SynchroMysticism and ‘Twilight Language’: Michael A. Hoffman II

Michael A. Hoffman is as controversial a contemporary researcher and writer as one can find. But with around eight diverse and original titles to his credit, he is an imaginative and intriguing thinker.

Often tackling religious topics, he has authored several books that are concerned with Roman Catholicism. One such offering, hot off the press (May, 2017) is The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome. Historically, the Renaissance and the Reformation (and pre-Reformation) are connected. Hoffman excavates some of the history, with an emphasis upon how neo-platonic and occultic sub-currents within the Catholic Church converged to create a stream that is arguably diabolical.

So-called “Traditionalists,” or “Trads” (among others), will also find much of interest in the 2013 Usury in Christendom. As the subtitle (“The Mortal Sin* That Was and Now Is Not”) makes clear, this volume takes the Church to task concerning its changing teaching on lending money at interest. (For other offbeat Catholic writers, see Michael DaviesSolange Hertz, E. Michael Jones, and Robert Sungenis.)

(* In Catholic parlance, a “mortal sin” is held to be “a grave offense against God’s law, which brings spiritual death to the soul by depriving it of its supernatural life, sanctifying grace.”)

Hoffman has also penned a provocative, 1,100-page tome on Judaism: Judaism Discovered. This 2008 work delves into such mystically charged topics as goddess cults, moon worship, and sex magic -all within Judaism. For a more accessible introduction to these (and other) subjects, see Judaism’s Strange Gods which, in its 2011 edition, is a condensed version of the longer treatise. (Book collectors, take note: The original, 2000 edition of Judaism’s Strange Gods may eventually be prized as a rare find. Other writers in this genre include Johannes Alzog, Joseph Barclay, Isidore BertrandJohannes Buxtorf, Luigi ChiariniGustaf Dalman, Johann EisenmengerTheodor Keim, Heinrich LaibleMartin Luther, Raymond MartiniAlexander McCaul, Bernhard Pick, Peter Schaefer, and Johann Wagenseil.)

Whereas, Peter Levenda and Christopher Knowles appear generally left-leaning, socially, Hoffman is (on many issues), plausibly fairly classified as a staunch rightist. (Loren Coleman, whatever his personal sympathies, seems to try to stay politically neutral and uninvolved. )

Nevertheless, in contradistinction to many self-professed “conservatives,” Mr. Hoffman sides with Israeli critics such as Uri Avnery, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Paul Findley, J. William Fulbright, Philip Giraldi, Baruch Kimmerling, Alfred Lilienthal, Victor Marchetti, Ray McGovern, John Mearsheimer, Victor Ostrovsky, James Petras, Israel Shahak, Israel Shamir, Yoav Shamir, Stephen Walt, Alison Weir, Philip Weiss, and others. His middle-eastern investigations issued in a condemnation of what he termed Israeli “war crimes and atrocities.” His The Israeli Holocaust Against the Palestinians was co-written with one Moshe Lieberman and was published in 2003.

An earlier effort, They Were White and They Were Slaves (1991-1992), was recently magnified in importance when its titular thesis was roundly denied by various media outlets, including the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and Slate.

For purposes of this weblog, Hoffman’s principal book of interest is his Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare. Originally released in 1989, it was subsequently reissued in a substantially updated edition in 2001 – just prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

In this publication, which in some circles has achieved a kind of cult-classic status, Hoffman discloses arcane notions such as the occultic roots of modern Catholicism and Protestantism, “serial murder” as a species of psychological warfare, electronic methods of “programming” people both individually and collectively, and much else besides. Along the way, he discusses Alchemy, Freemasonry, and Satanism.

As one of James Shelby Downard‘s two main protégés, Hoffman also expends considerable effort expanding upon Downard’s penetrating conception of “mystical toponomy” (that is, the SynchroMystic aspect of place names). However, he also explicates his own thoughts concerning an ancient and little-understand argot called “Twilight Language.”

Loren Coleman‘s readers will already be well-familiar with this latter term, since Coleman co-opted it as the title of his weblog. In Coleman’s lexicon, it seems to be a “catch-all” for any “name game” or SynchroMystical connection – whether mystical-toponomical, or numerological, or what have you.

Hoffman writes: “There is a dark poetry to ritual murder, to twilight language, to the fantastic convergences known as coincidence [i.e., synchronicity]. Most ‘conspiracy researchers’ miss these. The best investigator – of the occult or of almost anything else – has a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder about the seemingly mundane things.”

In a footnote, he adds: “In the secret societies, ‘twilight language,’ was advertised as the ‘Adamic language,’ the language Adam learned from God in Eden, ‘the key to divine knowledge.'”

Who Started SynchroMysticism? James Shelby Downard

Who really kick started SynchroMysticism? The question is easily enough posed. Answering it is another matter.

We have already showcased the renowned Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung. He is arguably the fountainhead of the concept of synchronicity. It is by no means clear that Jung did not himself have “mystical” inclinations.

Still, if Jung is justly thought of as the “godfather” of the rigorous investigation of coincidence (as he arguably is), then James Shelby Downard is perhaps, and equally fairly, considered to be the godfather of SynchroMysticism. Indeed, the ubiquitous Loren Coleman treats Shelby Downard in precisely this way.

Coleman refers to Mr. Downard as “an American theorist and pamphleteer who shared his thoughts about conspiracies, coincidences, synchronicity, and symbolism,” and points readers to a gripping booklet written by the self-proclaimed “crackpot historian” and “Discordian” enthusiast, Adam Gorightly.

Gorightly, who is the author of such works as Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society (New York: RVP Press, 2014), The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture (New York: Paraview Press, 2003), and The Shadow Over Santa Susana: Black Magic, Mind Control And The Manson Family Mythos (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2001), tackles our little-known SynchroMystic trailblazer in James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War (College Station, TX: Virtual Book Worm 2008).

James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War is an excellent introduction to the titular hero. Gorightly provides an accessible sketch of some of the noteworthy events in the life of Mr. Downard. At least it’s a bit more tractable than Downard’s own, sometimes rambling but always enthralling, autobiography, The Carnivals of Life and Death: My Profane Youth: 1913-1935 (Los Angeles: Feral House, 2006).

Perhaps more importantly for present purposes, an understandable primer into some of Downard’s less comprehensible ideas such as “mystical toponomy.”

“Toponomy,” of course, is the study of place names.  “Mysticism,” generally speaking, is the practice of seeking “union” with the Divine – as well as beliefs attending and supporting that practice. However, in Downard’s idiom, the word “mystical” seems to have the sense of “esoteric.” The idea is that certain place names appear to have recondite significance and turn up in peculiar connections, to say the least.

Gorightly provides the illustration of the “Mason Road,” in Texas. This road ties together with a sweeping hypothesis concerning the assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. In Downard’s proposal, the murder of JFK, whatever else it may have been, was a grand enactment of a ritual designated by the 19th-20th-century Scottish anthropologist Sir James Frazer in his The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (London: Macmillan and Co.,  1890). And, to Shelby Downard, the alchemically permeated brotherhood of Freemasonry was heavily implicated.

A short post of this sort cannot possible do justice to the depth or originality of such a theorist as James Shelby Downard. Readers eager for even more are highly encouraged to dive into the various offerings of “Downardiana,” including – once they feel up tot he task – Downard’s own musings.

To get you started, we note that besides Gorightly’s tract, Dr. Richard Spence has also penned an outstanding article on Downard, now available in Paranoia Magazine (Issue #52).

In an upcoming installment, we will spotlight Michael A. Hoffman II, Shelby’s protégé in matters Fortean and SynchroMystic. Please, check back for that update (among others).

Postscript: We have previously mentioned Christopher Knowles’s sensible observation that it is tricky business trying to single out a single pioneering soul and labeling him or her “the” founder of a phenomenon as multifaceted as SynchroMysticism. We acknowledge this. (For more detail, see here.) Still, Shelby Downard was significant (or perhaps incomparable) in many ways. Highlighting him for special approbation is, in our opinion, and in the opinion of others mentioned above, entirely appropriate.