Although not mentioned in NGC2736’s article, the Dogon “mystery” gained widespread publicity when Robert Temple wrote a book in 1976 entitled “The Sirius Mystery”. Since 1976, numerous researchers have pointed out serious problems with the content of that book. Indeed, the “Sirius Mystery” has probably received more detailed attention from scientists than almost any story relating to UFOs and alien visitors.
The claims made in Temple’s book about the content of the Dogon myths are based on work by Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, two French anthropologists. They published an article in French about their research in 1950. The research was carried out in the 1930s and 1940s.
Erich Von Daniken, the famous (infamous?) author of several popular books on “ancient astronauts” has written that Robert Temple’s book “confirmed my theories” (Von Daniken, 1977, pages 81-82).
Several more recent authors have given relatively uncritical presentations of Temple’s views (e.g. Coomer, 1999, pages 13-14) and/or of Temple’s suggestions that his theories have resulted in the CIA showing an interest in him (e.g. Hansen, 2000, pages 191-192).
Books by several popular scientists have included lengthy discussions of Robert Temple’s claims about the Dogon, including Carl Sagan (a 16 page discussion) and James Oberg (an 11 page discussion).
The Dogon mystery’s claims to fame include the following
- Carl Sagan has commented that “at first glance the Sirius legend of the Dogon seems to be the best candidate evidence available today for past
contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization” (Sagan, 1979, page 87).
- Ian Ridpath (a British author and broadcaster on astronomy and space) has suggested that the Dogon claims
are “perhaps the most puzzling of all ancient astronaut stories” (Ridpath, 1978a, page 189).
- E C Krupp has said “taken at face value the Dogon beliefs are quite amazing” (Krupp, 1981, page 291).
- The Dogon “mystery” is one of the few stories relating to alien visitors that has been discusesd in the prestigious science journal
“Nature”, in an article by Michael Ovenden in 1976 (Ovenden, 1976, pages 617-618).
- Respected ufologist Thomas E Bullard has written in relation to the Dogon people’s lore that “here alone is anything close to evidence that
some external source may have provided people of earth with advanced knowledge” (Bullard, 1998, page 135).
- In relation to the Dogon’s alleged knowledge of Sirius B, famous British astronomer Patrick Moore
commented “It seems surprising” (Moore, 1976, page 115).
The “Sirius mystery” has been the subject of several previous threads on the ATS forums, including the following:
- “The Dogon Tribe Research Project”
- “The Sirius Mystery - book by Robert Temple claims aquatic aliens have been to Earth
and will return”
- “ATS Premium: How Could They Know That? The Dogon Mystery.”
- “The Dogon People and the Sirius Mystery”
- “The Dogon tribe...”
For additional information (particularly photographs) relating to the Dogon, see a relevant entry on Wikipedia and the website of Martin Clutt.
Several researchers have suggested that the Sirius star system is a very unlikely place for intelligent life to have evolved. For example, Ashpole has suggested that the Sirius star system “is not a likely home for life” (Ashpole, 1989, page 151) while Ian Ridpath has referred to “its extreme unlikelihood of supporting life” (Ridpath, 1978a, page 199).
There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, the stars in Sirius solar system are relatively young. In relation to Sirius A, Ashpole, 1989, page 152 “Sirius A is a very young star: only about 500 million years old. This star will end its life-cycle long before advanced life could evolve on any suitable planet there” (Ashpole, 1989, page 152). Similarly, Ian Ridpath has suggested that Sirius B has a life-span of no more than about 1000 million years, which “does not seem to be long enough for advanced life to develop” (Ridpath, 1978a, page 191).
Secondly, Robert S. Harrington of the U.S. Naval Observatory published information indicating that planetary orbits in the "habitable" zone around Sirius, defined as the region in which water would be liquid, are unstable (Ridpath, 1978a, page 193).
Ian Ridpath has concluded “astronomical evidence argues strongly against Temple’s ancient astronaut theory” (Ridpath, 1978a, page 193).
However, the force of these arguments is considerably undermined by the fact that the relevant planet supposedly orbits Sirius C, not Sirius A or Sirius B.
On the other hand, it is possible to come up with one or two arguments supporting the plausibility of alien visitors coming from Sirius. In particular, Sirius is (in astronomical terms) basically a near neighbour. It is barely 8 light-years from Earth. This is only twice as far away as the nearest solar system to our own.
So, no clear prove emerges from these points. It is therefore necessary to consider the evidence as to:
(a) What the Dogon allegedly knew about the Sirius system;
(b) How the Dogon could have gained that knowledge.
I shall also give below details of an article written by an anthropologist in 1991 which casts considerable doubt upon the entire basis upon which the debate about “The Sirius Mystery” had proceeded during the previous couple of decades. (See the discussion in Section 3 (“Contamination”) and Section 6 (“Did the Dogon even say anything about Sirius B and Sirius C?”) of the article written in 1991 by Walter E. A. Van Beek).