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Zecharia Sitchin, one of the giants of paleocontact, passes away

Zecharia Sitchin

I was saddened to learn yesterday that Zecharia Sitchin, one of the giants of the Ancient Astronaut or Paleocontact theory, passed away recently in New York City at the age of 90. Although he died last October 9th , his official website,, just posted this short announcement:

“We regret to inform you that Zecharia Sitchin passed away on the morning of October 9th. A small, private family funeral was held the next day.

The family asks that you respect its privacy during this difficult time and refrain from contacting family members directly. Instead, to offer tributes to Mr. Sitchin or to contact those handling his affairs, please email or send a letter to P.O. Box 577, New York, NY 10185.

We appreciate the support that you have given over the years. Please continue to monitor this website for further updates.”

I knew Zecharia quite well. I met him for the first time in 1986, long before he became a household name in the paleocontact and ufological fields, when my friend Marcello Galluppi, a well known astrologist and paranormal radio show host from Detroit, invited me to sit for a long radio interview he did with Sitchin at his home in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It was here that I heard for the first time Sitchin’s now famous story of how he started his lifelong quest for the Anunnaki, the gods of ancient Sumer, or the Biblical Nephilim, which in time he came to believe were real extraterrestrials from the planet Nibiru and not just mythological figures. Sitchin’s parents were Russian Jews from Azerbaijan who emigrated in the 1920s to what was then known as Palestine, present-day Israel, then under British rule. Zecharia was a 9-year-old boy attending Biblical school and the discussion focused on a cryptic passage from the Book of Genesis (6:4-1) concerning the so-called Nephilim, a Hebrew word usually translated as “giants,” who married the daughters of man and had children by them.

Sithin with giant Olmec statues in Mexico.
Sithin with giant Olmec statues in Mexico.

“I raised my hand and I said, excuse me teacher,” Sitchin said in that 1986 radio interview, “but why do you say giants when the word in Hebrew is Nephilim which literally means those who had come down, does not mean giants, does not mean tall people; and he said, Sitchin, sit down, you do not question the Bible; but of course I did not question the Bible, I questioned an interpretation of the Bible.” Thus began his lifelong quest to decipher the true identity of these Nephilim, which led him in time to study the mythology and history of all the ancient civilizations in the Near East, including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Hittites, Hebrews, etc. In later volumes of The Earth Chronicles he also covered other ancient civilizations of the world in India, Mesoamerica, Stonehenge and elsewhere.

Sitchin was a very private man who didn’t talk much about his personal background. The biographical blurb published in his series of books known as The Earth Chronicles is extremely short. However, having known him for many years, I was able to get a few extra details about his life. He was born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (now an independent country, then a Soviet republic) in July 1920. His parents emigrated to British-controlled Palestine in the 1920s and he participated as a young man in some archaeological digs in that rich area full of antiquities. He attended university in England, studying at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science, and graduated from the University of London with a major in economic history in the late 1930s. He served during World War II at the Allied Command in Jerusalem and worked as a journalist and editor in the newly created state of Israel for several years. He settled eventually in New York, where he worked in business and continued his historical research on his spare time. Although Sitchin’s research was carried out independently from universities and scientific institutions, he was a member of the Israel Exploration Society, the American Oriental Society, and the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Sithcin with a Sumerian statue in 1996. (image credit: Manuel Fernandez)
Sithcin with a Sumerian statue in 1996. (image credit: Manuel Fernandez)


12th-planet-cover-sitchinIt was in 1976, after 30 years of research, that he finally published his first and seminal book, The 12th Planet, where he basically laid out his whole theory about the Anunnaki or Nephilim. The original hardcover edition by Stein and Day received relatively little attention. Sitchin’s style was dense and scholarly and it takes some effort to get used to it, but eventually this book and its many sequels in what became known as the Earth Chronicles series gained a wider following, particularly after Avon released them as pocket books. Sitchin’s approach was different from that of Erich von Däniken and other proponents of the Ancient Astronaut or Paleocontact theory. Unlike them, Sitchin had a complete theory; he wasn’t just saying that aliens from somewhere in the cosmos visited Earth in ancient times, he was telling the reader who the Anunnaki or Nephilim were, where they come from, when they came to Earth and what they did here, their reason for setting up a terrestrial colony and a way-up station on Mars, why and how they genetically manipulated the creation of mankind, the “adamic race,” out of a primitive ape man species that had developed naturally on this planet, when and why the Biblical floods took place, the relationship between the so-called gods and the first human kingdoms, and so on. I think it was the fact that Sitchin was providing a detailed scenario to all these key questions and issues dealing with our origins that led to an ever wider audience for his books.

This is not the time to analyze in detail Sitchin’s theory or point out its flaws (you can find several critics and skeptics on the web that have questioned some of his translations of Sumerian tablets and his interpretation of Sumerian astronomical lore). For those who are not familiar with his works, we can divide Sitchin’s theory in two broad categories: the astronomical and the mythological aspects. The astronomical is probably the more controversial one. It was Sitchin’s contention that the Anunnaki didn’t just come from some unknown planetary body in space, but from a precise celestial body in our own solar system. This is what he called the 12th planet, although it would be actually the 10th planet—he explained the reason he called it twelve was because it incorporated the Sun and Moon as well to conform to the classical tradition of 12 zodiacal constellations, 12 months, etc. In his first book he used the name Marduk for the planet, after the chief god in the Babylonian cosmogony, but in later books he referred to it by the Sumerian name Nibiru, which according to Sitchin has an extremely elongated elliptical orbit that takes 3600 years to make one full orbit around the Sun. Now, it’s true that astronomers from the U.S. Naval Observatory and elsewhere have been looking for many years for Planet X, as it’s called in astronomical circles, so the existence of a planet in the far reaches of the solar system is not that controversial. But the assertion that a planet extremely far away from the Sun has life is a concept that few scientists accept. Sitchin’s scenario for the appearance of this planet is based, among other sources, on the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian creation myth epic in which the chief god Marduk defeats a dragon called Tiamat.

Sumerian Sun God.
Sumerian Sun God, Utu.

The mythological aspect of Sitchin’s books is fascinating and may explain in part his popularity. By the time you finish reading a couple of his volumes, you end up knowing the main psychological traits of some of the key Anunnaki figures like Enki, Enlil or the goddess Inanna (better known by her Babylonian name Ishtar) and all their plots and counter-plots. It’s fascinating stuff for sure. The 12th Planet was followed by six other volumes in the Earth Chronicles series (The Stairway to Heaven, The Wars of Gods and Men, The Lost Realms, When Time Began, The Cosmic Code and The End of Days) and seven companion volumes (Genesis Revisited, Divine Encounters, The Lost Book of Enki, The Earth Chronicles Expeditions, Journeys to the Mythical Past, The Earth Chronicles Handbook and his last book published in 2010, There Were Giants Upon the Earth: Gods, Demigods, and Human Ancestry). They are all available in beautiful hardcover editions published by Bear & Company. There are also dozens of translations of Sitchin’s books in all the major languages (Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Italian, etc.). In addition, there was a very well produced European documentary based on Genesis Revisited titled Are We Alone in the Universe?, which is available on DVD.

By the 1990s, Sitchin became sort of a cultural phenomenom with Sitchin Study Groups, Earth Chronicle Expeditions to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and other countries with important archaeological monuments, Sitchin Studies Days, etc. I am proud to say that I was the speaker chosen by Zecharia to deal with the UFO topic at the first Sitchin Studies Day, held in Denver in 1996 as part of the International Forum on New Science. Other speakers included aeronautical engineer Neil Freer, Marlene Evans, Ph.D., Madeleine Briskin, Ph.D. and Father Charley Moore, and a book of the proceedings, edited and with an Introduction by Sitchin, was published under the title Of Heaven and Earth (Book Tree). Sitchin’s last public lecture was to a packed audience at the Life Expo in Los Angeles in February 2010, where ‘Cost-to-Coast’ radio host George Noory presented him with a lifetime achievement award.

Of the many stories that I could tell about Zecharia Sitchin, one of my favorites memories is the evening we spent at Shirley MacLaine’s apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side back in 1988. Shirley was giving then one of her New Age seminars at a major hotel in New York City and she asked our common friend Marcello Galluppi, who was one of her astrologers, to arrange a meeting with Sitchin and his wife Rina at her apartment after the seminar. Also present were Shirley’s longtime friend and former New York Congresswoman, Bella Azbug, and Mr. Ian Ballantine, founder of the major publishing companies Ballantine Books and Bantam Books. Most of the evening was spent with Shirley asking Sitchin about his research, and at one point she wanted to know how Jesus fit in the Nephilim scenario. Zecharia, who could be quite cagey, refused to answer. Shirley MacLaine was obviously not accustomed to people refusing her requests, so she pressed on. Zecharia didn’t budge, so Shirley told him that his answer would be kept confidential. Sitchin responded, “what I say in this room tonight will be repeated tomorrow in another room.”

From left: Antonio Huneuss (author), Zecharia Sitchin, Shirley MacLaine. (image credit: Antonio Huneeus.
From left: Antonio Huneuss (author), Zecharia Sitchin, Shirley MacLaine. (image credit: Antonio Huneeus.

Time will tell if Sitchin’s Nibiru theory or parts of it are correct. He was undoubtedly an original character who reinvigorated the Paleocontact hypothesis big time, exposing it to thousands of new people. At the very least, he provided readers with provocative ideas and taught them a lot about ancient history and the origins of mankind.

In the following days we’ll post in this Open Minds site the full transcript of an interview I did with Sitchin in 1996. An edited version of it was published in several international magazines and languages. It deals with Planet X, alien structures on Mars, his then new book Divine Encounters, the Maya Calendar, and much more. Stay tuned.

Recent New York Times article on Sitchin. Click on the image to enlarge.
Recent New York Times article on Sitchin. Click on the image to enlarge.

Read more here: 1996 interview with Zecharia Sitchin

Antonio Huneeus

Open Minds Investigative Reporter J. Antonio Huneeus has covered the UFO field from an international perspective for over 30 years. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Japan. He was also the co-author of the Laurance Rockefeller-funded “UFO Briefing Document – The Best Available Evidence” and edited the book “A Study Guide to UFOs, Psychic & Paranormal Phenomena in the USSR.” Huneeus studied French at the Sorbonne University in Paris and Journalism at the University of Chile in Santiago in the 1970s. He has lectured at dozens of UFO Conferences all over the world and been interviewed by many media outlets including The Washington Post, the Sy-Fy and History Channels, Nippon-TV, etc. He received the “Ufologist of the Year” award at the National UFO Conference in Miami Beach in 1990 and the “Courage in Journalism” award at the X-Conference in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in 2007.

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  1. The ultimate tribute to Zecharia Sitchin

    Zecharia Sitchin, who died on October 9, 2010 at the age of 90, devoted a great deal of his life to deciphering ancient Sumerian clay tablets to reveal mankind’s ancient past. That was fine with mainstream science and religion until he offered translations showing mankind’s history was greatly shaped and influenced by extraterrestrials.

    He wrote more than 50 books based on his translations of Sumerian writings. In the final chapter of his final book, There Were Giants Upon the Earth, he expressed a final hope that the London Natural History Museum would allow DNA testing on a mummy at the museum he believed to be of alien origin. Even in his last year, he struggled to get the testing accomplished.

    Now that Sitchin is gone, it is hoped that open-minded scientists/researchers will jump through the museum’s obstacle course and get the DNA testing done. Scroll down in this section of the website to the article “London Museum answers queries about DNA testing on a possible alien skeleton” to find the steps required before such testing can be permitted. Getting the DNA testing accomplished would be the ultimate tribute to a cutting-edge researcher.

    Anyone wishing to offer a written tribute to Sitchin or wanting to contact those handling his affairs can send a letter to P.O. Box 577, New York, NY 10185 or an e-mail to

  2. We may be on the verge of UFO discovery and disclosure; its just so sad that he passed away before he could really find the truth.

  3. The scenario outlined by Sitchin, with Nibiru returning to the inner solar system regularly every 3,600 years, implies an orbit with a semi-major axis of 235 astronomical units, extending from the asteroid belt to twelve times farther beyond the sun than Pluto. “Elementary perturbation theory indicates that, under the most favorable circumstances of avoiding close encounters with other planets, no body with such an eccentric orbit would keep the same period for two consecutive passages. Within twelve orbits the object would be either ejected or converted to a short period object. Thus, the failed search for a trans-Plutonian planet by T.C. Van Flandern, then with the U.S. Naval Observatory, which Sitchin uses to bolster his thesis, is no support at all.”[20][21]

    According to former Velikovsky assistant and supporter turned vocal critic, C. Leroy Ellenberger,[22] “[Sitchin claims that] from an equal start, the Nefilim evolved on Nibiru 45 million years ahead of comparable development on Earth with its decidedly more favorable environment. Such an outcome is unlikely, to say the least, since Nibiru would spend over 99% of its time beyond Pluto. Sitchin’s explanation that heat from radioactive decay and a thick atmosphere keep Nibiru warm is absurd and does not address the problem of darkness in deep space. Also unexplained is how the Nefilim, who evolved long after Nibiru arrived, knew what happened when Nibiru first entered the solar system.”[20]

    That’s the most recent blip by wiki reference this great fraud. That him and people like Hoagland have for decades continued to perpetrate fraud and scientific distortions remains amazing. What’s more is the gullibility of the mass which have reveled in this tripe.

    In the end, while I would wish him no ill personally, his passing eases the burden of ongoing realistic scientific inquiry into the phenomenon of ET’s and their no doubt exsistence and their eventual recognition by real science not fantasy.

  4. Zecharia Stichin will be missed his works were epic Ive spent many years as a psychic and A witch as well. I threw my support behind him early on and never left supporting him or his efforts. Once you read his books you just have to know it all And you want to know too. I read his books over and over to make sure I dont miss anything. I hope someone out there will continue the work he started. And I hope its someone open minded And thank you George for the great show tonight. He will be remembered

  5. Our passing is “the debt that all men pay”, nevertheless, the greatness lies in how we use our time on this earth to free ourselves and others from ilusion. Zecharia is an addition to the wonderful minds who have strived to bring logic to our persistent “existential” quest.We are all the more closer to unmasking the “man/men” orchestrating this “creation”, a true mockery to the human soul, an insult to the diligent spirit and intelligence. If there ever was any plan. “those creators” would have attained to the consequences, the truth is that they are not as wise, divine, holy and godly as suspected, they are also learning, thru our acertions and flaws.Scientific investigation as that which Zecharia struggled to collect and unpuzzle are worth the sacrifice, the sacrifice of freedom.

    To a good man.


  6. well…..what did he have to say about Jesus and the Nephilim? where is that info?

    god bless him for his research ….and sharing

    yes…lets demand the mummy testing now….the collective can band together for zachs mummy manifest test!!!!!!!

  7. This was a wonderful article – thank you. My friend and I met Zecharia and his wife in 1994 at a Crop Circle conference in England. We actually sat with his wife while he spoke to the group. She was a very lovely person. It was the first time we had ever heard him speak about any of this. The information was fairly difficult to comprehend, and as he spoke in pretty much a monotone – it was hard for me to take it in. I had no idea what an intellectual giant he was at that time.
    It would be wonderful if someone could make a movie(s) from all of his books – and present the information exactly as he portrayed it – which would make all of it easier to understand, and expose a lot more people to what he discovered in his research, and what he thought actually happened. (Steven Spielberg – are you there?)

  8. Thank you Mr. Sitchin for your dedication to finding the truth. We may still not have the complete picture but we do know what direction to look and the questions to ask. You will be missed by many and unfortunately, many will not know what they missed. Thank you Mr. Huneeus for this tribute to Mr. Sitchin.

  9. In my opinion, Mr. Sitchin has advanced man’s eternal quest for being more than anyone in history. It is not important if he got a few details wrong; if he did. What matters is that he refused to give up and he took us along on his journey. As for the question…how could Niburu stay warm….i add that recently it was discovered that the Gliese planet is a warm planet and further there are moons with water on them…water..not ice….i might point out that the Annanaki went underground because of the heat, according to them, being too much. This points to their being used to a cooler climate than earths.As a former student of theology for 9 years i must say people who strictly hold to the modern biblical understanding might want to study the j and p codes in place during the combination of old testament under King David.The record is clear that two different traditions were combined. This is theology 101 and ALL theologists know this.We now have an edited version. Makes one wonder about other “revisions”. With that said, i am sad i never got to meet Mr. Sitchin but in a way i know him through his writing. Zecharia, you are sorely missed.

  10. So sad to this big lost for the history of the humanity, Rest in Peace our dear Mr. Sitchin, God bless your soul, Amen.

  11. I am so sadden to hear about Mr. Sitchin’s passing. I was introduced to his books
    in the late 80’s. I have read all his books. I always felt there was a missing
    link in the Bible and some one told me to read his books. I did and I
    saw the truth…He proved the Bible was right…. I will so miss him. I wrote to
    him and asked him if I wrote a book if I could use his name. He wrote back to me…..I will cherish his letter always.
    Rest in peace and know you will be soooooooooooo deeply missed.
    You are the best…..

  12. A day later it remains disturbing to still see the deluded still delusional. Trust in the ‘method’ and objective ‘real inquiry’ not frauds and fantasists.

  13. I have been all over this web site trying to order a copy of “The 12th Planet”. On the books link there are other books but no 12th Planet. Please tell me were to find it.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Jerry Stahl

  14. RIP Zecharia Sitchin This is indeed found X-planet in the Pegasus … time will reveal the truth

  15. I was reading cost to cost and i end up reading abit of Mr Z Sitchin and to respect your loss iam sure he is sprietly still around. God Bless…



  17. When I was 20 yrs old I was in a book store in Buffalo NY. I praid to God to lead me to a book for the truth to be revealed to me. I randomly with eyes closed reached for and grabbed “Stairway to Heaven”. It was difficult to understand but started me on my path in the search for truth. That was 22 years ago.

  18. From the very first book I read, something told me-This is MY truth, and someday, will be EVERYONES truth..He will always be the godfather of truthseekers to me!

  19. the passing of Mr Sitchin was quite a shock to me. I am an avid fan of his works. let me make things clear esp to those who are skeptics, ever since I was still a child(I read my bible too)I always believe there is more to what is being presented there as well as in science. I have already made up my own belief about the existence of “somebody” out there who touched the lives of man so when I came across Mr Sitchin’s books, it did not served as a tool to convince me but rather confirmed what I have believed all alone. for the skeptics, if Sitchin was wrong, why would the scientists refused to even grant him a very benign request such as DNA testing of a mummy for instance? it’s about time we let go of our illogical pride and biased and learn. remember, this world never learn about the revelations throughout the centuries thru skepticism. May Mr Sitchin rest in peace, we lost a valuable person who is not afraid to stand up and be heard. Needless to say, if the skeptics read science and the bible together they probably will learn something there. Caution, read with an open mind and you’ll see. Edward, Phils.

  20. I have every one of his books and just finished reading his latest. I admired his work and dedication.
    Thank you Mr. Sitchin for enlightening me with all your hard work, I will miss reading about all your amazing research.

  21. I am much saddened by the passing of Zecharia Sitchin who devoted much of his life in pursuit of the truth regarding mankinds’ beginnings and the establishment of governments and religion. I have for a long time been a student of the Bible , but there were many questions I had that were unanswered. How did primitive man build the megalithic structures such as the pyamids of Egypt and the collosal stucture at Baalebek, Lebanon as well as pyamids all over the world. Why Man was created, or should we say fashioned from the common elements of the earth. Sitchin’s works were a complement to the Bible. Rest in peace Mr. Sitchin , someday you will be vindicated.

  22. Didn’t hear much about the man, only his interviews to CoasttoCoastAM. Pretty interesting what he had to say. It made you think and questions the daily events of this world, where we’re going and what our ultimate demiss will be. Thanks Sacheria for the memories may you rest in Peace…A very interesting listner…

  23. He didn’t pass away before he found the truth, he found it. What a brilliant life. He is proven beyond any of the burdens required in our courts the truth and those who want to pooh it without thinking cannot call themselves men of science. There is entirely too much evidence to pooh and he certainly made sure that he covered all points of argument. I just wish that our population would pay some serious attention to it before they return so we don’t have an ignorant mishap. I hope he is resting in peace, he deserves it.

  24. The death of Mr. Sitchin is a great loss to our generation and the human race. In late 2009 I bought “Genesis Revisited” and as soon as I read the first few pages I put aside everything else I had been reading. His analysis and interpretation of the ancient Middle East history and civilization makes more sense to me that anything else I learned and heard before. He was one of a kind, an enlightened one.

  25. I had all items Sitchin is mention about in my hands, when i was studentin Berlin, but their was now translation avaluable in this time,god to studdy on,we will see what future is comming upp whith

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