President Hannibal Lector & the Thing That Ate the Constitution

President Hannibal Lector & the Thing That Ate the Constitution: An Interview with Robert Anton Wilson

By David Jay Brown

Robert Anton Wilson is a writer and philosopher with a huge cult following. He is the author of over 35 popular fiction and nonfiction books, dealing with such themes as quantum mechanics, the future evolution of the human species, weird unexplained phenomena, conspiracy theories, synchronicity, the occult, altered states of consciousness, and the nature of belief systems. His books explore the relationship between the brain and consciousness, and the link between science and mysticism, with wit, wisdom, and personal insights. Comedian George Carlin said, “I have learned more from Robert Anton Wilson than I have from any other source.”

Wilson is a very entertaining writer and both his fiction and nonfiction books can be as reality-shifting as a hearty swig of shamanic jungle juice. Wilson has an uncanny ability to lead his readers, unsuspectingly, into a state of mind where they are playfully tricked into “aha” experiences that cause them to question their most basic assumptions. The writers of many popular science fiction films and television shows have been influenced by Wilson’s writings, and they will sometimes make subtle cryptic references to his philosophy in their stories–often by making the number 23 significant in some way, which refers to Wilson’s strange synchronicities around that number.

Since 1962 Wilson has worked as an editor, futurist, novelist, playwright, poet, lecturer and stand-up comic. He earned his doctorate in psychology from Paideia University, and from 1966-1971 he was the Associate Editor of Playboy magazine. He is perhaps best known for the science fiction trilogy Illuminatus!, which he co-authored with Robert Shea in 1975. The Village Voice called the trilogy “the biggest sci-fi cult novel to come along since Dune.” His Schroedinger’s Cat trilogy was called “the most scientific of all science-fiction novels” by New Scientist magazine.

Wilson has also appeared as a stand-up comic at night clubs throughout the world, and he made a comedy record called Secrets of Power. His more academic lectures are best described as “stand-up philosophy”, and they are as funny and thought-provoking as his comedy routines. He also teaches seminars at New Age retreats, like the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and his Web site––is in the top two percent of the most visited sites on the internet. Rev. Ivan Stang, cofounder of The Church Of The Subgenius, described Wilson as “the Carl Sagan of religion, the Jerry Falwell of quantum physics, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of feminism and the James Joyce of swing-set assembly manuals.”

Wilson starred on a Punk Rock record called The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy, and his play Wilhelm Reich in Hell was performed at the Edmund Burke Theater in Dublin, Ireland. His novel Illuninatus! was adapted as a ten-hour science fiction rock epic and performed under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Great Britain’s National Theater (where he appeared briefly on stage in a special cameo role).   A documentary about Wilson’s life and work entitled “Maybe Logic” (by Lance Bauscher) was released on July 23, 2003. At the premiere of the film (at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz, California), the mayor of Santa Cruz (Emily Reilly) officially declared that, from that day forth, July 23rd would be “Robert Anton Wilson Day” in Santa Cruz.

Bob and I have been good friends for over fifteen years, and he has been an important source of inspiration for me. Bob is particularly fond of the writings of James Joyce and Ezra Pound, and I’ve learned a lot about Finnegan’s Wake, The Cantos, and his own Illuminatus! by going to his weekly discussion groups. Actually, it was Bob’s book Cosmic Trigger that not only inspired me to become a writer when I was a teenager, but it was also where I first discovered many of the fascinating individuals who would later become the subjects of my interview books. So it was a great thrill for me when Bob wrote the introduction to my first book, Brainchild. I interviewed Bob for my next book, Mavericks of the Mind in 1989, and then again for my new book Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse in 2003. To follow are some excerpts from the interview that had to be cut from the new book.

At 73 Bob remains as sharp and witty as ever. Bob has an uncanny ability to perceive things that few people notice, and he has an incredible memory. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of many different fields–ranging from literature and psychology, to quantum physics and neuroscience. He is unusually creative in his use of language, and he has his own unique style of humor. Despite many personal challenges over the years, Bob has always maintained a strongly upbeat perspective on life, and–regardless of the circumstances–he never fails to make me smile every time I see him. Everyone who meets him agrees; there’s something truly magical about Robert Anton Wilson.

David: What were you like as a child?

Bob: Stubborn, it seems; maybe pig-headed. My mother often told me how, when I had polio at age 4, I kept trying to get up and walk. She said that no matter how hard I fell, I’d stand and stagger again until I fell again. I attribute that to Irish genetics–after 800 years of British occupation, the quitters did not survive to reproduce, you know. But I still loathe pessimism, masochism and every kind of self-pity. I regard loser scripts as actively nefarious and, in high doses, toxic. Due to that Nietzschean attitude, and the Sister Kenny treatment, I did walk again and then became highly verbal.

A neighbor said, even before I started school, that I should become a lawyer because no judge could shut me up. I attribute that, not to genetics, but to the polio and polio-related early reading skills. Due to a year of total-to-partial paralysis,I missed a vital part of normal male socialization and never became any good at sports, but I devoured books like a glutton. The nuns at the Catholic school where my parents sent me did shut me up for a while. Catholic education employs both psychologocal and physical terrorism: threats of “Hell” and physical abuse. But they never stopped me from thinking–just from saying what I thought.

David: What inspired you to become a writer?

Bob: The magic of words. One of the biggest thrills of my childhood came at the end of King Kong when Carl Denham says. “No, it wasn’t the airplanes–it was Beauty that killed the Beast.” I didn’t know what the hell that meant, but it stirred something in me. In fact, it felt like what the nuns told me I would feel after eating Holy Eucharist–what we call a mystic experience–except that I didn’t get it from the eucharist but from a gigantic gorilla falling off a gigantic skyscraper and having that line as his epitaph. I wanted to learn to use words in a way that would open people’s minds to wonder and poetry the way those words had opened mine.

David: Why do you think politics on this planet is such a huge mess, and human beings are so violent towards one another?

Bob: Because most people have never heard of maybe logic and live in an either/or world, which applied to ethics and social policy becomes a good/evil world. Human vanity then determines that all the damned eejit always put themselves in the good position and anybody who disagrees in the evil. Look at any literary/politics journal–any journal of the nonscientific “intelligentsia”–and you’ll see that they all sound as medieval as George W. Bush or Osama bin Laden. Violence comes of self-righteousness and self-righteousness comes of right/wrong logic, without maybes.

David: Who is the TSOG, and why do we need to keep this “thing” from eating the U.S. Constitution?

Bob: I coined the term TSOG to mean “Tsarist Occupation Government” and to sound like a monster from a Lovecraft horror story. In a constitutional democracy, decisions concerning your health depend on your own judgement and that of your doctor. When such life-and-death matters get decided not by you and your doctor but by an allegedly omniscient Tsar, we have neither constitution nor democracy anymore but blatant and brutal Tsarist tyranny.   Look at America today: we not only have a Tsar but he has more spies and informers working for him than Russia had in the days of Konstantin Pobedonostsev, who served as an advisor to Alexander III and Nicholas II. Pobedonostsev managed such an army of snoops that they called him “the Grand Inquisitor.” Read Turgenev and Dosteovksy and you’ll see how much America in the early 21st century has become like Russia in the 19th.

David: Tell me about your decision to run for governor of California, and about the Guns and Dope Party.

Bob: After I had written several articles and a whole book on the TSOG, my friends kept asking me to run, and I kept refusing, until it seemed every other nutcase in California had gotten into the act, so I finally made the leap. The Guns and Dope Partyrepresents my attempt to unify the libertarian right and the libertarian left, not on a theoretical or ideological basis, such as Norman Mailer once tried, but just on the rule all horse-traders understand: give me something of value and I’ll give you something of value.

I want the dopers to fight for gun rights and the gun people to fight for medical and recreational rights, because together we make a majority in the Western states, and especially in California. Besides, I agree with the gun people about this government. If only the police and the army have guns, we have a de facto totalitarian state that can do anything it pleases. The War on Some Drugs seems like an overture or dress rehearsal for such a totally Tsarist nightmare.

A few decades ago, Henry Kissinger said, “Anybody in Washington who isn’t paranoid must be crazy.” Under Dubya, I feel that anybody outside Washington who doesn’t feel paranoid about what’s going on in Washington must be crazy. First they take our money by force to do with as they please [the accursed IRS] , then they want to disarm us, and they dare call this democracy? I don’t think Jefferson or Adams would agree. They’d call it tyranny, and so do I.

David: Why do you think Hannibal Lector would make a better president than George W. Bush?

Bob: I started the Lecter for President write-in campaign to make people think about style in politics. Look: Dr. Lecter doesn’t kill for money. He has some standards, however egregious. Dubya seems to have none at all. Besides, Hannibal has a decent education and a sense of humor. He frightens me much less than Dubya. If we must have a serial killer in the oval office, and most Americans east of the Rockies seem to think we must, I’d prefer one with some class and panache. Dubya has as much of those as the stuff you step in and scrape off on the curb, hoping it’s not as bad as it smells.

David: Can you tell me about the film “Maybe Logic”, and about your reaction to the mayor of Santa Cruz’s proclamation at the film’s premiere that July 23rd will officially be “Robert Anton Wilson Day” in Santa Cruz?

Bob: My ego grew three inches in 24 hours.

David: What are you currently working on?   Bob: I’m learning to walk for the third time. (I hope). Promoting the Guns and Dope Party. And I’m writing a book on the decentralization of power that I think Internet will create.

To find out more about Robert Anton Wilson visit his Web sites: &

David Jay Brown is the author of two New Falcon titles, Brainchild and Virus, and was a contributor to the New Falcon book Rebels and Devils: The Psychology of Liberation. David is also the co-author of the three volumes of interviews: Mavericks of the MindVoices from the Edge, and Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse, which will be published by St. Martin’s Press this Spring. To find out more about David’s work visit his award-winning web sites: and

TVI Times Interview

Author Robert Anton Wilson Speaks With The TVI Times

By Arthur Simoni

May 15, 2001

He has been called in his time a sage, a prophet, a psychologist, a guru, a futurist, a guerilla ontologist, an adept and a postmodernist to name many. One thing is for sure, he is a first class writer. With 32 books in print in fiction, philosophy, and psychology, he could never be called a one hit wonder.

But Robert Anton Wilson doesn’t like labels.

Ask him and he will tell you what he prefers,   Well, two books described me as a postmodernist. I liked that for a while, Wilson said.   But recently I decided that was a bit pretentious, so now I ‘m just calling myself a damned old crank. Besides, when you‘re my age you have a right to act like a damned old crank.

Born in New York, Wilson grew up in a Roman Catholic environment.

To quote James Joyce, I left the church at the age of 14 detesting it, Wilson said.   I went through a period of atheism until my late 20‘s. Then I became an agnostic.

Wilson said that there are different definitions of agnosticism.

To me, agnosticism means admitting that I don‘t know everything, Wilson said, laughing.   I mean, how the hell can I comprehend the universe to come to a definite conclusion about whether or not it was created or just happened. I ‘m inclined to think some sort of creative intelligence, but I don ‘t like to talk about because I don ‘t know anything about it. I avoid the word God scrupulously, as did George Washington.

Which brings the conversation to what Wilson is best known for, his books about various conspiracies.

Washington was a Freemason, Wilson said.   You know back in those days Freemasonry was very closely associated with rationalism and free thought. It was a secret society for the bourgeoisie. Now the bourgeoisie are running the country.

The big masons of the 18th century were people like Washington, maybe Jefferson, Franklin, Voltaire, Beethoven and Mozart. Who can you think of recently? J. Edgar Hoover, Ronald Reagan, can you see the change?  Wilson said, laughing again.

Because of his many books on conspiracies in general and the ticular, the question is always there, is he himself a Freemason?

No. Maybe. Well, I am an initiate of an order that considers itself freemasonic,  is all he will say on this day.

I‘ve written books on a couple of dozen subjects and every time I get interviewed I get most questions about that,  Wilson said.   I can‘t seem to get away from it.

You know sometimes I think they are all an elaborate joke, Wilson said referring to many of the conspiracy theories he writes about.   You know John Cocteau was the twenty- third Grand Master of the Priory of Sion and he was also one of the founders of the surrealist movement. I think around 1932, they were sitting around, smoking opium and Cocteau said to Dali and Picasso ‘Surrealism is running out of gas, we gotta do something bigger.  So they all took another toke of opium and Dali said I know, let ‘s start a conspiracy. ‘

But Wilson would much rather talk on other subjects. He will be in Albuquerque on November 2-7 for the International Conference on Altered States of Consciousness that will bring together over fifty of the top authors on the subject for lectures and workshops. Wilson said it was important to find ways to alter your consciousness.

From the time we are born every tribe, culture or society tries to imprint or condition us to see, feel, smell just like the rest of the tribe. I think it is very important to jar, shock or otherwise discombobulate your brain so your tribe doesn’t recognize you,  Wilson said.

He also thinks that you should question everything.

The more things you totally believe in, the less thinking you ‘re inclined to do,  Wilson said.   The less thinking you do, the stupider you get. Besides, there are no grounds for believing in anything absolutely. All you really have are high probabilities.

As far as being a writer, Wilson said that it was always what he wanted to do.

I don‘t know why I write. Maybe if I had better art supplies when I was a child I would have been a painter, Wilson said.

Before becoming a freelance writer, Wilson worked as an editor for Playboy Magazine in the 1960‘s, answering letters for the Playboy Forum, which he described as a platform for the libertarian viewpoints he and many of his contemporaries held at the time.

And I got paid for it, Wilson said.   I don‘t see any necessity for the government to decide what I eat, drink or smoke. It‘s none of the government‘s God damned business.

Working at Playboy was where he connected with Robert Shea to co-write his bestselling novel The Illuminatus Trilogy.

Illuminatus was so damned experimental most people gave up after the first ten pages. But what the hell, most people give up after the first page of Finnegans Wake, Wilson said.

Wilson listed his influences as Ezra Pound, James Joyce, William S. Burroughs, R. Buckminster Fuller, Aleister Crowley, Orson Welles and Timothy Leary.

Leary, with whom he co-wrote Neuropolitics, was one of his closest friends.

Personally, Tim could be a son-of-a-bitch, Wilson said.   But ninety percent of the time he was the funniest, most amiable human being I ever met. The last time I saw Tim, I said ‘Timothy, I‘ve met Bucky Fuller and I still think you ‘re the most intelligent person I‘ve ever met. I‘ve met George Carlin and I still think your the funniest person I‘ve ever met.  And Tim said to me, Robert, you‘re an excellent judge of character.  Those were the last words we ever exchanged.

As for what inspires him, Wilson said he considers himself lucky to have a lot of young friends. He said that the reason most older people don‘t have younger friends is that they are too entrenched in their belief systems.

I don‘t believe anything, so I am always learning something new, Wilson said.   But don‘t trust me. Don‘t believe anything that I say. I don ‘t know the truth, but I will tell you what I feel and think.

For those of us who have read some of his books, we are damn glad he didn‘t have better art supplies in his youth, or we may not have had the pleasure of reading what he thinks and feels.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

by Robert Anton Wilson

excerpt from Email to the Universe


‘Say the magic word and the duck will come down and pay you $100.’    — Marx

In the small and otherwise little-known town of Rennes-le-Chateau in Southern France, near the Spanish border, stands a decidedly odd cathedral which has become a center of controversy, conspiracy theories and occult speculation for over a century. Although it belongs to the Roman Catholic church, and looks superficially orthodox from a distance, you don’t even have to go inside to begin suspecting you have found the weirdest goddam church in the entire Christian world, because over the entrance stand the ominous words


If nameless awe and Lovecraftian fears of cosmic horror do not drive you back, you will proceed, and discover that this temple is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, the most poorly recorded yet ill-reputed of the disciples of Jesus.  In the Bible itself, she appears as a name and only a name. According to long-held legend, she was a common whore; and even after she reformed, she remains a bit of an embarrassment to the more puritanical Christians, i.e, most of them.

An “accursed” church named after the Monica Lewinsky of the New Testament does present a puzzle, but the real mindfucks appear inside, on the Stations of the Cross. One station seems to show shadowy figures smuggling Jesus’s body out of the grave in the middle of the night [as if to fake the Resurrection?] and another, even more unorthodox when you think it over, shows a Scotchman in kilts amid the crowd at the Crucifixion…  if to validate the  secret tradition of Scotch Rite freemasonry….?

Lest you think all this the work of the Monty Python crew, the Church of Mary Magdelene was built in the 1890s by the local parish priest, Father Beranger Sauniere, but where he got the money for the construction seems even more problematic than the eldritch edifice itself. Rennes-le-Chateau, a small town, could barely afford a priest, and Father Sauniere in his early days often survived on free meals from his congregation, yet he suddenly became rich. In addition to the church, he built a Tower, also dedicated to Mary Magdelene, and a bridge, and other public works, but nobody knows where he got the money.

Some legends soon grew in the village, claiming that Father Sauniere had found the lost treasure of the Knights Templar [who had a castle in the area] or that he had re-discovered the secret of alchemy. In L’Or de Rennes-le-Chateau [The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau], an odd bloke named Gerard de Sede claimed that Sauniere had discovered some old parchments containing a “priceless” historical and occult revelation.  He even reproduces the alleged parchments, which consist only of two pages from the New Testament, in Latin.

Three other researchers named Lincoln, Baigent and Leigh later discovered that some of the letters in these parchments do not follow the alignment of the rest of the text, but hang above it, like exponents in mathematics. These letters formed words, not in Latin but in French — but the words create a new mystery of their own. Slightly condensed, they say:






We shall return to this dazzling revelation, or surrealist hoax, but first we will examine Father Sauniere a bit more deeply. This simple country priest often visited Paris and evidently mingled with the occult lodges there, including some of those associated with Aleister Crowley (a hint?). Before he died, Sauniere made a final confession, as a good Catholic should; but the priest who heard the confession found it so terrible that he denied the last rites and refused to grant absolution. According to Catholic dogma, Sauniere immediately went to Hell — for an accursed church, a Scotchman at the Crucifixion, noon blue apples, and some aeon-old horror that allegedly makes sense of all this….

Wait. It gets even weirder.

Gerard de Sede, whom I have already dared to call an odd bloke, produced another book, La Race Fabuleuse [The Fabulous Race], which deals with Stenay, a town far from Rennes-le-Chatteau, which happens to have the head of Satan on its Coat of Arms. Although de Sede prominently mentions [but never does explain] this blasphemy, he does have a lot of interesting things to say. Frogs often fall out of the sky onto Stenay, an annoyance to orthodox science, which cannot explain them.

Charles Fort and the Fortean Society have catalogs of inexplicable frogfalls. And fishfalls. And some falls of strange metal objects. I hope that helps you, here in the murk.

The Merovingian kings, a dark age dynasty [c 400-700 c.e], had a falling frog on their Coat of Arms. [Less sinister than Satan, but more perplexing?] The church in Stenay is built so that on midsummer day you can stand at the altar, look through the arched doors and see Sirius rising behind the sun. And Dagobert II, a Merovingian king, was murdered by persons unknown in the Ardennes Forest on 23 December, 679 c.e.


            AND HE IS THERE DEAD…

Hey, maybe some of this makes sense?

De Sede finally offers us a revelation, or part of one, thanks to one Marquis de B. [All the best conspiracy books have sources who cannot be identified. Even Woodward and Bernstein had “Deep Throat.”] The Marquis, himself descended from Dagobert, tells de Sede that the spooky Merovingians resulted from matings between certain ancient Israelites of the Tribe of Benjamin and extraterrestrials from Sirius. They have lived in hiding and obscurity for many centuries, because a certain powerful conspiracy has tried to murder them all, just like they murdered poor old Dagobert. Although neither de Sede nor de B. name this conspiracy, the evidence seems arranged so as to point a strong finger of suspicion at the Vatican.

Although the Marquis promised further revelations, he never got to provide them. Like Dagobert II, he was murdered on 23 December [in 1972] in the Ardennes Forrest. Or so de Sede claims.

Another part of the puzzle emerges from a Swiss source — journalist Mattiew Paoli, who, in a book titled Les Dessous [Undercurrents] exposed what he considered a conspiracy to restore monarchy in France, under the guise of two groups called respectively [a] the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing and [b] the Priory of Sion. His evidence actually   seems to indicate that both groups act as fronts for something even older and more esoteric.

Both of these secretive organizations had links with the Grand Loge Alpina in Switzerland and the Committee for Public Safety, an office of the de Gaulle government in Paris.

The Grand Loge Alpina ranks as the richest freemasonic lodge in the world, since most of its members belong to the elite Swiss banking families that British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once claimed had more power than all the governments of Europe combined. He even called them “the Gnomes of Zurich.” Timothy Leary also used to say that the Cold War came to an end when the Americans and Russians discovered that the Swiss own the whole world already.

The Committee for Public Safety seemed to consist of only Andre Malraux, Nobel Laureate in literature, and Piere Plantard de Saint Clair, a fabulously rich occultist. Both men had served heroically in the Resistance, during the Nazi occupation, and had long personal friendships with de Gaulle. Yet Paoli’s evidence seemed to implicate them in a plot to replace de Gaulle’s democratic [if right-wing] government with a restored monarchy.

It does not compute, as Robby the Robot would say.

But dig this: Paoli reproduces the front page of one issue of Circuit, the official journal of the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing and/or the Priory of Sion: it shows a map of France with a Star of David superimposed on it and a conventional “flying saucer” hovering above.

What was it de Sede claimed about ancient Israelites who mated with extraterrestrials from Sirius? Hmmm..?

After publication of Les Dessous, Paoli went to Israel, where the government arrested him for spying, convicted him, and shot him dead by firing squad, he then quickly dying of natural causes as a result. Unless we want to let this stuff really weird us out, we better regard that as a mere coincidence. Even considering it a synchronicity might get us into deep and murky waters, especially if we’re a little bit stoned.

La Race Fabuleuse and Les Dessous both appeared in 1973. On 23 July that year, I had the first of a series of experiences which seemed like communications from Sirius, although, grown older and wiser, or at least more cautious, I now tend to attribute them to Too Much Acid. [See my Cosmic Trigger trilogy,] Early the next year, sci-fi supergenius Philip K. Dick had a set of similar experiences, which he at times attributed to communications from Sirius — although he also thought they might actually emanate from his dead friend, Bishop James Pike, or from a Gnostic disciple of Jesus named Thomas.

In 1976 appeared The Sirius Mystery by Robert K.G. Temple,  a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, who evidently had felt the Sirius Vibe in his  own academic way. His book argues that ancient intercourse between Earth and Sirius had occurred about 4500 years ago in the mid-East, but unlike de Sede he does not suggest sexual intercourse, merely the intellectual variety, and he locates the contact point in Sumeria, not Israel…. but still…

Things heated up in 1982 with the publication of Holy Blood, Holy Grail by the aforementioned Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh.  It had no references to Sirius, but among other things, it tried to prove that de Sede belonged to the Priory of Sion [the real brains behind the Committee to Protect the Rights and Privileges of Low-Cost Housing]; that the Priory had existed since the 14th Century and carried on the secret inner traditions of the Knights Templar, the warrior-monks systematically exterminated by the Inquisition 1300-1307 on charges of heresy; that Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair acts as the current Grand Master of the Priory; and that the Priory serves to protect the Merovingians and their descendents from a murderous vendetta by the Vatican [a thesis only hinted at by de Sede.]

Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh even obtained an interview with Priory Grand Master Plantard de Saint Clair, who evaded most of their questions, but did admit that Father Sauniere found a “treasure,” adding hermetically that the treasure was not material but “spiritual,” that it belonged to Israel, and that it would be forwarded thereto “at the proper time.” Well, that sure helps a lot, doesn’t it?

The real bombshell falls at the end, when the authors offer their own solution to these enigmas. Jesus, they claim, married Mary Magdelene and they had a son. After the Crucifixion, the widow and the widow’s son fled to France, and he became the progenitor of the Merovingians. They even produce a photo of the sepulture of the widow’s son, which is quite near Rennes-le-Chateau, and point out its strong resemblance to a similar tomb in the painting, Shepherds of Arcadia, by Nicholas Poussin.



This painting shows three shepherds looking in awe at the tomb, and the tomb bears the inscription, Et in Arcadia ego….[“And in Arcadia, I….”] Baigent et al point out that if you permutate the letters of this fragment, you can obtain I TEGO ARCANA DEI {“I conceal the secrets of God.”] I surmise with further ingenuity you could obtain “Noon Blue Apples” again, perhaps in Lithuanian.

DeSede had already mentioned this cryptic painting, in La Race Fabuleuse, hinting that it was linked to the Merovingians and Father Sauniere. He also claimed that it once belonged to Louis XVI, who kept it in an isolated room where visitors to the palace could not see it.

But to return to the late Redeemer and his alleged paramour. Ms. Magdalene, if one accepts them as the ancestors of the Merovingians, as Baigent et al would have it, and if one accepts the divinity of Jesus, as most Christians do, then the medieval doctrine of “the divine right of kings” suddenly makes sense. The Merovingians seem to have intermarried with every other royal family in Europe — royals only marry royals, you know — so almost every king and queen of Europe from the middle ages onward has carried some of the holy “blood” of Jesus by way of the holy grail of Mary’s uterus. If you translate “blood” as genes, this makes sense, sort of.

Maybe we should give up all the democratic heresy of the last 200 years and accept the genepool of Jesus and Mary Christ as our God-given rulers?

Well, not if you think de Sede has a more plausible argument for the extraterrestrial/Hebraic origin of the Merovingians.

Or you can skeptically regard all this as a complicated joke perpetrated by an odd consortium of aristocrats with too much time on their hands.

But then why did the Swiss bankers get involved? They definitely do not have too much time on their hands. And where the hell did Sauniere get his sudden wealth and why did he use part of it to build a church for an allegedly reformed alleged hooker?

Baigent and his associates also produce a heap of genealogical charts showing who, in the modern world, belongs to the “divine” Merovingian genetic pool, together with an alleged list of Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion. Some interesting names appear:

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. He’s related to the Merovingians and, although this does not appear in the Baigent genealogy, he founded the Bilderbergers, a mysterious group of rich white males who appear in dozens of conspiracy theories by both Leftwing and Rightwing opponents of the current power structure. Although never convicted of any real crime in any real court, the Bilderbergers do indeed look conspiratorial to a lot of writers not rich enough, white enough or male enough to gain admittance; and they act with extreme secrecy. According to Lawrence Wilmot, writers for both the London Economist and the French TV news admitted to him that they have orders not to mention the Bilderbergers, and other journalists responded with “ironic laughter” when asked why they never touched   on this subject.

[A few known American members of the Bilderbergers: George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, David Rockefeller.]

Dr. Otto von Hapsburg, heir of the longtime rulers   of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, descendent of the Merovingians and another Bilderberger. According to Baigent & Co., the von Hapsburg family financed Father Sauniere and the building of the Church of Mary Magdelene in the last century. According to Maynard Solomon’s very scholarly and non-conspiracy-oriented biography, Beethoven, the Emperor Joseph von Hapsburg, in the 18th Century, appeared as a hero, an “Enlightened Monarch” to the Bavarian Illuminati, who commissioned Ludwig to immortalize him in the Emperor Joseph Cantata, where he is hailed as “foe of darkness and bringer of light.” Dr. Otto himself still carries the mysterious title. King of Jerusalem, which always belongs to the eldest male von Hapsburg of every generation. [Because they are descended from King Jesus? Or from those Jewish Extraterrestrials?]

Jean Cocteau, 23rd Grand Master of the Priory of Sion and a major figure in modernist art, having done notable work in painting, film, drama, poetry, ballet etc. A Gay opium addict, related to much of the French aristocracy, Cocteau had friendships with Ezra Pound, Dali, Picasso, Orson Welles, and almost everybody important in High culture, and helped create the surrealist movement. That may explain the Noon Blue Apples — if Sauniere didn’t really find those parchments and Somebody forged them later…..

And other revelations and/or hoaxes have surfaced….

In The Messianic Legacy [1987] Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh spend half the book proving links between the Priory of Sion and modern banking, implicating banks in England, Canada and the U.S. as well as the Usual Suspects in Switzerland. The other half of the book concerns the equality of men and women in early Christianity, placing the Papist all-male priesthood as the first “heresy.”

Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair also appears again, for a brief interview, in which he announces that he has resigned as Grand Master of the Priory, refuses to name his successor, and drops dark hints that the whole megillar has secretly come under the control of the Knights of Malta, a rightwing Catholic organization often accused elsewhere of plotting a revival of Fascism.

An undated pamphlet, Scandals of the Priory of Sion, signed “Cornelius,” has circulated among conspiracy buffs for some time. It links the Priory to the Mafia and the P2 conspiracy in Italy.

You’ve heard of the Mafia. P2, better known in Europe than over here, grew out of the CIA’s Project Gladio, created by James Jesus Angleton, Chief of Counter Intelligence — a man who appears in more conspiracy theories than anyone since Adam Weishapt. Gladio, intended to influence Italian elections, had an Italian organizer named Licio Gelli, who had previously worked for both the Gestapo and the Communist Underground during World War II, convincing each side that he was betraying the other. As soon as Angleton hired Gelli, Gelli repeated his previous achievement and got on the payroll of the KGB, too, again convincing each side that he was really loyal to them and betraying the   other guys. Gelli also belonged to the Knights of Malta, by the way.

Once he had funding from both the CIA and the KGB, Gelli formed P2, a secret society recruited entirely from 30 members of the Grand Orient Lodge of Egyptian Freemasonry. P2 then became the “secret government” of Italy, infiltrating over 900 members into the official government, laundering drug money through the Vatican Bank and Banco Ambrosiano, and assassinating everybody who seriously pissed them off. Muders charged to P2 include many left-wing labor leaders; Prime Minister Aldo Moro; Mino Pecorelli [the first journalist to expose their machinations], Roberto Calvi [president of Banco Ambrosiano, who after being indicted, seemed inclined to turn state witness]; Michele “The Shark” Sindona [president of Franklin National Bank, who also seemed inclined to turn informer after being convicted of murdering a bank examiner]; and, probably, the previous Pope. Calvi and Sindona also belonged to the Knights of Malta — and so does Dr. Otto von Hapsburg [see above.]

According to “Cornelius,” P2 was a tool, a front, for the Priory of Sion; James Jesus Angleton only thought he ran the show from CIA headquarters in Langtry. [However, according to Larry Gurwin of theInstitutional Investor, Italian investigators believe the real control came from a still-unidentified Puppet Master in Monte Carlo.] Corenlius also claims the Priory of Sion murdered Giorgio Ambrosoli, the bank examiner whose death the courts had blamed on Michele “The Shark” Sindona of P2; and that Cardinal Jean Danielou also belonged to the Priory.

Cardinal Danielou had literary friendships with Jean Cocteau, of the Priory of Sion, and Nobel laureate Andre Malroux of de Gaullle’s Committee for Safety and the esoteric Committee for the Rights and Privileges of Low Cost Housing and/or the Priory of Sion.  The Cardinal himself died, somewhat oddly, in the apartment of a strip-tease dancer, in 1974.

In 1985 David Wood produced GENISIS — not a misprint, but a Joycean pun, [Gen-ISIS — get it?] Based on the English science, or art, or group madness, called ley hunting, this book seeks a mystic secret in the geograpical arrangements of the sites important in the Priory/Magdelene mystery. You do this by connecting all the key points with straight lines, and if nothing significant emerges, you may try curved lines if they are arcs of a circle. If that doesn’t work, try a smaller map and a thicker pencil. Using the right map and pencil, plus a few circles, Wood emerges with a design he calls the Vagina of Nuit.

Although it doesn’t look like any human vagina I ever saw outside of a Picasso painting, the Vagina of Nuit does yield some interesting geometrical proportions.– numbers significant in mystic tradition. From these, Wood deduces that Mary Magdelene never existed as a person; she is the Egyptian sky-goddess Nuit in disguise. Furthermore, the Merovingians came from Atlantis, not the stars, but the whole human race was genetically engineered by a group of extraterrestrial scientists from Sirius.

knew that Sirius would creep back into the story eventually.

Wood also asserts that members of the Priory of Sion must all amputate their penises to obtain initiation, as a sacrifice to Nuit, or Isis, or [if we must use current mythology] Mary Magdalene.

Sounds less attractive even than Heaven’s Gate, which only wanted you to cut off your balls.

But, at this point, I cannot resist inserting the fact that several quite intelligent scientists have offered evolutionary theories as far out as Wood’s. Sir Francis Crick, Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, has long argued that the DNA contains too much information to have happened by means of any finite series of “lucky accidents.” Since the word “God” remains taboo in scientific circles, Crick claims the designer of DNA, and hence of all life on Earth, must be an advanced extraterrestrial race. Similar ideas have come forth from the distinguished astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, and from Dr. Timothy Leary, among others.

Inside the “Men’s Club”: Secrets of the Patriarchy, by “Hawthorne Abendsen” [no date: A-Albionic Research, Ferndale, Michigan] offers yet another perspective on all this weirdity. The Priory of Sion, Abendsen claims, controls all the other all-male secret societies you ever heard of, and thus all of our civilization. It worships Al-Shaddai [Lord of Battles], the god who appeared to Abraham, and it has created all later, gentler images of divinity [e.g., the God of Love] as deceptions to fool the masses. You might say Hannibal Lecter is their High Priest.

Worship of Al-Shaddai consists of making wars, as a God of Battles would wish, and also of periodic animal and human sacrifices of the sort Fundamentalist Christians attribute to Satanists. Satan has nothing to do with it, according to Abendsen: blood sacrifice, in or out of warfare, remains the central ritual of the Judaic-Christian-Moslem system, and anything else you’ve heard is just part of the cover-up, to conceal why our rulers do the murderous things they do.

Although this yarn sounds a lot like put-on or parody, Abendsen has a certain family resemblance to a great many serious thinkers of recent decades. Radical Feminists all consider our culture Patriarchal; Dr, Wilhelm Reich called it Authoritarian-Patriarchal; Dr James De Meo calls it Armored Patrist etc. The latest cuss word for it, logophallocentrist, contributed by the postmodernists, means that we have a social system based on belief in the special magic power of words and penises. Dr. Leonard Shlain, in The Alphabet versus the Goddess, blames it all on the invention of the alphabet, an argument that out-McLuhans McLuhan.

“Hawthorne Abendsen,” by the way, seems to have gotten borrowed or stolen from Phillip K. Dick, who used it as the name of the author of the book-within-the-book, in his sci-fi classic, The Man in the High Castle.

Yes: the same Phillip K. Dick who later decided he was receiving messages from Sirius…..

As the French themselves say, it must make one furiously to think and to jump up and down. And in Rennes-le-Chateau, the accursed church of Mary Magelene still stands, or lurks, still announcing its accursedness. A friend of mine, Fred Lehrman of Nomad University, recently visited the site and tells me he met an intrepid researcher there, who had discovered that one of the statues contained a sliding panel with a German newspaper from 1904 hidden inside. Since some of the words in the paper had underlining in pen, this investigator hopes to find a code revealing Everything.

I wish him luck; but I fear he will find something like “Stately plump Buck Mulligan has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim JFK Dallas 1963 midnight purple bananas…..”


(Submitted to rawilsonfans by Eric Wagner)


La Belle Dame sans Merci

La Belle Dame sans Merci

by Robert Anton Wilson

Excerpt from Email to the Universe

The four weirdest and scariest drug stories I know all involve belladonna, a chemical for which I now have the same sincere respect as I have for hungry tigers, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, IRS and Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

The first story I’ll tell comes from a young friend, then a 1960s drop-out hippie freak but now, 2001, a Ph.D. in sociology. He tried belladonna around 1965 under the impression that it had much the same effects as LSD. When he immediately went into toxic convulsions, friends rushed him to a hospital where the ER staff pumped out his stomach — probably saving his life, but a bit too late to save him from delirium, since the belladonna had already entered his blood stream.

When he returned to what seemed normal consciousness he found himself in a hospital bed, surrounded by people in other beds with different ailments.  Then a Beautiful Blonde Nurse with Great Big Hooters entered the ward, accompanied by an olde style New Orleans jazz band.

As my friend watched entranced, the nurse proceeded to perform a classic Strip Tease dance with plenty of tantalizing tease but eventual total nudity followed by even more bumps and grinds. The music seemed louder and raunchier than any jazz he had ever heard, and came to a wild Dionysian climax when the naked nurse crawled into bed with a delighted patient and proceeded to make love to him, loudly and frequently and more ways than a dozen porn stars.

My friend never once suspected that this might be a hallucination. Nor did it seem an unusually innovative medical procedure. You don’t ask philosophic or ontological questions during a belladonna journey the way you usually do on real psychedelics. He only began to wonder if any of that sex stuff really happened the following morning.

….and that’s this whole story. Belladonna erases a great deal of your memory of what you saw during the trip. He might have had dozens of other visions that night but all he ever remembered was the nurse from Mitchell Brothers Clinic for the Horrendously Horny. I guess I would have remembered her too.

The second, more perplexing yarn comes from another 1960s veteran, but I lost touch with him and have no idea how his life worked out. He told me he took the belladonna in his dorm room at the college he attended and then waited for psychedelic fireworks and transcendental experiences.

Nothing happened for a while.

Then his friend Joe entered the room and asked what he was doing. He told Joe about the belladonna and said he was waiting to feel an effect. Joe asked him something but he didn’t quite hear it.

Then his friend Joe entered the room and asked what he was doing. He told Joe about the belladonna and said he was waiting to feel an effect. Joe asked him something but he got distracted by having two Joes in the room. He tried to explain about the two Joes but then one of them vanished. He tried to tell Joe “Hey, you came in before you came in, ” but his tongue seemed unable to function and he thought he was merely grunting like a hog.

Then his friend Joe entered the room, and this time he got The Fear.  He fled the room and the dorm and hopped on his motorcycle to Get Away, speeding across the campus and down the nearest highway as fast as he could gun her.

He didn’t even own a motorcycle. I often wonder what the other people on campus and on the highway thought they saw when he went racing past them on his phantom bike….?

Medieval witches used belladonna in their brews, and some scholars think that’s why they believed they could fly through the sky on broomsticks. Modern witches — at least the ones I’ve known — prudently substitute the kinder, gentler cannabis.

The next morning my friend returned to “consensus reality” and found himself in a ditch several miles from campus. He had no bumps or bruises –and nobody else’s motorcycle either– but his right shoe and right sock had disappeared. He never did find them and never remembered anymore of that night either.

My longest yarn involves my own experience with belladonna, in 1962.  What can I say about why I did it? I hadn’t heard the above stories yet, I was young, I was a damned eejit, and the guy who gave it to me said it was “just like peyote.”

Let me explain that this happened on a farm in the deep woods.

A few minutes after I took the stuff — drank it as a tea, actually — my wife Arlen developed a severe case of fangs and quickly turned into a beautiful, sexy, red-headed vampire with malice in her eyes. I immediately rushed to the kitchen sink, stuck a finger down my throat and forced several painful fits of vomiting. When I could vomit no more I told her — she looked normal again for a moment: beautiful, sexy, red-headed but friendly, not vampirish — “This is a Bad Trip, but I’ll find my way back to you, I promise.”

Those were the last sane words I spoke for the next 12 hours.

I remember taking a long walk through a forest of magic green jewels with the Tin Woodsman of Oz. Later, the next day, it became clear that this was Jeff, a friend Arlen had phoned to help me through the Emergency. He was walking me around our cabin, thinking fresh air might help.

I remember some dwarfs in Nazi uniforms trying to shove me into a furnace literally “as hot as Hell.” I have never felt more terror in my life.

Blank space”: memory loss.

I remember thinking the worst was over and trying to tell Arlen and Jeff that some parts of it were quite good, really.  I was lighting one cigarette after another, chain-smoking I thought. Jeff and Arlen saw me striking the lighter repeatedly but I never did have a cigarette in my mouth.

I remember trying to explain something I had discovered Out There. Arlen wrote it down. The note said, “The literary critics will all have to be shot because of the Kennedy administration in Outer Space of the Nuremberg pickle that exploded.”

Not quite as good as the last words of Dutch Shultz, I’d say, but a bit better than what William James brought back from his nitrous oxide adventure: “Over all, there is a smell of fried onions.”

Around dawn, I had to go to the out-house, Jeff accompanied me to make sure I didn’t wander off into the Pink Dimension or get lost amid the buzzing and whistling things in the Realm of Thud.

I opened the out-house door and found Jeff already in there. I closed the door and told him, “I can’t go in. You’re already in there.”

He persuaded me reasonably that he wasn’t in there, but outside with me, so I opened the door again, found nobody inside and took a healthy crap.

I felt even closer to “normal” when I came out, but then I noticed King Kong peeking at me over the top of the trees. He seemed whimsical and unthreatening and when I looked again he turned into just another tree.

The next day I moved slowly back into the ordinary world, and by evening I felt well enough to go to a movie, Kurasawa’s The Seven Samurai. I enjoyed the first half, especially the innovative technique of alternating between black-and-white and color, but in the second half Toshiro Mifune’s nose started growing like Pinocchio’s and I knew I was hallucinating again, which vexed me a bit.

No more flashbacks occurred for about a month and then one day all the people in the supermarket turned into iguanas. That only lasted a few seconds, and it was the last of the trip. I never tried this nefarious chemical again, and I hope to gawd you won’t either.

My last story I heard from novelist William S. Burroughs, who bought some “morphine” once that some wiseacre had cut with belladonna. He never remembered anything of the experience, but a friend did: he said that at one point William walked to the window, opened it and stuck a leg out.

“What are you doing?” the friend asked.

“Going down for some cigarettes,” William replied. The friend grabbed him and dragged him back into the room, which was on the third floor.

“Bella donna,” by the way means beautiful lady in Italian. Go figure.


(submitted to by EWagner382)

The Persistence of False Memory

“The Persistence of False Memory” by Robert Anton Wilson, published in Wake Up Down There!: The Excluded Middle Anthology, by Greg Bishop, ed., 2000.   Submitted to by R. Michael Johnson (RMJon23).

Preposterous Perception has received almost as much publicity lately as the claim by Prof. Jesus Magdalena La Puta (University of Madrid) that, via computer enhancement, he positively identified the “face an Mars” as the late Moe Howard, or possibly Moe’s brother, Shemp. Nonetheless, despite some fair-minded academic debate, PP remains the area of science most beset by emotional, and often scandalously acrimonious, controversy-even more so than La Puta’s alleged Howard Head. The doctrine of PP holds, you see, that almost all of us see crazy and “unbelievable” things most of the time – almost all the time – even when we’re not an acid. Why don’t we remember this? Because we repress the memory in order to fit into a repressive society.

Many experts – or “pseudo-experts” as their critics call them – vehe­mently deny that PP exists at all. Other experts – or “pseudo-experts” as the other side prefers to say – claim that denying PP marks one as akin to those who deny the greenhouse effect or the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

In fact, the whale PP feud has opened a “can of worms” that begins to look more like a can of cobras. We face here the almost unthinkable question: who has the objectivity to distinguish Skepticism (in the scientific sense) from Denial (in the neurotic sense)? Or even from Denial (in the legal sense)?

Perhaps the problem began with Whitley Streiber. As professor H.H. Sheissenhasen (University of Heidelberg) has written,” Maybe somewhere out in space, on a galaxy far away, same especially perverted little aliens do exist. Maybe these vicious little buggers (I speak precisely) occasionally get their hands or tentacles an same especially nefarious drug, something combining the worst of PCP and the old ‘King Kong’ or ‘White Lightning’ home-brew distilled in the American Ozarks.

Maybe after these aliens have became totally “wasted” or “stoned out of their gourds” (as our students’ argot has it) one of them cries “Hey, fellas, let’s hop in the flying saucer and buzz over to Earth and have another go at same of that sweet Whitley Strieber ass.” And maybe they whiz across billions and billions of light years just to ram the poor man’s rectum with weird instruments one more time..

Maybe. Nonetheless, some doubts arise in any dispassionate contempla­tion of this scenario.

Dr. David Jacobs (Temple University, Philadelphia), on the other hand, insists that, after careful study of extraterrestrial sexual abuse, he believes that these people have indeed literally suffered alien rape, an experience so much more traumatic than ordinary rape that most victims block out the memory entirely-until Dr. Jacobs skillfully helps them recall it.

Dr. Richard Boylan, [see interview in chapter 6] meanwhile, continually circulates an exasperated letter warning that Dr. Jacobs lacks training in psychotherapy. Boylan also urges the American Psychological Association to “denounce” Jacobs as “untrained” and “unlicensed.” Dr. Jacobs, according to Boylan and other critics of his work, has his doctorate in history and thus has no more qualification to deal with borderline mental states than a Certified Public Accountant would have.

Curiously, when Jacobs appeared on the Joan Rivers TV show, whoever writes the subtitles attributed an M.D. to him. Did he acquire an M.D. some­time, in addition to his Ph.D. in history? If so, would that” qualify” him to claim more expertise than a mere historian in judging whether hypnotic visions belong in the category of the real or the hallucinatory?

Don’t expect me to answer such questions. Maybe “the Shadow knows,” but I’m as uncertain as Hamlet after he got home from studying philosophy at college and encountered what seemed to him a possible appearance of his father’s ghost.

Budd Hopkins, a chap who doesn’t even bother to claim psychothera­peutic training, supports Dr. Jacobs. But Budd claims to have hypnotically uncovered memories of extraterrestrial sexual molestations not just in 80 people, like Jacobs; but in “hundreds.” The experts (or pseudo-experts) on the other side, of course, claim that Hopkins did not exactly unearth these memo­ries, but implanted them. .

In the April/May 1993 Fortean Times – a  magazine devoted to free and op en discussion of the most heated, and fetid, disputes in science and/or “pseudo-science”-Dennis Stacy of MUFON notes that “early” (pre-­Hopkins) UFO abduction allegations lacked the sexual element that has entered the field since Hopkins started probing the unconscious of hypnotized subjects. But since Hopkins’ books got into print, and then got picked up on TV, Stacy indicates, it now seems impossible to find an “abductee” who doesn’t claim genital or rectal molestation.

Stacy implies that this evolution in the contents of memory should give us pause, and ambiguously concludes that abduction experiences do not take place “in real space and time.”

I do not feel confident that I understand what kind of space and time Stacy thinks the abductions do occur in.

Meanwhile, reports continue to multiply. One chap, David Huggins, even sells paintings of the numerous extraterrestrial females he has had sex with. They all posed nude for him. You can find one of Huggins’ paintings on the first page of the May 15th issue of Jim Moseley’s Saucer Smear. The ladies look a lot like Playmates of the Month from the neck down, but above the chin, they have that faceless, large-eyed look typical of interplanetary sex maniacs.

Incidentally, the same issue of Saucer Smear has an impassioned letter from a female victim of this cosmic invasion, one Christa Tilton, who writes (in part): “I was outraged by Dr. Richard Neal’s offer…of a $500 pay-off for absolute proof that women abductees are becoming pregnant and losing their fetuses after an abduction experience that many of them are unaware that they experienced…I would pay $500 to any doctor that could prove to me and all other female victims…that we were not abducted and artificially inseminated …” (Italics in the original letter.)

On the other hand, perhaps the real memory mystery began not with these Alien Abductors, but with the Mc Martin Pre-School Follies in Southern California.

As you may remember, that malign fiesta broke loose in 1983 when a woman in Manhattan Beach alleged that a Satanic child abuse cult had infiltrated that part of Southern California. The same woman later alleged that an AWOL Marine had sodomized her dog. This latter detail, and the fact that the woman received welfare as a paranoid schizophrenic, led the police to doubt her story originally, but mean­while the Satanic cult rumor had galvanized parents all over the area.

At the height of the excitement, over 100 teachers at nine schools, and the minister at a local Episcopal church, had all suffered accusations of child molesta­tion, Satanism, ritual human- and animal sacrifice, and playing rock records back­wards. Small (pre-school) children claimed they could remember seeing these things – after consultation with certain psychologists. The police and D.A. could not ignore all that, and eventually placed charges against seven out of the more than a hundred teachers (and one preacher) originally accused by rumor.

Nine schools closed, due to the legal expenses and the loss of funds because parents withdrew children. The Episcopal church also closed.

Eventually, the D.A.’s office decided to release four out of the seven they had originally arrested, citing lack of substantial evidence. Later, charges were dropped against one more. Finally, two out of the hundred alleged “Satanists” stood trial-a mother and her son. (Both came from the Mc Martin Pre-School, and that name got attached to the case thereafter.) The jury refused to convict either of them. The D. A. then brought the son to trial again. The second jury also refused to convict.

The case then more or less died, although in the last two years three of the accused successfully sued some of their accusers for libel and collected over $250,000.

To many, it seems that the most significant fact about this case consists in the “authentication” of the “memories” of the children involved as real memories, not hallucinations, by a group of (youngish) psychologists who have some­what better training than Mr. Hopkins or Dr. Jacobs. Kind of makes you wonder about the “experts” and “pseudo-experts”, doesn’t it?

Sociologist Jeffrey Victor of Jamestown Community College has written that at least 33 “rumor panics” similar to the McMartin case have occurred in 24 states in the last decade. The FBI Behavioral Science Unit (which deals with seria1 killers) says that it has investigated numerous “mass graves” where victims of Satanic sacrifice allegedly lie buried, and found no bodies in any of the “graves.” Not even a shin bone.

Of course, those who have a really fervent belief in the Satanic cult’s real existence in real space-time now believe “the FBI is in on the cover-up.” Why not? Those who believe in the UFO sodomites claim that the whole damned government has conspired together in that truly cosmic cover-up.

Memory seems a kind of silly-putty as one reads deeper in this literature. (Incidentally, the L.A.Times reported, on April 23, 1991 that Radical Feminists and Protestant Fundamentalists show greater belief in the alleged Satanic child molestation cult than the majority of citizens.)

All this led to the formation of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, funded by skeptical psychotherapists-and 3,700 families who had experienced some or all of the trauma of accusation, hatred, public disgrace, and (sometimes) actual arrest and trial when a therapist “helps” a patient “remember” these fiendish doings. Many of these families have passed lie detector tests, won acquit­tals in court, or later had the accusing “adult child” recant the accusation after consulting with a different therapist with a different orientation.

The FMFS attempts to educate the public about the simple fact that many “memories” – even (or some would say especially) those activated under hypnosis-do not always correspond with real events in real space-time. That is, “memories” can derive from hallucinations, from hypnotic suggestion, or even (as in one famous exper­iment) from simply hearing about an alleged event from many sources one trusts.

Dr. Jean Piaget, generally considered the world’s leading authority on developmental psychology, relates how he “remembered” an alleged (non­violent and non-sexual) event in his childhood all his life-until he learned that he had only heard about it from his parents, who heard it from a maid, who had invented it .to avoid admitting a minor malfeasance.

At this point, Preposterous Perception appeared in the literature, thanks to Professor Timothy F.X. Finnegan of Trinity College, Dublin. I should mention at once that Prof. Finnegan serves as president of CSICON -The Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal-and has developed, in several books, the system known as Patapsychology (not Parapsychology, although that error seems ubiquitous). Scholars trace Patapsychology to Alfred Jarry’s Pataphysics and Jacques Derrida’ Deconstructionism, but Prof. Finnegan has always insisted he got his basic inspiration from one Sean Murphy of Dalkey (a suburb on the southern coast of Dublin Bay). Murphy’s first fundamental finding (as Finnegan always called it) states succinctly, “I have never met a normal man or woman; I have never experienced an average day.”

Nothing else definitive appears on the record about this Sean Murphy of DaIkey, except a remark attributed to one Nora Dolan: “Sure, the only hard work that Murphy fellow ever did was picking himself up off the floor and getting back on the bar stool, once a night.”

As developed by Prof. Finnegan and his associates in CSICON, Murphy’s principle holds that the “normal” and “average” exist only in mathematics – i.e. “in pure fiction,” Finnegan always adds – and that daily life in ordinary space-time (Marx’s sensory-sensual reality) consists of nothing but enormities, aberrations, eccentricities, oddities, weirdities, anomalies, and a few occasional “approxima­tions to the normal.” In the last sentence of his Golden Hours Finnegan concludes: “The ‘normal’ labels that fictitious abstraction which nobody and no event ever exactly exemplifies.”

Finnegan’s work has won great acceptance among general Semanticists, surrealists, militant gays, sci-fi writers, libertarians, acid-heads, the Vertically Challenged Liberation Front (those we used to call midgets), and some really strange people, such as iguanaphiliacs, necrophiles, and lycanthromaniacs. On the other hand, Finnegan has become persona non grata with most academic philoso­phers, with the Fundamentalist Materialist wing of orthodox science and, espe­cially, with the religious of all sects.

The Finneganoid or Patapsychological “school” (which includes such writers as De Selby, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, S. Moon, Wildeblood and as a posthu­mous recruit, Foucault) holds that Preposterous Memories do not have any less “validity” than any other memories, since (in De Selby’s words), “All that we know derives from A) our own perceptions, which a thousand well-known experiments have proven fallible and uncertain, and from B) the instinct to gossip; sometimes called Public Opinion, which sociologists now consider equally unreliable.” (The “instinct to gossip” plays the same panchrestonal role in De Selby as the “will to power” in Nietzche, or “the id” in Freud.)

La Tourneur of the University of Paris has argued (Finnegan: Homme ou Dieu?) that the enigmatic Murphy played a larger role in Finnegan’s intellectual development than the mere statement of the First Fundamental Finding implies. Attempting a sketchy translation (I cannot capture La Tourneur’s crisp­ness), the French savant speculates:

“The more time the overly-analytical pedant Finnegan spent in the same pub with the unsophisticated ‘naive realist’ Murphy, and the more pints of Guinness they consumed, the easier it became for the philosopher to perceive what Murphy had discovered first: that nobody in Ireland looked like a normal Irishman, that no room in any house formed a precise 90° rectangle, that nobody’s life story made sense in any dramatic, novelistic, or even logical way and, most noteworthy, after leaving the pub, that every street contained myste­rious and vaguely inhuman shadows, especially after a 14-pint evening.”

In Finnegan’s own words (Archaeology of Cognition, p. 23), “A world where most men prefer sex with little children to sex with grown women, most allegedly Christian parents secretly engage in bloody Satanic rituals, and every third person has suffered anal, genital, and other harassments by demonic dwarfs from Outer Space makes just as much sense – and just as little sense – where the world is run by the ghost of a crucified Jew, George Bush had rational reasons (which nobody can now remember) for Bombing Iraq again two days before leaving the White House, and the barbaric, bloody-handed English Army still occupies six of Ireland’s 32 counties without Mr. Bush or any other American Policeman-of-the-World ever threatening to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

On the other hand, La Puta (of the Moe Howard computer enhancements) argues (La Estupidez de la Tourneur) that Finnegan had merely rediscovered the proto-existentialism of Edmund Husserl, which does not accord any superiority in “realness” to any kind of perception over any other kind of perception. The letter bomb sent to La Puta from Paris shortly after this has never been traced to La Tourneur, despite the scandalous polemics of Prof. Ferguson (Alabama Creation Science University and Four Square Tabernacle) – who also claims to have seen the Moe Howard head on Mars with his own computer “enhancement.”

Ferguson’s later writings, with their unsubstantiated attempts to link Finnegan with Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army, merely illustrate mindless madness, a strange cultish submission to the doctrines of La Puta and a Presbyterian inability to understand robust Irish humor. However, this does not mean we should naively accept de Selby’s counter-claims, attempting to find “sinister and signifi­cant” links between Ferguson, the late Clay Shaw, and the Bilderbergers.

Meanwhile, Prof. Finnegan continues to champion the Linda Napolitano case, on the grounds that “since this sounds on the surface like the most absurd UFO story of all, it has the greatest probability of proving true eventually.” Under hypnosis by the egregious Budd Hopkins, Ms. Napolitano remembered (or thought she “remembered”-as you will) ‘an abduction in which she got teleported or schlurped, out of her New York apartment, into a UFO, and then the Little Grey Bastards performed their usual molestations. She also remembered (or ‘remembered”) two CIA agents who later kidnapped her and attempted to drown her – part of the Cover Up, you know.

On the other hand, Jerome Clark, one of America’s leading UFO investiga­tors, lately sends out tons of mail, (or so it seems) denying that he ever endorsed the Napolitano case-although others claim to have documentary evidence that lark did endorse the whole Napolitano yarn less than a year ago. Clark now says that all this alleged documentation-circulated by rival UFO investigators – amounts to malicious libel perpetuated just to make him look like a fool.

I don’t know what it all means, but, like Ms. Tilton, I’ll gladly pay $500.00 to anybody who can prove that none of this weird shit ever happened, since I feel sure every bit of it did happen, although not necessarily in ordinary space-time.

A shocking photo, recently produced by Prof. Ferguson, shows Clark, Oliver Stone, La Tourneur, and Jim Moseley (editor of Saucer Smear) standing with G. Gordon Liddy on the Grassy Knoll as the Kennedy death car pulls near. Moseley holds a Confederate flag, La Tourneur appears to have some hood on his lead – whether Satanic black or Ku Klux white does not appear clearly, due to shadows – and Liddy, of course, has a Smoking Gun in his hand.

Almost all the “experts” have denounced this photo as an obvious scissors­-and-paste forgery. The one dissident voice belongs to Professor H.H. Hanfkopf, who in his book, The CIA: Pawn of the Interstellar Bankers attempts to demonstrate hat all the conspiracy theories of this century served only as misdirections to conceal the fact that paper money contains highly addictive drugs to make us Hopeless slaves of the Green Slime Entities of Algol.

That’s why you never feel you have enough money, Hanfkopf says, and continually need to increase the dose a little bit more than you could survive on last month. In reality, not in metaphor, the Green Stuff has addicted us.

As the more restrained Sheissenhosen would say, “Maybe.”


The Prophets Conference, 2000


Here is Wilson’s talk at the December 2000 Prophets Conference.   I appreciate Richard Metzger’s commentary on this appearance as I recall that Wilson was banned from appearing the next year due to the organizers taking offense at his swearing.   In fact, somebody once posted the rejection letter “they” sent him to the usenet group

Dear Bob,

As you will not be joining the Monterey and Santa Fe conferences as faculty please remove these events from your website.


“Shit, motherfucker! I want my fucking money, motherfucker!”

The opening lines of your web page are an example of why we have discontinued presenting your work. Even though you are quoting Spike Lee and leading to a significant point, we were set back by the above intro.

This has increasingly become the case at the conferences. What we feel to be your important insights are being lost to the audience when packaged in hard and harsh language. It has become increasingly clear that this is not your audience. The complaints have become too numerous. They are not hearing you.

Best regards, Robin


And then Kenn Thomas and RAW wrote in letters to Saucer Smear furthering their thoughts on the situation:

  • KENN THOMAS of Steamshovel Press  writes:

    “The Prophets Conference dropped Robert Anton Wilson as a speaker for using the ‘dirty’ words long ago liberated by the likes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. I was reminded of when Acharya S., great chronicler of the conspiracy known as Christianity, was kept off the dais at one well-known UFO conference in Nevada because her topic might have offended one of the other speakers. Then I thought of what Jerry Lucci wrote in the last issue of ‘Saucer Smear’, about the same people ranting on and on about the same things. Small wonder, considering the kind of decision making that apparently goes into these conferences. Too bad, since they should be places where free speech and new ideas reign. I called for Ram Dass to remove himself from the Prophets Conference in protest!”

  • And, the one & only ROBERT ANTON (“BOB”) WILSON writes:

    “Enclosed is background info on the Prophets and their excommunication of me from their Elite circle… which I have thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, I haven’t felt so flattered since Barnes & Noble removed my books from ‘New Age’ and placed them in ‘Philosophy’.”The androphagian joke at the end of my offensive essay (on the Net) refers, of course, to Swift’s demonstration, in ‘A Modest Proposal’, that those who can stomach imperialism should not gag at cannibalism.

    “Some of my fans have discussed staging a protest outside the ProfitsCon, but I don’t know if anything will come of that.

    “Keep the lasagna flying’.”

Journey to Erewhon

Journey to Erewhon

A Review Essay of
Passport to the Cosmos: 
Human Transformation and Alien Encounters

by John E. Mack, MD

Reviewed by
Robert Anton Wilson

from IONS Review #51, March – June 2000

John Mack’s new book on the UFO “abduction” experience probably will inspire as much furious opposition and denunciations as the collected works of Immanuel Velikovsky, Wilhelm Reich and Timothy Leary. Certainly, it contains more heresy than those three heresiarchs combined: sometimes it rivals L. Ron Hubbard and David Koresh. Turning page after page, I almost imagined I could hear the entire staff of CSICOP gnashing their teeth and growling.

Mack has modified his thesis—or his rhetoric—since his earlier book, Abductions. The people who provide the case histories in this book are no longer called “abductees” but “experiencers” (even though most of them still think that what they experienced sure felt a lot like an abduction—or even a rape). Mack also stipulates that the experiences, or abductions, may not have occurred in “objective reality” but in some other kind of “reality,” or maybe it was some other “reality” intersecting “objective reality.” I admire Mack for his honest confusion about these points as much as for his courage and daring to write about this academically taboo subject in the first place.

Judging by some of Mack’s defensive remarks here and there, he seems to think that the scientific world will find this multiple-reality model worse than any of his other heresies. I have no trouble with it myself. Every scientific instrument—and even more, every scientific theorem—describes a different “reality,” and calling them aspects of a single “reality” is only a lazy convention. (How can you get mass, acceleration, gravity, quarks, molecules, cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, reflex arcs, the unconscious, synchronicity, supply, demand, capital, labor, and the genetic code into one Grand Unified Theory?)

The “reality” of our sense perceptions often contradicts all these scientific models totally, as for instance when you bang your knee against a “solid” object which quantum mechanics describes as mostly empty space (haunted by probability waves that whimsically also appear as particles if you measure them a different way). If your banged-up leg hurts enough, you will have to admit that personal perception has a “reality” of its own distinct from any scientific “realities.” What seems “real” depends on what level of magnification you use, and on what hurts, among other factors.

I don’t know what kind of “reality” Mack’s subjects suffered but I certainly agree that their reports are important, especially in relation to other non-normal phenomena going on concurrently. (See below.)

Although Mack calls himself a “recovering Freudian,” he might still have something to learn from Papa Sigmund. Each case in this book has idiosyncratic features but they do seem variations on a single theme: the myth of Hades and Persephone. Like Persephone, these people have had intensely disturbing experiences that usually involved sex, “monsters,” abduction from ordinary “reality” to Something Weirder, and, like Persephone, they have emerged only partially, living half in this world and half in the other world.

Freud would probably call this the Persephone Complex—although a reviewer in Seattle Weekly (30 September 1999) compared it to a bondage-and-discipline fantasy from the porn factories, a kind of Behind the Green Door with a New Age ending tacked on in the form of an ecology sermon.

But that suggests another odd parallel: Howard Hughes’ once-banned and still-controversial film, The Outlaw, in whichRio (Jane Russell) is raped by Billy-the-Kid and then falls in love with him. Feminists consider this a particularly perverted male fantasy, but some of Mack’s subjects think they were raped, or sexually molested, and they also seem to love the inhuman critters who did this to them. Go figure.

To fully grasp the depth of this enigma, imagine what would happen if an equal number of US citizens said they had been sexually assaulted by aliens from Mexicoor Iraq, instead of aliens from Outer Space or Other Dimensions. 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 Mack’s subjects do claim, that they now love their kidnappers, and have learned from them important lessons about how wicked and wretched our society is, this would be considered evidence that they had been “brainwashed” as well as raped (“Stockholm Syndrome“). This difference in scientific and political reactions to atrocities by human aliens and nonhuman aliens seems even more confusing than the rest of this mystery.

Consider, in this context, the investigations of Dr Cory Hammond of the Universityof 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, sado-masochism, coprophilia and assorted horrors. Dr Hammond believes that these cases, and the data he has unearthed on the Satanic cult in general, prove that three distinct groups working together—neo-Nazis, the CIA and NASA—have been secretly and brutally programming American children for more than 50 years to make them part of “a Satanic order that will rule the world.”

Can we believe both Mack and 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 abusing 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, and we all tend to interpret these according to our own hopes and fears?

Or, consider the model offered by Jacques Vallée, who has been investigating UFOs for more than 30 years. Vallée 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 Mack’s and 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.

Hammond uses hypnosis to find—or create—the details of the Satanic conspiracy. Mack says he uses only “relaxation.” The line between the two seems blurry at best, and we still don’t have any reason to trust one of these techniques more or less than the other.

None of these points is intended to “refute” or dismiss Mack’s works. He has made an important contribution, and his evolution toward what physicists call “model agnosticism” seems to me a step in the right direction. We don’t know what the hell is going on, but somebody or something has done a lot of messing around with human minds in recent decades.

If other scientists will not join Mack in looking at the evidence, the public can hardly be blamed for choosing among the nonscientific and New Agey explanations available to them. Interview, 2000 interview
with Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson: The two things I do best are writing and talking. I used to be pretty good at fucking, too…. How do you feel about your honorary title, “Father of Conspiracy Theory”?

Robert Anton Wilson: Well, I’ve written a few books that deal with conspiracy theory. I have 32 books in print, last I counted, and 28 of them don’t deal with conspiracy at all. It just seems that conspiracy is so fashionable, so in, that I get identified with that. My other books are all in print! People keep buying them! I get royalties every year! To tell the truth, it does begin to bug me. I can’t seem to get away from it. Worse yet, they keep offering me advances to write another book on conspiracy theory, which is hard to resist. Though I am resisting it at present.

PB: So what are you writing about now?

RW: I’m writing two books that can in no way be identified with conspiracy theory. One is about black magic and curses, which is either social science disguised as satire or satire disguised as social science. Even I can’t make up my mind. It’s about the historical/anthropological connections between hurling curses to kill people and using words that make people have extreme physiological reactions, like Lenny Bruce or George Carlin or myself in my own books. You say “fuck,” and you get reactions out of people these days quite similar to what you would get if you said “goddamn” 300 years ago.  Nowadays, “goddamn” doesn’t mean anything because people don’t believe in damnation. We still have a lot of people who think Playboy is so terrible that even mentioning the word may do some terrible damage. The Supreme Court actually ruled you couldn’t say “fuck” on radio before midnight. They didn’t put a ban on Playboy before midnight, so if you get horny at ten o’clock, nine o’clock or even in the middle of the afternoon, you can do it; you just can’t talk about it on the radio.

The second book is called The Tale of the Tribe, subtitled Alphabet/Ideogram/Pound/Joyce/Shannon/McLuhan and Internet. The idea is alphabetical and idiogrammatic thinking as it’s expressed [in the works of these thinkers]. McLuhan’s analysis shows we’re becoming a global village. Which is an idea he got from Pound.

PB: You’re tying the Internet to great philosophers; do you visit websites regularly?

RW: There are three or four websites I check every day for information: I check the weather in my area, I check what’s on Turner Classic Movies and I go to a hunger site to make a donation. When I’m writing a book, I’m on the web half the time because I’ve found that almost anything I need I can find there.

PB: Has the web made conspiracy theories trendier?

RW: Dissident politics, up until the web, was a matter of getting a mimeograph machine, and it didn’t have a chance to compete with the dominant paradigm or the corporate media or whatever you want to call the force that reaches the majority of people. On the web you don’t know who you’re reaching, but you know you’re reaching a hell of a lot of people. Anyone can put up their own website and put up their own view of the universe and humanity. I think this is a tremendous historical breakthrough. The printing press was nothing compared with this. It still had gatekeepers: Before you got published you had to find a publisher or raise the money to publish yourself. I really feel  it’s going to be the death of the major media. Nobody decides what gets on the Internet but the users.

PB: Doesn’t the proliferation of websites make it harder for people to know whom to believe?

RW: That’s all for the good. I think intelligence begins with questioning. That’s got to inspire brain activity. People are getting livelier. And that’s why  the government is getting more and more paranoid about the Internet and trying to figure out a way to control it. I have the optimistic opinion that they never will find a way. It’s more and more international, and it was designed by the military to survive an atomic war. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch have a bill that tries to take out any information about how to make drugs. They can’t enforce that outside of the U.S. Feinstein has been the most intelligent and relentless enemy of the First Amendment in my lifetime, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that she’s trying to destroy the Internet.

PB: What do you have to say about your six years as an associate editor at Playboy magazine?

RW: All I can say about my years at Playboy is that those were the happiest years of my corporate existence. At Playboy, I got the highest salary I ever got anywhere, and I got it for writing exactly what I believe. I was writing for the Playboy Forum, Hefner’s philosophy. The only reason I quit was that I was approaching 40 and suddenly realized I didn’t want to die as an editor. I wanted to be a full-time writer no matter what the risks involved. So I quit, and I launched my career and plunged my family into two years of poverty before we started making a little progress. And I still feel guilty about that. I’m still being overly generous to my children to compensate them for what I put them through.


The Gnosis Interview with
Robert Anton Wilson

by Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney

 from Gnosis Magazine #50: Good & Evil, Winter 1999

A conversation with Robert Anton Wilson is like talking to an adult after spending years cooped up with children. Not that Wilson is dour or stern; he isn’t. But after spending time with this consummate challenger of what “everybody knows,” it’s hard to avoid thinking that most of what passes for accepted truth amounts to little more than schoolyard prattling.

Longtime GNOSIS readers will remember Wilson for his articles on the ultimate secret society (in #6) and Jung and synchronicity (#10). Others may remember him for his Illuminatus! trilogy, coauthored with Robert Shea in the 1970s, in which he took the reader for a stroll down just about every corridor of conspiracy, real and imagined, and left us wondering whether there just might not be something in it all.

Wilson’s latest work is Everything Is under Control (Harper-Collins), an engaging stroll into his favorite beat – the world of conspiracies, cults, and coverups. In this brief encyclopedia of un-conventional wisdom, Wilson explores everything from the secret Mason word” to the murder(?) of Marilyn Monroe to UMMO. UMMO is supposedly an extraterrestrial race that has been sending letters on advanced scientific topics to selected specialists since the 1960s, all signed with the glyph )+(. Although a psychologist named Jose Luis Jordan Pena has confessed to hoaxing this material, Wilson isn’t so sure he’s telling the truth, since according to some experts, the letters actually do reveal knowledge surpassing human science; moreover a spaceship bearing the UMMO glyph apparently touched down in a large Russian city, Other topics covered in this book include the Sirius mystery, Yales Skull and Bones society, and the Zapruder film of the John F. Kennedy assassination.

We went down to visit Wilson in his sunny apartment on the central California coast in September 1998. There we spied, among other artifacts, a copy of Aleister Crowley’s Magick: Book 4 on his endtable.


Richard Smoley: Why is conspiracy a hot topic these days?

Robert Anton Wilson: The major reason is that we’re undergoing such tremendous social change. Everything people take for granted is changing rapidly. This is because information flow is increasing faster than at any other time in history. I have some favorite figures I like to quote in that connection from the French statistician Georges Anderla, who says information doubled between the time of Christ and Leonardo; that’s 1500 years. It doubled again between Leonardo and the steam engine, 250 years; doubled between the steam en­gine and quantum theory, 150 years; doubled between 1900 and 1950, that’s 50 years. And he concluded his study in the ‘70s; it had doubled between ’68 and ’73, that was five years. Jacques Vallee recently calculated that it’s doubling every eighteen months.

Jay Kinney: Is that information or data?

Wilson: Information in the mathematical sense. Things that can be converted into binary units – and almost everything can be; that’s why you can see the Mona Lisa on your computer. That’s why compact discs sound so good. So as information doubles, society changes rapidly. After Leonardo, after that doubling, we had the first successful Protestant revolution in Ger­many, followed seventeen years later by the second successful Protestant revolution in England. After 1750, we had the American Revolution, the French Revolution, sev­eral Latin American revolutions, and the Industrial Revolution. So as information doubles faster and faster, there’s more and more dramatic and chaotic social change.

I heard Theodore Gordon, a mathematician, talking about information and fractals at the World Future Society in ’89. He said that every time he shows a cor­poration a fractal in any process that they’re trying to control, they say, “Who did it?” They can’t believe it’s intrinsic to the in-formation process itself; they look for some-body to blame.

That’s why we have so many conspir­acy theories. People are saying, “Who are we going to blame for everything changing?

Smoley: Of all the conspiracies you’ve looked at over the years, which ones are you most inclined to believe in?

Wilson: I put them on a scale from zero to ten. With the ones I put above five, I’m more inclined to give then credit than to doubt theta. The ones I put above seven, that’s pretty close to belief, except I try to shy away from belief, I think it’s a dangerous state co get into,

Bucky Fuller has a theory of the Great Pirates – the sociopathic types who have always been the dominant force in history. The Great Pirates in modern times make up a group the abbreviates “MMAO”: Machiavelli, Mafia, atoms, and oil. It’s the international banks, the Mafia, and the atomic and oil cartels. He doesn’t claim they work together, but they more or less make a singular force. But he also says that they’re so engaged in conflicts with one another that they’re steering Spaceship Earth in 50 different directions, which is why were going around and were not getting anywhere. I tend to find that fairly credi­ble. A simplification of it is Carl Oglesby’s theory of the Yankee and Cowboy War – the war between Western and old Eastern wealth. Those seem fairly credible to me.

The ones I find most incredible are the ones based on recovered memories therapy – the Greys and the monsters from outer space that are engaged in sexual molestation of people.

Kinney: How about Satanic abuse?

Wilson: That’s based on the same sort of evidence as the Greys. It’s the recovered memory therapy, which, for all I know, might be true, but I know you can get people to remember anything you want if you hypnotize them often enough. So the evidence doesnt seem very strong to me. I have no­ticed that with the more extraterrestrial conspiracy theories, you’re essentially getting back to the Middle Ages. You’ve got incubi and succubi again. You’ve got sex demons that attack people at night. And you’ve got these Zarathustrian cosmic wars between good and evil, like Scientology or the Church of the SubGenius — one of which I believe is a parody, I’m not sure which.

Smoley: This has all taken the field for imaginative play out of the purely physi­cal realm into alternate realities. The astral plane is populated by angels and devils and incubi and succubi or extraterrestrials.

Wilson: Well, if you identify the astral plane more or less with Jung’s collective unconscious, then all these beings exist on that level. The question is, how much of the other kind of reality are you going to attribute to them?

Smoley: Of all the paranormal experiences I’ve heard about, I can think of maybe two or three people who have told me about something that might sound like an encounter with a ghost. But I seem to know dozens who say, “I was walking down the street and there was a silver disk over-head.” I don’t know what they saw, I’ve never seen anything like that myself, but just from my own anecdotal experience, UFO reports seem to be the most common type of paranormal phenomenon.

Wilson: That doesn’t surprise me. I see two or three UFOs a week, but that’s be-cause I’m not quick to identify things. I not only see UFOs, I see UNFOs – unidentified non-flying objects. I see all sorts of things I can’t identify. As for the ones in the sky, I’ve seen things that I haven’t the foggiest idea of what they are. They might be spaceships. Then again, they could be airplanes with the sun blinking off them in a strange way.

I remember how once at the Irish sci­ence fiction society, after a lecture some-body asked me whether I believed in UFOs. And not yet having devised my ten-point scale between belief and unbelief, I said,”Yes.” So he launched into a long rap about how they were all heat inversions.] said, “We agree. We both believe in UFOs. You think you know what they are, but I don’t know.”

Kinney: Do you think that the interest in conspiracies now, with things like “The X-Files,” could be in part attributed to the Illuminatus! trilogy?

Wilson: I often wonder about that. The problem with that is that it would be tempting to think Im responsible for all this. They all owe me money in that case; they’ve all been ripping me off and they should pay me. But I suspect a tendency to self-flattery in that theory.

I think Illuminatus! was ahead of its time. And now is the time, for some rea­son; people are inclined to think that way. Although llluminatus! is still not in the mainstream, because it doesn’t accept any conspiracy theory literally; it toys with them, it plays with them, it uses them to open the reader’s mind to alternative pos­sibilities, but it doesn’t sell anything.

My major difference with conspiracy theorists – and I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist myself, though a skeptical one – is that most of them have never heard the word “maybe” Everything is the truth: “My conspiracy theory is true. Anybody else is a CIA disinformation agent trying to confuse people.” They’ve never heard of the word “maybe,” whereas “maybe is a very central word in my vocabulary.

Smoley: What do you make of crop circles?

Wilson: I find crop circles endlessly en­tertaining, because every time a new group of hoaxers confesses, another bunch of cir­cles appears that couldnt have been done by their method. I don’t mind being per­plexed. I think both people who are quick to believe in occult theories and people who are quick to deny them – like CSICOP – can’t stand being perplexed; they want to have an answer right away. But I find most of the universe so damn perplexing that a little bit of perplexity doesn’t bother me. The whole damn thing is perplexing,

Kinney: Have you had personal experi­ences over the years that have convinced you of deeper dimensions or subtle planes?

Wilson: I would rather say that I have had experiences that have convinced me that the commonsense, everyday map of real­ity is inadequate. We need other maps. I’m not particularly wedded to any particular other map. As you can tell from my novels and from my nonfiction too, I alternate between maps. If you’re going to talk politics, you want a political snap. If you’re going to talk geology, you want a geological map. If you want to talk weather, you want a meteorological map. A meteoro­logical map changes every hour or so; the political map changes after every war; the geological map changes over eons, but no map lasts forever. That’s a metaphor I adopt­ed from Alfred Korzybski, founder of gen­eral semantics.

Smoley: Of the metaphysical maps, which are the ones that you’ve found most per­sistently appealing?

Wilson: I suppose the Buddhist map which tells you don’t believe in any of your maps. Or don’t believe in them too fervently. To be absolutely honest, although I don’t be­lieve in anything too fervently, I do tend to believe in some kind of mind behind the cosmos. I don’t like calling it God, because God to most people means a grouchy old man sitting on a cloud, counting all the kids who are masturbating so he can put them in hell later on. That’s so ridiculous that I can’t use the word at all. But I don’t believe that everything happened by acci­dent. I just can’t believe that – to use a metaphor adapted from Arthur Koestler – if you keep throwing junk over a wall for seven million years, you’ll get a 747 jet in full working order. I can’t believe that; I think there’s intelligence somewhere in evolution.

Smoley: There’s also that notion of the secret meta-real brotherhood that’s sup­posedly working to enlighten humanity over the eons. Where do you put that on your scale of belief?

Wilson: It depends on what year you ask me. Back in the late 1970s, that was very high in my belief system. Since then I’ve retreated from that position quite a bit, al-though I haven’t totally abandoned it. Every now and then I have strange experiences which make me wonder. I’m quite satisfed to be left wondering rather than having an absolute certitude on such matters.

Kinney: Why have you retreated from that position?

Wilson: Because I found more reasons to believe that it was a wishful projection of my own Fantasies. But some synchronicities look like they’re orchestrated. I don’t dismiss it out of hand; I put it somewhere around Five right now on my zero-to-ten scale.

Kinney: In terms of updating old beliefs, I was curious how you stand these days on SMI2LE, since you were a big expo­nent of that.

Wilson: SMILE: space migration, intelli­gence increase, life extension. It was a slo­gan coined by Timothy Leary; one of Tims great talents was coining slogans.

I still have an ardent desire to see hu­manity migrate off the planet. For a vari­ety of reasons: one, I think we’re exhausting the resources of a single planet; and two, I think every time we move to a new envi­ronment, our intelligence increases. And I think that freedom is always found on the expanding perimerer. The further out you are from the centralized control system, the more freedom you have, And four, both the Russian and the American astronauts and cosmonauts – about 85% of them – have had consciousness-altering experiences of the type I regard as positive. Neurosomatic turn-ons, experiences of beauty and ecstasy, which I think is good for us. If 85% of the human race migrates off the planet, it means that 85% of the human race will mutate to a higher level of perception and consciousness.

I like life extension because the older I get, the more I realize how little I know. I’d like to live long enough to figure out a few things anyway. And intelligence in-crease is to me the number one priority on the planet. I’ve become more and more convinced that the major problem on this planet is stupidity, which not only exists as a thing in itself, but it’s supported and encouraged and financed. There are dozens of entrenched interests that want to pro-mote stupidity.

However, I’m more interested in the Internet than in SMI2LE right now., because the Internet is happening right now, and it’s happening fast and I’m a part of it – a small part, but I’m part of it – whereas SMI2LE I now see as about a generation away. lt’s not as close as it seemed as when I was wildly enthusiastic about it and ready to blast off in the next spaceship.

Kinney: It seemed to me – maybe this was mainly in the ’70s – that you were a better spreader of Leary’s ideas than he was.

Wilson: He said that too, which was one of the most flattering things I ever heard. I don’t know, I guess I reached a different audience than he did, that’s all. One of my favorite Timothy Leary stories was, a month after his death, I got an e-mail from him. It said, “Dear Robert, How are you doing? I’m doing fine over here, but it’s not what I expected. Too crowded. Love, Timothy” (laughter).

Kinney: Was there ever any explanation for that?

Wilson: Oh,Tim knew a lot about computers; I assume he had it set to go off at a certain time after his death.

Kinney: This interview is going to appear in our issue on Good and Evil. How you would define evil?

Wilson: I don’t like the terms “good and evil at all. They invoke too much sub­jectivity disguised as objectivity. I would rather talk about kindness and cruelty. They’re a little more clear-cut and specif­ic about what you’re talking about. You get shady areas, you get some ambiguity, but by and large, when you say you’re in favor of kindness and against cruelty, you’re setting up a standard. When you say you’re for good and against evil, you’re like the cler­gyman in the story about Cal Coolidge. After church somebody asked him, “What was the sermon on, Cal?” “He was against sin.” It’s easy to be against sin and evil; what the hell do you mean? I’m against cruelty. That’s more clear.

Kinney: Do you think theres any source of malevolence or cruelty larger than hu­manity itself- say, built into the universe as a force or a seductive tendency?

Wilson: I don’t believe in that; I find that very dubious, although it’s produced some damn good books – Moby Dick, and a lot of Faulkner. I think it’s a great idea for lit­erature, but I don’t personally think there’s any evil force seducing people. I think peo­ple do a good enough job seducing them-selves. Besides, I’m more inclined to look at it in the Buddhist way: its more igno­rance than malignancy. As a matter of fact, Ezra Pound got around to that at the end of his life after raving and ranting about conspiracies for so many years; toward the end of the Cantos he keeps repeating “Nicht Basheit – Drurmrheit”: “not evil – stupidity.” Which was his ultimate judgment on what was wrong.

And the trouble with fighting evil is, to quote Pound again, “I lost my center fighting the world.” If it could happen to Ezra Pound, it could happen to anyone. Don’t get too concerned about fighting evil; you lose your own center that way. Hey, I sound like a philosopher!

Kinney: It does seem as if one of the biggest sources of evil in the world is try­ing to do good too vociferously.

Wilson: Or trying to force people to be-come good. I once said, “An honest politi­cian is a national calamity. “The crooks we can tolerate; we have to; we’re used to them. An honest politician can turn the whole world upside down in his attempts to reform it. He could wreck everything.

Smoley: I’d certainly prefer a crook to an ideologue under most circumstances.

Wilson: Exactly. John Adams defined “ideology” as “the science of idiotism.” That’s what I think every time I hear someone spouting the standard libertarian line, the standard Marxist line, or any other stan­dard line: “My God! Where have their brains gone? They’ve turned into parrots.”

Kinney: Though you were identified with libertarianism pretty strongly.

Wilson: I think of myself as a kind of lib­ertarian, But I know I’ve got as many crit­ics in the libertarian movement as I have admirers. They don’t like my relativism, my tolerance – “tolerance” is a self-praising word; my indifferentism, my Buddhism – they want me to fight evil, like they’re fighting evil. But I prefer libertarianism to any form of authoritarianism.

Smoley: People who are blowing up Federal buildings are supposedly asserting freedom. But you wonder if thats helping anything. It’s also terrifying to think what would hap-pen if these people were actually able to dictate how society is run.

Wilson: I was a Trotskyist when I was sev­enteen. And the thing that drove me out of the Trotskyist movement was one of those doctrinaire meetings where we were all being corrected for our ideological errors, I didn’t get particularly bad criticism, except for liking Carl Jung and James Joyce, but something occurred to me: if these people ever took over the country, it’d be so much worse a mess than it is now. That’s when I began to develop the pragmatic distrust of ideologies that I’ve kept for the rest of my life.

Smoley: Do you think American society is more ideological than it was 50 years ago?

Wilson: I’m astounded by the extent to which people are governed by almost meaningless slogans that are repeated over and over again. They don’t seem to have much content at all, but you just keep hearing them over and over again, like “the liberal media.” You break down what’s in most of the media, and how the hell it could possibly be considered liberal is beyond my comprehension.

And yet I know what theyre getting at, the people who talk that way. What they’re talking about is that the media tends to be liberal on one issue and one issue only, and that’s sexual morality. And to these people that’s the most important issue. So therefore the defining characteristic of the media is liberalism. Never mind the fact that the media is conservative on almost all economic and political ideas. Clinton is a godsend to these people; he’s the proof that liberals are sexual outlaws.

By and large, ruling-class males, how-ever they got into the ruling class, all tend to behave pretty much the same. Clinton’s is the typical behavior of the alpha male in any mammal pack. I think it’s hilarious that Ken Starr has taken five years and $50 mil-lion to uncover the fact that Clinton acts just like any other ruling-class male.

Smoley: To backtrack a little to Timothy Leary, could you perhaps tell us a little about your take on the possibilities of psychedelics?

Wilson: In the first place, my major take is the laws against them were imbecilic. I think the benefits in the early research were so promising that the research should have been allowed to continue.

I can see why one doesn’t want fif­teen-year-olds playing around with LSD, but even there I don’t think law is the best way to handle it. I think education is the best way – except when you say that, you sound like an idiot when you see what they put on as drug education. I mean se­rious drug education that tells the truth, But of course that’s the major thing that most teachers have been fired for in the his­tory of this country. If they’re ever caught attempting to tell the truth about anything, they’re immediately called before the school board and usually they’re fired. That’s what Scopes stood trial for: telling the truth about biology.

As for the dangers of psychedelics, I think Timothy understood those better than anybody. He said drugs depend on the set and the setting. And you look at the worst cases; the people who survived the CIAs MK ULTRA, in which they were given LSD and other powerful drugs or elec­troshock therapy or locked in rooms with their own voices played back to them over and over when they were on drugs. This produced horrible results because the set and the setting were calculated to produce horrible results. Even if they were just given drugs without any warning, that’s enough to make you paranoid. Some of them suf­fered from paranoia for decades after.

And if you’re just taking them with-out any knowledge of what you’re doing, that’s dangerous too. But I feel pretty sure that given by a sympathetic and intelligent psychotherapist in a supportive environ­ment – and I mean very intelligent as well as very sympathetic — they can be tremendously beneficial. I still believe that. The evidence supports it, actually. There’s very few cases of people being damaged in therapy by LSD. There’s lots of cases of people being tremendously helped, in­cluding Cary Grant, who went around rav­ing and ranting about how much good LSD did for him. He never went to jail for that. I think he learned to moderate his enthusiasm after a decade or so.

Kinney: But you’ve also been an advocate of recreational drug use over the years.

Wilson: I don’t think I ever advocated recreational drug use. I advocated the right of people CO decide for themselves if they’re going to do that. I would say if you want recreational drug use, stick to marijuana, thats the most recreational drug around. If you take any psychedelic, you’re going to get into some-thing deeper than recreation, and you may not be prepared for it. And I definitely dont trust cocaine, I dont like people who use cocaine getting into my environment. If I find out anybody is using cocaine, I try to keep them away. I don’t trust people on cocaine. Same thing with speed.

Again this is a practical approach based on information; it’s not a metaphysical ap­proach: Drugs are bad.” People who say “drugs are bad” never stop to think how many drugs the doctor gives them. If you go to a doctor and he says, “This is the galloping conniption fits; it’ll go away in seven days,” you feel let down. If he says, “This is the galloping conniption fits; take this for seven days, and it’ll go away,” you feel hes done his job. Everyone in this cul­ture depends on drugs, and then they tell us we’re having a war on drugs.

You’ve got to take one drug at a time, and say what you think about that drug. I dont think theres any drug that’s good for everybody, even penicillin; there are people who are allergic to it.

Smoley:Are there any spiritual teachers these days that you admire particularly?

Wilson: I’m more inclined to people who don’t use the label of religion or mysti­cism for what they’re doing. I’m a great admirer of Richard Bandler of neurolinguistic programming. I was a great admir­er of Tim Leary, and I still am. Ram Dass does a religious bit sometimes; I like him. Oh hell, I’ve met a few Zen masters I liked. I liked Baker Roshi. But I’m sort of sus­picious of religious leaders. As a friend of mine once said – he was a Druid; I know a lot of Pagans of various schools – “A perfect master is ideal, but only if you want to be a perfect slave.” I’m very suspicious of perfect masters.

Kinney: Were you raised in a religious household?

Wilson: Yes and no. I was raised by two lapsed Catholics. I don’t know why they lapsed, but since they only had two chil­dren, I suspect the Church’s position on contraception had something to do with their lapse. They were pretty skeptical about the Church, but they sent me to a Catholic school on the grounds that children should be taught some kind of morality. That makes sense to me in retrospect. I wish they had sent me to someplace else to learn some kind of morality rather than to a bunch of crazy nuns. My wife Arlen said the other night every ex-Catholic she knows hates the Church. And I said, “I don’t think that’s true. But they all hate nuns.” Because those are the ones that hit you with the yardsticks when you’re too small to fight back.

Smoley: I couldn’t help noticing the Crowley book on your endtable. What do you think of Crowley?

Wilson: He fascinates inc. because by my standards he rates as a genius of some sort. He was an incredibly brilliant person, with talents in so many fields, and I’ve never been able to figure him out. He always leaves me feeling somewhat puzzled. I ad-mire him a lot; I’ve learned a lot from him; I enjoy his sense of humor, but peo­ple who consider him a Satanist and a monster don’t seem totally deluded to me. There was something strange about Aleister Crowley that leaves me perpetually puzzled. And yet I’d rather read a book by Crowley than just about any other New Age writer. Because hes always a lot of’ fun, and he always gives use new ideas and new perspectives. Even a book I’ve read before, I reread, and my God, I didn’t notice that before! He’s like an exploding volcano of perceptions and insights you don’t get anywhere else.

Smoley: That sense of the monstrous and Satanic may have meant that he was will­ing to look at things that most other peo­ple close the door on.

Wilson: To get back to Timothy Leary again, Timothy said, “When you realize how many reality tunnels there are, you want to open the door to every one and see what’s in there, but if you open the door and there’s nobody in there but can­nibals and Nazis, you close the door right away. You don’t go in to check it out.” Crowley seems to have opened a awful lot of doors; I don’t know how many he walked into. I think he had enough sense to stay out of the worst ones.

Smoley: What’s striking to me about peo­ple like Crowley and Jung and Gurdjieff is that their ideas are incredibly powerful and alive, but then they settle down into a comfortable slumber in the minds of followers.

Wilson: Maybe that’s why I like Crowley so much. I find it impossible to slumber with Crowley. I’m always arguing with him whenever I’m thinking about him: “Yes, Meister, but . . . ” Sometimes he wins the argument, though.

Smoley: Speaking of books, what are you trying to do with your new book Everything Is Under Control?

Wilson: One of my major ideas was writing a book that would be like surfing the Web. Every entry has links following from it, and if you follow the links from item A and, say, you come to “Nazi hell creatures,” it’ll seem utterly absurd. If you follow links from someplace else and come to “Nazi hell creatures,” you’ll suddenly think, “Oh my God, maybe there’s something in this.” And I like the way it crisscrosses so that every item, however innocuous it seems at first sight, will turn either into a joke or into something that scares the pants off you. I like playing head games with my-self and my readers.

It’s also an interactive book. You can follow the links right out of the book onto the Web. And then you can go on for years following up these leads and steadily grow­ing crazier, if you’re inclined to believe all this stuff. Or laughing your head off, if you’re inclined that way. Or just being perplexed like use, if you’re inclined that way. Some of it I’m quite convinced ranks as so absurd that I can’t take it seriously for a moment. But theres a great deal of it in the area where I feel it sounds pretty silly, but Jesus, maybe if I investigate it further, who knows?

Smoley: One thing I find interesting in that book is the real or imagined UMMO hoax, which I don’t think is well known over here.

Wilson: It’s better known in Europe. The fascinating thing about UMMO was that somebody confessed recently that he did the whole thing by himself, and yet there are some things he couldn’t have done. The original UMMO sightings in Madrid would require the technology of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to do.

There was a sighting in Voronezh, a large industrial city in Russia. There were hundreds of people who saw what seemed to be a spaceship landing, what seemed to be eight-foot-tall extraterrestrials getting out and walking around, and there seemed to be teleportations; I don’t know what the hell happened there. But I don’t see how the guy who confessed could have managed all that by himself. He may have written the UMMO letters, but something else was going on; I don’t know what.

That’s another thing conspiracy theo­rists seldom say: “I don’t know what.”

Smoley: And yet in all of this, there’s prob­ably some border, however thin and neb­ulous, between conspiracy theory and just plain old paranoid schizophrenia. Where do you draw that line?

Wilson: Well, the line will of course be a little bit fuzzy. But when you get to peo­ple who, when you try to discuss the mat-ter with them rationally, gradually come around to the viewpoint that you are one of their CIA babysitters, then I think you’re not dealing with just an absurd belief system, but with a serious mental derangement.

Smoley: Many of your ideas have to some extent become part of the New Age con­sensus view. How do you feel about that?

Wilson: Uncomfortable.

Kinney: You don’t have much use for New Age circles?

Wilson: I don’t want that label put on my writing. If I have to have a label, I’d prefer co be known, like Kierkegaard, as “that individual.” That’s what he said he wanted to be called. If I have to have a label, “postmodernist” is not too bad. But I really prefer “damned old crank. That one is the least pretentious I’ve thought of in all my years.