Peter Levenda. Sinister Forces: a Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft Book Three, The Manson Secret. TrineDay, 2011.

This is a paperback reissue of a book first published in 2006, and it certainly is a tour de force. After all what else can one say about a work which includes and somehow links together Charles Manson, Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Young (the mystically inclined inventor of the Bell Helicopter), Whitley Streiber and Wolfgang Pauli, as well as the connections between shamanism and serial killers, Nazi occultism and the heart of the Republican Party, the Nine and Magonia knows what else besides. In many ways this is a deeply paranoid book in the true sense of the term, with a vision of other world where everything is interconnected and pregnant with barely graspable meaning.

There are some main themes: the connections between the intelligence services and what might be broadly seen as the occult and the idea of some conspiracy, Satanic or otherwise, behind serial killers such as Charles Manson and David Berkowitz. The motive of the intelligence services seems to be to get to the 'secret' of Manson's control over his followers, and use it to control society. If so this must be an incredible waste of time and money, as there is no great secret to Manson's power, that of the isolating and abusive patriarch of his surrogate family. Various radical groups also use techniques of initiation which can be found in any anthropology textbook.

A central theme, it would appear, of much Levenda's work is a revival of the 'occult Nazism' myth that was introduced by Dawn of Magic in the early 1960s, and has been comprehensively demolished by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. While occult notions certainly influenced Himmler, there is little evidence that they had much influence on Hitler himself. This myth is no doubt an attractive one because it acts as the 'alibi of a civilisation', presenting Nazism as something wholly alien to western civilisation. Alas this was not really the case; the core of Nazi crimes, exterminatory imperialism and even exterminatory apocalyptisism were not alien to western thought. What was different about Hitler was that he turned his exterminatory imperialism onto fellow Europeans, rather than 'savages' or 'natives' in remote climes. The drawing rooms of Europe and North America had for some 50 or so years before the actual Holocaust been dreaming of genocides on a scale which would have dwarfed Hitler's: the extermination of the entire Chinese and Japanese people for example.

It seems curious that a work, which at one level, aims at a history of evil in the United States only mentions slavery in a single passing reference, and not a word about the genocide of the First Americans, and indeed many of the latter would accuse Levenda and his ilk of continuing cultural genocide in seeking to rob them their achievements and heritage and hand them to alleged pre-Columbian European and North African immigrants.

Levenda comes up with all sorts of connections and links between people, the links between Hollywood and organised crime are perhaps not all that surprising, given the role of sex and drugs in the Hollywood milieu; but some others are distinctly odd, the fact that Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald were lodging with the estranged wife of the stepson of the mystic helicopter inventor Arthur M. Young for example. -- Peter Rogerson


  1. P. 67 of Peter Levenda's "Unholy Alliance: A history of Nazi involvement with the Occult" cites Hitler directly inspired by the Ostara magazine, as part of an anti-semitic Templar Aryan secret society by von Liebenfels. It was von Liebenfel's theosophy influence which Hitler picked up directly -- the swastika, eugenics as genocide and a new master race, spiritual evolution through secret societies and imperialism, etc. Levenda is relying on Nicholas Goodrick-Clark as a main source but Levenda is also extending the research of Goodrick-Clark. Goodrick-Clark states extensively that List inspired the Nazi Party through occultism -- and Hitler directly via Eckhart.

  2. "What was different about Hitler was that he turned his exterminatory imperialism onto fellow Europeans, rather than 'savages' or 'natives' in remote climes."

    don't forget about the treatment of the Irish in
    the mid 19th century.