The ‘Future’ of Science Fiction
Do Its Writers Know Something the Rest of Us Don’t?
By William B. Stoecker
We hear a lot about science fiction writers foreseeing the future, but, in fact, their track record has not been all that good. In general most of them have been far too optimistic about the pace of technological innovation; 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example, predicted a lunar base and a manned voyage to the vicinity of Jupiter by 2001. Science fiction writers did not expect that most space exploration would be done with unmanned spacecraft, and they did not foresee the Internet.
Yet, strangely, some of them do seem to have had knowledge about our own mysterious past, as well as knowledge of the present unavailable to most people. We know about Jonathan Swift’s satire, Gulliver’s Travels, wherein the Anglo-Irish clergyman mentioned the two moons of Mars over a century before their discovery. Swift said they orbited at three and five diameters of Mars in orbital periods of 10 and 21.5 hours. The actual moons orbit at 1.4 and 3.5 Martian diameters from the red planet, in 7.6 and 30.3 hours. While not exact, this is pretty close for a coincidence. What is less commonly known is that Gulliver, a ship’s doctor, had been marooned by pirates and was rescued by the inhabitants of the immense, circular flying island of Laputa, held aloft and propelled by magnetism. While all of this is a satire targeting the Royal Society, and the propulsion system Swift described would not have worked, this is a clear description of what today would be called a classic, disc-shaped UFO. The Royal Society, incidentally, was founded largely by Rosicrucians and Masons, and Swift was himself a Freemason. Given that the ultimate origins of Freemasonry are a mystery, did certain members of this occult society possess knowledge unknown to most people, and was Swift privy to some of it?
The first Masons emerged in England and Scotland in the seventeenth century, and the Rosicrucians appeared in Germany in the same century. The term Rosicrucian refers to a rosy or red cross, and the symbol of the order is, in fact, a gold cross with a red rose at the center. The rose, in turn, is a symbol of the Virgin Mary, but also of Artemis/Isis, the ancient fertility goddess, also known as Aphrodite or Venus. The five-petalled wild rose symbolizes the inferior conjunctions of Venus and Earth, which happen when Venus, on a fast inside (closer to the Sun) orbit passes Earth every 216 degrees. These arrange in groups of five, 72 degrees apart. An equal-sided red cross is also a symbol of the Masons, and of the Medieval Templars, from whom the Masons claim to be descended. Another mysterious order which emerged during the Crusades were the Hospitallers, today known as the Knights of Malta; and their symbol, the Maltese Cross, is an equal-sided cross with “split ends,” giving it eight points. Given that the symbols of these orders can be traced even further back into antiquity, and given that the Templars spent a great deal of time and effort excavating under Temple Mount in Jerusalem, searching for something—the Ark of the Covenant, or ancient writings and forbidden knowledge? It is, of course, conceivable that these organizations did have knowledge not available to most people, and Swift may have been privy to it.
But Swift, whose book might well be considered an early example of science fiction, was not alone in seemingly having access to secret knowledge. Robert Anson Heinlein was perhaps America’s premier science-fiction writer during the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1929, but retired on disability in 1934. He briefly studied math and physics at UCLA and reportedly worked as an engineer at the Philadelphia Naval Yard during WWII. Although evidence indicates that the “Philadelphia Experiment” was probably a hoax, perhaps inspired by degaussing research done at the yard, it is still intriguing that Heinlein seems to have been present when it allegedly happened. He began publishing science fiction in 1939, and lived in the Los Angeles area for some years before and after WWII and part of the time during the war.
In 1941, he published a novelette, Lost Legacy, wherein a young woman and two young men, students at a Southern California University, discover that they have latent psychic powers. When attempting to make this public, they gradually discover that the world is more or less controlled by the members of an evil cult, who also have developed their paranormal abilities, and who want true human potential to be kept secret. Heeding a mysterious call, they journey to Mt. Shasta, where they join a group of benevolent adepts who hide in a tunnel system in the mountain and who tell them of the secret prehistory of mankind involving a past golden age, followed by the evil empire of Atlantis, its destruction, and the dawning of the current age. Eventually they overthrow the evil cult and allow mankind to develop spiritually.
Aside from the fact that Shasta is a volcano composed of unstable rock and still hot inside, this is all very remarkable. In the decades since Heinlein wrote the novelette, conspiracy researchers have pieced together an alarming picture of a New World Order elite, who create fiat money out of thin air, who belong to mysterious cults like the Masons, Skull and Bones, the Lucis Trust, the Bohemian Club, and the Order of the Temple of the Orient (more on that later), and who are thought to be slowly enslaving mankind. Evidence for the antiquity of our species has been uncovered, as well as evidence that early man was technologically more advanced than we have been told. The invention of agriculture has been pushed back from 6,000 to 12,000 BP (Before the Present); the walled city of Jericho is known to be some 10,000 years old; 9,000-year-old cities have been found in shallow water off the coast of India; and the elaborately carved stones of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey are over 12,000 years old. Did Heinlein know something? If so, where did he get his information?
There is strong evidence that Heinlein’s life intersected with that of another remarkable (and rather sinister) man—Jack Parsons. Born Marvel Whiteside Parsons in 1914, he changed his first name to John and was commonly known as Jack. A largely self-taught rocket engineer and in addition to his other achievements, he developed the kind of solid rocket propellant still in use today. He helped found Aerojet Corporation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), sometimes called “Jack Parsons’ Laboratory.” Connected both to NASA and to The California Institute of Technology, JPL is neither fully private nor fully public—a situation that some believe invites abuse of power. And it’s the leaders of JPL who decide what we tax-paying peasants are allowed to see on Mars and on our Moon.
But there was another side to Jack Parsons. Along with his associate, L. Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction writer, a former Naval officer, and the founder of Scientology, Parsons belonged to one of the groups mentioned earlier, The Order of the Temple of the Orient (OTO). Parsons and Hubbard even knew its leader, the bisexual, drug-addicted Aleister Crowley, who referred to himself as the “Great Beast” and the “wickedest man in the world,” and who practiced ritual magic, as did Parsons and Hubbard.
The OTO was founded somewhere in Germany or Austria between 1895 and 1906, probably by the wealthy Austrian industrialist, Karl Kellner. Theodor Reuss succeeded him as leader, and it was he who initiated Crowley into the cult. The quasi-Masonic OTO was closely related to similar (and equally mysterious) organizations like the Golden Dawn in Britain, and, in Germany and Austria, the Order of the New Templars (ONT), which morphed into the German Order and then the Thule Society, which used the counterclockwise swastika and created the National Socialist German Worker’s (Nazi) Party. Via their Army Intelligence connections, the leaders of the Thule Society sent Adolf Hitler to become its leader. If, as seems to be the case, the OTO was connected to the far older Masons and Rosicrucians, they might well have possessed secret knowledge.
As a believer in “free love,” a phrase that sounds positively quaint today, and in his early years, politically to the left of center, Heinlein had much in common with Parsons and his associates, who included other science fiction writers in addition to Hubbard. Even the young Ray Bradbury met Parsons. Parsons was promiscuous, possibly bisexual, and he, his wife, and their associates practiced sex magic, and all of this may have appealed to the young Heinlein. Parson’s marriages and various love affairs are a tangled mess. He married Helen Northrup in April of 1935, but later began an affair with her sister (or half-sister) Sarah Elizabeth (Betty) Northrup. It is not clear if he married her after Helen left and divorced him, but she later ran away with Hubbard, who in effect also stole money from Parsons by withdrawing thousands of dollars from a business the two had founded and to which Parsons had contributed most of the capital.
Parsons was also a leftist, pro-union and pro-feminist, and an enthusiastic reader of communist newspapers. Heinlein almost certainly belonged to their Mañana Literary Society, and Parsons’ second wife, Marjorie Cameron, says Parsons introduced her to Heinlein. Science fiction author William A.H. White, writing under the name Anthony Boucher, even wrote Rocket to the Morgue with characters based on Parsons, Hubbard, and Heinlein. Adding to the mystery of it all, Parsons died after an explosion in his home in June 1952. Although he had enemies, it was probably an accident resulting from his increasing carelessness with explosives, which he stored in his house.
But it was not only Heinlein, who might have learned things from Parsons and Hubbard, who seemed to be in on important secrets. After decades of lunar landings and orbiters and probes to orbit and even land on Mars, photographs have been made public showing strange domes, towers, and rectilinear structures on the Moon that look suspiciously artificial. Even stranger sights can be seen on Mars, including what appear to be pyramids, ruined cities, vegetation, and immense, transparent or translucent tubes. But in the 1950s, before any of these probes were even launched, Walt Disney produced a television special, Man and the Moon. Researcher Richard Hoagland has reminded us that in one scene, American astronauts are orbiting over the far side of our Moon and see a lunar base there, even though they are officially the first human beings to reach the Moon. Incredibly, they say not a word about their amazing discovery. Did someone leak some secret knowledge to Disney?
Equally strange is the case of fictional space astronaut Tom Corbett. Inspired by Heinlein’s 1948 novel Space Cadet. There was a Tom Corbett television series in the 1950s and comic books produced by Dell Comics and Prize Comics. Again, we are indebted to Richard Hoagland, who has pointed out that in a Tom Corbett story on a view master (a device for viewing stereoscopic slide shows), the space cadets find a levitating, tetrahedral pyramid with Egyptian markings in the asteroid belt and realize that it is but the capstone of a larger pyramid on our Moon. When the smaller tetrahedron is placed on the pyramid, it produces a sort of hologram depicting Mars with a red mark at the 19.5-degree latitude. Elsewhere, Hoagland describes tetrahedral geometry and the significance of this latitude. Traveling to that location on Mars, the space cadets discover obelisks, pyramids, and a statue with the face of a lion. (Some researchers claim that the famous “face” on Mars is a human face on one side and a lion face on the other.) So here we have mysterious ruins on Mars and our Moon and some connection with our own past. Remember, all of this was produced long before our first lunar and Mars missions. Is someone leaking secret knowledge to the purveyors of popular culture, perhaps to alter our consciousness and/or to prepare us for something?
And I personally remember, as a child in the fifties, reading Tom Corbett comics. In one, the cadets discover an underground city on our Moon, brightly lit by a white, shining pyramid and inhabited by fully human people speaking Sanskrit. They explain that they are the descendants of Atlanteans who, long ago, escaped to the Moon and constructed their habitat.
Could someone, somewhere, somehow, be trying to tell us something?