Once I noticed I was on fire, I decided to relax and enjoy the fall
I have in my life eaten Corn Flakes. Specifically, I have in my life eaten Kellogg's Corn Flakes. And I'm sure we all know already about the famous twists and turns of the Kellogg family as related in books such as The Road to Wellville. What I'm not so sure we all know already is how Wilfred Custer Kellogg, a former business manager at the W.K. Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flake Compnay and one of the infamous Battle Creek Kellogg's, was the instrument through which alien forces channeled the revelation of the Urantia Book in 1912. He was assisted in this by his cousin and sister-in-law (same person...he married one of his cousins and thus was brother-in-law to another cousin...hard to see why he may have been having visions, huh?) Dr. Lena Kellogg Sadler and her husband Dr. William S. Sadler, both of whom has ties both to the Seventh Day Adventists and the Battle Creek Sanitarium founded by Dr. John H. Kellogg.
I don't know why, but that adds a nice touch of surrealism to the prosaic picture of a bowl of corn flakes as part of that balanced breakfast, now doesn't it? Each bowl of corn flakes may well be part of the plan of the Celestial Intelligences. You've gotta admit, that kicks any other marketing slogan you could think of down the block and back up again, huh?
The Sadlers were a force both in psychiatry and in the burgeoning Eugenics movement. We all remember Eugenics, right? Originally proposed by Plato, refined by Sir Francis Galton (cousin of Darwin) and Herbert Spencer and many, many others, the theory of eugenics at its most basic argues for the scientific breeding of the 'best' humans and the forbiddance of the 'worst' humans from reproduction. I put 'best' and 'worst' in quotes because often what was considered 'best' or 'worst' came down to "Us" and "them". In the hands of William Graham Summer, for instance, the 'best' equaled the richest. To Alexis Carrel, alcoholics, drug addicts and the mentally ill were fit for nothing more than sterilization. The Sadlers didn't fall far from his opinion, except they also felt that racial degeneration was an even more present threat:
Here we are coddling, feeding, training and protecting this viper of degeneracy in our midst, all the while laying the flattering unction to our souls that we are a philanthropic, charitable and thoroughly Christianized people. We presume to protect the weak and lavish charity with a free hand upon these defectives, all the while seemingly ignorant and unmindful of the fact that ultimately this monster will grow to such hideous proportions that it will strike us down, that the future descendants of the army of the unfit will increase to such numbers that they will overwhelm the posterity of superior humans and eventually wipe out the civilization we bequeath our descendants; and all this will certainly come to pass if we do not heed the handwriting on the wall and do something effectively to stay the march of racial degeneracy, for it is said that even now three-fourths of the next generation are being produced by the inferior one-fourth of this one.
Dr. Lena Kellogg Sadler, Is the Abnormal to Become Normal? as presented in Donna Kossy's Strange Creations
Of course, a few things come to mind when reading that passage (and I promise you, we'll be getting back to the Urantia Book and revelations of other sorts eventually) and one of them is the following question: Lena, if you're so concerned about racial degeneracy, why didn't you stop your sister from marrying your first cousin? Seriously. That's a rather frightening degree of consanguinity, now isn't it? Secondly, one has to wonder...if the less fit rise up and take over, doesn't that prove, evolutionarily speaking, that they were in fact more fit, at least for the particular environment in which they rose and came to dominate? Evolution doesn't make moral judgments, it doesn't care for terms such as 'superior' and 'inferior'...it's a process, not a divine hand, and it unfolds without prompting. However, to the Sadler's and their Kellogg relatives, especially Wilfred Custer Kellogg, eugenic ideals merged with religious ones to bring about the Urantia Book...unless we are to believe that the book in fact was the result of an alien intervention of cosmic forces revealing themselves to William Sadler through the mechanism of his brother-in-law/cousin-in-law.
Interestingly enough, the Celestial Intelligences that revealed themselves to William and Lena Sadler through the trances of Kellogg were every bit as obsessed with eugenic breeding as the Sadlers themselves were. William Sadler even went so far as to author a book entitled Long Heads and Round Heads, or What's the Matter with Germany? in 1918, speculating that there were two types of Germans, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nordics who were inheritors of vast intellectual and physical gifts and whose numbers included Julius "I'm fairly sure he was Mediterranean" Caesar and Napoleon "Also Mediterranean, from Corsica, not blond, not blue-eyed" Bonaparte, and the sinister round headed Alpines, dark and primitive like apes and fit only to be farmers. It was the fault of these simian Alpines, Sadler opined, that the US found itself at war with Germany. One wonders if, following World War II and the revelation of the Holocaust, if Dr. Sadler ever thought back to that book and wondered if it inspired anything, but I doubt it. He seemed not at all to care what belief system someone had...a blond, blue eyed Jew would be just as welcome as a blond, blue eyed Muslim. He and his wife seemed mainly to hate people with dark skin or hair, no matter what their creed.
Through repeated sessions with Wilfred Kellogg, the Sadlers became informed of the true history of the Earth. Turns out that the Earth, or Urantia, exists in what is called the seventh superuniverse, in the planetary area known as Satania, alongside more than 600 other planets with life on them. The administrative capital of Satania is the planet Jerusem. They then found out that the whole purpose of life on Earth, as directed from Jerusem, was the development and evolution of a strictly formatted master plan for all living things in order that it may fit into the greater universal plan of evolution on all the other worlds within Satania, and of course all the other superuniverses as well. Unfortunately, those who were directed to carry out the master plan here on Earth (or Urantia if you prefer) were not equal to the task. And the result? Insufficiently pale humans. I know, you're shocked. The UB goes on to postulate a whole horde of races, literally all the colors of the rainbow from red to indigo. Adam and Eve were sent here from space as members of the violet race, to use their telepathy (they were telepathic) and white skins to uplift the human race out of its primitive color inequities. They were eight feet tall, with (you guessed it) blue eyes and white skin that glowed a pale violet color. (There's way more to this, but you'd have to read the Urantia Book to get a more detailed look, and I don't recommend that.) Basically, what we have here is the Bible re-imagined as a psuedo-scienctific treatise on Eugenics. It's long, it's kind of insane, and it was written supposedly under the influence of direct mental contact with alien intelligences.
And it's hardly the only religious tract to come out of the late 19th/early 20th century in just such a fashion. Why, between Edgar Cayce's revelations about Atlantis, revealed to him in trances much the same as those that Wilfred Kellogg underwent, and Aleister Crowley's encounters with Aiwass which led to much of his own work with the A.A. and his trip to the desert with Jack Whiteside Parsons to try and summon the Whore of Babylon, or John Ballou Newbrough's Oahspe written via automatic writing (the same process that brought us the rather horrendous novels of Patience Worth, puritan novelist from beyond the grave) it's as though someone should have thought to start up a literary agency for disembodied entities. (This of course leaves out Theosophy, with its claim to be based upon the disembodied astral knowledge of the Akashic Record, a sort of network of information storage that exists in the etheric framework of the astral plane...shades of the Jungian Collective Unconscious, I know.) And of course, could anyone discuss religious texts being dictated by unknowable cosmic entities and leave out fellows like Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Colin Wilson (with his Lliogor, horrific entities that feed on human pain and exploit our mental weaknesses...a lot of savor at the Battle Creek Sanitarium for a harvesting Lliogor, I would think), Arthur Machen and H.P. Lovecraft? I know I couldn't. In truth, it's long been an accepted practice that God should chose a receptive mortal and reveal hidden truths to him or her...it's the basis of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, to name three revealed religions...and in America alone one would be amiss if one ignored the roots of revelation in the genesis of faiths such as the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (although one does wonder how you could lose golden plates engraved upon by God which were entrusted to you by an angel, even one named Moroni), or of the intervention of the invisible world as witnessed by Charles Taze Russell...American religious thought has long has a thread of the imminent immanence infused in it, and so to a degree it's not too unusual that the Urantia Book should have been dictated to Wilfred Kellogg by cosmic forces, one supposes. Even if the Sadlers claimed that those forces began their channeling through Kellogg in 1912, and the Urantia Book itself didn't first see publication until 1955.
A few weeks later, the conservative businessman began having similar episodes on a regular basis. During one such spell, Mrs. Sadler asked Wilfred a question. In a voice not his own, he replied that he was a "student visitor" from a distant planet; then he began to converse with the Sadlers on matters of philosophy and religion. A growing number of alien visitors used Wilfred as their voice. The Sadlers quickly grasped that they had a unique opportunity before them and began asking the celestial intelligences important questions. The conversations that ensued lasted for the next ten years. Wilfred, however, could remember none of the goings-on, even under hypnosis.
Donna Kossy, Strange Creations
Automatic Writing and Speaking: Writing executed or speech uttered without the agent's volition and sometimes without his knowledge. The term is used by psychical researchers and applied particularly to the trance phenomena of the seance room. By Spiritualists, writing or speaking produced under these conditions are said to be performed "under control" - that is, under the controlling agency of the spirits of the dead - and are therefore not judged to be truly "automatic." The general consensus of opinion, however, ascribes such performances to the subconscious activity of the agent. Automatic writing and speaking necessarily imply some deviation from the normal in the subject, though such abnormality need not be pronounced, but may vary from a slight disturbance of the nerve-centers occasioned by excitement or fatigue to hystero-epilepsy or actual insanity.
Lewis Spence, An Encyclopedia of Occultism
Of course we all remember Edison's Ghost Telephone and how it was said to work by allowing the ghostly visitors to affect the electronics of its composition, since Edison was convinced that the spirits could affect matter on the minute scale. Well, the brain is composed of matter on the minute scale that conveys impulses, albeit chemically...is it possible that the selfsame entities Edison sought to contact were already playing around with a far more sophisticated set of communications devices? It's interesting to me to think that right around the same time in 1912 that a timid manager at a cereal company in Michigan who married his own cousin was getting visitations from celestial intelligences that would communicate the secrets of the red, orange, yellow, green, blue and indigo races to his eugenically-interested cousin/sister-in-law and her husband, another strange visitor was beginning its visitation of Emily Grant Hutchings and Pearl Curran in St. Louis, Missouri. That strange visitor would eventually become known as Patience Worth, and would dictate to her startled visitants from beyond the grave literary works such as Red Wing, a six-act play, and novels such as Telka and Hope Trueblood, as well as The Sorry Tale a Biblical tale of Jesus weighing in at more than 250,000 words. Now, in of itself the Patience Worth saga only bears similarity to that of Wilfred Kellogg and his handlers in that the voluminous writings of both Pearl Curran and Wilfred Kellogg were accomplished via automatic writing "under control" of some outside force. After all, Patience Worth never claimed to be a celestial intelligence...indeed, she answered any questions as to what and who she really was with such mammoth circumlocutions of dialogue as to frustrate all investigators. But while looking at all these interesting moments in American history when forces from outside the normal produced writings, one thing occurred to me: the Urantia Book, for all its weirdness, is hobbled by a bureacratic outlook and needless eugenicism. However, if you look at it, you notice a certain similarity between the many-colored races of the UB and another series of books that would be published a few years after Kellogg first became the visitant of the celestial intelligences.
The tales of distant Barsoom, first published in 1916.
Her skin was of a light reddish copper color, against which the crimson glow of her cheeks and the ruby of her beautifully molded lips shone with a strangely enhancing effect. She was as destitute of clothes as the green Martians who accompanied her: indeed, save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars
Like the tale of Kellogg's celestial intelligences, John Carter of Virginia (Burroughs' uncle, if you read the forewords to the books) found himself mentally traveling to a strange world, whereupon he found himself involved in the affairs of a vast assortment of multicolored alien men and women...all the colors of the rainbow, in fact. When considering the exotic spiritual traffic of the late 19th and early 20th century American mindscape, it seems to me possible that the spirits tired of being revised by the Sadlers into a tedious, labyrinthine bureaucracy of tightly controlled breeding and racial suppression and sought out someone with a touch more imagination. After all, a substandard writer like Patience Worth managed to find a human who would write down the words as she instructed them instead of waiting some forty years to release them...it doesn't seem that unlikely to me that one of the celestial intelligences got fed up with the delay and the Kellogg/Sadler beliefs in eugenics and inbreeding and decided to find a more receptive mind, and one boggles at the idea of finding a mind much more receptive to the weird and unusual than ERB was. This is, after all, the man who once had Tarzan confront an Elizabethan scientist who had changed himself into a gorilla called God, after all. And in Burroughs' hands the ham-fisted racial politics transmuted into rollicking adventure yarns on a dying planet with bestial green warriors as capable of manners and diplomacy as the supposedly superior red men. Indeed, while Burroughs could never be said to be a modern thinker, his John Carter found worthy individuals of all the Barsoomian races to adventure with, because first and foremost Burroughs was a teller of tales, not a manager at a cereal company with ambitious kinfolk. (Also interestingly, unlike the Sadlers' version wherein the whiter you are, the better, on Barsoom the white Martians tend towards sinister and evil goals, and the only apelike Barsoomians are in fact white furred as well.) One imagines Tars Tarkas wandering the American countryside as a spectral visitor, seeking that one mind sensitive enough to function as Edison's ghostly telephone, and frustrating himself for years trying to make his tales of high adventure understood to a pack of former Seven Day Adventists with an agenda. Had he flesh, he might well have torn them asunder.
Fortunately for us all, he persevered in his quest, and found a fitting mouthpiece, a bard of the surreal and fantastic. It would not do for the Jeddak of Thark to be saddled with so dry and unromantic a book as the Urantia Book proved to be. Far better to be known for the battles and adventures on the scarlet sands of Barsoom. For who knows how long ago his world died, and what gulfs of time and space his ghost had to travel to find a teller of tales? Now that Mars has passed so close to our Earth so recently, perhaps he'll walk our soil again, and tell another receptive mind a few new stories. Or perhaps he'll simply curl his tusks in an expression much like that of a grin, and watch to see what we do with what he gave us.http://onceinoticed.typepad.com/oin/2003/1...stsof_mars.html