In the Women’s Weekly magazine in Australia, there is a profile of an amateur exorcist named Peter Whiffin, who provides both in-person and Skype exorcisms through prayer and blowing a shofar.
The exorcist offers all of the standard silliness we’ve come to expect from reactionaries, particularly a hatred of popular culture. He says that the Twilight series of novels “awakens” readers to the supernatural and invites demons in. He claims that rock musicians have sold their souls to Satan and that even the martial arts are suspect because they use “chi,” an imaginary energy that he not only thinks is real but thinks comes from demons. Ditto for yoga, which is even worse, because it has Hindu origins and therefore is satanic.
I bring this up mostly because of what Whiffin says in the interview, as the Women’s Weekly reporter recounts:
Peter draws our attention to a biblical reference to juniper. He points out this is the wood in broomsticks, thus linked to witches. He also tells of giants of the Bible, Nephilim (their fossilised remains, he claims, “are found all the time, but it’s hidden because there are forces that don’t want it known”) and hybrids born of fallen angels – mermaids, pan men and more.
So the anti-Smithsonian conspiracy theory to hide “giant” bones, invented by David Childress in the early 1990s, has now even seeped into the world of amateur exorcism through the pseudo-Christian Nephilim theorists and their paranoia. It’s fascinating to see it linked here to the kind of anger about black magic we see from more mainstream Christians, a sort of inverted version of the link between fringe history and horror and science fiction that animates ancient astronaut theories.
Speaking of ancient astronaut theories, you’ll remember that a few days ago I discussed a quasi-ancient astronaut theory I found in the pages of Uncle Scrooge comics. Well, it turns out I stumbled across another one, and it is a dead ringer for Zecharia Sitchin’s claims about the wandering planet Nibiru and the gold-obsessed aliens aboard it who were mistaken for gods.
The story, entitled “Mythic Mystery” and written and drawn by Carl Barks, appeared in the June-August 1961 edition of Uncle Scrooge (#34), a full fifteen years before Sitchin’s Twelfth Planet was published. In the story, a mysterious planet approaches the Earth, blackening the sky. When Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie get abducted by a flying chariot and taken to the strange planet, they discover that it is inhabited by alien beings who have the names of the Norse and Greek gods.
According to Hercules, during the planet’s first brush by Earth, Earthlings mistook the inhabitants of the wandering planet for gods.
The planet, Valhalla, is rule by Odin, who explains that it is a “wandering” planet, usually hidden behind the moon, but now approaching the Earth, as happened once before, in ancient times. The plot involves Valhalla slipping ever closer to the Earth because its magnetic field is decaying due to the aliens’ obsession with gold. Vulcan has a hammer that turns iron into gold. The rest of the story isn’t terribly important, but everything turns out well when Scrooge find a second hammer that turns gold back into iron.
While this story is clearly played for laughs, there is more than a little similarity to Sitchin’s version. Sitchin’s Nibiru is also a wandering planet that makes period approaches to the Earth over thousands of years. Its inhabitants were also mistaken for gods and bore the names of characters from mythology. Their planet also came to Earth due to gold—a need for it rather than too much of it—and the aliens were similarly obsessed with the precious metal, and in a weird shared detail both versions have problems with their atmospheres. They have rockets, not unlike the flying chariots in the story, and Earth people even meet the supposed gods by being taken up in a whirlwind, like Elijah, cited by Sitchin in his books. Barks’s aliens are a bit dim, frankly, and borrow their culture from Earth, and they don’t enslave humanity. To that end, they are the opposite of Sitchin’s nefarious slave-mongers.
The similarities are quite striking, but they shouldn’t be too surprising. The Uncle Scrooge wandering planet seems to have been modeled on Flash Gordon’s wandering planet Mongo, ruled by Ming the Merciless. When it was introduced in 1934, Mongo was called a “rogue” planet, and, yes, like Valhalla in Uncle Scrooge, it was about to crash into the Earth. It is filled with peoples and creatures derived from ancient and medieval myths and legends. It’s the closest precedent for Uncle Scrooge’s wandering planet, and given the use that Barks made of 1930s and 1940s pop culture in his 1950 and 1960s Disney stories, it’s almost certainly the inspiration. Indeed, in an interview many years later, in 1971, Barks noted his love of Flash Gordon: “I was really hooked on the Alex Raymond stuff--Flash Gordon.” In 1992, he also said that he used ideas from Flash Gordon for “the background or the atmosphere of the places the ducks had to go.”
One wonders whether Mongo stands behind Nibiru as well. I’m not sure there is any way to prove it, but given that Sitchin was a teenager at the time of Flash Gordon’s greatest popularity, at the time of the Buster Crabbe serials—which also inspired Star Wars around the same time as Twelfth Planet!--it seems possible that Sitchin was reliving his adolescent interests the way George Lucas was mining the past as well.
9/6/2016 11:58:13 am
This Whiffin guy is more dangerous than the alleged demons he claims to fight. Anyone who believes certain forms of entertainment and exercise can lead to demonic possession has some personal issues that should be addressed.
9/6/2016 12:06:16 pm
Jason: Why call nephilim theorists pseudo-Christians? They derive their truths from the Bible, and do not even deny the Trinity. Certainly, they often derive elements of their thoughts from outside the Bible, but that is not unknown. Even the Bible quotes from Enoch. To me, they are Christians. They may not be the type of Christian whom many other Christians are proud of, but then, I am not proud of Nichiren Buddhism, and I believe that Blavatsky is in the Avici Hell-Realm for her perversion of Buddhism.
9/6/2016 02:01:10 pm
Probably because they're fear-mongering opportunists who are more interested in lining their pockets and pushing their political agenda than following the teachings of Jesus.
9/6/2016 02:04:32 pm
>>teachings of Jesus<<
9/6/2016 02:16:14 pm
>>Helena Blavatsky a Buddhist<<
9/6/2016 05:25:21 pm
Jesus's teachings can be twisted however one wants, especially when you add in the Holy Ghost and other such matters. I think that a Christian is any person who holds the Christian Bible (in whatever version is most popular) as the best spiritual authority.
9/6/2016 05:34:15 pm
>>>Blavatsky was a con artist<<<
9/7/2016 10:15:13 am
For a brief introduction to Blavatsky, and her relation with Augaust LePlogeon through his widow Alice LePlongeon, see:
9/7/2016 11:48:36 am
Blavatsky and Theosophy is crashingly boring.
9/8/2016 11:36:12 am
HI TS -
9/6/2016 12:09:27 pm
So there is a current scientific inquiry that postulates that there may, in fact, be a "rogue planet", out in the Oort cloud, that (if it exists) most likely was thrown out there in the early days of the solar system formation by Jupiter and possibly Saturn. There is circumstantial evidence for its existence in perturbations of the orbits known Oort objects that have no other explanation at this time.
9/6/2016 02:58:21 pm
I finally read "The Twelfth Planet". I just happened to find it in a used book store selling for two dollars. My first thought was that Sitchin didn't know a thing about planetary physics. Comets may have long elliptical orbits, but they have less mass than a planet. It would seem to me that a planet would simply fly off into space when it reached the furthest portion of the orbit away from the sun. Also, if such a thing existed would it not have been tracked and identified with the advent of modern telescopes.
9/6/2016 06:59:05 pm
Meh,,,maybe we can't see it due to it being invisible, a Klingon cloaking device, the bending of light similar to black holes or the Smithsonians put up camouflage netting over the whole surface. When one makes up crap as they go along anything is possible.
9/6/2016 10:49:09 pm
9/7/2016 10:20:17 am
Hi Clete -
9/7/2016 08:24:01 am
Tribbles are cute!
9/7/2016 03:02:46 pm
"Peter draws our attention to a biblical reference to juniper. He points out this is the wood in broomsticks, thus linked to witches."
9/7/2016 06:34:58 pm
"In 1992, he [Barks] also said that he used ideas from Flash Gordon for “the background or the atmosphere of the places the ducks had to go.”"
9/7/2016 07:24:22 pm
" Fellini said " Flash Gordon...appeared instantly as a model of a hero insuperable, "
9/8/2016 09:58:41 am
"Well no, actually he didn't. Buck Rogers was there first even if the artwork wasn't as good."
9/8/2016 11:40:00 am
I wonder who owns the rights to Adam Strange and Strange Adventures.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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