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Serious Sirius mystery, Dagon and the Dogon: the book

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

Herein we continue, from part 1, 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.

What set Robert K. G. Temple on the path of researching the Dogon was the work ethnographers Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, “Temple's theory was heavily based on his interpretation of” their work.

The point is:

“Griaule and Dieterlen…worked among the Dogon from 1931 to 1952. Between 1946 and 1950 the Dogon head tribesmen unfolded to Griaule and Dieterlen the innermost secrets of their knowledge of astronomy. Much of this secret lore is complex and obscure, as befits ancient legends, but certain specific facts stand out, particularly those concerning the star Sirius, with which their religion and culture is deeply concerned…the superdense nature of white dwarfs was not realized until the 1920s. But the Dogon Sirius traditions are at least centuries old.”

“A substantial bulk of The Sirius Mystery consists of comparative linguistic and mythological scholarship, pointing out resemblances among Dogon, Egyptian and Sumerian beliefs and symbols. Greek and Arab myths and words are considered to a lesser extent…

Temple did not argue that the only way that the Dogon could have obtained what he understood to be accurate information on Sirius B was by contact with an advanced civilization; he considered alternative implausible possibilities, such as a very ancient, advanced, and lost civilization that was behind the sudden appearance of advanced civilization in both Egypt and Sumeria.”

“Isaac Asimov has been quoted by Temple as having said that he found no mistakes in the book; but Temple did not know that the reason for this, according to Asimov, was that he had found the book too impenetrable to read!”

This is noted because in the essay, “The Dark Companion,” found within Asimov’s book Quasar, Quasar Burning Bright, “he says” says the Ridpath article editor, “he is embarrassed by his stupidity in not specifying that his comment, made only ‘to get rid of him and to be polite,’ not be quoted. ‘I assure you I will never be caught that way again.’”

As Asimov elucidated:

“Robert Temple on three different occasions, by mail and phone, attempted to get support from me and I steadfastly refused. He sent me the manuscript which I found unreadable. Finally, he asked me point-blank if I could point out any errors in it and partly out of politeness, partly to get rid of him, and partly because I had been able to read very little of the book so that the answer was true, I said I could not point out any errors. He certainly did not have permission to use that statement as part of the promotion, I’ll just have to be even more careful hereafter.”

Arthur C. Clarke encouraged Temple’s research but opted for the “modern influence” theory.

“Dr. Philip C. Steffey did an in-depth analysis of Dogon astronomical traditions in ‘Some Serious Astronomy in the ‘Sirius Mystery,’’ which criticized Temple's book as ‘inadequate and full of factual errors and misrepresentation of critical material.’”

“In 1998, Temple republished the book with the subtitle “new scientific evidence of alien contact 5,000 years ago.” The book’s reputation was first dented in 1999, when Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince published The Stargate Conspiracy, in which they allege that Temple’s thinking had been heavily influenced by his mentor, Arthur M. Young.

Young was a fervent believer in ‘the Council of Nine,’ a mysterious group of channelled entities that claim to be the nine creator gods of ancient Egypt. ‘The Nine’ became part of the UFO and New Age mythology and many claim to be in contact with them. ‘The Nine’ also claim to be extraterrestrial beings from the star Sirius.”

Note that we have published an article on this issue titled Pop-occulture: Gene Roddenberry & the psychic (Deep Space) Nine

As for Robert Temple’s book:

“As Picknett and Prince have been able to show, Temple’s arguments are often based on erroneous readings of encyclopædia entries and misrepresentations of ancient Egyptian mythology. They conclude that Temple was very keen to please his mentor, who believed in extraterrestrial beings from Sirius.”

Another aspect is anthropological:

“In 1976 Robert Temple published the Sirius Mystery…These claims were dealt with in an article in The Skeptical Inquirer (Ridpath 1978)…the Afrocentrist movement has revived and expanded these claims…Adams (1990: 60) briefly presents the current claims:…The Dogon with no apparent instrument at their disposal, appear to have known these facts for at least 500 years.”


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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