Wednesday, August 1, 2012

20 rosy fingers

The Aurora shooting on July 20th has excited a number of conspiratorial musings, which is par for the course, of course.  What has caught my eye in these speculations is the recurrence of two themes which seem to have become almost requisite elements for any high-profile assassination, killing or mass murder.

The first theme is that of the body double, known in the trade as a political decoy; that is to say the alleged perp paraded before us on TV is not the real thing. 

The second theme is the idea that the killer is a product of mind control. 

These two themes are often brought together, as I've seen in the Aurora case, to construct the figure of the mind-controlled patsy.

The idea of the political decoy doesn't originate with the Kennedy assassination, but I think that as the über-myth of 20th century conspiracy literature, the assassination of JFK has become the source for the idea's subsequent application to various mass murders and killings.  In what I've read about Aurora so far, an explicit connection is made to the JFK assassination--the body double is a typical tactic of a nebulous cryptocracy orchestrating events in order to further their own agenda.  In this case the timing coincides with an important UN vote on an arms control resolution.  Drudge actually plays into this; for several days running his page had links to articles about how in the wake of this tragedy, gun sales are actually increasing, contrary to the expectations of....(insert bugbear here).  Conservative friends on Facebook have posted about how if everyone in the theater had been armed, the death toll would have been lower, also explicitly alluding to the UN vote.  The conservative press, typified by the Examiner article linked to above, has been making the link unuambiguously.

The Gid, my fellow writer on this blog, provided his own take on this topic: strikes me that neither Obama nor Romney nor any other big political figure in the US seems to making a gun control issue of the event (unless I've missed something). In that light, it's almost a bizzare twist on twilight language--it's totally in your face that politicians ought to be all over this in terms of gun control, but they aren't, as if it has noting to do with the topic ... The politicians have evoked The Law of Silence on the topic. It is, however, totally possible that I'm wrong since I haven't paid a lot of attention to the news over the last couple of weeks.

I first heard about the "second Oswald" in Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger in relation to countercultural mystery man Kerry Thornley.  Thornley knew Oswald and had written about him before the assassination.  Because of this he actually testified before the Warren commission.  The first book on the topic was by one Richard Popkins appropriately titled The Second Oswald (1964) (review)There is also an alleged memo from Hoover stating "there is a possibility that an imposter is using Oswald's birth certificate."

In 2004, conspiracy theorist John Armstrong published a book entitled Harvey and Lee, which claimed to have identified a Lee Harvey Oswald double who had impersonated Oswald as part of an intelligence operation. Armstrong bases his claims on photographs which appear to show discrepancies in Oswald's physique and facial features. Armstrong cites contradictory eyewitness testimony from the Warren Report, placing Oswald in two different locations at the same time. (Wikipedia:  Political Decoy)

Which is exactly how I first heard of the James Holmes patsy theory--a photo comparison.  The only inexplicable difference I can make out in this photo is the shape of the nose, which is much more flared in the first picture.  This could in fact be due to the angle of the head and the lighting.  The general contours of the face, the eyebrows, the ears, the slope of the shoulders....all look pretty much to same to me.  The mouth and eyes can be explained by the different expression.  I concur though that the overall impression is that we are looking at photos of two different men, albeit very similar in appearance.  I'm not going pass judgement, but the idea is out there whether I pass judgement or not!

My co-blogger, the Gid, looking at the same photos, was more judgemental:

I have to say that they look like different people to me. I find myself trying to convince myself that, yeah, sure those might be the same eyes, laughing then afraid, even though they look so different; that might be the same mouth, the same beard pattern, the same cheekbones, etc. Quite frankly, it's a lot easier for me to see these as two different people than as the same person. 

On LoS, the political decoy has come up in the context of the death of Saddam Hussein and the death of Bin Laden.  In the latter case, the internet was awash with forgeries rather quickly; total confusion and further conspiracy theories were spun off of the evidently faked photos of the dead Bin Laden.

While not exactly the same thing as a body double, the idea that Oswald acted alone is doubted by even the most non-conspiratorial of people.  Likewise, some doubt has been cast on Holmes' lone-nut profile.  According to one witness, some minutes before the shooting, a guy got a phone call inside the theater and went to the emergency exit, propping it open.  A few minutes later, Holmes burst in and opened fire.  This would suggest a partner.  The name Holmes is evocative in this regard, for where Holmes goes, his partner Watson goes.  Kind of like Batman and Robin.

(That said, the Police narrative is that the person who propped the door open was Holmes, who'd entered legally after buying a ticket.  One would imagine this was so he could prop open the door, retrieve his weapons and return to carry out the attacks.  The police believe he acted alone.  The cell phone story could easily have been a ruse used by Holmes--an excuse to get up and go to the door.  I think this is very plausible.)

John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy kind of bookend the period of major sixties' assassinations; both were noticably similar in appearance, both excited wild optimism.  In and of itself, the brothers reinforce the theme of the double.  Bobby was like a reincarnation of his older brother....and met the same grisly fate.  This leads us to the second theme:  mind control.  It's with RFK that I recall first hearing mind-control allegations against an assassin.  Sirhan Sirhan, his own name a double, is often seen as a kind of "Manchurian Candidate" a term taken from a 1959 novel by Richard Condon of the same name.  In his novel (first adapted to film in 1962), a man is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for a Communist plot.  Conspiracy theorists have had a field day with the "coincidence" that a book about a brainwashed assassin would appear in print a year before a real assassination so rife with suspicious inconsistencies that even the least paranoid among us smell something rotten in the official story.

In Holmes' case, people cite three things to build their case for mind control.  The first is that Holmes acted inconsistenly.  Why go on a murderous rampage and then meekly surrender to the police?  Why rig one's house with explosives then warn the police that they are there?  I've read it suggested that this indicates a kind of mental struggle in Holmes' mind, that his programmed mind was in conflict with the part of him that knew his actions to be wrong.  I'm no mental health expert, but let's use the razor here.  A man walks into a cinema and kills 12, injures dozens more, dressed like a character in the film about to play.  I think it's fair to say the man is mentally unbalanced.  So do we really need to ask why he was acting inconsistently to our rational minds?  I mean, really?  A crazy man acting odd?  You don't say!

Other "evidence" is that Holmes was a student of neuroscience and that Aurora is home to a large military community.  Although these are tantalizing facts, their presence in the story is indicative of nothing unless some concrete info can be found which makes it relevant.  I've heard that suicide is quite high among psychologists; this doesn't mean they've been mind-controlled.  To me it indicates that troubled people might actually want to go about investigating the way the mind works.  Could this also be true for neuroscience?  Was Holmes pushed in that direction by inner doubts about his own mental health?  Who knows at this point.

As long as we're hound-dogging untenable theories, let's pause to make some connections between the movie and real (or least our conspiratorially-imagined versionion of real) life. The second of these three Batman flicks included the bad guy Two Face. Half his face was normal; the other was twisted and evil. He flipped a coin to decide who would live and who would die. Note, too, the "Sons of Batman", vigilante killers in Miller's Dark Knight Returns comic--surely nightmarish dopplegangers.

Two Face also appears in the Dark Knight Returns storyline, his face repaired and to all outward appearances, normal; he does remain Two Face in his head though, and he continues to terrorize Gotham City in disguise.

But that's not all! Consider, too, that Batman was a doppleganger of Bruce Wayne, created by death, the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, who were murdered returning home from a movie, a Zorro film. Zorro is, of course, a doppelganger of Don Diego de la Vega. Bob Kane has described how Batman was influenced by Zorro in both look and mission.

As a last note along these lines connecting the films/stories with these conspiratorial musings, The Gid mentioned to me that he's always wondered if Bruce Wayne didn't kill his own parents. He seems to think that the whole mythology works much better that way. Of all the superhero franchises out there, Batman writers question the sanity of the hero the most. In the second installment of the Nolan trilogy, Batman comes across as crazy as the Joker, something alluded to in other stories as well I think. Batman is a man obsessed, leading a double life, one identity slipping into another. What is Two Face but a more grotesque version of the Batman? The Joker doesn't seem to have this inner dichotomy, however, being simply bat shit crazy.

Let's go back to the Manchurian Candidate and consider the question of why conspirators would go around announcing their intentions.  In the synchromystic strain of conspiracy theory, the cyptocracy uses cues (called twilight language) to activate certain ideas and feeling to create a sense of recognition; they're fucking with us, basically, in order to heighten the fear and increase a sense of powerlessness before them.  Another example cited is the Dark Knight Returns, a graphic novel which greatly influenced film director Nolan's vision of Batman in The Dark Knight Rises.  In the comic, a red-haired guy goes into a theater and starts shooting people up, killing three.  Of course, reason would suggest that Holmes was life imitating art.  For others, the book was a blueprint, a kind of forewarning of what "they" had planned.

Aurora would actually be a good choice for "them" to execute their plan if this were (is) true.  Aurora is the Goddess of Dawn.  I, like many other Americans who were obliged to read it as kids, will no doubt think of Aurora in the Odyssey (recalling Odyssey Dawn, the name of the US operation in Libya), the rosy-fingered one who appears at transitional moments in the epic; symbolizing our hero's ongoing transformation.  What better way to evoke a sense of awe than to subliminally trigger thoughts of a story where human strength is often crushed under the weight of divine intervention?  In God(s) We Trust.  And just as the gods control peole in the Greek epics, so do people mind-control people in the conspriatorial-epics of today. Aurora is also the name of dozens of municipalities across the US and the anglophone world; what better way to bring a distant event a little closer to home?

The title of the film is evocative in a similar sense to the name of the town, evoking the transition between night and day.  The Dark Knight Rises could be read as a pun....dark night rises.  Yet it's day which usually rises, with Aurora Night usually falls.  These metaphors stem from what appears to the be the literal rise and fall of the sun each morning and evening--which coincide with humans rising and falling from sleep and from beds.  Of course this inversion within the title of the film could mean just about whatever someone wanted it to mean....the world tuned upside down, for example.  My co-blogger, The Gid, suggests that the title of the film is also meant to evoke the title of Miller's 4th book, The Dark Night Falls.

Dawn is of course a symbol we've looked at many times:  the rising sun is a new day, a new world order, Luciferian illumination.  Another god LoS has examined is Janus, in a post we called Blood and Fire.  Janus was a two-faced god, a god of doubles.  Like Lincoln's double visage in our last post, like the double-headed eagle we keep running across linked to black-ops by private mercenaries, it's an obssession of ours.  As we said in the last post, the body-double idea evokes Janus, who in addition to his doppelgänger role, also served as the god of gateways; what is dawn but a kind of gateway?

Indeed.  Aurora is called "The Gateway City".  The interview with the guy claiming to have seen someone prop open the door was interviewed at Gateway High.  Not so far from Columbine, as initial reports reminded us.  And Columbine is the mistress of Harlequin....a kind of clown.  And Harley Quinn, in some versions of the Batman story, is the female sweetheart of....the Joker.  This female villain incidentally, was once Harleen Quinzel, Arkham Asylum psychiatrist....

Michael Hoffman, whose essay with James Shelby Downard entitled King Kill 33, is a classic of the twilight language texts, proposes that the JFK assassination was part of an elaborate Masonic Killing of the King ritual which culminated in the moon shot a few years later,.  He's now written an article on the Aurora shooting entitled Predictive programming and ritual stagecraft:  Batman movie shooting synchronicity.  (The comments are intriguing as well).

In this essay he asks:  Where's Watson? 

Where indeed?  At least, the conspiratorial rumblings suggest that Holmes did not act alone.  The use of mind control and political decoys is a more fantastic proposition, the kind of stuff that in times past was grist for the fringe elements of the frings.  But with the internet, the fringe has lept into the center.  More correctly speaking, there is no more center, it's all fringe, arranged like knots in a vast net which is cast wide and harvests every detail, no matter how trivial, and hauls it into the boat.  Looking at the squirming mass before us, it doesn't make "sense" in the traditonal way; merely appearing together is a kind of proof of something.  History and journalism, the documented and demonstrable, are no longer part of the process.  We simply throw around ideas, half-elaborated "facts" and hearsay, then run with it.  There are so many narrative threads we can pull out of the tangle of facts, whatever suits our fancy.

The idea of twilight language is convenient because if nothing concrete ever comes of it, the ideas are still planted, the lack of follow-up is part of the process.  As the theory goes, the plotters show us just enough to remind us they are there, but not enough to do anything about it.  There will always be reasonable doubt.  But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, just as sometimes there are crazy people who go off the rails and commit horrendous, senseless crimes.  Sometimes our need to make it sensible leads us to believe strange things, to make us wonder why a crazy person would do crazy things.  We assume people are like most of us, who do things for a reason, try to escape punishment for our misdeeds, attempt to have some kind of consistency in our lives.  When we see someone acting otherwise, it's hard to process, we are, perhaps, bewildered and alarmed for our own security.  Or perhaps, for our own sanity. Could that, we ask, be me or my children in the theater, either victim or perpetrator?  And it's in this state that we are susceptible to believing in conspiracies, especially a theory suggesting that an innocent person has been highjacked by mind control or a doppelganger.

If the world's a stage, and we are but actors, it's no wonder we're often curious to know who the director is. Of course it helps that in this case, it all took place in a theater showing a film in a franchise which has already given us a dose of real-life death.  Even before the release of the last installment, Heath Ledger, Joker actor, was dead in an apparently accidentally overdoese of legal medications.


I wanted to work the following image in somehow, but I'm not quite sure how it works in.  One "right-wing" theory is that this is a staged event by the cryptocracy to further a gun control agenda.  What if it were in fact a right-wing conspiracy to make it look like a gun-grabbing conspiracy?  Wouldn't it be nifty to suggest this was a staged event, then point out that it isn't working and then link the shooter as Joker to the gun-grabber in Chief?  I don't advocate this at all, but after I thought of the image below it crossed my mind that this was a pro-gun conspiracy disguised as a blatant anti-gun conspiracy....  This is how crazy this kind of stuff will start making you.  Oddly enough, for some that's proof enough of a successful....conspiracy.

Obama is evoked, perhaps in a long and roundabout way, but so is Romney.  The villain of this latest Batman film:  Bane.  What company, often seen as villainous, did  Romney once lead?  Bain & Co....

Thanks to The Gid for his suggestions and additions, as well as copy editing.  Some very great observations and clarifications are integrated into the text.  Also some rearrangement of ideas.  He had a lot to add about the Batman comics I'd forgotten.  Some of his ideas are introduced with phrases such as "The Gid suggests..." written by the man himself.  Hmmm.  Writing about yourself in the third person?  Talk about your double-mind....

Sorry Gid, that I nixed your PPS about Snoop Dogg.  That's gonna be a post of its own....


  1. The Gid is wondering, "What's a bugbear?"

    1. ----A bugbear is a legendary creature or type of hobgoblin comparable to the bogeyman, bogey, bugaboo, and other creatures of folklore, all of which were historically used in some cultures to frighten disobedient children. Its name is derived from a Middle English word "bugge" (a frightening thing), or perhaps the old Welsh word bwg (evil spirit or goblin), or old Scots "bogill" (goblin), and has cognates in German "bögge" or "böggel-mann" (goblin), and most probably also English "bugaboo" and "bogey-man". In medieval England, the Bugbear was depicted as a creepy bear that lurked in the woods to scare children; it was described in this manner in an English translation of a 1565 Italian play The Buggbear.

      In a modern context, the term bugbear serves as a metaphor for something which is annoying or irritating. It may also mean "pet peeve".----

      I disagree with the contemporary meaning provided bu Wiki. I've always heard bugbear used like bogeyman, a kind of "go-to" villain to scare people....used to be Commies, now it's Mad Arabs....the kind of implicit threat behind one's arguments for say, increased defense spending or military intervention.

      A ha!

      1. any source, real or imaginary, of needless fright or fear.
      2. a persistent problem or source of annoyance.
      3. Folklore . a goblin that eats up naughty children.

      Wiki is correct but incomplete. I use it in sense #1! Please tell that to The Gid.

  2. A few days ago a young couple were both punched in the face by a guy during a showing of Batman. They'd asked him to turn off his cell phone.

    The local press of course, refers to Aurora!

  3. Interesting post about possible collaborators:

    Aurora's Second Man?

  4. Regarding the PS, there's a JFK connection there. JFK's VP: Lyndon "Baines" Johnson.

    "Lyndon B. Johnson was initiated on October 30, 1937 in Johnson City Lodge No. 561, at Johnson City, Texas, but completed only the Entered Apprentice, or first, of the three Masonic degrees."


  5. Regarding Zorro - don't forget the "genie zorro" that James Shelby Downard discusses as relates to JFK and the atom bomb. Zorro was also the FBI's code name for MLK.

  6. Interesting. MLK nd JFK also fit the three-name pattern Hoffman identifies as related to famous killings. Where does Downard discuss the "genie zorro" btw? I don't see it in King Kill 33....

  7. He might touch on it in "Carnivals of Life and Death" but I know for sure Downard discusses this in the audio interview CD that Hoffman has in his catalogue. I think it's part of the "Sirius Rising" interviews with Downard that supposedly Jim Brandon a.k.a. William Grimstad has the other volumes of - don't know how many exactly but it's several 'tapes' worth. One of the best kept secret treasures around, I'd say.

    1. Jason, even before I'd heard it articulated elsewhere, I suspected Downard may not have existed. The photos that exist, two I think, seem a bit "off" somehow. And I must admit to being disappointed with "Carnavals". I was expecting something along the lines of "King Kill" but except for a passage or two, that kind of exegesis is absent. I keep trying to tell myself it's all an elaborate metaphor, but I have the feeling this is all some kind of quasi-Masochistic fantasy. If so, it all a bit calumnious. I'm not sure what to make of the book to be honest. It reads like a parody.

      I'd like to hear those recordings. I considered buying Gorightly's book on the subject, but I'm a bit leery of his stuff. Maybe I'm approaching it the wrong way....

      And I haven't made up my mind about Downard's existence. Just a feeling....

    2. Just after posting this, I checked my email and there was Hoffman's latest, "Of Human Alchemy and the Gay Science" which begins:

      "My mentor, the late James Shelby Downard, looked at conspiracy data from many angles, including geo-occultic. He wondered why the creation and destruction of primordial matter (the world's first atomic bomb blast) occurred near the 33rd degree line of north parallel latitude; why it was was named the Trinity site, and occured on the ancient Jornada del Muerto ("Journey of the Dead Man")."

      Downard, the bomb and 33 degrees, one click away from a thread encompassing the same. No great cosmic wink, but timing is everything.

  8. I've heard the suspicions that Downard wasn't real, and that this was a hoax of sorts hatched by the brain trust of Hoffman, Grimstad, Saunders, Parfrey et al. However, if they went so far as to make a phony recording, write phony books and continue to hold up the legacy of a canard only to make absolutely no money on it nor gain any sort of notoriety or power and continue to live in obsolescence - maybe fooling an extremely small number of folks like myself - then I'd say they're some of the most dedicated idiots of their generation.

    I don't think that's so, but if I'm being fooled then so be it. Gorightly's book is ok, not great and priced too high. I highly recommend Hoffman's CD though. The interview is broken up into 44 sections, alternating between Downard and Hoffman's narration and set ups. The divisions make it easy to verify the material presented as fact with one's own research (I can't get down the El Paso Library's Rare Book department though). I've looked into almost every bit of information they present and have not found any inconsistency or lie.

    1. Unfortunately, the cost of overseas shipping makes the price for Hoffman's books etc. more than I am willing to pay in my current circumstances. I have read "Secret Societies" though, and found in it what I was looking for in "Carnavals". I have referred to it many times in my writings, especially his bit about 21 and the 21st century and the metric system versus "Imperial" measures. This question of why Americans use such an illogical system comes up a lot in my English classes when we look at specifications. I always take a moment to talk about how it's based on human proportions and extol it's charms. Plus, in the States we learn both systems, so it's an added value in my opinion.

      As for the hoax idea, I can't even begin to make an educated guess. I generally work from the assumption he was real. The way I approach his work, it doesn't actually matter. Not disagreeing with you here, but not all hoaxes are done for power, notoriety, or financial gain; in the case of Hoffman and Parfrey, they do sell his books, so there is a financial interest; it also attracts readership, helping create an audience among those who might have come to know their work via Downard. I'm not saying this is the case, though, merely that it's not entirely out of the equation when deciding if it's a hoax or not. Besides, their reasons could just be that it's a way to comunicate a set of ideas arrived at collectively, not to fool anyone per se, but to have a kind of freedom, an alternate point of view to work from. The same reason many writers adopt a nom de plume. Like I said before, it was merely a feeling I developed and haven't entirely shaken off; I was surprised and had some more shadows of doubt when I read the theory elsewhere. I think there are valid reasons to suspect a hoax but I really have no problem taking his existence at face value.

      Plus, to write "phony books and continue to hold up the legacy of a canard only to make absolutely no money on it nor gain any sort of notoriety or power and continue to live in obsolescence" is sometimes a goal in and of itself, something friends I have actually done with a fictive encyclopedia, on the internet. I've seen it cited once or twice in all seriousness. This surprises me because it's such obvious "fiction." It amuses me somewhat, but I don't feel any pleasure in feeling like I've pulled one over on someone, nor do I feel I'm abusing anyone's trust. That said, let the buyer beware.

      In the blog I try to stay open-minded and stick to the facts, always indicating (I try anyway) where the speculation begins and making sure dubious citations are noted as such. I try to do posts where the "buyer" doesn't have to doubt my sincerity or whether or not I'm inventing stuff. There are a few satires, which require dissimulation, or taking on a different persona. There's a poetic aim of sorts for some of these. I'm certainly no synchromystic, though we often employ the same methods. I came to this through Surrealism and Robert Anton Wilson. I suppose it's a kind of synchro-agnosticism.

      I also enjoy Gorightly, but his Discordianism and various things I've read here and there indicate that with him you sometimes have to be careful to take it all with a grain of salt. I don't often have the time to sift through what might be legit and what might be more of a prank. His approach is fine, I used something like it on our "encylopedia". I'm sure I'll read more of his stuff some day. Hopefully, I'll be able to read and listen to more of Hoffman as well. "Masonic Assassinations" is definitely on the list.

      A few thoughts to give you an idea of where I'm coming from, subject to evolution!

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

  9. Although I've closed my file on whether or not Downard is a real person, I understand your skepticism. Thanks for putting your efforts into this blog, it's certainly interesting.

    1. Thanks Jason. We try. Sometimes I think we do ok. I'd love to have some new voices. If you'd like to do a bit about Downard or whatever you'd like, I'd be interested in putting it on the blog....

  10. Cui Bono? A Dark Knight Thought Experiment

    This post goes far deeper than I did into this issue. Makes me realize I should stick to writing about folklore....


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