Excerpts From Robert Anton Wilson’s “Eye of the Pyramid”
“Miskatonic University, in Arkham, Massachusetts, is not a well-known campus by any means, and the few scholarly visitors who come there are an odd lot, drawn usually by the strange collection of occult books given to the Miskatonic Library by the late Dr. Henry Armitage. Miss Doris Horus, the librarian, had never seen quite such a strange visitor though, as this Professor J. D. Mallison who claimed to come from Dayton, Ohio, but spoke with an unmistakable New York accent. Considering his fur-tiveness, she found it no surprise that he spent the whole day (June 26, 1969) pouring over the rare copy of Dr. John Dee’s translation of the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred. That was the book most of the queer ones went for; that or The Book of Sacred Magic of
Abra-Melin the Mage.
Doris didn’t like the Necronomicon, although she considered herself an emancipated and free-thinking young woman. There was something sinister, or to be downright honest about it, perverted about that book—and not in a nice, exciting way, but in a sick and frightening way. All those strange illustrations, always with five-sided borders just like the Pentagon in Washington, but with those people inside doing all those freaky sex acts with those other creatures who weren’t people at all. It was frankly Doris’s opinion that old Abdul Alhazred had been smoking some pretty bad grass when he dreamed up those things. Or maybe it was something stronger than grass: she remembered one sentence from the text: “Onlie those who have eaten a certain alkaloid herb, whose name it were wise not to disclose to the unilluminated, maye in the fleshe see a Shoggothe.” I wonder what a “Shoggothe” is, Doris thought idly; probably one of those disgusting creatures that the people in the illustrations are doing those horny things with. Yech.
She was glad when J. D. Mallison finally left and she could return the Necronomicon to its position on the closed shelves. She remembered the brief biography of crazy old Abdul Alhazred that Dr. Armitage had written and also given to the library: “Spent seven years in the desert and claimed to have visited Irem, the city forbidden in the Koran, which Alhazred asserted was of pre-human origin. . . .” Silly! Who was around to build cities before there were people? Those Shoggothes? “An indifferent Moslem, he worshipped beings whom he called Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu.” And that insidious line: “According to contemporary historians, Alhazred’s death was both tragic and bizarre, since it was asserted that he was eaten alive by an invisible monster in the middle of the market-place.” Dr. Armitage had been such a nice old man, Doris remembered, even if his talk about cabalistic numbers and Masonic symbols was a little peculiar at times; why would he collect such icky books by creepy people?”
“And it really does go back to Babylon?” Joe prompted.
“I’m not much of an intellectual,” Dillinger replied. “Action is my arena. Let Simon tell you that part.”
Simon was eager to leap into the breach.
“The basic book to confirm our tradition,” he said, “is The Seven Tablets of Creation, which is dated at about 2500 B.C. the time of Sargon. It describes how Tiamat and Apsu, the first gods, were coexisting in Mummu, the primordial chaos. Von Junzt, in his Unausprechlichen Kulten, tells how the Justified Ancients of Mummu originated, just about the time the Seven Tablets were inscribed. You see, under Sargon, the chief deity was Marduk. I mean, that was what the high priests gave out to the public—in private, of course, they worshipped lok-Sotot, who became the Yog-Sothoth of the Necronomicon. But maybe I’m going too fast. Getting back to the official religion of Marduk, it was based on usury. The priests monopolized the medium of exchange and were able to extract interest for lending it. They also monopolized the land, and extracted tribute for renting it. It was the beginning of what we laughingly call civilization, which has always rested on rent and interest. The old Babylonian con.
“The official story was that Mummu was dead, killed in the war between the gods. When the first anarchist group arose, they called themselves Justified Ancients of Mummu. Like Lao-Tse and the Taoists in China, they wanted to get rid of usury and monopoly and all the other pigshit of civilization and go back to a natural way of life. So, grok, they took the supposedly dead god, Mummu, and claimed he was still alive and was actually stronger than all the other gods. They had a good argument ‘Look around,’ they’d say, “what do you see most of? Chaos, right? Therefore, the god of Chaos is the strongest god, and is still alive.’
“Of course, we got our ass whipped good. We were just no match for the Illuminati in those days. Didn’t have a clue, about how they performed their ‘miracles,’ for instance. So we got our asses whipped again, in Greece, when the JAMs got started again, as part of the Cynic movement. By the tune the whole thing was happening again in Rome— usury and monopoly and the whole bag of tricks—the truce took place. The Justified Ancients became part of the Illuminati, a special group still keeping our own name, but taking orders from the Five. We thought we’d humanize them, like the anarchists who stayed in SDS after last year. And so it went until 1888. Then Cecil Rhodes started the Circle of Initiates and the big schism occurred. Every meeting would have a faction of Rhodes boys carrying signs that said ‘Kick out the JAMs!’ It was the parting of the ways. They just didn’t trust us—or maybe they were afraid of being humanized.
“But we had learned a lot by our long participation in the Illuminati conspiracy, and now we know how to fight them with their own weapons.”
“Fuck their weapons,” Dillinger interrupted. “I like to fight them with my weapons.”