Thomas Urciuoli has lived his whole life in Bayonne. He served as a member of the United States Army in Germany during the Korean conflict and returned to his hometown to pick up his career as a construction company manager – from which he has since retired.
So it is more the wonder why a practical man such as Urciuoli would find himself teaching a class of some of the most speculative theories of creation and the end of the world.
“I read a book called Chariots of the Gods,” he said. “That really peaked my interest.”
The 1968 book by German Author Erich von Daniken explores the idea that technologies and the religions of many ancient civilizations were given to those civilizations by ancient astronauts who were welcomed as gods.
“All I want people to do is bring an open mind and an opinion.” – Thomas Urciuoli
Such ideas inspired Urciuoli to continue his explorations. From that book, Urciuoli has moved on to exploring a number of theories that were popularized by TV shows such as the X-Files.
Like Daniken, Urciuoli explores ideas of how things like the ancient Egyptian pyramids might have been built, and what other uses they might have served, not merely elaborate graves for the pharaohs.
Over the last two years, he has been offering a class at the Bayonne Adult School that allows him to share his passion with others who may or may not believe in things such as UFOs, doomsday, or visits to the earth by ancient aliens.
“Are we all descendants from ancient aliens?” he asked.
Even for skeptics
In holding the class, he hopes to draw even skeptics into discussions on what might be possible and to delve into alternative theories on what might have happened in the past that current science cannot yet fully explain.
“I’m not a zealot, but I think much of what we take for fact may not be true,” he said.
He makes note of exceptional people in history who have explored strange and unexplained aspects of science, such as Nicoli Tesla – whose effort to provide free electricity around the world was thwarted by a battle for control of the industry with Thomas Edison.
But the concept that electricity can be transmitted without wires harkens both to the past and future, and may explain some of the unexplained mysteries of ancient Egypt.
“All I want people to do is bring an open mind and an opinion,” he said.
The class will usually start with a video, and then a discussion, a kind of circle in the round lesson structure, he said.
This is the second year he has been offering this program in Bayonne, but he has taught other subjects both in Harrison and in Jersey City in the past.
Among the subjects that he expects to explore will be the concept of doomsday, expanding on some of the predictions for the end of the world including the report that the world will end with the end of Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012.
“Some believe doomsday will be on Dec. 21,” he said. “Because that is the solstice.”
The class will also explore alien concepts as to why they came, what they did when they got here, and when they will return.
The class will be held two hours a night, one night per week for eight weeks on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Bayonne High School starting in early October. For more information, call Linda Carroll at (201) 858-5850.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.