On Thursday, I discussed a recent article by Robbie Graham which criticized musician and ufologist Tom DeLonge for teasing UFO disclosure while simultaneously launching a for-profit multimedia company to profit from what DeLonge promises will be years of teasing, through fiction, nonfiction, music, and collectible merchandise, on behalf of ten high ranking government and military officials who have revealed the alleged truth about UFOs to DeLonge. The newest major release from DeLonge’s project is a novel written with Shakespeare scholar A. J. Hartley. Graham’s article has set off an interesting conversation among ufologists and other fringe types, many of whom are debating the relative merits of DeLonge’s and Graham’s positions. This has produced an absurdity that both made me a little angry and also showed the small and increasingly homogenous world of the fringe.
Playwright and fringe writer Ryan Sprague released a new book on UFOs this week, to the support and endorsement of fringe figures like Micah Hanks, which he parlayed into an appearance on Mysteries at the Museum, and in promoting himself this week he linked to Graham’s article on Facebook. This, in turn, led to occultist Peter Levenda chiming in in response to Graham’s article on Sprague’s Facebook page early this morning:
My Afterword to the A.J. Hartley novel -- Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows -- sets out a lot of what this project is about and how we are going about it. I understand the skepticism, and the hesitation of Robbie Graham to take Tom's project at face value, but as someone who has been working with Tom for the past 2 years I can say that the advisors are real and that they have been cooperative insofar as they are able. This is not a figment of Tom's imagination: Mr. Hartley and I have been in the middle of this since it started, and while we are quite aware of the possibility of disinformation and misinformation we are steering a steady course through the shoals! The first in the non-fiction book series will be available shortly, it boasts a foreword by Jacques Vallee, and now has a page on amazon. My interest in the subject was inspired by the political and historical angle at first, and not by the "experiencer" angle at all (I have never seen a UFO). For what that's worth!
There is so much packed into that paragraph that I just don’t know where to begin, so I guess I will begin with my own feelings about this. I can sum them up thus: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?
Jacques Vallée, famous for his claim about UFOs and ancient sightings, has proved himself to be unconcerned with facts, a blatant copyist of others’ bad ideas, and a multimillionaire cheapskate who wants his fans to pay him to fix the mistakes in his “truth” all while alleging that his “limited edition” books are designed to put his ideas before the scientific community! But that’s not the worst of it by far.
Peter Levenda stands at the opposite extreme from the very notion of truth and disclosure. Peter Levenda was intimately involved in the Simon Necronomicon hoax, and to this day he has refused to tell the truth about it. Levenda is frequently identified as the true author of the fake book, which recycled early translations of Mesopotamian texts and pretended they were H. P. Lovecraft’s notorious grimoire. Levenda has denied publicly and also to me personally that he is the alleged Greek Orthodox monk “Simon” who supposedly brought the text to light, but he holds the copyrights to many of “Simon’s” works and admits to being intimately involved in their propagation. He also claims that disclosing the identity of Simon would be “rude” and “counterproductive.” But beyond that, he also does not care whether the Necronomicon is a genuinely ancient text, so long as its readers believe in it. Consider his defense of the text in terms of argumentum ad populum:
The Necronomicon — no matter what you may think of it — stands on its own, and always has. Any book is always more important than its author, its publisher, its editor, book designer, printer, etc. In this case, the Necronomicon has withstood the test of time. It has been published in the ubiquitous Avon paperback in about one million copies since its first appearance as a mass market volume in 1980. Leather-bound first editions (published in 1977) go for hundreds of dollars each. William Burroughs called its publication “a landmark in the history of spiritual liberation.”
It sold a lot of copies, so therefore it is worthy. This is exactly the opposite of the very idea of “disclosure.” Why in the world would we trust “UFO disclosure”—whatever that is taken to mean—to a musician who wants to dribble it out for cash payments, a wealthy ancient astronaut theorist who can’t be bothered to check his own facts, and an occultist who is openly hostile to the idea of objective truth?
I ask these questions because UFOs and ancient astronauts might be fun and games to people like DeLonge, Vallée, and Levenda, who can easily afford to indulge in game-playing and ego-stroking, but the public that they pretend to serve doesn’t view this as a postmodern exercise in creating one’s own reality. When Vallée proclaims that there are thousands of years of interdimensional contact with aliens, this has consequences among his fans. When Levenda alleges that Esoteric Nazism is the driving force behind world politics and that Islamic jihad is part of a Neo-Nazi scheme, this has consequences among his readers. Men like these fuel the conspiracy theories that are driving our political discourse, and they directly provide aid and comfort to the conspiracy theorists who are working to undermine American democracy from every angle.
We see this just this week in the mirror-image obsession among ufologists, occultists, conspiracy theorists, and arch-conservatives with the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Ryan Sprague and other ufologists devoted time this week to parsing Podesta’s email exchanges with Tom DeLonge and other UFO obsessives in the hope of providing that Podesta, a longtime believer in ufology, is actively involved in a UFO conspiracy, or UFO disclosure, or whatever. Meanwhile, Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist linked to Donald Trump’s campaign CEO, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, is actively promoting a different conspiracy from these same emails, namely that Podesta is an adherent of Aleister Crowley’s occultism and participated in a “spirit cooking” dinner in which “blood, sperm and breast milk” are used to contact demons.
Never mind that this isn’t true, or even a ritual from Crowley; “Spirit Cooking” is a 1996 piece of performance art by the famous Marina Abramović. Wikileaks, which released the emails, actively editorialized that Podesta’s invitation to dinner with Abramović (which he declined) was proof of an occult ritual, and the Drudge Report declared that “PODESTA PRACTICES OCCULT MAGIC.” The Clinton campaign had to actively deny occult connections (as did Abramović herself), but right-wingers went bat-shit crazy foaming and fuming that Hillary Clinton is a Satan-worshiper or even a a demon. When you recall that Alex Jones had Nephilim-hunter Steve Quayle on his show recently to declare that Clinton was literally a demon, spawning an earlier round of Satanic panic, it becomes increasingly clear how UFOs, Giants, Satanism, Lovecraftian magic, and all the other elements of the fringe merge together into a single conspiratorial world-view, and one that has real-world consequences by appealing to the ignorance and the prejudices of voters in order to forward a specific agenda. Even though some of the fringe writers themselves are probably opposed to this agenda, their casual disregard of facts and evidence feeds into a paranoid world view that makes it possible for millions of Americans to imagine that Satan, demons, and demons pretending to be aliens are all in league for Hillary Clinton, while, as Nephilim-hunter L. A. Marzulli put it this week in urging his followers to vote for the Republican nominee to stand against the “New World Order” run by demons and liberals, “Trump may be the Cyrus that the Lord is raising up in these last days.”
11/5/2016 11:17:44 am
“Trump may be the Cyrus that the Lord is raising up in these last days.”
11/6/2016 12:27:28 pm
<cue Time Machine>
11/5/2016 11:35:30 am
>>> a “spirit cooking” dinner in which “blood, sperm and breast milk” are used to contact demons<<<
11/5/2016 06:45:01 pm
11/5/2016 01:08:38 pm
Ha. Every election year some party, usually be batty one, complains that the other guy must be the Devil or some other. Trump is too foolish and self centered to be a devil. Clinton is calculating and business like but is clearly a flawed human, not a devil. Trump; seems the worst of the two. This does not make them devils.
11/5/2016 01:20:53 pm
Right on cue. Good call, Dave.
11/5/2016 02:58:29 pm
Yup, it was just too easy
11/5/2016 03:07:44 pm
I'm half convinced that TM is an extremely oddly programmed chat-bot.
11/5/2016 05:15:52 pm
11/5/2016 05:24:59 pm
Onward Christian Soldiers....
11/12/2016 10:34:10 pm
Is chat-bot another word for attention-seeking douche?
11/5/2016 04:51:12 pm
The fringe is not just an American problem there has been a worldwide revival of superstition and counter factual beliefs. The economic uncertainty and the lack of a unified political direction from the West has temporarily made the ground fertile for these, the weeds, of the counter culture.
11/5/2016 06:14:57 pm
That's one rinky-dink fly-by-night conspiracy if no less than ten government/military officials start singing like canaries to every once-famous poser punk frontman who gets them on the horn.
11/5/2016 06:43:14 pm
The charge that the Clintons are Satanists isn't new. I was listening to a conservative radio show in the early 2000's, it may have been Michael Savage, when a caller claimed he was an ex-secret service agent, and that the Clintons had a secret Christmas tree in their private wing of the White House, decorated with Satanist symbols, drug paraphernalia, and sex toys. Of course the host ran with it.
11/5/2016 07:11:10 pm
I still prefer the one about Hillary's "Hit Squad" being funded out of Frickin' Latveria.
11/7/2016 08:50:40 pm
You are, I think, the only one pointing out the connections of popular fringe culture to the bizarre conspiracy mongers that are poisoning our politics. The ultra-right links of Jones, Breitbart, and the National Enquirer to the supposedly innocent "entertainment" that Vallee and Ancient Aliens and the History Channel spew (and profit hugely from) is really quite important. I used to enjoy this fringe stuff, as entertainment, back when you had to buy zines and the Fortean Times to access it. Then came the internet and multiplying cable stations and it was pushed to the evidently millions of educationally challenged who embraced it, and the grotesque politics hidden therein.
11/8/2016 01:44:49 am
Dude, telling me that Clinton and her team are Satanists and Crowleyites actually only encourages me to consider voting for them, even if it wasn't followers of an acolyte of Mammon saying so.
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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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