While in his cell [whilst incarcerated for embezzlement, fraud and forgery],
he claims, he experienced an intense vision.
Von Daniken won’t discuss the nature of the vision…
Erich Von Daniken, ancient astronaut alien fame (or, infamy)—was interviewed by Timothy Ferris; an interview you can find scanned from the original magazine here and yet, one that no one seems to have transcribed as of yet which is why we will provide much of the text within this series; previous segments part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8 and part 9.
[Timothy Ferris] What about the iron column in Delhi, India, which you write has resisted rust for thousands of years and is made of “an unknown alloy from antiquity.” In fact, that column does have rust on it and the process by which it was made is well understood. Do you still find it mysterious?
[Erich Von Daniken] No, not anymore. But when I wrote Chariots of the Gods? The information I had concerning this iron column was as I presented it. Since then, I have found that investigations were made and they came to quite different results, so we can forget about this iron thing.
[Timothy Ferris] Those investigations had been made even before you wrote the book, hadn’t they?
[Erich Von Daniken] I didn’t know of them. Even if they were made, other authors who are listed in my bibliography said the same thing I did and some of those authors are very serious, quite well known.
The pillar is circa 98% (wrought) iron and its corrosion resistance has been explained in the 1963 AD paper A.K. Lahiri, T. Banerjee and B.R. Nijhawan, “ Some Observations on Corrosion-Resistance of Ancient Delhi Iron Pillar and Present-time Adivasi Iron Made by Primitive Methods,” NML Tech. J., 5, 46-5
Another early source is the 1971 AD paper T. Misawa, T. Kyuno, W. Suetaka, S. Shimodaira, “The mechanism of atmospheric rusting and the effect of Cu and P on the rust formation of low alloy steels,” Corrosion Science, 11, 35–48.
Other sources are Prof. Ramamurthy Balasubramaniam’s On the Corrosion Resistance of the Delhi Iron Pillar (Corrosion Science, Volume 42, 2000 AD, pp. 2103–2129). Also the same professor’s On the growth kinetics of the protective passive film of the Delhi Iron Pillar (Current Science, vol. 82, no. 11, 10 June 2002 AD) and On the Origin of High Phosphorus Content in Ancient Indian Iron written in conjunction with Vikas Kumar (International Journal of Metals, Materials and Processes, vol. 14, pp. 1–14. 2002 AD).
Also, Matthew V. Veazey, “1600 Years Young, Materials Performance, July, 2005,” Chemistry International, Vol. 27 No. 6, November-December 2005 AD
Lastly, Kamachi Mudali, U.; U. Kamachi Mudali and Baldev Raj, “Insitu corrosion investigations on Delhi iron pillar,” Transactions of the Indian Institute of Metals, 62 (1): 25–33 (February 2009 AD).