Universal Knowledge

Interview with Philip Coppens, author of The Ancient Alien Question

Inspired by the ages’ old questions — “Are we alone in the universe? Is it possible that there are other life forms out in space? — the Ancient Alien theory, which is based on evidence from religious texts and archaeological sites and artifacts, postulates that thousands of years ago space travelers from other parts of the universe have visited the Earth and came in contact with humans.

Even though this theory has been consistently ignored, and even ridiculed, by the scientific community, the Ancient Alien theory , from the publication of Chariots of the Gods in 1968 by von Däniken to the present, with the Ancient Aliens TV series now on its third season on The History Channel, has only gained acceptance from the general public.

Should we take a more serious look at this enigma? Is it possible that scientists are consciously or unconsciously ignoring what could be one of the most important revelations for humanity? How different would our understanding of who we are and where we come from be, if such theory where proven right? And most importantly, if evidence exists that proves the presence of a higher intelligence on Earth in the past, what was their legacy that we may have forgotten?

These are some of the questions that SuperConscionsess discussed recently in a conversation with Philip Coppens. Philip is an investigative reporter who appears regularly on Ancient Aliens on The History Channel and is also the author of the recently published book, The Ancient Alien Question.

SuperConsciousness: How did you become interested in ancient aliens?

Philip Coppens: I began pretty much by coincidence. I was an investigative journalist mostly involved with the works of intelligence agencies and towards 1993 we were coming up to the 30th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. An angle to the Kennedy assassination involved the alleged assassin Oswald and how he came back from Russia two years before the assassination itself. And I was doing some research into that.

One of the things out at that time was a story about a guy named Bill Cooper. He was saying that Kennedy was assassinated by his driver for he was about to “spill the beans” on everything to do with UFOs. Apart from having heard a few things about UFOs, I hadn't really looked into this. The story about Bill Cooper turned out to be completely bogus but something had been planted in my brain.

The following year, I was invited by a publisher to come to work for them and help with the promotion of some of their — I wouldn’t say esoteric, but alternative history books. I began doing that and one of the books was about megalithic civilizations, another one had to do with the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. All of this was like adding fuel to the fire.

From roughly 1994 onwards, I began to really delve into alternative history, the paranormal, UFOs, everything that you would consider to be alternative. And quite a few of the books were by von Däniken, Collossimo, Fiebag, all of those people who had been writing about ancient aliens in the 70s, 80s and early 90s.

In 1995, from the contacts and friends I had made in my new job, I was invited to found and start working in a magazine on alternative subjects in the Netherlands and Belgium. And so, basically, from then until now, I have been what I would call an investigative journalist in the esoteric.

SC: As an investigative reporter covering intelligence agencies, I assume that you came across a lot of what are called conspiracy theories. In the book, you clearly state your disagreement with conspiracy theories that talk about ancient aliens as part of a group that controls humanity. What is your greatest discrepancy with these theories?

PC: First of all, in the early 1990s the Internet didn't exist, so the amounts of conspiracy theories were far less than there are now. There were obviously conspiracy theories but they had to make it into a book, which always meant that the most outlandish and crazy ones were kind of filtered out straightaway. The books about conspiracy theories were pretty much conspiracy facts, at least the more sensible ones.

I'm absolutely convinced that there are conspiracies. A conspiracy in essence is just two people or more working together to a joint outcome in secret. That's happening left, right and center. However, it's a far jump from there to go for these all-encompassing conspiracy theories.

Does the government lie to us? Of course. Are they doing things behind our back? Of course. But it's a far cry to really jump from there to the final conspiracies that come to ancient aliens, where we have evil ETs above the government who are pulling the strings. They are basically saying that whether it's Bush, Obama, Putin, or even the pope in some conspiracy theories, that it's okay for them to be like that because somehow there is an evil lord above them. And there is simply no evidence for that at all; there is no evidence from the UFO side of things; there is definitely no evidence from the ancient alien side of things. It's a theory which is promoted by very few. William Bramley and David Icke are the most prominent amongst them.

I find it interesting that the likes of David Icke will say, “And the truth will set you free.” I feel quite happy that he sometimes tells people a new fact. But his overall framework in which he reveals some of these facts are riddled with non-facts and, specifically, to tell you that if you were to change this, you don't have to overthrow just a government, you actually would have to overthrow an ancient alien overlord who for all intents and purposes seems to be somewhere off world. It doesn't really give the world much hope and that is a problem I have. And the problem is because there is no evidence at all to suggest that what they are saying is true. If anything, when it comes to the presence of ancient aliens, non-human intelligences and the way they related to our Egyptian pharaohs and various other peoples from our past, there is a sense that what they gave us were gifts. They gave us the gift of civilization, they helped mankind educate themselves. So it's a far cry from the evil oppressor the conspiracy theories are making ancient aliens into.

SC: What was your intent in writing The Ancient Alien Question?

PC: We are into a third season of Ancient Aliens. With over 40 hours of prime-time television, I felt the need to delve deeper into some of these stories, and also to be able to give my perspective on the ancient alien question — the enigma — and debate with more words than just a sound bite, which are typical of television. I wanted to go into more detail. My new book, The Ancient Alien Question really was the outcome of that.

SC: With the Ancient Aliens show becoming so popular, do you feel that this is having any influence within science? Are scientists beginning to reconsider their stance regarding this topic?

PC: No. The early reactions about the series from scientists — because they are confronted with students who watch the show and they ask their professors — they say that they absolutely know that the Ancient Aliens series is not based on fact. So this isn't having any impact on science so far.

There is one scientist called Paul Davies who has begun to ask the question whether we should be looking for an alien footprint on this planet, in the scientific journal Acta Astronautica of August 2011. But he is saying in that article that he is not at all convinced that we will find this alien footprint within the period of human habitation on this planet.

I am absolutely of a different opinion. I believe that the historical records, the documents, left behind by our ancestors and, to an extent, the archaeological records clearly suggest that we were not alone, that there was contact with ETs within the human habitation period of this planet.

Paul Davies is just scratching the surface. I hope he can convince some of his colleagues to help him in this search. But even if he is able to do that, they're not going to look at what in my opinion is precisely the era they should be looking into, which is the time of human habitation on this planet.

SC: How is modern technology influencing new archaeological findings? Is it opening the opportunity for not only new findings but also reconsidering old theories about how things were created? Do you see any of this happening?

PC: No. Again, I see the contrary. The best evidence about this is probably Joseph Davidovits, who was the father of geopolimerization, which is basically a process of rock making, rocks made in laboratories. He was able to duplicate the process of how rocks are made in nature and he was able to do that in laboratory settings.

When he realized that the stones of the Great Pyramid displayed signs of being geopolimers, he wrote a scientific paper pointing out the various pieces of evidence. And he gave this to Egyptologists and the Egyptologists' reaction was that he was an idiot and that everybody knew that the Great Pyramid was not made from cement. Cement and geopolimers are two different things. But it is the attitude of science basically to say, you're an idiot, stay where you are, we don't want you on our patch.

The scientists are reluctant to look at anything that is coming outside of their own discipline. The problem is that archaeologists are not doing anything to help the situation. There's a study done that 80 percent of the archaeological excavations in Italy have never been published, have never been followed up on, which basically means that there is no record of 80 percent of Italian archaeology ever having occurred. Italy is the home of the Roman Empire, the Etruscan civilization, and various things that go even further back in time. Yet we find that archaeology is either incapable or unwilling to document archaeological records. And I just find it extraordinarily sad.

I believe that the historical records, the documents, left behind by our ancestors and, to an extent, the archaeological records clearly suggest that we were not alone, that there was contact with ETs within the human habitation period of this planet.

SC: It seems just from the popularity of the show on the History Channel and the amount of websites and documents that one can come across related to this topic, that there is great interest and that people are much more open to considering this possibility than scientists. Do you think that we are going to come to a point where scientists will have to start considering this seriously, because the majority of the people think that it is something worth considering and maybe even the funding will start going into projects like this?

PC: Yes. What happened when von Däniken wrote Chariots of the Gods in 1968 was that he raised many questions. At that moment in time — for example the Nazca Lines — nobody had done any archaeological research into it, except one woman called Maria Reiche. Archaeologists were forced to start looking into that and come up with some answers. That is somewhat different from the situation we're in right now.

At this moment in time, an awful lot of dissatisfaction is being leveled at the world of economics and politics and, to some extent, to the judicial system. The group of people who are getting a very easy ride right now are those in the scientific establishment. The problems inherent in the scientific establishment are precisely the same ones which are at the forefront of these other domains. It is not going to be very long before they're going to boil over.

Only when it is an extraordinary controversial topic like climate science, do you see these problems debated in the press, because that is a political issue as well. But anybody in archaeology is extremely far removed from scrutiny, even though editors of magazines, such as Antiquity, were saying a decade ago that there were enormous amounts of fraud and fakery being committed by professional archaeologists. They're getting an easy ride and I think this is going to continue for a few more years, simply because there are bigger problems in the world right now. But once those bigger problems have been addressed, the demands of people who really have a need for answers will come to the surface.

This is not just about archaeology. It's also about the fact that science is completely unwilling to address things like the afterlife, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and miracles. Science basically says they should not be looking into all of these things.

I think it's going to come to a boil in the next few years and scientists will be forced to be more respondent to demands, if they desire to have money from government institutions because basically that is our money. We should have a say in what we want that money to be spent on. And right now, there is no such overview. Archaeologists are in cahoots with politicians and people from the government to decide what they want to do. And I feel that this is going to change in the future, in the next decade.

SC: Talking about the future, if we come to the understanding or accept that we were, at some point, in contact with beings of greater intelligence — What effect do you think it will have on humanity?

PC: There is the story that if the existence of ETs were unveiled to the world, there would be a mass panic. There is simply no evidence for that. I think the revelation that ETs exist would be of interest to people and it would obviously be big news but it would also depend on what level that falls in.

Staying with the subject of the ancient alien question, if we are going to be told that ETs contacted us in the past, and if this is really only a contact scenario, then I think it is not going to cause any mass panic. And I think the people are ready to hear big revelations of this kind. When this announcement of a discovery or revelation is made, it will be of benefit to humankind as a whole.

At this moment in time, humankind is very much what I would say insular. There are not many big dreams out there. Forty, fifty years ago, it was about going to the moon. To more basic instincts, it was about surviving the cold war. But in both cases they were expansionist drives, which actually had a positive economic effect. And we have lost this kind of ambition. It feels to me that what people are looking forward to these days is to be left alone and surf the Internet.

This is not just about archaeology. It's also about the fact that science is completely unwilling to address things like the afterlife, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and miracles. Science basically says they should not be looking into all of these things.

Yes, of course, there are still brilliant academics trying to find a cure for cancer and many other important things but they are an absolute minority. The schoolteacher is still willing to educate the kids, but in my opinion, they are far more disillusioned today than the schoolteachers that we had in the 1950s and the 1960s. And I think it is because there are no big dreams, there are no big ambitions where humankind as a whole can strive.

If such a big announcement were to be made, mankind would have something to strive for again. If we were told that there is evidence of ETs, this would break open the notion that we need to try and explore the universe once again, to have innovations in science, to bring about the technology which is going to be able to get us there. All of these announcements will have a very positive effect rather than the so-called mass panic, which people are always predicting. I don't buy into the mass panic theory.

SC: In the book you categorize the evidence that exists about ancient aliens. Can you tell us briefly what these different categories are?

PC: There are two big categories. One of them is the archaeological category. In this we are confronted with artifacts, which are part of the archaeological record and appear to be anomalous in the sense that they do not fit with the modern conceptions of history, as we know it.

When we start to analyze some of these artifacts, it is clear that history is wrong. Some of the artifacts are not evidence of an alien visitation. Some of them we could only say are potentially evidence of a lost civilization or the understanding that certain civilizations which we know about have unknown components which we need to add. That kind of material was not discussed in the book because basically it's not part of the ancient alien question. But there is material out there on the archaeological record which suggests that ETs did have a hand in this creation, in these artifacts. I list those pieces of evidence.

There is another category, which is what I call a mythological category, and in this category are stories, myths and legends whereby our ancestors are relating encounters they had with nonhuman intelligences, in which they give to their descendants — i.e., us — information about what the anomalies were that they encountered and/or their ancestors encountered. And in a number of cases, the two actually do overlap. There are stories, and there is archaeological or other evidence in certain regions of the world, that relate to contact with non-human intelligence. And when these two overlap, it is what I would call the category with the best evidence.

If we were told that there is evidence of ETs, this would break open the notion that we need to try and explore the universe once again, to have innovations in science, to bring about the technology which is going to be able to get us there.

SC: When we think about evidence, we tend to think about material things that we can see or touch and feel. But you talk about other type of evidence based on accounts of metaphysical contact, people relating that they had contact with a higher intelligence through some metaphysical means. How is this evidence found from ancient civilizations?

PC: Some information is given to people in what I would call a metaphysical way, in a psychic way, or whatever you want to call it. Our ancestors were very much into the opening of the mind and being exposed to different realities. There are extraordinary amounts of evidence of use of hallucinogenic substances. And it is my conviction based on studying this material that an awful lot of the substances our ancestors were using were not in the sense that they were mind altering but mind opening. They were opening the mind to different dimensions. The most well known example of that today is probably Terrence McKenna.

There is evidence in the historical records of our ancestors that, yes, some of these encounters with non-human intelligences were physical. The story of Oannes, as written down by Berossus, is probably the best example of that. But there are also many examples whereby this is not the case, where it is a non-human intelligence that has given something to a human being through a non-physical way.

My point is that knowledge from a non-human intelligence does not need to be given to us in a physical form. There are non-physical formats of doing this as well and there is current evidence that this has been going on. There is also ancient evidence that this was going on. And I was using the modern evidence to help us understand that this was happening in the past as well.

SC: From reading your book, it's clear that whoever it was that had contact with human beings in the past, their intention was to provide knowledge and technologies, to help human beings advance and evolve. If such contact were to happen now that we have all this technology, and supposedly a very advanced understanding of how things work, what do you think would be their message to humanity and what kind of knowledge do you think they would provide us?

There are stories, and there is archaeological or other evidence in certain regions of the world, that relate to contact with non-human intelligence. And when these two overlap, it is what I would call the category with the best evidence.

PC: They actually have provided us with some of the most essential knowledge there is: that there is more to reality than meets the eye. The greatest science is actually the science of the mind and it is precisely that science which modern scientists are not touching upon. This was precisely what the ancient civilizations were involved with.

The ancient Egyptians did not have a word for religion because, for them, believing in God wasn't a matter of believing, it was a matter of experiencing. There was a body of practical knowledge and there was a body of experimental knowledge — of doing it — of meeting the divine. But that meeting of the divine, of going outside of your mind, also needed to be done in a framework, not a theoretical framework but a knowledge framework, and things like what happens to the soul after death, reincarnation, God, and the larger things that exist outside of this reality. Those kinds of things were, in my opinion, precisely the information which ETs or the non-human intelligence gave to us. And it was the most cherished information from our ancestors.

That is the greatest gift and right now they would be extremely sad if they were around to find that this has become a matter of belief, a matter of religion, a matter of blind acceptance. The one thing all our ancestors shared was that they hardly took things on faith. They experienced the divine. They had a personal connection with the divine, with the mind at large, or whatever you want to call it. Today, all of these things are being taken on faith and they cause wars, they cause divisions because it is a field whereby science has basically given a hands-off policy. To some extent, science is directly responsible for some of the evils lurking on the world because they have washed their hands clean from this.

If ETs were still here, they would be trying to guide us to a greater acceptance of the experimental side of the other worlds rather than just blind faith.

My view of ETs is radically different from the conspiracy theorists. The conspiracy theorists say that ETs came here in the past, may or may not have genetically manipulated us to better exploit certain things from us, like working in mines or whatever, and that exploitation continues to this very day, and ETs are a very negative presence on the planet. All the evidence, all the archaeological and historical evidence suggests a completely different picture. It is a picture of intelligences helping us along the path of civilization, giving us information to make a better world, to experience a better reality.

The book I have written is the very first tiny step in making people hopefully realize that this was the case and that it is up to us to use this material. This material is far larger than the ancient alien material.

SC: Amongst all the spiritual traditions and schools that one has access to this day, how would you recognize those that are actually based on this ancient knowledge that you just mentioned?

PC: There are an awful lot of traditions that claim to be ancient but they are not. I would say the litmus test is this: a good ancient wisdom school, first of all, is going to underline that it's all about wisdom. It will come into the two categories, which I was saying. One of them is the experimental side of things. You will have either the Eastern traditions to open your mind to a different reality by discipline. There might be a tradition that uses certain hallucinogenic which are non-toxic to a large part of the body, non-addictive, and which are administered in an extremely supervised setting. So any kind of the drug taking which is happening on so many streets and in so many households of the western world, or other places, has really nothing to do with what I am saying. But basically, it is a technique that brings you in contact with other reality. The second aspect is a body of information related to it and that helps you to know certain things as you begin to have some experiences.

They actually have provided us with some of the most essential knowledge there is: that there is more to reality than meets the eye. The greatest science is actually the science of the mind and it is precisely that science which modern scientists are not touching upon. This was precisely what the ancient civilizations were involved with.

I think that the best condensation of that information is the hermetic teachings, those 14,15,16, however puritanical you want to be about the number of them. The hermetic tradition is the most pure and I think the most easily accessible. And when I say the most pure, it is because they were written down for a Greek/western mindset, which is quite close to our own mindset. So we can best understand this. An awful lot of this material made it into the gnostic literature, but there we are confronted with a slightly different mindset and are, therefore, at least for the likes of me and most of the other people in the western world, harder to understand. Anything with those components is a genuine ancient mystery school and generally is continuing the ancient traditions and teachings, which were once given to our ancestors by non-human intelligences, by the divine. Those were precisely the gifts the Gods gave us.

Do you think that the Ancient Wisdom Schools were based on knowledge from alien intelligences? Tell us below!