Dark Gods – Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson
Rider/Hutchinson – 1980
Malevolent forces from another dimension have long been plotting against humanity. Throughout history these forces have manifested as demons, angels, spirits, fairies, vampires, dragons, aliens and Men in Black. They have convinced some humans to create secret societies that unwittingly aim to bring about the downfall of humanity. Lovecraft’s tales are not mere fiction. Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu are very real, and they’re patiently waiting for misguided humans to call them forth so that they can lead us into an era of blasphemous anarchy and interdimensional terror.
I mean… if you don’t want to read this book after that description, you’re on the wrong blog.
There’s so much to unpack here. This utterly insane book takes the work of H.P. Lovecraft, Bulwer Lytton, Erich Von Däniken, Francis King, Pauwels and Bergier, Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, Trevor Ravenscroft, and John Keel and mixes it with Biblical Lore, black magic, cryptozoology, secret society conspiracy theories and UFO abduction stories. This is essential reading.
I’ve seen this image of Lovecraft before. It’s by Tom Eveson.
When I read Colin Wilson’s The Occult, I complained about the author’s unquestioning acceptance of ridiculous ideas. This approach made a little more sense to me after I read Morning of the Magicians by Pauwels and Bergier and understood their concept of fantastic realism, but I still thought of Wilson as a fairly credulous yet knowledgeable individual. Wilson actually wrote the foreword for this book, and it’s rather telling that he seems uncomfortable accepting this book’s findings. While he praises the authors of Dark Gods’ inquisitive vigor, he can not endorse their blind acceptance of their own conjecture. What is too much for Wilson will be far too much for almost everybody else.
Truly, this is a ridiculous book. There is no consideration given to the reliability of any of the authors’ sources; they even accept testimony from individuals they acknowledge as being liars. They make no distinction between myths, fiction and eye-witness witness reports. Lovecraft’s short stories, extracts from The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus and Bulwer Lyton’s novel The Coming Race are presented alongside historical documents as proof of the conspiracy.
I don’t mind authors being ridiculous if the material they’re presenting is entertaining, but unfortunately, not all of the stuff in here is hugely interesting. Much of the second half of the book is taken up with descriptions of different secret societies such as the Golden Dawn, the Illuminati and even the Bilderburg Group. I recently wrote about my current disdain for conspiracy theories, and I found this section of the book to be grueling. The general message of the last 100 pages or so can be summed up by saying that any secret society that claims to offer illumination is actually run by Satanic forces that aim to enslave the society’s members and ultimately destroy humanity. I will give the authors some credit for briefly suggesting Reptilian government leaders 10 years before David Icke went mad, but this part of the book was painfully dull.
Madame Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, Adam Weishaupt, Aleister Crowley, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Dietrich Eckart – Satanic Illuminatists (Picture by Tom Eveson)
Overall, the writing is quite bad. The authors seem to dance around the points they’re trying to make rather than just stating them clearly. This is particularly unfortunate as the points they are making are hardly common-sense ideas.
Perhaps the most confusing, convoluted part of this book is the bit explaining the motives of the entities who seem to abduct people in UFOs. ‘The phrase ‘seem to’ is very deliberate in that sentence. The authors of Dark Gods don’t believe that aliens are coming to Earth and abducting humans; they believe that interdimensional beings are coming to Earth and pretending to be aliens that are coming to Earth and abducting humans. We’re talking about malevolent ultra-terrestrials, not inquisitive extra terrestrials. (The idea of ultra-terrestrials rather than extra-terrestrials can be found in Whitley Strieber‘s abduction books too, but ol’ Whitley never imagines his visitors to be so deceptive.) Why are these weird entities playing such an elaborate hoax on humanity? According to Gilbertson and Roberts, it’s basically just to confuse us.
This image of a Golem later appeared on the cover of a book by David Schow.
Think about that for a second. Inter-dimensional creatures are crossing over into our dimension and then pretending to be aliens because they think that will make us feel afraid and uncertain. The pretending to be aliens part just seems a little bit redundant to me. They’re inter-dimensional creatures – that’s plenty frightening and confusing. What kind of deranged people came up with this nonsense?
There’s sparse information on the authors available online, and I had to dig around quite a bit for it to paint a cohesive picture. What I could find was fairly depressing. Both men are now dead.
Anthony Roberts had previously published some other books on Atlantis and mythology. Paul Weston, an expert on Glastonbury’s mythology, claims that the mood of Roberts’ earlier books were “considerably different” to Dark Gods. Roberts ran a publication company called Zodiac House with his wife. He died in 1990 while climbing up Glastonbury Tor to see a lunar eclipse. He died of a heart attack, but some have suggested that he was actually killed by fairies for planning to summon the ghost of Robert Kirk, a folklorist who was supposedly abducted by the fairies in 1692. Most accounts of Anthony Roberts that I have found have presented him as a rather temperamental individual. (Sources: an essay on meeting Roberts, Paul Weston’s notes, and Roberts’ obituary on page 12 of The Ley Hunter Winter 1989/1990)
This creepy image from the book shows the spot where Anthony Roberts would later die.
Geoff Gilbertson died more recently, in 2017. Despite living longer, he seems to have been the more tragic of the pair. He died alone of untreated cancer. I believe Dark Gods is his only book. After publishing it, he supposedly became convinced that the Dark Gods were after him for doing so. He apparently suffered several psychotic breakdowns and spent time living on the streets and in a mental institution. One of his friends believed that he was on the autism spectrum. This guy genuinely seems to have suffered horribly with his mental health. People that knew him seem to have thought him a very nice guy though, a fact which is not true for Anthony Roberts. Nearly all of the information I could find on Gilbertson came from this article.
I’ve read accounts describing both men as unstable. I don’t know how they met or what their relationship was like, but it seems that their interactions with each other created an echo-chamber of Fortean paranoia. Dark Gods doesn’t read like some transparent attempt to synthesize occult ideas in order to make a quick buck. No, this book is a genuine trek into Crazy Town.
I first saw Dark Gods being mentioned on twitter. Somebody was discussing how difficult it is to find these days. Underneath that comment, somebody else had posted a video review of the book by Occult Book Review, one of my favourite youtube accounts. (He’s another Irish dad with an interest in occult books, basically a nicer, smarter, more respectful version of me.) After the first few minutes of that video, I knew I’d have to track down and read this thing as soon as possible.
Doing so wasn’t easy. This book really is quite tricky to find. You’ll be very lucky to buy a copy for less than 200 dollars, and I wasn’t able to find a digital version. With a little bit of work, I managed to get my greedy little claws on a physical copy. It’s actually a very tedious read, but if you’re determined to read it and can’t afford to spend a bunch of money, ask me nicely and I might be able to help you out.