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from the trenches
Reality Check: Insolvent Mysteries Volume 60 Number 2, March/April 2007

(Courtesy Mystery Park AG) [LARGER IMAGE]

Erich von Däniken's Mystery Park has closed its doors. The pseudoarchaeological Disneyland opened in Interlaken, Switzerland in 2003 and was billed as the ultimate expression of von Däniken's theories, made famous by such books as Chariots of the Gods? ("Letter from Switzerland" January/February 2004). The Swiss hotelier became a best-selling author on the strength of his claim that aliens had a hand in virtually every ancient achievement, from the Giza pyramids to the Nasca lines.

If you didn't make it to the park, a bizarre hodgepodge of pyramids and space-age pavilions surrounding a geodesic sphere, you weren't the only one. Attendance fell far short of the projected 500,000 per year, and Mystery Park filed for bankruptcy late last year.

But no worries. Switzerland's Laténium, an archaeological park at the important Celtic site of La Tène, isn't closing any time soon. You won't find henge-building aliens there, but it has its fair share of mysteries.

© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America