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Serious Sirius mystery, Dagon and the Dogon: cultural transference theory

Serious Sirius mystery, Dagon and the Dogon: cultural transference theory
Fair use, to illustrate article's context.

Herein we continue, from part 1 and part 2, considering the serious mystery behind “The Sirius Mystery” but it is not that which one may generally think. “The Sirius Mystery” is a book first published by Robert K. G. Temple in 1976 AD. Its premise is ancient astronaut or, as the terms has been updated, ancient aliens or actually, in this case, ancient extraterrestrial amphibians.

The above mentioned “modern influence” theory is aka “Cultural Transfer”:

“Noah Brosch ‘Sirius Matters’ cultural transfer could have taken place between 19th century French astronomers and Dogon tribe members during the observations of the solar eclipse on 16 April 1893. The expedition, led by Henri Deslandres.”

Such transfer is considered likely because the “Dogons’ astronomical information resembles the knowledge and speculations of European astronomical knowledge of the late 1920s” and “their mythology was recorded in the 1930s.” As an FYI: “Sirius B was first observed in 1862, and had been predicted in 1844 on dynamic grounds.”

Specifically, “doubts have been raised about the reliability of Griaule and Dieterlein's work” for which you can see Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano, The Dogon Revisited and Philip Coppens, Dogon Shame.

“anthropologist Walter Van Beek, who studied the Dogon after Griaule and Dieterlen, found no evidence that the Dogon considered Sirius to be a double star and/or that astronomy was particularly important in their belief system…

Others, such as Marcel Griaule's daughter Genevieve Calame-Griaule and an anthropologist, Luc de Heusch, came to criticize Van Beek's dismissal as ‘political’ and riddled with ‘unchecked speculation’, demonstrating a general ignorance of Dogon esoteric tradition.”

“Astronomer Carl Sagan…believes that because the Dogon seem to have no knowledge of another planet beyond Saturn which has rings, that their knowledge is therefore more likely to have come from European, and not extraterrestrial, sources.” [see Sagan’s Broca's Brain, 1979 AD]

Astronomer Ian Ridpath observed…‘The whole Dogon legend of Sirius and its companions is riddled with ambiguities, contradictions, and downright errors, at least if we try to interpret it literally.”

Thus, it may simply have been a case of the Dogon relating their beliefs about Sirius to researchers, having the researchers offer new info about the system and, finally, having the Dogon simply incorporate the new info into their ancient cosmology. In fact:

“As anthropologists have known for a long time, primitive tribes have a remark able talent for absorbing interesting new stories into their traditional mythology.”

Note that “Temple's book mentions the absorption of a Christ-figure into the traditional Dogon Pantheon, obviously a recent addition.” How recent? It is difficult to say with specificity, however, “Missionaries from the White Fathers made contact with the Dogon in the 1920s.”

Also, the Dogon’s Sirius related beliefs, “are reminiscent of European Sirius speculations of the late 1920s” for example, “Europeans too talked about the discovery of a third star in the Sirius system; later investigations, however, ruled out that possibility.”

In fact:

“the Dogon are not isolated…Dogon tribesmen could have journeyed to the coast, where they might have met astronomically informed seamen. The Dogon have been in contact with Europeans since at least the late nineteenth century…Peter and Roland Pesch of the Warner and Swasey Observatory in Ohio have pointed out that French schools have existed in the Dogon area since 1907. Dogon tribesmen wishing to pursue their education have been able to do so in nearby towns.”

“Dogon descriptions of Jupiter, Saturn and Sirius remind one of Jonathan Swift's uncanny description of the two undiscovered moons of Mars” within his 1726 AD Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver aka Gulliver's Travels.

“But that isn't the only parallel. Swift appears to have taken the idea of two close (although not necessarily small) moons of Mars from Voltaire's novel Micromegas in which an extraterrestrial visitor tells earthmen about the undiscovered Martian moons. And from what star system does the visitor come? You guessed it — Sirius!”

Voltaire wrote Micromegas in 1752 AD.

Thus, even fictional tales which reference Sirius could have been related to the Dogon and note:

“The Dogons were not isolated. Many served in the French army in World War I and some of them could have returned years later with colorful embellishments for their native legends.”

“From the findings of Van Beek and the authors of Ancient Mysteries, it is clear that Griaule himself was responsible for the creation of a modern myth; one which, in retrospect, has created such an industry and near-religious belief that the scope and intensity of it can hardly be fathomed. Nigel Appleby – whose book Hall of the Gods was withdrawn from publication – has admitted to being tremendously influenced by Temple’s Sirius Mystery.”

The full titled of the Nigel Appleby book is Hall of the Gods: The Quest to Discover the Knowledge of the Ancients and some also claim that is it basically a plagiarism of Ralph Ellis’ book Thoth Architect of the Universe.

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Resources for this series of articles include the following:

Astrophysical Journal: R. S. Harrington, 82: 753, 1977 AD, I. W. Lindenblad, 78: 205, 1973 AD and H. L. Shipman, 206: L67, 1976 AD

Bad Archaeology site, The Sirius Mystery

Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano, The Dogon Revisited

Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain

François-Marie Arouet aka Voltaire, Micromegas

Genevieve Calame-Griaule, “On the Dogon Restudied,” Current Anthropology, 32 (5): 575–577, 1991 AD

George Michanowsky, The once and future star: The Mysterious Vela X Supernova and the Origin of Civilizations

Griaule and Dieterlen, God of water: conversations with Ogotemmêli

I. Van Sertima, ed. Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern, pp. 27-46

Ian Ridpath, “Investigating the Sirius ‘Mystery’,” Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1978 AD

Ian Ridpath, Messages from the Stars – Communication and Contact with Extraterrestrial Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1978 AD)

Isaac Asimov, Quasar, Quasar Burning Bright

Jacky Boujou, “Comment,” Current Anthropology 12: 159 (1991 AD)

James Oberg, UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries – A Sympathetic Skeptic’s Report (Donning Press, 1982 AD)

Jason Colavito, Golden Fleeced

Jay B. Holberg, Sirius: Brightest Diamond in the Night Sky

Jonathan Swift, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver aka Gulliver's Travels

Luc De Heusch, “On Griaule on Trial,” Current Anthropology 32 (4), 1991 AD

Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy

Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, The Pale Fox

Marvin Luckermann "More Sirius Difficulties"

Nigel Appleby, Hall of the Gods: The Quest to Discover the Knowledge of the Ancients

Noah Brosch, Sirius Matters

P. and R. Pesch, The Observatory, 97: 26, 1977 AD

Paul Lane, “Comment,” Current Anthropology 12: 162 (1991 AD)

Philip Coppens, Dogon shame

Peter James and Nick Thorpe, Ancient Mysteries: Discover the Latest Intriguing, Scientifically Sound Explanations to Age-Old Puzzles

Pop-occulture: Gene Roddenberry & the psychic (Deep Space) Nine

Ralph Ellis, Thoth Architect of the Universe.

Ron Oriti "On Not Taking it Seriously"

Tom Sever "The Obsession with the Star Sirius"

Walter van Beek, “Dogon Restudies. A Field Evaluation of the Work of Marcel Griaule, Current Anthropology 12: 139-167 (1991 AD)

Wikipedia, The Sirius Mystery

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