Birthdate: 14 April 1935
Erich von Däniken was raised a strict Catholic, and attended Saint Micheal Catholic School in Fribourg Switzerland. However, von Däniken rejected the Church's teachings, gaining an interest in fields like Astronomy and the phenomenon of Flying Saucers.
Life Before PublicationEdit
At the age of 19, von Däniken was apprenticed to a Swiss Hotelier, before moving to Egypt, where he began doing his preliminary research. Afterwards, he was convicted for fraud and embezzelment.
He then became manager of the Hotel Rosenhügel in Davos Switzerland, where he began writing Chariots of The Gods?, working on the manuscript after the hotel guests had retired for the night.
In early 1967, Chariots of The Gods? was accepted by a publisher, and soon his financial troubles began.
Publication and Troubles With The LawEdit
In November of 1968, von Däniken was arrested for fraud, after falsifying hotel records and credit references in order to take out loans. These loans had equaled up to $130,000 over twelve years. Von Däniken had been using this money to finance research travel for his book.
In 1970, von Däniken was convicted for "Repeated and Sustained" Embezzelment, Fraud, and Forgery, with the court ruling "He had been living a playboy lifestyle".
However, von Däniken had entered a plea for nullity, on the grounds that his intentions were not malicious, and that the credit institutions were at fault for failure to adequately research his references.
On Feburary 13, 1970; von Däniken was sentanced to 3.5 years imprisonment and fined 3,000 francs. He served one year of his sentance before being released. His first book, Chariots of The Gods? had been published shortly before his trial, allowing him to pay off his debts and leave the hotel business.
It was during his time in prison that he wrote his second book: Gods From Outter Space.
Errors, Ommissions, and "Counter Books"Edit"That writing as careless as von Däniken's, whose principal thesis is that our ancestors were dummies, should be so popular is a sober commentary on the credulousness and despair of our times. But the idea that beings from elsewhere will save us from ourselves is a very dangerous doctrine - akin to that of the quack doctor whose ministrations prevent the patient from seeing a physician competent to help him and perhaps to cure his disease."
—Carl Sagan, Foreword to The Space Gods Revealed
In 1976, The Space Gods Revealed was written by Ronald Story, and contained a forward written by Carl Sagan. This was the first of many "Counter Books" that sprung up in response to publication of Chariots of The Gods? and was purely for refutation of every single page in Chariots.
It was not the last of the counter-books, and as it turns out, there were more errors and omissions in von Däniken's work than were realized at the time.
Gold of The GodsEdit
Von Däniken's third book, Gold of The Gods, was written, and was the target for some of the largest attacks on his work than any other of his publications.
Writing about the Cueva de los Tayos in Ecuador, containing gold, strange statues, and a library with metal tablets, which has been considered to be evidence of visitation. The man whom had shown him these tunnels, Juan Moricz, told von Däniken the description found in the book.
Later, in 1978, von Däniken told the press that he had not been in the caves pictured in the books.