Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Silence of the Magicians Part II

This is the second part of my examination of Silence of the Lambs. Part one can be found here. And now, onto the toponomy.

The importance that Memphis plays in the film is also interesting. In the occult, the Egyptian Memphis is the location of the head of Osiris.
"Such is the myth or legend of Osiris, as told by Greek writers and eked out by more or less fragmentary notices or allusions in native Egyptian literature. A long inscription in the temple at Denderah has preserved a list of the god's graves, and other texts mention the parts of his body which were treasured as holy relics in each of the sanctuaries. Thus his heart was at Athribis, his backbone at Busiris, his neck at Letopolis, and his head at Memphis."
(The Golden Bough, James Frazer, pg. 370-371)

In Freemasonry, there is a rite known as the Rite of Memphis-Misraim. Though similar, the Memphis rite wasn't officially developed until the 19th century. According to Wikipedia:
"The Rite of Memphis was constituted by Jacques Etienne Marconis de Nègre in 1838, as a variant of the Rite of Misraïm, combining elements from Templarism and chivalry with Egyptian and alchemical mythology. It had at least two lodges (“Osiris” and “Des Philadelphes”) at Paris, two more (“La Bienveillance” and “De Heliopolis”) in Brussels, and a number of English supporters. The Rite gained a certain success among military Lodges. It took on a political dimension and in 1841 it became dormant, probably because of the repression following the armed uprising of Louis Blanqui’s Société des Saisons in 1839. With the overthrow of Louis-Philippe in 1848, the Order was revived on March 5, with its most prominent member being Louis Blanc, a socialist member of the provisional government with responsibility for the National Workshops."

Interestingly, these Lodges seem to have been heavily involved in the revolutionary movements that broke out in 1848.
"The major society through which the new Italian revolutionaries recruited allies in London, Brussels, and Geneva was called the Philadelphians. Like the earlier society of the same name, it was an outgrowth of Masonry, which provided international connections and an outer shell of secrecy for recruitment. Some prominent socialists like Louis Blanc drifted into the camp of the national revolutionaries in London through the Masonic Lodge of United Philadelphians."
(Fire in the Minds of Men, James Billington, pg. 329) 
As the American Memphis relates to the occult, controversial researcher Michael A Hoffman writes:
"Memphis was the city of the Egyptian kings that was the fabled repository of the severed head of Osiris. Memphis, Tennessee is associated in the Group Mind with two dead 'kings,' Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley. This city in America's 'Little Egypt' region is part of mystical toponomy. It was established by the Masonic Rite of Memphis and Mizraim which specialized in the 'magnetic' masonry of Anton Mesmer."
(Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, pg. 81)

In general, the locations of Silence are heavily significant in conspiracy circles. Ohio and West Virginia alone have had more than their fair share of weirdness and intrigue over the years, as I've chronicled before here. Its also quite interesting that the mental facility in which Dr. Lecter is housed is located in Baltimore, Maryland. About an hour's drive to the west of Baltimore resides Fort Detrick, while Edgewood Arsenal is just a little over a half an hour to the northeast. Conspiracy buffs are of course well aware that both institutions were at the heart of the US government's early work on MK-ULTRA.

"Under the code name MKDELTA, the Clandestine Services had set up procedures the year before to govern the use of CBW products (MKDELTA now became the operational side of MKULTRA.) Also in 1952, TSS had made an agreement with the Special Operations Division (SOD) of the Army's biological research center at Fort Detrick, Maryland whereby SOD would produce germ weapons for the CIA's use (with the program called MKNAOMI). Sid Gottlieb later testified that the purpose of these programs was 'to investigate whether and how it was possible to modify an individual's behavior by covert means...'"
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pg. 61-62)
Edgewood Arsenal was also closely involved in MK-ULTRA, as well as the saga of Frank Olson.

"The story of Frank Olson has been known for quite some time, but only in bits and pieces. It is well-known, for instance, that he was a scientist who was given LSD without his knowledge, and who became psychotic and who died after a plunge from a hotel room window...

"What is not well-known, and what has only come to light recently, is that Dr. Olson was working on chemical and biological warfare weapons at his laboratory at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, work that involved the search for drugs that would unlock the human memory bank and help to create the prefect assassin, the 'Manchurian Candidate'; that he doubted the morality of his work when confronted with some 'test subjects' at a secret base in the United Kingdom..."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 194)

Secret bases were not the only locations used to test various techniques of 'memory manipulation.' Mental hospitals were also quite popular. Consider the efforts of the notorious Dr. Ewen Cameron and his work at the Allan Memorial Institute. Mental patients, along with military men and convicts, provided much of the research fodder for these types of experiments. I've wondered if the buffoonish character of Dr. Frederick Chilton, the head of the asylum housing Hannibal, was meant as a satire of Cameron and other CIA medical sadists.

Surely the character of Jack Crawford and the portrayal of the BSU, as they cluelessly follow one dead end after another in the Buffalo Bill case while an FBI trainee and an incarcerated serial killer put in the real work, is mockery at its finest. Despite the venerated status the Behavior Science Unit and the criminal profiler have gained in pop culture (in no small part due to this film, ironically) in the past few decades, their actual effectiveness is highly debatable as the skyrocketing number of serial killers that have merged since 1980 seem to indicate.
"Most Americans are probably familiar with what is considered the classic serial killer 'profile.' This was a notion put forth by the venerable FBI, which coined the term 'serial killer,' and pioneered the concept of 'profiling,' in an alleged attempt to understand the phenomenon of mass murder. It appears to be the vase though that the concept of the 'serial killer profile' was put forth largely to misinform the public."
(Programmed to Kill, David McGowan, pg. 99)
McGowan goes on to write:
"Clearly then there are any number of serial killer cases in which there is no defining modus operandi, and in which the deceased don't fit any kind of specific 'victim profile.' In fact, it is difficult to find a case study of any serial killer who does leave a distinct 'signature' at each crime scene.

"And what of the notion of the serial killer as a lone predator? Was Henry and Otis' partnership an aberration? Not at all. There are any number of serial killer cases where it is officially acknowledged that there was more than one perpetrator. The Manson Family, of course, is probably the most well known case of multiple-perpetrator 'serial killers...'"
(ibid, pg. 105)
For some examples of how profiling has not only failed to assess a killer, but has also prolonged their crime sprees, be sure to check out this brief piece from the Los Angeles Times. It features an apt assessment of profiling:
"Profiling is a natural contradiction. Its masters claim to understand the minds of strangers--often irrational killers. It is a soft, inexact science in a field that demands specifics."

The 'break' in the Buffalo Bill case occurs when Lecter suggests that Bill had applied and been rejected at the handful of medical facilities in the US engaged in sex change operations on psychological grounds. As transsexualism does not fit the 'serial killer profile,' Lecter's advice is almost disregarded.

And now, on to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, one of the most iconic characters in pop culture of the past several decades. The name Hannibal is of course in reference to the legendary Carthaginian general and outsider who opposed the rising power of the Roman Empire. Hannibal overcame the vast numerical advantages of the Roman legions through superior strategy and stealth. Dr. Hannibal Lecter operates in much the same fashion in regards to the Cryptocracy.

As a psychiatrist, Dr. Lecter is well acquainted with the methods of the Cryptocracy. Of Lecter, Michael A. Hoffman remarks:
"So he's part of the priesthood, but which priesthood? Psychiatrists are all priests but Lecter uses his knowledge of psychiatry to defeat the psychiatrists."
(Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, pgs. 133-134)
The comparison of psychiatrists, especially the ones involved in MK-ULTRA and like projects, is far more apt that it may initially seem. Remember that many of the tools of mind control such as drugs and hypnosis were originally developed by priesthoods in the ancient world.

"But in exploring the mind and developing techniques for unlocking its secrets, the Agency unknowingly tread on areas that have been the domain of religion and mysticism for thousands of year. Cults as disparate as that of Eleusis in Greece, Tantra in India, Siberian shamanism, Native American shamanism, Taoism in China, Tibetan Buddhism, Jewish Qabalism, even the relatively modern phenomenon of European ceremonial magic -as represented in the twentieth century by the Golden Dawn, the OTO, and individuals such as Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and MacGregor Mathers -and countless other disciplines had already mapped out large areas of consciousness and developed methods for entering relatively unscathed. As mythologists such as Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and others have demonstrated, there is a great deal of similarity in 'technology' among these practices, and the similarity exists for a reason."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 219) 

However, magician is a much better description of what the CIA's cabal of psychiatrists truly were.
"All of these techniques -hallucinogenic drugs, hypnosis, acts of terrorism, disinformation -share an ontological purpose: to manipulate perceptions, to recreate reality. As we noted above, the German word for psychological warfare translates as 'worldview  warfare': a battle of perceptions, of consensus realities... As the men of the OSS, CIA, and military intelligence developed from the armchair scholars and academics that most of them were before the war years into soldiers fighting the Cold War on fronts  all over the world, they became -in a very real sense -magicians. As we will see, the CIA mind control projects themselves represented an assault on consciousness and reality that has not been seen in history since the age of the philosopher-kings and their court alchemists."
(ibid, pg. 144)

Hannibal Lecter's background as a Baltimore based psychiatrist seems to be an allusion to his involvement in mind control. Certainly the final chapter of Hannibal strongly indicate that both Hannibal and creator Thomas Harris are well aware of the concept of 'psychic driving' and the like. Yet Hannibal, hidden away in the deepest, darkest hole of Chilton's hospital, is clearly opposed to the Cryptocracy.
On the other hand, he clearly has no love for the plebs either. In many ways Lecter is a kind of Crowleyian figure, an insider's outsider. For all of the bashing Crowley takes amongst Christian themed conspiracy circles, many seem to forget that Crowley was instrumental in releasing much of the early occult knowledge, which drew the ire of his former associates in the Golden Dawn, among others. Crowley of course did not do this for sympathetic reasons, but likely for his own amusement.
"The Secrets of the Adepts are not to be revealed to men. We only wish they were. When a man comes to me and asks for the Truth, I go away and practice teaching the Differential Calculus to a Bushman; and I answer the former only when I have succeeded with the latter. But to withhold the Alphabet of Mysticism from the learner is the device of a selfish charlatan. That which can be taught shall be taught, and that which cannot be taught may at least be learnt."
(777 and Other Qabalistic Writings, Alesier Crowley, pg. xii)

Lecter seemingly operates in much the same fashion. He does not, for instance, reveal the truth to Starling, but he does give her the keys necessary to accomplish her task. What's more, Lecter uses the tools of the magician frequently to defeat his adversaries in the FBI and the psychiatric field, often with a wicked sense of humor. In Masonry this cruel jesting is referred to as a hoodwink.
"Satire is quite important in the occult scheme, especially as epilogue. Mockery is the ne plus ultra of ceremonial murder."
(Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, Michael A. Hoffman, pg. 135)

Thus, in the midst of the his escape from Memphis (har har) Lecter takes the time to mutilate and posse Officer Boyle so that his body resembles both a spent moth cocoon and the crucified Christ. I shall allow my readers to figure that one out for themselves.

Hannibal Lecter is frequently seen as a glorification of evil. Certainly his status as a pop culture icon should give any reasonable person pause. The appeal Dr. Lecter has to the public is not his cruelty, or his refinement, but the sense that he's getting away with something. And indeed he is. Above all things, Hannibal is a reminder that the Cryptocracy is not invincible. A lone man, he succeeds in outwitting his opponents in the FBI and the mental fields and the vast resources they have at their disposal. Even worse, his skills are such that his adversaries frequently have no choice but to seek out his help, further weakening their position until he is able to mount his escape. As Hannibal disappears into the Caribbean in the final shots of the film to "have an old friend for dinner" there is a sense that justice has somehow been served.

And in way, against the deafening silence of the magicians, it has.



    Great assessment of the movie, but the book is different. Boyle is not mutilated in such a way...he is left alive in an elevator shaft, Hannibal knowing the SWAT team will assume it's him. So they shoot, at Boyle.

    Hannibal in Silence knows exactly who the killer is all along...because he treated an "associate" of Jame Gumb's who gave Hannibal a head to keep in his freezer. The head had the moth in it. So he knows to give those details because he is personally third-person acquainted with the killer. He doesn't ask about the "moth or butterfly" out of some symbolic genius...but because he had the head in his freezer. The entire book has Hannibal toying with law enforcement, much like Crowley did. Crowley buries truths in riddles, much like alchemists, and when you uncover them, you learn that much more deeply. Same with Hannibal. From a magical point of view, I see Hannibal as the modern Apep, chowing down on humanity's "garbage." Notice Hannibal refuses to personally consume "normal" food, have "normal"'s all gourmet, the best. It is a process of proving worth, and most can't. From an alchemical point of view, Jame Gumb--not James, so androgynous--is creating a true overself. Unfortunately, not peeling away the layers of his own self and doing the needed inner work, he is making an overself of "selves" outside of him. It's a corrupted alchemy.

  2. men are very sick and have made our planet sick

  3. Kind of reminds me of Rocky and Bullwinkle where Bullwinkle as a Magician says, Hey Rocky, want to see me pull a rabbit out of my hat? Then finds he's pulled something out he didn't expect and says, Oops, wrong hat! Something for some people to think about.