Sep 03, 2022
16 mins read
After a brief hiatus I'm back with wisdom from two great masters, along with updates and my usual stab at recommendations.
First, John A. Keel (best known for the book and movie The Mothman Prophecies and one of the principle minds behind the "ultraterrestrial" theory) takes a skeptical look at Atlantis, while saving a very powerful insight for his last sentence, that could not be any more Atlantean. This is followed by a guru's guru William S. Burroughs addressing the mundane idea of coincidences, which if applied will transform your life in a, dare I say it, "magical" way.
The Continent That Vanished
by John A. Keel
EVERY two or three years some adventurous scientist or peripatetic deep-sea diver discovers lost Atlantis. He usually announces his find during the summer silly season when news is slow, and the papers are filled with yarns about the Loch Ness monster and bathing beauty contests. Atlantis has now been located in the Mediterranean (many times), west of the Azores, south of the Azores, in the Caribbean, off the west coast of South America, off the east coast of South America, in the North Pacific, in the South Pacific, off the coast of Florida, and even in the Indian Ocean.
Recently the ruins of an ancient temple of unknown origin were discovered in the blue waters off the Bahamas. The newspapers soberly revealed that Atlantis had been found at last. A year or so later a mysterious stone pillar was spotted by divers deep in the ocean off the coast of Peru. Atlantis rose again.
This game has been going on for a very long time. Researchers wading through fifty-year-old newspapers have found them sprinkled with wondrous tales of Atlantean finds. Professors and Ph.D.'s have frequently joined the clamor, bidding for publicity (and the often sizable foundation grants that follow such publicity), keeping alive one of the great fantasies of human history. It isn't even a myth or legend; there isn't enough evidence of any kind to give Atlantis such stature. Nevertheless, Atlantis has become an important part of our folklore. Even the famous prophet Edgar Cayce discussed the lost continent with the spirit world and passed along the prediction that it would rise again in the stormy Atlantic in 1968–69.
While the reality of Atlantis can be viewed with considerable skepticism, the persistence of the belief in it provides some interesting facts about the weird mechanisms employed by the earth's phantom inhabitants to generate myths and camouflage their real existence. Atlantis is no more real than visitors from Mars. Yet there are millions of people who have believed wholeheartedly in both. The members of WOW have carefully sowed the seeds of such myths in their wake and have worked across the generations to nurture them.
First, how did the story of Atlantis begin? It was launched by a single man named Plato (427–347 B.C .). In his two dialogues "Timaeus" and "Critias," he offers a description of Atlantis and its demise nine thousand years earlier. His source, he states, is a man named Critias, who had heard the story from his great-grandfather Dropides, who had heard it from a sage named Solon, who had heard it from an Egyptian priest. So the whole foundation of the Atlantis fantasy is based upon what a ninety-year-old man told a ten-year-old boy (those are the ages given by Plato) about a tale spun by Solon years before. Rather like having your own great-grandfather tell you the plot of a novel that someone else described to him after having heard it from someone else in a far-off land. And that someone else hadn't read the novel but had only heard about it, since the novel was nine thousand years old.
Incidently, the final pages of Plato's discourse are missing, so even his record of this hearsay is incomplete.
Scholars have devoted their lives to pondering Plato and searching for archaeological evidence to support the existence of Atlantis. Visit any library and you will find shelves of books on the subject. New pro-Atlantis volumes appear each year. A small, indefatigable cult of Atlantean believers has existed for a century or more, pouncing upon each new archaeological discovery as proof of Atlantis. Ruins throughout Central and South America have been credited to the Atlantis culture. Everything from Stonehenge in England to the Great Pyramid in Egypt to the monasteries in the Himalayas have been accepted by the believers as further evidence of Atlantis.
Yes, there is a premise that mankind could be an offshoot of some earlier superculture. The Atlantophiles have recognized this partially and think of Atlantis as that superculture. The psychic world has supported this contention for years by passing along endless messages about the past glories of Atlantis through mediums, Ouija boards, and the like. Many of these messages have served as the basis for some of the peculiar books that have appeared. Surprisingly, some of the data in this torrent of gibberish can be authenticated historically, but a pattern is hard to establish.
There are people around the world who claim to have actually met the Atlanteans themselves! These percipients (witnesses) describe stately men and women dressed in colorful robes and headdresses, who appear suddenly like ghosts or apparitions. People who have never given Atlantis any thought at all are suddenly confronted by these entities. Such visits can last for hours according to the percipients. The Atlantean takes great pains to describe the history of Atlantis in detail and when the witness scurries to a library, he or she finds some of the things mentioned in the literature. Eventually the percipient may write a book or pamphlet himself, combining what he has read with what he has been told by the entity. His work is entered into the literature and quoted again and again in new books by others.
This same phenomenon occurs constantly in religion, spiritualism, and ufodom. In the latter the entities claim to represent some other planet and they pass along convincing (to the percipient) descriptions of life on other worlds. Like the Atlantean entities, the UFO pilots share the disturbing ability to appear and disappear in thin air. The tall, bearded Atlanteans with their high cheekbones and Oriental eyes are undoubtedly close brethren of the picturesque spacemen who, incidently, are most often described the same way.
In occult lore these entities have been described for centuries and are called elementals. The phenomenon takes many forms and undoubtedly inspired the massive folklore on fairies and leprechauns, vampires, and demons, and the multitude of ghouls, goblins, and banshees who have always occupied our haunted planet. They appear to have the ability to assume any shape or disguise. Some, if not all, seem to be the product of some complicated hallucinatory process which is able to feed false images into the minds of the percipients. Thus, a group of people in a room can sometimes come up with contradictory descriptions of an apparition. Some of the people might not see it at all.
There are, of course, all kinds of psychological factors which could explain some of these hallucinations and apparitions, too. But it is quite remarkable that some of the messages passed along by our elusive Atlanteans are identical to messages passed along to unrelated witnesses who have chatted with spacemen from Ganymede (a satellite of Jupiter). The same mechanism, be it psychic or psychological, is clearly at work in all these cases.
The phenomenon utilizes many other frames of reference. An apparition might pose as an ancient Greek philosopher or as Abraham Lincoln or a deceased pope. There are cases of all these. The folklore of all cultures also takes into account apparitions which pose as exact duplicates of living persons. In Germany such entities have long been known as dopplegängers .
The manifestations have also led to the creation of many minor cults, such as the believers in Lemuria (which is supposed to be another lost continent) and Mu. Here again, we find that a large part of the literature is based upon the alleged experiences of those who have encountered Lemurians. In the Middle Ages many people insisted they had visited the underground palaces of the fairies, and volumes were written about the secret commonwealth of the Little People. In modern times the Dero (detrimental robots) myth has blown up around the stories of people who claim they have been taken to the secret caverns occupied by the ancient, secret Dero culture.
In 1944, Amazing Stories , a science fiction magazine, published Richard Shaver's "I Remember Lemuria." Editor Ray Palmer was amazed when he was swamped by thousands of letters from people who swore they had had experiences with Deros and Lemurians. They often described things identical to the flying saucer phenomenon (which did not explode on the American scene until 1947).
The myth-making machinery of WOW has always been in operation and the earliest thinkers and scientists recognized it. Strange illusions and purposeful distortions of reality have always haunted the human race. Some cults have defined the culprits as Masters of Illusion, the Black Mentalists, and the X Group. For centuries it was popular to accuse the devil, witches, and warlocks for these bewildering manifestations. Whole religions sprang up around the evidence supplied by the phenomenon.
In Sweden the great mathematician Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) wrote huge tomes about his experiences with the elementals and offered solemn warnings such as:
When spirits begin to speak with a man, he must beware that he believe nothing that they say. For nearly everything they say is fabricated by them, and they lie: for if they are permitted to narrate anything, as what heaven is and how things in the heavens are to be understood, they would tell so many lies that a man would be astonished. This they would do with solemn affirmation. . . . Wherefore men must beware and not believe them . . .
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), the famous novelist, made a serious study of these matters, and in 1830 he published a series of essays summarizing his conclusions. He noted that when trained psychics encountered fairies and visited their splendid palaces "the illusion vanished." He explained:
The young knights and beautiful ladies showed themselves as wrinkled carles and odious hags. . . . The stately halls were turned into miserable damp caverns—all the delights of the Elfin Elysium vanished at once. In a word, their pleasures were showy but totally unsubstantial—their activity unceasing, but fruitless and unavailing—and their condemnation appears to have consisted in the necessity of maintaining the appearance of industry or enjoyment, though their toil was fruitless and their pleasures shadowy and unsubstantial. Hence poets have designed them as 'the crew that never rest' . Besides the unceasing and useless bustle in which these spirits seemed to live, they had propensities unfavourable and distressing to mortals.
Educated theologians and scholars attached to the Vatican made a sober investigation into the burgeoning fad of spiritualism in the 1850s. This examination lead to the issuance of a Papal Bull which warned Catholics that spiritualism was dangerous and the "work of the devil."
Despite all these warnings, millions of people were gripped in the hopeful effort to communicate with the spirit world, and the elementals played the game with relish, implanting a whole new lore about life on other worlds or planes. New cults were spawned and dozens of frames of references were established, all based entirely on the seemingly sincere messages of these characters.
We were guided from beliefs in fairies and their secret commonwealth to new, more scientific beliefs in interplanetary visitors and their great Intergalactic Councils. The flying saucer phenomenon generated a whole new set of theories and beliefs as more and more people had encounters with Venusians and Martians in the back hills of Kentucky and the deserts of Arizona. "The crew that never rest" were up to their old tricks in a new guise.
Once the skilled investigator recognizes just how intangible the manifestations really are, he is catapulted into the more esoteric world of philosophy. He struggles with the task of interpreting these unreal events, trying to understand their hidden purposes. This is unfortunately the route to madness. The phenomenon is fond of creating allegorical situations which can not be interpreted without excessive scholarship. The problem is to sort out the meaningful from the rubbish and to search for the hidden consistencies buried in the mountains of communications from the past and present.
The scriptures of all the great religions do contain a number of subtle correlations. Much of this literature deals vaguely with rumors of some great past civilization. Isolated Indian tribes in North and South America have legends and myths very similar to the stories found in the Bible, including tales of a great deluge which destroyed most of mankind thousands of years ago. The Toltec Indians, for example, even had a tradition about a zacuali , a very high tower they erected, and according to Ixtilxochitl, "Presently their languages were confused, and, not being able to understand each other, they went to different parts of the earth."
Atlantean scholars have labored to assemble all this lore as further proof that Atlantis did indeed exist as a real continent, which was destroyed by some great natural catastrophe. However, much of the information passed along by the Atlantean elementals states that Atlantis was an evil place, dominated by a warlike technology very similar to our own, and that the Atlanteans eventually destroyed themselves—or were deliberately destroyed by some greater force which took a dim view of their militarism.
In flying saucer lore we have tales passed on by the spacemen of a great planet located between Mars and Jupiter and identified variously as Maldek, Clarion, and a dozen other names. The inhabitants of this planet learned to smash the atom and soon succeeded in smashing their entire planet. It was broken into thousands of bits and pieces, and those fragments now constitute the asteroid belt.
So, one important thread runs through all this literature: a great civilization once existed prior to the appearance of modern man, and it was either destroyed or destroyed itself. The surviving physical evidence, which will be discussed further on, indicates that such a civilization did exist on this planet and that its inhabitants vanished before, or soon after, man crawled out of his caves.
It may be that the elementals are actually a part of the human psyche and that they have been presenting us with some scrambled racial memory of the distant past. Like the Garden of Eden, Atlantis may be nothing more than an allegory designed to give us a clue about our own history. In flying saucer lore there is elaborately detailed literature asserting that Venus was actually the Garden of Eden and that Adam and Eve were Venusians planted here to colonize Earth. Another variation on the Noah's Ark theme.
Even more interesting are the contiguous activities of the parahuman group which has remained in constant touch with us throughout history and has greatly influenced our theological and philosophical ideas. They are proven liars and mischief makers, but it is also possible that they have been slyly trying to tell us something about ourselves. In recent years the flying saucer occupants have passed along innumerable warnings about how we have been upsetting the balance of the universe with our atom bombs. They have laced these warnings with bloodcurdling tales about Maldek.
A controversial UFO report from Mendoza, Argentina, is rather typical of these warnings. On September 1, 1968, Carlos Peccinetti, twenty-six, and Fernando José Ville-gas, twenty-nine, were driving home from their job at the Mendoza casino at 3:30 A.M ., when their car suddenly stalled. They got out to look under the hood and discovered a huge circular machine hovering nearby. Three beings in coveralls appeared, they said, and they found they were paralyzed, unable to move. A foreign-sounding voice rang in their heads. "It was as though they had put into our ears the tiny earplug speakers used with transistors," Peccinetti said.
"We have just made three journeys around the sun," the voice told them, "studying customs and languages of the inhabitants of the system. . . . Mathematics is the universal language."
Then a circular screen, similar to a television screen, appeared next to the object, and the two men were treated to a series of images. The first was a waterfall in lush country; the second, a mushroom-shaped cloud; the third, the waterfall scene again but without water.
After the entities clambered into the machine and flew off, the two witnesses were able to move again. Their story contains all the familiar ingredients of thousands of other UFO contact tales. First, their automobile stalled, then they were paralyzed, next they heard a telepathic voice, and finally they were given a simplified message . . . and the meaning of that message is quite obvious.
Police officers, doctors, lawyers, college professors, government officials, and just plain folks by the thousands have shared similar experiences in recent years. The members of WOW have really been engaged in an all-out effort to convince us of some impending disaster. It is not unusual that they should relate their warnings with tales about past civilizations that followed the same woeful path.
The Atlantis story seems to acquire another meaning in view of all this. Atlantis could be a part of our future instead of our past. Perhaps we are the Atlanteans. (Perhaps indeed! - JP)
"In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothings happens unless someone wills it to happen. The dogma of science is that the will cannot possibly affect external forces, and I think that's just ridiculous. It's as bad as the church. My viewpoint is the exact opposite of the scientific viewpoint. I believe if you run into somebody on the street it is for a reason. Among primitive people they say if someone was bitten by a snake and dies he was murdered. I believe that."
William S. Burroughs, Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs
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