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MAGICK BULLET: "Sirius Rising: Mr. Downard and the Synchromystical Boson" by Jim Brandon

WiNG Publications
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CD REVIEW: Sirius Rising: Mr. Downard and the Synchromystical Boson (WiNG Publications) 2018

I first heard about this recording of interviews with the late James Shelby Downard earlier this year from Portland, Maine-based writer and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.

My Twilight Language-blogging pal  had heard via William Grimstad (aka Jim Brandon), author of Weird America: A Guide to Places of Mystery in the United States and The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit, that Grimstad/Brandon’s taped interviews of Downard back in the 1970’s had survived all of these years and it seemed like a good time to put those long-rumored recordings out there, all on one compact disc!

And what a treat for the ears and mind it is. I first became familiar with Downard’s work some years ago after reading the 1998 web essay by Downard titled King-Kill/33: Masonic Symbolism in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The esoteric ideas and synchronistic observations, as well as the “mystical toponomy” (which is “word wizardry” linked up with “the Masonic science of symbolism”) have been influential in certain Fortean circles and fringe historians and conspiracy researchers. It is said that shock-rocker Marilyn Manson was quite taken with Downard’s insights, incorporating them into songs on his 2000 Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) album. I know his thoughts on the mystical Trinity atomic bomb test on the Jornado del Muerto in New Mexico – along the 33rd degree line of latitude – got my attention!

Later, I got a copy of Adam Gorightly’s fantastic book James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War, which highlights the Ardmore, Oklahoma native’s lifelong battle against “Masonic sorcery” while investigating  topics ranging from mind control, occult scenarios and ritual crimes. Downard, we should note, died in 1998, with an obituary appearing in The Daily Ardmoreite newspaper in Ardmore -a town "straight out of a David Lynch movie."

But even better was Downard’s own book, The Carnivals of Life and Death, a collection of shocking and outlandish claims and memories that plays like a Forrest Gump of conspiracy culture. It was one of those conspiracy classics put out by Adam Parfrey of Feral House.

And what he says about everyone from his own mother to dark encounters with Max Westheimer (yes, the guy who has that airport in Norman named after him) to Alexander Graham Bell and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Not to mention the various Masonic and KKK goons whose attempts at sacrificing young Downard are thwarted at every turn. It reads like a superhero novel but ends rather suddenly, as Downard died before he was able to tell the whole tale.

Sadly, right after listening to Sirius Rising: Mr. Downard and the Synchromystical Boson, Parfrey, a true pioneer in publishing books on a variety of fringe topics – including Apocalypse Culture, which featured Downard - passed away.

You had the killing of two Kennedys and the killing of Martin Luther King. Now, in each death you had … hundreds of connected symbol patterns” between persons, places and political events linking the assassinations of John F. Kennedy (1963), Robert Kennedy (1968) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968).

When talking about “King-Kill 33,” that has to do with the “Killing of the King,” which is a symbol in alchemy” and connects with the importance of the number “33” in Masonry and the choice of Dallas, Texas – on the 33rd line of latitude – to kill Kennedy. It also has to do with the destruction of primordial matter – as happened at the Trinity Site with the detonation of the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945. Primordial matter was destroyed, Downard reminds us, as a result of that atomic test – which was on the 33rd line of latitude. Oh, and the man who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon, which was completed on Sept. 11, 1941? Gen. Leslie Groves, who headed the military side of the Manhattan Project.

Grimstad, in his voiceover, recorded in 2017, talks about the “exciting concept of synchromysticism,” a concept he describes – via the definition offered by the aforementioned Loren Coleman – as “the study of phenomena that don’t fit the materialist mindset.”

While crediting Downard as an originator of what we now call synchromysticism, Coleman, Grimstad notes, also credits Canadian Jake Kotze as bringing it to current day, describing it as “the art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance.” Essentially taking it from Carl G. Jung’s ideas of synchronicity to adding a mystical element to it, which Downard was quite familiar with.

Says Grimstad: “Synchromysticism is the old study of ‘name games’ and ‘Forteana’” and adding, “All coincidences may have meaningful relationships.”

After his introduction, Downard is featured on the hissy old recording from over four decades ago, where the man speaking sounds like a grizzled old prospector back from the Yukon.

And no doubt that Downard takes the listener down many mysterious paths. The Kern Gate in El Paso, Texas is one path, which is where – symbolically speaking – the Jornado del Muerto begins, heading north to the Trinity Site, not far from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, a town named after a game show, but sharing a name with a club in New Orleans where District Attorney Jim Garrison allegedly got the idea to begin digger deep into the JFK assassination. Coincidence? Synchronicity? 

And then there is the hidden nature of the huge “metal bottle” (known by Manhattan Project honchos as “Jumbo”) that was created to be used in the atomic bomb test. But why it was built and used for this purpose remains a bit of mystery (I note it here in a review of Los Alamos 1943-1945: Beginning of an Era). But Grimstad/Brandon says that Downard felt that creating a homunculus “manikin” with great magical powers was the actual purpose of the test and the use of the metal bottle. Grimstad/Brandon chuckles that this bit of speculation is simply “whimsical.”

This leads the listener to rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons (helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California) who was an acolyte of the “Great Beast” Aleister Crowley and “sex magick.” Parsons' obsession with rocketry would open the door to America taking the lead on, as Downard puts it, "the Apollo Moon trip," which included Masonic astronauts, not surprisingly.

Later, we get Downard’s thoughts on the assassination of MLK in Memphis, Tennessee and how that city’s link with ancient Egypt and Masonry, along with spooky characters and someone nicknamed the “Great Whore” and various illegal activities. Memphis looms large, it would seem. And still does today, as I've noted. 

He talks about the symbol “jade” being a symbol for prostitution. This syncs with Twin Peaks: The Return, which touches upon many of the esoteric ideas presented by Downard (the Trinity Test, sex magick, secret power of Saturn, etc.), including the inclusion of an African-American prostitute named “Jade,” who finds a key that had belonged to Special Agent Dale Cooper, 25 years earlier. Of course, Cooper has been trapped in the Black Lodge all that time, and Jade had been seeing a Cooper tulpa named Dougie Jones. I talk about this in a sync post I wrote in 2017 titled “KEYS (What a fool believes).”

Some meandering discussions cover Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army mystery, the "naga," a seven-headed cobra, which has a link to the "garuda" which then leads to talk of the "phoenix" actually being the bird symbolizing America, not the eagle, as commonly thought. 

Now, Downard makes it clear that he simply wants to gather symbols and names and did not make any specific accusations against the people about whom he speaks. Some names are bleeped out by Grimstad/Brandon. And Downard does not come to any hard and fast final conclusions here. Is it all just coincidence? Is there something more to all of the people and places Downard connects together?

So is this all part of some larger and more mysterious magical game orchestrated by those in the secret societies that Downard and others believe are really “running the show”?

If only Downard were still with us to tell us how this will all play out. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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