A number of years ago I was on the staff of a television series with my old friend, writer/producer Bryce Zabel. Bryce is the former president of the Hollywood Television Academy. We discovered that both of us had done a lot of study about strange phenomena that is appearing in skies around the world. We had many interesting conversations. Each of us came at the subject from a different perspective but it was very informative and the conversations were enjoyable. When you are dealing with an unusual subject it is always a pleasure to converse with someone who knows what they are talking about.
Bryce went on to create the television series, Dark Skies, and to co-write a book with Richard Dolan entitled, A.D. After Disclosure. “The people’s guide to life after contact.” It is available on Amazon. Bryce was kind enough to ask me to write several paragraphs in the book about the Christian view of the phenomena, which I did. Since that time, while maintaining a deep interest in it, I have written almost nothing about this subject. That changes now and there are important reasons why.
I’m going to tell you some very strange stories because the world, including ancient history, is far stranger than we begin to understand. But first, let me share something with you.
I am a mentalist.
In the past, I have been a member of The Academy of Magical Arts at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. What is a mentalist? One leading performer of the art described it this way. A mentalist uses the five senses to create the illusion of a sixth. A good mentalist is a great storyteller and a master of illusion.
How did it start for me? In high school, I was a magician doing all the typical shows that teenage magicians do. It was great fun. On my very first date with Carel, my lovely wife of 53 years, I made a saltshaker pass straight through a solid table right in front of her. She was utterly amazed. What can I say? I was 17 and with that incredible demonstration of power, she was mine. It wasn’t long before she was my beautiful assistant. Magicians get all the pretty girls.
I came home from Viet Nam and in early 1969 got out of the army. At that time, there was a tremendous rise of interest in the occult and the supernatural. As a magician, I had been aware of a unique area in the magical performing arts called mentalism. It employed many of the basic principles of magic, but with an entirely different approach and effect. Using those principles it was possible for a skilled performer to make people think that he actually had the power to read minds, predict the future, bend metal and move objects through thought alone, call up ghosts and much more.
When you see a master magician you wonder how he or she pulled off their amazing effects. What you don’t believe is that this individual has real magical power. No matter how great the performance, you know that what you saw was a trick, maybe sleight-of-hand or the use of expensive stage equipment. It is not that way at all with mentalism. The performances are very subtle, with no fancy equipment, no scarves, no birds, no flashy boxes, just pens, paper and common objects. But the effect can be stunning. When performed with skill, it is easy to believe the mentalist has real psychic power.
Carel and I put together a program of mentalism that we called Beyond Reality. Starting in 1969 we performed in many places around the Midwest. We stopped performing when we came to Los Angeles. It was just too difficult to start a writing career in Hollywood and stay current with the art. After retirement from the entertainment industry, for a few years, I got back into performing and enjoyed learning all the changes that had taken place in the art.
Over decades of studying mentalism and the principles of illusion, I learned a great deal about the human mind. I learned that we thirst to believe in supernatural power. We thirst to believe that there are humans who have it. Consequently, like children, we are easily tricked and fooled. This includes scientists. In the past, one mentalist fooled scientists who were doing specific research into psychic phenomena under what they believed to be controlled conditions. And he fooled them for several years. Needless to say, when the truth came out it was more than embarrassing.
I learned over many years, the incredible power of illusion and how easy it is to draw people in and control them. It is a lot of fun to let people believe you have real power. Which leads me to the basic problem I had as a performer. My opportunities to perform were very limited because I insisted on one thing. At a certain point in the program, I would stop and tell the audience that everything they had seen was a trick. (Of course, I wouldn’t tell them how I did it. I’d paid a lot of money for those secrets and I wasn’t in the business of training new mentalists.) Then I would talk about where true spiritual power and transformation can be found in Jesus Christ. Insisting on this agenda strictly limited the places where I could perform.
The desire in so many people for the illusions of mentalism to be real is frightening. After one performance, an audience member came up to me and said, “I know you told us it was all a trick, but I felt you entering my mind.” All I could say was, “Whatever you felt, it wasn’t me in there”. My performances were based on storytelling. I would set the scene for an effect with a story. Of course, none of the stories were true, but people thought they were true. In one performance, a woman I had called up to assist me got so emotionally involved in the story that she started sobbing right on the platform in front of the audience. That was rather jarring even for me. Also, there were superstitious Christians who thought the demonstrations were real and I was demon-possessed. Another limitation on the places you could perform.
From mentalism, it was an easy transition into Hollywood, one of the greatest centers of illusion in the history of the world. Over many years, I have seen the incredible depth of emotional involvement that viewers invest in the stories, the characters, the illusions that we in Hollywood create. As I have written before, some people in New York believed so much that my friend and colleague, the wonderful actor, Edward Woodward, really was The Equalizer that they would come up to him on the street and ask for his help. He took to carrying the cards of organizations that might actually help them.
What is wrong with us? Why are we so prone to believing every strong illusion that appears? And we have been doing it for thousands of years. I think humans are desperate to transform their lives. We are desperate for someone to bring us a little bit of light. We want so much to believe that we are more than simply animated bags of meat and blood and bone that have mindlessly evolved in a cold, uncaring universe. There is something in us that whispers that we are part of a great, unfolding mystery and we want to know our place within it. In a world filled with death, we are desperate for hope.
Our entire world is built on stories.
Our individual lives, our futures, our views of what we consider reality are built on stories. Some stories are true, others are absolute lies that will destroy us. The stories that tell us who or what we should worship are the most important of all. And we will worship something, even if it is ourselves, because the need to worship is built into us. Though we may not call it a need to worship, we feel it when we see absolute magnificence that overwhelms us with majesty. And that can come in many forms from nature to observing great heroism and sacrifice.
But where did the hideous, lying stories come from, the ones that have brought horror onto the earth, the ones that told us we must sacrifice children on the burning arms of Moloch or cram Jews into gas chambers? Did they originate only in the minds of twisted humans, or was there another source?
Ancient literature is filled with stories about people traveling to specific locations to meet the “gods” and find illumination that would transform their lives. A good example of this comes from ancient Greece and what is known as the Eleusinian Mysteries. Over centuries, many thousands of people made the pilgrimage to the Eleusis shrine. After careful preparations, they would enter a large pavilion. There the “gods” would manifest themselves in such overwhelming collective experiences that lives would be changed forever.
We know almost nothing about what happened during those events because everyone was sworn to absolute secrecy. To speak about it to anyone would bring a curse and even governmental punishment. All a pilgrim could say was that what he or she had seen was life-changing. It is clear from the ancient record that some kind of overwhelming manifestation swept through the gathered crowds. Elitist moderns claim that it was all just trickery of the priests, a kind of magic show. They believe that those who made the pilgrimage to Eleusis were ignorant savages. This is very foolish. As much as I love magic, a magic show of tricks could not have kept pilgrims coming for centuries and it could not have transformed lives. Eventually, the truth would have seeped out from generation upon generation of people who were operating the stage shows.
Some scholars believe that a hallucinogen of the same sort as ayahuasca was given to all the participants. But most hallucinogens give very individual experiences and the Eleusinian manifestations were collective, sweeping through large groups gathered in a wide area. If a psychedelic was given, all it did was open the doors to a transcendent crowd experience.
The Bible has a story to tell about all of this.
In the Old Testament, there are many references that speak about people going to worship the “gods”. Often this worship was centered in physically “high places”. Over and over, through His prophets, Yahweh warns the Children of Israel not to participate in this. But the temptation to do so was extremely powerful. Often this worship involved sexual orgies. The male god of the sky needed to fertilize the female goddess of the earth so that plants would grow. Apparently, people needed to show these “gods” how to do it. Such orgies could be addictive. But often it got even darker. The “gods” demanded the blood of human sacrifice to appease them or they would destroy the earth and everyone on it. Where did these lying stories come from? Was the source only the perverted minds of human leaders or did they come from somewhere else?
Many ancient cultures worshipped what are called the “starry hosts” or the “host of heaven”. This does not mean that they simply worshipped the physical stars. What is called the Hermetic tradition of the mystery religions goes back thousands of years. Scholars of the Hermetic tradition are very clear about what ancient people worshipped. For the mystery religions the physical stars stood for celestial, supernatural beings of great power who control the movement of the heavens and who exert lordship over the Earth. They had to be appeased and cajoled into helping people. Was all of that just a fantasy? When vast numbers went up onto high places to worship and sacrifice, was it based on nothing but imagination?
In the mythology of a thousand cultures where do the gods come from?
Almost always it’s the same. At some point in the past, they descended from the sky. If they had earthly homes often they were established on high places. Temples, centers of worship, were built on such heights. Why? When you see a great mountain for the first time, you are overwhelmed with its remote majesty. To climb to the top is difficult and dangerous. The physical climb can represent the mysteries of spiritual ascension toward illumination. A mountaintop is a logical place for a supernatural archon to make contact with lowly humans.
Also, a mountaintop is a logical focal point for unification. Vast numbers of people can look up at it and fear the mysteries and the majesty that it holds. In the Old Testament, God used a mountaintop to reveal Himself. Mt. Sinai was where He gave the Law to Moses. And the experience was terrifying to the people who were camped at the base.
When mountains weren’t available, pyramids and ziggurats were the next best thing. Two years ago, my family and I spent a week in Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. While we were there we took an excursion to one of the great Mayan centers of ancient evil, Chichen Itza. We walked through the “football” stadium where the games were played with human heads. We stood at the base of the Temple of Kulkulkan, the feathered serpent god, who demanded human sacrifice. (A photograph of that pyramid is at the top of this article.) Thousands upon thousands of people were slaughtered on the pinnacle of his pyramid until the staircase and the sides were covered with heavy coats of dried blood and swarmed with flies. Also, we looked into the cenote, the deep well into which they threw bodies.
In the temple complex stood an unusual building called El Caracol. Our guide told us that it was an observatory for studying the stars and the ancient Mayans were very sophisticated in that study. Clearly, everything about Chichen Itza had been carefully built according to specific plans. But where had they come from?
Around the world, there are scores of ancient pyramids. No matter where they are found they are remarkably similar. These pyramids, many of them stepped ziggurats, were major worship centers where sacrifices were made to the gods. When ancient records are available, the builders of these structures claimed that they were given the plans directly by the gods. And the similarity of the structures would argue for a shared pattern. There are those who would tell us that these buildings were constructed just to track the seasons for the planting of crops. That isn’t what the ancients believed. Their purpose was to draw down supernatural power from the depths of the universe.
The ancient hermetic tradition has a guiding principle, “As above, so below.” If you want the power that comes from the supernatural beings in the stars you must copy the pattern of star groupings here on earth. And that is what they did in places such as the Giza plateau in Egypt and elsewhere around the world. What did they draw down?
Ancient peoples stated that they met strange and overwhelming beings on sacred mountains, pyramids, and ziggurats. The power of these beings was such that they considered them deities. What was going on here? Was this all imagination? Materialists, those who refuse to believe in anything that cannot be tested and replicated in a controlled setting, would say yes. But in our day, thousands of people report strange sightings and experiences that cannot be replicated but also cannot be explained away. To disregard and mock them, as some do, is very foolish and potentially dangerous. Are ancient supernatural manifestations related to the strange, unexplained sightings that are appearing today in “high places” over cities around the world? If so, our future may be found in the distant past.
Let’s go back into that very distant past. Let’s go back to the stories that are the foundation of it all.
Where did all of this strange contact with supernatural beings begin? The Bible tells us that there was a seminal moment in history. It was an event that took place soon after the Great Flood of Noah and it involved the creation of a man-made “mountain”.
Genesis 11:1-9 records: Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
The word Babel came to stand for the confusion of languages, but before that, it had another meaning, Gateway of the Gods. The Bible records that the founder of Babylon and all the major cities of Mesopotamia was a powerful man named Nimrod. Genesis 10: 8-12 tells us: “Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.
Buried in this short passage is the foundation of a stunning ancient culture. The great worldwide Flood of Noah had taken place several generations before. And these were long generations of hundreds of years. Nimrod’s very name means Rebel, one who stands against. He’s called a mighty hunter before the Lord. That doesn’t mean that God was pleased with his hunting. Very likely, he was a hunter and murderer of men and didn’t care what God thought about anything.
The ancient Jewish understanding of Nimrod is given by the first-century historian Josephus. He says of this man: “Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was…a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his own power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that, he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! That he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers!” (Ant. I: iv: 2)
Can we find Nimrod outside of Jewish/Biblical history? There are many scholars who believe there is evidence that points to another name for Nimrod. That name is Gilgamesh, the demigod of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. A few lines from the Epic describe him his way: “The one who saw all. I will declare to the world, the one who knew all I will tell about. He saw the great Mystery. He knew the Hidden. He recovered the knowledge of all the times before the Flood. He journeyed beyond the distant. He journeyed beyond exhaustion, and then carved his story in stone.”
That is saying Nimrod/Gilgamesh recovered the knowledge from before the Flood. Historians have been shocked at the speed with which the ancient Mesopotamian civilization appeared. It virtually erupted from nothing “overnight”. There is an answer to how that happened. Very likely, the sophisticated culture that Nimrod founded was what has been called a legacy civilization. There is a strong possibility that its greatness was but a dim shadow built on secrets and mysteries passed down from a far greater civilization that existed before the Flood. The monstrous and mysterious ruins of Gobekli Tepe could be remnants from this lost civilization or a monument to it. It appears that Nimrod and the Kings who followed him were consciously building their world on the pattern of a world that had vanished away but had left records to be discovered. And it isn’t just from the Epic of Gilgamesh that we learn about their knowledge of a previous world.
One of the most important finds of archeological history were the ruins of the great library of Nineveh. In this library were discovered 25,000 tablets. Of these tablets ancient scribes wrote that many were copies of “olden texts.” Much older than the foundation of the library. On one of those tablets was a quote from Ashurbanipal, a great king of Mesopotamia. He said this: “The god of the scribes has bestowed on me the gift of the knowledge of his art. I have been initiated into the secrets of writing. I can even read the intricate tablets in Shumerian. I understand the enigmatic words in the stone carvings from the days before the Flood.”
So what can we draw from this? That the most ancient civilization that we know of, a civilization that created whole cultural systems that deeply influence our world today, was the inheritor of those systems. What was the world like before the Flood? Genesis 6:11-12 paints a frightening picture. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”
The Hebrew word that is translated “corrupt” means utterly rotted. All of humanity was unified in abject ruin, unified in total moral and physical rottenness and depravity. What did this result in? Violence. But the Hebrew word that’s translated “violence” is much broader than just physical violence or war. It means absolute cruelty, total injustice, utter falseness, and crushing oppression. That was the heart of the Great Worldwide Civilization destroyed by God in the Flood, a civilization that passed its legacy to Nimrod/Gilgamesh and the ancient rulers of Sumeria and Babylon.
In Nimrod, we see the first great world ruler after the Flood and he is a pattern for many vicious tyrants that have appeared throughout history. And one tyrant that has yet to appear. The cities that Nimrod founded were centers of worship of the starry hosts and their dark gods. The foundation of Babylon was rebellion. Nimrod and his followers were disobeying the order and purpose of God. In Genesis 9:1 God had told Noah and his children to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. To do that you have to spread out over the earth. But Nimrod and his generation said, “No, we’re staying in one place because together there is power and glory.” God stopped them by confusing their languages.
But eventually, the city of Babylon and its tower were completed. On the most simplistic level, what was the stated purpose for building Babylon and the tower? The people wanted to make a name for themselves. They wanted to be famous. It was an act of arrogance. In this and other ways, Babylon is a unique sister city to Hollywood.
What is the power at the heart of Hollywood?
It is fame, celebrity. Hollywood could not exist without it. There is real power in fame. Few people have spent time with a major star in public. It is an amazing experience. Many years ago, I attended a play at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. I was in a small group with a major Hollywood star. It felt almost as though people were watching us more than the play, as though the power of the star were shining down on us who were with him. People deal with celebrities in an entirely different way than they do with anyone else. They want their pictures taken with them. Why? Because that simple association brings them a little prestige. To be famous gives real power over others.
So those who built the Tower of Babel wanted to make a name for themselves that would be feared and revered across the earth. The Hebrew word that is translated “name” is spelled s-h-e-m. In it is the idea of a conspicuous position, a structure that would bring prestige and authority to them. To gain that they decided to build the tallest building anyone had ever seen, a tower whose top was “in the Heavens.” A cruder translation might be a house “of the touching of Heaven.” Implied in that is “a house of contact.” The ziggurat in the ancient city of Larsa was named “The House of the link between Heaven and Earth”. But a link to what? Contact with what? You don’t build a huge building for nothing. What it will house is of utmost importance. The builders of the Tower of Babel must have felt that the purpose for that tower, what it would house, would be the heart of their power and glory. What was the purpose? Why did they want to “touch heaven?”
The Apostle Paul gives us an important clue in his New Testament Letter to the Ephesians chapter six. He says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
According to Paul, there are hosts of evil, preternatural beings in “heavenly places”. What does preternatural mean? Something outside nature, outside of the normal. For the ancient people of Babylon to “touch heaven” meant to contact the powerful beings that live outside of our natural world, known in times past as the starry hosts.
In the Bible, we are told that these beings have been in contact with humans for many thousands of years. Close contact. The record is found in Genesis 6:1-8: “Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful, and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
The Bible calls these hybrid creatures Nephilim.
In this passage we see the foundation of all the ancient myths in a thousand cultures that continue to influence our world today right down to superhero films. The story is clear. Before the Great Flood of Noah interaction took place between preternatural beings called the Sons of God and humans that was never meant to happen. And it opened terrible doors.
Mythology is built on such stories about contact between humans and “gods” or “godlike” beings. Is it possible that myths are dim memories of things that actually occurred, but have been colored and twisted over long periods of time? And perhaps they whisper of things that are yet to be in this great story that is unfolding.
Within the ancient Jewish tradition there are documents outside the Old Testament canon that purport to tell what happened before the Flood. One is called the Book of Enoch. It is considered a pseudepigraphal book because scholars think the name it bears isn’t that of the real author. But that is speculation. We only have fragments of this document and the book is dated at about 200 BC. But that date is based on the earliest copies that anyone knew about. It’s clear that the Book of Enoch is much older. There are other documents such as the Book of Jubilees, part of the Old Testament apocrypha, and the Genesis Apocryphon discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Our focus is on the Book of Enoch. We know that two of Jesus’ Apostles knew of its existence and regarded it highly. Jude quotes from it in his little letter toward the end of the New Testament and certainly Peter in his letters was deeply influenced by it.
The Book of Enoch tells us that the Sons of God, spoken of in Genesis 6, were angels called The Watchers. Not only did they break God’s Law by having sexual relations with women, the Book of Enoch says that they taught men and women many secrets that corrupted human life taking it to the depths of depravity that brought the Flood. Among the things the Watchers taught were the secrets that became the foundation of all the mystery religions, secrets of the occult, the way to communicate with the invisible world of the “gods”, and the way to bring down and harness supernatural power. The principle “as above, so below” had its beginning here.
The Sumerian king, Gudea, who lived about 2200 BC, left an inscription about his experience with those beings. He says that there appeared to him a man who shone like the heaven with a crown on his head. Next to him was standing a divine bird. With them was a goddess who held a tablet showing her favorite star. A third god held in his hands a tablet of precious stone. On it was the plan of a temple. Gudea said that the plan was given to him to follow.
In the trite storytelling that has such control of the human mind today, evil beings always look evil and good beings always look good. This is a most dangerous lie. In the New Testament book of Second Corinthians 11:14, the Apostle Paul says, “…Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” The beings that serve him can do so as well.
So at the heart of the city of Babylon was a huge multi-stage ziggurat.
The ancient record tells us that at the top was a series of rooms, a kind of mansion chapel. A place of sacrifice, but also rooms planned to be the home of a god, a place where a preternatural being of great power would appear in physical form and stay for a set time. In it were all the luxuries that could be provided including a bed and a beautiful woman for the god’s pleasure. When he came, there was great pageantry to welcome him.
And the ziggurat itself stood for the mysteries of the starry hosts, physically designed to bring down power for those chosen individuals, the elite priesthood who would pass through initiation moving from stage to stage up into transformation, becoming one with the god and serving him. This is the story of pagan, polytheistic religion in all of its forms. What began in Babylon was the whole gigantic system of idolatrous worship that will find its culmination in the Last Days that are yet to come.
What did Nimrod and all the royal builders of ancient Babylon and Sumeria give us? In the sense of historical time, almost overnight they brought into being the foundational culture of our world. Cities, written language, literature, schools, kings, courts, laws, judges, merchants, craftsmen, poets, dancers, sciences, mathematics, astronomy…and slavery to the Shining Lords of Darkness. It was in Babylon that the worship of the One True God was replaced with a pantheon of Fallen Angels. And that Spirit Web of evil worship spanned out to the Indus valley, to Egypt, to Greece, to Rome, to a thousand cultures…and down to us.
It was in Babylon that sacred prostitution began, where all women, whether they desired to do so or not, were required to spend a day as prostitutes in the temples. Down through the ages, the Fallen Ones that present themselves as gods have meshed intercourse with the gaining of magical power. In modern times examples of this are the occultist, Aleister Crowley, who founded the religion of Thelema and Jack Parsons, one of the founders of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who created a series of occult sex ceremonies that he called “Babalon (sic) working”. The Fallen Ones seem to have a particular hatred for women and children and a desire to abuse and murder them.
It was in Babylon that the idolatrous worship of the Mother and Son began that has appeared in a hundred forms, especially as Isis and Horus, who have been at the heart of so many mystery religions and continue to be so today. But a question:
If these beings are real and appeared in the distant past why aren’t they appearing now?
That is a question for Part Two.