The Dogon and the Dog Star – Field Guide Friday

Happy Friday Everyone!

Please enjoy this fascinating excerpt from The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal by Judith Joyce (aka Judika Illes)!

The Dogon are an ethnic group living in Mali, approximately
300 miles south of Timbuktu in West Africa.
They claim to possess information received from visitors
from Sirius, a star that is 8.7 light years
from Earth. Sirius, the brightest star in the
night sky, is also known as the Dog Star.

The Dogon claim that Sirius has a dense
and extremely heavy dark companion that
is invisible to the naked eye. In fact, this is
correct: Sirius does have a dark companion,
now called Sirius B. The existence of Sirius
B, first suspected by Western astronomers
in the mid 19th century, was first observed
in 1862, but not described in detail until the 1920s. It
was only in 1928 that British astrophysicist Sir Arthur
Eddington proposed the theory of white dwarfs—stars
whose atoms have collapsed inward so that a pea-sized
piece may weigh half a ton. Sirius B is roughly the size
of Earth, but weighs as much as our Sun. It moves in
an elliptical fifty-year orbit.

Dogon stargazing was first revealed to the West
by two French anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and
Germaine Dieterlen, in a paper entitled “A Sudanese
Sirius System,” published in 1950 in the Journal de la
Société des Africainistes. (Sudanese was once used to
indicate all of sub-Saharan Africa, not just the modern
nation of Sudan.) Griaule and Dieterlen had lived among the Dogon since 1931. In 1946, Griaule was
initiated into a Dogon religious society and so became
privy to spiritual secrets.

According to Dogon lore, extraterrestrial fish-like
creatures called the Nommo traveled to Earth for the
purpose of civilizing humanity. They arrived in an ark,
which landed to the northwest of present Dogon territory,
the region from which the Dogon originate. Their
description of the ark has led many to associate it with
alien spacecraft. The ark created a dust storm as it skidded
to a landing. A visible flame was extinguished after
the ark touched ground.

The Dogon say that the Nommo came from a celestial
body that, like Sirius B, rotates around Sirius, but
whose weight is only a quarter of Sirius B’s. To date, this
planet, dubbed Sirius C, remains undiscovered. Sirius
is 3.5 times as hot and bright as our Sun, so scientists
theorize that any planet in its solar system must be in its
far reaches in order for life to survive there. This would
almost certainly make it invisible to current telescopes.
In fact, the only reason that Sirius B was discovered was
because its weight affected the orbit of Sirius itself.

When Griaule arrived, the Dogon were an extremely
isolated people, living in villages built along a
sandstone escarpment in Mali’s central plateau. They
had chosen to live in this tremendously remote locale in
the 15th century in an attempt to avoid forced Islamic
conversions and also to prevent being sold into slavery
as punishment for refusing to convert.

The Dogon possessed extraordinarily detailed,
sophisticated, and accurate knowledge of the solar
system. They knew that the planets revolved around
the Sun. They described the terrain of the Moon as “dry
and dead.” They were aware of Jupiter’s moons, first
seen in the West through a telescope by Galileo. The
Dogon drew pictures of Saturn with a ring around it,
also only visible through a telescope. When the Dogon
drew the elliptical orbit of Sirius B, they showed the
star off-center, not in the orbit’s center.

How did these isolated people who lacked astronomical
equipment gain planetary information that is
invisible to the unassisted human eye? How were people
who resided in the middle of nowhere and lacked
what the West considers education and technology able
to discuss sophisticated concepts like planetary weight?
The Dogon lacked even rudimentary telescopes. How
did they do it?

There are at least three different theories of how
the Dogon acquired their knowledge. First, we can
take the Dogon at their word. Perhaps they did learn
celestial secrets from benevolent aliens. Second, skeptics
suggest that Griaule and Dieterlen, who went to
live among the Dogon three years after Eddington
first postulated his theory of white dwarfs, may have
brought this theory with them, inspiring the Dogon
tale. A third theory suggests that the ancestors of the
Dogon may be refugees from ancient Egypt or had
early contact with Egyptians.

from The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal by Judith Joyce


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