Jan 27, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Life on Mars and the “Planet of the Apes” Mindset

It's no secret I'm a big believer in the theory there was once a Martian civilization; a civilization now long gone. Not at all unlike what we see in the final moments of the 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, the Martian landscape appears, to me, to be littered with evidence of what was once at least one or several sprawling cities, but all now rendered pulverized and flattened. And a civilization collapsed. In the movie, such a city would turn out to be New York, as the presence of a ruined and pummeled Statue of Liberty makes abundantly and graphically clear. That’s when Charlton Heston’s astronaut character, "Taylor," learns to his sudden horror that he is not on a faraway world, after all, but on Earth, thousands of years after the human race has all but decimated our world and its people. There’s another parallel with that classic movie, too. It concerns one of the primary characters in Planet of the Apes, Dr. Zaius, the Minister of Science. He has spent much of his life terrified by the possible revealing of the true history of the ape planet. Namely, that we, the human race, came first and that, in terms of technology, we were once far ahead of the apes’ society. Zaius’s fear is that opening the equivalent of Pandora’s Box will cause chaos in the world of the apes. So, he takes the only option he thinks is viable: Zaius buries everything, just in case, even if he’s not fully sure of what went on before his civilization emerged.

I sometimes ponder on the possibility that some of our scientists - not unlike Dr. Zaius in their mindsets - might be fearful of what the ramifications could be if history is changed by the opening of that aforementioned box. So, rather like the person who wakes up one morning and finds a lump under one of their armpits, and who refuses to go to the doctor for fear of what they might learn, the truth is ignored, with a hope that it will go away. But, it doesn’t go away. It just piles up more and more. Maybe, that’s how things are with NASA: a case of: "If we forget about the Face on Mars we won’t have to deal with it." But, it’s clearly not going away. Nor are the many other anomalies that are scattered across the Red Planet. As a species, we are woefully unaware, and largely ignorant, of a series of incredibly ancient events that revolved around a nightmarish, irreversibly-collapsing Mars. And, of death on an almost incomprehensible scale for the Martians, most of them killed before they could flee their world for ours. When? Without doubt millennia ago – probably even way back further than that. Trying to place together a definitive, smooth timeline for when the Martians lived and died is impossible. At best, the timeline is absolutely chaotic in the extreme. As for that ignorance and unawareness I refer to above, in my view it’s solely due to the passage of time, to the distortion of incredible history to fanciful mythology, and to legend mutated into something that largely most people write-off as being just too good to be true.


When it comes to the scientific community, some are unwilling to address the mysteries of Mars in a fashion that just might have a potentially adverse bearing on their lofty, much-cherished reputations. Some, I suspect, are fearful of what they might find if they dare to go looking too closely: what we might call a skewed case of deliberate self-censorship. That point is something that also harks back to Planet of the Apes. As the movie comes to its chilling, unforgettable ending, Dr. Zaius cautions Charlton Heston’s character, Taylor, with these words: "Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find."

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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