A comic book conspiracy

Rachel Summers is a telepathic comic book character who first appeared in the well-known X-Men franchise. Uncanny X-Men issue #189, published in 1985 — written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by John Byrne — featured this prescient panel in which the heroine “remembers” the future. Seeing the New York skyline of 1985 causes Summers to visualize a future tragedy. Eerily enough, that future came to pass in the real world on September 11, 2001.


Before you leap to that conclusion, consider the sheer number of these “coincidences” that one can find in popular culture — especially within the pages of the often-despised comic book medium. As we shall see, the creators of this imagery often have very interesting backgrounds.

Before we look into those resumes, let us examine further examples. And don’t scoff. The FBI isn’t scoffing.

This page on the official website of the Federal Bureau of Investigation draws our attention to another eerie “coincidence.”

Dan Cooper was a popular comic book in France throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. This issue, featuring Cooper in a high-altitude skyjump, was published shortly before the infamous “D.B. Cooper” incident in 1971.

Seattle Special Agent Larry Carr, who took over the Cooper case two years ago, believes it’s possible the hijacker took his name from the comic book (the enduring “D.B.” was actually the result of a media mistake). That’s important because the books were never translated into English, which means the hijacker likely spent time overseas. This fits with Carr’s theory that Cooper had been in the Air Force.

Legendary artist Jack Kirby (co-creator of The Fantastic Four, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America and a host of others) has offered quite a few glimpses of things-to-come. Perhaps the most uncanny image he ever produced is this one (click to enlarge)…

This page was published in September, 1958, in the second issue of the Harvey comic book series Race For the Moon. Obviously, that date precedes NASA’s publication of photographs displaying what appears to be a massive face on the red planet. As this world-renown scientist notes:

…how did Jack Kirby know about “the Face!?

The answer’s obvious: He was simply told.

By “who” is the key question, isn’t it? As well as “why”…

Let me be clear on one point: I remain skeptical of all theories positing the existence of a Martian civilization. In all likelihood, the “face” in those photographs is an artifact of light, shadow, and geography. Still, no-one can deny that the Martian sphinx has become a cultural artifact, deeply embedded into our awareness.

Somehow, Jack Kirby seemed to know that this image would fire up our collective imagination.

“King” Kirby displayed predictive powers on other occasions. Before 9/11, he offered these remarkable images (click to enlarge):

He even predicted a popular recruiting slogan for the United States Army:

In the same1958 science fiction comic book referenced above, Kirby offered a story which prefigured the plot of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Arthur C. Clarke’s novelization, we learn that the moon artifact is named Tycho Magnetic Anomaly 1. No evidence suggests that either Clarke or Kubrick had any awareness of Kirby’s story, in which a magnetic anomaly is found on the Moon:

Jack Kirby did not draw the following page from a 1952 comic book called T-Man, which offered an advanced glimpse of the neocon foreign policy agenda. I have discussed this forecast in this blog before, although I could previously only hint at the implications. (Click to enlarge the image, or go here.)

In the black-and-white horror title Creepy — issue #75, published in 1975 — writer Jim Senstrum and artist Neal Adams offered “Thrillkill,” about a high school student who goes on a shooting rampage — an unnervingly exact forecast of Columbine, Virgnia Tech and other school shootings.

It is said that the designs on the shooter’s print shirt include the Chinese characters for “spring” and “field,” perhaps in reference to this event.

In a now largely forgotten series called Captain Action — issue #5, published in 1969 — artist/writer Gil Kane depicted the bombing of a U.S. federal building — a chillingly precise forecast of the 1995 Oklahoma City event.

Later in that issue, we learn that the explosion was set by the leader of an extreme right-wing paramilitary group. This story reminds us not only of the Clinton-era “militia madness” but also of more current events. It’s hard to deny the similarities between Kane’s “Matthew Blackwell” character and Chuck Norris, who has recently called for armed insurrection.

In the following sequence from 1963, our hep-cat protagonist is magically propelled thirty years into the future. There, he stumbles onto a world of advanced consumer electronics. Some of these devices now look quite familiar:

An issue of Howard the Duck, published in February of 1978, predicted a wave of terrorism against American interests committed by suicide bombers. The secret leader of the attack turns out to be an American, wearing a symbol now commonly associated with Wal-Mart.

One could cite hundreds of similar examples, including this weirdly accurate 1953 prediction of the Charles Manson murders, along with the 1983 discovery of an underground Nazi encampment near Loch Ness, as predicted by issue #3 of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., published in the summer of 1968.

One of the few comic book creators to discuss the phenomenon in public is artist John Byrne, perhaps best-known for his work with Chris Claremont on the X-Men:

Chris Claremont and I did a story about a blackout in NYC. The week it came out, there was a blackout in NYC.

We did a story about an earthquake in Japan. The week it came out…

Okay, so those are no big deal, as such things happen all the time. But on my own I…blew up a Space Shuttle in the second issue of MAN OF STEEL (and hastily redrew it as a “space plane” before it came out.

…named an aircraft carrier after a former Canadian Prime Minister (against the tradition of only naming ships after dead folk). He was dead by the time the book came out.

…and killed Prince Diana (Wonder Woman) in a book (replete with fake newspaper cover) that shipped week before the Saturday that…

It is no coincidence that writer Chris Claremont had an involvement with so many of these predictive sequences, including the startling image of the fallen Twin Towers.

At this point, we must come to the crux of the matter. Claremont was heavily involved (through his former wife) with the occult scene swirling around New York’s Magickal Childe bookstore.

A room in the back of the store served as a temple and classroom for the various strains of wicca that began to gravitate to the place.

That temple also served as the launching pad for the explosive growth of Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) in the city in the late 70s and early 80s.

Herman had vigorously encouraged and supported the creation of the Schlangekraft Necronomicon, edited by “Simon.”

The Necronomicon was a team effort. Herman provided the sponsorship, while the design and layout were the work of Jim Wasserman of the OTO, a raving cokehead from Jersey named Larry Barnes whose daddy had the production facilities and a fellow who called himself Khem Set Rising (who also designed the sigils). The text itself was Levenda’s creation, a synthesis of Sumerian and later Babylonian myths and texts…Structurally, the text was modeled on the wiccan Book of Shadows and the Goetia

The above-quote text, from an important expose in the New York Press, offers a rare public admission of a fact known to many cogniscienti: Many comic book creators — as well as other popular culture luminaries — are heavily immersed in the world of the occult. On this page, we find another brief (but important) reference to this phenomenon:

Marvel comic artist Marie Severin says the Kabala (Cabala –Jewish Mystical System) was a source of material for certain issues of Dr. Strange that she worked on.

At the time (the mid 1960s) there were few published popular works on the cabala. Even so, Jack Kirby (Bohemian Grove) and Gil Kane (32nd degree Freemason) were known to have mastered the wisdom contained with the Sefer Yetzirah, the key cabalistic text.

They were far from the only adepts. Wonder Woman creator Charles Marston (Order of Wicca) belonged to a cult that advocated female supremacy and lesbianism. In the 1970s, comic book writers Steve Engelhart (Skull and Bones) and Steve Gerber (Loyal Order of Moose) introduced Crowleyan and Theosophical concepts into the Marvel Comics “universe.” As artist Frank Brunner (Engelhart’s frequent collaborator) explains,

YES, I was already studying the occult…both the old stuff, including Aleister Crowley and the “Golden Dawn Society” to modern books like “Real Magic” by P.I.E. Bonewits, and the writings of Carlos Castaneda! (Who mixed ancient indian magic with drugs!)

Filipino comic book artist Alfredo Alcala is said to have learned various magical disciplines within a fraternity known as SinagAraw. The wildest story holds that he learned a method to create doppelgängers of himself, effecively tripling his productive capacity.

Today, the most noteworthy comic book professional to admit his occult involvement is famed British writer Alan Moore (New and Reformed Palladium; Book & Snake). Many have opined that the finale of his 1986 Watchmen series offers a forecast of the events of 9/11. Since that time, Moore has “come out” as a disciple of such notorious occultists as Aleister Crowley.

Indeed, Moore’s magnum opus Promethea can be considered a transparently-disguised initiatory text. The series introduces readers to the techniques of Goetic evocation, Tarot divination, and Qabalistic meditation. Aleister Crowley himself puts in several appearances at various points in the series.

As one reviewer notes:

Promethea reads like he’s saying, “Here’s everything I’ve learned about the Occult.” And boy, you would not believe how much Alan Moore knows about the occult. There are long stretches where the plot (except in the loosest sense of the word) gets pushed to the side completely so he can tell you more about magic. As a result, it’s one of the smartest and most explanation-heavy comics in recent memory.

As Moore himself confesses:

I wanted to be able to do an occult comic that didn’t portray the occult as a dark, scary place, because that’s not my experience of it. I don’t thinks it’s the experience of many occultists. Why would we want to be occultists if that meant that we had to spend our lives in a dark, scary place?

Utilizing my occult experiences, I could see a way that it would be possible to do a new kind of occult comic, that was more psychedelic, that was more sophisticated, more experimental, more ecstatic and exuberant… So Promethea is about as perfect an expression of the occult as I could imagine doing in a mainstream super-hero comic book.

All of which brings us to the bottom line: The predictive imagery so prevalent in comic books is not accidental or coincidental. Those images represent the careful and scientific recording of impressions received during rituals designed to bring out innate psychic/paranormal abilities.

Similar experiments in ESP and precognition have been conducted by such scientists as J.B. Rhine. But the question remains: Why place this material before the public in a popular format? For the answer, we must return to the afore-cited New York Press article on the Magickal Childe milieu, which included X-Men author Chris Claremont.

At last, we come to the intelligence/espionage connection:

Not all of us took Simon’s hints of dabblings in intelligence work all that seriously, but apparently the Feds did. An agent infiltrated the OTO with the apparent intent of getting close to Simon, who was doing a great deal of consulting for the local lodge and seemed to be flirting with affiliation. As the noose tightened, Simon became more and more critical of the OTO, finally denouncing it as “fascist” and vanishing, some said to Singapore. Other reports placed him in Hong Kong or Shanghai. The truth is, no one knew.

“Simon,” you will recall, was actually Peter Levenda, later famed for his brave attempt to infiltrate the Chilean Nazi cult Colonia Dignidad, as described in his book Unholy Alliance.

He cultivated an elusive, secretive persona, giving him a fantastic and blatantly implausible line of bullshit to cover the book’s origins. He had no telephone. He always wore business suits, in stark contrast to the flamboyant Renaissance fair, proto-goth costuming that dominated the scene. He never got high in public.

In short, he knew the signifiers and emblems of authority, and played them to the hilt. He hinted broadly of dealings with intelligence agencies and secret societies operating at global levels of social influence.

Over the course of several decades, one faction of the American intelligence community attempted to infiltrate — and manipulate — the occult underground.

Unlikely as that assertion may at first seem, it has been documented in many books and articles. See, for example, this site:

Military funded academic research from 1964 included, “witchcraft, sorcery, magic and other psychological phenomena and their implications on military and paramilitary in the Congo”.

The 1969 CIA ‘Operation Often’ was an exploration of Black Magic and the supernatural.

E. Howard Hunt’s espionage novels often discuss the CIA’s strange dealings with occult secret societies. Much of this research was conducted in conjunction with Project MKULTRA.

On the Senate floor in 1977, Senator Ted Kennedy said:

The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an “extensive testing and experimentation” program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens “at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.” Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to “unwitting subjects in social situations.”

In such social situations, the field operative would likely abstain from using the test drugs while making them freely available to others within the group. (It is not yet known whether Moore became involved with the program during his period as an LSD distributor in the U.K.)

“Operation Eel” — MKULTRA subproject 131 — was a program designed to disseminate the results of this psychic/occult research to the public, in a carefully-circumscribed and disguised fashion. (Please note: Some sources make reference to “Project Eel.” This terminology is incorrect.)

The leaders of this subproject hoped to test an intriguing hypothesis: By using popular media to imprint these images on the public, one might actually increase the likelihood of the forecast coming true.

The predictive images were first culled from various receivers. An image recorded by two or more independent participants was considered to be of particular significance. The images were then randomly assigned to the “public” and “private” categories. “Private” predictive images were never revealed in any media, and remain closely held within the case history files; these images constituted the control group. “Public” images were worked into fictional narratives, which appeared in media likely to appeal to the young and the imaginative — comic books, animated films and so forth.

The subproject leaders soon discovered that public forecasts had a 65% success rate, while those forecasts kept private came true at a rate of 35%.

Although Project MKULTRA was shut down shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, Operation Eel continues under another rubric. Later project cryptonyms remain unknown. Most of the participants in the operation were mere dabblers in occultism, and thus unwitting of any agency involvement. A few of the participants (Moore, Kirby) are considered psychic “super-receivers,” and thus may in fact be witting (or were witting), although this point has not yet been confirmed.

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