Saturday, January 01, 2011


Jim Moseley has been around since the early days when UFOs were usually called "flying saucers." Besides being the author (with Karl Pflock) of the book, Shockingly Close to the Truth! Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist, he is also the slightly opinionated writer-editor of the world's longest-running UFO newsletter, Saucer Smear. (Longest running in the sense his newsletter has existed under various names such as Saucer News.) Jim can be reached via snail mail at PO Box 1709, Key West, FL 33041. A donation of two dollars (cash) will get you a copy of his gritty zine. You can (indirectly) contact him via email: [link]. Please mention Ray X sent you. He enjoys name-droppers.

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by James W. Moseley

My friend "Ray X" has asked me to write a brief article about my personal experiences with these famous mystery lines on the coastal desert of Peru.

These incredibly straight lines, sometimes over a mile long, cover an area of a couple of hundred square miles. There are at least two man-made mounds where several lines converge, giving the impression that treasure might be buried there. There are also large animal figures laid out on the desert, among the lines.

The Nazca civilization, running from about 100 B.C. to 800 A.D., preceded the Inca empire. As a shameless treasure hunter, I have dug up many Nazca tombs containing beautiful pottery, wooden figures, and sometimes gold. It is known that the lines were made by this same ancient tribe.

The myth is that the Nazca lines were some sort of landing field for spaceships from other planets. Superficially they look a bit like a modern airport. The pattern can only be seen from the air, but after all these many years the lines are so faint that all the aerial photos I have seen are enhanced artificially to make the lines more visible.

There is no mystery whatever as to how the lines were made. The Nazca desert consists of a very shallow layer of small reddish rocks containing iron ore, and other similar rocks not much bigger than gravel. By going down less than half an inch you come upon pure white sand. You can take a wide broom and easily make a line for yourself, as incredible as this must sound. Your line, like the others, can last almost forever, because there is almost no wind or rain whatever in this area.

In the 1950s I spent a lot of time treasure hunting in Peru, and was quite successful. At that time there was a German archaeologist named Maria Reiche who studied the lines in infinite detail for many years. She wrote an uncopyrighted pamphlet available in English that was on sale in Peru. I edited it to suit myself, and published it under my name in America's FATE Magazine in 1955. Much later, along came Erich von Daniken and many other sensationalists who jazzed up the story for fun and profit, according to their own fantasies.

In 1956 or 1957 I, amazingly, obtained written permission from the local museum to dig for two weeks in the Nazca valley, including the nearby lines. I went with a small group of diggers to one of the above-mentioned mounds at the Intersections. I know of no one else who has ever done this. Unfortunately, we found absolutely nothing. The Nazca tombs are available elsewhere, as we knew.

It is clear that there is no mystery at all as to who made the lines, how they did it, and when they did it. The only question is in regards to why. Attempts to correlate the lines with bright stars and planets have proven unsuccessful for several reasons. The interplanetary theory is out. Recent archaeologists relate the lines to the eternal search for water on the desert, but this theory seems complicated and incomplete, from what I have read. Maria Reiche, for all her years of tirelessly mapping the lines, never found out why they were made. She died quite recently.

Now I'll tell you something of archaeological importance that I have never written about till now for various reasons. Before I had ever actually seen the lines myself, I was driving one day near Lima with two friends, on a dirt road across a desert very similar to the desert a couple of hundred miles away at Nazca.

There, running for perhaps a hundred yards through a tiny valley next to the road, was a line identical in appearance to the ones at Nazca. There may well have been others nearby that we didn't see. No Nazca pottery, etc., has ever been discovered near Lima, so the conclusion seems to be that other ancient tribes made lines like this for the same reason that the Nazca people did - whatever that reason may be.

You may wonder why I didn't publicize this discovery. Unfortunately, the line was in a little valley almost exactly like hundreds of others, and would be very hard to find again. By now, it is probably under a condo, as the city of Lima has grown tremendously in recent years.

My opinion is that there are plenty of genuine mysteries on this planet without the necessity of distorting a minor mystery like the Nazca lines. Immediately comes to mind a huge pre-Inca fortress near Cusco, the old Inca capital in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. It is called Sacsayhuaman, and is right next to the main road leading to Cusco. I have had my picture taken there, as have thousands of other tourists over the years.

The problem here is that Sacsayhuaman consists of huge boulders as heavy as one hundred tons each, piled on top of each other to make walls. Stone can't be carbon-dated, as far as I know; so no one is able to tell us who built this fortress, when, and how. Even the most modern machinery could not move stones as large as this!

Was Sacsayhuaman built by aliens who landed long ago at Nazca? Probably not...


X. Dell said...

Seems like a fine line between archaeology and grave-robbing, although the blessing of the local museum clarifies things, somewhat.

Your description of the Lima line is interesting. Too ad you cannot examine it closely enough to compare it to the ones in Nazca.

Curt Collins said...

Jim's article in FATE Magazine October 1955, “Peruvian Desert Map for Saucers?” James W. Moseley seems to have been a reworking of his piecel from Nexus (later titled Saucer News) #10, "Mystery on the Peruvian Desert."

The CUFOS site has the first 10 issues up as PDFs in all their Saucer News glory!