In Search of Ancient Astronaut Pix
July 31, 2009 11:21 PM   Subscribe

In Search Of..... an illustration of an 'ancient astronaut' from one of Erich Von Daniken's early books.

It's a drawing of a little 'astronaut' using what looks remarkably like an 8-track tape player. The style (as I remember it) seemed sort of contemporary, almost Sergio Aragones-like. I'm sure I saw it in one of Von Daniken's earlier books (maybe it's actually in Chariots of the Gods) but that would have been about 30 years ago.

This really exists, right? I know there was a similar Simpson's gag, but I'm sure I saw this illustration. Any Von Daniken fans out there who can lend a hand?
posted by maryh to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it this one?
posted by amyms at 11:36 PM on July 31, 2009

Closer view of the same image.
posted by amyms at 11:37 PM on July 31, 2009

Response by poster: Nope, that's not it, amyms, although that's an incredible image.
The one I'm remembering is much simpler, almost cartoon-y. The 'astronaut' is shown in medium close-up (I think) and has a freaky, oversized head. I don't think it was carved; maybe inked or painted on paper or ceramic?
posted by maryh at 11:55 PM on July 31, 2009

Arrgh. I think I can visualize the one you're talking about. Does it have a bubbly helmet-type thing on its head? I've been trying various Google terms and can't find the other one I'm thinking of, but I'll be watching this thread with interest.
posted by amyms at 12:19 AM on August 1, 2009

By using an 8-track player, do you mean inserting something cartridge-like into a slot?

Chariots of the Gods has very few pictures, so if it's not amyms', it's not in there. I also flipped through In Search of Ancient Gods and The Gold of the Gods, (because what's the point of having a bookcase full of fringe literature if you're not answering questions on AskMe at midnight on the weekend) and didn't recognize anything fitting that example, but they have lots of pictures, so I could have missed it. Looks like I don't have Gods From Outer Space.
posted by Zed at 12:27 AM on August 1, 2009

How sure are you that it was in a Von Daniken book? His were only the tip of a pretty big genre iceberg. (I have several on hand — unfortunately none with the picture you describe, but boy did they love that block-capital title treatment on the cover!)
posted by Lazlo at 1:04 AM on August 1, 2009

Response by poster: amyms- Yes! Maybe not a helmet exactly, but sort of a headset sort of thing with ear coverings and a mouthpiece. And Zed, I can't remember whether the image shows a cartridge or a slot, only that my first reaction when I saw it was "why would an ancient genius astronaut have an 8-track player?" If only I could remember the book! I'm almost positive it wasn't Gold of the Gods, and it would have to have been published prior to 1979, but that's all I've got.
posted by maryh at 1:06 AM on August 1, 2009

Response by poster: Lazlo, I'm positive it was a Von Daniken book (but I've been wrong before .) :>
posted by maryh at 1:22 AM on August 1, 2009

(Wow, I just learned that von Däniken does a weekly presentation on his "research" on the mayan calendar, only 1.5 hours from where I am. Maybe I should go there and ask him... or just go there to watch extraterrestrials on segways.)
posted by effbot at 2:06 AM on August 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Could it have been one of these three images? None of them have 8-track players, but they were the first images that came to mind.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 8:33 AM on August 1, 2009

Oh! I think I know exactly what you're talking about. It's an Aztec-looking guy, and he's wearing eyeglasses, yes?

*digs around*
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 AM on August 1, 2009

Maybe the bottom of p.50 of the Mayan Madrid Codex (which appears in In Search of Ancient Gods)?
posted by Zed at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2009

Best answer: How about this one?

Interesting back story there--as mentioned at the link, a few years ago a guy showed that this image, which had been presented in 'Chariots of the Gods' as a real cave painting from Uzbekistan, had actually been lifted wholesale from a science fiction magazine published a few years earlier. The cropped version in CotG was a fairly shameless fraud. Both versions are shown at the link above.
posted by gimonca at 12:12 PM on August 1, 2009

Response by poster: It disappoints me to say it , but I think gimonca's image is the one I remember. The helmet and the little microphone/mouthpiece are details I'm sure of, but it looks like I misremembered the 8-track tape player. :( Damn!

On the bright side, thanks to effbot's link I now know that Erich Von Daniken has his own themepark. And it looks like fun, too.
posted by maryh at 6:18 PM on August 1, 2009

And I just learned that they have free admission on your birthday, and my birthday is in a couple of weeks. Yay! But will my brain survive visiting seven Däniken-inspired theme pavilions?

(The park originally opened in 2003, and was closed in 2006, after four years of dwindling visitor numbers and heavy criticism from Swiss media. It reopened this year; the new owners have added plenty of more normal amusement park stuff, and the parts from 2003 are now labelled as "classic" stuff.)
posted by effbot at 12:13 PM on August 2, 2009

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