Thursday, February 28, 2013

Top Ten Fortean Books (Esoterica & the Occult)


A few weeks ago, on the 7th of February, dailygrail.com began running a poll that requested a list of the Top Ten Fortean Books in the category of esoterica and the occult.  I found it difficult to narrow down the list to only ten titles, but eventually settled on these (which include nine nonfiction books and one novel): 

1. The Books of Charles Fort by Charles Fort
2. The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly. P. Hall
3. The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel
4. Monstrum!: A Wizard's Tale by Tony "Doc" Shiels
5. Flying Saucers and the Three Men by Albert K. Bender
6. The Goblin Universe by Ted Holiday
7. The Morning of the Magicians by Jacques Bergier & Louis Pauwels
8. The New Inquisition by Robert Anton Wilson
9. Unified Physics by Reginald Irvan Gray
10. A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay

To see the complete list of recommendations made by those who have already taken part in the poll (or if you want to add your own recommendations), simply click HERE. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 9)



In 1980 Roky Erickson’s band, Roky Erickson and the Aliens, released an album entitled The Evil One which featured two songs based on the work of novelist and screenwriter Curt Siodmak.  Siodmak is best known for having written the stories and/or screenplays for several classic horror and science fiction films such as The Wolf Man (Universal, 1941) and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Columbia, 1956). According to his engrossing 2001 memoir, Wolf Man’s Maker:  Memoir of a Hollywood Writer, Siodmak was an agent of the Office of Strategic Intelligence during World War II (and later, the CIA).  Much of his work deals with the subject of mind control, most notably his bestselling science fiction novel, Donovan’s Brain (1942).  In Wolf Man’s Maker, Siodmak states that it was this novel in particular that convinced the OSS to invite him into the Agency’s fold.  (Siodmak further claims that various influential officers in the OSS were convinced he had based the titular character of Donovan’s Brain, a disembodied monomaniacal serial murderer named W.H. Donovan, on “Wild Bill” Donovan, the head of the OSS throughout World War II.)


 


After joining the OSS, Siodmak’s interest in the subject of mind control seemed to deepen, eventually culminating in the 1955 B-flick, Creature With the Atom Brain, directed by Edward L. Cahn.  Despite its outlandish title and plot, Siodmak’s story actually contains some genuine information about real life U.S. government mind control experiments that were being conducted by MKUltra (a CIA-funded program created to research various techniquesthe vast majority of them decidedly illegalfor the behavioral engineering of human beings) even as Creature With the Atom Brain was being released in theatres throughout America during the summer of ’55.  



Roky Erickson may very well have been aware of the above information.  Whether conscious or unconscious of this wider frame of reference, the subtext of his 1980 song “Creature With the Atom Brain” concerns the horrors of actual U.S. government mind control experiments that were being enthusiastically performed on unsuspecting subjects (such as children, prison inmates, and mental patients) throughout the 1950s and '60s.

A second song on The Evil One, “I Walked With a Zombie,” is also based on a Siodmak-scripted film:  I Walked With a Zombie directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by the legendary Val Lewton for RKO in 1943.  The screenplay was co-written by Siodmak and frequent Lewton collaborator Ardel Wray.  Within the context of supernatural horror, I Walked With a Zombie also deals with the subject of mind control (though in a far more oblique way).

Erickson’s “Creature With the Atom Brain” can be heard HERE.

Erickson’s “I Walked With a Zombie” can be heard HERE.  


 http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_U1menI3veIs/SeIPaexdoDI/AAAAAAAABOA/rLQ6r6-MZk8/s400/Roky-Erickson-The-Evil-One-441281.jpg

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I've Been Nominated For a RONDO!

Tim Lucas, editor of VIDEO WATCHDOG MAGAZINE, contacted me earlier today to let me know that I've been nomintated for a RONDO AWARD for my article, "Charles Darwin and the Suppressed Science of Dr. Mirakle," which was published in the Jan./Feb. 2012 issue of VIDEO WATCHDOG (#166). 

You can see the complete ballot by clicking HERE (scroll down to the 13th category entitled "BEST ARTICLE").


Sign up and begin voting TODAY!!!

The Rondos, by the way, are named after the late acromegalic actor Rondo Hatton (AKA "The Creeper") who may have broken more spines than anyone else in Hollywood.  Of his many outings as The Creeper, my favorite is HOUSE OF HORRORS (Universal, 1946) directed by Jean Yarborough from a script by George Bricker. 



Barry Gifford, author of numerous books and screenplays including the David Lynch film WILD AT HEART, has this to say about HOUSE OF HORRORS in his 1988 book THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE: 

"A personal favorite of mine, HOUSE OF HORRORS is a fractured exegesis on art, love, and curvature of the spine.  The Creeper--Rondo Hatton--steals the movie, hands down.  His hands are usually wrapped tightly around the throat of a prostitute cornered in an alley or on a lonely sidestreet, until he's rescued and taken in by a deranged sculptor who exhorts The Big Guy to strangle an art critic or two [...].


"This is all supposed to be happening in New York, but it was obviously shot on a Hollywood backlot on a rockbottom budget.  The feel of the movie is genuine, however; there are some seriously scary scenes as The Creeper stalks the streetwalkers.  The use of shifting shadows and sudden dark-to-light maneuvers similar to Edgar Ulmer's method in DETOUR are effective tricks that create an appropriately moody black-and-white rhythm.  The predictability of the plot and denouement notwithstanding, the real show is The Creeper.  HOUSE is Rondo Hatton's greatest performance; his strange shape and countenance are unlike anything on screen this side of Tod Browning's FREAKS, or the traveling carny sideshow wagon in Hitchcock's SABOTEUR.  The Creeper's problem with women is right on the surface, unquestioned; no hokey psychologizing in this one.  Old Rondo's operative philosophy is simple:  don't complain, don't explain.  Hollywood's exploitation of Rondo Hatton is no different than the use of Jayne Mansfield:  something for everyone."

I couldn't agree more.

You can see Rondo's performance in HOUSE OF HORRORS by clicking HERE.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Non-conspiracy Cryptoscatology



The word “cryptoscatology” refers not just to conspiracy theories, but to any field of endeavor that’s considered by mainstream culture to be transient, peripheral or hopelessly obscure.  Today I’m shining a spotlight on two recent works of non-conspiratorial cryptoscatology that are noteworthy for the similarities between the authors’ individual prose styles and research methods, namely an obsessive attention to ostensibly insignificant historical factoids and data that—when joined together and seen as a whole—form a much more complex and vivid picture of the subject matter at hand. 
 
The first book under discussion is Gary D. Rhodes’ THE PERILS OF MOVIEGOING IN AMERICA (Continuum, 2012), an exhaustive and yet highly entertaining history of America’s tumultuous relationship with the cinema, which carefully walks an impressive tightrope act between meticulous, academic scholarship and highly readable prose.  Perils reminds me of one of my favorite non-fiction books, Herbert Asbury’s The Gangs of New York (1927), in the sense that the book paints a detailed picture of an era that’s so distant from us now that it almost seems like a piece of outlandish fiction. 

The Perils of Moviegoing in America: 1896-1950

The description on the back of the book reads:  “During the first fifty years of the American cinema, the act of going to the movies was a risky process, fraught with a number of possible physical and moral dangers.  Film fires were rampant, claiming many lives, as were movie theatre robberies, which became particularly common during the Great Depression.  Audiences also confronted an array of perceived moral dangers.  Blue Laws prohibited Sunday film screenings, though theatres ignored them in many areas, sometimes resulting in the arrests of entire audiences.  The Perils of Moviegoing in America:  1896-1950 provides the first history of the many threats that faced film audiences, threats which claimed hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.”

On the back of the book is also a blurb by Charles Musser, author of The Emergence of American Cinema, calling Perils a “page turner,” and in an odd way Musser is absolutely correct.  Perils reads like an eccentric novel in which the protagonists are the ghosts of long-dead movies theatres.  There are images in the book that are as haunting as anything one is likely to read in a popular supernatural novel.  Early on, in the introduction, we’re treated to this heavily symbolic—and yet real—image describing the inside of a movie theatre called the Knickerbocker that had been wiped out by a sudden cave-in due to poor building construction:  

Laughter filled the auditorium during Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford (1921) until a “roar like thunder” transformed the screening into a tragedy.  Two feet of snow proved more than the theatre’s roof could bear.  When it gave way, steel, concrete and wood rained down onto the audience.  The newly added weight on the balcony caused it to collapse as well […].  Screams from a “tangled mass” greeted rescuers.  They worked through the night to move over 100 injured moviegoers to nearby hospitals and makeshift infirmaries.  They also discovered body after body.  Four of the corpses sat upright in their seats, as if they were still watching the film.

That last line sets the tone for the rest of the book.  It’s a disturbing, almost surreal image that lingers in the mind long after the book is closed.

In March of 1931, Charles Fort wrote the following response to a positive review of his book LO!:

Something that you see in LO! is that it is a kind of non-fictional fiction, or that, though concerned with entomological and astronomical matters, and so on, it is “thrilling” and “melodramatic.” I have a theory that the moving pictures will pretty nearly drive out the novel, as they have very much reduced the importance of the stage—but that there will arise writing that will retain the principles of dramatic structure of the novel, but, not having human beings for its characters, will not be producible in the pictures, and will survive independently. Maybe I am a pioneer in a new writing that instead of old-fashioned heroes and villains, will have floods and bugs and stars and earthquakes for its characters and motifs.

Fort doesn’t mention long-dead movie theatres as potential protagonists, but if he had the above description would apply perfectly to Gary Rhodes’ The Perils of Moviegoing in America. 

On a synchronistic level, it’s interesting to note that I finished reading Perils only a few days before July 20, 2012, the night James Holmes went on an inexplicable rampage and shot up a theatre audience in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of Christopher Nolan’s film The Dark Knights Rises.  This shooting resulted in the deaths of twelve people and the wounding of fifty-eight others.  Only a few days after this tragic massacre, ultra-right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh went on the air and blamed the entire affair not on guns but on Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film and the “dystopian” negativity rampant in American media and culture.  Since I had just read Rhodes’ book, however, I knew full well that theatre shootings extend at least as far back as the 1920s, long before Tim Burton’s parents were even born.  Oh, well.  So much for modern culture being to blame.  (Say, maybe it is the guns after all….)

The second book under discussion today is Stephen R. Bissette’s TEEN ANGELS & NEW MUTANTS (Black Coat Press, 2011), the most comprehensive analysis ever published of any single graphic novel—in this case, Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack (King Hell Press, 1990-91), the main characters of which are a homosexual superhero named Midnight Mink and his underage protégé, Chippy, and a steroid-popping white supremacist vigilante named Judge Jury and his underage sidekick, Kid Vicious.  Bissette’s analysis is well over double the length of the graphic novel that spawned it.  With seeming effortlessness, over the course of 400-plus pages, Bissette weaves a complex web of connections among such disparate subjects as pulp fiction, pornography, junkbond culture, subliminal sex, the Mickey Mouse Club, skateboarding, two-fisted zombies, real life mutants, Francisco de Goya, Arthur Rimbaud, Elvis Presley, 1980s teen comedy stars (“teen meat,” as Bissette refers to them), Dr. Fredric Wertham and his 1950s anti-comic-book campaign, Michael Jackson, the general exploitation of children, Make Room For Daddy, and the death of Superman—and that’s just scratching the surface.


Of special note here are Chapters 3 and 6.  Chapter 3 (“W-Wertham was—RIGHT!”) and Chapter 6 (“Up From the Deep”) both focus on the career of psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham, author of the infamous 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, which stirred up a wave of anti-comics hysteria in the 1950s that directly led to a U.S. Congressional inquiry into the effects of crime and horror comics on the minds of American children.  These two chapters are worth the price of admission alone.  I’ve read a great deal about Fredric Wertham and Seduction of the Innocent over the years, but Bissette’s analysis of what Wertham was actually attempting to accomplish with his work is the most illuminating and thorough I’ve ever come across. 

Anyone interested in the history of comic books, the increasing influence of mega-corporations on the minds of children, the impact of societal taboos on popular entertainment, the deleterious cultural effects of censorship (self-imposed or otherwise), and the art and commerce of killing underage sidekicks, needs to read Stephen R. Bissette’s Teen Angels & New Mutants.  Without a doubt, this book raises the bar for the scholarship of what Will Eisner called “sequential art.” 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 8)



In 1984 Laurie Anderson released her four-part magnum opus entitled United States that included a song/poem/performance piece, “Dance of Electricity,” all about the suppressed science of Nikola Tesla and his fierce battle with Thomas Edison that raged throughout the final decade of the nineteenth century.  

Since “Dance of Electricity” was performed in 1983, it’s possible that Anderson’s piece was inspired by Margaret Chaney’s comprehensive and highly readable biography TESLA:  MAN OUT OF TIME, the first edition of which was published in 1981.   

 


 http://ca.pbsstatic.com/l/70/0770/9780440390770.jpg

However, it should be noted that Anderson’s interest in Tesla can be traced even earlier to her 1978 performance piece entitled “Like a Stream,” which was inspired by a photograph of Tesla operating one of his infamous giant coils.  

http://www.ovaltech.ca/images/NikolaTesla.jpg

 Laurie Anderson's "Dance of Electricity" can be heard HERE.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 7)



Three years after the Beatles broke up in 1970, a new psychedelic rock band called Klaatu emerged from obscurity.  The musical style of the group was—according to some influential music critics—so similar to the Beatles that many thought the Fab 4 had secretly reformed under a new name.  Klaatu’s record company, Capitol, did little to dissuade potential customers from believing this rumor (it seems, in fact, they did everything they could to encourage it), as the feverish speculation could only increase sales on the band’s debut album, 3:47 EST, which was rechristened simply Klaatu for its United States release in August of 1976.  

It turns out that the band, which was named after the extraterrestrial emissary portrayed by Michael Rennie in Robert Wise’s 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still (Klaatu’s identification with Wise’s film must have been substantial, as the title 3:47 EST is the exact time mentioned in the movie at which the alien’s spacecraft arrives on Earth), actually consisted of three Canadians:  John Woloschuk, Dee Long and Terry Draper.  Their first album, interwoven with several metaphysical and science fictional elements, includes a song entitled “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day),” which is clearly based on Albert K. Bender’s 1962 nonfiction book, Flying Saucers and the Three Men, an essential entry in the flood of UFO “contactee” books that surged from the cultural zeitgeist of 1950s/60s America.  On p. 82 of his book, Bender writes:  

…early in March, 1953 [the  International Flying Saucer Bureau] voted to hold what we would term a “World Contact Day,” on which we would urge all IFSB members to attempt to send out a telepathic message to visitors from space.  If there was anything to the claims of people expounding telepathic methods, and if we did have visitors from space, perhaps such a message might get across, particularly with so many minds concentrating on the same message. 

On pp. 83-84 Bender reproduces the message that was transmitted, telepathically, on what Bender calls “C-Day” (Contact Day), March 15, 1953:  

“Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!  Calling occupants of interplanetary craft that have been observing our planet EARTH.  We of IFSB wish to make contact with you.  We are your friends, and would like you to make an appearance here on EARTH.  Your presence before us will be welcomed with the utmost friendship.  We will do all in our power to promote mutual understanding between your people and the people of EARTH.  Please come in peace and help us in our EARTHLY problems.  Give us some sign that you have received our message.  Be responsible for creating a miracle here on our planet to wake up the ignorant ones to reality.  Let us hear from you.  We are your friends.”  

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In 1962 even the most credulous UFO buffs scoffed in disgust at Bender’s mysticism-laden narrative.  From a 21st century perspective, however, the book can be seen as an illuminating exploration of formerly obscure occult phenomena that have since become far more widely known thanks to the New Age movement that burgeoned several years after the book’s publication.  In retrospect, Bender comes across as a reluctant shaman rather than a neurotic clown.  

In Chapter 10 of his excellent 1970 book, UFOs:  Operation Trojan Horse, John A. Keel offers up his own thoughts on Flying Saucers and the Three Men:

From what we know about the Pleiades, the stars there seem to be swirling among great clouds of radiant gases.  If they harbor any planetary systems, we wonder what effect those gases might have.  An early contactee, Albert K. Bender, wrote a book containing so many far-out details that few ufologists took it seriously.  He claimed that UFO entities told him that they lived underground on their home planet because periodically they passed through masses of deadly clouds which destroyed life and created a great blackness.  When Bender’s account, Flying Saucers and the Three Men, was first published in 1962, it read like the fantasies of a madman.  But now many of the things he described have repeatedly occurred all over the world, and the book deserves a careful rereading.

I couldn’t agree more.  Used copies of Bender’s long-out-of-print book can still be found HERE.  

The entirety of Klaatu’s song “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day)” can be heard HERE.

“Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” by Klaatu:

In your mind you have abilities you know
to telepath messages through the vast unknown.
Please close your eyes and concentrate
with every thought you think
upon the recitation we're about to sing:

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft.
Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft.

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft;
Calling occupants of interplanetary craft;
Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft.

You've been observing our earth
and we'd like to make a contact with you.

We are your friends!

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft.
Calling occupants and interplanetary ultra-emissaries.

We've been observing your earth
and one night we'll make a contact with you

We are your friends!

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft.
Calling occupants of interplanetary, quite extraordinary craft.

Please come in peace we beseech you.
--Only a landing will teach them!--
Our earth may never survive,
so do come we beg you.
Please interstellar policemen.
Won't you give us a sign (give us a sign)
that we've reached you?

With your mind you have ability to form.
And transmit thought energy far beyond the norm.
You close your eyes,
you concentrate
together—that's the way
to send the message
We declare World Contact Day

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft;
Calling occupants of interplanetary craft;
Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft.

Calling occupants;
Calling occupants;
Calling occupants;
Calling occupants;
Calling occupants of interplanetary, most extraordinary craft

http://hoeffmeir.org/JPG%27s/klaatu.jpg


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 6)


In June of 2005 Ry Cooder released a concept album entitled CHAVEZ RAVINE which chronicles the conspiracies and cover-ups surrounding the destruction of a Mexican-American community called Chavez Ravine in 1950s Los Angeles to make way for Dodger Stadium.  The album has an impressive novelistic scope that vividly captures the tone and tenor, the excitement and tragedy, of living in Los Angeles at that time.  Cooder manages to weave an impressive array of disparate elements into this musical web, many of them of intense interest to cryptoscatologists and integral to understanding the unique culture of 1950s Los Angeles:  UFO flaps, Red Scare paranoia, rampant corruption at City Hall, J. Edgar Hoover’s iron-tight grip on the U.S. justice system, assassination attempts galore, and potentially fatal political conspiracies. 
 
This album ended up exerting quite an influence on my forthcoming book Spies & Saucers (due to be published in August of this year) which shares with Chavez Ravine several different eccentric obsessions such as 1950s Los Angeles, UFOs and political conspiracies of all sorts. 
 
Here’s one track from the album, “DON’T CALL ME RED,” about the successful campaign to paint Frank Wilkinson (who, in the early ‘50s, was the assistant director of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles) as a Communist saboteur in order to derail his plans to, in Ry Cooder’s words:  “…build utopian, low-rent housing in Chavez Ravine.  Today, you can drive to the result.  Strike one.”

And as an added bonus, a second song:  EL U.F.O. CAYO,” about a close encounter of the third kind amidst the soon-to-be-bulldozed Chavez Ravine.... 

 Chavez Ravine

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 5)


Let’s jump backwards once again, this time to 1985 and the release of Kate Bush’s song “Cloudbusting” from her album The Hounds of Love.  Bush has written several songs with cryptoscatological overtones:  “Strange Phenomena” (an ode to Forteana) from The Kick Inside, “Hammer Horror” (British cult horror films) from Lionheart, “The Dreaming” (the Aboriginal Dreamtime) and “Houdini” (life after death) from The Dreaming, “Experiment IV” (covert sonic weapons) from The Whole Story, and “Lily” (ceremonial magic and the Order of the Golden Dawn) from The Red Shoes.  “Cloudbusting” was inspired by the work of Dr. Wilhelm Reich who, late in his life, claimed he’d invented a “cloudbusting” machine that not only had the ability to control the weather, but to destroy UFOs as well.  Reich documented this research in CONTACT WITH SPACE, the last book he wrote before his premature death in Federal prison in 1957.  According to some conspiracy theorists, Dr. Reich was incarcerated because of the breakthroughs he had been making in cancer research (i.e., his invention of the “Orgone Box” which he claimed was capable of curing various terminal illnesses) as well as his weather control/UFO research.  “Cloudbusting” was inspired by this conspiracy theory as well as A Book of Dreams, a memoir written by Peter Reich, Dr. Reich’s son.   

In collaboration with film directors Terry Gilliam and Julian Doyle, Bush produced a music video to showcase the song.  Not only does this video include a Cloudbusting machine designed by the Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger, but also features the actor David Sutherland as Wilhelm Reich.  (This role prefigures similar conspiracy-themed parts that Sutherland would later play such as “Mr. X” in Oliver Stone’s JFK and “Andrew Nivens” in Stuart Orme’s The Puppet Masters based on Robert Heinlein’s UFO-themed 1951 novel.  Of course, Sutherland’s presence also echoes the UFO content of Philip Kaufman’s 1978 film adaptation of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

You can see Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting” video by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 4)


We now move forward to 1991 and the release of The Pixies’ “Motorway to Roswell,” the penultimate song on their fourth and final album, Trompe le Monde.  The conspiratorial subject matter of this song should be self-explanatory.  Some UFO buffs think the legend of an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its occupants crashing into a desert near Roswell, New Mexico to be traceable only as far back as Charles Berlitz and William Moore’s 1980 book The Roswell Incident.  Not so.  The roots of the legend—in print, at least—can be traced back to the very first UFO book ever published:  BEHIND THE FLYING SAUCERS (1950) by Variety newspaper reporter Frank Scully, whose last name was later used by Chris Carter for FBI agent “Dana Scully,” one of the main characters of Carter’s long-running television series The X-Files. 

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5188ARdULBL._SL500_AA300_.jpg 

It’s worthwhile to note that Dana Scully is not the only fictional character based on Frank Scully.  The September 1954 issue of EC Comics’ Weird Science-Fantasy (#25) featured an eight-page story by Al Feldstein and Wally Wood entitled “Flying Saucer Report” in which journalist “Frank E. Keely,” author of a book called The Truth About the Flying Saucers, tells the reader in earnest, “I wrote an article for a show business weekly, claiming that two flying saucers had crashed in the southwest.  I told how, in the wreckage, investigators found the bodies of several little men dressed in strange costumes.  I claimed that the Air Force had spirited away the bodies and the discs for secret analysis.”  This is a fairly accurate summation of Chapter 12 (”Inside Flying Saucers”) of Scully’s book. 

A few months later, in December of 1954, the EC editors devoted an entire issue of Weird Science-Fantasy (#26) to a documentary-style reportage of all the most significant UFO sightings up to that point illustrated by the likes of Al Feldstein, Wally Wood and Joe Orlando.   

http://www.pulpsandcomics.com/dtaweb2/CK22-021.jpg

The inside front cover eschewed the advertisements one would ordinarily see in that space and featured instead a strident message to the reader headlined in bold:  “THIS IS A CHALLENGE TO THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE!”  The effect of this single issue on a generation of future UFOlogists and UFO enthusiasts can’t be overestimated.  In fact, it could be legitimately claimed that this issue of Weird Science-Fantasy is the first “documentary” comic book, which is now a burgeoning sub-genre within the field of sequential art (see, for example, Will Eisner’s 2005 conspiracy-themed graphic novel The Plot:  The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion).  Scully’s book created an enduring substrate of American—indeed, global—mythology that has only grown stronger over the decades.

Though Scully was attacked vehemently upon the publication of Behind the Flying Saucers and his career nearly ruined as a result, thirty-six years later William Steinman’s UFO CRASH AT AZTEC (1986) verified many of the allegations Scully published way back in 1950.  The two books form a four-decade-long hendiadys, and are best consumed back-to-back.  

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Now let's flash forward to the early 1990s when Scully and Steinman's complex web of legends, rumors, half-truths and bald facts eventually emerge as The Pixies’ penultimate song, “Motorway to Roswell,” the entirety of which can be heard HERE. 

“Motorway to Roswell” by Black Francis

Last night he could not make it
He tried hard but he could not make it
Last night he could not make it
On a holiday
So many miles
Looking for a place to stay
Near some friendly star
He found this mote
And now we wonder where we are
How could this so great
Turn so shitty
He ended up in army crates
And photographs in files
His tiny boat
Sparked as he turned and grazed our city
I started driving on the motorway
I was feelin’ down
Last night he could not make it
Last night he could not make it
He tried hard but he could not make it
Last night he could not make it
On a holiday
So many miles
Lookin’ for a place to stay
Near some friendly star
He found this mote
And now we wonder
How could this so great
Turn so shit
He ended up in army crates
And photographs in files
His tiny boat
Sparked as he grazed it
He started heading for the motorway
And he came right down.

Significantly, only a year before Trompe le Monde was released in the United States, “Motorway to Roswell” was preceded by an even more overt culmination of the allegations in Scully’s books in the form of  Megadeath’s song “Hangar 18” from their 1990 album Rust in Peace.  When the songs are listened to one after another, “Hangar 18” can be interpreted as a direct sequel to “Motorway to Roswell,” picking up the alien’s unfortunate tale after the crash described by The Pixies:

“Hangar 18” by Nick Menza

Welcome to our fortress tall
Take some time to show you around
Impossible to break these walls
For you see the steel is much too strong
Computer banks to rule the world
Instruments to sight the stars

Possibly I've seen too much
Hangar 18 I know too much

Foreign life forms inventory
Suspended state of cryogenics
Selective amnesia's the story
Believed foretold but who'd suspect
The Military Intelligence
Two words combined that can't make sense

Possibly I've seen too much
Hangar 18 I know too much

The entire music video for “Hangar 18” can be seen HERE.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Medal of Honor Awarded to Drones

From a 2-13-13 Reuters news article entitled "As War Changes, New Medal Honors Drone Pilots, Cyber Warriors":

(Reuters) - In a nod to the changing nature of warfare, the Pentagon on Wednesday created a new medal recognizing combat contributions of people like drone pilots and cyber warriors who are reshaping the battlefield, even from thousands of miles away.

Outgoing Defense Secretary and former CIA Director Leon Panetta - who spent much of the past four years bolstering those new capabilities - announced the decision to create the "Distinguished Warfare Medal" at a Pentagon news conference […].

"This award recognizes the reality of the kind of technological warfare that we are engaged in, in the 21st century," [Panetta said].

It is the ninth-highest warfare medal the Pentagon can bestow on troops - even higher than the Bronze Star. Importantly, it is the only combat medal that a military service member can receive without actually physically being in the same geographic area where combat took place.

From a 2-14-13 Foxnews.com article entitled “VFW Slams Pentagon’s Drone Medal, Complains It Would Outrank Purple Heart”:  

America’s largest combat veterans group is worried the creation of a new medal for drone strikes and cyber-warfare could bestow higher honor on those using a joystick to kill terrorists than soldiers wounded on the battlefield.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced Wednesday, would rank higher than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, which is given to servicemembers killed or wounded in battle. The new medal would rank immediately below the Distinguished Flying Cross.

But to some, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, creating a non-combat medal is turning into a major Pentagon misfire.

“It’s a boneheaded decision,” VFW spokesman Joe Davis told FoxNews.com. “This is going to affect morale and it’s sending troops in the field a horrible message.”

By Thursday afternoon, more than 800 responses had been posted on the VFW’s Facebook page. Many said the medal’s high ranking on the military medal hierarchy would hurt an already-bruised U.S. military morale.

One dubbed the medal the “Geek Cross” and suggested that the country was close to handing video-gamers Purple Hearts for animated wounds […].

On Wednesday, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the creation of the medal to recognize “extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations, but do not involve acts of valor or physical risks that combat entails.”

Panetta said the medal recognizes the reality that drones and cyber warfare “have changed the way wars are fought.” Under the Obama administration, drone strikes have become an integral part of America's counterterrorism strategy. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

UFO Fears Spark Panic in the Urals

While the “Russian Meteorite” news began to spread throughout the world at around 10:00 P.M. (PST) on 2-14-13--a story I was monitoring as it broke--rt.com (the Russian Times) was reporting that the Russian military had shot down a mysterious object from the sky, and that this object had crashed into a zinc factory in Chelyabinsk.  On that evening the banner headline for the Russian Times read as follows:


Only days later, however, this same link takes one to a similar article bearing an altered headline: 

Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Almost all references to UFOs have been expunged, as if they had never been there at all, and the initial military shoot-down story is now refuted:

“The regional Emergency Ministry denied previous unconfirmed reports by local media that the meteorite was shot by the military air defenses.

“The local newspaper Znak reported the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. Quoting a source in the military, it wrote a missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers.

“Regnum news agency quoted a military source who claimed that the vapor condensation trail of the meteorite speaks to the fact that the meteorite was intercepted by air defenses.

“Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.”

Comparisons between this most recent “Russian Meteorite” disaster and the infamous Tunguska Event that occurred in Siberia on June 30, 1908 are inevitable.  The May 2001 issue of Fate Magazine covered the more anomalous aspects of the Tunguksa Event in Dr. Vladimir Rubtsov's article entitled "The Unknown Tunguska:  What We Know and What We Do Not Know About the Great Explosion of 1908."  To read Dr. Rubtsov's entire article, click HERE.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 3)

Now let’s move back to 1984 and the release of Frank Zappa’s three-album experimental rock opera Thing-Fish, a truly bizarre send-up of Broadway musicals based on the conspiracy theory that the U.S. government manufactured AIDS as a biowarfare weapon to eradicate homosexuals and African-Americans.  In a parasatirical world, it shouldn’t be a surprise that at least four well-researched books subsequently (or concurrently, in the case of the first book mentioned below) verified Zappa’s satirical notion: 

1)      AIDS AND THE DOCTORS OF DEATH:  AN INQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN OF THE AIDS EPIDEMIC by Dr. Alan Cantwell (Aries Rising Press, 1984). 

2)      AIDS INC.:  SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY by investigative journalist Jon Rappoport (Human Energy Press, 1988). 

3)      QUEER BLOOD:  THE SECRET AIDS GENOCIDE PLOT by Dr. Alan Cantwell (Aries Rising Press, 1993). 

4)      EMERGING VIRUSES:  AIDS & EBOLA—NATURE, ACCIDENT OR INTENTIONAL? by Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz (Tetrahedron Publishing, 1996).

Related sources about the overall subject of germ warfare include the book CLOUDS OF SECRECY:  THE ARMY’S GERM WARFARE TESTS OVER POPULATED AREAS by bioterrorism expert Leonard A. Cole (Rowman & Littlefield, 1989) and a little-known scientific paper entitled “Ethnic Weapons” by Carl A. Larson that was originally published in the Nov. 1970 issue of Military Review (Vol. L, No. 11), a revelatory article worth tracking down in a well-stocked library near you. 


To groove to Thing-Fish, click HERE.


Thing-Fish

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 2)

Our roundup of the obscure musical genre I’ve chosen to christen “Conspiracy Music” now moves forward to the epic “Full Metal Jackoff” by Jello Biafra and DOA from their 1989 album Last Scream of the Missing Neighbors.  This fourteen-minute song references various conspiracy theories, particularly the one that contends that the Central Intelligence Agency has purposely been dumping drugs into African-American neighborhoods—e.g., South-Central Los Angeles—for several decades.  In 1996 this theory was researched and verified by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist named Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News.  Webb’s thorough investigation led to the publication of his 1999 book DARK ALLIANCE: THE CIA, THE CONTRAS, AND THE CRACK COCAINE EXPLOSION (Seven Stories Press).  As a reward for his diligence and ingenuity, Webb was driven out of the San Jose Mercury News by the executive editor of the newspaper.  Five years after the publication of DARK ALLIANCE, Webb ostensibly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head… twice.

Conspiracy theory, indeed.

A subsequent internal investigation headed by Frederick Porter Hitz, Inspector General of the CIA, eventually verified all of Webb’s findings and more, but very few mainstream media outlets even bothered to take note of this.  Needless to say, this validation came far too late for Webb. 

The entirety of “Full Metal Jackoff” can be heard HERE.

What follows are choice excerpts from Jello Biafra’s lyrics:

On the Washington D.C. Beltway
Around and around I go
In the black van with no windows
And a chimney puffing smoke
Bloody headlines in the news each day
Drug "crisis" everywhere
So much comes in so easy
It's as though someone wants it there

It would be a little obvious
To fence off all the slums
Hand out machine guns
To the poor in the projects
And watch 'em kill each other off
A more subtle genocide is when
The only hope for the young
Is to join the Army and slowly die
Wall Street or Crack Dealer Avenue
The last roads left to the American Dream

Wall Street or Crack Dealer Avenue
Wall Street or Crack Dealer Avenue
Only one road leads to this neighborhood
Little kids wanna sell drugs when they grow up

The folks might get just a little upset
If they knew where that dope comes from
From Columbia to the Contras
To our Air Force bases, where we trade it for guns
The moral equivalent of a serial killer
And his CIA friends
Call the shots from the White House
But now that we own the media too
Those stories just aren't run

On the Washington D.C. Beltway, 'round and 'round I go
In a black van with no windows, and a chimney puffing smoke
Some gang that ran smack in Viet Nam
Ain't got no reason to fear
Just get a Vice President so dumb
The crook at the top never gets impeached

That sure was easy wasn't it?
That sure was easy wasn't it?
More crack-more panic-more cops-more jails

You see emergency-total war
You see emergency-total war
You see a black face-you see a crackhead
You see a black face-you see a crackhead
You see a black face-you see Willie Horton with a knife
You see Willie Horton with a knife

You see one Willie Horton you've seen them all
They're everywhere, I know
You asked for it, you've got it
Drug suspects have no rights at all
Property seized and sold before trial
Labor camps on American soil!
Neo-Nazi bootboys
That the cops never seem to arrest
Prowl neighborhoods with baseball bats
Why now? Why do they get so much press...?

Mein Kampf-the mini series
Ollie North-"patriotic" hero
The leader for tomorrow is yours today
Finally gotcha psyched for a police state

On the Washington D.C. Beltway
Around and around I go
In a black van with no windows
And a chimney puffing smoke
My van's a mobile oven now
That burns the bodies you never see
Just like in Chile or Guatemala
People just seem to disappear

Just like Rome
We fell asleep when we got spoiled
Ignore human rights in the rest of the world
Ya might just lose your own

As the noose of narco-militarism
Tightens 'round your necks

We worry about burning flags
And pee in jars at work
To keep our jobs

But if someone came for you one night
And dragged you away
Do you really think your neighbors
Would even care...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

L.A. SECRET POLICE

To check out Loren Coleman’s ongoing analysis of the multiple “synchromystic” levels of significance embedded in the current Christopher Dorner manhunt, simply click HERE.  By now many of you will have read the infamous manifesto that is being attributed to Dorner (reproduced in full on Coleman’s Twilight Language blog).  If you’re wondering whether or not Dorner’s allegations against the Los Angeles Police Department have any basis in reality, you might want to read an illuminating book entitled L.A. SECRET POLICE:  INSIDE THE LAPD ELITE SPY NETWORK by former LAPD officer Mike Rothmiller and journalist Ivan G. Goldman (Pocket Books, 1992). 

The description on the back cover of L.A. SECRET POLICE reads as follows:

"One night in Orange County, a helmeted figure on a motorcycle pulled alongside an unmarked LAPD car and emptied a machine pistol at the cop inside.  Elite OCID [Organized Crime Intelligence Division] Detective Mike Rothmiller lived to tell the story.  Now, with veteran journalist Ivan Goldman, he rips the lid off Chief of Police Daryl Gates' LAPD - and reveals, for the first time, the dirty secrets of the elite unit whose crushing power and vast influence kept many of America's most citizens in its iron grip."

Upon reading the Dorner manifesto, my mind immediately turned back to Rothmiller and his book.  Only yesterday (2-11-13) Rothmiller spoke to ABC News about Dorner’s less-than-laudatory descriptions of the LAPD:  “I was a detective and I was a sergeant and the issues that he describes regarding racism, brutality, corruption, internal affairs malfeasance, so forth.... That is absolutely true,” says Rothmiller. “I saw it firsthand.”  Rothmiller served with the LAPD for ten years.  ABC’s entire report on Rothmiller can be read HERE.  

To place Dorner’s allegations within a broader historical perspective, I also encourage you to read the book THE POLICE ESTABLISHMENT by former FBI agent William W. Turner (Putnam, 1968), which will definitely establish that these allegations are by no means new and certainly not the figment of a mad man’s brain. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Perhaps the Most Important Book You Will Ever Read"

Here are further excerpts from Tessa Dick's book review of Cryptoscatology (entitled "Cryptoscatology: Perhaps the Most Important Book You Will Ever Read"):

"Cryptoscataology confirms my suspicion that schools are designed to teach us not to think.  They teach us to be good soldiers or factory workers, to line up and march, to do what we are told without asking any questions and without thinking.

"There is so much more to this volume, that I can’t cover even a tenth of it here.  Robert Guffey has packed decades of information into 350 pages of highly readable text.  The extensive index is useful, but I prefer to read the entire book in order, then to reread it and read it again.  It takes persistence to allow the implications of mind control to sink in, but it is well worth it.

"Highly recommended."

You can read the full review HERE.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tessa B. Dick, Wife of the Late Philip K. Dick, Endorses Cryptoscatology


Tessa B. Dick, author of several books including two recent memoirs entitled PHILIP K. DICK:  REMEMBERING FIREBRIGHT (2009) and TESSA B.DICK:  MY LIFE ON THE EDGE OF REALITY (2011), contacted me about a week ago to let me know that a friend of hers had, unbidden, sent her a copy of CRYPTOSCATOLOGY in the mail.  Tessa read the book at a swift pace, then generously volunteered the following endorsement:

“Finally, a scholarly book takes conspiracy theory seriously.  Yes, Robert Guffey does point out a few problems with some of the theories.  He debunks more than one.  On the other hand, he also demonstrates with evidence and logic that some conspiracy theories are at least partially true [...].  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  For fans of science fiction, conspiracy theory or a good spy story (a true story, at that), Cryptoscatology is required reading.”