Offline Illumination

Notes on Conspiracy Theories

By Jim Keith

I recently wrote a scathing review of the latest book by David Icke, The Biggest Secret. What I am mostly critical of in the Icke's work is sloppy thinking; but on reflection it occurred to me that that is what gets my goat a large portion of the field of UFO/conspiracy writing. The main problem with most conspiracy theorization these days is that many if not most writers as well as readers seem not to have developed anything like an ability to reason, to think well, to discriminate between probable truth and probable falsehood.

Certainly there is a sliding scale in this matter, with raving lunacy at one end and Aristotle at the other. I don't claim to be the role model of rationality to which all should kowtow, by any means. For one thing, I have never read a book on the subject of logic, nor have I taken any academic courses in same. I'm not sure, frankly, that those activities would have improved my thinking, being somewhat of an anti-academic, myself. My belief is that, by and large, the academic system turns out stunted sheep, not the kind of hepcats whose writing I personally dig.

There are, without a doubt, certain examples of sloppy thinking that could be pointed out in my own work. Perhaps this shortcoming would have been prevented if I had gone beyond sixth grade in my academic career. I might also not be quite so prone to such criticism if I didn't have to hit deadlines, since I am one of those odd moon-colored creatures who make their living by bashing out books. But I do believe that in some instances I am able to recognize sloppy thinking in my fellow practitioners of, and writers about, UFOs and conspiracy.

Icke is one example of the run-of-the-mill in this type of writing today. He is part of a muddle-headed pack that includes many, if not most writers in conspiracy and UFOs, with some of the most well-known suspects being Bill Cooper, George Andrews, Al Bielek, Art Bell, John Lear, Brad Steiger, just about every New Age writer who ever came down the pike, and plenty of others whom I disremember at the moment. For some reason, the UFO field, moreso than the political conspiracy field, seems to specialize in this sort of fugghead.

What primarily characterizes a crappy thinker in these fields is that they are stunted in their ability to separate fact from fiction, truth from lies. This can be entertaining, especially to a reviewer with a latent streak of sadism, but it is usually not very enlightening. They can be like Icke, a person who does not even really try to sort out the differentiation between fact and fantasy: to them it is all the same, and if somebody, somewhere said it, then it has to be true. Oh, yeah, Icke gives endless sticky lip service to how careful he is about corroborating his facts, but the bottom line is that his writing and thinking are completely scatterbrained. With a guy like Icke, the ravings of obvious paranoid lunatics and droolers are as much grist for his cogitation as a sober, reasoned examinations, like the kind my friends do. Because they heard it somewhere, that is all it takes for it to be factored in to their mental database.

Believing that something is true solely because someone said it and didn't blink is one of the major pitfalls of conspiracy thinking. The fact is, many people are stone lunatics who carry on extended dialogues with their toaster ovens, and are far from being reliable witnesses to fact. People are also prone to tell really reeking fish stories (particularly if there is a book royalty in it), and sometimes to lying to themselves. I have a friend who is like that. He has invented a rather extensive alternative universe in which he is rather wiser, more experienced, is really quite dapper, and has played a much more heroic role in events than he did in real life. He seemingly believes that this altered reality is what actually took place, and will argue so until you remind him of what actually happened. Then he grins sheepishly and talks about his unpleasant childhood and how his dad used to whup him with a belt. He still functions in genteel society in somewhat normal fashion; in fact he is the author of a recent popular book. But if one examines the facts he portrays of his life, it quickly becomes apparent that he has altered them extensively: even, apparently, in his own recollections. Perhaps everyone does this to some extent as a citadel against vicious fate, particularly if they are L. Ron Hubbard. The point is that just because someone says they were abducted by aliens does not necessarily mean that they were, and just because someone said they officiated at a zombie satanic ritual in the White House, that does not mean that it actually took place.

Corroboration by other witnesses is not always a perfect fail-safe, either. Sometimes their friends are whacked, in fact they usually are.

There is also such a thing as contamination of stories and memories; that is, the alteration of stories due to interpretations that have been obtained from others. For instance, if the UFO abduction tale of a witness who happens to be a big fan of Star Trek oddly has many details identical to those in Star Trek, it would be best to question if some contamination of thinking hasn't taken place. If a person is a Mormon, and the ufonauts lectured him on Jesus hitchhiking the Americas before Columbus arrived, one has to wonder. Conspiracy and UFO stories circulate as urban legends, snowballing into scenarios that are eventually believed by almost the entirety of the field; it is sometimes not factored in that those stories can be influenced by lying, misperception and delusion.

It seems to me that the basic abilities required for clear thinking in UFO/conspiracy research are to grade information for plausibility, as well as the requisite wits to skillfully associate information, to be able to relate it to other information. You need to be able to do both to some extent. If you cannot separate out credible reports from obvious humbug and self-aggrandizing claptrap, then your own thinking will be a mishmash and the aliens under your bedstead will eventually end up pulling you through a hole into their subterranean domain, but at least we'll be done with you.

I admit that there is a place for a touch of madness in good conspiracy writing. This is the realm of the inspired madman; guys like James Shelby Downard, Richard Shaver, Kerry Thornley; some of my personal favorites. To put out really primo conspiracy work, one has to be willing to go beyond the boundaries of what is normally considered sanity, and to entertain notions that the herd mentality would never consider. For my part, I rule out almost nothing as a possibility in this universe. This sometimes gets me in trouble with the UFO true believers' evil nemesis, the scientific skeptic who will admit to nothing other than the Big Bang and the ultimate efficacy of ballpoint pocket caddies.

Sometimes gung-ho UFO types, or mind control buffs, or JFK assassination freaks will accuse me of having a closed mind, since I won't cop to notions that they are certain are true, such as Bill Cooper's contention that the driver of the limo was the guy who shot JFK. That just isn't the case. I reject that scenario not because it is heretical, but because it is not supported by the facts.

I am willing to imagine that virtually anything is true, I just try to be careful about what theories I am willing to put in my mind: these days, you just don't know where they've been.

Jim Keith's new book, Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness, is available from


MILABS: Military Mind Control and Alien Abduction (IllumiNet) opens with a precautionary warning from C.B.Scott Jones that resistance to UFO research may have less to do with actual saucer events than the fact that UFOs may be used to disguise human mind control operations. Dr. Helmet Lammer, a geophysicist and planetary scientist, and Marion Lammer, a law student in Austria, review the familiar MKULTRA and ARTICHOKE projects with a closer look at classified material than many previous attempts. This is especially so in relation to how these notorious psyops continue into the present, via the alien abduction spectacle and with the newer technologies of implants and genetics. The book argues for military over actual aliens, which makes for a scarier thesis. Among its many illustrations, photos, x-rays and other documentation, readers will find a reproduction of the August 17, 1960 memo from MKULTRA Subproject 119, designed "to make a critical review of the literature and scientific development related to the recording, analysis and interpretation of bio-electric signals from the human organism." This is the memo that suggests military interest in Wilhelm Reich, one of the first scientists to collect and study such data. The memo was mentioned in the Steamshovel book, Mind Control Oswald and JFK, which reprints the 1968 book on mind control technology called Were We Controlled? MILABS refers also to Were We Controlled? (disappointingly without reference to the value-added Steamshovel version), and otherwise contains reference to the technologies presented there, RHIC and EDOM, based on the work on Jose DelGado. MILABS adds considerably to the mind control library because it brings it into the contemporary framework, including the fascinating research and experience of Melinda Leslie.

Lost Continents and the Hollow Earth

Although it reprints I Remember Lemuria and The Shaver Mystery by Richard Shaver, almost half of Lost Continents and The Hollow Earth consists of original material by the maverick archaeological heretic and historian David Hatcher Childress. Childress spells out the lore regarding UFOs and Antarctica, the tunnel systems in South America and under-the-surface civilization in central Asia. Childress' perpetual circumnavigation of the globe and its mystery spots, as well as his love of rare books and obscure historical sources, make him uniquely valuable in placing the Shaver material in a real world context. He devotes one new chapter to the history of Shaver's volumionus a rant on underground beings called Deros and Teros channeled to a Pennsylvanian welder through his equipment and published in Ray Palmer's pulp magazines of the 1940s and 50s. It offers some biography of Shaver and Palmer, but also looks at the zines (Shavertron; Hollow Earth Insider) and subculture that evolved around hollow earth speculation, some of it intensely funny. Steamshovel readers waiting for the release of Maury Island UFO will find this important background reading, as Palmer played a key role in the 1947 events at Maury Island. (An appendix on Shaver written by Conspiracy Nation's Brian Redman will appear in Maury Island UFO.) Another chapter by Childress, "The Search for the Hollow Earth" provides an even more expanded historical overview of beliefs and explorations regarding subterranean humanity. The book comes lavishly illustrated--many Shavertron covers and cartoons--and reproduces "I Remember Lemuria" and "The Shaver Mystery" from the pages of the original edition. That alone makes it a good buy. Childress' exercise of his erudition on the the topic, however, makes it--ahem--an underground classic.


Last month Sarita Vendetta's exhibition at Los Angeles' La Luz de Jesus Gallery left a profoundly disturbing impression on the gathered art connoiseurs and Feral House party dogs. Vendetta illustrated Struwwelpeter: Fearful Stories and Vile Pictures to Instruct Good Little Folks by Heinrich Hoffman, and published by His Beastliness, Adam Parfrey. Vendetta's visual imagination almost perfectly matches the sadistic qualities of the book. It reproduces the 1845 children's classic in its entirety from the original book by Heinrich Hoffmann, including a World War II political parody, Struwwelhitler, and introductory exposition by folklore expert Jack Zipes (The Lion and the Unicorn). This edition of Struwwelpeter comes deluxely packaged in 176 thick, glossy, 8x11 pages. From the cover copy: "Warning! This Children's Book Is Not For Children! Struwwelpeter [threatens] children with the consequences that befall the disordered and disorderly. Thumbs are sheared off, eyes fall out of sockets, faces are pecked to death and bodies waste to nothing. Though castigated in recent years for its sadistic approach to child-rearing, Struwwelpeter remains a cultural phenomenon … translated into many languages, the subject of a popular German museum, and the unmistakeable influence of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which also disposes of wretched kids in rhyme."

The X-Rated Bible:

An Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures

by Ben Akerley Feral House

Click on cover to order!

Reviewed by Acharya S

The X-Rated Bible, a survey of sex in the Holy Bible, is simply one of the best books on the market. It should be mandatory reading, particularly in consideration of the fact that the “Good Book” is pushed worldwide as “God’s Word.” As “X-Rated’s” author, Ben Akerley, points out in detail, the Old Testament is full of sexual perversion, not only on the part of “infidels” but also on that of the “chosen people,” whom most people have been led to believe were godly, pious individuals who never did anything remotely “bad.” Au contraire! The “great patriarchs” and “heroes” of the Old Testament would be considered perverts and criminals by today’s social and moral standards. But the New Testament also does not escape criticism, as Akerley reveals the bizarre and pathological attitudes regarding sex therein as well.

When The X-Rated Bible first came out in 1985, even though it was published by a small company it received some serious attention, and Akerley was forced into debates on radio and TV programs. His critics were unable to point out any serious flaws in his work and research – because he was merely quoting the “Holy Scriptures,” not making anything up! For freethinkers and believers alike, Akerley has done a great service, because the Bible is a manual designed to manipulate the masses. The fact that very few believers actually read the “Good Book” and know little about its endless chronicling of perversion and genocide, constitutes proof that it serves as mind-control, as does the fact that those selfsame believers mindlessly believe the Bible is some great, spiritual work because their priests and pastors have selectively fed them “feel-good” passages. In reality, a close examination of the Bible will nauseate all but the most insensate. As the great statesman Thomas Paine said, quoted by Akerley:

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

And the eminent freethinker Robert Ingersoll stated:

“Nobody holds with greater contempt than I the writers, publishers, or dealers in obscene literature. One of my objections to the Bible is that it contains hundreds of grossly obscene passages not fit to be read by any decent man; thousands of passages, in my judgment, calculated to corrupt the minds of youth.”

Ben Akerley has compiled these various obscene passages in one easy-to-read book that loosens the bonds of erroneous beliefs which have caused inconceivable carnage and turmoil upon this planet. And his wonderful work has now been re-published in a beautifully done layout by the experts at Feral House. The back cover blurb runs, “That’s right, friends. We’re talking about the Holy Bible, a book filled with incest, rape, adultery, exhibitionism, debauchery, abortion, prostitution, drugs, bestiality, castration, scatology – all the nasty stuff!” In exposing the Bible’s “dirty little secrets,” Akerley cites scripture, chapter and verse, and explains sexual euphemisms and innuendoes designed to go over the heads of the common folk, which they obviously have. The X-rated Bible is truly a unique book that should be read by all who are interested in what the Bible really says.

The Secret Behind Secret Societies:

Liberation of the Planet in the 21st Century

by Jon Rappoport

(Truth Seeker Company, Inc.; P.O. Box 28550; San Diego, CA 92198)
(as heard on Jeff Rense's Sightings on the Radio archive 10/12/98)

Reviewed by Frank Altomonte

Jon Rappoport, for those unfamiliar with him, is one of those men for all seasons. An investigative reporter by trade, he is really a philosopher at heart. His previous publications, Aids Inc.:The Scandal of the Century, Oklahoma City Bombing:The Suppressed Truth and Madalyn Murray O'Hair: "The Most Hated Woman in America were all investigative in nature, but this latest work is not one of those, entirely. The subject category printed on the back cover is 'Self Actualization'. His more recent book, Lifting the Veil: David Icke Interviewed by Jon Rappoport, is a preview of the format for this latest publication.

In Rappoport's down to earth 'man on the street' style of journalism, we are taken on a journey through one man's time and memory of early experiences that created the foundation for his quest for truth and individual freedom. Along the way we are treated to interviews with people who have belonged to secret societies and those from a different camp, one where the innate power of the individual is manifested and practiced. We are shown how these two camps are in direct opposition to one another, i.e., how the secret societies keep this power from the individual, herding all of society along as common cattle.

The journey begins in Greenwich Village, New York in 1961. Fresh out of Amherst College with a degree in Philosophy, Rappoport was working his last day at a bookstore. In walks a man who asks about books on healing. All they had were books by Wilhelm Reich, if that was what he wanted. The man claimed he had all of those in French and German despite the US ban having been lifted. He makes a remark about Reich being 'on the inside' but having found out a lot for someone in his position. Rappoport a bit of a skeptic points out Reich was a student of Freud who breaks away and dies in jail. The man explains that 'inside' is a relative term but compared to Reich the healing he is referring is '...on Mars. These people don't write books.' This man explains he makes his living by treating sick people. Rappoport, very curious, now has to find out what this man, Richard Jenkins, is talking about. He invites Rappoport to his apartment to watch as he performs on his clients.

For the next year Rappoport is introduced to an unwritten tradition of healing where someone lies down on a table and the practioner, Jenkins in this case, appears to move energy around the person's body using his hands. The people report many things besides a return to health. Some are there simply to explore the effects of this energy manipulation on their minds. Rappoport begins to apprentice. After that year, Jenkins and his wife leave New York to finish their long time search for the origins of this tradition, having told Rappoport of what they had learned so far.

Rappoport continues to treat clients on his own, learning from his own silent inner dialogue when practicing and listening carefully to accounts of their physical and psychic experiences. This 'Tradition of Imagination', as he grew to identify it, becomes the major theme in this book contrasted in depth with its antithesis, the 'Formula of the Secret Society'. We are compelled to join in a search for the beginnings of this tradition. Where did it originate? Who originated it? What else did they know? Rappoport reveals the clues he was given from a personal source, a contact to the forebearer of Richard Jenkins, and looks to the present and reaches back into history and time immemoriam chasing down avenues and corridors for this priceless understanding of a hidden tradition in human history. We visit the Dead Sea Scrolls, advanced paranormal powers, Dean Radin, Giordano Bruno and mystical Tibetan Buddhism.

Alongside this theme of the 'Tradition of Imagination' we are also guided through a detailed anatomy lesson on the 'Formula of the Secret Society'. With X-Ray perception, Rappoport spells it out for us. "The tradition is the opposite of the formula of the secret society, a cult, a religion and institution that creates art in order to imprison the mind. The opposite."

Being a painter himself, Rappoport attributes the brushstroke of imagination to the powers secret societies wield to create a picture in which everyone of us is framed among the powerful system of archetypal symbols. We are told nothing exists outside the frame and the only way to achieve bliss is through 'us' and our construction of leaders and hierarchies.

We are presented with several eyewitnesses, people who have left cults, a hypnotist and deprogrammer and their stories in first hand interviews of how manipulation according to the formula and its emerging corollaries is effected. Here we get close looks at the Roman Catholic Church, Masonry, The Knights Templar, Theosophy and of course this wouldn't be complete without Nazi Germany and collusion with US investors, CIA and MKULTRA, CFR, Trilateralists and American multinational corporations. That last category is stunning. Rappoport believes and exposes as fact that today our major multinational corporations, e.g, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, etc., function no differently than secret societies of old.

In the last parts of the book we look at contemporary pesonalities that personify this 'Tradition of Imagination'. Most memorable was an interview with Ted Clarke, US space program engineer for JPL, who tells us about his fantastic vision for the future. Also text is devoted to hypnotist and deprogrammer, Jack True, who has personally witnessed the affects of the 'Formula of the Secret Society', and further help describe the function and dynamics of this tool. There are in addition several case studies presented of individuals who have chosen to develop their own 'Tradition of Imagination'. The sessions documented by the author are most intriguing, offering the needed motivation for one to experiment on his own.

In summation, this is one man's Opus Magnus. It comes from deep inside, incorporating nearly all of his adult life's work. The book is more than investigative journalism. It is a wake up call; not in the typical sense to become aware of what is going on around you, but a call to wake up to who you really are. It will entertain and at the same time cause you to think and ponder your position in the grand scheme ot things as a rational human being, who may have on one occaision considered what this 'rat race' is all about and questioned: 'Is that all there is?'.

The Phoenix Solution: Secrets of a Lost Civilisation

by Alan E. Alford

Reviewed by Acharya S

In The Phoenix Solution: Secrets of a Lost Civilisation, British author Alan Alford brings novel and interesting insights into the "lost civilization" theory made famous by Plato nearly 2,500 years ago. By his own description a "non-expert," Alford began his quest with a study of the mysteries of the Pyramids and Sphinx of the Giza plateau; soon he was encountering hidden knowledge which revealed, in his words, "that the match between mythology and astronomy is somewhat on the order of 100 per cent." Alford concludes that such knowledge was precise enough to suggest a lost, pre-historic culture of tremendous advancement.

Alford starts his story with the mysterious Sphinx, the date of which has lately been challenged and pushed back thousands of years, ostensibly based on geological observations. This view, of course, is rejected by orthodox Egyptologists, who are not prepared to accept its implications: To wit, that a technologically advanced culture existed eons before the current era of human history. This rejection continues despite the tantalizing evidence presented by such mavericks as von Daniken, John Anthony West, Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval. As Alford points out, it seems unreasonable that the orthodoxy denies the antiquity of Egyptian culture while embracing that of other cultures.

Regarding the Sphinx itself, Alford reiterates the fact that its head is too small for its body and the hypothesis that it had been recarved, possibly millennia after the original, which may have been a lion or, possibly, a dog. As concerns the Great Pyramid, Alford points out that it seems to have been built at the same time as the Sphinx and posits that it is the oldest pyramid in Egypt. The new date of the Great Pyramid thoroughly disturbs the orthodoxy and raises perplexing questions as to construction methods, questions that have always existed, since the Pyramid is among the most astounding feats of engineering ever devised by human hands - how much more astonishing is this feat if pushed back several centuries or millennia?

In his analysis of the age of the Pyramid, Alford dissects and dispenses with the "evidence" of it having been constructed by the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh, Khufu, or Cheops, "discovered" by English traveler Col. Howard Vyse, who claimed to have found "inscriptions" hidden in the "construction chambers" above the so-called King's Chamber. These inscriptions, Alford concludes, are bogus, an opinion concurred with by this reviewer. He also disposes of the cherished notion that all Egyptian pyramids were built as tombs, a belabored opinion that should in all reasonableness be put to rest. Reiterating the words of Bauval, Alford says, " . . . the Great Pyramid has a complexity akin to some giant machine which is beyond our comprehension." To turn the Great Pyramid into a "tomb" built by a megalomaniacal Pharaoh using slave labor degrades it tremendously and buries its magnificent secrets under a mound of the mundane.

Alford hypothesizes that the Great Pyramid, Sphinx and other "ooparts" ("out-of-place-artifacts") were not built by 4th Dynasty kings but were adopted by later dynasties, an idea that causes great distress to Egyptian Egyptologists, who have loathed the idea that anyone but the known Egyptian state built the Great Pyramid, because it implies that another race was involved. It is worthwhile mentioning that the current Egyptian people is not the same as the ancient, so this ethnic pride should not be a factor in any case. Alford asks, "Is it so crazy to suggest that the unique design of the Great Pyramid was a legacy from an earlier, more advanced culture?" He then continues, "In my view, it is certainly less crazy than continuing to believe that the Pyramid was constructed as a tomb for a dead king, and that he built this totally over-engineered and revolutionary wonder of the world with absolute perfection at the first attempt." While marveling at its construction, however, Alford refrains from ascribing this wonder of engineering to "aliens" with superior technology, as is one popular theory of today.

In his examination of the ancient Egyptian religion, although not an expert, Alford does a decent job, apparently without the benefit of the important body of work produced by such extraordinary mythicists and experts on Egyptian religion as Gerald Massey, Albert Churchward and Barbara Walker. Alford also displays astute insight as to the duplicity and chicanery of priests, who deliberately change myths in order to establish their superiority over rivals. Whereas so many before him have utterly failed to appreciate the cosmic, rather than mundane and historical, significance of the Egyptian myths, Alford steps up to the plate and gets a hit, although he stumbles and misses the mark on a number of highly important aspects. "Could these 'gods,'" he asks, "represent celestial bodies and their cycles?" - an query to which this reviewer says, "Amen!" If, however, Alford had encountered the works of those great scholars mentioned above, he would not have needed to ask this and other questions, such as whether the enigmatic "Ennead" were the nine planets, because he would have more clearly seen that the ancient Egyptian religion is a version of the ubiquitous, standardized celestial mythos that revolves around the daily, monthly, annual and equinoctial movements of the known heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon, stars and planets, rather than unknown bodies and cosmic cataclysms ŕ la Velikovsky and Sitchin, towards whose work Alford fortunately later turns a critical eye. This initial error and oversight undermines Alford's main thesis, however, and makes a significant portion of his book tedious to read, with Alford himself failing to live up to the principle of Occam's Razor ("invent no unnecessary hypotheses"). Alford nevertheless brings some new and valuable insight into Egyptian religion and, by extension, that of many other parts of the world, and assists in restoring the monumental, cosmic significance of these myths, which have been dismissed and denigrated by later cultures. Also, he does get briefly back on track when he attempts to synthesize the "exploding planet hypothesis" with the important celestial mythos, as well as with his short discussion of freemasonry; for, it is within the secrets of masonry that we will find many of the answers to our questions about ancient and modern cultures. It is masons who built the pyramids and who created the celestial mythos that has been the basis of nearly every religion, as they were also master astrologers, not just astronomers, who encoded their extensive knowledge within the Great Pyramid, which thus serves as a "cosmic computer," as well as a temple of great importance.

This awesome cosmological understanding, then, cries out for the explanation provided by the Lost Civilization Theory. In explaining this lost, technologically advanced culture, Alford suggests that it may have consisted of "wandering nomads" of the type we would expect of space explorers. This nomadic theory would explain why there is little evidence of a "full-blown" civilization at Giza that would allow for an early date for its construction. "Why should we assume that the Sphinx and Pyramids were the brainchild of 'local' sedentary cultures?" he asks, and then continues, "Perhaps we should instead be searching for a wandering race who eschewed the idea of the organised state, being motivated instead by something other than power and vainglory."

In sum, this reviewer enjoyed Alford's book, as it combines scholarship with creative thinking, providing some reasonable solutions to the flaws of both the orthodox and unorthodox opinions concerning these great mysteries of human history. Especially enjoyable is his insistence upon restoring to the ancients their proper level of wisdom and advancement, long subordinated by culturally biased "experts" who have depicted these peoples as little more than cavemen who "accidentally" blundered upon the ability to create amazing and mesmerizing tales and megalithic buildings.

Acharya S is a classically trained archaeologist, historian, mythologist, linguist and expert on the celestial mythos. She is the author of three books, Paradise Found, The Aquarian Manifesto, and The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Her website is Truth Be Known.


The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy

Adventures Unlimited Press

Jerry E. Smith provides the first full-blown conspiracy analysis of the HAARP project since Nick Begich first brought the subject up in his famous book, Angels Don't Play This HAARP. HAARP, of course, stands for High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, and it consists of an antennae array, still under construction, situated along the Copper River near Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. It's just a research facility for topography and upper atmosphere study according to the Department of Defense. Everyone knows better, of course, and the chore has been to figure out its true purpose. Beam weaponry? Planetary defense shield? Mass mind manipulation? Weather control? Tesla technology? Smith asks all of these questions and examines the hard evidence for the plausible ones and the reasons for rumor behind the rest. The book provides a wealth of hard data, with graphics and photos, to help readers understand the reality of the facility but complements that with well- documented speculation about even the strangest possibilities. Smith follows up observations like "[Some] think it will be used by the New World Order to take over the world by projecting holographic images into the sky while beaming thoughts directly into our heads, telling us to accept the 'new' god of their design" with a brief but careful history of the MKULTRA program and mind control technologies like RHIC-EDOM and how they might be applied to HAARP. UFOs enter the discussion, of course, and by book's end Smith examines the roots of UFO Illuminati control in freemasonry and an ancient plot to establish a theocratic world king. Small wonder that author Smith has known Steamshoveler Jim Keith since high school, and even worked in the zine world as part of Keith's old Dharma Combat. HAARP: The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy offers quite a tour de force, but readers need not follow the conspiratorializing to appreciate the science presented as well as the basic facts about HAARP.

From Oz to Ragnarok

The Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind

Review by Robert Sterling

In the novel and film “A Clockwork Orange”, a brave New World was predicted, where all of people’s material needs are met while true liberty has been destroyed. In response, gangs of nihilistic youths engage in violent and destructive acts, partly because it gives them their sole sense of independence and liberation. By the end of the story, the ruling class has used the youth’s ill behavior as propaganda for more restrictions on personal liberty and more control of the people.

In the United States, the urban street gangs have more than lived up to the grim warnings of Burgess and Kubrick, being used as a racial code word and officially sanctioned demon to pass legislation that violates basic constitutional rights. Less has been made here of the mainly (so far) European phenomenon of the Satanic Metal Underground, who fit the Clockwork Orange role so well it should be assumed to be an imitation of sorts. Nearly 100 churches have been torched and desecrated by the head-banging minions of the Black Metal scene, all with barely a word from the korporate media as we head to the end of the millennium. In “The Lords of Chaos”, Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind try to shine some light on the black hole of rock music, a light that is long overdue.

As the reviewer is a big fan of the now-discredited musical form known as Heavy Metal - albeit the more pop-flavored brand of the 80’s - the book was certainly of interest in seeing where metal has been going since its return to the gutters it came from. Apparently, the reviewer is not alone in his interest: the book has been the hot seller for beastly publisher Feral House since its release, with substantial aid provided by small-penised shock jock Howard Stern (who promoted the tome on his radio show) and his apparently more-literate-than-given-credit-for fans. The appeal is obvious: Satan sells, a fact than Anton LaVey exploited shamelessly until his recent death (an interview with the Church of Satan founder is included in the book.) Add some gasoline and matches, as well as an ugly subculture of a music form that glorifies hedonism and rebellion, and a recipe for a delicious use of paper is the result.

To their credit, Moynihan and Soderlind manage to guide the book through the dark muck wisely. Very easily, this story could be told in a lurid exploitative fashion - “I’m a Metal Satanist and I Burn Down Churches!!!” is a Jerry Springer episode just waiting to happen. (In fact, the book includes articles and pictures from Heavy Metal magazine Kerrang! that revel in such hysteria-mongering.) The other possibility is that the book could have been a dry, scholarly read, reporting the events without catching the flavor of that which is being reported. Avoiding the mistakes of Icarus, the duo present the material in an intelligent and entertaining style that is as fun as it is informative. This reviewer, for one, couldn’t put the book down.

Still, reading the book is a frustrating experience. This is not because of the writing, but because of the unfocused anger that the story’s protagonist are filled with, anger that fuels their ultimately destructive behavior. It’d be one thing if the Black Metalers were a group of morons. Far from it: Varg Vikernes, the charismatic leader of Burzum and perhaps the central character of this book, clearly is an intelligent guy and has a clue to what’s up. So was Euronymous, the late guitarist of Mayhem who was killed by Vikernes, a death that becomes the meat of the book. Even Mayhem’s drummer Hellhammer shows himself to be a sharp guy in interviews, no small feat considering most drummers are on par with Tommy Lee in the IQ department. So what the hell is their problem?

A clue is given in the book with the background history behind the sonic attack. Among the more important figures in the evolution tree of Black Metal are blues singer Robert Johnson, as well as Rock gods The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. The key figure, however, appears to be Ozzy Osbourne, the seminal icon of the Metal Milieu due to his ground-breaking band Black Sabbath and his just as impressive latter solo work. Osbourne and Sabbath came out of the hallucinogenic 60’s, an LSD-nightmare of gloom and doom that trampled on the flower children’s fantasies of peace and harmony with such songs as “Paranoid” and “Iron Man”. As their name implies, Ozzy and Sabbath were the shadow of the 60’s in full bloom, the dark side that Jagger and Jim Morrison could only hint at in comparison.

Contrary to popular belief (as the book emphasizes) Osbourne and Sabbath were certainly not Nihilist themselves, nor were they Satanists - not even in the LaVey “rational selfishness” sense. His controversial “Suicide Solution” song certainly doesn’t glorify killing oneself (though it certainly is sympathetic to those that contemplate it), and “Mr. Crowley” is more condemning than celebratory of the Great Beast himself. The truth is, Ozzy was (and is) a romantic idealist at heart, something which is proven undoubtedly by any examination of his lyrics. It wasn’t a rejection of the hippie value system that led to the fury in the Sabbath sound: rather, it was a rejection of the hippie naiveté. As Osbourne has since put it, “There was a lot of bullshit going on.” Osbourne saw the future too precisely: the military industrial komplex would stamp out any real revolt (Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, The Black Panthers, etc.) and the 60’s generation would sell out, become part of the korporate death machine they once supposedly fought against. Foreseeing this bleak future, Oz and Sabbath blared songs that copped an attitude that has since gone multi-platinum.

The problem, of course, is that Osbourne and company weren’t trying to glorify nihilism, but to wake people up to what they’re really going up against. Maybe something got lost in the translation. Or maybe Vikernes and his ilk, inheriting the future that Oz warned about, are left to senseless violence and destruction as their only option to shock people rather than getting with the program.

The necessity to shock is certainly understandable, but the vehicles the Black Metal adherents use are certainly at fault. Following the lead of Vikernes, the scene is loaded with neo-Nazis, racists, and homophobes, echoing the ugly lyrics whined by Axl Rose in “One in a Million”. Bard “Faust” Eithun, a drummer for the band Emperor, is now in prison for murdering a homosexual. His comment: “I have to stand up for what I’ve done... there’s no remorse.” Former Mayhem singer “Dead” apparently blew his brains out in a fit of depression. And then there is the Vikernes - Euronymous feud that ended with one dead and the other jailed.

What is revelatory is the participant’s discussion of all the deaths and church-burnings, done in a deadpan, nonchalant manner. It’s almost as if the Black Metalheads, having embraced a philosophy that life is pointless, have lost any ability to feel emotion about dying or carnage. As Hendrik Mobus puts it after murdering a student, “Every passing second a human dies, so there’s no need to make a big fuss of this one kill.” This is the real tragedy of this book, that a group of kids who could be among the best and brightest have instead given up caring about anything but shock, perhaps because it is the only thing left that gives them any feeling.

For those looking for conspiracy, it has to be asked if this is by design. After all, in the Burgess novel, it is apparent that Alex and his partners in crimes are unwittingly serving the powers-that-be with their ultraviolence. Likewise, the Crips and Bloods have long been the best poster boys for the prison buildup, higher law-enforcement budgets, and dubious gun-control laws - which perhaps explains the evidence that the weapons and drugs that fuel the gangs come from a higher source, i.e. the CIA. Is someone jerking the Satanic Metal Underground’s chain? Perhaps, but the book supplies no such arguments, probably because the evidence is weak or non-existent. Quite the opposite appears true, based on empty boasts of Vikernes on his own importance. Most certainly if there was any deeper conspiracy, he’d be the first to brag about it. An interview with a former OTO leader (an occult organization founded by Aleister Crowley) seems to confirm that the Black Metal isn’t run by some larger institution, since these misfits hardly seem particularly well- organized in the first place.

Sad to say the noise of the Black Metal scene - at least its ugliest elements - is pretty pathetic. Faced with a system of evil and hypocricy, they merely try to one up the system in being diabolical, and fail miserably. These guys aren’t stupid, but their anger is totally misdirected. I can’t help but think of what a particularly anti-religious friend of mine said when I started describing the book to her: “I want to see churches burned to the ground too, but I want the church members to do it themselves after they realize it’s all a fraud.” Now there’s some real rabble-rousing.

Moynihan and Soderlind deserve at lot of credit for the picture they paint in this investigative work, even if the picture is quite ugly. In the end, the Black Metal scene is a sorry-ass attempt by a group of angry young guys to be an individual, and in the process they become all they detest. Sorry, but pentagrams, swastikas, and loud music just don’t cut it.

Chupacabras and Other Mysteries

by Scott Corrales

Scott Corrales has made several significant contributions to this web site as well as Steamshovel Press magazine. He documented the legend of the Chupacabras, the bizarre Goatsucker beast that haunts Puerto Rico, in various magazines in the Spanish-speaking world, and self-published The Chupacabras Diaries, from which much of the information in this volumes derives. The Chupacabras remains a paranormal phenomenon not well understood where it appears, and even less so with interested US readers. Chupacabras and Other Mysteries provides the first substantive English translation dealing with the bugger. It relies on the research and work of Jorge and Marleem Martin, made first-hand investigations of animal mutilations attributed to the Chupacabras in the Puerto Rican municipalities of Orocovis and Morovis. The book includes a photo section, none of the elusive creatures, but of kittens they "exsanquinated," haunts, and the original sketch based on eyewitness memory. Chupacabras is not a run-of-the-mill hide and seek type bigfoot. A wide variety of paranormal activity attends its visits. As UFO researcher Marc Davenport points out in the introduction, the creatures' reported eye-beams do not behave in like the bio-luminesence of fireflies and deep sea fish. Chupacrabras is something else again, and this volume contributes greatly to helping figure out what.

The CIA's Secret Manual on Coercive Questioning

with an introduction by Jon Elliston

The Baltimore Sun forced the CIA to release its KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual in January 1997 with the threat of a FOIPA lawsuit. The 1963 manual reads like a backdrop to the Costa Gravas film State of Siege and other well-known tales of CIA torture-training, and should also be seen in the context of the CIA memo on "openness" recently surfaced by Greg Bishop's Excluded Middle zine. The good people at the Parascope web site have reprinted this as a magazine with its text-heavy form alleviated only by the original redactions. It's subject matter is absorbing, however, and revelatory in ways that exceed its look at the brutality of the intelligence world. It's reference to MKULTRA and mind control, for instance, should put it in the footnotes of most future books on the subject. For instance, the bibliography shows plainly that the CIA regarded the "confessions" of downed pilots in Korea as brainwash victims, and studied only the Communist brainwash techniques. No consideration that the pilots were telling the truth about US use of biowarfare. Such blind- sided logic provided the basis for MKULTRA. The bibliography also has reference to John Lilly, famed iso-tanker and ketaminonaut, who left MKULTRA when it began exploring electronic brain implants. "After presenting a short summary of a few autobiographical accounts written about relative isolation at sea (in small boats) or polar regions, the author describes two experiments designed to mask or drastically reduce most sensory stimulation. The effect was to speed up the results of the more usual sort of isolation (for example, solitary confinement). Delusions and hallucinations, preceded by other symptoms, appeared after short periods. The author does not discuss the possible relevance of his findings to interrogation." Fascinating, fascinating stuff, and just the smallest portion of what is available in InTERRORgation.

The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror

by David Hoffman

This enormous compendium of information about the Oklahoma City Bomb contextualizes that event with the data that official investigations and the press have abandoned now that the fix is in and Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols have been declared the lone bombers. It supplements Jim Keith's previous work, OKBomb!, in many ways, crissing-crossing what's in that book , adding to its body of knowledge and examining the OKC bomb as part of the "politics of terror" strategy that currently dominates international affairs. It includes an introduction by Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key adapted from an appeal letter that "does not necessarily imply Rep. Key's endorsement of the author's conclusions," noting also that author Hoffman and Key shared investigative leads and information. One conclusion that Key no doubt would affirm is the basic premise of the book: federal agencies know far more about the Oklahoma City bombing than they're willing to admit.

Other than that, readers might quibble about the assessment of guilt relative to right-wing militias or middle east terrorists, but few could argue that Hoffman's conclusions are not based on a wealth of evidence and informed reporting. In fact, Hoffman achieves a level of "triangulation of research" that is quite prescient in the context of the recent embassy bombings in Africa, particularly in light of finger-pointing toward Saudi engineer Osama bin Laden:

"In March of 1995, Israel's Shin Bet (General Security Services, Israel's equivalent to the FBI), arrested approximately 10 Hamas terrorists in Jerusalem, some of whom had recently returned from a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida...interrogation of those suspects was thought to have revealed information concrning the plot to bomb the Murrah Building. The Shin Bet filed a warning with the Legal Attache (FBI) at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv as a matter of course. On April 20, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Arhonot wrote: Yesterday, it was made known that over the last few days, U. S. law enforcement agencies had received intelligence information originating in the Middle east, warning of a large terrorist attack on U.S. soil. No alert was sounded as a result of this information...the BND (German equivalent of the American CIA), also sent a warning to the U.S. State department. That was followed by a warning from the Saudis. A Saudi Major General...informed former CIA Counterterrorism Chief Vince Cannistraro, who in turn informed the FBI. There is a 302 (FBI report) in existence...the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service reported that Iraq had hired seven Pakistani mercenaries--Afghani War veterans [like bin Laden, ed.]--to bomb targets in the U.S., one of which was the Alfred P. Murrah Building. They also advised the FBI that--as is often the case--the true identity of the sponsor may not have been revealed to the bombers."

As the "politics of terror" play out on the international stage, readers want to know more than what has been officially proffered, they will need to look at books like The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror.

Everything Is Under Control

By Robert Anton Wilson

Appearances of books by RAWilson have become fewer and farther between, so a new release seems like nothing less than a major event. The publication of Everything Is Under Control would be a major event anyway, though, since it imparts Wilson's thinking on a long, alphabetical list of conspiracy topics. Best known for his satiric masterwork, the Illuminatus trilogy (co-written with Robert Shea), but also equally celebrated among cognoscenti for many volumes of prosody explicating the future-as-it's-happening (Right Where You Are Sitting Now; Prometheus Rising), this new book summarizes and reviews a large slice of contemporary parapolitical currents. No other writer sees more clearly the fuzzy line between satire and the reality of conspiracy culture. Wilson frames the discussion with a long, insightful introduction linking the uncertainty of the times to the attractiveness of conspiracy theory without dismissing the "theories" or swallowing them whole hog. Wilson's co-author, Miriam Joan Hill, deserves great credit for assembling much of the information from a web site that accepted submissions for several months before publication.

Of course, many facts and theories did not make it in and readers could quibble with some of the discussion about what's in there. For instance, Wilson calls the NASA, Nazis and JFK a "reprint" of the Torbitt Document, when in fact it is the first published edition outside the per order press. In the note about Philip Corso, the retired Army Intelligence office who ostensibly exposed the Roswell military technology project (Tim Leary once said, "I"ve been working with the technology they gave us since 1963!"), Wilson lists Steamshovel editor Kenn Thomas as a harsh critic. In fact, Thomas was critical of Corso's critics for jumping the gun and not taking full advantage of the colonel's obligation to promote his book, The Day After Roswell. Everything Is Under Control is a not an almanac of conspiracy theories--although it could be used as one--so such criticism is trivial. The book is a think piece that put things into the perspective of Wilson's wit and erudition. He lists "bisociation" under B, for instance, a term that few researchers know. Arthur Koestler coined it for a certain creative process that also happens to inform much conspiracy theory. Steamshovel planned to discuss the idea before being upstaged in this manner, in fact, and may yet examine a few specific examples on the web site soon. So, obviously, Steamshovel readers should tune into Wilson's wavelength.

The Collected Works of Col. Fletcher Prouty

With the right hardware and web browser, readers can spend hours exploring the depths of L. Fletcher Prouty's research on and first-hand experience with the JFK assassination and the politics of conspiracy that have followed it for the past thirty years. Prouty served for nearly a decade in the Pentagon and twice that in military service with the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the U. S. Air Force. Donald Sutherland played Prouty in a much abbreviated version of his relationship with Jim Garrison in Oliver Stone's JFK movie. His work detailing his view of secret government has come under fire because it has been published and reprinted by everything from the Liberty Lobby to the Scientologists. It has never been substantially refuted for its content. At long last an enormous amount of that writing, some of it quote obscured by its publication in alternative sources, has it has been collected here through the laudable efforts of Len Osanic. That includes the complete texts of Col. Prouty's most well-known books, The Secret Team and JFK: Vietnam, the CIA and the Assassination of President Kennedy, with new introductions, a thorough review of the pre-emptive media backlash against Stone's movie, and over six hours of audio and video interviews. Prouty's view of the power elite is shaped by no less a figure than R. Buckminster Fuller, while at the same time his no-nonsense analysis, particularly on POW/MIAs fallout of Vietnam, will appeal even to strident patriot readers.

One example from the CD-ROM's selection of articles:

"[Robert] McNamara and his closest aides were able to take over such key crafts as the iron-bound procurement processes of the military. For more than a year a new fighter plane had been a number #1 requirement of the Air Force. Its primary sponsor was Gen. Frank Everest. At the close of the Eisenhower budget period, carefully executed plans had reserved money in the 1961 budget, for Nixon, that would make more than $3 or $4 billion available for its procurement from the pre-ordained manufacturer, the Boeing Company. Nixon lost, and even after the election of Kennedy and the early arrival of McNamara, it was considered a foregone conclusion that this "Everest" fighter-plane purchase would go through, as planned. We all had much to learn.

It was Nov. 22, 1962, before the McNamara procurement system had run its politically oriented course, with the Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg's clever assistance. We learned that the "largest single military procurement program ever" for the TFX or F-111 aircraft, by then a joint Air Force-Navy project based on the concept of "commonalty", and for no less than $6.5 billion, had been awarded, by McNamara... not to Boeing, but toGeneral Dynamics-Grumman.

The shock waves in the Pentagon were about the equal of an H-bomb test in the megaton range. McNamara had made his mark, precisely one year before Kennedy died.

To those in the Pentagon, those on Capitol Hill and to others all over the country allied with the Boeing scheme of things, who had planned to help Nixon and his old team spend that $6.5 billion this was an unforgivable blow. One thing those of us in the neutral ranks noted clearly was that the Kennedy "Honeymoon" had ended. "Kennedy" was a dirty word... and this was only 1962."

This same set of circumstances was recently reported by Seymor Hersh as fallout from blackmail efforts against JFK. (See "Previous Latest Words: JFK on THX.") That's a small sample from an extremely well-done--virtually no technical glitches-- and valuable addition to the research library.

ACID: The Secret History of LSD

By David Black

David Black has contributed a long overdue new history of LSD that does not retread Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain's excellent Acid Dreams (1985) and does not fictionalize the topic like other recent books (Wisdom's Maw). ACID, in fact, is the first piece of substantial research and writing about the figure of Ron Stark, international drug supplier, since Stewart Tendler and David May's obscure book, The Brotherhood of Eternal Love (1984). Stark worked with the Brotherhood, ostensibly overseeing the transformation of acid consumption from recreational pleasure to international mafia marketing and black profiteering. Author Black sets out to track Stark's career and who was behind his emergence as an LSD don during this process. In so doing, he recounts among other things the experiences of Chicago born psychology and parapsychology student Steve Abrams, a major source for much of the information here. Abrams not only corresponded with Carl Jung about synchronicity in the late 1950s, but he was on hand as J. B. Rhine corresponded with Richard Nixon; lectured on ESP in Leningrad at the invitation of the neuroscientist Vailiev, whose work informed Lincoln Lawrence's Were We Controlled?; and started Arthur Koestler off in a direction that ended with Koestler teaming up with Tim Leary for a mushroom experience. Any reader who thinks this history has been mined for all of its pertinent and fascinating detail, concerning MKULTRA, the Human Ecology Fund, and most especially the criminal and entepreneurial activities of Stark, will be quite surprised by this book. In 1975 Stark was arrested on drug charges in Italy, and this book's chapter illuminates that period with new information on his P2 Masonic Lodge connections and Stark's prediction of the kidnapping and assassination of Italian PM Aldo Moro. ACID adds voluminous information about the "strategy of tension" during this period of Italian history, one so similar to the post-OKC Bomb US political climate, as noted and discussed in Len Bracken's recent work. As history and as sub-text to current affairs, this books makes an extraordinary contribution. It leaves open the possibility that Stark still may be alive. [An additonal note: The book's back cover calls Timothy Leary one of Mary Pinchot Meyer's former lovers, a claim that has not been made previously. Even Leary never suggested that he shared a girlfriend with JFK.]

Available from:

VISION Paperbacksa division of Satin Publications Limited20 Queen Anne StreetLondon W1M 0AYE-mail:

Whitewash: A Musical Revue of the JFK Assassination Coverup

by Paul Kangas, with Joe Tate, Mr. X, J. R. Ryan, Rabia, the Bongos

This compilation comes from Paul Kangas, whose essay on George Bush's connection to the JFK assassination was reprinted back in Steamshovel Press #4. He wants to use this music in part to take advantage of George Bush, Jr.'s presidential bid to publicize the information in that essay. Whitewash is an extraordinarily humorous collection of reggaefied tunes that present in song details, ideas, theories and facts about the JFK assassination. Just as a for instance, check out these lyrics from the tape's best track, "Three Little Tramps": "Could the tall one by Jimmy Shlesinger?/And what about the runt?/Could it be a Dicky Helms/Or maybe Howard Hunt?/The one in front, we'll never know/Does he look like Ross Perot?....Lee Bowers was in the railroad tower/In Dallas on that day/He gave eyewitness testimony/About how Jack got blown away/He was overlooking the grassy knoll/Where he saw the riflemen stroll/He took a look and his blood ran cold/This is what Lee Bowers said: "I saw the smoke/I heard the report. There's trouble in the land/An ambush of the president, I just don't understand/After Bowers testified to the Warren Commission/His automobile ended up in a very funny position/It lost its transmission/And he ended up in a funny position/Dead. Very dead. DOA" There's a level of detail here not found in most popular music about the event, delivered in a funny way but with good scholarship and a serious point. Whitewash re-animates the assassination and its lore, demonstrating again its continued rock'n'roll relevance to today's politics, even as Bush himself attempts to recede into history. The revue ends with a lecture rant by Kangas called "Prosecute Bush!" It may seem dated to some, but everyone knows that Bush is still out there affecting things, and the questions that this tape is dedicated to remain important. Bongos founder Rob Norris and his songwriting partner Jeff Cohen contributed "Public Execution" after viewing the Stone JFK movie, saying that it catalyzed their feelings into creating a primal scream of furious anger on the order of the Beatles' "Revolution." The tape can be ordered from Paul Kangas' radio station in San Francisco, KPOO- FM, or through information found by clicking on the cover above.

The Big Book of Scandal!

by Jonathan Vankin and 50 Artists

It follows logically that Jonathan Vankin has written a comic book--actually, one of those large paperbacks with 50+ stories, all by different artists, including a few heavyweights like Dick Giordano, Marie Severin, Joe Staton, Paul Gulacy and Walt Simonson. Steamshovel has commented previously on how Vankin's writing style, and that of John Whalen, his partner at Conspire.Com, looks so glibly at conspiracy material it runs a risk of trivializing it all. A 137-word wrap up of the Lewinsky week ending 2/15/98 by Whalen recently appeared in the New York Times "Sunday" page, where quick hits on the conspiracy culture actually have become less and less dismissive.

That's OK -- in measure. Steamshovel readers no doubt laugh until they cry over some of the content of the magazine, and will also at some of what's in this book. It takes a sense of humor as well as a fine-tuned sensitivity to the tragic to deal with vile conspiracy politics. Moreover, putting it all together with pictures and word balloons can make conspiracies digestible to readers unable to handle straight text. In fact, The Big Book of Scandal! contains more credible research than many textual sources.

Vankin does a great job of concisely and completely dealing with long forgotten scandals, without too much crossover into his previous books (Conspiracies, Cover Ups and Crimes and 60 Greatest Conspiracies) and he does not pick easy targets. The Lockheed Scandal, the Wilson-Terpil Affair, several minor celebrity sin-fests, even something on tired old Watergate get comicized here. The book focusses on Hollywood, society, political and big business scandals, and so distiquishes itself from the Big Books on the unexplained, criminals, martyrs, urban legends, weirdos, losers and freaks. (To coin a Vankinish observation, that list looks more like readers than topics the longer it gets.) The first book in this series--from Factoid Books, a front for Paradox Press, which is an imprint of DC Comics--The Big Book of Conspiracies, contained many references to Steamshovel Press, and Steamshovel later outed writer Doug Moench as an early member of the Merry Marvel Marching secret Society.

Mind Control, World Control and Black Helicopters II

by Jim Keith

Jim Keith, erstwhile Dharma Combatant whose book output since the baby days of his old zine has been monumental, checks