By Sean Casteel

legacy of sky people

The cover of the recently updated and expanded edition of “Legacy of the Sky People.”

Timothy Green Beckley just keeps those hits coming! Like a favorite Golden Oldies radio station, the old days are never really gone, and new shades of meaning continue to accrue.

Beckley’s latest blast from the past is a greatly expanded update of Brinsley Le Poer Trench’s “The Sky People,” one of the earliest books to emerge on what is now the familiar concept of Ancient Astronauts. Most people nowadays consider Erich von Daniken and the late Zechariah Stichen to be the headliners for this ancient aliens show, but Trench, an Englishman who was also the 8th Earl of Clancarty and thus a member of the House of Lords in the British Parliament, was there ahead of both those distinguished gentlemen with his groundbreaking “The Sky People” from the early 1960s.

The story of Brinsley Le Poer Trench is close to Beckley’s heart. Beckley began to correspond with Trench in the 1960s when Beckley was just starting out as a UFO journalist and publisher. The two flying saucer enthusiasts exchanged their respective publications (“Flying Saucer Review,” published in the UK, and Beckley’s “Interplanetary News Service Report” in the U.S.) and shared a warm correspondence for many years. In the 1970s, Trench invited Beckley to speak before a special committee on UFOs at the House of Lords, and Beckley made the trip to London without hesitation. Over forty years later, Beckley still speaks fondly of the late Earl of Clancarty, who died in 1995.

Brinsley le Poer Trench 1

Brinsley Le Poer Trench in his private library on the 4th floor of his London flat.

It should be noted that Beckley’s “Bizarre Bazaar/Conspiracy Journal” publishing “empire” has not shied away from publishing works of great historical value on the arrival of interstellar beings throughout antiquity. He has previously published works of the great Sir Walter R. Drake (i.e. “Alien Space Gods of Ancient Greece and Rome/Ancient Secrets of Mysterious America“) as well as the controversial George Hunt Williamson (“Other Tongues Other Flesh/Ancient Secrets of the Andes and the Golden Sun Disc“).  But Beckley hasn’t merely repackaged Trench’s book. He has also added new material from some of the best writers in Ufology with their personal studies of ancient astronauts theory. For example, Nick Redfern, one of the top researchers in the paranormal today, contributes a longish chapter to the new book in which he discusses the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark.

Everyone is familiar with the story, taken from the Book of Genesis. But are you aware that the story – a great, world-destroying flood from which God spared only a handful of righteous mortals and two of every kind of beast – is also an integral part of other religious traditions, such as the Sumerian, the Babylonian, and the ancient Hindus? Redfern explains how the story of a human being instructed to build a ship to shelter a remnant of mankind from a looming world cataclysm is one of the most universal of religious myths, spanning the globe with its timeless tale of good triumphing over evil.

But Redfern’s examination of the Ark story doesn’t end there. Legend has it that Noah’s Ark came to rest on Turkey’s Mount Ararat. Redfern tells the intriguing story of how in 1949, a U.S. Air Force flight crew photographed an anomalous structure protruding from the ice and snow of Mount Ararat and started a decades-long effort by the military and intelligence communities to understand what the mysterious object actually is.

mtararatobjectWorking from declassified files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Redfern recounts how the anomalous object was thought to be something metallic, not the gopher-wood of Noah’s construction, and therefore possibly a crashed alien ship. The chain of documents uncovered by Redfern makes for fascinating reading.

When 1950s-era alien contactees like George Van Tassel also took an interest in the mystery atop Mount Ararat, they came under the watchful eye of the CIA and FBI. Information on the structure was at one point leaking like a sieve, according to Redfern, and the government was determined to plug those leaks. What was the government so determined to hide? Was the discovery of Noah’s Ark a national security issue? Or was it a case of another crashed UFO? Turkey’s own version of the Roswell Incident?


Brad Steiger

My own contributions to the new edition of “The Sky People” are a couple of chapters in which I speak to Brad Steiger, one of the most prolific writers on the strange and supernatural in the world, and Giorgio Tsoukalos, the official spokesman for Erich von Daniken in the English-speaking world, and the personality with that wild and crazy styled hair on “Ancient Aliens” broadcast over the History Channel.

Steiger recalls attending an Ancient Astronauts conference in the early 1980s at which the main speakers were Erich von Daniken, Josef Blumrich (author of “The Spaceships of Ezekiel,” written when he worked at NASA) and Steiger himself. Not in attendance was our man of the hour, Brinsley Le Poer Trench.

“He was probably generally neglected,” Steiger said, “because Erich von Daniken was the fair-haired boy at that time and was given a great deal of credit for coming up with the whole ancient astronauts concept. It was easier to do then. We didn’t have the media that we do now. And a book such as ‘The Sky People’ was read by a few individuals, but the great masses of people then were not interested. Then something comes out and gets a lot of attention, like ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ As people said, von Daniken just happened to be standing in front of the cosmic slot machine when it paid off.”

Stieger also praised Trench for his theories concerning the Planet Mars, specifically the idea that instead of Noah being an ancient Israelite, he was a great leader on Mars and the Ark was a giant spaceship intended to carry a surviving remnant to Earth.

“At the time Trench said it,” Stieger continued, “people weren’t prepared. But it’s been interesting to see that in most polls the idea of life existing on other planets or in other solar systems is now generally accepted by young people. Whereas back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was rejected by nearly everyone. More and more, the idea that life could have existed elsewhere in our solar system doesn’t get a door slammed immediately.”

Steiger said he has come to feel that, “We have met the Martians and they are us,” meaning we may have been genetically engineered by a superior race who originated on Mars and brought life to Earth for whatever unknown cosmic reason.


“I think, the more I study,” Steiger said, “that we are definitely hardwired to perceive advanced beings as godlike, and I think we are hardwired just to perceive and understand a concept of God. Now, whether that has been hardwired by our progenitors from outer space, or it is just hardwired in terms of our evolution and our DNA, for how we perceive entities greater than we, is a question we could discuss endlessly. But I think it’s just hardwired into us to perceive that we are part of a greater cosmic entity.”

I also discussed the God angle with Giorgio Tsoukalos, who, along with his mentor Erich von Daniken, draws a definite line in the sand when it comes to calling the ancient astronauts the literal Creator God.

“Let’s say you and I create an intelligent species in the lab,” Tsoukalos said. “That does not make you and me God. The whole ‘God question’ transcends the extraterrestrial presence. The extraterrestrials that Erich von Daniken and I talk about are not ethereal beings. They were flesh and blood, physical people consisting of the same atoms and molecules and particles that every single human being and every single thing has here on Planet Earth.

“That is also why the extraterrestrials look like us,” he continued. “The whole idea that extraterrestrials look like something out of the movie ‘Aliens’ or ‘Independence Day,’ that’s a Hollywood stereotype. But both Erich and I think that there is an all-encompassing force in the universe. But you can’t really put your finger on it. You can’t really touch it. Even the extraterrestrials have the same exact questions about life, death, God and religion and all those different things that we are struggling with today. To suggest that the extraterrestrials have all the mysteries solved – I think it’s not that easy.”

Tim Swartz, another major writer for Global Communications and the editor of the online “Conspiracy Journal,” also contributes a chapter to this updated edition of “The Sky People.” Swartz gives the kind of broad overview of the ancient astronauts theory that will be very helpful for those new to the subject as well as for those more familiar with this strange territory. He begins by talking about paintings found in caves around the world.

“Cave paintings from Tanzania,” Swartz writes, “estimated to be up to 29,000 years old, depict several disc-shaped objects that appear to be hovering over the landscape. Another painting shows four humanoid entities surrounding a woman while another entity looks down from the sky inside some sort of box.

“Inside the French cave of Pech Merle,” Swartz continues, “near Le Cabrerets, are paintings from around 17,000 to 15,000 BCE that show landscapes full of wildlife with a number of saucer-shaped objects. One painting actually shows the figure of a man looking up at one of the overhead saucers. In northern Australia, there are a number of cave paintings, possibly more than 5,000 years old, that show strange beings with large heads and eyes, wearing spacesuit-like garments. The Aborigines call these creatures Wandjina, and according to legend, the Wandjina came down from the stars in the Milky Way during the Dreamtime and created the Earth and all its inhabitants.”


Cave painting from Pech Merle that shows the figure of a man looking up at overhead saucers.

The phenomenon of the cave paintings Swartz describes is the sort of thing that inspired Brinsley Le Poer Trench and the other researchers of the ancient astronauts theory to begin with, although Trench’s ideas also depended a great deal on his groundbreaking interpretation of the Book of Genesis.

Trench was among the first to recognize that Genesis actually contains two different versions of the Creation Story and the Great Flood account. This has puzzled Biblical scholars for many years, who believe that the differing versions were probably inexpertly grafted together from earlier oral and written traditions. This fact is not taught in Sunday school or preached from the pulpits, but it is there for anyone to read.

What was Trench’s take on the two different Creation Stories? For him, it was simple: two different races of man were created by two separate Creator Gods, one called the Elohim (which is actually a plural term) and the other called Jehovah, which Trench says is also a plural term, though not generally thought of as such.

The Elohim created a form of man who is telepathic, intelligent and sensitive. The Jehovah created a more primitive form of man, designed to till the gods’ gardens on the Earth and otherwise be servile and docile. According to Trench, both races have survived into modern times, but it is the superior form of mankind created by the Elohim who will eventually win out. Some of us are rapidly reacquiring the telepathy we were meant to have from our very earliest beginnings and mankind will eventually become a sensitive, caring race living again in a virtual paradise. Meanwhile, the strain of mankind created by the Jehovah will eventually flounder in its paranoia and delusions of grandeur and gradually cease to exist.


Could the ancient aliens still be living among us; working and raising families and going about the same everyday activities we all do?

This all sounds a little like the coming of a Biblically-inspired Super Man, and one wonders if the entire race being telepathic might not be a little uncomfortable at times. Alien abduction researcher David Jacobs also believes in a future telepathic world, but he questions how a person might function without the privacy of his thoughts? Like many issues raised by Trench, this one is not so easily resolved. Trench also has a prescient moment or two when he writes about global warming and the threat posed by radical religious fundamentalism. Writing over 50 years ago, he seems to have his finger on the pulse of our own times. Was he a prophet himself?

The ancient aliens are still with us today, according to Trench. Some of them live among us unseen, working and raising families and going about the same everyday activities we all do. This also has been touched upon by more current UFO researchers, like the late Budd Hopkins, who claimed that alien/human hybrid creatures – who appear utterly human physically – walk among us equipped with telepathic and other “supernatural” capabilities. These same aliens, Trench believed, will prevent us from perishing by our own hand, with nuclear weapons or ecological suicide, which is a welcome departure from the more vocal prophets of doom. For Trench, our survival was guaranteed, not our demise.

So whether you’re Bible-believing or a staunch agnostic, Brinsley Le Poer Trench and the other contributors to this updated version of “The Sky People” will give you new and different perspectives on many truths you may have long taken for granted about God and the evolution of mankind. Be prepared for a fascinating and complex dive into the unknown that will surely be worth more than the cover price.

Sean Casteel headshot April 2015

Sean Casteel

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LEGACY OF THE SKY PEOPLE by Brinsley Le Poer Trench




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