Sunday, December 18, 2011

history mystery

WHERE did humankind come from?

If you’re going to ask Zecharia Sitchin, be ready for a “Planet of the Apes” scenario: spaceships and hieroglyphics, genetic mutations and mutinous space aliens in gold mines.

It sounds like science fiction, but Mr. Sitchin is sure this is how it all went down hundreds of thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia. Humans were genetically engineered by extraterrestrials, he said, pointing to ancient texts to prove it.

In Mr. Sitchin’s Upper West Side kitchen, evolution and creationism collide. He is an apparently sane, sharp, University of London-educated 89-year-old who has spent his life arguing that people evolved with a little genetic intervention from ancient astronauts who came to Earth.

Born in Russia and raised in Israel, Mr. Sitchin studied economics in London and worked as a journalist and editor in Israel before moving to New York in 1952. Here, he was an executive at a shipping company and, with his wife of 66 years (she died in 2007), raised two daughters. He spent his free time studying, leading archaeological tours to ancient sites and spreading his unusual gospel.

Starting in childhood, he has studied ancient Hebrew, Akkadian and Sumerian, the language of the ancient Mesopotamians, who brought you geometry, astronomy, the chariot and the lunar calendar. And in the etchings of Sumerian pre-cuneiform script — the oldest example of writing — are stories of creation and the cosmos that most consider myth and allegory, but that Mr. Sitchin takes literally. ( (

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