A Conversation with Zecharia Sitchin by Phyllis Galde
Zecharia Sitchin, an eminent Orientalist and biblical scholar, was born in 1922 in Baku, Azerbaijan, then a part of the USSR, and was raised in Palestine. There, he acquired a profound knowledge of modern and ancient Hebrew, other Semitic and European languages, the Old Testament, and the history and archaeology of the Near East. A graduate of the University of London with a degree in economic history, he worked as a journalist and editor in Israel for many years prior to undertaking his life’s work: The Earth Chronicles. One of the few scholars able to read the clay tablets and interpret ancient Sumerian and Akkadian, Sitchin based the ten volumes of The Earth Chronicles series, beginning with The 12th Planet in 1976, on the texts and pictorial evidence recorded by the ancient civilizations of the Near East. His books have been widely translated, reprinted in paperback editions, converted to Braille for the blind, and featured on radio and television programs. He now lives and writes in New York.The New York Times devoted a page to a profile article on him in its January 10 Sunday edition.
Sitchin has been interviewed twice by Hilly Rose for fatemag.com streaming audio. C The following interview was conducted recently in New York by FATE Editor-in-Chief Phyllis Galde. PG: For our FATE readers, could you please tell a brief summary of what you have done, what you have discovered and uncovered, and where did it happen? ZS: FATE, like other magazines perhaps, has a new generation of readers, and that is very interesting. At the beginning of 2009, I agreed to go to LA and speak at some Expo. Almost five years before, I had scheduled one of my big seminar events in LA, in May 2004, and it had to be cancelled almost at the last minute. Visiting with family in Philadelphia, I didn’t feel right. My sonin-law there was a doctor and called one of his colleagues, and he examined me. He said I was not far from a fatal heart attack because there was a blockage that was not in a reachable place. He said the only thing that we could do was a heart bypass. I was admitted to the hospital right then and there. AsIwas waiting to be prepared for the operation, a young male nurse comes in and says he saw my name in the list of new admissions. He says, “Oh! I have read all your books! I have an original edition of The 12th Planet. Would you autograph it for me? I will go home and get it.” I said, “Let’s make a deal. If I make it through the operation, I will autograph the book.”Which obviously, I did. The Talk in Los Angeles So I was invited almost five years later to the day to come to LA and give a talk. Iwould have turned it down, but I felt that I had to go and speak there and meet my faithful readers and show them that I was still around. The interesting thing is that most of the room—which was oversold, with people fighting to get in—was filled with young people. So the organizer tells me, “There is a whole new generation that is discovering. As I was later autographing books, one of the young men says to me,“You know, Irealized when I looked at the book that I just gave you to sign, that I was not even born yet when it was published.” There is a new generation that in many ways finds it easier to accept what I have written about, and what FATE magazine is about, because they grew up on space exploration, on astronauts. Going to the moon is a reality. Sending spacecraft to Mars is a reality. PG:How about the possibility of travel in deep space? ZS: I remember the first time that I spoke publicly, after The 12th Planet was published in 1976, there was a meeting in Chicago, and there was press there. I said, “If I am now here in Chicago, speaking to you, and I tell you that I live in New York and that I flew over to Chicago, would you believe me? And they said yes. Now when I tell you that somebody could have flown from Chicago to New York, you say, no, that is not possible. I know that you don’t say that, but when I say that one day we could go to another planet, and you will all say, well, one day…we don’t know when, but one day. But when Isay, well, somebody from another planet might have come here, you say, no! That is not possible! That is exactly what I’m telling you. I came from New York to Chicago, but no one from Chicago could come to New York.”
So I think that the most important thing that I have done with the first book, The 12th Planet, and subsequent ones— there are ten by now—is not that I said that Earth was visited by people called Annunaki, which means “those who from heaven to earth came,” not that there is one more planet in our solar system and so on. I think the most important thing that I have done is that I have re-mythologized mythology. The ancient myths that have come down to us go back and back and back to the Sumerians, who were the first ones to have written down the stories and the tales on tablets. But these are not myths; they are recordings and recollections of things that really took place. This is the essence of my writings, and to the extent that I succeeded in convincing millions of people around the world, that is my greatest achievement. PG: How do you feel about investigating the past by means of past-life regression into previous incarnations? ZS: I don’t believe in resurrection, but I believe in reincarnation, which is not the same thing. For instance, some girl in Holland starts to speak Sanskrit; how is that possible? It is possible because we are our genetic heritage. I am my parents’ genes, and they are their parents’ genes. In the dedication of one of my books to my parents, I say that they are, “My link to my ancestors.” So, if somebody says, “Why does this guy have blue eyes?” Well, because one of his parents had blue eyes, or maybe a grandparent had blue eyes. The particular gene on that particular chromosome that controls the eye color gave him the blue. Another one, the girl came out blonde. Again, there is somewhere in the background, in her genes, that controlled the color of her hair. Now, what is memory? We have a brain, and what is the brain? The brain is a collection of molecules that works on electrical pulses, like a computer. It records things. So when we inherit genes that control hair color, weight, and so on, why not also include at least bits of the memory? So when you say that you somehow feel that you belong to another life, another world, that doesn’t mean that you are required a hundred percent to have been a person in that past life. If there is one gene or two genes, that is enough to trigger a memory. When you hear something, when you see something, and you say, “Wait a minute…I remember something…I know something,” how could you remember this? Were you just making it up? Were you ever in Egypt ages ago? You cannot prove it. But there is something, and that is what I believe in, is this form of reincarnation. We are constantly reincarnating our ancestors. PG: What have you discovered from actual visits to the Near East? ZS:One of the things that I try to do, and by and large I have done, is to visit the places that I am writing about. Not so much to see whether they exist, but to be there and get the feel of the place. If you ask me to define what it means to feel the place, I don’t know how to explain it.
Feeling the Place
To me, and many of those who have traveled with me, for example, when we were in a place like Stonehenge, or some other unusual place, the few guards there looked at us as if people had shown up from Mars. Nobody ever comes there except Sitchin and his friends. Let’s say Stonehenge, as soon as we come there, they lie down on the ground and close their eyes. I didn’t lie on the ground, but when I go to some of those places, whether it is in the Near East or in South America, there is something that I feel. I feel the place. I am with the place and the place is with me. I can now understand closing my eyes, and I can understand what took place there.I don’t hear voices, but having read the tablets and seen the artifacts, the place now explains itself to me. One place that I have not been to is the very place where ancient Sumer was, and Babylon and ancient Syria. I could not go there for security reasons. I was audacious enough to go to Syria. The Syrians knew very well who I am. I was in Lebanon, and the authorities there know who I am. We went to Baalbek which is the headquarters of Hezbollah. But when it came to Iraq under Saddam Hussein, there was no way I could risk going there. That is one thing. The other thing is that archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia began in 1888, so it’s been more than a century and a half, almost two centuries. So all the discoveries have been taken out. Some percentage went to the Turkish museum in Constantinople, now called Istanbul, to wonderful museums, with which I am thoroughly familiar. Other artifacts are in London and in Paris, or in Philadelphia. So even if I were to dare to go there to that place, it would not be to find or see the artifacts or the tablets that are all by now in museums. Some are on display, but 95 percent of them are in basements, because there is no room for them. No one has the time or money to pay scholars to read them, so what we know is a small percentage of the small percentage that was discovered. The number of clay tablets that were discovered in one place called Nineveh, the library of Ashurbanipal, was 80,000 tablets in one library. And then there was a library in every major town. Every temple had a library. So the material with which we are dealing, and the material which I quote in my books, is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what the ancient peoples have bequeathed to us, which we should know. PG: What is the importance to this new generation of finding out our past? ZS: The importance is because the past is our future. What happened to us is that people from another planet came here for their own reasons. They needed gold for survival, not to make coins. And needing manpower, needing miners, they created so-called primitive workers to help them. Then eventually they gave us knowledge and they gave us civilization, and then eventually, they left. My prediction is that the time will come when we will do exactly the same thing. For our own reasons, either for surviving off this planet, which will face calamities, or for whatever reasons, we will go to another planet, we will discover some primitive life there, we will use genetic engineering to upgrade it, and the whole story will be repeated again, so the past is the future. And that is why people today should find out what has happened, because then they will know what will happen. Ω