Nick Redfern. Weapons of the Gods: How Ancient Civilizations Almost Destroyed the Earth. New Page Books. 2016.

Nick Redfern has written more than 30 books on UFOs and other oddities and obviously aims to attract mildly sceptical as well as credulous readers. This approach is particularly apparent in his latest work as, for most of the topics he discusses, he gives us the conventional explanations as well as the gee-whiz, space-aliens-as-gods stuff.

This book is concerned with the belief of many people, especially the writers and readers of cranky books about space aliens visiting Earth in ancient times and bombarding people with nuclear weapons. I have never managed to discover any plausible reasons for such aggression by beings from other worlds, but there is obviously a large readership available for such nonsense.

The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is familiar to many people, including those who have never attempted to study the Old Testament. The obvious problem with it is how it should be interpreted. One of the great mistakes made by casual readers of ancient writings is to interpret them as being literally true, like books written by modern historians who try to separate fact from fantasy and try to give an account of what really happened.

According to Redfern, one problem with the theory that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by an enormous meteorite is that Lot was warned in advance that the cities would be obliterated. This is, of course, an example of the tendency to take such writings literally. It is possible that the writer of Genesis used accounts of a natural disaster to warn people against indulging in sexually deviant behaviour. The assertion that all the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were at it, except for Lot and his family is an obvious example of hyperbole, which was often used to emphasise the importance of what was written.

As well as the Bible, other ancient writings are discussed, notably the Mahabharata, which, some years ago, came to be used by the "ancient astronauts" school of ufological writers to "prove" that, in ancient India, people were involved in atomic war with extraterrestrials. As Redfern admits, though: "It all very much depends on how one interprets the data and whose translation one accepts as being the most accurate."

The weirdest chapter is about the "Cryptoterrestrials", which devotes much space to the dreamy speculations--sorry, research--of the late Mac Tonnies. According to him, what seem to be space aliens are related to us and have lived in secret, underground, for countless millennia.

But enough of all this. Redfern concludes that he suspects that there is a strong possibility that atomic war was fought thousands of years ago, with the Cryptoterrestrials, possibly on numerous occasions. If you are inclined to agree with him on this, you will enjoy reading this book. -- John Harney


  1. Redfern mystery mongers with a pretense of being impartial, even nominally skeptical. Next he'll be writing political speeches for candidates to the Texas Board of Education textbook committee.

  2. Harney writes: "I have never managed to discover any plausible reasons for such aggression by beings from other worlds, but there is obviously a large readership available for such nonsense."

    It's clearly a projection of man's insane and genocidal hatreds and violence onto the modern day demons, those inhabiting worlds orbiting distant stars.