Many give credit to Erich Von Daniken and his ground-breaking book "Chariots of the Gods" for bringing to the world's attention the concept that aliens had visited us in the past and the evidence is all around us in ancient art work and architecture.
Interestingly, we have religious texts that speak of visitations from the Heavens by powerful beings who performed extraordinary miracles and then left. They even, at times, obliterated man and started all over again. And there is also a theory about aliens doing the same thing.
The question to most of us who are of faith or who are of belief in alien visitations is -- why did you visit back then and not come back?
In other words, why was mankind alien-ated?
Well, first let's have a look at the source of popular belief in alien influences in ancient archaeological sites. Erich Von Daniken was not trained in archaeology. He worked for hotels. He also had a very long history of fraud, embezzlement, forgery and imprisonment.
So, do the pseudo-scientific claims of a layman with a questionable background mean all that much in heavy consideration of alien visitation? No. I once took a 4-hour tour of some indian glyphs with someone who touted his own interpretation of the glyphs. It was purely subjective and skewed to sell the line he was trying to sell, which was the same one as Von Daniken - aliens were here and affected the history of the earth.
Everything is up for subjective interpretation. Why are there pyramids found in China, North America, Egypt and Europe? Why do some ancient texts repeat certain themes involving outside influences and power to control the earth with floods and magic? Coincidence? What about the great jumps in man's sentient and cognitive abilities -- too much to attribute to evolution?
So, do we have a pseudoscience church of alien believers and a felon profiting from it, or is there anything to these claims?
The interesting thing about all of this is; from the words in famous works of religious inspiration and compelling theories like Von Daniken's, the human mind can be sucked into any viewpoint it desperately wants to be true. If you look at a cloud long enough that someone said looked like a rabbit, you will see the rabbit.
How do we decide if aliens have visited us and interrupted the natural course of our world? Well, anyone who believes in religious doctrines or aliens already believes in the concept of intervention and that is the majority of the population on earth.
Really, all we have to go by today are ancient texts written by unverified authors with unknown intent and art work and buildings that remain from ancient civilizations. Not being able to tap into the origins of any of this, we are all just interpreting. Some 1000 years from now, there will likely be people interpreting us by the remains of a plastic landfill or a 1980s Walkman. What might they come to believe?
When we enter into research with a belief system already intact, it can often taint everything we see. If we believe in alien visitation in the past, ancient texts were surely influenced by alien encounters, art work depicts it, magnificent architecture was taught under their leadership.
Why did they leave us? Why won't they come back?
Should the creators have left us as sentient beings in charge of our own planet, all its resources, creatures, seas, earth and flora, then it was perhaps akin to a parent tossing his kid the car keys when he turns 16.
In other words, we were left alone because we have free will. Like a child growing up, we take credit for what we do right, blame for what we do wrong, and we learn from the responsibility. Perhaps we were not forgotten by our maker(s) but entrusted.