Book Review: Sinister Forces By Peter Levenda

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Politics and religion both are born of documents and of blood. And both documents and blood form the primary sources of the following investigation.
—Peter Levenda, “Sinister Forces Book One: The Nine”

It took me about two years to finish the three volumes of Peter Levenda’s Sinister Forces. Not because they were that long, but because he provides an incredible amount to process. For fans of esoteric, “fringe” history, this book is a must-have; though when you take out the musings on synchronicity and the occult, the series is pretty much straight, sourced history.

Levenda is an author I trust. And if you are going to take the slow-dive down the 100-story secret underground rabbit hole of American history that is being offered with a book like Sinister Forces, you need somebody you can trust. Anything else is Chapel Perilous-ville.

The sub-title of Sinister Forces is, “A Grimoire Of American Political Witchcraft.” And there is a deeply interwoven, operatic, eldritch quality to Levenda’s writing here—very reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft in spots—which really does give the books an aura of something arcane…something you are definitely “stepping into” when you make the commitment to see it through.

On this journey through an “alternative”—or, perhaps, “parallel”—history of the United States you will comes across such characters as the aforementioned Lovecraft, Joseph Smith, Jack Parsons, Frank Olson, Andrija Puharich, Candy Jones, Richard Nixon, Jim Jones, Mark David Chapman, Lee Harvey Oswald, David Berkowitz, Marilyn Monroe, Whitley Strieber, and—the “Rosetta Stone” of Sinister ForcesCharles Manson.

It is Levenda’s thesis (among several) that all roads in conspiracy, madness, and mayhem lead back to Manson, much in the similar way that Sherlock Holmes, in A Study In Scarlet, describes a “scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life.” He connects this not only with Manson’s horrible childhood and possible manipulation/indoctrination in some MKUltra/cult-type scenario as a developing felon, but with the repressed/ignored/forgotten/exterminated ancient religions that wove the fabric of pre-Colonial America itself for possibly hundreds or thousands of years:

It’s in our standing stones, our Anasazi ruins, our Indian burial mounds. It’s the remains of the Old Ones, the original people, the deep ancestors of our forgotten history, the history before Columbus that is never taught in the schools because we don’t know it ourselves…because we don’t want to know, don’t want to accept what has been proved so many times in the past: that this land of ours is haunted by the ghosts of races who lived and died on our land thousands of years before we came…

And it’s the fact that Levenda has a deft enough grip of both esoteric thought and pop-culture knowledge that he is able to, by Book Three, tie the above with the movie Poltergeist (and, by implication, with its supposed curse):

It would seem that awareness of a link between these phenomena is moving just beneath the conscious threshold of American culture, looking for a way to make itself better known and understood. It may be nothing more than a kind of repressed guilt over the treatment of the Native Americans, manifesting as an evil force that threatens our lives and sanity. Or it may be something else.

But it isn’t just that Levenda makes these connections; but that he has the discernment to not immediately attempt a “literal” conspiracy that ties all this esoteric “coincidences” together. While he does acknowledge the reality of conspiracies in history, the thrust of Sinister Forces is to explore the metaphysical—literally sinister—synchronicities that seem to “cluster” around people and events. And from the sinister synchronicities, getting to an even deeper mystery…the origin/existence of Evil itself:

Evil is matter, evil as a blind force. There is no contradiction necessary between the two, since the discoveries of quantum physics illustrate that the heart of all matter is force.

In addition to the American continent’s forgotten/suppressed early past, Levenda places the blame for a Pandora’s box of death, destruction, and insanity with those forces in the U.S. government (and the Nazis whom were brought over to work in our intelligence, science, and space programs after World War II in Project Paperclip) who sought to exploit the occult rituals and practices of the past in order to manipulate targets at home and abroad.

And then add the third element of this unholy trinity…the entertainment industry:

Was it possible that Hollywood was being used as a tool of secret, special interests, and that the selection of themes, scripts, actors, studios, producers, directors was–at times, and during certain periods of international or domestic tensions–politically motivated or the result of an intelligence agenda: psychological warfare?

I always feel compelled to recommend the Sinister Forces books to anyone who has an interest in occultism, conspiracy theories, UFOlogy (there’s quite a bit in there on that as well), and so on. But it is with the following caveat. Levenda painstakingly “builds” the case for theories, constructing a foundation of anthropological or historical research before diving into “the good stuff” (as it were). That means that when you buy Book One, there is going to first be a whole section on American prehistory to read and digest before you get to MKUltra shenanigans, the weird synchronicities surrounding the movie Rosemary’s Baby, and people channeling supposed aliens.

But it is crucial that you do read that chapter on American prehistory in that very first volume…because the concepts built there will carry over through to the very last book.

You can certainly skip around read individual chapters at your leisure; Levenda constructs these chapters so they can be consumed as “stand alone” essays, if need be. But just as in any good grimore or book of esoteric philosophy…in order for it all to be the most “effective,” you need to absorb all of it.

Anyway: I do highly recommend all three volumes of Sinister Forces. They are my favorite books in the genre right after Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger. And you’ll never quite look at American history, and life, quite the same way again.

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Book One link

Book Two link

Book Three link