Recommended reading & book reviews from Adam Gorightly
Sex and Rockets:
The Occult World of Jack Parsons
By John Carter (Feral House, 1999)

They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers
By Gray Barker (Illuminet Press, 1997)
Maury Island UFO:
The Chrisman Conspiracy
By Kenn Thomas (IllumiNet Press, 1999)

Saucers of the Illuminati
By Jim Keith (Illuminet Press, 1999)
The Philadelphia Experiment:
Parallel Universe & the Physics of Insanity
By Alexandra ?Chica? Bruce
(Sky Books, 2001)

A Magical Journey With Carlos Castaneda
By Margaret Runyan Castaneda
(Millenia Press)
Mass Control:
Engineering Human Consciousness
By Jim Keith (IllumiNet Press, 1999)

The Christ Conspiracy:
The Greatest Story Ever Sold
By Acharya S
(Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999)
Circus of the Scars
By Jan T. Gregor (with Tim Cridland)

** Sex and Rockets: **
The Occult World of Jack Parsons

By John Carter (Feral House, 1999)0922915563

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
The first in-depth look at the life of John Whiteside Parsons--pioneering rocket scientist, and ardent disciple of the notorious magus, Aleister Crowley--is finally available courtesy of Feral House in Sex and Rockets by John Carter. The release of this book, in my opinion, is an event long overdue, as I see in Parsons one of the most fascinating and important figures of the late 20th century; a man of great promise, who somehow fell short of his staggering potential. What makes this book all the more fascinating is the shift in focus that takes place throughout, as the author demarcates between "John Parsons" the brilliant rocket engineer, and "Jack Parsons" the failed magician, who in his attempt to cross the Abyss, fell into it instead, fulfilling a fiery destiny, which Parsons himself prophesied. Parsons, in many ways, possessed two separate selves--rocket scientist and magician--and this literary device is used throughout Sex and Rockets to illustrate the many contradictions that personified the life of a truly gifted, though equally flawed human being.

For those not in the know, Jack Parsons was a founding member of Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) back in the late 30's, and one time head of the California branch of the magical order the Agape Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientalis (O.T.O.). Parson's infamous reputation was fueled by several nefarious undertakings and associations, notwithstanding his alliance with the self- proclaimed "Wickedest Man Alive!"--Aleister Crowley--who directed O.T.O. operations from his base in England.

Another of Parsons' claims to infamy was the mansion he owned at 1003 S. Orange Grove Ave. in Pasadena, CA, which hosted a menagerie of bohemians and other assorted social outcasts of the day, as well as serving as O.T.O. Headquarters. From there, rumors of drug intoxicated orgies and black magic ritual sacrifices abounded, not to mention tales of pregnant women dancing naked through hoops of ceremonial fire, and of innocent children being buggered by black robed brutes, under the aegis of occult forces. Although these legends continue to persist, police reports from the period suggest that the LAPD did not take any of these allegations seriously, as documented in Sex and Rockets.

Going back to the original documents, Carter outlines Parsons' numerous technical achievements, and his key role in the pre-NASA development of space technology. This, in itself, makes Sex and Rockets an invaluable resource for those interested in a broader historical perspective of John Whiteside Parsons. Starting in late 30's, Parsons was an early pioneer in Rocket Engineering, a member of a group funded by the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (GALCIT), which later evolved into JPL. This group's contribution to the war effort--as Carter points out--cannot be overlooked; nor can their early efforts in rocket engineering, which provided much of the impetus for later NASA projects in the late 50's and 60's, and the eventual landing of men on the moon.

Although Parsons has been memorialized by his peers with a statue at JPL--as well as the singular distinction of having a crater on the moon named after him (on the dark side, no less)-- he still remains an obscure figure in the halls of academia. (In a recent discussion with an aeronautical engineer, I mentioned the name 'Jack Parsons', and he had no clue as to whom I was referring!)

In Sex and Rockets, Carter brings a measure of much needed clarity to the life and times of the enigmatic Parsons; an enigma that has been compounded over the years by varying degrees of misinformation and exaggeration as to just who Parsons was, and exactly what he was trying to accomplish with the Babalon Working rituals, performed in part with L. Ron Hubbard, the future founder of Scientology. The end result of the Babalon Working was to birth an elemental being; a 'Moonchild' that--as Crowley stated in his Book of the Law--would be "mightier than all the kings of the Earth." According to Thelemic legend, in 1918 Aleister Crowley came into contact with a interdimensional entity named Lam, who by the way is a dead ringer for the popular conception of the 'alien grey ' depicted on the cover of Whitley Strieber's Communion. From this purported encounter, some have inferred that the industrious Mr. Crowley intentionally opened a portal of entry--through the practice of a magick ritual, The Amalantrah Working--which allowed the likes of Lam and other 'alien greys' a passageway onto the Earth plane. Furthermore, this portal may have been further enlarged by Parsons and Hubbard in 1946 with the commencement of the Babalon Working, thus facilitating a monumental paradigm shift in human consciousness.

In Sex and Rockets, Carter quotes Crowley successor Kenneth Grant, who wrote, "The [Babalon] Working began...just prior to the wave of unexplained aerial phenomena now recalled as the 'Great Flying Saucer Flap'. Parsons opened a door and something flew in." Carter also suggests it might have been the atomic bomb that opened this door between dimensions. He then further illustrates the importance of the year 1947, which ended the first stage of the Babalon Working, as Parsons and Hubbard parted ways amid a cloud of turmoil. 1947 was the year that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. In that very same year, Israel became a nation state, the transistor was invented and the sound barrier broken. Last, but certainly not least, the Modern Age of UFO's flew into view with the Kenneth Arnold sightings, followed not long after by the alleged saucer crash in Roswell, New Mexico. 1947 was also the year the Great Beast, Aleister Crowley died.

As history instructs, Parson's stormy life ended with a monumental bang when--on June 17, 1952--he accidentally blew himself to smithereens while working with powerful explosives. Some suggest that the explosion in question was no accident at all, and that foul play was involved. This is just one of the theories that Carter examines in Sex and Rockets, including the more bizarre scenario proffered by Michael Anthony Hoffman II, who contends that Parsons was attempting to conjure into existence an elemental being by way of an 'homunculus' experiment--an experiment that apparently backfired. While I find this theory--attributed to Parson's fiery demise--a bit difficult to swallow (much like Aleister Crowley's semen-filled 'longevity pills'), it nevertheless makes for some fascinating fodder.

Also of note is the wonderful introduction to Sex and Rockets by Robert Anton Wilson, no novice himself to the occult world of Jack Parsons. For years Wilson has kicked around the idea of writing the definitive biography of Aleister Crowley, as all previous endeavors in this area--in Wilson's estimation--have fallen far short in arriving at an accurate picture of Crowley, separating the real man from his monstrous myth. To the contrary, Sex and Rockets is probably just the sort of biography that Wilson has envisioned for Crowley; a work stripped of myths and misconceptions, bolstered by hard research and detailed analysis of the life and times of a rising star that burnt out fast, who--in his descent--left behind a colorful trail for future generations to ponder.
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** Maury Island UFO: **
The Chrisman Conspiracy
By Kenn Thomas (IllumiNet Press, 1999)1881532194

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
Sifting through the dust and slag of a peculiar historical event--and turning up new gems of information--is just what author/researcher Kenn Thomas has always possessed a certain instinctive knack for. With his new book -- Maury Island UFO: The Crisman Conspiracy --Thomas has once again added new perspective to a tale that has been retold many times by UFO investigators, though the dangling threads have never quite been pieced together, and conclusively sewn shut. (But what UFO case ever is?) This is not to suggest that Thomas has tied everything together at last, and arrived at a final answer to the mystery of what went down at Maury Island; first with the slippery sightings of Harold Dahl and Fred Crisman, then later during Kenneth Arnold?s investigation of the case, when the Men In Black apparently reared their finely attired heads, along with Air Force Intelligence and other assorted spooks and hobgoblins.

What Thomas has done, though, is a very thorough research job outlining Crisman?s involvement in the Maury Island affair, and how this all connects--oddly enough--to the JFK assassination, and ultimately Danny Casolaros? Octopus. At first glance, one might consider such connections as these the ravings of some half-cocked ?conspiracy nut?, but Thomas? research is so extensive and exhaustive that one is left with enough evidence to draw their own conclusions as to just what type of mischief the enigmatic Mr. Crisman was up to. Now, how many people do you know who have seen a UFO, collected remnants of same, and were also involved (allegedly) in the Kennedy assassination? (Not to mention battling Deros in subterranean caverns?) Well, Fred Crisman very well might have achieved all of the above, along with a lot of other strange undertakings during the course of his colorful career.

Although the evidence contained in Maury Island UFO is not conclusive by any means, after reading this book one can not deny that Crisman was as equally mercurial as other figures linked to the Kennedy assassination--from David Ferrie to Kerry Thornley--among a whole host of other spooks and bit players who lurked in and out of the shadows of Dealey Plaza and similar strangely infested environs, such as Maury Island, the home of the first modern UFO case, that may very well have been a disinformation hoax at the hands of Mr. Fred Lee Crisman.
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** The Philadelphia Experiment: **
Parallel Universe & the Physics of Insanit

By Alexandra “Chica” Bruce (Sky Books, 2001)096318895X

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
The ever-growing Montauk Project mythos continues on full force into the new millennium with the latest installment to the Sky Book series courtesy of Alexandra "Chica" Bruce, who blows her own unique riff on the theme in The Philadelphia Experiment Murder: Parallel Universes and the Physics of Insanity.

Much of The Philadelphia Experiment Murder concerns the late Phil Schneider, who before his untimely demise traveled the UFO and patriot lecture circuit in the early 90's exposing various conspiracies, among these allegations of a secret pact between the alien grays and the U.S. Government, which consisted of the trading of human genetic material for the latest and greatest in alien high tech. Schneider became privy to these clandestine activities while working on top secret projects for the government under civilian contract. Purportedly, Schneider helped construct tunnels into the earth, which connected a series of secret underground bases where aliens and humans participated in assorted hyjinks, including the back engineering of alien craft, time travel projects and alien/human hybrid genetic experimentation. Phil was probably one of the first (if not the first) to speak out on the Dulce War, a fabled alien/human underground battle, featuring laser guns and big-nosed grays. Allegedly, Phil was at the forefront of this legendary skirmish, kicking ass and taking alien names. While many may scoff at such far-flung assertions, Chica exhorts us not to throw out the alien baby with the bathwater, but instead to entertain a whole spectrum of possibilities, including not only the wild and wooly stories circulated by Phil Schneider, but as well an assortment of other mind-bending speculations concerning alternate dimensions and parallel worlds influencing and interacting with our own.

In The Philadelphia Experiment Murder, Chica suggests that Schneider's death went far beyond a garden variety suicide, and more likely than not was aided and abetted by those shadowy members of that arcane fraternity more commonly known in the annals of conspiracy lore as the "New World Order"-or in another dimension, the dreaded "Illuminaughty". In this regard, Schneider joins a long list of other supposed victims of this international cartel of creeps who pull the world's strings from behind the scenes, manipulating human beings to further the New World Odor's nefarious agenda.

In the final analysis, Chica's journey into the arcane territories of the Montauk Project, The Dulce War, and the very nature of reality is--in essence--a journey of self discovery, as in the epilogue she waxes poetic upon the potential pitfalls of falling prey to the prevalent consensus reality tunnels that mire our everyday existence. Furthermore, Chica makes some quite salient points about "conspiracy theories" that mirror many of my own feelings about the conspiracy research scene, such as it is. You see, conspiracies are a means of expanding consciousness, in my opinion, just like certain hallucinogens or extreme Tantric sex can catapult the cerebellum to higher forms of awareness and inner revelations. And this, methinks, is Chica's ultimate pursuit in writing this book (if I may be so bold): to entrain her own brain to higher frequencies and ultimately groove to those very same vibrations which are there for us all, whether we wish to take advantage of them or not.

Like a Zen master who coaches in the NBA--or in another reality washes dishes in the silent perfection of his own mind--we all have own realities to make, where ever we may be existing in the known (or unknown) Universe. The Montauk mythology is but one of many mantras that can be riffed upon in this unified field theory of high weirdness, more commonly referred to as "reality".
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** Mass Control: **
Engineering Human Consciousness

By Jim Keith (IllumiNet Press, 1999) 1881532208

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
In his final, posthumously published effort, Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness, Jim Keith takes aim at a most dangerous and deserving target, the many-headed beast of "Mind Control" or, as it has oft been soft-pedaled to the masses, "Behavior Conditioning". This many-headed beast, contends the late Mr. Keith, has appeared throughout recent history in a multitude of guises--from everything to Nazi influenced Eugenic programs to hot tub "sensitivity training" sessions at Esalen--all of which theoretically culminated in such "test subjects" as those sacrificed at Jonestown, Waco, and Rancho Sante Fe. All of the above, Keith surmised, were the end products of earlier Tavistock Institute and MK-ULTRA mechanizations.

Another means of mass control, Keith posited, is the American education system, which over time has become more a means of dumbing down the masses, than an actual method of imparting the fundamental skills needed to produce freethinkers and "productive citizens". In Mass Control, Keith documents this de-evolution quite exhaustively, beginning in the mid-1800's with John Dewey's "progressive education" programs and leading all the way to its current manifestation, Bill Clinton's Goals 2000. Goals 2000--as Keith profusely illustrates--is, in reality, more a means of hindering individuality and regimenting society, than an actual answer to our rapidly declining educational system, beset--as it is--by rampant illiteracy and the indoctrination of students into a pattern of social conformity. These factors--along with the current tendency of "educators" to medicate high strung youths with mood altering drugs such as Ritalin--has created an atmosphere where Columbine-like tragedies are becoming a common occurrence.

In Mass Control, Keith presents his case in chronological order, and in logical progression, beginning with the aforementioned eugenics programs and "social engineering" of Tavistock, along the way nurtured by Dr. Mengele's concentration camp mescaline-torture experiments, all of which invariably set the stage for an Orwellian wet dream perfected in the laboratories of Sandoz, the Vacaville Medical Facility, and Stanford Research Institute. This journey through the "looking glass" gathered much of its momentum from early MK-ULTRA experiments, and the infamous "battle for men's minds" that gave Allen Dulles such an ungainly hard-on. As to be expected, the evil spirit of Dr. Jose Delgado is summoned forth to add texture to Keith's recounting of those halcyon days in the annals of remote mind control technology, and its ultimate mission to devalue the human soul and turn men into meat machines, leading us to our final destination: Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World", brought to you in Technicolor via brain implants, ELF radiation waves, and Dr. Michael Persinger's "Magic Helmet". Toss a little Project Monarch into this virtual reality nightmare--with a dash of HAARP and a hint of techno-nerds re-wiring the circuits in our heads--and what inevitably stands before us, as Keith so eloquently describes, is a ?"New Man, his mind and body stolen from him, soul reduced to the impulses of the animal he thinks he is. His conception of reality is a dance of electronic images fired into his forebrain, a gossamer construction of his masters, designed so that he will not under any circumstances perceive the actual. His happiness is delivered to him through a tube or an electronic connection. His God lurks behind the electronic curtain; when the curtain is pulled away we find the CIA sorcerer, the media manipulator, the cyberneticist, the weaver of the Dreamscape."

Like all of us, Jim Keith was far from perfect, and made his own mistakes along the way, in life and on the printed page. One part guerilla ontologist, and one part dharma combatant, Jim straddled that wobbly fence between skepticism and true belief, trying to make some sense of the burbled mash that is "conspiracy theory", and more often than not arriving at a cogent analysis of those furry things that go bump in the night, be they paranormal poltergeists or intelligence agency spooks. There were other times--according to detractors, as well as colleagues--when Jim perhaps garbled the facts a wee bit, or possibly even mangled them to conform into his own version of reality. On this account, SteamShovel Press editor, Kenn Thomas--Keith's friend and occasional collaborator--has posthumously taken his old friend to task for his treatment of Timothy Leary in Mass Control. Allegations of Leary's involvement in MK-ULTRA experiments have long been bandied about through the conspiracy research community, and it is this frequent spectre that Keith once again conjures up in Mass Control, although--in my opinion--the jury is still out on this subject, and will most likely remain so until some smoking gun suddenly appears on scene via an FOIA request, or some other revelation of that nature. The case of Leary as "agent provocateur" can be argued from now until the cows come home, and at this point it's merely conjecture, albeit based on a systematic "connect the dots" approach Jim Keith used, much in the same manner as Mae Brussell, and other conspiracy researchers of their ilk.

In Mass Control, Keith makes the point that Tim Leary copped to being on the CIA payroll, but in the final analysis this is probably not a statement anyone can readily hang their hats on. Ever the cosmic prankster, chances are Leary had tongue firmly planted in cheek when he admitted such to researcher Walter Bowart. This is not to suggest that Keith doesn't bring up some salient points regarding Leary's many connections to the movers and shakers in the early LSD/MK-ULTRA scene; a motley coterie of intelligence agency spooks and "spychiatrists" who provided Dr. Tim with his colorful array of mind-warping wares, ostensibly turning on a generation with that now-famous slogan: "Turn on, tune in, and drop out". It can also be argued that the long-term effects of all this acid on the heads of America's hipsters led the "peace and love" generation toward a feeling of general malaise and political apathy, which eventually transformed into a Yuppified ideal driving Porches with cellphones plastered to their ears, talking to God-knows-who, and losing touch with their inner voice in the process. For yours truly, LSD seemingly opened my eyes to the infinite wonders of the Universe--or so it appeared at the time, though I often wonder if I--like countless others--wasn't played the fool in some gross charade of Goliath proportions. According the Mr. Keith, LSD was most likely used by intelligence agencies as a clever diversion; a means of diluting the wellspring of 60's political activism, and replacing it with some wish-washy brand of self-realization that equals pure delusion. What more--according to the thesis of Mass Control--any of us even remotely connected to the 60's counterculture were, in essence, used as blind laboratory rats in a huge behavior modification program; a grand experiment where such tools as "psychedelic drugs" and "sensitivity training" were among the vast arsenal used to blow our unsuspecting minds. In this respect, Keith paints a most compelling picture, and whether or not we choose to accept his conclusions, we would be foolish to, at least, not consider them. Personally, I find it hard to argue with this proposition, although I would contend that the Leary's and Kesey's of the world might very well have turned the tables on their MK-ULTRA "handlers", using the CIA's own weapons against them in this epic "battle for men's minds". As one studies this material, it must be noted that Jim Keith spoke from vast experience, having lived for a time in the Haight during the height of the 60's psychedelic scene, dropping a tab or two of Owsley Blue along the way, and even having an occasional run-in with an alien gray. Later, Jim was exposed first hand to what some have termed a "brainwashing cult", when he was an executive officer within the Church of Scientology. Through it all, he maintained his perspective and profound sense of humor. And while Jim was serious about his work, he nonetheless refused to take himself "too seriously", which is the exact folly many "conspiracy buffs" fall prey to, believing so deeply in any one conspiracy theory that they ultimately fall victim to that very same conspiracy.

As anyone who has become intimately involved in conspiracy research can readily attest, once we begin burrowing deep down into that rabbit's hole, it indeed has its own insidious tendency to suck us in ever further, sometimes to the point of no return. Some think this is what happened to Mae Brussell--and possibly Jim Keith, for that matter. If this is indeed the case, Jim probably would have gotten a perverse kick out of the whole thing; only fitting, it seems, for someone who spent the last couple decades of his life chasing tangent spectres such as Project Monarch, Alternative 3, and the elusive Men-In-Black. As Kenn Thomas noted: "If Jim Keith did not die as a result of a conspiracy, then I'm sure he would want us to make it look that way!" Granted, Jim was in no hurry to shed the mortal coil, but in so passing I'm sure he would have had no qualms about leaving behind a "conspiracy murder" mythos as his legacy. For those who knew Jim, the $64,000 question these days is whether or not he was actually killed by a conspiracy, and if so, exactly which one? The most popular rumor in this regard revolves around Keith's final article for Nitro News, the results of which--certain theorists contend--sealed Jim's fate, due to his naming of the physician who declared Princess Diana pregnant at the time of her death.

Personally, I doubt that it was any single conspiracy that did Jim in, but more likely (if, indeed, a conspiracy was responsible) the sum of all his far-reaching research over the years, culminating in his final two efforts, Mind Control, World Control and Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness, in which Keith perhaps put all the pieces of the "mind control" puzzle together more meticulously than anyone before him. Whatever the case, these two books certainly stand up there with other essential works in the field, such as Operation Mind Control, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, and The Control of Candy Jones.

In reality, Mass Control probably isn't the last "new book" we'll see from Jim Keith, as rumor has it there are several other unpublished manuscripts laying in wait for future publication. In word and deed, Jim lives on, a clear and distinct voice trying to muddle his way through the maze, a single flickering candle in a dark tunnel, helping to guide us through the madness of our times.
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** Circus of the Scars **
By Jan T. Gregor (with Tim Cridland)0966347900

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
When Jim Rose's Circus burst on to the scene in the early 90's, it created the sort of stir seldom seen since the glory days of freak shows traveling in rail cars 'cross the country, long before the advent of movie, radio, TV and rock n' roll.

So when Rose and his "Marvels" reinvented a medium that'd seemingly been buried by the dust of bygone years, it was not only to the punk and grunge set that the skewers-through-the-cheeks-and-pierced-nipples-stretched-beyond-the-point-of-recognition appealed to; what also attracted so many to Rose's puke and faint fests was some subconscious yearning on the part of your average Jane and Joe to have their sensibilities ripped to shreds by the faint-inducing feats of such performers as the Enigma, The Human Pincushion, Matt the Tube Crowley, not to mention the Amazing Mr. Lifto! In other words, it was the hippest show happening, and Circus of the Scars is the recounting of the halcyon days of Rose and his troupe, spanning the globe, as they did, in their constant efforts to push the envelope of the senses and send the weak-kneed reeling--or, in some cases, hurling. But like all magical stars with a meteoric ascent, this was a baby that burnt out fast, and is thus chronicled by former road manager Jan Gregor in his memorable account of the days and nights of a freak show haphazardly tossed into the modern milieu of groupies, drugs and rock n' roll.

Gregor (along with Tim Cridland aka The Human Pincushion aka Zamora The Torture King) pulls no punches in his portrait of life on the road with this band of lovable misfits who stumbled into a freak show that became larger than life, eventually blowing up in the face of its megalomaniacal leader (not unlike the hot water bottles The Tube blew-up as part of his act) precipitating a mutiny in the ranks, and the inevitable split-up of the original "Marvels".

Besides the engaging story of this troupe of lovable freaks, mention must also be made of the weird and wonderful illustrations of Ashleigh Talbot gracing Circus of the Scars, including the cover as well as over 100 pages. All in all, her work is strange eye candy that blends with Gregor's text in such a manner seldom seen in print media, with her spooky clown motifs adorning the start of each section, creating just the sort of twisted framework to set the mood for the wild roller coaster ride which unfolds. If you like freak shows, and roller coaster disasters, this is the book for you!
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** They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucer **
By Gray Barker (Illuminet Press, 1997), 1881532100

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
As much as any other so-called “saucer buff” active in the UFO scene during its halcyon days of the late fifties and early sixties, Gray Barker’s role in helping define the myth of the Flying Saucer was pivotal; a myth that is now but a faint murmuring in the minds of many current day UFO enthusiasts, who wear their alien implants like so many badges of courage, recalling twilight nightmares of alien Grey encounters under the blurry lens of hypnotic regression.

Frankly, I’ve grown bored with the legion of scoop-marked “victims” who have fallen in rank behind such curious proselytizers as Hopkins, Mack, Strieber, I must also agree with my friend, Greg Bishop, who sees more redeeming qualities in the Contactees of old, than he does in the current day onslaught of Abductees. This is due mainly to the humorless martyr status Abductees have adopted, all the while professing that their experiences are inevitably for the greater good of humankind. It’s kind of like the molester who tries to convince the molested that all his fondlings and deep caresses are done as a way of nurturing--and of expressing love for--his victim. Alas, contradictions abound. No wonder the Abductees are such a confused lot. Somehow one feels they have been duped on one level or another, whether by the paradoxical actions of their alien “benefactors”, or by the leading questions of hypnotherapists with a pro-alien abduction bias. But ah, the Contactees were a different breed indeed. And while in retrospect, they come across even less convincing than their current day counterparts--these legions of the probed and implanted--at least the Contactees were fun.

This brings us back to Gray Barker, one of the legendary pioneers in the UFO field, and the newly reissued volume of his classic tome, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, originally published way back in 1956. This is a fun book, by golly. And whether you accept it as the Gospel regarding the Men In Black, or as a fantasy spun to amuse and astound, its overall impact in the history of UFO’s is paramount.

For those who delved into this arcane area of early UFO research--and the many quaint and curious volumes that were produced within its motley ranks--one is at first taken aback by the sheer volume of funky weirdness that was he offspring of the early UFO Contactees and Investigators. Many of these books were purely amateur, self-published memoirs, chronicling the sometimes less than literate accounts of Contactee visitations with blonde Venusian bombshells, (“tops in shapeliness and beauty”) or glorious flights on Martian spaceships over the mountains of the moon. Even the more seriously and professionally published books in the field were often the products of dedicated UFO researchers whose enthusiasm for the subject far outweighed any literary merit. This is exactly where one separates Gray Barker from the legion of hacks--flaky or otherwise--who inhabited the literary gutters of U-fool-ology during its heyday, before such trendy terminology as Greys, Abductees and Underground Babes had entered the popular lexicon associated with the phenomenon.

Unlike so many others involved in the early days of The Flying Saucer Cottage industry, Barker retained a healthy skepticism, peppered with a wry sense of humor that was frequently lacking in the field. His books were a breath of fresh air, well-written, sometimes humorous when the effect was called for, and always entertaining as he related to his captivated readers the high strangeness surrounding the mystery of the UFO, and related paranormal events.

What began as a natural curiosity about strange lights in the sky became for Gray Barker, whether he liked it or not, a life long involvement in a field that many claim was a Mindfuck he used to amuse himself; a way of weaving tall tales and tweaking the small minds who had insulated themselves in the frequently goofy lore of saucerdom. Barker, it seems, was only too happy to oblige these dupes, by staging hoaxes and stretching the truth as far as he could take it; to keep the myth of flying saucers alive and spinning ‘round the heads and starry eyes of the “true believers”.

In recent times, it has come to light that Barker, along with Saucer Smear editor Jim Moseley, perpetrated one such major Mindfuck on the unsuspecting and well known UFO Contactee, George Adamski. Eventually the FBI became involved in the case, due to the fact that Moseley and Barker had sent out letters on absconded State Department Stationary to various people involved in the UFO scene, including Adamski. These spurious letters--dictated by some shadowy government agency that Barker and Moseley dreamt up out of thin air--confirmed the startling existence of extraterrestrials visiting the Earth! When Adamski started making noise to various government officials about the content of these letters, the FBI traced them back to Barker’s typewriter, which Barker immediately dismantled and buried in a wall to distance himself from the situation. After Barker’s death in 1986, Moseley finally came clean, revealing this long held secret.

While in recent interviews, Moseley remembers Barker as a good friend, fellow hoaxer and drinking buddy, Barker’s depiction of Moseley in They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers is that of a mystery man who appeared on the fifties UFO scene out of nowhere, and who many fellow researchers believed was a disinformation agent, or at best, a slick con man. As one begins to separate the wheat from chaff, it can possibly be deduced that Barker was attempting to create an aura around Moseley of a “mystery man”, as well as blowing a smoke screen to obscure his own clandestine relationship with him. More than anything, Barker’s depiction of Moseley was probably something the two hoaxers laughed about over drinks and behind closed doors, their own private in-joke meant expressly to mess with the minds of the gullible UFO crowd. Perhaps with similar intent, Barker depicts UFO investigator Albert Bender--the central figure in They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers--and Bender’s fabled meeting with the Three Men In Black. There was probably an element of truth to this famous story, but where the line between fact and fiction blurs is anyone’s guess. But that’s the joy of reading a Gray Barker book: Trying to figure out where the truth ends and fiction begins, and enjoying yourself in the process. Thus it seems fitting that John Keel has written the intro to this book, as he was well has made a career for himself by following the same ambiguous guidelines as Gray Barker: illuminating our minds and laughing all the way to the bank in one fell swoop.

We can thank Gray Barker for many things, including the enduring mystery of the Men In Black, which They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers helped launched some forty-odd years ago. Whether real or imagined, this mystery has enriched and haunted many a life, as have the prospect of alien ships from far off worlds entering our landscape and forever transforming our minds.
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** Saucers of the Illuminati **
By Jim Keith (Illuminet Press, 1999)1881532038

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
The long-awaited reprint and revised edition of Jim Keith’s classic Saucers of the Illuminati--originally published in a limited researchers edition of 200 copies back in ’93, under Keith’s pseudonym of Jay Katz--is finally available again, though rumors of its re-publication have been bouncing around the conspiracy research network now for the last several years.

Keith, the author of no less than 10 conspiracy related titles--who died under mysterious circumstances on September 9th of this year--considered Saucers of the Illuminati as perhaps his most important and provocative work, outlining--as it does--the UFO Phenomenon as a product of mass manipulation at the hands of New World Order spies, occultists and mind control sorcerers, more commonly referred to in some quarters as “The Illuminati”.

It was in the late 80’s/early 90’s that a handful of researchers--namely Martin Cannon, Alex Constantine and John Judge--started kicking around the controversial theory that Alien Abductions were a cover for MK-ULTRA mind control shenanigans perpetrated by Intelligence Agency spooks and “spychiatrists”. It was from this jumping-off-point that Mr. Keith went on to construct his own unique theory suggesting that various Illuminati off-shoots--from Freemasonry to the Sovereign Knights of Malta--were in cahoots with elements of the Intelligence Community determined to bring about a New World Order using UFO’s and New Age Philosophies as the basis for a One World Religion, which would inevitably usher in a tyrannical reign masquerading as a new age of enlightenment for mankind.

Keith--unlike your garden variety “conspiracy theorist”--refused to be pigeon-holed in the role of a wide-eyed conspiracy-spouting zealot unable to separate the “signal” from the “noise”. Unlike the popular conception of “conspiracy theorist”, Jim was a unique soul, who--in a Zen-like Guinness-Stout-sipping sort of way--attempted to see behind the everyday veil of illusion that seems to shroud our existence. He pursued this task relentlessly, and on an everyday basis, beginning first with his ground-breaking ‘zine Dharma Combat, and then afterwards followed by a slew of titles that addressed damn near every popular conspiracy theory to rear its ugly head in the last decade or so, in the process charting some pretty unique waters that only a soul with a sense of grand adventure could circum-navigate.

Some would suggest that Jim was on the business end of some similar conspiracy of evil, like the very same ones he investigated during his all-too-short-49-years upon this wacky planet. As SteamShovel Press Publisher Kenn Thomas has noted: ”If Jim Keith did not die as the result of a conspiracy, then I’m sure he would have wanted us to make it look that way!”

In the final analysis, I don’t know if Saucers of the Illuminati was Jim’s most important work, but like everything else he did it bears the stamp of a rare intellect who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, nor live his life to its fullest.

Here’s to you, Jim!

The next round?s on me.
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** A Magical Journey With Carlos Castaneda **
By Margaret Runyan Castaneda
(Millenia Press) 0595153186

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
While no one will ever be able to conclusively pin down and explain the enigma known as Carlos Castaneda, perhaps the closest we’ll ever get to the ‘real Carlos’ can be found at last in A Magical Journey With Carlos Castaneda.

In previous issues of The Excluded Middle appeared a three part article--written by yours truly--entitled The Trickster of Truths , which in retrospect comes off more as a debunking exercise, than it does a true unmasking and understanding of Castaneda. If I had only read A Magical Journey beforehand, I might have been able to place a few more pieces of this paradoxical puzzle together. But as anyone knows who has tried to tackle the weighty subject of the Castaneda mythos, it is just as difficult a proposition as tackling one of Carlos’ fearsome “allies.” I think as close as we’ll ever get to unmasking this myth is now before us in Margaret Castaneda’s memoir, presenting, as she does, the ‘real Carlos’--warts and all--or at least as close to the real Carlos as we’ll probably ever get, now that he has joined don Juan in the Great Beyond, or wherever it is that Yaqui brujos go.

The reason no one really knew Castaneda--Margaret points out--is because he often went out of his way to propagate the legend of the seldom seen ?mystery man?, not only as a means of misdirecting his adoring ?New Age? fan base, but also as a way to escape his past; to leave behind all attachments, and in this way become a ?true man of knowledge?, which was Carlos? ultimate goal. Never has there been someone so successful--both financially and pop-celebrity-wise--as Carlos, who could just the same go unnoticed walking down a busy street in a major American city. Margaret suggests that this was never an easy ?path of heart? for Carlos to follow, but one that he was nonetheless dedicated to, and suffered over, because it meant not only severing himself from his past, but also from those he loved, such as Margaret herself, and Carlos? beloved stepson, Chocho.

In the final analysis, Margaret brings a level of humanity to the Carlos? myth, which only she could understand. And though her book may be considered a further debunking of this myth, it will ultimately help the reader--skeptic and true believer alike--to understand what motivated Castaneda, and how he was able to translate his unique vision into a slew of best sellers that will marvel and mystify generations to come.
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** The Christ Conspiracy: **
The Greatest Story Ever Sold

By Acharya S (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999) 0932813747

Reviewed by Adam Gorightly
In The Christ Conspiracy, classical scholar Acharya S takes aim at perhaps the most touchy target of them all: the historical accuracy of Jesus Christ, and the resultant ripples that have manifested themselves through the legend of his alleged birth, crucifixion, resurrection, and subsequent commercialization. In her treatise, Acharya asserts that it's all just one big monumental hoax perpetrated down through the years by politically motivated Christians – and other agenda-driven charlatan of yore – as a method of mass human control. Her thesis, of course, is nothing new; what makes this book unique is the manner in which the argument is conclusively laid out, leaving the reader either complete convinced, or totally shaken in their previous convictions. Of course, those who to need to read this book the most will probably never have the courage to do so, continuing, as is their wont, to wallow in the mire of blind faith.

Acharya S pulls no punches, beating her adversary to a bloody pulp, and quite obviously deriving great pleasure from the pummeling she doles out. This war of words, it seems, is a battle the author takes most seriously in her righteous quest to undo 2000 years of mental slavery inflicted upon humankind by the same sort of manipulators that have given us such popular mythologies as the Gulf War, Barbie and the Marlboro Man. Acharya is relentless – and her research, nothing less than exhaustive – as point by point she blows the figurative fish out of the water, leaving it to flop pathetically about, faced with the overwhelming evidence she has uncovered; evidence that brings to light a vast conspiracy rooted in plundered mythologies and biblical forgeries which have formed the basis for the popular mass conception (misconception) of Jesus Christ.

Buy this book before it's banned or burned.
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