P. 1
Robert Anton Wilson ~ selection of essays

Robert Anton Wilson ~ selection of essays

|Views: 60|Likes:
Published by M. Brenner

More info:

Published by: M. Brenner on Sep 06, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less




A Selection of Obscure Robert Anton Wilson Essays

From his essays in GettingIt.com and the Fortean Times. I was under the assumption that they would be somewhat dated. But as I reread the articles, it became clear that admirers who are unaware of them might in fact find them enjoyable. I’ve left the links in but not sure of they still work (via 10 Zen Monkeys, boing boing) More of RAW’s work can be found here http://tinyurl.com/kpxuyz and here

Coming Again The orgasmic release of the Apocalypse myth
by Robert Anton Wilson Published November 15, 1999 in Whoa! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! -- Chicken Little Back in the early 1980s, Vicki Weaver, a pious Christian lady, persuaded her husband Randy that the Bible proved that the final battle between Christ and Antichrist would take place in 1987, beginning with an attempted slaughter of the Christians by ZOG -- the Zionist Occupied Government in Washington, D.C. The two of them (and their children) logically moved to a high hill in Idaho -- Ruby Ridge -- where they planned to stage their own last fight for the Lord. Alas, 1987 passed, Vicki had to recalculate, and things were a bit fuzzy there for a while. But then the '90s came 'round, Randy sold a sawed-off shotgun to a government informer, and the Feds arrived to arrest him. Randy and Vicki thought they were facing the ZOG, the Feds thought they were dealing with lunatics, and the results were so bloody all around that Ruby Ridge remains controversial to this day. Sometimes, the Apocalypse can ruin your whole week. On the other hand, I have survived Doomsday so many times that it has begun to bore me. In the last three months alone, I have -- we all have -lived right on through three dates that leading eschatologists have authoritatively named as the Day of Reckoning (11 August, 11 September, and 7 November.).

I wonder why so many people have such a lascivious longing for the Apocalypse? It seems a far more popular fantasy game than Dungeons & Dragons, and, of course, it has all the thrills and chills of a slasher movie.

But there may be more here, just as there is to horror and catastrophe movies if you think about them. Neo-Freudians, and especially Reichians, suggest that our form of civilization stifles and constricts us so much that at times we all long to experience some orgasmic but catastrophic "explosion," like King Kong breaking his chains and wrecking New York, or even more like the masochist in bondage, according to Dr. Reich. This sudden release from the bondage-and-discipline of our jobs and our taxes -- actually called the Rapture by Fundamentalists -- seems ghoulishly attractive to Christians, New Agers, and others who believe in a "spirit" that will survive the general wreckage. In that case, the end of the world seems no worse than a visit to the dentist: You know you'll feel better afterwards. This sort of desire for Total Escape/Total Annihilation has always had its bards and visionaries. Christianity, for instance, started out as a typical Doomsday cult: Verily, I say unto you, there will be some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death until they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power. -- Mark 9:1 And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars... This generation shall not pass until all be fulfilled. -- Luke 21: 25,32 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven ... This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled. -- Matt 24: 30,34 Of course, when all the marks standing there and their whole generation did pass without the Apocalypse coming, these prophecies required reinterpretation. The second most common talent among Doomsayers -after their unparalleled ability to predict dates on which the world perversely does not end -- is their capacity to recalculate. But, then, theology is logic with deuces and one-eyed jacks wild. Among those not committed to the Rapture, prophecies of doom usually have another loophole: Only most of humanity will perish. In these scenarios, those with the Right Ideas will survive, although they will probably need to stockpile food, water, and guns in advance. Those with the Right Ideas are the ones who believe in the Prophet, of course. Thus there seems an element of sadism mixed in with the masochism of the Millennialist mentality: We will suffer only a little, these folks say, but the rest of you motherfuckers are really going to get the

works. Well, Freud himself pronounced that sadism and masochism always contain a bit of one another. Here's a brief list of some of the Doomsdays that had to be postponed:
• •

• • •

1141 CE -- Hildegard of Bingen predicted the world would end that year. It didn't. October 22, 1844 -- This was Doomsday, as calculated from the Bible by William Miller, who had previously goofed by announcing that it would occur in 1843. When the 1844 prophecy also failed, new calculations from the same texts gave birth to the Adventists, the Seventh-day Adventists and, later, the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Jehovah's Witnesses originally picked 1914 as the jackpot year. Some of them rejoiced in the bloody World War that began that year, as the palpable, visible, undeniable "beginning" of the end. But others calculated exact years for the end of the end: 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994, for instance. I survived all of them, and I guess you did, too, or you wouldn't be reading this. In 1957, a pastor named Mihran Ask chose April 23, 1957 as the Last Day; I remember that vividly because Paul Krassner claimed in the next issue of The Realist that the world had really ended that day and we just weren't paying attention. In 1986, Moses David of the Children of God predicted the battle of Armageddon would happen that year and Christ would return in 1993. In 1983, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh predicted the catastrophes would begin in 1984 and climax in 1999. The famous psychic Edgar Cayce predicted that Christ would return in 1998. Why haven't we heard from him? Maybe he's having trouble finding a place to rent. Another psychic, Criswell -- best remembered for his oratorical performances in Ed Wood's movies -- predicted August 18, 1999 as the end of time.

This is only a very, very small selection of failed end-times prophecy; if you are curious, you can find longer lists of Doomsdays here and here. So far, the batting average of all Doomsayers has stayed firm at 0.000. That, of course, will not stop this ever-popular guessing game. We survived the alleged three meteors of November 7, but we still have Y2K ahead of us; and if we survive that, well, the Weekly World News recently reported the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to be in the vicinity of Santa Fe, heading east. As long as people enjoy scaring themselves and scaring one another, horror movies will remain popular, and so will Doomsday. Pick a date -- any date -and you may become the leader of a new cult. You may even get as rich as Rajneesh or the Pope.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest

site @ www.rawilson.com. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal).

Reality Ain't What It Used To Be Thirty-five years after Bell's Theorem

by Robert Anton Wilson Published November 1, 1999 in Whoa! Bell's Theorem, a mathematical demonstration by physicist John Stewart Bell published in 1964, has become more popular than Tarot cards with New Agers, who think they understand it but generally don't. Meanwhile it remains controversial with physicists, some of whom think they understand it, while others frankly admit they find it as perplexing as a chimpanzee in a Beethoven string quartet. In my own (hazardous) attempt to translate Bell's math into the verbal forms in which we discuss what physics "means," Bell seems to prove that any two "particles" once in contact will continue to act as if connected no matter how far apart they move in "space" or "time" (or in space-time). You can see why New Agers like this: It sounds like it supports the old magick idea that if you get a hold of a hair from your enemy, anything you do to that hair will affect him. Unfortunately, things aren't that simple. Most physicists think a long series of experiments, especially those of Dr. Alain Aspect and others in the 1970s -- and again by Aspect in 1982 -- have settled the matter. Particles once in contact certainly seem "connected," or correlated, or at least to be dancing in the same ballet. But not all physicists have agreed. Some, the "AntiBellists," still publish criticisms of alleged defects in the experiments. These arguments are too technical to be summarized here, and only a small minority still cling to them, but this dissent needs to be mentioned since most New Agers don't know about it. You can find more about this here (and for general problems associated with Bell's Theorem click here). The most daring criticism of Bell comes from Dr. N. David Berman of Columbia, who believes he has refined the possible interpretations of Bell down to two: 1. non-locality ("total rapport") and 2. solipsism. We will explain non-locality below, but Dr. Berman finds it so absurd that he prefers solipsism. ("Is The Moon There When Nobody Looks?" Physics Today, April 1985. Berman says it isn't.) Among those who accept Bell's Theorem, Dr. David Bohm of the University of London offers three interpretations of what it means: "It may mean that everything in the universe is in a kind of total rapport, so that whatever happens is related to everything else (non-locality); or it may mean that there is some kind of information that can travel faster than the speed of

light; or it may mean that our concepts of space and time have to be modified in some way that we don't understand"(London Times, February 20, 1983).

Bohm's first model, "total rapport," also called non-locality, brings us very close -- very, very close -- to Oriental monism: "All is One," as in Vedanta, Buddhism, and Taoism. It also brings us within hailing distance of Jungian synchronicity, an idea that seems "occult" or worse to most scientists -- even if Wolfgang Pauli, a quantum heavyweight and Nobel laureate, once endorsed it. You can see why New Agers like this; it is argued with unction and plausibility in Fritjof Capra's The Tao of Physics. It means particles are correlated because everything is correlated. The strongest form of this non-local model is called super-determinism and means that everything is one thing, or at least one process. From the Big Bang to the last word of this sentence and beyond, nothing can be other than it is, since everything is part of a correlated whole. Nobody has openly endorsed this view but several (Stapp, Herbert et al.) have accused others, especially Capra, of unknowingly endorsing it. Bohm's second alternative, information faster-than-light, brings us into realms previously explored only in science fiction. Bell's particles may be correlated because they are parts of an FTL (faster than light) cosmic Internet. If I can send an FTL message to my grandpa, it might change my whole universe to the extent that I wouldn't be here at all (e.g., he might be so shocked that he wouldn't survive to reproduce.) This must either be rejected as impossible, or else lead to the "parallel universe" model. I'm here in this universe, but in the universe next door the message removed me, so I never sent it there. Dr. John Archibald Wheeler and Dr. Jack Sarfatti have offered even more radical offshoots of this notion. Dr. Wheeler has proposed that every atomic or sub-atomic experiment we perform changes every particle in the universe everywhichway in time, all the way back to the Big Bang. The universe is in constant creation, as in Sufism, but atomic physicists are its creators. Dr. Sarfatti is working on the theory of information-without-transportation and hopes to develop an FTL system which will indeed allow me to send an email (or its equivalent) to Julius Caesar with all the paradoxes that might result, producing multiple parallel universes. Dr. Bohm's third alternative, modification of our ideas of space and time, could lead us anywhere... including back to the Kantian notion that space and time do not exist, but are only human projections, like persistent optical illusions. (Some think Relativity already demonstrates that.) The particles are correlated because they never moved in space or time, because space and time are just "in our heads."

And there are other alternatives. David Harrison suggests that we may have to abandon Aristotelian logic, i.e., give up classifying things into only the two categories of "true and real" and "untrue and unreal." In between, in Aristotle's excluded middle, we may have the "maybe" proposed by von Neumann in 1933, the probabilistic logics (percentages/gambles) suggested by Korzybski, the four-valued logic of Rapoport (true, false, indeterminate and meaningless) or some system we haven't found yet. Others would rather give up "objectivity" -- the basic pre-Bell axiom that we can describe an external world apart from our experiments or meddlings. Some say this rejection of objectivity was always meant by the Copenhagen Interpretation (invented by Neils Bohr long before Bell appeared, c. 1926 in fact.) Generally, the Copenhagen view is stated as: We can only describe observer-observed interactions; we can never know anything about any hypothetical "observed" without an observer. Sounds like Zen to some, but others fear this is opening the door to Dr. Berman's solipsism and the moon that is only there when we look at it... Bell's Theorem "means a whole new ball game," physicist Saul Paul Sirag told the present author once. Unfortunately, as we have seen, nobody feels too sure about the rules of the new game. All we can say for sure is that "reality" ain't what it used to be. See also: Mutts Who Think
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest site @ www.rawilson.com. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal).

In Doubt We Trust Cults, religions, and BS in general

by Robert Anton Wilson Published November 29, 1999 in Whoa! Can we actually "know" the universe? My God, it's hard enough finding your way around in Chinatown. -- Woody Allen Last week, I happened to see two TV shows about "cults" -- "Scientology" and "Heaven's Gate" on A&E's Investigative Reports -- and they got me thinking. Each show had at least one galoot remarking that the line between "cult" and "religion" seems fuzzy at best, but each show also had a majority of

folks who were quite sure they could distinguish a "cult" from a "religion" by the institution's degree of "mind control" or "brainwashing." I think both groups were confused.

There are two clear-cut and empirical lines between a "cult" and a "religion": [a] membership (voters) and [b] bank account, [b] being a function of [a]. If a group has enough members to influence elections, it will also have a large bank account, and these two factors will guarantee that the politicians, the cops and the corporate media will treat it with respect, as a "religion." With few members and little money, the same group could be called a "cult" and treated accordingly, even to the extent of toasting, roasting and charbroiling, as in Waco. This line remains obvious and visible to all observers. The only problems arise when people try to draw a less "materialistic," more metaphysical distinction between one gang of True Believers and another. Materialistic questions can be answered, e.g., "Does that matchbox have any matches left in it?" Metaphysical questions about "mind control" or any other immeasurable "entity" or "essence" cannot be answered, and the best that can be said is that arguing about them has provided a certain amount of intellectual entertainment, or combat, for a few thousand years. At least for those who enjoy that kind of pastime. Sort of like chess, you know. I have no commitment to materialism as a philosophy that explains everything, since no correlation of words can ever do that, and a philosophy is never more than a correlation of words. But restricting myself to the "materialistic"/scientific method of asking questions that have definite experiential answers, I observe no difference in operation between "cults" and "religions." Catholic nuns and priests vowing celibacy seem no more or less weird than Heaven's Gate members who also make that choice. Mormon extraterrestrial cosmology seems as goofy as Scientology, etc. Religions and cults all use the same techniques of brain damage, or "mind control," i.e. they all instill BS -- Belief Systems. BS contradicts both science and ordinary "common sense." It contradicts science because it claims certitude and science can never achieve certitude: After all, science can only say, "This model -- or theory, or interpretation of the data -- fits more of the facts known at this date than any rival model." We can never know if the model will fit the facts that might come to light in the next millennium or even in the next week. But BS has an even more total incompatibility with what I loosely called "common sense." Except when we get dragged into a metaphysical, or ideological, argument, we all know damn well how fallible we are. We know that our sense impressions can mislead us, for instance. If we see somebody who looks like Joe across the street, we are aware that it may be Joe or it may be some ginkus who looks a lot like Joe. We examine him empirically

lest we classify him too quickly as Joe or not-Joe. We have learned that slow, tentative judgements are safer than rapid certitudes.

After all, the Earth looks flat. Worse yet, if ten witnesses at an accident are questioned, ten slightly different stories always emerge -- and sometimes the differences are huge, not slight. I have performed the following experiment in workshops for nearly 40 years now: Everybody in the class is asked to describe the hall they passed through to get to the classroom. I must have tried this several hundred times by now, and I have never encountered two people who agreed totally about what was or was not in the hall, the color of the walls, or any similar data. We do not walk through the "same" hall: we walk through a realitytunnel constructed by our imprinted, conditioned and learned brain circuits. The same experiment works with hearing, and other senses, as well as with vision and memory. Try it with a half-dozen friends. Let somebody with a watch say "Go!" and then all of you be silent and listen for one full minute -60 surprisingly long seconds. You will all hear some sounds nobody else hears and miss some sounds everybody else caught. Human brains are as individualized and unique as human fingerprints. We all live in different sensory universes, and nobody has a guarantee that his/her universe corresponds more exactly to the alleged "real universe" than anybody else's. But if our perceptions are somewhat uncertain, then all of our ideas, which are deductions or inferences from perception, must also remain somewhat uncertain. The late, great Dr. Timothy Leary used to put this in terms of a baseball metaphor: the best batters all had a lifetime batting average below .333. That means they missed more than two out of three times they swung. Now, maybe you are vain enough to think you are more than twice as good at philosophy as Ted Williams was at baseball, but even then you'd only have an average around .600. To assume an average of 1.000 is to assert that you are more than three times as smart with words as Babe Ruth was with baseballs -- rather a conceited view, nu? -- and yet that's what every Belief System (BS) claims. The function of religions and cults, including the political or ideological ones, is to short-circuit the normal "common sense" process of doubt, investigation, further doubt, further investigation, further doubt, etc. The person with BS knows the "right answer" at all times and knows it

immediately. This makes them very happy, and very annoying since most of their "right answers" don't make sense to the rest of us. Common sense and/or science require investigation and revision, etc. BS only requires a Rule Book -- sacred scripture, Das Kapital or whatever -- and a good memory.

People with "faith" represent mental health problem #1, because memorizing rule books cuts you off from sensory involvement with the existential world. It also creates the kind of intolerance that produces witch hunts, Inquisitions, purges, Holocausts etc. Belief Systems, "faith," certitudes of all sorts, result from deliberately forgetting the fallibility of human brains, especially the brains of those who wrote your particular rule book. Paradoxically, this leads to a rejection of the best functions of the brain -- namely, its ability to rethink, revise and correct itself. It also physically exhausts you, as Ezra Pound noted in Canto 85: Awareness restful & fake is fatiguing If the world seems to be full of stupid, crazy and half-asleep people, that is because it is still dominated by Belief Systems. Whether this BS operates under the label of religion or cult or Political Correctness, it shuts off all brain functions except memorization and represents the suicide of intelligence.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest site @ www.rawilson.com. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Norm

The Lumber Of The Beast Tracking the Antichrist

by Robert Anton Wilson Published October 11, 1999 in Whoa! Did you know that Bill Gates is the Antichrist? Well, you've probably suspected it, but some people have set out to prove it, using the timehonored methods of Theological Numerology -- which transcends ordinary logic because it's played with deuces, eights and one-eyed jacks wild, making for a livelier game. For instance, one Web site proves Bill's diabolism by converting Bill Gates III into the ASCII code used in computer science. Why not just "Bill Gates" since he seldom uses the III? Why not William Gates III? Well, you get the wrong results that way, see? That's the advantage of using wild cards.

In ASCII, Bill Gates III converts to the following: B=66, I=73, L=76, L=76, G=71, A=65, T=84, E=69, S=83, I=1, I=1, I=1. Add the numbers and the total is 666! Horrors!

If you're not convinced, try Bill's Microsoft Operating System, MS-DOS 6.21. Converted into ASCII code, the result is: 77 + 83 + 45 + 68 + 79 + 83 + 32 + 54 + 46 + 50 + 49 = 666, again. In fact, Bill seems to be the target of more Web sites identifying him as the Antichrist than any other candidate. One even gives you the lyrics to a song "Bill Gates Is the Antichrist," which makes an ideal sing-along for pot parties and other gatherings of the digerati elite. Bill still has rivals, though. In the Holy Writ -- where the word "Antichrist" only appears five times -- it has both singular and plural forms. I John 2:18 denounces many "Antichrists" who were already living then (nearly 2000 years ago...) and I John 2:22 defines the singular "Antichrist" collectively as "he who denies the Father and the Son," while I John 4:2-3 describes the "Antichrists" as those who deny Jesus, without mentioning the Father. Meanwhile, The Catholic Encyclopedia says "Antichrist" does not refer to one specific person or event. "Antichrists" in all these contexts simply means heretics; the reification of Antichrist(s) into one monstrous individual, identified with the Dragon and the Beast in Revelations, was a later, postBiblical creation. Among the first to be identified with the combined Antichrist/beast/dragon figure were, of course, Nero and Caligula, but that was only the beginning. Other historical figures who have been positively identified as "the" Antichrist included such notables as Martin Luther (by Catholic theologians), all the popes since the Reformation (by Protestant theologians) and, of course, Napoleon and Hitler (by unanimous acclaim). Well, they could all be the Antichrists, of course, if you use the term the way the apostle John used it. Among the fundamentalists, the Antichrist is always considered a specific individual appearing only in the last days of Earth. Recent candidates have included Aleister Crowley, Yasir Arafat, Prince Bernhard (founder of the Bilderbergers!), Henry Kissinger, Saddam Hussein, Mickey Mouse, Barney the Dinosaur, and even Ronald Reagan -- whose full name, Ronald Wilson Reagan, has six letters in each word, thus yielding 6-6-6. Incidentally, in the film Who's That Girl?, Madonna, when asked if she is the Antichrist, evades a direct answer. Nothing says Anti can't be an Auntie....

Leaning toward the pluralist view, some fundies have identified the Antichrist with freemasonry, computers per se, the Susan B. Anthony dollar and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Texx Marr, a leading demonologist, claims Anti-or-Auntie lives at Lucent Technologies at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York. "Lucent," of course, means Lucifer's Enterprise.

I kid you not: None of this is satire. All of the above persons, groups, cartoons, coins etc. have been accused either on Web sites, or in Robert Fuller's scholarly study of this obsession, Naming the Antichrist (Oxford, 1995). As J.R. "Bob" Dobbs observed, "You know how dumb the average guy is? Well, mathematically, by definition, half of them are even dumber than that." According to a 1992 poll by Time, 53 percent of our citizens expect both Christ and Anti to fight their final bout sometime in the year 2000. It sounds like a hell of a show; I wish I knew where to buy tickets. The Anti and/or Auntie and/or plurals now has his/her/their own Web site, Antichrist and Associates. They brag a lot about their control over the mass media and preach love and kindness. Now that sounds sinister, doesn't it? Oh, by the way, do you know the meaning of 2 x 4 x 666? That's the lumber of the Beast.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest site. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal).

Bugs Bunny And Other UFO Victims Reality isn't always consensual

by Robert Anton Wilson Published December 13, 1999 in Whoa! Although few people remember this, Bugs Bunny was the first UFO "abductee" in a 1952 cartoon called "Hasty Hare." The next case did not occur until nine years later, in 1961, when Betty and Barney Hill famously encountered the "greys" from Zeta Reticuli, who molested them sexually and otherwise, and were also wearing Nazi uniforms. At least, Barney Hill remembered the malign midgets as garbed in Nazi regalia; Betty, for some reason, never did recall that poignantly puzzling detail. Now, many millions have allegedly suffered the same sort of "extraterrestrial" sexual abuse, according to Abductees Anonymous, a

support group for survivors. Budd Hopkins has become rock star famous for helping people "remember" such experiences. And this is not just another New Age fad. Dr. John Mack, a distinguished scientist on the staff of the psychiatry department at Harvard University, has written two books on the subject. And Harvard, which once gave Dr. Timothy Leary the bum's rush for having weird ideas, allows Dr. Mack to remain on their staff, with all the prestige that bestows upon this eldritch and Lovecraftian topic.

I've met Dr. Mack, and he seems like a sane and sensible man. He frankly admits that he's not quite sure what kind of "reality" these experiences occur in, except that it sure ain't consensus reality. It's something more like the non-ordinary reality of Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan books, or of the mystics of all traditions -- or of Leary and his merry band of acid astronauts. Peculiarly, both law enforcement and mainstream science seem to have no interest in this matter at all. I find that startling. Imagine what would happen if "many millions" of U.S. citizens said they had been sexually assaulted by aliens from Mexico or Iraq, instead of aliens from Outer Space. Obviously, there would be no scientific taboo against investigating such cases, and Congress might even have declared war on the invaders by now. If the subjects claimed, as most of Dr. Mack's subjects do, that they now love their kidnappers and have received important ecological warnings from them, as well as learning from their extraterrestrial sermons about how wicked and wretched our society is, this would be considered evidence that they had been "brainwashed" as well as raped (think Stockholm Syndrome). The differences in scientific and political reactions to atrocities by human aliens and nonhuman aliens seem even more confusing than the rest of this mystery. Bill Cooper, who claims to be a former Naval Intelligence officer, alleges that he saw papers revealing a treaty between our government and the "greys," who are providing our military with advanced technology. The little bastards have broken the treaty, Cooper says, not only by meddling sexually and/or genetically with our citizens, but also by mutilating a lot of cattle. But our government can't stop them because of their superior weapons. The Outer Space monsters were also behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he says. Dr. Mack, on the other hand, isn't sure about the literalness of alien abductions. In his second book, Passport to the Cosmos (Crown) he no longer calls his subjects "abductees," but "experiencers," although he remains convinced that they experienced something and that the experience is real in some sense. Consider, in this context, the investigations of Dr. Corey Hammond of the University of Utah, former president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Hammond has had a lot of clients who, under hypnosis,

remember hideous incidents of Satanic rituals, infant sacrifice, sadomasochism, coprophilia and assorted horrors. Dr. Hammond believes that these cases, and the data he has unearthed on Satanic cults in general, prove that three distinct groups are working together -- Nazis, the CIA, and NASA -- who have been secretly and brutally programming American children for over 50 years to make them part of "a Satanic order that will rule the world."

Can we believe both Dr. Mack and Dr. Hammond at the same time, and accept that while extraterrestrials or even weirder nonhumans have been raping people and teaching ecology, another conspiracy is simultaneously torturing and reeducating children to make them Slaves of Satan? Or might we more economically assume that a lot of people have had a lot of nonordinary experiences -- psychedelic trips without drugs -- and we all tend to interpret these according to our own hopes and fears? Consider the model offered by Dr. Jacques Vallee, who has been investigating UFOs for more than 30 years. Dr. Vallee has suggested as one possible explanation a vast experiment in mind control and behavior modification by some Intelligence Agency (he doesn't try to guess which one). Could both Dr. Mack's cases and Dr. Hammond's cases represent persons who fell victim to this and retain only shattered and distorted memories of their ordeal? Considering what has already leaked about the CIA's MK-ULTRA research, this hypothesis does not seem altogether extravagant. Bill Cooper, the guy who says the greys were behind the JFK hit, has also considered a variation on Vallee's theory. He himself, Cooper says, may have been deceived by his superiors in Naval Intelligence. But in that case, he points out, the government (I no longer feel safe in calling it "our government") must be using the "grey mythology" as a cover-up to hide something else -- something even worse than selling us out to rapists from Reticuli. Frankly, I cannot accept either the blind faith of the True Believers or the dogmatic denials of the Establishment. Like Dr. Mack, I think the whole topic needs less sensationalism and more open-minded research. After all, the next person engulfed by this non-ordinary reality might be you or me.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest site @ www.rawilson.com. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal).

I Remember Satan 'Recovered memory,' demonology, and duck soup
by Robert Anton Wilson Published September 20, 1999 in Whoa! In 1997, a jury awarded $2.4 million in damages to one Nadine Cool, who had sued her former therapist, Dr. Kenneth Olson, for malpractice. He had convinced her, under hypnosis, that when she was a child her father had forced her to participate in Satanic rituals of human sacrifice. He also convinced her that she possessed no fewer than 126 alternate personalities, including angels, demons and even a duck. She had believed it all -including the duck -- until she confronted her father with these hideous memories and he dropped dead of a heart attack. Dr. Olson employed "Recovered Memory Therapy." This offshoot of psychoanalysis holds that most mental problems result from childhood traumas so unspeakably evil that we have blocked all memory of them, and they can only be "recovered" under hypnosis. The types of horror stories unearthed by this therapy usually involve incest, Satanic rituals or abduction by sex-monsters from Outer Space. Ducks are fairly rare. Many secular humanists hold that these B-movie scenarios are not "recovered" by hypnosis but created by it -- but such infidels are often so sunk in skepticism that they even deny the Virgin Birth and the Face on Mars. Besides, Recovered Memory Therapy has a Politically Correct pedigree: It was popularized by two outstanding Feminist philosophers, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, in their book The Courage to Heal (Harper & Row, 1988). And Satanic rituals were authenticated by Ms. Magazine. Doubting that Satanism exists in every nook and cranny of our republic, at this point, might easily get you convicted of Political Incorrectness. Even doubting the talking duck might get you in trouble at U.C. Santa Cruz. According to sociologist Jeffrey Victor in his book Satanic Panic (Open Court, Chicago, 1993) there were over 60 mob panics created by Satanic revelations in the years1982-92. And as my grampa used to say, "There's no smoke without fire." Right? The FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, which deals with serial killers, has even been drawn into the fray, and announced that they have never found any evidence to support the panic. This must mean, of course, that the FBI is part of the cover-up.

Why not? According to leading Recovered Memory expert Dr. Cory Hammond of the University of Utah, the CIA and NASA are both part of the international Satanic cabal, which originated in Nazi Germany. How could the FBI possibly be left out of such a juicy conspiracy?

Secular humanism and Political Incorrectness, however, are both still seducing millions, including some juries. About a month ago, another jury of infidels awarded $850,000 in damages to Joan Hess of Wasau, Wisconsin. She had sued her former therapist, Dr Juan Fernandez III, for persuading her under hypnosis that her father had sexually molested her as a child and forced her into a baby-killing cult, which (he convinced her) resulted in her developing 75 personalities. Like Nadine Cool, Ms. Hess no longer believes any of these memories. Dr. Fernandez was wearing a tie with a picture of Daffy Duck on it when he was convicted, according to an Associated Press report earlier this month. Maybe Daffy was also the talking duck in the Nadine Cool case? Or, worse yet, is it possible that Daffy Duck is the Devil? Keep an eye on your local media for further Feminist or Fundamentalist revelations. And never trust a duck.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest site. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal).

The Devil On The Chimney A tale of Lovecraftian horror and psycho-archeology
by Robert Anton Wilson Published December 27, 1999 in Whoa! Nine years ago in Burlington, North Carolina, a group of decent, Christian, hard-working folks who called themselves the Truth Tabernacle Church held a trial featuring the well-known elf Santa Claus as defendant. They charged Mr. Claus, represented in court by a stuffed dummy, with all sorts of high crimes and misdemeanors. They charged him with paganism. They charged him with perjury for claiming to be Saint Nicholas. They even charged him with encouraging child abuse by appearing in whiskey ads. Worse yet, they found him guilty on all counts, for basically being a jolly old elf -- i.e., a pagan god trying to steal Christmas from Christ. It wasn't the first time Mr. Claus got the boot from a Christian congregation. Pope John XXIII threw the suspiciously merry old clown out of the Roman

Catholic church back in the late 1960s. The Jehovah's Witnesses have always denounced Santa for his unsavory pagan past. (They also recognized Christmas trees as phallic symbols long before Freud.) Many fundamentalists believe that all pagan gods are basically one false god -- the same demon in different disguises -- and they think the disguise is thin in the case of this particular elf. It only takes a minor letter switch, they point out, to reveal Santa Claus as SATAN Claus.

I sort of think the fundies have it right for once. Santa not only has an unsavory pagan ancestry but a rather criminal family history all around. Let me Illuminize you... As Weston La Barre pointed out a long time ago in his classic Ghost Dance: The Origins of Religion, you can find remnants of a primordial bear-god from the bottom of South America up over North America and over the North Pole and down across most of Europe and Asia. This deity appears in cave paintings from southern France carbon-dated at 30,000 BC. You can find him and her (for this god is bisexual) disguised in Artemis and Arduina and King Arthur, all unmasked via canny detective work by folklorists -- and etymologists, who first spotted the bear-god when they identified the IndoEuropean root ard, meaning bear. You can track the bear-god in dwindling forms in a hundred fairy tales from all over Europe and Asia. And you can find the rituals of this still-living god among the indigenous tribes of both American continents. And Santa, like Peter Pan and the Green Man of the spring festivals, and the Court Jester -- and (in an odd way) Chaplin's beloved Little Tramp -- all have traits of the god that walks like a man and acts nasty sometimes and clownish sometimes and who was ritually killed and eaten by most of our ancestors in the Stone Age, who then became one with their god and thus also became (if the ritual worked) as brave as their god. See Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough for the gory details. And I swear the same god-bear tromps and shambles through every page of Joyce's masterpiece of psycho-archeology, Finnegans Wake. If you don't believe me, consult Adaline Glasheen's Third Census of 'Finnegans Wake.' Most folklorists recognize "the cannibal in the woods" as a humanized relic of the bear-god. The heroine, in 101 tales, meets him while on a mission of mercy. He generally sets the heroine to solve three riddles, and when she succeeds, instead of eating her he becomes her ally and helps her reach her goal. One variation on that became The Silence of the Lambs. Another became Little Red Riding Hood. What? Hannibal Lecter another of Santa's uncouth family? Yes, indeedy.

In some rustic parts of Europe and probably in Kansas, Santa retains traces of his carnivorous past. Children are told that if they are "good" all year, Santa will reward them, but if they are "bad" he will EAT THEM ALL UP. Yeah, the Boogie Man or Bogie or Pookah or Puck are all of somewhat ursine ancestry, although other animal-gods got mixed in sometimes. As Crazy Old Uncle Ezra wrote in Canto 113, "The gods have not returned. They have never left us."

Jung might state the case thusly: Gods, as archetypes of the genetic human under-soul (or "collective unconscious"), cannot be killed or banished; they always return with a new mask but the same symbolic meaning. Related example: Young ladies in ancient Greece were often seduced or raped by satyrs; in the Arab lands, we note a similar outbreak of randy djinn; it India, it was devas. In the Christian Dark Ages, it began happening to young men, too, especially to monks. They called the lascivious critter an incubus. Now it's happening all around us, and the molesters come from Outer Space. The sex-demon, like the Great Mother and the Shadow and our ursine hero, and the three brothers hunting the dragon (Recognize them in Jaws? Spot them doing their Three Stooges gig?) -- these archetypal forces always come back under new names. Sir Walter Scott called them "the crew that never rests." And the bear-god seems wakeful lately. He has appeared prominently in three recent bits of pop culture (the movies Legends of the Fall and The Edge as well asStephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon) and snuck into Modern Lit 101 not only via Joyce but also via Faulkner's great parable "The Bear." He also pops up to deliver the punch line in Norman Mailer's Why Are We in Vietnam? We will see more of him, methinks. Meanwhile, Santa, the Jester/Clown/Fertility God aspect of Father Bear, is doing quite well also, despite getting the bum's rush by some grim, uptight Christers. He has quite successfully stolen Xmas from X and brings pagan lust and pagan cheer to most of us, every year, just when we need it most, in the dead of winter. His beaming face appears everywhere and if we have a minor cultural war going on between those who wish to invoke him via alcohol and those who prefer their invocations per cannabis, we all share the pagan belief, at least for part of a week, that the best way to mark the solstice and the year's dying ashes is to form a loving circle and all get bombed together. As a pagan myself, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including Everything Is Under Control, an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest site @ www.rawilson.com. He also serves as CEO of CSICON (the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal).

The 23 Phenomenon
Robert Anton Wilson
With the release of movie The Number 23 earlier this year we paid tribute to the late, much lamented Robert Anton Wilson by reprinting this 1977 article from (you guessed it) Fortean Times 23... I first heard of the 23 enigma from William S Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, Nova Express, etc. According to Burroughs, he had known a certain Captain Clark, around 1960 in Tangier, who once bragged that he had been sailing 23 years without an accident. That very day, Clark’s ship had an accident that killed him and everybody else aboard. Furthermore, while Burroughs was thinking about this crude example of the irony of the gods that evening, a bulletin on the radio announced the crash of an airliner in Florida, USA. The pilot was another captain Clark and the flight was Flight 23. Burroughs began collecting odd 23s after this gruesome synchronicity, and after 1965 I also began collecting them. Many of my weird 23s were incorporated into the trilogy Illuminatus! which I wrote in collaboration with Robert J Shea in 1969–1971. I will mention only a few of them here, to give a flavour to those benighted souls who haven’t read Illuminatus! yet: In conception, Mom and Dad each contribute 23 chromosomes to the fœtus. DNA, the carrier of the genetic information, has bonding irregularities every 23rd Angstrom. Aleister Crowley, in his Cabalistic Dictionary, defines 23 as the number of “life” or “a thread”, hauntingly suggestive of the DNA lifescript. On the other hand, 23 has many links with termination: in telegraphers’ code, 23 means “bust” or “break the line”, and Hexagram 23 in I Ching means “breaking apart”. Sidney Carton is the 23rd man guillotined in the old stage productions of A Tale of Two Cities. (A few lexicographers believe this is the origin of the mysterious slang expression “23 Skiddoo!”.) Some people are clusters of bloody synchronicities in 23. Burroughs discovered that the bootlegger “Dutch Schultz” (real name: Arthur Flegenheimer) had Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll assassinated on 23rd Street in New York when Coll was 23 years old. Schultz himself was assassinated on 23 October. Looking further into the Dutch Schultz case, I found that Charlie Workman, the man convicted of shooting Schultz, served 23 years of a life sentence and was then paroled. Prof. Hans Seisel of the University of Chicago passed the following along to Arthur Koestler, who published it in The Challenge of Chance. Seisel’s grandparents had a 23 in their address, his mother had 23 both as a street

number and apartment number, Seisel himself once had 23 as both his home address and his law office address, etc. While visiting Monte Carlo, Seisel’s mother read a novel, Die Liebe der Jeannie Ney, in which the heroine wins a great deal by betting on 23 at roulette. Mother tried betting on 23 and it came up on the second try. Adolf Hitler was initiated into the Vril Society (which many consider a front for the Illuminati) in 1923. The Morgan Bank (which is regarded as the financial backer of the Illuminati by the John Birch Society) is at 23 Wall Street in Manhattan. When Illuminatus! was turned into a play, it premiered in Liverpool on 23 November (which is also Harpo Marx’s birthday). Ken Campbell, producer of Illuminatus!, later found, on page 223 of Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, a weird dream about Liverpool, which Campbell says describes the street intersection of the theatre where Illuminatus! opened (Jung, of course, was the first psychologist to study weird coincidences of this sort and to name them synchronicities). Campbell also claims that Hitler lived briefly in Liverpool when he was 23 years old, but I haven’t found the reference for that. Recently, I was invited to join an expedition to the Bermuda Triangle. I declined because of other commitments, but “the crew that never rests” (Sir Walter Scott’s name for the Intelligence – or idiocies – who keep pestering us with this kind of phenomenon) refused to let me off the hook that easily. A few days after the expedition left, I turned on the television and caught an advertisement for the new film, Airport 77. The advertisement began with an actor shouting “Flight 23 is down in the Bermuda Triangle!” A week later, Charles Berlitz, author of The Bermuda Triangle, claimed he had found a submerged pyramid “twice the size of the pyramids of Cheops” in the waters down there. You will find that monstrous edifice described in Illuminatus!, and it is specifically said to be “twice the size of the pyramid of Cheops” – but Shea and I thought we were writing fiction when we composed that passage in 1971. In 1977, Berlitz claims it is real. I now have almost as many weird 23s in my files as Fort once had records of rains of fish, and people are always sending me new ones. Euclid’s Geometry begins with 23 axioms. As soon as I became seriously intrigued by collecting weird 23s, one of my best friends died – on 23 December. My two oldest daughters were born on 23 August and 23 February respectively. According to Omar Garrison’s Tantra: The Yoga of Sex, in addition to the well-known 28-day female sex cycle, there is also a male sex cycle of 23 days.

Burroughs, who tends to look at the dark side of things, sees 23 chiefly as the death number. In this connection, it is interesting that the 23rd Psalm is standard reading at funerals.

Heathcote Williams, editor of The Fanatic, met Burroughs when he (Williams) was 23 years old and living at an address with a 23 in it. When Burroughs told him, gloomily, “23 is the death number”, Williams was impressed; but he was more impressed when he discovered for the first time that the building across the street from his house was a morgue. Bonnie and Clyde, the most popular bank-robbers of the 1930s, lived out most American underground myths quite consciously, and were shot to death by the Texas Rangers on 23 May, 1934. Their initials, B and C, have the Cabalistic values of 2–3. W, the 23rd letter of the English alphabet, pops up continually in these matters. The physicist who collaborated with Carl Jung on the theory of synchronicity was Wolfgang Pauli. William Burroughs first called the 23 mystery to my attention. Dutch Schultz’s assassin was Charlie Workman. Adam Weishaupt and / or George Washington, the two (or one) chief source of 18th-century Illuminism, also come to mind. Will Shakespeare was born and died on 23 April. (I have found some interesting 46s – 46 is 2 x 23 – but mostly regard them as irrelevant. Nonetheless, the 46th Psalm has a most peculiar structure. The 46th word from the beginning is shake and the 46th word from the end, counting back, is spear.) Through various leads, I have become increasingly interested in Sir Francis Bacon as a possibly ringleader of the 17th-century Illuminati (Some evidence for this can be found in Francis Yates’s excellent The Rosicrucian Enlightenment). Bacon, in accord with custom, was allowed to pick the day for his own elevation to knighthood by Elizabeth I. He picked 23 July. Dr John Lilly refers to “the crew that never rests” as Cosmic Coincidence Control Center and warns that they pay special attention to those who pay attention to them. I conclude this account with the most mind-boggling 23s to have intersected my own life. On 23 July 1973, I had the impression that I was being contacted by some sort of advanced intellect from the system of the double star Sirius. I have had odd psychic experiences of that sort for many years, and I always record them carefully, but refuse to take any of them literally, until or unless supporting evidence of an objective nature turns up. This particular experience, however, was especially staggering, both intellectually and emotionally, so I spent the rest of the day at the nearest large library researching Sirius. I found, among other things, that 23 July is very closely associated with that star.

On 23 July, ancient Egyptian priests began a series of rituals to Sirius, continuing until 8 September. Since Sirius is known as the “Dog Star”, being in the constellation Canis Major, the period 23 July – 8 September became known as “the dog days”. My psychic “Contact” experience continued, off and on, for nearly two years, until October 1974, after which I forcibly terminated it by sheer stubborn willpower (I was getting tired of wondering whether I was specially selected for a Great Mission of interstellar import, or was just going crazy). After two years of philosophic mulling on the subject (late 1974 – early 1976), I finally decided to tune in one more time to the Sirius–Earth transmissions, and try to produce something objective. On 23 July 1976, using a battery of yogic and shamanic techniques, I opened myself to another blast of Cosmic Wisdom and told the Transmitters that I wanted something objective this time around. The next week, Time magazine published a full-page review of Robert KG Temple’s The Sirius Mystery, which claims that contact between Earth and Sirius occurred around 4500 BC in the Near East. The 23 July festivals in Egypt were part of Temple’s evidence, but I was more amused and impressed by his middle initials, K.G., since Kallisti Gold is the brand of very expensive marijuana smoked by the hero of Illuminatus!. The same week as that issue of Time, i.e. still one week after my 23rd experiment, Rolling Stone published a full-page advertisement for a German Rock group called Ramses. One of the group was named Winifred, which is the name of one of the four German Rock musicians in Illuminatus!, and the advertisement included a large pyramid with an eye atop it, the symbol of the Illuminati. Coincidence? Synchronicity? Higher Intelligence? Higher Idiocy? Of course, the eye on the pyramid was a favourite symbol of Aleister Crowley, who called himself Epopt of the Illuminati, and subtitled his magazine, The Equinox, “A Review of Scientific Illuminism”. And 2/3 equals .66666666 etc. – Crowley’s magick number repeated endlessly. Readers of this piece might find it amusing to skim through The Magical Revival and Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, two books by Kenneth Grant, a former student of Crowley’s (and note the initials K.G. again!). You will find numerous references, cloudy and occult, linking Crowley in some unspecified way with Sirius. The actor who played Padre Pederastia in the National Theatre production of Illuminatus! informed me that he once met Crowley on a train. “Mere coincidence”, if you prefer. But the second night of the National Theatre run, the actors cajoled me into doing a walk-on as an extra in the Black Mass scene. And, dear brothers and sisters, that is how I found myself, stark naked, on the stage of the National Theatre, bawling Crowley’s slogan “Do

what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.

As a fortean, I am, of course, an ontological agnostic and I never believe anything literally. But I will never cease to wonder how much of this was programmed by Uncle Aleister before I was ever born, and I’m sure that last bit, my one moment on the stage of the National Theatre, was entirely Crowley’s work. If you look up Crowley’s Confessions, you’ll find that he began the study of magick in 1898, at the age of 23.

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->