“But despite a seven year stint at Rocketdyne, the firm that built the main propulsion units for Apollo, I could not work up the least bit of interest in the entire astrophysical circus…not even to the extent of reading an article or watching the most exciting moments on the boob tube. Why, I wondered.”
“MOON LANDING WAS A HOAX! WE NEVER WENT! DUH!”
–Weekly World News
The “incredibly short bio” of William Charles Kaysing (1922-2005) is, simply, he’s considered the “father” of the “Moon Hoax” theory (not to be confused with The Great Moon Hoax of 1835). Yes, before the work of such luminaries of the fringe as Jay Weidner (Kubrick’s Odyssey) and Dave McGowan (Wagging The Moondoggie) there was former Rocketdyne employee Kaysing’s 1976 self-published book, We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle.
But, per the ambling-rambling rhythm of these missives to you dear reader, we’re not going to begin with Kaysing. Instead, we are going to begin with the woman I have dubbed “Conspiracy Housewife.”
Mae Brussell (1922-1988) is probably the most prolific female conspiracy theorist who ever lived (or, at least, that we know about). In fact…when I try to comb my brains for well-known female conspiracy theorists, I only come up with Brussell, Tracy R. Twyman, and *maybe* Archarya S. (though she’s really more of a “religion studies” type individual).
A staple of the fringe theory scene from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Brussell is best known for her radio show “Dialogue: Conspiracy” (a.k.a. “World Watchers International”). Her main interests were the JFK assassination, various “true crime” cases (Son of Sam, Zodiac Killer, Charles Manson), and the idea that shadowy wings and tentacles of the U.S. government were using LSD and other mind-control applications on various “patsies” for nefarious purposes (basically, MK-Ultra with some Tim Leary thrown in).
I had idly clicked through my YouTube the other night to listen to something before I went to bed (because nothing really gets you in the mood for peaceful sleep like fever-dream theories about tentacles and mind-control), and came across Brussell’s 1977 show on Kaysing’s then-recent book on the moon landings. Now, like many of Brussell’s programs, this all started out, and ended, with a heavy helping of MK-Ultra/LSD brainwashing lore—by coincidence, I had just thumbed through some of the comic Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which dealt with exactly this type of “Manchurian Candidate” theme. (For those new to my blog, you can already tell that I am a thoroughly fascinating and sexy individual).
Anyway, Brussell’s program made me realize that somewhere, in my files, I had unread material on Kaysing and his book (though certainly, I’m not a “digital hoarder” no sir). And so my attention turned to We Never Went To The Moon.
Kaysing’s thesis is basically, the 1969 Moon Landing (the 50th anniversary of which is, I believe, only a few weeks away) was a hoax created by NASA/the Government to a) finally get one over on the Russians (who shamed us by launching Sputnik first; read my posts on the continuing Space Race), b) secure more funding for military goals under the guise of “space exploration”, and c) in a larger sense, create a type of “theater” to entrance the American public for any number of evil manipulative reasons.
Now, Brussell added to Kaysing’s theory the idea that perhaps the moon landing was also staged to “distract” the public from the alleged staging of the Chappaquiddick incident—an accident that basically took the last remaining viable Kennedy candidate, Teddy, out of any serious presidential run (thus taking away any competition to Richard Nixon). Chappaquiddick took place only a couple of days before the moon landing, and effectively destroyed any of Ted’s serious presidential dreams. (You’ll find that many of the “roads” in Brussell’s work lead either to JFK or MK-Ultra).
Back to the moon landing: Kaysing explicitly fingers (ok, that sounded wrong) director Stanley Kubrick (yeah, that really sounded wrong) as being involved with the hoax conspiracy, using 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as “cover”):
The film, 2001, A Space Odyssey, is considered to be the ne plus ultra of all science fiction movies concerned with space. It was begun in the summer of 1965 at about the time when those who really knew what was happening to the Apollo project began to make their final decisions.
Filming of 2001 continued for two and a half years, and its budget was increased from six million dollars to almost 10 1/2 million!
A total of 205 special effects shots, encompassing a period of one and a half years, was an ingenious cover utilized by ASP. It is possible that even more than $4.5 million was given to the Kubrick coalition to finance the most perfect space sequences ever shown.
(The ASP that Kaysing refers to in that excerpt was the Apollo Simulation Project; as of this writing, an organization I’m not sure really existed or was merely theorized by Kaysing)
Now, a recentish movie that addresses this topic (albeit, mostly for laughs), is 2015’s Moonwalkers, starring Ron Perlman and Rupert Grint (that’s right, Ron Weaseley). It’s literally about the CIA trying to hire Kubrick to fake the landing. (There’s also an LSD subplot that might have interested Brussell, or at least Tim Leary.)
Whether or not you buy the Kubrick-created-the moon-landing theory, another of Kaysing’s points—that astronaut Buzz Aldrin was afflicted with psychological distress after coming back down to Earth—is fact. Aldrin himself candidly discussed his struggle with mental illness in his auto-biography, Return To Earth:
The last two years of my life, from the time I left the lunar quarantine quarters until I entered Wilford Hall (the mental hospital) were characterized by depression, which occasionally deepened, then rose to a temporary brief high of optimism, only to sink again to a new low.
Should anyone discover I was in the hospital (for nervous problems) the explanation was to be that I was being treated for a neck problem. The other problem, if at all possible, was to be kept secret.
I was incredulous…she had really believed all that crap she read about me—about her—about all of us? Suddenly, all my life…became tinged with a crazy unreality.”
Now, it was Kaysing’s contention that Aldrin had these psychological burdens because he was part of a MK-Ultra-type plot to brainwash the astronauts into going along with the “hoax.” The 1977 movie Capricorn One (inspired by Kaysing’s book???) goes into this line of fantastic inquiry by not only showing the astronauts going along with the hoax, but being hunted down afterward by the government to shut them up for good.
Of course…one could also make the argument that Aldrin’s depression after the moon landing was completely understandable in a non-conspiratorial way…that it was a mix of stress from the press coverage and the aftermath…and that maybe even the very fact he stepped on the Moon could have given him some sort of “trauma.”
(It is at this point that we think of those lyrics to David Bowie’s classic 1969 song Space Oddity…and the fact that late in his life Aldrin himself was treated by a one “Dr. David Bowie”.)
It is not the intention of this article to follow every “proof” Kaysing gives for considering the 1969 Moon Landing “staged”…but more to provide you dear reader with a host of disparate bread crumbs with which to praise or crucify those fringe theorists within.
I can also understand the argument that to even address these theories at all—ironically or no (remembering that my mother’s first name is literally Irony)—emboldens the alt-right fringe (even though Mae Brussell was as liberal as they came). Poe’s Law, and all that.
I would counter that with a pertinent part of the title of this article: “Folklore.” Much of these old-time conspiracy theories are the folklore of the masses. (As I explain in more depth in my post on Dave Chappelle and the “clone” theories.) Brussell herself points out in her program on Kaysing that not only did a significant % of the American people not believe that the Moon Landing really happened, but that such a paranoid viewpoint might have been the result of the real corruption being carried out by the government and other people in power.
But here are two things that are facts:
- On July 20, 1977—on the anniversary of that Moon Landing in ’69—the CIA released documents under the Freedom Of Information Act confirming that yes, they did conduct mind-control experiments.
- The Moon Landings would not have been possible without the work of a one John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons…a disciple of Aleister Crowley heavily into the occult who later would proclaim he was the literal Antichrist. That, like the idea that the government tested LSD and other mind-control methods on its citizens…is not bullshit. That is Conspiracy Fact.
By the way, in 1972 a battered crater on the dark side of the Moon was named after Jack Parsons. Which seems fitting.