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Can we make the world any weirder? Cults, the Occults and idea factories – the fusion for a good story.

Posted by Adrian on February 16, 2007

I have always been fascinated by secret societies, cults and other quasi religious or sub-culture societies, mostly from 20’s 30’s. Namely from a entrainment perspective. I especially like the art, and the imagery of some of these ‘cults’. I also find it fascinating that a cult, secret society and the like is a removal from an individualistic society, and/or an extreme representation of conformity. Individuality doesn’t have a place. That interests me. History shows that certain political ideas are also afraid of individualism, these are Communism, Fascism, Nazism and other current trends in political spectrum – namely right wing orientated. This is a very complex and detailed philosophical argument and discussion. These debates exist within evolutionary biology/psychology studies, economic, sociological and political philosophy. But that’s for another time to discuss all that.

The knack is whether a writer or artist is able to use basic occult, cult imagery and fuse that into a script, a short story or a book.

Some of my favorite ideas, is the ‘mad’ ideas from a visionary. I particular like the Ghostbusters (remember that movie?) cult group in the movie, where the describe the Gonza cult, a fictitious cult/occult group created for the movie, this is such a cool quote (from wikipedia) ”

“He was an insane, early 20th century architect and physician with a penchant for performing macabre and unnecessary surgeries (possibly as a cover for the worship of various evil deities) who designed the high rise apartment building at 55 Central Park West (NYC) as a giant altar to the Sumerian god Gozer.

His followers, known as Gozer Worshippers, performed bizarre rituals on the top of the high-rise, intending to bring about the end of the world. After the first world war, he and his followers thought society was too sick to continue. He had over a thousand followers when he died.”

shandor3.jpg

55 Central Park West (pic from this site, please check it out for detailed info).

According to the rest of the Wikipedia article, the original idea for Ivo Shandor came from real life Satanist Anton Szandor LaVey, as far as the skyscraper, portal idea – as LaVey believed that a skyscraper in Chicago (John Hancock Center) was a portal to the ‘spirit world’.

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John Hancock Centre

This is great quote from ghostvillage.com, regarding LaVey and his commentary on the John Hancock Center in Chicago, loosely based on the Shandor building NYC, which is actually (55 Central Park West) portrayed in Ivan Reitmans’s Ghostbusters)

“LaVey wrote many essays during his time as the Satanic Church’s leader, including fascinating analyses of the problems of modern architecture. LaVey knew — as most occultists do — that the trapezoidal shape holds significant power for arcane forces: traditionally, the shape is believed to serve as a doorway or “portal” for occult — or even diabolical — forces. As a young man, LaVey was fascinated with the thought of H.P. Lovecraft, whose horror novels often feature characters grappling with the dangers of “strange angles,” and it was Lovecraft’s work which led LaVey to first pursue his study of modern architecture’s sometimes deadly capabilities.”

Early Germanic occultist groups

Some of the early esoteric and occult Germanic based groups, which were a prelude to Nazism. One group that comes to mind is the Thule Society, an early Germanic occult/mystic group that believe in the origins of the so called Aryan Race. They were primarily a group that was ant-Semitic, anti-communist and getting more involved with a growing right wing sentiment in Germany in the 1920’s. There has been numerous books and research and interest in the connection between the occult and Nazi German building up to WW2. Historically it portrays the captivation of delusion, and pseudoscience to create an idea of the master race.

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Thule Society symbol from early 1900’s

from wikipedia

“According to Thule Society mythology, Thule was the capital of Hyperborea, supposedly a legendary island in the far North polar regions, originally mentioned by Herodotus from Egyptian sources. In 1679, Olaf Rudbeck equated the Hyperboreans with the survivors of Atlantis, who were first mentioned by Plato, again following Egyptian sources. Supposedly, Hyperborea split into two islands, Thule and Ultima Thule, which were considered to be the center of an advanced, lost civilization whose survivors lingered in subterranean caverns, or according to some legends, within the Hollow Earth.[7] The concept of a hollow earth was first advanced by Sir Edmund Halley at the end of the seventeenth century.”

The Thule Society was used a a background idea for the character Kroenen (Villian) in the movie Hellboy. A comic character created by Mike Mignola , and adapted by Spanish director Guillermo del Toro. Guillermo Del Toro recreated some of the background for Kroenen – in which del Toro inserted a lot more mystical aspects to Kroenen. According to fictional history of Kroenen, he became head of the Thule Society.

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Karl Ruprect Kroenen was born in Munich in 1897. Kroenen suffered from a masochistic compulsion commonly known as surgical addiction and extended his life through mechanical means, turning himself into a clockwork monster in the process. Long a practitioner of the dark arts, he joined with Hitler’s inner circle of Nazi mystics in order to further his need for more power. The blood in his veins dried up decades ago; only dust remains – the suit which keeps him alive is powered by the ancient power of the river Nile and the souls he has captured.

So the combination of factual (albeit sometimes extradited) and fiction makes an interesting story for fantasy based ideas. It’s layering the mythology of the past occult groups and creating updated versions for entertainment. Because we all like stories of good v’s evil.

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3 Responses to “Can we make the world any weirder? Cults, the Occults and idea factories – the fusion for a good story.”

  1. catgirl said

    Fantastique! very interesting. Had heard of Thule. ‘Historically it portrays the captivation of delusion, and pseudoscience to create an idea of the master race.’

    Sums them up quite well, really.

  2. zekukith said

    Oh yeah, there are some very pulp DVD’s regarding mystic groups from the early 1900’s. I guess one could argue that they were set up to motivate resentment towards certain minorities. Using a fantasy idea of the master race.

    I’ll try and add (later) some of the doom cults and how they have influenced popular culture, movies art etc.

  3. Ikana said

    Seremos capaces de llegar a amar a un Nazi,y perdonar sus crimenes??

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