Archive for ‘Conspiracy’

June 8, 2011

prepare to be amazed!

by Megan Abbott

Recently, I came upon a YouTube clip that felt like uncovering a childhood book at the bottom of an old box. One you don’t remember at all until you see its cracked cover and then every illustration, every odd turn-of-phrase, comes rushing back.

In this case, it was documentary segment dedicated to a miraculous structure called the Coral Castle. Located about 30 miles south of Miami in Homestead, Florida, it is one of those odd buildings—Mystery Castle in Phoenix and Winchester Mystery House in San José are others—that are the result of one “ordinary” person’s eccentric quest to create something extraordinary.

Coral Castle is the improbable—impossible?—product of one man: Edward Leedskalnin, a 5-ft. tall, 100-lb. Latvian immigrant who cut, quarried, transported (ten miles), and raised the entire structure, which consists of more than 1,100 tons of coral rock, alone.

While, in that part of Florida, coral can be 4,000 feet thick, Leedskalnin reportedly used only hand-made tools, with no large machinery and no workers assisting him. Among much of the disbelieving press about the Castle—particularly during its early years—much nasty head-shaking was made not just over the fact that one man could build something like this, but that an “illiterate immigrant” could. According to the  Castle’s official website:

When questioned about how he moved the blocks of coral, Ed would only reply that he understood the laws of weight and leverage well. This man with only a fourth grade education even built an AC current generator, the remains of which are on display today. Because there are no records from witnesses his methods continue to baffle engineers and scientists, and Ed’s secrets of construction have often been compared toStonehengeand the great pyramids.

At a certain point during its long construction point, Leedskalnin opened his monument to the public, offering tours for 10 cents. Apparently, he even served up hot dogs for visiting children, the product of a pressure cooker he had invented.

The work of the Castle absorbed him from 1920 until his death in 1951.

The best part of the story, though (for me), is not the triumph of one dedicated (obsessive) man to overcome expectation, engineering, and our conceptions of what’s possible (though that’s pretty good too). It’s the reason why Mr. Leedskalnin built the castle to begin with. I bet you know why.

Like an “everyman” Charles Foster Kane building his Xanadu for his beloved. In this case a woman Leedskalnin referred to as his “Sweet Sixteen,” a young woman with the Dickensian name of Agnes Scuffs. At age 26, Leedskalnin was engaged to Miss Scuffs, ten years his junior, but, legend has it, she broke off the relationship on the eve of their wedding.

A fascinating (and to my mind, quintessentially American) figure, Leedskalnin was not just a sculptor, he was an inventor, a theorist on the properties of magnetism and a writer, the author of five “pamphlets.” Three are dedicated to “Magnetic Current” and one to “Mineral, Vegetable and Animal Life”  The fifth is called A Book in Every Home:  Containing Three Subjects: Ed’s Sweet Sixteen, Domestic and Political Views. In it, Leedskalnin writes about “Sweet Sixteen” as more than a single Agnes Scruffs but a symbol for the kind:

Now, I am going to tell you what I mean when I say, “Ed’s Sweet Sixteen.”  I don’t mean a sixteen year old girl; I mean a brand new one.

Later, he writes:

 …I want a girl the way Mother Nature puts her out.  This means before anybody has had any chance to be around her and before she begins to misrepresent herself.  I want to pick out the girl while she if guided by the instinct alone

And he expand to larger social views:

Everything we do should be for some good purpose but as everybody knows there is nothing good that can come to a girl from a fresh boy. When a girl is sixteen or seventeen years old, she is as good as she ever will be, but when a boy is sixteen years old, he is then fresher than in all his stages of development. He is then not big enough to work but he is too big to be kept in a nursery and then to allow such a fresh thing to soil a girl—it could not work on my girl. Now I will tell you about soiling. Anything that is done, if it is done with the right party it is all right, but when it is done with the wrong party, it is soiling, and concerning those fresh boys with the girls, it is wrong every time.

Indeed, Mr. Leedskalnin. Indeed.

(I do not remember any of these details of the story from when I first became fascinated by the castle—which I’ve yet to see!—at age eight or so. I’m sure, however, that, at that age, I would have taken due note.)

Mr. Leedskalnin never married. While he extended invitations to Agnes Scuffs over the years, she never did see the monument he built for her.

Postscript: I am sure there are folks out there who know much more than I do about Coral Castle (Dennis, help me!), or who have visited it. If so, tell me more!

February 28, 2011

dark eyes glowin’: meet Craig….

by Megan Abbott

I met Craig McDonald after reading his terrific first novel, Head Games, which was nominated for Best First Novel Edgar Award (as well as the Anthony, Gumshoe and Crimespree Magazine awards). The first in his series, Head Games introduced us to McDonald’s recurring hero, pulp novelist and Hemingway pal Hector Lassiter, a true adventurer who cuts a swath across the mid twentieth century.

Since then, he has published two magnificent follow-ups, Toros and Torsos and Print the Legend. Just a few weeks ago, his latest, One True Sentence (the title, a nod to Papa), which brings us into the glimmering, orgastic world of 1920s Paris, hit bookstores.

Craig has also published two definitive collections of interviews with crime authors, Art in the Blood and Rogue Males. In fact, I’d read Craig long before I knew him, having come upon his remarkable interview with the notoriously tricky subject, Mr. James Ellroy. We’ve met many times since (and Craig interviewed me for Mystery News, a rare treat for me). I must say that no one is doing what Craig is doing, or doing it so well—his novels are sprawling tales that masterfully combine the “high” and “low” markers of mid-century America—from pulp novels to high modernism, from surrealism to film noir—showing how they are always-already inextricably linked.

We are so lucky to have a post from Craig today…but first he indulges us in our questionnaire (and we are delighted to have Rip Torn made a repeat performance, a la The Songwriter).

1. what is your greatest fear?

Helplessness.

2. what is your favorite way of spending time?

Creating.

3. what is your most treasured possession?

An early hardcover of the ltd. edition sent me of Head Games by Ben LeRoy and Alison Janssen. It was the first piece of my own published long-form fiction I got to hold.

4. when and where were you happiest?

To date, Scotland, October, 1996. We married there, then spent days tooling around the Highlands.

5. what is your greatest indulgence?

A first edition of Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls.

6. where would you like to live?

To my own surprise, I’m thinking more and more about Florida. I’m actually getting tired of Midwest seasons.

7. what is the quality you are most drawn to in a person?

Wit.

8. how would you like to die?

I’m honestly hoping for some escape clause. I can’t fathom a world without me in it. That’s not ego, but simple personal experience talking.

9. what is your secret superstition?

The number 13, and not necessarily tied to Fridays. I’ve sustained bitter losses on the 13th of various months.

10. what was the best dream and worst nightmare you ever had?

I had a dream in which my maternal grandfather, who set my reading tastes and fiction writing interests, said he loved my first-published novel that was dedicated to him. He died on Nov. 13, 1980. The book appeared fall of 2007. Worst nightmare? I had a too-vivid imagining of something terrible happening to one of my children. That actually fueled a plot point in Head Games.

11. what song do you most hear in your head?

That’s a heavy rotation, and usually tied to something I’m writing. But most stubbornly? Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name.”

12. what do you read/watch/listen to when you are feeling badly?

Read: I’ll usually crack open Eye of a Cricket, by James Sallis.

Watch: Alan Rudolph’s Songwriter. That film never fails to make me smile.

Listen: Something singer/songwriter-driven. Probably Tom Russell, or maybe Kris Kristofferson. Right now, I’m on Glen Campbell/“Galveston” kick. Who can explain these things?

13. what do you consider to be the greatest elixir/restorative?

A new view, a notebook and a pen…good music.

14. what’s something you never told anyone?

That’s the stuff that ends up in the books, and I’m not prepared to run a highlighter over it.

Follow Craig on his blog, or on Twitter.

February 24, 2011

Satan’s Day Care

by djtafoya

I’m just endlessly fascinated by the way pseudoscience, hysteria and fears about the breakdown of society and the loss of innocence periodically come together in a kind of perfect storm of insanity. Anyone remember crack babies? How about the Mad Gasser of Mattoon? Lately I’ve been reading about the Ritual Abuse Panic of the 1980’s and 90’s.

One day in 1983, a three-year-old named Matthew Johnson told his mother that Ray, a worker at the day care he attended, could fly.  He went on to say Ray had thrown another child to lions, that he chopped off a baby’s head and set it on fire, molested a goat, conducted rituals with elephants and witches, taken the children on trains and planes and made Matthew drink blood. Rather than being treated as a fanciful tale or a bizarre or even alarming fantasy, Matthew’s story became testimony at the longest, most expensive trial in California history.

The McMartin Preschool investigation and trial, which lasted from 1983 until 1990, is a fascinating exemplar of a whole class of so-called ‘ritual abuse’ cases of the 1980’s. All over the country, police, prosecutors and child-welfare advocates investigated, charged and convicted dozens of day care and preschool workers, teachers and parents of molesting hundreds of children. The abuse supposedly involved Satanic ceremonies by ‘sex rings,’  and the daily sexual and physical torture of children that went on for months or years, all without parents suspecting that their kids had become the sex slaves of Satan’s minions.

In 1983 the police, acting on the suspicion of a mentally-ill woman named Judy Johnson, panicked the entire town of Manhattan Beach with phone calls and letters suggesting that their kids might have been molested by the McMartins and their relatives and employees. The calls triggered an avalanche of accusations and prosecutions in which children were badgered, coerced, bribed and threatened into making false accusations against their caregivers, teachers and parents. That the ‘testimony’ was largely the sort of ridiculous fantasy characterized by Matthew’s tales of planes, trains, submarines and elephants was rarely an issue for the authorities, who urged doubters to ‘believe the children.’

A 1995 book by Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker called Satan’s Silence gives an excellent survey of the panic, its victims and the precursors and likely causes of the episode, which found leftist feminists like Gloria Steinem and Andrea Dworkin in league with reactionary Christians who believed Satan was trying to turn children away from God, citing evidence like the “’Wicca Letters,’ a document whose origin and content were remarkably like the rabidly anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and which purported a Satanic plot to corrupt America’s preschoolers.

The ritual abuse panic had it all –false memories, rumored suburban sex cults, anatomically-correct dolls, multiple personality disorder, even fraudulent ‘facilitated communication’ that allowed profoundly disabled people to join in the craziness. The parallels to Salem’s witch hunts of the 1600’s are almost too perfect, right down to the search for ‘Satan’s marks’ on the bodies of victims, echoed in the disturbing, scientifically-faulty examination of children’s genitalia for signs of abuse.

The fallout went on for years, with lives and careers ruined and falsely accused people languishing in prison for ten or fifteen years before the authorities finally freed most of them. Janet Reno, who participated in two ritual abuse cases as a Florida prosecutor, went on to order the attack on the Waco, Texas compound of David Koresh because she thought child abuse was going on inside.

I was reminded of all of this the other day after reading about the reconsideration of people sentenced to long prison terms based on medical testimony about ‘shaken baby syndrome,’ which may turn out to be false. I think the impulse to believe deeply in things that are sketchy, unlikely or even demonstrably untrue is deeply ingrained in our psyches, and that impulse comes out most strongly when we feel frightened, marginalized or under siege by forces beyond our control. I’m just an armchair psychologist, but I don’t think you have to look too far to find a lot of examples of people reaching farthest for the most ridiculous explanations when they feel wronged by dark forces.

February 24, 2011

servile masses, arise, arise!: meet Dennis

by Megan Abbott

Today we bring a post from novelist Dennis Tafoya, the author of two dynamite crime novels, Dope Thief and The Wolves of Fairmount Park.

I first met Dennis at the Mysery Writers of America Edgars Award ceremony, when Dennis was a Best First Novel honoree.

Our paths have crossed many times and every time we find ourselves wending down dark and occasionally (as in: always) wooly paths to our secret obsessions, such as the Zodiac killer, UFOs and George Hodel’s house:

We begin with Dennis’s kind compliance with our blog questionnaire, below.

We are lucky to have him visiting him today for many reasons, including learning about his predilection for peanut butter parfaits—that fact alone earns him a hug.

1. what is your greatest fear?

Sharks, followed by spiders. Just seeing a spidershark would kill me.

2. what is your favorite way of spending time?

Laughing, especially with my kids. They’re hysterical.

3. what is your most treasured possession?

I’m terrible at holding on to stuff. I have a box full of little things my kids gave me over the years with painted rocks and things, so I’ll go with that.

4. when and where were you happiest?

Other than boring suburban dad stuff about my kids, I would say getting off the train in New York to sign my book contract. I felt like I really belonged in the city for the first time.

5. what is your greatest indulgence?

Barbecue from Virgil’s on West 44th. Alternately, the Peanut Buster Parfait, from Dairy Queen.

6. where would you like to live?

I don’t think one place is going to do it for me. I love the city and the desert and the ocean. I think given endless resources I’d go back and forth between New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Vegas.

7. what is the quality you are most drawn to a person?

It’s some combination of tough-minded smartass and essential kindness. It’s rare, but I just find it irresistible.

8. how would you like to die?

Of really, really old age. I want to live long enough that people are shot up with medico-nano-bots that keep us young and healthy forever. I want to live long enough to find out how everything turns out.

9. what is your secret superstition?

When I’m on a plane, I have to watch out the window as we land and take off. My watching ensures that everything will go well.

10. what was the best dream and worst nightmare you ever had?

I have terrible nightmares. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pleasant dream, though I’ve had boring ones, mostly about work. I think my worst nightmare was somebody with a huge, misshapen head looming over my bed. I put that one in my first novel, I think to exorcise it.

11. what song do you most hear in your head?

It’s a toss-up between the “Internationale” and the theme from the Woody Woodpecker show.

12. what do you read/watch/listen to when you are feeling badly?

Books: I’ve re-read The End of Vandalism, by Tom Drury, a bunch of times. It’s a great book, and for some reason it’s become like literary comfort food for me. There are some E.L. Doctorow and Annie Proulx books like that, too. Music: “Wolves,” by Phosphorescent, “NYC” by Interpol, “No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire. Movie: The Pianist, I think because it makes my problems seem pretty tame.

13. what do you consider to be the greatest elixir/restorative?

A hug.

14. what’s something you never told anyone?

Man, do I like hugs.

Follow Dennis on his blog, or on Twitter.

January 20, 2011

Yes, Bob Hope is violently insane

by Sara Gran

One recurring theme of this blog seems likely to be people who have an unwholesome relationship with Bob Hope.  As we’ve touched on before, there’s Brice Taylor, who in her book ‘Thanks for the Memories!” maintains that she was a mind-controlled slave of Bob Hope (and others!) for years, thanks to the CIA and their Mk-Ultra program (or so I think–the book is expensive, and therefore I’ve never read it). David Icke, too, I think, is on the Bob Hope bandwagon. And there’s also the infamous Sally Fox letters, which thanks to an Abbot Gran Medicine Show tipster (yes, we have tipsters!), I now have in possession (you can read them here). Sally Fox was a lucid New Orleans woman who was certain that Bob Hope was implanting unpleasant thoughts in her head. She wrote the FBI, the CIA, and her representative, Lindy Boggs, about this. Surprisingly, only Ms. Boggs agreed to investigate Ms. Fox’s case, but she came up empty handed. From Fox’s first letter to the press:

I am involved in a phenomenal situation which I believe merits investigation.

The whole thing started about seven years ago when I began to “see” Bob Hope (the comedian) when I would close my eyes and concentrate. Through study, I learned that the reason I could “see” Bob Hope was because he is violently insane and uses abnormal thinking processes which introject and project others’ egos.

When this problem began, besides worrying about my mental health, I also felt that my civil rights were being violated by an other person’s insanity, so I began to write letters to the FBI. At first, the FBI thought I was crazy, but a year or so later, the FBI told me that they had been getting 800 to 900 complaints a day from people all around the country saying the same thing I was: Bob Hope is crazy and interferes with their normal thinking. The FBI told me they were investigating.

The really strange twist here is that in Harper’s (they ran them in that little front-of-the-book section of of odds & ends), these letters are followed by a reply to Sally Fox, from an anonymous woman who believes that she, as well, is being mentally violated by Bob Hope:

I was recently visiting a local college and I was describing to a friend the rather odd things (all involving Bob Hope) which seem to be happening to me. Amazingly, someone nearby overheard our conversation and recommended that I contact you.

I understand that you too have experienced these thought disturbances…Yes, Bob Hope is violently insane.

How Harper’s would have gotten these last letters–the response–is a question I don’t have an answer for. A mystery indeed.

It’s easy to make fun of these people, and hey, go ahead. What fascinates me about this, though, is the same thing that fascinates me about the (at least!) three people who have written books claiming their father was the Black Dahlia killer. That is, how public figures fill holes in our psyches that we can’t fill through ordinary means. My father wasn’t just a shithead, he was the Black Dahlia Killer! I wasn’t just screwed by the CIA (heck, tons of people believe that–and some of them are undeniably right), I was screwed by Bob Hope working for the CIA! But I don’t understand exactly what role Bob Hope fills in people’s psyche’s. He fills no holes in mine, I’m sorry to say.

This also ties into one of my other obsessions; otherwise-sane people who think they’re the victim of mind-control programs. This Washington Post article is one of the better pieces of writing ever done on the topic (and check out the fascinating follow-up discussion). The other day I think I mentioned Gloria Naylor’s book 1996, which is also a must-read for anyone interested in the topic. It’s easy to call some poor soul who posts on the internet a nutjob, but Naylor is an accomplished, highly successful, entirely lucid writer. We don’t know much about Sally Fox, but we know she was, repeatedly, able to type a letter, get a stamp, get to the post office, etc. And her letters are pretty lucid. The issue isn’t “mental illness,” not in the sense of someone of someone who can’t function or be trusted to take care of themselves (again, see: Gloria Naylor). So what is the issue?

Bob Hope gets plaque on Hill.

Image via Wikipedia

But Megan, I think you have a contrary opinion on this vital topic…

January 9, 2011

PseudoHistory & Ancient Aliens

by Sara Gran

So I now get this channel called History International with my cable plan. This is best channel EVER. It should be called the PseudoHistory Conspiracy Theory Channel. Almost nothing on it is true, but it’s really fun to watch and they have strange long commercials like I used to watch when I was a teenager and stayed up watching tv until sign-off.

On a show about the Hitler/Ancient Alien connection (please tell me you knew about this! Don’t they teach anything is schools these days?), I saw something that fascinated me–a mention of the mysterious Vril Society and one of its members, Maria Orsic. (That’s her in the photo, which I think is fascinating in it’s own right.) To explain what this is, I’m going to take a step back and introduce the Thule Society, an occult group in Berlin that, through some twists and turns, turned into the Nazi party. That’s how the Nazi party ended up appropriating the swastika, which is a beautiful symbol of ancient origins that crosses many cultures–the Thule Society folks studied the occult intensely, and, in fact, shared many of the obsessions of modern occultism: aliens, Tibetan Buddhism, and ancient Hinduism. In fact, I’ve read in a number of places that a handful of Tibetan lamas actually came to Berlin to help Hitler with his cause–obviously, they’d been entirely misled as to what his true cause was, but Jeez, can’t these lamas, like see shit? That’s a big bubble burst. The whole Nazi thing actually makes a lot more sense as you look at is a case of religious fanaticism, rather than a political movement, and it also helps explain why so many otherwise intelligent people were taken in by them–the whole occult, pseudo-mystical thing is very appealing. It’s also useful to keep in mind that these occult groups were all the rage across Europe and the US from the Victorian Era through the thirties–the Golden Dawn is the best known example. But while the Golden Dawn was seriously devoted to spiritual study (and in-house bickering), many just took the form and forgot about the religious stuff: the pseudo-freemasonic trappings of the Ku Klux Klan (calling themselves Grand Dragons and the like) were influenced by this mystical trend, as were the masked, point-hatted costumes of Mardi Gras krewes. (As an aside, many Nazis also believed the earth was hollow, an old theory that has waxed in waned in popularity over the years.)

Anyway, I hadn’t known (and am still not entirely sure, given my sources) that the Thule Society had a kind of ladies auxiliary in the Vril Society, led by Maria, a medium and psychic. According the always-factual internet, the women of the Vril Society channelled  Sumerian entities and never cut their hair (like some Sikhs, they may have believed the hair can serve as an antennae for otherworldly news).  They worked towards channelling alien technology to create a flying saucer for their Nazi brothers. Apparently it all relates back to a Victorian-Era work of science fiction called Vril: The Power of the Coming Race, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton–the inspiration-by-fiction bit reminds me of the current hoopla around the Anastasia books.  According to this deleted wikipedia page (how massively insane does something have to be to actually get deleted from wikipedia?), Maria and her Nazi-ettes disappeared in 1945.  So who knows if there was a Maria and if there was, what became of her and her long-haired sisters?

Of course, one reason why all this fascinates me so is because I, too, study the occult, Tibetan Buddhism, and yoga. And I find the alien thing pretty interesting too. But the conclusions I’ve reached–that all sentient beings are truly one, subject to the illusion of time, space, and separation, and if I cause another harm that is literally indistinguishable from harming myself (not that I always practice that, of course)–are pretty different from those the Thule Society reached: kill everyone.

Incidentally, someone recently spray-painted some swastikas on a road sign near my house. I don’t think it was personal– HALF-JEW LIVES HERE, ATTACK! I think it was likely just some bored kids who figured the one and only thing they could do to get in trouble in our little hippie town. But when I saw those swastikas I realized, after over ten years of studying yoga, I couldn’t see Hitler’s swastika anymore. The real symbol is so much stronger and older than that. Instead I enjoyed those swastikas as a reminder of the divine Self inside, every day, until, the country sandblasted them away, and I missed them when they were gone.

 

December 27, 2010

Down the Checkered Rabbit Hole

by Sara Gran

Oh, the rabbit hole of the Pseudo-Occult Media Blog. This blog is a bit of a hub for a belief that used to be on the fringes but , via the magic of the internet, seems to be gaining fans: that many of our pop stars–Brittany, Miley, Lindsey, et al–are mind controlled sex slaves owned by the Illuminati (who are also running our government, other governments, and the whole world). Which, interestingly, we can trace back to a true story:

Step 1: This all started with a horrifying kernel of truth: via Project Bluebird, Mk-Ultra, and other now-famous programs, our army and CIA did indeed work it’s best to create mind-controlled soldiers from the end of World War II through the seventies. Given the billions of dollars poured into black ops every year in this country, I’m fairly confident they’re still trying. (Have they succeeded? Well, since we have mixed evidence either way, you’ll have to decide for yourself, but that’s a digression).

Step 2: In the 1970s, a former model named Candy Jones wrote an autobiography called The Control Of Candy Jones, claiming that she, a civilian who had occasionally delivered packages for the CIA,  was also a victim of Mk Ultra. (This still seems entirely possibly to me, by the way, but I’m digressing again.) After Candy Jones, mind control victims started coming out of the woodwork. See The Encyclopedia of Mind Control by Jim Keith from the excellent Adventures Unlimited Press for more.

Step 3: Skip ahead a few years to the early eighties, and the recovered-memory hullabaloo. A lot of people were remembering and going public with  true stories of childhood abuse; a lot of people were also coming up with Satanic ritual abuse stories on a scale that couldn’t possibly be true, fueled by unscrupulous shrinks, media hype and, quite likely, real, less dramatic, abuse. Less well-known is that this linked into the recovered-CIA-slave-memory stream, and soon we had lots of people, mostly women, remembering childhoods as CIA programmed sex slaves. This is where I start to lose faith, not because I put this past our government–I put nothing past the government–but because it seems like a whole lot of work to go through when, for better or worse, there’s plenty of decent-looking people out there who will have sex for free or for cash or a clean DUI record. Creating mind-controlled slaves sounds like a lot of work!

Step 4: And then we get to the strangely hypnotic Pseudo-Occult Media. According to current theory, there are certain “triggers” the sex slaves (and other victims!) of the Illuminati are trained to respond to: images of butterflies, cages, fairies, black/white checkerboard, dolls, keys, and most of all eyes, everywhere eyes looking, staring, probing. And why this blog is fascinating to me is because the author is absolutely right–these and other “Illuminati” symbols are everywhere in pop culture, especially in reference to the Mileys and Brittanys of the world, and I never noticed it before he pointed it out. Spend an hour or so on Pseudo-Occult and you, like I, will be haunted by the recurring images of girls with butterflies, girls in cages, girls wrapped in bird feathers, and most of the recurring, ominous checkerboards.

There’s no question the author is on to something here. I happen to think what he’s on to is a previously unrecognized strain of psychological breakdown in our culture. Something about these images of hope, the repeated symbolic capture of these girls–it’s spooky stuff. The sadness of the child star is also evoked here: these young women are, in a very sad sense, “slaves.” Was Brittany ever given a choice in being Brittany? Would Lindsey, maybe, rather study the classics if she didn’t have an army of people counting on her for paychecks? Lord knows I liked to party when I was their age, but I didn’t have an empire to support.

Like many conspiracy theories, I think something very real is being looked at here. Myself, though, I would draw a somewhat different conclusion. And as for you–well, look at the evidence read the books, and decide for yourself. Remember, you’re still allowed to believe whatever you want, and you don’t have to justify it to me or anyone else.