Peter Kolosimo

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by Sabrina Ruff

Biography

Peter Kolosimo is the pseudonym of Pier Domenico Colosimo, born in Modena, Italy in 1922. He attended the University of Leipzig and graduated with a degree in Germanic Philology. He soon found international fame with his book "Non e terrestre" or "Not of this World", which he went on to win on of Italy's prized literature awards for.

In WWII he fought with Italy as a wagoner but deserted and fled to join the resistance in Bohemia. During this time he becomes a communist, pro-Soviet, and Stalinist, directing a radio program for a while before being forced underground during the Cold War and publishing science-fiction novels under the pseudonym Omega Jim [1]. He published many more books, all widely popular and translated in 60 countries, including Russia, Japan, and China. In the 70s and early 80s until his death, he was the editor of many magazines, including Pi Kappa, a "fantarchaeologia" magazine covering the same topics that Kolosimo did in his books. He wrote a few books in his later life with his wife, Caterina.

Kolosimo often met with other pseudoarchaeologists in his life, such as Robert Charroux and Raymond Drake, who all wrote about similar topics, and is also credited with founding Italy's Association for Prehistoric Studies [2].

His books covered many topics such as: Ancient Astronaut theories, anti-evolution theories, and atlantean theories. He called all academic scholars "fogies of all disciplines, holed up in their sterile skepticism"[3] .

He died in Milan in 1984, and is remembered widely in his home country as well as by communist organizations as being a pioneer of not only space archaeology and ufology, but also his steadfast communist ideals [4].

Ancient Astronaut Theory

Ancient Astronaut theory is characterized by the idea that humans in ancient times interacted with extraterrestrials and that these extraterrestrials helped civilization along to be what we are today. This in itself can take on very many sub-theories: that extraterrestrials mated with ancient women and bore a superhuman race, that these UFOs helped us build such fantastic ancient structures as the Great Pyramids, or built them themselves, or that the Gods that many ancient cultures worship were in fact aliens that visited our planet and taught the humans how to use advanced tools and weaponry.

In Kolosimo's "Non e terrestre", he presents case after case of mysterious archaeological findings all over the world, and presents them to the reader as evidence of ancient aliens. Examples of this are a bison that was shot in the head with a bullet thousands of years before bullets were invented, and a theory that the Tunguska explosion was caused by an interplanetary cruiser with nuclear propulsion. He takes many examples from Soviet material, and often quotes the Soviet writer Alexander Kasanzev. As a communist himself, he believed strongly in the writings of other communists and Soviet scientists. He also calls on other works of fiction and takes them as fact, such as H.P. Lovecraft's work on Cthulhu. While he doesn't claim that Lovecraft's work At the Mountains of Madness is flat out truth, he does assert that it does have an underlying truth, although Lovecraft "dabbles in fantasies"[5].

In a review of Kolisimo's book, prolific writer and critic Jason Colavito stated that the book fabricates evidence, mistranslates sources, and conflates science fiction and fact[6]. This is by far the least harsh treatment of this book that Kolosimo received, as many scholars deconstructed his theories and filed his claims under pseudohistory.

In the book Philosophy of Science and the Occult, Patrick Grim states that the ancient astronaut hypothesis, where possible, is weakly construed. They are scientifically unacceptable under even the most lenient scientific hypotheses criteria, including the standard Verstehen account, under which this theory falls short in not only the intuitive criteria as well as the philosophical [7]. Furthermore, in an article published by H.E Legrand and Wayne E. Boese entitled "Chariots of the Gods? And All That: Pseudohistory in the Classroom", ancient astronauts establish their own rules for developing scientific theories based on archaeological evidence. Some of these rules are basing one's interpretations of the past on as broad a base of facts as possible, as well as selecting only the facts that would aid in that interpretation and ignoring others[8]. Kolosimo attempts to go around this alternative interpretation by stating, "It is not by aligning an artifact next to the other, labeling them, arranging them in plain sight in the windows of the museums or in the pages of pretentious volumes that can be reconstructed, albeit to a large extent, the history of humanity," in one of his issues of Pi Kappa[9]. While this may be true, evidence to debunk his claims has been found in all cases, specifically, the bison bullet hole was later found to be meteor shrapnel, and while scientists haven't yet found evidence of the cosmic body that struck Tunguska thousands of years ago, they have found evidence of comets that landed not far from ground zero around the same time, most likely debris from the larger body[10].

There is a darker undertone to Kolosimo's works, and is most likely linked to his communist ideals. In Stalinist USSR, all ethnic communities were set to be purged from existence or deported, as all those who live under communism are considered one race and nationality, and any other ethnic community goes against this practice[11]. Because of this, racist ideals permeated from the Soviet Union, and anyone pro-Stalin would have parroted these ideals. In Kolosimo's case, his claims that Native American burial mounds were built by ancient aliens and even goes so far as to say that these "redskins" are responsible for wiping out an ancient advanced civilization. He is claiming that these native populations were savages who were not advanced enough to have built such large structures as the mounds, and killed off the other, more advanced civilization of caucasians[12] .

Most, if not all, of the evidence provided by Kolosimo in his book can be debunked by simply looking at the facts. In the same way, Ancient Astronaut theorists are widely discredited due to simply looking at the full picture. The context, archaeological record, and historical record is pure fact and cannot be twisted when looked at correctly.

Theory of Atlantis and Other Vanished Races

While the majority of Kolosimo's writing was on ancient astronauts, he did write a fair bit on the theory of Atlantis. The second section of "non e terrestre" starts of with an attack on Darwin's evolutionary theory, based on a misunderstanding of the theory as the linear evolution from apes to humans. This then opens the door to many different interpretations of civilizations that have lived in the past.

Atlantis theory and theories of other lost civilizations are often characterized by the claims that the theory of evolution is false, and the introduction of a new theory called diffusion or hyperdiffusion[13]. Hyperdiffusion is the idea that all current civilizations descended from one advanced superhuman race, that was often wiped out by a catastrophic event such as a flood or a meteor strike. This theory often goes hand-in-hand with Biblical Literalism, where the stories of the Bible are taken as historical fact, such as the Great Flood of Noah that wiped out all of civilization, particularly any civilization called Atlantis[14].

Kolosimo references many lost civilizations in Non e terrestre, such as a civilization of giants (taken from the Bible) or the city of Mu, which was run by white people over the brown natives who were too lazy to keep up with civilization on their own. He then transitions completely to the theory of Atlantis, first suggesting that they were blue in color and came from the Pleiades, referencing the work of Diogenes of Miletus. The next several chapters are about Atlantis, and how it was ultimately a civilization of people with "skin as white as milk" who were worshipped by the "redskins" as gods. All the information in Kolosimo's books and every claim that he makes, he claims to have on good authority from the Soviets that it is all true. When he references Plato and his first work mentioning Atlantis, he doesn't reference Plato at all, but a Soviet account of the works of Plato [15] .

Evolutionary Theory first put out by Darwin is not, in fact, meaning that humans descended from apes in a linear pattern. Science has proven most of evolutionary theory to be true, and archaeological efforts have unearthed many past species of human before the present one. The fossil record shows this, and archaeologists are still finding evidence and developing modern Evolutionary Theory[16]. There is no evidence to the contrary, that an ancient civilization once existed with advanced technology, and this theory certainly doesn't prove there was a master race.

The theory of Atlantis and hyperdiffusionism is incredibly racist in nature, which is not unlike the Ancient Astronauts theory. As Kolosimo explained away feats of construction like the Native American burial mounds with aliens, he tries to justify his ideas, and the Soviet ideas, that white people are indeed the master race, made to rule all other, inferior races. The Atlanteans with "skin as white as milk" developed advanced technology, but were sadly wiped out by a catastrophe.

Legacy

Kolosimo became famous in Italy during his life, and received the Premio Bancarella in 1969, one of Italy's most prestigious literary prizes for "Non e terrestre". He was interviewed by Playboy in November of 1974, and his obituary was published in the Italian version of GQ magazine. Many communist organizations still in existence today remember him as a pioneer, a warrior, and a dreamer.

The Wu Ming Contingent, an Italy-based commune of communist writers, remember Kolosimo and completely romanticize him. They are responsible for writing the obituary published in GQ, where they state, “we like to think he just left the planet, and is still travelling around the universe”[17]. He is remembered lovingly as well by Fantascienza, an Italian “alternative science” magazine, as a dreamer who was writing for the people, and encouraging the Soviet alternative to regular, conservative science, and did so successfully[18]. Pagine 70, another Italian magazine, describes Non e terrestre as his “first official revenge on the academic world” that tended to rejected his ideas. The author goes on to describe Kolosimo as “an affable man, perhaps a great conversationalist, certainly an uncommon man. He describes Kolosimo’s work as undeterred against the repeated “snobbery of the academic world. The most compelling line of this almost ballad to Kolosimo is “imagination is a social weapon, which can break down regimes, give birth to states, and think… even manage to land on the moon.”[19]

These lovers of Kolosimo seem to see him as using pseudohistory as a tool to shake people from their belief that capitalist society is natural and transhistorical, opening minds to other possibilities for how humans can live. This may be true, but this is a vast overstatement of Kolosimo’s purposes and a romanticizing of his motives. He was against capitalism to be sure, but his racist undertones and explanations of superior races as being white and only white cannot be overlooked as being more than what they are. The Stalinist regime sought to take down ethnic communities and did so by purging and deporting and explaining away their racist ideas by stating it was all meant to be communist, not racist. How can one bring a country together under communism by separating it based on race? Nowhere in Kolosimo’s works was the idea that communism was right, instead were the ideas that white people ruled over the lesser races and that these white people were indeed superior and born of advanced alien DNA. It is dangerous to pass of his works as simply being those of a dreamer, and one who wanted to put down capitalism, because that excuses the nationalist, ethnocentric, and racist behavior of communists during this time in the USSR, which Kolosimo was attempting to excuse.

While he has been mostly forgotten in the larger context of Ancient Astronaut and Atlantean theorists, his ties to communism and Italy have given him a lasting legacy among his community, and his popularity in Italy is one to watch.

Bibliography

Books

  • Il pianeta sconosciuto (1957)
  • Terra senza tempo (1964; translated into English as Timeless Earth)
  • Ombre sulle stelle (1966)
  • Psicologia dell'eros (1967)
  • Non è terrestre (1968; translated as Not of this World)
  • Guida al mondo dei sogni (1968)
  • Il comportamento erotico degli europei (1970)
  • Cittadini delle tenebre (1971)
  • Astronavi sulla preistoria (1972; translated as Spaceships in Prehistory)
  • Odissea stellare (1974)
  • Fratelli dell'infinito (1975)
  • Polvere d'inferno (1975)
  • Italia mistero cosmico (1977)
  • Civiltà del silenzio (1978)
  • Fiori di luna (1979)
  • Io e l'indiano (1979)
  • Viaggiatori del tempo (1981)
  • I misteri dell'universo (1982, with Caterina Kolosimo)

Novels

  • Fronte del sole or I cavalieri delle stelle (From Outer Space), De Vecchi, Milano 1979 (with Caterina Kolosimo)
  • Missione uomo, Dizionari dell'Avventura n.9, Bruno Boggero e Giunti-Marzocco, 1982 (with Oscar Warner)

Editor

  • Pi Kappa, rivista di mistero, archeologia ed esobiologia (director), I-II, Sugar, Milano 1972-1973
  • Dimensione X, enciclopedia del mistero (coordinator), 1-10, Milano 1982
  • Italia misteriosa (editor), Edipem, Milano 1984
  • Scrutando nel futuro (editor), Edipem, Novara 1984

References

  1. https://www.wumingfoundation.com/giap/2014/03/peter-kolosimo-30-anni-across-the-universe-1984-2014/#sdfootnote10anc
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20140309091906/http://www.eremonedizioni.it/catalogo/dei_del_cielo_dei_della_terra_prefazione_alfredo_lissoni.html
  3. Peter kolosimo. Non è Terrestre. Milano: Mursia, 2005.
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20100918071631/http://www.wumingfoundation.com/english/wumingblog/?p=845
  5. Peter kolosimo. Non è Terrestre. Milano: Mursia, 2005.
  6. http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-peter-kolosimos-not-of-this-world-pt-3
  7. Patrick Grim. Philosophy of Science and the Occult. Department of Philosophy, State University of New York at Stony Brook. 1982
  8. Legrand, H. E., and Wayne E. Boese. "Chariots of the Gods? And All That: Pseudo-History in the Classroom." The History Teacher8, no. 3 (1975): 359-70. doi:10.2307/491740.
  9. Peter Kolosimo. Pi Kappa Magazine, 11, no. 4 (1973)
  10. Gasperini, Luca, Enrico Bonatti, and Giuseppe Longo. "THE Tunguska MYSTERY." Scientific American 298, no. 6 (2008): 80-86. www.jstor.org/stable/26000644.
  11. Martin, Terry. "The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing." The Journal of Modern History 70, no. 4 (1998): 813-61. doi:10.1086/235168.
  12. Peter kolosimo. Non è Terrestre. Milano: Mursia, 2005.
  13. Simms, L. Moody. "From Atlantis to UFO'S." Social Science 51, no. 2 (1976): 97-104. www.jstor.org/stable/41886013.
  14. https://archive.org/details/fantasticarchaeo00will
  15. Peter kolosimo. Non è Terrestre. Milano: Mursia, 2005.
  16. Mayr, Ernst. "The Modern Evolutionary Theory." Journal of Mammalogy 77, no. 1 (1996): 1-7. doi:10.2307/1382704.
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20100918071631/http://www.wumingfoundation.com/english/wumingblog/?p=845
  18. https://www.fantascienza.com/6391/pk-peter-kolosimo-sognatore-patafisico/2
  19. https://web.archive.org/web/20120605150643/http://www.pagine70.com/vmnews/wmview.php?ArtID=470