Trudging through the internet, I came upon one of the wackiest conspiracy theories I’ve ever seen at thesaturni.com:
While we’ve been mindlessly cycling through work and play, a race of Archon-like beings from Saturn has been slowly devouring our world a piece at a time. The Saturni were originally bodiless astral entities, known to us as gods and devils, who descended into the material world as human beings. But something went terribly wrong (as it usually should), and they became enamored with their new-found appetites. You can imagine them as cosmic cannibals, pretending to be humans, who will not be sated until every resource on the earth has been swallowed. “That guy stealing a parking space from you? A closet Saturnus. Intolerant bigots, greedy fat cats, political pundits, politicians? Yep. The fact is, the single greatest power the Saturni possess is their ability to appear exactly like every single person you don’t like.”
The website has been created and maintained by the followers of A. P. Bowman, who has “attained quasi-immortal status, conferred on him by one of the primordial Introim, the forebears and absolute enemies of the Saturni.” There are numerous conflicting accounts of Bowman to be found throughout the site, placing him in the United Kingdom in the 17th century, Paris in 1945, and New Orleans in the 1970s. I was immediately reminded of the contradictory stories told by members of the Church of the SubGenius regarding their prophet, J. R. “Bob” Dobbs (including numerous incompatible versions of his life as well as his death).
It was at this point that I noticed the dates of all the posts: April 1st, 2012.
That’s right, fair reader, your reporter had been duped by what, on further reading, was revealed to be an elaborate advertisement for a series of short stories (available on Amazon) written under the pen name of none other than the above-mentioned A. P. Bowman.
But before you write your congressman, I ask that you take a moment to consider the fallacy inherent in our modern view of the idea of the Truth. It is what Robert Anton Wilson refers to as “either/or logic,” the Aristotelian view that a thing must be either this or that, but can never be both. This worldview has only been with us for a relatively short amount of time and tends to negate the value of anything labeled “false,” leading the modern thinker to disregard any information that doesn’t fit into the tidy hole of “true.”
Take, for instance, the kabbalistic classic, Sepher ha-Zohar, attributed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. In the 13th century, Jewish philosopher Moses de Leon began copying and distributing this valuable work one pamphlet at a time until his death, leaving a large portion unpublished. When a group of scholars approached his widow in the hopes of gaining access to the remainder of the manuscript, it was revealed that there was no such book. Moses de Leon had been distributing the Zohar as he wrote it, using Shimon bar Yochai’s name to give credence to the work.
The Sepher ha-Zohar is still considered to be one of the great works of kabbalistic philosophy, second only to the Sepher Yetzirah. If it had been written today, though, it would undoubtedly be tossed away as the work of a charlatan.
A parallel can be found in the tale of the Necronomicon, a book mentioned in the stories of H. P. Lovecraft that never actually existed. Its imaginary state did not, however, deter it from being published in 1977 and being used extensively by magicians in the 80s. The grimoire is still in use around the world by people who continue to report successful outcomes of its rituals. Not too shabby for a work that is unarguably fake.
Stories like these lead me to question the validity of labeling anything as either “true” or “false.” By using these categorizations, I believe we are actually cutting ourselves off from a possible wealth of ideas while actively setting limitations for our own belief systems. So, when scanning the contents of thesaturni.com, I would urge the reader to remember the words of Dr. David Finkelstein, physicist: “In addition to yes and no, there’s a maybe in the universe.”