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In 1976, Scottish explorer Stanley Hall, a deep believer in alternative science and ancient astronauts, asked Armstrong, then a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, to join him on a British military scientific expedition to Ecuador to investigate the Tayos caves, which von Däniken had claimed were carved at perfect right angles by aliens with laser beams. Armstrong, as Honorary President of the expedition, flew to Quito in August on a British Royal Air Force cargo plane along with Hall and the Black Watch and the Royal Highland Fusiliers regiment to explore the caves, though he was unaware of von Däniken’s wild claims about them or Hall’s alternative theories. It took only a day’s exploration at Cueva de los Tayos to determine two essential facts. First, there was no metal library where von Däniken had claimed. Second, in Armstrong’s own words: “It was the conclusion of our expedition group that they [the caves] were natural formations.” No lasers. No gold library. No aliens.
Armstrong, as Honorary President of the expedition, flew to Quito in August on a British Royal Air Force cargo plane along with Hall and the Black Watch and the Royal Highland Fusiliers regiment to explore the caves,
[Erich Von Daniken] I have been inside the caves, but not at the place where the photographs in the book were taken, not at the main entrance. I was at a side entrance. And we were down there for six hours.
[Timothy Ferris] Did you, in fact, see the things you describe? Seven chairs made of a plasticlike material, a zoo of solid-gold animals, a library of gold plates?
[Erich Von Daniken] Definitely. No doubt. Though I must say I am not at all sure anymore, if the so-called zoo is made of gold. It could be something different.
[Timothy Ferris] In the book you say Moricz led you in darkness then gave the command “Switch on your torches!” You write, “We are standing dumbfounded and amazed in the middle of a gigantic hall.” Is that what really happened?
[Erich Von Daniken] No, that is not true. It is what I call theatrical effect. [emphasis added]
[Timothy Ferris] Were you and Moricz even in the caves?
[Erich Von Daniken] Yeah, sure. He saw everything.
[Timothy Ferris] Moricz says, “Von Daniken was never in the caves: when he states he has seen the library and the other things himself, he is lying. We never showed him these things.”