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Accepted Paper:

Paleoastronautic myths in Hungary  
István Povedák (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design)

Paper short abstract:

This paper intends to investigate paleoastronautic myths in Hungary from the folkloristic perspective.

Paper long abstract:

According to the widespread concept of paleoastronautics the evolution or even the genesis of human civilization occurred as a consequence of alien visitations on the Earth. (e.g. Pauwels&Bergier, Däniken, Sitchin, Temple, Icke) Only few know that the concept also appeared behind the Iron Curtain in the 1950s and gained significant popularity in certain subcultures (See Agrest, Shklovsky), moreover, the communist regime had an ambivalent attitude towards the theory. In the countries of the socialist bloc the initial phase of UFO-culture followed a somewhat different path from that of the "West". Here the living conditions and the atheistic cultural policy represented a major obstacle to any kind of spiritual, transcendent search or movement regarded with suspicion. Nevertheless, belief in extraterrestrial astronauts did exist and in certain periods was even allowed to appear openly, but only as long as it remained on the level of popular science; any attempts to give it a religious character or to institutionalize it were firmly opposed.

Today this theory is virulent in contemporary new Hungarian mythology as well. Moreover, the extraterrestrial concept of Hungarian origin has become the basic theory of Arvisura, the most important collection of new Hungarian myths (Paál).

My paper intends to approach this phenomenon from the folkloristic perspective and addresses the question of how folklorists can investigate and analyze these narratives? How these Hungarian paleoastronautic myths fit into a more general frame and how they correlate with basic transformations of culture?

Panel Reli03
Religious in idiosyncrasy. New religious movements in the 21st century [SIEF Ethnology of Religion Working Group]
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 April, 2019, -