© Tom Lethbridge 1972 
I said before that this investigation was likely to get like a science fiction novel and this is what is happening. We may not be getting satisfactory evidence for flying saucers at an early time, but may we perhaps be getting suggestions that vehicles, resembling more efficient rocket capsules, may have been circling Earth a long time ago and looking for places to land? Is it not possible that the war in heaven may have been a fight between two planets as to which of them should colonize the Earth?
Let us, for our amusement, and not with any sense of conviction, try to draw a picture. A very long time ago, somewhere about 2500 BC perhaps, there were two planets in the solar system rather more advanced technologically than Earth is today. One was Mars, the other perhaps Venus. They communicated with each other yet suffered from the human failing of jealousy.
Mars, let us suppose, set up bases inside the crust of the moon, and began to dispatch rockets carrying partiers of explorers and prospectors to earth. It was during this period of exploration that the primitive Neolithic natives of the earth were persuaded to set up rings of stones and timber circles to act as guiding beacons for the use of incoming spacecraft. All round western Europe from Sardinia to Scandinavia teams were at work and beacons were set up. Perhaps farther east other ways of directing air traffic were devised.
For a relatively short time this reasonably happy state of affairs continued and then the jealousy of the other planet flared up into open war. Probably it also claimed earth as its private possession.
The first campaign in the war centred on the Martian moon base, then there was a slogging match between the two planets themselves. As a result of this, Mars was knocked out and the other planet so badly disabled that it has as yet been unable to take advantage of its victory.
But the interest of all this is in what happened to the exploring parties marooned on Earth by the destruction of the bases on the moon.  There was little they could do and after a very short time the Martians had to go native. In the hope, however, that relief expeditions would eventually be sent to fetch them home, they persuaded the real natives to keep up their dances at the stone circles and so on as a religious rite pleasing to the Great Ones in the sky , who had sent them down to live among them and bring them marvellous benefits.
This is a fairy story. I have made it up. But it is curious how it might be true. So much that happened in later history seems to add to the possibility. Let us see what might have happened to the Martians. Remembering that I have been on three Arctic expeditions myself, it is possible that I might have some idea how it all might develop. [3 We will continue our fairy story with some groups of isolated men and perhaps women too, dotted about on the surface of an undeveloped and foreign planet with little hope of ever returning home again; being shipwrecked on a desert island would be far less drastic.
These stranded astronauts would all be specialists in some way or another. If we may judge from modern trends in education, they might be deplorably lacking in simple general knowledge; but some of them must surely have known something about growing things in gardens. This was to be vital in their predicament and may well explain why such and such god is responsible in tradition for teaching a particular people agriculture. Botanists among them would recognize what plants might possibly provide them with grain and would institute an immediate search in the particular part of the world in which they had been stranded. A little was probably known by the natives already.
Much the same thing was likely to happen in the case of metals. There would be men among them skilled in the identification of metallic ores; but there was no fuel to pro vide great heat for smelting. Metal for tools was an urgent necessity and copper was available in many localities. Thus such and such a god became the Smith of the Gods, by teaching the natives how to make simple cupellation hearths. It is interesting to remember in this connection that the earliest metal tools were made of pure copper and only later was tin added to it to make the more satisfactory bronze.
The earliest copper axes and knives found by archaeologists remind me of my childhood’s efforts and are the kind of things which might have been produced by men who knew that copper could be melted from its ores and made into tools, but did not know the technique and had to build it up from their own imagination.
It is hard to see otherwise how metalworking could have been invented by chance. It is perhaps easier to think that some unknown ‘God’ appeared from the sky and taught men how to do it. Easier perhaps, but not very much easier, for you are only pushing it further back on to another world in another age.
There was very little else they could do to better their situation. All the mechanical civilization in which they had been brought up vanished with the failure of their fuel supplies. It was useless to try to build a boat, as many men have done on the loss of their ship, to take them home again, for their home was far away across the heavens and only a relief expedition could take them back.
But to the natives, to whom they had miraculously appeared from the sky, they were still wonderful. For a while they may well have retained some ammunition for firearms of some kind and from this the stories of the power of the gods to strike a man dead in an instant could well have arisen. So too could the idea of Zeus’ thunderbolts have originated in some kind of hand grenade.
As time went on in their isolation from normal life, ‘the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose’. Isn’t this exactly what was bound to happen? In our story too, we must assume that this took place not at the base of one lost expedition, but at several. The exploration parties were often cut off from one another by hundreds or thousands of miles of sea or impassable forest. The world they had come to was young, with none of the roads, towns or vehicles of civilization. Of necessity they must have taken to the sea, in the hope of joining up with others of their kind.
Thus, we may think, there slowly arose on earth little tribes of hybrids with a greater knowledge than others in the world at the time. Unlike the rest, they knew how to provide a subsistence from agriculture, they knew how to make metal tools and they learnt how to use the sea.
But the leaders in each group proudly claimed descent from their forefathers, who had come from the sky. Although this blood was slowly diluted by admixture from the natives; yet when possible they intermarried with those of their own kind and, throughout the old world at any rate, they became the ruling caste.
How much was handed down by word of mouth of the remembered lore of the lost planet is anybody’s guess. Scraps of the knowledge of how to handle bio-electronic power apparently spread to every corner of the globe and large sections of more detailed information remained in such doctrines as that of the Kahuna people in the Pacific.
The most colourful traditional picture of all this fairy tale is undoubtedly that which survives from ancient Greece. Here the myths and legends are just the kind of thing which one might have expected to be found circulating hundreds of years after the astonishing and little-understood happenings.
But, even in the old Celtic tradition, there seems to be traces of similar ideas. There we find cauldrons which revive dead men, magic spears, inexhaustible sources of food and suchlike things which, although clearly imaginary in their context, might yet be reflections of older events of a more concrete nature. Right down to the Viking age, men still wore coats in battle on which swords would not bite and carried unbeatable weapons.
Somehow it all seems too much for the imagination of the early Semitic, Indian and Greek peoples. We know the kind of thing which is imagined by the so-called primitive folk: ‘You must not swim in the sea, or a little worm will swim up inside you and you will have a baby.’
Of course you would not get anything quite so simple from people who watched and hunted wild beasts for their food, or kept them in domesticity for the same purpose. Yet even the hunters on the hill, however much they watch the soaring of the great birds of prey, would surely not have imagined easily gods who flew about the heavens and resembled them so closely; while the agriculturalists hardly bothered with the sky at all, except to watch for signs of coming wind or rain.
But if anything remotely like our fairy story should ever have happened, it appears to have been a mixed blessing. Did we not guess that the strangers came from Mars and was not Mars the planet of war? Why was it thought to be so, unless there was some vague tradition at the back of the idea?
With the coming of metal, not only were improved tools for peaceful uses made available, but the weapons of war were rendered far more efficient. ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fallen from heaven.’ War between group and group and tribe and tribe became endemic. The greed which had wrecked the original planets seemed to have come down to earth.
 Source: The Legend of the Sons of God. A Fantasy? By T.C. Lethbridge; Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1972, ISBN 2-283-98128-8.
 NASA explorations of our solar system provide little support for Lethbridge’s War of the Planets and it seems unlikely that he would have chosen this particular scenario were he writing today. But Lethbridge believed there was evidence of a war in heaven and would have remained intrigued about what form this might have taken. However there are other matters Lethbridge raises with his fairy story. Lethbridge had a life-long interest in the dispersal theories of his generation of archaeologists. Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur is relevant in this regard, as are the voyages of Thor Heyerdahl. [Ed]
 Lethbridge had a close call on one of his Artic expeditions. For a few hours the expedition was convinced that their ship would be crushed by the ice. Maurice Cotterell has developed similar ideas about the fate of stranded ‘visitors’ from a higher culture based on the supposition that Atlantis did indeed exist and was destroyed suddenly in the manner reported by Solon and Plato. See Chapter 10 on The Atlantean Cataclysm in The Mayan Prophecies; Element Books, 1995, ISBN 1-85230-888-5. [Ed]