The Haunting of Twentieth-Century America: From the Nazis to the New Millennium (The Haunting of America)

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9780765327857: The Haunting of Twentieth-Century America: From the Nazis to the New Millennium (The Haunting of America)
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In this sequel to The Haunting of America, national bestselling authors Joel Martin and William J. Birnes bring up to the present the story of how paranormal events influenced and sometimes even drove political events. In unearthing the roots of America's fascination with the ghosts, goblins, and demons that possess our imaginations and nightmares, Martin and Birnes show how the paranormal has driven America's political, public, and militarypolicies. The authors examine the social history of the United States through the lens of the paranormal and investigate the spiritual events that inspired momentous national decisions: UFOs that frightened the nation's military into launching nuclear bomber squadrons toward the Soviet Union, out-of-body experiences used to gather sensitive intelligence on other countries, and even spirits summoned to communicate with living politicians.

The Haunting of Twentieth-Century America is a thrilling evidencebased exploration of the often unexpected influences of the paranormal on science, medicine, law, the government, the military, psychology, theology, death and dying, spirituality, and pop culture.

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About the Author:

JOEL MARTIN is nationally recognized as a paranormal expert and bestselling author. Since the early 1970s, Joel has been a radio talk show host. As a TV talk show host, he won the Cable Ace Award. As an investigative reporter about the paranormal and psychic phenomena, he discovered internationally renowned medium George Anderson, and exposed the Amityville Horror as a hoax. Joel is also a network TV consultant about the paranormal and has made many TV appearances.

WILLIAM J. BIRNES is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Day After Roswell. He is the star of the History Channel's UFO Hunters.

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Haunting of Twentieth-Century America, The
1The Dark Side of the Paranormal: The Nazis and the OccultIf a way to the better there be, it lies in taking a full look at the worst.--THOMAS HOOD (1799-1845) 
 
 
 
 
 
There has long been speculation about what causes people to engage in evil. Is there a relationship between an actual devil or dark occult practices and killers and murderous dictators? Is the occult by its very nature evil? Is one of the most evil acts of the twentieth century, the Holocaust, explainable as a manifestation of evil occult forces or does that so demean it by removing culpability from Adolf Hitler and those who worked for him? Can we rationally explain Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts exterminating six million Jews? Could "a conscious entity actively seeking entry into our world account for the nightmare of Nazism ... ?" author Paul Roland asked in The Nazis and the Occult. The issue is "whether Nazi ideology was ... rooted in occultism," Roland said.1 In this chapter we'll examine the dark side of the paranormal and the effects it has had throughout history, with emphasis on the atrocities committed by the Nazis and what the connection was between the Third Reich and occultism.At the core of Roland's thesis lies the question, "Do we consciously or subconsciously choose to commit harm or ruin when the opportunity presents itself, or is evil based on some malicious or egotistical motive?" Is it possible that some of us are caught up in evil because of somethinginnate or in our genes or upbringing? That would imply that any one of us, at least in theory, is capable of committing a heinous crime against another person. Might there be cases in which malevolence is a supernatural force that attacks some people, so that a monstrous act can be attributed to the work of the devil? Are there individuals who encourage evil spirits or demonic forces to possess them? Therefore, is the power of evil beyond their control, or do we have the freedom to resist or reject wrongdoing? This, too, lies near the center of the theory of criminal law, a presupposition about the human capacity to consciously choose good over evil. This supposition goes all the way back to the Old Testament upon which much of Western criminal law is based. Rationalists believe that humans can choose and that there is no such thing as evil from birth. Recent brain research is contradictory, suggesting, on the one hand, that we may not have as much free will as we think, yet, on the other, demonstrating that the brain is plastic and can be trained to resist genetic predispositions.Whether certain people are predisposed to evil or learn evil ways from their parents or teachers, society itself has its own demands. For society itself to function, the words of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) still ring true: "Morality is an indispensable part of being human." Those who cannot discern right from wrong or who can make that distinction but cannot comport their behaviors to the law as a result of mental illness and commit violent crimes against innocent people are defined as criminally insane according to the federal penal code. However, that still leaves the question, is there an external agent--such as Satan--that can influence human actions? Many people believe exactly that, although most of us accept that the responsibility for crime belongs with the perpetrators, regardless of the underlying cause.From the 1960s on, with a stepped-up interest in so-called New Age ideas, curiosity also turned toward the dark side of the paranormal. The turbulent '60s concluded with a savage crime that shocked the nation, the so-called "Manson killings," the work of a brainwashed cult led by the "devil-worshipping" and "Nazi-loving" Charles Manson, who had an admitted interest in the occult. Manson, imprisoned for life, went so far as to carve a swastika in his forehead. The bloody Tate-LaBianca slayings in Los Angeles left seven murder victims in all. The crimes sent waves of fear throughout the country, and incited debate about the psychologyof evil, and whether an actual satanic force might have caused such savagery.2Manson himself said that he was trying to create violent chaos to overthrow the established order. He described his mission as "helter skelter," a violent rage against the machine,3 he told author and psychologist Joel Norris (Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, NY: Doubleday [1988]). Yet he also said that he was a child of Satan, born evil and destined to do evil throughout his life. He also said that he was contracted by dark forces inside the government to perform acts that no member of any governmental agency could be connected with. He admitted to being driven by the occult and occult practices. Is the occult, therefore, necessarily evil or is it deemed evil because it is so misunderstood even by those who adhere to it?As the paranormal has become more accepted and understood in recent years--mainly since the 1970s--serious parapsychologists and a growing number of scientists have delved into what for centuries was wrongly called the "occult," as derived from the Latin word for hidden, secret, or mysterious. Too often it has been associated with phenomena that is considered evil, frightening, even satanic. The result has been media portrayals of psychic events that are heavily fictionalized and sensationalized. Adding to the confusion, mass media, some conservative theologians, and professional debunkers have lumped together ESP, astrology, UFOs, ghosts, Eastern philosophies, cults, paranormal research, monsters, witches, demons, mediums, and satanists into one category, inaccurately branding them all occult, and nearly always insinuating something malevolent. In this chapter, we'll largely limit our exploration of the occult to its dark side, the side most people associate with it: black magic, some forms of witchcraft, demonic or satanic worship and its rituals.Few people doubt that evil exists. We see or read about evil people and sinister deeds in the news every day and night, the criminals, killers, and predators in our midst. There are terrorists who kill innocent people, many for invented political causes. There are the dictators whose monstrous acts live on in infamy: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Vlad Tepes, Genghis Khan, and too many more to list.In fact, evil dates back to the beginning of recorded human history. In the Old Testament, we are told that Eve succumbed to the serpent'stemptation to eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. In turn, Eve tempted Adam. Later, Cain murdered his brother, Abel. In ancient Egypt, long before the birth of Jesus Christ, exorcisms were held to purge evil spirits, and in early Rome, many people were fearful of dangerous specters of the dead that lurked in the shadows. Some argue that war is always evil, while others, including President Obama in his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, insist there are "just wars."We like to believe what the Bible tells us: that all of us are born innocent. What then turns a young child into a murderous dictator, killer, or predator? Is there a genetic predisposition? Some studies have tracked criminal behavior within families from generation to generation so as to suggest some credence to predispositions toward criminal behavior. Other studies point to nurture, not nature, as the cause of criminal behavior. The truth is, we do not know. There are undoubtedly environmental reasons to explain why a number of people turn to evil, and there are genetic factors that may contribute to abhorrent behavior. Is it possible that some people are innately villainous? On the other hand, to borrow from Christian fundamentalist religions, and occult beliefs, might there be a genuine Satan and demonic forces that infest certain people who embrace evil or allow it to enter? Should we take the "dark side" of the paranormal seriously? Skeptics, of course, scoff at the occult, and the idea of Satan with his pitchfork in the fires of hell. Should we dismiss them as superstition? Or is there more to the subject than that?Parapsychologists tell us that psychical phenomena are neutral. In other words, how we use the paranormal can be either positive or negative. Other researchers, especially those who worked in the army's remote viewing and remote influencing programs during the 1970s and 1980s, tell us that what people call the "paranormal" is less para than it is normal. By that they mean that the paranormal is simply an aspect of normality that we really haven't yet fully understood. For example, when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he used the character of Jekyll/Hyde to represent a spiritual duality in human nature, illustrating that both good and evil can exist inside the same person.4 It was a magic potion that Dr. Jekyll devised to liberate his animalistic spirit, a concept of pure science fiction to enable the Faustian protagonist to reach for something that humans should not touch, just as Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein did in her early nineteenth-century story.Both Shelley and Stevenson are regarded as very early science-fiction writers. However, by the second half of the twentieth century, Wilder Penfield's experiments in Canada and later medical procedures in the United States showed that Stevenson's vision of a human spirituality duality was not paranormal at all, but very real science. In fact, in trying to treat serious grand mal patients whose seizures were so severe that they threatened to wipe out portions of the brain, doctors used a radical surgical procedure. They severed the thick bundle of neurons called the corpus callosum that runs from front to back between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, whose function it is to connect the two hemispheres. In the human brain, the left and right hemispheres--notwithstanding the plasticity of the human brain--have different gross functions. Connected by the corpus callosum, the two hemispheres communicate with each other internally. However, once the corpus callosum is severed, internal communication is cut off and the two hemispheres function as separate entities.In research done on grand mal patients who, because their symptoms were so severe, received operations severing their corpus callosums, doctors found some astounding reactions. In one case of a Vietnam War veteran, it seemed to doctors that his logical, socially correct, and lawabiding left hemisphere had kept a more violent and impulsive side of him in check. In one instance, during a fight with his wife, he grabbed a knife with his left hand--the right hemisphere controls the motor functions of the left side of the body in right-handed people--and attempted to stab her. However, his right hand, governed by the left hemisphere, grabbed his left hand and stopped it before it shook the knife to the floor. What this told doctors was that he had become, in effect, two different people, each one governed by a different half of the brain. Does this not resemble the two different people chained together in Stevenson's novel, Jekyll and Hyde, freed from each other by the strange concoction brewed up by Jekyll?Robert Louis Stevenson was writing a horror novel about a paranormal event. However, real science and medical research showed that what was paranormal and evil in the nineteenth century had become understandably normal, albeit bizarre, by the second half of the twentieth century. In addition, if stem-cell research continues and interspecies breeding is not made a criminal act by the federal government, who's tosay that by the middle part of the twenty-first century Victor Frankenstein creations will actually become commonplace? If that comes to be, as it has with Jekyll and Hyde, then the paranormal will not be necessarily evil, only a lot less strange.The paranormal became associated with evil because organized religion, beginning with Judaism, saw the paranormal as harking back to a pagan polytheistic past. Judaism differentiated itself from the pagan cultures the Israelites encountered by proscribing certain pagan practices, such as body piercing and painting, sorcery, soothsaying, divination, or prognostication. These were evil because the cultures within which they flourished could contaminate the culture of the Israelites as they traveled through the wilderness to the Promised Land.What was in the Torah and the original Holy Bible found its way into the New Testament. As the world's three great religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--took shape in ancient times it did not take long for the pagan ideas that preceded them to be branded evil, sacrilegious, or the belief of infidels and therefore prohibited. But the dissenters and nonconformists found a way to survive, by organizing into secret groups.5 We should hasten to add that not all the clandestine assemblages were malevolent in nature or intent. But for centuries, the power of the Roman Catholic Church forced competing religious and mystical practices underground throughout Europe. Those who dared to step publicly outside Church-approved dogma risked being branded heretics and subject to torture and even execution.It was not until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the "two major secret societies ... revealed themselves ... in a public form," explained Michael Howard in The Occult Conspiracy.6 The best-known covert societies were the Freemasons and the Order of the Rosy Cross or the Rosicrucians. A German mystic calling himself Christian Rosenkreuz, who had learned "magical arts" such as conjuring spirits and alchemy from North African occultists, founded the order. Alchemy was considered by many to be a form of magic, and some thought it was satanic in origin."Magic" as a concept is derived from the Zoroastrians, the priests, called the Magi, who performed supernatural rituals by means of various implements, such as wands. There is a rich cultural connection between the Zoroastrians and the Egyptians in terms of ritual and invocation ofsupernatural forces. Even the use of a magic wand harks back to the rod that Moses used to demonstrate to Pharaoh a far greater power than even Pharaoh's wizards could wield. Magic, whose history is far too involved and detailed to narrate here, transformed through the Christian Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and Reformation as a demonic force, purely evil, and ultimately anti-Christian. Even today, it connotes fraternization with the Devil or a demonic presence.Freemasonry, according to one version, received its start in Germany with a guild of stonemasons contracted to build the Strasbourg Cathedral. Other sources place the start of Freemasonry as early as the late fourteenth century. Official histories place the beginning of the lodges in England, Scotland, and Ireland in the seventeenth century. Still other histories suggest that because Masons were also responsible for constructing magnificent Gothic cathedrals and churches throughout Europe in the late Middle Ages, they had to rely on Euclidian geometric equations even though Euclid, because he was pre-Christian, was banned by the Church as a source of information. Accordingly, Masons had to keep secret the fact that their brotherhood was relying on proscribed scholarship in order to do their work. The secret bonds of the Masonic society grew from simply sharing proscribed information to a fraternal organization with humanitarian goals. Freemasonry, therefore, was not to be confused with witchcraft or sorcery, which had its own sep...

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