In 1976, Zecharia Sitchin stirred up a great deal of controversy with the publication of his book, The Twelfth Planet. In this and subsequent books, Sitchin presented his literal translations of ancient Sumerian texts which told an incredible story about the origins of humankind on planet Earth - a story far different and much more fantastic than what we all learned in school.
The ancient cuneiform texts - some of the earliest known writing, dating back some 6,000 years - told the story of a race of beings called the Anunnaki. The Anunnaki came to Earth from a planet in our solar system called Nibiru, according to the Sumerians via Sitchin. If you've never heard of it, that's because mainstream science does not recognize Nibiru as one of the planets that revolves around our Sun. Yet it is there, claims Sitchin, and its presence holds great importance not only for humankind's past, but our future as well.
Nibiru's orbit around the Sun is highly elliptical, according to Sitchin's books, taking it out beyond the orbit of Pluto at its farthest point and bringing it as close to the Sun as the far side of the asteroid belt (a ring of asteroids that is known to occupy a band of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter). It takes Nibiru 3,600 years to complete one orbital journey, and it was last in this vicinity around 160 B.C.E. As you can imagine, the gravitational effects of a sizable planet moving close to the inner solar system, as it is claimed for Nibiru, could wreak havoc on the orbits of other planets, disrupt the asteroid belt and spell big trouble for planet Earth.
Well, prepare for yet another possible apocalypse because, they say, Nibiru is once again heading this way - and will be here soon.
A Bit of History
The story of the Anunnaki is told in Sitchin's many books and is digested, augmented and speculated about in dozens of websites. But the tale is essentially this: About 450,000 years ago, Alalu, the deposed ruler of the Anunnaki on Nibiru, escaped the planet on a spaceship and found refuge on Earth. He discovered that Earth had plenty of gold, which Nibiru needed to protect its diminishing atmosphere. They began to mine Earth's gold, and there were a lot of political battles among the Anunnaki for power. Then around 300,000 years or so ago, the Anunnaki decided to create a race of workers by genetically manipulating the primates on the planet. The result was homo sapiens - us. Eventually, rulership of the Earth was handed over to humans and the Anunnaki left, at least for the time being. Sitchin ties all this - and much more - into the stories of the first books of the Bible and the histories of other ancient cultures, especially Egyptian. (Here's a good time chart of the alleged events.)
It's an astonishing story, to say the least. Most historians, anthropologists and archeologists consider it all Sumerian myth, of course. But Sitchin's work has created a diehard cadre of believers and researchers who take the story at face value. And some of them, whose ideas are getting widespread attention thanks to the Internet, contend that the return of Nibiru is close at hand - possibly as soon as somewhere between 2003 and 2013!
Where Is Nibiru and When Will It Arrive?
Even mainstream astronomers have long speculated that there may be an unknown planet - a Planet X - somewhere out beyond the orbit of Pluto that would account for the anomalies they were detecting in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. Some unseen body seems to be tugging at them. The finding was reported in the June 19, 1982 edition of the New York Times:
Something out there beyond the furthest reaches of the known solar system is tugging at Uranus and Neptune. A gravitational force keeps perturbing the two giant planets, causing irregularities in their orbits. The force suggests a presence far away and unseen, a large object, the long-sought Planet X. Astronomers are so certain of this planet's existence that they have already named it "Planet X - the 10th Planet."
The anomalous body was first spotted in 1983 by IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite), according to news stories. The Washington Post reported: "A heavenly body possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this solar system has been found in the direction of the constellation Orion by an orbiting telescope aboard the U.S. infrared astronomical satellite. So mysterious is the object that astronomers do not know if it is a planet, a giant comet, a nearby 'protostar' that never got hot enough to become a star, a distant galaxy so young that it is still in the process of forming its first stars or a galaxy so shrouded in dust that none of the light cast by its stars ever gets through."
Nibiru supporters contend that IRAS has, in fact, spotted the wandering planet.
"A Mystery Revolves Around the Sun," an article posted by MSNBC on October 7, 1999 said: "Two teams of researchers have proposed the existence of an unseen planet or a failed star circling the sun at a distance of more than 2 trillion miles, far beyond the orbits of the nine known planets... Planetary scientist at Britain's Open University, speculates that the object could be a planet larger than Jupiter." And in December, 2000, SpaceDaily reported on "Another Candidate For 'Planet X' Spotted."
Another article and photo appeared in Discovery News: "Large Object Discovered Orbiting Sun." The article, published in July, 2001, says, "The discovery of a large reddish chunk of something orbiting in Pluto's neighborhood has re-ignited the idea that there may be more than nine planets in the solar system." Naming it 2001 KX76. the discoverers estimate that it is smaller than our Moon and might have an elongated orbit, but they gave no indication that it was heading this way.
Mark Hazelwood, who has a large website warning about the impending arrival of Nibiru and how we should prepare for it, suggests that all of these news stories lend credence to the existence of the Anunnaki's Nibiru (although none of the articles said the celestial body was heading toward Earth). But Hazelwood says his research indicates that Nibiru will be here in the Spring of 2003, though he isn't specific about how he arrived at that precise time period. This website about Planet X narrows it down even further to "late Spring or early Summer of 2003, probably May or June," although they don't specify their reasoning either.
Andy Lloyd isn't as pessimistic - or at least his calculations are different. Since he speculates that Nibiru was actually the Star of Bethlehem seen about 2,000 years ago, "the problem faced by humanity as Nibiru again enters the planetary zone will fall to our descendants 50 generations hence."
But Kent Steadman at the Sentinal section of Cyberspaceorbit.com is tracking Nibiru based on the Spring/Summer 2003 scenario and offers several star charts, timetables and other illustrations that show where Planet X will supposedly cross the inner solar system.
What Will Be the Effects on Earth?
As stated before, the gravitational pull of a planet entering the inner solar system would have profound effects on the other orbiting bodies, including Earth. In fact, the Anunnaki story says that a previous appearance of Nibiru was responsible for the "Great Flood" recorded in Genesis, in which nearly all life on our planet was extinguished (but saved, thanks to Noah). Going even further back, some researchers into this topic suspect that Nibiru once even collided with Earth millions of years ago, creating the asteroid belt and resulting in the enormous gouges in our planet that the oceans now fill.
Mark Hazelwood and others say that Earth is in for some massive and catastrophic changes as Nibiru approaches. Floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, a pole shift and other natural disasters will be so severe, Hazelwood says, that "only a few hundred million people will survive." Another site says the gravitational pull of Nibiru might even stop the Earth's rotation for three days, citing the "three days of darkness" predicted in the Bible.
Some of the Nibiru researchers also cite the prophecies of Edgar Cayce who predicted that we would soon suffer monumental Earth changes and a pole shift, even though he did not attribute them to anything as specific as a visiting planet. And, of course, the much-analyzed Mayan calendar is said to set the "end of world" in December, 2012.
Astronomers and other scientists who would seem to be in a position to know such things have made no announcements about the approach of any planet-sized body. Apparently, they have not detected anything of the kind. Those who believe Nibiru is approaching, however, say that scientists do know all about it and are just covering it up.