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.

Who Writes on SynchroMysticism and Synchronicity?

Beside the seemingly ever-present Loren Coleman, and the  other individuals previously highlighted (so far: Jay Dyer, Carl Jung, and Jake Kotze), where else can interested readers turn for more examples and more information?

Here, we will list two (well, three) other others.

The first additional commentator of interest is the comic-book artist and author, Christopher Knowles. He is otherwise known for insightful books such as Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes (with Joseph Michael Linsner, Newburyport, MA: Red Wheel Weiser, 2007),  The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths, and the Movies (with Matt Hurwitz, Insight Editions, 2008), and The Secret History of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The mysterious roots of modern music (Berkeley, CA: Viva Editions, 2010).

Knowles’s weblog, The Secret Sun, is replete with references to SynchroMysticism and synchronicity, as a simple Google search will reveal. One particular post, “Credit Where Credit is Due,” eloquently makes one point that this author has been at pains to disclose: namely, the relevant areas of inquiry derive from the input and thought of many key people.

It is perhaps quite true to say that Carl Jung, more than anyone else, deserves recognition for initiating these studies. However, as Jung himself makes clear, innumerable, pertinent pieces of background came to him by way of reflections upon ancient alchemy (among other sources).

In addition to the above-mentioned post, which is ought to be given a careful read by interested students, Knowles has countless others that should both entertain visitors to his blog, as well as enlighten those wishing to contend with (if not quite get a handle on) SynchroMysticism.

A second fascinating analyst is the curious S. K. Bain, whose Most Dangerous Book in the World: 9/11 as Mass Ritual (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2012) contains a foreword by Peter Levenda (on whom more in a future writing). In Bain’s telling, the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001, were (in the words of the publisher’s able summary) an “occult-driven… Global Luciferian MegaRitual …a psychological warfare campaign built upon a deadly foundation of black magick and high technology.” It’s quite a SynchroMystical ride.

Something of a companion volume followed. In “Sherwood Kent’s” Most Dangerous: A True Story (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2016) one descends into a nightmarish tale abounding in disturbing and lurid instances of synchronicity.

Stay tuned.

SynchroMysticism and Esotericism: Jay Dyer

One of the most common questions people have after encountering SynchroMysticism is: What is all this?

There are really two approaches to drafting a sort of first-pass answer.

Number one, a person could try to get a grip on the notion from a conceptual or theoretical standpoint. This is certainly commendable and possibly fruitful. Many of the posts in this series will be attempts to do just this – to “come to terms” with SynchroMysticism (in the sense propounded Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren). However, for many people, there is a far more accessible, practical, and (frankly) engaging avenue.

To put it plainly, number two, a person could just interact with various “Synchs” (as the meaningful coincidences are called) and learn by doing, as it were. In this vein, we will shortly be looking at various examples of SynchroMysticism. Or, at least, I will direct interested readers toward places where such examples may be found, mined, and reflected upon.

One rich resource, in this regard, is the film industry.  It is needful, though, to prime oneself, since what is envisioned is (emphatically) not merely grabbing a box of popcorn and “vegging out” in front of a television or theatre screen. Mindless pastimes have been starkly painted as soul-sucking activities that may literally lead us to amuse ourselves to death, to steal a phrase from the late, 20th-21st-century American author Neil Postman.

On the contrary, what is in view is a critical inspection of select Silver-Screen offerings. To obtain the requisite preparation for this interpretive task, it is highly recommended that neophytes look over the shoulders of those individuals who have as close to a proven track record as it is feasible to get in these matters.

There are several individuals who verge on expertise and whose output is worthy of careful study. (Again, we refer guests to Loren Coleman.) For the purposes of being introduced to the art and science of movie hermeneutics, Jay Dyer ranks surely high on the list of authorities who ought be consulted.

Dyer’s 2016 book, Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film (Waterville, OR: Trine Day), is one of the staple texts for any SynchroMysticism 101 course.

Before proceeding, it is worth pondering the word “esoteric” for a moment.

“Esoteric” stands in contrast to “exoteric.” Both words derive from Greco-Roman vocabulary. Specifically, exōterikós marks out something that is “external” or directed “outwardly.” (The word “extrovert” uses the prefix “ex-” similarly.) The idea, here, is that an exoteric doctrine is one that is submitted for mass consumption; it’s promulgated to be believed (and perhaps understand) by the general public.

On the other hand, esōterikós had to do with something that is “internal” or “inwardly” oriented.* Hence, an esoteric principle or teaching is one that is reserved for a much smaller, and possibly private or restricted, group. The subgroup could be initiates into some mystery school or secret society, for instance. In any case, esotericism is the probing into such arcane and perhaps “classified” information.

Mr. Dyer acclimates readers to these matters in a way that is both captivating and enlightening.

In the course of his book, he exposes novices to a way of processing cinema on a deeper level than many will have taken notice of before. Veterans will have much with which to contend as well.

Dyer gives these motion pictures their own, dedicated chapters.

Careful reading of Dyer’s evaluations, in conjunction with a person’s own viewing of the movies in question, constitutes good SynchroMystical training. And most of this is embedded within a very absorbing and lively presentation.

To be sure, Dyer also touches upon theory. For example, he writes:

Synchronicity is real, and the inner worlds are connected to the outer worlds, but in my estimation all this needs to be purged of the gnostic notions of external reality being an “illusion.”

We will delve more into the above notions in future posts. For now, happy watching.

* Commonly used words beginning with “eso-” are in somewhat short supply. Interestingly, the Greek phageîn meant “to eat.” Our anatomical word “esophagus” could be – obscurely – thought of as an “internal thing” associated with eating. For more etymological musings, see The Etymologicon.

As a postscript, it is worth noting that there are numerous other films that deserve careful viewing from the budding or practiced SynchroMystic.  Some of them are linked to, below.

SynchroMysticism Applied: Loren Coleman

Loren Coleman is far and away the most prolific and well-known SynchroMystic on the web today. With over forty book titles to his credit, many of which are on the subject of cryptozoology (i.e., the study of alleged “hidden animals,” like “Big Foot” and the famed “Loch Ness Monster”), Coleman looms large on (what we might call) paranormal wavelengths.

For an introduction to the fascinating possibility that the world’s fauna include more species than those so-far cataloged and on display at your city menagerie, Coleman is the go-to guy.

Among his cryptozoological print offerings are Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America (New York: Paraview, 2003), Cryptozoology A to Z (with Jerome Clark, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates (with Patrick Huyghe, New York: Anomalist, 2006), Monsters of Massachusetts (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2013), and Mysterious America (Kindle Edition, 2007).

He also maintains the cryptozoologically dedicated weblog, CryptoZooNews, and is curator of (and, presumably, docent at) the International Cryptozoology Museum at Thompson’s Point in Portland, Maine.

Of primary interest to us here, however, are the industrious Mr. Coleman’s other, more Fortean and SynchroMystical, researches.

Prominent in this regard are his innumerable posts on the Twilight Language weblog, which boasts well over 4 million total visitors.

The site’s name is a reference to an obscure, symbol-infused “language” that has apparent connections with various, Eastern, religious concepts – especially in certain Buddhist sub-traditions. (See here.)

In his 2004 book, The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines (New York: Simon and Schuster), Coleman wrote:

“Twilight language” concerns, from psychology, the hidden significance of locations, dates, and other signs; from religious studies, the hidden symbolism that lies in the texture of the incidents; and, from criminology, the profiling insights that have revealed the ritualistic nature of certain crimes and violent incidents.

In Coleman’s estimation, these “hidden significances” are largely discovered (or masked) in “Lexi-Links” (from the Greek léxis, meaning “speech” or “word” and the English “link,” which obviously has to do with the component parts of a chain) or what he elsewhere calls “name games.”

By “name games,” the prodigious Coleman seems to designate odd name-related patterns, or synchronicities, that crop up in newsworthy events from election results and political happenings to school shootings, serial murders, and suicides. The latter seem to occupy a conspicuous place in his thinking, due to a past, personal tragedy. (Incidentally, Coleman identifies 18th-19th-century German writer and Freemason Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s 1774 The Sorrows of Young Werther, available in a Dover Thrift Edition, as something of a locus classicus for suicide “copycatting.”)

These bizarre interconnections are perhaps best illustrated as opposed to merely described. The best advice for a person just dipping her toes into this unconventional territory is to simply learn by meditating upon Coleman’s various examples, embedded in his books and online posts.

Coleman seems less concerned with speculating about the possible, metaphysical foundations of “synchronicity,” and more focused upon engaging in and writing about examples of SynchroMysticism. This is evident in his above-mentioned “blogging” activities, which treat faithful readers to a steady diet of curious associations lying beneath interesting, and often world-historic, news events.

To date, Loren Coleman’s major, written statement on these matters is contained in the engrossing, and previously cited, The Copycat Effect, to which interested visitors are referred for further information. Happy reading.

SynchroMysticism Defined: Jake Kotze

SynchroMystic guru Loren Coleman credited author and filmmaker Jake Kotze with having coined the term “synchromysticism.” Coleman wrote:

The word “synchromysticism” was first coined by Jake Kotze in August 2006, on his website-at-the-time, Brave New World Order.* Kotze defined the concept as: “The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance.” (Source.)

Let us mine some of the depths in this quotation.

One thing to notice is that the qualifier “meaningful” appears to do quite a bit of work. After all, on one definition of the word, “coincidence” merely marks out temporal correspondence.

Many of these correspondences are indeed mundane (both in the sense of being commonplace or worldly, and in the sense of being run-of-the-mill or, in a word, dull). For instance, as I type this, there is a song playing in the background, the air conditioner just kicked on, two Mourning doves are walking around outside, and so on.

Presumably, however, no one is tempted by the notion that there is any remarkable (i.e., meaningful) relationship between any of the scattered goings on that I just listed. For, at any given time, innumerable events are occurring simultaneously. The vast majority of these events with be nothing to write home about – whether individually or considered together.

What the synchromystic looks for, then, is not merely events that are temporally related, but events that are temporally associated in particular, “meaningful” ways.

Candidate events may have uninspired, “exoteric” (or outward and easily comprehended) meanings on the surface. But the synchromystic is the person who may notice esoteric significance lying under the uninteresting appearances.  (Or, at least, this is one way that person sympathetic to the project may understand it. Less sympathetic individuals may be tempted to the opinion that the synchromystic is “reading-into” events or engaging in wishful thinking or self-delusion.)

Kotze was a contributor to The Sync Book, published in 2011. He seems to take a monistic view of reality. On this sort of perspective, which appears (among other places) in some streams of Hinduism, all things are, ultimately “one.” Sameness is the fundamental property of existence, while difference is explained as illusion (maya).

Within this broad framework, synchronicity (that is, significant coincidence or simultaneity of “connected” events) is taken to be to a psychological phenomenon in which the percipient catches a glimpse of the “true,” undifferentiated nature of things.

Kotze’s view, while interesting, is far from the only view. In other posts, we will explore the views of other, influential thinkers from the famed Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung and Hungarian-British journalist Arthur Koestler, to lesser-known figures like the oraculist James Shelby Downard, and on to more contemporary commentators including the aforementioned cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman.

Stay tuned.

* Kotze’s weblog title is a composite of two phrases. Firstly, it is a reference to the so-called “New World Order.” Arguably, this phrase has at least two different interpretations. For more on the imperialistic interpretation, see books by Noam Chomsky and Henry Kissinger. For those with more conspiratorial turns of mind, see the “illuminist” interpretation propounded by persons like Mark Dice and A. Ralph Epperson. Secondly, Kotze’s phrase hearkens back to Aldous Huxley’s classic, 1932 novel, Brave New World. Huxley’s book, along with George Orwell’s dystopian nightmare, 1984, are practically required reading.