The Life Of Zecharia Sitchin Revisited



By Sean Casteel

(My publisher, Timothy Green Beckley, and myself, have just learned of the October 9, 2010, passing of Zecharia Sitchin, perhaps the greatest scholar of ancient astronauts theory ever. The following article was written several months prior to Sitchin’s death but is still relevant as a chronicle of his ideas as well as touching on one of the last books he published, “The Earth Chronicles Handbook.”)


Zecharia Sitchin will be turning 90 in 2010, an important milestone in a life spent explaining human existence in ways that are controversial to say the least. While Sitchin’s work at times flows along lines similar to the ancient astronaut theories of Erich Van Daniken, Sitchin stands alone in his understanding of mankind’s origins and our relationship with the alien race who created us.

            The general working structure of Sitchin’s theories are well known in the UFO and paranormal communities. Based largely on his own translation of ancient Sumerian texts, the storyline goes like this: There is an undiscovered planet which follows a long, elliptical orbit, reaching our inner solar system roughly every 3,600 years. This planet is called Nibiru, and is associated with the god Marduk in Bablyonian cosmology. According to Sitchin, Nibiru collided catastrophically with Tiamet, another planet located between Mars and Jupiter. The collision resulted in the formation of the planet Earth, the asteroid belt, and the comets.

            Nibiru was occupied by a race of technologically advanced, human-like extraterrestrials called the Anunnaki in Sumerian myth, who are called the Nephilim in the Book of Genesis. The Nephilim first arrived on Earth 450,000 years ago, seeking gold and other precious metals. They began their mining operation in Africa, and along the way created mankind through a method of genetic engineering – crossing their own genes with that of the Homo erectus species already evolving independently on Earth. The resulting hybrid was first used as a race of slave laborers, and according to the ancient Sumerian scripture of the time, the Annunnaki next began to establish the first recorded civilization on Earth, teaching mankind social organization and even intermarrying with the fairer daughters of their own creation. Sitchin believes that the original Sumerian beliefs were handed down to the authors of the Old Testament as well, who told a similar story, for example, of the Earth being destroyed by a flood save for a remnant group of people that included Noah and his family on the Ark.

            The time of Noah was preceded by a verse in the sixth chapter of Genesis that is crucial to Sitchin’s theory. In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the first verse reads: “When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.” Skip ahead to verse four: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men of that were of old, the men of renown.”

            Students of Sitchin will immediately recognize that this verse in the Bible is what started the scholar on the path his life would take. In the introduction to his most recent book, “The Earth Chronicles Handbook,” he writes that the seed of his quest was planted when he asked, as a young schoolboy in Hebrew school, what exactly was meant by the word “Nephilim,” that derives from the verb meaning “To Fall, To Come Down.” Why was the word translated as “giants” instead? 

            That question led to more questions, such as why does the Bible call the Nephilim sons of the gods, who chose wives from among the daughters of Adam? Who were the Elohim, the Hebrew plural term for the gods, a collective body who had created man and woman in their image? Was there a Garden of Eden, and if so where? Was there a Deluge, a Noah? How did civilization itself begin?

            Sitchin says his search led from the Bible to archeology, to the Cradle of Civilization in the Ancient Near East.

            “Its monuments, artifacts and written records,” he writes, “unfolded a vivid history of lands and peoples whose tales of gods of heaven and Earth led through mythology to religion, from astronomy to genetics. Before long, what began as a simple question mushroomed to embrace virtually every scholarly discipline, ranging from the depths of the Earth to the Solar System and Outer Space, from the Past to the Future, from the beginning to the End of Days.”

            Over the course of his seven books, collectively called “The Earth Chronicles,” what Sitchin called a Global Theory emerged, where all the various cultures and mythologies could be grouped together quite neatly. The pantheons of Greece and Rome, of Aztecs and Hindus, are all linked to those of Sumer and Babylon. Inca tales of creation or the day the sun stood still are echoed in the Hebrew Bible. Pyramids and massive stone circles in varied lands reveal a basic kinship. The interrelatedness of all these ancient myths and beliefs became apparent to Sitchin, and he opted to take the ancients at their word and explore the idea that alien “gods” had indeed created man and established his civilizations for him, giving order and meaning to a new species where previously had existed only primitive life forms with little social organization at all.

            There is also the question, posed by even the most skeptical and pragmatic of modern archeologists and anthropologists, of just where our first civilizations sprang from to begin with. There is no gradual buildup to the earliest civilizations, no record of early man slowly learning the ways of social organization, no tools or farming implements that evolved step-by-step into ancient Sumer. That first civilization seemed to appear out of nowhere in the historical record, with mankind suddenly and for no obvious reason instantly capable of governing himself in a working city-state that required literacy and cooperation to function effectively.

            While this of course stops short of “proving” Sitchin’s ideas, it does lend some scientific merit to his work, which is often criticized for errors in his translation of the ancients and for the physics involved in his Nibiru scenario.

            And what are some of the implications for present day believers in the UFO and alien abduction phenomena? Does the belief in the Nephilim’s mixing of their seed with human women carry over into the present day genetic program of the gray aliens so often experienced by modern day abductees? For abduction researchers like Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs, the alien genetics program is the primary purpose of alien abductions, with Jacobs in particular arguing that the end result of the process will be the eventual colonization of Earth by the alien race. The hybrid alien/human children will be a large part of the colonization process, acting as a bridge between us and them. Was something similar intended when the sons of God mated with the daughters of men? Was that simply the alien hybridization process as seen through the eyes of the ancients? Perhaps it is true, as the Book of Ecclesiastes so famously states, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

            Mr. Sitchin’s publicist said that the venerated author continues to get inundated with requests for interviews, and while Mr. Sitchin tries to accommodate as many media types as possible, he finds himself swamped. Which is unfortunate, because I have always wanted to ask Sitchin several questions I feel are pertinent to my own understanding of the ancient astronaut theory, such as why he chose not to put the same negative moral spin on the sons of God and their mating with earthly women that many Christians do when they argue for a demonic interpretation of UFOs. Some Christians also believe that the intermarrying recounted in the sixth chapter of Genesis was a matter of fallen angels defying the laws of God and unlawfully mixing their seed with an inferior species.

            Since Mr. Sitchin was unavailable to answer my question, I opened one of his books, “Divine Encounters,” from the mid-1990s. In an early section of the book, Sitchin declares that the whole notion of the sons of God, of Elohim, having a sexual urge toward the daughters of men really began with the Sumerian myths about the Anunnaki and precedes the Biblical version of the story. However, that the idea of this intermarrying was a controversial one among the Hebrews is evidenced by the stories of Enoch in the apocryphal books “Jubilees” and “The Book of Enoch.” In fact, when Noah himself was born, he appeared to be of mixed ancestry, with the paternal element being supplied by some otherworldly creature. The “Book of Enoch” says of Noah:

            “His body was white as snow and red as the blooming of a rose, and the hair of his head and his locks were white as wool, and his eyes were fair. And when he opened his eyes, he lighted up the whole house like the sun, and the whole house was very bright. And thereupon he arose in the hands of the midwife, opened his mouth, and conversed with the Lord of Righteousness.”

            While Noah admittedly is not the same kind of giant or “man of renown” said to have been birthed by the sons of God in Genesis Six, he is nevertheless something other than completely human. His father, Lamech, is shocked by his newborn son’s appearance and goes seeking consolation from his father Metushelah, saying that he fears that Noah “is not sprung from me but from the angels.”

            “In other words,” Sitchin writes, “Lamech suspected that his wife’s pregnancy was induced not by him, but by one of the ‘sons of the God of Heaven,’ one of the ‘Watchers.’”

            Lamech’s father, Metushelah, consulted with Enoch, who still lived in the heavenly abode after being taken up while he was still alive. Enoch reassured the concerned grandparent that Noah was of human parentage, but also that he had been chosen to lead a remnant of survivors after the Deluge. One cannot help but wonder if this was said in part to assuage the tormented Lamech and to ease his doubts about his own paternity. In any case, the interrelatedness of the present day alien genetics program and the sometimes suspect genealogy of the ancients of the Bible may still be palpably real. Since we know some kind of genetic tinkering is going on within the UFOs, tracing it back to our earliest recorded history is not difficult. The interbreeding may have been intended as positive all along, perhaps even essential to mankind’s survival since Noah seems to have been created that way as well. Have I answered my own question? I can only wonder what Mr. Sitchin himself would have said had I been able to ask him.

            Sitchin was written up in “The New York Times” in January of 2010, and he is portrayed in the article as a charming eccentric, which is better than total ridicule obviously.

            “Mr. Sitchin has been called silly before,” the journalist Corey Kilgannon writes. “By scientists, historians and archeologists who dismiss his theories as pseudoscience and fault their underpinnings: his translations of ancient texts and his understanding of physics. And yet, he has a devoted following of readers. His 13 books, with names like ‘Genesis Revisited’ and ‘The Earth Chronicles,’ have sold millions of copies and been translated into 25 languages.”

            Which brings us, finally, to Sitchin’s latest book, “The Earth Chronicles Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Seven Books of the Earth Chronicles.” The book is structured like a dictionary or encyclopedia, with chapters arranged in alphabetical order listing relevant terms and concepts. For instance, the “A” chapter begins with the Biblical names Aaron, Abel and Abraham. When Sitchin adds his own particular or innovative take to an entry, he denotes that by placing his initials on the passage. The book offers a kind of crash course in the historical data required to understand the works that went before and also serves as a handy reference book for anyone interested in the study of ancient man and his mythologies and religions. If you’re able to make the leap of faith along with Sitchin that extraterrestrials created us “in the beginning,” then “The Earth Chronicles Handbook” is an essential addition to your Ufological library.

            Sitchin says in his introduction to the “Handbook” that the “Earth Chronicles” series comprises over 2,300 pages, and there are several companion books as well. The amount of sheer data and information contained in all that is staggering, and I think it may illustrate the familiar saying, that “God is in the details.”

            [To read more by Sean Casteel, visit his website at]


For more information about Mr. Sitchin’s last book simply click on its title; The Earth Chronicles Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Seven Books of The Earth Chronicles



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