The Spear of Destiny – Trevor Ravenscroft

spear of destiny ravenscroftThe Spear of Destiny – Trevor Ravenscroft
Weiser Books – 1997 (First published 1973)

I’m going to have to summarize this one before I comment about it.

In the late 50s, the author of this book, Trevor Ravenscroft, met a lad, Walter Johannes Stein, who had spent years researching the Holy Grail and the Spear of Destiny. Stein was going to write a book about the stuff he had learned, but he was dying, so he gave all of his information to Ravenscroft so that he could write the book instead. The Spear of Destiny, or the Spear of Longinus, is the spear that pierced Christ’s side when he was on the cross.

One morning, when he was a young man, Stein woke up and started reciting entire paragraphs of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, one of the seminal Holy Grail texts. Fascinated by his strange new ability, he decided to buy a copy of Parzival, presumably to compare with the passages he was reciting. Well, the copy he bought had some interesting notes in it. He tracked down its previous owner through his bookseller. The previous owner was Hitler. Hitler and Stein became friends (kinda). Together, they went to a museum in Austria to see a spearhead that some had claimed was from the Spear of Longinus.

When they were standing in front of the spearhead, Hitler started to glow and Stein realised that his friend was being possessed by Satan.

You see, Hitler was interested in the grail and spear because he thought they could provide him with access to the Akashic records. The Akashic records, for those of you who don’t know, are the imaginary library of memories of every human experience ever experienced by anyone. Hitler wanted access to these records for the purposes of gaining power, but he didn’t want to spend a lifetime of meditation to get there so he took a bunch of hallucinogenics in a black magic ritual to speed up the process. Unfortunately, while tripping on peyote, Hitler became possessed by the Devil. The Devil is actually one of the negative powers that came into being after some of the species that lived on the lost city of Atlantis evolved from stretchy mutants into Aryans.

Oh, and Heinrich Himmler was a zombie.

Ok, so Ravenscroft goes into a lot more detail than that, and I’ve left out all of the stuff about psychic time-travellers, but the above is a pretty fair summary of this book.

There are many, many issues that a student of history might take with Ravenscroft’s account, but there are two facts that are especially worth considering.

  1. The Hofburg Spear, the actual, physical spear that the events in book revolve around, is definitely not the Spear of Longinus.

The Hofburg Spear is of medival origin. It didn’t exist until hundreds of years after the death of Christ. This single fact obliterates nearly all of Ravenscroft’s claims.

  1. Ravenscroft never actually met Walter Johannes Stein, the supposed source for nearly all of his information.

Ravenscroft starts his book off telling his reader that Walter Johannes Stein, his good friend, deserves most of the credit for writing this book. The first chapter of this book describes, in detail, the pair’s first meeting. A few years after this book was published, Ravenscroft admitted that he never met Stein in person. He said that he had only ever been able to talk to his spirit through a medium.

When you take away the subject and the source, there’s really nothing left. It’s hard to find a footing for any meaningful criticism of this book. It’s too stupid a book to bother pointing out where it’s factually inaccurate. Ravenscroft is clearly attempting to be a part of the fantastic realism movement started by Pauwels and Bergier, but his book is one step stupider than the stuff they put out. While they encouraged speculation, Ravenscroft just tells lies. In Arktos, Joscelyn Godwin describes The Spear of Destiny as “the ultimate degradation” of the Frenchmen’s work and “blood-curdling work of historical reinvention”. A fair assessment.

Some have claimed that this book was originally meant to be a novel but that Ravenscroft’s publisher convinced him to write it as non-fiction so that it would sell more copies. I’ve no idea if that’s true or not. The book is so inflated with shockingly boring details that have little relevance to the story that it’s hard to imagine how it would have turned out as a novel. The story here is rather anti-climactic too, so I’d hope that Ravenscroft would have come up with something better for a work of fiction.

As a work of non-fiction, this is seriously one of the worst books I have ever read. I know I say that kind of thing more often than other people, but this really was a turd. The Spear of Destiny was written in an era when it was considerably more difficult for people to fact check an author’s claims, but much of the stuff that Ravenscroft tries to get away with is so clearly rubbish that I can’t imagine anyone being able to believe this shit. This book makes Holy Blood, Holy Grail seem like a serious academic study written to impeccable standards. Batshit crazy books can be entertaining, but this one wasn’t. It was tortuous.

The Spear of Destiny is a surprisingly popular book (my copy is from the 9th printing!), and you’ll find plenty of other articles online that do a better job of discussing its specific inaccuracies. I liked this one, in which the author worries about how to write about this book “in a way that was not plain sneering.” I hold myself to no such standards, so here is a picture I made of Jesus and Hitler spit-roasting Ravenscroft:

jesus hitler

Communion – Whitley Strieber

2016-02-02 22.22.00

Avon – 1988

Wow, what an utterly ridiculous book. Although the accounts herein are presented as fact, this book is often listed as fiction. Fiction or not, it’s not a plot driven book, and I feel that the most appropriate way to review it will be to paraphrase the entire text:

“My name is Whitley Strieber, and this book is an account of my abduction experiences. Twice in the year of 1985, I was taken from my bed by a gang of little men who then took me to a weird room in a crystal in the sky and stuck an ugly pipe into my crapper. That’s right folks. I was abducted, and the things that took me decided to jam a piece of their technology into my rectum; the alien contraption punctured my wrinkled rim and ruptured my shite-filled poobag. The dirty little bowsies were collecting a sample of my gick! [You might find it peculiar that anyone would want Whitley Strieber’s shit, but in fairness, Communion has sold 2 million copies!] Oh yeah, there was another weird lifeform in the crystal too. It looked like an insect, and it raped me. Well, I say rape, but I was actually pretty hard at the time! Can you blame me?

After this happened, I decided not to jump to any conclusions. I did however, start hanging out with Budd Hopkins, the UFO abduction expert. He recommended that I go see a hypnotherapist. I took heed of this good advice, and the hypnotherapist proved to me that I had actually been abducted a bunch of times throughout my life. He reminded me of the time that I built a rocket engine in my bedroom when I was a little kid. The aliens had told me how to make it, but afterwards they decided that I shouldn’t have that information so they burned down my parents house. How did I forget that? Silly me!

I’ve used the word ‘aliens’ a few times, but I’m not actually sure that it’s  spacemen who are abducting me. I’ve no real reason to believe that they’re from another planet. They might just be elves or fairies. Whatever though, they probed my asshole and I got the shag; I hope they come back soon!

At this point, I don’t really have much else to say, but I feel like I can probably write another 150 pages or so. I suppose I’ll just fill up space with eventless interview transcripts and a ton of mystical speculation. Fuck it, yeah, I’ll just make allusions to mythical figures and tarot cards, and my book will get really popular with brainless, new-age morons. They’ll ignore the fact that nothing in this book is remotely compelling, and they’ll all think that I’m really smart.”

That’s pretty much the entire book, although I’m not quite sure I’ve captured the arrogance of Strieber’s tone. It really surprises me that something this utterly trashy could be taken seriously by anyone.

I also watched the film version of Communion with Christopher Walken playing Strieber. I have to say that this was one of the few cases in which I far preferred the movie to the book. The film has pretty bad ratings according to what I have seen, but I thought it was as good a movie as could possibly be made of this rag. There’s something really awkward about the whole film, and the special effects are bizarrely bad. It mostly follows the book’s plot, but it gets fucking weird towards the end. The most bizarre scenes almost feel like a satire on the most bullshitty parts of the text. In fact, part of the reason that I liked the movie so much was that it felt like it was making fun of the book; you could watch the film and argue that it depicts nothing more than a dysfunctional family’s bizarre descent into hysteria.

There’s a story that Strieber saw Walken’s depiction of him and told the actor that he was playing the character too crazy. Walken allegedly responded, ‘If the shoe fits…’ I have liked Christopher Walken as an actor for a long time, but if that story is true, he is truly a king amoungst men.

The book was shit, but I enjoyed reading it. I have the sequel, Transformation, and I’m sure I’ll get around to reading that one too. If you do read the book, make sure to watch the film. I’m not sure if the film would be as enjoyable if you hadn’t read the book, but if you’ve made it this far through my review, you have all the information you need. (Although I still think it might take reading the 350 pages of the book to be able to really savour the embarrassment that the film must have caused Strieber.)

School is a nightmare at the moment, and posts will definitely be slow for the next couple of months, but I have some serious gems coming in the post that you are going to want to read about.