Sinister Forces

A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft
Book One
The Nine

Peter Levenda


Sinister Forces

A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft

Book One:

The Nine

Peter Levenda



Copyright © 2005, 2011 Peter Levenda. All rights reserved.

TrineDay PO Box 577

Walterville, OR 97489

Levenda, Peter

Sinister Forces—A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft: The Nine / Peter Levenda ; with forward by Jim Hougan — 1st ed.

p. cm.

(ISBN-13) 978-0-9841858-1-8 (ISBN-10) 0-9841858-1-X (acid-free paper) (ISBN-13) 978-1-936296-75-0 (ISBN-10) 1-936296-75-6 EPUB

(ISBN-13) 978-1-936296-76-7 (ISBN-10) 1-936296-76-4 KINDLE

1. Political Corruption—United States. 2. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)— MK-ULTRA—Operation BLUEBIRD. 3. Behavior Modicfication—United States.

  1. Occultism—United States—History. 5. Crime—Serial Killers—Charles Manson— Son of Sam. 6. Secret Societies—United States. 1. Title



10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Printed in the USA

Distribution to the Trade By: Independent Publishers Group (IPG) 814 North Franklin Street

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For Rose

Table of Contents
Title Page
Foreword b y Jim Hougan
Introduction: A Study in S carlet

1. The Dunwich Horror: An Occult History of America
2. The Mountains of Madness: American Prehistory and the Occult
3. Red Dragon: The Ashland Tragedy

4. Unholy Alliance: Nazism, Satanism and Psychological Warfare in
the USA
5. Bluebi rd
6. The Doo rs of Perception

7. JFK
8. Rose mary’s Baby

Chapter Headings for Sinister Forces Book Two and Three


Chapter Headings for Sinister Forces Book Two and Three Catalog

One cannot coerce the Spiritual: if one attempts to enter into the Light without preparation, one always faces the trials and dangers of Darkness. At the very least, an enforced entry into initiation will drive the illegal entrant insane.

— David Ovason, The Zelator



Just when the 20th Century went amok, and why, is difficult to say, but the creation of the CIA would seem to have been, at the very least, a contributing factor.

Born in the septic afterglow of World War II, and in keen anticipation of its successor, WW III (a/k/a “the Big One”), the Agency was shaped, in part, by transformative events that had taken place earlier in the century. These were the efflorescence of psychiatry as an important medical practice, and a turn-of-the-century occult revival that reached a crescendo in the 1920s.

Taken together, these events conspired toward unforeseen ends, not the least of which was the conversion of the American heartland into a laboratory experiment in “psychological warfare.”

As Peter Levenda, the author of this extraordinary and deeply scary book, points out, the term is a translation of a German word, Weltansschauungskrieg (literally, “world-view warfare”). By way of example, one battle in this war got under way in 1953, when the Central Intelligence Agency convened “a prestigious group of scientists” (watch out, dear Reader, whenever you see that phrase) to discuss the problem of UFOs. There were waves of sightings at the time, and people, in and out of government, were getting nervous about them. Meeting behind closed doors, with CIA security guards at the ready, the so-called “Robertson Panel” (named for Dr. H.P. Robertson, a physicist and weapons expert at Caltech) studied the Tremonton sightings and other films of lights in the sky, and listened patiently to the reports of experts from the private sector, the Air Force and Navy.

Soon, it became apparent that the experts were in disagreement. Some claimed that the lights could be explained in terms of natural phenomena (e.g., sunlight on the wings of sea-gulls). Others, such as the Navy’s Photo-

Interpretation Laboratory, insisted that, on careful study, the same objects appeared to be “self-luminous,” and therefore intelligently guided.

So it was a question of seagulls or rockets or spaceships. Or something.

No matter. Since the experts could not agree on the meaning of the evidence in front of them, the scientific problem was redefined in political terms. Whatever was zipping around in the skies over America, it hadn’t killed anyone (at least not yet, at least not directly). So there didn’t appear to be a military threat.

Or was there?

The question arose as to what might happen if the Soviets tried to exploit the phenomenon, preying on the superstitions and weaknesses of the man in the street. A “War of the Worlds” panic might easily result. “Mass hysteria” would set in, and emergency reporting channels would be overloaded. Air- defense intelligence sources would be compromised.

The Reds could walk right in! If not to Washington, then West Berlin.

Something had to be done.

It was decided, therefore, that the subject had to be “debunked.” That is to say, UFOs needed to be made intellectually disreputable in the hope that they would eventually become unthinkable. In this way, the problem (if not the lights themselves) would be made to disappear.

So it was that a covert operation was mounted, with the Ozzie & Harriet world of Middle America as its target. Celebrities such as Arthur Godfrey were enlisted to make fun of the subject and ridicule those who were interested in it. UFO watchdog groups, such as Wisconsin’s Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO), were placed under surveillance and infiltrated. The Jam Handy Organization, which produced World War II films for the American Army, was retained, along with the Walt Disney organization. Journalists working for Life and the Saturday Evening Post were dragged into the fray, as was the Navy’s Special Devices Center on Long Island.

It took a while, but UFOs eventually became a kind of in-joke among those who hoped to be taken seriously. To raise the issue in public was to invite ridicule and trigger snickers. By 1960, curiosity about mysterious lights in the sky was regarded by many as evidence of mental “instability.” While an expression of interest in the subject would not be enough to get you committed, neither would it enhance your resume.

Other psy-ops followed, at home and abroad. Levenda discusses many of them, including Gen. Edward Lansdale’s manipulation of the vampire myth in the Philippines, and the CIA’s scheme to eliminate Fidel Castro by persuading his constituents that he was, in fact, el Anticristo.

The JFK assassination was, of course, a focal-point in the world-view war waged by the CIA. Just as the Agency conspired to make curiosity about “flying saucers” a litmus test for an addled mind, excessive interest in the President’s murder was made to seem “ghoulish” and trivial. For a journalist or historian to write critically about either subject was professional suicide.

Eventually, psy-ops like these combined to redefine the parameters of acceptable discourse in America. Principal among the notions placed beyond the Pale was the practice and theory of “conspiracism”—which soon came to include criticism of mainstream reportage. More than a matter of seeing cabals behind every murder, it was a way of thinking, a stance toward the networks, the press and the feds. Anyone who looked too deeply into events, or who asked too many questions, was dismissed as “a conspiracy-theorist.” (This, after MK-ULTRA, Iran-Contra, BCCI and the destruction of the World Trade Centers.)

In some ways, it is as if the century itself has been encrypted, so that if an historian would be honest, he must also become an investigator reporter. Failing that, we are left at the mercy of ambitious academicians and journalists, stenographers to power who are themselves complicit in an astonishing string of cover-ups and atrocities that stretch from Dealey Plaza to Watergate, Waco to 9-11. Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian poet and film director who was stomped to death by a street-hustler in 1975 (unless, as some insist, he was beaten to death by a gang of fascists) understood. Fascinated by the 20th Century vectors of politics and violence, Pasolini

despaired of the way in which the age has been encrypted. Writing in

Corriere della Sera, a left-wing newspaper, he declared,

I know the names of those responsible for the slaughters… I know the names of the powerful group…

I know the names of those who, between one mass and the next, made provision and guaranteed political protection…

I know the names of the important and serious figures who are behind the ridiculous figures…

I know the names of the important and serious figures behind the tragic kids…

I know all these names and all the acts (the slaughters, the attacks on institutions) they have been guilty of…

I know. But I don’t have the proof. I don’t even have clues.

Well, here they are: the clues, seething in the evidentiary equivalent of what the French call “a basket of crabs,” in the first volume of what promises to be a virtual encyclopedia of clues. Levenda calls Sinister Forces “a grimoire,” or manual for invoking demons.

Certainly, there are demons enough in its pages: Charles Manson and Richard Helms, Aleister Crowley and David Ferrie, Jack Parsons and the Son of Sam. The “usual suspects,” you say? Well, yes, of course. But the suspects are served up with an entourage of angels and demons you may never have heard of: Arthur Young and C.D. Jackson, Andrija Puharich and The Nine, not to mention a claque of “Wandering Bishops” and the proprietors of Music World in Wilder, Kentucky (surely the model for the nightmare-cantina in Quentin Tarantino’s “From Dusk Til Dawn”).

But that’s just for openers. Levenda’s study is broad and deep, a life’s work that runs to volumes. What distinguishes it from other efforts, such as those of Pasolini, is not merely its comprehensiveness. Rather, it is Levenda’s realization that a matrix of politics and violence is incapable of explaining the demented century that shuddered to an end in Manhattan, not

so long ago. What’s needed is a third dimension, and that dimension, he tells us, is “the occult.”

By this, Levenda means something broader than a mix of magic and religion. When he writes of the occult, he means to include whatever is secret, hidden, or unknown. Add this dimension to those of politics and violence, and the century shivers into focus. Sinister Forces is about evil in what is now the digital age: Evil 2.0.

Time magazine long ago, and famously, posed the question: “Is God Dead?” Implicit in Levenda’s study is a related inquiry: Did the Devil survive Him? If he did not, then how are we to explain a century of recreational homicide and political mayhem?

Perhaps with reference to what seems to be a Fortean element: the pattern of coincidence that enfolds these highly strange events, adding a distinct “woo-woo factor” to Levenda’s study. Whether it is Lee Harvey Oswald’s habit of hanging out at the Bluebird Cafe in Atsugi, Japan (“Bluebird” was the code-name of a CIA mind control program to produce “programmed assassins”), or the famous chain of coincidences surrounding the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations, (eg., Lincoln’s secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy’s secretary named Lincoln each warned the President not to make his fatal sojourn). It seems almost as if an early warning system is embedded in the passage of time itself, or in what Carl Jung called the Collective Unconscious. And that system would seem to be sending a stream of warning signals, enciphered as synchronicities.

Exploring topics like this is what makes The Nine one of the darkest and most provocative books that you are ever likely to read (pending publication of Book II). That said, it also one of the most enjoyable, easy to pick up (start reading on any page), and hard to put down. Levenda’s intuitions are a delight, and his choice of subject-matter unerring. Both a compendium of 20th century evil and an investigation of it, Levenda’s study is deep, intuitive (and, often, droll).

It is, in other words, parapolitics at their most bizarre and, I suspect, their most illuminating. Like UFOs, conspiracies and assassination, serial killers, mind control and the occult, “evil” isn’t something that serious people are

supposed to think about. If they did, the emergency reporting system would soon be overloaded. And you know what happens when that occurs.

All hell breaks loose.



“There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”

— Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887

August 25, 2000 Rome

It is the centenary of the death of Friedrich Nietzsche, but I am in Rome. A week ago, I was in Turin, standing in the plaza where Nietzsche went insane in January, 1889. He saw a horse being whipped and—out of all character—was so moved to compassion that he threw his arms around the horse’s neck and suffered a nervous breakdown on the spot. Since then, psychiatrists have been of the opinion that this spontaneous gesture of compassion was so alien to Nietzsche’s own writings that it precipitated the breakdown.1 Compassion, that most un-Darwinian of emotions, went against everything Nietzsche thought he stood for.

What blond beast, its hour come round at last…

I am thinking of Nietzsche now, in the intense, unforgiving sun of St. Peter’s Square in a relentlessly hot August, escorting an American executive (my employer) and his fiancée on a tour of Rome. In a way I am coming full circle to my childhood from this moment in time, nearly fifty years after my birth and, like Nietzsche, I am confronted with my antithesis. It is not a whipped horse I see before me, however, but as we descend into the crypt below the high altar it is a small casket said to contain the bones

of St. Peter himself, the first Pope and the small rock on which Christ is said to have built his church.

Ecce Homo. Nietzsche’s last work, finished in the months before he went mad, titled after Pontius Pilate’s famous words to the crowd as he asked them to spare the accused Jesus Christ: Behold the Man. St. Peter was murdered, and died a martyr’s death. This pilgrimage to make contact with his remains—remains over which the entire edifice of Roman Catholicism has been built—is for me a confrontation with the Enemy. And, like all true Enemies, in his face I see my own.

Christ was executed, according to the official version of the story (although this has always been in doubt, both among historians and among members of Western secret societies). His chosen successor, Simon Peter— in whose Basilica I now stand—was also executed, and in fact crucified upside-down. St. Peter’s Cross is a reverse crucifix, such as those the Satanists wear, perhaps marking them as more Christian than they would be comfortable knowing. St. Andrew was also crucified, he of the X-shaped cross. And every Catholic church must have the mortal remains of some saint present in the altar stone. It is, with its gruesome crucified Jesus and saints missing eyes and being roasted alive or torn to pieces, a bloody religion: a faith built on aggression and murder, madness and sacrifice. The Passion. The early Christians met in catacombs, in cemeteries and in darkness. And now I pass lines of sarcophagi containing the remains of dead Popes buried beneath the nave of St. Peter’s Basilica. More death: death in everlasting rows, quiet chapels and candles burning alone, in silence. And there is the sarcophagus of Pope John Paul I. He was Pope for a month, and then he died. Mysteriously, to be sure. There is evidence to suggest he was murdered. Volumes of evidence and, as in the Kennedy assassinations, the spoor of conspiracy and hatred.

“A first class relic is a piece of the saint’s flesh or blood or bone. A second class relic is something the saint is known to have touched, such as clothing worn. A third class relic is something touched to a first class relic.” I am describing Catholic ritual and religion to my guests. They are Lutheran and Methodist, respectively. The woman has wanted to visit the Sistine Chapel since she was twelve. We have already done that, me standing aside and staring up at the Creation, and Adam and Eve in the Garden, not

looking too closely at the huge Last Judgment, not being the type who slows down on the highway to gaze at accident victims.

If the blood and bones of saints are relics, what are the blood and bones of the common person: the murder victim? the suicide? the casualty of war? What secret power lies forgotten in their graves, their dump sites, their formaldehyde jars on a serial killer’s shelf?

What Great Beast, its hour come round at last…

Everywhere around me are images of pissed-off prophets: Moses, forever the type-A executive, smashing and smoting and scolding everyone in sight, taking on the Egyptians, a man who has the balls to ask God for a photostat of the Ten Commandments after he, Moses, smashes the first set in anger at his own people. You’ve got to be on pretty intimate terms with the Creator to go up the mountain a second time. Moses, on some statuary, is shown with horns on his head. And then there are Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, full of dire warnings and frightening predictions. John the Baptist, not the sort you would want to invite to your GOP fundraiser. Danger is all around us. Trust no one. The presence of Satan is everywhere implicit. But who is he?

Bogeyman. The word comes from the Russian, bog, meaning “god.”

I stand a little apart as the executive and his fiancée approach the glass window that opens out onto St. Peter’s own resting place. It was to Peter that Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” I am nervous. The crowds are too thick, this being a Jubilee Year and what the Italian papers are calling La Woodstock del Pape. There is no possibility of silent contemplation of St. Peter’s remains, no chance for a psychic connection with the founder of the Christian organization. I glance to my right. There is a metal box there. Peter’s Pence, it says. You’re supposed to make a donation.

Even St. Peter’s Basilica is not immune. Not even the bones of Peter himself. There is no way to avoid the collection plate, the thick envelope, the outstretched, manicured hand. A few feet away, John Paul I lies in a

plain, unassuming box, while all around him the bodies of Popes who went along to get along are buried in carved marble splendor.

Get thee behind me, Satan.

I am thinking of Nietzsche again as we make our way over to the gift shop to organize the purchase of a poster of the Sistine ceiling, or il volto as they say in Italian. The vault. A souvenir of the journey for the fiancée, who believes in vampires and crystals and the Knights Templar and Rosslyn. She already has a poster of that famous scene from the Chapel, the one where God leans over and almost—but not quite—touches the languid fingertip of Adam. I sometimes wonder if Adam and God are actually pointing at each other, challenging the other to take the blame for what can only be a pretty messed up Creation. There is supposed to be tension in that painting, the tension of a gun about to go off. As I once wrote, long ago,

I have respect for God, the same respect I have for a loaded gun, or the hand that holds it.2 and God is the only safe thing to be.3

And Nietzsche wrote,

We should reconsider cruelty and open our eyes… Almost everything we call “higher culture” is based on the spiritualization of cruelty, on its becoming more profound: this is my proposition. That “savage animal” has not really been “mortified”; it lives and flourishes, it has merely become—divine.4 and The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us. 5

“Rechristen our evil” …an unintended irony?

We find a taxi to take us back to the Hotel Hassler, that ornate pile atop the Spanish Steps. We are lucky; the day is hot and the pilgrims many. Getting a taxi at St. Peter’s Square is no mean feat; I know, I have struggled many times in the past in all kinds of weather. The visit has been overwhelming: too many statues, too many paintings, too many rooms. But the effect has been to bring me back to my childhood, to the smell of stale

incense and dusty cassocks, to Latin conjurations and exorcisms, to the roll call of the dead—the murdered and the suicides—that I have known and survived. To the plots and counterplots and subplots that I have been assiduously recording for the past thirty years. And to that Catholic specialty, guilt.

As I bid the other Americans good evening and take the elevator to my room, I wonder if I can start writing the book I have put off for years, as I did one more bit of research, sought out one more lead, read one more dry volume on psychology, or criminology, or assassination. I feel stronger, more capable, articulate in a way writers have to be.

But in the back of my mind glows the small casket of St. Peter’s remains, a silvered shadow of Satan, and that last crazed moment of Nietzsche in Turin, embracing a startled horse and asking for forgiveness. And love. And going insane.

Like all journeys of a thousand miles, this one began with a single step. It was an article in the Village Voice by Craig Karpel, entitled “Patriotic Witchcraft,” and it was in two parts. The Voice is a weekly newspaper, and I waited eagerly for the following week’s conclusion. It was the time of Watergate, and I was wallowing.

I worked during the day for the Bendix Corporation, at their International Marketing Operation on Broadway in midtown Manhattan. At night, I was a struggling writer. I wrote short stories, poems, and novellas, working my way up to the novel. I had no illusions, though; I knew that getting paid for writing is virtually impossible, so I was relatively content to write “for the drawer.” I had no social obligations, I was single, answerable only to myself. I spent more money on books than on any other item in my modest studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights. I treated friends to meals and long, stately coffee sessions on Montague Street, when I had the money, and we would talk about Vietnam, and the Kennedy assassinations, and Watergate, and the Middle East, and World War II and its aftermath. Across the East River from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, we could watch the doomed World Trade Center towers going up. A few blocks from Montague Street is Atlantic Avenue and the Arab Quarter, and we spent at least one day a week

eating at the Lebanese or Syrian or Moroccan restaurants there, and attending parties—replete with belly dancers and bromides—that raised money and consciousness for Palestinian charities. It was a time of paranoia and innocence, a kind of national adolescence.

The Watergate revelations were coming fast and furious, and I was amused by the startled and shocked expressions of my friends as each new character took the stand with his or her briefcase full of scandals. None of it surprised me. I read three newspapers every day, and did not own a television set, so I considered myself better informed.

And then the Voice articles, and something ignited inside me.

Karpel was writing about some of the odd dimensions to Watergate that had so far escaped the notice (or fell beneath the contempt) of mainstream journalists. The fact that convicted Watergate “plumber,” and former CIA agent and Bay of Pigs officer, E. Howard Hunt was a part-time novelist who had three occult novels to his credit (á la the Cigarette Smoking Man in the X-Files2 television series). Or the fact that Richard Nixon had “rushed to judgment” in the case of Charles Manson, declaring him “guilty” while the trial was still under way (a fact that should have caused a mistrial, but didn’t). And the odd set of coincidences that linked Nixon’s resignation date with the death of Marilyn Monroe, and the opening of the Haunted House at Disneyland.

Indeed, it was the very juxtaposition of those words “patriotic” and “witchcraft” that caused some kind of subconscious chain reaction, resulting in the cortical fission that became the idea for this book. Manson, Nixon, Hunt, occultism, Monroe, politics… witchcraft. It was delicious, a kind of Robert Ludlum on LSD experience. Throw in the Church of Satan, Rosemary’s Baby, The Manchurian Candidate and the Kennedy assassinations, and the allure is irresistible.

To what degree does mysticism (including occultism, religious organizations, and secret societies) influence politics? Can it be demonstrated that there is no real separation of church and state, despite most Americans’ belief? Can we show that the world’s political leaders are motivated by (at times bizarre and outrageous) religious or spiritual

convictions, thus threatening at the least the very nature of the American way of life… and at the most American lives in general?

Is politics a science? Is it an art? Or is it religion?

Armed with these uneasy questions, I set out to investigate as much human history as possible to see to what extent—if any—religious or spiritual ideas, convictions, or even regulations have influenced the political lives of nations and contributed to happiness or suffering, peace or war, under the control of visionary leadership. I began with the study of Nazi occultism, since rumors of that were very much in the air at the time. I visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and the Library of Congress and fell upon a treasure trove of documentation showing Nazi fascination with occult themes… to the extent of financing research in Tibet and hunting down the Grail. This became the central subject matter of my last book, Unholy Alliance. Here was a perfect example of a nation being ruled by what were called—in any other age—occult leaders and “spiritual” visionaries. From the swastika to the SS, the Nazis were little more than the 20th century’s best organized (and best dressed) cult. A political party? Please.

Simultaneously, I set out to “deconstruct” the Manson phenomenon. I read everything available on the Tate/LaBianca killings, on Manson’s childhood and upbringing, and the backgrounds and relationships of his followers. I reviewed Manson’s history in California with the Beach Boys, and with Angela Lansbury’s daughter and other minor celebrities. Manson’s connection to the Church of Satan and to The Process was also important to my research. And then, a strange thing happened (one of many that will be mentioned during the course of this book): I realized that my first real job in New York was with a company whose owner, Willy Brandt, had a son (gossip columnist Steven Brandt) who was questioned by the police in connection with the Manson killings and who subsequently committed suicide—some say in abject fear that he would be the next victim of the “Family.” In other words, I was only two handshakes away from the Tate/LaBianca killings myself. (It was at this same company that I later

discovered I was only two handshakes away from the Howard Hughes disappearance and the Clifford Irving affair. Coincidence piled on coincidence, until I finally realized that coincidence itself is an important, although neglected, factor in history, as we shall see.)

I thought I had all this pretty much nailed, until I decided one day to drive to the town where Manson grew up. I found that a relative of Manson’s had been murdered in Ashland a few months before the Tate/LaBianca killings took place. A kitchen knife had been the weapon used, stabbing Darwin Scott nineteen times and pinning him to the floorboards of his apartment. Clearly there was more to be discovered, and a trip to Manson’s “home town” was in order.

Ashland, Kentucky is not a place where nice New York City boys like me hang out. Although it is well-known as the birthplace of Naomi and Wynonna Judd, and Chuck Wollery of The Love Connection, it is a small town dominated by the petroleum and chemical refineries that bear Ashland’s name. I noticed that serial killer Bobby Joe Long came from Kenova, West Virginia, which is a smaller town only a few miles from Ashland, and that serial killer Henry Lee Lucas was born in a Virginia town on the West Virginia border. I wondered what it was about this particular location—this Bermuda Triangle of depravity—that seemed to breed serial killers and mass murderers. Was it the water?

So I rented a cool, cherry-red Ford Mustang convertible and made the drive from New England to Ashland, Kentucky, stopping off first in Washington,

D.C. and then in the hollers of rural West Virginia during a thunderstorm. The tale of that trip comes later in this book. Suffice it to say that I found more than I bargained for in Ashland:

Ancient “Indian” burial mounds in the center of town;

A large house that was moved entire from its original site to one a few streets over, directly on a line with burial mounds and sporting a pair of griffins on its roof, mythical creatures—

according to the town’s own brochure—designed to ward off evil spirits;

The Ashland Tragedy and Massacre: a savage killing of three children on a Christmas Eve in the late nineteenth century, the subsequent arrest of three suspects, and a massacre of townspeople by militia detailed to protect the suspects from a lynching; and

Oddest of all, the fact that a Manson relative and sometime petty crook—Darwin Scott—was brutally murdered with a kitchen knife in Ashland a few months before the celebrated Tate/LaBianca killings… a murder case that has never been solved.

It is said that “Kentucky” is an Indian word that means “dark and bloody ground.” I wondered if it was true, if a physical place could be evil, could hold a curse that would affect generations of residents to come. Did the Indians know something we didn’t? Or did we unconsciously suspect that the earth held some sinister secret? Indeed, the name first proposed for the Commonwealth of Kentucky was… Transylvania.

And then I remembered the words of Cotton Mather, he of the Salem witch trials in seventeenth century Massachusetts, who said that America had been the Devil’s land before the Europeans came, and wondered if he meant more than simply that the Native Americans were not Christians.

And then there were the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, the father of Gothic horror, who felt that there was something ancient and evil beneath the hardscrabble New England soil, a concept amplified by Shirley Jackson in her stories of New England haunted houses and depraved villages.

After all, America has had its share of misery and tragedy, regardless of the beautiful words and even more beautiful intentions of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Why would a fertile and bountiful land, colonized by pious and fervent European Christians of every variety, descend into that maelstrom of civil war, slavery, mass murder,

assassinations, and day-to-day violence that shocks the rest of the world, even as the rest of the world has had to deal with its Kaisers and Hitlers and Mussolinis and Stalins and Maos and Hirohitos? Do we have more than our share of violence, or is it simply that we get more PR?

Was the answer to be found in unraveling the skein of violence itself, like the scarlet thread of murder in the very first Sherlock Holmes story, running through the fabric of our history like a timeline? …Was I wrong to look at religious history? Occult history? It bore such interesting and convincing fruit in my Nazi study. Yet surely the roots of American violence and American evil could not grow from the same metaphysical soil?

And as I poked through the debris of American history—the autopsy photos and the police reports and the political manifestos and the trial transcripts and the confessions and the lies and the declassified documents and the bureaucratic memoranda—I saw that American history could not be separated from my own history or from world history, that, as Americans, we can’t look objectively at our own story. Like that famous conundrum in quantum physics, the observer changes the event observed. Is the Kennedy assassination a particle, or a wave?

During the Watergate era a somewhat unsettling revelation was made: that for twenty-five years (or more) the CIA had conducted psychological experimentation upon both volunteers and unwitting subjects—both at home and abroad—to find the key to the unconscious mind, to memory, and to volition. Their goal was to create the perfect assassin and to protect America from the programmed assassins of other countries. This project was known by the name MK-ULTRA, but it had its origins in earlier forms of the same “brainwashing” agenda: Operations BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE. To me, this was astounding. A US government agency was conducting what—to a medievalist—could only be characterized as a search for the Philosopher’s Stone, for occult power, for magical spells and talismans. Indeed, some of the CIA’s subprojects included research among the psychics, the mediums, the magicians and the witches of America and beyond. And the Army was not far behind in its mind control testing, as we shall see.

What was even more disturbing was the revelation that nearly all records of this incredible and superhumanly ambitious project were destroyed in 1973 on orders of CIA director Richard Helms himself. In his testimony, he claimed that MK-ULTRA did not come up with anything worthwhile, and that the project had been terminated. Then why were the documents shredded?

We do not know who the test subjects were. We don’t know what was done to them. We don’t know how they have been programmed, if at all. We don’t know what they might do.

Or what they have already done.

We do know, however, that some of our more colorful criminals have spent time at the same institutions receiving CIA MK-ULTRA funding for this “special testing.” People like Charles Manson and Henry Lee Lucas, for instance, as well as “Cinque,” the leader of the Symbionese Liberation Army that kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst. It is entirely possible, given the evidence at our disposal, that convicted serial killer Arthur Shawcross is also such an example.

As I stood in the park at Ashland, staring at the ancient burial mounds and looking up at the house with the griffins, I realized that I was standing at a nexus of American history and culture: Charles Manson, unsolved homicides, mind control experiments, mass murder and massacres… and I wondered what Indian burial mounds and griffins, movie stars and spies, witches and Washington, even UFOs and occultists, had to do with any of it.

Our culture in the West—formed as it is by a faith in science, a reliance on the technological—has convinced us to ignore the unseen. There is a web of connections between visible events and visible, measurable phenomena that we cannot see, cannot measure—so our response has been to ignore this web in favor of what we can see and measure. The blind leading the blind. The drunk looking for his keys under a lamp post because the light is better there. We know—can describe—the stages of growth of flowers, animals, people… but not the life force itself, the drive: what

engineer, inventor and mystic Arthur Young called “the quantum of action.” Of this we know nothing, and are happy to know nothing. And thus we become victims.

University of Chicago Professor Ioan Culianu was able to show that the technique of secret links and correspondences between objects and events discovered by a Renaissance magician—Giordano Bruno—are applicable to mind control and psychological warfare today. Charles Manson declared himself to be a reincarnation of Bruno, 6an oddly sophisticated choice for the nearly-illiterate convicted murderer. Professor Culianu himself was murdered in 1991, another crime that has never been solved.

The people we trust are those who can measure the measurable. The people we distrust are those who point to the invisible and shout to get our attention. Our world is marching calmly to an obscure and unknowable end because we, the people, hear the drum, feel the beat, know our place in line. That’s better, somehow, than jumping off the path into the dark forest where God dwells like a hungry tiger. There is too much personal responsibility in jumping out of line, and if you then try to jump back in, you will find you have lost your place and your fellow marchers no longer want you to join them. You are dirty; you are crazed; you have seen what they are afraid to see.

In order to conduct this investigation I would have to dig very deep, below the surface of official reports, trial transcripts and conspiracy theories. I would have to dig deep below the surface of the American psyche, and trace pieces of evidence back down through several layers of meaning and relevance to find the connective tissue that would make sense of our history, our politics, our collective weirdness. This would have to be nothing less than a deconstruction of our most cherished beliefs and ideals.

Academia frowns upon historians who get “involved” with their subject personally. It is believed such activity ruins objectivity, makes the historian’s findings suspect. The “New Journalism” changed that somewhat for journalists, but not for historians. Yet, it is virtually impossible for any American my age—born in 1950—to approach such subject matter as the Kennedy assassinations or the Manson killings with pure, detached objectivity. We lived through it all. We either marched on Washington or

marched in the jungles of Southeast Asia. We know where we were when Kennedy was killed—and when the World Trade Center went down. We are connected to these events and cannot extricate ourselves from them, even when we let the documents and the primary sources speak for themselves. For there are documents, and there is blood. Politics and religion both are born of documents and of blood. And both documents and blood form the primary sources of the following investigation.

This is a book about evil. Evil ordinary and extraordinary. Evil vigilant. Evil militant. Evil triumphant. Evil ancient and modern, violent and discrete, beautiful and obscene. Evil in the face of God, of man and woman, of children. The evil of vainglorious men and their hollow minions. Evil unseen and fierce. The evil of bodybags and spent cartridges. Of mass graves and crematoria. Of crimes against nature and against heaven. The evil of death and derangement, of murder and madness, of suicide and satanism. This is the evil that is older than humanity, but reflected in our children’s eyes. The evil we can’t grasp, cannot punish, cannot destroy. The evil that contaminates souls as well as bodies, nations as well as people. This is a book about the evil spirits that haunt America. About the sinister forces that rule the world of our dreams, our nightmares, and our sober, trembling, waking reality.

If it is true that the gods of one religion become the demons of the one that replaces it, then we in America must deal with generations of demons once worshipped here who now wander the countryside, the city streets, the interstate highways and dead end roads, the theme parks and fast food restaurants, the shopping malls and parking lots, the peepshow parlors and cathedral aisles, like hungry ghosts on a mission from Hell. We gaze with horror on their crimes, and don’t understand. We stare into the eyes of their hideous creatures, and don’t understand. We clean up the crime scenes and mop up the blood, and don’t understand. We imprison, institutionalize, execute to make it all go away… and don’t understand.

This book is an attempt at understanding. The premise is one that has been embraced by psychoanalysts like Jung and physicists like Pauli: the existence of another mechanism in the universe that binds together events seemingly unrelated. The perspective offered is unique, dangerous, incredible, possibly offensive. The subject matter—serial homicide,

genocide, assassination, terrorism, multiple personalities, satanism, sexual savagery, demonic possession, depravity, insanity—makes it impossible to be anything else. We cannot begin to heal until we have identified the disease; we cannot identify the disease until we have studied the anatomy of the body politic. Freud, in order to understand the workings of the human mind, focused on its pathology. We, in order to understand America—and America’s place in the world—must do the same. We must plumb the depths of the American psyche, the American unconscious, and dredge up whatever we find before it’s too late.

How late is it? Listen in the middle of the night. Turn off the television, the radio, the CD player, the computer. Unplug the telephone. Turn off the lights. What do you hear? Beneath the silence and the stoic beating of your humble heart, what do you hear? Can you hear your soul singing?

Or is it Satan laughing?

1 See, for instance, Anacleto Verrechia, “Nietzsche’s Breakdown in Turin,” in Nietzsche in Italy, edited by Thomas Harrison, Anma Libri, Stanford University, 1988

2 Levenda, Citadel, unpublished novel

3 Ibid.

4 Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1966, Vintage Press, NY p. 158

5 Ibid., p. 86

6 Charles Manson, “The Black/White Bus,” in The Manson File, edited by Nikolas Shreck, Amok Press, NY, 1988, ISBN 0-941693-04-X

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an d ve from the Garden of den, wbich the preacher said was. originally ne:a by. W.H. H o lmes i

188 postulated that observa11ces were held in the oval, whic h he elt repcesent <>. d t h e heart o th animal D . F. Larkin in 1880 opjned t, .. the serp,mt wjt h them was sym bolic of a devil or infert · spirit, who e sparkhng eyes would point o the lumbering: fiies which wo uld englllf them i everl.asting and d estru ct io n, and that this g1eat effigy w i hudt with open mouth read y to devo u

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In the colonial period, when religious creeds, institutions, and communities exerted a major impact on life and work, there was bound to be some spillover into politics. Because the contribution of religion to American political culture covers such important beliefs as obedience, the design of government, and the national mission, the religious roots of American political culture merit close investigation. — Kenneth D. Wald1

Beware when the righteous prepare for the practice of evil. — Kenneth Patchen 2

In absurd terms, as we have seen, revolt against men is also directed against God: great revolutions are always metaphysical. — Albert Camus 3

Possession and exorcism had always symbolized the rhythms of the historical process. — Stuart Clark4

1 Kenneth D. Wald, Religion and Politics in the United States, Washington, DC, 1992, ISBN 0- 87187-604-3, p. 42

2 Kenneth Patchen, The Journal of Albion Moonlight, New Directions, NY, 1941, ISBN 0-8112- 0144-9, p 106

3 Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, Vintage International, NY, 1991, ISBN 0-67973373-6, p. 127n

4 Stuart Clark, Thinking With Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, Oxford University Press, NY, 1999, ISBN 0-19-820808-1, p. 434

Howard Phillip Lovecraft, born in 1890, wrote “weird” storie from an early age. Illness interrupted h i· education many time s, so he rumed m reading on hi own and soon began to develop his writing talents. He publi hed hi 6rst tory “The Alchemist,’ in 1916 and continued unti.l hi. death in .1937. Lovecraft populated hi rorie with mythic creatures, n1ixing f..rnrasy and prehistory, and created a new genre of literawre with legion of follower that continue today. Above is a drawing done by



When a rise in the road brings the mountains in view above the deep woods, the feeling of strange uneasiness is increased. The summits are too rounded and symmetrical to give a sense of comfort and naturalness, and sometimes the sky silhouettes with especial clearness the queer circles of tall stone pillars with which most of them are crowned. — “The Dunwich Horror,” H.P. Lovecraft 1

Lovecraft was writing in the 1920s, when most of his more famous stories were published. He was writing of a New England that, in his imagination, had ancient roots in unknown cultures; where Druidic circles and pagan chants would infest the countryside; where a kind of subterranean culture existed, parallel to the world of our own reality. He peppered his stories with references to the works of archaeologists and anthropologists (some real, some fictitious), and connected the American Indian culture to the worship of strange, perhaps extraplanetary or extradimensional beings who viewed humans as little more than undercooked hors d’ouevres. His work has attracted a great deal of attention in the past 30 years or so, oddly enough in France where—like the films of Jerry Lewis—he is an adopted obsession, but also certainly in America where he maintains a cult status even now, more than sixty years after his death. He has attracted serious, albeit fringe, attention from academics and historians of both literature and mysticism, and has even been graced with an anthology of his work prefaced by no less a literary light than Joyce Carol Oates.2 The blind Argentine author of many essays and stories on the macabre—Jorge Luis Borges—has written in the Lovecraftian mode in homage to the cranky Yankee master.3 In addition, there are several hard-core occult organizations in Europe and America that owe allegiance to the bizarre principles outlined in his works. They have taken their names and identities straight from his published work, with cults like Dagon and Cthulhu, and occultist emeritus Kenneth Grant has written extensively on the relation between the works of

Lovecraft—an author of gothic horror fiction—and the rituals of modern ceremonial magic and communication with extraterrestrial intelligences. 4

Part of the reason for Lovecraft’s popularity among serious occultists is due to the fact that many of the ideas he put forward in his stories have found some basis in reality: in historical, archaeological, anthropological reality. While there is no evidence at this time for the existence of the beings of which he wrote—Cthulhu chief among them, but let’s not forget Yog Sothot or Shub Niggurath—there is evidence that America was visited, and possibly inhabited for some time, by peoples who are not racially (or, at least, culturally) identical to the Native American “Indian” tribes that exist today. The schools of thought over this are contentious and emotional in defending their respective positions. The group most consistently under attack are the Diffusionists (whose most famous proponent was the late Harvard Professor Barry Fell), who adhere to the idea that America was not settled by a single group of wanderers from Asia across the Bering Straits, but by different groups of people from different parts of the globe. There is growing archaeological evidence that people from Europe and North Africa settled in North and South America thousands of years ago, bringing with them their languages, their culture, and their religious and mystical beliefs. And therein lies a tale. We will examine all of this in detail in Chapter Two. For now, though, let us look at some well-known stories, but from a different perspective and with additional data that bear directly on the theme of this work. Seen in this sometimes unsettling light, they provide a basis for the revelations that will come. But before we examine the archaeological evidence, let us look at the purely historical, the evidence that can be supported by unimpeachable, primary sources.


Lost Americans learn very early in their primary school education that America was “discovered” by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. Some of them remember that he was supposed to be finding a more direct route to India—by going west instead of east—and that is why we call Native Americans “Indians” to this day: the result of Columbus’s blunder in believing that the small Bahamian island he discovered was part of the Indian subcontinent. In the following weeks he would similarly “discover”

Cuba and Hispaniola, the island now comprising the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

What is not well-known is the real reason for his expedition.

Yes, he wanted to find a fast route to India and China. At that time, the great seafaring nations of Europe—in particular Portugal, but also Holland and other maritime powers—were going south along the African coastline, rounding South Africa at the Cape and going north and east to reach India. Columbus—based on what are believed to be faulty geographic measurements and a faith in some of the apocryphal books of the Bible— thought he could make it to India much more quickly by going due west from the European coast. The Portuguese had turned this idea down, realizing that his math was faulty, and the Spanish at first rejected him as well, but he later had an audience with King Ferdinand of Spain, who agreed to fund his expedition and to grant him titles, land and a tenth of whatever precious metals he found: an agent’s commission.

This much is consistent with what our schoolchildren know.

However, Spain in 1492 was in the middle of one of the greatest upheavals in its history. To understand what Columbus was doing, and the hidden agenda of his voyage—and thereby to begin to understand American history from a European perspective (most Americans being, after all, descendants of European ancestors)—we need to understand a little of what was happening in Spain.

And to understand Spain, we have to understand the history of Islamic “imperialism” and its stormy relationship to Europe in general and Christianity in particular.

While such a topic deserves much more space and much more attention to its detail than the author can ever hope to provide in these pages, we can summarize the situation as follows. Interested readers are urged to follow up with their own research, and several very good texts are recommended in the bibliography. Essentially, we must address the birth and expansion of Islam.

Muhammad, the prophet who created the religion known as Islam, had a vision of the Angel Gabriel while meditating in a cave in what is now Saudi Arabia. He was forty years old, a tradesman, a pagan, and troubled by hearing Jewish and Christian tradesmen and others around them discussing their respective religions. Monotheism was a new concept, and the year was 610 A.D.

The vision of Gabriel ignited something in Muhammad’s heart and soul. He began preaching a personal and unique amalgam of Jewish, Christian and native Arab mythology and religious and moral principles to anyone who would listen. These principles included better treatment of slaves and women, a life of moderation, a “surrender” to the one true God (the word “Islam” means “surrender”), and other spiritual doctrines. Abstinence from alcohol and the eating of pork were also included, the latter a probable borrowing from Jewish law.

The people in his native Mecca found Muhammad to be something of a problem, because his doctrines interfered with trade and with the status of the social elite. Much as Christianity had evolved from a Messianic Jewish cult to a world religion and was about to conquer much of Europe as a political power, so too Muhammad and his followers were seen as a political and economic threat to the status quo.

Muhammad escaped a murder plot in Mecca and, with some of his followers, fled to Medina. This was in the year 622 A.D., the year of the “flight,” the Hegira from which year Islam now counts its calendar.

Muhammad found a slightly better reception in Medina, settled several tribal disputes, and gradually converted many of these tribes to his new religion. He tried to win the allegiance of the Jews in Medina, but the Prophet was an illiterate Arab tradesman, and the Jewish elite scorned him and his new religion which they found at odds with the Torah. Although Muhammad initially had his followers face Jerusalem when they prayed, and made them adopt the practice of the Yom Kippur fast, his experience with the Jews in Medina led him to change these practices. The Muslims now face Mecca, which is the site of an ancient Arab relic, the Qa’aba (at the time of Muhammad a pagan shrine containing 360 idols and a piece of black, probably meteoric, rock), and they fast for the entire month of

Ramadan. Thus, Islam became gradually more “Arab,” as Muhammad’s initial desire to wed Judaism, Christianity and indigenous Arab religious ideas and forms met opposition on all sides. Due to this very early contact with Jewish religious and economic leaders, the Koran has many citations specifically targeted against the Jews.5 Thus, some modern-day Muslims feel they have religious approval—if not an out and out license—for their antagonism against Israel.

As his religion grew in numbers, so did Muhammad grow in political power. At the time of his death, Islam was virtually the state religion in Saudi Arabia. During the next hundred years after his death, Arab armies would give the idea of missionary work a new meaning as they conquered

—with fire and sword—nation after nation, extending their faith and the Arab culture as far afield as France, where they were finally defeated by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in the year 800 A.D. They had to fall back to Spain and Portugal in the west, and in the east as far as Samarkand, Tashkent and Turkey. Europe would hear again of the Arab legions when the Ottoman Empire reached its height in the sixteenth century A.D., going as far inland as the outskirts of Vienna and running over the Balkans, Romania and everything in between.

It would be nearly another three hundred years after the Battle of Tours before the first Crusades were mounted by the Catholic Church to “take back” the holy city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was also sacred to the Muslims, due to a tradition that Muhammad had ascended to heaven from a site in Jerusalem that was also sacred to Jews and Christians: the site of King Solomon’s Temple. This scenario may be a borrowing from the legend of Jesus and some stories of the Virgin Mother and of the prophet Elijah, who were all bodily carried into heaven.

Muhammad’s descendants—both familial and spiritual—then fought over the growing Islamic empire. Europe saw Islamic forces on their soil within a century after the death of Islam’s founder. And, in Spain, it would be another eight hundred years before the last Islamic rulers would finally leave their country.

Specifically, in the year 1492.


In the spring of 1829, the author of this work, whom curiosity had brought to Spain, made a rambling expedition from Seville to Granada in company with a friend, a member of the Russian Embassy at Madrid. Accident had thrown us together from distant regions of the globe and a similarity of taste led us to wander together among the romantic mountains of Andalusia.

— Washington Irving, Tales of the Alhambra6

In the spring of 2001, the author of this work, whom business had brought to Spain, made a fast expedition from Seville to Granada in company with a colleague, an executive of an American corporation that has a factory in Seville. Accident had thrown us together from distant regions of the globe (he from North Carolina, me from my temporary base in Malaysia), and a similarity of taste and a tightness of schedule led us to hire a car and drive across Spain in search of Granada and the fabled palace of the Alhambra.

My Spanish is okay, my driving ability perhaps less so, yet I found myself doing all the driving that day, getting us out of Seville at an early hour and making good time to Granada. As was the case with that earlier tour to Rome in company with another such executive, I found myself less of a chauffeur and more of a tour guide and ad hoc historian as we wandered the fabulously decorated halls and courtyards of one of the most striking examples of Arab architecture anywhere. It is always interesting for me to watch American executives abroad, and to marvel at how little they really know of the world outside their borders. This case was no exception.

The executive in question has a mother who is fascinated by church history, and who has a passionate attachment to the Holy Land and especially to Jerusalem and to the Holy Sepulcher, the site where Christ is supposed to have been laid to rest after the Crucifixion. Yet, her son—a tall, self-important man of heroic proportions, with paranoid demeanor and somewhat lacking in social skills—seemed relatively unaware of Arab conquests in Europe, even though he had accompanied his mother on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and is the beneficiary of her knowledge of the subject. I found myself filling in odd gaps in his understanding of the stormy relationship that has existed between Muslims and Christians

virtually since the death of Muhammad, and particularly since the “Moorish” invasion of Europe in the eighth century A.D.

It was a revelation to stand in the Alhambra, in Spain, and realize that there had been an Islamic government in charge of large parts of the country for eight hundred years. That is nearly as long as the time since the Norman conquest of England in 1066, and is certainly much longer than the time elapsed since Columbus’ landing on San Salvador in 1492 and… the present. The cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada are testimony to the once-strong but now fading legacy of the Caliphs of the Alhambra.

Washington Irving—the American author perhaps better known for his frightening Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the somewhat comical and perceptive story of Rip Van Winkle—in his celebrated combination of short stories and travelogue Tales of the Alhambra makes justified recognition of the generally benign rule of the Moors in Spain, a reign that was famous for learning, science and the arts, and which attracted scholars and artists from all over Europe in its time. Nonetheless, it was an alien transplant in Europe and—surrounded as it was by hostile Christians on every side and separated by sea and land from its spiritual home in the Middle East—it eventually succumbed to pressure from without and within.

The Moors were vanquished, finally, in January of 1492, the same year that Columbus set sail on his first voyage to the New World, and that was not a mere coincidence. King Ferdinand was triumphant in removing the last vestige of Muslim political influence from western Europe… and began to dream of another conquest.

This is what American schoolchildren never learn, and what scholars have been slow to report. From the Diario of Christopher Columbus, then:

And [Columbus] says that he hopes in God that on the return that he would undertake from Castile he would find a barrel of gold that those who were left would have acquired by exchange; and that they would have found the gold mine and the spicery, and those things in such quantity that the sovereigns, before three years, will undertake and prepare to go conquer the Holy Sepulcher; for thus I urged Your Highnesses to spend all the profits of this my enterprise on the

conquest of Jerusalem, and Your Highnesses laughed and said that it would please them and that even without this profit they had that desire. 7

The conquest of Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher. In other words, another Crusade.

The discovery of America and the subsequent voyages of Columbus had as their goal the recapture of Jerusalem. Indeed, one of the most important reasons for finding the “fast” route to the East was to provide Ferdinand with a different strategy for retaking Jerusalem, for if Columbus was right and if India and China could be reached by traveling due west, then so could Jerusalem. Rather than send an army of Crusaders across the Mediterranean or via land through hostile Muslim territory, Ferdinand believed he could instead attack Jerusalem from the eastern side. No one would expect a Crusader force coming from the land east of Jerusalem, when all previous attacks had come from the western approach.

Ironically, then, American history begins in the sands of Palestine, in the solemn stones of Jerusalem and King Solomon’s Temple, the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock, where so many have fought and suffered and died for religion, and still do.

Much has been made in conspiracy literature of the possible connections Columbus had with the outlawed Knights Templar. It is said that his fleet— the famous Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria—bore the red Templar cross on their sails as a sign of the real mission of the Genoese-born Columbus and his Spanish patrons. Although the Templars had been suppressed two hundred years previously, there is evidence to show that some members of the Order had escaped to Portugal and Scotland, among other places. We can easily see how their descendants would have privately rejoiced in such a Grail-like quest. “Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged.” We should also remember it was Columbus’ patrons—King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella

—who created the Spanish Inquisition in 1478. At first, it was designed to root out heresy among the Marranos, the Jews who had converted to Christianity, usually through social or other pressure. It was then extended

to those who had converted from Islam. At its height, the Grand Inquisitor was also responsible for the American territories conquered by Spain: Mexico and Peru, the lands of the Aztecs and the Incas respectively. In the case of America, however, the Inquisition was concerned less with heresy, and more with witchcraft and sorcery.

In addition, and most importantly, we should realize that the Spanish Inquisition was not run by the Church. Authority was given by the Pope to the King to run the Inquisition, thereby making it a governmental organization, even though the Inquisitors themselves were usually Catholic churchmen, predominately Dominican monks. This mechanism would be followed two hundred years later in Salem, Massachusetts during America’s own witch trials, when religious authority gave way to secular, and witches

—practitioners of spell-casting, Satan worshipping, and other such acts considered anti-Christian—were arrested, indicted, tried and executed by the secular courts. Heresy is tantamount to rebellion where there is a State Church, and therefore it became the State’s business to discover and punish

—and torture and execute—heretics. They were, after all, de facto traitors. Private beliefs became matters for public prosecutions.

And finally we should not forget that the Pilgrims, the Puritans and the Huguenots—some of the first settlers in North America—were religious refugees, fleeing oppression in their native lands, to practice their faiths freely in the New World. It is no indulgence in hyperbole to suggest that the modern origins of America are spiritual (or, at least, religious) in nature, and that America has spent the last five hundred years trying—usually unsuccessfully—to ignore that fact.

In light of the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States, many Americans have a dim view of Islam, and suspect all Muslims of harboring ill intentions towards their country. In spite of all the rhetoric denying this, there is some truth to the suspicion that devout Muslims are hostile to the West. Islamic rulers have had a long and well-documented history of anti- European aggression, beginning with the invasions in the eighth century A.D., long before the first Crusade against Jerusalem. Particularly since the end of World War I, when the five hundred-year-old Ottoman Empire was finally destroyed by Western forces, and when the betrayal of the Arab

revolt was etched in stone at the peace talks in Versailles—thus paving the way for the creation of a Jewish state in the midst of Arab Palestine— Muslims have been angry at the West and at what they perceive to be Western decadence and immorality (an attempt, perhaps, to raise a visceral sense of humiliation at the hands of the technologically-advanced nations to a higher spiritual plane). Although in the past Christians and Jews fared better, oddly, under Muslim leaders than under Christian administrations, it would be naïve to believe that most Muslims are friendly to the West in general and to the United States in particular, especially in light of America’s role in support of Israel. Islamic fundamentalism has been on the rise worldwide, and the only thing stopping the creation of a new Ottoman Empire is chronic disunity among Muslim nations.

But it was not always thus.

As I stood in the Court of the Lions at the Alhambra, while my colleague wandered back and forth snapping photographs and asking endless questions for which he rarely stood still for an answer, I was reminded— with a kind of nostalgic sigh—of the words of Washington Irving, describing the fall of the Caliphate:

Never was the annihilation of a people more complete than that of the Morisco-Spaniards. Where are they? Ask the shores of Barbary and its desert places. The exiled remnant of their once powerful empire disappeared among the barbarians of Africa, and ceased to be a nation. They have not even left a distinct name behind them, though for nearly eight centuries they were a distinct people. The home of their adoption, and of their occupation for ages, refuses to acknowledge them, except as invaders and usurpers. A few broken monuments are all that remain to bear witness to their power and dominion, as solitary rocks, left far in the interior, bear testimony to the extent of some vast inundation. Such is the Alhambra;—a Moslem pile in the midst of a Christian land; an Oriental palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the West; an elegant memento of a brave, intelligent, and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, flourished, and passed away.8

King Ferdinand raised his army of Crusaders, but never managed to reach Jerusalem. The Crusaders found themselves in the midst of a military adventure in Italy, and the dream of retaking Jerusalem in the wake of the ouster of the Islamic government in Granada never materialized. But in the same year, 1492, he managed to forcibly expel from Spain all Jews who would not convert to Christianity. In a reign worthy of admiration by Christian fundamentalists everywhere, Ferdinand had managed to defeat Islam, expel the Jews, and mount a Crusade against the Muslims in the Holy Land… all in one year. He was also responsible for the infamous Spanish Inquisition (immortalized in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”). However, to American schoolchildren, King Ferdinand is pictured as a relatively anonymous or even benign influence, a man who helped Columbus in his quest for a western passage to India, a hero of the “round Earth” theory.

The year 1492 for some scholars—including the brilliant historian Dame Frances Yates in her The Occult Philosophy In The Elizabethan Age—also marked the beginning of the Renaissance, as Spanish Jews fled to Italy with their science, art, and mystical writings, even as others mark the Renaissance as beginning with the fall of Constantinople to the Turkish Empire in 1453.

As for Columbus himself, alas, his succeeding three voyages were cursed with bad luck, violence, and death. He managed to visit what is now Trinidad and a little farther on, Venezuela and the mouth of the Orinoco River, finally realizing that he had discovered a new land that was not on the maps. But in the meantime his attempts to convert the Native Americans to Catholicism—warlike Caribs and peaceful Arawaks, for the most part— had failed miserably, and in some cases the Native Americans rose in revolt and slaughtered their European visitors, only to be slaughtered themselves in return, thus instituting a pattern of attack and counterattack that would plague European/Native American relations for centuries. Indeed, it was Columbus who brought the first Native American slaves to Europe, about two hundred of them, many of whom died of disease on the voyage. This was a pattern that was to be followed by the Spanish who followed him to the New World, as they captured native peoples and enslaved them to work

on their plantations in the American Southwest, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Finally, Columbus was put in irons and sent back to Spain in disgrace. What he had accomplished, however, would long outlive him and far exceed his wildest expectations. Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French expeditions would be mounted over the course of the next hundred years to take as much of the “New World” as possible, regardless of the opinions of the Arawaks or any of the other Native American peoples. And, even as America was discovered by accident while a Spanish King and an Italian navigator plotted a new Crusade to take back the Holy Land, they and their descendants committed atrocity after atrocity upon the pagan peoples they found there.

But the Arawaks would have the last laugh. It would take them exactly two hundred years—almost to the day—but they would have the last laugh.


…the rumours of devil-worship were partly justified by a peculiar secret cult which had gained force there and engulfed all the orthodox churches. It was called… “The Esoteric Order of Dagon,” and

was undoubtedly a debased, quasi-pagan thing imported from the East a century before… — “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” H.P. Lovecraft9

Eventually, Spanish explorers did find gold and all manner of treasure in the New World. The names of Pizzaro, Cortez and Ponce de Leon are familiar to American schoolchildren as the illustrious Spanish conquistadores and explorers who spread out from Florida and Cuba to Mexico and Peru, Colombia and Venezuela and up to California and the American Southwest. Their legacy lives on in the architecture, the culture, the language and especially the predominantly Catholic religion of Latin America. By the mid-sixteenth century, the great Aztec empire that was headquartered in what is now Mexico City had been subjugated to the Spanish crown with fire and sword… and missionaries.

The “Journey to the West” begun by Ferdinand and Columbus in 1492 would culminate four hundred years later, after the conquest of not only much of Latin America but also the Philippine Islands. Revolutions

instigated by Simon Bolivar and Bernardo O’Higgins in South America would eventually free the continent from direct control by Spain, but the Crown would hold on to Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and other territories until the Span-ish-American War and Teddy Roosevelt’s famous charge up San Juan Hill.

In the meantime, however, strange things were taking place in North America, a short ride from H. P. Lovecraft’s home town in Providence, Rhode Island.

When they hear the word “Salem,” many Americans automatically think of either the cigarette or witchcraft, both potentially lethal phenomena to be sure. Ironically, they do share a common origin, at least in popular American history, and we will come to that in a moment. Disregarding King Tobacco for now, let’s focus on what we know about Salem witchcraft, because its popularity has not diminished with time, and the town of Salem, Massachusetts boasts an official Witch as well as a Witchcraft Museum, a witchcraft shop, and a lot of rather silly bumper-stickers.

Essentially, the story is that a few young girls in Salem were being told ghost stories by a Black slave, Tituba, who had been brought to Salem from her native Barbados. These stories, full of sorcery and spells, enticed the girls and they began either to practice these forms of folk magic or to focus on them so intensively that they started to exhibit drastic personality changes. This, in turn, both terrified the villagers and instigated similar behavior in other girls to the point that witchcraft was suspected. The girls, brought to trial, started naming names as those responsible for “bewitching” them, and eventually dozens of people were accused of witchcraft and many were executed.

The year was 1692.

Recent scholarship, however, has shown that Tituba was not an African slave, but a Native American, a member of the Arawak people who had been brought out of Venezuela to Barbados, where she was bought by Samuel Parris, the tradesman and future minister who figures so prominently in Salem history. And a close reading of the trial transcripts

and of the records made by observers at the scene reveals that what was taking place in Salem in 1692 was not purely the result of overactive imaginations and what psychiatry used to like to call “hysteria” (a term with rather offensive origins in that it implies that the womb—hyster is Latin for “womb”—is the source of emotional instability in women, with a corresponding implication that men are incapable of such a state). Instead, some of the accounts of demonic possession ring strangely true, accompanied as they are with reports of paranormal phenomena, intense rage and blasphemy, etc. When I say “strangely true,” I hasten to clarify that these states are virtually identical in every respect to those accounts of modern day possession, as reported by Catholic and Protestant clergymen in Europe and the United States. Many have insisted that there was no witchcraft at Salem, but the evidence readily available proves otherwise.

The other assumption that is often made is that the Salem witch trials were the first and last in the United States. Nothing could be more wrong. America has been home to accusations of witchcraft since the earliest Colonial days, as well as to alchemists, astrologers and occultists of all types. In fact, the situation was becoming so serious that in the late seventeenth century the clergymen of Massachusetts were issuing warnings to their flocks about the dangerous attractions of occultism in the Colony.

Yet, the history of European-style occult practices in the American colonies begins earlier than that. There are records of witchcraft accusations and trials all over the East Coast and particularly in New England from the mid-seventeenth century on. In a book published by Scribner’s in 1914— Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases 1648-1706 by George Lincoln Burr, ed.

—we read of Elizabeth Garlick of Easthampton, Long Island (then a Dutch colony, although settled by English) who was “indicted for witchcraft and sent to Connecticut for trial” in the year 1658. 10Another two cases—those of Ralph Hall and his wife and of Katherine Harrison—cropped up in 1665. The accused were acquitted of the charges, except that in the case of Ralph Hall’s wife, Mary, the court did find “some suspitions [sic] by the Evidence, of what the woman is Charged with, but nothing considerable of value to take away her life.”11 The couple were accused of having used witchcraft to cause the deaths of a George Wood and the infant child of one Ann Rogers.

This occurred at what is now City Island, in the borough of the Bronx in New York City.

Indeed, a look at the record for witchcraft cases in New England in the seventeenth century (which is the earliest for which we have documentation) shows that accusations, indictments, prosecutions and even executions were taking place since 1638 and extended through 1697. The earliest execution for which records can be found is of Alice Young, executed in Windsor, Connecticut in 1647, followed by those of Elizabeth Kendall of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Margaret Jones of Charlestown, Massachusetts (the latter person executed in 1648). All in all, we can find a total of 132 persons accused of witchcraft in New England alone in the seventeenth century, not counting those at Salem. Of these 132 persons, four actually confessed, twenty were convicted, and fourteen were executed. Again, this is in addition to the nineteen who were executed at Salem. The accused were overwhelmingly female, more than 100 of the

132. 12

In all fairness, though, Salem was a special case: 156 accused, 30 convicted, 44 confessed, and 19 executed. Another prisoner was pressed to death during torture and interrogation, bringing the Salem death count to twenty, and several more died in jail.

Witches in the classical sense were not the only “alternative religionists” in the Colonies. A strange case that has rarely made it to the general histories of America is that of Thomas Morton, and his infamous Maypole at what is now Quincy, Massachusetts (not far from Salem). It was May Day, 1637 (and a year before the first recorded witchcraft case in New England). Thomas Morton decided that they should celebrate the day after “old English custome: prepared to set up a Maypole upon the festivall day of Philip and Jacob; & therefore brewed a barrell of excellent beer, & provided a case of bottles to be spent, with other good cheer, for all comers of that day…. A goodly pine tree of 80 foot long, was reared up, with a pair of buckshorns nailed on, somewhat neare unto the top of it…” 13

Morton also had the assistance of the Native Americans of the vicinity, who were more than happy to join in the celebration, even though it was

intended to commemorate the renaming of the area from Pasonagessit to Merry Mount. But, as Morton continues:

The setting up of this Maypole was a lamentable spectacle to the precise separatists: that lived at New Plymouth. They termed it an Idoll; yea they called it the Calf of Horeb: and stood at defiance with the place, naming it Mount Dagon… 14

(Shades of H. P. Lovecraft!) But that wasn’t the end of the story. Apparently, the English were taking slaves and indentured servants from

Massachusetts to Virginia and selling or renting them off. Morton, in the absence of the traders, then appealed to the remaining Native Americans, slaves and servants that they should band together and resist the efforts to expatriate them, as it were. The Maypole was the first official attempt at organizing not only a pagan festival but an armed resistance to the English officials in charge of the slave trade. In addition to welcoming Native Americans—and especially those of the female persuasion—to the feast, and “consorting” with them and having all sorts of drunken revels, Morton trained them in the use of firearms. When an English lieutenant arrived to take charge of the rapidly deteriorating situation, he was thrown out of the settlement and evidently had to beat a retreat for England.

Morton’s experiment began to attract a lot of attention from the English authorities, as could be imagined. No less a figure than Captain Miles Standish himself—and a force comprised of eight men from “Pascataway, Namkeake, Winismett, Weesagascusett, Natasco, and other places where any English were seated”—was sent on orders of the Governor to put down the uprising, but Standish’s army was met with a force of arms by Morton’s merry men.

The resistance did not last long, however (William Bradford says that they were too drunk to effectively resist) and eventually Morton was captured and put in irons and sent to England… but he avoided any prosecution by the Crown and instead took the time off to compose a New English Dictionary. (He was, after all, a friend of dramatist Ben Jonson.)

Another worthy, one John Endecott, was installed in Quincy in his place, a no-nonsense sort who had the Maypole struck and the locals chastised.

By that time, however, the damage had been done. The “Indians” now had modern weapons, and instruction in their use. As William Bradford, one of the early chroniclers of the period, despairs:

O the horribleness of this villainy! How many both Dutch and English have been lately slain by those Indians, thus furnished; and no remedy provided, nay, the evill more increased, and the blood of their brethren sold for gaine, as is to be feared; and in what danger all these colonies are in is too well known. Oh! That princes and parliaments would take some timely order to prevent this mischief, and at length to suppress it, by some exemplary punishment upon some of these gain thirsty murderers, (for they deserve no better title,) before their collonies in these parts be over thrown by these barbarous savages, thus armed with their owne weapons, by these evill instruments, and traitors to their neighbors and country. 15

Scholarship suggests that the reasons the Puritans reacted so strongly to Morton’s cult was twofold: In the first case, it was obvious that Morton and his men were sexually involved with Native American women (a charge that would be made against one of the accused at Salem fifty-five years later). This in itself was bad enough; but giving their men firearms was the last straw. This meant that they were now on a roughly equal footing with the Puritans, could hunt as well or better, and could control the trade in beaver skins and other exportable items. Morton was open about both these practices. He had written poems encouraging dalliances with Indian lasses, and conducted firearm instruction and trading with Indian men. Of course, the repercussions from Morton’s trade and instruction in firearms were to be long-lasting. The “Indians” now had weapons and could more effectively resist the white settlers. The New England Indian wars began:

The Pequot War, 1637.

The Narragansett War, 1643-45. King Philip’s War, 1675-1676.

By the time of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, the white settlers had come to see themselves as surrounded by hostile forces, and to characterize these forces as “savages” at best, and as demonic beings at worst. It was a crucible, indeed.


The New Englanders are a people of God settled in those, which were once the Devil’s territories; and it may easily be supposed that the Devil was exceedingly disturbed, when he perceived such a people here accomplishing the promise of old made unto our Blessed Jesus, That He should have the utmost parts of the earth for his possession. — Cotton Mather 16

Dame Frances Yates—the aforementioned historian, of the University of London, the British Academy, the Warburg Institute, and the Royal Society of Literature—has written extensively on the Elizabethan period and the Renaissance, with a particular focus on occult literature, thus elevating the study somewhat above its usual relegation to the attention of cranks and publicity seekers. In her The Occult Philosophy In The Elizabethan Age she makes an interesting, if daring, claim that the Puritan movement owed much to occult ideology current in England at the time, with connections to Pico della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa, and other saints of the occultist canon. This form of occultism—known as Christian Cabala to historians— was an amalgamation of the Jewish Cabala with Muslim and Christian elements; in other words, an attempt to integrate the three religions by focusing on some basic, mystical elements that they had in common. Among these was the belief in a sophisticated form of numerology where letters have numeric equivalents, and in the rituals of invoking angelic forces. Eventually, this intellectual and spiritual movement came to be represented in such organizations as the Rosicrucians and the Masonic societies, and to embrace various other occult disciplines such as alchemy and ceremonial magic.

What may cause some New Englanders no small degree of astonishment

—if not, in some cases, amusement or even alarm—is the fact that no less a personage than Governor John Winthrop, Jr. was a practicing alchemist during his administration (1659-1676). It is noted that his library contained some “275 books on alchemy and the occult.” 17He was well-versed not only in these arcane matters, but also on the subject of the Rosicrucians, a

putative secret society (like the Freemasons and the Templars) whose existence was proclaimed at the very beginning of the seventeenth century, probably by occult scholar Robert Fludd. During Winthrop’s tenure, in fact, many people were accused of witchcraft, and three were executed: Rebecca and Nathaniel Greensmith of Hartford and Mary Barnes of Farmington.

Alchemy and the study of ceremonial magic as well as the medical theories of Paracelsus were considered gentlemanly pursuits in the seventeenth century, and indeed we know that many esteemed scientists of the day were also practicing occultists of some type. As D. Michael Quinn notes in his excellent and exhaustive Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,

Many of New England’s practicing alchemists were Yale and Harvard graduates who continued their experiments into the 1820s. These alchemists served as chief justice of Massachusetts, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, president of Yale College, and president of the Connecticut Medical Society. 18

Such historically important scientists as Isaac Newton, Roger Bacon, Liebniz and many others were enthusiastic practicing occultists and members of occult secret societies. Newton’s interests have been thoroughly outlined in Michael White’s Isaac Newton, the Last Sorcerer, a book which caused no little controversy upon publication, since modern science has been at pains to disparage the paranormal in general and organized occult activity and beliefs in particular. To demonstrate that the “father of modern physics” had deeply held mystical beliefs—which may have influenced his thinking in science—was simply too much for some members of the scientific establishment to bear. At the time of the Salem trials, Newton was in the throes of a kind of nervous breakdown, hard at work at trying to decipher the Bible on the one hand, and involved with alchemical experiments on the other. (As we shall show in a later chapter, Newton had a twentieth century counterpart in Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfang Pauli.) Yale University Professor Jon Butler, in Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People, gives a valuable synopsis of the religious, mystical and occult milieu in seventeenth century America, including the scientists, lawmakers, ministers and other

community leaders who were themselves involved in alchemy, ceremonial magic, Rosicrucianism and other occult practices and movements. Large libraries of occult books, secret correspondence with like-minded occultists or members of secret societies, and avant-garde religious sentiments— particularly in a political context, and including such American Founding Fathers as Washington, Franklin and Jefferson—defined the spiritual atmosphere of the intellectual class of the colonies; divining rods, shew stones, and magic charms and talismans as well as basic astrological lore defined the approach of the lower and middle classes. Yet both groups shared a common belief in the actions of invisible forces in the world, forces which could be manipulated or cajoled into cooperation for mundane goals. Forces which could be summoned by magic white and black, by priestly magicians in the shadow of the Church or by evil witches in the farms, villages and back alley lanes of the common people.

This, then, was the environment in which the good villagers of Salem found themselves in 1692. Two hundred years after the discovery of America by would-be Crusader Christopher Columbus and his crew—many of whom had fought the Muslims in Spain—the English colonists found themselves facing a pagan enemy in their midst… and alchemists, astrologers and magicians hidden among their churchmen, their governors, their doctors. In fact, the Indians themselves might very well be demonic beings and not humans at all; at the very least, they were believed to be Satan worshippers. Cotton Mather insisted that the Devil himself had brought the Indians to America, since there was no mention of their race in the Bible. Thus, when Lovecraft wrote his fanciful stories of pagan cults in New England he was touching a deeply buried memory of the very land in which he lived. Columbus—and his Dutch, French and English followers in North America

—brought the Cross and the Sword, in a blaze of neo-Templar fury, to bear down upon the Red Man, to convert him or to kill him. The hatred of the Puritans for deviation of any kind would inevitably turn inward and begin killing them off from within. And the instrument of that social suicide would be none other than another Red Man or, in this case, Red Woman. Her name was Tituba, and she was an Arawak whose ancestors lived in Guyana, Venezuela and elsewhere in the Caribbean; whose ancestors had

welcomed and trusted Columbus; and who had paid the price of that trust with their lives.

The Arawak are famous for two exports. Tituba—and the ensuing Salem witchcraft case—is one; tobacco is another. It was once again brother Columbus who, in 1492, saw the Arawaks smoking tobacco in a kind of tube they called tobago, and hence smoking—and the word “tobacco”— came to the white man from the Arawak. In fact, even the word “cannibal” comes from the Arawak language.

Tituba’s ancestors came from what is now Guyana, the South American country that would later become famous as the site of the Jonestown massacre. She herself was purchased as a slave from Barbados, by Samuel Parris: a minister and central figure in the Salem witch trials. Her story is covered in Elaine Breslaw’s Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem, and her testimony is analyzed and “deconstructed” with a view to sorting the Arawak and Amerindian mythology and magic from the Puritan version.

Professor Breslaw mentions a native Guyanese belief in the “evil stranger,” the kenaima, who causes evil things to happen in a village and who can take various forms (such as other humans, animals, etc.). This is always a stranger, someone from outside the village, and Tituba in her testimony before the magistrates began to point a finger at evil outside influences behind the witchcraft covens in Salem. She claimed that the ringleader of the witches was a “man in black” who lived in Boston, that she and the other Salem witches attended meetings in Boston in spirit form, and that they received their instructions to return to Salem and hurt the children living there.

In addition, perhaps the greatest controversy over how the trials were conducted was the issue of “spectral evidence.” It was this type of evidence against which Cotton Mather warned time and again, but usually in vain. Although Reverend Mather believed in the existence of witches and in paranormal phenomena generally, he doubted the admissibility of testimony based on people’s visions of demons, evil spirits, and other phenomena which could not be witnessed by the judges in a courtroom. In other words, it was enough for someone to say that “so and so bewitched me” in spirit form. If the accused was sitting in the dock, peacefully at rest, but the

“victims” cried out that he or she was tormenting them by occult means and then fell over in fits to demonstrate the fact, many judges tended to credit that as evidence. In this case, the spectre or spiritual form of the accused was doing the tormenting, even though no one other than the victim would see it. The Guyanese kenaima could, of course according to legend, assume any form, animate or inanimate. So in the context of Arawak magic and witchcraft, the stories about shape-shifting witches and ghostly appearances of one’s neighbors in the middle of the night or in a dream were perfectly acceptable. What is remarkable—as has been noted by Professor Breslaw and others—is that the Salem Puritans would adopt much of this tradition as their own, with suitable changes and amendments as they integrated these beliefs into their Christian system.

In the final analysis, what we have here is probably the first recorded instance of what would become the satanic survivor craze of America in the 1980s. In fact, many of Tituba’s “memories”—as well as those of her “coconspirators”—were slow in coming, and memory disorders, real or imagined or feigned, were part of the Salem experience. Recovered memories, tortured children, witch covens, a satanic network spanning the Northeast… welcome to Geraldo Nation. Add to this mixture the figure of the “man in black,” and we can tie all of this in nicely with the UFO phenomenon. Indeed, Tituba’s account of leaving her body at night and traveling to the meetings, and then returning again before dawn, sounds eerily similar to some accounts of alien abductions. The existence of witch marks—odd bruises on one’s body suggestive of pacts with the Devil, etc.

—have their correlates with the stories of alien surgery and alien implants. In fact, Tituba first claimed that she flew to Boston through the air in both body and soul, but amended this fact later to state that she only appeared in Boston in the spirit.

(Compare this historical event with satanic cult survivor syndrome, and wonder if the stories of a network of satanic cults breeding children for human sacrifice—along with the confessions of persons who claim they were breeders, or had been pressed into cult service while children—are in any way different from those of the Salem case. Then wonder a little further, and ask: if there was smoke in the Salem case—and evidence of at least a small fire—and if some clergymen, politicians, and scientists in New

England in 1692 were involved in serious occult studies and research, then perhaps there was a fire beneath all the smoke of the satanic cult hysteria of three hundred years later, and perhaps some of our own clergymen, politicians and scientists in America of 1992 were also involved in serious occult research. Is it simply a recurring phenomenon, or is there a link between the events of 1692 and those of present-day America?)

Washington Irving—mentioned above as the author of a series of tales about the Muslim palace, the Alhambra, in Spain (in which palace, in fact, he lived for a while)—is also the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In this Halloween tale of headless horsemen and unrequited love, we have Ichabod Crane: a schoolteacher. One of Ichabod’s claims to fame is that he “had read several books quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather’s history of New-England Witchcraft, in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed.”19 It would be hard to overestimate the importance of Mather’s work among the population of the Northeast in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Cotton Mather had been present at the Salem witch trials—and at the trials and investigations of numerous other witches and purported cases of witchcraft—and is a somewhat trustworthy observer of what transpired. It was he who gave us the wonderful concept of the Invisible World as the domain of the evil spirits, and it is to this domain that we will return again and again in one form… or another.

We have been advised by some credible Christians yet alive, that a malefactor, accused of witchcraft as well as murder, and executed in this place more than forty years ago, did then give notice of an horrible plot against the country by witchcraft, and a foundation of witchcraft then laid, which if it were not seasonably discovered, would probably blow up, and pull down all the churches in the country. And we have now with horror seen the discovery of such a witchcraft! An army of devils is horribly broke in upon the place which is the center, and after a sort, the firstborn of our English settlements: and the houses of the good people there are filled with doleful shrieks of their children and servants, tormented by invisible hands, with tortures altogether preternatural.

—Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World 20

Here, then, in a nutshell is the gist of the entire Salem witchcraft phenomenon. There is a plot of witches against the churches of the country, an attempt to pull down Christianity and replace it by devil worship; and the brunt of the attack is taken upon the “firstborn of our English settlements,” i.e., Salem, Massachusetts. The witches have decided to attack Christianity at a place named after Jerusalem, the City of Peace, in a land which the Puritans had hoped would become the New Jerusalem after the irretrievable loss of the Old. (America, after all, was discovered during an attempt to finance a new Crusade to take back the original Jerusalem. Failing that, a town in America was named after it which has now, ironically, become synonymous with witchcraft!) The site of the attack therefore has deep symbolic and spiritual ramifications. It is both the “firstborn” of the settlements, and a place named after the sacred city of Jews, Christians and Muslims. The attack is being waged by “invisible hands,” the first wave of a plot that was in existence forty years before the Salem trials, that is, sometime in the 1650s. The allusion by Mather to a person convicted of witchcraft and murder in Salem and executed at about that time is mysterious, as it does not come up in any of the documents I have been able to locate. Yet, the insistence by Mather that the occurrence of witchcraft in Salem is the result of a plot by devil worshippers to take over the country is worth considering for several reasons.

In the first place, such an accusation would serve to rally the people together by making witchcraft a threat to everyone and not only to those afflicted by torments and curses. It is a master stroke, and reminiscent of Hitler’s castigation of a Jewish plot against Germany.

In the second place, it implies that the witches are well-organized and have been setting this up for over forty years. In other words, it is impossible to know who your friends are. People you have known all your life may, indeed, be part of this ongoing plot to destroy Christianity in the New World. If they are truly operating by invisible means, then normal systems of defense are hopeless.

In the third place—and perhaps most importantly of all—the “malefactor” of forty years ago was also a murderer as well as a witch. This linking of supernatural powers and religious rebellion with actual murder is very important. As in the case of the satanic cult survivor syndrome of the 1980s, satanic cults are not deemed threatening or even newsworthy unless they have been killing people. This may be an early result of the Church coming to terms with science. When the threat of diabolic powers and unholy worship is no longer enough to frighten—being deemed more the domain of fairy tales and legends than the real world of physics and chemistry—then murder is enough to bring the subject of satanists and witches back to the front burner. Remember, also, that these murders were the result of black magic and not .44 calibre bullets. A poppet studded with pins, hidden in a wall or buried in the garden, coupled with a corpse, was enough for a conviction. It satisfied means and opportunity, if not always motive; but if the motive is the plot to overthrow Christianity, then no further evidence is needed. The dead child or adult was simply a target of opportunity in an all-out war against the forces of Light.

In fact, when it comes to the case of “spectral evidence” in which the sufferer perceives the shape or image of a certain person to be causing the mischief, when the actual person can be shown to be elsewhere at the time and “alibied-up” (as we say in the Bronx), Mather understands that to be a wile of the Devil, rendering at times the person innocent even though that person’s “shape” or “spectre” may have been seen by the bewitched. Mather goes even further, to say that though the person himself may be innocent it is still evidence of the extent of the diabolical plot against the land that the Devil is capable of using this type of illusion to cause dissension among the Christians and so to demoralize them.

These our poor afflicted neighbors, quickly after they become infected and infested with these demons, arrive to a capacity of discerning those which they conceive the shapes of their troublers; and notwithstanding the great and just suspicion that the demons might impose the shapes of innocent persons in their spectral exhibitions upon the sufferers (which may perhaps prove no small part of the witch-plot in the issue), yet many of the persons thus represented, being examined, several of them have been convicted of a very

damnable witchcraft: yea, more than one twenty have confessed, that they have signed unto a book, which the devil showed them, and engaged in his hellish design of bewitching and ruining our land.

—Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World (emphasis added )21

Mather then, in prose fraught with presentiment of what would happen to America in the 1980s, states,

We know not, at least I know not, how far the delusions of Satan may be interwoven into some circumstances of the confessions; but one would think all the rules of understanding human nature are at an end, if after so many most voluntary harmonious confessions, made by intelligent persons of all ages, in sundry towns, at several times, we must not believe the main strokes wherein those confessions all agree: especially when we have a thousand preternatural things every day before our eyes, wherein the confessors do acknowledge their concernment, and give demonstration of their being so concerned. If the devils now can strike the minds of men with any poisons of so fine a composition and operation, that scores of innocent people shall unite, in confessions of a crime, which we see actually committed, it is a thing prodigious, beyond the wonders of the former ages, and it threatens no less than a sort of a dissolution upon the world.

—Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World (emphasis added)22

In other words, if everyone is confessing to things which they did not actually do, then it is still the action of the Devil, and the world is in even more danger. Heads I win. Tails you lose. Either the confessions are genuine, and the witches guilty; or the confessions are false and have been concocted by the Devil, in which case the accused may be innocent, but the Devil is a lot stronger than we thought and the country is in jeopardy. Either way, the Devil is abroad in the land.

Or, at least, in Massachusetts.

One of the most revealing views of Cotton Mather on the subject of witchcraft appears in his letters, in which he states that witchcraft works “upon the stage of imagination.” He never doubted the fact of witches and witchcraft, but instead—after witnessing the events not only in Salem but in other cities in New England and in other cases of witchcraft—understood that the efficacy of witchcraft resided in the powers of the mind. We say that “the mind plays tricks” or “the imagination plays tricks” and thereby remove any personal responsibility from the event. But in Mather’s day, one was responsible for the state of one’s soul and could not shrug off culpability by blaming one’s parents or one’s environment. If the “imagination” was playing tricks, then someone was playing the imagination. Either the victim, or a witch. The witch as manipulator of perception, as manipulator of the imagination, is a powerful symbol and comes very close as a model for what actually transpires, as we shall see in later chapters.

And these individuals who understand the workings of the imagination pose a great threat to society, in Mather’s eyes:

…at prodigious witch-meetings, the wretches have proceeded so far as to concert and consult the methods of rooting out the Christian religion from this country, and setting up instead of it perhaps a more gross diabolism than ever the world saw before.

—Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World 23

These are very strong words. For Cotton Mather, the Invisible World is indeed wondrous, and very, very dangerous.

Among the most respected historians of the Salem Witchcraft trials is Chad-wick Hansen, who based his novel thesis on the close reading of the actual trial transcripts themselves and came to the conclusion that there was, indeed, witchcraft being practiced in Salem and that some of the

accused were actually guilty. In addition to this startling assertion, his study Witchcraft at Salem, originally published in 1969, goes on to conclude that many of the girls were actually suffering from a clinical mental disorder.

Hansen states that the problem afflicting the Salem girls was hysteria, but he qualifies this by saying that it was the medical condition known as hysteria and not the popular concept of hysteria; in other words, he claims that the girls suffered from a pathological condition. He refers to Freud, Janet and others as his source for information on hysteria, its symptoms, manifestations and presumed causes.24 It may be salutary to compare those early definitions of hysteria with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-III (DSM-III) to see if there is still general agreement on both symptomatology and causes.

What is more interesting, perhaps, is his agreement that there was, indeed, witchcraft—specifically “image magic”—being practiced at Salem. He goes further to provide some evidence of one murder being carried out by an act of witchcraft. Of course, he puts this down to the general effect of cursing someone in a superstitious society: if you believe in curses and witchcraft and you know you have been cursed, you give up hope and die.

This does not exonerate those who practiced such spells, however. If they desired to cause the death of another and used “superstitious” means to effect that end, are they any less guilty because we—as moderns—profess not to believe in witchcraft? On the contrary, the spell-casters seem just as culpable to me as those who murder with knife, gun or poison. Especially in the context of 1692, it would seem that some of those convicted of witchcraft may very well have been guilty.

As Hansen writes,

While it is clearly true that the majority of persons executed for witchcraft were innocent, it is equally true that some of them, in Massachusetts and elsewhere, were guilty.25


It should be clear by now that our historians have erred in their assumption that there was no witchcraft practiced at Salem, or that if there was it was of little consequence. The documents, rightly read, present us a far different picture. In Bridget Bishop, Candy, and Mammy Redd we have three people who practiced black magic, and with demonstrable success. In the Hoar family and George Burroughs we have people who established a reputation for black magic and then traded on it, although whether they were actually witches remains uncertain. …And if the testimony concerning Roger Toothaker and his daughter may be taken at face value—and there is reason to believe it may—we have one case of murder by witchcraft—one case in which occult means were used to take a human life away. 26

While Hansen admits that witchcraft and black magic were used by some of the accused Salem witches, he still tends (as would most sober and serious historians) to associate their effects with the clinical definition of hysteria.

There is, however, something vaguely unsatisfying about this charge of hysteria. As Hansen himself relates,27 hysterical fits seem to be disappearing as a rule, and he lays this to the fact that we—as moderns—don’t give the hysterical fit as much attention or awe as before, so that as a mechanism it has lost its usefulness. This seems to argue against hysteria being a genuine pathology and the fit something over which a person has no control. One of the essential elements of Hansen’s thesis seems to be that the bewitched of Salem were not frauds, but victims of a pathological condition. Yet, he seems to believe that hysterical fits are disappearing in the modern world because there is no support in the environment or society for their religious or mystical interpretations. Perhaps I am dull, but I don’t see the logic of this argument.

The type of hysteria Hansen is describing—and the symptoms to which the transcripts of the Salem trials may refer—are covered in DSM-III (the edition current with Hansen’s work) under “300.11 Conversion Disorder (or Hysterical Neurosis, Conversion Type).” Under the heading “Predisposing Factors,” we read,

Antecedent physical disorder (which may provide a prototype for the symptoms, e.g., pseudoseizures in individuals with epilepsy), exposure to other individuals with real physical symptoms or conversion symptoms, and extreme psychosocial stress (e.g., warfare or the recent death of a significant figure) are predisposing factors.28

We know from the transcripts that there was no evidence of “antecedent physical disorders” and “exposure to other individuals with real physical symptoms or conversion symptoms” seems to be a way of alluding to the popular concept of “mass hysteria,” i.e., if a person sees one hysteric “acting out” then somehow this fit is contagious, like yawning or laughing, and you have a chain reaction of hysterics. The last mentioned factor is “extreme psychosocial stress,” and there was a degree of tension in Salem Village in those days, but nowhere near enough to account for the outbreak of hysteria, if hysteria it was. One setting that contributes to hysteria— according to DSM-III—is warfare. That’s the degree of extreme psychosocial stress the authors of the DSM-III had in mind. So, we are left with a question: What social factors contributed to the outbreak of hysteria in Salem Village in 1692, of a nature equal to warfare?

Also, can hysteria be consciously controlled? The psychiatrists of today would tell us no, that it is a pathological condition beyond the conscious control of an individual. That would rule out fraud in the case of Salem, since the symptoms were so severe and so representative of the cases found in Janet, Charcot, Freud, et. al. that there is no way to disregard them as a kind of adolescent prank.

Many of the symptoms of conversion disorder seem equivalent to the type of phenomena witnessed in cases of demonic possession, and certainly many such cases were thus identified in the past. Hysterics in New England in the seventeenth century were often “cured” by prayer, which would seem to indicate a close relation to cases of demonic possession. It is possible that “conversion disorder” and “demonic possession” are simply two ways of saying the same thing… but that should not lull us into a false sense of security.

Hansen refers to parallel cases of hysterical fits in instances of New England “witchcraft” and in European medicine, in29 which the hysterical victim claims to see beings tormenting her. Invective—including the use of foul expletives—is common in both types of cases. No less an authority than J.M. Charcot believed that the hallucination of beings attacking his patient were “reminiscences, doubtless, of the emotions experienced in her youth.” 30What does that mean? That these emotions—buried for decades, perhaps—come to the fore during an hysterical fit? Or are these emotions perhaps the cause of the fit? How, then, to describe the same thing happening to young girls, people still in their youth?

While the emotions may represent buried memories, may they be of a more atavistic nature? In the way of the collective unconscious of Jung, for instance? Or perhaps they are what they seem to be to a select few Catholic exorcists: evidence of the possession of the victim by some outside force?

It is common to say that a belief in possession carries with it a concomitant belief in exorcism, and that is why exorcism works and not because there is a real demon possessing a human being. But that is somewhat tautological. Cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments and chemotherapy are told to think positive, to visualize their cancer cells dying, to develop a “will to live,” etc., leading us to wonder how much of modern cancer therapy is analogous to witchcraft. If the mind-body system is so interdependent as to support a whole host of radical therapies aimed at treating much illness as psychosomatic—if not in origin, then at least in cure—then perhaps we are missing the boat on hysteria, possession, and witchcraft. And if some of the current theories of quantum physics hold any deeper meaning for us, then perhaps the notion of an “outside force” is not too far-fetched.

Further, one could as easily suggest that because exorcism works, there are real demons. Science says that there is no evidence that demons exist, and that the symptoms of possession are actually those of other pathological states which can be treated with scientific procedures. In the cases where science—i.e., medicine—fails and magic works (such as in spontaneous cancer remission, for instance, or in cases of exorcism), it is claimed to be

only due to an imperfect understanding of the scientific mechanisms of the specific malady, and not due to supernatural events.

What is not entertained—because it would cause a bit of social upheaval and a great deal of misunderstanding—is the possibility that these two claims are not mutually exclusive: that scientific and medical procedures contain within them an element of the supernatural or at least paranormal, and that the best doctors and the best physicists are those who recognize this and utilize it to the best of their ability.

Yet, Hansen goes on to insist,

The direct cause of these fits, in the courtroom or out of it, was, of course, not witchcraft itself, but the afflicted person’s fear of witchcraft.31

This is all well and good, for it supports the party line that occult powers per se either do not exist, or exist only in the fevered imaginations of occultists and fellow travelers. But numerous persons at the Salem trial confessed to witchcraft, and in specifics and in detail. Some of these persons were known occultists, such as George Burroughs and Samuel Wardwell. William Barker’s confession in which he claimed there were 307 witches abroad in the land, and that they were part of a plot to replace the practice of Christianity with that of Devil worship—hence the fact that the Salem panic began at the home of its minister, Samuel Parris—is discounted as patently false by Hansen and, of course, by everyone else. We have variations today in the United States and elsewhere of “satanic panic” and charges of a conspiracy of witches or occultists in the land who are working towards the overthrow of Christianity, etc. Some of these confessions, however, are deliberate, detailed, expanded upon, citing specific events… and they are dismissed because, of course, there are no such things as occult powers or the Devil making pacts with humans… or even, dare we say, the Devil itself.

While it is not my intention to say that the confessions are literally true, and that Barker, Wardwell and others were transported to witches’ sabbats on broomsticks and made pacts with a literal Devil and signed a physical

book and worked for the overthrow of Christianity, what I am suggesting is that there is a dimension to these confessions that is beyond fraud, or overactive imaginations, or hysteria. What I am suggesting, and hope to demonstrate in the pages that follow, is that there exists a medium in which occult “powers” do exist and do have an effect on the world as experienced by non-occultists, and that the evidence that is available to support this thesis is convincing, and scientific.

As Cotton Mather states,

Our dear neighbors are most really tormented, really murdered, and really acquainted with hidden things which are afterwards proved plainly to have been realities. 3233


…The details of the case will probably be never known now, though we are informed upon good authority that the crime was the result of an old-standing and romantic feud, in which love and Mormonism bore a part. It seems that both the victims belonged, in their younger days, to the Latter Day Saints… —“A Study In Scarlet,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle34

It is clear from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story that he was fascinated with the history of the Mormons, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah where the Mormon pilgrims finally ended their search for a place to practice their religion freely, they are famous the world over for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for their collection of birth records and genealogical data, and perhaps less so for the fact that the late Howard Hughes, billionaire recluse and erstwhile Hollywood playboy, insisted on Mormons as his personal staff and de facto bodyguards. The role that the Mormons play in our story will be amplified later; for now it is only enough to look at their mysterious origins, origins that gave rise to the first Sherlock Holmes mystery.

The tale begins where we left off a few paragraphs ago, in the village of Salem, Massachusetts. And it begins with the same topic as those infamous trials: witchcraft, magic and secret societies. The witch—or wizard, as the Salem judges would have termed him—was none other than Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Mormon Church and the recipient of its sacred text, the

Book of Mormon. Like Muhammad, Joseph Smith was visited by an Angel. Like Muhammad, he created a whole religion based on his angelic contacts. But unlike Muhammad, Joseph Smith was actively involved in the use of ritual magic—ceremonial magic—for the purpose of finding buried treasure. Like a Yankee Doctor Faustus, Joseph Smith conjured spirits to come to his aid. With amulets and talismans, pentacles and swords, sigils and strange alphabets, he stepped from the misty milieu of Continental European magic and into the creation of the quintessential American-born religion, a religion which ties together some loose ends of American archaeology, Christian cabala, Freemasonry, and old-fashioned Bible stories to weave a crazy quilt of millennial paranoia, pseudo-Egyptian magic, and Masonic ritual. In fact, Joseph Smith could be considered one of the godfathers of the American occult scene, the progenitor of such groups as the Church of Satan, the OTO “Caliphate,” even the witchcraft revival of the 1970s. One of the texts that was essential to Smith’s occult operations was The Magus, that vast compendium of occult beliefs and systems written by Francis Barrett two hundred years ago, which was republished many times during the American occult renaissance in the 1970s.35

In fact, what many Americans—and probably most Mormons—do not know is that Joseph Smith, Jr. (who would go on to found the Mormon religion) was a direct descendant of one of the accusers at Salem, one Samuell Smith of Boxford, who accused Mary Easty of witchcraft. Samuell Smith was Joseph Smith’s great-great-grandfather. Another accuser, one John Gould— who accused Sarah Wilds—was Samuell Smith’s father-in- law.

Both Mary Easty and Sarah Wilds were executed at Salem in 1692, and on the basis of the accusations of Smith and Gould, Joseph Smith’s ancestors… 36

…and in 1836, Joseph Smith and a small company of fellow treasure- seekers decamped to Salem, Massachusetts for the purpose of renting a house where they believed treasure to be buried. It should be noted that this is six years after the Book of Mormon was first published. Joseph Smith was already the Prophet, had already founded a new religion based on revelations inscribed on golden plates, and was a well-known figure in

American religion by that time. The evidence shows that he entered Salem quietly, attempted to rent the house, failed in that, was forced to rent another close by, and conducted ceremonies to divine the location of the supposed treasure. The attempt failed, and the Prophet left Salem without the gold and silver he was sure was buried there. 37

That Joseph Smith should have been heavily involved in classic operations of ceremonial magic came as a shock to many Mormons and Mormon-watchers. While insiders know of the quasi-Masonic nature of Mormon ritual—and, in fact, that Joseph Smith himself was an initiated Mason by 1842—the rest of the world was not prepared for the revelations that he began his career as an occultist and magician. It would take a famous murder case 38to bring this news to public attention, and even then the emphasis would be that Smith and his band practiced a form of American “folk magic” that was prevalent in the country at the time, and that they should not be censured or criticized for what was, in reality, a popular pastime among Americans.

To equate the formulas of ceremonial magic in such famous grimoires as Barrett’s The Magus with “folk magic,” however, is naïve. If ceremonial magic is “folk magic,” then what is the alternative form of magic? The fact that “common people” bought sorcerers’ workbooks and tried to practice the confusing and often bowdlerized rituals they found therein does not mean that these practices themselves were “folk magic,” but only that the folk were practicing them. This is perhaps more a reflection of the influence of the publishing industry upon American mystical and religious sensibilities than it is motive for a characterization of these practices as folk magic.

For these early Americans—white, descendants of various European nationalities, whose forebears went back only a few generations before they could be traced to the ships that brought them from England, Holland, France, and other countries—were not “folk” in the ordinary sense of the word. There was no indigenous folk magic in America because there were no indigenous folk, aside from the Native American population whose religious and occult practices were largely unknown or—as in the case with Cotton Mather and his writings—largely misunderstood. American folk

magic—as it is interpreted by historians—is the result of European systems of belief transplanted to American shores, either by active practitioners of these systems or by the printed word. And these were not folk systems, but elaborate series of rituals based on the works of educated mystics, cabalists, philosophers and magicians. In fact, an occultist would say—and with some justification—that it was the imperfect understanding of these processes that would lead to the murder of Joseph Smith himself by an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois in 1847.

The story of Joseph Smith, the golden plates, the Angel Moroni, the Book of Mormon and the creation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has been covered by many other historians and biographers, so I will give only a short synopsis here as it relates to this study. The occult aspects are covered in depth by Professor Quinn, and elsewhere as noted below.

Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805 in the small town of Sharon, Vermont to a strange family that included his father, Joseph Smith, Sr., who was something of a wizard and ceremonial magician, a man given to drawing magic circles in the earth with a sword and divining for hidden treasure with a diviner’s rod and seer stone, and his mother, who was involved in her own occult practices, and an aunt that married an alchemist. The fact of his birth on (or about) the winter solstice must have given his family some cause for rejoicing, as it is an auspicious day, and almost Christmas as well. They must have thought that their son was destined for great things, as indeed fortune tellers consulted about the boy’s future predicted he would be.

But he was, in fact, a barefoot farm boy for most of his early life; he developed a knack for treasure-seeking and would assist his father in attempts to find gold and precious stones buried underground. This was a strange occupation for a young boy, especially in light of the fact that treasure was rarely, if ever, discovered. What did transpire, however, would produce much more than buried treasure; for as the young Joseph Smith spent day after day trying to contact spirits and gaze into magic stones in the fruitless attempt to uncover buried wealth, he was opening himself up to other influences, other forces. The treasure-seeking escapades were a kind

of ad hoc initiatory program for Joseph Smith, and he began to see—not treasure, but visions.

This is the point at which various influences come together in a single person and produce unbelievable results, far in excess of what would ordinarily be predicted for a young farm boy from a bizarre background, living close to poverty, far from any city or center of education, cultural stimulation or sophistication of any kind. In fact, this is the type of family and background that we might associate with that of the serial killer or mass murderer. After all, some of our most famous killers—Charles Manson, Henry Lee Lucas, Otis Toole, Arthur Shawcross—all came from a similar background and circumstances, as well as many not so famous, such as Bobby Joe Long. David Berkowitz claimed to hear voices telling him to kill; Joseph Smith claimed to hear voices telling him to renew Christianity.

Whether or not his father truly believed he would ever find gold and treasure using the rituals of ceremonial magic, what can be assumed as a relative certainty is that his young son believed in it wholeheartedly. After all, his parents seemed to be firm believers and they were religious people as well, for whom their occult practices were perceived as complementary

—rather than in opposition—to their Christian faith. In fact, Joseph Smith, Jr. would have been used as a seer by his father. The requirements for divining by use of spirits in the old books specified that a young child be used to gaze into the shew stone or crystal, as such a child was presumed to have led a chaste life and be pure in thought, thus permitting him or her easier access to the spirit world.

Joseph took this responsibility very seriously. He heard of a young woman with a seer stone (a type of rock used as a crystal ball, placed in a hat and gazed at for long periods of time), who had good results in divining hidden things. He spent a lot of time trying to learn the art of gazing from her, and eventually used these practices to discover the existence of his own seer stone, revealed to him in a vision as being buried beneath a certain tree or bush. Smith followed the instructions in his vision, proceeded to the tree and dug up the stone.

As time went on, both Smiths—pere et fils—would become involved in various rituals of ceremonial magic to the extent that they began to acquire

a collection of books and paraphernalia that would be familiar to anyone dabbling in occult practices today. One of the most popular occult textbooks of that time was Francis Barrett’s The Magus, which is a compendium of magical belief, invocations, occult diagrams and rituals that is as well known today as it was two hundred years ago, and which has been reprinted many times in the past thirty years. It is a hefty volume, and covers everything from planetary magic to divination to ritual invocations. Anyone examining the rituals of the nineteenth century English occult lodge—The Golden Dawn—will find many of the same seals, symbols and diagrams used by both Joseph Smith in 1820 and MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley in 1900… and by modern occult and witchcraft organizations in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Australia today. In fact, much of the information contained in The Magus is a summary of occult rituals from the seventeenth century and earlier. Those individuals credited by Dame Frances Yates for contributing to Renaissance magic—Cornelius Agrippa and Pico della Mirandola, among others—can be found haunting the pages of Francis Barrett’s monumental work.

In fact there is a continuum of practice and belief going back in time more than two thousand years that runs parallel to the mainstream histories of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the West, a continuum of magic and sorcery: a belief in the possibility of the manipulation of hidden powers by ordinary mortals, provided that they only have the technological information at hand, and the right equipment. It is actually a very scientific attitude towards understanding and working with cosmic principles, contrary to the opinions of skeptics and historians. It is a technology that was designed to extend the capability of a person’s five normal senses into a sixth realm: a technology that acted as a machine to fine tune the powers of the mind. This technology is so consistent in its general terms and practices that a magician of today can look upon the texts and instruments of his or her counterpart of two thousand years ago and figure out what they were up to. Furthermore, the systems are so internally consistent that we can duplicate these rituals exactly in every way and gradually come to an understanding of how they were expected to work, an understanding probably far in excess of what Joseph Smith could be expected to have, as the studies of psychology, psychobiology, and biochemistry were nowhere near as advanced then as they are today. Whereas modern histories of

science grudgingly and somewhat sarcastically give credit to the alchemists of old for having—usually, according to these historians, by “accident”— created the fundamentals of chemistry, no one credits the ceremonial magicians for their contribution (however “accidental”) to modern knowledge concerning psychology and psychobiology.

The tradition in which the Smiths were working is in the mainstream of ceremonial magic, and its rudiments can be studied today in works by Israel Regardie, MacGregor Mathers, A.E. Waite, Aleister Crowley and many others. In fact, Waite’s book—The Book of Ceremonial Magic, sometimes titled The Book of Black Magic and Pacts—is a worthy competitor to Francis Barrett’s volume, and was a familiar sight in Western occult circles in the 1960s and 1970s. The symbols, magic squares and invocations found therein can be traced back to the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon, the Enchiridion of Pope Leo, the Grimoire of Pope Honorious, and other famous magic textbooks of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They are the physical remnants of a stream of occult practice and belief known as “Christian Cabala,” which is an amalgam of Jewish mystical beliefs and texts with corresponding Christian and Islamic input. The attitude of occultists has usually been very pragmatic and open-minded when it comes to the practices and “discoveries” of occultists of other faiths, much more so than the true believers of any one faith who find competing faiths anathema, and their competitors deserving of murder.

Christian Cabala came to America with some of the earliest settlers. A famous German mystic, Johannes Kelpius, settled at the Wissahickon River near Philadelphia with his band of Pietist brothers—where they practiced astrology, astronomy magic and alchemy—in 1694, only two years after the Salem trials. They were a millennialist cult, strictly 39in number (no more, no less) and watched the skies carefully for a sign of the end of the world.

The Ephrata community, also in Pennsylvania, had its origins with the Kelpius group (known as the “Monks of the Wissahickon”) and was similarly famous for its occult practices, which included ceremonial magic, astrology, astronomy, alchemy and Rosicrucian studies and practices. The Rosicrucians themselves became known as a result of the publication of the Fama Fraternitatis in 1614, in which—among other things—they claimed

to have their origin with the mysterious Christian Rosenkreutz, a philosopher and mystic who had traveled Europe and the Middle East in search of esoteric wisdom and who had formed the Rosicrucian brotherhood as a repository of occult teachings: a secret society whose members would be unknown to the rest of humanity even as they labored on humanity’s behalf. A further publica-tion—The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz—placed the mystical tradition of the Rosicrucians firmly in the alchemical and qabalistic camp, in a treatise that borders on Hindu Tantrism.

As Professor Quinn points out in his magnum opus, a wide variety of occult literature was available to Joseph Smith, even in his otherwise remote village of Palmyra, New York (near Canandaigua). The works of Agrippa, Barrett, Mather and others were routinely stocked in bookstores in the region, and lists of occult books either in print or available for sale at second-hand ran to over 100 pages. 42 America at that time—so soon after the War of 1812—was in the midst of a religious and mystical revival, a fact that is often ignored or misunderstood by general historians of the American experience. And in the midst of this religious revival was a fear of secret societies and their presumed ill intentions towards the young Republic. Chief among these societies was, of course, the Freemasons.

The Anti-Masonic movement in America was in its heyday at the time that Joseph Smith was searching for buried treasure using ceremonial magic. The kidnap and alleged murder of William Morgan in 1826 triggered an anti-Masonic backlash in western New York where the Smith farm was located. Morgan was a Mason (actually, his status within the Masonic organization was somewhat in doubt) who planned to reveal the secret rituals of Freemasonry in a book he was writing, contracted to a small publisher; as a result, it seems that some Masons felt it was imperative to mete out the justice specified in those very rituals. The printing office was fire-bombed and Morgan was kidnapped, that much seems certain. He was admittedly taken by Masons to Fort Niagara, New York where he was kept imprisoned for some time. After that, reports vary as to what eventually became of him. A year later, a body washed up near Fort Niagara that was eventually identified as Morgan, even though there was controversy over this fact as well. In any event, it was characterized as

a cult killing, not the first in America and certainly not the last, but it was very visible and the results were sweeping.

Masons were forced to explain themselves, and explain their history as a society, in ways they had not anticipated. Masons were believed to be behind secret movements to control the operations of government and, naturally, the dreaded Illuminati would be invoked as an example of this perfidy. An Anti-Masonic Convention was held in Philadelphia on September 11, 1830 which was attended by such political celebrities as William H. Seward and Thaddeus Stevens (founders of the Republican Party after their break with the Whigs, the former of course also responsible for the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867) and Francis Granger, an enemy of Seward in other things (notably on the slavery issue) but a fellow- traveler when it came to the anti-Masonic cause. In the ensuing hysteria Masonic membership dropped drastically; many lodges were closed, virtually overnight, and Masonry became a campaign issue in the United States for decades. The 1830s and 1840s saw the growth of an anti-Masonic political party, as well as general paranoia over the perceived penetration of the Masonic Society by the political and anti-Christian elements of the Illuminati, thus rendering the Masonic Society little more than an “outer court” for the inner workings of a diabolical European organization with designs on the new American republic.

The Bavarian Illuminati have been covered in so many places in so many ways that it is probably not worthwhile to describe them in detail here. Suffice it to say that the Order was created by one Adam Weishaupt, a professor of theology at the University of Ingolstadt, Bavaria on May 1, 1776, as a kind of super-Masonry which attracted many of the intelligentsia of the day. It was the political machinations of the Illuminati that lead to its eventual suppression by the Bavarian authorities, but the damage had been done: a secret mystical brotherhood, bound by blood oaths and practicing strange rites, had been plotting against the government. It is perhaps no mere coincidence that Weishaupt’s Order was established only a few months before the signing of the American Declaration of Independence. It has been blamed for everything from the French Revolution to the creation of the Federal Reserve banking system. A true Frankenstein’s monster, born in the same town as the fictional Doctor’s ghastly experiment at creating

life… and the same town where, eventually, German automaker (and erstwhile warplane manufacturer) BMW would set up shop. As noted, the Illuminati were blamed for the French Revolution, among other things; even Winston Churchill would one day cite the Illuminati as a dread presence in world affairs. 40

None of this stood in the way of Joseph Smith’s attraction towards Freemasonry, however, and he eventually became a Mason in March of 1842 despite the general outrage over the society. Both admirers and detractors of Mormonism agree that much of the LDS Church’s ritual and priesthood structure mimics that of Smith’s Masonic involvement. Why he would choose to become a Mason in the atmosphere of alarm and paranoia that surrounded any mention of Masonry in the America of that time is open to conjecture; probably he saw Freemasonry as being sympathetic to his own ideas and background: the arcane rituals, the free-thinking atmosphere, the cherishing of a “secret history” of the world would all have been attractive to Joseph Smith. In addition, it probably gave him a sense of belonging to a society of people who would respect his higher intentions and his intellect at a time when Mormonism was being viewed as a heretical and possibly dangerous cult.

But in 1823, Joseph Smith had not yet founded a religion. He was a young man desperately seeking buried treasure. On the auspicious day of September 22, 1823 he had a vision of an Angel.

It was the autumnal equinox, the first day of the zodiacal sign of Libra, and he had repaired to a hill near his home late that night and performed the rituals necessary to invoke spiritual forces. He was gratified to obtain a vision of the Angel Moroni, who directed him to where a certain treasure was buried.

Quinn tells us that “Moroni” as a surname meant “dark complexion” or “swarthy,” which reminds us at once of the Black Man or the Man In Black of the Salem witch trials. 41This did not necessarily mean an African, but could have referred to any person of swarthy appearance: Native Americans, Meditteraneans, Levantines, etc.

Smith rushed to the spot indicated by Moroni and began digging. He found the gold plates but, ignoring the Angel’s demand that he take the plates and seek no further, he could not resist looking into the hole he had dug to see if there was anything else. Enraged, the Angel took back the plates and told Smith if he wanted to see them again he should return the following year on the same day and at the same time, and should bring his older brother.

Chagrined, he returned to his home and related some of what had transpired.

And the following year, he tried again. The problem, however, was that his older brother had died a few months after the first attempt at the plates. Smith repaired to the same spot at the same time as indicated by Moroni, and Moroni put him off again. All in all it would take three more years before—on September 22, 1827—he would finally be able to see the plates again and to begin transcribing what has become the Book of Mormon.

The method of transcribing the plates—which, according to the story, were written in a kind of Egyptian hieroglyphic—would seem odd to many Americans but familiar to occultists and those familiar with occult literature. Smith would place his “shew stone” or “seer stone” in his hat and then bring his face into the hat so that no light would enter his field of vision. There, with his hands on his knees and staring into his hat, he would begin to dictate the pages of the Book.

This method is called “skrying” and was used by Elizabethan astrologer, occultist and spy John Dee in the sixteenth century, as well as by legions of fortune tellers, crystal gazers, magicians and soothsayers for millennia. John Dee, in fact, received his famous system of Enochian magic in roughly this manner. His shew stone—a piece of what appears to be polished Aztec obsidian—can be found at the British Museum.

Many devout Mormons have a problem with this story, as it makes Joseph Smith appear to be little more than a sorcerer or wizard. This is certainly the point of view one takes today, looking back on events that occurred nearly two hundred years ago, but it is perhaps slightly in error. The practices of ceremonial magic, skrying, divining, and all the rest were

taking place side-by-side with intense religious feeling. Magic was believed to be an extension of religion, and not in opposition to it. Thus, we have many clergymen, scientists, and political leaders involved in those days in practices that can only seem unsavory today. To be sure, many strict fundamentalists opposed the practice of magic, fearing that it would lead to the excesses of witchcraft and demon-worship. But to the farmer, the villager, the blacksmith, these practices were based on a system of knowledge that was gleaned from the stars and the phases of the moon, things of nature, things that regulated their lives anyway and told them when to plant and when to harvest. It would be difficult to tell a farmer to ignore the phases of the moon, and to place no stock in the almanacs that had become part of his life at least since the time of Benjamin Franklin and “Poor Richard.”

Indeed, as Professor Valerie I.J. Flint reminds us—when discussing the role of Simon Magus in early Christian literature and his widely reported magical wars with Saint Peter—in The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe,

Some supernatural exercises are neither admissible nor praiseworthy; but some are both…. Magical ability is expected of a great religious leader; objections arise only when he uses it in unacceptable ways and for unacceptable ends. 42

And again,

The harnessing of magical abilities to selfish ends renders the practice of magic wholly objectionable. …but magical powers of a wide variety emerge from the Simon literature as legitimate, provided only that they are employed for clear benefit of human beings. They may even be necessary to humanity. 43(emphasis added)

“They may even be necessary to humanity.” We will come back to this concept a bit later on, but at the moment we can summarize our findings as follows: that the origins of Mormonism lie in the most blatant practice of ritual ceremonial magic, a practice that was never denied or abandoned by either Smith or his proteges, as we can see by Quinn’s pioneering study; that this blend of Christian religion and European ceremonial magic was

common in America at that time (Quinn goes so far as to call it “folk magic”); and, finally and “coincidentally,” that we have ancestors of the Smith family itself deeply involved in the Salem witch trials.

And we have Joseph Smith himself, years later, running for President of the United States and imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois in 1844. By this time he has become a Mason, has formed his new religion, has become the commander of a huge state militia (the largest in the country at the time), has become mayor of one of Illinois’s largest communities, has continued the quest for buried treasures (both of the material and of the spiritual worlds, we assume, and at least one such quest took him back to his ancestral home in Salem, Massachusetts), has married numerous times, has established temples where his new religion could thrive… and, in a frenzy of fear and paranoia at the growing power of this latter-day Prophet, he is murdered by an angry mob on June 27.

He was wearing his Jupiter amulet at the time of his death, a photo of which can be seen in Quinn’s book.44

It was incorrectly engraved.

The Hebrew characters on top of the magic square of Jupiter in the original—to be found in The Magus and other places—reads “AL AB,” which means “The Father” and which is a holy name of Jupiter, which was Smith’s ruling planet.

Unfortunately for Smith, his talisman is missing the final “B” character. Thus, the characters are A. L A, which in Hebrew means “but” or “only” or “except,” a preposition instead of the Divine Name of Jupiter. As any authority will tell you, one must be faithful to every letter and mark in a grimoire and not edit the words, the signs or seals lest disaster befall. The other characters of the seal are correct, with one word being “ABA” or “Father” and the other “YHPYAL” or “Johphiel,” which is the “Intelligence of Jupiter.” With AL AB reduced to the preposition ALA, we are tempted to read the seal as “Father except Johphiel,” certainly a distressing combination implying that Johphiel is nowhere present.

The word “YHPYAL” according to Hebrew Qabala (cabala, kabbala, etc.) adds to the number 136, the same number on the seal of Jupiter which is a magic square, the sum of whose numbers in any row add to 136. The word “ABA” adds to four. The word “ALA” adds to thirty-two. It should have been “AL AB” which would have resulted in thirty-four, for a grand total of 174. With the error in AL AB and reducing it to ALA, the total is 172.

According to Liber 777, which is a famous compendium of qabalistic numerology begun by the Golden Dawn and later compiled and printed by Aleister Crowley, we read that the value of the number 174 will give us “Torches” and “Splendor ei per circuitum,” a pleasant enough attribution. The valuation for 172, however, gives us “Cut, divided” and “The heel, the end.” 45

And so it was for Joseph Smith.

One is tempted, in the light of Smith’s violent end at the hands of a mob, to look at his death in another, even more poetic, way. He was, after all, the descendent of men who, at Salem, accused women of witchcraft and saw them hanged. Like something out of Nathaniel Hawthorne (himself a Salem native), the sins of the father were visited on his children, and his children’s children. Perhaps, with a bit of literary license and a nod at Hawthorne, we may say of Joseph Smith that “God gave him blood to drink.”

Mormonism did not end with him, of course. The banner of leadership was taken up by Brigham Young, and the flight west begun. Eventually the Mormons would settle in what is now Utah, and make their headquarters at the side of the Great Salt Lake. But it would be years before Mormonism was viewed as respectable and conservative. Polygamy was one issue, of course, and the Mormons were forced to abandon the practice (at least officially and formally). But there had been violent confrontations between Mormons and non-Mormons, and even between Mormons themselves. For years they were perceived as a cult, just as David Koresh’s experiment in Waco or Jim Jones’ failed commune in the jungles of Guyana. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is perhaps the best-known representative of this point of view. His very first Sherlock Holmes story—in which Watson and Holmes meet

—is about the Mormons, with shadings of European occultism, secret

societies and, of course, murder. A Study In Scarlet has a long, set-piece study of Mormonism, as Conan Doyle understood it and as it would have been familiar to his readers when published in 1887. Of course, for Conan Doyle’s English readers, Mormonism was probably just another example of American foolishness at best, or sinister cult behavior at worse. Yet we see in this famous story an introduction to Sherlock Holmes, to Doctor Watson, to the concept of crime detection using the powers of deduction based on available evidence, to the paranormal, to murder, to cults, and to a specifically American cult. With the retrospect possible after over one hundred years since the initial publication of the story, we can see how really remarkable is this first attempt at popular crime fiction. It wove together many of the threads that would interest Conan Doyle for years to come and, in its own way, is concerned with themes that are as modern as today’s tabloid headlines and trash-talk reality shows.

That Holmes and Watson are obviously the prototypes for Mulder and Scully respectively of television’s X-Files fame needs no further explanation beyond this: both pairs are involved in crime detection, one is a doctor who records his/her observations after each case, the other is a visionary, an eccentric who pursues his own peculiar modus operandi in the effort to capture the evil-doers, and both have a Dr. Moriarty in their past: in Holmes’s case, it is the evil genius who is at the heart of all crime in London if not all of Europe, a personal nemesis who nearly succeeds in killing him; in Mulder’s case, it is the government itself—or some frantic faction thereof—which is responsible for the kidnapping or abduction of his sister, and which nearly succeeds in killing him.

The influence of Mormonism does not end here, however. It comes up again and again in the course of American history, as we discover the Mormon relationship to Howard Hughes, and Mormon involvement in the Watergate scandal.46 This is not an attempt to smear the Mormon church or the Mormon organization in any way; this is an attempt, however, to examine how religious and occult beliefs have influenced—and, at times, controlled—political events in America, and Mormonism has a lot to offer us by way of example.

Today, many Mormons are conscious that there is an effort underway to discredit their belief by means of proving that many deeply-held convictions are based on deception or blatant lies. Attempts to conceal Joseph Smith’s magical practices are only one alleged example; another is the assertion of the actual existence of the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was transcribed, and of the historical accuracy (or lack of accuracy) afforded by the analysis of those transcriptions.

In the 1940s, a devout Mormon began an archaeological quest to prove, once and for all, the literal truth of the Book of Mormon. Thomas Stuart Ferguson, a lawyer from California, decided to prove that the historical elements contained within the Book of Mormon were verifiable. He wished to prove that the Book was true and, therefore, that the religion was true by extension. Since Smith had received the golden plates from an Angel, and since Smith had not visited the lands described in the Book of Mormon, it was logical to assume that if the Book was correct, then Smith’s angelic experiences and visions of the plates and the ensuing transcriptions were all true, or at least proof of extraordinary spiritual powers or gifts.

The widespread belief in some Mormon circles at the time was that the lands referred to in the Book were located somewhere in Central America or Mexico. Ferguson felt similarly inclined, and undertook expeditions to these areas in anticipation of discovering physical evidence for the geography outlined in the Book. After several false starts, Ferguson slowly came to believe that he was wasting his time. The discovery of some Aztec, Maya and Olmec sites that seemed to parallel descriptions in the Book were later invalidated when it was shown that these civilizations (or, at least, the specific sites referenced) came into being much later than the chronology given in the Book.

Archaeologists were quick to point out that there was no evidence to support a claim that Near Eastern groups had established communities in the New World, that there was no linguistic or other cultural evidence to support any cross-fertilization of Levantine and Ancient Mexican religious or racial groups, and that the Book of Mormon added nothing to what archaeologists knew of Aztec, Mayan, Toltec, Olmec or any other ancient New World civilizations. If the Book of Mormon was true in any historical

sense, the basic premise seemed to be in error: the events described could not have taken place in Mexico or Central America.

The last straw came in November 1967 with the revelation that certain Egyptian papyri—which had been in Smith’s possession and from which he “translated” the Book of Abraham (included in the LDS scripture The Pearl of Great Price)—had been discovered. Ferguson was eager to have the papyri translated by non-Mormon Egyptologists. When they were, the documents were shown to be versions of the Egyptian Book of the Dead and had nothing at all to do with any Mormon scripture.

Ferguson died on March 16, 1983, of a heart attack while playing tennis. By that time he had given up all hope of proving the historical claims of the Mormon scriptures, but had reconciled himself to the fellowship of the Church and an embrace of its moral principles. He admitted that Joseph Smith was a “smart fellow,” but stopped short of calling him a charlatan or a con-man.47

From the first voyage of Columbus to the land of the Arawaks on a quest for a fast route to Jerusalem; from the witchcraft trials of Salem, Massachusetts involving Arawak descendant Tituba and later manifesting in the magic and occultism of Salem descendant Joseph Smith; from European mysticism to American “folk magic” and stories of murderous cults and demon worshippers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; from all this we can begin to perceive a different sort of American history. As Americans, we have been moving too fast and forgetting too much to realize that we have a unique cultural contribution to make, one that unites religion with mysticism at the very bedrock of human experience… and then transforms this alchemical tincture into a political and scientific Philosopher’s Stone capable of causing tremendous change in the human psyche. Such an effort was, indeed, attempted by some of the best minds of the last generation.

Thus the story of the Book of Mormon is not the end of our quest, because it poses more questions than it answers. What did Joseph Smith see in the woods that night in 1823? What was the actual source of the Book of Mormon if it was, indeed, a total fabrication? Were there any advanced civilizations in America—other than those in Central America—which

predated Columbus and which would have fit the Mormon chronicles of early American settlement?

Most importantly of all, for the next phase of our research: who built the Ashland mounds?

1 H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror,” The Annotated Lovecraft, S.T. Joshi, Dell, NY, 1997, p. 105

2 Joyce Carol Oates, Tales of H.P. Lovecraft, The Ecco Press, NY, 2000

3 Several stories by Borges were inspired by Lovecraft, including “Funes the Memorious” and “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius,” as well as a story published in The Atlantic Monthly some years ago.

4 Most of Grant’s published work refers to Lovecraft, especially Outer Gateways, Cults of the Shadow, etc. See Bibliography for a complete listing.

5 Note, for instance, Surah 5/13, 5/51, 5/57, 5/64-66, 9/30, 62/6-8, etc.

6 10 Washington Irving, Tales of the Alhambra, Editorial Escudo de Oro, Barcelona, p. 3

7 Christopher Columbus, The Diario of Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage to America 1492-1493, Dunn and Kelley, University of Oklahoma Press, 1991, p. 290-1

8 Irving, op. cit., p. 57

9 Oates, op. cit., p. 229

10 Burr, George Lincoln, ed. Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases 1648-1706, Scribner’s, NY, 1914, p. 41-52

11 Ibid., p. 47

12 Demos, John Putnam, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, Oxford, 1983, pp. 402-409

13 Morton, Thomas, Revels in New Canaan, 1637, reprinted in Albert Bushnell Hart, ed. American History Told by Contemporaries, NY, 1898, volume 1, pp 361-63

14 Ibid.

15 William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, Boston, 1912, Vol. 2, pp. 45-57

16 Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World, 1693

17 21 D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1998, p. 10

18 Ibid., p. 10

19 23 Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” in Ronald Curran, Witches, Wraiths and Warlocks, Fawcett, NY, 1988, ISBN 0-449-30061-7, p. 216

20 Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World, 1693

  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.

24 Chadwick Hansen, Witchcraft at Salem, George Braziller, NY, 1992, p. 1-3

25 Ibid., p. 11

26 Ibid., p. 86

27 Ibid., pp. 18-19

28 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition), American Psychiatric Association,

29 Hansen, op. cit., p. 17

30 In Hansen, op.cit., p. 17

31 Hansen, op. cit., p. 90

32 Ibid., p. 97

33 Ibid., p. 97

34 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Magpie Books, London, 1993, p. 86

35 D. Michael Quinn, op. cit., p. 118 and elsewhere. Quinn gives a lengthy argument in this chapter

concerning the ready availability of The Magus (and other famous occult texts) to the Smith family, and their use of these documents in works of ceremonial magic.

36 Ibid., p. 31

37 Ibid., p. 261-264

38 See Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith, The Mormon Murders, Onyx, NY, 1989, ISBN 0-451- 40152-2 for the definitive history of the 1985 Mark Hoffmann case in Salt Lake City, Utah.

39 Ibid., p. 91

40 Winston Churchill, in a statement published in the Illustrated Sunday Herald of Feb. 8, 1920, famously announced, “From the days of Sparticus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, to those of Trotsky, Bela Kuhn, Rosa Luxembourg and Emma Goldman, this world-wide conspiracy has been steadily growing. This conspiracy played a definitely recognizable role in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the main-spring of every subversive movement in the 19th Century…” Sparticus-Weishaupt is, of course, Adam Weishaupt, the founder of the Illuminati, whose name in the Order was “Spartacus.” George Washington also references the Illuminati in one of his letters: “It was not my intention to doubt that the doctrine of the Illuminati and the principles of Jacobinism had not spread to the United States. On the contrary, no one is more satisfied of this fact than I am.” Washington and Churchill thus give us two completely different value judgments—one from the revolutionary and fiercely independent Colonies and one from the voice of the Colonizer—on the existence and purpose of the Illuminati.

41 Quinn, op. cit., p. 155

42 Valerie I.J. Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe, Princeton, 1991, p. 339

43 Ibid., p. 342

44 Quinn, op. cit., Figure 28a

45 Aleister Crowley, 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, Samuel Weiser, York Beach, 1986, “Sepher Sephiroth,” p. 23

46 This has been investigated at length by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormon dissidents who figure prominently in the Mark Hoffmann case and who publish Mormon criticism through their Lighthouse

Ministry. See for instance Mormon Spies, Hughes, and the CIA, Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, 1976. Sandra Tanner herself is a direct descendant of Brigham Young.

47 Stan Larson, Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson’s Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon, Freethinker Press, Salt Lake City, 1996



To wrangle the Devil out of the country, will be truly a new experiment: Alas! we are not aware of the Devil, if we do not think, that he aims at inflaming us one against another; and shall we suffer ourselves to be Devil-ridden? or by any unadvisableness contribute unto the widening of our breaches?

  • Cotton Mather 1

Religious insanity is very common in the United States.

  • Alexis de Tocqueville 2

It was a cheap apartment in a small Appalachian town, and the sitting room was full of blood. The body had been savagely attacked, and bore nineteen separate stab wounds. The attack was so passionate, so bestial, that the murder weapon—a kitchen knife—was still in the body, pinning it to the floor.

It might have been a love affair gone terribly wrong. People from Ashland, Kentucky have been known to get emotional, even irrational, over love and the promises of love and the mistaken assumptions of love and its follies, like a town out of a country and western song.

Or it might have been something else. Something more sinister. A warning, borne of a hatred so deep and a malevolence so strong that slain flesh and spilled blood were only symbols—mere tokens—of its power.

The victim was a nobody. An ex-con, once convicted of writing bad checks. A man down on his luck, working for a trucking company.

He had been stabbed in a fury of nineteen slashing, slivering strokes—in a wood frame house in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning on a side street in a small country town—and no one heard a thing.

The perpetrator left no clues, no identifiable fingerprints, nothing. The body might have lain there for days, except that the victim’s co-worker stopped by to see why he hadn’t shown up for work that morning. The body was found. The police were called.

The officer who responded to that call and who was the first policeman at the scene is today the Chief of Police of Ashland, Kentucky. The murder took place in 1969. He told me it remains unsolved—and the murder open on the books—to this day. 3

The victim’s name was Darwin Scott. He was the brother of one Colonel Scott. Colonel Scott had been sued—successfully—for paternity of a boy, one “No Name Maddox,” by a girlfriend and sometime prostitute, Kathleen Maddox. No Name Maddox would soon be known by another name. Charles Manson.

Darwin Scott was Charles Manson’s uncle.

His murder took place in May. In August, the Sharon Tate and LaBianca murders would occur in Los Angeles. In December, Charles Manson would be charged along with several of his associates for those crimes. Crimes committed with knives. Crimes that turned beautiful Hollywood people into corpses, beautiful Hollywood homes into abattoirs awash in gore. Manson would be convicted of those crimes. But no one was ever arrested for the murder of Darwin Scott, his uncle.


Nixon was president, and the Vietnam War was in full swing. The Tet Offensive of January 1968 had occurred the previous year, and Walter Cronkite had bitched about it on network TV. The Days of Rage had flamed in Chicago, and Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Marcus Garvey was assassinated, Malcolm X was assassinated, the Weathermen were plotting against banks and Army recruiting stations, and I was on the telephone, talking to someone at the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in New York City, when I heard a blast and the tinkling sound of breaking glass as my party shouted at me,

“There’s been a bomb! I have to hang up!” The Weathermen had blown up a brownstone in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, across the street from the church. It was an accident, a bomb-making enterprise gone wrong. It would be years before one of the surviving Weathermen would give herself up to the authorities.

But still we had not heard of Charles Manson. That would happen in December of 1969. I turned 19 the day he was arrested: that tiny terrorist dragged fuming and sneering from a crawl space under a wooden cabinet in the desert, but we would not know that he was the supposed mastermind of the Tate/LaBianca killings for some weeks yet. And he would not be convicted for many months more, after one of his own attorneys died under mysterious circumstances. By that time, I had taken a job with a lingerie company in Manhattan’s Garment District.

Stardust was founded by a man named Brandt. His son, Steven Brandt, was a Hollywood gossip columnist at the time of the Manson killings, and one of the witnesses at Sharon Tate’s marriage to Roman Polanski. He would return to New York in panic, phone up his friends at Andy Warhol’s Factory, and then commit suicide in a hotel room before his friend Ultra Violet could get there in time. He thought there had been a hit list, and he thought he was on it. All because of the Manson Family. Stardust. The company’s Los Angeles location appeared in a Jack Lemmon film, Save The Tiger.

Other people connected to Manson and his ad hoc cult exploded out of California in the aftermath of the Tate/LaBianca killings, and wound up dead—murders or suicides—all over the world. This would tend to support the theory that there was more to the Manson “Family” than sex, drugs and rock and roll. But at 19, I was more concerned about earning a paycheck from my first real job than I was about the inner workings of a madman’s fantasies in California, a place I had never been. I was also worried about Vietnam, and the possibility that I would wind up slogging through the tall grass, humping a BAR and sweating tears and blood in the tropical jungles.

At Stardust, I was befriended by a former model, a tall, exotic beauty with a warped sense of humor. We got along well, and she invited me several times to the apartment she shared with her musician boyfriend. We

talked about a lot of things, typical New York topics: music and movies and books. We rarely discussed politics, but when I asked her about her former life as a model, she revealed her previous connections to people involved with the Howard Hughes organization. She would tell me that Hughes had been kidnapped.

A few months later, Clifford Irving would tell the world that he had been secretly interviewing Hughes and would write the only authorized biography of the hermit billionaire. It was eventually denounced as a hoax, but under very bizarre circumstances: Hughes holding a press conference by telephone, his metallic voice denouncing the Irving book from a small box in the center of the room.

I urged the model to come forward and tell what she knew. Horrified, she refused. She said to do that would put her life in danger. We never discussed it again.

Hughes. Nixon. Vietnam. Manson. Hollywood.

Then the Craig Karpel series in the Village Voice, and it all came together.

And there were more revelations.

Richard Helms admitted there had been something going on at the CIA called MK-ULTRA, which was an attempt to probe the secrets of the human mind in an effort to produce the perfect assassin and to counteract the enemy’s brainwashing efforts.

Then there were the Son of Sam killings. The Jonestown massacre. John Lennon murdered by a man holding a copy of Catcher in the Rye, a man who had prayed to Satan only hours before.

The bodies—and the cults—were piling up. And my research was outrunning me. Every time I thought I had enough to start work on the book, more bizarre stories appeared linking government agencies and psychological operations, cult infiltrations, organized crime, banking scandals, serial murder, drug trafficking…

There was the Propaganda Due scandal in Italy. A Masonic society involved with assassinations and terror bombings, Latin American dictators and neo-Nazis, linked to the Church.

Then there was Iran-Contra. The BCCI scandal. Koreagate. It just never stopped.

And then there was the book by respected historian, Ladislas Farago, Aftermath, about escaped Nazi war criminals living in South America. Farago’s most shocking revelation—to me—was not his claim that Martin Bormann had escaped and was living in Brazil, but the fact that the Roman Catholic Church had been intimately involved in helping the Nazis escape to South America, even disguising some as priests. It was that book that sent me to Chile in 1979 during the height of the Pinochet regime and martial law, while doing research on the Nazi use of occult and mystical ideas, a trip that contributed to my first book,Unholy Alliance. 4I had originally intended Unholy Alliance to be only a chapter of the present book, but as usual the research outran me. In this case, however, I was not able to outrun the research: I was detained by German nationals at the infamous Colonia Dignidad in Chile and only allowed to leave the torture and interrogation center when it was determined that killing me would be too risky and would perhaps endanger the Colony’s most esteemed guests, renegade Nazis on the run from justice.

But it wasn’t only about government conspiracies and cover-ups. This book became a personal and a spiritual quest as well. Links and connections took me to the Dead Sea Scrolls and questions about the legitimacy of all the teaching to which I had been exposed as a young Roman Catholic in New York and Chicago. Books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail purported to give a completely different history of the origins of Christianity and specifically of the Catholic Church. Did Jesus have a family? Are his descendants living in Europe today? And what about the Gospel of St. Thomas (so prominent in the recent horror film,Stigmata) ? Does it deserve a place in the Christian Bible, as respected as the other four Gospels? Was it suppressed by the Church? If so, why?

And, finally, what about the reality of spiritual experience? Are saints and madmen equally deluded? Are witches’ sabbats the same as alien

abductions? Is exorcism merely a form of psychotherapy, or is it something more? Something… other? What is evil? Can everything we experience as human beings be explained away by a tranquil, Carl Sagan-like belief in science? Was Carl comforted in his final moments by reciting the Second Law of Thermodynamics… or by a remembered prayer of childhood? Is science a “candle in the dark”?… Or is it simply whistling in the dark?

If Church and State are not separate in reality, in the world of action, then where does Science stand? Is it an outgrowth of the Church, and a tool of the State? Or does the answer lie in the cults, the secret societies, the occult orders of yesterday and today? What did the CIA learn during its long investigation of psychology and the paranormal? Why did they shred all the documentation of this that they could find?

These and similar, equally disturbing questions kept me awake at odd hours of the night since that month in 1975 when I read the Craig Karpel series. After Bendix, I had a series of jobs in New York that eventually led me to travel extensively throughout the United States and the world. I’ve spent a lot of time in South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia and especially in Asia, where the line between religion and politics is very fine indeed, and sometimes—such as in Indonesia or Malaysia—non-existent. I visited temples, shrines, mosques, churches, hounforts, cemeteries, séances… and archives, libraries, document collections, government offices, factories, military bases, and prisons. I came to know—often by utter and complete accident—many figures and organizations that appear in the pages that follow. I discovered the FBI file on my late father; I worked with a famous spy, a former colleague of E. Howard Hunt and employee of the Hughes public relations firm, Robert Mullen. And some clergymen I knew numbered suspected JFK co-conspirator David Ferrie among their hierarchy.

I finally decided, then, to visit the place where my story begins. The town that Charles Manson called home for the first years of his life. The town where his uncle had been murdered, by person or persons unknown. I had to find some way to bring all this information together, to connect it in some logical fashion, to make it make sense. There was no linear chronology, no neat historical pattern. Rather, the information I collated was so intertwined that it appeared more like a spiderweb than a timeline. People who should

not have been connected, were. Events that should not have been connected touched each other through improbable links. How was this possible? How did it happen that when I pulled the strings of my own life history, I found tendrils reaching to the farthest ends of assassination and conspiracy?

I hoped the answer would somehow lie in Ashland, Kentucky.

There is an ancient America that lurks beneath the threshold of our collective, corn-fed consciousness. We see it all the time. It surrounds us with its feral glow; we have learned to fear it in the dark without learning what it is, what

it means. It’s not just the woods out back, the lonely desert trails, the virgin mountains where we lose our Boy Scouts or survivalists in the winter snows. It’s also in the laundromats, the gas stations, the drug stores and diners.

“I think you say ‘convenience store.’ We lived above it.”

—Twin Peaks 5

It’s in our standing stones, our Anasazi ruins, our Indian burial mounds. It’s the remains of the Old Ones, the original people, the deep ancestors of our forgotten history, the history before Columbus that is never taught in the schools because we don’t know it ourselves… because we don’t want to know, don’t want to accept what has been proved so many times in the past: that this land of ours is haunted by the ghosts of races who lived and died on our land thousands of years before we came, and of races we ourselves exterminated with fire and sword and virus. There were vast cities here before us, huge temples dwarfing the Colosseum, the Parthenon, the Pyramids of Gizeh, some built long before any of these more famous structures were even dreamed. There were Norsemen here before us, bringing paganism and the worship of Nordic gods. There were Irishmen here before us, bringing a strange mixture of Catholicism and druidism, standing up their stones and sighting along the solstices years before the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. There were Carthaginians here before us, Phoenician traders, perhaps even Buddhists from China. All the votes aren’t in, yet. We don’t know why there are stones engraved with ancient alphabets, buried in our farmland. We don’t know how they got there, so we file these petroglyphs along with tales of sea serpents and great white whales… in the land of fantasy that is the bull’s eye target of our scientists.

And we whisper ourselves to sleep like the voice-over on a late night talk show while the gloom gathers outside our windows and doors and the dead Indians, the dead Phoenicians, the dead Norsemen chant their ancient mantras to rob us of our dreams.

Welcome to American prehistory.


There are two general approaches to the study of human habitation on the North and South American continents before the arrival of the people we think of as Native Americans. The most accepted view is that of the “independent inventionists”: archaeologists and anthropologists who believe that both continents were peopled by a race that came from Northern Asia, from what is now Russia (or, perhaps, parts of China or even Southeast Asia according to one school) and who walked across the Bering Straits (when they were frozen solid) and followed the coast down Alaska and into Canada and spread out from there as far east and south as the land mass allowed. In other words, all Native Americans are descendants of this group of wanderers from the frozen wastes of Siberia—a group known as the Clovis people, from a site in western New Mexico where some stone spearpoints were first discovered in 1932 (and oddly enough a town named after the first Merovingian king of France). The Clovis spearpoints are believed to be representative of a purely “American” style of manufacture, and can be found throughout the Americas. (Of course, this gives rise to a question: If the “Clovis” people came from Siberia, why is there no evidence of Clovis points in Siberia?) Given their antiquity, the theory is that the Clovis people were not only the first race to set foot on American soil, but are the progenitors of all other Native Americans. Thus, the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas, Iroquois, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Hopi, Quecha, Narragansett, Pequot, Zuni and all other known “Indian” and American tribes and civilizations are direct descendants of the Clovis people.

The opposing view—and one which goes in and out of fashion regularly through the years—is that of the “diffusionists.” This theory has it that parts of North and South America were peopled by races from Asia, Europe and the Middle East at various times, people who sailed across the Atlantic from

the Mediterranean or from the northern European coastlines of Scandinavia, France, Spain, Portugal and the British Isles, across the Pacific from Southeast Asia or the Chinese mainland, or from Polynesia. The diffusionists like to believe that some of our modern Native Americans are descendants of Phoenicians, Celts, Malays, Chinese and other ancient civilizations.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a Norwegian adventurer attempted to prove that it was possible to sail across the Pacific Ocean on a raft. Thor Heyerdahl wanted to show that people from South America could have traveled to Asia (or, at least, the South Pacific) a thousand years before Columbus; and that people from Sumeria and Egypt could have sailed the Indian and Atlantic oceans in ancient times. Several books (Kon Tiki and Aku Aku among them) were written defending this point of view and showing how Heyerdahl managed to build a raft using local materials and sail across the seas using only the stars for navigation. His Ra Expedition proved that one could sail across the Atlantic the same way, always using materials and methods—including navigational methods—that would have been locally available at the time and place of origin. (His film of the Kon Tiki voyage between South America and Polynesia won a 1951 Academy Award for Best Documentary.) Heyerdahl’s courageous undertaking was all the rage among laypersons for some years, and then interest waned and we were back to wrestling with the Clovis theory.

There are some facts, however, that are disturbing to mainstream archaeologists, who dismiss anomalies as either hoaxes or as inexplicable, preferring to accept the Clovis position because it’s neat and tidy. There is also a political problem with diffusionism, because some believe it would devalue the Native American culture. That this is patently not the case has been verbalized again and again by some Native American diffusionists, but their words fall on deaf ears.6

Question: Examination of an Egyptian mummy of the 21st Dynasty by a German toxicologist in 1992 shows that the body tested positive for tobacco and cocaine, products that were native only to the Americas at the time of the pharaohs. How did tobacco and cocaine reach ancient Egypt?7

Question: What are graphic depictions of maize doing on the Hindu temples at Karnataka, when maize is another of those products that are native to the Americas and which supposedly were unheard of and unknown in India at the time of the carvings… the twelfth century, A.D.?8

Question: What about the sweet potato, which was known throughout the Pacific basin, including Polynesia, as early as 400 A.D. …when the sweet potato is indigenous to the Americas only? 9

Most surprising of all, what are stones doing in West Virginia, New Mexico, Minnesota and elsewhere inscribed with ancient scripts that were unknown to the Native Americans who had no written languages?

Remains of ancient civilizations in the Americas that predate the Clovis migrations are routinely ignored or devalued, since they don’t fit the pattern. Other explanations are sought for the existence of 15,000-30,000 year old burial sites in the Andes Mountains, for instance, or petroglyphs in West Virginia that are written in ancient European languages. Science assumes that these are either hoaxes, or somehow “anomalies” that cannot be explained… and which are therefore put in a category of “unknowables” and left outside the mainstream discussions.

Richard Rudgley in his Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age refers to the interesting case of the Seven Sisters,10 a constellation—the Pleiades—that was known by that name to the ancient races of North America… and Siberia… and Australia; if this is more than merely a coincidence, Rudgley points out, then it implies a common origin for the name of this constellation that must predate the peopling of North America as well as that of Australia. In other words, it is evidence of a single body of knowledge that existed more than 40,000 years ago, common to Asians and North Americans since that time. “Most researchers tend to ignore findings as anomalous as these,” Rudgley says, “as they simply do not fit well with generally accepted views.”11

The late Harvard Professor Barry Fell did a lot to try to change that attitude, and made an excellent case for the diffusionist perspective. His research has been roundly (if not soundly) attacked in recent years by the Clovis faction, much in the way Gerald Posner attacks critics of the Warren

Commission. Using selective evidence out of context and ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit in with basic assumptions, it is possible to attack virtually everything and sound knowledgeable doing it. Of course, Fell and the diffusionists have been accused of the same sins. The controversy has become emotional and personal at times. But the weight of diffusionist evidence is growing every year, and the implications of it are startling and will eventually require a rewriting of American prehistory as we know it. Before we examine diffusionism in detail, though, it is worthwhile to pick up our story where we left off, with America in the nineteenth century and an obsession with buried treasure and sacred hills.

Joseph Smith called the Indian mound in upstate New York where he received the golden plates “the Hill Cumorah,” after an incident in his own Book of Mormon. Others since Smith have tried to place Cumorah in other regions, such as Central America or Mexico, even though Smith himself referred to this gentle slope near Manchester, New York as Cumorah. What is not generally known to most Mormons is that America during Smith’s lifetime was a hotbed of speculation about the mounds.

Mounds are found all over the United States, from New England to Missouri, with a few in Texas and some in Florida. There are, in fact, over 100,000 of them (and this does not count all the sacred circles and standing stones, which most Americans are totally unaware exist in their own country).12Some of them are burial mounds, as can be evidenced by the skeletal remains found therein. Others are sacred sites arranged in ways reminiscent of Stonehenge in England, mounds astronomically oriented towards the solstices or to the rising of some specific star. Others still are vast works of art, such as Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio, which has been analyzed by professionals and shown to be more than art: an artistic astronomical computer, oriented towards the solstices, the moon, the sun, and the constellations of Draco and Ursa Major,13consistent with a theology we can only imagine, and like those intricately engraved Persian astrolabes one sometimes finds in an antique store or a souk. Some of these Neolithic sites are mere piles of earth; others were constructed using wooden logs as a kind of infrastructure. Others constitute what appear to have been entire cities, with wide avenues and huge platform mounds

enclosing areas in excess of twenty acres or more, such as “Great Hopewell Road” in Ohio, which links Newark with Chillicothe. 14

But the real mystery in the early nineteenth century was “who built the mounds, and why?”

Although generally referred to as “Indian burial mounds,” it was acknowledged that the Indians themselves had no precise data to offer as to their origins or purpose. When asked, the Native American elders of some tribes would refer to an older race or tribe that had lived in the area long before their own arrival. In some cases, there were stories of a race of the “Old Ones” or the “First People” who had lived and then disappeared ages ago. Some tribal groups occupied earthworks and other types of fortifications that they admit they did not build, but found unoccupied, such as the Anasazi site in the American Southwest. (The word Anasazi means “Old Ones.”) With the passage of time and a lot of digging, archaeology came up with two distinct groups of prehistoric Americans in the region roughly from New England to the Mississippi River basin: the Adena and the Hopewell cultures.

Although even this division of two distinct groups is currently a matter for some debate (some archaeologists entertaining the belief that they were really the same people) it would do us well to consider them separately for now, as most of the literature one comes across still speaks of two, very different, populations and cultures. The earliest of these was the Adena people, named after a farm in Ohio where this type of mound was excavated. The Adena flourished two thousand years ago and longer, and were building mounds in America at the time of Christ, even at the time of Buddha. No wonder, then, that Smith would have identified one of these mounds as having been built by a tribe of Jews who had fled the Middle East and wound up on American shores. Except that the dating of the mounds took place long after Smith had written the Book of Mormon.

Precise dating is not always possible when it comes to the mounds. In many cases, they are simply earthworks with nothing that can be reliably carbon-dated. In other cases, though, there are skeletal remains as well as wood fragments, pottery and ornaments, and these lend themselves rather more easily to specific dating exercises.

After the Adena came the Hopewell culture, which was more complex and sophisticated than the Adena, and which built some of the more elaborate mound complexes and effigy mounds, such as (it is claimed) the Serpent Mound, which is now dated by some to around 1066 A.D., and by others to 250 A.D.

No one knows where the Adena came from, or what happened to them. It is believed that they were either exterminated by the later Hopewell culture, or were assimilated into the Hopewells through intermarriage and the gradual erosion of their own culture. Their only legacy rests in the proliferation of mounds. In some of these, strange burial patterns were observed, such as the twelve people buried at the Kiefer Mound in Ohio, in a circle with their heads on the inside of the circle and their feet pointing outwards “like spokes in a wheel.” 15This same arrangement was reported in the Wheeling Gazette—a body on an altar, head facing “west of north” in the direction where there was evidence of a fire, the body covered by a foot of ashes. The body was found to be “remarkably perfect, and was mostly preserved. Around this body were twelve others with their heads centering towards it, and feet projecting. No articles of art were found, except a polished stone tube, about twelve inches in length.” 16The alignment of the body implies an astronomical orientation consistent with many Hopewell and Adena sites. In this case, it is possible that the “west of north” alignment was towards Ursa Major, but that is pure conjecture since we don’t know when the site was constructed or the bodies interred. The fact that there were twelve other bodies with the central, altar-lain body indicates that these twelve were killed, sacrificed, in some sort of ritual. The stone tube might have been a pipe, or it could have served some function of which we are not aware; such is the state of knowledge of American prehistory. Oddly, this is a precise description of a Cathar burial method of the thirteenth century A.D. (and of nine persons discovered dead in an identical wheel-like formation—heads inside, feet out—after the FBI assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993). At the Kiefer Mound, three of the twelve corpses had been decapitated, with the skulls placed between the thigh bones. This odd placement of the skulls also exists in other Adena sites in Kentucky. 17Engraved tablets were found buried in these mounds with the artistically arranged bodies, and Adena

experts William S. Webb and Charles E. Snow believe that this “constitutes a very important Adena trait.” 18

Then there is the red paint. Ochre coloring was common on the skulls and bones of the deceased; in other words, after the bodies had decomposed someone had cleaned off the bones and painted them with red paint, sometimes in strange symmetrical designs, and then reburied them. In some cases, the ochre was piled onto the lower extremities of the corpses 19and in two Adena

sites in Kentucky a black graphite compound was used to color the skull and collar bones of the corpse while red ochre was used

for the lower extremities. 20No one knows the purpose of this ritual, but the use of ochre in sacramental painting was common all over Europe in ancient times as well as in early North American civilizations. The amount of work involved in either stripping the skeletons of flesh and then painting the bones, or in waiting for natural decomposition to occur and then digging up the bodies and painting them and then reburying them, was prodigious, and must have served an identifiable purpose deemed necessary to the Adena.

In one case mentioned by Webb and Snow, the skull of a young woman was painted in horizontal red stripes of ochre on the top of the skull, leaving the forehead bare of any ochre; the red ochre was continued in horizontal stripes over the eyes, and then a vertical bar of graphite extended from the forehead down between the eyes to the nasal cavity. 21This clearly had some religious significance for the Adena, but whatever it was is lost in time.

Other symbolic motifs found in Adena sites include a plumed serpent, which gives rise to speculation that the cult of Quetzalcoatl of Aztec Mexico had reached the Adena, or vice versa. A plumed serpent is a very specific icon, a complex mix of concepts that implies all sorts of cultural and religious ideas. It strains belief to insist that the plumed serpent of the Adena had nothing at all to do with the plumed serpent of Mexico, a land not that far to the south. The presence of obsidian flakes in Adena mounds 22 adds further credence to the theory that there was a connection between the Adena and the Aztecs, since the Aztecs prized obsidian. Indeed, one of the famous shew stones of the Elizabethan magician and spy, John Dee, was of Aztec obsidian brought back from the New World by Spanish conquistadores. The Aztecs used the obsidian shew stone in an identical fashion to that used by Dee (and, later, Joseph Smith), as a kind of crystal ball. To the Aztecs, the obsidian mirror was sacred to the god Tezcatlipoca, the “god of the smoking mirror,” who would reveal to them the will of heaven. Tezcatlipoca was identified with the constellation Ursa Major, thus tying together astronomy with religion and divination in a pattern familiar to all students of ancient civilizations. The astronomical alignments of many of the Adena mound sites is further evidence of this persistent occult theorem. Joseph Smith, of course, used shew stones in much the same way

as the Aztecs and John Dee.23 Indeed, John Dee himself was a scientific advisor to English expeditions to the New World, and a close friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, the man who introduced tobacco and many other curiosities to England from the New World. Elizabethan magician and spy, Dee also became convinced that a Welsh prince had “discovered” America centuries before Columbus.24

Raptorial birds were also common symbols among the Adena, particularly the hawk. Webb and Snow remark upon an actual hawk’s head that was sewn onto a ceremonial headdress.25 There was even a unique symbol found at one site: a hand with an eye depicted on its palm, a symbol familiar to those who study ancient Middle Eastern religions and mysticism.


Further, a unique characteristic of the Adena people was their extraordinary height. Analysis of skeletal remains at Adena sites shows the men to have occasionally reached seven feet in height, with the women often over six feet tall. Thus, their physical dissimilarity to the later Hopewells contributes to accurate identification of the mounds, but also raises questions as to their racial origin. Today, this supposed difference in physical appearance between the two cultures is debated, and studies have been done to show that the Adena and Hopewell peoples were related, if not actually the same people. What is lacking is a detailed analysis of some of the remains found in these mounds, which show a race that can only be described as a race of “giants.”

Newspaper reports from the late 1800s discuss skeletons of more than seven feet and eight feet in length found in burial mounds and caves that often contained stone altars, or even, in at least one case, a stone sarcophagus. Cyrus Thomas reports on the “blond mummies” of Tennessee and Kentucky in the Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, dated 1894. These bodies were in “some instances” found “incased in stone slabs and afterwards imbedded in clay or ashes. In Smith and Warren counties, Tennessee, and in Warren and Fayette counties, Kentucky, the flesh of the bodies was preserved and the hair was yellow and of fine texture…. In one of the caves in Smith county the body of a female is said to have been found, having about the waist a silver girdle, with marks

resembling letters.” 27This discovery of letters or hieroglyphics in ancient American burial sites is not an isolated case.

In December 1870, the so-called Brush Creek Tablet was unearthed from a burial mound on the farm of one J. M. Baughman in Muskigum County, Ohio. The tablet contains a variety of carvings which appear to be a form of hieroglyphic. Even more startling, the mound was found to contain skeletons measuring eight and nine feet in length. 28Of course, these assertions—including a signed affidavit by six citizens swearing that the above account is true—are dismissed by academia. Citizens, of course, are not to be trusted as “reliable observers.”

In 1838, the same year that Joseph Smith “returned” the golden plates of the Book of Mormon to an angel, a large Adena mound was excavated at Grave Creek, West Virginia. In a burial chamber in that mound which contained a single skeleton and some copper bracelets (and at a depth of 60 feet) an 29engraved tablet was discovered, carved with Phoenician characters in a style of writing that was common in Spain two thousand years ago. This type of writing, sometimes called “Punic,” was Semitic in origin, Spain then being controlled by Carthage, which in turn had originated in the previous millennium as an outpost of the Semitic Phoenicians. At the time the tablet was discovered, this type of script had not yet been deciphered, and would not be deciphered until the mid-twentieth century, thus ruling out the possibility of a hoax even if the discovery of the tablet under sixty feet of ancient burial mound was not enough to assure its provenance. Thus, there is at least circumstantial evidence that West Virginia had been visited by Europeans at the time of Christ. There is no other way to explain the presence of that stone tablet in that grave, carved in a writing that would not be deciphered for another hundred years.

And the Grave Creek tablet is not an isolated case.

There is the Bat Creek stone, for instance. Discovered in a burial mound in eastern Tennessee in 1889, its carvings were identified as ancient Hebrew by archaeologist Cyrus Gordon in 1971, a type of Hebrew that dates from the first hundred years after Christ. The inscription is said to read “For Judea.” Shades of Joseph Smith! The site was later (1988) carbon-dated, and found to date from the period 32—769 A.D. Thus, Cyrus Gordon’s

1971 identification of the type of Hebrew and the 1988 carbon-dating of the site are consistent. 30

The American landscape is replete with stone carvings, some very simple and others quite elaborate, which point to a continuing immigration of Europeans and Middle Eastern peoples to its shores. A sub-discipline of archaeology—known as epigraphy—has attracted amateur archaeologists in America for many years. Epigraphy is concerned with writings on stone, and epigraphers scour the countryside, the forests, the hills and mountains, looking for stone inscriptions and trying to identify and decipher them. Epigraphy and epigraphical evidence are mainstays of the diffusionist argument, because stone carvings—once they have been identified and certified as genuine and ruled out as hoaxes—can represent unequivocal proof of foreign visitation to American soil in the years before Columbus and, in some cases, in the years before Christ. Joseph Smith’s worldview— though based on a hoax, according to his detractors—is amazingly in accord with the worldview of the diffusionists, which is not unexpected since there was such a lot of speculation about the Mound Builders at the time the Book of Mormon was being written. According to scholars such as Fell, people from the Middle East did come to America long before Columbus. And where they did not leave golden plates covered with lengthy scriptural writings (at least, not as have been discovered so far!), they did leave stone tablets with scriptural quotations.

…they have somewhat observed the motions of the stars; among which it has been surprising to me to find that they have always called ‘Charles Wain’ by the name of “Paukunnawaw,” or “the Bear,” which is the name whereby Europeans also have distinguished it. Moreover, they have little, if any, traditions among them worthy of our notice; and reading and writing is altogether unknown to them, though there is a rock or two in the country that has unaccountable characters engraved upon it.

— Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana, 1702, Part III, in which he is writing of the American Indian population (emphasis added)

One of the earliest Americans interested in the strange carved inscriptions was our old friend Cotton Mather. He is known to have informed the Royal

Society in England of the discovery of a strange inscription on a stone in Dighton, Massachusetts by clergyman John Danforth, who discovered the inscription in 1680. The Royal Society published the information in their Philosophical Transactions in 1712, and thereafter the matter died on the vine. 31

Item: There is the fact of the Los Lunas stone, found in New Mexico (the home of the first identified “Clovis” site). This is a stone boulder covered in a form of Hebrew writing current at the time of the first Temple, circa 1000 B.C., but which was not translated until 1949. When it was finally translated, it was revealed to be an abbreviated form of the Ten Commandments. 32

The Ten Commandments. In ancient Hebrew. In New Mexico. 2,500 years before the visit of Columbus.

Do we, as Americans, really understand our own history? Is our history the history of an unknown race of people who created a vast and vibrant civilization and then—due to disease, perhaps, in the Great Dying of the sixteenth century—disappeared, leaving only the mounds as their trace? Is our history the history of our own ancestors in Europe, Africa, Asia? Is it simply the history of the land we occupy? Or is it really a combination of all of these? Is our history that of our ancient ancestors, who evidently came and went from America many times and for many reasons over the last three or four thousand years? Is America a legacy of Asian Buddhists, Palestinian Jews, Norse Vikings, and Phoenician traders as well as a shipload of Pilgrims from England? Is America’s function as a destination of dreams for all the peoples of the earth no more than a memory of the time when it did, indeed, belong to everyone?

Is the Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor an acknowledgement of America’s ancient purpose?

Even further, when we teach American history in school should we begin, as always, with its discovery by Columbus in 1492… or should we begin instead with the fall of Carthage, or the Buddhist missions, or the cult of Wotan? Or with the Cahokia Mound near St. Louis, Missouri, a vast prehistoric complex that stuns the imagination? Or with the Newark mound

complexes and their radical octagon-circle-square designs? By drawing a straight line through history at 1492 we, as Americans, are enforcing a kind of dual personality upon ourselves. At first, such a strategy was useful in order to amalgamate all the various nationalities that came to our shores looking for freedom and opportunity. Wiping out our ancestral heritage was a way of adopting the new, American heritage and making us all the same, all Americans, regardless of our family names or skin color.

But what have we lost in the process?

Item: The famous Peterborough Stone, in Ontario. A huge rock measuring “hundreds of square feet.” Professor Barry Fell identified the maze of writings as a form of Scandinavian runes or, actually, pre-runic characters that he dated to 1700 B.C. Later archaeologists have corrected Fell’s dating and translation, but were left with the result that Fell was essentially correct: the characters are written in a script called Tifinagh, which was used by the Tuaregs—a people of northern Africa. The stone was dated to 800 B.C. rather than 1700 B.C., but represents the record of a trade route in gold running from the Niger River in Africa to Scandinavia and then, eventually, to Ontario. 33

In 800 B.C. At the time of the origin of the Adena people, eight hundred years before Christ and roughly contemporary with the life of the Buddha. A trade route from Africa, to Europe, to America. An established path for other traders, other peoples, other races, civilizations, religions. The Tuaregs and Scandinavians in 800 B.C. were, of course, pagans. How much of their culture did they bring with them to America? Did they intermarry with local races? Did they teach their systems of astronomy, divination, metallurgy, etc. to the Americans?

Did the Americans teach the Tuaregs and Scandinavians anything in return? There is no reason to believe that the transmission of knowledge was all one-sided. How did the African and European traders find the gold mines in Canada? How long were they in America? How often did they return?

Are their descendants still among us?

Any one of these pieces of evidence—the Grave Creek tablet, the Bat Creek stone, the Peterborough Stone, the existence of American flora in ancient Egypt, India and East Asia, and the hundreds of other examples, including Celtic Ogam script all over the American northeast—should be enough in itself to force historians to come to terms with pre-Columbian civilizations visiting and interacting with tribes, peoples and cultures from the Eastern Hemisphere. The preponderance of such evidence, however, and the multiplication of possible overseas connections from ancient cultures means that we have to go back carefully over the legends, myths, and histories of all the ancient peoples and see if we can find textual traces of this cross-fertilization.

In 1840, a pair of mound enthusiasts decide to excavate a promising group of mounds at Chillicothe, Ohio in the very heart of mound country. The team of Squier and Davis are generally acknowledged to be the godfathers of modern American archaeology. Their exhaustive and systematic work on hundreds of mounds throughout the Midwest still stands as a primary reference for American prehistory studies, and the Chillicothe excavation is probably their defining moment. They were not the first to excavate “Indian” mounds, however. George Washington was interested in the mounds.34 No less a personage than Thomas Jefferson began a scientific stratigraphic excavation of a mound in 1781; his Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, was perhaps the most influential person in American government (before or since) to have insisted on an appreciation of both the mounds and of the Native American populations who lived in the conquered territories. William Henry Harrison (who would become the United States’ ninth president for a month before dying of pneumonia) would follow suit in 1838 with his Discourse on the Aborigines of the Valley of the Ohio, a description of mounds and some fanciful suggestions as to their origins and purposes. The reader will remember that this year has shown up before, as the year Joseph Smith returned the golden plates to the Angel Moroni, and as the year the “Phoenician” tablet was found at the Grave Creek mound.

(In an odd piece of trivia that may interest some readers, a respected Hollywood filmmaker also wrote a book about the mounds. Kenneth MacGowan—producer of such films as Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), and one of the better propaganda films of the early war years, Man Hunt (1941),

wrote Early Man In the New World. MacGowan, who began his career in New York City in the Broadway theater, later became a film theorist as well as a teacher at UCLA, and authored several textbooks on cinema, for which he is better known. He died in 1963 at the age of seventy-five.)

Other personalities who became involved in mound research included the founders of the town of Marietta, Ohio: Rufus Putnam and Manasseh Cutler, the former a general of the Revolutionary War and the latter a minister. Marietta is in the heart of mound country, not far from Chillicothe, and General Putnam forbade the destruction of the mounds by farmers, instead making detailed maps of them for posterity.

But it is to Ephraim George Squier and Dr. Edwin H. Davis that we owe most of our early knowledge about the mounds. Together they excavated more than two hundred of them, and published the results inAncient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley: Comprising the Results of Extensive Original Surveys and Explorations, a by-now standard text that was the first (1848) publication of the Smithsonian “Contributions to Knowledge” series. The Chillicothe site is amply described and illustrated; indeed, there are nearly 300 Adena mound sites within a 150 mile radius of Chillicothe, extending into Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. These sites include the Grave Creek Mound, in Moundsville, West Virginia described above, as well as the mounds in Mound State Park in Indiana.

The Grave Creek site boasts the largest mound of the Adena culture: it has a 295 foot base diameter, and is 69 feet high; it represents 60,000 tons of earth, and was built around 200 B.C. (It is tempting to note that dividing the height by the diameter of this mound gives .2338, which begs us to consider that it might have had astronomical importance: the ratio seems to mimic that of the angle of the ecliptic, which is about 23 degrees 30 minutes.) It was in the Grave Creek Mound that the stone bearing Phoenician inscriptions was discovered in 1838, ten years before Squier and Davis published their “monumental” study. This gives rise to several questions, if we accept that the stone is authentic (and many, if not most, authorities insist it is not) and that its placement in the mound took place during the Adena period (and not much later). It is only with reluctance that some archaeologists today accept these facts, although they have no

explanation for them and describe the Phoenician stone as “anomalous.” Conveniently, the stone itself has since disappeared, although copies of its inscription were made when it was still in the possession of archaeologists.

The first question is the obvious one: In what way were the Adena people and the Phoenicians related? By trade? Or was there some other dimension to the relationship? Were the foreign visitors or traders attempting to convert the Adena people to their religion? Did they leave the stone behind as a reminder to the Adena of their visit? Was it simply the work of one of the visitors with a lot of time on his hands, something to occupy himself perhaps? Or was it left there as a kind of claim, a “Kilroy was here” sort of memento?

The second question is perhaps more oblique: Why was the stone buried in the mound in the first place?

Is one of the skeletons found in the Grave Creek Mound the mortal remains of one of the visitors? The stone was found with one specific skeleton, wearing copper bracelets. Was the stone left there after the fashion of funerary goods, such as the ancient Egyptians buried with their kings? It seems safe to assume that the Adena people did not simply “find” the stone; the stone and the mound are of the same period.

And why that stone, and nothing else to suggest foreign influence?

The first question may be easiest to answer, although with a result unacceptable to most modern historians and archaeologists. When the stone was finally deciphered—after its identification as a form of Punic (Phoenician) used on the Iberian peninsula during the first millennium B.C.

—the text was found to refer to the 35mound specifically: “The mound raised on high for Tasach…” it says, in part, according to Barry Fell, and appears to be an astrological text. Thus, the stone and the mound are part of a single event, the stone left in its spot as a message to future generations. If Tasach was an Adena person, then why was there an inscription in an Iberian form of Phoenician? If Tasach was a visitor from Iberia, however, then American prehistory will have to be re-evaluated, since the Grave Creek Mound (also referred to as “Mammoth Mound”) is representative of the Adena moundbuilder technology as a whole. The conclusion to which the diffusionists leap—and which the independent inventionists refuse to accept

under any circumstances—is that the Adena (or at least some of the people identified as Adena) were not Native Americans but were, instead, Celto- Iberians from what is now Spain and Portugal.

One stone does not a complete theory make, however. In the first place, there are those who dispute Professor Fell’s translation, some even denying the writing is writing at all, or that it represents any kind of alphabet. Others question whether the writing is a form of Punic, although Fell’s arguments seem sound in this regard and the similarities between the stone inscription and forms of Punic seem almost too strong to ignore. Some philologists have rallied—albeit halfheartedly—to Fell’s defense. If only that single stone had been found, we still would have been forced to confront a whole host of issues historical and archaeological. It would still have to be explained somehow, and the explanation would necessarily be upsetting to establishment archaeology.

However, many more stones have been found throughout West Virginia and Kentucky which support the diffusionists’ claim that America was not simply visited briefly by a few scattered ships from Europe over a period of time, but was rather settled by foreign races hundreds, if not thousands, of years before Columbus. The social and political implication of this theory is that—in some eyes, anyway—it could be seen as devaluing the culture and contribution of the Native American population.


In addition to the strange Phoenician, Hebrew and other stone inscriptions or petroglyphs, epigraphers have been uncovering hundreds (if not thousands) of stones carved with simple markings that were once thought to be anything from scratches made by the plows of modern farmers to hoaxes perpetrated on the gullible. Epigraphers have been carefully collecting, photographing and cataloguing these stones, and in many cases they have been able to decipher their meanings. One of the pioneers of this type of endeavor was Professor Fell himself. Barry Fell was a marine biologist, and not an archaeologist or historian, which is one of the reasons why his work has been avoided or attacked by professional archaeologists. However, his work in epigraphy and ancient languages was a direct result of his work as a marine biologist. Coming across many examples of petroglyphs on islands

where he was tracing the routes of voyages made by ancient peoples throughout the Old World—in an attempt to discover how plants, animals and humans were dispersed globally—he realized that these ancient stones were probably important keys to his research, and that it would behoove him to have them translated or, at least, identified as to their language and country or race of origin.

It was only when he began receiving correspondence from New World archaeologists about identical types of carvings that he came to the inescapable conclusion that they were written by people sharing a common culture and language, and that these same people had traveled from the ancient Old World to the ancient New World thousands of years ago.

Although still not warmly embraced by mainstream archaeologists, the bulk of this evidence is overwhelmingly in support of the existence of ancient Celtic settlements in North America. The stones are carved in an old form of writing known—to those specializing in the Celtic histories of Great Britain, Iberia and northern France—as Ogam, a Celtic word that means “grooved writing.”

Ogam is a in simple form that developed before the invention of paper. Like inscriptions on clay and stone in the ancient Near and Middle East, the writing style was itself a result of the writing technique: that is to say, due to the difficulty of writing curving lines and flourishes on solid stone or wet clay, the letters that compose these alphabets or syllabaries tend to be all straight lines and sharp edges, the easier to carve with an iron tool or a reed stylus. Sumerian cuneiform and Germanic runes are examples of this type of writing. The Ogam script is another.

Consisting mostly of straight, vertical strokes above, below or across a horizontal line, Ogam script was identified by an Irish monk writing in the thirteenth century A.D. Known as “The Ogam Tract” in the Book of Ballymote, this text had caused no great interest at first, since it was assumed—incorrectly, as it turned out—that many of the scripts mentioned were simple, childish codes and not serious alphabets at all. A kind of Rosetta Stone of ancient European scripts, “The Ogam Tract”—in which the nameless monk had tabulated various types of known alphabets, including even Egyptian and Numidian—was the proof, the “smoking gun,”

that the diffusionists were looking for, because it was evidence that their own identification of the petroglyphs was on target. One particular Ogam alphabet—known as “Ogam 16”—was of special interest, since it seemed that there were no petroglyphs in existence (in Ireland) engraved with these characters, which made it quite suspect in the eyes of the archaeologists.

The fact that the characters of Ogam 16 (albeit unidentified as such at first) were known to archaeologists in New England, West Virginia, Kentucky and other states would not be realized until the twentieth century, when archaeologists in the New World and the Old finally began comparing notes. Further, the existence of Ogam 16 in North America was particularly troubling, since the “Ogam Tract” was written some eight hundred years ago: three hundred years before Columbus’s first voyage to what he thought was India. Either our Irish monk was possessed of tremendous psychic abilities or, as is most likely, he was privy to knowledge concerning a far away land and the Ogam script in use there.

The simplest solution to a problem is usually the correct solution: “entities are not to be multiplied unnecessarily,” a familiar adage known as “Occam’s Razor.” Named after a Franciscan theologian of the thirteenth century, it is frequently cited by scientists and logicians. In the case of foreign races inhabiting America before Columbus and perhaps before the peoples we know as Native Americans, the evidence in the stones, the mounds, and the European petroglyphs provides archaeology with a simple answer, which we may in a spirit of whimsy call “Ogam’s Razor,” since it cleanly and manifestly demonstrates that there was wide exploration and settlement in America by races from across the Atlantic Ocean. That this evidence does not seem to be supported by the dispersion of Clovis spearpoints in America does not mean the evidence is invalid; it simply means that another explanation must be found to satisfy both sets of evidence. That archaeology has rushed too quickly to judgment in the case of the early American population scenario seems obvious today. Are the diffusionists right and the independent inventionists wrong? The answer probably lies somewhere between those two positions

The number of ancient sites in America that mimic ancient sites in Europe is also startling. Circles of stones reminiscent of Stonehenge in

England exist on the North American continent, as astronomically aligned as their English and Celtic counterparts. Even many of the mound systems are now known to have been astronomically oriented, including those at Marietta and Chillicothe. Some Adena sites show circles of post-holes, evidence that wooden pillars instead of stone dolmens may have been used in America for the same purpose: astronomical alignments.

While the idea of astronomically-aligned monuments makes sense when one considers the reliance of the ancient peoples on agriculture (it is believed the Adena were the first Americans to cultivate maize and live in communities) and therefore on knowing the seasons, the phases of the moon, etc., what is startling about these discoveries is that it means the Adena were scientifically sophisticated enough to know exactly how to build something as complex as the equivalent of a Stonehenge in the American landscape, perhaps as long ago as two thousand years… or longer. (The jury is still out on the age of the Adena civilization, and books and studies published in the last forty years are all over the place regarding the advent of the Adena civilization.) Dating of Stonehenge itself is rather uncertain, with estimates ranging from 3000 B.C. to 1500 B.C. Thus, what is certain is that some of the prehistoric mound sites in North America actually predate the construction of Stonehenge and may also 36predate that of the Great Pyramids of Gizeh: a proposition that would turn not only American history but world history on its head.

Recent studies undertaken on Adena mounds show that they were mostly ritualistic in nature; the difficulty in locating the remains of Adena living quarters and villages is directly related to this fact, as the Adena would keep the mound area clean of debris and non-sacramental artifacts and buildings. Thus, archaeologists find they are looking further and further away from the mound systems themselves in order to uncover Adena villages.

It is generally agreed at this point that the burial mounds were created for special personages or the elite, and were not the usual method of disposing of the dead, which was probably cremation. As is the case with the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, only high-ranking persons were accorded a full burial along with funerary items such as jewelry (mostly copper bracelets and what are known as “gorgets,” small tablets with engraved markings of

raptors, animals, or geometric designs) and pottery. Yet, in still other cases, mass burials are sometimes discovered, such as the famous Seip Mound in Ross County, Ohio which contained ninety-nine skeletons and a huge number of river pearls… thousands of pearls with a total estimated value in 1970 of $2,000,000. Along with the huge number of skeletons, there was an inner chamber which served as the final resting place of four adults and two infants. It is assumed that these were Adena royalty, but, of course, there is no proof of this or even if the Adena had royalty as we would understand it.

According to early researchers (and now debated), the Adena themselves were physically quite different from the later Hopewell culture that replaced them. Adena are referred to as “round heads” and, as mentioned above, they tended to be quite tall. The remains of Hopewell people show that they were shorter, and had longer skulls… in fact, the Iberians of ancient Spain, who purportedly gave us the Phoenician script discovered in the Grave Creek mound, were also known as “long skulls” or “long heads.” It should be noted in addition that Iberian mortuary practices included the burial mound: in a design remarkably similar to those of the Adena moundbuilder culture. Of course, that is not enough information to create a scenario in which Iberians invaded America and wiped out the Adena culture, replacing it with their own, or, conversely, were the Adena culture themselves.

If those theories sound outrageous, they are perhaps no more so than some of the other theories put forward in the past two hundred years for the origins of the mound builders. Some have claimed that they were an errant band of Welshmen, others that they were Egyptians or, as Joseph Smith believed, Jews in Diaspora. There is certainly not enough data to support any of these theories, but the existing data do not support a simplistic Clovis migration scenario either. At a conference held in Santa Fe, New Mexico in October 1999 on the subject of “Clovis and Beyond,” such mainstream archaeological types as Keith W. Kintigh were raising doubts and speculating about the Clovis theory. Kintigh is an archaeologist at Arizona State University in Tempe and president of the Society for American Archaeology. His doubts are, like many of his colleagues, based on the discovery in Monte Verde, Chile in the late 1980s of a race of people who lived in that part of the world about 30,000 years ago. The team of archaeologists was led by Thomas D. Dillehay of the University of

Kentucky, and the people were identified as a pre-Clovis settlement and evidence of a pre-Clovis migration… at least as far as the southern tip of Chile. If the Clovis people crossed the land bridge from northern Asia and settled in North America 12,000 years ago… then the obvious questions arise: Who were the Monte Verde people, where did they come from, and how did they get there so far ahead of the Clovis migration?

As if that were not enough to encourage a re-writing of American history, there is the problem of the Pima and Zuni sacred languages.

The Pima Indians are descendants of the ancient Hohokam culture of New Mexico, based around the Sonoran Desert. (The Hohokam themselves were of Mexican origin, and migrated to New Mexico about 300 B.C.) At the beginning of the last century, an ethnologist with the US Government visited the Pima and stayed with them for about two years. During that time, he prevailed upon the tribe’s elders to allow him to transcribe their sacred Creation Chant. He made a phonetic transcription and, using what he knew of Pima vocabulary, attempted to translate it. This translation was published by the government in 1908. The translation was woefully primitive, as the ethnologist—Frank Russell—himself admitted, making the dignified Creation Chant virtually unintelligible at best, or sounding like pidgin English at worst. And there it languished for almost seventy years until Barry Fell—using a Semitic dictionary—discovered that the archaic language in which the chant is sung is a form of Punic.

In his America B.C., Professor Fell gives the original phonetic rendering as preserved by Frank Russell, with a corresponding Arabic transliteration, and then an English version beneath the Arabic.37 The conclusion is inescapable: the Pima Indians had been using an ancient Semitic language as the repository of their sacred myths. The similarity of the Pima words to Arabic is uncanny, and it renders the Creation Chant suddenly quite intelligible; further, it follows the general description of the chant as given by one of the Pima elders. What is even more incredible is the realization that the Pima (like their Hohokam ancestors) reside in the southwestern part of the continent, about as far from Iberia or Phoenicia as one could get.

Professor Fell follows this startling demonstration with a longer exposition on the Zuni language. Without going into all the detail here,

Fell’s thesis is that the Zuni language is a derivative of an ancient North African dialect spoken by Libyan seamen around 500 B.C., a language which itself is descended from Egyptian, with Anatolian and Greek loan words. He goes so far as to link these seafaring Libyans and their language with Malay and Polynesian tongues. He offers as proof not only the spoken Zuni words and their equivalents in North African dialects, but the written language as well: discovered carved into stones in New Mexico. Fell does not offer these examples unsupported; he had his work checked by specialists, such as Boulas Ayad, Professor of Ancient Languages at the University of Colorado, who concurred with Fell’s findings. He further offers charts that show the similarity (and, in many cases, identity) of the written Libyan alphabet as it was known over two thousand years ago to examples from Asian sources and rock carvings found in Iowa. These same symbols are found everywhere in the Pacific Rim from Polynesia to Chile, but also as far away as Quebec and New England.

In fact, during a dig at a Hopewell mound in Davenport, Iowa, some funerary offerings were found carved in the shape of an elephant… certainly not an animal with which the Native Americans would have been familiar! Fell believed that many of the more famous mounds of North America were built by these Libyan visitors, including the Seip Mound mentioned above. Some carved stone heads found there bear a striking similarity to the physical appearance and headgear of the ancient North Africans. Take these together with some of the epigraphic inscriptions discussed above, and one can easily see that the simplest explanation is that people from North Africa visited America—and possibly settled here, building temples and erecting stone tablets to commemorate their race— thousands of years before Columbus.

It should be emphasized that linguistic evidence is always the hardest to prove; armchair linguists are the bane of serious archaeological and historical research. This is even more problematic in the case of the ancient American races, as they left no written language of their own. Unlike the tombs at the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, or the Sumerian cylinder seals of Mesopotamia, or even the recently-decoded Mayan hieroglyphs of Central America, there appear to be no hieroglyphics or cuneiform or other writing left behind by the ancient North American peoples. No great statues with

carved braggadocio, no dreary accountant’s tables of figures, no secret spells in magical alphabets. Nothing. All that we have of a written record are the controversial petroglyphs studied so intently by Fell and the diffusionists, and if they were left by visitors to the American shores and not the native people themselves, then archaeology is at a loss to explain the function of the vast mound complexes in America.

The science of linguistics has its own rules and accepted forms of demonstration and proof. Fell was aware of this, and wherever possible he enlisted the support of specialists in this field. As time progressed, however, Fell became one of the few American experts in Ogam as well as the alphabets of the ancient Near and Middle East, and he was called upon frequently to translate stone inscriptions found all over North and South America by puzzled or bemused archaeologists as well as by amateur researchers and epigraphers.

The reaction of established historians, archaeologists and anthropologists to Fell’s work has been mixed. Many disagree wholeheartedly with the whole diffusionist perspective, characterizing it as either racist, fascist, the domain of the credulous and gullible such as the Atlantis-seekers, or simply as “rubbish.” Yet the sheer amount of evidence for the habitation of America by races from across the Atlantic is virtually overwhelming. If this evidence does not speak to the diffusionist theory, then—going back to Occam’s Razor—what does it represent?


Probably the strangest story to emerge from diffusionist literature—and one even some diffusionists have trouble swallowing—is that of the visit of a famous European monarch to American shores (and from there to Kentucky and Tennessee) and of his subsequent settlement there, giving rise to tales of “white Indians” who spoke… Welsh. This has started its own firestorm of controversy as competing historians and archaeologists (and epigraphers) struggle to get the dates and the personalities right.

According to popular amateur archaeologists such as the team of Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett—Artorius Rex Discovered, The Holy Kingdom (with Adrian Gilbert)—King Arthur visited America on or about 652 A.D.

at the time a meteor struck the British Isles. This meteor strike, they believe, is the reason for the devastation of the land of Camelot in the Arthurian legends, and the reason Arthur left Wales for the relative safety of Normandy. During that same time, according to the theory, one Prince Madoc of the Welsh court was at sea and found himself washed off course, finding his way to America by accident. Ten years later, he would return and tell Arthur of all the wonderful things he had seen in the land beyond the sea.

So far, so good.

Then—according to the theory of Wilson and Blackett—Arthur decided to send a convoy of ships in force to America. They landed, and made it as far inland as present day Kentucky and Tennessee. Arthur was killed in America by one of the natives, his body mummified and brought back to Wales, but not before leaving behind a race of white men who would stay to settle the land.

A competing theory has it that the aforementioned Prince was in reality Prince Madoc, son of Owain Gwynnedd, a king of the Welsh province of Gwynnedd who lived in the twelfth century A.D., and thus about five hundred years later than the legendary Arthur. Owain attempted to unite the warring Welsh kingdoms into a single nation with a single king—much like the Arthur of legend—but after his death a civil war broke out between his many sons about who would succeed him to the throne. Prince Madoc fled the war, and wound up in America.

Although Madoc’s story does not appear in printed form until 1584, one Richard Hakluyt—in his Principall Navigations of 1600—claims that the story of Madoc and his flight to America was common knowledge long before Columbus’ famous voyage in 1492. Famous Welsh historian Gutyn Owen also wrote of Madoc before 1492.

According to the best estimates of historian and archaeologist, it would appear that Madoc landed somewhere at or near Mobile Bay, Alabama and wandered inland from there. This is based on computation of probable landfall due to ocean currents and prevailing winds from the British Isles,

but also on some strange anomalies of the landscape of that part of the southeastern United States.

Along the Alabama River, south of Chattanooga, can be seen three large forts whose construction pre-dates Columbus and is “unlike any known Indian structure.” According to the Cherokee Indians who were questioned about the forts, they had been built by a race of white men who lived in the area before them. One of these forts was found to resemble the birthplace of Prince Madoc, Dolwyddelan Castle, in virtually every detail. Located on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, its “setting, layout, and method of construction” is that of the Welsh prototype. Indeed, early European explorers to the region spoke of finding these “white Indians”—known as Mandans—and the strange language they spoke, which contained many Welsh words.

According to a Cherokee informant in 1782, Chief Oconostota of the Cherokee Nation, the Welshmen who built these forts had been at war with the Cherokee for many years and finally signed a truce in which they promised to vacate Cherokee land and head north, up the Ohio River and then as far as the Missouri. During this diaspora—or perhaps even before the truce—they had already begun losing their European culture and had become nearly indistinguishable from the Indians themselves, with some notable differences: their beards, grey hair, blue eyes, and the physical appearance of some of the women, which resembled European women more than native Americans.

The Mandans became a canvas onto which many historians, anthropologists and archaeologists would paint the pictures they wanted to see. Hjalmar Holand, in 1940, would see in the Mandans evidence of Norse explorations in North America, and the Mandans as descendants of Leif Erickson of Viking fame; 38the famous—and controversial—Kensington Stone is considered evidence of Norse presence in North America hundreds of years before Columbus. This stone—discovered by a Minnesota farmer in 1898—is carved in runic characters and is testament to an attack on a Norse encampment by Indians in the year 1362. It has been attacked as a forgery over the years, but usually on flimsy ground (resulting, for instance, from ignorance of the type of runic used in Sweden and Norway in 1362);

what one cannot adequately explain is why someone would go to all the effort of carving hundreds of runic characters into a boulder which is then left in the ground for so many years that a tree grew roots around it (as it was found) if the intention was a hoax or a fraud.

In the past few years, however, more evidence has been amassed to prove that the Kensington Stone—whatever it may be—is not a nineteenth century forgery. Many of the linguistic references used by its detractors were found to be inaccurate or dated; the carvings on the stone itself were carbon-dated to the right period by examining changes in the mica formation along their ridges; finally, Dr. Richard Nielsen—in the spring of 2001—published his findings on the stone in Scandinavian Studies, a peer- reviewed linguistic journal, in the form of a 75-page study representing more than ten years of research. The result: Hjalmar Holand was right. The Kensington Stone is genuine. The experts were wrong. History needs to be rewritten. There were Norsemen in Minnesota in 1362. Columbus did not discover America; he was only one of many to recognize a good thing when he saw it.

Yet, in other areas Holand may have jumped the gun. He dismisses the theory that the Mandans are descended from Welshmen; he sees the Kensington Stone as ample evidence of Norse immigration to Minnesota and the Dakotas, as if it would be therefore impossible to also imagine a group of Welshmen in the same territory. If the Norsemen arrived in that part of North America sometime in the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries A.D., then it would have been over a hundred years after the arrival of the mysterious Prince Madoc and his settlers anyway. Holand imagines that the physical appearance of the Mandans is more clearly Nordic than Welsh, based on nothing more than eye color (claiming that Nordic people have blue eyes but that Welshmen have brown eyes, thus ruling out Welshmen as the progenitors of the Mandan race!) but perhaps he is only succumbing to the racial theories of his time; he published his work in 1940, a year before America’s entry into the Second World War, when it was still possible to write,

The Swedes and Norwegians are of the purest Nordic stock and a relatively smaller number would therefore have been sufficient to transmit

the physical peculiarities for which the Mandans were noted than if any other nationality had been represented by these early culture bearers. 39

In the years immediately after the American Civil War, a British naval officer began a tour of pre-Columbian architecture in the Americas. Lindesey Brine wanted to see for himself the burial mounds, Aztec and Mayan pyramids, and the ancient fortifications of North and Central America. His report—published as The Ancient Earthworks and Temples of the American Indians—is a valuable resource in that it discusses the mounds (and the Native American tribes) rather dispassionately. Brine had no particular axe to grind: he wasn’t an American, Native or otherwise, and he simply reports on the various mounds and other structures as an interested observer, albeit one with military experience and training. He noticed striking similarities between Central American mounds and those of, for instance, Cahokia, forcing him to consider that they were built by the same people. 40This idea that the Native American populations originated in Mexico and Central America and came north is one that is batted about constantly by one group of archaeologists or another. There are some obvious similarities between religious art and mythology as well, enough to suggest a close relationship between the two groups if not actual direct lineage.

Brine goes further, to report on Mexican myths concerning a visit by twenty white, bearded men who arrived by ship in the years before Columbus… men wearing sandals, preaching what appears to be Christianity, and dressed in white robes adorned with red crosses. 41One is startled at the similarity of this costume to that of the Knights Templar, men whose organization was suppressed by Pope and King in the fourteenth century and who had found refuge in Portugal, Scotland and other European lands even as their brothers were being executed in France, accused of heresy and worse.

Brine was also aware of the Mandan tribe, however, and reports on them at length, in the context of foreign races occupying North America before Columbus.42

He begins by discussing a Shawnee tradition that the mounds constructed in Ohio and Kentucky were built by a race of white foreigners, who were

then exterminated in the course of wars with the Native American populations. It should be remembered that the Cherokee themselves have a similar tradition.

Brine then goes on to discuss an American cavalry officer, one Stuart, who came across the Mandans themselves sometime in the mid-1700s and was made their prisoner. Stuart claims the Mandans told him they were descended from a race of Europeans who had arrived in Florida and then made their way north to rest on the western side of the Mississippi once the Spaniards had landed. Stuart further claimed that another Mandan prisoner, this time of Welsh background, could make himself understood to the Mandans in his native tongue, thus opening up the great Mandan/ Welsh controversy.

Brine does not take a firm position on this matter one way or another. He does not agree that the construction of all of the mounds required European engineers; he does, however, believe that the construction of the more symmetrically-aligned mounds would have required a knowledge of geometry and engineering which, in his opinion, the existing Native American population did not have (although, of course, their ancestors may have had this information and lost it along the way, possibly due to an epidemic in North America referred to by archaeologists as the “Great Dying”). He points to the famous mound enclosures at Newark, Ohio as an example of this.43

At Newark, we have a construction of tremendous size. The first is a circle, twenty acres in area. Brine’s conclusion is that it would have been tremendously difficult to create a perfect circle of that size without instruments, but allows that it would still be within the realm of possibility.

What he dismisses as impossible without instruments is the attached construction of a perfect octagon, containing an area no less than forty acres in size. These two constructions are joined by a path between them, again perfectly centered. These “fortifications” (if that is what they are) are of an advanced state of design and engineering. Brine feels that—without surveying equipment—the local Native American population (or any population) would have been unable to construct something of this nature. If we further examine those mound groupings that have astronomical

orientation—usually to the equinoctial or solstitial points, much the same as Stonehenge in England—then we are forced to consider whether a race of beings (either Native American or foreign) having the scientific knowledge to create such impressive constructions could have arisen in North America… and then disappeared without any further trace than their monuments, and their dead. This is possible if we consider that, without a written language, there was no way to pass on the techniques of mound building once the Great Dying had begun.

The Mandans were eventually forced even further north, due to warfare with the Sioux, winding up as far as the Dakotas. The last great Mandan settlement—a town with old, European style huts and streets, and a fort with a moat—was located near Minot, North Dakota where it was visited by French explorer Captain Pierre la Verendrye in 1738. He noticed blond hair and blue eyes among the Mandans, but with evidence that the Mandan were the result of a process of intermarriage between the “original” white people

—either Welsh, or Nordic, or perhaps some other, European, race—and local Native American populations. Yet, their mode of living was in marked contrast to the local cultures and involved a high state of agriculture and some curious religious beliefs which seemed to be a mixture of Native American mythology with elements of Christianity, including a story of the virgin birth of a great man; a flood, ark and dove; etc. They eventually succumbed to several smallpox epidemics, the first in 1837 and later in 1856, and were effectively wiped out as a tribe. 1838, of course, was the year of the discovery of the Grave Creek tablet, the year of the return of Joseph Smith’s golden tablets, and the year of the publication of William Henry Harrison’s fanciful study of the burial mounds. Perhaps the Mandan tribe held some important information about the pre-Columbian centuries of North America—as well as nuggets of data about the Norsemen, or early Wales, Prince Madoc, and maybe even the identity (and whereabouts?) of the putative King Arthur—but that information died with them.

What most Americans know of their Native populations is usually limited to genre literature and genre cinema. Cowboy-and-Indian movies were a staple in America since the earliest days of both Hollywood and television. Americans romanticized the role of the white settler and white soldier and even, to a large extent, romanticized the “noble savage” as well. They have

seen their own history through a thick scrim of fantasy, fear, and even guilt, but still have not embraced the pure reality. Those that live near reservations have their own clearly defined set of racial biases. Academics take a more objective view than most—such is their vocation, after all—but even then their view of Native American history and culture is largely determined by a few axiomatic theories that are only now being tested by the weight of archaeological, anthropological and linguistic evidence. The Native Americans themselves are confused by some of this. Do they embrace the Clovis cult, and imagine that they all came from a single source, a single race that walked across the Bering land bridge thousands of years ago and dispersed throughout the Americas? Or do some tribes— holding ancient traditions that talk of white men or other foreigners landing in America and settling there long before Columbus—hold a secret belief that their origins are more recent than Clovis… or more ancient? Is it really a devaluation of the Native American population to insist that some of their ancestors arrived here from Carthage, or Iberia, or China, or Malaya, or even Wales or Ireland? There are those who insist that speculation about the mounds having been built by Europeans, for instance, implies a kind of racism: as if the Native Americans—“savages,” after all—were incapable of building these complexes themselves. But that is not the point.

If the Native Americans are descendants of ancient European, Middle Eastern and South Asian races, then how are they devalued? It is accepted as gospel by nearly all archaeologists on both sides of the diffusionist/independent inventionist fence that the Native Americans did not originate in the Americas but arrived there from other places. How does saying they walked across the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago make them more unique or important as a race than saying some of them arrived by boat from Africa, Europe, or Southeast Asia?

The stories of the Mandan tribe certainly point to an interbreeding of native populations with “white” foreigners. The Native American traditions are replete with stories of ancient contact with European-type cultures, traditions from Central America and Mexico north to the Mandans themselves. By ignoring these venerable traditions and characterizing them as superstitious nonsense, do we not do a much greater disservice to the Native Americans, a greater “devaluation”?

There are sites on earth that are sacred to various religions and cults, as we in the West have been discovering and usually to our dismay. Jerusalem is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. We know this, because we are all still fighting over it, and the question of Jerusalem and “sacred land” in general has led to devastating terrorist attacks by Muslims on Jewish and Christian targets worldwide, in the somewhat dubious context of jihad, a word often translated as “holy war.” It has also led to the insufferable conditions experienced by displaced Palestinians, and their often obscene treatment by European conquerors. In Jerusalem, there are sites more sacred still, and the Dome of the Rock—a Muslim mosque built over part of King Solomon’s Temple—is perhaps the ultimate target of religious fervor among Jews and Muslims alike, not to mention those Christians who believe that the Knights Templar discovered something important in the ruins of that temple, or that the Ark of the Covenant may still be buried there. It is a piece of land, nothing more, but it is invested with so much importance that tens of thousands have been willing to die because of it over the years. Tens of thousands? Perhaps millions.

There are mountains in Asia that are sacred to Buddhists, others to Hindus, still others to Daoists and yet still others to various animists and pantheists. There are sacred streams, sacred hills, sacred stones all over the earth. These sites are invested with supernatural power; and when the Europeans came to America there were already in place sites sacred to the Native Americans, to the Aztecs, the Incas, the Mayas… and to older races for which we have no genuine nomenclature, such as the Anasazi, the Adena, the Hopewell.

The early Christians used to meet in catacombs, where the dead were buried. Some Tantric cults held initiations and other rituals in graveyards in India. In April 1991 American archaeologists discovered catacombs at Casa Malpais, Arizona: tombs used for sacred rituals by Native Americans 800 years ago. The workbooks of the medieval sorcerers—such as those consulted by Joseph Smith—stipulate still other locations as more suitable than most for raising spirits, evoking demons, talking to God. The Chinese art of feng shui, so popular these days in Asia and the West alike, is a means of orienting buildings (and the furniture and decorations within buildings)

so as to direct the earth’s energy more profitably. The ancient Hindu practice of Vaastu is virtually identical in intent.

As Christianity became more sophisticated, it began the practice of building churches over sites that had been sacred to its pagan predecessors. Chartres Cathedral in France is one of these sites. The Church also practiced the ritual of siting the altar over the tomb or grave of a dead saint; failing that, they would have the bones or other relics of a saint embedded in a special stone that would be placed beneath the altar. The bones of the sacred dead were essential as a foundation for the ritual of the Mass. The Eastern Orthodox Christians invented the antimensia. This is a cloth into which sacred relics have been sewn. It is unfolded at the beginning of the liturgical service and lain upon the altar as a base for the ritual. For some reason, the Church understands the importance of these relics and has stipulated their absolute necessity for the performance of the core ritual of the faith: the Divine Liturgy, or Mass, in which the miracle of transubstantiation takes place, the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.

If we follow this line of reasoning for a while—and it is a staple of the belief system of hundreds of millions of Catholics and Orthodox believers

—we can posit a further instance in which some sites on earth are the opposite of these sacred sites, and some relics the opposite of these holy relics. We can even imagine that it would be a sacrilege of no mean dimension to abuse the sanctity of the sacred site: for instance, to build a prison or a brothel over the grave of St. Peter the Apostle. And if the relics of the saints are necessary in order to form a supernatural link between present-day worshippers and the great chain of transformation that can be traced directly back to Christ, then what of relics of murderers, violent criminals, satanists, rapists? Does a lock of Adolf Hitler’s hair hold the same supernatural force as a lock of the hair of St. Anthony, different only in kind and not in power?

What if a prison were built over a site sacred to the Hindus, for instance? What if thousands of criminals were housed in stone and steel cages over the very place where once the Buddha slept, or the Goddess Athena worshipped, or where the Virgin of Fatima appeared? And if there is great

spiritual solace to be had in close proximity to the remains of a saint, what contagion should be feared from the blood and bones of Heinrich Himmler, Josef Stalin… Ted Bundy?

Americans seem to be unconsciously aware that the mounds are repositories of something more than piles of crumbling bones. The famous Outlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel of horror and demonic possession, The Shining, was said to have been built over an Indian burial mound. The house that was the scene of terrifying paranormal phenomena in the film Poltergeist was also said to have been built on sacred Indian ground. Thus, our novelists and filmmakers seem to agree that there is a substrata of spiritual force—for good or evil—beneath the very foundations of America’s towns and cities.

And those that believe in sacred spaces—Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, or any of the other races that make up the American mosaic— what do they think of the mounds, the standing stones, the carved rocks, the buried tablets, and all the other evidence of a culture, and a religion, that existed in America for thousands of years? What gods were worshipped in Kentucky? In West Virginia? Ohio? Indiana? New Hampshire? Rhode Island? Alabama? Georgia? in the thousand years before the arrival of the Spanish Catholics and the English Puritans? As America has systematically engaged in a program of eradication of its aboriginal population, it has simultaneously wiped out knowledge of its own origins. We are left with rocks, bones, a few scraps of ancient language and a few scraps of ancient myth and tradition, and we attempt to build a coherent story of the history of the continents based on these poor remains. If there are such things as ghosts in this new age, this new reality, then who haunts the mounds? What language do they speak? What gods do they believe in? And what do they want from us?

In 1909, the State of West Virginia acquired the Grave Creek mound, and began its maintenance and refurbishment… with the assistance of prisoners from the State Penitentiary at Moundsville, which is across the street from the mound. It is one of a number of prisons located at or near Adena mound sites, including the federal prison at Chillicothe which has housed Charles Manson and Henry Lee Lucas.

In 1950, the Garrison Dam was being planned for the Missouri River in North Dakota. The existing Native American populations were pressured into signing yet another treaty, this time ceding their ancient lands to the government. George Gillette, the leader of the Hidatsa tribe, broke into tears as the lands of his people for over a thousand years were signed away forever.44 Hidatsa—and what was left of Mandan—sites were submerged in the flood, as if in fulfillment of an ancient prophecy about the end of the world.

Although the story of Prince Madoc/King Arthur as it pertains to the North American continent is not accepted by all historians, there are enough who find that both the physical evidence and the written record support the legend of the voyage as recorded in Welsh literature and the lore of the Cherokee nation. While some would object that the Welsh would be eager to prove that one of their famous ancestors had “discovered” America before Columbus, it is assumed that the Cherokee would have no such motive. In any event, the schizoid attitude of American archaeology towards theories of multiple migrations covering thousands of years and from several different points of origin is enough to confound and obscure any attempt at a multidisciplinary approach to the problem, which is what it requires. An objective team of specialists in such fields as archaeology, anthropology, archaeoastronomy, epigraphy, linguistics, genetics, and comparative religion (to name only a few) is needed before any kind of consensus on this very political question can be reached. Until then, we are forced to sit back and watch the experts duel with each other over their respective turfs, while the mounds, the tablets, the stone inscriptions, and the native speakers of ancient languages are ignored and consigned to the literal dustbins of history.

The existence of the Alabama River forts, their similarity to Welsh construction of the period, the existence of the Mandans and their possibly Welsh vocabulary (a datum that Holand excludes from his study), and the stories of the Cherokee elders—and the violent opposition of mainstream archaeologists and historians who dismiss such traditions out of hand as so much fanciful smoke—all contribute to this bizarre chapter in American historiography. For example, the Daughters of the American Revolution would erect, in 1953, a memorial to Prince Madoc and his expedition of

1170 A.D. at Mobile Bay, Alabama. …and then, a few years later, take it down again.

Yet, when the author visited Charles Manson’s hometown, the city of Ashland, Kentucky in 1990—nearly a decade before the controversial claim of Wilson and Blackett that King Arthur had visited America—he noted at the time the existence of a “Camelot” supper club and lounge on Winchester Avenue… and had the stunning realization that a string of Indian burial mounds occupied the center of town.

1 Cotton Mather, The Wonders of the Invisible World, Boston, 1693, “Enchantments Encounter’d,” section V

2 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume II, Part 2, Chapter XII

3 In correspondence with the author

4 Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance, Continuum, NY, 2002

5 Pilot episode

6 See, for instance, the works of University of Colorado Professor Vine Deloria, Jr., himself a Native

American and pro-diffusionist, who is quoted in Marc Stengel’s article in The Atlantic Monthly (note 8).

7 The work of Dr. Svetla Balabanova—including the hair shaft test, which is a staple of forensic science—was detailed in a Channel Four UK broadcast on September 8, 1996, “The Mystery of the Cocaine Mummies,” which also touched on diffusionism.

8 See, for instance, “The Diffusionists Have Landed,” by Marc K. Stengel, The Atlantic Monthly, January 2000, where these facts and the arguments for and against them have been summarized.

9 Ibid.

10 Richard Rudgley, Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age, Arrow, London, 1999, p. 100

11 Ibid., p. 100

12 C.W. Ceram, The First American: A Study of North American Archaeology, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY, 1971, p. 193

13 See for instance William F. Romain, Mysteries of the Hopewell, University of Akron, Ohio, 2000, ISBN 1-884836-61-5, pp. 233-253, for a peer-reviewed study of ancient American astronomy in connection with the mounds.

14 For more information on the Great Hopewell Road, see Susan L. Woodward & Jerry N.McDonald, Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley, McDonald & Woodward Publishing, Blacksburg VA, 2002, ISBN 0-939923-72-6, pp. 59-63, as well as Romain, op. cit.

15 William S. Webb & Charles E. Snow, The Adena People, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1981, p. 81

16 Wheeling Gazette (West Virginia), February 18, 1852, “Opening a Mound”

17 This is also a method known to European and early American cultures as a means of ensuring the

corpse does not come back to life, i.e., become a vampire. See Michael E. Bell, Food for the Dead, Carroll & Graf, NY, 2002, ISBN 0-7867-1049-7, p. 170, concerning a grave of the New England “vampire cult” discovered in the 1990s in Connecticut.

18 Webb & Snow, op. cit., p. 81

19 Ibid., p. 74

20 Ibid., p. 79

21 Ibid., p. 281

22 Ibid., p. 90

23 C.A. Burland & Werner Forman, Feathered Serpent and Smoking Mirror, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY, 1975, p. 55

24 Roger G. Kennedy, Hidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization, The Free Press, NY, 1994, p. 233. Kennedy was a former director of the American History Museum (Smithsonian Institution) and a director of the National Parks Service.

25 Webb & Snow, op. cit., p. 93-94

26 Ibid., p. 95

27 Cyrus Thomas, Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Government Printing Office, 1894, p. 583-584

28 See for instance “A Tradition of Giants,” on articles/giants.html

29 There have been many accounts of the Grave Creek Mound and its famous Tablet, and a lot of controversy surrounds the inscription. See for instance Barry Fell, America, B.C., Pocket Books, NY, 1989, p. 21 for his translation of the inscription; and Stephen Williams, Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991 pp. 82-87 for an opposing view.

30 Fell, op. cit., p. 315-316

31 Ibid., p. 11

32 Ibid., p. 310, and Marc K. Stengel, op.cit.

33 Fell, p. 303-309

34 See the historical overview of Roger G. Kennedy, Hidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization, Free Press, NY, 1994, ISBN 0-02-917307-8. Kennedy was a former director of the National Parks Service as well as former director of the American History Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

35 Fell, op. cit., p. 21

36 See for instance Robert M. Schoch, Voyages of the Pyramid Builders, Putnam, NY, 2003, ISBN 1- 58542-203-7, for a lively discussion of the relationship between the pyramid builders of ancient Egypt and the mound builders of ancient America, and a corresponding defence of some of the ideas of the diffusionists. Dr. Schoch has degrees in geology and geophysics however: like Fell, he is not a member of the archaeologist union!

37 Ibid., p. 172

38 Hjalmar R. Holand, Norse Discoveries and Explorations in America 982-1362, Dover, NY, 1969.

39 Ibid., p. 278

40 Lindesey Brine, The Ancient Earthworks and Temples of the American Indians, Oracle, London, 1996, p. 189

41 Ibid., p. 409

42 Ibid., p. 95

43 Ibid., p. 96

44 Peter Nabokov, ed., Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present, 1492-1992, Penguin Books, NY, 1991, p. 343

These many face of Ashland, Kenru ky childhood resid en t Charle Man on-\vhose birth certif:i h.i.m a ” an e Mad _,.- i n Man o.n giving the ign of Apo pl i or Typhon, a ord o e ru 1ion, at che v,ery top. Thi gesrure was known to initiate of Alei ter Crowley ecret sociery, the A.A. a one of the LVX sign , the o ther two being L for in Mourning and X for Osiris Rise, . The t ign i wastika which Manson ha arved imo , his forehead. The X sign shm s the iniriate with his arms cro ed over hi· che t like a mummy in a arc,ophag:u …. Man on ho’\vn here, with hi arnu cro ed, cannot quite reach ‘that fur.



The old folk have gone away, and foreigners do not like to live there…. It is not because of anything that can be seen or heard or handled, but because of something that is imagined. The place is not good for the imagination…

— “The Colour Out of Space,” by H. P. Lovecraft 1

…a strong man with homicidal and religious mania at once might be dangerous. The combination is a dreadful one.

Dracula, by Bram Stoker 2

I was convicted of witchcraft in the Twentieth Century.

Charles Manson 3

If the Pentagon ever formulates the Manson Secret, the world’s in trouble.

The Family, by Ed Sanders 4

The word “Kentucky” is a Native American word which means “dark and bloody ground.” That is probably as good a name as any for a Commonwealth that has had its share of violent death, madness, and mania. Americans tend to think of Kentucky in terms of horse races, bluegrass music, or the ubiquitous KFC which is probably Kentucky’s most famous export to world markets. Yet, even Kentucky Fried Chicken has its ominous side, its darker shadows, as we shall see a bit later on.

In 1991, there was an exorcism of a nightclub in Wilder, Kentucky (a small town near Covington, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), due to a lawsuit by one of the customers.5 Claude Lawson claimed that the owner of Music World—Bobby Mackey—was running a haunted establishment and that he had been attacked by evil spirits during the time he worked (and lived) there as a caretaker. Music World is built on the site of an old slaughterhouse (complete with a well underneath the building that received the drained blood of the slaughtered animals) dating back to the nineteenth century and, indeed, it was a site for satanic activity and a cult murder in

1896 when the headless body of five-month pregnant Pearl Bryan was found. Two men—Alonzo Walling and Scott Jackson—were arrested for murder after confessing to the crime. Self-proclaimed devil worshippers and occultists, they refused to tell investigating authorities the location of Pearl Bryan’s missing head, saying it would bring the wrath of Satan upon them. They feared Satan more than death, because they were offered life in prison instead of execution if they gave up the head. They were hanged not far from the slaughterhouse, and Walling cursed his captors from the gallows in a scene out of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Another young woman—a cabaret dancer known as Johana—committed suicide at the club in the 1930s, but not before poisoning her father, a gangster who had murdered Johana’s boyfriend. Johana was also five months pregnant at the time.

The club has been the site of numerous murders, shootings and other crimes. It is one of the strangest clubs in America, for it boasts (if that is the right word) twenty-nine sworn affidavits by customers, employees and even local policemen who have been attacked there by forces from what Cotton Mather called the “invisible world.” Once destined to be torn down in 1993 due to some strange accidents that the owner felt were paranormal warnings, it has remained in operation.

If, as suggested in the last chapter, some sites in America are sacred, then perhaps Music World is evidence that others may be just the opposite: unholy and profane.

There were many other details to arrange; the consideration of a proper place for the operation gave rise to much mental labour. It is, generally speaking, desirable to choose the locality of a recent battle; and the greater the number of slain the better.

—Aleister Crowley, Moonchild 6

In 1996, a group of five Kentucky teens was arrested for the so-called “Vampire Murders” and made national news. Members of a vampire cult which numbered about thirty teens in southwestern Kentucky, they were reported to have drunk the blood of animals, and of each other, before finally murdering the parents of one of their clan and fleeing to Louisiana where they were eventually captured. The New York newspapers had a field

day with this, of course. Reporting on the fact that one of the teens had called home to get additional funds, the New York Post headlined: “Vampire” Teens Busted After They Called Home for Stake. 7

An interesting development for Kentucky, considering that officials originally wanted to name the state “Transylvania.”

Odd bits of Kentucky’s strange history went through my mind the first day I drove into Ashland. It was a frightening journey in and of itself. On the way down, through West Virginia from my first stop-over in Washington, D.C., my little red Ford Mustang was caught in a violent summer thunderstorm in the mountains. Shortly thereafter, I found myself skidding through a lake of blood in the darkness.

I was going to Ashland, Kentucky for several reasons. In the first place, it is the town where Charles Manson grew up. It is also the birthplace of another vile killer, Sedley Alley, who viciously murdered a beautiful and accomplished young woman, a Marine who wanted to be the first female Marine aviator. 8Ashland is across the river from another town, Kenova in West Virginia, where serial killer Bobby Joe Long was born and raised. 9It is in a kind of Bermuda Triangle of death and depravity whose base line runs right through the town in northern Virginia where another serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas, was born. Appalachia. As a native New Yorker, I found the very concept of Appalachia arousing feelings of terror, sadness and disgust. Dueling banjoes. In-breeding. Poverty.

About fifty miles south of Ashland, in another Appalachian town—Inez, Kentucky—then-President Lyndon Johnson announced the War on Poverty in 1964. He did so outside a small shack in the hollow, to the backbeat of television crews and print reporters. Twenty-eight years later, in 1992, that shack would still stand and its once famous inhabitant, Tommy Fletcher, still lived there. Only this time, the television crews would return to report that he and his current wife had been indicted for murder: for having children and then killing them off one by one for the insurance money. The body of their daughter, little three-year old Ella Rose Fletcher, had been exhumed and an autopsy showed she died of an overdose of an anti- depressant and had also been sexually molested. Her four-year old brother,

Tommy Fletcher, Jr., was hospitalized only a month after his sister’s death, showing the same symptoms of drug poisoning.

There had been a five thousand dollar life insurance policy on each child.


The War on Poverty was another war we lost.

It had been more than ten years since my solitary investigation of the remote Chilean torture center run by fugitive Germans in the Andes mountains. In those days, I had relied upon public transportation to get me to the rural community of Parral from Chile’s capitol, Santiago, and then a taxi—a taxi!—from Parral into the Andean foothills where Colonia Dignidad was located.

Nazi hunting on a budget.

Not exactly a James Bond scenario.

Now, however, I was riding in style. It was early summer in 1990, almost exactly eleven years later, and my research was taking me safely within the confines of the continental United States. I had my notes, a battered Toshiba T1000 laptop on the seat next to me, and a roadmap of West Virginia and Kentucky. I enjoyed long drives, as long as I had a fully-functioning tape deck and a ready supply of tapes with me.

So. What could go wrong?

As the afternoon turned to dusk in the hills of West Virginia outside Charleston, a spectacular storm front moved in. I was pushing the little convertible up and down the hills, trying to make Ashland before it got too dark, but Nature had other plans. Sheets of torrential rain made it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of me, and I had to pull over to the side of the highway. Ahead of me, eighteen-wheelers had the same idea, and soon the shoulder was crowded with vehicles whose drivers had decided to wait out the storm.

Thunder boomed and reverberated in those hills, shaking the car like a Matchbox toy and making me question, if only briefly, the wisdom of

driving all the way out to Ashland from my home in New England rather than trying a more conventional approach. I could have flown down to any of the larger towns within a short drive of Ashland, such as Lexington or even Wheeling, but that would have meant a full day of changing planes at regional airports, since, as the saying goes, “you can’t get there from here.” Ashland—for all the world once a major American industrial town—is simply too remote from the rest of the United States to be approached easily from air or land or river.

I had to go to Ashland. I had convinced myself that only an on-the-spot confrontation with the place would reveal any of its secrets. I wondered who, in the days since the Tate/LaBianca killings, had bothered to travel all the way to Ashland, Kentucky to get a feel for the place, to find out if a town could breed a killer (á la Hillary Clinton’s oft-repeated African phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”), or if evil had other ways of propagating itself. To most Americans in 1969, the Manson story was a California story: more specifically, a Southern California, or Los Angeles, story. Conservative Americans—in 1969, in the midst of the war in Vietnam and political demonstrations and protest marches at home—felt justified in putting down the savagery of the attacks on the Hollywood celebrities as the sort of thing that happens in California. After all, wasn’t California the scene of the “summer of love” and all that hippie madness? No one saw the Manson murders as the result of Appalachia crashing into Beverly Hills, like a couple of good ole boys in a battered pickup on a Saturday night, all whoops and hollers and jangling beer cans and rifle racks, smashing into a gazebo on a society lady’s lawn. No. What neither the society lady nor the good ole boys would ever recognize is that they are both Americans; that only happens when there’s a war on, and the society lady needs the good ole boys to defend the gazebo. When there is no war, the good ole boys turn on the gazebo and smash it to smithereens.

And there was no chance in hell that Charlie Manson would ever see the jungles of Vietnam.

All the records say that Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. 11It makes sense that his mother, Kathleen Maddox, would have traveled that far up river from Ashland to have the baby, since it was born out of wedlock on November 12, 1934 to a sixteen-year-old girl. The father is

believed to have been one “Colonel Scott,” about whom not much else is known. One can imagine the scene of a possibly much older Colonel Scott and the suddenly pregnant teenager in Ashland in 1934: the latter being rushed off to Ohio to have the baby in secret, away from the prying eyes of a small Southern town, the former wondering if his reputation among friends and family would have been harmed by the revelation, or quite possibly just the reverse. We will never know. It is believed that Colonel Scott died in 1954, although even this has not been officially confirmed. Colonel Scott’s brother, Darwin Orell Scott, was only twenty-seven at the time Charles Manson was born; when he was butchered to death in 1969, he was already sixty-four. If Darwin was the younger brother, then Colonel Scott may have been in his thirties at the time Kathleen got pregnant. The military title “Colonel” is suggestive, but not conclusive. After all, it was Kentucky that gave us “Colonel Sanders,” a man who was not exactly a war hero. Yet, oddly enough, there is no record of a first name for Colonel Scott, even though he was sued—successfully—by Kathleen in 1936 for paternity of little Charlie. Scott agreed to pay the princely sum of twenty-five dollars in settlement, plus another five dollars a month for Charlie’s upkeep. By this time, Charlie was known as Charles Milles Manson. Kathleen had married a William Manson—a much older man—after Charlie’s birth, and that is how “No Name Maddox” became Charles Manson. William Manson himself disappeared from Kathleen’s life not much later.

Charlie wound up being parked with Kathleen’s relatives in small towns all up and down the Ohio River—in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia— while Kathleen had her various adventures. One of these involved robbing a gas station with her brother, Luke, in 1939. The sibling desperadoes used soda bottles as their weapon of choice, knocking out the station attendant with them and robbing the till. Kathleen and Luke were apprehended and Kathleen was sentenced to five years in the state prison at Moundsville, West Virginia in the heart of burial mound territory. During that time, Charlie was sent to live first with a very religious grandmother, and then with an aunt and uncle in McMechen, a town a few miles outside of Moundsville, where the Grave Creek mound is located and where the infamous “Phoenician” tablet was discovered. Charlie was only five years old at the time.

Dr. Joel Norris, a sort of serial killer ambulance chaser and not the most reliable when it comes to names, dates and places (McMechen, West Virginia becomes “Maychem, Virginia” for instance)12 recounts a story that Manson was forced to go to school in a girl’s dress by his uncle, who thought the boy was a “sissy.” (Norris also claims that Manson was born in Ashland; this is possible, of course, but I have been unable to find corroboration of this theory.) The “sissy” story is claimed as true by Manson, although others—such as his being sold for a pitcher of beer by his mother to a barmaid—are probably apocryphal.

What is known for sure is that Kathleen was paroled in 1942, took charge of her eight-year-old son, and led another series of adventures with drunken “uncles” in three states. In 1947, the court sent Charles Manson to a home for boys in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he remained for ten months before escaping and returning to his mother, at the age of thirteen. Kathleen by this time had decided she had seen enough of her son, so he ran away again and began a life of crime, breaking into stores, stealing whatever he could find, until finally the courts got hold of him again and sent him, of all places, to Father Flanagan’s Boys Town!

The 1938 film Boys Town starred Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan and Mickey Rooney as one of his tougher challenges. Somehow, it is difficult to picture Mickey Rooney playing Charles Manson, aside from the fact that both gentlemen are somewhat on the short side. Flanagan’s experiment was considered a kind of boot camp for juvenile delinquents—and, of course, had been made famous ten years earlier by the Spencer Tracy film, which won several Oscars—but Charlie didn’t last a week. He and a friend broke out, stole a car, and made their way to Peoria, robbing a store and a casino along the way. His friend’s uncle—a small-time thief in Peoria—began using them for small B&E (breaking and entering) jobs until they were caught once again, and this time Manson was sent to a more serious home in Indiana, where he remained for three years, until breaking out once more at the age of sixteen. He was apprehended after a string of crimes in 1951 and sent to another “school for boys” …this one in Washington, D.C., the National Training School for Boys, a secure institution which was run more like a prison and which was, indeed, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons.

That was in March. By October, he had managed to convince the school’s psychiatrist that he was trustworthy enough to be transferred to a minimum- security “home”: the National Bridge Camp. There, things got only worse.

While his aunt had visited the Camp and told the board that she was willing and able to provide a home for Charlie, he managed to ruin his chances of an early parole by sodomizing another boy while holding a razor blade at the edge of his victim’s throat. He was transferred to the Federal Reformatory at Petersburg, Virginia instead. While there, he was deemed very dangerous, and sent on to the Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio on September 22, 1952.

One wonders what subterranean telluric forces were at work that day. Chillicothe is, of course, the center of the American Mound culture discussed in the last chapter. September 22 was the autumnal equinox, one of the important astronomical dates around which the ritual mounds were designed. A month after his transfer to Chillicothe, he suddenly became a model inmate. He did so well that on January 1, 1954 he was given a Meritorious Service Award. Then, on May 8 of that year—the same year it is believed his father, Colonel Scott, died—he was paroled back to McMechen (and the site of the Grave Creek Mound) to live with his mother. From Mound to Mound. At this time he was nineteen years old.

It is a mystery. What happened to Manson in Chillicothe, that he suddenly became studious (he was still illiterate when he was transferred there), learned to read and write and do simple arithmetic, mellowed out, and became a star “prisoner”? His psychiatric reports were all negative up to that point; even during the first month at Chillicothe the doctors were despairing of him, believing that he needed a closed environment and not the relatively “open” ambience of Chillicothe. Then, suddenly, Manson became a different person and maintained that identity for over a year and a half, until his release. That degree of conscious control—especially in a disturbed, uneducated, illiterate, violent, criminal, sodomitic bastard child of an unmarried, alcoholic mother—is suspicious, if not alarming. Was Charlie “helped” by someone at Chillicothe? According to Manson himself, in his own words, “I stopped thinking in 1954.”13

John Gilmore, in his critically-acclaimed 1971 biography of Manson and the “family”—The Garbage People, retitled Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family—says that Manson met a “boy named Toby” at Chillicothe, from whom he learned hypnosis and mental manipulation. That may be so, but the dates in Gilmore’s book seem to be wrong. He has Manson at Chillicothe as early as October 1951, but according to Bugliosi he didn’t make it to Chillicothe until September 1952. Perhaps it is only a typographical error in Gilmore’s book, because October 1952 is a very likely date for Manson to have met the mysterious “Toby,” a person Manson refers to as “definitely satanic,” and the only person of whom Manson ever speaks in tones both of fear and awe.

During this time, US government agencies were conducting medical tests among various inmate populations in America. Their most prized subjects were violent criminals—sociopaths like Charles Manson—whom they dosed with massive amounts of drugs to gauge personality changes, emotional response, and other parameters that have never been revealed. While sworn testimony before Congress in the 1970s is evidence that prisons were used for these experiments, and often the prisoners themselves were made aware of what was being done to them, the identities of the actual institutions as well as the doctors involved (with a few exceptions) are not known today. Those documents were shredded before testimony could be given. We will examine all of this in greater detail in the chapters that follow, but for now it is well to keep these questions in mind: What happened to Charles Man-son in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1952? Did government experimentation extend from the adult prison population to reformatories for juvenile delinquents? Is there any other evidence that children were used as subjects or guinea pigs in medical experimentation? The rain finally lifted and we all—my fellow drivers and I—began to get back onto the highway and make our way through the hollers and to our respective destinations. Except that now it was getting really dark.

In the West Virginia hills that time of year the fog and mist sets in with a vengeance. You drive up a hill out of the fog and for a blessed moment you can see in front of you, only to start back down the other side of the hill into more fog. It can be impenetrable, a thick soup of whiteness as dangerous as the darkest night. It was early summer, so the ground was still cold, and

when it meets the warmth and humidity of the newly thawed air, the fog becomes the good man’s enemy and the bad man’s friend. It swirls around your car’s headlights like the dry-ice smoke of a low-budget horror flick, and I remembered Horror Hotel and other campy fright films of the early 1960s that always involved a silent small town, shrouded in mist and fog, and maniacal killers on the loose.

I drove in silence, realizing that I had neglected to put in a tape and probably did so because it seemed oddly sacrilegious to play music in the gathering gloom. Or maybe it was because the victims in those horror films are always driving around late at night with the radio playing in the moments before…

There, in front of me, I could see a car pulled over on the shoulder. For a moment I thought the people in the car were in distress. The flashers were blinking, and I slowed down to see if they needed any help. The car’s interior light was on, and I saw clearly a man and a woman arguing vehemently over something. I could almost hear them scream over the sound of my own tires and the wind rushing past the windshield.

I drove on.

Back into the fog, back into the night.

A little further on, there was another car pulled over onto the shoulder, but this time on the opposite side of the road from me, and pointing in the wrong direction. Again, the flashers were on. Again, there seemed to be some sort of altercation in the car which this time contained two adults in the front seat and at least two children that I could see in the back seat. The front of the car appeared to be damaged, but if the huge dent in the hood and front fender was recent or not, I couldn’t tell. This was too strange; the idea of two such cars on opposite sides of the road on this miserable night, removed enough from each other that their circumstances were not related in any obvious way, was a little unsettling.

I drove on.

And then, suddenly, I see in front of me an eighteen-wheeler’s rear lights emerging from the night and fog. I realize that I am probably driving too fast, or the truck driver is going too slow. I brake down to about 20 mph and watch in horror as the huge trailer veers sharply out of our lane into the oncoming lane.

As I come up to the same place, ready to swerve onto the shoulder if necessary, the truck angles back onto the right lane and continues on as before. Thank God there was no oncoming traffic as the highway is relatively deserted. Aside from the two cars that have pulled over, and now the eighteen-wheeler in front of me, there is no one else I can see on the highway.

And at that moment I notice there are dozens of red eyes staring at me out of the darkness from my side of the road.

It took me a moment to realize the eyes belonged to a herd of deer waiting to cross the highway, and as soon as that registered, a terrible sight changed the eerie drive into a tragic one. In front of me, and at the place where the truck had suddenly veered off into the oncoming lane, was the body of a huge stag, its antlers reaching up like beseeching fingers into the night, wisps of fog trailing the points like torn lace and fading memories.

There was blood all over the highway, and I had to perform the same maneuver as the truck before me, or else it would have been a toss-up as to which would have won the encounter: the corpse of a large deer or a little red Mustang convertible. As I drove sickeningly through the freshly-spilled blood of the deer I thought that such a sacrifice was probably a most appropriate welcome to the land of the serial killer and the mass murderer.

On the way into Kenova, West Virginia from Huntington—in an area surrounded by other towns with names like Hurricane, Tornado, Nitro, and the gruesomely appropriate Scary—one passes through the town of St. Albans. There one sees—or saw, in those days not so long ago—a video game parlor with the unlikely name of “Red Dragon.” Fans of the novels of Thomas Harris know that Red Dragon is the title of the first in his Hannibal Lecter series, made famous by the movies Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Manhunter. In fact, Manhunter was the first movie made from Red

Dragon, and is in many ways as powerful as Silence of the Lambs. Readers may remember that Hannibal Lecter was a psychiatrist who was also a vicious serial killer. Apprehended, and serving the rest of his life in prison, Lecter would be visited by FBI profilers who would hope to understand the mind of the serial killer through conversations with this highly intelligent killer-in-captivity.

Lecter is a fictional creation, but the concept contains many elements that will confront us later as we poke behind the curtain of popular fiction to see the much stranger, and much more frightening, truth it disguises. Seeing the Red Dragon roadhouse on my way into Kenova—and, from there, a few minutes later into Ashland—only served as an omen telling me I was on the right track.

In January 1955 Manson married Rosalie Jean Willis, a seventeen-year-old girl from McMechen who worked in a hospital. Although he held a variety of jobs for a while, he could not keep out of trouble and wound up stealing cars and driving them across state lines. Taking stolen goods across state lines is, of course, a federal offense and Charlie was caught, as usual. Only this time, he had a pregnant seventeen-year-old wife. He drove a stolen car to Los Angeles, was apprehended, pled guilty, and asked the court for psychiatric help, for some reason referring back to his time in Chillicothe. The judge so ordered, and he was examined by Dr. Edwin Ewart McNiel in October 1955.

Dr. McNiel had been chief resident psychiatrist at Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic at New York Hospital in the 1930s, before moving to Honolulu where he held similar posts, then moving on to Los Angeles in 1944 and going into private practice while also working as a consulting psychiatrist to the court system in Los Angeles. Thus, he should be considered eminently qualified to offer an opinion on Manson’s mental capacity.

Dr. McNiel felt that Charlie—a poor risk under ordinary circumstances— might be permitted probation under supervision since he was now a husband and father. McNiel recognized that Manson had problems, but held out hope that marriage and fatherhood would have a socializing affect on

the young man. The court agreed, and gave Manson five years probation with no prison term.

Unfortunately, while waiting for a hearing on another stolen vehicle charge (for which he would have probably also received only probation) Manson decided to go walkabout. He did not show up for his hearing, and a warrant was issued. He made it as far as Indiana before he was picked up in Indianapolis in March 1956, when probation was revoked, and he was sent to Terminal Island in California to serve a three year sentence.

His son—Charles Manson, Jr.—was born in March of that same year. On August 30, 1957, Charles Manson, Sr. and Rosalie Willis Manson were divorced.


Due to the thunderstorm, the dead deer, and the whole bizarre gestalt of the trip thus far, I had only made it as far as Huntington before deciding that I should probably stop for the night and drive on into Kenova and Ashland in the morning, in the comforting light of day. I also did not know what facilities would be available in either town that late at night, so I found a small hotel in Huntington that had a room available for the night.

There is a certain gentility, a soft-spoken dignity, that seems natural to parts of the South, and which disconcerts Northeasterners when they confront it for the first time. A native New Yorker—from the Bronx, no less

—I am always pleasantly surprised by it, even though I realize that it is simply good manners and not a reflection of a particularly enlightened or lofty state of mind or being. But, then, good manners are usually more reliable than lofty states of mind. The elderly lady at the reception desk greeted me warmly and kindly—not with false effusion, but as one human being to another—and I felt some of the tension of the drive slough off my nervous system like an old snakeskin. There was a lot of commotion in the place, and I discovered that a wedding reception was being held in the main hall as guests began pouring out into the lobby.

I made my way to my room for the night, arms filled with computer, maps, books, and small suitcase. Once ensconced, I pulled open the map

and traced my journey thus far through the winding country roads of West Virginia. Huntington is only about fifty miles downriver from Point Pleasant, the scene of one of America’s worst tragedies… and also one of its strangest. Covered extensively in John A. Keel’s cult classic, The Mothman Prophecies, it was also made into a movie starring Richard Gere and released in 2002.

The basic outline of the story is that, on November 15, 1966, a strange creature was sighted about ten miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was seen at night, was about six-six or seven feet tall, with what appeared to be wings folded against its back. It seemed to be male, and the most startling thing—aside from the wings—was the pair of huge red eyes, two inches in diameter, six inches apart on its face. It was clearly not completely human, according to the eye witnesses (no pun intended), but walked upright like a man. Thus was the legend of Mothman born.

Accompanying the sightings of Mothman were strange electrical disturbances, such as bizarre patterns on television sets, phones ringing with either no one at the other end or a kind of strange buzzing sound, plus weird warbles on police radio, etc. The thing actually seemed to fly, and in at least one instance was known to have chased a car full of people, and in another a Red Cross bloodmobile filled with whole blood on its way to Huntington, the town where I was now staying the night. As usual, the witnesses were average, normal people living typically American lives: people, that is, with no ulterior motive, no hidden agenda. These were not UFO enthusiasts or college kids out on a prank. The sightings began to take place quite regularly all up and down that mound-ridden stretch of the Ohio River— from Marietta, Parkersburg and points south—but centered on the town of Point Pleasant.

Exactly thirteen months later, to the day, the sightings abruptly stopped. Everyone in Point Pleasant remembers the date—December 15, 1967— because that is also the date of the Silver Bridge disaster, the worst bridge disaster in American history. The bridge, spanning the Ohio River between West Virginia and Ohio, was full of cars and trucks at rush hour, people out buying Christmas presents or going to and from company Christmas parties or just trying to get home. At 5:04 P.M. the bridge collapsed, causing

vehicles and the people inside them to plummet to the icy river below. Forty-six people died, more than sixty vehicles were lost to the river. Two persons were never found.

And the Mothman was seen no more after that day.

John Keel wonders if the appearance of the Mothman was somehow related to the upcoming bridge disaster, hence the title of his book, The Mothman Prophecies. Are supernatural events harbingers of some impending doom? If so, how to correlate the appearance of a creature, half human and half bird of prey, to a failing bridge? There is either more or less to this than meets the eye.

There are many designs of raptorial birds among the Adena and Hopewell artifacts, and Keel mentions other mythical birds, such as the Indonesian Garuda, that have appeared throughout history all over the world; he even goes so far as to tie in the Indian burial mounds as somehow related to the phenomenon, linking them to the great burial mounds of Europe. As demonstrated in previous chapters, there is a distinct possibility that some of these mounds were either constructed by Europeans or by people using the same technology as the Europeans, and even the same (or similar) belief systems. The Tumulus (“mound”) culture of Central Europe, for instance, was prevalent in the second millennium B.C. and was probably trading with cultures in the Middle East at that time, such as Egypt and what was left of the vanishing Sumerian civilization. 14This culture was known, obviously, for their use of burial mounds and for their practice of burying valuable commodities with their dead, as was the case in the Adena and Hopewell cultures in America. Neolithic burial mounds are to be found all over Northern Europe and the British Isles, and later, in Ireland, these burial mounds were known as sidh and were believed to be centers of supernatural power and otherworldly beings. 15The concept of sidh is famous in Irish folklore, and has come to represent the Celtic underworld in general, the domain of ghosts, fairies and other supernatural beings. According to poet and novelist Robert Graves in his infamous study of Celtic mythology, The White Goddess, the mounds were known as Caer Sidi or the “Fortress of the Sidi” who were the ancient magicians of Ireland. The Caer Sidi was also known as the Castle of Ariadne and linked to the Corona Borealis. To be buried there meant that the body was returned to the

earth, but the spirit had gone to Ariadne’s Castle or, equally, to the Corona Borealis. 16There was even a British occult society based on Druidic lore which had, as its inner and most secret circle, The Mound Builders. Members of this group would figure prominently in the 19th century creation of the legendary British occult lodge the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and would include MacGregor Mathers, Allan Bennett and others famous from Golden Dawn days, 17thus reinforcing the link (at least in the eyes of occultists) between the mound-builder culture and secret, supernatural forces.

The reader may wonder why Graves—a poet and novelist, famed for King Jesus; I, Claudius and other historical works—is referenced as an authority. Aside from the fact that Graves’ research on ancient mythology is excellent, documented and dependable, the reader may be comforted in the knowledge that Graves was a close friend of William Sargant, author of the standard text on mind control and brainwashing, The Battle for the Mind, to which book Graves even contributed a chapter. According to Sargant’s introduction, he credits Graves with having encouraged him to complete the work while he stayed at Graves’ home in Majorca, Spain. As for Graves himself, The White Goddess was a canonical text of the European and American witchcraft revival of the 1970s, a book not read so much as handled like a talisman by devotees of the Wicca movement. Sargant is important to our thesis for other reasons, not least that he was also a colleague of Frank Olson, the biochemical warfare expert who was murdered in New York City at the height of the Cold War, a case to which we shall return in a later chapter. Thus, this strange nexus of mythologist and mind control expert is one of many reference points or “cultural traces” in our strange matrix where the spoor of sinister forces may be discerned.

The fact that the ancient mound builders were fascinated with birds of prey and carved their likenesses into their ornamentation could be seen as a reference to a mythical bird-like creature, which would “dovetail” nicely with Keel’s passing references to the mounds as possible referants for the Mothman phenomenon.

Keel mentions another odd fact, something that would stick in the back of my mind as I worked at collecting data for this book. He mentions the

discovery that Native Americans shunned West Virginia, and that no Indian tribes can be identified as indigenous to that State. 18He refers to maps of pre-Columbian tribes worked out by modern anthropologists and published by Hammond in which the area we know as West Virginia is marked as “uninhabited.” No one seems to know why the Indians didn’t settle there, when the land itself would certainly have supported a large population in terms of fish, game, and vegetation. What is found in West Virginia, however, are petroglyphs and other evidence in stone pointing to the existence of wandering Europeans. There is also a heavy concentration of Adena sites northwest and northeast of Charleston, along the Kanawha and Elk Rivers, sites that date to the first millennium B.C. 19 Keel wonders if the Native Americans avoided West Virginia because of something they knew, and something the Europeans didn’t know. Something inherently strange about the place. A sinister force.

After a few more hours of unanswered questions, scribbled notes and scraps of paper stuck into research material as bookmarks, fatigue eventually claimed me, and I fell asleep—fully clothed and with the lights still on—amidst a pile of books and maps and vague, unsettling terrors. The wedding party downstairs had dispersed into cars, limos and pickup trucks and a new couple was about to begin their lives in the shadow of ancient secrets.

Kathleen Maddox moved to Los Angeles at the time of Charles’s incarceration at Terminal Island, evidently to be near her son. This is one of those relationships that simply defies any kind of rational explanation. When Charles was growing up in Ashland, it seemed Kathleen had no time at all for him and, indeed, for a while he lived by himself as a young teenager, earning a living by stealing. Suddenly, though, Kathleen develops maternal instincts and follows Charlie around the country from one lock-up to another, from one prison term to another. Charles is married to Rosalie, who is pregnant and who moves in with Kathleen while Charlie is “inside.” This arrangement will not last long, however, and by March 1957 Rosalie is living with another man and stops visiting Charles in prison. Their divorce

—begun in 1957—is finalized in 1958.

At Terminal Island, Charles is tested again by prison psychiatrists. This time, his IQ has climbed to 121, a substantial improvement over his score at

Chillicothe. His verbal skills have noticeably increased, and he enrolls in a Dale Carnegie course, only to quit after a few weeks out of either pique or boredom. When he is seen as trustworthy, he is transferred to a Coast Guard station which is minimal security, but he is found hot-wiring a car in the parking lot and is slammed back inside to serve the remainder of his term.

He gets out on September 30, 1958, hooks up with a pimp in Malibu while under FBI surveillance, and begins running whores himself. He gets picked up on a forged check charge—shades of his uncle, Darwin Scott— and is arrested once again.

This, of course, is another federal offense. He cuts a deal with a judge, and is examined by Dr. McNeil once again. He is found to be a sociopathic personality, but without psychosis. (In layman’s terms, we might translate that as “evil, but not crazy.”) Dr. McNeil recommends against probation.

At this time, a young lady presented herself as the mother of Manson’s unborn child. This turned out not to be true, but Leona—even though a convicted prostitute under the name Candy Stevens—managed to sway the judge’s emotions, and Manson was released on probation once again. This was on September 28, 1959, almost exactly a year to the day after he was released from Terminal Island. He and Leona would marry that year, only to get divorced in 1963 when Charlie was again in prison, a replay of his marriage with Rosalie. In addition, a son was born to Leona and named Charles Luther Manson.

By December 1959, a scant two months after he was released, he was arrested once more by LAPD, but set free for lack of evidence on a stolen car rap. Instead, he began running women across state lines from California to New Mexico for purposes of prostitution—another federal violation— and wound up indicted once again after a man filed a complaint against him for raping his nineteen-year-old daughter and stealing her savings during a typical “Hollywood” scam, in which Manson posed as a radio and television producer. The judge issued a bench warrant since Manson had disappeared by this time, but he was picked up in Texas where he had been pimping and brought back to Los Angeles. An irate judge sentenced him to the US Penitentiary at McNeil Island, Washington, in July 1961, where he would remain until March 21, 1967. The vernal equinox.

During this time, Manson became involved with Scientology and it’s this interest that has fueled a lot of the speculation concerning other influences at work in Manson’s life. The creation of a small-time science fiction writer and would-be occultist, Scientology has been described as either a cult or a scam, or both, depending on which journalist, investigator or “survivor” you read. It has attracted celebrity membership, including John Travolta and Tom Cruise, as part of a concerted effort to win followers among Hollywood stars; it has also conspired against US Government agencies and been conspired against in turn. Its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was a former Navy officer with a history of mental problems. He was a colleague of Jack Parsons, the rocket scientist and follower of Aleister Crowley. All of this will be discussed in more detail in the chapters that follow, as it bears heavily on our thesis, but suffice it to say that Scientology in the early 1960s was just coming into its own, recruiting heavily on street corners, and had obviously penetrated the prison system as well. An offshoot of Scientology is the Process Church of the Final Judgment, and Manson was believed to have been involved with the Process as well.

We are in a dangerous place here, because it is too easy to equate membership in an organization with that organization’s blessing for every endeavor undertaken by the member. The fact that most of the Nazi hierarchy were born and baptized Catholics, for instance, does not mean that the Nazi Party was a branch of the Catholic Church. The fact that Manson seems to have been involved on some level with the Process does not mean that the Process is guilty—from a legal standpoint—of complicity in Manson’s crimes.

Yet, there is another dimension of culpability that transcends a legal interpretation of cause and effect. To use the previous example, while the Catholic Church cannot be held accountable for the actions of its lay members, it is tempting to consider the Church responsible for creating the type of environment (authoritarianism, anti-Semitism, belief in supernatural events, etc.) in which such a creature as the Nazi Party could come to exist. We do not hold parents legally accountable for the criminal acts of their children no matter what the age of the child, minor or adult; but we routinely examine the childhood of criminal offenders to determine where the “problem” originated. A violent or abusive childhood is considered

prime breeding ground for a violent and abusive adult, and particularly of the phenomenon known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (the former Multiple Personality Disorder); Manson’s case seems to illustrate this.

Therefore, what effect do cults have on their followers from the standpoint of moral responsibility? As cults try to act as surrogate families for their members, do they not recreate the conditions of childhood and “mold” their members in such a way as to make them model “children” of the cult, carrying out the cult’s agenda whether expressed or implied? The author intentionally uses the term “cult” here, rather than “religion,” because a cult is generally based on a more recent revelation or illumination than an established religion: this means that the charisma of the leadership is still trembling from its contact with the supernatural forces it represents to its followers, and attempts to create a complete environment within which the cult members function, based on this revelation. Coupled with this is the understanding that organized religion—older, larger, more powerful—would frown on this new, unauthorized contact with the supernatural and would disavow any message received by the cult leadership, thus putting the cult in an uneasy position. Like most organizations who believe themselves vulnerable to outside influences, cults tend to become insular and to develop a siege mentality vis-á-vis other religions, other cults, the government (perceived to be a tool or instrument of whatever religion is predominant), and eventually the whole world. Further, cult leadership recognizes that its members are all former adherents of other religions, cults, etc., and that the pernicious psychological effects of the previous, competing religion must be neutralized to make way for the “new” revelation. This has led to accusations of “brainwashing” or “programming,” and the development of a cottage industry in “deprogrammers,” who kidnap cultists—usually by request of concerned family members—and attempt to neutralize the effects of the cult’s psychological conditioning by, quite often, using the same techniques the cult itself used in the first place.

Manson was involved enough with Scientology at one point to have picked up the jargon and to pass himself off as a “clear”: someone who had passed through all of Scientology’s “deprogramming” levels and reached the stage where previous social, environmental, perhaps even genetic

influences no longer had any effect on decision-making, emotional stability, etc. He had a Scientology “auditor” in prison, another Scientologist called Lanier Ramer, who—Manson claimed—brought him to the level of “clear” or, more accurately, “theta clear.” (Ramer would stay close to the Manson Family, even after the murders, as we shall see.) That he actually passed through all of these levels in prison, however, is doubtful, and it is more likely that he simply borrowed the language and the attitude of Scientologists. An indication of this might be his attempt to remain in prison: according to Vincent Bugliosi (the Manson prosecutor in the Tate/LaBianca case) Manson had begged prison officials to let him remain there.20 He knew he could not adjust to the outside world. In fact, his prison reviews said the same thing. Regardless, Charles Manson was freed on March 21, 1967.

The drive from Huntington to Kenova and then to Ashland was undertaken on a beautiful summer’s day, quite a difference from the night before. I stopped for a while in tiny Kenova, the birthplace of Bobby Joe Long, a serial killer captured in Tampa, Florida in 1983 and accused of nine murders and more than fifty rapes in a string of crimes known as the “Classified Ad Rapist” case. Long’s childhood was oddly similar to Manson’s in several ways, although Long was much younger (born on October 14, 1953). Growing up with an attractive single mother, who moved from place to place and had a succession of lovers, his earliest experiences were mirror images of Manson’s. And where Manson was made to wear a dress to his first day of school, Bobby Joe Long had an even greater problem.

A congenital endocrine system dysfunction was responsible for Bobby Joe’s breasts. By the age of eleven, his breasts had grown so embarrassingly large that surgery was necessary and, according to his mother, six pounds of flesh were removed from his chest at that time. Gender confusion seems to be another element Manson and Long had in common; Manson, with his short stature and baby-face, made to wear a dress to school, sodomitically raped by guards and other inmates at a succession of reformatories and prisons; and Long, with actual female breasts and associated problems related to the endocrine dysfunction.

But while Manson’s experience of institutional life was devoted completely to prisons and reformatories, Long enlisted in the Army. It was an optimistic attempt at sorting out his life, but it ended badly. Six months into his enlistment, he crashed his motorcycle into a car while doing about sixty-five miles per hour. He sustained substantial head injuries, from which he suffered debilitating effects for the rest of his life, and which—after two years of bizarre behavior—put paid to his idea of a career in the Armed Forces. The neurological damage he experienced was severe, but went undiagnosed and untreated for more than ten years (until after his arrest for multiple murders). This was in addition to four previous head traumas, all experienced when Long was still a child and before his chest surgery. (The traumas were all related to falls, and do not seem to be the result of abuse by his mother or other adults.) The aggregate effect of all this trauma was to severely affect his nervous system, contributing to blinding headaches, impaired vision, and other symptoms.

The “other symptoms” were probably the most distressing. Long developed an enormous and uncontrollable sexual appetite, having sex with his young wife Cindy several times a day and then masturbating as well. He left the Army and had a job for a while as an x-ray technician, but lost that job when it was discovered he was making women undress for the x rays.

Finally, after a few more run-ins with the law, Long began a career as a serial rapist in Florida, using the classified ads in local newspapers to troll for victims. He would find an ad offering to sell furniture or other household items and would make an appointment to visit the seller during the day, when it was most likely going to be a housewife who would answer the door. He committed more than fifty rapes in this manner.

The murders were committed largely upon women he picked up in bars or, more accurately, who picked him up. He was angered by women who he believed were manipulating him, and he detested prostitutes (which seems to be a hallmark of serial killers), so these women he raped and then murdered for a total of nine victims. He was eventually caught after letting his latest victim, a seventeen-year-old girl, go free, and he was sentenced to death in Florida. 21

Examination by Dr. Dorothy Ortnow Lewis of the Medical Center at NYU showed severe damage to Long’s brain in several places, and concomitant neurological disorders. Long was clearly brain-damaged, and his crimes must be seen in light of this fact. The thorniest problem of modern jurisprudence is judging when acts become wholly voluntary or wholly involuntary, and where to draw the line. Long’s own testimony shows that he was aware that what he was doing was wrong, but was unable to control his behavior. Our usual understanding of the human will is that knowing an act is wrong automatically determines guilt when that act is committed. Since Long knew the rapes and murders were wrong, he is therefore guilty regardless of whether or not his limbic system permitted him any degree of choice in his behavior. But was Long willfully committing these crimes?

In order to answer that, we have to understand the degree to which all of our behavior is willed or automatic; this is the crux of the problem. It was the focus of one of the twentieth century’s most ambitious explorations of the human mind—an exploration worthy of comparison to the search by Renaissance kings for the Philosopher’s Stone—and it is the subject of a later chapter on the CIA’s mind control programs. For now, as I passed through the town of Kenova once again on my way to Ashland, the question had to remain unanswered.

Crossing the Big Sandy River between West Virginia and Kentucky, one rounds a hill and suddenly comes upon the huge Ashland Oil plant at Catlettsburg, a suburb of Ashland. It is a surreal sight in the middle of the Appalachian countryside: smoke stacks reaching for the sky, atwinkle with blinking, different-colored lights and plumes of lethal-looking smoke, representing a combined production of diesel, gasoline, and chemicals: an ambience not unlike the Blade Runner skyline of Elizabeth, New Jersey. I suddenly wondered if I had solved the problem of the serial killer phenomenon in Appalachia: toxic chemicals from the Catlettsburg plant?

Due to Ashland’s strategic location at the confluence of two rivers—the Ohio and the Big Sandy—and at the borders of three states (Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia), it seemed like a logical place to build factories which could take advantage of the river traffic to move products in three directions. Indeed, the city brochure I picked up on that trip in 1990

characterizes Ashland as a town “Where Southern Charm blends with the Industrial Northeast.”22 ARMCO Steel was founded there in 1900, and there are nineteenth-century iron furnaces on the tourist trail, such as the Clinton Furnace, the Princess Furnace and the Vesuvius Furnace. The first iron smelting furnace was built in 1818, the Argillite Furnace. The Clinton Furnace—built in 1833—was actually the fruit of the efforts of the founding fathers of Ashland, the Poage brothers.

By the late nineteenth century, the railroad had come to town, thus increasing Ashland’s profile as an industrial center. This led to the establishment of Ashland Oil in 1924, ten years before Manson’s birth. In 1942, a new refinery was added to Ashland Oil’s plant, this one specializing in aviation fuel for the war effort. By 1968, Ashland Oil’s annual revenues would surpass one billion dollars.

But things were not completely rosy for Ashland Oil. As the Sixties turned into the Eighties and Nineties, Ashland Oil was hit with lawsuit after lawsuit by local residents claiming personal injury and other damages from the pollution caused by its Catlettsburg refinery. In May 1990, for instance, plaintiffs won a combined ten-million dollar decision against Ashland Oil, which was then appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court. On February 22, 1993 Ashland announced a settlement of the lawsuits, which by now represented the claims of 740 plaintiffs23 who had complaints against the Catlettsburg refinery due to air pollution. The terms of the settlement were not revealed.

A few minutes after passing the grotesquerie of the Catlettsburg plant, I found myself sliding into Ashland, Kentucky itself, population 23,622. I parked the convertible near the Ashland Plaza Hotel, on Winchester Avenue, and deciding to have lunch there and examine my notes and the brochures I had picked up on the way. I definitely had to see the Kentucky Highlands Museum, which is not far from the hotel, and a few other points of interest.

Sitting down in the nearly deserted restaurant, I pored over the local newspapers, seeing nothing of particular interest or relevance. Ashland seemed quiet, peaceful, and even a little sad: like a party when most of the guests have already left. After lunch, I tried to visit the Museum but found

that it was closed. I decided to take a walk around the town using the Museum as a reference point.

It was then, a block away from the Museum and my parked car, that I saw the mounds.

Central Park in Ashland is bounded by Central Avenue, 17th Street, Lexington Avenue, and 22nd Street. It covers 47 acres and was sold to the city of Ashland in 1900 by the Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company for the tidy sum of $32,500. Towards the 17th Street side of the Park, close to an intersection with Bath Avenue, one finds a string of five burial mounds, called “the String of Beads” by locals. These have been identified as belonging to the Adena culture, and dated to roughly 800 B.C. In fact, according to the Archaeological Survey of Kentucky by W. D. Funkhouser and W.S. Webb, and quoted in the Kentucky Highlands Museum brochure, “No city in the state of Kentucky… contains so much evidence of prehistoric occupation as the city of Ashland.” 24

If so, much of that evidence is already long gone. The mounds themselves had been opened by a Dr. J. C. Montmollen in 1870 and “found to contain human bones and other artifacts.”25 My attempts to locate and identify these artifacts met with no success. My communications with the Museum itself did not result in any additional information beyond that of the town’s official brochure, although they have an exhibit dedicated to the American Indian presence in town from the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient periods. In fact, most of my attempts at communication with Ashland officials and residents met with indifference bordering on hostility. I put that down to my Bronx pedigree, however, and do not hold it against them. After all, I know people in Connecticut and Rhode Island who firmly believe that the City of New York is the Abyss of Darkness and the Mother of All Evils, so how can I blame Ashlanders from thinking otherwise?

I knew nothing of Indian burial mounds in 1990 when I visited Ashland, but their bizarre presence in Central Park got me thinking. “This is where Charles Manson grew up,” I told myself, gazing around at the trees, the mounds, the silent streets. “Did Charlie play on these mounds like the other children? Did he hear about Indian legends and the human bones found in the mounds? Did mothers frighten their children with tales of buried Indian

warriors coming back to life? What was it like growing up here in the 1930s?”

Standing at the corner of 17th Street, I looked around and found a plaque describing the mounds. The plaque, a little weathered, reads,

String of Beads. These mounds are evidence of prehistoric occupation of this area. The mounds which remain here are thought to have been part of a series of mounds, which from the air resembled a string of beads, ranging in an irregular line from 17th Street to 21st Street. In the 1920s several of the mounds were opened and found to be burial sites. The archaeologist’s conclusion was that the area was once the site of an ancient village. These mounds were restored in 1984 by Troop 154 B.S.A.

Dr. J. C. Montmollen opened some of the mounds in 1870. Then, in the 1920s, they were opened again. So, the mounds were opened and reopened over a period of some fifty years and then, sixty years after some of the mounds were opened by an archaeologist, they were restored to their present condition by a troop of Boy Scouts. One wonders what had happened to the mounds in the meantime, and if the others had been opened surreptitiously. It’s hard to imagine just how that would have been accomplished, as the mounds are in the park, which is in the center of town. But it seems someone was nervous.

In 1919, a huge, Queen Anne style home was moved entire from Winchester Avenue and 17th Street to its present location at Central Avenue and 16th Street by a team of mules. The town brochure acknowledges that this was “an amazing feat of engineering.”26Anyone seeing the building would have to agree. This is not a ranch-style home lifted onto a flatbed truck and shipped over state roads with little red flags at the corners and “Wide Load” signs. No; this is a very large, three storey, brick and stone edifice replete with towers and turrets. And it was only moved three blocks away from its original position. The brochure does not say why, but it does refer to the house as “eclectic” and makes mention of the one factor that caught my attention immediately. Alone of all the houses I was able to see in Ashland, the house at 1600 Central Avenue is the one sporting griffins.

According once more to the town brochure, “Atop the house are two lion- like statues as griffins, which legendarily ward off evil spirits.”27

I see.

I could not help wondering why someone would go to all that effort to move such a monstrosity only three blocks, when I noticed that its new placement was much closer to the “String of Beads” than before. That’s when I asked myself the obvious question: Why the griffins?

There are two of these creatures, one at either end of the roof. They looked to me less like lions than dragons, with long serpentine necks and bat-like wings, in a fierce expression, mouths open, long tongues sticking out. The griffins look outward from the roof, as if to protect the house from outside forces. I was reminded of the Ark of the Covenant and its two seraphim, which are also winged creatures and which also are situated at either side of the ark’s cover, or roof. The town brochure was quite explicit in identifying the creatures as griffins, and as explaining their purpose as the warding off of “evil spirits.”

Evil spirits in Ashland, Kentucky?

Kenneth Grant, a serious and well-respected English occultist, author of numerous books on Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, H.P. Lovecraft, and ceremonial magic that are a fascinating, sometimes exhilarating and sometimes bewildering mixture of western hermeticism and African and Asian occult practices, has this to say:

The Narragansetts of the New England region, the Adena of Ohio, and the Lenape dog-rib Indians of California are known to have forged links with entities spawned in the Mauve Zone, and in the outer rings of Yuggoth. 28

(The “Mauve Zone” is Grant’s term for the Abyss, to be discussed in more detail in the next chapter; it is also, in Grant’s words, “a supreme power- zone of magical energy.” 29The Abyss, for purposes of this citation, may be considered as the realm of demonic beings. The “outer rings of Yuggoth” are a reference to Lovecraft’s tales.)

If Funkhouser and Webb are to be believed, Ashland was the busiest Adena site in the Commonwealth. The five burial mounds in Central Park would

be the tip of an ancient iceberg of mounds and other earthworks, many of which were destroyed as the town was growing.

Ashland was founded by two Revolutionary War officers, the Poage Brothers, George and Robert, in 1786. (The town brochure is swift to point out that the Poage family was of Scotch-Irish descent.) They established what was then called Poage’s Landing on the Ohio River, the town that would later become Ashland. The Poage family was in complete control of the town for more than fifty years. In 1854, the Poages joined with some Ohio developers (the brothers Hugh, Thomas and John Means) and formed the Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company… the same company that sold the burial mounds to the newly incorporated city of Ashland. The city was named after the home of statesman Henry Clay, a native Virginian who moved to Kentucky when he was twenty, married into Kentucky society, and was the veteran of a few presidential campaigns, which he lost, although he was better known as a US Senator deeply involved in the slavery issue.

In 1854, the same year that Kentucky Iron was formed and the city incorporated as Ashland, the town itself was designed. With Central Park and the mounds in the middle, and streets running parallel and perpendicular to it, Ashland became a typical small American town, albeit with the unmarked graves of ancient Adena people at its heart. What became of the rest of the Adena sites is unknown, but it is safe to speculate that there were many more mounds in the general vicinity of the “String of Beads” and that some of the houses in town are probably built on top of them. If there are evil spirits in Ashland, one wonders if they would be the souls of the ancient dead whose millennia-old sleep has been disturbed by businessmen and Boy Scouts.

Or by the blood sacrifice of Neal, Craft and Ellis.


One of the things the town brochure will not tell you is that Ashland was the site of a horrible crime which was committed in 1881 and which had repercussions for many years after. It reads today like the worst of modern

mass murders, and indeed the killings radiated outward from the original deaths to encompass a few more before all the dust had settled. While researching the town in the Ashland Public Library that day, I came across the following story. The details are so unbelievable that the Cincinnati newspapers at the time were convinced that something about it wasn’t quite right. 30

On December 24, 1881—Christmas Eve—a house was discovered on fire at what is now Carter Avenue and 28th Street, about seven blocks from the mounds. It was a little before dawn, about 5 A.M., and the home of the J.W. Gibbons family was being consumed by flames. Neighbors rushed to the home, smashed open windows, and dived into the house to save whom they could, but it was to no avail.

The three children were already dead.

Fannie Gibbons was only 14; her brother, Robert, was 17 and a cripple; their friend, Emma Carico, was 15. Both girls had been raped. The skulls of all three were smashed in. The fire had obviously been set to destroy the evidence, but the children’s bodies were found before they could be incinerated. In addition, an axe and a crowbar were discovered nearby. Both were found to contain traces of blood and hair.

The day before, Mrs. Gibbons left Ashland in the company of her youngest son, Sterling, aged 11, to go to visit one of her daughters in Ironton, Ohio, which is directly across the river from Ashland. Mr. Gibbons was working in West Virginia at the time, and had left Ashland only the week before. Mrs. Gibbons, concerned about leaving her fourteen-year-old daughter and crippled son home alone, asked Emma Carico to stay with them. Emma was fifteen, and thus a year older than Fannie Gibbons.

Mrs. Gibbons was due back in Ashland that day, having planned to spend only December 23rd in Ironton with her married daughter and to return to Ashland to be with her children on Christmas Eve. Her husband was in Hamlin, West Virginia and had an alibi for the night of the murders. Hamlin is about twenty miles east of Huntington, so it was a good distance to travel those days, though it was briefly rumored that Gibbons had actually committed the murders himself.

That the crimes were hideous and unthinkable is accepted by all who reported on the event. A Christmas Eve double rape and triple murder of children: what could be more horrible? One is forced to imagine the terror of the crippled Robert Gibbons, seventeen years old and helpless, being made to witness the rape of his sister and her friend and their subsequent murders. One perhaps hopes that Robert was the first to be killed, early on before the rapes of the two girls, but the savagery of the attacks says otherwise. More than one person had to be involved, and like a pack of dogs they probably cornered their prey and took their time, then torched the house.

The three children were buried in a single grave in Ashland Cemetery, after a funeral service at Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The church was packed for the service; not only were the Gibbons well known in Ashland, but the dimensions of the crime shocked and wounded the whole town.

And there were no suspects.

John Means, acting mayor of Ashland and member of the Means family that had founded, with the Poages, the modern city of Ashland, decided to post a reward for the capture of the killers. The reward money eventually reached the sum of three thousand dollars, which was a substantial amount in 1881. It attracted detectives to Ashland from all three states—Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia—to help in the search for the murderers.

Finally, on January 2, 1882 a break in the case came, with the confession of one George Ellis. This confession was to be the single most controversial element of the entire affair.

Ellis was seen in a store talking about the murders and acting very nervously. He was a neighbor of the Gibbons, and knew them as well as most people did in Ashland. On the suspicion that Ellis knew more than he was letting on, he was taken to the room of US Deputy Marshall Heflin at the Aldine Hotel, where he eventually confessed to the crime and in the process implicated two other men—William Neal and Ellis Craft—saying that they forced him to participate.

William Neal was arrested at his job in a rolling mill, Ellis Craft in his rooming house. Both were brought to jail in Catlettsburg and were put in the same cell as their accuser, George Ellis. Both Neal and Craft had denied having anything to do with the deaths of the three children, and when George Ellis was put in their cell he eventually recanted his confession as well.

Ellis seems to have been someone easily intimidated. First, he claimed he was coerced into confessing by Marshall Heflin; then he recanted his testimony after spending some time in the same jail cell as his accusers. His whole problem began because he was seen to be nervous whenever the subject of the murders came up and was acting in a suspicious manner.

This was 1882. The forensics labs, DNA testing, even fingerprint evidence of the twentieth century were still a long way off. Neals and Craft were being accused on nothing more than the confession of George Ellis, and George Ellis’ confession was suspect anyway. While he may have had something to do with the crimes, what is not known is how much Ellis may have been coached by Marshall Heflin. After all, there was a three thousand dollar reward at stake. We are not sure of the sequence of events, due to the sketchy reports in the Ashland sources. Did George Ellis testify that the girls had been rapedbefore this had been determined by the three doctors performing the post-mortems?

Or was it only after the medical examination, and was this information communicated to Heflin who then suggested it to Ellis?

The Cincinnati newspapers thought there was something fishy about the whole thing. The children’s father decamps to West Virginia a week before the murders, a week before Christmas. The children’s mother goes to Ironton, Ohio the night before Christmas Eve. Their remaining two children, plus one neighbor’s girl, are left alone in the house and are killed within hours of the mother’s departure.

The house was torched about 5 A.M., which means the killers were on the premises until that time. It doesn’t seem likely that the parents were involved in the crime, for the simple fact that their home was destroyed in the commission of it. And Ashland was, and is, a small town where

everyone knew everyone else, so it made sense that the killers were known to the children, who probably let them into the house not suspecting it would be the last kindness they would ever extend. Further, the neighbors would have known—and commented upon—the fact that the children were being left alone. Mrs. Gibbons had gone to her neighbor to ask permission for Emma Carico to stay the night with her two children, thus alerting the neighbor to her plans for the evening. Did the information that the children were home alone emanate from that discussion with Emma Carico’s parents? Was it a last minute decision, or had the trip to Ironton been planned in advance? If the trip had been planned some time in advance, then the circle of suspects would grow to include anyone in the neighborhood known to the Gibbons family and would also tend to support a theory that the crimes were premeditated. Had the trip been a last minute decision, however, that would both narrow the range of suspects considerably as well as demonstrate that the crimes were planned and committed in haste.

But time was running out. Rumors began to spread that some people in Ashland were preparing to take matters into their own hands. In their minds, Ellis, Craft and Neal were already guilty, and sentence had been passed. Anxious officials decided to spirit the three men away from Catlettsburg before a mob could descend on the jail. They boarded the steamer Mountain Girl in an attempt to take the prisoners to Maysville to await trial. At that same moment, the train from Ashland pulled into the Catlettsburg station, and a swarm of Ashlanders made for the courthouse.

According to reports in the local papers, the Ashlanders had simply arrived to witness the hearing, or examination trial as it was called, but the judge and the other officials feared the worst. Mountain Girl could not get up steam fast enough, so the prisoners under heavy guard boarded the Catlettsburg ferry instead. The ferry made it safely to Maysville, but not before a crowd of Ashlanders commandeered the Mountain Girl—which had finally developed a head of steam—and engaged in pursuit of the Catlettsburg ferry.

The ferry managed to meet another steamer, the Mountain Boy, and the prisoners were safely transferred to that steamer, which arrived safely in the

town of Maysville, about halfway up river to Cincinnati.

Naturally, the Ashlanders were outraged. This was an insult to their honor! How could anyone believe that they would form a mob and lynch the three suspects? The authorities were telling the world that the three men could only be safe in another town, in another county, eighty miles away. The appropriately-named Huff, editor of the local Ashland paper at the time, also complained that the prisoners could more easily escape in Maysville than in Ashland, thus adding injury to insult. A special committee was formed to convince Circuit Court Judge George N. Brown that the prisoners would be safe in Ashland, and that in any event there had been no intention to enforce mob rule in Ashland or anywhere in Boyd County.

Major John R. Allen was put in charge of the Lexington Guards, the Mc- Creary Guards and the Mason County Guards and marched to Ashland, the prisoners under guard. A special term of the Boyd County Circuit Court was held, and grand jury indictments were brought down against the three men: conspiracy and murder for Neal and Craft, and three counts of murder for George Ellis, after five days of deliberations. The grand jury itself reads like a roll call of Ashland history, and included Hugh Means (of Kentucky Iron fame), D.D. Geiger (the area where the children were murdered was known at the time as the “Geiger Extension”) and R. Hatfield, a surname synonymous with Kentucky feuds. The first trial—for William Neal— began on January 16, for the murder of Emma Carico.

The trial lasted eight days, and Neal was convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. Ellis Craft’s trial lasted ten days, and ended with the same result. Their execution by hanging was set for Friday, April 14 of that year “between sunrise and sunset.” George Ellis’s trial was postponed to the regular term of the Boyd County Circuit Court in May, a month after the scheduled executions. The three men were then taken to Lexington, Kentucky by armed troops.

Appeals were set in motion for Neals and Craft, and their executions were postponed. They then were reported to have attempted an escape from the Lexington jail on May 22, 1882, but were caught and brought back to

the lock-up. Both the appeals and the escape attempt made the Ashlanders nervous that perhaps justice would not be done.

A week after the escape attempt by Neals and Craft, George Ellis was brought back to Catlettsburg to stand trial. He was arraigned on May 30, 1882, and his trial only lasted two and a half days before he was found guilty of murder. His penalty, however, was life imprisonment. While it is not stated in any of the documents I can find, this lighter sentence may be due to a deal Ellis struck with the authorities for bringing in Neals and Craft and confessing to the crime.

No matter, the Ashlanders did not take the sentence well.

The next night, eighteen masked men marched on the railroad station in Ashland and commandeered the train to take them to Catlettsburg, where Ellis was being held. The men broke into the jail and removed Ellis, taking him back on the train to Ashland.

He was hanged from the branches of a sycamore tree at 28th Street near Carter Avenue, not far from the scene of the murders themselves. His body was left there all night and into the next day.

Mob rule did reign in Ashland that night, and obviously the authorities were right to be afraid.

They didn’t know how right.

Neals and Craft thought for a moment that they had lucked out. They won new trials, set for October of that year during the regular term of the Circuit Court. Once again, they were brought to Catlettsburg under armed guard, but this time with five companies of state militia and an artillery piece! The Governor of Kentucky, G. W. Blackburn—obviously still smarting over the lynching of George Ellis four months earlier, and worried about the effect of the critical Cincinnati newspaper columns—threatened that he would kill every person in Boyd County if necessary in order to uphold the “dignity of the law” in protecting the prisoners. Ashland was outraged at this bald threat, and hanged the Governor in effigy… from

branches of the same sycamore tree from which George Ellis had been hanged only months earlier.

In this environment of open hostility, the lawyers for Neal and Craft managed to convince the court that they needed a change of venue. A new trial date was set for the following February in Carter County. The troops were once again ordered to guard the prisoners on their way back to Lexington jail.

That night, however, things began to get ugly. The new trial, the change of venue, and the removal of the prisoners to Lexington made Ashlanders believe that they were losing control of the situation. The murders had taken place in their town, committed—they believed—by their own people against their own children. It seemed to many that Ashland itself should be in charge of the case, the trial, and the execution of sentence. To everyone’s way of thinking, Neal and Craft were already guilty, just as guilty as George Ellis whose body swung from a sycamore tree only months before. Couple that with the open hostility of Governor Blackburn and the huge military presence at Catlettsburg, and it seemed as if the Civil War—still fresh in many people’s minds—was starting up all over again.

It should probably be remembered that this was all taking place at the same time as the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud, which raged across the Kentucky/West Virginia border not far from Ashland. On January 7, 1865, young Harmon McCoy—discharged from the locally unpopular Union Army on Christmas Eve, 1864 due to his war wounds—had been murdered in his hiding place by men loyal to the Confederate Hatfields.

Then, in 1878, Randolph McCoy, while visiting a Kentucky Hatfield, spotted what he believed was one of his pigs. McCoy accused Hatfield of stealing his pig, and the two went to court. A key witness testified that the pig was, indeed, property of the Hatfields, and they won the case. The witness was slain by the McCoys a few months later. Tensions rose.

In the spring of 1880, Johnson Hatfield met Roseanna McCoy at a party at the home of one of the Kentucky Hatfields. They immediately eloped, Roseanna being taken to the Hatfield home in West Virginia. Their romance was doomed to failure, however, as everyone opposed it from both sides of

the Tug River (a tributary of the Big Sandy that divides Kentucky and West Virginia further upstream). Johnson was forcibly removed from her side, and Roseanna sent in tears back to her family’s cold disdain.

The spring elections of 1882—taking place at the same time as the lynching of George Ellis in Ashland—were the scene of another hideous murder. Roseanna McCoy’s brothers—Tolbert, Pharmer and Bud—stabbed Ellison Hatfield twenty-six times and then shot him in the back. No one knows why. The three brothers were then themselves murdered only a few days later: executed, while tied to bushes, to the sound of their mother’s screams.

And on it went, claiming a total of thirteen lives and numerous beatings, burnings, woundings, and other damage across the border between the two states. Finally, Kentucky officials under command of Frank Phillips invaded West Virginia in 1888 and captured nine Hatfields, bringing them back to stand trial. Several Hatfields had attacked the McCoy home, burning it to the ground after killing two McCoys they found there on New Year’s Day, 1888. Eventually, the nine prisoners were brought back to Kentucky, stood trial, and some received the death penalty. The feud was officially over.

Back in Ashland, though, things had gone from bad to worse. The sounds of gunfire in the night kept the troops in a state of nervous excitement, certain that a crowd was descending on them once again to subject Neals and Craft to mob justice. Major Allen, in charge of the militia, decided against going to Lexington by train (there were rumors that the tracks had been torn up to force the train to stop so it could be boarded) and ordered the prisoners escorted to the river front. The date was November 1, 1882.

In a replay of the last time this had been attempted, the militia commandeered a steamer—this time the hapless Granite State—and the steamer’s captain was told not to stop at Ashland or anywhere else until they reached Maysville. At that moment, the train from Ashland arrived and two hundred civilians disembarked. They were armed “with about forty pistols and shotguns.”

The prisoners and militia boarded the steamer quickly. Major Allen deployed his 215 troops in a line around the wharf, positioning his artillery

piece strategically. The Ashlanders demanded custody of the two prisoners. The Major refused. The steamer took off.

The Ashland train was reboarded, and as it made its way back to Ashland along the riverside, the crowd fired on the steamer from the train. Word spread to Ashland that the prisoners were aboard the Granite State. A ferryboat was commandeered by the mob at Ashland and ordered to approach the steamer. Shots were fired from both the ferry and the steamer; the volley from the steamer was so heavy that the ferryboat was put out of service. The militia fired in all directions, towards the ferryboat where the initial shots had come from and at the huge crowd on the docks at Ashland. It is said that a total of 1,500 rounds were fired by the militia aboard the Granite State, killing four civilians and wounding more than twenty others, including several teenage boys.

Ashland, of course, was outraged. The Governor defended the actions of his militia, however, and claimed that when the trials of Neals and Craft came up again that February, he would “send six regiments, or twelve if necessary, to defend the prisoners from mob rule.” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported all of this with glee, as did the Lexington newspapers. The Enquirer insisted that the men were innocent and had been framed; this was received so badly in Ashland that, according to one report, no Cincinnati Enquirers were allowed in Ashland for years to come. The coroner’s jury in Ashland slammed Major Allen, calling the Ashland Tragedy a “wanton and ruthless act,” but Allen was never held accountable for the debacle. As it was, the memory of the lynching of George Ellis was on everyone’s mind at the State House, and the ferocity of the militia’s response to the attack from the ferryboat—and from Ashland in general—was deemed justified in the face of the threat.

But everything went peacefully after that. Craft—widely understood to be the ringleader of the group—was convicted in 1883 and hanged on October 12, 1883. Neal was convicted a year later and hanged on March 27, 1885 protesting his innocence to the end:

I say to one and all that this is no place to tell a lie. I stand here today to suffer for a heinous crime I did not commit. One day my innocence will be established beyond a doubt. 31


Putting down the books and papers in the public library after reading all of this, I wondered at the strangeness of the place. Indian burial mounds. The Ashland Tragedy. Children murdered and raped. Charles Manson playing in the dirt. Sure, the place was also the home of Naomi and Wynonna Judd, the popular mother and daughter country-and-western singing duo, and of Ashley Judd. Naomi’s other daughter is an accomplished actor who herself portrayed the victim of a serial killer in the film Kiss the Girls with her costar Morgan Freeman. Ashley Judd would go on to donate $50,000 to the University of Kentucky’s Department of Anthropology in 2001. A former anthropology student at the University, Ms. Judd wanted the sum—matched by another $50,000 from the University—to endow a fund to help support Ph.D. candidates in anthropology. (Did her interest in anthropology begin with a visit to the burial mounds in her home town?)

Odd bits and pieces of Ashland’s history and geography seemed to swirl around a darker, more sinister core. In the library, I discovered that Ashland is 555 feet above sea level, for instance. That number has resonance for those interested in history and mysticism, for it was the original Nazi Party membership number of Adolf Hitler (he had it changed later to “seven”). It is also the exact height of the Washington Monument. Conspiracy theorists of the more marooned variety could have cause to develop multi-colored skeins of cause and effect around that particular loom. I could not see a connection, however, unless one wanted to attribute the creation of the Washington Monument, Adolf Hitler and the strange topography of a small Kentucky town to a single, sinister hand. However, a connection does exist: all three betray the same numerical correspondence. But is the connection meaningful? Is this what skeptics mean by “coincidence”? A reference to standard works of qabalistic numerology—such as those in use by people like Johannes Kelpius and Joseph Smith—will show that the number 555 represents “obscurity” in Biblical Hebrew. As mentioned in Unholy Alliance, that number is also the equivalent of the Greek letters that make up the word Necronomicon, the dreaded magician’s spellbook mentioned so often by Lovecraft in his short stories. 32

A multiple rape and murder of children on Christmas Eve, originally a pagan holiday of the winter solstice, resulting in the Ashland Tragedy of soldiers firing on civilians on November 1, All Saint’s Day, originally a pagan holiday celebrating the dead coming back to earth; strange, undescribed burial mounds in the center of town; the Queen Anne-style griffin house that was moved closer to the mounds; Charles Manson. I left Ashland with a file full of information, none of it making very much sense at the time. As I drove out of town, I went over in my mind the details of Manson’s history after his release on March 22, 1967. If the “cult cops” are right, and if special events occurring on any of the eight sacred days of the pagan calendar (the two equinoxes, the two solstices, and the four cross- quarter days of July 31/August 1, October 31/November 1, January 31/February 1, and April 30/May 1) are evidence of cult activity, then the history of Ashland and the life of Charles Manson seemed to suggest that cult activity was somehow involved. But how could that be true? Events so far removed from each other in time and space could not indicate the active involvement of cultists, unless one wanted to posit a vast conspiracy on the order of the Freemasonry fantasies of the last two hundred years, and that hypothesis defies belief. That there are conspiracies, and conspiracies in American politics, we have come to learn to our regret over the past fifty years. Everything from Watergate to Iran-Contra, and the coverups of crimes committed in the name of MK-ULTRA, is evidence of this fact. That persons, often political figures, are murdered as the result of conspiracies is well-known all over the world. That cults do exist is also known. But there is no evidence that cultists in the United States have any political power or influence; and the “satanic cult survivor syndrome” scare of the 1980s demonstrated how little proof exists of any kind of network of satanic murderers. But, as Carl Sagan and other skeptics have been forced to admit, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” What is really going on? Anything? Anything at all?

Charles Manson was loosed on the world. He made his way to San Francisco in time for the Summer of Love, and the transformation of a small-time thief and hustler into a prophet and murderer was begun. Along the way he would gather around himself a commune of young men and women, would undergo ritual-style initiations including a crucifixion while on LSD, and would become involved with the Church of Satan, the Process,

and other cults in and around San Francisco and Los Angeles, in a saga that has been discussed and written about and argued over by law enforcement, journalists, filmmakers, psychologists, psychiatrists, philosophers, and cultists since that bloody day in August 1969 that saw a beautiful young actress, pregnant with her first child, and her friends carved to death with knives. But prior to that murder, there were others.

There was Darwin Orell Scott in Ashland, Kentucky: Manson’s uncle and victim of an unsolved crime, carved with knives.

And there was Marina Habe, a seventeen-year-old girl who was abducted on New Year’s Eve, 1968 and whose body was found—carved with knives

—a few days later. Although attributed to the Manson “family,” the murder is still officially unsolved.

But it was Marina Habe’s case that led me to a whole other dimension of the thesis I was working on. It was Marina Habe who led me back to World War II, to Operation Paperclip, to Hollywood, escaped Nazis, psychological warfare and the enigmatic team of Clay Shaw and Fred Crisman. As I drove out of Ashland that warm summer’s day, I was driving out of the frying pan and into the fire.

1 H.P. Lovecraft, “The Colour Out of Space,” in The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, S.T. Joshi, ed., p. 59

2 Bram Stoker, Dracula, Penguin Books, London, 1993, p. 132-33

3 Charles Manson, in The Manson File, Nicholas Schreck, ed., Amok Press, NY, 1988, p. 26

4 Ed Sanders, The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion, E.P. Dutton, NY, 1971, p. 61 (This sentence was later amended in the revised and updated 1991 edition to read, “If the Kremlin or the Pentagon ever formulates the robopathic secret of M, the world’s in trouble,” p. 48.)

5 Douglas Hensley, “Hell’s Gate” on the Internet site encounters/Letters.html, February 6, 2002; and “Ghosts Make Bobby Mackey’s Nightclub Famous Subject of Book, Television Shows: A Bizarre Story of Murder, Hauntings” on, dated November 26, 2001

6 Aleister Crowley, Moonchild, Weiser Books, Boston, 2002, p. 179

7 Maggie Haberman and Andy Geller, “’Vampire’ Teens busted after they called home for stake,”

New York Post, November 30, 1996, p. 4; and Clifford L. Linedecker, The Vampire Killers, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, NY, 1998

8 John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Journey Into Darkness, Pocket Star Books, NY, 1997, pp 220- 248

9 Joel Norris, Serial Killers, Anchor Books, NY, 1988, pp. 137-149

10 “War on Poverty Figure Accused of Murder,” New York Times, April 26, 1992, p. 30

11 This and most of the following information, except where noted, comes from the most reliable sources for factual biographical and chronological data on Manson, which include Vincent Bugliosi’s

Helter Skelter as well as selected data from Ed Sanders’ The Family, John Gilmore’s Manson and

Nicholas Schreck’s The Manson File. The author does not necessarily subscribe to the theories concerning Manson represented by these works, but has relied upon them for raw data.

12 This and most of the following information, except where noted, comes from the most reliable sources for factual biographical and chronological data on Manson, which include Vincent Bugliosi’s

Helter Skelter as well as selected data from Ed Sanders’ The Family, John Gilmore’s Manson and

Nicholas Schreck’s The Manson File. The author does not necessarily subscribe to the theories concerning Manson represented by these works, but has relied upon them for raw data.

13 Joel Norris, op. cit. pp. 161-173

14 Nora Chadwick, The Celts, Penguin Books, NY, 1984, p. 27

15 Ibid., p. 170

16 Robert Graves, The White Goddess: A historical grammar of poetic myth, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 1981, pp. 101-103

17 Ithell Colquhoun, Sword of Wisdom: MacGregor Mathers and the Golden Dawn, G. P. Putnamʼs Sons, NY, 1975, p. 127-130

18 John A. Keel, The Mothman Prophecies, IlluminiNet Press, Lilburn, 1991, p. 53

19 Webb & Snow (1981), p. 132

20 Bugliosi, op. cit., p. 198

21 Joel Norris, op. cit., pp. 137-149

22 “Make Your Next Visit Ashland, Kentucky” brochure, Ashland/Boyd County Tourism Commission, Ashland, n.d.

23 “Ashland Oil Settles Civil Suits Over Air Pollution,” New York Times, February 23, 1993, D5

24 Kentucky Highlands Museum Brochure, Ashland, n.d.

25 Ashland Historical Tour, brochure, Ashland/Boyd County Tourism Commission, Ashland, n.d.

  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid.

28 Kenneth Grant, Hecateʼs Fountain, Skoob Books Publishing, London, 1992, p. 31

29 Ibid., p. 13

30 See “The Ashland Horror” by Guy H. Ogden in Ashland A Long Time Ago, compiled and edited by

Arnold Hanners, Ashland, 1987 pp. 18-19; and “The Ashland Tragedy” in A History of Ashland, Kentucky 1786-1954, the Ashland Centennial Committee for the Celebration of its Centennial October 1,2 and 3, 1954, pp. 69-72.

31 Ogden, op. cit., p. 19

32 Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance, Continuum, NY, 2002, p. 91



To sustain the “master race” in its war-making, they enslaved millions of human beings and brought them into Germany, where these hapless creatures now wander as “displaced persons.” At length bestiality and bad faith reached such excess that they aroused the sleeping strength of imperiled Civilization. Its united efforts have ground the German war machine to fragments. But the struggle

has left Europe a liberated yet prostrate land where a demoralized society struggles to survive. These are the fruits of the sinister forces that sit with these defendants in the prisoners’ dock…. What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust.

  • Robert Jackson’s Opening Statement at the Nuremberg Trial1 (emphasis added)

“Do you know which way technology is headed? It is headed for the metaphysical. Radio waves are no longer anything concrete; wireless is already a highly abstract technique; the transmission of pictures infringes on the realm of religion; the extermination weapons are a point of contact with the universe. The physical world has its boundaries; only the psychic is ‘oceanic,’ as the author of

Civilization and its Discontents puts it. That is why mankind’s next bold step must be the materialization of the psychic.

  • “General von Greehahn” (General Reinhard Gehlen) in Agent of the Devil by Hans Habe 23

1 Robert Jackson, Opening Argument, Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, November 21, 1945

2 Hans Habe, Agent of the Devil, George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London, 1958, p. 192

3 Hans Habe, Agent of the Devil, George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London, 1958, p. 192

Adolf !Hitler and some of hi . World War U uccessors-Menge]e, Sko.rzeny, Bormann and Gehlen.



The secret services of all nations are directed or influenced by personalities which are marked by a criminal, a perverted, a criminal-pathological, or, in any case, an exceedingly vulgar imagination…. But the worst perversion of the secret services—and how could there be a worse one—is that of human sacrifice.

— Agent of the Devil, Hans Habe 1

On New Year’s Day, 1969, the petite body of Marina Elizabeth Habe was found nude at the bottom of a ravine off Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, about four miles from home.2 The seventeen-year-old student at the University of Hawaii and aspiring actress was the victim of multiple stab wounds in the neck and chest, had been raped, burned, and had contusions in her eyes. It was a savage attack reminiscent of the later attack on Darwin Scott in Ashland, Kentucky. She had been returning from a date with friend John Hornburg in Brentwood the early morning of December 30, 1968 and was kidnapped from in front of the home she shared with her mother in the Hollywood hills after returning from a night out on Santa Monica Boulevard. The case remains unsolved, but there was a lot of speculation at the time that her killer was a Manson “family” member, since she was known to have befriended various members of the group. Manson himself has no alibi for the day and time of her death, and is known to have been in Los Angeles on the day she was kidnapped and killed, attending a New Year’s Eve party at the home of musician John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.3 Phillips himself is known to have been friendly with elements of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. The day before and the day after the killing Manson was with his Family at the Barker Ranch, which was located in the Panimint Mountains of Death Valley.

A reference to this crime is buried deep within Vincent Bugliosi’s book on the Manson case, Helter Skelter,4 and has a bit more space in Ed Sanders’ The Family. 5Marina Habe is identified as the daughter of writer Hans Habe.6 There was no more information on this unfortunate victim or her father, so recourse was had to newspaper morgues, libraries, archives and eventually to Holocaust survivor materials. What developed was the story of a remarkable man and his mysterious life, one that stretched from the concentration camp to the Hollywood film studio… and from Madison Avenue to Munich.

According to a small paragraph in Current Biography 1977, the year Habe died, he was born on February 12, 1911, was an editor and correspondent in the 1930s for newspapers in Austria and Czechoslovakia, and eventually served with the Allies in World War II. He died in Locarno, Switzerland on September 29, 1977.

Current Biography 1943—published at the height of the War—was much more effusive and detailed. Habe rated three full pages in that edition, where we learn that he was born Jean (actually “Janos”) Bekessy in Budapest, Hungary. Oddly, the article does not state why or when Jean Bekessy became Hans Habe. Perhaps one is supposed to believe that “Hans Habe” is simply a nom de plume, a pseudonym easier on American eyes and ears than “Bekessy.” But there is more to the story than that.

Hans’ father—Imre Bekessy—was also a journalist, but in his case a yellow journalist and extortionist. A converted Jew, Imre Bekessy’s specialty was convincing public figures to pay him money in order that their names would be kept out of his articles! For these outrages, an Austrian court decided he was persona non grata, and Imre found himself expelled from Vienna and on the streets of Hungary, trolling for new prey. The name of Bekessy became so notorious that his son Janos Bekessy was forced to become someone else, anyone else, if he wanted a career in journalism. And thus Hans Habe was born.

A prominent Austrian journalist and social activist—Hans Janitschek— has informed the author that the “Habe” name comes from the first two letters of the first and last name, Hans Bekessy.7 (“Hans” is the Germanization of “Janos.”)

Readers of Unholy Alliance may remember another Viennese journalist with the same ambitions as Imre Bekessy: Herschel Steinschneider, who became Hitler’s occult advisor, Hanussen.8 Like Imre Bekessy, Hanussen began his career extorting money from Viennese celebrities, being paid to keep their names out of his newspapers. Like Janos Bekessy, he changed his name to something more dramatic but perhaps for a different reason: Steinschneider was Jewish, and he had his sights set on Berlin. Thus, as Hanussen moved from Vienna to Berlin, so Imre Bekessy moved from Vienna to Budapest. Eventually his son, Hans Habe, would move back to Vienna and become the youngest chief-editor in Europe at the time, working for Der Morgen at the age of twenty-one. Habe, with his name- change, not only disguised his relationship to a notorious blackmailer and extortionist, but he also hid his Jewish ancestry at a time when it was becoming increasingly difficult to survive—let alone excel—as a Jew in Europe.

As hostilities began with the accession of Hitler and the Nazi Party to a position of control within Germany, Habe found himself becoming a dedicated (some would say “rabid”) anti-Nazi. (It is to Hans Habe, in fact, that we credit the discovery of Hitler’s “Schicklegrueber” family background.) As war broke out, Habe found himself on Hitler’s enemies list: his books were burned, and he was shot at in Vienna (because of his publication of Hitler’s Schicklegrueber ancestry; Habe actually sent copies of his report to Germany at the time of Hitler’s campaign against Hindenburg in an effort to ridicule Hitler and cause him to lose the election, a tactic which was in vain as we all know). Habe enlisted with a group of foreign volunteers in the French Army, and took part in the Battle of France. He was captured on June 22, 1940, armed only with an 1891 Remington rifle. Habe—in his book about the experience, A Thousand Shall Fall—rails against the French complicity in the defeat, accusing the Vichy hierarchy of actually wanting to surrender rather than fight Germany. (This book eventually became the 1943 MGM propaganda film The Cross of Lorraine, starring Jean-Pierre Aumont, Gene Kelly, Cedric Hardwicke, Peter Lorre and Hume Cronyn.)

Held at a prison camp in Occupied France, Habe managed to survive for a few weeks under an assumed name before escaping, dressed in a German

uniform and fleeing in an ambulance. He eventually made his way to Spain and Portugal, joining his wife—Erika Levy—in neutral Lisbon. President Roosevelt gave Habe a special emergency visa, and the couple arrived in New York harbor on December 3, 1940.

A deeper examination of the available record shows that American rescue worker Varian Fry was instrumental in getting Hans Habe out of Europe. Recourse to the archives of the International Rescue Committee in New York shows that Varian Fry went to France in 1940 after the fall of Paris to help intellectuals escape the Gestapo. For over a year, Fry managed to rescue thousands of refugees, eventually becoming the first American ever honored by the Yad Vashem organization in Israel, where a tree was planted in his name by Secretary of State Warren Christopher on February 2, 1996. Among the people he helped escape were such famous personalities as Marc Chagall, Franz Werfel, Hannah Arendt, Fritz Kahn, Otto Meyerhoff, Konrad Heiden (the Hitler biographer), Arthur Koestler and, of course, Habe. In addition, credit must be given to Varian Fry for saving nearly the entire Surrealist movement: Andre Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Andre Masson.

Fry was eventually expelled from France in 1941. He died in 1967 as a retired teacher in Redding, Connecticut, his exploits on behalf of the refugees largely unknown and unrecognized in his own country at the time. Indeed, when he was expelled from France it was due to the fact that the US Consulin Marseilles had refused to renew his passport! Fry’s wife received a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt saying, in essence, that Fry’s expulsion from France was inevitable, as his actions did not have the support of the US Government… the same government which, five years later, would be helping Nazi war criminals emigrate to the United States to assist in the space program and in intelligence activities against the Soviet Union.

Then the Hans Habe story gets even more interesting.

In an attempt to find out more about Habe, the author accessed the website and found that his works were all out-of-print. They had a few second-hand copies in stock, however, and Agent of the Devil was selected, a novel Habe published in 1958. The book arrived a short while later, and—in one of those eerie coincidences that haunted the research for

this book constantly for years—there was an old newsclipping taped inside the front cover of the book. This was a review of Agent of the Devil, by a “B.D.,” and it contained thiss illuminating sentence: “Budapest journalist and U.S. army psychological warfare officer on the Italian front, Hans Habe is a ‘cunning’ writer.”

Psychological warfare officer? Italian front? The newsclipping gave the author a further dimension for his research, and also suggested a new line of inquiry. Let’s see where it leads us.

Habe began giving talks at various clubs and societies in America during 1941, even staying for a while at West Point where, it is said, he continued to work at his writing. In 1942 he began a series of lectures at Army bases under the aegis of the War Department’s Bureau of Public Relations on “How To Lose a War”: an ironic title which took as its text the fall of France, and served as motivation for the American troops in their struggle against Nazism.

Habe was busy in 1942 with other interests as well. He divorced Erika Levy after eight years of marriage and married Mrs. Eleanor Close Sturges Gautier Rand, the aggressively-nomenclatured former wife of that great comic film producer and screenwriter Preston Sturges and daughter of Mrs. Marjorie Post Hutton Davies, the General Foods heiress and former wife of the US Ambassador to Russia, Joseph E. Davies. One could not ask for a spouse with a more blue-blooded (and flagrant) set of pedigrees, the families of Rand, Hut-ton, Gautier, Post, Davies and even old Preston Sturges amply represented every time she signed a check. They were married on April 22, 1942, Hans Habe becoming her fourth husband and she his second wife. Considering that Erika Levy, Hans’ first wife, was “the heiress to the Tungsram Lightbulb fortune,” one has to say that he had a knack for marrying—perhaps not too wisely, but—too well. One story has it that Mrs. Eleanor etc. etc. Rand had helped Habe and his wife emigrate to the United States, and that they fell in love at that time. She seems to have been an older woman, and—according to some accounts—rather short on charm, and many suspected that Habe had married for money and security rather than for love or passion.

Shortly thereafter, in January 1943, Habe enlisted in the US Army. This was not mere expedience, since he had dependents and would probably not have been called up, but he asked to enlist anyway. By July of that year, he was in North Africa (and the new father of a son) as a second lieutenant. He was then loaned to British General Montgomery for a while, and September found him in Italy and this time with the US forces.

After that, the record becomes a little confused. Some reports have him landing with Allied forces at D-Day, yet he seems to have entered Europe via Italy nine months earlier than that. Regardless of the order of events, by that time Habe was working for C.D. Jackson—more famous in his Time- Life incarnation—and was actively involved in psychological warfare operations, operations which lasted long after the war’s end and which found Habe in charge of no fewer than eighteen German newspapers throughout the Allied territories.

One of those who knew Habe at this time was Tibor Scitovsky, a distinguished American economist who was born in Hungary, and whose father knew Habe’s father—the yellow journalist—and threw him out of his office when Imre Bekessy approached him for money. His memoir, A Proud Hungarian, 9mentions a psychological warfare school in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where Scitovsky and others were being trained in propaganda. He characterizes Habe as the “US Army’s propaganda expert” in his memoir of the war years, and describes how Habe trained him in spotting important information in the New York Times, and how to use that information for propaganda purposes. They practiced making radio broadcasts, writing articles and filler, designing propaganda posters, and all of it in both French and German. According to Scitovsky, Habe also had been a student of the Bauhaus and thus had a good eye for artistic composition as well as literature and journalism.

Scitovsky was eventually assigned to the 4th Mobile Broadcasting Company of the Army, and had quite a sophisticated bunch of Army “buddies,” including Joseph Wechsberg of the The New Yorker magazine, and Igor Cassini, the gossip columnist and brother of Oleg Cassini. They were sent first to Britain at the time of the V-1 and V-2 attacks. According to that timetable, they would have been sent over sometime in mid-late

1944. Thus, Habe could have been with Allied forces at the Italian front in 1943, then returned Stateside to conduct psy-war classes at Gettysburg, and then returned to Europe with the Allied forces on D-Day in June 1944. Scitovsky, et al. did not arrive in Germany until after V-E Day, in May 1945. By that time, they had become part of USSBS.

USSBS—or United States Strategic Bombing Survey—was created by President Roosevelt in November 1944 to assess the damage caused by the Allied strategic bombing of Europe. Their task was to consider “the effects on civilian morale and whether bombs hardened the national will to fight, or collapsed it.” 10In other words, their function was essentially an intelligence one allied to psychological warfare. In the back of Roosevelt’s mind must have been the question whether the devastating new atomic weapon being designed by the scientists of the Manhattan Project would cause an earlier end to the war… or prolong it indefinitely.

By the time Scitovsky and his colleagues were sent to Germany, their task had changed somewhat again. They were on the lookout for specific Nazi individuals to capture and interrogate, and USSBS became so huge in the process that it eventually found itself under combined military and civilian leadership, including an official of IBM (the Nazis were enthusiastic users of IBM punch card equipment during the war, for such tasks as keeping track of concentration camp inmates and their final dispositions) and such luminaries as Kenneth Galbraith, George Ball, and Paul Nitze, who would all go on to greater glory in succeeding presidential administrations.

Another friend of Habe at this time is psy-war officer Alfred de Grazia— now a professor at Princeton University and, even more intriguingly, a friend of the late Immanuel Velikovsky—who was with Habe in North Africa in 1943. His book on the war years 11 makes for very interesting reading, as it reveals that the “Mobile Broadcasting Company” was a cover for OSS (Office of Strategic Services) activities in Europe, and that they were joint OSS-US Army units. A photograph of Habe in this collection— taken near Tunis in North Africa in July 1943—shows him to look remarkably like the “Hans Habe/Heinz Habe” figure in the Bower volumes, mentioned below. What is even more surprising—especially to a reader of

Unholy Alliance—is that the shady figure of George Viereck once again raises his ugly head.

Viereck was a propaganda officer and spy for the Kaiser during World War I and a colleague of infamous British occultist and sometime spy Aleister Crowley. Viereck went on to conduct espionage and propaganda activities during World War II as well, and wound up arrested for his efforts, spending about a year in prison. At the same time, his son—Peter Viereck—was working for the OSS and the 1st Mobile Broadcasting Company in North Africa, along with Hans Habe and other notables, including Martin Herz, a future US Ambassador! 12

And we should not forget yet another OSS officer in Italy at this time, Peter Tompkins, a broadcast journalist who became an intelligence officer during the war, but whose fame rests more on his researches in two fields: Egyptian archaeology on the one hand, and the use of lie detectors in the investigation of the “secret life of plants” on the other. Also involved in intelligence during the war in Europe—and specifically in the interrogation of Nazi prisoners, like his counterparts in OSS and USSBS—was J. D. Salinger, the famed and reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye, that favorite tome of American assassins. He was a CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) officer from 1943, and took part in the D-Day invasion of June 1944.13 His duties were essentially the same as those of his OSS counterparts: to round up Nazis and interrogate them, and to search for collaborators and German Army deserters among the “civilians.” It also appears that two other gentlemen who will figure in our story—Clay Shaw and Fred Crisman— were involved in similar intelligence activities, specifically with the Paperclip operations.14 (This will be discussed in Chapter Seven in more detail.) Shaw, as many readers are aware, figured prominently in the Kennedy Assassination theories of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison and others; Crisman, supposedly a friend of Shaw from the war years, was subpoenaed by Jim Garrison to testify concerning that relationship. It has been suggested that Shaw was an OSS officer during the war; Crisman certainly was, as his CIA files demonstrate. Crisman, however, was also involved in the seminal UFO contact of the twentieth century. This was the Maury Island affair of 1947, which ushered in the

whole UFO spectrum, from “flying saucers,” to “men in black,” to government coverups and exploding aircraft.

As if that weren’t enough, another Army Intelligence officer in Rome at this time, charged with hunting down Nazi agents like his OSS counterparts, was Philip J. Corso, who would eventually find a position on President Eisenhower’s National Security Staff. It was Corso who, a bit before his death, published The Day After Roswell, a book claiming that he was privy to reverse-engineered scientific achievements based on captured flying saucers, and had actually seen the corpse of an extraterrestrial from Roswell in a shipping crate on its way to Wright Air Force Base in Ohio, a claim that is hotly debated on both sides of the UFO issue, even though Corso’s bona fides in all other respects seem unimpeachable.

The involvement of intelligence agents in the field of Egyptian archaeology, the UFO phenomenon, and other odd pursuits will be discussed in a later chapter. For now, it suffices to point out that psychological warfare, literature, archaeology, and the paranormal not only make for strange bedfellows: in the war years of the last century it was positively an orgy.

While De Grazia’s account shows that, although some OSS personnel were antagonistic towards the dashing Hungarian, Habe was riding high in the estimation of the US Army Psychological Warfare Bureau (PWB). Put in charge of US Army propaganda in Germany, he was the czar of German newspapers for years after the war (until 1951 according to the information available to the author), eventually responsible for the publication of 8 million pieces and over 10,000 newspaper articles (not counting over two dozen novels in his lifetime). Some of the papers he ran included Muenchner Illustrierte, Echo der Woche, and the American intelligence/Hans Habe creation: the Neue Zeitung of Munich.

Someone as high-profile and as rabidly anti-Nazi as Habe was a jewel in the psy-war crown. After all, they made a movie about his life in a Nazi POW camp (The Cross of Lorraine); he was married to the adopted daughter of the former US Ambassador to Russia; he was running propaganda and psy-war operations against the Nazis and then, after the war, against both the Nazi sympathizers and the Communists. If the Allied

postwar intelligence community was like a corporation, then Habe had a seat on the Board.

It seemed logical to the author, therefore, that Habe would have been involved, if only peripherally, in the effort to identify and capture as many important Nazis as possible, including Nazi scientists. His former students at Gettysburg were doing just that, and had managed quite a coup in finding and interrogating Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, among many others. Was Habe involved with Operation Paperclip, the US effort to bring Nazi scientists—especially rocket scientists, but also medical men and other experts—to America after the war?

There is an intriguing—and startling—photograph in Tom Bower’s Blind Eye to Murder, an account of the Allied failure to completely de-Nazify Germany after the war. 15It is labeled Photograph 13, “The Paperclip Scientists,” and describes “the men who put America on the moon, enjoying a Bavarian evening in Chicago, 1950.” Among the scientists—the notorious “physician” Dr. Hubertus Strughold, Wernher von Braun, and General Walter Dornberger—there is another figure, identified as “Hans Habe.”

Hans Habe does not appear in the text of Bower’s book, nor in the index or anywhere else. The photo certainly looks like Habe, when compared to the De Grazia photo and the one in Current Biography of 1943. But how could that be? What would Hans Habe be doing hanging out in apparent conviviality with Paperclip scientists?

Bower’s book was first published in 1981. In 1987, he published The Paperclip Conspiracy. This book contains the same photograph, only this time the individual originally identified as “Hans Habe” is now identified as “Heinz Habe.” 16This person also does not appear anywhere else in the book, but another photograph showing “Strughold’s team at Heidelberg” shows a “Heinz Haber.” Unfortunately, there is no further mention of Haber, either, even though we know that a Dr. Heinz Haber does make it to Strughold’s Paperclip team in the United States after the war. The person identified as Haber looks enough like the Heinz Habe in the later photograph to be the same person. If so, how was the mistake made in 1981 identifying him as Hans Habe, the famous novelist and anti-Nazi propagandist?

There is another famous photograph to consider, this one notorious among UFO enthusiasts and debunkers alike. It is of an “alien,” a short creature in a strange suit, a weird mask with elongated forehead and breathing apparatus, holding hands with an Army officer as another person walks behind carrying his… oxygen tank? It first appeared in a German newspaper on April Fool’s Day, 1950, and made the tabloid circuit in the States shortly thereafter, in which form the author first saw it as a child years later. This photo would have appeared in one of Habe’s newspapers (it appeared in 1950, and Habe was in charge of West German propaganda until 1951) and certainly would not have been shown without his prior involvement and approval as the US Army psychological warfare and propaganda expert. The photo was obviously a hoax and was published that way, in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the famous Roswell sighting of 1947, perhaps. Whatever the original purpose, one source has published that a photocopy of it was found in FBI files “with the suggestion that it might be one of the Roswell aliens.” 17In any event, it was published the same year as the “Paperclip scientists in Chicago” photo.

Habe evidently finished his postwar service in 1951, which would have been the same year his daughter, Marina, was born. Habe returned to the United States and left sometime in 1953 for Europe, evidently leaving his young daughter behind in America; the only information to hand is that he moved to Locarno, Switzerland at some point and stayed there until he died in 1977 at the age of 66. He had been through at least two more wives by that time, the actress Eloise Hardt (Marina’s mother) and the actress Licci Bala. In the meantime, Habe began writing books critical of the United States. One of his more famous efforts,Der Tod in Texas: Eine amerikanische Tragoedie, (“Death in Texas: An American Tragedy”) was an attack on the Warren Commission published in 1964. Habe had been traveling through the United States at the time of the assassination and did not believe the conclusions of the Warren Report. He was very fond of Kennedy, but very critical of America in the wake of the assassination and what he perceived as the obvious coverup efforts by the government and the willingness of the American people to accept the government’s findings.

Habe. OSS operations. Psychological warfare. UFO hoax. Paperclip scientists. Even the JFK assassination. More—or less—than meets the eye?

In the effort to learn more about Habe, the author found himself going through a list of the contents of the C.D. Jackson files of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library. Jackson was a vice-president of Time, Inc. from 1931 to 1964 (the year of his death), but he was much more than that. He was also Special Assistant to the US Ambassador to Turkey, 1942-43; President of the Free Europe Committee (which ran Radio Free Europe), 1951-52; speechwriter for Eisenhower in 1952; Special Assistant to the President for International Affairs, 1953-54; US Delegate to the United Nations Ninth General Assembly in 1954; speechwriter and consultant to Eisenhower during the Lebanon Crisis of 1958; and “unofficial consultant to the President on other occasions.” He was also Deputy Chief, Psychological Warfare Branch (PWB) at Allied Forces Headquarters in 1943 and continued in that role, slightly modified, for the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) for the remainder of the war. His files, collected at the Eisenhower Library, contain one on Hans Habe (Box 58) and another entire box on that notorious bugaboo of conspiracy theorists, the Bilderbergers.

Jackson had files on the Bilderbergers from 1955 to 1964. These files include agendas, minutes of meetings, lists of participants at the Bilderberger meetings, even a history of Bilderberger meetings. Surely a treasure-trove for the academically-inclined paranoid (or the paranoid academic)? It was former CIA director Walter Bedell Smith who asked Jackson to help him recruit members for that mysterious organization. It was also C.D. Jackson who arranged the Life magazine purchase of the famous Abraham Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, thereby keeping it away from the public view for five years, until the Clay Shaw trial in New Orleans.

Psychological warfare is an intelligence function; it involves gathering of intelligence on target (generally civilian) populations as well as disseminating propaganda in various forms; but it also has a more lethal function, and this has been discussed at length by the respected historian Christopher Simpson in his excellent and enlightening Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare 1945-1960. 18 There, he discusses the role Jackson (and fellow Bilderberger Nelson Rockefeller) played in charge of policy oversight of combined CIA—USIA (US

Information Agency) and US military country plans during the Huk insurrections in the Philippines in the mid-1950s. As we saw with the North African memoir of Alfred DeGrazia mentioned earlier, the OSS (forerunner of the CIA) was heavily involved in the Psychological Warfare Bureau from the very start, running joint operations with the Army in North Africa, Italy and elsewhere.

Simpson’s study, however, goes even further and cites clandestine operations such as sabotage and assassination as functions of the psychological warfare effort from the very beginning, for what the establishment considers “psychological warfare” the enemy often considers “terrorism”; these are two sides of the same coin. These operations are not, strictly speaking, military in nature, but have as their goal the psychological disorientation of an enemy population.

The Nazis had already been working a psy-war system of their own since the 1930s when they came into power. Mystic and Theosophist Otto Ohlendorff, who would later become a famous SS Einsatzgruppe D commando, cut his milk teeth on psychological warfare programs with his own creation, the Deutsche Lebensgebiete, in 1939, before going hunting in the Caucasus, looking for Jews and Freemasons, and killing ninety thousand innocent people in the process. 19Probably the most famous propaganda chief of the war itself was the odd-looking, in-your-face Nazi fanatic Josef Goebbels; most Americans and other Allies could not name his opposite number in their own countries. Propaganda was something the other side did. Our side does not use propaganda, the story goes; it merely disseminates factual, i.e., truthful, information. Meanwhile, “propaganda” and “psychological warfare” became synonymous within the United States intelligence agencies, and psychological warfare was the province of agencies like the famous OSS or the Army’s G-2 and therefore operated in a cloak-and-dagger world of secrecy.

According to Simpson, even the English term “psychological warfare” did not come into use until 1941, as a manifestation of that marvelous—and perhaps more revealing—German neologismWeltanschauungskrieg, or “worldview warfare.” 20The term “psychological warfare” was first appeared in an English language text entitled German Psychological

Warfare by an historian who would later become famous as the Hungarian- born author of The Game of the Foxes and Patton: Ladislas Farago. (Farago’s later work, Aftermath, was a crucial factor in the development of this author’s first book,Unholy Alliance.)

According to Simpson,

British and Nazi German strategies and tactics in this field have historically been termed “political warfare” and Weltanschauungskrieg (“worldview warfare”), respectively. Each of these conceptualizations of psychological warfare explicitly links mass communication with selective application of violence (murder, sabotage, assassinations, insurrection, counterinsurrection, etc.) as a means of achieving ideological, political, or military goals. 21

“World-view warfare” says it all: a battle between our perceptions and those of an enemy population. After all, one could say, isn’t that what war is really about anyway? Rob an enemy of their moral justification for fighting; make your way seem the right way, the good way, the best way; make their way seem bad, wrong, doomed to failure; and you have robbed an enemy of their will to fight. Even the most crazed suicide bomber is acting from a belief that what he is doing is right, morally justified, and has the sanction of the people that matter, the people that count: God’s people. “The best,” says the poem, “lack all conviction,” but rob the worst of their conviction and the war is over. It is tantamount to waking up and finding a voodoo doll in your bed, studded with pins… or a horse’s head, á la Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. You’ve been cursed; you will die. And your mind does the rest. That is the value of psychological warfare, of “world-view warfare,” and it works… at least, just as well as the voodoo doll or the dead horse. In the right hands, one call kill (or influence) without firing a shot.

Psy-war was never perceived as a substitute for the real thing, but only as a complement to an existing arsenal of weapons. The basic psy-war techniques are only useful insofar as they make the enemy soldiers lose faith in the ability of their army, and their country, to win. One can shake that faith in many ways: by ridicule, by fake prophecies of doom, by appeals to reason or emotion. Another way is through fear.

When we speak of “psychological warfare” we are often speaking of ways to make the enemy afraid, and in order to do this we must understand an enemy’s psyche: what makes him love, hate, fight, run. We must understand how an enemy will react under stress: will he fight harder, or simply surrender? Or will he start making errors in judgment, winning the war for us, in a manner of speaking? The costliest mistakes of psychological warfare operations are always those made in ignorance of an enemy’s mindset. The psychological warfare officer must be able to play an enemy’s mind like a violin. This implies a deep knowledge of human psychology, which is itself a kind of black art. And since this is a war of perceptions, of “world views,” it is important that the psychological warfare officer understand the impact of art, music, literature, theater and other cultural modes of expression and how world-views are represented by them, even changed or modified by them. What plays in Peoria may not—very assuredly will not—play in Phnom Penh…

…And eventually, the temptation will arise to test some of these principles on the domestic population. After all, with whose mindset are we the most familiar but our own? What better place to test new theories of psychological warfare than among our native populace? And how better to control our population politically than through the judicious use of propaganda, using the robust media of the most turned-on, tuned-in, mentally-massaged nation on earth: the United States of America?


Psychological warfare (although in existence for centuries, since at least the time of Sun Tzu and The Art of War, and formalized in the United States during the First World War and George Creel’s Committee of Public Information) was really a “discovery” of the Second World War, and its uses were thoroughly investigated in the decades to follow. Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America… the roll call of psy-war ops (operations) is long and, for the most part, still classified, representing—again according to Simpson—some one billion dollars per year during the early 1950s alone.22 It did not end with Habe’s newspapers or flyers dropped from planes, urging enemy soldiers to surrender. It did not end with the famous “death cards” of Vietnam, the Ace of Spades dropped in Vietcong villages or on dead VC (a method that was ill-advised and

actually did not work, since the Vietnamese did not use the American-style card decks but a different, Chinese version).23 It continued on into acts of sabotage, assassination and terrorism, sometimes against entire villages in countries we never knew how to find on a map, whose capitols we couldn’t pronounce. Taken individually, these psychological warfare operations may have had a succinct political purpose, as defined and identified by nameless men in grey flannel suits in the corridors of power, or by Presidents and National Security Advisors to further their own, hidden agendas; but they were manifestations of something deeper, a spiritual war, a war of “world views,” a war we are still fighting, numbly, into the twenty-first century both at home and abroad.

One of the scholars and academics who codified psychological warfare— via its creature, the newly-developing science of communications studies and research—was Walter Lippmann. Lippmann began his career in psychological warfare and propaganda during the First World War, and was the author of several very influential texts on mass communications based on his wartime experiences. He understood that the technology of mass communications was having a profound political effect on the world’s citizens, as they became more aware of life in other countries… and the disparity (in wealth, in access to information, in basic freedoms) between their own nations and their neighbors’. It was Lippmann who gave us the concept of the “stereotype” (1922), which was basically a continuation of the Jungian concept of the archetype (1919) by other means. To Lippmann, the world outside our borders exists in a different space, consciously, from our own. We develop notions about life in those countries, their cultures, attitudes, and values, without ever going there. Yet, their political situation affects our own; they exert a political influence—either through trade, communications, or transportation—on life in our own country even though we live in a constant state of unawareness of those countries, cultures, politics. The effect of these forces on us is invisible, but real. We then develop mental images—stereotypes—of the citizens of these countries, and it is upon the stereotypes that we act. The stereotypes determine our actions and reactions; like the stereotypes of the Islamic fundamentalist, the Vietcong revolutionary, the Red Peril, they are easy targets, and the stereotype communicates a specific message, is, in terms familiar to the deconstructionism of Derrida, a text.

Stereotypes can be created, and manipulated, by the gurus of mass communication and psychological warfare. Stereotypes are culturally- loaded and therefore not “value neutral.” We make snap judgments based on the nature of the stereotype; in the hands of the psy-war expert, a stereotype does not contain much complexity or depth. The idea is not to make the target think too clearly or too profoundly about the “text” but instead to react, in a Pavlovian manner, to the stimulus it provides.

While such stereotypes as Islamic fundamentalists, long-haired hippies, the Red Peril, the Ugly American, the Evil Empire, and others are clearly of a specific political nature and are designed to elicit a specific response from the general population which is being manipulated for specific ends, there are other stereotypes that are more difficult to analyze in political terms. These are more basic to human nature, and involve deeper fears and anxieties, even religious or spiritual beliefs. One is reminded of the Flying Tigers of the Second World War: the fighter planes that were painted with huge teeth and jaws to frighten Chinese villagers and rural troops.

But it went further than that. Much further.

United States Air Force Brigadier General Edward G. Lansdale was the CIA’s chief operative in the Philippines during the Huk rebellion in the 1950s. As such, he was under the oversight of C. D. Jackson and Nelson Rockefeller, who were responsible for psychological warfare operations at that time in the Philippines and other hot spots. It was Lansdale who came up with the idea of using the Huk belief in vampires—the asuang—against them. The psy-war squad would snatch a Huk in ambush and then kill him; they would pierce his neck with two holes, like a vampire bite, and then hang the body up and drain the blood. They would leave the body where the Huk would be sure to find it, neck punctured, drained of blood. 24

After his successes in the Philippines, Lansdale was transferred to Vietnam. This was in 1954. At this time, Lansdale followed a psy-war technique that was used during World War Two: the use of astrologers to predict fatal outcomes for enemy leaders. 25

Lansdale was so successful at his work that he was put in charge of organizing Operation Mongoose, the anti-Castro CIA operation designed to

destabilize the Cuban regime. In one of these operations, Lansdale suggested simulating the Second Coming. He proposed telling the Cuban people that Fidel Castro was the Anti-Christ, and then staging the return of Jesus, complete with phosphorous shells fired over Havana. His partners in Operation Mongoose called the plan “elimination by illumination.” That was in 1962. 26

By 1964, the use of occult themes and rituals became an accepted part of psychological warfare planning. The Special Operations Research Office (SORO) at the American University prepared a paper at the request of the US Army on “Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magic and Other Psychological Phenomena and Their Implications on Military and Paramilitary Operations in the Congo.” The paper was authored by James R. Price and Paul Jureidini. American University was no stranger to psychological warfare research, having seen the establishment there of the Bureau of Social Science Research (BSSR) in 1950. The BSSR was the scene of numerous studies of psychological warfare on Eastern European countries, and its African psy-war studies were underwritten by the Human Ecology Fund, an organization well-known to researchers of government-sponsored mind control programs as a front for the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program. 27

The SORO paper studied the use of occult ideas and techniques by “insurgent elements” in the Republic of the Congo. It states,

Magical practices are said to be effective in conditioning dissident elements and their followers to do battle with Government troops. Rebel tribesmen are said to have been persuaded that they can be made magically impervious to Congolese army firepower. Their fear of the government has thus been diminished and, conversely, fear of the rebels has grown within army ranks.28

The study was ambitious in scope. Like a good psy-war study, it recommended that “today’s insurgency situation should not be studied in a vacuum, but should be considered as part of a continuum stemming from the pre-independence Belgian administration, the impact of Western culture upon African tribal systems, the circumstances of the birth of the Congo Republic, and the nature of the struggle for power within the Congo since 1960.” 29The administration of Premier Patrice Lumumba was examined, and the study revealed that his followers set up a political machine that

incorporated African tribal culture “including manifestations of beliefs in magic and witchcraft.”30

The section entitled “Supernatural Aspects of the Present Insurgency Situation” could be read as a treatment of the Salem witchcraft phenomenon, so closely do the two situations parallel each other. Any sudden illness or misfortune is interpreted as a sign of witchcraft at work; indeed, there is an important distinction made in the SORO study that even though the villagers may understand that a building was destroyed due to the actions of termites, “sthat it fell at the time it did was a result of witchcraft or

sorcery.” 31This is a sophisticated point of view with regard to the action of occult influences on mundane life, and as such comes closer to a modern interpretation of occult forces rather than the older, blanket concept which tended to blame everything on the invisible mechanisms of magic and supernatural powers.

In addition, the authors discovered that some of the tribes studied believed that the power of witchcraft could be put to use unconsciously, due to “hostility or envy,” and that the “witch” may not even know that he or she possesses occult ability. This is also a sophisticated concept, and loaded with implications regarding the limits of human moral responsibility.

In the end, the study admitted that beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery were virtually endemic to the Congolese tribes in spite of five hundred years of exposure to foreign influences and particularly to Catholic and Protestant missionaries in the past hundred years. Ironically, it was the very attempt by Belgian authorities to eradicate the more lethal forms of occult belief that contributed to the growth of witchcraft. They had banned the use of the poison test, an ordeal by which a person suspected of witchcraft is given poison to drink. If he survives, he must be a witch. This is similar in nature to the European practice of “dunking” a bound witch into a lake or pond; if the witch floated to the surface and thus avoided drowning, she was surely a witch. Execution of convicted witches—practiced regularly before the advent of the Belgian administration—was also banned, thus giving rise to a fear that evil witches were multiplying beyond control.

As the SORO report states,

As a result, many Africans feel that western political systems such as the modern state have aligned themselves on the side of evil because from their standpoint the “civilized” elimination of traditional control measures work to protect witches and sorcerers from retaliation by their innocent victims. The African man-in-the-bush is, therefore, much more at the mercy of those who wish to harm him by supernatural means than ever before. He thus tends to rely more and

more upon the witch-doctor who, in the absence of the poison ordeal and other drastic sanctions, provides the main source

of protection from evil. 32

The advice of the SORO team was to study thoroughly the 200 or more Congolese tribes and to compile a comprehensive database on their beliefs, since superstitions vary from tribe to tribe. They also recommended that no psy-war operations using witchcraft or the occult be employed until the actual methods were examined and approved by their opposite numbers in the Congolese government. They recommended that the use of magical practices in a psy-war operation be relegated to “limited tactical objectives rather than broad strategic concepts or solutions to fundamental problems.”33 Further,

A sound understanding of magical concepts, practices, and mannerisms is necessary for defensive purposes should they play any role or importance in an insurgency situation…. Detailed studies of supernatural beliefs of specific tribes are limited.The secrecy inherent in most magical rituals presents a formidable obstacle to the outside investigator, whether he may be a scientist or an intelligence agent. 34

The report is sober, and dismissive of the long-term benefits of using occult methods in psy-war against the insurgents. The writers feared that using “superstition” would only validate magical thinking among the tribes, thus laying the philosophical groundwork for the next crop of anti-Government witches. The report outlined several important reservations, stating that “tribalism and superstition, so closely related to each other, have provided a fertile seedbed for political instability in the Congo, and measures which enhance the divisive and destructive aspects of tribalism simply lay additional obstacles in the already cluttered path toward Congolese nationhood. Should the central government successfully use occult methods to defeat a movement based on such methods, the very concepts of sorcery and magic which lend impetus to the insurgencies of the moment may gain strength and acquire even greater trouble-making potential for the future.” 35

Very politically-correct. But what if Congolese nationhood was not the ultimate goal of the US administration? What if political instability was the goal? That certainly was the result, no matter how well-planned or unplanned, for the Congo became the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

which became Zaire, which became once again the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997. Patrice Lumumba, who had asked the UN to intervene in a case of insurrection in Katanga Province (an insurrection supported by Belgian troops) and was denied this assistance, then turned to the Soviet Union. That strategy spelled doom for Lumumba’s administration, because it painted him in Communist colors even though he was more a nationalist than an “internationalist.” He was targeted by the CIA and eventually killed, leaving his legacy up for grabs in a power struggle of operatic dimensions that has not diminished to this day. If political stability in the Congo was the goal of the US administrations and their intelligence agencies since the 1960s, then they failed utterly. But if their goal was to increase instability—to ensure the ouster of Lumumba who was siding with the Soviets, and to guarantee a weak, pro-US regime in its stead, with Mobutu and his kleptocracy, for example—then they were quite successful. We will probably never know to what extent psychological warfare operations were used in the Congo, and if they included magic spells and sorcery. What seems certain, however, is that the Congolese tribes never abandoned their native beliefs. Indeed, it was Mobutu—a puppet of US interests—who reinstated old African traditions in his country, forcing his citizens to change their names to more suitably “African” ones and to adopt African dress. It was the return of the witch-doctor, something the US accepted and encouraged in exchange for Mobutu’s support against Communist strategies in Africa.

In Vietnam, events took an even stranger turn.


For instance, there was Operation Wandering Souls. The Vietnamese, as many others around the world, fear being buried in an unmarked grave. This may have something to do with Chinese influences, of course, since China was a nation of ancestor-worship, and there is a holiday every year in which dutiful Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors and burn incense. This practice is so important, in fact, that each year Hong Kong must contend with entire hillsides set on fire by the joss sticks and “hell money” burned on the gravesites amid very dry vegetation. (The author once drove from the new Hong Kong airport to the city during this season, and the flames which covered the hills and looked like the worst of California brush

fires had reached the highway, making the passage—if not actually precarious or life-threatening—certainly dramatic!)

The Army PSYOPs personnel used this fear as a weapon in their spooky arsenal. They broadcast eerie sounds and spectral wailing at night from helicopters in an attempt to make the villagers believe that they were the ghosts of dead VC, searching for their unmarked graves and desperate because their families could not find them.

On May 10, 1967 the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO), Saigon, issued their Policy Number 36, “The Use of Superstitions in Psychological Operations in Vietnam.”36 It is a short document, no more than four pages, and begins:


The document goes on:

A strong superstition or a deeply-held belief shared by a substantial number of the enemy target audience can be used as a psychological weapon because it permits with some degree of probability the prediction of individual or group behavior under a given set of conditions.

This is about as clear and concise a definition of psychological warfare principles as any. It is also as cynical. While this document was prepared for military actions in Vietnam, the same concept—using a “deeply-held belief” as a psychological weapon—can be ported from the Third World and used anywhere, no matter what the “deeply-held belief”: fundamentalist Christianity, Mormonism, Buddhism, etc.

A further example of the cynicism in which this program was spawned can be shown in the following paragraph:

In summary, the manipulation of superstitions is a delicate affair. Tampering with deeply-held beliefs, seeking to turn them to your advantage means in effect playing God and it should only be attempted if one can get away with it and the game is indeed worth the candle.

Failure can lead to ridicule, charges of clumsiness and callousness that can blacken the reputation of psychological operations in general. It is a weapon to be employed selectively and with utmost skill and deftness. There can be no excuse for failure. 37

Where did the Army PSYOPS people draw the line between religion and superstition? Were they any more successful than, for instance, James Frazer or Claude Levi-Strauss or Marcel Mauss? By playing God, what effect did they have on the lives and belief systems of the civilian populations in the target countries? Suddenly, it seems as if there is a dialectical change from the SORO report on the Congo, mentioned above, to the JUSPAO Policy memo for Vietnam. “Do it,” the policy memo seems to say. “Just don’t get caught and whatever you do don’t damage the reputation of psychological operations in the process.”

There can be no excuse for failure.

The final paragraph of the JUSPAO memo reflects the attitude of spiritual warfare in the twentieth century:

Where the superstitions of friendly forces and populations are concerned, psyops personnel will assist commanders as required or called upon in devising indoctrination materials familiarizing troops with these beliefs and counseling respect for and sensitivity to local beliefs and traditions. 38

In other words, there are good superstitions and bad superstitions. The US troops were being trained to know the difference between the superstitions of target, i.e., VC populations and those of the “good Vietnamese.” One did not require respect and sensitivity for the superstitions of the Viet Cong, of course, since they were the enemy. Evidently it was assumed that there was a difference in belief system between the two groups. Spiritual warfare.

Truly. In the early 1950s, an American neurologist began a series of research projects to determine how a psychic ability such as extrasensory perception could be used as a weapon in psychological warfare. In November 1952 he briefed the Pentagon on the military uses of parapsychology. From 1953 to 1955, he was a captain in the Army and stationed at the Army Chemical Center at Edgewood, Maryland to conduct psychic experiments. His name was Dr. Andrija Puharich, and we will be covering his story more thoroughly later on, as he is a key element in the

story of American military and intelligence agency involvement in the study and use of supernatural abilities as potential weapons in wartime, hot and cold.

Somehow, the search for the story behind the murder of young Marina Habe in Hollywood in 1968 led to her father, an important figure in World War II literature, to the OSS, psychological warfare operations, the Congo, Vietnam and beyond. Marina was believed to be an associate of the Manson “family,” and it is alleged that Charles Manson himself stabbed her to death. Was she selected for a particular reason, or was it just an evil coincidence? There is some evidence to show that the Manson “family” murder of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the day after the Tate murders was a contract killing. Indeed, much of the violence perpetrated by Manson and his followers had a basis in other criminal activity. They were purposeful. Manson does not fit the profile of a serial killer, and indeed his crimes do not fit that pattern at all. A serial killer would not have missed the slaughter at the Tate household, for instance, which Manson had done, sending his followers inside to commit the hideous knife attacks on the five unfortunate victims. If he was somehow responsible for the murder of his uncle, Darwin Scott, that can be laid to a family grudge going back to Manson’s childhood in Ashland, Kentucky.

Why, then, was Marina killed? A lust killing, pure and simple? Manson getting off on savagely murdering a college coed? His schedule for the day of the kidnap of Marina Habe and her subsequent murder argues against this; he left Death Valley for one day and returned the next. That implies he went to Los Angeles with a specific purpose in mind, a task to accomplish, and returned when the deed was done.

Marina’s mother—Eloise Hardt—had looked out her window that night


3:30 A.M. and saw a black sedan next to her daughter’s smaller, foreign car and two men, one who looked young, about twenty years old. The sedan peeled out, and when Mrs. Hardt went to investigate, her daughter was nowhere to be found. Manson had been driving a black sedan that day, and had been visiting John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas at a New Year’s Eve party. 39

Marina had been known to the Manson group, and thus they would presumably have known of her famous father and his activities during the war. Hans Habe had left the United States for the calmer environment of Switzerland. He had written books criticizing America, and particularly the Warren Report. He was an intelligence officer, there at the birth of the CIA from the eccentric “band of brothers” of the OSS and the US Army Psychological Warfare Bureau, which liaised with the OSS to the extent that the lines between the two spy shops nearly vanished.

And Marina was killed in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War and less than a year after the famous Tet Offensive of January 1968, in the midst of enormous domestic dislocation in the United States, with student protests, peace marches, demonstrations, and the growth of the Weather Underground. For Manson’s most famous victim, he chose Sharon Tate, the daughter of an Army intelligence officer serving in Vietnam. Was there a connection? Two victims, both female, both daughters of intelligence officers, both living in Los Angeles; murdered within eight months of each other.

The author did not know if there was anything more concrete tying these two cases together than the fact that the murders were likely committed by the same group. Perhaps the Habe angle was ancient history. Hans Habe’s intelligence career seemed to end in the early 1950s—in fact, the same year his daughter was born in 1951. But were there other connections between Habe and military or intelligence operations in the United States after that time? Was that Hans Habe in the photograph of Paperclip scientists in Chicago in 1950?

What was Paperclip?


There had to have been a level at which the US government’s leaders identified with the Nazis, or at least admired them. There had to have been a point at which the crimes of the Holocaust were considered a minor problem, a kind of public relations nuisance, that was overshadowed by the glamour of the perfectly-run superstate of the Third Reich. There must have been an understanding that the ideologies of America and Nazi Germany

were more alike than the ideologies of America and the Soviet Union. This is because there is just no other way to interpret what took place at the very end of the war; morally, what transpired can only be considered a war crime itself.

In 1945, Nazi scientists—using slave labor from concentration camps— were in a race to develop superweapons to enable Hitler to win the war. They were working at Peenemuende and Nordhausen, famous rocket laboratories where the V-1 and V-2 rockets were designed which made life such hell in Great Britain, and where even newer, more lethal rockets and weapons were being developed. Alfred Einstein was worried that the Nazis were on the verge of developing an atomic bomb, and communicated this concern to President Roosevelt. And, what was worse, Russian troops were advancing towards Peenemuende from the east and would capture the Nazi rocket scientists and their laboratories, factories and blueprints, thus permitting the Soviets unprecedented access to the “art of German engineering.” Policy makers in Washington knew that the next major conflicts would be fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, and they could not permit the Russians to have the upper hand in technology. It was of utmost importance that those scientists—or as many of them as possible—made it to American shores, out of reach of the Russians and, more importantly perhaps, pressed into service to the United States.

To that end, several wartime intelligence operations were put in motion.

The most famous of these is Operation Paperclip, of course; yet outside of poorly researched, poorly documented newsletters, websites and pamphlets produced by the fraternity of conspiracy theorists, very little information about Paperclip and its implications and ramifications is available to the modern American reading public. It is no longer discussed in Congress; it is not debated on CNN. One of the most accessible of the Paperclip studies is Linda Hunt’s Secret Agenda, published in 1991; yet by 1999 when the author began writing the present chapter, that book was out of print in English and totally unavailable. Recourse was had to a translated edition which was ordered from Paris under its French title, L’Affaire Paperclip. Other important works include Tom Bower’s two books,

mentioned above, as well as another—very important—work by Christopher Simpson, Blowback. Much of the information contained in these volumes had to be extricated from the grasp of the US government under the Freedom of Information Act by the authors and their sources, and it is revealing that thousands of documents pertaining to the Second World War and Allied intelligence activities are still classified as of this writing. The picture that is revealed is not a pretty one; even as late as 1983 with the deportation of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the American government was denying that any mass recruitment of war criminals had ever taken place on US soil or under US government authority. History now tells a different story.

Most people who have heard of Paperclip assume that it was a program to bring Nazi scientists to the United States to assist the space program, a concept that is at least partially true. There was much more to Paperclip— and to subsequent Nazi recruitment—than rocket science, however. Nazi medical personnel were also recruited, as well as psychological warfare experts and, with the Gehlen Organization, spies, assassins and saboteurs. Eventually, some of these imported Nazi war criminals wound up holding impressive executive positions in American industry, principally high- technology firms in the aerospace and military hardware industries. That indefatigable researcher and conspiriologist, the late Mae Brussel, even suggested that the Paperclip Nazis had been involved in the Kennedy assassination! While that theory seems very far-fetched, there are some disturbing connections between the recruited Nazis and people close to the assassination, and these will be examined a bit later on.

It is important to realize that, at the end of the war, the new enemy was the Soviet Union, even though America and Russia had been allies during the war against Nazi Germany. It was, after all, General Patton himself who tried to convince Washington that we were pointing our weapons in the wrong direction and should make all haste to invade Russia and put an end to the Soviet state once and for all. (American schoolchildren never learn that, at the end of World War One, we had tried to do just that.)

Most people also never learn that the Catholic Church and various Eastern Orthodox churches were also involved in rescuing these war

criminals and assisting them to find new homes (and employers) in the Americas, North and South. Some—such as Alois Brunner—even wound up in the Middle East, in Syria and Egypt, creating secret police organizations there and working for the CIA via the Gehlen Organization.40 Brunner has been accused of murdering more than 120,000 men, women and children during the war, in countries ranging from France and Greece to Slovakia. Other Nazis wound up as far away as Australia and, it has been suggested to the author, in regions as remote as the mountains of northern Thailand and the islands of the Indonesian archipelago.

The Paperclip story is long and complex; it involves the alphabet soup of intelligence agencies and programs, from CROWCASS to CIC, SIS, OSS, CIA, JIOA, and many more. It deals with dozens of countries and their respective intelligence organizations, armies, political parties, churches, and criminal justice systems. Interested readers are encouraged to seek out the books mentioned above and draw their own conclusions. For now, the author will concentrate on those areas of Paperclip that pertain more directly to our story.

By December of 1943, it had become apparent to the Allies that the Germans were working on a series of secret weapons, notably rockets, at a number of sites in Germany. The most famous, of course, was Peenemuende, located at the northeastern tip of Germany, close to the Polish border. Bombing raids on Peenemuende forced the Nazis to diversify their rocket research to other centers around the country, and perhaps the most famous of these is Niedersachswerfen, in the Harz Mountains, the site of the Mittelwerke and only a few miles away from two concentration camps—Nordhausen and Dora—that would provide slave labor for the rocket factory. Slave labor was also provided by the prisoners at Buchenwald. But before the Mittelwerke (Central Works) became the prime focus of the rocket effort, a decision had been made in London that Nazi long range weapons research, development, and production had to be stopped at all costs. A team was brought together to concentrate on the problem and to allocate resources to its execution. This team was known by the project name Crossbow, and was led by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself. 41

As the war began to wind down with the success of the D-Day invasion and the large-scale Allied assault, tensions in Germany grew high. On July 20, 1944—six weeks after D-Day—a group of Nazi generals attempted the assassination of Adolf Hitler, an attempt that failed almost miraculously. For months, Crossbow had been initiating bombing raids against Peenemuende and the Mittelwerke in a desperate attempt to stall (if not completely cancel) Germany’s rocket and secret weapon development. In the United States, the Manhattan Project was well underway and progress was being made in the development of the world’s first atomic bomb; yet the Allies were worried that the Nazis might be making the same—or even greater—progress from the hidden tunnels in the Harz Mountains where the rockets were being designed. Their worst fear was that the Nazis had the bomb; they knew they already had the rocket delivery system necessary to send it anywhere in Europe.

Himmler understood the urgent need for the secret weapons being developed by the Nazi scientists as the war was starting to go against the Germans, and at one point had approached Wernher von Braun to ask him if he would like to work directly for the Reichsfuehrer-SS himself, rather than deal with “Army red tape.” Von Braun politely declined, but the pressure was on. 42

As the Russians advanced from the East, they were coming perilously close to Peenemuende. The Allies were worried that the cream of Nazi science would fall into Soviet hands. The Germans shared their concern, and began moving the scientists and their families out of Peenemuende in the spring of 1945 to the central German towns of Nordhausen and Bleicherode, where they continued their research at the Mittelwerke. Before leaving, however, they managed to destroy as much of Peenemuende’s classified information as possible, leaving only a skeleton crew behind when the Russians finally entered the town on May 5, 1945. Nordhausen, however, was right in the way of the American advance, and it appeared that the US Army would reach the Nazi scientists before anyone else. The race was on to capture as much as possible: scientists, blueprints, actual rockets and other weapons and machinery. OSS, CIC and other intelligence units spread out through Germany in a desperate effort to deny the Soviets

the technological advantage of Nazi science, and in July 1945 the effort was coordinated under the project name Overcast.

Overcast would not become Paperclip until March 13, 1946 when security leaks required a change of codename, but the project mission was the same. By the time Paperclip was over, thousands of Nazi scientists— many of them accused war criminals who had participated in some of the war’s worst outrages—had managed to find homes in the United States, South America and other locations. In many cases, they brought their families with them as well. And while the Paperclip agents were seeking scientists, other organizations were looking for Nazi espionage agents and recruiting them by the thousands to work for the United States and Great Britain against the Soviets. The most famous intelligence coup of the post- war period was the recruitment of General Reinhard Gehlen, a Nazi spymaster whose specialty was Russia and Eastern Europe. His story is told, albeit thinly disguised, in Hans Habe’s Agent of the Devil, where he is identified as “General von Greehahn.” Habe treats his subject cynically, and it is easy to see that he has become frustrated with Allied duplicity where the de-Nazification process was concerned. The book was published in 1958, by which time Habe had retreated to the aloof neutrality of the Swiss Alps.

Gehlen—like Habe’s fictional Greehahn—was a con artist as well as a spy, which is probably a different way of saying the same thing. He convinced the CIA that his support, and those of his friends and former staff, was essential to western efforts to contain the Soviet advance. Today, Gehlen’s real value to American intelligence is being seriously questioned, but in those days he was something of a hero: “our” German, a “good” German who was fighting the good fight against the Communist menace. Habe probably had an insider’s view of the famous General, owing to his privileged position within American intelligence in post-war Germany. While not a spy-master or superspy, Habe’s political influence in Germany was strong, and he had many friends among the OSS and the US Army’s Psychological Warfare Bureau. He was in a position to witness the de- Nazification process at first hand and—as authors such as Hunt, Simpson and Bower have documented in exhaustive detail—this process was doomed from the beginning. Habe was in a position to watch the OSS

morph into the CIA, and to observe how many of his sworn enemies became CIA operatives while he sat in Munich or Berlin, writing articles and editing newspapers for the Allies.

Habe assigns a mystical streak to Gehlen/Greehahn, which would not be surprising in the least. The higher ranking Nazis were contaminated with the ersatz paganism and popular occultism of the Thule Gesellschaft variety which had been absorbed into the SS with torchlight processions and runic chants. As early as 1958, Habe was writing of the “materialization of the psychic” as the next step in technology, putting these words in the mouth of his General. What can be more creepy than a Nazi intelligence chief predicting a world in which his people dominate the realm of the metaphysical, through the use of technology that enhances psychic abilities? Habe seemed to sense this direction, and one wonders if it was the fruit of his intelligence and psy-war connections on both sides of the fence in Germany? How strange… how very, very strange… that his daughter might have been murdered by a man who claimed just those sorts of abilities.


As the post-war years continued through the 1940s and into the 1950s, Nazis of every stripe wound up doing research for the American defense program. They were based all over the United States, depending on their specialty, but several locations stand out as more important than the rest.

Perhaps the most intriguing locale for former Nazi scientists was Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Unlike Fort Bliss, near El Paso, where by February 1946 more than 100 Nazi scientists were in residence, working on the rocket program, Randolph AFB near San Antonio was used for more arcane research.

It was at Randolph that we come across the name of Dr. Hubertus Strughold. Strughold managed to escape the fate of his Nazi colleagues by clever maneuvering and outright lying about his work and his responsibility

—aided and abetted by American intelligence agencies—but in the end as more and more files were found and declassified, it became apparent that

Dr. Strughold was right in the middle of some of the more heinous medical experimentation this planet has ever known.

Aviation medicine is a specialized field which has since developed into aerospace medicine, the study of the physical effects of space travel on the human body. In the war years, however, attention was devoted to the effects of extreme cold, high pressure, oxygen deprivation and high altitude, as well as the effects of freezing water… for those pilots who would be downed over the open sea, for instance. Aircraft were being developed that could fly at astonishing speeds, and climb to unthinkable altitudes. Obviously, in conditions of airwar, the advantage was to the planes—and the pilots—who commanded the skies: the perfect combination of high- performance machines with highly-trained, physically-fit pilots. A new medical science was created to study how the vastly different environment of the air—as opposed to the earth, the domain of the footsoldier—affected the lives and the performance of human beings.

Aviation medicine was begun in Germany, in 1912, by Nathan Zuntz. Ironically, Zuntz was Jewish.43 The first German aviation doctors built their own pressure chambers and centrifuges and experimented upon themselves, reporting their results in professional journals to the awe and admiration of the small, but elite, international community of aviation specialists. By the 1930s, conferences in Germany on aviation medicine were being attended by physicians and specialists from all over the world. Dr. Hubertus Strughold was one of these famous aviation medicine specialists, and he made friends with other members of the international community, including American military surgeons.

As director of an aviation medicine research institute for the Luftwaffe, holding the rank of Colonel, Strughold was in a position to know of the horrific medical experiments being carried out on living human beings at Dachau in the name of aviation medicine, some of which were being conducted by his friends and co-workers. Prior to the war years, aviation doctors had risked their own lives in these experiments. Now, with such a wealth of potential guinea pigs at their disposal, there was no need to endanger the lives of scientists. Experiments in high altitude pressure, extremes of heat and cold, etc. were carried out on living Jewish and

political prisoners at Dachau, and these results shared among the members of the Nazi aviation medicine community.

Strughold had attended an important meeting of ninety-five senior officers in Nuremberg in October 1942, during which these experiments were openly discussed, experiments conducted by colleagues who reported to him and others to whom Strughold himself reported. Such notorious Nazi scientists as Dr. Sigmund Rascher—a Luftwaffe staff surgeon and member of Himmler’s SS—had contributed44 to these reports on the experiments, some of which had been filmed for the edification of Heinrich Himmler and a select audience. Later, Strughold would try to distance himself from Rascher and his experiments, but the documentation would go against him. Strughold was an associate of Dr. Siegfried Ruff—with whom he had co- authored a textbook, the Atlas der Luftfahrtmedizin (Aviation Medicine) published in Leipzig in 1942—and it was Ruff who was assigned by Lieutenant-General Professor Erich Hippke to assist Rascher in the human guinea pig medical program at Dachau’s experimental Block Number Five. Hippke was the Luftwaffe’s chief surgeon, and as such was Strughold’s boss. Ruff, although a close personal friend of Strughold, did not work for Hippke, but was “invited” to join the human experimentation program to assist Rascher. (Sigmund Ruff and Siegfried Rascher! It is not often that evil attains such Wagnerian proportions.)

The experiments involved plunging prisoners into ice-cold water, with thermometers stuck in their various orifices, to measure how long it took for a live human being to freeze to death. Prisoners were also subjected to oxygen deprivation, to high pressure experiments, etc., and much of this was captured on still and motion pictures, some of which have survived to this day. It is not known how many prisoners in total died as a result of these “experiments,” but eyewitness testimony indicates that eighty prisoners alone died as a result of the high pressure tests conducted by Rascher. 45Strughold later admitted that everyone at the Nuremberg conference, for instance, was well aware that human beings—prisoners— were being used in the experiments, and that many of these subjects had died as a result of the tests. No objections were raised.

The Nuremberg prosecutors, however, were hot on the trail of the Nazi doctors. The scientists had managed to destroy their files, so all that remained were Himmler’s SS files, which were discovered at the end of the war. The evidence in Himmler’s files was very suggestive, however, and brought to light much more than what the Nazi scientists previously admitted had taken place. The problem was that most of the evidence against the doctors was circumstantial, and the prosecutors could not break the wall of silence that had grown up around the defendants as they corroborated each other’s alibis and denied any knowledge of wrongdoing. While all of this was going on, Strughold sat in Heidelberg and edited the medical experimentation reports of his colleagues to ensure that no embarrassing admissions had taken place. He edited out all references to the human experimentation program, and thus presented a completely sanitized version of Nazi aviation medicine research, which was subsequently published as a massive, two-volume study, with some chapters actually written by Nazi scientists who had been condemned at Nuremberg for war crimes. This study was published by the US Air Force as German Aviation Medicine, and contained nothing about the human experiments, no reference to the prisoners who had lost their lives at Dachau and at other camps and “institutes” throughout the Reich. Strughold himself avoided prosecution, as military intelligence considered him too valuable to US aviation medicine programs; thus he was able to remain behind at Heidelberg, far away from the prosecutors and jail cells at Nuremberg, and continue his painstaking destruction of the evidence against him and his colleagues.

Dachau was not the only site of human medical experimentation; studies using prisoners were taking place everywhere in the Reich. Experiments on live subjects had taken place in settings as diverse as Chalais Meudon in France and Occupied Prague. The experimenters at the last two sites had already found refuge and employment in the United States as early as 1947. Rascher had wanted to use Auschwitz as well, as it was a much larger camp and thus an easier place to hide the hideous experiments he had planned. Rascher complained that sometimes his subjects screams were quite loud during the course of the experiments, and that he needed a larger, more secure installation to continue his research in relative comfort, far from potential witnesses.

In the end, everything was blamed on the SS, even though the SS officers at the camps had no ability to conduct the experiments, no medical training, and could not even be expected to know how to operate the complex machinery. Not that the SS was blameless, of course. It was Himmler who was approving this type of experimentation right and left. His Ahnenerbe- SS was conducting its own experimentation on live subjects at Dachau, and was making a collection of human skulls from among the living prisoner population, a collection to be used in anthropological research. Indeed, Rascher was an SS officer, and Nuremberg would have loved to have had him in the dock, but he was executed on orders of Himmler two weeks before the end of the war. With Rascher dead, and the files destroyed, there remained only the testimony of the doctors themselves… or that of the witnesses, but in most cases the witnesses had died as a result of the experiments. Many of the Nazi doctors thus waltzed away free, and found refuge in America.

Strughold and his team wound up at Randolph AFB in Texas, where they continued their research in aviation medicine, a field then being changed to “space medicine.” This was the School of Aviation Medicine that was begun at Mineola, Long Island (New York) during World War One, and which was subsequently moved to Brooks Air Force Base in Texas before winding up at Randolph. It is important to realize that NASA—the US government’s civilian space agency—had not yet been formed, and would not be until July 29, 1958. Until then, space research was military research, and fell under the US Army and, eventually (1947) the newly created US Air Force. In fact, it was at Randolph that the “first Department of Space Medicine in the world” was established, on February 9, 1949… nearly ten years before the creation of NASA. Strughold then became the world’s first professor of Space Medicine. 46

Thus, Strughold’s team was developing the field of aviation and space medicine strictly for US military applications, acting under the authority and the unapologetic protection of the man who would eventually become the head of the US Air Force’s aviation medicine program, Colonel Harry Armstrong. It was Armstrong who had first met Strughold at an aviation medicine conference in Germany in 1934, and who from then on considered himself a friend of the Nazi doctor. Further, Armstrong kept requesting

more and more Nazi scientists as time went by, forcing General C.P. Cabell of Air Force Intelligence to warn Armstrong off. 47Yet, Armstrong did not back down, but kept asking for more visas for more Nazis to bolster his growing aviation medicine team at Randolph.

Whatever the morality of recruiting German scientists—many of them committed Nazis, some actually accused of war crimes—to assist the United States space program and other military efforts, there was another dimension to the Randolph team that has gone virtually unnoticed by researchers due to the near total lack of documentation and the lack of living witnesses. The evidence that does exist is largely circumstantial, but much of it can be found in the Captured German Documents section of the National Archives and then collated with later testimony and other odd clues that turn up in memoirs, biographies and histories of the war years and its aftermath. Like the infamous MK-ULTRA files that were destroyed at CIA headquarters on the orders of Richard Helms, documentation on Nazi psychological warfare and mind control research was also either destroyed—by the Nazis themselves—or concealed under very high security classifications by the US military and intelligence establishment.

The first indication we have that anything like a mind control program existed within the Third Reich is the memoir of Himmler’s astrologer, Wulff, who talks about the Nazi desire to create a program within the Reich to duplicate the mental state of the Japanese soldier, a human being willing and eager to risk his life without question for his country, stuffing his own body into pillboxes to blow them up, and the Chinese Communist “human wave” trooper, who would rush unthinkingly into certain slaughter. This “Asian” mentality was something the Nazis would have dearly loved to inculcate into their own troops, and Wulff—seen as an expert on Asian mysticism—was hired to come up with ways that could be used to condition the German soldier the same way. 48

Buried in the voluminous files of the Ahnenerbe-SS are also references to the use of mescaline and cannabis as “truth serums,” programs that— according to John Marks in his ground-breaking study of CIA mind control projects—have been kept classified by US intelligence since 1945. 49Here and there we come across the names of Paperclip scientists involved with

military and CIA mind control programs, such as Friedrich Hoffmann, a Nazi chemist who advised the CIA on matters relating to psychotropic substances for use in interrogation and “brainwashing.” 50Hoffmann has been linked to Edgewood Arsenal, where CIA maintained TSS (Technical Service Staff) personnel involved in various aspects of chemical and biological warfare, including—according to John Marks—the implantation of new memories in amnesiac patients.51 One finds an article by Hoffmann, and co-authors William A. Mosher and Richard Hively, on the subject of “Isolation of Trans-*6-Tetrahydrocannibinol from Marijuana” in the April 20, 1966 issue ofJournal of the American Chemical Society, an issue published—ironically enough—on Hitler’s birthday. Hoffmann was working at the time under the cover of the University of Delaware, along with his co-author Mosher. Another colleague at the University was Dr. James Moore, a chemist originally with Parke, Davis in Detroit, and a person well-known among aficionados as deeply implicated in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program, who experimented on mind-altering substances such as mescaline, psilocybin and the highly controversial drug BZ (quinuclidinyl benzilate).

The ready supply of prisoners at Dachau provided a steady stream of guinea pigs for these chemical experiments and tests. Cannabis and mescaline were both used—sometimes in very large doses—along with hypnosis to see if any of these mechanisms could be used as truth serums, magical potions to unlock the secrets of the mind. At the same time, in the United States, OSS agents were using the same or similar drugs on unsuspecting targets—such as Mafia “made men”—to see if the same objectives could be attained. Gradually, in the US, hypnosis was also used, sometimes in combination with drugs. And if false information, or “suggestions,” could be implanted in the subject, then we have an instance where the goals of psychological warfare and regular intelligence work overlap. In the case of the latter, the methodology was fine-tuned to the individual subject for a specific purpose: as it turned out, this purpose—as seen by the CIA and by their counterparts in other countries—was assassination.

We have seen that the Germans were among the first to study the uses of psychological warfare; we also have seen that psychological warfare

became inextricably intertwined with propaganda and communication studies and science on the “soft” side, and eventually bled over into acts that can only be considered terrorism: assassinations, sabotage, torture and interrogation, on the “hard” side. Indeed, terrorism is nothing more than a form of psychological warfare, as acts of terrorism have no intrinsic military value aside from their effects on the psyches of the target populations. As psychological warfare became more sophisticated—and the intelligence services at once more creative and more demanding—new techniques were developed and virtually codified. One of these was “disinformation,” a method by which false information is “leaked” in such a way as to make the receiver believe it

is valid data. Disinformation can be used in several ways: in the first place, to make a target believe something false so they will act on the false information, wasting time, energy and money in the process and being deflected from any genuinely sensitive areas; in the second place, to trace the flow of information within a target intelligence shop. Like the dye that is used in staining biological slides, disinformation can be used to follow the trail of an invented story from place to place, from agent to agent, to find out if there is a mole or double agent in the system.

All of these techniques—hallucinogenic drugs, hypnosis, acts of terrorism, disinformation—share an ontological purpose: to manipulate perceptions, to re-create reality. As we noted above, the German word for psychological warfare translates as “worldview warfare”: a battle of perceptions, of consensus realities. Once that Pandora’s box was opened, there was no closing it again. The temptation was too great. For those who wanted to play God, in the words of the JUSPAO report above, there was the next best thing: one could play with the elements of creation in such a way that magical transformations would take place. As the men of the OSS, CIA, and military intelligence developed from the armchair scholars and academics that most of them were before the war years into soldiers fighting the Cold War on fronts all over the world, they became—in a very real sense—magicians. As we will see, the CIA mind control projects themselves represented an assault on consciousness and reality that has not been seen in history since the age of the philosopher-kings and their court alchemists.

Rumors of what was taking place at Randolph AFB in those days have filtered out into the community of conspiracy theorists in such a way as to devalue the research completely in many cases. There are, however, some scraps of evidence and testimony that are hard to ignore. One of these involves a man whose name has become synonymous with alien abductions and UFO phenomena, and this context makes the information suspect to skeptical researchers. However, the information that is verifiable has led the author to believe that something more than high-pressure studies and oxygen deprivation tests was going on at Randolph AFB in the bosom of the Nazi scientists.

Recourse to an official history of the Space Medicine program, written by Mae Mills Link, who was senior US Air Force Medical Historian, and published in 1965 as NASA Special Publication-4003 in the NASA History Series, shows us some of the later employment in official positions of the Nazi scientists.

Among those on the roster is Dr. Heinz Haber, whom we have met earlier in some confusion with Hans Habe, and who later became chief science consultant for Walt Disney Productions! Dr. Fritz Haber later became involved with Avco Manufacturing, but at Randolph he had designed the sealed cabin for the high-pressure studies. Dr. Siegfried Gerathewohl, “who had been chief of the Psychological Testing Center of the German Air Force during World War II,” later joined NASA.52 Gerathewohl was not an official member of the Randolph team, having been assigned to the rocket scientists under Dornberger and von Braun instead, but he was often seconded to the Randolph base for specific work. (The NASA publication also refers to the two-volume German Aviation Medicine, edited by Strughold and “prepared by 56 leading German aviation specialists” on “such topics as the physiological fundamentals of high altitude and acceleration and the potential problems of man under gravity-free conditions.” The word “Nazi” is never mentioned in the text, nor is reference made to the fact that several of the articles were written by accused war criminals and contained data obtained from the use of live subjects at Dachau and other concentration camps.)

That the psychological aspect of space medicine was not being ignored is evidenced by Gerathewohl’s position with the Air Force. He has been the author of many articles on various aspects of space psychology from a mechanistic—one almost wants to say “Hegelian”—point of view. With Strughold, he was the author of “Motoric responses of the eyes when exposed to light flashes of high intensity and short duration” in Aviation Medicine (1953). This study has since been referenced in works on the use of lasers, but has applications in behavioral psychology as well. His “Orientation and Navigation in Space-Time” was published in 1967, and he is the author of the text Psychologie im Flugzeug (Aviation Psychology). So although his purpose at the US Air Force and, later, at NASA seems to have been devoted to physiological responses to the unique stressors of space flight, he never lost his interest in the more psychological aspects of his field. This wedding of the purely psychological with the purely physiological became the cornerstone of subsequent intelligence agency programs designed to uncover the secrets of the mind: the interface between the lump of grey matter we call the brain, and the great beyond we call reality.

Another Luftwaffe alumnus—this time one who wound up conducting torture and interrogation programs after the War—was Paul Schaefer, whose frightening Colonia Dignidad operation in Pinochet’s Chile was covered extensively by this author in Unholy Alliance. At Colonia Dignidad, these techniques were combined with sophisticated technology to conduct the torture of political prisoners by remote control, all to the strains of Wagner and Mozart.


Naturally, the Nazis were not the only ones with a rocket program during World War II. The United States was involved in various research projects involving rocketry, including a search for the perfect solid-fuel propellant. At this time, much of the work was being done in California, at the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) under the famous team of Theodore von Karman and Frank J. Malina at Pasadena. One of their more illustrious—if eventually notorious

— team members was Jack Parsons, a tall, darkly handsome and frighteningly intelligent man who would eventually lose his security

clearance after the War due to his relationship with occultists and magicians. It was Parsons, a devotee of English magician Aleister Crowley, who would later declare himself the Antichrist… after a stormy relationship with the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. Parsons was accused of giving secret technology to the Israelis, among other felonies, and at one time worked for the Howard Hughes empire. He died quite prematurely from an explosion at his home, either an accident, or suicide, or murder; none of the sources seem to agree. For all that, a crater on the dark side of the Moon was named after him in recognition of his accomplishments for the space program and his contribution in creating what would eventually become the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech. The reader should be assured at this point that all of the above statements are absolutely true and verifiable from hundreds of impeccable sources, such as FBI files (recently declassified and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) and from Parsons’s own words, as incredible as this story seems.

A search through NASA, Caltech and JPL websites will turn up photographs of Parsons and the rest of the team. Parsons was an apprentice

—a research associate—of von Karman’s at Caltech when they fired their first test rocket in the Arroyo Seco, in back of Devil’s Gate dam, in Pasadena on October 31, 1936… Halloween and, coincidentally, the same day as the last Houdini séance (Houdini told his wife that if there was life after death he would try to contact her from the grave at a series of séances; October 31, 1936 was the last—equally unsuccessful—séance). Snapshots of the Arroyo Seco site show a very primitive launch platform in the midst of dry scrub land, and the rocket team casually spread out on the ground before it like the nerd contingent of a fraternity beach party. Those who think that perhaps the first rocket launch on Halloween was simply a coincidence should refer to the official JPL website where they state that the American space age began on “January 31, 1958 with the launch of the first US satellite, Explorer I, built and controlled by JPL.” January 31, of course, is the pagan holiday known to Christianity as Candlemas and to pagans as Oimelc. Thus, for better or for worse, meaningful or not, the launch that took place on Halloween, 1936 culminated in the launch on Candlemas, 1958, and was the result of the work of the same organization, for von Karman’s GALCIT team eventually became the founding members of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Oddly enough, the man in charge of the Explorer

launch was Dr. Wernher von Braun, the Nazi scientist formerly of Peenemuende and Nordhausen. Perhaps he had a pagan agenda?

Halloween (known among European pagans as Samhain, pronounced “sa-wen”) is traditionally the day when the dead return to visit the living, similar to the Asian “Wandering Souls” festival mentioned above. It is the day when the gate between the living and the dead is open, a favorite day for evocations of spirits and demons. Candlemas, on the other hand, is the day of “quickening,” when the earth begins to wake from its slumber, a day of promise for the future, of the celebration of fertility, of anticipation for the bounty of the coming year. One could say, therefore, that the first rocket launch on Halloween was an evocation of the daimon of flight, or perhaps in a darker context a breaching of the barrier between this world and the next, an initiatic rending of the veil of the Temple: space being seen as the domain of both the dead and the higher spiritual forces. The actual birth of the American space program on Candlemas is, of course, also an auspicious event, ripe with mythical connotations. It is not the intention of this author to suggest that the selection of these dates was deliberate on the part of von Karman, Parsons, von Braun or the other space engineers. Indeed, by the time of the Explorer I launch in 1958 Parsons himself had already been dead six years. It is the intention, however, to point out these synchronicities as they occur, because they are evidence of deeper, more sinister, forces at work, as we shall see.

Jack Parsons was born Marvel Whiteside Parsons on October 2, 1914 in Los Angeles, California. His father was a captain in the US Army. His name was also Marvel Parsons. That’s right: his father was Captain Marvel. His son later changed his name to John, after his father left his mother subsequent to some unpleasantness over an adultery.

He once visited Europe with his mother in 1929, when he would have been about fifteen, but that was the extent of foreign travel for Jack Parsons. He graduated from University High School in Pasadena in 1933, but did not go on to college after that. He took some extension courses at UC and University of Southern California, but never obtained a degree.

He became involved with explosives and rocket technology at a very early age, even before his high school graduation, working for the Hercules

Powder Company in Los Angeles in 1932, before moving on to the Halifax Explosives Company in 1934 and finally winding up at GALCIT in 1936, at which time he was barely twenty-two.

The Halloween launch occurred that year.

Parsons inherited a large house in Pasadena after the death of his father, to which he invited a string of houseguests from the occult and science- fiction communities. His interest in occultism ran roughly parallel to his interest in rocket science, and von Karman wrote that Jack used to chant pagan hymns and stamp his feet on the ground in the Arroyo Seco, but that otherwise he was brilliant and a very hard-worker, very conscientious, and totally focused on rocketry. Parsons and his childhood friend and fellow rocketeer Edward Forman had been in regular communication with German and Russian rocket engineers, including the famous Willy Ley, as well as— according to some reports—Igor Sikorsky (inventor of the Sikorsky helicopter) and Arthur Young

(who developed the Bell helicopter). At the age of 13, Parsons claimed he had tried to invoke Satan, but the experience frightened him, and he turned away from occultism for a while and devoted himself to pursuits of an even more… explosive nature. 53

In 1939, we find Parsons married to Helen Northrup and joining a cult based in Los Angeles, the OTO or Ordo Templi Orientis. The OTO was one of several occult societies under the leadership of Aleister Crowley, the English magician who received a revelation in Cairo in 1904 which became the basis for a new religion, which Crowley called Thelema, the Greek word for “Will.” The OTO was a German secret society that was designed to communicate Tantric and other Eastern sexual practices beneath the clean, white apron of Freemasonry. Crowley usurped leadership of the Order after the death of its previous Master, generating a three-way fight which left one version of the Order adhering to its original rites and purposes, another version—the Brotherhood of Saturn—peeling off to pursue a different dream, and Crowley’s OTO becoming in the process the most famous of the three.

The sexual element of the OTO was enhanced by Crowley’s naturally more rapacious appetites, and the rituals rewritten to include numerous

references to Crowley’s own belief system, Thelema, and more overtly sexual gestures. By 1939, the “Agape” Lodge was under stewardship of one

W.T. Smith, an early Crowley devotee. This was the lodge that Parsons visited, and soon he found himself embroiled in all of the petty rivalries, sexual seductions, and thirst after arcane lore and unspeakable powers that characterizes such groups.

The following year, in 1940, the US Army Air Corps paid a visit to von Karman and company and decided that they wanted to support and sponsor the rocket research going on there because of its military applications. The first visit was by none other than General “Pap” Arnold, the famed (and outspoken) aviator. His interest was in developing jet-assisted take-off and landing (JATO) capability for his aircraft, enabling them to take off and land on the very short runways he was anticipating in the upcoming Asian conflict. Von Karman, Forman, Parsons, and several others got to work on the program immediately. It is informative to note that most of the patents that would be generated by this research would be in Parsons’ name. Several of the others would go on to glory as well, but not before a bit of sturm und drang in California. The GALCIT project was now renamed as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL. Jack Parsons was a founding member.

When General Arnold returned to Washington, a background check was initiated on Parsons by Army Intelligence. The person requesting the FBI to scour its records, if any, on Parsons was none other than Brigadier General Sherman Miles, head of G-2 in Washington.54 General Miles was a famous name in Washington circles, coming from a long line of military officers, one of whom fought in the Indian wars. Miles himself had played a role in drawing up boundaries in post-World War One Europe, a role for which he is still remembered. What he is best known for, however, was his reluctance to cover for his Commanding Officer, General George Marshall, at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, when for a while the General could not be found, as the teletypes were burning up miles of copper wire between Hawaii and D.C. (General Miles was later relieved of his command.)

The FBI reported back that they had found nothing damaging about Parsons, and he was awarded a security clearance. It is interesting to note that at this same time, Naval Intelligence (ONI) also requested information on Parsons. This time, the intelligence officer was one Capt. W. B. Phillips, who may have been the same W.B. Phillips who later commanded an amphibious transport vehicle in the Pacific War. As before, nothing damaging was found.

Back in California, however, Parsons had so impressed the membership of the Agape Lodge that one member—Jane Wolfe—would write to Crowley, telling him that in her opinion Parsons would eventually become head of the Order. In March 1941, W.T. Smith sent a letter to Crowley praising Parsons. By this time, of course, England was at war with Germany.

On June 13, 1941, an Army officer is initiated into the OTO at the Agape Lodge temple. His name is Grady McMurtry, and he will be stationed for a time in England where he meets Aleister Crowley and develops an odd sort of relationship with the Prophet of Thelema. At this same time, Crowley has been involved in some potential intelligence work with such figures as Dennis Wheatley and Ian Fleming, both officers with British intelligence and friends of Crowley. They would later become famous novelists, of course, but at the time they were seeking Crowley’s assistance to exploit his knowledge of the European occult underground in the war effort. (This is all covered in detail in my Unholy Alliance.) McMurtry will return to the United States safely after the war, and engineer a coup to take over leadership of the OTO after the deaths of Crowley and Crowley’s designated successor. More about McMurtry in later chapters, but his movements between the Agape Lodge—which is, after all, infamous among the rocket scientists who are working on highly classified work—and London, where Crowley, their leader, is staying are suggestive of a larger purpose.

In 1942, Parsons single-handedly solves the JATO problem. The difficulty that faced the engineers was that the solid fuel formulas that had worked thus far degraded quickly during storage. Parsons is able to work out a more stable formula based on a mixture of asphalt and potassium

perchlorate, having been inspired by something the ancients called “Greek fire,” appropriately enough for an occultist. By this time, Parsons and the other rocket team members form their own company, the Aerojet Corporation, to develop these materials and sell them to the Army. (Aerojet would later be taken over by General Tire and Rubber, now known as GenCorp; one of the founding rocketeers, Frank Malina, would take his shares and open an art gallery in Paris… and future UFO researcher and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman would find work there in the 1960s.55)

And, by 1944, Parsons would become head of the Agape Lodge of the OTO by Crowley’s decree, after the ouster of W.T. Smith, whose leadership had turned the Order into a “love cult.” During this same year, an FBI informant had relayed information on the OTO and Parsons which was of an interesting nature. This notation—filed with the number 100-189320-2 and dated 3-31-44—was from Oklahoma City, and bore the heading


Thus did the “Church of Thelma” enter FBI files.

The informant stated that he had been invited to a party sometime in June or July of 1940 in Pasadena. What he thought was going to be a party, however, turned into a meeting of the Order. No matter; the informant was initiated into the Order during the weekend, but “does not recall anything of the initiation proceedings except that all of the participants had all their clothes removed and they wore robes for the occasion. Prior to the proceedings [name deleted] given a glass of liquor which apparently was drugged thus causing him not to remember much of the proceedings.” 56This was, as the rest of the memo makes clear, during the reign of W. T. Smith, when free love was the norm (it was, after all, how the Order attracted recruits), and it is not known what drug—if any—was in use at that time that would have caused the type of amnesia to which the informant claims he was victim. Parsons was, of course, a chemist and later would work in the pharmacology department of a university, even though his main interest in chemistry was of the explosive variety; yet, there is evidence through his writings that he was also taking drugs, for a poem he published in the Order newsletter—Oriflamme—rather explicitly states, “I live on peyote,

marijuana, morphine, and cocaine.”57 While one can assume a certain level of hyperbole in those claims, it is not inconceivable that these drugs were used in some combination among the swinging, free-love initiates of the Agape Lodge.

Love, though, is rarely free; eventually, the bill arrives in the mail. Parsons’ wife, Helen Northrup (who became pregnant by Smith), departed with the priapic W.T. Smith in 1944, leaving Jack alone with her eighteen- year-old sister. Sarah Elizabeth Northrup, known as “Betty,” was by all accounts a very attractive student at USC. Although they have an ongoing affair, by the summer of 1945 she and Jack meet a Naval officer, and their lives are never the same again. The officer, a struggling science fiction author with several published stories, becomes known to the world, not for literature but as the founder of Scientology: L. Ron Hubbard.


As many celebrities and movie stars (John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Kirstie Ally for example) have joined the ranks of Scientology, and as Scientology reappears in our story in various other manifestations—Charles Manson, the Process Church of the Final Judgment, etc.—it would do well to examine the bizarre relationship of Parsons and Hubbard a little further, as it was evidently a pivotal episode in both their lives and led directly to the creation of Scientology, and perhaps indirectly to the death of Parsons.

One could reasonably claim that L. Ron Hubbard was the Joseph Smith of his generation. Like Smith, he began his spiritual quest in the murky realms of ceremonial magic, in fact, using some of the very same source material as Smith himself: the Keys of Solomon, the Books of Moses, all the basic reading material of the OTO, which itself was based on the European systems of ritual magic including planetary invocations, spirit evocations, demonology, the Qabala and Smith’s own particular enthusiasm, Freemasonry. Like Smith, he founded what amounted to a religion based on his personal revelations, one that has attracted millions of members worldwide and which has a “sacred scripture” at its core, in Hubbard’s case, Dianetics. Like Smith, his cult was attacked on all sides by conventional religious organizations, as well as by the governments of various countries.

Like Smith, he had military pretensions and demanded a great deal of obedience from his followers, on pain of excommunication. And, like Smith, he had a fondness for the ladies.

One could say that Southern California in the twentieth century was the West Coast’s answer to nineteenth century New York’s “Burned Out District.” Religious revivals and spiritual societies grew like mushrooms in the hot and sandy soil in and around Los Angeles in the post-war years. Religious leaders of every kind of denomination and persuasion were able to attract members, including celebrities and wealthy patrons. While Parsons was a serious, even fanatic, spiritual seeker, Hubbard was the Edward Kelley to his John Dee. Hubbard’s various biographies contradict each other in important areas; it has taken researchers years to piece together Hubbard’s real resume. His Naval record during the war years does not cover him with glory. He was a confidence man who claimed great achievements in his past, achievements which the record shows did not exist, and he did so unnecessarily since his genuine achievements were notable enough.

When the dust was cleared in Pasadena, however, Hubbard had managed to steal Parsons’ girlfriend and his money, and Parsons had to go to court to win back at least the money if not the love. Sic transit amor mundi.

Parsons and Hubbard began working occult rituals together in the lodge headquarters at Parsons’s home, including the infamous “Babalon Working” of January 1946, in which the Scarlet Woman was invoked. The Scarlet Woman—a reference to the consort of the Great Beast of the Apocalypse— is a sacred figure in the Thelemic religion, an embodiment of the female principle of nature, but on steroids. Parsons wrote to Crowley in England, praising Hubbard’s magical abilities, saying that Hubbard was “the most Thelemic person” he had ever met580 Crowley, though, was dubious and fearful that young Parsons was getting in over his head. Parsons, seeing Betty transferring her affections to Hubbard, invokes a woman for himself to replace her, who appears miraculously in the person of Marjorie Cameron, an artist (who will later appear in a film by Crowley enthusiast Kenneth Anger, as would Manson protégé Bobby Beausoleil). A ritual he performed with Hubbard in the Mojave Desert to attract an “elemental”—in

this case, a female sexual partner, since Hubbard was scarfing up all the available lovers—had culminated in Parsons, in an intuitive flash, suddenly claiming victory (“It is done!”) and rushing home to find that a vivacious, red-headed Marjorie Cameron (whom he had never met) was waiting for him at his home.

At the same time, Parsons had already sold his stock in Aerojet and had some ready cash available. After the completion of various rituals, some involving sex, Parsons, Hubbard and Betty Northrup agreed to form a company: Allied Enterprises. Hubbard was always fond of boats, and suggested that they purchase boats on the East Coast and sell them on the West. With that in mind, Hubbard and Betty went to Florida with ten thousand dollars of Parsons’s money.

Hubbard later phones from Miami and tells Parsons that they have bought a boat, a yacht. All well and good.

And then Parsons hears nothing from Hubbard or Betty Northrup for some time.

Worried—and perhaps in his heart still a little jealous of the relationship between Betty and Hubbard—Parsons goes to Miami to find out what has happened to his money. He discovers that Hubbard has purchased not one, but three vessels and is nowhere to be found. Parsons stakes out the marina, and when one of the Hubbard vessels begins to leave the harbor an amazing thing occurs.

According to Parsons, he raised a storm using magic to force the boat back to shore. Whether we can believe him or not, the fact is that a storm rose and the boat was forced back, at which point Parsons takes possession of the boats via court order, recouping most of the money, and returning to Pasadena in July 1946.

Hubbard and Betty Northrup, meanwhile, stay in Florida and get married.

But Hubbard is still married to his first wife at the time. It is all very “plural marriage,” very… Mormonesque. Very… illegal. And yet, within

three years, Hubbard’s new science/religion called “Dianetics” will be born, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Later, Hubbard will describe his sojourn among the Thelemites as part of an undercover intelligence operation for—variously—the FBI or the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), to break up a dangerous satanic cult that counted important scientists among its members, people with classified secrets who were in danger (we assume) of being compromised by the weird rites and illicit sex taking place on the premises. How breaking up the “cult” would have benefited national security is not clarified. Obviously, no scientists were arrested. Presumably, we are meant to believe that once the scientists in question had seen the error of their ways—courtesy of Hubbard and the FBI—then they abandoned their licentious and blasphemous practices and devoted themselves to the forty-hour work week and church on Sunday. To be fair, we know that both the FBI and the ONI had been aware of Parsons and at least the FBI was watching the cult, but long before Hubbard was on the scene. Hubbard was no stranger to the secret police, though, having once tried to turn in a troublesome steward as a German spy in New York City in 1940; he was also an intelligence officer for a brief period during the war.

A look at Hubbard’s official Navy record—released in 1986—tells the following story:

He began his career as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, in the US Naval Reserve on July 19, 1941. He went on active duty September 22, 1941 for a few weeks, until October 6, 1941, then went back on active duty on November 24, 1941 for the duration of the war, becoming a Lieutenant in the process, until February 16, 1946… after the time he first began seeing Parsons, which, according to the evidence to hand, must have been around October of 1945, with Parsons writing “the most Thelemic person” letter in January of 1946.

From December 18, 1941—that is, just after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into the war—Hubbard is found at the Office of the Naval Attache, American Legation, in Melbourne, Australia. His duties at this time are described as “Intelligence Officer,” a designation he retains through June 24, 1942 in the official account, although further

clarification from the Navy shows that he only held that post until May 4, 1942. He returned to the United States in April 1942 and served in the Office of Cable Censor, in New York, from May 1, 1942 to June 24, 1942. Thus, he spent about three months “in the rear with the gear” in Australia during the war with Japan, for which he received the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal, as did everyone else who served in that theater. The other stories that the Scientology organization (and Hubbard himself) have spread about Hubbard’s heroic war record are thus without basis in fact.

During the rest of the war, he was posted around the United States on various jobs, from Portland, Oregon to the Presidio, and finally wound up at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California as a patient from September 5, 1945 to December 4, 1945. (Thus, at the time he was visiting Parsons in Pasadena for the first time, he was at least technically a mental patient.) He was honorably released from active duty on February 16, 1946, and resigned from inactive duty on October 30, 1950. One of the stories that is current about Hubbard’s war years is that he fired on an uninhabited island off the coast of Mexico, much to the official chagrin of the Mexican government. There is no mention of this in the official US Navy documentation available to the author,59 but it has been referenced so many times in so many places that it has passed into Hubbard legend. No matter what, something happened to Hubbard.

It is the term he spent as a “patient” that is interesting; the war in the Pacific was over in August, and a month later Hubbard is laid up in hospital where he stays for three months. He was not wounded; he never saw any action. There are no Purple Hearts in his Naval records. (The word is, he was suffering from an ulcer.) And, when he gets out, his Naval career is all but over, but the mental disorders are not. As late as 1947 he is writing the Veterans Administration and complaining about suicidal tendencies and his inability to cope with civilian life over the previous two years, i.e., during the time he was involved with Parsons, the OTO and Parsons’ girlfriend, whom he had married in 1946! 60

Meanwhile, Parsons is still active in the lodge and is heavily involved in the darker aspects of magic, including a fascination with voodoo, goetia (the raising of evil spirits in the Crowleyan sense), and heavy ritual. This

was no secret to his fellow rocketeers, and it is mentioned (albeit briefly) in Clayton

R. Koppes’ JPL and the American Space Program, as well as in Iris Chang’s work on Parson’s Chinese colleague, Tsien Hsue Shen.61 He is not keeping up with the day-to-day business of the Order, however, and the backstabbing and sniping begins. He marries Marjorie Cameron on October 19, 1946 in San Juan Capistrano, (with his old friend Edward Forman and his wife as witnesses), and she returns for a while to New York City, where her mother is living, leaving Parsons very much alone.

By all accounts he was a brilliant chemist and rocketeer who made important contributions to the American war effort and to what would become the American space program—a man who attracted the jealousy of the legendary rocket pioneer Robert Goddard when the latter discovered that von Karman’s tykes at GALCIT were getting important Army funding62

—and a founding member of JPL, the black sheep that JPL does not wish to acknowledge any more than is necessary. (Repeated attempts to extract anything from JPL by the author on the subject of Parsons have resulted in… nothing. Not even an acknowledgement of the letters I have sent. And yet, there is the crater on the Moon…)

With all of that, Parsons was a magician, a kind of sorcerer whose attraction was to the darker, fringe elements of the occult and to whom nothing was really off-limits. Crowley called him “a weak-minded fool,”63 and it certainly seems as if Parsons was victimized by most of the people in his life. He expected people to behave with honor, reasonably, to the extent that he, himself, treated them nobly. From what evidence we can find, Parsons was treated well and honorably only by those who respected and admired his intelligence, his seriousness, and his brilliance: his fellow rocketeers. Yet, when involved in the one aspect of American life virtually guaranteed to disappoint the idealist—the occult underground, with its petty jealousies, inflamed egos and unstable emotions—he was ripped apart.

And still, he persevered.

He did not give up on the people who treated him shabbily, and even remained on good terms with W.T. Smith, the head of the Agape Lodge in 1939 and the man who fathered a child on Parsons’ first wife, Helen, and

contributed to their divorce. Parsons saw himself as above jealousy and possessiveness, even when those around him were wallowing in it. In his own words, “We can be insulated against everything but death—in fact, death is the very substance of our insulation. But to be used by life we must be naked and to be naked is to be hurt. But it is also to be alive.”64 He was also consumed by a desire to set the Creation straight, to cut through illusion and hypocrisy and to somehow revitalize the age. “For over two thousand years now every one who has tackled this job has made a fool of themselves—it is time some one was making more sense.” 65

The world, though, was not ready for Jack Parsons. In 1947, according to FBI records and to von Karman’s own memoirs, Jack began to seek work in Israel. The timing is suggestive, for it anticipates the creation of the Israeli state, which did not occur until 1948. In other words, Jack Parsons is hobnobbing with American lobbyists for Israel, and perhaps with elements of the Jewish underground. Israel: a country-to-be which is in desperate need of engineers, scientists and, perhaps most of all, a defense industry to call its own. Parsons probably found the whole idea very attractive, very appealing to his idealistic nature: to be in on the ground floor of the creation of a new country, especially one in the middle of the Holy Land, the land where the Knights Templar were born in the shadow of the Dome of the Rock, where Jesus walked and preached, where the Assassins cut down their enemies with stealth, where King Solomon summoned demons to help build his Temple. Parsons must have felt that working to develop the Israeli rocket and munitions industry was a position worthy of an enlightened man, an initiate of the arcane mysteries of the Order. The OTO in Israel? The very idea had… resonance.

Yet it is due to his membership in the OTO that he lost his security clearance, on September 21, 1948.

According to FBI file 65-1753, originating with the Los Angeles Field Office but made at Cincinnati, Ohio on November 22, 1950, Parsons was being investigated by the Army’s CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) in May 1948. A Major Sam Bruno, Chief of Security at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, reported the CIC investigation to the FBI. His report stated that “a

religious cult, believed to advocate sexual perversion, was organized at subject’s home at 1003 South Orange Grove Avenue, Pasadena, California, which had been reported subversive…. The report further reflects that subject reportedly associated with one [name deleted] an alleged Communist Party member.”

While his security clearance would later be reinstated (on March 7, 1949), it meant that Parsons’ career was effectively derailed.

A word to the nervous: Wright-Patterson AFB in 1948 is a very suggestive place to have been involved in an investigation of Jack Parsons, to be sure. UFO enthusiasts know Wright-Patterson as the scene where the elements of the crashed Roswell “flying saucer” were taken in 1947. It is also, of course, where Nazi General Walter Dornberger and his merry men were first taken as part of Operation Paperclip, curiously at the very same time as the Roswell crash in July 1947, leading many to suggest that the UFOs were really Nazi experimental aircraft. The author believes that the security personnel at the air base would have been involved in the Parsons investigation due to the occultist’s deep involvement in the rocket program, and not due to anything more sinister; however, interested readers are advised to keep an open mind, because the people who eventually become involved in the Parsons investigation turn up in some odd (and worrisome) places.

In the interim, Parsons had to find work wherever he could get it. Without a security clearance, he could not work in the defense industry and could only find jobs with companies who supplied the special effects departments at Hollywood film studios. At the same time, he was undergoing a tremendous psychological crisis. In December 1948, he took “the Oath of the Abyss” in a ritual conducted before W.T. Smith. This is tantamount to willingly suffering the “long, dark night of the soul” that is common in artistic and psychological literature. While most occult initiations can be “given,” i.e., passed on through ritual and the laying on of hands or some other appropriate ceremony, the initiatory levels of the “Abyss” and beyond cannot be imposed by human intervention, according to the tradition of the western mystery schools. In this case, all of creation is seen as the Qabalists’ “Tree of Life,” a diagram containing ten spheres

connected by twenty-two paths. The top three spheres and the bottom seven spheres are “separated” in this instance by the Abyss, a place where one’s ego is destroyed… or not. If not, then one becomes a “black brother,” or “magician of the left-hand path,” that is, an evil magician and source of pestilence. If one has successfully passed the Abyss, however, then one attains greater spiritual glory.

In the Crowley system, one may take the Oath of the Abyss at any time, which will then propel one head-first into the dark night of the soul, a bit like throwing children into a swimming pool: they either learn how to swim fairly quickly, or they drown. It can be considered a desperate act, fraught with psychological implications; no less than the destruction of one’s personality, even of one’s sanity… and to make matters worse, Parsons chose as his initiated name and identity: the Antichrist.

Parsons had come to believe that Christianity was the enemy of civilization, of humanity, and that it had to be destroyed. Parsons felt that, as the Antichrist, he could summon forth Babalon (the Scarlet Woman of the Apocalypse and consort of the Great Beast 666) and instigate the coming upheaval of western civilization. Parsons was not anti-Christian per se, as his writings demonstrate; he believed that the real Christ, however, had been hidden and buried beneath mainstream Christianity and that codified Christianity was false, whereas the Gnostic version was true. Parsons realized that Christianity’s power lay in its simplicity of message and symbol, and that the failure of hermetic cults such as the Gnostics derived from their complexity and intellectual demands. He dreamed for a way to promote a more magickal, more Thelemic spiritual revolution and sought a simple message and symbol… but stumbled on the Catch-22 of Scarlet Woman, Great Beast, and Antichrist, symbols that had been created (or, at least, co-opted) by the Church and which contain a built-in failure mechanism: whoever attests to being anti-Christian becomes part of the Christian duality, part of the problem. In a sense, that person revitalizes that which he opposes. Satanists, for example, are part of the Christian continuum for it was the Church that created Satan. Buddhists are not Satanists; nor are Hindus, Daoists, or members of other non-Christian religions. But Parsons was working within what was essentially a Christian

—or Judeo-Christian—tradition and could not extricate himself from its symbols, try as he might.

In the same time frame that he lost his security clearance, his pass to the secret realms of government on earth, he sought a pass to the celestial realms instead. The man who had such an influence on the techniques of sending rockets through space now wanted to send himself, if not bodily then “astrally,” i.e., in a shape made of starstuff, to the realm of the stars.

In 1949, he wrote the Manifesto of the Antichrist in which he emphasized his spiritual accomplishment and his goals. The wording is suggestive of what had been going on in his life, and may contain clues not found in the FBI files: “An end to all authority that is not based on courage and manhood, to the authority of lying priests, conniving judges, blackmailing police…”66

Blackmailing police? Where did that come from? Was Parsons being blackmailed? It is indeed possible; after all, his home was the headquarters of a cult believed to be involved in “sexual perversion” and “subversion.” It is possible that the drugs, sex and rituals would have aroused the curiosity of the police department (particularly as there were other, federal, investigations taking place), and that Parsons found himself in a vulnerable position and had to buy his way out of it from time to time. There is evidence that Parsons gave testimony against criminals as a consultant to LAPD, and that one of his fellow consultants—an explosive expert by the name of Santmyer—gave conflicting stories at the time of Parsons’ death, in what seems to be a patent exercise in disinformation.

But we are getting ahead of our story.

Once Parsons’s security clearance was reinstated, he started working for the Hughes Aircraft Company. It would be in September 1950 that he was found in possession of “classified documents,” documents that Parsons admitted were helping him draw up a proposal for a laboratory in Israel. This was considered outright espionage, and he lost his security clearance again and never got it back.

The man in the middle of this investigation—being brought into it by J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI—was an Assistant Attorney General, James M. McInerney67. In correspondence between the two men in the spring of 1951, a determination was being sought on whether the documents in Parsons’ possession were, indeed, classified and whether their sale or transfer to Israel would be a breach of “national security.” Most of the documents were authored by Parsons himself, dating to his GALCIT days, and all were written during the war years. However, the military decided that one of the items was Restricted and two others Confidential, thus establishing a basis—however flimsy—for considering Parsons a potential spy for Israel.

This correspondence—and the associated investigation by the FBI and the armed services—took place over a year. On February 7, 1952 Hoover sent James McInerney a memo regarding Parsons, informing him that Parsons’ appeal to the Industrial Employment Review Board of the Department of Defense was turned down. According to an attached letter from the Board, Parsons “might voluntarily or involuntarily act against the security interests of the United States and constitute a danger to the national security.” 68

Five months later he was dead.

James McInerney is an interesting person to associate with Parsons. We discover, for instance, in Robert Maheu’s autobiography Next to Hughes, that it was James McInerney who provided the initial funding for Maheu’s security firm, Robert A. Maheu Associates. According to Maheu, “Almost immediately, I began working for the CIA.” 69This was in 1954, and McInerney was still Assistant AG. He and Maheu, and some other ex-FBI agents, were gambling illegally, and Maheu won handily the princely sum (in 1954) of $2,800, all from McInerney. When Maheu attempted to refuse the winnings, McInerney would have none of it. It was to this fund that Maheu attributes the initial financial investment for his agency.

Maheu, of course, would go on to greater glory, including his infamous relationship with Howard Hughes (Parsons’ former employer) and his involvement with the CIA/Mafia plots against Castro. McInerney himself would go on to represent the Kennedys at one point, according to Victor

Lasky, 70even though Maheu was told to sever his relationship with the Kennedy family or else he could not become involved with the CIA.

The murky facts surrounding the death of Jack Parsons make it inevitable that some researchers would look for murder. According to the forensics team investigating the blast scene at Parsons’ home in Pasadena, there had been two explosions, the first from under the floorboards where Parsons was standing, setting off the second explosion from among his chemicals, thus implying a bomb. Other evidence found at the site, including filter papers soaked in explosive chemicals in the trash outside the house, seemed to support this theory of criminal intentions. However, the official version of the story was that Parsons died as a result of an accident: he had dropped a container of a powerful and volatile explosive, fulminate of mercury, while moving some of his personal belongings in preparation for a trip he was taking with Marjorie Cameron to Mexico. On the one hand, we have testimony of those who worked with Parsons refusing to believe he could be that careless when he was the epitome of the professional chemist. On the other hand, we have testimony that he stored a lot of chemicals, including explosives, at his home and that the accident was waiting to happen.

The Mexico trip is also controversial. According to some sources, Parsons was thinking of setting up an explosives factory in Mexico to produce special effects products; his wife at one time was considering settling down in Guadalajara or San Miguel de Allende to continue her work as an artist. Parsons was also believed to be on his way to Israel after that, to continue pursuing the lure of working for Israeli defense. He spent the early part of 1950 running around the country, looking for work. His itinerary included Redstone Arsenal, where by then the Nazi doctors had established themselves, Washington, D.C., Cumberland coal country, and the City of New York, where he stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel and wrote Marjorie long letters filled with magical advice. He was finally hired by Hughes at Culver City, California, and this is where he was working when he once again lost his security clearance and was forced to find work at various factories around Southern California, finally giving in during June 1952, when it was obvious his security clearance would not be reinstated.

Was Jack Parsons murdered? Was it by agents of his own government, in an effort to keep this admittedly brilliant rocket scientist away from other countries? Was it in revenge for the guilty verdict of a crooked cop his expert testimony had helped put away, as has been suggested by some (including his wife, Marjorie)? A cop who had earlier used a car bomb to kill his victim?

Or did it have something to do with a Chinese rocket scientist, a man whose relation to Chinese rocketry is much the same as Parsons was to American rocket science? For one of Parsons’ earliest partners at GALCIT was Dr. Tsien Hsue Shen, a scientist who specialized in long-range missile development; in fact, his first prototype was built under Parsons’ watchful eye at Aerojet. During the McCarthy Era, however, Dr. Tsien was accused of being a Communist. Although he denied any such affiliation, his security clearance was also removed; he protested this straight up to the Undersecretary of the Navy, saying he would go back to China if he wasn’t reinstated. Instead, the Undersecretary made a call to Immigration and had Dr. Tsien arrested! 71

Tsien eventually left the United States, disgusted at his treatment and the suspicion that was aroused by a man born in pre-Communist China. He returned to China as threatened… and jump-started the Chinese missile program. Were the McCarthy investigators wrong in their assumption that Tsien was a Communist?

A review of the FBI files shows that Parsons was suspected of knowing someone believed to be a Communist, and he was interrogated on this point several times by the FBI over the course of several years. Further recourse to some hand-written notes in those same files shows an intriguing reference to a suspect in the US Consulate, Shanghai and a list of friends of this suspect; all of the names in the Parsons file are deleted, except for Parsons himself.

Was Tsien a Communist, working for Mao’s China? And if so, was Parsons aware of this at the time? With his avowed hatred of Christianity— he called himself the Antichrist, after all—and the suspicions of the American government that he was a walking security risk, is it possible that

Parsons was only one element of a larger network of political intrigue, involving Chinese Communists, occultists, and rocket scientists?

Was the much-rumored job in Israel a cover for something more ominous?

And was his murder the final solution to the nagging problem of what to do with a brilliant young scientist who would not bow to “all authority that is not based on courage and manhood”?

Marjorie Cameron would remain involved in occultism for the rest of her life, keeping in touch with the old Agape Lodge members, and for a while became a fixture of the mystical scene, an honored alumnus of the Parsons era. It was of her that Kenneth Grant, the English magician mentioned in the last chapter, would write:

…Cameron associated with a Witch-woman who had occult affiliations with ancient Indian cults that had retained unbroken a secret tradition of traffic with the Great Old Ones. The Narragansetts of the New England region, the Adena of Ohio… are known to have forged links with entities spawned in the [Abyss]… 72

Thus we go from the ancient Indian mounds of the Adena people to the rocket scientist Jack Parsons, and back again, walking over what must be familiar territory by now to the reader, although he or she probably never set foot in it before!

The mystery of Parsons’s death may never be solved, but what of his life? Although there is very little about Parsons on official government websites or histories, what does remain is incontrovertible proof of his genius, as well as his eccentricity. Parsons helped the war effort against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. He contributed heavily to the early days of the space program.

It is all but certain that the Paperclip Doctors would have been aware of his work, would have read his papers—the ones considered detrimental to national security should they leave American shores. And somehow, someone, somewhere in the labyrinthine bureaucracy of NASA made sure

he got a lunar crater named after him, so there would always be a monument to his contribution to science.

On the other hand, he participated in occult rituals: sex and drug affairs replete with incantations, billowing clouds of incense and weird summonings of incarnate beings to visible appearance. He midwifed L. Ron Hubbard’s initiation into the sacred mysteries of the Cult of Thelema and the Ordo Templi Orientis, thus providing the impetus for the creation of Scientology and subsequent offshoots, such as the Process Church of the Final Judgment. He took the Oath of the Abyss. He called on the Whore of Babylon, and proclaimed himself the Antichrist and an enemy of the Church. He sent rockets into the heavens, and summoned demons from hell.

And during his Babalon Working rituals in the Mojave Desert in 1946, he “opened a hole in space-time and something flew in.”73

1 Ibid., p. 231, 233

2 Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter, Bantam Books, NY, 1995, ISBN 0-553-57435-3, p. 642

3 Maury Terry, The Ultimate Evil, Bantam Books, NY, 1989, ISBN 0-553-27601-8, p. 512

4 Bugliosi, op. cit., p. 642. Bugliosi was the high-profile prosecutor against Manson and the Manson “family” for the Tate/LaBianca killings that took place in Los Angeles in August of 1969 and his book is considered the most exhaustive and detailed on Manson, the murders, and the peculiar dynamics of the group that formed around him. Many people have problems with Helter Skelter, however, not least of all Manson and the “family”; it is salutary to read Bugliosi’s book against that

of Ed Sanders, The Family, Nikolas Schreck’s The Manson File, and many of the other books that have come out since the time of the murders, including biographies of some of the principal actors in this typically American drama. Some of them are published by small presses that specialize in the arcane or the bizarre, for such is the domain of Manson studies thirty years after the crimes. For factual detail—names, dates and places—the Bugliosi book is quite reliable; for “color” and context,

one could do worse than The Family. And for Manson’s own words, The Manson File is probably the most accessible source.

5 Ed Sanders, The Family, E.P. Dutton & Co., NY, 1971, ISBN 0-525-10300-7, p. 137

6 Bugliosi, op. cit., p. 642

7 Personal communication with the author

8 Peter Levenda, Unholy Alliance, Continuum, NY, 2002, ISBN 0-8264-1409-5, p. 102-105

9 Tibor Scitovsky, A Proud Hungarian, excerpted in The Hungarian Quarterly, Volume XL, No. 156, Winter, 1999

10 Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust, Little, Brown & Co., London, 2001, ISBN 0-316-85771-8, p. 422

11 Ami Hueber de Grazia, ed., Home Front and War Front in World War II: the correspondence of Jill

Oppenheim de Grazia and Alfred de Grazia (1942-1945), Metron Publications, Princeton, 1999, (CD-ROM) p. 415-424

12 Ibid., p. 492-494

13 Ian Hamilton, In Search of J.D. Salinger, Vintage Books, NY, 1989, ISBN 0-67972220-3, p. 76-95;

Anatole Grunwald, ed., Salinger: A critical and personal portrait, Harper & Row, NY, 1962, LOC 62-11222, p. 13-14

14 Jim Marrs, Alien Agenda, HarperCollins, NY, 1997, ISBN 0-06-018642-9, p. 86; Marrs references Crisman’s CIA file, CRISMAN, Fred Lee, OSS/CIA 4250ce “located at Control Records Dispatch, Davenport, Iowa.”

15 Tom Bower, Blind Eye to Murder, Warner Books, London, 1995, ISBN 0-75151822-0

16 Tom Bower, The Paperclip Conspiracy, Michael Joseph, London, 1987, ISBN 0-71812744-7

17 Fortean Times, vol. 109, p. 38

18 Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare 1945-1960, Oxford University Press, NY, 1994, ISBN 0-19-510292-4

19 Simpson (1994) p. 21-22; Levenda, op.cit., p. 45, 92, 199

20 Simpson (1994) p. 24

21 Ibid., p. 11

22 Ibid., p.9

23 Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO), Saigon, Psyops Policy, Policy Number 36, 10 May 1967, “The Use of Superstitions in Psychological Operations in Vietnam,” p. 2

24 Lansdale in Jon Elliston, “Psywar Terror Tactics,” Parascope, 1996

  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid.

27 Simpson (1994), p. 72

28 James R. Price & Paul Jureidini, “Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magic and other Psychological Phenomena and their Implications on Military and Paramilitary Operations in the Congo,” SORO/CINFAC/6-64 8 August 1964, Special Operations Research Office, The American University, Counterinsurgency Information Analysis Center, Washington, DC, p. 1

29 Ibid., p. 1

30 Ibid., p. 3

31 Ibid., p. 5

32 Ibid., p. 7

33 Ibid., p. 8

34 Ibid., p. 8-9

35 Ibid., p. 9

36 JUSPAO report, op. cit.

37 JUSPAO, op. cit., p. 2

38 JUSPAO, op. cit., p. 3

39 Sanders, op. cit., p. 113

40 At the time of this writing, Alois Brunner is still alive and living in Syria under government protection.

41 James McGovern, Crossbow and Overcast, William Morrow & Co., NY, 1964, LOC 64-19976, p. 38-39

42 Ibid., p. 46

43 Bower (1987), p. 233

44 Ibid., p. 240. It is worthwhile to note that Rascher was working under the aegis of the Ahnenerbe, the occult studies or “ancestral heritage” division of the SS. The concentration camps, and Dachau in particular, were warehouses of living human specimens for use in bizarre projects that came under the wing of the Ahnenerbe “scientists.”

45 Ibid., p. 240

46 Mae Mills Link, Space Medicine in Project Mercury, NASA Special Publication-4003 in the NASA History Series, 1965, Chapter 2-2, “Clinical Factors: USAF Aerospace Medicine”

47 Bower (1987), p. 285. It is interesting, if not entirely relevant, to note that less than a year after Cabell warned Armstrong about hiring more Nazis, Cabell issued an Air Intelligence Requirements Memorandum Number 4 (dated 15 February 1949) entitled “Unconventional Aircraft,” in which he set down the Air Force requirements for collecting information about and reporting UFOs. We tend to forget how strange a world it was in the years immediately following the end of WW II.

48 Levenda, op. cit., p. 216-217

49 John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, Times Books, NY, 1979, ISBN 0-8129- 0773-6, p. 11

50 Linda Hunt, l’Affaire Paperclip, Stock, Paris, 1995, [Original title: Secret Agenda], p. 227

51 Marks, op.cit., p. 210

52 Link, op. cit., note 7

53 Jack Parsons, The Book of AntiChrist, “Analysis by a Master of the Temple,” available in various places on the Internet (such as and in undated reprints in possession of the author.

Perhaps the best published account of the life of Jack Parsons is Sex and Rockets by the pseudonymous John Carter and published by Feral House, Venice, CA 1999, ISBN 0-922915-56-3. Another, more mainstream, source that refers briefly to Parsons and his occult interests is Iris Chang, Thread of the Silkworm, Basic Books, NY, 1995, ISBN 0-465-00678-7. The FBI files (many still heavily redacted) on Jack Parsons are also available on the Internet, through the incredible industry

of young John Greenwald, Jr. and his website,

54 Reference is made to FBI BUFILE Number 65-59589, p. 49, with heading “96-0-55 Memo from

A. M. Thurston to Mr. Clegg 10-25-40” in reference to a letter from Miles of 10-10-40 “in which he requested that the attached list of names be searched against the indices of the Bureau.” Only one name is on the list, that of Parsons, and the notation “No Record Was Located.”

55 Stanton T. Friedman, Top Secret/Majic, Marlowe & Co., NY, 1997, ISBN 1-56924741-2, p. 4-7

56 Ibid., p. 56-57

57 Carter, op.cit., p. 123. These quotations from Parsons’ works have been republished in a variety of

places in the occult press; for convenience of the reader, I have used Sex and Rockets by John Carter as a source for many of the Parsons quotes, as it is based on the same primary sources as my own.

58 Ibid., p. 107. This is from a letter dated January 4, 1946 from Parsons to Crowley.

59 Reference is made to Naval Military Personnel Command memo NMPC-036e-AT:wg/ HUBBA 113392, signed by R.A. Derr, Special Assistant for Officer Correspondence. It contains the notation “There is no record of any court-martial or other disciplinary action during former Lieutenant Hubbard’s military service.” This document shows Hubbard as a patient of the Naval Hospital in Oakland, CA from September 5 to December 4, 1945, separating from the Navy on December 6, 1945.

60 This is from a letter from Hubbard to the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles, CA dated October 15, 1947. He states he is attending school at the Geller Theater Workshop in Los Angeles, and states “After trying and failing for two years to regain my equilibrium in civil life, I am utterly unable to approach anything like my own competence. My last physician informed me that it might be very helpful if I were to be examined and perhaps treated psychiatrically or even by a psycho- analyst.… I cannot account for nor rise above long periods of moroseness and suicidal inclinations…”

61 Clayton R. Koppes, JPL and the American Space Program, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982, p. 3; and Iris Chang, op.cit., p. 97-99

62 Koppes, op.cit., p. 2

63 Letter from Crowley to Louis T. Culling, an OTO member in California, December 1946

64 Letter from Parsons to Marjorie Cameron, dated 5 October 1949

65 Letter from Parsons to Marjorie Cameron, dated 25 January 1950

66 Jack Parsons, Manifesto of the AntiChrist, in John Carter, op. cit., p. 138

67 Letter from Hoover to Assistant Attorney General McInerney dated December 20, 1950, “Subject: John Whiteside Parsons, Wa. / Espionage-IS” (The “IS” stands for “Israel”), BUFILE 65-59589, p. 34-36 and reply to Hoover from McInerney, dated January 18, 1951, JMM:CEN:vb, BUFILE 65- 59589, p. 73, and reply by Hoover dated February 3, 1951, BUFILE 65-59589, pp. 75-76

68 BUFILE 65-59589, p. 137-139, letter to Parsons from Industrial Employment Review Board, and two memos from Hoover, one to SAC, Los Angeles and one to McInerney, with copies of the letter

69 Robert Maheu and Richard Hack, Next to Hughes, HarperCollins, NY, 1992, ISBN 0-06-016505-7, p. 39-40

70 Victor Lasky, It Didn’t Start With Watergate, The Dial Press, NY, 1977, ISBN 08037-3857-9, p. 44

71 For complete details of this fascinating subject, see Iris Chang, op. cit.

72 Kenneth Grant, Hecate’s Fountain, Skoob Books, London, 1992, ISBN 1-87143896-9, p. 31

73 Kenneth Grant, Outside the Circles of Time, London, Frederick Muller Ltd, 1980, ISBN 0-584- 10468-5, p. 50

le p, ight & D ,uh, the play Bluebird by th Jc uit­ chool ed Belgia11, Mau rice Maeterli nck, may have upp lied many per ona for u e in O perar ion BLUEBIRD an early mind controf pro je ct Other characters includ ed Bread, Fire Water, The Dog, The Cat, TJ1e Ghosts, The War , The Shade , The Terrors, The Star , Dew Tile Wolf, The Sheep, The Pig, The Luxury of Being Rieb, he Luxu ry of Knowing 01hi11g, The Luxury of nder tan d i ng othing he Luxury of Doin .g othing, , he , emale laves The Happiness oflnnocent

Thought The Happines of Being Thoroughly aughty, The Tall Blue Peo ple The King of the Nine Planets .and many other . Tbere are over 110 characters in the play produced first in Moscow in 1908. Trained a a lawyer he pubiished his first poem at age 21. T,vo year late r he moved to Pari becoming intere 1ed in o cu l ti m and the ‘pooky mys.tici m’ of the Symboli tart movement.

The above illu tration i by F. CayJey Robinson from a 1911 EngLsh edition.



Our contest is not against flesh and blood, but against powers, against principalities, against the world-rulers of this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.

  • Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, 6:12

We deal now, not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe…. Of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the

sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all times. And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars.

  • Speech of General Douglas MacArthur to West Point cadets, May 12, 1962

…the sinister forces which profit from the maintenance of international tension are clinging tenaciously to their positions. Though only a handful of individuals is involved, they are quite powerful and exert a strong influence on the policy of their respective States.

  • Speech of Nikita Khruschev before the United Nations, September 23, 1960

Have you the grass here that sings, or the bird that is blue?

— The Blue Bird, Maurice Maeterlinck

Most persons of the author’s generation look to 1968 as the pivotal year of their lives. It was a time of multiple assassinations, civil unrest, the escalation of the war in Vietnam, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the election of Richard M. Nixon as President. For many of our generation, it signaled the death of a dream.

Yet, 1947 is also in the running as the pivotal year of the postwar period. Many of the issues that define our generation owe their conception to the events of that year. 1947 was the year the CIA was created, and the penetrating of secrets; it was the year of the famous UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico and the subsequent concealing of secrets; the year the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and their exposure of secrets. It was the year Winston Churchill made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech, thus declaring the beginning of the Cold War. It’s the year that the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) begins its full-scale investigation of Hollywood. It is the year that inventor Arthur Young leaves Bell Helicopter

for a full-time study of paranormal phenomena. It is the year that the US Navy begins Project CHATTER, the search for a viable truth serum, a magic potion to unlock the secrets of the mind.

In May of that year, the Corporal is launched: America’s answer to the V- 2 rocket, compliments of Jack Parsons and the rest of the JPL rocketeers. It is also the year of the famous “Black Dahlia” murder in Los Angeles, and of Admiral Byrd’s “Hollow Earth” expedition. It is the year that Aleister Crowley dies. It is the year that Holly Maddux is born: a future murder victim whose death will expose the seamy underworld of the New Age movement.

And, if we can believe the Beatles, it is the year that Sergeant Pepper’s Band learned to play. The famous Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released in June 1967 with lyrics saying, “Twenty years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught his band to play.” That would have been in June 1947; the month the first UFO sightings that gave birth to the term “flying saucer” occurred in the Pacific Northwest. The lyrics go on to state, “We’d like to take you home with us.” In retrospect, maybe we should’ve gone.

It was the year when those things that are now so secret, so classified and behind the scenes were up front and in your face: the Cold War, the CIA, UFOs—whatever they were, alien spacecraft or Mogul balloons—crashing in New Mexico, and the mysteries of the origins of Christianity revealed in a cache of clay jars in Palestine. Maybe they were right about Jack Parsons; maybe he did open a hole in space-time in that series of rituals in the Mojave Desert in 1946 and maybe something did fly right in. And nested in America’s heartland. 1


In June 21, 1947—the summer solstice—six unidentified flying objects were seen over Maury Island in Puget Sound in the State of Washington. The observers were Harold A. Dahl, a harbor patrolman who was avoiding bad weather by anchoring in Maury Island Bay, his two crewmen, his teenaged son and a dog. The objects were doughnut-shaped and were hovering at about two thousand feet over the boat, according to Dahl. One

of the six seemed to be in trouble, as it was losing altitude and was being circled by the other five. The objects seemed to be metallic, with a hole in the center (hence the idea they were “doughnut-shaped”) and with portholes around the outer circumference. Each of the objects seemed to be about one hundred feet in diameter.

There was a small explosion, and one of the objects rained hot metal all over the boat, killing the dog, damaging the boat and injuring the teenaged son. Dahl quickly beached his craft and began taking pictures of the objects, which soon took off and headed towards Canada. Dahl tried to radio for help or to make a report, but his radio was jammed. Instead, bewildered, he headed back to Tacoma. He got some treatment for his son’s injured arm, and then took his evidence—the camera, the film and some samples of the metallic slag—to his boss, a man known as Fred Lee Crisman. 2

This is a seminal event. No matter on what side of the Kennedy assassination one finds oneself—a believer in the Warren Report, or a believer in a conspiracy—the Fred Crisman element strains credulity. More than twenty years after this event, Crisman will be subpoenaed by District Attorney Jim Garrison as a suspect in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Crisman, a former OSS officer, a man with a CIA file, a man friendly with Clay Shaw… in at the birth of the twentieth century’s UFO experience? Of course, this is not the full story. Who would believe the full story?

Crisman wanted to investigate the site where Dahl’s boat was damaged, but the previous night a stranger visited Dahl at his home and advised him to forget the whole thing. The man was dressed in black, and what was unusual was the fact that the incident had not yet been reported outside of Dahl’s and Crisman’s circle. Regardless, the next day—on June 23, 1947— Crisman went out to Maury Island and found what appeared to be molten glass or metal and foil, but not before another UFO passed overhead. Crisman returned to Tacoma, not knowing what to do at the moment with the information and evidence he had acquired, or so it seemed. So far, the UFO sighting was a localized event, a small town anomaly.

The next day, June 24, 1947, the world changed.

This was the day of the famous sighting of nine UFOs north of Mount Rainier by Kenneth Arnold.

One of the accusations leveled at UFO eyewitnesses is that their testimony is tainted by reason of their inexperience, lack of professionalism, lack of knowledge of astronomical phenomena, etc. In other words, they are not scientists or members of the military, police or government establishments, the people in charge of determining the contours of our reality. The problem with the Kenneth Arnold case is that he was the perfect witness. A successful businessman from Boise, Idaho, he was also a deputy federal marshal and an accomplished pilot who was a member of an Idaho Search and Rescue team. In other words, if Kenneth Arnold said that he saw UFOs, then he saw UFOs, not the planet Venus or swamp gas or weather balloons. This is not to say that what he saw was alien spacecraft, but what he witnessed was not conventional aircraft and the speeds at which he clocked them were not achievable by the types of aircraft he knew to be in existence at that time.

In the air on his way home to Idaho from Washington, he spent a while looking for a missing C-46 transport plane for which there was a large, five thousand dollar, reward. The plane was believed downed in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.

Then, at the same time as the Harold Dahl sighting three days previously

—at 2:00 P.M.—Arnold was flying at an altitude of about nine thousand feet, when he saw a bright flash that bathed his aircraft in light. Trying to spot the source of the flash, he soon saw another, coming from north of Mount Rainier. This time, the source of the flash was a formation of nine objects, flying erratically but maintaining formation, like “speed boats on rough water.” He clocked the speed of the objects as they passed Mount Rainier at nearly 1,700 miles per hour, an impossible speed for known aircraft of the time.

Arnold landed and spoke about his experience. The initial speculation was that he was witnessing secret weapons tests, but later on in an interview that night with the East Oregonian newspaper, he described the motion of the objects like “a saucer would if you skipped it across the water,”

meaning the way the objects flew and not the way they looked. No matter, from that day on the “flying saucer” was born.

The story should have ended there and then. Arnold had no hard evidence for the sighting, only his own eyewitness experience. Yet, he was visited in early July by two military intelligence officers, Captain William Davidson and Lieutenant Frank M. Brown, of the Fourth Air Force, Hamilton Field, California. They listened to his story, and then returned to base.

Again, the story should have ended there. Fred Crisman, however, had other ideas.

His relationship to Raymond A. Palmer, the editor of Amazing Stories, is full of unanswered questions. Why this former OSS officer and harbor patrolman would be involved with a man who published fantasy tales of underground civilizations, weird military experiments (such as the Philadelphia Experiment, in which it was claimed the military had developed a device that could dematerialize a ship and then re-materialize it somewhere else on earth, a story that was later believed to be true by an astonishing number of persons), and mischievous aliens from other worlds, is not clear. Like fellow OSS officer Peter Tompkins after him, Crisman may simply have been fascinated by the paranormal and by speculative history. Or his interest may reveal a slightly more sinister agenda. Speculation is rampant that Crisman’s role was that of a disinformation specialist, and that his ultimate purpose was to devalue the UFO reports or, failing that, to erase all traces of the evidence.

Crisman contacted Palmer in writing concerning the Maury Island incident; Palmer himself had contacted Arnold about the Mount Rainier sighting, offering a two hundred dollar advance for his story. These were only two of a large number of UFO sightings that were taking place that month and into July.

On the Fourth of July, at about 11:27 P.M., the infamous Roswell crash took place, and the first newspaper reports called the device a “flying saucer”; thus reference was made to the Arnold sighting in which that term was first employed to describe a UFO. On that same day, however, there

were no less than eighty-five sightings in the United States. The Roswell crash was only one instance of a “sighting.” Clearly, interest was at an all- time high, and opinion was divided as to whether the craft were of Soviet manufacture, a captured Nazi secret weapon, an American secret weapon, or—and this was by no means the most prevalent concept—an alien spacecraft.

While the Army then changed its story to describe the Roswell debris as that of a weather balloon, events were proceeding apace. General Walter Dornberger, the chief of the Nazi space program at Peenemuende and, later, at the Mittelwerke at Nordhausen, and responsible for the deaths of thousands of concentration camp inmates as slave laborers, is sent to Wright AFB as the Roswell debris is being shipped there. Dornberger and Wernher von Braun—both of whom initial CIC reports describe as ardent Nazis— have been forgiven their past sins by the Army and are brought to the United States under Operation Overcast—renamed Paperclip—much to the irritation of Nuremberg prosecutors. They are now in a position to review the Roswell wreckage.

At the same time, the same month, the National Security Act is passed, thus paving the way for the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency, which is finally chartered in September. James Forrestal is named as the first US Secretary of Defense. He will not last long.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Arnold arranges to meet Harold Dahl in Tacoma, Washington at the request of Raymond Palmer. The date is set for July 30, 1947. During the flight to Tacoma on July 29, Arnold sees yet another squadron of UFOs—this time nearly two dozen of them, and very small compared to the first squadron, less than a meter in diameter each—at LaGrande, Oregon. He attempts to film them, but the film only shows some small specks, and is disappointing as evidence.

Once arrived in Tacoma, Arnold discovers that all the hotels are fully booked. Discouraged, he tries the most expensive place in town and finds, incredibly, that a room has been reserved for him by name although no one knows who made the booking.

The next day, he meets Dahl. Dahl, however, is still unnerved by his visit from the “man in black” the previous month and is hesitant to talk to Arnold. Arnold, motivated in part by the two hundred dollar advance from Palmer and partly by his own curiosity about the sightings taking place, presses Dahl for more information.

Dahl finally breaks, and tells Arnold the same story he told Crisman. Dahl’s photographs are gone, of course: he has given his camera and his film to Crisman. He did, however, manage to keep back a few pieces of the “slag” that fell from the damaged UFO. He showed Arnold a piece of what seemed to be volcanic rock, not a very suspicious-looking fragment. Dahl also told Arnold about a letter he had received, which stated the UFOs were piloted by aliens who had become visible due to US atomic explosions, and that they were visiting the earth to help protect it from unspecified enemies. The letter writer was anonymous, and one can’t help wondering if Crisman was behind this, as well.

At this point, Arnold felt he was being had. The whole story sounded very suspicious, very artificial. He asked a friend, another pilot—United Airlines Captain E. J. Smith—for his take on the affair. They came to the conclusion that either the story was a simple hoax, or it was part of an intelligence operation. They distrusted Crisman completely, and felt that he was trying to control the investigation. Either Crisman was a hoaxer, or a spy. Either way, Arnold and Smith felt that he had nothing to contribute.

Then, as if in confirmation of their suspicions, it was reported that United Press International had received verbatim transcripts of their interviews and discussions, the ones held at Arnold’s mysteriously-booked hotel room! Suddenly, it was all becoming clear. Arnold’s presence in Tacoma had been part of a larger plot; his room was selected in advance and bugged; the information he extracted from Dahl, and his conversations with Smith, were sent to the news agency (for what purpose can only be imagined). It seemed as if there was an operation underway to discredit the Maury Island UFO report and to do that with Kenneth Arnold, a much more credible witness than either Dahl or Crisman. Two birds with one stone?

At this point, Arnold was determined to bring in military intelligence. If nothing else, it would eliminate once and for all the possibility that the

Maury Island affair was some kind of espionage plot, thus reducing it to the level of a simple-minded hoax by Crisman and Dahl. Crisman seemed to welcome the idea of bringing in the Army; Dahl was still frightened from his meeting with the man in black, and did not want to cooperate.

No matter; Arnold called the men who had debriefed him after his own UFO sighting, Lieutenant Brown and Captain Davidson. They agreed to fly out to Tacoma immediately to see what Arnold had. They arrived later that day, talked with both Arnold and Smith, seemed to dismiss the whole affair as a hoax, and returned to the airport for their ride home. Arnold was nonplussed. It appeared to him as if they had already dismissed the story in advance of their arrival. If so, then why bother coming out at all?

At the airport, an odd thing happened, one which has plagued UFO researchers for years. Crisman, the man the intelligence officers seemed to think was nothing more than an oddball hoaxer, turned up at the last minute and gave the men a heavy box which he claimed was filled with the debris from the damaged UFO. To Arnold, who was there, the contents looked like a bunch of rocks. The men stowed the box in the trunk of their car and left for the airport, catching their flight.

They never made it back to base.

Both Davidson and Brown were killed. The enlisted men on board parachuted to safety after the left engine caught fire—according to the report of one of the survivors—and the two officers remained with the aircraft for a full ten minutes before the B-52 bomber crashed to earth. No one has any idea why the two intelligence officers would have remained with the plane and not parachuted themselves; or why they did not radio a distress call. The emergency fire-fighting equipment was inoperable, so there was no chance to save the plane. According to Major George Sander of the US Army Air Corps, the plane was carrying classified material. Was that a reference to the box of rocks carried on board by Davidson and Brown?

One of the men involved in the investigation of UFO reports in the American Northwest that year was none other than FBI Special Agent Guy Banister.

Guy Banister’s name is well-known among conspiracy aficionados as another one of the men implicated by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in the Kennedy assassination. It was Guy Banister—by this time a former FBI agent—who rented office space at the same location stamped on Lee Harvey Oswald’s “Fair Play for Cuba Committee” flyers. Banister was running an anti-Castro Cuban operation from his investigator’s office, an operation that attracted the likes of former Eastern Airlines pilot and assassination suspect David Ferrie. Oswald was running a pro-Castro Cuban operation from the same address, an anomaly that could only be explained if one understood that Banister and Oswald were working together, and that the pro-Castro operation was a front for some other, even more nefarious, purpose. Further, while Banister was FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Chicago field office during World War II, one of his FBI subordinates was James McCord of Watergate “plumbers” fame, 3and another was Robert A. Maheu: the man who would later become head of his own investigative agency and an employee of Howard Hughes, the man whose agency was started by money won from James Mc-Inerney, the assistant Attorney General who was involved in the Jack Parsons investigation. Maheu would go on to become the man in the middle between the CIA and organized crime in the assassination plots against Castro.

Banister was—during the time of the Arnold sighting, the Maury Island affair, and Roswell—an FBI Special Agent assigned to the Butte, Montana field office, which had responsibility for several western states, including Idaho (where Kenneth Arnold resided). A look at recently declassified FBI files for that period in 1947 show a number of telexes from Banister, some with his initials “WGB,” all pertaining to UFO phenomena, 4as well as other FBI documents with the designation “Security Matter—X” or simply “SM- X,” the origin—the author supposes—of the “X Files,” which, at least in 1947, did exist at the FBI and was concerned with UFOs (as well as with the federal investigation of Wilhelm Reich, the pioneer psychoanalyst whose “orgone therapy” had run afoul of the medical establishment and who himself was a firm believer in the existence of UFOs).

Usually, when Banister is referenced in connection with the Kennedy assassination, he is mentioned as having been with the FBI in Chicago for

many years, which is undoubtedly true, but the period in Butte put him in the middle of the seminal UFO event of the twentieth century.

Thus, the 1947 UFO sightings attracted two men—Crisman and Banister

—who both would come under suspicion twenty years later for their supporting roles in the Kennedy assassination. The odds against this happening must be astronomical. It is the constant appearance of “coincidences” like these that leave most amateur conspiracy theorists apoplectic, speechless with disbelief and gazing on the world around them with haunted, suspicious expressions, as if reality itself were layered like an onion, a palimpsest on which numerous events were written over each other, all on the same page. In this case, we have Operation Paperclip, UFOs, and the Kennedy assassination all written on the same thin sheet of onionskin parchment. Nazis, aliens and political murder. At this point, we can almost sympathize with Pontius Pilate, who asked, “What is truth?”— and the temptation to wash one’s hands of the whole matter is almost too strong.

The conclusion of the crash investigation was that the plane suffered mechanical failure, and crashed as a result. Davidson and Brown were thus possibly the first martyrs to the UFO phenomenon. The author cannot offer any evidence that they were murdered, still less that they were murdered to cover-up the truth behind the UFO sightings of 1947. What he can offer, however, are the following facts:

Harold Dahl saw something in the skies over Maury Island which killed his dog and wounded his son, damaging his boat in the process. He gives his evidence of this sighting to his boss, Fred Crisman, a former OSS officer and soon-to-be CIA agent.

A few days later, Kenneth Arnold—an experienced pilot, a deputy federal marshal, and a successful businessman—sees a formation of flying objects traveling at tremendous speed near Mount Rainier. He reports this to the military.

When Arnold, Dahl and Crisman get together in Tacoma their meeting is bugged and transcripts of their conversations provided to the press. The only ones who knew Arnold was flying to Tacoma on that day and time to

meet Dahl and Crisman were… Dahl and Crisman. There is only one hotel room available, and it has Arnold’s name on it, although no one admits to making the reservation.

Arnold calls in military intelligence, the same two officers he met previously. They arrive immediately, question the men, and leave. Crisman gives them a box of what he claims is UFO debris. Their plane crashes, killing both intelligence officers.

Guy Banister is an FBI field agent at the time, charged with investigating UFO sightings under the rubric 62-83894: the “SM-X” or “X Files.”

Both Crisman and Banister become suspects in the Kennedy assassination.

Crisman is a friend or colleague of Clay Shaw, another suspect in the assassination and a CIA contract agent.

Crisman has a CIA file and, according to veteran journalist Jim Marrs, was an “extended agent” involved in disruption operations as part of his brief as an Internal Security Specialist. 5

About the only people involved in the affair who are not intelligence officers are Dahl and Arnold. Everyone else is either military intelligence, OSS or FBI. It is important to point out that President Truman had disbanded the OSS on September 20, 1945 and that the CIA was not chartered until September 18, 1947, almost exactly two years later. Thus, the Maury Island affair takes place at the end of that two-year hiatus separating the two agencies. However, the men involved in the OSS did not disappear from government service.

As several histories of the OSS demonstrate—most notably Richard Harris Smith’s OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency—the assets of the OSS were “dispersed among the other agencies of the government. The remains of the Secret Intelligence and Special Operations branches were transferred to the War Department and placed under the command of Donovan’s Deputy Director for Intelligence, General John Magruder.”6Such other OSS luminaries as

Richard Helms, James Angleton, and even Herbert Marcuse remained on board in some capacity or other until the formal creation of the CIA in 1947, even as the former OSS analysts were being charged with extreme left-wing, socialist and communist, tendencies. Thus, Crisman was possibly working for the War Department at the time of the Maury Island affair, and was certainly among those reactivated once the CIA was formally established only a few months after the UFO sightings.

It is tempting to link the UFO sightings with the creation of a National Security Act and the establishment of the CIA; it is even more tempting to link the sudden presence of Nazi General Dornberger at Wright Field with contemporaneous multiple UFO sightings in the US during the same month the Roswell crash debris is taken there. All of this happened in the same four week time frame, and involved some of the same notorious characters who would resurface sixteen years later at the time of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One must either put this fascinating conglomeration of events down to mere coincidence, see it as proof of a wide, multilevel and omnivorous conspiracy… or be forced to seek a deeper meaning, evidence of the action of a hidden force in nature, a connective tissue among events that cannot be discerned from our three dimensional surface. Not mere coincidence, but the phenomenon we know as coincidence taken to a different level.


The Maury Island affair and the Kenneth Arnold sighting are often linked, but in reality they were two separate incidents connected only by the fact that Arnold was sent—by Ray Palmer—to investigate the Maury Island sighting. Both events became eclipsed in the popular imagination by the Roswell crash.

So much has been written and broadcast about Roswell—including a prime-time television series featuring pouty, alienated teenagers as aliens— that the author will not devote an inordinate amount of time to the minutiae of the case. Instead, we will focus on specific elements as they pertain to our thesis. Interested readers can access a wide variety of printed studies of the Roswell case, as well as websites, films, television specials, etc. 7

The basic facts of the case—insofar as facts can be identified within the welter of conflicting details that have amassed in the last fifty years—is that, shortly after the Arnold and Dahl sightings of late June 1947, a surprising number of UFO sightings were being reported all over the United States, and in foreign countries. These sightings culminated with an object tracked on radar screens over New Mexico on July 1, 1947. This object followed the basic pattern of the Arnold sighting, showing speeds and maneuvers of which contemporary American aircraft were incapable. These sightings continued on July 2 and July 3. On July 4, the object vanished. Whatever it had been, the belief was that it had crashed.

The next day, July 5, 1947, wreckage was discovered on William Brazel’s ranch, north of Roswell, New Mexico. The people who found the wreckage included one Grady L. Barnett, a few archaeologists working on a dig nearby, and Brazel himself. The debris from the crash site covered a wide area, and Brazel’s sheep wouldn’t cross into the field. The next day, Brazel met with the sheriff of Roswell to report the situation, who then called the Army. The Army had the area cordoned off, and Brazel then spoke with intelligence officer Major Jesse A. Marcel and showed him a piece of the debris. Marcel then made a report at the airbase, and a complete search of the area was undertaken, from both land and air. During the investigation at the crash site, several eye witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be small bodies, corpses of whatever race was flying the object, beings that died on impact.

Later that week, the wheels fell off. The information officer of the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell issued a press release, telling a startled public that they had retrieved a flying disc.This seemed to have caught Washington by surprise. Marcel was ordered to take the debris to Fort Worth, Texas, to the Carswell Air Base, from which another press release was issued, this time telling the confused public that the material recovered was not from a flying disc but from a simple weather balloon. And there the story should have died.

Except for the witnesses.

Once again, most people who claim to have seen UFOs are dismissed as scientifically unsophisticated or somehow misinformed. In the case of

Roswell, however, the sheer number of military witnesses alone argues against this. These witnesses include Corporal E.L. Pyles, Sergeant Thomas

C. Gonzales, Sergeant Melvin E. Brown, CIC agent Master Sergeant Bill Rickett, Major Edwin Easley, Lieutenant Colonel Albert L. Duran, Colonel William Blanchard, and up to Brigadier General Arthur E. Exon, not forgetting Major Marcel himself, among others. In some cases, these men saw the crash and concluded that the craft was not of this world; in other cases, they saw bodies that did not seem to be human; in still other cases, they examined the crash debris and were amazed by the strange properties of the metal, such that it resisted extreme heat and could not be dented by hammers. This list includes both officers and enlisted men, from a Corporal to a Brigadier General. Either they are all lying, or some of them are lying, or they are all telling the truth. It strains credulity to believe that they were all simply mistaken, or the victims themselves of some kind of hoax.

To make matters even stranger, a high-ranking intelligence officer and former member of President Eisenhower’s National Security Council— Colonel Philip J. Corso—published a memoir shortly before his death claiming that he had seen evidence of the Roswell crash himself. The book was entitled The Day After Roswell and was published to, curiously, mixed reviews. Corso’s credentials are impeccable; he had given testimony before Congress on the fate of POWs being held in North Korea, he had appeared on Prime Time Live as an expert on U-2 overflights, had worked for both Senator Strom Thurmond and Senator James Eastland as “a staff member specializing in national security,” and had a remarkable twenty-one year career in the armed services. He had been part of Operation Paperclip in Italy. He had been a staff member for Senator Richard Russell on the Warren Commission (yet another Paperclip/UFO/assassination tie). The eighty-year-old retired military man with no need for the money the book would bring (and, indeed, due to some legal problems his royalties would be held up until after he died), and with a mantelpiece filled with medals and awards and photos with the famous and powerful in Washington, had no discernible reason—no ulterior motive that we can find—for participating in a hoax, if that is what Roswell is. His claim that his job at the Pentagon involved coordinating the reverse engineering of alien technology was greeted by either sneers of derision or cries of “I told you so!” The question that has not been answered is why Corso, at the end of

his long and successful career, would have bothered writing all of this if it wasn’t true, and thereby besmirch a previously blameless reputation.

Yet, with all that, the American public is expected to ignore Roswell and all of its attendant mysteries. It was a flying disc; no, it was a weather balloon; no, it was part of a top secret balloon project called Operation Mogul, and the bodies were really just mannequins. Unfortunately, the Roswell Air Base files on the crash were all destroyed, as US Representative Steven Schiff (R.-New Mexico) discovered to his disbelief in 1995. If Americans are not to believe a virtual platoon of military men and intelligence officers who all claim that something very unusual— something “otherworldly”—had crashed in the New Mexico desert in 1947, then just who are they supposed to believe? Press secretaries? Public relations officers? Spin doctors?

Of course, it is entirely possible that the government itself has no real idea exactly what crashed in Roswell, or what that crash implies for national security; but in the years that would follow, men would die, commit suicide, lose their minds and their reputations over the UFO phenomenon. That solemn roll call includes military men and scientists, people who can be expected to be skeptical, cautious, and most of all discerning in their approach to this material. Incredible sightings would take place, and continue to take place, all over the world, increasing the tension in the collective consciousness to the point that many people are expecting the truth about UFOs to be revealed any day. The author himself is reluctant to write this account, fearful that his reputation—such as it is!—is in danger due to his treatment of this controversial topic, because there are only two sides to this debate: you either believe, or you don’t. You’re not allowed to sit on the fence, and simply say “I don’t know,” because you will be immediately assailed on both sides by those who are desperate to shove their point of view down your rapidly constricting throat. In the absence of openness from the American government regarding what it knows about the UFO phenomenon, both believers and actual witnesses are forced into a kind of fantasy land: believers can make up any story they like, because they will all be denied with equal vehemence. Witnesses are forced to either admit they may be mistaken or at worst insane, doubting the solid evidence of their senses. And when that happens, a crime on a par with murder takes

place: the murder of truth, a sin—as Sister Agatha used to say—against the Holy Spirit.

Item: January 7, 1948. Air National Guard pilot Captain Thomas Mantell crashes in Franklin, Kentucky, chasing a UFO over Fort Knox. A decorated World War II ace, he becomes the first UFO casualty if you don’t count Davidson and Brown who died in the B-52 crash over Washington State. The cover story was that the misguided pilot was chasing the planet Venus; this was later changed to a weather balloon. Mantell had died because he ran out of oxygen at thirty thousand feet, the only one of his squadron who dared to climb that high in pursuit of the craft. His radio reports make it clear that he was in pursuit of a manned vehicle of some sort; the crash site examination and all other records were covered up and, at the time of this writing, have yet to be released.

Item: January 22, 1948. Two weeks after Captain Mantell’s death, the Air Force creates Project SIGN to investigate UFO phenomena.

Item: February 12, 1948. Brigadier General Charles P. Cabell of the US Air Force Directorate of Intelligence—and later to become Deputy Director of the CIA, implicated in the Bay of Pigs fiasco and possibly in the Kennedy assassination—issued a memo requesting all Air Force bases in the United States be provided with at least one camera-equipped fighter plane to record data from UFOs. The request was considered too expensive, and was turned down.

Item: August 1, 1948. By this time, Project SIGN officers conclude there is something to the UFO sightings and report this to General Hoyt S. Vandenberg.

Item: December 16, 1948. Due to news leaks, Project SIGN is changed to Project GRUDGE, and a sea change takes place. From now on, all official government reports on UFOs will be designed to discredit the sightings and to characterize them as weather balloons, planets, etc.

Item: December 6, 1950. Radar installations all over the United States are under high alert as Canadian stations report a squadron of aircraft flying towards Washington, D.C. from the coast of Labrador. This event is

recorded in Dean Acheson’s autobiography, as well in books about the Truman administration. It was later described as anything from a flight of geese to a C-47 air cargo transport to atmospheric conditions, depending on the agency doing the explanation; but the incident was considered serious enough that the British Prime Minister was warned that a possible attack was in progress. Then, mysteriously, the squadron disappeared from radar over American airspace.

Item: March 1952. Project GRUDGE becomes Project BLUEBOOK, headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, Ohio.

Item: July 19, 1952. UFOs swarm over Washington, D.C. on two successive weekends, instigating over three hundred reported sightings.

Item: July 26, 1952. Military issues “shoot them down” orders on UFOs over Washington; a decision later rescinded on advice of… Albert Einstein.

Item: November 23, 1953. An Air Force F-89 disappears over Lake Superior while chasing a UFO.

Item: May 15, 1954. US Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining informs an audience at Amarillo, Texas that the Air Force is trying to solve the UFO problem and that there is nothing to worry about.

Item: October 9, 1955. General Douglas MacArthur is quoted in the New York Times as saying that the nations of the Earth should unite in common cause against a possible attack by alien forces.

Item: July 29, 1958. NASA is created.

Item: December 3, 1958. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is transferred from US Army jurisdiction to NASA.

Item: April 29, 1959. UFO researcher and author Morris K. Jessup commits suicide in a Dade County, Florida park.

Item: December 24, 1959. Air Force Regulation 200-2 is issued to all USAF personnel: not to report UFO sightings unless they are known to be

of familiar objects.

Item: February 27, 1960. Former CIA chief Roscoe Hillenkoetter releases copies of Air Force Regulation 200-2 to the press, thus exposing the coverup attempt.

Item: May 1960. Roscoe Hillenkoetter is quoted as saying, “It is imperative that we learn where the UFOs come from and what their purpose is.”

Item: January 20, 1961. President John F. Kennedy is inaugurated; he vows to put a man on the moon in ten years.

Item: June 1962. General Douglas MacArthur is quoted in the New York Times as saying, “We deal now not with things of this world alone. We deal now with the ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy.”

Generals, CIA chiefs, dead airmen… all giving evidence of the existence of some “sinister force” operating in our world.

What, then, is reality? Have we simply satisfied superstitious impulses with this newer, quasi-scientific experience, as science observers such as Carl Sagan insist? Or is science itself reaching the limits of its ability to make statements about reality, and is it crossing over—slowly, but inexorably— into the domain of the supernatural?


George Steiner, in a breathtaking study of myth and philosophy in literature—Antigones—introduces us to a theme of Romantic literature, codified by the Danish philosopher Sören Kierkegaard as theSymparanekromenoi, a term that can be translated as “brothers in death” or “companions in live burial” or even “brotherhood of the sepulchral and macabre.” Steiner presents as examples of this “brotherhood” the authors Baudelaire, Coleridge, Novalis, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard himself. 8He sees the literary technique of the fragment (bits of diary entry, letters, unfinished lectures, aphorisms, etc.) as representative of this school, as well as a fascination with death and the supernatural (in a morbid sense as

opposed to the purely uplifting). One may say that these fragments represent nothing more than clues… clues perhaps at the scene of the crime.

The Romantic period was the last gasp of literary arrogance before the advent of technology and the “technological sciences” (as opposed to pure science). One might say that Hiroshima spelled the end of any future pretense at the Romantic in literature. Faced with such an unyielding and remorseless reality—the instantaneous incineration of whole populations by a single bomb—western literature and philosophy began to reflect that reality. When the full horrors of the Holocaust became common knowledge, the depth of the depravity and destructiveness of humanity stunned the innocent and naïve—that is to say, the Americans—and overrode all other impulses. The world seemed poised on the brink of Manichean apocalypse, of “mutual assured destruction,” in death measured in megatons, rads, minutes, and first-strikes. Existentialism became a fad, as young people and old began to question existence (and therefore reality) itself, the purpose of life, and moral responsibility. Nuclear winter became our season of discontent.

As the Forties turned into the Fifties, and then the Sixties, the drug culture took western civilization on what appeared to be a detour but what may have been the main drag itself. Suddenly, questions that seemed so important a year before were rendered pointless in the face of fantastic hallucinations and psychedelic illuminations, and all this in the midst of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, African revolutions and Latin American coups d’etat. The real and the ideal were mixed in a kaleidoscopic mural of love and death, hope and despair.

As Vietnam turned into Watergate, reality itself became the circus of the bizarre. We learned more during the Watergate hearings than we ever wanted to know. Crooked politicians we could deal with, and have dealt with since the founding of the country; but crooked spies, rogue intelligence operations, foreign adventures unsupported by an electorate glued to their television sets during prime time soap opera extravaganzas… this was more than most Americans could understand.

Gradually, entertainment became reality, and reality, entertainment. Shows like Cops showed Americans what it was like to be on both sides of

an arrest. Tabloid news shows like Current Affair and Hard Copy gave Americans reality presented as entertainment-presented-as-reality. The Falklands War gave us Nightline, where we could watch Argentine government officials and British government officials screaming at each other over satellite linkups, in real time.

Soon, reality became king. MTV gave us the spectacle of intellectually dismal young people living together in a single dwelling, sniping at each other and stabbing each other in the back. This was followed by a rash of “reality” television shows, such as Survivor, Combat Mission, Eco- Challenge, and the other creations of Australian producer Mark Burnett. At the same time, made-for-tv movie credits were always careful to mention that their offering was “based on a true story.”

We might trace this “based on a true story” motif to that 1973 cinematic blockbuster, The Exorcist. After all, what made that movie so frightening to so many people was the insistence by its producer that it was, after all, based on actual events. And here we had an example of a new kind of postwar Romanticism: horror was acceptable if it was real. After all, the world had been shown to be full of more horrors than any (sane) novelist could imagine. The alternative was the splatter film, a genre soaked in blood and violence that was far from what the Romantics had in mind with their melancholy graveyards and sorrowful shades. Instead, the sophisticated horror tale had to be real and appropriately psychological. Psychology gave horror writers and producers a credible way to represent the otherwise impossible scenarios in their books and scripts: the perpetrator was crazy, and had only imagined in his diseased brain all those spooky effects. It was the diseased brain itself that became the crucible for horror, the new metaphor for evil. The Tony Perkins character in Psycho was tailor-made by Freud, and based on the real-life serial killer, Ed Gein.

Of course, our political assassins are all crazy, too.

While Romanticism may be dead, a curiosity fit only for college English Literature courses and tenured professors in tweedy jackets and elbow patches, there is a new kind of Romantic element at play in the West, and it is creating a new kind of literature. Norman Mailer may have been much closer to the mark than we realized, for instance, when he subtitled his

Pulitzer Prize-winning The Executioner’s Song, “a non-fiction novel.” There is an element of the fragmentary in that work—the accumulation of evidence based on hundreds of interviews, trial transcripts, and public records—as well as in Harlot’s Ghost, his fictionalized treatment of the history of the CIA. There is a growing realization that we cannot depict what really happened without an element of the novelistic. We can’t tell the story without… telling a story. We have to put events in context for them to have any meaning, the same way a homicide detective examines the clues at the scene of the crime; and it is precisely this insistence on meaning that has plagued realism from the start, and has led to the confrontation between science and religion or, more properly perhaps, between science and the occult. And in the midst of that confrontation, living in the twilight world between what is mainstream science and what is fringe spirituality, an abyss of politics by other means, dwells a new “brotherhood buried alive”: the investigative journalists Jim Marrs, Howard Blum and Jim Hougan, among others.

Jim Marrs is perhaps the latest one of that brotherhood of respected, award- winning journalists who seem to have gone off the deep end as their research took them further and further into the murky flipside of the American dream; Howard Blum may have been one of the first. Blum’s 1977 expose on Nazi war criminals living peacefully in the United States— Wanted! The Search for Nazis in America—was a bestseller, based on the unsung heroes of the US government (as well as private citizens) who would not rest until the scandal of government-sponsored Nazi war criminals was made common knowledge and the criminals deported to stand trial. Blum wrote investigative pieces for the New York Times, and won several prestigious awards. Wanted! carried blurbs from Harrison E. Salisbury and Joseph Heller. Blum went on to become a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. He followed Wanted! with Gangland (about the FBI and the Mafia) and a study of the Walker spy family, I Pledge Allegiance.

In the midst of all these mainstream topics, though, we find Blum writing Out There, a 1990 expose of the UFO coverup in the American military and government. This was a gutsy thing to do. After all, UFOs are the kiss of death for serious journalists, and one risks his credibility even thinking about doing a story like that, unless the goal is to debunk. Out There did not

debunk; on the contrary one comes away believing that the US government has detailed and precise knowledge of alien visitations, and is covering up a story about as big as the Crucifixion. To make matters even more interesting, Blum followed that in 1998 with The Gold of Exodus, a story about lost treasure, in which some amateur archaeologists secretly start digging around in Saudi Arabian territory, hot on the trail of Moses. So, from Nazi war criminals, spies and the Mafia… to UFOs and Biblical archaeology.

Jim Hougan, another highly-regarded investigative journalist, television producer and novelist, caught national attention with Spooks, a fascinating expose of the private use of intelligence agents in such companies as Hughes Tool and Resorts International. It is in Spooks that we learn of Mitch WerBell—the “Wizard of Whispering Death”—and other colorful, underworld characters. Hougan followed this up withSecret Agenda, a convincing report on the call-girl ring involved in the Watergate affair which has added considerably to our knowledge of this important political “nightmare.” His novels, however, deal with Illuminati-type secret societies, intelligence agency mind control programs, and all the heavy furniture of the conspiracy theorists.

What’s going on? Is this a phenomenon in itself worth studying: how the best and the brightest of our investigative journalists eventually find themselves wandering the labyrinth of cults, conspiracies and alien contact? Jim Marrs is the Texas-based journalist who came to national prominence with Crossfire, the book that—along with Jim Garrison’s On The Trail of the Assassins—became the basis of Oliver Stone’s film on the Kennedy assassination, JFK. He has since gone down the same mysterious labyrinth, publishing Alien Agenda in 1997 and Rule By Secrecy in 2000. The fact that respected journalists such as Marrs, Hougan and Blum put their names and reputations on the line by publishing reports on aliens, cults, and some of the wilder conspiracy theories of our time should give us pause. These are the people we trust to come back and tell us the truth about what is… out there.

Norman Mailer, the father of New Journalism, a founder of the Village Voice, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and no-nonsense eminence gris of

American letters, has himself followed a similar path. Beginning with The Naked and the Dead and through A Fire On the Moon, Armies of the Night, The Executioner’s Song, Harlot’s Ghost and dozens of other novels and works of non-fiction over the past fifty years, Mailer has given us reality as well as new ways of looking at reality without compromising his (or our) intellectual integrity. As an example, many objected to his study of Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald’s Tale, researched at some peril amid KGB files in the crumbling Soviet Union, since it seemed to support the Warren Commission Report’s “crazed, lone gunman” conclusion. Yet, he has remained fascinated with spiritual and mythical themes. Ancient Evenings is probably the most obvious demonstration of this, a novel set entirely in ancient Egypt. He has also written about Marilyn Monroe at length and this, with his work on Oswald and his novel on the CIA, places him squarely in the middle of some of our greatest twentieth century controversies. While he has yet to tackle UFOs, he has written The Gospel According to the Son, which is a fictionalized “gospel” written by Jesus himself, and thus has covered the Biblical angle, along with those Egyptian mysteries in Ancient Evenings.

The above is a sampling of those who began as essentially political writers and journalists and who evolved over time into the type of seekers peculiar to the late twentieth century: seekers after truth who trust science more than faith. (About the only person the mainstream trusted to speak of UFOs, astrology, and cults was, after all, the late Carl Sagan.) But what of those who began their careers “from the other direction” as it might be? Were there cultists, priests of arcane religions, devotees of the “astral” who became… political?

Perhaps the most famous, most respected of all the amateur assassination and conspiracy researchers is Mary Ferrell. Ferrell’s work has attracted virtually every serious journalist and writer on the subject of presidential assassinations. Her library of books, papers, newsclippings and articles is vast and well-organized. Mary Ferrell bought the entire 26 volume set of the Warren Commission Report and cross-indexed it single-handedly, thus immediately providing an invaluable research tool, since, as anyone knows who has ever seen the entire Report, it is a disaster when it comes to the organization of data. She then collected every scrap of paper she could find

that involved the assassination and its various personalities. She has been a source for Jim Marrs, Norman Mailer, and virtually every other well-known (and not so well-known) name in the business. What is perhaps not so well- known about Mary Ferrell herself is that she was once heavily involved in the occult, specifically with the Golden Dawn: that British secret society and breeding ground for such personalities as Aleister Crowley, William Butler Yeats, Arthur Edward Waite and many others, and with Israel Regardie, Crowley’s one time secretary and publisher of the Golden Dawn rituals. This involvement was long before the Kennedy assassination took place. It was the assassination itself that put her mystical studies on hold and which drove her into this noble obsession with finding out the truth behind the murder.

There are many similarities between the function of the occultist and the function of the detective: to seek the truth behind a mystery is perhaps the easiest way to describe what may be a psychological compulsion common to both types of personality. In the case of the detective, each individual homicide is perhaps representative of a greater Evil, and to solve one murder is to begin to solve all the others, to redress a history of wrong, to redeem society itself. In the case of the occultist, there is only one murder, whether it is the murder of Abel by Cain or of Jesus by the Romans or of any one of thousands of other symbols and signs for that first, ineffable crime, the “dreadful”—to use Kierkegaard’s phrase—“that has already happened.”

The Dutch writer Jan Willem van de Wetering is another example of this same impulse. In 1972 he published a memoir of his time spent as a Zen monk in Japan, The Empty Mirror. He began his novitiate in 1958 in Kyoto, and spent a year and a half undergoing the harsh discipline of Zen monastery life. This was, of course, at the time of the Beat generation, and Zen had become popularized in the books and poems of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and the rest of the bongo-thumping, finger-snapping Beatniks. Yet, van de Wetering was quite serious about his desire to attain enlightenment, even though he interrupted his routine at times by getting drunk and walking blindly through the paper walls of the Japanese monastery.

He is now a famous author of mysteries, many involving his most beloved characters, the Amsterdam Cops. His tales are part detective story, part Zen koan. As his master told him the day he left the Japanese monastery, “By leaving here nothing is broken. Your training continues. The world is a school where the sleeping are woken up. You are now a little awake, so awake that you can never fall asleep again.”9 His detective novels are, perhaps, proof of this “spiritual insomnia.”

Apropos philosophy and the detective story, the Italian philosopher and detective novelist in his own right, as well as author of many important works on semiotics, Umberto Eco has this to say:

After all, the fundamental question of philosophy (like that of psychoanaly

sis) is the same as the question of the detective novel: who is guilty?


Who, indeed?


You are on the threshold of the Land of Memory…

—Act II, Scene I: “The Fairy,” The Blue Bird 11

As we have seen, the creation of the United States’ intelligence apparatus began in the same month as the Roswell crash, in July of 1947, with the National Security Act. The National Security Council was established at that time, and James Forrestal was named as the first US Secretary of Defense (the War Department being renamed as the “Department of Defense”). The National Security Act provided for the creation of a national intelligence agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency was formally created by charter on September 18, 1947. The very first National Security Council meeting was held on December 19, 1947, and, a few days later on December 22, the first Director of the CIA—Vice Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter—authorized the CIA’s SPG (Special Projects Group) to carry out covert operations. The Cold War is in full swing, and there is no turning back.

Within a few weeks, Captain Mantell would chase a UFO across the skies over Kentucky and would die after blacking out at thirty thousand feet, or so the story goes. During the rest of that year Project SIGN would be created, the State of Israel would be proclaimed, and Jack Parsons would lose his security clearance. That same year, the US Navy would create Project PENGUIN, a program to research the uses of psychic phenomena by the military.

By 1949 the world would enter a very dangerous phase, as the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb, and Mao’s revolution culminated in the creation of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. The world, it seemed, was polarizing into two opposing forces, the yin and yang of twentieth century history: on the economic side, the opposing systems of capitalism and communism, and on the political side, the systems of democracy and totalitarianism. More than simply a difference of opinion about how to organize society, the opposing principles were deeper, more profound than that, and affected every aspect of the human experience. Everything from education to religion to commerce to government to marriage was being examined under the Communist systems of Russia and China, which meant that the rest of the world was forced to come to terms with institutions they had taken for granted. The term “Godless Communism” became a watchword and a battle-cry, a stereotype that could have come straight from the book of psychological warfare, so neat and unequivocal it was, so efficient in forestalling any need for deeper understanding of the conflict. Communists were atheists, enough said. Wasn’t it Marx who wrote, “Religion is the opiate of the people”? And speaking of religion and opium it was on February 3, 1949 that the world was subjected to a very bizarre experience, in the form of a public confession recited by Roman Catholic Josef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary.

Josef Mindszenty was a staunch anti-Communist and priest of the Catholic Church in Budapest when Pope Pius XII consecrated him bishop in 1944, elevating him to Cardinal in February 1946. This was in the midst of great turmoil in Hungary, when a democratically-elected government was toppled by a Communist coup d’état that instigated a reign of terror. Mindszenty himself was arrested in 1948, accused of collaboration with the

Nazis, espionage, and treason. Subjected to physical and psychological torture, including being beaten with a rubber hose, Mindszenty refused to sign a confession to the charges. Finally, in February of 1949, he appeared before the startled view of the world as, apparently drugged or under some other psychological coercion, he fully (and robotically) confessed to all the charges against him. The security and intelligence services of the world became very alarmed. What weapon did the Russians possess that was stronger than physical or psychological torture, that could make such a cast- iron anti-Communist as Mindszenty confess to crimes that he did not commit and that could conceivably sign his death warrant?

The following year, 1950, the Korean War began. Our former allies against the Nazis and the Japanese—the Russians and the Chinese respectively—were now our enemies. The Korean War would officially begin on June 25, 1950, but two months earlier an operation was put in motion whose effects are still being felt today, more than fifty years later.

Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter was the first Director of the CIA; he was also later to become a member of NICAP, that organization of professional scientists, military men, engineers and civilians created to uncover the truth about UFOs. Hillenkoetter remained convinced about the reality of the phenomenon all his life. But on April 20, 1950—ironically enough, Hitler’s birthday—he approved the creation of a special project to discover a means to combat the Russian mind weapons, whatever they were. This project was called BLUEBIRD. 12

Tad Szulc, a respected mainstream journalist and biographer of both Watergate Plumber and CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and Cuban leader Fidel Castro (and thus covering both sides of the Bay of Pigs story), mentions— in an article printed in the November 1977 issue of Psychology Today—that code names like BLUEBIRD and the later ARTICHOKE “have no known significance.” This is echoed in John Marks’ classic study of CIA mind control projects, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate (1979). Yet it is true that, in the early days of the CIA, project names were at the whim of their creators, and not the results of a computer-generated random search among a classified dictionary as they are now. Thus, project names usually had some meaning attached to them. (For instance, when Allen Dulles was

put in charge of the CIA’s mind control project he changed the name BLUEBIRD to ARTICHOKE, since (according to Gordon Thomas)13 he was fond of the vegetable. It was, according to John Marks, CIA security chief Sheffield Edwards who decided to call the project—a program for exploring the uses of hypnosis and other means to protect Agency personnel from enemy psychic penetration—BLUEBIRD. Why, then, did he choose the name BLUEBIRD for the first-ever CIA mind control project, the forerunner of the more infamous MK-ULTRA?

At the time, the US Navy had its own truth serum operation, called Project CHATTER, begun in 1947. CHATTER seems a more appropriate project name, since its goal was to make prisoners talk. Thus, we are still faced with what appears to be a minor mystery: why BLUEBIRD?

There is a phrase which is perhaps not used so much these days as it was in the tender years of the twentieth century: “the blue bird of happiness.” What many people do not realize—and did not realize even then—was that this term had its origins in a play and a novel by the Belgian Nobel Prize- winning author and dramatist, Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949). Maeterlinck was surrounded by the Symbolist movement (forerunners of the Surrealists) in fin-de-siécle France, and was a friend of Sar Peladan, a noted Rosicrucian of the day. Indeed, Maeterlinck was something of a mystic himself and a firm believer in occult phenomena, as his other writings such as The Other World (1942) amply demonstrate. He was also a keen observer of nature and natural phenomena, in The Life of the Bee (1901), in which the concept of the “meme” is introduced to a wider audience (after its creation by a relatively-unknown German psychologist— Richard Sauder—years before, the same psychologist who created the “engram,” made famous by L. Ron Hubbard). His writings were very popular in Europe, being a mixture of the profound with the childlike, such as his most famous work The Blue Bird (1909). In this play, first performed in the Russian language in Moscow on September 30, 1908 and later in English in London and New York, two children set off on a search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. This search leads them on many adventures—a kind of initiatic quest for the Grail—and the author was startled to realize that many of the motifs of Maeterlinck’s play are repeated in the CIA’s search for a Manchurian Candidate, a search that began with Project

BLUEBIRD. It is this strange set of correspondences that leads the author to the opinion that Sheffield Edwards’s agenda itself was more profound than simply a search for a truth serum or a psychological defense against it, or that at least Edwards understood the implications of what he had set out to do in BLUEBIRD. (A further search through Maeterlinck’s works reveals an even more sinister aspect, which will be discussed later.)

The story, which begins on Christmas Eve, involves two children—Tyltyl and his younger sister Mytyl—who set out on a quest to find the Blue Bird of Happiness. Impoverished children of a woodcutter, who live across from a great house with very rich children, they understand that they are too poor to receive Christmas presents that year. They go to sleep with the lamp out. Then, in the middle of the night, a light shines through their house from outside, the lamp lights itself, and the children awake. (It is like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, similar in detail to descriptions of UFO landings.) There is a knock at the door, and an old woman—who later introduces herself as the Fairy Berylune—asks them if they have “the grass that sings, or the bird that is blue.” It appears that Berylune has a sick daughter who will not get well unless the Blue Bird of Happiness is found. The children, eager to help, then set off on a quest for the mysterious Bird… and to visit their dead grandparents, with the Fairy’s help. In order to visit the dead, however, they have to pass through the Land of Memory which is on the way to the Blue Bird.

Tyltyl is given a magic hat. On this hat is a diamond, set squarely in the center. If he presses it, he will see “the Soul of Things”; if he turns it to the right, he sees the past; to the left, the future; and as long as he wears the hat, it is invisible.

Those who read Eastern mysticism will no doubt grasp at once that the diamond is the “adamantine substance” and its position on the hat is a reference to the Third Eye, which, when opened, gives the devotee access to secret information and occult powers. The search for the Blue Bird will give Tyltyl these powers as he walks through the Land of Memory, the Palace of the Night, a Graveyard, and an enchanted Forest, meeting his dead grandparents on the way. Eventually, of course, the children arrive back at their home on Christmas morning where they discover that the Blue Bird of

Happiness has been there all along: Maeterlinck’s homely moral, which was embraced by many at the time. Few sought to delve any deeper into the tale to discover the esoteric elements of necromancy and treasure-quest. That children—virgins—are the ideal seers according to the occult texts of the Middle Ages (the ones consulted by Joseph Smith, Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons, L. Ron Hubbard, et al.) goes unmentioned. The moral is uplifting and spiritual, conservative and charming. A fairy tale replete with talking animals and trees, and kindly grandparents, suitable for children and adults alike. The quest itself, though, is enlightening for other reasons.

The Land of Memory, of course, was the target of the BLUEBIRD project: to enter that Land in another person’s mind, to go through the drawers, rearrange the furniture, and leave unnoticed. Once the Korean War started, and American POWs began making bizarre, pro-Communist statements after a mysterious sojourn in Manchuria, the world was introduced to the concept of “brainwashing,” and BLUEBIRD took on enormous importance. If the Communists could alter the consciousness of American soldiers, then the War took on a completely different nature: it became a war of culture against culture, of atheism versus religion, of race against race, of Darkness against Light. This was a war not to be fought by bullets alone; psychological warfare operations were ramped up at the same time as BLUEBIRD went into full swing, and what William Sargant would later (1957) call “The Battle for the Mind” had begun.

The innocent tale of Tyltyl and Mytyl must have ignited some deeper understanding on the part of Sheffield Edwards. In 1940, Maeterlinck and his wife had fled to America after a brief sojourn in Portugal during the early days of the war. It was here, for a publication called the American Magazine of January 1941 that Maeterlinck wrote “The Blue Bird Found Again.” In it, he writes, “They sought the blue bird of happiness throughout the worlds of the living and the dead—for surely, they thought, so great a prize as this cannot exist in any save a far, strange land. It was only when they returned, defeated in their search, that they discovered the blue bird— where it had been all the time, where they had never noticed it, since they had been seeing it every day.” 14

It was from far, strange lands—Communist Hungary, Communist Manchuria—that the search for the blue bird had been born. And Sheffield Edwards was determined to bring that search right back home. Everyone in the West in the pre-War years had known of Maeterlinck’s creation, even if they had not read or heard of any of his other, more obscure, works, or of his studies of astrology, psychic phenomena, and mysticism. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1911, largely on the strength of The Blue Bird, and he fled to the United States from Europe in the same year as Hans Habe, another famous novelist. Yet, it is the author’s contention that Edwards was more familiar with The Blue Bird than simply hearing the term tossed around as a metaphor for an ideal state of mind. Maeterlinck’s description of the Land of Memory had to strike deep resonances in the minds of the BLUEBIRD team as they embarked on their search for a key to the mysteries of human consciousness. For it was in Maeterlinck’s play (and later a novelized form, published by esoteric groups in the US and Europe) that the search for happiness—for the Blue Bird—is linked to the Land of Memory, to the Palace of Night, and the source of Truth.

In the Land of Memory—a strange land enshrouded in mist and dark- ness—the two seekers find their grandparents, long deceased. Their grandparents tell them,

The last time you were here, let me see, when was it?… It was on All Hallow’s, when the church bells were ringing…

—Act II, Scene 2 “The Land of Memory,” The Blue Bird

All Hallow’s, of course, is the Day of the Dead. They find a Blue Bird, but when they return from the Land of Memory the bird has turned completely black. Only the first “trial” has taken place, and Tyltyl and Mytyl have much farther to go.

The Palace of Night is somewhat more eerie and forbidding than even the Land of Memory. Night is depicted as a kind of angel, a Dark Lady with wings in place of arms. “Her beauty, built up of peace and repose, possessed the secret of Silence…” 15When Tyltyl stands before her, she thinks, “What! A Man’s son coming to her palace! And, perhaps, with the help of the magic diamond, discovering her secrets!”16The strange juxtaposition of “Man’s son” with the Palace of Night, a magic diamond, and the discovery of the secret which was the aim of BLUEBIRD makes

one think immediately of that compelling line in Ed Sanders’ study of Charles Manson: “If the Pentagon ever formulates the Manson secret, the world’s in trouble.” 17That there are other bizarre resonances between Manson and BLUEBIRD will become obvious later.

The Palace of Night is the domain of Ghosts, Sickness and Wars. One goes directly from the Land of Memory to the Palace of Night, from unlocking the secrets of the memory to communing with the dead, controlling sickness and becoming victorious in war. Some readers may protest that the author’s reading of what is, after all, a fairy story is too poetic, and that he is taking an inordinate amount of license with the material; the author would protest that there seems no other reason for calling the CIA’s mind control program BLUEBIRD if it was not in reference to the Maeterlinck play, and that—consciously or unconsciously

—the doctors of the mind control program were following virtually the same agenda as our fictional hero, Tyltyl. BLUEBIRD, and its associated programs such as MK-ULTRA and OFTEN, became involved in all aspects of behavior modification, hypnosis, drug-induced psychological states, the creation of amnesia, and studies of the paranormal, including ESP and mediumship. The Land of Memory and the Palace of Night were both amply represented in the US Government’s mind control programs.

Tyltyl finds a great door set in the rear of the Palace of Night, and is told he must never open it, that great dangers await those who rush in and that no one who enters that room ever returns to the land of the living. Tyltyl, who is charged with the sacred quest of finding the Blue Bird, finally decides to open the door. When he does so, he sees a beautiful garden, a waterfall, many wonderful things and… thousands of blue birds. He tries to grab as many as he can, and when he takes them out of the room they turn to corpses in his arms. They cannot stand the light of day.

The Blue Bird, the real one, the only one that can live in the light of day, is hidden here, among the blue birds of the dreams that live on the rays of the moon and die as soon as they set eyes on the sun.

—Act III, Scene I: “The Palace of Night,” The Blue Bird

He must continue his quest, leaving the Palace of Night for his next destination, the Palace of Luxury. Here, he is confronted by a scene of

outrageous depravity, as fat beings eat, drink, laugh and carouse, beatific in their willful ignorance. As always, however, Tyltyl—with his magic diamond—can see things as they really are, and by pressing the diamond he perceives that these beings are miserable fools and, thus exposed, they retreat to the Miseries, a special place from whence they may never return. Of course, the CIA specializes in “seeing things as they really are,” looking behind the curtain, behind the façade, and their entire program may be seen as Tyltyl’s diamond: they put the magic diamond to use to see the human mind as it really is, to strip away a human being’s conscious defenses so that everything, every secret—even highly classified government secrets that could cost the lives of many—would be revealed.

From the Palace of Luxury, Tyltyl proceeds to the Kingdom of the Future. This is where he finds a land filled with children who are not yet born, dressed completely in blue and like little scientists. They are occupied with the inventions that they will produce once they have been born on earth. However, Tyltyl—as a living person—is not allowed in this Kingdom, which is under the rulership of Time. Secretly, he passes through the Kingdom, learning of the new advances in science, technology, agriculture and the like, finds the Blue Bird, and begins to leave, when Time discovers him and attacks him. Frightened, Tyltyl releases the Blue Bird, and once again it flies away.

From the Kingdom of the Future, then, to the Graveyard.

This is much like any other cemetery, with tombstones and grass and silence. At midnight, he is to use his magic diamond once again to see the Dead. In the midst of the darkness and impending horror, a clock in the distance chimes the hour. Tyltyl presses the diamond, frightened but willing to face the Dead as the next in his series of trials before he can capture the Blue Bird.

But instead of ghostly figures in shrouds and clanking chains, the scene changes. The tombs open, but instead of ghoulish entities only flowers emerge.

They had thought that ugly skeletons would rise from the earth and run after them. They had imagined all sorts of terrible things. And then, in the

presence of the Truth, they saw that all they had been told was a story and that death does not exist. 18

The motto of the CIA, of course: “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”

The poignant last lines of this section—in the novelization of The Blue Bird—are “There are no dead! There are no dead!” (The family of the late Dr. Frank J. Olson may disagree, of course. As one of the many martyrs of the CIA’s mind control efforts, his sacrifice has become a rallying point for those who fear the CIA’s arsenal of psy-war and behavior modification weapons. His story will follow soon.)

From the Graveyard, Tyltyl wanders into the Forest. Oddly, the creatures of the Forest fear Tyltyl and his efforts to find the Blue Bird and, in the accomplishment of his quest, reveal all of the secrets he has learned. They conspire to kill him.

We must now decide, in order to avoid reprisals, which form of execution will be the most practical, the easiest, the quickest and the safest, which will leave the fewest accusing traces when Man finds the little bodies in the forest…

—Act III, Scene II, “The Forest,” The Blue Bird

During the hero’s quest for the Blue Bird, he has been accompanied by various other creatures who have been observing him from a distance. These are variously a Cat, a Dog, Bread, Sugar, Fire, etc. Many of these creatures—most especially the Cat—fear for their lives should Tyltyl be successful. In addition, the Fairy has warned some of them: “All those who accompany the two children will die at the end of the journey.” 19

The Cat, however, is having none of it:

“The idiots,” she thought, “have very nearly spoiled the whole thing by foolishly throwing themselves at the Fairy’s feet, as though they were guilty of a crime. It is better to rely on one’s self alone. In my cat-life, all our training is founded on suspicion. I can see that it is just the same in the life of men. Those who confide in others are only betrayed. It is better to keep silent and to be treacherous one’s self.” 20

At the risk of belaboring the point, might one say that the above quotation could be the personal motto of men like Richard Helms, E. Howard Hunt, or even the late czar of MK-ULTRA, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb? Loners all, desperately private men who guarded the secrets of the nation and the secrets of their lives with equal passion, since the two were often so inextricably intertwined, their training was certainly “founded on suspicion.” The above words could also be their reaction to the spectacle of the Watergate hearings or those of the House Intelligence Sub-Committee on Assassinations, where some of the intelligence agents threw themselves at the feet of the Senators, “as though they were guilty of a crime” and “nearly spoiled the whole thing.”

In the story, the Cat leads Tyltyl into a trap in the forest, where he is set upon by the trees and the animals and has to fight for his life. He is saved in the last minute by Light, who warns him—apropos of Cat and the other animals and trees—that “man is alone against all in this world. Never forget that.” 21 Not exactly an environmentalist message!

Finally, the Leave-Taking occurs, as the hour has grown late and the two children, Tyltyl and his younger sister Mytyl, must return to their cottage to awaken on Christmas morning. They have not found the Blue Bird, and are in despair. What is more, they must say goodbye to all the animals and other creatures that accompanied them on their quest. The Cat has the last word of the animals, and says, “I love you both as much as you deserve,”22 which could be the cynical perspective of some of the people whose histories we cover in these pages.

The children return to their cottage miraculously as the clock strikes eight o’clock on Christmas morning. This is the Awakening, a constant theme with Maeterlinck which is repeated in The Betrothal, his sequel to The Blue Bird. Of course, when they awaken, the children realize that the Blue Bird has been in their home all along.

The author has taken this much time with Maeterlinck’s work in order to present his case that the selection of the project name for the CIA’s first- ever mind control program was deliberate and held a certain degree of relevance for the initial team of scientists and spies that made up the BLUEBIRD team. Like Tyltyl and Mytyl in the story, they were on a sacred

quest that would lead them into humanity’s deepest secrets; by delving into the universal, macrocosmic secrets of the human mind, they hoped to uncover the specific, microcosmic secrets of their enemies. As above, so below.

Yet, Tyltyl and Mytyl were innocents; they were virgin children, morally spotless, on an initiatic journey in the company of Light. The men of BLUEBIRD, and later ARTICHOKE and MK-ULTRA, could hardly be considered in the same way. From the point of view of the ancient mystery religions whose quest they were imitating, they were plumbing the depths of the Abyss without having undergone a period of purification; thus their sins—their personal, private, specific sins—would come to haunt them in the days and weeks and years that would follow, soiling their reputations and forbidding them entry to the Inner Temple. Frank Olson was one of these: a man who had confronted his own personal demons, who had seen the hideous results of his work in the desperate eyes of his victims, and who wanted to be shriven, to be forgiven. Perhaps alone of all his colleagues, he realized that what he was cooperating in was heinous and he wanted out. Unfortunately, Dr. Gottlieb had other plans for Frank Olson. Dr. Olson was “initiated” at the hands of Gottlieb before he was spiritually ready, when his soul was sick and when hallucinations of terror were his constant companions.

His was the first sacrifice of these cynical Masters. His blood was spilled on the concrete outside a New York hotel. Like the Tarot trump, The Lightning-Struck Tower, the story of Frank Olson has become an icon, an archetype of sinister forces and the destruction they wreak on the guilty and the innocent alike. It is also a very real, literal story of espionage, mind control and politics—a terrifying case that may well lead to the dismantling or reorganization of America’s intelligence establishment


What are you doing in that corner? You look like a pack of conspirators!

—Maeterlinck, The Blue Bird 23

The story of Frank Olson has been known for quite some time, but only in bits and pieces. It is well-known, for instance, that he was a scientist who was given LSD without his knowledge, and who became psychotic and who died after a plunge from a hotel room window. It is well-known that his death as a result of an unethical drug experiment had not been revealed to anyone—including his family—for twenty years, until the Watergate era when some of the details of the MK-ULTRA program leaked out and hearings were held to determine just exactly what had gone on then. It is also well-known that the CIA paid damages to the Olson family, and hoped the whole thing would just go away.

What is not well-known, and what has only come to light recently, is that Dr. Olson was working on chemical and biological warfare weapons at his laboratory at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, work that involved the search for drugs that would unlock the human memory bank and help to create the perfect assassin, the “Manchurian Candidate”; that he doubted the morality of his work when confronted with some “test subjects” at a secret base in the United Kingdom (according to Gordon Thomas, German prisoners of war); that he was a colleague of such esteemed psychological warfare experts as William Sargant, who was worried that Olson would blow the whistle on the programs. He was faced with the horror of what he was doing, and began to request reassignment. He was definitely reassigned.

Most of the following information can be found on the website of the Frank Olson Legacy Project, which is under the stewardship of Dr. Olson’s son, Eric Olson, who is a psychiatrist who studied under Dr. Robert Jay Lifton. Dr. Lifton is the author of numerous works concerned with the malicious use of science by governments, one of the classics being his work on thought-reform in China and another his definitive study of the Nazi doctors. 24

Frank Olson is born in Wisconsin in the year 1910. He will receive his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1942, from the University of Wisconsin. In 1943 he is asked to join the staff at the newly-formed Camp Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. The war is on, and the Army has created Camp Detrick to be its center for CBW, or Chemical-Biological Warfare. The man in charge of the

science at Camp Detrick is Frank Olson’s mentor from the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Ira Baldwin.

In 1948, Dr. Baldwin issues “Special CBW Operations” for the War Department, in which he advises a new approach for chemical and biological weapons strategy, the use of CBW weapons as sabotage. By 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War, the scientists and would-be saboteurs at Camp Detrick get serious. The Special Operations Division (SOD) of the Army is created under Dr. John Schwab, a group that runs parallel to CIA’s Technical Services Staff (TSS) under Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. It was SOD that was responsible for the bacteriological tests with the bacterium Serratia marcescens over San Francisco in the 1950s, which may have led to the death of Edward J. Nevin and possibly more, since at least ten others were hospitalized at the same time with the same symptoms. 25Between 1949 and 1969, citizens of the United States were the unwitting subjects in 239 separate cases of open-air biological attack simulations; most used chemicals that were inert and harmless, but in some cases live bacteria were used, such as in San Francisco in September 1950.26 The Army has defended itself, saying that these tests were necessary in order to understand the dispersal patterns of biological agents on the civilian population should the enemy (in those days, the Chinese and the Russians) attack the country with anthrax or other virulent toxins. It was the Cold War, and such measures were thought urgently necessary in order to defend the country; the question is, of course, where does one eventually draw the line between what actions are defensible in time of war and what are not? With the Nuremberg Trials, we thought we knew.

It is a critical period for Dr. Olson. He begins traveling extensively in Europe, and can be found in France, England, Norway and Morocco in July 1953 alone. Until that time, everything seemed to be okay with the friendly, upbeat scientist, but by August 1953—a month after the European trip— things begin to take a tragic turn. According to the Frank Olson Legacy website, “Frank Olson vacations with his family at the family summer house in the Adirondack Mountains. He is observed by his sister-in-law reading the Bible and is apparently going through a period of profound soul-searching and self-examination.”

Two months later, and the turmoil in Frank Olson’s soul is exposed for the world to see. Unfortunately, he was involved in heavily classified work for both the US Army and the CIA. The exposure of Frank’s anguish meant the exposure of the government’s secrets. As below, so above.26

November 19, 1953 is the date of the infamous Deep Creek Rendezvous. Here, at an isolated cabin in the Maryland forest, nine persons meet to discuss various projects they are working on at Camp Detrick. This group consists of five SOD personnel and four CIA/TSS personnel. Dr. Sidney Gottlieb is present, as well as Dr. Robert Lashbrook. The unsuspecting SOD people are dosed with LSD in their Cointreau. Dr. Olson receives about 70 micrograms of the potent hallucinogen (according to one report, 10,000 micrograms according to another). Who knows how much? 500 micrograms would be the average dose. Thus 70 “mikes” is obviously quite small, and 10,000 mikes would be the equivalent of 20 doses. The party turns bizarre and raucous, and breaks up around 1 A.M. with Dr. Olson in a paranoid state, running around shouting, “You’re all a bunch of thespians!” The author takes this to be a reference to their acting a role, i.e., performing duplicitously.

The next morning, Dr. Olson complains he had a wakeful night, and his strange, depressed mood is attributed to a kind of psychedelic hangover. He returns home and tells his wife he wants to quit his job at Detrick and become… a dentist. He is overwrought, deeply shaken, and tells her he has made a “terrible mistake.”

On Monday, the first work day after the Rendezvous, Olson tells his supervisor—one Lt. Colonel Vincent Ruwet—that he wants to quit. Ruwet scorns Olson’s plea, telling him instead that he is doing a great job and should remain at his post.

The next day, Olson goes to work as usual but is brought home at 10:00

A.M. by a driver from SOD. The family is told that Olson might become violent and harm them, and thus should go to Manhattan to get treatment.

The psychiatric treatment planned for Olson is unusual, to say the least. In the first place, the “therapist” was Dr. Abramson, a Mount Sinai- connected CIA doctor whose specialty was immunology, and who had no

training or credentials at all in psychotherapy, psychology or psychiatry. It seems his only qualification was that he was CIA, with a background in LSD research. Why Olson had to be taken to New York for “therapy” is also unrevealed. There had to be CIA-approved psychiatrists closer to home, in Washington or Baltimore; but Abramson had been one of those involved with the CIA’s Technical Services Staff and thus could be expected to know what was at stake and to stonewall the local authorities; also, according to the CIA’s internal memo on the events, he was the only one who had experience with LSD experimentation.

If we look at a book published in 1967, LSD, Man and Society, we will see many references to Abramson’s work in the footnotes to what is a series of articles based on a March 1967 symposium held at the chapel of Wesleyan University on the effects of LSD on society, religion, the laws, behavior, etc. Most of those references are to papers published in the years immediately following the death of Olson. For instance in 1955, Abramson published an article in the Journal of Psychology entitled “Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD25) as an adjunct to psychotherapy.” Suddenly, Abramson was an authority. He followed this up in 1960 with a contribution to a Josiah Macy work, Transactions of a Conference, entitled “The use of LSD in psychotherapy,” and again in 1967 as editor of the Bobbs-Merrill publication The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. So perhaps Dr. Abramson “got religion” after the death of Olson and started to specialize in the study of psychotherapy professionally?

Also in LSD, Man and Society is an article by Murray E. Jarvik, “The Behavioral Effects of Psychotogens,” in which he references a study undertaken by him, Dr. Abramson and Dr. Margaret Ferguson in 1953 (the year of Olson’s death) at Mt. Sinai, where LSD was given to test subjects and a questionnaire prepared to evaluate the effects. Ironically, this same paper references similar work being done by Isbell “and his collaborators” in Lexington, Kentucky (in what was actually a prison setting, where subjects were given massive doses of LSD over long periods of time). We would not find out for about ten years that these LSD projects of Isbell, Abramson, et al. were underwritten by the CIA and were part of MK- ULTRA.

Needless to say, at this stage of LSD research by Abramson, his “therapy” was useless. At one point in the process, Olson was taken to see the CIA’s very own magician and illusionist, John Mulholland, a famous stage magician who had been assisting the CIA with the development of techniques for surreptitiously putting chemical or bacteriological agents into people’s drinks, among other things. Olson did not like the magician, or the environment, or whatever was going on between Mulholland and Olson’s CIA handler, Dr. Robert Lashbrook (Sidney Gottlieb’s assistant). Olson wanted to leave, and Lashbrook, Olson and his boss Ruwet left for their hotel.

That night, Olson leaves his hotel room in the middle of the night, a room he shares with his boss, Ruwet. At this time, he engages in activity which future investigators would find very strange.

He wanders the streets and subways of New York, shredding his identification, getting rid of everything on him that can be traced. He returns and sits in the hotel lobby, wearing a trenchcoat and hat.

This scene is usually described as evidence of Olson’s deteriorating mental state; however, to the trained eye, it looks more like classic espionage tradecraft. Olson was in danger of being caught behind enemy lines, so he did what agents are trained to do under the circumstances: get rid of identification and anything that could be used to blow the cover of the operation and endanger lives.

Frank Olson was behind enemy lines. He was in the United States of America in November 1953; the enemy agents were from the CIA; and his death at their hands was imminent.

November 26, 1953. Thanksgiving Day. Olson and Lashbrook are still in New York. Olson is afraid to go home, according to the CIA reports. So he and Lashbrook have Thanksgiving dinner, sadly, at a Horn and Hardart automat.

The next day, the always helpful if somewhat misguided Dr. Abramson visits Olson at the hotel and gives the unfortunate man a cocktail made of a dose of Nembutal and a glass of bourbon. (The “use of LSD in

psychotherapy and alcoholism”? Did Dr. Olson have to fill out a questionnaire?) Needless to say, this is not a recommended combination for anyone; but then, Abramson didn’t have any psychiatric training. Perhaps to immunologists a Nembutal/ bourbon cocktail is “the right thing to do.”

What happens next that night has been reported in several different ways, and by the same sole witness, Dr. Robert Lashbrook. At one time, he says that he woke up to see Frank Olson standing in the middle of the hotel room. Olson, from the middle of a very small hotel room, then rushes across the floor, over a radiator and through a closed window to plummet ten floors to the street. At another time, Lashbrook says he was asleep when Olson went through the window. In any event, Lashbrook’s story has always been that Olson committed suicide.

The hotel in question was the Statler, which is now the Hotel Pennsylvania, on Seventh Avenue across from Penn Station and the new Madison Square Garden. The rooms at the Statler were quite small. The radiator was under the window. The window was small. There was not enough distance available in the room to permit a fully-grown man to work up enough momentum to crash through a closed window, moreover a window with the shade drawn. It also doesn’t make sense that a person would try to commit suicide in that fashion. At the very least, he would open the window first. At the very least, he would simply go out the window and fall to the ground. By running at full tilt at a closed window all Olson could have hoped to accomplish was a dismal failure, with enough sound and fury to awaken the somnolent Lash-brook and defeat the whole purpose of the suicide attempt.

When the police get to Lashbrook’s room, they find him sitting on the toilet seat in his underwear. According to CIA memoranda, he first phoned Sidney Gottlieb to tell him what happened, then called Ruwet, then called the front desk, and then called Abramson, in that order.27 Abramson at first told Lashbrook he wanted nothing to do with the situation, but then later relented (under what type of persuasion?) and agreed to assist Lashbrook. The local NYPD detectives could get nothing out of Lashbrook, except that Olson had suffered from ulcers, and soon CIA field agents from the

Security Division descended on the city to quash what looked like was turning into a homicide investigation.

And there matters stood until the Rockefeller Commission and the investigation into illegal domestic activities of the CIA more than twenty years later.

Unfortunately, the only clues we have to Frank Olson’s state of mind in the days leading up to his death come from CIA or SOD personnel, the very people one would expect to present cover stories and outright lies. Obviously, nothing that Lashbrook said can be trusted, as he gave at least two different stories about what happened that night in the Hotel Statler. Nothing that Sidney Gottlieb said can be trusted at all. And the one person who may have been able to share some truth with the Olson family—Lt. Colonel Vincent Ruwet, whom Olson’s wife considered a family friend— was Olson’s boss and in a tricky position vis-à-vis Olson, the Army, and the CIA. After all, Frank’s work at Detrick involved developing new ways to deliver biological agents. Like anthrax.

According to former State Department official and freelance journalist John Marks:

After all, the officials at TSS and SOD worked intimately together, and they shared one of the darkest secrets of the Cold War: that the U.S. government maintained the capability—which it would use at times—to kill or incapacitate selected people with biological weapons.28

The arsenal of weapons available to TSS and SOD under their working codename MK-NAOMI included shellfish toxins, botulinum, Staphyloccus enterotoxin, Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, and anthrax. Dr. Olson’s specialty was the development of aerosol sprays and other airborne delivery systems for the agents. During Frank Olson’s tenure at SOD, one of the Fort Detrick employees actually died of exposure to anthrax. Frank told his wife it was pneumonia. The secrets at Detrick were some of the most closely guarded in the nation; if the world discovered just what went on at Detrick

—and at Edgewood Arsenal, which specialized in the chemical half of CBW weaponry—the outcry would be loud and furious. Lt. Colonel Ruwet could be expected to maintain operational secrecy, and if Olson was killed

by the CIA—as the evidence now suggests was the case—then one would not have heard it from Ruwet.

That left Lashbrook, one of the men who dosed the party at Deep Creek Lodge; Gottlieb, whose operation it was; and Abramson, a CIA doctor who had worked with LSD for several years and was evidently the only medical man within a three hundred mile radius of Frederick, Maryland who could be expected to keep his mouth shut. No one was about to get a clear picture from any of these men. What is known from a source not at CIA or SOD is that shortly before his death, Frank Olson phoned his wife from New York and—according to her—he sounded much better, almost his old self.

A few hours later, he was dead.

If he was, indeed, murdered by the CIA, what was the motive? Most researchers would claim that it was to keep him quiet about what was going on at Detrick, that the LSD experience had unhinged him, and that he was about to become a security risk. According to the late Colonel Ruwet, Olson had asked to be allowed to quit his post. Yet, he was not allowed to do so. Ruwet worked hard to keep him in the program, but when it seemed Olson was going round the bend, Ruwet—a Lt. Colonel in the US Army for which both he and Olson worked—did not go to the Army for help but directly to the CIA. Aware of the projects they were working on, Ruwet obviously did not trust the Army doctors, who were presumably not cleared for the classified information in Olson’s head. By handing his friend Frank Olson over to the CIA, he was handing him over to his executioners.

Gordon Thomas is considered by many to be an expert on espionage matters. His book, Journey Into Madness, published in 1989, is an excellent update and companion volume to Marks’ The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. His other works on the Mossad, and on the doomed ship full of Jews unsuccessfully escaping the Holocaust—The Voyage of the Damned— were published to critical acclaim. Yet, it wasn’t until 1998 that Thomas felt he was able to communicate to Frank Olson’s son—Eric—the story behind the cover story.

Journey Into Madness begins with the story of veteran CIA field agent William Buckley, who was taken hostage by the Hizbollah in Beirut in

March 1984. Buckley was tortured and killed by an Arab physician, one Dr. Aziz al-Abub, the Arab world’s answer to Dr. Mengele (or Dr. Gottlieb) and an expert in the use of drugs in interrogations. What is important to our story at the moment is that Thomas was a friend of Buckley’s and had also worked with that icon of mind control research, Dr. William Sargant (Battle for the Mind). From them both he was able to extract the story of what really happened to Frank Olson. In fact, according to Thomas, the Olson murder is taught as a case study to Mossad agents in Israel! 29

According to Thomas, during their acquaintance Sargant was a consultant to the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI5 and MI6, “largely because of his work in the eliciting of confessions by the Soviets.” Sargant revealed to Thomas that he had visited CIA headquarters and met with Gottlieb, Richard Helms, Dr. Lashbrook, Dr. Ewan Cameron (whom we will discuss later on) …and Dr. Frank Olson.

Gottlieb and Olson also visited London and Porton Down, which is Britain’s version of Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal. Later on, Olson went to England several times himself, and met with Sargant on many occasions. In the summer of 1953—the period discussed above—Olson told Sargant he was in Europe to meet with Gottlieb and a “CIA team.” Thomas at this point tantalizes us with the statement, “Sargant was satisfied that the CIA team was doing similar work that MI6 were conducting in Europe— executing without trial known Nazis, especially SS men.” (If so, this makes for an interesting additional chapter to the history of that war, but there is no independent corroboration of this assertion.)

Whatever the facts of the case, when Olson returned from his trip to Europe (which included Norway and West Berlin, according to a photocopy of his passport) he had changed. According to Sargant (via Thomas), Olson had seen the results of his work firsthand, on actual human “subjects” who were being killed by the very weapons Olson himself was developing at Detrick. The horror and ensuing guilt led Olson to question his faith in the United States government and his faith in himself as a human being.

Sargant reported this to his superiors at MI6, recommending that Olson no longer be permitted to visit their CBW facility. This report was then, presumably, passed on in some form to the CIA hierarchy as a matter of

course, and steps were taken to permanently remove Olson’s security clearance… with extreme prejudice.

According once again to Sargant-via-Thomas, Gottlieb had been working with various other drugs besides LSD, including one which could induce depression leading to suicide. It is possible that Olson’s Cointreau had been spiked with something other than the straight LSD given to the rest of the test subjects that evening in November. It is also possible that the visit in New York with Abramson and, eventually, with magician John Mulholland involved further surreptitious doses. We have only Abramson’s word, for instance, that Olson was given a dose of Nembutal that day in New York. It could have been anything. And alcohol is a known depressant; might bourbon have accelerated the action of Gottlieb’s wonder drug?

William Buckley confirmed Thomas’ suspicion that Olson had been killed by the CIA, and that Helms and Gottlieb had covered it up and lied about it ever since. Others have come forward in the past ten years or so, some anonymously and some for the record, with bits and pieces of the puzzle. The picture that emerges is nothing short of murder.

Eric Olson had his father autopsied in June 1994. As if to confirm his suspicions over fifty years after his father’s death, there was no sign of the crash through the hotel room window on Frank Olson’s body: no cuts, no scrapes, nothing. The coffin had been closed during the funeral on advice of the CIA, since the crash would have disfigured the man’s face. There was no evidence of this at all once the body was exhumed. Further, there was a suspicious bruise on Olson’s head which suggested that he had been knocked unconscious. He could then have been thrown from the hotel room window.

The CIA’s story falls apart completely with this additional evidence. If Olson was murdered, then the only suspect is Dr. Robert Lashbrook, who was in the hotel room with him when Olson fell ten stories to Seventh Avenue below. Was the depressant not working fast enough? Had Olson threatened to blow the whistle on covert CBW operations in the United States and Europe? No matter how one looks at the story today, there is no alternative but to recognize Dr. Frank Olson as a hero and a martyr: a man who was disgusted by his own country’s atrocities in the aftermath of World

War Two, when doctors and scientists—sobered by the Nuremberg trials and all they represented—should have known better.

As a strange sidebar to this case, in the days immediately before Olson’s death, his boss Colonel Ruwet had arranged to have him admitted for regular psychiatric care at Chestnut Lodge Hospital, an appointment that was never kept. The admitting physician was one Dr. Robert Gibson. By an odd coincidence (again, one of many involved in this study) Dr. Gibson was the son of a famous stage magician, Walter B. Gibson, a “close friend and colleague to John Mulholland,” 30and the creator of “The Shadow,” the popular radio character, under the pen name Maxwell Grant. It was while searching for the traditional meaning of the Tarot trump The Lightning Struck Tower that I realized I had for many years in my possession a copy of Walter Gibson’s work on divination, The Complete Illustrated Book of Divination and Prophecy, published in 1973, without realizing its significance.

Therein, this Trump is described as symbolizing “…disaster, downfall, and destruction, either physically or in personal affairs.” 31

The card is depicted as a tower, with one or two people falling from it, as it is struck by lightning (or God) from above. Frank Olson was not the first to fall from a tall building, murdered by his enemies, and he wouldn’t be the last. As for William Sargant himself, we will be examining his contribution to the study of mind control and brainwashing as we proceed, but it is worthwhile to note for the record that he was a close personal friend of Robert Graves, the poet and scholar who gave the world such classics as I, Claudius and The White Goddess. It was while visiting Graves on the isle of Majorca in the mid-1950s (presumably after Olson’s murder) that Sargant was encouraged by him to complete Battle for the Mind, and indeed that textbook of brainwashing, behavior modification and mental science actually includes a chapter written by Graves himself.

That this paragon of paganism—whose White Goddess was warmly embraced by a generation or more of New Agers as a kind of Wiccan bible

—should have been on intimate terms with the man who was at the center of the West’s mind control experiments (a man who was experimenting on living human beings, a man who also numbered poor, murdered Frank

Olson as one of his colleagues, and who possibly ratted him out to the Agency) is yet another disturbing nexus point in this study, for these forces that occupy our attention call to themselves whatever they need, from whatever industry or field, without regard to social niceties, class ties or appropriate acquaintance. What rich material for a novel! The Poet-Pagan and the Psychiatrist-Spy. Like Arthur Koestler’s The Yogi and the Commissar, such a novel could offer a wealth of contradictions to be resolved in an uneasy truth. The trinity of Olson, Sargant and Graves can be mirrored in Parsons, Hubbard and McMurtry, or McMurtry, Crowley and MI5… or Crisman, Arnold and Shaw… While traditional historians tend to focus on single themes (military personalities seen from the perspective of military matters, for instance, as if generals are as single-minded as their biographers), our view must be at once broader and deeper if the history of the twentieth century is to mean anything to us at all.

Because right now not much of it seems to make any sense.

History comes across Sheffield Edwards again as one of the CIA officers who visited former FBI agent and Guy Banister-associate Robert Maheu in 1960, to encourage him to arrange the assassination of Fidel Castro. We will come across Fred Crisman again as a suspect in the Jim Garrison investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And we will come across Maurice Maeterlinck again in the same context, because if Maeterlinck did not actually predict the assassination of President Kennedy, then we must assume that his work provided an inspiration for those who committed the crime itself. And if the latter is true, then the finger points back towards Sheffield Edwards and all the witches and warlocks of the Central Intelligence Agency. But first, let us pick up where we left off a little while ago, with Charles Manson slouching towards Hollywood to be born.


“Me and Charlie… we founded the Family.”

—Dennis Wilson

The Spring of 1967 found Charles Manson making his way down the west coast from Terminal Island to Los Angeles. He had in prison heard stories about the Hippies, free love, and drugs in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and had managed to convince a parole officer to let him go up there. After a few false starts, and after meeting Mary Brunner—the first member of the Manson “Family”—Charlie then went back down to Los Angeles to try to meet a record producer and get himself a recording contract.

Manson had by this time perfected a sort of technique on the guitar, taught to him by Terminal Island inmate Al Karpis (the last surviving member of the Ma Barker gang), and had begun writing his own songs. Manson had also learned the basics of Scientology from another inmate, Lanier Ramer (or “Raymer”). It was that combination—music and Scientology—that comprised the only education he had of the real world outside prison walls. But it was enough.

It was in the Los Angeles area—specifically in Venice—that he met Lynette Fromme. Fromme was the eighteen-year-old daughter of an aerospace engineer (who had coincidentally been in the Army at Randolph Air Base during the war), and she had had an eclectic childhood, going to school in Southern California with such later luminaries as Saturday Night Live’s Phil Hartmann and others who would one day become famous in the music business. An intelligent, softly attractive and somewhat ethereal redhead with a penchant for poetry and philosophy, she suffered a sexually abusive father and a mor-ally-absent mother, running away from home on countless occasions and at one time being remanded for psychiatric observation.

Lynette Fromme was a deeply disturbed young woman who had taught herself to endure tremendous amounts of physical pain; at one point, turning an industrial staple gun on her arm and shooting staples into herself at three-inch intervals, numb with no expression, like a Hindu devotee at Thaipusam. Manson had also learned to cope with physical pain while institutionalized, and fellow inmates have reported that he could hold a lighted match to his arm and not flinch. Thus on one level the two clearly had a lot in common, and Fromme would later become one of Manson’s

most prominent “apologists” as the decades passed and Manson’s chance for release on parole diminished.

On another level, though, one could hardly conceive of two more different people. While Fromme was educated and very literate, fond of Dylan Thomas and Erich Fromm, poetry and mysticism, séances and ghost stories, and could quote Milton in front of the jury at the murder trial, Manson was poorly-educated, barely literate, and street smart from years of petty hustling, pimping, cheating and stealing. Fromme’s background was decidedly uppermiddle-class, and she had even toured the country while a grade-schooler and star of a singing and acting troupe. Fromme was adored as a young child, while Manson was tolerated at best, abused at worst. Manson’s background was the type they used to call in those days “poor white trash” or, at its most euphemistic, “redneck” or “hillbilly.” Manson’s mysticism was largely his own amalgam of Scientology and Dale Carnegie, later mixed with a good helping of the Book of Revelations and convict psychology—an Aleister Crowley manqué. He first dropped acid at a Grateful Dead concert, and from there on he had the ritual mechanism for his own brand of spiritual initiation. Manson and Fromme were an accident waiting to happen.

Charlie and Lynette met on the boardwalk at Venice Beach sometime in the spring of 1967. (The precise dates, as with much of the Manson story, are unclear.) They connected, Manson virtually reading her mind as she was sitting, miserable, on a bench with her suitcase and nowhere to go. He guessed that she had had a fight with her father, and suggested that she go away with him instead. With only three weeks left to go of her spring semester in college, she made a fateful decision and followed him, leaving family and college behind forever. They made their way north, to San Francisco and Mary Brunner, and from there to Mendocino County, where the three lived that summer in and around the small town of Caspar.

The summer of 1967 was the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco. Manson had been energized by the atmosphere of freedom—including free drugs, free sex, people crashing wherever they could—and the non- judgmental attitudes of the people he met. He found out that with a glib

line, laced with mystical allusions, he could go anywhere, do just about anything, and be accepted or even welcomed.

That year, Jack Ruby died in prison. Suspected Kennedy assassination conspirators David Ferrie and Eladio del Valle also died, and Clay Shaw was arrested in New Orleans. Ouija board sales hit an all-time high at 2.3 million sold. Ira Levin’s novel of modern-day Satanism in the City of New York, Rosemary’s Baby, was published, and Roman Polanski began work on the film version. Sharon Tate was working on the set of Valley of the Dolls, and her previous film—Eye of the Devil, in which a Wiccan high priest and disciple of Aleister Crowley, Alex Sanders, was a technical consultant—had just been released. And on June 29 of that year, actress Jayne Mansfield was killed in an automobile accident. Rumors that her death was a decapitation and the result of a satanic curse were rampant: Mansfield had been seen occasionally at Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan headquarters in San Francisco. Anton LaVey would later become involved in Polanski’s film of Rosemary’s Baby… as a technical consultant.

While the witches and the satanists found work (if not actual, on-screen credits) as technical consultants in films about the Devil, Charles Manson was consulting with some screenwriters on a film about… Jesus.

Charles, Lynette Fromme and Mary Brunner were living in the woods of Mendocino County when Charlie, hitchhiking one day, was picked up by a Congregationalist minister named Dean Moorehouse. The Reverend Moorehouse is a strange twist to this already strangely twisted tale, because Moorehouse came to California from Minot, North Dakota. As we will see later, Minot—a small town of about thirty thousand people and an Air Force base—was the scene of serious and sometimes violent occult activity that was linked to the Son of Sam murder cases in New York a decade later. (It was also where Kenneth Arnold—creator of the term “flying saucer” and involved in the Maury Island affair with Fred Crisman—learned to fly.) Charlie struck up a conversation with Moorehouse and convinced him to visit their place in the woods, where they turned him on to LSD. At that point, Dean Moorehouse became converted to the cause (at least insofar as acid was concerned) and introduced Manson, Fromme and Brunner to his wife and daughter. His daughter, Ruth Ann Moorehouse, became the

Family member known as Ouisch, who would become involved in the drugging of a prosecution witness in Hawaii. At this time it is not known whether there is any more substance to the Moorehouse/Minot link than that. However investigative journalist Maury Terry would later find elements of a drug and prostitution network shaded with a veneer of ritual Satanism based in Minot, and would connect it to a convicted murderer known as “Manson II,” to the Son of Sam killings in New York, and to the murder of producer Roy Radin in California.32

When life at Caspar became too much, and they got hassled by the local police for harboring Ruth Ann, an underage runaway—Charlie telling the booking officer that he was a minister and that his name was Charles Willis Manson instead of Charles Milles Manson and thus creating a phrase that he read as Charles Will Is Man’s Son—the three retreated to Los Angeles, where Charlie would meet with some of his old prison friends (something that was happening on a regular basis during this period; what was discussed is still a mystery, and could have been anything from chatting about old times to plotting new capers and better connections) and finally pick up Patricia Krenwinkle, known as Katie and later, in San Francisco, Susan Atkins, who became Sadie. They moved into a house in Topanga Canyon—close to Malibu—known as the Spiral Staircase, to which they were introduced by someone involved in the occult. Some sources have connected this person to Abigail Folger, the coffee heiress and eventual Manson Family murder victim. Folger was involved in various consciousness movements in the area, and it is not unlikely that this would have been the case. She is known to have helped finance the Straight Theater in San Francisco, where Kenneth Anger was involved in filming his satanically-oriented works, and to have been involved with the Himalayan Institute as well as Esalen (where Manson also showed up a few days before the Tate killings). However, this introduces a disturbing element into the story, because it implies that Charles Manson (and his growing family of killers) knew at least one of the murder victims beforehand, and thus goes to motive.

Motive was the most ephemeral aspect of the prosecution’s case against Manson; once they had the satanic and racist elements, the prosecutors looked no further. They believed that the victims in the Tate and LaBianca

killings were selected randomly, as part of “Helter Skelter”: an attempt to force a race war between whites and blacks. Although this dubious motive satisfied the media’s lust for sensationalism and served to paint Charlie and his Dark Angels as the latest incarnation of Satan and Hitler combined, a look at Charlie’s criminal history would tell a different story. As prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi himself admits in his book on the case, Helter Skelter, he was surprised by the lack of violent crime in Manson’s rap sheet. Manson came across more as a con man and petty thief than as a lust killer. There were obvious problems with LAPD’s investigation of the case too, which is surprising considering how focused the media was on the sensational crimes. Further, attempts to depict Charles Manson as a serial killer (notably by the late Joel Norris)33 are also ill-advised. There is no evidence he killed anyone until 1968-9 and, in fact, he did not personally murder any of the Tate/LaBianca victims, although he was convicted for having ordered their deaths. Whatever Charles Manson may be—and he may be many things—a serial killer he is not, if we look objectively at the available evidence. The murders he did commit himself were not motiveless crimes, but were each for a specific purpose. Even the Tate murders themselves may have been a device to disguise the real agenda behind some of the other killings, such as those of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca (which may have been related to gambling debts), and of Gary Hinman, and of the attempted murder of drug dealer Bernard Crowe.

While keeping his criminal contacts alive and warm, Charlie was still interested in becoming known as a musician and tried to work the Southern California entertainment network as best he could. He was introduced to Gary Stromberg and Corey Allen, two screenwriters and would-be producers in a small office in Universal City. They were working on a script about the return of Jesus Christ as a black man in America, and Charlie impressed them both with his knowledge of black prison slang as well as his insights into religion and spiritual matters. He agreed to work with them one day a week at their office on script ideas and treatments for what they wanted to call Black Jesus. The project never got off the ground, but the die had been cast, and Charlie was now a familiar face in some (admittedly bizarre) Hollywood circles from 1967 until his arrest for the Tate/LaBianca murders in 1969.

There were two people in particular who became involved with Charles Manson and the rest of his Family. One was the son of actress Doris Day, Terry Melcher, who was living in the house at 10050 Cielo Drive where the Sharon Tate murders would take place. Melcher was interested in producing records, but, as it turned out, not in producing Manson’s work. A somewhat more enthusiastic promoter of Manson, however, was Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.

People with only a passing knowledge of the Manson case usually don’t realize that the Beach Boys recorded one of Manson’s songs and released it as the “B” side of their cover of the old Ersel Hickey 1958 hit “Bluebirds Over The Mountain,” a song about lost love. Manson’s song was originally entitled “Cease to Exist”—a Scientology reference and not necessarily a homicidal one—but the Boys retitled it “Never Learn Not To Love,” which comes from the song’s lyrics, and changed the line “Cease to Exist” to the more seductive “Cease to Resist.” This song later made it onto the group’s album 20/20 (1969), but by this time the reference to Charles Manson was deleted.

What drew the author’s attention to this nugget of information was the song on the “A” side of Manson’s single. The title “Bluebirds Over The Mountain” was suggestive of the CIA mind control operation—even though it had been written by a rockabilly composer from Brighton, New York one night in the mid-1950s—and seemed too synchronistic to ignore. Hickey and Manson were born in the same year—1934—and both had problems at home; Manson’s mother was incarcerated for robbery, while Hickey’s mother was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Manson probably never knew his father, and Hickey’s father died when the boy was only four years old. Both Manson and Hickey were farmed out to relatives or foster homes, spent time in reformatories and ran away from home, and both Manson and Hickey were guitar players and songwriters. Hickey’s one and only hit, “Bluebirds Over The Mountain,” then appears on Manson’s one and only song recorded by a mainstream label (his other music was released on various underground, bootleg and private labels after the murders). Is there a reason why Manson’s song was on the flipside of the “Bluebird” cover? Had the CIA’s “bluebirds” escaped? Was Manson a “bluebird,” i.e., a mind control subject, gone amok?

Were there other “synchronicities” to explore?


And then, you have told me twenty times over that neither you nor your

people ever deployed such means to pull down an enemy…. No, no, the

people who are near you could never do that…. There is no shadow of doubt, it was an ambush and an assassination.

—Act I, Scene 3, The Cloud That Lifted, Maurice Maeterlinck

Manson and his women wound up staying at Dennis Wilson’s home for long periods of time from the spring to the summer of 1968. Wilson once claimed that he and Manson had created the Manson Family, and referred to Manson as “the Wizard.” The other Beach Boys were not so enamored of Manson, and tended to avoid him whenever they could. Wilson, however, was recently divorced and lived alone in the house he rented on Sunset Boulevard, and the Manson Family were welcome—if expensive— houseguests. Gregg Jakobson, the group’s manager and sometime songwriter, also found Manson interesting, and they would talk for hours on philosophical subjects. During this period, Manson and his group treated Wilson’s home as their own, giving things away, wrecking his Mercedes on the road to their desert commune, and borrowing large sums of money. Wilson estimated that the friendship with the Manson Family cost him about $100,000 but that he was the lucky one: he got away with his life. (After the Tate murders, Manson approached Wilson for money, which Wilson refused—although at this time he did not know that Manson was responsible for the murders—and Manson threatened the life of his seven- year-old son, following that up with more threats on Wilson’s life.)

One of the more unusual Family members, though, if only for a short time, was Deirdre (or “DiDi”) Lansbury, the troubled teenaged daughter of actress Angela Lansbury. Angela Lansbury even went so far as to give DiDi a note that said it was all right for her to stay with the Manson Family, in

case she got hassled by the police! The author felt the reverberations of this odd piece of trivia, since Angela Lansbury played the role of the evil mind controller in the 1962 John Frankenheimer film The Manchurian Candidate, a film starring Frank Sinatra, Lansbury, Laurence Harvey and Khigh Deigh that was pulled from distribution after the assassination of President Kennedy (even though Kennedy himself had given the green light to Frankenheimer to proceed with making the film, since Kennedy at the time was in delicate negotiations with the Soviets). Khigh Deigh played the role of the Asian mind control expert who brainwashed the Laurence Harvey character ( a decorated Korean War hero) into a programmed assassin whose target was a presidential candidate. Ms. Lansbury was Harvey’s mother, and “case officer,” moving him towards the kill. Interestingly, Khigh Deigh—who also starred in the TV series Hawaii Five- O—later left acting to become involved in Chinese mysticism and wrote several books on the I Ching.

Ms. Lansbury, though, became the central character in one of television’s most popular detective series, Murder, She Wrote. Many of her scripts were written by Donald Bain. Donald Bain was the biographer of radio personality Long John Nebel, and of a separate biography of Nebel’s wife, Candy Jones, in which he revealed that Ms. Jones was a CIA mind control subject. Although some researchers have problems with Bain’s book on Candy Jones, much of her story comes across as perfectly plausible. The author’s own research on Ms. Jones’ Asian activities tends to support that end of her tale. Perhaps the most important aspect of the whole affair is the fact that Ms. Jones had no motive for lying about her relationship to the CIA, particularly as her revelations to Donald Bain began in 1974, before the Rockefeller Commission would in 1975 make public the facts of the Frank Olson case. The Congressional Hearings on MK-ULTRA would not take place until 1977.

(The author had the occasion to meet Candy Jones in 1979-80, and found her to be an eminently sane and no-nonsense sort of person who had no desire to exploit her alleged CIA background, and who never mentioned it unless pressed to do so by other people. She also shared an interest in paranormal phenomena with her late husband, Long John Nebel, although perhaps not to the same degree he did.)

The odd nexus of Angela Lansbury/Charles Manson/Donald Bain/Candy Jones was suggestive of a deeper web of connections. Was it possible that Hollywood was being used as a tool of secret, special interests, and that the selection of themes, scripts, actors, studios, producers, directors was—at times, and during certain periods of international or domestic tensions— politically motivated or the result of an intelligence agenda: psychological warfare? Of course, we have the ultimate example of Ronald Reagan, the actor who became a President, but is there more to this story than that? Something more profound, and evidence of another “player” altogether?

Another striking reference to “Bluebirds” was in direct connection to the Kennedy assassination itself, the spoor of a minor event that may have had deeper implications, because it involved Lee Harvey Oswald and his time spent at Atsugi Air Base in Japan, one of only two locations outside the United States (along with Manila, in the Philippines) where the CIA maintained a store of LSD, and the base for U-2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union. And what was the scene of a fistfight between Oswald and Tech Sgt. Miguel Rodriguez on June 20, 1958, the same year “Bluebirds Over The Mountain” was first released? The Bluebird Café in Yamato, Japan.

Oswald had tried to pick a fight with Rodriguez earlier that month, at the Enlisted Men’s Club at Atsugi. The alleged motive was that Rodriguez had assigned Oswald to an excessive amount of KP (kitchen) duty. The first attempt, in Atsugi, did not result in a fight, as Rodriguez ignored Oswald; but later at the Bluebird Café Oswald spilled a drink on Rodriguez and a fight ensued, for which Oswald was court-martialed and sent to the brig. Oswald, defending himself, had said that he was drunk and spilled the drink accidentally; Rodriguez claimed that Oswald was not drunk, walked over to him calmly, and spilled the drink quite deliberately.

This incident merits further attention is for two reasons. In the first place, episodes of Oswald getting physical and looking for fights are few and far between. (About the only other event in which Oswald is known to have used his fists is in slapping his Russian wife, Marina, around.) Oswald was known to have been physically cowardly, and even effeminate in the way delicate young men can appear to the “jocks.” One of his nicknames in the Marines was “Ozzie the Rabbit,” a reference to his lack of physical

courage, perhaps, but one which could also be a (conscious or unconscious?) reference to Walt Disney character and forerunner of Mickey Mouse: “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit,” who appears in the 1927 cartoon “Great Guns,” about Oswald’s enlistment in the Army. In any event, Lee Oswald’s deliberate attempt to provoke Rodriguez to a fistfight is wholly out of character.

It is not fashionable to cite Disney versions when applying fairy tales to clinical questions. However, it seems likely that the people in the Disney Studios possess an unconscious, too. It seems possible that the Disney unconscious may be even closer to our own than those of the storytellers who spoke with the brothers Grimm.

—Jean Goodwin, “Snow White and the seven diagnoses”34

In the second place, according to some witnesses, Oswald’s actual time spent in the brig seems to have been slight, and moreover spent in civilian clothes according to the only eyewitness who actually saw him there. Some researchers feel that Oswald was receiving intelligence training at this time, and that the fight and ensuing sentence in the brig was a cover, to allow him time to complete this training unnoticed. Oswald is known to have been approached earlier by what was probably a Communist spy in Japan—a beautiful Japanese woman who asked a lot of questions about his job at Atsugi—and he reported this contact to his superiors.

Former CIA finance officer James Wilcott testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations that Oswald was, indeed, a CIA asset in Japan, according to conversations he had with his co-workers at the Agency after the assassination. 35The CIA denied this relationship to Oswald, but they did suggest that perhaps the KGB had recruited Oswald in Japan! If so, of course, that meant that Oswald may have been a Soviet agent at the time of the assassination, and this angle was not pursued.

Whatever actually transpired in Japan, it was a crucial time for Oswald and his ensuing career—whether as US intelligence agent, Soviet intelligence agent, or disaffected Marine and crazed, lone gunman—and it began, oddly enough, at the Bluebird Café. Some researchers openly wondered whether Oswald was receiving mind control treatments of some sort at the time, since the CIA had a large operational base at Atsugi and

had been debriefing defectors and returning prisoners of war there under Operation BLUEBIRD at the time of the Korean conflict. It is impossible to tell with any certainty at this time what Oswald was really doing in the Marines at Atsugi; his military records do show some discrepancies and, in one case, a medical notation shows that he contracted gonorrhea “in the line of duty”; certainly a bizarre set of circumstances for a lowly Marine radar operator.

As we have seen, BLUEBIRD may have had its inspiration in the tale by Maurice Maeterlinck, discussed above. If so, then perhaps the assassination of President Kennedy had also been “inspired” by another of Maeterlinck’s plays, this time the rarely performed The Cloud That Lifted. 36In this play a political leader by the name of Bielensky is murdered by unknown assailants. Either three or four shots are fired; the number is controversial. The mortal wound is received in the nape of the neck. Bielensky dies without regaining consciousness. The shots come from a garden wall near a thicket of aspens (the grassy knoll?). The victim had been receiving death threats, which he decided would not cause him to alter his routine. Further, the assassin—Axel Thorild—thought “he was serving his master and Holy Russia.” He was a member of an underground political faction under surveillance by the secret police; he believed he killed Bielensky, but someone else takes the blame and commits suicide. Was Axel set up? Was he a… patsy?

The above brief summary of the play does not do it justice, perhaps, but the dramatic elements are so close to the facts of the Kennedy assassination

—and performed long before Kennedy was even born—that one is hard- pressed to deny any connection to that day in Dallas in 1963. Was it a psychic prediction by this mystical Nobel Prize-winning author? Or was the play as well-known to the people who created and manned BLUEBIRD as Maeterlinck’s other works? One is tempted to remark that “Axel Thorild” is reminiscent of one of Oswald’s aliases, “Alec Hidell”…but that is probably taking this too far.


I am looking for some ray of innocent simplicity… of madness, even, if neces sary, to try to explain a thing that could only be explained… by

something that is wholly impossible…

Act III, Scene 1, The Cloud That Lifted, Maurice Maeterlinck

1 There is a plethora of published material on the famous UFO cases mentioned here. The reader is advised that much of the material is based on secondary sources, or worse, and that reputable studies are few and far between. What is reassuring is that the basic facts about most of these cases are pretty consistent from volume to volume, even if the conclusions by the various authors are as contradictory and speculative as much conspiracy theory lore. With that caveat in mind, readers interested in

verifying my information may refer to the following: Kevin D. Randle, The UFO Casebook, Warner Books, NY, 1989, ISBN 0-446-35715-4 (by a former US Air Force intelligence—and Project Blue

Book—officer); Donald E. Keyhoe, Aliens From Space, Signet Books, NY, 1974, LOC 73-83597 (by a former major in the US Marine Corps who was involved in UFO research and was himself an

important figure in UFOlogy); Paris Flammonde, UFO Exist!, Ballantine Books, NY, 1993 edition,

ISBN 0-345-33951-7; and, for a debunking view, Curtis Pebbles, Watch the Skies!, Berkley Books, NY, 1995, ISBN 0-425-15117-4. This is only the tip of the UFO iceberg, and other works will be referenced in the notes that follow. Further, much of this information is also available from declassified FBI files on the UFO phenomenon. They will be referenced below as well.

2 Other than published material, reference can also be made to the FBI files on this matter: BUFILE 62-83894-52(? Not clear), 62-83894-40, -89, -91, etc. etc., all with the designation “SM-X” or “Security Matter—X” or “SM Dash X.”

3 Many thanks and credit to Jim Hougan for this unsettling piece of information.

4 My Banister files include BUFILE 62-83894-25, a July 3, 1947 memo from “WGB” to Hoover on sightings in Idaho; BUFILE 62-83894-104 which is a telex from Banister to Hoover dated 8-15-47 and marked “Urgent” regarding “Flying Disks” in Idaho; another telex to Hoover on the same date and sent five minutes later, also marked “Urgent” and concerning the same Idaho sighting; a BUFILE 62-83894-66 dated 8-20-47 to Hoover marked “Urgent” concerning another Idaho sighting, this time of the previous evening; a memo dated September 27, 1947—BUFILE 62-83894-129—from Banister to Hoover regarding a sighting in Washington State; etc. BUFILE 62-83894 seems to be the FBI’s designation for “X” files. BUFILE 65-58300 seems to be their designation for files pertaining to “Protection of Vital Installations” which includes UFO-related events, such as a memo dated March 22, 1949 from the SAC of San Antonio to Hoover, in which the writer reports a meeting held between the Bureau and G-2, ONI and OSI concerning “Flying saucers,” which states: “It is repeated that this matter is considered secret by Intelligence Officers of both the Army and the Air Force.” As ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) was also present at this meeting, one wonders if they shared the same attitude.

5 Jim Marrs, Alien Agenda, HarperCollins, NY, 1997, ISBN 0-06-018642-9, p. 86

6 Richard Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency,

University of California Press, Berkeley, 1972, ISBN 0-520-04246-8, p. 364

7 Some of the Roswell materials available to the general reader include—but are not limited to—the following: Kevin D. Randle & Donald R. Schmitt, The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, Avon, NY, 1994, ISBN 0-380-77803-3; Tim Shawcross, The Roswell File, Bloomsbury, London, 1997, ISBN 0-7475-3507-8; Philip J. Corso with William J. Birnes, The Day After Roswell, Pocket Books, NY, 1997, ISBN 0-67101756-X; and a skeptical/debunking source in Kal K. Korff, The

Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don’t Want You to Know, Dell, NY, 2000, ISBN 0-440-23613-4. Most of the other books referenced in the above notes also cover the Roswell incident to a greater or lesser degree.

8 George Steiner, Antigones, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986, ISBN 0-19-281934-8, p. 53

9 Jan Willem van de Wetering, The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery, Pocket Books, NY, 1978, LOC 73-12235, p. 191; see also his “Amsterdam Cops” novels, for instance The Perfidious Parrot and The Hollow-Eyed Angel, both published by Soho Press, New York.

10 Umberto Eco, Reflections on the Name of the Rose, p. 54

11 Maurice Maeterlinck, The Blue Bird: A Fairy Play in Five Acts, Dodd Mead & Co., NY, 1910

12 John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, Times Books, NY, 1979, ISBN 0-8129- 0773-6, op. cit., p. 22

13 Gordon Thomas, Journey Into Madness, Bantam, NY, 1990, ISBN 0-553-28413-4, p. 98

14 Maurice Maeterlinck, The Blue Bird, The Philosophical Publishing Co., Quakerstown, 1984, p. xxiv

15 Ibid., p. 50

16 Ibid., p. 50

17 Ed Sanders, The Family, E.P. Dutton, NY, 1971, ISBN 0-525-10300-7, p. 61

18 Maeterlinck, (1984) p. 113

19 Ibid., p. 21

20 Ibid., p. 48

21 Ibid., p. 128

22 Ibid., p. 134

23 Ibid., p. 31

24 Robert Jay Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, W.W. Norton & Company, NY, 1962; The Nazi Doctors, Basic Book Publishers, NY, 1986, ISBN 0465-04905-2

25 Jim Carlton, “The Military, Microbes and Secret Tests Using the U.S. Public,” Wall Street Journal,

October 22, 2001, p. 1; and in Leonard A. Cole, Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Tests

over Populated Areas, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa, 1988, ISBN 0-8476-7579-3, p. 75-104 26 Leonard A. Cole, op. cit., p. 6

26 The Frank Olson case has been covered in many texts on the CIA’s mind control programs, including John Marks (op. cit.), Gordon Thomas (op. cit.), and many others. Interested readers should

also logon to the Frank Olson Project website at www., a site that is maintained by his son, Eric. Recourse may also be had to the Joint Hearing before the Senate Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, “Project MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s Program of Research in Behavioral Modification,” August 3, 1977, Appendix A: “XVII. Testing and Use of Chemical and Biological Agents by the Intelligence Community,” pp 74-83.

27 Senate Committee Hearing, August 3, 1977, Appendix A, op. cit., p. 78

28 Marks, op. cit., p. 73

29 This information, including the story about Olson and Sargant and accompanying quotations, comes from a memorandum posted on the Frank Olson Project website from Gordon Thomas to Eric Olson dated November 30, 1998. One should be forewarned that there is no independent corroboration of these claims available to the author at this time; basically all we have are Thomas’ recollections of conversations with Sargant and Buckley on this issue.

30 Michael Edwards, “The Sphinx and the Spy: The Clandestine world of John Mulholland,” Genii, the Conjurorsi Magazine, April, 2001, available on the Frank Olson Project website. The article makes for fascinating reading, and contains a great deal of information on the career of this very suspicious magician and sometime CIA consultant, including a tantalizing suggestion that Mulholland knew Andrija Puharich, a man who becomes central to our story in later chapters, and was investigating Puharich’s claims of success in paranormal research.

31 Walter B. Gibson & Litzka R. Gibson, The Complete Illustrated Book of Divination and Prophecy,

Doubleday, NY, 1973, ISBN 0-385-03599-3, p. 187

32 As described in Maury Terry’s The Ultimate Evil, Barnes & Noble, NY, 1999, ISBN 0-7607-1393- 6 and elsewhere in this book.

33 Joel Norris, Serial Killers, Anchor Books, NY, 1988, ISBN 0-385-26328-7, pp. 161

34 Jean Goodwin, in Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Multiple Personality

Disorder, Valerie Sinason, editor. Brunner-Routledge, NY, 2002, ISBN 0415-19556-X, p. 142, “Snow White and the seven diagnoses”

35 Anthony Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy, Warner Books, NY, 1992, ISBN 0-75150340-1, p. 129-130

36 Maurice Maeterlinck, The Cloud That Lifted, The Century Company, NY, 1923



…we intend to investigate the development of a chemical material which causes a reversible non- toxic aberrant mental state, the specific nature of which can be reasonably well predicted for each individual. This material could potentially aid in discrediting individuals, eliciting information, and implanting suggestions and other forms of mental control.

  • Richard Helms, memorandum to Allen Dulles, April 3, 1953

…it had always seemed to me possible that, through hypnosis, for example, or auto-hypnosis, by means of systematic meditation, or else by taking the appropriate drug, I might so change my ordinary mode of consciousness as to be able to know, from the inside, what the visionary, the medium, even the mystic were talking about…. I took my pill at eleven.…

  • Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, May 4, 1953

The LSD experience is an enormous obstacle in the way of understanding what the latter half of the twentieth century was all about; those who have not taken LSD (or the other hallucinogens available at the time, such as mescaline and psilocybin) cannot appreciate the effects these substances have on one’s perception of reality. Those who have taken the drugs are often considered to be in no position to be objective about them! Yet, LSD and the other hallucinogens form a core of experience that has molded the lives and behavior of millions of people, both in the United States and abroad. This behavior is the result of an altered perception of reality and, hence, of social values. The shock to the system that results when coming down from such a drug and seeing the “real world” once again is often transformed into a rejection of consensus reality, a rejection of human institutions based on what the acid-tripper sees as an imperfect understanding of the workings of the cosmos.

Just as Communism was perceived by the West as a rejection of its values and the establishment of a “counter culture” in which institutions such as the government, the church, the school, marriage and other forms of civilization were reinterpreted, redesigned or even rejected altogether to create what the Communists believed would be a paradise on earth, the acid-tripper similarly rejected all forms of Western “establishment” culture in favor of something more ethereal but no less paradisiacal; but the acid-

tripper rejected Communism as well, and any governmental authority, and was thus a problem for establishments both in the West and in the East.

The acid-tripper was also a problem for religious organizations in general, at least those which attempt to monopolize access to the Godhead, because the acid trip can be a mystical one, a religious experience equivalent to the visions of the Saints. Direct access to God is always frowned upon by religious institutions, for such access renders the institution irrelevant. Thus, the acid trip is primarily a political problem, as the role of interpretation (of laws, of scriptures, of experience), and thus of control, is taken out of the hands of human authority and placed squarely into the mind of the tripper.

Ironically, it was human authority who created the problem in the first place. As is well-known by now and referenced in many studies of the LSD problem, the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency was the nation’s first “LSD connection,” providing the drug to researchers all over the country, including to young professors such as Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Ralph Metzner, and others who would popularize use of the drug among their students and, by extension, among the rest of the nation’s youth. The purpose behind this unprecedented largesse was not altruistic: it was to further the research into what Richard Helms and others involved in scientific R&D at the Agency believed was a super-drug for behavior modification and mind control tasking. In other words, the Agency needed a much larger base of test subjects than was available to them from within the Agency’s own personnel pool. They began by farming the drug out to hospitals—for instance, to Dr. Abramson at Mount Sinai in New York—and to prisons, such as Dr. Harris Isbell’s program at the Addiction Research Center at Lexington, Kentucky. Isbell’s operation was part of the Federal Penitentiary system and although his subjects were referred to as “patients,” they were, in reality, inmates of the prison system.

Another obvious benefit to having the LSD administered by doctors and professors who were not part of the CIA itself was that any adverse reactions, bad trips, and “accidents” would not be laid at CIA’s door. The Olson affair was still fresh in everyone’s mind, and even though no one was officially reprimanded for their role in his “suicide,” the Director of Central

Intelligence (DCI) did not want to take any more chances that a person with a high security classification—dealing in ultra sensitive matters of national security, such as biological weapons—would start tripping down Fifth Avenue, naked in a snowstorm. It was time to move the test subjects away from the CBW people and intelligence assets and towards those more expendable: prison inmates, terminally-ill patients, prostitutes, foreigners, and violent psychopaths. These were people whose deaths—should they occur—could be easily explained as a natural byproduct of their personal circumstances. They were also people whose secrets—whatever they were

—could not embarrass the Agency if they should be revealed under the influence of the drug.

One of Helms’ problems with the drug testing program was the legal issue of obtaining the consent of the test subjects beforehand. After all, Helms reasoned, if the subjects know they are going to be tested, then how does that help us understand what a person’s reaction will be to the drug in the field, when he will not be forewarned? The idea was to obtain a person’s reaction to the drug—particularly as used as an adjunct to interrogation and mental programming—when he had no idea a drug was being tested. Even better if the drug could be administered in a setting that was not so obviously… clinical. Thus, slowly at first and then with greater acceleration, LSD made its way into academia, and from there into society at large.


Richard Helms—in expanding the CIA’s mind control effort begun with Operation BLUEBIRD and its successor Operation ARTICHOKE— proposed the more comprehensive and aggressive MK-ULTRA on April 3, 1953 and it was approved by Allen Dulles on April 13, 1953, three days after he gave a very disturbing speech at Princeton University that cited “how sinister the battle for men’s minds had become.” He was referring to Soviet brainwashing techniques—or what was known, or imagined, of them at that time—and how a human mind could become putty in the hands of the specially-trained Communist controllers. Remember that 1953 was a pivotal year for Soviet Communism: Stalin died in 1953 and a titanic

struggle for power ensued in Russia, with dangerous implications for the West. The picture Dulles painted of the world situation in general, and of the state of Soviet mind control in particular, was frightening, and he lost no time in approving what was to become the most ambitious ever scientific quest for the secrets of consciousness, something that had not been seen in this world since the days that magicians advised the crowned heads of Europe and alchemists toiled to turn lead into gold in the basements of archdukes and princes. Probably only the Nazi aberration known as the Ahnenerbe-SS comes close to duplicating in scope what MK-ULTRA was designed to do. In the former case, departments were created within Himmler’s SS to research everything from the Holy Grail, mystical runes, and Tibetan Buddhism, to Icelandic sagas and the World Ice Theory. In the case of MK-ULTRA, the focus was narrower at first, but soon expanded to include psychic phenomena, shamanism, remote viewing, and occult practices. Even anthropologists found themselves on the CIA’s payroll:on the one hand, to obtain data about the remote locations and peoples they encountered, as such information might have intelligence value later, and to suggest strategies for psychological warfare in Third World countries; on the other hand, to gather whatever flora and fauna might be useful to the boys in the lab back home as mind control agents, or as biological or chemical weapons.

As always, however, psychiatrists were the main focus of this research and the institutes set up to funnel money into CIA experimentation were mostly targeted towards medical and psychiatric purposes. The faith of the Agency in psychiatry was touching, if not wholly naïve, but what was their alternative? Psychiatry was not exactly a hard science in 1953… or 2003 for that matter. Basic views of the human mind and its mechanisms in the postwar years were split between the behaviorists, who felt that “the mind” was simply the name we used to describe the functions of the brain, an organ that is physical, biological, and measurable, and the psychoanalysts, who felt that there were underlying layers of consciousness, unconsciousness, subconsciousness, id, libido, ego, superego, archetypes, you name it, courtesy of the Freudians and Jungians, who even between themselves had many important differences in their understanding of consciousness. In 1953 so little was known about how the mind really

works that Agency personnel desperate to find the magic key that would unlock the gates to the Land of Memory were hard put to find people who could forge that key. Memory itself was terra incognita: Did memory reside in a specific area of the brain, or was it distributed throughout the brain? Were all memories recorded for posterity, capable of being dredged up by the properly-trained controller, or could some memories be erased, and replaced with new memories? In computer jargon, was the human brain “write once, read only” or could it be overwritten many, many times, like a floppy disk or a hard drive?

For intelligence purposes, what was required of MK-ULTRA was the ability to manipulate memory, and to relax the inhibitions of captured enemy agents so that they would reveal their secrets. Thus, what the Freudians call the “superego” had to be bypassed, allowing the controller direct access to the contents of an enemy agent’s mind. That was step one. Step two would involve erasing specific pieces of information from the subject’s memory and replacing those pieces with new bits of memory, thus permitting the Agency to send that agent back into the field without any knowledge that he or she had been interrogated and had given up the sensitive information. Step three was a potential bonus: Could that enemy agent then be “programmed” to commit acts on behalf of the Agency, without knowing who gave the commands or why? This was the essence of the Manchurian Candidate. It is also the essence of what we know today as hypnotherapy and “depth” psychoanalysis, for the psychiatrist or psychotherapist in this case is looking for access to the patient’s unconscious layers, to extract important information (such as childhood trauma) and to neutralize the effects of that trauma, in some cases replacing certain unwanted or negative behavior patterns with new, approved patterns. Persons going to hypnotherapists for help with a drinking problem, or smoking, or over-eating, go through a similar process, with the important difference that the entire treatment is voluntary. What the Agency was looking for was a key that would unlock these secrets and allow unfettered access to the human mind, with or without the voluntary cooperation or submission of the “patient.”

In order to do this, they had to understand the workings of the mind first, and then develop drugs and techniques that would allow them quick and

painless access. Agency personnel did not have a lot of time in the field to put an enemy agent or defector through years of what might be termed “aggressive psychoanalysis,” but had to have answers quickly, sometimes in only hours, before that subject was to be sent back into the field to act as a double agent—or possibly assassin—for the CIA.

But in exploring the mind and developing techniques for unlocking its secrets, the Agency unknowingly tread on areas that have been the domain of religion and mysticism for thousands of years. Cults as disparate as that of Eleusis in Greece, Tantra in India, Siberian shamanism, Native American shamanism, Taoism in China, Tibetan Buddhism, Jewish Qabalism, even the relatively modern phenomenon of European ceremonial magic—as represented in the twentieth century by the Golden Dawn, the OTO, and individuals such as Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and MacGregor Mathers—and countless other disciplines had already mapped out large areas of consciousness and developed methods for entering them relatively unscathed. As mythologists such as Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and others have demonstrated, there is a great deal of similarity in “technology” among these practices, and that similarity exists for a reason.

The fact is that mystical experiences, like sudden conversions, do not always arise from purely religious influences and stresses; they can sometimes be induced by chemical means—such as, for instance, mescaline, ether, and laughing gas.

—William Sargant, Battle for the Mind 1

Precisely, Dr. Sargant; and the next question must be: where are the mechanisms in your laboratory that prepare the subject (we may say, protect the subject) for what he or she may encounter when under the influence of these artificial triggers of mystical experience?

In other words, Dr. Sargant, what really happened to your colleague, Dr. Olson?

As LSD became more and more popular among the “civilian” population in America, its use contributed to a unique jargon and a rudimentary understanding of the effects of LSD—or of any hallucinogen—on the mind, and how best to exploit its benefits. This was not the result of scientific tests done in laboratories and a resulting “protocol,” but arose from general

practices by the youth of America in the 1960s. Important factors of any hallucinogenic experience were referred to as “set and setting.” This meant that the emotional state (the “set” or “mindset”) of the individual was important, as well as the immediate environment (the “setting”). In other words, the potential candidate for an LSD experience should be in the proper emotional state and frame of mind to facilitate an easy and pleasant experience; the environment itself should be conducive to harmonious feelings, and should reinforce specific elements that the “tripper” would like to encounter or experience during the “trip.” As the Sixties wore on, “guided trips” became more and more common. In this case, the person taking the LSD would do so in the presence of a guide, someone who would walk the tripper through the trip—as it were—and also be on hand to protect the tripper from any ill effects. In this way, it was believed that an LSD experience could be beneficial, could actually result in some important insights and have a lasting effect on the subject long after the chemical had left the bloodstream.

This was nothing new. Native Americans, for instance, had long known of the benefits of taking peyote as long as it was done in a controlled setting by an experienced shaman. CIA researchers were rarely interested in the ritual settings that surrounded drug-taking among aboriginals, however. They were more interested in isolating the drug’s active ingredients and developing clinical protocols for their use. As scientists, they could be expected to do nothing else; but in their paradigm of operation—trying to find a fast way into the unconscious mind with control over memory and volition, and then leaving the subject intact (what Richard Helms, above, characterized as “a reversible non-toxic aberrant mental state”)—the purely chemical approach was doomed to failure.

Sargant’s prime example of the success of pure psychology was the Russian neurophysiologist Pavlov and his famous dogs. Sargant extrapolated Pavlov’s findings to describe mechanisms for controlling human behavior. To a certain extent, this was effective (for instance, in treating victims of battle fatigue—what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder—where there is a specific trauma and a specific symptom associated with it). Sargant saw religious and political conversions in much the same way, as a behaviorist would. Apply the right amount of stress

under the right conditions, and a human being’s will is malleable; in fact, one’s entire belief system can be changed overnight. Sargant cited works by Arthur Koestler to prove his point, as Koestler had famously undergone a “conversion” to Communism and then a “conversion” back again.

Also in 1953, we see that behaviorist poster-boy B. F. Skinner had begun publishing; his purely mechanical approach seemed the most… scientific, and the field of psychology was desperate to be taken seriously by science, which had long regarded psychology as “soft,” if not an outright pseudo- science. The physicists had already given us the atomic bomb; what weapon of similar, demonstrable potency could the psychologists provide in the war against Godless Communism? It appeared as if the Communists had found ways of manipulating the consciousness of Cardinal Mindszenty, for instance, and had done similar work on captured American GIs in Korea. When Dulles made his speech in April 1953, he virtually characterized the Cold War as a Manichaean struggle between the forces of Light and Darkness. This was not a war over land or resources; it was a war over possession of the soul of humanity.

Communism is, of course, a system basically inimical to capitalism and democracy, for it pretends to be both an economic system as well as a political one. Both the Soviet and the Maoist states had pushed religious observances underground; to be a member of any church was to automatically lose one’s Communist Party card at best, or be arrested and thrown into the Gulag at worst. Allegiance to divine authority was understood as a kind of treason, an allegiance to a different king, and in this perhaps the Communists understood religion better than the Capitalists.

Today for instance, China still insists it has the right to identify and proclaim the next Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, and all of the other Tibetan religious leaders, even though this prerogative had always been the domain of the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy itself. It is based on a tedious, but critical, ritualistic search for the heir that can take years, and which involves demonstrable spiritual powers from the candidates (the ability, for instance, to identify the previous Lama’s personal possessions from among a mass of other objects). How the non-religious, anti-religious Chinese Government sees itself as capable of doing the same thing is beyond understanding, and

even opens them up to ridicule, but the impulse is defensible from their point of view: allowing the Tibetans to choose their own spiritual leader is tantamount to showing the world that there is an authority that transcends Marxism-Leninism and Mao Ze Dong Thought. That policy is extended towards the Catholic Church, as well, for China has never allowed the Vatican’s nomination of cardinal or archbishop for Chinese cities to influence its own candidates; during the time of the Soviet Union, a similar policy was in effect for selecting the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.

What Dulles was describing to his audience at Princeton that Spring, then, had a very real basis in reality. For a nation such as the United States, where church and state are nominally separate, and where neither the church can appoint secular leaders, nor the state appoint religious ones, the system of government in Russia and China seemed like nothing short of… well, Europe during the Middle Ages. Irony aside for the moment, if one takes the sum total of these facts—the superiority of the Communist state over religion, the submission of religious leaders to the will of secular leaders, and the creation of mind control and “brainwashing” techniques— we can see that what the Communist state was doing was exactly what Hitler had in mind for the Third Reich: the creation of a New Man. The Communist state’s approach, however, was purely behaviorist. Indeed, political dissidents were often hospitalized in mental institutions, since it was assumed their rebellion against the state was evidence of a psychological disorder; there they would receive the full benefit of the state’s behavior modification program: what we call electroconvulsive therapy and what others refer to as “torture.” Hitler’s approach was more psychoanalytical, in that he encouraged the development of a state religion based on Teutonic paganism, and thus summoning to his psychic assistance all those “archetypes” about which Jung—the Nazi man-qué—was always lecturing about. The Third Reich normally eschewed the behaviorist approach, and simply imprisoned or executed dissidents, since it was understood that political dissidence and racial inferiority were basically one and the same. One of the most important exceptions to this rule was homosexuality, which, when it occurred among the SS men was treated as a psychological aberration suitable for the therapeutic setting, but when it

occurred among members of the general population was tantamount to an assignment to the camps.

Once science and consciousness mechanisms—religion, spirituality, mysticism, psychology—became so closely aligned in service to the state in both the West and the East, there were bound to be repercussions, some of which are being felt to this day. The vast array of worldwide literature on mysticism and mystical states is very clear and consistent on several important points, most of which were ignored by government-supported mind control efforts on both sides of the political divide. The first, and most important, point is that these states are approached gradually and with graded levels of training and preparation. Like the Masonic degree system, initiates (read “subjects”) are trained in some basic information, then brought to the first level or degree of awareness. They then receive further training, and another level is attained, etc. This process can take years, and is designed to integrate the initiate’s consciousness on all levels and, yes, the goal is eventually to create a New Man (or Woman). Along the way, various paranormal abilities are cultivated or simply make themselves known to the initiate. The initiate may experience total recall of events from his childhood; he may experience some form of out-of-body travel or see events transpiring at great distances (“remote viewing”); the initiate may develop other psychic abilities, etc. The focus of the mind control experts, however, was on the goodies themselves—the psychic abilities, the control over the memory, control over autonomic bodily functions—and not on the development of their subject’s spiritual identity. This is known in occult circles the world over—from India to Europe to America—as “black magic.”

To pursue these abilities as an end in themselves is to tread on the very edge of the Abyss and, in some cases, to plunge over the side and into total darkness; but the people responsible for MK-ULTRA and the Soviet and Chinese versions of the same did not take the “initiations” themselves. In most cases, the treatments were given to other intelligence personnel, or to volunteer subjects at hospitals and prisons, or to unwitting subjects. Imagine someone being plucked from the streets—an innocent, a stranger, perhaps a criminal, perhaps a violent criminal—and forced to undergo a rigorous series of spiritual initiations. While there is no evidence in the

ancient literature of secret societies and mystery cults that such was ever done, the modern imagination has admitted the possibility (for instance, in John Fowles’ novel The Magus. Even the author’s own, yet unpublished, novel Citadel is based on that idea). Genuine spiritual initiation is always portrayed as a difficult, painful experience, what the Japanese Zen masters refer to as “grandmotherly kindness”; it is not much of a leap to consider that it could be accomplished by force on an unwitting or unwilling participant. MK-ULTRA, unknown or unrealized by its perpetrators, was just such a program, stripped of any redeeming spiritual value. The tragedy of Dr. Frank Olson is proof of that.

On May 4, 1953, the brilliant and celebrated British novelist and essayist Aldous Huxley took mescaline for the first time. The author of Brave New World (1932) was living in California, having left England in 1937 for the United States. He tried his hand at screenwriting, and even attempted a treatment of Alice in Wonderland for Walt Disney, who rejected it on the grounds that he, Disney, could not understand it. Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon, a fact-based study of demonic possession in seventeenth-century France, had just been published the previous year, testament to decades of study of Christian and Eastern mysticism and religion. He was as prepared, intellectually, as could be expected for what mescaline would offer, and he took a dose and waited.

The Doors of Perception (1954) was the result, a report of his experience on the drug, which was followed up by Heaven and Hell (1956). His sober, respectful account of the hallucinogenic experience had enormous influence on the Beat generation of the 1950s and on generations to follow. For instance, Jim Morrison named his rock group, The Doors, after Huxley’s work. While authors and experimenters such as Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert and Robert Anton Wilson would, in the decades to follow, write glowing accounts of the benefits to be had by alterations of consciousness

—either through drugs, meditation, or occultism, or all three in combination

—Huxley threw open the Door in the Wall (in a self-conscious borrowing of a phrase from H. G. Wells) and let the light in. He was a bonafide intellectual, a pacifist, a literary lion; compared to Huxley, the others were arrivistes.

He writes of the fantastic colors and of the altered state of perception, noting that a person in an unsound state of mind who took mescaline would probably suffer the very fires of a schizophrenic hell as a result. Thus, in 1954, Huxley was writing about “set,” and, as he went on to describe his mescaline trip—taken in the presence of his wife and Dr. Humphrey Osmond, a Canadian psychiatrist and the man who had supplied the drug and who was monitoring and recording his reactions—he would go on to write about “setting” as well: the environment and the influence it had on the progress of the experience.

Taking mescaline had a profound effect on Huxley, and he kept worrying at the experience, writing more about it and finding ways to extend the mescaline experience into discussions of art, music, literature and culture in general, finally talking about religion and psychology and mysticism in light of the mescaline experience. Frank Olson would drop acid six months later—in November 1953—and his handlers presumably would have benefited from Huxley’s careful and respectful discussion of the vulnerability of the hallucinogenic state… but Huxley’s report would not appear until after Olson’s death. His paragraph on the relationship between the schizophrenic state and the psychedelic state reads like an account of Olson’s last days:

The schizophrenic is like a man permanently under the influence of mescaline, and therefore unable to shut off the experience of a reality which he is not holy enough to live with… [it] scares him into interpreting its unremitting strangeness, its burning intensity of significance, as the manifestations of human or even cosmic malevolence, calling for the most desperate counter-measures, from murderous violence on one end of the scale to catatonia, or psychological suicide, at the other. 2

“The experience of a reality which he is not holy enough to live with” says it all. It is not for nothing that the mystery cults of the world prescribe a lengthy and thorough period of purification and cleansing—of the body and of the soul—preparatory to the ritual of initiation, whether by drugs or by trance or even, as in the case of Tantric Hinduism, sex. One must be “holy enough” to survive the transcendental experience, especially if drugs are

involved for there is no easy way to stop that experience once it has begun. One must go through it to the end.

When Frank Olson was given LSD without his knowledge or approval, he was in a depressed mental state after all that he had experienced in Europe. As Aldous Huxley was busy writing up the experience of his first mescaline trip in the months after May 1953, Olson was traveling in Europe to visit the sites where his weapons systems—notably anthrax and other pathogens—were being tested on live subjects. His soul was in shreds; his heart was breaking. This was not the America in which he had been brought up, and which he was working so strenuously to protect against its enemies. This was not the America of the Nuremberg Trials, much less of the Constitution. Frank Olson was losing his faith, and he begged the Army to let him go. He wanted to become a dentist. A dentist. One is helplessly reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, and its dentist protagonist who wants to escape the horrors of war, if only in his mind.

In this unclean and unprepared—this “unholy”—state, Olson took a drug that kicked open the Doors of Perception like a Gestapo boot in the middle of a crystal night. He saw a reality that sadly lived up to all his expectations: a paranoid police state committing atrocities abroad while keeping its citizens smiling at home. A Brave New World. He shredded his identification papers on the streets of New York, certain—in his psychedelically-charged mind—that enemy agents were coming to get him, to blow his cover and his networks. And they did. And he died.


Drugs were not the only royal road to the unconscious mind taken by the Agency and its G-scale doctors in white robes and pocket protectors. Other eminent psychologists and psychiatrists had their own ideas, and were recruited far and wide throughout the American landscape. And Frank Olson was not the only casualty of this experimentation, although he may have been one of the first on American shores.

Dr. Ewen Cameron was a distinctive man with a distinctive resume. Cameron, a native of Scotland who had moved to Canada early in his

career, had been one of the psychiatrists asked to evaluate captured Nazi leader Rudolf Hess in 1945 to see if he was fit to stand trial at Nuremberg. 3Hess had twice attempted suicide and this, coupled with his serious occult beliefs, was considered possible evidence of insanity. Cameron, however, concurred with most of his fellow psychiatrists when he gave his opinion that Hess was sane enough and fit enough to stand trial.

He had become a friend of Allen Dulles, who would later become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and had even offered to treat Dulles’ wife, Clover, according to Gordon Thomas. 4Clover Dulles was upset over her husband’s frequent philandering, and CIA doctors recommended she see Cameron in Montreal, since Cameron had a reputation for being good with women and women’s psychological complaints. John Marks—in The Search for the Manchurian Candidate— gives Cameron the benefit of a doubt when it comes to whether or not the Scottish-born physician knew that his projects were receiving CIA funding. However, as a frequent visitor to Washington, and as a friend of Dulles from the postwar years, it is not possible to believe that Cameron was not completely aware of who was funding some of the most atrocious psychological experimentation taking place in the world at that time, the practice of “psychic driving” and the maintenance of the notorious “sleep room.” Later, doctors trained by Cameron who had worked with him at his clinic in Montreal would be found working in South America—in Paraguay and Chile—coercing confessions from political prisoners at detention centers there. It is possible—though not proven yet—that these doctors loaned their special expertise to the interrogation officers at Colonia Dignidad, where the author spent a rather unpleasant afternoon in 1979 (as detailed in Unholy Alliance).

Donald Ewen Cameron was born in Scotland in 1901, and obtained a degree in psychological medicine in 1925. He fell under the influence of famed psychiatrist Adolph Meyer, and in 1926 Cameron left Scotland for Johns Hopkins in the States, where Meyer was then running the Phipps Clinic. After two years, Cameron then went to Switzerland, to the Burghoelzli Clinic, and from there went on to Manitoba, Canada.

The peripatetic Cameron then found himself in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1936 (at which time he published Objective and Experimental Psychology promoting a thoroughly scientific—which is to say, behaviorist and clinical—model of what psychiatry should be) and in Albany, New York from 1939 to 1943, where he was professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Albany Medical College. In 1943 he moved to McGill University in Montreal, where he created the Allan Memorial Institute on Mont Royal (with a $40,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation), a post he held until 1964, when he effectively retired from professional life.

It is the Allan Memorial Institute that holds our attention, because to many of its former patients it has become synonymous with suffering. The former mansion of Sir Hugh Allan, before it became the Institute it was known as Ravenscroft, a forbidding but somehow more fitting name for a building housing a flock of mad scientists intent on breaking into the innermost recesses of the human mind—by force.

As discussed by Harvey M. Weinstein, himself a physician and the son of one of Cameron’s patients, Cameron had been fascinated by memory, believing memory to be stored in the brain and accessible through chemicals or other biological means.5 Cameron realized that the Land of Memory guarded access to the mysteries of the mind itself, and if a way could be found to call up any memory—and reinterpret those memories or eradicate them completely—then one effectively erased mental illness. He called his technique of causing selective memory loss “differential amnesia”; it was a critical aspect of what MK-ULTRA was all about. As mentioned before, if the CIA could cause certain specific memories to be erased in a targeted individual—and perhaps replaced by false memories— then they could create the perfect spy, the perfect double agent, or even the perfect assassin: a person who would commit murder and not know (not remember) why he had done so, or who had ordered the hit. Imagine an assassin, standing up in a crowd, pulling out a gun—regardless of danger to his own safety, his own life—and killing an important political figure. He is captured, of course, and then cannot say why he did what he did, cannot even remember that he did it. Such an assassin is a cypher: a crazed, lone gunman.

Cameron believed that schizophrenia and other psychotic states were caused by physical conditions in the brain; like his friend and colleague of many years, Dr. William Sargant, he had a mechanistic view of consciousness and felt that with the right drug and the right procedure all could be made right as rain. This was an approach very attractive to the Technical Services Staff at the CIA; it was what they were looking for: a switch to turn memories on and off, something reliable, something quick. The CIA wanted to hear that there were easy techniques—whether drugs, or hypnosis, or some other mechanisms—to give agents in the field additional weapons in their arsenal. Cameron obliged. To that end, and to both test and prove his theories, he developed procedures known as “psychic driving” and “depatterning.” The procedures were radical and extreme, designed to totally disorient a human being, to strip away layers of consciousness and memory until one came to bedrock, and then to rebuild the personality step by step.

Unfortunately, his patients—some of whom had come to him for mild disorders, such as anxiety—had no foreknowledge of the treatments and had not volunteered for the experimentation. Like other CIA guinea pigs under the MK-ULTRA program, they were unwitting and expendable test subjects. Cameron’s operation had a further, fringe benefit: since the tests were taking place outside the United States and on non-US citizens there was another layer of deniability, and responsibility for the outcome of the experiments was further removed. Additionally, the Agency could ignore the legal dilemma of whether such tests, if conducted within the borders of the United States on unwitting United States citizens, were within the scope of the CIA’s charter (which forbids domestic operations but which does not, evidently, forbid scientific research and development within the United States).

The setting for the tests was like something out of an old B-movie about mad scientists. Indeed, a look at history will show that mad scientists tend to be patriots who are committing their atrocities in the name of that “Greater Reich”: national security. (Robert Jay Lifton calls this unique configuration “doubling,”6 implying that such a doctor holds two different, often completely contradictory, points of view simultaneously: one, in which the physician feels he is upholding his Hippocratic Oath “to do no

harm,” and the second in which he commits acts of unquestionable brutality in the name of the State, or the greater good, or whatever justification is fashionable at the time. It is tantamount to having two personalities, two categories in which to pigeonhole the various opinions, feelings and strategies necessary to support them. It was perhaps Frank Olson’s inability to “double” that led to his death.)

In the case of Cameron’s psychic driving technique, a patient would be kept isolated in a room—the “sleep room”—and would be administered some combination of drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (what is popularly known as “electroshock”). Sometimes the shocks given were staggeringly high, and repeated more often than is usual in a therapeutic setting. The normal voltage is usually 110 volts; Cameron used 150 volts. The normal dosage was a single shock lasting a fraction of a second; Cameron’s shocks lasted longer, up to one second (and thus an average of 30 times more powerful than normal) and were done 2-3 times a day as opposed to the more usual once a day, or once every two days. Electroshock causes a major convulsion, which is then followed by several minor convulsions. Cameron’s was a variation of the already intense Page-Russell method, but taken up quite a few notches to the point where his patients became disoriented and confused. This was Cameron’s aim, which was the opposite of what was intended by the already controversial electroconvulsive therapy method.

The drug regimen was equally severe: a “sleep cocktail” was administered to the subjects—one can hardly call them “patients” anymore

—consisting of Thorazine, Nembutal, Seconal, Veronal and Phenergan. The subject would be awakened several times a day for the electroshock treatment and for the drug concoction. The combination kept the subject asleep day and night except for the electroshock, during which time his screams could be heard all over Ward 2.

This treatment typically would last from two weeks to a month, with some subjects being “treated” in this manner for over two months. In some cases, they would lose control of their bowels, be unable to feed themselves or to tend to normal bodily functions. Many tried to escape, but were always captured and brought back to their ward by the doctors and

orderlies, since they were in such feeble condition that escape was impossible, groping along the walls and pathetically urinating on the floor of the corridor.

The effect of this treatment was to cause the subjects to lose their memory, usually in three stages. In the first stage, much memory was lost, but not the facts of the subject being at the clinic, knowing he is at the clinic and why, and who the doctors and nurses are. The second stage involved the loss of what Cameron called “space-time image”; the subject would not know where he was or why he was there. Understandably, this disorientation was extremely frightening. Imagine waking up in a hospital bed and not knowing what had happened, or why, and with no one in a position to tell you since keeping you in that degree of confusion was necessary to the “treatment.” This nightmarish and Kafkaesque state of affairs was designed, remember, by a man who had once tested Rudolf Hess for sanity.

The third and final stage of memory loss is complete amnesia. There is only knowledge and memory of the present; there is no reference to past events or feelings. Cameron proudly pointed to this stage as the one where any schizophrenia has disappeared (along, of course, with a lot more!). The mind of the subject is a blank slate. He has been depatterned.

The CIA, satisfied with this level of progress, then asked Cameron to go to the next level: to implant new behavioral patterns in place of the old, erased ones. To do this, Cameron turned to another technique he had developed, which he called “psychic driving.”

This method is, if anything, even more hellish than depatterning, and involves blasting the subject with tape recordings of verbal messages— usually specific for each subject—that played in a loop forsixteen hours a day for weeks. Normally, two tapes were used: the first was a “negative conditioning” tape which concentrated on, obviously, the negative facts of the subject’s life, continually reinforcing these unhealthy images. This would then be replaced by a “positive conditioning” tape, also in a loop, also for sixteen hours a day for weeks, which would emphasize the desired behavior instead of the unwanted behavior of the first tape. Cameron’s assistant in these endeavors—one Leonard Rubinstein, whose salary was

paid for entirely by CIA funds—designed an enormous tape device that could play eight different tapes at the same time, thus “psychically driving” eight subjects at once. The speakers for these tapes were placed beneath the subjects’ pillows. They were inescapable, unremitting, endless; and, in some cases, augmented with the use of hallucinogens such as LSD.

Compare Cameron’s psychic driving technique—developed as early as 1953—with this proposal by Aldous Huxley, published in The Doors of Perception in 1954:

What those Buddhist monks did for the dying and the dead, might not the modern psychiatrist do for the insane? Let there be a voice to assure them, by day and even while they are asleep, that in spite of all the terror, all the bewilderment and confusion, the ultimate Reality remains unshakably itself and is of the same substance as the inner light of even the most cruelly tormented mind. By means of such devices as recorders, clock-controlled switches, public address systems and pillow speakers it should be very easy to keep the inmates of even an understaffed institution constantly reminded of this primordial fact.7

As can be seen, Huxley envisioned the use of the same technology in virtually the same environment and for the same ostensible purpose: to heal the insane. Cameron took this method and used it to drive otherwise sane people totally out of their minds.

And this was not all. Cameron eventually (in 1957, and with more CIA money and official approval) turned his talents towards sensory deprivation.

Sensory deprivation tanks became quite popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as an easy and legal way to obtain hallucinogenic-type visions, although most people used them simply for relaxation and meditation purposes. The idea is to completely isolate a person from his environment: have him float in water that is the same temperature as his body so there is no physical sensation, with goggles blocking all vision and earmuffs blocking all sound. With no external information source, the mind begins to turn on itself for data. Sensory deprivation systems were used to test pilots of high altitude aircraft back in the 1950s and 1960s; the author remembers an educational video from that period that showed a pilot strapped to a table in a specially- designed cell with no visual or auditory input: total darkness, total silence.

After a short time, everyone begins to hallucinate. For some reason, these pilots hallucinated little yellow men in black hats.

In the Air Force’s testing program, though, when the visions became too frightening the pilot could always hit the panic button next to his hand, and the room would open and the lights come on and attendants rush in to unstrap the babbling and sometimes incoherent subject and calm him down. Not many subjects lasted more than a few hours in such an environment, even though they often thought they had been there for days. According to the experts, even the strongest-willed, most adaptable individual should not be left in such a state for more than six days, because after that time the damage done to the psyche cannot be undone.

In Cameron’s program, though, no one was allowed out of sensory deprivation until he said it was okay. In one particularly harrowing episode, he left a woman—who presented as simply suffering from menopause—in sensory deprivation for thirty-five days… and this was after a prolonged period of depatterning and 101 days of psychic driving. Cameron wrote this one off: “no favorable results were obtained.” We don’t know what eventually became of this poor woman—whom we know only as “Mary C.”—except for a notation by a CIA official at the time that it was impossible to tell if the sensory deprivation or the psychic driving had done the most damage.

In case the reader is wondering if Dr. Ewen Cameron was a fluke, an accident that was taking place in a backwater of the psychiatric field, it is well to note at this time that Cameron was elected president of the American Psychiatric Association (in 1953) and was the first-ever president of the World Psychiatric Association. Cameron was famous, honored, well- respected by his peers, and a consummate politician. This was not a defrocked, dishonored crackpot who had lost his medical license over a botched, back alley abortion. This was the Chairman of the Board.

Eventually, when word of the MK-ULTRA experiments began to leak out in the wake of the Watergate affair, many of Cameron’s former Canadian patients recognized his name and his affiliation with the CIA and brought suit against the Agency for the horrors perpetrated against them in the name of another nation’s security, and won a settlement of $750,000. But in many

cases their victory was pyrrhic: Cameron died in 1967—four years after the CIA cancelled his project—and the Canadian government refused any responsibility or culpability for his crimes, even though they were more than aware of the MK-ULTRA program, and its manifestation in their own country as the Allan Memorial Institute. Many of Cameron’s former colleagues still will not talk; many have since died or left the country. As mentioned before, Gordon Thomas has revealed that several of the latter found employment with Latin American dictators and their secret police. The assault on the Land of Memory continues—with electroshock and Wagner—to this day.

Harvey Weinstein’s father, Lou, was one of the victims of Ewen Cameron. Originally going to the clinic to obtain treatment for anxiety, he wound up getting the works. He became severely disabled following the gamut of electroconvulsive therapy, drug treatments, and the sleep room. He suffered “differential amnesia” for the period 1955-1964. He could not eat without humming, and had to follow other very specific rituals during the day; he “lost all sense of personal cleanliness or awareness of others.” Like Frank Olson’s son, Eric, Harvey Weinstein decided to become a psychiatrist, and, also like Eric Olson, Harvey Weinstein brought suit against the CIA for what it did to his father. That these sons of CIA mind control victims should both decide to devote themselves to the study of the mind and the treatment of its disorders—as well as to securing justice for the victims of government mind control programs—is perhaps the silver lining in this heavy, impenetrable cloud of sadness and madness.

The horrors of the Allan Memorial Institute are not an anomaly. Montreal is no stranger to abuses of institutionalized persons. Slowly, after the revelations of Cameron’s frightening treatment of his patients, came stories about another set of abuses, this time from Catholic nuns who subjected the orphans under their care to the kind of treatment one would have expected of the old Bedlam days, when mental patients were “treated” with questionable therapies and kept in filth for days and weeks on end. The exception is that these were orphans in the 1950s in Canada, and they were not mental patients, but had been characterized as such by the Gray Nuns so that they could qualify for additional state funding. No one of the author’s generation who has grown up under the tutelage of Roman Catholic nuns will find the following story surprising. 8

During the postwar years in Montreal, money was in short supply. Funding for orphanages was virtually non-existent, but funding for hospitals was available from the central government in Ottawa. The Catholic Church decided to take advantage of the disparity in funding by classifying its orphans as “mentally deficient,” thus qualifying for the federal largesse. The government in Montreal—specifically the administration of Premier Maurice Duplessis—was the instigating factor, since it offered the Church a subsidy of $2.75 per day per “mental deficient” as opposed to only $1.25 per day per orphan. The Church immediately took advantage of this policy, and reclassified thousands— estimates range as high as 5,000—of orphans and illegitimate children in its care as mental patients (usually without any medical or psychiatric examination whatsoever).

If this was strictly an exercise in paperwork, with no one the wiser—a pragmatic attempt to secure funding for the support of children whose only crime in the eyes of society was that they existed—then perhaps one could have turned a blind eye to the whole proceeding. However, the reclassification process prompted acts of horrific brutality against the children by nuns, the “brides of Christ,” and in some cases monks and lay helpers. The abuse was not confined to only one order of nuns, but extended to the Gray Nuns of Montreal, the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Charity of Quebec, the Little Franciscans of Mary, and two orders of monks—the Brothers of Notre Dame de la Misericorde and the Brothers of Charity—all of whom were named in civil lawsuits by surviving members of the thousands of children who were thus abused. There were, as well, 120 individuals who were named in criminal complaints. Further, the medical profession in Montreal was also complicit in the case, as physicians signed off on the thousands of examination forms stating that the orphans were mentally retarded when, in fact, they had not been examined at all.

Once the papers had been signed and, in some cases, entire orphanages converted to mental institutions virtually overnight, the horrors began.

Children were beaten, in some cases with chains; they were tied to iron bed frames and force-fed; put in straitjackets; subjected to ice baths; and

sodomized. Some died from the abuse. Others became severely disabled, to the point that now—over fifty years after the events—they are still taking anti-depressants and are unable to hold regular jobs. One man still suffers from testicular problems due to the beatings. Of course, as they were officially listed as “mentally retarded” or “mentally deficient,” they were considered marginal members of society and could not obtain decent education or the other benefits of “normal” children and adults. In fact, once they were officially designated “retarded,” it was felt that there was no longer any need to educate them, and in many cases schooling of these children was cancelled completely. Some of these victims—at the time of this writing, in their 50s and 60s—still cannot read or write. In many other cases, the children were labeled retarded when they were quite young, so they had no reason to believe they were not retarded. When some of these bewildered men and women were interviewed for national television in the mid-1990s, their confusion and anger were apparent. Their lives had been destroyed, if not by the physical, mental and sexual abuse, then by the label of “mentally deficient” or “mentally retarded” which followed them all through life.

Some apologists for the Church say that it has been unjustly scapegoated for the sins of society at the time, that the children were dumped on the nuns and that, effectively, the nuns had no other choice. The apologists insist that the actions of the nuns be seen in the context of the postwar era, of the “laws, customs, and behavioral standards” that were current in the 1950s. This, of course, is patently absurd. Again, one can understand the bureaucratic maneuver to change the designation of an orphanage to a mental institution in order to obtain more funding from an otherwise recalcitrant government, but no amount of justification can be found for the beatings, the rapes, the lack of schooling and the rest of the hideous abuse suffered by these children. It is as if, once they were officially designated as “mentally retarded” on paper, they became so in fact, and were subject to the same treatment meted out to those less fortunate members of an unenlightened society, for whom the stigma of mental retardation or mental illness was tantamount to a confession of mortal sin. Perhaps the nuns themselves found the children to be representative of their own complicity, their own guilt, in defrauding the government, and the punishment inflicted on these innocents was the result of what the Freudians might call

“transference.” (No one who has done time at a Catholic parochial school in the 1950s, however, would even give them that much benefit of a doubt. At the time of this writing there had been so much evidence of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests—and ensuing cover-ups by the Church

—that aged and ailing Pope John Paul II had to convene a special meeting in Rome of high-ranking Catholic clergymen to find a solution to the problem.)

But what is more absurd—especially to anyone who grew up Catholic— is the insistence that the crimes of the nuns were merely reflective of the attitudes of society at the time. Since when has Church policy ever reflected social attitudes? It sees itself as the supreme moral force in the world, unaffected by what society may think is right or wrong, since it is the Church which decides moral questions and not society. Thus, the unending issues of birth control, abortion, marriage for priests, ordination of women, etc. Regardless of what society may think, the Church stands firm on what it perceives to be solid moral ground, based on Canon Law, the Scriptures, the Church Fathers, the encyclicals of the Popes. Their moral status was indelibly written two thousand years ago with the crucifixion and resurrection of their God in the city of Jerusalem; they answer to no higher authority.

It is also well-known that the status of nuns within the Catholic Church is very low: the lowliest priest has more status in the ecclesiastical hierarchy than the most mature Mother Superior. That the abuse of these children could take place without the knowledge or consent (tacit or implicit) of the priesthood is simply not possible. So, how was this long—nearly twenty years or more—institutionalized horror allowed to take place?

There was a war on. A Cold War against godless Communism, against the Red Peril and the Yellow Menace. It was a war of Light against Darkness, and the bombs could fall at any time. It was a time of stringent measures to protect the best and the brightest; for all others it was every man for himself. The Allan Memorial Institute was in full flower at the same time that the atrocities were being committed against the Children of Montreal, and in the same city; an institute run by the world-renowned psychiatrist and specialist in mental disorders, Dr. Ewen Cameron. Who

could argue with that kind of success? The actions of Dr. Cameron were as vile, obviously, as those of the gentle nuns of Quebec. At the risk of being accused of hysteria or hyperbole, let the author be permitted to draw the inescapable conclusion that the attitudes of Cameron and the nuns were no different from those of the Third Reich when it came to the mentally ill: they were expendable, “useless eaters,” useful perhaps in tests and experiments of doubtful value to science (á la Dr. Mengele) or, in the case of the Catholic mental institutes, as slave labor in the hospitals… or even as sexual toys for their care-givers. It was St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, who said, “Give me a child for a year, and he is mine for life.”

You will hear no argument from the Children of Montreal.


The CIA was not the first organization of any size to confront the task of probing the human mind. Operations BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE, and MK-ULTRA, were designed to respond to similar practices of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, what was termed in the popular press “brainwashing.” Rudolf Hess, at his trial at Nuremberg for war crimes, began speaking of this phenomenon in his one and only statement to the court before he was cut off by the judges. He made reference to Soviet show trials of the late 1930s, in which accused prisoners freely confessed to their guilt even though it meant their deaths at the hands of Stalin’s executioners. He referred to doctors who had visited him in prison— including one with a Scottish accent who might have been Cameron—and what seemed to be their efforts to hypnotize him. (In an intriguing sidebar, Dulles, who asked Cameron to examine Hess, was actually worried that the prisoner claiming to be Rudolf Hess was a double; he asked Cameron to get Hess to remove his clothing so that he could locate a specific scar that the real Hess would have. This was a strange request, since it should have been easy to have Hess physically examined at any time during his incarceration, but evidently Dulles did not entirely trust the British. Unfortunately, Cameron was unable to examine Hess physically, since he was in shackles and the guards did not have authorization to remove them.)

The show trial of Cardinal Mindszenty was more evidence that the Communists had managed to develop a technique for altering consciousness in their political prisoners; American GIs returning from captivity in Korea were another example. That there might be a mysterious Oriental method to “cloud men’s minds” both frightened and excited the men of the CIA. In order quickly to learn as much as possible, they assigned psychiatrists, scientists and medical professionals to the task of finding out how the mind

—and specifically memory—works. In another, parallel, effort they fanned out through the Third World in search for medicinal herbs, narcotic drugs, and hallucinogens that might be used for the same purpose. In doing so, they came across occult practices, demonstrations of psychic abilities, and the mind control techniques of yogis, shamans, and witch doctors. Clearly, this was a realm of mind control that was well worth pursuing, and which gave birth to some of the strangest projects ever funded by the US Government. It was in combination with the work of Cameron, Gottlieb, Abramson, Isbell, et al. that these drugs, spiritual techniques and laboratory tests opened a Pandora’s Box of suffering, violence… and perhaps even redemption, through transformation: the Black Box of consciousness. In this, they were unwittingly following in the footsteps of magicians, sorcerers, gurus, and cultists the world over; but, unlike their forebears, they used a purely scientific approach to their material, and thus robbed the experiences of the one essential element that is common to all initiation: meaning.

Without meaning, there is no context for the experience; there is no way to integrate the material into one’s psychological makeup. Cameron was not interested in meaning, neither was Gottlieb. That wasn’t their job. Their task was to open up the mind to fast and easy manipulation by case officers and field agents, not to promote spiritual or psychic integration, or what Jung calls “individuation.” Their job was to create assassins, turn agents, interrogate prisoners, obtain information. Saving souls was for priests.

However, there was a band of scientists and explorers loyal to the American government who felt the need to bring together the purely mechanistic and behaviorist approach to psychology that was being endorsed by the CIA on the one hand with the deeper, more analytical and Jungian approach on the other. The ideal discipline to cement this union and

to demonstrate the utility of occult practices was the relatively new science of parapsychology. Parapsychology was concerned with bringing the psychic abilities and practices of certain powerful individuals into the clinic for measurement and testing. What seemed like a series of tame experiments in ESP turned into something quite different as the years wore on, and some of these government scientists became scalded by their exposure to the heat and light of powers beyond their imagining. One of these was a friend and, in some sense, a colleague of Aldous Huxley: Dr. Andrija Puharich.

The story of Puharich is central to any study of the US government’s postwar interest in how psychology and parapsychology could benefit the intelligence agencies. It was arguably Puharich who was the first to bring the potential uses of paranormal abilities in military applications to the attention of the United States Navy; it was Puharich who introduced the Israeli psychic, Uri Geller, to American audiences… and to American intelligence. Further, it was Puharich who formed a mysterious cabal that numbered many important and influential Americans among its members, a cabal that would deliberately attempt to make contact with alien beings and

—according to some commentators—actually succeed. This cabal included a man with shadowy connections both to Operation Paperclip on the one side… and to the Kennedy assassination on the other. Thus when we speak of the Doors of Perception, we must turn our attention to one of their most unique, if somewhat eccentric, Doormen.

Andrija Puharich was born Henry Karel Puharic on February 19, 1918 in Chicago. His parents were Balkan immigrants from what would soon become Yugoslavia, his father a stowaway who had entered the United States in 1912. His parents were divorced in 1933, and the young Puharich spent two years on a farm in Illinois working the orchards and doing general farmhand work. He eventually went back to school, graduating from Farragut High School in Chicago in 1938, when he was already twenty years old.

Like any good occultist worth his reputation, Puharich had several names. His birth name, Henry Karel Puharic, then became Andrija Puharich, from Henry Puharich (which sounded more American than Andrija, but which—to Slavic ears—sounded enough like Andrija to be

acceptable); but he was also known from time to time as “Andy” and even as “Hank.”

Upon graduation from high school, Andrija was awarded a scholarship to the College of Liberal Arts at Northwestern University, receiving his B.A. in philosophy in 1942, with a minor in pre-med. During the rest of the war years, Andrija—as a member of the US Army Medical Corps on inactive status and studying medicine on Army funds—also did some post-graduate work in philosophy, thus becoming himself one of those scientist- philosophers that he seemed to attract around him in later years. He also managed to get married, in 1943, to a lady who was working at the Office of War Information (and hence the OSS) and who eventually moved with him to the Kaiser Permanente Research Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. The two had a baby girl in 1947… at a rather inopportune time, for he had since fallen in love with another woman, also at the Research Foundation. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also due to show up that December for a regular two-year active duty stint in the Army, for he was now a Lieutenant and expected to repay the Army for the years it supported his medical education. As it happened, he received a medical discharge on December 20—due, it is said, to an ear infection—and he was free to consider the direction of the rest of his life. He had been offered a position as director of a proposed new neurological institute at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital. While doing research at Kaiser Permanente during the war, he had written a monograph on a theory of his that neurons transmit and receive the equivalent of radio waves, a theory, which came to the attention of the director of the hospital, and which was a prime example of the new field of biophysics.

Alas, by that time both his wife (along with his baby daughter) and the other woman in his life (a doctor at Kaiser Permanente) had left him. Finding himself suddenly free of commitments militarily, matrimonially and romantically, he visited his father in Chicago, who suggested he drop in on an old family friend, then wintering in Camden, Maine. Andrija was on his way to the East Coast anyway, to visit other scientists and people working in the biophysics field in New York and Boston with a view to setting up the neurological institute, so he accepted the suggestion and wound up at the home of Zlatko Balokovic and his wife Joyce.

This visit was considered crucial by both the late Puharich and his biographers and other commentators. Puharich had been interested in extra- sensory perception—particularly as it applied to his chosen field of biophysics and specifically to the ability of neurons to act as transmitters and receivers—and he found in the Balokovics fertile ground for his theories.

Zlatko Balokovic—himself a Yugoslav and a famous concert violinist— was married to a member of the Borden family (the dairy products Bordens), and thus lived in relative wealth and comfort in the City of New York and Maine. (This is ironic, in that the young Henry Puharich delivered Borden milk as a poor kid growing up in the “slums” of Chicago.) He was also a friend of Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia, from the days when Yugoslav Communists were welcomed as anti-Nazis and allies, a relationship that was to bode ill for both Balokovic and Puharich as the years went by and as Tito’s Communism became a problem in McCarthy Era America.

Whatever was discussed during that period in Camden—where Puharich stayed for two to three weeks during a snowstorm—the end result was that Puharich would stay in Camden and build a hospital there where he could engage in the kind of research that interested him. Thus, he would turn down the more prestigious and potentially much more lucrative position at Kaiser Permanente, and stay in the frozen northeast. Balokovic would subsidize him to the tune of two hundred dollars per month, and in no time Puharich had located an unused barn that he would convert into his hospital. The barn itself was interesting, having been used by the US Navy during the War to store materiel that was never described, although it had heavily reinforced floors and large quantities of firebrick. Naturally, explosives come to mind or some form of munitions, but this was never revealed.

Also in the same town was a factory whose products certainly interested Puharich. The company manufactured piezoelectric crystals, and was one of only three such factories in the entire country at the time. The crystals were wafer-thin, could be used in a variety of applications, and had been used by the military during the war as well as by General Electric, RCA and other electronics manufacturers. The firm was run by an inventor, one Dr. Raymond C. Tibbets, and his son George. The primary peacetime use of the

crystals was in hearing aids, which is relevant to what Puharich would eventually be doing to when he set up his own company, the Intelectron Corporation.

At the same time, Puharich was traveling frequently to New York to meet other, like-minded individuals, including the psychiatrist Warren S. Mc- Culloch, one of the founders of the burgeoning science of cybernetics, which is basically behavioral psychology on steroids. (McCulloch’s work had been underwritten in part by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which was revealed in 1977 to have been a CIA front or conduit for funds for those involved in the MK-ULTRA projects.) Cybernetics views the human body

—or, more precisely, the mind-body system—as a kind of machine, which can be tinkered with and made better by properly trained engineers: a very attractive concept to mind control advocates within the CIA. Even more attractive, perhaps, is the fact that Puharich, McCulloch and other scientists, doctors and engineers became involved in developing electronics that would provide a mind-society interface. These devices would involve the use of radio waves to implant suggestions or, as in the case of Jose Delgado to be discussed below, commands.

The story varies from journalist to journalist, and even in Puharich’s own writings, but evidently when visiting McCulloch he discovered that there were one or two patients in the mental ward of McCulloch’s hospital who complained of hearing voices in their head when there weren’t any people around. (Had this been taking place at the Allan Memorial Institute, of course, the cause would have been easy to determine!) An examination of the “mental patients” revealed that traces of metal in their teeth acted as radio receivers, and that they were picking up a local radio station. At least, that is the cover story. There is very little reliable documentation on this event; if the signal was coming in strong, then the patient should have been able to realize that it was a radio station, thus the assumption is that the signal was fading in and out, much like the signal on a cell phone when one changes position in a car or when walking on a city street. Although we may never know the real story behind the events in question, we do know what happened next.

Once Puharich realized that small amounts of metal in a dental filling could effectively pick up radio signals, he decided to capitalize on this discovery. The handy access to Tibbet’s factory proved providential (if not pre-planned). The use of piezoelectric crystals in hearing aids could be modified as radio receivers for a variety of other purposes.

In tandem with his work in New York City with McCulloch, Puharich formed the Round Table Foundation of Electrobiology in Camden in 1948, an organization whose name was usually shortened to the Round Table, or the Round Table Foundation. Thus, the hospital or clinic that had been originally planned became instead a kind of research institute specializing in the more arcane of the behavioral sciences, from cybernetics to ESP, and moved from the barn—which he lost due to some unpleasantness concerning Red baiting in the small New England town—to somewhat grander quarters in a twenty-two room house. One of the earliest members of the Round Table was Aldous Huxley,9 and one of his earliest experiments was with the psychic Eileen Garrett, who was placed in a Faraday Cage to test her psychic abilities, as were such other famous names in the field as Peter Hurkos and Harry Stone. In order to support his research, Puharich approached a variety of individuals for funding, including Henry Wallace. Wallace had been Secretary of Agriculture in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration and later his Vice President. Under Truman, Wallace had been Secretary of Commerce, and in 1948 ran for President himself on the Progressive Party ticket. Wallace’s name is usually associated with a scandal involving a Russian mystic, one Nicholas Roerich. (Wallace himself is usually credited with coming up with the pyramid and all-seeing eye design used on the back of the US dollar bill.) There is not enough space here to go into the whole story of Roerich; suffice it to say he was a painter and a mystic on the order of Gurdjieff, who became friendly with Wallace. He and Wallace had discussed how to Christianize Mao’s China, and it is believed that Wallace sent Roerich on special missions to Tibet and Mongolia with this in mind, since he believed that evidence pointing to the Second Coming of Christ would be found in those Asian countries.

Wallace had written Roerich letters with the salutation “Dear Guru” which, when leaked to the press, led to his downfall, for it implied that the Vice President of the United States had spiritual allegiance to a bizarre

Russian occultist. In the early days of the Cold War, this was not acceptable in a Presidential candidate. (Ten years later, the right wing would try to do the same damage to Jack Kennedy’s chances for the presidency, since Kennedy was a Catholic and presumably owed spiritual allegiance to the Pope.) It is fun to imagine this scenario, however: the Vice President of the United States, sitting at the feet of a Russian mystic, discussing plans for smuggling Christianity into the People’s Republic of China. Some of our best history is under-reported, underplayed, or simply ignored by mainstream historians and biographers, and winds up as grist for the plots of pot-boilers and popular movies that no one really believes. When will we ever pay attention to what’s going on in the hearts and minds of our most powerful political and military leaders?

In any event, Wallace agreed to help fund Puharich’s research, with a check for $4,458.73 in April of 1949. A princely sum at the time. And he visited the Round Table—according to Eileen Garrett—sometime in 1949- 1950.10

Another mysterious donor to the Foundation was one Walter Cabot Paine, of Boston, who donated $3,000. When a researcher attempted to interview Walter Paine, he was rebuffed immediately, and Paine did not answer any questions. Arthur Young, the Bell Helicopter designer and eventual guru himself, told the same researcher that Paine was an associate of his and an oil executive who wished to remain anonymous. Mr. Young was being a little disingenuous, for he was related to Walter C. Paine through marriage. Arthur Young would remain a close friend and associate of Puharich during the 1950s, and it is this relationship that—in the context of all we have been discussing so far—is absolutely stunning in its implications, for Arthur Young was married to a Forbes heiress, one Ruth Forbes Paine, who was a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In other words, very old, very white money. Walter Cabot Paine was the son of Robert Treat Paine, a wealthy Boston Brahmin and art patron who made a special study of Japanese art, and was a direct descendant of the Robert Treat Paine who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. W. C. was directly related to Ruth Forbes Paine Young’s previous husband, George Lyman Paine (who is also descended from Colonial American

“royalty,” the Lyman family). Her son by that previous marriage, Michael Paine, married one Ruth Hyde.

The reason for this heredity lesson is simple. In 1963, Michael and Ruth Hyde Paine befriended two poor immigrants from the Soviet Union: one Russian woman, Marina, and her American-born husband, Lee Harvey Oswald.

The documents concerning the Paines and their relatives were sealed by the Warren Commission, and even District Attorney Jim Garrison could not get access to them when needed. In fact, the Paines are not mentioned by name in Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, even though they are part of the public record on the assassination, and Ruth Paine’s character is clearly present in the film. It is presumed that the threat of legal action of some kind forced the director to disguise their identities even though they are mentioned in virtually every book about the assassination, including the Warren Commission transcripts of the Michael and Ruth Paine interviews.

We will discuss this relationship in much more detail in the next volume of this work, including the tricky relationship of the Paines to Allen Dulles (which explains some unusual behavior of Dulles at the Warren Commission hearings), but for now let us continue to examine the activities of Andrija Puharich.

At one point, Puharich claimed he was researching psychic abilities for the US Navy in 1948, for something called Project Penguin. The Navy has denied that any such program existed, and indeed there does not seem to be any documentation available to prove Puharich’s statement. However, what can be proved is that in November 1952 Puharich briefed Pentagon officials on the military uses of parapsychology. His talk was published as “An Evaluation of the Possible Usefulness of Extrasensory Perception in Psychological Warfare.” That talk was reported in the Washington Post on August 7, 1977, at a time when MK-ULTRA revelations were coming fast and furious. A recently declassified CIA report, entitled “Parapsychology in Intelligence: A Personal Review and Conclusions,” by Dr. Kenneth A. Kress mentions the newspaper article, and goes on to give a summary of CIA interest in parapsychology from about the 1960s through 1977, when the report was written. Dr. Kress does place the ESP and remote viewing

experimentation under the auspices of first the Technical Services Staff (TSS) of the CIA, and then later under the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI), the Office of Research and Development (ORD) and finally the Office of Technical Service (OTS), the former TSS. Kress had been Project Officer in 1972 due to his prior background as a physicist. It was while running this psychic research project for the CIA that Kress would become involved with the people at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and specifically with Dr. Russell Targ and Dr. Harold E. Puthoff, both associates of Puharich at one time or another and both of whom figure prominently in our story.

Long before Kress’ involvement with SRI, Targ, and Puthoff, however, Puharich had decided to go very “hands on” in his approach to the field of psychic phenomena. His presentation to the Pentagon was in November of 1952; according to his own account in The Sacred Mushroom, the orders had been cut to redraft him into the Army the following day, thus implying a specific agenda for Puharich. That December he would begin observing the trance state of one Dr. Vinod (whom he had first met in New York in December 1951) and make contact with what he believed were extraterrestrial forces.

Within months, Puharich would find himself back in uniform, this time as an Army Captain, and would be assigned to the Army Chemical Center in Edgewood, Maryland in February 1953, a position he would hold until April 1955. In other words, he was at Edgewood, working for the Army at the same time as Frank Olson was at Fort Detrick, and in and out of Edgewood, working for the Army. And as Olson was involved in research and development of biological weapons at Detrick, Puharich was involved in paranormal communication and ESP experiments at Edgewood. It is tempting to speculate whether Olson and Puharich had ever met; it is doubtful they would have been colleagues, as Puharich was involved with biophysics and cybernetics, with a little spiritualism on the side. Olson’s work was purely in the biological warfare arena (except when he was chosen as a guinea pig in the LSD experiment). But they worked within the same overall group at two installations that had an incestuous relationship within the US Army, and it was Olson’s death and the flurry of news reports

around it that eventually led back to Puharich’s presence and activities during the same time period.

Maybe they did not know each other. But CIA knew of them both.

Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, who was head of CIA’s Technical Services Staff (TSS) at the time and who dosed Frank Olson with the fatal LSD in the Cointreau, was in charge of all MK-ULTRA work being conducted at Edgewood Arsenal. It has been reliably reported that Puharich’s function at Edgewood was to develop chemical substances that would stimulate psychic abilities, the very essence of the report he had given to the Pentagon the previous November. There is no other way to understand what Puharich was doing at Edgewood Arsenal—of all places—except to admit that he was working for the CIA, the US Army, or some combination of the two, just as Olson was doing. This is exactly what his colleagues insisted was the case, and this would mean that the intelligence community’s interest in mind control and in mechanical means of controlling memory and volition was running parallel with its psychic research as long ago as the early 1950s. The CIA and the Army would have presumably looked upon psychic or paranormal abilities as a behavioral matter, something to be studied and enhanced in a clinical setting. There is evidence that Puharich saw something deeper in these phenomena, and that the roller-coaster ride that was his life was an indication of his own inability to “double,” to separate his psychic research from his own, personal, spiritual quest. Puharich left so many clues in his own writings about the interest of the intelligence agencies in his research that in a way it seems almost a deliberate ploy, a plea for understanding or a confession of some secret guilt.

Another person who will figure in this story, however briefly, is Dr. Laurence J. Layton who—for about two years in the period 1952-54—was Chief of the US Army Chemical Warfare Division, based at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. Layton eventually found the idea of chemical warfare repugnant, according to his own account, and he left for a position at Indian Head, Maryland in 1954, where he was involved in developing rocket propellants for ICBMs and other missile systems (evidently a more humane form of warfare, at least from Layton’s point of view). Most of his

work for the Chemical Warfare Division is still classified, fifty years later, even though he only spent two years there. Layton’s name will come up again in reference to the Jonestown Massacre, but it is interesting to note that his mother-in-law, Anita Philip, committed suicide by jumping from a window at her New York City apartment building on May 10, 1952 (barely two months after her son-in-law, Laurence Layton, was named Chief of the Army’s Chemical Warfare Division); the assumption was that she—a refugee from Nazi Germany—became paranoid when she discovered that the FBI was running a security check on Layton’s family and friends. The last time that had happened to her, it had been the Gestapo, or so the story goes. The stress was too much, as she imagined FBI agents stalking her every move, and she jumped.

It seems that involvement with the Army’s CBW programs can be hazardous to one’s health, particularly if one lives in tall buildings in New York. Her suicide note was unambiguous in intent, but one phrase was particularly intriguing, for it says, “…I was a gossip and have been entangled in a network of intrigue.” One wonders what she meant by that. Do we put her suicide down to an old woman’s paranoia, a holdover from the Nazi era? Or was something else bothering her entirely?

Puharich’s involvement with the mysterious Dr. Vinod is critical to an understanding of some of the more arcane aspects of this study, since Puharich and the group that formed around him and his Round Table become involved in everything from MK-ULTRA to the Kennedy assassination to archaeological digs in Egypt to the New Age movement to extraterrestrial intelligences.

Some of this story is reported amply and well in a book by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy. Picknett and Prince have written other books, one on the Turin Shroud and one on the perennial favorite of conspiracy theorists, the Knights Templar; the subject matter alone would give most historians a severe case of the yawns, but it should be emphasized that The Stargate Conspiracy is arguably their best—and most thoroughly documented—work to date, for it reveals relationships that have been little noted even among writers on occult themes. What it does not reveal, however, is the important link between the Puharich group and the Kennedy assassination. This is due more to a lack of “crossover”

between the investigators of occult themes and groups and those of political conspiracies and historical movements, than it is to any oversight or deliberate omission on their part.

Corroboration of much of Picknett and Prince’s story can be found in the writings of the central figures themselves, such as Puharich, Young, Geller, physicist Jack Sarfatti, Puthoff, et al. We will continue with what can safely be proved by recourse to these sources.

On February 16, 1952—Puharich is very specific about the date—he had his first “reading” by Dr. D. G. Vinod, a Hindu scholar “and sage” from Poona, India, who channeled spiritual forces. Dr. Vinod held Puharich’s right ring finger at the middle joint, and then began reading his past and future. According to Puharich, Vinod went into a trance, from where he was able to recite Puharich’s life in detail “as though he were reading out of a book.” 11Vinod then went on to predict a rosy future for Puharich, and they made plans to meet again to probe this ability further.

This would not happen until New Year’s Eve, when Vinod and Puharich flew from New York to Augusta, Maine, where they landed at 7:30 P.M. and were picked up by Hank Jackson, who was Puharich’s laboratory administrator. They proceeded directly to the Round Table Foundation (the more luxurious house in Camden).

At precisely 9 P.M. on New Year’s Eve, then, the Indian gentleman began channeling something that called itself The Nine. “M. calling. We are Nine Principles and Forces,” the channeled entity began, and thus was born the saga of The Nine. The reader may be forgiven for wondering what all of these gentlemen were doing alone on New Year’s Eve, holding a séance in a house in the Maine woods. (Sadly to say, the author has had worse New Year’s Eves.)

1952 had been a banner year for strange phenomena. In January, Jack Parsons lost his security clearance; he would be dead six months later. In March, Project BLUEBOOK was created by the US Air Force, ostensibly an investigation of UFO phenomena which was later characterized as little more than a placebo; in July, there had been the famous UFO swarms over the nation’s capitol on two successive weekends; Charles Manson was sent

to Chillicothe in September, where he underwent a personality change; Puharich briefed the Pentagon on military uses of psychic phenomena in November; Operation BLUEBIRD became Operation ARTICHOKE; and the CIA began funding psychic research and infiltrating occult organizations. 12

According to former colleagues of Puharich, such as Dr. Jack Sarfatti, Puharich had been working for Army intelligence during the 1950s; others have claimed that he was also working for the CIA at the time. This gaggle of intelligence agencies is not unusual, since Frank Olson’s case is a clear example of one person working for more than one agency at the same time. Although it is doubtful whether Frank Olson was ever on the official CIA payroll—he, like Puharich, was employed by the US Army. The CIA funded many Army research projects—including specifically Fort Detrick (MK-ULTRA Subprojects 13, 30 and 50)—and had also been the entity responsible for dosing Olson with LSD; thus, a certain amount of crossover is to be expected, especially during the Cold War. Even Israeli psychic Uri Geller would claim that Puharich was working for the CIA when he brought Geller into the United States. Therefore, we should look at Puharich’s experiments with Vinod in the light of American intelligence requirements where the paranormal was concerned, especially as Puharich would find himself back in uniform only months after the first séance with Dr. Vinod.

After Vinod’s—or, should we say, “M’s”—initial pronouncement that they were talking with The Nine, there followed a short discourse on the nature of The Nine in the type of language with which philosophy majors are comfortable, replete with terms like ontology and teleology, which then evolved into a form of the Lorentz-Einstein Transformation equation and a tantalizing reference to its application to the “problem” of the “superconscious.” The Nine offered to work with Puharich to solve some of the problems he was working on at the time. If we are to credit the speech by “M” as given in Puharich’s own work—in this case,Uri—then we must assume that Puharich was involved in psychic research, including psychokinesis and clairvoyance, and was interested in pursuing this research as quickly as possible.

Vinod completed his channeling ninety minutes later, and said he had no memory or knowledge of what was said. Puharich worked with Vinod for another month, and then had to go to Edgewood Arsenal, as he had been redrafted into the US Army.

Some months later, on June 27, 1953, the night of the full moon, Puharich gathered around him what was to be a core group of the Round Table Foundation for another session with Vinod. The membership of this group of nine members—á la The Nine—is illuminating. Henry Jackson, Georgia Jackson, Alice Bouverie, Marcella Du Pont, Carl Betz, Vonnie Beck, Arthur Young, Ruth Young, and Andrija Puharich. Dr. Vinod acted as the medium. Imagine the Fellowship of the Ring, with government funding and a security classification that was, well, “cosmic.”

In this group, we find immediately a Du Pont and a Bouverie. Du Pont is self-explanatory, but for those who do not have a copy of the New York Social Register to hand, Alice Bouverie was born Ava Alice Muriel Astor, and was a descendant of John Jacob Astor, and the daughter of Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, builder of the Astoria Hotel and author of the book A Journey To Other Worlds (1894); her father was also one of the ill-fated passengers aboard the Titanic when it went down in April 1912. She had a reputation for her interest in the occult, as well as an interest in the institution of matrimony, for she married and divorced four times before her death in 1956 at the age of 54. Interestingly, her first husband was an officer in the Czarist Army, Prince Serge Obolensky. Obolensky was an intelligence officer during World War II and “headed the OSS Operational Groups which worked with the French Maquis at the time of the Normandy invasion.” 13He also parachuted behind enemy lines in Sardinia to inform the Italian garrison there that Italy had switched sides and abandoned the Nazis. A dashing sophisticate, he was a fanatic anti-Communist and, at the same time, a “darling of the New York social set.” 14It was Obolensky who translated a secret Russian copy of Mao Ze Dong’s guerrilla warfare manual. 15Thus, Ms. Astor’s intelligence connections were on a par with those of Puharich and Paine, making The Nine look like a prayer meeting of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. (Her last husband was David Pleydell-Bouverie, an architect in New York, hence her married name at the time of the séance as Alice Bouverie.)

The English branch of the Astor family was also involved—if somewhat mysteriously—in the occult. As friends of Stephen Ward, who lived in a cottage on the Astors’ Cliveden Estate, they were privy to some strange occurrences in the years leading up to the Profumo Affair. Stephen Ward, a society osteopath, painter and occultist, found himself in the center of a political scandal of major proportions in 1962, when it was revealed that a friend of his (the glamorous call girl Christine Keeler) was sexually involved with the British Minister of War as well as the local Soviet GRU rezident. The scandal nearly brought down the government, and Stephen Ward—who was set up to take the fall—committed suicide in 1963. The Astors then had Cliveden Estate and later Stephen Ward’s cottage exorcised. The exorcist—Roman Catholic Dom Robert Petitpierre— claimed that “the evil powers emanating from the cottage were some of the strongest” he had ever experienced. 16

Arthur Young was a famous inventor, one of the men credited with creating the Bell Helicopter. For some reason, Young left Bell Helicopter after the end of the Second World War before the time that Walter Dornberger—Nazi scientist and slave labor czar of Peenemuende fame— took up residence there as a member of the Board. Rather than continue in the field of aviation mechanics and design, Young dropped out of the military-industrial complex and began to devote himself to a spiritual quest which lasted the rest of his life. As mentioned before, his wife was Ruth Forbes Paine, of the Forbes family and, through marriage, the Paine family. Thus, we have a Du Pont, an Astor, and a Forbes/Paine attending this very important séance; in addition we have Puharich—working for the US Army

—and Arthur Young, who worked under Army contract developing the helicopter. Henry Jackson was Puharich’s administrator and was married to Georgia Jackson. Carl Beck was involved in alternate energy research, and had visited the laboratory of one Thomas Henry Molay, a Mormon scientist and ersatz alchemist living in Salt Lake City who claimed to have identified a source of “free energy” which he termed “radiant energy.” Developing alternate energy sources (á la Nicola Tesla) would be a preoccupation of Puharich in the years to come. (The only member of the original Nine that the author has been unable to satisfactorily identify is Vonnie Beck, who may have been the same Vonnie Beck who was a pilot for the US Navy

during World War II, but at this time there is no further information on Beck.)

The séance proceeded in the following fashion:

Dr. Vinod sat on the floor, the nine members of the group in a circle around him, with a copper plate on his lap, prayer beads in his hands, and a small statue of “Hanoum,” a Hindu god that the author believes to be Hanuman, the Monkey King. If this is so, it is interesting in that Hanuman was a human being, a minister, before becoming divine due to his devotion and courage. The half-human, half-divine image is one that becomes more important and more obvious as this study progresses. Another important aspect of Hanuman is his depiction in much Indian art as holding an entire mountain in one hand (and a club in the other). When—in the Ramayana and during the battle of Rama and Ravana—Lakshmana was mortally wounded, Hanuman raced to a mountain covered with different healing herbs. Not knowing which one Lakshmana required, Hanuman simply brought the entire mountain. Hanuman—as well as his fellow monkey-men, the Vanaras of southern India—is often shown with his hand in front of his mouth, signifying “silence” as well as obedience, in much the same way western occultists depict Harpocrates. In this sense, replete with silence, obedience, a club, and a mountain of herbs, Hanuman might easily have been the patron saint of MK-ULTRA. (In the Chinese epic, Journey to the West, the same “Monkey” is depicted as a trickster, a confidence-man and master of martial arts, who is part of a Buddhist priest’s bodyguard.)

Vinod went into trance promptly at 12:15 A.M., and then “R,” one of the extraterrestrial Nine, began speaking through him at 12:30 A.M. Threads appeared out of nowhere on the floor in front of Vinod, and he passed one to each of the human Nine, telling them, “Tonight we want to create Brahmins in this world,” and that the thread was a sign of their initiation. (This is a common feature of some forms of Hinduism as well as Tibetan Buddhism.) The author finds this amusing, since a third of those present were Brahmins already (Du Pont, Astor, Forbes) in one form or another.

A Brahmin, of course, is the highest caste in the caste-structured Hindu system. Other castes include warriors and merchants, and there is also the non-caste known as the Untouchables (who were generally involved in

trades considered unclean, such as handling the dead, slaughtering, etc.). What Vinod (or, actually “R”) was telling the assembled group is that they were to be reborn as spiritual Brahmins, in charge of bringing about a mystical renaissance on earth… under the mentorship of The Nine, of course. “R” then made an allusion to alchemy and transformation, and then a reference to Buddha. Eventually, the Hindu and Buddhist references faded out of the communications from The Nine in favor of discussions of “supersense” and other quasi-scientific, philosophical constructs that might have seemed profound in the context of the séance but which make for rather painful reading today, fifty years later.

Gradually, over a period of time, The Nine revealed themselves as extraterrestrial beings living on an immense spacecraft hovering invisibly over the planet. The assembled congregation had been selected to promote the agenda of The Nine on earth. As Puharich would later write in his biography of Uri Geller, “We took every known precaution against fraud, and the staff and I became thoroughly convinced that we were dealing with some kind of an extraordinary extraterrestrial intelligence.” 17This belief was reinforced by events that took place over the next twenty years, culminating in the Uri Geller experience, when it seemed there were UFOs following everyone around, from Israel to South America to New York State. Indeed, Puharich became obsessed with The Nine, seeing them behind every psychic encounter, every UFO sighting, every paranormal event.

Puharich did not know what to do with the channeled information from Vinod; although he believed what he heard, he had no way to prove that The Nine really existed. There was the matter of the materialization of the threads from Puharich’s floor, of course, but that was proof only to the people in the room at the time. Puharich wanted more; or, perhaps, his handlers did.

Puharich stayed with the Army at Edgewood Arsenal until April 1955, when he was finally discharged. During his two year hitch at Edgewood, MK-ULTRA was created, his friend Aldous Huxley tripped on mescaline, and Frank Olson was killed. (Even his boss at the time—the head of the Army’s CBW program—was Dr. Laurence Layton, whose son would be the only person tried and convicted for his role in the Jonestown massacre more

than 20 years later.) In addition, the Robertson Panel was formed by the CIA to investigate UFO sightings, the Korean War ended, the CIA overthrew Mussadegh of Iran and re-installed the Shah, and overthrew Arbenz in Guatemala, C.P, Cabell became Deputy Director of the CIA under Dulles, and the first Scientology office opened in Los Angeles. Also during the same period, the Army-McCarthy hearings would begin, and on March 3, 1953, “Michelle” of Michelle Remembers said she was inducted into a satanic cult in Victoria, British Columbia. On May 15 of that same year, US Air Force Chief of Staff Nathan Twining would inform an audience at Amarillo, Texas that the Air Force was trying to solve the UFO problem and that there was nothing to fear.

Although out of the Army, Puharich was still quite busy. He found himself in Mexico with his psychic friend, Peter Hurkos, (and, it seems, Arthur Young) in July 1956 to “help solve an archaeological problem.”18As Puharich was involved in locating drugs that could stimulate psychic abilities, it seems likely that he was there with Hurkos on just such an agenda; neither Puharich nor Hurkos had any archaeological credentials. While in the town of Acambaro, he and Hurkos ran into an American couple from Arizona who eventually claimed that they had been receiving instructions from The Nine. Neither Puharich nor Hurkos had ever met these people before, but it seems they were working with a medium back in Arizona who was also channeling The Nine. To prove this, they sent letters to Puharich the following month with sealed communications from The Nine that referred to details of the specific séances that Puharich had chaired back in Maine. This was the proof that Puharich was looking for. The details went so far as to include a variation of the Lorentz-Einstein Transformation formula that had formed part of the first séance.

If we do not want to give The Nine the benefit of a doubt, we can assume that the medium who was working with the Arizona couple—the Laugheads of Whipple, Arizona (which sounds fishy anyway)—was the same Dr. Vinod, for no one else would have the information. Puharich insists that no one from his laboratory had leaked the details of the séance to anyone; but we never learn what happened to Dr. Vinod. Yet, if this were the case, what was Vinod up to? And for whom? Was this a kind of double- blind experiment on Puharich, conducted by the Army or CIA? Was Dr.

Vinod a plant? Unfortunately, there is no way to answer these questions now without more documentation about the Army, the Navy and the CIA’s mind control programs, and in most cases this documentation has been destroyed. (The bulk of the CIA’s mind control research was destroyed by orders of Richard Helms when it looked like Watergate was getting a little too warm.) For their part, the Laugheads insisted that all of their information came directly from the medium during trance, and they refused to reveal the medium’s identity. A good prosecuting attorney would get a conviction out of a jury with that kind of circumstantial evidence, but the defense doesn’t rest just yet.

The story of The Nine gets stranger and stranger.


Arthur Young and Jack Parsons had a lot in common, although it is possible that neither one knew of the other during Parsons’ lifetime. Arthur Young was an inventor working for the Army during the Second World War; Parsons was an inventor working for the Army during the Second World War. Arthur Young’s invention—the Bell Helicopter—has had an important and lasting impact on aviation science and technology to this day; Parsons’s inventions in the field of rocket science are equally (if not, perhaps, more) important to aviation science and technology. Both Young and Parsons left the companies they were most identified with—Bell Aviation and Aerojet, respectively—after the War.

And both Young and Parsons were interested in the occult, in UFOs, in paranormal phenomena, and were involved in organizations that were designed to promote expanded human consciousness. Yet, Parsons died quite young and Arthur Young lived to a ripe old age. The one possible connection between them was the figure of Harry Smith, an initiate of the OTO in Pasadena (Parsons’ lodge), who became a friend of Arthur Young, and of whom more later.

Arthur Young was born on November 3, 1905 in Paris, France to Charles Morris Young—an artist—and Eliza Middleton Coxe, a society woman from Philadelphia. They returned to the United States a year later and

settled in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Arthur Young had a knack for mechanical things and wanted to go on to MIT after high school graduation, but his father insisted on Princeton, which is where he ended up in 1921, first as an astronomy major and then later as a mathematics major. While at Princeton, Young was undecided as to which direction his career should take; he dabbled in art, philosophy and even cosmology, as he attempted to create a philosophical theory of the universe that was based on something he called “process.” This interest would lie dormant during the War years as he became involved with the Bell Aircraft Corporation. On November 2, 1941 he joined Bell Aircraft on a short-term, but open-ended, contract, agreeing to stay on until the first workable prototype of a helicopter was complete. He had discovered a way to maintain stability in the air, and had been awarded a patent on the concept, which he signed over to Bell in return for the contract.

This work was completed in 1947, and Young left Bell to concentrate on philosophy. He had read Blavatsky in 1946, and thus began a lifelong interest in Orientalia, Hinduism, and Buddhism. He had been married during his tenure at Bell, but divorced in 1948 after he left his lucrative position there for what promised to be a life of uncertainty. However, he married Ruth Forbes Paine in June of that year, and his life changed for the better.

Ruth Forbes Paine was a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as of the financially-powerful Forbes family; her previous marriage to George Lyman Paine aligned her to one of the oldest American families and related her to Walter Cabot Paine, in the direct line of Robert Treat Paine and aligned with the powerful Cabot family of Boston. Her pedigree—even in marriage—was blue-blood and blue chip. Although Arthur Young was not quite of the same background—he actually got his hands dirty in the machine shop—his mother was a member of Philadelphia society, and he had been born in Paris, which lent him a certain je ne sais quoi.

Arthur Young’s interests were arcane, but at the heart of them was his theory of process. This theory has been amply explained in his several books—such as The Reflexive Universe and The Geometry of Meaning— and we will not delve too deeply into it here. Suffice it for our purposes to

say that Young believed there was a force in the universe beyond that known to modern science, a force that contributed to growth, to life, to movement. He believed that science could explain the mechanics of things but not the force that organized and propelled these things; much like explaining how an automobile works but ignoring the driver. (The author hopes Young’s admirers will forgive him this thumbnail sketch of what is really a much deeper, more complex theory.) Young wanted to put meaning back into science, something it had lost along the way from the Renaissance to the rotor blade.

He moved to the City of New York by 1949, beginning a five year quest which took him and his wife all over America and to other countries, looking for answers to his spiritual questions. Eventually, in 1952, he formed the Foundation for the Study of Consciousness in Philadelphia. This was at the same time that he was involved with Andrija Puharich in the Round Table Foundation in Maine. In August of that year, Puharich received a visit from the Army’s Psychological Warfare people; in November he would give his famous speech to the Pentagon. In December, he would begin his séances with Dr. Vinod.

In the summer of 1956, Puharich went to Mexico with Peter Hurkos, the famous psychic detective. In Uri, Puharich mentions Hurkos but does not mention Arthur Young on that trip; however other sources say that Young was present, 19which is entirely likely, but it then raises alarm bells that Puharich left Young’s name out of his account. According to Peter Hurkos, the trip was arranged at the behest of someone involved with the Round Table Foundation,20 which could have been almost anyone, since documentation on those early years is hard to come by. However, Arthur Young was definitely a sponsor and, after all, one of the original Nine “Brahmins” initiated during Dr. Vinod’s second séance in 1953. It is possible that Young himself wanted to keep this mission secret, since it took place at a time when the CIA was actively scrounging around the Mexican hinterlands looking for hallucinogenic drugs.

The Canadian psychiatrist and researcher who had turned Huxley on to mescaline—Dr. Humphrey Osmond—had also been interested in the possible use of drugs to facilitate psychic ability and, indeed, had made a

presentation to the New York Academy of Sciences as long before as March 1947 on just that subject. Puharich’s own presentation to the Pentagon involved the military use of psychic abilities. Thus, taken together, it comes as no surprise that someone in either the military or the CIA, or both, came up with the formula: drugs plus ESP equals military applications.

On June 29, 1955, a banker by the name of R. Gordon Wasson had stunned the world with his report on the psychedelic experience to be had by ingesting a certain mushroom, a report that appeared inLife magazine later that year. While in Mexico taking the mushroom for the first time— under the traditional setting and with a native shaman—Wasson was supposed to have been participating in a long-distance ESP experiment with Puharich, but as it turned out Wasson was too stoned to be of any use that day. The story generated an enormous amount of interest, coming on the heels of the Huxley books,The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, which were principally about mescaline. Wasson’s experience was with psilocybin, the famous “magic mushroom” which has been the topic of both learned anthropological studies as well as pop culture accolades. The Life magazine story prompted a young Timothy Leary to go to Mexico in search of the elusive substance himself, and the CIA began an official search for more of it. It was the era of “God’s Flesh.”

A CIA operative named James Monroe approached Wasson in an attempt to get the latter to work for the CIA in obtaining more of the drug, and perhaps other substances as well, but Wasson refused. That didn’t stop Monroe from trying, however, and he dogged Wasson’s footsteps through Latin America. The evidence that Puharich, Young and Hurkos were in Mexico on Monroe’s behalf is largely circumstantial, but compelling nonetheless. The archaeological reason given as the cover for their trip was probably bogus, since Acambaro was already known as the site where thousands of pre-Columbian statues had been discovered in the 1930s and 1940s, so there would have been little reason to enlist a psychic detective like Hurkos to search for more of them in the same spot; but as Wasson had been cooperating with Puharich in ESP experiments (which presumably involved the use of hallucinogens to enhance psychic abilities), and since Wasson was not cooperating with the CIA directly, it is entirely possible— no, probable—that Puharich was in Mexico for the same reason: to locate

and identify hallucinogens for the Agency. Hurkos would have been along for cover, painting the trip as purely some wacked-out psychic archaeological dig; the presence of Arthur Young, however, is more mysterious. One possible scenario is that Young was financing the trip himself (as he most probably was, as an important supporter of the Round Table) and decided to go along for the ride to further his own investigations. With Young doing the financing, there was no need for the CIA to implicate themselves financially in this junket; there is no record in the MK-ULTRA Subprojects of anything having to do directly with Puharich, although he could have been financed by the CIA through any one of a number of Agency conduits, such as the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation or the Geschickter or Human Ecology fronts, or even directly by the Army. There are a number of MK-ULTRA Subprojects whose designations refer to the collection of various hallucinogens, however, such as James Monroe’s Subprojects 51, 52 and 53, and Subproject 58 to J.P. Morgan and Co. in 1956 for the collection of hallucinogenic mushrooms for $2,080.00, which also seems to be related to Wasson’s work. Thus, the funding for this expedition could have come from anywhere, and be buried within another subproject’s expenses.

We don’t know if Puharich’s mission to Mexico was successful; indeed, we don’t really know what it was. In any event, it would not be the last time Arthur Young and Puharich would work together. Even twenty years later, Puharich could be found at Arthur Young’s home in Pennsylvania with Uri Geller (and murder suspect Ira Einhorn) in tow.

What we do know, based on Young’s own statement, is that he wrote his two books, The Reflexive Universe and The Geometry of Meaning—in “the early 1960s,” even though they were not published until 1976.21 These books give a description of his theory of process, and address an “added parameter” to physics beyond mass, length and time. This added parameter he quantifies as process, or drive, or force, or consciousness as manifested in the photon, what he terms the “quanta of action.” His writings and lectures have had a great effect on an entire generation of thinkers, scientists, researchers, academics, and even novelists and artists. He was deeply concerned about what he called science’s “cleavage of our culture,” and sought to redress that disunity through a concentration on the physics of

consciousness. His work has been picked up and elaborated—in spirit if nothing else—by quantum physicists such as Jack Sarfatti, who himself managed to walk the line between pure physics and culture. As an original member of the Round Table Foundation, and a member of the original Nine, Young, along with the other Brahmins, would try to bring about a kind of transformation on the earth—perhaps under the guidance of the very space beings who so fascinated him throughout his life.

But it is what Arthur Young was doing in the “early 1960s” that concerns us here, for in addition to writing his two seminal works on the parameter of force, he was entertaining a central character in the assassination of a president.

The doors of perception had been opened, not only by drugs like mescaline, LSD and psilocybin, but by the séance, the shaman, the secret ritual. All had become tools of the trade for elements of the CIA, and their assault on memory and consciousness threw open the doors of perception and, instead of letting the Light in, they let the Darkness out.

Drugs, shamanism, and the occult. The dark domain of Charles Manson and Andrija Puharich, of Arthur Young and Sidney Gottlieb. With psychedelics and spirit guides, they disturbed the sleep of ancient forces, and America would never be the same.

1 William Sargant, Battle for the Mind, Malor Books, Cambridge, 1997, ISBN 1-88353606-5, p. 99

2 Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, Flamingo, London, 1994, ISBN 0- 00-654731-1, p.38

3 Harvey M. Weinstein, Psychiatry and the CIA: Victims of Mind Control, American Psychiatric Press, Washington, DC, 1990, ISBN 0-88048-363-6, p. 92-93. Dr. Weinstein’s father had been a victim of Dr. Cameron at the Allen Memorial Institute, and it was the ordeal of watching his father deteriorate under the Doctor’s care that inspired his son to become a psychiatrist and to eventually bring suit against the CIA.

4 Gordon Thomas, Journey Into Madness, p. 91

5 Weinstein, op. cit., p. 91

6 See for instance Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors, Basic Books, NY, 2000, ISBN 0-465-04905- 2, p. 418-429 on the subject of “doubling.”

7 Aldous Huxley, op. cit., p. 39

8 See for instance Clyde H. Farnsworth, “Orphans of the 1950’s, Telling of Abuse, Sue Quebec” in the New York Times, Friday, May 21, 1993, p. A3.

9 Andrija Puharich, Uri: A Journal of the Mystery of Uri Geller, Anchor, NY, 1974, ISBN 0-385- 00992-5, p. 283

10 Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy, Warner, London, 2000, ISBN 0-7515- 2996-6, p. 214. Those who do not have access to the older works by Puharich and his entourage could do worse than access this more recent volume; it contains a good and relatively-well documented account of the Round Table Foundation.

11 Puharich, op. cit., p. 13

12 Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, Grove Weidenfeld, NY, 1992, ISBN 0-8021-3062-3,

p. 18

13 Richard Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency,

University of California Press, Berkeley, 1981, ISBN 0-520-04246-8, p. 16

14 Ibid, p. 16

15 Ibid., p. 18

16 Phillip Knightley & Caroline Kennedy, An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward, Atheneum, NY, 1987, ISBN 0-689-11813-9, p. 257

17 Puharich, op. cit., p. 18

18 Ibid., p. 18

19 Picknett & Prince, op. cit., p. 168

20 This could have been businessman Henry Belk, who financed Hurkos’ trip to Puharich’s clinic in the 1950s and his more than two years’ sojourn there until he became enraged over Hurkos’ inability

to predict the death of his daughter; see Norma Lee Browning, The Psychic World of Peter Hurkos, Signet, NY, 1970, LOC 76-114751, p. 74-76. Browning’s book, published in 1970, gives a great deal of flavor of the psychic “environment” around Puharich, Belk, Hurkos, et al. during the Sixties.

21 Arthur M. Young, The Foundations of Science: The Missing Parameter, Robert Briggs Associates, San Francisco, 1984, ISBN 0-931191-03-3, p. 1



Mystery is an occult force or efficacy that does not obey us, and we never know how or when it will manifest itself.

—Octavio Paz 1

…given that in the course of history many have acted on beliefs in which many others did not believe, we must perforce admit that for each, to a different degree, history has been largely the theater of an illusion.

—Umberto Eco 2

For not all true things are to be said to all men.

—Bishop Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 150-215) 3

After all, the fundamental question of philosophy (like that of psychoanalysis) is the same as the question of the detective novel: who is guilty?

—Umberto Eco 45

1 Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude, Grove Press, NY, 1978, ISBN 0-394-17242-6, p. 69

2 Umberto Eco, “The Force of Falsity,” Serendipities, Orion Books, London, 1998, ISBN 0-75282- 647-6, p. 3

3 Bishop Clement of Alexandria (C. AD 150-215), from Morton Smith, The Secret Gospel, quoted in Lawrence Gardiner, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Element, Dorset, 1996, ISBN 1-86204-152-0, p. 92

4 Umberto Eco, Reflections on the Name of the Rose, Minerva, London, 1994, ISBN 07493-9627-X,

p. 54

5 Umberto Eco, Reflections on the Name of the Rose, Minerva, London, 1994, ISBN 07493-9627-X,

p. 54



Imagine the man that committed this outrage going away quietly and peacefully, free and proud through life, as though it was nothing! …Ah, no, no! …I am in his path, and you will be in his path, too! …If others forget him, we will never forget. …We will seek and search everywhere for years if need be, but we will find the track.

The Cloud That Lifted, Maurice Maeterlinck 1

It is not the intention of the author to review the entire debate over the assassination of President Kennedy, a controversy that has filled volumes already. It is not the intention of the author to go over all the evidence and prove, conclusively, that so-and-so committed the murder, or that such-and- such an organization was responsible, or even try to prove that Oswald acted alone. For this, one imagines the reader will be grateful.

What the author does intend to do, however, is to present additional evidence that so far has not been considered by mainstream journalists and researchers. This is evidence that may support one or more conspiracy theories, to be sure. The author feels that the conspiracy—if such existed— went much deeper than can be traced through the witness testimony and what passed for forensics reports in the Warren Commission Report. Like Peter Dale Scott,2 the author believes in “deep politics,” i.e., a layer of interrelationships that exists below the level of the simple facts of the case. In the author’s case, though, he believes that there is a layer below Professor Scott’s: a web of threads of cause and effect that run parallel at times, perpendicular at others. To that end, the author has pulled at some of these threads—these “scarlet threads of murder” that run through history— and has found relationships that are, if anything, more incredible than those presented in Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, or in some of the more popular books on the assassination. Yet, they are fact, and supported by ample documentation.


Perhaps the most famous, and most respected, of the “amateur” investigators of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is Ms. Mary Ferrell. She has been the ultimate resource for many other journalists, historians, and conspiracy theorists over the past fifty years. She cross- referenced and indexed all the volumes of the Warren Commission hearings, something which had never been done before, not even by the Commission itself, and thereby performed a vital service to all who would come after her. She also maintained a vast library of newsclippings, articles, journals, books, and transcripts that refer, in one way or another, to the subject of the assassination. Recently, some of her work has been published on CD-ROM, thereby giving researchers—particularly those like the author who lived at some geographical distance from the source material—an embarrassment of riches.

What many don’t know, however, is that—until November 22, 1963— Mary Ferrell was an occultist.

In correspondence with the author, she spoke of her interest in the system of ceremonial magic practiced by the Golden Dawn, that British secret society that spawned Aleister Crowley, William Butler Yeats, Arthur Edward Waite, and many others. She had been in correspondence with Francis Israel Regardie, an occultist and author who had been Aleister Crowley’s personal assistant for some years, and who published—to the grief and surprise of his brethren—the secret rituals of the Golden Dawn. Regardie himself was regarded as something of a resource to those in the New Age movement whose interest in the complex ritual systems of ceremonial magic was whetted by the works of Crowley, Mathers, Parsons, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Louis Culling, and others. Even more strangely, Regardie was initiated into a Rosicrucian group in Washington, D.C. in 1926, a group that leads us right to David Ferrie and from him to the assassination itself.

Regardie had been in contact with a group of Golden Dawn hopefuls in Dallas in the early 1960s; they had hoped to have Regardie teach them how to pronounce the Hebrew words that are so much a staple of Golden Dawn and other Hermetic literature. Regardie suggested they simply go to a local synagogue and get someone there to help them; but the Dallas group insisted and thus forked over a $500 per diem for two days, plus all

expenses to bring Regardie to Dallas. Regardie made friends in Dallas that day, and had stayed in touch with them until the day he died.3

Mary Ferrell was thus, in the autumn of 1963, in position to become an important person in the community of magicians and occultists who came out of the tradition of Mathers, Crowley, et al. Had she devoted her energies to ceremonial magic instead of to the assassination, she may have provided an extremely valuable service to that muddled mass of theories, rituals, and posturing that has become modern ritual magic in America. Instead, she provided an even more important service: tools for the analysis of the twentieth century’s most critical political murder.

The desire to uncover mysteries and secrets is probably a manifestation of a deeper paranoia about the universe; but this paranoia may be a healthy thing. As literary critic Anatole Broyard once remarked, “Paranoids are the only ones who notice anything anymore.” 4Or, as Charles Manson once observed, “Total paranoia is total consciousness.”

Rather than a symptom of mental illness, paranoia may be the psychological equivalent of physical pain: a mechanism to warn of danger to the organism. In the case of physical pain, the source is usually easily identifiable. In the case of paranoia, the source is often invisible: an unnamed, sinister, force.

The forces of darkness are inherently neither benign nor malevolent.

They are unknown.

—Arthur Young 5

Actually, how could a reasonably intelligent person who was interested in the deeper aspects of the occult—of which the Golden Dawn system is certainly representative—not be moved to study the details of the Kennedy assassination? The murder had taken on mythic proportions, even in the days immediately following the event. The Kennedy administration had been referred to as “Camelot,” a reference of course to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, itself a symbol of deeper mysteries running the gamut from the Holy Grail to Joseph of Arimathea to Celtic magic and mysticism. Kennedy—the youngest President, the only Catholic President, husband of an attractive, sophisticated woman who graced the White House with famous artists, writers, musicians, the cultural elite of the day—had

been murdered in front of crowds on a sunny afternoon in Dallas, Texas. It seemed as if the best and the brightest had been slain, a blood sacrifice on some unimaginable altar. It had all the hallmarks of an archetypal event, like the Crucifixion. We know so little about what really happened that day two thousand years ago atop Mount Golgotha, an event that spawned a religion and countless sects, cults, and secret societies; and murder, pogrom, and torture; and music, art and literature—so that when a similar event takes place in our midst there are those who will mop up every detail, every aspect of the case, like the witnesses at the decapitation of Charles I who soaked his blood into their handkerchiefs as sacred relics. In case the reader believes the author is overstating his case, please remember all those photographs of Kennedy that adorned the apartments, shops and homes of people from North America to South America, from Europe to Asia, in the years after the assassination; usually placed next to a picture of Jesus or the Pope, it had a place of honor tantamount to a Last Supper painting. Without being able to articulate why, in many cases the average person—particularly the average Catholic person—saw something divine, something terrible and sacred, in the idea of the murdered President. All over the world, major streets and avenues and even districts (such as “Kennedy” in Bogota, Colombia) were re-named in honor of the slain President. Kennedy was seen as a friend of the poor, and as a defender of the disenfranchised of every race. Whether or not that was true in fact, it was true in the minds of the people. And when his brother was assassinated, and Martin Luther King, Jr., it only seemed to justify the worship of the faithful and the certain belief that forces of evil were behind the multiple killings. This was a belief that the anti-Kennedy forces had to contend with at their peril, for they had nothing quite so strong in their arsenal. Except, maybe, fear. The author remembers the 1980 election campaign of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, when anti-Republican demonstrators wore buttons that said, “Shoot Bush First,” and, “Where is Lee Harvey Oswald now that we need him?”

There is a degree system in the Golden Dawn, as there is in Masonry and in many other secret societies. One advances from degree to degree, from knowledge to knowledge, from experience to experience, under the guidance of those who have gone on before. The Golden Dawn professed to be the British branch of a German secret society, and the roots of that society were believed to have been derived from the German Rosicrucian

Society of the seventeenth century, and that society to be a survival of the French Knights Templar of the fourteenth century, and so on back to the ancient Egyptians by way of the Gnostic Christians, the Islamic hashishin, the Ethiopian Coptics, the Jewish Qabalists, the Arabian Sabeans and Solomon the King. The rituals of the Golden Dawn therefore harkened back to all of these influences, and the study materials and lectures offered detailed exegeses of many ancient mysteries with the ultimate goal of creating a new human, a perfected creation, the next step in the evolutionary ladder. They took as their texts the Zohar, the Egyptian Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead, as well as the alchemical works of the English, the Greeks and the Arabs, the Turba Philosophorum and the Atalanta Fugiens, thePicatrix and The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage and The True and Faithful Relation of What Passed For Many Years Between Dr. Dee and Some Spirits. And, as an underpinning to all of this and to demonstrate the internal consistency of their program, was a system of correspondences.

This system was a mathematically-based set of tables against which virtually any object, any event, any philosophical idea could be identified and so drawn into comparison with other objects, events, ideas. Thus, one would find that the color red was related to the planet Mars, to blood, to iron, to certain herbs, to Tuesday, to the zodiacal sign of Aries, and so on. This system was predicated on the belief that events are related by invisible threads of connection that link them in ways too subtle to be measured by the normal cause and effect paradigm with which we are all familiar. After all, this is also the concept behind astrology, the Chinese system of feng shui, and many another occult, spiritual or New Age fashion. One can point to the Jewish system of the Qabala as the forerunner of this system in the West. The Qabala was a means of finding hidden relationships between words, based on their numerical equivalents; it was used to find secret messages in the Torah, for instance, or to create talismans and amulets. It was a method of assigning meaning to number, and this system formed the grammar and the algorithm for the Golden Dawn rituals, attaining its apotheosis in the Book of the Concourse of the Forces, which is an astonishing system of merging the Qabala with astrology, the Tarot, geomancy and other occult disciplines on the schema of John Dee’s Elizabethan era Enochian system. 6It was also a theater of memory and a

means of controlling memory to the point that altered states of consciousness would result; a use of memory that goes beyond basic survival requirements and extends to the creation of a new way of perceiving reality, a new prioritizing of memories.

The goal of all this, the ultimate initiation in the Golden Dawn system, was the Adeptus Minor Ritual, which involved the crucifixion of the initiate (with ropes instead of nails) and a representation of the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz, the putative founder of the Rosicrucian Order. It is a ritual symbolic of rebirth but, even more than that, it mimics the death and resurrection of the initiate in psychological terms so that those who undergo the ceremony are not merely acting parts in a strange play with no audience, but are experiencing profound psychological—if not spiritual—changes. It also unites the initiate with the whole history of his tradition, going back through all of those grimoires and spellbooks, all that gematria and incantation, all that sacred geometry, until a karmic balance has been achieved between the actions of the initiate’s life (or lives) and the life to come, the life he will lead. The cross on which he has been crucified fixes him at a specific point in space and time, bleeds him of karmic debt, fixes him like the alchemists fixed mercury, so that he becomes the engine of his own transformation, his own X and Y axis, the center of his own dimension and, as such, the center of all dimensions. What is death and resurrection, after all, but a conquering—an abrogation—of the linear, unidirectional flow of time, and thus of space as well? And the extension of those parameters by the Young-ian quantum of force?

This crucifixion ritual would be mirrored in a ceremony that was performed by Charles Manson in Box Canyon near the Spahn Ranch in 1968, while he was under the influence of LSD. Charlie and his group had visited the headquarters there of a cult known as the Fountain of the World. This religion had been founded by a Francis Heindswatzer Pencovic, who renamed himself Krishna Venta. The group practiced a form of Christianity, and followed a strict celibacy rule (strict, that is, except for Krishna Venta himself). Disaffected followers who accused him of committing adultery with their wives killed him and nine of his followers with explosives on December 10, 1958, planting the dynamite in catacombs hidden beneath the church’s complex. Photographs of the group show women dressed as nuns

and sporting crosses, and in some cases washing the feet of male members á la Mary Magdalene.7 Charlie was impressed by the group’s dedication, and attempted to test their sincerity by sending his girls in to lure the members away from their vows of celibacy, a ruse that did not work.

Close to the sect’s complex was a hill in the shape of a skull and a wooden cross planted atop it, in imitation of Golgotha. Charlie decided to re-enact the Crucifixion with himself as the central character. He dropped acid. His followers tied him to the cross, jeered and humiliated him, and then symbolically killed him. They later celebrated his resurrection with an act of group sex.

Indirectly, as America’s first acid pusher, the CIA had provided this barely literate Messiah-manqué with a quick fix on the cosmic cross; and, like the other psychic roadkill who make up the rolls of the Agency’s unwitting test subjects, he was unprepared for the experience and wound up spinning like an imbalanced top over the California landscape of starlets, sunshine and sex. We have no idea what went through Manson’s mind—or soul—during that ritual, but we can judge its after-effects. Manson was reared for a while by extremely religious relatives in West Virginia, and this when he was not even of kindergarten age. He was made to wear a dress to his first day at school, because his uncle thought he was a sissy. He was humiliated and jeered in real life, and was made to listen to sermons on Christian values and Biblical mythology. Then, he was sent to reform school after reform school and prison after prison. What an initiate of the Golden Dawn would have internalized, as part of the degree system and the gradual awakening of spiritual understanding, Manson experienced in the outer world. He then “fixed” these experiences—these negative, often horrifying and hideous experiences—in the ritual of the Crucifixion (while under the influence of a potent hallucinogen), without any means of neutralizing their effects or understanding them, or coming to terms with them in some positive way. Every humiliation he suffered, every rape in the prison system, every beating, every torment, was crystalized in the ritual, formalized, made—in a sense—permanent and unchanging. In the terms of a Golden Dawn-style perspective, he had become a “black brother” (ironically enough), a follower of the “left-hand path,” and he didn’t even know it.

They never do.

At times he called himself “Jesus,” or “God,” or whatever else came to mind. His power over his followers, however, began long before the crucifixion in Box Canyon, a control that was likened by one follower to Pavlov’s Dogs, and by another to machinery in the minds of his followers that Charlie could control, like throwing a switch. But this degree of control did not contribute to happiness on Charlie’s part, and he began to deteriorate, and to talk about apocalypse and armageddon.


For a while, back in the 1960s, much was made of the similarities between the Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy assassinations. We may call these similarities “coincidences,” but perhaps Jung’s “synchronicities” would be a better description. In any case, the number and type of similarities between the two cases beggars a simple description of coincidence. For instance, Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy who advised him not to go to the theatre that fateful day; Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln who advised him not to go to Dallas.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1847; Kennedy in 1947. Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Kennedy in 1960. Lincoln was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, who was born in 1808; Kennedy by Lyndon Johnson who was born in 1908. Both presidents died on a Friday. There are even more such coincidences, but the reader gets the general idea.

To a scientist, as well as to a historian, these are meaningless similarities. They are accidents of history. A scientist—if pressed—would look for other details that are not common to both Presidents, and then use that information to discredit the above catalogue. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865; Kennedy in 1963. Lincoln’s wife was named Mary Todd; Kennedy’s wife was Jacqueline Bouvier. See? No coincidences there. And what about the other two American Presidents who were assassinated? How many Americans even remember they were, or who they were? Why do Americans only remember Lincoln and Kennedy?

In the end, what do coincidences mean, anyway?

That they may be elements of a deeper web of connectivity between events in space and time (something suggested by Carl Jung, and ascribed to by physicist Wolfgang Pauli, among others) is too ephemeral an explanation for a traditional scientist, who would say that it properly belongs to that category of superstition that includes four-leaf clovers, rabbits’ feet and the Psychic Hotline. What it will take perhaps another century or more to comprehend fully is that the assassination of President Kennedy was a modern-day crucifixion, a bloody sacrifice replete with iconic resonance. The cultural motif of the murdered President as a “slain king” was made clear in Kevin Costner’s closing argument in his role as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in Oliver Stone’s JFK. While there may be no overt religious overtones to the Kennedy assassination, there is a deep uneasiness about it; an uneasiness that became more pronounced with the murder of his brother in 1968, about the time of Manson’s self-inflicted crucifixion in Box Canyon. The eerie set of similarities between the lives of Lincoln and Kennedy, therefore, is evidence of a much wider phenomenon that is screaming for our attention, even as it lurks beneath the threshold of consciousness, “dead, but dreaming,” like a chthonic monster out of Lovecraft or Arthur Machen.

I discover with surprise to what extent I had judged and admired my new country through Kennedy’s actions. This brutal death reminds me of the existence of a volcano of violent realities underneath the orderly unfolding of our best plans. The real Beyond is not that which follows death but that which stretches underneath life itself. In this sense the saucers are a potential source of cultural and strategic upheaval, just like yesterday’s killing in Dallas. Just as in Dallas, we are dreadfully unprepared.

—Jacques Vallee, Diary 23 November 1963 8

There is a famous moment in the film version of The Exorcist in which a psychiatrist tries to reassure the mother of the possessed Regan that her daughter is suffering from a temporal lobe disorder. Her mother insists that the whole bed was shaking and lifting off the floor. The psychiatrist says that muscle tremors are common in such disorders. Her mother insists that these were not tremors, that the whole bed was moving. The psychiatrist

ignores this unacceptable evidence, and insists that everything is the result of a temporal lobe disorder, uttering the priceless line, “The problem is not your bed, Mrs. McNeil.”

Which is another way of saying that the drunk was looking for his keys under a lamppost (even though he lost them across the street) because the light was better there.

In a way, the approach of science to date has been admirable. By ignoring the supernatural explanation, science has tried to let us keep control over our lives, to hold our destiny firmly in our own hands, to empower us and not blame Fate or Kismet or God’s Will or a poor alignment of stars for the evil that does occur; but by taking all credibility or culpability away from the Infant in the Manger, God, Buddha, a malefic conjunction of planets or just bad vibes, they have thrown the Baby out with the bathwater. If we refuse to believe that a conspiracy of CIA agents, Cuban refugees, Mafia hitmen, or some combination of these had arranged the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, then we are forced to come up with some other explanation for the appearance of Lee Harvey Oswald—like some phantom squadron of UFOs—on everyone’s radar: at CIA, the FBI, the Office of Naval Intelligence, Army intelligence, the Secret Service, Russian intelligence, anti-Castro Cubans, pro-Castro Cubans, right-wing extremists, homosexual cultists, private detectives and even the Civil Air Patrol. We are forced, that is, to find another reason why the relationships exist.


While the inventor, psychic researcher, astrologer, Zen enthusiast and member of the original Nine, Arthur Young, was writing The Reflexive Universe in the quiet of his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Paoli in August of 1963, his wife was entertaining their daughter-in-law, Ruth Hyde Paine.

Ruth Hyde had married Michael Paine—Ruth Forbes Young’s son by her previous marriage to George Lyman Paine—on December 28, 1957 in a Quaker ceremony in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ruth Hyde’s background alone is suggestive: her father had been employed by the Agency for

International Development (AID), which was a well-known CIA front and which lost a few overseas officials to acts of terrorism, including the famous case of Dan Mitrione in Uruguay. Her brother-in-law—based in Washington, D.C.—was also employed by AID.9 Ruth Hyde had been working in Philadelphia when she met Michael. Upon their marriage, she moved in with Michael, Ruth Forbes Young and Arthur Young at their home in Paoli, where the couple remained until the summer of 1959, Michael working directly for Arthur Young in his stepfather’s barn… building model helicopters. This part of the story sounds quite strange. According to his Warren Commission testimony, Michael Paine set up shop in Arthur Young’s barn (sometime in the early 1950s) and started working for himself. The nature of this work was not clarified, nor why Michael Paine would have been using Arthur Young’s barn to “work for himself.” Eventually, Arthur hired Michael to make model helicopters for him. This sounds suspiciously like make-work, since Arthur Young by this time had given up on helicopter design and was involved full-time in mystical pursuits. The other problem with Michael Paine’s testimony is that he cannot give dates; he does not know when he began working for Bell Helicopter, he doesn’t have a firm grasp of when he left school, joined the Army, re-enrolled in university, or anything else about his past. Nor is he aware of what level of security clearance he has at Bell. In fact, he cannot even remember what year he married Ruth Hyde! He has further lapses of memory throughout his testimony; anything to do with his relationship to Ruth Hyde Paine becomes vague and ephemeral.

What we do know with some certainty is that Michael Paine—a native of New York City—graduated from high school in 1947. He then went to Harvard for two years, but had to drop out, as he was failing academically. That would have been in 1949. His mother had married Arthur Young in 1948, while Michael was doing his first year at Harvard.

At some point, he wound up working for a nuclear research firm, the Bartol Research Foundation at Swarthmore, doing something vague with machines, while attempting to finish a bachelor’s degree. He claims that he would have been in the class of 1953 at Swarthmore, had he stayed in school. With two years at Harvard already accomplished (and for which he probably received credit at Swarthmore) that puts him there in 1951, but

according to his testimony he only worked about a year at Bartol before leaving for the Army.

He spent two years in the Army, and was sent to Korea. This would have been during the height of the Korean War. There is no indication in his testimony before the Commission about what his duties were or even what his rank might have been. It seems odd that his war record was not read into the transcript, or that an attempt to get accurate dates out of him was not strenuously mounted by someone at the Commission, but so it goes.

At one point, he is saved from embarrassment—or inadvertent revelation

—by Allen Dulles. When Michael Paine is asked about his duties at Bell Helicopter, the following exchange takes place:

Mr. LIEBELER—Have you been engaged in that type of work for Bell throughout?

Mr. PAINE—I have been in the research laboratory research group that long. It has all been problems –

Mr. DULLES—Are you a helicopter pilot by any chance yourself?

The reader is left with this tantalizing bit of personal anecdote interrupted by a typical Dulles non-sequitur, of which there are quite a few when it comes to the Paines. The question of Michael Paine’s work at Bell never comes up again. This will happen several more times during Ruth Paine’s testimony.

Michael and Ruth Paine moved to Irving, Texas (a Dallas suburb) in 1959 and somehow had two children. By September 1962, Michael and Ruth were separated but still on good terms. She was thirty years old. He was thirty-four. They would be officially divorced in 1971.

Michael Paine had managed to get a job at his stepfather’s old firm, Bell Helicopter, at a branch facility they had in Fort Worth, Texas. One can only imagine that this job was due to his stepfather’s influence at Bell, since Michael’s work record is spotty and he had no college degree. Michael Paine’s job was essentially the same as the one he had at Arthur Young’s barn: building model helicopters. At this time, Bell’s R&D was being run by the former Nazi General Walter Dornberger, whom me met earlier as a scientist brought to the US under Operation Paperclip along with more than

1,000 other German scientists, many of whom were suspected of being committed Nazis, including both Dornberger and his protégé, Wernher von Braun. (This association has given rise to much speculation that somehow the Nazis themselves were behind the Kennedy assassination. While this may be an exaggeration, there is no lack of Nazi influence in and around the events leading up to—and away from—the assassination.)

Ruth Paine met Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina, at a party in Highland Park, Texas (a short drive from Irving) on February 22, 1963. Ruth at this stage of her life was a Quaker, having converted in the first few months of 1951; her mother was a Unitarian minister. As one reads her Warren Commission testimony, it becomes obvious that religion was important in her life at that time, and living in close proximity to Arthur Young for almost two years something of his interest in spirituality must have rubbed off. Ruth Paine was also interested in learning Russian—a politically-suspect language to study in 1963—and interested as well in square-dancing and madrigal-singing. (The reader should be reminded that television programming was relatively spare in 1960s Dallas.) These varied interests had her joining several different groups and making friends over a wide spectrum of the population, including the White Russian émigré community.

The Oswalds were brought to the party by the De Mohrenschildts.

George de Mohrenschildt is one of the most enigmatic characters in the entire assassination scenario. A White Russian himself, a petroleum engineer, an entrepreneur, a world traveler, multilingual, suspected of Nazi sentiments, he cooperated with American intelligence on more than one occasion in his life. His motives for introducing the Oswalds to the Paines is unclear. He has told the story several different ways. When finally he was about to be brought before the House Sub-Committee on Assassinations in 1977 to tell the whole story, he committed suicide or, as some theorists insist, was murdered; it is true that the forensic evidence is suspicious, but either way—suicide or murder—the event is sufficiently alarming and suggestive of deeper, darker secrets.

Marina Oswald—who spoke very little English—was invited to stay with Ruth Paine at her home in Irving, along with Marina’s child. This way,

according to Ruth Paine, they could swap language lessons (a plan that seems to have been abandoned immediately after Marina moved in). Lee Oswald would go to New Orleans to seek work, and during that time he became modestly famous for about a week due to his “Fair Play for Cuba” leafletting and subsequent media appearance. When he returned to Dallas, he took up residence in a rooming house, once Ruth Paine had managed to network him into the Texas School Book Depository, and Marina remained with Ruth at Irving. When the assassination occurred, it was the Paines who led the police officers to the place (and the blanket) where Lee had supposedly stored his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.

In fact, Ruth Paine was more than helpful. Much of the evidence that would eventually damn Oswald in the eyes of the Warren Commission (and the public) came from Ruth Paine: some of the famous photographs of Oswald posing with the rifle and copies of a Communist newspaper, the “spy camera,” the fake Alex Hidell documents, and much else besides. There is even a growing body of evidence that Michael Paine’s father— George Lyman Paine, who was a Trotskyite leader in California—had intelligence connections that led straight back to William Buckley, Jr. and

E. Howard Hunt, through one James Burnham, who was George Paine’s colleague in the Trotskyite party to which they both belonged, and who was also a consultant to the CIA and a friend of E. Howard Hunt of Watergate “Plumber” fame. E. Howard Hunt himself had no little interest in the occult, and was the author of three occult novels (as well as numerous spy novels) under various pseudonyms; one of the occult stories was a thinly-disguised attack on the Kennedy family. He even lived on “witches Island.” Hunt, it may be remembered, was one of those CIA agents in charge of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and thus no lover of Jack Kennedy. He also has had a hard time accounting for his whereabouts on November 22, 1963.

The full story of Ruth and Michael Paine has never been told. Michael Paine admitted that on the day of the assassination itself, he was discussing political assassinations with some co-workers in the Bell cafeteria when the announcement came that the President had been shot. Another coincidence? Perhaps. Michael Paine—assuredly aware of his stepfather’s occult interests

—actually made a joking remark to the Commission that perhaps it was ESP that led him to engage a co-worker in a discussion of the nature of

political assassins, but since neither one of them actually knew any political assassins the topic was dropped. Rather than ESP, was it that perhaps underachiever Michael Paine was bursting to reveal a secret?

It was Michael Paine who took Oswald to his first ACLU meeting. It was also Michael Paine who took Oswald to his first John Birch Society meeting. It was Michael Paine who engaged Oswald in political discussions in front of witnesses.

During his wife’s testimony before the Warren Commission, several unusual moments took place which may have meant nothing at the time, but which raise some questions in the author’s mind today.

For instance, early in her testimony to the Warren Commission, Ruth Paine admitted that at one point Lee Harvey Oswald was considering going to Philadelphia. As soon as she mentioned Philadelphia, Allen Dulles chimed in and opined that it was presumably to find work, to which Ruth replied in the affirmative. That is what is known as “leading the witness.” Philadelphia, of course, is where Arthur and Ruth Young lived, and Ruth had a habit of going up there every year in the summer… as she did in the summer of 1963. Did Arthur Young invite the young Marine defector to his wooded estate in Paoli? Or had Ruth Paine made an inadvertent slip one day in front of Lee that she was related by marriage to the famous inventor of the Bell helicopter? Or did Michael, who after all worked for Bell? The relationship between the Paines and Arthur Young is never mentioned, never examined, in the Warren Commission hearings except to note that Michael’s mother married someone named Arthur Young.

Dulles becomes helpful to Ruth Paine’s testimony on more than one occasion. Each time her Russian language tutor is mentioned, Dulles heads off the line of questioning by asking something else before Ruth can answer. This happens first on page 467 of Volume II of the Warren Commission Hearings, and then again on page 473. Then, when Ruth Paine mentions that she thought of getting her husband, Michael, to put Marina Oswald on his tax return as a dependent so that she could earn some additional income—a suggestion that caused no end of mirth among the assembled Officers of the Court due to its stunning admission of illegality

—it was Dulles who came in like the cavalry to paint Ruth Paine’s motives in a purely altruistic light.

When the Commission finally did get around to asking Ruth Paine about her Russian language tutor, Dulles was conveniently absent from the hearings that day.

Why would Dulles take such a particular interest in Ruth Paine if, in fact, he did? Was he afraid that something said about the Russian language tutor in his presence would reflect badly on him later on? Was he aware of Ruth Paine’s august family connections back in Philadelphia? Or did it have something to do with Michael Paine?

In fact, all of the above reasons may be valid. He certainly knew Michael and Ruth Paine, and perhaps should have recused himself from their part of the testimony in the first place; there is certainly no mention by Dulles in the twenty-six volumes of the Warren Commission Hearings that he knew the Paines socially, but it seems clear that he had to have known of them if not known them to talk to. He knew Ruth Young, and he knew a very close and personal friend of Ruth Young: Ms. Mary Bancroft.

Mary Bancroft has written an autobiography, and she describes this relationship in some detail. She had been the mistress of Allen Dulles for some twenty years, and had also been the mistress of Henry Luce (of Time- Life, where the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination wound up) for about the same length of time.

She knew Dulles from the War years in Europe, when he was running the OSS operation out of Switzerland (Dulles knew E. Howard Hunt and Richard Helms at this time, as well). It was a relationship that lasted for decades, and of which Dulles’ wife, Clover, was probably aware, as she was of his other infidelities. Mary Bancroft was a good friend of Ruth Forbes, which meant of course that she knew her children as well. Thus, it beggars belief to think that Allen Dulles was not acutely aware of the Paines, the Youngs, and their relationship to Lee Harvey Oswald.

Ruth Paine visited the Youngs in Paoli, Pennsylvania in mid-August 1963, after visiting the Naushon Island (Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts) home of the

Paine side of the family from July 31 to August 12. She then returned to Dallas, and invited Marina Oswald to stay with her while Marina was pregnant with the Oswald’s second child. (At the same time, according to his testimony, Michael Paine had gone to Los Angeles to visit his father, the Trotskyite.) We may be forgiven if we assume that Ruth Paine discussed the Oswalds with Arthur and Ruth Young during this period. The Oswalds had stayed with her in the spring of 1963—during the time of Oswald’s putative assassination attempt on right-wing extremist General Walker—and Ruth Paine was thinking up ways to have Marina move in with her again, even going so far as to find additional funds by cheating on Michael’s income tax return. Marina happily moved in with Ruth Paine at the latter’s home in Irving, Texas, and was there through the birth of her second child and right up to the day of the assassination of President Kennedy.

As noted above, Ruth Paine was more than helpful to the authorities who came calling as soon as Lee Oswald was identified on the day of the assassination. It was Ruth Paine who provided some of the most damaging circumstantial evidence against Oswald. It was also Ruth Paine who dragged her feet on getting Lee Oswald legal representation, even though both she and her husband were members of the ACLU. Ruth Paine the Quaker, Ruth Paine the liberal activist, Ruth Paine the pacifist who was studying Russian and writing letters to pen pals in the Soviet Union, hoping to bridge the gap between the two superpowers and promote peace, Ruth Paine the folk-dancing, madrigal-singing, friend of the oppressed… refusing to help the husband of stranded Russian immigrant Marina Oswald, and the father of Marina Oswald’s two infant children, get legal representation?

When Ruth Paine’s Russian language tutor—the elderly Mrs. Dorothy Gravitis, a Latvian—was deposed before the Commission, she revealed an interesting piece of information. A woman whose history parallels that of many Latvians in the second half of the twentieth century, she had been born in Latvia when it was part of Russian territory under the Czars; it became independent in 1918, at the time of the Revolution. It later became annexed to Russia in 1940, was invaded by the Nazis shortly thereafter, and then in 1944 Mrs. Gravitis herself wound up in Germany in a camp along

with many other Displaced Persons (DPs), and eventually managed to emigrate to the United States in late 1949.

She taught Ruth Paine only two official classes at Berlitz, but remained a friend of hers in Texas and taught her privately after that. Ruth asked her to check on Marina when the former was out of town, in May of 1963 when she was evidently in San Antonio. Mrs. Gravitis spoke with Marina on the phone twice, and never met her, but they discussed Lee from a perspective that should have been very disturbing to the Commission, but which seems to have been passed over.

When asked by the Commission why she decided to distance herself from Marina before the assassination, she said it was because of Marina’s remarks concerning Lee Oswald. Marina had used a very specific term in Russian to describe Lee’s political beliefs. This word is not easily translatable into English, and her interpreter—Mamantov—had difficulty with it. It is a word that signifies that Lee was in the second phase of becoming a member of the Communist Party, the phase where he had to prove himself to the Party in some material way. In the Soviet Union of Mrs. Gravitis’ experience, that usually meant spying.

What many Americans never realize about both the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China is that there have been actually very few members—per capita—of the Communist Party in each country. To be a Party member is to be one of the elite class, and to lose Party membership is tantamount to social as well as political suicide. Thus, the requirements for attaining Party membership were usually quite strict, and a demonstration of Communist loyalty and zeal was required before one could be given a Party card. Within the Soviet Union (as in China), this usually meant spying on your neighbors, your co-workers, even your own family to discover anti- Communist actions or beliefs. You would then report all of this to the Party member in charge of your advancement, like a cat showing up with a dead mouse. What Marina was telling Mrs. Gravitis, then, was that Oswald was in this second phase.

Marina may simply have been bragging or exaggerating for the benefit of old Mrs. Gravitis (who was in her seventies at the time and who had had a hard life in Latvia, Russia, Nazi Germany, and New York City, where she

worked cleaning floors, and finally in Texas). Whatever the truth of the matter was, Gravitis decided she wanted nothing to do with Lee Oswald, afraid that he was spying on the Russian émigré community in Texas on behalf of the Soviets. Since the last thing the Warren Commission wanted was evidence linking Oswald to the KGB—evidence that might have precipitated a Third World War—this aspect of the case was downplayed or ignored.

Another possibility, also never followed up, is that Oswald told Marina this story in order to direct her away from his real activities, which also included spying not on the White Russian community but for a faction of the US government.

As former CIA officer Victor Marchetti revealed in an interview to assassination researcher Anthony Summers, the US Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) had a program in place in the 1960s to place phony defectors in the Soviet Union. These included between thirty and forty young men who were “made to appear disenchanted, poor, American youths who had become turned off and wanted to see what communism was all about.” 10From every indication, it would appear that the twenty-year-old Oswald fit the profile exactly. Add to that the fact that the period in which he defected was a time of numerous defections of US military and intelligence personnel to the Soviet Union, and the shoe fits.

This is not to say that Oswald was a James Bond. In fact, he was a poor, probably disenchanted American. He was also quite young. He would not have been given a strenuous assignment, such as running agents. He might have been made to serve other purposes, about which we can only conjecture. Yet, he was proficient enough in Russian at the age of twenty to indicate a reasonably high intelligence (Ruth Paine had studied Russian for years and obviously never got the hang of it… or so she said. The author, who can make his way in a variety of European and Asian tongues, can attest that Russian is one of the most difficult to learn). His erstwhile friend, the White Russian George de Mohrenschildt, found Oswald to be intelligent and well-spoken; it was also de Mohrenschildt who, it was later discovered, was reporting on Oswald to American intelligence in the months prior to the assassination; it is also de Mohrenschildt who, from his writings and

remarks to various investigators and journalists, gives the impression that he was saddened—perhaps even guilty—about what happened to Oswald. There is a great deal of evidence—all of it circumstantial—that Oswald may have been working for American intelligence (or some faction thereof) right up to the end of his life. The author will not go into all of that here, of course.

Dulles may have already known what Dorothy Gravitis would say from other sources. As a Russian immigrant in the United States, Gravitis was vulnerable to all sorts of pressure from other Russians (and Latvians) in the United States at that time who were agitating for an American assault on the motherland to liberate it from Soviet control. The White Russian community in the United States had rallied around the Russian Orthodox Church and around several ersatz political groups that held parades and other conscious-ness-raising events around the country. These groups were often so extreme in their anti-Communism that they were pro-Nazi and, indeed, the Russian Orthodox Church in New York City was a center of Russian fascism. The Orthodox Church had split into several factions after the Russian Revolution of 1917. One group remained loyal to Moscow, through duress; this was the Patriarchate of Moscow which, of course, was headquartered in Russia and had to make accommodations with the Soviets to survive. They maintained a cathedral on West Ninety-Seventh Street in New York which was well-known as a conduit for KGB agents coming to the United States, agents disguised as priests.

Another group was the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia— usually referred to as the Synod—which was based on Park Avenue at Ninety-Third Street. This community was supported by the Romanovs and other escaped Russian royalty. This group was—during World War II—pro- Nazi, seeing in the Nazis potential liberators of the motherland.

The CIA and other political and intelligence organizations made use of these groups to run agents, gather information, or whatever could be valuable to the cause. Psychological warfare officers were familiar with the main characters in the Russian Orthodox scenario, and Radio Free Europe (an acknowledged CIA front) would broadcast religious messages into the

Communist bloc on behalf of various Christian groups, but especially the Synod.

This use of Orthodox churches in the fight against Communism was more widespread than most Americans realize, simply because to them the Eastern Orthodox church is too ethnic, too mysterious to understand. Eventually, though, such famous names in the Kennedy assassination investigation as David Ferrie would be revealed as players in this strange underworld of archaic ritual, dead languages, and wandering bishops.

Dulles was aware of all of this, of course. Support of the Eastern churches was an essential element of the Cold War, as they provided a moral and cultural context for the fight against the Soviet Union. Rather than try to explain why dialectical materialism is flawed, or how putting the means of production in the hands of the State is doomed to failure, it was far easier to say that the Soviets were “Godless,” were atheists bent on destroying Christ’s church. This meant that the struggle against Communism was a war of Light against Darkness. In addition, the misguided attempt by the Soviets to completely eradicate certain of the ethnic minorities—such as the Ukrainians—by prohibiting publications in their native tongues was an attack on the cultural heritage of millions. The Eastern churches were repositories of not only Christianity, but also of ethnic culture, since each Eastern church celebrates its rituals in the vernacular of its people and is a repository for their traditions; thus, the ceremonies of the Greek Orthodox Church are in Greek, of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Arabic, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukrainian, etc.

The possibility that Mrs. Gravitis—or her interpreter-son Mamantov— might have been allied with one or another of the anti-Communist underground organizations in Texas must have occurred to Dulles, if he did not actually know of this beforehand. He would not have wanted to reveal the CIA’s interest in—and support of—these groups in an open forum, and this might have been one reason why he kept changing the subject when Ruth Paine mentioned the tutor, in essence keeping her from saying her name while Dulles was present.

This—admittedly circumstantial—piece of evidence, coupled with Dulles’ omission of his prior acquaintance with Michael and Ruth Paine, as well as the Commission’s not firmly establishing Michael Paine’s curriculum vitae or following up on his war record, or delving more closely into the background of Arthur Young, indicates the presence of a hidden agenda. The author would like to propose that the connection to Arthur Young through the Paines is a smoking gun, indicative of another level of covert activity that has not been explored by the Warren Commission or by the later House Sub-Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Arthur Young’s travels with Andrija Puharich to Mexico and elsewhere, and his long support of Puharich’s Round Table Foundation, as well as his inclusion in the first “séance of The Nine,” may reveal an intelligence operation—a truly bizarre intelligence operation—that is connected to the Oswald affair. Puharich, as we have seen, was working for either Army intelligence, the CIA, or more probably some combination of the two, out of Fort Detrick, which was a staging ground for both. Although Arthur Young’s interest in the paranormal was very probably innocent and well-meaning—as so many of his admirers will insist—that is not to say that he did not cooperate with government agencies when he could, or when he was asked to do so, Puharich being the first known example. There is a tantalizing lack of published information about Arthur Young’s life between 1952, when he founded something called the Foundation for the Study of Consciousness in Philadelphia, and 1973, when he founded the Institute for the Study of Consciousness in Berkeley. We know of his relationship to Puharich, but only in a very sketchy form; we know that he was Michael Paine’s stepfather and, by extension, Ruth Paine’s father-in-law; we know that Michael Paine worked for Arthur Young at the same time that Arthur Young was working with Puharich. Further, we know that Michael Paine’s mother (Arthur Young’s wife) was a close friend and confidant of Allen Dulles’ mistress, Mary Bancroft. This incestuous tangle of friends, lovers, relatives, mothers, sons, in-laws, coworkers and intelligence agents is an aspect of the Kennedy assassination that has never been adequately investigated. How odd that the legacy of Robert Treat Paine—a signer of the Declaration of Independence and thus one of America’s Founding Fathers—should have trickled down to a Michael Paine, a friend of the accused assassin of an American president.

There is another strange aspect to the question of the Paines that is worth a brief look, even though it is perhaps too bizarre to take seriously. One of the most mysterious of the many Aleister Crowley mysteries is that of a section of his famous Book of the Law, specifically Book Two, Verse 76. This verse reads,

76.4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 A L G M O R 3 Y X 24 89 R P S T O V A L.

What meanest this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever.

The verse is commonly referred to—by Thelemites—as “R P Stoval” after the last group of letters. No one knows what it means, although many have claimed to decode the enigmatic phrase.

A photograph found in the Paine home—a photograph of a ’57 Chevrolet in the driveway of General Walker, the man Oswald is supposed to have fired upon and missed in the weeks leading up to the assassination—was mutilated. The license plate had been removed from the photo so that it would be impossible to identify. The Dallas detective who seized the photo from the Paine home and put it into evidence claimed that it was already mutilated; Marina Oswald denied this and later evidence—a photo of the photo, to be precise—shows that Marina was telling the truth. The photograph when it came into custody of the Dallas police was intact; someone in the department must have chopped the license number out of the picture.

The Dallas police detective who confiscated the photo and who subsequently lied by stating that it arrived in his possession in its mutilated state was one R. B. Stovall. In addition, Oswald worked for a photographic firm in Dallas that had Defense Department contracts: Jaggers-Chiles- Stovall. The job had been arranged for Oswald by George de Mohrenschildt. 11

In de Mohrenschildt’s entire existence, as with so much else surrounding Oswald, we seem to be looking at a kind of voodoo.

—Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much 12

Is any of this data meaningful in a forensic sense? Does it reveal the truth about what happened in Dallas in 1963? Perhaps, perhaps not. But if, in

some future decade, the evidence given above is shown to be not relevant to the actual murder of the President, then to what is it relevant? For it challenges every definition of cause and effect to ignore the above relationships and call them “coincidence.” The point of the author is that these relationships cannot be ignored: that they are the spoor of some darker mechanism of history, of what we call reality, and that an understanding of world events is impossible without acknowledging their existence and seeking their underlying meaning.


On the opposite side of the psychic scale from Arthur Young is the strange, intense figure of David Ferrie. Made memorable by Joe Pesci’s performance in Oliver Stone’s JFK, Ferrie was an improbable person. Had a novelist invented him, the genre would have to be either science-fiction or fantasy, or perhaps something avant-garde and experimental. In actuality, everything one reads about Ferrie is usually understatement. An Eastern Airlines pilot, an amateur cancer researcher, possibly an anti-Castro gunrunner and certainly (by his own admission) an associate of Sergio Arcacha Smith of the anti-Castro underground as well as of Mafia overlord Carlos Marcello, he was also in charge of Lee Harvey Oswald’s old Civil Air Patrol unit in Louisiana. He had no facial hair at all, due to a condition known as alopecia, so he would paste on false eyebrows in a shocking shade of red and wear a red wig. (One is reminded of an episode during the Watergate affair when E. Howard Hunt borrowed a voice modifier and a red wig from CIA supply. An homage?) Ferrie came to the attention of District Attorney Jim Garrison when the latter was ramping up his investigation into New Orleans’ connection with the Kennedy assassination. Ferrie’s name had been dropped as a friend of both Guy Banister and Lee Harvey Oswald by one Jack Martin, who worked for Guy Banister (he of the FBI UFO files) as some sort of ersatz investigator. Martin himself had worked with Ferrie on an investigation involving diploma mills and fraudulent ecclesiastical papers. Well, they claimed it was an investigation. It was obviously more than that. It seems that both Martin and Ferrie were only too happy to acquire these paper dignities themselves. Ferrie and Martin had both come to the attention of the Warren Commission briefly, and then were dropped as suspects. They both came under Jim Garrison’s

microscope later on, but Ferrie died before he could testify. Garrison claimed that Ferrie was one of the most important people in history, but that might have been hyperbole. He was certainly one of the strangest.

One of the intriguing aspects of the Ferrie case to the author—and to very few others—was his membership in a church and his status as a bishop. This rang alarm bells, since the author himself has direct and personal experience of the church to which Ferrie was admitted and in which he was consecrated.

This church is referred to in the journalistic accounts of the assassination by all sorts of names, such as the Old Catholic Church or the Holy Apostolic Church, etc., etc., but in testimony obtained by the FBI it is clear that David Ferrie was a bishop in the American Orthodox Catholic Church, and therein lies a tale.

The American Orthodox Catholic Church was founded by Walter (Vladimir) Propheta, a priest with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church whose father was also a priest. (In Eastern Orthodox churches, priests are allowed to be married and raise families, provided they are married before they are ordained; married men are not, however, allowed to become bishops.) Walter Propheta was a sincere and dedicated anti-Communist, as were most Ukrainians who lived in the United States during the time of the Soviet Union. Propheta had gone on television in its early days to promote a strong, anti-Communist message. He had arranged for a documentary to be made on the Katyn Forest Massacre, and had appeared with Dave Garroway to discuss the evils being perpetrated against Ukraine and other “Captive Nations” by the Communists. In fact, Propheta once showed the author a letter from Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey, promising Propheta that he would be the White House chaplain should Dewey win the election against Truman. According to Propheta, he was packing his suitcase to go to Washington when the news came that Truman had won.

As it happens in the churches, celebrity can be the kiss of death when it comes to advancement in the hierarchy. Propheta wanted to be consecrated bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but for some reason (canonical or otherwise) it didn’t happen. Upset, he broke away to form his own church, the American Orthodox Catholic Church, which would be an

Orthodox Church conducting its services in English (a rather novel idea at the time). The Church’s headquarters were on East 183rd Street in the Bronx, at the Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection, a former Protestant church with an interior covered in crayon-colored ikons, quite close to the Bronx Zoo and also comfortably near Arthur Avenue, a famed Italian neighborhood with great bakeries and restaurants.

The church, however, had very few—if any—parishioners. It did have, however, an embarrassingly large number of bishops. At the headquarters alone—in the period 1968-69 when the author was there frequently—there was Propheta himself, Bishop Leonard G. Hill and Bishop John Christian Chiasson as the regular staff. There were no priests, deacons, altar boys, or anyone else for that matter.

But there were American intelligence officers.

According to Propheta, there was one FBI agent and one CIA agent on the Church’s Board of Directors. This may have been simple boasting, but the author was introduced to both