Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis

Author: David Hatcher Childress

reviewed by Theresa Welsh

If you’re into alternative theories of history, eventually you’ll come across books by David Hatcher Childress. I admit I avoided them for some years, as they seemed too far out on the fringe even for me. But I could not resist this book about ancient flying machines when I found a mint-condition copy at a used book sale. Childress is not the first author to write about the “vimanas” mentioned in an ancient manuscript from India called the Mahabarata. Other authors have felt this puzzling source not only tells us about sophisticated flying ships, but also tells of nuclear wars raining terrible destruction on an apparently highly advanced civilization.

This particular Childress book is a hodge-podge of essays, pictures, and a complete translation of the “Vymaanika-Shaastra or Science of Aeronautics,” purportedly a part of the famous Mahabarata, and found in an Indian library in 1908. This version is translated from the Sanskrit by one G.R. Joyser. The illustrations in the book make it worthwhile, as they are gathered from many sources and give numerous renditions of what the vimanas (from the Rama Empire of India) and the vailxi (from Atlantis) looked like. Okay, so these are just drawings and may arise only out of someone’s imagination, but we cannot forget that much technology of today was predicted by novelists of yesterday.

Not all the illustrations are just imaginary though. The Sanskrit document included with the book gives detailed descriptions of how to build various kinds of vimanas. They were mainly powered by Mercury and magnetics. They were mainly saucer-shaped with a pole up the center. I will not attempt to explain, as the technical aspects are pretty obscure. I only skimmed the translated document, since it really is of little value to the casual reader. There are so many references to things that are unknown today, and words that have no meaning, and procedures that seem to make no sense. How can we be sure the translator has made sense of the original? Here is a randomly-selected passage, describing “Praana - Kundalinee Yantra:”

    “A peetha or stand 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet high, square or circular, should be made of vrishala metal, with 8 kendras or central spots. In each central spot, two wheels with revolving hinges; small peethas or plates with 3 holes, 4 teeth, 3 pivots, in their middle a central pivot, 3 red-colored tubes or pipes with opening and closing wheels, and switches for right motion, and reverse motion, with a shabda-nala in the center, with wheels (with hinges and rods) which will flap the wings; from the north-east and south-east Kendra and the middle Kendra in the west up to the middle of the course of the yaana kundalinee revolving wheels with pivots.”

Reading this passage makes you yearn for a blueprint. How can anyone possibly evaluate such descriptions? Because the descriptions are so detailed (giving exact measurements and materials), they DO seem to arise from something real. But it is far from certain that anyone today could build anything from these descriptions.

The material on the Atlantis Vailxi is equally unreliable, but worthy of notice. The term “vailxi” (singular: vailx) comes mainly from an old occult manuscript called A Dweller on Two Planets, and from Edgar Cayce readings. A Dweller on Two Planets was dictated by automatic writing in 1883 by “Phylos the Thibetan,” a spirit. It is a rambling story of many incarnations, including lives in Atlantis. The book includes illustrations of the vailxi that the author traveled in. These are long cigar-shaped craft that can go in the air or water. Edgar Cayce described similar vessels in his life readings for people who had previous incarnations in Atlantis. In the Cayce readings, the power source was a huge crystal kept in a domed building. The dome opened to catch the sun. This wireless source of power is reminiscent of Nikola Tesla’s tower, which he said could supply power remotely. Unfortunately, Tesla went broke and his tower was destroyed before it could be put in operation.

This book contains some interesting speculation about electromagnetism and its relationship to gravity. The author discusses the work of William Clendenon (with whom he has written a more recent book, Atlantis and the Power System of the Gods: Mercury Vortex Generators and the Power Systems of Atlantis). He believes the caduceus, with its two snakes wound around a rod, and symbolic of the god Mercury, is an ancient indicator of flight powered by mercury andmagnetics. The central rod corresponds to the one in the vimanas. Further, Clenendon claims to have built vimanas that fly!

As I laid aside this book, I picked up another used book sale treasure, a 1950 copy of Frank Scully’s book, Behind the Flying Saucers.  In it were descriptions eerily similar to some of the material in Childress’ book. The Scully books revolves around a lecture given by an unnamed person at the University of Denver on March 8, 1950. This person knew all about flying saucers and explained that a number of them had crashed and were in the possession of the US government. There were also bodies of small humanoids found with the saucers. The lecturer gave many details and seemed to have no fear or hesitation about revealing these things. Then he disappeared, ostensibly to catch a plane. The author, a columnist for Variety (a show biz publication), goes on to discuss the identity of the lecturer and the source of his information, attributed to a mysterious “Dr. Gee.” According to these sources, the saucers used a type of magnetic propulsion using the “magnetic lines of force” on earth and in space, and could travel at or beyond the speed of light. The author makes astonishing statements that, given such technology, we could visit the planets and be back by bedtime. For instance the trip to Venus would take only 45 minutes. Both this book and Childress’ book speculate that electromagetism and gravity are really the same thing.

The Scully book, coming only a few years after the famous Roswell incident, was written and published in a time when there was more openness about the subject and the strange airships were called “flying saucers.” The term “UFO” became fashionable later. In the late 1940s, the press regularly covered the subject, while today, they avoid it almost completely. You could say that the government cover-up is a joint-venture with the media. In an internet search on the Scully book, I turned up sites that claim Scully was duped, but those explanations don’t totally fit the facts as stated in Scully’s book. Who was the mysterious “Dr. Gee” and what did he really know about flying saucers?

I’ve now read a number of books from David Hatcher Childress’ publishing enterprise, Adventures Unlimited Press. He does us a favor by printing stuff on the fringes, because major publishers would not touch most of it and I, for one, want access to this material. But he really needs to hire an editor! Vimana Aircraft… is an absolute mess, with numerous misspellings, bad grammar, words used incorrectly, dropped words and even pages that stop in the middle of a sentence, then don’t pick up on the next page. The typography is poor and the whole thing looks amateurish (including the cover). But that does not mean the information is worthless, as much slickly-produced material is pure propaganda.

Both books (the Childress and the Scully) strain credulity a bit, but they add wonderful ideas to the ongoing debate about the nature of UFOs. Childress speculates that some of the sighting are actually the ancient vimanas and vailxi, which have continued to be built in secret places on earth. Another possibility is that they can travel in time and we are seeing ancient vehicles that choose to visit us from the past. They could also come from the spirit world, where they could have been created by the thoughts of spirits from Atlantis and India. Fantastic? Maybe, but these explanations are no more ridiculous than the idea that they come from Zeta Reticuli.

Click the links below to go to amazon.com to buy these books.



Vimana Aircraft of
Ancient India...


Atlantis and the Power 
System of the Gods

Behind the Flying Saucers
 by Frank Scully


[my copy does not have
a dust jacket to scan]
This book is long
out of print

You might be interested in my reviews of these books:


See my
Abandoned Detroit   
Photos Pages 

Seeker Book Reviews

Amazon Book Reviews