"One of the most controversial
scientists of our times."
Immanuel Velikovsky in his 1950's book
Collision proposes that many myths and traditions of ancient
peoples and cultures are based on actual events: worldwide global
catastrophes of a celestial origin, which had a profound effect on the
lives, beliefs and writings of early mankind.
"Worlds in Collision is a book of wars in the celestial sphere that
took place in historical times. In these wars the planet earth
participated too. [...] The historical-cosmological story of this book is
based in the evidence of historical texts of many people around the globe,
on classical literature, on epics of the northern races, on sacred books
of the peoples of the Orient and Occident, on traditions and folklore of
primitive peoples, on old astronomical inscriptions and charts, on
archaeological finds, and also on geological and paleontological
material." - Worlds In Collision, Preface.
After reaching the number 1 spot in the
best-sellers list, Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision was banned from
a number of academic institutions, and creating an unprecedented scientific
debacle that became known as The Velikovsky Affair.
In 1956 Velikovsky wrote
Earth in Upheaval
to present conclusive geological evidence of terrestrial catastrophism.
"I have excluded from [these pages] all references to ancient
literature, traditions, and folklore; and this I have done with intent, so
that careless critics cannot decry the entire work as "tales and legends".
Stones and bones are the only witness." - Earth in Upheaval,
Many scientists and historians have criticised
Velikovsky's works over the years, unfortunately, many have done so
inaccurately resulting in the public's misconception that Velikovsky was
"completely proved wrong".
Books by Velikovsky:
[Buy second hand copies through
Reviews and criticisms of Velikovsky's work have tended to be inaccurate,
inconclusive or just plainly wrong. Velikovsky did make mistakes,
but his key proposal, that in historical times mankind witnessed global
catastrophes of cosmic origin, endures with increasing numbers of
organisations and people investigating his work.
When Worlds Collide
Fate Magazine 1999-06-01
By: John Vincent Sanders
Immanuel Velikovsky believed history was shaped by violent planetary
clashes. But those were nothing compared to his own battles with mainstream
The last decade of this millennium has seen an explosion of interest in
alternative views of humanity’s distant past. Fascination with historical
revisionism has spread beyond the ranks of New Age devotees and into the
cultural mainstream, highlighting a growing sentiment that a new era of
enlightenment may be at hand. This crypto-history, or willingness to accept
alternative views of history, can be traced in part to an intellectual
maverick named Immanuel Velikovsky, whose unconventional views fanned the
flames of scientific controversy at mid-century.
Dr. Velikovsky remains an obscure figure 20 years after his death, but in
his time he developed stunning and controversial new theories about Earth
and the history of humanity. His work not only infuriated his colleagues,
but also threatened the existence of long-standing scientific, cultural, and
religious paradigms. If Velikovsky’s vision was correct, our distant
ancestors witnessed unimaginable battles between celestial titans. These
cosmological close encounters turned Earth’s oceans into cloud-piercing
mountains of water, he wrote, bringing the human race -- and the planet
itself -- to the very brink of annihilation.
Scholars of the 1950s scoffed at Velikovsky, as do their successors today.
They also laughed at the idea of a Freudian psychiatrist conducting
legitimate research into such fields as astronomy and ancient history. But
Immanuel Velikovsky was a complex and gifted man. Born in Vitebsk, Russia,
in 1895, he studied law and economics in Moscow and became fluent in six
languages, including Hebrew and Latin. He then spent time at the University
of Edinburgh where he studied under philosopher and writer Henri Bergson,
winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize for Literature. Velikovsky later studied
medicine in Berlin and became a practicing physician and psychiatrist. He
lived in Paris for a time, then Palestine, before emigrating to the U.S. in
1939 and settling in New York City. In 1952, he moved to Princeton, New
Jersey, renewing a friendship with physicist Albert Einstein.
Despite his broad credentials, Velikovsky’s monumental book Worlds in
Collision earned him the undying enmity of the scientific establishment. The
foundation of this work was Velikovsky’s belief that archaeologists and
historians studying the Middle East and Egypt were guilty of significant
chronological errors. His analysis of ancient texts had convinced him that a
number of natural catastrophes and Earth changes -- which many believed were
merely the stuff of myths, legends, and religious exaggeration -- had
actually occurred during the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt around 1500
b.c., and again several hundred years later. Velikovsky came to believe that
these catastrophes were caused by close planetary encounters between Earth,
Mars, and Venus. He also theorized that Venus had begun life as a comet
that, for some unknown reason, had been disgorged by the planet Jupiter.
Velikovsky’s conclusions were stunning in their magnitude. After years spent
correlating ancient knowledge from Asia and South America with that from
Egypt and the Middle East, he reconstructed an astonishing series of
near-collisions among the three planets. According to him, ancient writings
from different parts of the world clearly show to what extent our ancestors
feared Mars and Venus -- even to the point of worshipping them as living
celestial gods. Close approaches by Venus resulted in stupendous
gravitational effects that could draw Earth’s great oceans into
fear-inspiring columns thousands of feet high, simultaneously triggering
massive volcanoes and earthquakes all over the globe as the planetary crust
was wrenched and torn by titanic forces. At the point of closest approach,
he theorized, Earth and Venus would have exchanged a colossal spark of
planetary electricity, an unbelievably huge thunderbolt with a crash heard
by millions, followed by massive planetwide tidal waves as oceans settled
back into their seabeds.
The most catastrophic of the Earth-Venus encounters occurred during the time
of Moses, Velikovsky believed, and was responsible for an environmental
catastrophe that triggered the biblical plagues of Egypt. He theorized that
the close proximity of Venus to Earth during the Hebrew exodus was
responsible for parting the Red Sea.
Velikovsky also said that some of Venus’s atmosphere was exchanged for the
oxygen-rich air of our planet. The result, he believed, was a deluge of
hydrocarbons from our skies. Some of these compounds fell as the petroleum
we know today, seeping beneath the ground of the Middle East into vast pools
of liquid energy. Other, lighter compounds precipitated in a form nourishing
to both humans and animals, the Bible’s so-called “manna from heaven.”
Velikovsky believed the “manna” had enabled life to continue on Earth even
after the global destruction of crops and years of cloud-shrouded darkness
produced by this planetary cataclysm.
According to Velikovsky’s theory, the erratic orbit of the new planet Venus
probably would have ended life on Earth but for the intervention of Mars. A
gravitational tug-of-war ensued, culminating in a series of close approaches
by both planets to Earth. A climactic, simultaneous approach by both planets
occurred several hundred years after the Jewish exodus from Egypt.
Velikovsky maintained that this singular event -- which moved Venus into the
harmless orbit it occupies today -- was immortalized in the mythologies of
many different cultures.
Velikovsky presented an autographed first edition of Worlds in Collision to
Albert Einstein when the eminent physicist turned 67. In a thank-you note,
Einstein expressed his belief that the new book would be the cause of
significant controversy. Einstein’s intuition proved correct: Macmillan
created an uproar within the academic world when it published Worlds in
Collision in 1950. The book’s most vociferous critic was the late Harlow
Shapley, then the administrator of the Harvard Observatory.
Velikovsky had offended legions of professionals in the fields of geology,
astronomy, celestial mechanics, and history -- and these irate individuals
were determined to strike back. Led by Shapley, scores of university and
college professors threatened to boycott Macmillan textbooks unless that
company ended publication of Velikovsky’s book. Macmillan soon quailed and
Worlds in Collision was turned over to Doubleday, where it became a
commercial success. This prompted Velikovsky to produce two follow-up books:
Ages in Chaos (1952) and Earth in Upheaval (1955).
The popularity enjoyed by Velikovsky petered out by the end of the 1950s and
he labored in obscurity for the next decade, his ideas roundly denounced by
his colleagues. But the radicalism of the 1960s brought a new skepticism of
establishment science. Baby boomers developed an open-mindedness toward
ideas like UFOs, Atlantis, and alternative views of history. Demands by
student activists helped expand fields of study and class offerings, but
many academics and scientists were less than eager to acknowledge a change
of emphasis from long-accepted theory. Even the late Carl Sagan, who had
established a reputation as a scientific free-thinker, remained adamant in
his opposition to Velikovsky’s ideas. “There is a range of borderland
subjects that have high popularityÉincluding UFOs, astrology, and the
writings of VelikovskyÉthat seem to deny the scientific method,” Sagan wrote
in 1972 in UFOs -- A Scientific Debate.
In 1974, it seemed that Velikovsky’s theories would finally receive a fair
hearing in an objective, scientific forum. The American Association for the
Advancement of Science convened a Velikovsky symposium, to be held during
its annual meeting in San Francisco that February. Among those presenting
papers would be Velikovsky himself and Carl Sagan, who two years earlier had
sneered at the idea of such a gathering. But the symposium got off to a
decidedly anti-Velikovsky beginning. In his opening remarks, moderator Dr.
Ivan King declared: “No one who is involved in the organization of this
symposium believes that Dr. Velikovsky’s ideas are correct.”
Numerous accusations of unfairness were raised by Velikovsky’s supporters
during and after the conference. But there is no complete record of the
proceedings. Even more puzzling is the fact that a book about the event
published by the Cornell University Press, Scientists Confront Velikovsky
(edited by a symposium organizer, Donald Goldsmith), contains neither a
paper presented by the pro-Velikovsky academician Professor Irving Michelson
of the Illinois Institute of Technology, nor the paper presented by
Despite these attempts to discredit his work, Velikovsky enjoyed renewed
popularity. The Age of Velikovsky, by Dr. C. J. Ransom, was published in
1976, and two new books by Velikovsky (Ramses II and His Time and Stargazers
and Gravediggers) were printed as recently as 1983 -- four years after he
The scientific establishment today continues to reject Velikovsky’s more
controversial work, but several of his theories from the 1950s have since
proven correct. Most notable are his predictions that Jupiter is the source
of powerful, natural radio emissions, and that the Earth is surrounded by a
powerful magnetic field we now call the magnetosphere.
Crypto-History: Alive and Well
His death in November 1979 brought Velikovsky’s illustrious career to an
end, but the cause of historical revisionism survived, as illustrated by
In the early 1990s geologist Robert Schoch of Boston University and
Egyptologist John Anthony West developed compelling evidence that the Sphinx
at Giza, Egypt, may be thousands of years older than previously thought.
[Editor’s note: See “Sandstorm,” page 20.] In his 1995 book Fingerprints of
the Gods, crypto-historian Graham Hancock presented data -- based in part on
computer-generated star maps of the ancient sky -- to support his hypothesis
that the great artifacts of ancient Egypt actually date from a much earlier
civilization, such as Atlantis.
One of the most credible revisionists, Dr. Paul LaViolette, caused a stir in
1997 with the publication of his Earth Under Fire. LaViolette is a trained
scientist with degrees in physics and systems science, and for the first
time he gives revisionism an advocate with scientific credentials that are
above reproach by academic skeptics.
Combining accepted scientific doctrine and techniques with thorough research
into esoteric subjects, LaViolette has arrived at some extraordinary
conclusions. According to him, our solar system is periodically bombarded by
enormous energy bursts, or cosmic super waves. Huge clouds of interstellar
dust accompany this phenomenon, and these can trigger intense solar activity
while shrouding Earth in near-total darkness for years. He has also
developed a compelling case that an event of this kind was responsible for
ending the most recent ice age about 11,500 years ago.
Today’s crypto-historians differ in training, perspective, and
accomplishments, but they have one important thing in common: The roots of
their work can be traced back to the groundbreaking approach of Immanuel
Velikovsky. His courage, vision, and persistence allowed him to blaze a path
of new understanding for later researchers to follow.
BONDS OF THE PAST
A Movie by
From Book to Book and Land to
is an audio file, compressed using the standard MP3 format, of Velikovsky’s
lecture “From Book To Book And Land To Land,” at Eastern Baptist College in
Wayne, Pennsylvania. It lasts just over 51 minutes.
Society for Interdisciplinary Studies The SIS was formed
in 1974 in response to a growing interest in the works of modern
catastrophists such as Dr Immanuel Velikovsky, stimulating controversy
in the fields of cosmology, geology and ancient history. The SIS
publishes two high quality journals which have included articles by
and about Velikovsky.
Man Myth and Mayhem in Ancient History and the Sciences.
Have there been worldwide catastrophic events in mankind's more recent
past? This CD-Rom helps you investigate for yourself.
- The Immanuel Velikovsky
Archive. Maintained by a team of historians to ensure the
integrity and preservation of Velikovsky’s unpublished writings, the
Archive is strictly non-profit and its sole purpose is the advancement
of education and scholarship.
- Kronia Communications
Offering access to a number of sources and products, Kronia
aims to bring about a greater understanding of the work of Immanuel
Velikovsky and his colleagues. Includes background information,
biography, dozens of articles, recent developments in the field such
as the Saturn Hypothesis, and a video documentary "Remembering the
End of the World"
- Aeon, A Journal of
Myth & Science First published in 1988, Aeon
builds on the works Immanuel Velikovsky, presenting further evidence
of catastrophic planetary interactions in historic times. It is
devoted to the collection and exploration of archaeo-astronomical
traditions and analysis of common patterns in ancient myths from
around the world.
Velikovskian The Velikovskian journal offers an
open discussion of whether there were global cataclysms in human
history, their cause, nature and impact of these upheavals. As an
important issue in science, history and humanity, it is deserving of
our attention. Also features the book, Carl Sagan & Immanuel