Däniken, Erich von (1935–)
Erich von Däniken finds himself in another tight spot
Erich von Däniken is a Swiss author of several best-selling books, beginning with Erinnerungen an die Zukunft (1968, translated in 1969 as Chariots of the Gods?), which promote the paleocontact hypothesis. Although the underlying thesis of past extraterrestrial visitation is not implausible, the evidence that he and others have assembled to support their case is suspect (often simply false and manufactured) and undisciplined. Nevertheless, von Däniken's works have sold in their millions and testify to the genuine desire of many ordinary people to believe in intelligent life beyond the Earth.
Just as Adamski's popular, and also purportedly non-fictional, books answered a need of millions to believe in the extraterrestrial hypothesis during a time when nuclear war seemed imminent (see Cold War, linked to UFO reports), so von Däniken, more than a decade later, was able temporarily to fill a spiritual vacuum with his tales of ancient astronauts and God-like wisdom from the stars.