Things to come!

This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge

Sorry to launch the site and then let it sit fallow but I had a big week planned over on I Read Odd Books that has taken a lot of my time.  I know most of the people reading here are likely people who followed me over from IROB but if you’re new, check out my themed week as it has a giveaway that has an Amazon card option so I can give gifts even to the most paranoid of readers (and frankly, I have a post office box myself so I don’t condemn anyone reluctant to share too many personal details).  It’s half-way over but the context doesn’t end until Friday evening.

I have so much in the pipeline for this site that I hesitate to discuss it because the surest way to torpedo work plans is to tell people what you hope to do.  However, I can say I plan to have a sort of “One-Stop-Entry” for all the conspiracy theories, unsettling situation and odd questions associated with the Boston Marathon Bombing and the suspected bombers.  I hope to have to posted Friday – Monday at the latest – and it will be a fluid document that I update as more theories are generated.

From there I hope to have a discussion about the Super Empowered Individual, as it keeps coming up in all these bombings and shootings. Some people insist that no one man can do that much damage, that many people have to have been involved.  Those who are familiar with SEI know all too well that one person can plan and wreak havoc of the sort law-abiding citizens can barely imagine.  Belief that cabals and cells and groups must be backing or behind some of the more recent atrocities in the USA and worldwide is a comfort, as it makes people feel like greater forces are controlling these horrors.  It’s easier to believe that there must be a world-wide conspiracy than to understand that one disenfranchised person with a credit card and access to the Internet can kill dozens all on his own, and that it could be the person we all would least expect.

And after that I hope to begin discussing all of the conspiracy theory and paranormal books I love so much and hopefully generate discussion amongst skeptics and believers.  I may begin with Dave McGowan’s Programmed to Kill: The Politics of Serial Murder, since reader Dave is most interested in this book, and with good cause.  It’s interesting and probably has some truth in it, up to a point.

So stayed tuned.  It’s gonna get conspiratorial up in here.

12 thoughts on “Things to come!

    1. Skimmed it and and it looks interesting but I found significant errors in his look at the pictures. “Two dead women?” Ugh. But thanks for showing me the link. I’ll be sure to include his theories in my master list.

      The false flag theories wherein people were actors and there was no real blood are some of the worst violators of the law of parsimony. They’re they Rube Goldberg machines of conspiracy theory. But I’ll definitely address all of McGowan’s ideas in my entry.

      1. He seems to be implying that the blast he is analyzing was fake and the other one was real.

        What about the two “dead” women? He merely notes that they weren’t there initially and then suddenly showed up……………………..

        I have done some very heavy research into the Jared Loughner debacle and I, with good cause, cannot conclusively say that ANYONE was killed that day. I can’t say they weren’t, either, and the surveillance footage will never be released. However, there are SO many anomalies and serious unadressed inconsistencies in ANY version of the Loughner/Giffords story that I (completely independently and never having read any conspiracy “theory” relating to false crimes and pretend victims prior to that moment) began to feel as if the entire crime was a staged incident. This is important because I never even CONSIDERED the idea and went into my research merely assuming that Loughner was a mind controlled killer (“patsy” seems to be a better word, in retrospect).

        This is hard for me because I KNOW that the people who, if such conspiracies actually existed, would manage such an event have a historical track record of complete apathy towards human life and wouldn’t logically waste the time on staging such an event when actually killing people is far more effective. Even Gabrielle Giffords is completely expendable. (I believe, if anybody, Judge Roll was indeed executed that day)

        However, careful analysis of the known facts puts the purported crime itself into question in the Loughner case. Since that time, I have heard such theories about Newtown, Boston, and a few other events and am more likely to at least consider these ideas because I have seen that they are indeed plausible, if illogical. This McGowan piece, however, is quite logical, apparently quite plausible, and probably true.

        1. The two “dead” women were there all along. In fact, they are in the third picture he presents in his evidence (and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth and so on – I think he’s got seven pictures total that shows the two women stayed right where they fell). The angle may look odd to him because the fence that Krystle Campbell fell into was removed but they stayed where they fell and they were in the very evidence he used to refute Jeff Bauman, Jr’s existence without even knowing it. Watch this gif of the photographs McGowan uses (and they were photographs from a man who accidentally left his camera on a fast shutter speed and took a flurry of pics without initially realizing it – they were not surveillance camera images, which is a picky point but accuracy matters): Krystle and Karen, the “two dead women” are on the right side of the images near the wooden fencing pickets, which later got pulled away as people did their best to render aid.

          Seriously, Dave. The two “dead” girls are right there in the very pictures McGowan has on his own site. You can very clearly see them as they struggle after falling down after the bomb went off. McGowan was focusing so hard on looking at what happened to Bauman that he completely missed them. They didn’t didn’t have to get up to move. They stayed where they fell. You can see the girl in the red and black jacket just above the two of them and to the left (as you look at the pictures) is the black woman with the head injury who fell atop Bauman.

          Moreover, they aren’t two dead bodies. One is fatality Krystle Campbell, the “girl in the blue shirt” and the other is her best friend, Karen Rand. Karen did not die but lost a leg. Only two women died in the blast and brunette Caucasian Karen Rand was not one of them and it’s weird that McGowan called them the two dead women when the body count is well known, the victims have been named and numerous photos of the angles of the site show how it went down.

          And these people exist(ed). The relentless need to unperson them in order to make complex theories is deeply disturbing to me.

          I can’t speak intelligently about the Tucson shooting but will likely discuss it one day and then we can examine it in detail . 😉

          Edited to clear up some fuzzy writing

  1. I think another reason people are comforted by terrorist conspiracies/cabals is that we hate ascribing positive attributes to our enemies. We’d rather imagine these things being done by groups of crazed idiots working in concert than by a single clever, determined person.

    For instance, after 9/11 the only acceptable way to describe the terrorists was as “cowards.” When Bill Maher said he didn’t think flying an airplane into a building was a cowardly act, the resulting tsunami of public outrage got his show cancelled. Or look at how controversial it is in some circles merely to state that Adolf Hitler was just a human being and not a supernatural monster. Human nature is really strange in this way; we’re very all-or-nothing. When someone is deemed supremely evil, it’s unacceptable to acknowledge that they have any positive attributes whatsoever.

    Even when we’re reluctantly forced to acknowledge someone’s brilliance, like with the Unabomber, we must still maintain that he is 100% insane, and incapable of saying or doing anything that is not 100% insane. It’s fairly taboo to take his manifesto seriously in any way, or to assert that he makes any valid points. I remember when you wrote your discussion of Anders Breivik’s manifesto, some people were adamant that you were trolling — obviously Breivik was 100% insane, therefore could not possibly write anything that was not also 100% insane.

    1. You know, that MetaFilter link you did for my ABB analysis initially seemed horrible to me because I was surprised at the rabidly anti-intellectual response from a handful of people who insisted that even reading and discussing 2083 was a de facto evil act because I was just playing into his hands. It was like they had decided he was too insane or too evil to understand and that there was no sense in trying. But the entire document was the embodiment of Arendt’s “banality of evil.” Mama’s boy with credit cards and plenty of time and a helluva personality disorder did all that and he wasn’t evil, though he’s so much a cypher psychologically that he comes the closest to being a monster of all these people I’ve read so much about.

      But in that Metafilter feed, I saw someone mention that my research was important because I took it seriously. I don’t think that I had understood before that my willingness to take things seriously was different and necessary. People do terrible things and believe strange things because they are human beings and refusing to take all of it seriously is a refusal to see major problems in this world. I think that is part of the problem with these theories of vast cabals and cells – it enables us as whole to stop taking that curly-haired, skinny kid who may have bombed people seemingly out of nowhere. We look for the person pulling the strings. We don’t look at him. Even the Free Jahar and Justice for Jahar people are not taking him seriously. They’ve turned him into the perfect boyfriend or perfect patsy. They are refusing the see the darkness that lies in the heart of every human being.

      1. If I had to sum up the appeal for me of your website(s) in a sentence, I’d say that it was your willingness — and superb ability — to treat seriously books and ideas that most people dismiss out of hand, without compromising your reason and objectivity.

        People do tend to be reflexively dismissive of anything that seems odd or fringe-y on its face, or which contradicts or complicates our established narratives. I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. Skeptics I think are especially prone to this. So I think the ability to be skeptical and open-minded is absolutely an uncommon and valuable quality.

    2. the Unabomber volunteered to be a mind control test subject. This is an established fact.

      You’re saying that people would rather believe that their own government is attacking them instead of evil, cartoonish foreign nationals? I for one, would feel far more comfortable believing that Al Quaeda took down the WTC rather than Dick Cheney………….

      1. Uncle Ted volunteered for a mind control project but he’s still the smartest person in the room. His manifesto is frightening but brilliant and shows very little in the way of insanity. Compare it to the vainglorious and narcissistic manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik and there is very little that is “crazy” about it. Ted was already superintelligent before he took part in Murray’s studies, and they may have played a role in what Ted ultimately did, but his own writings show he was not insane and his participation in that one project seems unlikely to have overwhelmed his entire way of thinking to the point that he was no longer in control and legitimately insane.

        I have always believed his strange family had far more to do with the shaping of Ted’s mind and what ultimately happened than Murray’s belittlement study. I heard a joke a while back: Mrs. Kaczynski had a son so strange he dug a hole in the yard so deep he could sit down there by himself and the speak to no one for days, even weeks. Her other son was the Unabomber.

        Oh, and not to answer for Edward, but he isn’t assigning foreign versus domestic to anything. The issue is the Super Empowered Individual versus the Large, Shadowy, Well-Financed Cabal. For whatever reason, people do infinitely prefer to think that the latter is to blame when people do terrible things.

        I discussed this in my look at Breivik’s 2083. Even though Breivik spelled out in detail how it was he managed to do what he did on his own, down to the credit cards he forged information to obtain, as well as the playlists he listened to as he worked and the number of beakers he purchased, people still think he was a part of a reformed Knights Templar intent on running the Muslims out of Europe. An ancient order with deep pockets had to be at work because otherwise people would have to realize that individually we as humans are very dangerous, that the government and the police and everyone else whom we insist should save us without exception cannot, and that the world is very random and occasionally unsafe.

        Some of that is happening with the Brothers Tsarnaev. Though I am far from settled on any conclusion about either of them, either and both were capable of creating effective pressure cooker bombs on the first try. You and I could do it on the first try. My mother could do it on the first try. The bombs cost very little, comparatively, and there were detailed instructions on how to make them. But people are still insisting the bombs were too complex, that the boys had to have had people backing them in this, that someone taught them and funded them and so on. To believe otherwise, that anyone can do this sort of thing, is to understand that the boys next door, the crazy cat lady running a conspiracy debunking site, and the quiet old man up the road are all capable of doing that which is unthinkable. That is why shadow cabals are such a comfort. If people can only build bombs when terrorist organizations show them how, it eliminates the horror of understanding that the world is actually far more complex and destructive on an individual level.

        1. I guess that’s part of it too, that we are terrified to the point of denial of just how easy these terrorist acts are to accomplish. The idea of a Large, Shadowy, Well-Financed Cabal is actually kind of comforting in a way, because (a) one imagines they would be rare entities given the amounts of money required and the comparably tiny pool of candidates from which such a cabal would be formed; and (b) such an entity presents a definable, comprehensible target.

          Whereas the idea of thousands or millions of potential lone terrorists out there, unidentified and uncontainable, is terrifying to the point where we’ll gladly sacrifice our civil rights in exchange for protection against this amorphous threat. I guess by that token it’s actually comforting to imagine Ted Kaczynski as a one-of-a-kind supergenius and ultra-rare aberration.

          While I can’t offer an opinion on how the psychological experiments affected him, I certainly don’t think Kaczynski could not have become what he became without them. The pitfall of having an extremely powerful mind is that, if it is misdirected towards self-destructive or anti-social perspectives, that force is applied as equally towards those ends as anything else. I don’t think insanity is a breakdown of one’s intellectual capacities, but rather a misalignment. The smarter a person is, the more capable of destruction (of self or others) they are.

    3. In relation to what Edward is saying, I just wanted to chime in and say that I was genuinely shocked by what happened to Lars Von Trier at Cannes a couple of years ago when he said he felt that he could understand and sympathize with Hitler as a man. That seems to be to be a perfectly reasonable statement but the reaction to it was so extreme that he has since said he won’t give any more interviews of press conferences.

      1. Yeah, it’s absolutely crazymaking when people hyperreact irrationally to statements that are benign or perfectly reasonable when considered with even a modicum of rational thought. If nothing else, it’s depressing that public discourse must basically be held hostage to the sensibilities of the least rational members of society.

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