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on 4 September 2011
Crowd: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
Villager 1: We've found a witch, may we burn her?
Crowd: Burn her! Burn!
Bedemir: How do you know she is a witch?
Villager 2: She looks like one.
Bedemir: Bring her forward.
Witch: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.
Bedemir: But you are dressed as one.
Witch: They dressed me up like this.
Crowd: No, we didn't... no.
Witch: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
Bedemir: Well?
Villager 1: Well, we did do the nose.
Bedemir: The nose?
Villager 1: And the hat -- but she is a witch!
Crowd: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!

(From Monty Python's The Holy Grail).

If Velikovsky had been born 500 years earlier he would no doubt have met a similar fate. I don't mean being put on a scale and measured against a duck by a lunatic in a stupid helmet with a dodgy vizor, but by being burned at the stake. And I have no doubt that at the front of the crowd with the carrots, pointy hats and superglue would have been many of the one-star reviewers who bang on about "pseudoscience" - as though they have the slightest clue what science actually is, along with those "scientists" and "academics" who propogate blatant misinformation which masquerades as orthodox "knowledge" in their role as self-appointed guardians of an increasingly moronic status quo, the vast majority of whom have not even read what he said but instead rely uncritically on gatekeepers such as Carl Sagan who, unable to scientifically refute Velikovsky, distort and misrepresent his words in order to make their job easier. Yet Velikovsky has over time been repeatedly proven absolutely right and one wonders how quickly our understanding of the cosmos would have flourished if the academic and scientific establishments had done their jobs correctly and engaged in scientific debate and study of Velikovsky's ideas rather than simply trying to shoot him down in flames for upsetting the applecart.

There is an annoying tendency today to assume, nay, insist that all there is to know is now known and that anyone who has the temerity to question "common knowledge" should be ostracised or locked up - indeed I have seen this very suggestion made many many times on Amazon.com. There are many who will pull their hair, stamp their feet and hurl insults at anyone who dares to suggest that our knowledge of celestial mechanics and cosmic physics are less than complete. Yet so far mankind has not ventured beyond the earth's atmosphere and therefore no long-term studies of various phenomena such as gravity, radiation, electromagnetism and so on have ever been conducted away from the influence of the earth, or indeed any other source of any of these phenomena. An increasing number of "alternative" scientists and researchers believe that light accelerates constantly unless acted upon by gravity or electromagnetism, contrary to dogma which insists the speed of light is constant in a vacuum, and some of the many implications of this if true are that our understanding of much basic physics is totally skewed, many of our scientific and mathematical equations which employ the speed of light as a constant are at the very least inaccurate, and our ability to measure things like interstellar distances almost non-existent. The truth is we don't know for sure - and we never will until we can get far enough away from all sources of gravity to properly test the proposition. In short we know nothing at all about the cosmos outside of the earth's atmosphere (and very little inside it, actually) besides the few snippets we have gleaned from the various primitive probes we have lobbed around the Solar System.

There is also an annoying tendency today to assume that conditions in our Solar System and its environs have always been how they are today, and despite never having observed anything else many, far too many, so-called "scientists" and "academics" insist that no other conditions are conceivable. How do they know this? The truth is they don't; it is merely an opinion.

Worlds In Collision is a retelling of ancient history from around 1500 B.C. to around 600 B.C. through a reexamination of archaeological evidence and ancient legends from around the globe to reconstruct events as they were seen by the peoples of the world at the time, the central thesis of which is that there were two series of cosmic catastrophes, thirty-four and twenty-six centuries ago, and thus that only a relatively short time ago war not peace reigned in the Solar System. All cosmological theories today assume that the planets have revolved in their places for billions of years; Velikovsky maintains they have been travelling along their present orbits for only a few thousand years. He suggests that one planet - Venus - was formerly a comet and that it joined the family of planets within the memory of mankind, thus offering an explanation of how one of the planets originated, and conjectures that the comet Venus originated within the planet Jupiter. He found that smaller comets were born from contacts between Venus and Mars, thus offering an explanation of the origin of the comets of the Solar System. That these comets are only a few thousand years old explains why, despite dissipation of the material of their tails in space, they have not yet disintegrated entirely.

Velikovsky also claims that the earth's orbit changed more than once and along with it the length of the year; that the geographical position of the terrestrial axis and its astronomical direction changed repeatedly; and that at a recent date the polar star was in the constellation of the Great Bear rather than its current location in the Little Dipper. The length of the day altered, the polar regions shifted, the polar ice became displaced into moderate latitudes, and other regions moved into the polar circles. He arrived at the conclusion that electrical discharges took place between Venus, Mars, and the earth when their atmospheres touched each other or at least came close to doing so; that the magnetic poles of the earth became reversed only a few thousand years ago; and that with the change in the moon's orbit the length of the month changed too, and repeatedly so. In the period of seven hundred years between the middle of the second millennium before the present era and the eighth century the year consisted of 360 days and the month of almost exactly thirty days, but earlier the day, month, and year were of different lengths.

He offers an explanation for the fact that the nocturnal side of Venus emits as much heat as the sunlit side, and explains the origin of the canals of Mars and of the craters and seas of lava on the moon as brought about in stress and near collisions. He believes he came close to solving the problem of mountain building and the irruption of the sea; the exchange of place between sea and land; the rise of new islands and volcanic activity; sudden changes in climate and the destruction of quadrupeds in northern Siberia and the annihilation of entire species; and the cause of earthquakes. Furthermore, he found that excessive evaporation of water from the surface of the oceans and seas, a phenomenon that was postulated to explain excessive precipitation and formation of ice covers, was caused by extraterrestrial agents. He tells us that the erratic boulders and till, or gravel, clay, and sand on the substratum of rock as having been carried, not by ice, but by onrushing gigantic tides caused by change in the rotation of the terrestrial globe; thus has he accounted for moraines that migrated from the equator toward higher latitudes and altitudes (Himalayas) or from the equator across Africa toward the South Pole.

He shows us that the religions of the peoples of the world have a common astral origin. The narrative of the Hebrew Bible concerning the plagues and other wonders of the time of the Exodus is, according to Velikovsky, historically true and the prodigies recorded have a natural explanation. He tells us that there was a world conflagration and that naphtha poured from the sky; that only a small proportion of people and animals survived; that the passage of the sea and the theophany at Mount Sinai are not inventions; that the shadow of death or twilight of the gods (Gotterdammerung) refers to the time of the wandering in the desert; that manna or ambrosia really fell from the sky, from the clouds of Venus. We learn also that Joshua's miracle with the sun and the moon is not a tale for the credulous, and why there are common ideas in the folklore of peoples separated by oceans, and we are taught to recognise the importance of world upheavals in the content of legends and why the planets were deified, and which planet was represented by Pallas Athene, and what is the celestial plot of the Iliad and in what period this epic was created, and why the Roman people made Mars their national god and progenitor of the founders of Rome. We are taught the real meaning of the messages of the Hebrew prophets Amos, Isaiah, Joel, Micah, and others. Velikovsky ascertains the year, month, and day of the last cosmic catastrophe and establishes the nature of the agent that destroyed Sennacherib's army, as well as discerning the cause of the great wanderings of peoples in the fifteenth and eighth centuries. He also tells us about the origin of the belief in the chosenness of the Jewish people and traces the original meaning of the archangels, and the source of eschatological beliefs in doomsday.

Velikovsky acknowledged there were other global and cosmic catastrophes further back in time and wrote much more on the subject; for anyone interested in further reading see Velikovsky's unpublished works at the Velikovsky Archive, especially his In The Beginning and Collected Essays. Rather than coming up with a theory and cherry-picking the evidence to support that theory (see Cataclysm!: Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C. by D. S. Allan and J. B. Delair for a perfect example of this bad methodology), it is apparent from reading Worlds In Collision that Velikovsky simply followed a very obvious trail to arrive at very obvious conclusions, apparently not for the first time in our history. Having read much else on the subject I agree with Velikovsky that many others, such as Donnelly, SHOULD have arrived at the same conclusions as he did yet failed to do so, at least in print. Yet hindsight is always 20/20 and now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, over sixty years since the publication of Worlds in Collision hindsight shows us that Velikovsky was possibly the first in history to correctly join up all the available dots to form the most complete and cohesive cosmology yet devised (see The Velikovsky Heresies: Worlds in Collision and Ancient Catastrophes Revisited by Laird Scranton for a dispassionate analysis of Worlds in Collision in light of the last half century of scientific and technological development and discovery).

After sufficient reading the picture which inevitably emerges from an overview of all the world's mythologies is certainly similar to the picture Velikovsky paints. The fact that he may not have been exactly one hundred percent correct in no way discedits the rest of his theory; for instance, while it is possible that Venus did not originate within Jupiter but perhaps within Saturn instead, or it perhaps came into the Solar System from elsewhere, this does not invalidate his assertions about the close encounters between Venus, Mars and the earth. And rather than simply parrotting "common knowledge" and refusing to even read Velikovsky, people should (but so rarely do) put aside their preconceptions and actually read what he said; they would find that, rather than being "pseudoscience", Worlds In Collision is essentially a reminder of what the people who lived through those events and their ancestors said, translated and reinterpreted in light of what was actually said rather than assuming that all ancient texts are somehow religious or mystic mumbo-jumbo and are to be read as allegory. Velikovsky simply repeats their words and connects up the threads to show us who said what, and when. The real beauty of Velikovsky's theories, however, lies in the interlocking nature of all of the evidence he presents - only a fraction of the total available - and the perfect synchronisation between events in different parts of the world; when events are correctly aligned globally then the whole history of humanity makes perfect sense and many of the apparently unexplained and unexplainable historical mysteries are easily explained. And amazingly, to date Velikovsky has not yet been proven wrong on a single advance claim that he made, and has been proven absolutely right on many, and perhaps most, of them.

This is a spellbinding read, possibly one of the most revolutionary books ever written, and one that deserves at least an instant second and then a third reading. It is a truly amazing, and amazingly complete, theory of the cosmos and human history, possibly the most complete ever offered, and the violence of the reaction against it serves only to elevate it to an even higher level. Even if you do not agree with every one of Velikovsky's assertions I can guarantee that the truly objective reader will immediately see the simple truth in many of them, and will quickly agree that a total overhaul of academic and educational philosophy is long overdue in our society. The misplaced emotion and vitriol displayed by detractors even today who have never read a word Velikovsky wrote would suggest this overhaul is as far away as ever...
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on 16 March 2008
First published in 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky wrote the most controversial, eye-opening, and well-written work entitled "Worlds in Collision," which brought forth a notion of a large comet having passed near Earth, causing a number of catastrophes that were depicted in the Earth mythologies, and this large comet is now known to be Venus. Then, the author discussed further about the planet Mars, which also made a near pass to Earth in the later period, causing more catastrophes. These events were occurred before the planetary system was orderly established as we now know it.

Besides the prologue and epilogue, this book consisted of two parts ("Venus" and "Mars"). The first part focuses on mythologies and legends surrounding the comet Venus and it near passes to Earth, causing such disasters and catastrophes as experienced by the ancient human beings. He used numerous accounts from any sacred writings, such as Egyptian, Hebrews, and many others. He also pointed out the "planet" Venus was documented to be absent from the early planetary system, which is interesting in itself. The second part of this book discussed the possible collision between Venus and Mars as depicted in mythologies to which the orbit of Mars was changed, and quite possibly made a near passes to Earth, causing further catastrophes and shifted Earth's orbit from 360 days a year to 365 days a year, after Venus made her first appearance in the solar system.

As the basic of this book, the author stated that the cataclysms of Earth in the historical times were caused by the close passes between Earth and Venus and between Earth and Mars. While his theory is considered controversial and outrageous, it is well worth a read since he based his researches on mythologies as well on geological records.

As for his research into the mythologies, he implied that the legends and stories do have some degree of accuracy and these legends tend to be overlooked by the modern scientists. He stated that:
"The answer to the problem of the similarity in the motifs in the folklore of various peoples is, in my view, as follows: A great many ideas reflect real historic content. There is a legend, found all over the world, that a deluge swept over the earth and covered hills and even mountains. We have a poor opinion of the mental abilities of our ancestors if we think that merely an extraordinary overflow of the Euphrates so impressed the nomads of the desert that they thought the entire world was flooded, and that the legend so born wandered from people to people. At the same time, geological problems of the origin and distribution of till, or diluvial deposit, are awaiting explanation.
(...)
Traditions about upheavals and catastrophes, found among all people, are generally discredited because of the shortsighted belief that no forces could have shaped the world in the past that are not at work also at the present time, a belief that is the very foundation of modern geology and of the theory of evolution...Scientific principles do warrant maintaining that a force which does not act now, could not have acted previously."
(p. 304 - 5)

The last line from above quote shows that there is an increase of ignorance in the scientific community because this book receives a little attention and a great deal of mockery, and this also applies to the current situation about comets. Scientists nowadays are focusing so much on the asteroids due to their apparent seen appearances and these comes at the time that are less frequent, and they are ignoring the seriousness of the comets due to their unstable orbit and unseen appearances.

In this book, Velikovsky did a good work on showing how the cosmic impacts or collisions can have such disastrous consequences for Earth and they were experienced by the prehistoric people as portrayed in many legends, myths, and stories across the globe. This was further discussed and verified with more scientific evidence in other works, such as Victor Clube's "Cosmic Winter," which I would strongly recommend.

Velikovsky's "World in Collision" revealed to be quite interesting and an eye opening read. It showed a great attention to the historical events as well a view of the bigger picture to which Earth takes part of. There is a lot of detail in this book gives one a food for thought. I found it to be one of the most important works in existence. While it contains some truth and a few theological/scientific errors, this book is surly a must read.

It is not just the historic events that may or may not interest the readers, but this book, along with other works on the similar subject, would give one a working knowledge about the cosmic events because something wicked this way may come...

"And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll:
and all their host shall fall down...
For my sword shall be bathed in heaven...
And the streams...shall be turned into pitch,
and the dust into brimstone,
and the land shall become burning pitch.
It shall not be quenched night nor day;
the smoke shall go up for ever."
(as quoted in "World In Collision," p. 220)
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on 25 June 2011
One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Still controversial 60 years after it first appeared, "Worlds in Collision" is an alternative history of the inner solar system, suggesting that Venus entered the solar system as a large comet & was responsible for the events described in Exodus. Whether Velikhovsky is right or not, his description of the events of Exodus put in the context of this planetary near-miss is very powerful & moving. The whole book is superbly well written & is completely engaging from start to finish. If Velikhovsky is right, then this book is a most elegant expression of his theories; if Velikhovsky is wrong & the book is a load of rubbish, then it is the best written load of rubbish you could read. Either way, well worth reading. Velikhovsky was so convinced that he was right that he refused to alter any text in later editions, so whatever imprint you buy, the text will be the same, only the prefaces could be changed.
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on 30 April 2012
Velikovsky was for decades derided for his views by palaeontologists because he provided an explanation for a number of geological dichotomies. His work has been out of print for too long and it is pleasing to see it reprinted
John Burnett
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on 30 December 2014
As the years roll and roll by since i first found Immanuel through the aether i just smile broader and broader and thank this wonderful man more and more.

If you are reading this review then you have already tumbled down the rabbit hole or the universe has directed you with it's beautiful signs to the rabbit hole, this is the most sublime slide down (or up) the caduceus, enjoy your trip to Thoth/Mercury and Hermes.

Oh and remember dearest heart "there is no religion higher than truth"... much love!

Namaste
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on 26 April 2015
This is very good book for the Electric Universe Theory. It is a well researched book and corroborates ancient civilisations documentation with passages from the Bible. It does show the Earth was a vastly different place 10,000 years ago to the one we know now. The scientific establishment don't like it because it upsets all their pet theories. Well worth the read.
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on 9 November 2009
Whether you agree with the ideas put forward in this fascinating book or not, any open minded person will acknowledge it as a wonderful read. The great thing about it is that it makes you think; it moves outside accepted theories and, to a large extent, histories and provokes that most useful of human activities - although one frequently ignored today both in society and, sad to say, in many universities - thought! It is only by open minded thought that we progress. Do read this book!
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on 9 May 2016
One of the greatest books I have ever read and I HAVE read a few! Written by an extremely thoughtful, professional, highly qualified in many fields.
All of what he says makes utter sense when it is explained as he does, in a lucid, easily digested manner.
How he was treated, both personally and professionally by the scientific establishment is nothing short of distressingly atrocious. How dare anyone upset the status quo in such a manner they bleated and still do in most cases? They should all be ashamed of themselves; however, there is nothing more difficult to convince than a closed mind, which, unfortunately is a common disease amongst these folks!
If you want to know the REAL truth about the beautiful, little globe, floating in space on which we live, READ this.
It is totally unmissable, quite disconcerting in the light of what we thought we knew, but absolutely, utterly fascinating and I am glad that I have read it,
I am so glad that Immanuel Velokovsky's books have been reprinted for us to read!
Am in the process of reading his others which are just as well written and as captivating.
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on 27 November 2010
This is where it all began. I recall giving a copy of this book to an art student friend to read. His comment was that Velikovsky was "obviously right," but that he doubted the academic establishment would ever accept it - or even read it. And that, unfortunately, has been the truth for sixty years. Those who have actually read the book (such as Albert Einstein) are invariably greatly impressed by it; and those who haven't, call it "pseudo-science" and "pseudo-history."
In Worlds in Collision Velikovsky revisits much of the ground covered by people like Brasseur de Bourbourg, Ignatius Donnelly and Lewis Spence; and the whole book is an encyclopaedic collection of catastrophe myths and legends from all parts of the globe. Unlike his immediate predecessors however (with the possible exception of de Bourbourg), Velikovsky placed these cataclysms within the period of recorded human history. That was his great contribution. Even William Whiston, in the seventeenth century, had the last cosmic catastrophe (the Flood) immediately before the rise of civilization, which he, in common with everyone in his time, would have placed in the fourth or fifth millennium BC. Velikovsky however brought the last of the cosmic upheavals down into the eighth and even seventh centuries BC, and connected these with disturbances in the planetary system. No one, since Plato at least, had ever imagined such a thing. So radical was the idea that Einstein, though he was convinced that Velikovsky had put the existence of cosmic catastrophes - and recent cosmic catastrophes - beyond question, had to withdraw whole-hearted support on this issue. (Later however, just a few weeks before his death, Einstein arguably came round to Velikovsky's view: He died with a copy of Worlds in Collision open on his desk). And there seems little doubt that, had Velikovsky gone the same way as Donnelly et al and placed the cosmic catastrophes at a safe distance in the past, such as 9500 BC, then his book might have been a good seller, and caused quite a bit of comment; but it would not have caused the academic furore that it did. For not only was Velikovsky proposing something outrageous and unheard-of, he was himself a member of the academic establishment; a member of the establishment who was now breaking ranks and proposing something utterly disturbing and unsettling in a whole host of ways.
The result was the "Velikovsky Affair": The suppression, by the academic establishment, of a book. The suppression took the form of intimidation of Velikovsky's publisher Macmillan, and habitual and repeated misrepresentations and caricaturizations of his work. The respected journals within which these appeared never permitted Velikovsky to reply. It was, in effect, a kind of academic Stalinism. Frighteningly enough, it continues to this day. (Those who believe they live in a completely free and open society where science is independent of politics and ideology please take note).
When will Velikovsky's ideas be openly and freely discussed? It is impossible to say. Perhaps only when another cosmic catastrophe happens, which, if Velikovsky was right, is by no means an impossibility.
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on 28 January 2008
I sometimes wonder why it is so hard to get books, such as this one and why it is not being reprinted again. This is certainly not a crackpot theory, but a theory that has since found much validation.

Velikovsky back in 1950, when this book was published, proposes that the earth is subject to cometary impact from within the solar system and that these impacts has happened within recorded history. He does an excellent job at showing how impacts that devastated the earth and caused much upheaval has been recorded in many cultures across the planet, from Egypt, South America, Iceland, Mexico, America and many more. It is well documented and one has to admire the work gone into producing this book and getting all the source material to back up the theory, considering that it was written in a time when there was neither internet nor computers. There is much in this book that should be considered seriously, but which has received very little attention from the academic community.

However some have dared to go there and some of what Velikovsky wrote has since been verified. An Astrophysicist Victor Clube wrote in the 1990'ies that the earth goes through cyclical cometary showers and that some major event happens 1 in 4 lifetimes. Likewise other people have built on Velikovsky's work and come out with an interesting cosmological account of the universe, namely the Electric Universe. Still it is on the outskirts of mainstream cosmology and one wonders why as it can potentially add much new understanding.

Another recommended book that deals with the cyclical nature of things and much more is called "The Secret history of the World" by L.Knight-Jadczyk
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