Skip to comments.Flying Saucers From Hell
Posted on 08/20/2009 12:04:03 PM PDT by Nikas777
Flying Saucers From Hell
Ufology often seems to come down to a choice between extraterrestrial visitors and some as yet unknown natural phenomenon but, as Dr David Clarke reveals, a now largely forgotten counter-theory was of infiltration by demons from the fiery pits of Hades. Illustration by Mick Brownfield.
By Dr David Clarke
"Youd better pray to the Lord when you see those flying saucers
It may be the coming of the judgement day " Charles Green & Cy Cohen, "When You See Those Flying Saucers" Oct 1947.
Since the 1950s, the dominant, and certainly the most popular, hypothesis in ufological and public discourse has been that flying saucers and their occupants represent highly intelligent visitations from outer space. From an early stage with a few exceptions the majority of ufologists appear to have believed the nature and intentions of the "visitors" were benevolent either to keep an eye on our progress towards joining the intergalactic federation or to warn us that our nuclear experiments were "upsetting the balance of the Universe".
But even proponents of the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis (or ETH) have had to contemplate the effect that open contact with an ET race might have upon human societies, particularly in its spiritual implications. Much speculation has been published on the impact such an event would have upon religion, especially fundamentalism. Oddly enough, theologians who would appear to be the most obvious experts to offer advice on spiritual matters have had little to say on the subject. There is, for instance, no rigid Christian dogma on life beyond Earth or on the nature and origin of UFOs.
This reluctance to commit has infuriated some Christian groups, particularly those who promote extreme interpretations of the UFO phenomenon. On the one hand there is a group of evangelicals mainly Americans, such as Dr Billy Graham who have said the UFO occupants may be angels sent by God to watch over us. The best-known exponent of this idea is the Presbyterian minister Rev Barry Downing, author of Flying Saucers and the Bible. Downing appears to be open minded about aliens as part of Gods creation and to look to the scriptures for evidence of early ET contacts.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are some members of the Christian Orthodox Church 1 who find it impossible to accept that there is any goodness in the elusive and contradictory nature of UFO behaviour. The most extreme expression of this view is that there can be no ETs because life on other planets is not mentioned in the Bible. Its a point of view that leads its proponents to a further conclusion: if there are no aliens in the Bible and the UFO occupants arent angels, then UFOs can only be demonic in origin.
What the opposing sides in the "UFOs are angels/demons" debate have in common is their acceptance of the notion that if we can have good UFO occupants then we can also have evil ones (and Satan is, after all, according to Christian tradition, a fallen angel). They also share the concepts of the Antichrist and the imminence of the Second Coming of Jesus predicted in the Book of Revelation.
Billy Graham, for instance, has been quoted as saying that the angelic UFO occupants have been sent to help us "fight the demons in the prelude to the Second Coming of Christ". Furthermore, a 2002 Time/CNN poll found that 59 per cent of those quizzed accepted the literal truth of the End Times predicted in the Book of Revelation. 2 And the poll found that many believe that the final battle with the Antichrist will take place in their own lifetime.
While some ufologists have attempted to make out a case for hostile aliens in the tradition of HG Wells, none of these scenarios are as interesting as the ones conjured up in the fundamentalist literature on UFOs, founded as they are upon traditions which date back to mediæval demonology. If you were only to read the serious UFO literature you might be forgiven for believing such a theory in which demonic or evil forces are controlling the UFOs belongs, like David Ickes famous reptilians, solely to the lunatic fringe", just one more crazy idea in a gamut of crackpot notions. However, this would be far from the truth demonology has played a very influential, and largely overlooked, role in the development of ufology both in the United States and Britain.
Probably the best-known books promoting the demonic theory of UFOs are John Weldon & Zola Levitts UFOs: What on Earth is Happening? and Dr Clifford Wilsons UFOs & Their Mission Impossible, both published in the 1970s.3 These three writers represent a very vocal faction of Christian fundamentalists who have written on the subject. Weldon & Levitt pull no punches in setting out their stall: UFOs are manifestations of demonic activity, and the increasing number of UFOs in our skies is the result of demons gathering for the coming of the Antichrist. From this point of view, evidence identifying the UFO occupants as fallen angels is plentiful in the Bible, if you know where to look and how to interpret obscure passages appropriately. More recently, writers in the same tradition have pointed to the wave of alien abduction claims as proof that Satans hordes have been let loose on the world. They are out to steal our souls and deceive us into a false religion, especially by promoting such ideas as ancient astronauts and evolution rather than Creation.
A Space-Age Demonology
I wanted to discover how far these extreme views were reflected in British ufology. Initially, I thought there was little evidence; then I scratched beneath the surface and found a mountain of literature and even a society dedicated to promoting the demonic theory. The former editor of Britains Flying Saucer Review, Gordon Creighton, was until his recent death the best-known demonologist in the UK. But what is not so well known is that, as recently as 1996, a group of concerned ufologists which included Creighton and the founding President of BUFORA, Graham Knewstub, privately circulated a report warning of the demonic origins of UFOs.
The UFO Concern Report was copied to several hundred ufologists, MPs and peers of the realm and was endorsed by none other than Lord Hill-Norton, a former British Chief of Defence Staff. Hill-Norton, who died in 2003, shortly after Creighton, is usually quoted by UFO proponents as someone who, given his military contacts, should have known what he was talking about. So it is interesting to find Hill-Norton writing, in the memorandum which launched the report, that UFOs were "essentially a religious matter" rather than a military threat from outer space, and that furthermore: "There is certainly a degree of psychical involvement in almost every case. Quite often, however, such experiences are definitely antithetical to orthodox Christian belief."
The UFO Concern Report was a "restricted edition" aimed at alerting "top people" to the dangers posed by UFOs and abductions. While Hill-Nortons memo was published in FSR, it got very little publicity in the mainstream UFO press. Some of the big names who initially supported it later distanced themselves because they didnt agree with the emphasis placed by the reports author, sub-deacon Paul Inglesby, on the spiritual dangers posed by UFOs.
Inglesby was, before conversion to the Orthodox faith, an Anglican priest by the name of Rev Eric Inglesby. It is largely through his and Gordon Creightons influence that the demonic explanation of UFOs has been kept alive in Britain.
Above: Paul Inglesby, formerly Rev Eric Inglesby, who warned of the spiritual dangers of UFOs and wrote UFOs and the Christian (1978)
Born in 1915, Inglesby is probably Britains longest serving UFO theorist, with contacts at the highest level both in the church and in the British establishment. Much of what has been written on this subject in the UK emanates from his persistent and meticulous writings, even though most ufologists Ive questioned have never heard of him.
Inglesby is also unique in that his interest began a whole decade before the flying saucer era. In 1938, while serving with the Royal Navy under Lord Mountbatten, he contracted a tropical disease and was left dangerously ill for three months. During this time he underwent a "devastating spiritual experience", during which he saw visions of a future atomic war and demonic forces controlling space ships and nuclear weapons. While trapped in this timeless limbo, " not only did I witness future events, in a mental telepathic sort of way, but throughout the whole of this time a battle was raging for possession of my soul". 4
Fortunately, Inglesbys prayers were answered and he was saved from the clutches of the demonic forces. Following his baptism of fire, he naturally remained on the lookout for evidence of evil influences. When the first reports of flying saucers appeared in British newspapers in 1947, Inglesby felt his visions were about to become reality. He found the extraterrestrial hypothesis, prevalent in the media and ufology, an unsatisfactory explanation for the phenomenon. Gradually, he came to believe the contacts and messages passed on by the UFO occupants were, at least partly, demonic in origin.
Conversion to Christianity followed and in 1964 he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. His conversion to the Orthodox Church came in 1980 following a meeting with Fr Seraphim Rose at a monastery in California. Fr Rose had written a treatise on UFOs as demonic signs which proved to be highly influential on Inglesbys developing theories. The monk advised him to take refuge in orthodox doctrine so that he would have spiritual protection in the campaign against flying saucery that was to occupy much of his life.
Like other fundamentalists, Inglesby saw the decline of traditional religion and the arrival of New Age and UFO-based religious cults such as the Moonies as a sign that the End Times were imminent. Of course, this wasnt a new idea, or one exclusive to Christians. As forteans are well aware, belief in the approaching apocalypse is a massively important theme throughout the history of ufology. It is particularly associated with UFO cults whose leaders have predicted world cataclysms in messages supposedly passed on by the space people. Fundamentalists, however, interpret these messages as being demonically inspired.
Before the End Times can arrive, Satan must implement his evil plan for world domination. In order for it to succeed, large numbers of people particularly those in high places will be brainwashed or possessed by evil spirits in order to prepare them for the final battle on the side of the Antichrist. This idea of a creeping take-over alarmed those who believed UFOs were demonic in origin. Not for them the War of the Worlds invasion of aliens with machines and death rays. They feared a more deadly takeover of human souls and the horrifying idea of crossbreeding between demons and human beings to create hybrid creatures.
The famous Antonio Villas-Boas UFO abduction case from Brazil provided the demonologists with the evidence they were looking for when it was published in FSR. This amazing story of a sexual liaison with a female alien, which took place on board a UFO in 1957, did not emerge in the UFO literature until 1965. Ever since, the sexual theme has continued to turn up in abduction narratives, so much so that Inglesby was able to state, in a letter to FSR published in 1993, that: "All the evidence points to quite a simple solution [to the UFO abduction mystery], namely that wicked spiritual powers for some time have [ ] been stealing human sperm and ova [ ] however, these genetic ingredients most probably are NOT crossed with their own genetic stuff (if any!) [ ] but are being used [ ] to create pseudo human beings [ ] probably thousands, if not millions, of these creatures somehow, somewhere, now exist. Inevitably they must be soul-less, and thus can be easily possessed and completely controlled by evil spirits [the aliens]. Their ultimate purpose can only be the takeover of planet Earth by invasion, Trojan-horse fashion."
Demonic ideas in the new ufology
At the opening of the UFO era in 1947, the ETH was just one of a number of competing theories for the origin of flying saucers. When the very first Gallup poll was carried out in the US, the ETH did not even figure in the results. But when asked "What do you think the saucers are?" one woman responded by "citing a Biblical text [and] said it was a sign of the worlds end". 5 However, even at this stage, more ancient devil traditions from folklore were becoming entwined with the UFO narratives. Probably the most obvious example is the Men in Black, or MIB, a piece of ufological folklore which began with the story of Albert K Bender, founder of the US-based International Flying Saucer Bureau. Bender learned the ultimate source of the saucers in 1953 and decided to reveal what he knew. What happened next is legend: three sinister men dressed in black suits paid him a visit, having intercepted his letter. The MIB visit affected him so profoundly that he discontinued all further involvement with ufology and shut down his saucer club.
Bender had an obsessive interest in the occult and black magic as well as flying saucers, so perhaps it is hardly surprising that he was visited by the devil. 6 His experience, though, had far-reaching consequences in that it tended to alert some of the more religious members of flying saucer clubs to the spiritual dangers of involvement in flying saucery. As a result, a schism occurred, with some saucer groups actively avoiding any associations with the occult such as were rife among the contactee movement. But the spiritual connotations of flying saucers would not go away.
By the late 1960s, many mainstream ufologists were growing disenchanted with the subject. The long-predicted landings on the White House lawn had failed to materialise and the truth about UFOs seemed as elusive as ever. In some cases, ufologists turned away from the ETH and looked instead to occult and supernatural explanations. Journalist and author John Keel and, to a lesser extent, the French computer scientist Jacques Vallee, were leaders of the so-called new ufology. Keels theory of ultraterrestrials supernatural entities which coexist with mankind in a parallel universe proved immensely popular among ufologists who were looking for an alternative to the ETH.
Keel claimed he could contact the UFO entities via messages relayed by contactees and even via the telephone (in a similar fashion to spirit mediums). These encounters led him to conclude that the intentions of the UFO occupants were sinister. In his Operation Trojan Horse, he wrote: "The UFOnauts are the liars, not the contactees. And they are lying deliberately as part of the bewildering smokescreen which they have established to cover their real origin, purpose and motivation."
Although Keel avoided religious conclusions and claimed to be an atheist, his ultraterrestrials were, in effect, identical to the angels and demons of old. Flying Saucer Review was one of the main conduits for these Keelian/occult views, whose influence reached every UFO group and society in Britain. When Gordon Creighton took over editorship, the demonic theories were promoted with renewed energy. By 1976, he could write in a review of one of Vallees books that: "Demons are here already in immense strength." They were busily selecting those people whose genetic stock was needed for crossbreeding. Even worse, the demonic entities were programming these slaves to commit violence and controlling puppets in Government to do their evil bidding.
These were peculiar views, even for a UFO publication. Creighton was following Inglesby in forging a demonological interpretation of ufology, a package that contained some disturbing ingredients such as extreme right wing politics and raging paranoia. During his long editorship, these bizarre views found a home in the very mouthpiece of serious ufology. For a time, anyone who was anyone in the subject read FSR. And, as a result, a number of very well known names were drawn into this web including some of those from Britains largest UFO organisation, BUFORA.
Three former chairmen of BUFORA, including the founding President, Graham Knewstub, along with Capt Ivar Mackay and Roger Stanway, became convinced that UFOs were of demonic origin. Both Knewstub and Stanway were originally believers in nuts-and-bolts spacecraft, but their views changed when their involvement in ufology came into direct conflict with their religious beliefs.
In November 1976, Stanway stunned his friends and colleagues by resigning as chairman and severing all contact with the subject. In his resignation letter of November 1976, he explained that he and his wife had been "born again" as part of a massive Christian revival that was sweeping through the world. He added that: "Furthermore, I now believe that the UFO phenomenon has Satanic origins." You could dismiss Stanway as an isolated example of someone who was pre-inclined to religious fundamentalism but that wouldnt necessarily be true, and he isnt an isolated example.
Perhaps the most bizarre story of all concerns the BUFORA investigator for South Wales, Randall Jones Pugh, who died in 2003. Pugh a retired veterinary surgeon was a God-fearing man who investigated the West Wales UFO flap of 1977 that became known as the "Welsh Triangle". Initially, he was another believer in ET visitors but gradually his views changed. During his investigations, Pugh looked into a range of weird happenings centred upon a remote part of the Pembrokeshire coast: lights and objects hovering in the sky, mysterious silver-suited figures peering into farmhouse windows, cowering animals, a herd of cattle teleported from one part of a farm to another, and poltergeists plaguing a family of UFO witnesses. 7 By 1980, he had concluded that the UFO occupants were evil supernatural entities, and came to believe ufologists were placing themselves in both physical and spiritual danger. Soon afterwards, like Roger Stanway before him, Pugh left ufology and burned his collection of books and slides. These actions followed a series of personal experiences that, he claimed, "were too frightening to talk about".
Like Pugh, the Rev Anthony Millicans interest in evil aliens came from personal experience. One night in April 1968, he was out for stroll with his wife near his vicarage on the outskirts of Bristol. Suddenly, the couple saw a glowing, dome-shaped object hovering close to the ground just a few hundred feet away. It was transparent and appeared to rotate silently on its axis; both felt "uncanny and chilling" sensations.
Millican said: "I dont think the thing I saw was mechanical at all. I got the distinct impression that it was alive." He felt the UFO was evil, and made a report of it to the Bishop of Bristol and to the police, who searched the area but drew a blank. 8
Christians vs the Space People
In May 1977, a group of priests and former ufologists came together as a result of an advert placed in the The Church Times. In the advert, Eric Inglesby had invited all those who were concerned by the growing public interest in UFOs and aliens to join a new Christian UFO Research Association. Although membership of CHRUFORA never rose above 40, the society had associates from all denominations of the Christian faith. It included ufologists such as Knewstub, Stanway and Pugh and clergy such as Inglesby, Millican and several bishops. The association pledged to fight against what it saw as the rising tide of occultism and to do everything in its power to warn others about the evil influence of flying saucery, which was "fraught with danger for the unwary and riddled with heresy and false belief".
CHRUFORA saw the imminent release of the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind as the most obvious focus for their campaign launch. Inglesby described the massive popularity of the film as "slow poison, more deadly even than The Exorcist". The use by Spielberg of the Devils Tower monument in Wyoming as the focal point of the films final close encounter was clear evidence to CHRUFORA of the movies demonic inspiration.
Members also identified a number of other evil elements in the plot. For example, those contacted by the aliens are subject to a form of mind control (demonic possession) that gives them an overwhelming desire to make their way to the Devils Tower. At the climax of the movie, the UFO entities are portrayed as benevolent and angelic, and as all well-informed demonologists know Satans demons are able to disguise themselves as angels of light to deceive world leaders.
Rev Millicans reaction to the opening of the film in his native Bristol was to set up a stall in the foyer of the Odeon Film Centre. By June 1978, over 150,000 people had passed through; there were plenty of souls to save. During his campaign, he handed out 4,000 leaflets warning cinemagoers that UFOs were not ETs but "the devils messengers".
Millicans display was in direct opposition to the message of the local UFO club and the Aetherius Society which had 20 stalls of its own at cinemas up and down the country but his demonic message seems to have been the most newsworthy. 9
While Millican was saving souls in Bristol, Inglesby was more concerned about the spiritual welfare of the Royal Family. Her Majesty the Queen, he felt, was in grave spiritual danger if she allowed herself to be seen to publicly endorse the film. In February 1978, he learned to his horror that both the Queen and Prince Philip had been persuaded to see it for the benefit of a charity. In desperation, he appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to Lord Mountbatten, urging them to intervene and warning that Her Majestys presence might prove "disastrous" for the Royal Family.
In the event, the Queen, along with Prince Philip and Lord Mountbatten both of whom were long-standing flying saucer enthusiasts attended the star-spangled Royal Premiere on 14 March, apparently without any intervention by demonic forces.
Having failed in their campaign against Close Encounters, CHRUFORA had more success in their bid to make their mark on the House of Lords UFO Debate initiated by ufologist Lord Clancarty (Brinsley Le Poer Trench). It was through the intervention of Inglesby and CHRUFORA that the Archbishop of Canterbury asked Maurice Wood, the Bishop of Norwich, to speak in the debate, held in January 1979. In his contribution, he said he was anxious about the dangers posed by UFO cults and pseudo-religions "obscuring basic Christian truth" and added: "Some Christian researchers suggest that those who become deeply involved in the religious aspects of the UFO situation come under psychic domination which can cause serious distress to them in their personal lives."
Through the 1980s, public interest in UFOs and the occult dwindled and Inglesbys group felt it had achieved some success, at least insofar as the general consensus had moved against "an obsessive, unhealthy interest in UFOs now seen as occult phenomena".
So why did the demonic theory of UFOs become such a popular explanation from the late 1960s and early 1970s on? And how many ufologists and, indeed, members of the public, give credence to this idea today?
I suspect there may be a link between belief in a demonic origin for UFOs and the wider "occult revival" recognised by the sociologist Marcello Truzzi (see FT208:5859). He categorised the revival into four main areas of popular fascination: Astrology; Satanism and Witchcraft; Parapsychology; and Eastern mysticism. "Flying saucers" appeared only in a fifth waste basket category containing areas which he believed had "small scope and influence or are in an actual state of decline". 10
Few detailed studies have been carried out into the relationship between religious and UFO beliefs. As a result, it is difficult to assess how many people subscribe to the angelic / demonic origin of UFOs. There have been few opinion polls in the UK, but if we look at the most recent US Gallup poll from 1996 we find that 48 per cent of respondents believe UFOs are real and not figments of the imagination. Proponents of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis tend to interpret the result as meaning that nearly half the population believe UFOs are ET visitors but is this really the case?
Much depends on what is meant by "real". For many religious people, the Devil is very much a physical, living reality. Certainly, his evil influence is as real to them as are the Greys to those who believe in alien abductors. Indeed, it seemed that, in the USA at least, belief in the devil had easily overtaken the ETH in the run up to the Millennium. A succession of polls published by the Center for Policy Research found belief in the devil increased from 37 per cent in 1964 to 48 per cent in 1973.11 The latest Gallup poll, in 1995, found this had risen to 65 per cent more than those who believe UFOs are "real"!
We can now appreciate why the demonic theory has retained its popularity for so long and why it appears to be the only answer that makes sense to many people. Quite simply, as Gareth Medway has recognised, 12 demonic theories have an advantage over all other ufological hypotheses. Many people want an answer to the mystery that leaves no ambiguities, and no residue of unexplained cases. Those who seek to explain UFOs as weather balloons, mirages, ball lightning, earth lights or ET craft can make their case only by distorting or ignoring evidence that does not fit or by suppressing it.
An American Orthodox priest, Fr Thomas Kulp, summarised the superiority of the demonic theory over all others in this way: "If we are being visited by extraterrestrials, no unified and coherent hypothesis has yet been offered to explain the multifarious worldwide motifs of alien contact There is not a single UFO incident on record that cannot be explained as a demonic deception or apparition."
So, if you believe the devil and his army of demons are real, everything can be explained. As the devil has unlimited powers, no UFO story is too absurd or contradictory, as this is just what would be expected if their source were a demonic one. Bearing this in mind, we can appreciate why this theory proved so attractive to ufologists like Creighton and Inglesby, who had searched in vain for a satisfactory answer. For ufologists of a paranoid or apocalyptic mindset with which the subject seems beset the idea of an invasion by evil forces (whether alien or Satanic) can explain all the baffling and contradictory aspects of the UFO mystery.
What we are witnessing is a reenactment of some very ancient myths and legends common to many of the worlds religious traditions. The most obvious is the ongoing battle for the souls of mankind between the opposing forces of light and dark, good and evil, God and the Devil, played out in a technological setting where spaceships replace traditional religious imagery.
Perhaps that is what the space people who visited New Jersey signwriter and contactee Howard Menger in 1956 were trying to communicate. As well as telling him they were from Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, introducing him to space music and the delights of space potatoes, they informed him that there were both good and bad space people, and that the bad ones could disguise themselves.
When Menger asked how a mere mortal was able to tell them apart, one of the spacemen turned and looked at him sadly, saying: "My friend, this Earth is the battlefield of Armageddon, and the battle is for mens minds and souls. Prayer, good thoughts and caution are your best insulation."
Dr David Clarke lectures on supernatural beliefs and urban legends at Sheffield Universitys Centre for English Cultural Tradition. He is a regular FT contributor and author of The Angel of Mons (2004).
Where do people get the idea that Satan and his demons rule over a Kingdom of Hell like God and his angels rule over a Kingdom of Heaven?
after the first sentence I realized it wasn’t a joke...and the bible talks about “angels” impregnating women (doesn’t it?). oy. should I read this? it’s awfully long...
Everyone knows that flying saucers come from Eric Cartman’s butt.
Could be they take Jesus' word for it:
Mat 12:26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?
Although the aliens DID get a bit gropey with him.
Its all part of a well rounded education.
Where do you get the idea he doesn’t?
Certainly you have a point that Scripture doesn’t per se indicate that he does as typically envisioned.
He’s on a very short leash.
However, Scripture also indicates that within his boundaries and roles . . . he has authority.
So, it’s not a tooooooooo far fetched conjecture.
From the same place they get the idea that...
1) Adam and Eve bit into an apple, causing them to be cast out (the scriptural record is silent on the KIND of fruit),
2) angels have literal wings (ornamental or symbolic figures such as Cherubim and Seraphim are rendered with wings, but actual angels are not recorded as having wings),
3) there were three wise men (the number of GIFTS recorded was three, but the number of wise men is not mentioned) who...
4) visited the baby Jesus in the manger (he was actually a "young child" by then and living in a "house". The shepherds "came with haste and found ... the babe". The wise men came later.)
The written word does not corroborate many traditions.
Will get to it by and by.
DCP, You are welcome to ping the “A” list.
I had these links in my Hard Drive and seeing as there are Freepers into this I posted.
I've long enjoyed scifi and things like this, but I somehow missed Mr. Howard Menger's space music and space potatoes. Of course, they'd be spelled with an "e," lol.
Did he ever try to recreate this space music? Bet it really does sound like a theremin, Moog's synthesizer, lol. Too perfect a fit for it not to. Moog lived out his later years in spacey Asheville, NC ... fitting again, lol. That place has become what has got to be the neo-Pagan, Wiccan capital of this country, supposed "vorteces" and all that.
I’ve spent some time studying the antediluvian world that was purportedly dominated by such beings in a few Biblical and extra-Biblical texts. Enoch I reads like science fiction in and of itself, when dealing with these hybrids. It’s not as wacky and isolated as people seem to believe. The land of Canaan was occupied by their descendants. Goliath of Gath, whom David slew, was one.
The New Testament was written not as history but as testimony and some parts were not elaborated on because it was assumed people knew what a Magi was and where they came from. Magi came from Rome's deadly enemy - Parthian Persia. They were the Holy Men of the Zoroastrian faith.
Jesus is said to have had royal blood which means his cousin St. John the Baptist was also of royal blood - something that makes men rally around a person. And being of royal blood does not really mean you had to be rich, etc.
Taken in that context, King Herod is informed at Zoroastrian envoys from Rome's eastern enemy the Parthian Persian empire have arrived after hearing about the birth of a son from a group that claims royal ancestry.
If Jesus belonged to a group like that then they would have had allies in the Jewish community in Babylon and Persia and they sent word of his birth.
The Persian Shah arranges for a diplomatic mission to cause his Roman enemies problems. Herod attacks this group as traitors. St. John the Baptist's family flee to the wilderness. Herod assumes the family of Jesus wil try to escape to Persia so sends word to the guards at the Persian/Roman border.
Instead, Jesus' family flees to Egypt where there are no border checks and where there is a large Jewish community to hide in.
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