The Shaping of a World Religion: From Jesuits, Freemasons & Anthropologists to MK Ultra & the Counter-Culture Movement PART II
By Cynthia Chung
“By increasing or prolonging stresses in various ways, or inducing physical debilitation, a more thorough alteration of the person’s thinking processes may be achieved. The immediate effect of such treatment is, usually, to impair judgment and increase suggestibility; and though when the tension is removed the suggestibility likewise diminishes, yet ideas implanted while it lasted may remain. If the stress or the physical debilitation, or both, are carried one stage further, it may happen that patterns of thought and behaviour, especially those of recent acquisition, become disrupted. New patterns can then be substituted, or suppressed patterns allowed to re-assert themselves; or the subject may begin to think and act in ways that precisely contradict his former ones.
… With these facts in mind, one can hope to understand more clearly the physiological mechanisms at work in some types of sudden religious conversion…Methods of religious conversion have hitherto been considered more from psychological and metaphysical angles than from physiological and mechanistic ones; but techniques employed often approximate so closely to modem political techniques of brain-washing and thought control that each throws light on the mechanics of the other… The main difference lies in the explanations given for the same impressive results…almost identical physiological and psychological phenomena may result from religious healing methods and conversion techniques, equally in the most primitive and the more highly civilized cultures. They may be adduced as convincing proofs of the truth of whatever religious or philosophic beliefs are invoked.”
- William Sargant, Battle for the Mind, A Physiology of Conversion and Brain-Washing (1957), pioneer of Tavistock & MK Ultra mind control techniques.
This paper will resume where we left off in Part I which can be found here.
The Messiah of the Ghost Dance Religion
“The Indian messiah religion is the inspiration of a dream. Its ritual is the dance, the ecstasy, and the trance. Its priests are hypnotics and cataleptics. All these have formed a part of every great religious development of which we have knowledge from the beginning of history.”
- James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890 (1896), Bureau of Ethnology (liaison to the Smithsonian Institute).
The year of 1890 would mark an eerie scene. It was the year of the Sioux Outbreak and the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee, what has been widely considered the last major engagement of the American-Indian Wars. The number of Indians massacred that day are estimated to be close to 400 men, women and children, if not more. Many of the bodies of the women and children who had fled the scene were found up to two miles away from where the mayhem had began, shot in their backs by the American soldiers as they attempted to flee from the bloody carnage. As James Mooney would remark, it was as if the American soldiers had completely lost their minds.
It was in the month of December, and a snowstorm had taken three days to pass. The bodies of the Sioux people had been left in the snowy tundra. When the Americans returned, they had found that some of the Sioux people thought dead had in fact been alive, including two babies still in their mother’s arms. Only one of the infants ultimately survived along with very few of the initial ‘survivors’ who had been seriously wounded by the frost bite, the necrotic tissue had spread too far and most died days later.
One of the Sioux woman survivors found alive stricken by a bullet was told as she lay in the church for medical treatment that she must let them remove her ghost shirt in order to get at her wound, she replied: “Yes; take it off. They told me a bullet would not go through. Now I don't want it anymore.” The ghost shirt, which had been promoted by adherents of the Ghost Dance religion, was believed to be impenetrable to bullets or weapons of any sort. Every Sioux who had been killed that day at Wounded Knee had been wearing such a shirt.
James Mooney, under the auspices of the Bureau of Ethnology began research that fall of 1890 on the Cherokee in correlation to gaining a better understanding of this new religion that had spread to almost all of the Indian tribes called the Ghost dance. His investigations were permitted to expand to the “wilder” tribes: the Cheyenne and Arapaho, the Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Caddo and Wichita, who were all living near together in the western part of what was then Indian Territory (see map below). These tribes were all more or less under the influence of the new religion. The massacre at Wounded Knee would occur just a few months after Mooney began his study, and what had intended to be only a few weeks extended to a period of more than three years of research on the Ghost dance phenomenon.
At the time of Mooney’s publishing of the authoritative account on this history The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890, published in 1896, the Ghost dance was still in practice and was developing new features at every performance. This went on for many years if not decades later, despite the tragedy that occurred at Wounded Knee due to its false prophecies.
Mooney would make a second field trip this time focusing on the Ghost dance amongst the Sioux people, where it had attracted the most attention, and among the Paiute, where it originated. Mooney’s field investigation occupied twenty-two months, involving nearly 32,000 miles of travel and more or less time spent with about twenty tribes.
Recall in Part I of this series that we had already begun the telling of the origins of the Ghost dance religion which would take its shape from the Master of Life religion. The Master of Life religion began with Pontiac’s prophecy in 1763 which was most certainly influenced by a Jesuitical presence. The prophecy speaks of a messiah who will bring about paradise to the Indian people and destroy the white conquerors if they wash themselves of their sins and return to their “original state”. This included being forbidden from using gunpowder and firearms as well as flint and steel to make fire. Later the prophecy would include that the prophet of this divine mission would also receive the power to cure all diseases and to arrest the hand of death in sickness or on the battlefield, that their dead would rise again and that their old would become young again and the young would never become sick. It also forbade many of the old ways, including their sacred medicine bags and the medicine song and claimed that the medicine men who were promoting these old ways were in communion with evil spirits. The prophecy also proclaimed that the French were the Indians’ brother, the King of France the Indians’ father and that all other whites, namely the British (primarily the American colonialists at the time), were their enemies and the enemies of their French brothers’. (Recall that the Jesuitical Order was founded in Paris, France in 1534 and dominated the Catholic presence in the Americas.)
Pontiac would ascend to the highest position among the leaders of the Algonquians. After Pontiac’s vision he announces the policy of confederation of all tribes at the great council near Detroit in April 1763 as was revealed to him as the will of the Master of Life. At this great council, Pontiac was listened to as if he himself were an oracle, and he declared to all the chieftains present that he had only to declare the will of the Master of Life to be obeyed. Pontiac would fail in his mission after three years of battles ultimately exiled from his people, however, the Pontiac prophecy would continue to be believed in and this initiative to form a confederation of all tribes would be carried forward almost to successful completion by the great Tecumseh.
However, this was not to be, and Tecumseh’s downfall would also be attached to his ultimate obedience to the Master of Life religion through his younger brother the failed Shawnee Prophet. It was the Shawnee prophet, who only gained popular acceptance by his prediction of an eclipse, who would first make the revelation that the Indian warriors were impenetrable to the bullets of the white man. This false prophecy which was first declared the night before their biggest and first battle against Governor William Harrison’s forces ruined any hope Tecumseh had of uniting the Indian tribes in a just cause, what had been initially a peaceful cause. For his younger brother, having been exposed as a radical false prophet, had also ruined trust in Tecumseh’s ability to lead his people. It should also be recalled that at this point the prophecy had declared that all whites were in fact friends of the Indians, including the British and the Spanish, except the Americans and Tecumseh would die fighting alongside the British in the War of 1812 against Harrison’s forces in a war that was of no benefit to his people.
After the false prophecy by Tecumseh’s brother, the Shawnee prophet that would lead to the downfall of Tecumseh, things were quiet for a little while and no new prophet of significance was heard of for a number of decades. The next one would arise over 50 years later in 1870 among the Paiute in Nevada. As the story goes, this prophet was said to have been the father of the “messiah” who would found the Ghost dance religion.
This father of the “messiah” was Tä’vibo, which interestingly means “White man” who was known to have visions and was invulnerable. The name Tävibo refers to the east (tävänagwat) or place where the sun (täbi) rises. By the cognate Shoshoni and Comanche the whites are called Taivo.
It was this white man of the east, Tävibo, who would shape a young boy named Wovoka into the messiah of the Ghost dance religion.