A native of Steyr, Austria, engineer Blumrich is the holder
of patents on numerous inventions. Until recently the author was
chief of the Systems Layout Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Center. In earlier years, he developed the structural design of the
Saturn V booster and participated in the design of Skylab. He has
left NASA in order to spend his full time on research concerning
extraterrestrial visitors in ancient times. He wrote the book Da
tat sich der Himmel auf (The Spaceships of Eziekel)
References in some holy scripture to strange machines have prompted,
throughout history, speculation and conjecture in order to lend
acceptable, if not rational, explanations of the phenomenon
reported. Modern technical knowledge and test procedures have been
used to reconstruct a model of what was seen and experienced by one
of the four great Jewish prophets two and a half millennia ago.
Any thoughts of visits to our planet by extraterrestrial beings is
immediately stopped by the realization that existing scientific
knowledge precludes that possibility. If such visits could be made
at all, they would have to originate outside our solar system, and
interstellar journeys would require unimaginable lengths of time.
Yet this established knowledge is confronted with the wealth of
mankind’s myths and legends which claim the exact opposite, that "gods"
came from the skies. Their appearances were frequently
accompanied by fire, smoke and thunderous noise; their influence on
man was, mostly, beneficial. If the source of this information is
the ’ primitive’ peoples’ we call it a fable; if the origin lies in
religious scriptures of the more developed civilizations, we
interpret the tales in a more spiritual or even holy manner.
That this attitude is unfair and wrong is manifest in at least two
respects: it disregards the sincere and honest belief of the peoples
who handed down the accounts, and degrades the tales to fictional
stories. At its worst, the information is dismissed as the result of
hallucination, the effects of drugs, or plain invention. But this
attitude is also wrong and unfair with regard to man’s future
development because it denies even the possibility of progress in
the corresponding fields of science.
Thus we seem to be at an impasse because of an apparent conflict
between science and legend. Yet the way is not totally blocked: we
can make progress in this very important field of knowledge once we
realize that science and engineering are two separate (although not
independent) activities, each with its own area of significance. We
must acknowledge the present inability of science to help formulate
answers to the question of extraterrestrial visitors, while
realizing that engineering and industrial technology have not been
introduced to the controversy. The participation of engineers
becomes an unconditional requirement in the evaluation of
configurations and phenomena implying visits from other worlds. Here
it is only natural that our fledgling knowledge concerning space
flight emerges as a contributor of prime significance.
My interest is aroused.
My own involvement in the subject of extraterrestrial visitors began
with a vehemently negative attitude. Having worked as an
aeronautical engineer since 1934-first in the design and analysis of
aircraft, then for the past fifteen years in the design and
development of both launching vehicles and spacecraft-I was firmly
entrenched in the camp of those who declare visits from outer space
to be an impossibility.
It was in this frame of mind that I began to read Erich von
Daniken’s "Chariots of the Gods? His claim that the prophet
Ezekiel had encounters with spaceships prompted me to read the
biblical book of Ezekiel carefully with the intention of proving
von Daniken wrong. By the time I had got to verse 7 of the very
first chapter, however, I found myself interpreting a description of
the landings legs of some kind of flying vehicle:
"Their legs were
straight. and the soles of their feet were round; and they
sparkled like burnished bronze."
Having designed and
tested such structures myself, I could not deny that it was possible
to read in this a direct, yet simple, technical description.
The contrast of that evidently clear passage with the quite hazy
pictures sketched by the rest of the chapter made me realize that
the prophet could not have known what it was he had seen, or could
not have understood it. I realize the necessary consequences of
this: the prophet could only describe his encounters with space
vehicles and their crews in the terms available to him-with words
and comparisons familiar to him and his contemporaries. So I began
taking Ezekiel seriously, in an engineering sense.
Because I had to rely on translations, I used six different
bibles, ranging in time from early in the last century to 1972,
edited by Jewish, Roman Catholic, and protestant translators.
Besides these, I used two highly detailed biblical commentaries.
My application of aircraft (specifically, helicopter) and spacecraft
engineering principles to the reports of the prophet resulted in the
penetration of Ezekiel’s visual descriptions, and the replacement of
these by known structural configurations. The final result is shown
by the drawing at the beginning of this paper. There we see a
quasi-conical main body, supported by four helicopter units, which
carries the command capsule atop its rounded upper portion. We
should consider that Ezekiel first saw this vehicle at a distance of
about 1,000 meters; at the moment the nuclear engine fired, probably
with some white clouds of condensation (because of the engine’s
"chill down" phase) shooting past the craft’s main body.
In these fiery, dynamic surroundings Ezekiel notices the moving
rotors, see the landing legs and mechanical arms
attached to the helicopter units. His first reaction is to
compare the helicopters with man-like figures, but he then finds in
the term ’living creatures’ an expression of admirable vagueness to
reflect his uncertainty. During final decent and landing, Ezekiel
observes the protective covers of the helicopter’s gear mechanisms,
which he able to describe best by comparing them with human faces.
He notices the red-hot radiator -glowing coals- (Chapter 1, verse
13. "As for the
likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like
burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went
up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright,
and out of the fire went forth lightning."
covering part of the
lower central body; the prophet is fascinated by the wheels which,
in their basic form, are the only element he recognizes and thus
describes in great detail.
The visual description of the wheel has been misinterpreted in
numerous paintings and texts. Yet no one has ever taken seriously
the functional description which indicates that the wheels could
move, in any direction, without being turned or steered. The latter
has led me to develop a precise engineering interpretation, and for
which a patent was granted by the United States Patent Office no.
3,789,947, Feb. 5, 1974. A particularly gratifying application of
this interpretation, incidentally, would be to facilitate
considerably the mobility of wheelchairs for the physically
Ezekiel ends his technical description with comments on the
command capsule and on the commander himself. The amount of detail
he includes is astounding. It is significant that the prophet
describes features which are of little engineering importance but
which, to the eye, carry the same weight as true structural
elements. The quasi-conical shape of the spacecraft’s central
body-ideally suited to permit its combination with the
helicopters, and thus a most important feature of the vehicle-is an
existing engineering product. It was developed at the Langley
Research Center of NASA, and has been studied
analytically and in a series of wind-tunnel tests.
After establishing the general configuration of the spaceship, I
made an analytical investigation; although the configuration
appeared to be structurally and functionally sound, its feasibility
could be proved only if weights, dimensions, performance and other
basic characteristics turned out to be within reasonable limits. The
analysis was performed parametrically, that means dimensions,
weights and performance were varied in steps over a wide range of
possibilities. From the first crude calculation to the final
detailed analysis, the results left no doubt of the vehicles
feasibility: they reveal a general technology of spacecraft
construction not far beyond our current, most advanced capabilities.
The only element we are incapable of building is the nuclear
reactor within the propulsion system. Although this would be a
fission reactor, it would require a specific impulse, of at
least 2,000 seconds against the about 900 seconds of today’s nuclear
engines. It is reasonable to assume, however, that we could have
this capability within a few decades if we were to invest enough
effort in its development.
The over-all result,
then, is a space vehicle technically feasible beyond doubt and very
well designed to suit function and purpose; its technology is in no
way fantastic but, even in its extreme aspects, lies almost within
our own capabilities of today. The results indicate, moreover, that
Ezekiel’s spacecraft operated in conjunction with a mother vessel
orbiting the earth. We have no point of firm reference for an
exact determination of the dimensions of the landing craft, but we
can approximate these within the range I investigated analytically.
The illustration above shows the shape and proportions. The diameter
of the central body would be about 18 m, that of the rotor of a
helicopter unit would be 11 m, total weight from the time of
lift-off from the earth for the return flight to the mother ship
would be 100,000 kg, the engine’s specific impulse would be 2,080
seconds, and the craft would carry two or three passengers.
With these conclusions, I had to declare defeat; I wrote to Eric
von Daniken, explaining that my attempt to refute his theory had
resulted in a structural and analytical conformation of a major part
of his hypothesis. Determining the form, dimensions and functional
capabilities of what Ezekiel saw makes understandable a
number of passages in his text that are otherwise meaningless; it
also aids considerably in separating the prophetic or visionary
parts of Ezekiel’s book from those concerning encounters with
spaceships. (I confined my study to the latter.) Being an
engineer, I am not qualified to investigate the non-engineering
A friend passed on a book written by NASA engineer Josef F.
Blumrich entitled The Spaceships of Ezekiel. This book
concludes that the passage shown above wasn’t the whole story.
Blumrich agrees that the "wheel within a wheel" was
extraterrestrial, but he goes one step further and claims that it
only describes a small part of the craft. According to Blumrich, the
whole chapter was a detailed description of an encounter with an
Ezekiel 1:16 (NIV)
This was the appearance and structure of the wheels:
They sparkled like
chrysolite, and all four looked alike.
Each appeared to be
made like a wheel intersecting a wheel.
Even the story behind
the book is very interesting. Blumrich notes that he began
researching the topic in response to Erich von Daniken’s book
Chariots of the Gods. In the forward to his book, Blumrich
states that he,
"began to read von
Daniken with the condescending attitude of someone who knows
beforehand that the conclusions presented can by no means be
In other words, he
thought von Daniken was full of it and was going to set out
to prove it scientifically.
What he found, after an extensive amount of research from an
engineering point of view, was just the opposite. He went from an
extreme skeptic to becoming convinced that the book of Ezekiel
was a real accurate and detailed account of an encounter with
extraterrestrial visitors. Very interesting coming from a person who
is not a religious zealot by any means and is about as far as you
can get from a gullible person who might be prone to jump to
Blumrich passage by passage analysis of Ezekiel chapter
one that is based his work. The text shown below isn’t directly from
Blumrich’s book (which contains much, much more detail than I could
ever present here) but is instead a capsulization of Blumrich’s
conclusions as presented in another very interesting book
entitled Extraterrestrials in Biblical Prophesy by G. Cope
Schellhorn, pages 106-108:
Ezekiel 1:4 (NIV) I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an
immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by
brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing
metal Blumrich summary:
The spacecraft begins at some distance from the prophet in its
initial descent. Vapour cloud is from cooling preliminary to
firing of rocket engine. Rocket engine is then fired.
Ezekiel 1:5 (NIV) and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures.
In appearance their form was that of a man Blumrich summary:
Looking upward, the prophet sees four shapes surrounded by fire
and vapour that look alive. These are helicopter-like bodies
deployed before landing.
Ezekiel 1:6 (NIV) but each of them had four faces and four wings. Blumrich summary:
The prophet is now able to see more detail because the craft is
at low altitude. He sees the four blades of the rotors and the
fairing housings above the rotors that give the appearance of
Ezekiel 1:7 (NIV) Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a
calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Blumrich summary:
This is a description of the landing legs. The legs have shock
absorbers and round footpads.
Ezekiel 1:8 (NIV) Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of
a man. All four of them had faces and wings, Blumrich summary:
This refers to remote-controlled mechanical arms hanging along
side the cylindrical helicopter bodies.
Ezekiel 1:9 (NIV) and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight
ahead; they did not turn as they moved. Blumrich summary:
A reference to the helicopter blades protruding outward is made.
Ezekiel 1:10 (NIV) Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face
of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and
on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an
eagle. Blumrich summary:
The fairing surfaces, which protect the gears and other control
devices above the rotors, look to the prophet like faces. The
fairings are irregular in shape with some raised and some cut
out areas, all of which lends itself to an awe-struck
interpretation on the prophet’s part. By way of example,
Blumrich shows photos of Gemini and Apollo capsules that at
certain angles look like monsters. Because like faces face in
like directions, we see that the rotors are synchronized at rest
Ezekiel 1:11 (NIV) Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward;
each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on
either side, and two wings covering its body. Blumrich summary:
The first part refers to the rotor blades being divided. The
suggestion is that there is a kind of gap in the control
mechanism or fairing. The last part of the verse refers to the
rotor blades folded in an up and down position.
Ezekiel 1:12 (NIV) Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go,
they would go, without turning as they went. Blumrich summary:
This refers to the landing leg assembly and the retractable
wheels as part of each leg assembly. Ezekiel doesn’t see the
wheels until they are actually deployed in verse fifteen. Verses
nine, twelve and fifteen are interrelated.
Ezekiel 1:13 (NIV) The appearance of the living creatures was like burning
coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among
the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it.
Ezekiel is referring to the flowing reactor radiator and the
bursts from the control rockets. The lightning effect comes from
what would seem like leaping random fire but in fact is
controlled bursts from the various control rockets for
Ezekiel 1:14 (NIV) The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.
The spacecraft hovers and moves in various directions until a
suitable landing site is found.
Ezekiel 1:15 (NIV) As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the
ground beside each creature with its four faces. Blumrich summary:
The wheels are deployed. They appear at the very moment they
Ezekiel 1:16-21 (NIV) This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They
sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each
appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they
moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the
creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about as the creatures
went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were
full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the
wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose
from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would
go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them,
because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures
stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose
from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the
spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Blumrich summary:
The greenish-bluish color of the wheels suggests a protective
film or coating. A further description of advanced reversible
wheels is given. Ezekiel is confused - looks to him like a wheel
within a wheel. These wheels look like they are obeying orders.
He has had experience with wheels but these are puzzling. Thus
he gives much time to their description. The craft rolls on the
ground, probably in a maneuver to find the most suitable site.
Ezekiel 1:22 (NIV) Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what
looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome. Blumrich summary:
Here is a description of the main body of the craft. We get its
basic shape, spreading out like a "firmament." The surface of
the main body is metallic, shining, bright.
Ezekiel 1:23 (NIV) Under the expanse their wings were stretched out one toward
the other, and each had two wings covering its body. Blumrich summary:
We are given additional information concerning the position of
the helicopter-like appendages relative to the main body. Rotor
blades are at rest.
Ezekiel 1:24-25 (NIV) When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty,
like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered
their wings. Then there came a voice from above the expanse over
their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Blumrich summary:
Blumrich feels these verses are out of order. They describe
operating rotor blade motors and the resultant sound effects.
Ezekiel 1:26 (NIV) Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a
throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure
like that of a man. Blumrich summary:
The prophet sees the command module shaped and colored like a
cabachon-cut sapphire. Seated in the pilot’s seat is a man.
Ezekiel 1:27 (NIV) I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked
like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down
he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Blumrich summary:
The prophet describes the light effects of the commander’s
flight suit which, in Blumrich’s opinion, are reminiscent of the
light effects caused by the reflecting surfaces of certain
insulation materials used in the Apollo lunar module. (See Rev
1:12-15 and Dan 10:6) It might be enlightening here to mention
the light effects, especially the golden glow effect, described
by some present-day witnesses to UFO close encounters, people
who have been in near proximity to UFO crew members. A classic
example of such an effect would be the Fatima incident earlier
in the century. An interesting explanation of this effect is
offered by an extraterrestrial in Charles Silva’s "Date With The
Ezekiel 1:28 (NIV) Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy
day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of
the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell
facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Blumrich summary:
Here are the optical light effects of the translucent cabachon-shaped
command module sitting atop the main body of the spacecraft.
Sunlight hitting the translucent surface and reflecting off
other surfaces inside the module causes a rainbow light effect.
(See Enoch 14:9-22 and Rev 4:3) Blumrich emphasizes that the
brightness was "round about him." It did not emanate from "him."
Him, we should carefully note, refers to Ezekiel’s initial
mistake of identity - confusing the spacecraft with God himself.
Blumrich goes on
to provide similar observations for the entire book of Ezekiel.
He even concludes that Ezekiel went aboard the craft and interacted
with the commander of the vehicle a number of times. If you’d like
to explore the topic further, I’d definitely recommend finding
Blumrich’s book so you can read all his conclusions firsthand.
So was Ezekiel’s account really his way of telling a detailed story
about an encounter with extraterrestrials? Were these beings sent by
God to deliver a message to Ezekiel?
Interesting but controversial questions. I’ll let you decide for
yourself, but I sure haven’t heard any other explanations of
Ezekiel’s experiences that sound as realistic to me.