradigm does not occur, because undoubtedly it does, but huge sea-changes in orthodox opinion do occur regularly. We only have to look to the fields of theoretical physics with developments in quantum, relativity and string theory, and to archaeology itself with the acknowledgement of the level of advancement of urbanised settlements in the Near East stretching as far back as 13,000 years ago, to see this process at work. These major paradigm shifts occur when the quality of the research, evidence and theories stands up to proper scholarly scrutiny, and those theories that do not pass this test are, at least in time, rejected. In any case, while I was myself initially persuaded that Cremo might be on to something, as usual on closer inspection I discovered that his own selectivity in the cases he chooses to analyse, and his failure to update his work to bring in important recent evidence in many of his chosen cases, all cast serious doubts on his objective scholarship and his overall contribution to the debate about the origins of mankind.

Clearly I do not have the time here to go into great detail about all of these approaches to evolutionary theory, but they do receive intense scrutiny in “Genesis Unveiled”. Moreover, I should emphasise that a sizeable proportion of modern alternative authors are fully aware of the security of the foundations of evolutionary theory, even as applied to the human race, and do not support these more radical theories.


Let us now turn our attention to the ways in which alternative authors fail to pay proper respect to orthodox archaeology, and, first-off, let us examine the work of what I refer to as the “redating” school, whose attempts to assign an earlier date to many ancient monuments are used to support the case for an advanced Atlantean-style civilisation in a much earlier epoch.

The discipline of archaeoastronomy has developed significantly in the last century, and in many cases it has led to an important and increasing appreciation of the astronomical role and function of a variety of ancient monuments around the world. However, it is not a foolproof method for dating, and should not be seen as such. Especially with attempts to date certain monuments back to, say, more than 13,500 years ago, I am of the view that the worldwide catastrophe that I do accept occurred at about this time was caused by the impact of an extraterrestrial body that may well have affected the tilt of the earth’s axis to some degree, which would mean that any precessional calculations before this time would be completely inaccurate. Moreover, I do not believe that archaeoastronomical measurements alone can be used to date a monument in the absence of any supportive archaeological data from the appropriate strata.

Of course, two of the monuments at Giza have captured the attention of redaters more than any other. The first is the Great Pyramid, and let us have a brief look at an extract from one of the most influential alternative history books of modern times, Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval’s “Keeper of Genesis”, in which they discuss the infamous “quarry marks” in the relieving chambers of the monument; and I quote:

… even if the quarry marks were not forged by Vyse, what do they really prove? Isn't attributing the Great Pyramid to Khufu on the basis of a few lines of graffiti a bit like handing over the keys of the Empire State building to a man named Kilroy just because his name was found spray-painted on the walls of the lift! We are frankly puzzled that such questions are never asked and, in general, that Egyptologists are so ready to accept the quarry marks as proof of Khufu's ownership of the Pyramid. Their own credulity on such matters is of course their business. Nevertheless we think that it verges on intellectual chicanery for the same dubious attribution to be regurgitated again and again, in all the standard texts, without any cautionary notes about the many problems, anachronisms and inconsistencies that cast doubt on the authenticity and significance of Vyse's discovery.

Strong words. But in fact, even when they wrote this book, the authors did not believe that the Great Pyramid was built any earlier than the date of 2500 BC used by orthodox Egyptologists – they merely argued that the ground plan of the Plateau was laid out much earlier in 10,500 BC. This shows a clear and deliberate attempt to attack the orthodoxy and make their readers doubt the opinions of qualified Egyptologists even on an issue with which they were in fact in agreement.

In any case, as to the suggestion that the quarry marks were faked by Howard Vyse, these allegations first surfaced in the work of the redoubtable Sitchin, and were subsequently regurgitated without proper investigation by many other alternative authors. And in “Giza: The Truth” we devote many pages to demonstrating that it is Sitchin’s allegations, rather than the quarry marks themselves, that have been fabricated. Moreover, we should recognise that the quarry marks are only one small part of the mass of contextual evidence that links the Great Pyramid to Khufu, which includes other quarry marks on external casing and core blocks, and inscriptions in surrounding tombs.

As to the dating of the Sphinx, I cannot go into such a complex debate in any detail here. Suffice to say that Chris and I are open to the possibility that the weathering indicates an earlier date than 2500 BC, but not by more than several thousand years at the absolute maximum.

The work of the ancient astronaut, interventionist and creationist schools often goes hand in hand with that of the redaters, although the conclusions that they draw clearly differ, and we also tend to find them all supporting the “advanced technology” proposition – which suggests that any evidence of advanced technology in our historical ancient civilisations can only be proof that it was handed down by a previous civilisation in much greater antiquity. However, we find that once again many of these claims are either distorted or are not placed in any sort of context.

For example, those researchers that interpret a variety of statuettes, reliefs and textual passages to support the idea of aerial and even space flight in antiquity completely fail to acknowledge and argue against the ritual and symbolic alternatives, for which there is far more contextual support. Erich von Daniken even suggested in his infamous “Chariots of the Gods” that some of the Nazca lines resemble “aircraft parking bays”! This is absolute nonsense, because anyone familiar with the lines knows that his picture is of a hand or wing that forms part of one of the huge animal drawings on the plane. What is worse, such nonsense detracts from the serious business of explaining why these figures were drawn on such a huge scale, only to be seen from the air. This indeed remains something of an enigma, although my own guess is that, as with so many other monuments and artefacts, the most likely answer lies in symbolism and a desire to commune with spiritual rather than with physical and extraterrestrial gods.

Meanwhile, suggestions regarding the use of electricity have been extrapolated from the discovery of the “Baghdad battery”, and although there seems little doubt that it is indeed a battery and was made several thousand years ago, recent research has revealed that is was almost certainly used for electroplating statuettes. It is in fact far more interesting to ask why our ancestors, having discovered the rudiments of electricity, failed then to exploit this knowledge to any great degree as we have in the modern era. Moreover, Chris Dunn's suggestions that the ancient Egyptians employed ultrasound to machine granite not only lack contextual support, but are also invalidated by recent practical experiments with copper bow-drills and a sand slurry.

Meanwhile, similar deficiencies afflict the arguments of those who insist that the Great Pyramid, for example, could not have been constructed using conventional archaic means. Close and detailed study of the construction methods and logistics, such as we provide in “Giza: The Truth”, reveals that this is simply not the case – albeit that it does represent an incredible monument to the construction skills, ingenuity, determination and project management ability of the ancient Egyptians. And last, but by no means least, Dunn’s even more outlandish suggestion that the edifice was a “power plant” completely fails to take into account the context of the other pyramids both at Giza and elsewhere, and of their surrounding complexes, and of the ritual texts of the period, all of which point undoubtedly to a ritual and funerary function.

In any case, I believe that the basic proposition of the advanced technology adherents is flawed. Even if, for example, the ancient Egyptians had developed highly advanced construction methods, it does not follow that such technology would have taken thousands of years to develop. We only have to look at the levels of technology available 500 or even 200 years ago to realise the incredibly rapid progress that can be made by the kind of sophisticated society that Ancient Egypt undoubtedly was.

Again, all of these issues are covered in detail in “Genesis Unveiled”, but to sum up, in contrast to the position with evolutionary theory, the vast majority of modern alternative authors do adopt both a redating and an advanced technology stance. There are very few that do not follow this path, even though there are in my opinion far more profitable lines of enquiry, as I hope to shortly prove.

Mythology and Linguistics

The final area in which I believe many alternative authors fail to pay proper respect to orthodox scholarship is the study of mythology and linguistics.

One of the finest examples of mythological ignorance is Sitchin’s interpretation of the Mesopotamian “Epic of Creation”, which, he argues, describes how the twelfth planet Nibiru strayed through our solar system, colliding with planets left, right and centre until it hit another planet that was split into two to form our earth and moon. Even if we leave aside the huge flaws in Sitchin’s understanding of astronomy, he completely fails to recognize that this is the familiar theme of a god being slaughtered and dismembered to create the world, which is also found, for example, in the myths of Ymir in Scandinavia and of P’an Gu in China – and is also related to the Egyptian myth of Osiris’ dismemberment. It is simply not good scholarship to put forward such a reinterpretation without being aware of the context of related myths, and presenting a coherent argument for the reinterpretation of all of them.

Even worse, in “Chariots” we find von Daniken asking the question: “Why should ancient gods be associated with the stars?” At least I hope that our movement has now moved on sufficiently that no alternative author would dare to reveal such a fundamental ignorance of the theme of spiritual realms associated with the stars and planets that exists in most ancient traditions.

If we turn now to linguistics, we find that once again it is Sitchin that leads the way in his complete failure to apply proper standards of linguistic scholarship to his work, and given that it forms the basis of his entire proposition this should ring more alarm bells than anything else. I cannot possibly hope to illustrate this point thoroughly in this talk, but suffice to say that I have prepared detailed papers on this and a variety of other aspects of Sitchin’s work that are published on my web site, as well as providing links to important papers by scholars with far more linguistic understanding than I could ever have.

I have made considerable criticism of the work of authors like Sitchin and von Daniken both in this talk and in my writing, and I must emphasise at this point that I do this purely because of the massive influence their work has had on the general public. Were this not the case, I would happily let them carry on with their work unchallenged. Of course it is also true to say that both have to some extent been discredited over the years, but we should be in no doubt that the seeds they have sown continue to bear considerable fruit. This is why equally considerable effort is required if we are to correct the distortions that they have propagated, because although undoubtedly their work originally served some purpose in raising public awareness of ancient civilisations in general, it now stands in the way of any sensible and constructive attempts to find the real truth about the prehistory of mankind, and, for example, the secrets contained in the ancient texts.

I should also emphasise that in no way do I intrinsically reject their suggestion that earth was visited by extraterrestrials in the past. What I am saying is that the evidence that they produce for such a scenario is flawed and, moreover, that there is no a priori requirement for such an alternative to human evolutionary theory.

That being said, unlike with evolutionary theory, archaeology, and indeed linguistics to a large extent, in the case of mythology I am of the view that there is undoubted scope to question the orthodox interpretations of many supposed myths, and indeed this is one of my main objectives in “Genesis Unveiled”. I am firmly of the opinion that the Near Eastern traditions of the “Watchers” and “Nephilim” which set Sitchin on his path originally, and which have likewise stimulated numerous other researchers – not least Andy with “Ashes of Angels” – do contain a degree of historical content. However, my own approach is to place this in the context of all the other traditions from around the world about “fallen angels”, and a “golden age” of a highly spiritual race of men, that became obsessed with the physical and material and forgot their spiritual roots – indeed to the extent that their debasement led to their eventual destruction. I place the emergence of this race at around 100,000 years ago, and believe that the catastrophe in which they were virtually wiped out occurred around 13,500 years ago. I will talk more about this predominantly spiritual and non-technological reinterpretation of the ancient texts and traditions at the end, but for the moment rest assured that I do discuss the orthodox interpretation of them before I demonstrate why I believe it to be misguided, and this is in my view a necessity if one is to be taken at all seriously.

Above all, therefore, I believe that alternative writers need to shape up and recognize that their ideas do not deserve to be taken seriously by the establishment unless they can demonstrate that they have made the effort to properly research the mass of detail that underlies orthodox arguments in all areas, and as a result are then able to argue effectively against it.

Lack of Peer Review

Let us now turn our attention to the second major weakness that I believe needs to be addressed in the alternative history movement, and that is what I loosely call a lack of peer review. I have raised this issue before on the internet, and at the time my comments fuelled a debate that soon became somewhat polarised, so I should explain carefully what I mean.

I have already indicated that I believe the type of peer review exercised in orthodox circles – whereby any new theory must be submitted to academic journals where it is reviewed by the author’s peers to check its soundness before publication – broadly speaking ensures, in the medium term at least, that new theories are properly considered and aired if they are of sufficient merit in terms of evidence, scholarship, etc. etc.. I have also admitted that this can mean that sound material that does not fit the existing paradigm of conventional wisdom in any sphere can be overlooked or deliberately pushed to one side, at least in the short term. However, I am of the view that, by and large, this imperfect system works pretty well to prevent unfounded and weak theories from receiving too much of an airing.

If we contrast this with our own position in the alternative history movement, which operates almost exclusively outside the bounds of academia except for a few maverick scholars who are prepared to challenge the orthodoxy in a relatively limited way, we find that there is only one mechanism for quality control, and that is the publishers of our books – and to a lesser extent the editors of newspapers and alternative magazines. But under what guidelines do these publishers operate? Admittedly there are some editors who have a reasonable knowledge of our subject, but are they in any real sense qualified to act as arbiters of what should and should not be published?

The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding No! We can see this from a mere glimpse at a list of all the books that they have commissioned in the last twenty to thirty years, the vast majority of which have contained major weaknesses of the type that I have previously described in this talk. Clearly the publishers have wanted to allow the alternative movement to have a voice, not least because they have been aware that it was a vast potential market after the revolutions of the 1960’s and in the run up to the millennium. However, they have not been too discerning about what they have published. To make matters worse, clearly we cannot escape from the reality that they are all commercially driven, and increasingly so. Accordingly, even when quality evidence comes to light that a particular work is badly flawed, if it is still a bestseller they will continue to plug it and release new imprints and editions as long as it is commercially viable.

There is little that can affect this hard reality. So where else can we turn for a mechanism that can exercise a degree of quality control over our industry?

Well, clearly, if there were a degree of good, honest, open debate amongst alternative researchers themselves, this might act to stem the tide of ridiculous theories. However, what do we find in practice? From my own personal experience, the quality of debate, and even more the preparedness to debate, is extremely poor. There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, many researchers are very reluctant to openly criticise each other’s theories, and it seems that the bigger the name the greater their reluctance to get involved in debate with their peers – although, of course, they jump at the chance for debate with academia provided the terms of engagement are deemed suitable. But why this in-house reluctance? After all, in academic circles good honest debate is, by and large, regarded as not only healthy but positively essential to the movement towards truth and understanding.

I cannot say for sure why there is such reluctance, although I can hazard a guess that in many cases it stems from two factors. On the one hand, when a theory is questionned and its proponent engages only lightly in debate, either turning away when the going gets tough or, as is often the case, resorting rapidly to personal attack, we can only assume that this means they have run out of defenses for their theory, pure and simple. Of course, in some cases this leads the researcher to actually reconsider their position, but in most they bury their head in the sand and carry on, only engaging in discussion with those that are either already supportive of their work, or with those that can easily be swayed and averted. Anyone who cares to visit my “Giza: The Truth Discussion Site” will see clearly many examples of me trying to engage fellow Giza researchers whose theories I do not support in debate, and will also see these failures to engage or resorts to personal attacks in all their glory.

On the other hand, of course, we find that few researchers are actually prepared to initiate the engagement in the first place. And the reason for this is clear – because of the etiquette that has built up between alternative researchers at the highest level, they fear expulsion from the “in-crowd”. In fact this manifests itself in an even worse manner, because not only do they fail to openly debate and if necessary criticise each other’s work, they even go as far as to provide active support for fellow researchers whose work is completely at odds with, and contradictory to, their own. It would be invidious for me to name names here, but I can tell you that the whole top shelf of my bookcase is stacked with the best-known alternative history books from the last two decades, and I could pick up virtually any one of them and point out a number of areas in which it is in fundamental disagreement with many of the others. But are these disagreements constructively aired between the researchers in an attempt to arrive at a more reasoned conclusion? No, hardly ever.

Of course, we could take the view that none of this matters very much, and that researchers should be allowed to come up with anything they like and then we should just let the readers make their own minds up. However, I believe this is a dangerous path for two reasons. First, in my experience few people who are interested in alternative history have the time to read and properly consider everything, and much of what is produced is highly persuasive, and, these days at least, can also appear highly scholarly if one does not have the knowledge to realise how ill-founded it is. Second, in my view there do remain some very important issues that the orthodoxy is not prepared to consider to any great extent, and if we handle ourselves responsibly and use our brains wisely the alternative movement can ensure that these issues do get a proper airing. I will talk more about what these issues are shortly, but we can see that our failure to openly debate - and to exercise some form of internal control that ensures that, even if an outlandish theory is published and receives widespread attention, it is not allowed to go unchallenged in public - is positively harmful to the process of trying to move our collective knowledge forwards.

The Effects

So what have been the effects of these failings in the alternative history movement? Well, not only have they led to us progressing down many dead-ends only to find that our time was wasted, but they have also led to what I believe to be a genuine crisis in the movement that is nowhere better demonstrated than in the publishing industry’s attitude towards it, in particular here in the UK.

When my agent was trying to sell “Genesis Unveiled” to the major publishing houses about a year ago, we faced two clear messages. On the one hand, any publisher that was still even slightly interested in alternative history refused the book on the grounds that it conflicted with existing titles in their portfolio, and given that I am making a fairly radical departure from the consensus approach that has now evolved in our own industry - just as it has in the various orthodox disciplines – this was perhaps not much of a surprise, even though this approach only serves to further stifle open debate. However, far more apparent was the clear message that almost all of the major publishing houses are getting out of alternative history as fast as they can. Of course, they pretend that this is because public interest has receded now the millennium has passed, but I think we all know that that is not the case. The interest in alternative history amongst the general public is as strong as ever, if not stronger, but the publishers’ problem is that they realise that they have published a great deal of rubbish in recent decades, and just do not have the skills to discern what is worth publishing and what is not, in what is now an increasingly discerning market.

Of course, you might suggest that this is just my experience and that it is all sour grapes, but I am not totally bitter because I have at least been able to find a relatively new and go-ahead publisher for “Genesis Unveiled” in the US where, as I said previously, it is due to be published next Spring. Moreover, the truth is that many of my colleagues have found themselves in similar positions in the UK. And in any case, you only have to ask yourselves how many new books in our genre have appeared in the last 12 months. The answer is very few. Notwithstanding this, the really big names in the industry may be allowed to carry on purely on the strength of their successful branding - although in my view certainly not on the basis of the superior quality of their work.

An allied development has been an orthodox backlash against our movement, and this was nowhere better demonstrated than in the infamous Horizon documentaries of last year. These have caused a great deal of furor, and I have to admit that the undue concentration on attacking Graham Hancock in particular was not something I supported. However, in general I felt that the making of such a programme was inevitable if alternative researchers kept churning out material that contained serious flaws but was nevertheless strongly promoted and successful, because sooner or later the orthodox backlash was bound to occur. If this particular programme represented something of an overeaction, I think we only have ourselves to blame.

This backlash has, I am sure, been accentuated by the lack of respect for orthodoxy that I have already discussed. We have seen that it is often worn as a badge of honour by alternative researchers and authors, when in fact it is more often than not a badge of ignorance, or at least of deliberate obtuseness.

Of course, it is not just the orthodox camp that are starting to wake up to the weaknesses of much recent alternative material, but also the general public who, as I have already suggested, are becoming increasingly discerning. The Horizon programmes, and perhaps in its own small way books like “Giza: The Truth”, have contributed to this increasing awareness, and in my view this is not before time - even if it does mean that our movement has to endure a period of pain and adjustment.

To sum up, therefore, we have seen that the twin failings of lack of respect for orthodoxy and lack of peer review have led the alternative history movement to a state of crisis. And it is high time that we in the movement stopped burying our heads in the sand, and woke up to the fact that we need to change if we are to move forwards...

The Future

Now I am not arrogant enough to suggest for one moment that I personally have all the answers that can solve this crisis. However, I do care passionately about alternative history and I do want to do what I can, in a limited way, to move things forward and, above all, to practice what I preach. With that in mind, about a year ago I contacted some fellow researchers and suggested that we should get together once a month to swap news and to bounce ideas of each other. Although this was, and still is, no formal movement or body as such, we have grown to have about ten regular attendees, many of whom are speaking here today, and our originally temporary name for ourselves of “The Group With No Name” has more or less stuck.

We have not set out to do anything earth-shattering, and nor would I even dare to claim that all the other members of the group agree totally with the views I am expressing in this talk. However, we do have a degree of common ground on many of these issues, and, above all, we do try and talk to each other and have some degree of open discussion and debate about our respective areas of research and interest.

Of course, one aspect of our meetings that we are gradually gaining the courage to pursue is a limited form of peer review, or perhaps more accurately I should refer to it as peer debate or commentary. For example, I am clearly not in total agreement with Andy’s views about the Watchers and Nephilim, and because they are well presented and argued and have received widespread attention, I have felt it necessary to indicate in “Genesis Unveiled” why I disagree with them. However, we have discussed this together, and reached the conclusion that to some extent our views may be compatible and represent two traditions that have been incorrectly merged. Most important of all, we have not taken this personally, and are, I would hope, still good friends that respect each other’s work. Moreover, because there is a great deal of overlap in our work, when Andy has some free time after the conference I will ask him to read the entirety of my new manuscript and provide constructive criticism.

Of course, when “Genesis Unveiled” is published I will also invite discussion and comment of its contents from fellow researchers, and will publish the same on my web site just as Chris and I have done with “Giza: The Truth”. I reiterate that I am not suggesting that I have all the answers, but proper discussion sites that record debate between researchers, and the setting up of more groups like our own and proper interaction between them, will surely represent a good start.

I mentioned previously that there are important issues that I believe the alternative history movement needs to investigate because the orthodoxy fails to, due to its continuing to have a somewhat restricted paradigm. This does not represent a challenge to the orthodoxy, or an attempt to replace its tenets, so much as an attempt to augment it with those aspects that it tends to ignore. And, of course, as well as laying bare some of the fallacies on which much alternative theory has been based in the past, in “Genesis Unveiled” I discuss these issues in the hope that they will gain more attention from my colleagues, and may provide a new focus and way forward for our movement. To conclude this talk, I will attempt to provide some brief pointers as to the direction of my research.

I have already alluded briefly to my belief that the ancient texts and traditions from all around the world contain a veiled and in some cases somewhat distorted message concerning a prior race on earth that were originally highly spiritually aware. In fact, it is my view that these traditions can best be understood in the context of the fundamental principles of reincarnation and karma. If we accept the view that the soul is separate from the physical body, and that all things animate and supposedly inanimate have a soul of some sort, we must then ask ourselves if there is anything that makes mankind unique. Meanwhile, the concept of karma suggests that souls come in various stages of advancement, and we must also therefore ask if the soul of modern man differs in its level of advancement from that of his hominid ancestors. I believe that it does, and that all this can be explained if we take the view that at some point modern man’s physiology had evolved sufficiently that it was finally ready to act as a host to the more advanced souls that inhabit the ethereal realms. My belief is that this occurred successfully about 100,000 years ago, and that the traditions of the “creation” of mankind, and of the adepts and sages that educated mankind in the arts of civilisation, should be interpreted in this context.

This also sets the stage for the initially high degree of spiritual awareness of this first or prior “race”, who did, however, become progressively more degenerate in that they focussed on the physical and material at the expense of the spiritual. Moreover, we can see that the traditions of fallen angels have a dual aspect that has become confused – on the one hand because they were originally “fallen” only to the extent of their physical incarnation in human form, and on the other because subsequently they did fall into degeneracy and forgot their spiritual roots. I am also of the view that the catastrophe that virtually wiped out our forgotten race about 13,500 years ago was a natural one in that it was probably caused by the impact of an extraterrestrial body of some sort, but that nevertheless it represented a punishment inflicted not by any “god” as such but by the laws of universal karma – or, more accurately, the logoidal karma of this particular solar system.

Of course, I must reiterate that this interpretation of mankind’s history makes no assumptions about a high degree of technical advancement in this forgotten race, merely emphasising that they were far more cultured and, originally, spiritually aware than orthodoxy has hitherto allowed.

As a corollary to this, I also attempt to show in “Genesis Unveiled” that there is an esoteric framework of “universal truths” that underlies almost all philosophies and religions both ancient and modern, and that they all come from a single original source – except that some have been more distorted over time than others. Of course, this original framework is broadly compatible with the paradigms of evolutionary theory and archaeology – except in as much as most of the physical evidence of the level of culture of our lost race has been destroyed, which is a premise that understandably makes archaeologists uncomfortable. Moreover, we find that this esoteric framework is incredibly consistent with the emerging tenets of modern theoretical physics – albeit that the two approaches come at the issues from completely different angles.

Above all, I am of the view that this interpretation of the ancient texts, and the esoteric worldview that goes with it, has massive implications for the future of mankind and of our planet. Indeed, my fundamental proposition is that we are facing the same dilemma as our forgotten predecessors, in that we too were offered another chance after the catastrophe when a new wave of advanced souls incarnated on earth to guide mankind back onto the right path, but once again we have strayed from it so massively, become so materially obsessed, and forgotten our true spiritual roots to such an extent, that the possibility of universal karma once again intervening must be considerable. And, one might argue, the appalling and distressing recent events on the world stage have only served to reinforce the view that, once again, we are all going to hell in a handcart unless we wake up and change our ways.