Breakthrough – Whitley Strieber

Picture this:
You enjoyed last night’s chili so much that you had two large bowls. Now it’s the morning after and you’re straddling the toilet, aware that an eruption of Vesuvian proportions is imminent. Whooosh! The intensity of the shitflow is equal parts relieving and violent – it takes about 6 seconds for your anus to dispel what took you 20 minutes to eat only hours earlier.

Now imagine a gigantic ass shitting with that intensity for a prolonged period of time. Somehow the being this ass belongs to has an infinite reservoir of rancid, hot, soupy crap feeding the flow of their disgustingly stretched and overworked anus. Their high pressure fountain of fluid feces is pointed directly at your mouth. Try as you might to avoid them, the diarrheic rapids find their way into your maw, rebounding against the back of your throat and sending squirts of wet shit out each of your nostrils. You are drowning in dysentery, yet you remain alive.

That’s what reading this book feels like.

breakthrough - whitley strieber

Breakthrough (The Next Step) – Whitley Strieber
Harper Collins – 1995
I reviewed the second entry in Strieber’s visitors series only 3 months after reviewing the first, but it took me almost 2 and a half years to pluck up the courage to move on to Breakthrough, the 3rd entry in the series. By no means did I think that Communion was a good book, but Transformation was definitely worse, and I knew that any further forays into Strieber’s silly nonsense would prove to be absolutely terrible. I was right.

This book really is difficult to read. Strieber included his most interesting abduction experiences in Communion, and Breakthrough is just the continued coming to terms with having had aliens probe his rotten shitbag that Whitley started in Transformation. There’s very little alien activity being described in here; it’s nearly all speculation on the nature of the relationship that Strieber thinks the aliens want to have with us. He thinks they want to open our eyes to new levels of consciousness and understanding. This is getting closer and closer to that new-agey garbage in books like You Are Becoming a Galactic Human.

Highlights of this book included the description of the smelly goblin that lived in Strieber’s house for a month, Strieber’s astral voyage to the literal Garden of Eden, and the sin spiders that appeared above his bed. I really doubt that Strieber believes his own bullshit. These are just bad dreams he had or ideas he came up with on the toilet. At one stage he describes an experience in which he and a friend drive through an alternate dimension, an idea that I am certain he plagiarized from Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut, a short story by Stephen King. (If you’re interested in this comparison, the incident occurs in Chapter 11, page 139 in my edition, and King’s story is in Skeleton Crew.) Strieber puts little effort or care into making his story believable because his audience is mostly made up of low-grade-imbeciles.

All in all, this is a remarkably atrocious book.

whitley strieber visitors
I have The Secret School, the 4th book in Strieber’s visitors series, but after this, I don’t know if I’ll ever read it. This series is terrible, awful rubbish.

Robert Anton Wilson, the Last Great Irish Modernist?

James Joyce and Albert Einstein are drinking in a pub together when a panicked man rushes into the bar. Jimmy, Albert and Sir John Babcock, the man claiming that he’s being pursued by a devil, leave the bar and go to Einstein’s apartment where Babcock recounts the mysterious occurrences that have led him to this point. His narrative is interspersed with questions, observations and pontifications from Joyce and Einstein. This is Masks of the Illuminati, Robert Anton Wilson’s 8th novel.

robert anton wilson masks illuminatiMasks of the Illuminati – Robert Anton Wilson
Dell Trade Paperback – 1981

The story is full of ideas that fans of Wilson will be familiar with, and there are references to half the authors that have been featured on this site. Not only do the names and works of writers like Lovecraft, Wilde, Charles Maturin and Philip Jose Farmer pop up throughout, but the story itself directly borrows from and repeatedly references Robert W. Chamber’s King in Yellow, Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan, and Edward Bulwer Lytton’s Vril. Oh, and Aleister Crowley turns out to be behind most of the plot’s mischief, so a basic understanding of his work, life story and personality is probably necessary for readers of this book. I felt pretty cool reading through and patting myself on the back every time I came across a reference that I recognized.

James Joyce is not only one of the main characters in this book; he’s also a huge stylistic influence on the writing. Lots of the people following this blog are probably just here for the Satanism and aliens, and these unfortunates might not have much of a background in Irish modernism, so I’ll just briefly state that James Joyce was a genius writer whose books about life in Dublin city got progressively more mental and complicated as he got older. His final novel, the infamous Finnegan’s Wake, is 600 pages of dense, indecipherable nonsense. (I watched a lecture by RAW on youtube a few years ago in which he described a means of using Finnegan’s Wake as a form of telling the future. Masks of the Illuminati is set pre Ulysses though, so there’s no overt discussion of FW in here.) For most of Masks of the Illuminati, the Joycean influence is mild, and only the sections describing characters’ dreams are truly loopy.

finnegans wake nonsenseI got about 6 pages into Finnegan’s Wake before giving up.

While Joyce is clearly an important influence on the writing of Masks, it’s hard to tell how much of the Joyciness in here is direct Joyciness and how much is Joyciness à la O’Brien. Some might think that Samuel Beckett is the next greatest Irish modernist after Joyce, but for my money, that title goes to Brian O’Nolan, better known as Flann O’Brien. (Beckett worked as a translator for Joyce as he was composing Finnegan’s Wake, and while his own writing was clearly influenced by the avant-garde nature of his master’s, O’Brien’s work is more overtly Dubliny than Beckett’s and so its weirdness is a bit more noticeably Joycean.) While the literary techniques in Joyce’s Ulysses vary from chapter to chapter, At Swim-Two-Birds, O’Brien’s equivalent masterpiece (and crucial companion to Ulysses in my opinion) tells its story through the repeated use of a selection of literary gimmicks.

Nature of gimmicks: various modes of information presentation: notes, poems, lists, etc.

Descriptions of things within the narrative of At Swim are labelled as if they part of a medical or judicial report. In a very similar manner, much of the description of characters and events in Masks of the Illuminati is presented in the form of questions and answers. Several portions of the narrative are also presented in the form of a screenplay. Joyce had done similar things in Ulysses, writing one chapter entirely as question and answers and one as a closet drama, but the way Wilson goes back and forth with these methods throughout the novel instead of keeping them in separate chapters makes his book read more like an O’Brien novel than one of Joyce’s.

That Wilson was a fan of O’Brien is common knowledge. He not only described O’Brien’s The Third Policeman as one of the greatest Irish novels; he also included De Selby, a recurrent character in O’Brien’s work, as a character in some of his own fiction. This recycling of fictional characters is distinctly Flannish; most of the characters in At Swim-Two-Birds are borrowed from other stories due to the narrator/author’s belief that there are already too many characters in the canon of literature.

flann o'brien einstein

So the ways in which Wilson tells his story and chooses his characters are undoubtedly similar to those of O’Brien, but it is his choice of characters that most clearly highlights the Flannish influence on Masks of the Illuminati. James Joyce appeared as an important character in O’Brien’s Dalkey Archive 17 years before Masks was published. Dalkey Archive was also heavily influenced by O’Brien’s interest in Einstein’s work (Alana Gillespie wrote a doctoral thesis addressing this influence), and at one point in the narrative, DeSelby (the character to later appear in Wilson’s fiction) directly critiques Einstein’s theory of relativity. Much like the fnords, Flann O’Brien’s influence on Masks of the Illuminati may not be immediately obvious, but it is present on every page.

I find it hard to imagine enjoying the work of either Joyce or O’Brien without having visited Dublin at least once. That might sound obnoxious, but if you’ve read the books, you’ll know what I mean. Soon after Masks of the Illuminati was published, Wilson and his wife moved to Ireland for six years. He later claimed that, “Dublin, to me, is a James Joyce theme park.”

james joyce statue

In a way it’s slightly ironic that Wilson was so inspired by the likes of Joyce. Ulysses, Joyce’s masterpiece, is a mock-epic. It takes the banal, vulgar events of an ordinary day in Dublin city and fits them into the structure of Homer’s Odyssey while simultaneously threading the narrative through every literary technique imaginable. A huge part of the appeal of Joyce’s writing is his ability to see and depict the fantastic in the ordinary. While Joyce wrote about everyday life, Robert Anton Wilson is most famous for his books about absolutely insane conspiracy theories. I love Robert Anton Wilson, but his approach of using bizarre writing techniques to write about bizarre topics is probably responsible for how relatively unpopular his writing is. He was clearly a very intelligent man with a passion for literature, but his fiction (or at least 4 out of the 5 of his novels that I have read) is remarkably inaccessible. The deliberate esotericism doubtlessly prevents squares from reading his books, but it gets nerdy, Irish weirdoes like me hot, bothered and horny for more.

That being said, I didn’t actually like how this book ended. I get that it’s supposed to be a mental book about mental topics, but the last chapter both goes and stays off the rails for a little too long. Showing a Joycean influence is cool, but going full on Finneganean is a bit embarrassing. The last 30 pages or so felt like watching a modern punk singer trying to pull a GG Allin – watching a copycat punch themself in the face and then roll around in their own feces isn’t shocking or transgressive anymore; it’s just a lad making a smelly mess of himself.

Overall though, Masks of the Illuminati is quite an interesting book. My review has focused on its Irish influences, but there’s lots more to the book. I’m sure that twice as much could be written about the Crowleyean influence and content, but I’ll leave that to somebody else. While Robert Anton Wilson was undeniably an American writer, it’s worth pointing that he spent almost one third the amount of time living in Ireland that James Joyce did, and so I can think that Ireland can take at least partial credit for his genius.

masks of the illuminati robert anton wilson

July 23rd is International Robert Anton Wilson day, so if you haven’t read any of his books, today would be a great time to start. If you’re already a fan, you should check out my RAW day post from last year, a review of his first novel, the Sex Magicians. It’s definitely one of the better posts on this blog.

Space Gate, The Veil Removed – Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn

In 2016, I tried to read a few books by people who had channeled aliens. I finished one and got a few chapters into another before giving up. These books were so terribly stupid that I afterwards stopped reading books about aliens altogether. One morning last week though, I was looking for something to read on the bus to work and I grabbed this curious text that I had bought at a library book-sale a few years ago. I had an idea that it’d be more of the same, but this one actually turned out to be a bit more mental.

space gate hatonn dharmaSpace Gate The Veil Removed – Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn/Dharma
America West Publishing – 1989

This is a book of messages from an alien named Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn that were recorded (Hatonn doesn’t like the word “channeled” – more on that later) through a medium named Dharma. Like the other books of this nature that I’ve read, these alien messages concern the salvation of the human race. Unlike those other books, this one mixes in some New World Order conspiracy theories. Think Alex Jones meets Bashar.

Ok, let’s try to sum up Hatonn’s message:

Satanic aliens (actually led by Lucifer himself) came to earth in the 40s. They told the US government that they were here because their own planet was in trouble and they needed help from us. That was obviously a lie though – any race capable of interplanetary travel would be more capable of taking care of their own race than we are. These Satanic aliens were obviously up to something shady. The US government understood their own weapons and defense systems would be incomparable to anything developed by this alien race so they acquiesced to all of the aliens’ demands and allowed them to create underground bunkers on US territory (many of which lie under Native Americans’ land). The Bilderburg Group was created to prevent this information from going public. Relations between aliens and government haven’t always been good. Government scientists have been killed in their dozens when the aliens start acting up.

The Cold War was just a hoax so that the Russian and US governments and the aliens could generate money to fund their evil schemes. By 1962, there were colonies on the dark side of the Moon and Mars. (There are plants and lakes and ponds on the Moon, and there’s no difference between its gravity and the Earth’s.) These colonies are for a few select Globalists to go to when the Earth is destroyed. The government and aliens have several concentration camps in the US that serve to train slaves for the Global elite that will rule the Mars and Moon colonies. The US government has signed a deal with the bad aliens allowing them to abduct as many US citizens as they like as long as these people are not physically harmed. JFK was assassinated because he threatened to expose these evil plans. To this day, the CIA murder anyone who attempts to go public with this info. The current US president doesn’t know the extent of the conspiracy

A race of good aliens, commanded by Jesus Christ, has also come to earth to save us from climate change and the bad aliens. (They aren’t too hopeful about our future though, and they have already planned to take over the planet if we all die.) These good aliens have come to earth in the past to use their magic rays to stop the earth from spinning off its axis. Although we are not attacking the bad aliens that live under the desert, we have shot down several of Alien-Jesus’s crafts even thought they have repeatedly offered to help us avoid the oncoming apocalypse. The government refuses to communicate with these good aliens.

The American government is in league with the bad aliens. but it’s also plotting against them. Some of the modern weapons developed by the US government are obviously designed to kill these aliens, but the US is still afraid to use them. In an attempt to cover up their aims of killing the earth dwelling aliens, the US government has entangled itself in a disastrous web of deliberately ridiculous foreign policy – this way they can use earthbound political enemies as an excuse for building these devastating new weapons.

The 3rd secret of Fatima was about the coming of Antichrist. It stated that most of humanity would die between 1999 and 2003. Jesus would return in 2011 during the apocalypse. The good aliens confirm this. They will come to Earth to take the true believers to another planet.

The New World Order (a coalition of the American, Russian and Alien governments) created AIDs to keep the population down. Social welfare was created to create a nonworking class that would be more likely to take drugs – drugs that George Bush and the CIA could sell to them for profit. These drugs and the resultant misery would intentionally lead to school shootings – another good way of decreasing the population.

All UFO groups are run by alien agents of disinformation, probably aliens themselves.

Ok. You’re still with me? If that was confusing and contradictory, don’t blame me. I assure you, my account of the message of this book is actually far, far easier to understand than the book itself. (If you want to read the original text for yourself, it’s available in a free pdf here.)


The previous owner of my copy of the book was clearly as mad as its author. Check out the notes they took while reading through this crap. I made some notes while I was reading it too, but I intentionally left them on a bus afterwards in the hopes that somebody would find them and get woke.

The book also includes several appendices, most of which are messages from Jesus Christ. The content of these is fairly boring, and it seems that Jesus is a bit of a retard.

photograph of jesusAn actual photograph of the 9 and half foot, alien Jesus.

The book is very clear and direct about one thing, the means by which it was delivered. “It comes forth in dictated format from myself [Hatonn] to one of my transreceivers (recorder). There is nothing of “channeling” about it – it is via actual radio type short wave directly from my source into a receiver terminal. No hocus pocus nor mystical hoopla. The recorder does exactly that — records.”

So, according to the entities dictating this book, the words of these messages are very much their own. They are not Dharma’s translation or interpretation of these words. These are the words that Jesus and Hatonn have deliberately and specifically chosen. This is a bit confusing.
poor grammar alien jesusJesus speaks in a cringe-worthy version King James Bible English. Why would an alien talk like this? The actual Jesus spoke Aramaic, not early modern English.

The person who wrote this book clearly had mental health problems. The muddled, unfocused nature of the writing, along with the content make that pretty clear. The author of this book displays all of the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia.

It turns out that this is just one entry of the Phoenix Journals. There are many more books in this series. As far as I know, all are available online. I might read another one some day, but then again, I might not.
hatonn dharma screenshot
A google image search reveals the extent of this madness. I can’t decide which to read next, AIDS: The Last Great Plague, Marching to Zion, or The Trillion Dollar Lie: The Holocaust… they all sound so appealing.

Staring at Goats

men who stare at goats jon ronsonThe Men Who Stare at Goats – Jon Ronson
Simon & Schuster – 2004

I saw the Men Who Stare at Goats movie when it came out in the cinema. I remember being a bit disappointed by it. A few years later, I watched Crazy Rulers of the World, the documentary series (part 1, part 2, part 3) that was meant to accompany the book on which the movie was based. I loved it. I don’t know why or how I only got around to reading the book last Saturday, but when I did sit down with it, I enjoyed every page.

This book is far more modern (and popular) than a lot of the books that I review here, so a detailed summary is unnecessary. Suffice to say that it’s a book about secret experiments, projects and forays into the paranormal that went on in the US army and CIA. It touches on remote viewing, telekinesis, UFOs, Project MK Ultra, and the Heaven’s Gate cult. Ronson’s writing style is enjoyable and makes the whole thing very easy to digest.

The only real criticism I have of the book has to do with the suggestion that the forms of sonic torture used during WACO and the American invasion of Iraq had been derived from the ideas of Jim Channon. In the late 1970s, Channon, the leader of the First Earth Battalion (more on them later), had suggested blasting enemies with loud, unpleasant music to disorientate them. A sizable portion of Ronson’s book explores the potential link between Channon’s ideas and American soldiers’ use of music to torture terror suspects. I suppose it’s not impossible that there was an indirect link between Channon’s ideas and the atrocities committed in Iraq, but I think it’s far more likely that these soldiers had the idea of blasting prisoners with horrible music completely independently of Channon. Playing loud music to annoy people is hardly a revolutionary idea. Also, I’m not convinced that soldiers playing Matchbox 20 in both Iraq and Guantanamo Bay was anything more than coincidence.

jim channon audio spectrumChannon’s arsenal of auditory weapons.

The section on music as torture provides a necessary bridge to the latter part of the book, and things would probably seem a bit disjointed without it. I’m willing to forgive Ronson for including it because it’s an interesting topic even if his conclusions aren’t convincing, and the stuff that appears both before and after this section is fascinating.

After reading the entire book on the Saturday. I spent my Sunday rewatching the documentary series that went along with it. This series covers much of the same material as the book, but there’s enough exclusive information in both to warrant doing both. I did not rewatch the movie, and I don’t think I’ll bother. There’s sections in both Ronson’s documentary series and book on Frank Olsen and the C.I.A., LSD, suicide/murder conspiracy. I’m currently about half way through Wormwood, the new Netflix documentary series about the Olsen case. It’s pretty good.

cia manual trickery and deceptionThe Official C.I.A. Manual of Trickery and Deception – John Mulholland, H. Keith Melton and Robert Wallace
William Morrow Paperbacks – 2010

While waiting for the call on my library hold on The Men who Stare at Goats, I picked up a book that I bought at a library book sale last year for 50 cents. This is the C.I.A. manual of Trickery and Deception. In the 50s, as part of their infamous MKUltra, mind control program, the C.I.A. hired John Mulholland, a famous stage magician, to write a manual to teach their agents how to use sleight of hand to slip poison into an enemy’s drink. It was believed that all copies of this manual had been destroyed, but Melton and Wallace found a copy in 2007. The introduction section was fairly interesting, but I have to be honest, I gave up on the actual manual part about half-way through. The text is painstakingly boring, and the information it contains is really only going to be useful for date-rapists.

first earth battalion army of light

First Earth Battalion Manual – Jim Channon
Unknown Publisher (US Military?) – 1979ish

I’ve already mentioned the First Earth Battalion. The F.E.B. was a proposed army of superhumans that would be capable of transforming both warfare and human existence. It was imagined by Jim Channon, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. According to Ronson, the pentagon paid this guy to spend two years visiting a bunch of new-age institutions and groups in California in the late 70s as part of an attempt to gather ideas to reinvigorate the US army. At the end of these two years, Channon published a manual wherein he described the soldiers of the future as warrior monks, capable of levitation, walking through walls, and cleansing the colon at will. This manual is extensively featured in Ronson’s documentary and quoted from in his book. I knew I’d have to track down a copy.

Doing so was a little more complicated than I anticipated. The first result of a google search for “first earth battalion pdf” looks promising, but I’m not sure it’s the exact document that Ronson was referring to. “The First Earth Battalion Field Manual” (FEB-A from hereon-in) contains lots of the information and images that the featured text contains, but it omits the parts about the different abilities available to various levels of Warrior monks. This document is from 1982. There is another document floating around the net under the title of “First Earth Battalion Manual” (let’s call it FEB-B) but aside from a few pages of new information, this text is mostly the same as FEB-A. It also omits the details of the different levels of Warrior Monks. I think that this one, the shorter pdf, was the text presented to the Delta Force think tank in 1983, but I can’t be sure of this.

warrior monk abilitiesSome of the abilities of a Warrior Monk, as listed in First Earth Battalion – Evolutionary Tactics Manual (FEB-C), as seen in part 1 of Crazy Rulers of the World.

As far as I can tell, the text that Ronson was looking at was a slightly different document to the ones that I have seen. This third document (FEB-C), I believe, was called “First Earth Battalion Evolutionary Tactics Manual”., Jim Channon’s website (or at least a website about him) is marketing a pdf version of this text with the following blurb:

“Evolutionary Tactics is the First Earth Battalion’s Field Manual.  As seen in the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats, the manual was created by Jim Channon for the U.S. Army and first published in 1978. It illustrates high performance concepts and evolutionary ideas. Originally passed on officer-to-officer via photocopy, it has since become something of a collector’s item.

Now you can obtain a rare copy of this manual. Its 150 pages are filled with curious artistic renderings, cartoons, and out-of-the-ordinary ideas.”

At 150 pages, this text (FEB-C) is quite a bit longer than the ones available for free (FEB-A and FEB-B), so I am guessing it contains the missing sections. Unfortunately, I can find no free pdf versions of this text online.

The ambiguity over which text is the original and the omission of certain sections in the free pdfs is perhaps explained by the fact that the original text was largely distributed by photocopying. After having read through the free version online, I have absolutely no curiosity or desire to see the unexpurgated text. The 100+ pages of this malarky that I did read were quite sufficient.

unity through diversityVomit.

This is really very silly stuff. At one point, Channon claims that it is possible that the human race is transforming from a carbon based lifeform to a silicon based lifeform. It reminded me of those horrible new-age alien books that I read/tried to read a few years ago.

Also, having read through this rubbish and researched Channon a bit more, I am rather confused as to the official status of this material. Ronson’s work seems to present it as if it were endorsed by the military, but I can’t find any evidence of this online. The fact that it was distributed through photocopying also suggests that it was never an official army document. That the military gave him money to research this stuff is surprising enough, but I find it very difficult to believe that they would play an active role in publishing this rubbish after having seen it.

Jim Channon died last September, but nobody has updated his wikipedia page yet. He was a bit loopy, but seemed nice enough. RIP Jim.

Reading through all of this stuff, I couldn’t help but think of the X-Files. There’s no evidence that any of the US military’s experiments into the paranormal yielded any positive results, but these texts confirm that US defense and security forces have long been involved in shady, conspiratorial and sometimes mental activities.

The Unknown Origins of the Nine Unknown Men

talbot mundy nine unknownThe Nine Unknown – Talbot Mundy

This is a 1923 adventure novel by Talbot Mundy. It’s a moderately entertaining read, but the writing is surprisingly heavy for a work that was originally serialized in Adventure Magazine. It has the kind of plot that makes you want to read quickly, but the writing is so dense that you can’t really skim through it. The frustratingly large cast of characters is made up of protagonists from Mundy’s other works, and as I haven’t read anything else by Mundy, I repeatedly found myself having to consult the first chapter in order to figure out who was who. By the end of the novel I had figured out that the team of good guys consists of a Sikh, a Muslim (with several interchangeable sons), a Christian priest, a strange Indian man and four white guys. The white guys are the heroes from other books by Mundy. I’m sure his fans would have loved this crossover, but I could barely tell these lads apart.

This dream team was assembled by the priest to help attain a mysterious set of books that contain some terrible knowledge. These books are kept by a very secretive and mysterious secret society known as the Nine Unknown or the Nine Unknown Men. The priest intends to burn the books as soon as he gets his hands on them in order to keep the public from ever reading their secrets. Naturally enough, the Nine Unknown don’t want to let this happen. (I found the priest’s name, Father Cyprian, quite intriguing; Saint Cyprian of Antioch was an alleged sorcerer and author of several grimoires. Can we be sure that he really wants to burn these books?).

Also thrown into the mix are a fake Nine. These impostors share the protagonists’ goal of attaining the books, but they want to do so for their own benefit. These lads are trained killers and hypnotists and cause some serious problems for the good guys (and the original Nine, who actually seem pretty chill once you get to know them). Fires, jailbreaks, trips to a brothel, talking corpses, unruly mobs and vicious battles ensue.

Ok, so an adventure novel about a secret society and a set of mysterious books that features hypnotism and chatty corpses sounds like the kind of thing that you’d expect to find reviewed on this blog. However, the really interesting thing about this novel is not the text itself but the conspiracy theory that grew out of it. You see, there are people out there who have come to believe in the literal existence of the Nine Unknown.

The internet is full of confused references to this book and the conspiracy theories it inspired. Most depict that the Nine as guardians of society, withholding dangerous information about nuclear physics to protect humanity from itself. This much is revealed or at least suggested by the end of the novel. But you’ll find many websites that claim that Mundy’s novel mentions the specific topics of the forbidden books being sought by Father Cyprian. The topics of the nine forbidden tomes are supposedly propaganda, physiology, microbiology, the transmutation of metals, communication (both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial), gravitation, cosmogony, light and sociology.
9 unknown ancient origins
You see, the problem here is that the topics of the books are never given in Mundy’s novel. Like many of the best conspiracy theories, this idea has its origin in Pauwels and Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians. While the two Frenchmen don’t actually claim that the list comes from Mundy’s novel, the passage in question (or at least the translation of this passage) certainly makes it seem like Mundy had given the list. The supposed topics of the Nine books are almost definitely of P+B’s invention. Also, in the passage in question, they quote Mundy, and although I am working with a translation (presumably of a translation), the quote is not to be found in The Nine Unknown. Looking up the quote online only brings up links to Pauwels and Bergier’s text. I’m not entirely convinced that Pauwels and Bergier made up the quote, but given the rest of their body of work, it really wouldn’t surprise me if they had.

Aside from Mundy, Pauwels and Bergier’s only other source on this topic is Louis Jacolliot, a man whose ideas of Agartha, a city in the centre of the world, I have previously come across in Arktos. (Arktos is a wonderful book, but it’s basically a compilation of some of the worlds craziest conspiracy theories. Unsurprisingly, it contains many references to the work of Pauwels and Bergier. It also contains several references to Om, another novel by Mundy.) P+B say of him; “Jacolliot states categorically that the society of Nine did actually exist. And, to make it all the more intriguing, he refers in this connection to certain techniques, unimaginable in 1860, such as, for example, the liberation of energy, sterilization by radiation and psychological warfare.” Note that Jacolliot died more than 30 years before the novel was written, so his knowledge of the Nine would be very interesting if it was real. However, while Pauwels and Bergier claim to have found information on the Nine Unknown in Jacolliot’s work, they fail to mention the specific text in which they found this information. I have not read anything by Jacolliot, but other people have, and as far as I know, nobody has found the section alluded to by P + B. Mundy’s novel is then, as far as any sane person has been able to tell, the earliest mention of the Nine Unknown.

A big chunk of Pauwels and Bergier’s section on the Nine Unknown has to do with the Nine’s origins. Apparently they were founded by Emperor Asoka (Ashoka). You will notice however, that all respectable sources (examples 1, 2, 3) on the Emperor completely fail to mention the Nine. Is that because the Nine have suppressed this information or because it’s a load of bollocks? I’ll let you decide.

Since Pauwels and Bergier’s book came out, the Nine Unknown have become key players in the world of occultism and conspiracy theories. They pop up everywhere. Anton LaVey thanked them in the dedication that was included in the first editions of the Satanic Bible. According to Frank Lauria’s Doctor Orient Series (expect a post on same soon), the Nine are a benevolent group of mystics including the immortal Count De Saint Germain. They even appear as rockstars in the Illuminatus! Trilogy.
nine unknown illuminatus

Mundy’s text has been widely available for almost a century, and you’d think that anybody writing about the Nine Unknown would have started with reading this book. Unfortunately, judging by the articles I’ve seen online, this has not been case. If you want to read it yourself, it’s available online. However, nearly all of the copies of the text I found online were incomplete, missing several pages at the very end of the novel. Here is a link to the complete text.

Up the Pole

arktos joscelyn godwinArktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism and Nazi Survival – Joscelyn Godwin
Adventures Unlimited Press – 1996 (Originally published in 1993)

I haven’t enjoyed a non-fiction book this much for quite a while. This is a scholarly, objective and insightful look at some of the most insane conspiracy theories and occult beliefs of the last few centuries. Any book that discusses the writings of Poe, Lovecraft, Robert Charroux, Helena Blavatksy, Edgar Cayce, Otto Rahn, Bulwer Lytton, Julius Evola, Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Grant, Charles Fort, Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier is either going to be absolutely fascinating or absolutely idiotic, and I am happy to report that this book is the former. The overall scope of this work is enormous, but it’s essentially about several of the proposed causes and effects of the Earth’s polar axis shifting at some stage in the past.

The story begins with an Earth that is spinning on an axis that is perpendicular with its orbit around the sun. This state of planetary perfection ensures that there are no seasons, and days and nights are the exact same length in the same places all year round. This Earth is peopled by a race of god-like supermen that came from and mostly still live in the Arctic. After a little while, something catastrophic happens and the Earth goes wobbly. The Arctic freezes up, and the lads are forced to migrate southwards, although some of them stay put and live in the underground part of the Arctic, through which they are able to access the inner realms of the planet. (Oh yeah, I forgot the mention that this Earth is hollow!) The lads that have gone southward meet other races on their travels, but they’re not impressed by these lowly beings and often have to kill a lot of them. The boys who have stayed behind and retreated into the Earth manage to create airships that look a bit like saucers, and they occasionally use these bizarre contraptions to scope out the the outer realms of the planet. Some day these subterranean supermen will emerge to join their relatives, and together they will rule the world.

Just some of the Hollow Earth models as described in this glorious book.

Sound a bit off the wall? Well, this story, or a story very similar to it, is partly to blame for the ideology of the Nazis; the super race from the North are none other than the Aryans. The Nazis are a magnetic target for conspiracy theories, and it would be silly to presume that every Nazi believed in every part of the above story, but it is possible to trace the origins of the notion of Aryan supremacy to some very nutty characters. This book concerns itself with more with where these ideas came from than it does explaining how they were adapted by the Nazis (Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s Occult Roots of Nazism is a better book for that topic.), and Godwin does a really good job of objectively discussing some fairly ludicrous ideas. I never got the sense that he was bullshitting or stretching the truth for his own agenda.

Writing this blog post is a bit slower than usual because I don’t have many bad things to say about this book. There are a couple of chapters in the middle where Godwin discusses his interpretations of the metaphysical and spiritual significance of the poles and pole-lore that are a bit airy-fairy, but they don’t detract from the good stuff. I think the only other part that I wasn’t impressed with was when Godwin refers to Dennis Wheatley, one of my favourite authors, as “a purveyor of rollicking adventure for teenage boys and adults of arrested development”. Other than that, this book is delightful. I mean, it’s heavy going; you have to pay close attention to what’s being discussed if you want to understand it, but I found it hard to put down once I had opened it. It’s 200+ pages of dense text and denser ideas, and it only took me a few days to finish (quite a feat when you’re also responsible for a 3 month old baby).

I’m not going to go any further into the theories contained in this book. I don’t like summarizing books. When I have done so in the past, I have only done so to show how silly the writer has been. This book basically does a far more elegant job of what I try to do with this blog, and so the ideas presented herein have already been broken down and explained very clearly. If you’re interested enough in this blog to have made it this far through this post, you’re almost definitely going to enjoy reading this book. It is, without doubt, one of the best sensible books about crackpot conspiracy theories that I have ever read.

Is Donald Trump in league with eternal Hitler’s subterranean, spaceship-flying Aryan super troops?

The poles do actually shift, and we now know that global warming is currently contributing a few centimeters per year to this tilt. Recently, the international community was ashamed, embarrassed, and appalled by Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris Climate Agreement. (Seriously America, put down the hamburgers and guns and get your act together.) Despite the glaringly obvious proof that the world is over-heating, Trump and his posse have claimed that they don’t believe in global warming. Now we all know that Donald Trump is a walking, talking piece of solidified diarrhea, but a fool he is not.

How can a man, smart enough to wrangle himself into the most powerful office in the world, possibly think that global warming isn’t happening when everyone can see that temperatures are going up? Let’s not be naive people; Donald knows full well that global warming is occurring.

Donald Trump is not ignoring climate change, he is purposely encouraging it. Why? Because he knows that as the temperature rises, the Earth will readjust its surface to make up for the melted ice-caps and rising water levels. This should draw both the Arctic and Antarctic closer to the equator/ecliptic, thus further speeding up the melting of the ice-locks above the once polar openings to Agartha and Shambala. As soon as these portals are cleared, fleets of Vril powered UFOs filled with the troops of Aryan demigods that the Christ-Hitler has been training shall fly out and take their rightful control over the rest of the planet. After this, Trump can sit at the right hand of der Führer and enjoy the commencement of Kali Yuga.

The Mothman Cometh

the mothman prophecies keelThe Mothman Prophecies – John Keel
Tor – 2002 (Originally published in 1975)

When I picked this book up, I expected it to be fairly similar to McCloy and Millet’s The Jersey Devil, a book describing how a strange cryptid briefly terrorized a small town; however, The Mothman Prophecies is more a descriptive synthesis of 4-5 paranormal beings and events, and it doesn’t contain a huge amount of information specifically about the Mothman apparition. The Mothman, you see, at least according to John Keel, is quite probably from another dimension, and its mothy form is likely only one of its possible manifestations.

The book describes several strange events:

  1. The Mothman appeared to several people in Point Pleasant, a small town in West Virginia.
  2. Several other people in this town saw UFOs.
  3. Strange men, dressed in black, showed up in Point Pleasant, asking strange questions to these witnesses.
  4. A few of these witnesses also received bizarre phone calls during which they would hear static, beeping, or a foreign man speaking quickly.

This stuff went on for a while, but when a bridge leading into the town collapsed, killing 48 people, the strange events seemed to stop happening.

The loss of 48 souls to a town that housed fewer than 6000 people would have been devastating, and one can sensibly attribute the cessation of paranormal activity in Point Pleasant after 1967 to its residents going into a period of mourning and spending less time looking for lights in the sky and weirdos in the streets. John Keel however, postulates that Mothman disappeared after the collapse of the bridge because his work as an ill omen was complete. Yes, Mothman has more in common with a guardian angel than he does with Bigfoot.

Most of the book is taken up with descriptions of strange lights seen in the sky. When I reviewed Whitley Strieber’s Transformation, I noted that he had given up the idea that aliens are extraterrestrial and that he now believes that “the visitors are likely trans-dimensional inhabitants of Earth”.  It is quite possible that Strieber got this idea directly from Keel. (Strieber was a member or at least attended the meetings of Keel’s New York Fortean Society.) Keel reckons that UFOs are manifestations of something that exists outside of the dimensions that constrain our reality. Whatever it is that is causing the UFO phenomenon is probably the same thing that made people believe in fairies and religious events. If you think about it, a Mothman, as imagined by Keel, is basically the same thing as a Banshee.

Strange lights in the sky and cryptids sightings are cool and all, but the really interesting parts of this book are the bits about the peculiar men who dress in black and spend their time pestering UFO witnesses. Keel wasn’t the first person to write about the Men in Black; that honour, along with the honour of being the first to write a book about Mothman, goes to Keel’s friend, Gray Barker. Originally, the MIB were assumed to be government agents trying to keep witnesses quiet about their UFO encounters, but by the time this book was published, Barker and Keel agreed that the MIB were themselves aliens. Their descriptions in this book are actually pretty cool. They’re always dark skinned (although Keel repeats several times that they’re not black), they have pointy faces and unsettling smiles, their clothes are ill fitting, they don’t understand what common household items are for, and they speak like characters from a Samuel Beckett play.

Overall, the book isn’t very convincing. I had been looking forward to reading it, and it took me quite a bit longer to get through than I had expected. Keel didn’t have enough material to write a more focused book, so he seems to have crammed in any old crap he could find. He starts to contradict himself in the latter half of the book, but he realizes that he’s doing so and attempts to make these contradictions part of his argument. (See the Paranoiacs Are Made, Not Born chapter.) The Men in Black have been so successful in their attempts to obfuscate the public’s understanding of what happened in Point Pleasant that Mothman researchers can’t really know what they know about the topic. I read a review somewhere that described the book as John Keel’s descent into paranoid madness, and if you were to accept all of its claims, I’m sure that reading this book would drive you quite mad.too.

I’m not calling John Keel a liar, but many of the links he propounds are rather tenuous, some of his descriptions are vague, and much of his reasoning is plain shoddy. He was also admittedly very selective with the material he chose to use for this book. I’m not complaining about this (I’m all for that kind of writing!); I mention it only in response to the claim that Keel was paranoid. This is sensational, speculative non-fiction filled with what-ifs; it’s use your imagination stuff. Keel wasn’t mad at all; like he rest of us, he just enjoyed a good conspiracy.

I was fairly disappointed with the cover of my copy of this book. It’s a shitty, ugly version that came out to coincide with the movie version of 2002. (Earlier editions have really cool covers.) I watched the movie there too. I’m still not sure what to think of it. It’s set in the 90s or early 2000s instead of the 60s, and it doesn’t strictly adhere to the events in the book. It also cuts out all of the MIB and UFO stuff, so it’s not quite as all over the place. It looks pretty good, and there’s definitely an atmosphere to it, but I can’t imagine it making much sense to anyone who hasn’t read the book. It’s a little more cohesive without the MIB and flying saucers, but these omissions also render it a little dull, and while it’s not tough to sit through, there’s so little explanation given that you finish the film wondering why they bothered making it.

Well, that’s that. Another Fortean classic for the archives. Some of my long time followers may have noticed that I’ve upgraded this blog with a fancy .com address. My url is now Any old links to the site should still work, but due to an irritating fuck-up, I managed to delete all post likes and cut my traffic in half. Still though, the blog must go on, and I have ordered some seriously atrocious sounding books for my summer reading. Expect to see posts about perverted werewolves, Lovecraftian magick, Satanic Nazis and rock’n’roll themed horror showing up here very soon.