People have this fundamental need to blow things off and attribute places and actions to paranormal entities and events. There is no way the pyramids could have been built by humans; it had to be aliens. All those giant ruins in Central and South America? Aliens. Incredibly long, slow biological change over millions of years? God. Or sometimes aliens. In extreme cases it could be alien gods.
The simple truth is far less romantic than space brothers teaching primitive humans how to build giant things out of big rocks or an all-knowing, all-powerful being creating us out of sheer willpower and boredom. In truth, we just forgot how we did those things, and then we forget we did them at all. At some later point in history someone came along and said, “Ah-ha! I don’t know how this happened. It must have been aliens.”
We tend to forget two things, though. 1) Ancient people were pretty damned ingenious, and 2) They had a lot more free time on their hands than we do. They were also a damned site less lazy than we are, too.
Want an example from recent times? Giant freaking concrete arrows in the middle of nowhere all throughout the United States. Most are broken down, cracked and destroyed by the harsh elements. But a precious few of those arrows are still out there, pointing to something that we can only guess at.
At the peak of the arrow building madness that took hold in the United States in the early 20th century, it’s estimated that nearly 1500 50′-70′ long arrows dotted the countryside. Any serious future examination will probably reveal that they were religious in nature, pointing the way West to the promised land of Hall E Wood; a magical place where dreams came true and nightmares stalked the streets. Hall E Wood was primitive America’s conception of Heaven and Hell rolled into one location that was so expensive people had to sell their souls to live there.
Trust me. After the world falls apart and rebuilds itself, that’s what future people will think. That or aliens made the arrows. It’s always religion or aliens responsible for everything people in the past did. It wasn’t because they were bored or being creative or just thought pyramids looked freaking awesome.
Gods or aliens. Or both.
The thing about the arrows is we actually do know quite a bit about them because we built them. Back in the early days of the United State, before the flyover states were created and connected with Interstates and airports, it took weeks to cross the country. Early aircraft could do the trip in significantly less time, but had a serious navigation problem.
No GPS. No radio towers. They had maps and compasses.
To overcome those trivial problems, early man, er, Americans, created waypoints across the country to help guide aircraft carrying mail: Giant arrows made out of concrete. When they were first created, you see, the arrows were painted bright yellow and had 5000 candlepower flashing lights on towers on top of them. Later advances in technology bammed that number up to 10000 candlepower. Those lights could be seen for 40 miles in the right conditions.
Those old concrete arrows were nothing more than lighthouses for airplanes. Who’da thunk it?
You’ve got to admit, the arrows would make an interesting plot point in a novel. Even if not, their story is interesting enough on its own.