“It is now nearly 13 years since the ill-fated day when I first began investigating the terrible legends surrounding the enigmatic Bavarian Illuminati…”
–Robert Anton Wilson, “The Cosmic Trigger”
On this day in 1835, New York newspaper The Sun ran the first of six articles about the discovery of life on the moon. Attributed to the then-famous astronomer Sir John Herschel via the use of “an immense telescope of an entirely new principle,” the series would describe a lunar civilization filled with temples, unicorns, tail-less bipedal beavers, and a race of bat-like humanoids called Vespertilio-homo.
Unfortunately, reported The Sun, Herschel’s insights were terminated when the light of the actual Sun was caught and magnified by the super-powerful lens of the telescope, setting fire to and destroying the observatory.
Less than a month later, The Sun admitted that the entire thing was a hoax. It is speculated that the work was a satire at least partially based on the writings/rantings of Reverend Thomas Dick, a bestselling author at the time who believed that not only was the Moon inhabited, but that it was inhabited by approximately 4,200,000,000 living creatures.
Also on this day in 1981, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn.
On this day in 1989, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Neptune.
On this day in 2012, the Voyager 1 spacecraft entered interstellar space, the first man-made object to do so. On that same day, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, died.
Now, of course, in 2020…we have “Space Force,” an actual branch of the U.S. military designed to, as per its official website,
“The USSF is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”
So we start with a big “joke”—albeit a joke believed, apparently, by a large amount of people at the time (making the original Sun a great deal of money). When “The Great Moon Hoax,” as it has eventually come to be known, first happened it was during an era when traveling to a heavenly body was unimaginable. Hence, the “joke.”
But eventually…the “joke” becomes real. Further…what was once a joke “expands” to be a bigger and bigger part of daily life.
This is why we need to be very very careful when we joke.
Voyager 1 & 2, constructed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory also known as JPL; co-created by rocket engineer and occultist Jack Parsons.
JPL, sometimes jokingly referred to as “Jack Parsons Laboratories.”
Jack Parsons, a kook and a magical thinker; who also had a vital role in creating our space-age future. Almost as if there was some connection between esotericism and cold hard physics reality.
I’ve had an extremely strange collection of experiences since I last wrote here. Teeth-grindingly weird. And as I went through all this—as I tried to wrap my brain around what was happening—I couldn’t help but think of the weird life interlude that was the basis of Robert Anton Wilson’s 1973 book Cosmic Trigger I.
Basically: Wilson had, up to a certain point, treated a number of esoteric and conspiracy-type theories with an ironic and comedic-skeptical eye. He was friends with the people who created Discordianism—the “joke” religion—and himself had co-authored a “satire” of conspiracy-culture, which would become the Illuminatus! trilogy.
But then weird shit began to happen that started to make him question everything. One of the co-creators of Discordianism, Kerry Thornley—who, coincidentally, had been in the military with none other than Lee Harvey Oswald—began to think that he was in a center of a “real” conspiracy, and that Wilson might have been one of his “handlers.” Suddenly, Thornley started to lose his sense of irony and humor, which had been such a large part of Discordianism.
Meanwhile, as sci-fi author Philip K. Dick—which Wilson kinda tangentially knew just as an acquaintance—was claiming to have been contacted and possessed by some sort of extra-dimensional entity, Wilson himself thought he might have been channeling some sort of alien from Sirius. And this all was just a tiny slice of the High Weirdness that suddenly surrounded his life.
In the end, Wilson, despite his odd experiences, chose to take a cautiously agnostic view; distancing himself somewhat from what Charles Fort would call “a procession of the damned.” He did this explicitly to preserve his sanity.
As do I; or at least, I give it that old college try.