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, Ezekielobserves 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 handicapped.
Prototype, analytical research
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 portions.
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 UFO.
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 correct.»
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 conclusions.
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
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
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.
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 faces.
Ezekiel 1:7 (NIV)
Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.
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.
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.
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.
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 position.
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.
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.
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 stabilization purposes.
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.
The wheels are deployed. They appear at the very moment they become necessary.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Gods.»
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.
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.