I received an eBook copy of David Wilcock’s newest book, The Ascension Mysteries: Revealing the Cosmic Battle Between Good and Evil (Dutton, 2016), which sold more than 5,000 copies in its first week and became a bestseller on the Nielsen BookScan sales list. I believe it is a public service to provide a review of a book from a major publishing house that outsells most major nonfiction hardcover releases. Just so we’re clear: David Wilcock’s publisher is a division of Penguin Books, one of the largest publishers on Earth. Penguin is in bed with a vile, reprehensible snake-oil salesman who feeds his audience a diet of paranoid fear trussed up in the glittering garments of Elohim and is happy to lend his dubious credibility to the most loathsome Russian anti-American propaganda. Penguin should be ashamed of themselves, but so long as Wilcock can push 5,000 books a week, Penguin is happy to give him a platform to spread his message of fear, anger, and hate.
The contents of Wilcock’s book rather give the lie to the publisher’s claim on the copyright page that “Penguin is committed to publishing works of quality and integrity. In that spirit, we are proud to offer this book to our readers…”
But I am skipping to the end. Wilcock’s book is more than 500 pages long, so it will take a while to plow through its dense web of autobiography, conspiracy theory, and paranoia.
The book opens with Wilcock reminding the reader that he or she is likely in existential despair, weighed down with the burdens of climate change, political and social unrest, and the failures of traditional religion. He argues, however, that fringe science—specifically psychical research—can restore hope by opening up possibilities that modern society has closed off. “The candle flame of infinite potential is snuffed by the cold, hard wind of reality—as most now see it. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.” Wilcock says that he can teach the reader to make contact with “spiritual” beings, which are also space aliens, and this will counter the materialist narrative of evolution, which he says imagines millions of years of “spectacularly boring” lives.
This is only the first of many poorly considered opinions and outright lies.
Wilcock follows this by lying in claiming that Ancient Aliens is the History Channel’s “number 1” show. Nielsen ratings records show that it attracted only a fraction of the viewers of powerhouse shows like Vikings or The Curse of Oak Island or Pawn Stars. Ancient Aliens also routinely fails to win its Friday timeslot against competition from the Discovery Channel.
He then alleges that skeptics must be “confused” because they appeal to science as the “ultimate authority” but science believes that aliens are real. Wilcock seems to think that doubting the claims of ancient astronaut theorists that space aliens played an active role in human culture is the same as rejecting the possibility that space aliens could exist somewhere in the infinity of stars. Scientists have accepted the possibility of the “plurality of worlds” for three hundred years, with greater or lesser enthusiasm. Wilcock, however, wants to discredit science while simultaneously cherry-picking scientific data he likes. To that end, he argues for intelligent design of the whole cosmos, arguing that the universe is alive and aware based on quantum research he tells the reader to buy his other books to better understand. He is nothing if not an efficient salesman. The long and short of his argument is that he believes that human DNA is encoded into the quantum fabric of the universe and will emerge wherever there is water and electricity. Thus, the aliens (or, rather “40 percent”) are just like us.
Wilcock also plays on his readers’ paranoia from the opening pages, passing off government indifference and incompetence as evidence of forbidden truths: “Ask yourself this: Isn’t it strange that we had the technology to land on the Moon as early as 1969, and then we never went back? Isn’t it strange that the space shuttle program was completely discontinued, as if there was nothing out there worth seeing?” Ask yourself this, David: If they really wanted to keep it all secret, why bother telling the public we ever went there at all?
But Wilcock’s main thrust is that he, Wilcock, should really be given as much credit as Edward Snowden for exposing the “truth” about the government, and he’s mad that people “online” aren’t giving him all of the credit he believes he deserves, which has led him to withdraw from evaluating UFO whistleblowers’ stories:
My policy has never been to accuse anyone of making up stories. I try not to say anything about the suspected fakes one way or the other. I discovered a long time ago that this unleashes hordes of angry followers who will then do whatever it takes to try to destroy you and your reputation online. There are dozens of examples of people who pretend to be insiders, and then come out with “new information” a week or two after I release a little more of what I was told. Then all the emails come in from people who are excited about what they just heard, and they do not realize that I had already leaked that exact same information a week or two before.
Wilcock goes on to discuss how his “high ranking” sources have disclosed so much to him and him alone that no one else knows. This is where I find it strange. I have known “high ranking” people in my time, including very high level Executive branch and U.S. Senate staffers, and I once had a conversation with a Senate staffer with top level security clearance about space aliens. Now, sure, you can say that he lied to me when he said that people like Wilcock’s (possibly fictional) “insiders” are full of it, but what makes my “insider” less credible than Wilcock’s? It reminds me a bit of the paranoia that surrounded GMO vegetables and bovine growth hormone in the mid-1990s. It was a bit hard to consider them nefarious conspiracies when one of the developers of BGH was one my own (distant) relatives, and in my youth one of the scientists working on GMO vegetables was my neighbor. As a result, I was one of the first people to eat one kind of GMO vegetable they developed, and I lived to tell the tale. (Don’t tell anyone, though… I don’t think it had been approved at that point!) So, unless everyone has been lying to me throughout my whole life, for no clear purpose, it’s rather hard to envision such a vast, all-encompassing conspiracy. Corporate greed? Sure. Space aliens? Not so much.
Wilcock’s Manichean view is so close to science fiction cliché that I can’t resist quoting it in full. You’ll recognize in it elements reflective of August Derleth’s revision of the Cthulhu Mythos, elements of social class resentment designed to flatter the lower middle class reader, and more than a little hangover from Judeo-Christian moralizing by way of the New Age:
To begin with, we find out that there are good ETs and bad ETs, and they have been warring with one another in our solar system for hundreds of thousands of years. Both types of ETs are making direct contact with certain people on Earth who are receptive to the messages they have to share. The negative ETs are apt to contact those who already have great money and power, and will give them tools to further enhance their control. The positive ETs are far more apt to contact private individuals who are judged by the quality and virtue of their character—their forgiveness, acceptance, patience, and love.
You needn’t doubt, though, that Wilcock is literally borrowing from science fiction. He next asserts that both groups of aliens are “bound” but the Prime Directive “just like” the one from Star Trek! (Wilcock, like Helena Blavatsky before him, believes science fiction is secretly encoding hidden truths, which is convenient because he gets to steal shamelessly and pass off unoriginal borrowing as revelation.)
Replaces “good ETs” with “angels” and “bad ETs” with demons and you have Christianity’s view of supernatural intervention from Jesus down to the advent of the so-called Prosperity Gospel. Heck, Wilcock even concedes that his ideas are “right there in the Bible” and that the “bad ETs” are actually an “embodiment of pure evil.” They are, in other words, indistinguishable from Christian demons except in the name Wilcock profitably attaches to them. He also endorses Jesus as the way and the truth (a “master” of evolution!), but renders him scientific by making the Second Coming into a giant solar flare of unidentified energy that will purify the Earth at a spiritual level.
This effort to dress up borrowed stories in the clothes of science makes it all the more bizarre that Wilcock spends so much time trying to defend religion against science, arguing that scientists are arrogant and wrong. He cites those scientists who doubted that heavier than air flight was possible as proof that scientists are too dogmatic to understand reality, neglecting to note that the opinion was never universal and none who held it doubted the evidence of their own eyes to the contrary after 1903.
And that, sadly, was only Chapter 1.
Wilcock’s style is both vapid and dense at the same time, saying nothing but using an enormous number of words and larding them with non-sequiturs and half-baked references to real and imagined facts to do so. I don’t know how I’ll make it through 450 more pages of it. But I will give it one more chapter today.
The second chapter makes plain whom Wilcock thinks his audience is: people in their late middle age. It is devoted to the 1960s and discusses various references to Satan and the occult in the era’s pop culture. This material is not part of either of our living memories—Wilcock was born in 1973—but he speaks of it as though he expects his audience to have lived through and remembered the daily travails of the Rolling Stones and Charles Manson. This outburst of Satanism is, for Wilcock, proof that a Cabal of worshipers of Fallen Angels were making their power known, and he claims that more unnamed “insiders” told him that the Manson murders were staged to discredit hippies.
This all leads up to the most important event of the book, the glorious birth of David Wilcock at the height of the Watergate crisis, brought into this world to undo the Satanic horror of the 1960s and return humanity to the divine perfection of the 1950s. Yes, Wilcock presents his own birth as a sort of divinely ordained culmination of a cosmic battle fought on the streets of America and in the corridors of power.
During her pregnancy, my mother had dreams and visions telling her the baby she was carrying would be a spiritual leader, and that she should raise him as if that was what he would become. She withheld this information from me until the late 2000s, and felt that unless I was humble enough to hear it without getting an ego, she would take it to the grave.
Unfortunately, Wilcock’s mother was wrong, and her egomaniacal son has taken for himself the mantle of prophet. He claims that even as a child, he would cry at the sound of the Watergate hearings, indicating his close connection to world-historical events. He claims that he only cried when Nixon hearings were audible, and never any other time, not even when he needed his diaper changed. Perhaps Wilcock’s mother is a liar, or perhaps Wilcock is, or perhaps baby David just didn’t like the gruff sounds of angry congressmen. My cat does not like the sound of David Wilcock and leaves the room during Ancient Aliens, but that does not make him a messenger of God.
Whatever the case, this second chapter confirmed Wilcock’s breathtaking audacity, and I can only speculate what made Penguin “proud” to publish this false prophet, except for the profit involved.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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