Sunday, September 17, 2017

So Now You Know (Part Two)

So what the hell was Twin Peaks: The Return all about?

Well, the answer to that question depends on who you ask. If you ask me it was all about childhood trauma and mind control. 

Two of my least-favorite subjects to research or write about, but here we are.


I mean, Twin Peaks was about a lot of other things besides trauma and mind control, but at the core that's what it was really all about. 

Now, I know it seems like this blog has been all over the place lately but we're really looking at just a few basic themes from a number of different angles. And like I've said, it all started with this back-to-back conjunction of Chris Cornell's death and Twin Peaks: The Return's premiere and ended with the back-to-back conjunction of the end of Twin Peaks and the premiere of Stephen King's It (King and Lynch share a lot of commonalities). 

And in between were the hurricanes. All of this is deeply intertwined.

So here's where I am at: The fact that four out of five of the great grunge gods of the 90s- Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland and Chris Cornell- are now dead (the fifth one recently appeared on Twin Peaks) got me to wondering why. And if you do even the most superficial bit of digging, you see the deep scars of trauma somewhere in their bios. 

My feeling is that this trauma was actually a lot deeper than they were ever willing to admit, which got me to thinking about the zest our national Frankensteins have always had for experimenting on children. 

I don't know if this is true with some of the people in question but it certainly can't be ruled out. All we really know for sure about government mind control programs comes from an cache that accounts-payable either forgot to shred or declined to do so for reasons unknown.

And quite without me asking for it, this whole Elizabeth Fraser business popped back up again. Which makes sense because she's baked into the essential DNA of Twin Peaks. I'm certainly not the only person to sense this but I may be one of the few who actually understands how deep this symbiotic communion really goes. From The AV Club website:
If you want to understand what’s going on in Twin Peaks, just listen to it 
The Mitochondrial Eve of this whole aesthetic vision isn’t something by Lynch, but rather This Mortal Coil’s cover of “Song To The Siren,” which transforms Tim Buckley’s longing folk song into an existential lament at once dirgelike and intensely sensual—la petite mort in song form.

They won't say it, but I will: consciously or otherwise, Laura Palmer is Elizabeth Fraser. 

There are simply no two ways about it. 

Yes, yes,  yes: I know that sounds crazy. But the parallels are more concrete than most people know. 

Like Laura Palmer, Fraser was repeatedly sexually abused and became a rebellious teenager. And like Laura Palmer, Fraser seemed to tap into another reality.

And something in Fraser's voice clearly got deep under David Lynch's skin.  Fraser's primal howling on those records Lynch would have bought when he first discovered her couldn't help but capture his interest, especially when it was set in a confection of late-Victorian childhood fantasy.  

In many ways, the Cocteau Twins were the original inspiration for the Bang Bang Bar performances in the new Twin Peaks:

By 1985, Elizabeth Fraser was David Lynch’s favourite living singer. Lynch wanted her version of ‘Song To The Siren’, the Tim Buckley track, recorded with the studio collective This Mortal Coil, for Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. He wanted Fraser and her partner Robin Guthrie to mime on stage in the prom scene. 
And it's generally agreed upon that Fraser (and the Twins) ultimately had a transformative effect on Lynch's artistic vision.  The music at the Pink Room sounds like Death Valley covering something off The Pink Opaque while zoned out on PCP. 

And Fraser's shunning of lyrical narrative- or of the English language itself- prefigured Lynch's wiilder experiments with narrative structure. Don't look at the videos (studio rats to the core, the Cocteau Twins hated making videos and playing live), listen to the music

Part of what Lynch was responding to was the intensely-dreamlike state* that the classic-era Cocteau Twins music induced, a state that prominent stars like Robert Plant and Prince were enraptured by. This was a very common reaction- fans often claimed they dreamed these songs before they ever heard them.

The Cocteaux are generally considered the originators of both Shoegaze and Dream Pop, and I think there's a case to be made they inspired Trip-Hop as well. And Twin Peaks: The Return featured a number of dream-pop acts such as Chromatics.

Laura Palmer and Howlin' Liz: 
Fan video from 2012


All of which makes sense because what Lynch and so many other well-known directors, rock stars and other artists were responding to in "Song of the Siren" (and Fraser's 80s work in general) were the very, very deep scars of trauma.

How deep? Well, Fraser has been hospitalized at least three times for psychiatric reasons, two events of which bookended her band's longest and costliest tour. Her mental and emotional state was so precarious that it deeply disturbed music journalists. And for good reason:
Grangemouth, as she recalls it, was a dark and stifling industrial town which left its mark on her and her music. Fraser was thrown out of her home at 16 for being a punk...  
Music provided a respite from her home life, where she was sexually abused by a brother-in-law and possibly her father, as well. The youngest of six, she felt abandoned by her older siblings and silenced by her family. 

Despite the image of the fragile Victorian waif that was very carefully crafted for her by designers and stylists, Fraser was no shrinking violet. She seems to have been a bit of a bully in school and knew how to take care of herself. 

From a 1983 Guardian interview:
Robin: "... But if somebody was to sort of ... er ... I wouldn't just sit down and take it, y'know? She certainly wouldn't."  
Liz: "I'm a very violent person, actually. It really annoys me."  
Robin: "We went to see (hardcore band) GBH in Amsterdam. We went to get some drugs, but that's another story, we'll talk about that later ... So anyway, we were walking up the stairs an' this Dutch girl goes 'Ha! ha! ha!' like that, so Elizabeth grabbed her hair and kicked her in the face." 
Compulsive violence is a common after-effect of severe trauma.

So where did Fraser go when she was thrown out of her home? Well, like so much of her biography we simply don't know. But looking at the evidence I can't help but wonder if she wound up at Lennox Castle, a place where horrible things were done to children.
Patients hidden away for years at Lennox Castle mental hospital turn to art to heal wounds 
Lennox Castle, in Lennoxtown, Dunbartonshire, was less of a mental institution than a warehouse, where those deemed society’s misfits were deposited. 
Truants, unmarried mothers, wayward teenagers and children with learning difficulties, Down’s syndrome or mental illness all ended up there. They were starved, drugged, physically and emotionally abused and robbed of their humanity.
Fraser was certainly a "wayward teenager." And she happened to have the misfortune to live in a patch of the world where MKULTRA was still alive and kicking, right up to the 1980s and perhaps beyond.

Back to Twin Peaks...

Yeah. Mind control.

In the groundbreaking Episode Eight, David Lynch and Mark Frost established Twin Peak's origin mythos. It all begins with the Trinity atomic bomb tests at White Sands, New Mexico. The fabric of time and space themselves are ripped open, allowing a supernatural entity (variously described as the Experiment, Mother and Judy) to invade our realm and sent out seeds of evil onto the earth. 

The whole thing plays out like Lynch and Frost's love-letter to Leslie Stevens and The Outer Limits, right down to the radio station and the atomic demons. (The first episode paid tribute to the uncannily-prescient Outer Limits episode 'OBIT').

One of the manifestations these seeds take are the soot-coated Woodsmen, one of whom walks out of the desert and makes a beeline to a radio station, from which he broadcasts an occult mind-control spell on unsuspecting listeners.

Out of all this we see a young girl- generally accepted as the young Sarah Palmer- possessed by a demonic chimera (of a water and an air creature). This is disturbingly sexual and certainly intentionally so, since the motifs of sexual abuse and demonic mind control form the underpinning of this entire series. 

We later see Sarah Palmer as a deeply-traumatized and broken woman, stuck in a tapeloop of the past, and unconsciously playing host to a vicious demon. The unspoken implication here is that like many abuse victims, Sarah replayed her trauma in her attraction to Leland Palmer, an evil and insane man who was himself possessed by a demon, and passed the cycle of abuse down to the next generation.

In the harrowing Fire Walk with Me, we see that these mind-controlling demons use human beings in order to create pain and sorrow in the world, which they in turn feed on. This ties into any number of theories on the sadistic and/or psychopathic mindset in which abusers feed on the pain of others. Children- whose essential emotions are naturally heightened anyway- are special targets for the psychopathic personality.

In Twin Peaks: The Return, the powers of the Black Lodge have created two Dale Coopers, one of whom is possessed (or mind-controlled) by Bob and the other of whom is a blank slate, a classic literary innocent. However, an interpretation can be drawn that this split was in fact part of a false reality instilled in the real Dale Cooper.

The highly-controversial (yet stunningly-brilliant) series finale takes us entirely out of the dream we had previously experienced and into a separate reality, one much more like our own. 

In this version Dale Cooper is neither the silent-movie bumbler or the demon-controlled doppelganger, but a much more authentic rendering of a middle-aged FBI agent: severe, laconic, brutally-efficient at physical violence and yet still on a quest to right a wrong done when he was young. Kyle MacLachlan is utterly amazing here, juggling a complex and difficult series of subtle emotional shadings.

As one might expect of a real-life Laura Palmer, the woman he meets is a broken shell of a person. She's apparently just murdered a man (which doesn't trouble Cooper much) and seems to have only a fleeting acquaintance with reality. This is the grim result of trauma and self-destruction.

After a blood-curdling shriek, we are back in the Black Lodge. We see Laura Palmer whisper in the ear of a visibly-troubled Cooper, which many interpret as her telling him never left. That the Lodge was controlling his entire experience, which was either a dream or an alternate series of reality-shifts.


I believe that Twin Peaks is instilled with Masonic imagery and symbolism and one of the countless sub-themes at work here is a civil war between secret society factions, which seems self-apparent when you see a "White Lodge" and a "Black Lodge" vying for control. A Freemason friend of mine has said the Waiting Room is very clearly a Scottish Rite Lodge, which he said anyone in the order would recognize.  

The Room Above the Convenience Store may well be a reference to the lodge run by the Dolan Gang  (pictured) during the intra-Masonic pissing match better known as the Lincoln County War. 

That lodge was above Dolan's dry goods store, essentially the convenience store of the time. This civil war took place in and around White Sands and Roswell, and featured such legendary Western figures as Pat Garrett and Billy "The Kid" Bonney, both of whom were Freemasons. 

It also ultimately involved one Jesse Wayne Brazel, uncle of the better-known Mac Brazel, the ranch-hand who discovered a bunch of strange debris one fine day in July of 1947.  Seriously.

To bring this all full-circle:
 At least four of the MKULTRA programs were specifically conducted on children. This is the vast sub-structure of MKULTRA experimentation that has for the greater part been successfully concealed by the Agency. 
Curiously, another MKULTRA faction consisted of representatives of the Scottish Rite of Masonry, which had sponsored research into eugenics, psychiatry, and mind control since at least the 1930s. 
MKULTRA doctor Robert Hanna Felix was director of psychiatric research for the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and the director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Felix was the immediate senior of Dr. Harris Isbell, already noted in relation to MKULTRA.-- Jim Keith, Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness 
Is this in part what Lynch and Frost are alluding to? Do these factions represent the Black Lodge in our own reality? And tying back to Elizabeth Fraser, what if her extraordinary gifts of music and prophecy were either the byproduct- or in fact the product-- of manipulation behind the scenes?

Because as some of you know, I don't think for a minute that our mad scientists had any intention as stopping with mere mind control. I think they had (and have) infinitely more grand ambitions than that.

And "shamanic initiation" is just a polite way of saying "torturing children," historically-speaking.


Now stop and think about the stories we tell ourselves- and tell our children-  for a minute. Think about how many of them are about intense trauma acting as a portal to another dimension. Where the fuck does that motif come from?

Alice in Wonderland is about a child falling down a hole and being poisoned with disfiguring drugs before finding herself in another reality.

Peter Pan was inspired by the death of JM Barrie's brother, who was reborn as an eternally youthful magical child. It also winds up in another reality (Neverland),

The Wizard of Oz is about a girl trapped in a horrible storm and ending up in another dimension. 

The Chronicles of Narnia is about children fleeing the London Blitz and ending up in another dimension.

A Wrinkle in Time is about a girl who goes searching for her missing father and ends up in another reality. Incidentally, another reality ruled over by an entity called Central Central Intelligence.

Star Wars is about a young farmhand who enters into another reality after the gruesome death of his guardians.

Harry Potter is about an abused young orphan who enters into another reality. And one in Scotland to boot.

Fringe is about an abused young girl who is given strange drugs by Harvard doctors and becomes able to cross dimensions as an adult.

Stranger Things is about a girl stolen from her mother and subjected to hideous experiments. She ultimately creates a portal to another dimension.

The OA is about a blind orphan who enters another dimension when clinically dead.

Are you sensing a thruline here? Given the pedigree of some of the people involved here, you think these stories  might be a reflection of some kind of secret ambition on the part of certain factions? You think it's mere coincidence that most of these stories involve vulnerable young girls? And drugs? And intelligence agencies?

Think about it for a while.


The post-Heaven or Las Vegas period is no one's favorite era for the Cocteau Twins. I don't think they made any bad records,  it's just that the magic was gone. Part of this was Robin Guthrie's debilitating drug addiction and part of it was Fraser's incredibly-fragile mental state.
Parenthood has clearly reordered Fraser's thinking, as has the self-examination she's undertaken since she had a nervous breakdown in 1993 while working on Four-Calendar Cafe. 
"Everything ground to a halt," she explains. "I didn't know what was wrong with me." Entering a treatment facility in the U.S., she was admitted to a trauma unit and confronted both herself and those around her with some hard truths. 
"I got told I was big-time co-dependent. I found out I was bulimic. I found out what I went through is called incest," she says. Deeply buried childhood memories became clearer. "You know, memories of being abused by people with no face. All you do is just cover up for those people, even while you're trying to remember."
OK, now I don't know exactly what Fraser dealt with at home but part of me wonders what else might have happened. What else she may not have remembered. This gets into the realm of wild conjecture but not entirely without evidence. 

Hear me out.

You see, I have this nagging thing about the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Now, let me be clear- I have an inherent distrust of memory myself, but perhaps for the opposite reason. I believe memory is malleable because it is constantly erasing itself. But that's a topic for another day.

What bothers me about the FMSF were all the MKULTRA luminaries on its board, like Martin Orne and Louis Jolyon West. What the hell were they doing there? It's anyone's guess but my guess is that there was concern that some of the old test subjects may go offline and start figuring things out. 

And so we had this rash of recovered memory subjects, most of whom were claiming abuse by older relatives. The whole thing became a major source of controversy. The topic of recovered memory became a lightning rod after some egregious claims on tabloid TV shows and it all kind of collapsed under its own weight.

But what if that was the point?

What if there were hidden persuaders, feeding bogus cases into the slipstream and making a Geraldo-sized spectacle out of the whole thing? What if the entire point was to shame and intimidate legitimate victims back into silence? 

Scots-born psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron became notorious for his role in the top-secret MK Ultra programme, running experiments in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals in Canada in the 1950s. 
He used LSD, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), insulin-induced comas and repetition to try and erase memories – a technique the CIA hoped to develop into a weapon in the Cold War. 
When details of the MK Ultra project emerged in the 1970s, it caused a huge public outcry and led to both the US and Canadian governments paying out compensation to hundreds of victims. 
Now campaigners in Scotland are to come forward with sensational claims that similar experiments were also being carried out on this side of the Atlantic. 
Last night, one abuse survivor said: “The similarities are unbelievable, the drugs programme, the experimentation – we were also doing these things in the 1950s here in Scotland, allowing this deplorable behaviour by the medical elite.” 
One medic likely to be named by the campaigners is Dr Angus MacNiven, who trained alongside Cameron at Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow and went on to become one of the most eminent figures in Scottish medicine. 
However, this newspaper has seen evidence that at least one patient died while being experimented on under his care. 
Cameron, who was born in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, emigrated to America in the 1920s, but remained in contact with his former colleagues in Scotland throughout his career.
Oh, Stirlingshire, you say? 

Guess who else is from Stirlingshire. 

Elizabeth Fraser.

Now here's the thing: MKULTRA and its tributaries may or may not have been canceled in the 1970s in America but apparently our cousins across the pond kept right on truckin'. There's also this:
Scots orphans used in ‘military experiments’ 
HOLYROOD’S child abuse inquiry will hear claims that British military scientists conducted drug tests on orphans in Scottish mental hospitals. 
The allegations centre on at least four institutions where thousands of children are said to have been experimented upon in conditions described as “like something out of Auschwitz”.
It is alleged that Porton Down, the top secret military facility in Wiltshire, was involved in trialling drugs for use in the Cold War on youngsters who were regarded as “feeble-minded.”  
One survivor told this newspaper he has obtained written and video evidence that he will pass to the public inquiry into historical abuse of children in care when it begins next year. 
The man, now in his 50s, has been advised by lawyers to conceal his identity for his own safety until his full submission can be lodged at the inquiry announced by Scottish Education Secretary Angela Constance. 
However, he was willing to divulge some of his intended testimony about the treatment he and others suffered. 
He said: “Six and seven year olds were tied to racks and given electric shocks.
The witness believes there may have been as many as 3,500 children who were involved in the Porton Down testing programme over the years.
"The drug programme ran from 1948 to 1982. They were exposed to nerve agents, such as sarin gas, and hallucinogens, such as LSD."
So why haven't we heard more about this?
"I know that the legal people involved do have the relevant files, although the files do have a tendency to disappear. 
"One of the problems we want the inquiry to consider is the destruction of records.” 
For example, many medical files from Lennox Castle Hospital in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, where some of the experiments are said to have taken place, were destroyed in a fire.

Oh. That's why.


UPDATE: I had cut a section that further explores some of the possible connections to MKULTRA/MKOFTEN/et al for space from this piece but have posted an expanded version here on The Solar Satellite. 

Give it a read, it may help clarify those issues for you.

Note: This is the exact same process we saw with The Dark Knight, which was a conceptual descendant of the music of Killing Joke, the band of high-initiate occultists who probably had a major influence on Alan Moore's evolution as a magician. 

This ultimately gave us the Batman: The Killing Joke graphic novel, which in turn played a major role in Heath Ledger's conception of the Joker character in that blockbuster. This is how popular culture usually works- things slowly bubble up from the underground and eventually go mainstream.

And almost inevitably, Heath Ledger was drawn into the vortex as well.

* For those who have watched the TP finale, the segue from echoing scream, extended silence and then ethereal washes of sound is remarkably similar in structure to the segue from "Persephone" to "Pandora" on Treasure.