Attached is my most recent peer reviewed paper which was accepted for publication in the proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS) to be held on 12-13 March 2020 at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The paper is based on an analysis of the online conspiracy theories which surrounded the 15 April 2019 fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. (While the paper was published I am not attending the conference for personal reasons.)
Included in the milieu of conspiracy theories circulated online were fake Nostradamus prophecies evoking a kind of conspiracism known as ‘popular eschatology’. The sharing of such conspiracies drove a large global increase in Nostradamus interest, as revealed by Google Trends.
The overall mix of the Notre Dame fire conspiracy theories – to include notions of false flags, Islamophobic sentiments, and Nostradamus prophecies – seem to be similar to 9/11 conspiracies, and may share commonality in their links to Russian influence.
The new paper argues that Nostradamus prophecies can be seen as similar in how they promote Islamophobia and anti-Catholicism as to how the Russian secret police concoction ‘The Protocols of Zion’ may have been useful in promoting anti-Semitism in furtherance of fin de siè·cle Russian influence campaigns. It dives deep into a cultural examination of Russia’s apparent sense of hostility to Catholicism based on its historical legacy as a Russian Orthodox country, and it attempts to frame the described 2019 ‘anti-Catholic conspiracies’ within a framework of Russian disinformation sympathetic to such nationalistic ideas.
Given prior statements of Roman Polanski on the Dick Cavett show that he was a suspect of a criminal profiler in the murder of his wife – and good evidence he was a cruel husband – some of the quotes I’d seen referenced to Confessions of a Blue Movie Star seemed compelling and concerning in the potential context of both ‘murder as a fine art’ as well as information warfare. Having watched the film, it makes me think that snuff itself is likely a propaganda scheme designed to create a mass hysteria, yet around the usual kernel of truth (in these cases, murders or deaths linked to potential communists). In this sense, snuff as a genre and meme seems quite similar to – and derivative of – the satanism hysteria which followed the murder of Polanski’s wife and friends by the Charles Manson group.
“Yeah I do think a camera can be as dangerous in the hands of a ‘filmmaker’, in quotes, as a bazooka.” – Roman Polanski
It is interesting that Anger too was close to the Surrealist school of art which is considered as a possible factor in the psychological profile of the Black Dahlia murderer. Anger’s film making was inspired by the Surrealist artist Maya Deren, and his 1947 film ‘Fireworks’ led to his romantic involvement with older French artist Jean Cocteau, whom he lived with in France . (Much of the Surrealist school – including Deren – can be placed close to Communism, and Anger also seems to have boycotted Hollywood in the HUAC era, despite Anger’s precedence of using Nazi images in his films.)
Anger was also a lifelong friend of John Gilmore’s lifelong friend Curtis Harrington – a famous filmmaker associated with the occult scene in Hollywood. In addition he was connected to at least 3 of the Manson Family murderers. In this sense, Anger straddles both the Surrealist network hypothetically associated with the Black Dahlia case and the ‘satanist-cultist’ network which might be associated with the Tate-LaBianca murders.
A first at n01r today is a guest blog from Dr. Richard Spence, Professor in the History Department at the University of Idaho. Dr. Spence has one of the coolest sets of courses I’ve seen which complements a lot of the things I investigate at the site; such as the intersection of the occult, strategic disinformation, and espionage (like Theosophy).
I’d like to launch right into my Part 2 on ‘Communist Conspiracy and Murder as a Fine Art’; but in order to make that eventual post more succinct on the parallels between Roman Polanski and Orson Welles as they may relate to the Tate-LaBianca murders and the Black Dahlia cases respectively; I first need to delve into the question of ‘who was the true heir to Aleister Crowley’? The many links to the Crowley set permeate the back story of the cult scene which seems to have given emergence to the Charles Manson crowd. We may not arrive at a definitive answer, but exploring the question of Crowley and urban legends about his heir (to wit the figures of L. Ron Hubbard and Kenneth Anger via their mutual relationships with Jack Parsons) seems to be important in terms of examining the paradigm I’m suggesting.
As one of two ‘American’ film directors to be honored in the Russian Golden Eagle film awards category of‘Contribution to World Cinema’(the other being Francis Ford Coppola), it seems somewhat obvious to me that Roman Polanski is a filmmaker who closely aligns with the Orson Welles style of film as (Russian / Communist) propaganda.
“The school was tightly connected with the Polish film archives and we could see anything we wanted… Personally, I was part of the [Orson] Welles group, but there were also groups of neorealists and students who liked the heroic Soviet cinema.” – Roman Polanski
In another long and diverging parallel, I truly enjoyed Mary Pacios’ book ‘Childhood Shadows’, about the January 15, 1947 murder of Elizabeth “Bette” Short – best known as ‘The Black Dahlia’, in Los Angeles California. Pacios offered a fascinating and plausible suggestion that Orson Welles could be a credible suspect in the unsolved case. Welles left the United States shortly after the death. This kind of behavior is common for murder suspects. While Pacios did not explore the politics, my prior research suggests Welles had similar motivations to flee around this time due to his Communist Party linked politics and connections to Russian espionage.
I’ve been learning more about crime scene staging and extrapolating the practical similarities to disinformation. Especially in the context of probabilistically unlikely coincidences, I have long held a view that you can’t intimately know more than one Russian spy and work with them without plausibly being at least a Russian asset yourself.
Over the past week, I’ve been delving into homicide investigation textbooks and scholarly papers in order to better understand the circumstances which might support a belief that a crime scene has been staged. That is, the verbal, behavioral, and physical evidentiary circumstances by which a criminal offender attempts to mislead and misdirect the investigators from the most plausible suspect. While intentional staging may be present in any kind of crime (from property crime to accusations of physical assault), I’ve been interested in the sort where a murder might be made to look like it wasn’t one.
According to crime scene staging researchers, staging is a common offender behavior. Frequently murders might be covered up through arson, made to look like suicides, sexual homicides, or accidental deaths. Another common kind of staging is that related to a “game playing” suicide which is made to look like a murder. The usual perpetrator of a staged homicide scene is a white male with an intimate history with the victim.
According to textbook homicide investigation procedure, in order to rule out staging, it is absolutely important as a death investigator to approach every equivocal death case as a potential homicide until it can be reasonably be proven not to be one. It is important to work up a victimology on all decedents in order to understand potential offender motivations. It is important to evaluate all coincidences and categorically rule them out as artifacts of intentional offender behavior. In equivocal death cases, only when questions like this have been answered can questions of crime scene staging be put to rest.
In relation to this blog, I found it interesting that an understanding of “weaponized suicide” conspiracy narratives and the responsible “offender behavior” (loosely the serial disinformation efforts of Russia and its proxies) can be enhanced by an understanding of these concepts.
A friend visited the other day and suggested we watch the 2008 HBO documentary ‘Cat Dancers’. The film is about the eponymous dance troupe which used big cats like tigers and leopards in their act, and was ended abruptly after two deadly freak accidents. My friend wanted me to watch it because he thought I would find the main character’s flamboyance humorous. In the end, that wasn’t the case so much as that I came away with an unshakable, almost obsessive perception of (at least negligent) homicide.Very few on the internet seem to see it the same way as I do, with the exception of a comment here and there.
It makes me wonder if because of the similar features in themes of death, sex, and documentary techniques – my brain has contorted Cat Dancers into a ‘Forensic Files’ episode, where the husband is almost always guilty, and an assignment of culpability is to be expected.